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Mrs. Donald M. Casey 
Mrs. William Swanson 



Mrs. Frank Emerson 
Mrs. George W. Knepper 




Jerry Rillihan 
Willis Hughes 
William T. Nightingale, Chairman 

Moor croft 

Member at Large 

Frank Bowron 

Attorney General V. Frank Mendicino 




William H. Williams Director 

Robert L. Strickland Director, State Museums 

Mrs. Katherine Halvbrson Chief, Historical Research 

and Publications Division 
Mrs. Julia Yelvington Chief, Archives and Records Division 


The Annals of Wyoming is published biannually in the spring and fall 
and is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 
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and a price list may be obtained by writing to the Editor. 

Communications should be addressed to the Editor. The Editor does not 
assume responsibility for statements of fact or opinion made by the con- 

Annals of Wyoming articles are abstracted in 
Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life 

Copyright 1975, by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

A^mls of Wyoming 

Volume 47 

Spring, 1975 

Number 1 

Katherine Halverson 

Published biannually by the 


Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


or THE 


URAMIE 82071 


OFFICERS 1974-1975 

President, Henry Jensen Lysite 

Second Vice President 

Secretary-Treasurer, Miss Jane Houston Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, William H. Willmms Cheyenne 

Past Presidents 

Frank L. Bowron, Casper 1953-1955 

William L. Marion, Lander 1955-1956 

Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody 1956-1957 

Dr. T. a. Larson, Laramie 1957-1958 

A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins 1958-1959 

Mrs. Thelma G. Condit, Buffalo 1959-1960 

E. A. Littleton, Gillette 1960-1961 

Edness Kimball Wilkins, Casper 1961-1962 

Charles Ritter, Cheyenne 1962-1963 

Neal E. Miller, Rawlins 1963-1965 

Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper 1965-1966 

Glenn Sweem, Sheridan 1966-1967 

Adrian Reynolds, Green River 1967-1968 

Curtiss Root, Torrington 1968-1969 

Mrs. Hattie Burnstad, Worland 1969-1970 

J. Reuel Armstrong, Rawlins 1970-1971 

William R. Dubois, Cheyenne 1971-1972 

Henry F. Chadey, Rock Springs 1972-1973 

Richard S. Dumbrill, Newcastle 1973-1974 

The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
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Zable of Contents 


By Robert A. Murray 5 


By Glen Barrett 31 


Edited by Lonnie J. White 45 


By Evadene Burris Swanson 59 


By Karen L. Love 69 


Minutes of the Twenty-first Annual Meeting 101 


Hoig, The Western Odyssey of John Simpson Smith: 

Frontiersman, Trader and Interpreter 113 

Rosa, They Called Him Wild Bill. The Life and Adventures of 

James Butler Hickok, 2nd Edition, Revised and Enlarged 114 

Sullivan, Martin Murphy, Jr. California Pioneer 1844-1884 115 

Bartlett, Nature's Yellowstone; Haines, Yellowstone National 

Park: Its Exploration and Establishment 116 

Ehernberger-Gschwind, Sherman Hill 119 

Kane, Twelve Mormon Homes. Visited in Succession on A 

Journey Through Utah to Arizona 120 

Moore, Shoot Me A Biscuit; Hughes, Chuck Wagon Cookin' 121 

Pedersen-Wald, Shall the People Rule? A History of the 

Democratic Party in Nebraska Politics. 1854-1972 124 

Bourne, Ranch Schoolteacher 125 


INDEX 129 


W. H. Jackson Sketch of Fort Caspar Cover 

(Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department) 

Map, Fort Caspar Area 4 

Early Day Street Scene, Kemmerer 34 

W. S. Post Store, Kemmerer 34 

Chief Friday in the 1860s 62 

Zrading Posts. Jorts and bridges 
of the Casper AYea-UnraueliHg 
the Z angle oh tke Upper Platte 

Robert A. Murray 


This paper is an effort to bring into more general public knowl- 
edge the results of research done by the writer in 1971 in the 
course of projects for the Wyoming Recreation Commission, The 
Parks Department of the City of Casper, and the Casper Chamber 
of Commerce. It is but one example of the kind of by-product 
that can result from effective correlation of the interests and re- 
sources of state and local governments and individuals on historical 

Particular thanks are due to several persons. Mr. Thomas 
Nicholas of Casper is one of the region's most serious and skilled 
research historians. He, more than anyone else, kept alive the 
local knowledge of the relationship of the earlier military posts and 
Richard's Bridge, in the face of the kind of controversy that some- 
times develops among local historians. He, along with the late 
Dick Eklund, Bill Morgan, Robert Carpenter, Grover Phelan and 
Charles "Chuck" Morrison and others of Casper, led the archaeo- 
logical work in 1963 which confirmed the locations of Richard's 
Bridge and its related structures. Mr. O. W. "Bill" Judge of Fort 
Caspar Park and Museum spent appreciable amounts of time 
discussing the Guinard Bridge and its associated sites with us over 
a period of several years. The members of the Fort Caspar Com- 
mission, the staff of the Wyoming Recreation Commission and 
others were very helpful. The Western History Collections of The 
University of Wyoming as well as the Historical Research Division 
of the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department were 
most helpful. And far from least, John D. "Jack" McDermott 
shared with us the contents of his fine file on the Richard family. 

Written history of the Casper, Wyoming, vicinity begins with the 
account of Robert Stuart and his party of returning Astorians in 


1812.^ Stuart and his men pioneered the easy-gradient Platte 
Valley, Sweetwater, South Pass route through the Rockies which 
contributed so largely to the settlement and development of the 
Pacific coast as a part of the United States. Fur traders used the 
route as a major means of access to the central Rockies for over 
30 years after Stuart's time. Thus well known, the trails along the 
Platte quickly became the main channel for eitiigration to Cali- 
fornia and Oregon as well as to intermediate points in the years 
after 1841. From 1841 to 1862, the old trails along the Platte 
near Casper were in a very real way the "main street of the 

During <.he peak years of that emigrant traffic and through a 
period of Indian warfare that followed, the locale achieved a 
tactical importance in both commercial and military activity of the 
region. Despite this real importance, the attention given to this 
locale by historians has been fragmentary, and all too much fo- 
cused on a handful of particularly dramatic and emotion-charged 
events. It is perhaps time to pull these historical loose ends 
together into a coherent framework of history for the region. 
Much new research data has come to light within the past two 
decades that is useful for this purpose. 


Emigrant trails into Wyoming generally paralleled the North 
Platte River on both its north and south bank. A few groups 
would change sides at some point east of Deer Creek, but this was 
optional, and depended upon their evaluation of trail conditions. 
In order to turn off up the Sweetwater valley, it was essential, 
however, to attain the north (left) bank of the river no further 
upstream than Bessemer Bend, for not far above that point Jackson 
Canyon offers an obstacle then impassable to wagons. 

Parties coming along the south bank could cross in dry weather 
in the late summer and autumn at many points along the river. 
In the days before the development of major irrigation facilities 
involving management of the Platte River flow, the river's level 
was much more sharply seasonal than it is at present. Spring and 
early summer saw a prolonged season of high water that coincided 
for various reasons with the arrival of the largest numbers of 
emigrant caravans on the upper Platte. In such high water, a river 
crossing by wagons was risky at its best. The risk was sufficient 
to offer some opportunity for commercial ferrying of the river, and 
ferrying operations form the beginning of seasonal commercial 
activity in the area. 

1. Spaulding, Kenneth, On the Oregon Trail, Robert Stuart's Journey of 
Discovery, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953). 


Historian Dale Morgan presented the detailed story of ferrying 
of the North Platte at this area in an earlier issue of Annals of 
Wyoming.- There is no need to duplicate his effort here, but 
outlining it and supplementing it with other data will help to put 
later developments into context. 

Brigham Young left nine men in this vicinity to establish ferry 
service in the summer of 1847. At first they used a sole-leather 
skiff they called "The Revenue Cutter," to ferry the contents of 
wagons across the stream. They moved at least once during that 
first season, and after several experiments built rafts on which to 
float wagons across the river.'^ Each season a new party of men 
came out from the Mormon settlements to put their ferry back in 
operations. In some years they evidently buried the boats for 
protection through the winter.^ 

In 1849 these Mormon ferrymen built a substantial stockade at 
their ferry point. They also evidently engaged in blacksmithing to 
add to the income of their venture. At this time they used decks 
of planking floated on dugout canoes as ferry boats. '' Captain 
Howard Stansbury of the Corps of Topographical Engineers visited 
this stockaded Mormon ferry of 1849. Careful analysis of his 
journals and maps make it evident that their structure and ferry 
operated from the south bank of the river in an area that is prob- 
ably within the present North Casper Park.*^ 

In 1850 they used a conventional cable-drawn ferry of plank 
flatboats, such as were common on the eastern rivers.' 

All told, the Mormon ferrymen occupied perhaps half a dozen 
locations, including the major fortified position, in the six seasons 
from 1847 through 1852 that they worked here.^ 

The demand for ferrying service generated competition. Most 
of the emigrants came from regions where the rivers were much 
more formidable obstacles to travel than the North Platte, and 
ferrying was a widespread craft in the old frontier region from 
which they came. Stansbury crossed the river at Deer Creek on a 
privately owned ferry in 1849.^ Several travelers of 1850 men- 
tioned a "Missouri Ferry" somewhere near the Mormon Ferry. ^^ 

2. Morgan, Dale L. "The Mormon Ferry on the North Platte", Annals 
of Wyoming, July-October 1949, pp. 111-167. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Stansbury, Howard. An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt 
Lake, reprint from the 1852 London edition, (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Uni- 
versity Microfilms, 1966), pp. 59-60; Stansbury maps, copies in the Western 
Interpretive Services collections, originals in the National Archives. 

7. Morgan, op. cit. 

8. Ibid. 

9. Stansbury, op. cit. 

10. Morgan, op. cit. 


In 1851 John Richard and some of his business associates built 
a bridge over the North Platte about a mile west of Deer Creek, 
that was washed out by the high water of 1852.^^ 

The next year they moved to a site near present Evansville, and 
built a new and much more substantial bridge. For a variety of 
reasons, this bridge and the related commercial and military estab- 
lishments here have remained elusive and at times controversial. 
Most writers until Dale Morgan's time either confused them com- 
pletely with the later Louis Guinard bridge (1859-1867) located 
six miles upstream, or else tended to ignore the early importance 
and long-continued service of the Richard Bridge. 

The bridge was built by John Baptiste Richard (senior), long 
an important figure in the Upper Platte trade with Indians and 
emigrants. Built in time to serve the peak of emigrant trade in 
1853, the bridge remained in service until early in 1866, when 
troops from Fort Caspar, six miles to the west, tore it down for the 
salvage materials it contained. ^- 

The earliest first hand account of the Richard Bridge after com- 
pletion that we have encountered to date is that of Count Leonetto 
Cipriani, who crossed it on July 26, 1853: 

Alone, except for some help from the Indians, they had been able 
to erect a bridge of twelve arches, entirely of cedar, with piers formed 
of huge tree trunks and filled with gravel. ^3 

Three days after Cipriani's visit, Thomas Flint reports : 

Passed a bridge across the Platte — strong one built of hewn timbers. 
Reported to have cost $14,000.1* 

The best description of the bridge to date has been found in a 
deposition by Joseph Knight in the Indian Claims Commission 
files in the National Archives : 

A permanent bridge structure about 835 feet long; 18 feet wide; 
built over and across the North Platte River. The floor of which was 
about ten feet above the high water mark, made of timber three inches 
thick and 18 feet long, sawn by hand with a whip saw. The heavy 
timbers were hewn and hauled from 6 to 10 miles from the mountains. 
The timbers were braced, stayed and bolted with substantial iron bolts, 
and in a workmanlike manner. The bridge was built on 23 piers or 
cribs of hewn timbers filled with stone hauled at least five miles for 
the purpose. 

11. Ibid. 

12. Letter, Joseph Bissonnette at Fort Laramie to Thomas Pim, St. Louis, 
January 28, 1853, copy in John D. McDermott Collection. 

13. Falbo, Ernest, (ed.). California and Overland Diaries of Count 
Leonetto Cipriani, for 1853 through 1871, (Portland: Champoeg Press, 
1962), p. 89. 

14. Flint, Thomas. Diary . . . , (Los Angeles, np, 1923). 


Knight valued the bridge at $35,000.^^ 

Knight is known to have worked at the bridge for Richard,^ He 
may have helped with the construction work, and definitely helped 
to repair the bridge, and at one point managed it for some months 
for the owners. ^^ 

There are but few other detailed physical descriptions of the 
bridge itself, most emigrant accounts being simply interested in 
getting across the river. On June 12, 1859, J. A. Wilkinson wrote: 

It is built of Cottonwood timber with hewed poles for a floor, and as 
the river is deep and swift, it must have cost some money. i*" 

The surveyors' field books at the Fort Kearney, South Pass and 
Honey Lake Wagon Road expedition provide very precise loca- 
tional data for the Richard Bridge. These data agree exactly with 
the location of archaeological remains of the bridge that were 
found in 

Near the south end of Richard's Bridge a considerable trading 
post grew up. Many travelers mention the store here. Sir Richard 
Burton called it "the indispensable store-the tete de pont" where 
he and his fellow passengers "drank our whiskey with ice, which 
after so long a disuse, felt unenjoyably cold."^*^ 

Other accounts mention "a trading establishment near the 
bridge, and also a coal mine . . ."-"^ and "several log houses or huts 
there, one blacksmith shop, one grocery, and drygoods store . . ."-^ 

Richard and his employees operated these facilities through the 
spring of 1865.-- 

Like all the other trading establishments Richard had helped to 

15. Knight, Joseph, deposition, September 22, 1892, file 8526-123, Indian 
Claims Files, National Archives. 

16. Knight, Joseph, deposition, December 1, 1898, file 8081-123, Indian 
Claims Files, National Archives. 

17. Wilkinson, J. A. "Journal," original in Newberry Library, Chicago, 
pp. 72-73. 

18. "Fort Kearny, South Pass and Honey Lake Wagon Road, Rough 
Field Notes, 1857; Compass and Odometer Readings," "Compass Book Kept 
by J. F. Mullowney from Fort Laramie to the Forks of Rocky Ridge," both 
of the above from "Records relating to Wagon Roads, RG48, Records of 
the Secretary of Interior, National Archives; copies of archeological field 
notes, sketches and photos in the Thomas Nicholas Collection, Casper. 

19. Burton, Sir Richard, Fawn M. Brodie, ed.. The City of the Saints and 
Across the Rocky Mountains to California, (New York: Knopf, 1963), 
p. 156. 

20. Phelps, Captain John W. "Diary of Captain Phelps," in LeRoy R. 
Hafen, ed., Documentary Account of the Utah Expedition, (Glendale: 
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1958). 

21. Cowden, James S. "Diary," entry for July 11, 1853; original in a 
private collection, copies of portions in McDermott collection. 

22. Richard, Louis, deposition, May 30, 1887, file 7868-123, Indian 
Claims Commission files, National Archives. 


found and operate, this one was evidently colorful enough at the 
height of the trading and travel seasons. In the first season of 
operation, traveler William K. Sloan says: 

There were quite a number of mountaineers located about the place 
and all very thirsty from some of the men they ascertained that we 
had a five gallon keg of whiskey aboard the train, they must have it, 
price was no object. Stewart finally agreed to let them have it, in 
consideration of our crossing the bridge free, which was equivalent to 
$125 for the whiskey; . . . 

I heard afterwards the whole party got on a glorious spree.^s 

The camp here, with its diverse commercial enterprises, its more 
numerous and varied hangers-on, must have resembled an enlarge- 
ment of the John Richard post found seven years earlier by Francis 
Parkman at a point seven miles below Fort Laramie: 

. . . pushing through a noisy, drunken crowd, I entered an apartment 
of logs and mud, the largest in the fort: it was full of men of various 
races and complexions, all more or less drunk. 

Here were maudlin squaws stretched on piles of buffalo-robes; 
squalid Mexicans, armed with bows and arrows; Indians sedately 
drunk, long-haired Canadians and trappers, and American backwoods- 
men in brown homespun, the well-beloved pistol and bowie-knife dis- 
played openly at their sides . . .-•* 

The community at Richard's Bridge did not mellow much with 
age, as in 1859, it was a place where the Captain William F. 
Raynolds surveying and mapping expedition 

got uproariously drunk, and Raynolds, himself a teetotaler, lost con- 
trol of them. Lieutenant Smith and the escort mutinied, leaving the 
Captain and what were left of his command to move into winter 
quarters at an abandoned Mormon village near the Upper Platte 
Indian Agency.--^ 

(Note: this wintering point for Raynolds was at Deer Creek, 
somewhere near where the present Interstate highway crosses the 

Behind all of this turbulence, however, Richard represented a 
sound business man of the best frontier sort. His venture of the 
bridge had the backing of Joseph Bissonette and others, all sub- 
stantial traders of the region.-" For all the varied character of the 

23. Sloan, William K. "Autobiography of William K. Sloan," Annals of 
Wyoming, July, 1926, pp. 245-246. 

24. Parkman, Francis. The Oregon Trail, (Boston: Little, Brown & 
Co., 1900), p. 155. 

25. Goetzmann, William H. Army Exploration in the American West, 
1803-1863, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960), pp. 419-420. 

26. Hill, Burton S. On the Platte and North, (Buffalo, Wyoming:, 

27. Letter, Bissonnette to Pim, op. cit.; there is a wealth of material on 
these business relationships in the Indian Claims Commission files. National 
Archives, only small portions of which are cited in this paper. 



passing emigration, only a few emigrants were critical of Richard 
or had in their own estimation unfair treatment from him. He did 
put the competitive ferry operations out of business by buying 
them out or intimidating them,-^ but J. Soule Bowman said in 

"emigrants can cross their stock in safety and at a fair price. "-^ j 

Richard charged from $2.50 to $6.00 per wagon for bridge toll. 
Most emigrants did not consider these tolls exhorbitant, particu- 
larly when they gave thought to the alternative of floating wagons 
across the North Platte at high water. He usually charged from 
four to ten cents per head for livestock to cross the bridge, which 
one might view as cheap flood insurance, indeed! During the drier 
seasons, many parties forded the river at points upstream, and a 
few set up their own ferries for the purpose.-^" 

Richard not only accepted whiskey and other valuables in ex- 
change for tolls, but odds and ends of household goods that by this 
point in the journey might be only an encumbrance and yet of 
some use at the settlement. One emigrant notes that Richard 
accepted "mother's baby wagon" for their bridge toll.'^^ He also 
traded rested and well-fed draft stock for trail-worn stock. Black- 
smiths at his shop, using coal from the nearby mine, provided a 
much needed repair service, available at only a few other points. •^- 

Richard and his partners employed a full-time accountant at the 
post, from its first opening.^^^ They brought skilled carpenters 
out from St. Louis from time to time for repairs. -^^ Substantial 
profits here enabled Richard to finance such other eminent traders 
as Ward and Guerrier at Fort Laramie. ^^ From this source also 
came the money that built a store in Denver, and ranches at other 

28. Coutant, C. G. The History of Wyoming, Vol. I., (Laramie, Wyo- 
ming: Chaplin, Spafford and Mathison, Printers, 1899), pp. 365-367; 
Judson, Phoebe, A Pioneer's Search, (Bellingham, Washington: np, 1925), 
p. 41. 

29. Bowman, J. Soule, item in the Daily Missouri Republican, 1853, cited 
in Albert Watkins, ed., Nebraska State Historical Society Publications, Vol. 
II, 1922. 

30. Sutton, Sarah. Diary, entry for June 11, 1854; original in a private 
collection, copy in McDermott Collection; Sloan, op. cit. 

31. Carpenter, Helen. Overland Journey, entry for July 5, 1856, New- 
berry Library, np, nd, p. 39. 

32. Sloan, op .cit. 

33. See letter, Bissonnette to Pim, op. cit. 

34. Jackson, W. Turrentine, Wagon Roads West, (Berkeley: University 
of California Press, 1952), p. 207. 

35. Promissory note. May 20, 1853, Ward & Guerrier to Bordeau, Rich- 
ard & Co., in the Seth Ward Papers, John Hunton Collection, Wyoming 
State Archives and Historical Department. 


( points.^^ Richard appears in now-available documents as much 
^more than just the rough frontiersman who opened the trade in 
"Taos Lightning" in the 1840s on the North Platte. Good attor- 
neys in Denver and in Washington, D.C. handled his business 
operations, and his partners and employees were noted in the St. 
Louis and Kansas City newspapers when they came to town on 

At this point we should step back to the early years at Richard's 
Bridge and take up the story of the locality against the background 
of the two bridges and their operators. 

The earliest document we find pertinent to the Richard Bridge 
is a letter from Joseph Bissonette at Fort Laramie to Thomas Pirn 
in St. Louis, written on January 28, 1853, asking Pim to come to 
keep books for the new company that was building the bridge.^^ 
Beginning with the Cipriani account and the Flint account cited 
earlier, there are numerous emigrant journal entries mentioning 
the bridge.^^ 

In 1854 Richard contracted with Joseph Knight to make repairs 
to the bridge and to tend it, collecting his repair bill out of the 
tolls. ^*^ John Richard, with other associates then went over to 
Green River for the winter, trading for Indian ponies.^^ In the 
spring of 1855 they returned to the Bridge, where one of the men, 
Joseph Merivale, says : 

We burned off the old grass to let the new grass grow; one night five 
Crow Indians came in and told us that they saw a party of Blackfeet; 
that night the ponies were all stolen; I followed them the next morn- 
ing with two Oglalas, Torn Belly and Black Hills, who are now living 
at Pine Ridge Agency, on the best of a few tired-out mounts that the 

36. Wharton, J. E. "History of the City of Denver . . . ," with Wilhelm, 
D. O., Business Directory of the City, (Denver: Byers and Dailey, 1866). 

37. See Account E537, Bk 68, with enclosures. Letters Received in the 
Office of the Quartermaster General, National Archives; Missouri Repub- 
lican, September 1, 1858; Kansas City Journal of Commerce, August 26, 

38. Letter, Bissonnette to Pim, op. cit. 

39. Others not cited elsewhere are: Orange Gaylord, "Diary of Orange 
Gaylord ... A Second Trip to Oregon in 1853 . . . ," Transactions of the 
45th Annual Reunion of the Oregon Pioneer Association (Portland, July 19, 
1917), Portland, 1920; Abies, T. J., Trip Across the Plains, entry for. July 
8, 1857, Newberry Library; DeWitt, Ward G., and Florence S. Prairie 
Schooner Lady: The Journal of Harriet Sherill Ward, 1853, (Los Angeles: 
Westernlore Press, 1959), p. 87; Horton, Emily M. Our Family, np, nd, 
1922, Newberry Library, pp. 27-28; Ackley, Richard Thomas, "Across the 
Plains in 1858," Utah Historical Quarterly, July/October, 1941, pp. 203-204. 

40. Knight, Joseph, op. cit. 

41. Ibid.; Richard, John Sr., Deposition, March 2, 1868, file 8081-123, 
Indian Claims Files, National Archives. 


Indians had left; we followed them about 25 miles to the north but 
did not overtake them . . A'^ 

Along with the Northern Indians, the tribes that frequented the 
Platte Valley became more frequently involved in incidents along 
the trail in 1853 and 1854. Farther downstream, friction between 
the many traders at their small posts along the trails steadily in- 
creased. Some incidents were quarrels within families, some arose 
out of jealousy between the young men and the traders who were 
wealthy beyond Indian dreams, occasional incidents involved emi- 
grants and soldiers.^^ 

In 1853 a small detachment of troops fought with Indians over 
possession of a ferry boat near Fort Laramie. ^^ In 1854 an 
unfortunate series of events near Fort Laramie developed into the 
"Grattan Massacre" of August 19 of that year.^'^ In November of 
1854, Indians destroyed a contract mail carrier station at Ash 
Hollow.46 Through the late fall of 1854 and the winter of 1855, 
tension increased through more incidents such as the theft of 
Richard's horses. The government planned a show of force on the 
plains that developed as the Harney Expedition.^' 

After defeating and dispersing a large concentration of Brules 
in the fight at Blue Water (sometimes mistakenly called the "Battle 
of Ash Hollow") in September of 1855, Harney intervened exten- 
sively in Indian and trader affairs in the Fort Laramie region.^^ 
He summarily ordered all the traders to concentrate at Fort Lara- 
mie, where they might be more effectively watched. ^^ There was 
concern on the part of the traders for their abandoned stations, and 
on the part of the army for the security of the valuable bridge. 
Major WilUam Hoffman, in command at Fort Laramie, wrote to 
Harney's Adjutant General on October 15, 1855: 

42. Knight, Joseph, deposition, May 22, 1893, file 8081-123, Indian 
Claims Files, National Archives; Merivale, Joseph, deposition, November 2, 
1886, file 8081-123, Indian Claims Files, National Archives. 

43. Of a number of sources with much data on this period some of 
the most useful are: Nadeau, Remi, Fort Laramie and the Sioux Indians, 
(Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall Inc., 1967); Hyde, George E., 
Red Cloud's Folk, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, i956); Hyde, 
George E. Spotted Tail's Folk, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1961); Hafen, LeRoy R., and Young, Francis M., Fort Laramie and the 
Pageant of the West, (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1940). 

44. Ibid. 

45. McCaim, Lloyd. The Grattan Massacre (reprint from Nebraska 
History Magazine) (Fort Laramie, Wyoming: Fort Laramie Historical 
Association, 1966). 

46. Sioux Expedition Letters, RG98, National Archives. 

47. Ibid. 

48. Ibid. 

49. Letter, Major William Hoffman, C. O. Fort Laramie to Major T. S. 
Twiss, Indian Agent, January 16, 1856, Fort Laramie Letters Sent, RG98, 
National Archives. 


It would be a cause of much embarrassment to persons traveling on 
this route, and in times of high water would stop all trains and the 
mails, if this bridge over the Platte should be destroyed by the Indians, 
and I therefore propose, if it meet the approbation of the General, 
to station a guard of an officer and twenty-five men there during the 
winter to protect it."50 


Permission was soon forthcoming from Harney's headquarters, 
and Lt. James Deshler of the 10th Infantry was placed in command 
of a detachment for this purpose. He was instructed: 

When you arrive at the Bridge you will keep your party at all times 
on the alert, exercise day and night the greatest vigilance. It will 
parade under arms for inspection every evening at Sunset. During the 
night the Sentinels will call the half hours. 

Have no intercourse with the Sioux and as little with other Indians 
as possible. 51 

Arriving at the bridge early in November, Deshler's men spent 
a very quiet winter. Richard and the other traders were not 
immediately allowed to resume their stations. In December, Hoff- 
man offered to let Richard return to the bridge if he would refrain 
from engaging in the Indian trade. Richard refused and Hoffman 
then rescinded his authority to return. Finally in March of 1856, 
Harney authorized Richard to return to the bridge.-^- With the 
return of the traders, things doubtless livened up a bit for the 
isolated troops. 

In their first return Lt. Deshler is shown in command, with a 
mixed garrison of twenty-two privates, one corporal, one sergeant 
drawn from the 4th Artillery, the 6th Infantry and the 10th 

The next return hsts 2nd Lt. Robert C. Hill, 6th Infantry, in 
command, with a generally similar garrison.^* 

50. Letter, Hoffman to Winship, October 15, 1855, Sioux Expedition 
Letters Received, RG98, National Archives. 

51. Letter, Hoffman to Lt. James Deshler, Fort Laramie, October 27, 
1855, Fort Laramie Letters Sent, RG98, National Archives. 

52. Letter, Hoffman to Captain A. Pleasanton, AAAG, Sioux Expedi- 
tion, Fort Pierre, February 9, 1856, Fort Laramie Letters Sent, RG98, 
National Archives, letter. Ward and Guerrier, Fort Laramie to Hoffman, 
Fort Laramie, February 7th, 1856, Fort Laramie Letters Received, RG98, 
National Archives; letter, Thomas S. Twiss, Upper Platte Indian Agency to 
Hoffman, Fort Laramie, January 31, 1856, Fort Laramie Letters Received, 
RG98, National Archives; letter, Hoffman to Twiss, August 11, 1856, Fort 
Laramie Letters Sent, RG98, National Archives. 

53. "Return of Detachment of U. S. Troops Stationed at Platte River 
Bridge, 125 Miles above Fort Laramie, Oregon Route," November, 1855, 
National Archives. 

54. "Return of Fort Clay, Platte Bridge," January, 1856, National 


With the return of the traders in March came an expansion of 
the garrison now under the command of Captain Henry Heth, 10th 
Infantry. ^-^ Heth was within a few years to become an army 
expert on marksmanship training."'^^ He had two heutenants, two 
sergeants, one corporal, one bugler and forty-six privates under his 
command. There were now civilian employees, Pat Sanders em- 
ployed as a hunter, Nicholas Scott as an interpreter, Charles Hough 
as a teamster, and the well-known Nick Janis as interpreter."'^ 

Here, at what was then Camp Davis, occurred the first open 
conflict between the Cheyenne Indians and the U. S. government. 
Two historians have discussed the incident at some length. Dr. 
LeRoy Hafen says: 

It having been reported that the Indians had four stray horses, the 
commander of the troops ordered that these animals be given up, but 
he gave assurance that the Indians would be paid for finding and 
herding the strays. 

Though the Indians agreed to the terms, they brought in only three 
horses. Little Wolf, owner of the fourth, refused to give it up, insist- 
ing that this horse had not been found at the time and place described 
by the claimant. The commanding officer ordered the arrest of three 
of the Indians. While they were being put in irons, two made a break 
for freedom; one of these was shot down, the other escaped. The 
third, Wolf Fire, was held a prisoner, and ultimately was to die in 
the guardhouse. Following the arrest and break, Wolf Fire's relatives 
fled toward the Black Hills, leaving their Lodges behind. The troops 
confiscated the abandoned Indian property. ^^ 

Dr. Donald J. Berthrong reports that this band of Cheyennes then 
killed an old trapper out in the Black Hills. Dull Knife came in 
to Fort Laramie on May 24, 1856, and tried to make peace over 
the affair.^** At any rate it was one of a series of incidents that 
led ultimately to Sumner's extensive Cheyenne campaign the next 
year in Kansas.^" 

From October of 1855 through January of 1856, the post was 
known as Fort Clay. From February of 1856 through June of 

55. "Return of Camp Davis, North Platte Bridge," March, 1856, Nation- 
al Archives. 

56. Heth wrote one of the first books on the subject to be used by the 
Army. (RM) 

57. "Return of Camp Davis, North Platte Bridge," March, 1856, Nation- 
al Archives. 

58. Hafen, LeRoy R. Relations with the Plains Indians, (Glendale: 
The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1959), pp. 169-170. 

59. Berthrong, Donald J. The Southern Cheyennes, (Norman: Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1963), p. 133; letter, Hoffman to Heth, May 24, 
1856, Fort Laramie Letters Sent, RG 98, National Archives; Grinnell, 
George Bird, The Fighting Cheyennes, (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1955), pp. 111-112; letter, Hoffman to Pleasanton, June 18, 1856, 
Fort Laramie Letters Sent, RG98, National Archives. 

60. Hafen, LeRoy R., Relations with the Plains Indians, has the best 
detail on this campaign. 


1856 the post was called Camp Davis. In June of 1856 there were 
shifts of troops comprising the garrison and the new force was 
regarded as a sub-post of Fort Laramie. ^^ 

There is evidence in both army and Indian Bureau documents 
that the traders and the agent, Thomas Twiss, made efforts to have 
the post kept active in the fall of 1856, presumably to improve the 
trading volume and the opportunities for contract work. The 
army regarded the post as no longer necessary in view of the 
strength of the traders' own community there. '^- Captain Charles 
S. Lovell, 6th Infantry, broke up the post and withdrew his men to 
Fort Laramie in November, 1856, thus ending the first military 
occupancy of the Richard Bridge complex. ^^ 

No documents have come to hght on the exact nature of struc- 
tures at the early post, but we believe that the small garrison the 
first winter simply wintered in Richard's existing buildings, and 
that with the return of the traders in the spring, the troops went 
into tent camp for the summer. Correspondence relative the pos- 
sible maintenence of the post in the fall of 1856 raises the point of 
the cost of building huts if a full company were to be wintered 
there, and shortly after this the troops withdrew. ^^ 

The men at Richard's Bridge participated in the rescue of the 
Mormon party wintering at Devil's Gate in the winter of 1856- 
1857, and one of the survivors of the Mormon party says: 

They had heard in some way that we were still alive. I think the 
Indians must have sent the word. They could not get buffalo meat, 
so had killed some cattle and were bringing them to us. They had 
been four days on the road, tramping snow and working through 
drifts, expecting to find us starving. I often think of those old pio- 
neers, who were always so ready to help a fellow man in need.65 

t The years 1857 to 1859 were particularly busy ones for John 
Richard and his partners. The conflict between federal and terri- 
torial officials in Utah on a number of points brought on the "Utah 
Expedition. "*5*5 With this came a mixed involvement. In Decem- 
ber of 1857 Richard was accused of hiding a number of rifles 
belonging to the fleeing Mormons leaving the country ahead of the 

61. Returns, Camp at Platte Bridge, July through August 1856, RG98, 
National Archives. 

62. There is an extensive exchange of correspondence between Hoffman 
and Twiss in the Fort Laramie Letters Sent and Received, and the Upper 
Platte Indian Agency letters for the period. 

63. Final Post Return, Camp at Platte Bridge. 

64. Letter, Hoffman to Twiss, August 9, 1856, Fort Laramie Letters 
Sent, RG98, National Archives. 

65. Jones, Daniel W., Forty Years Among the Indians, (Los Angeles: 
Westernlore Press, 1960), pp. 79-80. 

66. Hammond, Otis G., The Utah Expedition, 1857-58, (Concord, N. H.: 
New Hampshire Historical Society, 1928). 


column. Thirty rifles were seized at his post at the bridge, and 
after considerable controversy were released to Richard/'' The 
Utah Expedition greatly increased the volume of wagon freight 
traffic across the plains, and with it the importance of the bridge. •'^ 
With the rise of the stream in 1858, this strategic importance led 
the army to station troops there for a second time. 


Operating under Special Orders #1, Headquarters Battalion of 
the 4th Artillery, Captain Joseph Roberts took Companies D and E 
of the regiment away from Fort Kearney on June 13, 1858.^'* The 
column arrived at the bridge on July 20.^'^ They established what 
was called "Post at Platte Bridge", with a garrison of six officers, 
sixty-one enlisted men and thirty-five civilian employees."^ 

Captain Roberts remained in command of the post throughout 
its occupancy, and the garrison remained substantially the same. 

The troops passed a very routine winter there. Historical 
accounts of the nature of the remains of the post a year and a 
half later, along with data on the winter camp practices of the 
Utah Expedition and archaeological finds at the site, indicate that 
the troops were housed in framed tents with board floors and stone 
chimney s.'- 

Boredom and sanitation were as usual the primary garrison 
problems of the period. Usually anywhere from six to ten men 
were reported sick, and from three to six in confinement. Private 
John Morgan, 7th Infantry, a casual at the post left by his passing 
unit, died in the hospital on August 25, 1858.''^ Other than that 
there were no soldier deaths in the garrison itself. 

Orders were issued in early April of 1859 to abandon the post, 
and the order reached the post on April 20, 1859. The troops 
were shortly after withdrawn to Fort Laramie. ^^ 

This post was always known officially as "Camp at Platte 

67. Ibid. 

68. Phelps "Diary . . ." op. cit.; Hammond, op. cit.; Rodenbaugh, T. F., 
From Everglade to Canon, (New York: Nostrand, 1875); Gardner, Ham- 
ilton, "March of 2d Dragoons," Annals of Wyoming, April, 1955, pp. 43-60. 

69. Special Orders #1, Headquarters Battalion, 4th Artillery, June 12, 
1858; Special Orders #2, Headquarters, District of the Platte, July 18, 

70. "Return of the Post at PlaUe Bridge," July 1858, RG94, National 

71. Ibid. 

72. Burton, op. cit.; archaeological field notes and sketches in the Thom- 
as Nicholas collection; copies of sketches of Utah Expedition camp scenes 
obtained by Mr. Nicholas from the New York Historical Society. 

73. Return of the Post at Platte Bridge. August, 1858. 

74. Return of the Post at Platte Bridge, April, 1859. 


Bridge" or "Post at Platte Bridge," but was informally called 
"Camp Payne. "■^^ 

Sir Richard Burton passed the site of the post in the stagecoach 
just after leaving Richard's store on August 16, 1860, and 

Remounting, we passed a deserted camp, where in times gone by two 
companies of infantry have been stationed; a few stumps of crumbling 
wall, broken floorings, and depressions in the ground were the only 
remnants which the winds and rain had leftj'^ 

~ As with the first post at Platte Bridge, many students long 
confused this post with the much later "Platte Bridge Station" 
located at Guinard's Bridge. This confusion need no longer 
prevail. Guinard's bridge was not yet in operation during the 
period in which this or the earlier post was occupied. In the 
period of these early posts Richard's Bridge was the only bridge 
in the area. Wagon Road survey maps and army tables of dis- 
tances, along with those of the stage line in Burton's time, together 
with much total historical evidence, all confirm the relationship 
between the early posts and Richard's Bridge."^" Further confir- 
mation came to light archaeologically, as we shall discuss near the 
close of this paper. 

John Richard, his brother Joseph, and their various business 
associates were diversifying their operations in the years 1858 and 
1859. Participating in the Colorado gold rush, they opened a 
substantial store in Denver. They engaged in beef contracting and 
freighting for the army. They continued in the Indian trade. '''^ 
The intensive military trade doubtless made those years the most 
profitable ones for the establishment at the bridge. 


Such success was difficult to compete with effectively. Only 
one person tried it for long. This was another Frenchman (out of 
Canada, rather than St. Louis), Louis Guinard. Guinard came to 
the region in the 1840s and associated himself primarily with the 
Shoshoni, whereas Richard's connections were with the Sioux."^ 

Guinard settled first at the Oregon Trail's first crossing of the 

75. Post Returns of post. 

76. Burton, op. cit. 

77. "Fort Kearny, South Pass and Honey Lake Wagon Road, Rough 
Field Notes, op. cit.; "Compass Book Kept by J. F. Mullowney . . . ," 
op. cit.; Records relating to Wagon Roads, op. cit. 

78. McDermott, John D. "John Baptiste Richard," Mountain Men and 
the Fur Trade Series, LeRoy Hafen, ed., (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark 
Co., 1970). 

79. Burton, op. cit.; also see Coutant, op. cit., and for Richard's familial 
affiliation with the Sioux, see Hyde, op. cit. 


Sweetwater, below well-known Independence Rock. Here, in 
1857, he built a substantial stockaded trading post, carefully dated 
and described by members of the Lander expedition. This and a 
toll-bridge across the Sweetwater, were built at a very good time, 
for Guinard was able to profit from the heavy traffic generated by 
the wagon road surveys and the Utah Expedition.^" He invested 
much of his profit from operations on the Sweetwater in a bigger- 
and-better bridge across the North Platte, which was ready for 
traffic by the rise of the stream in June of 1859. This bridge stood 
at a well-known site in the present historical park at Fort Caspar.'*^ 
Guinard built his bridge at the very time the stagecoach traffic 
across the old transcontinental trail was reaching its height of 
development. He managed to secure additional status for his 
establishment by its selection as an overnight stage stop. It was in 
its shorter lifetime fully as colorful a place as the older Richard 
Bridge. Sir Richard Burton arrived there at 4:15 p.m. on the 
afternoon of August 16, 1860. He says: 

Our station lay near the upper crossing or second bridge, a short 
distance from the town. It was also built of timber at an expense of 
$40,000, about a year ago, by Louis Guenot (sic) a Quebecquois, who 
has passed the last twelve years upon the plains. He appeared very 
downcast about his temporal prospects, and handed us over, with the 
insouciance of his race, to the tender mercies of his venerable squaw. 
The usual toll is $0.50, but from trains, especially of the Mormons, 
the owner will claim $5; in fact, as much as he can get without driving 
them to the opposition lower bridge, or to the ferry boat. It was im- 
possible to touch the squaw's supper: the tin cans that contained the 
coffee were slippery with grease, and the bacon looked as if it had 
been dressed side-by-side with 'boyaux'. I lighted my pipe and air-can 
in hand, sallied forth to look at the country. ''^- 

The next morning Burton continued: 

The morning was bright and clear, cool and pleasant. The last night's 
abstinence had told upon our squeamishness: we managed to secure 
a fowl, and with its aid we overcame our repugnance to the massive 
slices of eggless bacon. At 6:30 a.m. we hitched up, crossed the 

80. The Wagon Road papers cited above contain very precise documen- 
tation on Guinard's establishment on the Sweetwater that conclusively prove 
its identity with the later "Sweetwater Station." 

81. Lowe, Percival G. Five Years a Dragoon, (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1965); Lowe in his post-military career as a master-of- 
transportation for the QMD passed this way late in the winter of 1859 and 
mentions no activity at this point, going on, however, to describe his visit 
to the troops camped at Richard's Bridge; all of the tables of distances, 
journals, diaries, and the like for the Utah Expedition, most of which are 
included in works cited above, clearly refer to Richard's Bridge. We con- 
clude therefore that Guinard's Bridge was not ready for use very much 
earlier than the high water of June, 1859, if then; see also Allen, O., Allen's 
Guide Book and Map to the Gold Fields of Kansas and Nebraska and 
Great Salt Lake City, R. A. Waters, Washington, 1859. 

82. Burton, op. cit. 


rickety bridge at a slow pace, and proceeded for the first time to 
ascend the left bank of the Flattens 

We have already noted the fact that Guinard's primary Indian 
contacts were with the Shoshoni. His wife was from that tribe. 
It seems probable that they found themselves in a very uncom- 
fortable and exposed position at the Platte Bridge as this was 
located in country at the extreme eastern frontier of Shoshoni range 
in the period. Just six miles away stood Richard's bridge and 
trading post. Richard's associates and employees were almost all 
married to women from various Sioux bands. In the normal 
coming and going of Sioux to Richard's camp lay a constant danger 
to Guinard and his family. Small wonder that he appeared "down- 
cast" at the time of Burton's visit in 1860!*^ On October 4 of that 
year a band of Unkpapa and Blackfoot Sioux visiting from the 
country well to the north, engaged in a number of depredations 
along the trail. They killed a discharged soldier who was making 
his way back to the States about eight miles west of Deer Creek. 
They made off with four of Richard's horses, and swept on up the 
river to Guinard's. ^^ Upper Platte Indian Agent Thomas Twiss, 
writing on October 11 from Deer Creek says that they: 

■'murdered on the 5th a boy of Louis Guinard's . . . The murdered 
boy was herding horses for his father Louis Guinard, who is an Indian 
Trader, or was out in search of the herd, when he was seen, as it is 
supposed by the Indians, and killed. His body was found yesterday, 
and bore unmistakeable signs that he was shot with arrows, being 
also much cut and mangled. '^^ 

We do not find much solid mention of Guinard in connection with 
this establishment after that period. Its operation must have 
remained fairly profitable through the end of its days as a stage 
station in the summer of 1862, and we are able to prove that the 
Richards had bought out Guinard's operation here at least as 
early as 1864.^" 

Guinard left his post here at some time in that interval, then, 
and is said to have run a ferry on the Green River for a time. He 
prospected for gold in the South Pass country, ranched near Lan- 
der, and lived to past 92 years of age, dying on March 24, 1912.^^ 

Guinard's stay here then was brief, perhaps only two years, and 

83. Ibid. 

84. Ibid. 

85. Letters, Thomas Twiss, Upper Platte Indian Agency to A. M. Robin- 
son, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, October 10 and October 11, 1860, 
Upper Platte Agency Letters, National Archives. 

86. Ibid. 

87. Richard, Louis, deposition, op. cit. 

88. Webb, Francis Seely. "Bridge Builder's Granddaughters Visit Site," 
Casper Star Tribune, Annual Wyoming Edition, March, 1964; Guinard 
obituary in the Bill Judge files. Fort Caspar. 


for the most part it was the Richards, their relatives and employees 
who, here as well as at the Richard Bridge, dominate the com- 
mercial enterprises. 

At the outbreak of the War for Southern Independence, Gui- 
nard's establishment consisted of the bridge itself, well documented 
by contemporary illustrations and subsequent archaeological evi- 
dence, and a log trading post near its south abutment. Guinard's 
post was a long, low structure consisting of several log-in-panel 
structures added on to one another. It housed the trading post, 
living quarters, and the office of the Pacific Telegraph.*" 

Nearby stood the station of the Overland Stage (Central Over- 
land California and Pikes Peak Express). Now, considerable 
documentation exists on the conformation of these various stage 
stations in the period. Generally, they consisted of a run of 
log-in-panel buildings that housed offices and living quarters, along 
with an attached corral for horses. The general effect is similar 
to that of a small stockaded fur trading post, with the important 
difference that the buildings faced out from, rather than in toward, 
the stock corral. An understanding of this pattern is important to 
some of the events here.^^ 

Once the army withdrew the main body of its troops from Utah, 
military freighting diminished markedly along the trail here. The 
years 1856-1860 saw a great deal of activity by military and con- 
tract surveyors for the government in the region. By 1859 and 
1860, the results of much of their work was available in print in 
the form of guide books for travelers, published reports of govern- 
ment expeditions and the like.^^ These surveys soon materially 
altered the patterns of travel in the region. The most important 
development was the widespread publication of data about a route 
that had been shown to Captain Howard Stansbury by Jim Bridger 
in 1850. This route traversed the Laramie Plain around the north 
end of the Snowy Range, and crossed the Continental Divide by 
way of the high desert basins of what is now southern Wyoming.^- 
It had been long known to the trappers. At its eastern end, this 
route could be easily reached by the so-called "Cherokee Trail" of 
California gold rush days,^^ that came up from the now-booming 
settlements of Colorado to pass between the Laramie and Snowy 

89. Collins, Caspar, ground plans of buildings at "Platte Bridge Station." 

90. Collins plans of Deer Creek Station, Camp Marshall, Sweetwater 
Station, South Pass Station, Three Crossings Station, St. Mary's Station, 
special collections, Colorado State University Library, Fort Collins, 

91. Allen, op. cit. is perhaps the best of the period, O. Allen having 
served as a guide for a number of the surveying expeditions. 

92. Stansbury, op. cit. 

93. Jackson, op. cit. 


Ranges. It could also be reached via Cheyenne Pass from the 
South Platte drainage of western Nebraska.^^ 

Due to the economic advantages of combined hauls, much 
freight by 1861 was moving over the new route from Colorado to 
Utah and points west. So were many of the emigrants and other 
travelers. The cost-effectiveness of the new route was not lost on 
the proprietors of the newly reorganized Overland Stage company. 
In a variety of moves that ranged from political maneuvering 
through direct influence of the suddenly important Colorado mili- 
tia, to manufactured and exaggerated Indian incidents, the com- 
pany secured permission to move the stage line from the old 
California/Oregon route in the North Platte Valley to the new 
and now-to-become-known-as "Overland Route" across the trail 
through Bridger Pass.^-^ 

The change was accomplished in midsummer of 1862. This left 
the stage stations on the old Hne abandoned except for the traders 
serving a trickle of emigration and of course the operators and 
repairmen of the Pacific Telegraph line. 

The telegraph line now became a prime factor instead of an 
incidental item in the maintainence of the old route. Transconti- 
nental communication was regarded as sufficiently important to be 
a matter of national interest at this particular time. As the regular 
troops withdrew from Fort Bridger and from Fort Laramie they 
were replaced by men of volunteer units. '"^ Nevada and California 
troops garrisoned Fort Bridger.^" The 2nd Batallion, 6th Ohio 
Volunteer Cavalry, came to Fort Laramie just before the stage line 
was moved. Its commanding officer, Lt. Col. William O. Collins, 
set out to reconnoiter the telegraph line to the South Pass coun- 
try.-'^ Collins did not immediately garrison the stations along the 

94. Conkling, Roscoe P. and Margaret H. The Butterfield Overland 
Mail, 1857-1859, (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1947); Root, Frank 
A., and Connelly, WiUiam. The Overland Mail, (Columbus: Longs, 1950); 
the two eastern links are the "Bryan Trail" from Fort Leavenworth to 
Cheyenne Pass, and the "Collins Cut-Off" from Fort Laramie to the 
Laramie Plain. Maps of both exist in photocopy form at Fort Laramie. 

95. Ibid.; Lass, William E. From the Missouri to the Great Salt Lake, 
(Lincoln: Nebraska Historical Society, 1973). 

96. Rogers, Fred B. Soldiers of the Overland, (San Francisco, 1938). 

97. Ibid.; Fort Bridger microfilms at the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department. 

98. The best sources on Collins' operations will be found in the orders 
and correspondence of the West Sub-District of the District of Nebraska, of 
the later North Sub-District of the District of the Plains, and Collins' own 
telegram books. All of these items are in RG98, National Archives, with 
microfilm copies at both Fort Laramie and at the Wyoming State Archives 
and Historical Department. A few scattered major items will be found in 
the War of the Rebellion and they are generally accessible through the series 
and volume indexes. 


line. Emigrant accounts as late as July 20, 1862, show no evi- 
dence of military activity here.^*' At some point within the next 
month or so, Collins did send one company of his unit, commanded 
by Captain O. W. Van Winkle, to Guinard's Bridge. i'"^' Van 
Winkle telegraphed to Collins on October 27th, 1862, saying: 

Have 28 men, 35 horses, 6 mules, quarters and stabling finished and 
good. 800 bu. corn, 31 tons hay, 50 cords wood .... Have rations 
to first April.ioi 

It seems highly improbable that Van Winkle's small force, with 
at the most, two wagons at their disposal, had completed all the 
indicated construction work, haying and wood cutting and hauling 
in the time they had been there. Rather, we are of the opinion 
that they simply moved into the abandoned stage company com- 
plex, making such improvements and additions as would fit it up 
as a good wintering point! 

From 1862 through early 1865 "Platte Bridge Station" was at 
the most a one-company post. With the stage line and the freight- 
ing business gone from the trail and little emigrant traffic here, 
only the telegraph line gave this route any strategic importance. 
There was for a time little Indian trouble except occasional horse 
raids by the "friendly" Shoshoni.i^^ 

/As we indicated earlier, John Richard and his partners still 
owned the Richard Bridge and trading post. They also owned the 
Guinard Bridge and store. They used these posts as bases for 
trading ventures for the Indians of the region. They doubtless 
profited steadily from the soldier trade at Platte Bridge Station. 
They took hay, wood, and freighting contracts to supply the posts 
along the trail as opportunities arose. ^"^ ) 

Joe Richard ran a ranch on Clear Creek at the South Platte in 
Colorado. ^*^^ ( John Richard apparently spent the winter of 1861- 
1862 at Richard Bridge.^os ) 

Army punitive expeditions in the wake of the Minnesota Sioux 
uprising reached the northern high plains of Montana in 1864, 

99. Hewitt, Randall. Across the Plains and Over the Divide, (New 
York: Argosy-Antiquarian Press, 1964), pp. 180-182. 

100. Telegram, Capt. O. W. Van Winkle at Platte Bridge to Collins, Fort 
Laramie, October 27, 1862, RG98, National Archives. 

101. Ibid. 

102. Collins telegram books, op. cit. 

103. Telegram, Collins to Lt. Glenn, Sweetwater Station, November 18, 
1862; copy of notes on Baptiste "Big Bat" Pourier, McDermott Collection; 
CoUister, Oscar, "Life of Oscar CoUister," Annals of Wyoming, July 1930, 
pp. 343-361. 

104. Pourier notes, op. cit. 

105. Ibid. 


and the expedition of the Colorado Volunteers against the Chey- 
ennes in Colorado occurred in that same year.^°® Together they 
fanned high the flames of plains Indian hostility. The scattered 
garrisons of volunteers found their years of playing soldier at an 
end, and frequent skirmishing now at hand.^"^ 

Lt. Col. Collins had been to Ohio in the summer of 1863, and 
returned with additional companies of volunteers that were con- 
sohdated with his old batallion to form a new regiment, the 11th 
Ohio Volunteer Cavalry."'^ 

('During the spring of 1864, the Richard Bridge was the point of 
assembly and departure for the few wagon trains that used the 
Bozeman Trail. The Guinard Bridge served the same role for the\ 
small number of trains that took the Bridger Trail to Montana. ^°^ J 

/ During 1864 John Richard became embroiled in some manner 
thai is not well documented involving Indians and soldiers at the 
Platte Bridges. For a time late that summer, he and his family 
and Indian relatives were held under arrest at Fort Laramie. ^^*^ 
His son Louis Richard took all their property from the Richard 
Bridge establishment up to the former Guinard trading post which 
they owned, and did all his trading at that point until the spring of 
1865,^^^ when the Richards withdrew completely from the trade on 
the Upper Platte and established a new and substantial post at the 

106. Ware, Eugene F. Indian War of 1864, (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1963); War of the Rebellion, op. cit.; Rogers, op. cit. 

107. Record materials for this period are best presented in the West Sub- 
District of the District of Nebraska . . . , op. cit. 

108. Spring, Agnes Wright, Caspar Collins, The Life and Exploits of an 
Indian Fighter of the Sixties, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969); 
Mrs. Spring's book contains a great deal of highly useful direct quote 
material from Collins family papers; her interpretations must be used with 
caution; other sources pertinent to the ensuing events include: Mokler, 
Alfred James, Fort Caspar, Casper, 1936; this is another useful study that 
must be utilized with care, as Mokler was apparently much influenced by 
the son of Lt. Henry C. Bretney of the Uth Ohio, and by highly colored 
Bretney reminiscences; Hebard, Grace R. and Brininstool, E. A., The 
Bozeman Trail, (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1922) likewise 
contains much that is useful, and much colorful interpretation that must 
be used with care; for balance to the three above sets of accounts, we 
recommend: Fairfield, S. H., "The Eleventh Kansas Regiment at Platte 
Bridge," Kansas Historical Collections, 1904. 

109. E. O. Railsback. "The Townsend Train," Old Travois Trails, 
Powder River Number, November/December, 1940; Weaver, David B. 
"Captain Townsend's Battle on Powder River," Contributions to the His- 
torical Society of Montana, Vol. VIIL 

110. Letter, Agent John Loree to Major Wood at Fort Laramie, August 
10, 1864, Upper Platte Indian Agency Letters; McDermott, op. cit. 

111. Richard, Louis, deposition, op. cit.; Knight, Joseph, depositions, 
op. cit.; Pourier notes, op. cit. 


point where the Oyerland Trail crossed Rock Creek, west of the 
Laramie Plains. ^^- ) 

The 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry received reenforcements at its 
posts along the old trail in the spring of 1865, as Indian hostility 
blossomed out in time with the new grass. By early summer of 
that year elements of the 11 th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry and the 
6th U. S. Volunteer Infantry joined the small garrison at Platte 
Bridge Station.^^^ There is no evidence that the structures there 
were enlarged to accommodate them. Normal practice would have 
been for them to camp in tents next to the post. 

It is not our purpose here to re-examine the tangled body of 
evidence and opinion surrounding the "Red Buttes" fight and the 
"Caspar Collms Fight" of July, 1865. They have been extensively 
investigated by proponents of various points of view. These two 
relatively minor but well-publicized related incidents did put 
"Platte Bridge Station" on the map almost to the exclusion of aU 
of the earlier military and civilian activity in the previous two 
decades. ^^"^ 

As part of the build up attendant to the Connor Expedition that 
summer the garrison at Platte Bridge Station expanded. By No- 
vember of 1865 the post was known as Fort Caspar in honor of 
the daring young Lieutenant Collins whose bravado cost his life 
here in July.^^'^ It was titled with his first name because another 
Camp Collins in Colorado was already named for his father. ^^^ 
The garrison now included elements of the 11th Ohio, the 6th 
U. S. v., and the 6th West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Cavalry, 
for a total of 343 men.^^" 

As winter came on, these volunteers needed building material 
for huts and needed fuel for their fires. As a labor-saving expe- 

112. Fourier notes, op. cit.; Little Dog, deposition, June 4, 1887, file 
7868-123 Indian Claims files. National Archives; Richard, Peter, deposition 
June 4, 1884, file 7868-123, Indian Claims papers. National Archives. 

113. Fairfield, op. cit. 

114. See items cited in 108 above, for some of the accounts that pro- 
vided the publicity for these events; other important materials will be found 
in: Vaughn, J. W. The Battle of Platte Bridge, (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1963); Hafen, LeRoy R. The Powder River Campaigns 
and Sawyer's Expedition, (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1961); 
Brown, Dee, The Galvanized Yankees, (Urbana: University of Illinois 
Press, 1963); Lottinville, Savoie, ed., Life of George Bent .... (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1968). 

115. Spring, op. cit. 

116. Frazer, Robert W. Forts of the West, (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1967). 

117. Return for Fort Caspar, November, 1865, RG94, National Ar- 


dient they went down to Richard's Bridge and disassembled and 
hauled it to Fort Casper to supply this need.^^^ 

In early summer, 1866 regular army soldiers replaced the volun- 
teers. These men, of the 18th U. S. Infantry, quickly set about 
demolishing the huts of the volunteers and constructing a new, 
intentionally permanent post. Construction activity under the 
supervision of Lt. G. S. Carpenter, the post quartermaster, was well 
under way by July 11, 1866. At that time he forwarded estimates 
for finished lumber and millwork and hardware. ^^^ Construction 
activity continued at the post through the rest of that year and on 
into the summer of 1867.^-'^ 

The result was that the old trading posts had a new "neighbor" 
in the form of an extensive layout of barracks, officer quarters, 
warehouses, stables, and numerous other structures. Most of the 
major buildings were of logs, with some warehouses and sheds of 
slabs. The new buildings overran some of the older building sites. 
Surviving ground plans make it possible to tie the succession of 
buildings together locationally, as illustrated.^-^ 

This newly built post of Fort Caspar had one brief period of 
importance in 1867. In January, it was designated as the new 
headquarters post for the reorganized 18th U. S. Infantry, split by 
the army reorganization act into three standard sized regiments. 
Colonel Henry B. Carrington, had previously chosen to command 
the new unit that was to bear the old regiment's name. He was 
reassigned to Fort Caspar in the wake of the Fetterman disaster, 
which was only one symptom of the breakdown of command rela- 
tionships and morale at Fort Phil Kearny. ^"- 

During his brief stay there, Carrington was wounded by the 
accidental discharge of his "Navy Colt" revolver. The wound 
resulted in his early retirement a few years later. An interesting 
sidelight is the fact that the Wyoming State Museum acquired this 
revolver just a few years ago.^-'^ 

In 1867 and 1868 the Union Pacific Railway pushed out across 
southern Wyoming. With it came new military posts along the rail 

118. Letter, W. G. Bullock to Col. G. B. Dandy, July 1, 1866, voucher 
submitted to QMG by John Richard, March 21, 1866, letter, A. Caldwell 
to S. W. Rucker QMG, October 8, 1867, letter, A. Caldwell to S. W. Rucker 
QMG, Dec. 2, 1867, letter, Col. John E. Smith to James G. Payne, August 
25, 1869, all in Letters Received, Office of the Quartermaster General, 
RG92, National Archives; Knight and Louis Richard depositions, op. clt. 

119. Letters, G. S. Carpenter to G. B. Dandy, July 11, 1866. 

120. Letters, Carpenter to Dandy, QMG files. 

121. Ground plans of Fort Caspar, 1867, National Archives, and accom- 
panying descriptive material on structures. 

122. See greater detail on the background of Carrington's arrival at Fort 
Caspar, Murray, R. A., Military Posts in the Powder River Country of 
Wyoming, 1865-1894, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968). 

123. Carrington, Margaret. Ab-Sa-Ra-Ka, Land of Massacre . . . 1870. 


line: Fort D. A. Russell, Fort Sanders and Fort Fred Steele. Now 
the link across the continent was near completion. The army 
planned to withdraw from the Powder River country, since their 
activity there was primarily a planned diversion to allow rail con- 
struction to proceed unimpeded by major Indian activity. ^-^ 

In conjunction with the new rail lines, the Pacific Telegraph 
built a new line out across the territory in the spring and summer 
of 1867, following the projected chain of railroad stations. This 
eliminated the need to maintain the old chain of posts and 
stations on the original telegraph line.^-'^ 

At this same time, the army concluded to abandon Fort Caspar 
in favor of a new post on the North Platte at LaPrele Creek. This 
new post, Fort Fetterman, would, along with the existing Fort 
Laramie, form a base for any future operations into the Sioux 
country to the north. Its site had the advantage of an easy- 
gradient wagon road of only eighty-nine miles to the nearest pro- 
jected railroad station. ^2*^ 

Through the late summer and fall of 1867 the troops kept busy 
hauling equipment, supplies, and "all useful materials" down to 
the new post.^-' 

Major E. B. Grimes, district quartermaster, pointed out the 
urgency of housing the command at Fort Fetterman by the onset 
of winter, and stated that only by use of the logs from the buildings 
at Fort Caspar could this be accomplished. Thus, the recently 
built Fort Caspar structures were dismantled and used to put up 
the first log structures of Fort Fetterman. ^-^ 

Today one of the early log officer quarters at Fort Fetterman 
survives, restored by the Wyoming Recreation Commission and the 
Wyoming State Museum. We are reasonably certain this structure 
is one of those made of logs taken from the quarters at Fort Caspar 
in November and December of 1867. 


So ends the military story of the bridges and posts on the Upper 
Platte. What of the Guinard Bridge? Local folklore holds it was 

124. Murray, op. cit. 

125. Telegram Adjutant General, Department of the Platte, to Col. Dye, 
Fort Fetterman, October 14, 1867; Letters and Telegrams sent. Headquar- 
ters, Department of the Platte, RG98, National Archives. 

126. Letters Received, Letters Sent, Returns, Orders, Fort Fetterman will 
be found in microfilm form (some 20-odd rolls) at Wyoming State Archives 
and Historical Department. 

127. Ibid. 

128. Letter, Major E. B. Grimes to Chief Quartermaster, Department of 
the Platte, December 4, 1867, Fort Laramie Letters Sent. RG98, National 


"burned by Indians" following the withdrawal of the troops. ^-^ I 
seriously doubt this, as the same cause has been applied to virtually 
every structure abandoned by troops in the region over a long 
period. It is too convenient an excuse in a region where grass 
fires, lightning and occasional non-Indian acts of arson are all 
common. My conjecture is that the troops stripped the useable 
superstructure of its timbers at the same time they salvaged the 
other materials at the post in 1867. 

The CY Ranch of open range cattle days had a headquarters 
near the old post, but there is no mention in their letters of any 
use of any surviving structures. Sketches of the CY house show it 
clearly to be of later construction. ^^^* 

A few historians kept the thread of history reasonably straight 
on these locations. Josephine Richard Fourier visited the site of 
Richard's Bridge in the early 1920s and pointed out its features to 
A. J. Mokler, noted local historian. ^'^^ A. B. Ostrander, a one- 
time clerk in the Headquarters of Department of the Platte in 
Omaha, visited both sites in the same period, and understood their 
relationship. ^^^ 

In a booming and developing Casper, the older Richard site was 
soon forgotten in the wake of publicity attendant to city and fed- 
eral efforts in the mid-1930s to memorialize the Platte Bridge 
Station site associated with Caspar Collins. Mokler and others did 
archaeology on the site with the aid of Caspar Collins' ground 
plans, but unfortunately without the military records on later con- 
struction. Following this a $60,000 project reconstructed close 
approximations of the 1865 station and trading post which today 
form the buildings of Fort Caspar Park and Museum, a manned 
interpretive facility serving thousands of visitors each year.^^^ 

Developers breaking ground for housing at the north edge of 
Evansville in 1963 discovered an old cemetery, which proved to 

129. We have examined the Fort Fetterman structure closely both before 
and after restoration, and find it to be a re-assembly of logs from Fort 
Caspar, rather than a precise re-assembly of a structure. The troops doing 
the work would have preferred to simply sort and salvage logs by kinds and 
sizes than to try to rebuild individual structures when moving them from 
site to site. 

130. Letter, John David to Bob David, May 23, 1931, Bob David collec- 
tion, Casper College. 

131. Mokler, Alfred J. History of Natrona County, (Chicago: R. R. 
Donnelley, 1923), pp. 109-110. 

132. Ellison, R. S. and Ostrander, A. B. "The Platte Bridge Fight," in 
After Sixty Years, reprinted in Winners of the West, Vol. Ill, March 15, 

133. Mokler, A. J. Fort Caspar, op. cit.. Judge, O. W. Old Fort 
Caspar, (Casper: Fort Caspar Commission, nd [c. 1968]). 


contain both military and Indian graves. ^"^^ Examination of the 
uniform and accoutrement recoveries from these graves proved 
them related to the period of the Utah Expedition. ^•^•'' Subsequent 
research by local historian Thomas Nicholas produced basic docu- 
mentation proving the association of the 1858-1859 post with the 
Richard Bridge. Additional archaeology located the chimney 
footings of the camp, the bridge piers, the site of several of Rich- 
ard's buildings. ^^*^ The writer obtained additional data from the 
National Archives on military operations and surveying operations 
of the government in the area. 

In the same period, John D. McDermott (now of the President's 
Advisory Council for Historic Preservation), Brian Jones of the 
English Westerners, and the late Frank Apian of Rushville, Ne- 
braska, and Dr. John S. Gray, now of Fort Collins, Colorado, were 
untangling the extensive new material they found on the various 
members of the Richard family. All told, the additions to the new 
material on the site and on its key characters in the past ten years 
have been quite significant in terms of a better understanding 
of many aspects of the history of this part of Wyoming, of south- 
ern Montana, northern Colorado and parts of the Dakotas and 
Nebraska. ^•^' 

What of the key personalities in the story? As we said earlier, 
Louis Guinard went on to other ventures, lived a long and success- 
ful life and left a host of admiring descendants. John Richard, Sr. 
spent a great deal of money financing the trading, ranching and 
freighting ventures of his sons. He lost heavily in property through 
depredations at the height of the hostile activity in the region. ^^^ 
He continued to trade with the Sioux, and his travels in the Indian 
country finally cost him his life in a fight with the Indians at the 
Running Water (Niobrara) crossing of the Fort Laramie/Black 
Hills trail in the fall of 1875.i-^^ Carrington, who might have told 
much of his brief stay at Fort Caspar, nursed grievances developed 
at Fort Phil Kearny for nearly forty years after his retirement to 
the exclusion of more useful historical work within the range of his 

134. Annetti, William, and Carpenter, Robert, "Physical Report of the 
Reshaw (sic) Burials," unpublished manuscript, dated March 30, 1963, in 
Thomas Nicholas collection. 

135. Ibid. 

136. Map of archaeological finds, unpublished manuscript in the Thomas 
Nicholas files (original by Bill Morgan, April, 1964; Thomas Nicholas, 
various articles in: Frontier Times and New Oregon Trail Reader, Vol. 1, 
No. 1, 1966, Evansville, Wyoming. 

137. McDermoU, op. cit.; Jones, Brian, "Those Wild Reshaw Boys," in 
Sidelights on the Sioux Wars, (London: English Westerners' Society, Special 
Publication 2, 1967); Gray, John S., "A Triple Play," The Westerners Brand 
Book, Vol. 26, No. 3, (Chicago: May, 1969). 

138. McDermott, op. cit. 

139. Gray, op. cit. 


skills.^"**' Colonel Collins went home to resume a successful law 
practice after turning in final reports that helped to shape military 
operations on the plains from 1865 to 1868.^^^ Many Richard 
descendants and adherents played an important part in the 1876- 
1877 campaigns that settled the regional Indian question as a 
military problem. Some lived on among the Sioux, contributing 
significantly to their adjustment to the reservation life and the 
surrounding economic and social institutions. ^^^ 

The existing development at Fort Caspar is a valuable facility 
for interpreting history of the region to the traveler and resident 
alike. We believe it should receive the continued support of city, 
state and federal historical agencies in this good work. 

The entire complex of military and civilian sites at Richard's 
Bridge lies on State of Wyoming land, administered by the State 
Land Board. We would hope that it will be placed on the 
National Register, protected and eventually developed into another 
quality historical park. Three old forts are certainly at least nine 
times as good for attracting and holding visitors to the region as 
one old fort! 

140. The height of Carrington's rationalization of his role in the region, 
in a defensive form, is in a set of scrapbooks he presented to the Sheridan 
County Carnegie Library (now the Fulmer Memorial Library), Sheridan, 
in 1908. 

141. Spring, op. cit. 

142. Anderson, Harry H. "Fur Traders as Fathers," unpublished man- 
uscript presented at the Rosebud Sioux History Conference, Rosebud, South 
Dakota, May 1968. 

p. J. Quealtfz Wyoming's Coal 
Md^i (i^d ZowH Builder 

Glen Barrett 

A forty-year-old Irish coal operator and his Pennsylvania finan- 
cier established a townsite near their camp and mines in western 
Wyoming, just two years before Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the 
Leisure Class appeared in 1899. In a later work, Veblen criticized 
country towns like the one these men founded, while William Allen 
White considered the western trade center to be a great American 
institution. Many towns, Veblen believed, were the collusions of 
interested parties who speculated in real estate, and that is what 
Patrick J. Quealy and Mahlon S. Kemmerer did when they estab- 
lished their town in Wyoming. These men were not acquainted 
with either Veblen or White, and if they read Henry George's 
Progress and Poverty, pubhshed in 1880, his "unearned increment" 
thesis did not intimidate them.^ 

Like most Americans, Quealy and Kemmerer did not concern 
themselves with the questions that the reformers of their generation 
raised. They acquired their townsite legally, and they felt that 
they were entitled to the profits that were to be gained through the 
sale of building lots. He who created the industry that served to 
increase land values, was entitled to the profits gained through the 
disposition of the land at the optimum time. This popular "Gilded 
Age" philosophy was seldom challenged over the years. 

Founded in 1897, and incorporated in 1899, Kemmerer soon 
became one of Wyoming's best-known coal and ranching com- 
munities. Located in Lincoln County on the Ham's Fork River, 
Kemmerer's citizens eagerly made their town the county seat when 
Uinta, one of Wyoming's original five counties, was divided in 
1912. Since it was founded by both coal and railroad interests, 
Veblen considered a town such as Kemmerer to be a typical west- 
ern community; it was the product of special interests or the specu- 

1. Thorstein Veblen, Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise; Max 
Lerner, ed.. The Portable Veblen. (New York: Viking Press, 1948), pp. 
407, 430; William Allen White, The Changing West: An Economic Theory 
About Our Golden Age (New York: Macmillan, 1939), pp. 82-83; Page 
Smith, As a City Upon a Hill: The Town in American History'- (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), p. 295. 


lation of interested parties. By 1902 Kemmerer was a thriving, 
energetic, independent service center for hundreds of miners, 
ranchers, professional or business people and their famiUes. 

Patrick J. Quealy gained his coal experience in the mines of 
Missouri, Washington, Wyoming and Montana, where his Boze- 
man Coal Company operated that territory's first commercial coal 
mine. Returning to Wyoming in 1886, he was appointed the 
territorial Inspector of Mines by Francis E. Warren, but Quealy 
left this position, and joined with Laramie bank and cattle men 
who organized the Rock Springs Coal Company in 1887. Quealy 
tried to interest Marcus Daly in Wyoming coal, but the Montana 
"copper king" was not yet ready to invest in coal lands outside of 
his own territory. Quealy managed the Rock Springs Coal firm 
until 1894, when he became associated with the well-known Mor- 
mon, George Q. Cannon, and his sons in a property called the 
Wonder Gold Mine at Mercur, Utah, but coal remained Quealy's 
chief interest. Stock raising at Shirley Basin also occupied the 
thirty-seven-year-old Irishman, and he began to acquire both 
grazing and coal lands in the Ham's Fork country where he might 
engage in either, if not both, of these occupations. He also leased, 
then purchased the Carbon County ranch owned by George Bird 
Grinnell who had acquired Wyoming land after coming West with 
the 1879 O. C. Marsh expedition.^ 

Most of Uinta County's desirable grazing land, and those places 
where outcroppings suggested that valuable coal deposits might be 
discovered, had been alienated by the 1890s. The villages called 
Opal, Ham's Fork, Fossil, and DiamondviUe, all on the Oregon 
Short Line, were established before the mid-nineties. The official 
land policy of the United States provided generously for the 
rancher, the miner and the farmer. Nevertheless, Quealy was able 
to purchase several homesteads. Aided by the Ham's Fork mer- 
chant, W. S. Post, he entered into preliminary negotiations with 
settlers who held a filing or deed in a combined tract consisting of 
2560 acres of coal and grazing land near DiamondviUe. 

Quealy, not satisfied with the gold mine at Mercur, wanted to 
develop the Oyster Ridge coals above the Diamond Coal and Coke 
Company's property. He traveled to New York in January, 1895, 
bearing a letter of introduction to Mahlon S. Kemmerer of the 
Carbon Iron and Steel Company, and other large coal and metal 
operations. This Civil War veteran liked Quealy's plan, and the 

2. Elizabeth Arnold Stone, Uinta County, Its Place in History. (Lara- 
mie: Laramie Printing Co., 1924), pp. 253-254, 256-257; Rita McDonald 
and Merrill G. Burlingame, "Montana's First Commercial Coal Mine," 
Pacific Northwest Quarterly, January, 1956, pp. 23-28; Thomas S. Cham- 
blin, ed., The Historical Encyclopedia of Wyoming, Vol. I. (np: Wyoming 
Historical Institute, 1954), p. 150. 


two men agreed to form a partnership. Kemmerer made his home 
in Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania where the Molly 
Maguire trial of June, 1876, had been conducted. By 1895 he 
maintained an office in his hometown, but Kemmerer's firms also 
had offices in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.-' 

The Union Pacific went into receivership in October, 1893, and 
by 1895 about one-half of the road's branches had been lopped off 
by foreclosure. But when Quealy held his first meeting with 
Kemmerer the fate of the Oregon Short Line was yet uncertain. It 
was this line that passed through the Ham's Fork country, and both 
men felt that the success of Quealy's proposed coal development 
depended largely upon the future status of the Short Line. They 
should wait, Quealy and Kemmerer decided, until it became inde- 
pendent. During the next two years they followed this matter 
closely. When the separation of the railroads was completed in 
1897, Quealy and Kemmerer decided to begin coal production. 
They began building a camp for the miners, but they had not yet 
decided to estabUsh a town.^ 

Quealy met with Kemmerer in the Scranton law office of his son, 
John, in May 1897, and these three men formed not one, but four 
organizations; The Kemmerer Coal Company, the Frontier Supply 
Company, Ham's Fork Cattle Company, and the Uinta Improve- 
ment Company. Quealy was convinced that he had found the 
ideal partners, and if evidence which might suggest that he ever 
regretted his decision to pool his resources with the Kemmerers 
ever existed, it was not preserved. 

Uinta Improvement was a land company but the articles of 
incorporation made no mention of any intent to establish a town. 
Quealy and Kemmerer decided that they would retain the owner- 
ship of the land near the mines where a company store, boarding 
houses and tenements for the miners were constructed by their 
Frontier Supply Company. Nevertheless, Quealy and the Kem- 
merers soon disposed of certain tracts removed from the immediate 
area of their coal operations. They provided the Short Line with a 
right-of-way for the spur to the mine, and a depot site plus other 
property in order to assure convenient service, and coal sales to 
the railroad. The Uinta Improvement Company was not a town- 
site company. When the decision was reached to establish a town, 
Frontier, just a mile from the company camp at the mines, a new 

3. P. J. Quealy to M. S. Kemmerer, Chicago, 2-15-95, 3-30-95, 4-5-95; 
M. S. Kemmerer to P. J. Quealy, Mauch Chunk, 4-5-95, letter files, Kem- 
merer Coal Company, Frontier, Wyoming; Wayne G. Broehl, Jr., The Molly 
Maguires. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965), p. 308. 

4. Robert G. Athearn, Union Pacific Country. (San Francisco: Rand 
McNally, 1971), pp. 315-316, 322; Nelson Trott'man, History of the Union 
Pacific. (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1966; 1923), pp. 277-278. 

i^j^^'^^syT'T^^tt'yw^ -.- ■ ...» 

iff. »-«.tr-. • ->i .vv" 

— Stimson Photo Collection 

Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 


— Stimson Photo Collection 

Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 



organization, the Short Line Land and Improvement Company, 
was organized for that purpose.^ 

Quealy entered into negotiations with several of the Oregon 
Short Line's executives, Calvin, Bancroft, and O'Melveny, with 
two propositions in mind, the construction of the track to the mine, 
and the building of a town south of Frontier. Railroad participa- 
tion in town lot speculation had been a common practice for many 
years, and Quealy was quite certain that the Short Line people 
would be interested in his proposal. Quealy had numerous appli- 
cations for building lots, and more than one request for the con- 
struction of a commercial building. The partners decided that the 
land at the mine would not be leased or sold, but the development 
of a town removed from the immediate area, they concluded, when 
the demand for ground increased daily, would be a profitable ven- 
ture, and the Short Line executives agreed.'' 

The townsite company was formally organized in the spring of 
1898 after the railroad people and the Quealy-Kemmerer partner- 
ship worked out a satisfactory stock split. Each party shared 
equally in the Short Line Land and Improvement Company, which 
held title to the surface of the land only; coal veins were reserved 
by Quealy and Kemmerer. Too, certain pieces of land were ex- 
cepted in the deal because Quealy had sold several town lots in the 
fall of 1897 while busily preparing for the production of coal. 
Shipments started in October, and Mahlon Kemmerer was on the 
scene to witness this important beginning. When he returned to 
Pennsylvania, he agreed to allow Quealy to name the new town 

The town was independent of the coal company from its incep- 
tion; land was sold to anyone who wanted a building lot, not just 
the miners or other employees. This was not the case at Frontier. 
Here both the ground and the houses were rented, not leased or 
sold. Yet several men were allowed to build their own cabins on 
company land at Frontier because of an acute housing shortage 
during the fall of 1897. This aberration of policy was soon to be 
regretted by both Quealy and the squatters. Marcus Daly pur- 
chased Diamondville and the mines there not long after coal ship- 
ments started at Frontier. Daly made a deal with union organ- 

5. M. S. Kemmerer to P. J. Quealy, Mauch Chunk, 5-28-97, 6-21-97; the 
articles of incorporation of the four companies are located in the Archives 
and Records Division, Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. 

6. P. J. Quealy to M. S. Kemmerer, Ham's Fork, 7-12-97, 7-30-97; Paul 
W. Gates, "The Role of the Land Speculator in Western Development," 
The Pennsylvania Magazine of Histoiy and Biography, July, 1942, pp. 317. 
329; the discovery of mineral deposits tempted many promoters to build a 
town nearby; see Everett Dick, The Lure of the Land. (Lincoln: Univer- 
sity of Nebraska Press, 1970), p. 263. 


izers, and a strike was soon launched by the Western Federation 
of Miners. 

Fearing the disruption of his embryo operations, Quealy, a 
determined non-union man, instructed his chief engineer, Frank 
Manley, to post this notice: "After today, the Kemmerer Mines 
will be closed for an indefinite period. All miners and other 
underground workmen will be no longer in the employ of this 
company." The houses that had been built for the miners were 
to be vacated within ten days. The rent for those who refused to 
move was doubled, and all persons who owned cabins on company 
land were ordered to "vacate the land at once." The cabins that 
were not removed would be purchased at a reasonable price, 
Quealy and Manley declared. The next day, December 15, 1897, 
Manley posted the names of 62 men who were to be employed 
at Mine No. 1, and a day later a third notice announced all "former 
employees of Mines No. 2 and 3 are hereby employed and will be 
expected to work tomorrow on their respective shifts."^ The "agi- 
tators" were expelled in this manner, and it was not until 1907 
that the United Mine Workers of America became established at 
Frontier, Diamondville, and other coal camps in southwestern 

The officers of the Kemmerer Coal Company governed Frontier, 
but not the new town constructed one mile to the south. Here the 
railroad officers were given several blocks for their personal use or 
speculation, while businessmen and miners could purchase building 
lots for $125 or more, depending on the location. Unlike George 
Mortimer Pullman, the sleeping-car executive whose company 
town was aptly called a "compulsory heaven," Quealy and his 
associates did not attempt to build a model industrial town. Fron- 
tier, like Pullman, Illinois, was owned by the company, but Kem- 
merer was clearly a speculative venture. The establishment of the 
coal company created the necessity for providing housing for the 
miners, and this need was met, largely, at Frontier when the board- 
ing houses and the tenements were constructed by the company. 
But it soon became obvious that the utilization and productiveness 
of the land had attracted people who wanted to engage in pro- 
fessional and service occupations.^ 

7. "Articles of Incorporation, Short Line Land and Improvement Co.," 
Archives and Records Division, WSAHD; P. J. Quealy to J. C. O'Malveny, 
Frontier, 12-20-97; M. S. Kemmerer to P. J. Quealy, Mauch Chunk, 
11-11-97, 12-8-97, 12-21-97. 

8. P. J. Quealy to R. S. Shaw, Frontier, 12-13-97; Frank M. Manley, 
letterbook, 12-14-97, 12-15-97, 12-16-97; M. S. Kemmerer to P. J. Quealy, 
Mauch Chunk, 12-30-97. 

9. P. J. Quealy to J. P. Rosenberg and H. E. Christmas, Frontier, 
11-4-98; Ray Ginger, Altgeld's America. (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 
1965; 1958), p. 143. 


The California newspaperman, economist, and reformer, Henry 
George, writing in the 1 870s, concluded that "if one man owned all 
the land accessible to any community, he could . . . demand any 
price or condition for its use he saw fit," and this was the case at 
Frontier. When faced with a strike, Quealy used the power which 
land ownership bequeathed, and the agitators were forced to leave. 
In the case of the new town, Quealy did not design for himself the 
autocratic position which the very nature of a company town be- 
stowed upon the "Captain of Industry." Nevertheless, his partici- 
pation in the townsite company placed Quealy among those whom 
Henry George and other critics of 19th century industrial society 
castigated. George believed, but failed to convince all but the few 
who joined his "Single Tax Clubs," that land could yield no rent 
and have no value until someone was willing to give labor, or the 
results of labor, for the privilege of using it. Population, he con- 
cluded, caused land prices to increase, and this is precisely what 
happened at the Ham's Fork location after Quealy opened his 

Quealy hired John W. Sammon, an Evanston, Wyoming, lawyer 
to draw up Kemmerer's incorporation papers. The prime mover in 
getting the town established, Quealy had no intention of adminis- 
tering the affairs of the growing community indefinitely. In fact, 
town government held little interest for him, and he was anxious 
for the next step in his town-building project to be accomplished; 
that of electing a regularly constituted board of local officials who 
would assume the responsibility for drafting the ordinances. ^^ 

Incorporated, Kemmerer became independent of the special 
interests that surveyed and platted the townsite. The Short Line 
Land and Improvement Company remained a significant commun- 
ity organization, but as the building lots were sold the influence 
of the townsite company diminished. The property owners became 
responsible for the affairs of the town. Quealy held no office in 
the town government, but since he was the secretary of the townsite 
company, president of the bank founded in 1900, and the pub- 
lisher of the newspaper, he was the town's most influential citizen. 
Evidence that he was autocratic was not recorded in the town's 
records. However, since Quealy had the power to grant or with- 
hold property sales and loans, one might conclude without con- 
sulting the records that he had disagreements at times. 

Some people felt that Quealy thought he owned both Kemmerer 
and Frontier. A brewing company, for example, became unhappy 

10. Henry George, Progress and Poverty. (New York: Robert Schal- 
kenbach Foundation, 1955; 1880), pp. 166-167, 242-243. 

11. P. J. Quealy to John Salmon Vsic^, 6-29-98; to J. W. Sammon, 
Frontier, 12-3-98; Diamondville News. 1-25-98. p. 1. 


and turned to the Short Line with its grievance. When Quealy 
heard about the incident he wrote this comment to the railroad's 
W. H. Bancroft: "I decUne to pay . . . any attention to this class of 
correspondence. I find plenty of legitimate business to occupy my 
time. These people must surely be under the influence of their 
own product . . . ."^- 

Coal mining and related things kept Quealy so busy that he did 
not have time to personally involve himself in the administrative 
problems of the town. By 1899 the coal company employed nearly 
300 men at Frontier where Quealy was not only the employer but 
the "mayor." Some of the miners eventually formed ethnic asso- 
ciations, but the officers of the coal company made the decisions at 
Frontier that were left to the town council at Kemmerer. There, 
citizens owned their own property, and elected the town's officers, 
but they were dependent on Quealy's Frontier Supply Company for 
their electricity and water. Occasionally a problem arose which 
could not be resolved without Quealy's assistance, yet the town 
officers prided themselves on their independence. Some admin- 
istrations were anti-Quealy, but the coal operator usually tried to 
respond tactfully when compaints reached his desk at Frontier. 

Crippling or fatal mine accidents and other tragedies saddened 
the Kemmerer-Frontier-Diamondville people all too frequently. 
Two boys drowned in Ham's Fork when they hitched a ride on a 
delivery wagon which overturned while the driver was attempting 
to ford the rushing stream in May, 1899. The town mourned this 
incident, but life in the community had its brighter moments, too. 
The "Quealy Military Band" assisted the Frontier drama group 
with the presentation of a production called "Ruined by Drink," 
and the farce "My Neighbor's Wife," in April, 1899, and there 
were many other activities of a similar nature during the months 
that followed. ^^ 

Two hundred men died in May, 1900, in a Scofield, Utah, coal 
mine disaster, and a later explosion at Diamondville claimed the 
lives of fourteen miners. The "horror at Hanna" in Carbon Coun- 
ty, Wyoming, killed more than two hundred men, and another 
explosion snuffed out the lives of 60 miners in April, 1908. Fron- 
tier was yet to experience similar tragedies; in January, 1912, 
six men were killed, and an explosion took 99 lives in August, 
1923. Mothers became widows, and children were left fatherless 
when huge sections of the roof fell without warning in the rooms 
down in the mines. The "grim reaper" was a frequent visitor in 

12. P. J. Quealy to W. H. Bancroft, Frontier, 9-2-00. 

13. Diamondville News, 4-12-99, p. 1; 5-10-99, p. 1. 


the area, and the men who worked underground were most often 
the victims. ^^ 

Prostitution and gambUng were tolerated in Kemmerer, but the 
"inmates of the houses of ill-fame" were subjected to a monthly 
fine of $3 each until September, 1903, when this "tax" was in- 
creased to $5 a month. The fine for gambling was $8, unless the 
saloonkeeper obtained a license for $75 a year. Thirsty men could 
satisfy themselves quite readily since there were numerous dis- 
pensers of alcohoUc beverages in Kemmerer and the nearby camps. 
Town councilman. Lime Huggins, put up a sign in his saloon which 
read, "Don't buy a drink before filling the mouths of your babies." 
His place became quite popular in spite of this sign and other 
moral admonitions posted by Huggins. One patron claimed that 
he went to "Preachin' Lime's church" because he could "repent 
while sinning and get the whole thing over with at once."^-^ 

The incidence of violence, accidents and social problems may 
have been greater in Kemmerer than in Evanston, Cokeville, or 
other older towns in the area. However, Kemmerer's spirited 
citizens were not necessarily accident prone, nor were they any 
less disciplined than their neighbors. Most of the men were 
employed in the mines or other hazardous occupations. Too, the 
town became a favorite watering spot for non-resident characters. 
Some of the young men who came into town from the ranches 
threw off the restraints that held them in check at home as soon as 
they reached the town. Unsophisticated or reprehensible conduct, 
rather than violence, checkered Kemmerer's night life. Overt 
racial discrimination, and mob violence such as that which Rock 
Springs experienced, was not observable in Kemmerer. 

Several ethnic groups organized themselves for social reasons 
and the Finns, Slavs, Italians and Scots were the most active. The 
main wave of Finnish migration to America coincided with the rise 
of nationalism in Finland, therefore, most of the miners brought 
with them intense loyalty to the cultural values of their native 
land. In June, 1902, the Finlanders of Wyoming celebrated the 
annual Midsummers Day in Kemmerer. Delegations from most of 
the towns along the Union Pacific enjoyed the music provided by 
the Rock Springs and Hanna bands. A celebration on the birthday 
of Bobby Burns took place each January, and the Slovenski Dom 

14. Thomas G. Alexander, "From Dearth to Deluge: Utah's Coal 
Industry," Utah Historical Quarterly, Summer, 1963, p. 240. Kemmerer 
Camera, 7-4-03, p. 1, 12-9-05, p. 1, 4-4-08, p. 1, 8-17-23, p. 1. 

15. "Minute Book," Kemmerer town council, 12-2-01, 3-3-02, 3-26-02. 
9-1-02; Mary Lou Pence and Lola M. Homsher, The Ghost Towns of 
Wyoming (New York: Hastings House, 1956), pp. 205-206. 


in Diamondville, "Sloppy Dome" or "Bucket of Blood," was the 
area's most popular community center.^'' 

A terrible clash between Caucasians and Chinese resulted in the 
death of twenty-eight Asians at Rock Springs in September, 1885, 
but Orientals were welcome in Kemmerer. At Evanston the Chi- 
nese were excluded for a while, and no Orientals were allowed in 
the Almy mine after 1885. Many of the Kemmerer people had 
once resided in Rock Springs or Evanston where white relation- 
ships with the Chinese were quite harmonious after the 1885 
tragedy, and little or no animosity existed between the races in 
Kemmerer. However, the Chinese were not numerous, and the 
Japanese were largely miners who lived in the camps. ^' 

The Ladies Aid Society of the Methodist-Episcopal Church pre- 
sented a social or concert several times each year in one of the 
opera houses, and the Mormons and the Catholics conducted social 
activities, particularly during the winter months when almost every- 
one had more time for evening programs. Most of Kemmerer's 
churchgoers not only attended the worship service of their own 
faith, they also participated in the social programs of the several 
churches. For example, Susan Quealy, a Catholic, was the pro- 
gram chairman when the Methodist Sunday School observed Chil- 
dren's Day in June, 1902.^*^ Roy Mason, who worked in Quealy's 
bank, sang his favorite songs before the several congregations. 

James C. Penney, who had been employed in the Golden Rule 
Store at Evanston, came to Kemmerer in 1902. Deciding to be- 
come independent, Penney asked Frank Pfeiffer, cashier of the 
First National Bank for a $500 loan. But when Quealy was con- 
sulted, Pfeiffer found that his employer was not enthusiastic. Pen- 
ney's proposed enterprise, a cash store, could not succeed, the 
bankers believed, because so many of the men were miners and 
were paid but once a month. "Most of them are clean out of 
money before the month is half over, and some of them seldom 
see any money," the cashier told Penney. The company stores at 
Frontier, Cumberland, and Diamondville used script which was 
issued against the miner's pay, and some of the men with large 

16. Kemmerer Camera, 6-28-02, p. 1; the ethnocentrism of the Finnish 
immigrant was extraordinary; see Ralph J. Jalkanen, The Finns in North 
America. (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1969), pp. 
66-67, 185, 203, 205-206. 

17. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming. (Lincoln: University of Ne- 
braska Press, 1965), pp. 141-144; Carl S. Gustafson, "History of Vigilante 
and Mob Activity in Wyoming (University of Wyoming Master's Thesis, 
1961), pp. 122-123; Mrs. J. H. Goodnough, "David G. Thomas' Memories 
of the Chinese Riot," Annals of Wyoming, July, 1947, pp. 105-111; Stone, 
Uinta County, op. cit„ pp. 117-118; reference to the Japanese miner in 
Wyoming may be found in Yamato Ichihashi, Japanese in the United States 
(New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1969; 1932), p. 144. 

18. Kemmerer Camera, 6-28-02, p. 1; 5-17-02, p. 1. 


families seldom received cash at the end of the month. Penney 
might have finally persuaded the local bankers to give him the 
loan, but he borrowed at his home town bank in Misouri instead, 
and he soon succeeded in founding his "mother-store" in Kem- 
merer, and additional outlets in Rock Springs and Cumberland. 
This was the beginning of what was to become the familiar J. C. 
Penney Company, one of the largest and most successful retail 
chains in the country.^" 

Kemmerer's numerous saloons were, in a sense, social institu- 
tions. They not only served as a gathering place for men seeking 
relaxation, but the owners, some of whom were the more prom- 
inent men in the community, made their buildings and facilities 
available for public gatherings. The first organizational meeting 
of the United Mine Workers of America was held in a Kemmerer 
saloon by candlelight. When the lights went out soon after the 
meeting started, some of the men assumed that the Frontier Supply 
Company was responsible for the sudden power shortage. 

There were four lodges in Kemmerer by the fall of 1901, and 
Diamondville had four fraternal organizations, but none were es- 
tablished at Frontier. Kemmerer men organized the Improved 
Order of Red Men, the Odd Fellows, the Triangle Camp of the 
Woodmen of the World, and the Eagles, but some people "de- 
plored" the movement to organize a Masonic lodge in Kemmerer. 
Some religionists said that the "free masons were not nice people." 
Nevertheless, the editor of the Camera said that a Masonic lodge 
would be established in spite of the opposition if six men would 
join with him. Later, when a Kemmerer man who was a Mason 
died suddenly, an emergency lodge was opened in Casey's Opera 
House for the fraternal services that were held before the fu- 
neral conducted in the Methodist-Episcopal Church. This incident 
served to unite the local Masons who later organized a lodge in 

The managerial foresight of a coal man, speculative instinct, 
and the cupidity, so characteristic of the 19th century American 
entrepreneur-magnate, built the town of Kemmerer. Patrick J. 
Quealy and Mahlon S. Kemmerer were the founding fathers, yet 
they did not claim credit for every accomplishment. Quealy and 
his Pennsylvania partner did not intend that it should be their 

19. Norman Beasley, Main Street Merchant: The Story of the J. C. 
Penney Company. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948), pp. 26-47; J. P. 
Henry, Kemmerer Book of Old Timers. (Southwest Wyoming Museum, 
1940), pp. 18, 24; Kemmerer Camera, 5-10-02, p. 1, 5-17-02, p. 1, 5-24-02, 
p. 1. 

20. Erma Fletcher, "A History of the Labor Movement in Wyoming, 
1870-1940," (University of Wyoming Master's Thesis, 1945), p. 29; inter- 
view: G. Barrett with Michel Lambermont, Kemmerer, 12-26-71; Kem- 
merer Camera 11-13-01, p. 1, 12-14-01, p. 1. 


town, and the men and women who settled there soon demon- 
strated that it was not. While Quealy was the patron of Frontier, 
Kemmerer's leaders accepted him as a partner. Some people were 
filled with awe in his presence, and others found reason to resent 
him, but the populace, as a whole, paid Quealy, Mahlon and John 
Kemmerer about the same sort of respect that bankers or business 
leaders received in most small towns. He was "Kemmerer's most 
distinguished citizen," lawyer Robert Rose recalled after his first 
visit with Quealy. There was "something about him that . . . 
made you feel that here was a man very different from most men, 
a man who ruled the minds and the wills of others and would 
continue to do so as long as he lived." Rose was a perceptive man, 
and his initial evaluation was correct if he was referring to Quealy's 
relationship with his subordinates at Frontier, but Quealy did not 
rule the town council or Kemmerer's business community. 

Political leadership, and the administration of the town's internal 
affairs was provided by the saloonkeepers, doctors, lawyers, mer- 
chants and contractors, for the most part. Quealy, a leading 
Democrat on the state, and eventually the regional level, was not 
a candidate for a single office in the town, county or the state. 
The Democratic party did not reign supreme in Kemmerer even 
though some of the leading citizens expressed their preference for 
that party. Political life, like that of many small towns, did not 
suffer from the bossism of the large city; minds and votes were not 
ruled by the most illustrious people. Factionahsm in the form of 
political parties contributed to lively campaigns during which the 
problems of the community were articulated by the candidates. 

The town, unlike the camp, belonged to the people. Quealy, 
who directed the townsite survey, sold the land, and shared the 
profits with the Kemmerers and the Short Line, was satisfied that 
this was the case. Yet he indulged himself, privately, with the 
illusions of an empire builder, occasionally. Reporting that the 
town was building in "great shape," Quealy urged John Kemmerer 
to make a trip to Wyoming with his father as soon as possible. 
"I am satisfied," he said, "that you would greatly enjoy a month's 
visit with me, and that as you walked over the miles of territory 
which we control and observe the improvements that you would 
say we have been the monarchs and are now, of all we survey. 
The story told briefly is this; we come as near having a monopoly 
of all that is good in our territory as any corporation I know of." 
When the Kemmerers walked out on the hillside with Quealy, they 
viewed in one great panorama the tipple of the coal mine, the 
store and tenements at Frontier, and the new town on the flat 
above Ham's Fork River. In 1900 Quealy located his family in 
the remodeled building that had been Kemmerer's first school, and 
this house remained Quealy's home until his death in November, 

The Kansas editor, William Allen White, said that the thriving 


country trade centers of the West were the "social safety-valves" 
which carried forward into the twentieth century the energy which 
realized the vision of the nineteenth century pioneers. Neighbor- 
liness and brotherly love could still be found in the small town, 
White believed, while writing in the 1930s. Robert Rose found 
this to be true when he arrived in Kemmerer in 1914. "I was to 
learn," he said following weeks of discouragement, "that the rug- 
ged men who tend cattle and sheep in Wyoming's hills and plains, 
tiU the fields, build their homes along its streams, and in its moun- 
tain valleys . . . dig coal from its depths, drill oil wells a mile deep, 
and provide food and fuel for hundreds of thousands, do all of this 
because they had the courage to brave hardships and the vision to 
see the rewards that courage and industry bring out here in this 
last frontier of America. "^^ 

21. Robert Rose, Sr., "Manuscript" (1949), pp. 13, 44-45, copy located 
in the office of Patrick J. Quealy, Kemmerer; P. J. Quealy to John L. 
Kemmerer, Salt Lake City, 1-25-98; Kemmerer Camera, 7-14-00, p. 1, 
8-18-00, p. 4; White, Changing West, op. cit., pp. 82-83. 


Thomas Fitzpatrick Indian Agent Upper Platte & Arkansas to 
Thomas H. Harvey esqr Supert Indian affairs Saint Louis, Mo. 
Dated Bents Fort Arkansas River Oct 19th 1847 

It is a remarkable fact, that the most ignorant and weakminded 
are those who most readily acquire a knowledge of the Indian 
tongue orrally. From this cause, it is a very difficult matter to 
arrive at anything like correctness; and to it may be attributed the 
many falsehoods, and exagerations put forth to the world, by 
travellors and others who obtained their information from men 
who had neither a proper knowledge of their own mother tongue, 
or that of the Indian and in nine cases out of ten, does not, nor 
cannot, comprehend what the bookmaker, or traveller wishes to 
arrive at, because they are subjects that never before entered his 
mind. Those remarks will apply equally to all the writing I have 
ever read on the subject; at least so far as my own opinion goes. 

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Selected 
Documents Concerning the Administration of Indian 
Affairs at the Upper Platte Agency. Record Group 75. 

H W Wharton, Capt 6th Infy, Commanding to Commissioner 
Indian Affairs. Dated Fort Kearny N.T., Dec. 16, 1855. 

There are twenty nine Sioux Indians Prisoners here (women and 
children) taken at the battle near Ash hollow in September last, 
they were perfectly destitute of clothing of any description, en- 
tirely without robes or Blankets — their necessities in this respect 
have been administered to by a subscription from the officers of 
the post yet they still suffer much for the want of Blankets. I wrote 
to Mr. Twiss Ind agent at Laramie sometime since, stating the 
destitution of their situation and requesting him to furnish me some 
blankets for them to which communication I received no reply — 
the winter has already been very severe I have built a comfortable 
sod building for them and done all that was in my power to alle- 
viate their condition yet they suffer much for want of their accus- 
tomed winter clothing. I therefore respectfully request that I may 
be permitted to purchase a supply of Blanket s for them for the 
Sutler at this post — Your early reply to this will much oblige me. 

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Selected 
Documents Concerning the Administration of Indian 
Affairs at the Upper Platte Agency. Record Group 75. 

Mugh Kirkendall's Wagon Zmin 
on the Mozeman Zrail, 1$66t 
Zetters of C. M- S. Millard 

Edited by Lonnie J. White 

The Bozeman Trail, known also as the Montana Trail and the 
Powder River Road, was blazed in 1863 by John M. Bozeman in 
response to the need for a short, direct route from the east to the 
recently discovered gold fields of Montana. Until that time only 
two routes — both long and circuitous — led into the region; one 
involved ascending the Missouri River to Fort Benton while the 
other required traveling the Oregon Trail as far as Fort Hall. The 
new route began at Fort Laramie on the Oregon Trail and skirted 
the eastern base of the Big Horn Mountains. Because it abounded 
in wood, water, and game, the Bozeman Trail might have been a 
complete success. The difficulty with the road, however, was with 
the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, who regarded the traffic through 
the Powder River country as a threat to one of their finest hunting 
grounds and sought to prevent it by attacking wagon trains wher- 
ever they found them. 

In 1865 an expedition under Brigadier General Patrick E. 
Connor sought unsuccessfully to clear the route of hostiles. It was 
Connor who estabhshed Fort Connor, the first military post on the 
road. Unable to conquer the Indians, the government turned to 
treaty making. In the autumn of 1865 government representatives 
negotiated a treaty with leaders of several Northern Plains tribes 
in which the Indians promised safe passage for whites through the 
Powder River counrty. As it turned out, the treaty settled nothing 
because the signatories posed no real threat to the Bozeman Trail. 
Consequently, in the summer of 1866 another peace commission 
convened and negotiated the Fort Laramie treaty with other, more 
recalcitrant chiefs. 

Among those who did not sign the Fort Laramie treaty, how- 
ever, was Red Cloud, a principal Sioux chief, who left the council 
upon the appearance of a large miHtary expedition under Colonel 
Henry B. Carrington. Carrington's orders called for him to occupy 
the Bozeman Trail and open it to safe travel. Carrington replaced 
Fort Connor with Fort Reno on June 28 and, further up the road, 
estabUshed Fort Phil Kearny on July 13 and Fort C. F. Smith on 
August 12. 

Despite Red Cloud's leaving the Fort Laramie conference in 


protest of Carrington's mission, government officials at Fort Lara- 
mie apparently assured emigrants that the Bozeman Trail was safe. 
But such was not the case as both troops and travelers on the road 
soon found out. Numerous attacks were made against wagon 
trains, and the soldiers at the new posts were scarcely able to 
defend themselves much less the passing traffic. Many skirmishes 
and battles were fought, and several of them — the Fetterman Mas- 
sacre of December, 1866, the Wagon Box Fight of August, 1867, 
and others — are still being fought and refought on paper by west- 
ern historians today. Not until the troops were removed and the 
road was closed by the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 did the 
action subside. And it was not until 1878, after other posts had 
been estabUshed in the Powder River country and the Sioux had 
been defeated in the Sioux War of 1876, that the trail was restored 
to full use.^ 

It is with the journey of a single wagon train over the Bozeman 
Trail in 1866 that this article is concerned. The train was organ- 
ized at Leavenworth, Kansas, by Hugh Kirkendall whose purpose 
was to haul merchandise to Helena, Montana, for sale to the 
miners. The route of Kirkendall's train was over the Platte Road 
in Nebraska, which formed part of the Oregon Trail, and the 
Bozeman Trail in Dakota Territory (present Wyoming) and Mon- 
tana. The journey over the Bozeman Trail was made following 
the negotiations with the Indians at Fort Laramie in 1866 and 
while Carrington was about establishing and building the military 
posts mentioned above. The story of the trip is told by an 
adventurer with Kirkendall's train named C. M. S. Millard. As 
correspondent of the Kansas Leavenworth Daily Times, Millard 
wrote five letters, four en route and one at the end of the trail, of 
which four have been found.^ These four letters are reproduced 

Although the journey of the train has been noticed in other 
works, the details of its movements have not been known. Mil- 
lard's letters provide an especially good account of the march over 

1. Dorothy M. Johnson, The Bloody Bozeman: The Perilous Trail to 
Montana's Gold (New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., 1971); Burton S. 
Hill, "Bozeman and the Bozeman Trail," Annals of Wyoming, October, 
1964, pp. 205-233; James C. Olson, Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), pp. 3-113; Cyrus Town- 
send Brady, Indian Fights and Fighters (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1971), pp. 3-71; Robert A. Murray, Military Posts in the Powder 
River Country of Wyoming, 1865-1894 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1968), pp. 3-12. 

2. The letters were published in the Leavenworth Daily Times during 
June, August, September, and October, 1866. The missing letter, which 
Millard says he wrote from Julesburg, Colorado, either was not published 
or appeared in a missing issue. A file of the newspaper is in the collections 
of the Kansas State Historical Society at Topeka. 


the Bozeman Trail. Millard discusses routine difficulties, tells 
about desperate encounters with the Indians, criticizes Colonel 
Carrington as an incompetent and cowardly commander, and re- 
fers to many men with whom he or the train came in contact on 
the trail. Relatively full and readable, the letters provide inter- 
esting reading and should add to the knowledge of both lay and 
professional historians concerned with the history of the famous 
Bozeman Trail.^ 

Near Grasshopper Creek, K[ansa]s 
May 30th, 1866 

Editor, Times: In company with Hugh Kirkendall's train, your 
correspondent, with two companeros, struck his tent at Salt Creek 
Valley on the morning of the 25th inst., and through rains and 
fearfully bad roads gained this point, where we lie in wait for some 
three or four wagons left behind at Salt Creek for coffee, which 
was to arrive from New York. 

The mud and slush at some points in ravines and bayous, 
between here and Leavenworth, are enough to call forth the 
"heftiest" imprecations of a saint, let alone the weaker minds of 
poor mortals; but our chief and his assistants (Kirkendall, McGee,^ 
Anthony, McCarthy and Charlie Miller) were equal to the tasks 
imposed, and with a whoop and hurrah and doubling of teams, 
gained everything attempted, and proved that Leavenworth has this 
year not only sent out the finest outfit, but the best men that have 
left the Atlantic States for the Pacific for a number of years, and I 
doubt if ever before. Leavenworth certainly bears the palm, and 
worthily too, and Kirkendall and assistants are certainly the best 
engineers of the "plains across" that I have ever seen. 

George McGee is expected up this afternoon with the wagons 
which we left behind, and at break of day in the morning we are 
off again for Montana. 

Hugh Kirkendall is in your city, whence he went yesterday, but 
will overtake his train at or near [Fort] Kearney and make the 

3. The letters have been reproduced with only minor alterations and 
minimum editorial comment. Some unnecessary punctuation has been elim- 
inated and words, including the names of persons and places, which have 
been either misspelled by the writer or misprinted by the newspaper have 
been corrected in the interest of readability and accuracy. Insertions have 
been enclosed in brackets. 

4. In subsequent letters, Millard spells this name "Magee." 

5. The overland route from Leavenworth connected with the Platte Road 
at Fort Kearny, often spelled Fort Kearney, Nebraska. 


through trip."' Charley Miller and Anthony are in Atchison to-day 
perfecting some arrangement for the better comfort and condition 
of the outfit and those engaged. 

Yesterday and to-day are the only pleasant ones we have had, 
and from the bleak winds and cold rains, we gladly accept the 
change, and with all nature praise the Power that gives us sunshine 
instead. A few more days of such weather as this and the crops 
which seem so backward in the country passed will give promise 
of an abundant yield, and farmers will loosen their purse strings 
more readily to city merchants and traders, feeling a certainty of a 
full return this fall, a devoutly wished consumation to be, or else. 

Speaking of confinement, foul air, and the like in our cities, why 
don't more of the poor consumptives and overtasked business and 
working men, take a trip on the prairie for their general health, and 
avoid the expense of a doctor's bill, and the nauseous effects of 
medicines, and when it is had so much cheaper? Why don't you 
pubhc slaves — you "crusher" writers and printers — let yourselves 
loose once in a while and enjoy the free, pure air of Heaven, and 
the glorious sunshine, and appreciate nature as seen in its naked- 
ness? But a week or two of such a life and the doctors would all 
starve to death, and undertakers go abegging. Look at us, J. Hare, 
Esq., and myself, we have only been out a week, and are growing 
double breasted and in fearful proportions, and at this rate of 
improvement will soon have to get Charley Miller to weld an iron 
band or something else to keep us in our clothes. Hare's second 
row of teeth have started already, which improves mastication 
somewhat, as he was only able to eat a pound or two of ham and 
drink five pints of coffee this morning, with a similar quantity of 
bread and potatoes; but Kirkendall will make on this, as the com- 
missary will have only to issue half rations to our friend Hare until 
he regains his appetite. 

Among the gentlemenly conductors of the train, is the ex- 
Marshal of Leavenworth City, Charlie Miller,*' to whom the qual- 
ities of a well-bred gentlemen belong as first nature; being cautious, 
kind, and with a varied experience, he has won the confidence and 
respect of every one and is everywhere and among all men greeted 
with a smile. To wish such a man success and fortune is like 
wishing the same for one's self, and while your city looses [5/c] 
we gain his society, and are pleased thereat. Encomiums are due 
all the named gentlemen likewise. 

This morning we varied the regular routine of our daily life with 
a hunt on the prairie, which resulted in obtaining six snipes and 
three chickens, which will be served up in our mess this evening, 

6. Presumably "Charley" Miller and "Charlie" Miller were one and the 
same person. 


and in a style that would contemplate the palate of any Leaven- 
worth epicure, notwithstanding the many inconveniences under 
which we labor and the absence of celery, mint and the like. 

Unlike ships at sea, river steamers, and everything else in this 
world are the prairie schooners, for the former are able to extend 
the courtesies in the matters of newspapers, and by this means all 
the news up to the date of paper obtained is read and digested. 
But we have received no morning papers for sometime, the carrier 
hasn't come around, and on the affairs of State we are sadly "dis- 
posted;" don't know where the Fenians made their second strike, 
and if so how much, or whether by the O'Mahoney's, or O'Ste- 
phens; whether Killian took Campo Bello away with him or not, or 
if Roberts stills enjoys his $10 dinners at Taylor's or Delmonico's, 
or has taken to a free lunch route; and the question recurs, "does 
Maximilian continue the evacuation of the Halls of Montezuma, or 
re-leased the premises for another term;" question follows question 
as one fellow to the other, and we wonder if the Reconstruction 
committee will enjoy good health or whether the President has 
vetoed them; how do the M.D.'s enjoy the Asiatic cholera, and if 
there is any truth to the statement that Tom Thumb and wife have 
no baby." But J. Hare I believe is fully posted in the latest news. 

We arrived at Marysville [Kansas] 4th June; the incidents, etc., 
on the way, reserved for the next letter. 


New Fort Reno [Fort Phil Kearny],*^ D[akota] T[erritory] 
July 26th, 1866 

Dear Times: Since my letter from Julesburg, N. T.," at the 
crossing of the Platte, things have changed most wonderfully, and 
from a peaceable citizen train we have become Indian fighters in 

7. Millard obviously refers to national and local news items of contem- 
porary interest. 

8. It will become clear below that New Fort Reno was actually Fort Phil 
Kearny. The status of Fort Reno down the trail was uncertain in the 
beginning and Colonel Carrington himself officially referred to the new 
post up the trail as Fort Reno. But it was decided to retain the original 
Fort Reno and to name the new post in honor of General Philip Kearny of 
Civil War fame. On July 27, one day after Millard's letter was written, 
Carrington proclaimed the new post Fort Philip Kearny. Because the 
general was better known to veterans as "Phil" Kearny the post in popular 
usage was known as Fort Phil Kearny. Dee Brown, Fort Phil Kearny: An 
American Saga (New York: Putnam, 1962), pp. 91-92; Robert W. Frazer, 
Forts of the West. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965), pp. 

9. This is the letter referred to in the introduction as not having been 
found. Julesburg was across the Nebraska territorial line in Colorado. A 


the fullest acceptance of the term, and find ourselves equal to the 
task, though forced it may be. 

Rumors of peace and quiet with the savages had reached us 
long before we made Fort Laramie, and we had supposed that 
our Commissioners had really "did all things well," and that the 
new road (Bridger's) to Montana was perfectly safe, but to our 
cost it has proven the opposite, and we find ourselves forced to 
contest every inch of ground over the new road and may consider 
ourselves in good luck if we get through the long and tedious 
passage at all.^*^ 

Kirkendall's train arrived at Old Fort Reno^^ without accident, 
except those incident to such a trip, in company with two ox 
trains — about ninety wagons in all and one hundred and ten men — 
and went into camp on the eastern side of Powder River, where we 
learned that a few days previous a herd of cattle had been attacked 
and the herders driven off. The herd belonged to Sutler [A. S.] 
Leighton at the Fort. Leighton lost some thirty or forty head of 
mules, which our soldiers at the Fort were unable to retake. That 
night was a sleepless one to us, from the fact that early in the night 
fall the Sioux came upon us, attempting a stampede of stock of 
both trains, throwing arrows in great number into both herds and 
but for the quick action of our wagon masters and men we would 
have been left without a hoof of stock. 

Sunday, the 22nd inst., we pulled out from the Fort to make a 
ten mile drive, and thus divide the distance between the Fort and 
Crazy Woman's Fork. The camp was no sooner made than the 
bloody Sioux began to show themselves on the surrounding hills, 
and a party of four coming rather too close, Hugh Kirkendall, with 
a trusty Spencer, made a dash for them and bothered their game 

map in Grace Raymond Hebard and E. A. Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail. 
Vol. II, (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1922), shows the trail as 
beginning at Fort Sedgwick near Julesburg and running thence to Fort 
Laramie. Fort Laramie, however, apparently was the original starting 

10. It may appear to the reader at first glance that Millard has reference 
to the old Bridger Trail, a road running west of the Big Horns, which Jim 
Bridger, the old mountain man and guide, had cut in 1864. The Kirkendall 
train, however, was unquestionably on the Bozeman Trail. One might also 
infer that Millard considered the Bozeman Trail as "a new road" because it 
had recently been opened for travel by the Carrington expedition. But in 
view of a subsequent mention of "the old or new road" in clear reference to 
the trail, Millard undoubtedly meant by "a new road" a variation of the old 
road pioneered by the Carrington expedition. It was "Bridger's" road be- 
cause Bridger as Carrington's chief guide had cut it. J. Cecil Alter, Jim 
Bridger. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962), pp. lilQ-'ill; 
Hebard and Brininstool, op. cit., pp. 113-121; W. Turrentine Jackson, 
Wagon Roads West. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1952) 
p. 284. 

11. The original Fort Reno. See Note 8 above. 


considerably, which had the effect to keep them off till a better 
opportunity was presented, which happened the following day, and 
crowned some of our men with the wreath of victory, and gave the 
noveUst a fit subject for romance — aye, enough for a dozen noble 
red men" novels. ^^ 

We nooned at Crazy Woman's Fork, and concluded to remain 
till the following morning in company with a Government train. ^•'^ 
The night passed in peace and quiet. We were too much for them. 
They hadn't the sand; couldn't find enough in the country, though 
nothing but sandhills are to be seen. Our boys have got it all and 
they know it. 

Tuesday, the 24th, a long drive had to be made to Clear Creek, 
the Government train and oxen in the lead, from which we became 
separated owing to several little accidents which had befallen us. 
The best signs of an attack imaginable had been seen by us all the 
morning, namely, having seen so many Indians since the day 
before. All had gone well till within six miles of Clear Creek, a 
bad canon had been passed and we had gained the summit of a 
flat top hill when a few of our mules gave out and we made a dry 
corral; but no sooner had the mules been turned loose and our men 
gone in a ravine below to dig for water than the Sioux came down 
upon us with their "zip, zip, zip," right among the herd and twenty 
feet from the corral. Twenty odd in number made the charge, 
and with their medicine ponies had attempted the stampede. Over 
the heads of Kirkendall, Jeff Anthony and the boys who were 
digging for water, they came, arrows flying, screams, shrieks and 
yells; but a front was presented which they little dreamt of, and 
their ponies tumbled from well directed shots, and a few of them 
went to their long hunting grounds. The hills grew black with 
Indians; from every canon and ravine they came, all is consterna- 
tion and excitement. It is remembered that George Magee, one of 
our wagon masters, is on ahead, several miles away, and it is 
feared he will fall victim at their hands. Our position is indeed 
critical, and a junction must be formed with the trains ahead or we 
are lost. Thus we remained until all the corral gaps were closed 
and all ready for the worst. Still the necessity is greater for a 

12. For other accounts of action on the road between Fort Reno and 
Fort Phil Kearny at about the same time, notably that involving military 
trains under Lieutenant Alexander H. Wands and Captain Thomas B. 
Burrowes, see Brown, op. cit., pp. 82-83; Alter, op. cit., pp. 323-324; John- 
son, op. cit., pp. 208-209; Hebard and Brininstool, op. cit., pp. 89-92. One 
notices some disagreement in these narratives as they relate to dates and 

13. If Johnson's account of the movements of the Burrowes and Wands 
military trains is accurate, the government train mentioned here was the 
Burrowes and Wands trains traveling together from Fort Reno to Fort Phil 
Kearny; Johnson, op. cit., p. 208. 


junction, and we must combine. Hugh Kirkendall offers $500 to 
the man or men who will run the gauntlet, and the best animal in 
the outfit; if no one accepts he will go himself. Just at this moment 
several horsemen are seen rounding the summit of the hills to the 
front and on the road; the red Americans charge them again and 
again. Kirkendall calls for volunteers to the rescue, but it is after- 
wards thought a decoy of the enemy to divide our force, and no 
one goes. 

The little band of six, as was afterwards proven, consisting of 
George Magee, Thos. Dillon, Martin Donavan, Robert Anderson, 
Goodchild, and Longworthy, gained a little mound about the 
center of operations and made a stand, fighting some 50 or 60 
Indians. Saddles are taken from their horses to form breastworks, 
behind which they he down and fight. The Indians charge by 
dozens in circle and double circles, fire from the hilltops, ravines 
and canons, crawl upon their stomachs, deliver their fire and re- 
treat. Mr. Dillon receives a ball in the side and is down and 
helpless, and for four long hours they fight against ten to one. 
We watch the whole engagement, but think it all a sham of the 
enemy, until at last two are seen carrying a form, while the balance 
are walking backwards and delivering their fire. The horses of 
Magee and others come dashing up the road at this moment, and 
we then know for the first time that they are our friends and 
quickly are we to the rescue; saved they are all, but Dillon is dying. 
Preparations are immediately made for a drive to the other trains, 
and we are ready to fight every foot of the way. Seeing our prep- 
arations the Indians withdraw, and we are left undisputed pos- 
session of the road. Soon the battle ground is made, and we find 
two dead ponies, one mule, and several relics of the strife. One or 
two Indians were killed to a certainty and five wounded. During 
the night time, couriers were sent to the Fort [Phil Kearny], and 
an escort sent us, which enabled us to arrive here without further 
trouble. Dillon died in a few hours and was buried last evening 
at this place. ^* 

Our friend Jeff Anthony, who is a jovial rollicking fellow, a 
general favorite, and somewhat of a wag, was insulted by one of 
the Indians, who jumped his pony over his head while in the 
ravine, and Jeff says if he ever meets said Indian in the States, 
he'll demand satisfaction. Believe he will do it if we don't all get 
our hair raised before we get through. Prospects tend that way, 
but we are a fighting community and will probably have an escort 
from this post. The Indians are on the warpath from this point 

14. It was Dillon who sent a message to Captain Burrowes at Clear 
Creek that the Kirkendall train was under attack. Burrowes sent couriers 
to Fort Phil Kearny and a small escort was dispatched to Kirkendall's 
assistance; ibid., p. 209; Brown, op. cit., p. 82. 


up, and swear we shall not travel this new road, and it looks as 
though they mean business, for they have four days ago captured 
and massacred French Pete and his party but three miles from the 
Fort, and but three days ago come down on the garrison here and 
drove off eighty head of stock. ^•''' 

In my next letter I intend to show up the officers and commands 
at Laramie and points this way. Government must do something 
and that quickly, or forever cease to be a protection to his subjects. 
What a pity we cannot have men where they are needed, and not 
women. But more of this hereafter. 

And now a little advice. Let no freighters or emigrants attempt 
the passage of this new road without being at least an hundred 
strong and very well armed, and let no Indian at no point on the 
old or new road come into their camps, and if they do, see that 
they never get out of camp.^^ This is talk, and well meant, and if 
not followed strictly, the cost will fall upon those who will not be 
advised. That treaties have been made with the Indians this year 
is a LIE, black and damnable too,^^ but that some $70,000 worth 
of goods and presents were given the squaws and papooses is a 
truth, if we are to believe our Commissioners. But let me divide 
the thing on the Commissioners and say some $5,000 or $10,000 
worth of stuff was given them, the balance of which they retained, 
and quickly made good their escape to the States. Who would not 
be a Commissioner?^^ More anon. 

Your correspondent, 
C. M. Millard 

Big Horn River, Montana 
Aug. 11 

A recital of times and trials by the wayside was given you by 

15. According to Brown, op. cit., pp. 77-79, the Indians stampeded 175 
animals at the post on July 17 and subsequently fell on Louis (French Pete) 
Gazzous' temporary trading camp nearby and massacred six men including 
French Pete himself. 

16. This advice to prospective travelers on the trail not to allow Indians 
into their camps was no doubt predicated on the fact that in two recent 
instances the Indians had allegedly shot several trainmen in the back after 
expressing friendship and accepting gifts of tobacco; Brown, op. cit.. p. 93. 

17. Millard was, of course, incorrect in asserting that no treaties had 
been made. It doubtless appeared to him, however, that none had been 
made since the non-signatory Indians were on the warpath. 

18. Millard's intimation that the peace commissioners at Fort Laramie 
were motivated in their efforts at treaty making by personal profit is 
unsubstantiated. His cynical attitude was no doubt typical of travelers on 
the trail who, after receiving assurances at Fort Laramie that the road was 
safe, subsequently encountered hostile Indians on it. 


your correspondent for the last time at New Fort Reno (since, I 
understand, to be called Fort Phil Kearny), since which time we 
have made this place and he in wait for the waters to recede, or 
for the stretching of Mr. James Bridger's rope ferry, — the said 
gentleman being now present, having traveled in company with a 
force of soldiers, who will build and occupy a fort [C. F. Smith] 
on this river and who acted as an escort from Phil Kearny for Mr. 
Kirkendall, with whom Mr. Bridger will travel to Virginia City, 
as a guide over an entirely new road, Mr. Hank Williams, the latter 
gentleman's friend and companion accompanying.^^ 

In my last it became a most painful duty to record the death of 
Mr. Dillon, who fell battling the savage, and now a still more 
distressing affair is recorded, which will fill the hearts of many 
readers of the Times, as it has done this day the adventurers of the 
prairies, in whose bosoms beat hearts as true and warm and 
steadfast as the mothers who bore them, with sorrow. 

To-day Mesrs. Kirkendall, Waller and Magee were searching 
for a shallow place in the river, which would afford a crossing for 
the trains, unwilling to lay in wait for the stretching of the rope 
ferry, about to be estabhshed by Mr. Bridger; and after having 
tried several places, and found too great a depth of water in each 
instance, were about to abandon the search, when it was agreed 
one more trial should be made. The trial was made and the whole 
party swamped, becoming entangled in an eddy, when it was found 
that they must dismount, as the horses could not bear up and were 
being rapidly taken downward. Messrs. Kirkendall and Waller 
reached the shore safely, but to their horror saw their friend and 
companion still struggling in the rapids and far away. Immediately 
disrobing they prepared for a rescue, but too late, as at that 
moment poor Magee disappeared to appear no more. Search was 
immediately instituted, and in three or four hours time the body of 
Mr. Magee was taken from the depths. 

To-morrow he will be interred by his many friends on an 
elevated plot of ground overlooking the river and commanding the 
country for miles around — a most beautiful resting place, Mr. 
Jno. O'Niel has prepared a most serviceable, and at the same time 
a very tasty coffin, being lined and trimmed inside and out with 

19. After a layover at Fort Phil Kearny the Kirkendall train journeyed 
northward with the command under Captain Nathaniel C. Kinney which 
established Fort C. F. Smith on the Big Horn River on August 12. Bridger's 
instructions from Carrington at Fort Phil Kearny called for him to examine 
"the whole line hence to Virginia City" for the purposes of determining its 
condition and shortening it by "proper cut-offs" and to gather information 
from the Crow Indians to the north. Alter, op. cit., pp. 324-327. The 
route of the Kirkendall train was across the Yellowstone to Bozeman in the 
Gallatin Valley and along the Missouri to Helena, Montana. Leavenworth 
Daily Times, October 14, 1866. 


white and black woolen blankets — all the country can afford; and 
on the lid of which is a Masonic emblem and the name "George 
W. Magee."2o 

On the opposite side of the river are eleven wagons corralled 
and stockaded, where they have been for three weeks, patiently 
awaiting a promised rescue from friends gone before. Some 
friendly Arapahoes came down on them about a month ago, when 
they had just made the other shore on their way to Virginia City, 
killed several men and borrowed about 90 head of stock — every 
hoof they were possessed of. The Indians have not yet returned 
them. It is presumed they will not. 

Four scouts came in from Reno (Fort Phil Kearny) last evening 
and reported that the Sioux and Cheyennes had attacked the fort 
and carried away all the stock and that great consternation existed 
therein.-^ Pity that they had not taken and scalped Col. Carring- 
ton, commandant at that post, for a more perfect booby, coward 
and imbecile never existed, if all reports are true, and certainly his 
whole command are not liars; unless, indeed, we except the Com- 
missioner [E. B.] Taylor, who is at Laramie, and the commander 
at Julesburg [Fort Sedgwick] .-- These shoulder strapped guard- 
ians of the people are to be shown in their true colors. A paper is 
now being signed by all the immigrants travehng this road, the 
purpose of which is antagonistic to their interests, and if not recog- 

20. Kirkendall's efforts to cross the Big Horn, which resulted in Magee's 
death, is also described in Johnson, op. cit., p. 214. Johnson misspells 
Magee's name as "McGear." 

21. Although the Indians during August assaulted wood trains engaged 
in hauling timber to Fort Phil Kearny from nearby Piney Island and the 
fort's herds were indeed raided in September, it would appear that no such 
raid in early August as described here actually occurred. See Brown, 
op. cit., pp. 96-128. 

22. Charlie Miller, one of Millard's companions, mentioned above, shared 
Millard's views regarding Carrington and others engaged in peace-making 
and protecting the trail. In a statement made upon his return to Kansas 
from Montana, Miller declared: "Everyone who has passed over the Pow- 
der River Route is convinced that the Laramie Peace Commissioners, and 
Colonels Maynadier and Carrington, are to blame for the loss of life, 
property and sufferings of those who have traveled the road. Almost every 
train that went by that route would have gone by way of Salt Lake, had 
not the men been assured by the Government officials at Laramie that the 
Powder River Route was perfectly safe, and that Col. Carrington was on 
the road with a force sufficient to protect all emigrants." "Col. Carrington," 
Miller further alleged, "can scarcely protect himself, much less the lives of 
travelers. Indeed it is said that Mrs. Carrington is commander of the post. 
A story is told, and vouched for, that upon starting to go out with a com- 
pany to bury five men murdered by the Indians, his wife threatened to 
pack up and go back to the States, unless he returned to his quarters. Of 
course 'Henry' couldn't stand the tender appeal, and quietly encased himself 
in a place perfectly safe from the 'friendly' Indians." Leavenworth Doily 
Times, October 14, 1866. 


nized at Washington, then it is supposed some of the gentry will 
swing on the nearest tree should the road be traveled again by the 
parties now on it, provided the above named imbeciles can be 
enticed for a moment from headquarters without a regiment at 
their heels and several batteries of artillery. 

These scouts report 256 wagons coming up, among whom is 
your fellow citizen Phillips. The smaller parties have had to fight 
the Sioux and Cheyennes all the way from Laramie, losing 22 men 
and many head of stock. These twenty-two men, with our losses 
and the massacre of French Pete's party, foot up to 39 murders 
by the infernal redskins, and yet Col. [Henry E.] Maynadier, 
commander of the District of the Platte,^''^ issued an order that any 
immigrants or freighters who were proved guilty of shooting one of 
the noble red men of the prairie should be immediately taken and 
turned over to the Indians, who would very "mercifully" (in con- 
sideration that it was the first offense) burn them at the stake. 
This Col. Maynadier is an apostate of the whites and of the Gov- 
ernment; and is only at the height of his glory when revelling in the 
dusky arms of the Indians concubines, who are fed and kept by 
him at Laramie. I shall devote my next letter to these gentlemen, 
giving facts and figures which can be substantiated by living wit- 

Our old friend, Charlie Miller, and Jeff Anthony, are alive and 
hearty, and muchly on the Indian fight and heavy on buffalo and 
antelope; and occasionally, if forced, will take a "bowl" with any 
man. Charlie expects to return to Leavenworth this fall or winter, 
if he does not like the country beyond. 

C. M. S. Millard 

Helena, Montana 
Sept. 4, 1866 

Dear Times: After 110 days on the prairies, your correspondent 
is at last enabled to indite from this place, and not with a saddened 
heart you are assured, was my arrival, for the Indians "bothered 
our game" considerably, and at times it looked as though our 
sweetness would be "wasted on the desert air" without a show of 

But I am here, seated upon a robe and blanket, in a cabin which 
myself and Sir James [unidentified] jumped yesterday; my back 
braced against the rough unhewed logs, and writing upon the 
upturned end of my valise, a most faith-ful friend, indeed, since it 

23. Maynadier was the commanding officer of Fort Laramie and a 
member of the peace treaty commission. 


has followed me through California, Nevada, Mexico, Nicaragua, 
New Granada, and the whole States, and again "around the 
plains." Our cabin is eight by twelve, sits squarely and firmly 
under the foot of a hill, is covered with earth and carpeted with 
the same. 

In one corner is our larder, and pretty well provisioned, too, 
since we have a half sack of flour, 20 lbs. potatoes, a piece of side 
meat, a few pounds of coffee and an empty whisky bottle, which 
was wont to wander to my lips as long as its contents "held out to 
burn," but now, alas, like my purse, is empty. This is all our cabin 
contains, except ourselves and camp kit, and a feeling of — but, 
softly, my robe has slipped from beneath me, and you know a 
man's breeches won't last forever, and the earth is very cold, and, 
no objections being urged, I will change my position as quickly as 
possible. But sentiment is spoiled, and so, mon ami, imagine a 
bust of eloquence forever lost to the world, of the Bailey kind. 

Kirkendall is building a storehouse in which to place his goods 
until the market grows firmer. He will remain till next spring. A 
capital fellow he is, and I hope he may realize handsome profits 
from his venture. 

Our mutual friend, Chas. H. Miller, has engaged passage on a 
Mackinaw and will quit here next Tuesday for Fort Benton, and 
thence down to the States by [the Missouri] river, purposing to 
arrive at Leavenworth in thirty five days.-^ I am, for one, sorry 
to see Charlie return, but [he] "hankers" after his old friends and 
associates, and so, I suppose, us "web feet" must lose him. 
(Note. — "Web-foot" means mountaineer, or old resident in the 
Territory, "tender-foot," new comer.) Charlie will be able to tell 
many adventurers and scapes, and hunting scenes, had on the trip 
which would take too much space, did I relate them, and to your 
tender mercies is he consigned. Jas. Hare will also return, prob- 
ably in company with Charlie, but your correspondent will make 
his future here or see the balance of the globe, for you know we 
typos can travel whether on the bed rock or not. 

We had another brush with "ye gentle savage" on the Yellow- 
stone and were the victors; and occupied the land there abouts 
muchly. Rev. Mr. [William K.] Thomas and son [Charles] and 
a Canadian named [James] Schultz were killed the day before. 
Their rashness proved their death, for they left the day before 
against all entreaties. We came upon their mangled corpses a 
Uttle too late, for the wolves during the night had played sad havoc, 
eating all the boy, except his head and shoulder — a hand and foot 
being found here and there.-^ 

24. Actually Miller returned to Leavenworth via Virginia City, Salt Lake 
City, and Denver. Leavenworth Daily Times. October 14. 1866. 

25. According to Charlie Miller, "When near the Yellowstone, it was 


And does not the dead of the prairie cry out against Laramie, 
Reno, Phil Kearny, and [C. F.] Smith and the Government? Why 
do not men command? Who sails the ship, who at the helm? 
Your correspondent knows of seventy-nine victims of the scalping 
knife during his trip, and an hundred captive women and slain 
bodies — and the story is not half told.^^ Vengeance is wanted. 
The Executive ax must fall. 


C. M. S. Millard 

thought we were out of danger, and three wagons with the lightest loads 
struck out ahead. We were then in what is called Crow country. A band 
of Arrapahoes, however, had followed us, and, so soon as they discovered 
that the train had been divided, they attacked the weakest party and killed 
and scalped three." Ibid. See also Johnson, op. cit. pp. 211-212. 

26. Casualties were indeed high on the Bozeman Trail in 1866, but 
Millard's reference to "an hundred captive women and slain bodies" is 
undoubtedly an exaggeration. 

7ridat/z Kwing ^rapaho 



A migratory Arapaho Indian known to his white friends as 
"Friday" moved about in the Rocky Mountains during almost his 
whole lifetime from 1821 to 1881. Only in the late '70s was he 
actually settled, on the Wind River Reservation. In his childhood 
he attended many of the fur traders' rendezvous in southern Wyo- 
ming with his friend and patron, Thomas Fitzpatrick. Fort Lar- 
amie was still a fur traders' post in those years. 

When Friday reported his place of birth as "Rocky Mountains" 
on a government form in 1879, he was admitting that he did not 
know the exact site of that event. ^ He was at home in all the 
western mountains, however. The many references to him in 
nineteenth century historical records and publications supply an 
amazingly complete picture of his movements for fifty years of 
his life. 

Friday's first appearance in history was near the Santa Fe trail 
on the Cimarron River in 1831 when Fitzpatrick found the small 
boy, possibly nine years old, lost from his tribe. Fitzpatrick named 
him, took him to St. Louis, and placed him in a Catholic school. 
The child learned English rapidly and his fluency in the language 
probably explains why many white explorers, soldiers, and trav- 
elers commented on him. Just how much of that year and how 
many more years the teachers in St. Louis had this little pupil is 

He was in the west in 1834 when William Marshall Anderson, 
traveling with a rendezvous caravan, was impressed with the pre- 
cocious youngster. He wrote: "Mr. Fitzpatrick's little foundling, 
Friday, is becoming, every day, an object of greater & greater 
interest to me, his astonishing memory, his minute observations, 
& amusing inquiries interest me exceedingly."- Historian LeRoy 
Hafen believes Friday was at the rendezvous regularly between 
1833 and 1836.^ 

1. Manuscript ledger, Shoshone Reservation Employment, 1879, p. 352, 
National Archives. 

2. Dale Morgan, Eleanor Towles Harris, ed., The Rocky Mountain 
Journals of William Marshall Anderson. (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington 
Library, 1967), p. 222. 

3. LeRoy R. Hafen, "Friday, the Arapaho," The Mountain Men ami the 
Fur Trade of the Far West. (Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1971), 
Vol. Vin, p. 187. 


In 1843 when John Charles Fremont was traveling through 
northern Colorado with Fitzpatrick as his guide, the exploring 
party met Friday near Fort St. Vrain. He was then in his twenties 
and with a war party going to fight the Utes.^ Rufus Sage saw him 
in 1844 and praised his marksmanship: "Few Indians or whites 
can compete with Friday as a buffalo hunter. I have seen him 
kill five of these animals at a single chase." Sage tried to recon- 
struct Friday's rejoining his tribe and family, but his description 
of the reunion has the tone of nineteenth century fiction. Since 
Friday had been trained by a mountain man, it is doubtful that his 
adjustment to Indian life was as traumatic as Sage visualized.^ 

These travelers inquired about his background and noted various 
times for his life in school — five years, seven years, and they added 
embellishments like a love affair with a white girl, more difficult 
to believe than the record that he was fighting Utes and hunting 

In 1845 Col. S. W. Kearny and his dragoons guided by Fitz- 
patrick met Friday and some Arapahoes on Lodge Pole Creek in 
southeast Wyoming. The soldiers were surprised at the friendly 
exchange of greeting between Fitzpatrick and Friday.^ 

When Fitzpatrick was appointed the first agent of the Upper 
Platte Agency in 1846, one of his tasks was to negotiate a treaty. 

His efforts culminated in the document signed at Fort Laramie 
in 1851. The terms affected Friday's life, for the Arapahoes and 
Cheyennes were assigned hunting grounds between the North 
Platte and the Arkansas, covering southern Wyoming and much 
of eastern Colorado. This area in the early '50s still abounded 
with game and gave some access to the river valleys of the South 
Platte. From the ten thoustand or so Indians gathered about Fort 
Laramie for the treaty-making, Fitzpatrick selected eleven to go to 
Washington and meet President Millard Fillmore. Friday was 

The Indian's journey cross-country was heralded in the con- 
temporary newspapers. On their arrival in St. Louis, the report 
was that only one had seen a white settlement before.'^ No official 
sources preserve details of the actual meeting with the president. 
Shannon Garst, a biographer of Fitzpatrick, has attempted to re- 
construct the incident. Garst visualized the Indians sitting cross- 
legged on the floor proposing the smoking of a peace pipe and 

4. Charles H. Carey, ed., Journals of Theodore Talbot. (Portland, 
Oregon: Metropolitan Press, 1931), p. 20. 

5. Rufus B. Sage, Scenes of the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Carey 
&Hart, 1846), p. 299. 

6. Hafen, op. cit., p. 11; Virginia Cole Trenholm, The Arapahoes, Our 
People. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970), p. 144. 

7. The National Intelligencer, October, 1851, p. 3. 


begging for gifts of horses. To this the author has President 
Fillmore reply that the iron horse would carry them to a steam- 

Fitzpatrick himself in his official report established an entirely 
contrasting mood for he observed the phenomenon now termed 
"culture shock." The anticipated beneficial results from the tour 
were not occurring, one member of the delegation had committed 
suicide, and "from the apparent depression of spirits prevailing 
among others of them, it would not surprise me in the least to see 
others commit the same act."^ 

Participating in the delegation gave Friday added prestige among 
the Arapahoes. Fitzpatrick died in 1854 and the new agent noted 
that "no one had been sent to Washington since 1851 but those 
still living who made the trip were listened to and words believed 
by young and old."^" 

Reports of military expeditions in the '50s contained more evi- 
dence of Friday's whereabouts. In 1857 he was seen by soldiers 
near Fort Bridger with Chief Black Bear and other Arapahoes. 
They were described as "tall, noble looking men well dressed in 
skins and buffalo robes." His presence around Golden, Colorado, 
was noted in 1858. There was reputedly a battle between Pawnees 
and Friday's Arapahoes near Laporte in that year. On September 
18, 1859, he attended a council called by the agent at Deer Creek, 
Nebraska Territory. Explorers of the Yellowstone saw him on the 
Powder River and near present-day Glenrock in 1859.^^ 

During the next few years many disappointed miners from Pike's 
Peak and many freighters took up land claims along the tributaries 
of the South Platte and the reminiscences of these pioneers are 
filled with descriptions of their friendships with Friday, and their 
reliance on him. James B. Arthur was one who started a ranch on 
the Cache la Poudre and began cutting hay in the valley in 1860. 
Friday's band worked with the white settlers in defense against the 
Utes and the Arthur home was a kind of improvised fort where 
they assembled in case of alarm. 

In July, 1862, the Utes raided the Sherwood ranch and stole 
horses. There was terror that they would strike again. The events 
which followed involved a series of mistaken identities. First, the 
Indian wives of the Laporte French Canadians picking berries in 

8. Shannon Garst, Broken-Hand Fitzpatrick, Greatest of Mountain Men. 
(New York: Julian Messner, 1961), p. 177. 

9. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1851, House 
Exec. Documents, 1st Sess. 32nd Cong. Vol. 636, p. 335. 

10. Trenholm, op. cit., pp. 144, 213. 

11. "John Pulsipher Diary, 1857," LeRoy and Ann Hafen, The Utah 
Expedition. (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1958) p. 199; Trenholm, 
op. cit., pp. 146, 156; Ansel Watrous, History of Larimer County (Fort Col- 
lins: Fort Collins Courier Printing and Publishing Company, 1911), p. 84. 

— Smithsonian Institution 

A Rare Photo Showing Him in Indian Dress 


the foothills were thought to be Utes . Then Friday and his Arap- 
ahoes who rushed out there caused a similar report. By the time 
all were recognized, the Utes and Sherwood's horses were long 
since gone. One of the Sherwood brothers acted as sub-agent to 
distribute provisions to the Arapahoes, so their ranch home, a 
building still standing south of Fort Collins, was a favorite haunt 
for Friday and his followers.^- When the agent checked on the 
work with the Indians in 1864 he found them all hungry and little 
game in the permitted hunting area. "Mr. Sherwood, who under 
your direction, had made some distribution of provisions to them, 
I found confined to his bed, having been badly torn and mangled 
in an encounter with a grizzly bear in the mountains. "^-^ The 
Sherwood ranch was also a stagecoach stop in the early '60s. 

One of the reasons Lt. Col. William O. Collins chose Laporte 
for a subsidiary camp under Fort Laramie in 1863 was to patrol 
the dough boundary line between Utes and Arapahoes as well as 
to protect the stage line. The arrival of the soldiers on the Cache 
la Poudre meant that more people got acquainted with Friday, 
more men were hunting game, and there was less chance of his 
getting any land allotment in that area for his hungry Indians. The 
commander at Laporte in 1864 gave them permission to hunt on 
the south branch of the Poudre, a region where they had once 
roamed freely. The agent reported: "The expense of their sub- 
sistence is too large . . . they will be unable to go to the buffalo 
range, it being all occupied by hostile tribes." At one point the 
lives of Friday and the friendly band were in extreme danger. 
"One hundred armed men started out for the express purpose of 
cleaning out 'Friday' and his friends, but, fortunately, hearing of 
some hostile Indians being at Fort Lupton, they went in that 
direction."^^ This was the same spirit among the whites that later 
the same year led to the Sand Creek Massacre. 

Elizabeth Stone ran a boarding house for the officers in the new 
location at Fort Collins opened in October, 1864. Her niece came 
west and in her diary she described the pleasure the white ladies 
at the fort took in visiting Friday's camp in 1866: "His youngest 
squaw had a papoose that she was very proud to show. Its entire 
wardrobe was an antelope wrap, beaded beautifully with just blue 
and white beads." Even then the ladies were interested in collect- 
ing Indian art objects: "We could not get many of their Indian- 
made things, as they did not do much such work."^'' Friday's 

12. Watrous, op. cit., p. 47. 

13. Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1864. (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1865), pp. 223, 236. 

14. Report of the Commissioner, 1864, p. 237. 

15. Elizabeth Keays Stratton, "My First Christmas in Fort ColHns," 
Fort Collins Evening Courier, January 27, 1910, p. 4. 


niece, Success-ca, who was quite a powerful figure in the band, 
had a lovely robe of fine antelope for state occasions and the ladies 
tried it on when they visited the camp. The photograph of Friday 
in beaded Indian apparel with pipe and bag and leaning against 
a table dates from this period. 

The claims of the early settlers and the attraction which Fort 
CoHins itself offered to civilians made it essential that the status of 
Friday's Arapahoes be clarified. The official government policy 
expressed in the treaty of Fort Wise in 1861 restricted the Arap- 
ahoes to a reservation in southeastern Colorado. This was a 
tremendous change from the large territory through which they 
roamed under the Fort Laramie treaty. Even the boundaries 
outUned in that agreement had not inhibited their movements as 
shown by the frequent meeting with expeditions in western Wyo- 

At first Friday rejected the Fort Wise settlement. Finally in 
June, 1863, Governor Evans sent word to Many Whips and Friday 
on the Cache la Poudre that rations would be withheld unless they 
submitted. Reluctantly, in the neighborhood of Fort Lyon in 
August, 1863, they signed an agreement to abide by the 1861 
treaty. ^^ After that, Friday begged that a new reservation might 
be created on the north bank of the Cache la Poudre from the 
mouth of Box Elder to the Platte, ranging northward toward Crow 
Creek. The agent noted that this could not possibly be granted. 
The north bank in this desired section already had sixteen white 
families settled there and encompassed eighteen miles of the route 
of the Overland Stage." 

When the fort closed in 1867, the Indians were really destitute. 
The agent had counted 170 people under Friday in 1864. Three 
years later the number was under a hundred. In January, 1867, 
when Friday appealed for rations from Governor Cummings in 
Golden their plight was described: 

Friday has been living with the remnant of his band on Cache la 
Poudre, near Fort Collins, and has been fed from that post until its 
discontinuance. As game is very scarce and wild this winter, he says 
he has no alternative than to apply for rations. He has now only 
thirty-seven left, men, women, and children. The governor gave them 
flour, meat and other necessaries for present use and will issue more 
for use of those who remain behind. ^^ 

16. Report of the Commissioner, 1863. (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1864) pp. 124, 131, 136. The name of Fort Wise near 
Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River was changed to Fort Lyon in 1862. The 
site is near the modern city of La Junta, Colorado. Albert G. Boone, 
Daniel's grandson, was one of the negotiators of the Fort Wise treaty. 

17. Report of the Commissioner, 1864, p. 235; Trenholm, op. cit., p. 163. 

18. Report of the Commissioner, 1864, p. 263; The Colorado Transcript, 
Golden, January 9, 1867, p. 4. 


In August, 1867, Governor Hunt, Postmaster Sagendorf, and 
others were going north from Denver to talk to Friday's band at 
Laporte and see the new city of Cheyenne. In November, 1867, 
Friday was acting as interpreter at Fort Laramie. ^^ 

The pioneers were vague about Friday's last days around Fort 
Collins. They recalled his going with other Indians up the frame- 
work of the flour mill under construction in 1868 and being so 
dizzy he had to be help down. One recalled riding a horse in 1870 
called "Old Swift Bird," bought from the Arapaho chief when he 

The establishment of the Wind River Reservation in 1868 for 
Chief Washakie and the Shoshones gave Friday new hope. This 
was the kind of terrain he liked, not southeastern Colorado. He 
appealed to Chief Washakie for space. Washakie remembered 
Friday as a friend of his youth but was in no hurry to acquire 
Arapaho neighbors. The Shoshones called the Arapahoes "dog 
eaters." The Wind River was the last Indian reservation made by 
treaty council. Later ones were created by executive order. Even 
though they were not wanted, Friday appeared in the area of 
Lander, Wyoming, in 1869. On one occasion that fall Captain 
Hermon Nickerson, the agent for the Indians, recognized Friday's 
riderless horse at Miners' Delight, a boom mining town near 
Lander. Nickerson went out looking for Friday and found him 
drunk by the roadside. He took him home and by this act won 
his confidence.-^ 

The next spring when the Indians killed some whites, Captain 
Nickerson joined in a group to hunt them down. A daredevil 
miner named Bill Smith was in charge of seventy-five mounted 
men. Among them was Arthur H. Patterson, Fort Collins pioneer 
and old friend of Buffalo Bill Cody. Patterson wrote: 

We expected to surprise the Arapaho camp, but they were on the 
lookout for us and we could not get them all. We did get 25 Indians 
and 14 ponies. We came near getting Old Friday and did kill four of 
his Indians. We also killed Black Bear. I expect you may know 
Friday as he used to live on the Cache la Poudre. I got one scalp and 
it is a fine one you bet. They fought some, but only one of our men 
was hurt and three horses wounded."-^ 

19. Rocky Mountain News, August 3, 1867, p. 4; Trenholm. op. cit., 
p. 221. 

20. Frank McClelland, "Henry Clay Peterson, Pioneer," Fort Collins 
Express-Courier, March 14, 1930, p. 2; Express-Courier, July 16, 1937. p. 4. 

21. Trenholm, op. cit., p. 232; Virginia Cole Trenholm, Maurine Carley. 
The Shoshonis, Sentinels of the Rockies. (Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1964) p. 219; Report of the Conunissioner. 1869 (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1870), p. 274. 

22. Denver Times, April 23, 1895, quotation from "Twenty-five Years 


The agent who replaced Captain Nickerson described this inci- 
dent in strong terms: "A body of thieves and cut-throats" marched 
to the vicinity of the post (Camp Augur) and fell upon and brutally 
murdered eleven unarmed men and women belonging to the 

After this encounter Friday took twenty lodges back to North 
and Middle Parks in Colorado, but lost several Indians, so he 
returned to the Fort Fetterman area of Wyoming. He really had 
no place he cared to go where they were legally accepted. 

In 1873 the agent tried to get him to return a Ute boy, said to 
be Ouray's son. This lad has been captured about ten years 
before, traded several times among the Arapahoes, cared for by 
Friday's brother, and after his death, by Friday. ^^ The outcome 
of the negotiations is not noted. 

In 1875 Friday was interpreting at the Red Cloud agency for 
Black Coal and Little Wolf when the Indians had been given 
spoiled food and blankets too short for issue. --^ He was one of the 
scouts with Gen. George Crook's expedition of 1876. 

George Custer's fate at that battle focused American interest on 
Indian affairs in the West and the public wanted more information 
and pictures. In all the photographs of Friday taken in the '70s, 
he wore white man's dress except for moccasins, and he had his 
long hair braided. One portrait shows him seated, holding a gun, 
with sagebrush in front and a mountain scenery background. Wil- 
liam Henry Jackson posed him seated with Crazy Bull standing at 
his side. Mathew Brady photographed him in 1877 seated next to 
Black Coal with a group of other Indians and several white men. 
In this picture, he held his pipe and bag, tucked his golden eagle 
feather into a hat instead of his hair. 

Most of the writers on the Indian campaigns of the '70s spoke 
favorably of Friday. J. Lee Humfreville wrote in 1899: 

He had great influence among the Arapahoes as well as the Chey- 
ennes, the Ogalala and Brule Sioux and did much to keep these people 
quiet. He prevented many wagon trains from being attacked. 

Homer Wheeler in Buffalo Days commented on Friday's skill in 
interpreting subtleties of customs as well as the language. Only 
Judge G. Bourke in On The Border with Crook made a derogatory 
comment. "His morals were decidedly shady," wrote Bourke, and 
went on to comment on his intelligence and shrewdness. Friday's 

23. Report of the Commissioner, 1870. (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1870), p. 179. 

24. Report of the Commissioner, 1873. (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1874). 

25. Trenholm, The Arapahoes, p. 254. 


practice of polygamy and his occasional overindulgence in whiskey 
might have elicited this criticism.-^ 

At last Chief Washakie yielded and accepted these Arapahoes 
on the Wind River Reservation. In 1879 employment records 
hsted Friday as a laborer and interpreter with an annual salary of 
three hundred dollars. There were two Shoshone interpreters with 
the same salary, and the agent received fifteen hundred dollars. 

The Arapahoes lived about thirty miles from the Shoshones. 
Black Coal had the largest tipi in the village. It had embroidered 
bead circles with Ute scalps dangling from the centers. A reporter 
for Harpers Magazine who visited the reservation in 1880 was 
delighted to converse with Friday so easily. He needed an occa- 
sional explanation for some of Friday's cryptic comments like his 
calling his tenth wife a "puller." "She pulls hair," said Friday. 
She was called "The One Who Sleeps" because of her small eyes 
and was noted for a jealous disposition and bad temper.-' 

Another writer describing Friday in his old age on the reser- 
vation wrote that he was "about sixty, not a white hair ... He has 
lately taken a homestead, has a splendid garden and a good corral. 
He is surrounded by children and grandchildren, three very bright 
of the latter called Hayes, Grant and Garfield." The use of such 
names was encouraged in the late nineteenth century to help the 
white man identify individual Indians. Friday was sometimes 
called Friday Fitzpatrick. As a child he had been called "War- 
shinun" or Black Spot. He signed his name "Vash" in 1851 and 
Father DeSmet called him that. One agent called him "Friday 
Sorrel Horse," but "Sorrel Horse" was used for Medicine Man, a 
friend of Friday's too. The name most reveahng of Friday's per- 
sonality was that used in the 1870s, "Man Who Sits in the Corner 
and Keeps His Mouth Shut."-^ 

At the time of Friday's death, May 13, 1881, there were 1125 
Shoshones on the reservation and 913 Arapahoes. The agent 
visited "each and every wicki-up to take an accurate census." 
Apparently Friday was the only Arapaho who spoke English. The 
Arapahoes had no written language and efforts by whites to work 
out a vocabulary failed. The agent reported his death: 

26. J. Lee Humfreville, Twenty Years Among Our Hostile Indians. (New 
York: Hunter & Co., 1899), p. 254; Homer W. Wheller, Buffalo Daxs. 
(Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1923), p. 219; John G. Bourke, On the 
Border with Crook. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1891), p. 406. 

27. Lieutenant H. R. Lemly, "Among the Arapahoes," Harpers New 
Monthly Magazine, March, 1880, pp. 494-501. 

28. Council Fire, April, 1881, p. 61; Report of the Commissioner. 1870, 
pp. 178, 179; Virginia Cole Trenholm, "Amanda Mary and the Dog Sol- 
diers," Animals of Wyoming, Spring, 1974, p. 41; Hafen, op. cit., pp. 187, 
189; Humfreville, op. cit., p. 116. 


This means a severe blow to the tribe and the agency depriving 
them of their means of communicating their desires and the agency 
of understanding them. The only method y/e now have is by the 
sign language and our knowledge in that direction is very limited.29 

Friday was buried in an unmarked grave at a lonely spot on the 
reservation. The bodies of his descendants were placed together 
in later years in a special Friday Cemetery, one-half mile west of 
the Catholic church, south of the Ethete road. His great-grandson 
Chester pointed out to the author the grave of his son, William, 
who died in 1911, and a grandson, Harry (1882-1955). His 
great-great-grandson, Hubert, is one of the six Arapahoes on the 
tribal council, plays outstanding basketball, and rides in rodeos. 
His rodeo participation sometimes takes him to Fort Collins, the 
same area where Chief Friday once rode Old Swift Bird along the 
Cache la Poudre. 

29. Report of the Commissioner, 1881, p. 183. 

/. ^. Okie 
Cost Cabin Pioneer 


Karen L. Love 


Okie tried his hand at poHtics, once he had his sheep business 
going well. In the three years that he participated in state elec- 
tions, he became involved in some of the crucial issues that Wyo- 
ming faced in its first decade of statehood. Several unfortunate 
circumstances, however, prevented his gaining importance as a 

Okie entered politics at the age of twenty-six when he was nom- 
inated by Fremont County for the first state legislature in 1890. 
The Republicans also nominated Eugene Amoretti for the second 
legislative seat and J. D. Woodruff for the Senate seat. Okie's 
two running mates were both about twenty years his senior, an 
indication of the respect he already held in the county. The 
Fremont Clipper called the three "men of means, men of brains 
and men that will command the respect of their fellow legislators."^ 
Unfortunately for Okie's political career, he was a Republican in 
one of the very few weak counties the Grand Old Party had in the 
state.- In an election that gave the Republicans control of the 
state senate thirteen to three and the house twenty-six to seven,-^ 
Fremont County elected Robert H. Hall, Democrat, rather than 
Okie.* His election day showing, however, indicated the feelings 
of the Lost Cabin community toward its founder. In his precinct 
he received more votes than any other candidate for any other 
office.^ The settlers in Lost Cabin agreed about J. B. Okie's 
qualifications as a leader. 

1. Fremont Clipper, September 5, 1890. 

2. Lewis L. Gould, Wyoming, A Political History 1868-1896. (New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 122. 

3. Larson, History of Wyoming. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1967), p. 265. 

4. Clarence D. Jayne, and others, "Fremont County and Its Commun- 
ities", (unpublished extension class project, University of Wyoming, 1952). 
p. 82. 

5. Fremont Clipper, September 19, 1890. 


In 1892, he was Fremont County's alternate delegate to the 
Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.^ 
That year the Republicans on the first ballot renominated President 
Benjamin Harrison over James G. Blaine and William McKinley 
by a wide margin. In the 1892 campaign, the Republicans behind 
Harrison were opposing Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, mostly on 
the question of the tariff. Both McKinley and Harrison were 
strong protectionists, so which one Okie backed is uncertain. Even 
though McKinley was a weak contender, this friend of the wool 
growers wanted to maintain a high protective tariff on wool.''' But 
Harrison too backed high protection. The Democrats' nomination 
of Grover Cleveland must have confused Okie somewhat. He 
opposed Cleveland's desire for free trade but agreed with his 
opposition to free silver.^ Okie, the sheepman, favored protection; 
Okie, the experienced businessman, favored the stable standard 
gold offered. 

That same year J. B. Okie had the chance to make his views 
known when he was finally elected to the Wyoming State Legisla- 
ture. His election as a Republican from Fremont County in 1892 
was even more strange than his defeat in the Republican year of 
1890. By 1892 the Democrats and Populists had gained strength 
in the state. Okie's election in 1892 suggests that his personal 
following had increased. He did not remain in the legislature long, 
however, because the Democrats, once elected, made an effort to 
unseat enough Republicans to gain absolute control of the House. 
Okie was one of the four legislators unseated. 

The fight between the Repubhcans and Democrats for control of 
the House began as soon as the November returns were in. The 
decision in Carbon County rested upon whether the county can- 
vassing board would count the votes from the Hanna district. The 
board hesitated because the Hanna returns lacked any indication 
of the precinct, and the poll list had not been signed. After much 
manipulation by both parties and much deliberation in and out of 
court, the Hanna returns were accepted and the two Democrats 
were declared elected.^ When the legislators met in January, 1893, 
they had to decide about the last two disputed seats, a decision that 
could control the outcome of the vote for United States Senator. 
The Democrats went into the battle with fourteen house seats and 
five senate seats, the Republicans with twelve house seats and 
eleven senate seats. ^"^ If the Republicans gained the two disputed 

6. Ibid., June 17, 1892. 

7. James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States from Hayes to 
McKinley 1877-1896. (New York: Macmillan Company, 1919), p. 348. 

8. Natrona Tribune, March 3, 1900. 

9. Gould, op. cit., p. 176. 

10. Larson, op. cit., p. 287. 


seats, they would have the twenty-five Legislative votes necessary 
to elect the United States Senator. ^^ If the Democrats gained the 
two seats, they might then woo the five remaining Populists and 
control the state house and the United States Senate seat. J. B. 
Okie's seat was, therefore, a significant problem for the 1893 
legislative session. 

W. D. Pickett opposed Okie on November 8, 1892. The Dem- 
ocrats were anxious to prove that enough illegal votes had been 
cast in the North Fork and Lost Cabin precincts that Pickett should 
have the legislative seat. The Legislature spent several days argu- 
ing the Okie-Pickett contest. Democrats claimed that ninety-two 
people in North Fork and fourteen people in Lost Cabin had voted 
but were not residents of the voting district. Okie never denied 
that these voters had cast ballots in the wrong precinct. In fact, 
he stated before the legislature that he could prove fraud in pre- 
cincts other than Lost Cabin and North Fork. Okie and his 
Republican backers argued that Pickett had not proved these voters 
ineligible to vote in Fremont County. They also declared that the 
legislature must presume the fairness of the election officers. They 
knew all the voters yet received them to vote without protest. 
Thirdly, the Republicans claimed that Pickett had automatically 
assumed that the illegal votes were cast for Okie but had made no 
effort to contact the voters to find out for whom they had voted. 
Okie himself requested that the legislature have the county clerk 
bring the ballots to Cheyenne for examination, but the Democrats 
would never approve of this.^- If more fraud was still to be 
uncovered, as Okie claimed, the Republicans might also challenge 
the other legislative seat from Fremont County. Democrat James 
N. Farlow held this seat by a precarious margin of twelve votes 
over Okie.^^ The Democrats did agree to have the ballots mailed 
to Cheyenne. Because nine of the thirty-three packages were 
unsealed when they arrived, the legislature, therefore, would not 
even consider them.^^ 

The majority report presented by the Democrats made the whole 
case seem very simple. It recommended that the fraudulent votes 
be thrown out and that the legislature count the fraudulent votes 
cast for the two men in proportion to the votes they received in 
each precinct. This would automatically make Pickett the winner 
because North Fork and Lost Cabin had voted 106-73 and 62-7 
for Okie respectively. Therefore he lost many more votes than 

n. Ibid., p. 288. 

12. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 21, 22, 1893. 

13. Marie H. Erwin, Wyoming Historical Blue Book, A Legal and 
Political History of Wyoming 1868-1943. (Denver: Bradford-Robinson 
Printing Company, 1946), p. 1182. 

14. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 21, 22, 1893. 


Pickett. Since Okie had won the election by only one vote, 
62 1 -620, in the first count, the new count made Pickett the victor. 
The Democrats, eager to gain House strength, had convinced 
themselves that the proportion system of dividing the fraudulent 
votes was entirely fair and would save time. The Republicans, 
with the same goal in mind, had convinced themselves that the 
fairest procedure would be to contact the illegal voters and get the 
exact count. Just before the final vote, B. B. Brooks rose to speak 
in defense of Okie and the minority report. Okie then spoke in his 
own behalf in what the Cheyenne Daily Leader called "a most 
unfortunate speech." He told the Legislature that he did not 
expect to get justice, that a prominent Democrat had assured him 
the question was entirely one of expediency. ^'^ Of course, when 
the vote was called, all the Democrats voted for the proportion 
system, and all the Republicans voted against it. The Democrats 
were able to lure two Populist voters to their side which was 
enough to unseat Okie 17 to 15.^^ The Democrats were jubilant. 
But in the next few days as the voting began for United States 
Senator, they realized their celebration had been premature. 

The state House and Senate began balloting for the United States 
Senator from Wyoming on January 24, 1893. They never finished 
balloting. The Democrats had gained their four seats but had 
created such a precarious political balance that the legislature was 
never able to reach a decision. The distribution was twenty-one 
Democrats, twenty-three Republicans and five disagreeing Popu- 
hsts. Despite the many names presented and the infinite political 
maneuvering, the Democrats could never reach enough internal 
agreement and at the same time lure four Populists to their side; 
nor could the Republicans gain two PopuUst votes and agree 
among themselves at the same time. Each side fought to gain the 
twenty-five necessary votes, but neither was ever able to do so in 
the thirty ballots taken. The extent of the political intrigues was 
astonishing. Legislators were bribed for votes," bribed to take 
sudden business trips, and one was even escorted on a drinking 
spree and given a poison cocktail. ^^ 

On the sixth ballot J. B. Okie's name was brought up by the 
Republicans as a possible candidate. Rumors had spread that the 
legislators had found a new combination which might bring about 
the twenty-five vote majority needed. As a result, curious people 
crowded into the galleries to see who the man would be and if the 
vote would be successful. Okie's name was presented, a ballot 
taken, and the crowd was disappointed by another defeat. He did 

15. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 22, 1893. 

16. Ibid., January 22, 1893. 

17. Larson, op. cit., p. 288. 

18. Gould, op. cit., p. 188. 


receive a very complimentary sixteen votes, however, from all 
twelve Republican house members and four Republican senators. 
The Leader called the vote for Okie a rebuke to those Democrats 
who had unseated the Fremont County legislator. No one con- 
sidered it a real effort to make Okie United States senator because 
the Republicans never mentioned his name before or after that 
day. In addition, a senator had to be at least thirty years old and 
Okie was only twenty-eight. In the next session, on the seventh 
ballot, the Republicans were again split over their old favorites, 
Warren, Clark, and Richards.^'* 

During the week that Okie served as a state legislator, he 
introduced two pieces of legislation. On January 17, 1893, he 
introduced House Joint Memorial Number Two requesting the 
congresisonal representatives of Wyoming to obtain justice for the 
Shoshone Indians.-'^ The memorial stated that the Shoshones had 
been given the reservation lands in 1868 with the stipulation that 
the United States government could also place on their reservation 
other Indians friendly to the Shoshones. Under this pretext the 
government had placed there a portion of the Arapaho tribe that 
had always been an enemy of the Shoshones. For various excuses 
and reasons the Arapahoes had been allowed to remain on the 
reservation from year to year until 1891. In that year the Com- 
missioner of Indian Affairs had decided that the Arapahoes were 
entitled to half of the reservation, were in fact owners of half the 
reservation, and had the same rights there as the Shoshones. The 
memorial requested immediate action in order to restore to the 
Shoshones their full treaty rights and also that any treaty negotia- 
tions to be made with the Shoshone alone. -^ The legislature that 
year was too caught up in political battles, however, to worry about 
Indian problems. The Arapahoes remained on the reservation, 
and the Shoshones had to give up half of their resrevation lands. 
Almost fifty years later the United States Court of Claims awarded 
them four million dollars for their loss. Their enemies, the 
Arapahoes, are still there today. ^- 

Okie also introduced a bill to provide for the payment of indem- 
nity for livestock killed by railroads.-^ His interest in the Sho- 
shones had been understandable, because if an Indian war had 
started, his own ranch would have been threatened. The railroad 

19. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 31, February 1, 1893. 

20. Wyoming, State Legislature, House, Journal of the House, January 
17, 1893, Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne. 

21. Wyoming, State Legislature, House, A Joint Memorial Requesting 
the Congressional Representatives of Wyoming to Obtain Justice for the 
Shoshoni Indians, H.J.M. No. 2, 1893, Wyoming State Archives and His- 
torical Department, Cheyenne. 

22. Larson, op. cit., p. 106. 

23. Journal of the House, op. cit., January 18, 1893. 


indemnity bill was an unusual bill, however, for a Fremont County 
delegate to introduce, especially in 1893. No railroad would pass 
near Lost Cabin for twenty years nor come to Lander, the county 
seat, for thirteen more years. Perhaps in this, too, like his interest 
in highways and wool scouring plants, Okie saw a long range 
benefit both for himself and for the state. 

Okie became involved in politics once more after 1893, but his 
timing once again proved to be bad. He was nominated by the 
Fremont County Republicans for the state legislature in 1896. 
William McKinley opposed William Jennings Bryan in that pres- 
idential election year. Wyoming, favoring Bryan and his free- 
silver stand, gave all three electoral votes to him.-^ Okie, unfor- 
tunately, was an avowed supporter of the gold standard and 
undoubtedly backed McKinley's protection and bi-metalism plat- 
form. He must have realized his chances for election were slim 
because he did not even campaign for himself on the excuse of 
being prevented by business affairs.-"' Fremont County elected all 
Democrats to the state legislature that year.-*' 

Okie's luck seemed consistently poor in his short career as a 
legislator. He was a Republican in a county were RepubUcans 
were weak. He ran as a Republican candidate in one of the few 
elections in which his party was the underdog. He favored the 
gold standard when the rest of the West backed free silver. In the 
legislature he naively looked for justice and found only politics. 
His political opinions seemed consistently out of time and out 
of place. 


During the 1890s when Okie was trying to expand the Bighorn 
Sheep Company and at the same time continue cash dividend 
payments to his mother, he recognized the beginnings of a new 
problem. More settlers were moving into the Lost Cabin area and 
taking advantage of government land offers, homesteading the 
water holes, and gaining control of vast areas of government range 
land. The sheep ranchers, who had become very uneasy about this 
threatening situation, began a land grab to gain water rights. The 
Natrona Tribune reported in 1900 that the sheepmen did not like 
the idea of taking up this land but that they were compelled to do 
so or go out of business. They believed that anyone who did not 
have plenty of land of his own might just as well sell out and leave 
the country.^' 

Okie found himself in a difficult situation. As long as the water 

24. Erwin, op. cit., p. 1424. 

25. Fremont Clipper, October 30, 1896. 

26. Erwin, op. cit., p. 1190. 

27. Natrona Tribune, August 2, 1900. 


holes had been free for pubUc use, the need to buy land did not 
exist. But when other ranchers began to buy them up, he realized 
that he would either have to join the land grab to get some water 
rights of his own or give up the sheep business. He wrote to his 
mother, who still held almost half of the stock in the Bighorn 
Sheep Company, asking her permission to take up some water 
holes. She wrote back absolutely forbidding Okie to buy any 
water holes or to make any improvements on the ranch. She 
wanted him to stay out of debt and continue cash dividend pay- 
ments to her. She said she did not want to own any Wyoming 
land. Her refusal prompted Okie to push his offer to buy her 
shares, and in 1898 she reluctantly signed over her partnership 
for $30,000.-^ Okie was free to begin buying land. 

Settlers could get government land in several different ways. 
The Homestead Act, passed in 1862, allowed any citizen who was 
the head of a family or at least twenty-one years old to claim 160 
acres of unappropriated public land. The law required that he 
reside on the land for five years and cultivate it. If he did not wish 
to reside the full five years, after six months he could purchase 
the land for $1.25 an acre.-'' After the five-year period, the settler 
would bring two witnesses before a United States Commissioner to 
testify about his residence and cultivation. With this final "proving 
up," the settler received title to his land after the payment of a 
small fee.^*' 

Claim could also be made under the extended Timber and Stone 
Act of 1892 which provided for a 160-acre land claim valuable 
chiefly for timber or stone and unfit for agriculture. This land 
could be purchased for $2.50 an acre if the purchaser signed an 
affidavit that the timber or stone was for his own personal use.^^ 

The Revised Desert Lands Act of 1891 was a third method of 
securing western lands. Under this law, a person could claim 320 
acres of arid lands if he paid $.25 an acre and irrigated it within 
three years. Improvements over the three-year period had to total 
$3.00 an acre, and irrigation had to be available for the entire 
acreage. At the time of proving up, one-eighth of the land had to 
be under cultivation. Before title could be granted, the settler had 
to pay a final fee of $1.00 an acre.-^- 

28. Susan P. Okie v. John B. Okie, United States District Court Case 
884, 1902, Federal Records Center, Denver, Colorado. 

29. After 1891 fourteen months residence was specified, but six months 
was allowed to elapse before residency was actually required. After 1907 
the full fourteen months residency was required. Benjamin Horace Hib- 
bard, A History of Public Land Policies. (New York: Macmillan Com- 
pany, 1924), p. 389. 

30. Larson, op. cit., p. 174. 

31. Hibbard, op. cit., 464. 

32. Ibid., pp. 427 &431. 


Another method was through the Isolated or Disconnected 
Lands Act. A settler could petition to have 160 acres of isolated 
land sold at public auction. He then would be bidding against 
anyone else interested in that 160-acre parcel. 

By taking advantage of the several government land laws, a 
rancher could get 11 20 acres. ^-^ This was far from being sufficient 
for a successful ranch, however, because a single cow in Wyoming 
requires forty acres for grazing. ^^ As the range became over- 
crowded, as water rights began to fall into private ownership, and 
as more and more settlers claimed land under the public land laws, 
western ranchers had to take positive steps or lose their businesses. 
After claiming their legal shares, a great many ranchers built 
fences around their land but at the same time quietly extended them 
to include thousands of acres of public land.-^"* The "Linnen 
Report," completed in 1906, probed the illegal fencing practices of 
Wyoming's first state governor, then senator, Francis E. Warren. 
The report also mentioned thirty-five other prominent Wyoming 
ranchers who had illegally fenced about half-a-million acres of 
government land.-^^ Okie's name may or may not have appeared 
on that list, but he was fencing government land illegally right 
along with the best of them.^''' After the Warren scandal was 
revealed. President Roosevelt began a government crackdown on 
unlawful fences. Law suits were instituted, one-day jail sentences 
handed out, and the illegal fences torn down.-^^ 

The loss of the fences did not lessen the need for range land and 
water rights. Some Wyoming ranchers, deprived of their illegal 
fences, began to favor the leasing of public lands. Sheepmen in 
general still opposed leasing for fear that it would cause careless 
over-grazing of the range^^ and retard settlement.^*^ In any case, 
leasing legislation was a long way off, and as a result, ranchers 
were left with just their ingenuity to gain the land they badly 

The technique they developed for securing land was similar in 
many parts of the West. Persons who needed more land than they 
could get legally, be they a timber company, speculator or rancher, 
would arrange for someone else to acquire land for them and 

33. Larson, op. cit., p. 175. 

34. Ibid., p. 173. 

35. Paul W. Gates, History of Public Land Law Development. (Wash- 
ington, D. C: United States Government Printing Office, 1968), p. 473. 

36. Larson, op. cit., p. 383. 

37. Van Guelder Okie, unfinished autobiography, p. 11, J. B. Okie 
biographic file, Western History Research Center, University of Wyoming. 

38. Larson, op. cit., p. 383. 

39. Edward Norris Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, (Ames, Iowa: 
Iowa State College Press, 1948), p. 516. 

40. Larson, op. cit., p. 384. 


swear falsely that they had proved up on it. When they received 
the title, these entrymen, as they were called, would transfer it to 
the person with whom they had made the deal. Agents investigat- 
ing fraudulent land claims in Nebraska reported the cattlemen had 
hired "thousands upon thousands of loafers, tramps, and railway 
graders, and Negroes" to file on land for them.^^ The practice was 
so widespread and so generally accepted in the West that United 
States attorney for Wyoming, Timothy F. Burke, very seldom 
prosecuted anyone for land fraud. He justified this by saying that 
"inasmuch as three-fourths of the public domain had been proved 
up by perjury, to let them have it; that the paying of taxes was 
enough punishment for the deed, and what the states needed was 
the land on the tax rolls to reduce taxes. "^- In Nebraska people 
openly boasted that a genuine legal homestead entry had not been 
made for some time.^-^ 

Okie's participation in this system of land acquisition should not 
surprise anyone familiar with the ranchers' land problems at the 
turn of the century. In his own words, he needed water or he 
would go out of business. ^^ People he associated with, from gov- 
ernment officials to common sheep herders, knew of and partici- 
pated in the land fraud schemes. Westerners accepted it as a 
common and unavoidable practice. ^•^ It is inconceivable that J. B. 
Okie alone would have moralistically supported a law that most 
other ranchers considered unworkable. 

As soon as he had bought his mother's shares in the Bighorn 
Sheep Company and no longer had to comply with her objections 
to expansion, J. B. Okie began to buy land. Before 1904 he 
acquired land that other settlers had claimed under the Homestead 
Act and the Desert Lands Act.^^ Some 1371 acres were filed 
under the Homestead Act and 4809 acres under the Desert Lands 
Act. After 1904 settlers acquired land for him almost totally 
under the Timer and Stone Act and after 1908 under the Isolated 
or Disconnected Lands Act. Under these two acts he gained some 
3083 acres and 4213 acres respectively up to 1912. By 1912 he 
held 13,476 acres of land that had been claimed and allegedly 
proved up by other settlers.^' 

41. Gates, op. cit., p. 487. 

42. Larson, op. cit., p. 374, quoting attorney Timothy F. Burke. 

43. Gates, op. cit., p. 487. 

44. S. P. Okie v. J. B. Okie, op. cit., testimony of J. B. Okie. 

45. Mrs. Don Robson, personal interview in Lysite, Wyoming. July. 

46. United States of America v. John B. Okie et oL, Circuit Court case 
182, Bill of Complaint, filed August 20, 1916, Federal Records Center. 
Denver, Colorado. 

47. Ibid. These figures are the estimate made by agent E. O. Fuller of 
the extent of Okie's fraudulent claims. His land holdings probably ex- 


In August of 1910, the Department of the Interior in Washing- 
ton, D. C., received a letter from someone signing himself J. B. 
Moe. The letter complained that certain requirements of the law 
had not been comphed with by John B. Okie and the Bighorn 
Sheep Company in securing certain desert land entries. The 
Department immediately sent a special investigating agent, E. O. 
Fuller, to make an undercover probe of the charges. After Fuller 
completed his investigation in 1916, the United States Government 
filed suit against Okie.^^ 

The suit, which lasted nine years, alleged that Okie had hired 
people to claim government lands fraudulently for him. It outlined 
what secret agent E. O. Fuller claimed was Okie's technique. Okie 
supposedly first chose the land he wanted, then approached some 
employee or friend and offered to pay him anywhere from $25 to 







254 acres 

520 acres 

554 acres 





















































Table I. Alleged Fraudulent Land Entries 

$50 if he would enter the land as his own.^^ Okie would promise 
to build and pay for any improvements the law required and pay all 
entry fees. The entryman had only to sign the papers and take 
them to the land office at the appropriate time.^*^ Okie would even 
supply the two witnesses needed. Chance of discovery was slight 

ceeded these figures because of land acquired legally and therefore not 
reported by Fuller. 

48. Table I. This chart shows the entries the government alleged were 
fraudulently claimed by Okie. The chart shows three periods of unusually 
low claims: 1. 1901 -the year Okie's mother sued him in Federal District 
Court and the Bighorn Sheep Company was therefore being thoroughly 
investigated by her lawyers; 2. 1906-the year Francis E. Warren was accused 
of illegally fencing government land; 3. 1911-the years following Moe's 
letter to the Department of the Interior. If these land claims were indeed 
totally legal, these three trends seem unexplainable. 

49. United States v. J. B. Okie, op. cit., Testimony of witnesses Frank 
Edgerton and John B. Wynn. 

50. Ibid., Bill of Complaint. 


because the commissioners before whom proof was made were 
Okie's full-time employees.''^ The two parties would sign the deed 
prior to the time of proving up but leave the date blank. After the 
entryman secured the title, Okie would keep the deed in his pos- 
session rather than file it with the county recorder's office. If he 
had recorded so many land deeds, he would have aroused suspi- 
cion; therefore, he would carefully plan his recording dates. Ac- 
cording to the investigating agent, Okie used this scheme or some 
slight variation of it to defraud the United States Government on 
ninety-eight different counts over a period of thirteen years. ''- 

In the first phase of the trial, thirty-four of the ninety-eight 
entries were dismissed under the Statute of Limitations. The deeds 
had been filed for record more than six years prior to the date of 
the suit. Because they had never been challenged within that time, 
they were thereafter barred from suit whether they were fraudulent 
or not. Eight others were dismissed for miscellaneous minor 
reasons. Of the fifty-six cases left, there remained one homestead, 
one desert land, nineteen timber and stone, and thirty-five isolated 
tracts. The judge dismissed the homestead case because the gov- 
ernment could not prove that Okie had made the agreement with 
the entryman before the entry was made. The desert lands case 
and four of the timber and stone cases were also dismissed for lack 
of sufficient evidence. ^^ 

Ten of the remaining timber and stone entries offered some evi- 
dence to support the charge of fraud. The evidence, however, did 
not seem sufficient to the judge. He dismissed all ten cases on the 
legal principle that an agreement to purchase a timber and stone 
claim after the initial application and before final proof is not a 
violation of law. In each of the ten, the prosecution had failed to 
prove when Okie and the entryman in question had made the 
purchase agreement. The extremely hazy memories of five out 
of the ten witnesses caused the prosecuting attorney great difficulty. 
For example, one witness barely remembered taking up the land, 
was confused about the location of it, but thought it was subse- 
quently sold to the defendant. He had, however, no distinct recol- 
lection of the transaction. In another one of these ten cases, the 
witness distinctly remembered that Okie had induced him to file 
on a claim. He did not remember proving up or paying any fees 
but said that as far as he knew, Okie had paid the fees. The judge 
ruled insufficient evidence because the conversation between the 
entryman and Okie was the only proof that Okie had actually taken 
up the claim. He stated that to annul a patent on land for fraud, 
the testimony to support such a charge must be clear, unequivocal, 

51. Ibid., Judge's Memorandum, filed November 2, 1925. 

52. Ibid., Bill of Complaint. 

53. Ibid., Judge's Memorandum. 


and convincing. The prosecution had also claimed that the en- 
tries under the Timber and Stone Act did not even qualify as 
sources of timber or stone. The stone claims were too far from a 
market to be considered of value. Some had no value for stone 
even if there had been a market. Because evidence was insuffi- 
cient, the judge ruled that the matter of the character of the land 
was immaterial. ^^ 

The last five questionable entries under the Timber and Stone 
Act furnished prima facie proof of fraud. These witnesses testified 
that Okie had selected the land and approached them about taking 
up a claim on it. He had paid them a fee of $25 to $50, paid all 
the expenses and entry fees himself, and made out all the papers. 
These witnesses claimed to have no personal interest in the land 
but took it up for Okie.^^' 

With all these facts before him, the judge had to decide whether 
Okie was guilty of fraud. After nine years of petitions, counter- 
petitions, and testimony, Okie sat waiting for the judge's verdict. 
Undoubtedly a bit uneasy, he faced the prospect of paying the 
government $84,607.85, the rental value of the land he held 
illegally,^*' a sum that would have ruined him. As the judge read 
through his final decision on the case, Okie must have been very 
thankful that he was being tried by a Wyoming judge who under- 
stood ranchers' land problems and was sympathetic toward them. 

In his final statement on the case, the judge first discussed the 
question of whether the entries were taken up for the purpose they 
claimed; were they actually valuable for timber and stone? Weigh- 
ing the evidence of the entrymen and the old-resident ranchmen in 
Lost Cabin against the testimony of the special agents whom he 
considered to be usually unskilled in land uses, the judge said he 
was inclined to accept the testimony of the old-time residents of 
the community. He therefore ruled that the claims had been taken 
up for the purposes required by law.^*" 

The judge then took up the question of limitations and laches. ^^ 
The last of the five allegedly fraudulent entries had been completed 
July 26, 1909, while suit was not instituted until July 20, 1916. 
Under the Statute of Limitations, the government could not bring 
suit after six years from the date of patent. Another statute, 
however, stated that in case of fraud, the six-year period began 
with the discovery of the fraud, provided that due diligence was 
exercised in its discovery. The court had to decide when the 

54. Ibid. 

55. Ibid. 

56. Ibid., Bill of Complaint. 

57. Ibid., Judge's Memorandum. 

58. Laches is defined as unreasonable and inexcusable delay in asserting 
a right, so that the court is warranted in refusing relief. 


Statute of Limitations began for these patents and when the alleged 
fraud had actually been discovered. 

On the question of the patents, the court noted that the deeds 
had been recorded less than six years before the suit, but that the 
dates they carried were more than six years before the suit. Okie 
explained that he recorded deeds personally when convenience 
permitted; this policy had caused the delay in recording. He 
testified, however, that for more than six years he had been in 
open and notorious possession of the land and paid taxes on it in 
his own name. The judge ruled that these facts were sufficient 
notice to the government and were equal to registering the title. 
On the basis of this ruling, the judge dismissed the last five timber 
and stone entry cases. The counsel for the plaintiff alleged that 
Okie had not recorded the deeds in order to avoid arousing the 
suspicion of the government. The judge said that since the govern- 
ment had been collecting taxes on the land, they knew it was in 
Okie's possession.^-' 

The final decision of the judge concerning the thirty-five isolated 
land claims rested on establishing when the fraud had been dis- 
covered. The government claimed that it knew nothing of the 
fraud before receiving the letter from Moe in 1910, nor did it have 
any way of knowing of the fraud because Okie had retained the 
deeds. Okie's lawyers reminded the court that the letter had re- 
ferred to irregularities in desert entries, but the court had dismissed 
all twenty-two of the challenged desert cases. The letter from Moe 
was therefore not a true revelation of fraud. Since the time of dis- 
covery of the fraud could not be definitely determined, the case 
could not be removed from under the Statute of Limitations. Six 
years had passed; therefore, even if the evidence was sufficient 
to establish fraud, the cases were barred from suit. The judge 
added that even if the court were to allow that the fraud was 
revealed in 1910, Okie had made five isolated tracts entries after 
that date without government objection. This indicated to the 
judge that either there was no fraud or that the government was so 
exceedingly lax in pursuing its cause that it should be entitled to no 
particular consideration in a court of equity where the relief must 
be based upon a showing of diligence after notice. ^"^ The govern- 
ment's complaint having been dismissed, Okie left the courtroom 
with clear title to his 57,000 acre empire.^^ 

59. United States v. J. B. Okie, op. cit., Judge's Memorandum. 

60. Ibid. 

61. "Empire for Sale," Time, (June 11, 1945). p. 19. 


LOST CABIN 1884-1930 

At the height of its prosperity, Lost Cabin was an important 
commercial center for the ranchers in the area. When the railroad 
came to Casper in 1888, a stage line was established from Casper 
to Thermopolis over Birdseye Pass, and Lost Cabin became a 
stopping place on the line.^- Some say Okie thought Lost Cabin's 
"strategic" position between Casper and the Big Horn Basin would 
eventually make it one of Wyoming's major cities.''-^ He was not 
alone in this belief. In 1887 the Fremont Clipper predicted that 
very soon there would be drawn together a large and prosperous 
community at Lost Cabin because of the rich mines in the area.*^^ 
This referred, no doubt, to the Lost Cabin mine, at that time still 
being searched for. The mine was never found, but the prediction 
came true, for a while at least. Lost Cabin never gained the pop- 
ulation of a mining boom town because it was more of a supply 
center for outlying ranches. Nevertheless, the town grew in size 
and prosperity from 1883, the year Okie settled there, until 1914 
when the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad built to Lysite. 

The first building in Lost Cabin was the little dugout cabin Okie 
built beside Badwater Creek in 1884. This was followed three 
years later by a larger log cabin built up on the first stream terrace 
in anticipation of Okie's marriage. The second cabin expanded to 
nine rooms in the 1 890s as the Okie family grew. The place began 
to look more hke a prospering ranch as he added a log stable, 
corrals for the sheep and horses, and irrigation ditches. In the 
spring the dry Lost Cabin area took on a new look as the eighty 
acres of cleared land began to show green sprouts of alfalfa and 
grain. Okie's next project was to build reservoirs for water storage 
in order to save the spring run-off for the dry season.^-^ He con- 
tinued clearing land for cultivation, until he eventually had 900 
acres. ^"^ By 1891 Lost Cabin was a community of ten or twelve 
log buildings,*^^ and settlers were also moving into the surrounding 
country. Dan Ralston, who had taken sheep on shares from 
J. D. Woodruff, settled on lower Badwater Creek, John Morrison 
brought his family to Poison Creek, and John and Hattie Signor 
came up from the Sweetwater with their children and took over 

62. Van Guelder Okie, an unfinished story of J. B. Okie's Life in Lost 
Cabin, p. 5, J. B. Okie biographical file, Western History Research Center, 
University of Wyoming. 

63. "The Big Tepee," Stories of Pacific Powerland, Radio script No. 484, 
J. B. Okie Biographical file, Western History Research Center, University 
of Wyoming. 

64. Fremont Clipper, September 17, 1887. 

65. V. G. Okie, op. cit., p. 4. 

66. Van Guelder Okie, rough outline for his unfinished autobiography, 
p. 21; in the possession of this author. 

67. Ibid., p. 3. 


the Lost Cabin post office.''^ The Badwater country had enough 
settlers and Lost Cabin enough traffic by 1892 to begin supporting 
local businesses. 

The records do not indicate which business was established first 
or even when it was estabhshed. By June of 1892, however, the 
newspapers announced that Mrs. Hattie Signor had thoroughly 
renovated "the place" and the Lost Cabin Hotel was open for 
business. *^^ The paper did not say whether "the place" had pre- 
viously been an operating hotel or just a vacated building, but this 
is the first reference to a business establishment in Lost Cabin. 

Within the next decade, Okie began establishing his own busi- 
nesses in the town. In 1895 he built his first Bighorn Sheep Com- 
pany store, which in turn drew the ranchers into town. The money 
he paid his employees came back to his own pocket through his 
mercantile store. Lost Cabin began to look like a real town when 
Okie added a saloon, a livery barn, and a blacksmith shop,^'^ new 
businesses that drew even more people into Lost Cabin. Stockmen 
refreshed themselves at the saloon, christened the "Dew Drop 
Inn,""^ While their horses were shod at the blacksmith's shop or 
boarded at the livery stable. Ranch wives chatted together over 
bolts of fabric in the mercantile store. Sheep herders and cowboys 
came to town with six months' wages and settled themselves 
around a poker table in the saloon. After a day or two, they 
would return to work broke and slightly hung over,^- their ideas of 
challenging the few professional gamblers who hung around there 
having been shattered. Meanwhile Okie continued to gather in the 
profits from all his businesses. 

Increased demands created the need for more buildings in the 
town. The hotel business continued to be lucrative and created 
some competition for the Signors. Okie sold his old cook shack 
to the Sidney Willoughby family who enlarged it and called it the 
Willoughby Hotel.'^^ The saloon crowd promptly renamed it the 
Hotel de Willoughby because of the way Sidney Willoughby always 
bragged about the social status of his family back in Kentucky.'^ 
The need for a jail was met as economically as the need for a hotel. 
From the time J. B. Okie was appointed constable in 1894,"'' the 
ice house served as a jail and reportedly succeeded in coohng off 

68. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit., p. 3. 

69. Natrona Tribune, June 24, 1892. 

70. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit., p. 4. 

71. Henry Jensen, personal interview in Lysite, Wyoming, July, 1971. 

72. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit., p. 7. 

73. Mrs. W. I. Lewis, written for Mrs. Frank Rate, "J. B. Okie started 
town," Wyoming State Journal, July 1, 1971. 

74. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit., p. 7. 

75. Fremont Clipper, November 23, 1894. 


troublemakers.''' Around 1918 he built one of the largest build- 
ings in Lost Cabin as an administration center for his various busi- 
nesses. The huge plate glass windows on two sides of the struc- 
ture gave it the appearance of a metropolitan department store. 
The employees could see what was happening in half the town 
right from their desks. On the second floor were apartments for 
them to rent. 

Okie kept the more abstract needs of the community in mind, as 
well, when building his town. When the roller skating mania hit 
Wyoming, Lost Cabin went the way of the libertines. The Wyo- 
ming Derrick warned that the roller skating craze was running riot 
at Rawlins, and the usual number of scandal and divorce cases 
would surely result.' '^ But Okie seemed undaunted by the charges 
that "it brings the virtuous and innocent into contact with and 
under the influence of the rake and the libertine, and scores of 
virtuous women have fallen by these influences. "^'^ He brought 
carpenters out from Omaha to lay a maple floor in the rink he had 
built. '^■' After the fad passed, the skating rink was converted into 
a dance pavilion. The dances attracted just as many people from 
miles around. When the Yellowstone Highway came through in 
1911, the old dance pavihon was converted into the Oasis Hotel 
to accommodate the increasing tourist traffic.^*^ Here travelers 
could sit at tables covered with linen table cloths and set with real 
silver. The Oasis never made much money, however, because as 
one old-timer recalls, "It was too up-town for most folks. "^^ 
Another dance pavilion, built to replace the old one, reportedly 
cost Okie $7000. Every season he would host several dances there 
for the entire surrounding community.^- Often traveling theatrical 
groups, on their way to Thermopolis from Casper, would stop for 
the night and put on a show in the pavilion. ^^ Okie also used the 
hall to show free movies on his own hand-crank projector. Every- 
one was invited and everyone came. He would come down him- 
self to run the projector just to make sure it was done right. When 
the latest Mary Pickford movie opened in Denver, Casper, and 

76. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit., p. 5. 

77. Wyoming Derrick, October 9, 1890. 

78. Larson, op. cit., p. 210, quoting Hayford, an editor in Laramie in 

79. Percy Shallenberger, "In Memory of John B. Okie," oration given at 
Okie's funeral November 10, 1930, p. 5, J. B. Okie biographical file, West- 
ern Research Center, University of Wyoming. 

80. Jensen interview, op. cit. 

81. Ibid. 

82. William E. Curtis, "Chicago Man Guides Huge Power Project," 
August 6, 1909, unidentified newspaper article, Fremont County file F-88, 
Western History Research Center, University of Wyoming. 

83. Jensen interview, op. cit. 


Salt Lake City, the Lost Cabin people would be seeing it at the 
same time free.^^ 

Okie supplied housing for many people in Lost Cabin. He had 
several ranch style houses built that seemed like palaces when 
compared with the average log cabin of the day. In 1918 he built 
several California bungalows, one of which his family used as a 
guest house and christened the "Doll House.'"*'' For his herders 
and ranch hands, he built a huge bunkhouse in 1916 that was 
handsome enough to be situated across the street from his own 
mansion and to be converted eventually into a home for a noted 
western artist, Henry Jackson. The ranchhands considered the 
bunkhouse deluxe for that area because of its twenty sleeping 
rooms and separate game room for the men.^*^ 

Since Lost Cabin never had good well water, Okie built another 
reservoir to supply the town with fresh water. ^' A ditch carried 
water to this water works reservoir from Badwater Creek two miles 
away. To get below the frost line, the pipeline from the reservoir 
had to be buried five feet under the ground. It carried water to 
every building in town that needed it.^^ Out in the same area 
around 1917, Okie cleared land for a golf course where he could 
indulge himself, his eastern friends and anyone else in the com- 
munity in one of his favorite pastimes.*^ Happy to find such a 
pleasure spot in the middle of this isolated area, no golf lover ever 
complained of the coarse natural grass on the "greens." Okie also 
built a sewer system in Lost Cabin, a carbide lighting system, and 
finally, around the time of World War I, a diesel power plant to 
generate electricity for the community.^*^ 

Okie's improvements extended up into the Owl Creek Moun- 
tains. He bought a saw mill around 1900 in Omaha, had it 
shipped to Casper and freighted from there by wagon. The wag- 
ons hauled it up into the mountains north of Lost Cabin where Pat 
Conley was put in charge of its operation. ^^ 

This new source of lumber spurred construction of more frame 
buildings in Lost Cabin,^- and as a result, for years there was no 
surplus lumber for any other community. Okie also hired two 
coal miners to start a coal mine on Alkali Creek about six miles 

84. Ibid. 

85. Lewis, J. B. Okie," op. cit. 

86. Hugh S. Day interview. 

87. Jensen interview, op. cit. 

88. V. G. Okie, autobiography, p. 28, op. cit. 

89. Jensen interview, op. cit. 

90. Ibid. 

9L V. G. Okie, autobiography, p. 9, op. cit. 

92. Ibid., p. 28. 


from Lost Cabin. The community then had coal to replace the 
wood fuel used up to that time.^^ 

Okie was an avid road builder and for good reasons. His inter- 
est in progress and modern inventions prompted him to purchase 
the first car in central Wyoming. Thirteen years after the Duryea 
brothers assembled the very first successful automobile in the 
East,^^ Okie had his own car and was bumping along in the sage- 
brush flats around Lost Cabin. His interest in roads was probably 
spurred on when he to to ship his car west by railroad and then to 
Lost Cabin on a freight wagon. ^'^ The newspapers noted the great 
event when the first automobile in that part of the country passed 
through Casper in March, 1906, on its way to Okie's ranch. ^^^ The 
car was an Holsmobile-Great Smith and the apple of Okie's eye.^^ 
He did all the mechanical work on the car himself, there being no 
one else for a hundred miles who would have known anything 
about its insides.^^ 

Although he gave everyone in town a ride, for years no one but 
Okie drove the Great Smith. The only exception was when his 
son Van attempted it once when Okie was off on a trip. Van, who 
was then about ten or twelve, had watched his father drive the car 
many times and was sure he could handle it as well. After inviting 
two children, a store clerk, and a neighbor, Mrs. Frank Rate, to 
ride along. Van started out the road toward Thermopohs. The 
ride was a short one. When he tried to adjust the steering wheel 
as he had seen his father do, to his surprise it came off in his 
hands. The car roared off through the sagebrush coming to rest 
at last in a gully. A team of horses had to pull it back to Lost 
Cabin. The gardener, who had offered to fix it, soon had the 
garage floor strewn with loose parts. Becoming very worried as 
the repairs made doubtful progress, Van decided to pack his horse 
for a little trip, and the minute he saw the family buckboard come 
over the hiU, he jumped on his horse and headed for the moun- 
tains. He stayed away five days to let his father cool off, because 
Van knew very well how J. B. Okie felt about his Holsmobile- 
Great Smith.»9 

Without the aid of any county money, Okie hired a crew of 
men to do road-building work.^*^^ With teams and scrapers, picks 

93. Ibid., p. 12. 

94. Larson, op. cit., p. 344. 

95. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 26. 

96. Natrona County Tribune, March 22, 1906. T. A. Larson places the 
first car in Casper around 1908, History of Wyoming, p. 344. 

97. Van Guelder Okie, a hand-written rough outline for his story of 
J. B. Okie, in the author's possession, p. 7. 

98. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 25. 

99. Ibid., p. 26. 

100. Jensen interview. 


and shovels, they built from the Thermopolis road all the way up 
Badwater Creek over the Owl Creek divide to the head of Deep 
Creek. ^"^i This road from the old post office at Badwater up to 
where it meets the Big Horn Trail was known as the Okie Auto- 
mobile Road and later as the Okie Trail. ^'^- In places this road 
passed over such steep terrain that the crew had to build rock walls 
of field stone. After sixty years these walls are still solid. ^'^-^ The 
Okie Automobile Road led up to a summer camp on the divide 
between Deep Creek and Badwater Creek. Here the family spent 
several weeks every summer living in tents, taking advantage of 
the cooler mountain weather. ^"^ Okie also built a road over Cedar 
Ridge east of Lost Cabin, ^'^•'' which had to cross Sand Draw, a 
constant trap for cars. They would invariably get bogged down 
in the sand and have to be pulled out by a team. Okie took care 
of the problem, however, by instructing his road crew to lay a 
concrete slab across the draw, a project that prevented further 

When a proposal was made in 1917 to construct a cement 
highway from Cheyenne to Yellowstone Park, Okie enthusiasti- 
cally supported it. He believed so strongly that the scheme would 
pay big interest to the state that he offered to contribute $10,000 
toward the construction. ^"^ No records show whether his money 
was accepted or not, but the new State Highway Commission 
accomplished very little in 1917 and 1918.^'*'^ The country had a 
war to finance, and therefore, little more than planning and author- 
izing highways was accomphshed that year.^'^^ In 1919 when the 
legislature adopted a new highway bill, they put the emphasis 
on building roads for industrial development rather than tourist 
travel. ^^-* The Highway Commission was being very careful to 
locate the roads in areas that would not necessitate later abandon- 
ment.^^^ All these trends worked against Okie and his Lost Cabin 
enterprises, despite his offer of $10,000. A cement highway 
through Lost Cabin to Yellowstone would have made a significant 
difference in the town's future. The railroad, however, had al- 
ready by-passed Lost Cabin in 1914 to avoid a "dog leg" in its 

101. Lewis, "J. B. Okie," op. cit. 

102. David Baskett, personal interview in Casper, Wyoming, June, 1971. 

103. Jensen interview, op. cit. 

104. Ibid. 

105. Lewis, "J. B. Okie," op. cit. 

106. Jensen interview, op. cit. 

107. Wyoming State Journal, January 26, 1917. 

108. Frances Birkhead Beard, Wyoming from Territorial Days to the 
Present Vol. I (Chicago: American Historical Society, Inc., 1933) p. 623, 
quoting Governor Carey. 

109. Ibid., p. 624. 

110. Ibid., p. 625. 

111. Ibid., p. 626. 


route to Shoshoni. With this precedent set, the Highway Com- 
mission, with its 1919 policy toward industrial development, was 
not likely to build a cement highway to Lost Cabin for the sake 
of tourists' convenience. In fact, by 1923 the highway project 
through the Wind River Canyon had been started,^^^ an effort that 
eliminated Lost Cabin as a stopping place between Casper and 
Thermopolis. For years Okie had maintained the roads on all 
sides of Lost Cabin for ten miles at his own expense, probably 
hoping to create a traffic pattern through the town. But these 
years of effort and his cash offer were not enough to convince the 
Highway Commission. 

Despite the modern conveniences and amusements Lost Cabin 
enjoyed during its years of prosperity, it still displayed the char- 
acteristics of an early western town. For example, the citizens' 
quite unsubtle technique for deahng with the unemployed would 
horrify a modern social worker. The Fremont Clipper reported in 
February of 1899, that a group of twenty-six masked men had 
caught John Abbott two miles north of Lost Cabin and whipped 
him nearly to death. His family was in a destitute condition and 
he would not work to support them. The men had given him one 
hundred and three lashes, and then the captain offered him a free 
lecture : 

We are very sorry that we have to take the law into our hands and 
punish you, but it is necessary. Now, Mr. Abbott, we will give you 
three days to get a job and get to work and support your family, or 
leave the country. We have had enough of such cats in this com- 
munity, and there is no room for any more. Now we don't want 
any hem-hawing about it but go to work; if we have to call a second 
time your hide will hang. Now we hope you will take a tumble and 
save further trouble. ^^ 

How the Clipper got the full and exact text of the lecture is a mys- 
tery, but the intent of the lecture itself was perfectly clear. 

Even in the sophisticated elegance of the Okie mansion, the 
Lost Cabin citizens could never quite escape reminders that they 
did indeed live in the "Wild West." At one of the many parties 
the Okies gave, the dancing was suddenly interrupted when a man 
burst out of the kitchen, collided with several dancing couples, 
slipped on the waxed floor, and finally plunged through the front 
door. In the same instant, another man burst from the kitchen in 
hot pursuit, waving a revolver. He too ran out the front door. In 
a few seconds the guests heard a loud, shattering crash as if every 
window in the mansion had suddenly broken. When the excite- 
ment finally waned, Okie probably stood up on the great oak 

112. Wyoming State Journal, January 26, 1917. 

113. "Starved His Family; White Caps Cowhide a Worthless Citizen 
Near Lost Cabin," Fremont Clipper, February 3, 1899. 


Staircase in the entrance hall in an attempt to explain the intrusion 
to his guests. A man named Otto Chenoweth was being taken to 
Casper by the sheriff and a deputy to stand trial for stealing horses. 
The three had stopped in Lost Cabin for supper, but finding no 
one at the hotel, they had come up to the Okie mansion. While 
they were having supper in the kitchen, Chenoweth made a dash 
for it. Unfortunately, once outside he had attempted to circle the 
house to confuse his pursuers but had plunged into some glass 
hotbeds in the side yard. When the sheriff reached him, he was 
standing knee-deep in broken glass, afraid to move in any direction 
until light was brought. ^^^ When the three men were finally back 
in the kitchen finishing their supper, Chenoweth, who was Massa- 
chusetts bred and well educated, sent his apologies in to the ladies 
for so unceremoniously intruding upon their presence. He also 
apologized for the sheriff's rudeness in entering in such an un- 
gentlemanly manner with his revolver drawn. "'' After that Cheno- 
weth was called the "gentleman horse thief," an apt tribute to the 
varied life styles in Lost Cabin. 

Some outsiders believed Lost Cabin was a town where thieves 
found a friendly welcome. A week after the capture of the notor- 
ious horse thief, Tom O'Day, one of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang, 
the Denver Times denounced Lost Cabin on this very charge. Of 
course, O'Day had often spent time in the town even when he was 
wanted. He would stop in at the Dew Drop Inn saloon for a 
drink and a game of cards, knowing he was relatively safe. For 
emergencies, however, he always kept his horse saddled and ready 
at the back door and a thirty-foot rope tied from the horse to his 
wrist.^^^ When he was finally captured on November 23, 1903, 
he was trying to herd some stolen horses north to Montana. The 
sheriff, with O'Day in custody, took the horses to Lost Cabin 
where during the night some of O'Day's friends let them out of 
the corral and drove them away. Probably on the basis of this 
incident, the Denver Times reported: 

Nearly everybody at Lost Cabin are friends of the thieves (the 
Hole-in-the-Wall gang), and a report has reached Casper that four of 
the most prominent men in that section will be arrested and taken to 
Lander on the charge of abetting the thieves. One of the men is a 
millionaire sheepman who was connected with the Murphy murder 
case. 11''' 

The citizens of Lost Cabin, furious about this public accusation, 

114. V. G. Okie, autobiography, p. 21, op. cit. 

115. Alfred James Mokler, History of Natrona Coitntx, Wyoming, 1888- 
1922, (Chicago: R. R. Donnelly & Sons Co.. 1923), p. 331. 

116. V. G. Okie, autobiography, p. 14. 

117. "He Gets Four Dollars a Column," Natrona County Tribune. 
December 3, 1903. 


wrote a letter to the Natrona County Tribune denouncing the man 
they suspected had written the article. The letter indicated that 
they considered themselves a law-abiding community and resented 
accusations that they were a rough, bandit-harboring, uncivilized 
town.^^*^ Facts would indicate that they were an odd combination 
of both. 

Although Okie's coal mine near Lost Cabin was a sign to the 
town of its progressiveness, the Casper paper used it as an excuse 
to mention Lost Cabin's bad reputation. A miner had been killed 
in a cave-in, making two deaths in one week for the town. The 
paper noted that they never had any deaths there in years past, but 
that it had often been remarked how many people there were in 
Lost Cabin who ought to die. To this time no one had consented. 
The paper added that since they had planted a cemetery there 
everybody seemed to want to move in.^^-* By the time the four- 
teenth gravestone was erected in that cemetery, even the Lost 
Cabin citizens had to remark about the fact that not one person 
had died of old age.^-'^ 

J. B. Okie did his best to make Lost Cabin a progressive com- 
munity by building roads and modern housing, by bringing in the 
kinds of entertainment enjoyed in large cities, by developing sewer 
and water systems and by entertaining graciously in his mansion. 
But the character of an isolated western town never left Lost Cabin 
because the one thing Okie didn't have shipped in was his own 


J. B. Okie found success in almost everything he did. He had a 
prosperous sheep business, many thriving mercantile stores, enor- 
mous land holdings, and a model town that he had built in the 
midst of isolation. But those people who knew the man think of 
these accomplishments as mere sidelights. Their fascination lies 
in recollections of his personal life. 

For example, they remember Okie's uncommon respect for 
learning. His formal education had ended with high school but 
he went on from there to teach himself many skills. When he was 
still in his teens, herding sheep around Lander, he used the long, 
lonely hours to study French. With just the aid of his French 
grammar book and dictionary, he so completely mastered the lan- 
guage that he could converse on any subject with a Frenchman 
whether in Wyoming or on the streets of Paris. ^-^ Okie once 

118. Ibid. 

119. "A Change in Sentiment," Natrona Tribune, January 24, 1901. 

120. V. B. Okie, autobiography, p. 28, op. cit. 

121. Shallenberger, "In Memory," op. cit., p. 3. 


jokingly commented on his self-taught French after returning from 
a trip to Denver where he and his wife had seen Sara Bernhardt 
on her opening night. He noted to his friends in Casper that the 
divine Sara used an accent identical with the Lost Cabin variety of 
French which had been acquired from the study of sardine cans.^-- 

In his later years Okie also taught himself Spanish so that he 
could converse with his sheepherders. He could conduct all his 
own business in Mexico and had no need for an interpreter when 
he traveled in Spain and South America. ^--^ When his children 
were old enough, he paid John Ortiz, the manager of the saloon, 
to tutor his children in Spanish, ^-^ and also brought Henri Boulet, 
a French tutor, to Lost Cabin for one summer.^-'' Not all of the 
children matched their father's proficiency, but Van, the third 
oldest boy, found a special incentive to master Spanish. His 
sudden interest was spurred during a vacation the family took in 
Havana, Cuba. Okie, who wanted to give young Van a chance to 
use his Spanish, asked him to go down to the desk clerk and order 
him a hot bath. Shortly afterwards, the Cuban police came to the 
hotel room and arrested an astonished father. When the whole 
situation was straightened out, they found that Van had told the 
desk clerk, "This man is hot stuff!" Back in Lost Cabin Okie 
enjoyed telling the story around town, which embarrassed Van so 
much that he became absolutely determined to learn Spanish 

Okie's extensive library became the center of his leisure hour 
studies. Here he studied law from Blackstone^-^ so that he was 
able to advise the whole community on legal problems. ^-^ In 
addition, after studying civil engineering on his own, he later 
passed the state examination entitling him to practice as a civil 
engineer. ^^'^ Here he also read history, literature, geology and 
ornithology. ^^"^ Okie encouraged his children to read good litera- 
ture and chose famous passages for them to memorize. Van 
remembers having to learn as a boy Hamlet's soliloquy and 
Polonius' advice to his son.^^^ 

The education of the Okie children reflected their father's love 
of learning. After a few years of public education at the httle 

122. Natrona Tribune, February 14, 1901. 

123. Shallenberger, "In Memory," op. cit., p. 3. 

124. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 15. 

125. Ibid., p. 28. 

126. Ibid., p. 18. 

127. Kathryn Hammons, "J. B. Okie; Pioneer Sheepman," (unpublished 
manuscript), p. 8. 

128. Shallenberger, "In Memory," op. cit., p. 4. 

129. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography , 1927, XVII. p. 325. 

130. Hammons, "Pioneer Sheepman," op. cit., p. 8. 

131. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 18. 


school in Lost Cabin, each of the children in turn attended board- 
ing schools. ^■^- The oldest son, John B. Okie, Jr., or "Jack," later 
graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis as a structural 
engineer. Howard and Van both graduated from Culver Military 
Academy, after which Van went on to attend college in Baltimore 
and the Sorbonne in Paris. The three girls, St. Claire, Jeannette, 
and Mary, attended finishing schools. St. Claire later continued 
her education, taking a degree at St. Mary's of Notre Dame.^'^-^ 

Several people who knew J. B. Okie mentioned that he was the 
smartest man they ever knew.^"^^ The people of Lost Cabin had 
watched him become a rich man as they all struggled along. They 
saw him educate himself to a level few early pioneers ever reached. 
When they asked his advice, they could expect an immediate and 
usually accurate response which increased their respect for him. 
They came to rely on J. B. Okie because they trusted him and were 
convinced he was a smart man. Colonel Barrie, an eccentric sheep 
rancher from Bridger Creek who claimed South America as his 
place of origin, always called Okie "Holy Father" because every- 
one turned to him Hke a flock to a priest. ^•^"' Barrie would tell the 
people rather scornfully: 

If this man was taken from your community the rest of you would 
perish. You would starve to death. When you are hungry you go to 
his store to buy your food and you never have the cash to pay for it. 
You get your clothing in the same way. If you wish to borrow money 
he is the banker who loans it to you. If you are in need of legal 
advice you draw on his knowlege of the law. If you have land trouble 
you go into his office and ask him to prepare the affidavits that will 
satisfy and conciliate the General Land Office at Washington. Even 
when you have domestic troubles, and the divorce courts loom up 
before you, you go and ask him to show you a way out of your per- 
plexities. If you want to learn the day of the week or how to spell a 
word, you go to the telephone and call up J. B. Okie.i^s 

This description was hardly an exaggeration. The people of Lost 
Cabin greatly respected and relied on J. B. Okie's intelligence. 

Old-timers also recall vividly the mansion that Okie built in the 
middle of the wilderness. In 1900 Okie decided that his family 
had outgrown the rambling log house they had lived in for four- 
teen years and made plans to build a mansion in Lost Cabin. The 
idea had been brewing in his mind ever since he had written a 
poem called "My Castle Among the Hills. "^-^^ A few years after 
that, he had planted roundleaf cottonwood trees on three sides of 

132. Ibid., p. 6. 

133. Hammons, "Pioneer Sheepman," op. cit., p. 9. 

134. Hugh S. Day, personal interview in Riverton, February, 1972; 
Lewis, "J. B. Okie," op. cit. 

135. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., pp. 19-20. 

136. Shallenberger, "In Memory," op. cit., p. 4. 

137. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 8. 


a six acre quadrangle overlooking Badwater Creek.^''''' The spot 
was ready, and definite plans began to take shape. Okie visited 
several mansions in the state to get some idea of what kind of 
architecture he liked. In the spring of 1900 he went out to look 
over B. B. Brooks' new house which was in the modern style. ^•'•* 
He finally hired a man named Philpott from Omaha to draw up the 
plans for construction and to act as superintendent of the work.^^" 

Construction began late in the spring of 1900. Okie brought 
the saw mill to the Owl Creek Mountains where the sawing of 
lumber for the new house commenced. ^^^ W. H. Mvering, who 
had accepted the job of stone mason and contractor for the build- 
ing/^- selected a site on a ridge three miles from Lost Cabin as his 
source for stone. Here the men began to carve out huge two-foot 
squares of beautiful creamy-red sandstone for use on the first story 
and in the foundation. Around three sides of the house they built 
a wide veranda using sandstone pillars to support the roof. As the 
carpenters started working on the second story framework, the 
structure took on a new proportion that astounded the Indians who 
passed through town. They marveled at the "big tepee" being 
built by the white man and the name stuck. The house was 
thereafter called the "Big Tepee" by everyone. ^^^ 

Okie's sixteen-room mansion was considered one of the finest 
homes in the state during the early years of this century. ^^^ The 
architecture of the house was quite modern for the day. With the 
advent of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and its totally different 
approach to architectural style, America had relinquished its 
fascination with the Romanesque style of heavy arches and stone 
work. The Fair revived the classical old-world ideas of architec- 
ture, a reversion which Frank Lloyd Wright considered a great 
relapse and a blight on progress. ^^^ Wright obstinately continued 
on his own path towards "organic architecture," architecture that 
grew from the land and belonged to the land. Okie's home came 
during this period of artistic turbulence often referred to as the 
eclectic period. Philpott, the architect of the Big Tepee, had 
almost certainly seen Frank Lloyd Wright's work, judging just by 
the Okie house. The hipped roof and the predominent use of 
horizontal lines so characteristic of Wright's prairie houses are very 
evident, if less skillfully executed, in the Big Tepee. Philpott used 

138. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit. 

139. Natrona Tribune, March 8, 1900. 

140. The Clipper, January 18, 1901. 

141. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit.. p. 9. 

142. The Clipper, January 18, 1901. 

143. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 9. 

144. Windriver Mountaineer, 'inly 19, 1907. 

145. Frank Lloyd Wright, A Testament. (New York: Bramhall House, 
1957), pp. 81, 37, 33. 


the veranda roof and the veranda itself as strong horizontal forces, 
paralleling the line of the main roof yet extending beyond the hmit 
of the main roof very much as Wright did with his main floors. 
The subsequent addition of windows closing in the veranda in- 
creased the appearance of the Wright influence because of the 
narrow parallel panes. Perhaps Philpott had seen Wright's design 
for "A House in a Prairie Town" which appeared in Ladies' Home 
Journal in 1900. That design had the extended first floor hori- 
zontal roof, paralleling the main roof and also the narrow parallel 
windows. ^^"^ Had Wright known about Okie's use of native stone 
quarried on the property, he would have applauded because he 
always preached that every house should be a part of the land on 
which it is built. The Big Tepee was a very early attempt to make 
a Wyoming house fit in with the terrain. ^^^ 

The architecture of the Big Tepee, however, is not purely mod- 
ern. The use of the heavy stone, although "organic" as Wright 
would have it, is still a carry-over from the romantic style of H. H. 
Richardson and the Romanesque. The octagonal turret that pro- 
jects above the northeast corner of the roof is likewise such a 
carry-over. The stone is almost hidden now by the closed-in 
veranda; but the turret, always in plain view, rudely breaks the 
horizontal theme of the rest of the house and proclaims itself inde- 
pendent. The turret may well have been Okie's own idea because 
it alone seems to detract from the unity of the plan. Having pre- 
viously created a mental image of his "Castle Among the Hills," 
Okie may well have imposed his dreams upon his architect and 
insisted on a tower from which he could view his empire. In spite 
of its turret, the Big Tepee reflected a modern style of architecture 
from the Wright school, at that time still very new and very con- 
troversial. (See page 184, Annals of Wyoming, Fall, 1974, Part I 
of "J. B. Okie," for a photograph of the Okie Mansion.) 

When the finer work began on the inside of the house, freight 
wagons brought in wood that had been shipped from the east by 
rail as far as Casper. The wagons contained oak for the floors, 
elegant carved fireplaces for each room, and imported moldings 
for the walls and ceilings. The vestibule was lined with tooled 
leather and the other rooms papered with wallpaper brought from 
Europe. ^^'^ Okie's master bedroom had its own huge white tile 
bath."^ The Big Tepee was one of the early houses in Wyoming 
to have modern plumbing on two floors. The running water was 

146. /^jW., p. 41. 

147. Peter R. Hanson, Division of Architectural Engineering, University 
of Wyoming, personal interview, April, 1972. 

148. Mary Helen Hendry, "The Big Tepee," Casper Star-Tribune, March, 

149. Mrs. A. D. Macfarlane, personal interview in Casper, Wyoming, 
June, 1971. 


supplied by the gravity system from a large tank at the top of the 
house. Okie also had steam heat installed. ^'^'^ 

When the mansion was completed in 1901, J. B. Okie and 
Jeannette filled their home with exotic furnishings from around the 
world. The formal rooms were lighted by carbide chandeliers of 
coordinated designs, and the vestibule was lighted by a Spanish 
lantern set with stained glass. The Okies bought rugs and tapes- 
tries in Persia, India, and China, hand-carved teakwood tables in 
the Orient, and silver and linen in England and Ireland and 
brought them back to their Big Tepee. On the walls they hung 
oil paintings done by noted artists of the day, hand-carved ivory 
plaques, and intricate pictures embroidered with silk thread. ^''^ 

The Okies also put much effort into turning their dry sagebrush 
yard into a beautifully groomed lawn. In addition to his cotton- 
wood trees, Okie transplanted spruce trees from the mountains and 
set out weeping willows for shade. ^•''- He hired full-time gardeners 
to care for the lawn and the many varieties of flowers that bloomed 
there. At the side of the house, Okie built one of the first green- 
houses in Wyoming. The glass had to be shipped by rail from 
Omaha and by freight wagon for eighty-five miles from Casper. 
But once it was built, the Okies enjoyed fresh flowers the year 
round, ^•'^•^ and the Lost Cabin people saw exotic blossoms that few 
Wyoming settlers could even imagine. The gardeners could start 
flowers in the greenhouse during the winter, transplant them to the 
yard in the spring, so that some kind of flower was always bloom- 
ing in the yard throughout the summer. ^^"^ Around his six-acre 
lawn Okie had an intricate fence of cast concrete constructed that 
was the most modern feature of the Big Tepee's design. A fairly 
recent innovation in construction technique, the use of cast con- 
crete is still considered difficult. Anyone acquainted the slow 
development of this technique would have been greatly surprised 
to see the fence in Lost Cabin, Wyoming, so early. ^'^•'^ Near the 
end of the fence stately wrought iron gates marked the entrance 
to the winding carriage road that led guests to the door of the Big 
Tepee. As they approached the house, visitors would receive an 
aloof welcome from the peacocks that strutted among the flowers 
and hedges. ^^^ Around 1914 Okie built an aviary in one corner 
of the yard where he housed one of the largest collections of exotic 

150. The Clipper, January 18, 1901. 

151. Hammons, "Pioneer Sheepman," op. cit., p. 7, and Casper Tribune- 
Herald, June 8, 1945. 

152. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 9. 

153. Shallenberger, "In Memory," op. cit., p. 6. 

154. Hendry, "Big Tepee," op. cit. 

155. Hanson interview, op. cit. 

156. Hendry, "Big Tepee," op. cit. 


birds in America. ^^' He purchased the birds from General Palm- 
er's estate in Colorado Springs^^^ and brought them to Lost Cabin 
where they thrilled both children and adults for many years. There 
children whose only experience had been in the dry hills around 
Badwater Creek could suddenly walk into a jungle of unknown 
plants, curious smells, and the wild screamings and chatterings of 
tropical birds. Colorful cocatoos, birds of paradise, and macaws 
would be swinging on intricate perches suspended from the high 
domed ceilings. That whole exciting sense experience is still vivid 
to some who saw it over fifty years ago.^-^'^ 

After the Big Tepee was completed, its doors were always open 
to the people of Lost Cabin. ^'^'^ The first of many big parties there 
was a housewarming. People came from sixty miles around to 
see the wonderful house everyone had been talking about. ^^^ Okie 
took pride in showing to anyone who was curious his flush toilets, 
carbide lights, and all the modern conveniences in the house. ^'^- 
More than likely at that first party people were more interested in 
seeing a toilet flush than in dancing. The housewarming lasted all 
night, as did all community dances, so people stayed for breakfast 
before starting the drive home. When all the guests had gone and 
all the debris had been cleared away, the Okies found that the 
polished oak floor was so scarred by dancing boot heels that it 
had to be scraped and refinished. The rooms that had so proudly 
displayed imported wallpaper all had to be repapered in the cor- 
ners because of the tobacco juice spat there. But no one seemed 
to mind especially, because the housewarming had been a real 
event. ^^•'^ 

The Okies loved to travel and did so from the very early days of 
their marriage. Jeannette and J. B. took a pack trip through 
Yellowstone Park in 1891 with their friend John Day.^^^ Because 
the park was less than twenty years old then, what they saw was 
somewhat different from what the modern motorist sees in his 
hurried drive through today. The road system in the park being 
incomplete then, they probably entered either through Two Ocean 
Pass and up the Yellowstone River on a bridle trail, or they entered 

157. Hammons, "Pioneer Sheepman," op. cit., p. 7. 

158. Kathryn Hammons, personal letter. 

159. J. David Love, U. S. Geological Survey, personal interviews in 
Laramie, Wyoming, 1971 and 1972. 

160. Day interview, op. cit. 

161. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 9. 

162. Day interview, op. cit. 

163. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 9. 

164. Natrona Tribune, August 19, 1891. Van Okie places this trip in 
1895 in the outline he made of his autobiography. His early dates are 
often inaccurate and therefore the newspaper mention of Mrs. Okie's plea- 
sure trip through the national park is taken as the authentic trip made by 
all three. 


from the present south entrance which was then simply called 
Sheridan's 1882 route. They had only dirt stage roads or pack 
trails to follow. One of the roads they undoubtedly traveled wound 
around the south edge of Shoshoni Lake, connecting Old Faithful 
and West Thumb, and crossed the often treacherous Moose Creek 
and Lewis River. ^^^ A hotel was then located on the south bank 
of Shoshoni Lake. Both the road and hotel were abandoned 
within a year or two after the Okies' visit, probably because of the 
difficulties with the dangerous fords. There were six other hotels 
in the park at that time and an efficient stage coach system to take 
people on guided tours. Even in 1891 tourists tried to time their 
visits to avoid the "crowds. "^'^'^ The Okies spent a month on their 
Yellowstone trip, camping out all along the way. On the trip 
home Okie shot an elk in Jackson Hole and brought the antlers 
back to hang over the fireplace in the cabin. ^''" 

Once the Okies were well established financially, they began to 
travel more extensively. They had made trips to both seacoasts 
in the early years of their marriage, visiting relatives in San Fran- 
cisco, Washington, D. C, and New York City. In 1898 they 
spent several months in Mexico and California. Okie, who had 
brought back several Mexican dollars as souvenirs, joked with his 
pohtically-minded friends that the dollars were worth SAlVz to 
the poor man and $.48 Vi to the capitalist in Mexico, the free silver 
country. ^^^ By the spring of 1899 Jeannette and J. B. were ready 
to expand there horizons, so they left their six children on Long 
Island with Okie's mother and made a tour of Europe. Then fol- 
lowed several years when J. B. Okie was tied down by several court 
suits. By 1904, circumstances having freed him again, he took a 
month-long tour of Central America, strangely enough, without his 
family.^^^ That he had met Clarice just shortly before this trip 
may be mere coincidence, but her family did live in Guatemala. ^'"^ 
Four years later she would be his wife, and with her, Okie traveled 
throughout Europe and Asia. When he became interested in avia- 
tion, he was not satisfied until he had seen Europe by air.^'^ The 
Lost Cabin people had good reason to look at J. B. Okie with awe; 
he traveled to places they had only heard of. On a whim he could 
board his plane at the little landing strip in Lost Cabin^'- and fly 

165. A. B. Guptill, Practical Guide to Yellowstone National Park. (St. 
Paul, Minnesota: F. Jay Haynes & Bro., 1890), p. 90. 

166. Ibid., p. 9. 

167. V. G. Okie, story of J. B. Okie, op. cit., p. 7. 

168. Natrona Tribune, March 10, 1898. 

169. Natrona County Tribune, March 3, 1904. 

170. Jensen interview, op. cit. 

171. Thremopolis Independent Record, 'Nowemher 14, 1930. 

172. Shoshoni Enterprise, December 9, 1927. 


off to some exotic-sounding place like Mexico City.^^'^ But he 
always came back with stories of his travels, and like any common 
sheepman, he would stand around in the general store sharing them 
with his friends. ^^"^ 

Okie's scholarly intelligence and business sense, his elegant man- 
sion and gardens, his world travels, all these fascinating aspects of 
his personal life the people in central Wyoming readily recall. 
They cannot agree, however, on something as basic as what J. B. 
Okie looked like. He has been described as dark-eyed, tall and 
curly-haired by some,^^^' while others remember him as being tall 
and blond with a Boston accent.^'*' One newspaper article shows 
a drawing of Okie with a black beard and mustache, a slouch hat 
and very seedy in appearance."'' Still others claim that he was 
blue-eyed, about five feet, nine inches tall with a blond mustache 
and almost totally bald."'' Okie's pictures verify this last 

The abstract qualities of Okie's personality are subject to emo- 
tional interpretation because each person saw Okie through his 
own experience."'^ And as with everyone, Okie's character 
changed throughout his life. Therefore, those who knew him as 
a young man and those who knew him only as an old man saw 
him differently. He has been called an infinitely patient man and 
a very impatient man. Some say he was a cold, hard, calculating 
businessman who had no real, close friends, while others contend 
that he "had a heart as big as an ox" and showed real concern for 
other people. Okie has been called dignified, aristocratic and 
reserved. But others remember that he loved a good laugh, liked 
to be the center of attention, often acted very silly when he danced 
at parties, and was quite a charming, dashing fellow. Still others 
remember a raspy disposition, a cynical, sarcastic attitude toward 
life, an arrogance that prompted him to speak of "the natives" 
and to call everyone "my man." If a few people remember that 
he had many enemies, an opposing few believe that everyone re- 
spected him, his only enemies being those who resented his favors. 

173. Casper Daily Tribune, November 7, 1930. 

174. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 18. 

175. Hammons, "Pioneer Sheepman," op. cit., pp. 2, 4. 

176. Mrs. Alta Barnes, personal interview in Casper, Wyoming, June, 

177. Mary Helen Hendry, "A Thorough Man and a Shrewd One," 
Casper Star-Tribune, March, 1968, p. 37. 

178. Day interview and MacFarland interview, op. cit. 

179. The following descriptions of Okie's character are not individually 
footnoted. I appreciate very much the openness of these people who 
offered their opinions on this very personal matter, and I do not wish to 
cause them any embarrassment. I therefore footnote these opinions as a 
group: anonymous, Valentino Baima, Mrs. Alta Barnes, David Baskett, 
Hugh S. Day, June Forsley, Mary Helen Hendry, Henry Jensen, Mrs. A. D. 
MacFarland, Van Okie, Mrs. Donald Robson, Percy Shallenberger. 


Okie's willingness to work hard, to get down and dig ditches with 
his own hands, impressed more than one old-time resident. Others, 
however, remembered him as a man who used his brain rather 
than his hands. The character of J. B. Okie lies somewhere be- 
tween these poles of opinion, but where exact point never has 
been and never will be determined. Perhaps the best description 
of the man must be a simple one such as that made by Lost Cabin's 
eccentric Colonel Barrie years ago. In 1902 he was on the witness 
stand testifying in the Kasshan murder trial. The attorney asked 
this wily South African, "Are you in any way related to J. B. 

"Yes, Suh, yes Suh," he replied much to everyone's surprise. 

"In what way are you related to him?" asked the attorney. 

"Ah'm related to him, Suh, as a house cat is related to a Royal 
Bengal tiguh.''^^" 


Forty-two years have passed since J. B. Okie left the Big Tepee 
to go duck hunting by the reservoir. After his death the people 
of central Wyoming did not forget him, but memories of him did 
begin that gradual transformation that comes with the passing of 
time. Anyone curious about who he was need only ask around in 
Casper, and he will be amazed at the number of people, young 
and old, who have some recollection or some story to tell about 
J. B. Okie. Few other sheep ranchers in the state could claim such 
a following. The stories have passed through so many tellings 
that they may someday qualify as local legends. They are very 
close to doing so already. While many of them cannot be authenti- 
cated after so many years, they are still popularly thought to be 
historical. Some of them, when closely researched, prove to be 
untrue. As the years continue to blur the facts, the story of J. B. 
Okie becomes more and more intriguing. The fact that some of it 
is mere legend, however, does not disqualify it as a part of the 
whole picture of Okie. A man of common character would not 
have generated such a myriad of fascinating tales. 

The more commonly known stories have already appeared in 
the text of this paper. Many variations of them were not men- 
tioned. For example, some people believe that Okie brought a 
man named Dr. Jewell to Lost Cabin to lure Jeannette away. 
Others remember that he brought Dr. Cox. Some say he brought 
one, then the other. Still others have heard that Okie, resenting 
the attention his wife gave to Dr. Jewell, had hired a gunman to 
kill the Shoshoni physician. Ironically, the gunman supposedly 
killed Jewell's identical twin by mistake. The story incorporates 

180. V. G. Okie, autobiography, op. cit., p. 20. 


the mysterious shooting of a man named Scott Jewell which actu- 
ally did occur in Shoshoni.^^^ This is just one of several examples 
of how the stories about Okie have grown, like a Japanese Bonsai 
tree, in every direction. 

Some of the authentic stories have gained great embellishments 
in many tellings. People remember that the government sued Okie 
for land fraud, but the story has changed somewhat v/ith the pass- 
ing of a few years. Now one may hear that Okie was so well read 
in law that he acted as his own lawyer and was able to make fools 
of all the government witnesses. One version states that the 
investigator studied Okie for twenty years. Then when the case 
came to court, the defense lawyer asked for equal time to prepare 
his case. The judge supposedly granted it, but Okie died within 
nine years. Some believe the scandal of the suit caused him to 
flee to Mexico to escape prosecution. 

Both the fabricated stories and the embellished stories can be a 
clue to that part of Okie's character that straight historical fact 
can never recreate. Okie's life story needs to be "demythologized" 
in the sense that modern theologians use the term. In other words, 
the facts should be kept clearly in mind, but the meaning of the 
legends must be studied as well. All the tales told about Okie 
cannot be taken as fact, but on the other hand, they must not be 
dismissed as mere fiction. They point to a most unusual man who 
accomplished extraordinary things under unusual circumstances. 
In their exaggerated way, they show Okie the intelligent, passion- 
ate, proud, and ambitious man. 

Besides reading Okie's character between the lines of the semi- 
legends, clues also appear in the attitudes of those who remember 
him. Time after time, they would ask that certain stories not be 
printed, or that nothing bad be printed. After recounting several 
tales of Okie's intrigues, the old-timers would always end with a 
reverse approach, trying to emphasize all the good he did. This 
desire to protect Okie's name despite what they believed to be the 
facts, shows the great respect these people had for the man, regard- 
less of his underhanded dealings. 

Is Okie's story, then, worth retelling? Some historians would 
respond with an unconditional "No," calling it local history or an 
insignificant part of the nation's history; but to the people of Wyo- 
ming, he was part of their history. To be sure, none of them 
would suffer greatly if they never heard of Okie again, but the same 
could be said of never reading another good novel. All either of 
them do is make life more enjoyable. If a book interests you, it is 
worth reading. If Okie's story interests the people of Wyoming, 
it is worth retelling. 

181. Facts disprove this version. Dr. Jewell was already married in 1905 
and Scott Jewell was still alive in 1908, according to newspaper accounts. 

Wyoming State Mistorical Society 

Casper, Wyoming September 13-15, 1974 

Registration for the twenty-first Annual Meeting of the Wyo- 
ming State Historical Society began at 1:00 p.m. in the Diamond 
4 Room of the Holiday Inn in Casper. Refreshments were served 
and a pleasant evening was enjoyed. 


The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by the president, 
Richard Dumbrill, in the Holiday Inn. A letter was read from the 
Casper Chamber of Commerce welcoming the Wyoming Historical 
Society to Casper for their Annual Meeting. Following the Pledge 
of Allegiance to the flag, the president asked the following mem- 
bers to serve on committees: audit, Dave Wasden and Molly 
Seneshale; resolutions, Jay Brazelton and Henry Jensen; parli- 
mentarian, Dr. T. A. Larson. 


Lincoln County (Vic McGinnis). The annual chuck-wagon 
picnic was held along the Green River. Treks were made to the 
Big Sandy Crossing and Simpson's Hollow; to Emigrant Springs; 
and to Fort Bonneville and the Father DeSmet monument. 

Hot Springs County (Etta Payne). A trek was made to Bates 
Battlefield. Several other groups were invited and a total of 82 
people and 21 cars participated in visiting this site where the Bates 
battle was fought 100 years ago on July 4, 1874. 

Goshen County (Arden E. Browning). The Chapter tried un- 
successfully to save the Rawhide Buttes Stage Station. They have 
been successful in acquiring a museum. The Union Pacific donated 
the old depot to the Chapter to be used as a museum. 

Fremont County (Norbert Ribble). Records are being assem- 
bled on rural cemeteries in the county. Members are taping the 
voices of many of their old-timers and donating time to the Lander 
museum, and they went on a trek to South Pass City and Atlantic 

Campbell County. Main activities have been concerned with 
the new Rockpile Museum which was opened to the public July 21, 
1974. A tea at the dedication ceremonies, a $500 contribution, 
and the cleaning and arranging of displays for the opening were 
some of the projects for the museum. The Chapter sponsored a 


booth at the fair depicting history through clothing entitled, "From 
Belly Bands to Bikinis." 

Big Horn County (Wilma Johnson) . Three meetings were held. 
The reburial of Jeremiah John "Liver Eating" Johnston was a big 
project. The Chapter is active in the Big Horn Forest project. 

Albany County (Burton Marston). Seven interesting and in- 
formative meetings were held this year. Work with the Laramie 
Plains Museum has continued and the Chapter, in cooperation with 
the University of Wyoming, the Kiwanis Club and the Laramie 
Westerners, sponsored the Annual Ranch Tour. 

Johnson County (Bill Holland). Regular meetings have been 
held. At one meeting Glenn Sweem discussed pictograms and 
another was concerned with collecting and writing histories of 
brands. Two treks were held. The first was to the Lime Kiln and 
the second to the archaelogical diggings near Hyattville. 

Washakie County (Roy Pendergraft). The Jaycees are circulat- 
ing a petition to assist in establishing a museum district for the 
county (excluding the Ten Sleep area which hopes to establish its 
own district). The Chapter participated in the trek to Bates Battle- 
field and is working on the Big Horn Forest project. 

Uinta County (Russell Varineau). A melodrama was produced 
for the Fort Bridger Rendezvous and other special occasions. 
Costumed volunteers guided over 800 students through the Fort 
this year. Members have assisted in keeping the Evanston mu- 
seum open this year and also initiated a cataloging system at the 

Teton County (Jay Brazelton). A fascinating slide program of 
past (1872) and present (1972) scenes of Yellowstone Park was 
a highlight of the year. An old-timer was interviewed each month. 
A storeroom at the Teton County Courthouse has been acquired 
and will be used for the safekeeping of historical items presented to 
the Chapter. 

Sweetwater County (Molly Seneshale). Treks have been made 
to the Brady Oil Field and Fort Bridger, and many members went 
on the historical trail trek. Talks have been on Plains Indians, 
the Waters of the Green River, Reminiscences of Rock Springs and 
Green River, pottery making, history of Eden-Farson area, and the 
Custer Trail in Wyoming. Giving library books in memory of 
deceased members continues to be a project. 

Sheridan County (Glenn Sweem). Work on the Trail End 
Museum continues to be a big job. Guided tours have been pro- 
vided. Two treks, one to Fort Kearny and another to Hole-in-the- 
Wall were held. Members are participating in the Big Horn Forest 
Committee project. 

Platte County. About 85 people attended the annual meeting 
held at the Diamond Ranch near Wheatland. A paper on the 


history of the ranch was given. At another meeting in February 
the Chapter discussed old buildings in Wheatland that might be 
suitable for a museum. 

Park County (Mae Ballinger). Because of the great amount 
of publicity, an entertaining report on the Chapter's part in the 
reburial of Jeremiah John "Liver Eating" Johnston was read. 
Three large steel files have been acquired to hold memorabilia, 
tapes of interviews with old-timers are being made, and a dedi- 
catory ceremony for the "Memorial to Early Day Stage Drivers" 
was held. Two treks, one to the digs at Hyattville and another to 
ranches on the South Fork of the Shoshone were held. 

Laramie County. This is a large chapter and most of its activi- 
ties have centered around providing interesting programs for their 
monthly meetings. 

Natrona County (Kathleen Hemry). Many interesting programs 
have been given: pictures of the Oregon Trail; movies of the Cole 
Creek Disaster; a moving program on the life of Lincoln; on Easter 
Island at a meeting with the Archaeological Society; with Richard 
Dumbrill, state president; a show and tell meeting, and much work 
on planning the State Meeting. 

Weston County (Mary Capps). Much work resulted in a most 
successful State Trek along the Wyoming portion of Custer's 1874 
venture into the Black Hills. Over 150 people participated. Dr. 
Frison spoke on buffalo jumps and at another meeting. Dr. Grees 
discussed the geology of the Black Hills. Plans are progressing to 
equip some mini-musuems for school children in the county. 

Following luncheon, Larry Osborne, a high school history teach- 
er from Riverton was introduced and he, in turn, introduced the 
five officers of the Riverton High School History Club who were 
attending the meeting. 

The business meeting was called to order by President Richard 
Dumbrill. It was moved by Norbert Ribble that the reading of the 
minutes of the 1973 Annual Meeting be dispensed with. The 
motion was seconded and carried. 

The treasurer read the following report. Richard Dumbrill 
moved that it be accepted. The motion was seconded and carried. 

Treasurer's Report 

September 7, 1973 - September 12, 1974 

Operating Funds 

Cash on hand, September 7, 1973 $ 1,089.25 


Dues $ 5,229.00 

Pinettes 10.00 




Annals of Wyoming 3,500.00 

Annual Meeting 225.00 


Scholarships $ 200.00 

Grants-in-Aid 300.00 

Junior Awards 40.00 540.00 

Officer's Expenses 

President 65.00 

Others 175.00 240.00 

Office Expense 

Printing 6.74 

Phone 1.05 7.79 


Publications 472.73 

Correspondence 10.40 483.13 

Bond for Secretary 5.00 

Incorporation Fee 1.00 

Current Balance, September 12, 1974 
Invested Funds 


Federal Bldg. & Loan #661 
Cheyenne Federal Savings & 

Loan #32180 
Federal Bldg. & Loan #3928 

Capitol Savings & Loan - 

Cert. 860559 
Federal Bldg. & Loan - 

Cert. C4 696 



Sept. 7, 1973 


Sept. 12, 1974 
















Totals 13,388.61 821.16 14,209.77 

Total Operating and Invested Funds $15,536.10 

Membership Report 

668 single memberships 
245 joint memberships 
76 life memberships (12 joint - 64 single) 

989 Total memberships representing 1,246 individuals 

We have also received during the year: 
for 1973 - 21 single and 3 joint 
for 1975 - 6 single and 1 joint 
for 1976 - 1 single 


Committee Reports 

Awards Committee Jay Brazelton, 2nd vice president and 
awards chairman, presented the new awards manual which his 
committee has revised and updated. Junior awards have been 
changed from $25, $15, and $10 to $50, $35 and $25. The book- 
let is smaller than formerly. A new area of competition, audio- 
video, has been added and there is now one place to file and one 
deadline date for all. 

Projects Committee Henry Jensen, 1st vice president and proj- 
ects chairman, reported on six projects: 

1. The Mountain Man Trails project is being conducted by the 

government. However, they may seek coordination from the 
Historical Society in the future. 

2. Regarding the Oregon Trail Ruts, there is a possibility that it 

may be possible to trade some land with the current owner, 
Bill Mcintosh, if the State of Wyoming will cooperate. This 
would insure preservation of the ruts. 

3. We are trying to have Crook's Gap Stage Station put on the 

National Register and have the title assigned to the State of 

4. The Big Horn National Forest Project. A complete report on 

this later. 

5. A marker has been placed on the Bridger Road where it crosses 

Route 226. 

6. The 1975 Trek will be the beginning of a three-year trek from 

Rawlins to Red Lodge, Montana, over the trail on which 
supplies were carried from the U. P. Railroad to the gold 
mining camps in Montana. In 1975 we will go from Rawlins 
to near Lander, in 1976 from Lander (Camp Brown) to the 
Frost Ranch near Cody, and in 1977 from Ralston to Red 
Lodge, Montana. 

Big Horn Forest Committee Glenn Sweem, chairman, reported 
on "Re-discovering the Big Horns," a proposed Bicentennial proj- 
ect conceived by members of the Wyoming State Historical Society 
Chapters of Big Horn, Johnson, Sheridan, and Washakie Counties, 
and the Bighorn National Forest Service to make people of Wyo- 
ming and America aware of their heritage and environment. 

In keeping with the theme "Heritage '76," the project encom- 
passes activities of the past, activities for '76, and projected future 
activities in Century III, by utilizing the unpublished manuscript 
and photographs compiled in 1900 by Professor J. G. Jack of 
Harvard University entitled "Forest and Grazing Conditions in the 
Bighorn Forest Reserve." With the use of Professor Jack's photo- 
graphs and manuscript the project can determine the changes in 
our habitat and environment since 1900, what it is now, and what 
the future can be. 


The project proposal is to locate the exact spot Professor Jack 
took his photographs in the Big Horn Mountains in 1900 and to 
re-photograph the same scenes in 1975 for a comparison of chang- 
es which have taken place over the past seventy-five years. The 
1900 photos and the 1975 photos with a description of the changes 
noted will be compiled in a booklet and published for sale during 
the Bicentennial year. 

"Re-discovering the Bighorns" Bicentennial project would be an 
examination of the impact our society has had upon our natural 
habitat the past 75 years and would estabhsh criteria for a contin- 
ued examination and comparison in Century III. 

The State Historical Society has given $1000 to be used for this 
project. Officers of the Big Horn Forest Committee are: presi- 
dent, Glen Sweem; vice president, Ray Pendergraft; secretary, 
Wilma Johnson; treasurer, Jane Houston. 

Auditing Committee The president read the report of the audit- 
ing committee which stated, "We have examined the financial 
records of the Wyoming State Historical Society for the period 
from September 6, 1973, to September 13, 1974, and find same 
to be in order." The report was signed by David J. Wasden and 
Molly Seneshale. 

Scholarship Committee Dr. T. A. Larson reported that the 
Historical Society offers grants to persons for writing histories of 
Wyoming counties. Each award amounts to $500, of which $200 
is paid at the beginning of the project and $300 at completion. 
Three persons who have received initial payments are now work- 
ing on such county histories: Dorothy Milek, Hot Springs County; 
Robert Murray, Johnson County; Guy L. Peterson, Converse 

The State Society also offers grants-in-aid for other research- 
and-writing projects. Each grant-in-aid amounts to $300 of which 
$100 is paid at the outset and $200 at completion. Last fall 
Richard F. Fleck and Robert A. Campbell completed their project 
which entailed the preparation of "A Selective Literary Bibliog- 
raphy of Wyoming." Their bibliography, 38 pages in length, was 
published in the Spring, 1974, issue of Annals of Wyoming. 

Initial payments have been made for three other grant-in-aid 
projects: to Gordon Chappell for a study of relations between the 
Union Pacific and U. S. Army in southern Wyoming; to Michael 
Lewellyn for a study of the political career of John B. Kendrick; 
and to Geoffrey Hunt, who is studying the role of our many small 
museums in the interpretation of Wyoming history. 

Foundation Fund 

The meeting of the Wyoming State Historical Society was re- 
cessed and reconvened as the Wyoming Foundation Fund, Incor- 
porated. Ed Billie reported a balance of $9,088.40. They are still 


planning for a film of the history of Wyoming. Plans are that it 
will consist of 1 50 scenes and there will be a panel of five persons 
to approve each scene. Bob Murray said the cost might be $3000 
a minute. Mr. Billie turned over financial and corporate reports 
to the treasurer. The meeting of the Foundation Fund was ad- 
journed and that of the Wyoming Historical Society reconvened. 

Business Meeting 

Russell Varineau suggested the following amendment to the 
Constitution of the Wyoming State Historical Society. Article III, 
Membership, of the By Laws shall be amended to read as follows : 

Section 1. The organization shall be composed of the State 
Society county chapters which shall be located in the county seats 
of each county in the state, and Historical Site Chapters, town or 
city chapters in any city or town or historical site area of any 
county. Each chapter will have the responsibility of collecting and 
preserving the items, documents and records of its own area. Each 
chapter shall have its own officers and constitution. 

Section 2. The following types of membership will be recog- 
nized by the State Society: (a) single memberships, (b) joint 
memberships, (c) single life memberships, (d) joint life member- 
ships, (e) honorary memberships, (f) institutional memberships. 
Membership in the Society shall be open to all persons or institu- 
tions who actively support the State Society and who pay the 
appropriate dues as set forth in the By Laws of the State Society. 
It is provided, however, that persons who reside in an area in 
which there is a duly chartered county, town, or city chapter shall 
affiliate with the State Society only through memberships in one 
of the local chapters. Persons residing outside the state or in a 
county in which no county, city or town chapter has been chartered 
may affiliate directly with the State Society. 

Section 3. Affiliation of chapters shall be by charter to be 
granted by the Executive Committee of the Society upon applica- 
tion pursuant to rules and regulations. 

After discussion. Burton Marston moved that this proposal be 
referred to the Executive Committee. Motion seconded and 

President Richard Dumbrill asked Henry Jensen to preside, and 
then moved that the Amendment to Article IV, Section 2, which 
was tabled at the last Annual Meeting be removed from the table. 
Motion seconded and carried. 

Mr. Dumbrill then moved to insert the words, "Except that the 
Executive Board is authorized to allow additional funds if it feels 
that said funds are necessary" and "This amendment shall take 
effect beginning September 14, 1974." Motion seconded and 


Richard Dumbrill asked that the following letter from the Ar- 
chives and Historical Department be attached to the motion : 

"Article IV-Section 2 — The Annals of Wyoming, the historical 
publication issued by the State Archives and Historical Depart- 
ment, is declared to be the official publication of the Society. The 
President shall be fully advised by the executive secretary of the 
Society of all contracutal negotiations relative to the publication of 
the Annals as those negotiations proceed. Upon completion of the 
negotiations the President shall, if he is satisfied that the negotia- 
tions have been conducted in a satisfactory manner, authorize the 
Treasurer to pay into the State Historical Fund that portion of the 
dues of each member or joint members, not to exceed the sum of 
$1.25 per issue, required for the purchase of the periodical (except 
that the Executive Committee is authorized to allow additional 
funds if it feels that said funds are necessary ) . One copy of each 
issue is to be received by each member of the Society, except that 
joint membership shall be entitled to only one copy." 

Mr. Dumbrill moved the adoption of the following Resolution: 
Be it Resolved by the Wyoming State Historical Society in its 21st 
Annual Meeting that it formally approves the proposal of the 
Archives and Historical Department as set out in its letter of 
September 12, 1974 attached hereto and made a part hereof. 

It is understood that the sum of $3500 paid for the Annals 
to this date will be all that need be paid under the current budget. 
Thereafter, if the Legislature approves the proposed budget, the 
Society will be obligated to pay only postage costs on the Annals 
and the members will receive them at no other expense. Further- 
more, the By Laws as amended will then govern the relationship 
with the understanding that $1.25 per issue is authorized for 
Annals expense. 

Motion seconded and carried. Mr. Dumbrill then returned to 
the chair and asked Henry Jensen to present a Resolution. Mr. 
Jensen moved the adoption of the following resolution : 

Resolution for 21st Annual Meeting or Wyoming State Society, 
September 13-15, 1974. 

Whereas, spiraling costs of printing and paper have created a 
financial crisis in the production of the Annals of Wyoming, the 
official publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society, and 

Whereas, the Society has, in the past, largely assumed responsi- 
biUty for these costs but is now faced with the fact that the entire 
income of the Society is being absorbed by the publication with 
nothing remaining for either normal functions of the Society or, 
other worthwhile historic projects, and 

Now, Therefore be it resolved that the Wyoming State Historical 
Society strongly urge the various budget agencies, the Ways and 
Means Committee, the Legislature, and the Governor approve 
sufficient funds to continue the publication of the Archives and 


Historical Department publications at their present highly respect- 
ed scholarly level. 

Be further resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to all 
agencies and persons concerned. 

Motion seconded and carried. 

Those present observed 30 seconds of silence in memory of 
deceased members of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 

New Business 

Mrs. Etta Payne of Hot Springs County invited the Society to 
hold its 1975 meeting in Thermopolis. 

Ned Frost reported on the National Trails project in Wyoming. 
Many agencies, both state and federal, are wanting to record trails 
in Wyoming — from the time of the Mountain Men through the first 
decade of this century. So many agencies are involved, each with 
their own interests, that an impartial group is needed to coordinate 
their efforts. The Society may be called upon for help in this 
effort. A full time coordinator would be needed and this would 
necessitate a budget request from the Archives and Historical 
Department. The Executive Board will discuss this further. 
Burton Marston moved that the Society sponsor this project in 
Wyoming and that the Executive Board be empowered to act in 
implementing coordination of all those working on this project. 
Motion seconded and carried. 

There being no further business, the 1974 business meeting of 
the Wyoming State Historical Society was adjourned. 

Saturday Workshops 

From 10:00 until 11:00 a.m. and from 11:00 until 12:00 
workshops were conducted for the members of the Society by 
personnel from the Historical Research and Publications Division 
and the State Museum. Each workshop was repeated so that 
everyone could attend both sessions. 

Saturday Luncheon 

A delightful luncheon in the Hat Six Room was enjoyed by the 
members. Miss Carol Stevens, Wyoming Junior Miss, accompa- 
nied herself on her guitar as she sang a medley of familiar old 
songs. Edness Kimball Wilkins introduced Natrona County pio- 
neer, Edna Kukura. Mrs. Kukura told "The Story of Casper 
Collins — The Battle at Platte Bridge Station." Platte Bridge Sta- 
tion was later named Fort Caspar. 

Saturday Banquet 

Dining tables were attractively and appropriately decorated for 
the banquet. Edness Kimball Wilkins gave the invocation recalling 


the guiding words of the Holy Bible to: "Destroy not the land- 
marks which thy forefathers have set." 

Mayor Tom Nichols welcomed the group and past presidents of 
the Society, special guests and officers were introduced. Jay 
Brazelton, awards chairman, displayed the new awards booklet and 
announced that copies are now available. 

Violet Hord presented President Richard Dumbrill with a hand- 
painted cup. She also announced that, because of the weather, the 
Sunday morning breakfast would be held indoors at the Natrona 
County Fair Grounds. 

Mr. Dumbrill introduced Verna (Mrs. A. C.) Keyes, designer 
of the Wyoming state flag. Following the group recitation of the 
Wyoming Collect, Mrs. Keyes spoke briefly on the many things 
Wyoming has meant to her. 

The following historical awards were presented by Jay Bra- 

Junior Historian Awards : 

Rickie J. Walsh, Cheyenne. First Place, Senior High School, 

Wyoming Substitutes for Currency During the Panic of 

Susan Brown, Jackson. Second Place, Senior High School. 

"Sylvia Irene Hansen." 
Ted Mathis, LaGrange. Third Place, Senior High School. 

"The Life of an Old Time Cowboy." 
Grant Shock, Rock Springs. Honorable Mention. Junior High 

School. "The Gentlemen Outlaw, alias Butch Cassidy." 

Teacher Award: 

Mrs. Clara Jensen, Casper. 

Museum Award: 

Norbert G. and Eva M. Ribble. Presented by Fremont County 
to this couple for their fine work. 

PubUcations : 

Wayne R. Breitweiser, Powell. Newspaper column, "Downwind 

and Across the Coulee." 
James L. Ehernberger and Francis G. Gschwind, Cheyenne. 
Co-authors of the book, Sherman Hill. 

Annual Services Awards : 

Mabel Brown, Newcastle. Outstanding Woman of the Year. 

Richard Dumbrill, Newcastle. For the well-planned and con- 
ducted Trek #25 on July 13-14, 1974, The Wyoming Por- 
tion of the Custer Expedition of 1874 to Explore the Black 

Fine Arts Award: 

Bill Matson, Cody. Western Artist 


Audio-Video: KTWO-TV, Radio, Casper. For "The Story of 
Conrad Schwiering, Mountain Painter." 

Photographic Award: Earl Pote, Casper. 

Cumulative Contribution Award: Betty Wied Hayden, Jackson. 
For her many contributions including publications, educational 
activities, and efforts for the preservation of historic sites and 

Henry Jensen proposed a resolution commending and con- 
gratulating all those who helped make the 1974 annual meeting 
a success. Applause bespoke unanimous acceptance of the res- 

Dr. T. A. Larson announced the results of the election. Officers 
for 1974-75 are: Henry Jensen, president; Jay Brazelton, first vice 
president; Russell Varineau, second vice president; Jane Houston, 

Dick Dumbrill introduced the new officers and presented the 
gavel to the president, Henry Jensen. 

Bill Bragg, entertainment chairman, introduced the Red Dog 
Saloon Players, who provided the evening's entertainment. Fol- 
lowing a sprightly sale of snake oil, the band and vocalists pre- 
sented a number of musical selections, "The Gas Lights Vaudeville 
Show." Culmination of the evening's festivities was a melodrama 
entitled, "Pure as the Driven Snow" or "A Working Girl's Secret." 
A fine time was had by all — audience and players alike! 

Sunday Morning 

A hearty breakfast was served at the Natrona County Fair- 
grounds, south of Casper, followed by tours of the Pioneer Mu- 
seum, Fort Caspar and the Werner Wildlife Museum. At 10:00 
a.m. a tour going west visited Speas Spring, the Fish Hatchery, the 
Stuart Cabin Site, and Independence Rock where Henry Jensen 
gave a talk. He was also the guide on this tour. Another tour 
going east visited Reshaw (Richard) Bridge, Deer Creek Stage 
Station, and heard a talk on Fort Fetterman. Guides for this tour 
were Tom Nicholas, Joe Keenan and Bill Bragg. 

Jane H. Houston 


Thomas S. Twiss, Indian Agent, Upper Platte to The Honble., The 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Dated Indian Agency of the 
Upper Platte, April 30th, 1857. 

I have had it reported to me, recently, that an order has been 
received, from the Head Quarters of the Army, directing the Mili- 
tary Commandant to abandon Fort Laramie, & move the troops 
to Oregon. 

On the supposition, that this Report is True, & that Fort Lara- 
mie is no longer to be occupied as a Military post in the Indian 
Country, I respectfully & earnestly request that the Honble. the 
Secretary of War may be pleased to consider the propriety & 
advantages of placing the Public Buildings & such Public property, 
as cannot be removed by the troops, in the safe keeping of the 
Honble. the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the use & benefit 
of the Indian Tribes. 

I am informed that it is in contemplation to evacuate the Fort, 
as early as the 15th July next, & that the troops, at present com- 
posing the Garrison, will take the overland route thro' the South 
Pass to Southern Oregon. 

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Selected 
Documents Concerning the Administration of Indian 
Affairs at the Upper Platte Agency. Record Group 75. 

J.C.R. Clark, MD, Spl. US Vac Agent to Chas. E. Mix Esqr, 
Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs. 

Agreeably to your directions I have the honor to submit the 
following brief report of my operations as Spl. U. S. Vaccinating 
Agent among the Indians of the Upper Platte Agency. 

The diseases most prevalent among the Indians of the Upper 
Platte, so far as I have been able to observe are of a cutaneous 
and pulmonary character. Bangs seems to be one of the peculiar 
pathological institutions of the country. 

Chronic Catarrhal & Gonorrheal Opthalmitis is found prevailing 
to a great extent. Syphilitic infections among the prairie tribes are 
seldom met with which may readily be accounted for as their inter- 
course with the Whites is so much more limited than those of other 
tribes residing contiguous to our people. It is a real and mortify- 
ing truth that the Indians readily adopt the vices of the White man 
and but few, if any, of the virtues. 

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Selected 
Documents Concerning the Administration of Indian 
Affairs at the Upper Platte Agency. Record Group 75. 

1^00 k Ueviews 

The Western Odyssey of John Simpson Smith: Frontiersman, Trap- 
per, Trader and Interpreter. By Stan Hoig. (Glendale: The 
Arthur H. Clark Company, 1974). Index. Illus. 254 pp. 


Unlike many of his compatriots from the early frontier days of 
the American West, John Simpson Smith has not been remembered 
for the important role that he played in it. The author of this 
volume argues, however, that Smith's memory deserves better. In 
fact, says Hoig, Smith "was more involved in the development of 
the Central Plains between 1830 and 1871 than any other one 
man." As evidence in support of this claim, Hoig cites Smith's 
various activities: as one of the early mountain men fur trappers; 
as a Bent's Fort trader; as a white who lived many years in close 
proximity to Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians; as a government 
interpreter to the four major treaties with those tribes between 
1851 and 1867; as an advisor to every Indian agent for those tribes 
during his lifetime; as a witness to most of the major conflicts 
between Indians of the Central Plains and the white man; as an 
Army scout and guide; as an escort to three different delegations 
of chiefs to Washington, D. C, where he interpreted for three 
different presidents; as a friend and advisor to numerous Cheyenne 
and Arapaho chiefs, in particular the peacemaker. Black Kettle; 
as one who played a crucial role in the dialogue between Indians 
and whites during those crucial days of conflict on the Central 

The author treats Smith in an evenhanded way; he is shown to 
be completely human — capable of both bravery and practical 
discretion. Not surprisingly, as Hoig points out. Smith had his 
enemies — especially "among the second-generation of frontier mili- 
tary, who considered him a bad influence on the Indians, and 
among the Indian-hating settlers who despised 'squaw men' in 
general for their association with the Indians." 

The American reading public was first introduced to Smith in 
1848 by way of Garrard's Wah-to-Yah and the Taos Trail. He 
was also mentioned in the Encyclopedia Britannica and his name 
frequently was found in stories about Indians which appeared in 
the eastern press. Moreover, various records, diaries, memoirs, 
official Army and Indian Bureau reports made mention of him. 
Yet, as the author notes, "Smith died without having a personal 
account of his life placed on paper." He apparently left no diary 
nor personal papers — an extremely debilitating handicap for his 


biographer. As a result, this is more a skillfully organized and 
highly readable story of events to which Smith was an observer or 
participant than it is a story of the man himself. 

Wayland College Donovan L. Hofsommer 

Plainview, Texas 

They Called Him Wild Bill: The Life and Adventures of James 
Butler Hickok. By Jospeh G. Rosa. (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press. 2nd Edition, revised and enlarged, 
1974). Index. lUus. 377 pp. $12.50. 

This is not merely a revised edition of Joseph Rosa's masterly 
and widely acclaimed biography of Hickok; it is also a much larger 
book, some 100 pages longer than the original, which was pub- 
lished in 1964. One can only hope that it is even more successful 
than the first edition, for Wild Bill, with the centenary of his death 
almost upon us, remains the victim of sensation-seeking writers, 
who would be alarmed to learn that Rosa's long investigations have 
reduced the number of Hickok's killings to a substantiated seven. 
Even the mainly admirable Time-Life The Gunfighters has an 
illustrated box caption, clearly not the responsibility of the author 
of the main text, which includes among other errors the legend that 
Wild Bill was fired by the city council of Abilene. Yet Rosa 
conclusively proved in the first edition of his book, listed in the 
Time-Life bibliography, that this was not the case. 

The new edition has a number of particularly interesting addi- 
tions, not least two hitherto unpublished photos of Hickok made 
available by his niece. Rosa has at last unearthed the identity of 
the fatuously named Captain Honesty, who described the crucial 
card game in Springfield, Missouri, which led to the gunfight with 
Tutt, and he has found out far more about the Wild West Show at 
Niagara Falls in which Hickok played a star role, including fasci- 
nating details of how it was assembled. There is new evidence that 
he did not kill the Sioux Whistler, more about his Civil War ex- 
ploits and new information about McCall, including his pardon file. 
And the Hickok family has provided letters from "Uncle Jim" and 
one from Charlie Utter regarding Hickok's reburial. 

It should be stressed that Rosa does not try to whitewash his 
longtime hero, but presents the facts as he has found them. That 
Hickok emerges as well from such a laser-like examination is to 
the author's credit as well as his subject's. "The real Wild Bill 
Hickok remains an enigma, a controversial character," admits 
Rosa, who has yet managed to present us, not with a hero or 
villain, but with what Wild Bill so clearly was, a man. 

English Westerners' Society RoBiN May 



Martin Murphy, Jr. California Pioneer 1844-1884. Monograph 
No. 4, by Sister Gabrielle Sullivan. (Stockton, Calif. : Pacific 
Center for Western Historical Studies. University of the 
Pacific, 1974). Index. Illus. 76 pp. $4.50. 

This monograph is an "effort to resolve the paradox between 
the obvious prominence" of Martin Murphy, Jr., and "the current 
poverty of materials" concerning this Irish emigrant who became 
the largest individual landowner in central California. It consists 
of a brief biography, explanatory footnotes, and eight appendices. 
The biographical sketch includes limited historical background and 
traces Murphy's emigration from Ireland to Canada (1828), to 
Missouri (1842), and to California (1844). The Murphy family 
accompanied the first emigrant group to cross the Sierra Nevada 
Mountains into California via the Truckee River route and initially 
settled in the Sacramento Valley at Rancho de Ernesto eighteen 
miles from John A. Sutter's fort. The first overt act of rebellion 
against the Mexican government took place on Murphy's ranch 
June 10, 1846, when a group of American settlers took the Mexi- 
can army horses temporarily quartered in his corral. In 1850 
Murphy purchased Pastoria de las Borregas, 4000 acres bordering 
San Francisco Bay, and moved his family to the Santa Clara 
Valley. Over the next three decades he became a leader in 
agriculture and cattle raising in Santa Clara and San Luis Obispo 
counties, an influential builder of the city of San Jose, and par- 
ticipated in founding the Colleges of Notre Dame and Santa Clara. 

Resources for the book include a dictation by Murphy's son 
Bernard D. which was the basis for his father's biography in 
Hubert Howe Bancroft's Chronicles of the Builders of the Com- 
monwealth, a "trunk" of Murphy family papers, an interview with 
and letters from family members, newspapers, secondary materials 
on Cahfornia and Ireland, and limited primary sources. The 
"trunk" of papers which the author recovered from the Butterfield 
and Butterfield auction house in San Francisco contained inden- 
tures, copies of land grants and maps, city and county tax receipts, 
promissory notes, Martin Murphy's certificate of citizenship, and 
letters received on the Murphy's fiftieth wedding anniversary. 
Appendix 6 consists of a partial list of these documents and 
Appendix 7 includes copies of the anniversary correspondence. 
As these materials appear to be the only important new primary 
sources, the failure to reproduce them in entirety diminishes the 
value of the book. Other appendices explain the state historical 
landmarks placed on Murphy's Cosumnes River ranch and on his 
estate in Sunnyvale, list Murphy "firsts," and reprint a family 
chronology. Murphy's will, and a letter to Bancroft concerning that 
author's biography. A great deal of the information in the appen- 
dices and footnotes could have been included in the text which 
would have improved its quality and readability. 


The author diligently gathered data for the book but left unde- 
veloped significant possibiUties inherent in the material. Although 
religious and educational advantages are stressed as motivations 
for Murphy's changes of residence, the book's sources reveal im- 
portant economic gains resulting from each move. A more detailed 
treatment of Murphy's impact on the economic and political devel- 
opment of California would be valuable. Nevertheless, specialists 
in Western and California history will find interesting information 
in this work. 

Lesta Van Der Wert Turchen 
Dakota Wesleyan University 
Mitchell, South Dakota 

Nature's Yellowstone. The Story of an American Wilderness That 
Became Yellowstone National Park. By Richard A. Bartlett. 
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974). 
Index. Illus. 250 pp. $10. 

Yellowstone National Park: Its Exploration and Establishment. 

By Aubrey L. Haines. U. S. Department of the Interior, 

National Park Service. (Washington, D. C. : Government 

Printing Office, 1974). Illus. 218 pp. $2.70. 

To many visitors the pre-1872 history of Yellowstone, before it 
became the world's first national park, is as fascinating as its 
scenery and geysers. The classic on this subject has been Yellow- 
stone Park by Hiram Martin Chittenden, park engineer turned 
historian, whose work first published in 1895 has gone through 
numerous editions. Chittenden wrote gracefully but his history 
was a bit skimpy because his research was primitive. The first 
professional historian to tackle the subject, Merrill D. Beale, with 
his Story of Man in Yellowstone, beefed up the history but his 
writing was uninspired and he fell several miles short of the defin- 
itive work. 

Now, all of a sudden, we have two new histories of early Yellow- 
stone coming out simultaneously, researched and written by two 
thoroughgoing professionals whose ambitions and struggles were 
well known to this reviewer when he served as regional historian 
for the old Midwest Region, National Park Service. We may never 
have any one definitive history of Yellowstone, from A to Z, be- 
cause no publisher could survive the escalating cost of production, 
and few readers could afford to buy. But at last we now have, 
with these two books taken in conjunction, comprehensive coverage 
of Yellowstone from John Colter through the Park Establishment 
Act signed by President Grant. In the future some genius might 
stumble upon a few esoteric facts that Bartlett and Haines some- 


how missed, and then synthesize the whole caboodle in one glor- 
ious volume, complete with a wealth of color plates, for say $50 
per volume. Meanwhile we will manage quite nicely with these 
two somewhat parallel treatises. 

Yellowstone enthusiasts will want to acquire both. Fortunately 
for them their combined cost is still an unusual bargain, thanks to 
an absurdly low price on the Haines volume. Of course readers of 
this review will want to know, if these two works are so parallel, 
how come they should buy both. Well, inevitably when two sharp 
historians work the same library and archival gold mines their 
readers will find a lot of duplicated material. Yet the two are not 
exactly parallel, and the differences in data and style are such that 
they happily reinforce rather than cancel out each other. 

Aubrey Haines, now retired and living in Bozeman, was a 
Yellowstone Park engineer who, finding Colter, Bridger, Wash- 
burn, Hayden, Langford and company more exciting than slide 
rule calculations, emulated Chittenden and became a park histo- 
rian. (He actually held that title for a few years, the only officially 
designated "historian" Yellowstone ever had.) Richard Bartlett, 
history professor at Florida State, Tallahasee, when writing his 
Great Surveys of the West, got hooked on Yellowstone and 
couldn't sleep till he gave birth to another book. Since Haines was 
stationed at Yellowstone and Bartlett haunted the place seasons on 
end they knew of each other's identical goals. In many such 
delicate situations one of two things usually happen. The rival 
researchers either decide to collaborate on one work as joint 
authors, or they become standoffish rival authors suppressing juicy 
tidbits from each other and racing to see who can go into print 
first. In this case however, if there was any rivalry it was friendly, 
the exchange of data was liberal and wholehearted, and the timing 
of the two pubUcations was purely coincidental. 

Both authors deal rather exhaustively with the known or specu- 
lative meanderings of the fur traders, the brief incursions of the 
prospectors, and the episodes of the amateur and official explorers 
with dawning consciousness of a wonderland that needed special 
protection. Bartlett turns up with certain minutiae that Haines 
missed and vice versa, but these are not worth retailing. One of 
the principal differences is that Bartlett backs up several million 
years and gives us four preliminary chapters on the geology of the 
park montane perimeter, geology of the park volcanic plateau 
interior, the flora and fauna, and the aboriginal wanderers. While 
it may seem odd that a historian would concern himself with these 
environmental factors — just as it seems a bit unusual that a Yel- 
lowstone book would be pubhshed in New Mexico — Bartlett is a 
facile writer who can arouse reader interest in all things animate 
or inanimate. (Which way does one classify the horrendous 1959 
earthquake? ) His raggle-taggle bands of white explorers are awed 
by this exotic scenery somewhat like the first men on the moon. 


Haines was under contract with the National Park Service to 
search for and come up with all the documentation he could find. 
In contrast to Bartlett who had more leeway to re-create history 
in his own words, Haines lets the original documents tell the story 
as much as possible, but his conscientious and informed way of 
tying these together by threads of narrative has resulted in a fine 
readable book, not a mere compendium of quotations. 

Bartlett has more illustrations, although not a particularly in- 
spired selection. Except for one choice colorplate by Thomas 
Moran, Haines limits his illustrations to photo portraits of some 
latter-day explorers and promoters, coupled with a quite valuable 
end-set of biographical skecthes. Haines has the best of it with 
maps, in fact the best assembly of historical maps of Yellowstone 
to date. Bartlett has an illuminating essay on sources but lets the 
end-notes double as bibliography. Haines has both end-notes and 
a bibhography which falls just short of being complete. 

There is at least one significant source that Bartlett was well 
aware of and acknowledges, but which Haines somehow missed. 
That is the monograph by this reviewer, "Behind the Legend of 
Colter's Hell: The Early Exploration of Yellowstone National 
Park" Mississippi Valley Historical Review (June, 1949). This is 
significant, not simply because this reviewer wrote it, but because 
a substantial part of what Bartlett and Haines have come up with 
re the fur traders — including the discovery of the startling fact 
that the real Colter's Hell was near Cody, not inside Yellowstone 
Park — was researched and written by this reviewer over twenty- 
five years ago. This same monograph was reprinted in 1958 and 
sold by the Wyoming Historical Society. Haines does utilize and 
acknowledge this reviewer's booklet. Colter's Hell and Jackson's 
Hole (Yellowstone Museum Association, 1961) which boiled down 
the 1949 material. 

Between the two writers we learn more than ever before about 
the involved process by which the idea for a park reservation was 
born, how it was shepherded through the legislative maze, and why 
despite all the sticky mixture of self-serving connivance and rosy 
idealism it became one of the great legal landmarks in conservation 
history. While neither author can state with finality who first came 
up with the burst of inspiration, we are surprised to learn that 
Montana Territorial Governor Meagher — who soon thereafter 
drowned in the Missouri River — thought of it in 1865, five years 
before the alleged campfire speech by Cornelius Hedges of the 
Washburn expedition. And while there may have been many 
dreamers, there had to be a few hard-core doers to motivate 
Congress — prominent among which were Northern Pacific Rail- 
road promoters working through Geologist F. V. Hayden, and 
various Congressional stalwarts who worked hard to defend the 
visionary concept against the predictable army of skeptics and 


Finally, both Bartlett and Haines have a second volume each up 
their sleeves, wherein they deal with Yellowstone's subsequent 
history. Bartlett points out that Montanans were the ones who 
"saved Yellowstone." Today, however, Wyoming citizens yield to 
no one as champions who, recognizing a prime asset when they 
see one, would preserve incomparable Yellowstone for all the 
people, including generations yet unborn. 

National Park Service Merrill J. Mattes 


Sherman Hill. By James L. Ehernberger and Francis G. Gsch- 
wind. (Callaway, Nebr.: E&G Publications, 1973). Index. 
Illus. 128 pp. $10.95. 

Students of railroad history and lovers of trains alike should 
welcome this jewel-like study of a small but critical segment of 
Union Pacific Railroad operation. It should be noted that the 
name Sherman Hill is a typical piece of railroad understatement. 
Sherman Hill is actually the crest of the northern extension of the 
Rocky Mountains and rises more than 2000 feet within thirty-five 
miles to a maximum altitude on the original line of 8247 feet above 
sea level. 

The battle the railroad has waged over Sherman Hill for the last 
107 years may well be taken as a microcosm of the first transconti- 
nental railroad's experience throughout its history. It is the rail- 
road's response to this formidable physical adversary that is the 
theme of this work. 

Here the early-day construction crews first encountered serious 
problems after building 500 miles along the gentle Platte River 
valley. At either side of the hill rough and ready end-of-track 
towns grew into Cheyenne and Laramie. Underfinanced, the 
early-day railroad suffered greatly on Sherman Hill, plagued by 
blizzards, tortuous grades and lightweight construction. It was 
also on Sherman Hill that the first of E. H. Harriman's ambitious 
rebuilding projects began shortly after he gained control of the 
bankrupt railroad in 1898. And it was here also that the massive 
"Big Boy" steam locomotives — most powerful ever built — hauled 
huge amounts of war material during World War II. 

Sherman Hill features an unequalled collection of photographs 
from many sources, including the authors' own collections. Par- 
ticularly commendable is the quality of their reproduction. In 
subject matter they range from initial construction to a splendid 
group showing the building of the third main line in 1952-1953, 
and include pictures of all the major classes of steam and diesel 
locomotives the railroad has used over the hill. Appendixes fea- 
ture progressive track maps drawn especially for this work of 


several of the stations involved in Sherman Hill operations and 
tables of other information. 

James L. Ehemberger and Francis G. Gschwind are no strangers 
to railroad operations or Wyoming. Together they have written 
at least four previous works on Union Pacific operations. Ehem- 
berger has spent most of his life in Cheyenne in the shadow of 
Sherman Hill, and most of his working career has been with 
the railroad he writes about. In Sherman Hill Ehernberger and 
Gschwind have done their best work yet. 

Union Pacific Railroad Co. Barry B. Combs 


Twelve Mormon Homes. Visited in Succession on a Journey 
Through Utah to Arizona. By Elizabeth Wood Kane. (Salt 
Lake City: Tanner Trust Fund, University of Utah Library, 
1974). Index. lUus. 149 pp. $12. 

Thomas L. Kane of Pennsylvania was an attorney, "a friend of 
the Mormons," but not a Mormon himself. Kane first became 
interested in aiding the Mormons in 1 846 and made a trip to Utah 

In the winter of 1872-73 he, his wife Elizabeth and two of their 
four children again visited Utah because of his health. On this trip 
they went entirely through Utah from Ogden to St. George with 
Brigham Young and ten others. The first part of their trip was by 
Utah Southern Railroad which was finished only as far as Lehi. 
Then they went in a group of carriages. 

Elizabeth Kane kept careful journals and diaries and from these 
and her letters her father put together the story of their trip. These 
first were published under the same title in 1874 in limited edition. 

She makes quite a case of polygamy which disturbed her greatly, 
yet she saw the women in these homes as serene, calm and at ease 
with each other. She comments that on every piazza "our hostess 
stood ready to greet us." The cleanhness and organization of the 
home was spoken of frequently. 

With one exception the homes in which the Kanes were housed 
were large, spacious and were of a brick which was painted white. 
She mentioned the walls with their white paint, carved wooden 
window dressings and corniced roofs looked trim as if fresh from 
the builders hand. 

The women prepared meals and served them with grace and 
ease, even though in one home the guests had to wait until a band 
of Indians was fed. 

She often put her "foot in her mouth" by referring to a new wife 
as a daughter or niece of the elder woman in the family. Some of 


her experiences are humorous, others are frightening and some of 
the tales told her of the earlier days were gruesome. 

The book is interesting, highly readable and since the author 
includes many family names of each wife she mentions should be 
of great value to the genealogists. 

For a non-pro fessoinal writer, Mrs. Kane writes with a concise- 
ness and apt description readers will find enjoyable. 

Laramie County Library Louise Flynn Underhill 


Shoot Me a Biscuit. Stories of Yesteryear's Roundup Cooks. By 
Dan Moore. (Tucson: The Unviersity of Arizona Press, 
1974). Illus. 172 pp. Paper $3.95. Cloth $8.50. 

Chuck Wagon Cookin. By Stella Hughes. (Tucson: University 
of Arizona Press, 1974. Index. Illus. 170 pp. $4.95. 

These two books have in common the chuck wagon meals of the 
old west, the usually ornery cooks who produced them and the 
hard-working, hungry cowboys who consumed them. Both are 
written by dyed-in-the-wool westerners with wry and salty humor. 
Both are good reading, informative and, believe it or not, useful 
even in this day and age. 

Daniel G. Moore, Shoot Me a Biscuit author, at age fourteen 
ran away from his Sedalia, Missouri, farm home and, after a brief 
tour in a Wild West show, took his first ranch job in New Mexico. 
From then on he worked for ranches from Texas to Montana until 
depression and drought broke up many of the big outfits. 

Dan started as a lowly cook's helper, and he gives an authentic 
picture of some outstanding cooks, their chores, utensils and pecu- 
liarities, declaring that what most of them had in common was 
"the temperament of a bear with a sore paw." However, the one 
thing a cowboy appreciated most and would sacrifice anything for 
was good food. Knowing this, a cook could be, and was, a tyrant 
and a dictator. 

On a mountain roundup, utensils and supphes were balanced 
carefully on pack animals. The domain the cook staked out in 
camp was sacred and his word was law. The same held true in 
the plains country, but there the chuck wagon was the center of 
the cook's empire and, as such, spelled home to the cowboy. Fur- 
thermore, the camp was placed so that nothing interfered with the 
cook's activities. Cattle, horses, even cowboys, stayed down wind 
so no dust drifted into the outdoor kitchen. If "Ole Greasy" de- 
creed, no chaps were worn in the chuck line, though even the 
cowboys rebelled at one monarch who insisted that they also take 
off their spurs! 


"Camp cooks came in several colors, sizes and degrees of abil- 
ity .. . many had been cowboys . . . but for various reasons had 
switched to the less exciting chore of feeding hungry cow servants. 
Some had been crippled up by tough horses . . . others had grown 
too old and stiff to stand the gaff any longer." 

Good camp cooks took pride in their ability and seldom returned 
to an outfit too tight-fisted to provide plentiful supplies. Pud 
Davis, one of the good ones, temporarily fired from the Souder 
roundup after a drinking spree, was named for his way with a suet 
pudding called "Bastard-in-a-Sack" since it was boiled in a wrap- 
ping of flour sack to hold it together. Then there was "Dutchy", 
another fine cook lost to a roundup over a strange combination of 
whiskey, a social visit to San Marcial and a disastrous encounter 
with a gypsy wagon. 

Wyomingites will especially enjoy "Olsen — the greatest cook in 
Wyoming". When not cooking for roundup crews, Olsen owned a 
bakery in Big Piney. He was not only a great cook but was unique 
in many ways. He was extremely good natured; he loved rodeos 
and collected prize money for bulldogging; he was an asset in 
emergencies. Once, during a rodeo in town, he rose from a sound 
sleep, decked two intruders, dragged them outside and returned to 
his bed, hardly disturbing the rhythm of his snores. "He fed the 
crew better than any camp cook I'd ever known," Moore states. 
"The boys liked him and helped him willingly . . . but I shall always 
remember him serving up such unlikely dishes as fresh green 
salads, cooked sliced beets, carrots in glazed syrup, fresh straw- 
berry shortcake or blueberry pie — on the cattle ranges of western 

Mr. Moore's stories of the roundups and the cooks he has 
known make one sorrow with him that "the old time 'tyrant of the 
pots and pans' has long since faded away into the dust of his 
wagon and the smoke of his cooking fires." 

Stella Hughes dreamed of being a cowgirl on the dry farm in 
Oklahoma where she spent her first ten years. Cowgirls rode 
prancing pinto ponies, drove gentle cattle, twirled ropes and rode 
off into sunsets with handsome cowboys, but, certainly, never 
cooked! After several years and repeated trips to Arizona look- 
ing for an honest-to-gosh cowboy, she found and married Mack 
Hughes. Their first year together was on a cow outfit on the edge 
of the Navajo Reservation with Stella as cook! However, she had 
been hooked on old-timey ways of cooking since, some years 
earlier, she had eaten dried apple pie sweetened with honey, the 
flaky crust made from rendered bear fat. Right then she started 
collecting recipes of dutch oven cookery, tales of cowcamp cooks, 
food lore and home remedies for any ailment under the sun. 

Her book is the result of education gained from numerous camp 
cooks including Apaches, Mexican horsebreakers, old-timers and 
from pure necessity. She always went along when her husband 


trailed a herd of cattle to market, driving cattle all the way and 
praying each day "that the cook stayed until the drive was over." 
They hardly ever did, she adds, "and truly, there is no harder job 
than slinging heavy dutch ovens and preparing meals for eighteen 
to twenty men over an open fire. 

According to Mrs. Hughes, the first chuck wagon was used in 
1866 when Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight, Texas partners, 
drove two thousand head of mixed stuff over the Horsehead route. 
With a feminine interest (thank goodness) in detail, she describes 
this vehicle, agreeing with Mr. Moore that the cook ruled his chuck 
wagon and cooking area with an iron hand and was usually "nasty- 
tempered, irritable, petulant and 'tetchy' as hell". He was also the 
highest paid man on the drive except the boss — and earned every 
penny. She defends these cranky creatures, saying, "It was all due 
to the nature of his job . . . anyone who has ever spent one hour 
over a campfire on a windy day, or wet — who has burned his 
thumb, spilled the coffee, scorched the beans, found blowfhes have 
gotten to the meat, and the water-keg empty, will understand why 
cooks are 'tetchy'." 

Mrs. Hughes' book is divided into two parts. "Recollections" 
is a series of "what the eatin' was" — beef, breads, dee-zerts, the 
lowly free-holy (frijoles, or pinto beans), cooks and whiskey, cooks 
and stampedes, gun-totin' cooks, cooks that "sure come unwound" 
and home remedies. The stories are entrees which match the 
titles, served with a variety of reminiscences, like relish plates, of 
people, places and events full of hilarious humor. 

Part Two is, of course, "Recipes." After reading these, I con- 
cluded that, in each of today's so-called "nuclear families," there 
should be a copy of this book and someone appointed to know it 
well. What those crotchety old camp cooks knew about cooking 
in their barbecue pits and with their dutch ovens would be priceless 
knowledge today in the event of a total energy failure or some 
other disaster which we smugly asume can't happen to us. 

Among other things, one learns how to put down beef for the 
winter, make jerky, canned beef and corned beef. The marinade 
for wild game would enhance any meat and a hunter's wife would 
appreciate the description of preparing and roasting venison, elk 
or antelope. 

The cowboys' natural craving for sweets resulted in their paying 
royal homage to a cook who could dream up a good-tasing des- 
sert from the supplies at hand. Camp cooks were experts at 

Mrs. Hughes proves that anything can be cooked in a dutch 
oven, but her recipes, tried in your kitchen, would lack only the 
flavor of the outdoors. 

The "home remedies" of the last chapter have been collected 
over the years and the author recommends them only as fun read- 
ing. They were improvised by frontier men and women who lived 


far from medical aid. While some seem strange, others are based 
on common sense. 

The author's black and white drawings of gonch hooks, wrap- 
ping and wiring beef for barbecueing, of how to build a barbecue 
pit and how to place the dutch oven in the coals are worth twice 
as many words to a novice. Her illustrations of sturdy cooks and 
cowboys around their chuck wagon home are as finely detailed, 
but humorous and practical, as are her stories about them. 

Newcastle Elizabeth J. Thorpe 

Shall the People Rule? A History of the Democratic Party in 
Nebraska Politics 1854-1972. By James F. Pedersen and 
Kenneth D. Wald. (Lincoln, Nebr.: Jacob North Inc., 1972). 
Index. lUus. 449 pp. 

Meaningful political history must take into serious consideration 
the socio-economic milieu within which political action takes place. 
Social class, ethnic group influence and the reality of special inter- 
est pressures from private corporations play an important role in 
determining the formation and evolution of political factions and 
parties. It is precisely the lack of the social and economic back- 
ground in this study which makes it far less valuable than it might 
otherwise have been. 

Messrs. Pedersen and Wald were at the time that they collab- 
orated on this work non-professional practitioners of the historian's 
trade. They evidently had good contacts with the Democratic 
Party organization in Nebraska; contacts sufficiently weU estab- 
Ushed that the party sponsored and presumably underwrote the 
research and publication of this history. As an official history, 
the work is by no means completely uncritical of important figures 
in the history of the party but political bosses such as WiUiam 
Jennings Bryan, J. Sterling Morton, Gilbert Hitchcock and Arthur 
Mullen are, on the other hand, not really portrayed in unvarnished 
form. As an official history, sponsored and subsidized by a special 
interest group, the book must be approached with the same caution 
as company histories, annals of fraternal organizations and the like. 
The history is based on truth but perhaps not the whole truth. 

Nebraska being a largely rural state with relatively few and 
fairly small urban areas, as compared to the industrial states of the 
northeast and middle west, politics took on from the first a highly 
personalized nature which it has retained to the present day. Issues 
tended to become embodied into personalities as witness the per- 
sonification of the farmer's plight in William Jennings Bryan, cer- 
tainly the most significant politician the state has yet produced. 
Prohibition, which became a highly volatile issue around the time 
of World War I, again had its leadning political figures on either 


side, often transcending political party lines. But above all, as the 
authors stress, Nebraskans tended to support those candidates 
advocating thrift and economy in government with a concomitant 
stability or even reduction in taxation. 

The authors' narrative is complicated by the fact that the Demo- 
cratic party in Nebraska has for much of its history been a minority 
and at times even an almost nonexistent entity. The period from 
1870 to 1890 was one of Republic ascendency while even during 
the glory years of William Jennings Bryan, the Populists rather 
than the Democrats tended to garner the majority of citizen inter- 
est. Once again, during the 1920s, the Democracy was in voter 
disfavor and even the New Deal paled early for many Nebraskan 
voters and probably had less of a permanent impact on the state's 
political orientation than it did on that of many other states. The 
politicians in the party who rode to power on Franklin D. Roose- 
velt's coattails often paid only lip service to New Deal ideology 
and as time passed even publicly repudiated the positive govern- 
ment thrust of the national party. The Nebraska democracy in 
recent years has more than held its own in the achievement of 
poHtical office in the state, probably because of the relatively con- 
servative, cautious candidates that the organization has presented 
to the voter. 

The authors' study of the Democratic party in Nebraska is very 
much a surface observation of political phenomena, centering 
around individuals and electoral contests while the broad sub- 
stratum of political reality is obscured or ignored. While the 
authors mention, for instance, that the prohibition issue had a very 
definite ethnic tingle insofar as supporters and opponents of dry 
laws were concerned, Pedersen and Wald never come to grips with 
Nebraska's important ethnic divisions and the role played by ethnic 
groups in the political structure of the state. Interesting in parts 
and competently written for the most part. Shall the People Rule? 
is an agreeable work but far from approaching a definitive analysis 
of the Nebraska democracy. 

Camden County College Norman Lederer 

Blackwood, New Jersey 

Ranch Schoolteacher. By Eulalia Bourne. (Tucson: University 
of Arizona Press, 1974). lUus. 312 pp. $8.50. 

Reading Ranch Schoolteacher is like listening to a favorite aunt 
reminisce about her life spent teaching. The five-section auto- 
biography gives short descriptions of each school taught by Mrs. 
Bourne, with the emphasis being placed on sketches of individual 
pupils, their parents, and the few neighbors in each area. Inter- 
spersed throughout these sketches is the image of a woman. She 


begins the book as a teenager with "no college degree, no high 
school diploma, no elementary certificate," schools herself to pass 
the necessary tests to receive her second grade certificate, and 
continues to recount her teaching up to her reunion with former 
pupils after her retirement. 

Fired from her first job for teaching the indecent one-step, a 
popular dance of the time, she becomes a bit more circumspect in 
public, but never loses the individuality that caused her to teach 
her numerous country schools in levis, to emphasize music, field 
trips, picnics, programs, and parties, and to reward "her children" 
with money she feels they earn as workers. She homesteads and 
drives over a hundred miles a week to different schools to earn the 
cash necessary to keep the homestead. 

Mrs. Bourne stresses the need for understanding, respect, and 
caring between teacher and pupils. To achieve these things, she 
studied Spanish, and became one of the first bilingual teachers in 
the country schools. She also organized a newspaper, the "Little 
Cowpunchers" which printed stories written in English by Spanish- 
speaking children. It was so popular that she took it from school 
to school with her, each group of students carrying it on. 

The only frustration encountered by the reader of the book is 
her fleeting, almost marginal comments on herself. Her purpose 
is to remember her schools, her children, and her experiences, but 
sometimes the scanty references to her personal life tantalize with- 
out satisfaction. The style is loosely chronological, and delight- 
fully individual. The book is not only enjoyable; it is a valuable 
record of teaching in the rural schools of the Southwest. 

Northwest Community College Winifred S. Wasden 


Building An American Pedigree. A Study in Genealogy. By 
Norman Edgar Wright. (Provo: Brigham Young University 
Press, 1974). Illus. 639 pp. Paper. This book, planned 
and prepared while the author was a researcher at the LDS 
Genealogical Society, and later teaching at B. Y. U., is de- 
signed for the person who desires to confirm and extend his 
genealogy records without studying theory and background 
information. It is a practical book based on the training and 
experience of the author; it provides an outline of selected 
sources which are essential to American genealogy, covering 
their time period, content and availability. 

The Little Lion of the Southwest. By Marc Simmons. (Chicago: 
The Swallow Press Inc., 1973). Index. Illus. 222 pp. $8.95. 


The Arizona of Joseph Pratt Allyn. Letters From a Pioneer Judge. 
Edited by John Nicolson. (Tucson: University of Arizona 
Press, 1974). 

Adventures in the Apache Country. A Tour Through Arizona and 
Sonora, 1864. By J. Ross Browne. Re-edition with Intro- 
duction, Annotations and Index by Donald M. Powell. (Tuc- 
son: University of Arizona Press, 1974). Index. Illus. 292 
pp. Cloth, $9.50; paper, $4.25. 

The Pacific Slope. By Earl Pomeroy. (Seattle: University of 
Washington Press, 1965). Index. Map. Illus. 397 pp. 
Cloth, $12.50; paper, $3.95. 

Saleratus and Sagebrush. The Oregon Trail Through Wyoming. 
By Robert L. Munkres. (Cheyenne: Historical Research and 
Publications Division, Wyoming State Archives and Historical 
Department, 1974). Illus. 143 pp. Paper, $3.50. 

Memoirs of a White Crow Indian. By Thomas H. Leforge, as told 
by Thomas B. Marquis, with an Introduction by Joseph Med- 
icine Crow and Herman J. Viola. (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1974). Bison Book. 356 pp. $3.95. 


Robert A. Murray, after numerous earlier visits, came to 
Wyoming to live in 1962. For the next six years he was the first 
museum curator, then superivisory historian at Fort Laramie Na- 
tional Historic Site. In 1968 he estabhshed a private consulting 
service for historical projects. He now resides in Sheridan, as 
president of Western Interpretive Services, Inc. Author of a dozen 
books and major monographs and over thirty scholarly articles, his 
latest work is Military Posts of Wyoming, recently released by Old 
Army Press. 

Glen Barrett is a professor in the history department at Boise 
State University. He has published numerous articles and mono- 
graphs including The Diaries of Walter Murray Gibson, from the 
University of Hawaii Press, co-edited with Jacob Adler, and an 
overland journal recently published by Utah State University Press 
under the title Mackinaws Down the Missouri, which he edited. 
He is currently completing a book length biography of P. J. 
Quealy, and an article, "Stock Raising in the Shirley Basin, Wyo- 
ming," will appear in the summer, 1975, issue of Journal of the 
West. He holds the Ph.D. from Brigham Young University. 

Lonnie J. White, a professor of history at Memphis State Uni- 
versity, teaches courses on the American West. He received the 
Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas in 1961. He has 
served as associate editor of the Journal of the West since 1963. 
He has edited four published books, and has written or edited 
numerous scholarly articles. 

Evadene Burris Swanson received her doctorate at the Uni- 
versity of Minnesota in 1940. She has taught at Roosevelt College 
in Chicago, the State University of New York at Cortland and the 
University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Aus- 
tralia. She has written articles on local history in Minnesota, 
Maine, New York and New South Wales. Since moving to Fort 
Collins in 1966, her research has centered on northern Colorado 
and Wyoming. 

Karen L. (Mrs. Charles M.) Love received her M. A. in 
American Studies from the University of Wyoming in 1962. Her 
undergraduate work was at Wittenberg University, Springfield, 
Ohio. She is presently a learning lab instructor at Western Wyo- 
ming Community College. The J. B. Okie study was her master's 
thesis, for which she received grant-in-aid assistance from the 
Wyoming State Historical Society. 


Abbott, John, 88 
Alkali Creek, 85 
Amoretti, Eugene, 69 
Anderson, William Marshall, 59 
Anthony, Jeff, 47, 51, 52 
Arthur, James B., 61 


Badwater Creek, 85, 87, 93, 96 

Barrett, Glen, "P. J. Quealy: Wyo- 
ming's Coal Man and Town 
Builder," 31-43; biog., 128 

Barrie, Col., 92, 99 

Bartlett, Richard A., Nature's 
Yellowstone. The Stoiy of An 
American Wilderness That Be- 
came Yellowstone National Park, 
review, 116-119 

Big Horn Trail, 87 

Bighorn Sheep Company, 75, 77, 78 

"Big Teepee," 93, 94, 95, 96 

Birdseye Pass, 82 

Bissonette, Joseph, 10, 12 

Blaine, James G., 70 

Bourne, Eulaha, Ranch School- 
teacher, review, 125-126 

Bowman, J. Soule, 11 

Bozeman, John M., 45 

Bozeman Trail, 45, 46, 47 

Bridger, Jim, 54 

Brooks, B. B., 72, 93 

Building An American Pedigree. A 
Study in Genealogy, by Norman 
Edgar Wright, review, 126 

Burke, Timothy P., 77 

Burton, Sir Richard, 9, 12, 18, 19 

Cedar Ridge, 87 

Chenoweth, Otto, 89 

Chicago, Quincy and Burlington 
Railroad, 82 

Chuck Wagon Cookin', by Stella 
Hughes, review, 121-124 

Cipriani, Count Leonetto, 8, 12 

Collins, Lt. (Caspar), 25 

Collins, Lt. Col. William O., 22, 23, 
24, 29, 30, 63 

Combs, Barry B., review of Sher- 
man Hill, by James L. Ehernber- 
ger and Francis G. Gschwind, 

Conley, Pat, 85 

Connor, Brig. Gen. Patrick E., 45 

Cox, Dr., 99 

Crook, Gen. George, 66 

Custer, Gen. George A., 66 


Daly, Marcus, 32, 35 

Deep Creek, 87 

Deshler, Lt. James, 14 

"Dew Drop Inn," 83, 89 

Diamondville, 32, 35, 36, 38, 40, 41 

Dillon, Thomas, 52, 54 

"Doll House," 85 

Early Day Street Scene, Kemmerer, 

photo, 34 
Ehernberger, James L., Sherman 

Hill, review, 119-120 
11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, 25 
11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, 25 

Cache La Poudre River, 61, 63, 64 
Carpenter, Lt. S. G., 26 
Carrington, Col. Henry B., 26, 29, 

45, 46, 47, 55 

Farlow, James N., 71 
Fitzpatrick, Thomas, 59, 60, 61 




Benton, 45, 57 

Bridger, 61 

Caspar, 4; area map, 4 

Collins, Colo., 63, 64, 65 

Connor, 45 

Davis, 15-16 

Fetterman, 27, 66 

Hall, 45 

Laramie, 13, 45, 46, 50, 55, 59, 
63, 65, 112 

Lyon, Colo., 64 

Payne, 17-18 

Platte Bridge, Camp (Post) At. 
See Camp Payne 

Phil Kearny, 45, 49, 52, 54, 55 

Reno, 45 

Reno, (New). See Fort Phil 

St. Vrain, Colo., 60 

Smith, C. F., 45, 54 

Wise, 64 
Fossil, 32 

Fremont, John Charles, 60 
Friday Cemetery, 68 
"Friday: Roving Arapaho," by Eva- 
dene Burris Swanson, 59-68 
Frontier, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 42 
Frontier Supply Co., 33, 38, 41 
Fuller, E. O., 78 

Gschwind, Francis G., Sherman Hill, 

review, 119-120 
Grimes, Maj. E. B., 27 
Guinard, Louis, 8, 18, 19, 20, 29 
Guinard Bridge, 18, 21, 24, 27, 28 

Hofsommer, Donovan L., review of 
The Western Odyssey of John 
Simpson Smith: Frontiersman, 
Trapper, Trader and Interpreter, 
by Stan Hoig, 113-114 

Hoig, Stan, The Western Odyssey of 
John Simpson Smith: Frontiers- 
man, Trapper, Trader and Inter- 
preter, review, 113-114 

Hole-in-the-Wall gang, 89 

Hough, Charles, 15 

"Hugh Kirkendall's Wagon Train on 
the Bozeman Trail, 1866: Letters 
of C. M. S. Millard," Lonnie J. 
White, ed., 45-58 

Hughes, Stella, Chuck Wagon 
Cookin', review, 121-124 

Huggins, Lime, 39 



Red Cloud, 66 
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Records 

of, 112 
Chiefs and Individuals 

Black Bear, 61 

Black Coal, 66, 67 

Dull Knife, 15 

Friday, 49-68; photo, 62 

Little Wolf, 66 

Many Whips, 64 

"The One Who Sleeps," 67 

Red Cloud, 45 

Success-ca, 64 

Washakie, 65, 67 

Arapaho, 59-68, 73 

Shoshone, 73 

Ute, 60, 61, 63, 66, 67 


Haines, Aubrey L., Yellowstone 
National Park: It's Exploration 
and Establishment, review, 116- 

Ham's Fork, 32 

Ham's Fork Cattle Co., 33 

Hare, J., 48, 49, 57 

Helena, Mont., 46 

Heth, Capt. Henry, 15 

Hill, Lt. Robert C, 14 

Hill, Robert H., 69 

Hoffman, Maj. William, 13 

Jackson, Henry, 85 

Jackson Canyon, 6 

Janis, Nick, 15 

"J. B. Okie, Lost Cabin Pioneer," 

conclusion, by Karen L. Love, 69- 

Jewell, Scott, 100 
Jewell, Dr., 99 
Julesburg (Fort Sedgwick), 55 




Kane, Elizabeth Wood, Twelve 
Mormon Homes. Visited in Suc- 
cession on a Journey Through 
Utah to Arizona, review, 120-121 

Kearny, Col. S. W., 60 

Kemmerer, John, 33, 42 

Kemmerer, Mahlon S., 31, 32, 33, 
35, 41 

Kemmerer, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 38, 
39, 41, 42 

The Kemmerer Coal Co., 33, 36, 38 

Kirkendall, Hugh, 46, 47, 50, 51, 52, 
54, 57 

Knight, Joseph, 8, 9, 11, 12 

Maynadier, Col. Henry E., 55, 56 

Merivale, Joseph, 12 

Millard, C. M. S., 45, 46, 47, 53, 58 

Miller, Charlie, 47, 48, 57 

"Missouri Ferry," 7 

Moe, J. B., 78, 81 

Montana Trail. See Bozeman Trail 

Moore, Dan, Shoot Me A Biscuit. 
Stories of Yesteryear's Roundup 
Cooks, review, 121-124 

Morgan, Bill, 5 

Morrison, John, 82 

Murray, Robert A., "Trading Posts, 
Forts and Bridges of the Casper 
Area — Unraveling the Tangle on 
the Upper Platte," 5-30; biog., 

Mvering, W. H., 93 

LaPorte, Colo., 61, 63, 65 

Lederer, Norman, review of Shall 

The People Rule? A History of 

the Democratic Party in Nebraska 

Politics 1854-1972, 'by James F. 

Pedersen and Kenneth D. Wald, 

"Linnen Report," 76 
Lost Cabin, 69-100 
Lost Cabin Hotel, 83 
Lost Cabin Mine, 82 
Love, Karen L., "J. B. Okie, Lost 

Cabin Pioneer," conclusion, 69- 

100; biog., 128 
Lovell, Capt. Charles, 16 


Magee, George (McGee), 47, 51, 

52, 54, 55 

Manley, Frank, 36 

Martin Murphy, Jr. California Pio- 
neer 1844-1884. Monograph No. 
4, by Sister Gabrielle Sullivan, re- 
view, 115-116 

Mattes, Merrill J., review of Nature's 
Yellowstone. The Story of an 
American Wilderness That Be- 
came Yellowstone National Park, 
by Richard A. Bartlett, 116-119; 
review of Yellowstone National 
Park: It's Exploration and Estab- 
lishment, by Aubrey L. Haines, 

May. Robin, review of They Called 
Him Wild Bill: The Life and Ad- 
ventures of James Butler Hickok, 
by Joseph G. Rosa, 114 


Nature's Yellowstone. The Sto?-y of 
an American Wilderness That Be- 
came Yellowstone National Park, 
by Richard A. Bartlett, review, 

Nickerson, Capt. Hermon G., 65, 66 


Oasis Hotel, 83 

O'Day, Tom, 89 

Okie, Clarice, 97 

Okie, J. B., 69-100 

Okie, Jeanette (Mrs. J. B.), 95, 97, 

Okie, Van, 86, 91, 92 
Okie children, 92 
Opal. 32 
Oregon Short Line, 32, 33, 35, 38, 

Oregon Trail, 46. 47 
Overland Route. 21, 22 
Overland Stage, 21, 22 
Owl Creek, 87, 93 
Owl Creek Mountains. 85 

Pacific Telegraph, 21. 27 
Parkman, Francis, 10 
Patterson. Arthur H.. 65 



Pedersen, James F., Shall The Peo- 
ple Rule? A History of the Dem- 
ocratic Party in Nebraska Politics 
1854-1972, review, 124-125 

Penny, James Cash, 40, 41 

Pfeiffer, Frank, 40 

Phelan, Grover, 5 

Philpott, — , 93, 94 

Pickett, W. D., 71, 72 

Pim, Thomas, 12 

"P. J. Quealy: Wyoming's Coal 
Man and Town Builder," by Glen 
Barrett, 31-43 

Platte Bridge Station, 19, 23, 25 

Populist Party, 70, 71, 72 

Post, W. S., 32 

Powder River Road. See Bozeman 

Pullman, George Mortimer, 36 

Quealy, Patrick J., 31-43 
Quealy, Susan, 40 

Scott, Nicholas, 15 

Shall The People Rule? A History 
of the Democratic Party in Ne- 
braska Politics 1854-1972, by 
James F. Pedersen and Kenneth 
D. Wald, review, 124-125 

Sherman Hill, by James L. Ehern- 
berger and Francis G. Gschwind, 
review, 119-120 

Sherwood Ranch, 62, 63 

Shoot Me A Biscuit. Stories of 
Yesteryear's Roundup Cooks, by 
Dan Moore, review, 121-124 

Short Line Land and Improvement 
Co., 35, 37 

Signor, Hattie and John, 82, 83 

6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, 2nd 
Batallion, 22 

6th U. S. Volunteer Cavalry, 25 

Sloan, William K., 10 

Stansbury, Capt. Howard, 7 

Stuart, Robert, 5, 6 

Sullivan, Sister Gabrielle, Martin 
Murphy, Jr. California Pioneer 
1844-1884. Monograph No. 4, 
review, 115-116 

Swanson, Evadene Burris, "Friday: 
Roving Arapaho," 59-68; biog., 


Ralston, Woodruff, 82 

Ranch Schoolteacher, by Eulalia 
Bourne, review, 125-126 

Rate, Mrs. Frank, 86 

Raynolds, Capt. William F., 10 

"The Revenue Cutter," 7 

Richard, Joe, 23 

Richard, John Baptiste, Sr., 8, 9, 10, 
11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 

Richard, Louis, 24 

Richard Cs) Bridge, 9, 10, 21, 24, 26 

Roberts, Capt. Joseph, 17 

Rock Springs, 39, 40 

Rock Springs Coal Co., 32 

Rosa, Joseph G., They Called Him 
Wild Bill: The Life and Adven- 
tures of James Butler Hickok, re- 
view, 114 

Sammon, John W., 37 
Sanders, Pat, 15 

They Called Him Wild Bill: The 
Life and Adventures of James 
Butler Hickok, by Joseph G. Rosa, 
review, 114 

Thorpe, Elizabeth J., review of 
Shoot Me A Biscuit. Stories of 
Yesteryear's Roundup Cooks, by 
Dan Moore, 121-124; review of 
Chuck Wagon Cookin', by Stella 
Hughes, 121-124 

"Trading Posts, Forts and Bridges 
of the Casper Area — Unraveling 
the Tangle on the Upper Platte," 
by Robert A. Murray, 5-30 

Turchen, Lesta Van Der Wert, re- 
view of Martin Murphy, Jr. Cali- 
fornia Pioneer 1844-1884. Mono- 
graph No. 4, by Sister Gabrielle 
Sullivan, 115-116 

Twiss, Thomas, 16, 20, 112 

Twelve Mormon Homes. Visited in 
Succession on a Journey Through 
Utah to Arizona, by Elizabeth 
Wood Kane, review, 120-121 




Uinta Improvement Co., 33 

Underbill, Louise Flynn, review of 
Twelve Mormon Homes. Visited 
in Succession on a Journey 
Through Utah to Arizona, by 
Elizabetb Wood Kane, 120-121 

Union Pacific, 33 

United Mine Workers of America, 


Van Winkle, Capt. O. W., 23 


Wald, Kenneth D., Shall the People 
Rule? A History of the Demo- 
cratic Party in Nebraska 1854- 
1972, review, 124-125 

Wasden, Winifred S., review of 
Ranch Schoolteacher, by Eulalia 
Bourne, 125-126 

The Western Odyssey of John Simp- 
son Smith: Frontiersman, Trap- 
per, Trader and Interpreter, by 
Stan Hoig, review, 113-114 

W. H. lackson Sketch of Fort Cas- 
par, photo, cover 

White, Lonnie I., ed., "Hugh Kir- 
kendall's Wagon Train on the 
Bozeman Trail, 1866: Letters of 
C. M. S. Millard," 45-58; biog., 

Wilkinson, J. P., 9 

Willoughby, Sidney, 83 

Willoughby Hotel, 83 

Wind River Reservation, 59, 65, 67 

W. S. Post Store, Kemmerer, photo, 

Woodruff, I. D., 69. 82 

Wright, Frank Lloyd, 93, 94 

Wright, Norman Edgar, Building 
An American Pedigree. A Study 
in Genealogy, review, 126 

"Wyoming State Historical Society, 
Twenty-First Annual Meeting," 

Yellowstone Highway, 83 

Yellowstone National Park: It's Ex- 
ploration and Establishment, by 
Aubrey L. Haines, review, 116- 

Young, Brigham, 7 


The Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department has as its func- 
tion the collection and preservation of the record of the people of Wyoming. 
It maintains the state's historical library and research center, the Wyoming 
State Museum and branch museums, the Wyoming State Art Gallery and 
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Biographical materials of pioneers: diaries, letters, account books, auto- 
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Business records of industries of the state: livestock, mining, agriculture, 
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Current publications by individuals or organizations throughout the state. 

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special events in the state's history. 

Original art works of a western flavor including, but not limited to, 
etchings, paintings in all media, sculpture and other art forms. 


mZo S 







Mrs. Donald M. Casey 
Mrs. William Swanson 



Mrs. Frank Emerson 
Mrs. George W. Knepper 



Jerry Rill ah an 



Willis Hughes 



William T. Nightingale, Chairman 


Member at Large 

Frank Bowron 

Attorney General V. Frank Mendicino 




William H. Williams Director 

Robert L. Strickland Director, State Museums 

Mrs. Katherine A. Halverson Chief, Historical Research 

and Publications Division 
Mrs. Julia Yelvington Chief, Archives and Records Division 


The Annals of Wyoming is published biannually in the spring and fall 
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Annals of Wyoming articles are abstracted in 
Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life 

Copyright 1975, by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

M^^ls of Wyoming 

Volume 47 Fall, 1975 Number 2 

Katherine a. Halverson 

John C. Paige 
William H. Barton 

Virginia Elden 
Editorial Assistants 

Published biannually by the 


Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


OFFICERS 1975-1976 

President, Jay Brazelton Jackson 

First Vice President, Ray Pendergraft Worland 

Second Vice President, Mrs. Mabel Brown Newcastle 

Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Ellen Mueller Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, William H. Williams Cheyenne 

Past Presidents 

Frank L. Bowron, Casper 1953-1955 

William L. Marion, Lander 1955-1956 

Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody 1956-1957 

Dr. T. a. Larson, Laramie 1957-1958 

A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins 1958-1959 

Mrs. Thelma G. Condit, Buffalo 1959-1960 

E. A. Littleton, Gillette 1960-1961 

Edness Kimball Wilkins, Casper 1961-1962 

Charles Ritter, Cheyenne 1962-1963 

Neal E. Miller, Rawlins 1963-1965 

Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper 1965-1966 

Glenn Sweem, Sheridan 1966-1967 

Adrian Reynolds, Green River 1967-1968 

CuRTiss Root, Torrington 1968-1969 

Mrs. Hattie Burnstad, Worland 1969-1970 

J. Reuel Armstrong, Rawlins 1970-1971 

WiLLL^M R. Dubois, Cheyenne 1971-1972 

Henry F. Chadey, Rock Springs 1972-1973 

Richard S. Dumbrill, Newcastle 1973-1974 

Henry Jensen, Casper 1974-1975 

The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County Historical 
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Zable of Contents 


By William E. Deahl, Jr 139 


By Gordon L. Olson 153 


By Jerome A. Greene 191 


By Robert J. Whitaker 221 


By Richard F. Fleck 234 


Compiled by Jane Houston 235 


Hundley, Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact and 

the Politics of Water in the American West 243 

Spencer, Wyoming Homestead Heritage 244 

Murray, Military Posts of Wyoming 245 

Shideler, Agriculture in the Development of the Far West 247 

Gowans and Campbell, Fort Bridger: Island in the Wilderness 248 

Hutson, Reminiscences of a South Plains Youth 249 


INDEX 252 


Buffalo Bill Wild West Show Poster Cover 

Grand Processional, Wild West Show 138 

Wild West Show Poster 146 

"Attack Upon a Settler's Cabin" 149 

Wyoming State Penitentiary, 1905 152 

General Plan for Army Bakeries, 1872 194 

View of 1876 Bakery at Fort Laramie 199 

Ruins of the 1884 Bakehouse at Fort Laramie 210 


\ ft" 


--i.-'.'si^^ '^.-r'- -^-^ 


nuffaio mil's 

wild West Show. J 885 


William E. Deahl, Jr. 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show constituted one of the largest 
spectacles of American entertainment to evolve during the later 
part of the nineteenth century and rose to national popularity after 
only a few years of existence. The appearance of Buffalo Bill's 
show in a city, town, or village was a major event for amusement 
seekers of all ages. It combined the elements of the parade, the 
circus, the stage spectacular, the carnival, and the melodrama into 
one single event. In the short span of two and a half hours, the 
show took its viewers back to the golden era of the romanticized 
American West, a phase of American life that most people had 
experienced only in fiction, especially in dime novels. The hero of 
many of these dime novels was William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill" as 
he was popularly known. His personal appearance was a central 
attraction of the Wild West Show: children and adults alike 
thrilled to see him ride into the arena, dressed in his fringed 
buckskin jacket and a broad brimmed Stetson, mounted on his 
white horse. Buffalo Bill was the personification of the American 
western hero and his show offered romanticized versions of some of 
the more action-packed events that Americans experienced as they 
moved westward across their continent. 

The 1885 season of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show is repre- 
sentative of the western derivation of this distinctive, popular 
American entertainment. That year the exhibition was embarking 
upon its third season, which was much more successful than the 
previous two. A majority of the acts making up the 1885 program 
established the characteristic attractions of Buffalo Bill's Wild West 
Show as well as becoming the precedent for wild west shows as an 
entertainment form. In order to illustrate the significance of the 
1885 season, this article intends to describe the major features of 

(Cover photo) 
— Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming 

(Photo opposite page) 
— ^Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 


Cody's exhibition that year and to analyze its success as a popular 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show unofficially commenced its third 
season on April 11, 1885, by closing its winter tour of New 
Orleans, Louisiana, and departing to Mobile, Alabama. The exhi- 
bition had played New Orleans since December 23, with modest 
success, but its performances had been greatly hampered by 
changing weather conditions.^ 

The unfavorable weather conditions apparently decreased the 
anticipated financial success of the winter tour and caused the 
retirement of one of Cody's partners. Captain A. H. Bogardus.- 
The retirement of Bogardus and his sons in New Orleans allowed 
for the trial appearance of a new shooting act featuring Miss 
Annie Oakley. Concurrently with the Wild West Show, Miss 
Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler, had been in New Orleans 
with Sells Brothers Circus. There Butler negotiated with Cody a 
trial appearance of his wife in Louisville, Kentucky. The Courier- 
Journal commented upon Miss Oakley's first appearance with 
Buffalo Bill's entertainment venture : 

A handsome young girl performed some remarkable feats with both 
shotgun and rifle, and probably received more recognition from the 
audience than any other members of the company except Buffalo 

Annie Oakley's initial appearance proved a great success and 
started a seventeen-year career with Cody's show. Annie Oakley 
was to become the only performer who ever seriously competed 
with Buffalo Bill for popularity with the audience. 

After leaving Louisville, the Wild West Show gave several one- 
day performances in Indiana and Illinois, followed by a week's 
stay in St, Louis, Missouri. The Globe-Democrat estimated the 
attendance at the St. Louis opening at 25,000. The popularity of 
the exhibition was attested to by the newspaper's assessment of the 
audience's response to the show : 

The most remarkable fact is that among so many thousands there were 
heard no grumblings nor expressions of dissatisfaction, and those who 
were present will have nothing but agreeable recollections of the 
Buffalo Bill Wild West.4 

^Daily Picayune, December 16, 1884 - April 8, 1885. 

^Walter Havighurst, Annie Oakley of the Wild West (New York: Mac- 
millan Company, 1954), pp. 30-40. Bogardus was acclaimed the Champion 
Pigeon Shot of America. During the first year of the exhibition, he had 
appeared in shooting contests against Dr. William F. Carver, the Evil Spirit 
of the Plains. In the following year, Bogardus and his four sons were major 
shooting performers in the exhibition, but the disappointing winter tour 
caused Bogardus to leave the show and to retire to Illinois. 

^Courier- Journal, April 25, 1885, p. 5. 

^Daily Globe-Democrat, May 15, 1885, p. 10. 


Following the successful week in St. Louis, the show moved on to 
the city of Chicago for its next engagement. 

The exhibition inaugurated a two-week stand in Chicago's Driv- 
ing Park on May 17, 1885. Performances were held only in the 
afternoon; the gates to the grounds were opened at 1:00 p.m. 
with the performance at 3:30 p.m. General WiUiam Tecumseh 
Sherman praised the show as "wonderfully realistic and historically 
reminiscent" in an ad which appeared in the Chicago Tribune. 
The admission fee was 500 for adults and 250 for children.^ 

The people of Chicago turned out en masse to greet the Wild 
West Show: more than twenty-thousand persons, according to the 
Chicago Tribune. The attendance was roughly over one-twentieth 
of the population of the city and was estimated as exceeding the 
combined audience of all the preachers of Chicago that Sunday 
morning.^ The spectator's excursion to the West Side Driving 
Park was not altogether pleasant: 

From noon till nearly 4 o'clock there was matter for moralizing at 
every corner on the West Side. The ungodly were out in masse. 
They boarded the sweltering and overloaded cars, braved the discom- 
forts of a sultry but showery day, and waited for dilatory suburban 
trains, and resolutely turned their backs on churches and every other 
mark of civilization to take up, and echo along the line the cry of 
westward ho!''' 

Arriving on the grounds, the masses crowded their way into the 
race track until there was standing room only. The audience 
represented "every sex and condition of society" and awaited with 
anticipation the opening of the show. The Daily Inter-Ocean 
surveyed the offerings of the Chicago inauguration of the Wild 
West Show: 

This afternoon 'Buffalo Bill's Wild West' will inaugurate a season at 
the Chicago Driving Park, rain or shine. The company is reconstruct- 
ed, improved, and enlarged. These performances are an exact picture 
of frontier life with the hunters, trappers, and cowboys; the Indians in 
their vari-colored costumes and war-paint; the free — powerful and 
graceful movements of their well trained horses; the camp, with its 
rude tents and appliances, form a spectacle which could not be seen 
elsewhere than the Western plains. The performance is purely Amer- 
ican, and every act represents something distinctively characteristic 
of American life.8 

The 1885 season saw Cody's show traveling under the copy- 
righted name: The Wild West or Life Among the Red Men and 
the Road Agents of the Plains and Prairies — A Equine Dramatic 

^Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1885, p. 10. 
^Ibid., May 18, 1885, p. 10. 
Adam Forepaugh and the Wild West Show. 
^Daily Inter-Ocean, May 17, 1885, p. 13. 


Exposition on Grass or Under Canvas, of the Adventures of Fron- 
tiersmen and Cowboys. Part of the reason for the copyright was 
to give Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show a legal claim to an enter- 
tainment starring William F. Cody, since in May of 1885, there 
were four other "Wild West" shows besides Cody's enterprise.^ 
Buffalo Bill publicly voiced his objections to his competition to an 
interviewer for the Chicago Tribune: 

They differ from his in many respects, and he himself ridicules them 
as being but mimic copies of his own great open-air show in which he 
pictures anew his old exploits. Still, whether they are good or bad, 
he objects to them upon the theory that when they call themselves the 
'Wild West' they are encroaching upon his possesisons, taking advan- 
tage of his discovery, and staking off a claim on ground already 
claimed. it^ 

The copyrighting of the program of Buffalo Bill's Wild West 
Show during 1885 allows for a reconstruction of the exhibition 
using the information contained in the copyright material. The 
show commenced with a Grand Processional introducing the celeb- 
rities and performers of the Wild West Show to the audience. 
Individuals or groups rode into the arena, stopped before the 
grandstand, and received a formal introduction. The processional 
was followed by a succession of acts, all of which were supposed to 
represent life upon the frontier. 

The Cowboy Band under the direction of William Sweeney pro- 
vided a variety of musical selections while the audience awaited the 
start of the performance. The band members were dressed appro- 
priately in western attire topped off with large-brimmed, white 
felt hats. Once the preparations were all in order, Mr. Frank 
Richmond, the master of ceremonies, took his position in the 
judges' box and made the following public announcement: 

Before the entertainment begins, however, I wish to impress upon your 
minds that what you are about to witness is not a performance in the 
common sense of that term, but an exhibition of skill, on the part of 
men who have acquired that quality while gaining a livelihood. Many 
unthinking people suppose that the different features of our exhibition 
are the result of what is technically called 'rehearsals.' Such, however, 
is not the fact, and anyone who witnesses our performance the second 
time will observe that men and animals alike are the creatures of cir- 
cumstances, depending for their success upon their own skill, daring 
and sagacity. 11 

The Grand Processional of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show began, 
accompanied with music by the Cowboy Band. The gates to the 

9The other four Wild West Shows included Carver and Crawford Wild 
West with J. J. McCafferty, Fargo's Wild West, Hennessey's Wild West, and 

^^Chicago Tribune, May 26, 1885, p. 5. 

iiB. A. Botkin, A Treasury of American Folklore (New York: Crown 
Publishing, Inc., 1944), pp. 150-51. 


track opened: The various members of the company raced into 
the arena and slowly paraded in review before the stands. The 
procedure was for a specific group of performers to enter, followed 
separately by their chief or leaders, who were introduced accord- 
ingly by Mr. Richmond. The first members of the processional 
were the Pawnee Indians, followed by their chief, White Eagle. 
The Mexican vaqueros were the next group to pass in review, 
followed by the Wichita Indians and their leader, Dave. A group 
of American cowboys next raced into the arena, followed by the 
"King of the Cowboys," Buck Taylor. 

Con Groner, the cowboy sheriff of the Platte, now made his 
appearance. The newspapers credited Groner with capturing over 
fifty murderers and even a greater number of horse thieves, cattle 
cutters, burglars, and outlaws; it claimed his service as sheriff 
brought peace and quiet to the region around North Platte, Ne- 
braska. The Morning Herald of London, Ontario, characterized 
Groner as the gallant sheriff who "looked anything but the person- 
ification of peace and repose, with his rifle in his hand and a 
formidable array of revolvers and bowie knives in his belt."^- 
Once Groner had greeted the audience, a group of Sioux Indians 
and their chief. Little Brave, made their appearance. The stage 
was now set for the climax of the Grand Processional and the 
special introduction of the next celebrity : 

I next have the honor of introducing to your attention a man whose 
record as a servant of the government, whose skill and daring as a 
frontiersman, whose place in history as the chief of scouts of the 
United States Army, under such generals as Sherman, Sheridan, Han- 
cock, Terry, Miles, Hazen, Royal, Merrit, Crook, Carr, and others, 
and whose name as one of the avengers of the lamented Custer, and 
whose adherence throughout an eventful life to his chosen principle of 
'true to friend and foe,' have made him well and popularly known 
throughout the world. You all know to whom I allude — the Honor- 
able William F. Cody, 'Buffalo Bill.'i:^ 

With a bugle fanfare, Cody galloped into the arena astride his 
horse, Charlie, reined up before the stands and gave a personal 
address to the audience: "Ladies and Gentlemen: Allow me to 
introduce the equestrian portion of the Wild West Exhibition." 
Cody turned to the company and asked, "Wild West, are you 
ready? Go!" With this, the Wild West Show was officially 
underway. The review exited and the first performers took their 

The first attraction of the Wild West Show was a quarter-mile 
horse race between a cowboy, a Mexican, and an Indian. This was 

i^Nathan Salsbury Scrapbook Collection: Western Collection, Denver 
Public Library, Denver, Colorado. (Cited hereafter as NSSC.) Morning 
Herald, September 8, 1885. 

iSBotkin, p. 151. 


followed by a demonstration of the Pony Express. Billy Johnson, 
billed as a former Pony Express rider, performed this act. The 
Burlington, Vermont, Free Press and Times cited Johnson as hav- 
ing ridden 240 miles over the plains without dismounting at one 
time and having ridden a record of 310 miles in 26 hours, 45 
minutes. ^^ The re-enactment of the early western method of 
carrying the mail performed by Johnson was described by the 
Toronto Globe: 

He started with the mail bags from the quarter pole, came down to 
within three lengths of the judges stand without slacking speed, but in 
that short space checked his pony so suddenly as to throw him almost 
on his haunches. The pony was barely at a standstill before the rider 
was on the ground throwing the mail bags over his shoulder, had 
tossed them on the back of the other horse, and was galloping off at 
full speed in less time than it would take an ordinary rider to dis- 

Johnson performed his task quickly and departed from the arena, 
making way for the next event, a one-hundred-yard race between 
an Indian on foot and an Indian mounted on a pony. 

The fourth act, the Duel between Buffalo Bill and Chief Yellow 
Hand, dramatized the struggle of the frontiersman against the 
plains Indian. The feature was based on an incident from Cody's 
life in 1876 when he was a scout with the Fifth Cavalry and par- 
ticipated in the encounter at War Bonnet Creek in Dakota Terri- 
tory. According to the legend, Cody was to have taken the "first 
scalp for Custer" in this skirmish with the Indians. The feature 
started with the entrance of cowboys and Indians into the arena 
and the formation of two opposing lines with a small hill between 
them. The Indian portraying Chief Yellow Hand rode to the hill 
and issued a challenge to the cowboy band which was accepted by 
Buffalo Bill. The combatants exchanged rifle shots while advanc- 
ing on one another. 

At length the men closed and after a short struggle dismounted, and 
the fight being continued on foot. Yellow Hand using his spear and 
Buffalo Bill his knife. After considerable fencing and dodging they 
closed, and the next instant the supposed scalp of Yellow Hand was 
triumphantly exhibited by the invincible scout of the plains. i*' 

At this sign, the Indians charged and "a lively contest ensued;" the 
Indians were overpowered and driven off with the cowboys in 
pursuit. The people viewing this portrayal of the battle may well 
have judged it to be an authentic reconstruction of the actual 
event; they did not seem to question the incident thus represented. 
Through the western skills he displayed in the arena, Buffalo Bill 

^^Burlington Free Press and Times, August 6, 1885. NSSC. 

i^'Globe, August 24, 1885. NSSC. 



was able to reinforce his frontier hero image as it had been created 
in the dime novel. 

Marksmanship constituted the next part of the Wild West Show, 
shifting the focus to less emotionally charged features. Mr. Seth 
Clover, the first marksman introduced by Mr. Richmond, used a 
Winchester repeating rifle to shoot various moving targets. For his 
first stunt, Clover would shoot two glass balls thrown into the air 
at once, replacing the discharged cartridge before shooting the 
second ball in the air. He continued his act by shooting with his 
rifle sight obscured, aiming at half dollars, nickels, and marbles 
thrown into the air and by shooting a number of composition balls 
thrown in rapid succession.^' This concluded Clover's act, and he 
was followed by Master Johnny Baker and his demonstration of 
shooting at stationary targets while holding his rifle in a variety of 
positions. Baker, at sixteen years of age, was credited as holder 
of the boy's champion badge for rifle and revolver shooting. ^"^ 

Miss Annie Oakley performed the last of the featured shooting 
acts of the show. Her feats of marksmanship included shooting 
clay pigeons thrown from a trap, either single or in pairs. She 
could break glass balls with her rifle held high overhead. Part of 
her act was to lay her rifle on the ground, throw glass balls into the 
air, pick up her rifle, and shoot the balls before they fell to the 
ground. For another stunt, three composition balls were thrown 
into the air in rapid succession, and Miss Oakley would hit the first, 
firing the rifle held upside down on her head, then change weapons, 
shooting the second and third balls with a shotgun.^" 

After Annie Oakley's performance, the focus of the audience's 
attention was shifted to Cowboy Fun and the riding of bucking 
ponies by such colorfully named riders as Broncho Bill, Bill Bul- 
lock, Tom Clayton, Coyote Bill, and Bridle Bill. Tom Clayton 
attempted to ride the especially difficult horse aptly named "Dyna- 
mite." In true western fashion. Dynamite tried everything he 
could to unseat Clayton, reportedly even turning somersaults, but 
Clayton finally subdued the bucking horse. The people of Boston 
especially enjoyed this feature of the exhibition.-" The conclusion 
of Cowboy Fun was performed by none other than the "King of 
the Cowboys," himself. Buck Taylor. Taylor performed feats of 
skill and horsemanship by riding bucking horses and doing tricks 
on horseback, such as picking up his hat and handkerchief from the 
ground with his horse running at a full gallop.-^ 

Buffalo Bill, Himself, was the single attraction of the ninth act 

i^Botkin, p. 152. 

^Hbid., p. 153. 


-''^Boston Daily Advertiser, July 28, 1885. NSSC. 

'■^^Boston Evening Express, July 25, 1885. NSSC. 



— Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming 


Miss Annie Oakley was featured as "The Peerless Lady Wing-Shot." 

of the Wild West exhibition. Ths Honorable William F. Cody 
claimed the distinction of being the "Champion All-Round Shot of 
the World," and his act offered numerous ways for him to prove 
this title. First, he shot clay pigeons by pulling the traps himself 
and using both the American and English methods of holding the 
rifle. Next he shot clay pigeons holding the rifle with only one 
hand and with other variations. The final part of his act per- 
formed on foot was to shoot at clay pigeons and to hit twenty of 
them in less than one minute and thirty seconds. The rest of 
Cody's performance was done on horseback with a Winchester 
repeating rifle; he shot glass balls in various ways while he was 
riding. This produced "a picture of combined horsemanship and 


marksmanship never before presented to a public audience." Buf- 
falo Bill brought his act to an end by shooting glass balls thrown 
into the air using an ordinary Colt's army revolver.-- The Chicago 
Tribune reported that Cody was the object of general admiration, 
especially among the youthful romantics present, who saw in him 
an incarnation of their young ideals.-'^ 

The great crowd thriller, the Attack upon the Deadwood Stage- 
coach, was next presented to the audience. Mr. Richmond intro- 
duced the driver, Mr. John Higby; the man seated beside Higby, 
John Hancock; the outrider, Broncho Bill; and the man on the 
top of the coach. Con Groner. Volunteers from the audience 
served as passengers. Once loaded, the stagecoach was ready to 
go. Mr. Richmond delivered these parting instructions to the 
driver: "Mr. Higby, I have entrusted you with valuable lives and 
property. Should you meet with Indians, or other dangers, en 
route, put on the whip, and if possible, save the lives of your 
passengers. If you are all ready, go!"-^ The stagecoach rolled out 
onto the track of the arena and started off on the simulated jour- 
ney. A reporter for the Washington Post wrote a vivid account of 
the dramatization of the attack upon the stagecoach: 

Suddenly a piercing yell was heard, and a party of mounted Indians 
galloped from behind a canvas sheet, where they had been lying in 
ambush, and pursued the coach. Higby lashed his mules into a fur- 
ious gallop and rushed madly over the cinder track, the coach jumping 
and swaying from side to side. Nearer and nearer came the Indians, 
yelling like mad and exchanging rapid shots with the passengers. As 
the coach turned the curve by the stands again, the foremost Indians 
came up with it, pouring shot after shot into the driver, whose capacity 
for holding lead seemed unlimited. The spectators sat spellbound. 
Suddenly another body of horsemen appeared, headed by 'Buffalo 
Bill,' and charged on the yelling savages. A desperate encounter 
ensued which resulted in the flight of the Indians and the rescue of the 
coach and the thrilling act ended in a blaze of Grecian fire from the 
interior of the vehicle in a realistic manner peculiar to the original 
genius of the West.25 

This act contributed to the popular myth that in the face of the 
rangers in life on the frontier, a hero such as Buffalo Bill was near 
at hand to come to the rescue. 

After the smoke cleared and the crowd had calmed down, the 
exhibition continued with the depiction of some milder features 
of life upon the American plains. The eleventh and twelfth fea- 
tures were horse races. The first of these was a one-quarter mile 
race between Sioux boys and bareback ponies and the other was a 
contest between cowboys on Mexican thoroughbreds, or mules. 

22Botkin, p. 154. 

^^Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1885, p. 8. 

24Botkin, p. 155. 

^^Post, June 23, 1885, p. 1. 


For the next act, the Pawnee and Wichita Indians returned to the 
arena to demonstrate their native sports and ceremonies, including 
the war dance, the grass dance, and the scalp dance. Responses by 
members of a Chicago audience reflected a definite lack of under- 
standing and respect for the Indian culture. According to the 

The audience persisted in regarding tlie Pawnee war dance — an in- 
tensely solemn ceremonial — as a bit of pure humor, to the obvious 
disgust of the dancing braves, who looked thoroughly dishearted at 
such salHes as 'Rats!' 'Whoop 'er up ther, Jim!' 'Dosy-do' at the 
most critical points in their performance. -"^ 

These reactions would seem to indicate that the Indians appearing 
with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show were sometimes ridiculed 
rather than greeted with awe and wonder. 

The acts preceding the final exciting feature were rather unusual 
and probably provided a great deal of amusement. The fourteenth 
act was Mustang Jack, the high jumper. The Indians called him 
"pet-ze-ka-we-cha-cha." Mr. Richmond announced that Mustang 
Jack was the champion jumper among the cowboys of the West 
and that he stood "ready to jump with anybody in any manner or 
style for any amount of money." Mustang Jack displayed his 
jumping skill by vaulting over burros and horses. Following the 
unique demonstration of human athletic ability, numerous cowboys 
and Mexican vaqueros displayed their horsemanship and skills with 
cattle by roping and tying wild Texas steers. The sixteenth attrac- 
tion was the riding of an elk. The rider was introduced as Master 
Voter Hall, a Feejee Indian from Africa. However, Mr. Hall was 
in reality a black American cowboy.-' 

Following this unusual assortment of acts, the Wild West Show 
presented its final spectacle, the Attack upon a Settler's Cabin. 
This act had been the closing performance during the winter tour 
of New Orleans where the Daily Picayune had described it as a 
chapter from a dime novel, portraying "the dangers of frontier life 
and the chivalry existing among the inhabitants" of the frontier : 

John Nelson came to his cabin after his hunt, and preparations for 
supper were begun. Indians stealthily approached, and one kept 
watch on the (cabin) while the other stole the horse. The hunter's 
son discovered the thief and fired. The hunter came out, there was 
an onslaught of a whole band of whooping red devils, and then came 
a splendid charge of cowboys. After a running fight on horseback, 
with enough firing of pistols in it to make the small boy howl with 
delight, men shot from their saddles and riderless steeds dashing 
around, the cowboys won the victory and the cabin was saved.^s 

'■^^Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1885, p. 8. 

27Botkin, p. 156. 

^^Daily Picayune, December 24, 1884, p. 4. 


— Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

Buffalo Bill once more had come to the rescue and had saved the 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show came to an end with the full cast 
assembling before the grandstand, similar to the curtain call for a 
dramatic play. Cody offered an adieu to the audience and dis- 
missed the Wild West company. Mr. Richmond invited the spec- 
tators to visit the Wild West camp before leaving the grounds. 

Although the scheduled acts of the 1885 program as outlined 
were highly successful, the management added one other attraction 
to the Grand Processional during the course of the season. The 
new, special guest was Chief Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa Sioux. 
Sitting Bull joined the show in Buffalo, New York, on June 12. 
Immediately he was given top billing in the show's advertising. 
However, his participation in the show was Umited to his riding in 
the processional, following Buffalo Bill. Sitting Bull was well 
known by reputation to the public because of his participation in 
the Battle of Little Big Horn and his successful evasion of capture 
by the United States Army before he returned to his own people 
in the Dakotas. Chief Sitting Bull was a member of the Wild West 
Show for only the 1885 season.--' 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show played in more than forty cities 
during its 1885 season. Some of the larger cities on the route after 
Chicago were Washington, D. C, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, 
Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, and Pittsburg. Sample gate receipts 
were reported by the New York Dramatic Mirror at $25,000 for 
two performances in Buffalo, New York,-^" and $20,000 for a 
single performance in Lansing, Michigan.-^ ^ 

2*>Don Russell, The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill (Norman: Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1960), p. 316. 

:^«Wew York Dramatic Mirror, June 20, 1885, p. 5. 
'^^Ihid., September 19, 1885, p. 5. 


The 1885 success of Buffalo Bill's exhibition is summarized in 
two newspaper reviews of the exhibition. The first, written in the 
flamboyant journalistic style of the era by Brick Pomroy, appeared 
in the Montreal Herald: 

All the operas in the world appear like pretty playthings for emascu- 
lated children by the side of the setting of reality and the muse of the 
frontier as so faithfully and extensively presented, and so cleverly 
managed by this incomparable representative of Western pluck, cool- 
ness, bravery, independence, and generosity .-^^ 

The family appeal of the Wild West Show was praised by Mayor 
Beaugrand of Montreal, Canada, in an address made to Cody and 
his company after witnessing a performance of the exhibition: 

Your show is decidedly the best that has ever been presented to the 
people of Montreal. There is absolutely nothing in it that is harmful. 
A gentleman can bring with him his wife and children to witness the 
feats of daring and skill of life upon the plains as portrayed by your- 
self and your men, knowing that there is nothing injurious to the most 
susceptible nature or the most refined mind.^-'^ 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show ended its third season at the St. 
Louis Fair on October 11, 1885. 

Apparently the frontier muse was with Buffalo Bill's Wild West 
Show. The general public supported and found entertainment in 
Cody's outdoor drama based upon the romanticizing of the devel- 
opment of the American West. Part of the show's success can be 
attributed to its capitalizing on a growing interest in the western 
frontier among easterners. For those people living in the well- 
settled urban areas of the United States and Canada, a vivid, live 
reproduction of "The Wild West; or Life Among the Red Man and 
Road Agents on the Plains and Prairies" offered an exciting, but 
safe, way to experience the adventurous life on the frontier. Dur- 
ing an afternoon at the exhibition, a spectator could witness some 
of the most popular characters of America's trans-Mississippi 
migration: the plains Indian with his dress, customs, and rituals 
as they were before the frontiersman arrived; the rustic trapper 
who lived among the Indians; the Pony Express rider; the cowboys 
and vaqueros with their riding and roping skills; the skilled marks- 
man; and the accomplished horseman. The spectator could also 
see these various people in conflict as their differing civilizations 

Although the Wild West Show aid present the customs and 
rituals of the plains Indians, the Indians were nevertheless depicted 
as a hostile force, an obstacle to the white man's conquest of the 
continent. In this role, the Sioux Indians proved to be the most 

^^Montreal Herald, August 10, 1885. NSSC. 
^^Jbid., August 17, 1885. 


useful. Their civilization provided colorful dress and customs and 
was advanced enough to offer opposition to the advance of the 
frontiersman. Also, at the time of Chief Sitting Bull's appearance 
with the Wild West Show, outward hostilities existed between the 
Sioux Indians and the American government. The Indian was 
more than a historical curiosity; he also represented a current 
threat, a reminder of America's violent and relentless conquest of 
an expansive and untamed land. This increased the attraction of 
the Indian features of the exhibition. The violent conflicts between 
the white man and the Indian, including the simulated scalping of 
an Indian warrior (depicted in the Yellow Hand feature) could be 
praised by the Mayor of Montreal, Canada, as family entertain- 
ment, "with nothing injurious to the most susceptible nature or the 
most refined mind." 

The greatest single attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show 
was William F. Cody. His reputation greatly contributed to the 
success of the exhibition. Cody had been a participant in the 
development of the West, and his adventures as a Pony Express 
rider, a buffalo hunter, and an Indian scout had been dramatized 
in the Buffalo Bill dime novels, Cody was a western hero. More- 
over, he was an invincible hero, who according to his press stories 
and dime novels, rode, shot, scalped Indians, and saved maidens in 
distress. Thus, the Wild West Show offered people the opportu- 
nity to see Buffalo Bill re-enact some of his historic deeds. In 
addition, they could see real Indians, real cowboys, and an authen- 
tic display of the skills used in the settlement of the American 
West. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show succeeded because it com- 
bined a romantic view of the West with an aura of authenticity to 
create an acceptable and exciting form of entertainment for the 

y'l M Cike J Must ne 
Sntemg . . . Mother World, " 



Gordon L. Olson^ 

American history is, for the most part, the story of men who 
obeyed the law; and profited from their obedience. Historians, 
although fascinated by the careers of notorious lawbreakers, have 
not had a great deal to say about American penology. Those his- 
tories which have been written rely heavily on official records, 
emphasizing statistical information and the changing philosophy of 
penal administration.^ Accounts of life behind prison walls are not 
readily available. There are obvious reasons for this. Few pris- 
oners wish to attract undue attention to themselves, either while 
they are in prison or after, and until well into the twentieth century, 
prisoners had a much higher illiteracy rate than the general public. 
Thus, clearly written accounts of life in prison are important his- 
torical documents. The Historical Research and Publications Di- 
vision of the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 
has one such document on microfilm. Written by a man who 
spent nearly ten years in the Wyoming State Prison between 1904 
and 1920, it offers a keyhole view of life among a frontier society's 
rejects. The author preferred to remain anonymous. A disgrun- 

( Photo opposite page) 
— Stimson Photo Collection 

Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

^Orlando F. Lewis, The Development of American Prisons and Prison 
Customs, 1776-1845, (New York: 1922), is a detailed study of prisons 
during the nation's formative years, with emphasis on the institutions of 
New York State. Blake McKelvey, American Prisons: A Study in Amer- 
ican Social History prior to 1915, (Chicago: 1936), spans the period from 
1735-1915, relying heavily upon annual reports and other official docu- 
ments. David J. Rothman, The Discovery of Asylum: Social Order and 
Disorder in the New Republic, (Boston: 1971), is a re-interpretation of 
the causes for the formation of American asylums in the Jacksonian era. 
suggesting asylums were an effort to insure community cohesion in new and 
changing circumstances. 


tied youth who left home at an early age, he was in trouble with the 
law before he was out of his teens. After his first fracas, trouble 
seemed to follow him, and before long, he found himself on his 
way to Rawlins for a year, to mull over his transgressions. That 
first incarceration had little or no reform effect, nor did a second. 
Only after three separate periods of forced inactivity did he decide 
to turn his back on lawlessness and lead a more exemplary life as 
a Wyoming rancher. Having once made the decision, he seems to 
have abided by it. 

The prison to which that anonymous inmate kept returning 
reflected the prevalent national attitudes toward prisons and in- 
mates. Like many western institutions, it was stamped from an 
eastern mold. Americans moved westward in unprecedented num- 
bers after the Civil War. Traveling light, these migrants carried 
items they deemed essential, a few luxuries if there was room, and 
little else. So it was, too, with their cultural baggage. It was not 
their intention to create new institutions. Units of government, 
schools, courts, churches, prisons — all were based upon tested 

/Reformatory penology was the watchword in the East. Concern 
over cruelty, debauchery, and corruption in the nation's prisons 
led, on the national level, to the formation of the American Society 
for the Improvement of Penal and Reformatory Institutions, and, 
on the state level, to boards of charity and reform. With human- 
itarian idealism dominating the attitude of prison professionals, 
limited improvement in living conditions, sentencing procedure, 
and labor conditions was soon apparent. Progressive prison war- 
dens graded prisoners according to their degree of reformation, 
recognized the need to reform as well as punish prisoners, created 
separate facilities for women and juvenile offenders, provided 
educational and religious instruction, meted out sentences which 
could be adjusted by parole boards, and relaxed the "silent sys- 
tem." Another major concern of the era was housing. It is a 
mark of the acceptance of the reform efforts that they were incor- 
porated into the planning for new structures. As early as the 
1 820s, a penitentiary was constructed at Auburn, New York, which 
had individual cells and a congregate work area. The "Auburn 
System" became the ideal for much of the nation for the remainder 
of the century.- 

Reading only the reports of wardens and state boards, one can- 
not help but conclude American penitentiaries are well run, for- 
ward looking, humanitarian reform institutions. Accounts by 
prisoners present a different picture. Alexander Berkman, a 
prisoner at Pennsylvania's Riverside Penitentiary, collected evi- 
dence which told a conflicting story. He noted very little of the 

^McKelvey, Prisons, pp. 8, 48-92. 


individual improvement reported by prison officials. Instead, he 
wrote of vengeful guards who delighted in confining men to the 
"dungeon," of "stools" who regularly reported to the officials, of 
quack doctors who gave little or no health care, and the "cracked 
ward" which was all too often the next step after graduation from 
the dungeon. Rather than uplifting activities, he wrote of bootleg 
opium, liquor, tobacco, and knives, of traffic in the "kid business," 
and of births among female prisoners.^ 

The dichotomy between humanitarian ideals and harsh realities 
were magnified when eastern penal institutions were transplanted 
west of the Mississippi. The people of Wyoming Territory endured 
an extremely haphazard penal system. Prior to 1872, Wyoming 
sent its convicted felons to the Detroit House of Correction. Ad- 
dressing the first territorial legislature in 1869, Governor John 
Campbell pointed to the need for a penitentiary. Four years later, 
he was able to report that "in October, 1872, the Territorial Peni- 
tentiary at Laramie City was completed" and since that time, pris- 
oners convicted in the territory in both the Territorial and the 
United States courts had been sentenced to confinement in it."* 

The stone prison, designed to accommodate forty-two prisoners 
in three tiers of cells, was soon overcrowded. A Laramie news- 
paper stated in 1877, "If that Cheyenne Court doesn't stop pretty 
soon, there will be a hundred. We'll have to get up a returning 
board and throw out a lot of them. Every term of the Cheyenne 
Court sends from 25 to 30 men recruits for the house over the river 
and yet there is no perceptable decrease of rascals down there."^ 
Whether or not it was the result of an excessive number of rascals 
in Cheyenne, the Laramie Penitentiary could not accommodate all 
those for whom the court had made reservations. The State Board 
of Penitentiary Commissioners, created in 1877, discovered it was 
costing the state $1.00 per day for each prisoner. They soon 
discovered they could do better elsewhere, and over the objections 
of Governor John Hoyt, a contract was made with the Nebraska 
Penitentiary to incarcerate Wyoming's prisoners at a rate of 40 
cents a day for each inmate. The contract was renewed in 1880, 
and again in 1882. Later in 1882, a second contract was made 
with the Illinois Penitentiary at Joliet, and new prisoners were 
sent there.*^ 

For the next nine years, the Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary, 

^Alexander Berkman, Prison Memories of an Anarchist, (New York: 
1912), pp. 240-262, 304-307. 

■^Message of Governor John Campbell to the First Legislative Assembly 
of Wyoming Territory, 1873. Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne. 

^Cited in the Laramie Republican Boomerang, February 25, 1962. 

^Minutes of the Wyoming Territorial Board of Penitentiary Commission- 
ers. January 16, 1878-Januarv 22, 1891. Wyoming State Archives, Chey- 
enne, pp. 2, 15, 29, 31, 113, 129, 180. 


for all intents and purposes, was located in Joliet, Illinois. Only a 
few short-term prisoners were retained in Laramie. In 1884, a 
Federal examiner found ten prisoners, three guards and Marshal 
Gustave Schnitger's family living together in apparent familial bliss'. 
He also found several escapes had gone unreported, one convict 
worked as the Marshal's ranch hand, and prisoners often borrowed 
civilian clothes to go into Laramie on Saturday nights. Not sur- 
prisingly, the examiner found Schnitger to be "an innocent sort but 
unfit for duty," and recommended he be removed.^ 

Even as Marshal Schnitger conducted his pioneering venture in 
minimum security detention, charges were in the wind. There is a 
longstanding legend in Wyoming that when institutions were dis- 
tributed, the order of selection was Cheyenne, Rawlins, Evanston, 
and Laramie, and that by preference they chose the capital, peni- 
tentiary, insane asylum and university. The tale, of course, is 
fanciful.*^ However, the Territorial Building Act of 1888, provided 
for "a penitentiary building" erected near the city of Rawlins at a 
cost not exceeding $100,000".'' With that legislation, the history 
of penal institutions in Wyoming entered a new phase. When the 
Rawlins institution was opened, Wyoming would cease to send its 
inmates out of state. Work progressed slowly. In the 1890s the 
structure was allowed to stand partially completed for a time, until 
the legislature appropriated additional funds. 

Meanwhile, the Laramie facility became more and more crowd- 
ed. Although the Rawlins penitentiary was completed in 1897, 
the transfer of prisoners by train did not begin until December, 
1901. This delay was the result of a dispute with the leasee of the 
Laramie Prison. The state had been leasing the entire Laramie 
faciUty to a private individual since 1891, trading the products of 
the inmates' labor for their upkeep, retaining only the right to 
appoint a warden. Finally, the state agreed to permit the leasee to 
transfer his lease to Rawlins and the transfer was begun. The new 
prison was almost immediately overcrowded. A new wing, hous- 
ing thirty-two additional prisoners, was constructed in 1904. This 
addition, along with later remodeling, permitted the Board of 
Charities and Reform to close down the Laramie prison in 1907, 
turning the building over to the University for use as an agricultural 
experiment station. ^*^ 

''The investigator's report is preserved in the National Archives, Washing- 
ton, D. C, Department of Justice Appointment File for Gustave Schnitger. 
See also the Laramie Republican Boomerang, February 25, 1962, for 
lengthy quotes from the file. 

^The tale is so persistent, however, that T. A. Larson felt it necessary to 
refute it in his History of Wyoming (Lincoln: 1965), p. 145. 

■'Frances Birkhead Beard, Wyoming from Territorial Days to the Present, 
Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, Inc., 1933), p. 337. 

'^^'Biennial Reports of the Wyoming State Board of Charities and Reform, 
1891-1904, Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne. 


Jf he Rawlins penitentiary was built on the Auburn principle and 
consisted of the cell block and several smaller structures surround- 
ed by a wooden fence. Inmates were sentenced to determinate 
sentences, although a few were regularly pardoned. At first, the 
prison was run by N. K. Boswell, the leasee who employed the 
prisoners in his factory. He maintained military discipline, per- 
mitting the men to leave their cells to work and eat, and little else. 
The state provided a chaplain, and purchased a few books for a 
library, but no instruction was available save that which one inmate 
could give another. Some medical treatment was available, but a 
separate hospital facility was not built for several years. Upon his 
release, each prisoner was given a suit of clothes and five dollars. 
A perusal of the biennial reports of the State Board of Charity 
and Reform indicates that prisoner reformation was of little con- 
cern during the early years at Rawlins. The reports consist pri- 
marily of a financial statement, statistical records of the prisoners, 
and accounts of progress in buildings improvements and new 
construction. ^V 

The anonymous author of the following passages first saw the 
Rawlins penitentiary in the fall of 1904. His antisocial behavior 
had begun at a tender age. Like many boys he wanted a gun; 
unlike most, he found a variety of ways to acquire several. As he 
was growing up, he secured a succession of guns which his parents 
regularly discovered and destroyed. The rift between parents and 
son widened with each new incident, until finally ". . . i promised 
myself an early leave-taking from the family circle, what i should 
do for a living after i should leave home occupied no place in my 
thoughts, i had allways liked to work but i lacked skill, i had 
never been allowed to do anything by myself, what i did know 
only hastened my undoing, i had become fairly good at riding a 
horse, and shooting at tin cans." (pp. 1-2. Hereafter quotations 
from the memoirs will be indicated by an internal page reference. 
Other than paragraphs, no changes have been made in the text.) 
His words proved prophetic. Horses and guns were indeed the 
source of many unpleasant events. 

^t the age of fifteen, he ". . . decamped for parts known only to 
myself, my battle with the world had now begun." (p. 2) His 
steps carried him to Casper, Wyoming. Finding little of the 
adventure he sought in Casper, he moved on to Wolton,^- about 
sixty-five miles west on the Lander stage road. He found work, 
and trouble, in Wolton. He was hired by a crusty old Scotchman 

^'^Biennial Reports, 1901-1915, and J. C. Schuckers (Inmate No. 401). 
Monograph of the State Penitentiary, Laramie, Wyoming, as sent to Inter- 
national Congress of 1900 at Brussels. Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne. 

i-A discontinued post office in Natrona County, Wohon no longer ap- 
pears on Wyoming maps. 


he identifies as "McRae." McRae had a reputation for not paying 
regularly. When the author decided to collect his wages and move 
on, he found the reputation was richly deserved. McRae refused 
to pay fifty dollars he owed. The author stayed on his job for 
an additional two weeks, trying to decide his next step/ 

. . . i had no money and there being but small chance of getting any 
from the Scotchman, i was in a fix. i don't believe that if he had given 
me the money that i would have been content to go away without 
doing something to get even with him for making me wait so long. 
'McRae had at some time or other picked up a stray bronk belonging 
to an indian on the shoshone reservation, he had never notified any- 
one of the horse being in his possession so i foolishly thought that he 
couldn't do anything about it if i took the horse myself, so i rode 
away on the stray horse after finding it necessary to steal a new saddle 
and bridle from McRae. i no doubt could have gotten away with the 
horse, but the old Scotchman could never forget that saddle.' after 
using all the means of which i had any knowledge in concealing my 
trail, i took a beeline for the sandhills country north of casper. so 
in my desire for revenge i had committed an act that was sure to 
react as a boomerang upon my own head but of that i thought noth- 
ing, i felt only the satisfaction of having in my possession at least 
fifty dollars of McRae's property, i never took the law into consid- 
eration, if i had i would no doubt have given more attention to a 
certain individual in casper who at that time was the chief repre- 
sentative of the law in natrona county, namely the sheriff, in the 
meantime the outraged old Scotchman had not been idle, his first 
move upon missing the outfit was to notify the sheriff at casper. 
the sheriff of today when notified of the prescence of a horsethief in 
his territory, nine times out of ten, jumps for the telephone, not so in 
that day. /that sheriff went straight to the barn and a number of good 
horses which he kept there, there could be but one result for me, a 
speedy landing in the little jail built in the back of that church-like 
building that i had noticed a short time before, i had one friend that 
wanted to get me turned loose, and told the sheriff get a certain 
lawyer there in town to defend me and he would pay the man for his 
services, i was taken to the lawyers office for an interview in regards 
to my coming trial for horse stealing, i didn't think that i could get 
out of my mixup at no time, and after i left that lawyers office there 
in that little log building, i knew for sure that i was in for it. i have 
seen twenty snows since then, but my memory of that short talk with 
the lawyer is plain as though it happened yesterday, as i went in the 
door of his office, that professional juggler of laws was pacing back 
and forth across the room, the while, dictating to a girl stenographer, 
i sat down on a chair and after a short time the lawyer dismissed the 
girl and began to talk with the sheriff about my case, the lawyer 
sat looking at me as though in deep thought, then i was asked how 
old i was, i told him my correct age which was sixteen this statement 
was verified by the sheriff, he then turned to the officer and said, i 
wonder why it is that so many boys who would no doubt have made 
good citizens and businessmen, should take up a life of evil pursuits, 
the sheriff said he didn't know the reason for that but lots of them 
done it anyway, the law buster then made a suggestion that i change 
my name, he explained why this should be done, it was his idea that 
my boyhood friends would be less apt to find out my disgrace if i 
changed my name, he named over a collection of different names, - 
and said i could take my choice of the different names, i then asked 
him why i should change my name as what i had done wouldn't hurt 
my reputation much as they always had accused me of worse things 


than what i was now charged with, he said, well you haven't been in 
the penitentiary yet have you? i said no i had never been there, 
well he said, you will soon be there, and you won't want your old 
schoolmates and friends to know of it therefore you had better change 
your name, i asked him if he was sure that i had to go to the 
penitentiary, yes, there is no way out of it that i know of i can't keep 
you out of there./ i then told him that if i had to go that i had no 
need for a legal advisor, and told the sheriff that i was ready to go 
back to the jail, the officer consented readily enough, and i was soon 
back in the cell, ' (pp. 3-4) 

The Casper jail cell held an interesting collection of society's 
misfits. In addition to the youthful offender, it contained "a pale 
faced gambler, an ex-sailor whose face still bore traces of a black 
eye and other evidences of a recent fistic encounter, and a villian- 
ous looking cowpuncher." (p. 4) All had admitted their guilt 
and were waiting only for the district judge to mete out their sen- 
tences. They expected to receive severe sentences, convinced as 
they were that they were among the worst rogues to plague man- 
kind. The judge arrived all too soon, and called the miscreants 
before him. 

,/his honor finally turned and entered into a moments conversation 
with the county attorneys after which he addressed me telling me to 
arise and come forward, i walked out in front of him and stood there 
facing him. he then read aloud the charge against me, and asked if i 
was guilty, i said i was guilty, i was then asked if i had anything to 
say why sentence should not be pronounced upon me. i answered no. 
he then began admonishing me for my unlawfuU act. at that instant i 
became possessed of an insane desire to laugh, how i controlled this 
impulse i don't know, my brain was in a whirl, for a moment i 
thought i was lost, to have laughed at that time i am sure would have 
been the worse for me. ^i came to myself as i was walking to my 
seat with the sound of the judges voice ringing in my ears, all i 
could remember was, one year in the penitentiary at the city of 
rawlins, Wyoming. 

Within a few days, the prisoners were on their way to the 

as we approached the city of rawlins from the north we could see 
the smoke arising from behind a long ridge which hid the little town 
from our view, a feeling of depression stole over me which i don't 
think i have ever since been able to completely shake off. almost the 
first sight that greeted our eyes as we came into view of the town was 
the prison itself, the road which we were traveling, passed close to 
the fence which enclosed the grounds upon which the buildings stood, 
before we realised it we were through the big iron front door and 
seated in the room where prisoners are first recieved. , after the sheriff 
had gone through the necessary formalities of turning us over to the 
prison authorities, we were conducted through a series of doors to a 
bathroom, given a bath had our clothes taken away and were given in 
exchange a secondhand suit of stripped illfitting clothes, the shirt 
made of some kind of stiff hard cloth was decorated on the right 
breast with a huge number freshly daubed on with some kind of evil 
smelling black paint or ink. we were then given a dinner of boiled 
beef and bread, each man was given an empty tomato can to be used 


for drinking water, or if he wished there was an abundance of a dark- 
colored mixture, which for a better name was called coffee, the table 
and benches were made of plain boards and bore evidence of much 
scrubbing and washing, the great hall-like building in which we sat 
seemed cool and damp, complete silence was the order of the day 
there we could see that very plainly, the only sounds were the pad 
of swiftly moving feet over the cement floor as white-faced stripped 
forms flitted in and out through the doorways which looked like black 
holes in the walls, i felt like i must be entering upon exsistence in 
another world, and i really was a prisoner, for the detention of the 
human animal holds an atmosphere of gloom and depression all its 
own. even the odor which greeted my nostrils as we entered the 
prison proper, which is called a cell block, was absolutely strange to 
the senses, truly it is a world apart, (pp. 4-5) 

After dinner, the new prisoner was taken to meet his cellmate; 
his first view of the cellblock interior had a lasting impact. Con- 
structed of grey sandstone, it "was a good exhibition of the stone 
mason's art." The walls and floors "appeared as if they were hewn 
from a single rock." (p. 5) Above each tier of cells was a long 
iron bar, operated by a single lever, which could simultaneously 
lock all cells. Each cell door also had a heavy lock turned by a 
huge iron key. 

Upon entering the cell, the youth was confronted by a sullen man 
who said nothing for interminably long minutes. He finally broke 
the silence with a few comments about the rules of the prison 
posted on the wall. Talking was prohibited at all times except in 
the cell. Signs instead of words were used at the dining table. The 
dungeon awaited anyone caught speaking.^-^ 

^t that time the prison was run on the lease system, the place was 
leased about on the same plan as one would rent a farm or other 
property, a man named Graham had the penitentiary under a lease 
contract at the time of which i write, he paid the state so much per 
month or by the year for the use of the convicts, and he paid the 
expence of running the place, hired his own guards and warden; the 
state didn't have much to do with it. the prisoner was therefore at 
the mercy of Graham. H he owned the prisoner to the same extent 
that one owns a dog or a horse, he regarded his human charges as 
being of less in value than a horse, in as much as there was no first 
cost connected with this proposition, at least it never cost him any- 
thing to secure all the convicts he wanted. 

the prisoners were employed in the manufacture of brooms, the 
shop was run by Scoville Brothers of Ogden Utah, this factory no 

i-^The "silent system" which permitted no conversation between prisoners 
outside their cells, and in some cases required prisoners to shuffle about with 
their eyes downcast, was an integral part of the Auburn system. McKelvey, 
Prisons, pp. 10-13, 41. 

J^The lease system was a frontier innovation, originating in Frankfort, 
Kentucky, in 1825 as a means of unburdening the state of the cost of 
prisoner maintenance. Leasees were often accused of prisoner abuses, but 
the system persisted as the frontier advanced westward. Ibid., pp. 31, 


doubt yielded a handsome profit to the operators as well as Mr. 
Graham./ the broom shop being the chief source of revenue it was 
therefore the aim of the management to use every available man at 
this work.^ tying brooms was classed as the hardest work in the shop 
and required considerable skill if it was to be done in the proper 
manner, this work was usually reserved for the man with a long 
sentence, it was also used as a sort of punishment even for a short 
timer in case he should get too tough. 

, each man had an allotted amount of work to do each day. then he 
could return to his hole in the wall and spend his time as he chose, 
making horse hair bridles and so on. when a new beginner entered 
the shop he was first given a small amount of work to do. This was 
increased from day to day and was called a running task, this way 
he would gradually work up to a full days work, if after a reasonable 
length of time he failed to do the full amount of work required, he 
was put in the dungeon for a few days, then he could try it again 
and if he didn't make good was taken back to the dungeon, this 
would be repeated until the man either done the work or died from 
the effects of the punishment, they usually did the work. 

the foreman of the broom shop was viewed in the light of a true 
autocrat, as indeed he was. during working hours his jurisdiction was 
complete, if he wanted a man put in the dungeon he was taken there 
at once, and if a prisoner happened to be confined in the place of 
punishment for some offence committed outside the shop, he would 
have him turned loose if his services were badly needed in the factory. 
^ there was considerable work to be done outside the shop in the 
prison yard and in the cell house, along each tier of cells runs a 
board walk called a gallery, a prisoner is employed on each of the 
galleries to sweep the floors and carry drinking water to the men in 
the cells, he makes his rounds about once every hour carrying a 
water can and a lighted torch to light the kerocene lamps in the cells, 
this is known as a soft job and could only be secured by permission of 
the foreman of the shop, the man in order to get that job had to be 
stool pigeon, which in the parlance of those denizens of the under- 
world, means an informer, a carrier of tales, his main job was to 
pump the prisoners who worked in the broom shop, if he failed to do 
that to satisfaction of that distinguished gentleman, the foreman, the 
would be tattler went to the shop himself. . . . 

there was one man among the one hundred and fifty prisoners there 
who boasted of never having been made to work, and it was the 
truth, his name was Edmundson, serving a life sentence for a murder 
done in Uintah County, all efforts on the part of the prison author- 
ities to break his spirit only seemed to add strength to his determina- 
tion to avoid work, at first he absolutely refused to go to work and 
as a matter of course was put in the dungeon, after being left there 
for a week or more he was taken out and told to go to the broom 
shop, he did as he was told in so far as going to the shop was 

for the accomidation of the convicts in the shop, two sticks hung in 
front of the guard's station, when a prisoner wished to leave the shop 
he saluted the guard, reached up and took one of the sticks and went 
out. the first act of Edmundson upon entering the shop was to secure 
one of the sticks, that was a privalege of which a prisoner could 
avail himself at any time, there were but two sticks and not more 
than two men could be absent from the factory at the same time, if 
both of the sticks happened to be in use, the next man would be 
allowed to sit upon a bench in front of the guard and wait untill 
someone came back with one. 

Edmundson didn't come back with his stick and the guard reported 


him missing to the officers in the cell house, he had thrown the stick 
away upon reaching the yard and when they located him he was 
sitting in his cell smoking, he was immediaetly taken to the dungeon, 
after about two weeks he was taken out and told to go to the shop and 
report for work, he went and repeated the performance with the 
wooden sticks, this was done over and over with the same results, 
he wouldn't work, they then tried to beat him into submission and on 
one occasion he was struck on the head with a heavy padlock and 
seriously injured, but he never gave in. he was a tough looking 
character, and was even tougher than he looked, he possessed an evil 
spirit and a caloused heart. . . . 

all prisoners were smooth shaven, the hair could be worn in the 
usual style, if one should be put in the dungeon for any reason what- 
ever the hair was clipped off close, three convict barbers did the 
work of shaving once a week and the prisoners were allowed to have 
their hair cut once in about six weeks, on Saturday the barbers 
would take their tools to the broom shop and shave the men there, 
three crude hand made barber chairs were kept in the shop for this 
purpose, the barber chairs were placed a few feet in front of the 
guard's station, the prisoner would go up there and soap his own face 
to save time, this way the barbers could finish in one day. the first 
time they told me to go up and get shaved, I told the guard that I 
guessed I didn't need a shave as i had no beard, this seemed to make 
him suddenly go wild, he jumped out of his high arm chair, his fat 
face purple with rage, as he shouted at me, you aren't running this 
place, you get in that chair and get shaved, and i got in and had the 
lather scraped off my face, the barber who shaved me was a nice 
looking young fellow with a sad face, he told me in a low voice in 
which he never moved his lips a particle, never mind kid i won't more 
than scrape the lather off. he was serving a twentyfive year term for 
killing a man in Crook County, he told me that he never expected to 
get out of there alive, but he did get released after working on that 
barber chair for twelve years, he was one of the finest men that i 
had ever seen and i thought it was a sin to keep him in a hole like 
that for so long a time. . . . (pp. 6-8) 

Church services were held every Sunday in the administrative 
building, and with a few exceptions, everyone was compelled to 
attend. The only alternative was the dungeon. 

one Sunday when the church services were about over we could 
hear an unearthly yelling and moaning in the cell house, the scream- 
ing sounded as though the man was being subjected to some form of 
most horrible physical torture, the sounds continued as we marched 
out over the draw bridge, from this vantage point we could see 
directly an interesting scene, there was one convict who had been 
pestering the prison doctor with complaints of an ingrowing toenail 
which he claimed bothered him to such an extent that he couldn't 
work. He was tying brooms and the doctor said he was just stalling 
in order to escape work, he was put in the dungeon but that had no 
effect, every morning when the doctor came he would be the first 
one on the list, the doctor would ask him the nature of his ailment 
and the man would complain of the sore toe. it had finally gotten 
on the doctor's nerves so that he decided to fix the fellow up. the 
doctor had given orders to have him kept in the cell during church 
and as soon as we were all in the chapel they brought him down 
stairs and under the doctors instructions was lain on his back upon a 
small table which stood in front of the kitchen door, this table was 
used to set pans on during meal time, the entire kitchen force was 


then called out and ordered to hold the man down, this was done to 
the satisfaction of all concerned, especially the doctor, the doctor of 
medicine then proceeded to take out a pair of pliers and a pocket 
knife, with the aid of these instruments he proceeded to split the 
offending toe nail down through the center, and pull out the pieces, 
this naturally explained the yelling, i don't remember of hearing 
anyone complain of bad toe nails after that. 

the doctor was employed by Graham, he was supposed to visit the 
place every morning but sometimes he didn't show up at all. there 
was only one man that missed him when he failed to arrive on time, 
that was the foreman of the broom shop, the main object in having a 
doctor was to keep the men at work, he allways came early in the 
morning so that in case any of the convicts should remain in their cells 
on the sick list, he could send them to the shop at the earliest possible 
moment, for a hospital they had a single room in the upper story of 
the administration building, that room contained an iron cage with 
cells like an ordinary jail, the prisoners refered to that place as the 
butcher room; i never knew of a convict to go there for treatment 
and come back to the cell house, what disposition was made of the 
ones who were unfortunate enough to be taken there, i don't 
know. . . . 

at the time of which i write the prisoner with no infraction of the 
prison rules to his credit, was given a reduction of time for good con- 
duct, the maximum allowance of time off, was fifty days on each 
year and an additional five days for every three years, this was better 
for the man serving a short sentence than it was for the long time. 
i had to serve ten days and ten months for my sentence of one year, 
the time seemed to pass by quick enough to me. the day for my re- 
lease finally came, i was first sent to my friend the barber, who cut 
my hair and gave a little good advice as to my future conduct, which 
i immediately forgot of course, i was then taken out through the 
same doors which had closed behind me ten months before, i was 
handed a suit of clothes, underwear, hat, shirt, and shoes, in fict a 
complete outfit, these i put on, the clothes would hardly hold to- 
gether long enough to get them on. the whole outfit cost possibly 
ten dollars, the warden handed me a five dollar bill which was the 
amount allways given to the discharged convict by the magnanimous 
Mr. Graham, five dollars by using the greatest economy could be 
made to last possibly three days, a man on emerging from that place 
was usually in poor physical condition, even after a stay of only ten 
months, they only gave the man enough money to last about three 
days and if he did find employment, would be absolutely unfit for 
any kind of hard manual labor, unless he had money of his own 
outside of the five dollars donated by Graham, he must find an em- 
ployer, and that quickly, i thought little of those things that august 
day as i walked out from the damp prison air into glorious sunshine 
of this enchanted land. . . . (pp. 9-10) 

/As he walked through the penitentiary gate, the inmate/author 
could only think of putting his stay behind bars out of his mind. 
He strode out into the southwestern Wyoming desert, and then, 
like a horse unsaddled after a hard ride, he lay down and rolled 
in the dust. Satisfactorily removing the new look from his prison- 
issued suit, he set out to put many miles between himself and the 

His trail led first to employment as a sheepherder, but before 
the sun had disappeared many times beyond the Wyoming land- 
scape, he was again in trouble. 


For two years he remained out of the penitentiary but his free- 
dom was not the result of exemplary behavior. The solitary life 
of a shepherd did not fit his restless nature. Stealing the rifle of a 
fellow herder, he turned his back on honest employment, and 
engaged in a variety of crimes and attempted crimes. Criminal 
skill and the ineffective frontier law establishment permitted him 
to brazenly avoid capture. 

•The now-free author's adventures began when he was arrested 
near Douglas, Wyoming, for stealing the rifle. He quickly escaped 
that jail with a Mexican colleague, and unable to succeed in honest 
labor, he turned to horse steaUng. He and a partner rounded up a 
small herd of someone else's horses in eastern Wyoming, and sold 
them in Nebraska. With money in his pockets, and far too much 
confidence in his criminal talents, he left his partner, and set off for 
Chicago. The Windy City's features appealed to the amoral youth, 
but he soon learned that stealing horses in Wyoming did not pre- 
pare him for a life of crime in the big city. Deciding that he could 
be more successful as a larger frog in a smaller pond, he returned 
to Sheridan, Wyoming. 

ySheridan offered the fledgling criminal more promising oppor- 
tunities. Here, he worked out a train robbery scheme which was 
prematurely aborted when his partner lost his nerve. After a bar 
brawl in Sheridan, he fled into the Big Horn Mountains. In that 
unlikely setting, he found a job and an employer whom he hked. 
He worked for a few pleasant weeks building a dam at Dome Lake, 
but his employer's wife was suspicious, and when news from Sher- 
idan arrived, he was compelled to move on. Following these few 
peaceful weeks, our anonymous narrator embarked upon an od- 
yssey which led from stolen horses to aimless train rides, back to 
stolen horses, and finally to capture. Before a bit of drunken 
carelessness landed him in the Casper jail for a second time, he 
traveled from Dome Lake to Thermopolis and then to Worland. 
Finding Wyoming too restrictive, he embarked via train for 
Billings and Toluca, Montana. With law enforcement officials 
using the telegraph to keep up with him, he switched trains often. 
The path let as far east as Alliance, Nebraska, and then did an 
about face taking him several hundred miles west to Green River 
and Wolton, Wyoming. He committed a robbery in the latter 
community, and turned back east for Casper to enjoy the fruits of 
his crime. Swilling stolen whiskey along the way, he arrived in 
Casper with a head so muddled his instinct for avoiding capture 
abandoned him. He decided to cash some stolen checks and pur- 
chase more whiskey. He woke from his binge in the Casper jail, 
and after an unsuccessful escape attempt, he was given two years 
and six months in the Rawlins penitentiary to reflect upon his 

Several familiar faces, including that of the warden, greeted the 


prodigal prisoner. But there were some changes. Several men 
sported mustaches, and one venerable figure graced his face with a 
full beard. A further look revealed that Edmundson, whom the 
author had known on his previous visit, was continuing his obsti- 
nate resistance to authority. 

;^hortly after his arrival, the author was taken to the broom 
factory. Once there, he struck up an acquaintance with another 
recent arrival named Richardson. Rich, as he was known behind 
the walls, was doing life for killing a man near Gillette. Rich was 
a moody character, given to periods of depression when he might 
turn either to religion or an attempt at homicide. His fellows came 
to respect Rich's moods, and to give him a wide berth. 

After a man had been in the prison three months without mar- 
ring his record, he was given a suit of grey clothes to replace his 
stripes. Our author had just received a grey coat when an idle 
musing cost him the coat and consigned him to a sojourn in the 
dungeon. The wrong man (a stoolie) heard him mumble that he 
did not care if he ever learned to make brooms. The warden 
translated that statement into a temporary diet of bread and water. 

After seven days, the careless comment was considered rectified, 
and the prisoner returned to to his cell. His first night out of the 
dungeon was most eventful. It began with a seemingly trivial 
incident, but ended in tragedy. A prisoner with a life sentence was 
seen near the kitchen, although he did not regularly work there. 
Other prisoners reported that the lifer was filling in for the head 
cook who was ill. This did not seem to portend trouble, but soon 
the warden had his hands full. 

Each morning, the cooks rose at 4:30 so that the prisoners could 
be fed and on the job early. On his first morning out of the 
dungeon, the author was wakened by the cooks being let out, and 
then, just as he was again dropping off to sleep, he heard muffled 
voices followed by a flash of fire and a deafening explosion. This 
was followed by a man's voice, "as though begging for mercy ..." 
and a second explosion. 

"i was almost deafened by the concussion which was terirfic in the 
close air. Probably a minute elapsed during which i could hear noth- 
ing but a ringing in my ears, then came a roar from the back end of 
the cell house . . . other shots followed in quick succession then an 
interval of complete silence . . . then i heard another shot which 
sounded hollow as if it had been down in a barrel." (p. 56) 

Thus far, all the shooting had come from within the cellblock. 
Now the guards outside opened up. Buckshot and rifle slugs 
slammed into the building and through the windows. Although 
there was no answering fire, any movement by the prisoners 
brought forth another volley. 

Later, after everything had quieted down, the author managed to 
piece together the story of what had happened. The lifer who had 


earlier been observed by the bakery had somehow obtained a gun 
and some dynamite. He had planned to force the guard to open 
the laundry building, which had one wall with direct access to the 
outside, and then dynamite his way to freedom The guard threw 
the key out of his reach rather than let him escape. The frustrated 
lifer shot the guard, and tried to blast his way out. When that 
failed, he took his own life. The prisoners were kept in their cells, 
except to work and eat, for several days after the attempt.-^^ 

The warden resigned shortly after the shootings, and was re- 
place by Hillenbrand, the chief cell house guard. Hillenbrand was 
respected by many of the prisoners including the author. He 
attempted to make life more comfortable for his charges, but his 
efforts were often negated by the leaseholder, Graham. The 
prisoners continued to feel that Graham saw them only as chattel 
kept to do labor. Stories about his cruelty and callous system 
circulated constantly. 

there was one broom machine that was regarded by the convicts as 
unlucky, it was a good machine but nobody cared to use the thing if 
there was a way around it. one fellow worked for a long time and it 
began to look as though the jinx had departed for good, he was a 
quiet mannered fellow about forty years of age and apparently had 
good health, he had for a cellmate a slim curly haired young man, 
who everybody called Curly, they sat right across the table from me 
at meal time, one morning about ten o'clock i noticed curly's partner 
leave his machine and go to the shop guard and get a pass to the cell 
house, he passed my machine on his way out but he didn't look up or 
say anything, at noon as we sat at the table, curly's cellmate was 
missing, we didn't think anything about that for we just supposed 
that he was sick, he had been allright that morning, one of the 
waiters came along filling our cups with coffee, and as he leaned for- 
ward with his coffee can to fill my cup, i heard him whisper to curly, 
your cellmate went to the butcher room, curly's face went white but 
he didn't move a muscle to show that he had heard the whispered 
words of the waiter, curly didn't get to see his partner anymore, 
neither did anybody else in there, the next day we heard he was dead, 
and that was the last of him. 

a short time after that another man was put to work on that ma- 
chine, he was a likely looking subject for working of the jinx, he 
was a mexican and seemed to be in poor health and was afflicted with 
what i always called quick consumation. the big fellow went down 
hill fast and in about a months time was in such condition that he 
could hardly walk, he was given permission to walk in the yard for a 
certain length of time each day. he walked around the yard with his 
shoulders all drooped over and one hand held against his chest and 
seemed in a bad way . . . 

he told Rich (who was experiencing a religious rebirth at this time, 
and had become a stoolie) that he knew for sure that if he didn't re- 
cieve medical treatment soon that he would die. he said that the 
prison doctor could cure him up if he wanted to. he was sure of that, 

i^This incident, which occurred in 1908, is not mentioned in the 1907- 
1908 Biennial Report of the State Board of Charities and Reform. Nothing 
in the record indicates there had been any trouble at the prison. 


and he was going to try and get that man to fix him up if he could, 
he had concieved a definite plan by which he could (get) results if 
nothing more, he was going to be cured regardless as to how his 
plans were carried out. 

he confided his health getting scheme to his spiritual advisor, Rich- 
ardson, on the next morning when the prison vetinary came in the 
cell house, he was going in there and talk to him. he would tell him 
that he would soon die if something wasn't done for him. he was 
then going to ask the doctor if he would fix him up or not. but he 
was to have a definate answer, if the doctor said that he would fix 
him up, well and good, but if the reverse was the case, then the 
mexican would, to use his own words, fix him up quick, and he 
showed Rich his knife which was a full sized broom knife. Rich 
hastily excused himself from the presence of the mexican. Rich 
couldn't possibly allow anything like what the mexican contemplated 
to occur, he was now warned away from the acts of evil and violence 
for all time, if he allowed that to happen he would be guilty of a 
gross neglect of duty, so he hastened to tell the warden of the mex- 
ican war plans, the warden as a matter of course told the doctor. 

the following morning when the doctor came to the prison the 
swarthy son of Mexico was there waiting for him. but the brave 
doctor was taking no chances that morning so he stayed out in the 
front office and viewed his prospective patients through the little look- 
out window, the mexican was first to consult the man of medicine, 
he spoke to the mexican and asked him how he was feeling and so on. 
he seemed greatly concerned about the physical condition of the man. 
well, he said, you just wait until i get through with these other cases 
and i will fix you up. and here take this, he said, it will brace you up 
and make you feel better, and he handed the man a drink of whiskey 
through the bars of the lookout window, after he had disposed of the 
other cases he called the man over to the window and talked nice to 
him and said that he had better go to the hospital where he could get 
better care as he was in a very bad condition and that the sooner he 
went to the hospital the better, and the mexican said alright i thank 
you doctor, he smiled at Rich as he passed out through the iron 
doors into the outer office on his way to the butcher shop, he 
thought that he was traversing the road to perfect health i suppose, 
and Rich helped to make the mexican last hours a little easier anyway, 
what the man didnt know he wouldnt worry about, that was the last 
that anybody seen of the mexican. 1*^ (pp. 58-60) 

After wearing striped clothes for an additional three months, our 
anonymous law-breaker was once again sent to the tailor shop for 
grey clothes. Three days later he again fell from grace. 

i sat near the farthest end of the dining table and that, and my 
unruly temper was my undoing, there was one waiter that did noth- 
ing but carry bread to the table, he had a large wooden tray which 
he would load full of bread and come along the long table and let 
the prisoners help themselves, he would always start at the end near- 
est the kitchen door and by the time he arrived at the other end all 
the bread would be gone, he then went back and filled the thing up 
again and done the same as before, those fellows would eat the bread 

iSMedical care was the responsibility of the leasee. The Biennial Reports 
contain no comments regarding its quality or quantity. 


as fast as he could carry it out to them, when the bread man got to 
my end there was nothing left in the box but a lot of crusts off the 
ends of the loaves, even that would have been alright had the crusts 
been fresh, but they must have been the accumulation of at least two 
weeks, i don't think that a diamond cutter could have made a scratch 
on the softest one in that box. not in six months of steady work, 
that had been going on for a long time which made the thing worse, 
in the morning i would get nothing but the old hard crusts, i 
would think about that all the time untill noon and then it would be 
the same thing over, on the day before i got into it, i had taken one 
of the sinkers out of the box and after a futile attempt to break the 
thing up, i took my fork and scratched a brand on one side of it. 
that operation required all my time at the table, but i couldn't get 
anything to eat anyway so i didn't loose by the deal, but i did the next 
day at dinner time, i reached into the box and took one crust, and i 
didn't draw a blank, it was the one from the day before, according 
to the brand, that was the limit so i thought, but i soon found out 
that there was no such thing as a limit, not in that place, i spoke 
aloud and said, well, i don't think that i will get this one anymore, 
and i then exerted all my strength in an effort to break it apart, but 
that couldn't be done very handy, i put it on my plate and poured 
coffee over it, when it had become saturated with the coffee i tore it 
in pieces and leaving the plate full of coffee soaked bread i arose 
from the table and went up stairs to my cell, i had left the table 
without saluting the guard, that was good for a through ticket to the 
dungeon at all times, when i got to the cell there lay a new grey 
coat. (p. 60) 

J^he warden soon learned of the prisoner's demonstrated dis- 
satisfaction with the cuisine, and ordered him to the dungeon until 
he mellowed his opinion. He was taken to a completely bare cell 
and chained to the door for nine days/^ 

ya''few days after i had been in the hole, i had been out of the shop 
on an errand and had just started up the stairs when i met a man 
coming out, he was serving a life sentence for killing a man and had 
been there about two years, his wife, lived in Rawlins and came over 
to the prison quite often to see him. she had been doing everything 
in her power to get him released but so far had been unsuccessful, 
when i met him there on the stairs he had a written pass to the cell 
house in his hand, i seen the slip of paper and i asked him in a joking 
way if he had a pardon, i knew him fairly well and as we were partly 
out of sight of the guards we paused there and talked for a moment, 
he said that his wife was out in the wardens office and wanted to see 
him. she told him that the governor had absolutely refused to grant 
a pardon in his case, he didn't come to the shop again that day. the 
next morning he remained in his cell and after the prisoners had all 
went to the shop, he walked up the stairs to the highest gallery and 
stepped over the railing and elevating his hands after the fasion of a 
high diver, and which he really was, he dove to the cement floor thirty 
feet below, he landed on the top of his head and died instantly, a 
few minutes before that he had remarked to my cellmate that he was 
getting awfull tired of staying in that place, a negro afterwards 
adopted the same method of ending his earthly tribulations, the black 
man evidently thought that the cement floor was too hard a landing 
place so he chose one of the long dining tables as a likely place to 
try out the shock absorbing qualities of his torpedo shaped skull, the 
prison carpenter repaired the table, and the family vetinary tried to 


patch up the colored man, but he never came to after his head went 
through that one by twelve inch pine board . . A'^ (pp. 61-62) 

Not every malcontent was sent to the dungeon. Hillenbrand 
proved he was flexible and could make the punishment fit the 

there was a young fellow there but little more than a boy, possibly 
eighteen years old, who wanted to be tough so one day he thought he 
could see a fine chance to show his colors, there had been a half 
dozen men sent to the dungeon for some offense or other, that filled 
the hole to its capacity, the youngster thought that if he should get 
real hard boiled right at that time he could get away with it, for the 
hole was filled and there would be no other place for them to put him. 
so he went up and told the shop guard that he refused to work any 
more, and sat down, the guard wrote out a pass to the cell house 
and gave it to the boy and told him to go on in, and that he didn't 
have to work if he didn't want to. the guard had also wrote on the 
pass, to the effect that the boy had refused to work and to tell the 
warden about it. the hard boiled kid gave the pass to the guard and 
started to his cell, he was ordered to wait right there for a few min- 
utes, the warden was right there at the window and the guard handed 
the pass over to him. he read it over and asked to see the man that 
had refused to work, they brought the boy around in front of the 
window and the warden looked at him, and said to the guard, send 
him out here i want to see that young man. they unlocked the door 
leading out to the front office and let the boy go through, the warden 
was right there waiting for him. he turned that boy over his knee and 
administered a thorough spanking, two minutes later the hard boiled 
young man, now soft boiled, came into the broom shop in a hurry, 
his face was flushed and he seemed to be short of breath as if he had 
lately indulged in some form of strenuous physical exertion, he took 
the nearest way to his former place of work and made up for lost 
time, he was a most efficient worker from that time on, at least 
while he was there, (p. 63) 

Malingering and indolence on the part of the prisoners was to 
be expected. Some men however, were willing to take extreme 
steps to avoid work. The anonymous memoirs record more than 
one case of attempted and actual self-mutilation to avoid labor. 

there was a fellow on the machine next to me, that was the most 
indolent man in the factory, he had employed every scheme that his 
sluggish brain could devise in the effort to escape work on a tying 
machine, but he couldn't make any headway, he had to work there 
and there was only one way that he could escape it. and that was 
worse yet. in tying brooms he was compelled to stand on his feet, 
but that was a lot better than being chained to the door so that he 
couldn't sit down at all. he told my cellmate, who he called Slim, that 
he would be willing to have a hand cut off if by doing it he could 
escape tying brooms, y 

i^Using the Biennial Reports, it is not possible to determine the number 
of prisoners who committed suicide. For most of the years under consider- 
ation, the only clue that men died in the prison is the line "burial expense 
for . . . state prisoners." 


each man in the shop was furnished a wash basin and towel, once 
a week they issued a small piece of soap to everybody, it was of the 
ordinary brown colored laundry soap, the lazy man ate a consider- 
able quantity of that in hopes that he would get good and sick, and 
then the doctor might excuse him from work, but the soap didn't do 
the work, he was sick allright but he had been stalling so much that 
when he did get a little under the weather, he had to just grin and 
bear it. 

one day he told Slim that he had about decided to cut off one of 
his fingers and then they would have to take him off the machine, 
well, said Slim, why don't you go ahead and do it, well, said he, when 
it comes to a show down i haven't sufficient nerve to perform the 
operation myself, he asked Slim if he would cut off the surplus 
finger. Slim agreed to accomidate him at any time, he asked Slim 
if he was joking or if he really would do it. Slim said well just 
decide which finger you want to cut off and put it up here on this 
piece of wood, the fellow thrust forward his right hand with the 
index finger extended. Slim said well put it up here i can't cut it off 
that way. he eyed my cellmate in a speculative manner, and then 
slowly raised his hand and placed the finger on the wooden frame- 
work of the machine. Slim held a new broom knife in his hand, and 
as the finger came to a rest on the wood, he made a quick chopping . 
stroke with the keen edge of the knife, the victim sprang back with a 
howl of fright and pain, about a half inch of the first joint of the 
finger lay there on the machine, i could see it plainly from where i 
stood and watched the performance, the fellow with the cut finger 
ran up to the guard and said that he was bleeding to death fast and 
wanted medical attention fast, he was sent into the cell house where 
the finger was bandaged, when he showed it to the doctor the next 
day, that dignitary promptly asked him if he was left handed, upon 
recieving a negative answer, he then inquired how it come that his 
right hand had been cut while holding the knife handle. ^ he accused 
him of doing it on purpose in order to get out of work. /he was back 
on the machine before the finger was entirely healed, he was a 
failure as a broom tyer but he had to stand there and go through the 
motions anyway, he gave up after the amputation of his finger and 
apparently resigned himself to his fate . . . (pp. 64-65) 

In addition to providing the narrative of one man's experiences 
behind bars, the memoirs present a view of general prison routine 
and prisoner attitudes. There were times other than Sundays, for 
example, when the broom factory operation was suspended and 
the prisoners received a brief respite. 

X>n the fifteenth of the month the prisoners were permitted to buy 
a few things from town, that is if he had the money, anything in 
the line of eatables that had to be cooked were barred, on holidays 
such as the fourth of July, thanksgiving and Christmas the convict was 
allowed to order one pound of butter, it was the aim of the manage- 
ment to prevent any kind of grease to come into the possession of the 
prisoners, if they could get grease they would be continually be 
making fires in the cells, in an effort to cook something or other, 
they were not allowed to have currency in their possession, if a 
prisoner had money on being committed to the prsion it was taken 
away and he was given credit for the amount on the prison books, 
then they furnished a form of check for the accommodation of the 
prisoners called a transfer, that could be used in case the prisoners 
wanted to deal among themselves, i never heard of any cases of an 
account being overdrawn, to have a transfer returned marked, no 


funds, really meant no fun, for the one that wrote it out. all prisoners 
who had money to their credit on the prison books were given a state- 
ment once a month, and they were always correct. 

on the first Wednesday of each month the prison doors were open 
to the public, visitors could go through the place at any time from 
eight oclock in the morning till three in the afternoon, excepting the 
noon hour, on that day the prison librarian, who as an old man 
doing life, would exhibit the horse hair bridles and other things made 
by the convicts for the inspection of the sightseers from the outside 
world, the long dining table on the south side of the cell house where 
the light was best was used for the purpose, the table was covered 
with a white cloth on which was placed things of leather, horse hair 
and beads, the morose old lifetimer stood behind the display table 
and explained the process of manufacture of the articles on the table 
to any visitor who was curious enough to ask questions, everything 
was equipped with a price tag for the benefit of anybody who wished 
to secure some of the things as a curio, and there were many usefull 
things on display. 

the visitors, and especially the women, were curiously interested in 
the method employed in making brooms, i liked to make brooms, 
after my stay in the dungeon, and naturaly made good ones, and it 
just happened that i was working in the very place where all the 
visitors came along, i was also making a real pretty broom, if there 
is any such thing, while the other men along that row of machines 
were all tying plain brooms, mine were white enamel handles and 
velvet finished, they always stopped there and looked, the women 
would chatter and take on at a great rate, there was much whisper- 
ing and so on. i always thought on those occasions that they must be 
telling each other what an evil looking character i was, and wondering 
what henious crime i had committed, and that would have been only 
natural for my appearance at the best must have been anything but 
prepossessing, but while visiting day was a trying ordeal for me, i 
couldn't very well escape standing there and tying brooms . . . 
(pp. 66-67) 

ySmuggling a variety of items including weapons and escape 
devices was standard prisoner behavior. Food, perhaps because it 
was not abundant, also received a good deal of attention. 

i knew one fellow that had made his way into the kitchen and got 
possession of a pie. he concealed the thing under his coat and walked 
out of the kitchen and started to his cell, the pie was freshly baked 
and still quite hot. he had to take it right at that time or not get it 
at all. and it was difficult to carry, there was one of the guards sit- 
ting at the desk looking directly at him as he emerged from the 
kitchen door, and that guard had an eye like an eagle, every move 
a prisoner made was suspicious to him. he overlooked but very little, 
and his eagle eye instantly detected something wrong in the actions of 
the man with the pie. he stopped the man and demanded that he 
unbutton his coat, the convict done as the guard ordered, the guard 
said that he would take charge of the pie himself, alright, said the 
convict, and slammed the hot pastry squarely into the officers face. 

■it was strictly against the rules to carry anything away from the 
table, all the prisoners would try to steal bread and take it to their 
cells, that guard who had the pie thrown in his face was an expert 
at detecting anyone carrying bread or anything, me and the fellow 
that i was in with always got away with as much bread as we possibly 
could, two slices were all we could carry without being caught, we 
would have to pass within three feet of the sharpeyed guard, but we 


were never caught, we saved up all we could get for a week at one 
time, and then ate it all at one time, that way we could have enough 
for once anyway, (p. 68) 

After serving twenty-six months, the author began to anticipate 
his release. With the normal allotment of time off, he expected 
freedom in two months. As the day approached, a rumor began 
circulating that he would be re-arrested at the gate. Finally, the 
awaited day arrived, but 

... as i stepped into the turnkeys office after changing clothes i 
seen two men standing just inside the big front door, they looked 
intently at me and then they opened the door and they went outside, 
i recognized them as the sheriff of Rawlins, Carbon County and his 
deputy, as i passed out the front door they stood at the bottom of 
the steps waiting, the sheriff informed me that he had a warrant for 
my arrest, i couldn't see as how that was all necessary, what he 
should have was an ambulance, i had to stand edge wise to the wind 
to escape from blowing over, i was in much the same condition as 
would be a victim of typhiod fever, in the first stages of conva- 
lescence ... (p. 69) 

yThe author was taken to the Big Horn county jail in Basin City 
to be held for trial. It was already well filled when he arrived. 
Five cattlemen were awaiting trial for the murder of three sheep- 
men. ' At the turn of the century, conflict between cattleraisers and 
sheepherders threatened to sear a deep brand into the soul of the 
new state of Wyoming which would take generations to heal. 
Woolgrowers were moving onto public ranges previously used to 
graze only cattle, and cattlemen responded by killing sheep and — ■ 
on more than one occasion — sheepherders. In 1905, the sheep- 
men responded by forming the Wyoming Woolgrowers Associa- 
tion. Two years later, the organization publically offered a $1000 
reward for the arrest and conviction of sheepcamp raiders. 

The capstone on a decade of violence was placed in 1909, when 
two wealthy woolgrowers, Joe AUemand and Joe Emge and one of 
their herders, Joe Lazier, were killed by a band of night-riding 
cattlemen. Seven men were arrested for the crime and two of them 
exchanged full testimony for their freedom. The remaining five, 
George Sabin, M. A. Alexander, Thomas Dixon, Herbert Brink, 
and Ed F. Easton, were awaiting trial when the author joined 
them.^^ The prisoners were confined in close quarters, and with 
little to do, they got to know each other quite well. Later, they 
renewed their acquaintance at the state penitentiary. Brink re- 
ceived a Ufe term, and Sabin and the others received sentences 
ranging from three to twenty-six years. 

/While the trial was going on, the author, suffering from what he 
said was typhoid fever, was confined to a hospital. Slowly, he 

i^Larson, Wyoming, p. 369-371. 


regained his health. He spent the remainder of the winter in jail, 
but like the flowers of spring, with the first warm winds, he fled 
his winter's bonds. Together with a willing companion, he headed 
east across the bleak high plains. Their first stop was Manderson, 
South Dakota, where provisions were available from his partner's 
son. After waiting out a late spring blizzard in an abandoned coal 
mine, he split with his traveling companion. Some inner, unex- 
plainable force )vas drawing him once more toward the scene of his 
earlier crimes. ' He found work for a time as a railroad construc- 
tion worker near Worland, and then moved on to Thermopolis. 
But, he was on the run, and no place could be home for long. 
Stealing a horse, he headed for Shoshone and Casper, and then on 
to Wolton. Always, his past followed him. Newspapers telling of 
his escape overtook him in Waltman, and he headed back into the 
Big Horn Mountains. For a time he thought he had again eluded 
the law. Breathing a satisfied sigh, he started down from his 
mountain retreat. Suddenly Sheriff Alston and a posse appeared 
directly in his path. With no hope of escape he surrendered and 
was taken to the Sheridan jaih 

From Sheridan, he was taken under heavy guard to Casper for a 
third command appearance before the district judge there. The 
charge was horse-stealing, and the judge, who had earlier admon- 
ished the miscreant to give up his criminal ways, immediately 
recognized him, and was not prone to leniency. With little fanfare 
he set down a ten-year sentence, and our author found himself 
once more on his way to Rawlins. 

The prisoners were taken by train to Rawlins. As they neared 
their destination, the author tried to secrete several dimes in his 
mouth, primarily to prove he could do it. The dimes would be of 
little use behind bars. He almost succeeded, but the prison had a 
new warden named Glunz, who was very thorough, and he found 
the dimes before the prisoners were taken to the cell house. 

^e next day i was taken to the bertillion roomie and there they 
didn't overlook any characteristics in my make-up that would aid them 
in any way to identify me at any time in the future, after that was 
over with and i had been sent back to the cell house, the warden 
called me to the place where prisoners were interviewed by the war- 
den, and talked to me. he said, that all sheriffs who come to the 
prison had told him that i would be a source of much trouble to him 
as long as i was there, and that one in particular, i afterwards found 
out that his name was Alston, had told him that in any event he was 
not to treat me good for if he did that i would sure give him the worst 
of it in return, but, the warden said, what they say won't influence 

i^In the early 1880s a Frenchman, Alphonse Bertillon, developed a 
system for identifying recidivitists by measuring the bone structure of their 
body and comparing the results to a chart of standardized features. The 
system gained widespread acceptance in the United States at the end of the 
nineteenth century. McKelvey, Prisons, p. 122. 


me the least bit, if you behave yourself i will treat you just as good as 
i possibly can. i told him that i didn't know whether i could be good 
or not as they would no doubt put me on a broom machine and i 
didn't think that i wanted to ty brooms for ten years, well, he said, 
i don't know anything about whether they will put you on a broom 
tying machine or not, but if they do, i would advise you to go ahead 
and do the work and say nothing because you won't have to do that 
kind of work for ten years, (p. 91) 

More than once the author was involved in escape attempts. 
He and the men around him were serving long terms and the 
prospects of an early departure, and the adventure of conspiring to 
escape made the days pass more quickly. On one occasion, his 
cellmate told him of an attempt which would involve ten men. 

... he told me all about the plans of the fellow who was engi- 
neering the proposed escape, they were at work right at that time in 
cutting a hole through the corrugated iron ceihng of the cell house, 
in the alley between the two top galleries the ceiling wasn't over ten 
feet above the gallery walk, they had rigged up something to stand 
upon while working and were at that time trying to cut through the 
heavy planking underneath the corrugated iron, they had taken off a 
section of the iron and had arranged it so that it could be replaced 
untill they could get another chance to work, they had been doing all 
their work while the other prisoners were out in the yard, they had 
lookout posts to warn them against the approach of guards, they had 
stolen a saw from the carpenter shop and one day while they were 
busy working somebody sounded an alarm. - the fellow who was doing 
the sawing became so excited and fell from his perch, he threw out 
his arms to try to catch himself and in so doing swung the saw around 
in sword fashion, the result of that was that he narrowly missed de- 
capitation of one of his fellow conspirators, they scattered and ran 
like rabbits, the fellows with the saw tried to conceal it under his coat 
as he ran down the gallery, he met a guard face to face, the guard 
asked him what was wrong, and what he was running for. he evi- 
dently didn't notice the saw, which was projecting about a foot from 
under the bottom of his coat, the guard passed on and the prisoner 
got away with his saw. the next day they discovered the hole in the 
ceiling, the main actors in the attempted escape, claimed that a 
prisoner named lindsay gave the thing away, but that was doubtful! 
because every prisoner in the place, including Brink, knew of the 
goings on. Lindsay was serving forty years for a cold blooded murder 
committed in converse, county, he had assumed the somewhat doubt- 
ful honor of calling himself, little tom horn, he was noted in the 
prison as a stool pidgeon. 

when Glunz found out for sure just who had done the work of 
cutting the hole in the ceiling he played even with them in a sort of 
unique way. he secured a quantity of cement and instructed the 
would be get aways to mix the concrete, when that was done to his 
satisfaction he had them carry it up the stairs of the galleries and 
then up on a ladder to the attic of the cell house, he engineered the 
laying of about two feet of concrete along the floor of the attic which 
constituted the ceiling of the alley below, one or two of the ring 
leaders were also required to wear a ball and chain attached to their 
ankle for about ten days, that was about the last attempt at whole- 
sale jail delivery while Glunz was there. 

the next spring after i went there, we heard considerable talk of the 
prison being taken over by the state, the lease system was to be 
abandoned and the penitentiary would be under the direct supervision 


of the state government officials, when the prisoners found out for 
sure that Graham administration was ended they were excited about 
the change in the personal of the prison . . . the change was effected 
suddenly20 and it was a change, where Graham had went to the 
extreme in rigid prison discipline, the new management went their 
length in the other direction, the inevitable reaction almost took their 
breath, meaning the political party who had elected to make the 
change, one day when we went into the cell house for dinner. Brink 
asked me if i could guess who had been appointed by the governor as 
the new warden. /'\ couldn't begin to think, so he told me that Mr. 
Felix Alston of Basin City had received the appointment and would 
take possession of the wardens office on the first day of may. i had 
a vision of a long narrow hide stretched up on the stockade wall to 
dry in the sun i figured that if i watched my hand that i might be able 
to wear that pelt for three months longer, but that would be about all. 
(pp. 94-95) 

/Felix Alston's term as warden did not have an auspicious begin- 
ning. He found a prison in ferment, and was able to do little to 
change the situation. Dissension and talk of escape kept everyone 
in turmoil. According to the author, he seemed to be unable to 
establish firm, evenhanded control. Arriving on Arbor Day, he 
was confronted by striking inmates who wanted the day off. When 
Alston failed to take decisive action, the die was cast. Later he 
compounded his problems by inviting several prisoner-leaders into 
his office to bury the hatchet, but neglecting Paseo, a Mexican 
whom he had helped convict, thereby damaging that man's prestige 
among his peers. Paseo vowed to make Alston recognize him. 

the mexican proposed that we make a break away without waiting 
for help of any kind, he had formed a plan by which he said we 
could get away from the prison at any time. Alston came into the 
cell house every friday to transact some business there. Paseo pro- 
posed that we arm ourselves with knives and when the warden come 
in at one oclock, which he allways did on fridays, that we capture him 
and under threats, of inflicting diverse forms of butchery upon his 
person with the wicked looking broom knives, force him to accom- 
pany us to the big gate in the stockade, and he would be forced to 
tell the wall guard to open the gate, there were three men who knew 
of the plans. Paseo myself and another long tmier. two days before 
the thing was to come off we were out in the yard and were talking 
about what we were going to do. i had previously told them that if 
there was more than three men taken in on the deal that i could be 
counted out. Paseo told another mexican about it and said that we 
had aquired a valuable (addition) to our crew of would be cut 
throats, i said i can't see where you could have increased the force 
any, because i have resigned, well they said we will do it anyway . . . 

on thursday i didn't go to the broom shop, i remained in my cell, 
supposedly on the sick list . . . when the doctor came in the cell house 
that morning i didn't go down to see him. when a prisoner remained 
in as i had done, he was supposed to go and see the doctor when he 

20On April 15, 1912, the State Board of Charities and Reform purchased 
all property on the penitentiary grounds belonging to Otto Gramm, and 
took over management of the prison. Biennial Report, 1911-1912, p. 20. 


came, if the man pronounced you OK then you had to go out to the 
shop, if he said you was sick he marked your name on the list of the 
ones who were excused from work on that day. i didn't care to talk 
to any doctor, i very seldom stayed in. and when i did i figure on 
excusing myself on that day. about noon i was down on the ground 
floor and Alston came to the lookout window and called to me, i went 
there and he asked me why i wasn't in the broom shop, i said that i 
was sick, he asked me if i had seen the doctor, i said no, that i 
didn't need to see a doctor as i had excused myself for that day. well 
he said, that there's only one way that you can get out of work with- 
out the doctor excusing you, and that is to go to the hole, i said 
alright the hole suits me if it does you. i walked away and figured 
that there wouldn't be any more to it. but the guard come and told 
me that Alston said for him to put me in the hole, and he did . . . 
the next morning i was taken out and after i had went up to my cell 
the guard come up and said that Alston had given orders for me to be 
locked up in the cell, the guard said that he would have to come and 
unlock the door about fifty times each day to let my cellmate in and 
out. so he said that if i would agree to stay there he would leave the 
door unlocked, he said that somebody had told Alston that a certain 
bunch of prisoners had plotted to assassinate him, and that he had 
ordered me and Paseo locked up. 

the man who had been my cellmate at the time of the attempted 
escape through the roof of the cell house had been unexpectedly re- 
leased on parole shortly after Alston came there, a fellow named 
Morgan, who had been in the Casper Jail when i was there, was not 
in the same cell with me. when he first came there they had given 
him a good job in the cell house, he had gotten drunk on a quantity 
of hair tonic which he had secured from the barbers and been sent 
to the broom shop to work, he hated the work about as bad as any 
man that i had ever run acros. he remained in every morning on the 
sick list, he was a big husky fellow and didn't look sickly, but he 
managed to escape the shop part of the time, one day when he was 
laying off he seen Alston in the yard and asked him for a job outside 
the wall. Alston said that he would give him the job outside, he said 
that he had to go out in his office right away but that for Morgan to 
go out to the gate and wait there and he would be right out and escort 
him through the gate. Morgan was tickled to death and went out to 
the gate, while he was waiting there for the warden, he saw the fore- 
man of the shop standing in the shop door looking at him. the 
foreman didn't like Morgan much because he was always trying to get 
out of work in the shop. Morgan waived his hand at the foreman 
in a goodbye salute, just then the deputy warden came in through the 
gate and went to the shop, he stopped at the door and talked to the 
foreman a few minutes, he then returned to where Morgan was 
standing and told him to go on in the shop and go to work and stay 
there. Morgan told him that he didn't have to go to work in the shop 
that the warden had given him a job outside, the deputy then used 
physical force to project Morgan in the general direction of the shop, 
he shoved him through the door with instructions to not come out 
untill quiting time. Morgan tried for a week to get to talk with 
Alston but that individual was just about as easy to run down as 
would be a fox. Morgan told me that he was going out to the shop 
and thrust his hand into a machine and get crippled so that he 
wouldn't have to work, he had it figured out so that the injury would 
look worse than it really was. but it turned out just the reverse, he 
got his hand crushed in a horrible manner, if they hadn't just hap- 
pened to have one of the best doctors, and men, the doctors name 
was McGee, he would have lost his hand, but he escaped the shop. 


Morgan had one ambition, and that was to be tough, but he was 
just a little short on the chief requisite, which is sometimes called 
nerve, he resorted to the use of alcohol and narcotics to keep aglow 
the feeble spark of courage in his sickly heart, he had become a drug 
addict, he would go around to the prisoners and collect all the 
headache tablets that he could get and eat them, they contained a 
very small amount of opium or some other kind of junk such as dope 
fiends use. when the doctor found out what disposition was being 
made of the tablets he refused to give out any more . . . 

there was one man sent there after Alston came who was sentenced 
to be hanged, the man's name was Seng, he was sent from Uintah 
county. 21 they locked him in the cell that Paseo had been in and 
after he had been there a short time he was granted indefinite stay, 
they let him out and put him to work as a sort of assistant to the 
prison doctor, when he made his daily trip to the prison . . . 

he (Seng) always stood next to the guards desk when the other 
prisoners were at the dining table ... he stood there with his chest 
thrown out and leaning back against the railing, as though he might 
be the commander in chief of the army inspecting troops, he would 
look each convict up and down as he passed by. one of the fellows 
with (a) ball and chain-2 came along and Seng gave him a real close 
inspection, the fellow went up on the stairs to the top gallery, his 
cell was back at the farthest end. at the top of the stairs they kept 
a small box of sand about half full for a sort of trash receptacle, the 
box was about ten inches wide and probably two feet in length, the 
fellow set the iron ball on the floor of the gallery and picked up the 
box of sand, he raised it above his head and dropped it straight down 
at the head of Seng, twenty five feet, almost directly, below, as the 
leaden box went down Seng partly turned to speak to the guard and 
the box struck the floor with a crash, like the report of a gun and 
burst straight through the centre sending sand in all directions, if 
Seng hadn't turned just as he did it would have landed on his head, 
the fellow picked up the iron ball and went on down the gallery to 
his cell, he had sawed the rivet in two that held the iron on his ankle 
and as he opened his cell door he loosened the thing from his leg and 
threw the ball and chain over the gallery, it struck the table and 
went straight through to the floor leaving a six foot length of board 
standing straight up in the centre of the table, they told him that if 
he would consent to wear the ball and chain for a certain amount of 

2iJoseph Seng was sentenced to death for the murder of one Mr. Lloyd 
of Evanston. According to one report, Lloyd's wife threw herself over his 
body, but Seng dragged her away by the hair and emptied his pistol into 
Lloyd's still body. Rawlins Daily Times, August 19, 1967, p. 16. 

--The men with ball and chain restraints were recently recaptured run- 
aways from a roadgang. After the state began operating the prison, inmates 
were sent to work on state roads throughout the summer months. These 
road gangs were popular with most prisoners, and there were relatively few 
escape attempts. The prisoner's newspaper threatened grim consequences 
for anyone abusing the system. See "Wyoming and the Convicts," 
Wyoming Pen, Vol. I, No. 3, for a prisoner-written article supporting the 
road gang concept. A few years later, in 1916, the following advertisement 
was placed in J-A-B-S, the prisoner newsletter. "The inmates will give 
$25.00 for the apprehension of any man who runs away from the road 
camps this summer. If you can't make good stay here." Wyoming State 
Archives, Cheyenne. 


days they would take it off. he agreed to their terms and the thing 
was riveted on again . . . 

on Sundays the way was open for anybody in the cell house to go 
out into the yard, i always worked on Sundays and i could go out 
and in the cell house, the prisoners were all out of their cells and it 
looked queer to me that some of the tougher ones didn't make a 
break of some kind, they hardly said anything to me and i didnt 
know anything about their doings, the cells were left unlocked untill 
nine oclock at night and the prisoners could do as they pleased. 

one night i and two other fellows were sitting in my cell when 
Dempsey came running in all out of breath and said, have any of you 
fellows got a saw of any kind? i told him i could get one if it was 
plumb necessairy. he said that the laundry door was unlocked and 
we could go in there and saw some of the bars off the outside win- 
dows and get out before the guard locked anybody up for the night, 
the whole outfit then started out and in about two minutes there was a 
collection of saws of all description, if Alston could have looked 
into that cell right then what he would have seen would have made 
him dizzy, but all the work was for nothing, the guard had un- 
locked the door to get some blankets out that were in the laundry 
he came back in a few minutes and locked the door . . . (pp. 96-100) 

Nothing Alston did met with the author's approval. If he 
hesitated before making a decision, he was a vacilator, if he acted 
firmly, he was needlessly harsh. On one occasion, a slightly un- 
balanced prisoner dashed through the front gate while it was open 
for a departing wagon. A guard, knowing of the man's debility, 
refused to shoot him. Although the escapee was soon returned, 
Alston sternly reprimanded the guard before learning the reason 
for the man's reluctance to shoot. 

Eventually affairs reached a stage where Alston seldom ventured 
from his office, and it seemed to the author that W. H. "Cap" 
Brine, the chief cell house guard, was actually running the peniten- 
tiary. Even with such a low profile, Alston's troubles continued. 

it had always been the custom with the management to have one of 
the barbers, a certain one who was known as the head barber, come 
out into the turnkeys office and shave the guards, that was done 
twice each week, the barber who was then doing that work was a 
man named Clay who was doing twenty years for murder, he had 
been there quite a long time and about six months after Alston went 
there he applied for executive clemency, i was sitting in a cell one 
evening with a fellow who was working in the bake shop and whose 
name was Hickman. Clay came along and stopped and talked with 
us. he exhibited a letter which he had lately recieved from the gov- 
ernors office in Cheyenne, it was a reply to his petition for a pardon, 
and in which his request was flatly refused, he was greatly disappoint- 
ed and not a little angry, well he said, that means about five or six 
years more of this for me, but i don't know, we will see about it. 
the next evening he went out to shave the guards in the office, he 
had done most of the work and was waiting for another guard to 
come in and be shaved, he asked the night turnkey if he could go 
upstairs to the hospital and visit a sick man there, the guard told him ' 
to go ahead, if the guard refused, the barber would have asked the 
warden and gotten permission from him anyway, and there was a 
chance that Alston would have called the guard down for refusing 


such a small request. Clay went up the stairs passed the hospital and 
went on up to the highest room in the building, the room was used 
for guards quarters but it was unoccupied at that particular hour. 
Clay had concealed on his person a goodly amount of small closely 
woven rope, known as bell cord, there was a small window in the 
room with one pane of glass which swung open on a hinge, there 
were no bars on the window, he fastened the cord and climbed out 
the window and slid down the rope and then dropped, the remaining 
short distance, alighting in a deep snowdrift, he made good his 
escape from prison but was recaptured two years later and returned 
to the prison to finish out his sentence, (pp. 100-101) 

Just as there was a good deal of conflict between the warden and 
the inmates, so too there was trouble within the prisoner's ranks. 
Often it came from a new arrival who was not aware of, or refused 
to accept, the existing hierarchy. 

the men in the tailor shop helped to wait on the table during meal 
time, and Paseo also helped, his work was to go along the table after 
everybody had sat down and if there were not enough plates knives 
and so on to go around, he would go to the kitchen and get what was 
necesary. if there were too many he would take them away, he 
was good at his work, he was active as a cat and his snapping black 
eyes missed nothing . . . 

we were eating breakfast when i noticed a fellow who sat almost 
directly across the table from me looking and scratching around his 
plate in search of something he said why havent i got any fork or 
knife, i wonder how they expect a man to eat without those things, 
he kept on in that manner, i glanced down the table and seen Paseo 
coming along with several plates on his arm. the fellow who was 
making such a fuss about his lack of silverware was a hobo who had 
just been in the prison a few days and during that time had acquired 
considerable of a reputation as being one of the type usually called 
fresh, when Paseo came along behind me the fellow said to him, 
say there you, go get me a knife and fork will you? the mexican 
said not a word but kept on along the table, he would go the length 
of the table and then bring out everything that was needed at one 
trip, he had passed by a few steps and the hobo called to him again, 
say there, are you going to get that knife and fork or not. Paseo 
came back and stood and looked at the hobo, he said, yes i will get 
you a knife and fork, the fellow said, well then go and get it. 
Paseo snatched one of the plates off his left arm and smacked the 
hobo on the face, as he reached across the table to hit the fellow 
with the plate he dropped one of the number that he held in his left 
arm. the hobo said, i guess i will have to get up to you. Paseo said 
come on and get up. the other said, why dont you be a man? Paseo 
went into the kitchen and brought out a knife and fork which he 
handed to the fellow, with the remark, now when you come away 
from the table i will be up there by the stairs and i will try and show 
you that i am a man. while i did not think much of the man or his 
ways, i was a httle inclined to pity the fellow, i knew just about what 
would happen to the fellow when he left the table, he had only one 
show and that was to run at the first show of a hostile move on the 
part of the mexican. and i didn't think he was capable of using that 
much discretion, and he didnt. when we got to where Paseo was 
standing the mexican, true to his word, slapped the fellow in the face, 
there was a small box of plates on the table at the foot of the stairs 
and each prisoner was requested to take his knife and fork with him 
as he left the table and put them in the box before he went up the 


stairs, a prisoner stood there and watched that all the fellow com- 
plied with the rule. Paseo was standing by the box when he struck 
the man in the face, the fellow still held his knife and fork in his 
hand. Paseo claimed that he stabbed at him with the fork, and the 
mexican went for his knife, the hobo turned and started to run 
towards the iron railing which enclosed the barber chairs ten feet 
away, he tried to go under the railing just as the mexican thrust his 
eight inch knife into his body two or three times, in one place the 
blade passed completely through his body, he rolled over on the 
floor and screemed with pain. Cap Brine hastened to Paseo and dis- 
armed him of the murderous knife, i went forward to a place where i 
could see the performance, the wounded man lay moaning on the 
floor and Cap stood close by the mexican. the gray haired old guard 
was as calm and serene as a May morning, he held Paseo by the arm 
with his left arm and in his right he carelessly held the red stained 
knife, the mexican was quite unperturbed as he stood there with his 
hat thrown back from his brow looking cooly around upon the excited 
milling crowd of prisoners. Cap told him to go to his cell, the 
mexican did as he was told, i watched him as he walked away and 
he acted as though he had almost forgotten about knifeing the fellow, 
they laid the wounded man on a table to await the coming of the 
doctor. Cap handed the keys to one of the shop guards and told him 
to go up and lock Paseo in his cell, the guard afterwards told me 
that when he went to lock the mexican up that he was sitting on the 
gallery railing in front of his cell door placidly smoking a cigarette, 
the guard said that he walked up to him and said, well Paseo i guess 
i will have to lock you up. the mexican said alright and went in the 
cell. (pp. 102-103) 

Paseo had long boasted he would not go to the dungeon. At 
first, he refused to budge when "Cap" Brine told him he was 
scheduled for solitary. The doctor tried to drug him into submis- 
sion, but to no avail. Finally, "Cap" convinced him to go, or be 
shot where he sat. 

In the midst of the excitement over the stabbing, the author 
missed a chance to escape. Shortly before, he had been asked by 
Dempsey to make a frame for a hacksaw blade. Afraid of being 
caught with the frame in the general inspection he was sure would 
follow the stabbing, he slipped it to another prisoner who passed it 
on to Dempsey. But, there was no search, and 

"that night about eight oclock Dempsey and Hickman escaped by 
sawing through a door and a window, there was an old abandoned 
cellar under the guards kitchen which had one window the same as 
are in a basement, that window was on the outside clear of the wall. 
a door led to the cellar from the prisoners kitchen but was locked and 
hadnt been used for years, the doors leading into the kitchen from 
the cell house were open and all that was required was to go in and 
saw through the bars of the cellar door and once in the cellar they 
could excape even if they had been missed from their places in the 
cell house, and they carried the hacksaw with them, they made 
good their escape. Dempsey left the country and was never returned 
to the prison, the other fellow, hickman was captured about three or 
four years later and brought back ... (p. 104) 

Because of such poor timing and bad luck, the author managed 
to keep his record unblemished. He was soon promoted to a 


better job in the engine room. "Cap" Brine became his friend, 
stopping by regularly for conversation. 

one day he came in there and stood and talked for a few minutes, 
then asked me in an off hand way, if i had seen anything of Black, 
the man he refered to was a prisoner, i asked him if Black had left 
for the summer range or what was the matter. Cap said that he 
didn't know where he was, that he had been reported missing and that 
he had just started out to see if he could locate the fellow, a short 
time before Alston had gotten one of the old time guards, of Gra- 
hams, to come there and work, there was a report current at that 
time, that Alston finding himself unable to cope with the situation, 
had sent for the certain guard to come and tighten up the place for 
him. whether that was true or not i dont know, but at any rate the 
fellow was there, he had just gotten out of jail himself, and that i do 
know for sure. When Black came up missing, the new old guard 
took a leading part in the search which resulted in finding the mis- 
creant under the floor of the broom shop, a new form of punishment 
was brought into play in that case. 

Black was not put in the hole, they rivetted a pair of shackles on 
his ankles and sent him to work in the shop. Black was about an 
hour in walking to the shop, and when he did get there he didnt 
work more than another hour untill he got his hobbled feet entangled 
some way and fell down, in his fall he struck his head on something 
and claimed that he was about killed, they assisted him to his cell 
and bandaged his head, he didnt go to supper having been in bed 
since the accident, when the men came up from supper a stool 
pidgeon went past the cell of Black and stopped to talk with him. 
when the new guard went along the gallery making the count after 
supper the stool pidgeon stopped him and asked him if he had 
counted Black, the guard said yes that Black was there and wanted 
to know what the fellow was talking about, and called him down for 
stopping him during the count, and causing him to loose track of the 
correct number on that gallery, well said the fellow, you better go 
back and look at Black again, the guard went back and peered into 
Blacks cell, apparently the fellow was lying in bed with his blankets 
thrown over his body, the manacled feet protruding from under the 
covering, the guard opened the cell door and went inside, the man 
on the bed proved to be entirely devoid of flesh and blood, that was 
one instance where clothes made the man. a suit of clothes similar 
to those worn by Black had been stuffed to the right proportions and 
the shackles had been sawed off and put on the legs of the dummy 
figure, the head was nothing more than a full loaf of bread with the 
blood stained bandage tied around it. the guard gave the alarm and 
another search started, they took Lindsey the human ferret--^ and 
sent him under the shop floor to rout out the quarry, but without • 
results, they searched all that night and didnt find Black, they (got) 
all the help they could get from the county and city authorities in 
Rawlins in the search, but they could not find the man. i heard 
Alston tell the guards that if he ever seen Black again that it would be 
when he was brought in the front door of the prison with handcuffs 

-"^The "human ferret" was a diminutive prisoner who was used on several 
occasions by prison authorities. When a prisoner did not appear for eve- 
ning roll call, and was suspected to be hiding somewhere within the prison. 
Lindsey was sent under buildings and through heating tunnels in search of 
the miscreant. 


on. he said that he had no doubt gotten over the wall in some way 
before he was ever missed, the guards on the wall said that such a 
thing would have been almost impossible, they abandoned the search 
but kept an extra guard on at night. 

the second day Lindsey the ferret came up to the cell house and 
told the guards that Black was in the boiler room, he said that Black 
had been hiden in the combustion chamber of one of the boilers and 
when a fire was started with the intention of steaming up that boiler, 
that Black came out and Lindsey seen him. they went down and 
looked and sure enough Black was there, he was watched closely 
from that time on and didn't have much chance to substitute any 
dummies in the place of himself . . . (pp. 105-106) 

There were other escape attempts — some successes, some fail- 
ures — and other continuing disruptions. Although he was never 
caught, the author continued his place in the midst of prisoner 
scheming. After one unsuccessful attempt, statewide attention 
was focused on the penitentiary. The broom factory was burned 
to the ground.-^ 

the stockade was also burned down for several hundred feet back 
of the shop, when the place was burning the prisoners yelled and 
howled Hke a pack of hyenas, they enjoyed that better than they 
would a fourth of July picnic, they had kept trying till they succeeded 
in burning the place down. 

after (the fire) they were locked in their cells for about a week 
(and) they howled because they couldnt get out. the next day after 
the fire Alston took several of the prisoners out to build up the wall 
where it had burned down, i was one of the bunch, as soon as the 
wall was repaired all of the prisoners were let out and the work of 
clearing away the debris from the fire began, that didnt take very 
long and preparations were made at once to rebuild the factory . . . 

there was (no) trouble of any kind among the prisoners working 
in the yard, all seemed to be ready to work and the construction 
work went on smoothly, the work was all done volentairly. they 
had hauled a large amount of rock in the yard to use in the construc- 
tion of the new factory which was to be made of concrete, the rock 
was dumped along quite close to the stockade, i suppose that they 
had put it there so that it would be out of the way of the other work, 
the prisoners were requested to break up the rock with hammers, 
they would sit there in the sun and crack rocks all day long, most 
of them sat where they could lean back against the wall, there was 
no discipline whatever and if a prisoner wanted to crack rocks well 
and good and if he was more inclined to carpenter work he could 
do that, the prisoners classed themselves, and they all worked, 
one could see them congregated in small bunches talking and laughing 
while doing their share of the light work, some of those little gather- 
ings were made up entirely of box car tourists, while others were 
composed of horse thieves, or sheep herders, with an occasional 
expoliceman. (pp. 107-108) 

yWhile the factory was being rebuilt, two events occurred which 
further fastened attention on Rawlins and the penitentiary. Before 

24The broom factory burned on the night of July 18, 1912. Biennial 
Report, 1911-1912, p. 20. 


winter had conquered fall in 1912, Alston's future was settled. He 
had lost control of his charges. First, the prisoners lynched 
Charles Wigfall, a black being held on a rape charge, and less than 
a mont^ later over twenty prisoners took their leave in a mass 

Because of the significance of these events, an account of them 
follows without expurgation. 

the work of construction progressed rapidly and in two months 
after the shop burned the concrete walls of the new factory were 
almost up. things were going along smoothly and it seemed for a 
time as though the routine of prison life was going to get monoto- 
nous, but not so, along in the latter days of September the spell was 
broken, i had been away from the blacksmith shop for an hour or 
two and when i went back i could see by the signs that something had 
happened, several men were grouped in the back end of the shop and 
were talking in an excited manner. Brink asked me to guess what had 
happened, but i could not think of anything and he told me what 
the excitement was about, a few months (before) there had been an 
old negro released from the prison after serving a fourteen year term 
for a revolting crime which is peculiar to the black race.-^ he had 
previously served one or more terms for the same crime, he was 
always a good old darkie when in the prison and was well liked by 
the prisoners, he had been down town since his release. Brink said 
that on the night before, the negro whose name was Wigfall, had 
repeated the same offense for which he had just served a fourteen 
year sentence, he had chosen for a victim an old lady who lived 
near the prison, the peculiar circumstances surrounding the crime 
proved the negro to be possessed of a heart black as inky midnight.-^ 
he had escaped across country on foot, according to the latest re- 
ports they were hot on his trail and his capture was assured, that 
evening when i and Brink went in through the guard house a guard 
told me at the lookout window before i went in that Wigfall had been 
taken at Fort Steel.-" he said that they would in all probability 
lynch him when he was brought to Rawlins, there was much talk 
that night among the prisoners about the negro . . . 

the next morning after Wigfall had been captured, i had just got 
out of bed when Rich came to my door and said, who do you think 
they brought in last night, i said i didnt know and asked him who 
had been brought in. i never dreamed of Wigfall being brought up 

25Westerners held the same ignorant prejudices about black inferiority 
and degeneracy as their eastern neighbors. In Wyoming, there was out- 
spoken and unreasoned resistance to the arrival of black miners in Hanna in 
1890. Black troops called to quell the Johnson County War in 1892 found 
themselves the main actors in a violent episode which left one of their 
number dead. Larson, Wyoming, pp. 305-306; and Frank N. Schubert, 
"The Suggs Affray: The Black Cavalry in the Johnson County War," The 
Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. IV, No. 1, pp. 56-68. 

26\Yigfall was accused of assaulting and raping an aged resident of 
Rawlins, Mrs. Esther Higgins, on September 29, 1912. The story of his 
arrest and subsequent death at the hands of the inmates received wide cover- 
age in the state's newspapers. See for example, the Cheyenne State Leader, 
October '3, 1912, p. 1, and the Wyoming State Tribune, (Cheyenne) October 
2, 1912, p. 1. 

2"Fort Steele, east of Rawlins was an abandoned army post. 


there. /Rich said that the negro was down in the recieving cell, he 
asked me what i thought should be done with him. he said that he 
would go down and talk to the fiend and find out what he had to say. 
Rich came back directly and was all excited, he said that Wigfall 
didnt seem at all alarmed about the seriousness of the crime with 
which he was guilty! he said to Rich, well i aint worrin any because 
i'll be down at di wadens house anyway after ise gets sentenced, and 
if ise gets one yeah, five yeahs or foteen yeahs why ise can do dat 
easy. - he had been working down town at Alstons residence during 
the last few months of his time and he figured, rightly, that he would 
be there again, and he had it figured out right, one of his calibre 
didnt have to drink skimmed milk there, they got the pure cream, 
that is why that Wigfall was killed by the prisoners, he would have 
been permitted to go down the street right past the house where he 
had comitted the crime, he might have been several years, just as he 
said, in getting on the good side of Alston but he would have made it 
just the same. 

the prisoners had breakfast at seven oclock and a half hour later 
they were let out in the yard to work, when the doors to the yard 
were opened the men who were at work on the factory building all 
went along to their work, after they had all gotten away from the 
vicinity of the cell house, certain men could be seen going here and 
there in a hurried manner, the blacksmith shop seemed to be the 
center of attraction right then, there were several men in the shop, 
among whom were Paseo, Burke, and Richardson, the others were 
in the bake shop and prisoners kitchen, it was said, getting a bunch 
together with the intentions of hanging Wigfall. the head cell house 
guard come in the shop and wanted to know of the tin smith if he 
had a can of some description that he could get to take in some 
drinking water to Wigfall. he was handed a cut down gallon tomato 
can that had been used for a cuspidor, he said that the negro com- 
plained about the quality of his food at breakfast, it was a little 
frosty that morning and we were all congregated around the stove, 
the guard, who was called Jack, was standing with his back to the 
stove, and with a gloomy expression on his face. Brink asked the 
guard what he thought they would do about it if the negro should be 
lynched, the guard said, i don't think they would do anything, he 
then took the tin can and went out. nearly all the others also went 
out. /in a few minutes Burke came back and i asked him if they were 
going to hang the negro, he said yes that they would soon be ready, 
i asked him what they were waiting for. he said he didnt know but 
that he had told them to come on and do the thing right away, i told 
him that the only thing that i could see that they coulld be waiting 
for was, for Cap to hear about the thing and come out and take them 
all to the dungeon, so they could blame me for telling it. well he 
said, what can be done to hurry the thing up. i told him to go to 
each man who had been blowing off steam about hanging the fellow, 
and ask him if he wanted to help, if he said yes, then tell him to go 
at once to the prisoners kitchen and wait there, he said alright and 
went out on the run.^ i told Brink if he was going to hang the Black 
Man to go and do it. i asked what could be had in the way of a rope, 
he conducted me to a locker in the back end of the shop and opened 
the door, on a shelf within was a coil of rope, it was ordinary grass 
rope of about half inch, or five eights, diameter, there was some- 
where around forty feet of rope, i took the coil of rope and coiled 
it into a tall can that had been used to carry water in. the contents 
of the can were concealed by a quantity of old rags crambed into the 
top. that was taken to the kitchen. 

all that was done in about twenty minutes after the men had been 


let out into the yard, there had been much talk that morning con- 
cerning the hanging of Wigfall and most of the fellows around the 
kitchen and cell house thought that the warden would get wind of the 
goings on and put a stop to the thing, but it happened so quick when 
it did get started that it took their breath, i went to the kitchen to 
watch the performance, i wasnt in the habit of going in that par- 
ticular kitchen as the worst enemies i had in the place were working 
there, the cook however was a real good friend of mine, he asked 
me if i cared for some coffee, i took a cupfull and went to a con- 
venient place in the back of the room and sat down, the coffee was 
too hot to drink and at the first trial i gave it up, and set the cup 

i hadnt been in the place over one minute untill things began to 
happen, a small bunch of men came in the outside door as though 
they were about half hour late for dinner and hungry as wolves, and 
they were late and hungry as wolves, but not for dinner, the personal 
of that little delegation was made up of such gentlemen as Burke, 
Paseo, Howard, Brink and Elliot, they made as though to continue 
on their way through the kitchen into the cell house, and Wigfall. 
Brink interposed between them and the door, the rope was dumped 
from the can and thrown out on the floor where the kinks were run 
out. Brink said, now wait a minute fellows, two of you go into the 
cell house and capture Jack and take the keys from him and lock him 
into a cell, and dont hurt him. two men turned and ran into the cell 
house to overpower the guard and the whole outfit followed right on 
their heels. Brink and one other ran down the south side of the cell 
house looking for Jack, there were few men in sight as it was early 
in the morning and they hadnt even started the usual work such as 
sweeping the floor and so on. there was a man named Jenkins in 
the condemed cell at that time and the guard who was acting as death 
watch was standing in plain view in front of the death cell, he started 
to the lookout window to sound the alarm but was confronted by 
one of the invaders armed with a knife, he was ordered to the back 
of the cell house, and he obeyed, the guard they were looking for 
was nowhere in sight. Brink ran clear around and through the alley 
to the north side of the place, as he emerged from the alley he ran out 
so he could look up on the galleries at the same time saying, i wonder 
where in the sam hill Jack can be at. the rest of the lynchers had 
went down the north end and were congregated in front of the negros 
cell, and Jack was walking the galleries, the first one above the floor, 
right above Wigfalls cell, he held the keys in his hand the same as 
usual. Brink leaped upon the table and from there to the gallery, 
he grappled with the guard who struggled to free himself. He was 
anything but a strong man physically and was helpless in the grasp of 
the husky blacksmith. Burke leaped from the table and grasped the 
bunch of keys which he jerked from the guards hand, the keys were 
in turn snatched from the hand of Burke and the door of Wigfall's 
cell was unlocked in a twinkling. 

the ape-like form of the negro could be seen in the dark interior of 
the cell as he stood cowering in the farthest corner, he was instantly 
grasped and yanked out through the door where the rope was thrown 
in a double half hitch about his neck, from the time when he was 
pulled from the cell he never had an opportunity to stand still, the 
outfit went at double quick time towards the stairs to the galleries, 
the negro was clothed only in a night shirt. Rich didn't want to be 
seen with the outfit and after they got to the stairs he went back in 
the direction of the tailor shop, they went up the stairs to the top 
gallery and stopped at the place where previously a man committed 
suicide by jumping off the gallery. Wigfall was ordered to jump off 


the gallery, but didnt seem anxious to obey, he was menaced by a 
knife in the hand of Paseo. he asked that he be allowed time in 
which to pray, he was told that if he could make it short enough 
that he would have time to offer a prayer while making the decent. 
he was forced over the railing and he went down hand over hand 
like a sailor, or monkey, he dropped and caught the railing of the 
gallery below, he was instantly dislodged from there by one of the 
party who had went downstairs to forestall just such a move on the 
part of the negro, he fell to the end of the rope, he was then drawn 
up by those at the top and dropped the entire distance again/. . . 

the hanging had taken place on the second day of October and on 
the twelfth day the place was again the scene of much excitement, 
there were supposed to be four guards on the wall but one was absent, 
that left one to guard the entire back side of the wall, he was some 
kind of a foriegner and didnt know much about what he was sup- 
posed to do. the guard over the gate told (him) to stay back at his 
post, but he didnt pay any attention to him and continued to be there. 

Brink, Elliot and myself were working on a clogged sewer close to 
the cell house door when Cap was in the gate guards tower. Paseo, 
Rich, Backstrom and Burke were pitching horse shoes close by the 
blacksmith shop, we suddenly heard gun shots from the direction of 
the back wall, then the excitement started, something had happened 
in back of the new building, the contractor who was overseeing the 
work of construction displayed some presence of mind by shouting to 
the prisoners to climb up with him to the roof where a good view of 
the performance could be had. they followed him up the ladder like 
sheep, the gun guard in the cell house unlocked the door to his 
gallery and went down into the front office and out the front door 
of the prison, he ran around to the back of the wall and when he 
seen several prisoners running a block away, he fired a shot in the 
ground ahead of them and was successfuU in halting and capturing 
four of them. 

while the guard was at the gate talking to the gate guard some of 
the prisoners had tore a great hole in the stockade and twenty of them 
got out. everybody was ordered into the cell house and locked up. 
i and Brink were allowed to stay in the yard, the whole force of 
guards and the authorities from downtown turned out to round up 
the scattered convicts, they brought them back in small bunches, 
some of them managed to escape capture for days or weeks but only 
one out of the twenty got away for good, that is he has never been 
located so far. 

that evening when i went in, Rich asked me what i thought of 
Alston, whether i figured that he would keep his promises or not. 
i told him that all anybody could judge by was the way Alston had 
performed in the past, which didnt look good. Rich said, well i will 
think it over, the next day was Sunday and the place was quiet as a 
church, there was an armed guard on the gallery at the end of the 
cell house but there was only one guard on the floor, there was only 
one on the wall and he was over the gate, the prisoners were all out 
of their cell running around the cell house in the cell house work, 
in the mornings it was necessary to open the outside doors in carrying 
out the ordinary mornings work. Rich, Burke, Elliot, Paseo, Back- 
strom and Gilmore had planned to run out when the door was opened 
and go around to the west front end of the wall and tear a hole 
through the planking and escape, they intended going straight down 
town and raiding a hardwore store to secure guns, but they couldnt 
agree on that plan. Burke wanted to wait untill afternoon and then 
take the keys away from the guard and go out through the kitchen 
door locking everybody in the place so that the alarm wouldn't be 


given untill they had gotten a good start, but they didnt all want to 
do that. Rich said that if they didnt go right away that he was going 
to kill Brink and then get killed himself, he said that he was never 
going to be locked in a cell again while he was alive, they agreed 
to go. 

Jack went into the kitchen about the middle of the afternoon and 
they were all in there waiting for him. They took the keys from his 
and Elliot went to lock the door so that nobody in the kitchen could 
get back into the cell house, but he was so excited that he couldn't 
lock the door and they left it opened. Rich wanted to take the guard 
with them so that he could (not) turn in an alarm, but Paseo 
wouldnt agree to that, they went out and two others from the kitchen 
also went making eight altogether, they were through the wall and 
half a block down the street before any of the officers got out the 
front door. Cap and one or two guards were in the wardens office 
at the time, they secured rifles and started in pursuit of the fleeing 
convicts. Frazier, the fellow who had been with Paseo on the key 
making proposition was one of the eight escapees, the guard who was 
with Cap seen him turn off from the other fellows and run up a side 
street. The guard pursued Frazier and ran him right back to the 
front door of the prison, which was opened by the turnkey as they 
came near and Frazier was coralled like a cow. in a few minutes we 
could hear the bang of shots down town, the sounds of firing con- 
tinued for some time, an automobile drew up at the front door and i 
could see that the car was full of armed men, and that they had a 
prisoner, it was Elliot, he was quite unable to walk and seemed to 
be badly injured but he hadnt received a scratch, he was suffering 
from fright. Gilmore had secreted himself in a barn and was dis- 
covered and captured, a fellow named Stewart who had went with 
the others was also captured in town that night and brought back. 
Paseo was shot and killed by Cap. Rich managed to secure a rifle 
from a citizen and then shot and killed the first man he could see 
who had a gun. the victim had just returned from the outskirts of 
town where he had been engaged in trap shooting and had his shot 
gun in his hand. Rich, Burke and Backstrom escaped from town 
across the open range, they were not pursued, two weeks afterwards 
Rich and Backstrom were supprised in a sheep camp about sixty-five 
miles southwest of Rawlins, and shot to death. Burke had separated 
from them a short time before that and escaped, he has up till now 
evaded capture . . .-^ 

after the breaks of the fall, there had been no trouble. Alston very 
seldom come around the inside of the prison .... during the last three 
years of his administration, Alston was warden in name only. Cap 

28This account of the escape is verified, in substance, by newspaper ac- 
counts. Twenty seven men escaped, and one citizen was killed. Although 
the prison was now totally run by the state, the Biennial Reports of the State 
Board of Charities and Reform still leave far too much unsaid. Warden 
Alston's narrative report makes no mention of the mass escape or the 
Wigfall hanging. The only indication of the escape is a line in the prisoner 
tally which reads "escaped from prison — 26." 

State politicians had a field day with the escape. Republican opponents 
of Governor Joseph Carey charged Democratic mismanagement was to 
blame. The governor responded with the unlikely explanation that the 
mutiny was inspired by his opposition in an attempt to damage his cred- 
ibility. Neither assertion seems worthy of comment. Larson, Wyoming, 
pp. 332-333. 


ran the place and got along first class with the prisoners and every- 
body, he would do anything in his power to help a prisoner, he 
tried at all times to aid me in seeing the error of my ways, but without 
much success.-'-* 

I was in the same position as any other who travels that road, i 
would either learn to mend my ways or spend all my life in the 
penitentiary but seeing the light, was in my case, a Httle hke enforc- 
ing prohibition, a slow process, (pp. 109-114) 

Seeing the light was indeed a slow process for the anonymous 
author of these reminiscences. He had spent approximately ten of 
his first thirty years in the Rawlins penitentiary. His last sojourn 
seemed to have the desired effect, however. Once free, and deter- 
mined never to return, he chose to write about his experiences. 
The result is a unique and valuable document. ^ 

Were it viewed only as the adventures of a frontier criminal, this 
would be an interesting narrative. It is much more than that. 
Into the warp and weft of this account of the adventures of an 
amoral young man is woven the far more interesting tale of the 
impact which incarceration has upon a man's mind and body. 
Here too, is a strong antithesis for the sterile reports filed annually 
by the State Board of Charities and Reform. Taboo subjects such 
as alcoholism and drugs, weapons, arson, and suicide and self- 
mutilation are discussed freely, almost casually. 

No one intended that the Rawlins penitentiary should be a resort 
hotel, but it is doubtful that even the most revenge-minded citizen 
would deliberately subject an inmate to all which awaited him after 
the gate closed behind him. Until it was aboUshed, the broom 
factory was adequate punishment by itself. Under the lease agree- 
ment with the state, the operators of the factory agreed to provide 
the essential needs of the prisoners in return for the fruits of their 
dismal hours in the factory. They had no concern for the rehabili- 
tation, and little more for the health, of their charges. The account 
suggests that life under the leasee system was extremely bleak; the 
prisoners were regarded as little more than beasts of burden. After 
being processed in, the new arrival was usually assigned to a tying 
machine. A tedious, unpleasant task, it awaited the inmate every 
morning except Sundays and holidays. Meals provided by the 
leasee were barely life sustaining. The inmate/author's stories of 
stale, hard bread; thick, almost undrinkable coffee; hoarded bread 
crusts; dangerous risks for a piece of purloined pie; and excessive 
concern for the better meals given the guards and a privileged few 
prisoners are ample testimony to the quality of food most men 

One point regularly stressed in the Biennial Reports of the State 

29The "Wyoming Pen," published by prisoner editors, contains several 
references to "Cap" Brine, always in a familiar and laudatory vein, much 
as though he were one of the "boys." 


Board of Charities and Reform was the good health of the prison- 
ers, and the relative lack of disease at the prison. The author tells 
a different story. He writes of doctors who cared little about the 
ills of their patients. Work was the prescribed cure for most ills; 
for prisoners obviously too sick to work, little more was done 
than return them to their cells. Certainly, the doctors had to 
contend with malingerers, but at times medical care seems to have 
become part of the prisoners' punishment. The recalcitrant Mex- 
ican who entered the hospital, never to reappear, is a case in point. 
The story may not be true, but even if it is a figment of a paranoic 
imagination, it exhibits the fear held for the doctor and his hospital. 

For those who refused to accept the dreary prison routine, the 
dungeon was always waiting./ The dungeon was not an abstract 
concept visualized from the comfort of an easy chair. The scorch- 
ing sun overhead the long silent hours, and the steady diet of bread 
and water of the dungeon were a very real part of life in the 
Wyoming State Penitentiary, as were the factory, the food and the 

To say the least, it was depressing to be incarcerated at Rawlins. 
The oppressing atmosphere constantly wore away at the prisoners. 
Probably no aspect of the author's work is more valuable than his 
account of deviant behavior patterns among the inmates. Men 
reacted differently to life behind bars. 

/ Suicide was one alternative, and we have accounts of men who 
took that route. One man dived onto a hardwood table from the 
upper deck of the cell block. Another attempted to shoot his way 
out of the prison, and when he failed, turned the gun on himself. 
Other men either attempted or considered taking their lives. 

For those unwilling to end their lives, other measures beckoned. 
Self-mutilation is clearly evidenced. How can we understand the 
troubled mind of the prisoner who severed a portion of his hand 
in an effort to escape the broom factory? Other men deliberately 
submitted themselves over and over to the dungeon, or constantly 
resisted (the white-haired Edmundson is the best example) the 
regulations of the prison, at the expense of their health and welfare. 

Although alcohol and drugs were prohibited within the prison, 
some prisoners found and used them. The author recounts a story 
of drunkenness from stolen wood alcohol, and in at least one case, 
a large cache of drugs acquired from the hospital. It is reasonable 
to assume that these are only single manifestations of what must 
have been a greater problem for prison officials. 

Escape was the alternative most often on the minds of those who 
felt they could endure no more. The narrative is replete with 
numerous accounts of prisoner escapes and attempted escapes. 
The obsession with escape manifests itself in many ways. Some 
men were loners who kept their own counsel, while others seemed 
to need the connivance and support of large numbers of their 
colleagues. Perhaps as important as the escape itself was the 


planning conspiracy. It gave men a rallying point and a goal. 
For the main conspirator, if his idea seemed sound, it was an 
opportunity to stand as a leader with the respect and fealty of his 

Other forms of conspiracy suggest further proof of the prisoners' 
need for a goal, or a means of proving their worth. Scattered 
throughout the account are surprisingly casual references to weap- 
ons. The secret possession of any kind of weapon was one means 
of re-establishing at least a modicum of the self-respect left outside 
the walls. A knife made one just a bit more of a man. Revealing 
also is the author's account of his attempt to sneak several dimes 
past the guards when he was brought into the prison. The money 
was not going to be of a great deal of use to him inside the walls, 
but as he freely admits, the real purpose behind his act was simply 
to see if he could get away with it. 

Two prisoner conspiracies stand out because of the large number 
of men involved. One is the mass escape in 1912 in which 
twenty-eight men escaped, and the other is the hanging of Charles 
Wigfall. Despite their dissimilar purposes, these incidents do have 
similarities. They represent the ability of the prisoners to com- 
municate among themselves quickly and easily, and they show at 
least an occasional unity of action. 

The Wigfall lynching does not readily lend itself to explanation. 
The ease with which it was accomplished, as well as the behavior 
of the prison officials once it was discovered, suggests their passive 
approval. Official approval was not the cause, however. The 
author suggests the real causes were moral outrage and the fear 
that Wigfall would soon be returned to his former position as 
special servant to the warden. Yet, the prison held other murder- 
ers and rapists, and many men vied for softer jobs. When all other 
explanations have been examined and found to have occurred at 
other times without provoking similar outrage, one reason remains. 
Charles Wigfall was black. Other authors have offered testimony 
to racism on the frontier. Here is proof that even among frontier 
society's rejects these attitudes prevailed. 

The memoirs of this anonymous inmate/ author comprise an 
intriguing manuscript. Few questions are fully answered. It is 
not a complete work which carefully examines prison life and its 
effects. It is more like a peep show. There are seductive hints, 
but few full revelations. When an encompassing history of the 
Wyoming State Penitentiary is written, this manuscript will be a 
useful research source. 

^/w^ ^read and Mn^y Mission 
OH tke JroHtier, 

WYOMING, 1865- 1890 


Jerome A. Greene 

This article was prepared in conjunction with a study for Fort Laramie 
National Historic Site and the National Park Service. 

On March 19, 1887, Assistant Surgeon Arthur W. Taylor filed 
a special report with Headquarters, Department of the Platte, con- 
cerning the bread ration at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. "Soon after 
my arrival at this post," he wrote, 

the bread issued and used by the troops attracted my attention. After 
careful examinations ... of the bread, the Bakery and the flour used 
I find that the bread issued to the troops is unwholesome and not fit 
for food. It is bitter and after a short time (a few hours after 
baking) becomes musty. This bread causes Gastric and Intestinal 
dyspepsia. . . . The cause of the bad qualtiy of the bread is the flour 
issued and used in baking. Some of this flour is musty, and con- 
tains the micro organism due to must. ... I have the honor to recom- 
mend that for sanitary reasons, the issue and use of this flour in 
making bread for issue to the troops be discontinued. i 

While the immediate problem was remedied in time, Taylor's re- 
marks conceded the status of bread as a prime component of the 
soldier's ration and its consequent value to the maintenance of a 
healthy, well-nourished army. Scarcely less implicit was the desire 
to maintain an operation conducive to the production of good 
bread. Perhaps of peripheral interest administratively, the post 
bakery at Fort Laramie, as well as those at other western stations, 
assumed major importance to the men garrisoned there and to 
medical personnel charged with securing their health. Probably no 
other building, save the hospital and company kitchens, came 
under more scrutiny by responsible officers than the bakehouse. 
Good bread afforded blanket insurance for the troops; inadequate 

^Records of the Office of the Adjutant General, "Medical History of 
Posts, Fort Laramie," March, 1887, transcribed copy in the Research Files, 
Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming (hereafter cited as "Medical 


supplies, preparation, and facilities could compromise, or even 
jeopardize, their well being. 

Bread has constituted a staple of man's diet for centuries. Mod- 
ern armies since the time of Louis XIV have made bread a major 
part of their sustenance, and in eighteenth-century France portable 
ovens were carried on campaign to facilitate its ample provision. 
By the mid-nineteenth century scarcely a nation, including the 
United States, failed to provide bread daily for its soldiers.^ The 
importance of proper facilities and training, essential for producing 
good bread, was well perceived in the upper echelons of the United 
States Army. As Major General Winfield Scott explained. 

Bread and soup are the great items of a soldier's diet in every situa- 
tion: to make them well is an essential part of his instruction. Those 
great scourges of camp, scurvy and diarrhoea, more frequently result 
from want of skill in cooking than from any other cause whatever. 
Officers in command, and, more immediately, regimental officers, 
will, therefore, give strict attention to this vital branch of interior 

For garrisoned troops, the post bakery constituted one means for 
best implementing such dictums. 

Two army bureaus, the Quartermaster's Department and the 
Subsistence Department, jointly administered the construction and 
supplying of army bakeries. Principally concerned with transpor- 
tation, supply, and the care of military cemeteries, the Quarter- 
master's Department procured materials for construction and re- 
pair of all buildings at army installations, including bakehouses.^ 
In the bakery, the Quartermaster furnished all brooms, utensils, 
and furniture authorized, excepting ovens, and paid fuel expenses 
whenever bakery requirements exceeded savings from the fuel 
allowances to the troops otherwise used.-'"' So far as the western 
posts were concerned, vast distances, primitive land routes, and 
freezing rivers compounded the task of the Quartermaster's De- 
partment. Only the completion of the transcontinental railroads 
and subsidiary lines in the 1860s and 1870s obviated these 

^Edward S. Farrow, Farow's Military Encyclopedia (3 vols.; New York: 
Published by the author, 1885), I, 127. 

'■^Quoted in N. Hershler, The Soldier's Handbook; for the Use of Enlisted 
Men of the Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1884), p. 52. 

•^''Report of the Quartermaster-General," October 10, 1876, in Report of 
the Secretary of War, 1876 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1876), p. 113. 

5U. S. House of Representatives, Revised Army Regulations, Report No. 
85, 42 Cong., 3d Sess., March 1, 1873, p. 43 (hereafter cited as A.R., 1873); 
Regulations for the Army of the United States, 1895 (Washington: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1899), p. 43 (hereafter cited as A.R., 1895). 

6Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1967), p. 269. 


More indirectly involved with the function of the post bakery 
was the Subsistence Department. While construction and equipage 
fell to the Quartermaster, the Commissary General's Office han- 
dled subsistence matters. The Subsistence Department provided 
the soldier's ration, or expenses for it, and central to the ration was 
flour for breadmaking. At posts inaccessible to ready flour sup- 
plies, this article arrived over great distances at considerable cost 
and despair. As an inspector at the Sub Depot of New San Diego, 
California, remarked in 1854, "Flour frequently spoils before it 
reaches here from the Atlantic States. ... 691 barrels [of] 
flour . . . have been consumed since the 1st January, 1852. Here- 
after, it is presumed, flour will be supplied from California and 
Oregon, where there is abundance of the best manufactured."" 

Besides the basic commodity of flour, the Subsistence Depart- 
ment contributed such other necessities as salt and lard. Storage 
of these properties demanded constant attention, for most were 
perishable and required the utmost vigilance for their preservation.^ 
At all posts, commissary storehouses sheltered the foodstuffs from 
which the bakeries drew their needs. Non-food items managed by 
the Subsistence Department included the bake ovens, built and 
funded through the Commissary's office, and such lighting appa- 
ratus as candles, lamps, and oil for interior building use.^ 

Ever cognizant of the importance of bread to the soldier's diet, 
and of problems encountered in its preparation, Brigadier General 
Amos B. Eaton pressed for improvements in army bakeries 
throughout his tenure as Commissary General. In 1869 he urged 
the abolition of bakeries run by nonmilitary personnel. "The 
Subsistence Department," he contended, "should own and conduct 
all Army bakeries, and should bake the soldiers' flour exclusively, 
in the interests of the soldier and of his table-fare."^*^ One of 
Eaton's successors. Brigadier General Robert Macfeely, believing 
that army baking suffered as much from faulty bakers as from 
faulty flour, recommended in 1876 "that bakers ... be specially 
enlisted, paid extra-duty pay, say $4 per month, and assigned to 
posts as commissary-sergeants. I recommend that should schools 
for cooks be estabhshed at recruiting-depots, bakers should also be 
instructed at the same schools. "^^ 

''■Robert W. Frazer (ed.), Mansfield on the Condition of Western Forts, 
1853-1854 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), p. 140. 

^Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States, 1861 (Philadel- 
phia: J. G. L. Brown, Printer, n.d.), p. 248 (hereafter cited as A.R., 1861). 

^Ibid.; A.R., 1873, p. 43. 

io"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 9, 1875, 
in Report of the Secretary of War, 1875 (Washington: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1875), p. 312. 

iiQuoted in "Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 
9, 1879, in Report of the Secretary of War, 1879 (Washington: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1879), p. 389. 




Ground Plaox. 

SjtBMtof Owrtl. 

Froadt^arvfttiKai . 


-National Park Service 

General plan for army bakeries, 1 872, from Drawings of Military Buildings, 
(Washington: Office of the Quartermaster-General, 1872). 

None of Macfeely's suggestions won immediate acceptance and 
he found solace only in the 1879 publication of the Manual for 
Army Cooks, its contents drawn from the report of a board 
appointed jointly by the Surgeon General and himself. The man- 
ual outlined useful information on baking and the army distributed 
a copy to every company unit in 1880.^- Moreover, in 1882 Major 
George Bell's Notes on Breadmaking, Permanent and Field Ovens, 
and Bake Houses appeared, giving more thorough guidelines on 
bread preparation and baking methods. Yet throughout the 
1880s Macfeely persisted in his call for sensible baking and cook- 
ing reforms, and particularly for the enlistment of suitably trained 
personnel. As it existed, he reported, "the men so detailed are 
inexperienced, and from the temporary nature of the employment 
they take but little interest in it, and frequently look upon the work 
with disgust."^^ No matter how good the quality or quantity of 

i2"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 11, 1880, 
in Report of the Secretary of War, 1880 (Washington: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1880), p. 505. 

i-^"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 15, 1884, 


the raw issue, argued Macfeely, "the best flour in the hands of a 
bad baker will produce bad bread. "^^ But the Macfeely proposals 
went unheeded. Even the support of the Quartermaster General, 
who urged similar measures himself in the 1890s, failed to imple- 
ment change. No army cooking and baking schools were estab- 
Ushed until 1905.i'^ 

Given the unenthusiastic official posture towards improving the 
proficiency of bakers, and thus the quality of bread, army garrisons 
during the frontier period contended with time-worn procedure. 
Post bakehouses also changed little. Slight variations might have 
existed from one station to another, but most consisted of simple 
rectangular or T-shaped structures. No standard specifications 
appeared until 1872, and while the proposed revision of Army 
Regulations released the following year called for strict adherence 
to these plans, departures from the requisite probably occurred.^'' 

By far the most essential units of bakery equipment, the ovens 
enabled the troops to have bread daily at an economical expendi- 
ture of fuel and flour. ^" Permanent ovens, unlike the portable 
field varieties, were built of brick and usually on completion 
formed one whole end of the bakehouse. Those at Fort Laramie 
in 1876 were double ovens, each measuring about six feet, five 
inches by eight feet, with a combined capacity of 500 rations per 
baking. ^^ Bread baked in the ovens stood a day before distribu- 
tion, for that served sooner often posed difficulties in digestion. 
Post bakers and their assistants kept busy from dawn to dusk pre- 
paring yeast and dough, overseeing the baking, and policing the 
bakehouse. Occasionally dampened hard bread was redried after a 
regular baking of soft bread. By inserting boxes of the field ration 
in the ovens and exposing them to 140° (Fahrenheit) heat for 

in Report of the Secretary of War, 1884 (Washington: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1884), p. 704. 

i*"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 8, 1883, 
in Report of the Secretary of War, 1883 (Washington: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1883), p. 590. See also Robert M. Utley, Frontier Regulars: 
The United States Army and the Indian, 1886-1890 (New York: The Mac- 
millan Company, 1973), pp. 85-86. 

li'Erna Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army: A History of the 
Corps, 1775-1939 (Washington: Office of the Quartermaster General, 1962), 
p. 507. As early as 1861 one reporter wrote: "It is somewhat singular that, 
although the importance of good food to health is everywhere acknowledged, 
and the evils consequent upon ill cooking are everywhere deplored, no 
means are yet adopted to remedy the latter by providing a corps of 
scientific cooks for our armies." John Ordonaux, Hints on the Preservation 
of Health in Armies for the Use of Volunteer Officers and Soldiers (New 
York: D. Appleton and Company, 1861), pp. 72-73. 

iM.i?., 1873, p. 145. 

I'^^Farrow, Military Encyclopedia, II, p. 464. 

isjames W. Sheire, The 1876 Old Bakery, Fort Laramie National Historic 
Site, Wyoming (Washington: National Park Service, Office of Archeology 
and Historic Preservation, 1968), Part I, pp. 18, 19. 


several hours, moisture was removed and crispness restored. ^'^ 
Intermittently through the year the bakers scraped and washed the 
bakehouse walls, for the accumulation of soot from the ovens 
proved discomforting and unsanitary.-'^ 

The number of men detailed to bakery duty varied with the 
number of rations required. Under normal conditions one baker 
excused from all other duty could produce 250 rations of bread 
per bake; beyond that figure two or more bakers were needed.-^ 
Through most of the 1870s at Fort Laramie the troop complement 
ran between five and ten companies, suggesting the presence of two 
bakers much of the time.-^ 

Two requisites for baking were fuel and water. Soft water was 
best and at most forts daily details of soldiers filled and hauled 
barrels of river water by wagon for use in the bakery, kitchens, 
and quarters. ^^ Fuel for the bakehouse came from the surrounding 
timber lands, and was supplied either by civilian contractors or by 
soldiers detailed to nearby wood camps. -^ Bakery ovens ran on 
excess fuel left over by troops in quarters. In some instances the 
ovens burned coal, although at many stations it was unavailable 
and, when shipped in, proved costly. As prescribed in regulations, 
merchantable hard wood, preferably oak, comprised the standard, 
with the cord equivalent to 128 cubic feet or 3195 pounds. Two 
cords of soft wood equalled one of hard and could be issued in lieu 
of the latter when circumstances dictated.-" The chief baker in- 
sured that an adequate supply of fuel was always on hand. 

Detailed for ten-day shifts by the Post Commander, the bakers 

^^Revised United States Army Regulations of 1861 (Washington: Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, 1863), pp. 301-02 (hereafter cited as A.R., 1863); 
A.R., 1873, p. 175. 

20James Grant, The Chemistry of Breadmaking (London: Edward Ar- 
nold, 1912), p. 175. 

2iGeorge Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, Permanent and Field Ovens, and 
Bake Houses (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1882), p. 81. See 
also Manual for Army Bakers, 1910 (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1910), p. 68. 

22This is based on information contained in B. William Henry, Jr., "Regi- 
mental Units Stationed at Fort Laramie, 1849-1890" (Unpublished manu- 
script dated 1970 in the Fort Laramie National Historic Site library), pp. 
7-9. "As a general rule, the total number of men employed in a Bakery 
can be determined by estimating each Baker will turn out seven hundred 
(700) rations daily, and adding one additional man, (as Clerk, Yeast 
Maker or Laborer as may be required,) for each three thousand (3000) 
rations turned out." Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, p. 36. 

23Don Rickey, Jr., Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted 
Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1963), p. 97. 


^^>A.R., 1873, p. 148; A.R., 1895, p. 139; "Report of the Quartermaster- 
General," October 9, 1882, in Report of the Secretary of War, 1882 (Wash- 
ington: Government Printing Office, 1882), p. 374. 


worked long hours involving duty beyond the normal workday. 
A provision of the Army Appropriation Act of July, 1866, entitled 
them to twenty cents per diem extra duty pay when "employed on 
constant labor, of not less than ten days. . . ."-'^ In the mid-1 870s 
extra duty pay rose to thirty-five cents a day for clerks and me- 
chanics, but stayed at twenty cents for "laborers."-^ The baker's 
compensation, along with other bakery expenses not otherwise pro- 
vided by the Subsistance or Quartermaster's Departments, came 
from funds earmarked from savings on the flour ration which 
varied between twenty-eight and thirty-three percent over that 
actually issued as bread.-^ 

The Post Treasurer, who often simultaneously served as Com- 
missary Officer, directly supervised bakehouse performance.^^ 
Frequent inspections were completed by him, the Commanding 
Officer, and the Post Surgeon to safeguard the health of the troops. 
If complaints of the quality of the bread occurred, the problem was 
investigated with dispatch, mainly because the officers themselves 
took their rations from the same source. ^^ 

Post bakers and their assistants, freed from regular fatigue duty, 
executed all the details necessary for making bread. Most were ill- 
suited privates who abhorred the task, but occasionally a former 
civilian baker delighted in it. In the former case the bread fre- 
quently suffered; in the latter, depending on the quality of the 
flour, it could become very palatable. ^^ By 1 875, the provision for 
the ten-day rotation was being widely ignored, and at some stations 
the chief baker, at least, continued in the position according to 
his particular competence.^^ 

A prime element of bakery procedure concerned cleanliness and 
sanitation. Probably bakers at frontier posts did not bathe and 
change their underwear daily as later manuals recommended, but 
they were expected to keep utensils and furniture clean at their 

26Circular on "Preservation and Care of Subsistence Stores," Headquar- 
ters, Department of the Platte, Office Chief Commissary of Subsistence, 
Omaha, Nebraska, September 14, 1866, p. 6 (hereafter cited as Circular, 
Department of the Platte, 1866). 

2M./?., 1873, p. 173. See also p. 34. 

~^A.R., 1861, p. 246; Manual for the Subsistence Department (Washing- 
ton: Government Printing Office, 1902), p. 103; A.R., 1895, p. 43; How to 
Feed an Army (Washington: Government Printing Office. 1901), p. 124. 

-^A.R., 1873, p. 43; Manual for the Subsistence Department, p. 103. 

30^./?., 1863, p. 23; Ray H. Mattison, "The Army Post on the Northern 
Plains, 1865-1885," reprint from Nebraska History, XXXV (March. 1954), 
p. 14; A Report on the Hygiene of the United States Army. M-ith Descrip- 
tions of Military Posts (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1875), 

p. XXXV. 

siRickey, Forty Miles A Day, pp. 103, 110; A.R., 1895, p. 43. 

32This was especially true of army cooks. The inference is that the same 
was done in the case of bakers. See Report on the Hygiene of the United 
States Army, p. xxxix. 


duty stations. •■'•^ The "Cook's Creed" applied to bakers equally 
as well: 

Cleanliness is next to godliness, both in persons and kettles. Be ever 
industrious, then, in scouring your pots. Much elbowgrease, a few 
ashes, and a little water are capital aids to the careful cook. Better 
wear out your pans with scouring than your stomachs with purging; 
and it is less dangerous to work your elbows than your comrade's 
bowels. Dirt and grease betray the poor cook, and destroy the poor 
soldier, while health, content, and good cheer should ever reward 
him who does his duty and keeps his kettles clean. In military life 
punctuality is not only a duty, but a necessity, and the cook should 
always endeavor to be exact in time. Be sparing with sugar and salt, 
as a deficiency can be better remedied than an overplus.-^-* 

Maintaining sanitary bakery conditions, if sincerely attempted, 
proved a difficult but not impossible chore. Daily bakehouse clean 
ups typically occurred each morning after the dough had been 
molded and left to rise, a period of one and one-half hours. Boil- 
ing water, sometimes laced with lye, was used to scrub messpans, 
pots, and other metal utensils. ^^ The Manual for Army Cooks 
recommended additional hints for cleaning: 

Boil a handful of hay or grass in a new iron pot, before using it for 
cooking purposes. Then scrub it on the inside with soap and sand. 
Fill the pot with clean water, set it on the fire, and allow to boil half 
an hour. After this it is ready for use. 

New tins should stand near the fire, filled with boiling water, in which 
has been dissolved a spoonful of soda. Soda is used to render soluble 
the rosin which has been used in soldering. Then scour with soft soap 
and rinse with hot water. Keep them clean by rubbing with sifted 

Never set a cooking utensil away without cleaning and drying it. If 
grease is left in the vessel, that will become rancid. If it is set aside 
wet, rust will be the result. 

Clean knives with soft flannel and bath-brick. If rusty, use wood- 
ashes rubbed on the knife with a freshly-cut portion of an Irish potato; 
this will remove all spots. 36 

At least once a week, and preferably more often, the wooden 

33See Manual for Army Bakers, 1910, p. 68, A.R., 1863, p. 23. 

34 James M. Sanderson, Camp Fires and Camp Cooking; or, Culinary 
Hints for the Soldier (Washington: Army of the Potomac, 1862), p. 4; also 
quoted in Report on the Hygiene of the United States Army, p. xl. 

^^^Manual for Army Bakers, 1910, p. 68; John W. Barriger (ed.). Practical 
Instructions in Bread-Making (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1878), p. 11; L. R. Holbrook, The Mess Officer's Assistant (Junction City, 
Kansas: The Junction City Sentinel, 1911), p. 175. 

^^Manual for Army Cooks (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1879), pp. 18-19. See also the revised edition of 1883, pp. 25-26. 


— -National Park Service 

View of 1876 Bakery at Fort Laramie as restored by the National Park 
Service. Note brickwork at right end harboring the reconstructed oven. 

dough troughs were cleaned. These vessels frequently absorbed 
flour, yeast, and dough in the cracks and if not promptly attended 
could attract vermin, cause mold and bacteria to form, and account 
for sourness in the bread. The troughs were scraped and washed 
with a lye solution, then carted out into the sunlight to dry for an 
hour or two with other bakehouse accoutrements.-^' The bakers 
meantime brushed and cleaned the shelves, tables, and scales, 
swept the floor, and aired out the building.^^ 

Flour, of course, composed but one part of the soldier's ration, 
or daily subsistence allowance. Between the Civil War and the 
Spanish-American War this ration changed little,^^ and in 1873 
comprised the following: 

Twelve ounces of pork or bacon, or twenty ounces of fresh or salt 
beef, eighteen ounces of flour or twenty ounces corn meal, or sixteen 
ounces of hard bread; and to every one hundred rations, fifteen 
pounds of beans or ten pounds of rice, eight pounds of green coffee, 
or six pounds eight ounces of roasted (or roasted and ground) coffee, 
or two pounds of tea, twelve pounds of sugar, one gallon of vinegar, 
twenty ounces of adamantine candles, four pounds of soap, four 
pounds of salt, and two ounces of black pepper.^^ 

37Barriger, Practical Instructions, p. 11; Manual for Army Bakers, 1910, 
pp. 65, 68; Grant, Chemistry of Breadmaking, pp. 174-75. 

38/6W., pp. 172, 174. 

39Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army, p. 506. 

^^A.R., 1873, pp. 167-68; "Report of the Commissary-General of Sub- 
sistence," 1875, p. 312. 


Substitutes for these items were permitted, such as mutton or fish 
for pork, and pickles for vinegar, and provisions for growing or 
purchasing fresh vegetables afforded some flexibility in the soldier's 
diet.^^ Only the President might alter the overall ration according 
to health and economic needs, although the post commander might 
exercise minimal changes if required.'*- An officer designated 
Acting Commissary of Subsistence controlled ration distribution at 
the post commissary, and issues were made every few days on the 
basis of ration returns signed by the company commanders.*^ 

As estabhshed by law in 1802, the ration allowed for a daily 
issue of eighteen ounces of soft bread or flour.** This remained 
fixed until the outbreak of the Civil War brought an increase to 
twenyt-two ounces.*"^ In 1864, economy compelled restoration of 
the former ration, and it stayed at eighteen ounces until the 1 890s, 
although a General Order of 1875 permitted a ceiling of twenty- 
two ounces of bread at posts where vegetables could not be culti- 
vated.*^ And a recommendation in the projected regulations of 
1873 favored issuing twenty ounces of wheat when flour was 

Debate about the bread ration flourished during the post-Civil 
War years, especially in terms of the handling and disposition of 
savings accrued from it. Usually companies failed to muster the 
exact number of soldiers carried on their rolls, and the resulting 
surplus of non-flour rations, unless required for reissue, went back 
to the commissary or to local citizen traders in exchange for non- 
ration items. *^ But the eighteen ounces of flour issued a soldier 
and turned in for conversion at the post bakery would actually have 
yielded more bread than he was entitled to, yet he received back 
only eighteen ounces. Savings thus accrued from the flour issue 
sold as bread to civiUans, the proceeds going into the Post Fund 
which was drawn on for buying fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy 
products from local producers.*^ Under the system, savings from 

*'^Ibid.; Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army, p. 506. 

42H. L. Scott, Military Dictionary (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1864), 
p. 487;^./?., 1873, p. 43. 

^Mbid., p. 168; Rickey, Forty Miles a Day, p. 118. 

■^^Samuel Breck, Remarks on the Food of the U. S. Army (Place of pub- 
lication unknown, 1875), p. 1. 

i^Ibid., p. 3; A.R., 1861, p. 243. 

■^^Breck, Food of the U. S. Army, p. 3; Jeremiah C. Allen (comp.), 
Subject Index of the General Orders of the War Department from January 
1 , 1861 , to December 31, 1890 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1892), p. 91. 

^~A.R., 1873, p. 168. 

48Rickey, Forty Miles a Day, p. 118; A.R., 1895, p. 180. 

^•'Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army, pp. 505-06; Scott, Military 
Dictionaiy, p. 78. Bread generally weighed five-sixteenths more than the 
flour it contained due to its water content. Barriger, Practical Instructions, 
p. 21. 


the flour ration became substantial. At Fort Brown, Texas, savings 
aggregated over $2000 in less than a year and a half for an average 
of 398 men."*^ Such profits, and the tendency to expend them for 
purposes unrelated to subsistence, generated much criticism among 
commissary officers towards the seeming attempt "to make the post 
bakery a money-making machine" for the support of libraries and 
bands to the detriment of the soldier's subsistence.-^^ Commissary 
General Eaton urged that the troops be given full use of their 
allotted ration. This, he maintained, would preclude any need for 
increases, while at the same time prevent diversion of the ration 
"from its legitimate purpose by the unjust contrivance called the 
post fund."5- 

Income derived from the sale of bread to civiUan Quartermaster 
employees and others ineligible to draw subsistence constituted the 
main element of the Post Fund. A tax placed on civilian post 
sutlers and based on the number of officers and men at a given post 
also contributed to post coffers. ^^ By the mid-1 870s expenses 
covered by the Post Fund included those for operation of the 
bakehouse, education of children and illiterate soldiers, music 
instruction for band members, maintenance of a library, procure- 
ment of seeds and tools for post gardens, religious training, and 
purchase of equipment for recreational activities.'"'^ Bakery ex- 
penses embraced extra duty pay and such articles as hops, yeast, 
lard, cloths, sieves, and furniture not supplied by the Quartermas- 
ter's Department. ^^ 

The Post Commander managed the fund through the Post Coun- 
cil of Administration, composed of officers of the particular station 
and charged with matters of routine garrison performance. Ap- 
pointed by the Commander, the Post Treasurer collected, account- 
ed for, and made appropriate disbursements from, the Post Fund.^^ 
His account and vouchers were audited periodically by members 
of the Council, usually on the last day of April, August, and 
December and whenever the Treasurer was relieved of assignment. 

50"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 10, 1881, 
in Report of the Secretary of War, 1881 (Washington: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1881), p. 506. 

^"^Ibid., p. 520; Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army, p. 506. 

52"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," 1881, p. 520. 

°Hbid., p. 484; A.R., 1863, p. 35; A.R., 1895, p. 42; Scott, Military Dic- 
tionary, p. 449; Sheire, 7576 Old Bakery, pp. 25-26. 

5M.i?., 1863, p. 35; A.R., 1873, p. 43; Report on the Hygiene of the 
United States Army, p. xxvi. Concise descriptions of the Post, Regimental, 
and Company Funds are in Jack D. Foner, The United States Soldier Be- 
tween Two Wars: Army Life and Reforms, 1865-1898 (New York: The 
Humanities Press, 1970), pp. 21-23. 

5M./?., 1861, p. 248; A.R., 1863, p. 255. 

^^Ibid., p. 35; A.R., 1873, p. 43. The Post Treasurer also served as Post 
Librarian. Ibid. 


The Council filed its conclusions in a ledger sent through the 
Commanding Officer to Department Headquarters. Members also 
determined the pay of bakers and laundresses when necessary. ^'^ 
Further criticism of the Post Fund in the 1880s contended that the 
flour savings contribution failed to benefit individual soldiers. This 
might better be accomplished, believed the Commissary General, 
by dividing the savings proportionately among the companies. ^^ 

After deducting bakery expenses, 50 percent of the Post Fund 
went to the Regimental Fund to be disbursed by the Regimental 
Treasurer according to needs of the unit, whether stationed at one 
post or at several.^'-* At the lowest level, income for Company 
Funds depended on savings from the other ration components, 
along with money derived from boarding citizen employees at unit 
messes, selling company-raised livestock and produce, and distrib- 
uting pro rata proceeds from the Regimental Fund. Responsible 
management of the Company Fund by a regularly convened Com- 
pany Council of Administration allowed the soldiers to obtain 
furniture, books, tools, stencil-plates, and other items not autho- 
rized them by regulations. ^° 

The eighteen ounces of daily bread allotted the soldier came 
from flour not always of superior quality. Before the Civil War 
western garrisons received flour produced exclusively from wheat 
grown in the eastern states. Eastern wheat went through its 
"sweating" period in October, when excess moisture evaporated, 
and was cut and ground shortly thereafter. Fine, white flour 
resulted that, when baked correctly, gave tasty nourishment.*'^ 
Bad flour could be detected easily, and an alert army buyer might 
avoid it through conscious application of the following criteria: 

HOW TO SELECT FLOUR. — L Look at its color; if it is white, 
with slight yellowish or straw colored tint, it is a good sign. If it is 
very white with a bluish cast or with black specks in it, the flour is 
not good. 2. Examine its adhesiveness — wet and knead a little of 
it between the fingers; if it works dry and elastic, it is good; if it works 
soft and sticky, it is poor. Flour made from Spring wheat is likely to 
be sticky. 3. Throw a little lump of dry flour against a dry, smooth, 
perpendicular surface, if it adheres in a lump the flour has life in it; 

^'A.R., 1863, p. 35; A.R., 1873, p. 42; Report on the Hygiene of the 
United States Army, p. xxv. 

•^'^"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," 1883, p. 590. 

'''■'Report of the Hygiene of the United States Army, p. xxvi; A.R., 1873, 
pp. 43, 44. 

6"/^/d/., pp. 44, 168; Sheire, 1876 Old Bakery, p. 24; Breck, Food of the 
U. S. Army, p. 2; Rickey, Forty Miles a Day, p. 118; Manual for Army 
Cooks (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896), p. 49; August V. 
Kautz, The Company Clerk: Showing How and When to Make Out All the 
Returns, Reports, Rolls, and Other Papers, and What to Do with Them 
(Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Company, 1864), pp. 25, 27, 92. 

^'^ Bread and Bread Making (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1864), p. 2. 


if it falls like powder, it is bad. 4. Squeeze some of the flour in 
your hand; if it retain [s] the shape given by the pressure, that too is 
a good sign. Flour that will stand all these tests, it is safe to buy.^^ 

Dark specks in the flour signified the presence of cockle, mustard 
seed, or bran arising from poor grinding, while blue-colored flour 
contained dirt. Other determinants of good quality flour included 
its gritty sensation when rubbed between thumb and fingers, its 
absorbent abilities, and its dry, non-clammy properties."'^ 

Dry flour being preferable, the army contracted for that manu- 
factured from southern-grown winter wheat. Before and during 
the Civil War, grain raised in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, 
Kentucky, Georgia, and the Carolinas sustained the troops. After 
the war, mid western-grown winter and spring wheat from Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas gained favor despite its 
starchiness, chiefly because it was cheaper to ship west.*'^ Still 
other varieties imported for army use came from such distant 
places as Chile. "■"' At some points along the frontier local mills 
produced flour from grain imported from the East or grown re- 
gionally. In Texas the civilian-operated flour mills created a less 
satisfactory product than the St. Louis type generally used, while 
in adjacent New Mexico and in southern Colorado the troops sub- 
sisted on imported "States Flour" because, reported the Chief 
District Commissary, "it seems impossible to manufacture a good 
grade of flour in this Territory.""'' In the Department of Arizona, 
most forts obtained contract flour decidedly inferior to that pro- 
duced for troops in nearby California."" 

From 1875 through 1878 the price of flour furnished army 
garrisons averaged 3.5 cents per pound. That purchased at Omaha 
cost 3.6 cents a pound in 1876."^ Proper packing of the com- 
modity was essential for preservation and for transport to its 
ultimate destination. Either barrels or 100-pound capacity cotton 

*52Quoted from the St. Louis Journal of Agriculture in an undated clipping 
from an unidentified newspaper pasted opposite the table of contents of 
ibid., copy in the National Archives Library. 

^^Bread and Bread Making, pp. 2, 3, 4; C. L. Kilburn, Notes on Preparing 
Stores for the United States Army; and On the Care of the Same, etc., with 
a Few Rules for Detecting Adulterations (Cincinnati: W. A. Webb. 1863), 
p. 26. 

^■^Ibid.; Bread and Bread Making, p. 2: Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, 
p. 133. 

*>5Kilburn, Notes on Preparing Stores, p. 26. Before the Civil War many 
western stations utilized the popular Gallego or Haxall flour, produced at 
Richmond, Virginia. Ibid. 

66"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," 1879, p. 380. 


68"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 10, 1878, 
in Report of the Secretary of War, 1878 (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1878), p. 407; "Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence." 
October 10, 1876, in Report of the Secretary of War. 1876, p. 303. 


sacks sheathed in burlap were used, loosely packed to prevent the 
flour from caking. Barrels, fully head lined, expertly fashioned 
from strong, tight-fitting staves and secured with twelve half-round 
hickory hoops, each weighed about twenty-three pounds when 
empty. Inspection holes were plugged and capped to forestall 
leakage. Sacks gained preference over barrels, which often im- 
parted sourness to the contents, but even then precautions against 
moisture and heat were observed.*^'-* Boards of Survey repeatedly 
condemned wet flour without noting that the bulk of the product, 
protected by the damp crust, yet remained sound. '^*^ 

At commissary depots, such as that at Omaha, flour was stored 
after purchase in warehouses, and usually on the middle tiers to 
avoid moisture from below and extreme heat from above. '^^ Upon 
delivery to a post the flour was kept in a storehouse, generally a 
single-story structure, and placed on shelves or platforms a few 
inches off the floor. Stored flour required good ventilation and 
subsistence personnel occasionally rolled it outside for airing to 
prevent its becoming lumpy and sour. Nor should it have been 
stored in close proximity to coffee, tobacco, fish, or similar strong- 
smelling commodities, for flour easily absorbed odors. '^^ Main- 
tenance of warm atmospheric conditions in the storehouse helped 
protect the article, too, while intense heat or freezing damaged it. 
Room temperatures between 70° and 75° F. were recommended. 
Sometimes worms penetrated the surface of flour in storage, but 
they posed little threat to the bluk and could be removed by sifting 
the top few inches of the barrel or sack contents. ^^ 

If flour grew sour either from transport or storage, its essence 
might be restored by blending with fresh flour of a variant grade. 
In fact, the best possible loaf bread was made from a mixture of 
several different textures of flour. "^^ At forts in Arizona, New 
Mexico, and Texas, flour of a superior grade was introduced to mix 
with and bolster regionally produced kinds. ^^ 

Good flour only partially comprised good bread. Much de- 
pended on making the dough and baking it, wherein order and 
method became paramount contributing facotrs. At large army 
bakeries, qualified foremen managed entire production staffs. At 
small posts the baker supervised one or two assistants. Operation 

69Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, pp. 134-35, 139; Kilburn, Notes on Pre- 
paring Stores, p. 28. 

^^nbid., pp. 27-28; Circular, Department of the Platte, 1866, p. 3. 

'^'^Ibid.; Kilburn, Notes on Preparing Stores, p. 28. 

72^.i?., 1861, p. 242; How to Feed an Army, p. 144; Bell, Notes on 
Breadmaking, p. 135. 

l^Ibid., pp. 135, 138-39. 

'^Kilburn, Notes on Preparing Stores, p. 27; Circular, Department of the 
Platte, 1866, p. 3; Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 13, 14. 

75"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," 1878, p. 405. 


of the bakehouse involved heating and fueUng the ovens, control- 
ling water temperatures, sifting flour, making yeast, sponge, and 
dough, molding and scaUng the dough, proofing and baking it, 
and poUcing the premises. '^^ 

Flour, water, yeast, and salt composed the central ingredients 
of the bread recipe/ '' Lard was used to grease bread pans. In the 
absence of yeast, baking powder might be employed.'*^ Flour was 
measured on counter scales, with one quart or five cupfuls to the 
pound. ^^ Soft, mineral-free water, either that hauled from a river 
or pond, or rainwater allowed to settle, always stood ready.'*" 
Temperatures in the bakery varied greatly, but should never have 
fallen below 75° F.«i 

The first step in breadmaking lay in the manufacture of yeast, 
the fermenting agent that caused dough to rise. Several kinds were 
employed in army bakeries, including that manufactured from hops 
and potatoes. Malt or sugar additives made the yeast react quickly 
and increased fermentation. At some posts a combination of 
potato and hop yeast was used, and bakers at western stations 
employed dessicated potatoes for the purpose when they lacked 
freshly grown ones.^- 

Yeast spores reproduced rapidly, emitting carbonic gas that 
gave dough its porous characteristics. Baking at high temperatures 
killed the fermenting organism, thus arresting the action while 
setting the dough. ^^ Head yeast was created in a special wooden 
tub, cleaned and free of grease, by mixing flour with soft water 
from which boiled hops had been strained. Ground malt was 
added and the tub covered for twenty-four to thirty-six hours, 
during which time the yeast rose, fell, and settled. The resulting 
batter was strained before using.^^ 

The head yeast concentrate contributed to making a more di- 
luted stock yeast, which actually fermented the dough prior to 
baking. Stock yeast consisted of flour, water, hops, malt, and 
head yeast, and its preparation essentially followed that for the 
latter, except for the larger quantities of elements employed. After 
adding the malt, a portion of the head yeast went into the batter, 
which was likewise covered for about twenty-four hours. A batch 

"^^Bread and Bread Making, pp. 37-38. 

"^"^Ibid., p. 9; Barriger, Practical Instructions, p. 13. 

''^SHolbrook, Mess Officer's Assistant, p. 143. 

^^Maniial for Army Cooks (1879), p. 19. 

soBarriger, Practical Instructions, p. 14; Grant, Chemistry of Breadmak- 
ing, pp. 16, 17. 

^^Bread and Bread Making, p. 39. 

^-Ibid., p. 17; Barriger, Practical Instructions, p. 2; Holbrook, Mess Offi- 
cer's Assistant, p. 177. 


s^Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 2, 3, 4-5; Sanderson, Camp Fires 
and Camp Cooking, p. 13. 


of Stock yeast might last for two weeks, though this was not 
recommended. A sensitive mixture, stock yeast often failed to 
perform properly because of climatic conditions; even the effects 
of a thunderstorm could threaten its utihty.^*^ Because stock yeast 
was always required, its preparation entailed a daily exercise for 
bakehouse employees. 

Next came the process of making the sponge, the thick batter or 
dough leavening that impregnated ferment into the baking dough 
proper. Sponge utilized at least one third the total flour to prevent 
souring and escape of gas from the dough mass.^*' It was made 
by blending stock yeast with ample flour and water to a homoge- 
neous consistency, then permitting the whole to rise and partially 
fall, a process lasting from six to eight hours for yeast made from 
flour and hops, and from three to four hours for the more ener- 
getic potato yeast. ^^ With potato yeast, the sponge was turned 
when about half risen to facilitate consistent fermentation through- 
out the mass.^^ Sponge termed "green" or "young" was immature, 
while "rotten" sponge was old and sour. Sponge called "ripe" was 
ideal for making dough and at that time underwent "breaking," 
whereby more flour was added along with water containing dis- 
solved salt. If sponge went beyond its ripe stage before breaking, 
it frequently made heavy, flat, sour bread.*'' 

In making the actual baking dough, lukewarm water and salt 
were added to the sponge. The salt additive strengthened the 
dough, whitened the bread, and deodorized possibly musty flour. 
It also enabled the dough to absorb more water; bakers thus made 
more bread with the flour allotted. At the same time, excess salt 
could retard fermentation and reduce the size of the bread loaf.^® 
The remainder of the flour, thoroughly sifted, was placed with the 
moist sponge in a wooden trough and kneaded with the hands, a 
little at a time, until smooth and free of lumps. Dough properly 
mixed could be checked by indenting with the hand; if it withdrew 
easily the dough was suitably prepared. It then remained in the 
kneading trough to rise and expand from two to five hours, de- 
pending on the type and strength of yeast employed.^^ 

After the dough had risen enough the bakers "scaled" it, divid- 
ing it into equal weight portions of twenty ounces, then carefully 
molded these into loaves two inches thick and placed them in well- 

^•'^Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 6-7, 8, 9, 11-12. 

86/WJ., pp. 15, 16. 

^^bid., p. 17. 

^^Ihid., p. 18. 

^^Ibid., pp. 17, 18, 19, 23; Holbrook, Mess Officer's Assistant, pp. 174-75. 

^f'Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 15, 19; Bread and Bread Making, 
p. 9. Bakers generally figured one ounce of salt to ten pounds of flour. 

'•>^Ibid., p. 13; Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 17, 19; Holbrook, Mess 
Officer's Assistant, p. 153. 


greased bread pans.^- To prevent the crusts from becoming hard 
during rising, the bakers rubbed melted lard over the loaves, which 
were then covered with cloth or placed in a closed "proof rack." 
This enabled them to retain the internal heat caused by fermenta- 
tion. Proofing called for alertness by the baker, because dough 
allowed to rise too much might fall and produce sour, heavy bread; 
conversely, that risen too little could make heavy, damp loaves. 
Once risen sufficiently, the dough was ready for baking. •'•* 

Before inserting the dough, however, the ovens had to be pre- 
pared to receive it. Firing them occurred earlier, during prepara- 
tion of the dough or while it was rising, and at least two hours 
before baking began. At Fort Laramie and other stations where 
timber existed in quantity, wood became the standard fuel. Pine 
or spruce best served the purpose.'*^ Moreover, the earliest ovens 
at Fort Laramie were probably of common brick instead of the 
heat-resistant firebrick later employed, and wood was preferred to 
fuel them.'-''* Each oven needed about twenty-four cubic feet of 
wood to heat it from a cold state. The damper plates in the flues 
remained open during initial firing, then were closely regulated to 
control the draft. Subsequent bakings required less wood, for the 
oven retained considerable heat.^*' Throughout the firing the baker 
dutifully emptied the ash pit while guarding against extreme tem- 
peratures. Skilled control of the flues insured uniformity of heat 
through the oven and, once accomplished, most of the flues could 
be closed. As baking time approached, the fire was permitted to 
die, and its ashes were either removed or covered to protect the 

When oven temperature reached a point between 550° and 
580° F., the dough could be inserted. ^^ Correct temperature was 
of crucial importance, as bread baked well between 320° and 
400° F., and the ovens often lost extensive heat during introduc- 
tion of the dough, a process that lasted from five minutes to 

92Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 19, 20; Bread and Bread Making, 
pp. 7, 13. 

^^Barriger, Practical Instructions, p. 20. 

^^Bread and Bread Making, p. 35; Manual for Army Bakers, 1910, p. 61. 

^^Ibid., p. 24. Ovens built of common brick generally lasted two or 
three years without major repair. Ibid. Those built in 1874 and 1876 at 
Fort Laramie contained firebrick, but probably wood rather than coal 
fueled them because of its availability. See Sheire, 7576 Old Bakery, pp. 
5, 17, 18. 

^'^Bread and Bread Making, pp. 31, 34-35. 

^''Ibid., p. 31. Good oven maintenance brought good performance. The 
flues should have been cleaned every ten days or so to improve the draft, 
a job completed by means of a quick wood fire. A moistened gunny sack 
fixed to a long pole was used to swab the oven walls clean, as water thrown 
freely onto the brick might cause cracks. Manual for Arni\ Bakers, 1910, 
p. 62. 

^^Bread and Bread Making, pp. 32. 34. 


twenty. ^^ More sophisticated ovens contained built-in pyrometers 
to gauge temperatures from 200° to 700° F. The instrument 
consisted of two metals soldered to form a ribbon that expanded 
or contracted with the heat to move a clock-like dial upwards or 
downwards.^"" For ovens not so equipped, the baker determined 
the temperature. One method was to toss a few pinches of white 
flour onto the hearth; if it assumed a yellowish color the oven was 
right for baking; if it remained white, or turned dark brown, the 
heat was either too low or two high.^''^ Another method, outlined 
in the technical manuals, involved a less attractive procedure: 

If the hand and naked arm can be held within the oven for fifteen 
seconds the temperature is about right. If this cannot be done without 
distress the oven is too hot. If the exposed part can be held com- 
fortably in the oven for this length of time, it is too cold. This meth- 
od allows the cook to determine the proper degree of heat approxi- 
mately. Experience will enable him to arrive at it precisely. 102 

Most ovens possessed qualities unique one from another, and 
bakers had to adjust to such peculiarities over time. Unless an 
enlisted man was more or less permanently detailed as baker, the 
ten-day rotating tour at post bakeries compounded problems of 
bread production. In double ovens, such as those built at Fort 
Laramie in 1874 and 1876, the area near the common partition 
grew hotter than other parts, necessitating the placing of dough in 
cooler areas away from the wall.^"'^ As the dough baked, fermen- 
tation accelerated until arrested by the heat. At that point the 
high temperature fixed the dough mass, now made porous and 
spongy by action of the yeast germ. Baking progress was some- 
times noted by means of a small gas burner placed within the oven. 
Under no circumstances should the door have been opened, for 
cold air damaged the dough. Baking lasted from one to one and 
one-half hours, after which time the bread was removed fully 

'^•'^Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, p. 80; Holbrook, Mess Officer's Assistant, 
pp. 143-44; Barriger, Practical Instructions, p. 22; Manual for Army Cooks 
(1879), p. 15. 

if^'Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, p. 80; Grant, Chemistry of Breadmaking, 
p. 32. 

i'*iBarriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 21-22; Bread and Bread Making, 
p. 31. 

^''-Manual for Army Cooks (1879), p. 15. "The only practical method 
of getting the temperature of an oven is to insert the hand well into it and 
count the number of seconds that you are able to keep it there." "The 
burning sensation experienced about the roots of the nails is sufficiently 
uniform ... to render this a reliable method. . . ." Holbrook, Mess Offi- 
cer's Assistant, p. 33. "To count seconds, repeat moderately slowly: 
0-1,000, 1-1,000, 2-1,000, and the small numbers indicated will correspond 
very closely with the number of seconds." Ibid., p. 167. 

i^i-^Manual for Army Bakers, 1910, p. 61. 


prepared. ^"^ If baked correctly it exhibited uniformly brown col- 
oration with crust adhering tightly to the crumb, which was neither 
hard nor pasty. When cut, it should have been white, spongy, and 
sweet of odor.^"-'' After removal from the oven, the bakers stacked 
the loaves in boxes or on shelves to await distribution. No bread 
was issued until a day old, as prescribed in regulations, for freshly 
baked bread, however palatable, was indigestible and considered 
unhealthy for consumption. ^'^"^ Usually two, perhaps three, bakings 
occurred in a single day, after which the oven dampers were all 
secured to retain as much heat as possible for the next day's use.^'^^ 
On the frontier the frequency of unqualified, inexperienced, or 
unreliable bakers added to problems of inferior flour and other 
unsatisfactory bread components. Bad bread resulted from numer- 
ous factors. Sour or musty flour, unless mixed with sweet, pro- 
duced a poor ration. Likewise, that manufactured from wheat 
grown in sandy soil, or flour deficient in lime, made weak bread 
that when eaten caused dyspepsia, diarrhea, or even colic. ^*^^ The 
use of too many hops or damaged hops in yeast-making could give 
bread a rank odor, while hops boiled too long made it bitter.^"'* 
At the same time, yeast unduly fermented, or the introduction of 
excessive yeast into the dough, caused the bread to taste sour. A 
combination of bad flour, imperfect yeast, and too much water 
produced dark, raw, sour, and soggy loaves. ^^" Defects in the 
sponge, despite their extent, always passed to the dough in one 
form or another. Imperfect kneading that permitted the dough to 
chill or to retain lumps left bread sour, heavy, and without smooth 
grain.^^^ Under-proofed loaves also became heavy as well as 
close-grained, while those over-proofed fell in the oven, becoming 
heavy, flat, and coarse-grained. Correct oven heat was essential; 
if too low, a soft and pasty product emerged; if too hot, the bread 
became "underbaked," whereby a thick-forming crust retained too 
much water in the interior of the loaves, resulting in soggy bread. ^^" 

^^'^Bread and Bread Making, pp. 5, 7, 31; Bell, Notes on Breadmaking, 
p. 80; Holbrook, Mess Officer's Assistant, p. 61; Barriger, Practical Instruc- 
tions, p. 21. 

^0^1 bid., p. 20; Bread and Bread Making, pp. 7, 9-10. 

'^^^bid., pp. 7, A9;A.R., 1863, p. 23. Stale bread was that in which mois- 
ture had joined with the crumb to produce an impression of dryness. Hol- 
brook, Mess Officer's Assistant, p. 175. 

'^^'^Manual for Army Bakers, 1910, p. 62. 

losgarriger, Practical Instructions, p. 24; Report on the Hygiene of the 
United States Army, p. xxxv. Lime deficiency could be remedied by mixing 
the flour in lime-impregnated water, a corrective measure practiced by army 
bakeries during the Civil War. Ibid., pp. xxxv-xxxvi. 

lO^Barriger, Practical Instructions, pp. 23, 24, 25. 

^'^'^Ibid., pp. 13, 23, 24. 

iii/ftW., p. 24. 

^"^^Ibid., pp. 21, 24, 25; Bread and Bread Making, p. 8. In some instances 



An adequate bread ration depended as much on quality ingre- 
dients as on attentive performance by the bakers. Enlisted men 
who involuntarily assumed responsibilities beyond their capabili- 
ties, the bakers often labored under adverse circumstances and 
much rested with good fortune if the garrison was nourished by 
their product. Furthermore, breadmaking was subjected to forces 
external to the bakehouse. Weather affected yeast and flour, and 
their properties experienced effects of climatic and seasonal tran- 
sitions. Compelled to consider such matters, post bakers faced 
bewildering, complicated work that fully taxed their abilities. That 
they succeeded at all is as much a tribute to them as to the army 
that subsisted on their produce. 

The four bakeries that intermittently stood at Fort Laramie 
between 1849 and 1890 performed vital services for the soldiers 
stationed there. While substantive data pertaining to their design 
and function over the years is lacking, something of their operation 
can be discerned from available fragmentary evidence. Periodic 
inspection reports furnished information about their structural 
condition from which to draw inferences regarding their overall 
utility. Together with brief references contained in the post ad- 
ministrative records and other sources, this data gives a somewhat 
generalized overview of bakehouse operation at Fort Laramie 
throughout much of the post's active existence. 

The first bakery lasted until about 1872. Constructed of adobe 
with one brick oven capable of handUng 500 rations at once, or 
1500 per day, this building measured seventeen by twenty-six feet 

— ^National Park Service 


and had a fifteen- by fifteen-foot sleeping compartment for the 
bakers attached to its east end. In 1867 army inspectors pro- 
nounced it "unserviceable;" by 1871 it was described as "poor" 
and needed replacement. ^^-^ The next bakehouse, built of concrete 
about 1872, lasted four years, during which time it functioned 
adequately despite some problems occasioned by faulty ovens. In 
October, 1873, the Post Council of Administration found it in 
excellent condition, and a report by the Post Surgeon the following 
August asserted that "the Post Bakery is new and approved by 
j^j^ "114 There is evidence of a coal house at the post at this time, 
but the bakehouse ovens doubtless used wood, the coal going to 
fuel heating stoves in the various quarters. ^^"'' By 1876 the bake- 
house stood in disrepair and a new one was needed. ^^^ 

The rectangular structure built in 1876 was erected at the same 
location as, and incorporated some of the foundation of, the 1872 
bakery. Made of brick and concrete, this unit remained service- 
able until 1884, when it became a schoolhouse for post dependents. 
An 1881 inspection rated it in "good" condition. Four years later 
the Post Quartermaster termed it only fair and noted that $8.50 
had been spent on repairs to the structure, possibly the cost of 
converting it into a schoolhouse. ^^^ Apparently cracks appeared 
in the 1876 bakery, necessitating construction of a new one in 
1884."^ Built of concrete, it housed two ovens and served until 
the fort was abandoned in 1890. It later functioned as a granary 
when civilians moved onto the grounds, and still later as an 
icehouse and horse bam. Fire partially consumed it in the 1920s, 

under-baking might yield as many as 100 four-pound loaves from 280 
pounds of flour, such was the amount of water contained in the bread after 
baking. Ibid. 

ii3"Medical History," Section One, Introductory Articles & August, 1868 
to December, 1879; LeRoy R. Hafen and Francis Marion Young, Fort 
Laramie and the Pageant of the West, 1834-1890 (Glendale: The Arthur H. 
Clark Company, 1938), p. 355; Agnes Wright Spring, Caspar Collins: The 
Life and Exploits of an Indian Fighter of the Sixties (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1927), p. 147: Outline Description of U.S. Military Posts 
and Stations in the Year 1871 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1872), p. 221. 

ii^Historical Reference File, Fort Laramie (hereafter cited as HRF, 
FOLA). The quote appears in "Medical History," Section One. 

ii^Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, p. 403. 

'^'^^Outline Descriptions of the Posts in the Military Division of the 
Missouri (Chicago: Headquarters, Military Division of the Missouri, 1876; 
Reprint, Fort Collins, Colorado: The Old Army Press. 1972), p. 97. 

ii^'Tnspection Report of Fort Laramie, Sept. 1, 1881," in the Research 
Files, FOLA; Inspection report, August 28 and 29, 1884, in the Research 
Files, FOLA; "Report of Condition of Buildings," March 31, 1885, in HRF, 
FOLA; "Report of Condition, Capacity, &c. of Public Buildings at Fort 
Laramie, Wyo. on 31st March, 1888," in HRF, FOLA. 

ii8"interview with Tom and Will Sandercock, 12/11/40, by Jess Lom- 
bard," in HRF, FOLA; Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, p. 388. 


though its remnant still stands at Fort Laramie National Historic 

Throughout Fort Laramie's military tenure the bread ration 
produced at these bakeries fluctuated according to garrison re- 
quirements. In the 1870s bread was issued every day of the week 
and constituted part of nearly every meal. While the precise ration 
at Fort Laramie remains unknown, comparable menus from other 
western stations suggest that the troops ate bread at least twice 
daily . Soldiers at Fort Klamath, Oregon; Camp Grant, Arizona; 
and Benicia Barracks, California, received bread for breakfast, 
dinner, and supper. The ration at Fort Sanders, Wyoming, in 
1875 varied slightly, with no bread issued for dinner on Tuesdays 
and Thursdays.^-'* The menu at Fort Laramie probably differed 
negligibly. Whatever the ration, the baker's responsibihty lay in 
producing anywhere from 200 to 700 eighteen-ounce loaves daily 
to feed a garrison that during the 1870s numbered from a low of 
about 200 officers and men to a high of about 650.^-^ 

General supervision of the Fort Laramie bakery fell to the Post 
Council of Administration which controlled the Post Fund, a 
reserve largely derived from savings on the flour ration. Proper 
expenditure of the proceeds did not embrace subsistence items, 
although adverse frontier conditions often affected departures from 
the regulations when troops sought sustenance from fresh vege- 
tables. In 1886 and 1867, however, irregularities arose in the 
handling of the fund, apparently in connection with its disburse- 
ment for foodstuffs. The matter was duly reported to the Adjutant 
General, probably by the Post Surgeon, and the Post Commander 
received instructions to investigate the case through the Council 
of Administration. Close scrutiny disclosed errors in the disposi- 
tion of the fund that imphcated both the Post Treasurer and Post 
Adjutant, as well as the Regimental Treasurer of the Second 
Cavalry. Whatever the extent of the problem, the Council re- 
solved it by August, 1867.1^2 

Post Council members also considered means of increasing the 
bakery savings, as they did at their September, 1873, meeting, 

ii9Inspection report, August 28 and 29, 1884, in the Research Files, 
FOLA; Miscellaneous manuscripts in the Research Files, FOLA; "Interview 
with Tom and Will Sandercock," in HRF, FOLA; "Information secured by 
Wilfred Hill from Harry Latta, August, 1940," in HRF, FOLA. 

^^^Report on the Hygiene of the United States Army, p. xliv. 

i2iInformation computed from "Monthly Troop Strengths and Principal 
Officers at Fort Laramie," in the Research Files, FOLA. Some idea of the 
number of company units at Fort Laramie for any given period, and thus 
of the approximate size of the troop complement, can be gauged from 
material in Henry, "Regimental Units Stationed at Fort Laramie, 1849- 
1890," passim. 

i22"Medical History," Section One; Post Council of Administration (PCA) 
briefs in HRF, FOLA. 


convened for that reason by the Commanding Officer, who simul- 
taneously solicited members' views on reducing the bread ration. ^-^' 
During the first half of 1874 accrued savings for the Post Fund 
averaged $110 per month. ^-^ By 1881 bakery savings at Fort 
Laramie totaled $129.12 for the months of March and April. 
Together with a tax of 5 cents levied by the Council on the Post 
Trader for each of the 315 officers and men at the post, the fund 
aggregated $160.62, from which $80.31 was apportioned to Regi- 
mental Funds of the Fourth Infantry and Fifth Cavalry. The 
bakery savings for August, 1881, contributed $53.59 to the Post 
Fund.^--'' Bakehouse expenses ran from $30 to $40 a month. ^-^ 
The Council of Administration further recommended changes in 
the allotted bread ration according to garrison needs and economy. 
Upward alterations in the ration mainly reflected compensatory 
measures for the absence of a post garden through much of Fort 
Laramie's occupation. In May, 1869, the Post Commander, act- 
ing on the recommendation of the Council, directed a temporary 
increase to twenty ounces in the bread ration. ^-^ Similar increases 
occurred, and in May, 1877, the absence of potatoes and onions in 
garrison forced Commanding Officer Andrew W. Evans to raise 
the bread ration to twenty-two ounces, an order he rescinded the 
following October. ^-^^ The Post Council made other suggestions 
affecting the bakery, too, such as that in January, 1873, concerning 
storage facihties and sleeping quarters in the new 1872 bakehouse: 

It is recommended that the Post Quartermaster be ordered to have 
made without delay a suitable place in the storeroom of the Bakery, 

^--^Second Lieutenant William W. McCammon to Captain Ilges Guido. 
September 7, 1873, Fort Laramie, Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA, 
McCammon to Post Treasurer, Second Lieutenant Albert Austin, September 
11, 1873, in ibid. 

i24"Medical History," Section One. 

125PCA briefs in HRF, FOLA. 

i26Xhis is based on the $30 figure given for bakery costs in 1865. Post 
Adjutant S. B. White to an unidentified captain, December 14, 1865, in 

i-^Post Adjutant George O. Webster to Post Treasurer, Captain Phineas 
P. Barnard, May 9, 1869, PCA briefs in HRF, FOLA. Outline Description 
of U. S. Military Posts, p. 221, mentions that "no crops can be raised or 
gardens sustained but by constant irrigation." On August 20, 1874, the Post 
Surgeon wrote of the need to purchase fresh vegetables "at a Post such as 
this where there is no Post garden." "Medical History," Section One. See 
also Major A. W. Evans to Assistant Adjutant General, Department of the 
Platte, November 27, 1876, in HRF, FOLA. In 1875, however, there 
appears to have been a garden at the fort. Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, 
p. 403. Some officers blamed the high desertion rate on the absence of 
fresh vegetables at some western posts. Foner, United States Soldier, p. 8. 

i28Fort Laramie General Orders Nos. 42 and 85, 1877, in HRF, FOLA. 
This was in compliance with General Order No. 42 of The Adjutant Gen- 
eral's Office, 1875. See Evans to Assistant Adjutant General. Department 
of the Platte, November 27, 1876, in HRF, FOLA. 


in which, to store the Bread after it is baked, the one now in use is 
reported to the Council by the Post Treasurer as being entirely inade- 
quate for the use required of it. The Council also recommend that 
the room or building used by the Bakers as a sleeping room be com- 
pleted according to the suggestions made to the Council by the Post 
Treasurer. 129 

And in September, 1873, the Post Treasurer received instructions 
from the Council to see that the bread "loaves be moulded in less 
square form and as oblong as practicable. "^•^'^ 

The Post Treasurer governed distribution of the bread ration. 
Bread sold to citizen employees cost fifteen cents a loaf in 1865, 
a price established by the Post Council. ^-^^ The fare of the soldiers 
came first, however, and a directive to the Post Treasurer from the 
Commanding Officer in May, 1876, ordered "that no bread be 
sold to civihans, until you have gained at the bakehouse one days 
issue, so as to have stale bread for the troops. "^•^- Normally the 
men picked up their rations at ten-day intervals, depositing their 
flour with the baker and the rest with their respective company 
kitchens. ^'^'^ By the 1870s bread was issued from the Fort Laramie 
bakery on the basis of tickets sold or distributed by the Post 
Treasurer. A post circular of November 8, 1876, announced that 

Hereafter the sales of Bread Tickets by the Post Treasurer to Officers 
and enlisted men will be daily between the hours of 9 A.M. and 10 
A.M. The issue of tickets on orders of the A.C.S. [Acting Commis- 
sary of Subsistence] will be at the same hours, except on the days 
rations are issued when they will be issued by the Post Treasurer 
between the hours of 5.30 and 6.30 P.M. All issues and sales of 
Bread Tickets will be made by the Post Treasurer at his quarters. 1^4 

A post directive of January, 1879, required tickets to be distributed 
on a cash-only basis for extra rations, the daily allotment being 
certified by a company "due bill" endorsed daily by either the Post 
Treasurer or the baker and collected by the baker after each ten- 
day period. ^^^ In July, 1880, the use of bread tickets ceased alto- 
gether in favor of specific orders signed by the Post Treasurer or 
the Commissary Sergeant. Henceforth the bread ration issued 
mainly from the commissary storehouse instead of from the 

129PCA briefs in HRF, FOLA. 

^''^jpost Adjutant, Second Lieutenant William W. McCammon, to Post 
Treasurer, Second Lieutenant Albert Austin, September 11, 1873, Fort Lara- 
mie, Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i^^iPost Adjutant S. B. White to an unidentified captain, December 14, 
1865, in HRF, FOLA. 

i32post Adjutant to Post Treasurer, First Lieutenant James Regan, May 
14, 1876, Fort Laramie, Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i'^3"Ration Return of H Company, 14th Regiment of Infantry, for 10 
days, commencing the 21 day of June, 1873, and ending the 30 days of June, 
1873," in Miscellaneous manuscripts, FOLA. 

i34Post Circular No. 19, November 8, 1876, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i35Fort Laramie General Order No. 1, January 2, 1879, in HRF, FOLA. 


bakery, and distribution took place daily between 1:00 P.M. and 

Aside from administration and distribution of the bread ration, 
its actual production at Fort Laramie sometimes confronted major 
difficulties. During the late 1860s supply proved a problem, espe- 
cially when the fort's own holdings were drawn on to subsist other 
garrisons. In the spring of 1867, 56,000 pounds of flour were 
sent to Fort Philip Kearny, headquarters of the Mountain District 
and one of three posts built to guard the Bozeman Trail from 
Indian harassment. By June, Fort Laramie's troops had none. 
"We are now entirely out of flour here," wrote Commanding 
Officer (Lieutenant Colonel) Innis Palmer, to the commander at 
Fort Kearny, "and there is only a sufficient quantity of hard bread 
to last my command about twelve days and I can hear of no 
supplies enroute to us." The next day Palmer dispatched four 
men to Fort Sedgwick, Colorado Territory, to seek flour supplies 
for his troops. ^■^' 

Sometimes the quality of flour suffered, causing poor bread, 
especially if prepared by ill-trained bakers. Complaints of "sec- 
ond-rate" flour circulated in 1863. In May, 1872, some bad flour 
was on hand, and the Commanding Officer noted the need for a 
frost-free room in the bakery, probably to house loaves awaiting 
issue. ^'^^^ Exactly five years later Post Surgeon Albert Hartsuff 
reported that the bread ration was "black, heavy, sour, and indi- 
gestible. The cooling is indifferent, but as good as the faulty 
system of soldiers detailed for that purpose, many of whom know 
absolutely nothing about cooking, will allow. "^•^'' The surgeon 
mellowed his remarks in his next report, that of June, 1877, after 
having discussed the matter with the Post Treasurer and the Com- 
missary Officer. He noted that the bread "was coarse and dark 
only because made of inferior flour which happened to be at the 
time the only kind of flour at the Post." By June new flour had 
arrived and, Hartsuff concluded, "the bread is now good.""" But 
again, in May, 1882, bad bread provoked comment from the Post 
Surgeon, who blamed it on the quality of " 'Utah flour,' which is 
coarse, deficient in gluten and has caused complaint and loss of 
rations to companies. . . .""^ By the following month the problem 
had been resolved. "The inferior Utah flour is now mixed before 
baking with three parts of good flour [of the] 'Wasatch' 'New 

i^SFort Laramie General Order No. 64, July 28, 1880, in HRF, FOLA. 

iSTPalmer to Colonel John E. Smith, June 9, 1867, in HRF, FOLA. 

i^^Spring, Caspar Collins, p. 145; Commanding Officer to Assistant 
Adjutant General, Department of the Platte, May 8. 1872, Fort Laramie, 
Letters Sent, in Research Files, FOLA. 

i.39"]V[edical History," Section One. 


i4i"Medical History," May, 1882. 


Process' 'Garden City Mills' etc [brands], and makes very good 
bread. "I'*- 

Yet bread quality still alternated between good and bad. In 
January, 1883, complaints of frozen bread came from the post 
hospital and the company messes. ^^-^ And in March, 1887, Post 
Surgeon Arthur W. Taylor urged discontinuing the broad issue 
altogether because of the musty flour used. "Wholesome bread 
cannot be made from this flour," he reported, "and the mixmg of 
good flour with this deseased [sic] flour will not remedy the 
trouble. . . ."^^* Taylor renewed his recommendation in April, 
warning that "the approach of warm weather makes this bread 
doubly dangerous. . . ."^^^ On May 6, pursuant to the admonition, 
the Post Commander ordered the offensive flour destroyed. ^^"^ 
Thereafter, until the post was abandoned, the soldiers encountered 
few major problems with the bread ration. ^^^ 

Whether conversions occurred in the breadmaking process to 
compensate for the altitude at Fort Laramie remains unknown. 
The bakers, either men detailed daily from the companies or extra 
duty personnel more permanently assigned to the bakehouse, came 
under general management of the Post Treasurer. ^^^ Sometimes 
they answered to him for infractions that not only compromised 
the bakery operation, but denied their own competence and re- 
sponsibility. One such instance arose in July, 1872, when Private 
George Snyder reported drunk for bakehouse duty. As the Post 
Adjutant recounted the incident. 

He was excused from proceeding to work at once and permitted to 
return to the barrack to get sober, since which time he has not been at 
the bakery. The Commanding Officer directs that if Snyder is with 
his company, he be ordered to report at once to the Post Treasurer 
and account for his absence.i^s 

Because of their work, the bakers were normally excused from 
all fatigue duty, parades, and monthly troop inspections.^^" Their 
numbers varied with the bread needs of the garrison. In Septem- 
ber, 1873, for example, three men worked in the bakehouse until 

i42"Medical History," June, 1882. 

i^^Commanding Officer to Post Treasurer, January 18, 1883, Fort Lara- 
mie, Letters Sent, in Research Files, FOLA. 
i44"Medical History," March, 1887. 
i45"Medical History," April, 1887. 

i47An entry recorded in the "Medical History" for July, 1889, reads: 
"The rations are well cooked and of as good quality as can be obtained." 

i48Sheire, 7576 Old Bakery, p. 24. 

i^sPost Adjutant to Company Commander, July 18, 1872, Fort Laramie, 
Letters Sent. Quoted in ibid., p. 4. 

i^opost Circular No. 45, May 30, 1878, in the Research Files, FOLA. 
See also circulars for September 29, 1878, and January 30, 1879, in ibid. 


the Commanding Officer deemed that two would suffice. ^"'^ Incre- 
ments in the troop complement precipitated increases in the bakery 
staff. In January, 1878, the Post Treasurer asked that "Private 
George Sillence Co. A 3d Cav. be redetailed on extra-duty in Post 
Bakery — The single baker now on such duty will not be able to 
do the work required for the increased garrison."^"'- As of Septem- 
ber, 1887, two bakers made the bread at Fort Laramie, earning 
extra duty pay of fifty cents and thirty-five cents a day, respec- 
tively. Reported an inspector: 

They are excused from guard duty, attending all drills, &c. The 
weight of the bread ration here is twenty two ounces, and this weight 
of the loaf was verified in my presence. Suitable rules regulate issues 
and sales. But one oven is in serviceable condition and this has a 
capacity of five hundred rations, requiring the men to bake four times 
a week.153 

Nearly two years later an inspector stated that "the bake house is 
in good condition and well policed. The ovens are in good order. 
But one oven is used. Its capacity is 470 rations. "^''^ Doubtless 
no more than two bakers were employed at that time. 

Before the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad to Chey- 
enne, Fort Laramie received flour by wagon trains that lumbered 
up the Platte River Road from Nebraska. After 1868, shipments 
came by train. Their frequent arrival and fresher quality made it 
unnecessary to maintain large quantities at the post.^"''* Whereas 
in 1871 about six months subsistence was always on hand, by 1876 
better transportation made a three-month supply sufficient. ^''^ 
Most stores came from the depot at Omaha, although by 1870 
some commissary supplies were available from Denver.^"'' Stored 
in bulk at the Camp Carlin sub-depot near Fort D. A. Russell and 
Cheyenne, they were delivered the eighty-nine miles to Fort Lara- 
mie via government wagons. ^"^ At the post bulk flour was kept in 

isiPost Adjutant, Second Lieutenant William W. McCammon, to Post 
Treasurer, Second Lieutenant Albert Austin, September 11, 1873, Fort 
Laramie, Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i'">2Post Treasurer A. J. Gray to Post Adjutant, January 29, 1878, in 
Miscellaneous manuscripts, FOLA. 

i53inspection report, September 1, 2, and 3, 1887, in the Research Files, 

i54inspection report, July 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. 1889. in the Research 
Files, FOLA. 

i^SRisch, Quartermaster Support of the Army. p. 505. 

'^^^Outline Description of U. S. Military Posts, p. 221; Outline Descrip- 
tions of the Posts in the Military Division of the Missouri, p. 97; "Inspection 
of Fort Laramie, Sept. 1, 1881," in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i57"Report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence," October 12. 1870. 
in Report of the Secretary of War, 1870 (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1870), pp. 265-66. 

^^^Outiine Description of U. S. Military Posts, pp. 221, 260; Outline 
Descriptions of the Posts in the Military Division of Missouri, p. 97. 


either of two storehouses, while a portion went to the issuing room 
ready for distribution. Other commodities for bakery use, includ- 
ing hops, lard, lard oil, salt, soap, sperm candles, and canned yeast 
powder, remained in the storehouses until needed. ^^^ 

The troops procured water and wood locally, the latter mostly 
from civilian contractors.^^" The price of wood, principally pine 
and cedar, differed through the years, but in 1881 averaged about 
$7 per cord.^''^ By that time civilian ranches and settlements in 
the area needed fuel, too; to forestall wood shortages for the troops 
the government in that year established a timber reservation in the 
Laramie Mountains thirty-five miles west of the post.^''^ Through 
the 1870s water for bakery and other uses was hauled from the 
Laramie River and dispensed by water wagon, a large tank mount- 
ed on wheels. ^"'^ Most drinking water came from several wells 
located on the premises, although in 1877 Surgeon Hartsuff, re- 
porting sickness from those sources, recommended that drinking 
water be obtained from the river. ^"^^ 

Besides its use for drinking and breadmaking purposes, water 
was necessary to control fires. Despite the lack of evidence for 
the presence of fire-fighting equipment in the bakehouse, it seems 
conceivable that it existed there in some degree. The army sup- 
plied fire extinguishers as early as 1871, and Fort Laramie received 
three Babcock machines in that year. One went to the Post 
Quartermaster's office, the others to that of the Commissary Offi- 
cer. None were furnished the storehouses, where water buckets 
constituted the sole means for combating blazes. Perhaps the 
bakehouse received one; if not, water buckets were probably em- 
ployed. ^^-^ Filled water barrels stood ready by each building;^®^ 

i59Commissary Inventory, December 31, 1871, in Miscellaneous manu- 
scripts, FOLA. 

'^^^Oiitline Description of U. S. Military Posts, p. 221; Outline Descrip- 
tions of the Posts in the Military Division of the Missouri, p. 97. 

i*'i"Inspection report of Fort Laramie, Sept. 1, 1881," in the Research 
Files, FOLA; Spring, Caspar Collins, p. 145. 

i^^Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, p. 387. 

^^'^Ibid., p. 403; Outline Description of U. S. Military Posts, p. 221; 
Outline Descriptions of the Posts in the Military Division of the Missouri, 
p. 97. 

i64Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, p. 403; "Medical History," Section 
One. A more elaborate system developed in the 1880s, consisting of 'Vater 
drawn from a well by a steam pump, . . . stored in a tank and distributed 
through iron pipes." "Medical History," December, 1884. 

i6'5"Report of the Quartermaster-General," Octolser 19, 1871, in Report 
of the Secretary of War, 1871 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1871), p. 210; Commanding Officer, Colonel John E. Smith, to Assistant 
Adjutant General, Department of the Platte, April 19, 1872, Fort Laramie, 
Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. Colonel Smith requisitioned 
nine more Babcock extinguishers, so "that there may be one in each set of 
Company quarters, in each storehouse, and Stable at the Post. . . ." Ibid. 


in the winter months they were removed inside to prevent their 
freezing. ^*^^ Each building also received one or more axes for 
emergency purposes. ^^'^ Such items were standard throughout the 
1870s and 1880s at Fort Laramie. By the time of the post's 
deactivation, however, piped-in water and hydrants somewhat im- 
proved protection against fire.^*^" 

If the bakehouse functioned as a properly managed concern, and 
if the bakers fulfilled their jobs expeditiously, the soldiers benefit- 
ed. If not, either through inefficient bakers, incompetent manage- 
ment, or both — to say nothing of the quality of available flour — 
the garrison suffered, sometimes badly. Because of its produce, 
the post bakery assumed immediate significance. Management 
thus geared locally to guard against deficiencies that might frustrate 
the troops in completing their mission. In this respect, the bakery 
complex represented a fundamental element of military readiness 
too important to be ignored by western army commands. 

At Fort Laramie the bakeries functioned continuously through 
the years, sometimes inadequately, but nonetheless faithfully pre- 
paring the bread ration allowed the soldiers by law. While bread 
production constituted its fundamental service, the bakery also 
contributed substantially to the Post Fund through the sale of 
loaves made from saving on flour, and thus comprised a lucrative 
asset to the garrison's financial status. Army bakeries consequent- 
ly discharged important services the soldiers could not do without. 

See also Smith to Assistant Adjutant General, Department of the Platte, 
May 8, 1872, Fort Laramie, Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i66Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, p. 404. 

iSTDirective of the Commanding Officer, December 10, 1879, Fort Lara- 
mie, Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i68DJrective of the Commanding Officer, October 5, 1874, Fort Laramie, 
Letters Sent, in the Research Files, FOLA. 

i69Hafen and Young, Fort Laramie, p. 389; Inspection report, July 2, 3, 
4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, 1889, in the Research Files, FOLA. 


Minutes of a Council held at Fort Pierre, N.T. ... by Brevet 
Brigadier General William S. Harney, U. S. Army, Commanding 
the Sioux Expedition, with the delegations from nine of the 
Bands of the Sioux. Fourth Day, March 4, 1856. 

"The man that is struck by the Ree" Yancton Chief - Spoke 
through Zephyr Recontre interpreter as follows: - 

You pick out the poorest man you have and send him up here 
to give us our goods - When an Agent comes here he is poor - 
but he gets rich - he goes away and another poor one comes - 

Thomas S. Twiss, Indian Agent, Upper Platte to the Honorable, 
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Dat()ed Camp of the 
Indian Agency, Raw Hide Creek, 25 miles north of Fort Lara- 
mie, Novr 7th 1856. 

The office of Indian Agent is no sinecure, if the incumbent dis- 
charges his duty with faithfulness towards the Tribes committed to 
his care. He must not expect, nor calculate upon, a carpeted 
Drawing Room & his office for the transaction of public business, 
nor Servants to wait upon him, & run at every call. These things, 
& almost every thing else to be met with in civilized life are 
unknown in the Indian Country. He must not, if he is resolved to 
discharge a tithe of his duties, dwell in any fixed abode. The 
Tribes, in their usual hunting grounds, may be one or two hundred 
miles distant from a permanently established Agency, & it would 
be an act of cruelty to call the Chiefs & principal men to a council, 
thus leaving their famihes unprovided with subsistence, during the 
time of a long journey going to & returning from the Indian agency. 
The clear & obvious duty of the Indian Agent is to establish the 
Indian Agency in a travelling ambulance, & to move it from Band 
to Band, & from tribe to tribe, as circumstances & the exigencies 
of the moment demand. It is much easier for him to do this than 
it is for a large party of Indians. 

The material used as filler in this issue of Annals of Wyoming, as well as 
the issues for Fall, 1974, and Spring, 1975, is from Records of the Bureau of 
Indian Affairs, Selected Documents Concerning the Administration of In- 
dian Affairs at the Upper Platte Agency, Record Group 75. It has been 
provided by Dr. Robert L. Munkres, Department of Political Science, 
Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio. 

Zke Sarly SzploratioH 
of C key en He Pass 


Robert J. Whitaker 

South Pass was discovered by Robert Stuart and his band of 
Astorians in 1812 as they returned from the mouth of the Colum- 
bia River. ^ This easy passage through the Rocky Mountains was 
firmly estabhshed in 1832 when Captain Benjamin Bonneville led 
the first wagon trains through the pass. From this time on count- 
less thousands would follow this route as they trailed their way to 
Utah, California, and the Pacific Northwest.^' In the third quarter 
of the century, however, the Union Pacific Railroad built along the 
Overland Trail, an alternate route to the West. The railroad and 
the establishment of the city of Cheyenne would open southeastern 
Wyoming for settlement. Before and after the building of the 
railroad a number of explorers and surveyors crossed and re- 
crossed this part of the state. This paper will discuss some of this 
exploration and its influence. 

Among the agencies most instrumental in the exploration and 
surveying of the West in the 19th century was the Army Corps of 
Topographical Engineers. The Topographical Corps was created 
as a department separate from the Corps of Engineers by an act of 
Congress on July 5, 1838, and was eventually re-merged with the 
Corps of Engineers on March 3, 1863. During this period the 
Corps provided a vast volume of scientific and cartographic infor- 
mation on the West.^ 

At the same time the Corps of Engineers was also active in 
constructing military roads through the western territories. These 
roads were built, ostensibly, to provide military protection for 
travelers and settlers, but they also served to expand the routes 

iSee, for example, William H. Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), pp. 19-23; 33-34. The map on page 23 
shows the routes of the earliest explorers through the Rocky Mountain 

-Ibid., pp. 148-152. 

^William H. Goetzmann, Army Exploration in the American West. 1803- 
1863, Yale Publications in American Studies, No. 4 (New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1959), pp. 4-6; 432. Goetzmann provides a thorough 
examination of the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers in the explora- 
tion of the West. \ 


available to these migrants and to connect permanent settlements. 
In addition, the activities of the army provided information neces- 
sary for the eventual construction of a railroad to the Pacific.^ 

Fort Laramie was built as a trading post on the North Platte 
River, near the mouth of the Laramie River, in 1834 and was 
purchased by the U. S. government in 1849. For many years 
thereafter it served as an important army post as well as a supply 
depot for emigrant trains.'' 

Several miles west of Fort Laramie, Chugwater Creek flows 
into the Laramie River. The Chugwater has its origins some miles 
to the south and flows northward through a long valley. South of 
the headwaters of the Chugwater, the valley continues as far south 
as Crow Creek. It is bounded on the west by the Laramie Range, 
known in the early days as the Black Hills.'' A low plateau, 
several miles to the east, forms the eastern boundary. This valley 
is known as Cheyenne Pass. Lying south of the main route of 
travel across Wyoming, Cheyenne Pass was explored much later 
than other areas which lay directly along the emigrant roads. It 
did receive increasing attention, however, as explorers searched for 
alternate routes through the mountains toward the west. 

It would be impossible to identify the first white man to visit 
Cheyenne Pass. Undoubtedly some of the early mountain men 
passed through at various times. Among the first documented 
expeditions near Cheyenne Pass was John Charles Fremont's first 
expedition in 1842. On July 12 Fremont left St. Vrain's Fort in 
Colorado for Fort Laramie. His route took him northward, close 
to the present site of Cheyenne. Fremont notes in his journal that 
his party crossed Crow, Lodgepole, Horse, and Chugwater Creeks. 
His account and the map drawn by his topographer, Charles 
Preuss, indicate that he probably traveled over the plains east of 
Cheyenne Pass and, at most, viewed it from a distance.' 
. In the summer of 1845 Stephen Watts Kearny conducted a 


-'W. Turrentine Jackson, Wagon Roads West (Berkeley and Los Angeles: 
University of California Press, 1952), pp. 320-328. Jackson concentrates 
on the various federal programs and policies that influenced transportation 
development to the West. 

•""Robert W. Frazer, Forts of the West (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1965), pp. 181-182. 

•"Not to be confused with the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Laramie 
Range was known as the Black Hills as late as 1875. This term will be 
used in this context throughout this paper. See, for example, the map in 
J. H. Triggs, History of Cheyenne and Northern Wyoming (Omaha: Herald 
Steam Book and Job Printing House, 1876; Facsimile Copy, Laramie, Wyo- 
ming: Powder River Publishers & Booksellers, 1955). 

'Donald Jackson and Mary Lee Spence, eds., The Expeditions of John 
Charles Fremont, Vol. I: Travels from 1838 to 1844 (Urbana, Chicago 
and London: University of Illinois Press, 1970), pp. 206-210. Fremont's 
map is also reproduced in Goetzmann, Army Exploration, and is included 
in the cover pocket. 


rapid survey of the plains country, traveling from Fort Leaven- 
worth, Kansas, to Fort Laramie and South Pass. At South Pass 
Kearny turned back to Fort Laramie. Leaving there on July 13, 
he led his expedition southward along Chugwater Creek. He 
continued southward to St. Vrain's and Bent's forts, following a 
route close to that of Fremont in 1842. The map of the expedi- 
tion, prepared by his topographer, Lieutenant W. B. Franklin, 
was based on Fremont's map and indicates that Kearny's route was 
probably twenty to thirty miles east of Cheyenne Pass.*^ 

The first major survey of Cheyenne Pass seems to have been 
that of Captain Howard Stansbury of the Army Corps of Topo- 
graphical Engineers. In the spring of 1849 Stansbury was directed 
to make an extensive survey of the valley of the Great Salt Lake. 
Guided by Jim Bridger, he completed his mission by the end of the 
summer of 1850 and began his trip back toward Fort Leavenworth. 
On his return journey he set out to find another route through 
the Rocky Mountains south of the well-traveled South Pass." 

On September 26 Stansbury's party entered the Laramie Plains 
near the Laramie River. The following day they sighted vast herds 
of buffalo and encountered large bands of Oglala Sioux Indians. 
The Indians were curious and peaceful, and friendly visits were 
exchanged between the army party and the Sioux. On September 
28 the expedition continued eastward to the western slopes of the 
Black Hills, coming to the head of Lodgepole Creek near the 
summit. Following down a ridge in a S. S. E. direction to avoid 
the steep, wooded canyon, the party camped on a branch of Crow 
Creek about six miles from the summit. 

The following day the party continued eastward and descended 
the eastern slope of the Black Hills, camping on another branch of 
Crow Creek. On September 30 Stansbury turned toward the north 
and followed along the base of the Black Hills. ^'^' Stansbury's 
description of the terrain is of interest. 

On our right, about two miles distant, stretched a high table ridge, or 
plateau, rising one hundred and fifty or two hundred feet, its western 
escarpments abrupt, nearly vertical, and capped in this vicinity by 
argillaceous limestone and sandstones, with occasional strata of pud- 
ding-stone. Between this plateau on our right and the Black Hills on 
our left, there is a marked depression or valley, averaging about four 
miles in width, and which appears to have been cut out by the violent 

/ SHouse Executive Document 2 (Serial 480), 29th Cong., 1st Session, 
M.845, pp. 210-217. Franklin's map is reproduced here and follows p. 210. 

''Jackson, Wagon Roads West, pp. 29-34. Stansbury's route is shown on 
the map on p. 30. 

ii^Capt. Howard Stansbury, Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the 
Great Salt Lake of Utah, Including a Reconnaissance of a New Route 
through the Rocky Mountains (Philadelphia: Lippincott. Grambo & Co., 
1852); Senate Executive Document 3 (Serial 608), 3 2d Cong., Special 
Session, March, 1851, pp. 251-259. 


action of an immense body of water flowing in a northern direction. 
The valley extends along the base of the Black Hills, from where we 
first descended their eastern slope, to the Chugwater; .... The de- 
pression thus formed is called the "Cheyenne Pass," from the constant 
use made of it by that tribe in their migrations to and from the Platte. 
From the red canon of Crow Creek to some distance down the Chug- 
water, a range of lower hills, apparently of Hme and sandstone of 
different colours and qualities, occurs, flanking and following the 
general direction of the main back-bone of the Black Hills. Through 
these, the numerous streams which take their rise in the ridge beyond 
have forced a passage in deep, narrow, and rugged canons, and, after 
crossing the Cheyenne Pass, have broken through the marly plateau 
on our right, in their passage through j^lains to the eastward into the 
North and South Forks of the Platte.n 

About fourteen miles north of Crow Creek, Stansbury camped 
on a branch of Lodgepole Creek. Planning on following this 
stream to its confluence with the South Platte, he sent an express 
to Fort Laramie for additional food.^^' While waiting for its return, 
his party explored further northward, crossing the branches of 
Horse Creek and on to the valley of the Chugwater. This valley, 
Stansbury noted, was a favorite wintering place for the Cheyenne 
Indians. On the hill sides and in the bed of Chugwater Creek 
Stansbury discovered ". . . immense numbers of rounded black 
nodules of magnetic iron-ore, which seemed of unusual richness. "^-^ 
On October 6 Stansbury suffered a fall while camped on the Chug- 
water and had to send to Fort Laramie for an ambulance. His 
injury terminated any further exploration. Stansbury arrived at 
Fort Laramie on October 12 and immediately left for Fort Leaven- 
worth, where he arrived on November 6. A month later he re- 
ported back to his superior in Washington. ^^ 

Stansbury's exploration of Cheyenne Pass had established the 
possibihty of a more direct passage through the Rocky Mountains 
than the South Pass route. Stansbury emphasized that the old 
route to Fort Bridger, by way of Fort Laramie and South Pass, 
would be reduced nearly sixty miles by following Lodgepole Creek 
from its junction with the South Platte. The route through the 
Black Hills to the Laramie Plains, he observed, was ". . . not only 
practicable, but free from any obstructions involving in their re- 
moval great or unusual expenditure."^'' 

Stansbury's report would play a role in a much larger under- 
taking — the survey for a transcontinental railway. For several 

^^Ibid., p. 260. 


mbid., p. 266. 

14/^/^., pp. 266-267. 

'^^^Ibid., p. 262. The map of Stansbury's expedition is reproduced in Carl 
I. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West: 1540-1861, Vol. 3: From 
The Mexican War to the Boundary Surveys: 1846-1854 (San Francisco: 
The Institute of Historical Cartography, 1959), between pp. 118-119. 


years Congress had debated the merits of various routes. Much 
of this debate centered around the economic and pohtical advan- 
tages to those regions through which the railroad would pass. It 
still remained to select the route which would be the most feasible 
economically. Finally on March 2, 1853, Congress passed a bill 
which directed Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to present a full 
report to Congress of all practical routes based on field surveys. 
It was hoped that this report would provide firm data to resolve 
the question of the best route. ^"^ l 

Among the several routes under consideration was the one near 
the forty-first and forty-second parallels. This region included the 
well-known route through South Pass as well as the route across 
Cheyenne Pass and through the Black Hills that had been explored 
by Stansbury. The summary report of the surveys was prepared 
by Captain A. A. Humphreys and Lieutenant G. K. Warren of the 
Army Topographical Corps. Humphreys and Warren noted that 
the Cheyenne Pass route was less well known, and that Lodgepole 
Creek had not been continuously explored. One wonders why this 
exploration was not ordered in view of Stansbury's enthusiastic 
report, which was the basis of their summary. This was not done, 
however, and the South Pass route received recommendation over 
the Cheyenne Pass from Humphreys and Warren.^' In the end, 
the surveys did not resolve the question of the best route or routes 
for a railroad, and the actual location and construction of the 
railroad would still be some years in the future. ) 

The idea of using Cheyenne Pass as a westward route was not 
entirely abandoned, however. On June 21, 1856, Lt. Francis T. 
Bryan of the Topographical Corps left Fort Riley to survey two 
possible wagon road routes from Fort Riley to Bridger's Pass. 
Leaving the valley of the Platte and following Lodgepole Creek 
from its junction with the Platte, Bryan's party arrived at Pine 
Bluffs on July 28. All along his route he had found the terrain 
excellent for a road; the ground was hard and the streams could 
be forded with little difficulty. At Pine Bluffs Bryan cut a supply 
of pine to use for fuel until they reached the Black Hills. Enough 
was cut ". . . for several days use — buffalo chips, which have 
answered heretofore, being scarce. "^^ j 

i^Goetzmann, Army Exploration, p. 274. Goetzmann provides a full 
summary of the Pacific Railroad surveys on pp. 262-304. 

I'^^Capt. A. A. Humphreys and Lieut. G. K. Warren, "An Examination by 
the Direction of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, of the Reports 
of Explorations for Railroad Routes . . .," in "Reports of Explorations and 
Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a 
Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean," Senate Executive 
Document 78, I (Serial 758), 33d Cong., 2d Session, 1854-55, p. 57. 

if^House Executive Document 2 (Serial 943), 35th Cong., 1st Session, 
1857-58, pp. 455-458. 


(jBy August 1 Bryan reached the foot of the Black Hills where his 
party camped between the two forks of Lodgepole Creek. Here 
Bryan found wide bottoms, with plenty of grass for their animals, 
in contrast to the rather barren terrain over which they had been 
passing. While ample water was found in the creek, they often 
encountered intervals several miles in length where the stream had 
sunk below ground. In these places water was usually available 
by digging in the creek bed. 

The following day Bryan's party began the ascent into the Black 
Hills between the forks of Lodgepole Creek. While the climb was 
steep in places, the wagon teams experienced no serious difficulty; 
the ground was hard and smooth, for the most part, and progress 
was even. That night they camped just short of the summit. 
Across from their camp, Bryan noted, 

. . . the mountain was thickly covered with straight young pines, 
affording lodge poles to various bands of Indians who resort to this 
point to supply themselves. From this circumstance the creek de- 
rives its name. Our route to-day lay for the most part along an 
Indian trail, information of which was obtained from Eagle Head, an 
Arapahoe. li^ ' 

The next day Bryan's party entered the Laramie Plains. He 
continued on to the Medicine Bow Mountains looking for Bridger's 
Pass. This Bryan failed to find. He did, however, find another 
pass (Bryan's Pass) which he explored and then turned back east. 
At Medicine Bow Butte Bryan turned south to survey the second 
possible route. Following the Cache la Poudre River to the South 
Platte, and from there south to the Republican River, Bryan ar- 
rived back at Fort Riley on October 24.-'^' His final report recom- 
mended his outward route for construction of the wagon road. 
The primary objection to this route was the great shortage of fuel, 
except buffalo chips, between Fort Kearney and Pine Bluffs. This 
would pose a particular hardship during the winter months. In 
addition, Bryan notes, "The absence of timber and the inapplica- 
bility of the soil to purposes of agriculture, prevent the establish- 
ment of posts and the settlement of the country along the Platte. "^^ 
Whatever its other accomplishments, Bryan's expedition did fill the 
critical gap in the exploration of Lodgepole Creek that was lacking 
in the railroad survey report. 

During the spring and summer of 1857 Bryan returned to direct 
minor improvements of the wagon road. Along Lodgepole Creek 
stream crossings were graded and obstacles were removed from the 

'^'■>Ibid., p. 459. 

-'Ubid., pp. 459-478, passim, Bryan uses the term "Medicine-Bon" Butte 
in his narrative. 

~^Ibid., p. 478. See also, Jackson, Wagon Roads West, p. 122 for a map 
of Bryan's route. 


road. The improvements, while minimal, were adequate to allow 
the passage of single wagons under normal conditions.-- y 

In 1858 Bryan conducted another reconnaissance of his 1856 
route along Lodgepole Creek. On June 18 his party camped at 
Pine Bluffs and four days later entered Cheyenne Pass. Bryan 
observed that, although grass and water were far more abundant 
than they had been in 1856, fuel shortage was still a problem over 
several portions of their route. The following day the party 
ascended to the summit of the Black Hills and camped. From here 
Bryan continued on to Bridger's Pass, where he arrived on July 8, 
and filed his report with Lt. Col. George Andrews, commander of 
the First Column Utah Army, 6th Infantry.--^ 

Colonel Andrews forwarded Bryan's report to the army adjutant 
general in Washington. Andrews was not as optimistic as Bryan 
about the use of the wagon road. He noted in his cover letter that, 
while the road was passable for wagons, the scarcity of grass re- 
moved the advantage of being a shorter route. He recommended 
continued use of the Fort Laramie route. -^ 

The possibility of using of Cheyenne Pass as a wagon route was 
not abandoned, however. In the fall of 1858 Brevet Major Thom- 
as Williams was sent to establish a post to assure the safety of 
wagon trains using the Cheyenne Pass road. On September 9, 
1858, Williams, commanding Companies L and M, 4th United 
States Artillery, and escorted by a detachment from Company D 2d 
Dragoons, left Fort Laramie. In addition, a supply train and a 
herd of forty cattle accompanied Williams and his command. Fol- 
lowing close to Stansbury's route down Chugwater Creek, the party 
arrived at Lodgepole Creek on September 19. After a two day 
reconnaissance of the area, WiUiams selected the site for a camp 
which he named Camp Walbach. Through the fall and winter the 
party labored, gathering sandstone slabs and timbers to improve 
their quarters. By the time Camp Walbach was permanently 
abandoned by the army on April 19, 1859, relatively permanent 
structures had been built.-'"^ While the isolated post's mission was 
brief, the map of the route from Fort Laramie through Cheyenne 
Pass to Camp Walbach was probably the most detailed map of the 
region to that date, and, most likely, was the only lasting contri- 
bution of Camp Walbach.-® 


--Jackson, Wagon Roads West, p. 130. 

-^House Executive Document 2 (Serial 998), 35th Cong., 2d Session, 
1858-59, pp. 207-212. 

-■^Ibid., pp. 206-207. 

2-'>Garry David Ryan, "Camp Walbach, Nebraska Territory, 1858-1859: 
The Military Post at Cheyenne Pass," Annals of Wyoming. April, 1963. 
pp. 5-20, passim. 

-•^"Sketch of Bvt. Major Williams' Route from Fort Laramie to Cheyenne 
Pass, under orders to establish a post. September, 1858," National Archives 


In the summer of 1859 journalist Horace Greeley undertook a 
trip from New York to San Francisco. Leaving Denver for Fort 
Laramie on June 2 1 , he arrived at Cheyenne Pass and the recently 
abandoned site of Camp Walbach several days later. -^ Greeley 
was critical of the establishment of the Camp. "It last year entered 
the head of some genius connected with the War Department that 
the public interest or safety required the establishment of a military 
post at this point, and one was accordingly planted and maintained 
there throughout last winter."^^ He continued: 

In the spring, the troops were very properly withdrawn, leaving half 
a dozen good serviceable houses and a superior horse shed and corral 
untenanted. Hereupon, three lazy louts have squatted on the prem- 
ises, intending to start a city there, and to hold and sell the govern- 
ment structures under a claim of pre-emption! I need hardly say that, 
in the absence of any United States survey, with the Indian title still 
unextinguished, this claim is most impudent; but that will not prevent 
their asserting it, and I fear with success. ... if they are only tenacious 
enough, impudent enough, they will probably carry their point. Yet 
they might as fairly pre-empt the White House at Washington, should 
they ever chance to find it vacant.-^' 

Greeley (or history) does not record the names of these squat- 
ters or the degree of success of their enterprise. It is doubtful, 
however, that their occupancy was long lived. 

The Civil War and the dissolution of the Corps of Topographical 
Engineers in 1863 brought the army's western exploration to a 
standstill. Other forces were at work, however, that would per- 
manently change the face of the Rocky Mountain West. Among 
these was the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. 

The reports of the railroad surveys of 1853 merely added more 
fuel to the already heated debate as to the best route for a railroad. 
As a result, no route had been selected by the time of the Civil 
War. The war, however, removed the possible southern routes 

and Records Service, Cartographic Archives Division, Records of the Chief 
of Engineers, Record Group 77 (Rds. 165). The map was prepared from 
sketches of the post's Assistant Surgeon, Ebenezer Swift. A copy is on file 
at the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. 

The use of the term "Cheyenne Pass" is not consistently applied. While 
it is clear from Stansbury's description that he referred to the long valley 
from Crow Creek to Chugwater Creek (and the term is used in this sense 
throughout this paper), later use seems to restrict the term to the passage 
along Lodgepole Creek through the Black Hills to the Laramie Plains 
followed by Bryan's road. It is indicated in this latter sense on the modern 
map of the area by the U. S. Geological Survey (Islay Quadrangle, Wyo- 
ming-Laramie Co., United States Department of the Interior, Geological 
Survey, 1962). 

^"Horace Greeley, An Overland Journey from New York to San Fran- 
cisco in the Summer of 1859, ed. by Charles T. Duncan (New York: 
Alfred A. Knopf, 1964), p. 140. 

'■^>^Ibid., p. 150. 

'■^^Ibid., pp. 150-151. 


from consideration, and removed southern opposition to any 
northern route. The growing population of California added fur- 
ther political pressure for the construction of a railroad.-''^ 

On June 28, 1861, the Central Pacific Railroad Company was 
organized at Sacramento to build a railroad to the east. The fol- 
lowing year Congress passed the enabling legislation for the con- 
struction of a railroad, which was signed into law by President 
Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1862. The Pacific Railroad Act 
specified that the railroad would be built from each end and meet 
at a yet undetermined location. On January 8, 1863, the Central 
Pacific broke ground in Sacramento, and the newly formed Union 
Pacific Railroad and Telegraph Company broke ground in Omaha 
on December 2 of the same year. The exact route the railroad 
was to take still had to be surveyed in detail."'^ 

During 1864 surveying parties were in the field. The surveys 
eliminated consideration of a possible route through the rugged 
mountains west of Denver. The route along Lodgepole Creek 
through Cheyenne Pass was surveyed in more detail, indicating 
that a 1 500-foot tunnel through the Black Hills would be required 
to reach the summit. The surveyors sent out in 1865 were in- 
structed to attempt to find a better route through the Black Hills 
and to re-survey the South Pass route. •^- Their field work pro- 
vided considerable data on several possible routes through the 
Black Hills. Among the ten routes thus surveyed, two through 
Cheyenne Pass, near the former site of Camp Walbach, were con- 
sidered. The first was the direct route mentioned above. The 
second would turn south at Camp Walbach, following the eastern 
base of the Black Hills, and pass over the mountains along the 
ridge dividing Crow Creek and Lone Tree Creek.^'^ 

The passage between Crow Creek and Lone Tree Creek was re- 
discovered by General Grenville Dodge during the summer of 
1865. The following summer Dodge sent James Evans, division 
engineer, back for a further survey of the pass. Evans had pre- 
viously surveyed the pass, which bears his name, but apparently 
missed its importance. Evans' second survey verified the value of 
this route through the Black Hills.^^ The advantages of this new 

30See, for example, Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire, p. 293. 

siWesley S. Griswald, A Work of Giants (New York: McGraw-Hill 
Book Company Inc., 1962), pp. 14-20; 58-59. 

32Senate Executive Document 69 (Serial 2336), 47th Cong., 1st Session, 
1886-87, p. 6. 

'^^Ibid., pp. 14-16. A summary of each of the ten possible routes is given 
on pp. 18-25. 

34A re-evaluation of Dodge's discovery of Evans' Pass is given by Wallace 
D. Farnham, "Grenville Dodge and the Union Pacific: A Study of 
Historical Legends," The Journal of American History, March, 1965, pp. 


route were obvious to the railroad directors, and it received their 
recommendations. The railroad left the valley of Lodgepole Creek 
in western Nebraska and headed due west. By August, 1867 the 
directors could report that the town of Cheyenne had been laid out 
on Crow Creek, and lots were being sold.'^"' By mid-November 
the tracks had been laid to Cheyenne. 

While the Union Pacific had barely missed going through Chey- 
enne Pass, exploration had not stopped. Much of the activity, if 
not the mission, of the Army Topographical Corps was taken over 
by the Interior Department. Among the first to capitalize on this 
change was Ferdinand V. Hayden. Educated as a physician, 
Hayden soon became fascinated with geology and had explored the 
Dakota Badlands in search of fossils in 1853. He also had served 
as a geologist with several army exploring parties before the Civil 
War. In 1867 he conducted a geological survey of Nebraska under 
the auspices of the General Land Office. This was the first of a 
series of surveys known as the "United States Geological Survey 
of the Territories."-^*' 

The following year Hayden extended his survey into Wyoming. 
On August 15 Hayden and his party left Cheyenne to explore 
further the Chugwater Valley to its head. That night they camped 
on Horse Creek. Hayden observed: "This valley can hardly be 
surpassed for grazing purposes. The valley is excellent and the 
grass is good. Near the point where the creek issues from the 
foot-hills of the Laramie range, there is a series of upheaved ridges, 

with a strike nearly east and west, the beds inclining from 50° 


The iron deposits along the Chugwater, discovered by Stansbury 
in 1850, were surveyed. Hayden noted that the amount of iron 
ore was indefinite in extent. This was the second time Hayden had 
observed these deposits. While attached to Captain W. F. Ray- 
nolds' expedition to the Yellowstone (the last expedition of the 
Topographical Corps) in 1859-60, Hayden had visited the valley 
of the Chugwater and had observed and collected a number of the 
nodules of iron ore scattered on the surface of the ground. ^^ 

In 1869 Hayden again traversed the length of Cheyenne Pass, 
following close to the edge of the western mountains. Along the 
way he made notes of the terrain and the geological formations 

35Senate Executive Document 69 (Serial 2336), p. 35. 

^•'Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire, pp. 489-496. 

•^■''F. V. Hayden, "Second Annual Report of the United States Geological 
Survey of the Territories, Embracing Wyoming" (1868) in First, Second, 
and Third Annual Reports of the United States Geological Survey of the 
Territories for the Years 1867, 1868, and 1869 (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1873), p. 80. 

■i^Ibid., pp. 79-81. 


which he observed. In his report he offers the following explana- 
tion for the geological formation of the valley: 

An interesting question arises as to the manner in which these 
parallel valleys have been scooped out. That it must have occurred 
after the deposition of the latest tertiary beds [about 30 million years 
ago] is evident, from the fact that the streams which form the outlets 
have cut their way through them .... the mountains formed the 
western shore of the great fresh-water lakes of the middle and upper 
tertiary periods. As the mountains were slowly elevated, so that the 
waters receded, there was a depression at the immediate base of the 
mountains, of greater or less depth, that received the drainage. The 
water-course would be gradually formed for the principal streams 
and their branches. The waters in the parallel valleys formed a sort 
of lake-like expansion of the little streams, and the waters of the lake 
performed their work of erosion at the same time that the streams 
wore their channels through the plains. It is probable that since the 
close of the tertiary period, and the commencement of the present 
era, the climate of the west has been much colder; that ice and snow 
accumulated on the mountain ranges in vast quantities; and that the 
quantity of water to produce the results which we find indicated by 
erosion and in the drift was far greater than at present. It may be 
that ice was not the most important agency, and though the evidence 
is clear that it performed an active part, yet water was the principal 
agent, and the present existence of an occasional moderate-sized 
boulder in the plains, too large to be transported by water alone, 
indicates that an iceberg was now and then drifted out on the waters 
to the plains.^** 

A second and more detailed geological survey of this region was 
made by Clarence King's party in 1871. In 1867 King received 
authorization and funds from the Army to conduct a detailed 
survey along the 40th parallel. The survey was bounded by the 
120th and 105th meridians, approximately 100 miles wide along 
the 40th parallel, and included the route of the Union Pacific. 
King was directed to make a detailed exploration of the geology, 
botany, and zoology of the region.'*^ Beginning in the west, King's 
exploration moved eastward. By 1871-1872 the eastern foothills 
of the Rockies were surveyed, including Cheyenne Pass.^^ While 
his field work was completed in 1872, his Report of the Geological 
Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel was not published until 1878 
to 1880. It eventually reached seven large volumes by different 
authors plus an atlas. ^- Unlike Hayden's reports, which are a 
day-to-day journal of his exploration, King's report is a carefully 
organized, scientific account of his findings. The second volume, 

39F. V. Hayden, [Fourth Annual Report^ Preliminary Report of the 
United States Geological Survey of Wyoming and Portions of Contiguous 
Territories (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872), p. 13. 

■^"Richard A. Bartlett, Great Surveys of the American West (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1962), pp. 144-146. 

^^Ibid., pp. 182-183. 

^•^Ibid., pp. 207-211. 


written by Arnold Hague and S. F. Emmons, provides a thorough 
description of the geology of the Cheyenne Pass. Chemical anal- 
yses of the limestone near Horse Creek and the iron deposits along 
the Chugwater are also provided. ^-^ 

With the completion of King's expedition, continued survey of 
Wyoming took on more routine proportions. The creation of 
Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868, brought with it the General 
Land Office which was organized for the new territory by the act 
of Congress of June 30, 1870.^^ Under the surveyor general of 
Wyoming detailed surveys of the territory were begun. 

The early reports of Silas Reed, first surveyor general, to the 
commissioner of the General Land Office provide a wealth of 
information on the rapid growth of Wyoming Territory, as well as 
listings of the survey progress. Throughout his annual reports 
Reed speaks glowingly of the industrial potential of Wyoming. 
The close proximity of Cheyenne and the Union Pacific opened 
the ideal grazing lands of southeastern Wyoming to ranchers and 
farmers. By 1871 Reed could report a number of owners were 
grazing nearly 37,000 head of cattle along Crow, Lodgepole, 
Horse, and Chugwater Creeks.^-' The following year he notes: 
". . .1 have extended the township and subdivisional work north- 
ward ... in order to accommodate the stock growers, who are 
settling in the valleys of Horse, Bear, Chug, Richard, and Sybylle 
Creeks, as far north as the Laramie River, and prefer to locate 
near the mountain, where wood and water most abound."^'' And 
in 1873 he states that ranches and large herds are to be found 
throughout this region.'*^) 

■i^Arnold Hague and S. F. Emmons, Descriptive Geology, Vol. II of 
Report the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, Professional 
Papers of the Engineer Department, U. S. Army, No. 18 (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1877), pp. 2-72, passim. 

^^U. S., Department of Interior, General Land Office, Annual Report of 
the Commissioner of the General Land Office Made to the Secretary of the 
Interior for the Year 1870 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1872), pp. 1; 124. 

■i^House Executive Document 1, Part 5 (Serial 1505), 42d Cong., 2d 
Session, 1871, p. 295. Reed's figures indicate the difficulty in estimating 
actual herd sizes. An assessed number of 5361 head for all of Laramie 
County is given for the same year by William J. Switzler, Report on the 
Internal Commerce of the United States for the Fiscal Year 1889 (Wash- 
ington: Government Printing Office, 1889), p. 834. 

^^U. S. Department of Interior, General Land Office, Report of the 
Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Secretary of the Interior 
for the year 1872 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872), 
p. 251. 

47U. S. Department of Interior, General Land Office, Report of the 
Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Secretary of the Interior 
for the Year 1873 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1873), 
p. 247. 


The iron deposits at Iron Mountain and along Chugwater Creek 
also received considerable attention. The proximity of this ore to 
Cheyenne and the Union Pacific led Reed to speculate on an iron 
industry developing in the territory. To transport the ore, he 
noted, "There is a good natural grade for a railroad from Cheyenne 
to the Iron Mountain, and it is hoped that one will be commenced 
before the close of another year."^"' 

Reed's optimism for an iron industry was slow to be realized. 
In 1897 and 1898 a few tons of ore were shipped to Pueblo, 
Colorado. Little more was done until the 1940s when the Union 
Pacific Railroad conducted an extensive geological exploration of 
the region.^'' Commercial extraction of ore commenced in the 

Mining of the vast limestone deposits at Horse Creek was begun 
in 1907 and continues to the present day by the Great Western 
Sugar Company.-^*' Construction of the Cheyenne and Northern 
Railroad, connecting Cheyenne to the Northern Pacific Railroad 
was begun in 1886 and reached Horse Creek by December.-^^ The 
following year it was completed to Wendover."'- 

Thus the age of exploration of Cheyenne Pass had come to an 
end and the era of settlement had begun. By the early 1870s 
Cheyenne Pass had come under the sphere of influence of the 
business and industry of the city of Cheyenne. The herds of cattle 
that were turned out to graze in increasing numbers through the 
valley and along its streams were soon followed by ranchers who 
built permanent homes. The open range was eventually divided 
and fenced; ditches were dug to irrigate meadow lands; and the 
industries developed in the 1870s continue today. , 

^^Report of the General Land Office, 1872, p. 26 L 

49V. T. Dow, Magnetite and Ilmenite Resources, Iron Mountain Area, 
Albany County, Wyo. (U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines 
Information Circular 8037, 1961), pp. 4-8. The odd numbered sections of 
this region were part of the land grant to the Union Pacific in 1862. 

^^^Minerals Yearbook, 1953, Vol. Ill: Area Reports (Washington: Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, 1953), p. 1126. 

siHenry V. Poor, Manual of the Railroads of the United States for 1887 
(New York: H. V. & H. W. Poor, 1887), p. 849. 

SSA thorough account of the Cheyenne and Northern Railroad is given in 
E. O. Fuller, "Cheyenne Looking North," Annals of Wyoming, lanuary, 
1951, pp. 29-37. The Cheyenne and Northern became a part of the 
Colorado and Southern system in 1898. A number of photographs of 
train engines along portions of this route are used in James L. Ehernberger 
and Francis G. Gschwind, Colorado & Southern: Northern Division (Calla- 
way, Nebr.: E. & G. Publications, 1966), pp. 52-64. 

Supplement to a Selective jCitemry 
Bibliography of Wyoming 


Richard F. Fleck 

(This compilation supplements the bibliography 
published in Annals of Wyoming, Spring, 1974.) 

American Writers on Wyoming 

A. 130 Berger, Thomas. Little Big Man. (New York: The Dial 
Press, 1964). F. 

A.131 Gather, Willa. "Death in the Desert," Troll Garden. 
(New York: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1905). F. (Short 
story set on a ranch west of Cheyenne.) 

A. 132 . One of Ours. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 

Inc., 1922). F. (Passing references to Wyoming.) 

A. 133 . Song of the Lark. (Boston: Houghton Mif- 
flin Co., 1915). F. (Has chapter set in the Laramie 

A. 134 Ferril, Thomas Homsby. "Something Starting Over," 
Westering. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934). 

A. 135 Fisher, Vardis. Children of God: An American Epic. 
(New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1939). F. 
(Passing references to Wyoming.) 

A. 136 . Mountain Man. (New York: William Mor- 
row & Co., 1965). F. 

A. 137 Grinnell, George Bird. By Cheyenne Campfires. (New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1926. (An account of 
Cheyenne Indian Legends. ) 

A. 138 Levitas, Gloria, and Frank Robert Vivelo, Jaqueline J. 
Vivelo, eds. American Indian Prose and Poetry: We 
Wait in Darkness. (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 
1974). CG. 

A. 139 MacLeish, Archibald. "Burying Ground by the Ties," 
Collected Poems 1917-1952. (Boston: Houghton Mif- 
flin Co., 1952). P. 

A. 140 McMurty, Larry. Leaving Cheyenne. (New York: Har- 
per & Row, 1962). F. 

A. 141 Manfred, Frederick. Lord Grizzly. (New York: The 
New American Library, 1964). F. 

A. 142 Villarreal, Jose Antonio. Pocho. (Garden City: Anchor 
Books, 1970). F. (Passing reference to Wyoming.) 

Bibliographic Key 
F. — fiction P. — poetry C.G. — combination genre 

Jreigkt and Stage Koadfrom 
KawUns to Kcd Codge, Montana 

Trek No. 26 of the Historical Trail Treks 

Compiled by Jane Houston 

Sponsored by the Wyoming State Historical Society, the Wyo- 
ming State Archives and Historical Department, the Carbon Coun- 
ty Chapter and the Fremont County Chapter, this Trek was under 
the direction of Henry Jensen, president of the Wyoming State 
Historical Society. 

SATURDAY, JULY 12, 1975 

7:30 p.m. the Carbon County Chapter was the host in Jeffrey 
Center for those trekkers leaving from Rawlins. Following a 
delightful get-together, the group saw slides of pictures taken by 
Professor John Jack of Harvard University in the Big Horn Na- 
tional Forest in 1900, and pictures taken of the same sites seventy- 
five years later by the Big Horn Forest Committee. In Lander 
the Fremont County Chapter entertained trekkers at the Fremont 
County Pioneer Museum. 

SUNDAY, JULY 13, 1975 

Trekkers boarded busses in Casper and Lander at 6:30 a.m. 
and in Rawlins at 7:30. The three busses met in Lamont. 



Jeanne Lambertsen 

(Not long after the birth of RawUns the need for north-south 
transportation^became very evident. A number of stage and freight 
lines resulted. 1 Among them was a stage line to Saratoga which 
headed south out of town, went around the point of Sheep Moun- 
tain and then headed for Saratoga. This route did not require any 
bridges across the Platte. It was owned by the Rendle Brothers, 
I. J. and Tom, and used Concord coaches and beautifully matched 
white horses. Another stage line went to Dillon during the copper 
boom, a third past Hogback Lake and south to Sulphur, and Baggs 


and then to Meeker, Colorado. It was known as the White River 
Stage Line. North out of town was the Casper road which went 
down the Brown's Canyon Hill, across Separation Flats and 
through Sand Draw. i^The other road which headed north was the 
Lander-Fort Washakie road which, of course, took a more westerly 
course. ) 

Thcstage itself was a mountain wagon, at least in later years 
when Billy Collins was a driver. It was boarded at the corner of 
Fifth and Cedar Streets where the Rankins had their livery stable. 
The road went up Fifth Street past the Court Flouse where for 
many years there was a scaffold standing. It had been built to 
hang a cowboy by the name of Ben Carter, convicted of murder 
while riding in the Sweetwater country. The road then proceeded 
past the cemetery at the corner of Fifth and Maple. There were 
two stages each day, one leaving Rawlins for Fort Washakie and 
one returning. It took the stages thirty-six hours to complete the 
trip traveling both day and night. This was quite a contrast to 
the eight or ten days required by the freighters whose string teams 
moved at the weary pace of two or three miles an hour with many 
stops for feed and water. 

Travelers on this road would meet many freight outfits with 
twelve to sixteen horses controlled by a "jerk line," pulling three 
or four wagons. Then there were the stages, ranchers with their 
supply wagons, buggies belonging to local residents, detachments 
of cavalry, Indians and often livestock being driven to town. Sup- 
plies were shipped from the government warehouse in Rawlins to 
the Arapahoes and Shoshonis on the reservation in the Lander 

It was customary for the Indians to come to RawHns to pick up 
their allotments from the government and they would set up camp 
near the slaughter house which was on Sugar Creek east of town. 
There they would be given all the parts of the slaughtered animals 
that could not be sold and they made good use of all these dis- 
carded parts. Many of the local citizens found it advisable to 
keep their dogs indoors while the Indians were in town to prevent 
the family pet from winding up in an Indian stewpot. 

Two miles north of Rawlins were the mines which produced 
"Rawlins Red" paint pigment. These mines were worked as 
recently as the '20s when H. Larsen was mining there. Union 
Pacific railroad cars and section houses were painted "Rawlins 
Red," as was the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Seven miles from town is the Smith Ranch which was called 
Seven Mile Meadows in the early days. It was a handy place for 
freighters to stop and allow their horses to graze. These men had 
to take advantage of every watering place and of each meadow 
for grazing. The next watering places were Nine Mile Spring and 
the Fish Pond. 

The first stage stop was Bell Springs located about fourteen 


miles north of Rawlins. Some of the stage tenders there were Pete 
Taggart, Tom Tagner, Black Mike Sheehan, and Mr. and Mrs. 
Hays, who were there in 1883. Pete Taggart was quite a walker. 
He would walk from Bell Springs to Rawlins and back. He kept 
the stage road in shape by throwing rocks out of the road and 
doing minor repairs along the trail to town. 

When Tom Tagner was the tender at Bell Springs he cached 
his money in a hideaway. Tom had absolutely no faith in banks. 
After his death various people searched for the cache. One man 
went so far as to get on Tagner's horse and, giving the horse his 
head, hoped it would go to the cache from habit but no one was 
ever successful in finding the money. 

After leaving Bell Springs we dropped down into the Great 
Divide Basin, covering an area approximately seventy-five by 
twenty-five miles where there is no drainage to either the Pacific 
or Atlantic Oceans. Any moisture finding its way to this locality 
flows into lakes which lie within the Basin. 

At the foot of Willow Hill a very straight road runs northwest 
from the present highway. This is the first piece of road that was 
surveyed within Carbon County. The surveyor was the late J. W. 

At approximately the spot where this road branches off from 
the highway there was once a road house and post office. It was 
built by a woman named McLaughlin and was called Lorey (Law 
ray'), being named for her daughter. The building was a very 
nice two-story log structure and both Kleber Hadsell, rancher, and 
Billy Collins, stage driver, said it was a fine place to eat or to rent 
a room for the night. For some reason it did not enjoy prosperity 
and lasted for only a very short time. Kleber said the "poet 
laureate of Separation Flats" offered this jingle to the memory of 
the place: 

There was an old woman who lived at Lorey 
She built a post office and thought it would pay. 

She fed a tramp and cancelled a stamp 
And that was the business for the day. 

The log building was eventually moved to Rawlins and is a resi- 
dence at 816 7th Street. It was stuccoed years ago. 

The next stop was Separation Station, one of the last built on 
this route. According to Mr. Hadsell, "Separation" refers to the 
fact that this area was used for the roundup crews to gather and 
separate the cattle according to owners. There was room here to 
stable seventy-five head of horses and the only reason I can 
imagine for such accommodations would be that there were many 
cavalry outfits along this road. This station was built by the Hays 
family in 1897 who operated it for several years. The charge for 
a meal here was thirty-five cents. 

Next was the Bull Springs Station. This was a road ranch 
owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. A. M. House. This was the 


most desolate setting imaginable. Mrs. House transplanted wild 
roses and tea vines around the house and the place took on a 
homey and attractive appearance. 

Mrs. John Hirsch, daughter of the Houses, tells that the stages 
did not tarry long at the ranch. As they pulled into the yard the 
driver would throw the lines to the stock tender who was supposed 
to change the horses quickly. By the time the driver was washed 
and finished with his meal the stage was ready for the next lap of 
the journey. The prices at Bull Springs were fifty cents for a 
bed, fifty cents for a meal. 

Mrs. House kept blankets to lend to greenhorn travelers who 
came unprepared for the rigors of Wyoming weather. The blan- 
kets would be returned by the next stage driver headed in the 
opposite direction. She also made it a practice to place lighted 
lamps in both the north and south windows of the house so that 
travelers along the road could be reassured by this comforting 
signal as they approached the ranch. 

From here the road went past Iron Springs and Iron Springs 
Flat, another rest area for the freighters, then on to Lost Soldier 

At 8.6 miles past Lamont we stopped across the stream from 
the Lost Soldier Station and heard the following paper. 



Ruth Beebe 

Dr. Thomas Magee wrote the following version of how Lost 
Soldier got its name to Colonel C. G. Coutant on May 21, 1893: 

Dear Sir: 

Tom Sun tells us that in 1880, William Daley and others selected a 
route from Rawlins to Lander. They were accompanied by some 
soldiers as guards, one of whom wandered away from the camp on 
what is now Lost Soldier Creek, and losing himself, wandered east to 
Tom Sun's ranch. The latch string was out but the soldier removed 
two panes of glass and unbuttoned the single sash and entered the 
cabin. He found victuals to supply his hunger and a place to sleep. 
From this came the name of Lost Soldier. Tom Sun says a man that 
hasn't got sense enough to go into a man's house by the door when it 
is left open would get lost anywhere! 

Another version — I don't know how authentic — is that two 
soldiers got lost in that country and froze to death. Their bodies 
were buried near the station. 

From Lamont to a point four miles past Lost Soldier Station we 
traveled in the Great Divide Basin which is not drained by any of 
the river systems. The Continental Divide splits south of Rawlins 
and does not come together again until in the area of the Oregon 
Buttes. At the edge of the Basin on a clear day the Oregon Buttes 


can be seen in the distance, and beyond them and to the right, 
the Wind River Mountains. The haze was such that the trekkers 
were not treated to this view. 

From the Great Divide Basin we entered the drainage of Crook's 
Creek, named for General George Crook, a renowned figure in the 
mountain region during the Indian Wars of the '60s and '70s. 
Crook's Creek drains into the Sweetwater and eventually iito th^; 
Gulf of Mexico. Henry Jensen pointed out Green Mountain as 
we cruised along, and told us that at the edge of the timber, an 
Indian pole tepee or wikiup which had been known to local resi- 
dents for seventy-five years, was discovered by B.L.M. personnel. 
In order to save it from vandals, they asked the Archaeological 
Department at the University of Wyoming to dismantle and store 
it. This structure has been carefully marked, and is now stored at 
the Museum of the Plains Indian at Cody. It may be returned to 
this area when suitable housing is available. It is thought that 
these structures were temporary shelters used by small war parties 
or hunters in inclement weather since they could be set up quickly 
where poles were plentiful. They were remarkably weatherproof, 
even in a blizzard. 

There is another structure peculiar to Wyoming called an Indian 
rock alignment. One of these lies on a flat topped hill above 
Crook's Creek. This particular ahgnment is over a hundred feet 
in length and appears to be an arrow although some of the stones 
have been disturbed by a seismograph rig. 

The three busses stopped at the Harris Station to hear the 
following paper. 



Jean Lambertsen 

From Lost Soldier the road turns to a more northerly direction 
again and passes Crook's Creek Station. Pete Taggart was tender 
at the Crook's Creek Station. He took up a homestead north of 
the station that is now known as Taggart Meadows. 

The next stop was a road ranch. This was a popular stopping 
place owned and operated by Ed and Violet Harris. Their daugh- 
ter Florence was telegraph operator and it was here that she met 
Johnny Kirk, stage driver, who later became her husband. These 
two built up a fine ranch on land that all the old timers had 
avoided, saying it was "poison" land. 

In 1900 this ranch was run by Frank Sparrowhawk. He was 
quite a colorful character, attiring himself in clothing identical to 
that worn by Buffalo Bill Cody. He even had the shoulder-length 
wavy hair to complete the image. One day a company of black 


cavalrymen stopped at the ranch. One of the men who seemed to 
want to give the appearance of being a tough customer ordered 
coffee and stipulated loudly that he wanted it "black as night, hot 
as hell and stirred with a pistol." Sparrowhawk didn't blink an 
eye. He calmly filled the cup, whipped out his six shooter, stirred 
the coffee with it and asked quietly, "Do you want some smoke 
in it?" 

About two miles farther along the road we would pass the Delia 
Fisher ranch or the Crook's Gap Stage Station. Delia Fisher and 
her partner John Brown raised very fine cattle here. Later Con 
Sheehan owned the place. A saloon was operated here in early 

Burnt Ranch Station was located where Burnt Gulch comes into 
Crook's Creek. Gib Stevens was telegrapher here. The telegraph 
line connected all stations with the exception of Bull Springs which 
was not one of the original stations. Ab Collins, father of the 
stage driver Billy Collins, was stage tender after Stevens. Both of 
these men were good fiddlers and they always played for the 
dances which were held along the Sweetwater. 

The next stop was Rongis, site of a post office as well as a stage 
stop and road house. Here, one of the busses, being considerably 
heavier than the old-time stage coaches or freight wagons, mired 
down in the sand. When it became apparent that help would be 
needed to extricate the bus, the trekkers spread out their lunches 
and consumed them at Rongis rather than at the scheduled stop 
at the Sweetwater Crossing. Preceding lunch, Henry Jensen pre- 
sented a short history of Rongis, a town founded by Ely and 
Johnny Signor. When Ely applied for a post office under his own 
last name but was refused, he spelled his name backwards, applied 
again, and the application for Rongis was accepted. 

The actual stage station was about a mile up the Sweetwater 
River from Rongis. The town consisted of a blacksmith shop, 
livery stable, bar, hotel and commissary. 

Jeanne Lambertsen related a story about Ely Signor, who was 
entertaining, on one occasion, some straight-laced callers. His 
daughter came running out of the house screaming, "Daddy, Dad- 
dy, the whiskey's boiling over." 

One of the Oregon Trail's three crossings of the Sweetwater was 
near Rongis. About a mile from the town, Indians attacked a 
group of pioneers who were traveling the Trail. Piles of rocks 
still mark the graves of those who were killed in the encounter. 

Rongis was abandoned about 1916 or 1917 and sage-covered 
foundations and dumps are all that remain. 

After a wrecker and a power wagon together freed the stuck 
bus, the Trek proceeded on to Hailey post office and Station. As 
we passed Meyersville, Jeanne Lambertsen told us that Black 
Mike Sheehan was the stage tender at Meyersville. There were 
some cowboys along the Sweetwater who were noted for their mild 


behavior. In fact, some of them were members of an outlaw 
outfit — a real wild bunch. Black Mike had experienced their 
brawls time after time and he wasn't too happy when the shooting 
would start. Finally he cut a hole in the floor behind the counter 
and from that hole a greased board led to the cellar. When the 
boys would start whooping it up and things seemed to be getting 
too rough Mike would hit the board and vanish in a split second 
to the dark safety of the cellar. 

Sheehan apparently decided to find a more peaceful climate be- 
cause he moved to Bell Springs. There he had quite a reputation 
for his spotless white dish towels which were prominently dis- 
played. The unsuspecting public did not know that when he 
actually used a towel he reached behind the stove and brought 
forth a badly stained and grimy towel that hung there. 

We also passed the Ice Slough which was famous on the Oregon 
Trail for the fact that under the heavy mat of dead vegetation, ice 
could be found by the emigrants — even in July. Twelve miles 
past the Sweetwater Crossing we came to Hailey at the foot of 
Beaver Rim on Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek was named by the 
early mountain men and there are references to it by that name in 
the 1820s. 



Henry Jensen 

This is the site of the Hailey Stage Station. The barn which you 
see is the one which was built soon after the establishment of the 
station and it is still in use. 

The founder and first agent at Hailey was Ora Hailey who 
worked for the Northwestern Mail and Transportation Company 
and was a prominent citizen in early day Fremont County. 

Mr. Hailey's name is also remembered in connection with 
Hailey's Pass in the Wind Rivers which he used in 1903 to escape, 
with his sheep, from pursuing cattlemen when they threatened 
violence. Mr. Hailey was a senator in the first Wyoming 

It should be pointed out that the station sites that we have seen 
were a relatively late development in the route we have been 
traveling. The general route we have been following was estab- 
lished in the late '60s when the Union Pacific reached Rawlins. 
The booming mining camps in the South Pass area were demand- 
ing all manner of supplies, as were residents of the Lander Valley, 
the Big Horn Basin, and southern Montana. 

The freighters, who generally traveled in groups for protection, 
went by the shortest feasible route to their destination. They had 


no stations and needed none. Most of the freighting was done 
with oxen and the freighters lived almost completely in the open, 
sleeping on the ground or in their wagons, and cooking over an 
open fire. 

Early freighting operations were confined almost entirely to the 
spring, summer and fall since the mountain passes were blocked 
by snow in the winter. When the stage lines were started it was 
only logical that they follow the routes used by the freighters who 
had taken the shortest route consistent with the availability of 
water and forage. 

After many pictures of the picturesque bam had been taken, 
the group boarded busses and started for the last stop of the day. 


Henry Jensen 

This is Derby. For the past several miles the road has followed 
Twin Creek which heads near Red Canyon south of Lander on the 
South Pass Highway. Derby was a stop on the stage road and, in 
all likelihood, for the freighters also when it came time to stop for 
the night. 

The stone building which you see here, along with another 
which was destroyed when the new highway was constructed a 
few years ago, were built by the army to house soldiers stationed 
here to protect travelers from raiding parties of Indians in the '70s. 
According to the late James Moore, whose father was post sutler 
at Camp Brown, now Fort Washkaie, these contingents of soldiers 
were rotated every two weeks for several years when there was 
danger from Indians. 

Derby Dome and Dallas Dome, northwest of here, were the sites 
of the earliest oil discoveries in Wyoming. The first producing oil 
well in Wyoming was drilled at Dallas Dome in 1884, with wells 
here soon after. Both fields are still producing oil. 

It has been reported that General John C. Fremont visited oil 
springs which were in the area. This is the first reported visit by 
white men although it is almost certain that Fremont learned of the 
springs from some of his guides. The Indians had known and 
made medicinal use of the oil for many years. 

Around 5:00 p.m. the three busses pulled into Lander and the 
trekkers spent an hour or so visiting the Fremont County Pioneer 
Museum. At 6:00 p.m. the Pythian Sisters served a delicious 
turkey dinner in the Lander Odd Fellows Hall. After dinner, 
trekkers who had come on the Casper and Rawlins busses re- 
boarded their busses for the return trip and Trek 26 came to an 
end. It had been a delightful and informative day spent in some 
of Wyoming's finest weather. 

1^00 k Keviews 

Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact and the Pol- 
itics of Water in the American West. By Norris Hundley, Jr. 
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975). Index. 
Bib. Illus. 395 pp. $20. 

Western historians generally recognize water's importance in the 
Trans-Mississippi West. Few, however, have examined the at- 
tempts to utilize and control western water supplies. Norris Hun- 
dley continues his investigation of the Colorado River in Water 
and the West. Studying the Colorado River Compact, events lead- 
ing to its negotiation, and its legal and political repercussions, 
Hundley skillfully illustrates the complexity of western water 

The desires of the lower basin to develop the Colorado for 
immediate uses and the upper basin to protect its right to future 
uses produced a natural confHct in the basin. Delph Carpenter, 
favoring an interstate compact for resolving interstate conflicts as 
early as 1912, actively promoted the idea in 1920. Following this 
lead, representatives from the seven basin states and the federal 
government apportioned the Colorado River water between the 
upper and lower basins in 1922. 

The compact did not secure all desired goals. The negotiators 
hoped to avoid lengthy litigation, to minimize the federal govern- 
ment's control of water resources, to place few restrictions on the 
upper basin, and to secure early development of the lower basin. 
None of these goals was fully achieved. Interpretation of the 
compact produced protracted court battles which led to unprec- 
edented federal powers; new water-supply studies reduced the 
water available, severely restricting the upper states; and delayed 
ratification postponed lower basin development. 

Despite these shortcomings, and disregard for Indian water 
rights, water quality, and Mexican irrigators' rights, Hundley views 
the document as a landmark in interstate water law. Never before 
had a compact been employed to divide a river for consumptive 
purposes. Never before had more than three states resolved their 
differences through negotiation. More importantly, the compact 
set an example followed in resolving conflicts on other western 
rivers. The compact also illustrates the role of federalism in water 
control. When states cannot construct reclamation projects, the 
federal government assists them. When the states cannot resolve 
their differences, the federal government helps guide them to 
compromise solutions, and when states do resolve their differences, 
the federal government aids in implementing their plans. 


Hundley alters some traditional views of the compact. For 
example, Herbert Hoover's importance is recognized, but he is not 
credited with originating the two basin concept. Delph Carpenter, 
on the other hand, is given increased responsibility for the com- 
pact's final form, and an honest concern for Arizona's welfare 
apparently motivated George W. P. Hunt's antipathy for the 

In developing this study, Hundley has exhausted the available 
documentary evidence and his extended bibliography provides an 
excellent point of departure for future studies of water in the West. 
In addition, a skillful summarization of the origins of western 
water law, water-supply charts, and reference maps assist the read- 
er in following the narrative. 

While upper basin developments are not accorded the same 
treatment as those in the lower basin, the complexity of the lower 
basin conflicts accounts for this imbalance. One regrets, never- 
theless, the cursory discussions of the 1948 Upper Colorado River 
Basin Compact and the Upper Colorado River Storage Project 
Act of 1956. These documents could well have been discussed 
at great length. Regardless, Water and the West takes its place 
as a fine example of the work possible in the area of western water 

University of Wyoming Gordon O. Hendrickson 

Wyoming Homestead Heritage. By Charles Floyd Spencer. 
(Hicksville, New York: Exposition Press, Inc., 1975). lUus. 
199 pp. $8. 

For those who believe that the American frontier came to an 
end in 1890, Charles Floyd Spencer's Wyoming Homestead Heri- 
tage will provide some interesting surprises. When the author and 
his family arrived in 1910 to homestead near the Belle Fourche 
River in the northeastern corner of the state, Wyoming still had 
areas where few of the so-called conveniences of civiUzation could 
be found. Although the Superintendent of the Census had report- 
ed correctly the disappearance of the "frontier line" two decades 
earlier, the homesteading experiences recorded in this book furnish 
living testimony that in 1910 the conditions of pioneering in this 
part of the Great Plains had not significantly changed. 

Spencer and his family had arrived from Michigan to homestead 
320 acres of prairie soil located at the edge of timber and shale 
land. Like so many others moving into the Cowboy State at this 
time, they had accepted the federal government's challenge; they 
would prove that they "could live on the land for three years 
without starving-out." Their first months were characterized by 
almost constant work, but with five offspring ranging from ages 


twelve (the author was the youngest) to twenty -two, there were 
plenty of willing hands to wage the contest. In the process of 
proving up their claim the Spencer family also helped to develop 
Wyoming; the two oldest boys worked in a mill in exchange for 
lumber needed to improve the homestead site and the two girls, 
the youngest only sixteen, passed the required examinations to 
become school teachers. 

The strength of this rewarding little volume is its intimate and 
detailed information about what frontier life was like at this time. 
The plentifulness of game found almost everywhere will probably 
surprise some readers. The struggle of settlers to develop some- 
thing as fundamental as a pure and reliable supply of drinking 
water will create in others an awareness that pioneering is much 
more romantic in retrospect. Yet the excitement of the Old West 
persisted in Wyoming well into the twentieth century. Spencer 
saw his last open-range cattle roundup in June, 1911. He almost 
got caught in the crossfire as a mounted possee trapped an armed 
fugitive in the cabin of a friend. The frightened man was forced 
to surrender after every window had been shattered by bullets, 
causing the small shack where he sought refuge to be "pretty well 

Perhaps the major weakness of Spencer's memoirs is his organ- 
ization of material. He concentrates on two periods: from 1910 
to his enlistment in the army during World War I and on the years 
immediately following his military service. But in his narrative 
he often jumps around with httle regard to chronology, recalling 
episodes from his entire life. Of lesser importance is his tendency 
to moralize, particularly in the chapter "From Where I Stand," 
where he confidently presents his opinions on everything from 
women's liberation to unionism. His views on hunting regulations 
and wildlife management are especially pronounced; in one chapter 
he presents a ringing defense of the use of 1080, the controversial 
coyote poison. A final criticism might be his overuse of cliches, 
not really an important weakness in this type of book. 

Spencer's memoirs, notwithstanding these few criticisms, are 
most valuable in giving the reader a glimpse of frontier Wyoming. 
Wyoming Homestead Heritage should, therefore, be a worthwhile 
addition to the state's historical literature. 

University of Northern Colorado Robert W. Larson 

Military Posts of Wyoming. By Robert A. Murray. (Fort Collins: 
The Old Army Press, 1974). Illus. 82 pp. $10. 

Military Posts of Wyoming is a well-illustrated guide to Wyo- 
ming's nineteenth century army camps and forts. Author Bob 
Murray provides a brief history of over twenty-five outposts, and 
gives one many a twentieth century ghmpse at what remains. 


This book is one of a series of "fort books" published by The 
Old Army Press. Since several volumes of a similar nature and 
format have preceeded this one, it would be natural to assume that 
the latest should be the best. Unfortunately, in the opinion of this 
reviewer, it falls far short. Military Posts is loaded with inexcus- 
able typographical errors; it has historical inaccuracies, a shameful 
map, lacks a bibliography, and all in all looks too much like a 
hurried production. 

A good map would enhance any book of this type. The one on 
page nine is hardly an asset. Camps Pilot Butte and Stambaugh 
and Forts Phil Kearny and Fred Steele are either misnamed or 
misspelled. Granted, "Fort Warren" was part of a natural name 
progression, but considering the scope of this work, shouldn't it be 
Fort D. A. Russell? Fort Fetterman has been placed on the wrong 
side of the North Platte River! Fort Yellowstone and its earlier 
Camp Sheridan were not on the map or discussed in the text. 
Camp Hat Creek, South Pass Station, Bridger's Ferry and the 
miUtary warehouses at Rock River were discussed in the text but 
did not appear on the map. And Fort MacKenzie was on the 
map, but was not covered in the text. A more serious attempt at 
just this one map would have made Military Posts of Wyoming 
a much more useful and valuable book. 

A few other changes would also have enhanced this book im- 
mensely. For instance, there was no discussion on a number of 
outposts regarding the 1974 site. Comments of that nature are a 
real asset to a survey book such as this one. A bibliography, 
better yet an annotated one, would have been extremely useful, 
especially considering the tremendous volume of material available 
on Wyoming's forts. The photographic essay at the end has rather 
tenuous ties to the book. It adds nothing and may have served 
better had it been left out completely. 

Bob Murray has written some outstanding history. The impli- 
cation is not intended that Military Posts does not have select 
merits. For instance, it has interesting text illustrations, including 
three contemporary watercolors of Forts Reno and Phil Kearny 
that are previously unpublished. Still, with just a little more effort 
on the part of both the author and the publisher, this book could 
easily have been much better. 

Fort Laramie National Historic Site Paul L. Hedren 


Agriculture in the Development of the Far West. Ed. by James H. 
Shideler. (Washington: The Agricultural History Society, 
1975). Index. 316 pp. $7. 

This book is an excellent example of how the papers presented 
at a symposium should be preserved. A symposium on the place 
of Agriculture in the Development of the Far West was held at the 
University of California, Davis, in June, 1975, sponsored by the 
Agrciultural History Society. This organization has undertaken 
the task of publishing the results of the symposium in this hardback 
volume. Thirty-eight topics, prepared by forty individuals, are 
included in this book. 

Editor James H. Shideler has brought these topics together in a 
book which will give the reader a capsule view of a wide range of 
western agricultural subjects. From " 'A Different Mode of Life' 
Irrigation and Society in Nineteenth Century Utah," by Leonard J. 
Arrington and Dean May, to Carlo M. CipoUa's, "European Con- 
noisseurs and California Wines, 1875-1895," we find a mosaic of 
papers all focused on the theme of agriculture in the development 
of the Far West. As is often the case, these papers are not all 
written on the same level of scholarship. Some papers will interest 
a larger number of readers than other presentations. Perhaps the 
reader who would find the paper "The Okie as Farm Laborer," by 
Walter J. Stein a rewarding reading experience for the observations 
noted by Stein on the farm labor problem and agricultural mi- 
grants, would not be as interested in some of the papers aimed at 
another reader. The paper "Davis Campus Farm Machinery Col- 
lection," by John R. Goss, which notes the number of farm imple- 
ments in this collection, is a case in point. However, this book is 
not designed solely for scholars and researchers. The scope of 
topics presented between its pages will appeal to a diverse agri- 
cultural readership. 

The majority of the authors are associated with colleges or 
universities, but a significant number of the papers encompassed 
in the book were presented at Davis by practitioners in some area 
of agriculture. This blending of approaches gives the book an 
additional dimension. The papers prepared by scholars include 
presentations made by anthropologists, historians, engineers, at- 
torneys, economists, geographers, foresters, and professors in many 
agricultural fields. 

A panorama appears which gives the reader a picture which can 
be observed from many angles. If one theme seems to appear 
more than any other, it is that the self-reliant western agriculturist 
has adapted to meet the challenges of a strange new land. Another 
is the uneasy position of the western rancher or farmer, who on the 
one hand desires and believes he needs federal support to ensure 
his survival in business, but on the other hand he is suspicious of 


and continues a dogged resistance to any hint of federal control or 

This attractive and durable volume is a bargain at its modest 
price. It deserves to be on the bookshelf of not only those who 
cherish the memory of far western agriculture of the past, but also 
those individuals who will examine the agricultural development of 
the region today and in the future. 

Missouri Southern State College, Joplin Robert E. Smith 

Fort Bridger: Island in the Wilderness. By Fred R. Gowans and 
Eugene E. Campbell. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young Uni- 
versity Press, 1975). Index. Illus. 194 pp. $7.95. 

The fur trade rendezvous had ended in 1 840 and the trade was 
entering the decline that presaged its end. Jim Bridger was look- 
ing for ways to earn a living. 

He attempted to establish a fur trading post on the Green River, 
but failed. A second venture ensued with the building of a post 
on a tributary of the Yampa River. Disaster again fell in Bridger's 
fortune when his partner, Henry Fraeb, and four companions were 
killed by Indians and the post burned to the ground. 

He and his then partner, Louis Vasquez, constructed buildings 
on the bluffs overlooking the valley of Black's Fork of the Green 
River. In less than a year, they moved down into the valley along 
the east bank of the stream. Here in the spring of 1843, in the 
lovely valley with the snow-clad Uinta Mountains looming high to 
the south, was erected the fort that was to bear his name and was 
to be the first trading post established specifically to serve the 
emigrant caravans going west. This book is the story of that fort. 

The wide margins of each page and devoting of one and one-half 
pages to the headings of each chapter results in some wasted space. 

Illustrations, generally of one-half page and occasionally of a 
full page are effectively used as aids to telling the fort's history, and 
add much to both the enjoyment and appearance of the book. 
One of the photographs of Brigham Young has not been published 

Some of the handwritten source documents reproduced here are 
difficult to read. Doctors Gowans and Campbell have thoughtfully 
provided a printed transcription of these in the Appendix, as well 
as a chronological list of the commanding officers of the post, and 
a similar list of Indian agents, both of Fort Bridger and of the 
Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. 

Under the heading, "notes," has been listed sources consulted 
by the authors. It is not made clear if this is a complete list of 
sources. If such is the case, it strengthens the reviewer's belief 


that the history of the ten years (1847-1857) of the Saints' asso- 
ciation with and ownership of the fort has been overemphasized. 

There are thirteen maps included; two of these are of two pages 
each, the others of one page or one-half page each. 

Twenty-two pages of the book's total of one hundred sixty-four 
pages of illustrations and text are used to tell the history of the 
brief two years of Church ownership of the fort; where only sixteen 
pages are employed to relate the thirty-one years of ownership by 
the Federal Government. These facts defeat the authors' claim 
that this is a detailed history of the early years of the fort, and 
leave the suspicion that the book's principal purpose was to estab- 
lish the legality of both the forcible takeover of the fort by a large 
group of Mormons (150 men) and its purchase. 

It is regrettable that the authors slighted the long period of army 
occupancy of Fort Bridger. 

It is also unfortunate that in paying tribute to that long-time 
resident in that area. Uncle Jack Robinson, they took occasion to 
disparage Jim Bridger. 

Eastern Wyoming College William Shay 

Alton Hutson: Reminiscences of a South Plains Youth. By W. C. 
Holden. (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1975). 
Index. lUus. 151 pp. $12. 

The title page of this volume lists W. C. Holden as the author, 
instead of editor, of Alton Hutson's Reminiscences of a South 
Plains Youth. Moreover, in the preface Holden notes that new 
material has been added to Hutson's scattered recollections and 
that Hutson's original manuscript, a collection of incidents ar- 
ranged in a purely chronological fashion, has been reorganized to 
fit a topical as well as chronological sequence of events. This 
rather unusual procedure raises the obvious question of how much 
of this book is composed of Hutson's recollections and how much 
is Holden's work. There are virtually no footnotes and what part 
Hutson played in Holden's reorganization of his material, whether 
he approved of it, or of the added material, is nowhere stated. 
Rather strangely, too, the publishers devote approximately half a 
page to the delineation of Professor Holden's career but have no 
similar summary of Hutson's life anywhere. 

Holden — apparently — has divided the book into nineteen sec- 
tions, which could pass perhaps as chapters, and within these 
sections he has arranged the various stories that relate roughly to 
the section heading. Under the title "Hog Killing, Roys, and 
Claytons," for example, one learns something about street develop- 
ment in Lubbock, Texas, the railroad's arrival in that town, the 
incorporation of the town, herding cows on the outskirts of the 


town, the ranches owned by R. M. Clayton, and Hutson's extended 
family, particularly his grandfather's role at hog killing time. 

Most sections of the book contain similarly diverse material, 
but in spite of this, the book does tell the story of what it was like 
to grow up on the West Texas plains in a pioneer town in the 
early 1900s. Anyone interested in this will surely find the volume 
rewarding despite the fact that the modifications of Hutson's orig- 
inal recollections have not been made clear. 

Hutson's memoirs will be particularly interesting, of course, to 
the people of Lubbock and the surrounding area. Hutson was 
born there, grew up there, and, except for brief interludes, spent 
most of his life there. Because his family was poor, Hutson began 
work at an early age, and the variety of jobs he held and business 
ventures he engaged in, gave him a familiarity with the town and 
its people that allows him, or possibly Holden, to write with 
authority about the area. 

But anyone who is interested in rural America as it was some 
seventy years ago will find Hutson's recollections appealing. For 
he captures the excitement of the train's first arrival in Lubbock, 
the freedom of growing up with Commanche boys as playmates, 
and the tolerance that made possible eccentric characters like 
Uncle Tang and his grandfather who preferred the ground to a 
bed at night. 

Finally, the book is a reminder of what it was possible to do, 
both good and bad, in that unregimented and uncrowded land at 
the turn of the century. Indeed, it is very possible that Hutson's 
schoolboy antics, which were generally regarded as pranks in 1900 
and at which he winks in his memory, might well have made him a 
juvenile offender in an America swollen with an increasingly 
litigious people. 

The University of Texas at El Paso Wayne E. Fuller 


William E. Deahl, Jr. is a resident of Billings, Montana, 
where he is Designer/Technical Director in the Department of 
Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, Eastern Montana Col- 
lege. He is also pastor of Ryegate United Methodist Church at 
Ryegate, Montana. Dr. Deahl holds the Ph.D. from Southern 
Illinois University at Carbondale and has also studied at The Iliff 
School of Theology, Northern Illinois University and Nebraska 
Wesleyan University. He is currently researching the history of 
the circus in Montana. Numerous articles of Dr. Deahl's have 
been published in historical, theatre and circus periodicals. 

Gordon L. Olson, assistant director of the Grand Rapids Pub- 
lic Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a former curator of the 
Wyoming State Museum. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees 
from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, and has also done 
work in the Ph.D. program at the University of Wyoming. The 
area of his academic and professional specialization is the history 
of American Indians and their relationship with white America. 
Olson belongs to numerous professional historical and museum 

Jerome A. Greene, at present a research historian with the 
National Park Service, Denver, is a former instructor of North 
American Indian history at Haskell Indian Junior College, Law- 
rence, Kansas. He was a seasonal historian at Custer Battlefield 
National Monument in the summers of 1968, 1970 and 1971. He 
received degrees from Black Hills State College and the University 
of South Dakota and has attended the University of Oklahoma. 
He belongs to a number of professional organizations and has had 
articles on Indian and military history published in historical 

Robert J. Whitaker is a native Wyomingite and grew up on 
his parents' ranch in the area about which he wrote in the Chey- 
enne Pass article. He is presently an assistant professor of physics 
at Southwest Missouri State University, at Springfield. He attend- 
ed Creighton University, St. Louis University and the University 
of Oklahoma. He has pubHshed extensively in professional science 
and educational journals. Dr. Whitaker counts the study of 
pioneer and Wyoming history among his hobbies. 

Richard F. Fleck is an assistant professor of English at the 
University of Wyoming. He edited selections of Henry David 
Thoreau's Indian notebooks, published by Hummingbird Press, 


Agriculture in the Development of 
the Far West, ed., James H. 
Shideler, review, 247-248 

Alexander, M. A., 172 

Allemand, Joe, 172 

Alston, Sheriff Felix, 173, 174, 175, 
176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 182, 183, 

Alton, Hutson: Reminiscences of a 
South Plains Youth, by W. C. 
Holden, review, 249-250 

Andrews, Lt. Col. George, 227 

"Army Bread and Army Mission on 
the Frontier, with Special Refer- 
ence to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 
1865-1890," by Jerome A. Greene, 

Army Corps of Topographical Engi- 
neers, 221, 223, 228, 230 

Attack Upon a Settler's Cabin, 
photo, 149 


Backstrom, — , 186, 187 

Baker, Johnny, 145 

Beaver Creek, 241 

Beebe, Ruth, "How Lost Soldier 

Station Got Its Name," 238-239 
Bell Springs, 236, 237 
Big Horn National Forest, 235 
Black Hills (Laramie Range), 222, 

223, 225, 227 
Bogardus, Capt. A. H., 140 
Bonneville, Capt. Benjamin, 221 
Boswell, N. K., 157 
Bridger, Jim, 223 
Bridger's Pass, 225, 226, 227 
Bridle Bill, 145 
Brine, W. H. "Cap," 178, 180, 181, 

186, 187 
Brink, Herbert, 172, 173, 175, 183, 

185, 186 
Broncho Bill, 145, 147 
Brown, John, 240 
Bryan, Lieut. Francis T., 225, 226, 

Bryan's Pass, 226 
Buffalo Bill (Cody), 139-151 

Buffalo Bill Wild West Show Poster, 

photo, cover 
"Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, 

1885," by William E. Deahl, Jr., 

Bull Springs Station, 237, 238, 240 
Bullock, Bill, 145 
Burke, — , 186, 187 
Burnt Ranch Station, 239-241 
Butler, Frank, 140 

Campbell, Eugene E. and Fred R. 

Gowans, Fort Bridger: Island in 

the Wilderness, review, 238-249 
Campbell, Gov. John, 155 
Carter, Ben, 236 

Central Pacific Railroad Co., 229 
Cheyenne and Northern Railroad, 

Cheyenne Pass, 221-233 
Chugwater Creek, 222, 223, 224, 

Clay, — , 178, 179 
Clayton, Tom, 145 
Clover, Seth, 145 
Cody, William F., 139-151 
Collins, Ab, 240 
Collins, Billy, 236, 237, 240 
"Cook's Creed," 198 
Coyote Bill, 145 
Crook's Creek, 239 
Crook's Gap, 239-241 
Crow Creek, 222, 223, 224 
Curly, 166 


Daley, William, 238 

Dallas Dome, 242 

Deahl, William E., Jr., "Buffalo 

Bill's Wild West Show, 1885," 

139-151; biog., 251 
Delia Fisher Ranch, 240 
Dempsey, — , 178, 180 
Derby Dome, 242 

"Derby Stop," by Henry Jensen, 242 
Dixon, Thomas, 172 
Dodge, Gen. Grenville, 229 



"The Early Exploration of Chey- 
enne Pass," by Robert J. Whit- 
aker, 221-233 

Easton, Ed P., 172 

Edmundson, — , 161, 189 

Elliott, — , 185, 186, 187 

Emge, Joe, 172 

Emmons, S. F., 232 

Evans, James, 229 

Graham, — , 160, 161, 163, 166, 
174, 181 

Grand Processional, Wild West 
Show, photo, 138 

Great Divide Basin, 237, 238, 239 

Greeley, Horace, 228 

Greene, Jerome A., "Army Bread 
and Army Mission on the Fron- 
tier, with Special Reference to 
Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 1865- 
1890," 191-219; biog., 251 

Groner, Con, 143, 147 

Fish Pond, 236 

Fisher, Delia, 240 

Fleck, Richard F., "A Supplement 
to a Selective Literary Bibliog- 
raphy of Wyoming," 234; biog., 

Bent's, 223 
Bridger, 224 
Brown, Tex., 201 
Carlin, Camp, 217 
Laramie, 191-219, 222, 223, 224, 

227, 228 
Philip Kearny, 215 
St. Vrain's, 222, 223 
Walbach, Camp, 227, 228, 229 

Fort Bridger: Island in the Wilder- 
ness, by Fred R. Gowans and 
Eugene E. Campbell, review, 248- 

Fort Laramie National Historic Site, 
191, 212 

Franklin, Lieut. W. B., 223 

Frazier, — , 187 

"Freight and Stage Road from Raw- 
lins to Red Lodge, Mont. First 
Segment of Trail — Rawlins to 
Lander. Trek No. 26 of the His- 
torical Trail Treks," compiled by 
Jane Houston, 235-242 

Fremont, John Charles, 222, 223 

Fuller, Wayne E., review of Alton 
Hiitson: Reminiscences of a South 
Plains Youth, 249-250 

General plan for army bakeries, 
1872, photo, 194 

Gilmore, — , 186, 187 

Glunz, — , 173, 174 

Gowans, Fred R. and Eugene E. 
Campbell, Fort Bridger: Island in 
the Wilderness, review, 248-249 


Hadsell, Kleber, 237 

Hague, Arnold, 232 

Hailey, Ora, 241 

"Hailey Post Office and Stage Sta- 
tion on Beaver Creek," by Henry 
Jensen, 241-242 

Hailey's Pass, 241 

Hall, Voter, 148 

Hancock, John, 147 

Harris, Ed, 239 

Harris, Florence, 239 

Harris, Violet, 239 

"Harris Road Ranch, Crook's Gap 
Station and Burnt Ranch Station," 
by Jeanne Lambertsen, 239-241 

Hartsuff, Post Surgeon Albert, 215, 

Hayden, Ferdinand, 230 

Hays, Mr. and Mrs., 237 

Hedren, Paul L., review of Military 
Posts of Wyoming, 245-246 

Hendrickson, Gordon O., review of 
Water and the West: The Colo- 
rado River Compact and the Pol- 
itics of Water in the American 
West, 243-244 

Hickman, — , 178, 180 

Higby, John, 147 

Hillenbrand, — , 166, 169 

Hirsch, Mrs. John, 238 

Holden, W. C, Alton Hutson: 
Reminiscences of a South Plains 
Youth, review, 249-250 

Horse Creek, 224, 230, 233 

House, Mr. and Mrs. A. M., 237. 

Houston, Jane, "Freight and Stage 
Road from Rawlins to Red Lodge, 
Montana. First Segment of 
Trail — -Rawlins to Lander. Trek 
No. 26 of the Historical Trail 
Treks," 235-242 



"How Lost Soldier Station Got Its 
Name," by Ruth Beebe, 238-239 

Howard, — , 185 

Humphreys, Capt. A. A., 225 

Hundley, Norris, Jr., Water and the 
West: The Colorado River Com- 
pact and the Politics of Water in 
the American West, review, 243- 

Kearny, Stephen Watts, 222 
King, Clarence, 231, 232 
Kirk, Florence Harris, 239 
Kirk, Johnny, 239 


"'I Felt Like I Must Be Enter- 
ing . . . Another World.' The 
Anonymous Memoirs of an Early 
Inmate of the Wyoming Peniten- 
tiary," by Gordon L. Olson, 153- 
Ice Slough, 241 

Twiss, Thomas S., 220 
Chiefs and Individuals 
Eagle Head, 226 
Little Brave, 143 
Mustang Jack, 148 
pit-ze-ka-we-cha-cha. See Mus- 
tang Jack 
Sitting Bull, 149, 150 
White Eagle, 143 
Yellow Hand, 144 

Arapahoe, 236 
Cheyenne, 224 
Hunkpapa Sioux, 149 
Oglala Sioux, 223 
Pawnee, 143, 148 
Shoshoni, 236 
Sioux, 143, 150, 151 
Wichita, 143, 148 
Iron Mountain, 233 
Iron Springs, 238 
Iron Springs Flat, 238 

Lambertsen, Jeanne, "The Rawlins — 
Lander (Fort Washakie) Stage 
Road," 235-237; "Harris Road 
Ranch, Crook's Gap Station and 
Burnt Ranch Station," 239-241 

Lander — Fort Washakie road, 236 

Laramie Mountains, 218 

Laramie Penitentiary, 155, 156 

Laramie Plains, 223, 224, 226 

Laramie River, 222, 223 

Larsen, H., 236 

Larson, Robert W., review of Wyo- 
ming Homestead Heritage, 244- 

Lazier, Joe, 172 

Lindsay, — , 174, 181, 182 

lodgepole Creek, 223, 224, 225, 226, 
227, 229, 230 

Lorey, 237 

Lost Soldier Station, 238-239 


Macfeely, Brig. Gen. Robert, 193, 
194, 195 

Magee, Dr. Thomas, 238 

McGee, Dr., 176. See Magee 

McLaughlin, — , 237 

McRae, — , 158 

Manual for Army Cooks, 194, 198 

Medicine Bow Mountains, 226 

Military Posts of Wyoming, by Rob- 
ert A. Murray, review, 245-246 

Moore, James, 242 

Morgan, — , 176, 177 

Murray, Robert A., Military Posts 
of Wyoming, review, 245-246 

Jack, Prof. John, 235 

Jensen, Henry, 235, 239, 240; "Hai- 
ley Post Office and Stage Station 
on Beaver Creek," 241-242; "Der- 
by Stop," 242 

Johnson, Billy, 144 


Nelson, John, 148 
Nine Mile Spring, 236 



North Platte River, 222, 224 
Northern Pacific Railroad, 233 
Northwestern Mail and Transporta- 
tion Company, 241 


Oakley, Annie, 140, 145; photo, 146 
Olson, Gordon L., " T Felt Like I 
Must Be Entering . . . Another 
World.' The Anonymous Mem- 
oirs of an Early Inmate of the 
Wyoming Penitentiary," 153-190; 
biog., 251 
Oregon Buttes, 238 

Palmer, Lieut. Col. Innis, 215 
Paseo, — , 175, 177, 179, 180, 185, 

186, 187 
Preuss, Charles, 222 

Shay, William, review of Fort Bridg- 
er: Island in the Wilderness, 248- 

Sheehan, Black Mike, 237, 240, 241 

Sheehan, Con, 240 

Shideler, James H., ed.. Agriculture 
in the Development of the Far 
West, review, 247-248 

Signor, Ely, 240 

Signor, Johnny, 240 

Slim, 169, 170 

Smith, Robert E., review of Agricul- 
ture in the Development of the 
Far West, 247-248 

Smith Ranch, 236 

South Pass, 221, 223, 224, 225 

Sparrowhawk, Frank, 239 

Spencer, Charles Floyd, Wyoming 
Homestead Heritage, review, 244- 

Stansbury, Capt. Howard, 223, 224, 

Stevens, Gib, 240 

Stuart, Robert, 221 

Stewart, — , 187 

Sun, Tom, 238 

"A Supplement to a Selective Liter- 
ary Bibliography of Wyoming," 
by Richard F. Fleck, 234 

Sweeney, William, 142 

Rawlins Penitentiary, 154, 156, 157, 

"The Rawlins — Lander (Fort Wash- 
akie) Stage Road," by Jeanne 

Lambertsen, 235-237 

Raynolds, Capt. W. F., 230 

Reed, Silas, 232, 233 

Rendle, I. J., 235 

Rendle, Tom, 235 

Richardson, — , 165, 166, 167, 183, 
184, 185, 186, 187 

Richmond, Frank, 142, 143, 145, 
147, 148, 149 

Rongis, 240 

Ruins of the 1884 Bakehouse at 
Fort Laramie, photo, 210 

Taggart, Pete, 237, 239 

Taggart Meadows, 239 

Tagner, Tom, 237 

Taylor, Asst. Surg. Arthur W., 191, 

Taylor, Buck, 143, 145 


Union Pacific Railroad, 228, 229, 
230, 232, 233 

Union Pacific Railroad and Tele- 
graph Co., 229 

Sabin, George, 172 
Schnitger, Marshal Gustave, 156 
Seng, — , 177 
Separation Station, 237 
Seven Mile Meadows, 236 

View of 1876 Bakery at Fort Lara- 
mie, photo, 199 




Warren, Lieut. G. K., 225 

Water and the West: The Colorado 
River Compact and the Politics of 
Water in the American West, by 
Norris Hundley, Jr., review, 243- 

Whitaker, Robert J., "The Early 
Exploration of Cheyenne Pass," 
221-233; biog., 251 

White River Stage Line, 236 

Wigfall, Frank, 183, 184, 185, 190 
Wild West Show Poster, photo, 146 
Williams, Bvt. Maj. Thomas, 227 
Wisda, J. W., 237 
Wyoming Homestead Heritage, by 

Charles Floyd Spencer, review, 

Wyoming State Penitentiary, 153- 

190; photo, 1905, 152 
Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary, 



The Wyoming State Archives and Historical Departmten has as its func- 
tion the collection and preservation of the record of the people of Wyoming. 
It maintains the state's historical library and research center, the Wyoming 
State Museum and branch museums, the Wyoming State Art Gallery and 
the State archives. 

The aid of the citizens of Wyoming is solicited in the carying out of its 
function. The Department is anxious to secure and preserve records and 
materials now in private hands where they cannot be long preserved. Such 
records and materials include: 

Biographical materials of pioneers: diaries, letters, account books, auto- 
biographical accounts. 

Business records of industries of the state: livestock, mining, agriculture, 
railroads, manufacturers, merchants, small business establishments and of 
professional men such as bankers, lawyers, physicians, dentists, ministers 
and educators. 

Private records of individual citizens, such as correspondence, manuscript 
materials and scrapbooks. 

Records of organizations active in the religious, educational, social, eco- 
nomic and political life of the state, including their publications such as 
yearbooks and reports. 

Manuscript and printed articles on towns, counties and any significant 
topic dealing with the history of the state. 

Early newspapers, maps, pictures, pamphlets, and books on western 

Current publications by individuals or organizations throughout the state. 

Museum materials with historical significance: early equipment, Indian 
artifacts, relics deahng with the activities of persons in Wyoming and with 
special events in the state's history. 

Original art works of a western flavor including, but not limited to, 
etchings, paintings in all media, sculpture and other art forms.