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Mrs. June Casey 



Mrs. Wilmot C. McFadden 

Rock Springs 


Mrs. Mary Emerson 



Mrs. Suzanne Knepper 



Jerry Rillahan 



Mrs. Mae Urbanek 



William T. Nighiingale, Chairman 


Member at Large 

Frank Bowron 



Attorney General V. Frank Mendicino 




William H. Williams Director 

Buck Dawson Director, State Museums 

Mrs. Katherine A. Halvehson Director, Historical Research 

and Publications Division 
Mrs. Julia Yelvington Director, 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. 
Copies of previous and current issues also are available for sale to the public 
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 

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

Copyright 1977, by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

A^^als of Wyommg 

Volume 49 Spring, 1977 Number 1 

Katherine a. Halverson 

John C. Paige 

William H. Barton 

Ellen E. Glover 

Editorial Assistants 

Published biannually by the 


Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


OFFICERS 1976-1977 

President, Ray Pendergraft Worland 

First Vice President, Mrs. Mabel Brown Newcastle 

Second Vice President, David J. Wasden Cody 

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 

William R. Dubois, Cheyenne 1971-1972 

Henry F. Chadey, Rock Springs 1972-1973 

Richard S. Dumbrill, Newcastle 1973-1974 

Henry Jensen. Casper 1974-1975 

Jay Brazelton, Jackson 1975-1976 

The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953, 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County Historical 
Society Chapters have been organized in Albany. Big Horn, Campbell, 
Carbon, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, Johnson, Laramie, Lincoln, 
Natrona, Niobrara, Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta, 
Washakie and Weston Counties. 

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Zabte of Contents 



By Barton R. Voigt 5 


By John S. Gray 23 


By Charles Hall 53 


By Grant K. Anderson 65 


By David W. Lupton 83 


By Mabel R. Skjelver 109 


Minutes of the Twenty-third Annual Meeting 131 


Steffen, William Clark: Jeffersonian Man on the Frontier 140 

Hammond, The Adventures of Alexander Barclay, Mountain 

Man: A Narrative of His Career, 1810 to 1855: His 

Memorandum Diary, 1845 to 1850 142 

Bragg, Wyoming's Wealth: A History of Wyoming 143 

Malone and Roeder, Montana. A History of Two Centuries 146 

Roripaugh, Learn to Love the Haze and Maynard, Bannack 

and Other Poems 147 

Williams, The Czar's Germans 150 

Gray, Centennial Campaign: The Sioux War of 1876 151 

Scamehorn, Pioneer Steelmaker in the West: The Colorado 

Fuel and Iron Company, 1872-1903 152 

Savage, Blacks in the West 154 

Hutchins, Boots and Saddles at the Little Big Horn 155 

Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints 157 

Bean, Charles Boettcher: A Study in Pioneer Western Enterprise .. 158 
Thane, A Governor's Wife on the Mining Frontier. The 

Letters of Mary Edgerton from Montana, 1 863-1 865 160 

Rickey, $10 Horse, $40 Saddle. Cowboy Clothing, Arms. 

Tools and Horse Gear of the 1880's 161 

Carley, The Sioux Uprising of 1862 162 




Elk Mountain Cover 

Sheriff William H. Miller 8 

Sioux Indians held in Douglas, Wyoming, jail for murder of 

Sheriff Miller of Weston County 10 

William Wallace Cook about 1925 Ill 

Cover of Billionaire Pro Tem, published in 1907 124 




LARAMIE 82071 


The cover photograph of Elk Mountain was taken by 
Joseph E. Stimson in the early 1900s. Stimson was offi- 
cial photographer for the Union Pacific Railroad from 
1903 to 1935. For the following ten years he conducted 
his own business in Cheyenne as artist -photographer. 
Stimson died in 1952. His superb collection of scenic 
views in Wyoming, on glass plate negatives, is now 
among the holdings of the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department. 

Elk Mountain has always been a landmark in south- 
central Wyoming and dominates the valley from which 
it rises to an elevation of 1 1,000 feet. Fort Halleck was 
built near the foot of the mountain to protect wagon 
trains on the Overland, or Cherokee Trail, and was an 
active military post from July 20, 1862, until July 4, 
1866. A good part of the building materials from the 
fort, and all its supplies, were moved to a site just south 
of present-day Laramie for the construction of Fort 
Buford, later re-named Fort Sanders, a protective post 
for Union Pacific construction workers. The site of Fort 
Halleck is on the Norman Palm ranch, where today the 
ruins of the blacksmith shop are the only trace of the 
original fort buildings. 

A legend handed down over the years is about a white 
stallion that wintered his large band of wild horses on 
Elk Mountain. One winter his band was snowed under 
and all the animals starved to death. The image of this 
stallion has ever since been visible in the snows on the 
mountain. In 1918, reportedly, his whole form was 
traced in the snow, and he could be seen running across 
the face of the mountain with his mane and tail flying 
in the wind. 

Zke Cightning Creek Tight 

Barton R. Voigt 

The era of America's Sioux wars had long since passed by the 
turn of the twentieth century. Sitting Bull had been dead for nearly 
a decade. Red Cloud was a feeble old man, living out his years 
on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. Towns and ranches 
had replaced the isolated miUtary posts that once stood guard over 
the Sioux. Indians and whites, however, had not yet learned to 
live with one another. The Indians held on to remnants of their 
old life-style, while the whites continued to despise them as bar- 
barians. Indian hunting rights were a major source of irritation. 
Treaty provisions and new state game laws often conflicted, which 
resulted in Indians being fined or jailed for hunting as they had 
always hunted. 

The state of Wyoming felt itself particularly plagued by out-of- 
state Indians ignoring game laws. Bannocks from Idaho often 
hunted in the Jackson Hole country, and the eastern part of the 
state attracted Sioux from South Dakota reservations. The issue 
was eventually brought before the Supreme Court of the United 
States, which held in the Race Horse case, that the Indians' hunt- 
ing privileges had been repealed by Wyoming's admission to state- 
hood.^ This ruling gave Wyoming authority to enforce its game 
laws against the Indians. 

Despite the Supreme Court decision, however, Wyoming coun- 
ties along the South Dakota border continued to be the scene of 
lengthy fall excursions by Indian parties from Pine Ridge Reser- 
vation. As whites in the area became increasingly bitter about the 
situation, serious trouble was inevitable. Finally, in October, 
1903, a posse's attempt to arrest a band of Sioux on Converse 
County's Lightning Creek brought on a fatal battle. 

The events leading up to the fight on Lightning Creek began on 
September 30, 1903, when United States Indian Agent John R. 
Brennan authorized a party of Oglala Sioux Indian families to 
leave the Pine Ridge Reservation. Led by William Brown, the 
Indians journeyed south of the Black Hills into Wyoming. A 
second party of Sioux, under Charlie Smith, left Pine Ridge on 
October 20 with a pass similar to the one granted Brown's party. 

ipor a brief account of the Race Horse case, see T. A. Larson, History of 
Wyoming (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), p. 305. 


About a week later, the two bands came together on Little Thun- 
der Creek, in Weston County, Wyoming. Traveling together, they 
headed slowly back toward the reservation. 

Meanwhile, reports were brought to Newcastle, county seat of 
Weston County, of Indians killing pronghorn antelope and live- 
stock. A posse was organized by Sheriff William H. Miller, and 
on October 23 it left Newcastle in search of the Indians. Seven 
days later, the posse unsuccessfully tried to arrest the combined 
Brown and Smith parties. The following day another arrest at- 
tempt resulted in a pitched battle. In the brief exchange of gun- 
fire, Sheriff Miller, a deputy and two Indians were killed outright. 
Three other Indians later died of wounds received in the fight. - 

Nine men from the William Brown party were arrested after 
the fight and taken to Douglas for a preliminary hearing on the 
charge of murder. On Saturday, November 14, 1903, they were 
brought before Justice of the Peace H. R. Daniels.'^ Acting as 
prosecuting attorney for Converse County was W. F. Mecum. 
The Indians were defended by the United States Attorney for the 
District of Wyoming, Timothy F. Burke. Agent Brennan and an 
interpreter from Pine Ridge were also present. 

Because of an accident. Attorney Burke did not arrive in Doug- 
las until the morning of the hearing. Failing to find a suitable 
place where he could in secrecy take the Indians' statements, and 
not wishing to have the statements made public, he decided not 
to call any of the Indians to the stand in their own defense. 
Instead, he placed their hopes for acquittal on the weakness of the 
prosecutor's case. 

County Attorney Mecum produced ten witnesses for the state — 
eight members of the posse and two sheepherders who had been 
in the vicinity of the fight. He methodically recreated the incident 
from the arrival in Newcastle of reports of Indians killing game 
to the posse's examination of abandoned Indian wagons after the 
battle. According to their testimony, the posse members had been 
deputized to go out and arrest Indians for killing antelope.^ They 
left Newcastle on October 23, heading southwest toward Little 
Thunder Basin, where the Indians had been seen. The first day 
out they arrested nine Soux near the Cheyenne River and sent 

^Details of both the Indian and white accounts of the fight, and the events 
leading up to it, can be found in U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on 
Indian Affairs, Encounter Between Sioux Indians of the Pine Ridge Agency, 
S. Dak., and a Sheriff's Posse of Wyoming, 58th Cong., 2d sess., 1903, 
S. Doc. 128 (hereinafter referred to as S. Doc. 128). 

•^The defendants were He Crow, Fool Heart, Jesse Little War Bonnet, 
Charging Wolf, David Broken Nose, James WThite Elk, Red Paint, Jack 
High Dog and Iron Shield. 

^The posse's testimony can be found in S. Doc. 128, pp. 56-95. 


them with B. F. Hilton to Newcastle."' The remainder of the posse 
continued its search. Along Porcupine Creek they came upon the 
trail of what later proved to be the Smith and Brown parties. 

The posse followed the Indians for several days, eventually 
crossing into Converse County. On the morning of October 30, 
they met a local cowboy, Frank Zerbes, who reported that the 
Indians had camped on the Dry Fork of the Cheyenne River the 
previous night. Zerbes offered to guide the posse to the Indians, 
and Miller agreed. At about 10:30 a.m. they rode into the Indian 
camp. They saw what they later estimated to be twenty to twenty- 
five male Indians, with their families. Few of the Indians could 
speak English, but Sheriff Miller succeeded in explaining that he 
had a warrant for their arrest. The Indians could not decide what 
to do, since both of their leaders, Charlie Smith and William 
Brown, were out of camp. Sheriff Miller offered to wait, and the 
posse was fed by Mrs. Brown. 

Charlie Smith returned to camp early in the afternoon, with an 
antelope over his saddle.*^ Smith, who was a Carlisle Indian School 
graduate, understood Enghsh very well. When Sheriff Miller read 
him the warrant, he indicated that he did not intend to go to 
Newcastle, but that he would wait until he could get Brown's 
opinion when he came back. The sheriff then advised the Indians 
not to do anything rash, and once again agreed to wait. 

Late in the afternoon, Brown rode into the camp. Miller read 
the warrant again, this time to both of the Indian leaders. Brown 
showed a willingness to accompany the posse, but Smith now 
adamantly refused to go. Members of the posse quoted Smith as 
saying, "I am no damn fool, and know more of the law than you 
do. I do not live in Newcastle, and I will not go there."' 

The Indians then broke camp and proceeded down the Dry 
Fork. The posse was not certain whether or not the Indians 
intended to go to Newcastle. When the procession came to a fork 
in the road, one route leading to Newcastle and the other toward 
the reservation, the sheriff rode ahead and tried to turn the Indians 
in the direction of Newcastle. But Smith instructed them to turn 
toward Pine Ridge. In what seemed to the posse to be a threaten- 
ing move, many of the Indian men then rode up and took a defiant 

•"'On November 3, nearly two weeks later. Agent Brennan found these 
Indians still being held in jail, without having been charged with a crime. 
In later testimony, he contended that they "were not part of the Smith or 
Brown parties, nor connected with them in any way. They were on their 
return from a visit with some of their friends at the Crow Agency. Five 
of the party were between the ages of 65 and 80 years." Ibid., p. 31. 

•'In later statements, the Indians denied that Smith had an antelope on 
his horse. 

^Posse members D. O. Johnston, James C. Davis and Ralph Hackney, for 
instance, said he used words to that effect. S. Doc. 128. pp. 57. 73, 77. 


Sheriff William H. Miller 

-Courtesy of author 

Stance near the whites. James C. Davis testified that Jesse Little 
War Bonnet, one of the defendants, brazenly "kept riding with us, 
all the time bucking his horse into us, trying to get a fight out of 
us if he could. "^ 

Seeing the futility of further attempts to arrest the Indians with 
so small a posse. Miller retreated to seek reinforcements from area 
ranches. The posse first rode to the Fiddleback ranch, about 
twenty miles distant, where they spent the night. There they 
enlisted the aid of two cowboys, Stephen Franklin and Charles 
Harvey. Franklin and Harvey advised the sheriff that the Indians 
would probably travel down the Lightning Creek road. At 7:30 
in the morning Miller sent Frank Zerbes and Jack Moore south 

»Ibid., p. 74. 


from the Fiddleback with instructions to find the direction the 
Indians had gone, and to meet the possee at Jake Mills' cow camp 
on Lightning Creek. 

En route to Lightning Creek, Miller's forces were strengthened 
by the addition of four more men. John Owens, a veteran lawman 
and Indian fighter, reluctantly joined the posse when Sheriff Miller 
assured him that there was going to be trouble." Wolf hunter 
Louis Falkenberg was picked up at the Oleson ranch. And two 
strangers from Wessington, South Dakota, Henry Coon and 
George Fountain, joined later in the day. Including Zerbes and 
Moore, who were trailing the Indians, the posse now numbered 
thirteen men. 

Sheriff Miller's party reached the Mills cow camp in midafter- 
noon. Half of the men had eaten dinner, and the others had just 
begun when Zerbes and Moore came racing in to report that the 
Indians were little more than a mile away. The horses were 
immediately brought up, and Sheriff Miller once more took his 
men out to confront the Indians. 

The Smith and Brown parties were traveling north along the 
road parallel to Lightning Creek. As the posse rounded a sharp 
bend in the road, the Indians suddenly came into view. The head 
of the Indian procession had just passed through a gate in a wire 
fence. Several of the posse members estimated in their testimony 
that two or three wagons were through the gate, and that eight 
men were riding in the lead.^" When the Indians saw the posse, 
they retreated back through the gate. Many of them dismounted 
and moved toward the creek. John Owens, who had practically 
taken over the leadership of the posse, warned Sheriff Miller to 
turn his men out of the road because the Indians intended to fight. 
The posse quickly rode down into the creek bed. They left their 
horses at the fence and ran upstream behind the protection of the 
bank. Miller and Owens, who were in the lead, ran nearly one 
hundred yards up the creek. The others spread out behind them. 

While the posse remained behind the bank. Miller and Owens 
climbed to the top and walked toward the Indians. As they 
approached, they took turns shouting for the Indians to surrender. 
Owens testified that after they had gone about fifteen yards from 
the creek, an Indian fired at them from up near the corrals. At 
the sound of the shot, the rest of the posse jumped up on the bank, 
and a general firing ensued. 

Spread out among the trees as they were, each white man could 
see only part of the field of battle. Owens and Miller directed 
their attention to their left, leaving the rest of the posse to deal 

^Lusk Herald, December 30, 1948. 

lojohn Owens' testimony was most precise on this part of the incident. 
S. Doc. 128, p. 89; Tbid. 

4 u 


with the Indians to their right. Ail of the posse except Zerbes, 
who was armed only with a pistol, fired upon the Indians. After a 
few volleys, the Indians broke and fled. 

The battle was brief — it lasted no more than three or four 
minutes — but the results were disastrous. Louis Falkenberg was 
dead, shot through the neck. Sheriff Miller lay bleeding to death 
from a severed femoral artery in his left thigh. Two Indians were 
dead upon the field. Charlie Smith, his wife, and another Indian 
man were mortally wounded. One elderly Indian man, shot in the 
back, fled to the reservation, where he survived. 

Sheriff Miller died in the Mills cabin thirty minutes after the 
battle. Fearing that the Indians might return, the posse kept guard 
in the cabin throughout the night. Early in the morning, James 
Davis and Ralph Hackney left for Newcastle with the bodies of 
Miller and Falkenberg. The rest of the posse went out to the 
scene of the fight to search the Indian wagons that had been left 
behind. Much to their surprise, they found several Indian women 
on the field, huddled around a fire they had built for Charlie 
Smith, who was still alive. The whites took Smith into the ranch 
house, and sent the Indian women to Lusk with Stephen Franklin 
for a doctor. Smith died that night. 

When word of the fight reached Newcastle, a new posse was 
quickly formed to arrest the fleeing Indians. Crook County Dep- 
uty Sheriff Lee Mather organized the posse, reportedly from hun- 
dreds of area miners who volunteered for the duty.^^ The posse 
took the train to Edgemont, South Dakota, where they picked up 
horses and supplies. Near the Lampkins ranch on Hat Creek, 
they confronted a large group of Indian families. The Indians 
offered no resistance, and after being fed at the Lampkins ranch, 
they were taken to Edgemont. On November 5, Converse County 
Sheriff John McDermott released the women and children to the 
custody of Agent Brennan and transferred the nine men to a 
Douglas, Wyoming, jail. 

The posse's testimony at the prehminary hearing clearly placed 
the blame for the Lightning Creek fight on the Indians, particularly 
Charlie Smith because of his attitude the day before the battle. 
The testimony, however, was useless to the prosecutor. Posse 
members identified six of the nine defendants as having been pres- 
ent during the confrontation on October 30, but they failed to 
identify any of them as having shot Sheriff Miller or Deputy 
Falkenberg the next day. The only defendant recognized as being 
at the scene of the fight was Jesse Little War Bonnet. Six of the 
posse members swore that they saw him that day, but only two. 

i^Lee Mather interview, n.d., W.P.A. Statewide Historical Project, Wyo- 
ming State Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne. 


Charles Harvey and Ralph Hackney, claimed that he fired any 
shots. And both men admitted that he fired only as he was fleeing 
up the creek, after Miller and Falkenberg were hit. 

After listening to County Attorney Mecum present his case, 
defense attorney Burke entered a demurrer to the evidence and 
asked that the defendants be discharged. Burke's main argument 
was that, despite the posse's allegations, no proof existed that any 
of the defendants had committed the crime with which they were 
charged. Without comment. Justice Daniels sustained the demur- 
rer and released the prisoners. 

The preliminary hearing had resulted in the acquittal of the 
defendants, but it had not brought out the Indians' version of the 
incident. Consequently, U. S. Attorney Burke was instructed by 
the Justice Department to go to Pine Ridge and reconstruct the 
affair from the Indians' viewpoint. From November 28 to Decem- 
ber 1, Burke took sworn statements from Agent Brennan and 
fourteen Indians who had been present during the fight. Accord- 
ing to the Indian testimony, the William Brown party, consisting 
of twenty adults and their children, left the reservation on October 
6}~ Skirting the Black Hills, they traveled through the foothills, 
hunting and gathering berries, roots and herbs. Several of the men 
shot deer along Sage and Horse creeks in South Dakota, but they 
denied killing deer or antelope in Wyoming. 

The Smith party, made up of about sixteen adults and their 
children, left Pine Ridge on October 20. About one week's jour- 
ney found them in Weston County's Little Thunder Basin, where 
they accidentally met the Brown party. The two groups agreed to 
travel together. Combined, there were fifteen wagons and nearly 
fifty people. With horses, teepees, camp equipage, and other sup- 
plies, the assemblage formed a ponderous, slow-moving procession. 

In no hurry to return home, the Indians traveled only a few 
miles a day, making several camps and taking time out to hunt 
rabbits and prairie chickens. They purchased venison, mutton and 
hides from sheepmen, who gladly traded for beadwork and mocca- 
sins.^-^ On the evening of October 29, they camped near the Dry 
Fork of the Cheyenne River. The next morning several of the 
men went out to hunt. Late in the morning, seven white men rode 
into camp and asked to speak to a chief. Since both Charlie Smith 
and William Brown were absent, the whites were invited to eat 
with Mrs. Brown while they waited. 

i^The Indians' statements can be found in S. Doc. 128, pp. 32-54 and 

i^At least one sheepherder later acknowledged just such a transaction 
with these Indians. Isaac Robbins interview, August, 1904, Eli S. Ricker 
Collection, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln. 


When the two Indian leaders returned to camp, they talked at 
length with Sheriff Miller. Brown at first agreed to let the sheriff 
arrest them because he assumed the permit from Agent Brennan 
would justify their absence from the reservation. But when Smith 
refused to go with the whites, Brown sided with Smith. ^^ 

All of the Indians who testified, with the exception of Brown, 
claimed that neither Smith nor Brown fully explained what the 
posse wanted on October 30. They further stated that because 
they did not understand the sheriff's purpose, they took no hostile 
actions when he tried to turn them toward Newcastle. Jesse Little 
War Bonnet asserted that he rode up among the whites only to find 
out what was happening, not to start a fight. ^"^ 

Following Smith's orders, the Indians ignored the posse and 
proceeded down the road toward the reservation. They went about 
twenty -five miles before camping for the evening. Anxious to get 
out of Wyoming because of the confrontation with the white men, 
they set out early the following morning. By 4:00 p.m. they had 
pushed their cumbersome caravan nearly fifty miles. As they 
approached the Jake Mills cow camp on Lightning Creek, their 
column was spread out for almost a mile along the road. They 
did not know that the posse was still after them, and had taken no 
precautions to defend themselves. Most of the men were riding 
in the wagons with their families. Their weapons were packed 

Hope Clear, an eighteen-year-old girl, was at the head of the 
procession and was first to see the posse as it rounded a bend in 
the road. She recognized the men as the ones who had come to 
their camp the day before. As she told Burke, 

I was ahead of the wagons and there were two little boys with me 
and we were driving some loose ponies. I got off my horse to open 
the gate and then I saw the white men aiming their guns at me, so I 
started back to the wagons as fast as I could go.i^ 

The Indians testified that the white men fired at them without 
warning. Hope Clear said that the first shot knocked the horse 
out from under the eleven-year-old boy, Peter White Elk, who was 
with her, just as they fled back through the gate. The second shot 
hit him in the back of the head, kilUng him instantly. Hope Clear's 
horse was then shot out from under her, and several more shots 
passed through her clothing. By that time, the Indians had begun 
to react to the sudden attack. The three lead wagons fled west 
up the fence line. The twelve rear wagons turned and raced back 

i^Brown was a central figure that day, as he was one of the few Indians 
who could speak English. His statements can be found in S. Doc. 128, 
pp. 20-21, 45-48 and 126-28. 

15/iW., p. 45. 

mbid., p. 49. 


down the Lightning Creek road. Black Kettle, who had been in 
the second wagon, ran toward the creek. Gray Bear, father of 
Hope Clear, and Charlie Smith rode up the line toward their 

According to both Hope Clear and her mother, only two Indians 
fired any shots. Hope Clear stated that just as she got to her 
wagon, she saw Black Kettle and her father getting down ready to 
fire. All the other Indians, with the exception of Charlie Smith, 
had fled. She saw Smith coming up from behind when he was 
shot. He did not appear to have his gun with him. Mrs. Gray 
Bear (Takes the Rope) described the action in much the same 

Those who were on horses [Gray Bear and Charlie Smith] all rushed 
up and got killed. My husband and another fellow [Black Kettle] 
did some shooting and they both got killed .... I saw Charlie Smith 
coming up with his gun in his scabbard on his saddle, so I don't think 
Charlie did any shooting. i" 

Hope Clear, Mrs. Gray Bear and Mrs. Charlie Smith were in the 
wagons that fled west along the fence. Hope Clear's statement to 
Attorney Burke gave the harrowing details of their flight: 

We started to go up the side of a hill, and just as we were going over 
the top of the hill, Mrs. Smith was shot. When she was shot, the 
blood began to flow pretty freely, and we started for a bank .... 
When we got Mrs. Smith down under this bank, I started back up the 
fence again and I met my father coming back on his horse. I let him 
off to the creek. They were still shooting at him .... We kept on 
going up this creek until it must have been along in the middle of the 
night, then my father got out and went and sat with his back up 
against the bank, and he sat there till he died.i^ 

Last Bear, a sixty-five-year-old man, was in the fifth wagon 
from the front when the shooting began. His son was ahead driv- 
ing horses with Hope Clear and Peter White Elk. Upon hearing 
the first shot. Last Bear took his son's horse and told the boy to 
get into the wagon with his mother. Just as he mounted the horse, 
Last Bear was shot through the back, the bullet coming out in 
front. He then turned and fled west along the fence. In his 
testimony, Last Bear swore that the Indians had not started the 

I hold up my hand to the Great Father and say that I did not see any 
Indian shoot. Our guns were packed away in the wagons. I did not 
have anything to shoot with.!!* 

The surviving Indians testified that, thoroughly terrorized, they 

^-!Ibid., p. 51. 

^^Ibid., p. 50. Mrs. Smith, who was shot in the back, died a few days 

^^Ibid., p. 17. Last Bear recovered fully from his wound. 


all scattered and fled immediately upon hearing the first few shots. 
In their panic, they abandoned most of their heavy wagons on the 
divide between Lightning and Twenty Mile creeks. Some of the 
fleeing Indians were fired upon near Hat Creek, in South Dakota, 
but others were treated well by the whites they encountered.-" 
Most of them managed to straggle into the reservation. The one 
large group apprehended near Edgemont, too hungry and exhaust- 
ed to resist, surrendered with no desire to fight. Hope Clear, Mrs. 
Gray Bear and Mrs. Smith buried Gray Bear where he had died, 
and returned to the scene of the fight in the morning. There they 
found Charhe Smith still alive, but badly wounded and covered 
with frost. They stayed with him until the white men came and 
took him to the ranch house where he died. 

The fight at Lightning Creek caused a bitter public controversy. 
The Indian and white versions of the affair differed in so many 
important details as to suggest outright lying by one side or the 
other. Weston County residents vehemently defended their sheriff. 
The Newcastle Times published an "official" posse account of the 
fight, portraying Sheriff Miller as a martyred hero. Nebraska and 
South Dakota editors, however, as well as many Wyoming citizens, 
condemned the actions of the posse. -^ At the preliminary hearing 
in Douglas, one observer even reported that "public sentiment 
largely favored the Indians and there was quite a demonstration 
when the justice announced that the prisoners were released.'"- 

The preliminary hearing was the only legal proceeding brought 
against the Indians, but it was not the last to be heard about the 
fight. Three important Wyoming men were extremely dissatisfied 
with the results of the hearing. Acting Governor Fenimore Chat- 
terton. Senator Francis E. Warren and Congressman Frank W. 
Mondell combined their efforts to support the posse. Chatterton 
and Mondell had long opposed the practice of allowing the Sioux 
to travel freely across state lines. Mondell, who was from New- 
castle, also had a particular animosity toward Agent Brennan, and 
singled out bad management at Pine Ridge as the root cause of 
the kilHngs.'^ 

2"JChief Eagle and William Brown both testified to being shot at near 
Hat Creek, S. Doc. 128, pp. 43 and 48; others were allowed to camp at 
the ZumBrunnen ranch near Kirtley, Jacob J. ZumBrunnen interview, n.d., 
W.P.A. Project, Cheyenne. 

2iNumerous newspaper articles concerning the fight were reprinted in 
S. Doc. 128, pp. 10-30. Also, the John R. Brennan Papers, at the South 
Dakota State Historical Resource Center, in Pierre, contain a scrapbook of 
news clippings about the incident. 

22S. Doc. 128, p. 15. 

-^Frank W. Mondell to E. A. Hitchcock. Secretary of the Interior. No- 
vember 17, 1903, copy in Fenimore Chatterton Papers, Wyoming State 


Chatterton first stated his position on November 5 in reply to 
Agent Brennan's request that the Indians being held in Edgemont 
be released. The acting governor cited the Race Horse case as 
specifically giving Wyoming the right to prosecute the Indians.-^ 
In a letter of the same date to Senator Warren, Chatterton further 
set out his views: 

It is quite necessary now, for the protection of the residents of eastern 
and northern Wyoming that these Indians should not be allowed to 
leave their reservations, especially that they should not be allowed for 
the purpose of hunting, to come into this State unless they comply 
with the game law. I beheve, too, that this is necessary for the pro- 
tection of the Indians, as after their recent action there might be 
serious trouble between the settlers and Indians should the Indians 
again come into Wyoming for any purpose whatsoever. For fear of 
such trouble and the consequent discredit which might come upon the 
State, especially with eastern Indian sympathizers, I trust that you 
will urge upon the Department [Indian Affairs] that the Indians not 
be allowed to further trespass upon our territory.-"' 

Congressman Mondell feared that the failure to prosecute the 
nine Sioux would not only lead to continued "harrassment" by 
out-of-state Indians, but would be cited as proof that the Indians 
had not even violated game laws. Like Chatterton, Mondell was 
worried about Wyoming's image, and realized that the release of 
the Indians left the state's case "in an unfortunate position before 
[the federal authorities] and the country at large. "-"^ 

Hoping that more pubhcity would emphasize Wyoming's rights, 
Mondell and Warren used their influence in Washington to push 
for a thorough investigation of the Lightning Creek fight. They 
need not have worried that the incident would go unnoticed by the 
federal government. U. S. Attorney Burke was already question- 
ing the Indians for the Justice Department. The Office of Indian 
Affairs, to protect its own image as well as for the Indians' benefit, 
sent Special Agent Charles S. McNichols out to make an inquiry 
into the situation. Major B. H. Cheever of the Sixth U. S. Cavalry 
traveled to Douglas for the preliminary hearing on behalf of the 
War Department. And on November 5, presidential secretary 
William Loeb, Jr. requested Attorney General P. C. Knox to 
report on the conflict at the next cabinet meeting.^^ 

Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne; John R. Brennan to Eben 
W. Martin, November 21, 1903, S. Doc. 128, p. 24. 

-^Telegram from Fenimore Chatterton to John R. Brennan, November 
5, 1903. Brennan Papers. 

-'•"'Fenimore Chatterton to F. E. Warren, November 5, 1903. Chatterton 

-•^Frank W. Mondell to Fenimore Chatterton, November 24, 1903. Chat- 
terton Papers. 

27William Loeb, Jr. to P. C. Knox, U.S. Attorney General, November 5, 
1903, Record Group 60 "Records of the Attorney General," letter file 16790 
(1903), National Archives, Washington, D.C. 


The various investigators were faced with one major problem — 
the Indian and white versions of the incident could not both be 
true. Furthermore, both sides had pictured themselves as totally 
blameless, thus leaving them both open to suspicion of having 
amended the facts. And there was the possibility, indeed the 
probability, that there was truth and fabrication in both accounts. 
Attorney Burke and Special Agent McNichols, who conducted the 
most thorough investigations, recognized two questions as basic to 
the conflict — who fired the first shot on October 31, and who 
was ultimately responsible for causing such a deadly situation to 
develop in the first place. The posse members all testified that 
the first shot was fired by an Indian to the left of Sheriff Miller. 
They further alleged that this shot came after the posse had run 
up the creek bed and after Miller and Owens had shouted for the 
Indians to surrender. The Indians, on the other hand, testified 
that the whites fired the first shot at eleven-year-old Peter White 
Elk, who was herding horses at the head of the Indian column. 
All but one Indian claimed that the posse fired without warning.-'^ 

With no incontrovertible evidence about the first shot available, 
Burke and McNichols were forced to rely upon the conflicting 
testimonies, and their own common sense. Although they analyzed 
the battle testimony independently, the two investigators reached 
similar conclusions. On November 16, McNichols reported from 
Crawford, Nebraska, to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs: 

Certainly, from the position of the Indians — scattered along the high- 
way — they were not expecting a battle and only a small part of their 
band were yet in the immediate scene of the conflict when it 
began .... It would seem very unlikely that one of their number 
would precipitate it, when their party was so scattered .... All 
reason and common sense is against the theory that the Indians began 
the firing.2'J 

Burke, in his report of December 17 to the U. S. Attorney General, 
would not definitely state that the posse had fired first, but he left 
little doubt as to whom he suspected: 

At the time of the shooting, on the second day, the Indians' . . . 
attitude . . . was not threatening or menacing. The approach of the 
Sheriff and his posse, after they left the road and took up a dry gulch 
under the creek bank, was threatening and menacing . . . .'^*^ 

This contention that the posse was responsible for precipitating 
the battle had support from a highly unlikely source. W. F. 
Mecum, who prosecuted the case for Converse County, prepared 

2**Last Bear told Burke that he thought the whites had cursed the Indians 
before they opened fire. S. Doc. 128, p. 53. 

-^Ibid., p. 14. 

^^Timothy F. Burke to The Attorney General, December 17, 1903, Rec- 
ord Group 60 "Records of the Attorney General," letter file 16694 (1903). 


for the preliminary hearing by studying the posse members' ac- 
counts of the fight. With the Indians' version unavailable to 
him, and relying solely on the whites' statements, Mecum sent 
the following information to Acting Governor Chatterton on 
November 9: 

The Posse got ahead, at a point on lance creek isic^, 6 mi below the 
Bever [5/c] dams, 50 mi from Douglas, secreted their horses, and hid 
behind the bank of the creek, until the Indians should come along, 
thus ambushing the Indians .... The way the posse were situated 
and ready, it does not seem possible that an Indian could have shot 
first, though he might have tried to. Thirteen men with 30-30's and 
30-40's ready for action, at a second's notice, it is a wonder that any 
Indians within 100 yds got away.'^i 

McNichols, Burke and Mecum all felt certain that the posse had 
fired the first shot, or at least had forced it by their threatening 
advance upon the Indians. Beyond the argument over the first 
shot, however, was the question of ultimate responsibility for the 
incident. Indians had been reported illegally hunting game and 
killing cattle, and it was Sheriff Miller's duty to see that the laws 
were upheld. If the fight resulted from resistance to a legal arrest 
attempt, the Indians were at fault. But if Sheriff Miller and the 
posse went beyond the law in pursuing the Smith and Brown par- 
ties, the Indians had the right to defend themselves. 

Attorney Burke's analysis of the posse's actions convinced him 
that Sheriff Miller had broken several pertinent points of law in 
the confrontation with the Indians. Miller was sheriff of Weston 
County, and the warrant had been issued in Weston County, yet 
Miller tried to serve it in Converse County. The warrant named 
only two persons, John Doe and Richard Doe, but after arresting 
nine Indians with it, Miller attempted to arrest nearly fifty more. 
And at neither arrest attempt were the Indians engaged at the time 
in the violation of any law of the state of Wyoming.^^ Burke 
concluded that the evidence clearly indicated that the Indians were 
legally justified in resisting arrest. 

Special Agent McNichols emphasized in his report that the posse 
did not have a particular band of Indians in mind when it sent out 
from Newcastle. Miller had no proof that the Indians he tried to 
arrest on October 30-3 1 had been killing game in Weston County. 
To the contrary, 

the important fact that Smith and his party did not leave the agency 
in South Dakota until October 20 should be kept in mind. The posse 
had left Newcastle on the morning of October 23; being organized on 
information reaching Newcastle about October 20 that Indians were 
unlawfully killing game in Weston County. At the time that this 

-iW. F. Mecum to Fenimore Chatterton, November 9, 1903. Chatterton 
Papers. Emphasis added. 

■^-Burke to The Attorney General, December 17, 1903. 


party was organized the Smith party could not have yet reached any 
part of the State of Wyoming. •^•' 

The warrant carried by Miller, dated October 22, specified that 
Indians had killed ten antelope on or about October 19."*^ At that 
time the Smith party was still on the reservation. In other words, 
the band that suffered all five of the Indian deaths could not 
possibly have been the Indians covered by the sheriff's warrant. 

In assessing responsibility for the Lightning Creek fight, Mc- 
Nichols was not satisfied with a recital of technical illegalities on 
the part of the posse. His report contained a damning accusation 
that condemned not only the white men's actions, but their 
motivation : 

I can not escape the conviction that this band of 13 whites, urged on 
by a local sentiment of race hatred, has stained a page in Wyoming's 
history that no amount of bluster will ever efface.-^"' 

What McNichols insinuated was that the white expedition was an 
act of racial aggression rather than of law enforcement. According 
to the posse account published in the Newcastle Times, "several 
Newcastle men, feeling very incensed over the actions of the 
Indians, decided to put a stop to it."^*" This intense reaction, 
however, was not a common response to the killing of game ani- 
mals by whites. Converse County Attorney Mecum reported to 
Acting Governor Chatterton on November 9 that antelope had 

not been protected by the white men, or the law as to the killing of 
antelope inforced [5/c] against white men, who kill them at all seasons 
of the year.^'^ 

The accusation that the Indians had been killing cattle as well 
as game animals was never substantiated. Weston County Clerk 
Arthur L. Putnam reported that "although no complaints had been 
filed by the stockmen, Sheriff Miller thought it his duty to look 
after the matter. "^^ Isaac Robbins, a sheepherder in the Cheyenne 
River area, met the Smith and Brown parties and paid one young 
Indian to work for him. Robbins, who knew the stockmen in the 
area, did not hear any of them complain about the Indians killing 
livestock.^^ And County Attorney Mecum stated that he had "not 
heard of a case where the Indians stole, or killed cattle, or done 
any other unlawful act in this Co. since I am Prosecuting atty."^" 

33S. Doc. 128, p. 13. 
^"^Ibid., pp. 96-97. 
^^Ibid., p. 12. Emphasis added. 
mbid., p. 17. 

37Mecum to Chatterton, November 9, 1903. 

^^Arthur L. Putnam to Fenimore Chatterton, November 10, 1903. Chat- 
terton Papers. Emphasis added. 
3f*Robbins interview, August 1904. 
•iOMecum to Chatterton, November 9, 1903. 


Although the evidence clearly suggested that Sheriff Miller and 
his posse went to extraordinary lengths to arrest the Indians, Attor- 
ney Burke did not feel that they were motivated by any particular 

I think a mistaken action on the part of the Sheriff of Weston county 
should not be attributed to any wrongful motive or purpose on his 
part, for Mr. Miller was known to me to be a good officer, a brave 
man. and one who intended to be right in all his actions. What I say 
of Sheriff Miller of Weston county I can also say of several of his 
posse . . . .^^ 

Special Agent McNichols agreed with Burke's exoneration of 
Miller, concluding that the sheriff had probably accompanied the 
posse against his better judgment and only to protect his reputation 
as a brave man. But McNichols did not share Burke's benevolent 
attitude toward the posse: 

The sheriffs posse was no Sunday-school class. Cowboys and bar- 
tenders predominated in the makeup of the white party. Several of 
them were entire strangers to the original party. Sheriff Miller did 
not know whether they were men of coolness, judgment, and steady 
character. Their recommendation was that they had guns and were 
willing to join the party.-*^ 

Historians have generally propagated this theory of Sheriff Mil- 
ler's comparative innocence in the Lightning Creek fight. ^-^ His 
past suggests, however, that Burke and McNichols failed to assign 
the dead lawman his full share of the blame for the events leading 
up to the fight. Although Miller was well known as a brave and 
honest sheriff, his conviction to do his duty seemed to increase 
whenever Indians were involved. For several years he had gone 
out of his way to arrest South Dakota Sioux for various legal 
infractions. In 1901 he even received a letter of congratulations 
from Wyoming's Governor DeForest Richards for performing this 
task so thoroughly. ^^ Had Miller, who was responsible for the 
posse, not been so enthusiastic about arresting Indians, he could 
have returned to Newcastle after capturing the nine Sioux on 
October 23. But disregarding the limits of his jurisdiction, and 
exceeding the powers granted in his warrant, he continued to scour 
the country, looking for more Indians. 

As fate would have it, the next band that the posse encountered 
was led by Charlie Smith. Miller and Smith shared bad feelings 

4iBurke to The Attorney General, December 17, 1903. 

42S. Doc. 128, p. 14. 

■^■"'See, for example, Ernest M. Richardson, "Sullen Sioux From Pine Ridge 
Reservation Brought On the Last Indian-White Blood-Letting in Wyoming," 
Montana, the Magazine of Western History Vol. 10, No. 3, 42-52; Mabel E. 
Brown, "Billy Miller — Martyr Sheriff," Bits and Pieces Vol. 3, No. 3, 1-7. 

4*Richardson, "Sullen Sioux," p. 46. 


toward each other from earlier confrontations.^'' Indians and 
whites agreed that the Indians probably would have submitted to 
the posse on October 30 had it not been for Smith. Smith knew, 
however, that Miller could not legally arrest them. Undoubtedly, 
he also understood the racist connotations behind an arrest attempt 
that never would have been made against whites. 

The unfortunate deaths of five Indians and two whites at Light- 
ning Creek did, indeed, "stain a page in Wyoming's history." 
There may be some doubt that the posse fired the first shot of the 
fight, but there is no doubt that they fired indiscriminately into the 
Indian families, killing a small boy, an old man, and a woman 
fleeing hundreds of yards from the battle. At the preliminary 
hearing and during the investigations there was much interest in 
trying to determine which Indians had shot Sheriff Miller and 
Deputy Falkenberg. But no one asked, at least publicly, which 
posse members had killed the defenseless Indian victims. 

This disregard for Indian life, undoubtedly part of the frontier 
heritage, was not a trait common only to "bartenders and cow- 
boys."" Senator Warren penned one of the most callous assess- 
ments of the fight in a letter to Acting Governor Chatterton on 
November 19: 

I can say with feeling emphasis that I am very, very sorry for the 
death of the sheriff and one of his deputeis, and I presume I ought to 
say that I am sorry for the death of the Indians; but if the Indian 
legend is right, that they go from here to the Happier Hunting 
Ground, and if Smith was as wicked as described, and we are the 
gainer in their increased respect of our laws by the severe punishment, 
then I venture to feel glad of the casualties on their side.^" 

The fight at Lightning Creek was an historical anachronism. 
The Sioux posed absolutely no threat to the people of Wyoming in 
1903. Yet a band of Indian families traveling through the state 
was treated almost as if it had been a war party. Sheriff Miller 
and his men ignored their own laws in pursuing the Indians, and 
then shot down men, women and children in the fight that fol- 
lowed. Evidently the racial hatred engendered during the decades 
of warfare between the two peoples prevented many whites from 
viewing the Indian as anything other than a mortal enemy. It is 
not difficult to conclude, in the context of such sentiments, that 
the Charlie Smith and William Brown parties were confronted by 
the posse not because they were hunting, but because they were 

45Smith, well educated and somewhat bellicose, had reportedly been 
greatly angered by earlier arrests of High Dog and others, and he and Miller 
liad previously argued. Mecum to Chatterton, November 9, 1903; Richard- 
son, "Sullen Sioux," p. 46; and Brown, "Billy Miller," pp. 3-5. 

4<>Francis E. Warren to Fenimore Chatterton, November 19, 1903. Chat- 
terton Papers. 


A Game Cock 
Told to me by Abe Abraham 

There was a brewery in Buffalo in 1885 that was run by a 
German by the name of Fisher. This Fisher was always bragging 
about his beer; declaring it was the finest beer in the world. 

He owned a buggy horse and was always bragging about it; 
claiming it could out trot any horse in the state and that he had a 
rooster that could lick any rooster that came around. "He was a 
son-of-gun of a rooster," Fisher declared. 

One day Fisher was bragging about his rooster in Joe Sharp's 
barber shop and Joe said, "Yeah? Well, I've got a banty rooster 
that I'll bet can lick your 'son-of-a-gun' of a rooster." 

"I'll bet you," Fisher said. 

"All right; I'll call that bet." 

The time and place was agreed upon which was to be at 3:30 
the following day at Fisher's home at the end of Main street in 

At the appointed time half of Buffalo followed Joe Sharp, carry- 
ing his banty rooster under his arm. Just before they reached 
Fisher's home, Joe slipped steel spurs on his banty. 

No one knew that Joe's rooster was wearing spurs, neither did 
many know that Joe's banty was a game cock but they bet on Joe's 
banty, just the same. They all knew Joe and they were willing to 
take a chance on the card he had up his sleeve. 

When they arrived at Fisher's everything was set and the two 
roosters were put to fighting. I never saw anything prettier in my 
life for every time the Dungbill made a pass at the game cock the 
banty would duck, circle and duck and then fly clear over the 
Dunghill's head and then duck again. 

This kept up for a dozen or more rounds when Fisher said, "See, 
what did I tell you? Your little runt of a rooster is scared to death 
of my fighting cock." 

Joe did not answer and the roosters kept on sparring, then, 
suddenly, the banty made a rush at the Dungbill; socked both his 
spurs into the big rooster's head and Fisher's rooster fell over 
backward — dead. 

Joe had to help his rooster get his spurs out of the Dunghill's 
head and when Fisher saw the spurs, for the first time, he said, 
"Look, that scoundrel ties nails on his rooster's feet." 

But the banty was declared the winner. 

— By Ida McPherren 

W.P.A. Manuscripts Collection 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical 

J^ lazing the Mdger and 
Uozeman Z rails 


John S. Gray 

Rumors of rich diggings in the remote Salmon River region on 
the western slope of the Continental Divide in present Idaho drew 
eager miners in the spring of 1862 from the played-out placer 
gulches of Colorado. 

Reaching Fort Bridger over well-traveled trails, these gold- 
seekers headed north into an unfamiliar wilderness, where they lost 
themselves in snow-clad ranges and spring-flooded valleys. Wan- 
dering in all directions, the inveterate prospectors soon struck 
promising leads along the eastern slope of the Divide in present 
Montana. They found the richest deposits that summer on 
Grasshopper Creek, where the boom town of Bannack promptly 

The following gold rushers from the east traveled the old emi- 
grant road up the Platte, North Platte, and Sweetwater Rivers to 
South Pass. From there one trail looped southwest through Fort 
Bridger before heading north, while the Lander cut-off led more 
directly toward the Idaho wilderness. Both trails, however, were 
not only rugged, but exasperatingly circuitous, twice crossing the 
Continental Divide. Everyone recognized that the pressing need 
was a shorter and easier route to the new Eldorado. 

Before long, enterprising guides were pioneering two cut-off 
routes. Bridger's trail left the North Platte at Red Buttes, a few 
miles above present Casper, and headed for the north-draining 
Big Horn Basin, lying between the Wind River range on the west 
and the Big Horn Range on the east; it then circled west up the 
valley of the Yellowstone and over the low Bridger range into the 
Gallatin Valley. The Bozeman Trail, leaving the North Platte a 
few miles lower down, skirted the eastern base of the Big Horns 
before swinging west to merge with Bridger's trail. Both saved 
important mileage and made easier traveling, especially Bozeman's. 
But at the time, Bridger's was safer, for the Big Horns formed a 
rampart against the Sioux bands jealously defending their favorite 
hunting grounds on the plains. 

The story of the blazing of these cut-off routes to Montana has 


been told before^, but new sources support a fuller and more 
accurate account of these pioneering ventures. 

Most unexpected is the finding that a tiny sporting party blazed 
the Bridger trail in 1862, thereby sparking the development of both 
cut-offs. This was while the first wave of gold-seekers were losing 
themselves in the Idaho wilderness, and two years before Jim 
Bridger conducted the first emigrant train over the route. The 
sporting Englishman who braved the unknown with a mere handful 
of retainers was Edward Shelley, the skirt-chasing nephew of the 
celebrated poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley! 

Herbert O. Brayer, who discovered Edward Shelley's diary in 
England, has sketched the story of this hunting excursion, supply- 
ing scattered diary excerpts-. Leaving Kansas City on May 26, 
1862, Shelley traveled with some British friends to Denver, where 
a local paper saluted their arrival on July 7-^ Two days later the 
party started north along the front range, pausing to hunt and fish 
before rolling in to Fort Laramie on August 3. Other members 
of the party went no farther, but Shelley would push on to winter 
at Fort Benton, the American Fur Company post at the head of 
navigation of the Missouri. 

Shelly's venture was bold, if not foolhardy, for the Indians had 
recently shut down the Overland Stage Line along the Sweetwater, 
prompting its new proprietor, Ben Holladay, to move it a hundred 
miles south to a shorter and safer trail across southern Wyoming. 
This was sometimes called the Bridger Trail, but to avoid confu- 
sion we shall retain its earlier and more common name, the Chero- 
kee Trail. Heading north from Denver, it entered the mountains 
at Laporte, Colorado, turned west near present Laramie, Wyo- 
ming, crossed the North Platte (here flowing north), surmounted 
the Continental Divide by Bridger's Pass, and coursed across the 
arid Bitter Creek country to join the old trail shortly before reach- 
ing Fort Bridger. Moving the stage line confronted Lt. Col. Wil- 
liam O. Collins, 11th Ohio Cavalry, with the burden of guarding 
the new as well as the old trail with his few companies.^ 

Despite the danger, Shelley started up the North Platte on 
August 11 with apparently three light wagons and four or five 
hired teamsters and guides. Only one of his men, probably picked 
up in Denver, can be named, but he is a key one — William Orcutt. 

iSee Grace R. Hebard and E. A. Brininstool, The Bozeman Trail, (Glen- 
dale: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1960); Dorothy M. Johnson, The Bloody 
Bozeman, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971). 

^Herbert O. Brayer, "Western Journal of Edward Shelley," Chicago West- 
erners Brand Book, Jan., 1957. All further information on Shelley's trip, 
not otherwise documented, is from this source. 

'■"'Rocky Mountain News, July 12, 1862. Hereafter cited as RMN. 

^Agnes Wright Spring, Casper Collins, (New York: Columbia University 
Press, 1927). 


None of the tiny party seemed dismayed to find the stage stations 
and trading posts largely deserted and some in ashes. 

On reaching the Sweetwater, Shelley passed several camps of 
detachments of Ohio Cavalry guarding the route. Perhaps at one 
of them he met Col. Collins' guide and scout, old Jim Bridger, / 
and thus learned of the Big Horn Basin access to Montana. In 
any case, on August 28, he left the upper Sweetwater and struck 
north over a fifteen-mile divide to the head of a stream, either the 
Little Popo Agie or Beaver Creek, and descended it to Wind River, 
near present Riverton, which he reached on September 3. 

The scattered diary excerpts do not define Shelley's route in 
detail, but somehow he crossed the Owl Creek Mountains, running -^ 
east and west to form the southern rim of the Big Horn Basin, and 
through which the Wind River has scoured an impassable canyon 
to emerge as the Big Horn River. Somewhere he forded this 
name-changing stream, for he crossed a major western affluent, 
Greybull River, on September 19. Brayer implies that he then 
re-crossed the Big Horn and struggled east over the formidable 
Big Horn range to reach the open plains. This is scarcely credible, 
for he was already in an open basin that led north to "a south fork 
of the Yellowstone," probably Clarks Fork, which he reached on 
October 5 . i 

The scouting party soon fell in with a village of Blackfeet 
Indians, who proved so surprisingly friendly that Shelley wandered 
with them for the next month. Together they forded the Yellow- 
stone and roamed north across the Musselshell. On the approach 
of winter, Shelley's party struck for Fort Benton, arriving there on 
November 1. There they first learned of the exciting new gold 
strike at Bannack, some 250 miles to the southwest. Two of the 
discharged hired hands, including William Orcutt, immediately left 
for these diggings, going by way of Deer Lodge. 

Even the sketchy diary excerpts reveal that Shelley had tra- 
versed the key segment of the future Bridger Trail — the Big Horn 
Basin, west of the rampart of the Big Horns. To be sure, the 
knowledgeable Bridger would later modify the initial segment to 
make a shorter and easier entry into the basin and the final seg- 
ment so as to travel more directly to the gold mines. 

Word of Shelley's achievement soon reached Colorado. The 
first hint appeared an an editorial in the Rocky Mountain News 
of March 26, 1863, which recommended as "a shorter and better 
route" one that crossed from the Sweetwater to Wind River and 
on to the Yellowstone. Conclusive proof appeared in the same 
paper in the form of a letter written by J. B. ("Buzz") Caven at 
Bannack on February 8, 1863. The relevant part reads: 

It is now ascertained to a certainty that the most practicable route 
to this country lies east of the Wind River range .... Shelley, an 
English gentleman, came across this summer from Denver by that 
route and says that he never saw a better mountain road .... Mr. 


I Orcutt, who came through with him, says it is not over 400 miles 
from Fort Laramie to the Three Forks [the junction of the Gallatin, 
Madison, and Jefferson to form the Missouri], and no elevation higher 
than between here and Deer Lodge. You must endeavor to make this 
public, for it is reliable. I am personally acquainted with Orcutt and 
know him to be a reliable man.^ ) 

One ellipsis in the above included the significant sentence: 
"John Jacobs may possibly go through to that point [Denver] for 
the purpose of guiding the emigration through, though it is not 
certain." John M. Jacobs, with John M. Bozeman, did indeed 
return that spring to guide emigrants back to the mines, but we 
must pause to identify these two pioneers. 

Jacobs, later described as "a red-bearded Italian," was a mature 
veteran of the mountains. One source implies that he came west 
in 1842, but a better one dates it in 1849'^, the time of the Cali- 
fornia gold rush. If he reached those mines, he did not long 
remain, for he had been trading on the emigrant road when in 
1850-1851 he settled a debt at Fort Owen, in Montana's Bitter 
Root Valley, by bringing in emigrant cattle. There are references 
to his trading on the road in summer and running cattle in Mon- 
tana in the winter every year from 1857 through 1861". In July 
1862 he conducted an emigrant train of forty wagons from Soda 
Springs through Deer Lodge to Walla Walla'^. By that fall, when 
the new strike at Bannack was draining miners from the lesser 
diggings at Deer Lodge, Jacobs joined the hegira. 

Bozeman, a native of Georgia, was in his vigorous twenty-sixth 
year, large of stature and commanding in presence. In 1860 he 
had left his family in Georgia to join the Colorado gold rush^. 
Finding no fortune there, he left Denver on April 1, 1862, with 
the first party drawn to the Idaho mines. Following the Cherokee 
Trail to the North Platte crossing and then turning north to the 
lower Sweetwater, the party was so delayed by snow and poor 
grass that it did not reach Fort Bridger until May 28^*^. Later- 
starting trains overtook it there and together they headed north to 
lose themselves in the maze of mountains. Bozeman's splinter 

■'RMN, April 9, 1863. 

^Denver Commonwealth and Republican, Sept. 17, 1863. Hereafter cited 
as DC&R. 

^George W. Weisel, Men and Trade on the Northwest Frontier, (Mis- 
soula: Montana State University Press, 1955). 

^Granville Stuart, Forty Years on the Frontier, (Glendale: The Arthur 
H. Clarke Co., 1957). See index. 

•'Merrill G. Burlingame, "John M. Bozeman, Montana Trailmaker," 
Mississippi Valley Historical Review, March, 1941. Hereafter cited as 
Burlingame, "Bozeman." 

if'Letter, Ham's Fork, May 30, 1862, in RMN, June 28, 1862. 


group rolled into Deer Lodge on June 24^\ where he mined for a 
while before joining the fall exodus to Bannack. 

Idled by winter, Bannacjcites escaped boredom by promoting 
town sites and short cuts. ( Buzz Caven's letter, quoted above in 
part, reveals that he and "^ajor" William Graham were among 
the promoters of hopeful Gallatin City, located at the three forks 
of the Missouri. According to Joseph A. Emery, who reached 
Omaha from the mines by mackinaw boat on April 22, 1863, 
Graham was then exploring a 400-mile (!) cut-off from Gallatin 
City to Fort Laramie^-. He apparently never carried out this 
project, but Emery reveals that rumors were circulating of an 
alternate short cut along the eastern skirts of the Big Horns, a trail 
familiar only to old fur traders plying between Fort Laramie and 
the Yellowstone. . 

jit is more significant that Jacobs, Bozeman, and Orcutt all spent 
thd winter in Bannack^^, where the latter was extolUng Shelley's 
route. The idea of exploring it in reverse and then guiding pil- 
grims back at so much per wagon appealed more to the veteran 
Jacobs and fledgling Bozeman than the long-shot, back-breaking 
labor of mining. Before spring of 1863, they, together with 
Jacobs' half-breed daughter of seven winters, headed for a take-off 
base at over-promoted Gallatin City. 

Jacob's departure from Gallatin City and his intention of ex- 
ploring Shelley's route was recorded in a letter written by L. B. 
Duke on May 24, 1863 at that city: "... I would advise emigrants 
to take the route east of the Wind [River] range. Mr. Jacobs, 
an old and experienced mountaineer, left here on March 20th. He 
went through on that route to [Fort] Laramie, and may now be 
guiding emigrants back by this route . . . ."^* ^ 

Having left unseasonably early on March 2D, the exploring trio 
plunged into the unknown, not to be heard of again until fifty-two 
days later, when they were only about 260 miles out and far east 
of Shelley's route. , Besides weather, such slow progress suggests 
searching for a pass "over the Bridger range into the Yellowstone 
Valley and fords across the Yellowstone and its southern affluents. 
In addition, we speculate that they first explored the Big Horn 
Basin and became disenchanted with its arid stretches and rugged 
southern rim. Either this disappointment, or the rumors of the 
old trader's trail, prompted them to seek a better passage around 
the northern extremity of the Big Horns and south along its eastern 
skirts, i 

iiStuart, Forty Years, p. 21L 

^^Nebraska Republican (Omaha), April 24, 1863. 

i3"Persons in Montana During the Winter of 1862-3," Montana Historical 
Society Contributions, Vol. 1, p. 334. 
14/?MN, July 2, 1863. 


On the morning of May 1 1 , they were on the east bank of the 
Big Horn River near the mouth of Rotten Grass Creek, some 
twelve miles below the mouth of the impassable Big Horn Canyon. 
There they spotted an Indian war party and fled furiously up 
Rotten Grass Creek to vanish among its brush-lined breaks. They 
had actually glimpsed, not Indians, but James Stuart's large pros- 
pecting party, which had left Gallatin City a month after the 
exploring trio. Merely hoping to pass the time of day, the dis- 
gusted prospectors gave up the pursuit of the skittish explorers.^^ 

Two days later Jacob's party encountered a less imaginary scare, 
when they found themselves in the near presence of a real war 
party of braves, apparently Crows. Knowing they would be plun- 
dered at the very least, Jacobs tossed his rifle and bullet-pouch 
into a clump of sagebrush. The warriors stripped them of every 
possession, but then relented sufficiently to turn them loose on 
three broken-down ponies without grub. Jacobs recovered his 
rifle, but found only five balls in his bullet pouch. It made little 
difference, however, for they could find no game on their 250 mile 
flight southward to the emigrant road on the North Platte.^" 

This flight on empty stomachs and crippled ponies undoubtedly 
took them along the eastern base of the Big Horns, providing the 
opportunity of recognizing its superiority as an emigrant road. 
Yet for fear of Indians and starvation, they could scarcely have 
tarried to locate emigrant campsites with the necessary wood, 
water, and grass. They limped into safety on the North Platte at 
the mouth of Deer Creek in a destitute and famished state, prob- 
ably two weeks later, say about May 27. 

At this time Deer Creek, some twenty-five miles below present 
Casper, boasted a thriving trading post, a squad of Ohio Cavalry, 
and a telegraph station with Oscar Collister as resident operator. 
The latter's reminiscences" mention the arrival there in the sum- 
mer (?) of 1863 of Bozeman and Jacobs from Montana, they 
having staked out (?) a new cut-off along the east slope of the 
Rockies. Although the explorers had originally intended to reach 
Fort Laramie, 105 miles farther down the Platte, they apparently 
remained at Deer Creek to recuperate. 

Jacobs probably knew the proprietor of the trading post, Joseph 
Bissonette, a forty-five year old Frenchman^^. He served not only 

loJames Stuart, "Journal of Yellowstone Expedition of 1863," Montana 
Historical Society Contributions, Vol. 1, p. 148. 


I'Oscar Collister, "Life of ... as told by Himself to Mrs. Chas. Ellis of 
Difficulty, Wyo.," Annals of Wyoming, July and October, 1930. Hereafter 
cited in the text by the name Collister. 

i^John D. McDermott, "Joseph Bissonette," in LeRoy R. Hafen, Moun- 
tain Men and the Fur Trade, (Glendale: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1965), 
Vol. 1, p. 49. TTie latter hereafter cited as Mountain Men. 


emigrants, but the nearby Sioux, and sent seasonal trading parties 
out to the Yellowstone by the old trader's trail. One of his em- 
ployees was another old Frenchman, John Baptiste Boyer, who 
had traded for years on the upper Missouri before moving out to 
the Platte; with him was his twenty-six year old, half-Sioux son, 
Michel (Michael, or "Mitch") Boyer, destined to win fame as a 
scout and guide before his Indian relatives snuffed out his life with 
General George A. Custer on the Little Big Horn.^'' Another of 
Bissonette's employees was the twenty-nine-year-old Rafael Galle- 
go§, of New Mexican origins-*^'. 

iWhile the spent explorers were recuperating at Deer Creek, the 
spring migration was already on the road. Samuel Word-\ diarist, 
and George W. Irvin II--, a reminiscence recorder, having left St. 
Joseph for the Idaho mines, pulled into Fort Laramie on June 22. 
Although Irvin recalled that they met Jacobs and Bozeman there, 
he is contradicted by Sam Word's copious diary. It mentions 
neither them or any cut-off at this point, but does record on June 
30, when they reached Deer Creek, that both guides were there and 
had been gathering wagons to take their new cut-off for two weeks, 
i.e., since about June 16. In view of the heavy traffic, the further 
implication is that Jacobs and Bozeman were capturing few of the 
passing wagons. Nevertheless, Word and Irvin, deciding to join 
the venture, tarried for some days while a stronger train gathered. 

While waiting. Word struck up a friendship with trader John 
Boyer (whom he called Bovier, and others called "Old Bouillion") 
and thereby gathered useful information about the cut-off and gold 
mining. "He seems to have taken quite a fancy to me, while he 
talks little with others," he recorded, "and presented me with a 
cradle and rocker and and shovel and pick worth $15-20 — a hand- 
some present. I shall ever remember old man Bovier for his kind- 
ness. He is an honest old backwoodsman and mountaineer." 

Among the slowly gathering wagons appeared that of Robert 
and James Kirkpatrick, who would also leave reminiscences of 
their experience-'^ Crossing to the north bank of the Platte, the 

i9"Ft Pierre Journals . . . ," South Dakota Historical Collections, 1918, 
index; "Father C. Hoecken's Baptismal Journal," idem, Vol. 23, p. 230; 
John Boye affidavit, Fort Laramie, June 27, 1866, in Joseph Bissonette 
Claim. Hse. Ex. Doc. No. 80, 41st Cong., 3rd Sess., Ser. No. 1454. The 
latter hereafter cited as Bissonette Claim. 

20RaphaeI Gallegos Affidavit, Fort Laramie, June 27, 1866, in Bissonette 

-iSam Word, "Diary, 1863," Montana Historical Society Contributions, 
Vol. 8, p. 37. This and all subsequent trail diaries, etc. will be used to 
construct the text; each will be referenced on its initial appearance, but 
further citations will be keyed in the text by using the source's name. 

22George W. Irvin 11, "Overland to Montana," Butte Miner, Holiday 
Edition, Jan. 1, 1888. 

-''Michael Gene McLatchy, "From Wisconsin to Montana, the Reminis- 


train celebrated July 4 by appointing a committee to draft rules 
and by electing as captain one of their own number, James Brady 
from Missouri. 

On the morning of July 6, 1863, the assembled train, still num- 
bering only forty-six wagons and eighty-nine men, with additional 
women and children, pulled out to become the first to pioneer what 
would become famous as the Bozeman Trail. Since Jacobs and 
Bozeman had been unable to lay out the route and campsites over 
the first half of the coming journey, they took Rafael Gallegos, 
undoubtedly familiar with the old trader's trail, to guide the train 
as far as the crossing of the Big Horn River. Train accounts refer 
to him only as "Rafeil" or "the Mexican." 

After winding slowly for some 125 miles over dry, sagebrush 
country, the train nooned on July 20 to enjoy the sweet mountain 
water of a branch of Clear Creek, near present Buffalo. The 
sudden appearance of 150 mounted Sioux and Cheyenne braves 
prompted hasty defense measures, but instead of attacking, the 
chiefs merely asked for a parley. Against Bozeman's advice, the 
emigrant ladies spread a feast for the visitors, during which sundry 
loose articles vanished and one belligerent brave threatened Gal- 
legos. At the ensuing council, the chiefs bluntly forbade any tres- 
pass of their cherished hunting grounds, and threatened reprisals 
unless the train turned back to the Platte road. The emigrants 
asked for time to consider the matter. 

That evening the train held a meeting which initiated a debate 
that would bring endless repercussions. Word recorded that 
"many of our men are timid and cowardly and immediately deter- 
mined to go back .... Some are in favor of going on anyway, 
others are not." Within days he acknowledged his own preference 
for retreat. Robert Kirkpatrick recalled that all the train voted to 
return except five families, while his brother James remembered 
that all but four wagons favored this course. The conclusive proof 
that the majority opposed bearding the Indians lies in the fact that 
the entire train retreated four miles the next afternoon and twelve 
the day after in an atmosphere of apprehension and acrimony. 

We can not so easily establish the attitudes of the leaders, how- 
ever. Word recorded that at this initial meeting "our guides tell 
us it is dangerous and have ordered a retreat until we can get 
reinforcements. That is the conclusion this evening." Robert 
Kirkpatrick recalled that Bozeman pronounced it madness to pro- 
ceed, but his brother contradicted this by claiming that Bozeman, 
Jacobs, Captain Brady, and apparently Gallegos advised going on. 

cences of Robert Kirkpatrick," M.A. Thesis, 1961, Montana State Univer- 
sity, Bozeman; James Kirkpatrick, "A Reminiscence of John Bozeman," in 
John W. Hakola, ed., Frontier Omnibus, (Missoula: Montana State Uni- 
versity Press and Historical Society of Montana, 1962). 


Our best resolution of these contradictions, prompted by subse- 
quent events, is that all four leaders agreed that because of the 
women and children they should seek reinforcements, but dis- 
agreed on the course to pursue should reinforcements prove unob- 
tainable. But even this degree of discord among leaders soon 
triggered bitter arguments among their followers. 

As a sullen compromise that satisfied no one, it was finally 
decided to send couriers back to Deer Creek to ask for a military 
escort, and to induce James Creighton's large Bannack-bound mer- 
chant train, which some knew to be following on the Platte road, 
to come out and swell their ranks. George W. Irvin and some 
nameless emigrant volunteered to join Gallegos on this mission. 
After dark of July 22, the trio stole out of camp to speed to Deer 
Creek. For the next week debate and apprehension shook the 
train as it retreated on alternate days back to the North Fork of 
Powder River, near present Kaycee, only about seventy-five miles 
from Deer Creek. 

The couriers covered the 110 miles back to the telegraph station 
in good time, for they arrived there on July 25, as shown by the 
emigrant diary of Joseph A. Emery-^, who recorded on that day at 
Deer Creek that an emigrant train on a new cut-off had been 
turned back by Indians. The messengers transacted their business 
within three days, for they must have left on the 27th to reach the 
anxious train on the 29th, as Word's diary reveals. 

Courier Irvin recalled that promptly on reaching the telegraph 
station they wired Fort Laramie for a troop escort and that the wire 
was relayed to the Omaha headquarters of Gen. Thomas J. Mc- 
Kean, commanding the military District of Nebraska. "The answer 
soon came that no aid could be rendered to the party by the mili- 
tary," Irvin wrote, because "all the country north to the Yellow- 
stone . . . was Indian country, upon which emigrants had no right 
to enter." This answer came by July 26, for on that day emigrant 
Lucia Park Darling-^, then camped at the Horseshoe Creek tele- 
graph station, recorded in her diary that "the command at Fort 
Laramie has forbidden the troops to help a train surrounded by 
Indians on the new route." 

Since Lt. Col. Collins had gone to Ohio to recruit more com- 
panies to bolster his original four in guarding the two overland 
trails, Major Thomas L. Mackey, 11th Ohio Cavalry, was com- 
manding Fort Laramie^^. When his wire to Omaha yielded no 

24Joseph A. Emery, "Omaha to Virginia City, May 31 -Sept. 25, 1863," 
microfilm of typescript, Montana Historical Society Library. 

2f>Lucia Park Darling, "Diary, 1863," microfilm, Montana Historical 
Society Library. 

-^Robert A. Murray, Fort Laramie, (Fort Collins: The Old Army Press, 
1974), p. 86. 


authority, one way or the other, for reasons shortly to be disclosed, 
he could only follow his own judgement. He obviously felt that in 
the face of a troop shortage he could not afford to divert a detach- 
ment for several months, especially on a mission that by violating 
treaty rights could easily trigger an Indian war. He therefore not 
only refused the escort, but in effect outlawed the cut-off. Further- 
more, he wired the Deer Creek post, through operator Collister, to 
send out a guide as an agent of the military to bring the train 
immediately back to the Platte road. This latter is inferred from 
subsequent events and the confused recollections of Collister. 

At this rebuff, the couriers may have tried to induce the Creigh- 
ton train to take the cut-off. According to several diarists who 
traveled off and on with this merchant train-^, it reached Deer 
Creek about July 26, but none mentions such a request. In any 
case it made no move toward the cut-off, presumably because of 
the army ban. Having thus failed in their mission, the couriers 
left to rejoin their stranded outfit. Gallegos apparently remained 
at Deer Creek, since no one mentions him again, but all accounts 
agree that John Boyer accompanied the other two to bring the train 
back. The fact that no new guide was needed for this purpose 
reinforces our inference that Boyer had been selected as the agent 
of the military to insure the train's return. 

The couriers reached the stalled train on July 29, reporting the 
failure of their mission and that Boyer was sent to guide them back. 
At this proof that indecision and compromise had brought nothing 
but delay, dissension in the train reached new heights. "My old 
friend Bovier . . . ," Word recorded, "thinks it a shame that we did 
not go on; says Rafeil is a coward and ought to be shot. Says we 
could go through yet, but he cannot go with us. Could only get 
leave [permission?] to guide us to the Platte. He is in the employ 
of the government [paid agent to insure return?] and cannot do 
as he wishes." 

A stampede of oxen the next day damaged some wagons and 
limited the retreat to one mile. As Irvin recalled, the majority had 
accepted the decision to abandon the expedition — but not John 
Bozeman and nine other bold men. As midnight flipped the 
calendar to July 3 1 , this resolute group set out on horseback, with 
one pack horse laden with provisions, determined to press on to 
Bannack despite the army ban and Indian threats. Only two of 
Bozeman's companions have been identified — George W. Irvin, 
who has left the only account, and Mike J. Knoch-^. 
I To avoid the Indian-infested plains, Bozeman wisely abandoned 

2'Joseph A. Emery (see fn. 24); Lucia Park Darling (see fn. 25); R. D. 
Ross, "Journal of a Trip Across the Plains in 1863," North Dakota Histor- 
ical Society Collections, Vol. 2, p. 219. 

28Burlingame, "Bozeman." 


his proposed cut-off to lead the party up the North Fork of Powder 
River into the concealing Big Horns. While crossing the range on 
the second night out, they lost all their grub in an accident to their 
pack horse. Pushing on down Ten Sleep Canyon they reached the 
Big Horn Basin and picked up Shelley's trail. After four nights of 
fast travel on empty stomachs, but without meeting Indians, they 
reached Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone.] 

On this journey Bozeman proved hirhself a born leader. He 
inspired the famished men to their best and most cheerful effort, 
and guided them so true in the darkness that either he and Jacobs 
had indeed explored the area, or he possessed a keen instinct for 
country. Irwin was sufficiently impressed to write: 

Bozeman was six feet two inches high, weighing two hundred 
pounds, supple, active, tireless, and of handsome, stalwart presence. 
He was genial, kindly, and as innocent as a child in the ways of the 
world. He had no conception of fear, and no matter how sudden a 
call was made on him day or night, he would come up with a rifle in 
his hand. He never knew what fatigue was, and was a good judge 
of all distances and when you saw his rifle level, you knew that you 
were not to go supperless to bed. 

After veering west up the Yellowstone Valley, Bozeman led his 
party over the Bridger range into the Gallatin valley by a low 
pass that 1-90 approximates today — Bozeman Pass. As they 
approached the three forks, the appetizing aroma of frying bacon 
drew them to the lonely camp of two miners. The latter watched 
in awe as their entire larder vanished down ten bottomless gullets, 
but they were game enough to serve an electrifying dessert — word 
of a recent hot placer strike at Alder Gulch, which had nearly 
depopulated Bannack in favor of booming Virginia City. Boze- 
man's party rode in to these diggings on August 22-'', well satisfied 
that their cross-country exploit had beaten most of the emigrants 

Meanwhile, John Boyer was shepherding the thwarted wagon 
train over a time-losing back-trail that proved dry and alkaline. 
The previous friction, and now second thought about their hasty 
retreat, were eroding even old friendships. As evidence of demor- 
alization. Word wrote that "the train is going helter-skelter, pell- 
mell, every man for himself, kind of busted up, and only part 
corraling together." As their hired leader, it was up to Jacobs to 
maintain cohesion, but some emigrant was plying both guides with 
whiskey. Perhaps Bozeman could have held their allegiance, but 
lacking such impressive leadership qualities, Jacobs failed. By the 
time they reached the Platte road at Red Buttes on August 9th, 
the train members were on the way to make Jacobs the scapegoat 
for their miseries. 

'■^^Society of Montana Pioneers Register (Helena, 1899), indexed. 


Since guides became superfluous on the crowded road, the re- 
sentful train ignored Jacobs and promptly broke up. Some paused 
to rest at inviting camps, while others sought out other trains will- 
ing to adopt them. The crowning mortification came when they 
began to hear that a military escort had come out to their aid after 
all, only to find them gone! Sam Word heard the rumor in garbled 
form on August 9, the very day they reached the Platte road. The 
Kirkpatrick brothers got it in more accurate form a week or two 
later when halfway up the Sweetwater. 

The newly-amplified truth is that on July 25, when Major 
Mackey relayed to Omaha the Deer Creek request for an escort, 
he first learned that departmental orders of July 19th had just 
transferred all the posts in present Wyoming from General Mc- 
Kean"s District of Nebraska to Col. John M. Chivington's District 
of Colorado-^^'. Although McKean relayed the wire to Chivington 
in Denver, it had to proceed by stage coach from Julesburg. This 
was the reason Mackey had to make his own temporary decision, 
which denied the escort, as we have described. 

A Denver newspaper picked up the story, as follows : 

A telegram received yesterday [July 29] at headquarters in this 
city from a party of emigrants at or near Clear Creek, about 100 
miles out from Omaha [an error taken from the Omaha relay wire 
instead of the original Deer Creek wire] , requesting protection from a 
hand of Indians, who had assumed so threatening an attitude that the 
train dare not proceed further. It consists of about 100 [5/c] wagons 
en route to Bannack City. It had also sent an application to Fort 
Laramie for assistance, but without effect. The dispatch was for- 
warded to Col. Chivington, who was at Fort Halleck, preparing to go 
into the mountains [after Indians], when last heard from.^i 

The dispatch, forwarded by stage coach, met the returning Chiv- 
ington, who promptly issued orders for Major Mackey to send an 
escort to aid the stalled train. These orders could not have reached 
Fort Laramie before John Boyer was guiding the train back to the 
Platte, but Mackey did send out Lt. William H. Brown with a 
detachment of his Company A, 11th Ohio Cavalry, as documented 
by the Denver paper: 

Lt. Brown of the 11th Ohio Cavalry called on us yesterday [Sep- 
tember 16] to confirm the statements of Mr. Jacobs [to be quoted 
later] .... Lt. Brown was in command of the escort sent out to the 
train. He took three months' rations and had orders to escort the 
train to Bannack. When he arrived at Powder River, to his great 
chagrin the train had broken up and returned by different routs to 
the old road. 

TTie Sioux and Cheyennes are constantly crowding back the Crows 

^*^Official Records, War of the Rebellion, Vol. 22, Part II, p. 764. 
^^DC&R, July 30, 1863. 


in that country. The Indians are a miserable set, very poorly armed, 
and with no real hostile intentions . . .32 

The remnants of Jacobs' shattered train plodded on toward the 
Idaho mines. Some hurried on to take the Lander trail at South 
Pass and reach Bannack in the first week of September. Sam 
Word, taking the roundabout route through Fort Bridger and Salt 
Lake City, did not arrive until September 29. The Kirkpatricks 
lagged slowly to the middle reaches of the Sweetwater, where they 
met a trader to the emigrants who was about to leave for Denver. 
They decided to throw in the sponge and return with him. Back- 
tracking to the lower Sweetwater, they turned south toward the 
Cherokee Trail. Traveling slowly to hunt, they covered some 
sixty-five miles to intercept it west of the North Platte crossing. 
There they met a heavy migration from Denver to Montana, and 
promptly changed their minds again. Turning west, they pro- 
ceeded to Fort Bridger and then north to reach Bannack on 
October 16. 

But what of the disgusted Jacobs? He abandoned his alienated 
charges no later than on the lower Sweetwater and headed for the 
Cherokee Trail and Denver ahead of the Kirkpatricks. On reach- 
ing Big Laramie Station, near present Laramie, on September 1, 
he had a conversation with a Bannack-bound traveler from Den- 
ver. This was N. H. Webster, whose diary at this date and place 
reads: "Had a long talk with John Jacobs this evening. He is 
from Bannack; before he left [obviously his train, not the city] 
there was a report of new diggings being found a hundred miles 
east of Bannack [at Virginia City] ; it was, he said, only reported; 
he did not know how true it was."-^^ Jacobs reached Denver about 
September 10. 

This aborted attempt of 1863 to conduct the first emigrant train 
over a short cut east of the Big Horns delivered Bozeman, mostly 
via Shelley's route, to Virginia City, but Jacobs only to Denver. 
Both would guide trains to Montana next year, but by different 
trails, and the pair apparently never again associated together. 
From the moment of parting at the base of the Big Horns on July 
31, 1863, Bozeman's career soared into full flight, while Jacobs' 
career ground looped. 

Jacobs had no more than reached Denver when he called a 
public meeting to prom.ote another emigrant train that he proposed 
to guide over his short cut to the new mines. The Denver Com- 
monwealth carried an enthusiastic account of this meeting held on 
September 14 at the Old Criterion Saloon, saying, "Mr. Jacobs has 
the project in tow. He is an old mountaineer, having spent four- 

^^DC&R, Sept. 24, 1863. 

33N. H. Webster, "Journal to Montana, 1863," Montana Historical So- 
ciety Contributions, Vol. Ill, p. 300. 


teen years in this country and visited all the new diggings." The 
pilot painted a glowing picture of his cut-off, claiming it to be 400 
miles shorter, well-wooded, well-watered, and strewn with promis- 
ing placer deposits the whole distance from Deer Creek to Gallatin 
City. The article noted that "Mr. Jacobs offered to pilot a party 
of 150 or 200 through this fall on the new route, if such a party 
can be made up to go." Another item indicated that he had 
applied to Col. Chivington for another escort, with results as yet 
unknown. ^^ 

The rival Rocky Mountain News ignored Jacobs and his public 
meeting, but confirmed that an application had just come to Chiv- 
ington to furnish an emigrant escort. It expressed the opinion that 
it should be refused, since the route unjustly violated treaty rights 
of the Indians to the country east of the Big Horns. This atypical 
observation of the Indian-baiting News can only be explained by 
its other pages, then filled with opposition to any trail that by- 
passed Denver. It could hardly have been ignorance that prompt- 
ed it to give an account, from no acknowledged source, of the 
aborted train, leaving the impression that it was still besieged by 
Indians, starving, and awaiting the recently requested escort!^'' 

It was undoubtedly misleading stories of this genre that brought 
Jacobs to the editor of the Commonwealth: 

Mr. Jacobs called on us yesterday [September 16] to correct a 
wrong impression concerning the route advocated to the Beaverhead 
mines. The train that was stopped on it some time since was under 
his charge and consisted of 47 wagons, containing 88 men, besides 
their families. They were at the eastern base of the Big Horn moun- 
tains and were getting along well, when about 140 Indians, men, 
women and children, came to talk, beg and bluff, as is their custom. 
They were Sioux, and he was in Crow country, and he told them he 
had no quarrel wtih them, nor had they any business to stop him. 
They went away, and that was the last he saw of them. But the 
people composing the train became very scared and wanted to go 
back. To pacify them he sent for an escort, and when it arrived the 
most of the train had gone back and taken the old route. Had they 
been less chickenhearted, there would have been no trouble. Mr. 
Jacobs says there is no more real danger on this route than there is 
on the other. 3*5 

That Jacobs' emigrants were apprehensive for their families and 
voted to return is true. That their leaders were unanimously bold 
and resolute we have been unable to establish. But to make a 
public charge that the emigrants had been "chicken-hearted" does 
establish one thing — that diplomacy was not Jacobs' forte. This 
incautious charge launched a fatal boomerang. But at the mo- 
ment, Chivington apparently took a dim view of furnishing another 

■^WC&R, Sept. 17, 1863. 
'■^■'RMN, Sept. 17, 1863. 
■^<^DC&R, Sept. 17, 1863. 


escort after the summer's fiasco. For this and perhaps other 
reasons, Jacobs' promotional splash died aborning within a week. 
Hundreds of Coloradoans did leave for the mines that fall, but not 
with Jacobs nor by his proposed cut-off. 

After lying low for a couple of months, the still-hopeful pro- 
moter tried again. Both Denver papers accepted a paid notice, 
dated December 16, that Mr. Jacobs was at old Jim Baker's ranch 
on Clear Creek, just outside of town, where he could be consulted 
by anyone interested in joining a company to take his cut-off the 
next spring'^'. Then on January 8 the Rev. L. B. Stateler presided 
at a public meeting of this company, at which they appointed 
officers and drew up articles of agreement specifying the conditions 
under which Jacobs would lead them through. The guide de- 
scribed "his new route . . . with the aid of his map .... He stated 
that he had spent 15 or 20 years in that section of the country and 
was familiar with every locality. "•^'^ 

This second promotional push seems to have been progressing 
favorably, but the lapse of time enabled the boomerang to strike 
back in JFebruary. The News spread on its front page a letter just 
received from thirty-nine of Jacobs' irate customers of the preced- 
ing summer, including Sam Word and Captain James Brady. This 
devastating missive, or missile, was dated at Virginia City, Idaho 
Territory, December 23, 1863, and read: 

The undersigned, who were members of a train of near fifty wagons 
that attempted to come to this country last summer by a new route 
leading from the Platte R. above Fort Laramie directly north along 
the east base of the Big Horn Mts., desire to make a statement 
through your paper in their own behalf and for the benefit of the 
public at large. 

Having learned recently from several sources not to be questioned, 
that Mr. John Jacobs, who is in your city engaged in trying to get a 
train of wagons to come through by the above route, is constantly 
representing that if it had not been for the cowardice of the members 
of the train referred to, he would have safely conducted it through, 
we have this to say — that Mr. Jacobs was in charge of our train; had 
full and entire control over it by the unanimous consent of all in 
it; that he represented that he had come through on the said route 
from this country at the instance of people here for the sole purpose 
of conducting immigration through, and we felt, from the professions 
he had made as to his knowledge of the country and acquaintance 
with Indian customs, that he was a fit person to take charge of the 
train. We were, however, disappointed in him. On the first appear- 
ance of danger he "weakened." A hundred or so Indians visited us 
and warned us not to go farther, and notwithstanding a marked 
majority of the train were emphatically in favor of going on [*/(■]. 
he argued against it, and taking the responsibility on himself, he 
turned us back, representing that we would likely all be destroyed if 
we went farther. 

'^"^RMN and DC&R, Dec. 23, 1863. 
^^RMN, Jan. 20, 1864. 


We take the responsibility of saying that Mr. Jacobs, as we believe, 
is a coward and unfit to take charge of a train. He may be a very 
good guide, and probably is; at least he ought to be well acquainted 
with the route referred to; but he is wholly unfit to command, owing 
to his consummate cowardice, to which all in our train will bear 
testimony. We have not a word to say against the route; we believe 
it to be a practicable one and think a train could come safely through 
on it with a firm man to command it. Mr. Jacobs, in that case, would 
answer for a guide, but he is unfit to act outside his place as such. 
We have deemed it due ourselves to say this much, having no interest 
whatsoever in the route. 

We all here remark that Mr. John Bozeman, who is a firm and 
determined man and well acquainted with said route, having been 
over it several times, has just left here for the Missouri River at 
Omaha for the purpose of piloting immigration through by said route. 
He will leave the Platte River not far from Fort Laramie early in the 
season. We can recommend him to the public. 

You will oblige us by giving this a place in your columns.-^^ 

Of course Jacobs, who had himself provoked this overdrawn 
letter, protested its publication, but the News merely challenged 
him to deny its authenticity and refused to give his project any 
further publicity. Jacobs watched in dismay as his second effort 
collapsed like a punctured balloon. The Rev. L. B. Stateler did 
proceed to the mines that spring, but not with Jacobs. 

The closing paragraph of the letter, it should be noted, warmly 
recommended Bozeman as a competent leader and announced his 
recent departure for Omaha to pilot emigrants out early the next 
spring. He had indeed left Virginia City early in December with 
Milton S. Moody's outfit bound for Salt Lake City with a tempting 
cargo of gold dust. Since two of the notorious Henry Plummer's 
gang of road agents botched the job of robbing this party, the 
chroniclers of the Montana vigilantes have told of it and Bozeman's 
connection with it.^*^ 

Presumably Bozeman continued on to Omaha, though we have 
had no opportunity to scour its local papers. If so, he was late in 
starting back in the spring. He may have revealed the reason 
in a letter he wrote his mother two years later. "I have never been 
sick a minute in this country," he told her, "except when I had the 
measles two years ago."^^ If the crowds and contagion in Omaha 
laid the giant low, it would explain his delayed start in the spring 
of 1864. 

Still other promoters were vying for the honor of taking the first 
successful train over the Bozeman trail. In the fall of 1863 an 
Omaha paper announced that a Mr. Comstock had already organ- 

SQRMN, Feb. 3, 1864. 

^fJThomas J. Dimsdale, The Vigilantes of Montana, (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1953), Chap. 10; N. P. Langford, Vigilante Days and 
Ways, (New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1912), Chap. 28. 

'*iBurlingame, "Bozeman." 


ized a company to leave there the next April 1 5 by this new route 
to Bannack^-. Nothing more is known of this outfit, but was its 
pilot William A. ("Buffalo Bill") Comstock, who had for some 
years traded and worked for the Overland Stage Line on the Platte 
and whose brother-in-law was Eleazer Wakeley, a supreme court 
judge in Omaha?^^ 

Sioux City and Yankton also entered the lists by promoting the 
rival Niobrara trail, which ascended the Missouri to the mouth of 
the Niobrara and then turned westward up the latter, parallel to 
the Platte, to intercept the old trader's trail to the Yellowstone. To 
publicize it, C. M. Davis, president of the Gallatin Townsite Co., 
returned to Yankton to hold a public meeting there on February 
20, 1864. He read a letter from George L. Tackett, a veteran 
trader on the Platte, which sketched the old trader's trail in detail. 
As a lure for emigrants, the Yankton paper flaunted a table of 
distances from Sioux City via Yankton to Virginia City that to- 
talled 849 miles*^ Not until 1865, however, did Col. James A. 
Sawyer make the first exploratory traverse of the Niobrara route 
with a government-financed wagon road expedition. 

The flood of emigrant traffic that headed for eastern Idaho in 
the spring of 1864 found itself on arrival in the newly-proclaimed 
Territory of Montana. Although several trains would for the first 
time successfully negotiate the Bozeman trail, a good many more 
would^choose the alternate route that Jim Bridger inaugurated that 
spring. ) 

Since both were cut-offs from the long-used Platte road, the 
frequent claim that they started from the Missouri, or Forts Kearny 
or Laramie, is hardly tenable. [ Throughout 1864 the Bridger Trail 
left the North Platte at Red Buttes, while the Bozeman trail left it 
about fifteen miles lower down near the eastern edge of present 
Casper at the lower Platte bridge, built and operated by John 
Richard, Sr., an old-time Indian and emigrant trader^"'. This 
should not be confused with the better known upper Platte bridge 
five or six miles farther upstream and originally built by Louis 
Guinard, but by this date also owned by Richard^^ It should be 
noted that in later years the departure for Bozeman's trail would 
move a good many miles farther downstream. 
1 The course of Bridger's little-studied trail appears, with some 

42See DC&R, Nov. 11, 1863. 

43John S. Gray, "Will Comstock, the Natty Bumppo of Kansas," Mon- 
tana. The Magazine of Western History, Summer, 1970, p. 2. 

44Yankton Dakotaian, March 1 and Feb. 18, 1864. 

45John D. McDermott, "John Baptiste Richard," in Mountain Men, Vol. 
II, p. 289. 

^6Robert A. Murray, "Trading Posts, Forts and Bridges of the Casper 
Area," Annals of Wyoming, Spring, 1975, p. 5. Hereafter cited as Murray, 
"Trading Posts." 


minor errors, on the road map issued by the Wyoming Highway 
Department. On the basis of trail diaries, checked against modern 
topographical maps, we calculate the distance from Red Buttes to 
Virginia City at about 510 miles; this is via Bridger's detour over 
the Bridger range, about thirteen miles longer than the more direct 
Bozeman Pass. On a similar basis, we calculate the distance from 
the lower Platte bridge to Virginia City by the better-studied Boze- 
man trail at about 535 miles; this is via Bozeman's Pass, but in- 
cludes a detour of twenty-five miles that all the trains of 1864 
made by first striking the Yellowstone near present Billings. It 
should be noted also that Bozeman's trail merged with, and there- 
after followed on, Bridger's trail at the Rock Creek branch of 
Clarks Fork, near present Boyd, Montana. 

For a large train, which inevitably included ox-powered wagons, 
fifteen to eighteen miles represented the maximum consistent day's 
drive. Since layovers for rest, washing, and repairs averaged one 
day a week, whether on Sunday or not, fifteen miles a day repre- 
sented a good standard rate of progress. A slower rate signalled 
extra trouble, deliberate leisure, or planned halts, usually for pros- 
pecting. This standard rate yields an expected transit time of 
thirty-four days over Bridger's^ and thirty-six days over Bozeman's 
route. / 

Foreseeing the swollen migration of 1864, Col. Collins wrote 
from Fort Laramie on April 25 that an emigrant train coming from 
Denver was expecting to pick up an escort at his post, and asked 
for instructions on diverting troops for such purposes^^. The next 
day John S. Collins^*^, Idaho bound by the Lander trail, met Jim 
Bridger at Fort Laramie assembling his first train. Col. Collins 
released Bridger from his employment as post scout on April 30 
to allow him to pilot these wagons through^^. With the Colonel's 
grateful blessing, he was intent on opening the safer route through 
the Big Horn Basin, which would require no military escort, j 

Within a few days the expected train hauled in from Denver, 
some 200 miles and two weeks distant. It probably included the 
disgruntled John Jacobs, still hoping to pick up some followers. It 
certainly included the Rev. L. B. Stateler, who has left the only 
account of this train, skimpy and reminiscent though it is^*^. Addi- 
tional clues to this and other trains, however, may be gleaned from 
the register of the Society of Montana Pioneers; the latter can- 

*~'Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 34, Part III, p. 304. 

4^ John S. Collins, My Experiences in the West, (Chicago: The Lakeside 
Press, 1970), p. 21. 

49Cecil J. Alter, Jim Bridger, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1962), p. 304. Hereafter cited as Alter, Bridger. 

50E. J. Stanley, Life of L. B. Stateler, (Nashville: The Methodist Pub- 
lishers, 1907), p. 175 ff. 


vassed Montana for residents who had come before the close of 
1864, recording their points of departure, routes, and places and 
dates of arrival, albeit with some errors. Only B. F. Bisel and 
A. M. Morgan specified that they had come with Bridger's first 

With the wagons already recruited, Bridger soon started for Red 
Buttes, some 140 miles and ten days distant. Jacobs, having aban- 
doned the idea of risking the Bozeman route again, probably tagged 
along to organize late-comers to follow in Bridger's footsteps. 
Bridger tarried a few days at Red Buttes until his outfit totaled 
sixty-two wagons, according to Howard S. Stanfield, who came 
along some days after they had left. There are several references 
to Bridger's departure in May, but only the recently-published 
diary of Stanfield-''- fixes the date as May 20. j 

In order to avoid the impassable Wind River canyon, Bridger 
ascended the east-flowing Poison Spider Creek for only a few days 
before winding northwest over sagebrush plains to present Lysite 
on a forks of Bad Water Creek, a west-running branch of Wind 
River. This was about seventy-five miles out, where James Rob- 
erts'''\ a diarist of a following train, recorded that Bridger had met 
a band of Indians, whose hostility turned to an effusive welcome on 
recognizing their old friend Bridger. Statleer tells the same story, 
identifying the band as chief Washakie's Shoshones. 

\ At this point Bridger turned north up present Bridger Creek, 
crossing the rugged Owl Creek Mountains to a header of Kirby 
Creek, which he descended, circling west to its mouth on the Big 
Horn River just below the impassable canyon at present Lucerne. 
In this rough passage the Statelers' wagon overturned down a steep 
declivity, but without serious injury to any of the party. On this 
sixty-mile stretch Bridger traveled slowly, scouting out the trail and 
pausing for road work on the rough places for the benefit of 
following trains. ) 

As trail diaries make quite clear, Bridger immediately crossed 
to the open west bank of the Big Horn. All hands turned to 
felling trees, whipsawing the logs into crude lumber and construct- 
ing a fairly substantial ferryboat to cross the spring-swollen stream. 
Once across, they buried the boat for following trains to use, and 
headed forty-five miles down the west bank, as diaries reveal, 
to camp opposite the mouth of No Wood Creek at present 

^^^Socieiy of Montana Pioneers Register. (Helena, 1899), indexed. Here- 
after cited in the text by the key word register. 

•''2Jack J. Detzler, ed., Diary of Howard Stillwell Stanfield, (Bloomington: 
Indiana University Press, 1969). 

-"^James Roberts, "Notes of Travel, Wisconsin to Idaho, 1864," typescript 
in Wisconsin Historical Society Library. 


They soon turned west so as to strike in one day's drive the 
necessary water in GreybuU River, a western affluent of the Big 
Horn. Ascending the Grey bull to a suitable ford south of present 
Burlington, they then made a dry march of twenty-five miles north 
to present Garland, where they forded the Stinking Water, another 
western tributary now more euphoniously called Shoshone River. 
After this fording, about 230 miles out, the train laid over for a 
few days to rest and recruit the stock. Here we leave them tem- 
porarily to pick up the story of three other trains destined to over- 
take and join them at this halt. ) 

The first of these following trains was a small trader's outfit of 
ten wagons, according to Stanfield, and dubbed "the indepen- 
dents," apparently because they needed no hired guides. It in- 
cluded Baptiste ("Big Bat") Pourier^^, marked for a long and 
distinguished career as an army scout. His reminiscences reveal 
that he went as a hired teamster with John Richard, Jr., the half- 
Sioux son of the trader and owner of the Platte Bridges''^. The 
group probably also included Amede Bessette, another French- 
Canadian Indian trader who had been in charge of one of the 
bridges for two years-^^, and Jose Miraval and family, another old 
trader of New Mexican origins^". .They had left Red Buttes only 
a few days behind Bridger himself. ^ 

J The second train was an emigrant company that Jacobs had 
succeeded in recruiting at Red Buttes. Howard Stanfield found 
this group gathering there on May 25 and decided to join it by 
paying Jacob's fee of $5 per wagon. Not until May 30 did Jacobs 
assemble sixty-seven wagons and start out in Bridger's wake. In 
short order Stanfield was complaining bitterly that Jacobs as a 
guide was superfluous, and as a leader was dictatorial, cowardly, 
and a har. On June 7 they reached the Big Horn, where they 
found the independents searching for the buried ferryboat. On 
finding it, the latter crossed that afternoon and Jacob's train the 
next day. i 

The third train was another emigrant outfit under Captain Al- 
lensworth, which left Red Buttes on June 2 to be quickly overtaken 
by others to swell the company to over one hundred wagons. 

•"^"Baptiste Fourier," Eli Richer Interviews, Nebraska Historical Society 
Library, microfilm from Micro Photo Div., Bell & Howell. 

•^'•'^Brian Jones. "Those Wild Reshaw Boys," Sidelights of the Sioux Wars, 
English Westerners' Special Publication No. 2, (London: 1967). 

"'**Amede Bessette obituary, Dillon (Montana) Examiner, March 1, 1918; 
Amede Bessette, "A Story of Joseph A. Slade," typescript in Montana 
Historical Society Library. 

•"''Fourier Interview, see fn. 54; 1860 Census, Miraval City, unorganized 
Nebraska Territory, Family #326; 1870 Census, Fort Fetterman, Albany 
County, Wyoming, Family #362. 


Diarist Cornelius Hedges'"^ recorded that they hired as pilot a local 
Frenchman named Rouleau at $5 per wagon. This was Hubert 
Rouleau^''', another employee of John Richard, Sr. Despite some 
dissensiqn, they reached the Big Horn and ferried across on 
June 12. J 

All three of these trains had forded the Stinking Water to camp 
with Bridger's resting outfit by June 18. The next day Bridger 
pulled out in the lead, ascending Sage Creek northward into Mon- 
tana to reach and cross Clarks Fork near present Bridger. Another 
twenty miles northwest took him to the crossing of Rock Creek 
near present Boyd, where Bozeman would later pick up the same 
trail. The route then led west to present Absarokee on Stillwater 
River, then west up the latter and across to and down Bridger 
Creek to its mouth on the Yellowstone. Halts had been made to 
allow prospecting in the mountains, but now Bridger hastened up 
the Yellowstone, crossing Boulder River at present Big Timber, 
and continuing twelve more miles to the crossing of the Yellow- 
stone, about 368 miles out. Here they halted again to build 
another ferryboat. ) 

The following companies paused even longer for prospecting, 
but some wagons hurried on, and this, together with complaints, 
especially in Jacobs' outfit, brought shifts in allegiance that de- 
stroyed the composition of the original companies. Nevertheless, 
nearly all gathered again at the Yellowstone ferry to celebrate the 
Fourth of July with Bridger. After ascending the north bank of 
the big river to the mouth of Shield's River, a grand division took 
place. Only twenty wagons stayed with Jacobs to take the shorter 
Bozeman Pass into the Gallatin valley. The rest followed Bridger 
on his detour that led north up Shield's River, west up Brackett's 
Creek and over the Divide, then southwest down Bridger Creek, 
where they spotted Jacobs a little ahead at the future site of 

I Now on well-rutted roads, the wagons spread out as they headed 
west across the Gallatin and Madison Rivers, south up the latter, 
and then west again to mountain-girt Virginia City. They rolled in 
over a period of days with the peak centering on July 10. Bridger 
is said to have reached the Gallatin on July 6^*^, still some twenty 
miles from Virginia City. Based mostly on the pioneer register, 
A. M. Morgan and B. F. Bisel of his company arrived there on 
July 6 and July 8; Amede Bessette of the independents arrived on 

s^Cornelius Hedges, "Diary of Overland Trip to Montana from Iowa, 
1864," mss., Montana Historical Society Library. 

s^Charles E. Hanson, "Hubert Rouleau," Mountain Men, Vol. 9, p. 347; 
Hubert Ruleau affidavit. Fort Laramie, June 27, 1866, in Bissonette Claim. 

^^Mrs. E. Lina Houston, Early History of Gallatin Co. Montana, (Boze- 
man, 1933), p. n. 


the latter date, with Stanfield and J. L. Perkins of Jacobs' train 
made it on the 10th and 11th; Thomas Wilcox and Cornelius 
Hedges of Allensworth's company pulled in on the 9th and 10th. 
(Taking July 8 as an endpoint, Bridger pioneered his 510-mile 
route in fifty days, a substandard rate because of road-working, 
ferry-building, and prospecting halts. The other trains that bene- 
fited by his work in the van made it in as little as thirty-eight days, 
including layovers. As Bridger had foreseen, it was a completely 
safe passage, for none had encountered Indian trouble. 

It was no triumph, however, for Jacobs. He had not only for- 
saken his own route, but had once again alienated his charges. He 
faded into complete obscurity, for we have found no further record 
of him. 

\Six more identifiable companies safely traversed Bridger's route 
later in the season. James Roberts, the partial diarist already men- 
tioned, left Red Buttes on June 10 in a train of 129 wagons piloted 
by Joseph Knight*'^, another Indian trader from the Platte bridges; 
Robert Vaughn''-, who misnamed this guide as McKnight, reached 
Virginia City on July 13 to complete the thirty-four-day passage. 
Diarist William W. Alderson*''^ started on June 1 5 with Captain Joe 
Todd's company of 12 horse-wagons that traveled off and on with 
sixteen ox- and eighteen mule-wagons, but stopped to settle thirty 
days later at the about-to-be-born town of Bozeman on July 13th. 
(^Diarist William E. Atchison^^ left on June 22 with over one 
hundred wagons that had hired for $300 a guide he called Rocky 
Mountain Bob, who remains unidentified unless he was either 
Robert Dempsey or Robert Hereford, who had long shuttled be- 
tween summer trading on the road near Green River and winter 
cattle-herding in Montana^^. Atchison rolled into Virginia City 
on July 27 for a thirty-six day passage; Ethel A. Maynard^^, whose 
reminiscent letters place him in this same train, registered his 
arrival on July 28. 

The incomplete trail letters of Franklin L. Kirkaldie^^ reveal 
that he left the Platte on July 13 with a company of seventy wagons 
captained by Joseph V. Stafford, a veteran of the California gold 

•^1 Murray, "Trading Posts." 

^''Robert Vaughn, Then and Now, (Minneapolis, Tribune Printing Com- 
pany. 1900), p. 22 ff. 

^^William W. Alderson, "Across the Great Plains to Montana, 1864," 
typescript. Special Collections, Montana State University Library, Bozeman. 

'•^William E. Atchison, "Diary of 1864," typescript, Montana State Uni- 
versity Library, Bozeman. 

•^•''Stuart, Forty Years. See index. 

<*''Letters of E. A. Maynard, Bozeman, March 20 and April 7, 1936, 
typescript, Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. 

«'Franklin L. Kirkaldie, "Letters of May 1, 1864-March 30, 1869," type- 
script. Montana State University Library, Bozeman. 


rush, who registered his arrival on August 24 at the Yellowstone 
after a forty-three day passage. A Bozeman Trail company found 
this outfit camped at present Livingston on August 25, and Staf- 
ford's obituary*^** reveals that he remained to help establish the new 
diggings at Emigrant Gulch, a few miles south up the Yellowstone, 
Still another train included the family of young Tom LeForge"^, 
destined to live among the Crows and win fame as an army scout; 
he disclosed that he came by the Bridger route late in the season 
with a trader's outfit from St. Joseph under Molette and Gus 
Beauvais, the latter presumably Francis Augustus Beauvais, the 
brother of Geminien P. Beauvais'", a well-known Indian trader on 
the Platte. > 

: In the meantime, Jim Bridger was piloting a few disillusioned 
gold-seekers back over his trail. William E. Atchison met him on 
the Bridger detour on July 21, and Franklin Kirkaldie did the same 
at GreybuU River on August 1 . On reaching Fort Laramie he was 
promptly re-hired as post scout, with his contract apparently pre- 
dated to August 3^^ This employment was brief, however, for he 
left Red Buttes again on September 1 8 to make his second trip of 
the season to Montana. The diary of John Owen'-, a proprietor 
of Fort Owen in the Bitterroot valley a little south of Missoula, 
Montana, reveals that this party traveled very slowly, shortening 
the trail and doing considerable road work before reaching the Big 
Horn crossing. Sickness and straying oxen delayed their arrival at 
the Stinking Water until November 1, when Owen's diary termi- 
nated. Another member of the hapless party, Samuel Anderson, 
registered his arrival in Virginia City on December 18, having left 
the wagons snowbound on the Yellowstone. When Bridger re- 
turned is not of record, but all his work went for naught, as his 
trail carried no traffic in ensuing years. . 

iOnly three major trains are known to have ventured over the 
rival Bozeman Trail in 1864.) Although Bozeman himself success- 
fully piloted the lead outfit, it did not leave the lower Platte bridge 
until after half a dozen trains had departed on Bridger's route. 
Dr. Burlingame's analysis^^ has long since puntured the once- 
popular myth that Bridger and Bozeman raced neck -and -neck 

^^Joseph Stafford obituary, Helena Independent, March 21, 1915. 

^^Thomas B. Marquis, Memoirs of a White Crow Indian, (New York: 
The Century Company, 1928), p. 4 ff. 

■^(^Charles E. Hanson, "Geminien P. Beauvais," Mountain Men. Vol. 7, 
p. 35. 

7iAlter. Bridger, p. 309. 

"^Seymour Dunbar and Paul C. Phillips, Journal and Letters of Major 
John Owen, 1850-71, (New York: Edward Eberstadt. 1927). Vol. 1, 
p. 309ff. 

"•^Burlingame, "Bozeman." 


across the wilderness, and the present findings scotch it entirely 
by furnishing refined dates for the passages of both. 

If Bozeman had indeed wintered in Omaha, he did not leave 
before late April, and whether alone or with recruited followers is 
unknown. Unfortunately, no known diarists accompanied his out- 
fit. The best we have are the reminiscences of John T. Smith^^, 
a veteran of the California gold rush, who overtook Bozeman on 
the cut-off, and three pioneers who registered their arrivals with 
Bozeman's own train. 

The first mention of Bozeman while he was still on the Platte 
road appears in the reminiscences of Robert Vaughn, who traveled 
the Bridger trail with diarist James Roberts in Joe Knight's com- 
pany. Neither at Fort Laramie on May 30, nor at the lower bridge 
on June 7, does Roberts mention Bozeman or his cut-off, but 
Vaughn recalled that he met the guide assembling a train for his 
route. He located this at Fort Laramie and adds that he also met 
Joe Knight there and chose his train; but Robert's record proves 
that the latter occurred at the lower bridge. The fact that Vaughn 
had a choice of cut-offs implies that by June 7 Bozeman was at the 
lower bridge recruiting wagons. 

The next mention of Bozeman appears in the diary of William 
Atchison, who reached the lower bridge on June 20. Having noted 
that the Bozeman cut-off began there, he recorded: "Had quite a 
discussion whether this or the Bridger cut-off should be taken. 
The Bridger men prevailed and we drove five miles further to 
upper Platte bridge." This wording suggests that at least some 
wagons were there, committed to the Bozeman trail, but not Boze- 
man himself who had already left. Further evidence will be pre- 
sented to support this inference. 

This preliminary evidence indicates that Bozeman's train left 
the Platte road between July 7 and July 20, an interval covered by 
no other available diaries, but we must pause to reject the previous 
best-guess date of July 1. It stems from a single, second-hand 
source, a son's uncritical editing of skimpy notes left by father 
Albert J. Dickson^^, who took the Lander route. Easily recogniz- 
able events recounted in this speculative expansion, when dated at 
all, are sometimes off by weeks! It cites July 1 as the date on a 
note, left on the trail by friends ahead, advising that they were 
leaving on Bozeman's trail, the editor implying with Bozeman 
himself. Unfortunately, this departure date applies to a late com- 
ponent of the Townsend train, which followed Bozeman, as we 
shall see. 

''■4John T. Smith. "The Bozeman Trail, 1864," Bozeman Chronicle, Dec. 
30, 1891. 

75Arthur J. Dickson, Covered Wagon Days, (Cleveland: The Arthur H 
Clark Co., 1929). 


We can fix the date of Bozeman's departure as on or about June 
18, by reasoning from information in the reminiscences of John T. 
Smith. He reached the lower bridge the day before Bozeman left, 
and after resting his stock, he followed on the third day after 
Bozeman left. Mitch Boyer, speeding alone on horseback, over- 
took Smith, who gave him a message asking Bozeman to wait two 
days. Smith then joined the waiting Bozeman at the Powder 
River crossing, the site of future Fort Reno about ninety-six miles 
out. Smith agreed to help Bozeman, but by following immediately 
behind so as to avoid Bozeman's fee of five dollars. They then 
proceeded in tandem for another 154 miles, passing the site of 
future Fort Phil Kearny and on to the Big Horn crossing at the 
site of future Fort C. F. Smith. There they celebrated the Fourth 
of July, the only date Smith gives, before tackling the difficult 
ford the next day. 

Assuming the tandem trains traveled a standard fifteen miles a 
day, their arrival at the Big Horn on July 4 implies a departure 
from Powder River on June 27. If the overtaking Smith made 
sixteen miles day from the lower bridge, he had arrived there June 
17, left on the 21, and Bozeman preceded him on the 18th. And if 
Bozeman left on the 1 8th, he made fourteen miles a day and waited 
two days at Powder River for Smith to overtake him. 

This now suggests that when Atchison reached the bridge on 
June 20, he found Smith there on the eve of departure, and this 
prompted the debate, in which the Bridger men prevailed, probably 
because Smith's outfit was too small for safety. If we assume 
either faster or slower rates of travel, it jeopardizes this whole 
framework of close timing. We therefore adopt June 1 8 as Boze- 
man's departure date, at least until some direct diary entry calls 
for revision. 

On leaving the Big Horn, the tandem trains headed northwest 
to strike the Yellowstone about two miles below present Billings, 
as Smith recalled. They then turned southwest, ascending the 
river to the mouth of Clarks Fork, then up the latter and its Rock 
Creek branch to present Boyd. This was the detour that added 
twenty-five extra miles. Jim Bridger in 1866 would eliminate this 
hog-leg by taking a rougher passage straight west from the Big 
Horn to present Pryor on Pryor's Fork and present Edgar on 
Clarks Fork. Picking up the tracks of Bridger's earher trains, 
Bozeman followed them to and beyond the Yellowstone ferry. 
Smith recalled also that part of the company took Bozeman's Pass, 
while he himself diverged over Bridger's detour. 

By this time terminal scattering was spreading the arrivals at 
Virginia City. Only John L. Sweeney's arrival there on August 3 
has been previously noted in the pioneer register, but both Isaac 
Dean and H. A. McAllister, who also specified traveling in Boze- 
man's own train, registered their arrivals on July 29. Bozeman 
and Smith must also have arrived at this earlier date, for Smith 


says that after a few days in the city the pair trekked back to the 
Gallatin Valley, arriving in time to figure in the first formal meet- 
ing of the Bozeman Townsite Association on August 9'^. 

It was thus Bozeman, with no contribution from Jacobs, but with 
some trail-prospecting assistance from John T. Smith, who success- 
fully piloted the first emigrants over the trail that deservedly bears 
his name. He made the passage safely, without Indian interfer- 
ence, in forty-two days, including prospecting layovers. This 
transit time affords further assurance that our calculated departure 
date is not likely to be far wrong. ; Clearly, Bozeman and Bridger 
ran no race. Both traveled leisurely, with Bozeman starting a 
month later and arriving three weeks later than Bridger. i 

The ill-fated Townsend train, also of emigrant composition, was 
the second to venture over the Bozeman trail. Its components had 
passed the scenes of several Indian raids along the Platte road 
above Fort Laramie, and would itself suffer a severe attack on the 
cut-off. How early it began to assemble is not clear, but when 
diarist Kate Dunlap'', heading for the Lander route, reached the 
lower bridge on June 27, she found "a number of wagons preparing 
to leave" by the new cut-off. 

Several groups that left the Platte over a period of five days 
finally consolidated themselves out on the trail. Diarist T. J. 
Brundage'*^ left with the first group, as noted by Kate Dunlap, on 
June 29. Diarist Benjamin W. Ryan"^ followed with another sec- 
tion the next day. "E. W.,"^*^ who wrote a letter about their Indian 
battle to the Montana Post, just established at Virginia City, left 
with the last group on July 1st. By July 3, all had reached the 
rendezvous some thirty-four miles out. 

While waiting for the late groups, Brundage and Ryan recorded 
that on July 1 they held an election of officers that chose A. A. 
Townsend of Wisconsin as captain. Brundage said they hired two 
French guides for $600 to pilot them as far as the Big Horn 
crossing. Ryan gave the pay as $4 per wagon and named them 
as "John Boyer and Raphael Gogeor." while Zera French^^, an- 
other battle chronicler for the Montana Post, referred to "our old 
guide, Boyer." There can be no doubt that these were the Deer 
Creek traders of the previous year's aborted train, the French John 
Boyer and New Mexican Rafael Gallegos. We take these pains in 

^''Burlingame, "Bozeman." 

■?"S. Lyman Tyler, ed., Montana Gold Rush Diary of Kate Dunlap, (Den- 
ver: Old West Publishing Co., 1969). 

7*^Elsa Spear, ed., "Diary of T. J. Brundage, 1864," typescript, Montana 
State Historical Society Library. 

TOBenjamin W. Ryan, "Bozeman Trail Diary to Virginia City in 1864," 
Annals of Wyoming, July, 1947, p. 77. 

■^OLetter of "E. W.," Montana Post, Aug. 27, 1864. 

siLetter of Zera French, Sept. 5, 1864, Montana Post, Sept. 17, 1864. 


order to correct the widely accepted, but much later and second- 
hand statements that these guides were young Mitch Boyer and 
John Richard, Jr.''- 

When the consolidated train resumed the trail on July 4, it was 
a large one. Our four sources agree that it totaled 150 wagons, 
369 (one says 375) men, 36 women, 56 children, and arms repre- 
senting 1641 shots without reloading. One source adds that they 
boasted 636 oxen, 79 horses, 10 mules, and 194 cows, with a total 
evaluation of $130,000! It was July 7 when the company halted 
for breakfast, eighty-six miles out according to Ryan, on the Dry 
Fork of Powder River some ten miles short of the site of future 
Fort Reno. 

While preparing to resume the trek that fateful morning, a party 
of Indian warriors approached. John Boyer went out to parley 
and returned to report that they were Cheyennes under Spotted 
Cow, who had turned back Bozeman's train ths year before, and 
therefore not to be trusted, although they pretended only to want 
grub. After the nervous company furnished some provisions, 
Boyer shooed the warriors from the wagons. Fearing for the 
safety of a Mr. Mills, who had gone back in search of a stray ox, 
a party of mounted men went to his aid. T. J. Brundage, a mem- 
ber of this party, named the five others as his brother George 
Brundage, Asher Newby, E. Butterfield, Mr. Noton, and Dr. 
Crepin, a Frenchman. 

After this party had ridden back about two miles, the Indians 
swarmed to attack them. The six managed to fight their way back 
to the corraled train with some aid from a rescue party, bringing 
Asher Newby with an arrow through his back. When Dr. Crepin's 
efforts to extract the arrow failed. Dr. Hall, an EngHsh surgeon 
with some military experience, took over and succeeded, with 
eventual recovery of the patient. 

The trainmen, well-armed with long-range weapons, countered 
Indian efforts to bum them out and held them off in a battle that 
raged for several hours. As the sole casualty in this phase, A. 
Warren fell with a severe abdominal wound that proved fatal dur- 
ing the night. But three other fatalities occurred outside the cor- 
ral. Mr. Mills, in search of his strayed cattle, was missing; his 
scalp was found by a following train. Frank Huddlemeyer, out 
hunting, was riddled with arrows and butchered, while an unnamed 
man out prospecting never returned and was considered killed. 

The shaken train buried the bodies of Warren and Huddle- 
meyer, and the next day resolutely resumed its progress. On 
reaching the Big Horn, July 20, Boyer and Gallegos turned back. 

S2£)avid B. Weaver, "Capt. Townsend's BaUle on Powder River," Mon- 
tana Historical Society Contributions, Vol. 8. p. 283. 


as planned, carrying the train's mail. The company then followed 
Bozeman's detour to the Yellowstone and turned to pick up Bridg- 
er's trail. They made several halts for prospecting, one such party 
being run in by a horde of Crow Indians but without casualties. 
They did not reach the Yellowstone ferry until August 15. The 
passage took fifty-eight days, for Brundage did not roll in to 
Virginia City until August 25th, nor Ryan until two days later. 

The third and final train on the Bozeman cut-off was composed 
of avid prospectors, many of whom diverged to the new gold strike 
at Emigrant Gulch. Diarists Richard Owens^^ and John Hack- 
ney"^ and reminiscence-recorder David B. Weaver^^ all reached the 
lower bridge on July, where they waited for more wagons to gather. 
On the 12th they moved a short distance out on the trail and 
waited some more. When sixty-seven wagons had assembled, 
they organized into four sections, each under its own captain, but 
all under Major Cyrus C. Coffinbury. On July 16 they started the 
journey in earnest. 

It was this train that discovered the scalp of Mr. Mills and the 
ravaged graves from the Townsend train. They also followed 
Bozeman's detour to the Yellowstone, but halted longer for pros- 
pecting. After crossing at the Yellowstone ferry, they camped near 
present Livingston on August 25. There they found Captain 
Stafford's company, which had come by Bridger's trail, awaiting 
the return of emissaries they had sent upstream to Emigrant Gulch. 
The Coffinbury train followed suit, waiting several days. A good 
many from both trains decided to try their luck there, arriving on 
August 27, as told by David Weaver. Hackney and Owens soon 
proceeded on to reach Virginia City on September 8 to complete 
the slow passage of fifty-nine days. 

( Canny Jim Bridger had solved the problem of a safe cut-off to 
Montana in 1864, but his route was promptly abandoned for 
reasons that remain obscure. The trail Bozeman pioneered that 
same season was easier to travel, but proved increasingly perilous. 
Emigrants dared not risk this route in 1865, because of the out- 
break of Indian hostilities and General Patrick E. Connor's Powder 
River Campaign against the hostiles later that summer. ) 

To protect the heavy emigrant and merchant travel over Boze- 
man's trail in 1866, General Henry B. Carrington brought out a 
sizeable force of troops to estabUsh and garrison new Forts Reno, 
Phil Kearny, and C. F. Smith. But their arrival before the consent 

''^3Richard Owen, "Diary, Omaha to Idaho, 1864," typescript, Montana 
Historical Society Library. 

84John S. Hackney, "Over the Plains to the Idaho-Montana Gold Fields 
in 1864," typescript, Montana Historical Society Library. 

s^David B. Weaver, "Early Days in Emigrant Gulch," Montana Historical 
Society Contributions, Vol. 7, p. 73. 


of the Indians had been obtained merely provoked what has come 
to be known as Red Cloud's War, which christened the road, "the 
bloody Bozeman trail." Bloody it was indeed, for in the spring of 
1867 John Bozeman started from Bozeman for Fort C. F. Smith, 
only to meet death at the hands of some raiding Blackfeet Indians 
on the "safest" segment of the trail. The war ended with the Sioux 
treaty of 1868, which called for the abandonment of the Bozeman 
trail and its "protective" forts — until re-conquered in the Sioux 
War of 1876.^6 

In the meantime, however, the completion of the Union Pacific 
Railroad in 1869 had furnished Montana with improved overland 
communications with both the east and west. 

86John S. Gray, Centennial Campaign, The Sioux War of 1876, (Fort 
Collins: The Old Army Press, 1976). 


In Wyoming 

Did you ever see the sunrise 

And the high and roUing plains? 
Did you ever smell wet sagebrush 

After sudden springtime rain? 
Have you ever felt the smart 

And sting of gravel in your face? 
Then you've never known the 

Glamour of that God-forsaken place — Wyoming. 

Have you seen the clear cut sky line 

When the evening shadows fall? 
When the mountains look like cardboard 

and you hear the coyote's call? 
Have you seen the painted badlands 

In their yellow, red and blue? 
Then you'll never know how lonesome 

Life can be until you do — in Wyoming. 

Have you seen the sand and sagebrush 

Stretch for miles and miles away? 
While down the hills along the draws 

The cooling shadows lay? 
It's lonesome and it's desolate — 

It's off the beaten track 
But once you've caught the lure of it 

You're homesick till you're back — in Wyoming. 

— By Mrs. Cecil Howrey 

W.P.A. Manuscripts Collection, No. 760 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical 

Asa S. Mercer and 

''Zke nanditti of the Plains'^ 

A Reappraisal 


Charles Hall 

Charles "Pat" Hall, executive director of the Wyoming Bicentennial 
Commission, became interested in Asa Mercer and his book, Banditti of the 
Plains, long before he moved to Wyoming. Hall had been a part-time 
dealer in books about the American West, so he knew the accepted version 
of the story about the cattlemen's suppression of Mercer's book. 

When he moved to Cheyenne Hall began his own investigation into the 
book's history. Over a period of three or four years he found much to add 
to the story at the Historical Research and Publications Division of the 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department and at the Western 
History Research Center at the University of Wyoming. He also visited 
with the Mercer family at Hyattville, and was allowed to borrow documents, 
including Mercer's own business journal, for microfilming. He has also 
talked extensively with Anita Webb Deininger, Buffalo, Mercer's grand- 

His biggest find was at a garage sale in Cheyenne. The family of John 
Charles Thompson, long-time editor of the Wyoming State Tribune, was 
selling items that had been stored in the family garage. Hall bought an 
orange crate filled with documents relating to the Johnson County War. 
Included was the only known extant copy of the October 16, 1892, edition 
of The Northwestern Live Stock Journal, the Mercer publication the cattle- 
men actually did attempt to suppress. 

From this find and others Hall has attempted to piece together the story, 
based somewhat upon logical supposition, about what really happened when 
Mercer's book. The Banditti of the Plains, was published in 1894. — Editor. 

Once upon a time, there was a book printed in Cheyenne which 
told the true story of Wyoming state officials' complicity in the 
arson and murder of the Johnson County Cattle War. 

The "cattle barons" couldn't afford to have the truth known, 
so they secured a court injunction against the book's publication 
and illegally confiscated all remaining copies. Then they raided 
the author's printing shop; beat him up; destroyed the plates of the 
book; broke up his press and burned the building to the ground.^ 

Later, these same cattlemen burned almost all known copies of 

^N. Orwin Rush, Mercer's Banditti of the Plains, (Tallahassee: Florida 
State University Library, 1961), p. 13. 


the book, but a few were saved and spirited out of the state during 
a wild, midnight ride across the Colorado state line.^ 

The book's publication and the cattlemen's suppression of it 
were completely ignored by the contemporary press, indicating that 
a conspiracy of silence existed among local newspaper editors." 

During the ensuing years since the book first came out in 1894, 
copies of it have been stolen from Wyoming public libraries or 
mutilated, thereby destroying the incriminating evidence. Even 
the copies in the Library of Congress were stolen.^ 

The newspaper published by the book's author was also sup- 
pressed. Very few copies of it survive today and the cattlemen 
have even stolen district court records of law suits involving the 
author of the book.^ 

Today, this book, The Banditti of the Plains, is one of the 
choicest items in the field of Western Americana. Even a copy in 
poor condition of the 1894 edition will bring $200 or more at 
auction or private sale. 

With the exception of the facts about the book's value, every 
bit of the foregoing is just a fairy tale. How this wild legend was 
ever started is unknown, but it continues to be foisted off on the 
pubhc today. Such scholarly institutions as the University of 
Oklahoma Press, for example, have been duped by the tale. 

The evidence to disprove the suppression story was always there. 
Why it wasn't found by other writers is puzzling. Perhaps, it was 
"too good a story" to ruin — too much a part of the Western 

That mystique actually began with the Johnson County Cattle 
War and has grown in volume and importance to this very day. 
All our contemporary preoccupation with the romance of the cow- 
boy can be traced right back to this one conflict between "cattle 
barons" and "rustlers". Even the very meaning of the word 
"rustler" was changed by the Johnson County War. So, it is 
difficult to overstate the importance of this incident in the develop- 
ment of the west. The Johnson County War "signified an accom- 
plishment social and political revolution."^ 

Likewise, the suppression of a book is important, if it really 
happened. In the history of printing in this country, there have 
been very few attempts at suppression. This writer knows of only 

2Letter, Phillip A. Rollins to James T. Gerould, Oct. 12, 1923, reproduced 
in the University of Oklahoma Press reprint of The Banditti of the Plains, 
Norman, 1954, p. xiv. 

3Rush, Mercer's Banditti, p. 43. 
^^Ibid, p. 45. 

4Asa S. Mercer, The Banditti of the Plains, (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1954), xxxv. 

^bid, p. 45. 

ephillip A. Rollins, The Cowboy, (New York: Scribners, 1936), p. 344. 


three such attempts — all, interestingly, in the field of Western 
Americana. The Banditti of the Plains is supposed to have been 
one. The other two were A Cowboy Detective, by Charles Siringo, 
and The XIT Ranch and the Early Days of the Llano Estacado, 
by J. Evetts Haley. The Siringo and Haley books also contained 
material that defamed certain well-known characters. Court in- 
junctions against the publications of both books resulted in chang- 
es in the offensive material. 

Only Banditti is thought to have been suppressed by illegal 
means, hence the importance of proving or disproving the sup- 
pression story once and for all. 

The Banditti of the Plains was written by Asa Shinn Mercer and 
was published in 1894. It told, for the first time in book form, 
of the complicity of Wyoming's elected officials in the so-called 
Invasion of Johnson County by members of the Wyoming Stock- 
growers Association and their hired Texas gunmen in April of 

Since the cattlemen had committed premeditated murder and 
arson and suborned state officials, including the governor, it was 
easy to believe that the later suppression of Mercer's book would 
have been the least of their crimes. 

Mercer was a western publicist and newspaperman. He had 
been first president of the University of Washington. Were it not 
for his later links with the Johnson County War, Mercer had 
assured himself of a permanent niche in the history of the West 
in 1866, when he took a shipload of single women to the bachelor 
settlers of Washington Territory." 

Since Mercer left no known memoirs, and almost no documen- 
tary evidence exists to prove or disprove the suppression story, 
it is necessary to know something of Mercer's background and 
business dealings in order to render some judgement about his 
reasons for writing the book and its alleged suppression. If we 
can disprove some salient parts of the suppression story, then it 
is logical to assume that all of it is probably false. 

Mercer left Washington Territory in 1876 and moved to Texas 
where he edited and/or published, in rapid succession, four news- 
papers : the Bowie Cross Timbers, the Vernon Guard, the Wichita 
Falls Herald, and the Mobeettie Panhandle. In April, 1883, Mer- 
cer was attending a livestock meeting in Dodge City, Kansas, when 
he met S. A. Marney, the "roving commissioner" for the Texas 
Live Stock Journal of Fort Worth. It was Marney who suggested 
they form a partnership to pubUsh a livestock-oriented paper in 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, where the cattle trade was then booming. 

'''Delphine Henderson, "Asa Shinn Mercer, Northwest Publicity Agent", 
Reed College Bulletin, January, 1945, pp. 21-32. 


Mercer thought it was a good idea and advanced Marney the 
money necessary for a two-month canvass "among the cattlemen 
and business firms of the city and territory."^ Then Mercer went 
to St. Louis where he purchased a press, type and the necessary 
office fixtures. The St. Louis Type Foundry had done business 
with Mercer when he was proprietor of the papers in Texas. That 
firm sold him the material he needed on credit. The total cost of 
the Country Campbell press, type and fixtures was something in 
excess of $3000. 

Meanwhile, Marney had secured an office in Cheyenne in the 
old Wyoming Block, on the south side of 17th Street between 
Thomes and O'Neil Avenues, near the present downtown area. 

The first issue of the Northwestern Live Stock Journal came out 
on Friday, November 23, 1883. It was an ambitious eight-page 
effort. J. B. Morrow, editor of the Cheyenne Daily Leader, gave 
the new publication a paragraph in his issue of November 25, 
noting: "The first number of the Northwestern Live Stock Journal 
came out yesterday. (sic) It is bright and newsy and presents a 
very neat appearance. There seems to be no reason why it should 
not succeed." 

And succeed it did. During the first few months, the success 
of the paper seemed to be phenomenal. The Stock Journal soon 
increased from eight to sixteen pages on alternate issues and rival 
Cheyenne editors were appalled at the new publication's ability to 
sohcit advertising.'' 

In the spring of 1884, Mercer gave Marney a full half-interest 
in the firm, but the solicitor soon began to be a liability. The 
original agreement between the two men specified that Mercer was 
to be in charge of all editorial and office decisions and that Marney 
was to spend all his time on the road, soliciting business and 
advertising for the paper. 

Marney suddenly developed a dislike for travel and began to 
meddle in office affairs. He had previously installed his brother- 
in-law, Frank J. Burton, in the office as bookkeeper. Matters 
came to a head on July 21, 1884, when Marney returned from a 
week on the road to find that Mercer had fired Burton and hired 
a man named Trimble to take his place. Marney demanded that 
Mercer reinstate Burton and in the ensuing argument Marney 
called Mercer "a damned liar." Mercer hit Marney in the face 
and the two partners fell over the office railing in the ensuing 

At this point. Editor John F. Carroll of the Cheyenne Demo- 

^Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 22, 1884. 
'■^Cheyenne Daily Sun, July 23, 1884. 
^'^Cheyenne Democratic Leader, July 22, 1884. 


cratic Leader takes over the story. Carroll tells it with much 
relish, getting in his first digs at the seemingly successful Mercer 
and Marney. The Democratic Leader devoted two full columns 
to the fight in the July 22 edition titling the story "A Woman's 
Weapon — She Smashes a Spittoon on a Man's Head." 

"Mrs. Annie F. Mercer, the wife of A. S. Mercer, then appeared in 
the arena. Incensed and violent, she caught up a large majolica spit- 
toon which was close at hand and made an attempt to go to the rescue 
of her struggling husband. This time Burton caught her and disarmed 
her while Moore (another employee) made vigorous attempts to pull 
Marney off and separate the two men. 

"Just at this point a new element of belligerency made its appear- 
ance in the persons of two children, a girl about ten years of age and 
a boy somewhat older, both children of Mercer, who came to the 
rescue, each with a rock in hand ready to strike a blow for their 

"In order to head off this new danger. Burton let go of Mrs. Mercer 
and blocked the way so as to prevent these children from interfering. 
Released now and with opportunity, Mrs. Mercer again snatched up 
the spittoon and rushing around to where she could get the proper 
opening she dealt Marney a terrible blow on the back of the head, 
lacerating it in a dreadful manner and breaking the spittoon into a 
dozen fragments. "^ 

That ended the fracas. A doctor was summoned to treat Mar- 
ney's wounds — fortunately they proved to be superficial — and 
brother-in-law Frank Burton dashed away to file charges of aggra- 
voted assault against Mr. and Mrs. Mercer. Later in the day, 
Laramie County Prosecuting Attorney Frank Baird and Dr. Hunt, 
who had dressed Marney's wounds, appeared before a judge and 
requested that the charge against Mrs. Mercer be changed to 
assault with a deadly weapon (majoHca spittoon) with intent to 

Mercer paid a fine of $10 and costs, but his spirited wife had 
to post bond of $1000 pending her later appearance in district 
court. The charges, however, were later dropped. 

Needless to say, this spelled the end of the Mercer-Marney 
partnership in the Northwestern Live Stock Journal. Mercer 
scraped up $2000 somewhere to buy out Marney's interest and 
sent his former partner packing. 

During the next few days a lot of unanswered questions about 
the Stock Journal's success were going to be asked again and 
answers would be forthcoming. The first answer came the next 
day when the sheriff served a writ of attachment on the newspaper 
office to satisfy a claim of $457.90 filed against Marney by Francis 
E. Warren. It seems Marney had purchased furniture on credit 
from the Warren Mercantile Co., and then neglected to pay. 

i^The doughty Mrs. Mercer was one of the "belles" he had transported 
to Washington Territory. 


Before the day was out, other Cheyenne business firms had 
served their own papers on the down-but-not-yet-out newspaper. 
Craig, Davis & Company held a bill against Mercer to the amount 
of $347 for furniture the editor had ordered for his new home. A 
painter named J. E. Tuttle served notice that Mercer owed him 
$60 for decorating costs on the same house. 

During the next few days, Mercer and his attorneys did their 
best to scrape up enough to pay off the debts. First a mortgage 
of $1,064 was given to the Warren Mercantile Co. Mercer gave 
a similar mortgage on his furniture and carriage to Craig, Davis 
& Co.i- 

Then Mercer began hounding Thomas Sturgis, secretary of the 
Wyoming Stock Growers Association, to pay the money that group 
owed him for printing the WSGA's 1884 Brand Book. Sturgis 
came through on July 29 with an odd amount, $499.24, which 
was evidently just the sum needed by Mercer at the time, no more, 
no less. 

Mercer paid $143.30 to the Stockgrower's National Bank "in 
satisfaction of the promissory note of Mercer & Marney" and a 
payment of $305.04 went to the St. Louis Type Foundry. ^-^ The 
Stock Journal was finally back in business again — mortgaged to 
the hilt, but back in business. 

In the years to follow between 1884 and 1892, Mercer was 
involved in a series of problems with the newspaper's creditors. 
Only the fanciest of financial footwork kept the publication out of 
receivership and records indicate that some of the creditors never 
did get their money. The records of these lawsuits are still filed 
in the Laramie County District Court Clerk's office and there are 
no indications that any records have been tampered with or 

Mercer continued to publish the Stock Journal without inter- 
ruption. In September of 1887 he relinquished total control over 
the newspaper in favor of a "partnership" of sorts with Thomas 
B. Adams, then secretary of the Wyoming Stock Growers Associa- 
tion. An entry in one of Mercer's business journals, found by the 
author, shows that "Asa S. Mercer has this day by bill of sale 
transferred all the material presses, cases, imposing stones, etc 
used in printing the Northwestern Live Stock Journal to the North- 
western Live Stock Journal Publishing Company. Officers, A. S. 
Mercer, President and Thomas B. Adams, Secretary."^^ 

^-Cheyenne Democrati Leader, July 24, 1884. 

i3Manuscript receipt, Wyoming Stock Growers Association collection, 
Western History Research Center, Laramie. 

i^See State Journal Company vs. A. S. Mercer, Civil Appearance Docket 
5-196; A. S. Mercer vs. St. Louis Type Foundry, 5-130, and Annie Mercer 
vs. St. Louis Type Foundry, 5-329, Laramie County District Court records. 

1 '-"Scrapbook of Asa Mercer," p. 242. loaned by the Don Mercer family. 


A check of WSGA records for the same period fails to reveal 
any official sanction of Adams' part in this rather odd publishing 
arrangement, but the inference is obvious. Thomas Adams, full 
time apologist for the WSGA, would surely use his good offices 
in the publishing company to make sure "the voice of the cattleman 
was heard in the land." 

In the fall of 1892 the cattlemen and the Republican party did 
make an attempt to suppress one particular issue of the paper. 
That issue — of October 14, 1892 — contained the famous "'Con- 
fession of George Dunning", who was one of the hired gunmen 
on the invasion of Johnson County. Dunning's story of how he 
was hired by H. B. Ijams, then secretary of the Wyoming Stock 
Growers Association, "for $5 a day wages . . . and $50 bounty 
for every man that was killed by the mob in the raid on Johnson 
County" set Wyoming right on its ear. 

Coming less than three weeks before Election Day, the "Dun- 
ning Confession", though undoubtedly true, was well calculated to 
turn the tide of victory over to the Democrats. The Republicans 
were the party in office in April of that year when the Johnson 
County War had taken place. A Republican governor, Amos 
Barber, did everything in his power to help the invaders on their 
mission. The Democratic party knew the damning effect Dun- 
ning's confession would have upon Republican chances for an 
election victory and ordered 24,000 extra copies printed to dis- 
tribute throughout the state. ^"^ 

The regular issue of the Stock Journal had been printed and 
gone out through the mails to some 1400 subscribers on Friday, 
October 14. While Mercer's printers labored through Saturday to 
produce a sufficient number of copies for the Democratic party, 
the Republicans and cattlemen labored to think of a way to stop 

They finally dragged out an old judgement of $1439.80, first 
secured against Mercer in 1891. The sheriff had already served 
papers on this judgement a couple of times and "no property could 
be found." The judgement in favor of the St. Louis Type Foundry 
was against Mercer and he had put everything into his wife's name. 

The sheriff was ordered to serve the papers again by none other 
than Wyoming's Attorney General Potter, who was also implicated 
by the Dunning Confession and who just happened to be repre- 
senting the St. Louis Type Foundry in the matter! 

So, the Republicans succeeded in closing down the Stock 
Journal office for two weeks and confiscated the 24,000 "hand- 

Hyattville, for microfilming. Roll H-193a, Historical Research and Publica- 
tions Division, Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, 

^^Cheyenne Daily Sun, October 18, 1892. 


bills" printed for the Democrats but they could do nothing about 
the copies already mailed out or sold on the streets. Editor John 
Carroll of the Democratic Leader said: ". . . one thing is certain, 
the paper was in enormous demand and would have sold like 
hotcakes on a frosty morning if copies could be anywhere pur- 
chased. During yesterday a dollar and even more was freely 
offered for a single copy of the paper. Those in town were worn 
threadbare with assiduous reading."^^ 

It was probably from this incident alone that the legend of sup- 
pression sprang. It has all the important parts — court injunction 
against the paper, closing down the printing office, confiscation of 
remaining issues — and undoubtedly, the Republicans and cattle- 
men burned those 24,000 copies of "Dunning's Confession" that 
were so illegally confiscated. But this had been the newspaper, not 
the book. The incident took place in 1 892, not 1 894. And no 
one destroyed the press and type or burned down the building. 

One other similarity should be mentioned. The "Dunning Con- 
fession" was also an important part of The Banditti of the Plains. 
It was reprinted verbatim in that book. So true stories about a 
raid on Mercer's print shop and confiscation of the "Dunning 
Confession" could easily have come down to us as an attempt to 
suppress the book two years later. 

Until recently, there were no known copies of the Northwestern 
Live Stock Journal in existence after 1887, leading some students 
of the period to speculate that the cattlemen must have done a 
much more comprehensive job of suppression than just one issue. ^^ 

The simple, unromantic facts are that many such newspapers 
did not survive because there was no reason to save them at the 
time. As we live through history day by day in our own period- 
icals, few of us have the foresight to save any of them or the 
descrimination to know which ones to save. 

Thus it becomes extremely difficult to place in proper perspec- 
tive Asa S. Mercer's part in the Johnson County War. All we have 
today to go on are brief mentions in other contemporary news- 
papers, often biased politically, and a few scattered clippings in 
the Francis E. Warren scrapbooks at the Western History Research 
Center at the University of Wyoming. 

It is interesting to speculate that the Johnson County Cattle War 
might never have taken place had it not been for an editorial that 
appeared in the Stock Journal in June of 1889. It is just as inter- 
esting — and even less a speculation — to theorize that the true story 
of what happened in that conflict would never have been told had 

'^'Cheyenne Democratic Leader, October 17, 1892. 

I'^The writer had the good fortune to discover a copy of the Stock Journal 
of October 14, 1892, the same copy which contains the "Dunning Confes- 
sion." It is believed to be unique. 


it not been for Mercer's decision to print the "Confession" of 
George Dunning. 

If the foregoing sounds like the editor did a bit of jumping from 
one side of the fence to the other, such was certainly the case. 

The extent of Mercer's loyalty to the cattlemen who patronized 
his paper was shown in June of 1889 following the tragic lynching 
of James Averell and "Cattle Kate" Watson, alleged "rustlers". 
Mercer applauded the murders in print and advocated more: 

"There is but one remedy and that is a freer use of the hanging noose. 
Cattle owners should organize and not disband until a hundred rus- 
tlers were left ornamenting the trees and telegraph poles of the terri- 
tory. The hanging of the two culprits merely acts as a stimulus to 
the thieves. Hang a hundred and the balance will reform or quit the 
country. Let the good work go on and lose no time about it."i-' 

Could this editorial have been the framework of an idea that 
led to the eventual planning of the Johnson County "Invasion?" 
Mercer was certainly privy to most of the stockmen's plans and, 
according to the later story of one cattleman, actually helped plan 
the "Invasion." 

Thus, if Mercer had been the paid hireling of the cattlemen 
through the good years, then turned against them following their 
incredible attempt at wholesale murder in 1892, it is easy to under- 
stand why they held him in such contempt. 

The picture of the courageous editor who printed the truth in 
the face of economic coercion and legal and physical harassment 
begins to pale before such evidence. Mercer had had ample time 
and innumerable opportunities to become "the courageous editor" 
before. It was only when he knew that the cattle business was in 
a terrible slump and felt quite sure the cattlemen were in a fix 
they'd never get out of that he suddenly acquired his "courage." 

Mercer acted out of expediency. He had long-range plans to 
turn the Stock Journal into a Democratically aligned general cir- 
culation newspaper.-*^ If his publication of the "Dunning Confes- 
sion" turned the tide at the polls in November of 1892 — and it 
did — he expected political patronage from the new administration 
to help save his failing newspaper. He could not know that prob- 
lems within the Democratic administration and the financial crash 
of 1893 would alter these plans. 

Mercer's motives for writing The Banditti of the Plains have also 
been set forth as altruistic. This is scarcely the case. He only 

^'^Northwestern Live Stock Journal, quoted in the Laramie Boomerang, 
August 31, 1889. 

2('The first issue of the Wyoming Democrat came out in early February 
of 1893. Evidence indicates that Mercer continued to publish the Stock 
Journal for a few weeks after that. He sold his press, type and equipment 
to J. D. Kurd on July 19, 1893. 


began to write the book after the Stock Journal and its sucessor, 
the Wyoming Democrat, had failed. As the new, and somewhat 
self-appointed apologist for Democratic - Populist principles in 
Wyoming, Mercer hoped that his book would influence the election 
of 1894 in the same way that the "Dunning Confession" had in- 
fluenced the election of 1892. 

Besides the word-of-mouth folklore that is still bandied about 
by those in Cheyenne old enough to recall the first faint stirrings 
of the MercQT-Banditti legend, a significant amount of false infor- 
mation has been put into public print. 

Prime examples are two of the popular reprints of Banditti, one 
by the Grabhorn Press and another by the University of Oklahoma 
Press. The forewords to both of these books have given far too 
much credence to the legend of the suppression of the first edition. 

The foreword to the Grabhorn Press edition was written by 
James Mitchell Clarke, son of A. B. Clarke, one of the "Invaders" 
Clarke wrote: 

"The book had scarcely appeared when a court order was handed 
down commanding that all the plates and all copies remaining in the 
publisher's hands be destroyed." 

In the foreword to the later reprint by the University of Okla- 
homa Press, William H. Kittrell wrote: 

"For his boldness in publishing this provocative book, Mercer paid 
dearly. Copies of the books were seized and burned. He was jailed. 
The plates were destroyed ... his publication was closed down, and 
he never completely recouped his fortunes." 

These are the standard litanies of Mercer's difficulties, but there 
is absolutely no proof to justify the book-suppression stories when 
a researcher tries to run them down. 

Only two men "who were there" have left any documentary 
evidence to prove or disprove the suppression of the book. One 
was Phillip Ashton Rollins who was, among other things, the 
author of a book entitled. The Cowboy, published by Scribners 
in 1922. 

Rollins was the owner of a copy of the first edition of Banditti. 
He presented it to Princeton University librarian James T. Gerould 
in 1923 with a covering letter that said in part: 

"The book was printed in 1894, was advertised, and was immediately 
suppressed by a court injunction in the course of a law suit instituted 
in Wyoming. All of the books printed were impounded and placed in 
the basement of a building in Cheyenne, to await the day when they 
would be destroyed by burning. There being ways and ways of pro- 
curing desirable things, several hundred of the books found themselves 
one night in a wagon drawn by galloping horses and headed for the 
Colorado line. The copy handed you herewith was one of those which 
began that night ride on the wagon. The marks on the back flyleaf 
represent in part, I am told, the doings of the fire hose that was called 
into play for a few moments. You will recognize some of the other 


marks as indicating the course of bullets. I saw these bullets started 
on their way." 

And from this, too, sprang the legend. It is interesting to note 
that RoUins wrote 390 pages about the cattle industry and the 
romance of The Cowboy and never once mentioned the alleged 
"midnight ride" to Colorado. If he "was there" — if he "saw these 
bullets started on their way" — why didn't he record the details of 
this unique incident in his book? This writer believes that Rollins 
was probably in the vicinity of Cheyenne in 1892 and "heard" 
from someone about the raid on the newspaper and the confisca- 
tion of the "Dunning Confession" handbills. After acquiring a 
copy of Banditti, he concocted the story of the "midnight ride" to 
Colorado and his participation in it to explain the rumors he might 
have heard about the book. 

Another man who "was there" was Ralph Mercer, son of 
Banditti's author. In answer to a written query from Lola Hom- 
sher, Wyoming State Historian, in 1954, Ralph Mercer wrote: 

This is fiction. Father's book was never suppressed by court injunc- 
tion nor was he ever jailed.^i 

There is a preponderance of secondary evidence to dispute the 
suppression story. For instance, a thorough search of the Laramie 
County District Court records shows there was never a court 
action of any kind brought against the book. Dockets and files 
agree in numerical order and there are no missing records of any 

N. Orwin Rush claims he searched Cheyenne newspapers and 
there was absolutely no mention of the publication of the book, 
nor its suppression. He implies a "conspiracy of silence" existed 
among other editors. This implication is ridiculous, given the 
volatile political and editorial climate of the times. 

The book was printed in Denver at the job plant of The Rocky 
Mountain News under the supervision of Tom Patterson, editor of 
that paper, who was attempting to exert control over Democratic 
politics in Wyoming. 

There was ample notice of the publication of the book in both 
Cheyenne newspapers. The Cheyenne Daily Leader and The Chey- 
enne Daily Sun. As a matter of fact. The Cheyenne Daily Sun 
published a lengthy review of the book in its August 22, 1894, 

When Mercer and son, Ralph, went on the road promoting the 
sale of the book, mention was made of their visits in the Lusk, 
Buffalo, Sheridan and Douglas newspapers. 

2iRalph Mercer to Lola Homsher, June 9. 1954, Wyoming State Archives 
and Historical Department. 


It is understandable that Mr. Rush could easily have missed 
paragraphs in the out-of-state papers, but how he avoided finding 
a full-column review in The Cheyenne Daily Sun is puzzling. 

But the integral point of the suppression story concerns the 
"raid" of the cattlemen on Mercer's print shop and the destruction 
of his press and type and the burning of the building. 

Assuming the incident — or any part of it — really happened, it is 
inconceivable that the contemporary press would have ignored it. 
Yet a painstaking search of all the available newspapers reveals 
no mention whatever of the alleged raid. A similar search of the 
records of the Cheyenne Fire Department shows that no call was 
made to 1713 Ferguson Avenue — where the Stock Journal was 
published — during the year 1894. 

Yet the above paragraph is poor proof when compared with the 
fact that, in August of 1894 when Banditti was pubUshed, the 
Northwestern Live Stock Journal had been out of business for 
thirteen months! 

How could the cattlemen have raided Mercer's office and de- 
stroyed his equipment in the fall of 1894 when he had sold that 
same equipment to J. D. Hurd in July of the previous year? 

This evidence is irrefutable and proves that the raid on the print 
shop could not have taken place. -- 

There was a raid on the newspaper office and there was a "court 
injunction" and there was confiscation of printed material, but all 
these ingredients of the legend took place in 1892 and involved 
copies of the newspaper, not the book, which was published two 
years later when Mercer no longer had any printing facilities of 
his own. 

Thus, in the light of research, the legend of the suppression of 
Banditti of the Plains and the motives of its author in writing the 
book do not hold water. 

And it's a pity, too. Perhaps it was "too good a story" to ruin. 

-^Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 20, 1893. The item reads: "A few weeks 
ago, without any preliminary convulsions, the Live Stock Journal passed 
quietly out of existence. Yesterday, J. D. Hurd, late of the Evanston 
Register, leased the plant and will conduct a weekly as was issued in the 

}Slack Mills Sooner St 
Zhe J)avy Sxpedltm of 1868 


Grant K. Anderson 

"Great Overland Expedition to the Black Hills," boomed Yank- 
ton's Union and Dakotaian of December 14, 1867. The front 
page article announced plans for a caravan to depart from Yank- 
ton, Dakota Territory, the following spring under the leadership 
of Captain Peter B. Davy. It would, according to the Union and 
Dakotaian, "open up that beautiful and fertile region to settlement 
and cultivation and establish in her beautiful valleys a thriving 
and energetic people . . . who will prospect and bring to light the 
weight of her slumbering wealth and prospect her undeveloped and 
comparatively unknown mines." The coveted Black Hills gold 
fields would be opened at last to impatient miners.^ 

The immeasureable ore deposits of western Dakota Territory 
were rumored to exist in the early 1800s. Plains Indians undoubt- 
edly knew gold existed in their sacred Papa Sapa. However, they 
were not eager to share this information with the fur traders and 
explorers moving onto the Great Plains. Despite this attempt at 
secrecy, tales of gold appeared as early as 1804. In that year 
a Frenchman, writing to the lieutenant governor of Louisiana, 
made reference to the presence of nuggets in the Black Hills.^ 
Similar rumors appeared periodically during the next half century. 
Although the gold was located deep in hostile territory, adven- 
turous men set out for the Black Hills from time to time. Few 
returned, but those who did strengthened the belief that gold did 
exist in paying quantities.^ 

This presumption gained credence as the Army began exploring 
western Dakota Territory. In 1857, Lt. G. K. Warren led the first 

i"Great Overland Expedition to the Black Hills," Yankton Union and 
Dakotaian, Dec. 14, 1867, p. 1. 

^Watson Parker, Gold in the Black Hills, (Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1906, p. 6. 

^Ibid.; Donald Jackson, Custer's Gold. The United State Cavalary Ex- 
pedition of 1874, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972), Harold 
E. Briggs, "The Black Hills Gold Rush," North Dakota Historical Quarterly, 
Jan., 1931; Harold E. Briggs, Frontiers of the Northwest, (New York: 
Appleton-Century Co., 1940). 


scientific expedition to the Black Hills. The detachment left Sioux 
City. Iowa, in July, bound for Fort Laramie. In the party was 
Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden, a geologist, who had first observed the 
area in 1855 with General William S. Harney. Lt. Warren ex- 
plored only the southern Hills region but he found traces of gold. 
Dr. Hayden spent time making observations and Lt. Warren noted 
the region's mineral wealth in his report. The report was not made 
public at the time, however, for fear it would create an Indian 

In 1859 Dr. Hayden continued his studies of the Black Hills. 
Captain W. F. Raynolds, Topographical Corps, was to assess the 
natural resources of the Yellowstone tributaries. Raynolds, ac- 
companied by Hayden, moved westward from Fort Pierre in June 
1859. Mid-July found them near Bear Butte in the northern Black 
Hills. While encamped there small amounts of gold were discov- 
ered. Raynolds suppressed news of this exciting find for fear his 
men would desert. The party left the Black Hills several days 
later, remaining in the field for another year. Raynolds' report, 
published almost a decade later, concurred with Warren's — there 
was gold in the Black Hills. ^ 

Military exploration west of the Missouri River ended abruptly 
with the outbreak of the Civil War. The region was left to the 
Sioux as U. S. troops rushed south to battle the Confederacy. 
Nonetheless, civilian interest to open the Black Hills was beginning 
to gather momentum. 

This civilian interest manifested itself from the very beginning 
of white settlement. The treaty of 1859 placed the Yankton Sioux 
on reservations and opened southeastern Dakota Territory to white 
settlers. Frontier communities sprang up along the Missouri 
River. From frontiersmen and reservation Indians early residents 
heard rumors of riches to the west. In particular, the city of 
Yankton possessed a keen interest in the mineral wealth of its 
territory. Dakota Territory was hardly organized when citizens 
planned to explore its mineral wealth. 

Bryon M. Smith formed the Black Hills Exploring and Mining 
Association in January, 1861. With headquarters in Yankton, 
this was the first civilian organization devoted to opening the 
Black Hills to white settlers. Smith, an insurance man and pro- 
moter, held several public meetings in the territorial capital early 
in 1861. His message was warmly received as over half of 

^Jackson, p. 4; Parker, pp. 15-16; James D. McLaird and Lesta V. Tur- 
chen. 'The Dakota Explorations of Lieutenant Gouverneur Kemble Warren, 
1855-1856-1857," South Dakota History, Fall, 1973. 

"Jackson, pp. 4-5; Parker, p. 16; James D. McLaird and Lesta D. Tur- 
chen. "The Explorations of Captain William Franklin Raynolds, 1859-1860," 
South Dakota History, Winter, 1973. 


Yankton's adult males became members. Prominent among these 
were Moses K. Armstrong, Wilmont W. Brookings, and Newton 
Edmunds, all of whom would play important roles in Dakota's 
history. Although enthusiasm abounded, the Civil War and Indian 
problems forced a postponement in opening the Black Hills." 

In ensuing years civilian interest continued to grow. Dakota's 
territorial legislature frequently memorialized Congress for a geo- 
logical survey of western Dakota. The discovery of gold in Mon- 
tana in 1862 spurred Yankton's residents to increase their efforts. 
Requests were made for wagon roads across Dakota's plains to 
this newest El Dorado. A military installation to protect emigrants 
was also proposed for the northern Black Hills. ^ 

This renewal of activity also saw the rebirth of the Black Hills 
Exploring and Mining Association. Several well attended meetings 
were held in and around Yankton during January, 1865. To 
generate wider enthusiasm, a sixteen-page pamphlet was prepared 
for distribution throughout the East. George W. Kingsbury, of 
Yankton's Union and Dakotaian published the boomer literature 
which announced: 

The Black Hills Exploring and Mining Association desires to call 
the attention of miners and emigrants to the new and short route to 
the gold fields which passes through Sioux Sity, Iowa and Yankton, 
D. T., thence in a nearly direct line to the Black Hills and the mines 
of Montana and Idaho . . . An expedition under the patronage of the 
government is now organizing for the purpose of opening the road 
with which the party of miners sent out by this association will unite. 

If this governmental assistance could be secured, the Yankton 
organization was confident its goal would be attained.^ 

On March 3, 1865, Congress approved the survey and construc- 
tion of a road westward from the mouth of the Big Cheyenne 
River, through the Black Hills, to join the Powder River Road. 
W. W. Brookings, a member of the Exploring and Mining Asso- 
ciation's correspondence committee, was appointed superintendent 
of the project. Most of the surveying work was completed the 
following summer. Brookings optomistically foresaw an expedi- 
tion of several hundred miners accompanying the road builders 
into the Black Hills. As gold seekers began arriving in Yankton, 
he requested federal troops to escort the expedition.^ 

♦»Briggs, Frontiers of the Northwest, p. 28; Briggs, The Black Hills Gold 
Rush," p. 74. 

'''Herbert S. Schell, Dakota Territory During the 1860's, (Vermillion: 
Government Research Bureau, University of South Dakota, August, 1954), 
pp. 37-38. 

^Albert H. Allen, Dakota Imprints, pp. 7-8. 

^W. Turrentine Jackson, Wagon Roads West: A Study of Federal Road 
Surveys and Construction in the Trans Mississippi West 1846-1869, (Berke- 
ley: University of California Press, 1952), pp. 297-311. 


No such escort was furnished, however, as governmental policy 
underwent a change. Newton Edmunds, Dakota's governor, had 
successfully negotiated a treaty with the Teton Sioux in 1865. In 
view of these treaty commitments the governor decided to abandon 
all road projects in western Dakota Territory. Rather than pro- 
vide an escort, the Army notified Brookings, in February, 1866, 
it would not permit the expedition to proceed. Without army 
support, efforts to send an expedition to the Black Hills were 

Despite this setback, interest in the region did not diminish. 
Yankton residents were encouraged when they gained Dr. Hayden, 
of the Smithsonian Institution, as an ally. Hayden, who had vis- 
ited the Hills with the Warren and Raynolds parties, planned to 
visit the region again during the summer of 1866. 

In early October, 1866, Dr. Hayden returned to Yankton after 
successfully probing the Black Hills. He persuaded newly- 
appointed Governor Andrew J. Faulk to allow him to speak before 
a public meeting of the Dakota Historical Society. In a rousing 
presentation. Dr. Hayden spoke of the area's timber wealth, con- 
cluding his remarks by assuring his audience gold would be found 
in the Black Hills.^i 

Such a glittering account breathed new life into the Black Hills 
Exploring and Mining Association. Under the continued leader- 
ship of Byron Smith, the winter of 1866-67 was filled with activity. 
More public meetings were held, speeches given, and resolutions 
passed. Plans were formulated for an overland expedition the 
following summer. A broadside, printed by the Association, pro- 
claimed, "Very many of the scientific institutions of the country 
will be represented and expect to accompany the expedition which 
will make the enterprise not only profitable, but an interesting one 
to all who desire to join it . , . the field is ample and all classes 
are invited to join . . ."i- 

In response to such advertisements, gold seekers made their way 
to Dakota's capital. By the spring of 1867, 100 to 150 eager men 
were in Yankton ready to invade the Black Hills. In early June 
the Army stepped in once again. Generals William T. Sherman 
and Alfred Terry issued orders prohibiting the march westward. 
Despite a great public outcry there would be no opening of the 
Black Hills for another season. ^^ 

K'Schell, Dakota Territory, pp. 39-40. 

iiMax E. Gerber, "The Custer Expedition of 1874: A New Look," 
North Dakota History, Winter, 1973, pp. 5-6; Parker, pp. 19-21; James D. 
McLaird and Lesta V. Turchen, "The Scientist in Western Exploration: 
Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden," South Dakota History, Spring, 1974. 

i^Briggs, Frontiers of the Northwest, p. 28; Allen, Dakota Imprints, p. 14. 

'■■^Robert F. Karolevitz, Yankton: A Pioneer Past, (Aberdeen, S. D.: 


Late in November, 1867, Captain Peter B. Davy arrived in 
Yankton. A resident of Blue Earth City, Minnesota, Davy was a 
well-known guide and explorer. During the 1866 season he had 
led an expedition of 400 from south central Minnesota to the gold 
fields of Montana. From Fort Abercrombie the caravan had 
moved westward across northern Dakota Territory by way of Forts 
Berthold and Union, thence to the Montana diggings. On the 
return trip, Davy had explored a more southern route, through 
the Black Hills, which he felt would be shorter and better suited 
in his needs.^^ 

In Yankton he discussed a possible expedition to the Black Hills 
during the 1868 season. A meeting of citizens and territorial 
delegates was held December 7, 1867, in the home of Solomon 
L. Spink, territorial secretary. Governor Faulk, chairman of the 
proceedings, introduced Captain Davy who spoke at length on 
opening the region to settlement. Eight prominent orators, includ- 
ing Secretary Spink, Gudion C. Moody, and Brookings, also 
addressed the gathering. A resolution was passed to appoint a 
committee to confer with Davy. When Armstrong, F. J. DeWitt 
and Edmunds had been appointed to such a committee, the meet- 
ing was adjourned.^^ 

The committee met with Davy the next morning. It was pointed 
out that Smith, founder of the Exploring and Mining Association, 
opposed any expedition without a promise of military assistance. 
Despite this, the committee decided to cooperate fuUy with Cap- 
tain Davy. The four promoters then canvassed the business dis- 
trict for financial assistance. In a matter of hours, $1500 was 
raised to defray organizational and advertising expenses. ^^ 

In a letter to Kingsbury, editor of Yankton's Union and Dako- 
taian, Captain Davy publically acknowledged his gratitude: 

Permit me through your valuable paper to return my sincere thanks 
to the citizens of Yankton and the Territory of Dakota for the very 
liberal encouragement they have rendered in aiding my efforts to open 
and establish a permanent route from the city of Yankton to that 
region of country known as the Black Hills. 

And in consideration thereof, I would respectfully state they may 
rest assured that no effort should be lacking on my part toward 
making the matter a success . . . 

Northern Plains Press, 1972), p. 50; Parker, p. 20; Briggs, The Black Hills 
Gold Rush," pp. 74-75. 

i^Helen White, Ho! For the Gold Fields: Northern Overland Wagon 
Trains of the 1860's, (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1966), Jacob 
Armel Kiester, The History of Faribault County, (Minneapolis, Minn.: 
Harrison & Smith, printers, 1896), pp. 256-257, 282-283; Briggs, Frontiers 
of the Northwest, p. 29. 

i5"Black Hills Meeting," Yankton Union and Dakotaian, Dec. 7, 1867, 
p. 3. 

16/^,W., p. 3. 


I feel confident that my effort in opening a thoroughfare from 
Minnesota, through Dakota, the Black Hills, and Montana (so essen- 
tial to the interests of the public) will be crowned with success. i''' 

The next days were filled with activity. Yankton was desig- 
nated as the expedition's terminal with June 1, 1868, as the depar- 
ture date. Armstrong, a member of the Exploring and Mining 
Association since its inception, was appointed secretary and gen- 
eral agent. It was decided that he would handle affairs in Dakota 
while Captain Davy would spend the winter of 1867-68 lecturing 
about the expedition throughout Minnesota. 

An informational article was prepared for publication in the 
Yankton Union and Dakotaian. Entitled "Great Overland Expe- 
dition to the Black Hills," the article quoted Dr. Hayden's report 
discussing the region's geography and wealth of timber and gold. 
The advertisement proclaimed optimistically: 

Already large numbers have signified their intention to accompany 
the expedition and it is confidently predicted before spring there will 
be congregated together at the City of Yankton, D. T. thousands of 
determined prospectors and miners bound for the pine clad tops of 
the Black Hills, seeking and finding sufficient of the precious ores to 
overflow their buckskin bags and make their hearts rejoice in the 
contemplation of better days. 

Those interested in accompanying the expedition were advised to 
assemble in Yankton by May 20, 1868. It was determined to 
print the article weekly beginning with the December 14, 1867, 
issue through April, 1868.^^ 

By early December preparations were moving smoothly in 
Yankton. Captain Davy turned the operation over to his general 
agent, Armstrong, and returned to Minnesota. After stopping 
briefly at his Blue Earth City home, Davy began organizing the 
eastern branch of the expedition. 

Monday, December 16, 1867, found the frontiersman in Wi- 
nona. He called on David Sinclair, editor of the Weekly Repub- 
lican and explained his idea. The same strategy used in Dakota 
was employed, as they agreed to call a public meeting to inform 
residents of the venture. The Weekly Republican discussed Cap- 
tain Davy's proposal pointing out benefits to be reaped by the 
state of Minnesota: 

By opening this route the greater portion of trade and treasure 
which for years has been passing over the southern route will find the 
way through Minnesota to Chicago and eastern markets. In view of 
this fact it is a subject that should deeply interest the people of 
Minnesota as we deem it an ialiotory [^/cl step toward opening a lead- 

i8"Great Overland Expedition to the Black Hills," Yankton Union and 
Dakotaian, Dec. 14, 1867, p. 1. 


ing thoroughfare to the rich settlements of Dakotah, Idaho and Mon- 
tana by giving encouragement to Captain Davy in this enterprise. 19 

The following Wednesday, December 18, Mayor R. D. Cone pre- 
sided over a hastily called meeting in Winona's council room. A 
large turnout reportedly gathered to hear the soldier of fortune. 
Captain Davy assumed the floor and quoted at length from Dr. 
Hayden's report. He informed the audience of his plans to depart 
from Yankton the following spring. Other speakers followed 
Davy, all talking about the timber and mineral wealth of the Black 
Hills. No firm action was taken; however, a committee was ap- 
pointed to confer with local businessmen.-" 

The preliminary actions completed. Captain Davy returned to 
his Blue Earth City home for the Christmas holidays. On Decem- 
ber 27, 1867, residents of that Minnesota community paid tribute 
to their voyager for his successful Montana expedition. Once 
again the good Captain spoke at length about the Black Hills and 
his plans for the 1868 season. The reception passed a series of 
resolutions which concluded: 

RESOLVED: That the citizens of Blue Earth City do most cor- 
dially and heavily endorse the project of Capt. Davy and cheerfully 
recommend him and his plans to the citizens of this state and espe- 
cially to the cities east of us which must ultimately bear immeasure- 
able benefits by his success.21 

In response to this, Davy designated Blue Earth City as a Minne- 
sota depot. The weekly Minnesota South West was enlisted to 
print accounts of the expedition. The Captain issued the same 
optimistic prediction of large numbers of recruits he had written 
for the Union and Dakotaian. As in the Yankton paper, this 
article would be printed on page one for the next several months. -- 
Davy next turned his attention back to Winona. He returned 
to the southeastern Minnesota city to determine what aid, if any, 
he would receive. A second meeting was called for January 3, 
1868, at the courthouse. Mayor Cone again presided with Cap- 
tain J. D. Wood appointed secretary. The usual round of speeches 
was delivered. In the words of an observer, "The meeting through- 
out was orderly and attentive and an evident disposition was mani- 
fested to give the movement a push ahead." The gathering adopt- 
ed the resolutions passed by the Blue Earth City meeting of De- 
cember 27. In addition, a local provision was included: 

RESOLVED: that a committee of two be appointed to receive 
subscriptions from the citizens of Winona to aid Captain Davy in or- 

if>"New Gold Region — The Black Hills of Dakotah," Winona Weekly 
Republican, Dec. 18, 1867, p. 3. 

^^Weekly Republican. Dec. 25, 1867, p. 3. 
-'^Yankton Union and Dakotaian, Jan. 11, 1868, p. 2. 
"-Minnesota South, West, Dec. 28, 1867, p. 1. 


ganizing his Black Hills expedition and advertising the city of Winona 
as his starting and outfitting point from the State of Minnesota. One 
half to be paid down — balance the first of March.2'^ 

In the next day's Winona's press the Weekly Republican and 
Daily Democrat bombarded their readers with details of the up- 
coming adventure. An account of Davy's 1866 expedition to 
Montana was presented and numerous columns were devoted to 
the wealth of the Black Hills. Benefits Winona would receive as a 
terminal point were also discussed. It appeared that these benefits 
formed the real basis of interest in opening the Black Hills. As 
an editor noted, "What we desire to especially impress upon the 
people of this city now is the importance of some early and con- 
centrated action to carry out with the best results the objects 
discussed in the first meeting of businessmen in the Council Cham- 
ber. In remarking upon this subject we shall not attempt to 
conceal a somewhat selfish motive which we design appealing to. 
Its vastly beneficial results are too apparent to inteUigent men to 
require much urging."-* 

As the media was arousing interest in Winona, Captain Davy 
left to check preparations in Dakota Territory. In Yankton he 
reported conditions in Minnesota as "extremely favorable as far 
as the public sentiment is concerned." Subscribers of the Union 
and Dakotaian were assured that large numbers of Minnesotans 
would be arriving in the territorial capital the following spring to 
help open the Black Hills.^^ 

Mid- January 1868 found Davy and Brookings barnstorming 
southeastern Dakota Territory. Another round of public meetings 
was held with the now familiar orations delivered and resolutions 
passed. A favorable atmosphere prevailed and a newspaper ac- 
count reported the promoters were "well received and their im- 
portant enterprise encouraged in a substantial manner by the 
people. "^*^ 

Back in Yankton, Davy conferred with Armstrong. They re- 
viewed progress to date and recent developments. Armstrong 
commented on a letter Governor Faulk had received from Morris 
E. Ward of Cincinnati. Ward informed the Governor he was also 
planning an excursion to the Black Hills, via Omaha, during the 
1868 season. When he learned of Davy's plans, Morris suggested 
a merger. His query went unheeded, however, as the Yankton 

^■''Weekly Republican, Jan. 4, 1868, p. 1. 

24"The Black Hills Gold Fields — Immigration" Daily Democrat, Jan. 9, 
1868, p. 1; Jan. 8, 1868, pp. 1, 3; Jan. 10, 1868, pp. 1, 2. 
~^Union and Dakotaian, January 25, 1868, p. 2. 


based group decided to continue with their present plans.-" Much 
of the meeting was devoted to the possibility of federal interven- 
tion. Another peace commission was in the field attempting to 
pacify the Sioux, thereby ending hostilities along the Powder River. 
Rumor had it a treaty was being negotiated which would place the 
Black Hills permanently in the hands of the Sioux. Such an 
agreement would be disastrous to their plans. Davy decided he 
would go to Washington to lobby against efforts to exclude white 
settlers from the Black Hills. In the meantime, Armstrong was 
to tour several midwestern states. It was hoped he would be able 
to gain new emigrants for the following spring as well as opposi- 
tion to any new reservation. In their absence, Brookings was 
placed in charge of affairs at Yankton.^'* 

Both promoters visited in Sioux City on their way east. Davy 
immediately called on the editor of the weekly Register. He dis- 
cussed the expedition at length and submitted several articles. -** 
Armstrong, well known to Sioux City residents, arrived a couple 
of days behind Davy. He spent a few days with friends discussing 
the opening of the Black Hills. Disregard past failures, Armstrong 
told acquaintances, everything points to a successful journey come 
spring. "There is no better man for a trip than our friend M. K.," 
heralded the Sioux City Journal. Both newspapers filled future 
columns with glittering accounts of the upcoming invasion of the 
Black Hills. As the nearest railroad terminus, Sioux City also 
expected to reap benefits from Davy's adventure. ^^ 

From Sioux City, Armstrong traveled by rail to Chicago. He 
set up headquarters at the Briggs House and spent the next several 
days booming the expedition. Armstrong's presence in Chicago 
generated numerous articles among the metropolitan press. The 
potential wealth of the region was described as again Dr. Hayden's 
report was quoted verbatim. The opening of an overland route 
to the Black Hills would, according to the Times, mean "Chicago 
will reap the whole trade, not only of this new mineral field, but 
of all northern Montana." As in Winona, the possibility of 
economic gain was the cornerstone of support for the Davy 

His mission completed in Chicago, Armstrong next sought the 
support of the legislatures of Wisconsin and Minnesota. He urged 
lawmakers to petition Congress against setting aside the Black 

2"Morris E. Ward to Andrew J. Faulk, Faulk papers, Dakota Territorial 

-^Union and Dakotaian, Jan. 25, 1868. p. 2. 

29"Black Hills Expedition" Sioux City Register, Jan. 25, 1868, p. 2. 

'^^Sioux City Journal, reprinted in Union and Dakotaian, Feb. 1, 1868, 
p. 3. 

^'^Chicago Times, Jan. 27, 1868, p. 4. 


Hills for an Indian reserve. The Chicago Times had already 
suggested such action to the Illinois assembly: 

It would be well if the legislature of our own state would petition 
Congress against the policy recommended by the Indian Peace Com- 
mission which would result in locking up one of the richest and most 
accessible mineral fields in the northwest against the energy and enter- 
prise of the whiteman for the purpose of furnishing but a temporary 
hunting ground for the indolent and wandering Indian. 

The matter is one in which the whole west is deeply interested.-'^^ 

Journalistic comments of a like nature were found regularly in 
both the Minnesota and Dakota press. Persistent editorials at- 
tacked the peace commission for its attempt to reserve the Black 
Hills for the Sioux. Such an act would retard the development 
of the entire frontier, they contended. The upcoming expedition 
furnished frontier editors with considerable copy in attacking such 
proposed treaty provisions. As one weekly put it ". . . let us 
hope that the bold adventerous are not to be tomahawked and 
scalped by these worst of Minnesota's foes." It was hoped the 
peace commission would find any area, other than the Black Hills, 
where the Indians could be deposited. '^-^ 

This support for Davy's expedition was also voiced in the halls 
of Congress. In February, 1868, Senator J. B. Wakefield of 
Minnesota introduced legislation to reopen road building in west- 
ern Dakota Territory. He proposed construction of a federal road 
from the western border of Minnesota to the Missouri River, and 
on to the Black Hills. Instead of closing the region to settlers, 
Wakefield maintained the government should assist the forthcom- 
ing colonization in every way.^^ 

Amid increasing public support, P. B. Davy returned to Winona 
in early February. He designated the city as eastern terminal of 
his expedition. From here the caravan would proceed through 
Rochester, Owatonna, Mankato, Jackson and Sioux Falls before 
joining with the Iowa and Nebraska contingents at Yankton 
around May 20, 1868. Peter Bauder, hotel operator and real 
estate promoter, was appointed agent for the Winona area. "Black 
Hills" headquarters in Winona was established in Bander's office 
at Washington and Second Street. Emigrants were continually 
urged to accompany the expedition hailed as "the largest that ever 
sought the gold fields to the West of us by way of Minnesota. "^^ 

Activity remained brisk throughout February. Davy traveled to 


^^The South West (Blue Earth, Minn.), Jan. 25, 1868, p. 4; Mankato 
Weekly Record, Jan. 25, 1868, p. 2; Union and Dakotaian, Jan. 18, 1868, 
p. 2. 

345/. Paid Pioneer Press, Feb. 12, 1868, p. 1. 

'■^•'Daily Democrat, Feb. 4, 1868, p. 4; "Headquarters," Feb. 7, 1868, p. 4. 


St. Paul, spending a week at the Merchants Hotel advertising his 
adventure. Bauder remained in Winona handling the inquiries 
that arrived daily. The Democrat of February 21, 1868, reported 
an emigrant had purchased two wagons and supplies for the jour- 
ney to the Black Hills. ^" The next week another five teams re- 
portedly were outfitted in Winona. -^^ Gold seekers in need of 
transportation were informed ". . . The Winona Wagon and Plow 
Manufactorary, Curtis and Mason, are getting up a number of 
wagons on contract for Captain Davy's expedition to be con- 
structed in part with Flavey's Patent Thimble Skein with the anti- 
friction Box Babbet Metal Linings." As the Democrat saw it "our 
businessmen are now receiving some of the many benefits to be 
reaped through the selection of Winona as a starting and outfitting 

In the meantime, P. B. Davy was constantly on the move. From 
St. Paul the Captain conducted a whirlwind tour of Iowa before 
returning to his home state. March, 1868, found the wanderer 
canvassing south central Minnesota to establish additional depots. 
Almost a week was spent at Rushford in Fillmore County. No 
public meeting was called, but an informational pamphlet was 
prepared and B. W. Benson appointed agent for the area. The 
local press, the Southern Miwiesotian, wholeheartedly endorsed the 
scheme and admonished prospective fortune hunters, "Now is your 
time, boys, you will have to go to Alaska for adventure, if you let 
this opportunity pass unimposed."'^'' 

Waseca, terminus of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad, was 
also designated as a depot following a March 12 rally. James E. 
Child, editor of the weekly Waseca News, regarded it "the duty 
of every Minnesotian to to render encouragement to this great 
enterprise. "^*^ As so often happened, after Davy left town the 
local media was employed to generate enthusiasm. Follow up 
stories recounted suspected wealth of the Black Hills as well as 
Davy's preparations. The proposed line of march was laid out 
and Waseca residents advised "we are credibly informed that large 
parties are now ready in Montana and are only waiting until spring 
to start from the other direction to meet Captain Davy's expedition 
in the Black Hills.''^! 

Child also viewed the expedition as a boon to Waseca's econ- 
omy. "Being located in a rich agricultural country," the journalist 

^^Daily Democrat, Feb. 21, 1868, p. 4. 

^'^ Daily Democrat, Feb. 28, 1868, p. 4. 

^^Daily Democrat, March 11, 1868, p. 4. 

3'>"Captain Davy's Overland Expedition to the Black Hills," Southern 
Minnesotian (Rushford, Minnesota), March 5, 1868, pp. 1, 4. 

40"Capt. P. B. Davy's Expedition to the Black Hills of Dakota," Waseca 
News, March 20, 1868, p. 1. 

41/fe/W.; News, March 13, 1868, p. 4. 


suggested, "its advantages for those desiring to purchase and outfit 
for the Black Hills are unsurpassed by any other locality." Editor 
Child made his point by advertising local enterprises such as 
wagon makers, livery stables, dry goods and grocery stores. The 
News apparently reasoned if the Davy expedition would stimulate 
the economy it should be promoted. In addition to opening the 
Black Hills, the venture was also bringing prosperity to local 
merchants. ^- 

His work completed at Waseca, Davy returned to his home at 
Blue Earth City. The Captain spent a few days resting and draft- 
ing a news letter for distribution to the regional press. He ex- 
plained his recent travels and informed readers the news from the 
East and other quarters made him confident the Black Hills would 
be opened by his legions. Emigrant groups supposedly were form- 
ing as far away as Chicago and Milwaukee. Interested gold seek- 
ers were encouraged to contact the agent in their area at once as 
the June 1 departure date was growing near. To further publicize 
his adventure, the pathfinder was embarking on another trip 
through Dakota Territory, southern Iowa and Missouri. ^-^ 

On the eve of his departure. Captain Davy delivered a lecture 
at the Blue Earth City school on March 23, 1868. He predicted 
the expedition would be a complete success, noting the thousands 
who had indicated their plans to participate. Accounts stating 
the Black Hills would become an Indian reservation were un- 
founded, listeners were assured. In closing, Davy revealed the 
publication of a pamphlet outling the expedition. Carr Hunting- 
ton, editor of the local Minnesota Southwest had prepared the 
twenty-eight page guide which was to be distributed to prospective 
members throughout the country. ^^ 

LAND EXPEDITION TO the Gold Fields and Pine Forests of 
the Black Hills of Dakota" broadcast the pamphlet which adver- 
tised "WANTED 10,000 able bodies, energetic, hardy and indus- 
trious pioneers to join Capt. Davy's grand overland expedition." 
The avowed goal of the campaign was the mineral wealth of the 
region. Several pages were devoted to describing the region and 
documenting the existence of gold. Listed as references who could 
attest to the region's wealth were frontiersmen, congressmen, and 
the governors of Minnesota, Dakota and Montana.^*^ 

^^News, March 20, 1 868, p. 4. 

^■^South West, March 14, 1868, p. 1; March 21, 1868, p. 1; St. Charles 
Herald, March 20, 1868, p. 3; Weekly Republican, March 8, 1868, p. 3; 
March 18, 1868, p. 2; Daily Democrat, March 10, 1868, p. 4; March 17, 
1868, p. 2. 

445oH//? West, March 21, 1868, p. 1; March 28, 1868, p. 1. 

^•''Peter B. Davy, and Carr Huntington, Capt. P. B. Davy's Expedition, 
(The South West: Blue Earth City, Minnesota, April 1868) p. 20, 24. 


But Huntington was quick to point out secondary benefits to be 
reaped by opening a permanent route from southern Minnesota to 
western Dakota. A settlement in the Black Hills would provide a 
link to connect the midwest with both the East and Pacific Coast. 
With this goal in mind, the circular invited: 

. . . the attention of Farmers, mechanics, and other businessmen 
who have the pluck to emigrate and better their fortunes . . . secure 
a home, establish a business, and obtain a foothold in advance of 
thousands of the timid, who when they find the way is open, will 
pounce down upon the country. 

Also "to consumptives and other invalids we would say, if you 
would wish to prolong your life and be restored to health make 
arrangements to accompany this expedition." Obviously, the pro- 
moters felt the Black Hills had something to offer anyone inter- 
ested in going.'**' 

For those planning on making the journey, the guide contained 
the following instructions: 

Everyone accompanying the Expedition should provide themselves 
with six months supplies, gun and ammunition, pick, pan and shovel. 
Those who can provide themselves with a horse to ride, it is desirable 
to do so. Oxen and a light thimble skein wagon are the best mode 
of transportation. A fee of ten dollars is required from each adult 
to defray the expenses of organizing the Expedition. 

Emigrants were also told to "pay no attention to rumors (Indian 
or otherwise) the Expedition is certain to go through. "^^ 

As the departure date neared. Captain Davy hurried to Winona 
in early April, 1868. He spent several days at the eastern termi- 
nus finalizing plans for the first leg of the journey. The mild 
spring weather prompted the conductor to announce the caravan 
would depart Winona as soon as the prairie grasses were sufficient 
for grazing the work stock. He was hopeful the weather would 
cooperate, allowing him to arrive in Yankton by the May 20 
meeting date.^^ This is borne out in a letter Davy sent to James 
Moloney, manager of the North Western Hotel in Sioux City, 
Iowa. He informed his agent he positively would be in Iowa by 
May 15, adding "everything looks favorable for a large party which 
will number thousands." Plans called for spending a day or two 
in Iowa before moving on to Yankton, the central collecting point. 
A week or so would be spent in Yankton, coordinating the various 
detachments and organizing for the final leg of the journey to the 

46/fe/rf., pp. 18-19. 
47/ft,W., p. 19. 

■^^Wabasha Herald, April 2, 1868, p. 4; Dailv Democrat, April 8, 1868, 
p. 1. 


Black Hills. June 1 was still the anticipated departure date, the 
Captain assured his agent. ^^ 

By the end of April, gold seekers were anxiously awaiting the 
signal to begin. One detachment of Blue Earth City residents had 
already been dispatched to Yankton. Others remained, waiting, 
as the Winona Daily Democrafs April 30 issue indicates "there 
are ten or twelve teams already equipped at Wabashaw roady [sic] 
for a start as soon as the order is given by the gallent Captain: 
and so it is all over the State, in every community there are more 
or less getting ready to go." While last minute preparations were 
being made, Davy rested at his Blue Earth City home in an attempt 
to recover from an attack of lung fever.'''*' 

Yankton, Dakota Territory, was also bustling with activity. 
Hills bound emigrants were arriving daily to join the Captain. A 
carnival-like atmosphere prevailed. Past failures were forgotten 
as confident prospectors prepared to settle the Black Hills. 

Unknown to these emigrants, a message was received at Fort 
Sully, Dakota Territory, late in April, 1868, which would prohibit 
the expedition from departing. The Communique, issued to Brevet 
Major General D. S. Stanley, explained governmental opposition 

The country to which it [the Davy expedition] is proposed to ex- 
plore is unceded Indian territory and such an expedition therefore, if 
made, will be made in violation of the law. It is especially important 
at this time that this territory be preserved inviolate, as it is the region 
selected by the Indian Peace Commission for a reservation for the 
Sioux and other northern tribes. The Brevet Major General com- 
manding therefore directs that you prevent the proposed expedition, 
using force if necessary. Should you find that troops will be needed 
you will take them from any of the posts in your district at your 
discression. It is desirable to notify at once the organizer of the 
expedition that they will not be permitted to carry their design into 

To this end, Stanley contacted Dakota's Governor Faulk, who or- 
dered the directive published in Yankton's Union and Dakotaian.^^ 

The government's action produced strong opposition in the ter- 
ritorial capital. Once again the Army was threatening to exclude 
white settlers from the Black Hills. Some of the emigrants 
suggested an armed invasion of the Black Hills while others opti- 
mistically argued the government could be persuaded to rescind 
the order. Editor Kingsbury, vocal Davy supporter, urged mod- 

495/owx City Register, April 11, 1868, p. 2, April 18, p. 2. 
soDaily Democrat, April 30, 1868, p. 1, April 24, 1868, p. 1; Union and 
Dakotaian, April 4, 1868, p. 2; April 11, 1868, p. 3. 
^Wnion and Dakotaian, May 2, 1868, p. 2. 


eration while at the same time editorially requesting the Army 
reverse its position/"'- 

Captain Davy was in Winona when informed the Army intended 
to terminate his expedition. He immediately sent a telegram to 
the Secretary of Interior requesting him to countermand the orders 
issued by the military. The soldier of fortune refused to abandon 
his scheme without a fight. Telegrams were also dispatched to 
congressmen and political leaders of several states asking their 
support in his struggle. The Captain also announced the fortune 
seekers assembled in and around Winona would depart for Yank- 
ton as scheduled. If and when governmental opposition could be 
removed, the caravan could still reach the Black Hills during the 
1 868 season. With this idea in mind, Davy left for Yankton to 
personally continue the battle. '"'^ 

During the interval, Minnesota and Dakota editors speculated 
on the expedition's fate. Most voiced disappointment at the sud- 
den turn of events. Affairs were proceeding smoothly, and every- 
thing pointed to success, before the Army stepped in as it had in 
1867. A majority of journalists still predicted success for Davy 
"in spite of the shortsighted policy which appears to have assumed 
a temporary ascendance among our authorities," as one publication 
termed it.^^ Editorial blasts were leveled at the peace commis- 
sion's action which meant ". . . the richest sections of Dakota 
Territory are closed to the civilized world — its useful and valuable 
minerals, its millions of pine, its wonderful and inexhaustible fields 
for scientific research are given over to the control of savages and 
uncivilized Indians who neither know the worth or can derive from 
them the remotest benefit."^^ To such editors, the governmental 
action amounted to nothing short of a complete surrender to the 
Sioux nation. They argued the reservation scheme would not bring 
peace to the frontier. Instead, the Army should assist in opening 
the Black Hills, garrison troops there, and place the Indians else- 
where. Other columns told of the preparations Davy and the men 
who planned to follow him had made. For any number of reasons, 
such frontier editors hoped "it may be found not inconsistent with 
the obligations of the Government to the Indians to allow the 
expedition to proceed. "^^ Much the same sentiments appeared 
regularly as journalists waited for a final decision regarding the 
Davy expedition.^^ 

52/Z,/W., May 2, 1868, pp. 2-3. 

53Weekly Republican, May 6, 1868, p. 3; Daily Democrat, May 7, 1868, 
p. 4. 

^^Union and Dakotaian, May 16, 1868, p. 2. 

55/ijW., May 30, 1868, p. 3. 

^^Mankato Union, May 8, 1868, p. 4. 

^"^Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 15, 1868, p. 1; South West, May 16, 1868, 
p. 1. 


The enterprising Captain arrived in Yankton late on the evening 
of May 29, 1868. From local leaders he learned all appeals had 
been turned down and the expedition was doomed to failure. Gov- 
ernor Faulk, a Davy supporter from the beginning, had issued a 
directive stating he could not sanction an armed invasion of the 
Black Hills in defiance of military orders. "^^ Davy remained a 
few days in the territorial capital. He considered calling a public 
meeting but decided against it. Instead, the Captain met with 
several groups of supporters and explained what had gone wrong 
with his scheme. He also informed them it was senseless to con- 
tinue in their efforts to open the Black Hills. The area was re- 
served for the Sioux by the Laramie Treaty and the Army would 
use force if necessary to keep white men out of the region. 

Before leaving Yankton in early June, Davy wrote the following 
letter to the editor of the Union and Dakotaian: 

I do not desire to leave Yankton without first having expressed my 
unqualified thanks to Hon. M. K. Armstrong, Gov. Edmunds, Sec. 
Spink, Hon. W. W. Brookings, C. H. Mclntyre, F. H. DeWitt, yourself 
and others for the interest manifested in my behalf in the endeavor 
to promulgate and carry to a successful conclusion the Black Hills 

These men have proven by their acts in the encouragement of the 
enterprise their devotions to the interest of the people of Dakota and 
deserve to be remembered with gratitude by every true Dakotan. 

The development of the richest portion of Dakota would have re- 
sulted largely to its benefit, but for the present our enterprise has 
failed. All we can do is await our time when the futility of this 
Grand Reservation scheme will be made apparent to the Government 
at which time I hope I shall be able to control in some feeble degree 
the interest of the Nobleman of the West — the Pioneer of America. 59 

Davy accepted the failure of his expedition philosophically. 
Upon settling affairs in Dakota's capital, he retired to his Miime- 
sota home and became active in local politics. He had known the 
risks involved when he gambled his time and money to open the 
Black Hills. What bothered him the most was the fate of those 
who answered the call to join him. Over 300 soldiers of fortune 
had assembled in Yankton by June, 1868. Most were young men 
who had given up good positions to accompany Davy westward. 
Disappointed at the sudden turn of events, a few returned to their 
homes. Most, however, booked passage on steamboats bound for 
the Montana mines. It would be another seven years before ad- 
venturers would be allowed to penetrate the Black Hills. ^*^ 

The Davy Expedition of 1868, although a failure, has earned its 
place in the history of Dakota Territory. True, there was nothing 

^^Union and Dakotaian, May 30, 1868, p. 3. 
^^Union and Dakotaian, June 6, 1868, p. 2. 

^('George W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, (Chicago: S. J. 
Clarke Publishing Company, 1915), pp. 870-871. 


novel about Davy's planned overland route from Yankton to the 
Black Hills. Throughout the 1860s visionary citizens had cast 
their eyes upon the region. Several attempts had been made to 
open the Black Hills before P. B. Davy arrived in the territorial 
capital. The same cast of characters — M. K. Armstrong, W. W. 
Brookings and Newton Edmunds among others — were found in 
every previous effort. The Captain was merely a new leader of 
an old group with an old idea. They hoped Davy, being a well- 
known guide and promoter, would be able to accomplish their goal 
where lesser men before him had failed. 

Support for Davy's proposal came from a number of sources. 
Residents of Dakota wanted to develop the western portion of their 
territory to hasten statehood. What better way of attracting set- 
tlers, they reasoned, than opening the gold fields they were sure 
existed in the Black Hills. The lure of sudden riches had already 
attracted settlers to California, Idaho and Montana. Why not 
Dakota? For his part Governor Faulk felt the Hills area had to be 
settled before it was taken over by the newly created Wyoming 
Territory. In addition, a strong population in the Black Hills 
would go a long way toward ending hostilities in the region. 

The effort to develop western Dakota Territory also found en- 
couragement in neighboring Minnesota. Some residents viewed 
the scheme as a chance for adventure. The possibility of economic 
gain, however, was the real basis for support by most Minnesotans. 
Towns such as Winona, Waseca, and Blue Earth City foresaw 
profits as shipping and outfitting points for a permanent settlement 
in the Black Hills. Such benefits were far more important to the 
people of Minnesota than the mineral and timber wealth of the 
Black Hills. 

In spite of widespread encouragement, Davy knew the success 
of his mission rested on governmental support. Yankton residents 
had been trying for almost a decade to open the Black Hills. Thus 
far the Army had thwarted every attempt. The Captain had been 
let to believe the military would allow him to proceed in 1868. 
But once again federal authorities stepped in at the last moment 
to stop this largest and best organized of the Hills bound, fili- 
bustering expeditions. The Laramie Treaty of 1868 had placed 
the Black Hills in the hands of the Sioux for the time being. There 
would be no further Yankton based attempts to open the Black 
Hills until after the 1874 Custer Expedition. 


Unusual Nicknames 

Nicknames prevalent throughout the West in early days have 
always intrigued those interested in Western lore. They were given 
to cowboys, gamblers and other Western characters, usually be- 
cause of some peculiarity of speech or manner, locality from which 
the person was said to have originally come, from some humorous 
incident in which the person named had a leading part, and even 
ironically, to bestow characteristics in which he was lacking. 

Of these names, Hartville, both as mining camp and cow-town, 
had its full quota, and some of the most unusual are as follows: 

Snake River Jack, Montana Bill and The Ogallala Kid, were 
names borne by men who "hailed from" these localities. Red, 
Blackie, The White Swede and Cotton (short for Cotton-top) were 
descriptive of coloring and complexion. Three-fingered Charlie 
needs no explanation, but he was a fiddler of no mean ability and 
was in great demand for playing at dances. Step-and-a-half John 
had been injured by a fall from a horse, and walked with one long 
and one short step. Sister Mary was so called from his softness 
of speech and his effeminate bearing. 

Vinegar Bill was not sour of face as might have been supposed 
upon hearing him so addressed, but he had made the mistake of 
attempting to take a mighty drink from a jug which he thought 
contained liquor — and found it vinegar. Rattlesnake Dick was a 
mild-mannered man who was filled with abject terror at the sight 
of a rattlesnake. Calico Jack possessed a seersucker coat, which 
he sometimes wore. Woodbox Jim received his nickname when he 
returned to his home ranch, much the worse for drinking, and 
mistaking the woodbox for his bunk, slept in it until morning. 
Jerky Bill was a well-known small rancher, famous for his esca- 
pades, but the manner in which he received his name and was 
known throughout the country, has been forgotten. 

—By Alice C. Guyol 

W.P.A. Manuscripts Collection 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical 

"J or t Platte, Wyoming, 

Kival of 7ort Za ramie 


David W. Lupton 

Bicentennial travelers following the Oregon Trail will undoubt- 
edly include on their tour a visit to the exciting Fort Laramie 
National Historic Site. Just north of the fort they will pass a 
monument in stone to still another fort — Fort Platte. One hun- 
dred and twenty-five years earlier their predecessors also passed a 
monument to old Fort Platte, but in the form of crumbling, faded 
white-washed adobe walls. Few could know that this roadside 
marker heralds a site which can boast a long list of famous visitors, 
exciting frontier incidents and trading activities that rivaled its 
better known neighbor, Fort Laramie. 

What was the origin of this little remembered trading post? The 
answer lies in a letter of October 5, 1879, in which Lancaster 
Piatt Lupton wrote as follows: 

"I left the Army in the year 1836. My resignation took effect on 
the 31st March 1836. In the fall of the same year about 15 Sept. I 
started on a trading expedition to the Rocky mountains. I established 
a trading post on the south fork of the Piatt [el river about 15 miles 
below Denver City, Colorado. A few years after I established another 
trading post on the north fork of the Piatt [e] river near the site of 
Laramie City. In a few years I exten'd my trade till my trading 
posts extended from the Arkansas Rivers to the Cheyenne River on 
the North, a distance of more than 500 miles."i 

The post on the south fork of the Platte River was Fort Lan- 
caster, later referred to as Fort Lupton, estabUshed in 1836. The 
trading post on the north fork of the Platte River near the so-called 
site of Laramie City was Fort Platte. The exact date that Fort 
Platte was built by Lupton is not recorded; however, in the sum- 

iLancaster P. Lupton to Lieut. Col. C. S. Stewart, October 5, 1879, in 
Archives, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. (Lup- 
ton's reference to Laramie City is not to be confused with the present-day 
town of Laramie, founded as Laramie City in 1868 in southeastern Wyo- 
ming. Ed.) 


mer of 1840 the missionary Pierre Jean De Smet mentions only 
one fort, Fort William, on the Laramie River in the vicinity of the 
North Platte River.- This fort, built by the American Fur Com- 
pany in 1834, was soon to meet opposition from Lupton's inde- 
pendent trading post. In the fall of 1840 or spring of 1841 
Lupton chose the site for his second fort on the south bank of the 
North Platte, about a mile and a half north of Fort William and 
three-fourths of a mile west of the mouth of the Laramie River. 

The confluence of the North Platte and Laramie rivers was a 
point of great importance for overland travelers west as the trail 
left the plains here and entered mountainous country. Emigrants 
followed either the north or south bank of the North Platte until 
they reached the Laramie River, where they selected a suitable 
crossing to arrive at Fort Platte.-^ 

Apparently Lupton's new adobe structure, the first adobe post 
on the North Platte, stimulated the rebuilding of Fort William's 
old wooden stockade, for in the summer of 1841 a new fort of 
New Mexican type adobe was under construction by the American 
Fur Company. Fort William's replacement was first known as 
Fort John, but later came to be called Fort Laramie after the 
river in the region.^ 

While the early history of Fort Laramie appears to be well 
documented by historians, few materials seem to have survived 
which can provide specific information regarding the early years 
of Fort Platte's existence. It has therefore been necessary to draw 
up the scattered records which have survived to date to form a 
composite picture of this fort. 

The building of Fort Platte was probably completed in the 
spring of 1841, for on June 22 of that year the California emigrant 
John Bidwell was the first to mention its existence, stating that the 
post was owned by Lupton. •'• During late June the missionary 
Joseph Wilhams confirmed Bidwell's observation, writing that 
there were two forts in the area about one mile apart.*' Fort 
Platte was firmly established by May 30, 1841, for by that date 
Lancaster P. Lupton was intending to set out with a caravan from 

-Le Roy R. Hafen and Francis M. Young, Fort Laramie and the Pageant 
of the West, 1834-1890, (Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1938), 
p. 69. 

•^Merrill J. Mattes, The Great Platte River Road, (Lincoln: Nebraska 
State Historical Society, 1969), map following p. 492. 

•*Hafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 69-70. In an attempt to establish a 
clearer frame of reference for the reader, the contemporary name Fort 
Laramie is generally used throughout this article rather than the original 
name of Fort John. 

^Ihid., p. 69. 

To the Rockies and Oregon, 1839-1842 . . . , (The Far West and Rockies 
Series. Vol. 3) ed. by LeRoy R. and Ann W. Hafen (Glendale: Arthur H. 
Clark Co., 1955), p. 226. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 85 

Independence, Missouri, for his northern Platte place of business. 
Accompanying Lupton's caravan as an employee at the rate of $20 
to $25 per month was Rufus B. Sage, an author westbound for the 
first time to gather material for a book. Lupton's trading party 
departed on September 2." 

Sage gives us our first description of Fort Platte: 

This post occupies the left [right] bank of the North Fork of Platte 
river, three-fourths of a mile above the mouth of Larramie, in lat. 
42° 12' 10" north, long, 105° 20' 13" west from Greenwich, and 
stands upon the direct waggon road to Oregon, via South Pass. 

It is situated in the immediate vicinity of the Oglallia and Brule 
divisions of the Sioux nation, and but little remote from the Chey- 
ennes and Arapaho tribes. Its structure is a fair specimen of most of 
the establishments employed in the Indian trade. Its walls are 
'adobies,' [sun baked brick], four feet thick, by twenty high — enclos- 
ing an area of two hundred and fifty feet in length, by two hundred 
broad. At the northwest and southwest corners are bastions which 
command its approaches in all directions. 

Within the walls are some twelve buildings in all, consisting as 
follows: office, store, warehouse, meathouse, smith's shop, kitchen, 
and five dwellings, so arranged as to form a yard and corel, suffi- 
ciently large for the accommodation and security of more than two 
hundred head of animals. The number of men usually employed 
about the establishment is some thirty, whose chief duty it is to pro- 
mote the interests of the trade, and otherwise act as circumstances 

The fort is located in a level plain, fertile and interesting, bounded 
upon all sides by hills, many of which present to view the nodding 
forms of pines and cedars, that bescatter their surface, — while the 
river bottoms, at various points, are thickly studded with proud 
growths of Cottonwood, ash, willow, and box-elder, thus affording its 
needful supplies of timber and fuel. 

One mile south of it, upon the Larramie, is Fort John, a station of 
the American Fur company. Between these two posts a strong oppo- 
sition is maintained in regard to the business of the country, little to 
the credit of either.^ 

It was Sage who stated that the party with whom he was travel- 
ing brought back twenty-four barrels of alcohol for the winter 
trade with the Indians. Reports from the mountains had brought 
word to Lupton's party that during his absence from Fort Platte a 
battle had ensued during a drunken spree between two factions 
of the Sioux, resulting in the death of Chief Schena-Chischille and 
several of the tribe. On October 24 the company was joined by 
two engages from Fort Platte and after two months travel, Lup- 
ton's group reached Fort Platte on November 2. At this time 
another unfortunate incident regarding liquor and the Indians was 

■^Rufus B. Sage, Scenes in the Rocky Mountains as reprinted in Rufus B. 
Sage . . . , (The Far West and Rockies Series, Vol. 4), edited by LeRoy 
and Ann W. Hafen (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co.. 1956), Vol. 1, pp. 
84, 125. 

Hbid., Vol. 1, pp. 219-220. 


recorded by Sage.^ On the night of the party's arrival, a celebra- 
tion was held which lasted into the next day. Apparently one of 
the Brule Sioux chiefs, Susu-ceicha, while riding at full speed from 
Fort Laramie to Fort Platte, being too drunk to maintain his bal- 
ance, fell from his horse and died of a broken neck.^*' 

Winter trade was thus fully opened with the Indians. Parties 
were sent with goods from the fort to the different villages for 
barter, and the liquor trade apparently continued in brisk fashion. 
An expedition was detached to Lupton's post on the South Platte 
River, Fort Lancaster [Lupton], late in November and another to 
the White River (Nebraska), an affluent of the Missouri, northeast 
of Fort Platte. The expedition to the White River included Sage, 
who recorded that on the last of November they were under way 
with two carts freighted with goods and liquor and accompanied 
by six whites, one Negro and an Indian. ^^ 

By the end of January, 1 842, Sage's expedition had depleted its 
provisions and he and two engages left for a return to Fort Platte 
for a fresh supply of horses, cattle and dried meat. After a stren- 
uous winter trip the company returned again to the North Platte 
post on February 12. Sage recited several instances of quarrels 
and drunkenness at Fort Platte during his stay there. ^^ 

About the same time that Lupton and Sage were leaving Inde- 
pendence, September 1841, partners John Sybille [Sibille] and 
David Adams were taking their first trading outfit westward out 
the "Oregon Trail" route to the Laramie River fork area, arriving 
with their company by mid-November. Sybille and Adams were 
free-lance traders, having been issued their first license at Saint 
Louis on July 3 1 to trade on Laramie's fork and the Cheyenne and 
Wind rivers. John Adams, David's brother, served as one of the 
"sureties" for the partners and Bernard Pratte, Jr., a former part- 
ner of Pierre Choteau, Jr., was another of the backers. As will be 
seen later, Sybille, Adams, and Pratte would play an important 
part in the history of Fort Platte. ^^ 

Although Fort Platte's business appeared to have been success- 
ful, Lupton could not maintain two trading posts, and according 
to Sage, apparently went bankrupt.^"* Between February 12 and 
April 26, 1842, Fort Platte changed hands and the new owners 
were Sybille, Adams and Company. Lupton's original reasons 
for building this post on the North Platte, other than for trade 

■>Ibid., Vol. 1, pp. 149-150, 200, 218. 
^01 bid., Vol. 1, pp. 224-226. 
^^Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 232. 
^21 bid., Vol. 1, pp. 279-291. 

i^Louise Barry, The Beginning of the West, (Topeka: Kansas State His- 
torical Society, 1972), p. 437. 
i^Sage, op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 46. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 87 

expansion, could possibly have been related to his marriage. His 
wife, Tomaz (Thomass), was the daughter of a Cheyenne chief. 
She had been born and raised in the Fort Laramie region as was 
their first child, John, born in 1837. Another son, George, was 
born at Fort Platte in 1841 or 1842.^^ Although her tribe may 
have convinced Lupton that a trading estabUshment at this place 
would be advantageous, six years of experience may have proven 
to him that the trade business was beginning to falter. He made 
his decision to settle at Fort Lancaster [Lupton] approximately 
150 miles south of Fort Platte. 

Although the exact date of the sale of Fort Platte is not record- 
ed, Rufus Sage who had been on a hunting trip from February to 
late April, 1842, found the fort and its fixtures claimed by Sybille 
and Adams upon his return. Prior to this expedition. Sage had 
indicated that preparations had previously been underway to build 
a boat at Fort Platte for the transportation of furs and buffalo 
robes to St. Louis. ^"^ Apparently Lupton's sale included a fifty- 
foot keel boat as well as the cargo of sixty packs of robes (between 
two and three tons), and provisions for four weeks. Sage had 
consented in February to take charge of the boat when he returned, 
and therefore set off for Saint Louis from Fort Platte on May 7, 
1842. By June they had reached a point only about two hundred 
miles below the fort, as the expected spring rise of the river had 
failed. The previous winter had been mild in the neighborhood 
of the fort. Navigation of the Platte having failed, the furs and 
robes were cached on the river bank and a portion of the crew 
returned to Fort Platte. It had apparently been decided that the 
fort would be left in command of the trader Joseph Bissonette, 
and an overland party of oxen teams and wagons accompanied by 
Sybille, Adams and John Baptiste Richard started for Saint Louis. 
The group arrived at that place with the furs and robes sometime 
in early August, 1842.^^ In the meantime Sage and several other 
crew members had continued on to Independence, Misouri, by 
foot and canoe, arriving there by July 21.^^ 

The year 1842 had been one of unparalleled drought in the area, 
not only preventing the traders from carrying their furs by boat 
to the Missouri River, but also destroying the grass and vegetation 
necessary for horses and buffalo alike. Apparently these extreme- 
ly dry conditions prompted greater movement of Indian war parties 
making travel unsafe for both Indians and white travelers. While 
Joseph Bissonette was in charge of the fort during the summer of 

15 Alan P. Bowman, Index to the 1850 Census of the State of California, 
(Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972), p. 85. 
i«Sage, op cit., Vol. 1, pp. 292, 344-345. 
i^Hafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 78-80. 
i^Sage, op. cit.. Vol. 2, pp. 19-45. 


1842, a war party of some two hundred Crows invaded the Sioux 
country, penetrating as far as Fort Platte and beyond. ^^ On July 1 
Bissonette wrote a letter from Fort Platte to Lieutenant John 
Charles Fremont, who was leading his first expedition to the Rocky 
Mountains. The communication, written by a clerk at the fort, 
L. B. Chartrain, read as follows (translated from the French) : 

Fort Plane, July 1, 1842 

Mr. Fremont: The [Sioux] chiefs, having assembled in council, 
have just told me to warn you not to set out before the party of young 
men which is now out shall have returned. Furthermore, they tell me 
that they are very sure they will fire upon you as soon as they meet 
you. They are expected back in seven or eight days. Excuse me for 
making these observations, but it seems my duty to warn you of 
danger. Moreover, the chiefs who prohibit your setting out before 
the return of the warriors are the bearers of this note. 

I am your obedient servant, 
Joseph Bissonette, 
By L. B. Chartrain. 

Names of some of the chiefs. - The Otter Hat, the Breaker of Arrows, 
the Black Night, the Bull's Tail.-^' 

Bissonette, one of the principal Indian traders for SybiUe, 
Adams and Company, did meet Fremont at Fort Platte two weeks 
after the above letter was written. Fremont also visited Fort 
Laramie and described both structures as follows: 

Issuing from the river hills, we came first in view of Fort Platte, a 
post belonging to Messrs. Sybille, Adams and Co., situated imme- 
diately in the point of land at the junction of Laramie with the Platte. 
Like the post we had visited on the South fork [Fort Saint Vrain], 
it was built of earth and still unfinished, being enclosed with walls 
(or rather houses) on three of the sides, and open on the fourth to 
the river. A few hundred yards brought us in view of the post of the 
American Fur Company, called Fort John, or Laramie. This was a 
large post, having more the air of military construction than the fort 
at the mouth of the river. It is on the left bank [of the Laramie 
River], on a rising ground some twenty five feet above the water; 
and its lofty walls, whitewashed and picketed, with the large bastions 
at the angles, gave it quite an imposing appearance in the uncertain 
light of evening.2i 

Fremont's description of Fort Platte gives the impression that Fort 
Platte was rebuilt by Sybille and Adams after it was purchased 
from Lupton. Although circumstantial, this indeed seems to have 
been the case as Rufus Sage described the fort as a much larger 

^^Ibid., Vol. 1, pp. 338-339. 

20John C. Fremont, Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky 
Mountains in the Year 1842 . . . , (Washington: 1845, Sen Doc. No. 174, 
28th Cong., 2nd Sess., Ser. No. 461), pp. 44-45, 49-50. 

21//7IV/., pp. 34-35. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 89 

Structure, with fewer rooms, than did later travelers who made 
careful measurements shortly after it was abandoned. 

On July 17, when Fremont dined at Fort Platte, Bissonette 
urged him to take along an interpreter in case their party was 
attacked by Indians. Accordingly, when Fremont departed from 
Fort Platte on July 21, he engaged Bissonette as a guide and 
interpreter for the remaining portion of his expedition westward to 
the Red Buttes (Wyoming).— The importance of Bissonette's 
position at the Fort as "manager" is attested to by the fact that 
Fremont's voucher for goods and services rendered between 20 
July and 1 September referred to Fort Platte as Fort Bissonette. 
Charles Preuss, cartographer for Fremont, also referred to Fort 
Platte as "Fort Bissonet" in his diary. Preuss comments about two 
Mexicans who had run away from the fort in August because they 
had been treated badly. He further stated that the workers in forts 
Platte and Laramie were exploited unfairly, earning only six to ten 
dollars monthly with which they were forced to buy all necessities 
at the fort. Incidentally, a similar Fremont voucher of 17 July 
for services rendered from Fort Laramie referred to that post as 
Fort John (after its builder John B. Sarpy ).--^ The trapper 
Antoine Ledoux [Ladeau], Jr., who was born and raised in the 
area claimed that Fort Laramie never bore the name of Fort John, 
but that there was a Fort John at the mouth of Laramie River 
occupied at one time by Sybille and Adams (Fort Platte — called 
Fort John after co-owner John Sybille?). Ledoux claimed that 
the confusion of names was simply a mistake of the trappers who 
mixed the names of the two forts. -^ Contradictory to this claim, 
however, is the evidence that the "official" name of Fort Laramie 
was Fort John, and that it was not called Fort Laramie by its 
owners. The latter name was generally applied to it by the pubUc. 
Only upon its acquisition by the United States government in 1 849 
was the name Fort Laramie officially established.-^ 

While Fremont was completing his journey, John Sybille had 
delivered the furs and robes to Saint Louis and was preparing the 
return trip to Fort Platte, accompanied by seven men, two wagons 
and a load of alcohol. On August 14, 1842, Lieutenant John 
W. T. Gardiner of the First Dragoons, with twenty men dispatched 
from Fort Leavenworth, overtook Sybille and his outfit, seizing 

~^Ibid., pp. 42-44. 

23Donald Jackson and Mary Lee Spence, The Expeditions of John Charles 
Fremont, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970), Vol. 1, pp. 146-147; 
and Charles Preuss, Exploring with Fremont, (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1958), pp. 34, 63-66. 

24C. G. Coutant, The History of Wyoming, (Laramie: Chaplin, Spofford 
& Mathison, 1899), Vol. 1, p. 301. 

25T. L. Green. "Scotts Bluffs, Fort John," Nebraska History, Vol. 19, 
July-September 1938, No. 3, p. 181. 


and destroying eleven barrels of contraband alcohol. Sybille and 
his men with the confiscated wagons and other property were 
escorted to the military post and then taken to Platte City, Mis- 
souri, for confinement. After the local magistrate refused to act, 
the group was set free, and Sybille put his outfit back together 
again, including several barrels of alcohol and proceeded again for 
Fort Platte. They arrived there on October 12. Sybille's partner, 
David Adams, having delayed his start from Missouri, reached the 
fort about two weeks later.-'" By October 27 he had recorded in 
his diary that the fort was "oil finished and oil the boys well." 
The "boys" now included A. Lucier who was listed in August as 
an employe. -'^ 

Since the Indians did consider the area about the fort as an 
important trading center, transactions during the winter of 1842- 
1843 probably continued as in preceding years. The only out- 
standing recorded event for this winter period appears to be the 
ordeal of Raphael Carrofel, one of the emissaries from Fort Lara- 
mie to the Indian villages. He dragged himself back to Fort Platte 
after a long, suffering ordeal in the snow.-*^ After an uneventful 
winter however, the spring heralded a numerous list of travelers 
who would visit Fort Platte in the summer of 1843. 

In May, 1843, Sybille and Adams sent their friend and partner 
John Richard with "some cows & 6 Buffalo Calves & one young 
Elk also 5 or 6 One (horse) Waggons loaded with Robes" down 
the Oregon Trail, across "Kansas" apparently headed for Saint 
Louis. By the time Richard reached the Big Blue River (Nebras- 
ka) on June 6, he met a westbound party which included William 
L. Sublette, one of the founders of Fort Laramie in 1834. William 
and his brother Solomon P. Sublette arrived at forts Platte and 
Laramie on July 5 in the company of Sir William Drummond 
Stewart and approximately sixty or more hunters and health seek- 
ers.--* Accompanying Sir William's expedition for his health was 
Matthew C. Field, a prominent actor and newspaperman of Saint 
Louis and New Orleans. He wrote interesting accounts of the 
company's adventures for the New Orleans Picayune and the Saint 
Louis Reveille.^^ 

Field presents us with a brief description of Fort Platte during 
his stay there. Under the date of July 6 his diary stated "visited 
the yet unfinished fort of Messrs. Adams & Sibelle — 100 by 100 
feet in extent, strong, but not so complete in any appointment as 
LaRamee — 4 young buffalo calves running tame outside the 

26Barry, op. cit., pp. 456-457. 

2'Jackson and Spence, op. cit., Vol. 1, pp. 146-147. 

2^Hafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 84-85. 

^f^Barry, op. cit., pp. 474-475, 486. 

•■^"Hafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 102-103. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 91 

walls — 75 mouths in all including squaws and children, who were 
outside in the air."^^ It is not known why Field referred to the fort 
as yet unfinished for in October of 1842 co-owner Adams stated 
that remodeling was finished. 

In a letter to "Dear Friends" in the New Orleans Daily Picayune 
of September 6, Field wrote the following ode from Fort Platte, 
LaRamee Fork, July 8, 1843: 

Hurrah! for the prairie and mountain! 
Hurrah for the wilderness grand! 
The forest, the desert, the fountain- 
Hurrah! for our glorious land!^^ 

Other members of Sir William's expedition included Jefferson 
Kennerly Clark and William Clark Kennerly, son and nephew 
respectively of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, 
as well as the son of Sacajawea, Baptiste Charbonneau.-^-^ Sir 
William Drummond Stewart and his company remained at Fort 
Platte until July 8; however, Solomon P. Sublette stayed on until 
the autumn when he left with Indian trade goods for the South 
Platte and upper Arkansas river areas. On their eastbound return 
to Saint Louis, Sir William's party again stopped at Fort Platte 
for supplies and rest from September 7-13.^'* 

Five days after Stewart's caravan left. Fort Laramie was visited 
by a small party of Oregon-bound emigrants, one of whom was 
John Boardman who left Kansas on May 29, 1843. The night 
after they arrived at Fort Laramie they attended a dance at Fort 
Platte. On July 15 another Oregon bound company under Cap- 
tain WilHam J. Martin arrived and another dance was held at 
the Fort.35 

At the very same time in July, 1843, two other Oregon bound 
emigrants, Overton Johnson and William H. Winter, made their 
way to Forts Laramie and Platte. These travelers, like Sage, 
Fremont and Field, have contributed to history with a description 
of the posts: 

"We continued up the North Fork, and on the 13th came to Laura- 
mie Fork, opposite Fort Lauramie. Finding it full, we were obliged 
to ferry, and for this purpose we procured two small boats from the 
Forts, lashed them together, and covered them with a platform made 

3iMatthew C. Field, Prairie and Mountain Sketches . . . , edited by Kate 
L. Gregg and John Francis McDermott (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1957), pp. 79-80. 

32/6W., pp. 85-87. 

33Hafen and Young, loc. cit. 

34John E. Sunder, Bill Sublette, Mountain Man, (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1959), pp. 209, 214. 

35"The Journal of John Boardman . . . ." Utah Historical Quarterly, 
October 1929, p. 103. 


of wagon beds, which we had taken to pieces for the purpose. Upon 
this platform, we placed the loaded wagons by hand, and although 
the stream [Laramie River] was very rapid, all succeeded in crossing 
without much difficulty .... Fort Lauramie belongs to the Amer- 
ican Fur Company, and is built for a protection against the Indians. 
The occupants of the Fort, who have been long there, being mostly 
French and having married wives of the Sioux, do not now apprehend 
any danger. The Fort is built of Dobies (unburnt bricks.) A wall 
of six feet in thickness and fifteen in height, encloses an area of one 
hundred and fifty feet square. Within and around the wall are the 
buildings, constructed of the same material. Those are a Trading 
House, Ware Houses for storing goods and skins, Shops and Dwell- 
ings for the Traders and Men. In the centre, is a large open area. 
A portion of the enclosed space is cut off by a partition wall, forming 
a carell (enclosure), for the animals belonging to the Fort. About 
one mile below Fort Laurimie, is Fort Platte; which is built of 
the same materials and in the same manner, and belongs to a pri- 
vate Trading Company. On the morning of the 16th we left the 
Forts . . ."•''6 

The next month another view of the Fort was given when Thom- 
as Fitzpatrick's division of Fremont's second exploring expedition 
visited Fort Platte. Theodore Talbot, journalist of this party, 
wrote in his journal on August 5: 

"I went down to Sybille & Adams' post at the mouth of the Laramie 
River a mile below Fort John. It is called Fort Platte or Bissonette's 
Fort: it is smaller than the Am. Fur company post [Fort Laramie] 
but seemingly more active & lively. Many Indians round about it, 
whose portraits Sir W. D. Stewart has engaged a painter [Monsieur 
P. Pietierre of Paris] to remain here and take. Met here Sol. Sublette 
and John Smith, who frequently resides among the Indians and speaks 
at present the purest Sheyenne. A fiddle was brought forth in the 
course of the evening . . ."S'' 

Solomon P. Sublette has been identified earlier; however, it should 
be mentioned that John Simpson Smith was a trader in the employ 
of Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River.'^^ Pietierre's sketches and 
paintings are yet to be discovered. 

While Talbot has indicated that Fort Platte was the smaller of 
the two neighboring posts, another writer has stated that "Lupton 
built one of the largest adobe trading posts, called Fort Platte . . .", 
apparently referring to the very large dimensions recorded by 

■^f>Overton Johnson and William H. Winter, Route Across the Rocky 
Mountains, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1966), pp 18-19. 

3'Charles H. Carey, editor, The Journals of Theodore Talbot, (Portland: 
Metropolitan Press, 1931), p. 34; Robert C. Warner, The Fort Laramie of 
Albert Jacob Miller: a Catalogue of all the Known Illustrations of the First 
Fort Laramie, (Laramie: University of Wyoming, 1973), pp. 29-30. 

3^Ann W. Hafen, "John Simpson Smith" in The Mountain Men and the 
Fur Trade of the Far West edited by LeRoy R. Hafen (Glendale: Arthur 
H. Clark Co., 1968), Vol. 5, p. 329. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 93 

Rufus Sage in 1841.'^-^ It should be mentioned, however, that the 
dimensions of Fort Platte as recorded by Sage (two hundred and 
fifty feet in length, by two hundred broad) appear to be suspect. 
Sage also stated that in September, 1842, Fort George (St. Vrain) 
in size "rather exceeds that of Fort Platte, previously described". 
As the remains of Fort St. Vrain measured 128 feet by 106 feet 
(exclusive of bastions) its size was comparable to that of Fort 
Platte, indicating that Sage's description of the size of Fort Platte 
was grossly overestimated.^*^ Comments such as these, coupled 
with other references to the lively and effective competition of the 
forts, prompts this researcher to include a short comparative dis- 
cussion of the dimensions of various fur trading posts in the region. 

By 1847 the outside dimensions of Fort Platte were measured 
at 144 feet by 103.2 feet, with walls 11 feet high and about 30 
inches thick. The same year Fort Laramie, also built of adobes 
and in similar shape, measured 167.11 feet by 121.9 feet. At this 
time its walls were measured at 9 feet high.*^ Joel Palmer, how- 
ever, estimated that earlier in 1845, Fort Laramie's walls had been 
12 or 14 feet high with the tops picketed or spiked. Palmer, who 
also estimated that the walls were about two feet thick, wrote that 
"Fort John [Fort Platte] stands about a mile below Fort Laramie, 
and is built of the same materials as the latter, but is not so 
extensive."*' Notice the name problem again arises. 

Fort Vasquez, one of several fur trading posts on the South 
Platte River about 150 miles south of Fort Platte, was also an 
active competitor of the day. Made of adobe bricks, this fort 
measured 100 feet by 98.5 feet inside the main walls, with height 
of the walls estimated at 14 feet, averaging 26.5 inches in 

Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River was of dominant importance 
and size as a trading post in the central portion of the western 
plains. While it was also built of adobe, there is considerable 
discrepancy as to the fort's exact dimensions. In 1846 two sol- 
diers of the Army of the West gave almost identical measurements : 
178-180 feet by 135-137 feet with walls 14 to 15 feet high and 
three or more feet thick.** 

39Robert A. Murray, Citadel on the Santa Fe Trail (Bellevue, Neb.: Old 
Army Press, 1970), p. 17. 

40Hafen, LeRoy R., "Fort St. Vrain," Colorado Magazine, October, 1952, 
pp. 245-249. 

4iHafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 125-137. 

42Joel Palmer, Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains, as reprinted 
in Early Western Travels . . . , edited by R. G. Thwaites (Cleveland: Arthur 
H. Clark Co., 1906), Vol. 30, pp. 60-61. 

^3W James Judge, "The Archaeology of Fort Vasquez," Colorado Maga- 
zine, Summer 1971, pp. 187-188. 

^^David Lavender, Bent's Fort, (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 
1954), p. 387. 


Concluding the discussion concerning size, it appears that Fort 
Platte may have been somewhat larger in size than comparable 
posts on the South Platte River, but smaller than the major posts 
in the area — Fort Laramie and Bent's Fort. The walls were also 
somewhat shorter in height. It should be remembered that Sybille 
and Adams apparently rebuilt Fort Platte after purchasing it from 
Lupton in 1842.^^ Thus its final form consisted of a rectangular 
compound made up of four rows of fifteen rooms, including a 
store, which surrounded a yard; a horse corral with a tower at- 
tached at one corner for defense purposes, and a small building 
attached at the other corner, possibly a wagon room."**^ 

While the travelers during the summer of 1843 were busy noting 
the activity and size of the posts, John Richard was re-crossing 
"Kansas" heading back to Fort Platte (from St. Louis?) with an 
outfit of eight or nine men and some fifteen pack animals. He 
carried principally kegs of alcohol said to total nearly 300 gal- 
lons.^^ When he arrived on about August 15 he found the Fort 
still under the charge of Joseph Bissonette.^'* 

In the meantime, (August 17, 1843), David Adams, in the com- 
pany of Dan Finch and Julius Cabanne, was also westbound for 
Fort Platte via the Oregon Trail.'*'' They were reported to have 
with them about twenty traders (including John Charles Cabanne?) 
to scatter over the country, as well as approximately forty voya- 
geurs and seventy head of horses, mules, oxen and wagons laden 
with goods, but no alcohol.^" This group met Matt Field of Sir 
William Drummond Stewart's party, now eastbound, on September 
23 near Ash Hollow.-"'^ It is interesting to note that Field has also 
added to the name confusion by referring once to Fort Platte as 
"Richard's fort," exempUfying, however, the important connec- 
tion which John Richard had with the Fort at this time.^- 

■i^Fremont, op. cit., p. 35. 

^^Hafen and Young, loc. cit. 

^"Barry, op. cit., p. 486. 

^^Hafen and Young, op. cit., p. 85. It should be noted that Stewart's 
eastbound party stopped again at Fort Platte on September 8 where they 
purchased supplies, but the name of the proprietor is not mentioned. (Sun- 
der, Bill Sublette . . . , p. 214). 

49Barry, op. cit., p. 493. 

50"Fort Tecumseh and Fort Pierre Journal and Letter Books," South 
Dakota Historical Collections, 1918, pp. 196-197. 

siField, op. cit., p. 202. In a letter from Joseph V. Hamilton to Andrew 
Drips, dated October 7, 1843, at Fort John, Hamilton stated that Mr. 
Cabania [Cabanne], of Pratt and Cabanne (this would be John Charles 
Cabanne) had arrived with wagons of goods, etc., from St. Louis. Was 
John Charles Cabanne in the same caravan as Adams, Dan Finch, and his 
brother Julius or did Matt Field confuse the identity of John Charles with 
his brother Julius? 

^Vbid., p. 74. The reader is referred to the historical novel Chant of the 
Hawk, by John and Margaret Harris (New York: Random House, 1959). 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 95 

The importance of relating this early fall activity lies in the fact 
that the fort again changed hands between August 5 and 10, 1843, 
while Bissonette and Richard were managing the business. Sybille 
and Adams must have sold the fort prior to the westward journey 
of Adams and Cabanne, for the fort is referred to as "the company 
of Pratt [Bernard Pratte, Jr.] and Cabenna [John Charles Ca- 
banne] ^^ ... on the Platte" in a letter from Indian Agent Andrew 
Drips, written September 7, 1843."'^ In spite of this Sybille and 
Adams must have retained some ties with their former establish- 
ment. In September they agreed to sell hunter Lucien Maxwell, 
then in Taos, New Mexico, fifty head of cattle from Fort Platte.^'' 
Pratte and Cabanne had been issued a trading license at Saint 
Louis on July 27 of that year to trade (with twenty-six men) on 
the Upper Missouri, Laramie's Fork, South Platte, and other 
areas. '■^*^ 

With the August arrival of Richard and his 300 gallons of 
alcohol, it seems appropriate to mention briefly the liquor trade. 
In the early 1 840s the ill effects of the liquor trade on the Indians 
was becoming so marked, and the competition of opposition trad- 
ers to the American Fur Company at Fort Laramie so keen, that 
the American Fur Company suddenly championed strict enforce- 
ment of the law. During the earlier decade, prior to the competi- 
tion of Fort Platte, the American Fur Company opposed the 
enactment of a prohibition law, contending that it undercut their 
competition with the British Hudson's Bay Company. Although 
the prohibition law was enacted, the traffic continued much as 
before primarily due to government negligence and tolerance. ^^' 
On September 8, 1842, Major Andrew Drips had been appointed 
Indian agent for the upper Missouri region. ^^ Major Drips was 

In this story centered around the rivalry of forts Platte and Laramie, Ree- 
shar (apparently referring to Richard) is a major character and manager 
of Fort Platte. 

53John E. Sunder, Fiir Trade on the Upper Missouri, 1840-1865, (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965), p. 9. 

54"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 188; and OIA, Letters Received from 
SIA, St. Louis (Record Group 75, Micro 234, Roll No. 753), National 

s^Charles Hansen, Jr., "The Abalone Shell as a Trade Item," Museum 
of the Fur Trade Quarterly, Fall, 1973, p. 8. Through the courtesy of 
Charles Hansen, Jr. it should be noted that a letter in the Adams Family 
Papers, Missouri Historical Society Library, St. Louis "from Ft. Platte to 
Adams on the South Fork December 19, 1843 notes that Cabanne had 
'arrived from Missouri with a few goods' and that the balance of Richard 
Sibille's outfit (apparently on the Missouri) was to be transferred to Ft. 
Platte. The letter also mentions that Sibille had arrived with Cabanne but 
had then gone on the White River (Nebraska)." 

56Barry, op. cit., p. 486. 

s'i'Hafen and Young, op. cit., p. 86. 

58"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 170. 


especially commissioned to stop the liquor trade, including that at 
Fort Platte. It should be noted that his instructions were given by 
Superintendent of Indian Affairs at Saint Louis, David D. Mitchell, 
who was a former employee of the American Fur Company !-^-* 

Agent Drips was authorized to appoint sub-agents, and in April, 
1843, he chose Major Joseph V. Hamilton, another American Fur 
Company employee, to be stationed in the Laramie region. Three 
months later, however. Superintendent of Indian Affairs Mitchell 
dismissed Hamilton, who by then was determined to continue his 
own investigation. Hamilton traveled overland from Fort Pierre 
(South Dakota) to the upper Platte River region to examine for 
himself Forts Laramie and Platte for smuggled alcohol. "^"^ The new 
prohibition enforcement officers appeared to serve the American 
Fur Company first and the government afterwards. On October 7 
Hamilton wrote to Major Drips from Fort John [Laramie]. This 
letter referred to an earlier communication in which Hamilton had 
explained why he had not succeeded in finding the liquor cache 
reported as belonging to Pratte and Cabanne at Fort Platte. ^^ 
Apparently the Fort Platte men had learned that he was coming 
to confiscate the liquor and expel the traders. When Hamilton 
arrived he found only empty caches within the fort. Although the 
liquor had been moved, Hamilton procured affidavits that the 
traders had sold liquor.^- Nevertheless, after nine months of in- 
vestigation, from September 1843 to May 1844, Hamilton found 
nary a drop of "liquid evidence"; his mission failed for lack of 

Major Drips in the meantime continued his own investigation. 
On October 16, 1843, he wrote to Major Mitchell, Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs at Saint Louis, that the boat of Pratt [Pratte] & 
Cabanna [Cabanne] had not yet arrived at Fort Pierre. Drips 
stated that as soon as it arrived he was going to start on a circuit 
over the trading posts.^^ As Hamilton had been certain that Pratte, 
and Cabanne were guilty of breaking the liquor laws on the Platte, 
he had strongly advised Drips to confiscate the Pratte and Cabanne 
keelboat on the upper Missouri, probably enroute from Saint 
Louis. *^-"' Three weeks later, on November 5, Pratte and Cabanne 
stopped at Ebbett's [Abbott's] Wintering Ground^^ — a trading 
post of John A. N. Ebbetts, Fulton Cutting and Charles Kelsey at 
Little Bend on the Misouri River near the mouth of the Cheyenne 

5**Hafen and Young, loc. cit. 
«0Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , pp. 69-70. 
6i"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., pp. 196-197. 
f^^Hafen and Young, op. cit., p. 87. 
^■^Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , p. 70. 
64"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 196. 
s^Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , loc. cit. 
^^"Fort Tecumseh, . . . ," op. cit., p. 175. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 97 

(South Dakota) north of Fort Pierre.'^" Shortly thereafter, Pratte 
and Cabanne apparently continued on past Fort Pierre. It is not 
known if Drips stopped them or even made such an attempt, but 
by December 20, 1843, Major Drips had completed his tour of the 
trading posts in the interior and had returned to Fort Pierre. ''"* He 
continued his unproductive liquor hunt into the spring of 1884. 
His presence on the upper Platte must have jeopardized the illicit 
alcohol trade, for as long as he was there the liquor traffic was 
held down. 

In order to visuaUze the efforts and frustrations which the gov- 
ernment faced in their attempt to stop the liquor trade at Fort 
Platte, the following letters from the Office of Indian Affairs have 
been reproduced: 

"Fort Pierre 7th Sep 1843 

"To Major Andrew Drips Agent for Indian affairs for the District 
of Territory West of the Mississippi River attached to the State of 

"The undersigned states that about the 10th day of August 1843 he 
arrived at Fort John on Larrimie's fork of Platte river. That he re- 
mained there until the 20th August. That during the time he was 
there he frequently visited Fort Platte, the property of a Company 
trading under the style & name of Pratte Cabanne & Co situated on 
the north fork of the Platte river. He further states that about the 
15th August a Mr. Richard one of the persons employed by said 
Company arived near the Fort with a party of 8 or 9 persons and 15 
pack horses and mules. That Mr Richard entered the Fort in the 
morning with a view of ascertaining whether any agent of the Gov- 
ernment was there. That finding there was none a Messenger was 
dispatched for the remainder of his party who came into the Fort with 
the pack animals. That as soon as they entered the Fort the gates 
were closed and locked. That said animals were loaded with Kegs of 
Alcohol Containing as he was informed near 300 gallons, which were 
taken off and carried into the Fort store room & there deposited. He 
further states that during the time he remained at Fort John alcohol 
was traded to one Indian in a quantity more than one half gallon by 
the officers of Fort Platte, and that he was informed by those belong- 
ing to the Fort that much more (a large quantity indeed) was during 
a short period previously traded to the Indians. He further states that 
a Village belonging to the Brule band of Sioux Indians encamped 
partly on the North & partly on the South side of Platte river near 
the said Fort. That whilst encamped there a number of them were 
intoxicated and such intoxication was produced by spirits furnished 
them by Officers of said Fort. He further states that he was informed 
by the Officers of said Fort and by Traders in their employ that 
Alcohol was frequently traded to them by said Company. He desires 
and hereby requests you as an Officer of the Government fully em- 
powered to act in the matter to proceed under the provisions of an 
act of the Congress of the United States approved 30th June 1834 
and particularly the 20th Section thereof and in accordance with the 
Circular letter of Instruction addressed to you by the Commissioner of 

e^Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , pp. 39, 58. 
^^"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 184. 


Indian Affairs dated 6 December 1841 to have said Fort, the Boats 
Stores packages and places of deposits belonging to said company of 
Pratte and Cabanne to be thoroughly searched and if any liquor is 
found to proceed to take into custody and deliver to the proper officer 
of the Government all the goods boats waggons stock packages and 
peltries belonging to said company within the Indian Territory and to 
give such information to the Attorney of the United States as will 
enable him to proceed and have the Same confiscated according to 
law And also to give said Attorney such information as will authorize 
him to put the Bond of said Company in Suit & prosecute the same; 
and to recover all such penalties as the Law may inflict upon said 
Company & those in their employ. He further states that he does not 
positively know the names of each of the firm to whom said Fort 
belongs but that it is the firm owning the Fort on the South side of 
the N. fork of Platte river commonly known as Fort Platte. In con- 
clusion he requests to have such proceedings so instituted as that he 
may receive such compensation as Informer as the Act of Congress 
provides; and so that the Attorney of the United States may be fully 
informed to tender the Same to him in pursuance of the instruction 
addressed to him by the Solicitor of the Treasury dated 6th November 
1841. For the Substantiation of the facts herein set forth he refers 
to Mr. J. Loughborough a Citizen of Liberty Missouri who was then 
in Fort Platte to William D. Hodgkiss the Clerk of said Fort — to Mr. 
Sigler Mr. John Smith & Mr. Parisier [or Parisiu?] Traders in the 
employ of said Company And to Mr. Montgomery a person furnish- 
ing supplies from Touse [Taos] to said Company and a Mr. Richard 
who is also employed by them, and a Mr. Dubois [Dubrais?] a person 
acting as Steward for said company. 

Signed J. Sarpy" 

"Fort Pierre 7th Septr 1843 
"All the facts stated in the forgoing Letter by Mr. Sarpy are written 
within my Knowledge personally or communicated to me by the Offi- 
cers and Traders at Fort Platte. 

J. Loughborough" 
"Fort John September 17th 1843 
"To Major Andrew Drips Agent for Indian Affairs for the District 
of Territory West of the Mississippi River attached to the State of 

"Dear Sir 

By the request of 
Major J. V. Hamilton I take the liberty of addressing you on the 
subject of licensed traders in this section of Indian Country trading 
Spiritous Liquor and this is to certify that between the 9th and 15th 
of this month I purchased from traders in a Fort called Fort Platte 
now in charge of a Mr. Bissonett and belonging to Messers Pratte & 
Cabina Spirited Liquors to the amount of Eighty dollars which I gave 
my Draft for on Mr. J. B. Sarpy in favour of Messers Pratte and 
Cabina of Saint Louis, I shall remain here this Winter and I think 
likely shall return in the Spring to Saint Louis with Major Hamilton 
when you can get my evidence. 

Your Obedient Srevent 

John Hill"69 

fi-'Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , p. 71; and OIA, Letters Received . . . , op. dt. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 99 

In spite of government agents in the area to harass the Hquor 
traffic, trade at Fort Platte during the winter of 1843-1844 was 
brisk J^ From Ebbett's Wintering Ground mentioned earlier, 
Pratte and Cabanne had written to Major Drips requesting permis- 
sion to allow John Richard along with five other traders to be 
included in the licenses under which they were tradingJ^ Richard 
had apparently been operating without a license and had reputedly 
gained a very bad reputation for smuggling whiskey from Santa Fe 
and Taos to the Fort Platte and Fort Laramie region^- That 
winter also saw the expansion of Pratte and Cabanne's trading 
activities. The company decided to open an upper Missouri outfit 
and had received a license from Superintendent Mitchell to trade 
with the Sioux in various new locations between Forts Pierre 
(South Dakota) and Clark [Osage] Missouri. By November of 
1843 they had received permission from Drips to build trading 
houses on at least four new sites near the mouths of the Beaver, 
Grand, Moreau and Cheyenne Rivers^^ and to send out and trade 
meat but nothing else at these posts. ^^ 

One report of the following spring's activity appeared in the 
Niles Register of May 4, 1844: "Captain Cabanne, with a portion 
of his company has arrived at Saint Louis from the north fork of 
the River Platte. They report their trip as very successful. "^^ 
Apparently Joseph Bissonette had accompanied Cabanne to Saint 
Louis, for later that month he had set out for a return trip to Fort 
Platte with a company of pack mules and ponies. On May 23 
he passed the emigrant companies of James Clyman, also enroute 
to Fort Platte.'^^ 

That spring also saw unusually heavy rains and high flooding, 
bringing great distress to emigrants along the Oregon Trail. To 
the traders, however, it was a boon for they were able to bring 
their furs and robes down river by boat with little difficulty. One 
June 21 six mackinaw boats loaded with peltries from the North 
Platte arrived in Saint Louis. These were probably those of Pratte 
and Cabanne since the boats from Fort Laramie with seven hun- 
dred packs of buffalo robes did not arrive until June 27. On the 

7<>Hafen and Young, op. cit., p. 88. 

■J^i'Tort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 175. 

72John D. McDermott, "John Baptiste Richard" in The Mountain Men 
and the Fur Trade of the Far West, edited by LeRoy R. Hafen (Glendale: 
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1965), Vol. 2, pp. 291-293. 

73Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , pp. 70-71. 

''■^"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 175-176. 

''^Niles Register, May 4, 1844, p. 160. 

'''^Charles L. Camp, James Clyman, Frontiersman, (Portland: Champoeg 
Press, 1960), p. 69. 


way to Saint Louis the Fort Platte traders had been attacked by a 
party of Pawnee Indians but repelled them without loss of life.^^ 

During June, 1844, Joseph Bissonette had fortunately returned 
to Fort Platte. His services were needed to avert danger to an 
Oregon bound emgirant party of which one William M. Case was 
a member. As the emigrant train approached Fort Platte in late 
June or early July, word was received that there was a large war 
party of Sioux Indians at the Fort, and if anyone in the train knew 
the Sioux language they should be sent to the Fort. It is reported 
that the Indians wanted the emigrants' horses. To prevent destruc- 
tion to the train, Bissonette met with the Sioux chiefs and told 
them that one of the emigrants had just died of smallpox. As the 
Indians understood only too well what smallpox was, the "chiefs 
slid out to their tents, and within fifteen minutes the whole army 
was on the move, going to the north, and not returning while the 
immigrants of that season were passing."'''' On August 1 when 
James Clyman and company came in sight of the whitewashed 
mud battlements of "Fort Larrimie & her twin Sister fort Piearre 
[Platte] "the walls were surrounded by only a few Indian lodges. 
The company remained only two days.^-^ 

An interesting event occurred during the period from August 
to September of this year. Whether by design or coincidence, 
three of the former owners of Fort Platte returned to that place. 
On September 3, David Adams, trader, with a small outfit set out 
from Hickory Grove, Kansas, near Fort Leavenworth, for the 
Laramie River. During the day he was joined by Lancaster P. 
Lupton, the original builder. On September 21 the combined 
Adams-"Anson"-Robidoux-Lupton pack horse party, eleven men 
or more, proceeded to Frederick Choteau's trading post a few 
miles above present Topeka, Kansas, and eventually arrived at 
Fort Platte on October 24. When they arrived, they were met by 
John Sybille and Dan Finch who had come earlier in August.^" 
One can only wonder as to what Lupton's, Sybille's and Adams' 
reminiscences were upon this visit to their former place of business. 

June, 1845, was a prelude to the end of Fort Platte, a closing 
which symbolized the fading fortunes of the American fur trade 
business. On the morning of June 14, Fort Laramie and Fort 
Platte received their first visit from United States military troops. 
Colonel Stephen W. Kearney led five companies of the First Dra- 
goons over the Oregon Trail to guard the emigrants and impress 
the Indians. The two forts vied for the distinction of having the 

""Hafen and Young, op. cit., p. 89. 

~^H. S. Lyman, "Reminiscences of Wm. M. Case," Oregon Historical 
Quarterly, September 1900, pp. 273-275 
"f»Camp, op. cit., pp. 89-90. 
■^"Barry, op. cit., pp. 526-527. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 101 

Dragoons camped in their vicinity. The good grass on the Laramie 
River bottoms three miles above Fort Laramie appears to have 
determined the choice of post. As some 1200 Brulee and Oglala 
Sioux were assembled near the forts, Colonel Kearney arranged to 
meet in general council on the neutral ground between forts Platte 
and Laramie on June 16.^*^ In the meantime twelve men of Pratte 
and Cabanne's company had taken the steamer Tobacco Plant to 
Saint Louis ;^- however, the remaining traders at Fort Platte pre- 
pared chairs and benches backed with elk skins for the council 
leaders and carpeted the ground with buffalo robes. The Indians 
seated themselves in a great semi-circle, with women and children 
making up the rear.^-^ Kearney's address was translated and inter- 
preted by Joseph Bissonette who was still associated with Fort 
Platte. Howitzers and rockets were fired to fully impress the 
Indians. *^^ 

The day after the council, Kearney and four of his companies 
departed the area to follow the North Platte to the Red Buttes, 
leaving Colonel William Eustis and A Company behind to keep an 
eye on the Sioux concentrated in the area. Returning to forts 
Platte and Laramie on July 13, Kearney and his four companies 
found Company A not far from where they had left it on the 
Laramie River. The campaign then continued south to Bent's 

While heading west. Colonel Kearney's summer campaign 
passed between 1300 and 3000 emigrants in 460 to 500 wagons 
along the Oregon Trail. Between June 14 and 16, 1845, the 
foremost companies of travelers reached Fort Laramie. It is inter- 
esting to note that during this month the traders in the Fort Lara- 
mie area had counted 550 wagons of Oregon bound settlers.'*''' 
On September 4 the St. Louis Reveille had reported that a letter 
written from Fort Platte (in June?) said that 421 wagons of emi- 
grants had passed the Fort and sixty were still behind.*^' 

Among the emigrants was a company headed for Oregon led 
by Captain Joel Palmer. The group reached the "twin" forts on 
June 24 and remained encamped for two days busying themselves 
with trading at the forts, shoeing horses and oxen and repairing 
their wagons. On the 25th the emigrant families held a grand 

siHamilton Gardiner, "Captain Philip St. George Cooke and the March 
of the 1st Dragoons to the Rocky Mountains in 1845," Colorado Magazine, 
October 1953, p. 258. 

82St. Louis Reveille, June 3, 1845. 

83Hafen and Young, op. cit., p. 110. 

s^Otis E. Young, The West of Philip St. George Cooke. 1809-1895 (Glen- 
dale: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1955), pp. 160-161. 

^'■'Ibid., pp. 161-167. 

•'**'Barry, op. cit., pp. 552-553. 

s^St. Louis Reveille, September, 4, 1845. 


feast for the Sioux Indians camped nearby, followed by council 
talks and smoking of the peace pipe. One of the fort traders 
(Bissonette?) interpreted the chief's speech and Palmer's response. 
Palmer wrote that "Fort Laramie, situated upon the west side of 
Laramie's fork, two miles from Platte river belongs to the North 
American Fur company. The fort is built of adobes . . . Fort 
John [Fort Platte] stands about a mile below Fort Laramie, and 
is built of the same material as the latter, but is not so extensive. 
Its present occupants are a company from St. Louis. "^** Another 
recorded visit to this place was that of John E. Howells, who left 
Missouri for Oregon on April 11, passing both forts on June 27, 
1845. In the company of one other emigrant, Howells traveled 
with one wagon, three yoke of oxen, and one horse. '^^ 

Shortly thereafter the Fort was apparently abandoned, for on 
August 31, 1845, Mr. Anthony A. Bonis wrote to Honore D. 
Picotte from Fort Pierre that 

"Mr. Cabanne has abandoned Fort Platte. Bissouet [Joseph Bis- 
sonette] is stationed a few miles below that fort with a few articles of 
trade that remained on hand last spring. It is supposed that if Ca- 
banne comes up next fall it will be with a small outfit. The prospect 
of trade in that section of the country is very flattering, plenty of 
buff and there will be more Indians there this season than ever. Part 
of the Minniconajous and 200 lodges of Cheyennes will winter in the 
neighborhood of the fort. Joe [Picotte, who had been sent to take 
charge of Fort Laramie in June 1845] thinks he will trade 12 to 
1500 packs."90 

Shortly after Kearney's departure from Fort Platte in June 1845, 
Joseph Bissonette supervised the abandonment of the post, and in 
December Pratte and Cabanne sold their interest in the trade to 
the American Fur Company, ending the rivalry between Fort Lara- 
mie and Fort Platte.^^ But what became of the principal figures in 
the history of Fort Platte: Lancaster P. Lupton, John Sybille, 
David Adams, Bernard Pratte, Jr., John C. Cabanne, Joseph Bis- 
sonette, and John Richard? 

As mentioned earUer Lupton had another trading post on the 
South Platte River, Fort Lancaster (later known as Fort Lupton). 
He managed this establishment until 1845. The following year 
he moved to Hardscrabble (New Mexico Territory) near present- 
day Pueblo, Colorado. In 1849 Lupton and his family joined the 

s^Hafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 108-109. 

8»"Diary of an Emigrant of 1845," Washington Historical Quarterly, 
October 1906, pp. 138-139, 144. 

90"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., pp. 203, 206. 

siRafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 92-93 and John D. McDermott, "James 
Bordeaux," in The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, 
edited by LeRoy R. Hafen (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1968), Vol. 5, 
p. 69. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 103 

'49ers for California. There he engaged in mercantile pursuits 
until 1852 when he moved near Coloma to do some gold mining. 
From 1852-1862 Lupton mined and farmed in El Dorado County, 
and from 1862-1868 he continued farming in San Joaquin County. 
Finally in December 1868 Lupton and his family moved to Hum- 
boldt County, near Areata, where he continued farming until his 
death on October 1, 1885.»- 

John Sybille, after dissolving his ownership of Fort Platte in 
August/ September 1843, apparently established a fur trading post 
at Little Bend on the Missouri River below the mouth of the 
Cheyenne River (near Fort Pierre ).''^ In May 1846 he was in 
association with Joseph Bissonette bound from Missouri to the 
upper North Platte River (Fort Bernard?), and it is known that 
he continued in the fur trading business. Sybille subsequently lived 
in the Denver, Colorado, area in the 1860s, later moving to Saint 
Louis where he died in 1879.^^ 

Upon relinquishing his part ownership in Fort Platte to Pratte 
and Cabanne in August/ September of 1843, David Adams con- 
tinued as a fur trader in the area.'''"' In April, 1849, he guided a 
party of gold seekers to California from St. Joseph, Missouri, and 
tried his luck at the mines. The lure of the fur trade, however, 
brought him back and he plied the fur trade until it died. David 
Adams spent his impoverished last years in Saint Louis where he 
died in 1874.»6 

Bernard Pratte, Jr. apparently returned to Saint Louis in the 
spring of 1844, "actively" retiring from the fur trade business, and 
was elected mayor of that city for two terms, 1844-1846.^' In the 
meantime he had maintained a partnership with John C. Cabanne, 
and after Fort Platte was abandoned in July or August of 1845, 
they moved eight miles east of Fort Laramie along the North Platte 
River to build and operate a post named for him. Fort Bernard. 
Apparently Cabanne, Bissonette, and Richard had been left behind 
at forts Platte and later Bernard to conduct business during his 
term of office in Saint Louis.^^ It has been indicated that Mayor 

^-Research in progress by the author, June 1975, on the book Lancaster 
P. Lupton: Fur Trader on the Platte. 

93"Fort Tecumseh . . . ," op. cit., p. 177. 

94Statement of Francis W. Hammitt to F. W. Cragin, April 14, 1903, 
Early Far West Notebooks, V-51, Cragin Collection, El Paso County Pio- 
neers Museum, Colorado Springs, Colo, and "The Reminiscences of General 
Bernard Pratte, Jr.," Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society, October 
1949, p. 69. 

85 Johnson and Winter, op. cit., p. 132. 

''^'"Fur Trade Papers," Bulletin of the Missouri Historical Society, October 
1956, p. 101. 

97Reuben Gold Thwaites, Early Western Travels (Cleveland: Arthur H. 
Clark Co., 1906), Vol. 22, p. 282. 

^SHafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 93-94, 118-119. 


Pratte was most diligent in advancing improvements to that 
city.^'' By December 1845 Pratte and Cabanne had relinquished 
their interests in Fort Bernard leaving its management to John 
Richard. ^'"^ During 1845 Pratte and Cabanne had also withdrawn 
from the fur trade on the upper Missouri River, as had the Union 
Fur Company, leaving the American Fur Company master of the 
upper Missouri fur trade. ^"^ In March 1849 Pratte was hsted as 
a member of the original board of directors of the newly-formed 
Pacific Railroad Company,^"- and the next year he retired to a 
farm near Jonesboro, Montgomery County, Missouri, where he 
lived until his death in 1886.i"^ 

John Charles Cabanne, upon abandoning Fort Platte in July or 
August, 1845, apparently remained in business until the end of 
that year with Pratte, Bissonette, and Richard. ^"^ With the demise 
of the fur trade on both the North Platte and upper Missouri rivers, 
we lose track of the wanderings of John C. Cabanne until his 
death in Saint Louis in 1854.1"'* 

After Fort Platte was abandoned in July or August, 1845, 
Joseph Bissonette moved down the North Platte River to a point 
eight miles east of Fort Laramie. There, under the supervision 
of Pratte and Cabanne, he began the construction of a new post. 
Fort Bernard. After Pratte and Cabanne sold their interest in 
Fort Bernard, Bissonette stayed on with John Richard and they 
successfully continued the rivalry with Fort Laramie until Fort 
Bernard burned to the ground in July 1846. The roles which 
these two men played at Fort Platte, however, appear to have been 
reversed at Fort Bernard. At this post Richard ran the business 
and Bissonette visited the Indians in their camps. Bissonette con- 
tinued to trade in the Laramie area in association with James 
Bordeaux and John Richard. For a while he acted as interpreter 
for the Indian Agency near Fort Laramie. In 1871 he lived with 
the Sioux in northwestern Nebraska, eventually moving to Wound- 
ed Knee Creek, South Dakota, where he died in August, 1894.^"*^ 

John Baptiste Richard, after Fort Platte was abandoned in July 
or August of 1845, moved on to Fort Bernard. He served at this 

""J. Thomas Scharf, History of Saint Louis City and County (Philadel- 
phia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883), Vol. 1, p. 675. 

ifJ'^Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , p. 10. 

^'^'^Ibid., p. 80. 

i"2Dorothy Jennings, "The Pacific Railroad Company," Missouri Histor- 
ical Society Collections, 1928-1931, pp. 288, 292. 

i03"xhe Reminiscences of General Bernard Pratte, Jr.," op. cit., p. 59. 

ic^Sunder, Fur Trade . . . , pp. 9-10, 80. 

ifJ-^'-PauI E. Beckwtih, Creoles of St. Louis (St. Louis: Nixon- Jones Print- 
ing Co., 1893), p. 72. 

i"6john D. McDermott, "Joseph Bissonette," in The Mountain Men and 
the Fur Trade of the Far West, edited by LeRoy R. Hafen (Glendale: 
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1966), Vol. 4, pp. 51-60. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 105 

post as manager, with Bissonette as trader, until July, 1846, when 
Fort Bernard burned down while he was away on a liquor buying 
trip to New Mexico. Richard remained for a short time in the 
fur trade business, but during the 1850s he operated a toll bridge 
with Bissonette and others over the North Platte River near Fort 
Laramie. In 1858 he was one of the first frontiersmen to bring 
news of the Pike's Peak gold discoveries to the Kansas-Nebraska 
settlements. Two years later he opened a store and saloon in 
Denver, and in 1865 he was probably one of Jim Bridger's com- 
rades-in-arms in the Powder River campaign. He was killed by 
Indians on the upper crossing of the Niobrara River (Nebraska) 
in the winter of 1875.1"" 

Although organized trading activity was discontinued at Fort 
Platte by mid-1845, it is important to note the early statements of 
the pioneers as they passed through the area. Their information 
often included the only accurate measurements of the "twin forts" 
available. The first reference to the abandoned Fort by emigrants 
on the "Great Platte River Road" in 1846 appears to be that of 
Francis Parkman who passed by on June 15. Parkman and his 
company continued on to Fort Laramie, crossing the Laramie 
River fork at its highest ford.^*^'^ 

The following year, on April 16, 1847, headed by Brigham 
Young, a "pioneer" Mormon band of 148 persons, seventy-two 
wagons, and Uvestock headed for "Utah" from eastern "Nebras- 
]^a" 109 gy jyjjg I thg Mormon pioneers had arrived opposite 
abandoned Fort Platte's adobe ruins where they camped for the 
night on the north bank of the North Platte River, opposite the 
mouth of the Laramie. On the next day Brigham Young and other 
leaders of the party crossed the North Platte River and examined 
the ruins of Fort Platte. Elder Pratt measured the distance across 
the river at this spot, and being in flood stage found it to be 108 
yards wide.^^" 

Several Mormon pioneers on this journey kept diaries, including 
Lorenzo Dow Young, Thomas Bullock, and William Clayton. 
Fortunately, both Bullock and Clayton took tape measurements of 
Fort Platte and Fort Laramie, and Thomas Bullock included in 
his diary sketches of both forts. William Clayton described Fort 
Platte as follows: 

lOTJohn D. McDermott, "John Baptiste Richard," in The Mountain Men 
and the Fur Trade of the Far West, edited by LeRoy R. Hafen (Glendale: 
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1966), Vol. 2, pp. 294-303. 

^^^The Journals of Francis Parkman, edited by Mason White (London: 
Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1949), Vol. 2, p. 439. 

ii>9Barry, op. cit., pp. 672-673. 

^^'^William Clayton's Journal, published by the Clayton Family Associa- 
tion (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921), pp. 205-208. 


". . . we went up to the remains of an old fort called Fort Platte 
which is near the banks of the river, the outside walls still standing, 
hut the inside is in ruins, having been burned up. The walls are built 
of adobes, or Spanish brick, being large pieces of tempered clay dried 
in the sun and apparently laid one on another without mortar or 
cement. The dimensions of this fort outside are 144 feet east to west, 
and from north to south 103 feet. There is a large door fronting to 
the south which has led to the dwellings which have been fourteen in 
number, built in the form of a parallelogram, leaving a large space 
in the center. The space occupied by the dwelling is not quite half 
of the whole fort. Fronting to the east is another large door which 
opens upon a large open space 98 3/4 feet by 47 feet where it is sup- 
posed they used to keep horses, etc. At the northwest corner is a 
tower projecting out from the line of the walls six feet each way, or, 
in other words it is twelve feet square with port holes for cannon. At 
the northeast corner has been another projection extending eastward 

29 1/2 feet and is 19 1/2 feet wide. The walls are 11 feet high and 

30 inches thick. We took the dimensions of this with a tape line and 
then proceeded to Fort Laramie about two miles farther west .... 
It stands on the bank of the Laramie fork. Laramie fork is a stream 
forty-one yards wide, a very swift current, but not deep."m 

Thomas Bullock described the measurements of abandoned Fort 
Platte as follows: 

"144 by 103.2 outside, the door on the east side 9 f. 9 in., height 
of walls 11 feet - the doorway on s. side 10.6 wide - all the walls were 
about 30 inches thick; around the inside of the walls were 15 rooms; 
the one on the s.w. corner appeared to have been a store - these small 
rooms 16x15 surrounded a yard 61 f. 9 in by 56 f. - On the chimney 
piece of the 2nd room on the west side were paintings of a horse and 
a buffalo but little defaced - on the north side was a yard for horses 
98 f. 9 in. by 47 feet inside having on the n.w. corner a square tower 
with holes to shoot thro' on the sides - which was 9 f. 3 in. square - 
on the n.e. corner, was an attached building 29 f. 4 in. by 19 f. 6 in. 
outside dimensions . . . the Oregon trail runs one rod from the s.w. 
angle of the fort - running the River road, under the bluffs. The 
building was made with unburnt bricks & had been white-washed. "I12 

Discrepancies between the number of rooms and measurements 
are evident but not serious. 

On June 3, 1847 the Mormons hired the Fort Laramie flat boat 
from James Bordeaux for $18 and ferried their wagons across 
the North Platte River, completing the task by early morning on 
June 4 when the trek was continued. ^^^ 

The Mormon emigrations continued past forts Platte and Lara- 
mie along the "Mormon trail" through the fall of 1847, with a 
smaller emigration heading west in 1848. As the year 1849 
dawned the California gold craze was beginning to sweep the 
country. Thousands of adventurers converged on the Missouri 
border towns for the trip west to the mines via the "Great Platte 

111/ftiW., pp. 208-209. 

ii^Hafen and Young, op. cit., pp. 125-127. 

ii^Clayton, op. cit., pp. 209-213. 

FORT PLATTE, WYOMING, 1841-1845 107 

River Road"."^ The first Forty-niners reached Fort Platte and 
Fort Laramie in late May 1849. 

On June 14, 1849, two Argonauts, Vincent Geiger and Joseph 
Wood, mentioned both forts in their diaries on their way to the 
gold fields. The latter wrote: "Found the water in Laramie's Fk 
so deep as to cover the fore wheels of our Wagon . . . On our right 
from here was the bare mud walls of an old deserted fort [Fort 
Platte] and on our left & one mile up Laramie's fork was the Fort 
of that name."^^^ Geiger referred to Fort Platte as "old Fort John, 
now deserted."^^^ On June 16 Company E of the U.S. Mounted 
Riflemen under Major Winslow F. Sanderson arrived at Fort Lara- 
mie,^^'^ and on June 26 the American Fur Company sold Fort 
Laramie to the government for use as a military post. Included 
in the sale were probably the remains of Fort Platte as the purchase 
deed states that ". . . Pierre Choteau, Jr. and Co. should release 
and transfer to the United States all the houses, buildings, and 
improvements by them at any time held or occupied as a trading 
Post at Fort John, commonly called Fort Laramie . . . including all 
permanent buildings . . . situated within ten miles of the junc- 
tion ... of said Laramie Fork with said Platte river . . ."^^* 

July 6 and July 9, 1849, afford the last mention of Fort Platte 
by emigrants and Forty-niners before the trading post fades into 
history. The report of the Boston-Newton Company stated that 
on July 6 "We crossed opposite Fort John [Fort Platte] one mile 
below Ft. Larima. These places are nothing but a mud wall with 
quarters for a company of a hundred men."^^'-* On July 9 the 
Washington City and California Mining Association arrived at Fort 
Laramie. The J. Goldborough Bruff Journal states "Several hun- 
dred yards back from the river's bank, on the right, stood the old 
adobe walls of Fort Platte, the original post of the fur traders, now 
in ruin; and looks like an old Castle. It is rectangular."^^*^ 

After the military had established themselves at Fort Laramie, 
Capt. Howard Stansbury and Lieut. J. W. Gunnison of the Corps 
of Topographical Engineers arrived there on July 12, 1849. Capt. 
Stansbury wrote in his private journal ". . . after a march of 13 

ii^Mattes, Great Platte River Road, p. 487. 

115/fe/^., p. 489. 

ii^David M. Potter, ed., Trail to California, the Overland Joiirnel of 
Vincent Geiger and Wakeman Bryarlv (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
1945), p. 106. 

ii^Barry, op. cit., pp. 851, 853. 

iiSMerrill J. Mattes, Fort Laramie and the Forty-Niners (Estes Park, 
Colo.: Rocky Mountain Nature Association, 1949), pp. 22-23. 

iisjessie Gould Hannon, The Boston-Newton Company Venture (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1969), pp. 124-125. 

i20Georgia W. Read and Ruth Gaines, eds. Gold Rush - The Journals, 
Drawings, and Other Papers of J. Goldshorough Bruff (New York: Colum- 
bia University Press, 1949), pp. 34-35. 


miles crossed Laramie fork and drove up to this Fort [Lara- 
mie] . . . Below us is a company of mounted rifles . . . The 
Laramie river is quite a rapid stream about 3 feet deep where the 
wagons crossed which was just opposite and old adobe Fort now 
abandoned [Fort Platte]. The American Fur Company peo[pl]e 
are encamped on the left bank having sold out Ft. Laramie to the 
Govt, for $4000."i-i 

The remains of Fort Platte were possibly torn down in the late 
1850s to provide filler material for new construction at Fort Lara- 
mie.^-- Throughout the years the site of Old Fort Platte appears 
to have remained unnoticed until July 1951. On this date the 
Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming erected a plaque 
south of U.S. 26 on state highway 160 bearing the following 


A Trading Post, Built by 


In 1841, 

Stood Fifty Yards To The 


Placed By 

The Historical Landmark Commission 

Of Wyoming 

July 1951 

i2iMattes, Fort Laramie . . . , p. 27. 
122/iW., p. 35. 

William Wallace Cookt 
Dime J^ovelist 


Mabel Cooper Skjelver 

William Wallace Cook was one of the prolific writers in the 
"stable" of the world's largest publishing house of dime novels and 
story papers, Street and Smith of New York City, at the turn of 
the century. Collectors of dime novels and story papers now seek 
the stories of this Marshall, Michigan, author. Wally, as he was 
known to his family and friends in Marshall, had little difficulty 
in turning out short stories, serials, and novelettes to the order of 
his main employer. Street and Smith. ^ A variety of pseudonyms 
has made it difficult to identify completely his vast output of 
adventure stories for boys, girls, and adults. His versatility was 
evident on reviewing his known work, for he was adept at writing 
adventure, love, mystery, detective as well as western stories. He 
is best known as one of the major contributors of the Diamond 
Dick, Rough Rider, Merriwell, and Buffalo Bill stories, as well as 
the Nick Carter stories. Much of his vast output remains unidenti- 
fied in the numerous pulp story papers of Street and Smith, Mun- 
sey and other publishers. 

William Wallace Cook was born in Marshall, Michigan, April 
11, 1867, and was the only child of Charles Ruggles and Jane 
Elizabeth (Bull) Cook. According to Cook in his autobiography, 
The Fiction Factory, as a young lad he was encouraged in his 
writing by his mother, who in a limited way was also a writer, 
having written for Harper's Magazine. His father, however, 
thought his son was wasting time at scribbling, preferring that he 
follow a business career.^ 

The elder Cook came to Marshall in 1845 at the age of six 
years, grew up in the community, enlisted in the army, serving 

i"Uncle Billy" was the affectionate name given Cook by younger writers 
who sought his advice on how to construct a plot or market their writings. 
Letters from T. T. Flynn, undated, [ca. August, 1928]; Erie Stanley Gard- 
ner, August 12, 1929. 

2John Milton Edwards, nom de plume of William Wallace Cook. The 
Fiction Factory, Being the Experiences of a Writer Who, For Twenty-Two 
Years, Has Kept A Story-Mill Grinding Successfully, (Ridgewood, N. J.: 
The Editor Company, 1912), p. 21. Information about Cook's life and 
writing prior to 1912 was taken from this autobiographical account. 


three and a half years as a government detective. His employment 
as an immigration agent for various railroads following the Civil 
War demanded frequent travel and the family lived for a time in 
Layfayette, Indiana, and Cleveland, Ohio.-^ In 1870 the Cook 
family went to Ottawa, Kansas, and remained there for eleven 
years. Here young Cook wrote plays at the age of twelve, in 
which he performed with his friends. At fifteen he had won an 
award of merit from Frank Leslie's Boys and Girls Weekly for a 
composition he had submitted.^ These early incidents did much 
to spur young Cook to seek writing as a career. 

In 1882 the Cook family moved to Chicago. Upon the urging 
of his father, William Wallace enrolled in the Bryant and Stratton 
Business College for two years, but continued to writs in his spare 
time. After leaving school, he worked first as a stenographer for 
a firm of subscription book publishers, next as a ticket agent for a 
railroad company, then as a bill clerk for a boot and shoe firm. 
He returned to work for the railroad company and upon the closing 
of their Chicago office, Cook worked first in the office for a firm 
of coke and sewer pipe wholesalers, then as a reporter for the 
Chicago Morning News, finally as a paymaster for a Chicago 

The death of his father in 1889 brought heavy family respon- 
sibilities and in an effort to earn extra income. Cook wrote in the 
evenings and submitted material to newspapers and story papers. 
The Chicago Inter-Ocean story paper accepted an article at space 
rates ($2.50), while the Chicago Times used one of his stories, 
without payment. Yet having his material in print gave Cook 
pleasure and encouragement. The Detroit Free Press published 
Cook's first story, a tale of the Kansas wheatfields, entitled "No 1 
Hard," in the fall of 1889. While he received only $8 for it, he 
was encouraged to enter the Free Press story contest. Two of his 
short sketches that he entered were bought and pubhshed, although 
he did not win a prize. ^ That settled it; he became more indus- 
trious than ever, determined to find a way to devote more time 
to his writing. By persistence he found outlets for his short 
sketches and serial stories during the next two years in Puck, 
Truth, The Ladies World, Yankee Blade, Leslie's Monthly, Chat- 
ter, and Figaro. In 1890 a serial pubhshed in the Philadelphia, 
Saturday Night, James Elverson, publisher, gave the young writer 

^Railroad pass cards of Charles Ruggles Cook in a private collection are 
for the Grand Trunk Line Northern Pacific; Chicago and Western Mich- 
igan; Toledo, Peoria and Western; Rock Island and Peoria; Chicago Bur- 
lington and Northern; Chicago and Grand Trunk; and Albert Lea Route. 

^Edwards (Cook), p. 17. 

"'Ibid., p. 21; Marshall Evening Chronicle, July 20, 1933, obituary of 
William Wallace Cook. Marshall Public Library. 


— University of Nebraska Photo Service 
William Wallace Cook about 1925 

confidence that he could be a commercial success as an author, 
and also pointed Cook toward sensational story papers.*' Cook 
sought more outlets of this type for his work. 

He married Anna Gertrude Slater, of Madison, Wisconsin, in 
1891. Two years later Wilham Wallace Cook decided, with the 
encouragement and approval of his wife, to make his living as a 
writer. Cook had sold many stories and sketches, since his first 
story for the Detroit Free Press, but it was not until 1893 that his 
earnings from writing exceeded his office salary. His paymaster 
salary was $25 a week ($1200 a year) and his earnings from 
writing in 1893 amounted to $1825 with $1675 of this from one 

^Edwards, p 23. 


firm, Street and Smith of New York City.'^ While these figures 
appear bleak today, a family then could live well on $800 a year 
and with an income of $1500 could play the part of "a member 
of society."^ 

In the spring of 1893, William Wallace Cook through a coinci- 
dence was given the opportunity to write for Street and Smith. 
It came about in this manner. Alfred B. Tozer, editor of The 
Chicago Ledger, had unwittingly suggested such an opportunity 
when Cook called upon the editor to inquire if that Chicago story 
paper could use serial stories of his.'^ Tozer had at that moment 
received a letter from Street and Smith, along with a bundle of 
newspaper clippings, requesting Tozer to use the news items as a 
basis for stories. Cook decided to send a sample of his writing to 
this well-known publishing firm. After the return of several manu- 
scripts for revisions. Cook was accepted to write novelettes for 
their juvenile five- and ten-cent libraries. Cook was elated since 
Street and Smith was regarded as the "big time", as well as a 
steady market. 

Street and Smith had been publishing a fiction weekly. The New 
York Weekly, since the 1850s. In 1889 the firm entered the dime 
novel field, competing with such well established pubUshers as 
Beadle and Adam, the Munros (George and brother Norman), 
and Frank Tousey. By 1900 the Beadle and Munro outfits had 
folded, leaving only Tousey and Street and Smith in command of 
the dime novel field. Street and Smith bought out Tousey and 
turned the paper-covered novels into serials for pulp magazines. 
These serials in turn were later re-issued as paper-covered novel- 
ettes (Libraries) to a new generation of readers. As soon as a 
weekly or a library began to lose money. Street and Smith created 
another publication to take its place, although it too might have a 
short life, dictated by the changing tastes of the reading public. 
This practice did not provide security for their fleet of writers.^" 

~>Ibid., p. 8. 

■■^Frederick Lewis Allen, The Big Change, (New York: Harper, 1952), 
p. 45. 

'^Edwards, pp. 31-37. Tozer was one of the new writers Frederick Mar- 
maduke Van Rensselaer Dey broke in for the Nick Carter stories when the 
burden of work became too heavy for Dey. 

if'At the time William Wallace Cook became one of the many writers 
for Street and Smith, Ormond and George Smith, sons of one of the found- 
ers, Francis S. Smith, were the owners of the publishing house. Francis 
Scott Street and Francis Shubael Smith took over The New York Weekly 
Dispatch in 1855, under the paternal guidance of the owner, Amos J. Wil- 
liamson. Two years later, having proved their ability, they became sole 
owners and changed the name to The New York Weekly. At Street's death 
in 1883 Ormond Smith bought Street's interest from the estate. Francis S. 
Smith, with his sons' assistance, directed the firm until 1933. A detailed 
history of the Street and Smith firm can be found in Quentin Reynolds' 


Quentin Reynolds attributed the long survival of Street and Smith 
in the pulp field to two basic principles — diversity and killing off 
publications as soon as their popularity waned. 

The Street and Smith vast pubhshing enterprise included the 
Buffalo Bill Stories, The Log Cabin Library, The Nick Carter 
Detective Library, The Frank Merriwell stories, Jesse James stor- 
ies, The Tip-Top Weekly, the New Fiction Library, The Diamond 
Dick Library, the Rough Riders (Ted Strong) stories and many 
others. Russel Nye contends that the last genuine dime novel 
pubhcation was Street and Smith's New Buffalo Bill Weekly in 
1912.^1 However, the New Buffalo Bill Weekly would best be 
called a serial story paper, for not until the 1920s were these serials 
compiled into a paper back book form. Even these reprinted 
serials were extensively edited or revised, a necessity to make the 
three (or more) parts blend together, and to remove the "cliff- 
hanging" devices required for a serial. ^- 

To provide stories for their many pulp publications Street and 
Smith kept a stable of writers busy turning out adventure stories 
on order. Stock writer names that were the property of Street and 
Smith were used. Many a young writer grew to literary maturity 
during his tenure with Street and Smith. The following are a few 
of the better known authors who wrote for Street and Smith at 
various times: 

John Russel Coryell, originator of "Nick Carter" name. 
Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey, primary author of the Nick Carter 

detective stories. 
Edward Zane Carroll Judson, "Ned Buntline," No. 1, author of 

Buffalo Bill stories. 
Prentiss Ingraham, "Ned Buntline," No. 2, author of Buffalo Bill 

Horatio Alger, Jr. 
Upton Sinclair 
Edward B. Ellis 

St. George Rathborne, author of Buffalo Bill stories. 
William Gilbert Patten, "Burt L. Standish," creator of the Frank 

Merriwell stories. 
W. Bert Foster, author of Buffalo Bill stories. 

John H. Whitson, author of Buffalo Bill stories and Merriwell stories. 
A. Conan Doyle 
Bret Harte 
Sidney Porter, (O. Henry) 

Theodore Dreiser also wrote for this publishing firm and served a 

The Fiction Factory or From Pulp Row to Quality Street, (New York: 
Random House, 1955). The similarity of Reynolds' title to the title of 
William Wallace Cook's book of 1912 is striking. 

iiRussel Nye, The tJnembarassed Muse, (New York: Dial Press, 1970. 
p. 201. 

i^Frank Luther Mott, A History of the American Magazine, Vol. IV. 
1885-1905, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957, p. 117. 


year as editor of Smith's Magazine (1905), a Street and Smith 

William Wallace Cook, credited as one of the many authors of 
the Diamond Dick, Frank Merriwell, Nick Carter, Buffalo Bill and 
Ted Strong of the Rough Rider stories, wrote numerous stories for 
many Street and Smith publications. 

Pulp Uterature in the form of dime novels and story papers, 
while fostering patriotism, conventional morality, and virtuous con- 
duct, provided entertainment for the masses through swift action, 
dramatic tales. Yet these stories, strangely enough, were frowned 
upon by parents, because they thought the sensational, exciting 
incidents might have immoral affiliations. These dime novels and 
story papers make tame reading for today's youngster satiated with 
television's blood and crime of the 1970s. In retrospect they 
served an educational function for they provided the means and 
created the desire for reading that has been largely lost for today's 
television oriented youth. ^^ 

Pulp literature is criticized for its stilted, crude writing, yet some 
ten million Americans paid tribute to the dime novel and story 
papers each month. The pulps never suggested any possible sat- 
isfaction in ideas, in intellectual curiosity, or in esthetic pleasures, 
for their role was one of escape from a humdrum troubled life 
to one of romance and excitement. ^^ 

While Erastiuc F. Beadle, and his brother Erwin, are credited 
as the originators of the dime novel in 1860, an editorial in West- 
ern Library Messenger points out that cheap literature was viewed 
with disfavor as early as the 1840s. 

Riding on the cars through Michigan today, we have been half amused 
and half pained to see with what avidity "yellow covered literature" 
is here as elsewhere, devoured by travelers . . . men, with foreheads 
of respectable dimensions, have busied themselves for hours today . . . 
in perusing, page by page, the contacts of some shilling romance by 
[J. H.] Ingraham or some other equally stale and insipid novelist. i^ 

The major pulp pubhshing firm. Street and Smith, found pros- 
perity at the end of the century, and on into the 1920s and '30s 
by providing "the John Smith's of America" with a variety of 
inexpensive reading matter that chronicled the adventures of Nick 
Carter, Diamond Dick, Buffalo Bill, Ned Strong, and Frank Mer- 
riwell. The pulps at the turn of the century concentrated on 
virtuous characters and exciting adventures, but by the 1920s three 

^■■^Frank Schick, The Paperbound Book in America, (New York: R. R. 
Bowker, 1958), p. 51; Nye, p. 203. 

i^Merle Curti, The Growth of American Thought, (New York: Harper 
and Row, 1954), pp. 725, 726, 729. 

I'-An editorial in the Western Literary Messenger, VIII, No. 16, May, 22, 
as quoted in Albert Johannesen, The House of Beadle and Adam, (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1950), p. 3. 


Other broad categories began to emerge: love, detective and west- 
ern. By the 1930s other pulp publishers were imitating Street 
and Smith's three most successful magazines, Love Story, Detective 
Story and Western Story. Early love stories titillated readers with- 
out being pornographic. Pulps dealing with raw sex emerged in 
the late 1920s when publishers took advantage of the new frank- 
ness that followed the war. The detective story remained as a 
clear cut category, but a distinction between a western and an 
adventure story came about. Adventure stories eventually were 
subcategorized into sea, sport, air, and spy themes. The science 
fiction pulp emerged as a separate category in the late 1920s, but 
its antecedents can be found in such early story papers as Argosy 
and others that ran tales based on supernatural phenomena, or 
with scientific or pseudo-scientific background. Street and Smith's 
Western Story created in 1927 was the last of their dime paperback 
novelettes. The firm rightly read the public pulse in the thirties 
and forties and turned to science fiction, comics, romance and 
women's fashion magazines. ^^ 

The fiction of William Wallace Cook by his own statement was 
one of clean ethics. In a newspaper interview he contended he 
never wrote a line in his stories but what he would permit his own 
son to read, feeling secure that the reading would do no harm, but 
would, on the other hand, be beneficial to the boy.^' Cook's 
stories had a great variety of content, in which adventure, mys- 
tery and daring situations predominated. One of his novelettes, 
A Quarter to Four, or The Secret of Fortune Island, in the New 
Fiction Library (1908) serves to illustrate. Robert Lorry, the 
hero, inherits the estate of an uncle in which the sole property is 
an envelope, a "small packet of paper money" and instructions in 
regard to the meeting of three other individuals at the Palace Hotel 
in San Francisco, who would identify themselves with the phrase 
"A Quarter to Four". They were to have similar envelopes, then 
all were to go to the office of a San Francisco lawyer for further 
instruction. Another envelope conveyed directions to charter a 
boat and prepare for a long cruise. Additional envelopes were 
to be opened at specified times once the four were at sea. Adven- 
ture, mystery and daring situations were imaginatively devised, 
with the personality of the individuals playing a major role. Be- 
sides the hero, there was a complaining, older woman; a beautiful, 
virtuous young woman; and a treacherous, crafty young man. 
Each chapter was packed with excitement ending with a "chff 
hanging" situation. All the while, the reader knows a treasure 

i^Theodore Peterson, Magazines of the Twentieth Century, (Urbana: 
University of Illinois Press, 1964, p. 201. 

I'i'Marshall Evening Chronicle, July 20, 1933. 


will be found and the hero will wed Zelda, the beautiful, virtuous 
young woman. In an "O. Henry" ending, Lorry finds that his 
uncle is not dead but a very ill man and had used this adventurous 
means to get his part of an ill-gotten treasure to San Francisco 
and to convey the shares of his three dead comrades to their 
heirs without the heirs knowing of its tarnished source. 

One of William Wallace's first tasks for his new employer was 
to construct a tale based on a prominent insurance case reported 
in the newspapers. The use of news items as a foundation for a 
plot was an accepted practice of pulp publishers at the turn of 
the century. Cook decided to build his own inspirational source 
material by clipping interesting news stories upon which he might 
build a fictional tale, these he categorized and filed in letter-files. 
The indexing was done in such a way to suggest the character or 
main theme of the news item and where the clipping could be 
found in the letter-files. This system was no doubt a partial 
inspiration for his last book, Plotto. 

Cook also maintained an extensive personal library that aided 
him to obtain realism in his fictional tales. Jules Verne's book 
Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) was one of the classics 
found in Cook's library and served as the inspirational basis for 
one of Cook's novelettes Around the World in Eighty Hours 
(1925). Borrowing from a masterpiece was a form of admiration 
and little effort was made to disguise this fact.^'^ 

William Wallace Cook experienced early the insecurity of writ- 
ing for a publishing firm that rapidly adapted to the ever-changing 
pulp fiction field. For almost a year he had been writing serials 
for Street and Smith exclusively when the publishing firm decided 
to use reprints for a time, leaving Cook without a market. This 
alerted him to the danger of concentrating on one type of story 
for a particular outlet. He sent copies to Street and Smith of two 
of his published stories which had appeared in Saturday Night to 
inquire if similar stories would be considered for their most popu- 
lar story paper. The New York Weekly. Ormond Smith liked 
them well enough to give Cook the assignment of writing senti- 
mental fiction for young women under the pseudonym of "Julia 
Edwards," a Street and Smith owned name. Many of the Julia 
Edwards stories were actually written by men, such as Cook, 
Edward Stratemeyer, and others. "Julia Edwards" according to 
her inventors was a poor orphan working girl who wrote stories 
of her bleak life. As the bicycle was the current fashion. Cook 
was to build a love story that exploited this current infatuation. 
"Bicycle Bell" was the title of Cook's first serial under the Julia 

1 '^William Wallace Cook's library and papers are preserved by a private 


Edwards nom de plume. ^'^ While the New York Weekly assign- 
ment provided a somewhat steady income, Cook thought he needed 
to seek other markets. 

In July 1894, Cook made his first trip to New York City to 
confer with his publishers, hoping for additional assignments. He 
was given the task of writing a novelette in serial form. He wrote 
the first two installments while visiting in Michigan, where he had 
close relatives. Upon completion of the novelette he received 
$500 for it, considered a large sum, as typical rates were 1/2 
cent per word. Cook was elated as this was the most he had 
received for a serial story. He was commissioned to do two other 
juvenile serials under a Street and Smith nom de plume that year. 
Cook was now confident he had established himself as a productive 
writer, for his year's work brought him $2750, more than he could 
have earned in the business world, but what brought more satis- 
faction was the confidence that Ormond Smith had placed in his 

The next few years brought hard times, and ill health. When 
his health permitted he continued to turn out "two 30,000 word 
stories per week," but when his illness curtailed his output. Street 
and Smith gave others his previous assignments. Such were the 
realities of the pulp publishing field. Shortly after the beginning 
of the year (1895), Street and Smith notified him that the nickel 
library business was not flourishing and that he would receive $40 
per novel, rather than the $50 he had been paid. They did, how- 
ever, suggest he submit a story for a new detective library, Dia- 
mond Dickr^ This character was to bring some fame to Cook, 
and he took Diamond Dick through many a Western adventure. 
Cook was one of the numerous writers of the Diamond Dick series 
writing under the Street and Smith name of W. B. Lawson. The 
Dime Novel Roundup has reprinted one of Cook's Diamond Dick 
stories, "Diamond Dick Jr's Call Down or the King of the Silver 
Box." (1895)-- 

The Diamond Dick detective serial was conceived by Street and 
Smith to rival the Deadwood Dick detective library of Beadle and 
Adam. Nye states that the originator of Diamond Dick was Sam- 
uel S. Hall. However, WiUiam Wallace Cook was one of the 
writers of these detective stories as early as 1895. Quentin Rey- 
nolds contends that Diamond Dick was inspired by an old frontier 

li'Mary Noel, Villains Galore: The Heyday of the Popular Story Weekly, 
(New York: MacMillian, 1954, p. 185; Edwards (Cook), pp. 43,' 48. 

20/6/W., pp. 49-51. 

21/WJ., p. 57. 

-^Dime Novel Round Up, a magazine of the Dime Novel Club, first 
issued in 1944, edited by Edward T. LeBlanc, 87 School St., Fall River, 


fighter, Richard Tanner, who, tradition states, served on the plains 
with Custer and then gave exhibitions of his shooting skill in wild 
west shows. Diamond Dick and his friend, "Handsome Harry," 
galloped through millions of pages in the Diamond Dick library. ^^ 

Cook now had many assignments entailing deadlines that must 
be met if he were to make up the loss of $10 per nickel novel. 
Although ill he thought he could increase his productivity with the 
aid of stenographers. Shortly, however, he discovered that his 
time was consumed with editing and revising so that little profit 
was gained. Dismissing the three helpers he returned reluctantly 
to his earlier system, a slower but proven formula. 

Cook describes this efficient system in his autobiography. His 
rapid, neat typing skill, developed during newspaper reporter days, 
enabled him to compose directly on the typewriter, including a 
carbon copy as he typed the original. Stories were double spaced 
on SVi X 11 inch paper, with four hundred words on one sheet. 
A serial of 60,000 words covered one hundred fifty sheets; those 
of 30,000, seventy-five sheets; with short stories averaging from 
fifteen to twenty pages. Cook believed in having the latest in 
typewriters, as it saved him time, thereby increasing his production, 
as well as producing neater copies. He admits to owning twenty- 
five typewriters, often two machines at the same time, and could 
change from one machine to another without hampering his flow 
of ideas. 

Stories were sent to a publisher with a self-addressed return 
envelope. By using paper and envelopes of the same weight, 
postage or express charges were easily calculated. Records of his 
manuscripts were at first kept in a bound book of pre-printed 
stubs and from letters, containing the date sent, the date returned, 
refusals or payment received. A quick look through this book 
gave him an idea of his current manuscript inventory. This proven 
system was to serve him efficiently throughout his writing career. 
He later made one adjustment using index cards rather than the 
bound books, to keep track of his manuscripts.^^ High production 
was mandatory for the remuneration was usually at a given rate 
per word, varying through time from one-half cent, one or two 
cents, to two and one-half cents and finally to three and three and 
one-half cents per word; thus a 1000-word short story at one cent 
a word would be worth $10. Cook was receiving the top rate of 
two to two and one-half cents per word by 1910 and three and 
one-half cents per word in the late 1920s. 

In the fall of 1895, the doctors identified his illness as tuber- 
culosis and advised him to move to a southwest location. From 

23Nye, p. 206; Reynolds, pp. 96-98. 
24Edwards, pp. 25-30. 


November, 1895, to April, 1896, Cook and his wife lived on a 
ranch near Phoenix, Arizona, with Cook turning out Diamond 
Dick five-cent libraries for Street and Smith, as well as writing 
sketches and short stories for other pubUcations. This western 
experience, while it brought about financial insolvency, provided 
inspiration not only for the Diamond Dick stories but for later 
Buffalo Bill and Rough Rider (Ned Strong) stories. 

One of Cook's western short sketches, that appeared in Mun- 
sey's Magazine, May, 1896, entitled "Peter: A Study in Red," 
brought forth a strange reader reaction. Cook, while in Arizona, 
was continually alert for story material and spent time exploring 
the countryside and checking out local news. On one of these 
excursions he was told about the building of a dam at a place 
called Walnut Grove. The dam when completed stored a great 
deal of water. However, one night the dam gave way and a 
number of laborers, working a gold mine by a hydraulic method 
below the dam, were drowned. Cook's sketch for Munsey related 
how a Maricopa Indian, riding his pony in the gulch below Walnut 
Grove, gave up his mount to a white girl to prevent her drowning 
in the flood waters of the broken dam. After the sketch was pub- 
lished. Cook received a letter from a young Indian on the Maricopa 
Indian Reservation, claiming the Maricopa Indian rescuer was his 
father.-'' Fiction had turned into fact for one reader. 

While in Arizona, he became interested in the possibility of 
developing a gold mine, and went east to secure capital to form a 
company to purchase and develop the mine. Whether he obtained 
capital from other sources is unknown, but he invested his own 
reserve in the venture. In a few weeks the mining venture proved 
a failure, with a loss of $10,000 to Cook.-^ 

Cook's finances were virtually exhausted and in desperation he 
and his wife made a "prospecting" trip to New York, hoping that 
Street and Smith would permit him to submit additional stories to 
the firm. Since other authors were turning out acceptable stories, 
the publisher informed Cook that work could not be taken out of 
their hands and for the present time no new, continuing assignment 
was possible. They did, however, give him an order for four nickel 
novelette stories to be held in reserve in case a regular contributor, 
then ill, failed to meet deadlines, as well as four sketches for their 
new publication, Ainslee's Magazine. However, within a few days 
the pubHsher informed Cook that the regular writer was well and 
anxious to regain his post. Cook was to complete the nickel 
novelettes he had started. Two were accepted at $40 each. Four 

25/feW., p. 79. 

26/fc,w., pp. 60-61. 


sketches for Ainslee's Magazine, were accepted at $10 each, but 
this amount would not long pay their New York expenses.-^ 

Cook, with his wife, returned to Chicago, bringing with him an 
order for a serial for The New York Weekly. Renting a flat on the 
north side, the Cooks took their household effects out of storage 
and faced the problem of a meager existence, as Cook could now 
work only a half-day. Writing became a chore and the results were 
unsatisfactory, yet he persevered. By October, 1897, a serial was 
accepted by Street and Smith. Cook expected to receive $300 
for it, but was paid $200. His protest brought an additional check 
for $100. The year closed with another order from Street and 
Smith for a Julia Edwards story. At the end of the year his income 
totaled a meager $425 but the following year his fortunes took a 
slight upturn. -^^ 

Cook sold a Julia Edwards serial to The New York Weekly 
shortly after the new year. In the spring, although little improved 
in health, Cook decided to journey to New York, hoping his pres- 
ence would secure commissions. His arrival was opportune, for 
Street and Smith had decided to initiate a library based on the 
Klondike gold rush. Cook was given the assignment to write stor- 
ies for the Klondike Kit Library, a juvenile serial. Cook gave the 
hero, Klondike Kit, a beautiful heroine. Nugget Nell, a resourceful, 
brave companion in Klondike Kit's many adventures. The Cooks 
remained in New York for three months; while there he wrote 
Klondike Kit stories and another serial for The New York Weekly. 
Because of the heat at midsummer, they retreated to the Catskill 
Mountains, living in a hotel near Cairo. By late summer Cook 
received the discouraging news that since Klondike Kit was not 
successful as a weekly, it would be continued as a monthly. Up 
to that time Cook had written sixteen stories for this library.^^ 
Obviously a monthly check of $40 would not pay for a summer 
resort life, so Cook and his wife returned to Chicago, settling again 
on the north side. Although his health was far from good, Cook 
continued to write for the Klondike Kit Library, The New York 
Weekly (Julia Edwards stories) and The New York Five-Cent 
Weekly. The Five-Cent Weekly assignment had been given to 
Cook due to the fact that the regular writer was seriously ill.^'' 

By this time Cook was confined to his bed, but a writing assign- 
ment could not be refused since the family finances were at low 
ebb. A stenographer was hired and Cook dictated his stories for 
two weeks, then resumed writing them in bed on an improvised 
table. Much to the wonder of his physician and his wife, Cook 

""Ibid., pp. 61 and 72; Reynolds, p. 273. 
28Edwards, pp. 61-62, 72-75. 
29//)iW., pp. 81-82; Reynolds, p. 107. 
3f'Edwards, pp. 82-84. 


slowly improved. He began a story embracing his Arizona exper- 
iences. This serial served a year later to introduce Cook to Mat- 
thew White, Jr., editor of The Argosy, a Munsey publication.-^^ 
Cook had increased his earnings, most of which came from the 
Klondike Kit series. In better health the following year Cook 
turned out thirty-five five-cent libraries for Street and Smith, three 
Klondike Kit Libraries, and a novelette. ■'■- 

Up to the turn of the century Street and Smith had been the 
heaviest purchaser of Cook's fiction. The serial he had sold to 
The Argosy encouraged him to seek other publishers. Shortly he 
found a market for a serial with The Western World, through a 
gentleman with whom his wife had become acquainted while at- 
tending Frank Holmes School of Illustration. The Western World 
purchased another serial, a mystery story, which the editors 
planned to use to boom circulation; i.e., the solution was not 
revealed until the last chapter, and prizes were offered for the 
correct solution of the mystery. ^^ 

In 1900 the McClure syndicate bought one of Cook's serials, 
issuing it first in metropolitan newspapers, then sold it to the 
Kellogg Newspaper Union, who in turn issued it as a "patent" to be 
sent out to country newspapers. Several years later, G. W. Dil- 
lingham Company, a New York pubUsher, bought the story. His 
Friend the Enemy, and published it with a paper cover.'^^ Cook 
continued to submit stories to The New York Weekly and The 
New York Five-Cent Weekly. He received a further assignment 
to write twenty-eight stories for Do and Dare, a Street and Smith 
juvenile weekly. ^^^' This weekly for young boys featured "Phil 
Rushington" as the hero. When Cook had finished fifteen stories, 
the original writer became sick, and Cook was given the task of 
completing an unfinished story and then writing the entire series. 
Do and Dare folded after some forty-seven issues.-^" 

The story Cook had written during his illness was purchased by 
The Argosy's editor, Matthew White, Jr., for $250. On the pro- 
ceeds of the sale Cook and his wife took an extended outing to 
Atlantic City, New York, Boston, Salem, Plymouth and other 
places in the New England states. Cook devoted his mornings to 

3i"He Was a Stranger," cited in Cook's autobiographical account, was 
later published as His Friend the Enemy. 

32Edwards, pp. 85-87, 96-97. 

^^Ibid., pp. 95-96. 

34William Wallace Cook, His Friend the Enemy. (New York: G. W. 
Dillingham Company, 1903). 

^^•JEdwards, pp. 96-99, 102; Reynolds, p. 108. 

36Stanley A. Pachon, "William Wallace Cook," Dime Novel Roiind-Up, 
September 15, 1957, p. 72. This article encompasses only the years prior 
to 1912, being based on Cook's autobiographical account in The Fiction 


writing and his afternoons to sightseeing. Late that summer, the 
Cooks went west, first to Michigan, then on to Wisconsin. They 
returned to Michigan, "to the Uttle town where Cook was born, 
bought an old place and settled down."-^' This property on North 
Kalamazoo Avenue in Marshall, Michigan, was a bracketed brick 
house in the Italian villa style, built in 1869 by Frederick Kar- 
staedt, a clothing merchant. Cook purchased the property in 1900. 
Later he removed the original wide front stone steps and added a 
porch. The property is now owned by Garth Thick. '''"' 

During his thirty-three years in Marshall, Cook participated in 
many city and state affairs and organizations. He was a member 
of the Presbyterian church, a Knight Templar, the Shrine, and a 
faithful attendant of the Marshall Rotary Club. He was a first- 
class story teller at family and social gatherings. His generosity 
was relied upon by colleagues, friends, and family for assistance in 
time of need or emergencies. In 1923 he was a member of the 
City Commission that was appointed to revise the Marshall City 
Charter. In 1931 he was appointed a member of the Marshall 
Electric Light and Water Commission, an office which gave him 
great satisfaction. He was a Democrat although most of his rela- 
tives were Republicans. He was an active member of the Mich- 
igan Authors Association, The Chicago Press Club and the Battle 
Creek Writer's Club.^'' 

Once established at Marshall, Cook continued to write for Street 
and Smith's New York Five-Cent Weekly, as well as to revise and 
lengthen some of his old stories for this publisher. A new boys 
serial library, Boys of America, was created by Street and Smith 
and Cook wrote many stories for it. Street and Smith again re- 
duced the remuneration for their weeklies and discontinued all 
orders for their five-cent libraries. Reprints would be issued again 
since there was a new generation of juvenile readers. Cook met 
this turn of events by directing his output toward Munsey's publi- 
cation, The Argosy. G. W. Dillingham brought out Cook's book 
His Friend the Enemy, as a hard bound book. A prospecting trip 
to New York city during the winter of 1 904, brought an assignment 
to write for a new Street and Smith publication, The Popular 
Magazine^*^ He was told also that there would be a new weekly. 
Young Rough Riders, (later changed to Rough Riders), for which 
he was to create stories, along with St. George Rathbome. The 
rate was to be $50 for each, a nice advancement from the old $40 

3'Edwards, pp. 98-99. 

^^Ibid., pp. 99-100; a private collector; Mabel C. Skjelver, The Nineteenth 
Century Homes of Marshall, Michigan, (Marshall: Marshall Historical 
Society, 1971), p. 148. 

^^••Marshall Evening Chronicle, July 20, 1933. 

40Edwards, pp. 100, 102. 


rate>^ Ted Strong, the fictional hero of the Rough Rider stories, 
was one of the volunteers with Teddy Roosevelt, having fought in 
the Spanish American War in the Philippines. Following the war 
he owned a ranch, Black Mountain, in the Bad Lands of Dakota. 
William Wallace Cook wrote for this series under the Street and 
Smith stock name of Edward C. Taylor or as Ned Taylor. Cook 
took over the writing of the Ted Strong stories from Rathborne 
with issue No. 38 and continued through issue No. 123, when 
Cook was temporarily relieved by W. Bert Foster. Cook and 
Foster shared authorship through issue No. 175. The Rough Rider 
Weekly stories were reprinted in the New Medal Library under the 
byline of Edward C. Taylor from 1909 to 1915. The Ted Strong 
stories in New Medal Library appeared as serials in the New Buf- 
falo Bill Weekly from 1916 to 1919. They were re-issued from 
1923 to 1930 in a thick pulp book series known as Western Story 
Library.*^ Street and Smith were not inclined to permit good 
material to lie idle if it could be fitted into one of their numerous 

Buffalo Bill Stories was a Street and Smith weekly for which 
William Wallace Cook wrote western stories after his move to 
Marshall. This western weekly was Street and Smith's most long- 
lived story paper, having a total of 591 issues from 1901 to 1912 
(the last nine issues were repeats of the earliest Buffalo Bill tales). 
It ceased publication for one week and came back as The New 
Buffalo Bill Weekly, running from September 12, 1912, to June 
19, 1919. Although hailed as "new", all the stories were re-issues 
of previous Buffalo Bill Stories. There were periods when the 
reprinting from the originals was fairly well mixed up, with some 
of Cook's original stories deleted. With issue No. 357 The New 
Buffalo Bill Weekly became The Western Story Magazine. This 
title was also used for reprints of the Rough Rider stories, as pre- 
viously stated. The Western Story Magazine also reprinted from 
other early Street and Smith publications, such as Golden Hours, 
Good News, Bound to Win Library, Boys of Liberty Library and 
the new Medal Library to the extent that only dedicated collectors 
would be willing to expend the effort and time to identify the 
original sources. Cook wrote a great many of the Buffalo Bill 
tales up to 1919, sharing the task with Prentice Ingraham, St. 
George Rathborne, W. Bert Foster and John H. Whitson.^^ 

In 1904, Mead and Company brought out Cook's second hard- 
back book, Wilby's Dan under his own name. Like his first book, 

•*iReynolds, p. 116. 

^2J. Edward Leithead and Edward T. LeBlanc. "Rough Rider Weekly and 
the Ted Strong Saga," Dime Novel Roimd-Up, July 15, 1972. 

■*3J. Edward Leithead, "New Buffalo Bill Weekly," Dime Novel Roitmi- 
Up, May 15, 1970. 

<^ Ai 

\ A- /. n'' 


' "v. 

K s 






i -•■m\ /^^ vi'^v {^<- ■ -'- ■ ^ ,* 

•~VV "' ■ 

— University of Nebraska Photo Service 
Cover of Billionaire Pro Tern, published in 1907 


Wilby's Dan did not prove to be a great financial success, earning 
him only $250.^^ While Cook began to use his real name, pen 
names were still employed. A chance discovery of a Cook short 
story, "Bridget's Return", under the name of William Wallace 
Whitelock, which appeared in Munsey's Magazine for June, 1904, 
serves to illustrate the complexity of locating and identifying 
Cook's writings under various names. 

Cook's continued output for Street and Smith did not deter him 
from writing for his old patron. The Argosy, and from seeking new 
outlets, such as Woman's Home Companion, The Blue Book, The 
Red Book, The Railroad Man's Magazine, All-Story Magazine, 
The People's Magazine, The Popular Magazine and The Ocean.^^ 
Through extensive reading he was able to write with realism on 
subjects removed from his personal experience. His technical 
knowledge on railroads was limited, despite his father's vocation, 
as was his knowledge of the sea, yet informed readers wrote favor- 
ably of his realistic familiarity with these subjects. In this his 
personal library and categorized reference material proved a great 

His production for 1908 was the largest so far in his career. His 
output in 1908 consisted of forty-four nickel novels for Street and 
Smith, (Buffalo Bill and Rough Rider stories), two novelettes for 
The Blue Book, four serials for Munsey pubhcations, and a novel- 
ette for The People's Magazine. This averages one story per week. 
Two of his stories that year were purchased and translated by a 
German publisher, raising the hope that other European publishers 
might buy his stories, but this did not develop. ^"^ 

That fall, Street and Smith offered to purchase the book rights 
of Cook's serials that he had written for Munsey and other pub- 
lishers. Since Cook had failed to retain the book rights, he 
decided to go to New York to confer with editors White and Davis, 
of Munsey, as well as other publishers. Cook successfully ob- 
tained the required paper book rights with little difficulty. Of 
the serial stories only seven were long enough for immediate issue 
in paper book form. The others required lengthening and revi- 
sion. These earlier serial stories from The Argosy, All-Story, 
Ocean, Scrap-Book, Railroad Man's Magazine, Popular Magazine, 
People's Magazine, Blue Book and Woman's Home Companion 
became Street and Smith's New Fiction Series. 

In the fall of 1909 Street and Smith gave Cook "a new line of 
work", the Motor Stories, paying $75 for each. However, they 
were discontinued after thirty-two issues, although Cook wrote a 
total of thirty-four. Street and Smith rarely let stories remain in 

■t-^Edwards, pp. 115, 122, 124, 126. 
^°Ibid., pp. 138-141, 176-180. 
mbid.. DD. 147-150. 

^"iDia., pp. ijo-iti, 
^^Ibid., pp. 147-150 


their files for long, so the extra two were published in The Brave 
and Bold weekly. Cook continued to write Buffalo Bill stories 

A third hardback book, A Quarter to Four, was brought out by 
G. W. Dillingham Company in 1909.^' Cook also tried his hand 
at writing scenarios for a company that had obtained the privilege 
of taking moving pictures of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and 
Pawnee Bill's Far East Show. While Cook furnished a great many 
scenarios, the remuneration was small, only $25 for all.^*^ 

From 1910 onwards Cook took on new assignments, although 
he continued to write for Street and Smith as well as for the Frank 
A. Munsey publications. Now stories carried his own name. A 
short story, "A Winged Victory," appeared in the May, 1910, issue 
of Munsey' s Magazine. Harper's Weekly, August 5, 1911, pub- 
lished "Creshaw of the Gold Mill," a William Wallace Cook short 

Street and Smith placed a new magazine, Top-Notch, in circu- 
lation in 1910. Wilham Wallace Cook became a writer for it in 
1911. Seward of Sacatone, a much loved desert character, was 
featured in Cook's countless adventure stories for Top-Notch. 

That year he began to write his autobiography, using a pseudo- 
nym (John Milton Edwards) upon the advice of a friend.^® The 
Fiction Factory was published in 1912 and must have sold reason- 
ably well for the book is found in many college and public libraries. 

The loss of his wife in 1912 briefly curtailed his output, yet he 
continued to write for Top-Notch magazine at the rate of one story 
a month from 1911 to 1915. He wrote Merriwell adventure stor- 
ies under the Street and Smith owned name of Burt L. Standish.^^ 

In 1916, Cook wrote several mystery stories for the Detective 
magazine, and continued with the Top-Notch assignment. When 
Gilbert Patten, the creator of the Merriwell stories, became editor 
of Top-Notch magazine in 1916, he ceased to write Merriwell 
tales. Cook, WilUam Almon Wolff and John H. Whitson became 
the authors. From 1916 on Top-Notch featured new stories by 
these writers as well as many reprints of Patten's earlier MerriweU 
stories from Tip-Top weekly. The Merriwell stories continued to 
be so well received that reprints appeared in paper back form in 
the New Metal Library and The Merriwell Series during the 1920s. 

Munsey publications and Street and Smith continued to be the 
main outlets of Cook's writings. By 1919 Cook indicated his gross 
earnings for the year were $10,707 in correspondence with the 

■i^Edwards, pp. 155-156; Paction, p. 74. 
^^Edwards, p. 166. 
^^Ibid., p. 165. 

•''''Archives of Street and Smith, now in the possession of Conde Nast 
Publications, Inc. 



Collector of Internal Revenue. In an attempt to reduce his income 
tax for that year, Cook wished to have his inventory of publishable 
stories re-evaluated by the internal revenue. Shortly after the 
ratification of the sixteenth amendment in 1913 income tax rates 
ranged from 1 % to 7% on incomes in excess of $3000 for a single 
individual. Cook's single status made him accountable for a 
higher rate, although his mother now resided with him and was 
dependent upon him for support. 

Cook requested a "write off" of stories that had "exhausted 
their value," much as a business man writes off merchandise at a 
loss when it is no longer salable. He listed the stories in his 
inventory at their original sale price, two cents per word, esti- 
mating their current worth at half value, one cent per word, since 
Cook still held the second American serial rights, foreign serial 
rights, book rights and "moving picture" rights.'"' Cook's re- 
evaluated inventory of stories totaled more than $4000, a com- 
fortable reserve. 

The Top-Notch assignment continued to bring William Wallace 
Cook a measure of prosperity. He wrote serial and short stories 
for Top-Notch magazine steadily from July, 1921, to November, 
1927, turning out on the average one story or one part of the serial 
each week.'^- Cook had a standing order each year for a football 
and a Christmas story from Street and Smith. He was often 
amused to find several of his stories in one magazine issue, some 
under assumed names, while one might be under his own name. 

Cook wrote new stories for Street and Smith's Adventure Li- 
brary from 1925 to 1927.'*^ Thirty-eight were issued semi-monthly 
for fifteen cents under Cook's own name and were as follows: 

The Desert Argonaut 

A Quarter to Four 

Thorndyke of the Bonita 

A Round Trip to the Year 2000 

The Gold Gleaners 

The Spur of Necessity 

The Mysterious Mission 

The Goal of a Million 

Marooned in 1492 

Running the Signal 

His Friend the Enemy 

In the Web 

A Deep Sea Game 

The Paymaster's Special 

Adrift in the Unknown 

Jim Dexter, Cattleman 

In the Wake of the Scimitar 

His Audacious Highness 

At Daggers Dawn 

The Eighth Wonder 

The Cat's-Paw 

The Cotton Bay 

Cast Away at the Pole 

The Testing of Noyes 

The Fateful Seventh 


The Deserter 

The Sheriff of Broken Bow 

Wanted: A Highwayman 

Frisbie of San Antone 

His Last Dollar 

Fools for Luck 

5iLetter to the Collector of Internal Revenue. Detroit, Michigan, dated 
June 4, 1920. 

52Archives of Street and Smith. 
^^William Wallace Cook collection. 


Juggling with Liberty Dare of Darling & Co. 

Back from Bedlam Trailing The Josephine 

A River Tangle 
A Billionaire Pro Tem 

The first eighteen were reprints of the New Fiction Series, 1907- 
1909. After the thirty-eighth issue, July, 1926, William Wallace 
Cook shared the Adventure Series with many others, or if he wrote 
additional stories for the series, they were issued under a Street 
and Smith company name. Only three stories in the Adventure 
Series were in Cook's own name after July, 1926. They were 
"Golden Bighorn," "The Innocent Outlaw" and "Rogers of Butte." 
Cook's stories for the New Fiction Series and Adventure Library 
were reprinted in the Select Library, 1928, under his own name. 

Chelsea House, a subsidiary publishing house of Street and 
Smith, brought out William Wallace Cook's fourth hardback book, 
Around the World in Eighty Hours, in 1925. In that year Cook 
sold book rights for "The Skylark," "Harlequin, Ha" and "As the 
Sparks Fly Upward."^^ 

Cook enjoyed seeing his stories transformed into film. Tom 
Mix appeared in "After Your Own Heart" and Douglas McLain 
in "Sunshine Trail." When a Cook story, "Speed Spook," was 
shown at the Garden Theater in Marshall, publicity was given the 
film by converting a regular passenger sedan so that the driver 
was for all appearance, invisible. Mr. Cook was both surprised 
and delighted to see a character and car he had created in fiction 
call at his home on North Kalamazoo Avenue. 

He was married for the second time in 1927 to Mary A. Ackley. 
For some years they spent winters in California but returned to 
the Kalamazoo Avenue residence for the spring, summer and fall 
months.^"' In December of 1927 Charles Agnew MacLean, man- 
aging editor of Street and Smith's Top-Notch Magazine, wrote 
Cook to inquire about the possibility of writing additional Merri- 
well stories for Top-Notch on a more extended basis. MacLean 
pointed out that Patten was no longer writing for Street and Smith 
and that the company held the right to continue the stories under 
the Street and Smith owned name of Burt L. Standish. When 
Cook responded favorably, a file of earlier Merriwell stories were 
sent to Cook so that he could immerse himself with the proper 
background and take up Frank Merriwell, and his younger brother, 
Dick, where Cook had "left him off" earlier. The rates were now 
three and one-third cents a word so that a 30,000 word-story 
would bring $900. •^*^ When he began the series in January, 1928, 

•"•^Archives of Street and Smith. 
s^Marshall Evening Chronicle, July 20. 

•''^Letters from Charles A. MacLean, editor for Top-Notch Magazine, 
dated December 6, 1927, and December 29, 1927. 


his health was far from good and a new book, Plotto, absorbed 
his time, but he managed to write five stories by June, 1928, when 
ill health prevented him from continuing. 

William Wallace Cook's last book, Plotto, A New Method of 
Plot Suggestion For Writers of Creative Fiction was published in 
1928."'^ It was intended to be accompanied by class instruction. 
The author supplied standard skeleton plots and sub-plots that 
might be an inspiration for authors and by which they could em- 
bellish with their own imagination. Cook's ideas for this book 
had grown slowly through his years of writing. He had achieved 
much by his methodical, businesslike approach and diligent com- 
mitment to the task of composing. Plotto was the product of 
Cook's belief that writers did not need a great deal of inspiration; 
that stories resulted from hard work. A review of his life indicates 
he was a tireless worker. 

Letters of inquiry from novice authors about the book brought 
great satisfaction for Cook, as did a testimonial from S. S. Mc- 
Clure, who stated Plotto provided everything but the soul of the 
story. This the author had to supply. '"'■'* The hmited edition book 
and the follow-up lessons cost $25. Cook hoped that this venture 
would provide enough income, along with the new Street and Smith 
contract for Merriwell stories for Top-Notch magazine, that he 
might enjoy a less demanding production schedule. The Plotto 
venture did not prove successful. His health problems returned 
and for the last years of his life a heart condition limited his output. 
After his death his widow sold the rights of Plotto to Writer's 
Digest for a specified number of years. A new cover was put on 
the book and it was again offered to the public, but with little 
success. Cook's heirs acquired the book, including the copper 

The last fiction tale of Cook was published in serial form in the 
Marshall Evening Chronicle from March 25, 1933, to May 4, 
1933, just three months prior to his death. "Comrades of the 
Glory Road" was a novel of Marshall in which he vividly described 
the actual places in and around the city. The time of the story 
was just prior to World War I, on Decoration Day."'^ Although 
he stated the characters were imaginary, it seems likely they were 
a composite of family, friends and acquaintances that he had 
known through his years in Marshall. 

An example of his description of places in the city is the passage 

s^Cook, William Wallace, Plotto, A New Method of Plot Suggestion for 
Writers of Creative Fiction, (Battle Creek: Ellis Publishing Company, 

•"'■''Letters from T. T. Flynn, undated [ca. August, 1928], and Erie Stanley 
Gardner, dated August 12, 1929. 

■"'"Marshall Evening Chronicle, March 25, 1933 to April 22, 1933. 


that describes Exchange Square as the Decoration Day Parade 
pauses on its way to Oakridge cemetery. "At the corner of the 
lot by the GAR Hall is a cannon, nicely muzzled and painted a 
dull black. Close to the cannon is a pyramidal heap of solid shot, 
also veneered in dull black." Marshall residents would recognize 
these same objects today. Continuing on, the parade follows "the 
angling street that leads through Marshall to the home of the dead, 
crosses Rice Creek by the mill, surmounts a rise of ground, swings 
over the river by the power house and then climbs to an eminence 
covered with trees. And there among the white stones, bivouac 
the 'comrades' who have gone before." 

The adventure and misadventure of two Civil War veterans 
provided the theme of the tale. The vivid realistic description of 
Marshall homes and social life lent authenticity that made the 
fictional tale appear true. The nostalgic sentimental tale of the 
two Marshall comrades seemed a fitting termination to W. W. 
Cook's career, although it was written for a scenario contest of 
the Chicago Daily News for which Cook was awarded a $500 

Wilham Wallace Cook died July 20, 1933, after a six-year 
illness. His editor and writer friends Frank Munsey, William 
Almon Wolff and Ormond and George Smith had preceded him 
in death. 

With the death of the Smith brothers in April, 1933, the Street 
and Smith firm abandoned pulp fiction and turned to women's 
fashion magazines, such as Mademoiselle and Charm, and science 

The popularity of Cook's adventure stories carried on after his 
death. At least five of his stories were published in book form 
as late as 1940 by Wright and Brown, an English publisher. 

eoReynolds, pp. 213, 215. 

Wyoming State Mistorical Society 

Cheyenne, Wyoming September 10-12, 1976 

Registration for the twenty-third Annual Meeting of the Wyo- 
ming State Historical Society began at 7:00 p.m. in the American 
Room, Little America Motel, Cheyenne. Refreshments were 
served and the historical photographic exhibit entitled "The Spirit 
of '76 in the American West," prepared by the Museum Division, 
was on display. The exhibit was made possible by a grant from 
the Wyoming Bicentennial Commission. After the Annual Meet- 
ing the portable exhibit will be located in the west wing of the 
State Capitol for public viewing. It will be available later this faU 
to schools, libraries and museums in the state through the State 
Museum. Entertainment for the Get Acquainted Hour was pro- 
vided by a guitarists' group named "The Unknown Quantity." 


At 9:00 a.m. the president. Jay W. Brazelton, called the 
meeting to order in the American Room. Dave Wasden and 
Mable Womack were appointed to the auditing committee. The 
nominating committee, Henry Jensen, Henry Chadey and Dick 
Dumbrill, were given the ballots to count and to report to the 
membership at the Banquet. 

A motion was made by Mr. Jensen to dispense with the reading 
of the minutes of the 1975 Annual Meeting. Motion seconded, 
carried. Copies of the minutes for 1975 were passed out to the 

The treasurer read the following report which was placed on 
file for audit: 


September 7, 1975 - September 1, 1976 
Operating Funds 

Cash on hand, September 7, 1976 $ 3,266.88 

Receipts : 

Dues $5,546.00 

Sales & Miscellaneous 1,145.20 

Life Memberships 250.00 

From Savings 4,800.00 




Annual Meeting 

Junior Awards 
County Chapter 


Officers' Expense 
Postage for Annals 
Supplies for Secretary 
To Savings 
Refund on dues 
Incorporation Fee 
Film Production 
Painting (recondition) 

Balance September 1, 1976 

Invested Funds 

$ 259.67 




Sept. 7, 1976 











Deposits Disbursements 

Federal Bldg. & Loan #661: 

$4,867.74 $18,680.75 $14,800.00 

Federal Bldg. & Loan #2928-11 (Memorial): 
745.31 33.96 

F. Bldg. & Loan-Certificate #3203983: 

$2,514.83 165.90 Interest 

Capitol Savings & Loan-Certificate #870158: 
$7,496.81 471.75 Interest 





Sept. 7, 1975 

$ 986.99 

$ 702.35 



Membership Report 

583 Single memberships 

253 Joint memberships 

75 Life memberships (13 joint, 62 single) 

205 Institutional 

1,116 total memberships 

Bill Williams, Director of the Archives and Historical Depart- 
ment and Executive Secretary of the State Society, welcomed the 
members to Cheyenne and briefly discussed services provided by 
the department to assist the Society. 

Glenn Sweem, Chairman of the Big Horn Forest Committee, 
reported completion of the book Re-Discovering the Big Horns. 
This was a Bicentennial project involving Big Horn, Johnson, Sher- 
idan and Washakie Counties. The publication utilized the manu- 
script and photographs compiled in 1900 by Professor J. G. Jack, 
as well as current photos, and shows the environmental changes 
that have taken place in the Big Horns. Two thousand copies were 
printed and a few are still available from Glenn Sweem or Ray 
Pendergraft. Sweem stated that the U. S. Forest Service furnished 
film and provided brass cap markers for the project. 


Bill Bragg reported the film, "Wyoming From the Beginning," 
will be completed on schedule and following a critique by the com- 
mittee will be available for distribution to schools in the state 
through the Historical Research and Publications Division of the 
Archives and Historical Department. 

Mrs. Violet Hord read the report of the Wyoming Historical 
Foundation. She reported that in 1966 the Foundation was 
formed to gather and administer private funds to be employed in 
the preservation, development and recognition of Wyoming's his- 
torical heritage. Ed Bille has been the moving spirit of the organ- 
ization and has served as chairman for a number of years. Indi- 
vidual memorial contributions have been made and the county 
chapters have been asked to make contributions also. The largest 
contribution was $5000 from the Tom and Helen Tonkin Founda- 
tion with the stipulation that the money be used to further teaching 
of Wyoming history in the schools. With the help of a Wyoming 
Bicentennial Commission Grant to equal the amount already in 
the Foundation, "Wyoming From the Beginning," became a real- 
ity. A plaque will be made listing all who contributed $100 or 
more to the fund. 

Dr. T. A. Larson reported for the Scholarship and Grant-in-Aid 
Committees. The committee consists of Dr. Larson, Dr. Robert 
Roripaugh and either Bill Williams or Katherine Halverson of the 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. Mary E. 
Anders has completed her history of Iowa Center in Goshen Coun- 
ty. Another project in progress is a biographical study of the 
famous naturalist, Olaus Murie. 

Henry Jensen asked that the Society endorse a resolution to be 
submitted to Wyoming's Congressman and Senators, as well as to 
the Bureau of Land Management, that it has come to the attention 
of the Society that certain holders of coal leases in southern Mon- 
tana propose to strip mine portions of the Rosebud Battlefield, 
which is on the National Register of Historic Places. A motion 
was made by Harry Brown that Mr. Jensen draw up a resolution 
to be submitted to all interested agencies. Motion seconded, 

A letter was read from Mrs. Alice E. Harrower, president of the 
Sublette County Historical Society, Inc., stating that she would 
not be able to attend the Annual Meeting but wished the Society a 
successful and interesting year. She reported that more than two 
thousand people attended the eleventh annual Green River Ren- 
dezvous in July. The directors are proceeding with construction 
of the Museum of the Mountain Men. 

The president announced that chapter annual reports are to be 
sent to the Archives and Historical Department by September 1 
of each year. The reports will be printed and distributed to the 
members at the annual meeting, and also may be of interest for 
"Wyoming History News." 


Ned Frost, Wyoming Recreation Commission, historian, spoke 
about Fort Fred Steele State Park in Carbon County. The state 
legislature in 1976 appropriated $5857 for operation and mainte- 
nance of the park. There are many important considerations that 
are demanding the attention of the legislature and if the 1977 ses- 
sion does not appropriate a minimum of $50,000 toward restora- 
tion and development of Fort Steele the 112 acres donated to the 
state will revert back to the original owners, he said. The Recrea- 
tion Commission asked the help of the Society to alert the legisla- 
ture. The members asked that Ned Frost write to all the county 
chapters and request their support for his proposal. 

Mr. Pendergraft moved that Article III, Membership, Sections 
1, 2, 3 and 4, of the Constitution of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society be revised to read as follows: 

Article III Membership 

Section 1 — The organization shall be composed of the State 
Society and of chapters in each county of the state, upon each of 
which chapters will be the responsibility of collecting and preserv- 
ing the items, documents and records of its area. Each chapter 
within each county will have its own officers and constitution and 
by-laws and charter and shall operate independently of any other 
chapter in the county. 

Section 2 — Membership in the society shall be open to all 
persons who will actively support the association, and upon pay- 
ment of dues, as set forth in the by-laws of the society, provided, 
however, that persons residing in a county in which is located one 
or more duly chartered chapters shall affiliate only through mem- 
bership in one of said chapters. Persons residing outside the state 
or in a county in which no chapter has been chartered shall affil- 
iate directly with the state society. 

Section 3 — County chapters may be organized in counties in 
the State of Wyoming by application to the Executive Headquar- 
ters of the state society and fulfilling the requirements for affiUa- 
tion. A county may have more than one chapter, provided upon 
application it has not less than fifteen (15) members and is to be 
located at least twenty (20) miles from any currently existing 
chapter within the county. A second chapter, within a county, 
may select its own name but may not use as its name the county 
unless designated by a number, as: Washakie County Chapter 2. 
The name of the chapter will be subject to approval by the Exec- 
utive Committee. 

Section 4 — Affiliation of all chapters within a given county 
shall be by charter, to be granted by the Executive Committee of 
the society upon application, pursuant to the rules and regulations 
set forth in the by-laws of the society. 


The motion was seconded. Following discussion, Mr. Pender- 
graft moved that the original motion be amended to provide that 
the name of a new chapter will be subject to approval by the 
Executive Committee. The motion was seconded and carried. 
The original motion was carried. 

Mr. Pendergraft made a motion that Article VI, Annual Meet- 
ing, Section 2, be revised to read: 

Time and place for the Annual Meeting shall be set by the 
Executive Committee at least six months prior to the date of said 
meeting, and written notice shall be given by the Executive Secre- 
tary to the president of each chartered chapter and to members 
residing in counties not chartered, at least one month prior to said 

The motion was seconded and carried. 

A motion was made by Mr. Pendergraft that the president of the 
Society be reimbursed for his expenses in travel around the state, 
including mileage, up to $1000 a year with an accounting of ex- 
penses to be made to the Society secretary-treasurer. Motion 
seconded. An amendment was made by Glenn Sweem to make 
it actual expenses and 15 cents per mile; seconded and carried. 

A motion was made by Mr. Sweem to establish a cut-off date 
of April 1 each year for payment of dues. Motion carried. 

No invitation for the 1977 Annual Meeting was submitted. 

Bill Bragg submitted a resolution asking for help from the so- 
ciety to remove a rock crushing reduction company from infringing 
on land which is part of the Oregon Trail. The location is in 
Natrona County west of Casper. A discussion followed and it was 
determined that the resolution should be rewritten and sent to the 
Executive Committee. 

The committee for the 1977 Trek is: Ray Pendergraft, Henry 
Jensen, Jay Brazelton and Dave Wasden. The dates for the Trek 
are July 16-17. 

The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m. for luncheon in the Amer- 
ican Room. Several door prizes were given. 

Following luncheon Dr. Gordon Hendrickson of the Historical 
Research Division, presented a paper entitled "The Wyoming 
WPA Writers' Project: History and Collections." 

Following this presentation the Friends of Fort Bridger, spon- 
sored by the Museum Division, gave a Living History Demonstra- 
tion, a melodrama based on Fort Bridger history. 


Albany County. The Chapter has a membership of fifty-two 
this year, an increase over the previous year. A bequest was made 
by the Chapter to the Laramie Plains Museum in memory of Mrs. 
Alice Hardie Stevens, who had been instrumental in getting the 
museum established in its present location. A variety of programs 


included history and development of the University Archives De- 
partment, early settlers in Centennial Valley, and early mining 
activities above Centennial. 

Big Horn County. The most important activity centered around 
the Bicentennial Project of Re -Discovering the Big Horns and 
working with the other counties concerned with the project. 

Campbell County. The Chapter has begun the collection of 
stories of early-day schools written by the teachers. Many pictures 
have been received and along with documentation will be placed in 
the files in the Museum. The Chapter won a blue ribbon at the 
county fair with its educational display, "Wyoming Firsts." 

Carbon County. The Chapter assisted in the formal opening 
of the Carbon County Museum in February. Marian Geddes is 
curator, assisted by Marybelle Lambertson and Charlotte Vivion. 
A trek to Dexterville on the old stage route to the Dillon-Ferris- 
Haggerty mine was taken in June. 

Fremont County. There are forty-three members in the Chapter 
this year. The outstanding programs included an oral history tape 
program by Harriett Bybee of her experiences as a young woman; 
attending the dedication ceremonies for the Houghton-Colter Store 
in South Pass City and helping with the evening reception at the 
annual Trek. 

Goshen County. The Chapter's Bicentennial year project on 
school houses has been completed and is on display at the Home- 
steader's Museum in South Torrington. The project consists of 
some 200 pictures of schools and their classes from homestead 
days to the present. A map is part of the collection and identifies 
the location of the schools. The Chapter honored Chairwoman 
Ellen Smith of the Awards Committee for her encouragement and 
achievements with the junior members of the Chapter. 

Hot Springs County. The most important event of the year was 
hosting the 1975 annual meeting and the tours. They also worked 
with the county Bicentennial committee to raise funds for a city 
Bicentennial Park in Thermopolis and presented Dorothy Milek's 
book The Gift of Bah Guewana, to the county library. 

Laramie County. The Chapter completed plans for the third 
printing of the booklet. Early Cheyenne Homes. Another high- 
light of the year was the publishing of Cheyenne Landmarks, 1 976, 
now at the printer. The research and writing was by Bill Dubois, 
editing and manuscript by Robert Larson and photography and 
layout design by James Ehernberger. An interesting program pre- 
sented was Peggy Schumachers' opera, "Mini-aku, Daughter of 
Chief Spotted Tail." 

Lincoln County. Main events were an Antique and Craft Fair 
held in LaBarge, and a Bicentennial meeting and the annual 
chuckwagon picnic in June, hosted by Kemmerer. 


Natrona County. A preview showing of the film, "Wyoming 
From the Beginning," was one of the events of the year. A Bi- 
centennial project was collecting Natrona County High School 
Annuals from 1913, the first year of publication, to the present, 
and presenting a set to the High School and one to Casper College. 
Some 200 books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, a collec- 
tion belonging to Kathleen Hemry, were given to the Rare Books 
Room at Casper College. Also Rose Mary Malone and Kathleen 
Hemry wrote histories of the schools and early day teaching. 

Park County. Meetings are held alternately in Cody and Powell. 
Programs included a carry -in -dinner, guest speakers, placing a 
marker at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in memory of the 
Japanese boys who gave their lives in World War II, and slides of 
Fort Laramie presented by John Hinckley. 

Sweetwater County. The membership is now 103, the highest 
in the history of the Chapter. They worked with the Green River 
Bicentennial Committee throughout the year raising money for 
the Sweetwater County Museum to gather and display historical 
pictures. Programs were a slide presentation on "Sweetwater 
Heritage-Melting Pot or Mosaic?", a history of newspapers of 
Sweetwater County by Adrian Reynolds and a tour of old home- 
steads on the Green River. 

Teton County. On the Fourth of July, with the help of the 
Jackson Hole Outfitters, the Chapter staged a Bicentennial parade 
and barbecue with the proceeds going to the Chapter. The annual 
cook-out and bake sale was a great success. 

Washakie County. The Chapter is formulating plans for a 
museum project but because of Worland's expansion the county 
expenses are too great to expect financial help from that source. 
Roger Inman from the Bureau of Land Management gave a pre- 
sentation of the activities in the Shoshone Resource Area, telling 
of the caves and the findings. Another program was given by Jim 
Bell on range management in the Big Horn Basin. 

Weston County. The Chapter had an enjoyable trek to Wyo- 
mings' newest town, Wright City. An old-fashioned fun night is 
planned at the old Beaver Creek School which has undergone 
remodeling recently. 

Uinta County. The Chapter spent all of its time and money 
on the Bicentennial Chinese New Year that was held on January 
30-31, 1976. All of 1975 was spent earning money for the proj- 
ect. Many members of the Chapter from Bridger Valley have 
spent long hours soliciting funds for the Evanston Museum. This 
will be finished in time for the tourist season next spring. 


The evening started with a no-host Hospitality Hour, was well 


attended, and gave everyone the opportunity to say hello to old 
friends and make new friends. 

The American Room was decorated with yellow chrysanthemum 
and gladiola arrangements. Individual tables had centerpieces of 
Bicentennial flags, sprays of greens and yellow carnations. 

Jim Ehernberger, president of Laramie County Chapter, was 
master of ceremonies. Mayor Bill Nation welcomed the Society to 
Cheyenne. An Award of Merit from the American Association 
for State and Local History was presented by Mrs. Katherine 
Halverson, American Association for State and Local History 
Awards Chairman for Wyoming, to Dr. T. A. Larson, of the Uni- 
versity of Wyoming, for his outstanding contributions on a national 
level as a historian, author and teacher. 

Speaker Barry Combs, Public Relations Director of the Union 
Pacific Railroad, read emigrants' letters describing homesteaders' 
life in Nebraska and told of the many hardships endured by the 

Henry Jensen, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, intro- 
duced the new officers for 1976-1977: Ray Pendergraft, presi- 
dent; Mrs. Mabel Brown, first vice-president; David Wasden, sec- 
ond vice-president; Mrs. Ellen Mueller, secretary-treasurer. 

Historical awards were then presented by Mabel Brown, Awards 
Chairman : 

Junior Historian Awards: 

First place, Kent Hunter, Huntley, Huntley High School, "His- 
tory of Hawk Springs." 

Second place, Shane Stear, Huntley, Huntley High School, "His- 
tory of Table Mountain." 

Third place, Cathy Fix, Huntley, Huntley High School, "Great 
Grandad Morris." 

Teacher Award: 

Grace Grant, Newcastle, Gertrude Bums Grade School 

Chapter Award: 

Goshen County. Cash award to assist in the cost of a project 
of gathering pictures, history and location of the sites of as 
many of the county's schools as possible, and preparation of a 
large map showing locations. 
Weston County. Cash award to assist with cost of mailing mini- 
museums to schools and other groups using the suitcase mu- 
seums in educational projects. 

Publications Awards: 

Dorothy Milek, Thermopolis, book, The Gift of Bah Guewana. 
Gene Downer, Jackson, magazine, Teton, The Magazine of 
Jackson Hole Wyoming 


Adrian and Helen Reynolds, Green River, newspaper article, 

"Patch of History." 
Dorothy Fifield, Torrington, numerous newspaper articles. 

Honorable Mention. 

Activities Awards: 

Nora Reimer, Sundance, museum activities. 
Russ Arnold, Newcastle, tours. 

Fine Arts Awards: 

Mr. and Mrs. George Hufsmith, Jackson. For composing three- 
act opera, "The Sweetwater Lynching." 
Marion Alexander, Casper, photography. 
George Butler II, Newcastle, paintings. 

Cumulative Award: 

Mrs. Irene Brown, Jackson. For leadership in historical work 
and initiative in making taped interviews with old timers of 
Teton County and transcripts for the files of the Teton Coun- 
ty Chapter. 


Members met for a breakfast at the Indian Village, Frontier 
Park, hosted by the Department and the Laramie County Chapter 
after which tours were conducted of the State Museum, Historical 
Research and PubUcations Division and the Archives and Records 
Management Division of the Department, in the Barrett Building. 
Personnel of all Divisions were on hand to explain the programs 
and facilities of each area, and to answer questions. 

Many Society members also participated in a tour to the F. E. 
Warren Air Force Base Museum. 

^00 k Kcviews 

William Clark: Jejjersonian Man on the Frontier. By Jerome O. 
Steffen. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977). 
Index. Bib. 196 pp. $8.95, cloth. 

Professor Steffen has written an intellectual biography of Wil- 
liam Clark, a man who, ironically, left little material by which later 
scholars might discern what values he held. Consequently, the 
work deals with a man who was not an intellectual in the usual 
sense. That is, Clark reflected the ideological bent of the 1 8th 
Century Enlightenment by his actions, but wrote down very little. 
The author uses Clark's actions throughout his life to reflect on 
how the man dealt with a changing environment and, ultimately, 
how Clark's ideological predilections grew increasingly remote 
from a rapidly changing America. 

Clark's professional career encompassed three major activities: 
exploration of the West, Missouri territorial politics, and adminis- 
tration of federal Indian policy. Throughout his career Clark, a 
native Virginian, reflected the values of the Jeffersonian Republi- 
cans, an Enlightenment belief in the interrelationship of all earthly 
matters. Intellectually, Clark relied heavily on self-education, us- 
ing his older brother, classically-educated George Rogers Clark, 
as his model. Plantation Virginia imbued him with a belief in a 
natural aristocracy, but also with a commitment to equality of 
opportunity to permit that group of leaders to emerge. Central 
also to Clark's philosophy was a hatred of the British, largely due 
to the death of one brother during the American Revolution, but 
also due to continual trouble with Indians in the Northwest. 
Transplanted Kentuckian Clark served with Anthony Wayne in the 
latter's campaigns against the Indians. Clark's acquaintance with 
Indians and with the frontier alerted him to the potential within 
the region and among the Indian peoples for mercantile pursuits. 

Professor Steffen argues that Clark's role in the Lewis and 
Clark expedition should not be minimized. The expedition sought 
scientific and commercial information which Clark was trained to 
record. The study of Indians provided further insight into the 
mechanical workings of God's intricately organized world. The 
possibilities for commercial ventures abounded. Clark sketched 
most of the geographical observations made during the expedition 
and handled much of the navigational data. Further indication of 
Clark's scientific mind is Jefferson's sending him to excavate fossils 
of Pleistocene mammals at Big Bones Lick, Kentucky, at a later 
date. Clark later established a museum of natural history in St. 
Louis and was eulogized in 1838 by the Academy of Natural 


Science. The Lewis and Clark expedition in addition revealed 
Clark's abilities as a dependable administrator, in which capacity 
he would be used by the federal government for his remaining 

As Jefferson's agent for Indian affairs in St. Louis, Clark worked 
towards the Enhghtenment goal of minimizing environmental dif- 
ferences between the races, in the belief that Indians needed time 
for their civilization to advance to the stage already reached by the 
whites. Fearing the power of British fur traders, Clark continually 
argued for the establishment of an American fur trading monopoly 
to provide security and to promote racial interdependence. He 
attempted to use his government contacts to his advantage in 
co-founding the Missouri Fur Company (1809), but the War of 
1812 created such uncertainty in the region that lack of capital 
caused the company to fail in 1814. The war's conclusion saw 
the influx of farmers into Missouri and a change in political phi- 
losophy with which Clark was unable to deal. 

After the war, ignoring settlers who had flooded into the area, 
Clark once again argued for a government monopoly of the fur 
trade. This colonial notion of the status of the West failed to 
take into account the increasing political and economic indepen- 
dence of the agrarian interest which was by then dominant in 
Missouri. Consequently, Clark, who had been appointed governor 
of the territory in 1813, grew increasingly remote from his con- 
stituents. Settlers stressed individual, rather than national, inter- 
ests. Upon statehood, leadership would be elected in the reflection 
of local values. Clark instead tied himself to old established 
families and merchants, seeing Missouri as part of a larger West. 

Clark's unpopularity with Missourians originated in a question- 
able decision in 1816, when he decided a disputed election for the 
territorial delegate to Congress in favor of one of his friends. The 
election, voided by Congress, precipitated close federal scrutiny 
of all of Clark's subsequent actions. Clark ran for state governor 
in 1820, but by then he had become a symbol of the old order, 
even supporting a constitution that limited popular influence in 
state government. His overwhelming defeat was mitigated only by 
appointment in 1822 as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, permit- 
ting him to remain in St. Louis. 

Clark regained his popularity through his vocal support of In- 
dian removal. Clark's motives did not reflect those of many of 
his supporters, for Clark wished only to promote assimilation by 
creating a class of Indian yeoman farmers, away from white com- 
petition and influence. He felt that identical environmental influ- 
ences would help to equalize the cultures. A measure to organize 
an Indian Department, introduced in Congress by Lewis Cass and 
conceived, in large part, by William Clark, failed. Clark hoped to 
delimit and centralize federal Indian authority, to distribute funds 
efficiently and to establish efficient accounting procedures. Thus, 


at the close of his career, Clark found himself unable to influence 
legislation concerning Indians, yet ironically he received consider- 
able praise for his efforts to remove the Indians from proximity 
with white agrarians. The populace, in effect, bought removal 
only as a means towards subjugating the Indian, whereas Clark, a 
Jeffersonian to the end, hoped to provide some basis by which the 
two creations of God, the Indian and the white man, might even- 
tually live in cultural harmony through parallel environmental 

Professor Steffen's book provides persuasive arguments as to 
the consistency of Clark's ideas throughout his career, though the 
author does not criticize the man's lack of flexibility. Clark's 
intellectual portrait reflects frustration if not failure, his political 
rejection demonstrating the anachronistic Jeffersonian Enlighten- 
ment dogma, his position on removal used by those who had re- 
jected him to meet their own ends. The author's insight into his 
subject's mind and ideas offers valuable commentary not only on 
Clark, but also, one suspects, on many of his contemporaries. 

University of Georgia S. J. Karina 

The Adventures of Alexander Barclay, Mountain Man: A Narra- 
tive of His Career, 1810 to 1855; His Memorandum Diary, 
1845 to 1850. By George P. Hammond. (Denver: Old 
West Publishing Company, 1976.) Maps. Illustrations. 
Notes. Appendices, Index. 246 pp. $17.50. 

During the past sixty years the saga of the Rocky Mountain fur 
trade has received widespread attention from scholars who have 
rigorously analyzed its economic and social impact on American 
history. Just at this time when many person seem willing to close 
the door on future research possibilities, a new book appears indi- 
cating that the field is still ripe for further exploration. George 
Hammon's latest effort is one such work. Drawing upon a rather 
brief diary and some family correspondence, Hammond details the 
life of Alexander Barclay, an English immigrant who failed at 
farming, tired of a St. Louis bookkeeping job, and ultimately found 
the adventurous life along the Colorado-New Mexico border dur- 
ing the mid-nineteenth century. 

Barclay's life was inextricably linked to the firm of Bent and 
St. Vrain between 1838 and 1842 when he served as superinten- 
dent at Bent's Fort. Following his resignation from that position, 
he spent two years as an independent trader on the Platte River, 
followed by a return to the Bent's Fort area where he continued 
an unsuccessful venture to provide buffalo for European zoos. In 


1848 Barclay finally settled down to a life as land baron and trader 
when he established Barclay's Fort near present-day Watrous, New 
Mexico. The small fortress served as a welcome haven for trap- 
pers, Santa Fe-bound traders, and territorial officials who appear 
throughout the final chapters of the book. 

Despite his boundless energy and enterprising instincts, Barclay 
faced financial disaster at the time of his death in 1855. The 
declining fur trade and shifting direction of the Santa Fe Trail cut 
deeply into his profits. More importantly, the Army established 
Fort Union not more than seven miles north of his post and it 
quickly replaced Barclay's Fort as the commercial center of the 
area. Thus the cycle of unrealized dreams was completed for 
Barclay who always seemed on the verge of prosperity, but who 
could never fully grasp it. 

Readers who purchase this book will not only be rewarded with 
the history of the Southern Rockies fur trade, they will also receive 
a lesson on masterful detective work. Hammond has sifted through 
a variety of sources to fill the gaps left by Barclay's diary and 
correspondence. A less patient author would have given up the 
task long ago, but Hammond's detailed notes indicate the exten- 
siveness of his search for corroborative materials. Three foldout 
maps of the region provide further understanding of this important 
region and a series of paintings, including several by Barclay, en- 
hance the beautifully crafted book. In addition to the regular 
text, Hammond wisely includes the original diary and portions of 
the correspondence, all of which he has carefully edited for the 
general reader. 

Few faults exist with this book, but perhaps a tying in of the 
broader story of the Southern Rockies fur trade and the Mexican 
War would have placed Barclay's story in a better context. Like- 
wise, the inclusion of all notes at the end of the text rather than 
at the bottom of each page detracts from the utiUty of a book such 
as this which offers so much information in its notes. But be that 
as it may, Hammond has provided us with a unique and important 
glimpse at one aspect of American history. 

University of Nebraska at Omaha Michael L. Tate 

Wyoming's Wealth: A History of Wyoming. By Bill Bragg. Ed- 
ited by Dr. Amir Sandier. (Basin: Big Horn Publishers, 
1976) Index. Map. lUus. 237 pp. $14.95. 

William F. "Bill" Bragg, Jr. is a teller of tales par excellance 
and a lover of his native Wyoming. He has a fluid writing style 
that is probably patterned after his manner of speaking, which, in 
the main, makes for easy listening. 


The book is divided into nineteen chapters, each of which are 
sub-divided and include an "epic" and a "vignette." Bill intro- 
duces the theme of the chapter, such as "Chapter Eleven: Rail- 
road Wyoming", with an "epic" entitled "The Anvil Chorus," then 
deals with the subject matter at hand and climbs off the train by 
telling a "vignette" entitled "Wyoming Goldrush." 

This particular style — of division and sub-division — while un- 
usual, is certainly not unpleasant. And it probably facilitates the 
use of the book as a text, which is Bill's avowed purpose in writing 
Wyoming's Wealth in the first place. 

I particularly liked one "vignette" about the meaning of color to 
the Plains Indians. Bill is at his best with passages such as: 

Blue came from blue mud. We call it bentonite. Some kinds of 
boiled roots were used for blue, also. Blue meant the sky, long life, 
or serenity. 

Red stood for warmth, the tipi, home, and Wyoming's red hills. In 
fact, red came from those very hills. Oxidation of iron helps turn 
the hills red-colored, so iron was the chief ingredient in the red dye. 

I like short sentences, though I don't often write them myself. 
They are easy to read, and make a statement in a sensible manner. 
They are also more comprehensible for the average student. 

Some other parts of the book, however, leave me baffled. I 
don't pretend to know anywhere near as much about Wyoming 
history as Bill knows, but there were a couple of chapters that 
sent me scurrying to other source material, just as reading Time 
magazine always sends me to the dictionary. 

Take the Pony Express, for instance. Bill states that the trans- 
continental telegraph put the Pony Express out of business, which 
is certainly true. Exception should be taken, however, to the con- 
clusion he draws that "Pony Express riders carried vital messages 
back and forth, each day their distance being cut down by the 
telegraph lines marching forward." In other words, the Pony Ex- 
press, in its last days, rode only between the advancing termini of 
the telegraph line. The problem inherent in this conclusion is 
obvious. If true there should be no overland letters in existence 
following September, 1861, when the telegraph was marching 
across the plains toward completion. Yet, that was a busy period 
for the Pony and at least twenty envelopes are known that departed 
Placerville eastbound, and Atchison, Kansas, westbound from the 
period of September 2, 1861, to October 31, 1861. 

The Pony Express, as conceived by the Central Overland Cali- 
fornia & Pike's Peak Express Company, was an overland opera- 
tion. It carried the United States mails with a surcharge of $5.00 
per half-ounce, from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Placerville, Califor- 
nia. It continued to do so even after the completion of the tele- 
graph. There are envelopes in existence cancelled in New York 
City on October 26, 1861 and St. Joseph a week later that were 


delivered in San Francisco on November 20, a month after the 
completion of the telegraph. Thus, it would seem that the "last 
kick of the Pony" brought mail overland that had crossed the 
entire continent. 

And Bill isn't to blame for repeating the old legend that the 
big, bad cattlemen suppressed Asa Mercer's book, Banditti of the 
Plains, for almost everyone who ever wrote a word about the 
Johnson County Cattle War tells the same old, sad story. ". . . 
each copy was systematically hunted down and destroyed. Even 
the Library of Congress copy disappeared. Mercer's press was 
destroyed in a mysterious way." 

The "evidence" that all of this really happened is parrotted 
hearsay and folklegend. The evidence that it did not is inferential, 
yet substantial. (See Asa Mercer and The Banditti of the Plains: 
A Reappraisal," in this issue of Annals of Wyoming. Ed.) 

It is my own conclusion that Bill has told a story about Wyo- 
ming in a chatty, interesting style, but the overall impact suffers 
from a lack of any footnotes at all. I would cite as one example 
the relating of the murder of "U.S. Deputy Marshall George Well- 
man" following the Johnson County Cattle War. Wellman was 
not a U.S. Deputy Marshall. He was the foreman of Henry Blair's 
Hoe Ranch, and had been deputized to help U.S. Marshall Joe 
Rankin serve warrants in the Buffalo area. 

A footnote here would have allowed the author to explain the 
true situation without breaking up the flow of his writing style. 
And I think any work of history, no matter how informal, should 
have a bibliography. The author owes that to his readers. 

The greatest criticism I have of Wyoming's Wealth is of the 
physical properties of the book itself. One would wish the pub- 
lishers had taken as much effort in the type-setting and lay-out 
as the author did in the writing. Photographs and paintings are 
thrown in slap-dash, often with no identification and little reason 
for inclusion. One might wonder, for instance, why the "Moun- 
tain Man in Wyoming" chapter is headed by a colorful painting 
of a man, Winchester in hand and Colt on hip, who is evidently a 
cowboy of the 1890s period. 

And who the balding gentleman on page 121 might be is any- 
body's guess. He certainly isn't John Allen Campbell, Wyoming's 
first territorial governor, as the publishers identification implies. 

Ignoring the typos — and they are difficult to ignore — the print- 
ing style of the book has no consistency. Sub-heads are set in 
boldface type in one chapter and not in the next. Chapter titles 
are enclosed in quotation marks when they are not quotes. One 
photograph may be butchered to fit the blank space available on 
a given page, and still another page has nothing but white space 
staring at the reader. 

As a former photographer and picture editor I suppose I am 
overly sensitive about the use of photographs and illustrations, but 


some of these used in Bill Bragg's book drove me to the wall. 
Unidentified paintings used simply because the printer had color 
available for that particular page are bad enough, but in some 
cases those same unidentified paintings are reproduced from out- 
of-focus color separations. That seems to be the final insult to 
the reader's intelligence. 

It is not pedantic to criticize the printing of a book. If one pays 
today's high price for the printed word — or picture — then one has 
the right to expect some modicum of quality in the product. 

Cheyenne Charles "Pat" Hall 

Montana. A History of Two Centuries. By Michael P. Malone 
and Richard B. Roeder. (Seattle and London: University of 
Washington Press, 1976). Index. Bib. Illus. 352 pp. 

This year numerous state histories are appearing as a result of 
the bicentennial "The States and the Nation" series. This new 
history of Montana is independent of that effort. And this is 
probably fortunate, for the authors, both professors of history at 
Montana State University, would have felt severely restricted by 
the criteria and space limitations of the state history series. What 
they felt was needed was a new comprehensive history of Montana 
which gives particular attention to important developments in the 
20th century. In this respect they have succeeded admirably. 

For those inclined to read of Montana's romantic 19th century 
past there is little that is startlingly new. The Indians of the 
Montana region, the early exploration, the fur trade, and the early 
mining and cattlemen's frontiers are all treated in a solid but 
traditional fashion. In fact, general readers will find the rather 
dated Montana: An Uncommon Land (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1959) by K. Ross Toole, or the classic literary 
effort, Montana: High, Wide and Handsome (New Haven, Conn.: 
Yale University Press 1959, first ed., 1943) by Joseph Kinsey 
Howard, more enjoyable for their grace of style and provocative 
regional interpretation. 

Yet it is the 20th century, and particularly the relationship of 
Montanans to the giant Anaconda Corporation, which has been of 
particular historic significance. The themes of exploitation of 
natural resources, corporate domination and political corruption 
have given Montana its unique, though somewhat sour, flavor. In 
interpreting this history Malone and Roeder are admirably objec- 
tive in their analysis. While not discounting that Montana in the 
early 1900s "seemed to be the classic example of a 'one-company 
state,' a commonwealth where one corporation ruled supreme," 
their account is free from the polemical subjectivity which has 


marred previous histories. Certainly it is time for Montanans to 
analyze dispassionately their long love-hate relationship with the 
twin corporate powers of Anaconda and the Montana Power Com- 
pany. This new history accomplishes that purpose. 

Many readers will find interesting the authors' concluding chap- 
ter on "The Recent Political Scene: 1945-1975." Here Malone 
and Roeder discuss in a thoughtful manner the state's proclivity 
to send liberal Senators and Representatives to Washington, while 
insisting on electing conservatives to the statehouse at Helena. 
There is no easy explanation for this paradoxical, schizoid voting 
behavior, although the authors theorize that the urban areas of 
Montana have the voting power to elect liberals to Washington 
while the more conservative ranching communities can still muster 
the strength to control the state house. 

Today there is no subject more controversial in the northern 
Rocky Mountain states than that of environmental quality. In 
Montana the debate over what environmental sacrifices should be 
made for economic gain is one of extreme intensity. The authors 
do not approach this issue with the fire -breathing passion of 
K. Ross Toole's The Rape of the Great Plains (Boston: Little, 
Brown, and Co., 1976), but they strive for a balanced account 
which leans toward the exploitation theme. It is clear that with 
historians the likes of O'Toole, Malone and Roeder jogging Mon- 
tana's collective memory, the state is in no danger of repeating the 
mistakes of the past. 

One cannot conclude a discussion of this new work without 
mentioning the bibliographic essay. It is a superlative effort and 
now becomes the most complete Montana history bibliography 
extant. Those interested in pursuing Montana history in depth 
will find the thirty-page bibliography a perfect starting point. 

In summary, this new history is unabashedly a textbook, and as 
such, it will undoubtably capture the market. It is also a provoca- 
tive history which is highly recommended to those interested in 
"Big Sky" history. It is also suggested reading for those intrigued 
by Wyoming history, for it is often through comparison and con- 
trast that we gain new perspectives with regard to our own state 

University of Wyoming Robert W. Righter 

Learn to Love the Haze. By Robert Roripaugh. (Vermillion, 
S.D.: Spirit Mound Press, 1976). 60 pp. $2.95. 

Bannack and Other Poems. By Wendell H. Maynard. (Phila- 
delphia and Ardmore, Pa. Dorrance & Company, 1976). 
84 pp. $4.95. 

Stephen Vincent Benet, in his long, descriptive poem about New 


York City, "Notes to Be Left in a Cornerstone", writes, "You will 
not get it from weather-reports". He means, of course, that only 
the eye and ear of the artist can recreate the true climate of a time 
or place. 

In the same sense, the truth about the old or the modem West 
cannot be learned by studying town plats or annual records of 
snowpack measurements at the higher elevations. Nor can you get 
it from who-what-when-where newspaper accounts or wearily writ- 
ten trail diaries. 

Only the artist, the poet, can pluck the facts from the shifting 
debris of past or present and weave these precise and perfect 
(arti)facts into a fabric, so that we can know, not only with our 
minds, but with our viscera, what it was or is to experience an 
incident, a human being, even an era. We who live in the West 
can also bring to the poetry of the West our own memories and 
experiences, so that the finished product of the poet is ours as 
well as his. 

Most of us know, for example, about the 1865 battle fought 
within sight of Platte Bridge Station, in which Sergeant Amos 
Custard and his U. S. Army party of a dozen or so died at the 
hands of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. We know the fort was 
later named for Lt. Caspar Collins who tried to ride out to rescue 
the party. But only in Wendell H. Maynard's narrative poem can 
we read: 

And great hope registered itself once 
When Lt. Caspar Collins thundered 
Across the wooden bridge to ride up 
The stilted land. 

Collins caught an arrow 
In his forehead and rode his crazy iron-gray 
Into the land's edge. He was seen to go 
Upright and cold of face and nearly 
Stiff as the bridle steel in his horses's mouth." 

The reader has accompanied the little military band across the 
treeless plain on a hot July day; knows, because of the poet, their 
weariness and their fear when they encounter the warriors; he 
feels the leap of their hearts as Collins rides out onto that bridge, 
and the foreknowledge of their own deaths as the arrow finds 
its mark. 

In similar ways, Maynard, who is an English teacher at Race- 
land High School in Kentucky, brings us to the experiences of real 
people (not always major characters, sometimes bit players in the 
drama) at Fort Laramie, at Independence Rock, other places we 
know; and in the title poem, at Bannack, Montana Territory, 
where vigilantes hanged a gang of ruffians who were robbing gold 
prospectors in the region. 


This collection of poems enriches history by bringing its own 
poetic truth to the facts we know. 

Robert Roripaugh, who teaches creative writing and Western 
Literature at the University of Wyoming, brings the same kind of 
truth to the current Wyoming scene. Read "Elegy for an Indian 
Girl" in which he explains: 

"Where I come from you look for Indian news 
In 'Hospital Notes' and the paper's 
Last-page square called 'Police Activities.' " 

But then he takes you to a reservation barroom where young 
blood is restless, "For winter nights are long/ And still on tribal 
land." You go with an Indian maiden and two Indian boys in 
"a peeling Ford smoky/ With beer and breath" and you learn 
with sick horror the violence and tragedy of the night. No sociolo- 
gist can tell you in a PhD thesis as much about the "problems of 
Indian youth" as Roripaugh tells you here in a few brief lines. 

Roripaugh's poems are lyrical: they are deft watercolors, and 
when he uses symbols he uses them to help us see and hear, not 
to impress other poets. When he says in "Reservation Winter: 
Fort Washakie" 

"Two men are frozen to a storefront. 
Rolling cigarettes in wind." 

we feel the gusts and really see the men through our frosted 

This collection contains love lyrics, landscapes (with wildlife) 
and takes its title from a poem written to his mother. (Does it 
strike you as interesting that poets tell their fathers, "Do not go 
gentle into that good night" and tell their mothers, "Learn to love 
the haze"?) 

Roripaugh has lived both in the Orient and in western states, 
including a ranch along the Wind River mountains of Wyoming. 
His two novels, "A Fever for Living" and "Honor Thy Father" 
(about the Indians of the Wind River reservation) thus have two 
radically different cultural settings. How different are they? Per- 
haps we should ask of Mr. Roripaugh another book which relates 
the two cultures, delineates the ethnic differences and the simple 
human bonds. We think it would be a "first". 

Riverton, Wyoming Margaret Peck 


The Czar's Germans. By Hattie Plum Williams. Edited by Emma 
S. Haynes, Phillip B. Legler, and Gerda S. Walker. (Denver: 
World Press, Inc., 1975, published under the auspices of the 
American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lin- 
coln, Nebraska). Index. Illus. Bib. 236 pp. $8.95. 

Beginning in the early part of the twentieth century significant 
numbers of Russian-German people started coming into Wyoming, 
at first as summer migrant sugar beet workers, and later as per- 
manent resident farmers. Many of these Russian-Germans, or 
"Rooshuns" as they were commonly called, had first settled in 
Lincoln, Nebraska, which had become a center and "jumping-off" 
place for large numbers of Russian-German immigrants coming to 
the United States. Following the demand for beet workers in the 
opening years of the sugar beet industry, they migrated into other 
western states, including Wyoming. 

The Czar's Germans is a brief but fascinating account of the 
history of Russian-German people in Russian prior to their settle- 
ment and dispersal in the United States. A comprehensive history 
of the Russian-German people was first conceived and planned by 
Hattie Plum Williams, a student at the University of Nebraska 
before World War I. While faihng to complete the task, Mrs. 
Williams went on to receive her doctorate and serve as chairman 
of the sociology department at the University of Nebraska from 
1915 to 1945. 

Recognizing the groundbreaking work of Williams, and the 
value of her early research, the American Historical Society of 
Germans from Russia (AHSGR) decided to sponsor the editing 
and publication of her notes and manuscript. The result has been 
an interesting and informative book that does credit not only to the 
author, but to the editors and the AHSGR. 

Following a rewarding introduction about the author, the book's 
four chapters fulfill the limited purpose of the work with clarity 
and skill. The reader first becomes aware that the German people 
had already established a pattern of emigration prior to accepting 
the invitation of Catherine II in 1762-1763, and migrating in large 
numbers into Russia. Receiving favored status in Russia, which 
included exemption from military service, the German colonists 
maintained their ethnic identity for over a century in their auton- 
omous rural villages. In the reading, Williams devotes special 
attention to the Volga Germans since they furnished the bulk of 
the Russian-German migration into Lincoln, The book's final 
chapter reviews the Russian-German immigration to America, and 
the subsequent pattern of settlement in the Dakotas, Kansas and 

The historian will appreciate the author's intent to provide more 
than a chronological study of the Russian-German people. Wil- 


liams discusses the formulation of Russian policy toward the Ger- 
man colonists, the various regions of German settlement in Russia, 
and the underlying causes that compelled these people to seek 
opportunity in America (the large majority of Russian-Germans 
remained in Russia). Nor has the author neglected the more 
human aspects of history, noting the hardships, struggles, failures 
and successes of the German people in Russia. From her account, 
one recognizes similarities between these people and pioneer set- 
tlers moving Westward in eighteenth and nineteenth century 

The reading gives an insight into the historical background of a 
people who were confronted with physical and political problems 
in Russia, and who eventually played an important role in the 
development of the sugar beet industry in our western states. In 
addition to the author's diligent scholarship, the reader gains the 
benefit of the views of an early observer of the Russian-German 
immigrants before they had become assimilated into American life. 
The book's carefully selected drawings, reprints, and photographs 
further enhance the quality of the text. 

Later publications such as Adam Giesinger's From Catherine to 
Khrushchev, have provided additional and more detailed informa- 
tion about the Russian-German people. Yet, The Czar's Germans 
is an excellent source to become initially acquainted with these 
people. After reading the book, the reader should have little diffi- 
culty in accepting what Mrs. Williams concluded nearly seventy 
years ago, that the Russian-Germans were not Russian! 

Eastern Wyoming Community College Don Hodgson 

John S. Gray. Centennial Campaign: The Sioux War of 1876. 
(Fort Collins, Colo.: The Old Army Press, 1976). Index. 
Bib. Maps. 392 pp. $20. 

A few years ago, Vine Deloria, Jr. wondered aloud when his- 
torians would forsake their fascination with the Plains Indian wars 
and move, at last, into concerns of the twentieth century. Deloria's 
point is well-taken and given the plethora of material already 
available, one must wonder about the need for John S. Gray's 
study of "The Sioux War of 1876", Centennial Campaign. The 
enduring appeal possessed by the personalities and events of 101 
years ago guarantees Gray's book a ready audience. More impor- 
tantly, the volume succeeds for the most part in placing strategies, 
maneuvers, defeats and victories of that climactic year in a per- 
spective we seldom have. 

Gray attempts to describe the war's beginnings, present its strat- 
egy and tactics, and take the clash "to its dramatic and tragic 


conclusions" — in short, "for the first time to narrate the full story 
of the Sioux War of 1876." In trying to achieve these objectives, 
Gray divides his account in two parts: a narrative of 269 pages 
and "facets" comprising an additional 87 pages. The narrative, of 
course, reviews the chronicle of events in the war carried out 
against "hostile" Sioux in order to populate fully the reservation, 
to make available new land for whites, to legahze the invasion of 
the Black Hills, and to clear the way for the Northern Pacific 
railroad. The "facets" section covers such details as medical ser- 
vice, fatalities at Little Big Horn and the demography of Native 
American peoples faced by the army throughout the campaign. 

This is a determinedly bipartisan account. Gray views the war 
as an inevitable clash between two widely different cultures. While 
the portrait of "the Indian" culture is as overgeneralized as the 
book's subtitle, it does help us to appreciate the desperate and 
ultimately unsuccessful battle waged by Native Americans. Gray 
devotes most of his attention, however, to the opponents of the 
Indians. Here emerges in blunt and uncompromising detail many 
elements which influenced the course of the war: the deceptive 
premise on which it was fought, the limited knowledge of the 
territory possessed by army leaders, the tentative and often mis- 
taken decisions made by these leaders, and the stubborn and 
egocentric natures of many of these men. Crook, Terry, Gibbon 
and Reynolds, to mention some prominent examples, do not sur- 
vive unscathed. On the other hand. Miles comes off relatively 
well, as does the much-maligned Custer. Gray concludes: "Cus- 
ter's decisions, judged in the light of what he knew at the time, 
instead of by our hindsight, were neither disobediant [sic], rash, 
nor stupid. Granted his premises, all the rest follows rationally. 
It was what neither he, nor any other officer, knew that brought 

Centennial Campaign is volume eight of the Old Army Press' 
Source Custeriana series. The book is augmented by eight three- 
color maps by John A. Popovich which will aid those grittily 
determined to follow the war every step of the way. The hefty 
price of the volume will deter some readers, while Gray's rather 
sluggish prose and simplistic form of documentation may disturb 

University of Wyoming Peter Iverson 

Pioneer Steelmaker in the West: The Colorado Fuel and Iron 
Company, 1872-1903. By H. Lee Scamehorn (Boulder, 
Colo.: Pruett Publishing Company, 1972). Index. Biblio- 
graphical Essay. Illus. 231pp. $19.95. 

In the preface Scamehorn states that this volume "endeavors to 


place in historical perspective the origins and development of the 
Colorado Fuel and Iron Company and its predecessors during the 
years from 1872 to 1903." The study was undertaken at the 
request of officials of the company. In addition the company, 
through a gift to the Alumni Development Foundation of the Uni- 
versity of Colorado, underwrote many of the expenses involved in 
conducting research. However, the company gave the author full 
access to all pertinent records and complete freedom in assessing 
their meaning. 

Organized by topics, the book emphasizes the role of business 
entities and the men who ran them. Of secondary importance is 
the subject of labor-management relations. Highlighted by 142 
photographs, this attractive volume traces the evolution of one of 
the principal heavy industries in the American West. The author 
presents a brief survey of the development of the iron and steel 
industry in the United States and its relationship with the Colo- 
rado-based company. Several chapters describe the complex de- 
velopment of the iron and steel portions of the company and the 
parallel development of its coal and coke-producing properties. 

Other interesting subjects were the attempts of corporate offi- 
cials to develop towns on land owned by the company. The chap- 
ter on the Southern Colorado Coal and Town Company scheme 
is an excellent example of these attempts. The chapters on indus- 
trial medicine and industrial sociology are fascinating and illustrate 
well-intentioned programs designed to alleviate the harsh condi- 
tions associated with the life of the miner and steelworker. It is 
an example of the practical recognition by company officials that a 
content, healthy worker was more useful to the corporation than a 
discontented, unhealthy employee. Although some of the methods 
implemented by the company may seem unsophisticated today, 
they were considered enlightened for the era. The book also ex- 
amines the history of efforts made by individuals to manipulate and 
maintain control of the company. The rise and fall of some of 
these tycoons is quite interesting. The main corporate facilities 
were situated in and around Pueblo, Colorado, and gave the com- 
pany a genuine western flavor. Other company holdings at Sun- 
rise, Wyoming, and in the modern era in the eastern states made 
the corporation a national concern. 

Most of the characters mentioned in the volume were individuals 
who held executive or professional positions within the company. 
Although some of these men were quite interesting, others were 
somewhat lifeless and quite similar to their contemporaries. It is 
regrettable that the author did not write more about the rank and 
file employees. Whenever the focus was shifted to the workers 
and their families, it was more readable. Perhaps the large num- 
ber of statistics, dates and names could have been pruned without 
detracting from the final product. However, the author has 


achieved his purpose and the book is a contribution to the indus- 
trial history of the west. 

Missouri Southern State College Robert E. Smith 

Blacks in the West. Contributions in Afro-American and African 
Studies, #23. By W. Sherman Savage. (Westport, Conn.: 
Greenwood Press, 1977). Index. Bib. 231 pp. $14.95. 

The existence of blacks in western American society and life 
during the nineteenth century, and their meaningful participation 
in social and economic activities, has been substantiated by a num- 
ber of important books and monographs issued over the past de- 
cade. Historians such as Kenneth Wiggins Porter have described 
black involvement in the fur trade; John Millar Carroll and Arlene 
L. Fowler have discussed blacks in the frontier army; and William 
Loren Katz and others have provided overviews of the black west- 
ern experience. Despite these endeavors, however, it is always 
useful to have another historian's appraisal of black participation 
in western events, especially that of W. Sherman Savage, Professor 
Emeritus at Lincoln University in Missouri and himself an out- 
standing representative of black achievement in western higher 
education and scholarship. 

Dr. Savage's work covers the role of blacks from the days of the 
fur trade into the early twentieth century in such areas of human 
endeavor as economics, politics, legislation and the fight for civil 
rights, business and industry, the military and education. His def- 
inition of the West is a broad one, covering the area from Iowa, 
Wisconsin and Missouri westward to the Pacific Coast. Perhaps 
it is understandable that Savage's main focus of attention is on 
California, with its relatively significant black population from the 
days of the Gold Rush onward and its significant debates on slav- 
ery and black civil rights which are ably described in the author's 
book. Western states such as Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and 
Nevada receive lesser notice for the most part except for their 
location as scenes for the activities of black fur traders, soldiers 
and cowboys. 

Savage depicts the West in rather favorable terms insofar as 
opportunities for blacks were concerned. He examines this situa- 
tion in a relative fashion, of course, comparing the West as a haven 
for blacks against the more restrictive and onerous social structure 
of the East. Blacks were able, as he relates, to engage in impor- 
tant commercial ventures in California, including food wholesaling, 
real estate and newspaper publication. The black cowboy seems 
to have been at least tolerated by his white peers, probably, al- 
though Savage does not stress this point, because of the greater 


animosity displayed by whites towards the numerous Mexican 

As might be expected, given the scanty records of black West- 
ern endeavors available to the scholar, the author places greatest 
emphasis on records of individuals rising above their circumstances 
into positions of relative prominence. George Washington Bush, 
for instance, receives considerable space for his activities on the 
Washington frontier where he gained the respect and admiration 
of his white neighbors for his civic minded actions and keen sense 
of economic and political needs. Wilham Alexander Leidesdorff 
was one of the first prominent black businessmen in California; 
his career is explicated by Savage as an example of business acu- 
men resulting in an estate valued at $1,500,000 at the time of his 
death. The frantic scramble to acquire that estate on the part of 
Leidesdorff's real or alleged heirs is depicted in able fashion by 
the author. 

Savage's book in sum is not a definitive history of all aspects of 
the black experience in the West during the nineteenth century, 
but it does touch on many of the most important facets of that 
experience. The author's readable narrative is fortified by re- 
search of the highest quality. 

Camden County College Norman Lederer 

Blackwood, New Jersey 

Boots and Saddles at the Little Big Horn. By James S. Hutchins. 
(Fort Collins, Colo.: The Old Army Press, 1976). Illus. 
81 pp. $3.50 paper. 

To those of us who enjoy dabbling in the mysterious world of 
U. S. Army uniforms and equipage of the Indian Wars era, the 
name of James S. Hutchins is a famihar one. In 1956 he authored 
a landmark article in The Military Collector and Historian which 
presented the first realistic look at the frontier cavalry. This was 
followed in 1958 by a second article in the same journal which 
showed that Mr. Hutchins has the rare talent for combining re- 
search and writing with artistic ability to illustrate his work. He 
also wrote a valuable introduction to a reprint of Ordnance Mem- 
oranda No. 29, Horse Equipments and Cavalry Accoutrements, 
1885. Furthermore, if you like to research this subject, his name 
will usually appear before your own on the check-out cards at the 
National Archives! 

Almost since the final shot of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 
the literary world has been bombarded with publications dealing 
with nearly every conceivable aspect of that fight. Artists, too, 
have had a heyday attempting to capture the "Last Stand" scene. 
Few have come even close to depicting how it really might have 


been. Over the past few decades Hollywood has contributed some, 
shall we say, "extraordinary" versions which bear little if any 
resemblance to the actual event. 

However, amid all the dust that has been stirred up over Little 
Big Horn, there is one character who, ironically, has received little 
serious attention. Everyone has been so busy trying to place the 
blame for the disaster in one corner or another or with trying to 
reconstruct the events, that the lowly soldier in the ranks who died 
there has been nearly forgotten. 

In Boots and Saddles At The Little Big Horn, James Hutchins 
uses a combination of text, art, and photography to aid the Custer 
student and the layman in visualizing just what cavalry soldiers of 
the 1 870s looked like. The layman's impression, ingrained by the 
movie makers, disintegrates in Boots and Saddles . . . Hutchins' 
work presents brief piece -by -piece descriptions of the uniform 
items, accoutrements, weapons, and horse gear in use in 1876. 
He utilizes official records and personal accounts, supplemented 
by secondary sources to estabUsh how the typical enlisted men and 
officers of the Seventh Cavalry were dressed and equipped. 

At long last we have those Hollywood troopers, with yellow 
neckerchiefs and skin tight trousers, shown up for what they really 
are — fantasy. The soldiers of the Seventh Cavalry, as well as the 
other regiments on the frontier for that matter, campaigned in a 
duke's mixture of clothing, partly civilian and partly military. 
They were a rather rag-tag lot outfitted in a motley assortment of 
quartermaster goods ranging all the way back to the 1850s. In the 
field, officers and enlisted men were concerned only with having 
what it took to do the job, and, in Hutchins' words, "appearances 
counted for nothing." 

For those who like Custer nostalgia, there is a chapter devoted 
to officers' clothing and accessories. Several items alleged to have 
belonged to General Custer are pictured and described. 

Perhaps the most interesting chapter deals with the items which 
went to make up the saddle pack. These were the pieces of 
equipment carried by each soldier to enable him to survive in the 
field. Although the cup was briefly mentioned, in the discussion 
of the haversack there was nothing said about the other mess gear, 
utensils and meat can or plate. These could have been treated 
with little difficulty. Certainly they would have been scattered 
about the field of action and any artist using this work as a guide 
should know about them. 

Other chapters in the book describe the horses, horse equip- 
ments, weapons, and flags in use by the Seventh at the peak of the 
Indian campaigns. Much of the information can be applied to 
all of the cavalry serving in the West at the time. Therein lies 
one of the mose subtle values of the work. 

Hutchins' Boots and Saddles ... is a good primer on the sub- 
ject, but the collector and "buff" will find it lacking in enough 


detail for their own intense interests. Brevity is the main short- 
coming. Assuming that the author intended only to write an 
introductory work, even the novice may find himself left out here 
and there when the author does not elaborate in more detail. 

Many pages throughout the book are occupied with photos of 
single items surrounded by an abundance of blank space. In the 
horse equipment chapter, for instance, six of the eight pages are 
devoted entirely to illustrations of this type. The old adage about 
a picture being worth a thousand words may have some truth in it, 
but it would seem that a better arrangement or more text or both 
could have made this book more effective. 

James Hutchins set out to tackle a complicated and rather elu- 
sive subject and to present it to a general audience; a popular 
approach if you wish. Overall he has made a commendable effort 
and has opened the door for further work in this area. We can 
only hope that Hollywood costume designers and producers will 
discover it. If you still envision Custer's troopers in blue cotton 
shirts decorated with chevrons and flashy yellow neckerchiefs, or 
if you are simply interested in the frontier cavalry, then this book 
is for you. 

Fort Laramie National Historic Site Doug McChristian 

The Story of the Latter-day Saints. By James B. Allen and Glen 
M. Leonard. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976). 
Index. Bib. Illus. 722 pp. 

The Story of the Latter-day Saints is a narrative history of the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its beginnings in 
the early 1800s to the present. The authors elaborate on four 
definable characteristics of Latter-day Saints: their religiousity, 
their being influenced by the world around them, their self-view of 
a worldwide institution, and finally the dynamic nature of the insti- 
tution of Mormonism itself. 

To tell this story, Allen and Leonard divide their book into five 
parts. The first lays the foundations of Zion and reviews the early 
influences, beginnings, and developments from New England and 
upper New York State to Kirtland, Ohio, and Missouri. The 
second section discusses developments of the church in Illinois, 
Joseph Smith's leadership and eventual martyrdom, Brigham 
Young's succession to leadership and his move to Zion to the 
Valley of the Great Salt Lake. 

Next the authors look at the Mormons making a defense of the 
kingdom in the midst of the mountains, where the institutions 
peculiarities flowered, were attacked, and succumbed as part of 
the price of statehood for Utah and full rights of citizenship for 


The fourth part is seen as the transition period from opposition 
to incorporation within American society including its problems. 
Joseph F. Smith is shown as the first of the new generation leader- 
ship. The final section traces the institution's expansion into a 
worldwide church with missionary programs, area conferences, and 
reorganization of church leadership to that purpose. 

It is readily apparent to the reader that the authors are writing 
an in-house history, a basic statement of historic faith to Latter-day 
Saints. Their narrative style serves them well once the church is 
established and its role and authority assumed. The chapters deal- 
ing with the Kirtland conflict, the Missouri unrest, the move to 
Utah, the post-Brigham Young leadership, and the twentieth cen- 
tury represent the best work in the book. The latter portion is 
particularly valuable since it is the first good LDS general history 
on this time period. 

The book contains a wealth of information, but is uneven in 
both style and content. The first three chapters are especially 
troublesome. In them the book's concept of history is shown as 
the unfolding of the will of God, while the authors' roles are 
advanced as defenders of the faith. While some attempt is made 
to review historical challenges to Joseph Smith's own early history, 
no serious historical review of his claims is made. The divine 
mission of Mormonism is finally simply assumed. Once the posi- 
tion is estabhshed that God has restored his church, then the 
authors move quite deftly to deal with the historical forces that 
impacted the people and the institution. 

Unfortunately, the early Utah period is treated primarily as 
early Utah history. Little effort is made to see what "setting up 
the Kingdom" did for or to the basic policies, practices, and doc- 
trines of the church. How significant to Mormonism was Brigham 
Young's leadership? Later the authors do show clearly the impact 
of modern business values and leadership on the present-day 

Overall the book makes major contributions to Mormon history. 
Its index and bibliography are excellent. Students of Mormon 
history and the general reader will find it useful and enjoyable. 

Utah State Historical Society Melvin T. Smith 

Charles Boettcher: A Study in Pioneer Western Enterprise. By 
Geraldine B. Bean. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1976). 
Index. Bib. Notes. Illus. 220 pp. $15.00. 

In a year marked by the appearance of so many glossy publi- 
cations, the University of Colorado Centennial Commission for- 
tunately chose to sponsor this volume, in which Mrs. Bean with 


careful scholarship traces the life of a businessman whom she hails 
as a pioneer prototype for the novels of Horatio Alger, Jr. 

At age seventeen in 1869, Charles Boettcher came from Kol- 
leda, Germany, to Cheyenne to join his brother, Herman, a store- 
keeper. The next ten years were a prologue to his later success. 
He engaged in business with his brother in Cheyenne and in three 
towns in Colorado — Greeley, Evans, and Fort Collins, where he 
married Fannie A. Cowan of Kansas. The newlyweds relocated in 
Boulder and built a substantial trade for their hardware store, but 
in 1879 Boettcher abruptly moved his operations to booming 

Mercantile success in Leadville made the enterprising German 
a speculator in mining stocks and a director of the Carbonate 
National Bank. He moved to Denver in 1890 after his election 
to a directorship of that city's National Bank of Commerce, of 
which he became president in 1897. Boettcher was a controver- 
sial figure in the Ibex Mining Company, which surreptitiously 
accumulated mining properties in Leadville. He built himself a 
modest mansion on Capitol Hill. He attempted to retire in 1900 
and toured Europe for six months, only to return to Colorado 
resolving to remain at work and carrying a supply of sugar beet 

In his second career Boettcher was instrumental in the founding 
of the Great Western Sugar Company, a momentous event in the 
economic history of the Northern Plains. Next he organized a 
firm to manufacture cement, formed a holding company to absorb 
competitive plants, and eventually consolidated them into the Ideal 
Cement Company. He also twice was a receiver of the Denver 
and Salt Lake Railway Company. Prior to his death in 1948 he 
saw portions of his fortune benefit worthy causes through the 
Boettcher Foundation. 

Mrs. Bean does an ingenious job of reconstructing the life of 
Boettcher from diverse and disconnected sources, including the 
Boettcher Collection of the State Historical Society of Colorado. 
The "life and times" approach which she adopts, however, some- 
times relegates him to the role of a vehicle used to weave together 
strands of the economic history of Colorado. The style of writing 
is straightforward, smooth, and interesting. 

The greatest strength of the book is the author's evenhanded 
verdicts on controversial issues. She is careful to highlight her 
subject's considerable contributions to the regional economy, but 
when relating his occasional foibles she neither condemns nor 
rationalizes. Issues such as the Ibex Mining Company and viola- 
tions of antitrust laws receive scrupulous treatment; judgements 
are made only in the light of the times in which the events oc- 
curred. Although the sources leave teasing gaps as to Boetcher's 
personal life — for instance why his marriage collapsed in 1915 — 
his businesslike attributes of innovativeness and industriousness 


emerge clearly. Mrs. Bean may not justify her hyperbole that 
"The West, in truth, was won by men at roll-top desks" (p. ix), 
but she ably delineates the accomplishments of one such figure. 

Oklahoma State University Thomas D. Isern 

A Governor's Wife on the Mining Frontier. The Letters of Mary 
Edgerton from Montana, 1863-1865. Number Seven of the 
Series Utah, The Mormons and the West. By James L. 
Thane, Jr. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Library, 
1976). Index. Bib. Illus. 148 pp. $8.50. 

The comment has often been made that it was the ladies who 
dared to live on the Frontier that civilized the West. If this state- 
ment is true, then A Governor's Wife on the Mining Frontier by 
Dr. James L. Thane, Jr., reflects that civilizing influence. It is 
the story of the two years Mary Wright Edgerton spent in Idaho 
Territory and as the wife of the First Governor of Montana. 

The few documents surviving which tell the story of this lady 
are not as revealing of the life around her as one might wish. 
Either that, or the movies and TV have shown us a side of life 
on the frontier which is not altogether a true picture. 

Mrs. Edgerton's letters show a formality of living which would 
cause a lady to call her husband Mr. Edgerton always, even to her 
own family, and they show restrictions on her life in the commu- 
nity because of her position. If she saw the type of life we so 
often have been exposed to, she did not write about it because her 
family might not understand, or she chose to ignore it as beneath 
a lady and the wife of an official. 

Mrs. Edgerton does mention the hangings of the outlaws in 
Bannock, but with no emotion whatever other than the statement 
that now her husband would be safer on his trip to Washington. 
She mentions dancing as the only form of entertainment and that 
the people of the community thought the reason she did not allow 
her daughter and niece to attend was that her husband was gover- 
nor and she thought them not her equal. Her daughter was four- 
teen, but she said the public would not believe that because the 
girl was large for her age. 

Most of her letters are concerned with the every day ailments, 
such as colds, and the everyday problems of frontier living, such 
as foods, the problems of getting clothing, and their costs. She 
did not describe her home, nor complain that she had no servants 
although she had been used to having help in the house before 
she came to the frontier. 

There was more description of the prairie and life on the trek 
than of her life in Bannock after they got there. 

Little comment is made of Mr. Edgerton's problems as chief 


justice and as governor. If he confided in her, this was private 
business and not to be told to the family in letters. 

Mrs. Edgerton is an educated woman and the letters are well- 
written, but their chief interest lies in the fact that so few of the 
women of the frontier preserved their history in letters. 

Dr. Thane spent the first two chapters reviewing the history 
before he inserted the letters, which may account for the fact that 
this reviewer felt they did not say as much as they could have. 
Certainly they are a part of the history of the times and place and 
will be read with interest by historians and researchers. 

Cheyenne Louise F. Underhill 

$10 Horse, $40 Saddle. Cowboy Clothing, Arms, Tools and Horse 
Gear of the 1880's. By Don Rickey, Jr. (Ft. Collins, Colo.: 
The Old Army Press, 1976). Index. lUus. 135 pp. $10. 

$10 HORSE $40 SADDLE is an extremely well-researched, 
illustrated, documented book. Rickey gets down to the basics in 
a hurry about cowboy clothing, arms and equipment and cowboy 

To the student of Western Americana and especially the student 
of the 1880's cowboy, Rickey superbly details for the reader why 
cowboys had and needed the clothing they wore, why the 1880's 
cowboy used the arms and equipment they did and why they pre- 
ferred certain types of cowboy gear. 

In choosing to write about the free grass cowboy of the 1 890's, 
Rickey has chosen a subject that Western buffs will continue to 
study for a long time. Our society cannot get enough of this kind 
of educational/informational material and thus Rickey's book is 
much needed and wanted. 

I highly recommend $10 HORSE $40 SADDLE be used by 
students in Western history and Western art classes. As our soci- 
ety becomes more urban we urgently need books such as Rickey's 
to reflect back and intelligently document what the range riders 
used to fight and cope with the elements of the out-of-doors. 
Range riders lived continuously in the elements and on horseback 
moving and driving cattle herds. 

Every piece of garb or type of hardware that Rickey has chosen 
to write about was a necessary tool that evolved through the out- 
right nature of the range riders' occupation. The old raw-hiders 
had to have these special kinds of gear that Rickey describes 
literally to survive as a range cowboy. Rickey has meticulously 
researched and documented what these tools of the range riders 
trade were. If you delight in knowing detail about types of hats 


or types of boots that were worn by the 1880's cowboy, then read 
this book. 

The illustrations by Dale Crawford of cowboy clothing and gear 
are well done. The illustrations in the book really give meaning 
to the entire objective Rickey is trying to achieve. One needs both 
the narrative and the illustrations to properly document this subject 
and Rickey has got just that. Crawford has shown detail in his 
illustrations and that definitely has more meaning for the reader. 
Crawford simply has done a good job. 

The most impressive one thing about Rickey's book is the 
approach he used to obtain historical accuracy about how the 
cowboys dressed and the paraphernalia they used. He went to 
the source, interviewing men who had been cowboys in the eighties 
and nineties, making their living on the range. What better source 
can one ask for than the individuals who were truly bonafide cow- 
men of the 1880's era? 

Wyoming Stock Growers Association John D. Pearson 

The Sioux Uprising of 1862. By Kenneth Carley. (St. Paul: 
Minnesota Historical Society, 1976.) Index, lllus. Bib. 
Maps. 102 pp. $7.50 cloth; $3.50 paper. 

The Sioux Uprising began in August, 1862, when some bands 
of Santee Sioux lashed out at farms and towns and at Fort Ridgely 
in the Minnesota River Valley. This short but bloody war that 
finally cost the Sioux their Minnesota lands has long been of great 
popular interest and literature about it abounds. 

Carley's excellent illustrated history was first published in 1961. 
The author stated in the preface to the first edition that his work 
was intended "to present an accurate, concise narrative in words 
and pictures of the Sioux Uprising . . . ." The second edition, he 
explains "is an amplification of its predecessor in terms of text, 
pictures, and, in a few instances, interpretation. Two wholly new 
chapters, as well as numerous illustrations, have been added, and 
the entire text has been carefully reviewed and revised in the light 
of recently discovered source materials and the research of other 
scholars since 1961." In the two new sections Carley describes 
the siege of Fort Abercrombie (in present North Dakota on the 
Red River) and the banishment of the Sioux from Minnesota. 

Carley has fulfilled his stated purpose admirably. The text is 
concise and lucid and the numerous photographs and drawings of 
participants and historic sites not only complement the narrative 
but add to its impact. Every page has at least one illustration. 
The principal participants are all shown including Little Crow, the 
Sioux War leader; Shakopee and Medicine Bottle; Henry H. Sibley, 


commander of state militiamen dispatched to quell the Indians; 
and Charles Flandrau, the defender of New Ulm. The text is 
prefaced by a chronology which outlines the main features of the 
war and a colored centerfold map shows settlers' forts, Indian 
villages, battle sites and commemorative monuments. An out- 
standing feature is the lengthy bibUography which is without doubt 
the best and most up-to-date available. 

In this work, Carley achieved more than his stated purpose, for 
he succeeded in producing a balanced, judicious and objective ac- 
count. He places no blame on Indian or frontiersman, but instead 
dispassionately describes the causes of the war, its military phases 
and its aftermath. Quite obviously, in this short book much spe- 
cific detail had to be sacrified; nonetheless, readers will find it to 
be the best single source on Minnesota's Sioux War. 

Mankato State University William E. Lass 


Barton R. Voigt is a student in the College of Law, Univer- 
sity of Wyoming. He is a former research historian with the 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department and served 
for two years as manuscripts curator at the South Dakota State 
Historical Resource Center. He has previously had historical ar- 
ticles published in Annals of Wyoming and South Dakota History. 

John S. Gray, of Fort Collins, has researched and written about 
American frontier history full time since his retirement in 1974 
as professor and department chairman. Department of Physiology 
at Northwestern University Medical School. He is a member of 
Chicago Westerners, Fort Collins Westerners, the Western History 
Association and numerous biomedical societies. He has published 
widely in historical journals, and his book, Centennial Campaign. 
The Sioux War of 1876, was published in 1976 by The Old Army 

Charles (Pat) Hall served as executive director of the Wyo- 
ming Bicentennial Commission for its duration. He previously 
had a long career in journalism as a photographer and picture 
editor for newspapers in the mid-west. He came to Wyoming in 
1967 to become editor of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commis- 
sion's magazine, Wyoming Wildlife. A specialist in postal history, 
he has recently planned the development of the Wyoming Postal 
History Galley, a new permanent exhibit of the Wyoming State 
Museum, Cheyenne. 

Grant K. Anderson teaches American history in LeCenter, 
Minnesota. He holds an M.S. degree in history from the Univer- 
sity of North Dakota. He belongs to several historical societies, 
including Western History Association and has had articles pub- 
lished in South Dakota History and Nebraska History. Anderson 
has presented papers at the last eight Dakota History Conferences 
at Dakota State College. 

David W. Lupton, librarian and associate professor, is head of 
the serials department at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 
He is currently working on a book about historic Fort Lupton, 
Colorado, and its founder, Lancaster Piatt Lupton. He holds de- 
grees in library science, entomology and zoology from the Univer- 
sity of Wisconsin. Lupton belongs to various historical, entomo- 
logical and archaeological organizations. 

Mabel Cooper Skjelver is a Nebraska native. She has been 
on the faculty of the University of Nebraska since 1973. She holds 
a B.S. degree from the University of Nebraska, the M.S. from 
Michigan State University and the Ph.D. from Florida State 


Adams, David, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 
91, 92, 94, 95, 100 

Adams, Thomas B., 58, 59 

The Adventures oj Alexander Bar- 
clay. Mountain Man: A Narra- 
tive of His Career, 1810-1855; 
His Memorandum Diary, 1845 to 
1850, by George P. Hammond, 
review, 142-143 

Allen. James B. and Leonard, Glen 
M., The Story of the Latter-Day 
Saints, review, 157-158 

American Fur Company, 84, 92, 95, 
96, 102, 104, 108 

Anderson. Grant K., "Black Hills 
Sooners: The Davy Expedition 
of 1868", 65-81; biog. 164 

Armstrong, Moses K., 67, 69-70, 72- 
73, 80-81 

Averell. James. 61 


Baird, Frank, 57 

The Banditti of the Plains, by Asa 
S. Mercer, 53-64 

Bannack and Other Poems, by Wen- 
dell H. Maynard, review, 147-149 

Barber, Governor Amos, 59 

Beadle and Adam. 112, 114, 117 

Bean, Geraldine, Charles Boettcher: 
A Study in Pioneer Western En- 
terprise, review, 158-160 

Big Horn Basin. 23, 25, 27, 33, 40 

Big Horn Mountains, 23. 25, 27, 28, 
33, 35, 36 

Big Horn River, 25. 28. 30, 41. 42. 
43, 45, 47, 48 

Bissonette, Joseph, 28, 29, 87. 88. 
89. 94, 95, 99, 101, 102, 104, 105 

Black Hills Exploring and Mining 
Association, 66-69 

"Black Hills Sooners: The Davy 
Expedition of 1868." by Grant K. 
Anderson, 65-81 

Blacks in the West, by W. Sherman 
Savage, review, 154-155 

"Blazing the Bridger and Bozeman 
Trails," by John S. Gray, 23-51 

Boots and Saddles at the Little Big 
horn, by James S. Hutchins. re- 
view, 155-157 

Boyer, (Bovier), John Baptiste, "Old 

Bouillion", 29, 32, 33, 34, 48, 49 
Boyer, Mitch (Michel, Michael), 29, 

47, 49 

Bozeman. John M., 26, 27, 28, 29, 
30. 32. 33, 35, 38, 43, 45, 46, 47, 

48, 50. 51 

Bozeman Trail. 30, 38, 39. 40, 48, 

Bragg, Bill, 133, 135, Wyoming's 
Wealth: A History of Wyoming, 
review, 143-146 

Brazelton, Jay, 131, 135 

Brennan, John R., Indian Agent. 5, 
6, 7. 11-13. 15, 16 

Bridger, Jim, 24, 25, 39, 40, 41, 42, 
43, 44. 45, 47, 48, 50 

Bridger Trail, 23. 24, 25. 39. 40. 44, 
45, 50 

Brookings, Wilmont, 67-69, 72, 80- 

Burke, Timothy, (United States At- 
torney for the District of Wyo- 
ming), 6, 12, 13. 16-18. 20 

Burton. Frank J., 56, 57 


Cabanne. John Charles, 94. 95. 96, 
97, 98, 99, 101. 102, 104 

Carley, Kenneth, The Sioux Upris- 
ing of 1862., review, 162-163 

Carroll, John F., 57. 60 

Centennial Campaign: The Sioux 
War of 1876, by John S. Gray, 
review, 151-152 

Charles Boettcher: A Study in Pio- 
neer Western Enterprise, by Ger- 
aldine B. Bean, review, 158-160 

Chatterton. Acting Governor Feni- 
more. 15, 16, 18, 19. 21 

Cheyenne Daily Leader, 56. 63 

The Cheyenne Daily Sun, 63. 64 

Cheyenne Democratic Leader, 57 

Chivington. Col. John M., 34, 36 

Clarke, A. B.. 62 

Clarke, James Mitchell. 62 

Clear Creek. 30. 34. 37 

Clyman. James, 99, 100 

Cody. William F.. "Buffalo Bill," in 
fiction. 109. 113-114. 119. 123- 

Collins. Lt. Col. William O.. 24. 31, 



"Confession of George Dunning", 

58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63 
Converse County, 6, 7, 17, 18, 19 
Cook, William Wallace, 109-130; 

photo. 111 
The Czar's Germans, by Hattie Plum 

Williams, ed. by Emma S. Haynes, 

Phillip B. Legler, and Gerda S. 

Walker, review, 150-151 


Daniels, Justice of the Peace H. R., 

6, 12 
Dunning, George, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 

Davis, James C, 8, 1 1 
Davy, Peter B., 65, 69-81 
Deer Creek, 31, 32, 34, 36, 48 
DeSmet, Pierre Jean, 84 
Drips, Maj. Andrew, Indian Agent, 

95, 96, 97, 98, 99 

Edmunds, Newton, 67, 68, 69, 80, 

Eleventh Ohio Cavalry, 24, 25, 28, 

31, 34 

Falkenburg, Louis, 9, 10, 11, 21 
Faulk, Andrew, J., 68-69, 78, 80 
Fiddleback Ranch, 8, 9 

Fort Bernard, 103, 104, 105 
Fort Bridger, 23, 24, 26, 35 
Fort John, 84, 85, 88, 93, 97, 102, 

Fort Lupton, Colo., 83, 102 
Fort Lancaster, See Fort Lupton 
Fort Laramie, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 
31, 34, 38, 39, 40, 45, 46, 48, 
83, 84, 86, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 
94, 95, 96, 99, 100, 101, 102, 
106, 107, 108 
Fort Platte, 83-108 
Fort William, 84 
"Fort Platte, Wyoming, 1841-1845: 
Rival of Fort Laramie", by David 
W. Lupton, 83-108 
Foster, W. Bert, 113, 123 
Franklin, Stephen, 8, 1 1 
Fremont, John Charles, 88, 89, 91, 

Gallegos, Rafael, 29, 30, 31, 32, 48, 

"A Game Cock," by Ida McPherren, 

Gerould, James T., Princeton Uni- 
versity Librarian, 62 

A Governor's Wife on the Mining 
Frontier. The Letters of Mary 
Edgerton from Montana, 1863- 
1865, by James L. Thane, Jr., 
review, 160-161 

Grabhorn Press, 62 

Gray, John S., "Blazing the Bridger 
and Bozeman Trails," 23-51, Cen- 
tennial Campaign: The Sioux 
War of 1876, review, 151-152; 
biog. 164 

Guyol, Alice Catlin, "Unusual Nick- 
names," 82 


Hackney, Ralph, 11, 12 

Hall, Charles "Pat", "Asa Mercer 
and The Banditti of the Plains: A 
Reappraisal," 53-64, review of 
Wyoming's Wealth: A History of 
Wyoming, 143-146; biog. 164 

Hamilton, Major Joseph V., 96, 98 

Hammond, George P., Alexander 
Barclay, Mountain Man: A Nar- 
rative of His Career, 1810-1855; 
His Memorandum Diary, 1845 to 
1850, review 142, 143 

Harvey, Charles, 8, 12 

Hayden, Dr. Ferdinand V., 66, 68, 

Haynes, Emma S., ed.. The Czar's 
Germans, review, 150-151 

Hodgson, Don, review of The Czar's 
Germans, 150-151 

Homsher, Lola, 63 

Howrey, Mrs. Cecil, "In Wyoming," 
Poem, 52 

Hunt, Doctor, 57 

Hurd, J. D., 61, 64 

Hutchins, James S., Boots and Sad- 
dles at the Little Big Horn, re- 
view, 155-157 


Ijams, H. B., 59 

"In Wyoming", Poem, Mrs. Cecil 
Howrey, 52 




Clear, Hope, 13, 14, 15 

Black Kettle, 14 

Brown, William, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 

15, 21 

Brown, Mrs., 7 

Gray Bear, 14, 15 

Gray Bear, Mrs., (Takes the 

Rope), 14, 15 

Last Bear, 14 

Little War Bonnet, Jesse, 8, 11, 
13; Photo, 10 

Sioux Indians Held in Douglas, 
Wyoming Jail for Murder of 
Sheriff Miller of Weston Coun- 
ty, photo, 8 

Smith, Charlie, 5-7, 9-15, 18, 20, 

Smith, Charlie Mrs., 11, 14, 15 

White Elk, Peter, 13, 14, 17 
Indian Treaty of 1859, 66 
Ingraham, Prentiss (Ned Buntline), 

113, 123 
Irvin, George W. II, 29, 31, 32, 33 
Isern, Thomas D., review of Charles 

Boettcher: A Study in Pioneer 

Western Enterprise, 158-160 
Iverson, Peter, review of Centennial 

Campaign: The Sioux War of 

1876, 151-152 

Jacobs. John M., 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 
34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 

Jensen, Henry, 131, 133, 135 

Johnson County Cattle War, 53, 54, 
55, 59, 60, 61 

Judson, Edward, (Ned Buntline) 113 


Karina. S. J., review of Willia?n 
Clark: Jeffersonian Man on the 
Frontier, 140-142 

Kearney, Colonel Stephen W., 100, 
101, 102 

Kirkpatrick, James, 29, 30, 34, 35 

Kirkpatrick, Robert, 29, 30, 34, 35 

Kittsell, William H., 62 

Lampkins Ranch, 1 1 
Lander Cut Off, 23, 35, 40, 46, 48 
Lander Trail, See Lander Cut Off 
Laramie River, 84, 85, 86, 88, 91, 

92, 100, 101, 105, 106, 107, 108 
Laramie Treaty of 1868, 81 
Lass, William E., review of The 

Sioux Uprising of 1862., 162-163 
Learn to Love the Haze, by Robert 

Roripaugh, review, 147-149 
Lederer, Norman, review of Blacks 

in the West, 154-155 
Legler, Phillip B., ed., The Czar's 

Germans, review, 150-151 
Leonard, Glen M. and Allen, James 

B., The Story of the Latter-Day 

Saints, review 157-158 
"The Lightning Creek Fight," by 

Barton R. Voigt, 5-21 
Lupton, David W., "Fort Platte, 

Wyoming, 1841-1845: Rival of 

Fort Laramie," 83-108; biog. 164 
Lupton, Lancaster Piatt, 83, 84, 85, 

86, 87, 92, 102, 103, 108 


McChristian, Doug, review of Boots 
and Saddles at the Little Big Horn, 

McNichols, Charles S., Special In- 
dian Agent, 16, 17, 18, 20 

McPherren, Ida, "A Game Cock," 

Malone, Michael P., and Roeder, 
Richard B., Montana. A History 
of Two Centuries, review, 146-147 

Marney, S. A., 55, 56, 57 

Mather, Deputy Sheriff Lee, 1 1 

Maynard, Wendell H., Bannack and 
Other Poems, review, 147-149 

Mecum, W. F., 6, 12, 17, 18. 19, 20 

Mercer, Annie F., Mrs. Asa S., 57 

Mercer, Asa Shinn, 53-64 

Mercer, Ralph, 63 

Miller, WilHam H., Sheriff, 6. 7. 8, 
9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 
21; photo, 8 

Mitchell, David D., (Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs), 96, 99 

Mondell, Congressman Frank W., 
15, 16 

Montana. A History of Two Cen- 
turies, by Michael P. Malone and 
Richard B. Roeder, review, 146- 

Morrow, J. B., 56 




New Buffalo Bill Weekly, 113, 123 

Newcastle, 6, 7, 11, 18, 20 

North Platte River, 23, 24, 26, 28, 

29, 32, 35. 37, 38, 39, 44, 48, 83, 

84, 86, 101, 105 
Northwestern Live Stock Journal, 

56. 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64 
Northwestern Live Stock Journal 

Publishing Company, 58 


Orcutt, William, 24, 25, 26, 27 
Owens, John, 9, 17 

Rickey, Don, Jr., $10 Horse, $40 
Saddle. Cowboy Clothing, Arms, 
Tools and Horse Gear of the 
1880's., review, 161-162 

Righter, Richard W., review of 
Montana. A History of Two 
Centuries, 146-147 

Robbins, Isaac, 12, 19 

Rocky Mountain News, 63 

Roeder, Richard B., and Malone, 
Michael P., Montana. A History 
of Two Centuries, review, 146- 

Roripaugh, Robert, Learn to Love 
the Haze, review, 147-149 

Rush, N. Orwin, 63, 64 

Pearson. John D., review of $10 
Horse. $40 Saddle. Cowboy 
Clothing, Arms, Tools and Horse 
Gear of the 1880's., 161-162 

Peck, Margaret, review of Learn to 
Love the Haze and Bannack and 
Other Poems, 147-149 

Pendergraff, Ray, 132, 134, 135, 

Pioneer Steelmaker in the West: 
The Colorado Fuel and Iron 
Company, 1872-1903, by H. Lee 
Scamehorn, review, 152-154 

Potter, Attorney General, 59 

Pourier, Baptiste "Big Bat", 42 

Pratte, Bernard Jr., 86, 95, 96, 97, 
98. 99, 101, 102, 104 


Race Horse Case, 5, 16 
Rathborne, St. George, 113, 122-123 
Raynolds, Capt. W. F., 66, 68 
Red Buttes, 23, 33, 39, 40, 41, 42, 

Re-Discovering the Big Horns, 132, 

Richard. John Jr., 42, 49, 90, 95, 

97, 98, 99, 102, 104, 105 
Richard, John Sr., 39, 42, 43 
Richards, Governor DeForest, 20 

Sage, Rufus B., 85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 

St. Louis Type Foundry, 56, 58, 59 
Savage, W. Sherman, Blacks in the 

West, review, 154-155 
Scamehorn, H. Lee, Pioneer Steel- 
maker in the West: The Colorado 

Fuel and Iron Company, 1872- 

1903. review, 152-154 
Shelley, Edward, 24, 25, 27, 33 
The Sioux Uprising of 1862., by 

Kenneth Carley. review, 162-163 
Skjelver, Mabel Cooper, "William 

Wallace Cook: Dime Novelist," 

109-130; biog. 164 
Smith, Bryon. 66, 68 
Smith, Melvin T., review of The 

Story of the Latter-Day Saints, 

Smith, Robert E., review of Pioneer 

Steelmaker in the West: The Colo- 
rado Fuel and Iron Company, 

1872-1903, 152-154 
South Platte River, 93, 94, 102 
Spink, Solomon, 69, 80 
Steffen, Jerome O., William Clark: 

Jeffersonian Man on the Frontier, 

review, 140-142 
The Story of the Latter-Day Saints, 

by James B. Allen and Glen M. 

Leonard, review, 157-158 
Street and Smith, 112-117, 119-130 
Sturgis, Thomas, 58 
Sweetwater River, 23, 24, 25, 26, 

34. 35 
Sybille (Sibille), John, 68, 87, 88, 

89, 90, 92, 100 



Tate, Michael, review of Alexander 
Barclay, Mountain Man: A Nar- 
rative of His Career, 1810-1855; 
His Memorandum Diary, 1845 to 
1850, 142, 143 

$10 Horse, $40 Saddle. Cowboy 
Clothing, Arms, Tools and Horse 
Gear of the 1880's., by Don Rick- 
ey, Jr., review, 161-162 

Thane, James L. Jr., A Governor's 
Wife on the Mining Frontier. The 
Letters of Mary Edgerton from 
Montana, 1863-1865., review, 160- 

Tuttle, J. E., 58 


Underhill, Louise F., review of A 
Governor's Wife on the Mining 
Frontier. The Letters of Mary 
Edgerton from Montana, 1863- 
1865., 160-161 

"Unusual Nicknames," by Alice Cat- 
lin Guyol, 82 


Walker, Gerda S., ed.. The Czar's 
Germans, review, 150-151 

Warren, Senator Francis E., 15, 16, 
21, 57 

Warren, Lt. G. K., 65, 66, 68 

Watson, Ella, "Cattle Kate", 61 

Western History Research Center, 
University of Wyoming, 60 

Weston County, 6, 12, 15, 18, 19,20 

Whitson, John H., 113, 123 

William Clark: Jefferson Man of 
the Frontier, by Jerome O. Stef- 
fen, review, 140-142 

"William Wallace Cook: Dime Nov- 
elist," by Mabel Cooper Skjelver, 

Williams, Hattie Plum, The Czar's 
Germans, review, 150, 151 

Wind River, 25, 41 

Wind River Mountains, 23, 25, 27 

"Wyoming From the Beginning," 133 

Wyoming Stock Growers Associa- 
tion, 55, 58. 59 

Wyoming's Wealth: A History of 
Wyoming, by Bill Bragg, review, 

Yellowstone River, 23, 25, 27, 29, 

33, 40, 43, 45, 47, 50 

Virginia City, Montana, 33, 35, 37, 
39, 40, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50 

Voigt, Barton R., "The Lightning 
Creek Fight," 5-21; biog. 164 

Zerbes, Frank, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 

JUL 9 W' 

JUL 1 1977 


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 
the State archives. 

The aid of the citizens of Wyoming is solicited in the carrying 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 historic significance: early equipment, Indian 
artifacts, relics dealing 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. 


JAN 6 1978 


A^a/s of Wyoming 

Mil 977 




Mrs. June Casey 

Mrs. Wilmot C. McFadden 

Mrs. Mary Emerson, Chairm 


Rock Springs 


Mrs. Suzanne Knepper 



Jerry Rillihan 



Mrs. Mae Urbanek 


Member at Large 

James M. Price 
Frank Bowron 
Attorney General V. Frank 






William H. Williams Director 

Buck Dawson Director, State Museums 

Mrs. Katherine A. Halverson Director, Historical Research 

and Publications Divison 
Mrs. Julia Yelvington Director, 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. 
Copies of previous and current issues also are available for sale to the public 
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 

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

Copyright 1977, by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

Annals of Wyoming 

Volume 49 Fall, 1977 Number 2 

Katherine a. Halverson 

John C. Paige 

William H. Barton 

Ellen E. Glover 

Editorial Assistants 

Published biannually by the 


Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


OFFICERS 1977-1978 

President, David J. Wasden Cody 

First Vice President, Mrs. Mabel Brown Newcastle 

Second Vice President, James June Green River 

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 

William R. Dubois, Cheyenne 1971-1972 

Henry F. Chadey, Rock Springs 1972-1973 

Richard S. Dumbrill, Newcastle 1973-1974 

Henry Jensen, Casper 1974-1975 

Jay Brazelton, Jackson 1975-1976 

Ray Pendergraft, Worland 1976-1977 

The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County Historical 
Society Chapters have been organized in Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, 
Carbon. Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, Johnson, Laramie, Lincoln, 
Natrona, Niobrara, Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta, 
Washakie and Weston Counties. 

State Dues 

Life Membership $100.00 

Joint Life Membership (Husband and Wife) 150.00 

Annual Membership 5.00 

Joint Annual Membership (Two persons of same family at 

same address) 7.00 

Institutional Membership 10.00 

Send State Membership Dues To: 
Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Headquarters 
Barrett Building 
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002 

Zable of Contents 


By Gordon O. Hendrickson 175 

The Making of a Senator 
Confrontation in Cheyenne 

By Thomas R. Ninneman 193 


By Greg Scheurman 223 


By Douglas C. McChristian 253 



Larson, Wyoming. A History 285 

Peterson, The Bonanza Kings. The Social Origins and Business 

Behavior of Western Mining Entrepreneurs, 1870-1900 286 

Wyoming Recreation Commission, Wyoming A Guide to 

Historic Sites 288 

Spring, Cow Country Legacies 289 

Dunham, Flaming Gorge Country. The Story of Daggett 

County, Utah 291 

ColHns, Land of the Tall Skies. "A Pageant of the Colorado 

High Plains" 292 

Boyer, ed., / Married Wyatt Earp. The Recollections of 

Josphine Sarah Marcus Earp 294 

Marquis, Keep the Last Bullet for Yourself. The True Story 

of Custer's Last Stand 295 

Madden, Jones, Mountain Home. The Walker Family 

Farmstead. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 296 

Fort Stanwix. History, Historic Furnishing and Historic 

Structure Reports 298 

McCarthy, Hour of Trial. The Conservation Conflict in 

Colorado and the West 298 


INDEX 301 


Devils Tower Cover 

Mart Christensen 179 

Dan Greenburg 183 

Agnes Wright Spring 188 

Joseph C. O'Mahoney 196 

Clark's Fork Ferry at Sirrine, 1899 262 


Devils Tower, the nation's first national monument, was desig- 
nated by a presidential proclamation signed by Theodore Roosevelt 
on September 24, 1906. Following are excerpts from that proc- 

"WHEREAS, It is provided by section two of the Act of Con- 
gress entitled 'An Act for the preservation of American Antiqui- 
ties, 'That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, 
in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic land- 
marks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of 
historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned 
or controlled by the Government of the United States to be Na- 
tional Monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of 
land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the 
smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of 
the object to be protected;' 

"And, whereas, the lofty and isolated rock in the State of Wyo- 
ming known as the 'Devils Tower,' ... is such an extraordinary 
example of the effect of erosion in the higher mountains as to be 
a natural wonder and an object of historic and great scientific 
interest, and it appears that the public good would be promoted 
by reserving this tower as a National monument with as much 
land as may be necessary for the proper protection thereof; 

"Now, therefore, I THEODORE ROOSEVELT, President of 
the United States ... do hereby set aside as the Devils Tower 
National Monument the lofty and isolated rock situated in Crook 
County, Wyoming, . . . 

"Warning is hereby expressly given to all unauthorized persons 
not to appropriate, injure or destroy any feature of the natural 
tower or to locate or settle upon any of the lands reserved and 
made a part of said monument by this proclamation . . ." 

The cover photograph is from the Stimson Photo Collection, 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. 

Zke WPA Writers' Project 

in Wyoming t 

Mist or y and Collections 


Gordon O. Hendrickson 

The crash of the Wall Street stock market on October 24, 1929, 
signaled the end of the apparent American economic boom of the 
1920s. The following twelve years brought to the United States 
an unprecedented depression — a depression which affected not 
simply the economic giants of the nation, but each and every 
American. In a day before unemployment benefits, social secur- 
ity, federal deposit insurance, and innumerable other federally 
sponsored programs, the man in the street found himself not only 
without work, but with no prospect for work or financial support. 

After nearly four years, during which Herbert Hoover and his 
presidential administration attempted to reverse the economic stag- 
nation, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office as president of the 
United States. Within the first one hundred days of his adminis- 
tration, a number of executive actions and congressional enact- 
ments altered considerably the focus of the federal reUef attempt.^ 
These new programs were successful in alleviating some of Amer- 
ica's fears concerning the depression, and they provided employ- 
ment and relief for some Americans. A number of programs such 
as the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Tennessee Valley Author- 
ity, the Public Works Administration, and the National Industrial 
Recovery Act were enacted during the memorable hundred days, 
but perhaps the most widely remembered New Deal program 
waited two years before enactment. 

On May 6, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive 

ipor a discussion of the Hoover administration's attempts to combat the 
Depression, see Albert U. Romasco, The Poverty of Abundance: Hoover, 
The Nation. The Depression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965); 
William E. Leuchtenberg, The Perils of Prosperity (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1958), pp. 249-268; and, John D. Hicks, Republican Ascen- 
dancy. 1921-1933 (New York: Harper & Row, 1960), pp. 260-280. An 
excellent overview of the New Deal period is William E. Leuchtenberg, 
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (New York: Harper & Row, 
1963). His fourth chapter deals specifically with the "Hundred Days." 


Order No. 7034 which established the Works Progress Adminis- 
tration (WPA) as a part of the New Deal attempt to stymy the 
Great Depression.^' The WPA sought to provide work to unem- 
ployed persons throughout the country by supporting them in 
gainful occupations which would provide benefit to the general 
public. WPA projects were to meet a number of criteria prior 
to receiving full approval. Only those projects which afforded 
"permanent improvement in living conditions or created future 
new wealth for the nation" would be approved. These new proj- 
ects were also required to be 

such as involved a large percentage of direct labor; they should be 
planned and selected to compete as little as possible with private 
enterprise; they should be so located as to serve the greatest employ- 
ment needs; and they should be compensated for on a scale larger 
than the amount received as a relief dole, but not so large as to 
encourage the rejection of opportunities for private employment or 
the leaving of private employment to engage in government work.^ 

With these guidelines clearly in mind, a number of WPA projects 
were undertaken. Roads and streets, sidewalks, public buildings, 
sewer systems, and conservation and recreation facilities were 
among the types of projects which the WPA sponsored. These 
construction projects are among the most widely known of the 
WPA activities.^ 

Since not only manual laborers were affected by the Great De- 
pression, something had to be done for the white-collar and pro- 
fessional workers. With these people in mind, special projects 
were developed under the auspices of the WPA for their benefit. 
The Federal Artists' Project, the Federal Theatre Project, the Fed- 
eral Music Project, and the Federal Writers' Project all provided 
employment opportunities for unemployed professionals in their 
respective fields. These individual projects were all part of a 
multi-faceted program of WPA activities for professionals known 
collectively as Federal Project No. 1.^ 

While Congress authorized funds for the WPA in April, 1935, 
many months passed before relief for white-collar workers in the 
form of Federal One actually got off the ground. Fully four 
months passed before WPA officials announced a forthcoming 
program of work relief for unemployed professionals. The exact 

^William F. McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts (Co- 
lumbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1969), p. 104. The Emergency 
Relief Appropriation Act of April 8, 1935, 115 Stat. 49, provided the fund- 
ing for the agency Roosevelt created nearly a month later. 

•^Dexter Perkins, The New Age of Franklin Roosevelt, 1932-1945 (Chi- 
cago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 30. 

^Leuchtenberg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, p. 126. 

i*McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, provides a his- 
torical review of these federal programs. 


organizational plan for the program had not been fully developed 
by August, but state WPA officials were asked to "submit for 
approval, through the regular channels, such additional State and 
local projects in these fields as are warranted by the availability 
of relief workers." In addition to previously solicited projects for 
blue-collar workers, new programs related to art, music, theatre, 
and writing were requested in August, 1935.*^ 

Wyoming officials responded to the call for new projects by 
devising a plan for the systematic collection of "sundry historical 
data, including diaries, relics, first hand accounts and any other 
historical material available."^ Alice Lyman, Wyoming state li- 
brarian and ex-officio state historian, in submitting the Statewide 
Historical Project to the WPA for approval, called for the place- 
ment of at least one previously jobless employee in each of Wyo- 
ming's counties for the purpose of gathering this historical data.^ 
The suggested program, being statewide in scope and being de- 
signed to utilize the talents of relief workers, seemed to correspond 
closely to the August WPA guidelines. The requested funding 
for the Statewide Historical Project was apparently sidetracked in 
Washington while federal administrative officials worked to organ- 
ize a much broader national program for writers. 

Whereas the August, 1935, guidelines suggested programs of 
"State and local" scope, administrative officials were working to 
estabhsh a nationwide project for writers in all of the states. 
Henry G. Alsberg, national director of the Federal Writers' Proj- 
ect, conceived of an American guide book which could be 
published under the auspices of the WPA. Suggestions for a 
publication reviewing the historical and tourist attractions of the 
United States had been circulating in Washington for some time 
before the WPA adopted the idea.^ Alsberg felt that workers on 
the local and state level could research, write, and edit material 
for inclusion in a book which would help Americans in the "dis- 
covery of the roots from which America had grown," and which 
would serve as a "signpost of America's potentialities for the 
future." The American guide which Alsberg hoped to create 
through the Writers' Project was to be "an appreciation of America 
and a revelation of the democratic tradition, which, though it had 

^Ibid., p. 129, citing WPA Letter WP-7, August 2, 1935. 

■^Letter, Lester C. Hunt to Agnes Wright Spring, no place, August 7, 
1935. Wyoming Work Projects Administration's Federal Writers' Project 
Collection, Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, Part III, 
Administrative Files, Folder 51, "Correspondence, 1935." (Hereafter cited 
as: WPA Collection, part number, folder number, and title.) 


^McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, chapter 28, 


never ceased to exist, had been obscured" in America. ^^ After 
adoption by the WPA Writers' Project, Alsberg viewed completion 
of the American guide as being the primary concern of the state 
and national Writers' Projects. State and local workers were to 
study their local areas and filter their written material up through 
the system so a single American guide could be produced. Alsberg 
assumed the project leading to the American guide would not nec- 
essarily call for the preparation and publication of local, or state 
guide books. The final product would consist of five sections, 
each dealing with a specific region of the country. ^^ Any other 
products would be secondary to the major objective. 

As the Federal Writers' Project became organized, state admin- 
istrators for the project, including Mart Christensen of Wyoming, 
received descriptions of duties which included directing "the field 
force in the state and [acting] as editor of collected material for a 
potential state book, which will be a by-product of the Federal 
project. Further by-products," the instruction continued, "will be 
local guides for every locality in which we shall be working. "^- 
Like all major research undertakings, the format and structure of 
the project changed considerably before its termination. The pro- 
posed by-products of the major publication became the major pub- 
lications themselves. 

By the end of the entire relief project, some local guides were 

produced, and each of the then forty-eight states, the District of 

Columbia, New York City, and Puerto Rico all produced "state" 

guide books. These publications preceded the production of the 

American guide by as much as twelve years. The publication of 

the national study was delayed long beyond the termination of the 

Works Progress Administration. In 1949, Henry G. Alsberg, who 

had left the WPA Writers' Project in 1938, edited The American 

Guide. While receiving no funding or support from the federal 

government, Alsberg credited the Federal Writers' Project with the 

production of much of the material he used in the national guide 

Even though Wyoming officials had presented the plans for a 
Statewide Historical Project prior to having received instructions 
concerning the production of material for the American guide, the 
initial work of the WPA Writers' Project in the state was oriented 

i'J/6/V/., p. 665. 

iiKatherin H. Davidson, (comp.), Records of the Federal Writers' Proj- 
ect Work Projects Administration, 1935-1944 (Washington, D. C: National 
Archives and Record Service, 1953), p. 3. 

^-McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, p. 147, citing 
Letter, Jacob Baker to Thad HoU, October 5, 1935, no place. 

I'^Davidson, Records of the Federal Writers' Project, p. 3. 




— Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department Photo 
Mart Christensen 

to the American guide. ^^ In fact, throughout the history of the 
Writers' Project, the most important project, both in the eyes of 
state and national officials, was the guide book.^^ In Wyoming, 
Mart Christensen, after being appointed state director of the Fed- 
eral Writers' Project, commenced work in late October, 1935, on 
the collection of data for use in writing the guide book. He hoped, 
through the production of this guide book, to "tell the rest of the 
United States what we have in Wyoming and where to find it."^^ 

i^Letter, Mart Christensen to Alice Lyman, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Novem- 
ber 25, 1935. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 51, 
"Correspondence, 1935." 

i^McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, p. 693. 

i^Letter, Mart Christensen to Alice Lyman, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Novem- 
ber 25, 1935. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 51, 
"Correspondence, 1935." 


After authorization for the project, work commenced almost imme- 
diately and continued through the final production of the desired 

By November 25, 1935, Christensen had ten writers on the 
project who, with assistance from others added in coming months, 
continued to gather material for the Wyoming guide through the 
next two years. ^^ Under Christensen's guidance, workers collected 
data according to the formulas and guidelines set down by the 
federal office in Washington, D. C.^'"* By early 1937, Christensen 
was submitting copy for the final book to the national office for 
review and editing.^'' Apparently he worked hard on the guide, 
but his production never received full approval of the Writers' 
Project editors in Washington. Editorial comments returned to 
Christensen's office indicated a strong degree of displeasure with 
the presentations submitted.-*^ The only section of Christensen's 
writing which received approval from Washington was the com- 
pilation of a chronology for the book. However, even that section 
was redone prior to the book's final production.-^ 

While Christensen was working on the preparation of the Wyo- 
ming guide book, Alice Lyman's Statewide Historical Project re- 
ceived a green light from the national office of the WPA Writers' 
Project.-- This project, as indicated earlier, was designed to 
collect Wyoming historical data for preservation and future use. 
The operation of the Statewide Historical Project was distinct from 
that portion of the Writers' Project concerned with production of 

I'^The instructional materials for preparation of the American Guide were 
some 694 pages in length. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, 
Folders 116-121, "American Guide - Instructions." 

i^Copies of the materials Christensen submitted to Washington for review 
prior to incorporation into the Wyoming state guide are contained in the 
WPA Collection, Part 11, Subject Files, Folders 1562-1599. 

-•^'Letters of comment from the central office in Washington concerning 
the materials Christensen submitted are preserved in Ibid. An example of 
the editorial criticisms of Christensen's writings is the following comment of 
George Cronyn, Associate Director of the Federal Writers' Project. "I have 
re-read the Contemporary Scene and although it is improved, it seems to me 
that it will be a rather colorless introduction to a book of unusually vivid 
interest." Letter, George Cronyn to Mart Christensen, Washington, D. C, 
March 17, 1937. WPA Collection, Part II, Subject Files, Folder 1572, 
"Wyoming Guide - Contemporary Scene." 

2iLetter, Henry G. Alsberg to Mart Christensen, Washington, D. C, 
March 8, 1938, with handwritten annotation. WPA Collection, Part II, 
Subject Files, Folder 1571, "Wyoming Guide — Chronology." 

22Memorandum, "Wyoming Statewide Historical Project," no author, no 
date. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 53, "Corre- 
spondence, 1937." 


the Wyoming guide. Some of the materials collected under the 
auspices of the Historical Project were used when preparing the 
state guide book, and the sources of funding were the same, but the 
two projects remained basically separate. As will be seen, when a 
decision was made between the two projects as to which would 
continue, the Statewide Historical Project fell by the wayside. 

Maude Sholty was placed in charge of the Statewide Historical 
Project when it finally received approval early in 1936. Under 
her direction, workers in all Wyoming counties interviewed pio- 
neers, collected historical materials such as diaries, journals, and 
letters, and wrote up the results of their research. After compila- 
tion on the county level, the materials were sent to Sholty in Chey- 
enne to be processed for inclusion in the holdings of the State 
Historical Library. The manuscripts written in the field were 
given a final editing in the state office, were retyped according to 
subject, author, and title. When a manuscript had been complete- 
ly processed, it was ready for accessioning into the holdings of the 

Sholty and her workers compiled an impressive amount of his- 
torical material, but the final editing and indexing of that material 
was long and tedious. By the end of 1937, some 1900 manu- 
scripts had been gathered under the auspices of the Statewide His- 
torical Project. Nina Moran, then Wyoming's State Librarian, 
indicated that even though the manuscripts had been collected and 
were physically in the State Library, they had not all been indexed 
or catalogued. Only ninety-seven manuscripts had been complete- 
ly processed by that time.-^ Despite the amount of clerical work 
which remained in the project, not to mention the numerous his- 
torical sources in the field which had not been tapped, a decision 
between funding for the Statewide Historical Project and the other 
projects of the Federal Writers' Project was necessary near the 
end of 1937. 

WPA officials drew a clear distinction between federal and non- 
federal projects, terming anything which "supplements some nor- 
mal activity of the State, municipality or other public body" as a 
non-federal project.-^ The Historical Project clearly fell within 
this category, as it served to collect materials for inclusion in the 
regular holdings of the State Historical Library. When a decision 
concerning project funding was necessary, the decision fell in favor 
of the federal project in Wyoming, By September 8, 1937, Maude 
Sholty had resigned her post as director of the Statewide Historical 

23Letter, State Librarian to Louis Ash, no place, March 28, 1938. WPA 
Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 54, "Correspondence, 

2-iMcDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, p. 127. 


Project, and no one was appointed as her replacement.--^ With 
Sholty's resignation, the Historical Project drew to a close as a 
separate project of the Federal Writers' Project in Wyoming. The 
project was officially discontinued in October, 1937.-*' 

Nina Moran worked throughout early 1938 to obtain additional 
clerical help financed through the WPA to continue the cataloguing 
and indexing of the nearly 1900 manuscripts which had not been 
completed. Moran contacted both local and regional officials of 
the Historical Records Survey suggesting that some means of sup- 
port be located. Louis Ash, then Acting State Director of the 
Historical Records Survey in Wyoming, suggested to his superiors 
that something be worked out since some of the material consisted 
of "collections of a public and semi-public nature which undoubt- 
edly contain imprints such as we desire."-'' By August, a plan for 
the loan of workers from the Historical Records Survey to the State 
Library to complete the processing of the Historical Project manu- 
scripts had been finalized. By October, at least one worker, Harry 
J. Shad, had begun verifying the manuscripts, overseeing their 
typing, and indexing and cataloguing the manuscripts.-*^ Shad's 
efforts resulted in the preparation of an unknown number of addi- 
tional manuscripts for library use. 

In addition to the projects discussed above, the production of 
the Wyoming guide book and the Statewide Historical Project, 
federal officials developed a third program for the Federal Writers' 
Project.-" The Historical Records Survey, as conceived at the 
national level, called for workers to go into each and every county 
in the nation to survey and inventory existing federal records, state 
and local records, church records, manuscript collections, and im- 
prints. A printed inventory of the records of each county was then 
to be published so future historians and other researchers could 
know exactly what records existed in the states and counties which 
would be of value to their historical researches. Following official 

--^Letter, State Librarian to Harry Strong, no place, September 8, 1937. 
WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 53, "Correspon- 
dence, 1938." 

-^Letter, State Librarian to Louis Ash, no place, March 28, 1938. WPA 
Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 54, "Correspondence, 

2"Letter, Louis Ash to Robert H. Slover, Cheyenne, Wyoming, April 1, 
1928 [1938]. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 54, 
"Correspondence, 1938." 

2*Letter, Robert H. Slover to Nina Moran, Missoula, Montana, August 4, 
1938; Letter, Harry J. Shad to Mildred Nelson, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Octo- 
ber 6, 1938. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 54, 
"Correspondence, 1938." 

29For a detailed study of the Historical Records Survey in Wyoming, see 
James A. Hanson, "The Historical Records Survey in Wyoming: 1936- 
1942," Annals of Wyoming, Spring, 1973, pp. 69-91. 



appointment of Luther K. Evans as National Director of the His- 
torical Records Survey on October 1, 1935, the several states com- 
menced work to establish a survey in their jurisdictions.""' In each 
state, the Historical Records Survey was to function as a project 
under the supervision and guidance of the State Director of the 
Federal Writers' Project. After an Historical Records Survey Proj- 
ect had been authorized for Wyoming on January 4, 1936, Mart 
Christensen, State Director of the Federal Writers' Project, began 
preparing a project outline for submission to Washington for ap- 
proval. Dan W. Greenburg worked closely with Christensen in 
preparing the project format. Together they developed a plan 
which seemed reasonable and submitted it to Washington for ap- 
proval in March, 1936.'^^ 


— Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department Photo 

Dan Greenburg 

30McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, pp. 791-827. 
3iHanson, "Historical Records Survey in Wyoming," pp. 73-76. 


Officials in the national office of the Historical Records Survey 
granted approval for the project to commence on March 11, 1936. 
Work proceeded at that time under the direction of Mart Christen- 
sen but with considerable unofficial assistance from Greenburg.-^^ 
Greenburg was, for all intents and purposes, the director of the 
Historical Records Survey in Wyoming even though he did not 
officially assume that position until December 15, 1936. From 
March to December of 1936, Greenburg was able, through his 
political connections with Governor Leslie A. Miller, to solidify 
his influence on the Historical Records Survey. He was able, for 
example, to obtain offices for the Survey, which were located next 
door to his own in the State Planning Board. Once the offices had 
been moved, Greenburg assumed "quasi-direction" of the entire 
project.^-' Christensen, always more interested in production of 
the state guide, gradually lost control of the entire project. 

Problems of direction for the Historical Records Survey were 
present in other parts of the country as well. As a result, in Octo- 
ber, 1936, the Historical Records Survey was officially separated 
from the Federal Writers' Project.^^ Following that time, separate 
state directors in each state would administer the Historical Rec- 
ords Survey and the Federal Writers' Project. Since Christensen 
was infinitely more interested in the work of the Writers' Project, 
a new director had to be located for the Records Survey in Wyo- 
ming. Greenburg, in many respects the logical choice for the posi- 
tion, was passed over for the post, since he did not fit the require- 
ments for a "relief" worker. Leon Frazier, Greenburg's assistant, 
was appointed to fill the position, but when he resigned due to 
illness, Greenburg was appointed. Thus, for the period from De- 
cember 15, 1936, to September 30, 1937, Greenburg served as 
state director of the Wyoming Historical Records Survey.^^ 

During the period of activity from the start of the project in 
Wyoming to Greenburg's appointment as director, eleven county 
surveys had been completed, but only three were on schedule for 
publication by December 15, 1936.^^ The work was slow and 
tedious, and the results were not uniformly of a high standard. 
This is not terribly surprising when one considers that the skills 
needed to do a thorough job of inventorying public records was 
noticeably lacking among the workers for the Historical Records 
Survey in Wyoming. Coupled with the lack of necessary skills 
was a lack of adequate statewide and nationwide guidance for the 

^bid., p. 76. 

mbid., p. 78. 

34McDonald, Federal Relief Administration and the Arts, p. 765. 

35Hanson, "Historical Records Survey in Wyoming," p. 80. 



project. Mart Christensen, the first official Director of the Survey 
in Wyoming, was more concerned with the production of the Wyo- 
ming guide than with the Historical Records Survey. The second 
state director lasted only about three months, and even when 
Greenburg assumed the post of state director, the administrative 
problems were not resolved. Greenburg was not noted for abiding 
by all requirements sent down from the Washington office and was 
eventually asked to resign from the post. During the life of the 
Records Survey in Wyoming, only about five and one-half years, 
a total of eight different men served as state director.^^ With such 
a record, it is not surprising that, when manuscripts were prepared 
for publication, much editing was required in Washington. While 
three manuscripts were on schedule for publication by December 
15, 1936, nearly eighteen months passed before the actual printing 
of the first Wyoming county inventory in July, 1938.-^'' 

Publication of the first county inventory in July, 1938, was but 
one step in the work of the Historical Records Survey. Despite 
the problems of research, direction, and delays in publication, six 
county inventories were eventually published under the auspices 
of the Wyoming Historical Records Survey. Goshen, Laramie, 
Lincoln, Park, Platte, and Sweetwater county inventories were 
published prior to the termination of the project in June, 1942. 
Material for other county inventories was collected but was not put 
into final form for publication. 

The Wyoming Federal Writers' Project reached a turning point 
in early 1938. The three programs of the Project had all under- 
gone considerable changes by that time. The Historical Records 
Survey, as mentioned above, had been separated from the Writers' 
Project in late 1936. The Statewide Historical Project, while ac- 
complishing much in its short lifetime, had been cancelled in Octo- 
ber, 1937. The only viable project under control of the Federal 
Writers' Project in the state, therefore, was the program leading 
to the production of the state guide book. But, even that portion 
of the Writers' Project was altered in early 1938 when Mart Chris- 
tensen resigned his post as state director in order to run for polit- 
ical office. 

Following Christensen's resignation, Agnes Wright Spring was 

^''^Mart Christensen, Leon D. Frazier, Dan Greenburg, Donald Snyder, 
Louis Ash, Claude Campbell, Benjamin H. Mcintosh, and Henry Challen- 
der, all served as State Directors of the Historical Records Survey in Wyo- 
ming. Hanson, "Historical Records Survey in Wyoming," passim. 

38Historical Records Survey, Division of Women's and Professional Proj- 
ects, Works Progress Administration, Inventory of the County Archives of 
Wyoming: Number 11, Laramie County (Cheyenne, Wyoming: The His- 
torical Records Survey, July, 1938). 


appointed to his post.^^ As indicated earlier, Mart Christensen 
had written some manuscripts to be used in the Wyoming guide 
which were not fully acceptable to the Washington editorial office. 
As a result, when Agnes Wright Spring assumed the directorship 
of the Wyoming Writers' Project, she commenced to rewrite all 
sections of the Wyoming state guide book. Under her direction, 
workers throughout the state continued to collect material for use 
in the book. She especially sought local assistance in the writing 
of the "tours" section of the guide book. Local writers through- 
out the state wrote guided tours of the points of particular histor- 
ical or scenic interest in their areas. Representatives of the state 
office in Cheyenne then reviewed these manuscripts, submitted 
them to Washington for further editorial criticism, and prepared 
them for inclusion in the final Wyoming guide. The portion of 
the book consisting of essays on general subjects and individual 
cities was written, for the most part, by Agnes Wright Spring and/ 
or her chief assistant Dee Linford.^" 

By 1940 the Wyoming guide was ready for publication. The 
material had all been edited and had received approval from the 
national office of the Writer's Project. Lester C. Hunt, then Wyo- 
ming's secretary of state and official sponsor of the Writers Project 
in Wyoming, wrote an introduction to the book in which he related 
the nature of Wyoming's heritage and he called upon visitors and 
citizens alike to enjoy and to understand Wyoming. Hunt pre- 
sented the Wyoming guide as a literary map to the state's unique 
historical and scenic attractions.^^ 

When the Wyoming guide was published and available to the 
public early in 1941, the primary undertaking of the WPA Writers' 
Project in Wyoming was completed. As the time of publication 
approached, however, writers were still available in the field for 
work on yet other projects. As early as 1938, when some states 
were completing their guide books, the Washington office of the 
Writers' Project suggested additional projects for quahfied writers. 

Henry G. Alsberg, national director of the Federal Writers' 
Project proposed the production of state place name studies in 

'^^Letter, Alice Guyol to Agnes Wright Spring, Hartville, Wyoming, 
March 3, 1938. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 54, 
"Correspondence, 1938." 

40WPA Collection, Part II, Subject Files, Folders 1562-1599. Numerous 
drafts of the tours sections of the Wyoming guide are included in these 
folders as well as in the various folders of the Subject Files under each 

41 Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of 
Wyoming, Wyoming: A Guide to Its History, Highways, and People (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1941), pp. v-vi. 


July, 1938.^- He suggested that the state directors see that such 
a work be carried forth, and in September, 1938, he offered a 
format for the collection and preparation of place name material. 
He emphasized, however, that "the work should, under no circum- 
stances, delay work on the State Guide. "^'^ Agnes Wright Spring, 
in Wyoming, apparently took this advice to heart. While inter- 
ested in such a study. Spring delayed work on the place names 
until the guide neared completion. ^^ 

In December, 1939, when the field work for the Wyoming guide 
was nearly completed, another project outline came forth from the 
Washington office. George F. Willison had prepared an outline 
for the production of a "History of Grazing" in the seventeen west- 
ern states. The research project called for the collection of data 
in each of the western states, with the data to be prepared and sent 
to Washington where a final book on the history of grazing would 
be prepared, presumably under Willison's direction.^'' Mrs. Spring, 
with the assistance of workers in the Department of the Interior's 
Bureau of Grazing, launched the new project almost immediately.^" 
Workers for the Writers' Project in Wyoming scoured the news- 
papers, interviewed ranchers, and researched secondary works to 
collect data on grazing activities in the state. Mrs. Spring reviewed 
the material, supervised the typing and final preparation of the 
data, and forwarded it to the Washington office. Unfortunately, 
the study was never published. 

In 1940, the Writers' Project in Wyoming undertook yet another 
project which proved to be more successful than the grazing his- 
tory. The Wyoming National Guard did not have a current his- 
tory of its activities in the state, and in 1940 the Writer's Project 
of the WPA undertook preparation of just such a history.^' Con- 
sequently, the field workers employed by the Writer's Project again 
searched the newspapers and other sources for information relating 
to the National Guard and its activities in the state. This data was 

42Memorandum, Henry G. Alsberg to All State Directors, no place, 
September 23, 1938. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files. Fold- 
er 54, "Correspondence, 1938." 

^■^"Instructions to Mrs. Alice Guyol: Geographic Names in Wyoming." 
no author, June 10, 1940. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, 
Folder 56, "Correspondence, 1940." 

■^^Letter, C. E. Triggs to L. G. Flannery, Washington, D. C, December 5, 
1939. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 55, "Corre- 
spondence, 1939." 

^"Letter, Harold J. Burbank to Agnes Wright Spring, Rawlins, Wyoming, 
January 4, 1940. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 
56, "Correspondence, 1940." 

■^"Letter, R. L. Esmay to All Organization Commanders, Cheyenne, Wyo- 
ming, February 17, 1940. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, 
Folder 56, "Correspondence, 1940." 


— Courtesy of Agnes Wright Spring 
Agnes Wright Spring 

sent to Cheyenne where workers in the state office, more than 
Hkely Agnes Wright Spring, reviewed the data and prepared a nar- 
rative history of the Wyoming National Guard to accompany a 
profusely illustrated yearbook-type history. ^*^ 

Other projects suggested to the leaders of the Writers' Project 
in Wyoming included a work on Esther Morris, a small nationwide 
study entitled "America Eats," and, under the auspices of the 
Historical Records Survey, the preparation and reproduction of an 
index to C. G. Coutant's History of Wyoming. The Morris work 
never got off the ground, but Wyoming contributed several recipes 

^^Historical and Pictorial Review: National Guard of the State of Wyo- 
ming, 1940 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Army and Navy Publishing Com- 
pany, Inc., 1940). 


to the national work on regional foods and eating habits, and the 
Coutant index was prepared and distributed in mimeographed 

The Federal Writers' Project in Wyoming, therefore, was a 
broad program of federally-sponsored relief projects designed to 
provide employment for persons unable to find work in their pro- 
fessional capacities. Unfortunately, the Writers' Project, as a 
whole, was not particularly suited to a state such as Wyoming. 
Wyoming did not have a high percentage of unemployed profes- 
sional workers. As a result, those persons who found employment 
with the Writers' Project and the Historical Records Survey were 
not necessarily trained as historians, writers, or archivists. They 
learned the profession as they worked. For the most part they 
learned quite well. Despite their lack of prior training, these work- 
ers collected and preserved much material of historical interest. 
They prepared a respectable history of the Wyoming National 
Guard, and, perhaps most importantly, published a fine state guide 
book. While Agnes Wright Spring and her assistant, Dee Linford, 
almost single-handedly wrote the Wyoming guide, they could not 
have done so without the assistance of numerous and nameless 
field researchers and writers. 

The published works of the Writers' Project, however, do not 
represent the sole remaining evidence of the federally funded proj- 
ect. Materials gathered by the field workers of the Statewide 
Historical Project included much valuable information about the 
state's pioneer period. Manuscripts written by Wyoming pioneers; 
diaries, journals, and other original materials from the pioneer per- 
iod; and interviews conducted and preserved by researchers for the 
Historical Project are equally, if not more, important than the 
published works. The materials collected under the auspices of 
the Historical Records Survey, which were to be used in preparing 
inventories of county records, also include much material of his- 
toric interest, as well as provide an accurate accounting of the 
existing county records in the late 1930s. These materials have 
been preserved. 

In 1976, a detailed inventory of the WPA Writers' Project ma- 
terials in the Historical Research and Publications Division of the 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department was com- 

^^Letter, Supervisor to William C. Snow, no place, June 14, 1940. WPA 
Collection, Part III, Administrative Files, Folder 56, "Correspondence, 
1940"; Memorandimi, Michael Kennedy to All State Editors of the Region, 
no place, October 28, 1941. WPA Collection, Part III, Administrative 
Files, Folder 57, "Correspondence, 1941"; ffistorical Records Survey, Divi- 
sion of Writers' Program Work Projects Administration, Index to History 
of Wyoming by C. G. Coutant (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Wyoming State 
Library, 1941). 


pleted.''" The collection consists of some sixty-five boxes of man- 
uscripts, photographs, and administrative papers. These materials 
have been reviewed, organized, inventoried, and catalogued, so 
they are available for researcher use. Materials from the State- 
wide Historical Project account for the vast majority of the mate- 
rial. This is not surprising when one remembers that this project 
was designed specifically to augment the holdings of the state his- 
torical library. The pioneer interviews and manuscripts in this 
portion of the collection provide a valuable record of how the 
early settlers in Wyoming viewed their own lives and their personal 
accomplishments. Many of the early residents of Wyoming were 
interviewed in 1936 and 1937 to relate their impressions of the 
early days in the state. These predecessors of our modern oral 
history interviewers wrote up the pioneer interviews and filed them 
with the State Historical Library. These interviews, coupled with 
other biographical data collected under the auspices of the His- 
torical Project, resulted in some 2600 pioneer biographies. These 
biographies and biographical materials were preserved and are now 
indexed, so they can be retrieved for historical and genealogical 

A second portion of the WPA collection consists of the materials 
collected in preparation for the Wyoming guide and other pro- 
grams of the Writers' Project in the state as well as material col- 
lected by the Statewide Historical Project which was not strictly 
biographical or autobiographical in nature. Prior to 1975, only 
about seven hundred of these manuscripts had been fully cata- 
logued. These manuscripts were about the only materials from 
the entire WPA collection which were then readily available to 
researchers. As a result of recent work, all of the manuscript 
material has been reviewed and indexed. The collection is fully 
available for researcher use. An inventory of the collection in- 
cludes nearly 250 typed pages of references to assorted manu- 
scripts on Wyoming history topics. This inventory includes refer- 
ence to the newspaper transcriptions which workers compiled in 
preparation for the history of the National Guard and the study 
of grazing in the western states, as well as the numerous notes 
taken in preparation for the Wyoming place name study and the 
massive amount of research conducted for use in the Wyoming 

Another portion of the WPA collection which is particularly 
valuable to researchers is the records of the Historical Records 

soGordon Olaf Hendrickson, (comp.), Wyoming Works Projects Admin- 
istration Federal Writers Project Collection Inventory (Cheyenne, Wyo- 
ming: Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, 1977). 


Survey in the state. The workers for the Records Survey investi- 
gated the holdings of local court houses, churches, and libraries 
to determine exactly what historical materials were available for 
research. The data were collected and stored in Cheyenne for a 
number of years. The entire collection was transferred from its 
storage area in the State Library to the holdings of the Wyoming 
State Archives in 1954."'^ The materials were given a cursory 
inventory and stored in the State Archives until transferred to the 
Historical Research and Publications Division in August, 1975.-''- 
These records provide the best survey available of the material 
present in the various Wyoming counties for historical research. 
The records included mention of existing records of churches in 
the state, local library holdings, as well as the more standard infor- 
mation concerning the archives of county court houses. 

A final portion of the WPA collection consists of the admin- 
istrative papers of the project. While not necessarily complete, 
these records include all that remains of the Project's operation 
within the state. Letters and other materials which passed from 
the state director to the field workers have been preserved. The 
records concerning the location of pioneers, solicitation of histor- 
ical manuscripts, and some of the financial records for the project 
are also present in the collection. Not all of the administrative 
papers are preserved in Cheyenne. A complete, detailed adminis- 
trative history of the Wyoming WPA Writers' Project cannot be 
compiled through exclusive use of this collection. Fortunately, 
many of the records of the Washington office of the Federal 
Writers' Project have been preserved in the National Archives. ^""^ 
When the sources in Cheyenne and Washington are thoroughly 
researched, an accurate understanding of the administrative opera- 
tion of the Wyoming Writers' Project will be possible. 

The study of Wyoming's history has been aided considerably 
by the efforts of the WPA Writers' Project workers. Many of 
these essentially amateur historians diligently collected materials 
throughout the state, which shed considerable light on the pioneer 
period of Wyoming history. The biographical data they collected 
add considerably to the body of material available on the early 
stages of Wyoming's development. Likewise, the manuscripts 
which pioneers wrote or narrated to field workers provide some 
unique insights into the self image of the early Wyoming settlers. 

•"-iHanson, "Historical Records Survey in Wyoming," p. 86. 

52"Transfer of Records," MA #7161, Historical Research and Publica- 
tions Division, Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, Trans- 
fer File. 

53RG 69, "Records of the Works Projects Administration," National 
Archives, Washington, D. C. 


These materials will add substance and vitality to future histories 
of the state. The recently completed inventory of the Writers' 
Project collection permits greater use of these valuable papers in 
the future. 

Editor's Note: Agnes Wright Spring, who now lives in Fort Collins, 
Colorado, was invited to read this manuscript before its publication and to 
make any comments she felt might implement the information available to 
the author in his research. 

She provided the following information which the editors feel is of 
interest and gives a clearer understanding of the Wyoming WPA program, 
as well. The editors are most appreciative of her interest and assistance. 

After Mart Christensen resigned his position as state director of the 
WPA, Mrs. Spring was appointed to the post. She immediately concen- 
trated on obtaining correct data for the "Tours' section of the Guide. 
Accompanied by her husband, A. T. Spring, as chauffeur, she began the 
logging of all the highways and by-ways that were to be contained in the 
book. On the numerous field trips Mrs. Spring visited every field worker, 
varying in number from twenty to forty. She encouraged the workers in 
their duties of gathering data relative to historic and scenic points that might 
interest tourists. Mrs. Spring collected photographs and made notes for 
the Guide's essays. These final essays, data on cities and the many tours, 
plus an index, were all written and prepared for publication in the Guide 
by Mrs. Spring, her chief assistant, Dee Linford, and Assistant Editor 
Richard Rossiter. 

In regard to the history of the Wyoming National Guard, Mrs. Spring 
provided the additional information that the history was published with the 
cooperation of the Adjutant General's office. 

Finally, according to Mrs. Spring, after the United States entered World 
War II, she resigned her position to join her husband who had been called 
to defense work with Remington Arms in Denver. The files of the project 
were turned over to George O. Houser and the $18,000 left in the budget 
was turned over to the Wyoming Historical Blue Book project. 

Wyoming's Senator 
Joseph C. O'Mdl^oney 


Thomas R. Ninneman 

The following two political studies, "The Making of a Senator" and 
"Confrontation in Cheyenne," are revised portions of the author's doctoral 
dissertation which dealt with Senator O'Mahoney's early life, introduction 
to Wyoming politics, Postmaster Generalship and New Deal Senatorial 
career, with the main thrust on his role in the 1937 Court Fight. 


Ernie Pyle, beloved correspondent of the Second World War, 
was stranded in Chadron, Nebraska, at the end of August, 1936. 
The evening was uncomfortably warm, and Pyle ventured into the 
town seeking diversion. A political rally in behalf of Congress- 
man Harry Coffee caught his passing interest. To his astonish- 
ment, sharing the platform with Coffee was the familiar bushy- 
browed visage of Joseph C. O'Mahoney, United States senator 
from Wyoming. Pyle settled down in the back of the park. 

It was one of the most reasonable political meetings I have ever 
heard. Exaggeration and villification were not invited in. The speak- 
ers actually sounded as tho they meant what they said. . . . Senator 
O'Mahoney made an excellent speech. He did not use notes, he did 
not hesitate, he did not 'ah' or 'er' a single time. He is thin and 
doesn't look like a politician and his voice is rich.i 

O'Mahoney, curiously enough, originally rode out of the east, 
not the west, and it was only after half of a lifetime of obscurity 
that he catapulted into the public eye.- Massachusetts-bom, he 
was near thirty when he took a job with Wyoming Governor John 
B. Kendrick's Cheyenne State Leader in 1916 and settled in 
Wyoming. After Kendrick's election to the United States Senate 
later that year, O'Mahoney accompanied him to Washington, serv- 
ing as secretary to the new senator and at night studying law at 
Georgetown University. O'Mahoney returned to Cheyenne in 

^Washington Daily News, Sept. 25, 1936. 

20'Mahoney's rise to the Senate and role in the Supreme Court packing 
controversy of 1937 is the subject of the writer's doctoral dissertation, 
"Joseph C. O'Mahoney: The New Deal and the Court Fight" (University 
of Wyoming, 1972). 


1922, partly to practice law, partly to manage Kendrick's re- 
election bid, and partly to promote his own political ambitions. 
He was successful in all three. 

The hubbub of the 1922 campaign had scarcely subsided when 
the politically-minded began to consider 1924. The aging Senator 
Francis E. Warren, Republican, must defend his seat, and he was 
reported vulnerable. O'Mahoney reckoned that ". . . it would be 
the easiest thing in the world to unhorse the old man . . . ."-^ 
The question was, who would be the Democratic contender? Gov- 
ernor William B. Ross was a possibility: 

I have been unable to make up my mind whether Ross would really 
like to run, but I think he would. As it happens, however, he is 
getting no encouragement from Democrats. They feel he should stay 
where he is, because they do not see any benefit to the party in turn- 
ing the governorship over to the Republicans in exchange for another 

O'Mahoney's own name was bandied about, but he had misgivings, 
especially about the powerful and hostile Ku Klux Klan.^ He 
would have had further misgivings if he had known that Harry H. 
Schwartz, Casper attorney, was whispering; some Democrats 
feared an O'Mahoney candidacy would trigger a "religious row"; 
Catholics thought it "not a good year" for the likes of an O'Ma- 
honey; others questioned O'Mahoney's oil connections; many 
feared he would forestall a better nominee." Curiously, none of 
the objections reported by Schwartz centered on residency. Save 
for some months in 1916, the O'Mahoneys had actually resided 

^O'Mahoney to oilman John D. Clark, Chicago, Oct. 9, 1923, Joseph C. 
O'Mahoney Papers, Western History Research Center, University of Wyo- 
ming (hereafter cited as O'M. Mss.), file drawer 1, "All of 1933 and 
before . . ." (hereafter cited as #1), file "John C. Clark." 


'''Ibid. O'Mahoney to speculator and developer Daniel J. Danker, Boston, 
Dec. 8, 1923; Dec. 15, 1923, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Daniel J. Danker." 
O'Mahoney's Dec. 8, 1923, letter to Danker indicated that he would have 
Ross's support if he made the race. 

^Schwartz to Kendrick, Apr. 20, 1924, John B. Kendrick Papers, Western 
History Research Center, University of Wyoming (hereafter cited as Ken- 
drick Mss.), file drawer (hereafter cited as #) 40. Schwartz added that 
some said O'Mahoney ". . . came back from Washington with an official 
benediction. Didn't say who gave it to him." Kendrick replied May 27, 
1924, ignoring the crudely phrased query as to whether the O'Mahoney 
candidacy had his blessing, but cooly observing that he agreed "almost 
entirely" with Schwartz's appraisal of the vote-getting capabilities of the 
potential nominees, ibid. Governor Ross, however, was of the opinion that 
O'Mahoney, after his late winter Washington trip and apparent meeting with 
Kendrick, had decided not to seek the nomination, Ross to Cheyenne editor 
Tracy S. McCraken, Apr. 15, 1924, "Personal Scrapbooks of Tracy S. 
McCraken," Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, Cheyenne 
(hereafter cited as McCraken Scrapbooks), real #1. 


in Wyoming only from the spring of 1922. O'Mahoney's claims 
on the West rested squarely on his tenure in Kendrick's office. 
Friends cautioned him to play the waiting game, lest he prove the 
stalking horse for another. He obliged. 

The Democratic state convention was held at Casper in mid- 
April. O'Mahoney was keynote speaker and temporary chairman 
Governor Ross reported: 

Joe O'Mahoney was given a great ovation. He made a fine speech, 
and at its conclusion the whole auditorium rose and applauded him 
for at least five minutes. He made his speech from the floor, and 
when he finished the applause began. He went behind the curtain 
and the applause continued, and he came out on the platform and the 
applause continued. He was entitled to it. He is one of the best men 
we have and one of the ablest, and deserved this ovation.'^ 

O'Mahoney announced his candidacy for the Senate June 11, 

Appeahng to progressives in both parties, the candidate courted 
farmers with a demand for reduced freight rates, workers by calling 
for recognition of the right of collective bargaining, the general 
citizenry by pledging economy in government.'' However, the 
Republican Wyoming State Tribune observed: 

Mr. O'Mahoney has been a newspaper worker, secretary to Senator 
Kendrick for a period and attorney in Cheyenne. He has been the 
vice chairman of the Democratic State Committee. A leap into the 
United States Senate from these somewhat humble positions would be 
a mighty one. 9 

Cagey old Francis E. Warren complained that the proliferation 
of Democratic hopefuls suggested "... I am a 'has been,' too old 
and too incompetent for action."^" 

■'■Ross to McCraken, Apr. 15, 1924, McCraken Scrapbooks, Reel #1. 
Probably more to O'Mahoney's liking than the ovation was the failure of 
the convention to endorse a candidate for Warren's seat, thus affording him 
time in which to reconsider his own role. Very much to his hking was his 
appointment to be alternate delegate to the national convention in New 
York City. He attended, but a speaking engagement at Superior, Wyo.. 
necessitated his departure before the balloting for the party's presidential 
nominee was concluded. 

^Hope for Republican support had been heightened by a visit from a 
Republican county chairman the previous winter: ". . . this gentleman is 
of the progressive type and he represents what appears to be a fairly numer- 
ous faction in the Republican party, who seem to be about ready to support 
a liberal Democrat in preference to Warren," O'Mahoney to Danker, Dec. 
16, 1923, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Daniel J. Danker." 

9Editorial, June 15, 1924. 

lOWarren to P. C. Spencer, chairman, state Republican central committee, 
June 21, 1924, Francis E. Warren Collection, Western History Research 
Center, University of Wyoming (hereafter cited as Warren Mss.), letter 
book #101, p. 288. 



, ,-1 

— Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department Photo 

Joseph C. O'Mahoney 

Democrats who had feared the O'Mahoney candidacy would 
preclude a bid by the party favorite, Judge Robert E. Rose, were 
relieved when that gentleman filed. L. E. Laird, state highway 
commissioner, also opposed O'Mahoney in the primary. An im- 
portant factor was the attitude of Kendrick. Warren was confident 
he would not intervene in the primary, possibly not even in the 
general election." He was right on both counts. 

The three-way race attracted little attention that summer. War- 
ren, however, followed the proceedings with keen interest. He 
noted, with satisfaction, the preoccupation of O'Mahoney (and 
Judge Rose as well) with the labor vote, dismissed his call for a 
"living wage" as unreasonable, and marked him as a La Follette 

^^Ibid. Professor T. A. Larson marked the apparent understanding, 
after the 1913 struggle, noting that ". . . when one stood for election, the 
other offered only token opposition." T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), pp. 449-450. O'Mahoney 
himself complained: "Warren's friends are sedulously cultivating the idea 
that Kendrick is behind Warren and that he will throw his influence against 
making any real campaign against the old man," O'Mahoney to Clark, Oct. 
9. 1913, O'M. Mss. #1, file "John D. Clark." 


man in Democratic clotiiing.^^ August 19, the O'Mahoney bid 
was decisively rejected by Wyoming Democrats.^"' 

In 1928, O'Mahoney, reflecting upon Wyoming's rejection of 
the Al Smith candidacy by a margin of nearly two to one, and, 
likely, of his own unsuccessful bid in 1924, sadly concluded 
that "... a Catholic has no real chance in Wyoming."'^ However, 
there is no evidence that O'Mahoney's religion was a factor in his 
loss. He carried every precinct in Laramie County (Cheyenne), 
and Sweetwater County (Rock Springs) as well, despite the fact 
that the Klan was reputed strong all along the Union Pacific line.^"' 
Further, by all accounts, the race was dull, which is usually not the 
case with a bigoted campaign. Even more convinving, two months 
after the primary, the Republicans nominated a Catholic for the 
unexpected gubernatorial race. However, O'Mahoney thought his 
religion had alienated voters in 1924, and that was important. 
Kendrick long before had reasoned that a Democrat in Wyoming 
must enter the hsts not once but twice or thrice before anticipating 
success. ^'^ After 1924, O'Mahoney shrank from a popular test 
for a decade. 

On October 2, 1924, Governor Ross died in office. Secretary 
of State Frank E. Lucas, thereupon acting governor, ordered a 
special election coincident with the general election to fill the 
unexpired term. The Republicans quickly nominated Eugene J. 
Sullivan, New Hampshire native. Catholic, Casper attorney with 
oil connections, and graduate of the Jesuit-operated Creighton 
University law school, Omaha. The contest was made to order 
for O'Mahoney, Massachusetts native. Catholic, Cheyenne attor- 

i-Warren to G. O. Houser, Guernsey, Wyo., Aug. 20, 1924, Warren Mss. 
letter book #101, p. 719. 

i3Rose, 6,906; O'Mahoney, 4,480; Laird, 3,400. O'Mahoney carried only 
four of the twenty-three counties. 1925 Official Directory of Wyoming and 
Election Returns for 1924 (compiled by the Secretary of State, Cheyenne), 
p. 39. 

I'iO'Mahoney to law partner Michael A. Rattigan, Washington, Dec. 19, 
1928, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Rattigan." Larson reported that later O'Mahoney 
aides recalled that their chief had attributed his 1924 defeat to the Klan, 
History of Wyoming, pp. 457-458. Leslie A. Miller, Democratic candidate 
for the state Senate in 1924, later governor of Wyoming, repudiated the 
Klan's support and attributed his 1924 defeat to that action. Leslie A. 
Miller, "Autobiography of Leslie A. Miller, Governor of Wyoming, 1933- 
1939" (bound collection of newspaper clippings in possession of T. A. 
Larson, Laramie, Wyo.), p. 40. Decades later, O'Mahoney, from the van- 
tage point of a senior stateman, generously denied that he had ever been 
the victim of religious prejudice, to Mrs. William E. Gosdin, Oklahoma 
City, Aug. 11, 1960, O'M. Mss., file drawer "Retirement, Post-retirement & 
Personal Correspondence" (no number, and hereafter cited as "Retirement. 
Post-retirement"), file "O'Mahoney Personal." 

iSMcCraken to Kendrick, Nov. 20, 1926, Kendrick Mss. #44. 

i^Kendrick to State Senator Theodore C. Diers, Sheridan, Aug. 16, 1917, 
Kendrick Mss. #22. 


ney with important oil connections, and graduate of the Jesuit 
operated Georgetown University law school. However, O'Ma- 
honey was ineligible by virtue of a law barring defeated primary 
candidates from competing in the next general election, and so he 
had to be content with stumping for the Democratic nominee, Mrs. 
Ross. The widow, riding a strong tide of public sympathy, easily 
succeeded to her husband's office even though the party lost both 
the senate and congressional races. ^'^ 

Early in 1927, O'Mahoney confided to Mrs. Kendrick that Mrs. 
Ross, now a lame duck, had asked him to coordinate her pending 
speaking engagements in the east.^* The truth was that Wyoming 
had suspected O'Mahoney of handling far more than her speaking 
arrangements. O'Mahoney, so the word went, really was the 
behind-the-scenes governor, and Mrs. Ross intended to appoint 
him to the Senate should Warren die in office. ^'^ The resultant 
charge of "invisible government" turned back Mrs. Ross' bid for 
re-election in 1926.-" Her defeat was a disaster for O'Mahoney, 
coming as it did in the wake of his own defeat in 1924. Although 
he attempted to shrug off the matter as a natural reaction to wom- 
en in high office,^^ even his closest friends feared the O'Mahoney 
embrace was a kiss of death: 

The day before the election Repubh'cans took around handbills adver- 
tising the Ross rally that night. Joe O'Mahoney's name was on it, 

I'Barbara Jean Aslakson, "Nellie T. Ross: First Woman Governor" 
(unpublished master's thesis. Department of History, University of Wyo- 
ming, 1960), p. 6. "O'Mahoney Transcript," p. 56. Mrs. Ross defeated 
Sullivan, 43,323 to 35,275; Warren overwhelmed Rose, 41,293, to 33,536, 
1925 Official Directory, p. 41. O'Mahoney, shaken by the Republican 
ground swell, confided to Danker, Nov. 14, 1924, that Mrs. Ross was prob- 
ably the only Democrat in the State who could have saved the governor's 
seat for the party, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Daniel J. Danker." More than 
likely, the margin of Sullivan's defeat, especially since the rest of the 
Republican ticket won handily, strengthened O'Mahoney's fears that a 
Catholic could not win in Wyoming. 

i^Jan. 27, 1927, Kendrick Mss. #45. 

i^McCraken to Kendrick, Nov. 20, 1926, Kendrick Mss. #44. Aslakson, 
"Nellie T. Ross," p. 80. Larson reported that Mrs. Ross had told him that 
O'Mahoney and Attorney General David J. Howell were in fact her prin- 
cipal advisers. History of Wyoming, p. 460. Warren did die in office and 
Republican Governor Frank C. Emerson appointed Patrick J. Sullivan to 
the seat. 

-'Aslakson, "Nellie T. Ross," p. 80. Mrs. Ross was defeated by Emer- 
son, 35,286 to 35,651, 1927 Official Directory of Wyoming and Election 
Returns for 1926 (compiled by the Secretary of State, Cheyenne), p. 43. 

2iO'Mahoney to Mrs. J. B. Kendrick, Nov. 14, 1926, Kendrick Mss. #44. 
The Wyoming Eagle, Nov. 19, 1926, was probably closer to the truth when, 
observing that Emerson garnered fewer votes in winning than had Sullivan 
in 1924 in losing, it attributed the setback to the failure of the Democrats 
to get out the vote. 


and the Republican Klansmen would point to it and say, "See, that's 
the fellow — a Catholic — who will really be the Governor. "22 

O'Mahoney turned his attention to the presidential aspirations 
of Al Smith. He had supported the New York governor at the 
Democratic national convention in 1924, and now labored long 
and hard to woo western Democrats to the easterner's cause. Mrs. 
O'Mahoney, in the capacity of executive secretary to Mrs. Ross, 
accompanied the former first lady on a visit to Smith headquarters 
in New York City.^^ 

Ought not hard-driving Joe O'Mahoney, queried McCraken of 
Kendrick, rather than quarrelsome, divisive Harry H. Schwartz, 
then boosted by the Casper Democrats, be designated the party's 
state chairman? Kendrick, himself seeking re-election, demurred: 
"You of all men know not only my feeling toward Joe but my 
appreciation of his ability and his friendship and his attitude of 
helpfulness." However, Schwartz, he argued, was more generally 
acceptable to Wyoming Democrats.-^ So it was done. O'Ma- 
honey continued to serve, as he had since 1922, as vice chaiman. 
Kendrick, gratified by the margin of his victory despite Smith's 
crushing defeat, subsequently saluted Schwartz's "splendid con- 

The winter of 1928 was the nadir of O'Mahoney's fortunes. 
Business correspondents reproached him for past neglect. Chey- 
enne partner, D. Avery Haggard, prepared to retire. Washington 
associate, Rattigan, requested a greater share in the profits of that 
office. O'Mahoney sadly contemplated his unbuilt castles: 

You know, of course, that my principal motive in coming to Cheyenne 

—McCraken to Kendrick, Nov. 20, 1926, Kendrick Mss. #44. McCraken 
added that the irony of it all was that Republican candidate Emerson's 
"right hand man," John Dillon, also was a Catholic. 

-'■^Unidentified newspaper clipping, dated Aug. 27, 1928, O'M. Mss. file 
drawer 2-A (no other identification, and hereafter cited as #2-A), file 
"Danker Misc. 1929." Danker, who had sent the clipping to O'Mahoney, 
observed: "That should prove a very interesting experience, make possible 
many attractive acquaintances and give her a close contact with the main 
works. It should work to your own advantage and if Smith should win it 
would appear that the O'Mahoney family was in line for something worth- 
while," Danker to O'Mahoney, Aug. 27, 1928, ibid. 

24McCraken to Kendrick, Aug. 6, 1928; Kendrick to McCraken, Aug. 8, 
1928, Kendrick Mss. #48. Kendrick, although apprehensive that the head 
of the ticket would drag him down to defeat, valiantly promoted Smith, 
Kendrick to Senator Millard E. Tydings, Democratic National Headquar- 
ters, New York City, Sept. 28, 1928. Son-in-law [Hubert Harmon] to 
Kendrick, Nov. 17, 1928, Kendrick Mss. #48. 

25Kendrick to Schwartz, Nov. 10, 1928, Kendrick Mss. #48. Wyoming 
voters cast 29,299 ballots for Smith, and 52,748 for Herbert C. Hoover; 
Kendrick defeated Charles E. Winter, 43,032 to 37,076, 1929 Official Direc- 
tory of Wyoming arid Election Returns for 1928 (compiled by the Secretary 
of State, Cheyenne), p. 41. 


was political although I thought that the oil business would be more 
profitable than it has turned out to be. I was confident that the 
Leasing Act would bring the development of some of the fields in 
which I was interested, but only Oregon Basin has panned out. Agnes 
always felt that it was a mistake. Her judgment proved much better 
than mine particularly so far as politics is concerned. The result of 
the election last month pretty well demonstrates that a Catholic has 
no real chance in Wyoming. Cheyenne is really not the best town 
in the world in which to live — it has two seasons, they say, July and 
winter, but I've laid a pretty good foundation here and I suppose the 
wise thing to do is to stay, although with our relatives on both sides 
all back in the East, the thought of returning East not infrequently 
turns up. It would be too great a sacrifice just now, but in another 
year or so, by sticking close to business and passing up politics, I 
might be able to do some such thing.^c 

"Sticking close to business and passing up politics" was not a 
realistic goal for O'Mahoney. As the decade ended, he could be 
regularly espied huddled over a luncheon table at the Plains Hotel 
with businessman Miller and newspaperman McCraken, and Mil- 
ler subsequently allowed only that politics was not the only topic 
of conversation.-^ In time, the trio was dubbed the "M.O.M.," 
and their initial goal was to seat Miller in the governor's chair.-'^ 
O'Mahoney himself still aspired to a national office. An appointee 
of Governor Emerson occupied the senate seat of Warren after 
the old man's death, November 24, 1929, and the seat would be 
contested in the elections of 1930. However, it appears that 
McCraken advised O'Mahoney against a move, and that Kendrick 
proposed O'Mahoney bid for Kendrick's own seat in 1934.-^ 
O'Mahoney agreed: "There is a rather wide spread impression 
that this may be a pretty good year for a Democrat but I think it 
would take a pretty big revolution to induce this State to send two 
Democrats to the United States Senate. "^'^ The decision was for- 
tuitous. O'Mahoney was spared the ill fame concomitant with a 
second defeat, and Schwartz, who ambitiously seized upon the 
opportunity, was set back by former Governor Robert D. Carey.^^ 

260'Mahoney to Rattigan, Dec. 19, 1928, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Rattigan." 

^'Miller, "Autobiography," p. 44. 

'■^^Ibid. Time magazine recognized the sobriquet: ". . . Wyoming's famed 
political steam roller, the 'M.O.M.,' " Nov. 15, 1937, p. 28. 

2»Ra«igan to O'Mahoney, Dec. 16, 1929, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Rattigan." 
Kendrick to Miller, June 10, 1930, Kendrick Mss. #52. 

3f»0'Mahoney to George B. Kerper, May 14, 1930, O'M Mss. #1, file 
"School Lease T. 56-98." 

^^Schwartz, quarreling with party powers such as Democratic National 
Committeeman Patrick J. Quealy, Kemmerer, pleaded for Kendrick's sup- 
port. Kendrick replied with the rather unnerving request that Schwartz file 
only for the regular six year term (against Carey) and that he not file for 
the remainder of the Warren term against Emerson's appointee, Sullivan. 
Kendrick explained that he and Sullivan had gotten along so nicely in the 
last session of the Congress that he would like his appointment ratified at 
the polls. Schwartz to Kendrick, May 24, 1930; June 17, 1930; Sept. 13, 


The Democratic ticket in 1930, with the exception of Miller, 
who was but narrowly edged by Governor Emerson, was 
swamped.'^- A disappointed O'Mahoney, who had found it im- 
possible to keep his "neck out of the yoke" of poHtics, struggled 
to untangle neglected business interests. Then, on November 17, 
1930, Wyoming's Democratic national committeeman, Patrick J. 
Quealy, Kemmerer, died. O'Mahoney, an honorary pallbearer, 
joined numerous state and national dignitaries at the wake. Mc- 
Craken's Wyoming Eagle soon boosted O'Mahoney as a fitting 
successor,-^'^ and it was done. On January 16, 1931, the party's 
state central committee designated O'Mahoney temporary national 
committeeman.'^^ The appointment was "temporary"' only in the 
sense that it was to be referred to the membership at the next 
(1932) state convention. 

Early in March, 1931, the new committeeman set out for Wash- 
ington and his first meeting with the Democratic National Com- 
mittee. Doubtless, the adventure moved him mightily. He had 
attained the highest position in the power of a state political orga- 
nization to bestow. Returning, he whiled away long hours as the 
train rolled across Iowa and Nebraska laboring over an account 
of the proceedings.^^ Ostensibly addressed "To the Members of 

1930; Kendrick to Schwartz, May 30. 1930, Kendrick Mss. #52. Mean- 
while, back at the Kendrick ranch, Mrs. J. B. Kendrick was receiving the 
cordial thanks of Carey for her privately expressed good wishes, Carey to 
Mrs. Kendrick, Sept. 9, 1930, ibid. Schwartz assured Kendrick that O'Ma- 
honey had been offered the chairmanship of the party's state central com- 
mittee at its June 16 meeting, but that position had been declined; the office 
thereupon was filled by O'Mahoney's good friend. Dr. Thomas K. Cassidy. 
Schwartz also passed along to Kendrick the rumor that O'Mahoney was 
interested in the nomination for the state's lone congressional seat. 
Schwartz to Kendrick, June 17, 1930, ibid. Kendrick, of course, was far 
more likely to be informed of O'Mahoney's plans than Schwartz. However, 
O'Mahoney apparently did give some thought to a house seat. Rattigan 
warned him Dec. 16, 1929: "So far as the House is concerned, that means 
a fight every two years, and being the one Representative from the State 
would mean a continuous fight . . . and it seems to me that you would have 
to spend most of your time keeping your political fences in repair, assuming 
of course you run next year and win out," O'M. Mss. #1, file "Rattigan." 

32Miller. 37,188, Emerson, 38,058; Schwartz, 30,259, Carey. 43,626. 
1931 Official Directory of Wyoming and Election Returns for 1930 (com- 
piled by the Secretary of State, Cheyenne), p. 49. The hand of the Chey- 
enne group was thus enormously strengthened by Miller's excellent showing, 
that of the Casper group weakened by Schwartz's relatively poor showing. 
This would be very much to O'Mahoney's advantage as the decisive years 
of his life drew near. 

33"Political and Otherwise," editorial page, Wyoming Eagle, Jan. 16, 
1931. Wyoming State Tribune — Cheyenne State Leader. Jan. i6. 1931. 

^-^Mrs. Ross was the national committeewoman. 

35"Report on the Washington Meeting of the DEMOCRATIC NATION- 
AL COMMITTEE," O'M. Mss. #1, file "Campaign of 1932." O'Mahoney 
to Danker, Apr. 16, 1932, O'M. Mss. #2-A, file "Danker— 1930-33." 


the Democratic State Committee of Wyoming," the brilliant, inci- 
sive report was set to type by McCraken and found its way all 
over America. Franklin D. Roosevelt, governor of New York, 
read it with interest, and invited the author to correspond with 
him ". . . at any time in regard to matters concerning our Party 
in Wyoming. "'^^ 

O'Mahoney looked forward to the 1932 meeting of the National 
Committee with great anticipation. Then, two days before his 
departure in January, a recurrence of his old nemesis, the grippe, 
laid him low, and Miller went in his stead. It was a bitter disap- 
pointment. He had made the acquaintance of James A. Farley, 
shepherd of the Roosevelt candidacy, in Cheyenne the previous 
summer, and subsequently had been identified as a Roosevelt sup- 
porter. A national committee meeting would have enabled him to 
advance the candidate's interest. However, there remained the 
state convention. On May 9, 1932, at Casper, he helped to secure 
Wyoming's six convention votes for Roosevelt. The measure was 
modest but the moment timely. ^^ From Farley came recognition 
that ". . . the West had done its part," and a warning: "Be pre- 
pared for a busy time [at the national convention], because we 
will put you on the job, and you will have lots to do."^^ 

The Democratic National Convention opened in late June in 
Chicago, and, to his delight, O'Mahoney learned he had for some 
weeks been scheduled for a substantial role. His assignment was 
to the platform committee (committee on resolutions), whence he 
rubbed shoulders with Senators Carter Glass, David I. Walsh, Bur- 
ton K. Wheeler and Cordell Hull, former Attorney General A. 
Palmer Mitchell, and the controversial William G. McAdoo. He 
was a member of the subcommittee of three which cast the plat- 
form in its final form. Farley was appreciative.^^ 

Farley, now party chairman, clearly was increasingly impressed 
with O'Mahoney: "Joe had a cool head, was a good organizer, 
and most of all was intimately informed on the mining, farming 
and livestock problems of the Western states, an invaluable as- 
set. "^"^ O'Mahoney joined other party leaders at Democratic head- 
quarters in New York early in August. His job was to help with 

"^•'Roosevelt to O'Mahoney (copy), Apr. 13, 1931, O'M. Mss., file drawer 
2, "Old old material, Georgetown . . ." (hereafter cited as #2), unfiled. 

•^^Thanks to O'Mahoney's good work, the loss of California's 44 votes on 
May 3 ". . . turned out not to be the beginning of the end for Roosevelt but 
rather the low ebb in his tide," Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Vol. 
Ill: The Triumph (Boston, 1956), p. 288. 

38Farley to O'Mahoney, June 4, 1932, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Becker, L. D." 

39James A. Farley, Behind the Ballots: The Personal History of a Poli- 
tician (New York, 1938), p. 107. O'M. Mss. Scrapbook "A." Farley to 
O'Mahoney, July 27, 1932, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Campaign of 1932." 

40Farley, Behind the Ballots, pp. 161-62. 


the briefing of state chairmen on the forthcoming campaign. At 
the end of the two weeks, Farley asked him to remain on in the 
capacity of his first assistant. O'Mahoney agreed. The title "Vice 
Cliairman of the Democratic National Campaign Committee" was 
concocted for him. 

Democratic national headquarters was a seething bedlam. Wild- 
eyed Progressive Republicans, burly Tammany men, long-winded, 
ancient Democrats who hadn't peered out of their holes for 12 long 
years, milled around the Biltmore Hotel. In the midst of this agitated 
mass sat Mr. O'Mahoney, serene, tactful, impeccably efficient. On 
his desk were two telephones, always busy; in his waiting room, ob- 
scured in a fog of cigar smoke were state committeemen, national 
committeemen, and future ambassadors; downstairs were dozens of 
typists, working hour after hour to send out the voluminous corre- 
spondence. His motto was, every one must be attended to and there 
must be no mistakes.^i 

O'Mahoney's duties were not exactly earthshaking, but his prox- 
imity to Farley lent stature and prominence.^- He joined the 
candidate at Albany for the planning of FDR's western campaign 
swing, and then went along on the trip. He carefully scheduled a 
tour of Cheyenne, and stops at Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs 
(belatedly), and Green River for Roosevelt, and then appeared 
with him. He secured invitations from Roosevelt's secretary, Mar- 
vin H. Mclntyre, to Wyoming party leaders to board the train 
and travel through the state with the candidate. In short, his 
involvement on the national level yielded rich dividends on the 
state level. 

Near the end of the campaign, O'Mahoney returned to Wyo- 
ming. Governor Emerson had died the previous year, and Miller 
was a candidate for the balance (two years) of the unexpired 
term.^^ O'Mahoney strove strenuously the final week to deliver 
the state ticket to the Democrats, and had the satisfaction of telling 
Farley and Roosevelt, in the course of their election night tele- 
phone conversation with him, that Wyoming at long last had voted 
for both a Democratic president and Democratic governor. 

^iGrace Hendrick Eustis, The Wyoming Eagle, Nov. 17, 1933. 

42For the lighter side of O'Mahoney's role, see Farley, Behind the Ballots. 
pp. 180-82. 

43The special election to fill the vacant post coincided with the general 
elections of 1932. The Miller candidacy had been subjected to some 
criticism in party circles. Kendrick's own choice for the race had been Nels 
A. Pearson, Sheridan. Pearson, in turn, hesitated to make the plunge, 
allegedly because success would place two Sheridan Democrats, himself 
and Kendrick, in Wyoming's top political offices. Kendrick dismissed the 
possible imbalance, arguing that "... I doubt if I'll run [in 1934]," Ken- 
drick to Pearson, Apr. 25, 1932, Kendrick Mss. #55. Pearson's procrasti- 
nation prompted Miller to write out two statements: in one. Miller 
announced he was a gubernatorial candidate; in the other, Miller disclaimed 
the nomination. Miller signed each and gave both to Pearson, to be 


NET," speculated the Republican Wyoming State Tribune. 

O'Mahoney, a shrewd politician and able advocate, may be reward- 
ed with appointment to the portfolio of attorney general of the United 
States. . . . There is suggestion also that O'Mahoney, if not made 
attorney general, may be appointed commissioner of the general land 
office, a place which generally goes to a western man, or failing this 
may be named as assistant attorney general, assistant secretary of state 
or a secretary to the president. 

The Wyoming national committeeman, it is assumed, might have 
the United States attorneyship for the district of Wyoming for the 
asking, but Democratic officialdom is believed to hold a higher place 
for him than this.'*-* 

The Wyoming legislature, however, had something else in mind for 
the state's adopted son. By joint resolution, January 23, 1933, 
the Republican Senate and Democratic House unanimously urged 
Roosevelt to appoint O'Mahoney Secretary of the Interior. Ken- 
drick concurred. ^^ O'Mahoney was delighted with the uproar, but 
well aware that the post had been a highly sensitive appointment 
for a generation. Anyway, he knew that a cabinet choice was a 
particularly personal matter for the president-elect. Rather, when 
he refused reimbursement for his personal expenses in August, 
September and October, he had in mind a less assuming position, 
preferably that of solicitor general, or, if needs be, assistant attor- 
ney general. However, if an appointment of such distinction was 
not forthcoming, it was his intention to return to the east and 
practice law through the Washington office.^^ 

released at the latter's discretion. When Pearson continued to delay, Miller, 
exasperated, announced his candidacy. Pearson never did make a move. 
Kendrick thereupon was reconciled to the Miller candidacy. Miller to 
Kendrick, May 31, 1932; Kendrick to Miller, June 11, 1932, Kendrick Mss. 
#55. Nevertheless, Miller was forced to fight for the nomination, defeating 
Thomas D. O'Neil, Big Piney, in the primary, Aug. 16, 1932. T. A. Larson, 
History of Wyoming, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), p. 463. 

«Nov. 12, 1932, p. 1. 

450'M. Mss. #1, file "Campaign of 1932." Kendrick to Farley (copy) 
Jan. 12, 1933, O'M. Mss., file drawer 9, "Of utmost importance — Presiden- 
tial files" (hereafter cited as #9), file "Special Personal Letters." Farley to 
O'Mahoney, Feb. 4, 1937, ibid. Farley advised O'Mahoney: "I am for it 
1000 per cent," Farley to O'Mahoney, Jan. 28, 1933, O'M. Mss. #1, file 
"Campaign of 1932." Danker to O'Mahoney, Jan. 14, 1933, O'M. Mss. 
#2-A, file "Danker 1932-33." 

4<50'Mahoney to Rattigan, Nov. 17, 1932; Dec. 13, 1932, O'M. Mss. #1, 
file "Rattigan." O'Mahoney disavowed the efforts to make him Secretary 
of the Interior, protesting that "... a position in the cabinet is altogether 
too great a distinction to justify any persons 'logging' for it," to Farley, 
January 28, 1933, ibid., file "Campaign of 1932." "Joseph C. O'Mahoney 
Transcript," Columbia University Oral History Collection (hereafter cited 
as "O'Mahoney Transcript"), p. 14. 


November and December passed. O'Mahoney remained in 
Cheyenne, struggling with an accumulation of legal work. Ratti- 
gan, from Washington, protested that O'Mahoney was isolating 
himself from the struggle for power and position going on in New 
York, and urged his partner to fly east and claim his reward.^' 
Rattigan may have been right. O'Mahoney waited. He expected 
a summons from Farley surely before the end of the year, but, not 
until the end of February was the invitation forthcoming. To his 
keen disappointment, one bleak early March morning Farley pro- 
posed that he and O'Mahoney continue their fine working relation- 
ship with the latter in the $6500 a year position of First Assistant 
Postmaster General. Quietly O'Mahoney queried the big man: 
" 'Jim, who's the First Assistant Postmaster General now?' There 
was a great silence ... 'I get what you mean, but I still want you 
to be First Assistant Postmaster General.' "^^ The oath of office 
was administered March 6, 1933. 

In the first hectic months of the new administration, O'Mahoney 
practically ran the Post Office Department. Observers of the 
national scene came to know and respect him. Perhaps because 
newspapermen recognized one of their own, perhaps because he 
knew how to make news, he enjoyed a good press. Then, too, 
Farley generously directed attention to him. Certain it is that he 
was close to the center of political power. However, all this not- 
withstanding, O'Mahoney carefully maintained his political fences 
back on the prairie."'-' 

O'Mahoney's Cheyenne connections loomed large on the night 
of November 1, 1933, when John B. Kendrick was felled by a 
stroke. O'Mahoney quickly made arrangements for the long trip 
home. In Cheyenne, still uncertain as to Kendrick's condition. 
Governor Miller summoned John D. Clark and Tracy McCraken 
to the executive mansion for an early morning conference. 

A vacancy would have to be filled and it appealed to me as wise that 
the appointment be made as quickly as decently possible ... an early 
disposal of the matter would prevent the build up of rival ambitions 
and the consequent disturbing situations. As I had anticipated, we 
three had no difficulty in arriving at a meeting of minds. Only a few 
hours of discussion were needed to agree that Joe O'Mahoney was the 

Several hours later, he learned that Kendrick's illness was indeed 

47Rattigan to O'Mahoney, Nov. 16, 1932, O'M. Mss. #1, file "Rattigan." 

48"0'Mahoney Transcript," p. 14. 

*9June 3, 1933, Wyoming toasted O'Mahoney at a testimonial dinner 
celebrated at the Plains Hotel, Cheyenne, O'M. Mss., file drawer "5" (no 
other identification). 

^*^Miller, "Autobiography," p. 51. O'Mahoney to McCraken, Dec. 28, 
1960, O'M. Mss. "Retirement, Postretirement," unmarked file. 


mortal. The seventy-six-year-old senator died November 3. On 
November 8, the day following the interment at Sheridan, noting 
O'Mahoney's ". . . position of established influence in the Roose- 
velt Administration," Miller appointed him to serve in the Senate 
until a successor could properly be elected. The election was 
thereupon deferred until the next general election, November 6, 

Miller's scarcely decent haste not at all stifled rival ambitions. 
Indignant Casper supporters of Harry Schwartz ". . . raised quite 
a fuss."''^ Further, there was more than a little suspicion in the 
minds of thoughtful men that Miller and possibly O'Mahoney him- 
self had contrived to circumvent the law. The law seemed clear 
enough: if the vacancy occurred less than a year before the next 
general election, the vacancy was to be filled at that election; if it 
occurred more than a year before the next general election, the 
vacancy was to be filled by a special election on a day appointed 
by the Governor.''- Kendrick had died a year and three days 
before the next general election (Nov. 6, 1934). Thus, the va- 
cancy must be filled by special election rather than by the next 
general election. What Miller did was to order a special election, 
but postpone it until the time of the next general election. His 
action had the effect of erasing the distinction between vacancies 
of less than one year and vacancies of more than one year. It also 
necessitated the appointment of a man to represent Wyoming in 
the ensuing twelve months, and assured him of a full session of 
Congress in which to establish his reputation. Miller lamely de- 
fended his action on the grounds that Wyoming could not afford 
to hold a special election. Secretary of State Alonzo M. Clark, 
a Republican, announced he would contest the decision in the 

The first move of the beleaguered Miller was to quell discontent 
within party ranks. On the eve of the announcement of the 
O'Mahoney appointment, Senator Joseph Robinson, powerful ma- 
jority leader, in Sheridan for the Kendrick funeral, had artfully 
allowed that O'Mahoney was fit to fill Kendrick's boots. From 
Vice President Garner came congratulations on the appointment, 

"'^Miller, "Autobiography," p. 51. 

">2Section 36-105, Wyoming Revised Statutes, 1931. 

53November 11, 1933. Clark noted that Miller, then a state senator, had 
voted for the law in 1929, and that in 1933, Miller had actually invoked the 
law in ordering a special election to fill a vacancy in the State Senate from 
Niobrara County, Basin Republican-Rustler, clipping, Nov. 16, 1933, O'M. 
Mss.. file drawer 7, "Pictures, Albums, Diplomas, and Robes," manila 
envelope of miscellaneous clippings. Miller had acted without consulting 
Attorney General Ray E. Lee. 


affectionately addressed to "Old Top."'"^^ Miller himself hastened 
to Washington, returning with the endorsement of Franklin Roose- 
velt: "... I want to tell you how pleased I am that you are going 
to send Joe O'Mahoney down here as Wyoming's Senator. He'll 
do well for Wyoming and the nation. "•''■'' And, as if all that wasn't 
enough for Harry Schwartz, there was a promise that the Cheyenne 
clique would give him a second chance against Senator Carey in 

The second step was to reconcile the Republicans to the ap- 
pointment before December 9, 1933, the day on which Miller was 
ordered by the State Supreme Court to respond to the mandamus 
initiated by Clark. The approach had been established in the 
appointment announcement, namely O'Mahoney's Washington 
connections. November 17, The Wyoming Eagle reported that the 
"Senator-Designate" had secured both the early opening and full 
utilization of the then-in-construction veterans hospital at Chey- 
enne. Bi-partisan editorial support for the appointment quickly 
set in. Further, the value of having a person acceptable to the 
Washington administration was recognized by politicians in both 
parties. O'Mahoney obviously was more acceptable than any other 
Wyoming Democrat, and would doubtless be worth his weight in 
gold as the federal government's spending increased. Most impor- 
tant of all was the role of Charles S. Hill. The veteran Republican 
and one-time State Commissioner of Immigration, then ". . . broke 
or worse than broke,"^'^ and hopeful that a grateful O'Mahoney 
would "... give a sympathetic ear to a Wyomingite" involved in 
an oil controversy,-^* hastened to Cheyenne from Washington. Hill 
hit upon the simple maneuver of amending the law, and engaged in 
such a frenzy of arm twisting that on December 9, 1933, both 
houses of the Legislature,^'' with the rules suspended, unanimously 
adopted a measure authorizing the governor to fill a vacancy in the 
U. S. Senate when it occurs and to hold the subsequent special 

•''•^Garner to O'Mahoney, Nov. 20, 1933, O'M. Mss., file drawer 3, 
"O'Mahoney: Early stuff — 1933 and before . . . ," unlabeled file of con- 
gratulatory messages. 

^'^The Laramie Republican Boomerang, Nov. 20, 1933, p. 1. 

s^Miller, "Autobiography," p. 51. They did, and Schwartz won. 

^'■^Warwick M. Downing, Denver, to O'Mahoney, Dec. 11, 1933, O'M. 
Mss. #2-A, file "Personal of O'Mahoney." 

ssDowning to Hill, Nov. 27, 1933, O'M. Mss., file drawer 11, "Statehood 
for Hawaii . . ." (hereafter cited as #11), file "Divide Creek Case." Down- 
ing warned Hill that there was no possibility of a "deal" or a "trade" with 
O'Mahoney, but that the latter in the Senate ". . . would do a million times 
more for Wyoming than any Republican, and much more than any other 

^^Republicans controlled the Senate by a margin of 16-11; Democrats 
controlled the House by a margin of 41-20. 


election at the time of the next general election. Thereupon, the 
appointment was formalized. ^^ 

A decade of politicking on the prairie had propelled the eloquent 
easterner into the place of a champion of the west. O'Mahoney 
had the satisfaction of knowing that the seeming usurpation was in 
fact a legitimate inheritance. Kendrick himself had confirmed the 
spiritual kinship: 

As the years have gone by I have been reminded many times of what 
I believe to be true in connection with our relationship; that is that 
more than any man with whom I have been closely associated you 
have glimpsed my real attitude of mind and my motives. 6i 

However, the former First Assistant Postmaster General, having 
abandoned a position of influence and prominence, had but a 
single session of the Senate in which to gain the popular support 
that hitherto had escaped him. It was a gamble he won. Wyo- 
ming returned him to the Senate not once but four times, and upon 
his retirement in 1960 hailed his extrordinary career. 


Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney, Wyoming Democrat, was a key 
figure in the most important and dramatic domestic imbrogUo 
between the wars, the Supreme Court packing controversy of 
1937.^ The Massachusetts-born O'Mahoney, who as Wyoming 
National Committeeman helped advance the presidential candidacy 
of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and who as First Assistant Postmaster 
General joined Roosevelt's official family, had been appointed to 
the United States Senate by Governor Leslie A. Miller at the end 
of 1933. Roosevelt was delighted: "I am looking forward to a 

60"I want you to know that Charlie Hill is entitled to the sole and 
exclusive credit, if it be a credit, of amending the Wyoming statute to make 
appointment by the Governor beyond question," Downing to O'Mahoney, 
Dec. 11, 1933, O'M. Mss. #2-A, file "Personal of O'Mahoney." O'Ma- 
honey, properly grateful, endeavored to introduce Hill to administration 
figures in a position to be of assistance, O'Mahoney to Downing, Mar. 5, 
1934, O'M. Mss. #11, file "Divide Creek Case." There is not the slightest 
suggestion, however, that O'Mahoney acted improperly. Indeed, Hill's 
success with the Republican legislators led O'Mahoney to suspect that the 
opposition to his appointment had its roots in the fury of Harry Schwartz 
and a bi-partisan collection of Casperites rather than in Republican parti- 
sanship, Downing to O'Mahoney, Dec. 11, 1933, loc. cit. O'Mahoney to 
Julian Snow, Cheyenne, Dec. 1, 1933, O'M. Mss. #9, file "Personal, 1934." 

•^iKendrick to O'Mahoney, Nov. 11, 1932, Kendrick Mss. #55. Also see 
Kendrick to Miller, June 10, 1930, Kendrick Mss. #52. 

lO'Mahoney's rise to the Senate and role in the Court Fight is the subject 
of the writer's doctoral dissertation, "Joseph C. O'Mahoney: The New Deal 
and the Court Fight" (University of Wyoming, 1972). 


continuation of our very pleasant relationship . . . ," he wrote 

The relationship between the President and the Senator was 
extremely cordial. Indeed, nothing in O'Mahoney's performance 
suggested that he was anything but loyal to the Chief, and Roose- 
velt particularly prized the virtue of loyalty in his associates. Then, 
on February 5, 1937, Roosevelt unveiled the Court Bill, a request 
for six additional Supreme Court justices of his own appointment.^ 
The move, ostensibly to aid the overworked and overage justices, 
actually to safeguard the constitutionality of certain social legisla- 
tion, astonished O'Mahoney. When his efforts to dissuade Roose- 
velt failed, he publicly assailed the President's proposal as a threat 
to the people's liberties. 

The Court Bill failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, in large 
part due to O'Mahoney's efforts, and he personally prepared the 
Adverse Report, a lucid, logical, damning indictment which called 
upon the Senate to reject the measure so emphatically that "... its 
parallel will never again be presented to the free representatives of 
the free people of America."^ One presidential intimate termed 
the document "... the worst public humiliation he [Roosevelt] 
had ever had."^ In the subsequent struggle on the Senate floor, 
O'Mahoney's contribution to the final defeat of the Court Bill was 
again enormously important. 

The President's supporters capitulated on July 22. Back in 
Cheyenne, the Democratic-oriented Wyoming Eagle, pubhshed by 
O'Mahoney's close friend, Tracy S. McCraken,*^ assured the party 

The administration has graciously yielded to its first major defeat 
in Congress. The threatened breech in the ranks of the Democratic 
party has been averted. Once more, all's quiet on the Potomac.'^' 

However, those privy to the President knew full well that his mood 
was anything but gracious. They doubted that the battle was over. 

2Roosevelt to O'Mahoney, Jan. 5, 1934, Joseph C. O'Mahoney Papers, 
Western History Research Center, University of Wyoming (hereafter cited 
as O'M. Mss.), file drawer 9, "Of utmost importance — Presidential files" 
(hereafter cited as #9), file "Roosevelt, President Franklin D." 

3U. S. Congress, Senate, A Bill to Reorganize the Judicial Branch of the 
Government, S. 1392, 75th Cong., 1st Sess. 

4U. S. Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Reorganization of 
the Federal Judiciary: Adverse Report, S. Doc. 911, 75th Cong., 1st Sess. 
(hereafter cited as Adverse Report), p. 23. 

SRexford G. Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt (New York, 1957), 
p. 406. 

<5With Governor Miller, O'Mahoney and McCraken made up the 
"M.O.M." previously mentioned. 
^Editorial, Aug. 11, 1937. 


and they wondered what form the almost certain reprisals would 

The first order of business for O'Mahoney was sugar, specifi- 
cally the O'Mahoney Sugar Bill. The Jones-Costigan Sugar Act 
of 1934, amended by O'Mahoney in order to advance the interests 
of Wyoming beet sugar growers, expired December 31, 1937. The 
pending O'Mahoney measure increased the production quotas of 
the continental growers of both beet and cane sugar, but left the 
production quotas of the insular (principally Hawaiian) cane grow- 
ers untouched. Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, was 
ex officio champion of the Islands, and he was determined to de- 
feat the O'Mahoney measure. It all added up to an excellent test 
of the Wyoming senator's ability to deliver in the wake of the 
Court Fight.'* 

The O'Mahoney Sugar Bill was laid on Roosevelt's desk August 
20. It appeared destined for ". . . an almost certain veto, either 
in written form tomorrow or by the pocket method later."^'^ Ickes 
prepared a veto message. Unexpectedly, on September 1, although 
scoring the intransigence of the measure's sponsors on several of its 
more controversial aspects, the President signed it into law. 

Wyoming cheered. Its senior senator had demonstrated that 
despite his role in the Court Fight, he could still deliver the kind 
of legislation Wyoming demanded. Not only was the Sugar Bill 
"generally satisfactory," acknowledged the Republican press, but 
the amount of money appropriated by the Congress for state proj- 
ects was most impressive. ^^ Apparently, the Senator's indepen- 
dence had not hurt his state; had it hurt himself? 

Postmaster General James A. Farley, chairman of the Demo- 
cratic National Committee, seemed to make it official August 4: 
there would be no reprisals. Reports that opponents of the Court 
Bill were going to be punished politically were dismissed as nothing 
but Republican "moonshine."^- As though acting on his words, 
Senate Democrats, August 10, broke bread at a "harmony dinner" 

'^"He had an elephant's recall for injury," recalled Tugwell, The Demo- 
cratic Roosevelt, p. 192. Also see Frances Perkins, The Roosevelt I Knew 
(New York, 1946), p. 158, and Samuel I. Rosenman, Working with Roose- 
velt (New York, 1952), p. 54. 

i^O'M. Mss., file drawer 28, "Sugar, 1937-38," file "Legislation, 1938 
Sugar." O'M. Mss., file drawer 11, "Statehood for Hawaii + much more," 
file "Sugar." Ickes privately indicated surprise that the Wyomingite would 
expect any consideration from the Administration for his bill. See The 
Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes, Vol. II: The Inside Struggle, 1936-1939 
(New York, 1954), p. 141. 

if'New York Times, Aug. 21, 1937, p. 4. 

iiRichard Cowell, Wyoming State Tribune-Cheyenne State Leader, Aug. 
23, 1937, p. 6. Also see New York Times, Sept. 24, 1937, p. 3. 

i^Farley speech to the Summit County Democratic Organizations, Akron, 
Ohio, Aug. 4, 1937, New York Times, Aug. 5, 1937, p. 1. 


honoring Alben W. Barkley, new Majority Leader. Good fellow- 
ship allegedly was very much in evidence as a live dove darted 
above the diners' tables. Roosevelt, however, chose to absent 
himself. The President, it was explained somewhat ominously, 
feared that ". . . if he attended, he would have to make a speech, 
and he might unintentionally make statements which some mem- 
bers of the warring factions in the majority party might resent.'"^ • 
Ten days later, the peace was broken. Senator Joseph F. Guf- 
fey, chairman of the Democratic senators' campaign committee, 
bitterly denounced opponents of the Court Bill in a nationwide 
radio address. The Pennsylvania Democrat's crudest remarks 
were reserved for O'Mahoney. Asserting that the Wyomingite 
owed his appointment to the Senate in 1933 to the influence of 
the late Senator Joseph T. Robinson, floor manager of the Court 
Bill, and his election to the Senate in 1934 to the popularity of the 
President, Guffey snorted: 

I dislike ingrates and ingratitude. I now predict that when the voters 
of Wyoming next cast their ballots in the Democratic primaries of 
1940, the new senior senator from Wyoming will be returned to his 
home on the range where the deer and the antelope roam.^^^ 

Governor Miller quickly denied that Robinson had influenced 
the O'Mahoney appointment. ^■'' McCraken's newspaper noted that 
Roosevelt owed his 1932 nomination to men hke O'Mahoney.^*' 
The latter counterattacked. Face to face with his red-necked, 
unsmiling assailant, he protested to equally outraged colleagues, 
"... I would rather walk out of the door of this chamber and 

^-•^Ibid., Aug. 11, 1937, p. 1. 

^^The Wyoming Eagle, Aug. 21, 1937, p. 1. The speech was sponsored 
by the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee. In 1946, Guffey was charac- 
terized as "a machine politician of the lowest order who's made a big thing 
of New Dealism," "Senators Face Election," Life, Mar. 11, 1946, p. 100. 
The same article represented O'Mahoney as "... a Senator of importance 
and stature," p. 99. Robinson, literally a victim of the Court Fight, died 
of a heart attack on July 14, two days after O'Mahoney had delivered a 
particularly effective and eloquent speech against the Court Bill before 
ninety of his fellow senators and many of the House. Joseph Alsop, and 
Turner Catledge, The 168 Days (New York, 1938), provide an indispens- 
able account of the entire struggle. 

i'"'Miller's statement in part: "The appointment of Joe was agreed upon 
without benefit of consultation with Senator Robinson whatever, as could 
be amply proven were it necessary. Furthermore, it is proper here to 
say that Joe O'Mahoney's proven capabilities and his accomplishments as 
a Senator of the United States have justified his appointment beyond argu- 
ment — I am proud of the judgment exercised in his care." O'M. Mss.. file 
drawer 25, "Supreme Court, 1937" (hereafter cited as #25), unfiled. It 
is a fact that Robinson's endorsement after the appointment was welcomed 
by O'Mahoney. 

16". . . the men who organized the west for Roosevelt in the pre-conven- 
tion days of 1932, and who went down to Chicago and held the line for 


never return than to surrender any honest conviction I have."^^ 
Then, in a rare concession to personal feehng, he lashed out: 

I say here in the presence of the gentleman who spoke on the radio 
last night, and in the presence of those Democrats who are likely to 
be candidates for office in 1938, the sooner we get that man out of 
the position he now occupies by virtue of the acquiescence of his 
fellows [chairmanship of the Democratic senators campaign commit- 
tee], the better it will be for the Democratic Party. is 

What was the significance of the Guffey speech? How could it 
be squared with Farley's pledge of "no reprisals?"^'' O'Mahoney 
insisted Roosevelt had nothing to do with Guffey's stance, imply- 
ing that the President was linked to Farley's position-^** Washing- 
ton correspondents, noting that Guffey conferred with Roosevelt 
only hours before his speech, concluded that it was the other way 
around.-^ Perhaps closest to the truth was an Associated Press 
dispatch : 

One of the New Deal's most trusted strategists . . . described as "trial 
balloons" two contradictory speeches made almost simultaneously 
last week by men often regarded as White House spokesmen [Farley 
and Guffey] : . . . Reaction to their pronouncements . . . will guide, 
in large measure, the president's future policy .22 

Roosevelt until he had won the nomination owe no apology to anybody. 
Without their aid. President Roosevelt might never have been nominated, 
and they have justly been entitled to all the administration's support they 
later received in behalf of their own candidacies." R. F. MacPherson, 
"Political and Otherwise," Wyo?7iing Eagle, Aug. 24, 1937, editorial page. 
The influence of Roosevelt on O'Mahoney's election to the Senate in 1934 
was never denied. 

^''Cong. Rec, 75th Cong., 1st Sess., Senate, p. 9560. 

^^Ibid., p. 9559. When a petition was circulated to remove Guffey from 
the chairmanship of the campaign committee, Barkley revealed Guffey had 
already resigned the office. 

i^On Aug. 20, the very night of the Guffey attack, Farley renewed the 
pledge before the Indiana State Convention of Young Democratic Clubs, 
Indianapolis, New York Times, Aug. 21, 1937, p. 6. 

-^>Cong. Rec, 75th Cong., 1st Sess., Senate, p. 9559. "You can ask me 
whether I think the Guffey statement was inspired by the President. The 
answer is no." O'Mahoney interview, The Wyoming Eagle, Sept. 3, 1937, 
p. 1. 

-iPearson and Allen, "The Washington Merry-Go-Round," The Wyoming 
Eagle, Aug. 25, 1937, editorial page. David Lawrence, Washington Evening 
Star, clipping, Aug. 26, 1937, O'M. Mss. file drawer 6, "Miscellaneous let- 
ters, articles, and speeches . . ." (hereafter cited as #6), unfiled. Also see 
New York Times, Aug. 21, 1937, p. 5. 

--Wyoming State Tribune-Cheyenne State Leader, Aug. 24, 1937, p. 1. 
Cf. Tugwell: ". . . no predecessor [of Roosevelt's] would have been more 
adept, as a matter of fact, in the use of the trial balloon or of this even 
more extreme settlement by controversy," The Democratic Roosevelt, pp. 
100-01. Also see Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Roosevelt, Vol. II: 
The Coming of the New Deal (Boston, 1959), pp. 562-63. 


The Guffey trial balloon, if indeed such it was, caused O'Ma- 
honey considerable anxiety before it was shot down. In late Sep- 
tember and early October of 1937, hundreds of copies of the 
Guffey speech were mailed to Wyoming Democrats, apparently by 
Guffey, or Iowa's Democratic Senator Clyde L. Herring.--' The 
effect on O'Mahoney's party standing was minimal, although it 
likely was a factor in his decision to downgrade the court fight. -^ 

On September 13, what may have been another trial balloon was 
released. L. G. "Pat" Flannery, Wyoming's state chairman of the 
Democratic party, in Washington a party business, issued a state- 
ment: ". . . those who have been Democrats in the past, but who 
are reactionary and conservative at heart, can properly take their 
places in the Republican ranks where they will feel more at 
home."-^ Apparently, Flannery had O'Mahoney in mind, and the 
latter's friends took angry exception. ^*^ The state's most important 
Democratic newspaper warned: 

Should the state chairman desire to dismiss from party councils 
those who disagreed with the president on that issue [the Court Bill], 
those so dismissed would constitute a notable gathering. Not only 
would nearly every Wyoming Democratic newspaper be "read out of 
the party," but in every precinct and county organization, men who 
carried the banner of Democracy through the lean years would find 
themselves classed as outcasts, disowned by the very organization 
which they created and perpetuated.2'i' 

The furor quickly subsided. Flannery protested that a perfectly 
innocent observation had been misconstrued; he had had no par- 
ticular person in mind and had proposed no purge. O'Mahoney 
sniffed the political winds, and took stock of his position. Some- 

23Mills Astin to Julian Snow, Sept. 27, 1937, O'M. Mss. #25, unified. 
The Wyoming Eagle, Oct. 1, 1937. O'Mahoney was particularly mystified 
as to who, either in the state or national office of the party, had supplied 
Guffey with the mailing list. 

2^A. N. Gabbey, Jenny Lake, Wyo., advised O'Mahoney Oct. 7, 1937: 
"A few days ago, as Chairman of the County Central Committee of Teton 
County, I received fifty of the attached folders of the recent radio address 
of Senator Guffey. I was requested to distribute these folders in Teton 
County. Personally, I have never approved the stand you have taken 
regarding the additional United States Supreme Court Judges, however, for 
your information will state that I shall not distribute the Guffey folders." 
O'M. Mss. #25, unfiled. 

25J/,e Wyoming Eagle, Sept. 14, 1937, p. 1. 

26State Treasurer J. Kirk Baldwin denounced Flannery 's attempt ". . . to 
start a campaign of purging the party of such liberals as U. S. Sen. J. C. 
O'Mahoney who, at the cost of losing his own party prestige and power, 
defied dictation of others by following his own convictions and expressing 
them openly in opposing President Roosevelt's supreme court bill," ibid., 
Sept. 15, 1937, p. 1. 

27Editorial, ibid., Sept. 17, 1937. 


thing was going to happen.-*^ Roosevelt, it may be assumed, like- 
wise took stock of the Senator's Wyoming support, and, possibly 
as early as this time, determined that something was not going to 

In the course of his reply to Guffey, O'Mahoney had pledged: 
"If anybody undertakes to 'go out on the range' into my home 
state, no matter who it may be, I shall be willing to meet him there 
and discuss what I have done and what I intend to do."^^ Sudden- 
ly, it appeared that the Senator's challenger would be the President 

In late July, Ickes had proposed to the President that the latter 
visit the northernmost tier of western states and then swing down 
the California coast, returning through Colorado, Nebraska and 
Missouri. The purpose of it all would be to renew his personal 
contact with the people. Roosevelt liked the general idea but 
not the specific itinerary: "He thought it would be very helpful 
if, for instance, he could go into Wyoming, which is Senator 
O'Mahoney's state, without inviting O'Mahoney onto his train.""'" 

By late August, reports of a pending presidential trip reached 
the west. Governor Miller wired Roosevelt August 30 inviting the 
Chief Executive to visit Wyoming and promising a "royal wel- 
come. "'^^ However, the President's unofficial itinerary indicated 
that although he expected to pass through northern Wyoming 
enroute to Yellowstone National Park, which he had never seen, 
Cheyenne and even Casper would be bypassed. •^- 

Cheyenne! Suddenly Cheyenne was the name of the game. On 
the eve of the President's departure for the west, it was revealed 
that he would both pass through and stop at Cheyenne. Indeed, 
to the astonishment of veteran political observers, Cheyenne was 
the first scheduled appearance of the President on the trip.^'^ 

^'^The Wyoming State Tribune-Cheyenne State Leader, in an editorial, 
Sept. 29, 1937, reported that Flannery's statement had tipped off the 
M.O.M. to the possibiHty of an attack on O'Mahoney by Roosevelt himself, 
and they thereupon began to consider their course should the President stop 
at Cheyenne on his western trip. 

-■^Cong. Rec, 75th Cong., 1st Sess., Senate, p. 9560. 

•^"Ickes, The Inside Struggle, pp. 176-77. Rosenman described Roose- 
velt's "keen personal interest" in the details of his various visits, especially 
in the matter of which local politicians would be invited on board the train, 
Working with Roosevelt, pp. 112-13. 

3^ Franklin B. Roosevelt Library, Official Files (hereafter cited as Official 
Files), 200-SS, box 55. 

■^-The Wyoming Eagle, Sept. 2, 1937, p. 1. Apart from his interest in 
the Park, Roosevelt reportedly was traveling west to visit his grandchildren 
in Seattle, and to sound out the people on various matters including the 
court fight, New York Times, Sept. 6, 1937, p. 1. 

'^•^Roosevelt actually made five unscheduled stops in Iowa, and spoke 
briefly to a crowd at the Union Pacific station in Omaha. 


Roosevelt intended to travel three-fourths of the way across the 
country in order to give a speech on the morning of Friday, Sep- 
tember 24, in the prairie capital of a thinly-populated state. 

O'Mahoney first learned of the new development Sunday after- 
noon, September 19. The Senator was in Chicago. He had a 
speaking engagement in the Windy City September 20, and he had 
intended to remain there the greater part of the week. Instead, 
he set out for Cheyenne by automobile September 2 1 , the very day 
on which Roosevelt left Hyde Park. That same September 21, 
Miller wired Marvin H. Mclntyre, the President's secretary: 


There was no reply. 

As O'Mahoney and Roosevelt converged on Cheyenne, interest 
in the confrontation intensified. Governor Miller, fellow Demo- 
crats Harry H. Schwartz, Wyoming's junior senator, and Congress- 
man Paul R. Greever, together with a number of lesser dignitaries, 
were invited to board the presidential train at Cheyenne, and ac- 
company the President to Casper. The slight to O'Mahoney was 
obvious. What did the President intend to say in Cheyenne? How 
would he receive the author of the Adverse Report? It was a 
foregone conclusion that the state's senior Senator would be pub- 
licly spanked. Wyoming was enormously excited. 

O'Mahoney reached Cheyenne early in the afternoon of Thurs- 
day, September 23. The President would not arrive until morning. 
The M.O.M. conferred, coordinating the counterstroke which they 
had contemplated since the first warning of the President's inten- 
tion. ^^"^ Doubtless the Senator acquainted his colleagues with the 
not-yet-released Gallup Poll for September 26, proofs of which 
had been privately provided him by the editor of the Washington 
Post.'^^ The poll revealed that 56 per cent of Wyoming's Demo- 
crats and 92 per cent of the State's Republicans approved of his 
fight against the Court Bill.^^ 

3^0fficial Files, 200-SS, box 55. 

35For a first hand account, see Governor Miller's "Autobiography of 
Leslie A. Miller, Governor of Wyoming, 1933-1939" (bound collection of 
newspaper clippings in the possession of T. A. Larson, Laramie, Wyoming), 
p. 71. 

36Eugene Meyer to O'Mahoney, Sept. 22, 1937, O'M. Mss. #25, unfiled. 

^"^The Wyoming Eagle, Oct. 7, 1937, p. 1: Simultaneously, another poll 
revealed an erosion, particularly marked in the Rocky Mountain States, of 
the President's popularity, "The Fortune Quarterly Survey: X," Fortune, 
XVI (October, 1937), p. 109. O'Mahoney's own files bulged with testi- 
monials to the popularity of his court fight role. 


How was the President's challenge to be handled? O'Mahoney's 
carefully correct public posture provided the answer. When the 
presidential train stopped in Omaha enroute to Cheyenne, Senator 
Edward R. Burke, Nebraska Democrat and bitter foe of the Court 
Bill, refused to go down on the station. When word reached Sena- 
tor Burton K. Wheeler, another adversary of the President, that 
Roosevelt would exit from Yellowstone National Park by way of 
Montana, the Montana Democrat made plans to be out of the 
state. O'Mahoney, on the contrary, unlike the other Democratic 
opponents of the Court Bill, had driven hard for a long distance 
across the country to be on hand when Roosevelt arrived, osten- 
sibly to extend a western welcome to his chief. Wyoming Demo- 
crats were not compelled, at least by O'Mahoney, to choose be- 
tween their president and their senior Senator. 

If there is a split, it will be forced by the president, for O'Mahoney 
upon his arrival from the east yesterday issued a statement in which 
he said: "I have hurried home in order that I might be on hand to 
join with the people of the state and their official representatives in 
welcoming him." A split between the two would create a paradoxical 
political situation for, it is generally conceded, both Senator O'Ma- 
honey and President Roosevelt are supported by a great majority of 
people in Wyoming. ■^'^ 

The details were quickly worked out with Miller and McCraken. 
The governor appointed O'Mahoney chairman of the Wyoming 
welcoming committee, and the editor placed the front page of a 
special September 24 presidential edition of The Wyoming Eagle 
at his disposal. 

The paper was put together with great care. Emblazoned across 
the front page was astonishing news. "STATE TENSE AS F. R. 
NEARS CHEYENNE." The anxiety was ascribed to Roosevelt's 
failure to acknowledge the senior Senator. Another caption cau- 
tioned the President that some kind of a confrontation could not 
be avoided: 


The Wyoming senator, who cancelled a Chicago engagement for 
Wednesday evening in order to be in Cheyenne in time to greet the 
chief executive when he arrived in Cheyenne, last night accepted ap- 
pointment as a member of the citizens' welcoming committee named 

38Editorial, The Wyoming Eagle, Sept. 24, 1937, p. 1. Newspaperman 
Warren Moscow reported under a Cheyenne dateline: ". . . if the President 
believes that support for him inevitably means punishment for those Sena- 
tors who opposed his Supreme Court plan, he will find an exception to 
that here. Wyoming is . . . also for Joseph C. O'Mahoney. ... the Presi- 
dent cannot help himself particularly by campaigning for the Court Bill 
in Wyoming and may hurt himself if he does it too vigorously." New York 
Times, Sept. 24, 1937, p. 1. 


by Governor Miller and it is in that role, rather than as an outstand- 
ing national figure, that he will greet the president. 

Elsewhere on the front page was another story: 

As a testimonial to their faith in him and in appreciation of the 
outstanding service he has rendered both state and nation, Democrats 
of Cheyenne and vicinity will gather in Cheyenne Monday night, 
Sept. 27, at a banquet in honor of Sen. J. C. O'Mahoney. . . . the 
distinguished solon has faithfully and ably served all the citizens of 
his state. It was he, along with a small handful of others, who kept 
the Democratic party alive in Wyoming during the long years there 
wasn't a ghost of a chance for success at the polls. 

Then the presses rolled. The first twenty-five copies of the edition 
were rushed by automobile to Sidney, Nebraska, to be placed 
aboard the presidential train in the early morning hours. 

Friday, September 24, 1937, dawned. About nine o'clock in 
the morning, the train approached the outskirts of Cheyenne, and 
stopped. Governor Miller swung himself aboard, subsequently 
recalling : 

I saw the President first and before he saw me. He was seated near 
the rear door with a copy of the Eagle across his knees. When he 
heard our approach, he looked up, saw me, and hastily brushed the 
paper behind him.39 

Roosevelt then prepared to receive the welcoming committee 
and, inevitably, the committee chairman. Determinedly, deliber- 
ately, with dignity, without defiance, O'Mahoney advanced. The 
greeting was slightly cool, sufficiently cordial. ^° 

Afterwards, historians, only half aware of what had happened, 
perhaps misled by the scarcely objective pen of Harold Ickes,^^ 
represented the confrontation as a capitulation: "Many Demo- 
cratic Congressmen who had voted against . . . the Judiciary Re- 
organization Bill made haste to show their loyalty by rousing 
speeches and eager jostling for place at the President's side and a 
word of approval from him before their constituents";^- "Congress- 

39Miller, "Autobiography," p. 71. 

40Thomas L. Stokes, Washington Daily News, clipping, Sept. 25. 1937, 
O'M. Mss. #25, unfiled. The Wyoming Eagle. Sept. 25. 1937, p. 1. Wyo- 
ming State Tribune-Cheyenne State Leader, Sept. 25, 1937, p. 1. 

4ilckes confided to his not-so-secret diary: "He [Roosevelt] was espe- 
cially amused at the manner in which Senator O'Mahoney had crashed the 
gate in Wyoming, although O'Mahoney had not been invited to his train. 
He thinks O'Mahoney is very eager to be on good terms again with the 
Administration on everything except the Court issue." Ickes, The Inside 
Struggle, p. 223. 

42Basil Rauch, History of the New Deal. 1933-1938 (New York, 1944), 
p. 293. 


men who had opposed Court reform and other New Deal measures 
fought for a place on his train" ;^'' "... the politicians who had 
just refused him the support he asked, who had checked and 
cheated him through the bitter months of the regular session, had 
crowded and jostled each other to appear by his side before their 
constituents."^^ They were wrong. What really happened in the 
Union Pacific Railroad yards at Cheyenne was that O'Mahoney 
humbled himself in the best interests of the party which he gen- 
uinely believed to be the hope of America. 

O'Mahoney was not content to shift the responsibility for an 
open rupture to Roosevelt. Rather, he was determined that a 
break be avoided. There would be no legislative progress until 
there was party peace. As O'Mahoney manfully advanced, hat in 
hand, arm extended, it was peace which he offered."^'' 

The train resumed its progress into the city, coming to rest in 
the center of the Wyoming capital. O'Mahoney swung down from 
the rear platform and was immediately engulfed in a great crowd 
of well-wishers. Newspapermen, until then unaware that the con- 
frontation had already taken place, observed his progress with 
astonishment and admiration. "Mr. Roosevelt and I," he ex- 
plained to the press, "had a perfectly normal greeting."^'' 

Mrs. Roosevelt approached O'Mahoney, greeting him warmly, 
and inquiring about the health of Mrs. O'Mahoney.^^ He, in turn. 

43William E. Leuchtenburg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 
1932-1940 (New York, 1963), p. 251. 

•i^Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt, p. 434. 

■*50ct. 7, 1937, Senator David I. Walsh wrote O'Mahoney: "It is difficult 
for me to express my feelings of resentment over the manner in which the 
President and his party treated you on his Western trip through Wyoming. 
It was all so petty and so unbecoming the exalted office of President. It 
is most regrettable that conscientious public service is unrecognized where 
it ought to be applauded." O'M. Mss. #25, unfiled. One can only specu- 
late how deep the Massachusetts Democrat's resentment would have run if 
the President had, indeed, spoken against O'Mahoney. Roosevelt received 
a "Summary of Editorial Reaction to President Roosevelt's Recent Tour 
Through Northwestern States," dated Oct. 12, 1937, from the Division of 
Press Intelligence for the U. S. Government: "Many of the editorials relat- 
ing to the President's Wyoming trip comment on his treatment of Senator 
O'Mahoney. All of these approve the President's failure to attack Senator 
O'Mahoney in his speeches, and the Senator's action in boarding the Presi- 
dent's train is generally approved as a smart political move." Official Files, 
200-SS, box 51. 

^^The Wyoming Eagle, Sept. 25, 1937, p. 1. Also see Jay G. Hayden, 
Daily Oklahoman, clipping, Sept. 25, 1937, "Personal Scrapbooks of Tracy 
S. McCraken," Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, Chey- 
enne (hereafter cited as McCraken Scrapbooks), reel 1. 

■^'^New York Times, Sept. 25, 1937, p. 1. O'Mahoney afterwards assured 
a niece: "Agnes is standing the excitement very well. It was rather tough 
that she was advised to get out of Washington in order to get away from 
the excitement of the court fight only to be plunged into it worse than ever 


introduced his colleague, Senator Schwartz. The First Lady had 
not recognized Schwartz, an oversight which some reported afford- 
ed O'Mahoney perceptible pleasure. ^'^ 

Then the crowd settled down to hear what the President was 
going to say about their obviously popular senior senator. He said 
nothing. Grimly observing that "some people wonder why I am 
here," Roosevelt discoursed at length upon the importance of every 
president keeping in touch with the people, and promised that he 
was not going to coast through the remainder of his term. An 
uneasy silence hung over the gathering until suddenly it was crystal 
clear that Roosevelt was not going to say anything about O'Ma- 
hony or the Court Bill. Then the crowd cheered. As the Presi- 
dent finished speaking, Mclntyre drew near O'Mahoney, and whis- 
pered an invitation to board the train for the trip to Casper. 
O'Mahoney accepted.^'' 

O'Mahoney, and Miller as well, was convinced that Roosevelt 
did not deliver the speech that had been prepared for Cheyenne. ■^*^' 
Indeed, the former long afterwards recalled that the President had 
at hand a folder marked "Cheyenne Speech" which he left on the 
arm of his chair when he went to the platform to address the 
crowd. ""'^ Newspapermen accompanying the President agreed; at 
the last minute, Roosevelt had decided to spare the Senator.'- 

O'Mahoney joined Miller in the coach occupied by the Wyo- 
ming delegation. However, shortly after the train got underway. 
Miller was invited to join Roosevelt for a discussion of state mat- 
ters and lunch. There was no invitation for O'Mahoney. Nor 
was he invited to appear on the platform with the President at the 

here." O'Mahoney to Katherine Sheehan, Salem, Mass., Sept. 27, 1937, 
O'M. Mss., file drawer 16, "General Legislation 1935-1936, Sen. Jos. C. 
O'Mahoney" (hereafter cited as #16), file "O'Mahoney Personal." 

■t'^Jay G. Hayden, Daily Oklahoman. clipping, Sept. 25, 1937, McCraken 
Scrapbooks, reel 1. 

one account, ibid. Newspaper reports generally agree on the details of the 
day's events. 

sf'Miller, "Autobiography," p. 71. Miller to Mrs. John B. Kendrick. 
Sept. 25, 1937, John B. Kendrick Papers, Western History Research Center, 
University of Wyoming, file drawer 62. O'Mahoney to Katherine Sheehan. 
Sept. 27, 1937, O'M. Mss. #16, file "O'Mahoney Personal." 

510'Mahoney to McCraken, June 9, 1960, O'M. Mss., file drawer "Retire- 
ment, Post-retirement & Personal Correspondence" (no number, and here- 
after cited as "Retirement, Post-retirement"), file "Personal." No such 
speech has turned up among the papers of the President. 

^-Typical was the account by Joe Alex Morris of the United Press: "The 
president, quick to sense public reaction, apparently altered his plans for 
opening a fight in Wyoming for revival of the court bill," The Wyoming 
Eagle, Sept. 29, 1937, p. I. 


various stops along the way. However, Schwartz, a resolute sup- 
porter of the Court Bill, was likewise ignored.''-^ 

In Casper, Roosevelt was scheduled to tour old Fort Caspar 
before addressing the citizens of Wyoming's second largest city. 
Miller and O'Mahoney settled themselves in car number four of 
the entourage for the drive to the ruins. Suddenly, an aide ap- 
proached, conveying Roosevelt's request that the Governor ride 
with the President. Although Miller interpreted the several gen- 
erous gestures toward him as an attempt to spite O'Mahoney, he 
good-naturedly honored the request. -^^ 

O'Mahoney listened attentively to the President's speech. Was 
it what the President said or how he said it that momentarily struck 
an unfriendly note? 

Yes, I am pretty well convinced that the rank and file of the people 
of this country approve the objectives of their government. They 
approve and support those who work for objectives — by present meth- 
ods to obtain the objectives . . . but they do not become very enthu- 
siastic about those who give only lip service to the objectives, and do 
nothing toward attaining them.-'>"> 

That was all. The moment passed. 

The President shook hands cordially with O'Mahoney when the 
latter took his leave at Casper. Later in the afternoon, a change 
in the President's itinerary was announced. He would not go into 
Montana. Instead, he would leave the train at Cody, drive 
through the Park to West Yellowstone, board the train, and con- 
tinue to Seattle by way of Idaho. It was still Friday, September 

What did it all mean? First of all, it meant that Roosevelt did 
not intend to turn the western trip into a speaking tour against 
opponents of the Court Bill. Even more significant, it meant that 
the Court Bill was indeed dead. Until O'Mahoney confronted 
Roosevelt in Cheyenne, it was widely believed that Roosevelt in- 
tended to renew his drive for a Court Bill in the near future. That 
issue, at long last, appeared to be laid to rest."'*^ Finally, perhaps 
most important, O'Mahoney offered Roosevelt the opportunity to 
heal the grievously hurt party, an opportunity which if not exactly 
capitalized upon was at the same time not specifically spurned. 

As the days passed, some observers began to wonder whether 

53Miller, "Autobiography," p. 71. Also see Robert P. Post, New York 
Times, Sept. 25, 1937, p. 1. 

o^Miller, "Autobiography," p. 71. It was, of course, quite appropriate 
that the Governor ride with the President. 

5.5yvevi' York Times, Sept. 25, 1937, p. 1. Also see James MacGregor 
Burns, Roosevelt: TJie Lion and the Fox (New York, 1956), p. 317. 

•"^^Tugwell was not so sure: "... I have often wondered whether, if he 
had lived on into the post-war period, he would have tried again," The 
Democratic Roosevelt, p. 407. 


Roosevelt had ever intended to challenge O'Mahoney in Cheyenne: 
"Politicians and hostile commentators who had confidently ex- 
pected President Roosevelt to unleash his scalping knife when he 
visited the bailiwick of Senator O'Mahoney of Wyoming yesterday 
must have been temporarily forgetful of the President's political 
acumen. "^^ Farley suspected that Roosevelt had deliberately en- 
couraged apprehension and speculation over the nature of his stop 
in Cheyenne, and recalled that the President had laughingly told 
him, "They'll know I was there, Jim." However, although Farley 
was not sure what was going to happen in Cheyenne, he did not 
believe that Roosevelt was going to read O'Mahoney out of the 

The suspicion that Roosevelt did not intend to attack O'Ma- 
honey in Cheyenne is reinforced by Mclntyre's reply, three days 
before the encounter, to the request of radio station KLZ, Denver, 
for permission to carry the Cheyenne speech live if the Presi- 
dent's talk was to be a major address: "CONFIDENTIALLY 
CAST."-^'-' It might very well be that if Guffey's and Farley's 
August 20 remarks, and Flannery's September 13 statement, were 
"trial balloons," Roosevelt thereupon concluded that O'Mahoney's 
Wyoming support was strong and decided to leave him alone. The 
M.O.M., however, went to their graves believing that the confron- 
tation in Cheyenne ". . . really was an event"; they had outma- 
neuvered the master.*^" As the Republicans enviously admitted, 
"the Democratic boys at Cheyenne can play the game right shrewd- 
ly when the occasion challenges their guile. ""^^ 

The testimonial dinner in honor of O'Mahoney was held Mon- 
day evening, September 27. Although hastily arranged the pre- 
vious Thursday, and somewhat anticlimactic, it was, nevertheless, 
a huge success. O'Mahoney conducted himself hke the true Demo- 
crat that he was, and, perhaps to the dismay of some of the 350 
diners who jammed the Wyoming Room of the Plains Hotel, paid 
respectful tribute to Roosevelt.*'- Then the Senator and Mrs. 
O'Mahoney sailed for Hawaii. 

It was over. Or was it? Governor Miller's bid for re-election 

57Delbert Clark, New York Times, Sept. 26, 1937, p. E3. 

"J^^James A. Farley, Jim Farley's Story: The Roosevelt Years (New York. 
1938), pp. 96-97. 

59F. \v. Meyer, manager, to Mclntyre, Sept. 21, 1937; Mclntyre to 
Meyer, Sept. 21, 1937, Official Files, 200-SS, box 51. 

*>'^''0'Mahoney to McCraken, June 9, I960, O'M. Mss. "Retirement, Post- 
retirement," file "Personal." 

•^^Editorial, Wyoming State Tribune -Cheyenne State Leader, Sept. 29, 

''-For an account of the festivities, see The Wyoming Eagle, Sept. 28, 
1937, p. 1. O'Mahoney accepted the acclaim of the assemblage with 


failed in 1938. November 10, 1938, O'Mahoney asked Roosevelt 
to appoint him to some kind of executive position in the Admin- 
istration. Roosevelt agreed to consider the request. Months, and 
then years elapsed. O'Mahoney renewed his request repeatedly 
but there was no room in the Roosevelt administration for O'Ma- 
honey's friend.*''^ 

On December 28, 1938, Roosevelt sought Farley's opinion re- 
garding the vacancy on the court caused by the resignation of 
Justice Sutherland. Farley proposed O'Mahoney. Roosevelt 
smiled: "Black has dissented many times since I put him on the 
bench, but his dissents would be a drop in the bucket to what 
O'Mahoney would do if he were on the Court. "*^^ The following 
year, December 14, 1939, Roosevelt again asked Farley's advice 
regarding the court, this time for Justice Butler's replacement. 
Farley again proposed O'Mahoney. Roosevelt cooly brushed the 
suggestion aside with the words, "Joe is your friend. "•'■''' Farley 
really was not surprised: 

I knew he was disappointed, even incensed with some Democrats. 
His attitude was that he had been double-crossed and let down by 
men who should have rallied to his support. I was certain that he 
would not dismiss it all as part of the game.*'" 

Farley was right; Roosevelt neither forgave nor forgot O'Ma- 
honey's opposition to the Court Bill. Although the Wyomingite, 
in the wake of the confrontation at Cheyenne, succeeded in re- 
establishing a working relationship with Roosevelt that for some 
years stood both Wyoming and the nation in good stead, his pre- 
vious friendship with the President was never renewed. Perhaps 
it was for that reason that O'Mahoney was to occupy no higher 
office than that of United States Senator. 

aplomb, but afterwards sent his secretary around the state to find out what 
Democrats really thought of him. The consequent county-by-county analy- 
sis, thirteen crowded pages, replete with the observations and opinions of 
a good many local politicians, revealed that O'Mahoney really was stronger 
than ever. O'M. Mss., file drawer 23, "Supreme Court, 1937." This con- 
clusion was verified by the general election of 1940. O'Mahoney ran well 
ahead of the presidential ticket, defeating Milward L. Simpson 65,022 to 
45.682, while Roosevelt outdistanced Wendell Willkie 59,287 to 52,633. 
1941 Official Directory of Wyoming and Election Returns of 1940 (com- 
piled by the Secretary of State: Cheyenne), p. 75. 

•'^'•O'Mahoney to Roosevelt, Nov. 10, 1938, Jan. 21, 1941, July 10, 1941; 
Roosevelt to O'Mahoney, Nov. 14, 1938, O'M. Mss. #9, file "Roosevelt, 
President Franklin." In 1942, O'Mahoney prevailed upon War Production 
Board Chairman Donald Nelson to appoint Miller director of the Board's 
region #9 (Mont., Wyo., Colo., Utah, and N. Mex.), Miller, "Autobiog- 
raphy," p. 70. 

^"^Jim Farley's Story, p. 162. 

65/6;W., p. 216. 

*''*5James A. Farley, "Why I Broke with Roosevelt," Colliers, June 21, 
1947, p. 89. 

Zke Mack C eg end in Wyoming 

Mlgk School Zoctbooksz 

Mtl-Mispanlc Attitudes 

in Zheir Zreatment of tke Period 



Greg Scheurman* 

Part of the Anglo-Saxon heritage enjoyed by many of the 
persons in this country has unfortunately contained within it a 
predilection for viewing those of Spanish or Mexican descent in 
undesirable or degrading terms. A number of history textbook 
authors have inherited such views, and thus unwittingly perpetuate 
them in our classrooms. This study accordingly examines the 
treatment given to the Spanish and Mexican people in United 
States history textbooks. Many of the American history texts 
presently used in Wyoming high schools have come under scrutiny. 
The principal object of this examination has been to deduce the 
historical validity of the information contained in the texts. Ques- 
tions kept in mind throughout have been: Is the treatment a fair 
one? Are unwarranted stereotypes hkely to be fostered by the 

A mail survey conducted during the latter part of 1976 revealed 
that at least twenty-one different American history texts are used 
in Wyoming high schools. Seventeen of these, or roughly 81% 
of the texts identified by the survey, have been examined in this 
study. Recent figures indicate that there are between 25,000 and 
30,000 Wyoming students enrolled in grades nine through twelve. 
On the assumption that each high school student takes at least one 
American history class during the time he or she is in high school, 
the texts examined in this study will affect at least 16,500 students, 

*This article was originally written as part of a graduate program in 
history at the University of Wyoming under the direction of Lawrence A. 


or approximately 55-66% of the total. This figure is large enough 
to allow generalizations to be made regarding Wyoming American 
history textbooks as a whole. ^ 

The justification for a study such as this one is predicated on 
the realization that, for many high school students, the single 
exposure given a people in a history textbook is the sole contact 
that the students will have with its history. Thus, a misinformed 
or poorly-worded text contains the unfortunate potential of stereo- 
typing an ethnic group in a student's mind thenceforward. At 
the outset it would be appropriate to say that a fair amount of 
the material examined was less than historically accurate. Some 
of it contains information that is downright misleading, and it 
consequently might well lead to unjust stereotyping by Wyoming 

The findings of this study become more meaningful if preceded 
by a brief statement about the traditional ways in which the Span- 
ish and Mexican people have been portrayed in Europe and in the 
United States. For over four hundred years, there has been a 
decidedly anti-Spanish tone in much of the literature and history 
written about Spain by other Europeans. This tone accompanied 
the European colonists to North America, and became a part of 
the American outlook toward Spaniards and Mexicans. The rea- 
sons why anti-Spanish attitudes became prevalent are many, but 
it is reasonable to conjecture that they parallel many of the anti- 
United States feelings abundant throughout the world today. The 
Spanish empire of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centu- 
ries was comprised of a strongly-united, powerful, and wealthy set 
of sub-kingdoms. It was a far-flung enterprise which excited 
emotions of hate, fear, envy, or jealousy in its sister European 
peoples. Many consider the United States likewise to be a reac- 
tionary stronghold of material wealth and conservative ideals sit- 
uated on a globe of political unrest. 

The term leyenda negra ("Black Legend") was coined early in 
this century to describe the plethora of denigrating attitudes held 
about the Spanish people. Philip Wayne Powell has described 
some of the undesirable traits which have been attributed either 
with or without malice to the Spaniard: 

1 School enrollment figures derived from the State Department of Educa- 
tion report, "Wyoming Fall Enrollment By School, As Reported September 
10, 1974." Current enrollment figures are available in the Education Direc- 
tory, published annually. The ninth grade is not considered to be "high 
school in some districts, thereby reducing the total potential number of 
textbooks identified in the survey which are utilized by adolescents. Schools 
using more than one text have been counted only once in determining the 
total number of students affected by the texts examined. Detailed infor- 
mation gleaned from the survey is found in the appendix. 


The stereotyped Spaniard as portrayed in our schoolbooks, popular 
literature, movies and television, is usually a swarthy fellow with 
black, pointed beard, morion, and wicked Toledo blade. He is, of 
course, treacherous, lecherous, cruel, greedy, and thoroughly bigoted. 
Sometimes he takes the form of a cowled, grim-visaged Inquisitor. In 
more recent times, and with somewhat better humor, he has appeared 
as a kind of slippery, mildly sinister, donjuanesque gigolo. But what- 
ever the guise, he is most likely to be cast as foil for the Nordic ego.^ 

Charles Gibson recently identified a number of broad areas in 
which the Black Legend plays a part: his "eight key issues" in- 
clude "Spanish Decadence, Authoritarian Government, Political 
Corruption, Bigotry, Indolence, Cruelty in the American Con- 
quests, Native American Civilizations, and Indians in the Estab- 
lished Colony." Gibson's eight issues illustrate the all-pervasive 
nature of the Black Legend.-^ 

Anti-Mexican attitudes joined the anti-Spanish thinking in this 
country to form a sort of dual Legend. The infusion of Spanish 
blood and culture into the primordial Indian civilizations of the 
New World had produced a mongrelized race. These half-breeds 
exhibited traits as undesirable as those the Spanish had shown by 
themselves. Now there were two nationalities to which Black 
Legend precepts could be applied. Cecil Robinson, author of the 
definitive examination of literary treatment of Mexicans in the 
United States, described these attitudes: 

Americans, in their Protestant individualism, in their ideas of thrift 
and hard work, in their faith in progress through technology, in their 
insistence upon personal hygiene, in puritanism and racial pride, found 
Mexico much to their distaste because of its hierarchical Catholicism 
and the extent of priestly power, its social stratification with pro- 
nounced sense of caste, its apparent devotion to pleasure and its 
seeming avoidance of work, its technological backwardness and its 
alleged ineptness with machinery, its reported indifference to cleanli- 
ness, and its reputation for pervasive sensuality.'^ 

With attitudes such as these well in mind, many Americans found 
it relatively easy to justify both the Mexican War and the Spanish- 

-Tree of Hate: Propaganda and Prejudices Affecting United States Rela- 
tions with the Hispanic World (New York: Basic Books. 1971), p. 6. 

^The Black Legend: Anti-Spanish Attitudes in the Old World and the 
New (New York: Knopf, 1971), pp. 18-27. Another work in English on 
the Black Legend is William S. Maltby, The Black Legend in England: The 
Development of Anti-Spanish Sentiment, 1558-1660 (Durham: Duke Uni- 
versity Press, 1971), which surveys the origins of some stereotypes. 

^With the Ears of Strangers: The Mexican in American Literature (Tuc- 
son: University of Arizona Press, 1963), p. vii. An article dealing with 
the merging of Anglo and Mexican cultures is David J. Weber. "Stereotyp- 
ing of Mexico's Far Northern Frontier," An Awakened Minority: the 
Mexican-Americans, 2nd ed., edited by Manuel P. Servin (Beverly Hills: 
Glencoe, 1974), pp. 18-26. 


American War in terms of "bringing civilization" to backward 
racial types. 

A former Chilean ambassador to Washington and a provisional 
president of Chile, Carlos Davila, provided an interesting analogy: 

To get an idea of a present-day version of the Black Legend, 
imagine the history of the United States for the next three centuries 
written exclusively on the basis of what is published in Pravda or 
Izvestia. Suppose Tobacco Road and The Grapes of Wrath were the 
only documents on how the North American people lived in the 
twentieth century. And picture the whole history of race relations in 
this country reduced to a single animated cartoon — which Disney has 
not produced — graphically perpetuating the story of lynching. 

This distortion of the truth could not be more grotesque. Yet it 
would not be very different from what the Black Legend did to the 
Conquest and the colonial period in Spanish America.-"' 

Davila then compares the Moscow papers and the novels to six- 
teenth-century writings condemning the Spanish, and equates the 
Disney creation with the gruesome drawings which illustrated 
many of the anti-Spanish tracts." His comments were made at 
the beginning of the Cold War period (hence the Russian exam- 
ples), but they serve admirably to sum up what has been said 
about the evolution of the Black Legend. 

This study does not seek to condemn interpretation or to urge 
suspension of moral judgments in textbooks. Rather, its aim is 
to help create a more professional and less nationalistic approach 
to the writing of them. Speaking of the extreme examples of 
nationalistic bias found in the previous generations' texts, Ray 
Allen BilHngton has made some remarks applicable to this study. 
"Today's bias," he says, "is more subtle, more persuasive, and far 
less easy to detect, partly because it often mirrors subconscious 
prejudices of which the textbook author himself is aware." Bil- 
lington cites two kinds of bias found in texts. The first of these 
he calls "bias by inertia," and says that authors "have shown a 
regrettable disinclination to keep abreast of the findings of modern 
historical scholarship, relying instead on discredited legends and 
outworn viewpoints that more often than not perpetuate the na- 
tionalistic prejudices of a bygone day." The second fallacy Bil- 
lington calls "bias by omission." With regard to this he states: 
"When an author chooses only information that will reflect credit 
on his personal heroes, he is violating the canons of sound histor- 
ical writing no less than the writer who openly distorts the truth. "'^ 
The authors of the textbooks included in this study are guilty at 

5"The Black Legend," Americas 1 (August 1949) : 12. 

''^"History is a Dangerous Subject," Saturday Review, 49, January 15, 
1966, pp. 59, 60. 


times of both of these biases. Incidentally, the Black Legend 
cannot exist in their absence. 

Billington's remarks may be supplemented with some of the 
criteria for evaluation of textbooks found in earlier studies. To- 
gether, they form the basis for the questions directed at each of the 
texts examined in this study. These questions are : In quantitative 
terms, are Hispanic topics adequately dealt with? Is the material 
presented accurate in terms of presently-accepted fact? Are the 
contributions of the Spanish and Mexican people presented along 
with the more exciting military aspects of their history? Finally, 
are there specific areas in need of revision, and if so, how might 
this be accomphshed?'"* As will be seen, when these questions are 
applied to the texts in a topic-by-topic manner, there generally 
emerge three types of treatments: in a strictly historical sense, 
they are "unacceptable," "acceptable," or "desirable." The fol- 
lowing topical evaluation of textbooks provides examples of each 
treatment whenever possible. 

The first theme to be examined is that of "motives for coloniza- 
tion." Under this general theme the textbooks suggest various 
reasons why Spain established colonies in the New World. The 
Black Legend holds that the one overriding motive was greed for 
gold, on a hit-and-run basis. That is, the Spanish allegedly came 
to America for the sole purpose of plundering it of precious metals; 
they then sailed back to Europe for enjoyment of the booty, hardly 
to think of the New World again. Some of the textbooks sustain 
this theme, while others offer additional reasons for colonization 
such as missionary motive and settlement for agricultural purposes. 
The various motives will be examined separately. 

According to Powell, the trend has been for textbooks to give 
"disproportionate attention to the more exciting conquest phase, 
with all its 'blood-and thunder' cruelties, gold-seeking, and sheer 
romance."-' This is certainly the case in many of the texts used 
in Wyoming. Although it is not incorrect, for example, to say 
that gold was a very important motive for Spanish colonization, 
a student who reads little else is apt to equate the words "Spanish" 
and "gold" long after the rest of the lesson is forgotten. Leon 
H. Canfield and Howard B. Wilder in The Making of Modern 
America offer an example of a single-minded treatment of the 
motive of gold: 

^These criteria have been adapted from a study done by the American 
Council on Education entitled Latin America in School and College Teach- 
ing Materials: Report of the Committee on the Study of Teaching Materials 
on Inter-American Subjects (Washington, D.C.: American Council on Edu- 
cation, 1944), p. 22; and a study by the American Indian Historical Society, 
Textbooks and the American Indian (San Francisco: Indian Historian 
Press, 1970). pp. 14-23. 

^Powell, Tree of Hate, p. 22. 


Led by soldiers of fortune called conquistadors (conquerors), large 
numbers of Spanish adventurers invaded the New World . . . Most of 
them were looking for riches, and a route to Asia .... The Span- 
iards tore down Aztec temples, where human sacrifices had been made 
to the Aztec gods, and carried off untold wealth, which they shipped 
back to Spain. 

Adventurers from Europe continued to flock into New Spain, as 
Mexico was called. They came for just one reason: to get 

The book does mention religious conversion of the natives as a 
motive, but the imphcation is clear that the authors consider that 
of gold to be primary. In speaking of Pizarro's conquest of the 
Incas, the book continues: "He had no interest in their fine civili- 
zation. He was interested only in the booty he could strip from 
their temples, tombs, and palaces. "^^ And after a brief comment 
on Spanish agriculture, the text reads: 

The New World settlements, however, were important to Spain chiefly 
as a source of gold and silver. Huge amounts of the precious metals, 
plundered from the Aztecs and Incas and later obtained by working 
the mines of Peru and Mexico, were shipped to Spain. 12 

Gold was, in fact, a primary motive for Spanish colonization. But 
reliance solely upon the gold theme does injustice to other aspects 
of Spanish America. This part of the Black Legend is easily over- 
come by saying that, in addition to his thirst for gold, a Spaniard 
had additional motives and purposes in the New World. Some of 
the texts do offer this more balanced view, and will be dealt with 

One additional excerpt from Canfield and Wilder illustrates just 
how far this theme of gold can go. With reference to the English 
motives for colonization, a reason offered is: 

(2) Prices were high. Much of the gold and silver from the mines 
in New Spain found its way into England either through trade or 
piracy. This meant more money with which to buy the limited 
supply of goods — inflation we would call it today. The resulting high 
prices made life harder for the common people. ^^ 

Now the Spanish gold is being blamed for English inflation, even 
though it entered the British Isles through legitimate trade or 
officially-sanctioned piracy! 

The Pageant of American History by Gerald Leinwand puts the 
matter this way: 'Tn 1519 Hernando Cortez, along with 550 men, 
conquered the Aztecs, stole their gold, and enslaved the people. 
Francisco Pizarro was even more brutal in the conquest of the 

io(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966), p. 30. For localities where this 
and the other textbooks are used, see appendix. 
11/ft/W., p. 31. 
^'^Ibid., p. 32. 
^^Ihid., pp. 39-40. 


Incas of Peru in 1533."^^ The impression upon a novice historian 
made by this passage is quite apparent. It is erroneous, however, 
to imply that Cortes and 550 men conquered the Aztecs single- 
handedly. What a brutal lot, indeed, if it were true that half a 
thousand Spanish soldiers could do in millions of Aztecs by them- 
selves. The facts of the matter are that Cortes intelligently played 
off the Aztecs against some of their subjected tribes. 

Another text merits attention with regard to the theme of 
"gold." This is America's Story, by Howard B. Wilder, Robert P. 
Ludlam and Harriett McCune Brown, appears to be fixated on the 
idea of gold as it states : 

High up in the crow's nest a sailor looks anxiously in all directions 
for swift-sailing pirate ships. For this is a treasure galleon of the 
Spanish fleet, carrying riches to Spain. Piled in the hold is treasure 
to stagger the imagination — heavy bars of gold and silver, boxes of 
pearls and emeralds. What a prize for a bold pirate li-'' 

The book continues: 

What was more important to the gold-hungry Spaniards, the Incas 
were said to wear golden shoes and to eat from golden dishes. Here, 
indeed, was a land worth finding! 16 

And finally, there appears a possible misuse of words bordering 
on the ridiculous: 

As smaller children may fear a bigger boy who is a bully, so the 
countries of Europe feared Spain. They were also jealous of her huge 
possessions in the New World. They believed that Spain had no 
more right to the riches of the new lands than they themselves had.^' 

As written, the passage could imply that no country of Europe 
thought it had a right to the riches, which is absurd. 

This is not to belabor a point, but one last example of this theme 
needs to be examined, Bernard A. Weisberger's The Impact of 
Our Past: A History of the United States offers the expected com- 
ments, such as those dealing with the golden ear plugs of the Incas : 
"The Spaniards laughed at how the ornaments stretched the flesh, 
called the Incan noblemen orejones ('big ears'), and greedily eyed 
the gold,"^'' Add to this: "The magnet that attracted Spain's 
great explorer-conquerors was gold, which Columbus had seen 
islanders wearing as jewelry. "^^ Weisberger's work is more orig- 
inal, however, in this statement : 

i4(Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1975), pp. 8-9. 

i5Third edition, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970), p. 58, 

^^Ibid., p. 64. 

^ybid., p. 75, 

i8(New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1972), p, 36. 

19/fe/rf., p. 62. 


The conquistadors believed that their amazing victories were signs 
of God's approval. They thought of the wealth of the conquered 
lands as a feast for them to enjoy. They saw no reason to respect the 
customs of the defeated natives. They did not think of themselves 
as robbers but as among the most civilized people on earth. In this 
spirit of conquest and plunder, Spain pushed its new empire into the 
heart of North as well as South and Central America.^t' 

Leaving aside the questionable assertion that the Spanish did not 
respect the customs of the natives, it is interesting to note what 
Weisberger says about the forceful acquisition of half of Mexico 
by the United States in 1 848 : 

Most Americans thought that this speedy expansion was a sign of 
God's pleasure with the United States. They were given further rea- 
sons for this view by an amazing coincidence. Nine days before the 
treaty [of Guadalupe Hidalgo] was signed, gold was discovered in 
California's American River Valley .... Soon gold-hungry pioneers 
swarmed westward in droves .... Such sudden growth was exciting, 
but it also proved deeply upsetting. 21 

Here he is admiring in the American pioneer the very things he 
decried as barbaric in the Spaniard. Further qualities of the 
American are seen in a rhetorical question regarding the Ameri- 
cans in Texas prior to this: "Could the Mexicans govern these 
hardy, adventurous, aggressive newcomers?"-- Perhaps the most 
ironic statement Weisberger makes is concerning the California 
gold rush: "It seemed as if Coronado's fabled cities had been 
found at last."--^ As was said earlier, it is not unappropriate to 
make moral judgments in textbooks. But one group of people 
should be judged on the same terms as another. A text which 
makes judgments any other way is only helping Billington prove 
his ideas about nationalism in the writing of history. 

In all, eleven of the seventeen texts were sorely lacking on this 
theme. They either tended to play up the "goldlust" of the Span- 
iard, or they neglected to say anything about him at all. Five of 
the texts could be considered acceptable in that they included 
extensive coverage of other motives, and one stood above the 
others in its singular refusal to single out Spain as being the only 
gold-hungry nation in Europe: 

"Barter" or the exchange of one type of goods for another, was too 
clumsy for trading large quantities over long distances. So, the barter 
system gave way to paying gold for products. Since gold was highly 
valued by all European nations, it was readily accepted in exchange 
for goods. Europeans came to believe that the welfare of a nation 
depended upon the amount of gold it possessed. They thought that 

20/fe/cf., p. 63. 
21/6/^., p. 297. 
^Vbid., p. 284. 
mbid., p. 298. 


the more gold a nation had, the greater was its power and well-being. 
Thus, nations wanted to find new lands rich in gold.^^ 

This treatment is essentially a "neutral" one, but it still manages 
to get across the point. It is highly doubtful that any one nation- 
ality has more of a propensity for greed than another, and even 
if it did, how is an empirical proof of this made? It is simply 
more sensible to describe a continental trend like this than it is to 
run through the tired, old nationalistic platitudes : the Spanish are 
inhumane warlords, catalytically-driven by gold, while the English 
are refined, humble folk whose desire for land and money are only 
reflections of an "inner energy." 

The other primary motive attributed to Spanish colonization in 
some of the texts is that of religion. The Black Legend has it that 
the Roman Catholic Church and its affiliation with the state pro- 
duced an "oppressive obscurantism" which hindered progressive 
thought in Spanish America. This is not the case, says Powell, 
who points to "Indian education, encouragement of literature, his- 
tory, scientific investigations, and university instruction" as being 
exemplary of just the opposite.-'' Catholic obscurantism does seem 
rather unlikely in light of recent scholarship which supports state- 
ments like: "In colonial times the Church was a house of intellect 
as well as a house of worship. Surely those in the clerical estab- 
lishment were the best-educated group in the Spanish and Portu- 
guese Empires."-*^ 

The textbooks are on the whole more complimentary toward the 
Church and its functionaries than not. There is a trend toward 
lessening the role of missionaries as a motive for colonization in 
the more recent ones. Accusations of obscurantism are non- 
existent, and Billington's "bias by inertia" is not apparent. How- 
ever, there may be signs of a "bias by omission" in some of the 
works, because there is no mention in them of the deep religious 
convictions of the king and the conquistadors. If there is any 
correlation between conquistadors and clerics, it is one of oppo- 
sition and not of shared interests. However, a standard work in 
the area of New World religion asserted as early as 1933 that one 
example, Cortes, 

was greedy, debauched, a politician without scruples, but he had his 
quixotic moments, for, despite his weaknesses, of which he later hum- 
bly repented, he had deep Christian convictions. 

If one can reproach Cortes, it is not for laxness in the conversion 

2-1 Allan O. Kownslar and Donald B. Frizzle, Discovering American His- 
tory, (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1974), p.^39. 

25Powell, Tree of Hate, p. 25. 

26Richard E. Greenleaf, ed.. The Roman Catholic Church in Colonial 
Latin America (New York: Knopf, 1971), p. 14. 


of the natives, but on the contrary, for having undertaken it hastily, 
without method, and for having forged ahead without pause.^'i' 

There is also a "bias by omission" in four of the texts in that 
neither missionary motive nor the Catholic Church are even men- 
tioned. Nine textbooks very briefly ascribe religious motives to 
the Spanish, often relegating it to a single sentence. Religious 
savants would naturally claim that the treatment is far too brief, 
and it does seem reasonable to expect that a motive as important 
as this one should probably warrant more than mere mention. 
Three texts may be considered "acceptable" in a quantitative sense 
in that they devote at least a paragraph to the theme, but one of 
them fails to be non-biased: 

Along with the soldiers went a host of priests. They intended to 
Christianize the natives and bring them within the fold of the Catholic 
Church. All over the Americas, Catholic priests from Spain explored 
the country. They ministered to others and converted the natives. 
But the priests came mainly as missionaries and members of religious 
orders who could not marry. They did not build settlements of 
people of European origin like those which Protestant ministers and 
their congregations built in English-speaking colonies farther north.-*^ 

This is true, of course, but the wording imphes that the Anglo- 
Saxon Protestant method of religion is superior to the Spanish 
Cathohc one. The authors evidently do not take into account the 
facts that, first of all, the Spanish considered the Indian to be 
owner of a soul worth saving (and therefore devoted much of their 
energy to that end); and second, there were simply not enough 
Spaniards in the Americas to congregate around clergy-founded 
settlements. Thus, the preponderantly Indian-populated missions 
of the Spanish. 

The Canfield and Wilder text fails to meet acceptability for 
another reason. It states: 

In general only the priests cared about the rights and feelings of the 
natives. The Spanish government, though aware that the natives were 
being treated shamefully, did not have enough control over the con- 
quistadors to prevent their cruelty .29 

The statement says that only the priests cared about the natives, 
and promptly goes on to say that the Spanish government did as 
well. In actual fact, the government cared a great deal about the 

27Robert Ricard, The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico: An Essay on the 
Apostolate and the Evangelizing Methods of the Mendicant Orders in New 
Spain: 1523-1572, 1933 ed. tr. L. B. Simpson (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1966), pp. 15-16. 

28Irving Bartlett, Edwin Fenton, David Fowler, and Seymour Mandel- 
baum, A New History of the United States: An Inquiry Approach (New 
York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1975), pp. 23-24. 

-•^The Making of Modern America, p. 30. 


natives, and passed numerous laws in their behalf.^*^ Although 
enforcement of these laws was lax at times, often owing to the 
sheer distance between New Spain and the mother country, the 
laws nevertheless existed. The situation parallels that often found 
in the present-day United States, where civil rights legislation is 
ignored by certain sectors of the populace. The government's 
humanitarian aims have been stated, but rely upon popular support 
for their success. Canfield and Wilder add that "only around the 
many missions founded by the priests was the life of the natives 
easier."^^ This assertion, too, raises questions. Compare it with 
Gibson's claim that "forced labor for religious purposes developed 
in the 1530s and 1540s through various devices that bear a close 
relationship to encomienda and to the early labor organization in 
Mexico City."'^- The encomienda was the most important Spanish 
institution in Mexico in the first fifty years after the conquest. It 
involved a "contract" between a Spaniard and the king, whereby 
the Spaniard would be granted a number of Indians which he was 
to protect and Christianize. In return, the Indians would pay for 
these privileges with tribute and forced labor. The system ap- 
proached that of slavery in its abuses, although enslavement of the 
Indian was officially forbidden. 

The single textbook offering an equitable treatment of religion 
as a vital motive for colonization is, not surprisingly, by Kownslar 
and Frizzle. Although too extensive to quote here, the book has 
students locate the major missions on a map, describes the archi- 
tectural layout of the mission and its functions, and tells in some 
detail of the success of those which were in California and Texas.^^ 

A third aspect of the "motives for colonization" deals with the 
settlement practices themselves. A Black Legend tenet maintains 
that whereas all classes of good Englishmen came to the New 
World for permanent settlement and sturdy yeoman agriculture, 
the Spanish stayed only long enough to loot the country of gold 
and silver. Such an appraisal is inaccurate, and who but Cortes 
himself serves to point up its fallacy. After his victories in Mexico, 
he did not, as the Legend suggests, finish his life in golden retreat 
back in Spain. Rather, he remained in the vast area of Morelos 
in Mexico and instituted as well as directed a system of agricultural 
management for the region until his death twenty-five years later. 

30The good intentions of the Spanish government are detailed in Lewis 
Hanke, The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America (Phila- 
delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949). 

3iCanfield and Wilder, The Making of Modern America, p. 30. 

32Charles Gibson, The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule: A History of the 
Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519-1810 (Stanford: Stanford University 
Press, 1964), p. 119. 

^^Discovering American History, pp. 45-46. 


He added his own European natural products to the native ones, 
and was particularly successful in raising sugar cane and live- 
stock.-^"^ The churchman, Bartolome de Las Casas (who, inci- 
dentally, was responsible for much of the Black Legend because 
of his widely-published criticisms of Spain), stands as another 
refutation of this aspect of the Legend. He attempted to colonize 
the northern coast of Venezuela in 1521, and his plan called for 
"Spanish farmers who would till the soil, treat the Indians kindly, 
and thus lay the basis for an ideal Christian community in the New 
World." The Indians, according to the plan, would learn the 
farmers' skill and industry through direct observation. Although 
ultimately unsuccessful, the desire was still there. •^'^ 

Notwithstanding the fact, then, that blanket generalizations con- 
cerning settlement are risky business, some of the texts neverthe- 
less make rather sharp distinctions between English and Spanish 
settlers. There were major differences, certainly, but some of the 
generalizations give wrong impressions. Contradictions also exist 
in the various accounts. For example, A People and a Nation by 
Clarence L. Ver Steeg and Richard Hofstadter includes a compar- 
ative chart of English and Spanish colonial characteristics. Under 
the heading "Types of Emigrants" the English are described as 
"Yeomen, artisans, indentured laborers — a middle-class element, 
forming the base for a self-governing society; mostly families." 
The Spanish are labeled "Soldiers, missionaries, and administra- 
tors — ruling class; mostly men."'^" Compare this to what is said 
in A New History of the United States: An Inquiry Approach, 
which states that 

the countryside was filled with thousands of restless men. They were 
the sons of petty nobles, without estates and with slim hopes for the 
future. Spain obtained its soldiers and settlers from among these 
men .... They emigrated as conquerors in small numbers, and also 
women stayed at home.-^''^ 

Foundations of Freedom: United States History to 1877 by Har 
old H. Eibling, Carlton Jackson, and Vito Perrone says it this way. 
"During the first half of the sixteenth century, Spaniards flocked 
to the New World. Most of those who came were government 
officials, noblemen, merchants, or missionaries. "^•'' As is becom- 
ing apparent, there are confusing and irregular accounts in dealing 

■^■^G. Micheal Riley, Fernando Cortes and the Marquesado in Morelos, 
1522-1547: A Case Study in the Socioeconomic Development of Sixteenth- 
Century Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973), 
pp. 92-96. 

^'^Hanke, The Spanish Struggle for Justice, p. 54. 

36 (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 10. 

37Bartlett, Fenton, Fowler, and Manderbaum, A New History of the 
United States, p. 23. 

:^s( River Forest, 111.: Laidlaw Brothers, 1973), pp. 70-71. 


with the characteristics of Spanish settlement. How is a student 
to form a clear idea about the subject? Even an interested stu- 
dent, who consults more than one of these texts for clarification, 
is hkely to become more confused than before. At one point, for 
instance, he is told that early in the sixteenth century Spaniards 
"emigrated in small numbers," and at another point that they 
"flocked" to the New World. The issue is further complicated in 
The Pageant of American History. Here we read: 

The explorers we have thus far described cannot really be referred 
to as immigrants. They had little intention of staying in the land they 
explored. However, many of their followers did stay. They prepared 
the way for immigrants who arrived shortly. -^^ 

Still another variation on this theme comes from A History of the 
United States by Richard C. Wade, Howard B. Wilder, and Louise 
C. Wade: 

The English settlements along the Atlantic seaboard were late in 
starting but in time outstripped the Spanish and French territories in 
population. One reason was the different pattern of settlement. 
English families came to America to build a new life for themselves 
and their children. ^"J 

If the Spanish did not come to America to build new lives for 
themselves and their children, then this author is at a loss to ex- 
plain what they did intend to accomphsh by the trip over here. 

It is difficult to evaluate the texts in terms of acceptability in 
this area, simply because the experts themselves do not always 
agree. For example, observe Powell's opinion when he notes that 

after 1500, ships and fleets going from Spain to the New World reg- 
ularly carried Spanish women, children, servants, officials; in short, 
nearly every imaginable type of human cargo. On the farthest fron- 
tiers, even when Spaniards first arrived, Spanish women and families 
commonly accompanied their men, facing all the dangers and hard- 
ships that our ancestors encountered in frontier expansion.^ i 

One could not ask for a stronger denial of this than that provided 
by the demographer Peter Boyd-Bowman: "/r is not altogether 
surprising that the entire dangerous Northern Frontier initially 
attracted not a single one of our woinen!"^'- (Italics his.) What, 
then, represents the proper approach to the subject of Spanish 

^^Leinwand, The Pageant of American Histoiy, p. 9. 

40 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972), p. L 

4iPowell, Tree of Hate, p. 19. 

■i2"Patterns of Spanish Emigration to the Indies, 1579-1600," The Amer- 
icas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History 33 (July 
1976): 88. Boyd-Bowman does corroborate the fact, though, that women 
were not left behind in Spain by noting that "in the last two decades of the 
16th Century the percentage of women emigrants fell off slightly, though it 
was still over one in four." Italics his, p. 84. 


settlement in the New World? The safest method appears to be 
the simple one of avoiding overgeneralization. Grouping similar 
entities together to provide comparisons is one of the roles of the 
historian, but he must be careful not to be misleading when doing 
so. It is one thing to praise the Spanish for bringing their women 
and families to America, as many did, but quite another to imply 
that the majority did so. The answer in this particular case does 
not call for a monolithic interpretation of Spanish settlement in the 
New World; certainly, nothing short of government coercion would 
be able to produce one. Variety and individuality are the corner- 
stones of American education. But writers of textbooks would do 
well to avoid simplistic characterizations of the English as family- 
minded farmers and of the Spanish as upper-class bachelor mal- 
contents. There were elements of both in each of the emigrating 

Another part of colonial Spain which the Black Legend seeks to 
malign is the government. According to the Legend, the system 
was backward, inflexible, autocratic, and despotic, although evi- 
dence exists to show these words to be excessively strong. The 
government intervened, for example, to stave the effects of the 
famine in New Spain of the 1570s. Royal control was extended 
over prices, labor supply, production quotas, and even the tribute 
grain of the encomenderos (those holding the encomienda grant.)^^ 
The monarchy permitted and even encouraged criticism pertaining 
to the running of the colonial empire. ^^ Further, there was ample 
opportunity for subordinate officials to exercise subjective judg- 
ment. Standards set by the imperial government which were con- 
flicting with each other afforded subordinates the option of relating 
each standard to each particular situation. The end result in many 
instances appeared to be outright non-compliance with the law, 
but was actually a process of selecting which of the conflicting 
standards was applicable to any given situation. ^"^ The grasp of 
the imperial hand was not, therefore, closed tightly around every 
administrative decision made in Spanish America. It is even con- 
ceivable that this kind of "home-rule" rivaled that of many of the 
English colonies. 

Overwhelmingly, the texts do not admit such a possibility. 
Those which do mention the Spanish government tend once again 
to make simplistic generalizations. Many of them compare the 

'i^Raymond L. Lee, "Grain Legislation in Colonial Mexico, 1575-1585," 
Hispanic American Historical Review 27 (1947): 647-60. (This journal 
hereafter cited as HAHR.) 

44Lewis Hanke, "Free Speech in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America," 
HAHR 26 (1946): 135-49. 

45John L. Phelan, "Authority and Flexibility in the Spanish Imperial 
Bureaucracy," Administrative Science Quarterly 5 (June 1960) : 47-65. 


iron-fisted "autocratic" Spanish with the more democratic Enghsh, 
often implying that self-government in the English colonies was 
warmly received by the English government, which in numerous 
cases was clearly not true. Only three of the seventeen texts did 
a fair treatment of this theme. A New History of the United States: 
An Inquiry Approach does an equitable job, although one senses 
that it refers more to the English than to the Spanish: 

Both long distances and slow communications forced colonial rulers 
to make decisions without consulting the home government. And 
colonists who grew up in the sight of the forest and never saw the 
homeland became more and more inclined to make their own deci- 
sions. In addition, the harsh conditions of the new land required new 
types of decisions about new issues. ■*'> 

Weisberger intimates this also, and History of a Free People by 
Henry W. Bragdon and Samuel P. McCutcheon attempts to be 
more fair than the others in the majority as well. 

The decline of the empire has been attributed to internal factors 
such as greed, economic incompetence, and lack of foresight. Im- 
portant factors hke the English contraband trade, however, are 
often neglected.^' Very few of the texts specifically spend any 
time on the English role in weakening the empire. One which 
does merits attention. This is America's Story states: 

Drake felt a bitter hatred for the Spaniards. For many years he 
proved his boldness and skill by capturing Spanish vessels and attack- 
ing Spanish towns. Once he and his men landed on the Isthmus of 
Panama and cooly seized a Spanish mule-train bearing costly treasure! 
After this the Spanish called him "Drake the Dragon," and the king 
of Spain offered a sum equal to $200,000 to anyone who could kill 

One wonders if a Spanish pirate attacking Enghsh shipping would 
be "bold" and "skillful." More likely, he would be pictured as 
being "wicked" and "treacherous." And surely no Spaniard would 
be so warmly thought of for "coolly" seizing a treasure convoy. 
Ironically, the very same authors who so flagrantly throw around 
objectives warn in the margin of the teacher's edition to "bring out 
the Spanish and English viewpoints regarding Drake. This is an 
example of why it is difficult to write history which will not be 
regarded as biased by some group. "^" 

Although this area, the decline of the Spanish empire, contains 
less of a questionable nature than some of the others, there are 

46Bartlett, Fenton, Fowler, and Mandelbaum, A New Historv of the 
United States, p. 27. 

^■^See Vera Lee Brown, "Contraband Trade: A Factor in the Decline of 
Spain's Empire in America," HAHR 8 (1928): 178-89. 

■^^Wilder, Ludlam, and Brown, This is America's Story, pp. 76-77. 



Still comments such as "the people living in Spain and in the 
Spanish colonies had almost no voice in the government."^^^ Foun- 
dations of Freedom states: "There was little self-government in 
Spain. All political power and authority were held by the king. 
And no self-government was allowed in the Spanish colonies. "'^^ 
Another text offers a rather vague, if unhelpful, "unwise policies 
of the Spanish king further weakened Spain. "■"^- History of a Free 
People gives the best account of the Spanish decline: 

Although the founding of the Spanish Empire was one of the great 
achievements of history, it was not followed by vigorous development 
after the first century of conquest and settlement. There are several 
reasons for this. 

( 1 ) Spain tried to do too much in the "Spanish century . . . ." 

(2) The Spanish kept colonial trade in a straight jacket .... 

( 3 ) Society in the Spanish colonies became fixed in a pyramid .... 
Despite these drawbacks, the Spanish extended their culture over an 

area many times larger than their own, and kept control for three 
centuries or more. Furthermore, they protected the native population 
from extermination and from the worst forms of oppression.-"''^ 

Many of the texts seize upon the defeat of the Armada in 1588 
as the turning point of Spain's fortunes. Whether this as a single 
event was that critical is a matter of judgment, but a much-used 
text. Rise of the American Nation by Lewis Paul Todd and Merle 
Curti, makes much of the defeat: 

The English defeat of the Spanish Armada was a decisive moment 
in world history — -and in the history of the land that later became the 
United States. For nearly 100 years, Spain had been growing rich 
and powerful from trade and plunder in the New World. Unchecked, 
Spain might have gone on to build strong colonies along the Atlantic 
seaboard of North America from Florida to what is now Maine. 

The sea battle in the English Channel in 1588 marked the turning 
point of Spain's fortunes in the New World. 5* 

The passage contains what may be construed as anti-Spanish senti- 
ment. The word "plunder" (a favorite in the majority of texts) 
is essentially correct, but in reference to similar English actions 
further north the word is not used. After the sentence describing 
what Spain might have done "unchecked," one might imagine the 
authors saying to themselves, "Horrid fate!" There is relief in the 
next sentence, though, when the English do "check" the Spanish. 

Other texts offer differing descriptions of the Armada itself. A 
student's perception of the Spanish navy could either be favorable 

oOLewis Paul Todd and Merle Curti, Rise of the American Nation, 3rd 
ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1972), p. 15 

siEibling, Jackson, and Perrone, Foundations of Freedom, p. 71. 
52Canfield and Wilder, The Making of Modern America, p. 32. 
53Bragdon and McCutcheon, History of a Free People, p. 7. 
54Todd and Curti, Rise of the American Nation, pp. 4-5. 


or unfavorable, depending upon which book he read. For instance, 
Canfield and Wilder state: "The attacking Spanish ships were big 
and clumsy. The defending English ships were smaller but skill- 
fully handled."^-'' History of a Free People, on the other hand, 
says that "comprising 130 ships manned by 27,000 men, this was 
the greatest naval expedition the world had ever seen.""^" Both 
views are correct, but one is clearly complimentary and the other 
not so. A fairer description would probably combine the two. 

Most of the textbooks spend little time in the area of the Spanish 
treatment of the Indian. The Black Legend emphasizes the ex- 
treme cruelty with which the Spaniards treated him, to the exclu- 
sion of all else, including the fact that many Indians were not any 
worse off than they had been in pre-conquest days. The Legend 
also speaks of the planned and deliberate slaughter of millions of 
Indians, when in fact the vast majority of those millions died 
of disease. The Spanish had no desire to annihilate their labor 

We know now that Indian depopulation was an ecological phenom- 
enon, uncontrollable in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century terms. Hu- 
manitarian enactments were powerless against it ... . Even casual 
contacts between Spaniards and Indians meant that Indians died, for 
they immediately became victims of the diseases that Spaniards 

Weisberger offers the novel if dubious analogy that if Americans 
could as they did in 1938 to the radio broadcast of War of the 
Worlds, "imagine the reactions of Indians who had never seen an 
oceangoing ship, a horse, or a gun. The wonder is that some 
Indians had the courage to fight back at all.""*^ This is somewhat 
hke saying that if violence on television incites children, imagine 
what would happen if they saw their favorite program magnified 
hundreds of times in a movie theater. There is a possible, but not 
probable, connection. Of the textbooks examined, only History: 
USA by Jack Allen and John L. Betts provides a commentary 
which is not debatable one way or the other: 

From the earliest days of conquest and settlement, the Indian pro- 
vided most of the labor which built the colonial empire. Although 
rarely enslaved, he generally lived and worked in communities without 
freedom of movement, without civil and political rights, and generally 

f>5Canfield and Wilder, The Making of Modern America, p. 32. 

56Bragdon and McCutcheon, History of a Free People, p. 12. 

•"'"Charles Gibson, Spain in America (New York: Harper and Row, 
1966), p. 64. Lesley Byrd Simpson speaks of a developing "feudal rela- 
tionship" between Spaniard and Indian in The Ecomienda in New Spain: 
The Beginning of Spajiish Mexico, rev. ed. (Berkeley: University of Cali- 
fornia Press, 1966). 

s^Weisberger, The Impact of Our Past, p. 53. 


without adequate pay. Such leaders as did develop were either slain 
in revolts, executed, or bought off with an office, or title of rank.59 

Historical interpretations on this theme vary. Some are likely 
to show that the Spanish conquest did not disrupt Indian life as 
much as might be imagined. William B. Taylor develops this 
theme in his book, Landlord and Peasant in Colonial Oaxaca. 
Here we learn that in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, the Spanish 
generally respected Indian titles to the land.^" On the other hand, 
Charles Gibson asserts that 

The Black Legend provides a gross but essentially accurate interpre- 
tation of relations between Spaniards and Indians. The Legend builds 
upon the record of deliberate sadism .... [T]he substantive content 
of the Black Legend asserts that Indians were exploited by Spaniards, 
and in empirical fact they were.^i 

This aspect of the Black Legend thus probably has more credence 
than the others. 

A last comment upon this theme illustrates two ways in which 
the racial combination of Spaniards and Indians is presented in 
the texts. One reads: 

Racially there is a wide difference between the people of the United 
States and their southern neighbors. For the most part, the Spanish 
conquerors of Latin America did not bring their families with them. 
As a result, a mixed race developed in many parts of Latin America, 
partly mestizo (white and Indian), partly mulatto (white and Negro). *52 

Essentially the same factual information contained in this con- 
demnation of Spanish adultery is presented succinctly and neu- 
trally in another: "In the United States today probably less 
than one per cent of the population has any Indian ancestry; in 
Mexico, however, mestizos (those people who are of mixed Indian 
and white descent) form the great majority of the population. "^^ 
A New History of the United States: An Inquiry Approach approx- 
imates this treatment in its own, and perhaps Weisberger says it 
best of all: "If they took Indian wives and had children, as they 
often did, the youngsters were part of a new breed — Americans. "^^ 
The Indians, of course, were Americans before they encountered 
the Spanish, but the passage is important in its placement of the 
mestizo in the category of "American." Black Legend adherents 
consider him to be neither American nor European, a "man with- 
out a country." 

59(New York: American Book Co., 1971), p. 19. 
60(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972), pp. 195-202. 
6iGibson, The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule, p. 403. 
62Canfield and Wilder, The Making of Modern America, p. 632. 
^^Bragdon and McCutcheon, History of a Free People, p. 7. 
^•^Weisberger, The Impact of Our Past, p. 65. 


Related to the Spanish treatment of the Indian is the subject 
of how they treated the black person. Roughly half of the texts 
comment upon Negroes in the Spanish colonies. The great 
majority of these make a distinction between Spanish and Anglo- 
American slavery, with the Spanish version generally emerging as 
being less harsh than its northern counterpart. Todd and Curti in 
Rise of the American Nation present a well-balanced and thorough 
treatment of the phenomenon, stressing both the harshness, and at 
times comparative laxity, of Spanish slavery. ^-^ There appears to 
be a singular absence of the Black Legend in this area, possibly 
owing to the fact that potential critics found it difficult to condemn 
an institution of theirs that was so treasured it caused a civil war. 
Nevertheless, those texts which say nothing about Spanish enslave- 
ment of the Negro are practicing a "bias by omission" in their 
refusal to deal with an important part of the social history of 

Up to this point the discussion has centered solely in the Spanish 
colonial period, and consequently has dealt primarily with the 
Black Legend as applied to the Spanish. As has been seen, the 
Legend continues to exist in much of the textbooks' treatment of 
the period. As Billington intimated, much of it is of a subtle rather 
than glaring nature. Even a wary reader is likely to leave parts of 
it unnoticed, because some of these attitudes have become in- 
grained into the very psyche of most Americans. The following 
section illustrates what was said earlier about the Legend being 
applied not only to the Spanish, but to the Mexicans as well. 

The Mexican War, and preceding it, the American occupation 
of Texas, provide most of the remaining material occurring in a 
sizeable number of texts which reflects Black Legend thinking. 
All of the texts are pro-Texan, as indicated by their sympathetic 
treatment of the Alamo, Goliad, Sam Houston, and so forth. 
There is probably nothing wrong in this, as these names are equat- 
ed in most Americans' minds with heroism and determination. 
There should be, however, a reciprocal look at the position of the 
Mexicans. This is not attempted by most of the books. This is 
America's Story illustrates this point: 

Mexico realized too late that it had been a mistake to allow Ameri- 
cans to settle in her territory. They did not get along well with the 
government or with the Spanish people in Texas. The Americans 
were different in language, religion, and ways of living. Furthermore, 
they were independent in spirit and disliked living under Mexican 

Historical inaccuracy exists in the second sentence. The people 
referred to are not Spanish; they are Mexican, and there is a 

s^Todd and Curti, Rise of the American Nation, pp. 14-15. 
66Wilder, Ludlam, and Brown, This is America's Story, p. 353. 


difference. Once again, turn the passage around; the Americans 
Uving on Mexican soil are "independent in spirit" and thus do not 
like to obey Mexican law; but picture the description most likely 
given to Mexicans living on American soil. Here we would prob- 
ably see words such as "rebellious," "anarchical," or "ungrateful." 
In actual fact, millions of Mexicans do at the present time live 
illegally in the United States. Are they "independent in spirit"? 
No, they are "wetbacks." Another text. The Impact of Our Past: 
A History of the United States, provides a potentially dangerous 

Revolutions brought frequent changes of rulers, leading the Texans 
to the harsh judgment expressed by one of them in a letter: "The 
Mexicans are never at peace with each other; ignorant and degraded 
as many of them are, they are not capable of ruling, nor yet of being 
ruled. "67 

There is nothing inherently wrong with this passage, and it is con- 
ceivably a good idea for students to know firsthand what the feel- 
ings of many Texans were. However, a teacher should point out 
to students exactly what the passage is attempting to convey. Oth- 
erwise, a light reading of the text is apt to implant the words 
"ignorant" and "degraded" to the exclusion of the substantive 
meaning of the excerpt. Again, all seventeen texts could stand 
improvement in this area if they wish to appear less biased. 

The Mexican War of 1846-1848 is treated less uniformly than 
the above, reflecting the varied interpretations of its causes which 
have followed it to the present day. Since there is little consensus 
on the precise causes of the war, it is not possible to single out any 
particular texts as being historically inaccurate. At least half of 
them point to more than one cause, and none have been so bold 
as to affix sole blame upon Mexico. This is encouraging in light 
of the fact that this is an area one would think to be especially 
prone to jingoistic assaults upon those people "south of the bor- 
der." Notwithstanding that fact, the texts do need to justify words 
such as "massacred," "slaughtered," or "mercilessly destroyed" in 
speaking of the plight of the Americans. Although the terms are 
emotionally strong, they may be considered justifiable — but only 
if similarly applied to American actions against others where 
appropriate. Other terms referring to Santa Anna as "wily," 
"crafty," and a "dictator" are sprinkled generously throughout. 
These are stereotypes commonly used to describe all Mexicans, 
and their use is justified only if they are perceived by students as 
serving this purpose. Finally, several of the texts allude to some 
of the "contributions" of civilization which the United States hoped 
to bring Mexican culture through the war. The teacher would do 

fi^Weisberger, The Impact of Our Past, p. 287. 


well to offer examples showing that these Anglo-Saxon contribu- 
tions had existed in Latin America hundreds of years before.'''^ 

Pictures and captions are also capable of creating attitudes in 
the minds of students, especially in this age of "functional illiter- 
acy" which has spawned such a number of illustrations in some 
texts that the narrative becomes seemingly secondary. Most of 
the pictures in the texts avoided the Black Legend stereotype of 
portraying Cortes in full battle regalia bearing down upon helpless 
Indians. In fact, one book labelled its picture of him "Hernando 
Cortes, explorer."^'^ Many of the pictures dealt with contributions, 
such as architecture, rather than stereotypes. However, two of the 
seventeen included reproductions of engravings by Theodore de 
Bry. According to one authority, "no publisher did more to pop- 
ularize the so-called Black Legend in Germany and throughout 
Europe than Theodore de Bry and his sons Jean Theodore and 
Jean Israel."'" Powell tells why the family's engravings are seen 
with disfavor in Spain: 

In 1598 the De Brys of Frankfurt issued an edition of the Brief 
Relation [by Bartolome de Las Casas] with a new twist. The work 
contained seventeen engravings illustrating specific episodes of pur- 
ported Spanish torture and kilHng of Indians, as described in Las 
Casas' text. These pictures were extremely gruesome, obviously cater- 
ing to the general public and its common appetite for horrors. From 
this time on editions of the Brief Relation often contained all or some 
of the De Bry engravings. And the pictures themselves were dignified 
by separate publication, thus indicating their original propaganda 

Although the pictures in the textbooks are not these particularly 
gruesome ones, it does seem out of place to use any of de Bry's 
work without an accompanying explanation of what he is most 
famous for. Not doing this is the equivalent of sending a sincerely 
cheery note to a Jewish person on a National Socialist White Peo- 
ple's Party letterhead. Needless to say, no matter how cheerful 
the greeting, it will not excite a cheerful reaction on the part of 
the recipient. 

Generally, undesirable traits have not been intentionally attrib- 
uted to Mexicans and Spaniards by the authors. However, one 
ironic inclusion in The American Experience: A Study of Themes 
and Issues in American History by Robert F. Madgic, Stanley S. 
Seaberg, Fred H. Stopsky, and Robin W. Winks, is an excerpt 
from Philip Frenau's eighteenth-century poem, "The Rising Glory 

6'^Herbert E. Bolton, "Some Cultural Assets of Latin America," HAHR 
20 (1940): 3-11; rpt. New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1965. 

69Ver Steeg and Hofstadter, A People ami a Nation, p. 11. 

"^Benjamin Keen, The Aztec Image in Western Thought (New Brunswick: 
Rutgers University Press, 1971), p. 163. 

'iPowell, Tree of Hate, p. 80. 


of America." Charles Gibson included the poem in his collection 
of representative Black Legend writings.'^- Rise of the American 
Nation includes a statement which sustains a rather unflattering 
stereotype: "Against this frontier of Spanish culture with its lei- 
surely tempo of life pressed an irresistible tide of energetic, land- 
hungry Americans.""'^ One wonders whether an irresistible tide of 
land-hungry Mexicans would be "energetic" or simply "greedy." 
This is America's Story describes Balboa as "a tall and haughty 
man and an excellent swordsman.""^ One wonders if knowledge 
of Balboa's haughtiness adds appreciably to a student's under- 
standing of the story, but in any case the word is not applied to 
Americans. Andrew Jackson, surely one of the most haughty 
public figures of all time, is recorded in the same text as being 
bold, courageous, a man of action, honest, and hard-working, if 
prone at times to an uncontrollable temper.'"^ 

As was observed before, the Black Legend is selective in its use 
of historical fact. It concentrates on the alarming and undesirable 
actions of the Spanish and neglects the contributions they made to 
the areas now within the United States. Half of the textbooks do 
not mention any Spanish contribution to our country. One of 
them gives us a simplistic time-line which indirectly gives Spain 
all of three words: 

"American Events" 

1492 Columbus discovered America 

1607 Jamestown settled"^ 

The other texts do an accurate job of describing our Spanish inher- 
itance. Todd and Curti provide one of the best treatments: 

To their American colonies, the Portuguese and Spaniards brought 
domestic animals, plants, and seeds never before seen in the New 
World. In pens and crates on the decks of their ships, they trans- 
ported horses, donkeys, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry. Using 
barrels cut in half and filled with earth they carried fruit and nut 
trees — olive, lemon, orange, lime, apple, cherry, pear, fig, apricot, 
almond, and walnut. In bags they brought seeds of wheat, barley, 
rye, rice, peas, lentils, and flax. They also transplanted sugar cane 
and flowers."^ 

The authors also tell of farms, ranches, cities, books, colleges, and 
churches. This text and the others like it deserve to stand as 

"2(Menlo Park, Calif.: Addison-Wesley, 1975), p. 50; and Gibson, The 
Black Legend, pp. 151-54. 

"STodd and Curti, Rise of the American Nation, p. 324. 

"^Wilder, Ludlam, and Brown, This is America's Story, p. 60. 

^^Ibid., p. 322. 

■'■GBoyd C. Shafer, Everett Augspurger, and Richard A. McLemore, 
United States History for High Schools (River Forest, 111.: Laidlaw Broth- 
ers, 1973), p. 12. 

"^Todd and Curti, Rise of the American Nation, p. 14. 


examples for forthcoming high school histories, if the Black Leg- 
end is to be ultimately erased. 

One group of authors thought that including examples of Span- 
ish contributions was a good idea, but would not allow them with- 
out reservations: "Because the Spanish settlements north of the 
lower Rio Grande were little more than military and mission posts 
on a distant frontier, Spanish civilization did not greatly influence 
the development of United States history. "'"^ The authors then 
proceed to list some of the things such as religion, language, foods, 
and livestock which "did not greatly influence" our history. 

To sum up, it should be clear by now that the Black Legend is 
"alive and well" in the United States history textbooks used in 
Wyoming high schools. Although the "Equality State" prides itself 
upon being less racially troubled than other parts of the country, 
it is obvious that teaching misconceptions in public classrooms are 
an inevitable by-product of the utilization of less-than-accurate 
textbooks. To simplify the task of determining which books are 
responsible and which are not for transmitting unwarranted stereo- 
types, the seventeen examined in this study have been grouped 
under three headings, as follow. It should be remembered that 
no single book is "all good" or "all bad," and a text guilty of 
incorporating the Black Legend can still be an excellent work in 
other areas. For conciseness, only the titles are given below. 
More information may be obtained by consulting the appendix. 

The "Traditional" texts are the ones most prone to abuse their 
responsibility of transmitting accurate history. These are the 
"Black Legend" texts: The Free and the Brave: The Story of the 
American People; The Impact of Our Past: A History of the 
United States; A History of the United States; The Making of 
Modern America; and This is America's Story. These textbooks 
need to be revised. 

A second school of thought may be appropriately entitled the 
"Omission" school. One might theorize that these authors are 
indeed aware of the Black Legend, and wish to avoid its compli- 
cations by avoiding treatment of the Spanish and Mexican people 
altogether. In any event, this denial of the cultural influence of 
the Hispanic peoples upon the history of the United States consti- 
tutes the most flagrant "bias by omission" imaginable. The books 
are: The American Experience: ..A Study of Themes and Issues 
in American History; The People Make a Nation; United States 
History; and United States History for High Schools. These too 
need revision. 

"SAUen and Betts, History: USA, p. 19. For detailed treatment of some 
contributions, see Harry Bernstein, "Spanish Influence in the United States: 
Economic Aspects," i/^^/? 18 (1938): 43-65. 


The third group of textbooks constitute a "Revisionist" school 
of thought. These authors, while guilty at times of injecting unin- 
tentional bias, at least make an effort to include a fair representa- 
tion of Hispanic influence upon our history. At the same time, 
they do not "sugar-coat" the treatment in an effort to be all things 
to all people. They are represented by: Discovering American 
History; Foundations of Freedom: United States History to 1877; 
History of a Free People; History: USA; A New History of the 
United States: An Inquiry Approach; The Pageant of American 
History; A People and a Nation; and Rise of the American Nation. 
Although some of their coverage is scanty, it is accurate. One 
of the better texts, Rise of the American Nation, is used in 
most high schools along the southern tier of counties in the state. 
This is fortunate, because these counties contain by far the 
highest percentage of Mexican-American students, who are thus 
able to receive a more well-rounded picture than that offered by 
some of the texts. However, schools using the "Traditional" texts, 
especially in the northern part of the state with few Mexican- 
Americans, should not feel smug in their choices. After all, ste- 
reotypes are most often fostered by those who have little contact 
with the people they malign. 

The American Council on Education made a number of conclu- 
sions based on its study of 1944. It said that it was reasonably 
optimistic about the whole matter, and that there was no desire by 
any of the authors to intentionally distort the truth. There were 
inaccuracies in some of the factual detail, but were considered 
correctable. However, there was widespread residue of the Black 
Legend, especially in the treatment of the colonial period, and 
racial prejudices were also evident. Sometimes a "Kiplingesque 
condescension" existed toward Latin America. Periods of conflict 
rather than of cooperation are stressed by the authors. Finally, 
the authors use terms like "dictator" without understanding their 
Latin American connotations. This study is in basic agreement 
with these conclusions, and differs from them in only one instance. 
While the Council thought that adequate quantitative material 
existed in the United States history books, that is clearly not the 
case with several of those presently examined.'''^ 

This study concludes with an example of what is being done in 
the case of one text as far as revision. The text is Henry F. Graff's 
The Free and the Brave: The Story of the American People. The 
second edition of the book is the one used by a Wyoming high 
school, but since that edition was not available for examination, 
the first and third editions were examined (1967 and 1977 respec- 

■'^s American Council on Education, Latin America in School and College 
Teaching Materials, pp. 27-37. 


lively. ) Since there was a ten-year span between the two editions, 
changes stick out quite readily. For example, in the first edition, 
motives for colonization include, "a fierce search for gold and 
silver" while in the third edition it is simply "to search for gold and 
silver."'*'^ Another example is this excerpt from the first edition: 

Despite the fact that his men died like flies, Balboa pressed on 
toward his goal. When he faced Indian enemies on the way, he turned 
on them the dozen ferocious dogs he had brought along. They could 
tear a man limb from limb and needed little encouragement in their 
work, which they performed often. ^i 

Compare this to the newer edition: 

Even though his men died like flies, Balboa kept on toward his 
goal. When he faced Indian enemies along the way, he sometimes 
turned loose on them the dozen mean dogs he had brought along. 
The animals could easily kill a man, and often did.^- 

The passage was revised, although not substantially. What is 
amazing is that it was kept at all. Balboa's twelve dogs are his- 
torically unimportant in a survey of this nature which should spend 
its time on the really vital issues. Another change made in the text 
was to cease calling Pizarro "an ignorant man.'"^-^ This is a sound 
revision. Although Pizarro might well have been ignorant, this is 
no place to say it. A further change was made in this passage: 
"The Spanish were affected by their contact with the Indians, too. 
They fell into the habit of refusing to work with their hands — a 
usual vice of conquerors. "^^ The new edition states only that the 
Spanish did not want to work any more with their hands. 

The book is still virulently anti-Hispanic even after revisions 
have been made, for the most part. This last quote, which is 
anachronistic and anti-historical, proves that more must yet be 

The Crusades taught the Spaniards and other Europeans now skills 
at waging war. The crusaders learned methods of attack which few 
people in the world — possibly only the Japanese — could match. So it 
was that the history of Europe and the Middle East affected the way 
in which conquistadors, wearing armor and carrying destructive hal- 
berds (two-handed swords), faced American Indians. 85 

The "revised" version of this passage is only slightly altered: 

The Crusades taught the Spaniards and other Europeans new ways 
of fighting. The men learned ways of attacking that few other people 
in the world — ^perhaps only the Japanese — could equal. So the his- 

80(Chicago: Rand McNally, 1967 and 1977), pp. 25, 26. 

mbid., p. 29. 


mbid., p. 34. 

84/6W., pp. 39, 40. 

mbid., p. 42. 


tory of Europe and Southwest Asia helped conquistadors, who wore 
armor and carried two-handed swords, to conquer Indians.^^ 

The book is still in the "Traditional" school. 


Information concerning the principal American history text- 
books used in Wyoming high schools was obtained by question- 
naire in the fall of 1976. The textbooks and the schools where 
they are used are listed below, in descending order according to 
frequency of use. The specific edition(s) of each text examined 
in this study follows the title. 

The data following each school reveals: location (if not appar- 
ent in the school name); county; grade levels in which the text is 
used; approximate enrollment; average percentage of Mexican- 
Americans in a class; and the specific edition of the text which is 
used in the school. 

Todd, Lewis Paul, and Merle Curti. Rise of the American 
Nation, 3rd ed. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovano- 
vich, 1972. 

1. Burns; Laramie County; 9-12; 170; 1%; 1972. 

2. Campbell County; Gillette; Campbell County; 10-12; 
900; unknown; 1972. 

3. Central; Cheyenne; Laramie County; 10-12; 1300; 15%; 

4. East; Cheyenne; Laramie County; 10-12; 1550; 5%; 

5. Evanston; Uinta County; 10-12; 300; 1%; 1972. 

6. Laramie; Albany County; 10-12; 1000 12.6% 1974. 

7. Natrona County; Casper; Natrona County; 10-12; 2100; 
2%; 1969. 

8. Rawhns; Carbon County; 9-12; 780; 22%; 1972. 

9. Star Valley; Afton; Lincoln County; 9-12; 480; none; 

10. Torrington; Goshen County; 10-12; 475; 7%; 1974. 

11. W. Wesly Morrow; Baggs; Carbon County; 7-12; 2; un- 
known; 1968. 

Bragdon, Henry W., and Samuel P. McCutcheon. History of a 
People. New York: Macmillan, 1969. 
1. Cowley; Big Horn County; 9-12; unknown; none; 1969 
(with supplements in Mexican-American area). 

^Hbid., p. 41. There is irony in the fact that Henry F. Graff co-authored 
with Jacques Barzun a research and writing manual entitled The Modern 
Researcher, rev. ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1970). The 
manual stresses care in scholarship and clarity in exposition. 


2. GreybuU; Big Horn County; 9-12; 225; none; 1973. 

3. Guernsey-Sunrise; Guernsey; Platte County; 9-12; 125; 
2%; 1967. 

4. Hot Springs County; Thermopolis; Hot Springs County; 
9-12; 400; none; 1973. 

5. Medicine Bow -Shirley Basin; Medicine Bow; Carbon 
County; 9-12; 125; .5%; 1973. 

Current, Richard N., Alexander DeConde, and Harris L. Dante. 
United States History: Search for Freedom. Glen view, 
Illinois: Scott, Foresman, 1967. 

1. Byron; Big Horn County; 7-12; 70; 11%; 1967. 

2. Dubois; Fremont County; 9-12; unknown; 1%; 1967. 

3. Kaycee; .Johnson County; 9-12; 50; none; 1970. 

4. Niobrara County; Lusk; Niobrara County; 9-12; 200; 
none; 1974. 

5. Powell; Park County; 9-12; 735;5%; 1974. 

Ver Steeg, Clarence L., and Richard Hofstadter. A People and 
a Nation. New York: Harper and Row, 1971. 

1. Burlington; Big Horn County; 9-12; 75; 2-3%; 1971. 

2. Cokeville; Lincoln County; 9-12; 66; 1%; 1971. 

3. Hulett, Crook County; 9-12; 79; none; 1971. 

4. Mountain View; Uinta County; 9-12; 154; none; 1974. 

5. Newcastle; Weston County; 9-12; 450; 1%; 1971. 

Shafer, Boyd C, Everett Augspurger, and Richard A. McLe- 
more. United States History for High Schools, 2nd ed. 
River Forest, Illinois: Laidlaw Brothers, 1973. 

1. Lagrange; Goshen County; 9-12; 60; 7%; 1966. 

2. Moorcroft; Crook County; 9-12; 175; none; 1973. 

3. Shoshoni; Fremont County; 9-12; 335; 1.5%; 1973. 

4. Sundance; Crook County; 9-12; 250; none; 1973. 

Leinwand, Gerald. The Pageant of American History. Bos- 
ton: AUyn and Bacon, 1975. 

1. Lingle-Ft. Laramie; Lingle; Goshen County; 9-12; 137; 
1-2%; 1975. 

2. Lovell; Big Horn County; 9-12; 270; 10-15%; 1975. 

3. Pine Bluffs; Laramie County; 9-12; 150; .8%; 1975. 

Wade, Richard C, Howard B. Wilder, and Louise C. Wade. 
A History of the United States. Boston : Houghton Mif- 
flin, 1972. 

1. Chugwater; Platte County; 7-12; unknown; none; 1972. 

2. Glendo; Platte County; 7-12; 60; none; 1969. 

3. Hanna-Elk Mountain; Hanna; Carbon County; 9-12; 
112; 2%; 1972. 


Allen, Jack, and John L. Betts. History: USA. New York: 
American Book Company, 1971. 

1. Cody; Park County; 10-12; 608; 1%; 1976. 

2. Glenrock; Converse County; 9-12; 235; 1%; 1971. 

Graff, Henry F., and John A. Krout. The Adventure of the 
American People. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1971. (Not 
Examined in this Study) 

1. Basin; Big Horn County; 9-12; 40; 2.5%; 1971. 

2. Big Horn; Sheridan County; 9-12; 107; none; 1970. 

Sandler, Martin W., Edwin C. Rozwenc, and Edward C. Martin. 
The People Make a Nation. Boston: AUyn and Bacon, 

1. Buffalo; Johnson County; 9-12; 400; 2% ; 1975. 

2. Wheatland; Platte County; 9-12; 385; 5% ; 1975. 

Madgic, Robert P., Stanley S. Seaberg, Fred H. Stopsky, and 
Robin W. Winks. The American Experience: A Study 
of Themes and Issues in American History, 2nd ed. 
Menlo Park, California: Addison- Wesley, 1975. 

1. Big Piney; Sublette County; 9-12; 60; 2%; 1975. 

2. Central; Cheyenne; Laramie County; 10-12; 1300; 15%; 

Weisberger, Bernard A. The Impact of Our Past: A History 
of the United States. New York: American Heritage 
Publishing Company, 1972. 

1. Manderson-Hyattville; Manderson; Big Horn County; 
9-12; 48; 6%; 1976. 

2. Upton; Weston County; 9-12; 120; none; 1972. 

Abramowitz, Jack. American History, rev. ed. Chicago: Fol- 
lett Educational Corporation, 1971. (Not Examined in 
this Study) 
1. Meeteetse; Park County; 9-12; 90; 8%; 1971. 

Bartlett, Irving, Edwin Fenton, David Fowler, and Seymour 
Mandelbaum. A New History of the United States: An 
Inquiry Approach. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and 
Winston, 1975. 
1. Wind River; Kinnear; Fremont County; 9-12; 155; 
0-5%; 1975. 

Branson, Margaret Stimmann. American History for Today. 
Boston: Ginn, 1970. (Not Examined in this Study) 
1. Huntley; Goshen County; 9-12; 70; 2%; 1970. 


Canfield, Leon H., and Howard B. Wilder. The Making of 
Modern America, 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 
1. Riverton; Fremont County; 10-12; 750; 2-3%; 1966. 

Eibling, Harold H., Carlton Jackson, and Vito Perrone. Foun- 
dations of Freedom: United States History to 1877. 
River Forest, Illinois: Laidlaw Brothers, 1973. 
1. Lagrange; Goshen County; 9-12; 60; 7%; 1973. 

Graff, Henry F. The Free and the Brave: The Story of the 
American People, 1st and 3rd eds. Chicago: Rand Mc- 
Nally, 1967 and 1977. 
1. Lyman; Uinta County; 9-12; 400; unknown; 1972 (2nd 

Kownslar, Allan O., and Donald B. Frizzle. Discovering Amer- 
ican History. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 
1. Central; Cheyenne; Laramie County; 10-12; 1300; 15%; 

Sandler, Martin W. In Search of America. Boston: Ginn, 
1975. (Not Examined in this Study) 
1. Sheridan; Sheridan County; 9-12; 1100; 1%; 1975 (with 
supplements ) . 

Wilder, Howard B., Robert P. Ludlam, and Harriet McCune 
Brown. This is America's Story, 3rd ed. Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, 1966 and 1970 
1. Ten Sleep; Washakie County; 9-12; 60; none; 1968. 

The following schools either had no standard text, returned 
partially invalid data, or divided United States history teaching 
into various classifications: 



Green River 

Kelly Walsh (Casper) 


The following schools chose not to respond to the survey: 


Converse County (Douglas) 

Deaver-Frannie (Deaver) 

Far son-Eden (Farson) 

Goshen Hole (Veteran) 

Jackson Hole (Jackson) 

Jeffrey City 



Lander Valley (Lander) 



Platte Valley (Saratoga) 

Rock River 

Rock Springs 

Tongue River (Dayton) 


Zhe Jiug Huice War 


Douglas C. McChristian 

He drank up all the bug juice 
The whiskey man would sell. 
They rammed him in the mill; 
They've got him in there still. 
His bobtail's comin' back by mail. 
O'Reilly's gone to hell. 

These lines, taken from an old army barracks song, describe 
the plight of one soldier who fell victim to "demon rum." Inevi- 
tably, he was arrested and thrown into the guardhouse, or "mill," 
to sleep it off and to await charges. The scene was all too com- 
mon to the regular army during the years after the Civil War. 

The hard-drinking, hard-fighting Irish soldier has become a 
stock character associated with the army serving on the frontier. 
The fact that he existed is well supported by army records, includ- 
ing those of Fort Laramie. However, he certainly was not always 
Irish nor was he always a hard-fighter, at least in real combat. 
Some of his greatest "battles" took place in the bar at the post 
trader's store, in the barracks, or in one of the so-called "hog 
ranches" located just off the military reservation. 

Although the degree of drinking varied somewhat from one post 
to another, it was always a problem. The environment under 
which it spawned and thrived was generally the same at any west- 
ern post. Fort Laramie, far from being a bad duty station, had 
many of these conditions present. 

Army life itself, no matter what the station, was conducive to 
liberal alcoholic consumption. The army of the Indian Wars era 
relied solely upon volunteers, who signed away five years of their 
lives to be soldiers. Many of these men had been tempered by 
experiences in the Civil War, by discouraging economic conditions, 
and by crime. In a word, they were tough. If they weren't when 
they joined, they became so long before their enlistment's end. 

In most instances, military posts were far in advance of white 
settlement, usually to protect routes of travel or to stand watch 
over Indian reservations. Often they were located in harsh, barren 
terrain far from any town or city. In the case of Fort Laramie, 
the city of Cheyenne developed during 1867 on the Union Pacific 
ninety miles to the south. Prior to that the nearest settlement of 
any note had been Denver. Even at that, the distance was far 
enough to effectively bar Cheyenne as a source of recreation. Had 
the two been in close proximity, the result would have been much 


the same due to the rowdy and mostly-male nature of railroad 
boom towns. Wholesome recreation was scarce indeed anywhere 
on the frontier. Whatever soldiers found to do in their off-duty 
hours was done at or very near the post. 

Life in the regular army was anything but glamorous. Those 
who joined to find excitement, as an alternative to watching the 
hind-sides of a plow team, were nearly always profoundly disap- 
pointed. For one recruit, Pvt. John E. Cox, this occurred as soon 
as he was issued his uniform at Newport Barracks in 1872. 

I was tall and slender, and of course drew a blouse big enough for 
Barnum's fat man, while my trousers could not be coaxed within six 
inches of my heels! United States soldier, indeed! U. S. scarecrows 
would be nearer the truth! 

For Others the letdown came more slowly. A day at Fort 
Laramie normally began at 5:45 a.m. with the first of three daily 
roll calls fifteen minutes later. From then until evening a soldier's 
hfe was a treadmill of drills, fatigues, and inspections. Then of 
course there were the ever-unpopular rotating tours of guard duty 
which ran twenty-four hours a day, fair weather and foul. Being 
a cavalry trooper brought the extra joys of at least two additional 
hours of horse care each day. When priorities had to be estab- 
lished, the drills were omitted in favor of work details which were 
the life blood sustaining a fort. The principal fuel, of course, was 
wood and it took several dozen cords monthly to supply a post 
the size of Fort Laramie. Men were detailed to construction and 
repair work, ice-cutting, warehouse duties, stable police, water 
hauling and a host of other non-military assignments. Small 
wonder that the rank and file termed the post a "Government 

The practice of utilizing soldiers to do work which might have 
been accomplished by contract or day labor became a major source 
of discontent among the men. Such a routine day in and day out 
for months on end in an isolated place bred monotony and pent-up 
energy which sought escape at any opportunity. 

There were, certainly, alternatives to drinking. Again, the 
location of the post had a great deal to do with the variety of 
these alternatives. At Fort Laramie soldiers could usually obtain 
permission to go hunting, the object being to bring back meat for 
the company mess. In the 1880s, as game became more scarce 
in the vicinity of the fort, the army's increased emphasis upon 
target practice provided recreation as well as training. 

Some soldiers also fished in the Laramie and North Platte 
Rivers. Baseball was very popular among the enlisted men and 
Reynolds J. Burt, son of Lt. Col. Andrew Burt, wrote that foot 
racing became quite a fad during the late 1880s. Horse racing, 
cards, reading, practical joking, and talking were all diversions 


used by soldiers to combat the loneliness and monotony of garri- 
son life. 

Many officers, like Brig. Gen. C. C. Augur, placed the blame 
for the army's drinking problem squarely upon its own system. 
In an 1870 report he stated: 

I desire, respectively, to state here that in my opinion, after twenty- 
seven years of experience, most of the drunkenness among soldiers in 
the army, and a large majority of desertions, is due to our system 
of paying the troops at long intervals of two months. Pay-day be- 
comes an event which affords means for its own celebration, and 
is almost universally followed by days of drunkenness and disorder 
and desertions. 

General Augur might have been even more candid by stating 
that it was not unusual for the troops to go even longer without 
pay. Weather, bad roads, hostiles, and bandits often delayed 
the paymaster so that four to six months between paydays was 
not uncommon. As might be expected, the delays only increased 
the intensity of the great event when it finally did arrive. A post 
trader's clerk at Fort Ellis, Montana, described one such occasion: 

Yesterday was a perfect pandemonium in the saloon, it was crowded 
all the time, everybody drunk and trying to outtalk everybody else. 
Every few minutes somebody would get knocked down, and occa- 
sionally they were having a free fight, that shook the whole house. 
When it got too bad, the officer of the guard would send down a 
squad of men and march the worst ones away to the guard house . . . 

A soldier's pay did not allow extravagance; prior to 1870 it 
was fixed at $16 per month for a private. An economy-minded 
Congress in that year cut the monthly pay to $ 1 3 and as a result, 
at least in part, nearly one-third of the enlisted men deserted. The 
pay was meager by any standards, even for those times. At Fort 
Laramie in 1867 beer sold for fifteen cents a glass or two for 
twenty-five cents. Bottled beer usually went for fifty cents to one 
dollar and whiskey for ten cents a glass. 

Some soldiers saved some of their pay or even invested it, while 
others sent a few dollars home to aid their families. For many, 
possibly the majority, it only burned holes in their pockets. Pay- 
day provided a chance to "live it up" and escape, for a while at 
least, the boredom and unyielding discipline of army life. 

The post trader provided the most readily accessible source of 
alcoholic beverage at most frontier posts, including Fort Laramie. 
The trader was a civilian licensed by the Secretary of War to 
conduct business on the government reserve. His primary role 
was that of providing the soldiers, officers, and their families with 
such goods as the army did not supply through regular channels. 
In reality, he brought a touch of the East to these far-flung western 
outposts. Here one could purchase nearly anything, within reason, 
that he might need or desire. 

Although the trader had no competition on the post, he did not 


possess a pure monopoly. Army regulations specified that prices 
would be established by a board of officers under the authority of 
the post commander. The board, using the trader's invoices to 
establish his costs, would fix the prices to be charged. A reason- 
able margin of profit would be included in the retail price, even 
though the merchant did not always agree. This method insured 
that the trader could not charge exorbitant prices and thereby take 
advantage of his captive market. 

In order to maintain the army's traditional class distinction, the 
post trader normally operated two bars, one for officers, another 
for soldiers. Frequently the former was termed a "club room," a 
sophisticated name for what was still a frontier saloon. These 
drinking establishments were also subject to the authority of the 
post commander. Just how much latitude was allowed depended, 
to a great degree, upon the personality and morals of that officer. 

As stated earlier, a soldier was normally kept busy doing some- 
thing during most of each day. This held true, at least until he 
began to learn the ropes of soldiering. Surprisingly, the army 
established reasonable limits to the work-day long before labor 
unions brought about reforms to private industry. Regulations 
stipulated that during the winter soldiers could be worked up to 
eight hours and in the summer ten hours. This left free time 
before and after evening retreat parade, once a man learned that 
steady maintenance of his accouterments and "brass" would save 
him time in the long run. At times there were spare minutes 
during the day between duties when a dry throat could be satisfied. 
Some non-commissioned officers even chanced to slip away from 
supervising fatigue parties in order to have a quick refreshment at 
the enlisted men's bar. "Coffee Coolers" (goldbricks) went to 
greater extremes, like Pvt. Charles Pemberton of the 9th Infantry 
band. After reporting for sick call and being ordered to stay "in 
quarters" by the post surgeon, Pemberton proceeded to get "spif- 
licated" at the trader's bar. He was hauled off by the guard and 
later court-martialed for shirking duty in order to get drunk. 

Americans have always been quick to seize upon a business 
opportunity and to turn it into profit. So it was with the entre- 
preneurs who established the so-called "hog ranches" near Fort 
Laramie. By law these men were prohibited from conducting 
business inside the six-by-nine-mile reservation in order to protect 
the rights of the post trader. 

By the same token, these ranches were not hindered by army 
rules. For instance, at Ecoffey and Cuny's Ranch, just over the 
boundary to the west, a soldier could get all of the action he 
wanted. The owners served meals, stocked a good selection of 
liquor and cigars and usually had in residence a half dozen of the 
vilest sort of prostitutes. The only hitch was that a written pass 
was required for a soldier to be more than a mile from the flagstaff. 


Many men took their chances as evidenced by a number of re- 
corded trials. The "Three Mile," as it was also called, was only 
one of several such wicked dens that catered to Fort Laramie's 
garrison. The "Six Mile," christened with a similar lack of imag- 
ination, was also located on the road to Cheyenne. Its reputation 
was even worse than its neighbor, being a hangout for horse thieves 
and transient gamblers. The girls there allegedly wore old soldier 
clothes (probably taken in trade) and helped with the passing 
stages and other chores. Over the years, at least six men met 
violent deaths there including, ironically, Adolph Cuny, owner 
of the "Three Mile." 

Owing to its distance from the post, it was usually necessary to 
obtain a mounted pass to go to the "Six Mile." But, there are 
always some who must overdo a good thing. On April 21, 1867, 
Sgt. Kesner of Company A, 2nd Cavalry, decided to take on the 
"Six Mile" in style. The officers who later sat in judgement of 
him decided that his "borrowing" an ambulance with a team and 
then returning roaring drunk was simply going too far. He for- 
feited his stripes and $10 of his pay. 

A number of other sources for "bug juice" sprang up around 
Fort Laramie during its active years. Places like The Coon Dive, 
The Brewery and Brown's Hotel were familiar haunts of soldiers 
who served at the post during the 1860s, '70s and '80s. Now and 
then these establishments may have offered various enticements 
to attract business, but they existed primarily to supply one de- 
mand — liquor. 

It was with good cause that many army officers were alarmed 
and distressed by the misuse of alcohol in the ranks. It was the 
single most nagging problem to plague post commanders during 
the frontier era. In fact, many other problems stemmed from 
alcoholic abuse. 

Morale suffered at Fort Laramie as a consequence of intemper- 
ence. Boredom and the lure of the debauchery at the hog ranches 
led many soldiers to cease caring about proper military order. 
There were numerous cases like that of Pvt. William McCormick, 
Company E, 9th Infantry, who left the post without permission 
one evening in April, 1876, to go on a spree. When he returned 
the next afternoon about one o'clock, still inebriated, he may have 
had some regrets. The night out cost him $12 and twenty days 
at hard labor. 

Drunkenness, however, was not confined merely to enlisted 
men. Although officers were expected to remain above such con- 
duct, they contended with the same basic living conditions imposed 
upon the rank and file. Instances of alcoholism among officers 
were certainly not discussed as openly as with soldiers, but they 
existed nevertheless. Col. A. G. Brackett, commanding Fort Lar- 
amie in 1880, requested the department commander to order Capt. 


William S. Collins before a retiring board. Brackett complained 
that Collins was frequently intoxicated to the degree that he could 
not effectively carry out his duties. Collins was also reported to 
have been drunk on duty four times while acting as post com- 
mander in Brackett's absence. The order to retire the captain was 
not long in coming. Obviously, officers such as Collins could 
hardly inspire temperance among their men. 

Discipline was rigid; it had to be to keep order among the 
diverse types of men who comprised the army. When a soldier 
erred, the ironfisted system made certain that he would not soon 
forget his mistake. Even so, liquor often caused men to do things 
which they otherwise would have weighed more carefully. In 
May, 1876, Trumpeter Antone Blitz reportedly reached a "beastly 
state of intoxication" at the sutler's store. When a sergeant and 
several members of the guard attempted to arrest him. Blitz cursed 
them with a shocking array of foul language and fought with them 
until he was finally subdued and carried off to the "mill." 

Eugene McGee, 2nd Cavalry private, got "loaded" while as- 
signed to the post headquarters as a mounted orderly. The quar- 
termaster sergeant, seeing that McGee was quickly getting out of 
hand, ordered the man to go with him to the guardhouse. The 
private unwisely replied, "I'll break your head! You're a god 
dam Dutch son of a bitch." His actions and poor choice of words 
cost him $10 plus twenty days behind bars. 

Spending time in Fort Laramie's guardhouse was anything but 
pleasant. The structure used up until 1876 accommodated about 
two dozen prisoners in an unheated and unlighted sub-story room. 
No furniture was provided and bedding consisted only of the 
blankets which the prisoners brought with them. Food was pro- 
vided by the messes of the respective companies to which the 
soldiers belonged. Some, however, were sentenced to a bread and 
water diet. 

In many instances, the effects of overindulgence were much 
more serious. In 1877 two 3rd Cavalry soldiers, Privates Mc- 
Guire and Browne, tangled at The Brewery near the fort. During 
the fight McGuire shattered a bottle over Browne's head then, 
seizing a second one, continued to cudgel Browne until he was 
severely injured. On another occasion a 5th Cavalry trooper, John 
Robinson, fell from his horse while drunk, caught his foot in the 
stirrup, and was dragged. Before the horse could be stopped, 
Robinson's skull was crushed. 

Although drinking was a serious problem at Fort Laramie, there 
were most certainly attempts to control it. The ineffectiveness of 
these local measures is evidenced by the fact that cases of recog- 
nized alcoholism averaged three to four percent at the fort during 
the 1870s. This figure, however, reflects neither the actual extent 
nor the complexity of the situation. Taking the year 1876 as an 


arbitrary example, we find tiiat of 114 courts-martial, sixty-seven 
(or 60% ) were alcohol-related cases. Of course, these represent 
only those who were actually arrested and tried. During that 
year, then, the boards heard an average of over five cases monthly 
which arose from alcohol abuse. The time of three officers was 
consumed on each trial prompting one officer to pen his discontent 
in the following bit of poetry : 

The worst of our dreary routine 
Upon the bleak frontier, 
Is to meet in solemn conclave 
And these stupid cases hear. 

The job of controlling the use of liquor usually fell to the post 
commander. In his omnipotent position, he held ultimate author- 
ity over his post and the surrounding vicinity. His primary target 
was the post trader, since his place of business was located on 
government property. The various COs tried a number of strate- 
gies to curb liquor consumption. Lt. Col. Palmer, for example, 
issued an 1867 order which required enlisted men to obtain the 
COs written permission to purchase liquor at the bar. A year 
later this was modified to allow for the purchase of a "moderate" 
amount of beer without an order. Down through succeeding years 
other commanders issued their own orders restricting the quan- 
tities and types of beverages to be sold at the establishment, as well 
as his hours of operation. One of the more interesting ones autho- 
rized the trader to sell to each man "two (2) drinks of whiskey 
each day (Sunday excepted) one between Reveille at 12 P.M. and 
the other between 1 P.M. and Retreat, neither drink to exceed 
one gill." Soldiers, challenged to find "loopholes," undoubtedly 
calculated that with a bit of timing they could obtain the equivalent 
of a half-pint of whiskey within about an hour's time. 

Another way to beat the system was to "import" booze via 
incoming wagon trains and stages. When this scheme was discov- 
ered, the commander saw to it that all such vehicles from Chey- 
enne were searched by special sentinels. 

Chapters of organizations such as the Order of Good Templars 
sometimes formed at frontier posts and were a great asset in im- 
proving the morals of the men who joined. Individuals and even 
entire companies pledged to abstain from liquor. At Fort Laramie 
members of the garrison obtained permission to use an old school 
building for a meeting place. 

The month of March, 1881, brought to Fort Laramie the news 
that President Rutherford B. Hayes had placed prohibition on the 
sale of liquor at military posts. This proclamation was the strong- 
est reaction yet to habitual drinking in the service. 

Anticipating a loss of regular income, the post traders united 
their efforts to have the order revoked. Even though they were 


unsuccessful, they did manage to get it "clarified" to exclude the 
sale of beer, ale, cider, and light wines. 

The enlisted men were not, of course, restricted from taking 
their business to the hog ranches outside the reservations. But the 
order at least alleviated the extent of drunkenness and disorder at 
the fort proper by forcing the men to go some distance away for 
higher-priced booze. There was also a greater possibility that the 
time and distance factors would tend to sober them on the return 

The presidential order would have worked splendidly had it not 
been for an unforeseen pitfall, that of liquor substitutes. Traders 
suddenly began doing an increased business in selling Jamaica 
ginger, bitters, and flavoring extracts — most of which contained 
70 to 80% alcohol. These concoctions were certainly not new to 
soldiers, but when there were better things available to drink it 
was unnecessary to go on a "cheap drunk." It was inevitable that 
Fort Laramie's commander had to issue an order to stop the sale 
of such products. 

The fact that some soldiers would drink almost anything and 
that unscrupulous ranch owners would sell it to them, sometimes 
spelled tragedy. A 7th Infantry private, James Collins, serving 
at Fort Laramie in 1887 was found dead on the road north of the 
post. An autopsy determined the cause of his death to be alco- 
holic poisoning. Evidently, someone in the area was selling a bad 
batch of home-brewed "forty-rod." 

Another major reform appeared in the mid- 1880s with the 
appearance of post canteens which sold beer, wine, sandwiches 
and canned delicacies. The canteen idea was effective in curbing 
drunkenness and it was popular among the soldiers because the 
business was owned and operated by the men themselves. Mar- 
gins of profit were intentionally small to allow the soldier's pay to 
stretch farther and the money which was realized was divided 
among the shareholding company units. These funds were in turn 
used to purchase non-issue foods for the messes, sports equipment, 
barracks furnishings, and whatever else the company might desire. 
The canteens conflicted with the rights of the traders, but inves- 
tigation proved that the new clubs were of such great benefit to 
the men and to discipline that they were allowed to flourish. 
Thus, at last, the enlisted men had a wholesome place to drink, 
eat, play games, and relax and at the same time receive the ben- 
efits of profits which otherwise would have gone to the pockets 
of post traders. 

By 1890, when the sun finally set on Fort Laramie's long mili- 
tary career and, indeed, the "old" West itself, the army had be- 
come the harbinger of a new age. With the Indian Wars all but 
over, posts would be maintained in more populated locations, 
recruiting standards would demand higher quality men, soldiers 


would begin to achieve a degree of respect, and the war with "bug 
juice" would assume a lesser priority through ensuing years. Pos- 
sibly drinking to excess was a product of the age and the West 
itself, a common malady to soldiers and civilians alike. As one 
old soldier who had served at Fort Laramie put it, "That good old 
ancient time was an era of drinking. There was no such thing 
known as 'prohibition,' and nearly everybody drank a little." 

Mght and Stage Koadfrom 
KawUns to Ked jCodge, Moutana 


Trek No. 28 of the Historical Trail Treks 

Sponsored by the Wyoming State Historical Society, the Wyo- 
ming State Archives and Historical Department and the Park 
County Chapter of the Society, the trek was under the direction 
of David J. Wasden of Cody, second vice president of the Society. 

On Friday evening, July 15, the Park County Chapter hosted a 
get-together at the Cody Auditorium. 

More than 160 people boarded busses at 8 a.m. Saturday morn- 
ing at the Auditorium and traveled south to the L.U. Ranch on 
Gooseberry Creek. An announcer on each bus read a paper pre- 
pared by Mr. Wasden on historical highlights along the route. 

A map drawn by Bob Edgar, Cody, was handed to each trekker. 
While not made to scale, the map clearly showed the relative 
locations of the sites to be visited. 

By David J. Wasden 

On this two-day trek of the Wyoming State Historical Society, 
with the Park County Chapter acting as host, we will review por- 
tions of the original mail, stage and freight routes in use by the 
early settlers in the western portion of the Big Horn Basin. 

This morning we leave the original Stinking Water, going south 
some forty-six miles to Gooseberry Creek, where the Angus Mc- 

( Photo opposite page) 

— Courtesy of David J. Wasden 

This photograph was taken in the summer of 1899 at the ferry at Clark's 
^Fork River at Sirrine, when Edith Anna Wiley Sherwin of Minneapolis, 
daughter of Solon L. Wiley, and wife of William Henry Sherwin, with her 
two daughters visited Wiley on the Germania Bench. The trip was made to 
Red Lodge by train and then by buckboard across country, according to 
Mrs. Marion Sherwin Chapman, granddaughter of Wiley. In the picture 
Marion stands next to her mother on the ferry and her sister Helen is next 
to her. The other two persons in the picture are unidentified. 


Donald ranch was located. We are passing Beck Lake, used by 
Cody for water storage. Alkali Lake is to the east. The Cody 
Canal, started in 1895, was some twelve years in building. George 
T. Beck conceived the idea and served as manager during its con- 
struction. The system, which diverts water from the South Fork, 
irrigates some 12,000 acres. 

Sage Creek, to the east of us, was originally named Meeteetse 
Creek in 1873 by Captain William A. Jones. (The first mail and 
freight road, after leaving the Stinking Water at Corbett, followed 
up this stream channel on the way south. \ 

Carter Mountain, coming into view, was named for Judge Wil- 
liam A. Carter of Fort Bridger, who sent a herd of cattle into the 
Basin in the fall of 1879 under the management of Peter McCul- 
lough. This was one of the first herds to enter the Basin. 

Sage Creek crossing is about the point where Solon L. Wiley 
intended to cross with his canal, bringing water from the South 
Fork to a storage reservoir in Oregon Basin, to reclaim about 
200,000 acres of land lying to the east and extending to the Big 
Horn River. This work was started soon after the turn of the 
century. After sinking a half million dollars in the project, he 
ran out of money and the project was never finished. The U.S. 
Bureau of Reclamation has since made soil surveys and determined 
that only about one-tenth of the intended acreage is suitable for 
farming. Wiley's first canal venture, on the Germania Bench, 
was very successful. 

The Oregon Basin oil field, east of the highway, has been one 
of the most productive fields in the entire state. 

According to legend. Josh Dean once took refuge from un- 
friendly Indians on Elk Butte, to the east, when he was carrying 
the mail, before the days of regular mail service. 

When the Carter cattle were being trailed to the Stinking Water 
drainage for grazing, one obstreperous bull, upon reaching this 
point, decided he had migrated far enough and refused to go any 
farther. The men left him, thinking he would die there, but in the 
spring he was found in good shape. Since the bull came from 
Oregon, the Basin took the name of the "Oregon Basin". 

( We cross the North and South Forks of Dry Creek, which drains 
into the Big Horn River at GreybuU. This is Meeteetse Creek. 
Old Meeteetse, with a cemetery to mark its location, is up the 
creek about three miles. Five miles farther up the creek is where 
Victor Arland and John Corbett established their last trading post 
in 1884. It remained a gathering and trading location for a large 
area until about 1890) 

The range of mountains to the west, running north and south, 
was first named "Yellowstone," following the name given to the 
river that drains the area. In 1873 Captain William A. Jones 
changed the name to "Sierra Shoshone". This name quickly came 
into public use and had practically replaced the original name by 


1880. In 1883 the U.S. Geological Survey disregarded both of 
the previous names and substituted "Absaroka," the Indian name 
for the Crow nation. This was later confirmed by the U.S. Board 
on Geographical Names. 

About fifteen miles up the Greybull River, west of Meeteetse, 
Otto Franc located the famous Pitchfork ranch in 1878. The next 
season he brought in a herd of 1200 to 1500 head of cattle, via 
South Pass, which he had purchased in western Montana. 

The names "Stinking Water" and "Shoshone", referring to the 
same river, have been used interchangeably. There can be little 
doubt as to why the Crow Indians, who had a favorite camping 
spot near the east side of the canyon, gave the stream the name of 
"Stinking Water". A sulphurous odor came from the springs near 
the canyon. This name was used by early trappers and mountain 
men and appeared on early maps. It is not certain who changed 
the name to Shoshone, but it may have been George T. Beck. The 
company he organized to build the Cody Canal in 1895 was called 
The Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company. A year later, in 
1896, he referred to the Shoshone River when promoting Cody 
for the county seat of the new county of Big Horn, just being 
organized. Some local color was lost when the Wyoming State 
Legislature changed the name from Stinking Water to Shoshone in 
1901. The bill effecting the change was introduced by Atwood 
C. Thomas of Meeteetse, senator from Big Horn County at the 

Count Otto Franc von Lichenstein, of German royalty, became 
a stellar figure in the cattle business. He was a good business 
manager, progressive and far-seeing. Small in stature and known 
as "the little man", he was a dynamo of action. He bought a 
bicycle and was the first cowboy on wheels as he rode considerable 
distances over the range. He was far ahead of his time in the 
conservation practices he initiated on his ranch. He ran between 
six and seven thousand head of cattle, depending on feed and 
market conditions. He died in 1903 and is buried in the Meeteetse 

/At the site of Half Way House Stage Stop on the North Fork 
orDry Creek a rock dug-out near a fresh water spring in the hill 
side was established in 1903 as a stage "noon stop", where horses 
were changed and meals served. This was halfway between Cor- 
bett Crossing and the frontier town of Meeteetse. In 1904 Half 
Way Stop had a newfangled telephone complete with a large "Pub- 
lic Telephone" sign. (The station was abandoned in 1908 after 
automobiles began .to use the route, but the spring remained in 
us^^ for many years.] 

[After the railroad arrived in Cody in November, 1901, travel 
originated there rather than at Corbett. The Red Lodge to Cor- 
bett road was no longer needed. A road was located from Mee- 
teetse to Thermopolis via Kirby, and "Bronco Nell," a character 


in her own right, is credited with driving the first load of freight 
from Cody to Thermopolis. This route left from southwest of 
Cody and went through the hills to Sage Creek. At the Frost 
ranch, instead of following the old road via Arland, it veered to 
tjie east as it proceeded south. ;. 

K^The Stockgrower and Farmer in June, 1903, tells of the im- 
proved mail and passenger service from Cody, and admonished: 
"Let no smooth-mouth, mild mannered individuals at any side 
track between Toluca and Cody delude you." This was a dirty dig 
at Garland, which for five years was the gateway for the greater 
portion of the Basin. ) 

Cedar Mountain was first called "Spirit Mountain" by the Crow 
Indians. But Captain William A. Jones, on his reconnaissance trip 
in 1873, in deference to his Shoshone scouts, changed the name 
to Cedar Mountain. 

The first stop of the morning was at the LU Ranch, where the 
following paper was read. 


By David J. Wasden 


I The problem of locating and defining early roads in the western 

portion of the Big Horn Basin is confusing because alternate routes 
were used. Roads would sometimes be changed to accommodate 
a new ranch or to service a new post office. The Angus Mc- 
Donald Ranch, which later became part of the LU, is one which 
has remained fairly consistently on the road. 

The question often arises as to how the mountain men found 
their way around in a new and unmapped country. They followed 
stream courses, made note of directions by way of the sun and the 
stars, and received guidance from the Indians who knew the coun- 
try and unerringly located trails along the easiest grades and most 
direct routes. ) 

' While much argument centers around the exact path of John 
Colter's historic trip in the winter of 1807-1808, it is reasonable 
to accept the premise that he followed a much-used Indian trail 
on his journey south from the Stinking Water near Cody over the 
Owl Creek Mountains on his way to Jackson Hole and the Teton 
Basin, It is logical to assume he passed near the LU Ranch. This 
route could also have been used by early trappers and miners. 
Josh Dean, who instituted the first mail service in the Basin in 
1876, used this route to bring mail from Camp Brown on a pack 

lAn^ attempt was made to locate a wagon road connecting Point 
of Rocks on the Union Pacific railroad with Fort ElMs, Montana. 
On May 15, 1873, the War Department issued an order to Captain 


William A. Jones, Corps of Engineers. He was to "proceed as 
soon as practical to Northwestern Wyoming and there make a 
reconnaissance of the country within the territory about the head- 
waters of the Snake, Green, Big Horn, Greybull, Clark's Fork and 
Yellowstone Rivers. He will organize and equip his party at Fort 
Bridger." | Second Lieutenant S. E. Blant was to accompany him 
as assistant and Assistant Surgeon C. L. Heizman as medical offi- 
cer. Company I, Second Cavalry, was detailed as escort for the 
expedition. The party included a geologist, a botanist and meteo- 
rologist, a chemist, an astronomer and four topographers. The 
War Department allowed $8000 for the survey, which Captain 
Jones felt "was ample." The party measured the distance traveled 
by three odometers carried on a wheel attached to a pair of shafts 
arranged for moving over rough ground and through timber. Cap- 
tain Jones kept a complete account of each day's activities, of 
the terrain passed over, vegetation encountered, and temperatures. 
Following are some notes taken from his journals, "Reconnais- 
sance of Northwestern Wyoming 1873." 

"June 13, after breaking camp on Big Muddy, trouble was ex- 
perienced crossing that stream because of the high spring runoff. 
Later that day more trouble was encountered at Ham's Fork. It 
took the rest of that day and all the next to effect a crossing be- 
cause of boggy lowlands which necessitated the unloading of the 
wagons and the men carrying the goods to firm ground." 

"June 21. Broke camp 5:30 a.m. in a driving rain storm which 
turned to snow. Made stage station at Pacific Spring." 

Here the party received word from Fort Stambaugh of hostile 
Indians in the neighborhood. Three wagons and teams were 
turned in at Fort Stambaugh before proceeding north. On June 
28 Murphy's "ranch" on Little Popo Agie River was reached, 
where the Captain noted vegetables and cereals were being raised. 
The next day the company arrived at the site of Old Camp Brown 
on the North Fork of Big Popo Agie River where there was a 
small settlement of white people, including several women. Shortly 
afterward Indians killed two of the women. On June 30 the com- 
pany reached Camp Brown, situated on the right bank of Little 
Wind River. The Captain learned that "Bryan is the chief point 
of shipping supplies to the Wind River posts — the distance being 
146 miles." 

Several days were spent at Camp Brown making preparations 
for continuing the journey to Fort Ellis, Montana, by pack outfit. 
Ten Shoshone Indians, hired as guides, insisted on taking their 
families along. This seemed a good idea, as hostile Indians would 
be less likely to attack a party with women and children. 

On July 9 the expedition was ready to leave Camp Brown for 
Fort Ellis, but the army mules objected to being used as pack 
animals, and it was possible to move the camp only a half mile 


that day, across the river. Most of the next day was spent repair- 
ing broken packs and gathering up the contents so only the 8.4 
miles to Sage Creek were traveled. 

On July 16 the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains were 
reached. The country was described as "desolate." The follow- 
ing day the mountains were crossed and camp made on the Middle 
Fork of Owl Creek. Some time was spent at this camp exploring 
the mountain peaks to the west, and on the 19th Captain Jones 
named the "Washakee Needles — a terrible crag 12,250 feet eleva- 
tion." Three of the party succeeded in climbing within 200 feet 
of the top. 

Captain Jones gave to Cottonwood Creek the Shoshone name of 
"Mee-yer-o" Creek. He noted an outcropping of coal nearby and 
also that this was a favorite range for buffalo and other game. On 
July 22 the party reached Beaver Creek. This was renamed Goos- 
berry — "feeling little apprehension the name would be duplicated." 
Some Shoshone Indians who had come from the Stinking Water 
met them here and reported vast herds of buffalo. 

Wednesday, July 23, they reached the Greybull River — "a 
stream of considerable size." The next day the party crossed the 
divide between the two rivers, the Greybull and the Stinking Water, 
and "Mee-tee-tse" Creek was named. This creek empties into the 
Stinking Water, and today is called Sage Creek. 

On Friday, July 25, the group came to Chief Washakie's main 
hunting camp in the foothills of Carter Mountain. Seven more 
Shoshones were recruited here for the journey to Fort Ellis. The 
height of the mountain was estimated at 8607 feet. Present day 
U.S.G.S. records give this point as 8550 feet. The next day, 
July 26, the area around the junction of the North and South Forks 
of the Stinking Water was reconnoitered. The Captain gave the 
name "Ish-a-woo-a- River" to the South Fork. "I have given this 
stream the Indian name of a peculiar-shape rock, by means of 
which they distinguish it." 

The party proceeded up the North River, through the Park to 
Fort Ellis, and then made the return via the Wind River to Camp 
Brown. Captain Jones gave a good report on the possibility of 
establishing a mihtary road from the Point of Rocks on the Union 
Pacific to Fort Ellis going up the Wind River and entering the Park 
from the south, rather than attempting a road over the Owl Creek 
Mountains. This was looked upon with favor by his immediate 
superiors, but not so by an authority farther up the line of com- 
mand, as evidenced by a latter date Chicago, May 16, 1874, to 
W. D. Whipple, Assistant Adjutant General, Headquarters for the 
Army, Washington, D.C. 

"Colonel: The enclosed order was issued in order to give Cap- 
tain William A. Jones, Engineer's Corps, a chance to have his 
work of last summer published; but I wish it to be distinctly under- 
stood that I in no manner can endorse the contemplated road from 


the Point of Rocks on the Union Pacific Railroad to Fort Ellis, via 
Yellowstone Lake, as a military necessity. 

"If the Government desire to make appropriations for the ben- 
efit of the mining population at Atlantic City, and the settlers in 
and about Camp Brown in the Popo Agie Valley, 1 have no objec- 
tion; but I am not prepared to give even a shadow of support to 
anything so absurd as the military necessity for such a road. 

"The land transportation now via Carroll on the Missouri River 
to Fort Ellis is only two hundred and twenty miles over a good 

"I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
P. H. Sheridan, Lieutenant General, Commanding" 

(The earliest reference found to a wagon traversing the entire 
western sector of the Basin was in the fall of 1878. Fincelius G. 
Burnett and some associates left Fort Washakie in the summer for 
Bozeman and Virginia City to buy cattle, as Burnett had a contract 
to furnish beef to the Indian Agency. A wagon and two yoke of 
oxen were purchased to carry supplies for the return trip. Ar- 
rangements had been made with Chief Washakie for Shoshone 
Indians to act as guides and help with the return drive. After 
leaving Clark's Fork, the route led up Pat O'Hara Creek, across 
Skull Creek divide, then down Cottonwood creek to the Stinking 
Water at present day Cody. After crossing the river the trail went 
up Sage Creek (or Meeteetse Creek, as it was still known) and 
over the divide to the Greybull River. The course held south to 
Gooseberry Creek and on to Owl Creek. At times the Indians 
reported back that it was impossible to take the wagon any farther 
over the rugged terrain, but somehow a way was always found to 
move the wagon along with the herd of cattle. ) 

I There was no established road nor need for one on the western 
side of the Basin until 1879 when the cattle interests began moving 
in and making permanent settlements. They looked not only to 
Lander,~.but increasingly to Coulson on the Yellowstone River, for 
supplies. ) 

vCoulson, which was the forerunner of Billings, was named for 
S. B. Coulson, who had a government contract for moving freight 
on the upper Missouri River. On May 26, 1874, his steamboat, 
"Josephine", started up the Yellowstone River and reached a point 
two miles above present-day Billings on June 7 before turning 
around. The settlement of Coulson was started in 1876 when a 
man named Freth, Henry Kieser, and William and P. W. McAdow 
of Bozeman settled there. 

P. W. McAdow started a store and hotel which also became a 
stage stop the following year when a stage line connecting with 
Bozeman was started in the Yellowstone valley. A post office 
was established, located next to Chicago Jane's Boudoir. Because 
of rapids and islands in the river, the boats did not attempt to go 


much beyond the mouth of the Big Horn River, where Junction 
City was located. Goods were freighted overland from that point. 

McAdow set up a sawmill, and the logs were rafted down the 
river. Soon two men. Ash and Boots, built a brewery. Coulson 
took on stature and had an estimated population of 1000 when the 
Northern Pacific railroad arrived on August 22, 1882. 

(Billings was started two miles to the west and was called "The 
Magic City." A count on October 22, 1882,,ishowed 155 business 
houses, 99 residences, one church, six railroad buildings, and 25 
tents, and the town was estimated to contain 1 500 to 2000 people. 

The county commissioners of newly organized Fremont County, 
in their meeting of May 6, 1884, declared the following route a 
county road, the first in the Basin to be defined: "Commencing 
at the present wagon crossing on South Fork of Owl Creek, thence 
to the North Fork of Owl Creek, thence down Grass Creek to 
Baxter's Ranch, thence ov^r to Sage Creek, thence to Stinking 
Water at Wagon Crossing." i 

The Stinking Water was crossed on a bridge built in 1883 and 
paid for by subscriptions from the cattlemen, the Northern Pacific 
railroad and the merchants of Billings, cost $5000. Just north of 
Corbett, as this point became known, the road forked, the early 
mail route going up Cottonwood Creek to Pat O'Hara Creek and 
Clark's Fork, which stream it followed down to Billings; and the 
freight road ascending Pole Cat Bench on the southwestern corner, 
crossing the Bench to the east side at the head of Pole Cat Creek, 
then up Sage Creek and through Pryor Gap, down Pryor Creek 
and across by Blue Creek to the Yellowstone River, which was 
crossed on a ferry to Billings. 

The trek busses retraced the route to Meeteetse, where they 
stopped at the city park and heard two papers relating to the 
history of the town. 


By David J. Wasden 
Originally published in Cody Enterprise Stampede Edition, 1976 

There is much speculation as to how the name of "Meeteetse" 
originated. To find an answer it is necessary to review a number 
of historical incidents. 

In the summer of 1873, Captain William A. Jones was commis- 
sioned by the Army to investigate the possibility of establishing a 
wagon road to Fort Ellis in Montana. At Fort Brown he acquired 
a number of Shoshone Indians to act as guides on the expedition. 

Proceeding north from the Greybull river, he crossed a divide 
and came to the headwaters of a small stream that flowed north 
into the Stinking Water. His Shoshone guides called this stream 


"Mee-tee-tse" Creek. This name thus appeared on a map, sheet 
number 3, of Western Territories prepared by Major G. L. Gilles- 
pie of the Corps of Engineers under date of January 1876. 

On a map dated 1879 of the Territory of Wyoming, issued by 
the General Land Office of the Department of the Interior, what 
is now known as Sage Creek was still designated as "Mee-tee-tse 
Creek", its drainage course being northerly into the Stinking 

The Andrew B. Wilson family moved westward from their home 
at Lawrence, Kansas, settling for a time near Pueblo, Colorado. 
In the summer of 1880 the family started for the Yellowstone 
valley in Montana, their route taking them through the Big Horn 

In the late fall, as they came to Mee-tee-tse Creek, they were 
caught in a severe storm and decided to spend the winter near 
what was later known as the Frost Ranch. The Wilsons liked the 
site and decided to stay, naming their new location "Mee-tee-tse", 
after the creek. 

The first post office in the Basin was established as "Franc" at 
the Pitchfork Ranch on September 15, 1882, with Otto Franc as 
postmaster. Nine months later, June 14, 1883, the post office was 
moved to the Wilson ranch and took the name of "Meeteetse", 
with Mrs. Margaret B. Wilson as postmaster. After Mr. Wilson's 
death March 2, 1886, his wife and sons continued the ranching 
operation. The Wilson ranch location, as well as the post office, 
were known as "Meeteetse". 

By the early 1 890's, a new community was forming on the north 
bank of the Greybull River some four miles south of Meeteetse 
post office. This was on a popular travel route and was replacing 
Arland as a trade and social center. A saloon or two came into 
operation along with a bawdy house and a small assortment of 
miscellaneous buildings appeared. 

The bright lights proved too much of a temptation for Mrs. 
Wilson, who left the ranch and moved "to town", taking the Mee- 
teetse post office with her. Just when she made the move has not 
been verified but it was some time before 1896, possibly in 1893. 

Atwood C. Thomas owned a store and took care of the post 
office at Sunshine on Wood River. Perceiving the possibility of 
establishing a permanent town where the community was develop- 
ing on the Greybull River, he and his wife had W. S. Collins 
survey a townsite in January, 1896. A plot of ground was ob- 
tained from William McMally who had filed on a homestead in 
1887, where he had operated a blacksmith shop. 

The area surveyed and platted contained 36.6 acres. When it 
came to selecting a name for the new town, it was only natural to 
select Meeteetse, the name of the post office already in operation 
on the north side of the river. The instrument of dedication was 
signed in the presence of M. F. Clark and J. M. Frost, and the 


map drawn by Collins was duly filed in the office of John Gillis, 
County Clerk and Registrar of Deeds for Fremont County in Lan- 
der on February 25, 1896. Thus the town acquired the name 
originally given to a creek draining into the Stinking Water. 

The Shoshone Indian word has been variously interpreted to 
mean the "meeting place", "a long way to water", and "near by". 
The late L. G. Phelps was told by the Indians the word indicated 
the meeting place, and the distance to it was determined by the 
pronunciation of Meeteetse. If the syllables were long and drawn 
out, the place was far away, but if the word was said in short, 
clipped syllables the place was close by. 

By 1904, Meeteetse had a population of 400. At one time it 
had two banks and two newspapers. The Meeteetse Mercantile 
boasted of having the largest and most complete stock of mer- 
chandise of any store in the Basin. 


By J. Randle Moody 

In Wyoming is Meeteetse, and in Meeteetse is the Mercantile. This 
store is worth traveling to Wyoming to inspect .... Mail order houses 
find it hard sledding to Meeteetse because the people who came in 
for miles around to buy supplies have confidence in the store and its 
management. High quality goods are featured, and there is system 
and snap to the business in every department. 

— Ginger, Duluth, Minnesota, 1917. 

In the spring of 1899, A. J. McDonald purchased Sylvia Mik- 
kelson's millinery store on the corner of Park and State Streets in 
Meeteetse. Here he opened his general merchandise store with a 
small stock consisting of groceries, hardware, shoes, dry goods, and 
ladies' and gentlemen's furnishings. The success of this small store 
encouraged McDonald to expand the building to a total area of 
forty-two by fifty feet. His capital investment then totalled some 

On September 1, 1902, McDonald sold the store to Fred C. 
Nagel & Co., which was formed by Nagel, R. B. West, and E. E. 
Lonabaugh. Because of financial difficulties they turned the busi- 
ness back to McDonald in 1903, when the Meeteetse Mercantile 
Company was incorporated with Angus J. McDonald, E. E. Lona- 
baugh, W. S. Metz, Alex A. Linton, and C. L. Tewksbury as 
stockholders. In 1904 they were joined by W. O. Steele, Robert 
Steele, and W. T. Hogg. Alex A. Linton became manager when 
the company was formed and remained so until the store was sold 
to L. G. Phelps in 1917. 

Soon after the incorporation of the Mercantile, an annex was 
built and was used as the company's entire store. The original 
building was used as a warehouse and occasionally housed the post 


The original Mikkelson building and the addition built by Mc- 
Donald were razed in September of 1917. Work began on con- 
struction of an addition, which, when completed, would make the 
Mercantile one of the largest general merchandise stores in the 
Big Horn Basin. In early September, 1918, Mercantile Manager 
C. H. Davidson announced that the building was nearly complete, 
and on Saturday, September 21, 1918, the addition was dedicated 
by a free dance on its new forty-two by forty-four foot floor, the 
largest room offered to that date for a Meeteetse dance. Through- 
out the ensuing fifty -nine years the Meeteetse Mercantile has 
changed little in outward appearance, and has remained a viable 

The next stop was near the old Mahlon Frost ranch on Sage 
Creek. Dick Frost, grandson of Mahlon Frost, gave an informal 
talk that included humorous anecdotes of his grandfather's early 
ranching experiences. 

Returning to Cody, the trekkers enjoyed a delicious lunch at the 
Cody Auditorium then disbanded for the afternoon. Many people 
visited the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the Whitney Gallery 
of Western Art, and others visited Bob Edgar's Trail Town, the 
Homesteader's Museum at Powell and the Edward T. Grigware 
mural at the L.D.S. Church. 

The group gathered again in the Auditorium for dinner and a 
delightful program of music directed by Anita Hindman of Cody. 

The trek was resumed at 8 a.m. Sunday morning and the busses 
headed north. Again, a paper prepared by Mr. Wasden was read 
on each bus. 


This morning we will travel north forty miles to\Chance, Mon- 
tana, to see portions of the old mail route from Billings to Lander 
and a later road, the so-called Red Lodge to Meeteetse Trail, 
which continued south. ) We will cross the Shoshone River on the 
third bridge to span the stream at this point. i^The first was pro- 
moted by George T. Beck, and was in use by April 20, 1898. It 
eliminated a half day of travel via Corbett on the way to Red 
Lodge. ' The second was a Burlington Railroad bridge. The pres- 
ent concrete bridge was built by the Wyoming Highway Depart- 
ment in 1949. 

The fire-scarred mountain to the west is Rattlesnake Mountain. 
The fire started on Monday, July 29, 1960, shortly after noon on 
a clear sunshiny day. A thunderhead came across the mountain 
and a bolt of lightning struck dry down-timber in a steep canyon 
about midway on the mountain. The fire quickly worked up out 
of the canyon, and, spread by mountain winds, was soon out of 
control. Some natural reseeding is taking place along with a small 


number of planted seedlings. Perhaps in a hundred years the 
mountain will be green again. 

Trail Creek, which runs through a narrow valley at the base of 
the mountain, was named for the old Indian Trace which traversed 
its length. It was on this creek, ten miles from Cody, that Victor 
Arland and John F. Corbett set up the first mercantile establish- 
ment in the Basin upon their arrival, September 10, 1880. It was 
here that the first potatoes and vegetables of record were raised in 
the Big Horn Basin. 

Arland and Corbett moved their trading post to Cottonwood 
Creek in the summer of 1883. The finished lumber, windows, and 
other materials would have been hauled from Billings, for by that 
time the railroad was hauling supplies in from the east. The two 
partners used this location for only a short time, moving their 
business south to Meeteetse Creek the next year. The property on 
Cottonwood Creek was sold to a Frenchman, Count De Mailly, 
who had bought 1500 head of cattle in 1883. Wishing to return 
to France, he left the operation in care of a countryman, Reue 
Vion. The number of cattle assessed for taxes in 1886 was 800. 
It dropped to 500 in 1889. 

'The early mail route passed this way, going down the creek a 
mile and a half before swinging northeast to the wagon crossing on 
the Stinking Water. Dave McFall had the ranch for a time after 
Vion left the country. Near the turn of the century Reuben C. 
Hargraves, a sheepman from Lusk, acquired the property. In 
addition to sheep, Hargraves had a string of harness race horses 
and a practice track down the creek. The small stream we will 
follow for a distance now is called Cottonwood Creek. On the 
early Colter map published in 1814, it was designated Valley 
River. The present highway parallels the original mail route, y 

At the second bridge a later cut-off road left the old mail road, 
going over to Corbett to cross the river. Today this is called Three 
Crossings, although the location is a mile north of where the early 
road crossed the creek three times in a short distance. This is just 
below the buildings to the right of us, the location of an early 
fish hatchery. 

To the west of us is Monument Hill, so named because of stone 
monuments built by sheepherders. Possibly some were a legacy 
of the Indians, who were accustomed to mark their way with stone 

Heart Mountain is on our right. The name comes from an 
Indian word meaning "heart", because to them the highest pin- 
nacle resembled the point of a human heart. Looking at it from 
the Cody side, it could well be called "Face Mountain," for it has 
the appearance of a giant face with a wart on the chin. 

Argument still persists as to the correct spelling of this moun- 
tain. On the first map Captain William Clark made of the area in 
1808 when he descended the Missouri River with Manuel Lisa, 


the "e" was deleted, resulting in "Hart" Mountain. This type of 
spelling was characteristic of Clark, as any one will discover in 
reading his journals. On the map published in 1814 giving Col- 
ter's route of 1807-1808, the placement is wrong but the spelling 
is correct, and thus it continued to appear on early maps. There 
have been many tales about it being named for a horse thief or 
some non-existent army officer. But it was definitely not named 
for any individual, saint or sinner. 

Skull Creek Divide was named, according to legend, because of 
the number of human skulls found lying in the vicinity, evidently 
the result of an Indian battle. This is a divide between the water- 
sheds of the Shoshone and Clark's Fork rivers. This ridge, be- 
cause of its gumbo soil, as well as its steep grade, was very difficult 
to negotiate when wet. As one old-timer explained the situation, 
the mud would build up in the wheels and against the wagon box 
to where the wheels "would turn backwards". This was one of the 
reasons for locating a road around the east side of Heart Mountain 
after the railroad came to Red Lodge, y 

I We are now following Skull Creek down into Pat O'Hara Creek. 
The old road was on the west side of the creek. Remnants of 
an improved roadway can be seen. We are still following quite 
closely the early mail route. ) 

The mountain peak to the west was originally labeled "Blue 
Bead Mountain," and the stream that drains from it, "Blue Bead 
River." The names were changed from Blue Bead to Pat O'Hara, 
a legacy of an Irish mountain man. 

Ahead and to the right is Pryor Mountain. The notch to the 
west is Pryor Gap, through which the freight wagon passed on its 
way south from Billings. The eastern part of the Basin was served 
by this route for mail as well as freight. This was the favored 
freight road for the western part of the Basin, as it was shorter 
than the mail route. ) The stream that heads in the mountain area 
and drains into the Yellowstone River was named for Sergeant 
Nathaniel Pryor of the Corps of Discovery. The mountain did not 
take the name of Pryor until the late 1 800s. 

To the west is Bald Ridge. This is pointed out as being the 
logical escape route of the Nez Perce Indians under the leadership 
of Chief Joseph in early September, 1877. Chief Joseph was a 
great military strategist and had infuriated the officers of the Unit- 
ed States army by outwitting and out-maneuvering them all the 
way from Oregon. After the encounter with the army in the Park 
during the last days of August, where the Nez Perce again out- 
smarted General O. O. Howard, the Indians left the Park and went 
down the Clark's Fork drainage. Colonel Samuel D. Sturgis was 
detailed to stop them as they emerged from the mountains. While 
much of the Indian movement can be determined from army rec- 


ords, there is a period of a few days when they were separated 
from the army and their movements are unclear. 

Colonel Sturgis broke camp on Red Lodge Creek September 1, 
1877, and marched up the Clark's Fork, arriving at the Canyon 
on September 4, and remained there until September 8. He waited 
for the Indians to fall into the trap the army had set, but no 
Indians appeared. A reconnaissance was made, which found the 
Indian camp back in the mountains. They appeared to be headed 
for Stinking Water Pass, but this actually was a ruse to draw the 
army away from the escape route. A few Indians made it appear 
the entire camp was moving by dragging small trees and brush, 
stirring up the dust. The army fell for this and made a hurried 
march toward the Stinking Water Pass. They camped for the 
night on upper Pat O'Hara Creek. There were no signs of In- 
dians, and the troops proceeded to Stinking River the next day, 
marched up to a basin and camped for the night. When they 
realized that they had again been outwitted, they retraced their 
steps and, on September 1 1 , picked up the Indian trail twelve 
miles from the Canyon. They met Chief Joseph's party at Canyon 
Creek west of present day Billings the morning of September 12. 
A skirmish was fought and the Indians were again victorious. 

Some writers have claimed that the Indians came down through 
Clark's Fork Canyon, but others consider this impossible, contend- 
ing that, with the army out of the way as a result of their ruse, a 
fast march was made over Bald Ridge. 

The army was composed of 295 enlisted men, fourteen officers 
and an unknown number of Crow scouts. Major Jeremy B. 
Wright, U.S. Army, Retired, supphed information from army rec- 
ords, the source of much of the above. 


By David J. Wasden 

Among the first three cattle ranches in the Big Horn Basin a 
century ago was the notable one started by John W. Chapman 
which later became known as the "Two Dot". Chapman was born 
June 15, 1850, at Springfield, Illinois, and died at Red Lodge, 
Montana, December 18, 1933. Chapman settled in western Ore- 
gon as a child. The range land in western Oregon had become 
overstocked, and during the summer of 1878 Chapman helped 
move some cattle eastward to Harney County. Upon completing 
the job, he took a pack outfit and started on an exploratory trip 
to find a new ranch location. He passed through Idaho, over 
Monida Pass to Virginia City, Montana; then over Bozeman Pass 
and down the Yellowstone valley as far as Miles City. On his 
return west, he went up the Clark's Fork. He followed one of its 
tributaries, Pat O'Hara Creek, for a distance. From the brow of a 


hill, he had a view of a small valley that abounded in luxuriant 
ripened grass. 

Chapman returned to Oregon and began making preparations to 
move to that site in Wyoming. As he retraced his way down the 
Clark's Fork, he encountered the soldiers under General Miles who 
had participated in a battle with the Bannock Indians. Chapman 
accompanied General Miles and his troops through Yellowstone 
Park as they followed some of the Bannocks who had escaped from 
the battle. 

In the summer of 1879, Chapman brought a herd of 1200 Ore- 
gon cows and 80 head of good quality horses to the Basin, coming 
via Virginia City and Bozeman. Upon his arrival he began put- 
ting up buildings for a ranch headquarters. Later he returned to 
Oregon for a bride, Miss Alphia Chapman (no previous relation- 
ship). He married her in April, 1881 and returned with her to 
Wyoming, bringing along a band of 600 horses, which he divided 
with John Weaver. 

Chapman used Percheron stallions and produced good quality 
work horses, for which there was a ready market. Horse thieves 
also found these horses desirable. In the late fall of 1891, when 
riding the range. Chapman found himself short some 200 head. 
With some extra men, he picked up the trail of the thieves on the 
north side of Heart Mountain and followed it south to the Frost 
Ranch on Sage Creek, over the Meeteetse Rim and to Jackson 
Hole, where the horses were found on the Cunningham Ranch on 
Spread Creek. Four men were implicated in the theft. The ring 
leaders were shot and killed, while the others were allowed to go. 

The next spring brought more horse thievery when horses be- 
longing to several ranchers were moved east. In March a group 
of men met at the Dilworth Ranch to go in pursuit, and Otto Franc 
sent a rider from the Pitchfork to join in the hunt. It is noted that 
about this time work horses sold for a cent a pound. 

Chapman's cattle, also, were of good quality, and his bulls were 
in demand by other stockmen in the Basin. He ranged his stock 
from the Stinking Water north into Montana. Figures differ as to 
the size of his operation. The assessment roll of Fremont County 
for 1886 showed him assessed with sixty cattle and one stud horse. 
Three years later he was assessed on 300 cattle and 68 horses. On 
the other hand, individuals acquainted with his operation estimated 
his horse herd to number between 700 and 800 head, and the cattle 
to run about 3000 head. 

Much of the story of the Two Dot ranch is sketchy and incom- 
plete. Some of it can only be guessed at. In 1903 Chapman sold 
the ranch to John P. Allison, a banker from Sioux City, Iowa, and 
his partner, E. M. Bent. Allison visited the ranch in the summer, 
but never made it his home. There is a question as to the scope 
of the operation under their ownership. In addition to 1000 cattle 
bought from Chapman for $38 a head, they expanded into the 


sheep business. Apparently Chapman also had been interested in 
sheep, as he had been assessed for 2250 sheep valued at $2812 in 
1886 on the Fremont County taxrolls, the first band of sheep on 
record in the Basin. 

Martin and John Jobe, in addition to managing the ranch for 
Chapman before he sold it, had a partnership agreement with him 
in regard to livestock. This relationship continued while Allison 
owned the property, for when his estate was settled, only real estate 
was considered. The Jobe brothers continued their association 
with the ranch while Barth and Ganguet owned it, after Alhson's 

Allison died in Woodbury County, Iowa, July 19, 1910. On 
November 18, 1910, the court appointed C. S. Parks, Jr., Martin 
A. Jobe, and A. J. Martin as appraisers. They found the ranch 
included 3510.79 acres, valued at $46,000. The real estate passed 
to Allison's living heirs. Joseph Ganguet, a Frenchman, after 
being in the country for some time, formed a partnership with 
August H. Barth, a sheepman living in Billings who ran sheep 
along the Clark's Fork and near Big Timber. Ganguet had a one- 
fourth interest in the Two Dot Ranch, and Barth the remaining 
three-fourths, having bought out the interests of the Allison heirs 
in late 1915 or early 1916. Ganguet brought his wife and three 
daughters from France and took over active management of the 
ranch. There are some interesting stories told of the difficulties 
the family had with the English language and in adjusting to 
western customs of living, and of Mrs. Ganguet's physical strength 
and size. 

Ganguet was a great trader and the number of sheep belonging 
to the ranch at any one time varied considerably. According to 
stories, he would buy bands of sheep if he felt the price to be right. 
The sheep would be started for the home range, but if a buyer 
came along and offered a price that would show a profit on the 
transaction, the sheep would be sold. The public domain was 
still open and the forage was there for one forceful enough to take 
it. It has been estimated that the Barth and Ganguet operation 
at times would run as high as 20,000 head, occasionally probably 
more. It was necessary to have a sizeable crew of men, in addition 
to the Jobe brothers, who continued to stay on with the ranch. As 
several of the men had families, a school was established. A cen- 
sus taken in 1922 showed ten children between the ages of six and 
eighteen. In 1918 the county set up a polling district for the 
benefit of the voters under the name of Ganguet and the name 
remained in use until the election in 1964. 

During Prohibition, some of the ranch help engaged in the 
profitable activity of moonshining. With large amounts of supplies 
on hand for the ranch and sheep camp needs, it was easly to 
syphon off ingredients to make distilled spirits without arousing too 
much suspicion. The law officers suspected the activity was going 


on but had little luck apprehending the violators. According to 
stories, Charley Kraus and Leon Vandierendonk, who had a home- 
stead on the creek and worked for the ranch, would have a stock 
of several fifty-gallon barrels of booze hidden in various places at 
any one time. Jack Spicer was another known moonshiner in the 
area. Those in the know say there were at least a half dozen 
known distillery locations adjacent to the ranch proper. 

The question arises as to when the name "Two Dot" was applied 
to the ranch. When Chapman owned it, it was referred to as the 
Chapman ranch. During the time Allison and Bent owned the 
property it was called the Allison ranch. The legacy came about 
from a sheep brand that Ganguet used, that of two dots. Thus the 
name came into use, identifying the ranch with the brand, and has 
so remained. 

On January 3, 1919, Barth sold the ranch to Frank L. Hudson 
of Lander on contract. The principal sum was $83,000, $1 1,000 
being paid on signing the agreement and a note given for the 
remaining $72,000 to be paid before January 3, 1922, bearing 
eight percent interest. This included the deeded land which by 
now had increased to 4481 acres, and interest in a number of land 
leases. The transaction included "all farm machinery, ranch 
horses, swine, farm implements, cattle, wagons, harness and house- 
hold furniture now on said ranch." 

August H. Barth died at Rochester, Minnesota, March 25, 
1920. On August 25, 1920, Joseph Ganguet was granted ancillary 
letters of administration in regard to the estate by the district court. 
The court records note that under date of December 15, 1921, 
Hudson had defaulted on his note for the "Two Dot" ranch. The 
estate was closed on May 14, 1923, with an appraised value of 
$78,925.28. Ganguet's share was one-fourth, or $19,731.32 and 
Barth's heirs' share was $59,193.96. 

When Hudson defaulted on the purchase agreement in 1921, 
it appears that Ganguet again took over the management of the 
ranch. In 1924, Annie Barth sold the ranch to James N. Mc- 
Knight of Texas who continued with a sheep operation. But evil 
days came upon the sheep industry and McKnight went bankrupt. 
On January 31, 1931, McKnight gave a warranty deed to Ernest 
J. Goppert as trustee in bankruptcy for the ranch land. McKnight 
remained on the place for a time, leasing the holdings in 1933 to 
Frank L. Clark and George M. Heald. 

Charles W. and Lloyd Taggart, who had a general contracting 
business in Cody, became interested in the Two Dot property and 
bought it in 1934. They did not take possession until the follow- 
ing year because of the Clark and Heald lease. The ranch once 
again became a cattle operation, the Taggarts running a fine herd 
of Hereford cattle. At the time of this transaction there was about 
7000 acres of deeded land. Aware that with changing times and 
conditions free grazing on public lands was drawing to a close, the 


Taggarts began buying up homesteads and deeded land that pre- 
viously had been leased. When they disposed of their holdings in 
1963 to the Nolaco Growth Fund, there was about 60,000 deeded 
acres under consideration. The Taggart interests owned and oper- 
ated the Two Dot for 29 years, longer than any other owner. 

The next owners continued running cattle, bringing in a train- 
load of rather common stock from Browning, Montana. This 
operation continued until 1975 when the Ken Rogge Lumber 
Company of Oregon was interested briefly before a transfer was 
made to the present ownership only in 1977. 

By David J. Wasden 

Information about the first white resident of this area, for whom 
Pat O'Hara Creek is named, is sketchy and incomplete. Accord- 
ing to stories, Pat O'Hara first came to the Basin in 1854 and 
worked for the American Fur Company. He lived in a dug-out 
in a hillside downstream from the Two Dot ranch. 

Early in the winter of 1879 after John W. Chapman had started 
the Two Dot, O'Hara left the country to visit Fort C. F. Smith on 
the Big Horn River. His visit was an extended one — O'Hara felt 
the Basin country was getting altogether too settled and civilized. 

But he did come back for a final visit before moving on. Ac- 
cording to Mrs. Manuelle Hoffman, who lived on a homestead on 
Blaine Creek: 

"He appeared one day in the fall of 1914 at our ranch on Blaine 
Creek, a tributary of Pat O'Hara Creek. He was tall, thin and 
straight, soft spoken and shy. He was loath to speak much of his 
past, but reminisced a little. He recalled that he had lived in a 
cave on Pat O'Hara Creek about the George Heald ranch build- 
ings. I had seen this cave in a cut bank and had wondered as to 
its occupant. Sagebrush six feet high had concealed the entrance. 
He had accumulated an assortment of pelts and was preparing to 
take them out one morning. As he moved the buffalo hide which 
served as a door for his cave, several arrows penetrated the hide. 
He remained in the cave until dark, then crept away, leaving the 
pelts behind. Another time he and two other trappers stopped 
to camp. He advised the other two men to leave their saddles 
cinched because he had noticed that the 'deer were running' (an 
indication that the Indians were on the move) but they failed to 
heed the advice. They were just ready to eat when the Indians 
appeared and they had to mount their horses hurriedly and flee. 
One man's saddle came loose and as he tried to mount he was 
killed. As Pat looked back, the second man's saddle turned be- 
cause of the loose cinch, and he was killed. Pat alone escaped. 

"One time he became very ill and it was evident that he was 


unable to continue with his partner while they were escaping from 
the Indians, so he lay down to die alone. His partner shot a deer 
and left it beside Pat as the last kindness he could show him. The 
weather was hot and the meat soured. He ate some of the tainted 
meat, which had a purgative effect and this, he felt, saved his life. 

"The second morning he prepared to leave our ranch on his trek 
to Oregon. His equipment consisted of a frying pan, a coffee pot, 
a blanket and a slicker. As we reluctantly said good-bye he rode 
slowly down the creek toward his final camp." 

What happened to Pat after leaving the Hoffman's, or the loca- 
tion of his final resting place is unknown. In later years Mrs. 
Hoffman made a determined effort to find out what may have 
happened to Pat O'Hara. A search in the vital statistics records 
of Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon failed to give evi- 
dence of his demise. It is certain, that despite some claims, he was 
never buried on the creek that bears his name. 

At the site of the Bennett Battlefield, Blanche House read a 
paper prepared by May N. Ballinger. She related the encounter 
in the Clark's Fork area of General O. O. Howard and the Nez 
Perce and General Nelson Miles' later attack on a Bannock camp. 
One of the casualties of the fight was Captain Andrew S. Bennett, 
a Civil War veteran, for whom Bennett Creek, Bennett Buttes and 
a Montana military post were named. 

Here another paper was read on a more contemporary episode, 
when Mr. Wasden related the Earl Durand story. In March, 1939, 
the young Powell man, after killing two law officers in Powell, hid 
out in the mountains in this area for several days. After sUpping 
out of his hiding place he caught a ride to Denver where he had a 
cache of ammunition. He then returned to Powell, staged a hold- 
up in the bank, was severely wounded by gunfire and ended his 
life by a shot from his own gun. 

The next two stops were at the Eagles Nest Stage Station and 
the site of the Arland and Corbett Trading Post. 


In 1880 Thomas Lanchbury packed up his possessions and 
along with Emma, his wife, and their small daughter, Polly, left 
Dudley, England, to settle in the Americas. After living in Can- 
ada, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma Indian Territory and Colorado they 
finally came to Red Lodge, Montana, where Thomas worked for a 
while as a miner. In 1891 he was hired by the Bell stage and 
Freight line to build a way station near Eagles Nest Springs in 
Wyoming. ) When he arrived at Eagles Nest he found three log 
buildings, a combination cabin and barn on the hill above the 
springs and two cabins below the hill. A Mr. Moore who had 
been living here for approximately fifteen years said that they had 


been here when he arrived and he had no idea who had built them. 
Thomas and his eldest son John lined up the two cabins below the 
hill and built the main house between them. When the house was 
nearly completed he brought Emma and the other five children to 
the way station. In the following years the barn, corrals and 
various other outbuildings were built. 

(This was the midway point between Red Lodge /and Meeteetse 
and the stages met at Eagles Nest at midnight. In the summer 
they stopped over only for meals and drove on to avoid the heat of 
Big Sand Coulee, but in the winter they stayed over for a nights 
lodging as well. Besides the stages there was a large number of 
freighters, travelers and cowboys who made Eagles Nest their stop- 
over too, mnd from the tales of the old timers it was not only to 
give their horses a rest! Emma Lanchburys' skill in the culinary 
arts was widely known, and for a quarter you not only got a 
delicious meal but one served on a properly set table — and always 
on a white linen tablecloth. 

vThose were the days when there was no Powell or Cody and 
Meeteetse was the "Big Town" in the territory. Due to the sub- 
dividing of Wyoming counties. Eagles Nest was situated, at differ- 
ent times, in three different counties, Fremont, Big Horn and Park. 
Eagles Nest became the focal point for much of the activity in 
what was to become known as the Powell Valley. These were 
busy times — there were always stage passengers and freighters to 
feed and house for the night, and on Saturday nights the cowboys 
and settlers would often gather for a dance. In the fall and spring 
there were roundups and sheep shearings. Eagles Nest built the 
first dipping facilities in the area and sheep were brought from all 
over Wyoming and southern Montana to use them. Twice a year 
there was a wagon trip to Red Lodge for supplies. ■ 

After the buildings were completed some of the land was broken 
up for farming. Emma filed a desert claim on the adjoining land 
and part of it was farmed. A dam across Eagles Nest Creek pro- 
vided water for irrigating and on Emma's claim a large water wheel 
in the Shoshone river furnished water for hay. 

As if farming, caring for his own herds of cattle, sheep and 
horses, as well as catering to travelers and their livestock, plus 
raising a large family was not enough work for Thomas, he built 
and operated a saloon in the early 1900s. Thomas had been a 
brewmaster in England, and the specialty of the house was his 
fii>e homebrewed English ale. 

i^With the coming of the railroads the freight and stage business 
ceased, but Eagles Nest was still headquarters for a lot of the cattle 
and sheep men in the area. When the valley was opened for home- 
steading the survey parties also headquartered there.y 

Emma Lanchbury died in July of 1915, and Thoirias in March 
of 1916, following an auto accident. Following their deaths, Ea- 
gles Nest was taken over by their second son, Samuel Moore 


Lanchbury. The oldest son, John, had already homesteaded on 
Cottonwood Creek out of Cody, and the youngest boy, Walter, 
had been killed in an accident hauling hay. Sam had filed a home- 
stead on the land adjoining that of his parents, and, following their 
deaths combined the property into the Eagles Nest Ranch. Sam 
died in 1960 and John in 1967. Of the four Lanchbury girls all 
are now dead — Sarah, who died before the family came to Wyo- 
ming from Red Lodge; Lizzie, (Mrs. Joe Howell) died in Portland, 
Oregon, in 1966; the youngest, Mrs. Florence Hansen Sumpter, 
died at her farm home adjoining Eagles Nest; Polly, (Mrs. Frak 
MaCumber) the eldest, died in Seattle in 1976. 

Eagles Nest is now owned by John Lanchbury, Jr., a grandson 
of Thomas and Emma. 


To the west of us is a narrow valley at the base of Rattlesnake 
Mountain through which Trail Creek runs, so named because of 
the old Indian Trace which traversed its length. It was on this 
Creek, ten miles from Cody, that Victor Arland and John F. 
Corbett set up the first mercantile establishment in the Basin upon 
their arrival on September 10, 1880. Here they carried on trading 
with the Indians as they moved back and forth on the travel route. 
It was at this location on Trail Creek that the first potatoes and 
vegetables of record were raised in the Big Horn Basin, during the 
growing season of 1882. 

During the summer of 1881 the two men put up a set of ranch 
buildings five miles below their trading post for a cattleman who 
did not come to take possession of them. This location later on 
became known as the Newton Ranch. A year later the buildings, 
which had cost them $200 in labor, were sold to a Frenchman, the 
Count Ivan du Dore for $600 and the ranch became known as the 
"Crown Ranch" because of the cattle brand used. This was a 
gathering place for a number of French noblemen who came west 
for big game hunting. According to legends handed down they 
indulged in wild and lavish parties. 

Looking to expanding their trade to include the cattle interests, 
Arland and Corbett put up a set of buildings here on Cottonwood 
Creek and[ moved their business to the new location in the summer 
of 1883. 'The finished lumber and windows would have been 
hauled from Billings, for by that time the railroad was hauling 
supplies in from the east. The building you see in the valley is all 
that is left of the original set-up. One log building you see in the 
valley was taken down and moved west of Cody in 1938 by Hans 
Reiss and is now owned by Bob Edgar. 

\The early mail route came past the trading post, went down the 


creek a mile and a half or so when it ascended the bench to the 
north and circled around some deep gullies, going north of east to 
the wagon crossing on Stinking Water at what later was called 

At the site of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, where 
several thousand West Coast Japanese Americans were relocated 
during World War II, Mary Blackburn read a paper on the history 
of the Center and outlined plans to place a historical marker at 
the site. 

The trekkers returned to Cody shortly after noon and disbanded, 
after a most enjoyable and informative two days. This trek con- 
cluded the three-part one over the Rawlins to Red Lodge stage 
and freight road. 

An account of the trek over the first segment of the road, from 
Rawlins to Lander, was published in the Fall, 1975, issue of 
Annals of Wyoming. The second segment of the route was trav- 
eled in the summer of 1976, but no account of it appeared in 
Annals of Wyoming because historical papers were not available 
for publication. 

^00 k Ueviews 

Wyoming. A History. By T. A. Larson. (New York: W. W. 
Norton & Co.; Nashville: The American Association for 
State and Local History, 1977). Index. Illus. 198 pp. 

This book is part of a series on The States and the Nation pub- 
lished for the National Bicentennial of the American Revolution. 

Wyoming. A History, is written in an easy, readable, narrative 
style with emphasis on the individuals who left their footprints in 
Wyoming and those who came and stayed to assist in building an 

Coming to Wyoming in 1936, the author, as Professor of His- 
tory at the University of Wyoming, has accumulated a wealth of 
information about the state and territory. He is able to look back 
down the years without bias. 

"Wyoming," he says, "in 1976 is as it was in 1776, too high, 
dry and cold for the needs and tastes of most people." 

Through research at the Huntington and other libraries the au- 
thor has made a study of the diaries and journals kept by men and 
women along the trails which crossed central and southern Wyo- 
ming. Most of the travelers wrote that the area was isolated, 
lonely and "a place no one wanted." Few of them realized that 
there were fertile valleys and beautiful mountain parks in many 
parts of the territory. 

The author documents his statements with references to the 
early diaries and journals, to government documents, to session 
laws, to early and late newspapers and to reports of state officials. 

The names of the chapters speak for themselves: The Fur 
Territory, The Trails Territory, The Equality State, The Cowboy 
State, and the Energy State. 

I enjoyed the book especially because I knew personally so 
many of the individuals mentioned: Mrs. Campbell, wife of Gov- 
ernor Campbell; Robert Morris, son of Esther Morris; Mrs. The- 
resa Jenkins, who told me how she trained her speaking voice; 
Governor Joseph M. Carey; Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross, and many, 
many others. 

In the chapter on The Cowboy State mention is made of John 
B. Kendrick, a millionaire. He did become one, but he enjoyed 
telling of his life as a cowboy on the Texas Trail. 

The chapter on the Equality State is outstanding and is undoubt- 
edly the most complete report ever printed of woman suffrage as 
related to Wyoming. 

Wyomingites who have been away from the state for some years 
should find the last chapter, The Equality State, quite informative. 


The author discusses in detail the development of the oil and coal 
industries from the beginning to 1976, including data on the Mis- 
souri Basin Power Project near Wheatland. 

Bob Peterson contributes "The Photographer's Essay," a group 
of well-selected, unique and artistic, modern photographs showing 
glimpses of various parts of Wyoming. 

Suggestions for Further Reading, which brings the book to a 
close, contains the titles of many books and articles which portray 
the advantages still extant in "the land no one wanted," but which 
"now is coveted by hosts of outsiders." 

Wyoming. A History is of handy size, just right to take along 
for vacation reading. 

We agree with the author that: "Wyoming still has enough of 
the old magic to stir the blood of visitor and native alike." 

Fort Collins, Colorado Agnes Wright Spring 

The Bonanza Kings: The Social Origins and Business Behavior of 
Western Mining Entrepreneurs, 1870-1900. By Richard H. 
Peterson. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977). 
Index. 191 pp. $9.95. 

The discovery of precious metals in the American West during 
the late nineteenth century opened this vast region to permanent 
settlement, and in most cases the earliest leader of these new immi- 
grants was the ubiquitous prospector and his faithful mule. This 
romanticised picture of the mining frontier is effectively displaced 
by Richard H. Peterson's The Bonanza Kings. Just as giant east- 
ern industrialists dominated the fields of oil, steel, and railroads, 
these western moguls assumed absolute business leadership. Dur- 
ing the period from 1870 to 1900 western mining matured into an 
increasingly technical and highly sophisticated industry. The caus- 
es for this economic success can be determined by examining how 
the mining magnates secured property, employed labor, enticed 
capital, and applied technology. 

The social backgrounds and business activities of fifty of the 
leading mining entrepreneurs contributed to the over-all achieve- 
ment of western economic development. Behavioral determinants 
which influenced the bonanza kings, such as family origin, father's 
occupation, birth place, and educational level, are illustrated, and 
give an understanding of social mobility on the frontier as con- 
trasted with procedures in the East. These men moved westward 
for a variety of reasons, not only to avoid boredom, crowding, and 
economic distress, but also to enjoy adventure, freedom, and un- 
spoiled nature. Nevertheless, the most influential motive for mi- 
gration was the lure of great and instant wealth. 


However, success required an extensive knowledge of mining 
technology. Many of the fifty magnates served long apprentice- 
ships in the various operations of mining. Practical, on-the-job 
experience was supplemented with independent study and formal 
scientific education. Additional experience as merchants and 
bankers offered new avenues for the application of technology and 
capital. Mining was big business — complex, complicated, and 
frequently callous. 

The best strategy for success was the acquisition of mining prop- 
erties. The inherent instability of the industry demonstrated the 
perpetual risks and encouraged consolidation. During times of 
economic depression, the bonanza kings realized their opportuni- 
ties to purchase depreciated property. Thus they were able to 
mine on a larger scale and thereby achieve lower production cost 
and increased efficiency and profit. Moreover, depressed times 
spurred buying and consolidation and prosperity provided periods 
for profit maximizing and selling. Thus tihe shrewd businessman 
would buy when property taxes were low and sell when they were 

An additional element which influenced success was the manner 
in which organized labor was confronted. A number of mine own- 
ers adopted hard-line attitudes toward the emerging unions, and 
used every weapon available to them, such as injunctions, private 
armies, lockouts, and blacklists, to resist union demands. A com- 
mon response to this uncompromising position was labor unrest 
and violence. However, this was not uniformly common to all 
mining areas. Many mining moguls realized that uninterrupted 
production was preferable to explosive confrontations with union 
members. These leaders attempted to create a consensus with 
their workers, and opened various avenues to redress grievances. 

The Bonanza Kings is an excellent introduction to the person- 
alities of the men who dominated the mining frontier of the trans- 
Mississippi West. Although it included the attitudes and behavior 
of fifty individuals, it was not a tedious listing of their chronolog- 
ical actions and character traits, but rather a view of specific and 
collective response to various challenges and developments. An 
extensive section of notes and bibliography is given for additional 
study and investigation. Peterson illustrates a high degree of ob- 
jectivity as he vividly demonstrates how these opportunistic and 
ambitious mining magnates were able to produce great success and 
huge wealth. 

Oklahoma State University W. Edwin Derrick 


Wyoming. A Guide to Historic Sites. Wyoming Recreation Com- 
mission. (Basin: Big Horn Book Company, 1976). lUus. 
327 pp. $10.95 hardback. $8.95 softback. 

While most history books will spend their time on library book- 
shelves, Wyoming. A Guide to Historic Sites should more prop- 
erly find its place on the front seat of an automobile. This is a 
book that begs to be used daily by the residents and visitors who 
travel this state. It is a "guide" in the truest sense. 

In three hundred and three pages, the Guide details two hundred 
and thirty-two Wyoming historic and archeological places. The 
concise and well-written copy answers all the questions relating to 
each — who, what, where, why, when and how. In addition, the 
documentation of many of the sites is augmented by quotations 
from diaries, journals and reports written on location at the time 
of its major historical significance. This excellent technique re- 
sults in a book that goes beyond the reporting of pertinent histor- 
ical data, giving the user a personal contact and human involve- 
ment with each place. 

Some may argue with the sites selected but such arguments will 
find little support. The editors have done a thoughtful job of 
striking both a geographical and historical balance throughout 
Wyoming and have included sites that touch on all phases of the 
state's development. The sites are organized in chapters by county 
and each county division page includes a key map. The text for 
each site opens with a detailed description of its location and 
access. In the case of sites that are remote or not generally acces- 
sible to the public, the user is advised to "inquire locally for direc- 
tions and road conditions." 

The text for most historic sites is supported by excellent pho- 
tography. Here, the editors have selected both modern and his- 
toric photographs to help tell the story. Each picture is identified 
by a cutline that includes the date, or approximate date, it was 
taken and each is further identified as to photographer or source 
in a list of illustrations at the back of the book. In some cases, 
art work and sketches are used to illustrate sites and events of 
which no photographs exist. 

Museums are not included in the text of the book, but a com- 
plete listing of all Wyoming museums, by county, is printed in the 
back. An index identifies each historic site by page number. 

The Guide is printed in both a soft cover and a hard cover 
edition in a convenient 5 3/4" x 8 3/4" size. The paper stock 
chosen as cover material on the soft version appears to be most 
durable. The binding is also high quality, giving this edition of 
the Guide the potential for a long life of hard use (even on the 
front seat of an automobile). The printing throughout is sharp, 
clean and most readable. About the only criticism of the printing 


is that many of the illustrations have lost the good black and white 
contrast of the original prints and appear somewhat dull and grey. 

The original idea for the Guide was carried to the Wyoming 
Consulting Committee on Nominations to the National Register of 
Historic Places by J. Reuel Armstrong of Rawlins as a project for 
the Bicentennial. The project was undertaken by the Historical 
Division of the Wyoming Recreation Commission with the assis- 
tance of a grant-in-aid from the Department of the Interior, Na- 
tional Park Service under the provisions of the National Historic 
Preservation Act of 1966. The bulk of the work in editing and 
compiling the Guide was accomplished by Mark Junge of the 
Recreation Commission staff who worked with the aid of numer- 
ous Wyoming historians all listed by name in the Guide's intro- 
duction. The Guide is introduced by the late Paul H. Westedt, 
Director of the Wyoming Recreation Commission, and is dedicated 
to Ned Frost, ". . . citizen, historian and the architect of Wyo- 
ming's Historic preservation program." 

Printing difficulties delayed the publication of the Guide beyond 
the Bicentennial year, but the final result more than makes up for 
the delay. Simply put, Wyoming. A Guide to Historic Sites was 
well worth the wait. Its careful research, content, style, presenta- 
tion and subject make it a valued addition to any collection of 
historic books and to the permanent traveUng kit of any resident 
and visitor with even a casual interest in Wyoming's past. 

Wyoming Travel Commission Randall A. Wagner 

Cow Country Legacies. By Agnes Wright Spring. (Kansas City: 
The Lowell Press, 1976). Illus. 123 pp. $8.95. 

Agnes Wright Spring needs no introduction to anyone familiar 
with Wyoming history. Her previous books have set a standard of 
historical accuracy, presented in a Uvely style, that are models for 
all writers on the west. Her positions as Wyoming state librarian 
and as state historian of both Wyoming and Colorado have given 
her an unequaled intimacy with the region about which she writes. 

Mrs. Spring's latest book is a collection of vignettes of people 
and places in and around Wyoming. Some of these are only a few 
lines long; others extend several pages. Each is drawn from her 
extensive, and sometimes personal, knowledge of her subject. 

The overall theme of Cow Country Legacies is the culture of 
frontier Wyoming. Many of the early settlers came from distin- 
guished famiUes in the east, and some from titled families in 
England or Scotland. These were not content to abandon the 
social and cultural fineries to which they were accustomed. As a 


result a group of wealthy young cattlemen, several of whom were 
graduates of prestigious eastern universities, founded the Cheyenne 
Club in 1880. The Cheyenne Club offered to its select members 
a taste of fine living that would have been difficult to match any- 
where. To increase cultural opportunities for the public at large 
an Opera House had been completed in Cheyenne by 1882. Vis- 
itors to the "Magic City of the Plains" could also view a number 
of Cheyenne homes that boasted of elaborate furnishings, fine 
silver services, and well-stocked libraries. Ornate iron fences fre- 
quently surrounded these homes, and trees, bushes, flowers, and 
carefully kept lawns soon replaced the prairie grasses. 

Throughout this book we catch intimate glimpses of many of the 
people who were responsible for this cultural transplant in the 
west. We read of some of the first Wyoming and Montana cattle- 
men — Granville Stuart, E. W. Whitcomb, John W. Prowers, Hiram 
(Hi) B. Kelly, John Hunton — and their Indian wives. We en- 
counter Edward Creighton, who built the first transcontinental 
telegraph line, and his brother John, who amassed a fortune in the 
cattle he ran in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska. Their 
fortunes went toward endowing the university in Omaha which 
bears their name, and which celebrates its centennial in 1978. 

In addition there are two sections of pictures of early settlers, 
churches, schools, homes, and a reproduction of the famous Paul 
Potter painting of a bull. This painting originally hung in the 
Cheyenne Club. One evening John Coble shot several holes into it 
because. Coble said, "the painting is a travesty on purebred stock." 
The painting — along with the bullet holes — is now among the 
holdings of the Wyoming State Museum. 

The book is a tribute to the printer's art. The layout is neat 
and uncrowded. The pages are printed in large clear type with the 
chapter title at the top of each right hand page and each new 
section clearly set off by an appropriate topic heading. 

It is impossible to present a full summary of this book in the 
brief space of a review or to do it full justice. This is a book to 
be sampled and savored. The reader is presented a series of snap- 
shots of the cultural hfe of the new territory and state. When 
finished, he might wish for more, but he will not be disappointed 
with what he has. 

Southwest Missouri State University Robert J. Whitaker 


Flaming Gorge Country. The Story of Daggett County, Utah. By 
Dick and Vivian Dunham. (Denver: Eastwood Printing and 
Publishing Company, 1977.) Index. Illus. 384 pp. $7.00. 

Brown's Park, in the minds of many is almost mythical — steeped 
in both mythology and legend of the "old West." For many, 
many persons Brown's Park is something out of a story book, but 
Brown's Park and Daggett County, Utah, which encompasses part 
of the Park, are real country that has seen the history of the West 

The unfolding is well told in Dick Dunham's Flaming Gorge 
Country, written as a history of Daggett County. However, the 
unfolding also includes much about Sweetwater and Uinta Coun- 
ties in Wyoming, and Routt County, Colorado, because the history 
of eastern Utah, southwestern Wyoming and a bit of northwestern 
Colorado that lap into the Park all intertwine. 

Brown's Park and Henry's Fork Valley to the westward have 
supplied writers many stories, very fanciful at times, and published 
mostly in western adventure pulps. A few novels have been writ- 
ten with the area as background. 

Dunham has none of the imaginary Brown's Park. Reaching 
back to the times when Indians and fur traders wintered in the 
Park and along the Henry's Fork river following the first Rendez- 
vous in 1825, Dunham has drawn real people and documented 
stories through his pages in a book that brings the history of 
Daggett County down to today's Flaming Gorge and Dam recrea- 
tion area. 

Many of the people in his work he has known personally, so 
that he has been able to draw well upon the memories of old 
timers who also knew those who had gone on before. Too, he 
has well researched records and old printed accounts and diaries. 

Here, one learns to understand why Brown's Park has remained 
in the minds of many persons as the storied haven of the outlaw 
as well as of the fur traders and ranchers of more than a century 
ago — to many persons it remains the picture of the old wild and 
wooly west. 

Queen Ann Bassett and her family, the Davenports, Sparks, 
Crouses, Taylors, Hoy brothers and Warrens, are among the more 
solid folks over in the fabled Hole, or Park — and then, the less 
favorably known Tom Horn, Lant, Tracy, Pete Johnson, Bennett, 
Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, plus members of other gangs hiding 
out — the in between figures such as Isom Dart and Matt Rash all 
become persons as Dunham puts them on display. 

Here the reader meets the squawman and other earliest settlers 
of the Daggett-Henry's Fork area — and those old timers who had 
moved eastward from Fort Bridger into the Henry's Valley, to 
Lucerne Valley and down along the Green. 


Shade Large, the Finches, the Sons, John and Jim Baker, Phil 
Mass, the Widdops, the Stolls, the Lambs, the easterner Keith 
Smith who led business, ranching and education for decades, the 
Larsons and dozens upon dozens of others who came into the 
area during the 150 years after Bridger, who had first seen the 
Valley during the 1825 Rendezvous and began running livestock 
there in the 1840s — these are a few of the scores of persons 
Dunham brings to the reader today. 

Flaming Gorge Country is not the usual book of dates and 
places and events. It is the history of an area told in terms of 
people and their activities, good or bad, the story of a region little 
known, told in a manner most will enjoy. 

Dick (Richard) Dunham, with pianist wife Vivian and their 
small daughter, in the 1940s left a professorship at Detroit (Wayne 
University) and came west for adventure and a new home. After 
an unguided pack trip the length of the Wind River, with the 
intended destination of Taos, circumstances saw the trio spend a 
winter in a log cabin in the Uinta Mountains, followed by an 
abortive attempt at raising hay in a lonely mountain valley. 

At the time of the Mormon Centennial in 1947 he wrote, with 
his wife. Our Strip of Land, a commemorative history of the area, 
at the request of the L.D.S. Ward at Manila, Utah. 

Soon afterwards, he found himself at the University of Wyo- 
ming, heading up a new speech department. He has since retired 
from this post. Flaming Gorge Country began as a revision of 
Our Strip of Land, developed into a definitive story of the lives 
and ways of living of the area's Indians, trappers, explorers, ranch- 
ers and outlaws over a period of 150 years. In his opening pages 
he delves into the geologic past but soon moved forward into the 
period of modern man. 

Green River, Wyoming Adrian Reynolds 

Land of Tall Skies. "A Pageant of the Colorado High Plains." 
By Dabney Otis Collins. (Colorado Springs: Century One 
Press, 1977.) Index. Map. 159 pp. $7.00 hardback. 
$5.00 softback. 

Dabney Otis Collins came west for his health many years ago 
and fell in love with the High Plains area of Colorado, that area 
stretching eastward from the Rocky Mountains to the borders of 
Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, a "comparatively level, treeless, 
semiarid region [which] forms almost half of the area of the 
state." ColUns believes that the spectacular mountains and moun- 
tain parks have precluded writings about the plains and that they 


represent only one-half of the story of Colorado. This booklet is 
the result of his love affair with the region and his attempt to set 
the record straight through this analysis and presentation. 

After an introduction by Marshall Sprague, Collins begins at 
the beginning and details the formation of the High Plains through 
millennia of geologic time. He views the development of the area 
as high drama, dividing the story into Prologue, nine Acts, and a 
Curtain Call broken by an Intermission. Each Act is an interpre- 
tation in broad perspective of the High Plains in each major period 
of their history. 

From the formation of the current earth's crust of the High 
Plains, Collins traces the migrations of people to the area from 
Siberia and the flowering of native grasses able to sustain millions 
of animals. He tells how the descendants of those early people 
acquired the horse from the Spaniards to the south and became 
an efficient light cavalry and able to exploit the tremendous num- 
ber of buffalos. Each interpretative essay contains a great deal of 
insight into how each period fits into the broader context. 

The author is at his best describing the land, the native grasses 
and routes of travel for one can certainly carp at his interpretation 
of "Picuries Pueblos" (p. 27), what he says was America's policy 
of extermination of Indians (p. 80), the "Wild Indians of the 
Plains" (p. 29), and their use of poisoned arrows (p. 45). Other 
mistakes and carelessness mar somewhat an otherwise dehghtful 
and readable booklet. For example, it was Joseph who had a coat 
of many colors, not Jacob (pp. 23 and 146). 

One can feel the harshness of life on the High Plains — the sod 
houses, the dust storms and, the sadness and frustration of the 
Great Depression for the inhabitants. But one can also feel a 
faster heartbeat reading about the fur trappers, the military posts, 
the shameful Sand Creek Massacre, the sea of buffalo, and the 
replanting of native grasses after breaking the sod to partake of 
some of the money brought about by war. 

On balance, the author accomplishes what he sets out to do 
because one does see emerge and unfold the pageant of the Colo- 
rado High Plains. It is a useful synthesis. Professional and buff 
ahke will find it a welcome addition to the bookshelf and a book 
to look to when concerned about the grass, the buffalo, the geol- 
ogy, or travel routes across the High Plains of Colorado. 

Fort Lewis College Robert W. Delaney 


/ Married Wyatt Earp. The Recollections of Josephine Sarah 
Marcus Earp. Ed., Glenn G. Boyer. (Tucson: The Univer- 
sity of Arizona Press, 1976.) Index. Illus. 277 pp. $10.50 
hardback. $4.95 softback. 

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp was the third and last wife of 
Wyatt Earp, frontier marshal, gunfighter, folk hero, outlaw, law- 
man, boomer, as one chooses to identify him. Josephine's mar- 
riage might not have been by legal ceremony, but she and Earp 
lived together from the time their relationship began about 1881 
in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, until he died in California in 

Josie Earp's purpose in writing was "if not an attempt to vindi- 
cate, at least an attempt to explain" her husband. She hopes, she 
writes, to give a "firsthand going-over" to the "malarky" about 
Tombstone and to finish the Earp story with an account of his 
later and less controversial years. 

As a young girl, Josie toured the West with a theatrical com- 
pany, became enamored of Earp, who was married, and was living 
with him at the time of the misnamed Gunfight at the OK Corral. 
Josie exonerates Wyatt and characterizes this fight as part of a 
struggle over economic and political power. She does beheve that 
he participated in a vendetta resulting in the killing of several gun- 
fighters probably responsible for his brother's murder. But, ac- 
cording to Josie, after these frays, she and Wyatt left Arizona for 
a peaceful, normal life. 

And therein lies the disappointment. She does metamorphose 
Earp into a different personality from the cool, steely-eyed, trigger- 
happy, gunman of film and faction. He becomes instead an ordi- 
nary, not very interesting opportunist, drifting through the West 
and Alaska, searching for a lucky mining strike while earning some 
money here and there as gambler, saloon keeper, and race horse 
owner. Although the western gunfighter-marshal-outlaw types are 
not true subjects for myths, they have been the most interesting 
myth-like subjects that we have. Josie removes Earp from this 
category and makes him an average man who loves his wife and 
hopes to get rich some day. Since Josie obviously has not written 
an accurate, objective account of Earp, better almost that she had 
enhanced the lies. 

The narrative is simple, almost childlike. This prose has a cer- 
tain appeal in its naivete. In fact, the prose might be the most 
appealing thing about the book, had not the editor thrown a shad- 
ow of doubt on its authenticity. He says that in combining two 
manuscripts written by Josie Earp which were "presented in widely 
varying styles," he arrived at a "vocabulary and syntax that closely 
approximated the speech of the Uving Earps. Thus while Wyatt 


is stripped of his villainy, Josie is deprived of her naturalness and 

Readers never agree on just the right amount of footnotes; I 
suggest that this book is over noted for the general reader, but a 
source of minutia for the scholar of western outlawry. The illus- 
trations are superb. Unfortunately there is only one picture of 
Josie. It portrays her as a young woman, head lifted dramatically, 
with long flowing black hair. She would have been a great gun- 
fighter's moll. 

Wyoming Council for the Humanities Betsy Peters 

Keep the Last Bullet for Yourself. The True Story of Custer's 
Last Stand. By Thomas B. Marquis. (New York: Two 
Continents Publishing Group, 1976). Index. Illus. 203 
pp. $8.95. 

To be a Custer buff is almost to be a Thomas Marquis buff. 
His list of publications, all based on direct, personal interviews, 
have added significantly to our library of source materials on the 
Plains Indian and especially toward an explanation of the Custer 
controversy. His Wooden Leg, A Warrior Who Fought Custer, 
pubhshed in 1931, has become a minor classic portraying the 
Indian attitude and perspective in the Custer fight. Keep The 
Last Bullet For Yourself was to have been his final assessment of 
the battle. The manuscript was ready for publication in 1934 (he 
died in 1935), but it was rejected then, undoubtedly because the 
publishers feared a repugnance toward the author's thesis. It has 
only now been published. 

Quite simply. Marquis' thesis is that the troops under Custer 
committed mass suicide, or, in his rather quaint phrasing, "general 
self -extinction." As the surviving Indians he interviewed elo- 
quently said, the "Everywhere Spirit" intervened and the soldiers 
"threw themselves away." 

Marquis gives a rather pedestrian analysis of Custer's own char- 
acter. He is, in fact, an apologist for Custer, and it is against this 
backdrop of Custer apology that the "pitiable fiasco," as Marquis 
sees it, is such a sad story. 

Marquis makes the argument, which military historian S. L. A. 
Marshall was to reaffirm much later, that Custer's troops were 
unprepared to fight and undeserving of the reputation of premier 
Indian fighters. At least 30 per cent of his men were raw recruits 
and 75 per cent of the men including veterans had very little actual 
experience fighting Indians. 

Concentrating on the soldiers' mental state, Marquis attempts to 
recapture the psychology of the battle scene with the young, un- 


tried, frightened soldiers who populariy had been led to expect 
"fiendish" savages, and to anticipate "excruciating tortures" if they 
were captured. They were fully conscious of the western slogan, 
"when fighting Indians, keep the last bullet for yourself." His 
rather stolid style aside, we come to feel and hear wounded men 
aching for water amid a din of war cries, death songs, and stam- 
peding horses. And as Marquis says, "on a critical day and at 
a critical moment, they became victims of this indoctrination." 
Marquis' close observation and extensive primary research makes 
the book's conclusion that the battle turned on a temporary wave 
of insanity altogether plausible. 

While Marquis' style is neither majestic nor poetic it has the ring 
of truth. The results of his research among the Indians reveals 
moments, values, and characteristics that neither culture should 
allow itself to forget. 

Northwest Wyoming Community College Roy Jordan 

Fort Stanwix. History, Historic Furnishing and Historic Structure 
Reports. By John F. Luzader, Louis Torres and Orville W. 
Carroll. (Washington, D.C.: Office of Park Historic Pres- 
ervation National Park Service, 1976). Illus. 200 pp. $3.50. 

Mountain Home. The Walker Family Farmstead. Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park. By Robert R. Madden and T. 
Russell Jones. Washington, D.C., U. S. Department of the 
Interior, National Park Service, 1977.) Illus. 55 pp. 

These titles are recent additions to the Park Service's growing 
hst of publications dealing with the cultural history, archeology 
and preservation of historic sites. The reconstruction of Fort Stan- 
wix, at Rome, New York, was one of the Park Service's major 
Bicentennial projects. The Walker family homesite, located in the 
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of few remaining 
original mid- 19th century farmsteads in the Park. The preserva- 
tion of the farm's structures is aimed at generating a finer appre- 
ciation for the quality of life once experienced within the natural 
resources of the Park. 

Fort Stanwix is divided into three parts: "Construction and 
Military History," by John F. Luzader, Park Service historian; 
"Historic Furnishings Study," by Louis Torres; "Historic Structure 
Report" by Park Service architect Orville W. Carroll. Luzader's 
essay is a history of the building of the fort, in all of its stages — 
fur trading center in the Mohawk Valley, military outpost in the 
wars with the French and Indian tribes, and Continental Army 


post during the Revolutionary War. Because of its location, the 
so-called Oneida Carrying Place, Fort Stanwix played a pivotal 
role in all of these historical developments. In 1757 the British 
built the fort to improve their access to the fur territories and to 
try to Umit French activity in the same areas. Beyond its partici- 
pation in the Seven Years War and other Indian battles, the fort's 
place in our history centers upon its experience in the Revolution- 
ary War. In August, 1777, it withstood a siege by the British for 
twenty-two days, which helped to defeat the forces of Barry St. 
Leger and contributed to the defeat of General Burgoyne. 

Louis Torres' "furnishings" study lists and describes all of the 
items that were used to outfit the activities and spaces of the fort. 
Since there was httle archeological evidence to substantiate the 
actual presence of many things, Torres researched the use of sim- 
ilar items in the region and in military life. His treatment includes 
provisions, arms and accoutrements, clothing, Indian supplies 
(Stanwix was always a trading center), livestock, hardware, uten- 
sils, furniture and accessories, and objects in the furnished areas 
(all the barracks and special use locations). 

The final section, "Historic Structure Report," describes in full 
detail the structural elements in every unit of the fort. Carroll's 
report is really a handbook for the reconstruction of the fort, and 
it includes a thorough and unusual military glossary. As a guide- 
book this article prescribes the materials, forms, and techniques 
the restoration team will need to reconstruct the fort authentically. 

Fort Stanwix is noteworthy because of its careful research and 
it will provide much data for studies in the cultural history of the 
region and the period. The text is also a handbook on the process 
of undertaking the reconstruction of a miUtary site. If the book 
has any shortcomings they are in its style, which often reads like 
an archeology field report, and in its lack of an analysis of the 
stylistic significance of the fort's architecture. Are such arrange- 
ments of members, with their strict adherence to Renaissance 
geometry, ordinary? What is the cultural derivation of the plan? 
Were there many other forts like this one in the original colonies? 
A short discussion of these considerations would have enlarged 
the scope of the reports. 

Mountain Home is a less ambitious volume and concentrates on 
narrating the development and daily activities of the Walker family 
farm. The Walkers were resilient Tennessee mountain people who 
established a truly self-sufficient farm through a lifetime of hard 
work, adaptation and accommodation. John and Margaret Walker 
moved to the farmstead's current location in the late 1860s or 
early 1870s. They raised eleven children, all of whom partici- 
pated in the labor intensive style of family life. John Walker was a 
skilled craftsman, and it was said of him that he could make prac- 
tically anything from wood, leather or metal. He was first a 
successful farmer, but he was also a competent blacksmith, car- 


penter, grist miller, herder and builder. Walker laid down life 
patterns his surviving children would emulate long after his death, 
and the real story of Mountain Home is the story of the seven 
daughters' success at continuing their parent's lifestyle. Only one 
daughter married; the rest remained attached to the rigors of 
mountain life. Not until their very late years did the Walker 
women come to trade for manufactured goods, and from all ac- 
counts rarely did they avail themselves of available services. 

The last section of the book deals with the architecture of the 
farm. Russell Jones describes the character of the structures and 
the nature of the building methods. While these are helpful, his 
report would benefit from an assessment of Smoky Mountain ver- 
nacular building and the place of the Walker buildings in the local 
vernacular tradition. Of special interest to the reviewer is the 
spatial layout of the farm. The ultimate shape that the living, 
working, and growing areas take is an impressive bit of planning 
and orientation to site. Additional information and analysis of 
such land use could prove valuable to the student of American 
environmental design. 

Oklahoma State University Herbert Gottfried 

Hour of Trial: The Conservation Conflict in Colorado and the 
West, 1891-1907. By G. Michael McCarthy. (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1977). Index. Illus. 327 
pp. $12.50. 

During the last half of the nineteenth century the prevailing 
American sentiment toward the environment reflected an unso- 
phisticated national belief that land existed to be exploited. These 
attitudes carried into the twentieth century. G. Michael McCarthy 
examines these attitudes and analyzes the clash between those for 
and against conservation of Colorado's natural resources between 
1891 and 1907. Using numerous primary sources, McCarthy 
makes Colorado a case study to illustrate the conservation conflict 
which was developing on a national scale. Examining both sides 
of the argument, he concludes that the conservationists and anti- 
conservationists were both right and wrong in their battle for the 

McCarthy traces the history of the American conservation 
movement which had its roots in the mid- 1870s. The ultimate 
goal of the movement was to establish a federal land policy, and 
this was accomplished on March 3, 1891, when President Benja- 
min Harrison signed the General Revision Act which gave the 
chief executive power to remove timber land from the pubUc do- 
main. When the first Colorado timber reserve was created in 


October of 1891, the conservation conflict ignited. Opposition to 
the reserves and consequent legislation dealing with grazing per- 
mits, leasing, and coal land withdrawals quickly arose from such 
diverse factions as timber cutters, cattlemen, and farmers who 
feared a loss of personal investments. 

Between 1891 and 1907 presidents Benjamin Harrison, Grover 
Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt carried the 
governmental banner for conservation, as they set aside millions 
of acres of public lands for federal reserves. Gifford Pinchot, 
architect of Roosevelt's conservation policy, joined this fight for 
the preservation of the nation's resources. However, the oppo- 
sition to governmental policy had such able leaders as Colorado's 
Senator Henry M. Teller who advocated the maximum use of 
public lands. Moreover, with the anti-conservationists holding 
political power in Colorado, exploitation on reserves went un- 
heeded. This activity in Colorado typified the general western 
experience, and it reflected the western fear that easterners would 
confiscate their natural resources for esthetic purposes. In 1907 
the "watershed" of the conservation conflict occurred at the Den- 
ver Public Lands Convention. This meeting illustrated the inef- 
fectiveness of the anti-conservationists and marked the decline of 
their power in Colorado and the West. 

McCarthy points out that today Colorado faces such similar 
ecological problems as the development of oil shale, strip mining, 
and recreational areas. He claims that this is a classic case of 
history repeating itself but with an ironic reverse. At the turn of 
the century the government supported conservation, but federal 
officials now advocate development of Colorado's natural resourc- 
es for national use. 

Although admitting some environmentalist bias, McCarthy pre- 
sents a balanced book on the conservation struggle in Colorado. 
This readable work deftly shows how Colorado's experience was a 
lucid example of the ongoing national debate over conservation in 
the West. McCarthy has done a commendable job with this study, 
and it will be of interest to students of the period, region, and 
American conservation movement. Perhaps this book, as did the 
pioneer and the preserver, will leave a legacy to Colorado and 
the West. 

Oklahoma State University Timothy A. Zwink 


Gordon O. Hendrickson is a research associate at the Immi- 
gration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. 
He holds degrees from Wisconsin State University-River Falls, 
Colorado State University and a Ph.D from the University of 
Wyoming. He has served as consultant historian at the Wyoming 
State Archives and Historical Department and was project director 
of the research project, "Wyoming's European Heritage" a joint 
undertaking of the University of Wyoming's Department of History 
and College of Education and the Historical Research and Publi- 
cations Division of the Wyoming State Archives and Historical 

Thomas R. Ninneman is associate professor of history and 
chairman of the Social Science Department at the University of 
Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie. He earned the doctorate at the 
University of Wyoming where he studied under T. A. Larson. 

Gregory J. Scheurman is associated with the University of 
Wyoming as Field Coordinator for the Humanities Teaching Proj- 
ect, an in-service training program for teachers. He received his 
B.A. degree in Social Studies and his M.A. in history from the 
University of Wyoming. He is a member of the Wyoming Educa- 
tion Association. 

Douglas C. McChristian is supervisory historian at Fort Lar- 
amie National Historic Site. He previously served with the Na- 
tional Park Service as seasonal historian at Fort Earned National 
Historic Site and as a park technician at Fort Lamed. He is a 
graduate of Fort Hays State University with a degree in history. 


Absaroka mountains, 265 

Allen, Jack, 239, 240 

Allison, John, 277, 279 

Alsberg, Henry G., 177, 178, 186 

American History, by Jack Abramo- 

witz, 250 
Angus McDonald Ranch, 263, 264, 

Arland, Victor, 264, 274, 281, 283 
Ash, Louis, 182 
Augur, Brig. Gen. C. C, 255 
Aztec Indians, 225, 229 

The Brewery, 257, 258 

"Bronco Nell", 265, 266 

Brown, Harriett McCune, 229, 251 

Brown's Hotel, 257 

Browne, Pvt., 258 

The Bug Juice War, by Douglas C. 

McChristian, 253-261 
Burke, Sen. Edward R., 216 
Burnett, Fincelius G., 269 
Burt, Lt. Col. Andrew, 254 
Burt, Reynolds J., 254 


Balboa, 244, 247 

Barth, August, 278, 279 

Bartlett, Irving, 250 

Beaver Creek, 268 

Beck, George T., 264, 265, 273 

Beck Lake. 264 

Bent, E. M., 277, 279 

Bennet, Capt. Andrew S., 281 

Betts, John L., 239, 250 

Big Horn Basin, 263, 266, 269, 271, 
274, 277, 280, 283 

Big Horn County, 265 

Big Horn River, 264 

Billington, Ray Allen, 226, 227, 230, 

231, 241 

The Black Legend in Wyoming High 
School Textbooks: Anti-Hispanic 
Attitudes in their Treatment of 
the Period 1492-1848, by Greg 
Scheurman, 223-252 

Blant, S. E., 267 

Blitz, Antone, 258 

Blue Bead Mountain and River, 275 

The Bonanza Kings: The Social Or- 
igins and Business Behavior of 
Western Mining Entrepreneurs, 
1870-1900, by Richard H. Peter- 
son, review 286-287 

Boyd-Bowman, Peter, 235 

Boyer, Glenn G., ed., / Married 
iVyatt Earp. The Recollections of 
Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, re- 
view, 294-295 

Brackett, Col. A. G., 257, 258 

Bragdon, Henry W., 218, 237, 248 

Branson, Margaret Simmann, 250 

Camp Brown, 267, 268, 269 
Canfield, Leon, 227, 228, 233 
Carey, Sen. Robert D., 200, 207 
Carroll, Orville W., Fort Stanwix. 

History, Historic Furnishing and 

Historic Structure Reports, review, 

Carter, Judge William A., 264 
Carter Mountain, 264, 268 
Cedar Mountain, 266 
Chadron, Nebr., 193 
Chapman, Alice, 277 
Chapman, John, 276-280 
Chapman, Mrs. Marion Sherwin, 

photo, 262 
Cheyenne City, 253, 259 
Cheyenne State Leader, 193 
Christensen, Mart, 178-180, 183- 

186; photo, 179 
Clark, Sec. of State Alonzo M., 206, 

Clark, Frank L., 279 
Clark, John D., 205 
Clark, M. F., 271 
Clark, Capt. William, 274, 275 
Clark's Fork River Ferry, photo, 

Cody, 263, 265, 266, 269, 273, 274 
Cody Canal, 264, 265 
Coffee, Harry, 193 
Collins, Dabney Otis, Land of Tall 

Skies, A Pageant of the Colorado 

High Plains, review, 292-293 
Collins, Pvt. James, 260 
ColHns, W. S., 271, 272 
Collins, Capt. William S., 258 
Colter, John, 266 
The Coon Dive, 257 
Corbett, John, 264, 274, 281. 283 
Corbett Crossing. 264, 265, 273, 284 

APR 10 



Cortes, Hernando, 228, 231, 243 

Coulson, 269, 270 

Coif Country Legacies, by Agnes 

Wright Spring, review, 289-290 
Cox, Pvt. John E., 254 
Crown Ranch. 283 
Cunningham Ranch, 277 
Cuny, Adolph, 257 


Davidson. C. H., 273 

Davila, Carlos, 226 

Dean, Josh, 264, 266 

de Bry, Jean Israel, 243 

de Bry. Jean Theodore, 243 

de Bry, Theodore. 243 

de Las Casas, Bartolome, 234 

Delaney, Robert W., review of Land 
of Tall Skies. A Pageant of the 
Colorado High Plains, 292-293 

DeMailly, Count, 274 

Democratic National Committee, 
201, 202 

Democratic National Convention, 
1932, 202 

Democratic State Committee of Wy- 
oming, 195, 202 

Derrick, W. Edwin, review of The 
Bonanza Kings: The Social Ori- 
gins and Business Behavior of 
Western Mining Entrepreneurs, 
1870-1900, 286-287 

Dillworth Ranch, 277 

Discovering American History, by 
Allan O. Kownslar and Donald B. 
Frizzle, 233, 246 

Dry Creek, 264, 265 

du Dore, Count Ivan, 283 

Dunham. Dick and Vivian, Flaming 
Gorge Country. The Story of 
Dagget County, Utah, review, 

Durand, Earl, 281 

Eagles Nest Stage Station, 281-283 

"The Early Mail and Freight Route 
in Western Big Horn Basin," by 
David J. Wasden, 266-270 

Ecoffey and Cuny's Ranch, 256, 257 

Edgar, Bob, 263, 273, 283 

Eibling, Harold H., 234 

Emerson, Frank C, 200, 201, 203 

Evans, Luther K., 183 

Farley, James A., 202, 203, 205, 
210, 212, 221, 222 

Federal Writers' Project in Wyo- 
ming, 176-192 

Flaming Gorge Country. The Story 
of Dagget County, Utah, by Dick 
and Vivian Dunham, review, 291- 

Flannery, L. G. "Pat", 213, 221 

Fort Laramie, 253, 261 
Fort Stambaugh, 267 
Fort Stanwix. History, Historic 
Furnishing and Historic Struc- 
ture Reports, by John F. Luza- 
der, Louis Torres and Orville 
W. Carol!, review, 296-298 

Foundations of Freedom: United 
States History to 1877, by Harold 
H. Eibling, Carlton Jackson, and 
Vito Perrone, 234, 238, 246 

Franc, Otto, 265, 271, 277 

Frazier, Leon, 184 

Fred C. Nagel & Co., 272 

The Free and the Brave; The Story 
of America's People, by Henry F. 
Graff, 245, 246 

Freight and Stage Road From Raw- 
lins to Red Lodge, Montana. 
Third Segment of Trail — Meeteet- 
se to Chance, Montana. Trek No. 
28 of The Historical Trail Treks, 

Freth, — , 269 

Frizzle, Donald B., 233 

Frost, Dick, 273 

Frost, J. M., 271 

Frost, Mahlon, 273 

Frost Ranch, 271, 277 

Ganguet, Joseph, 278, 279 

Garland, 266 

Garner, Vice-Pres. (John N.), 206 

Germania Bench, 264 

Gibson, Charles, 225, 233, 240, 244 

Gillespie, Major G. L., 271 

Gillis, John, 272 

Glass, Sen. Carter, 202 

Gooseberry Creek, 263, 268, 269 

Goppert, Ernest J., 279 

Gottfried, Herbert, review of Moun- 
tain Home. The Walker Family 
Farmstead. Great Smoky Moun- 
tains National Park, 296-298 

Graff, Henry F., 246, 250, 251 

Greenburg, Dan W., 183-185; photo, 



Greever, Cong. Paul R., 215 
Greybull River, 265, 268, 271 
Guffey, Sen. Joseph F., 211-214, 

The Impact of Our Past: A History 
of the United States, by Bernard 
Weisberger, 229, 242, 245 

Inca Indians, 228, 229 

"Ish-a-woo-a-River", 268 


Haggard, D. Avery, 199 

Half Way House Stage Stop, 265 

Hargraves, Rueben C, 274 

Heald, George M., 279, 280 

Heart Mountain, 274, 275, 277 

Heart Mountain Relocation Center, 

Heizman, C. L., 267 

Hendrickson, Gordon O., The WPA 
Writer's Project in Wyoming: His- 
tory and Collections, 175-192; 
biog.. 300 

Herring, Sen. Clyde L., 213 

Hill, Charles S., 207 

Historical Records Survey, 182-185, 

History: U.S.A., by Jack Allen and 
John L. Betts, 246 

History of a Free People, by Henry 
W. Bragdon and Samuel P. Mc- 
Cutcheon, 237, 238, 239, 246 

"History of the Meeteetse Mercan- 
tile," by J. Randle Moody, 272, 

A History of the United States, by 
Richard C. Wade, Howard B. 
Wilder, and Louise C. Wade, 235, 

Hoffman, Mrs. Manuelle, 280, 281 

Hofstadter, Richard, 234, 249 

Hog Ranches, 256, 257 

Hogg. W. T., 272 

Hour of Trial: The Conservation 
Conflict in Colorado and the 
West, 1891-1907, by G. Michael 
McCarthy, review, 298-299 

Howard, Gen. O. O., 275, 281 

Hudson, Frank L., 279 

Hull, Sen. Cordell, 202 

Hunt, Lester C, 186 


/ Married Wyatt Earp. The Recol- 
lections of Josephine Sarah Mar- 
cus Earp, Glenn Boyer, ed., re- 
view, 294-295 

Ickes, Sec. of the Interior Harold L., 
210, 214, 217 

Jackson, Andrew, 244 

Jackson, Carlton, 234, 251 

Jobe, Martin and John, 278 

Jones, Capt. William A., 264, 266- 

268, 270 
Jones, T. Russell, Mountain Home. 

The Walker Family Farmstead. 

Great Smoky Mountains National 

Park, review, 296-298 
Jordan, Roy, review of Keep the 

Last Bullet for Yourself. The 

True Story of Custer's Last Stand, 

Joseph, Chief, 275, 276 


Keep the Last Bullet for Yourself. 

The True Story of Custer's Last 

Stand, by Thomas B. Marquis, 

review, 295-296 
Kendrick, John B., 193, 195, 196, 

197, 199, 200, 204, 205, 206, 208 
Kesner, Sgt., 257 
Kieser, Henry, 269 
Kownslar, Allan O., 233 
Kraus, Charley, 279 
Ku Klux Klan, 194, 197, 199 

Laird, L. E., 196 

Lanchbury, Emma, 281-283 

Lanchbury, John Jr., 283 

Lanchbury, Lizzie (Mrs. Joe How- 
ell), 283 

Lanchbury, Polly (Mrs. Frak Ma- 
Cumumber), 281, 283 

Lanchbury, Samuel Moore, 282, 283 

Lanchbury, Sarah, 283 

Lanchbury, Thomas. 281-283 

Lanchbury, Walter, 283 

Land of Tall Skies. A Pageant of 
the Colorado High Plains by Dab- 
ney Otis Collins, review, 292-293 



Landlord and Peasant in Colonial 
Oaxaca, by William B. Taylor, 

Larson, T. A., Wyoming. A His- 
tory, review, 285-286 

Leinwand, Gerald, 228, 249 

Leyenda Negra, ("Black Legend"), 
223, 224, 225, 227, 228, 231, 233, 
234, 236, 239, 240, 241, 243, 244, 
245, 246 

Linford, Dee, 186, 189 

Linton, Alex A., 272 

Lonabaugh, E. E., 273 

L.U. Ranch, 263, 266 

Lucas, Frank E., 197 

Ludlam, Robert P., 229, 251 

Luzader, John F., Fort Sta?iwix. 
History, Historic Furnishing and 
Historic Structure Reports, review, 

Lyman, Alice, 177, 180 


McAdoo, William G., 202 

McAdow, P. W., 269, 270 

McCarthy, G. Michael, Hour of 
Trial: The Conservation Conflict 
in Colorado and the West, 1891- 
1907, review, 298-299 

McChristian, Douglas C, The Bug 
Juice War, 253-261; biog., 300 

McCormick, Pvt. William, 257 

McCraken, Tracy S., 199, 200, 201, 
202, 205, 209, 211, 216 

McCullough, Peter, 264 

McCutcheon, Samuel P., 237, 248 

McDonald, Angus J., 272, 273 

McFall, Dave, 274 

McGee, Eugene, 258 

McGuire, Pvt., 258 

Mclntyre, Marvin H., 203, 215, 219 

McKnight, James N., 279 

McLemore, Richard A., 249 

McMally, William, 271 

Madden, Robert R., Mountain 
Home. The Walker Family Farm- 
stead. Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park, review, 296-298 

Madgic, Robert F., 243, 250 

The Making of Modern America, by 
Leon Canfield and Howard B. 
Wilder, 227, 232, 245 

Mandelbaum, Seymour, 250 

Marquis, Thomas B., Keep the Last 
Bullet for Yourself. The True 
Story of Custer's Last Stand, re- 
view, 295-296 

Martin, A. J., 278 

Meeteetse, 264, 265, 270-273 

Meeteetse Creek, 264, 268, 269, 271, 

Meeteetse Mercantile, 272-273 

"Mee-yer-o" Creek, 268 

Metz, W. S., 272 

Mexican War, 225, 241, 242 

Mikkelson, Sylvia, 272, 273 

Miles, Gen. Nelson, 277, 281 

Miller, Gov. Leslie A., 184, 200-203, 
205-208, 211, 214, 215, 216, 217, 
219, 220, 221 

Mitchell, Palmer, 202 

The "M.O.M.", 200, 215, 221 

Monument Hill, 274 

Moody, J. Randle, "History of the 
Meeteetse Mercantile," 272, 273 

Moore, — , 282 

Moran, Nina, 181, 182 

Morris, Esther, 188 

Mountain Home. The Walker Fam- 
ily Farmstead. Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park, by Rob- 
ert R. Madden and T. Russell 
Jones, review, 296-298 


Nagel, R. B., 272 

New Deal, 175 

Newton Ranch, 283 

Ninneman, Thomas R., Wyoming's 

Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney, 

193-222; biog., 300 
Nolaco Growth Fund, 280 


O'Hara, Pat, 275, 280, 281 

O'Mahoney, Joseph C, 193-222; 

photo, 196 

O'Mahoney Sugar Bill, 210 

"The Old Arland and Corbett Trad- 
ing Post on Cottonwood Creek," 
283, 284 

Order of Good Templars, 259 

Oregon Basin, 264 

Pacific Springs, 267 

The Pageant of American History, 

by Gerald Leinwand, 228, 235, 

Palmer, Lt. Col., 259 
Parks, C. S., Jr., 278 



"Pat O'Hara Creek" by David J. 

Wasden, 270, 275, 276, 280, 281 
Pemperton, Pvt. Charles, 256 
A People and a Nation, by Clarence 

L. Versteeg and Richard Hofstad- 

ter, 234, 246 
Perrone, Vito, 234 
Peters, Betsy, review of / Married 

Wyatt Earp. The Recollections of 

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, 

Peterson, Richard H., The Bonanza 

Kings: The Social Origins and 

Business Behavior of Western 

Mining Entrepreneurs, 1870-1900, 

review, 286 287 
Phelps, L. G., 272 
Pitchfork Ranch, 265, 271 
Pizarro, (Francisco), 228, 247 
Powell, Philip Wayne, 224, 227, 231, 

235, 243 
Pryor, Sgt. Nathaniel, 275 
Public Works Administration, 175 
Pyle, Ernie, 193 

Quealy, Patrick J., 201 


Reiss, Hans, 283 

Reynolds, Adrian, review of Flam- 
ing Gorge Country, The Story of 
Dagget County, Utah, 291-292 

Rise of the American Nation, by 
Lewis Paul Todd and Merle Curti, 
238, 241, 244, 246 

Robinson, Cecil, 225 

Robinson, John, 258 

Robinson, Sen. Joseph T., 206, 211 

Rooseveh, Franklin D., 175, 202, 
203, 204, 206-212, 214-222 

Rose, Judge Robert E. (R), 196 

Ross, Nellie Tayloe, 198, 199 

Ross, William B., 194, 195, 197 

Sage Creek, 264, 268, 269, 271, 273 

Sandler, Martin W., 250 

Scheurman, Greg, The Black Leg- 
end in Wyoming High School Text 
Books: Anti-Hispanic Attitudes in 
Their Treatment of the Period, 
1492-1848, 223-252, biog., 300 

Schwartz, Sen. Harry H., 194, 197, 

199, 200, 206, 207, 215, 219, 220 
Seaberg, Stanley S., 243, 250 
Shad, Harry J., 182 
Shafer, Boyd C, 249 
Sheridan, P. H., 269 
Sherwin, Edith Anna Wiley, photo, 

Sherwin, Helen, photo, 262 
Sholty, Maude, 181 
The Shoshone Land and Irrigation 
Company, 265 
Shoshone River, 265 
"Sierra Shoshone" mountains, 264 
Six Mile Ranch, 257 
Skull Creek Divide, 275 
Smith, Al, 197, 199 
Spicer, Jack, 279 
"Spirit Mountain," 266 
Spring, Agnes Wright, 185-189; 

photo, 188; review of Wyoming. 

A History, 285-286; Cow Country 

Legacies, review, 289-290 
Statewide Historical Project, 177, 

178, 180-182, 185, 189, 190 
Steele, Robert, 272 
Steele, W. O., 272 
Stinking Water, 263-266, 268, 272, 

274, 277, 284 
Stopskz, Fred H., 243, 250 
"The Story Behind the Naming of 

Meeteetse," by David J. Wasden, 

Sturgis, Col. Samuel, 275, 276 
Sullivan, Eugene J., 197 
Sumpter, Mrs. Florence Hansen, 283 

Taggart, Charles, 279, 280 

Taggart, Lloyd, 279, 280 

Taylor, William B., 240 

Tewksbury, C. L., 272 

This is America's Story, by Howard 
B. Wilder, Robert P. Ludlam and 
Harriett McCune Brown, 229, 
237, 241, 244, 245 

Thomas, Atwood C. 265, 271 

Three Mile Ranch, 257 

Todd, Lewis Paul, 238, 241, 244, 

Torres, Louis. Fort Stanwix. His- 
tory, Historic Furnishing and His- 
toric Structure Reports, review, 

"Travel Log for Saturday, July 16," 
by David J. Wasden. 263-266 

APR 1 



APR > 'n 


Trek No. 28 of the Historical Trail 
Treks, Freight and Stage Road 
from Rawlins to Red Lodge, Mon- 
tana, 262-284 

"Two Dot Ranch," by David J. 
Wasden, 276-280 


United States Senate, 194, 195, 200, 
206, 207, 208 

Vandierendonk, Leon, 279 

Ver Steeg, Clarence L., 234, 249 

Vion, Reue, 274 


Wade, Louise C, 235, 249 

Wade, Richard C, 235, 249 

Wagner, Randall A., review of Wyo- 
ming. A Guide to Historic Sites, 

Walsh, Sen. David L, 202 

Warren, Francis E., 194, 195, 196, 
198, 200 

Wasden, David J., 263; "Travel Log 
for Saturday, July 16," 263-266; 
"The Early Mail and Freight 
Route in Western Big Horn Ba- 
sin," 266-270; "The Story Behind 
the Naming of Meeteetse," 270- 
272; "Two Dot Ranch," 276-280; 
"Pat O'Hara Creek," 280-281 

"Washakee Needles," 268 

Weaver, John, 277 

Weisberger, Bernard A., 229, 230, 
237, 239 

Wheeler, Sen. Burton K., 202, 216 

Whipple, W. D., 268 

Whitaker, Robert J., review of Cow 
Country Legacies, 289-290 

Wilder, Howard B., 227, 228, 229, 
233, 235, 249, 251 

Wiley, Solon L., 264 

Willison, George F., 187 

Wilson, Andrew B., 271 

Wilson, Mrs. Margaret B., 271 

Winks, Robin W., 243 

Works Progress Administration 
(WPA), 175-178 

The WPA Writers' Project in Wyo- 
ming: History and Collections, 
by Gordon O. Hendrickson, 175- 

Wright, Major Jeremy B., 276 

The Wyoming Eagle, 201, 207, 209, 

Wyoming. A Guide to Historic 
Sites, Wyoming Recreation Com- 
mission, review, 288-289 

Wyoming. A History, by T. A. 
Larson, review, 285-286 

Wyoming Recreation Commission, 
Wyoming. A Guide to Historic 
Sites, review, 288-289 

Wyoming's Senator Joseph C. O'Ma- 
honey, by Thomas R. Ninneman, 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Trek No. 28 of the Historical 
Trail Trek, 262-284 

Wyoming State Tribune, 194, 204 

Yellowstone Mountains, 264 

Zwink, Timothy A., review of Hour 
of Trial: The Conservation Con- 
flict in Colorado and the West, 
1891-1907, 298-299 


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 
the State archives. 

The aid of the citizens of Wyoming is solicited in the carrying 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 historic significance: early equipment, Indian 
artifacts, relics dealing 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.