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Mrs. June Casey 

Mrs. Wilmot C. McFadden 

Mrs. Mary Emerson, Chairman 

Rock Springs 


Mrs. Suzanne Knepper 



Jerry Rillihan 
Mrs. Mae Urbanek 


Member at Large 

James M. Price 
Frank Bowron 
Attorney General V. Frank Mendicino 




Ruth Aubuchon Acting Director 

Buck Dawson Director, State Museums 

Mrs. Katherine A. Halverson 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 and Life 

Copyright 1978, by the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department 

Mnals of Wyoming 

Volume 50 

Spring, 1978 

Number 1 

Katherine A. Halverson 

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 

Acting Executive Secretary, Katherine A. Halverson 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 Merrill J. Mattes 5 

FROM WYOMING 1883-1887 

Introduction by C. Northcote Parkinson 59 


By Paul L. Hedren 141 


By Robert L. Munkres 157 


By Katherine A. Halverson 173 


Minutes of the Twenty-fourth Annual Meeting 177 


Hendrickson, Peopling the High Plains. Wyoming's European 

Heritage 182 

Haines, The Yellowstone Story 184 

Hinckley and Wells, "I'd Rather Be Born Lucky Than Rich:" 

The Autobiography of Robert H. Hinckley 186 

Szasz, Education and the American Indian. The Road to 

Self -Determination 187 

Van Burgh, Sketches of Wyoming 189 

Kuzara, Black Diamonds of Sheridan. A Facet of Wyoming 

History 190 

Alexander, A Clash of Interests 191 

Dockstader, Great North American Indians. Profiles in Life 

and Leadership 192 

Miller, Ghost Towns of Wyoming 194 

Wessel, Agriculture in the Great Plains 195 

Laubin and Laubin, Indian Dances of North America 197 

Savage, Indian Life Transforming an American Myth 198 

Laubin and Laubin, The Indian Tipi. Its History, 

Construction and Use 199 

Swanson, Fort Collins Yesterdays 200 


INDEX 203 


Hospital, Fort Laramie, 1977 Cover 

Mr. and Mrs. John Hunton 4 

Buildings at old Fort Laramie 1915-1937 8 

Cavalry Barracks 10 

Covered Wagon Centennial, Fort Laramie 3 1 

Old Fort Laramie, Proposed Land Purchase 33 

Old Bedlam, Late 1930s 46 

W. H. Jackson 53 

Governor Leslie A. Miller 54 

John Hunton 55 

Old Fort Laramie, as Purchased for Park Purposes 56 

Cadet Eben Swift 142 

General Eben Swift 153 

Quarterly Bulletin. Vol. 1, No. 1 172 









































Zke Crusade to Save 
fort Carataie 

Merrill J. Mattes 


This article, "The Crusade to Save Fort Laramie," published by permis- 
sion of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the National Park Service, 
Denver, Colorado, consists of Part I of a 350-page typed monograph 
entitled "Official Park History of Fort Laramie National Historic Site" 
prepared by retired National Park Service Historian Merrill J. Mattes under 
contract with that agency. 

While much has been written about the fur trade, the covered wagon 
migrations, and the Indian War episodes of Fort Laramie history, this is 
the first time that anyone has addressed the subject of "Fort Laramie Since 
Its Abandonment, 1890" in a scholarly fashion. On the level of national 
significance the subject is mainly concerned with "The Crusade," or the 
combined efforts of many individuals to save Fort Laramie from extinction, 
and "the Restoration" or the story of successful National Park Service ef- 
forts to preserve and restore the Fort Laramie remains. A condensed story 
of "The Restoration Period," 1937-1977, is planned for a later issue of 
Annals. The obscure earliest phase of Fort Laramie civilian history, 1890- 
1915, when John Hunton and other ranchers held sway, awaits more inten- 
sive research. 

It is fitting that the article should appear on the 40th anniversary of the 
establishment of Fort Laramie National Monument in 1938 (since enlarged 
and re-named a National Historic Site) following the ultimately successful 
acquisition of that site by the state in 1937. It unveils the little-known and 
little-appreciated saga of devotion and dedication to an ideal by several 
individuals who awakened the conscience of other Wyoming citizens. 

Fort Laramie is widely acknowledged to be the most important and sig- 
nificant historic site in the State of Wyoming — some believe that it is 
second to none among sites west of the Mississippi River for the magnitude 
of its historic role as well as the antiquity of its historic buildings, datine 
back to the Great California Gold Rush of 1849. 

We acclaim not only the National Park Service for its splendid job of 
restoration, but those few men who fought for the preservation of the 
battered remains and ruins, without which no restoration would have been 
possible. Hereby we pay tribute to those men who were instrumental in 
saving what was left of the old Fort for the enlightenment and inspiration 
of present and future generations of patriotic Americans. Over 100,000 
visitors a year also pay tribute to this magnificent restoration, which once 
had the appearance of a ravaged and abandoned country village. 

There is an unusual circumstance here, in that the author is also an actor. 


— Wyoming Travel Commission Photo 

Ruins of Hospital, Fort Laramie National Historic Site 


albeit a minor one, in this epic story. Merrill J. Mattes was asked by the 
National Park Service to research and write this history, not only because 
of his professional skills, but also because he has been intimately involved 
in Fort Laramie preservation and interpretive activity from 1935 to this day. 
He retired from the National Park Service in 1975 after forty years with 
that agency, serving successively as Scotts Bluff and Fort Laramie superin- 
tendent, regional historian in Omaha, chief of history and historic archi- 
tecture in the San Francisco, and manager of the Historic Preservation 
Branch of the Denver Service Center. He is uniquely qualified to tell the 
epic story of how Wyoming's number one historic site was rescued from 

The epic history of Fort Laramie from 1834, the heyday of the 
Rocky Mountain fur trade, to 1890, the end of the Indian wars, 
is well known. After the Army auctioned off its abandoned build- 
ings in April, 1890, the Fort soon took on the appearance of a 
quaint country village, with a few dwellings of remarkable archi- 
tecture which were the adopted homes of civilians left over from 
Army days, surrounded by a number of impressive ruins. The 
principal residents were ex-sutler and rancher John Hunton and 
his wife Blanche, who owned the ancient sutler's store and officers' 
row, including the famous Old Bedlam; Mary and Joe Wilde, 
owners of the commissary storehouse and the cavalry barracks 
which became hotel, saloon, and dance-hall; and Harriet Sander- 
cock, widow of Thomas Sandercock, and their descendants, who 
controlled a corner of the parade ground area, including an offi- 
cer's quarters, guard-house, and the site of the 1849 trading post, 
Fort John. These are the individuals to whom posterity must be 
grateful for their effective, albeit haphazard, preservation of those 
buildings that did survive. 1 

We are concerned here with neither the epic history of the 
military post nor the small local happenings there after its aban- 
donment. We are concerned here with a story never before told 
in any comprehensive way, yet it is a story of interest to all 

iThe Fort Laramie Military Reservation was turned over by the Army 
to the Interior Department, which supervised its breakup into homesteads. 
The immediate fort area, where surviving buildings are clustered, was di- 
vided among three private owners because of the arbitrary section lines 
resulting from General Land Office Surveys which ignored the integrity of 
the fort. It so happens that Sections 20, 21, 28 and 29 of Township 26 
North, Range 64 West, of the 6th Principal Meridian intersect at a point 
about half way between the cavalry barracks and the ruins of the post 
hospital. Thus officers' row and most of the parade ground (Hunton) are 
in NE Vi, NE V2, Sec. 29. The south quadrant of the parade ground 
(Sandercock) is in SE V2, NE V2, Sec. 29; and the cavalry barracks and 
its neighbors (Wilde) are in NW Vi, NW V2, Sec. 28. While ownerships 
shifted over the years, these three arbitrary divisions remained until con- 
solidation by the state in 1937. 

The picture is further confused by the fact that the parade ground axis 
is not oriented with standard compass bearings; it actually runs from SW 
to NE, or as about a 45 degree angle with township and section lines. (See 


Americans who appreciate the historic shrines that remind them 
of their unique heritage of freedom. It is the story of a few 
dedicated men who, against great odds, succeeded in saving for 
posterity the priceless physical remains of the once great fort which 
Hunton, Wilde, and the Sandercocks had retained for whatever 
personal reasons. 

The "odds against" were the steady deterioration of these build- 
ings with the inexorable passage of time, the successive land- 
owners' reluctance to sell, and the unavoidable but heartbreaking 
delays by the state of Wyoming in finding a formula for acquisi- 
tion. The "odds in favor" were a gradual awareness of Fort 
Laramie's significance by the public and corresponding interest in 
its preservation, coupled with persistent efforts by a handful of 
Fort Laramie champions who recognized that the fort could be 
saved only if it could be acquired by some kind of philanthropic 
foundation or a government agency with the capability of restoring 
it and preserving it. Another plus was the fact that the buildings 
that did manage to survive all hazards for almost half a century — 
stripping for salvage, neglect, misuse, fire, vandalism — until such 
an agency did arrive, providentially, on the scene, were among the 
most important, historically. 

When the Army abandoned Fort Laramie, and for two and a 
half decades thereafter, there is not the slightest evidence of think- 
ing on the part of anyone that a mistake had been made, that Fort 
Laramie should not be abandoned, but preserved as a historic 
shrine. Newspapers and other known and accessible sources have 
been searched in vain for such evidence prior to 1915. On the 
contrary, by 1915 most of the fort buildings had disappeared be- 
cause of a deliberate policy by Hunton and Wilde to raise cash 
by selling off such buildings for their salvage value, and there is 
no evidence of any public or private outcry at this exploitation of 
buildings deemed otherwise worthless. The lumber-hungry home- 
steaders who bought them managed to remove almost all the frame 
buildings and strip most of the lime-concrete buildings. In 1915 
there were only twenty-two pre- 1890 structures still standing, com- 
pared to over sixty identified on the last official Fort ground plan. 
Of these twenty-two, there were fourteen relatively intact, and 
eight consisting of lime-concrete ruins. Of the intact fourteen, it 
is evident that twelve were thus preserved because they served the 
utilitarian purposes of their owners. Of only two — Old Bedlam 
and the sutler's store — can it be said that they were preserved, by 
John Hunton, for reasons of personal sentiment alone. - 

2 Plan of Post, 1888, Cartographic Division. National Archives. Evidence 
of Salvage transactions is indicated in the somewhat illegible John Hunton 
Letterbooks at the University of Wyoming Library, Special Collections. 
Sentiment re Old Bedlam and the sutler's store may be assumed since there 

500 F»»t 

Iron Bridge 
1% miles 






Old Bedlam 





Sutler's Store 



adobe, stone, concrete 






Old Guardhouse 




Officers Quarters 




* 6 





Cavalry Barracks 




Officers Quarters 





Platte Bridge 





Old Bakery 





New Guardhouse 




Officers Quarters 





Officers Quarters 





Officers Quarters 









Sawmil 1 




New Bakery 

188 3 

concre te 


Commissary Storehouse 




Officers Quarters 









Non-Com Quarters 








This is not to condemn Hunton or anyone else for not coming 
up with the radical idea of preservation by a public agency. The 
hard frontier times precluded the possibility that any state or local 
agency could achieve such a purpose, and the United States gov- 
ernment had not yet begun to evolve a philosophy of historic site 
preservation. Nevertheless, it is of interest to ascertain just when 
the germ of the idea of actual physical preservation of the Fort in 
perpetuity first appeared, in contrast to mere sentimentality and 
memorialization. Exactly when was the fatalistic acceptance of 
Fort Laramie's eventual extinction reversed in favor of an active 
campaign to preserve and restore it? 

The pivotal moment seems to have been on June 17, 1915, 
when dedication services were held near the sutler's store for a 
large concrete obelisk marker with an imbedded marble plate 
inscription which reads: FORT LARAMIE A MILITARY POST 
The historic occasion is recorded for posterity in the Torrington 
Telegram dated Thursday, June 17, 1915: 


Thursday of this week was a history making epoch in this valley 
and it will long be remembered because of granite markers dotting the 
course of the Oregon Trail, that were publicly unveiled that day, with 
music by the Torrington band, and addresses by Dr. Grace Raymond 
Hebard, the state regent of the Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion, Ex-Governor Joseph M. Carey, Hon. Ed. L. Patrick, and Mr. 
Bartlette, of Cheyenne. . . . 

. . . There was a large crowd at Fort Laramie for the opening exer- 
cises, and the place was an ideal one for the program. 

This was the principal marker among the three that were to be 

is no evidence that Hunton used these particular buildings for any discern- 
ible purpose. 

The fourteen intact structures of 1915 were: old Army Bridge, cavalry 
barracks, commissary storehouse, new bakery, old bakery, old guardhouse, 
sutler's store, Old Bedlam, officers quarters A, E and F, magazine, chicken 
house, and privy. The eight ruins were those of sawmill, administration 
building, new guardhouse, hospital, non-com quarters, and officers quarters 
B, C and D. 

:{ The date 1913 appears at the end of the inscription. Since the context 
of the newspaper report clearly indicates that this was the marker dedicated 
in 1915, the discrepancy in dates doubtless results from the simple fact that 
the dedication was not held until two years after the inscription was carved. 
Possibly there was a delay in erecting the marker until John Hunton or 
other sponsors could scrape together sufficient funds. Although they are 
not credited on the marker, it seems probable from the context of the 
newspaper story that the D.A.R. rather than the state of Wyoming was the 
principal sponsor. The twelve-foot marker survives today (1978) in good 



unveiled that day, and the principal addresses were delivered at that 
point. . . . 

Dr. Hebard is a talented lady, and because of her interest in Old 
Fort Laramie had a paper touching on the importance of Fort Lara- 
mie on the Oregon Trail. . . . 

Ex-Governor Carey spoke on the "Pioneer" and because of his 
acquaintance with the men who wrested these broad acres from the 
Indians, he gave us an account of the men and the work of those 
early days that was beyond anything ever written. . . . 

The flag was drawn from the marker by Mrs. Hunton who is a 
daughter of the American Revolution. . . . 

There were twenty or more cars at Fort Laramie by the time the 
speaking began, and the program lasted well up to the dinner hour. 
The shady quarters about the Joe Wilde home, and the running 
streams of water were too inducive of comfort for the voyageurs to 
leave before dinner . . . and those who did not have dinner baskets 
were fed at the Wilde table. 4 

On that memorable day who came up with the preservation 
idea? Not John Hunton, whose lengthy correspondence betrays 
no concern how the buildings would be protected beyond his own 
time. 5 On the contrary, his evident co-sponsorship of the marker 
bespoke awareness that in the course of time all the buildings 
would disintegrate and vanish. Not Dr. Hebard who, while speak- 
ing of the fort's history in glowing terms, did not even hint at the 
desirability of preservation.''' Nor was it the Honorable Joseph 
Carey, the impassioned orator. No, the revolutionary idea was 
born in the head of a member of the audience that day, one James 
Johnston, editor of the Torrington Telegram who went straight to 
his desk to pen the earliest documentable record of an outright 
plea for the preservation of Fort Laramie. This was an editorial 
which appeared in the same issue reporting the dedication: 


Few people realize the importance of Fort Laramie as a historic 
spot in Wyoming, and to think that the site of the first fort in the 
State lies within the borders of our county ought to arouse the patrio- 
tism of the present generation to restore the works and make it into 
a beautiful summer resort. 

There are a dozen or more buildings intact, and can be put in shape 
for use at very little cost. The hospital commands a beautiful sight of 
the valley, and the dormitory for the privates is now the beautiful 
home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Wilde. . . . 

. . . The Oregon Trail marker [of 1915] is by far the best one put 
up on the trail. . . Close to this is the old trading post — the very 
building where the white man obtained his supplies, and the Indian 
bartered his wares. 

4 The other two markers dedicated that day were at Lingle. Wyoming, 
and Henry, Nebraska. 

5 Hunton Letterbooks, op. cit. 

6 The Hebard speech is given verbatim in the Torrington Telegram, June 
24, 1915. 


The home of Mr. and Mrs. John Hunton is in the row of buildings 
bordering on the Laramie River front, the end of which now termi- 
nates with the Bedlam house made famous by the writings of Captain 
Charles King. 

. . This is the ideal spot for a summer home, or for a picnicking 
place during the summer months. It is a convenient distance from 
Torrington. Guernsey and Wheatland and because of the fame of Old 
Fort Laramie it would be a popular place for gatherings and chau- 
tauquas as well. 

Because it was inconceivable in pre-World War I times that any 
government — federal, state, or local — would undertake to preserve 
an old fort solely as a historical park, for its own sake, all early 
clarion calls for preservation of Fort Laramie, like Johnston's, 
revolved around various possibilities of pragmatic or utilitarian 
uses of the Fort structures, with their preservation only incidental. 
Even though such uses, had they been adopted, would have seri- 
ously impaired the authentic character of the military post, we 
accept these earnest proposals as evidence of a genuine desire to 
save the fort, by whatever means. Johnston's notion was a neb- 
ulous one which of course bore no fruit, and we can smile today 
at the naivete of "restoring the works at very little cost." Never- 
theless an inspired idea was born and would be echoed thereafter 
with increasing insistence until the dream would become a reality. 

Another idea for preservation was voiced the following year in 
the Guernsey Gazette by editor George Houser. This time preser- 
vation was to be achieved by "setting aside the old fort as a train- 
ing school for American soldiers," a thought springing from the 
spirit of preparedness engendered by the ominous gathering clouds 
of World War I. On July 4, 1916, there was a patriotic picnic 
at the site, "not only to give old-timers a chance to meet, but to 
talk over the possibility of getting the Government to establish a 
military school at the Old Fort." There was baseball and wrestling 
matches, but the main event was speech-making: "Two Mighty 
Good Addresses." Judge Winter of Converse County, "one of the 
brainy orators of the State," presented to "a vast audience" mas- 
terly arguments for government ownership of Fort Laramie. The 
remarks of ex-Governor Carey were also full of "words of burning 
patriotism." In reporting the event the editor remarked that, 
"every available effort is being made for the purchase and preser- 
vation of the Old Fort, with everything pointing to success." 7 Just 
who was making what kind of an effort is not revealed. Though 
we suspect that Wyoming congressmen approached the War De- 
partment with this proposal, it obviously fell on deaf ears. Its 
merit lay not in its practicability but in its publicity, nurturing the 
more mature concept of fort preservation by a U. S. government 

'Guernsey Gazette, June 2, June 22, July 7, Aug. 11, 1916. 


agency of some kind, compared to the Torrington editor's thought 
of a local recreational facility. 

While the imaginative and energetic Houser himself was evi- 
dently the prime promoter of the military school idea as well as 
the historic picnic, he reveals that the originator of the military 
school concept was Will M. Maupin, then editor of the Midwest 
Magazine published at York, Nebraska. Houser confessed that 
Maupin's idea "is so sensible and contains so much in favor of 
practical preparedness that we give it in full to our readers": 

When Uncle Sam decided to abandon Old Fort Laramie he commit- 
ted a grave blunder. When he permitted that historic old post to be 
sold and its splendid buildings to go to wrack and ruin, he committed 
a crime. 

There is just one way for Uncle Sam to rectify that blunder and 
atone for that crime — re-purchase the old reservation and there, in the 
very heart of the republic, establish a great military school, a second 
West Point. Scores of reasons could be brought forward. . . Phys- 
ically there is a splendid stream of pure water flowing through the 
old reservation. . all ready to furnish the power that could generate 
enough electricity to supply a great Commonwealth. . . The vast 
stretch of country adjacent would afford ample training for young 
soldiers. . . 

In case this republic should go to war. . . it would be the great 
middle west that would supply the most and best men. . . And here 
in the great middle west is the place to establish a great military 
training school. . . The first step is to re-purchase the old reservation 
and make it a government park. After the old buildings have been 
restored as nearly as possible, the work of building the military school 
should begin. . . . 8 

Maupin's concept of keeping a restored fort separate from any 
new buildings is unique among early vocal Fort Laramie preser- 
vationists. In a 1945 interview by the writer, Mr. Maupin claimed 
some credit for the establishment of Fort Laramie National Monu- 
ment for, he asserted, he was "always editorializing"' in favor of 
the preservation of that place. He visited the fort frequently, the 
first time in 1914 to attend a dance at Wilde's place. It is of 
interest to note that Maupin became the first custodian of neigh- 
boring Scotts Bluff National Monument when that area was 
established in 1919. This was his reward for recommending the 
establishment of that Oregon Trail landmark as a national park.'-' 

s No copies of the indicated issue of the Midwest Magazine seem to have 
survived, either at the York Public Library or the Nebraska State Historical 
Society at Lincoln. Copies of later issues, however, are preserved by that 

9 Merrill J. Mattes, Memorandum for the Files, July 10, 1945, Scotts 
Bluff National Monument. Mr. Maupin's visit to the Oregon Trail Museum 
there occurred on July 3, at his age eighty-two. He had a checkered career 
as a Nebraska newspaperman and politician. See Who's Who in Nebraska. 
Nebraska Press Association, 1940, page 719. 

Of his first Fort Laramie visit, Maupin "well remembers the Cavalry 


Another Nebraskan, A. E. Sheldon, superintendent of the Ne- 
braska State Historical Society for many years, claims to have 
plumped for the preservation of the fort even earlier than Maupin 
did. In a letter of 1935 to the Historical Landmarks Commission 
of Wyoming he states: ". . 25 years ago I wrote and spoke in favor 
of acquiring and holding this notable historical site where I have 
camped many times, sometimes for two or three weeks." That 
would seem to cast him in the role of preservation advocate as 
early as 1910, but this writer has been unable to verify this claim 
in any publications or in the Sheldon correspondence in the Society 
collection in Lincoln. 1 " 

During this period another notion of what to do with Fort 
Laramie was born in the head of the Right Reverend Nathaniel 
S. Thomas, bishop of the Episcopal church in Wyoming. This 
was to be a church-sponsored school "where boys could live in a 
church atmosphere" which would somehow be provided by "this 
former Post, the most historic in the United States." The proposal, 
which preoccupied the bishop from 1915 to 1919, involved an 
estimated cost of $130,000 for the purchase of the fort and adja- 
cent agricultural lands, and "remodeling of the Fort buildings." 
The discloser of the Thomas proposal writes: "To the Bishop's 
credit, I believe, he planned to restore Old Fort Laramie. He had 
a sense of history and his vision was an early one concerning what 
could — and ought — to be done with the then ramshackle build- 
ings." We concede the bishop's awe of Fort Laramie, "with all 
its history and romance," but we cannot discern evidence that he 
had meaningful restoration in mind, as distinct from conversion to 
alien purposes. In any event his dream was not revealed publicly 
at the time so could have had no impact on public thinking. 11 

A development proposal of a more practical nature that did 

Barracks when it was still the hostelry of Joe Wilde. The night of his visit 
a dance was scheduled on the second floor, but not many people put in an 
appearance as the wind was blowing about 60 miles per hour." 

Equally interesting is his Scotts Bluff adventure. "When he was the 
editor of a weekly paper in Gering, he relates that he conceived the idea 
of establishing a national park at Scotts Bluff to commemmorate the Oregon 
Trail. U. S. Senator Hitchcock advised him to get in touch with U. S. 
Representative Moses Kinkaid. Kinkaid agreed that it should be a national 
park, but advised Maupin that it would be easier to make it a national 
monument since this involved only presidential proclamation, and such a 
proclamation automatically carried with it regular annual appropriation. 
The proclamation went through as planned in 1919 and Maupin was made 
custodian. However, "he thinks we was misinformed about the automatic 
appropriation since $12 per year is all he ever received." 

^'Letter of Jan. 23, 1935, A. E. Sheldon to the Historical Landmarks 
Commission of Wyoming (HLCW), files HLCW, Wyoming State Archives. 
Manuscript collections, Nebraska State Historical Society. 

n Howard Lee Wilson, "The Bishop who Bid for Fort Laramie," Annah 
of Wyoming, Oct., 1962, pp. 163-174. 


receive full publicity is revealed in the Guernsey Gazette for 
August 31, 1917: 

Old Fort Laramie, where the soldiers were stationed in the old 
Indian days of the long ago, is to become a mecca for tourists. Mr. 
Joseph Wilde has disposed of a half-interest in the old fort to Mr. 
Carlson, a contractor who put in the big tunnel on the Government 
ditch, and the new firm are contemplating many improvements on the 
buildings and grounds. They will put in a store and a hotel and will 
be equipped to take care of the trade in good shape. 

As the tourist travel increases in the state the old fort has become 
a mecca for tourists and Mr. Wilde has been bothered considerably 
in trying to provide accommodations to the visitor. . . 

A few of the contemplated improvements are: an auto road 
through the grounds, general merchandise store, gas station, new foun- 
dations and concrete floor on the old Cavalry Barracks porch, the old 
dance hall will be repaired and redecorated, and many other improve- 
ments made. 

The ruins of the old frontier fort is well advertised all over the 
United States from its historical importance and will become a pop- 
ular place for Eastern tourists. The new firm is bound to be success- 
ful in their new venture. 

While the Carlson project to develop tourist facilities scarcely 
constituted historic preservation, it did mean that somebody in- 
tended to make an effort to keep certain buildings in good usable 
condition, in this case primarily the barracks and the commissary 
storehouse, the main buildings in the Wilde plot. That the venture 
fizzled may be deduced from the fact that in 1919 Carlson sold 
to Paul McDonald who fronted for H. S. Clarke, an Omaha 
banker, who was more interested in playing the role of gentleman 
rancher than he was in catering to tourists. He made certain 
changes in the barracks but apparently for his own benefit and that 
of his tenants, not the public. Thus, the actual extent of an early 
tourist boom at this "mecca", if there really was one, cannot be 
determined from this or any other known sources. 1L ' 

Despite the scarcity of eyewitness accounts, there is little doubt 
that after World War I there were numerous impromptu visits to 
the fort by first-generation automobile tourists who braved the bad 
roads of the period to behold its faded glory, and then doubtless 
to push on with their primitive gas-buggies to admire the rumored 
wonders of Yellowstone Park. Though Wyoming's tourist indus- 

12 In 1926 James W. Auld bought the place by sheriff's sale. In 1933 he 
deeded it to his wife Jessica. Goshen County Land Records. 

The upper half of the cavalry barracks hotel was divided in half, between 
guest rooms and dance-hall. The latter section, once a soldiers dormitory, 
was the only part of the building left in 1937 that still resembled the historic 
interior. The main floor was scrambled by adaptive uses, both before and 
after that date, a puzzle to restorationists. See Manuscript "Historic Struc- 
ture Report I, 1874 Cavalry Barracks." John D. McDermott and James 
Sheire, National Park Service, 1970. 


try was then but a fragile bud, it was being nurtured by Nebraska 
and Wyoming communities who were not averse to an influx of 
eastern dollars. In 1920 disjointed segments of roads north of the 
North Platte, rather inaccurately dubbed "the North Platte Valley 
Highway," was designated a state road, eligible to receive federal 
aid, and there is the first known reference to the idea of capitalizing 
on the old Oregon Trail by affixing its name to "a national high- 
way. " To promote it the "North Platte Valley Highway Associa- 
tion" came into being in 1922. 18 

Ezra Meeker, the apostle of Oregon Trail monuments and mark- 
ers, who had made his first covered wagon memorial trek in 1906, 
turned up again in his old prairie schooner in 1920 to reawaken 
interest in the old trail. Due in part to his influence Nebraska 
could now number over fifty such granite monuments, and the 
Nebraska Highway Department was giving the North Platte Valley 
Highway high priority. Talk of new or improved road construc- 
tion was in the Wyoming air also, and Fort Laramie and Yellow- 
stone Park were conspicuous among visible attractions that helped 
to initiate a vigorous road improvement program. 14 Because of 
the decrepit condition of the fort there was growing awareness 
that something would have to be done, sooner or later, if this 
promising tourist attraction was not to be lost. 

Stock in old Fort Laramie perked up perceptibly in 1923 when 
two dynamic promoters appeared on the scene, a newspaperman 
who would strongly reinforce George Houser's long lone campaign, 
and a developer who for the first time would attempt direct action 
as well as talk. For some years the Lingle Guide-Review had 
recognized the interest of the town of Fort Laramie with a "Fort 
Laramie Department" and the editor of this weekly did his bit to 
come out foursquare for history, admonishing once in a banner 
headline that "Fort Laramie People Should See to It that the Old 
Fort is Preserved as a Historic Spot." However, journalistic tub- 
thumping on behalf of the old fort would reach its crescendo in 
the short-lived Fort Laramie Scout, inaugurated in late 1923 and 
combined with the Goshen County News at Torrington in 1927. 
The proprietor of this free-wheeling periodical was L. G. (Pat) 
Flannery, who had occupied the old officer's quarters adjacent to 
the "Hunton House" at the fort in 1919, becoming a confidant of 
the old man. This was the origin of Flannery's perennial agitation 

^Guernsey Gazette, April 9, 1920; May 19, 1922. 

™Ibid. July 20, 1906; Sept. 10, 1920; Sept. 24, 1920. Meeker's visit to 
Fort Laramie in 1906 is recorded also in Howard Driggs and Ezra Meeker, 
Covered Wagon Centennial and Ox-Team Days (New York: World Book 
Co., 1932) 247-249. Even at that early date, says Meeker, "the old place 
is crumbling away, slowly disappearing with the memories of the past." If 
he actually visited the fort in 1920, such visit is not documented, but he did 
"follow the Trail" again this year. 


for preservation, which at times took on the aspect of a one-man 
crusade. 15 

The developer in question was Thomas Waters of Omaha, 
district freight representative of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 
September of 1923 the Guide-Review had come up with a new 
suggestion, that "Fort Laramie is ideally suited for a dude ranch, 
which would attract many tourists on account of its historic ap- 
peal." The same article referred to "Harry Clark," also of Omaha, 
as the owner of the fort, but as we have seen what this party had 
an interest in was that portion of the fort that had been held first 
by Wilde, the cavalry barracks area, not the more famous officers 
row of the parade ground, featuring the sutler's store and Old 
Bedlam. 1 " It was Waters who acquired an interest in this most 
significant and crucial section of the fort from John Hunton in 
1920, though Hunton continued to live on the premises until 1923, 
when he moved to Torrington. 17 Although this absentee landlord 
conducted a ranch, of sorts, on adjoining land, his true objective 
was first revealed in the Gering Midwest, quoted in the Guernsey 
Gazette for October 26, 1923: 

Thomas Waters, well known in western railroad circles, has an 
ambitious plan that contemplates making the site of old Fort Laramie 
one of the greatest summer resorts in the West. . . He has purchased a 
considerable portion of the old reservation together with the buildings 
thereon, and is now organizing a stock company for the purpose of 
improving the grounds, adding thereto and making a summer resort 
that will have a special appeal to our tourists, especially those who 
are interested in historic events and spots. 

He plans the erection of a number of summer cottages, the estab- 
lishment of a hotel and cafe big enough to take care of a big transient 
patronage, and the construction of a golf links that will be a big 
drawing card. 

Mr. Waters was quoted further to the effect that "all these things 

1:, Lingle Guide-Review, January 1, 1923. This paper seems to have had 
a wobbly title, being sometimes called the Family News Review. Regarding 
the Flannery-Hunton relationship, see "This Old Gentleman John Hunton." 
a transcript of a tape recording with L. G. Flannery by Pierre La Bonte, Jr. 
in 1963. Flannery (1894-1964) edited and published the John Hunton 
diaries to 1889. (Vols. I to V published by Flannery himself. Vol. VI by 
A. H. Clark, Glendale, California) Unpublished diaries after that date are 
in the possession of Mrs. L. G. Flannery of Cheyenne. "It is her policy 
that the diaries remain locked up for the time being." Letter of April 15, 
1977, Billie (Flannery) Griske to Merrill Mattes. 

™Lingle Guide-Review, Sept. 13, 1923. Brothers Harry and Tom Latta 
and families were long-term tenants of the cavalry barracks and the com- 
missary, originally engaged by Clarke but continuing there into the 1930s. 
McDermott and Sheire, op. cit. 

17 Hunton mortgaged a portion of his property to Thomas Waters for 
$14,000, Oct. 18. 1920. Final settlement, with deed to Thomas Waters, 
was in Dec, 1925. Goshen County Records. Mattes interview with Curtiss 
Root, Torrington, Nov. 1, 1977. 


will take time and money, but the plans are well formulated and 
some progress has already been made." Whatever one may think 
of the Waters plan to convert Fort Laramie into a pleasure resort, 
complete with lost golf balls, one must give him credit for his 
pre-vision of future U. S. Highway 26: "What we should be doing 
is turning the tide of tourist traffic through Gering, Scottsbluff and 
Mitchell, into old Fort Laramie with all its associations and mem- 
ories, and thence on into Yellowstone Park." ls 

Evidently Waters was not able to sell enough shares in his Fort 
Laramie enterprise to put his plans into effect right away, and 
there was a lull on the old fort front in 1924 when attention was 
focused on the Guernsey Dam project. In 1925 a scheme of a 
different sort was concocted. In February of that year Houser 
called attention to a bill before the U. S. Congress offered by the 
Honorable Addison Smith of Idaho (House Joint Resolution 328) 
to designate as "The Old Oregon Trail" a system of federal high- 
ways between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Independence, Missouri, 
to Seaside, Oregon, and Olympia, Washington. Houser admon- 
ished "all Oregon Trail enthusiasts along the route to join in 
furthering the project." In a later issue he reported that, "a move- 
ment is on foot in which a number of Wyoming towns are inter- 
ested in having a portion of old Fort Laramie set aside as a na- 
tional monument for future generations. This movement is the 
result of a stir to have the old Oregon Trail made into a national 
highway." 19 

Houser's plea is the first recorded instance of Fort Laramie 
being associated with the magical term, "national monument," the 
official designation of "objects of historic and scientific interest" 
set aside by presidential proclamation by authority of the Antiq- 
uities Act of 1 906. However, this term was not employed by the 
Wyoming State Legislature when it attempted to beef up prospects 
for the Smith bill with a petition to Congress, inspired by resolu- 
tions received from the Travis Post No. 5 of the American Legion, 
Department of Wyoming, and the Lions Club, both of Torrington. 
The language of the twin resolutions reveals for the first time an 
impressive depth of pro-preservation sentiment valleywide, going 
well beyond the immediate vicinity of Guernsey and Fort Laramie: 

WHEREAS, Old Fort Laramie is. from a historical standpoint, one 
of the most important points in the West, and 

WHEREAS, this property is now in private ownership and the 
buildings are rapidly falling into decay and will be in a state of ruin 
beyond repair, and 

WHEREAS, the North Platte Valley Highway which passes this 

^Guernsey Gazette, Oct. 26, 1923. 
wibid., Feb. 6, 1925; March 6, 1925. 


fort is the most direct route from the East to the Yellowstone Nation- 
al Park and is used by thousands of tourists each year, and 

WHEREAS, numerous civic and patriotic organizations have joined 
in a request urging the Federal Government to re-purchase this prop- 
erty with the view of re-establishing, restoring, preserving and per- 
petuating to posterity this historical monument of pioneer days and 
making it accessible to visitors, 

NOW THEREFORE, Be it Resolved, etc. 

House Joint Memorial No. 4 was introduced by the Uinta and 
Goshen County delegations, with an amendment adding Fort 
Bridger for consideration, and referred to the Committee on Me- 
morials. After some jockeying over fine distinctions of terminol- 
ogy, and debates about adding other sites to the list, the final bill, 
"Memorializing the Congress of the United States to set aside Old 
Fort Laramie and Old Fort Bridger and Independence Rock as 
Historic Reserves,' 1 was passed and approved February 25, 1925.-" 

Representative Addison Smith's final version of his bill, for the 
designation of an Oregon Trail Highway from Kansas City, Kan- 
sas, to Vancouver, Washington, "which shall follow the Trail as 
closely as economic and topographic conditions permit," got no- 
where in Congress for reasons which are abundantly evident in a 
fascinating printed report on hearings before the Committee on 
Roads. It is fascinating because of the wealth of emigrant journals 
that are quoted at length to prove just which side of the Platte this 
or that emigrant party traveled, and the florid oratory of congres- 
sional champions. (Willis Hawley, representative from Oregon 
whose parents were covered wagon emigrants, speaks of the Trail, 
"as a living thing, breathing of heroic self-sacrifice and devotion to 
duty. It is the trail which leads to the rainbow's end, the trail 
of all trails, your trail and mine.") However, discord prevailed 
among witnesses, not only as to the exact route of the Trail, but 
also just exactly what did constitute "the Oregon Trail," and 
whether to recognize such variants as the Mormon Trail and Pike's 
Peak Trail, not to mention the far more heavily traveled emigrant 
road to California, and the overarching question of the constitu- 
tionality of Congress getting into the business of interpreting fine 
points of American history. Though Fort Laramie was frequently 
mentioned in the hearings as one of the crown jewels of the Oregon 
and all other trails, there appears to have been no discussion of 
its preservation. 1 ' 1 

While state and federal legislators and learned historians eulo- 

-"Session Laws of Wyoming (1925) 270-271; House Journal of 18th State 
Legislature of Wyoming (1925) 169; 213; 373; 409; 413; 571: 586: 591. 

2X The Old Oregon Trail: Hearings Before the Committee on Roads. 
House of Representatives, 68 Congress, 2nd Session, on House Joint Reso- 
lution 232, House Joint Resolution 328, Senate Resolution 2053 (Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1925). 


gized the distant fort in abstract terms, the fort itself was in mortal 
jeopardy. An article in the Guernsey Gazette for April 3, 1925 
reveals that at that time the fort narrowly escaped destruction from 
fire, at the same time dramatically demonstrating the dedication of 
local citizens in going to the rescue: 

Mr. Cummings, dragline operator, discovered a blaze as he was 
returning from work, about 11:30 P.M., and roused the Latta Bros., 
who live on the place. The fire, of unknown origin, supposedly start- 
ed in a pile of hay. A strong northwest wind was blowing and swept 
the flames through the corrals, burning fences, feedlots and everything 
in its path until it reached what is said to have been the old bakery, 
the extreme southeastern building of the group, which has been used 
for many years as a stable and blacksmith shop. There was barely 
time to save the livestock sheltered there. Roof, windows, woodwork 
and everything inflammable was destroyed, leaving only the stark, 
lime-concrete walls of the ancient structure. . . . 

The alarm was spread, and throughout the night men from town 
worked with the ranchers to save the other buildings. Lines of men 
carried water from the river to wet the walls and ground about sur- 
rounding structures, and the ceaseless guard against sparks continued 
until daylight. Mrs. Latta kept the watchers supplied with sandwiches 
and coffee. 

Had the wind changed all the old Fort buildings would have been 
in great danger. -"-' 

While the immediate neighbors of old Fort Laramie were ob- 
viously sold on the idea of saving it, there was a need to bring its 
desperate plight to the attention of a wider audience. The year 
1926 must be viewed as a climax year in the process of focusing 
state-wide public opinion on the dire need to save Fort Laramie 
soon, if it was to be save at all, and there is reason to believe that 
it was this Fort Laramie campaign which was the primary factor 
in the creation of the Historical Landmarks Commission of 
Wyoming the following year. Editors Flannery of the Scout and 
Houser of the Gazette were movers and shakers as well as report- 
ers of events, and it was at this time that they enlisted other potent 
allies in the cause. 

Early that year, following the fiasco of the Oregon Trail High- 
way proposal, Wyoming's then House Representative, Charles E. 
Winter, made an effort "to get favorable action for preservation of 
two forts as national monuments that were the gateway to the 
West — Laramie and Bridger."' Judge Winter, the same fiery Fort 
Laramie orator of 1916, was also known as "the Bard of Wyo- 
ming," and a western novelist of some repute, as well as a jurist. 
In his efforts he enlisted the aid of General Charles King, famous 
novelist of western garrison life, then eighty-five and a military 
instructor at a college at Ripon, Wisconsin. But it appears that 

—This fire changed the score on surviving structures as follows: thirteen 
buildings intact, and nine standing ruins. 


Winter lacked either the savvy or the clout to sell fellow congress- 
men on the salvation of abandoned Wyoming forts. Information 
on the precise nature of his legislative proposal is lacking — it 
evidently never reached any committee for a hearing — but his 
efforts were diluted by a project that appears to have had higher 
priority with him, a bill to provide for the erection of a monument 
to Sacajawea of Lewis and Clark fame, on the Fort Washakie 
reservation near Lander, "in the 6th judicial district where Mr. 
Winter served as judge for seven years."-' 5 

Though the Winter "campaign" to have Forts Laramie and 
Bridger set aside proved to be but another flash in the pan, more 
effective efforts were in the mill. First among these was the 
organization, in New York City, of the Oregon Trail Memorial 
Association, with the venerable Ezra Meeker as nominal president. 
Among members were the equally venerable ex-cowboy William 
Hooker, and ex-bullwhacker and artist, William H. Jackson, the 
latter being one of the most effective apostles of this new move- 
ment. To help finance the enterprise Congress authorized the 
coinage of memorial 50-cent pieces. Another money-making idea 
was that Meeker, with the assistance of journalist Robert Bruce, 
would write "a book surrounding old Fort Laramie which he 
hoped would have a large circulation," but which seems not to 
have materialized. If it were financially successful, "the Associa- 
tion would like to help in preserving the Old Fort as a Historical 
Landmark." Although most of its philanthropies were engaged in 
helping to finance Oregon Trail and Pony Express markers, in time 
the OTMA would play a significant role in promotional events 
that helped keep the Fort Laramie torch aflame.- 4 

In June, 1926, Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard gave the dedicatory 
speech at a new marker for the Mary Homsley grave near the fort, 
with a vibrant ode to heroic pioneers.-"' While attention was still 
riveted on this inspirational theme, the Fort Laramie neighborhood 
had an unusual visitor, a Mr. Bell, a Pathe News photographer, 
to make a motion picture of scenic and historic attractions for the 
Guernsey Chamber of Commerce, which was subsequently shown 
at theaters up and down the Valley. The production, including 
artistic shots of the fort ruins, marking "the most famous outpost 
of the Old West," was rated by the Guernsey Gazette as a "stu- 
pendous attraction." The Scout reported that the movie included 
action shots of Hunton and Wilde in their historic habitat. After 
the showing Chief Yellow Calf of the Arapahoes addressed the 
audience in sign language. Hunton's attendance at this movie, 
an exception to his long-standing rule to avoid such sybaritic 

-^Guernsey Gazette, Feb. 19. 1926. 

- 4 //w/., March 12. 1926; Driggs and Meeker, op. cit.. 10-26. 

'^'Guernsey Gazette. June 14. 1926. 


entertainment, and his open dialogue with the chief in the Arap- 
ahoe tongue, generated further historic interest among Valley 
communities. 1 ' 

Another development that summer was the much -publicized 
Fort Laramie encampment of the Fourth U. S. Cavalry from Fort 
D. A. Russell, en route in September to the state fair in Douglas. 
This was billed as "the first time since Fort Laramie was aban- 
doned by the Government that U. S. troops are encamped on the 
old parade ground, and the notes of the bugle resound once more 
and echo back from the ancient walls." The regiment, under 
Colonel Osnum Latrobe, composed of 250 men and 300 horses, 
"pitched camp in the shelter of the old buildings," where motion 
pictures of the nostalgic camp amidst historic surroundings were 
taken by Pathe News and distributed nationwide. 27 

While these events were keeping the fort in the limelight, news- 
papermen were thumping the tub for preservation at a rising tem- 
po. When the Cheyenne Tribune-Leader asked for suggestions as 
to what should be done with the "John Higgins Trust" donated to 
the state, George Houser was ready with a novel idea that the state, 
rather than the federal government, might after all be the most 
logical protector of the fort: 

One very appropriate way of using the bequest of this fine old man 
would be to purchase the site of Old Fort Laramie as a state park, 
restore the old buildings and grounds to something of their former 
appearance. Fix up one of the old buildings for an historical depart- 
ment and move the old records and curios from Cheyenne where they 
are now seldom noticed, to this beauty spot where these things would 
become a great attraction. 

We talk about the federal government setting aside this old post as 
a national monument, but the State of Wyoming should not relinquish 
it and should need no further urging to make a beautiful state park. 

The old place is dear to the heart of every Wyoming citizen. . . it 
revives in the archives of our memory the trials and tribulations of 
the early pioneers. . . Our citizens, for who else can we lay it to, 
should be put to shame for any further neglect in preserving this fine 
old Fort, the most famous outpost of the old West. 28 

Meanwhile Pat Flannery reported a rising tide of enthusiasm for 
the preservation project elsewhere in the state, citing pledges of 
support by the Wheatland Times and the Cheyenne Tribune, as 
well as various chapters of the Daughters of the American Revo- 
lution. Suggestions were made that there be a campaign of public 
subscriptions to supplement a basic appropriation by the state 
legislature. While not opposed to state ownership, if that were the 
only alternative, Flannery editorialized in favor of national monu- 

*>Ibid., July 9, 1926. 
-''Ibid., Sept. 10, 1926. 
mbid., July 23, 1926. 


merit status, so that the federal government could reclaim its own. 
He asserted, "It is in truth a national monument whether we have 
it or whether we forget it, but wouldn't it shock and scandalize the 
nation to see the Washington Monument in a state of neglect or 
the grave of the Unknown Soldier overgrown with weeds!" He 
continued, "The movement to honor Old Fort Laramie will indeed 
be glad tidings to those who find repugnance in the destruction or 
commercialization of ancient and holy things. "-'•' 

This last enigmatic statement was an oblique reference to the 
Omaha entrepreneur who had bought the best part of the fort, and 
who had announced forthcoming improvements. This had elicited 
the skepticism also of the D.A.R. ladies of Wheatland who asked 
Mr. Waters to reassure them that "he did not intend to permit the 
old buildings to be obliterated." Despite Waters' promises to this 
effect, Flannery was disturbed by the proposed "remodeling of the 
fort for resort purposes." To him this "seems like an ignominious 
end for this place. " 30 However, for all the talk, no actual "remod- 
eling" was begun in the summer of 1926, as advertised, giving the 
preservationists cause to hope that something could still be done 
publicly before the private moratorium was lifted. 

At a late August meeting of the Associated Chambers of Com- 
merce of the North Platte Valley, in Torrington, attended by Gov- 
ernor Nellie Tayloe Ross, a resolution was passed, "to endorse the 
movement to make a national park of old Fort Laramie." Com- 
mented Flannery: 

This is one of the strongest endorsements that this movement has 
yet received, and should give it much impetus. The Old Fort un- 
doubtedly contains possibilities that could make it into the most inter- 
esting national monument of the nation. Aside from its great value 
to historians and writers, Fort Laramie as a national monument would 
have a strong appeal to all classes of Americans, for it is symbolical 
of the most romantic period of our history. . . :n 

As it turned out, in 1926 the key to Fort Laramie's future was 
in the hands of two men attending the Annual Pioneer Reunion 
held in Guernsey August 27-28. Among those present was Wil- 
liam H. Jackson of Washington, D.C., who first followed the Ore- 
gon Trail in 1866 as an employee of the freighting firm of Russell. 
Majors and Waddell, who made the first photographs of the scenic- 
wonders of Yellowstone Park, in 1872, and whose sketches of 
Scotts Bluff, Fort Laramie and other landmarks would make him 
one of the premier salesmen of the old West. Accompanying the 
aging but spry Mr. Jackson was Robert S. Ellison, vice-president. 
Midwest Refining Company, Casper, a man of vision dedicated to 

-"Fort Laramie Scout, July 29. 1926. 
■ w lbid., April 22. 1926. 
tolbid.-, Sept. 2, 1926. 


preserving historic reminders of pioneer virtues. 32 The strongest 
and most perceptive case presented to date for Fort Laramie ap- 
peared in a guest editorial by Mr. Ellison in a special edition of 
the Guernsey Gazette gotten up for the Reunion. His views are 
of prime importance in the light of his subsequent activist role as 
first chairman of the Landmark Commission: 

Wyoming is fortunate in having two of the three great out-fitting 
points on the Oregon Trail between the Missouri River and the Pacific 
Ocean. Of these Fort Laramie in southeastern Wyoming possesses 
an even greater wealth of historic values than Fort Bridger in south- 
western Wyoming, and outranks in the history of the west any other 
trading or military post. . . . 

I realize full well the need for most of us to make a livelihood and 
not dwell too long upon our past, no matter how heroic and glorious, 
but I also believe that no people can be truly great and hope to endure 
without due regard for the knowledge of the worthy deeds and sacri- 
fices of our ancestors. . . . 

It is therefore, a matter of no mean importance, in my opinion, 
that we secure and preserve as best we can the site and ruins of old 
Fort Laramie. . . Just how this can be done best is not easy to outline, 
but we must first resolve and want it done. 

Mr. Ellison revealed that a formula for the preservation of Fort 
Laramie and other major historical properties as well had been 
given to him by Horace Albright, then superintendent of Yellow- 
stone National Park, and soon to become the second director of 
the National Park Service. 33 He quotes Mr. Albright: 

. . . unless the private ownership of these landmarks can be extin- 
guished the Federal Government would feel that it would be futile to 
try to handle them as national monuments. . . It seems to me that 
the first step would be to get the Legislature to pass an act authorizing 
condemnation of the properties, and at the same time authorizing the 

H2 William H. Jackson (1843-1942), nearly a centenarian, was one of the 
last Civil War veterans. In 1930 he became Research Secretary for the 
Oregon Trail Memorial Association. In 1936 he helped to dedicate the 
Oregon Trail Museum at Scotts Bluff. In 1943 he in turn was memorialized 
by the dedication of new Jackson wing of that museum, which houses his 
original pencil sketches of 1866 as well as later water colors. See W.H.J. , 
Time Exposure, New York, 1940; LeRoy R. Hafen, editor, The Diaries of 
William H. Jackson, Glendale, 1959. 

Robert S. Ellison was a doer, not a writer, though he authored two book- 
lets of note: Independence Rock (Natrona County Historical Society, 1930), 
and Fort Bridger (Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming, 1931). 
He became a regional director of the OTMA. Driggs and Meeker, op. cit., 
p. 65. 

Ellison footed the bill for Jackson's seasonal treks westward, since the 
famous artist-photographer had only a veteran's pension. Their travels set 
a precedent for the OTMA treks which became annual events beginning in 
1930. Theirs was a historic friendship. 

33 The National Park Service was created by a congressional act of 1916, 
at the instigation of Stephen H. Mather and Secretary of the Interior Frank- 
lin K. Lane. Mather was the first director. 


acceptance of private donations for the purchase of historical land- 
marks. The law ought also to contain authority to transfer such land- 
marks to the Federal Government. 

Mr. Albright also suggested the formation of a state landmarks 
commission to serve without pay in implementing this procedure, 
advice that would be followed quickly. Mr. Ellison was among the 
first to recognize that acquisition alone would not solve the prob- 
lem, that the expenses of restoration, protection and maintenance 
would be formidable; accordingly, the virtue in federal ownership 
was that these expenses could be shared by taxpayers nationwide, 
not solely those of the state. That failing, his only suggestion 
for state revenue was to provide "simple cabins and accommo- 
dations for visitors" whose payment for such facilities might cover 
management costs. Looking beyond that awkward hurdle he 
envisioned "a suitable library and museum building" where manu- 
scripts, books and evidences of pioneer life could be assembled by 
gift or purchase, and be available to writers and the general public 
for all time to come." The fort, he envisioned, would become a 
mecca for millions of Americans who "seek lasting inspiration" 
from such shrines. 84 

After such clairvoyant flights of imagination, getting back to 
mundane reality was a real jolt. At this point this took the form 
of Mr. Waters, the well-intentioned man from Omaha. In April, 
1926, he had formed a partnership with M. S. Hartman, executive 
of the Fairmont Creamery of Omaha, to embark on his proclaimed 
fort restoration project. In May the Fort Laramie Scout quoted 
Lewis A. Snell, local contractor, as saying that the partners, "plan 
to start work by restoring the exteriors of the old buildings to their 
original state, as nearly as possible, beginning about June 15" of 
that year. However, it appears that, whatever plans there were, 
there was little or no work on the premises until December. The 
January 6, 1927, issue of the Scout reports that Mr. Snell "had 
been engaged for the past two weeks in reshingling and remodelling 
the old Sutler's Store. Other old buildings are being reshingled 
and it is reported that the owners plan to refloor the old buildings." 
The January 13 issue revealed that it was the intention of Mr. 
Hartman "to make use of the sutler's store as a museum. Mr. 
Snell was invited to "come to Omaha, with all expenses paid, that 
he may look over Mr. Hartman's collection of mounted wildlife, 
old coins, etc., and thus get a better idea of the cases, stands, and 
other fixtures that he will be required to build." The September 1 
issue summarized the season's accomplishments: 

Messrs. Tom Waters and M. S. Hartman. . . have made a com- 
mendable start toward the preservation of the more historic buildings. 

^Guernsey Gazette. Aug. 27, 1926. 


and plan to continue this work over a considerable period. The ser- 
vices of Lewis Snell. . have been engaged for a year with this end in 

The crumbling walls of the old adobe "sutler's store" have been 
patched and strengthened with concrete, new floors laid, and its sag- 
ging roof is now supported by a series of new concrete pillars. . . . 

The next work to be undertaken is that of restoring "Old Bedlam", 
a two story frame building renouned (sic) in history and fiction. . . . 

Mr. Waters has given instructions that the old material is to be sal- 
vaged and reused wherever feasible so that the buildings may be 
restored as nearly as possible to their original condition. He states 
that the only object of the work being done now is to prevent further 

That seems to have been the extent of the Waters-Hartman 
private restoration project, and we can only speculate that they 
ran short of funds or had second thoughts about the money-making 
potential of their investment. 3 "' Later government restorationists 
shed tears over the drastic treatment of the adobe sutler's store, 
with concrete pillars in lieu of the original west wall, and the 
disappearance of almost all shelving, ledgers, and miscellaneous 
articles once reported to have survived in quantity. To the extent 
that the store and other buildings were actually re-shingled, the 
partners must get credit for thus retarding worse structural dangers 
from radical leakage and possible collapse. In summary, whatever 
their deficiencies as restorationists, the partners destroyed no build- 
ings and should get credit for preservation efforts that no govern- 
ment agency would be able to undertake for another decade. 30 

In 1927 the good news was the creation by the Wyoming State 
Legislature of Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming 
(HLCW), pretty much along the lines recommended by Horace 
Albright to Robert Ellison. This independent agency would play 
a central role in repeated efforts to acquire Fort Laramie. 

The Commission was created by an act approved February 26, 
1927. It consisted of three members appointed by the governor. 
The initial appointments were Robert S. Ellison of Casper, chair- 
man; Warren Richardson of Cheyenne, treasurer; and Joseph 
Weppner of Rock Springs, secretary. There was a small recurring 
appropriation for reimbursement of travel expenses, printing bien- 

35 Martin S. Hartman's name appears at intervals in Goshen County land 
records, in association with Waters, beginning on Feb. 18, 1927, and ending 
on May 7, 1931. The exact nature of the brief partnership eludes inquiry. 
Joseph G. Masters, regional director for the OTMA in Omaha, confided to 
Joseph Weppner, HLCW, that, "I think Hartman is rather more active in 
the whole affair." Letter of Oct. 17, 1929, HLCW files. 

36 No blueprints for the Waters-Hartman restoration project, if they ever 
existed outside of these gentlemen's heads, can be found. The flooring in 
the adobe portion of the sutler's store, allegedly restored, was missing in 
1937. Presumably it was removed by unidentified parties searching for 


nial reports, and the preparation and placement of historical mark- 
ers, but no funds for the acquisition, improvement or operation of 
historic sites. The broad powers of the commission included 
authority to evaluate any or all historic sites in the state, to provide 
for roadside monumentation, and to recommend sites for state 
acquisition. Anticipating resistance by landowners, the law author- 
ized condemnation proceedings to acquire in fee simple with funds 
appropriated specifically for the purpose, "any real estate which in 
the opinion of the Commission is of sufficient historic interest as to 
require that the same be set aside and preserved for the public 
welfare." Anticipating the strain on state budgets which such 
acquisitions might entail, the statute also gave the Commission the 
power to arrange by contract or otherwise with the U. S. Govern- 
ment or its constituted agencies for the preservation and care of 
state-owned sites. A final major provision, to augment the efforts 
of the three commissioners operating on donated time over a vast 
region, was authority to appoint an "interested, capable and work- 
ing advisory committee in each county." 37 

The Commission's First Biennial Report issued in 1928 ex- 
pressed its sense of high purpose: "Few states possess as many 
outstanding historic sites identified with the upbuilding and bring- 
ing of civilization into the West as does Wyoming. Our wealth in 
this respect should be regarded as a sacred heritage and a priceless 
asset." In this report the commissioners gave Fort Laramie prom- 
inent billing as "the first permanent establishment in what is now 
Wyoming, and easily the most famous post in the entire West." 
The chairman noted that he personally "has attempted at different 
times since January, 1925, in connection with the Honorable John 
Hunton, to secure the cooperation of and definite prices from the 
owners, but it has been impossible to secure same, and the acqui- 
sition of the fort will probably have to be handled along different 
lines." While Ellison had previously mentioned "public subscrip- 
tions" and "public-spirited contributions," he had little faith in that 
kind of solution. His formula would be condemnation if necessary, 
and appropriation of land acquisition funds by the state legislature 
when confronted with a hard choice. Fort Bridger, the state's 
first historical acquisition, in 1929, became available without such 
recourse, but Ellison knew that Fort Laramie would be a tougher 
nut to crack. 3s 

While the Commission was getting squared away to take some 
kind of action, the initiative was seized by George Houser, who 
thought that it might be worthwhile to have another try along the 
congressional route and save the state a lot of money. At his 
instigation, in August, 1928, the proposition of "having Old Fort 

3"HLCW, First Biennial Report (1927-1928). 

3 s Ibid., HLCW, Minute Books, 1927-1929, Wyoming State Archives. 


Laramie set aside as a national monument, or in some way of 
having it preserved for posterity," was presented by the Miller- 
Rebillet Post of Guernsey to the state convention of the American 
Legion in Cheyenne. The Legion was, of course, delighted to 
support this patriotic move. Early in 1929 Houser, now a member 
of the State House of Representatives from Platte County, intro- 
duced "House Joint Memorial Number 1, memorializing Congress 
to purchase, restore, and preserve old Fort Laramie, and set it 
aside as a national monument." The Act approved February 14 
reads in part as follows: 

WHEREAS Old Fort Laramie. . is the most noted frontier post in 
the West, where thousands upon thousands of immigrants paused for 
protection and supplies, as they trekked their way westward across the 
Plains of the Great West, to establish a new empire; and 

WHEREAS, this old Fort, to which there is more historic sentiment 
attached than any other spot in the West, is fast decaying, and should 
be preserved for posterity, in order that future generations may see it 
and be inspired to emulate those sturdy pioneer who passed this 
way. . . 

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that in order to accomplish 
this purpose, Congress be requested to appropriate a reasonable sum 
to purchase the Old Fort and grounds, and preserve this noted spot 
in the West. . . 

Be it further resolved that the House of Representatives of the 20th 
Legislature, the Senate concurring, do hereby strongly urge favorable 
action by Congress. . . and that copies of this Resolution be submitted 
to the Interior Department of the United States, to the National Parks 
Commission, and to each of the members of the Wyoming delegation 
in Congress. 39 

The bill was introduced in congress, but died stillborn in the 
House Interior Sub-Committee. Approaching the matter more 
realistically, the HLCW, on October 18, 1929, at a special meeting 
in Cheyenne, acted to set up an advisory committee representing 
Goshen and Platte Counties "with the primary object of acquiring 
and maintaining the site of Old Fort Laramie." Houser and 
Flannery accepted invitations to serve and they in turn were em- 
powered to name five others: Charles L. Bruce of Fort Laramie; 
Fred Burton, Guernsey; Dr. G. O. Hanna, Lingle; The Honorable 
Thomas G. Powers, Torrington; and Rev. E. L. Tull, Wheatland. 
This committee met at Torrington November 6 and elected Houser 
as chairman, Flannery as secretary. Also, two independent volun- 
teer teams of appraisers were designated to examine and report on 
their evaluation of the three coveted properties, held then in the 
names of Thomas Waters, J. W. Auld, and George Sandercock. 40 
At a meeting in Fort Laramie town on December 1 , the two teams 

^Guernsey Gazette, Aug. 15, 1928; Session Laws of Wyoming (1929) 
pp. 259-260. 

40HLCW Minute Books. 


of appraisers came up with combined valuations of $10,650 and 
$15,650 respectively, for a total of slightly under fifty acres north 
of the Laramie River, which just barely encompassed the visible 
structural remains. While this would impose severance problems 
for all three parties, the appraisers gave the opinion that "the 
restoration of Fort Laramie would neither benefit or damage" the 
rest of the private holdings. 41 

The Second Biennial Report of the Commission (1929-1930) 
confessed to no definite progress on the Fort Laramie front "other 
than having a plat made of the historic properties described, to- 
gether with appraisal of fair value by local realtors and ranch 
owners." It could only express hope for "some definite proposi- 
tion" for the next session of the legislature. Flannery believed that 
the situation was critical. He reported early in 1930 that the local 
committee had received a visit from J. W. Auld of Red Cloud, 

Mr. Auld. . . states that unless some action toward acquiring the 
property is taken soon it may be necessary for him to tear down the 
historic old barracks, as they are beginning to require extensive re- 
pairs, which their value to a private owner for commercial purposes 
does not justify. . . 

The undaunted spirit of the pioneers still hovers there among those 
ruins of its former greatness — and if Wyoming permits those ruins 
to utterly perish, we shall truly be ungrateful of what they did for 
us. . . Their memory will reproach us — and future generations will 
reproach us — if the scene of old Fort Laramie is permitted to pass 
and fade, unhonored. 42 

While negotiations languished the project promoters skyrocketed 
with plans for a mammoth public celebration on the fort grounds, 
the "Covered Wagon Centennial" commemorating the 100th anni- 
versary of the Smith-Jackson-Sublette wagon caravan of 1830 from 
St. Louis to the Rocky Mountain rendezvous on Wind River, the 
first wheeled vehicles up the Platte River Road. The memorable 
event of August 15, on a scale similar to the one held on July 4 
at Independence Rock, was inspired by the Oregon Trail Memo- 
rial Association and a presidential proclamation observing the 
Centennial. It was coordinated by the local advisory committee 
of the HLCW spearheaded by Chairman Houser and Secretary 
Flannery. Estimates of attendance that day vary wildly, from 
7,500 to 23,000, but whatever the correct figure, it was alleged 
by Flannery to be "the largest crowd ever assembled in the North 
Platte Valley." The unparalleled success of the celebration was 
due to the enthusiasm with which community organizations up and 
down the Valley, from Scottsbluff to Douglas, participated. The 

i2 Fort Laramie Scout, March 27. 1930. 


massive turnout certainly demonstrated "widespread interest in the 
movement to preserve and restore the birthplace of Western history 
as a state or national monument." The demonstration of support 
was all the more convincing because the celebration was held 
despite some of the most adverse weather and road conditions on 
record. Flannery paints the vivid picture: 

After weeks of fair weather, unusually heavy rains set in the week 
previous to the Covered Wagon Centennial Observance at Old Fort 
Laramie. All day Thursday, all night Thursday, the downpour con- 
tinued. And early Friday morning the leaden skies still dripped, 
making it appear that the ceremonies would be impossible, and flood 
waters from the north came tumbling down upon the town of Fort 
Laramie, inundating its streets and sidewalks under a foot or more of 
water, sending traffic over the highway to the Old Fort on a wide 
detour. But rain and flood could not dampen the ardor of those 
thousands who came from near and far to pay tribute at this shrine 
of western history — and Old Neptune himself finally gave up the 
job, the battalions of clouds gave way and the sun came out from his 
retreat to usher in a beautiful day. 

Although the weather eliminated a pageant and several other 
programmed events, and the muddy roads became a quagmire, by 
2 p.m. there were an alleged 5,000 automobiles parked in the 
vicinity. (The mayor of Torrington had issued a proclamation 
of his own, and virtually that entire city migrated to the Fort on 
that day.) Chairman Ellison of the HLCW presided over the 
formal program, with addresses by Governor Frank C. Emerson 
of Wyoming and Congressman Robert Simmons of the Sixth Dis- 
trict, Nebraska. Telegrams from President Herbert Hoover and 
other dignitaries were read, and old-timers were introduced. 
Prominent among these were William H. Jackson, James H. Cook, 
Finn Burnett, and Mrs. Harry English, daughter of a former post 

Local color was provided by a Sioux Indian encampment, and 
an attack by masked bandits on a genuine Deadwood stagecoach. 
More excitement was generated by the appearance of an emigrant 
wagon train which had to fight off an Indian attack before crossing 
the swollen Laramie River in a very realistic re-enactment of cov- 
ered wagon days. The emotional climax came with a battalion 
of infantry and a seventy-five piece band from Fort Francis E. 
Warren, staging a retreat ceremony, posting guards, and playing 
patriotic music to evoke mystic memories of the once-great mili- 
tary post amid its present ruins. Fox Movietone motion picture 
crews recorded these scenes, complete with sound effects. 43 

While the celebration demonstrated plenty of enthusiasm, and 

^Fort Laramie Scout, Aug. 21, 1930; Driggs and Meeker, op. cit. pp. 
73-74; HLCW, Second Biennial Report (1929-1930), pp. 12-13. 

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the new Fort Laramie Historical Society signed on 200 new mem- 
bers at $1 per head, after everyone had gone home the same old 
acquisition problem was still there. There was no money in sight 
and the landowners, though agreeable to permitting the jubilee, 
had little interest in forced sale. 44 

The local advisory committee of the Landmark Commission 
next thought to check out the War Department, having heard that 
they had something to do with "monuments." The committee 
contacted Senator Kendrick and Congressman Carter who request- 
ed a military inspection of the forsaken fort. Accordingly, in Sep- 
tember, 1930, a Colonel Landers was dispatched to make a survey 
of the remains. Evidently the upshot of this polite exercise was a 
suggestion that, in accordance with its custom of marking selected 
old sites and battlefields, the War Department might contribute a 
monument of some sort if suitable land could be donated. How- 
ever, this would be merely another stone monument, not the 
historical park kind of a "national monument" that Ellison and 
others envisioned. 45 Needless to relate, the Landers investigation 
was not fraught with portent or consequences. The Interior De- 
partment which had inherited the fort in 1890, not the War 
Department which had abandoned it, would become the fort's ulti- 
mate redeemer. 

In 1931 there was one more abortive proposal for returning the 
old fort to military status. Officers of the National Guard, then 
encamped at Pole Mountain, publicly announced "that Old Fort 
Laramie is practically the unanimous choice of the officer person- 
nel as a site of future camps." Editors Flannery and Houser were 
all for the proposition. 46 In retrospect, however, it is difficult to 
imagine how the old fort could actually have survived such usage. 
Fortunately the permanent National Guard camp was eventually 
located at Guernsey. 

On June 7, 1931, the Historical Landmark Commission of Wyo- 
ming held a special meeting at Fort Laramie at the instigation of 
Committee Chairman Houser "to discuss the acquisition of the 
fort by the Commission as a historical landmark." Ex-Governor 

44 "The owners of old Fort Laramie, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Waters, and 
their daughter, of Omaha; J. W. Auld of Red Cloud, Nebraska; and Mr. 
and Mrs. George Sandercock of Fort Laramie were all present for the Cov- 
ered Wagon Centennial and Pioneers Reunion last Friday, and showed the 
committee every courtesy. Mrs. Sandercock prepared a special dinner in 
her home for the guests of honor." Fort Laramie Scout, Aug. 21, 1930. 

As a fund raising venture the Fort Laramie Historical Society seems to 
have had a short life. However, it was still in existence, at least nominally, 
as late as 1937. This original organization is not to be confused with the 
present Fort Laramie Historical Association. 

^Fort Laramie Scout, Sept. 11, 1930; HLCW, Second Biennial Report, 
p. 14. 

4 ®Fort Laramie Scout, July 16, 1931. 



Proposed Park Boundary -1931 


— A.Auld Property 
-- S...Sandercock Property 
W... Waters Property 


Original Purchase Proposed by 

Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming 



Bryant B. Brooks of Casper was now chairman, replacing R. S. 
Ellison who had moved to Oklahoma to pursue his career in oil. 
Also present were Dan W. Greenburg, new publicity director of 
the commission; John C. Thompson of the Cheyenne Tribune; 
several prominent Nebraskans; the entire advisory committee; and 
Fort Laramie old-timers Malcolm Campbell (1867); Bert Wagner 
(1869); George L. Willson (1873); and Deadwood Stagecoach 
alumni Fred Sullivan and Ernest Logan. After a tour of the prem- 
ises led by knowledgeable Paul Henderson of Bridgeport, Nebras- 
ka, the party of over 100 were "guests of the advisory committee 
at a delicious chicken dinner served by Mrs. George Sandercock" 
on the rambling porch of the old officer's quarters which was her 

After the feast the Commission got down to brass tacks with 
Mr. Waters who had come out from Omaha, the Commission now 
being fortified with the knowledge that the state legislature had 
just appropriated $15,000 "for the purchase and preservation of 
Fort Laramie." 47 Waters took the position that he had always 
hoped to make his home there. Nevertheless "he had no desire 
to profit at the expense of the State or to capitalize upon the 
sentimental value of Old Fort Laramie," and he would sell for an 
amount sufficient only to protect his investment. This would be 
$22,500 for all of his 640 acres. Brooks explained that the Com- 
mission had authorization only to dicker for the twenty-odd acres 
containing Waters' share of the fort grounds in question, and then 
explained the Commission's right to exercise eminent domain. 
This evidently terminated the discussion. Subsequently it was 
decided that, just to be on the safe side, the local committee should 
conduct a re-survey for an alternate boundary enclosing around 
100 acres, "including the old graveyard," which would double the 
size of the hypothetical park. 48 

Later in the year, when the Commission met at Torrington to 
dedicate an Oregon Trail marker there by the Burlington depot, 
they considered letters from J. W. Auld and M. S. Hartman offer- 
ing to sell their land at the offered prices, but action had to be 
deferred in the absence of a similar offer from Waters, Hartman's 
co-owner. 49 

In view of Waters' intransigence, early in 1932 at the Commis- 

47 HLCW Minutes of meeting, June 7, 1931 at Fort Laramie; HLCW 
Third Biennial Report (1931-1932), pp. 9-10; Session Laws of Wyoming 
(1931), Chapter 138. House Bill 153. General Appropriation Act for two 
years ending March 31, 1933. Section 21. At this time the legislature 
appropriated $25,000 but this was arbitrarily reduced to $15,000 by Acting 
Governor A. M. Clark. 

4H Ibid.; Fort Laramie Scout, July 16, 1931. 

49 HLCW Minutes, meeting of November 29, 1931. 


sion's request the State Attorney General instituted condemnation 
proceedings against the several owners. This move had the en- 
dorsement of the Fort Laramie Commercial Club, the Fort Lara- 
mie Mayor and Council, and the State American Legion."'" A new 
Board of Appraisers appointed by the court now came up with a 
firm figure of $11,600 for a proposed area of fifty-five acres, or 
about $250 per acre, well within the $15,000 set aside for the 
purpose, the balance to go for sundry expenses."' 1 The turn of 
events prompted the Scout to rhapsodize: 

... In spite of its ravishment, Old Fort Laramie can still be made 
the nation's most outstanding and interesting monument to early west- 
ern history, and if the present movement to bring that about is suc- 
cessful, it will be an achievement for which the Wyoming Historical 
Landmark Commission and the last session of the Wyoming legisla- 
ture will probably be remembered long after most of the other acts of 
those august bodies have been forgotten by posterity. 52 

Though court proceedings were delayed through 1933, the 
Commission and its local committee also exuded optimism, pri- 
marily because of the slump in land values resulting from the 
Depression, and a conviction that the owners would come around 
to settling out of court. In December Dan Greenburg, anticipating 
victory, suggested that the Commission "take it up with Mr. Cam- 
eron [sic], Director General of the National Parks, making a letter 
proposition of deeding the Fort to the Government, providing they 
would rehabilitate it as soon as possible to its original condition 
when abandoned, and to tie it in with the regular park service." 
Invited to their deliberations, Governor Leslie Miller said he was 
personally acquainted with Mr. Cammerer and would be glad to do 
all he could to "promote the proposition/' He also admonished 
the Commission to "take it up with Senator CTMahoney and Con- 
gressman Carter." 53 These rosy thoughts were quickly dispelled 
by events in Torrington, and evidence is lacking that the Park 
Service was actually contacted at this time. 

The unhappy outcome is summarized in minutes of the meeting 
held at the Trail Hotel in Torrington February 23, 1934. The 
Commission and Attorney General Ray Lee met with the owners' 
attorneys to clarify the point that the Commission would go no 
further than the appraised value, regardless of a court decision : 

. . . After many hours of discussion the attorney for Jessica Auld. 
part owner of the tract, and the attorney for Molly Sandercock. were 
willing to accept the proposition. But the attorney for Waters and 

50 Fort Laramie Scout, March 10, 1932; Letter March 11. 1932, Joseph 
Weppner, HLCW, to Robert Ellison, files HLCW. 
^Fort Laramie Scout, April 21, 1932; May 19. 1932. 
^Ibid., March 10, 1932. 
53HLCW, Minutes, meeting of December 22, 1933. 


Hartman, who owned the major part of the property, said he would 
get in touch with his clients and let us know their decision before the 
day was over. The Commission, however, did not hear from him, 
as his clients asked for a jury trial, and this trial was held. . . the 
following week. . The jury after some deliberation brought in a ver- 
dict of an appraised valuation to the owners of $500.00 an acre. This, 
of course, eliminated the purchase in any form by the Historical 
Landmark Commission. 54 

While no one came up with a theory as to why the jury doubled 
the appraised value (from around $12,000 to $25,000) one might 
speculate that the jury itself was made up of landowners who, 
when the chips were down, preferred to see actual land values at 
a higher rather than a lower rate. However, Chairman Brooks 
pointed out that the original appropriation bill called for $25,000, 
afterwards reduced by the governor to $15,000; the owners knew 
of this switch and were thus encouraged to "set up an exhorbitant 
price for their holdings." 55 

Given the resounding success of the 1930 celebration at the fort 
one would have supposed that 1934 would see another such affair, 
perhaps on an even larger scale, to celebrate the 100th anniversary 
of the founding of the first Fort Laramie, the log stockade called 
Fort William by its founders, William Sublette and Robert Camp- 
bell. Indeed, Dr. Driggs of the Oregon Trail Memorial Associa- 
tion urged that something like this be promoted, and the idea was 
seriously entertained by the Fort Laramie Advisory Committee. 
But as it turned out there was no 1934 celebration of any kind, 
presumably because spirits had been dampened by the outcome of 
the condemnation proceedings. 56 

Though discouragement was probably at a record low at this 
time, coinciding with the severely depressed state of the national 
economy, a new ferment was beginning to bubble, a thrust of 
government which promised somehow to rescue Fort Laramie 
from its threatened oblivion. This was the phenomenon known as 
the New Deal, the beginning of a still-dominant paternalistic trend 
by Congress and the federal bureaucracy reflecting a philosophy 
of direct government action to remedy all economic ills. Begin- 

54 HLCW, Fourth Biennial Report (1933-1934), pp. 11-12. 

•"'•"'Letter of Oct. 14, 1936, Bryant B. Brooks to Warren Richardson, files, 

r,c, Fort Laramie Scout, Oct. 6, 1933. The next public celebration at the 
fort was held on August 15, 1935, to observe the 75th anniversary ("Dia- 
mond Jubilee") of the Pony Express. According to the Scout for Aug. 8, 
1935, "more than 1,000 persons gathered. . . to witness the re-ride of the 
Pony Express. The Boy Scout rider eluded Indian pursuers to deliver the 
mail sack to the speaker's stand." Dr. L. C. Hunt, secretary of state for 
Wyoming, delivered the principal address. The ubiquitous William H. Jack- 
son was present, and Mrs. Sandercock served another of her famous veranda 
dinners to special guests — turkey this time, instead of chicken. 


ning in 1934 there was a series of government programs calculated 
to promote public works and relieve unemployment. Although as 
it turned out Fort Laramie couldn't be brought under any of these 
emergency umbrellas, the continuing effort to do so kept hope alive 
during the critical three-year period, 1934-1936, before a real 
breakthrough could be achieved. During this period the indefat- 
igable L. G. Flannery and other ardent advocates took the initiative 
away, temporarily, from the Historical Landmark Commission. 

The earliest work relief programs of interest to fort defenders 
were tied in with the National Park Service and Scotts Bluff 
National Monument, about fifty miles east in western Nebraska. 
While the origins of the concept of tying various North Platte 
Valley historic sites together for park purposes may be traced back 
to the abortive congressional proposal of 1925 aforementioned, 
the idea gained momentum with a visit to the region in September, 
1932 by Horace M. Albright, director of the Park Service. After 
meeting Nebraska civic leaders at Scotts Bluff National Monument 
to outline development plans there, Albright met with Wyoming 
newspapermen in Guernsey. According to Flannery, 

The purpose behind Director Albright's visit and these meetings, 
as we understand it, was to forward a movement to include Scotts- 
bluff Monument, Old Fort Laramie, Lake Guernsey, the famous 
Spanish Diggings, and many other interesting historical places of the 
community in the national parks system, and thus receive federal aid 
in their development. 57 

In July, 1933 a similar pilgrimage was made by H. C. Bryant, 
assistant director, National Park Service, in charge of "education." 
He echoed the current party line for a catch-all historical park: 

Mr. Bryant indicated that the proposition is looked upon with favor 
by the parks service, and that Scotts Bluff might be the central head- 
quarters of the area. 

He said the reconstruction and employment relief programs of the 
national government will probably make considerable money avail- 
able for roads and park construction, and that the national parks 
service is paying more and more attention to the historical and edu- 
cational side of national parks development — and from the historical 
viewpoint this valley is truly a rich field, with Old Fort Laramie 
outstanding. 58 

"'Fort Laramie Scout, Sept. 15, 1932. In his report Flannery expressed 
concern about the cost of such a far-flung development, including Fort 
Laramie restoration. This is the only recorded instance where his normal 
enthusiasm for Fort Laramie was tempered by second thoughts: "it is a 
fatuous form of self-deception to imagine that we can expand the activities 
of our government without very high taxes." These misgivings seem quaint 
in an age when the federal debt approaches $, and the 
annual operating cost of Fort Laramie National Historic Site alone now 
exceeds $300,000. 

5S Fort Laramie Scout, July 6. 1933. 


Early in 1934 rancher-paleontologist Harold J. Cook of Agate, 
Nebraska, son of the noted scout, James H. Cook, was placed in 
charge of a Civil Works Administration project headquartered at 
Gering, Nebraska, the post office town for the Scotts Bluff Monu- 
ment, to make a survey of historic and archeologic sites in the 
North Platte Valley. In his report on Fort Laramie Cook empha- 
sized its historic importance and the deplorable condition of its 
remains. 59 The report went to Washington, D.C., where it was 
swallowed up in a paper mountain, but at this time the Park 
Service took steps in another direction which galvanized the Fort 
Laramie brigade. Partly pursuant to Cook's report of the richness 
of Oregon Trail sites and remains up and down the North Platte 
Valley, and partly to satisfy the Nebraska clamor for work proj- 
ects, the Washington, D.C., office of the Park Service announced 
the simultaneous launching of two related projects: an Oregon 
Trail Museum at Scotts Bluff National Monument, and the study 
of an "Oregon Trail National Parkway" to encompass a beaded 
string of historic sites all the way from Ash Hollow to Register 
Cliff, a distance of about 175 miles. The latter project was a 
"dream-boat" proposition which had first surfaced in 1925, and 
would surface every so often for the next fifty years. Gu In 1934, 
certainly, it never got off the ground. In contrast, the first wing 
of the Oregon Trail Museum did materialize in 1935. But in 1934 
the official announcement bracketed these objectives, leading to 
some excited reaction in Wyoming. While finding the NPS ideas 
"laudable" ringleader Flannery proclaimed: 

There is one part of the program with which the News believes 
the people of Wyoming should take prompt and emphatic exception 
and that is concerning the location of the proposed Oregon Trail 
Museum. . . The construction of [it] at the foot of Scottsbluff monu- 
ment, instead of Old Fort Laramie, strikes us as a matter of letting 
the tail wag the dog. ... It is one part of the proposed national park 
development that strikes us as entirely misplaced. . . . There are per- 
haps a thousand reasons for the building of such a museum at Old 
Fort Laramie. . . to one reason that can be suggested for such a 
museum at Scottsbluff. 

59Files, Scotts Bluff National Monument. Harold Cook (1887-1962) 
subsequently became Superintendent of the CCC Camp and interim custo- 
dian of that monument, vice A. N. Mather. He was relieved of that post 
after an altercation with Secretary Ickes over political appointments to the 
CCC foreman personnel roster. 

60 The National Park Service proposal, motivated by instructions from the 
White House to develop projects to generate jobs during the Depression, is 
reflected in news stories appearing in Scottsbluff, Cheyenne, and Torrington 
papers. The concept bobbed up for the fourth or fifth time in the form of 
a bill for a "Trails West National Park", extending from Ash Hollow to 
Fort Laramie, introduced by Representatives Virginia Smith of Nebraska 
and Teno Roncalio of Wyoming in 1976. 


Flannery urged that the citizens make their displeasure known. 
Subsequently resolutions objecting to the Oregon Trail Museum 
in Nebraska were passed by local groups and the American Legion. 
The Torrington Rotary Club thought "the plan to establish a mu- 
seum at the foot of Scottsbluff is not well advised or logical from 
a historical standpoint." Responding to the furor, Senator O'Ma- 
honey visited NPS Director Arno B. Cammerer to urge reconsider- 
ation. Mr. Cammerer's reply was polite: "You may be sure that 
this matter is receiving our best consideration. I have always been 
interested personally in Fort Laramie and hope that something 
may be developed along the lines you are interested in." Of course 
the hard truth was that Scotts Bluff National Monument was in 
existence and, despite the low rating given it by Flannery, it was a 
bona fide famous Oregon Trail landmark, whereas Fort Laramie, 
though of undisputed importance, was still in private hands. Mr. 
Cammerer didn't say so but a museum at Scotts Bluff would in no 
way inhibit proper development of the Fort as, if and when it 
could be acquired. 111 

Early in 1935 the idea of a strung-out Oregon Trail Park up and 
down the North Platte Valley was revived by the National Park 
Service on the strength of a New Deal scheme to develop recrea- 
tional and historic parklands on "sub-marginal lands," meaning 
either unoccupied public lands or unproductive private lands that 
could be acquired at sub-marginal prices. Verne Chatelain, chief, 
history division, NPS, advised Ff. J. Dollinger of the Scottsbluff 
Chamber of Commerce that the implementation of this scheme 
required the appointment of a commission "to work for acquisition 
by the NPS of historic sites along the old trails." In Nebraska 
such a commission chaired by Mr. Dollinger was promptly ap- 
pointed by Governor Cochran under the imposing title, "Nebraska 
Old Oregon and Mormon Trails National Park Area Commission." 
With little hesitation Wyoming's Governor Miller reacted by the 
appointment of an "Old Fort Laramie National Park Area Com- 
mission," which was empowered to coordinate matters with the 
Nebraska group, but to set as their own number one goal "the 
proposition of restoring Old Fort Laramie as a National Monu- 
ment." In addition to the three members of the Landmark Com- 
mission, plus the ever faithful Houser and Flannery, the new com- 
mission included such notables as Charles O. Stafford, manager 
of the State Department of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Hebard. 
Dr. G. O. Hanna of Lingle, and Dan Greenburg. On February 10 
the group met at Torrington sworn to do something about "the 
outstanding place in history between the Missouri River and the 

61 Fort Laramie Scout, Feb. 8, March 15, and March 22. 1934 quoted in 
the Torrington Telegram for February 22. 1973. 


West Coast," even though "not much is left but a pile of ruins." 
At later joint meetings with the Nebraskans at Torrington and 
Guernsey the conferees agreed that a budget of $150,000 might 
get the ball rolling toward establishment of an "Oregon-Mormon- 
California Trails National Park Area." Other than that they were 
at a loss "to ascertain the proper course for us to pursue." 

At this point Flannery thought it best to ask Senator O'Mahoney 
to confer with Cammerer and Interior Secretary Harold Ickes to 
provide guidelines for their next move. Although Cammerer ad- 
vised that "we will be glad to cooperate in every possible way in 
helping to make this worthwhile project a success," neither guide- 
lines nor money was forthcoming. The only tangible result of this 
nebulous plan was a variety of bills submitted to Congress to set 
the goal of some kind of an Oregon Trail Park involving mainly 
Nebraska and Wyoming. However, one such bill framed by Wyo- 
ming's Representative Paul Greever, this time labeled "Western 
Trails National Park," went beyond the two states to include all 
eleven states involved in the California Trail as well as the Oregon 
and Mormon Trails, presumably in an effort to develop broad sup- 
port that would somehow get Fort Laramie sanctified. Governor 
Miller wrote to the governors of all these states seeking their sup- 
port. Whatever it took to save Fort Laramie, even if it was 
incidental to the creation of a rambling legal monstrosity, was 
worth a try. 62 

This particular bubble burst when Congressman Greever dis- 
closed that "due to its purchase price it was hard to interest Park 
Service officials in Fort Laramie." After all the bother it seems 
that Fort Laramie was too expensive to be eligible for the sub- 
marginal land purchase program. With that disclosure, as far as 
Wyoming was concerned, the idea of an Oregon Trail or Western 
Trails Park was so much window dressing and it could go down 
the drain. The scheme faded in Nebraska too, when none of the 
pretentious bills reached the floor of Congress, but of course Ne- 
braska did get individual attention with the extensive development 
of Scotts Bluff National Monument, complete with museum, a 
paved road to its summit, and other goodies, including a fuli- 
fledged Civilian Conservation Corps camp. Flannery was there- 
fore understandably bitter, even though unfair, in his assertion that 
"this happens when we join Nebraska in a project. We are being 
jobbed. Any national park in the North Platte Valley that does 
not include Fort Laramie is letting the tail wag the dog." Using 
a somewhat different metaphor Robert Ellison (who, though now 
an Oklahoman, followed Fort Laramie's fortunes with great inter- 

Q2 Fort Laramie Scout, February 14 and May 30, 1935. Flannery corre- 
spondence File, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Feb. 6 to Feb. 15, 


est) confided to Joe Weppner that now instead of federal owner- 
ship he would rather see the state of Wyoming seek and keep 
ownership of Fort Laramie even if it took ten years to accomplish, 
and "even if nothing remains excepting its site, than it become the 
tail to the Scotts Bluff National Monument kite." Ellison seemed 
obsessed with the idea that any effort to link Fort Laramie with 
the Nebraska monument would be demeaning, if not fatal. 63 

While these gentlemen apparently needed a scapegoat for their 
frustrations, there is no way that Nebraska's own aspirations to 
beef up recognition of the Oregon Trail, or the Park Service pro- 
gram at Scotts Bluff, could have been harmful to Fort Laramie. 
Actually, there was destined to be a close working relationship 
between personnel of that national monument and Fort Laramie 
over the next ten years. This was primarily the result of a keen 
interest in the Fort Laramie project by Merrill J. Mattes, the first 
full-time custodian and historian of Scotts Bluff. 04 When he ar- 
rived on that scene in October, 1935, the history wing of the Ore- 
gon Trail Museum had been completed, the Scotts Bluff Summit 
road was under construction, a CCC camp was in full operation, 
and the situation was ripe for a full-scale program of interpretation 
and public use there, after sixteen years of neglect as a national 
monument in name only. Despite his intensive involvement in 
Scotts Bluff affairs, Mattes found time to visit and research numer- 
ous other Oregon Trail sites and landmarks in the Valley, including 
repeated visits to Fort Laramie, and correspondence and visits with 
Flannery, Houser, and other fort protagonists. With nation-wide 
implementation of the Historic Sites Act of 1935, Mattes was 
frequently called upon by the new regional office in Omaha to 
provide data on western Nebraska sites. Anticipating eventual 
recognition of Fort Laramie he initiated an extensive research file 
on the subject, and with the aid of citizen historian Paul Henderson 
of Bridgeport he assembled a set of historical maps and plans of 
Fort Laramie as well as other military posts. 05 

C3 Flannery file, Greever to L. G. Flannery, March 26, 1935. Flannery 
to O'Mahoney, March 22, 1935. Ellison to Weppner. July 18, 1935. HLCW 

64 Mattes was stationed at Scotts Bluff National Monument until 1946. 
when he was transferred to Omaha to become first. Historian. Missouri 
River Basin Surveys and, in 1950, Regional Historian, a post he held for 
seventeen years. From November. 1936 to April. 1938 Engineer Charles E. 
Randels became "Acting Custodian" and CCC camp director while Mattes 
as historian devoted full time to developing research and public service pro- 
grams. In 1938 Mattes resumed full-time custodianship of Scotts Bluff, at 
the same time becoming "acting custodian" for new Fort Laramie National 
Monument. He continued in that capacity until October. 1938. While in 
Omaha Mattes became the principal regional coordinator of Fort Laramie 
restoration projects. 

65 Over forty years of collaboration between Mattes and Henderson is 


In one of their exchanges Flannery complained : 

For some 15 years I have been interested in seeing the preservation 
of Fort Laramie accomplished, realizing it is the outstanding place of 
historical significance in this part of the West. During this same 
period I have seen this development delayed and deferred for other 
developments of incomparable less historical significance. I consider 
it a blot on our historical record. . . . 

In reply Mattes commended Flannery for working to preserve Fort 
Laramie for posterity, but explained that "it has not been by design 
but by accident that Scotts Bluff has received attention, whereas 
Fort Laramie has continued to waste away." The "accident" was 
the fact that there had been no problem in creating Scotts Bluff 
National Monument in 1919 out of public domain, at no cost to 
anyone, whereas Fort Laramie had long been privately owned 
and occupied. Mattes conceded that, "although I am stationed at 
Scotts Bluff I will admit it is of less historical significance than 
Old Fort Laramie." In effect, the Fort Laramie proponents had 
gained an articulate ally within the ranks of the Park Service, 
living close by. From this point on he preached Fort Laramie to 
his superiors in the history divisions of both Omaha and Wash- 
ington, D.C. offices, and volunteered to work up a comprehensive 
report on the fort for their consideration. 66 

Before tracing the chain of events that led directly to "the 
final solution" of the Fort Laramie dilemma it is necessary to 
report on one last effort to secure the property by a federal relief 

Flannery, who was now residing in Cheyenne as chairman of the 
Democratic party of Wyoming, expressed his disgust over the 
collapse of the Oregon Trail National Park idea by presenting 
Governor Miller with a "small wooden casket filled with earth 
from Fort Laramie," in which was imbedded an Indian arrowhead. 
It is not known if Governor Miller was amused by this gesture of 
mourning, but it is known that the irrepressible Flannery thereafter 
contacted the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Cheyenne 

reflected in the book, Great Platte River Road (Lincoln: Nebraska State 
Historical Society, 1969) which includes two chapters on Fort Laramie. 
See also Mattes and Henderson, "The Pony Express from St. Joseph to Fort 
Laramie," Nebraska History, June, 1960, pp. 83-122. 

w >Fites, Scotts Bluff National Monument. Mattes to Flannery, Dec. 12, 
1935; Flannery to Mattes, Jan. 4, 1936; Mattes to Flannery, Jan. 14, 1936. 
Prior to the creation of Fort Laramie National Monument no historical 
report was requested, although voluminous data was supplied to the Re- 
gional Office, reflected in SBNM files. Following the acquisition of the 
site by the State, Mattes was assigned to initiate a formal Fort Laramie 
research program. In 1941 he was designated historian for Fort Laramie, 
while continuing to serve as Scotts Bluff Custodian. (The title "custodian" 
for those in charge of national monuments was converted to "superinten- 
dent" in 1949.) 


and the Resettlement Administration, Land Utilization Division in 
Douglas to see if something couldn't still be crazy-quilted together 
to save the fort which, despite all the brave schemes, was figur- 
atively burning while the state and federal bureaucracy fiddled. 
Advised by Will G. Metz, Federal Emergency Relief administrator, 
that Fort Laramie would be eligible for a WPA relief program if a 
sponsor could be found, Flannery got together with R. L. Spurlock, 
project manager of the Resettlement Administration in Douglas. 
The result was a marvelous document, dated October, 1935, pro- 
posing "the preservation and restoration of Old Fort Laramie" by 
the novel means of converting it into a settlement community for 
farm families in need of relief. The government would buy up 
4,600 acres of distressed land, including 300 under irrigation, 
diverting it into subsistence homestead tracts. About twenty fam- 
ilies could be so relocated. They would live in the historic build- 
ings, being under obligation to serve as caretakers of the property. 
There would be truck gardens, hay meadows, a game and bird 
refuge, and a recreational center. Labor for development purposes 
would be supplied by the WPA or CCC, and the workers could 
find quarters in the cavalry barracks. 07 

It makes one blink to imagine how all this would have worked 
out, and just what the fate of the buildings would have been under 
the dubious circumstances indicated. Flannery, who was willing 
to save Fort Laramie by whatever drastic means, sought to quiet 
the fears of O'Mahoney and Miller by assuring them that somehow 
the creation of this live-in Utopia "would result in the restoration 
and preservation of a historic spot which has been criminally ne- 
glected." Again, this thrust was blunted by National Park Service 
misgivings about the cost of the land. As to the availability of 
WPA, Associate Director Arthur E. Demaray advised Congress- 
man Greever: 

As you know this Service is greatly interested in Fort Laramie. 
However, from a field report just received from our Omaha office, 
it would appear that no WPA project has been approved as yet. . . If 
you see an opportunity for acquisition of the land by the State, and 
the inauguration through the local WPA of such a program, this 
Service will be glad to cooperate. . . . 6S 

However, it seems unlikely that the service was very enthusiastic 
about preservation of the priceless remains tied at cross-purposes 

67 "Proposal prepared by R. L. Spurlock. Project Manager. Resettlement 
Administration, Land Utilization Division," Douglas, Wyoming, Oct.. 1935. 
Flannery file: LGF to Will G. Metz. Aug. 15, 1935; LGF to O'Mahonev, 
July 15, 1936. 

68 Flannery file: Demaray to Greever. Aug. 11. 1936: R. M. Davis to 
L. G. Flannery, Aug. 4, 1936. 


to a resettlement project. In any event this would not have re- 
sulted in a park under NPS management. 

When Flannery was tipped off by Mattes about the new Historic 
American Buildings Survey (HABS) he contacted Congressman 
Greever about that also, but was informed that this merely pro- 
vided for unemployed architects to make measured drawings of 
historic buildings for the National Archives. There were no funds 
there to restore old buildings. 60 Flannery could not be accused 
of failing to leave any stone unturned in his one-man campaign. 
As fate would have it, however, late 1936 saw the end of catch- 
as-catch-can efforts to save the fort by intermediary agencies, and 
a rather sudden convergence of direct NPS and state interests 
which led to the shining goal which had so long eluded Houser, 
Flannery and the Landmark Commission. 

The National Park System is not a closed circle. When the Park 
Service was created by the Organic Act of 1916 it consisted of 
about forty parks and monuments, all in the West. The number 
of areas has since grown to around 300 throughout the United 
States in several different categories — parks, monuments, national 
historic sites, battlefields, memorials, seashores, recreational areas, 
etc. The park system expands as areas deemed worthy of inclusion 
for their scenic, scientific or historic values are identified and their 
cause is pushed by interested citizens or groups with the aid of 
politicians who get Congress to pass a bill establishing such an 
area. The director of the service and the Secretary of Interior are 
routinely asked to comment on the merits of these bills, usually 
from the standpoint of "national significance." Seldom, if ever, 
has an area been identified and promoted by the National Park 
Service on its own initiative. The dynamic force has always been 
a "grass roots" or democratic process. 

The only exception to the process of congressional review and 
decision is the establishment of national monuments by presidential 
proclamation. The "national monument" category was authorized 
by the Antiquities Act of 1906, inspired by public indignation over 
the wholesale despoliation of prehistoric sites in the southwest. It 
was concerned only with the preservation of designated "objects 
of historic and scientific interest" already in federal ownership, as 
recommended to the president by the Secretary of the Interior. In 
Wyoming an excellent example of such a monument carved out of 
the public domain is Devils Tower, which has the distinction of 
being the nation's first national monument, proclaimed by Theo- 
dore Roosevelt in 1906. Scotts Bluff was created in 1919 by- 
order of President Woodrow Wilson. However, there was nothing 

09 Flannery file: L. G. Flannery to Mattes, Jan. 18, 1936; O'Mahoney to 
Flannery, Jan. 20, 1936; Greever to Flannery, Jan. 25, 1936. 


to prevent the creation of a national monument by proclamation in 
the case of private lands which might be acquired by the govern- 
ment through donation by others. An example of this was Jackson 
Hole National Monument, created in 1944 as a prelude to its later 
incorporation into Grand Teton National Park. 7 " 

In the case of Fort Laramie the national monument route, or 
presidential proclamation after donation, was the only feasible one 
in the 1930s since it was then unthinkable that a Congress battling 
the Depression had money to spare to buy expensive lands for 
historical park purposes, especially in the thinly populated West. 
This was the formula clarified by Horace Albright to Robert Elli- 
son in 1925, and understood all along by the HLCW. It was also 
understood by proponents like L. G. Flannery, except that "Pat" 
was never bashful about trying any other formula as long as the 
national monument idea failed to jell. 

It was not until 1936, when the NPS finally dropped its passive 
role as adviser to a series of relief agencies and for the first time 
actively sought Fort Laramie as a prime historical property for its 
own sake, that things finally began to fall into place. The time 
when this role reversal took place can be pin-pointed. It was on 
September 5, 1936, when Assistant Director Hillory A. Tolson 
visited Fort Laramie, was impressed by what he saw, and returned 
to Washington, D.C. to initiate the positive actions that, so to 
speak, precipitated the solution. 

Mr. Tolson's visit to Fort Laramie was unpremeditated. 
Strangely enough, despite earlier assurances of official interest in 
Fort Laramie by Directors Albright and Cammerer, Associate Di- 
rector Demaray, and park division chiefs Chatelain and Bryant, no 
NPS official from Washington, D.C. or from the new regional 
office in Omaha had ever been formally invited by the HLCW to 
come on out and look the place over, and none had been dis- 
patched to do so on the director's or regional director's own initia- 
tive, with the express object of an inspection looking toward the 
establishment of a park. 71 Even Mr. Tolson's visit was initially 

70 Because of discontent by some Wyoming citizens with the presidential 
proclamation re Jackson Hole National Monument, which erupted into a 
court case at Sheridan, Wyoming in 1944 (State of Wyoming vs. Paul R. 
Franke, superintendent), the congressional settlement re Grand Teton Na- 
tional Park in 1950 provided that there would be no further national monu- 
ments created in Wyoming except with congressional sanction thus, in ef- 
fect, amending the Antiquities Act of 1906. See Robert W. Righter. "The 
Brief, Hectic Life of Jackson Hole National Monument," The American 
West, November-December, 1976). 

71 This fact is "strange" because normal NPS procedure, at least subse- 
quently, is that any area proposed for the National Park System is subject 
to rather thorough inspection by specialists, with one or more comprehen- 
sive printed reports for perusal by the director, the Secretary of the Interior. 



for the sole purpose of inspecting Scotts Bluff National Monument 
and its work program, which he did on the morning of September 5 
with Acting Custodian Randels and Historian Mattes. His inten- 
tion was to drive on directly to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone 
Parks, but he was prevailed upon first to visit Fort Laramie by the 
Scotts Bluff historian who on his own initiative, without any offi- 
cial prompting from Omaha or Washington, D.C., had become a 
Fort Laramie researcher and preservation exponent, and was pain- 
fully aware that early action was necessary to save it. Mattes 
accompanied Tolson and his wife to the fort, followed by Thomas 
L. Green of Scottsbluff with Randels as his passenger. Mr. Green, 
a retired banker, was an avid Oregon Trail historian who had 
shared his lore and enthusiasm with young Mattes. Meeting at the 
fort the party made a thorough inspection of the premises, with 
Green and Mattes detailing the long epic history of the fort, and 
emphasizing its crucial importance as well as the precarious condi- 
tion of its remains. Tolson was primarily an administrator, not a 
historian, but he sparkled with enthusiasm and indicated that he 
would recommend immediate action. He then drove on westward 
and the others returned to Nebraska, elated by Tolson's reaction. 7 - 
In 1948 Mr. Green remembered the sequence of events in this 

He stated that about 1937 he accompanied Mr. Tolson from Scotts- 
bluff to the old fort. He stated that after showing Mr. Tolson the 
area. . Mr. Tolson said he would say officially that if the area was 
acquired the National Park Service would take it over. Mr. Green 
states further that he immediately hurried to Guernsey where Editor 
Houser, a power in state politics and interested in Fort Laramie, was 
available. Within ten days. . under Mr. Houser's sponsorship a bill 
was before the Wyoming legislature for appropriation of funds to pur- 
chase the fort area for presentation to the Federal Government. 73 

Mr. Green's recollections twelve years after the fact were faulty 
in some details. Scotts Bluff records clearly fix the 1936 date. 
The visit with George Houser must have occurred some time after 
September 5, and legislative action did not happen quite that readi- 
ly. But Green's recollections substantiate the crucial nature of 
Tolson's visit and its aftermath. It is clear that from this point 

congressional committees, the Bureau of the Budget, and the NPS Advisory 
Board. Albright in 1932 and Bryant in 1933 probably visited the fort, 
but if so we find no record of their impressions. Such visits would have 
been only incidental to their respective grand tours of North Platte Valley 
historic sites. 

72 Files, Scotts Bluff National Monument, including Historian Mattes' 
monthly report for Sept., 1936; also. Mattes' personal recollections. 

73 Memorandum, April 27, 1948, Coordinating Superintendent David H. 
Canfield, Rocky Mountain National Park, to the regional director. Region 
Two, Omaha. Files, Fort Laramie National Historic Site. 


on stock in a genuine "Fort Laramie National Monument" began 
to soar. 

As to the sequel, every step cannot be documented since most 
of the key communications were verbal. That Tolson soon tele- 
phoned Demaray and convinced him that the time for action had 
arrived is evident in an Associated Press news item appearing in 
Cheyenne just one week after Tolson's impromptu inspection: 


The National Park Service announced Thursday it would establish 
a national monument at old Fort Laramie in Wyoming if the site were 
donated to the national government. 

Describing the 100-year old frontier outpost as the "most histor- 
ically important fort in the West, from the standpoint of pioneer 
explorations," A. E. Demaray, Associate Director of the Service, said 
Thursday in Washington, D.C., the government was "extremely inter- 
ested" in preserving it. 74 

Having sent up this trial balloon Demaray then issued instruc- 
tions to the regional director in Omaha to enter into direct negotia- 
tions with state officials, right at the top. This is revealed in a 
letter of October 12, 1936, from Governor Leslie A. Miller to 
Warren Richardson of the Landmark Commission : 

I received a call a day or two ago from a representative of the 
National Park Service with headquarters in Omaha who has a great 
deal to do with CCC camps in National Park jurisdiction. . . . He 
talked to me about Fort Laramie and tells me that the National Park 
Service is very anxious to do something about developing the site if 
ownership thereof could be acquired. They would expect the state to 
acquire this ownership and then they would find the money to make 
the necessary improvements. 

I told the gentleman, Mr. Donald Alexander by name, that I was 
unaware as to the present feelings of the gentleman in Omaha who 
owns the larger part of the land. . . but that I would contact your 
Commission and see what, if anything, they knew or could do about 
it. Mr. Alexander said he had been told that this man's current 
financial situation was such that he probably would consider reducing 
his previous asking price. ... I will of course welcome any sugges- 
tions you may make. . . , 75 

The National Park Service had always indicated a willingness 
to seriously consider taking over Fort Laramie, and the state of 
Wyoming had been trying to get that very job done for ten years. 
The big difference now was a matter of attitude by key officials. 
For the first time the NPS showed not only a willingness but eager- 
ness to assume responsibility for the fort. This fact, representing 
a dynamic opportunity, registered itself firmly in the mind of Gov- 
ernor Miller, who then proceeded with vigor to settle the Fort 

7 Wyoming State Tribune, Sept. 17, 1936. 
^Correspondence files, HLCW, Wyoming State Archives. 


Laramie issue once and for all. It was Governor Miller and R. J. 
Rymill of Fort Laramie town who now teamed up, by-passing the 
Landmark Commission, to take the necessary action to solve the 
problem which had hitherto defied solution — purchase of the req- 
uisite lands from private owners. Tf! 

While expressing pleasure that the Park Service was showing a 
positive interest, Chairman Brooks of the Commission was cau- 
tious: "It might be better to defer any action until after the 
[Presidential] election as people are very prone to raise the cry 
of politics on any movement started at this time." Treasurer 
Richardson was quoted as being "willing and able to buy from 
private owners, but we will not pay an exhorbitant price." Secre- 
tary Weppner was bothered by the fact that the $15,000 previous 
appropriation had been returned to the treasury, which would 
impair their negotiating position. 77 But Governor Miller wanted 
no part of further delays or misgivings, and within a few days he 
drove to the Fort personally to discuss the problem with key local 
residents who would have to be relied upon to resolve the land 
acquisition issue. Evidently encouraged, he later wrote to Pat 
Flannery that, "in connection with our efforts to revive the Fort 
Laramie project, "give me the names of two or three people now 
residing at Fort Laramie who would be willing to approach the 
owners, to learn the price they are willing to take." Pat sug- 
gested R. J. Rymill, Marshall Sandercock, W. S. Chapman, Lloyd 
Glade and M. S. Fleenor, all of Fort Laramie; O. J. Colyer and 
D. T. Shoemaker of Torrington; and George Houser of Guernsey. 
On November 19 the Governor invited Rymill to accept the chair- 
manship of the new committee and assured him that, "If we can 
secure the cooperation of all concerned, something can yet be done 
toward the restoration of Fort Laramie." On December 10 Rymill 
wrote acceptance, called a meeting of his committee, and initiated 
contact with the owners then of record: Mollie Sandercock of Fort 
Laramie, Jessica Ault represented by her attorney R. C. Cather of 
Casper, and Thomas Waters and M. S. Hartman of Omaha. 7S 

76 R. J. Rymill (1891-1976), long-time resident and businessman of Fort 
Laramie town, was in the Fort Laramie acquisition picture beginning in 
1929 when he became a member of one of the two appraisal teams in that 
initial effort. He later became the first official custodian of Fort Laramie 
after the area was acquired by the state, before its relinquishment to the 
United States. Mr. Rymill also played a prominent role in Fort Laramie 
commemorative affairs, notably in 1930, 1937, and 1949. Mattes interview 
with Anne (Rymill) Pomeroy Oct. 28, 1977. 

T7 Correspondence files, HLCW: Brooks to Richardson. Oct. 14. 1936: 
Weppner to Richardson, Oct. 16, 1936; Richardson to Weppner, Oct. 16 
and Dec. 11, 1936. 

78 L. G. Flannery file, FLNHS: Miller to Flannery, Nov. 13. 1936: Flan- 
nery to Miller, Nov. 17, 1936: Miller to Rymill. Nov. 19. 1936. 

R. J. Rymill files, FLNHS: Rymill to Miller, Dec. 10. 1936; Rvmill to 


Documentation is lacking, but there can be no doubt that Rymill 
had some guidelines from the Governor that gave him more flexi- 
bility and clout than his predecessors. The 1934 guidelines were 
for purchase of fifty-five acres for something less than $12,000. 
In 1936 the negotiators were authorized to double that figure, but 
the larger figure was to be justified, not by any increase in land 
values over 1934, but by bringing in larger tracts of land which 
would make the potential park closer to 200 acres. A map which 
shows the original 1931 plan for fifty acres and a revised boundary 
encompassing about 200 acres, found in the Rymill papers donated 
to the park, is evidently a "worksheet" for the new proposal. 79 
The data for the expanded boundary may have been supplied by 
National Park officials from Omaha who would be knowledgeable 
about what constituted a manageable historic park unit, something 
well beyond the immediate confines of the historic structures 
grouping. It is a matter of record that Omaha officials did go to 
Cheyenne to meet with the governor and a legislative committee. 
The date is not given but we must conclude that it would have 
been sometime after the governor's receipt of the Alexander tele- 
phone call of October 10 and his invitation to Rymill on November 
19. Alexander was the leader of the Omaha delegation. 80 

The governor entrusted his mission to the right man. R. J. 

Rymill would have made a great lightning rod salesman. Although 

he had to haggle in time-honored fashion with the three owners, 

the details are immaterial. On January 14, 1937 he was able to 

report to the governor that he had sewed up options as follows: 

Jessica C. Auld $4,963.75 

Mollie Sandercock 3,012.00 

Thomas Waters, 16,869.00 

24,844.75 S1 

Cather, Dec. 9; Cather to Rymill, Dec. 18; Rymill to Thomas Waters. 
Dec. 19. 

Mollie Sandercock was the widow of George, son of Harriet, "the widow 
Sandercock" who bought in at the 1890 auction. Mattes interview with 
Ada Mary Melonuk at Fort Laramie Nov. 1, 1977. 

R. C. Cather and Jessica Auld, both of whom claim Red Cloud, Nebras- 
ka, as their home town, were related to the famous novelist, Willa Cather, 
according to Dave Hieb, Fort Laramie superintendent, 1947-1958, who was 
classmate of son Tommy Auld at Doane College, Nebraska, in 1929. Mat- 
tes interview with Hieb at Estes Park, Colorado, Aug., 1977. 

7t, The Rymill correspondence was presented in two parts. The bulk of 
the significant correspondence was included in that presented to the park by 
the widow, Nancy Rymill, now of Laramie, Wyoming. The map was among 
items presented by his daughter, Mrs. Pomeroy, to Mattes, at Fort Laramie, 
Nov. 3, 1977. 

s "Merrill J. Mattes, recollection of conversation with Don Alexander, 
Omaha, 1945. 

S1 R. J. Rymill to Governor Miller, Jan. 14, 1937. 


On January 23 all members of the HLCW convened in the 
governor's office to learn of RymhTs report. The Governor then 
stated that, 

... he was waiting to hear from the Department of the Interior at 
Washington, and assured the members of the Commission that if they 
purchased Fort Laramie and then deeded it to the Government, the 
Government would do its part in rehabilitating the Old Fort. 

Mr. Richardson suggested to the Governor that if he were going to 
ask for an appropriation of the Legislature to take care of the pur- 
chase of Fort Laramie, that it would be advisable to ask for $27,500, 
which would mean $3,000 over and above the option price to take 
care of Fort Laramie until such time when the Government took it 
over, as the fencing of the property would have to be taken care of 
immediately; also, the placing of a caretaker would have to be attend- 
ed to. The Governor was in accord with the suggestion. s - 

The sequel to this meeting was entirely predictable, given the 
governor's popularity with the electorate and his influence with the 
Democratic state legislature, whose members now vied with each 
other for the honor of being identified as having saved Fort Lara- 
mie from perdition. House Bill No. 136 was introduced February 
1, 1937, by delegates from Goshen, Campbell, Converse, Crook, 
Niobrara, Platte, Washakie, and Big Horn Counties, and referred 
to the Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joseph F. Replogle 
of Fremont County. On February 6 the bill was reported formally 
to the Speaker. On February 16 it passed the Committee of the 
Whole. On final vote the House cast fifty-five ayes and one no. 
The Senate improved on this with a unanimous twenty-four ayes. 
The bill that was finally approved on February 20, 1937 reads 
in part: 

The Historical Landmark Commission is hereby authorized and em- 
powered to purchase the site of Old Fort Laramie in Goshen County. 
Wyoming at a price not to exceed the sum of $27,000. 

For the purpose of enabling the Historic Landmark Commission to 
carry out the provisions of this act and to care for the site of Old 
Fort Laramie after it has been acquired until same shall be placed 
under the control of the Federal Government or otherwise provided 
for, there is hereby appropriated from any money the State Treasurer 
not otherwise appropriates, the sum of $27,000. 

This Act shall take effect and be in force from and after its 
passage. . . S3 

Anxious to nail everything down, in March Governor Miller 
went to Washington, D.C., to confer with Director Cammerer to 
obtain a personal guarantee that "the government will establish a 
national monument ... as soon as the state deeds the land to the 

S2HLCW Minute Book II. 

^Session Laws of Wyoming (1937), 110. 459, 461, 565. 611. House 
Journal of the 24th State Legislature of Wxoming (1937). 5. 31. 160. 284, 
297, 340, 457. 


government." 84 Though there is no evidence of a co-signed agree- 
ment, evidently the director had received assurances from Harold 
Ickes, secretary of the interior, that the signature of President F. D. 
Roosevelt on a proclamation would be routine, although no such 
proclamation could be drawn up until the anticipated deeds had 
been examined and title cleared. There was one other technicality 
that was settled while the governor was at the capital. That was 
the clearance by the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic 
Sites, Buildings and Monuments that Fort Laramie was indeed "of 
national significance." The Governor was probably invited to the 
March 25 meeting of the advisory board when Fort Laramie was 
reviewed and the required clearance given. Evidently the Board 
had been fully briefed on the significance of Fort Laramie and the 
issue was never in question. 85 Satisfied on all counts, Miller re- 
turned to Cheyenne and turned the concluding formalities over to 
the Landmark Commission. 

At the March 31 meeting of the Commission in Cheyenne, in 
the office of the attorney general, a resolution was read describing 
all of the subject properties, acreages, and purchase prices based 
on secured options, and agreeing to purchase same, subject to 
customary legal technicalities. This was adopted unanimously, 
"and the Secretary and Chairman directed to present the necessary 
vouchers to the State Auditor for acceptance." The total sum pro- 
jected in the resolution was $25,594.75. At its July 31 meeting 
in Cheyenne the Commission learned from Mr. Richardson that 
the attorney general had examined and accepted all deeds. A 
resolution was passed empowering the chairman and secretary to 
convey title "to the National Park Service, representing the United 
States Government, the site of Old Fort Laramie, Goshen County, 
Wyoming," totaling 214.41 acres. 86 

Meanwhile Rymill suggested and the Commission agreed that 

sA Fort Laramie Scout, March 11 and 25, 1937, quoted in the Torrington 
Telegram, Feb. 23, 1973. 

sr, "Fort Laramie was discussed at the March 25-26, 1937 meeting of the 
Advisory Board. This particular session focussed on the preservation of 
historic and archeologic sites. Fort Laramie was listed as one of the many 
locations recommended for acceptance. . as part of the Historic Sites Sur- 
vey; however, there was no detailed discussion of Fort Laramie per se." 
Letter of May 4, 1977, from Richard C. Crawford, Natural Resources 
Branch, Civil Archives Division, National Archives, to Merrill J. Mattes. It 
appears that there was never an official NPS report on Fort Laramie as the 
basis for decision. Instead, there was a compilation of data sent by Dan 
Greenburg for the HLCW. Letter of Jan. 18, 1936, Greenburg to Mattes, 
and exchanges of December, 1936, between Mattes and Associate Histo- 
rian Hagen of the Regional Office confirm this. Scotts Bluff NM files. 

86 HLCW Minute Book II. This breaks down into 58.91 acres for Waters, 
76.80 for Auld, and 78.70 for Sandercock. The 213.69 total given in the 
Minute Book is a simple mathematical error. 



-Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department Photo 

W. H. Jackson 

the time was ripe for another gigantic celebration at Fort Laramie. 
The historic occasion made national news, but it seems appropriate 
that it be reported here by the faithful Fort Laramie Scout: 

Old Fort Laramie was re-dedicated to public use at ceremonies 
Monday July 5, with many present who had spent a part of their lives 
on the now hallowed ground when it was in its heyday generations 

Thousands of men, women and children from Wyoming and adja- 
cent states, and hundreds from other states, made up the crowd of 
more than 10,000 who came to see and to participate. 

A bright sun above, fleecy clouds floating in the sky, hardly a 
zephyr moving leaves of the giant cottonwoods under which the dedi- 
catory exercises took place, formed a fitting background for the 

The United States flag again was raised over the fort by a military 
detachment from Fort Warren after abandonment bv the government 
in 1890. 


George Houser was on hand, twenty-one years after initiating 
the crusade to save the fort. Ironically "Pat" Flannery was not 
present to share the fruits of victory, being stationed now in Wash- 
ington, D.C., but he sent a telegram as did Senator O'Mahoney, 
Representative Paul R. Greever, and Arno B. Cammerer, National 
Park Service Director. The Park Service sent no high official, 
either from Omaha or Washington, D.C., but was represented, in- 
formally at least, by Merrill J. Mattes, Scotts Bluff historian, who 
went over to photograph the proceedings and to visit with the old- 
timers drawn to the event, for this would be the last sizeable 
gathering of this dwindling band who knew Fort Laramie before 
1 890. The most distinguished member of this select group was the 
ninety-four-year old patriarch William H. Jackson, who had bull- 




■■■■■■ ..■ i_[ .-■■ ■ ■ . ;■.■.;■■.■■ ....■■.■■ .■ .. . ■ ■■■..-,■ ■ . ■ ■■■■-, ■...■.,,.■; : ■■■ ■■ .■ .■■ . ■■ 

— Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department Photo 

Governor Leslie A. Miller 



— Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department Photo 

John Hunton 

whacked his way through here in 1866. Some others are identified 
in a news story in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald: 

A pony express rider, Ed Kelley of Guernsey, delivered a pouch of 
congratulatory messages from notables, among which was one from 
Mary Jerard, granddaughter of Mary Homesley, who in 1852 was 
buried [near the fort] . . . Mary Blakeman, daughter of Dick Parr 
who was chief army scout of the period, sang a solo. 

A number of old pioneers were introduced. . Among them was 
Charles Nylen of Douglas, a bull-whacker of 1873 and twice a mem- 
ber of Gen. Crook's expeditions. . . William Powell of Douglas was 
another teamster. . of 1876. 

J. C. Argesheimer. . . of Cheyenne, was the youngest soldier at the 
fort at one time. . His father was commander of the post band. Fred 
Sullivan of Lusk. was a deputy of the county, and Capt. J. H. Cook, 
and Russell Thorpe were present, the latter's father being the owner 
of the Cheyenne-Deadwood stagecoach line. 



T.26N R.54W. 
6 P.M. 


State Purchase 1937 
National Monument 1938 

A... Auld Purchase 
S...Sandercock Purchase 
W... Waters Purchase 


As Purchased For Park Purposes By : 
Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming, 
and Originally Established as a National Monument 
by Presidential Proclamation 




Among speakers were Tom Wilson of the Colorado Fuel and 
Iron Company, John C. Thompson of the Wyoming State Tribune, 
Addison E. Sheldon of the Nebraska State Historical Society, and 
Dan Greenburg. Governor Leslie A. Miller was, fittingly, the 
principal speaker: 

The governor referred to the historical significance of Fort Laramie 
and expressed gratification that it had been acquired by the State 
after years of effort and was to be transferred to the federal govern- 
ment. . . . He forecast that doubtless it would be restored to semblance 
of its condition during its occupancy as a. . military post. 87 

July 5, 1937 was a day of patriotic fervor, with a nostalgic look 
backward at the glorious past, and high expectations for the resur- 
rection of historic Fort Laramie as a unique symbol of that past. 
It would be another year before all the technicalities could be 
ironed out and the old fort would actually become federal prop- 
erty. But the long crusade was over, and a bright new era of 
active professional preservation and restoration was dawning. 

si Fort Laramie Scout, July 8, 1937, Scottsblnff Star-Herald, July 6. 1937: 
Mattes, Scotts Bluff Historian's Report for July, 1937. files Scotts Bluff 
National Monument. Also present, assisting with the photography, was 
Scotts Bluff CCC Camp paleontologist Paul O. McGrew, who later became 
director of the Geology Museum, University of Wyoming, Laramie. His 
wife, Winnie, escorted her grandfather, the old frontiersman, James H. 
Cook, of Agate, Nebraska. 


What Is Indian Summer? 

In the early days of the United States, as soon as vegetation 
became dry enough to burn, the Indians, in retardation of settle- 
ments, began setting prairie and timber fires to burn the settlers 
out and discourage them. This period of the year, in consequence 
of the multitude of fires and hovering smoke, came to be known as 
Indian Summer. As climatic conditions were different in different 
localities, Indian Summer was not the same in all sections. 

But the period, let it be where it might, was very much dreaded 
by the settlers and great preparations were made to ward off fire 
destruction. This applied more particularly to the timbered sec- 
tions where the Indians could easily sneak up in close proximity 
to the settlements to start their fires. 

I have often heard my grandparents speak of the dread of Indian 
Summer. The great destructive timber fires of today could justly 
be said to occur during Indian Summer. 

— By G. E. Lemmon 

W.P.A. Manuscripts Collection, No. 242 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical 

"Glass-Bye Kill" 
Western Cetters 

Cetters Jrota Wyoming 



C. Northcote Parkinson 

William Wailes, the writer of these letters, was the son of a 
stockbroker of the same name who lived at Headingley, a suburb 
of Leeds. The stockbroker's elder brother had inherited the Wailes 
estate, Beacon Banks, Husthwaite, which had been in the family 
since 1525. The elder William was himself only quietly prosper- 
ous but was allied by his marriage to the more important family of 
Fairburn. The founder of the Fairburn fortunes was William Fair- 
burn, born at Kelso in Scotland in 1789. His father, Andrew, 
had been a farm steward. After he had moved to a farm near 
Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1803, he became a friend of George Ste- 
phenson, the great engineer. Encouraged by Stephenson, his son 
William set up the London engineering firm of Fairburn and Lillie. 
From manufacturing textile machinery he went on to make iron 
ships and boats and assisted Stephenson in building the Menai 
Bridge. He was made a Baronet in 1869 and died in 1874, leaving 
seven sons and two daughters. A younger brother of Sir William 
was Peter Fairburn, also born at Kelso, another engineer who came 
to Leeds in 1828 and set up the Wellington Foundry, a gigantic 
concern in his time. He was Mayor of Leeds in 1857-1858 and 
1858-1859 and was knighted after the opening of the town hall by 
Queen Victoria. Andrew Fairburn, son of Sir Peter (who married 
Margaret Kennedy of Glasgow) was born in 1828, went to Cam- 
bridge University and the Inner Temple, was Mayor of Leeds in 
1866-1868 and Member of Parliament, was knighted in 1868. 
built himself a country house at Askham Grange near York and 
was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1892. He was Chairman of 
Fairburn, Lawson, Combe, Barbour Ltd., machine makers of 
Leeds and Belfast, and was a man of considerable wealth. In 1 862 
he married, but without issue, a daughter of Sir John L. Loraine, 
Bt. In the ordinary way his estate should have gone on his death 
to the elder William Wailes, who had married his sister - but was 
actually bequeathed to the younger William, whose letters we shall 


print. The younger William was born in 1862 and educated at 
Harrow and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was a lightweight 
boxer of note, played the violin very badly and revealed his lifelong 
interest in horses. Left to his own devices, Bill (as he was always 
called) would have been commissioned in a cavalry regiment but 
his father insisted on his joining the infantry if he went into the 
army at all. Refusing to follow a military career on those terms, 
William left for U.S.A. almost immediately, encouraged by the fact 
that the Dean of the Cathedral of Denver, Colorado, was a cousin. 
As from August 3 we know of his travels from the letters he wrote 
to his mother. We should know a great deal more if his diary for 
this period had survived. He was an assiduous diarist, as we know 
from the records we have of his later life, but some of his papers 
would appear to have been destroyed or lost. 

Although quite young, Bill wore an eyeglass or monocle, which 
quickly gained for him the nickname of Glass-eye Bill. Of his 
more dramatic adventures his letters tell us nothing, perhaps be- 
cause he did not wish to alarm his mother. We hear, however, as 
a matter of oral tradition, that there were incidents in his life which 
came nearer the real or imagined world of the Wild West. One 
character set out to kill him, it is said, but he boasted too widely 
of his intention. Expecting the visit to his ranch house, Bill was 
on the roof (after dark) and jumped on top of the intruder, dis- 
arming him before he could do any mischief. On another occasion 
a friend came to him and proposed that he and Bill should elim- 
inate a newcomer to the district who was thought to be undesirable. 
Bill vetoed this plan and talked his friend out of the intended 
homicide. When a lunatic was placed under the charge of a 
sheriff's deputy, the officer handcuffed the lunatic to Bill who was 
thus made the jailer for the time it took to reach the asylum. 

After Bill's marriage there was a sad case of a neighbour ill- 
treating his wife. Bill lured the man into an argument over a 
horse while Bill's wife abducted the ill-treated woman and took her 
out of her husband's reach. If there were more lurid events than 
these, Bill said nothing about them. That he had in his time used 
firearms in self-defence is not improbable. 

He was in Colorado for much of 1883-1884, went back to 
England and then sailed again for U.S.A. in 1885. This time he 
went to Wyoming and started his own ranch at Elkhorn Creek, 
mainly it would seem for the breeding of horses. His letters end 
in October, 1887, but he continued to live on his own ranch until 
1894, at one time having Giles Strangways, a friend from his coL 
lege days, as assistant or pupil. In 1892, meanwhile, he was back 
in England and there married Katherine Lillian (always known as 
Lily) Alderson-Smith on January 14th. She was the daughter of 
Mr. J. Alderson-Smith of Wheatcroft Cliff, Scarborough, a barris- 
ter with an inherited interest in Smith's Bank of Aberdeen. The 


marriage was covered in great detail by the Lady's Pictorial of 
January 23 and the couple left soon afterwards for Wyoming. It 
was on this occasion that a deathless poem was written: 


There was a little woman 

Her name was Lily Smith 

In Scarborough was her domice, 

Upon a sunny cliff. 

She had three pretty sisters 

And soldier brothers two 

and six long haired doggies 

Which always barked at you. 

This maiden met a little man 

His name was Billy Wailes 

They met in quiet places 

In sunny flowery dailes 

And soon his love was spoken 

A ring was on her hand 

Their troth will ne'er be broken 

Though he's in Yanky Land. 

His hair is gold and curly 

And hers is brown and straight 

I hope he won't be surly (1) 

And she won't be irate. 

They will leave the dear old England 

For a very distant shore - 

And there they'll wander hand in hand 

For ever ever more. 

He'll build a wooden dwelling 

Among the prairie wild 

And there his horses selling 

He'll guard his gentle bride. 

I would that I could see Bill 

So noble fine and good 

Sitting by his loving Lill 

In their modest house of wood. 

Mabel Crossley 

Their first child, Neville, was born in 1893 and left in the care 
of the Alderson-Smiths. For Bill and Lily Wailes the alternatives 
now presented were those of bringing up their children in the wilds 
of Wyoming, allowing their children to be brought up by the 
Alderson-Smiths at Scarborough or else abandoning the ranching 
life altogether. They decided to sell up and go back to England 
and a short diary kept by Lily covers the period during which the\ 
sold their horses and set off for home. After a brief period spent 
in studying agriculture in Anglesey, Bill set up as a farmer at 
Blackwall, Kirk Ireton, in Derbyshire. A second child, Dorothy, 
was born there in 1896 and they continued to farm and hunt until 
1902. Then Sir Andrew Fairbairn died and "Glass-Eve Bill" 

(1) This hope was not entirely fulfilled. He could be very surly indeed. 


inherited his estate and fortune; Askham Grange and a large inter- 
est in the family firm. When he heard of the fortune which his 
uncle had left him he is said to have fainted in his lawyer's office. 
Under the terms of Sir Andrew's will he had to change his name to 
Wailes-Fairbairn, which he did, coming to live at Askham on June 
16th, 1902. It was there, on September 4th, that Lily gave birth 
to a third and last child, Lorna. 

The former cowboy was now a country gentleman and his activ- 
ities were, in part, those appropriate to his position in society. He 
had already been commissioned as an officer in the Yeomanry. He 
now became a Justice of the Peace. He was Joint Master of the 
York and Ainsty Hunt and came third in an Inter -Regimental 
Race in 1912. He later became Deputy Lieutenant for the West 
Riding and the City of York. In 1913 he paid licenses for keeping 
fifteen male servants; the electrician, the butler, two footmen, one 
coachman, two horsemen, three gardeners, five grooms and one 
gamekeeper. The women servants would have been at least as 
many again — all this on an income (in 1910) of £12,265. But 
while conformist up to a point, he was an unusually energetic land- 
owner, retaining something of the frontier spirit, planting and fell- 
ing his own trees. He looked and dressed like his own gardener 
or gamekeeper and was often mistaken for someone of the sort. 
On one occasion he had put dynamite to the root of a felled tree 
when a keen member of the Salvation Army came up to him and 
remarked that "The trump of doom is sounding!" To this Bill 
rejoined "I wouldn't be at all surprised!" At this point the tree 
blew up and the Salvationist ran for his life. Keen as he was on 
the life of the Yorkshire countryside, he still had the urge to travel 
and we hear of visits to Egypt, to the Sudan, to East Africa, where 
he shot a lioness, to South Africa and finally, in 1910, to Alaska. 
Lily, not without her own taste for adventure, went with him on 
many of his travels. Bill kept a diary while in Alaska but not, 
apparently, when he visited British Columbia in 1911. By the 
standards of his day a shooting trip to East Africa was pretty 
normal. A visit to Alaska was more eccentric and this was fol- 
lowed by his involvement in the planned rising of the Ulster prot- 
estants against "these swine of radicals" who then formed the lib- 
eral government of Britain. Bill's intervention in Ireland began in 
1912 or 1913 with his resignation from the Derbyshire Yeomanry. 
He and Lily supplied rifles and ammunition to the rebels and he 
assumed the command of a rebel cavalry squadron at Enniskillen. 
Before he could actually engage in a treasonable warfare against 
Britain, that country went to war with Germany in 1914. Bill was 
now commissioned as major in the South Nottinghamshire Hus- 
sars, his son Neville joined the Yorkshire Hussars and his home, 
Askham Grange, became a military hospital. Bill saw active ser- 
vice in Macedonia, from which theatre of war he was finally in- 


valided home with malaria. This was in 1919 when country life 
at Askham was resumed. He was now less prosperous, half his 
income of £24,770 going in tax and the remainder serving to main- 
tain only eight male servants. All his children married, Neville in 
1916, Dorothy in 1916 and Lorna to James Johnstone in 1925. 
He himself died in 1933 and Askham Grange, where Bill had often 
entertained royalty, has ended as an Open Prison for Female 

The story is incomplete without a brief reference to the next 
generation. William's son Neville, educated at Harrow and at 
Jesus College, Cambridge, was with his father on the visit he paid 
to British Columbia. Qualifying as an engineer, he joined the 
family firm of which he eventually became a director. He was an 
excellent linguist and travelled widely in Europe. He had two 
children, Andrew and Diana, both still living, and he died as the 
result of a hunting accident in 1939. Dorothy Wailes Fairbairn, 
now known as Marylin Wailes, has had a startling career in which 
she has been successively distinguished as a dancer, horsewoman, 
painter, musician and musicologist. She did much to introduce 
dressage into British equitation and is now well known as a painter 
and as an authority on medieval music. Her younger sister Lorna 
has been, like Marylin, one of the best horsewomen in England, 
her career reaching its high points when she rode in the Olympic 
Games in Stockholm in 1956, in Mexico (1968) and finally at 
Munich when aged seventy; in each instance riding horses trained 
bv herself. 


S. S. "Egypt" 
Aug. 3rd 1883 
My dear Mother, 

I am starting to write you a letter and then it is certain to be 
finished by the time we reach New York. 

We arrived in Queenstown at 3 p.m. on Thursday and had to 
wait about an hour and a half to take in passengers, then we start- 
ed and saw the last of Ireland about 10 p.m. on Thursday. 

So far the weather has been delightful and the sea fairly smooth. 
It was very smooth as far as Queenstown but of course when we 
have got out into the Atlantic there is a roll which has disposed of 
a few of the lady passengers and as a wind is springing up and 
getting stronger, no doubt there will be more vacancies at the din- 
ner table to-night. Luckily for me I take my meals with great 
regularity and hope to do so in spite of rough weather. 

My fellow passengers are rather a queer lot, a great many theat- 
rical people, one very pretty actress, all of them going over to 
America because they get three times the salary they do in En- 


gland. I have an actor, a reciter and an old American sleeping in 
my state room. The reciter is a weird looking young man and 
wears his hair long behind like Irving. Most of our passengers are 
Americans and very amusing to listen to. One, in explaining how 
beautiful their Indian Summer was, ended by saying "Yes, I guess 
our Indian Summer was pretty tall." My neighbour on the right 
at dinner is an oldish actor who eats everything he can, always 

remarking "I paid 75 dollars and I want to get it all 

out." He also always calls Steward in a tragic voice which makes 
everyone laugh. 

We amuse ourselves by playing "rope quoits" and "Shuffle 

The Steerage passengers are a queer lot and a lot employ most 
of their time in feeding the fish. They also do not seem to be 
very well off. One woman has a fairly good boot and stocking in 
one foot but her other foot is bare, so I suppose when the deck is 
cold she will stand on one like a stork. 

We have not been going very fast as we have a direct head wind 
which makes us pitch a little and we have only averaged about 12 
knots an hour since we left Queenstown. 

Aug. 4th I continue my epistle of yesterday. The sea got rather 
rough last night, but was smooth again this morning. 

We got up about 7.30, have a sea water bath, dress, walk on 
deck till breakfast. I am always in time for breakfast here because, 
you see, we have breakfast a little more than half an hour later 
every morning, although we always have it at 8.30. This is be- 
cause the farther west we go the later it gets. I do not know 
whether you will understand this, but I find it a capital way of 
doing things. When we get to New York we shall be having 
breakfast when you are at luncheon, so I conclude if a man keeps 
travelling west all his life, he will either live longer or get more 
meals. I don't quite understand this but I will go behind the 
wheelhouse soon and quickly think it out and let you know what 
decision I arrive at to-morrow. It is getting rougher again and 
soon the ladies will grow pale and smell their salts and the gentle- 
men will "feel sleepy" and go to their berths — of course we 
believe them. 

Mrs. Formby was kind enough to send me a present in the 
shape of an awfully nice hunter watch and chain. It was very 
kind of her. I also had a long knife given me and three tobacco 
pipes. The steerage passengers are an awful lot and a good many 
Irish among them. 

Aug. 5th. We had a shoal of porpoises swimming alongside of 

us for about half an hour. I also saw a duck on 

the water. We are exactly eleven hundred miles from a shore, I 
believe, so, if we sink, we shall have a good long swim ashore. 


We got up another shilling sweepstakes for to-day's run last night, 
but naturally I did not win again as I did yesterday. The sea is 
very calm again to-day and if it keeps so we shall be in New York 
to-day week. We get loads to eat and it is pretty good, but not 
so good as I expected as I heard great things about it. The wind 
and sea air is bringing all the skin off people's faces and making 
them look most peculiar but it does not seem to have any effect 
on mine, except to tan it a little. 

Some of the actresses are in a great state about their faces 
because unless they look pretty, they do not get such good salaries. 

Aug. 6th. Nothing much more to tell you as one day is much 
the same as another, except that we saw some Mother Carey's 
chickens yesterday and a whale was sighted this morning. It was 
foggy most part of the early morning and we had the fog timer 

which is worked by steam going all the time. The is 

not beautiful but I dare say it answers its purpose. We may be 
having a dance on deck to-night, so I expect some fun. We went 
320 miles yesterday (24 hours) and shall make almost the same 

Aug. 7th. We danced last night to the playing of an old fiddler 
who is a steerage passenger. We danced Virginias, Reels, Rackets, 
Valses, Polkas and Highland [Flings] and Lancers. The actresses 
on board danced very well. I danced with most of them. The sun 
is very hot, we are approaching the banks of New- 
foundland. . . . 

We saw some blackfish this morning; they jump about ten feet 
out of the water. They look at the thermometer every now and 
then to see if the water is cold and whether there are any Icebergs 
in the neighbourhood. 

Aug. 9th. I have no news to tell you to-day as one day is 
exactly like another. We play "Poker", "Euchre", "Nap", 
"Whist" and Chess, etc. I am sorry to say that much mild [gam- 
bling] is indulged in by the younger of the community. I look 
on and smile blandly. We have an entertainment to-morrow night 
in the aid of the orphan something in New York. If you look in 
the papers of Monday or Tuesday you will see of our arrival at 
New York in the Shipping Intelligence, as I don't expect we shall 
get in till Tuesday afternoon. We had to stop twice yesterday to 
let the engines cool which made our run about 20 miles less than 
we ought to have done. In fact, we only made 278 miles and our 
average distance is 305. 

And now I have no more news and other letters to write so 

Believe me 

Your ever affect, son 
W. Fairbairn Wailes 

P.S. Write to General Post Office, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. 


Briggs House, 
Illinois, U.S.A. 

Aug. 17th 1883 
My dear Father, 

I had no time to write more than one letter so I wrote my 


I arrived in New York on Sunday Aug. 12th about 3.30. New 
York Bay and New York Harbour are very pretty and surrounded 
with trees. 

When we got into quarantine, the doctor came aboard; also the 
Chief Custom house officer. The doctor passed us all right and 
then the Custom house officer made us swear we had nothing 
dutiable. Then we got into docks and our luggage was put on 
shore. Luckily for me I was introduced to the Chief Custom 
House Officer by a young American called Johnstone and they 
did not even pull anything out and only just opened the lid and 
shut it up. Then I took a coupe to the Broadway Hotel (old 
Anthony House) which cost me $1.50 (6/2d) but that was the 
cheapest way as I had five packages and if you send them by 
express man, they charge you 4d a package which would have 
been $2. 

One of the actors who was on board was very kind to me and 
told me he would put me up to a winkle [sic] or two if I went 
and stopped at the Broadway with him, so when I got there, I 
found he had taken the best room in the house for me at $1 a day 
which was the same he paid for a much smaller one. We then 
went and saw a few places and then had dinner for $0.80. Next 
morning he came in and told me not to let them clean my boots 
(cost 0.25) but to have them cleaned in the street for $0.5. We 
then had breakfast $0.35 and then went round to see the differ- 
ent places and also to the great "Wall" Street to get our money 
changed. I got $4.83 for every £1 that is in notes, for gold they 
offered $4.84. We then went and had lunch which is a great 
institution in New York. You go into the swell bars and order, 
say, a glass of lager beer for which you pay $0.10, you then order 
any lunch you like for "nothing" and very good it is. You need 
not even order a drink but can have a lunch and a glass of water 
for nothing . I had some soup and some stew of potatoes which 
would cost in England at least 2/- or 1/10. They say there are 
people who have "a free lunch route" and go first to one place and 
then to another till they can eat no more and then that lasts them 
till next day, when they have another. I was rather disappointed 
with New York, especially Broadway, which I expected to be a 
magnificent street but which is narrow and badly paved, although 
it is long enough. 

The Squares in New York are all lighted with electric light and 


people sit there till all hours on the seats. It seemed fearfully hot 
there at first and one could not move without perspiring. 1 do not 
know what the heat was but I think rather under than over the 
average temperature. It made me feel so weak for the first two 
days that I could hardly crawl about and had to go and lie down 
and rest, but I have got over that now. I spent a good deal of 
money in New York because I wanted to see it but I calculate a 
man could live comfortably on $2.00 a day and provide himself 
with everything but clothing. Howell, the actor, introduced me to 
everybody he thought would be useful to me and he knew nearly 
everyone. I was offered £15 a week to take a small part in a piece 
that is to be brought out but I refused it, with thanks, as there is 
too much indoor work for me. Howell introduced me to a Mr 

Fitz and he gave me a lot of his cards and if I take them 

to nearly any manager in the States and mention that I am a friend 
of his, I can get a good place free of cost. Howell saved me a 
good deal of money and in some cases insisted on paying for things 
himself. He was very angry because I gave $2.50 for 100 iron and 
quinine pills to take out west, but on trying to do it cheaper him- 
self he found I had not been swindled. 

I left New York on Tuesday 14th at 9 p.m. My ticket cost me 
$54.80. It is unlimited and I got it from Mr. Tim Brock, 317 
Broadway. We had been going an hour before there was an acci- 
dent in front of us which blocked the line and kept us nearly four 
hours waiting till the wreckage was cleared. I don't know whether 
anyone was hurt. I did not see anyone lying about. From New 

York I went to Buffalo via Albany, Syracuse and stayed 

there the night. I arrived at Buffalo at 2.30 p.m. of the 15th Aug. 
(Wed.) After I had my lunch I started for Niagara Falls. I have 
not time to give a description of them. I was driven down to the 
rapids by a man who saw Captain Webb swim there and he said 
he swam the rapids easily, but sunk in the whirl pool. The rapids 
look awful and the water is 20 feet higher in the middle than at the 
sides and the waves are very high. After I had seen the falls 1 
went back to Buffalo to bed. Don't they whistle the quarters out 
of your pocket at Niagara. On Tuesday the 16th 1 left Buffalo at 
about eight and arrived at Cleveland at 1.30. Here I stopped till 
8 p.m. I was not aware till afternoon that President Garfield's 
body was embalmed and guarded by soldiers there or 1 should have 
certainly gone to see him. I left Cleveland at 8 p.m. or rather 
before. I got in here (Chicago) at about 8 this morning. 

I take things easy and sleep just at night in the cars, which is 
not A.l. unless you have a sleeper and then a night in bed at some 
hotel, so that I stop here for the night. 

Buffalo I do not like, Cleveland is not so bad and Chicago is 


I called at the General P.O. for letters but was disappointed to 
find none there. 

I leave for Denver to-morrow morning and shall take sleeper for 
once, as I shall have two nights running out of bed. 

Now with love to all, 
Believe me, 

Your affect. Son, 

W. Fairbairn Wailes 
P.S. When any of you write, register your letters 2Vi and then 
they dare give them to no one else. 

1-1 Camp 
(Three Bar) 35 South Echley 

Colorado, U.S.A. 
My dear Mother, 

I am writing to relieve your anxiety as to my whereabouts. 
I was sent here last Thursday week at an hour's notice and did 
not know there would be so much trouble in getting letter sent. 
When you write address 

W. F. Wailes 

C/o American Cattle Co. 
First Floor, Tabor Block 

Colorado U.S.A. 
I have not got a letter from any of you since I left — but I only 
called at Chicago and Denver post offices. We are here 40 miles 
distant from any post office and 35 from any inhabited place and 
then there are only the Railway Stations and Section House at 

1 did not know till I went to bed last night that any one was 
going to Denver and may start immediately. I can write no more 
now but when I have leisure I will write some of you a long letter 
and send it when opportunity occurs. 

Ask to send me the "Field" newspaper to the address I 

gave you and if you could spare the Times or any newspaper it 
would be a boon. 

Best love to all and let Edie and everyone know my address, 

and believe me, 

Your ever affectionate son, 
W. Fairburn Wailes 

Sept. 1st 1883 c/o American Cattle Co., 

Not sent off 

till latest in 1 st Floor Tabor Block, 

all probability 

Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. 

My dear Father, 

I have some time to spare now, so shall employ it in writing to 


you. I did not come by way of Kansas City and B but 

by Chicago and Red Cloud and from Red Cloud by the new Rail- 
way (Burlington) and Migsoure River to Denver. That part of 
the journey is over the great American Desert and unfenced. Con- 
sequently a great many cattle are killed by the cars, they killed 
within the hour when I went down to Denver. 

I took my letter of introduction to Mr , but he said he 

could do nothing for me, as he had too many hands already. I 
told him as I was going away that I had done hard work before and 
could ride and he immediately told me to call again next day and 

when I called he introduced me to Mr , one of the 

overseers and he said he would send me here. 

M said "I have a horse here I want taking to the camp 

(1-1 Three bar camp). Come with me and I will help you to 
choose a saddle and bridle etc. and you can start at once." So we 
went and got a saddle and bridle etc, which cost me about $7.15 
and got the old horse from a stable and put two saddles on him 
and my blankets into the saddle, then he gave me his directions 
which are as follows "Go to the sand creek house near the B & M 
railroad, get on the right hand side of the railroad and follow it 
140 miles till you come to a wire fence. Go through the gate and 
go south for about 35 miles and you will come to the Hiocuree 
creek. Follow that up for a mile or two and you will find the 
ranch and if the horse gives out and can't go on, leave him some- 
where and meet me on Sunday at Echley and we shall have a 
wagon sent to us. Well, I got on that old horse and in about two 
days, rode him sixty miles to a place called Corona on the B & M. 
I could hardly get him out of a walk then, so I left him and went 
on to Echley and met him there. There we were met by a man 
with two horses in a wagon. They had come from the ranch (35 
miles) that morning. To my surprise they gave them each a 
bucketful of water, turned them round and started back home 
without resting them. I thought they would never reach but they 
came in about six hours, so that they had been driven 70 miles 
without a rest that day. The two nights I was riding the horse I 
slept on the prairie and did not relish the coyotes howling around 
me every now and then, but I don't think they ever harm anyone. 
We arrived here on Sunday evening last, got supper and went to 
bed (i.e. the softest plank on the floor we could find). We got 
up about 5 a.m., had a wash and breakfast and then started to lay 
in hay for winter use with one man cutting with a two horse 
machine, one raking with a horse rake, and three of us loading 
the wagon and stacking it. We put up about twenty tons of hay 
by Thursday morning, that is more than five tons a day. I was not 
used to the sun (90° in the shade) and working hard all day, and 
by Thursday morning was nearly done. As I expect it would take 
ten men in England to stack twenty tons of hay in IVi days, the 


heat I found awful and drank so much water to slake my thirst that 
by Thursday I was very ill but am all right again now (Sunday 
night). So much for my first experience of hard work under a 
blazing sun. 

The only fault I find with the country are the mosquitoes. They 
are awful and if there is one about, 100 to 1 it bites me. All my 
face was in little lumps with them a little time ago. I am glad to 
say that the first frost will kill every one of the brutes and I shall 
have peace for 4 or 5 months. 

All the "boys" went to join the round-up to-day and I and a 
man called West are left in camp and we are short of horses so 
cannot go. 

A great many cowpunchers were here to-day, as this camp is a 
sort of meeting place for them. They are picturesque enough yet 
hardly very peaceable looking as they nearly all wear long revolv- 
ers in a sort of belt behind them and a belt full of cartridges. How- 
ever, there is not much shooting done and I have never seen any- 
thing of that sort yet. There was a man shot in Denver about a 
fortnight ago in a saloon, but that is the only one I have heard of. 
I can't say that life here is all safe, you see we either sleep on the 
floor or outside on the grass or in the shade or anywhere. Then 
there are these beastly mosquitoes but except that, everything is 
right. We get lots to eat and have a "French cook." Talking of 
the cook, he has gone on the "round-up," and consequently we 
have to do everything for ourselves. The beds do not take much 
making and there are not many dishes to wash and so we have only 
to make our bread and cook our meat. 

One of the boys persuaded me to get on a "buck jumper" to-day 
but much to his surprise it could not get me off. I must own that 
it did not buck very badly and only continued for about a minute 
at a time. They call the brute "Buckskin" because they say he 
can nearly buck himself out of his skin. 

I and West are going up to another ranch soon about 15 miles 
down the Ancharee. We shall be there all alone and have nothing 
much to do. 

There are lots of Antelope round here and also wild horses but 
I have never seen the latter yet. Also in a month's time there will 
be thousands of ducks up the beck so I shall have some sport. 

The ranch consists of two rooms, a kitchen and an eating room. 
The furniture is not luxuriant and consists of a table, some roughly 
knocked up benches and a few boxes etc. 

There are no trees around the ranch. In fact, I do not suppose 
there is a tree within a hundred miles of this so the scenery is not 
beautiful, nothing but sandhills and undulating prairies for hun- 
dreds of miles. Coming to the ranch from Echley we came through 


a fenced-in pasture 20 miles by about 17 — rather a large field I 
thought it. 

I have no more news but will write Muriel an American letter 
soon to show her how I can talk regular "down East" Yankee. I 
will also write to Arty soon. 

With love to all, 
I remain, 

Your ever affectionate son, 
W. Fairbairn Wailes 

1 - 1 Camp 
Sept. Something. 
Dear Muriel, 

I have been flying around some since last I saw you, so have 
not had time till now to write you an American letter. 

I will try to write you a genuine one to show you how I am 
getting on with the language which is pretty slick I guess. 

I stopped in Denver a few days and let me tell you Sis, that city 
licks creation, it's a right down square spot and don't you forget 
it. It has a bully Cathedral church there which certainly does 
show rather white against York Minster, but for all that it shadows 
it, you bet, and if it was only as old I guess it might be as big. 

The fleas here are mighty numerous, but I fix them every night 
and guess by the fall they will break their backs with travelling 
for I turn my blankets the opposite side every night, so as they 
can't get through them, they have to go to the edge and back to get 
where I am located. They don't treat me white and I kill as many 
as I can, you bet your sweet life on that, and don't you forget it. 

It has been kinder warm here, almost as if the old fellow below 
was beating time back but I guess when Jack Frost comes, he will 
get the drop on him, it will be somewhat cooler. 

We have run out of tobacco here and have been obliged to 
smoke tea leaves and dried grass etc. but I did not seem to cotton 
to it at first and hardly do now. 

Now look you here, Sis, I have no more time to write to-night 
as I am going to bed in the blue room and have told my valet to 
call me early, but when next I have time, I will tell you things 
which will make you see stars, stretch me stiff if I don't. 

There are mosquitoes here as big as camels and when they bite 
you, you have to pick out the sting with a hay fork and put a 
mustard-plaster on the place or you go under before sundown. 

I shot a skunk the other day and picked him up and some of the 
boys wouldn't speak to me for about four days. I wonder why? 
It seems strange to me that a fellow must be disliked just because 
he picks up a skunk. 


Write to me soon and tell me the news, my address is C/o 
American Ranch Co., 

1st Floor, Tabor Block, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. 
Love to all and believe me, 

Your affect. Brother, 

W. Fairbairn Wailes 
P.S. Ask your Father to write to the Alliance bankers, to tell them 
to forward any money there deposited to their New York Agents, 
to be forwarded to Colo. National Bank, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. 

Three Bar Camp, 

October 4th 1883 
C/o American Cattle Co. 
1st Floor, Tabor Block 
Colorado, U.S.A. 
My dear Sister, 

I have just received my first mail from England and your letter 
among the others. 

All the boys are away "rounding up" beef and I am left behind 
to take care of the ranch. I have lots to eat and drink, and not 
very much to do except look after the pasture fences and keep the 
shanty clean but still I don't care much about it, it is rather dull 
now I have run out of ammunition and can't shoot. While I could 
shoot, I never felt dull, as there are such loads of wild duck about. 

I have not yet written to thank you for your presents which 
were various, but do so now. I use them nearly every day. 

I should not like to be seen in Oxford Street as I am at pres- 
ent — long boots, spurs, corduroys and a flannel shirt complete 
the costume — all very dirty, I am ashamed to say. I really don't 
know how I shall get civilised again if I stay here much longer. 
For five weeks, until the other night, I had slept on the ground 
or on the floor with only a couple of blankets, and when one of 
the boys went away and left his bed, I tried to sleep in it but could 
not manage it and have had to take to boards again; this bed is 
the only bed for miles and is looked upon as a sort of curiosity. 

I am glad to hear that my nephew and niece are flourishing, 
they are two capital children as children go, but you know I am 
not partial to them till they get about five or six years old, however, 
that is not their fault. When I come back, no doubt I shall make 
great friends with them. The air here is splendid; as a rule there 
is always a breeze something like a sea breeze, which makes the 
heat much more tolerable, but when that breeze drops on a hot 
day it is awful. 

There are no ferocious animals here except mosquitoes which 
are fierce, wolves, coyotes, a sort of fox, rattle snakes by the 
thousand and skunks. The rest are in every way harmless. The 


wolves very seldom attack a man except when they are starving; 
coyotes never do; rattlesnakes are bad, but skunks sometimes go 
mad and get into a house and whoever they bite is sure to die of it. 

Besides these there are antelope, very few buffalo, a good many 
wild horses, thousands of wild chicks, snipe, wild geese, sandhill 
cranes, herons — so you see there is lots of shooting to be had. 
A flock of wild ducks got up in front of me the other day and they 
were so thick I killed nine with one barrel but only picked up six, 
the other three got among the weeds and I lost them. 

There are a good many antelope and I expect to get a good 
many soon when I have time to hunt them. I will keep you some 
skins. The horns and head I am afraid I cannot manage to get 
you as I cannot stuff them and they would get bad before I could 
get them stuffed, but I will do my best. 

I am going to Denver in about a month's time and shall stay 
there for about a week. The Governor requests me to attend the 
Cathedral services while I am there, so I suppose I shall have to. 

If you would send me the "Field" to the address at the head of 
this letter I should be awfully obliged, you have no idea what a 
boon a newspaper is, especially an English one. 

It is near sunset so I must go and milk the cow and I will finish 
this to-night. I am not obliged to milk the cow but as I am fond 
of cream I rob the calf regularly and no doubt he thinks it very 

People here ride if they only have to go a hundred yards or so. 
I ride if I have to fetch the cow even if she is close by. This cow 
is the only tame cow for miles, the rest are all wild and you could 
no more milk them than fly. 

I have no doubt you have heard all about my journey from my 
mother and the others probably. If they did not I will tell them 
to do so in future as it is impossible for me to write to everyone. 

Edie wrote to me and sent her letter to Russel, Kansas, so prob- 
ably she will have it returned. I also received one from her to-day. 

I had rather an amusing adventure the other day. I was left up 
at another ranch 16 miles away from here all alone. While I was 
there some wild horse hunters came past. They stopped and had 
dinner and during the conversation they asked me if I had seen 
any Indians. I said no. They said well, there are some about, 
you had better keep a look out. About two hours afterwards two 
men came past in a buggy, going as hard as they could and when 
they asked me if I was all alone and I told them yes, they said 
they would not be in my shoes for a thousand dollars. They said 
the had broken out of their "Reservation" and were over- 
running the country. They also asked me to sell a gun or revolver. 

This I refused to do as I wanted them myself. Well, I was then 
by myself for four or five days. After that I was in a perpetual 
fright the whole time. Every little noise at night used to make my 


flesh creep and once a skunk came by, grunting slightly as they do, 
and I thought it was an Indian creeping up on me. If that skunk 
had shown himself he would certainly have been shot in mistake 
for an Indian. 

However, no Indians turned up and I heard afterwards that 

the had crossed the creek lower down but that they were 

under an escort of soldiers as they always are when travelling. 
You could imagine the fright I was in. If you only knew what 
Indians are when they break away from their reservations. 

They broke away only three years ago and came up this very 
creek. They killed ten men and tortured them all before doing so. 
One man they actually skinned alive. I believe those four days 
brought me down six pounds in weight. 

Ten years ago no white man dare come here, the Indians were 
so thick, and there are loads of cowpunchers who can tell you the 
Indians have chased them. One man the other day said he was 
once about two miles from camp (about 7 years ago) and he saw 
some Indians coming before him. He got about half a mile start 
of them but they had good horses and he had a bad one and they 
so nearly caught him that he said his hair seemed to stand on end. 
They fired at him a good many times but as they were galloping 
so fast they always missed him. So much for Indians. 

I am glad you have had some nice tennis parties. I think tennis 
does Fred good. He ought to hunt a little or shoot, it would do 
him no end of good and he can't excuse himself on the score of 
expense, tell him so from me. 

If he likes I can ship him a couple of bronco buck jumpers 
which will give him all the excitement and exercise he requires 
without the trouble of going to the meet, and if you have nets 
spread round to prevent serious accidents, I think it might be 
beneficial. If those won't do I can ship him what the cow punch- 
ers call a "real mean horse" but I won't be answerable for the 

I rode a colt the other day. Not a bad buck jumper, and the 
fifth buck sent me flying, but I must say in justice to myself that I 
was never fairly in the saddle and never got my stirrups. He was 
not a bad bucker, or however well I got fixed in my saddle he 
could throw me. In England I used to think I could ride moder- 
ately well, but I have come to the conclusion that I cannot ride a 
bit. To see some of these cow punchers catch a horse with a lasso 
(one that has never had a rope or anything on him before) put a 
saddle on him and ride him is a sight worth seeing. 

Horses here are never what you would call broken. They just 
catch them and ride them immediately. Consequently some of 
them are curious. 

I hope you will write to me regularly and send me good long 
letters and I will try to do ditto. Fred, I know, is too lazy, but I 


shall visit the sins of the fathers upon the children when I become 
that millionaire bachelor uncle. 

How long has this engagement between Bee and Fred Wailes 
been brewing? I never had a suspicion of it. I like Bee very 
much and I certainly don't see anything wrong in Fred. However, 
that is their business, not mine. 

Denver is a very pretty town but I must add a very wicked one. 
Our illustrious cousin (always claim people as cousins when they 
become very ) will have his work cut out. 

Theatres, Music hall, gambling dens by the dozens and every 
other wickedness you could think of, etc. Shootings regularly 

every week or so in the drinking saloons. The bandit 

"Frank James'' is on trial now. He was a train robber and also 
has killed an awful lot of men, but at the same time I hardly blame 
him for it. His story is a sad one. Before the war, or rather at 
the beginning of it, a troop of guerillas killed his father, sister and 
brother in cold blood and also shot his mother's arm off. From 
that day both he and his brother Jesse James have been tracking 
the men who did this and killing them. Do you blame them? 

I have not seen Herbert. I wrote to him from New York asking 
him to meet me in Chicago but I neither heard from him nor 
saw him. 

And now I must conclude and with best love to yourself and 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother, 
W. F. Wailes 

Three Bar Camp 
October 2nd, 1883. 
Address : C/o American Cattle Co.. 

1st Floor, Tabor Block. 
Denver, Colo. 
My dear Father, 

I have no news, but as I have some spare time 1 am going to 
explain to you as well as I can how stock raising is managed here. 
We will suppose that a man called A intends starting in the stock 

raising business and chooses a spot on the creek or 

middle fork of the Republican for his ranch. 

He first buys a quarter section, a piece of land a quarter of a 
mile square on the creek. On this piece of land which he buys 
he builds his ranch which consists of a wooden house of two 
rooms. He also builds a corral (i.e. a small piece of land about 
40 yards square enclosed by high and strong wooden fences) a 
stable and sheds. He encloses with wire fences about a square 
mile of land as a pasture for his horses, etc. Then he buys his 
stock, say 500 yearling heifers and 500 two year old steers. The 


horses he puts in his pasture adjoining his ranch. In the present 
case he will have hardly anything to do that year on account of 
the age of his cattle, because the heifers are not old enough to calf, 
and the steers are too young to sell as beef. We will therefore 
skip a year and suppose he is at work. 

In the spring he sends out his cow punchers (i.e. men who ride 
after the cattle) on the different round ups. 

A round up consists of driving all cattle off the divides to a 
spot previously decided upon. For instance, take the case of 
rounding up on the Crickaree, or any other river. 
[ Diagram in original letter not reproduced] 

Say all the cow punchers and their bosses meet at A with their 
mess wagons etc., they send the wagons etc. east as far as B where 
they intend to round up the cattle, then they send out their boys 
in a half circle on each side of the creek up on the divides and 
they drive all cattle in they can find to B. From B they round up 
to C and so on. Of course cattle are often missed over because 
there is such an extent of country but if they are missed in one 
round up probably they are found in the next. When the cow 
punchers have driven in all the cattle they can find they proceed to 
"cut out" what cattle is wanted. If they are only rounding up to 
brand calves they only "cut-out" or "drive out" of the big bunch 
into a smaller one all cows with unbranded calves. This bunch 
of cows and calves are driven into a corral and there a fire is 
lighted and the calves are branded with the brand of their mother's 
owner and they are then turned loose again on the prairie. If they 
are rounding up for beef, they drive out 3 year old and 4 year old 
steers or bullocks. These are sent to whatever place the cattle are 
shipped from and their destination is generally Chicago. 

The first year A begins to work he hires cow punchers at from 
$30 to 45 per month. These he sends to the different creeks to 
look after his stock which is rounded up there. These cow punch- 
ers go to the place appointed by the different stock owners and 
then the round up commences and goes on as I have already ex- 
plained. A's cowboys see that all A's calves are branded and 
collect his steers if beef is wanted. 

There will be rounds up on all the creeks about the same time 
as cowboys are sent all over. Here on this ranch where there are 
so many cattle, they send boys even as far as the Smoky Hill River 
in Kansas and to the north and south forks of the Platte River and 
to the Republican, also the north and south forks of the Repub- 
lican and even to the Arkansas River. Very likely a cow puncher 
is away from his ranch from March till October. They go out in 
the spring, very fat both themselves and horses and by the fall 
when they come back the horses are bony and the men hard. 
There is little wonder the horses get thin considering sometimes 
they are ridden 60 miles without a rest in one day. Each cow- 


puncher is provided with from 7 to 1 2 horses and these are driven 
in a band with the mess wagons from one spot to another. About 
the end of August A will cut hay to feed his horses and bulls on 
during the winter. Of course the amount depends on the number 
of horses and bulls, the steers and cows and calves run out all the 
winter without feeding; the stock that is generally lost by reason 
of the cold generally had cows, the rest generally do well. 

The horses and bulls are kept in the pasture and fed on hay if 
necessary all through the winter. 

I have now explained as well as I can how the business is 
carried on. 

The number of horses and stock A has is merely given as an 

In my opinion stock raising is one of the most paying things 
going in the present day and also one of the surest. 

All the people out here put their money in cattle who can. This 
company i.e. American Cattle Co. is buying up all the ranches they 
can, that is, they buy a man's ranch, quarter section and his cattle. 

They will soon own most of this creek, for the possession of 
water is everything. They own on the Ancharee this ranch (1-1 
camp) the meadows 16 miles west, Duck springs 12 miles beyond 
that the next ranch east is Sheild's which will probably soon be- 
come theirs; the ranch east beyond Sheild's is Heglers, for which 
they are now bargaining. 

This ranch was only started this spring, the meadows I helped to 
build myself. Duck springs is not yet properly started, besides 
this they have claim shanties on the various pools and waterings 
on the creeks, these are merely log huts just to show the spot is 

The great objection to stock raising is that a man must have a 
good round sum to start with from $20,000 to $30,000, so I guess 
I shall have to try and start a company and put what I can raise 
myself into it. 

You see you cannot go much further west than this to do any 
good, as you would get the other side of the Rocky mountains. 

As soon as I thoroughly understand the business I am going to 
look round and see if I cannot find a spot where a small sum of 
money will do. I shall go through Wyoming and Montana. 

Talking of Montana, the cow punchers here consider it a better 
country than this for stock raising. One great reason why a man 
can't start with a small sum here is that if he only has 500 head it 
will not pay him to keep perhaps five or six cow punchers. If he 
has no cow punchers or not enough he would never find his cattle 
on the different round up. The only way for a man of small 
capital would be to fence in about 20 square miles of prairie and 
put his cattle in there and dispense with cowboys, but there is the 
cost of fencing and, besides that, there is a rumor that all fences 


on government land are to be pulled down and that next year the 
law will come out. If it does a man will have to buy land before 
he could fence it in. There is a pasture between here and Echley 
the railroad station on the B & M road which is between 17 and 
20 miles square. We go through it to get to the station. It is 
rather amusing how people lose themselves as far as time goes 
here. I heard the following conversation between a cowboy and a 
bone picker the other day. Cowboy to bone picker: 

Say boss, do you know what time is it. 

Bone picker: Well, I can't say exactly as I have no watch, but 
(looking at the sun) I guess it's half off three. 

Cowboy: What's to-day? 

Bone picker: I think it's Thursday. 

Cowboy: Do you know the day of the month. I believe it's 
the 29th. 

Bone picker: Well, I can't say unless I reckon it up, but I guess 
it's the end of September or somewhere in the beginning of 

You see, you lose count of days and if you offered me $5,000 
dollars down I could not tell you whether it is Monday, Tuesday, 
Wednesday or Thursday, but I know it's one of those. 

I have not yet had a letter from any of you, I can't quite 
understand it. 

I inquired at the General Post Office before I left Denver but 
there were none there then. And so far none have come to 1st 
Floor, Tabor Block etc, at least they had not about a fortnight 
ago. I have forgotten the address of the Alliance Bank, I wish you 
would ask them to forward any money deposited there for me to 
their New York agents and ask them to advise the Colorado Na- 
tional Bank in Denver of the amount. I owe you $42 or £10 
which you lent me before I left England. If you will tell me that 
a cheque for $42 on the Colorado National will do I will send one, 
but I don't know how they will manage cashing dollars at an 
English bankers, or whether they will give you £10 for a cheque 
for $42. Here, or rather I should say in New York they give you 
$4.80 to $4.83 according to the rate of exchange at the time. 

I owe McKemmie, tailors, Edinburgh, for the suit of clothes I 
had to get to take my degree in. Shall I pay him or will you pay 
him for me and I will pay you. 

I am left alone here to take care of the ranch while the other 
boys are rounding up for beef. We are short of horses and I shall 
have nothing to do till next spring. However, I lived here for 
nothing till I did some work for them, they will most probably pay 
me a trifle for what I have done at haymaking and post hole dig- 
ging. However, although I am alone I can amuse myself by 
shooting. There are loads of ducks and when anyone is here to 
look after the ranch I can hunt antelope of which there are a good 


many. I have only to ride around the pasture fence every day or 
two to see that it is not broken down and that is all I have to do. 
One of the boys called Jim Gray got his leg broken the other day 
while rounding up cattle. His horse put his foot in a hole and 
fell on him. I hear he wont be well for six weeks. Jim is a 
character. Last winter he got lost in the snow with two of his 
horses and when he was found he had both his feet frozen and 
half of them had to be amputated so that now he only has two 
stumps. When they found him, he had had nothing to eat for two 
days and all they had to give him was three biscuits, one he ate 
himself and one he gave to each of his horses, so you can imagine 
the sort of man he is. 

I am going to Denver for about a week in a month's time and 
shall call on the Dean. Tell Arty to write to me and send me 
his Leeds address as I expect he has changed his lodgings. I 
dislike being alone for one reason and that is I have to cook, 
clean my own dishes and sweep this place out. I am a pretty fair 
cook now and can make tip top biscuits or bread. 

The round up here the day before yesterday and we had a 
dance. The dances consisted of breakdowns, jigs, waltzes polkas 
and stag dances. It should have just suited Mama to have seen 
those cow punchers dance. When they danced quadrilles, the 
question which was generally asked was which of you boys are 
girls? Then take your hats off. To see them dancing in long 
boots and spurs with big rowels and wide brimmed hats would 
make people "over there" stare. 

They were collecting beef for the next shipment in about a 
fortnight's time so a big bunch of steers had to be herded all night, 
each man is "on guard" for two hours and his duty is to ride 
round the cattle and prevent them breaking away. Three or four 
are generally on guard at the same time. Sometimes the cattle 
are restless and keep trying to break away and then it is hard 
work for those "on guard." The night in question the cattle were 
scared and I heard the boys galloping and shouting all night. I 
was on guard the other morning from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and am 
ashamed to say I went to sleep in my saddle, but the horse I was 
riding was an old stager and kept going round the bunch and if 
they had broken he would have tried to stop them and his gallop- 
ing would have roused me up. 

If you have any particular news write your letter so that it will 
reach Denver about the first week in November and then I shall 
most probably find it in Denver. 

No more news so must conclude — Best love to Mum and all 
the rest and Believe me. 

Your affect, son. 

W. Fairbairn Wailes 


c/o American Cattle Co. 
1st Floor, Tabor Block, 
Denver, Colorado. 
Sept. 25/83 U.S.A. 
My dear Edie, 

I have not heard from any of you yet so suppose you have not 
written to the right address. 

When you get this, write to the above address as soon as you can 
and let me know all that is going on. 

I am at a Ranch on the Arickaree Creek, 30 miles south of 
Eckley on the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad and about 
140 miles from Denver. As the crow flies, the nearest inhabited 
house is 16 miles off and the nearest town I should think is Kit 
Carson 80 or 90 miles off. 

We send to Denver for all our provisions etc. because we can 
reach the B & M Railroad which is 30 miles across the prairie, so 
you see the country is not thickly populated. 

I am left here all alone to look after the ranch while the others 
have gone on the "round up", to ship beef to Chicago. I do not 
much like it but they always give a newcomer the unpleasant work; 
I have nothing to do but look after the fences of the pasture and 
look after the house like some old woman. I was thrown from a 
horse this morning for the first time since I came here. Certainly 
he had not been what in England they call "broken". All the 
breaking he ever had was a week ago when our "broncho buster" 
or "rough rider" caught him and put a saddle on his back and rode 
him for a little. Since then he has been running wild in the pasture 
(a portion of prairie about three miles round fenced in). Well, we 
drove all the horses into the corral this morning, lassoed this one 
and pulled him out, then I put my saddle on him and got on. The 
effect was rather like an electric shock. I was not properly in the 
saddle before we were in the air, and as soon as we came down 
again we went up again. I never managed to get me into the 
stirrups or I think I could have stayed there longer than I did. 
The fourth buck sent me into the horse's neck and the fifth sent 
me flying. He then amused himself by trying to buck the saddle 
off but we caught him before he managed it. 

People in England cannot conceive what a "buck jumper" is but 
when I tell you that they jump so high and come down so hard 
that a man has been known to have been a dead man before he 
left the saddle, you will have a slight notion. Men have been 
known to ride a buck jumper till the shock injured them internally 
and killed them as they sat in the saddle and it is not uncommon 
to see a man bleeding from the nose and ears after he has ridden 

Altogether I like the life very well although at first I found it 
rather rough I now have made my "downy couch" either on the 


ground or on the floor for five weeks, a couple of blankets and the 
soft side of a plank make an excellent bed when you get used to 
it. The only thing I really hate is washing up dishes and that sort 
of work. The ranch consists of two rooms, a kitchen and a room 
where we eat. 

We had a French cook, or rather a cook who was a Frenchman 
when first I came here but he has left us and we have a man now 
who cannot cook a bit. When he is away we have to cook for 
ourselves. My first attempt at making bread was not a success 
for I forgot to put any lard into it and it came out like a board 
and the boys turned up their noses at it and threw it away, but 
since then I have greatly improved and believe I could beat half 
the English cooks at making bread provided I was allowed to use 
Dr. Price's cream baking powder. We have venison in the shape 
of antelope when anyone shoots one and that is splendid. Also 
wild ducks in thousands about a month from now, so you see we 
feed pretty well. 

There are no dangerous animals here except rattlesnakes, of 
which there are thousands, and some other snakes and wolves 
which very rarely will attack a man except when starving in the 
winter and seldom then. Besides, there are a good many sorts of 
birds and buffalo which are very scarce. Also coyotes, a sort of 
wolf. They make a horrible howling at night sometimes, especially 
if there has been any beef killed and hung up. 

Denver is a nice clean little city and in a few years will be a 
charming place. A good many of the streets have trees at each 
side, but those are not grown yet. It is not at all like an English 
town, for nobody seems to be in a hurry in the streets. 

There is a splendid opera house in Denver, also lots of gambling 
saloons where they play every gambling game you can possibly 

How did you get on after you left the ship on Aug. 1st? Had 
you to stay in Liverpool all night or not? I have not written to 
Leila yet but shall do so shortly. 

My fellow cow punchers are a very decent lot of fellows. They 
are rather rough of course but not so rough as you would expect. 
When they go to a town they throw off the cow puncher and act 
the gentleman. 

I am going up to Denver in about a month's time, probably for 
about a week, I shall then come out here and stay till next spring. 

I don't know any news to tell you so much conclude. 

I expect you are at Biarritz but shall send this to Askhani in 
case you are there. 

Do write me a long letter and tell me all the news, as it is much 
more interesting when one is out here than when a person is at 
home and within an hour or two of his friends. 


I wonder how old Dash is getting on. I have not heard but I 
will tell you when I do hear. 

With very best love to yourself and Aunt Clara, 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother, 
W. F. Wailes 

October 4th 1883 1-1 Camp 

P.S. I have just received my first mail from England and among 
the letters one from yourself. Your other letter addressed to 
"Bussel" Texas will never reach me because Bussel is in Kansas, 
not Texas. Probably you will get it back. I am glad you have 
enjoyed yourself at St Andrews. I told you Johnnie Fairbairn was 
a good sort of fellow but you did not seem to think it. 

I don't know whether you will be able to read this by the time 
it reaches you as most of the pencil seems coming out but there is 
not a good pen in the place. 

This is the first really wet day I have seen since Aug. 1st when 
I left England. When I first came here I used to gasp it was so 
hot and the sun took all the skin off my arms and face, but it is 
much cooler now and to-day it is rather cold. 

The cattle were "rounded up" here the other day and that night 
we had a dance in the Shanty. It would make you laugh to see 
all the cow punchers waltzing together in long boots, big spurs, 
revolvers etc. to the music of an old fiddle. You see, ladies or we 
will say women are scarce here. The nearest I know of is seventy 
five miles off. However, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves 
without the girls (take that) so it did not much matter. 

I hear Beatrice Wailes is going to enter the bonds of matrimony. 
I am going to congratulate her by post this afternoon. I have no 
news but you might like to know exactly where I am, so I will 
try to draw you a map. 
[Map in original letter not reproduced] 

I have put an X where our camp is. The creek it is on will not 
be marked in any map but it is the Arickaree or middle fork of 
the Republican river. There is no timber here not a tree to be 
seen. The nearest tree is 23 miles east of here. It looks very 
desolate and in fact this is what is called "the great American 
desert" and I think the name is very appropriate. The boys ran 
some buffalo the other day, but they only had their six shooters 
with them, so could not kill them from any distance. The horses 
were afraid of them and would not "run" up to them but one of the 
boys put three bullets into one of them while riding at full gallop 
seventy yards from them, pretty good shooting, don't you think 
so? They can shoot awfully straight with six shooters, they can 
kill a hawk or goose on the wing sometimes but of course with 
no certainty. 


Tothie will be with you I expect when you get this, remember 
me to her and tell her that I was glad to hear she enjoyed the first 
ball so much. 

With best love, 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother. 
W. F. Wailes 

A postcard from the Dean of Denver (Mr Hart) 

November 30th, 1883 
Scene : Street, Denver, Colo. 

Time : November 10th Day -like - Cloudless sky. 

Dean : Hallow! Mr Standard — have you been to the ranch 

Mr S : "Yes! Dean, I was there last week.'' 
Dean : "How is that cousin's son of mine?" 
Mr S : "Fine! — he's a Rustler — that young man is — 

"He dug 600 post holes all by himself — and when 

"I was there he killed his first Antelope 

"and he was 'feeling good' — I can tell you that 

"young man will do!" — 

The Meadows Ranch, 
35 MS 

Nov. 25th 1883 
My dear Mother, 

I have had so much to do for the last month that I have not had 
time to write to anyone. The company have been building a new 
Ranch here so that we have been working from morning till night 
and had time for nothing else. We have partly built the house, 
also we have built stables, sheds, and a small pasture twelve miles 
round and various other things, so you see we have had lots to do 
and plenty to be done. I have not had my horses given to me yet 
but expect to get them shortly as a lot of new horses will be 
bought, most probably from Texas, in which case I shall provide 
myself with a sandbank, a coffin, and someone to dig my grave as 
Texas horses are the most vicious brutes living and a man ought 
to be prepared before he get upon one of them. 

I have been riding the horses belonging to a man who got his 
leg broken six weeks ago or I should have been without horses 
at all. 

We have given up sleeping out of doors now but continued it 
for some time after the frosts set in, so now we all have to sleep 
in the shanty on the floor. I am going to Denver shortly and will 
write and tell you how I like the city people. Of course 1 shall 
call upon the Dean and go to his Cathedral on Sunday. 

I have received lots of papers from you but only one letter. 


I had much rather have no papers and a few letters from you 

I don't know where to write to as you may have left Harrogate 
so shall send this to 28 Albion St., Leeds. 

Tell Arty that he ought to write to me. I have no time to write 
to him first as I have so many members of the family to corre- 
spond with. 

Do you know that I have only seen two women since the 26th 
August and only one of those to speak to and she was not a very 
refined looking lady as her mansion consisted of a covered buggy 
and her only possessions are frying pan and tin kettle, moreover, 
she was very dirty to look at, in fact not at all a pleasant personage. 
No time for more now but will write again when I get to Denver. 
With love to yourself and all the others, 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

c/o American Cattle Co., 

Nebraska, U.S.A. 
December 5th 1883 
My dear Father, 

I received a whole batch of mail the other day, two of your 
letters, two of Mama's, two of Edie's and one of Leila's. 

Before I heard from you asking me some particulars about the 
business of stock raising, I had already written to you telling you 
how it was managed etc., but will now answer the questions you 
ask in your letters. 

As to the value of this ranch or rather the ( 1-1 ) three bar ranch, 
that is rather a hard question to answer because the company 
owns so many ranches so to speak in one. 

The original Three bar ranch separated from others owns about 
4.700 head, and as cattle bought like that cost $30 a head for 
cows and $10 a head for calves, the value of stock would be about 
4,000 x 30 x 700 x 10 = $127,000, then horses, say 70 at an 
average of $45 = $3,150, then the value of the range say $3,000; 
value of fencing 400 (4 miles of it) value of ploughs, waggons, 
implements $500. 








Roughly speaking, say, £27,000, that is a great price you will 
say, so it is. 

The value of steers, fat for market (4 years old) is $42 for 
native 25 Colorado cattle $34 to $36 for Texas cattle, shipment 
to Chicago costs $125 (1 think) a car which contains 20 head, 
they sell them in batches just according to what are fit for market, 
perhaps 400, perhaps 700. How many 1 - 1 steers were shipped 
this year I can't tell you. 

A word about the Peane Cattle Company in case any of your 
clients have shares therein. They shipped this year everything 
that could be called a steer, thereby making the dividend higher 
than it ought to be and consequently next year the dividend is 
bound to be low. That is when swindling, if there is any, comes 
in. Everything that will do to be shipped, say by yearlings, two or 
three years old steers instead of four years old are shipped. Con- 
sequently a larger dividend, the following year very few were 
shipped, small dividends. The result: holders get frightened and 
sell out and other people who are interested can buy in. You 
need not say who told you anything about the "Peane Cattle Co." 
in particular as in this country it is just possible that someone 
might "get on my track". 

The value of a ranch as quoted opposite seems large but a man 
can start a ranch for a much smaller sum. 

Say he prospects for a range and finds one which is compara- 
tively easy more north, he takes up a claim for 160 acres some- 
where on water; for this he only pays $1.50 an acre 2.3 $240 for 
the claim that is all he need spend on land. He then must have a 
small pasture, say 4 miles round. That will cost him $400. House 
$180. Implements $200. 20 horses (Texas) at $25 = £500 and 
then if he chooses he can buy yearling rawhide (Texas) heifers 

!,000 and 20 bulls at 

for $16 a head. 

Say he buys 500 head 

1 = $8,0 

$50 = $1,000. 









20 horses 


500 Texas heifers 


20 good bulls 



Say he could do it for $10,500 

If I had been here three years ago 1 could have bought any of 
these ranges for $240. A man called Shields who has a ranch 30 
miles east on the creek started on it four years ago with nodiing 
and in debt. Now he has about 500 head of cattle and is out of 


debt. That was because this country was overrun with Indians 
seven years ago and no white man dare live here, and four years 
ago Shields came as the first settler. His wife died last week, so 
he will most likely sell his whole concern and will get about 
$17,000 for it I expect. Now all the country nearly is filled up 
and there is no range left. Consequently a man has to buy the 
claim, cattle, horses and range instead of appropriating it as first 

This country is very new yet and it seems strange to think that 
only three years ago the Utes (Indians) came up this creek and 
slaughtered every man they found in all seven. This year too we 
have had a band of Indians crossed the creek going north, but 
nobody that I heard of was molested, though assuredly if they 
found any man alone they would shoot him. 

I was all alone up here when they crossed some miles below. 
If they had crossed up here they would certainly have scalped me. 
Luckily they didn't. One old hunter came upon them but ran for 
it and escaped. 

I was rather amused at two men who came past in a light buggy. 
They were nearly dead with fright and offered me fabulous prices 
for a revolver or gun which, of course, I refused to sell. As they 
left, one of them looked at me very sadly and said "I hate like 
hell to leave you," as if he had seen the last of me on this earth. 
I do not want you to suppose from this that there is any danger in 
living here. On the contrary, the country is very peacable and it 
is only when Indians 'break' away from their 'Reservations' and 
go about loose by themselves as these had, that they are dangerous 
and even then they would avoid two or three armed men. It is 
only if they found a man alone that they are likely to molest him. 
I also expect that Indians will never again come up the creek 
unless guarded by soldiers which is the usual manner of moving 

There is one thing I have forgotten to tell you, and that is that 
a man can't buy yearlings and nothing else from any place near 
his range. If he buys stock from someone near him, he must buy 
the whole "brand" for if, for instance, A bought a yearling branded 
1-1 from us, any of our boys would take that yearling from him 
and claim it as belonging to the 1-1 brand. Therefore, if a man 
wants to buy yearlings he must go a long way off, say Texas, buy 
yearlings or calves, put his own brand on them and drive them off 
say, 500 or 600 miles. 

If one man A owned cattle on this creek and branded his stock 
X and another man B on the same creek branded his O, & A 
came along and found a "mavrick" or "unbranded" calf belonging 
to an O cow and branded it X, that calf would stay with its mother 
branded O while it was branded X and during the "round up" 
they would find this and would say "Hullo, what's this, an O 


cow's calf branded X." And as the calf belongs to the owner of 
the cow the owners of the O brand would take the calf branded X 
whether the owner of the X brand had obtained it lawfully or not. 
This is another reason why a man must buy the whole brand or 

Our manager, Lee West, is generally on the ranch and super- 
intends during the round up, and also at other times, and works 
at the same time himself. He has gone off to Mr Cook to claim 
one of his own horses which had strayed, and the man who found 
it won't give it up. I noticed he put his six shooters on before 
he started, so I suppose he is going to argue the point. He is a 
very good sort of fellow to work under and an uncommonly good 
manager. As to cow punchers, they are very different people from 
what I expect you to imagine them to be. They are mostly young 
fellows of about 20 or 25. They are generally pretty well dressed 
except at the end of the year when their clothes are worn out. 
They wear long boots, sometimes "shapareros", high spurs, a 
flannel shirt, sometimes bright red, an ordinary coat in Winter 

and a broad trimmed hat also but not least they 

"pack a pistol" a long barrelled six shooter carried in a sheath, 
fixed to a cartridge belt. The rest of their outfit consists of a 
saddle quirt and head gear to their horse, and a bed of three or 
four blankets and a waggon sheet. They talk very like an English- 
man fairly well educated never missing out their h's but using 
some very queer expressions and I am sorry to say swearing more 
than necessary. They also chew tobacco and drink whiskey when 
they can get it and gamble at "poker". That is a cow puncher 

The winter here is pretty severe but a man does not feel the cold 
so much. Last winter the thermometer reached 40 below zero. 

I am glad to see by your letters that you have had some sport 
on the Tweed. I have killed lots of ducks, a prairie grouse, jack 
rabbits and an antelope. I have some feathers from a duck I shot 
two days ago which I think would make into a good fly, so will 
send them to you in case you might like to try them. I have writ- 
ten till I am tired so must conclude and go to bed. 

Love to all and Believe me. 
Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

The American Cattle Co. The Meadows. 

Haigler, Nebraska, December 9th 1883 


My dear Edie, 

I hear that you have not had a letter from me yet and still 1 
have written to you twice if not three times. 1 think I have re- 
ceived all your letters except the one sent to Bussell, but as I have 


not been to Bussell yet I have not had an opportunity of getting it. 
1 hope there were no State secrets in it or any correspondence of a 
treasonable nature as the post office clerks may open it and read 
it if it is not claimed shortly. You seem to have been having "a 
good time" during the Leeds Festival, the music must have been 

I expect Bertie Lennard will by this time have come home for 
the Xmas vacation. Selwyn College had not been built when I 
left Cambridge, or rather it was not finished. I am afraid there 
is no one there now to whom I could write to and tell them to call 
on him except one individual and I am afraid he would not assist 
Bertie in his studies or anything else. 

You would enjoy going over to Goldsbro' again. I should like 
to have been with you. We had lots of fun there when we were 
young. Upon my word, I feel quite fifty and often wonder if I 

shall grow much older. 

By the way, I don't know whether I told you in my last that 1 
am engaged to an Apache squaw, a descendant of the famous 
"Sitting Bull". I can't say that she is pretty but she is a good girl 
and that is the point I consider most. I take her away from her 
father's wigwam early in the spring. I will send you a piece of 
the wedding cake. I know you will like her if you can only put 
up with her craving for raw meat, tallow and other food of that 
sort. I get 800 acres of land with her and shall get 600 more for 
each of my "papooses" and also don't pay taxes, so you can't say 
that I have made a bad match. 

The weather here has been lovely till two days ago when we 
had storm but it has already cleared up. It is frosty and cold but 
the sun always shines. The thermometer goes as low as 40° 
below zero sometimes but it has only once been down to zero 
this fall. 

I have shot lots of ducks and an antelope but have not been 
successful with the antelopes since and never found out the reason 
till yesterday when I discovered that the sights of the rifle had got 
damaged by being let fall or something of that sort and conse- 
quently won't hit its mark if it is held straight but I can easily 
have it repaired in Denver. I am going to Denver for a week or 
so on the 18th instant in hopes of seeing Herbert Wailes who is 
on his way through to Frisco. I always thought Emmie Lascelles 
had been married more than a year ago but you speak of her in 
your letter as "Miss". I am afraid I have no interesting news to 
tell you as one day here is much the same as another. We have 
not much riding to do now as the season for collecting cattle is 
over, but to-day I have been in the saddle from 7 a.m. till 3 p.m. 
and from 4 o'clock till 5, but that is not considered much in the 
summer when a man is riding 16 hours out of the 24. If there is 
still a railway war going on, I am going down to Pueblo, to see 


the place. There are a lot of peaceable Indians round there and 
I am going to try and buy some buffalo robes and Indian earthen- 
ware. There are very few buffalo round here, the "boys" have 
only lassoed two and shot two the whole summer. 

I hope you and Tottie will both enjoy yourselves at Biarritz 
this winter. Give that young lady my love and tell her that I am 
exceedingly happy and therefore by her own showing, exceedingly 
good. My behaviour will bear the strictest investigation. 

I will write to you when I am in Denver or when I return 
and if I am received into polite society, I will tell you what I 
think of the Tony people. As yet I have only mixed with the 

" " and find them very different from the same 

class at home. 

Denver, Colo. 
Dec. 26th 1883 
My dearest Mother, 

I am writing too late, to wish you all a merry Xmas but hope 
you have had one. 

I am sending you some photos to be divided amongst the whole 
family, Leila and Edie included and also a $1 bill to be divided 
between Mabel and Hilda. 

I have been staying with the Dean since Xmas eve and we had 
a grand Xmas service in the Cathedral. Karl, the great tenor 
singer sang the solo in the Anthem. 

Denver is a very dull place unless you know lots of people. 

I went with the Harts to a sort of Xmas party on Christmas 
night and we had a little dancing. There were one or two pretty 
American girls there. 

I go out into the ranch again the day after tomorrow and shall 
probably not be in a town again till the beginning of next Sep- 
tember. You can see from the style of this letter that I have no 
news of any sort. 

We have had the great fighter John Sullivan here. He was going 
to spar in a friendly way at the Exposition buildings, and I should 
have liked to have seen him, but I thought as I was a guest of the 
Dean of Denver, it would look rather queer, so gave up the idea. 

Give my love to everyone and wish them all a happy new year 
and with the same wish to yourself and 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. Fairburn Wailes 

Denver, Colo. 

Dec. 23. 1883 
My dear Sybil, 

Thank you very much for your letter which amused me very 
much. I have unfortunately lost it, so can't answer it. 


I came up to Denver on Thursday from a place called Haigler 
in Nebraska. I had a sixty-five miles ride to get to the Station 
and then 140 miles by rail. I am glad you told me it was your 
birthday as otherwise I should have forgotten it. I can't get you a 
present here, so send you a piece of paper instead which no doubt 
Papa will cash for you and then you can get a present for yourself. 

Dean Hart has asked me to spend Christmas with them, so I 
move my camp there tomorrow — Last Thursday I slept in a bed 
for the first time for nearly five months and found it so uncom- 
fortable that I had serious thoughts of pulling the clothes off the 
bed and sleeping on the floor, but towards morning I managed to 
get to sleep. 

Mrs. Hart is very anxious that I should go to two dances here 
but as I have no intention of spending $60 on a suit of war paint, 
I shall have to make some excuse. 

This place is almost as civilized as London and you can get 
luxuries cheaper. When you go into a restaurant to get your din- 
ner, they ask you if you will have "Buffalo steak", "Hashed ven- 
ison" or "Saddle of Antelope". People drive about in sleighs and 
have bells on them, the town is lighted in some parts by "electric 
light" so it looks very pretty at night. 

Tell Mabel to write to me when she has time and write me a 
letter sometime yourself. Now goodbye and don't eat too much 
plum pudding or you will be ill tomorrow and believe me, 

Your affectionate Brother, 

W. Fairburn Wailes 
P.S. Wish everybody a merry Christmas for me. 

Jan. 6th '84 The Meadows, 

30 M.S. Otus, Colo. 
Address : C/o American Cattle Co., 
Nebraska, U.S.A. 
My dear Edie, 

I am writing, though rather too late to wish you a merry Xmas 
and Happy New Year. I wonder what sort of weather you are 
having at Biarritz. Here, it is what you might call "chilly". Our 
meat freezes so hard that we have to cut it with an axe. Although 
we keep it in the house with us and the other night one of the 
"boys" had a bottle of medicine which he put in his blankets to 
keep it from freezing and in the morning it was frozen hard, for- 
tunately for me I can stand lots of cold and don't seem to feel it 
as much as the others do. Also the cold is a different sort to 
what we have in England and does not seem to get to a person's 
bones in the same way. I have been paying a visit to Denver and 
have been there about nine days. I stayed with Dean Hart most 
of the time and on the whole spent a pleasant Xmas. I had a ride 
of nearly seventy miles to get to the railway station, but as it was 


snowing hard I took two days about it and did things easily. I 
am afraid I was hardly a presentable object when I boarded the 
cars at Haigler. I had not had my hair cut for about fourteen 
weeks and had not been shaved for three, my clothes were rather 
the worse for wear and altogether I was not fit to walk down 
"'Bond Street". I noticed all the passengers stared at me as if 1 
was a wild animal. However, when I got to Denver I soon put 
on the "war paint" of civilization and felt glad to do it too. 

Denver is quite a fine city and in some parts looks rather like 
London. The streets are lighted in some places by electric light. 
There are tramways all over and fine shops, but one thing one 
misses are fine horses and carriages. You never see a London 
looking carriage and pair and very seldom a spirited looking horse. 
Most of the swell carriages have nigger coachmen who look and 
think themselves finer than anybody else. 

Another queer thing is that you never meet what you could call 
a "gentleman" and very seldom a "lady". For my part 1 would 
much rather associate with "cow punchers" than most of the so 
called gentlemen. The former are much the most genteel of the 
two. I went to a sort of dance on Xmas eve and enjoyed myself 
pretty well. There were some American girls there who "guessed" 
and "reckoned" a great deal. One of them was rather pretty. I 
expect you are enjoying yourself at Biarritz, at least I hope so. 
Write and tell me all your doings. 

Sybil, Mabel and Hilda all wrote me letters a short time ago, 
they are most amusing, especially Hilda's. 

How did you enjoy yourself at Leila's? Had you lots of fun 
or did you amuse yourselves by looking over the various domestic 
animals. I expect you will be having lots of dancing and tennis 
at Biarritz but suppose you play tennis indoors as it will be too 
cold for outdoor games. I sent you a photograph of American 
scenery as a Xmas present. I could not get anything like the 
country I am in now as there is nothing to photograph, not even 
a tree, the nearest one being twenty six miles away, so got you 
some mountain scenery. I sent them to Mama to be distributed 
so you must get it from her. 

We have very little to do now except eat and sleep so I have 
lots of time for shooting but lately the weather has been too cold 
to make the plains enjoyable, but when the cold weather breaks 
up, I shall get some antelope and will save you a skin or two. 

Now I must conclude as I have literally nothing to tell you. If 
Tottie is with you give her my best wishes and tell her 1 hope she 
also is "happy" which of course includes being "good". Give my 
love to Aunt Clara and Claudia and Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother. 
W. F. Wailes 


Address C/o American Cattle Co. 

Haigler, The Meadows, 

Nebraska, December 7th 1883 


My dear Leila, 

Thank you so much for your letters and newspapers, they help 
greatly to relieve the monotony of a winter camp. The news- 
papers have been made both ornamental and useful. The graph- 
ics and Sporting and Dramatic have had the pictures cut out of 
them and pasted over the boards inside of the Shanty and serve 
both to look at and also to keep the wind from coming through 
the cracks. 

Miss Helen Mathers has the post of honour as being the prettiest 
picture in the room and occupies a conspicuous place unlike the 
Royal Academy, we "sky" the good pictures because the room is 
only about seven feet high and we "floor" all the bad ones. 

I am glad to hear that Fred has made such a hit with his 

and hope the few I have will prove of some worth; but I really 
don't know much about them myself. 

You seem to have been working hard in the village but I sup- 
pose Fred is a sort of Squire there and the Squire's wife is sure 
to be dragged into all business connected with schools and church. 
I hardly know what I am writing for the cook will sing such songs 
as "Sweet [Adeline]" etc and as he does not know one end of a 
tune from another, it is rather distracting, I wish he and "Sweet 
[Adeline]" were both in, well in jail, we will say, for fear of using 
strong language. I am very glad Fred has taken a farm, however 
small, I think it is an excellent idea and will give him lots to do 
and improve his appetite!!! "Just before the battle Mother" now, 
Basso profundo fortissimo and the tune the old cow died of him. 
Excuse strong language, I can't help it. 

I have heard of Bee's engagement and sincerely trust that it 
will be a happy match. I myself like Fred Wailes, but that does 
not prove he will make a good husband. Anyhow, she will get 
quantity (6ft. 4in.) if not quality, but don't say I said so. 

As you say, it is very hard to get letters posted. Haigler, my 
address, is 65 miles east of here and the nearest place we get our 
letters from. 

My work has been pretty hard lately, since the riding for the 
season ended. I dug 600 post holes 2Vz feet deep in hard ground, 
or rather most of the holes were I could dig 80 a day. Let Fred 
try in a hard piece of ground and then tell me if he will give me a 
job at digging when I return to the old country, if nothing more 
remunerative turns up. After the post-hole digging I put in the 
posts and then stretched the wire. There were about five of us 
working and we put up 12 miles of fence in about 3 weeks. 

We then built stables and a cellar as the meat here freezes if 


you leave it out at night and then the only way to get a piece of it 
for your breakfast is to chop it with an axe as you would hew a 
tree. At present I have an easy time of it; I have only to feed and 
water 5 horses and a mule and clean the stable; the mule is a 
brute and I believe will eat me before I get rid of him. When I 
take him down to the well to water him he picks out a dirty place 
and rolls in it and you will have to wait till he is ready to get up. 
I find flaying his hide with a blacksnake, i.e. long whip of rawhide, 
the only antidote. 1 now and then turn him loose and to catch 
him again is a caution, the only way is to drill him into a "crall" 
and then lasso him there. I am not yet expert with the lasso, and 
he has a habit of galloping past you and when you throw the rope 
at him or rather in front of him so as to just catch his head, he 
stops short and it drops harmlessly in front of his nose; I had my 
revenge to-day though, he passed me at a gallop and I threw the 
rope at him and luckily caught him. He then galloped off to 
amuse himself by pulling me about at the end of the rope but 
he happened to go past a post and quickly took a turn round it. 
When he got to the end of his tether he nearly broke his neck 
Some men here can gallop after a cow and throw the rope round 
their hind legs while they are running and throw them down and 
tie them there is less than a minute from when they threw the rope. 
They are also pretty expert with a six shooter which they all carry 
and can snuff a candle with it or kill a duck with it. Some of them 
can ride a "bucking" horse with a "dime'" ( 10 cent piece) between 
each foot and the stirrup and not let it drop out. I used to think 
I could ride in England, but I have come to the conclusion I don't 
know the first rudiment of it. To see a man here catch a colt 
that has never been touched and in fact perfectly wild, saddle him, 
get on to him and ride him makes me feel ashamed of myself. Of 
course the colts have no mouths and a bridle is no more use than 
a piece of thread. In fact, some don't use a bridle at all. Some- 
times a horse will buck till the blood runs out of the man's ears 
and mouth and men have been known to have been dead before 
they left the saddle. This is because the horse jumps high in the 
air with all four legs off the ground, then straightens them out and 
comes down with them quite stiff which causes such a terrible jar 
that it sometimes hurts a man internally - I think I have received 
all the papers you sent me but sometimes the "Times" never 
arrives, people here like to read the "Thunderer" as that paper is 
called and so borrow it. 

There are seven "cow punchers" here altogether, they wear 
gloves, six shooters, spurs like this [sketch in original letter not 
reproduced] a broad brimmed hat, a coloured shirt and high 
boots, sometimes a red sash round their waists. 1 am afraid some 
of them are too apt to shoot and gamble at "Poker" but otherwise 
they are good fellows enough. We have an old fiddle and we 


dance together, ladies dance without hats, we dance valses, polkas, 
schottishes, colt's dance, quadrilles and rackets and sometimes one 
of the boys performs a solo in the shape of a break down. We had 
a dance the last day of the round up and danced square dances in 
which one man sang the tune the thrilling refrain of which was 
•'swing that girl" "that pretty girl that is behind you". Some of the 
girls were very bronzed looking beauties standing 6 ft. or there- 
abouts, but they were swung with vigour by their partners in spite 
of that. 

I have heard that Edie is going to pay you a visit soon. She 
complains that she has received no letters from me and I have 
written to her twice. 

I have shot an antelope and lots of ducks etc. so have had a 
pretty good time. 

I am going to Denver on the 18th inst. in hoping of catching 
Herbert who will be passing through on his way to Frisco. I must 
now conclude and if you find any mistakes in spelling etc. put it 
down to that infernal songster. 

Love to Fred and the babies and Believe me, 
Your ever affect, brother, 
W. F. Wailes 


C/o American Cable Co. The Meadows, 

Haigler Jan. 12th 1884 



My dearest Leila, 

I believe I owe you a very long letter but can't pay my debt as 
news is scarce. 

I am left all alone up here again for about 10 days I expect, so 
I have lots of time to write if I had only something to tell you. 

I have been up to Denver for about ten days and returned here 
on the 4th Inst. The ride to the station was unpleasant, 60 to 
65 miles in a snowstorm, no roads, thermometer below zero, one 
of the slight inconveniences of living out of a town; the ride 
home colder but no snow. I had a pretty good time in Denver 
and stopped with Dean Hart, he is a very nice fellow but Mrs. 
H * * * * *. They made me go to church on Xmas day when I 
wanted to go and see Sullivan sport at the Exposition buildings that 
was rough, wasn't it? There were roars of laughter when I told 
the "boys" about it. 

I had an amusing time on the cars, I was ragged tanned, my 
hair had not been cut for four months and I had not been shaved 
for three weeks. I also had the customary "six shooter" on my 
belt and was taking a rifle back to Denver to get it mended when 
I walked into the first class car and sat down. All the people 


who had come from the east and who were not used to western 
ways, stared as if I was a wild animal, the ladies especially. 1 
believe they thought I was going to "hold up" the train and rob 
them. The express men on the cars wear from one to four "six- 
shooters" as now and then the cars are held up and the train is 
robbed, which is done in this way; about four men are required, 
two with double barrelled shot guns go into the cars and put them 
to their shoulders and call to everyone to "hold up" their hands, 
which of course they do. If they won't, the man fires at them, 
then the other two men go to each end of the train, one presents a 
sixshooter at the engine driver and orders him to stop, the other 
holds up the "express man" and "goes through" the mail bags and 
goods. So now if any man boards a train with a gun, the con- 
ductor turns him off there and then until he will consent to give 
up the gun till the end of the journey. Denver is quite a city and 
has a splendid Opera house. Also another place just like a theatre 
called the "Academy of Music", two or three music halls and 
another small theatre. The streets are lighted by electric light in 
some places and there are swell shops almost as big as Marshall & 
Snelgrove at Scarbro'. East of Denver there is hardly a town for 
five hundred miles except Omaha. All the other places on that 
time consist of a section house and Depot - I did not forget your 
birthday but could not get a letter sent at the time and when I 
could it slipped my memory. I sent you a small Christmas present 
in the shape of a photograph which you will get from Mama who 
has them all. Photos are so fearfully expensive here that I could 
not afford to send more. I have had a letter from each of the 
children, they are most amusing, especially Hilda's. I expect I 
shall find them all changed when next I cross the pond. I saw 
some young fellows called Parsons when last I went to Denver. 
I knew them a little when first I went there, they were gentlemen 
in the old country and are so still. Nevertheless, one works on 
the railway and the other is clerk in an auctioneer's office. Every- 
body works here and is not ashamed of it. When first I knew 
them they were "running" a fruit store, selling lemonade etc. but 
the people of Denver don't patronize lemonade when they can get 
whiskey, so the store went to smash. 

I have lots to do when I am alone here and when I marry, shall 
be able to show my wife how things should be done. In the morn- 
ing I arise from my feather bed and spring mattress and go and 
feed the horses, then I come back and light the fire and proceed 
to cut the meat for breakfast. This has to be done with an axe, 
as it freezes hard, although we keep it in the house. Breakfast 
consists of steak, hot rolls, buckwheat cakes and molasses, pota- 
toes, coffee etc. After breakfast I wash the dishes and sweep out 
the mansion. That takes me till about noon when we have dinner. 
Then I generally go out shooting till near sun down, then I feed 


the horses and make my supper. After that I write or play the 
fiddle and then I go to bed. I am getting a great cook, my "forte" 
is hare soup made out of Jack rabbits. I also make pastry and 
apple pies and of course bread. 

I must now conclude as I want to go to bed. 

With love to Fred and the babes, 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother, 
W. Fairbairn Wailes 
P.S. I received most of your papers for which I am awfully 

C/o American Cattle Co., 

Nebraska, U.S.A. 
Feb. 3rd 1884 
My dear Mabel, 

I am writing to you and Hilda tonight and then when anybody 
goes down to the post office I can get them posted. 

I hope you order good dinners when Muriel is away. You 
should learn to cook them too and then when I have a log hut 
of my own you could come and do the housekeeping. I have to 
cook here sometimes, so know something about it. After you 
have had beef hot, then you have it cold, and after that if any is 
left, you "hash it", that is the way to do in order to economise. 
When we want beef here, we axe and then we make pancakes 
and turn them by tossing them in the air. 
The breakfast we have: 
Underdone beeksteak 
Hot rolls or pancakes 
Coffee and milk and sugar 
Tomatoes or sugar corn 

For dinner we have : 
Antelope or beef roast or boiled 
Coffee, etc. 

Tomatoes or sugar corn 
Molasses, etc. 
For supper we have the same but sometimes have dried apples 
or "dried prunes" stewed. When the spring comes we shall be 
able to shoot some ducks. Don't go to the butcher's and order it, 
but we take a rifle and shoot a cow and then cut it up and use it 
as we want it. 

We used not to have any butter or milk here, as we had no cow 
but had to drink our coffee without milk and sometimes without 


sugar but we have lots of milk now and also some butter we 
bought at the grocer's who lives sixty miles away. 

In the morning when it is cold I get up first and light the stove 
and then get into bed again and then when the room gets a little 
warm, one of the cow punchers gets up and begins to get breakfast, 
then I get up when the house gets the frost out of it and we get 
our breakfast. I grind the coffee while he chops the meat with 
axe and have them. 

I am glad you enjoyed yourself on the 5th of November. 
We have had no high winds like you have - it must have been 

Give my love to Mama and everyone at home and 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother, 
W. F. Wailes 

C/o American Cattle Co., 

Feb. 17th 1884 
My dear Mother, 

I have been unable to write to you lately because 1 have had 
no chance of sending any mail, but one of the "boys" is going 
down the creek tomorrow and will post this. 

I have very little news to tell you, none in fact. The weather 
here has been very cold lately, one day I should think it reached 
nearly 40° below zero. 

We have not had a stranger for more than three months now so 
that it is rather dull. 

I shall be left alone for a week or so after tomorrow but hope 
to get some mail when anybody comes back again. 

I hope you have at length settled the "house" question and have 
got one to your liking. 

I don't know where you are now so shall enclose this in my 
letter to Mabel. 

With best love, Believe me, 
Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

April 8th 1884 
My dear Edie, 

The "boys" having gone away for ten days 1 am all alone again 
and I always find that rather an advantage when 1 have to write 
letters, as when they are here there is always laughing and talking 
going on. They went away the day before yesterday, to take 
some horses down the creek and to get provisions somewhere or 


other. I am always the one left alone and have spent half the 
winter by myself. Some people can't stand it, but I have very 
little objection as long as I can shoot. I was once left for sixteen 
days and never saw a human being all that time. I have about 
sixty horses to look after and about ten to take especial care of 
in the stable. A good many of our cattle have been driven south 
by the storms and have reached some fencing on the Smoky Hill 
river about two hundred miles south and as they can't get any 
further south, they are dying by the hundreds so some of us will 
have to go there and cut the fences and let them go on and as the 
owners will object, I expect there will be an epidemic of "buck- 
shot" but you need not alarm yourself about me, as I shan't be 
sent, but some older men who know the country well, I have not 
got my horses yet as we don't begin "rounding up" till May. Some 
of the horses' names are peculiar, we have "the Master", "the 
Colonel", "Big Medicine", "Chocktoo", "Ward Beecher", "Alca- 
bre", "Big Buckshot", "Stockings", "White Cloud", etc. I have 
about seven invalids to look after at present, they have eaten a 
weed called "Coco" and have gone stark raving mad. This coco 
is to a horse what I suppose Opium is to a man and although it 
is bad for him, he can't help taking it. Some of them get so foolish 
they don't even know what a bucket of water or a feed of corn is 
( fact ) and when you get onto them they generally rear over back- 
wards. Also, when they have to step over any little thing, even 
if it is only three inches high, they either jump over it or step very 
high. I and my squaw have separated, we quarrelled about some 
meat. She liked it raw and I like it cooked. The consequence 
was I sent her back to her father's "Tepee". At parting the tears 
stood in her lustrous eyes, and she positively yelled, for she was 
passionately fond of me. You must not expect any letters from 
me after the end of April till October, as we shall be working hard 
all that time and very seldom get more than four hours for sleep, 
sometimes not so much, consequently I shall have no time to write. 
We are riding from five in the morning till about 7.30 at night 
and then there is branding etc. to be done and then we have to 
"stand guard" for two hours during the night to prevent the cattle 
getting away. Sometimes we have to ride hardest during that two 
hours so you see there is not much time for writing. 

The last two antelopes I shot I killed in three shots — not so 
bad for a tenderfoot I think, at nearly four hundred yards distant. 
Here I can get nothing but antelope and wolf skins, as there is 
nothing else but wild horses and I suppose you do not covet their 

Edie writes "I think I have given you the pith of his letter. It 
was a good long one nearly 3 sheets. I don't like the thought of 
not hearing from him till October, but it is not so bad, when one 
does not expect to get letters. What hard work he will have." 


The American House, 

Colorado, U.S.A. 
March 27th 1884 
My dear Mother, 

I should have written to you before to congratulate you on the 
celebration of your silver wedding, but was unable to get a letter 
posted, so concluded to wait till I came up to Denver. 

I am sorry to hear you have been ill with blood poisoning, but 
trust you are now convalescent. Please write and tell me how 
you are, as I shall be most anxious to know. Write to "The Post 
Office", Glendive, Montana, U.S.A., as I shall probably be there 

I am going up into that north country and shall probably settle 
down there as from all accounts it is a better country for cattle 
than Colorado; so you must not be alarmed if I don't write again 
for a month or even more, as I shall probably cross from Sidney 
in Nebraska to Little Missouri in Montana, a distance of, I sup- 
pose, 800 miles and no railway the whole way. I shall either go by 
stage if one runs all the way or shall buy two horses and ride one 
and pack my bed and "war bag" on the other. I could go round 
by Omaha, but it would be more expensive and take over a week. 
Still, I have not decided yet which I shall do. 

I have had a very disagreeable time the last few days. I went 
to a little place called Otus on the B & M R R R and had great 
trouble to get the train going west to stop. There are only two 
trains in every twenty four hours each way. The method of stop- 
ping it was to stand on the line and flag it with any white article 
of clothing. This I did two days and it never would stop for me; 
at night it passed at 3 a.m. and I signalled it to stop twice with a 
lantern before I managed to start. This necessitated sleeping on 
the ground by the side of the rails which is cold in March. I may 
mention that at these little side stations they have no platforms 
and the train stops anywhere, as there is nothing but one house 
there. I have not called on the Harts yet as I am not respectable 
yet. This morning I had my hair cut and got shaved and tonight 
I shall be able to get a pair of trousers repaired sufficiently to be 
respectable. At present I have only on common blue trousers 
worn by navvies and cowboys. 

It is blowing a young cyclone to-day and it is almost impossible 
to walk against it, sometimes it is so strong. 

Please don't send any more papers to me as they will only be 
wasted till I get settled down. 

I am very sorry to hear about Artie's illness, but I trust every 
one will soon recover. 

This hotel is magnificent in every way, everything beautifully 
clean and cooking unsurpassed anywhere, but the charges are high 


being $2.50 a day which includes everything, but I find that cheap- 
er in the end to taking a room and taking my meals elsewhere. I 
have to write to Leila Formby, Edie and others to tell them to 
write to Glendive instead of Haigler, so must conclude or shall 
have no time. 

With my best love to all and yourself especially. 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

Denver, Colorado, 
April 1st 1884 
My dear Father, 

I start for the North tonight so will write now as probably I 
shall have very little time for writing when I get up there. 

The American Cattle Co. agreed last fall that if I would work 
for my board they would pay me wages in the spring, but when I 
put in my claim they refused, saying "they did not employ green 
hands" so I left them and am going to try my luck in Montana; 
this was just what I expected as I only had a "verbal agreement" 
with them, so I wrote them early in the spring in order that if they 
refused I should have time to look for work before the round-ups 
commence or probably they would not have said a word about it 
for six weeks or so. It is not of much consequence as I had in- 
tended to go north in the Fall, and if I go there now I shall have 
an opportunity of comparing notes as to how the cattle have win- 
tered up there and down here; according to reports the cold has 
killed fewer north than it has here, on account of the broken 
nature of the country which gives them more shelter from the 

I shall go to Glendive, get a couple of horses and look for work 
on the Yellowstone river. 

My address will be Post Office, Glendive, Montana, U.S.A. but 
don't expect to get answered for some time as I shall leave there 
immediately and shall not be able to send for my mail perhaps 
for some weeks. 

I have been staying with the Dean since Friday last and enjoyed 
myself fairly well there. It was very kind of them to ask me there. 
Their two girls are at school at Scarbro'. 

I go to Glendive via Omaha, Council Bluffs, St Paul, Mosehead 
etc., three times as far as it would be to go straight north and 
cheaper than "Staging" from Sidney to Deadwood in the Black 
Hills and then going 250 miles on a "buckboard" from Deadwood 
to Little Missouri and from there to Glendive. I might have 
ridden it but grass fed horses would never have made 800 miles 


and corn fed horses are hard to get at this time of the year, besides 
which grain would cost 10c a pound which is a ruination. I 
acknowledged the receipt of £40 a short time ago but am not 
certain that the letter was posted, so do so again now. This 
winter has been very severe one on cattle and a good many have 
died, but if they did not die now and then these "cattle men*' 
would get too rich. 

Foot and mouth disease is reported to have broken out in the 
settlements of Kansas but has not yet got among the plains cattle, 
and as every affected beast will be killed immediately I trust it 
won't spread. 

There is an election going on here for city magistrates but every- 
thing seems to be going on quietly, I heard one man say to another 

"What's paying?" the other replied $2. "Ah," said 

the first man, "I wish I had known that before." From this I 
conclude that bribery and corruption is practised in "the land of 
the free" as well as elsewhere. 

Best love to all, 
Believe me, 

Your affect. Son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Northern Pacific Railway Company, 
Glendive Station, 
April 21st, 1884 
My dear Mother, 

I expected to find some mail waiting for me at the post office 
here, but suppose you did not expect that I should get here so 
soon, anyhow, no news is generally good news; I shall be here 
again in about a week's time and perhaps shall hear from you then. 

I am working for a man called Mindenhall at Fallon, thirty 
miles west of Glendive and may remain there the whole summer 
but cannot be sure as it depends the number of cattle he will be 
able to ship. Anyhow, he will pay me for the time I do stay with 
him as I am riding his "bad horses" and "bronchos" which the 
"boys" won't ride. 

I left Denver on April 1st and came here via Council Bluffs. 
St Paul, Fargo and Mandan. It took me four days and four 
nights and I found it very unpleasant as the trains from St Paul 
were crowded with emigrants and consequently a man had to sit 
bolt upright all the time. The weather here is beautiful though 
it is still frosty at night, but it is usually quite warm in the middle 
of the day. 

Glendive is a small place of about 600 inhabitants and boasts 
of a court house, a livery stable, a few stores and lots of saloons. 


What the inhabitants find to do I don't know as there is nothing 
I can see to "run the town." I have no news so must conclude. 

Your ever affect, son, 
Best love to all, 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 
P.S. Address: Post Office, Glendive, Montana Territory, U.S.A. 

Post Office 
Montana Territory 

May 2nd 1884 
My dear Father, 

I have no doubt you would like to hear what I have been doing 
lately, so will do my best to tell you. 

I struck Glendive about the 5th of April and stayed there a few 
days in hopes of getting work but failed, as nobody wanted hands 
till the round up began about the 20th of May, so I bought a 
gentle horse, which turned out a terror and started west. I stayed 
at a cow camp at Fallon for a few days and then heard that Min- 
delhall wanted help so went down to see him, but he told me he 
could not give me work for the summer as he had all his hands 
already but that he would pay me well (if I was worth it) for two 
weeks. According I worked with him for two weeks and helped 
to brand about six thousand head of cattle, and also rode half of 
his bad horses which the other boys would not ride. I left him 
last Monday as he had finished branding and am glad to say I 
got well paid. Yesterday I rode up here and if I can't get some- 
thing to do by the end of May I shall get another horse and look 
out for a good location to settle in next fall as I promise you to 
settle within a year if possible and this time next year I hope to 
be able to start for myself. 

I am very glad I left Colorado as I am confident that this is by 
far the best stock country and the percentage of loss here was 
much lower than it was in Colorado during last winter. 

They have a different method of buying stock here than in 
Colorado, for instead of sending to Texas for cattle they send back 
east and bring back American Yearlings at $21 a head delivered 
on the range. Now Texas cattle could be got here for $18 at most 
but it is hard to say which is most profitable in the end, but for 
my part I should choose Texan s. 

There is an outfit about to start stock raising on Cabin creek 
about 30 miles from here and they are going to ship Texans to 


Fort Pierre and drive them from there up here and I think they 
are the people who are going to make the most of it and I shall 
keep my eye on them and see how they get on. 

The country here is much newer than Colorado and consequent- 
ly there are lots of ranges unoccupied and if I am unable to get 
work, it would be my best plan to travel round and seek a good 
range for with the small number of cattle with which I shall prob- 
ably have to start a range upon which they can be kept is half 
the battle and not very easy to find, for with any number of cattle 
under a thousand head, it pays a man better to ride a range and 
keep them upon it which he can do with two other men than 
to let them go and have to hire five or six men to attend the 

The sort of range suitable for doing this would be one where 
there was plenty of water both summer and winter, plenty of 
shelter in winter from the winds and where some hay can be cut. 
If a man could get a range like that he could get along with 3 men 
himself included, instead of 6 extra men. His method would be 
to build a good "shack" (log cabin) on the range and build a 
small pasture for his horses and weak cows in winter. In summer 
he ought to keep his cattle right away from his range and never 
bring them there till as late as possible in the fall, he would have 
a good house close to them and be able to ride a range every day 
and keep them there till spring. 

The Yellowstone is as big as the Tweed, but much deeper and 
about as muddy as the Tweed is when "the Spates" but some of 
the creeks running into it look like trout streams. 

No more news so, 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. Fairburn Wailes 

Address W. F. Wailes, 
Post Office, 

Montana Territory. 
Terry. May 2nd 1884 
My dearest Mother, 

I wrote you a short note the other day from Glendive, but had 
very little news to tell you. I have to-day written to Glendive to 
have my letters forwarded here so that I hope shortly to know how 
everything is going on in the old country. 

I am thinking of getting another horse and making a tour of 
discovery up in the Musselshell country or down the Powder river 
but have not made up my mind yet. 

There are lots of Indians and half breeds round here but they 


are nearly all peaceable. I met half a dozen yesterday morning 
on the prairie between this and Fallon and wished them "good 
morning , ' at which a grin "like a basket of chips" overspread their 
face and they gave a grunt as is their way of expressing themselves. 
The squaws and children come round the "Section house" (sort 
of hotel) and pick up bits of meat and potato peelings which I 
suppose they make into broth. 

This town consists of two saloons, a section house, blacksmith's 
shop and four houses, and is considered in this country "quite a 

How are you and all the others? I am very anxious to hear 
as you had been ill the last time I heard from you. 

I wonder where you have "located" yourselves or if you are still 
wandering about in search of a house. 

I expect by this time Edie will have returned to Askham, so 
shall write to her there shortly. 

The valley of the Yellowstone is not exactly attractive in appear- 
ance though it far surpasses Colorado; there are hills on every 
side and some timber though not much. A buffalo was killed 
about a mile from the town the day before yesterday but that is 
the only one for some time past, but I hear this morning that 
there is a herd of 45 in the neighbourhood. 

This letter is extremely stupid and uninteresting as I have no 
news, but I wrote it more with the view of letting you know where 
I was than for anything else. 

My best love to everyone and tell Muriel to write to me shortly. 
I do hope to hear from you shortly, so please write. 

And believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. Fairbairn Wailes 

Address Post Office, 

Montana Territory, 
Terry, May 4th 1884 
My dearest Edie, 

I have some spare time so will endeavour to write you a letter. 
I expect this will find you at Askham so will address it there. 
This part of America is not beautiful, but it does not look such 
a howling wilderness as the Great American Desert in Colorado; 
there is a little timber here and a great deal of broken country, 
hills with deep ravines between them called here "collies" on the 
top of some of the bad lands are pine thickets which look thick at 
a distance but which are really rather scattered. Then there is the 
Yellowstone river which adds to the scenery considerably at a 
distance, but when you get near it, it is nothing but thick mud and 
water, it is as wide as the Tweed and in some parts wider. 


I have been working for a man called Mendelhall at Fallon on 
the Yellowstone and have been riding half his bad horses for him. 
it is not exactly nice work riding buck jumpers, but as he paid me 
well, I did not care the value of my neck being $5. Fallon is quite 
a town as there is a section house, two houses and two tents, the 
one being a saloon. 

The said saloon nearly caused a tragedy the other day, for our 
cook had paid it so many visits that he got quarrelsome and fought 
with another man, being beaten he came into camp while we were 
having supper, the other man following him, he then turned to me 
and asked me to pour the "boys" some coffee and as I bent over 
to do so, he sprang at me and tried to get my pistol from my belt 
and shoot the other man. I dropped the coffee pot and managed 
to keep the pistol or there would certainly have been a "stiff' in 

I came across the celebrated Cheyenne Bill here yesterday. He 
has been in prison for over two months because he happened to 
be a witness in a cattle stealing case and as he had not the money 
to give bail for his appearance, he was locked up till the other 
day when the case was settled. He is a very gentlemanly looking 

man of about 26, and rather good looking and is said 

to be able to throw a lasso better than any other man in the west. 
He can also ride "anything that wears hair." I was at a place 
called Little Missouri about a month ago and there came across a 
French Marquis (Marquis de [Mores] ) who is a cattleman here, 
he is a very handsome young fellow about 25 and very rich. He 
was obliged to shoot a man a little time ago in self defence and 
was fined $500 for it. 

This is certainly the place for young ladies to come who are in 
want of husbands for there are more good looking men here than 
ever I saw before and reminding one of English Army men. Still, 
they have their faults, such as being too free with pistols and 
expectorating tobacco juice on the floor etc. but little faults might 
be overlooked. They are also rather tanned which spoils their 

There are lots of Indians and half breeds round here. I met six 
the other day on the prairie and they nodded and said "How" 
(How are you) and then grinned a grin as wide as the Missouri 
river. I saw some of the ladies of the tribe buying cloth in the 
store here and they behaved just like an English lady buying a 
bonnet. They wound it round them to see how it looked and if it 

pleased them, they " a ". One had her papoose 

with her and it wore a black hat with a hole in the crown. 

It is a great fun to ask the warriors who have feathers in their 
heads, How many white men they have killed? They stick little 
sticks in the ground for men and then go through a patomime to 


explain they killed them. They explain with scorn how the white 
man camped in a hollow where he could not see round him and 
then show you how they crawled upon him and shot him as he 
was cooking his supper. Then they ask you how many red men 
you have killed and the proper thing to do is to tell them three or 
four dozen. You are no warrior unless. 

How is everything at Askham? Is the building finished? I 
have not heard from home for some time and am rather anxious 
as I want to know how Mama is. 

I am thinking of buying another horse and going up Powder 
River but I have not made up my mind yet. 

Write soon and if you address to Glendive, I shall get it some- 
how. If it is important and if you do not wish it read, write on 
the outside. 

"If not called for within ten days return to Miss E. Wailes etc." 

With best love and kisses from, 
Your affectionate Brother, 
W. F. Wailes 

Address Post Office 

Montana Territory, 
Terry, May 6th 1884 
My dearest Leila, 

Two of your letters came to hand yesterday, one of which had 
been forwarded from Haigler, Neb. 

We have had lovely weather for the last few days and this 
morning it was so hot that one could hardly sit in the sun. 

I have been hanging round here for the last five days waiting 
for a stockman whose ranch is 70 miles south, to try and get work 
from him. He wants someone to ride wild horses for him and 
get them gentle enough to ride on the round up. I have been 
riding a good many bucking horses lately and have been well paid 
for it. Luckily have had no casualties except that one horse fell 
on me twice though without doing much damage. 

I had an idea that Harrogate was a lively place, but you and 
Fred did not seem to find it so. 

There are a good many Indians (Cheyenne) and French half 
breeds round here; some of the half breed children are very pretty. 

The Squaws fasten their papooses to a board for the first three 
or four months of their life and that is the reason Indians are so 
straight, they look like this: 
[Sketch in original letter not reproduced] 
and when properly fixed to the board are never taken off, and can 


be stuck up on end or laid down just as the fond mother thinks 
best. I should advise you to get a board for my niece and then 
you can put her anywhere without fear of her getting into mischief, 
only be careful not to put her away or forget her. 

The Indians live in Tepees or sort of tents this shape: 
[Sketch not reproduced] 

and the smoke goes out of the hole in the top or out of the door. 
They can't bear to live in a house. The Government put up a lot 
of shanties on the "Crow" but on returning found them used as 
stables and on asking the reason was told "White man tepee no 
good but to put pony in." It is warm enough to sleep on the 
prairie without any shelter and my bedroom is a few steps South 
of the Main Street. 

I intend to speculate in a town lot here to the amount of $15 
and most probably I shall make 100 p.c. on the transaction. 

Cheyenne Bill and myself went to Miles City to do the Town 
and had lots of fun there, but I must say that I never saw a 
respectable person there, they are all gamblers and Saloon keepers, 

niggers, Indians and soldiers. The city boasts of about 

inhabitants and there are a few really nice houses there. 

Thanks for your good wishes for my birthday but as I am in 
want of nothing, please do not trouble to send me anything now, 
but if you could get me two pairs of real knitted woollen stockings 
as thick as it is possible by November I should be very thankful 
for them and they would save my toes considerably in the fall, as 
it is impossible to get such things in this country. This letter is 
very uninteresting but nothing happens in this part of the world 
worth recording unless someone gets shot, or gets lynched for 
stealing horses. 

Write again as soon as you have time, but don't trouble to send 
me any papers as I shall have no time to read them. 

With best love to Fred and the children. 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother, 
W. Fairburn Wailes 

Address : 
Box 30 

Post Office. Terry. 
Montana Territorv, 

May 17 th 1884 
My dear Mother, 

Just a line to tell you that I am going up into the Musselshell 
country with some cattle "on the trail", so don't be alarmed if 
you don't hear from me, as I shall be 200 miles from a Railroad. 


I can't write as I have had a bad finger and had it lanced into 
the bone yesterday. My leg is nearly well. 

Best love to all and Believe me, 
Your affect. Son, 

W. Fairbairn Wailes 


Cunard Royal Mail Steamship Aurania 

February 16th '85 
My dear Mother, 

Just a line or two to tell you how we are getting on, the sea is 
very calm and the sun has been shining all day, so it seems like 
a good omen. Arty will tell you all about L'pool so it is no use 
my doing so. I met two of the men who crossed with me in the 
"Gallia" and they did not know me I have changed so. We seem 
to have rather a nice lot of passengers on board and some swells, 
James Gordon Bennet and Count Kissler among the number. The 
engines shake the ship badly I can hardly write. We stay 7 hours 
at Queenstown so possibly I may go ashore to see the country. 
Poor Dash did not like leaving me at all and pulled at his chain, 
I am afraid he is rather down in the mouth now. There are very 
few women on board, also a newly married young couple who stick 
close together. I have no news as you may imagine when you read 
this letter. 

The Aurania is a much bigger ship than any I have crossed in, 
being over 7,000 tons register. 

We have dinner now so I must conclude. 

With my best love to all, 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

William Fairbairn Wailes 

Cunard Royal Mail Steamship "Aurania" 

Sunday 22/2/85 
My dear Mother, 

I am just writing you a few lines to assure you of my well being, 
though probably you will hear of the arrival of S.S. Aurania long 
before this reaches you. 

The weather during the voyage was lovely to begin with till the 
18th and we made 421 miles every 24 hours, then the weather 
changed and we had the tail end of a storm and afterwards some 
rough weather and a head wind and our days run was only 320 

We saw an iceberg the other day, it was very fine. This boat 


in spite of her size is a very "dirty" boat in rough weather and 
the sea flies the whole length of her topmost deck which makes it 
very unpleasant to try and walk about. 

We are within 100 miles of land, so probably we shall get there 
in safety, anyhow when you get this you can tell we have arrived. 

I shall leave New York for Chicago on Monday and shall arrive 
there about Wednesday. 

Tell my Father that I will write to him from Chicago. 

I have no news as you can see and probably you will get my 
letter to Edie forwarded to you. 

Love to all and Believe me, Your ever affect, son, 
W. Fairbairn Wailes 

Cunard Mail Steamer Aurania 

February 18th 1885 
My dearest Edie, 

I will just write you a short letter now while I have time and 
will post it in New York. So far we have had lovely voyage and 
very smooth for this time of year. It has also been very warm, 
quite like an English summer, the sun has shone every day since 
we left L'pool and we have had little or no rain. We are now 
nearly half way across. 

I was very sorry to leave home which is only natural, but of 
course I did not show it as that only makes matters worse. Arty 
and Formby came to see me off and came on board the ship. 

I saw Uncle Andrew on Monday night for a little time and 
thought he was looking very well indeed. 

There are some very nice people among the passengers, two or 
three Western men. The "Aurania" is a splendid ship and is over 
7,000 tons, much bigger than the "Egypt" or "Gallia", but she 
is terrible to roll and shake, she rolls so badly that one has to fit 
oneself into one's berth with pillows to prevent rolling backwards 
and forwards all night. We had some American girls on board 
but I can't say that any of them are very beautiful. Also the well 
known James Gordon Bennet, he sits next the Captain and has 
great arguments with him on seafaring matters. 

These sea voyages are fearfully monotonous and they always 
make me eat so much that I feel ill though not seasick. I have 
no news as you can see. We went ashore at Queenstown as we 
had to wait some hours for the mails and rather an amusing time. 
The Irishwomen come down to the Quay and sell lace and shilal- 
laghs etc. and they were very sharp at repartee if you venture to 
argue with them. One remarked to three of us "God bless you, 
you three beautiful juveniles if you will buy a bit of shamrock 
from a poor woman." We refused to buy, whereupon she gave 
us some gratis, but followed us a long way begging. 

I hope you and Tottie are enjoying yourselves. Tell Tottie I 


will send her a Xmas card next Xmas as a slight return of her 
beautiful sketch of you and me on horseback. 

I will conclude for the present. 

Sunday 22nd 

Are within about 100 miles of New York, so shall probably 
get into the harbour at midnight. I can't say we have had such a 
lovely passage after the 18th. It came on to blow on the 19th and 
we had rough weather till yesterday. On Friday we came across 
an iceberg about five miles to the north. It looked very pretty 
and was about 100 feet high and about two hundred feet long. 
In consequence of the ice breaking up so very early, we had to 
go 100 miles south of our proper course. The "Aurania" is not a 
pleasant vessel in a rough sea for in spite of her size, she ships 
seas over her bows and the spray flies over her entire length. 

I shall probably leave New York tomorrow (Monday) by the 
first train available and shall reach Chicago about Wednesday 
the 25th. 

I have no news so much conclude. Give my love to Aunt Clara 
and a little to Tottie, if she will accept it, and with lots to yourself. 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother, 
W. F. Wailes 

Briggs House, 
March 1st 1885 
My dear Mother, 

I don't know that I have anything particular to tell you but as 
it is Sunday I may as well write you a short letter. Chicago at 
the present time is the dirtiest place you ever saw; piles of dirty 
snow 4 ft. high which looks like mud adorn each side of the street. 

When I came here on Wednesday the streets were full of sledges 
which looked very pretty, but now the streets are only white mud 
so it has put a stop to it all. The aristocracy of Chicago drive 
very fine sledges, two horses, a coachman with fur coat and cape 
and the inside of the sledge covered with fur etc. 

I haven't seen a pretty girl since I landed in New York, I don't 
believe there are any here. 

I have been to three theatres, one of them was a sort of panto- 
mime called Zanita (?) and was the gaudiest show I ever saw. 
The dresses (what there was of them) were wonderfully good, the 
manager had evidently gone in for quality and not quantity. There 
was also an army on the stage and I must say I never saw such 
a fine sight on a stage before. There is a very good opera com- 
pany here, I was going there last night but the prices of admission 
were too high, viz $2.50. 


A large building in Dearbourn St. caught fire about ten days 
ago and as all the fire brigades in Chicago were turning their hoses 
on it at the same time, and as it was freezing hard, it now presents 
a wonderful sight. It is literally covered with high blocks of ice 
and looks as if it was made of icicles. 

I leave Chicago tomorrow night (Monday) and shall go to 
Cheyenne from there through Idaho (?) into Montana, so prob- 
ably shall not be in Miles City for a month, nevertheless, you had 
better address letters there as my movements are uncertain and 
your letters would probably miss me if addressed anywhere else. 
No more news. 

Love to all and believe me, 
Your affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Inter Ocean Hotel, 
Wyo. Territory 
March 8th 1885 
My dear Father, 

I must write to you to-day and tell you how matters are going 

Pfeiffer met me here on the evening of the 4th and since then 
we have been working hard getting horses, wagons, etc. to seek 

a with. I have bought a pair of very fine chestnuts 

and paid a higher price than I had intended to pay for work horses, 
viz. $125 each instead of $90 or $100 but they are both young, 
4 years old, both sound and in three or four months unless we 
have an accident with them will be worth $50 more. They are 
not very tame at present, but two or three weeks' work in a wagon 
will help to tame them. You see, young horses are worth more 
every day, old horses less. I have also bought one saddle horse 
and apparently a very good one for $50, the price I intended to 
pay, also a wagon which had only been used a month and not 
damaged for $85 instead of $1 10, so I got a little back on that. 

We intend starting for Sweetwater river about 80 miles north 
of Rawlings Springs in Wyoming. 1 should have started on Fri- 
day, but the bank at Denver did not send me any money till Satur- 
day and by the time it reached here on Saturday, they had closed 
the Post Office till 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. So far I have done 
very well and made what I think will be excellent bargains. I am 
also here just at the right time, the snow is just making the country 
fit to travel, i.e. it has mostly melted. 

Lee West sent a message to me by George Pfeiffer that there 
was a man called Freeman in Nebraska who was hard up for 
money and wanted to sell some yearlings, so if I can I shall buy 
them in preference to yearlings from the States, because they have 


been bred on the range and are more likely to get through the first 
winter than cattle that have been brought up under cover. 

The people here call me a Jew because I am so hard to drive 
a bargain with but there is nothing like running down the price 
of things you can. 

I wrote to a man called Elliot in Iowa who is a dealer in young 
cattle. I asked his prices for yearlings. He wrote back and said 
$25 a head and he will take no risks in shipping, so I am going to 
write a polite note this evening and decline his offer, as I think I 
can do much better. 

George P. and I harnessed our team and drove them around the 
town two or three times yesterday. They were rather wild and 
we nearly killed two or three people but otherwise everything went 

If I buy Freeman's cattle, I can trail them up the Platte river 
which will be much cheaper than shipping them by the cars. 

I have no other news of a business nature, so will conclude and 
remain your affectionate son, 

W. F. Wailes 
Address: Post Office, 
Wyoming T. 
To be left till called for. 

Rock Creek, 
March 21st 1885 
My dear Mother, 

Just a line to let you know that I am still in the flesh. 
We have had a terrible time coming here from Cheyenne with 
our wagon, it took us ten days and is only about 100 miles. 

We sometimes had to drive 30 miles to get five and I have been 
employed mostly in digging our teams out of snow drifts, some- 
times all four horses would be half buried, it is also chilly sleeping 

Am going northwest address Miles City, Montana. 

Very best love to all 
Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

March 27th 1885 

South N. Platte River. 
Address, Post Office, 
Fort Fetterman, 
Wyoming T. 
My dearest Edie, 

I received your letter dated Feb. 21st yesterday March 26th. 


It had followed me from Chicago, from there to Cheyenne and 
from Cheyenne here. 

As you see by the heading of this letter 1 have somehow or 
other got into Wyoming instead of Montana. I thought by starting 
from Cheyenne and going through Idaho I should do better, but 
as I went on, reports made me change my mind and 1 turned 
north and am going up into the head of the Belle Fourche river, 
and if I can find no range there, I shall go west to the Big Horn 
river north of the Shoshone Indians and if I can do nothing there, 
I shall go down the Big Horn river into Montana. 

I can't say that picnics at this time of the year are pleasant. 
I bought two horses to drive in a wagon, a wagon and other neces- 
saries in Cheyenne, also a saddle horse, and we started for Laramie 
City on the foot hills and through the Cheyenne Pass. It took 
us eight days to go 48 miles as every hundred yards or so, we 
had to dig our horses out of the snow. From Laramie City we 
went across the Laramie Plains to Rock Creek with just about the 
same pleasant travelling. From Rock Creek we had to go to Fort 
Fetterman on sledge runners which we fastened into the wagon 
and took off the wheels. At Laramie I had to buy another horse 
and we drove four horses instead of two. At last we have got out 
of the snow and I am very thankful of it as we have been in it 
from March 7th till yesterday. We have both been snow blind 
from the sun shining on the snow and I cannot rejoice in a single 
spot on my face that has skin on it, the wind having just bitten 
all the skin off. 

There was a slight fall of snow last night and we had breakfast 
in it but that is summer to what we have been accustomed to. 

We have a good deal of trouble with our horses; the two I 
bought to drive are very fine ones, both chestnuts and big for 
western horses. They had only been driven two or three times 
when we started and one of them has or had to be thrown down 
or "Scotch hobbled" every time we wanted to put a bridle on to 
him; however, about two hundred miles hard driving has made 
much more tractable. The bad one we have called "Jim Gray" 
because he has much the same sort of a disposition as a gentleman 
we know of that name and the other one we call 'The Baby" 
because he is so harmless. We have two more horses, a white 
one called "Snowflake" and a bay horse which we call "Onerv" 
(a western expression for everything bad) between ourselves, and 
"Sweetbriar" when we try to sell him. 

I can't say that Fort Fetterman is anything like Scarborough. 
nor would it make much of a pleasure resort. It boasts of about 
six houses, a post office and a store, perched on the top of a 
barren looking mound. There are no trees or any vegetation close 
to it. People in Fetterman can only exist, not live. 


George Pfeiffer is with me as Parsons could not manage to 

The Governor took it much more quietly this time and I left 
him in apparently good spirits. He also presented me with a box 
of cigars just as the train was starting. I kept them till about a 
week ago and I must say they were a great comfort when we 
were half frozen. 

Now I have finished all this uninteresting story of our wan- 

Give my love to Tottie and tell her that I hope her shadow will 
grow no less during Lent in spite of fasting. What a lot she will 
eat when Lent is over. I have the photograph she took of us in 
my pocket book. I cannot call it a caricature, it is too true to 
life. That reminds me that I rode another horse belonging to that 
man in Harrogate and he rather startled the natives. 

We have to ride James Gray shortly and probably he will dis- 
connect our backbones, as he has never had a saddle on his back. 

You must have been having lots of balls at Biarritz if you have 
got tired of them, but I expect by the end of Lent you will be 
ready for more. 

I am sorry to hear that Hamilton is still so ill, it must be terrible. 

I hope that next time I hear from home, they will have heard 
of a house, but as yet I have only got letters sent to the Briggs' 
house, Chicago. 

I have no news, so with best love, remain, 

Your affect, brother, 

W. F. Wailes 
P.S. If this letter is badly written etc. you must excuse it is I am 
still half blind and it may be dirty as I have not enjoyed the 
luxuries of soap since March 10th. 

Camp on Porcupine Creek 
80 m North Fort Fetterman, 
April 12th - 24th 1885 
My dearest Mother, 

I am going over to see Andrews and Hudson tomorrow, their 
ranch is about 45 miles south of here and shall endeavour to get 
this posted. 

This country is not very populous and there is no railroad 
nearer than 170 miles, hence the difficulty in getting mail and 
writing letters. 

I have got the foundation of a shanty laid here and did think 
of settling here but we saw a man today and he told us of a better 
place, so we may move there. 

The weather here is fairly warm now and spring has fairly set 
in, and we are very glad of it, as it was very unpleasant during 


the cold weather. I wrote to some of you about two or three 
weeks ago from Fort Fetterman but we have seen no-one who 
knew anything for so long that I don't know whether it is the 1 2th 
or 24th of the month. 

The country round here seems a good one but the water is 
terrible and has made both of us ill and that is the reason we 
think of moving. 

The Indians have been through this country and have frightened 

away all the game but we managed to kill , antelope and 

ducks to keep us going. 

I have no news much as you may imagine. It has been nearly 
the same thing every day since we left Cheyenne. 

Going through the Laramie mountains we had a very rough 
time; also going from Rock Creek to Fetterman we had to take 
the wheels off our wagon and make a sleigh out of logs and put 
the wagon and wheels on the top. That lasted for three days and 
then when we got out of the mountains there was no snow, and 
we travelled on wheels again. 

I expect in about two weeks to start South for Nebraska where 
I hope to get some cattle and by the time I get them up here I 
expect it will be the middle of July. After that I shall not have 
very much more to do this year. 

I have been thinking about you all at home today. I wonder 
if you have got a house yet and where you are. You are quite as 
bad as I am in the way you wander about. 

When you next write to Leila, thank her for her letter to me 
and tell her I will write as soon as ever I get the chance. 

I must now conclude as I want to write a few lines to my Father. 
Love to all and Believe me, 

Your affectionate son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Address: Post Office, 

Fort Fetterman, 
Wyoming Territory, 


Fort Fetterman. 

Wyoming T., U.S.A. 
May 12th 1885 
My dearest Mother, 

I intended to write to you the other night but had so much to 
do that I could not spare the time. 

I am going to Denver tomorrow to see the Harts as I want to 
see the Dean on business and as 1 am obliged to let my horses 
rest I am wasting no time. 

We are camped about five miles from Cheyenne by the side of 


a prairie pond and are more comfortable than we have been for a 
long time. The weather here has been terribly severe; we had 
two inches of snow on the 7th of May. What do you think of 
that? Today it has been fairly warm though not so hot as it 
ought to be. 

I shall be very glad to hear that you have succeeded in finding 
a house as I am sure you are heartily tired of lodgings by this time. 

I heard from both Leila and Edith at the same time as I heard 
from you; the letters had been in Cheyenne some time and had 
been advertized in the papers. 

Edie seems to be enjoying herself at Biarritz and Leila seems 
rejoiced than Lent is over and that there will be a little more gaiety. 

I was sorry to hear that Fred had sold his cows. I think it 
would give him something to do to look after a small farm. 

I hope my Father will get off for some fishing soon but I expect 
the weather has been worse in England than here though of course 
not so cold. 

The stockings you gave me have all worn out at the heels (I 
mean those I have worn). I don't know how it is, I cannot get 
any socks that will not wear out quickly at the heels. 

I have had a most amusing day trying to sell a horse to a Jew; 
he knew nothing about horses but his natural aptitude to hard 
bargain held him in good stead and I don't think I can make much 
out of him. 

We have invested in a sheet iron stove and now we can soon 
make our tent so hot that it is unbearable. I wish we had had it 
two months ago. This letter is uninteresting but I have no news 
at all, it is the same thing every day. 

I see by the papers that the war with Russia is likely to come 
to nothing and I sincerely hope so as I imagine we should have 
been whipped. 

Love to all, and Believe me 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Inter Ocean Hotel, 
Cheyenne, Wyo. 
May 13th 1885 
My dear Edie, 

I have about an hour before the cars start for Denver where I 
am going today, so I will endeavour to write you a letter. 

I got your last letter dated April 4th about three days ago, it 
had been advertized in the Cheyenne papers. 

I should very much like to have been at the Biarritz Hunt Ball, 
I expect it proved very amusing. You must tell me in your next 
how it went off and how the Texas cow boy behaved. 


I hope Claudie is quite well again now but the measles is not a 
very dangerous illness. Tell him from me not to do it again as 
it is not a healthy disease the second time. 

I shall probably see Parsons tomorrow and shall be able to make 
some arrangements with him. 

I am sorry to hear that Mr Haydon is going to be liberated as 
in my opinion he is not fit to be at large and I am sure I sympathise 
with Uncle Andrew, it must be a terrible nuisance for him. 

I dare say you have heard by this time that I have so far been 
unsuccessful in finding a location. I found three, but the big 
cattle men round ran me out of the country saying I was crowding 
them out and as the small number of cattle I shall have could not 
be worked without their assistance I had to go. It was very annoy- 
ing but of course I hardly blame them as here it is every man for 

I start out again next Monday, I think, as my horses had got 
so thin I was obliged to give them some rest, so I have been 
camped for about a week five miles north of Cheyenne. 

I have heard of two good locations and I am going to see them, 
one I have already seen I think will suit me. 

I will give you an experience of ranch life just to show you 
that it is not altogether a paradise. 

We were camped on Porcupine Creek and thought of locating 
there and so I thought I would go over to the D.V. Ranch (An- 
drews and Hudson's) which is an English outfit and see what they 
had to say to it. 

We got breakfast about 5 a.m. and started to go over to Ante- 
lope Creek about 12 miles south, in order to have a look at it. A 
cowpuncher had told me that there was a wagon road ran straight 
from Antelope Creek to Andrews and Hudson's Ranch and as I 
did not know which way it lay except that it was south of me I 
had to depend on that. 

We got over to Antelope Creek and rode up and down that 
for an hour or so looking at it and then I started to go south on a 
dim wagon road I found. I rode down the road for about twenty 
miles when it got fainter and fainter till there was no road at all. 
Then of course I was in a fix. I did not know whether to go east 
or west as I did not know which the ranch was. I rode up and 
down the Dry Cheyenne river, looking for the ranch, till it began 
to get dark and my horse began to get tired, so 1 concluded that 1 
had better strike for the stage road and get to a ranch called 
Brown's Springs where I had once been when we came north. 1 
did not know how far it was, but calculated that it was between 
30 or 40 miles, so I turned west and rode and rode till my horse 
coud go no farther and it had got quite dark. Then the onl\ 
thing to do was to stay where I was till sunrise, as it had begun 
to thunder and rain till I could not tell north from south. 


By this time I must have ridden nearly sixty miles and was 
beginning to get hungry and thirsty, so I followed a cattle trail 
till I found a water hole, took a drink of water and hobbled and 
picketed my horse so that he could not get away and then wrapped 
myself in a sage brush and a few thunder clouds and tried to go 
to sleep, but it was damp in the extreme and cold too and it rained 
all night. As soon as the sun (rose) in the morning I saddled my 
horse and went west. I crossed two roads, but would take no 
notice of them as they might go for 40 miles before they got any- 
where or perhaps dwindle away to nothing. I rode about 1 5 miles 
or so when I saw a ranch in the distance. I found it was only 
about 7 miles from Brown Springs and only 4 from Andrews and 
Hudson's so I had calculated the distance to Brown's Springs about 
ten miles further than it was. I got something to eat and then 
went over to Andrews and Hudson's. There I fed my horse who 
had had nothing to speak of to eat for nearly two days, and then I 
had another meal myself. 

The next morning started northwards to go to camp and of 
course I knew where to find that in spite of roads. 

I followed a road for about 27 miles as it led in my direction 
and then left it and struck out for camp. I rode about 10 miles 
when my horse refused to go any farther and laid down with me, 
so I had to step off. He did not look ill so I thought he was only 
doing it for obstinacy so I kicked him up and led him about a mile 
and then got onto him again. We went on about a mile more when 
he again laid down in a bunch of cactus, then I knew he was either 
played out or sick and determined to try and walk to camp. I 
took the saddle off him as he lay on the ground and tied him to a 
sage brush and started to "hoof it" to camp. 

Now I knew there was a road running east and west from the 
OV ranch to Antelope creek. I walked north till I came to a road 
running east and west and came to the conclusion it was my road 
and that I was too much to the west of camp. So, I turned east 
and walked about 6 miles when suddenly I found myself on a 
creek. I did not seem to know. I knew if I let myself get bewil- 
dered I should get lost so I sat quietly down and thought where I 
had been. I concluded I must be on Antelope creek so I walked 
down it till I found the trail of our two horses where George and I 
had crossed it three days before, then I knew where I was, but 
by this time it had got so dark that I knew I might go within a 
hundred yards of camp and not see it so I dare not leave the road, 
so I turned west again and determined to try and reach the OV 
ranch. Well, I walked and walked till my feet got so sore, I could 
only hobble and was so tired I thought I could walk no farther. 
To make things pleasanter it had begun to snow and there was a 
fearfully strong wind in my face which made it very hard walking. 
Three times I laid down and tried to go to sleep but it was too 


cold and I had to get up and hobble on. At last I said to myself 
that the first gulch I could find with a little shelter from the wind 
it should be my stopping place if I froze to death. I walked on 
and on and could find no shelter till at last the walk became a 
crawl; at last I came to a gulch and intended to stay there whatever 
happened. I went down into it and drank out of a pond and was 
looking for a place to lie down in when I saw a glimmer of light 
in the distance. You bet I made tracks for that light. I hobbled 
at the rate of about ten miles an hour and found I was at the OV 
ranch. I was glad to get some coffee and fruit and go to bed. My 
feet had hardly any skin on them and I was altogether feeling 
rather unhealthy. 

The next morning I borrowed a horse and went to find mine or 
bring back my saddle if he was dead. I found him about nine 
miles off and am glad to say alive though rather weak. I brought 
him back to the OV ranch and fed and watered him and let him 
eat for two or three hours and then saddled him up and started for 
camp again which was twelve miles off. I got about two miles 
when the horse laid down with me again. Then I knew he was 
about ridden to death and started back to the OV ranch on foot. 
This time I had to walk in my socks (or what was left of them) 
as I could not walk two feet in my boots. 

I borrowed a horse from the OV men and at last got home to 

The next day we left the Porcupine and went over to Antelope 
creek and found my horse on the way. George remarked that he 
looked as if I had pulled him through a key hole and so he did. 

Well, bad luck did not end here. We went over to Antelope 
creek and camped and it again began to snow and as soon as we 
had our supper we got between our blankets and went to sleep and 
in the middle of the night crash went our tent and we found our- 
selves in the snow. Then the only thing to do was to stay in our 
blankets and try to keep warm. Well, we laid there under the 
snow from about 7 p.m. one night, all that night, all next day. 
all the next night till about ten o'clock next morning and never 
showed our noses out except once when I made a rush for the 
wagon and got us each some raw tomatoes. In fact, we stayed in 
bed about 40 hours under six inches of snow. 

Now the weather is pleasant though we had two inches of snow- 
on the 7th of May. 

I expect this letter will bore you as it is so very egotistical but 
you always are asking me to tell you what I am doing. I expect 
to stay with the Harts for two days at most and then I shall come 
back here. 

Best love to Aunt Clara, Tottie and Claudie and with the same 

to yourself, „ _. 

Your ever affect, brother, 

W. F. Wailes 


June 3rd 1885 
Fort Fetterman, 
My dear Father, 

I have at last fixed on a location and if nothing happens shall 
settle there. It is on a creek called Elkhorn which heads in the 
mountains and runs into the Platte river. Where I want to locate 
is about 35 miles south by a little east of Fort Fetterman. The 
grass is very good there and the water is good though it only runs 
a very small stream. At the head of the creek there is very fine 
summer range but during winter there will be too much snow. 
There is plenty of small timber on the creek and lots of dead and 
fallen trees which will do for firewood and there are plenty of 
pines on the divides between the creeks. 

There is no other water to speak of for some little distance 
round so probably we shall be able to hold the range to ourselves. 

There is another ranch five miles down the creek, but that won't 
hurt us though of course they will not like us coming in. 

There is a saw mill within twenty miles and any amount of good 
timber within ten miles as far as I can judge the distance. 

Laramie peak is in sight from the top of the divide but it may 
be a long way off though it only looks about fifteen miles. 

The old freight road from Cheyenne to Fetterman crosses the 
creek about eight miles or so from the head and as they freight with 
wagons all winter there can't be very much snow there or freight- 
ing on wheels would be an impossibility. 

The place will have to be surveyed at the cost of $20 a claim, 
so that surveying may cost altogether $100. 

We started to look at a place called Bates' hole, but heard such 
bad accounts of it from reliable sources that we came back. 

As far as I can see we cannot do better than this but there is no 
certainty that we shall get in there yet though probably we shall 

We are having very thundery, cloudy weather, a thing I never 
saw in America before. I am afraid it in time will become a 
second England as far as climate is concerned, as it gets wetter 
every year. 

I got your letter dated May 16th today but it was not numbered. 
I also got a letter from Mama, Sybil, Leila, Edie and one from 
Uncle Andrew and one from Mrs Quarrie. 

Love to all and believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 
P. S. Address for next month or so: Post Office Box 22 Fort 
Fetterman Wyoming T. U.S.A. 


Post Office 
Fort Fetterman 
Wyoming T. 
May 21st 1885 
My dearest Muriel, 

I owe you a letter but am afraid have not very much news. 
I start north again on Saturday next and expect to soon get 
located there. 

I have bought another broncho today and we are going to put 
him into the wagon for the first time tomorrow and the day after 
that we start north so he will be pretty tame in a week or so. 

I have been to Denver on business but contrived to have a very 
jolly three days at the Dean's. He was not at home as he has 
gone east to try and raise money to build with, either churches or 

I rode one of my horses the day before yesterday for the first 
time but he did nothing to create amusement. 

The horse I bought today pulled three of us round the corral 
for about ten minutes when we lassoed him; I am afraid he is 
going to be a "terror". 

There are some wonderfully fine houses in Cheyenne built in 
the old English style and most of the residents are rich cattlemen. 
There is an opera house, a club and a tennis club. What do you 
think of that for the "wild and wooly west"? 

One young lady here has a fine house and stable, a herd of 
cattle and forty thousand dollars and sweet seventeen. I think 1 
shall freeze on to her. 

Tell Mabel, Sybil and Hilda to write to me when they have time. 
You will probably not hear from me again for a month from 
now as I am going out of the way of post offices. 

Write again soon and when I have some news I will write. 
Best love to Mama and the whole crowd, 

and believe me. 

Your affect. Brother, 
W. F. Wailes 

Camp on Elkhorn 
35 miles South Fort 
No date Wyoming T. 

Rec'd. on June 30th 1885 Address: Post Office 

Box 22 For Fetterman 
Wyoming T. 
My dear Muriel, 

I don't remember whether I answered your letter or not, but as 


all our horses have got away and George has gone to look for 
them, I have lots of time now if I only had the news. 

I am determined to stay where I am if I possibly can. There 
is lots of room in the country and lots of feed for cattle. From 
the top of the divide we can see Laramie Peak very plainly, a high 
mountain, as it is only about twenty miles to the foot of it as far 
as 1 can judge the distance by looking at it. 

To the west of us there is only one inhabited creek to cross and 
then there is 50 miles of mountains with no-one in them. 

In the mountains there are lots of Elk, or were, last year, and a 
few bears and lots of deer, so people say, but I have not been there 
and don't believe all I hear. We are going up into the nearest 
mountains tomorrow to look for good logs to build with and when 
we have found a way of getting up with the wagon, shall take it up 
and bring down all we can and begin to build fences, corrals, and 
we shall build a house as soon as we get time. Till then we shall 
live as we have been, in the tent when it is fine and out when it 
storms, as it always blows down do what we will. 

For the last three days it has been blowing a hurricane from the 
west and the consequence was that it tore about half a dozen big 
holes in the tent and blew it down. I expect it will go over to 
England and give you a blow there. It passed here on June 4th; 
tell me in your next when it reached you. 

Mama told me in her last that you had gone up to town to stay 
with the Hamiltons so I expect by this time you are enjoying your- 
self thoroughly and I am sure I hope you are, as it is awfully dull 
in Harrogate. I hope Mama is better now than she was, I expect 
she fidgets at having to live in lodgings and I am sure I should 
if I was in her place. 

Edie is in London now. Perhaps you will see her. She says it 
is not going to be much of a season this year. 

I must now conclude this uninteresting epistle. 

Believe me, 

Your affect, brother, 

W. F. Wailes 

Camp on Elkhorn Creek, 
A.ddrcss * 
June 17th 1885 Post Office, 

Box 22, 
Fort Fetterman, 
Wyoming T. 
My dearest Mother, 

I intended to write to you before but kept putting off hoping to 
have something interesting to tell you. However, write now and 
tell you what I can. 


I have been very busy in the mountains, felling pine trees to 
make logs to build a house with. We have got nearly enough now 
but shall not begin to build till we get it surveyed. 

I am sending George into Fetterman on Friday next to try and 
find out where the surveyor is and as soon as he has surveyed 
the place I shall know what to do. 

I have a great deal of building to do, besides a house, stables, 
corrals, icehouse, grainery and store house, about five miles of 
fencing, so I have my hands full. The house is only to have two 
rooms, so it is not a very grand affair. One bedroom is to be 1 3ft. 
by 10ft., the other about 13 x 13. The walls are nothing but logs, 
chucked up with mud and the roof logs covered over with soil etc. 
Still, it will be quite good enough for me at present. We have 
no drains so there will be no smells. 

Mrs. Quarrie, my great aunt 1 suppose, wrote me a very kind 
letter the other day, inviting me to go and stay with her next 
winter, but I am afraid I shall have to decline till I get richer and 
can afford to travel. 

I was very sorry to hear that you had been ill but I hope by 
this time you are all right again. I also hope to hear that you 
got a house very shortly, it must be getting very uncomfortable 
being so long in lodgings. 

Mrs Levy is a very lucky woman to have so much money but 
that does not make up for her son's ill health which will, of course, 
prevent him marrying. 

The mosquitoes here are very fine ones and a man ought to 
have a gun or pistol always handy to defend himself if one comes 
near him. I am often afraid that one of them will carry off a 

My horses are all right and everything else is the same. I am 
going to buy a cow soon, as milk would be a great blessing, also 
some chickens. 

The mosquitoes are so bad that I can't write any more tonight 
as I have to stop every two words to fight with one. 

Will write again soon, Love to all and 

Believe me, 

Your affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Fort Fetterman. 
June 26th 1885 
My dearest Mother, 

I hope by this time you are comfortably settled in your new 
lodgings and also hope you are better than you were a short time 

Everything has been going on the same as usual. 1 am building 
a log shanty, it only has two rooms, a kitchen and another room 


and I am going to ensure the drains being in order by having none 
at all. The stable will be on one side of it and the henhouse at 
the other so as to always have lots of fleas about. Spring cleanings 
will not be allowed and as much dirt as is comfortable will always 
be found both inside and out. In fact, it will be awfully com- 

None of you have written to me lately so I shall revenge myself 
by not writing to anyone else. 

Will write again in a day or two, till then, 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

Post Office 
Box 22 
June 30/85 Fort Fetterman 

Wyoming T. 
My dearest Edie, 

I have not written to you for about a month so must try and 
do so now. 

I expect the surveyor here tonight as I sent George into Fort 
Fetterman with the wagon to fetch him yesterday. 

As soon as the land is surveyed I shall have to go to Cheyenne 

We have begun the house, such as it is, and have got about a 
quarter of it finished. It is to have two rooms, one fifteen by 
twelve and the other 10 by 15, so it is not very large. 

I have tried to draw you a plan of where the house is to be 
but I don't think you will be able to make much out of it; also 
a picture of the house. 

I shall make it as comfortable as possible and have an under- 
ground cellar if possible and an icehouse. Also poultry house 
and a stable for a tame cow, as well as stabling for six horses. 

We are going to put up a fence about four miles round as soon 
as we can, so as to get some hay this year and finish the house 
later on. 

I hope you are having a jolly season and that everyone is not 
mourning for lost relatives. Have you been to the Inventions yet 
as I hear there is to be an Exhibition of them. 

George shot a very large antelope the other day and I will try 
and save you his horns if I can as they are very large for an 

I find it awfully hard to write a letter as it is the same thing 
every day. We get up about 5 a.m. and I saddle a horse and go 


and find our other horses while George cooks breakfast. After 
breakfast we work till night, then I go for the horses again and 
picket one. We get our supper and go to bed. 

How can you expect me to write a letter with no other news 
than that. 

There are a great many emigrants going north towards Buffalo, 
which is a farming country. Most of them are very poor and now 
and then we see girls driving cattle quite barefooted. It must be 
fearfully rough for them. 

I have been very lucky so far with my horses. Only one has 
bucked with me this spring and that was little "Buckskin Joe , \ 
I did not think he was big enough to do anything, but he certainly 
made it very interesting for me for a few minutes. We have never 
ridden Jim Gray or Blue Dick yet as we have no corral which will 
hold them. We have a corral of poles piled up about 6 feet high 
but it is not strong and Dick lost his temper the other day, jumped 
over it and knocked part of it down, and also himself and another 
horse, so we have concluded to wait till we have them safe. 

Are you going to the Eton & Harrow or Oxford & Cambridge 
matches this year? Do you remember the last time we went there 
how it rained and we could get no proper shelter? 

The weather here has been lovely for the last three days and 1 
hope will continue so, though so little rain just now is bad for 
the grass. 

I hope both Tottie and Claudie are convalescent by this time. 
Tottie's picture of the dead horse was greatly admired by some 
cowboys the other day. They declared it was the image of me 
and that the horse looked quite natural. Tottie is a born artist. 

You would laugh at me if you saw me now. The arms have 
got torn off my shirt and it is split down the back. The legs of 
my unmentionables are also in a decayed condition, also my coal. 
I do not know what I shall do when I go to Cheyenne; I shall 
have to sneak into town by night and buy some clothes. 

Goodbye now and write soon as I have had no letters for two 

Believe me, 

Your ever affect, brother. 
W. F. Wailes 

P.S. I am going to make some apple tarts tonight. Don't you 
wish you had a chance of having some. Ask Tottie if she likes 



Box 22 Bordeaux Post Office 

Post Office 

Fort Fetterman July 18th 1885 


My dear Mama, 

I intended to write to you from Denver or Cheyenne but was 
so pressed for time that I could not manage it. 

I have not heard from any of you for about five weeks, so 
suppose you are all right or you would have written. I am on my 
way back to the ranch, with a mowing machine, horse rake, etc., 
and shall begin making hay as soon as possible. 

It has been very hot here between 90° and 100° in the shade 
and we have had no thunderstorms for two weeks. I shall not 
be able to get to Fort Fetterman for some time yet I expect, as I 
have so much to do. 

No time to write more as I have some loose horses outside and 
can't leave them. 

Will write again very shortly. Love to all and 

Believe me, 

Ever your affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 


La Bonte Post Office, July 29th/ 8 5 

via Bordeaux, Wyoming T. Fort Fetterman 

My dearest Mother, 


I have been terribly hard worked lately, what with breaking 
young horses, making hay, cutting logs for building purposes, 
that I have to wash my clothes by moonlight or go unwashed. 

I have just bought eight more horses that have just arrived in 
a large herd from Texas and shall not have them turned over to 
me till noon today, and as I have to get home tonight, it will take 
hard riding — 40 miles in six hours. 

Since I have been away at Cheyenne they have opened a new 
mail route and there is going to be a Post Office within 7 miles 
of us so that it will only be a short ride to get our mail and not 
close on 80 miles as it is now. 

Also, they are going to build a railroad through the territory, 
so that it seems impossible to get away from civilization and 
wherever civilization gets, money is hard to make. For my part, 
I am very much disappointed. I had got a range 130 miles away 
from the nearest railroad and between 35 and 40 miles from the 
nearest Post Office and had hoped to be undisturbed, but as soon 
as the railroad comes through it brings in a host of settlers which 
is bad for stock raisers. However, it can't be helped and I think 
if I am crowded out I shall go to South America. 


I expect by this time you have gone to the seaside for the chil- 
dren's holidays, so I will direct this to 28 Albion Street. 

I was in Denver for five days about three weeks ago. Edith 
Hart is going to leave this country for Germany on the 1st of 
August. She will be in England within the next year or two and 
if she does come to England I hope you will invite her to stay with 
you as the Harts have been very kind to me. Also, if you would 
invite Wilson Hart sometime I would be much obliged. 

My house will cost me in all about $60 = £12. $50 wasted 1 
think but a man must keep up appearances to a certain extent, 
even here. There are window nails, hinges to buy, and I am 
putting a floor in it of lumber, and roofing it with lumber when 
logs would have done. I feel that I have been extravagent, but 
I do like a house to be clean though not uncomfortably so, and 
a log roof has to be covered with mud and the mud drops through 
between the logs. I believe I told you in my last that we had a 
hospital and a good Doctor. He has lots of cases in there now; 
one poor fellow has had his leg broken and sinews twisted, ribs 
smashed and lungs hurt, a horse fell on him, so he will be a 
resident of Fort Fetterman for some time. 

We are having warm weather, over 90° in the shade, and yes- 
terday there was no breeze, which made it terrible. 

I have no more news so must conclude. I hope to hear that 
you have got a house next time you write. I am sure you would 
be much happier in a home of your own and it would be so much 
better for the children. This is stale news I expect, so I won't 
write any more. 

I do hope when this reaches you that it will find you well and 

With best love to all, 

I am, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

Address: Horseshoe Creek P.O. Elkhorn Creek 

Via Bordeaux, Wyo. T. Nov. 1st 1885 

My dearest Mother, 

I have nothing much to write about but I owe you a letter, so 
will give you all the news I have. 

Everything is going on well here and we are having lovely 
weather; an occasional cold storm and now and then as warm as 
July in England. Today I have been riding all day in my shirt 
sleeves although there was snow on the ground when I started this 
morning. I have the inside to my house nearly finished, that is 
the partition dividing the house into two rooms is finished but we 


have no windows or doors yet and I am afraid shall not have for 
a month to come. 

The furniture consists of a table we made out of boards, some 
empty boxes we sit on and a shelf. It is not much to have but it 
is better than eating off the floor as we used to. 

Tomorrow I am going to have the ground ploughed which will 
be our garden next year. I shall grow enough potatoes, onions, 
beetroots, radishes, squash melons and turnips to give us green 
food and help to feed the chickens. 

1 have been hunting deer all day although it is Sunday, in order 
to get some fresh meat, but I got nothing but a few grouse as all 
the deer seem to have left the country. Next week I shall begin 
putting up stabling for ten horses and when that is done I shail 
begin to fence, and after that build irrigating ditches, so to irrigate 
the land and grow lots of hay, so I have my hands full for a year 
to come. 

I am riding nearly every day watching the horses, as they choose 
a certain place and then stay there always and we have to watch 
them and find out where they go. Some will stray twenty miles 
away. Most of them I am glad to say are staying within six miles 
of the ranch. 

Next week I shall send George into Cheyenne with the wagon 
to get a cooking stove, plates and dishes etc., as we can only have 
tin ones and they are hard to keep clean. 

I hope to hear from some of you tomorrow xxxxxxxxx 

I received the photo in safety but can't say it flatters any of 
you but I am very glad to have it all the same. 

I must now conclude as that is the amount of my news. 

Love to all and believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Elkhorn Creek, 
Dec 6th 1885 
My dearest Mother, 

I received yours of Nov. 13th a few days ago. I am very much 
obliged to you for getting me shirts and drawers as it is impossible 
to get any good ones here. I generally have to wear them about a 
week and then throw them away. 

I really do not know how you can send them, unless you direct 
them to Dean Hart's where I can get them some day when I am 
in Denver. I don't know how you would send them by steamer 
but probably you could find out at any ships agents. 

1 am very sorry to hear of Grannie's illness, but I am glad to 
hear that she is better than she was. I hope soon to hear that 
Uncle Andrew has been returned for the Ilkley Division, as I am 


afraid he will be very much disappointed if he does not get into 
Parliament again. 

I have very little news here. The house is at last finished and 
consists of two rooms and a cellar. The doors and windows are 
also in. I have bought a cooking stove, as before we only had a 
little sheet iron one which had become burnt out; also some thick 
white plates, cups and saucers and a large wash tub, so I have 
everything I want. We have a table but no chairs, a little piece 
of looking glass and a comb. 

The stables will be finished in about two weeks and so will the 
well which has run dry although it is 1 8ft. deep, so we have to 
carry all our water about 200 yards which is not very convenient. 

The drainage of the house will cause us no trouble as we throw 
all the refuse outside and the chickens eat it up. 

I was in Fetterman the other day and the place is beginning to 
get nicely in anticipation of the railroad coming through there; the 
place is full of gamblers, and people who seem to live on nothing, 
cowboys, miners, bull whackers and mule skinners. They all gam- 
ble and fight, you see they play Faro, Bank, Keno and Poker. 

They sit with their "pile" ( money ) beside them and their pistols 
on the top of it. I found a man shot through the head the day I 
got there, and attended the funeral. About twenty or thirty people 
followed the hearse which consisted of a spring wagon and who- 
ever wanted to smoke, smoked, and all hands who were not too 
lazy helped to cover him up. When the railroad comes through 
they will have "a dead man for breakfast" as their saying is, every 
morning and then they won't take so much trouble about the 

1 may go to Denver for a few days at Christmas but I am not 
sure. If Mrs Hart who died was the Dean's mother, 1 think I had 
better not go; but I really don't know if I am mistaken or not. 

No more news, 

Best love to all and 

Believe me. 

Your affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

Elkhorn Creek, 
Dec. 14th 1885 
My dearest Mother, 

I am just writing to wish you all a merry Christmas and Happ\ 
New Year. 

I hope in a year or two from now to be with you for Christmas 
at least, but it is so far off it is no use talking about it yet. 

Thank you very much for the Christmas presents of shirts etc. 
which I am to get. They will be very useful and I hope 1 shall 
receive them in safety. 


I may go to Denver for a few days at Christmas as the wagon 
has to go in to Cheyenne for grain but I am not sure yet, as I 
don't know what relation Mrs Hart that died is to the Dean and 
if it is his mother I should not like to go there and trouble them 
at such a time. 

We have had some very cold weather for two or three days. I 
should think it must have been 10° below zero on Thursday and 
Friday last, but it has cleared up and I hope the sun will be warm 
for a week or so. I expect in the old country it is foggy and rainy 
and cold; I prefer it below zero to that. 

I hope soon to hear that you have got a house and are com- 
fortably settled for the next ten years or so, though I don't think 
you could manage ten years in one house, but I hope to hear that 
you have got a house for some little time at least. 

I must now conclude as I have no news and only wrote to wish 
you a merry Christmas. 

Best love to all, 

and believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

La Bonte P.O. Elkhorn Creek, 

Via Fort Fetterman Feb. 13/86 

Wyo. T., U.S.A. 
My dearest Mother, 

I ought to have written to you sooner but I scarcely ever get 
any time to spare at all. I have been away from the ranche for 
ten days, riding the range. It is just a year today since I left Liver- 
pool and I hope it won't be much more than a year more before 
I can afford to come back at any rate for a month or two. You 
have no idea how I should like it but I have neither the time nor 
the money to spare, so it is not to be thought of for a year yet; 
however, that will soon pass, time goes too quickly. 

1 hope to hear soon that you have got a house and left Harro- 
gate for although I think the place healthy still it is too cold for 
some people. 

I have not heard from any of you for a month or two as our 
mail here has been stopped, but I hope to get some mail tomorrow. 

I have been very fortunate this winter so far and have not had 
any casualties among the horses. The winter here has been excep- 
tionally mild though it has been a terrible one everywhere else. 

There is a great emigration from here to the British possessions, 
everyone is going there. How they will like it I don't know, but 
I expect it will be cold. 

I heard from Arty a short time since but he does not seem to 
have got any work yet which is a great pity, but I hope soon to 
hear better news. 


I hope Leila is continuing in good health. I am anxiously wait- 
ing to hear from someone how she is. 

I hear that some boxes are waiting for me in Denver, but I do 
not know whether you have sent them or who, or if they come 
from the old country at all, as you said that you could not send 
them till March. 

I have no more news as usual. I start out tomorrow to ride 
the range again and bring in saddle horses to prepare them for the 
horse round up and shall probably be away three days. 

The wagon is going into Cheyenne for a load of grain, etc. 

I am going to Rock Creek or rather beyond there to the Little 
Laramie River on business shortly. 

Tell Hilda I will write to her soon. 

Best love to all and Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Horseshoe Creek. 
Via Bordeaux 
Wyo. T., U.S.A. 
My dearest Mother, 

I have received several letters from all of you lately. 

I received one from Father yesterday asking if I wanted any- 
thing. Tell him I want "Armitage's Horse Doctor"; it costs 21/- 
or 30/-. If he won't make me a Christmas present I will pay for 
it myself. 1 have the same book already in the warehouse, but I 
have looked for it there myself and cannot find it and if I wait 
till the things are removed, I may wait five years, as it would be 
very useful to me now I prefer to buy another rather than have 
none at all. The winter is nearly over now and has here been a 
very moderate one, much more so than usual. 

I have not lost a single horse by death, which is a rather unusual 
thing the first winter after they have been driven on the trail, so 
I am lucky, but south and east of Wyoming the winter has been 
severe and the loss among stock considerable. 

I have also had a colt born on the 23rd Feb. and am expecting 
a dozen more, but next year I hope to have 65 or 70 young ones. 

Everything is going on well here excepting that a horse fell on 
me on Friday last and slightly hurt my leg so that 1 can't get my 
boot on; however, my leg is not broken and I am riding in some 
thick stockings and an over shoe on one leg and a boot on the 
other, so you need not make yourself uneasy. 

I am delighted to hear that Leila is going on so well, and I trust 
will continue to do so. I wrote to her to congratulate her. 

I heard from Edie yesterday who seems to be having a more 
enjoyable time at Biarritz than she expected. 


You want a house? How will the enclosed suit you, I am 
afraid it is too far from a town. 

I hope you are feeling better than you were. Harrogate suits 
some people or not others. I am sorry to hear about your gouty 
fingers, I am afraid it runs in the family. No news, so must 

Best love to yourself and all, and Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. Wailes 
1 cannot get any stamps within 23 miles of here so you will have 
to pay extra postage. 

44 Ranch 
Moram P.O., 
Via Bordeaux, 
Wyo. T. 
October 10th 1886 
My dearest Leila, 

I expect you are mad because I have not written to you lately. 
You can vent your anger on Fred for me. 

I really don't know what to tell you about unless it is my last 
disappointment. You know the Governor gave me a lot of surgi- 
cal instruments, air pump, lancets, knives, etc. and I have never 
been able to use them. Well, the other day two men about four 
miles from here quarrelled and one went to the wagon for his 
rifle intending to perforate the other, but the other was too quick 
for him and dropped him with his six shooter trying shooting him 
in the leg. He then got on his horse and came here and told us 
he had shot a man and that we had better go and take something 
to stop the bleeding. He then rode for the mountains. 

This was the grand opportunity I had been waiting for. I took 
the Governor's "Nyd?" case and a few instruments and started 
with the wagon to the scene of action. When we got there, I 
found the man had crawled to the creek, cut his boot and the leg 
of his trousers off and stuck his leg in the creek. He had been 
lying there about two hours and I was disgusted to see so little 
blood. I had hoped to be at least able to apply some of the 
things in the Nyd(?) case I then cut off his "lingerie" with a pr. 
of scissors and examined the wound; I had hoped that the bullet 
had lodged in the bone in which case I should have probed for 
the ball and if that had been unsuccessful, should have amputated 
there and then. But I had evidently struck a streak of bad luck, 
as the ball had gone right through without so much as cutting an 
artery or single vein. It was too bad and I was disgusted. There 
was very little blood and no probing or amputation to be done 
and the world seemed a blank to me. At last a bright thought 
siezed me. I explained to him that as the bullet had gone through 
his leg there must be wads of leather and lumps of trowser and 


lingerie that the bullet had jammed in there and had stuck in the 
wound and I told him they must be got out and was going to 
begin to sink a shaft in his shin till it struck some leather or pants 
or lingerie, when he flatly refused to let me operate. 1 never saw 
such an obstinate man. 1 tried to soothe him and told him it 
would not hurt him much etc. and I tried all the arts a dentist has 
to try to persuade a patient that he is not going to do anything 
when he has the pinchers behind his back, but it was no good. He 
did not know what was good for him and told me in forcible 
language that he would be D — d if I should use a single thing on 
him, so I had to content myself in bathing it with cold water and 
we sent him to a doctor in Douglas who knows nothing. It is too 
bad I have all those instruments and don't believe he would have 
even allowed me to use the Horse stomach pump I have. People 
don't know what is good for them or appreciate kind offers. 

The Sheriff is after the other man and I am afraid they will 
call on me as a witness although I saw nothing of the shooting: 
still, anyone does for a witness in this country as they pay you 
ten cents a mile and $1.50 a day while you are in court. 

I enclose something for Fred. Tell him it was on a clean piece 
of paper and untorn one but 1 have carried it about for so long 
that I doubt if he can make it all out. It was published in "Bill 
Barlow's Budget", the Douglas weekly paper. 

They have built a $10,000 hotel in Douglas and lots of large 
stores but prices do not seem to have much improved. 

I hope you chaperoned those girls properly in Edinburgh. They 
seemed to have enjoyed themselves pretty well there, likewise 

What is Fred's latest hobby? 1 hear nothing of dogs. Tell him 
I think Angora goats would pay if he could muster up enough 
energy to shear them. He might start a skunk ranch as a man 
"back East" has done in order to get their "hides" and the oil but 
they are slightly unpleasant things to handle. 

Tell Gladys that 1 am much obliged for her letter and will 
answer it some day when 1 have time. 

Best love to all and Believe me. 

Your affect. Brother, 

W. F. Wailes 

Moram P.O., 
Via Bordeaux 
Wvo. T., U.S.A. 
October 10th 1886 
My dearest Mother, 

I have not written to you for a long time but it is so hard to 
write to different members of the family and tell them all different 


You appear to have enjoyed your visit to Edinbro' from what 
Edie says and I am very glad of it. It does you good to be roused 
up a little. 

Edie seems rather amused with Miss Forster. You must have 
had your time employed in keeping her from being run over in 
the streets. 

I do not know whether I told you that George Pfeiffer who is 
working for me, has got married to a girl of about 19, he gave 
her father a pony for her. She does all the cooking, so I am rather 
lucky than otherwise. She also looks after the chickens etc. and 
even feeds the horses when we are both away and as I pay her 
nothing and she eats nothing to speak of, it is decidedly advan- 
tageous to me. The Shanty is much cleaner since she arrived and 
she also washes my clothes when I allow her and mends them. 
I like a woman well enough about the place but I much prefer 
her being somebody else's wife. 

It is the tenth of October today and yesterday it was as hot as 
ever I felt it in England. 

I have grown about a ton of potatoes in my garden and raised 
100 chickens which we shall soon start and eat as they cost too 
much to feed in the winter. Next year I hope to have enough eggs, 
chickens, butter, milk and vegetables to live on, and that will save 
a considerable amount of money. 

I am also going to buy two or three pigs and fatten them in a 
pen, and kill them at Christmas which will provide us with enough 
lard and bacon for six months and then I shall only have flour 
and little other things to buy. Times are so bad one must econo- 
mise. Please tell Papa that cows have fallen terribly and worse 
than horses. In fact, one man in Douglas was giving two cows 
for a good horse and I should have exchanged with him but it 
would have cost $20 a head to have brought the cows through 
the coming winter, whereas horses will do without hay. 

I received a letter from Edie and Sybil's painting this morning. 
If she did it all herself I think she will be able to earn her own 
living in the future. In any case I am much obliged for it and 
will write to all of them shortly. 

I know you will be delighted to see Arty again. He must have 
been away more than a year. The horses are doing splendidly 
and are fat but the cattle on the range are very thin and I expect 
a hard winter will cause a great deal of loss among them. 

I am going to write to Mrs Quarrie sometime soon as I never 
answered her letter. 

Best love and believe me, 

Your affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 


44 Ranche, 
Elkhorn Creek, 
December 5th 1886 
My dearest Mother, 

I have no particular news to tell you so cannot write you much 
of a letter. 

So far we have had the hardest winter on record. Snow has 
scarcely been off the ground since November 1st and it has been 
decidedly cold. 

Uncle Andrew and Claudie will I suppose by this time be near- 
ing India. I expect they will have a most enjoyable tour. Uncle 
Andrew wrote to me a short time since and told me he might 
return via San Francisco and New York. If so he will let me 
know and I shall probably see him on his way through Denver. 
I am at present engaged putting up more buildings and stables 
and as usual riding the range looking after my horses; I am afraid 
I have had one or two stolen as there has been a great deal of 
horse stealing done round here lately. If we run across any of 
the thieves "A short shrift and a long rope" will be programme — 
there are plenty of convenient trees round here. 

This country is becoming too old to be a good country and next 
year I intend, if I have the time and the money, to go to British 
Columbia before it gets too old. 

People here were fools enough to think that this railroad was 
going to do them good, and instead of that it is ruining a good 
many people; supplies are very little cheaper, and things that were 
sold for good prices before the railroad came in now fetch nothing. 

You can tell Papa that I hear from the best authority that 
Andrews sold steers this year for $5 less than he gave for them 
two years ago, losing about $8 a head on the transaction. 

There have been a good many Elk and bears killed round here 
lately as the snow has driven them out of the mountains. 

Tell Artie I will write to him when 1 have news and the time 
to spare. 

Best love to yourself and the rest, 

And Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

La Bonte P.O. Elkhorn Creek, 

via Douglas, Wyo. Wyo. 

Dec. 26th 1886 
My dearest Mother, 

I ought to have written this a month ago in order to reach you 
by Xmas but have had no time, so you must forgive me. I must 


wish you a very happy Xmas and New Year and yesterday I 
wished I was at home. 

I expect Fred and Leila were with you as usual and no doubt 
Fred did justice to the oysters, champagne and cakes. I should 
like to be home next Xmas but I am afraid it is impossible till 
times get better and money more plentiful. 

This morning the Thermometer was about 20° below zero but 
yesterday (Xmas day) was beautiful, not a cloud to be seen but 
there was plenty of snow on the ground and today it is snowing 

I have nearly got my new house finished; I am having a private 
room for myself and another larger room built, so I shall soon be 
pretty comfortable. 

There was to be a prize fight in Douglas yesterday but unfor- 
tunately I was not able to go and see it; a prize fight is uncommon 
here, they generally shoot instead. 

I suppose Uncle Andrew and Claudie are in India. I envy 
them, they will be out of the cold. Uncle Andrew may return 
via San Francisco and New York in which case I might possibly 
see him. 

I had hoped to hear that you had found a house to suit you by 
this time but from Edie's last letter I see you have not. 

I have not had any letters from any of you except Edith for two 
weeks so probably there are some on the way. This morning is our 
mail day and I was disappointed not to get any. 

I have been having a good deal of trouble about some hay 1 
bought as the man I bought it from first sold it to me and then 
before I had time to cart it to the ranch he sold it to another man. 
Consequently, there was war all round but I managed to get the 
best of them as I started with my wagon as soon as I found it out 
and took it away in the night and then followed the custom of the 
country and went to call on my Friend with a double barrelled 
shot gun loaded with buckshot. I asked him if I could take the 
hay that belonged to me and he was very polite and said I could, 
so the man who bought it over the second time got left. 

Hoping Hilda is better and with best love to yourself and the 
rest of the family, 

I remain, 

Your affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Moram P.O., 
Via Douglas, 
Jan. 31st 1887 
My dearest Mother, 

I have just received your letter dated Jan. 10th. I am so sorry 


to hear that you have been ill but I sincerely hope that you will 
be quite well again long before this reaches you. You must take 
great care of yourself. 

I am sure Mabel will make a first-rate Nurse. Have I forgotten 
to write to any of them? I think I have answered all their letters 
but am not quite sure. Please tell me when next you write. 

The winter here has been severe but I hope we shall have an 
early spring. 

I am writing this at the road ranch (i.e. Hotel) so can scarcely 
write you much of a letter but I will write again shortly. 

Tell Arty I will write to him whenever I have any news that 
will interest him. 

Very best love to yourself and the same to all the rest and 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

April 10/87 
My dearest Mother, 

I must write you a few lines at least as it is some weeks since 
I wrote to you. 

I received yours of March 18th last week. I was very much 
disappointed to hear that Uncle Andrew had changed his plans, 
as I was looking forward to seeing him. 

Please send me some simple cooking receipts if you can, I have 
milk, butter, eggs, flour, rice, oatmeal, cornmeal to make things 
out of. 

How are those oatmeal cakes made that we used to have at 
home and how are Scotch scones made? 

I am glad to hear that Arty and his wife are settled at Boston 
Spa. I think it will be so much better in every way for them to 
live together. Tell Arty when next you see him to write to me, 
I have no time to write to him. 

I hope my clothes will arrive in safety in Denver as 1 have 
literally not a respectable garment to put on but luckily that does 
not much matter out here. 

Thank you very much for the photographs of Mabel, Sybil and 
Hilda. Mabel seems to have changed a good deal and I don't 
suppose I shall know any of them when I get home again. 

We begin riding bronchos again next month if the grass has 
grown sufficiently to picket them. Also we shall begin rounding 
up as soon as possible. 

You do not say in your letter where Tom Kennedy's new house 
it? Who has got his old house? 

I built a hot bed the other day to force some vegetables; 1 expect 
to have potatoes, lettuces, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, peas, mel- 
ons, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, turnips, radishes. Kohl Rabi, 


nutmeg, melons, Rhubarb, mustard, pepper, parsley etc., so I have 
no intention of starving this summer. 

I am also growing oats, wheat, alfalfa and tame grasses to ensure 
lots of hay next winter, so you see I have plenty to occupy my 
time from 5.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. 
Best love to all, and Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 
P.S. Send me a receipt for currying rabbit, venison, etc. 

Moram P.O., 
via Douglas, 
Wyo. June 16th 1887 
My dearest Mother, 

Many thanks for your kind birthday letter which I received a 
few days later than the event, also for your letter containing the 

I hope the dance at Crayke Castle went off well. I expect it 
did. Aunt Emma is always so kind to everyone that it would be 
sure to be enjoyable. 

I hope Mabel enjoyed herself and had lots of partners. She 
ought to have had, as I am sure she dances well. You cannot wish 
that I had been there more than I do myself, but I am afraid the 
way things are turning out that it will be many a long year before 
I can get home again to England but you may be sure that the 
very first time I have money enough to get there and back again 
I shall do so. 

1 hope Papa had good sport at the Tweed in May. I am sure 
outdoor exercise is necessary for him. 

We have been having terribly hot weather for the last two weeks 
and no rain. If we don't have rain soon all the grass will be burnt 
up and spoilt and already my 3 or 4 acres of oats, wheat, etc. are 
"wilted" with the sun. Today I am glad to say it is cooler for 
although I am used to a good deal of heat this is too much, I 
imagine the hottest day you ever felt in London which is a hot 
place in summer time and then double the heat and you have the 
temperature. The mosquitoes are rather bad too this year. Last 
night we made a "smudge" (i.e. a fire that is made of green wood) 
in a bake oven and put it inside the door of the house to drive 
the mosquitoes out so we got a good night's sleep. 

Last week two mares that I am looking after for another man 
got away from me and I rode over 250 miles before I found them 
and got them back. Now I have got them back I have hobbled 
them well, prevent them getting away very fast. 

My garden is not prospering for want of rain but those things 
that will grow with very little water are growing well. I have 
onions, lettuce, potatoes, mustard already and shall soon have 


peas, beans, cabbages, tomatoes, beets, turnips etc. and all the 
water melons and pumpkins and other melons that we can eat. 

Game is beginning to get scarce and I have only killed one 
antelope in the last month, though it certainly is useless to kill 
them now as the meat soon spoils and % of it is wasted. They 
are about the same size as a sheep but three of us can eat a whole 
one in a week or ten days. 

I suppose people are talking a good deal of "Buffalo Bill's 
show", his real name is Bill Cody and he comes from near here. 
Also a good many of the men who ride for him are Wyoming 
cowboys and I know one or two personally. 

I am sorry to hear that the A Smiths have got the measles, but 
I suppose it is nothing serious to have the measles a second time. 

I received a letter from Arty a few days ago. Tell him I was 
very glad to get it and will answer it some time. 

Best love to all and Believe me, 

Your affect, son, 

W. F. Wailes 

Moram P.O. 

Oct 10/87 Via Douglas 

My dearest Mother, 

I am ashamed of having left you so long without a letter but to 
quote Dr Johnson "I do not love you less because I do not write." 
The fact is I have had my hands full of work and no news of any 
sort. I received letters from Hilda and Sybil the other day and 
was very glad to get them. 

We have just had our first snow storm lasting from the 7th inst. 
to morning of the 9th and had a severe frost last night but today 
it is bright but not warm. 

I have no meat to eat, nothing but bread and potatoes so I must 
go and kill an antelope today and now they are so scarce and wild 
that it is a matter of some difficulty. It would amuse you to see 
me crawl out one when I am really hungry and want some meat; 
I take off my hat and boots so that they can't see or hear me so 
well and sometimes crawl half a mile on my stomach to get some 
place that will shelter me, then I wind about the hills and gulches 
out of sight till I get within a hundred yards or so and then I sit 
down and rest till I get my breath and my nerves are steady and 
then I crawl round the edge of a hill or behind some sage brush 
and pick out my animal, generally a young buck, and shoot at him. 
Sometimes they give you a good fair shot and at other times they 
are off like a flash down the nearest gulch or over the nearest hill. 
If you shoot one through the heart he will sometimes run off as if 
nothing had struck him and after going about a hundred paces, 
he will fall over backwards. If you shoot one in the body and 


break no bones nor touch a vital part they will run with the rest 
but after going half a mile or so they will stop and go into a hollow 
and lay down. Then is your time to get close to them and finish 
them. If you only break a leg they can run nearly as fast as a 
horse and then your only chance to get them is to get on your 
horse and run them down and lasso them or run alongside of them 
and put another bullet into them; it is lots of fun when you have 
not to hunt for your dinner but when you know that "no hit means 
no dinner 1 ' and you have an aching pain in your jaws and your 
mouth is watering, it is not quite so funny. 

1 suppose you will shortly be in the new house and I shall be 
delighted to hear that you like it. 

I am getting terribly homesick and would give anything to get 
home again, but I suppose I must wait till J make enough money 
and that won't be for two or three years yet. 

The horses are doing as well as can be wished for and if it was 
not for these wretched American laws I should soon be rich, but 
as it is it is going to be a struggle. 

I wish you would buy me some more eye glasses Nos. 8 and 9 
but mostly No. 8 as that is the strength I use but as they vary in 
different places it would be better to be sure to have them strong 
enough. I enclose a circle to show the size; they do not need to 
be quite as large as the circle but very nearly as I have drawn the 
circle by drawing round the one I am using with a pencil. 

This house smells delicious at present. We have killed eight 
skunks under the flooring and there is one more to kill. The smell 
of drains is rather unpleasant but the smell here beats all the united 
sewers in London. 

The broncho-buster at the HR cow ranch was killed last week; 
the horse turned clean over forwards with him and he never spoke 
again. They have planted him down by the creek and piled a 
heap of stones on him. He must feel as if he had eaten too large 
a dinner with all those stones on his chest. 

I expect you are sorry to leave Edinbro' and I expect the girls 
are too. 

Goodbye for the present. 

Tell everybody I will write to them as soon as they write to me 
again, as I am so far in their debt, it is useless to try and catch 
up so I may as well declare myself bankrupt and we can then all 
start again level. Best love to yourselves and everybody else and 
Believe me, 

Your ever affect, son, 
W. F. Wailes 

Bben Swift's Amy Service 
oh the Plains, 1876-1879 

Introduced and Edited by Paul L. Hedren 

It is rare when a fresh, first-hand account of army life on the 
American frontier emerges for utilization by students of the Indian 
wars and the "Old Army.'" The "Personal Memoranda of Major 
General Eben Swift," on deposit in the Library of the United States 
Military Academy, constitutes one exciting new discovery. Writ- 
ten in retirement, this memoir recounts personal experiences dating 
from the time of Swift's childhood with his father. Captain and 
Assistant Surgeon Ebenezer Swift, on the 1850s Texas frontier, 
through the First World War. In retrospect, Eben dwelt, and 
proudly so, on his service with the Fifth Regiment United States 
Cavalry beginning near the end of the 1876 Sioux Campaign and 
continuing into the 1890s. His remarks pertaining to two impor- 
tant personages in the Fifth Cavalry, Colonel Wesley Merritt and 
Captain Charles King, are especially enlightening and help round 
out the careers of those men. Equally illuminating are his com- 
ments about soldiering on the frontier, particularly from the view- 
point of a "green" West Point graduate. 

Eben Swift was born in Texas on May 11, 1854. His childhood 
was spent at the elbows of army officers while he listened to 
accounts of Indian fights, the Mexican War, and service along 
the Oregon Trail with the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. It 
seemed only natural that Eben should be a soldier, and in due 
course he received an appointment from Ulysses S. Grant to attend 
the United States Military Academy. Upon graduation in 1876 
Swift was appointed to the Fourteenth Infantry, but he transferred 
at his own request to the Fifth Cavalry in October, 1876. 

Swift's service with the Fifth was marked by frequent field ser- 
vice, and steady responsibility. As he recounts in this extract from 
bis "Personal Memoranda,''' he was appointed Regimental Adju- 
tant in 1878, and continued in that capacity until 1887. Eben 
was promoted to first lieutenant in 1884, and to captain in 1893. 
These promotions were not meteoric, but it was not uncommon for 
any officer during this period to remain in grade for a decade 
or more. 

In 1896 Swift was ordered to Springfield, Illinois, for duty as 
Regular Army instructor of the Illinois National Guard. At the 
onset of the Spanish American War, he was appointed major of 
the Seventh Illinois Infantry. Later in 1898 he received a com- 
mission as lieutenant colonel of the Ninth Illinois Infantrv, and 



—United States Military Academy Library 
Cadet Eben Swift 

then colonel of the Fourth Illinois Infantry. While in Cuba, his 
infantry unit was mustered out of the volunteer service and Eben 
rejoined the Fifth Cavalry as a captain. 

When the War Department at the turn of the Century raised an 
infantry regiment comprised of native Puerto Ricans, Swift was 
promoted to major in the new unit. He then went on to duty with 
the First and Eighth U.S. Cavalry Regiments, and the Second Cav- 
alry Brigade during the 1916 Mexican Border conflict. 

In 1917 Eben was promoted to major general in the National 
Army and was ordered to Camp Gordon, Georgia, to organize and 
command the Eighty-second Division. He nearly accompanied his 
division to France, but General Pershing declared that there should 
not be any general in Europe over age sixty. Since Swift was then 
sixty-three, he remained behind when the Eighty-second left 


On May 17, 1880 Eben married Susan Bonaparte Palmer, the 
daughter of Brevet Major General and Mrs. Innis N. Palmer. 
Palmer was a retired colonel of the Second Cavalry Regiment. His 
memoirs suggest that Eben was an immensely happy man, both 
professionally and personally. And he was a sentimental man. 
In 1930, at the age of seventy-six, he wrote: 

I am a very lonely, sad old man now. My dearly beloved Susie 
departed this life for a better one a month ago today. . . . 

Some people think that youth is a mistake, middle age a struggle 
and old age a regret, but I have not found it so. On the whole I 
have enjoyed life and have no regrets. I feel that I have done my 
share in disseminating military Knowledge and preparing for national 
defense. I have successfully raised a family of two girls and three 
boys and have eleven hearty grand children, two of them cadets at 
West Point. Now I am very, very tired and want to be with Susie. 

The memoirs which follow detail Eben Swift's service with the 
Fifth Cavalry on the Northern Plains from 1876 through 1879. 
Aside from spelling corrections and the addition of explanatory 
notes, the text is as Swift wrote it. 

The "Custer Massacre" occurred while I was on my graduation 
leave and my regiment went on the Black Hills and Yellowstone 
expedition commanded by General Crook. 

I reported on September 1st at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, to 
get transportation to my regiment. A detachment of four hundred 
recruits (Custer Avengers) was about to leave Fort Laramie, ninety 
miles to the north, so I was ordered to join that command at once, 
and march with them to the Black Hills of Dakota. 

On graduation I had provided myself with a beautiful Hatfield 
suit and four dress uniforms, a dozen white shirts and other equip- 
ment to match, but not a single article suitable for service in the 

It is a strong indictment of West Point methods of that day and 
the so called lectures of our tactical officers that we should be 
turned loose in this way. 

As time was short I went over to the quartermaster's storehouse 
and bought an enlisted man's blouse, long trousers, campaign hat. 
all ill-fitting of course. Someone gave me a pair of old shoulder 
straps. No alterations could be made in the few hours at my 
disposal and I am sure that I looked as green and raw as any 
recruit in the outfit. 

I started in the old-fashioned stage coach, ninety miles by road 
to Fort Laramie. The horses moved at a fast trot and were re- 
layed every four hours. This trip by coach has been seen often in 
Buffalo Bill's Show and has been described often. We reached 
Fort Laramie after dark. I did not go to the post but stopped at 
the sutler's store, sleeping on the floor with others. The place was 


filled with a half-drunken crowd. No soldiers, a lot of cattle men, 
and one fight. 

The next morning I reported to Captain Deane Monahan, 1 com- 
manding the detachment of recruits. Other officers were Lt. 
Ward,- Fifth Cavalry and Sam Cherry 3 of the class of 1875. Mon- 
ahan was of the old sergeant type of pre-war days. He put Ward 
in arrest before we left camp but found no fault with me. The men 
were divided into four troops, mounted on new and untrained 
horses and each man was leading a horse, as the regiment was 
partially dismounted by the losses of the campaign. 

It is a commentary on the military service of that day to tell of 
green recruits on green horses, rushing forth to field duty. My 
First Sergeant was George K. Kitchen, an old Fifth Cavalryman, a 
soldier of the highest type so I had little trouble and learned much 
from him by letting him run things. Not for a moment did he 
disclose the fact that he knew I was as green a recruit as any of 
the rest of the men. 

On the first night out from Fort Laramie, a sergeant reported to 
me for orders for the "herd guard." I had never HEARD of a 
herd guard and was much embarrassed. I pretended not to hear 
him and said, "What?" He repeated. I was stumped but a sud- 
den inspiration came to me and I said, "Usual orders." It just 
happened that this was the right thing to say to an old soldier, but 
I had not the faintest idea what it was all about. That first night 
I was officer of the day, sleeping quietly in my tent when suddenly 
I was awakened by scratching on the tent pole. I called, "What 
is it?" The answer was that "The Indians are all around the 
camp." I jumped up and said, "Turn out the guard," or some- 
thing just as foolish, but the terrified recruit did not move. As I 
started out of the tent, I heard the quiet voice of Ward in the next 
tent as he said, "Swift, oh, Swift, make those damn fools go to 
bed, will you." Often I have thanked him for those words, for 
they called me to myself and saved me from making a sad exhibi- 
tion. I saw the situation at once. Around a big campfire the men 
were crowded, imagining a Custer Massacre for themselves. I 
quickly had the fire put out and sent them to their tents. 

The balance of the trip went smoothly, guided by California 
Joe, 4 a tough old ruffian of the forties, still suffering from bullet 
wounds which he had gotten in some brawl. 

We reached the camp of the regiment of October twelfth, near 
Custer City, and were cordially received. 

1 Captain Deane Monahan, Third Cavalry. 
2 First Lieutenant Edward W. Ward, Company F. 
:{ Second Lieutenant Samual A. Cherry, Company F, Fifth Cavalry. 
4 Moses E. Milner. Milner was murdered at Camp Robinson, October 
29, 1876. 


It was a motley crowd, with untrimmed, scraggly beards; clothes 
roughly patched with canvas, gunny sacks, or anything at hand; 
hats of buffalo skin or none at all; foot wear of rags; horses, skin 
and bones. 

When I reported to General Merritt, as 1 stood before him in 
my hastily acquired uniform, 1 felt that he was thinking in this 
way, "Well, this is about the greenest looking recruit in the batch. 
A West Point graduate? They have changed if they turn out such 
as this. 1 ' 

The fresh horses we brought were objects of interest as the 
regular mounts were pretty well broken down. One troop lost 
every horse. My troop lost none, which goes to show that the 
hard service had not been entirely to blame. My nice easy-going 
sorrel was taken by Jack Hayes." I protested vigorously but it 
was of no use. 

1 was assigned to "B" Troop, the grey troop, under Captain 
Montgomery,' 1 one of the old sergeants of the ancient regime before 
the Civil War. He did not fall on my neck, but said that he did 
not need a lieutenant, who was generally in the way, had to be 
provided with a horse and a striker, fed, etc., etc. 1 lived to see 
him my fast friend, to get his approval and his friendship until he 
died. I was introduced to the contract surgeon of the regiment. 7 
who was messing with "Monty." He said, "Mr. Swift, the first 
duty of a lieutenant is to know how to make a toddy." I confessed 
my ignorance and he gave me the necessary lessons, and 1 was the 
"toddy maker" from then on. 

On October fourteenth, the second day after our arrival, the 
regiment started off on a ten-day scout, down the south branch of 
the South Cheyenne River, to the mouth of Rapid Creek. My 
father had presented me with a fine field mattress, made after his 
own plans. No man in the command had such a luxury so 1 was 
ashamed to use it. Bob London 8 had no such sentiment and of- 
fered to take care of it for me so I slept on the bare ground. On 
the scout we saw only a few hostiles who disappeared quickly. 
We were told that the object of the scout was to prevent the In- 
dians of the Red Cloud Agency from joining the hostiles. The 
result is not known to me. We returned to the crossing of Custer 
City and Red Cloud roads, near Buffalo Gap 5 ' and then marched 
to Camp Robinson, Nebraska; at which the Big Horn and Yellow- 
stone Expedition was abandoned on October twenty-fourth. A 
fairly good idea of the sentiment of the command may be gotten 

•"'Captain Edward M. Hayes commanded Company G. Fifth Cavalry. 

''Robert H. Montgomery. 

7 Acting Assistant Surgeon J. W. Powell. 

s Second Lieutenant Robert London. Company I. Fifth Cavalry. 

''Buffalo Gap lies in the foothills to the southeast of the Black Hills. 


from a song, written by Charlie King, 10 to the tune of "The Regu- 
lar Army O!", of which this is a part: 

But 'twas out upon the Yellowstone, 

We had the damndest time, 

Faith, we made the trip with Rosebud George, 

Six months without a dime. 

We campaigned in the sage brush, 

The ditches and the mud. 

And we never saw an onion, or a turnip, or a spud. 11 

Rosebud George was the nickname given to General George 
Crook. The paymaster was there and all hands got their back pay 
as well as their full rations. It was quite natural that the change 
from horse meat and putrid buffalo, with nothing to wash it down, 
should be celebrated in good old army style. 

Never will I forget the evening and the night of the first day at 
Camp Robinson. 

The enlisted men found plenty of "speak easies" around, I 
suppose. There was no room for them at the sutler's store. It 
was taken by the officers for themselves, hundreds of them, I 
should say, a howling mob. Among other performances was Hoel 
Bishop, 12 riding his horse into the billiard room and trying to get 
him to jump over the billiard table. 

I looked on in wonder, did not touch a drop, alone, silent and 

The only casualty that I can remember was Lt. Keyes who hap- 

10 First Lieutenant Charles King, Company K, Fifth Cavalry. 

n The song "The Regular Army O," written by Edward Harrigan about 
1874, was immensely popular in the old army and was sung by regulars at 
many a campfire. Swift had confused and combined a few lines. The 
verse attributed to Lieutenant King is as follows: 

But twas out upon the Yellowstone, 

we had the damndest time, 
Faith, we made the trip wid "Rosebud George", 

six months without a dime. 

Some eighteen hundred miles we went, 

through hunger, mud, and rain. 
Wid backs all bare, and rations rare, 

no chance for grass or grain. 

Wid bunkies starvin' by our side, 

no rations was the rule; 
Sure twas ate your boots and saddles, you brutes, 

but feed the packer and the mule. 

But you know full well that in your fights, 

no soldier lad was slow, 
And it wasn't the packer that won ye a star, 

In the Regular Army O. 

12 Second Lieutenant Hoel S. Bishop, Company G. Fifth Cavalry. 


pened to be on pledge and broke it. General Merritt had him 
court-martialed and he was dismissed. 13 

Then on to Fort Laramie, and thence to Fort D.A. Russell, 
which was to be headquarters of our regiment; and where we 
arrived on November seventh. I had ridden about five hundred 

So much for my first month of service. 

At Fort Russell I put on my fine Hatfield uniform, cheered up 
and began to think something of myself. Montgomery told me 
that I was to go on roll calls morning and evening, stables and all 
drills. About all he did was sign the morning report. As the other 
captains divided the duties with their lieutenants, they voted my 
captain as a pretty mean man. I did not resent it at all, was glad 
of it and knew it did me good. 

It was here that my West Point training came into play. I took 
that troop of cavalry, drilled and instructed it with full confidence. 
As judge advocate of the regiment of the frequent courts, I swore 
the court without looking at the book, wrote up the record and 
turned it in promptly. 

The Captain became quite friendly, the stern General seemed to 
give me a look of approval, and Charles King, the adjutant, told 
me that he had picked me as his successor — little thinking how 
soon the prediction would come true. 

The winter of 1876-1877 was passed at Fort Russell. It was a 
bleak station. Sometimes the snow banked up to the eaves of the 
houses and we had to dig our way into the stables. As much 
military duty as weather permitted was performed. The General 
was a strict disciplinarian. Every man who missed a duty was 
tried by court-martial. I think a hundred men were in the guard 
house at once, after one pay day. 

Reveille and morning stables were almost in the dark. The 
General was present but after an attack of illness he discontinued 
the practice for himself. 

On May twenty-ninth, 1877, my troop, with four others, took 
the field and were ordered to march to the Big Horn Mountains, 
the scene of the operations of the previous year, the favorite hunt- 
ing ground of the Indians. We took the old Bozeman Trail by 
Chug Water, Fort Fetterman, where we crossed the [North] 
Platte, Cantonment Reno, 14 on the Powder River, the remains of 

13 Second Lieutenant Edward L. Keyes, Company C, Fifth Cavalry. 
Keyes "ceased to be an officer" April 28, 1877. 

14 Cantonment Reno, established in 1876 as a supply base for Colonel 
Ranald Mackenzie's operations against hostiles in Wyoming, was located 
three miles south of old Fort Reno. In August. 1877, the post was desig- 
nated Fort McKinney. In June, 1878, the post was relocated on the Clear 
Fork of the Powder River. 


old Fort Phil Kearny, across the scene of the massacre of Fetter- 
man's command a few miles beyond the Big Piney, and on to the 
Clear Fork of the Powder, where we made camp. 

It was here that Fort McKinney was established as was the 
present town of Buffalo. 1 "' It was a beautiful site. The streams 
were full of mountain trout. The mountains and plains abounded 
in wild game such as mountain sheep, elk, black tail deer, antelope, 
buffalo and mountain grouse. No wonder the Indians were willing 
to fight and die for it in preference to rotting and starving at the 
agencies. On July seventh, Generals Sherman and Crook, escorted 
by one of our troops, arrived from Fort Washakie. 

I joined with my troop and four others and we escorted the 
party to Fort Custer at the mouth of the Little Big Horn in Mon- 
tana. We stopped over one day at the scene of Custer Battle Field, 
less than a year before and we must have been the first to visit 
the place since General Terry's command had been there and bur- 
ied the dead. 

We had brought with us a band of about twenty-five Indians 
from the Cheyenne agency at Red Cloud, who were now enlisted 
as scouts. They had evidently been in the fight and knew all about 
it but never would acknowledge the fact. They claimed that when 
the soldiers appeared they ran in great fear and buried themselves 
in striking camp and helping the women and children and old men 
to get away. They guided us over the field and pointed out the 
routes taken by Custer, Reno, and Benteen. Some unburied bodies 
were found. Others had been dug up by wolves. Many dead 
horses were lying around. Rags of uniforms and broken bits of 
equipment were scattered about. I have always regretted that I 
did not make careful note at the time, since so much controversy 
has sprung up in recent years, and this was the only opportunity 
I know of to have gotten first hand information from the Indians. 
The outstanding feature that I gathered was that the fight lasted 
only a few minutes before the "Soldiers were all dead." 

It was evident that Reno was wrong in retreating from his posi- 
tion in the creek bottom. The Indian of the plains does not go 
into the woods to fight. 

After returning from Fort Custer we continued to patrol the 
valleys of the Little Big Horn, Rosebud, Tongue and Powder, and 
remained until August. 

The Nez Perce tribe of Indians, under Chief Joseph, retreating 
before Generals Howard and Gibbon, had entered the Yellowstone 
National Park in their endeavor to reach Canada. General Sher- 
idan had planned to head them off by blocking the northeastern 

1 -"'Swift has confused the relative location of Fort McKinney. The new 
post was located between Cantonment Reno and Fort Phil Kearny, and not 
beyond the latter post as he suggests. 


and eastern exits from the Park. General Merritt, with the re- 
mainder of the regiment, marched from Russell by way of Fort 
Washakie and reached a point on the Stinking Water about where 
Cody now stands. South of Heart Mountain, our command broke 
camp on the Clear Fork and with pack mule transportation, 
marched north by the ruins of old Fort C.F. Smith on the Big 
Horn, on the old Bozeman Trail and Pryor's Gap, at the north end 
of the Big Horn Mountains. We joined Merritt on September 
eighteenth at the Stinking Water. This name is a translation of a 
Shoshone word which was given from the fact that a lake of black 
pitch emptied into the river at some point below where we camped. 
The river appears as the Shoshone River on modern maps. 

Chief Joseph had chosen the Clark's Fork at the northeast en- 
trance-exit from the Park. By hiding his old men, women and 
children in the mountains, he was able to start on a blind trail to 
the south with his fighting men. The troops followed, leaving the 
main trail, and leaving it free for the party that had been left 
behind. Joseph then made a loop and got back to the main trail, 
followed by the Seventh Cavalry troops. The party that Joseph 
had left behind had already moved out when the troops had left 
the road free. It was then a stern chase. 

General Sheridan was much disappointed as I can testify from 
reading his dispatch to General Merritt. 

The news of this reached the General about the time of our 
arrival so we marched to the north to the Clark's Fork trail. We 
were too late, of course, and all we found were the abandoned 
horses which had been left behind by the pursuing troops, Seventh 

We started back on September twenty-second and arrived at 
Fort Washakie on the twenty-eighth, left on the thirtieth. We 
marched by Lander, the Little Popo Agie River, McGraw's Cross- 
ing of Bear Creek, across the mountain range to the Sweetwater 
River to St. Mary's Station 16 at the old emigrant road, "Oregon 
Trail," along the Sweetwater Valley. It was the road followed by 
Albert Sidney Johnston 1T with the Mormon Expedition in 1859 
[1857], and we entered not far from the South Pass where my 
father had spent a horrible winter. . . . The broad trail, a mile wide, 
was still clearly traced. We crossed the Platte River at Reno 
Butler on October sixth, reached Fort Fetterman October ninth. 
Fort Laramie October thirteenth, where the Wind River Expedi- 
tion was disbanded. We left on the twenty-second and were back 
again at Fort D.A. Russell on the twenty-fifth. We had been away 
about five months, had marched about fifteen hundred miles, from 
point to point, not counting side scouts and windings on the road. 

16 A stage and telegraph station in central Wyoming. 
17 Colonel, Second Cavalry. 


After a rather short rest we were called out again on January 
sixth, 1878. This time the trouble was at Ross Fork agency of 
Bannack Indians, near Fort Hall, Idaho. The Indians were excited 
over the arrest of one of their men on a charge of murdering a 
white man. They had left the agency and were camped near by. 
We took the Union Pacific Road to Corinne, Utah, marched with 
pack train and three troops to Fort Hall, arriving on the four- 
teenth. That night we proceeded to the Ross Fork agency, located 
the Indian camp, surrounded it and, at daybreak, called on them 
to surrender. The Chief, Buffalo Horn, a fine looking fellow, in 
full war paint, came out and surrendered. All was over in a few 
minutes. I am happy to record that no fool was there to fire a 
shot and cause a big killing. We escorted the Indians back to the 
agency, retreated the way we came and reached Fort Russell on 
the twenty-fifth. We had marched three hundred miles or more 
and had performed a delicate piece of work in a good soldierly 

Our trip was largely through the Mormon country. I must say 
that these and other Mormons impressed me most favorably. They 
were an industrious, fine looking, honest, moral community. 
There was not much polygamy. It is a pity that they had been 
persecuted so much by fanatics. 

On January twenty-eighth, 1878, a few days after our return, 
early in the morning, I met General Merritt on the board walk in 
front of the officers' line of quarters. He stopped and said, "Mr. 
Swift, have you anything to do at this time?" I answered, "No 
Sir." He said, "Find Lieutenant Charles King, put him in arrest 
and take over the duties of adjutant." I at once went home, put 
on my full dress uniform, as was done on such occasions, found 
King in his bedroom at his quarters, reported back to the General, 
and assumed the duties of the post and regimental adjutant which 
I continued for more than ten years, when a regulation was made 
limiting the length of the incumbency of regimental staff officers 
to four years. 

It was a dazzling promotion. No other second lieutenant was 
holding that position. It was the prize that every young officer 
wished and hoped for. It carried extra pay which amounted to 
three hundred dollars a year and that was a lot of money in those 
days. As there were fourteen first lieutenants in the regiment, two 
of them being regimental staff officers, I had to wait for my regular 
appointment until the number was reduced to thirteen. This hap- 
pened on June fourth, 1878, when First Lieutenant Riley 18 re- 
signed. My position was that of acting adjutant until then, when 
I was regularly appointed regimental adjutant. As a second lieu- 

ls Bernard Reilly, Jr., Company I, Fifth Cavalry. 


tenant, I would ordinarily have been promoted then to the vacancy 
created by Riley. I was keeping the senior out of his position 
until I myself was promoted to first lieutenant and the number of 
first lieutenants would again be fourteen. This did not occur until 
1884. I must say that all concerned treated me with great con- 
sideration notwithstanding their disappointment. I had also been 
kindly treated by King, whom I admired greatly. I deeply de- 
plored the event which caused him so suddenly to lose his position 
and to leave the regiment. 19 

On May twentieth, 1878, we took the field again for our camp- 
ing grounds of the year before in the Big Horn country. This time 
the General was in command and I was the adjutant. We occu- 
pied an old camp site on the Clear Fork until July fifteenth. The 
hunting and fishing were as fine as before. Among side trips one 
to be remembered was up the Clear Fork to its source in the Big 
Horn Mountains. There we found a beautiful mountain lake filled 
with trout and a setting of wild flowers of every hue, so thick as 
to hide the green leaves and grass. It looked like the bottom of 
a big bowl, perhaps the crater of some extinct volcano, but the 
mosquitoes were the biggest, most ruinous, venomous and fearless 
that I have ever seen. They tortured men and horses so much 
that we left as soon as we could. 

We moved our camping grounds around from place to place to 
get grazing for the horses and camped on Rock Creek September 
fifth. Meanwhile, our old camp site at the Clear Fork had been 
chosen for a military post and then troops were assigned to build 
it. The name was Fort McKinney, in memory of Lieutenant John 
A. McKinney who was killed in Mackenzie's fight some months 
before. 20 

The Bannack Indians were giving trouble again, this time in the 
country south of the National Park. We received orders to march 
to Fort Washakie once more. This time we crossed the mountains 
by an old Indian trail instead of going around the northern end of 
the range as in the year before. These mountains are heavily 
wooded. We moved along the highest part in a blinding snow 
storm. A herd of mountain buffalo were there too, moving along 

19 King's story is a sad one. In 1874, while commanding a detachment of 
Fifth Cavalrymen, he received a serious shoulder wound in a skirmish with 
Apaches at Sunset Pass, Arizona. King, on advice from his doctor, used 
alcohol to relieve excruciating pain and he became an intemperate drinker. 
He was promoted to Captain, Company A, Fifth Cavalry on May 1, 1879, 
but then retired from the army on June 14, 1879 for "disability resulting 
from wounds received in the line of duty." As late as 1878 the wound 
discharged bone fragments, and at the time of his death in 1933 it was 
still a torment. 

20 The reference is to Colonel Ranald Mackenzie's fight with Cheyenne 
Indians, November 25, 1876, on the Red Fork of the Powder River. 


with us, blinded like ourselves, by the snow, unmindful of our 
presence, almost as near as our men and horses. A few were shot 
but the General ordered it to be stopped. We followed a zig-zag 
trail down the west side of the mountains out of the snow and 
camped in the beautiful green valley of the Big Horn River at the 
foot. We reached Fort Washakie on September fourteenth. 

Fort Washakie was at the agency of the Shoshone Indians and 
was named after their chief. He was a handsome old man, wear- 
ing his long hair down on his shoulders. He reminded me of the 
picture I have seen of Henry Ward Beecher. The Shoshones were 
a high type of Indian, sober, moral and honest. By some out- 
rageous policy of the Indian Department the Arapaho tribe had 
also been recently sent there. They were a degenerate lot, under 
Chief Sharp Nose who was a rascal. 

The chiefs came to call on General Merritt. They sat on the 
porch of Major Upham's- 1 quarters, on each side of the General. 
All conversation was in the sign language which took the place of 
English. The post guide was interpreter. 

The manners of the chiefs were natural but gentle and with cer- 
tain polish. Their gestures were graceful and their smiles were 
attractive. After paying their compliments to the General in the 
most approved way, each chief told the General about the many 
virtues of the other. Washakie said that Sharp Nose was a great 
warrior, a valuable friend of the white man, a faithful ally in war. 
Sharp Nose told of the noble qualities of the young son of the 
Shoshone chief and predicted as fine a career for him as his father's 
had been. I was sure those Indians hated each other and I could 
never understand why they indulged themselves in diplomatic com- 
pliments of this kind. 

The General then broke up the Wind River Expedition of 1878, 
and on September twentieth we started back on about the same 
trails as those we used the year before. Again the Sweetwater 
Valley was filled with great herds of antelope always in view. We 
passed by Fort Fetterman on the twenty-eighth and arrived at Fort 
Laramie on October sixth. The General was then called away for 
some reason, to the east, and left at once. When he reached Fort 
D.A. Russell he telegraphed me to come and straighten out the 
band which had been left behind at the post and was in a bad 
condition of discipline and otherwise. On the next morning I 
mounted my horse and, with Killegrew, my orderly, rode the ninety 
miles to Russell before dark, had a shave and a bath, put on my 
good clothes and in the evening sat beside Miss Susie Palmer at the 
theatre in Cheyenne City, not a bit tired by my ride and quite 

-'John J. Upham, Fifth Cavalry. 



Hf lIPlRlttv I 


• t ': 

— United States Military Academy Library 
General Eben Swift, 1918 

On November twenty -second the command was home again, 
having traveled pretty much the same country as in the years 
before; say fifteen hundred miles, not counting side trips but just as 
the crow flies. 

Hall, 22 Eaton, 23 London and myself had a house and we all 
messed together. The game of poker had a strong hold on the 
army in those days. I have seen officers in the field, before the 
tents were pitched, put a blanket on the ground and sit down for a 
game. I have never played and I often thought that General 
Merritt knew about this and that it was one of his reasons for 

—First Lieutenant William P. Hall. Regimental Quartermaster. Fifth 

23 Second Lieutenant George O. Eaton. Company A. Fifth Cavalry. 


making me adjutant. My companions were fine fellows but they 
did play. Perhaps I did not join for several good reasons. One 
was that I was determined to pay my debts that I had incurred on 
graduation. Another reason was that Susie Palmer was teaching 
me the game of backgammon and another game between. As I 
had to receive the reports at tattoo roll call I would walk to Camp 
Carlin, a mile or more away, where she was visiting, play back- 
gammon until midnight, run all the way back to Russell, and get 
up for reveille in a few hours. I cannot remember whether I ever 
won a game of backgammon or not. It is hard to play two kinds 
of a game at the same time. On the nineteenth of December Miss 
Susie promised to marry me. 

On January nineteenth, 1879, less than two months after the 
return of the command from the Reno Expedition we went out on 
another of our winter campaigns. On this occasion it happened 
that Dull Knife's band of Cheyenne Indians, who had been sent 
to Indian Territory by General Crook, had started back again, 
crossed the state of Kansas . . . , and entered the state of Nebraska. 

General Merritt had not yet returned to the regiment, so Major 
Ferris, 24 the senior officer of the post and captain of infantry took 
command of our six troops of cavalry and marched away. As 
Captain Montgomery was absent I went along and commanded my 
proper troop, "B", in addition to my other duties. 

As usual we marched with the pack trains and no wagons. A 
mule was assigned to each officer for his use. Lieutenant Bob 
London, a North Carolinian, had always suffered on those cold 
expeditions. He wore such heavy clothing that he could hardly 
walk when the command was to dismount and march on foot. 
He decided that he would carry a Sibley stove and pipe on his 
mule. He was well pleased with his scheme until Ferris saw the 
stove and ordered that it be abandoned. London was indignant 
and swore that he would make Ferris pay for this government 
property, thus abandoned without cause. I never heard the end 
of the matter. 

We marched by Fort Laramie, Red Cloud, the agency at Fort 
Robinson, the Spotted Tail agency at Fort Sheridan, Nebraska 
Newman's (Harman's) ranch on the Niobrara River, and then 
south to Snake Creek. We went into the Sand Hills, south of the 
Niobrara River and across the headwaters of the Fork. As the 
ground was covered with snow no trails could be found, so we 
returned to Fort Robinson. On arrival we found that the Indians 
had been surrounded in another direction by the guides of the post 
and had surrendered after a fight. I went into the guard house 
to see them. Dull Knife was badly wounded, lying on the bare 

- 4 Captain Samuel P. Ferris, Fourth Infantry. 


floor, evidently in great suffering. He was a fine looking type of 
the Cheyenne tribe, with a dark and weather-beaten face. He was 
tenderly cared for by two pretty young daughters with rosy cheeks, 
not yet disfigured by toil and trouble. We returned to Fort D. A. 
Russell on February twenty-eighth, having traveled about seven 
hundred miles in midwinter. As I had not shaved, my face was 
covered with a growth of red beard. Much to my surprise and 
chagrin, the ladies, old and young, with some officers and cattle 
men came out to meet us as we approached Fort Russell. The 
other fellows had spruced up and had teased me a lot about my 
red beard, and the effect it would have with the ladies. 1 am sure 
it was a shock to one of them but the result was not very serious. 

Miss Susie went to her home in Washington shortly after this. 
At a later date during spring or summer 1 became much disturbed 
over the letters which I was getting from home about the failing 
health of my mother so I got the General to give me a leave of 
absence for one month. I hastened home and found her spending 
much of her time in bed, the post surgeon at Fort Wadsworth-"' in 
consultation and Miss Wilder nursing her. 1 shall always be thank- 
ful for that visit and it was the last time that she was ever able 
to speak to me. I often search my heart to find if I have done all 
my duty to her. Few men, I suppose can satisfy themselves on 
that point. Most of us can think of many things that they wished 
they had done. I can at least cherish the memory of those blessed 
days, at West Point, at the time of my graduation, when she 
showed her happiness and pride in me. With the first money that 
I could call my own I bought her a gold chain which pleased her 
very much. Afterwards, at Cheyenne, I sent her a gold cross to 
wear with the chain. During that short leave of absence 1 had 
happy days caressing her. When my young brother came home 
from school he too wanted to have all her attention in the same 
way and I became very jealous. 

I have my father's letter to his sister in which he tells of his last 
visit to his own mother. He suffered as I have done, cherished 
the same hope that this life on earth is not the only one. 

-•"'Fort Wadsworth was located on Staten Island in the New York Harbor. 


By Wikes Wamboldt 

Could anything have been more appropriate or significant than 
the naming of January, the first month of the year, after the 
Roman deity Janus — the god of all beginnings — the god with two 
opposite faces, one looking back into the past and the other facing 

Isn't that the cue for you and me and for everyone else as we 
begin this new year of 1929? Should we not be as Janus, looking 
backward and looking forward, studying the past for the lessons 
it will teach, and facing the future with hope, strength, and 

This is a good time to review the past, not only the year but 
the past life. What things have we done, what things have we 
left undone? Based on all that has gone before, what will we do 
with 1929? What will we do for ourselves, for our families, for 

We have heard the remark, he or she has a past. Who is there 
who has not a past? One's past, no matter how ignoble, is a 
valuable part of his life, because from it he can draw a commend- 
able future. 

But in reviewing the past make not the mistake of viewing it 
with regret. Regrets are useless things; they inject hopelessness 
into the soul, and waste valuable energy. 

Most folks learn by making mistakes. If one has to learn to 
stand on one's feet through having one's feet slip, there is no cause 
to regret the slip. The child learns to walk by falling down. Man 
learns to live the same way. Repent — face about — but do not 

Do not worry about that water that has gone under the bridge; 
there is more coming down stream; keep your eye on that. 

1929 is another year. We have a brand new chance to begin 
life all over again; you and I; to mold things afresh with the knowl- 
edge gained from all our past experiences to guide us. 

Let us not fret about the mistakes we made in 1928, but make 
sure we do not repeat them in 1929. 


December 28, 1928 

broken Mand and tke Miami 

A Case Study of Mid-1 9tk 

Century White Attitudes 

Robert L. Munkres 

This article was presented as a paper at the Western Social Science Asso- 
ciation meeting in Denver, Colorado, in April, 1 977. The helpful comments 
of Professor Peter Iverson of the University of Wyoming are hereby ac- 
knowledged. RLM. 

In 1 846 Thomas Fitzpatrick was appointed as the first agent for 
the Indians of the Upper Platte and Arkansas. His qualifications, 
unlike those of most of his successors, were first rate. More than 
twenty years as a mountain man gave him a knowledge of the re- 
gion and of the native population unsurpassed by any other white 
man. An education acquired before he left Ireland as a sixteen- 
year old gave Fitzpatrick a literacy level superior to that of much 
of the adult population of the entire country. The combination of 
these two factors resulted in reports and private letters which are 
a veritable goldmine of information. One further quality should 
be here noted — Fitzpatrick's relatively frequent use of irony and 
sarcasm in dealing with those ideas, programs and people which 
did not, for whatever reason, impress him. In conjunction with 
interpreters Fitzpatrick noted "that the most ignorant and weak- 
minded are those who most readily acquire a knowledge of the 
Indian tongue orally." While his conclusion is debatable, such 
statements "spice up" his reports in a most unbureaucratic manner. 

The purpose of this article is not, however, to detail Fitzpatrick's 
history which Leroy Hafen has already done in his admirable 
biography Broken Hand — nor to dwell further on his general qual- 
ities. Rather, this article will examine the reports and letters 
written by Fitzpatrick during his service as agent for the Upper 
Platte and Arkansas, first to delineate those topic areas he believed 
to be of primary importance then to examine his ideas and atti- 
tudes in each of the areas. 

Although Fitzpatrick expressed himself on a wide range of top- 
ics, based upon frequency of reference and extent of treatment in 
his letters, five topic areas stand out: (1) recognition of Indian 
claims to the land; (2) social, moral and cultural characteristics 
of Indians; (3) missionaries and treaties as civilizing influences; 


(4) force as a civilizing influence; and (5) Indian policy — past, 
present and proposed. While it would be extremely difficult to 
rank these topics from Fitzpatrick's perspective, it is quite apparent 
that, collectively, they define the boundaries of his primary con- 
cerns. With this is mind, we will examine his ideas and attitudes 
in each of the areas, recognizing that historical studies cannot 
provide solutions to continuing problems, but properly used may 
help one learn to ask the right questions about problems of public 

In general, Fitzpatrick was suspicious "of the propriety or good 
policy of the United States government admitting and acknowl- 
edging, the right of the Indian tribes, to the soil in almost an 
unlimited extent and not only to the soil but to every animal, 
vegetable, etc. on that soil." 1 '* Nonetheless, in a letter to Thomas 
Harvey he wrote "such is the case and on it we may speak and 
act"; as an agent of the government he did so, regardless of his 
personal views. '■' 

Fitzpatrick, however, saw more clearly than many that tribal 
divisions complicated the matter because Indians as individuals 
generally claimed no land, Indians as members of tribes did. For 
instance, "The Cheyennes . . . claim this river (Arkansas) . . . But 
if the right of preemptive [sic] stands good, the Aripohoes [sic.] 
have much the best right, as they occupied this country long before 
the Cheyennes ever saw it". 8 The Cheyennes, in turn, had been 
forced south from the Cheyenne and White River country "to the 
river Platte (on) both branches of which they still occasionly re- 
side".* Who had forced the Cheyennes south? Not surprisingly, 
"the Sioux coming in such numbers from the North. . . ." 8 

Given the government position noted above, Fitzpatrick pointed 
out to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs that "the justice or 
injustice of the different claimants" might result in "great dissen- 
tion [sic] and lead to considerable trouble" should efforts be 
made "to purchase a spot of ground for the purpose of erecting 
military posts, or for other purposes, before the claims are properly 
adjusted and acknowledged . . . ." s In connection with such "ad- 
justments", Fitzpatrick dourly noted that, in any event, "those 
tribes could hardly ever think of such a thing as getting paid for 
their land, without such a proposal were made to them, or that 
they were advised by intermeddling [sic] white men . . ." 8 The 
essence of the latter attitude was, perhaps, eventually reflected in 
the government's willingness to negotiate with those Indians willing 
to do so, and to impose "agreements" on those who were not. 

In spite of the substantial contact he had had with various tribes 
of the plains and the mountains, Fitzpatrick's general attitude to- 

* Footnote numbers throughout this article are keyed to the list of letters 
appended at the end of the article. 


ward American Indians did not differ appreciably from that held 
by the major portion of the white population. In December, 1 847, 
writing at Bent's Fort, he described "The Indians from South to 
north as far as civilization extends" as being "in the very utmost 
state, of the lowest degradation, that is possible for human beings 
to arrive at". 9 He then added that "This state of things is inev- 
itable, and is the only destiny marked out for those people." 1 ' 

Some two months earlier, he had made the same points to the 
same person — Thomas Harvey — in somewhat greater detail. He 
suggested that "the real character of the Indian can never be ascer- 
tained, because it is altogether unnatural for a Christian man, to 
comprehend, how so much depravity, wickedness and folly, could 
possibly belong to human beings, apparently endowed with a 
reasonable share of understanding".* Furthermore, Fitzpatrick 
argued, a completely impartial examination of the record would 
show that their "very innate principal of wickedness and depravity 
is the great cause of hastening them off to destruction". 8 Not sur- 
prisingly, he then concluded that even the combined wealth of 
Europe and the United States "could not redeem or save those 
people in as much as I consider them a doomed race, and must 
fulfill their destiny". s 

Despite this attitude, Fitzpatrick nonetheless considered it "a 
generous, and praiseworthy exertion in the government to do all it 
can for them". 8 In the same letter Fitzpatrick included a sub- 
stantial description of Indian customs, which he likened to those 
of the Israelites. The description, which follows, is interesting and 
useful because it demonstrates that Fitzpatrick's knowledge of In- 
dian ways was indeed much greater than that of the average em- 
ployee of the Indian Service. 

In regard to the manners, customs, habits etc. of the wild tribes of 
the whole western territory, a truer and more correct type than any 
I have seen may be found in the ancient history of the Jews or Israel- 
ites after their liberation from Egyptian bondage. The "Medicine 
Lodge" of the Jews, and the sacrifices, offerings, purification, ablu- 
tions, anointings, may be all found and practiced by those people. 
The custom of Indian women at certain periods, and after childbear- 
ing are almost that of the Jewish women. They have to undergo a 
probation of a certain number of days on all occasions besides ablu- 
tions and purification before they are considered fit to enter on their 
domestic duties; during this probation they are considered unclean, 
and altogether unfit to enter the lodge or join with the family, which 
indeed they never attempt, but erect a hut for themselves where they 
remain the whole time, having their food brought to them. 

The manner of mourning for a deceased relative is very similar to 
that of the Israelites; in such cases the men will cast off all their 
finery, and put on instead (if they put on anything) the most worth- 
less garments and keep their heads and often the body bedaubed with 
white clay during the time of mourning, which sometimes lasts ten 
moons. This might be called putting on the sackcloth, and ashes. 
The women on the other hand cut off their hair and otherwise dis- 
figure their persons by cutting with a flint, or sharp stone, their face, 
arms, and legs in such a way as to let a great deal of blood flow in 



the operation which is never washed off until she ceases to mourn. 
If the deceased happens to be a distinguished man, they will kill for 
his use two or three of his favorite horses, and inter with him arms, 
pipe and tobacco, with many other articles which he was known to 
have fancied when alive. They dont seem to be inclined to bury their 
dead in the ground, although they sometimes do so, and in a very 
careless manner, as the wolves invariable dig them up; they will some- 
times put them high up in large trees, until decomposition takes place 
and nothing left but the bones, and hair, which they will gather care- 
fully, and perhaps carry about with them for a length of time, or 
until they find a favorite spot, where they will deposit them without 
ceremony, and I believe privately. But their favorite places of inter- 
ment is in in caves, or crevices of rock from which they are never 

There could be very numerous and similar analogies made between 
the manners, and customs, of those people and that of the Jews; but 
when we see nearly the same traits of character, manners, customs, 
are manifested in every part of the Globe, where a barberous people 
have been found I have come to the conclusion, that man in that state 
is pretty much the same sort of being throughout, except what differ- 
ence may naturly arise, from the physical adaptation of the country 
they inhabit, in supplying their wants. 8 

The generally negative attitude described above, was, of course, 
also reflected in typical Fitzpatrick responses to specific situations. 
For instance, whenever he found Indians "very officious and pro- 
fessing great friendship", he proposed "to double the guard, and 
become more vigilent in guarding against surprise". 8 He argued 
for the vesting of discretionary authority in agents because "the 
fickleness and uncertain disposition of the people to be dealt with 
are such as to render all calculations problematical . . . ." 6 On one 
point, however, he stated his conclusion with great uncertainty. 
In a communication sent to Lt. Col. William Gilpin in February, 
1848, he argued that nothing "could be more uncertain or danger- 
ous" than to use Indians as adjunct forces to the regular military; 
"Their well known faithlessness and treachery and between whom 
no difference exists in regard to villany ought to be forever a bar 
against such proceedings". 6 

The moral and cultural weaknesses which Fitzpatrick believed 
to mark Indians probably helped shape his opinion that the socio- 
political operation of the tribal system as compared with the system 
of the whites was sufficiently different to justify the conclusion that 
an effective Indian system simply did not exist. The Indians of the 
high plains, according to Fitzpatrick, "have no fixed laws, or any- 
thing like permanent institutions, by which to regulate their con- 
cerns, either between themselves, or other tribes, except what may 
be decided on, from time to time, in their councils, and from 
emergencies arising out of the uncertainty of their relations with 
other tribes." 8 He then added that "to this fact alone may be 
attributed their constant warring on each other . . . ." 8 To say 
the least, such a conclusion reflected a low level of comprehension 
of the role of warfare among the Plains Indians. 


On June 24, 1848, Fitzpatrick noted that "the name of chief 
amongst those tribes of the Rocky Mountains is nothing more than 
nominal; as they have no power whatever to enforce law and 
order". 1 " It is again difficult to avoid the conclusion that sub- 
stantial differences between Indian and white standards was taken 
to imply the effective absence of the former. One wonders wheth- 
er anyone ever questioned the intellectual integrity of negotiating 
treaties, and nominally expecting obedience to them, with leaders 
who were assumed to have no power. This, and other matters 
related to treaties, will be further considered below. 

Probably the principal quality perceived in Indian character by 
whites was that of being "warlike", and Fitzpatrick was no excep- 
tion. To D. D. Mitchell he described the Indians of the Upper 
Platte and Arkansas as "the most numerous - the most formida- 
ble - the most warlike - the best armed - the best mounted savages 
of any similar extent of country on the face of the globe . . , ." u 
The importance of the location of these "many formidable wild - 
warlike and roaming tribes of Indians" was very directly stated: '• 
". . . it is through the country of these same savages that all our 
great thoroughfares to the Pacific and our late territorial acquisi- 
tions pass". 11 Fitzpatrick also concluded that Indian tribes resi- 
dent in the area "must always occupy that great desert from the 
western borders to the Rocky Mts. All of which is well adapted 
to the maintenance and support of an Indian population". 3 "Bro- 
ken Hand's" prophetic capabilities were obviously as limited as 
are our own! 

Indians, then, posed a substantial threat to white travelers be- 
cause "the Indians of these wild regions know no greater virtue 
than to plunder & destroy their fellow man be he of whatever 
nation or colour". 5 Even when "the waggons and caravans con- 
tain little else than pork and beans", still "the Indians, in their 
wantonness takes pleasure in destroying and capturing these very 
articles, which they do not want at all and is more for the purpose 
of showing what they can do, with that sort of people than any- 
thing else". 9 

One thing is quite certain. Indians never understood the polit- 
ical framework within which whites evaluated and conducted war. 
On October 19, 1847, Fitzpatrick described for Thomas Harvey 
"a war party of Cheyennes, thirty five in number all young men, 
and well mounted". 8 In answer to his query, the leader "very 
candidly told me they were bound for the frontier settlements of 
New Mexico for the purpose of plundering the scattered inhabi- 
tants.". 8 Fitzpatrick, after insisting "on his turning back and 
changing his intentions", went on to explain to him "the impro- 
priety of such a course, as well as the policy of the United States 
towards that country and people". 8 The leader agreed to follow 
Fitzpatrick's advice, "and with his party returned to his village. 
But he has not yet comprehended why we should take such an 


interest in the affairs of a people with whom we are at war". 8 
War, for Indians, was not an instrument of what whites might call 
public policy. To the contrary, "This law of retaliation, or such 
mode of remuneration in the shape of payment for the slain is the 
only law recognized by the natives of this country". 8 In support 
of this assertion, Fitzpatrick provided the following example. 

The Cheyennes who were encamped near, came to the Fort (Bent's) 
for the purpose of honouring us with a dance, which is the usual cus- 
tom of those tribes, when they wish to exhibit their satisfaction for the 
treatment received. They were dressed in all the wildness and decora- 
tion of their native costume, and altogether made a very interesting 
appearance. They commenced and pursued the dance with all the 
wild and varied gesture of such scenes, until an old woman entered 
the circle of the dance, and apparently bleeding from every pore, her 
face, legs, and arms were bleeding profusely, which gave her a most 
hideous appearance. In this state she exhorted the warrior in her 
behalf 'to take pity on her, that she was old, and had her only son 
killed by the Aripohoes last spring, and never has been atoned for.' 
At this critical juncture a courier came running in, with intelligence 
that people were discovered in the distance. The warriors immediate- 
ly, broke up the dance, mounted their best horses, and pursued the 
strangers, and late that night returned with two Aripohoe scalps, and 
a squaw as prisoner. This circumstance no doubt reconciled the old 
woman for the loss of her only son. 8 

The "law of retaliation" just noted appeared nowhere with 
greater frequency than as a part of inter-tribal warfare between 
hereditary enemies. That Fitzpatrick was well aware both of the 
frequency of warfare and of the depth of the enmity which moti- 
vated it will shortly be made apparent. It is, however, interesting 
to note that such knowledge seemingly did not effect his earlier 
conclusion that the lack of institutional structure was the sole cause 
of such warfare. 

In the area included in his agency, Fitzpatrick encountered one 
of the most deep-seated of all inter-tribal emnities — the Pawnees 
against virtually all of their neighbors! In December, 1847, for 
instance, Fitzpatrick noted that "The Indians here (Bent's Fort) 
and on the Platte are all quiet so far as the whites are concerened, 
but are making havoc amongst the Pawnies (sic.) who seem to be 
all out on the plains, at the present time. Not a week passes, but 
what brings news of the Pawnie scalps having been taken by Sioux, 
Cheyennes and Aripohoes". 9 In the same letter he further report- 
ed that while the Indians of his agency were "well disposed, so far 
as regards the whites, . . . they cannot be prevented from pushing 
their war expeditions against the Pawnies, and for which we can- 
not blame them such, as the Pawnies are continually annoying 

It is quite obvious that Fitzpatrick felt little sympathy for the 
Pawnees, regardless of their plight. In the spring of 1848, he 
noted that since they were "too rascally to live in peace with any 
other nation", it was not surprising that "the Pawnies at this time 


are completely invested by enemies", particularly 'The numerous 
bands of Sioux, Cheyennes, and Aripohoes, who are all gradually 
nearing the Pawnies, with full determination of 'wiping them 
out'." 10 

From Fitzpatrick's point of view, there were two principal points 
at which inter-tribal warfare could have a significant impact on 
government policy. Both were spelled out in letters to Superin- 
tendent of Indian Affairs Thomas H. Harvey. In the first place, 
"the Pawnie Indians are destined soon to become a source of great 
trouble and difficulty to the United States government not alto- 
gether as regards them individually, but more on account of the 
interference which the Government will be obliged to interpose 
if they which to prevent their extermination". 1 " ". . . to prevent 
the Indians from warring on each other" will be "A very great 
difficulty which the Government will have to combat" because 
"those Indians (are) much more easily dealt with on any other 
subject than peace with the Pawnies, who are their heriditary [sic] 
enemies and will continue to be so, as long as the Pawnies prose- 
cute their Marauding expeditions all over this country". ! ' The dif- 
ficulties in preventing bloodshed were compounded because "there 
is no law to punish individuals for committing depredations on 
other tribes, nor not even in any case, (thus) their relations of 
good fellowship must always be in a very precarious state". * 

The second reason for the government's interest in stopping 
inter-tribal warfare was probably considered by them to be more 
important than the first. It was, Fitzpatrick argued, necessary for 
the protection of whites "to prevent the organization and departure 
of large War parties" because if such parties were not "successful 
against their enemies, will often commit acts of violance on any 
party they meet rather than return home without counting a 
coup". 8 Fitzpatrick was, however, quite pessimistic about the pros- 
pects of stopping "This . . . "sad work", observing that "there is a 
great prospect of its continuance as I see no manner of preventing 
it without embroiling us in still greater difficulties with the Prarie 
(sic.) tribes.". 10 Perhaps his pessimism is reflected in the fact that 
government policy eventually exploited inter-tribal enmity as much 
as it attempted to extinguish it. Where the latter was seriously 
attempted, it generally took the form of efforts to extinguish the 
tribal structure itself. This point leads us to a consideration of 
missionaries, education and treaties as instruments of government 
policy and of Thomas Fitzpatrick's reaction to their use. 

Unlike those whites who were convinced that the introduction of 
Christianity among the Plains tribes would both pacify and "civil- 
ize" the Indians, Fitzpatrick's attitude toward missionaries was 
decidedly ambivalent. With mild irony, he remarked that "It has 
been a matter of some surprise with many that Missionaries have 
never attempted anything for the benefit of the Indians of the 
Rocky Mountains. But instead have crossed the continent on to 


the Pacific, and even into the Sandwich Islands, without at all 
stopping to examine into the condition of a people much nigher 
home and quite as much in need of instruction as any people on 
the face of the globe". 8 

On the one hand, Fitzpatrick argued that "There is a great deal 
which ought to be taught an Indian before the attempt is made to 
Christianize him". 8 On the other hand, in the same letter in fact, 
he suggested that, as Indians became aware of the disappearance 
of wild game, "a great field will be shortly opened to the Mission- 
aries and Philanthropists, of the United States, and although I 
disapprove much of the conduct of the Missionaries yet I believe 
that their introduction amongst those tribes at this time, would 
have a very beneficial and satisfactory result. . . ." 8 

Fitzpatrick's reservations did not so much concern the long 
range goals of missionary activity as they did the methods mission- 
aries deemed appropriate for the achievement of those goals. Mis- 
sionaries, he argued in a letter to Thomas Harvey, "are by far too 
sanguine, and enthusiastic in their endeavors to christianize them, 
which no doubt arises from ignorance of the Indian character and 
habits". 8 Instead of attempting "the improvement of their physical 
conditions, which together with their morals ought to be the first 
thing that a Missionary undertakes, . . . the Missionary begins at 
the very place where he ought to give the last touch: nearly the 
first thing the Missionary performs is to baptise the subject, the 
Indians thinking the ceremony some great 'Medicine' which will 
render him invulnerable or produce some good luck will submit to 
the ceremony with a good grace, until they find that those who 
have passed through all the ceremonies of religion, have no better 
luck in hunting, and war than they had before come to the conclu- 
sion that the white man 'Medicine' is not so strong as his own, and 
therefore loses all faith in the white man's 'Medicine'." 8 

Fitzpatrick concluded by expressing his own belief in the limita- 
tions of Indian "development": ". . . if he (an Indian) can by 
education be brought to be an honest, moral and generous being, 
it will certainly be a great achievement, and what is considered by 
many impractable". 8 Even if "Christian Education" appears to 
have been successfully applied to Indian "pupils", there are at least 
two final difficulties to be noted. First, "In regard to the Indian 
youth who are taught and brought up at the different missionary 
institutions", 8 when they return to the tribal home, the cultural gap 
created by education many times cannot be bridged. Confronted 
with such a crisis, the returning youth "often falls into the very 
opposite extremes of his education and forgets the God he was 
taught to worship, and instead adopts that of his parents, and asso- 
ciates, and frequently surpasses their all in immorality and dissi- 
pation". 8 Finally, regardless of where they may be, "in all cases 
of emergency, and where they supposed the interposition or aid of 
the Great Spirit necessary, they would invariably fall back on their 


superstition and mumery to invoke the divine aid . . ." s That 
Fitzpatrick had very little regard for the level of Indian cultural 
development is more than apparent. 

Fitzpatrick may have had somewhat mixed feelings about efforts 
to "Christianize" Indians, but there was nothing obscure about his 
attitude toward treaties — he doubted that most were worth the 
time spent negotiating them. "There is not a single day in the 
whole year", he informed Superintendent Harvey, "that I could 
not make a treaty, with any of the Indian tribes of this country, 
if I happen to have sufficient merchandise on hand to make pres- 
ents worth the inconvenience and trouble assembling the nation". '•' 
Under these circumstances, Indians will sign treaties regardless of 
the provisions contained, but they will carry out the provisions only 
until "a favorable opportunity offers for its violation". 9 Why, in 
Fitzpatrick's estimation, did Indians so readily violate treaties? 
Because "they think (violation) will cause a renewal of negocia- 
tions (sic), by which means more and a still greater quantity of 
merchandise will be distributed in order to bind them more closely 
to the compact". •' In answer to the argument that Eastern Indians 
did comply with treaties, Fitzpatrick brusquely observed: "Give 
them the same opportunity which the Indians of this country pos- 
sess, of avoiding the fulfilment and they will be found equally faith- 
less, as those and all other Savage nations". 11 

Implicit in the foregoing is the one true weakness which Fitz- 
patrick saw in the treaty -making process. "Such treaties", he 
wrote, are "less than useless, before we make all the Indians aware 
of our capability to enforce the stipulations thereof."-' Clearly, he 
felt that education, evangelism and negotiation were, at best, of 
limited use. There was, however, one instrument in the use of 
which Fitzpatrick did have some considerable confidence — the 
effective use of physical force for the purpose of "chastizing" those 
who violated agreements. Such violations, he argued, will remain 
the norm "so long as . . . tampering and temporising nonsense is 
carried on". 12 

Fitzpatrick advanced his recommendation for physical enforce- 
ment of treaty provisions impartially; that is, he felt that all the 
tribes needed periodic demonstrations of United States strength. 
The Pawnees, for instance, "richly deserve chastisement, and if this 
were done which is not difficult if rightly set about, I for one will 
consent to travel the Oregon or Santa Fe road, the year through, 
with one attendent"; 8 ". . . it is not", however, "by treaties, pres- 
ents, lenient or temporising treatment that the Pawnie Indians will 
ever be brought to a sense of their duty to themselves and oth- 
ers". 10 So far as the threat of an Indian war was concerned, 
Fitzpatrick wrote "I have no such apprehensions ... if we can 
give the Comanche and Kiaway [sic], such a beating as they 
deserve"; 8 further, "these are my views on the subject of the 
Comanche, as well as all other Indian wars — we must carry on 


the war against them on their own soil in their own country — 
make them feel our power — and show them that we can reach 
them even in the most remote corner. They will then sue for 
peace, & submit to any terms we choose to propose"."' Finally, 
". . . the Aripohoes, and Cheyennes have been competing whose 
conduct should be the most pleasing. The best and surest method 
to keep them in this pleasing mood would be to show them symp- 
toms of our ability to chastise offenders". 7 

Fitzpatrick's frequent references to the need for exhibitions of 
strength were based on two principal assumptions which were the 
subject of an August 11, 1848, letter to Commissioner W. Medill. 
First, "... these Indians are not at all aware of our capacity or 
power to chastise them & never will believe it until they have proof 
of the fact, and that can only be done by giving some of those 
tribes (who have been committing depredations with impunity so 
long) a severe chastisement — that once done I firmly believe 
would be the means of putting a stop to the frequent robberies and 
murders in that country". 5 The second assumption was a direct 
extension of the first. If "severe chastisement" was not forth- 
coming very soon, it was Fitzpatrick's opinion that "we may expect 
to have nearly all the (now peaceable) tribes of that country to 
contend with also . . .". 5 Should such an event come to pass, it 
would, of course, "cost much blood & large expenditure" by the 
government "to subjugate (the tribes) & bring (them) back to a 
state of tranquility [sic]". 5 

The emphasis on "chastisement" which is consistently evident 
in Fitzpatrick's reports apparently was not matched by his confi- 
dence in the effectiveness of the American military in the South- 
west. In December, 1847, he wrote to Thomas Harvey "that the 
country is at present in a far less state of security, and tranquility, 
than before the commencement of the Mexican War, or before the 
marching and countermarching of the United States troops, to, and 
from New Mexico". 9 Almost three years later, at the end of July, 
1850, Fitzpatrick still manifested the same concern, this time to 
D. D. Mitchell: "We find the condition of New Mexico since its 
occupation by our troops to be in a far worse, and most insecure 
state from the incursions of the Indians than before that event: 
notwithstanding enough of Troops have been stationed there to 
exterminate all the Indians of the country on this time". 12 

In view of this situation, very early in his service as agent for 
the Upper Platte and Arkansas Fitzpatrick solicited "the War 
Department to withdraw the force which have just arrived in this 
country for its tranqulization as I am very certain, that this force 
will only encite (sic.) ridecule (sic), and be instrumental of doing 
more mischief to the cause than can be remedied perhaps in five 
years to come". 1 ' He went on to add that it would be much better 
"for the government to leave the country as heretofore, when every 
man or when every party be they large or small, had to protect 


themselves and property and battle nobly for their own existence 
and the protection of their property". 9 

The latter point reflects feelings which may almost be termed 
"aggressive nostalgia" and which led Fitzpatrick to defend with 
considerable vigor the superiority of old time trappers, traders 
and hunters over the contemporary military. Such old timers, 
"have always maintained, a highly respectable standing amongst 
the Indian tribes, and which now seems to be in a fair way to be 
entirely lost".'' 1 To support this contention, Fitzpatrick cited for 
Superintendent Harvey an incident of the preceding summer of 
1847 in which "a party of Comanche Indians, 30 in number killed 
and scalped 8 men, in front, and in the very face of a Battalion of 
500 mounted men, and then marched off with shouts and exhulta- 
tions, and with the utmost impunity". 9 He went on to complain, 
"Show an instance of this sort ocurring in the last twenty-five years 
amongst the trappers, traders or hunters? There is none. On the 
contrary, the trapper, trader and hunters, have always beat the 
Indians of this country, three to one, and often ten to one against 
them, and which gained them a reputation amongst the Indianr 
which I regret to see on the decline"/' 

Fitzpatrick then waxed particularly eloquent over the fighting 
prowess of the "Old Timers" who "constantly coming in conflict, 
with their savage foes, thereby learning the treachery, cunning, and 
the great inferiority of the Indian, compared with the white man, 
became fully able with greatly inferior numbers not only to protect 
themselves and property; but also defeated the Indians on all 
occasions". 9 

As a result of such victories at arms, the Indians "finding this a 
dangerous as well as unprofitable business abandoned the Santa Fe 
trail" and instead "directed their expeditions against some of the 
Departments of Mexico, where they incurred less danger, and 
acquired more booty". 9 Fitzpatrick concluded, however, that "no 
sooner than the Indians learned that 'greenhorns' were again on 
the trail than they changed their operations from the south to the 
north; and as I am informed intends making the Santa Fe Trail 
the Theatre of their warring operations for the future". 1 ' 

Fitzpatrick did, however, believe that a solution to the dual 
problems of Indians and of Mexican guerrillas was available. In 
his opinion, a volunteer "force can be raised, organized, and with 
one proper officer to take command, that will settle this country 
in one year and besides will cost the government fifty per cent less 
than any like number in the service". 1 ' In estimating the size of 
the proposed volunteer force, Fitzpatrick promised that "one hun- 
dred men could be raised in this country who will promise to 
exterminate . . . that band of Guerillas who has been annoying all 
Mexico, as well as the whole army of the west for eighteen months 
past". 9 Should the force be unable to fulfill that promise "in or 
at the end of two months, from the date of the organization of said 


force . . . those hundred men will ask no remuneration for ser- 
vice". 9 In any event, considerable saving could be realized if the 
military could manage to prevent government property from fall- 
ing, in substantial amounts, into Indian hands. In the immediate 
past, such was not the case, which led Fitzpatrick to conclude that 
"The Indians, of this country are great gainers by this war, and 
will continue it as long as possible, because it has been the main 
support of many of them for the last eighteen months". 9 

It is clear from the foregoing that Fitzpatrick's ideas as to the 
correct method of dealing with Indians were as ambivalent as were 
those of official policy makers. In his letters, a great many of the 
ideas which subsequently figured in debates over Indian affairs 
clearly appeared. That he shared with virtually the entire white 
population a belief in the eventual demise of Indian culture is 
apparent in his reference to them, noted earlier, as a "doomed 
race". Further, he and most others accepted without question the 
right of whites to impose their socio-economic system on the high 
plains. Should the indigenous inhabitants object, Fitzpatrick ap- 
provingly cited the government's acceptance "of the great impor- 
tance of some adequate means for the complete subjugation of the 
Indian tribes, and the tranquilisation of that whole region between 
this place (St. Louis) and the Pacific Ocean". 11 His statements, 
noted above, concerning "chastisement" speak eloquently to his 
ideas as to how such "tranquilisation" was to be accomplished. 
Above all, however, he despised the bickering ineffectuality of 
many involved in Indian affairs, believing as he did that "when 
ever any business or fighting has to be done with Indians, it ought 
to be done handsomely and effectually, or not at all". 11 

Irish though he was, Fitzpatrick much admired British Indian 
policy in the Columbia River country as it was administered by the 
Hudson's Bay Company. 

I have never met with but few Indians which I thought were pre- 
pared to receive instruction in civilization and Christianity, which are 
some of the tribes on the Columbia river and its tributaries, and to 
the severe but just administration of the Hudson Bay Co. may be 
attributed their now prosperous state. On their first acquaintance with 
whites they were disposed to be as mischevous as all other Indians, 
But after the British took possession of that country, and the Hudson 
Bay Co. established there, the Indians were taught very severe lessons 
on all and every occasion, when they misbehaved, and not the slight- 
est injustice or crime were ever allowed to pass unpunished, and at 
length ascertained that, to do unto others as they would have others 
do unto them, is by far the best policy! they also learned that the 
God of the white people were by far the most powerful and have for 
many years been desirous of learning how to worship, and please him, 
and long before a Missionary went into that country, those people 
were honest, kind, and inoffensive as any I have ever met, either civil- 
ized or savage, and I believe in a few years will be in a more prosper- 
ous state than any Indians within the boundary of the United States. s 

In addition to the emphasis on the civilizing capacity of coer- 


cion, one more Fitzpatrick idea should be noted. In 1 849, he 
expressed to Superintendent Mitchell his regret "that no allowance 
is made for the reception and maintenance of Indians occasionally 
visiting this place (St. Louis), more particularly the Wild Tribes 
of the Prairies, as I know of nothing, that would have a greater 
tendency in eradicating their prejudices and humbling their haugh- 
ty and vain spirits, than occasional visits to the United States". 11 

Unlike most of his fellow westerners, Fitzpatrick on occasion 
recognized the damage being wreaked on Indian land as well as the 
necessity of at least some payment as a matter of simple justice. 
With the usual disclaimer that "I am by no means partial to any 
of the Indian race", Fitzpatrick was "willing to allow them that 
which the Government of the United States, in its philanthropy, 
and wisdom admits to be their just due and appropriation of a few 
thousand dollars . . . would only be a partial renumeration for the 
entire ruin of their country"." 

Though he had himself been part of the process, Fitzpatrick 
recognized more fully than many of his compatriots the destructive 
element which was part of the white movement westward. In 
December, 1847, he noted in a letter to Thomas Harvey that the 
area between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains was 
interlaced with "all our well beaten, and marked thoroughfares . . . 
(which) have been travelled for the past twenty-five years by 
American Citizens . . . ," and that, for the same period "all the 
valuable fur peltries of that whole region . . . (were) caught and 
carried off to American markets . . ." to the point that "these 
animals wearing furs of value may be considered almost extinct in 
the country named." Fitzpatrick then noted one final resource 
which had been extracted from the country by whites. "Besides 
the extermination of those valuable furs", he wrote, "if we attempt 
to make a calculation of all the animals killed in this district by 
American Citizens up to this time (December, 1847) for food. 
reckon the amount even at one cent per pound, it would be found 
to amount up to an enormous sum . . .". 9 He concluded with a 
rhetorical question: ". . . why, then, may the Government not 
appropriate a few thousand dollars yearly for a few years for the 
purpose of teaching the inhabitants and acknowledged owners of 
this ruined district another, and less precarious mode of subsis- 
tance". 9 It is to Fitzpatrick's credit that he could directly, if infre- 
quently, state that "in accordance with strict justice we owe them 
(Indians) much . . .". 6 

So far as the ultimate goal of federal policy in Indian affairs was 
concerned, Fitzpatrick's ideas did not differ appreciably from those 
held by many other whites. If Indians were to survive they must 
settle on the land and work it as farmers. The essence of his 
recommendations was that "nothing is more desirable or advan- 
tageous than making the effort to settle down those roaming tribes 


of the Prairie . . . to . . . permanent settlement ... in agricultural 
pursuits." 6 

On two key points, however, Fitzpatrick did differ from the 
policy makers of his day; both were described in a February, 1848, 
letter to Lt. Col. William Gilpin. First, he recognized that a con- 
siderable period of time would be required for successful policy 
implementation. In this connection, he observed that "no policy 
can be adopted will have more beneficial results, than the gradual 
settlement of the different tribes. I say gradual because such a 
change in the habits and customs of such people must be brought 
about by slow, gradual, and judicious action". 6 The arbitrary 
shortening of the effective period of the 1851 Treaty of Fort 
Laramie from fifty to fifteen years illustrates the degree to which 
Fitzpatrick's advice was acted upon. Secondly, Fitzpatrick, recog- 
nizing that his agency was "more isolated and remote from the 
protective influence of the government", recommended that "our 
policy or systems ought to be different, by letting no violation of 
law escape unpunished, committed either by Indians or White 
Man". 6 The record of corruption in the Indian Service after Fitz- 
patrick's death in 1854 is, by itself, eloquent testimony to the gap 
which existed between such a recommendation and bureaucratic- 
legal reality. 

If a man so well versed in the ways of the mountains as Fitzpat- 
rick held such narrow and negative views concerning Indians, it 
should not be thought surprising that policy-makers, who were 
possessed of less knowledge and subject to more pressure, encoun- 
tered the same difficulty. Unlike some of the latter, however, 
Fitzpatrick's performance, as distinguished from his words, was 
marked by honesty and impartiality towards those whom he pro- 
fessed to disdain. Perhaps the principal lesson to be learned is 
that of not too lightly or easily assuming the complete "rightness" 
of one's own claims, values and views. As Justice Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, who was born in the year Thomas Fitzpatrick led the first 
wagon train across South Pass, observed, "To have doubted one's 
own first principles is the mark of a civilized man".* 

Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Selected Documents 

Concerning the Administration of Indian Affairs at the 

Upper Platte Agency, Record Group 75. 

Letters of Thomas Fitzpatrick 

1. To Robert Campbell. Dated Santa Fe; August 24, 1846. 

2. To Robert Campbell. Dated Santa Fe; September 3, 1846. 

*Cited in Samuel J. Konefsky, The Legacy of Holmes and Brandeis: A 
Study in the Influence of Ideas, (New York: Collier Books, 1961), p. 51. 


3. Copy of a letter from Mr. Fitzpatrick communicated to 

Col. Medill by Thomas H. Benton as conveying valuable 
information applicable to our Indian relations beyond 
the Missi. 

4. To Col. C. Wharton, Comdg. Dated Fort Leavenworth; 

January 6, 1847. 

5. To Hon. W. Medill, Commd. Ind. Affrs. Dated Washing- 

ton City; August 11, 1848. 

6. To Lt. Col. Wm. Gilpin, Comd. Batt. Plains, Missouri Vol. 

Dated Bents Fort, Arkansas River; February 10, 1848. 

7. To Thomas H. Harvey, esqr., Supt. Indian Affairs, Saint 

Louis, Mo. Dated Bents Fort, Upper Arkansas; Feb- 
ruary 18, 1848. 

8. To Thomas H. Harvey esqr., Supert. Indian affairs, Saint 

Louis, Mo. Dated Bents Fort, Arkansas River; October 
19, 1847. 

9. To Thos. H. Harvey esqr., Supert. Indian affairs, St. Louis, 

Mo. Dated Bents Fort, Arkansas River; December 18, 

10. To Thos. H. Harvey esqr., Supt. Indian affairs. Saint 

Louis, Mo. Dated Saint Louis; June 24, 1848. 

11. To D. D. Mitchell Esqr., Sup. Ind. Affairs, St. Louis, Mo. 

Dated Saint Louis; May 22, 1849. 

12. To D. D. Mitchell Esqr., Supt. Ind. Affairs, St. Louis, Mo. 

Dated July 31, 1850. 

I A 

j n 

— Wyoming State Archives 
and Historical Department 

Quarterly Bulletin. Vol. 1. No. 1 

Mistory of Mnals 


Katherine A. Halverson 

In spite of name changes, repeated funding crises and suspended 
publication for two periods of time during the last fifty-five years, 
Annals of Wyoming has, with this issue, reached the milestone of 
Volume 50. 

Today's publication bears little resemblance to its predecessors, 
especially the Quarterly Bulletin, which appeared on July 15, 
1923, and which later became the Annals of Wyoming. The editor 
was Mrs. Cyrus Beard, State Historian, who stated in the fore- 
word: "It is the desire of the State Department of History to 
publish quarterly a small brochure on Wyoming History. The 
present number is the first of these little pamphlets to be issued. 
The material presented has all been written by Wyoming people on 
Wyoming subjects. The Department solicits such contributions." 

The modest "little pamphlet" was eight pages in length and a 
poem, "Wyoming," by June E. Downey, appeared on the front 
page. The lead article was "Biographical Sketch of James Bridg- 
er," by Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge. Other articles included 
"Girlhood Recollections of Laramie in 1870," by Nancy Fillmore 
Brown, "In Retrospect," by Annie K. Parshall, letters on historical 
subjects from J. B. Gillett, E. A. Brininstool, and Ernest Pope 
and "Expense Account of Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, December. 

The title Quarterly Bulletin gave way in July, 1925, to Annals 
of Wyoming. Mrs. Beard, reporting on the Annals in her Fourth 
Biennial Report of the State Historical Department, wrote that 
"The edition of Annals is limited to 1000 copies, of which twenty- 
five of each issue are placed in the permanent files," but she 
offered no explanation for the name change. This thirty-page issue 
had a heavy grey paper cover and for the first time there was an 
illustration, a full-page photograph of "Elk Mountain in Carbon 
County," by J. E. Stimson. It was credited to the State Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. 

Mrs. Beard continued to enlarge the historical magazine and by 
late 1926 it had become a quarterly of forty-eight pages. This was 
possible, according to the editor, by dues in the Wyoming Histor- 
ical Society which came into the State Historical Fund and which 
were applied to the publication of Annals. This small burst of 
affluence didn't last long, however, as the Biennial Report for the 
period ending November 20, 1928, noted that in January of that 


year "it became necessary to discontinue publishing Annals of 
Wyoming because of lack of money. This was very regrettable as 
the little pamphlet was a magnet for drawing out Wyoming history 
and since its discontinuance there has been a noticeable fall off in 
the number of original manuscripts sent to the Department for 
permanent files." 

In 1933 the State Legislature had placed the Historical Depart- 
ment under the State Library. Miss Alice Lyman, State Librarian 
and State Historian Ex-Officio, reflecting the depression condi- 
tions of the 1930s, wrote in her 1934 Biennial Report that "the 
quarterly publication Annals of Wyoming, has been discontinued, 
thus following the economy program of our Governor, Leslie A. 

The Annals next appeared regularly as Volume 10, No. 1, in 
January, 1939, under the editorship of Nina Moran, Librarian and 
Historian Ex-Officio. She wrote in the foreword of that issue, 
"With this issue we are very happy to annouce the revival of the 
publication of Annals of Wyoming, which will be known as Wyo- 
ming Annals .... (it) will be published quarterly as in the past. 
The first issue of each year will appear in January. The subscrip- 
tion will be one dollar ($1.00) per year as formerly." 

The previous title of Annals of Wyoming was resumed in April, 
1939, when Gladys Riley, State Librarian, became editor. Use of 
a half-tone illustration on light buff paper changed the appearance 
at this time, and pictures were being used somewhat sparingly to 
illustrate some of the articles. 

The Fiftieth Anniversary of Wyoming Statehood provided the 
impetus for a distinct change in the appearance of Annals, which 
throughout 1940 had a metallic gold cover with a photograph and 
the Golden Anniversary seal on the cover. Each issue of the 
quarterly was about eighty pages. 

However, financial problems had again beset the magazine, and 
Mrs. Riley reported late in 1940 in her Biennial Report, "by rea- 
son of the fact that approximately only one half of the amount 
actually required for the publication of the Annals was appro- 
priated in the last biennial budget, it was necessary to take the 
additional amount required from the fund originally allowed for 
supplies, equipment and books. This resulting shortage has been 
a considerable hindrance, especially in building up the historical 
library, and because of this shortage it will be necessary to make 
request for additional funds to continue publication of the maga- 
zine for the next biennium." 

Changes in editorship occurred fairly frequently in the next few 
years. Mary McGrath succeeded Gladys Riley as State Librarian, 
and she was followed by Ellen Crowley, under whom Mary Eliza- 
beth Cody served as Annals editor. 

In 1951 the State Historical Department was established by 


legislative act and Lola M. Homsher was appointed head of the 
new department. As State Archivist she assumed the editorial 
duties for Annals beginning in January, 1952, with Volume 24, 
No. 1. Subscription price had increased to $2.00 and single issues 
were $1.00 by then. 

Annals of Wyoming was adopted as the official publication of 
the Wyoming State Historical Society after that group was organ- 
ized by Miss Homsher in 1953, and minutes of the Annual Meeting 
of the Society and accounts of the annual Society-sponsored his- 
torical trail treks have appeared regularly in the Annals since the 
late 1950s. 

A major change that came about in connection with the organ- 
ization of the State Historical Society was that membership of the 
Society became the subscription list for A nnals, with each member 
receiving the magazine as a benefit of membership. Until the mid- 
seventies a part of the cost of publishing the magazine came from 
Society dues, but cost of printing increased to the point where 
this was no longer feasible. Legislative appropriation has funded 
Annals in the last few years. 

Lola Homsher served as editor through October, 1965. Fol- 
lowing her retirement as director of the Department she was suc- 
ceeded by Neal E. Miller who was editor until October, 1970. He 
was succeeded by the present editor, Katherine A. Halverson. 

Cover design for Annals has changed a few times since 1954, 
but photographic reproductions have consistently been used in 
some manner. The first notable departure in cover design was in 
April, 1965, when a full-color forty-four star United States flag 
was used to commemorate Wyoming's seventy-fifth anniversary of 
statehood. Contents of this issue were devoted to the acquisition 
of statehood in 1890. In the nation's bicentennial year, 1976, a 
full-color reproduction of the Wyoming Territorial seal appeared 
on the cover of the Spring issue and the articles in that issue were 
keyed to events of 1876 in Wyoming. The current issue, with a 
color picture of Fort Laramie, topic of the lead article, is in recog- 
nition of Volume 50 of Annals of Wyoming. This special issue is 
considerably larger than usual. 

In recent years the Annals has averaged about 150 pages to an 
issue, and usually carries eight or ten illustrations. Cost is the 
limiting factor, as it has been throughout the years, in regard to 
length, number of pictures and the use of full color on the cover. 
The publication, as it has from the beginning, concentrates on 
articles dealing with the history of Wyoming and the West. The 
majority of the contributing authors are still from Wyoming, al- 
though a greater number of out-of-state authors, writing on Wyo- 
ming subjects, are represented now than in earlier years. 

Three cumulative indexes to Annals of Wyoming have been 
published. The most recent one includes Volume 46. published 


in 1974. Volume 1 of the cumulative indexes covers all the 
miscellaneous historical publications which preceded the Quarterly 
Bulletin, these being the 1897 Collections and the Historical Col- 
lections of the 1920s. 

In 1978 the mailing list for the Annals of Wyoming, including 
individual and institutional members and exchanges, is approxi- 
mately 1350. A sufficient number of each issue is printed to meet 
the continuing demand for past issues. Price of single back issues 
at the present time varies, according to the supply available, but 
current issues are $2.50 each. 

Although the earliest state funded historical publications had 
no direct relationship to Annals of Wyoming, it would be remiss 
to overlook them. In 1897, Robert C. Morris edited Volume 1 
of Collections of the Wyoming State Historical Society. He also 
edited the Second Report of the Society in 1900. 

State government did not underwrite any other historical publi- 
cations for more than twenty years, when the Biennial Reports of 
the State Historian for 1920 and 1922 each included a section 
entitled "Wyoming Historical Collections." 

Looking back, it is gratifying that Annals of Wyoming in 1978 
has become a substantial historical journal. However, the greatest 
satisfaction in retrospect might be the realization of how many of 
the suggestions and recommendations of early day Annals editors 
have become reality. Their foresight may have provided some of 
the guidelines for what Annals is today. 

Wyoming State Mis tor leal Society 

Greybull, Wyoming September 9-11, 1977 

Registration for the twenty-fourth Annual Meeting of the Wyo- 
ming State Historical Society began at 7:00 p.m. at the Elks 
Lodge. Refreshments were served, and music presented by the 
Harry Jerup group made it a very pleasant evening. 


The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by the president, 
Ray Pendergraft, in the Elks Lodge. The president asked the 
following members to serve on committees: audit, Henry Jensen 
and Mrs. Betty Breitweiser; parliamentarian, Dr. T. A. Larson. 


Scholarship Committee Dr. T. A. Larson reported that one 
scholarship was granted, to Kerry Ross Boren, on March 19, 1977, 
to write a history of Sweetwater County. No scholarships pre- 
viously granted were completed. There are four outstanding schol- 
arships. There was one Grant-in-Aid awarded during the year 
to the Laramie County Chapter for a book, Cheyenne Landmarks. 
This was granted in September, 1976, and completed in Novem- 
ber, 1976. Three grants awarded in earlier years have not been 
completed. One application is being considered. 

It was suggested that there be a time limit set for the completion 
of this work. If the recipient does not complete the work in a 
given length of time he should apply for more time. If he does 
not complete his project in five years the money should be returned 
to the Society. This is in committee to be studied. 

Awards Committee David Wasden will make his report at the 

Projects Committee Mabel Brown reported that the request for 
Legend Rock area to be made into a state park has to be acted 
upon by the state legislature before more work can be done. 

Movie "Wyoming from the Beginning" has been selling slowly, 
but steadily. The school district's 1977 budgets cover more copies 
of this movie, and it is hoped more will be purchased. Eight have 
been sold to date. 

Wyoming Historical Foundation Ed Bille reported that the 
Foundation needs new officers. There is $450.87 in the account 
but there is a great deal of money to be gotten for worthwhile 


projects if the Foundation is given a new life. He has been 
chairman since 1967 and he feels that a fresh approach with new 
ideas and new board members could effectively raise money. 

Hal Jensen said that we should be planning a new movie on 
another phase of Wyoming history, or another field such as rail- 
roads, oil industry or cattle industry, and that there are many 
energy related industries that would contribute now. 

Motion made by Chester Blackburn that the Executive Board 
be requested to set up and to build an organizational structure to 
ask for contributions for projects. Seconded. Carried. 

A chairman needs to be found to replace Ed Bille, but this, too, 
should be done by the Executive Board. 

Trek David Wasden said that the three-year trek over the mail 
and stage route from Rawlins to Montana was completed. He 
thanked all who had assisted him. Hal Jensen complimented the 
committee on the completion of the three-year trek. 


Ray Pendergraft said that he had been afraid that the year fol- 
lowing the Bicentennial activities would be anticlimactic. It did 
not prove to be so. He was able to visit several county chapters, 
and found this very rewarding. The movie was completed. The 
Trek was very successful, and he wished to thank the Trek Com- 
mittee. The By-Laws had been revised so that new chapters can 
be accepted if population growth warrants it. He thought maybe 
the office of President should be extended to two years to better 
utilize the knowledge they had acquired and complete their projects 
and made their term more successful. 

There was a question from the floor as to how many county 
histories have been completed to date under the Scholarship pro- 
gram. Katherine Halverson reported that histories are on file for 
the following counties: Big Horn, Carbon, Converse, Hot Springs, 
Johnson, Laramie, Sweetwater, Teton and Washakie. 

CHAPTER REPORTS were read, and are on file at Executive 
Headquarters in Cheyenne. 


Executive Secretary Bill Williams said the positive side of the 
Society is that it is growing in stature and ability to promote state 
history and in preserving it. There has been a steady growth in 
museums. There is a sincere effort being made to gain more 
support and be able to maintain this growth. He has designated 
Mrs. Halverson Acting Executive Secretary to take over his duties 
so that she may be able to work more closely with the county 
chapters. Museum laws are being studied by the Society's Legis- 


lative Committee with the hope of removing archaic language, and 
to effect a reorganization. 


Hal Jensen moved that beginning this year the president of the 
Society receive a life membership from the Society for his service. 

A motion was made by Bill Williams to amend the motion to 
make Article II Sec. 2 of the Society By-laws read, "All past and 
future presidents and their wives be granted a joint honorary life 
membership in the Society during the lifetime of the past presi- 
dent." Seconded. Carried. 

Bill Williams made the motion that the Executive Board appoint 
a committee to review and report back if there is a necessity for a 
two-year term for the president, or the vice president. Seconded. 

Jay Brazelton spoke against a two-year term as it is hard to 
secure a president now, and six years is too long a period to be 
committed to serving as an officer in the Society. 

It was requested that joint members receive two ballots for the 
election in the future. 

Curtiss Root tentatively invited the Society to hold its 25th 
annual meeting in Torrington in 1978. 

Henry Chadey offered to host the annual Summer Trek in 
Sweetwater County. It would be one day only to traverse the 
area of Flaming Gorge, and into the Brown's Hole which was an 
area frequented by Butch Cassidy, Tom Horn, and other outlaws. 
They would provide printed material instead of reading a paper 
at each stop, a catered luncheon and no banquet. 

Motion was made that we accept Mr. Chadey's invitation for 
the second weekend after the Fourth of July for our annual Trek. 
Seconded. Carried. 

Mr. and Mrs. Dave Wasden were thanked for the beautiful 
floral arrangement in the meeting room, and on the luncheon tables 
and the banquet tables. Their gladiolas were gorgeous. 

Mention was made that Dr. Larson was honored by the Gov- 
ernor recently for his Bicentennial Book, Wyoming, A History. 

Meeting recessed for lunch. 

The lunch was served by the B.P.O.E. Does Auxiliary. Myrtle 
Godfrey spoke on the "Spring Creek Raid" in which her brother 
was a participant. Mrs. Godfrey did a great deal of "remember- 
ing" and came up with an interesting first-hand account of the raid. 

Music was furnished by the Winter Brothers. Everyone was 
invited to visit the Paint Brush Room of Big Horn Federal to view 
the Art Show, sponsored by the Big Horn County Chapter and the 
Easel Riders, Greybull Art Club. Many beautiful paintings were 

Best of show award went to Thomas Berger, Lakewood, Colo- 


rado, for "Sutler's Store at Fort Laramie." In the professional 
category first place winner was Mitchial Lange, of Byron, for 
"Grown Over," and second place in that category was awarded 
to E. Riley Ecton, of Worland, for "Worland Ferry Crossing." 
Lucille Patrick Hicks of Cody was first place winner in the amateur 
category with "A Jerkline Outfit" and second place in the amateur 
category went to Ruth Zvorka, Basin, for "Iron Horse Comes to 
the Wind River." All winners received cash prizes provided by 
the Wyoming State Historical Society and local groups. 

At 3:30 the meeting was reconvened. 

Mrs. Alice Harrower, of Pinedale, was introduced and com- 
mended for her work in Sublette County with the Historical Society 
and the Museum of the Mountain Men. 

A letter from Mrs. Violet Hord was read. She regretted very 
much having to miss the 24th Annual Meeting. Appreciation was 
expressed for her work in the Society and the Wyoming Historical 

Ray Pendergraft read his original poem on early Worland, 
"When the City Went A-Skatin' on the Ice." 

Meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m. 


A no-host hospitality hour preceded the banquet at the Elks 

The banquet tables were attractively decorated with the flowers 
from the Wasdens and fossils from the Big Horn Basin. A deli- 
cious dinner was served by the B.P.O.E. Does Auxiliary. 

The mayor of Greybull welcomed the Society to the city of 
Greybull. Ray Pendergraft was the master of ceremonies, and 
introduced special guests and past presidents. 

Anita Hindman, Cody, "The Kate Smith of the Rockies," 
introduced "The Westernaires", a men's quartet, and the "Barber- 
shop Belles", a ladies' quartet. Several delightful numbers were 

Dr. George C. Frison, Head of the Department of Anthropol- 
ogy, at the University of Wyoming, gave a very interesting talk on 
"Artifacts of the Big Horn Basin." 

Dave Wasden, chairman of the Awards committee, presented 
the following Awards: 

Junior Historian: Amy Green, LaGrange high school, first place 
certificate and $50 award; Tammy Hauf, Torrington high school, 
first place certificate and $25 award. Harvey Reel, Huntley high 
school, third place certificate and $25 award. 

Publications, books: Hillsdale Homemaker's Club, for "Hills- 
dale Heritage," certificate: William Dubois, James Ehernberger 
and Robert Larson, Cheyenne, for "Cheyenne Landmarks 1976," 
honorable mention. 


Publications, periodicals-newspapers: Mary Blackburn, Ral- 
ston, newspaper article, "Heart Mountain Relocation Center," cer- 
tificate; Mabel Brown, Newcastle, for "Bits and Pieces"' magazine, 
certificate; Dorothy Fifield, Torrington, for a series of newspaper 
articles, honorable mention. 

Fine Arts: Ken Fulton, Powell, for a Bicentennial diorama 
depicting the first homesteader families, honorable mention. 

Fine Arts, music: Cody Music Club, for musical production, 
"A Bicentennial Jubilee," certificate. 

Fine Arts, painting: Wilbur Lease, Newcastle, for "The Old 
Homestead," certificate; Gary J. Keimig, Casper, for paintings of 
wild life, honorable mention. 

Annual services award: Mrs. Arlyne Nott, Green River, for 
outstanding service to her community during the Bicentennial year 
celebration, certificate. 

Ray Pendergraft presented Goshen County with his special 
chapter award for contributing the most to Wyoming history in 

Curtiss Root announced the results of the election. Officers for 
1977-1978 are: David J. Wasden, president; Mabel Brown, 
first vice president; James W. June, second vice president; Ellen 
Mueller, secretary-treasurer. 


A sour-dough pancake breakfast was served in the Greybull City 
Park by the Big Horn County Chapter. Tours for the day were 
to the Basin Republican-Rustler newspaper plant, Basin; short tour 
to Visitor Center, Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area, 
Lovell; and a 3-hour tour to Visitor Center, Horseshoe Bend. 
Devil's Canyon overlook, buffalo pasture, tepee rings, Hillsboro, 
a ghost town, and Barry's Landing. 

Ellen Mueller 

Book Keviews 

Peopling the High Plains: Wyoming's European Heritage. Gordon 
Olaf Hendrickson, ed. (Cheyenne: Wyoming State Archives 
and Historical Department, 1977.) Index. Illus. 206 pp. 


In reviewing a collected work the reviewer is always wise to 
begin by saying that the "essays are uneven;" and I will invoke 
that privilege. However, I might add that despite their unevenness 
they are intriguingly good and they contribute once again to my 
thesis that working historians (as against those who are still tak- 
ing bows for previous work) are a vital and untapped national 

The project, even though recognized as a first step, provides a 
vital step toward the understanding of the unique ethnic heritage 
of the State of Wyoming. A particularly interesting essay is John 
Paige's "Country Squires and Laborers: British Immigrants in 
Wyoming"; a brief and necessarily hurried sketch of Wyoming's 
(in fact America's) largest immigrant group. He very carefully 
deals with the variety of immigrant types and intranational ethnic 
groups. Well written and informative, it provides an important 
overview. I cannot help but wish however that he had used some 
of the many British sources available in Wyoming. I think they 
would have provided him with a "feeling" if not main information. 
One contribution they might have made would have been to lead 
Paige to deal with the unique character of British Immigration; 
that they assimilated rather than trying to maintain ethnic settle- 
ments or urban areas as did the Germans and the Italians. 

Donald Hodgson and Vivien Hills have written a somewhat 
different, if not all that well documented, interpretation in "Dreams 
and Fulfillment: Germans in Wyoming," which projects and de- 
fends the thesis of German support — if not creation — of much of 
the myth of frontierism: hard work, diligence, productivity. While 
an interesting theory and certainly presented well enough for con- 
sideration, it seems to forget that much of the frontier "ideal" was 
being presented in Europe through such media as the "penny 
dreadful" and the "shilling shocker" at times which pre-date the 
German immigration period. That the Germans took the idea to 
heart is perhaps more a statement about the nature of the German 
people rather than one about German immigration. 

Professors David Kathka and Earl Stinneford leave a lot of 
unanswered questions in the wake of their respective studies of the 
Italians — "The Italian Experience in Wyoming" — and Eastern 
Europeans — "Mines and Miners: The Eastern Europeans in Wyo- 


ming" — in Wyoming. For the first group the problem lies in the 
intention of the immigration; primarily a question about the per- 
manent nature of the settlement. There is also a related question 
which Kathka handles well, and that is the difficulty of a Catholic 
heritage that was not only not "Wyomingish" but was not even 
acceptable by American Catholics. 

The essay dealing with the Eastern Europeans is made weaker 
by the very basic question at who he is talking about. The "East- 
ern Europeans" is such a group that it includes persons as totally 
different in life style and immigration patterns as the Polish and 
the Yugoslavians. Understanding the limitation imposed on the 
auditor by his topic, I think it is a remarkable essay. I am a 
little disturbed by the suggestion of the title, that these persons 
were the miners of Wyoming. I think a careful study of the Welsh 
and Irish would indicate otherwise. 

I have not mentioned in any detail the study of the Basques by 
David Cookson — "The Basques in Wyoming" — and the Greek 
immigrants — "Faith, Hard Work, and Family: The Story of the 
Wyoming Hellenes" — presented by Dean P. Talagan. Each, how- 
ever, is a piece of good, sound, and informative work. Perhaps 
the major factor in their importance lies in the fact that so very 
little has been done in these areas that this ground-breaking seems 
particularly significant. 

Gordon O. Hendrickson's conclusion essay, "Immigration and 
Assimilation in Wyoming," is well done. In the main he avoids 
the tendency in such essays to either generalize to the point of 
irrelevance or to paraphrase the preceding essays in some sort of 
Reader's Digest version. He does neither. I would suggest, how- 
ever, that it is important to remember, and social science research- 
ers often forget, that ethnic interviews must be taken with a grain 
of Clio's salt. The very national heritage and pride that caused 
groups to retain the cultural evidence of their roots will cause them 
to remember more distinctly the conditions of their arrival than 
the causes of their leaving. Wyoming immigrants, like most, had 
one thing in common, the dream of new beginnings or more profit- 
able endings. The story of their success and failure as ethnic 
groups perhaps needs to be counterbalanced by the same under- 
standing of their failure to preserve major ethnicity and the emer- 
gence of the Wyomingite — a unique ethnic group of its own. 

The authors, the researchers, the advisory council, and certainly 
the editor, are all to be congratulated for this small, limited, but 
very significant first move in an important historical concern. It is 
hoped that these persons will continue their work and provide us, 
in due time, with more in depth and revealing studies. 

Graceland College Paul M. Edwards 


The Yellowstone Story. By Aubrey L. Haines. (Boulder: Yel- 
lowstone Library and Museum Association, in cooperation 
with Colorado Associated University Press, 1977.) Index 
each vol. Illus. Maps and charts. Vol. I, 385 pp.; vol. II, 
543 pp. $20.00. 

Yellowstone Story is a scholarly triumph, finally providing us 
with a long overdue full-scale definitive history of the world's first 
and most famous national park. It could have been achieved only 
by someone wholly dedicated to the task, capable of painstaking 
research over many years, the organization of a century's accu- 
mulation of data, and distinctive literary skill. That someone is 
Aubrey Haines of Bozeman, Montana, retired from the National 
Park Service after an unusual career as both engineer and histo- 
rian. While he had some random assistance and encouragement 
from a few colleagues who shared his vision of a comprehensive 
Yellowstone history (including this reviewer as former Regional 
Historian) he did not have sustained official support. This is not 
the fruition of a Park Service research project. Aubrey Haines did 
it mainly by himself, making sacrifices of career and health in the 

There have been several Yellowstone histories, most notably the 
perennial editions of the one by Hiram Chittenden, an earlier 
Yellowstone engineer turned historian. With this new defini- 
tive work, all previous efforts fade into insignificance, while 
future historians must be content with merely extending Haines' 

The fabulous Yellowstone has a mystique all of its own, some- 
thing that goes beyond images of bears, geysers, glass mountains 
and painted canyons. It is the supreme symbol, not only of our 
expanding national park system, but a whole new democratic and 
global dimension in human affairs — the preservation of superlative 
scenic, scientific, and historic areas as public parks, in perpetuity, 
for the inspiration and enjoyment of everyone. Yellowstone Story 
is a literary work equal to its grand theme. It is a measure of its 
intellectual scope that it deals in depth, not only with minutiae of 
the park area itself, but with evolution of the park concept, going 
back to the royal gardens of ancient Persia, ducal game preserves 
and English commons. Haines' chapter entitled "The New Cre- 
ation", about the culmination of this revolutionary idea in the 
Yellowstone Act of 1872, and the melange of idealism and political 
opportunism which precipitated it, is the central diamond of his 
many-jeweled masterpiece. 

In a characteristic fit of modesty Haines assures the reader that 
his work is "not exhaustive" but contains "only as much as neces- 
sary to an understanding of the flow of events." Actually, very 
little of significance has been omitted from this massive work of 


two volumes, over 900 pages, over 1400 footnotes, around 700 
bibliographical entries, 100 contemporary photographs, and 44 
excellent maps. He portrays personalities, tells anecdotes, and de- 
scribes both natural and man-made features in rich and elaborate 
detail. Because of its complexity, this book could have been heavy 
going. But Haines is that rare scholar who has a facile pen and a 
delightful way of organizing and captioning his material. The 
imaginative chapter titles, adorned with quaint bits of contempo- 
rary poetry and oratory provide the exact flavor for each episode. 

Volume I deals with Indians, fur trappers, miners, explorers, 
park establishment and the precarious period of feeble civilian 
management and park despoliation to 1886, aptly entitled "Para- 
dise Almost Lost." Larger Volume II covers the period of U. S. 
Army administration, 1886-1917, and the modern era of manage- 
ment by the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the In- 
terior. Simple chronology does not convey the scope of this work; 
one can only mention a few random highlights. 

Credit for "the park idea" has to be shared by many promoters, 
including the profit-minded Northern Pacific Railroad. The term 
"Yellowstone Park" does not appear in the Act of Establishment, 
but evolved by usage. While no paragons themselves, the earls 
civilian Superintendents cannot be condemned; they were given 
"Mission Impossible." Insufficient credit has gone to Vest, Lacey, 
Pomeroy and other visionary Eastern Congressmen who protected 
the infant park against legislative attack and encroachments by 
would-be exploiters, including a few Wyoming and Montana 
Congressmen schooled in rapacity. The greed of Railroad and 
Reclamation interests, like that of early park trophy hunters and 
geyserite collectors, ignited the fires in which the shield of wilder- 
ness was forged. On the other hand, wildlife policies have been 
wobbly and controversial, tracing a zig-zag path to this day. 

The "Yellowstone Crusade" to enlarge the park led to the cre- 
ation instead of Grand Teton National Park. Fort Yellowstone at 
Mammoth Hot Springs, and its substations throughout the park, 
were unique among Army establishments; the Army did a magnifi- 
cent job in pioneering effective management principles. Today's 
rangers evolved from the early "rabbit-catchers" and patrolling 
cavalrymen, the main difference being that they have things a lot 
easier and get paid far more handsomely. The ubiquitous auto- 
mobile, the means of democratizing the park, was considered a 
curse to begin with, scaring the daylights out of horses. Today 
it is the cause of another dilemma — pollution and overuse. If we 
are to preserve the wilderness, or what's left of it, should all tourist 
facilities be removed from Old Faithful and other interior points 
to the park perimeter, and people trundled in and out by mass 
transit conveyance? 

Yellowstone Storv is dedicated to deceased Jack Havnes, vener- 


able park photographer, concessioner, and guidebook author. The 
jackets bear brilliant color reproductions of Thomas Moran's in- 
comparable paintings. From pristine wonderland, to "national 
white elephant," to battleground for Indians and environmentalists, 
to national playground, this record will stand as one of the grand 
epics of park literature. Its surprisingly modest price should en- 
sure wide readership. 

Littleton, Colorado Merrill J. Mattes 

"I'd Rather Be Born Lucky Than Rich": The Autobiography of 
Robert H. Hinckley. By Robert H. Hinckley and JoAnn 
Jacobsen Wells. Charles Redd Monographs in Western 
History, no. 7. (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 
1977.) Index. Illus. Paper. 

Robert H. Hinckley's purpose in writing his autobiography was 
to tell the world just how lucky he has been in his life. Born, 
raised, and educated in Utah, Hinckley describes how he was 
lucky enough to build up one of the largest Dodge dealerships in 
Utah, manage it through the Depression and, at the same time, 
serve his country as a bureaucrat in the Roosevelt Administration 
of the 1930s and 1940s. The book closes with an account of his 
contributions to the development of American television. 

Frankly, the book is a disappointment. Rather than giving his 
reader informative insights into the inner workings of the Roose- 
velt Administration (including the Works Project Administration 
and the Contracts Settlement) or an in-depth description of the 
development of American television, Mr. Hinckley spends most of 
his time telling the reader about all the "famous and important" 
people he has been lucky to meet. Space is devoted to photographs 
with such captions as, "For Bob Hinckley from his old friend, 
Franklin D. Roosevelt," and "To one of the finest fellows I have 
ever met, with my good wish, Angelo J. Rossi, Mayor, San Fran- 
cisco." The reader is further treated to photographs of Mr. 
Hinckley with such notables as Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. 
Johnson, Harry Hopkins, and others. The text is full of anecdotal 
accounts of Mr. Hinckley's encounters, however brief, with prom- 
inent Americans of the twentieth century. 

No doubt such mementoes and memories are worthy of a certain 
amount of pride and, perhaps, even a certain amount of reverence 
for Mr. Hinckley. Most readers can find a certain amount of 
enjoyment in them, too. But the reader who expects some real 
insight and valuable contributions to the knowledge of the period 
is disappointed. Solid historical information is sacrificed for name- 


The book's style is rather dull, repetitive, chatty, and most unor- 
ganized. For example, on one page (p. 29) in the chapter titled, 
"The Depression," the reader is given a description of the develop- 
ment of the car dealership from 1920 to 1954 without a mention 
of the 1930s. Upon turning the page, the reader is whisked into 
the sixties. This page is one of eight in a twelve-page chapter on 
the Depression that does not even deal with the Depression. 

Another aspect of the book's organization that detracts from its 
readability is the excessive number of typographical errors that are 
found therein. Certainly, one would think that a university press 
would not be guilty of such an amateur performance. 

The book reads much like an oral history and 1 suspect much 
of it was, indeed, dictated by Mr. Hinckley. As an oral history, 
the book is valuable as a record, however poor, of what happened 
to one individual as he followed the script of the old American 
success story. It is a shame that we could not have been told 

University of Wyoming David A. Cookson 

Education and the American Indian. The Road to Selj-Determi- 
nation Since 1928. Second Edition. By Margaret Connell 
Szasz. (Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 
1977). Index. Illus. 252 pp. Paper. $5.95. 

In preparing the second edition of this 1974 study of American 
Indian education, the University of New Mexico Press might well 
have considered some serious revisions. Szasz chronicles a sprawl- 
ing malaise of decisions and counterdecisions made by the federal 
government over a fifty-year period affecting Indian education. 
Unfortunately, the book's material does a good deal of sprawling 
of its own, as the author's intricate bureaucratic subject matter 
often leaves the reader wallowing in a mire of tediously presented 

Materials surface time and again in slightly altered fashion. 
Chapters 4 through 8, for example, continually rehash nuances of 
the same New Deal pronouncements. Since the cast of characters 
does not change appreciably, nor do their sources of data, the 
reader learns the same details over and over again. The most 
notorious example of this occurs in Chapters 6 and 7. Cross- 
cultural education falls in Chapter 6 but, just in case the reader 
chafes for details, Ms. Szasz rolls the issue out again for an encore 
in the succeeding chapter. 

A few paragraphs incorporated into Chapter 6 would have 
served the same purpose. A minor but especially galling point 
also crops up in Chapter 6. Not content to refer to whites as 


"whites," the author begins to slip in the term, "Anglo." While 
this may be acceptable Southwestern street language, one suspects 
a conscientious editor of a scholarly study could have substituted 
a bit more erudite terminology. The racism incipient in this term 
should more than mitigate against its usage. All whites are no 
more Anglos than all Indians are Cherokees. Ms. Szasz demon- 
strates her ability to misuse this banal label in this chapter alone 
by citing at least three decidedly "non-Anglo" whites. 

Unevenness of coverage also mars this work. The pre-World 
War II period, which represents only one-third of the years under 
study, covers one-half of the book. One learns of the Progressive 
Education movement in great detail and discovers that Commis- 
sioner John Collier's aberrant social behavior extended to a self- 
destructive, "almost anti-white, racist attitude." For all of dis- 
tracting pontificating about the inability of whites to make intelli- 
gent decisions concerning Indian education, Szasz tells the reader 
very little about Robert Bennett and Louis Bruce, the only two 
Indians to have been Commissioners of Indian Affairs during the 

On a positive note, the book contains a good amount of impor- 
tant historical information. Szasz traces the philosophies of the 
various Commissioners of Indian Affairs and their Directors of 
Education, handles well the application of Progressive Education 
principles to Indian schools, and demonstrates the nearly disas- 
trous effects termination had on Indian education and culture. 
The study's attitude toward government, at all levels, is almost 
unsparingly negative. Successes, however flawed, receive little 
credit. As a final salvation, however, the author's epilogue sug- 
gests that self-determination measures taken under the Nixon and 
Ford Administrations should permit Indian "direction and leader- 
ship" of education. Szasz implies that this should finally permit 
the evolution of an effective education program. 

Most conscientious whites realize that the government has made 
a horrible botch of Indian education, indeed of the entire question 
of Indian affairs. Self-determination seems a logical solution. The 
author, rather than capitalizing on current attitudes, engages in a 
long invective which does much to weaken her case. Gleeful 
demolition of straw men is not sound scholarship. The material 
does not read well at all and seems much too detailed and "loaded" 
for classroom use. Fortunately, this study does compile much 
data which should be of some use for the scholar when the whole 
issue of self-determination and education might be placed in calm- 
er perspective. 

University of Georgia S. J. Karina 


Sketches of Wyoming. Publications Coordinator: Dana Van 
Burgh, Jr. (Casper: Wyoming Field Science Foundation, 
1977.) 86 pp. $5.00. 

"Let us walk softly here, 

Seeing the change come down," from W. S. Curry's poem, 
"Ghost Town", accurately describes the feeling one finds in 
Sketches of Wyoming. Dedicated to two Wyoming historians, 
Frances Seeley Webb and Violet Hord, it is an attractive little 
book of poetry, tidbits of Wyoming history, and a lovely collection 
of pen and ink drawings. These last, of important and loved 
remnants of Wyoming's past, are starkly effective against the 
book's heavy white paper. The temptation to cut out one or two 
for framing is stayed by the desire to keep the whole intact for 
repeated readings and enjoyment. 

Odd bits of information pop up in the brief historical sketches. 
For instance, did you know that, though packaged foods were 
available since 1765, they "too often contained filings, gypsum, 
bark, Prussian blue (a poisonous coloring), and sawdust"? Does 
it sound familiar? Even with today's laws we haven't entireh 
escaped such problems. Or had you any idea that women's lib 
was started much longer ago than we thought, even among the 
Indians? Shell Woman of the Northern Cheyennes was not only 
a medicine woman but plied a ferry across La Prele Creek near 
Fort Fetterman when the waters were high. 

Wooden oil derricks, deserted mansions, isolated graves along 
old trails, log barns, charcoal kilns, hotels, a church, bridges, even 
a water wheel, all speak of high hopes that crashed, dreams that 
vanished, great plans that went awry; of man's never-ending pur- 
suit of material gain that turns to smoke (or sawdust) before his 
eyes; in short, nostalgia for a time that was, and is, and will always 
be, as we look back longingly, thinking the past better than the 
present and safer than the future. 

Many places scattered over Wyoming are represented here, from 
one corner to the other. Wyoming people should delight in it. 
Strangers can take it home feeling they have brought away at 
least a whiff of Wyoming. 

It is, possibly, of interest to note that Sketches of Wyoming is a 
publication of the Wyoming Field Science Foundation, a non-profit 
foundation created to provide financial support for the field science 
programs: science-history field trips around Wyoming and adjoin- 
ing states. The foundation's philosophy reveals "that a total re- 
sponse to Wyoming ... is better than an exclusively narrow sphere 
of knowledge. As students and adults, artists and writers have 
worked together to research, write, publish, and publicize, they 
have gained an appreciation of each other's talents, an awareness 


of the basic principles of disciplines other than their own, and a 
realization that all art and science have a common foundation." 
Money from the sale of foundation publications returns to the 
foundation to be used for future projects, field equipment, and 

Newcastle Elizabeth J. Thorpe 

Black Diamonds of Sheridan: a Facet of Wyoming History. By 
Stanley A. Kuzara. (Cheyenne: Pioneer Printing and Sta- 
tionery Co., 1977). Illus. 227 pp. $11.00. 

Black Diamonds of Sheridan is both more than and less than a 
history of the coal mining communities of Sheridan County. Stan- 
ley A. Kuzara, a native son of the coal camps, undertook the 
compilation of this book with the knowledge that he lacked the 
skills, tools, and perceptions of a professional historian. Recog- 
nizing his shortcomings, Kuzara sought to relate his reminiscences 
of life in the Sheridan area mining towns and to supplement these 
personal notes with numerous newspaper stories extracted from 
the Sheridan newspapers. 

Organized according to the many coal camps of the area, Black 
Diamonds moves from camp to camp presenting, largely through 
reprinted newspaper stories, an outline history of each camp's 
origin, heyday and decline. The several Dietz camps, eight in all, 
as well as the Hotchkiss, Acme, Model, Carneyville, Monarch, 
and Kooi camps all receive Kuzara's attention. In addition, chap- 
ters about Kuzara and his family, the Sheridan Railway Company, 
and the methods used in working the mines are included in the 
book. An especially useful chapter relates many of Kuzara's per- 
sonal reminiscences of the mining camps. 

While the focus of the book is on the mining camps and their 
development, other equally interesting and useful information is 
also presented in this study. For example, since the majority of 
the miners were Eastern European immigrants, the study naturally 
sheds some light on their social and economic reception in Wyo- 
ming. Newspaper stories give the host society's reaction to the 
miners while Kuzara's Polish origins allow him to comment effec- 
tively on the immigrant, particularly the Polish, social activities 
in the area. 

The volume is not an interpretive history of the Sheridan mining 
camps, yet it provides much raw material which others can use in 
preparing such a history. The compilation of newspaper stories 
about the mines in a single volume will allow students, otherwise 
unable to scan the Sheridan papers, an opportunity to view some 
of the documentary history of the camps. The use of materials 


such as geological reports, other state newspapers, mining company 
records, personal papers of individual miners, and other histories 
of the state could have made this volume an interpretive history 
of Sheridan County mining, but that was not Kuzara's intention. 
Coal mining in Wyoming is an industry with many economic 
ramifications for the state. It needs a full interpretive history 
encompassing the technological, geological, and environmental de- 
velopments in the mining industry from the opening of the first 
Union Pacific mine to the present strip mining operations. Like- 
wise, in depth studies of the miners themselves will add signifi- 
cantly to our understanding of Wyoming's cultural heritage. 
Stanley Kuzara is to be commended for illuminating a portion of 
Wyoming's history which could easily be lost. Hopefully, others 
will expand on his work. 

University of Minnesota Gordon O. Hendrickson 

Twin Cities 

A Clash of Interests: Interior Department and the Mountain West 
1863-96. By Thomas G. Alexander. (Provo, Utah: Brig- 
ham Young University Press, 1977.) Maps. Notes. Ap- 
pendix. Index. 256 pp. $11.95. 

The federal government played an integral role in the develop- 
ment of western territories. However, the benefits and detriments 
of the territorial system and of the policies of the national govern- 
ment are debatable. In an attempt to arrive at a more judicious 
appraisal of their influences on territorial affairs, Thomas G. 
Alexander has extensively investigated the federal government's 
economic activities in the mountain territories of Idaho, Arizona 
and Utah for the period 1863-1896. The product of his research 
is not a narrow economic history. By necessity, it also is an 
analysis of the political climate of the times. 

In this study Alexander shows that the changing power structure 
in Washington greatly affected the territories. From 1863 until 
1874, Republicans dominated the national government, and on the 
whole they were responsive to the wishes of the territories. How- 
ever, the election of 1874 ushered in a Democratic Congress. Led 
by fiscal conservatives such as Representative William Holman of 
Indiana, the Congress became more parsimonious. The salaries 
of territorial officials were lowered, funding for land surveys was 
cut back, and the Holman Rule was passed in the House. The 
Holman Rule, which stipulated that no amendments could be made 
to appropriation acts unless they reduced the number of federal 
employees or cut expenditures, curtailed the limited power of terri- 
torial delegates, who could propose legislation affecting their re- 


spective territories even if they could not vote on it. In effect, the 
territories were subjugated financially to the decisions of the frugal 
Democratic leadership in the House. The Holman Rule was re- 
pealed in 1885, but only after Grover Cleveland, an equally con- 
servative Democrat, had assumed the presidency. 

While monetary restraint slowed territorial development, it was 
not the sole cause of discord. Many politicians from other regions 
did not understand the needs of the emerging economy in the 
Mountain West. It was dominated by mining and lumbering, not 
farming and ranching. Thus the Cleveland administration's im- 
pediments on the use of the public domain or on the acquisition 
of federal land did not so much prevent the monopolization of land 
as it hindered economic growth. 

An area of federal activity on which Alexander makes several 
insightful and controversial points is the Indian service. He main- 
tains that the reservation system worked properly when the agents 
were adequately paid, competent men. Moreover, he says that the 
Whites did not want the Indians exterminated; rather, they desired 
only peace and order. Finally, he concludes that the Indian ser- 
vice was not filled with fraud but was made ineffective by encum- 
bering bureaucratic dictates. Furthermore, it defeated its own 
aims, for it segregated the Redmen from White communities and 
taught them unmarketable skills, all while hoping to acculturate 
them into White society. 

Obviously, some will disagree with Alexander's interpretations. 
However, a more significant criticism is that he does not fully 
examine the ramifications of national party politics in territorial 
administration. Not only were territorial posts patronage sine- 
cures, but also they were vehicles for party organizing. Unfor- 
tunately, that dimension of political concern is hardly mentioned. 
Nonetheless, A Clash of Interests convincingly exposes the fluc- 
tuating relationship between the federal government and the fed- 
eral territories in the Mountain West during the latter half of the 
nineteenth century, when differing perceptions, needs, and goals 
fostered anxiety and animosity on both sides. In all, this is an 
informative and provocative scholarly monograph which deserves 
the attention of historians of the American West. 

Oklahoma State University Thomas Burnell Colbert 

Great North American Indians. By Frederick J. Dockstader. 
(New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1977). Index. Bib. 
Illus. 386 pp. $16.95. 

Frederick J. Dockstader, Great North American Indians, is a 
compilation of 300 brief biographical sketches. The author em- 


phasizes that these are not necessarily the most important Native 
American leaders; space limitations and the difficulty of obtaining 
sufficient information have affected his choices. Dockstader arbi- 
trarily has eliminated any individual still living. He has attempted 
to decide "the importance of the individual to the Indian people, 
rather than the evaluation of a career from the White point of 

This is a book worth attempting. Such familiar biographical 
sources as Hodge's Handbook of American Indians North of 
Mexico (1910) and Gridley's various Indians of Today volumes 
are now dated. A volume such as this one could synthesize the 
best of modern scholarship and provide for both the general reader 
and the specialist incisive portraits of a wide range of significant 
Native American men and women. This kind of study, in sum, 
could illustrate the variety of contributions of American Indians to 
their peoples and to America. 

Great North American Indians does not, however, fulfill its 
considerable promise. It is a handsome book, nicely illustrated, 
well indexed, and reasonably priced. It does provide in one vol- 
ume a handy reference source which begins to acquaint the reader 
with an array of important personalities. It is a conscientious 
attempt to provide portrayals of more than military leaders, more 
than patriot chiefs. Nonetheless, the book is marred significantly 
by some central shortcomings. 

The volume has a good many factual errors and, I believe, 
omissions or misplaced emphases about the careers of many indi- 
viduals. When one man takes on such a gargantuan task, this 
perhaps is inevitable. Dockstader also includes a large, but uncrit- 
ical bibliography. The reader would be better served by one a 
mite briefer, but more selective. 

This is a book essentially about Indian men of the "lower 48": 
no Alaskan, no Mexican, and but one Canadian man are included. 
Only 22 of the 300 people are women. There are as well prob- 
lems relating to tribal representation. While no one would deny 
the central place of Dakotas in American Indian history, one of 
ten people in this volume is a Sioux. By contrast there are, for 
example, no Northern Arapahoes, no Chickasaws, no Papagos; 
such vital communities as Zuni, Taos and Laguna are neglected. 

Naturally one may quibble about who Dockstader included and 
who he did not. The book is particularly weak in the area of 20th 
century Indian history. The Pan-Indian movements prior to World 
War II have been slighted. It is inexcusable not to have included 
Sherman Coolidge and Thomas Sloan. Philip Gordon, Charles 
Daganett, Oliver Lamere, Hiram Chase, Charles D. Carter, Marie 
Baldwin, and Laura Cornelius Kellogg are among others missing. 
In the Southwest, such leaders as Sotero Ortiz and Pablo Abeita 
were bypassed. 


I question as well the restriction placed against those, who 
through no fault of their own, happen still to be alive. A classic 
example of this limitation occurs when both Julian Martinez and 
his son Popovi Da rate entries, whereas Julian Martinez' wife, the 
still more illustrious Maria, does not (she is discussed under Julian 
Martinez' name). Then there are distinguished individuals who 
passed away right before the book was published and so are not 
mentioned: the great Flathead scholar D'Arcy McNickle and the 
crusading Eskimo editor Howard Rock are but two cases in point. 
Even if Dockstader wanted to steer clear of contemporary Indian 
politics, there are many vitally important Native Americans in 
many fields who should be a part of this book: Scott Momaday, 
Oscar Howe, Annie Wauneka, Ben Reifel, Allen Houser, Ada 
Deer, Vina Deloria, Sr. and Jr., James Welch, Alfonso Ortiz, the 
great Navajo weaver Mabel Myers. A book such as this one 
should illustrate the ongoing, enduring Native American spirit. 
One best does this by including the living as well as the dead. 

University of Wyoming Peter Iverson 

Ghost Towns of Wyoming. By Donald C. Miller. (Boulder: 
Pruett Publishing Company, 1977.) Index. Bib. 110 pp. 
$12.50 cloth. 

This is a nice readable book for the armchair traveler who likes 
good photographs of ghost towns and old buildings, and does not 
care if history is slipshod and often inaccurate. Also the armchair 
traveler does not need any detailed directions on how to reach 
these ghost towns. A map in the front of the book gives their 
locale. Since towns are discussed alphabetically, hunting for them 
on the map furnishes some excitement. I found Oakley! 

Listed as ghost towns are Afton, Atlantic City, Centennial, 
Encampment and Sunrise. Perhaps people living in these towns 
won't mind this classification. Hartville is called a "village." 
Manville "still exists." "A few people still live" at Riverside. 
Savery "is a small town south of Rawlins"; only sixty miles south 
according to the Wyoming Highway map. Superior still exists 
with a "handful" of population. 

Information on most towns is very sketchy giving the impression 
that the author, Donald C. Miller, gathered his facts from a pile of 
books on his desk and never visited many of the places about 
which he wrote. And his pile of books was not large enough! 
There are some glaring errors in his book. 

"What remains of Fort Stambaugh" is pictured on page 101. 
Nothing remained of Fort Stambaugh in 1975 but a flat stone 
marker buried in the sage. It took me some time to find the stone. 


Cambria is in Weston County. The coal mined there was bitu- 
minous and used for coking. It was not anthracite. 

More about Cambria, quoting page 14: "The school house was 
on a hill above the town. Three hundred and sixty-five steps 
(perhaps 600) led to it. About forty dwellings were situated on 
the same hill (actually located in South Dakota) which became 
known as Antelope City." Page 15: "Antelope City, South 

No part of Cambria or Antelope City, just west of Cambria, 
was even near South Dakota. The Wyoming-South Dakota state 
line is about ten miles east of Cambria. 

There are several errors about Silver Cliff, now Lusk, Niobrara 
County. Quoting page 79: "One of the town's characters was 
Old Mother Feather Legs who ran a whorehouse in a dugout." 

The lowly mansion of Mother Featherlegs (note correct spell- 
ing) was fourteen miles south of Silver Cliff in what is now Goshen 
County. There is a stone marker on her grave with the correct 
spelling of her name. She never had any connection with Silver 

Also the "large barn" that now marks the site of Silver Cliff 
according to Mr. Miller, has been gone so long that no one knows 
exactly where it stood. 

Lusk Mae Urbanek 

Agriculture in the Great Plains, 1876-1936. Thomas R. Wessel. 
ed. (Washington: Agricultural History Society, 1977.) 
Index. 263 pp. 

Thomas R. Wessel of Montana State University has edited an 
excellent series of articles on agricultural history in the Great 
Plains over a sixty year time span. These papers were presented 
in their original form at a symposium sponsored by the Agricul- 
tural History Society, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the 
Montana Bicentennial Administration, and Montana State Univer- 
sity. The book can be divided into six very broadly defined 
categories: changes wrought by the environment, technical and 
farming innovations, politics and the farmer, government policies 
and organizations, technical advice to historians, and a summary. 

Since the publication of Walter Prescott Webb's The Great 
Plains in 1931 historians have focused on the importance of the 
environment and geography to settlement and farming in this re- 
gion. Four writers in this edition clearly indicate the continua- 
tion of this trend. W. H. Droze analyzes the seventy-five year 
effort that went into changing the environment by planting trees 
on the plains. James Forsythe shows how such environmental 


factors as temperature, rainfall, soil, and terrain greatly affected 
the early settlers in Ellis County, Kansas. And Dan Fulton de- 
scribes the way many farmers and government organizations failed 
to deal effectively with the special problems of the Great Plains. 

Environmental influences on the plains dictated many technical 
innovations in the agricultural sector. This area constituted the 
largest number of articles in Agriculture in the Great Plains. C. H. 
Wasser details the development of technical range management 
through programs such as the Bureau of Plant Industry and the 
agricultural experiment stations. Hiram Drache tells the very im- 
portant story of how Thomas Campbell helped create the modern, 
large-scale, heavily mechanized farm on the northern plains. In 
two separate articles, Kenneth Norrie and Mary W. M. Hargreaves 
discuss the growth of a technique crucial to the growth of agricul- 
ture on the Great Plains: dry farming. Though criticized by some 
experts and modified through the years, this process proved to be a 
successful method of improving an always uncertain environmental 

The frequently cruel environment of the Great Plains also 
prompted farmers to seek political solutions to their problems. 
This comprises the third category of papers. Robert Calvert fo- 
cuses on the Granger movement in Texas and the experiences of 
A. J. Rose to illustrate many of the characteristics of that farm 
organization. Garin Burbank analyzes the development of agrar- 
ian socialism in Saskatchewan and Oklahoma. Both emphasize 
the essential conservatism of the plains farmer as well as his will- 
ingness to flirt with various political solutions to his problems. In 
contrast to these movements, Richard Farrell shows that farm 
newspapers remained conservative and relatively apolitical during 
the years 1860 to 1910. 

Movements like the Grangers and the agrarian socialists prod- 
ded the government into responding to the needs of the plains 
farmer. An article by Paul Gates describes the development and 
crucial importance of the Homestead laws to the settlement of the 
Great Plains. Karl Quisenberry shows how the dry land experi- 
ment stations laid much of the technical ground work for successful 
farming in the region. And Merrill Burlingame interrelates the 
work of the Montana Extension Service and M. L. Wilson to the 
creation of a modern national agricultural policy for the Great 

Other chapters in this edited work include one on suitcase farm- 
ing by Leslie Hewes, one on farm income by Robert Ankli, a 
brief history of the North Platte irrigation projects by L. Carl 
Brandhorst, and critical articles by Terry Anderson and Donald 
Hadwiger. In addition, John Schlebecher argues for the need to 
see and handle historically important objects such as plows and 


Gilbert Fite provides the reader with a fine summary of the change 
and growth of Great Plains farming. 

As with all edited works, Agriculture in the Great Plains con- 
tains chapters of varying quality. However, overall the book is 
an excellent and often fascinating one. The work contains only 
two weaknesses, one technical and the other substantive. The book 
could have been constructed better. The articles are scattered 
with no apparent pattern or series of themes. These are there but 
the reader must hunt for them. Also the papers leaned very heavily 
toward commercial farming and the role of the government in 
agriculture. More information on the small farmer, farm labor, 
tenants, and the like and a more critical analysis of government 
agricultural policies would have greatly enhanced an already good 

Louisiana State University at Eunice James W. Ware 

Indian Dances of North America. By Reginald and Gladys Lau- 
bin. (Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1977). 
Index. Illus. 538 pp. $25.00. 

The compilation of a compendium of descriptions and analyses 
of Indian dances of North America would be a difficult, if not 
impossible, task. However, Reginald and Gladys Laubin of Jack- 
son Hole, Wyoming, have attempted to deal with this large and 
complex topic but in a somewhat more restricted fashion. The 
Laubins, professional dancers and students of the art form, have 
devoted their professional careers to performing and studying 
Indian dances. Their contact with Indian people has been exten- 
sive and they have performed with tribal dancers and were adopt- 
ed by White Bull and One Bull of the Sioux. Supported by a 
Guggenheim Fellowship, the Laubins conducted research in 
libraries and museums around the country to augment a pool of 
knowledge from observation and participation in Native American 

The authors devote several chapters to early accounts of native 
dances, utilizing reports from explorers and travelers. Other chap- 
ters are devoted to music, masks and painting and their role in 
dancing. The bulk of the book is devoted to descriptions of danc- 
es, with emphasis on the Sioux and other plains tribes. Accounts 
of most dances are brief, but the Ghost Dance and Sun Dance 
are chapter subjects. Acculturation, the disappearance of many 
dances, and lack of source material obviously limit coverage. The 
Laubins do not attempt to systematically categorize, describe and 
analyze all native dances, or even those for a given region. Their 
coverage is selective and emphasizes the Northern Plains. The 


chapter on the Southwest, for example, is far from complete; only 
a half dozen pages are devoted to California tribes; the Five Civil- 
ized tribes receive brief mention, and Canadian tribes are largely 
ignored. It is perhaps true to some extent that scholars have only 
recently begun to appreciate the role of dancing in Indian cultures, 
but it should also be remembered that excellent research has been 
conducted. James Mooney's work on the Ghost Dance is but one 
example, and numerous studies of the Sun Dance have been pub- 
lished. Nor should one ignore the invaluable work of Francis 
Densmore on Indian music. While some of these works appear 
in the notes, it is impossible, lacking a bibliography, to discern the 
thoroughness of the research or whether unpublished sources were 
utilized. There are numerous photographs, frequently of one or 
both of the authors. 

The book provides an introduction to Indian dances. Those 
interested in dances of specific tribes should also consult other 

University of New Mexico Richard N. Ellis 

Indian Life. Transforming an American Myth. Ed. by William 
W. Savage, Jr. (Norman: The University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1978). Illus. 286 pp. $9.95. 

In the preface Professor Savage notes that this volume, "has to 
do with the images of Indians developed by whites to justify white 
expansion into Indian domain and thus it examines the political 
utility of myth." It is designed as a companion volume to his 
earlier edited work, Cowboy Life: Reconstructing an American 
Myth. The book contains excerpts from thirteen works written 
about the American Indian. Published in the period 1877-1914, 
these books reflect a wide variety of views of American Indian 
society held by non-native American citizens of the United States. 
Some of the authors, including Helen Hunt Jackson, are well- 
known, while others are obscure. Professor Savage has presented 
a collection of excerpted material which gives us a glimpse of how 
white America perceived the native American in the four decades 
before World War I. 

In his introduction the editor states that he attempts to portray 
the way which Americans have contemplated Indians. He goes 
on to note that we view them in a conceptual monolith which 
appears in a series of paired images. These couplets begin with 
the familiar, noble savage versus the brute, and continue with 
numerous lesser known images. 

Savage presents a fair appraisal of the reception of white Amer- 
ica to the image of the native American. He points out that to 


justify the acquisition of territory, Anglo-Americans had to recon- 
cile their economic motives with their ethical and moral responsi- 
bilities. This was accomplished by recourse to law and classifying 
the Indian as subhuman. Of course this made it easier for white 
Americans to justify killing Indians, and many individuals believed 
that this was the best way to hold domination. However, the editor 
does not condemn all Anglo-Americans for this type of treatment 
of Indians. He notes that the romantic myth of the noble savage 
survived largely through the efforts of the liberal reformers. 

In the modern era, Professor Savage contends, the negative ste- 
reotype endured after it no longer had any political utility. He 
states that motion picture directors discovered that, "anyone could 
portray an Indian if he could ride and avoid allergic reaction to 
paint and plummage" and "anybody could act like one." He goes 
on to write about the treatment of Indians in novels and modern 
cartoons. Then he presents the aforementioned excerpts from the 
thirteen books. 

The numerous illustrations which highlight this book make it an 
attractive volume. Although some of the conclusions reached by 
the editor in his introductory chapter are debatable, he has brought 
together in one volume excerpts of many important books on the 
life of the American Indian. Many of these volumes have been 
out of print for decades. Indian Life: Transforming an American 
Myth will enable the reader to acquire a capsule view of many 
Anglo-American attitudes toward the American Indian during an 
important era of American history. Savage has performed a worth- 
while service and his book deserves consideration. 

Missouri Southern State College Robert E. Smith 

The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use. 2nd Edition. 
By Reginald and Gladys Laubin. With a History of the Tipi 
by Stanley Vestal. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1977). Illus. Bib. Index. 343 pp. $12.50. 

Reginald and Gladys Laubin have devoted their lives to the 
preservation and interpretation of the North American Indian cul- 
ture. Many years ago, they were adopted by Chief One Bull, who 
was known as one of the "fighting nephews" of the great Hunk- 
papa Sioux leader, Chief Sitting Bull. Their adoption also paved 
the way to a long association with Indian people of various tribes, 
which provided the Laubins with many valuable firsthand observa- 
tions and experiences. 

As lecturers and entertainers, they have presented authentic 
Indian lore and dances on concert stages throughout the United 
States. They have engaged in successful tours that have spanned 


three other continents. The Laubins have also appeared in six 
documentary films on Plains Indian culture, and have authored 
The Indian Tipi, and Indian Dances of North America, all for the 
University of Oklahoma Press. 

Since the first edition of The Indian Tipi was published in 1957, 
it has been widely received as an invaluable reference book on the 
origin and use of this movable dwelling. It has also provided a 
wealth of information on the construction of the tipi and on how 
to make old-style Indian items. This new edition retains all of the 
excellent material found in the earlier publication, however, it is 
greatly enhanced by more than one hundred additional pages of 
new text and illustrations. 

In addition to providing all of the necessary information for 
making and pitching a tipi, this book contains suggestions on 
materials and furnishings to complete the lodge, and rules of tipi 
etiquette. While both editions contain methods of duplicating 
Indian items, the current publication includes new sections on 
making buckskin, moccasins, and cradles. Other new material on 
daily life examines how the Indian people raised their children, 
and offers some general household hints. There is also an expand- 
ed section on food and cooking by various methods, including the 
use of ground and reflector ovens. 

The authors are extremely adept at writing with clarity and 
detail, and the manner in which they share their personal expe- 
riences and knowledge provides enjoyable reading. The Indian 
Tipi is an excellent reference book and it will undoubtedly appeal 
to the general public, as well as scholars. Its choice illustrations 
also make this book a worthwhile investment. 

Throughout the book, Gladys and Reginald Laubin have taken 
care to present the Indians as a dignified people, with their own 
distinctive culture, art and philosophy. They write with warmth 
and appreciation about the old-style arts and crafts, as well as all 
other aspects of the Indian way of life. It is obvious that the 
Laubins deeply love their subject. They have given their readers 
a rare insight into the underlying spirit and essence of things that 
are truly Indian. 

Buffalo Bill Historical Center Leo A. Platteter 

Fort Collins Yesterdays. By Evadene Burris Swanson. (Fort 
Collins: Don-Art Printers, Inc., 1975). Endnotes. Illus. 
306 pp. 

Evadene Swanson states in the beginning of her book that "The 
notes assembled in this study are intended as a supplement to 
Watrous' tremendous achievement (History of Larimer County). 


They are offered as an interpretation for newcomers to orient those 
unfamiliar with the locale and landmarks which have changed from 
those Watrous described in 1911." With this in mind Ms. Swan- 
son certainly does accomplish her goal. She divides her book into 
two sections. The first is an overview of the town; the second 
is a sampling of people, places and problems. As Swanson tells 
the story of Fort Collins she weaves in bits of history occurring 
throughout the west and the effect it had on a growing western 

For the history buff, the book makes an excellent guide to places 
of historical interest in and around Fort Collins. Occasionally, 
Swanson wanders and brings in notes from neighboring cities. In 
reading the overview, there is the feeling of having a sneak preview 
of something more to come. It reads like a census record. Of 
course, it would be impossible to go into greater detail on every 
subject and person mentioned. If anything could be done to im- 
prove the book it would be to mention fewer names and dates and 
go into greater detail about the more important events. 

Swanson does give short, interesting sketches of such characters 
as George W. Pingree, an Indian fighter and tie hack. He, also, 
had a mountain park and hill in Larimer County named for him. 
Auntie Stone (Elizabeth Hickok Robbins Stone) is given a brief 
sketch as well as Montezuma Fuller, the town's first architect, and 
Charlie Clay, a black former slave who was "considered a symbol 
of freedom." Swanson mentions the numerous nationalities repre- 
sented in the growing community, the churches, physicians, the 
college that became Colorado State University, and law and order. 
She does not forget such characters as Billy Patterson who was a 
friend of Buffalo Bill Cody, Isabelle Bird who stayed at Fort 
Collins for a night on her way to climb Longs Peak, and Lady 
Moon who was the community aristocrat. 

According to Swanson, Fort Collins became "the smallest Amer- 
ican town with a streetcar system." For nearly forty-three years 
streetcars operated in Fort Collins and eventually the line extended 
to the Lindenmeier farm and lake and Sheldon Lake. Ms. Swan- 
son writes, "It was never simply mass transit like the subway or 
elevated in New York or Chicago, but a cozy hometown affair, 
part of the local spirit." Unfortunately, the system succumbed to 
fiscal problems and the last car ran on June 30, 1951. 

Certainly for anyone living in the Fort Collins area, Swanson's 
book is a handy reference to begin an in-depth study of important 
persons and places in the history of Fort Collins. The illustrations 
are excellent. 

Fort Collins, Colorado Mary Hag en 


Merrill J. Mattes, Littleton, Colorado, retired in 1975 from 
the National Park Service after forty years of service as Yellow- 
stone Park ranger, Scotts Bluff and Fort Laramie custodian, 
regional historian at Omaha, chief of history and historic architec- 
ture in San Francisco and chief of historic preservation, Denver 
Service Center. His publications include The Great Platte River 
Road, Nebraska Historical Society, 1969, and Indians, Infants and 
Infantry, Old West Publishing Company, 1960. He was a con- 
tributor to the Mountain Men and the Fur Trade series edited by 
LeRoy Hafen, and has contributed to many scholarly quarterlies. 
Professional awards include the National Cowboy Hall of Fame 
award for "Best Western Non-fiction of 1969." He was a charter 
member of the Western History Association and the Society for 
Historical Archeology. He is deputy sheriff of the Denver Posse 
of Westerners. Mattes is currently self employed as a historical 

Paul L. Hedren is a supervisory park ranger, Golden Spike 
National Historic Site, Utah. Previous National Park Service has 
been at Fort Laramie and as historian at Big Hole National Battle- 
field, Montana. His "Captain Charles King's Centennial Look at 
Fort Laramie" appeared in Annals in 1976. 

Robert L. Munkres, professor of political science at Mus- 
kingum College, currently serves as Department chairman. He is 
a frequent contributor to historical journals and his series of arti- 
cles based on Oregon Trail diaries, first published in Annals, was 
later published by the Wyoming State Archives and Historical 
Department as a book, Saleratus and Sagebrush. The Oregon Trail 
Through Wyoming, which is now out of print. Dr. Munkres has 
done numerous radio and TV programs and most recently has 
appeared regularly on a Columbus, Ohio, children's program tell- 
ing stories about the Plains Indians and the American West. 


Agriculture in the Great Plains, 

1876-1936, ed„ Thomas R. Wes- 

sel, review, 195-197 

Albright, Horace, 24, 25, 26, 37, 45 

Alexander, Thomas G., A Clash of 

Interests: Interior Department 

and the Mountain West, 1863-96, 

review, 191-192 

Andrews and Hudson Ranch, 114, 

117, 118 
Auld, J. W., 28, 29, 34 
Auld, Jessica C, 35, 49, 50 


Beard, Mrs. Cyrus, 173 
Bishop, Lt. Hoel S., 146 
Black Diamonds of Sheridan, A 

Facet of Wyoming History, by 

Stanley A. Kuzara, review, 190- 

Broken Hand and the Indians: A 

Case Study of Mid- 19th Century 

White Attitudes, by Robert L. 

Munkres, 157-172 
Brooks, Bryant B., 34, 36, 49 
Bruce, Charles L., 28 
Bryant, H. C, 37, 45 
Buildings at Old Fort Laramie, 1915- 

1937, photo, 8 
Burnett, Finn, 30 
Burton, Fred, 28 

Cammerer, Arno B., 35, 39, 40, 45 

Campbell, Malcolm, 34 

Carey, Joseph M., 9, 11, 12 

Carlson, Mr., 15 

Carter, U. S. Rep. Vincent, 32, 35 

Cavalry Barracks, Fort Laramie, 

photo, 10 
Chapman, W. S., 49 
Chatelain, Verne, 39, 45 
Cherry, Lt. Samuel A., 144 
Cheyenne, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 

116, 117, 121, 125 
Cheyenne Tribune, 22, 34 
Chevenne Tribune-Leader, 22 
Clarke, H. S., 15, 17 

A Clash of Interests: Interior De- 
partment and the Mountain West, 
1863-96, by Thomas G. Alexan- 
der, review, 191-192 

Cody, Bill (William F.), 139 

Cody, Mary Elizabeth, 174 

Colbert, Thomas Burnell, review of 
A Clash of Interests: Interior De- 
partment and the Mountain West, 
1863-96, 191-192 

"Collections of the Wyoming State 
Historical Society," 176 

Colyer, O. J., 49 

Cook, Harold J., 38 

Cook, James H., 30, 38 

Cookson, David A., review of "I'd 
Rather Be Born Lucky than Rich": 
The Autobiography of Robert H. 
Hinckley, 186-187' 

"Covered Wagon Centennial," 29, 
30; At Fort Laramie, photo. 3 I 

Crowley, Ellen, 174 

The Crusade to Save Fort Laramie, 
by Merrill J. Mattes, 5-57 

Custer Battlefield. 148 


Demaray, A. E., 45, 48 

Denver, Colo., 68, 69, 71. 72. 73, 

78, 79, 80, 81, 88, 89, 90. 91, 94, 

99, 100, 101, 121 
Devils Tower, 44 
Dockstader, Frederick J.. Great 

North American Indians, review, 

Dollinger. H. J.. 39 
Douglas. 133, 136 

Eaton, Lt. George O., 153 

Eben Swift's Armv Service on the 
Plains, by Paul" L. Hedren. 141- 

Echley. Colo.. 68, 69. 70, 78. 80 

Education and the American Indian. 
by Margaret Connell Szasz. re- 
view. 187-188 

Edwards. Paul M.. review of Peo- 
pling the High Plains. Wyoming's 
European Heritage. 182-183 



Ellis. Richard N., review of Indian 
Dances of North America, 197- 

Ellison. Robert S., 23, 24, 25, 26, 
27. 30, 40, 41, 45 

Emerson, Gov. Frank C, 30 

English, Mrs. Harry, 30 

Great Plains North American In- 
dians, by Frederick J. Dockstader, 
review, 192-194 

Green, Thomas L., 47 

Greenburg, Dan W., 34, 35, 39, 57 

Greever, U. S. Rep. Paul, 40, 43, 
44, 54 

Guernsey, 18 

Guernsey Dam, 18 

Guernsey Gazette, 12, 15, 17, 20, 
21, 24 

Ferris. Capt. Samuel P., 154 

Fetterman (City), 129 

Fifth Regiment, U. S. Cavalry, 141- 

Fitzpatrick. Thomas, 157-171 
Flannery. L. G. (Pat), 16, 20, 22, 

23, 28, 29, 30. 32. 37. 38, 39, 40- 

45, 49, 54 
Fleenor, M. S., 49 

Bent's, Colo., 162 

Bridger, 20, 21, 27 

Hall, Ida., 150 

Laramie, 16, 18, 49, 57 

McKinney, 146 

Robinson, Nebr., 146 

D. A. Russell, 147 

Washakie, 151 
Fort Collins Yesterdays, by Evadene 

Burris Swanson, review, 200-201 
Fort Laramie Historical Society, 32 
Fort Laramie National Historic Site, 

Fort Laramie National Monument, 

13. 48 
Fort Laramie Scout, 16, 21, 25, 35, 

Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, 170 
Fourth U. S. Cavalry, 22 

Gering Midwest, 17 

Ghost Towns of Wyoming, by Don- 
ald C. Miller, review, 194-195 

Gilpin. Lt. Col. William, 160, 170 

Glade, Lloyd, 49 

"Glass-Eye Bill" Western Letters 
And Letters From Wyoming, in- 
troduction by C. Northcote Par- 
kinson, 59-140 

Glendive, Mont., 99. 100, 101, 102, 

Goshen County Scout, 16 

Grand Teton National Park, 45 


Hagen, Mary, review of Fort Col- 
lins Yesterdays, 200-201 

Haines, Aubrey L., The Yellowstone 
Story, review, 184-186 

Hall, Lt. William P., 153 

Halverson. Katherine A., History of 
Annals, 173-176; 175 

Hanna, Dr. G. O., 28, 39 

Harvey, Thomas, 158 

Hartman, M. S., 25, 26, 34, 35, 49 

Hawley, Willis, 19 

Hayes, Capt. Edward M., 145 

Hebard, Dr. Grace Raymond, 9, 11, 

21, 39 

Hedren, Paul L., Eben Swift's Army 
Service on the Plains, 141-155 

Henderson, Paul. 34, 41 

Hendrickson, Gordon Olaf, ed., 
Peopling the High Plains. Wyo- 
ming's European Heritage, review, 
182-183; review of Black Dia- 
monds of Sheridan, A Facet of 
Wyoming History, 190-191 

Historic Sites Act of 1935, 41 

History of Annals, by Katherine A. 
Halverson, 173-176 

Hinckley, Robert H., and loAnn 
lacobsen Wells. "I'd Rather Be 
Born Lucky than Rich": The 
Autobiography of Robert H. 
Hinckley, review," 186-187 

Historical Landmarks Commission 
of Wyoming, 14, 26, 27, 28, 29, 
30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 44, 45, 
49, 51 

Homsher, Lola M., 175 

Homsley, Mary (grave), 21 

Hooker, William, 21 

Hoover, Pres. Herbert, 30 

Hospital, Fort Laramie, photo, cover 

Houser, George, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 

22, 27, 28, 29, 32, 39, 41, 44, 47, 
49, 54 



Hunton, Blanche, 6 

Hunton, John, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 17, 

21, 27; photo 55; Mr. and Mrs., 

photo 4 

King, Gen. (Capt.) Charles, 20, 141, 

147, 150 
Kitchen, Sgt. George, 144 
Kuzara, Stanley A., Black Diamonds 

of Sheridan, A Facet of Wyoming 

History, review, 190-191 


Ickes, Int. Sec. Harold, 40, 52 
"I'd Rather Be Born Lucky than 
Rich": The Autobiography of 
Robert H. Hinckley, by Robert 
H. Hinckley and JoAnn Jacobsen 
Wells, review, 186-187 

Buffalo Horn, 150 
Dull Knife, 154-155 
Joseph, 149 
Sharp Nose, 152 
Washakie, 152 
Yellow Calf, 21 

Cheyenne, 158, 161, 162 
Comanche, 167 
Pawnee, 162, 163, 165 
Indian Dances of North America, 
by Reginald and Gladys Laubin, 
review, 197-198 
Indian Life: Transforming an Amer- 
ican Myth, ed., William W. Sav- 
age. Jr., review, 198-199 
The Indian Tipi: Its History, Con- 
struction and Use, by Reginald 
and Gladys Laubin, review, 199- 
Iverson, Peter, review of Great 
North American Indians, 192-194 


Jackson. William H., 21. 23, 30, 53; 

photo. 54 
Jackson Hole National Monument, 

James. Frank, 75 
James, Jesse, 75 
Johnston, James, 11, 12 


Karina. S. J., review of Education 
and the American Indian, 187-188 
Kendrick, Sen. John B., 32 
Keves. Lt. Edward L.. 146. 147 

Landers, Col., 32 

Latrobe, Col. Osnum, 22 

Laubin, Reginald and Gladys, Indian 
Dances of North America, review, 
197-198; The Indian Tipi: Its 
History, Construction and Use, 
review, 199-200 

Lee, Atty. Gen. Ray, 35 

Lemon, G. E., 58 

Lingle Guide-Review. 16, 17 

Logan. Ernest, 34 

London, Lt. Robert. 145, 154 

Lyman. Alice, 174 


McDonald, Paul, 15 

McGrath, Mary, 174 

Mattes, Merrill J.. The Crusade to 
Save Fort Laramie, 5-57; 41, 42, 
44, 47, 54; review of The Yellow- 
stone Story, 184-186 

Maupin, Will M.. 13. 14 

Meadows Ranch, 83. 87. 90. 92, 94, 

Meeker, Ezra, 16, 21 

Merritt. Col. Wesley, 141. 145. 147, 
149, 152 

Midwest Magazine. 13 

Miles City, Mont., 107 

Miller. Donald C. Ghost Towns of 
Wyoming, review. 194-195 

Miller, Gov. Leslie, 35. 39, 40. 42, 
43, 48. 49. 50, 51. 52, 57; photo, 

Miller. Neal E., 175 

Milner, Moses E. (California Joe), 

Mitchell. D. D.. 161 

Monahan. Capt. Deane, 144 

Montgomery, Capt. Robert H.. 145 

Moran. Nina. 174 

Mores. Marquis de. 105 

Morris, Robert C. 176 

Munkres. Robert L.. Broken Hand 
and the Indians: A Case Study 
of Mid-I9th Century White Atti- 
tudes. 157-172 




National Park Service, 5, 6, 24, 37, 
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 48, 

New York, 65, 66, 67 

North Platte Valley Highway, 16, 

"'North Platte Valley Highway Asso- 
ciation," 16 


"The Regular Army O!", 146 
Reilly, Lt. Bernard, 150 
Richardson, Warren, 26, 49. 51, 
Riley, Gladys, 174 
Ross, Nellie Tayloe, 23 
Rymill, R. J., 49, 50, 51, 52 



"Old Bedlam," 6, 17, 26; Late 1930s, 

photo, 46 
Old Fort Laramie Proposed Land 

Purchase, photo, 33 
Old Fort Laramie, as Purchased for 

Park Purposes, photo, 56 
O'Mahoney, Sen. Joseph, 35, 39, 40, 

43, 54 
Oregon Trail, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 21, 

24, 37, 38, 39, 41 
Oregon Trail Highway, 19 
Oregon Trail Landmark Commis- 
sion, 24 
Oregon Trail Memorial Association, 

21, 29, 36 
Oregon Trail Museum (Nebraska), 

38. 39, 41 

Palmer, Col. Innis N., 143 

Parkinson, C. Northcote, "Glass-Eye 
Bill" Western Letters And Letters 
From Wyoming, 59-140 

Peopling the High Plains. Wyo- 
ming's European Heritage, ed., 
Gordon Olaf Hendrickson, review, 

Patrick, Ed. L., 9 

Platteter, Leo A., review of The 
Indian Tipi: Its History, Con- 
struction and Use, 199-200 

Powell, Asst. Surg. J. W., 145 

Powers, Thomas G., 28 

Quarterly Bulletin, 111, 173, 176; 
photo, 172 

Sandercock, George, 28; Mrs., 34, 

Sandercock, Harriet, 6, 7 
Sandercock, Marshall, 49 
Sandercock, Mollie, 49, 50 
Sandercock, Thomas, 6, 7 
Savage, William W., Jr., Indian Life: 

Transforming an American Myth, 

review, 198-199 
Scotts Bluff National Monument, 

13, 37-42, 44, 47 
Sheldon, A. E., 14 
Sketches of Wyoming, Dana Van 

Burgh, Jr., pub. coord., review, 

Smith, Robert E., review of Indian 

Life: Transforming an American 

Myth, 198-199 
Shoemaker, D. T., 49 
Snell, Lewis A., 25, 26 
Stafford, Charles O., 39 
Stinking Water, 149 
Sullivan, Fred, 34 

Swanson, Evadene Burris, Fort Col- 
lins Yesterdays, review, 200-201 
Swift, Eben, 141-155; photos, 142, 

Swift, Susan Bonaparte Palmer, 143, 

152, 154 
Szasz, Margaret Connell, Education 

and the American Indian, review, 


Thomas, Rev. Nathaniel S., 14 
Thompson, John C, 34, 57 
Thorpe, Elizabeth J., review of 

Sketches of Wyoming, 189 
Three Bar Ranch, Camp, 68, 69, 70, 

71, 72, 75, 77, 82, 84, 85, 86 
Tolson, Hillory A., 45, 47, 48 
Torrington, 30, 34, 35, 39 
Torrington Telegram, 9, 11 
Tull, Rev. E. L., 28 




Upham. Maj. John J., 152 

Upper Platte and Arkansas Agency, 

Urbanek, Mae, review of Ghost 

Towns of Wyoming, 194-195 

Van Burgh, Dana Jr., pub. coord. 
Sketches of Wyoming, review, 189 


Wagner, Bert, 34 

Wailes. Katherine Lillian Alderson- 
Smith, 60, 61, 62 

Wailes, William, 59-140. See "Glass- 
Eye Bill" 

Ward, Lt. Edward W., 144 

Ware, James W., review of Agricul- 
ture in the Great Plains, 1876- 
1936, 195-197 

Waters. Thomas, 17, 18, 23, 25, 26, 
28, 34, 35, 49, 50 

Wells, JoAnn Jacobsen, and Robert 
H. Hinckley, "I'd Rather Be Born 
Lucky than Rich": The Autobiog- 
raphy of Robert H. Hinckley, re- 
view, 186-187 

Weppner, Joseph, 26, 41, 49 

Wessell, Thomas R., ed., Agriculture 
in the Great Plains, 1876-1936, 
review, 195-197 

Wheatland Times, 22 

Wilde, Joseph, 6, 7, 11. 13. 15, 17, 

Wilde, Mary, 6 

Willson, George L., 34 

Wilson, Tom, 57 

Wind River Expedition of 1878, 152 

Winter, U. S. Rep. Charles E., 20, 

Works Progress Administration 
(WPA), 42, 43 

Wyoming National Guard, 32 

Wyoming State Historical Society, 
Minutes of the T w enty -fourth 
Annual Meeting, 177-182 


Yellowstone National Park, 15, 16, 

18, 19, 24 
Yellowstone River, 103, 104 
The Yellowstone Story, by Aubrey 

L. Haines, review, 184-186 


The Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department has as its func- 
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Member at Large 

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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 
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Communications should be addressed to the Editor. The Editor does not 
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Annals of Wyoming articles are abstracted in 
Historical Abstracts. America: History and Life 

Copyright 1979, by the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

Muds of Wyoming 

Volume 50 Fall, 1978 Number 2 

Katherine A. Halverson 

Philip J. Roberts 
Tracey Stoll 

Editorial Assistants 

Published biannually by the 


Official Publication of the Wyoming State Historical Society 


OFFICERS 1978-1979 

President, Mrs. Mabel Brown Newcastle 

First Vice President, James June Green River 

Second Vice President, William F. Bragg Casper 

Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Ellen Mueller Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, Vincent P. Foley Cheyenne 

Senior Coordinator, Katherine A. Halverson Cheyenne 

Coordinator, Betty Jo Parris 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 

David J. Wasden, Cody 1977-1978 

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. 
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Zable of Contents 


By Gregory D. Kendrick 213 


Introduced by Paul Giddens 303 

LEGISLATION, 1917-1933 

By Eugene T. Carroll 319 


TREK. Flaming Gorge to Brown's Park 335 


Gressley, Voltaire and the Cowboy. The Letters of Thurman 

Arnold 352 

Stallard. Glittering Misery. Dependents of the Indian Fighting 

Army 354 

Pointer. /// Search of Butch Cassidy 355 

Trenholm, West of Plymouth 356 

Davies, Shoots. A Guide to Your Family's Photographic 

Heritage 357 

Sinclair, The Coal War: A Sequel to "King Coal" 358 

Fulton, The Grossman 360 


INDEX 364 


Elk in Jackson Hole, 1899 Cover 

Olaus J. Murie, 1949 217 

Elk Grazing in Jackson Hole 252 

Cheyenne, 1878 307 

Fort Laramie. Late August. 1870 310 

Bull Team at Rawlins. 1869 312 

Freight Wagon at Rawlins. 1882 or 1883 314 

John B. Kendrick 320 


-Stimson Photo Collection 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

Elk in Jackson Hole, 1899 

M Environmental Spokesman 

Glaus fi Murie and a "Democratic 

Defense of Wilderness 

Gregory D. Kendrick 

This thesis is a biographical study of Olaus J. Murie and presents a 
historical interpretation of the conservation movement of mid-twentieth 
century. Murie's scientific research, his efforts as spokesman for an influ- 
ential conservation organization and his thoughtful and impassioned writings 
earn him a prominent position in the ranks of American conservationists. 


On three consecutive spring days in 1953, Olaus Johan Murie 
ascended the lecture platform of Pacific University in Forest 
Grove, Oregon. In a soft-spoken manner, Murie addressed a 
problem which conservationists had wrestled with for over a cen- 
tury: how to define the intangible value of wilderness in concrete 
terms. It was not easy. Preservationists from Henry David 
Thoreau to Robert Marshall had emphasized the spiritual value 
of wilderness within an increasingly materialistic society. Although 
their aesthetic definitions often struck a responsive chord in the 
American mind, these had never assumed a dominant position in 
American thought. The average person usually believed the idea 
of mountains as "fountains of life" 1 " too idealistic when confronted 
with economic realities. Murie accepted man's spiritual need for 
wild areas, but believed that it should be expressed in secular terms 
that Americans could understand. The title of his lecture sug- 
gested his distinctive theme — "Wild Country as a National Asset." 
As he developed this theme, Murie would unite wilderness preser- 
vationists with one of America's most cherished traditions — that 
of democracy. 1 

iOlaus J. Murie, "Wild Country as a National Asset." The Living Wil- 
derness, Summer, 1953, pp. 1-27. This article is composed of three lectures: 
(1) "God Bless America and Let's Save some of it!" (2) "Wild Country 
Round the World" (3) "Beauty and the Dollar Sign." These three lectures 
comprise the entire issue of The Living Wilderness. 


Murie advised his audience that "it was not for a single agency, 
or a single commercial organization to make ruthlessly a decision 
which affects the future." According to Murie, democratic prin- 
ciples assumed "diversity in our environment" and "freedom of 
choice in our recreation." These democratic tenets were becoming 
subverted in the name of progress by thoughtless exploitation. 
Americans already had enough restaurants and highways; on the 
other hand, wild areas were disappearing rapidly. To emphasize 
his point, Murie asked if people sensitive to natural beauty should 
"be barred from the choice of such places?" He concluded by 
calling for greater participation in public planning and pleading 
that recreational opportunities "be not reduced to a dead leaden 
uniformity." 2 

Democratizing man's role in the conservation of his landed her- 
itage was by no means a novel idea. As early as 1833, George 
Catlin proposed the creation of "A Nation's Park." Writing from 
the headwaters of the Missouri River, the artist-author envisioned 
the high plains region preserved as a "magnificent park, where the 
world could see for ages to come, the native Indian . . . galloping 
his wild horse, . . . amid the fleeting herds of elks and buffaloes."" 
Thirty-two years later, Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous land- 
scape architect, elaborated upon the idea. He argued that it was 
the duty of a republican government to reserve and protect in its 
natural state portions of the public domain from selfish exploita- 
tion. Speaking of Yosemite Valley, Olmsted pleaded that these 
withdrawn scenic lands "should be laid open to the use of the body 
of the people . . . for the free enjoyment of the people." A densely 
populated and aristocratic European continent had failed to set 
aside public pleasuring grounds. As a consequence, the majority 
of European society was now excluded from the benefits of close 
association with nature. Would the American continent repeat 
Europe's mistake? So novel and alien were Olmsted's ideas that 
they found little sympathy with most Americans of his day. 4 

Murie modernized Olmsted's democratic formula. He consid- 
ered the democratization of our landed heritage as only the first 

-Ibid., p. 24. 

•^George Catlin, North American Indians: Being Letters and Notes on 
their Manners, Customs, and Conditions, Written during the Eight Years' 
Travel amongst the Wildest Tribes in North America, 2 vols: (New York: 
Piercy and Reed, 1838) 1, p. 295. 

4 Frederick Law Olmsted, "The Value and Care of Parks," in The Amer- 
ican Environment: Readings in the History of Conservation, ed. Roderick 
Nash (Massachusetts: Addison -Wesley Publishing Company, 1968), pp. 
22-23. The report was written by Olmsted while he served as a commis- 
sioner managing Yosemite Valley for the State of California in 1865. The 
article was first published as "The Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big 
Trees," in Landscape Architecture, 1952. 


step in combating a pejorative trend toward materialism and arti- 
ficiality. Like Frederick Jackson Turner, Murie believed that 
American culture had been born of and strengthened by the fron- 
tier experience. The growing complexities of modern civilization 
now threatened to weaken the inner vitality and resiliency of this 
culture. Murie's message implied that our national virility and 
energy dissipated proportionately to the distance man drifted from 
his wilderness origins. With a missionary's zeal, Murie preached 
that environmental education and wilderness preservation were 
two keys to reversing this trend. Through his lectures, he reminded 
his listeners of their pioneer ancestry and stressed the importance 
of appreciating their wilderness heritage. Most importantly, he 
asserted the need for more wilderness preserves: "Surely it is 
wisdom to guard the original material on which our culture is 
founded — and save some of it." 5 

In truth, since the damming of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite 
in 1913, many preservationists did try to "save some of it." The 
loss of the valley signaled not the end but the beginning of an 
intensified struggle for wilderness preservation. New leaders such 
as Aldo Leopold, Arthur Carhart, Robert Marshall and Olaus 
Murie capitalized on new justifications for wilderness. The studies 
of Sigmund Freud, William James and others lent credence to 
earlier assumptions that a repressive civilization produced much of 
modern man's anxieties. If urbanization was the primary sup- 
pressing force, preservationists could now logically emphasize the 
psychological importance of wilderness. The change was most 
noticeable in the policy of the United States Forest Service. By 
the second decade of the twentieth century, the Forest Service had 
departed from its strictly utilitarian philosophy by classifying some 
lands as "wilderness." It began to acknowledge that sometimes 
recreational use or no use constituted the most beneficial use. 
These ideas were embodied in the National Park Service philos- 
ophy from its inception in 1916. Thus, the idea of wilderness 
preservation gained a place of acceptance in some federal agencies. 
In the private sector, the formation of new organizations such as 
the Wilderness Society (1935) revealed the public concern for the 
continued existence of wilderness. 6 

It is equally true, however, that this period experienced a 
marked revitalization of those interests charged with the develop- 
ment of natural resources at the expense of wilderness. Roosevelt's 
"New Deal" was committed to the creation of jobs through control 
and modification of the environment. The immense Tennessee 

• r, Murie, "Wild Country." p. 9. 

fi For a brief, well-written description of this re-invigoration of the wilder- 
ness movement, see Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind 
(New Haven: Yale University Press. 1973). pp. 200-236. 


Valley Authority (TVA) project provides historical testimony to 
this trend. After World War II dam building continued, reaching 
farther west. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Army 
Engineers planned reservoirs within national parks and monu- 
ments; wilderness areas were being sacrificed as logging interests 
and livestock associations sought access to more and more federal 
preserves. "Never before," it seemed to Olaus Murie in 1953, 
"has the opposition to this wilderness movement been so strong 
and so clever." 7 

Murie might have added, that never before did preservationists 
need such a broad base of public support to ensure victory. His 
democratic ethic, tying wilderness to American democracy and our 
frontier heritage, helped cultivate this popular backing. The ethic's 
general appeal reflected, in the words of Murie, the years of expe- 
rience he had "to fit together some of the pieces in the puzzle of 
our society."* As was usually the case with Murie's personal pro- 
nouncements, this one was understated. His democratic rationale 
for wilderness had evolved over a span of time encompassing 
nearly half a century and had matured within a frontier envi- 

Whereas many preservationists such as Robert Marshall had 
spent their youth in refined, urban situations, this was not the case 
for Olaus Murie. Murie was born into the frontier community of 
Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1889. The town, like Murie, was youth- 
ful and just emerging from its pioneer past. It was here on the 
banks of the Red River in Minnesota that we find the origins of 
Murie's democratic ethic. 

The community of Moorhead was a product of the Northern 
Pacific, named in 1871 in honor of one of its directors. Anxious 
for growth, Northern Pacific agents had publicized the Red River 
Valley's rich soil in Europe. The promotion attracted considerable 
interest in Norway. Economic factors within the country sug- 
gested that Norwegians pay heed to new opportunities. Cheap 
wheat from the United States, Russia and other countries was 
flooding northwestern Europe, bringing misfortune to numerous 
Scandinavian farmers. The Norwegian depression combined with 
a population increase and rapid industrialization to undermine the 
"Husmand" or peasant economy. As farms failed, taxes escalated. 
With only a small percentage of Norway suited for cultivation, 
the future looked bleak. 9 

To many, including the grandparents of Olaus Murie, the glow- 
ing accounts of the agricultural potential of the Red River were 

7 Murie, "Wild Country," p. 7. 
"Ibid., p. 26. 

!, Leola Nelson Bergmann, Americans from Norway (New York: J. B. 
Lippincott Company, 1950). 


— Courtesy of Mrs. Olaus J. Murie 
Olaus J. Murie, 1949 

appealing. They joined the Scandinavian, German, and English 
immigrants who flooded the valley. Overcoming their initial re- 
pulsion to the vast prairie, these farmers soon transformed the 
unbroken prairie into acre after acre of wheat. By 1875, the 
upper Red River valley contained more than 1200 Norwegian 
farmers, comprising nearly 42 percent of the region's total popula- 
tion. Thus, in a span of eighteen years, Moorhead, much like the 
state of Minnesota, had achieved a cosmopolitan atmosphere. 1 " 

Olaus Murie's parents had been reluctant to desert their two- 
storied gabled home in Frimansled, Norway. By the summer of 
1888, however, the couple had rendezvoused with their parents in 

10 Carlton C. Qualey. Norwegian Settlement in the United States (Minne- 
sota: Norwegian-American Historical Association 1938). pp. 127-128. 


the Red River Valley. Joachin, father of Olaus, soon found work 
in the town's brick kiln. Shortly thereafter, the two purchased a 
small homestead on the southern edge of town. 11 

It was this frontier home and its openness which most deeply 
affected the youth. When reminiscing late in life, Olaus Murie 
often recollected the image of Minnesota's vast "unbroken prairie 
where the prairie chickens used to boom." Even in his childhood, 
wilderness captured much of his time, thoughts and energy. Week- 
ends found Murie and his two younger brothers fashioning canoes 
from barrel hoops and wheat sacks, then floating down the Red 
River to a thickly wooded area they called the "wilderness." In 
this place of pristine forest, the boys camped in tepees made 
from pieces of canvas, oil cloth and other material. Here too, 
they swam, fished and, armed with homemade bows and arrows, 
prowled the river banks searching for adventure. The exuberant 
spirit of Murie, often found expression in the guise of an American 
fur trapper or High Plains Indian. 12 

This imaginative role as a native American was understandable 
and common since the naturalist-author Ernest Thompson Seton's 
tales were familiar. When Murie's fourth grade teacher read aloud 
Two Little Savages, Murie identified with the story's fourteen-year- 
old protagonist. Moreover, the book provided simple directions 
with diagrams for the construction of tepees, bows, arrows, and 
other basics of Indian lore and woodcraft. His wilderness appetite 
whetted, Murie read all the books by Seton available. Seton's 
wildlife themes probably were most appealing for they possessed 
an innocent charm. They personified animals, imbuing them with 
human qualities such as compassion and greed. The connection 
between human and wildlife behavior, which these stories revealed, 
stimulated Murie's growing interest in nature. 111 

Although Seton exerted an influence, habits of industry, self- 
reliance and an intense interest in nature, were acquired primarily 
from Olaus' father. Although stern in demeanor and disciplined 
from years of military training, he welcomed and encouraged his 
son's interest in the wilds. The elder Murie believed that children 
needed to interact with woods and wildlife. During Olaus Murie's 

u 01aus Murie, "Man Looking at Nature," Discourse: A Review of the 
Liberal Arts, Winter 1961-1962, p. 37. A reprint of this article can be 
found in the Margaret and Olaus Murie Collection, Box 46, Western His- 
tory Research Center, University of Wyoming, hereafter referred to as 

1L '01aus Murie to Hubert Humphrey. May 3, 1956, in the Olaus Murie 
Collection, box 48, in the Conservation Branch of the Denver Public Li- 
brary, hereafter referred to as OMC of CBDPL. 

^Interview by author with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. See also 
Olaus Murie, Journeys to the Far North (Palo Alto: The Wilderness So- 
ciety and the American West Publishing Company, 1973), pp. 246-249. 


early childhood, the two were constant companions. From his 
father, he soon learned to hunt, fish, camp out as well as to cut 
wood, spade and plant a garden. To his father, Murie owed his 
lifelong habit of diligence and constant involvement in a host of 
projects. 14 

Olaus' mother played an equally important, but less conspicuous 
role in his development. Marie Murie's slight physique belied her 
actual temperament. Like most frontier women, she possessed 
an imperturbable inner strength and resiliency. It was she who 
felt the deepest remorse about abandoning their comfortable Nor- 
wegian home for the hardships of a Minnesota homestead. Their 
frontier existence, however, never weakened her optimistic and 
cheerful outlook on life. She succeeded in instilling within her 
eldest son the ideas of self-discipline and improvement. Education, 
she would emphasize, was the key to self-betterment and enduring 
happiness. 1 "' 

As he grew, Murie's life became enriched with the knowledge 
of nature. He quickly acquired a boyish appreciation of natural 
phenomena. Like most boys raised on the frontier, he came to 
know the region's tree life intimately. Ash made excellent poles 
for fences and good homemade bows. Basswood trees often had 
a hollow at their base where woodchucks or cottontails found 
shelter. Old elms sometimes had a broken limb or some defect 
near their crowns which had produced a deep cavity. Here one 
might discover a raccoon, especially if there were tell-tale claw 
marks on the bark. 10 

Sketching wildlife or painting landscapes comprised an integral 
part of Murie's fascination with wilderness and reflected a deepen- 
ing understanding of the inter-relationships of wild country. Near 
the end of his life, Murie could not remember when he first began 
to draw, but admitted that he had never received a formal lesson. 17 
By the age of fourteen, however, his sketches drew praise from 
his teacher. Even before graduating from college, he always 
placed drawing paper into the back of his field notebook. He 
discovered a variety of subjects in the field and drawing consumed 
most spare moments. "By the time he began to think of a book 
about the arctic," recalled his wife, "he had a wealth of sketches 
in the files to remind and inspire him." ls 

The family's frontier existence was not all romance and adven- 

14 Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11. 1977. See also Murie. 
Journeys to the Far North, p. 248. 

15 Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11. 1977. 

lf; Murie, "Man Looking at Nature," p. 37. 

17 01aus J. Murie, "An Oral History," recorded by Herb Evis. September 
26, 1962, typescript, p. 4, in OMC of CBDPL. 

ls Murie, Journeys to the For North, p. 12. 


ture. In 1898, when Murie was only nine, his father died of 
miliary tuberculosis. His mother was left almost penniless with a 
small house, a single cow and three boys to manage. The entire 
family worked to survive. Olaus hired out as a hand to neighbor- 
ing North Dakota farmers. Hours of pitching hay and picking 
potatoes replaced his frequent excursions to the "wilderness." 
Moorhead winters brought exceptionally low temperatures that 
worsened the drudgery. After school each day he delivered pails 
of milk and then transported firewood home from the forest on 
his sled. The hard work added muscle to his slender frame. 19 

Paradoxically, instead of diminishing Murie's fondness for the 
outdoors, this routine heightened his appreciation. Murie often 
recalled the note of the prairie chickens out in the spring stubble 
fields. As a youth, he "would hear that sound coming across the 
prairie far and near, a clear token of nature's awakening to another 
pleasant activity/' The simplicity of his family's life style, the 
diversity and openness of the environment and the individual free- 
doms he associated with them produced what Murie later believed 
to be "the happiest kind of childhood anyone could have."-' 


Upon graduation from high school in 1908, Murie had doubts 
regarding further schooling. Although recognizing the advantages 
of a college education, neither he nor his mother could bear the 
expense. Furthermore, his Huckleberry Finn-like childhood had 
raised suspicions as to the value of schooling. For Murie a day 
in the wilds had often proven more educational than a month in 
his high school classroom where lessons in the classics "dragged 
on interminably." 1 ' 1 Equally important, the mysteries of what 
Murie thought to be an unexplored Northland beckoned. 

His mother, however, had never relinquished her dream of a 
college education for her children. Murie indulged her wish and 
applied to Fargo College, situated directly across the Red River 
from Moorhead in the town of Fargo, North Dakota. Much to his 
astonishment, the small college offered him a scholarship. Murie 
subdued his restlessness and enrolled in the fall of 1908. His 
decision was prompted by pragmatic considerations. Murie hoped 
that his college degree would lead to a career as a naturalist and 
ultimately to field work. With this in mind, he chose biology as 
his major. The same year in which Theodore Roosevelt hosted 

1 '•'Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. 
-"Murie, "Man Looking at Nature," p. 36. 

-'Olaus Murie, "Boyhood Wilderness." The Living Wilderness, March, 
1942, pp. 30-31. 


the governors' conference on conservation, Olaus Murie took a 
first step toward his career as a naturalist. 

At Fargo College, Murie took courses offered by Professor of 
Zoology A. M. Bean. Identifying wildlife had always fascinated 
Murie and his mind easily assimilated the physiological classifica- 
tion. As he excelled, a close friendship developed between student 
and teacher. When Bean accepted a professorship at Pacific Uni- 
versity in Oregon the following year, he invited Murie to follow. 
The thought of migrating west across the Rocky Mountains must 
have appealed to Murie's restiveness, but again his finances tem- 
pered his hopes. Bean reduced Murie's worries by offering him a 
research assistantship in zoology along with free board and tui- 
tion. With the consent of his family, the Fargo College sophomore 
rushed off his acceptance notice to Oregon. -- 

Late in life, Murie remembered vividly his "ludicrous" trip out 
to Pacific University. For three days and nights he "sat in a day 
coach of the Northern Pacific, with a basket of food beside me, 
for I could not afford to buy meals enroute." He hardly noticed 
the staggered progress of the train for the grandeur of the Rocky 
Mountains and the snowcapped crags of the Cascade Mountains 
awed the provincial youth who "had never seen a mountain, hardly 
a sizeable hill." 23 

The forested valley in which Pacific University stood contrasted 
with the prairie of Moorhead. Here, Murie felt closer to the fron- 
tier. Years later, he would describe Pacific University as "the 
edge of wilderness, born of wilderness." Residing among the na- 
tive campus oak trees, he seemed part of the pioneer heritage 
which had produced and still instilled the serene, simple and strug- 
gling university.- 4 

Murie extended his studies beyond the campus laboratory in 
early spring of 1912. He traveled two and a half hours by steamer 
up the Columbia River into the Willamette River Valley. Murie's 
journey was in response to an unusual report by a farmer who had 
witnessed mallards nesting in a tree. "Well supplied with camera 
and film," he eventually found the farm. The strange report was 
true. In a slough thickly lined with cottonwoods and ash, the 
enterprising student photographed a mallard nesting seven feet 
above ground. His report, documented with photographs, became 
Murie's first scientific publication in the September, 1913, issue of 
The Condor Magazine. 2 '" 

—Ferris M. Weddle, "Wilderness Champion — Olaus J. Murie," Audubon 
Magazine, July-August, 1950, p. 229. 

- 3 Murie, "Wild Country," p. 2. 


-"'Olaus Murie. "Unusual Nesting Habits of the Mallard," The Condor 
Magazine, September, 1913. pp. 176-178. 


After three years, Murie graduated from Pacific University in 
1912. Immediately he began searching for a job compatible with 
his outdoor interests and training. William L. Finley, then Oregon 
state game warden and later lecturer and author on nature, prof- 
fered the position of conservation officer. The job was ideal. For 
two years, Murie collected faunal specimens, "colored lantern 
slides," and learned wildlife photography from Finley — "the Bird- 
man of Oregon." When time permitted he read of the explora- 
tions into the little known regions of the Arctic. 20 

By 1914, Murie's thoughts centered on the far north, "where 
there were still blank spaces on the map." With the Carnegie 
Museum of Pittsburgh financing an expedition to Hudson Bay, 
his naturalist aspirations seemed within reach. A twist of fate 
helped. A friend, Stanley Jewett, had originally been selected to 
accompany the expedition but at the last minute decided to remain 
in Oregon with his family. Jewett's decision allowed Murie to 
apply for his position as assistant with the expedition. With time 
running out, W. E. Clyde Todd accepted Murie's application. By 
late May, a train once again was transporting him away from the 
"mechanics of civilization" to the Canadian frontier. 27 

When the train arrived in Cochrane, Ontario, the expedition was 
joined by two Ojibwa Indian guides. Although the two had long 
since adopted the white man's technology, they represented a life- 
style virtually unchanged since the advance of the Hudson's Bay 
Company into the fur-rich territory during the latter half of the 
17th century. Here the continuities of history were manifest. The 
Hudson's Bay Company still vied for economic ascendancy with its 
traditional French competition. In the southernmost shoreline of 
James Bay, oxen remained the standard beast of burden while 
Indians functioned as guides, trappers and laborers for the rival 
companies. As the two Ojibwa guides greeted Todd's expedition, 
Robert Flaherty on nearby Baffin Island recorded the passing of 
an era in a film later to be entitled Nanook of the North.-* 

As soon as the eighteen-foot Peterborough freight canoe was 
loaded, the trip began. Todd, curator of the Carnegie Museum in 
Pittsburgh, demanded adherence to a rigorous system for the sake 
of scientific accuracy. During the day, Murie noted and collected 
birds and small mammals. His journal entries recorded a diver- 
sity of birds, including nighthawks, olive-backed thrushes, water- 
thrushes, white-throated sparrows, pine grosbeaks and redpolls. 
Most of the day, however, was consumed by travel, paddling and 
carrying the heavy load over numerous portages. Each evening 

- fi Murie, "An Oral History," p. 2. 

27 Murie, Journeys to the Far North, pp. 17-18. 

~ H lbid., p. 34. 


after the group made camp, Murie explored and collected addi- 
tional specimens. The first evening of the trip, he returned to 
camp with a ruffed grouse. Each night he also carefully put out 
his mouse trap lines. During the three month expedition, the team 
accumulated a substantial collection of skins and scientific data 
which would enable the Carnegie Museum to enhance its sketchy 
knowledge of the wildlife distribution in the Hudson Bay area. 1 "' 

"Always specimens! I had to keep thinking of them," Murie 
later lamented. But the habits of disciplined observation brought 
beneficial effects. His mind grew more penetrating, more persis- 
tent and with each passing day, more self-confident. Furthermore, 
the expedition reaffirmed his belief in field study. Abstract knowl- 
edge would always remain second best. Books had been useful, 
but only for a beginning. Murie now felt capable of studying 
alone, without the aid of books. 30 

The college graduate's self-confidence, however, often bordered 
on arrogance. Thinking he "knew everything," he argued with 
Todd over trivialities. The youth grew fond of identifying birds 
from afar before Todd could ascertain their actual type with the 
huge telescope "he carried in his hind pocket." One day they both 
spotted a bird on a distant bench. "Greater yellow-legs," Murie 
said, but then wanted to retract. "Hudsonian godwit," Todd cor- 
rected as he focused his telescope. This minor incident taught 
Murie the wisdom of patience. 31 

As the long Peterborough canoe glided northward, Murie found 
it difficult to separate scientific observation from aesthetic appre- 
ciation of wilderness. Although factual remarks remained fore- 
most, artistic impressions gained space in his daily journal. Occa- 
sionally the result of this inner conflict was ambiguity. In his 
diary for June 8, 1914 he mixed the two: 

In the evening olive-backed thrushes, water-thrushes, and a white- 
throated sparrow were singing, nighthawks were swooping and an 
occasional chirp of some other bird was heard, making a pleasing 
combination with the twilight. 32 

Murie would later resolve this dilemma by dividing his journal into 
scientific and aesthetic sections. 

After three months of intensive note taking and collecting of 
specimens, Murie boarded the small steamer "Inenew" for the last 
leg of the journey. The ship headed south, transporting the group 
back to Moose Factory in late August. 

Murie discovered the inhabitants of Moose Factory to be gen- 

2»/W</., pp. 18-19. 
mbid., p. 79. 
^Ibid., p. 31. 
mbid., p. 21. 


erally cooperative, honest and considerate folk. He felt comfort- 
able among people who had decided not to join "in the modern 
rush of the business world." 38 

Having resolved to remain in the Far North for the approaching 
winter, Murie arranged to live with a family employed by the 
Hudson's Bay Company. Meanwhile, Todd extended a letter of 
credit with the Hudson's Bay Company for the amount of Murie's 
summer salary — approximately one hundred dollars. With this 
letter of credit and the anticipated sales from winter specimens, 
Murie expected to survive comfortably. 

No longer on salary to the Museum, Murie's sense of scientific 
obligation diminished. He relaxed his rigorous habits of recording 
and collecting specimens. His journal filled with pages of his im- 
pressions and reactions to the natural phenomena surrounding him. 
Evolution and adaptation to environmental forces fascinated him. 
Although he had been exposed to cultural anthropology when in 
college, he found its theories too abstract. The winter, however, 
would provide the opportunity to experience Eskimo and Cree 
culture firsthand: "Here was a way of life I had only read about," 
he noted, "and I was in it." 34 

While traveling by dogsled along the northern fringes of the 
Hudson Bay, Murie frequently camped with bands of Eskimo. 
He spent many restless, unpleasant nights shivering beneath icy 
igloo roofs. Children cried continuously, some sick, most hungry. 
Murie often distributed his surplus food to the children, wrapped 
himself tightly in his rabbit-skin sleeping bag, and attempted to will 
himself to sleep. Although he had read earlier of the filth of their 
habitations, he was astonished to witness girls pick lice from their 
mother's hair and pop the morsels into their mouths. 

With the arrival of spring, the twenty-six year old naturalist, 
led by two Eskimos, began an investigation of the nesting habits 
of birds along a strip of coast between Nastapoka and Port Harri- 
son. They traveled by canoe, hugging the coastline and making 
occasional forays when the ice permitted to a long chain of Nasta- 
poka Islands paralleling the coast. On one such expedition, a low 
island inhabited by a colony of herring gulls attracted Murie's 
curiosity. He ventured ashore to examine their nesting habits as 
circling gulls cackled in alarm at the intrusion. After satisfying 
his scientific interest, he returned to the canoe with three eggs for 
dinner. Murie had consciously selected "eggs from nests contain- 
ing only a few eggs to make sure they were fresh and not to inter- 
fere with nesting." The Eskimos did not share his concern. As 
the two guides followed, they carried with them a large pail full of 

*Hbid., p. 42. 

■"Ibid., p. 40. 


eggs. Displeased by their action, Murie attempted to explain that 
he considered their performance robbery of bird's nests when other 
food was at hand. The Eskimos feigned understanding, but Murie 
realized that "when they were by themselves they would wipe out 
any bird colony they came across." 85 

Other winter experiences prevented Murie's conception of ab- 
original culture from becoming overly sentimental. Throughout 
his northern wanderings, he listened to tales of native cannibalism. 
When winter temperatures dropped even lower, he witnessed ex- 
amples of human frostbite. Starvation became common among 
local tribes. Occasionally, Murie resorted to consumption of dog 
flesh for survival. "This was a hungry country," Murie later rem- 
inisced, "I learned to eat hawks, owls, sea-birds — anything with 
meat on it." A flawless civilization could never spring from an 
environment where hunger and the possibility of death were always 
present during winter. These aboriginal societies, inhabiting an 
untamed wilderness, seemed doomed to occasional barbarisms and 
greed. 36 

Yet throughout his life, Murie continued to admire certain char- 
acteristics of Indian culture. Paradoxically, he observed that the 
same environmental conditions which produced the Indian's igno- 
ble qualities bred honorable ones "which more civilized beings 
would do well to emulate." The struggle for existence forced man 
to be constantly alert. 

Murie admired the humbleness of these Ojibwa, Cree, and 
Eskimo. They inhabited a rugged environment, yet, they "some- 
how had retained a kind view of nature, like the hunters who 
begged the bear's pardon before shooting it. They were a humble 
people." 37 

Murie's experience with the natives eventually matured into 
thoughts on man's relationship to nature and wilderness. As the 
fall of 1915 approached, Murie felt that the good outweighed the 
evil in Indian culture. He believed that man's most virtuous attri- 
butes derived from interaction with wilderness. Thoreau's famous 
metaphor of man with a foot in both worlds — one primitive, the 
other civilized — might have appealed to the young naturalist, but 
only partially. Murie's first journey to the Far North had dem- 
onstrated that man must lean heavily upon the foot planted in 

By the fall of 1915, Murie was again roving the boarded side- 
walks of Cochrane, Ontario, eating at hotels but longing for a 
return to the Canadian frontier. 3S Since Todd was already plan- 

35/6iW., pp. 69-70. 
zsibid., p. 556. 

wibid., p. 80. 


ning a second expedition, Murie expected not to have to suffer 
civilization for long. However, preparations for the second trip 
proved time consuming. Negotiations involving finance, personnel 
and transportation dragged on throughout much of 1916. In the 
meantime, Todd arranged for Murie to serve as the assistant cura- 
tor of mammals for the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. By the 
beginning of 1917, Todd had secured the necessary financial back- 
ing and ironed out the expedition difficulties. The scientific trek 
would embark in early May. Murie returned to Moorhead, await- 
ing the arrival of Spring. 

The frustrating delays had stemmed, in part, from the territory 
Todd intended to survey. The naturalist hoped to lead a scientific 
expedition from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence northward across the 
Labrador Peninsula to Ungava Bay, located at the southernmost 
end of the Hudson Strait. No white man had ever traversed the 
sector Todd had selected. Available maps, therefore, would be 
of no value. The expedition would rely heavily upon the skills of 
Indian guides as well as their own arctic experience and good 
judgement. 8 '-' 

It was an ambitious project, one requiring a substantially en- 
larged outfit. Todd purchased three nineteen-foot Peterborough 
freight canoes and hired two Cree and three Ojibwa guides. Murie 
was again to be Todd's assistant. A retired businessman from 
Chicago, Alfred Marshall, completed the passenger list. Marshall, 
an athletic and avid fisherman, had agreed to pay half the expenses 
of the trip in return for an opportunity to fish pristine water and 
"enjoy wild country." The Carnegie Museum also contributed. 
In return, both naturalists agreed to send their specimens and data 
to the Museum. 

Drifting snow and strong easterly winds delayed the group's 
departure. The eight men camped near Clark City, in the Gulf 
of Saint Lawrence, and plotted their 700 mile course bisecting the 
peninsula. Finally, on May 26 the three heavily laden canoes 
pushed off upstream in the Saint Margaret River. 40 

The tension of crossing unmapped territory and traveling with 
an inexperienced sportsman caused Todd to become more finicky 
than normal. Murie found one order particularly priggish. When 
Todd "officially advised" his youthful assistant to shave regularly 
throughout the journey, Murie diplomatically ignored him. By 
mid- August, both Murie and Marshall had grown "luxuriant" 

?,9 W. E. Clyde Todd, Birds of the Labrador Peninsula (Toronto: Univer- 
sity of Toronto Press, 1963), p. 27. This massive work contains an extract 
from Murie's journal for the 1915 Hudson Bay expedition. 

4(, Ibid. See also Murie, Journeys to the Far North, p. 81. 


beards. 41 The remainder of the trip, however, would tax the 
patience and endurance of every member of the company. 4 - 

Ascending the Saint Margaret River was no small task. Often 
the only way to ascend was to fasten a line to a sturdy tree along 
the shoreline and pull the boats slowly forward, then methodically 
refasten the cord further upriver and repeat the tedious proce- 
dure. Fortunately, as they progressed northward, the canyons and 
surrounding hills grew less steep. The landscape became more 
open with many pine barrens. Although canoeing became easier, 
the Saint Margaret narrowed, and after forking, became danger- 
ously shallow. By early July, Murie and Todd agreed that they 
had followed the wrong route. Furthermore, they knew that the 
Saint Margaret provided no direct waterway across the "height of 
land" to the Hamilton River, from which streams flowed down- 
stream into Ungava Bay. 43 

Philip St. Onge, a Cree guide, resolved the geographic dilemma. 
He offered to lead the weary group over a passage "long aban- 
doned by the Indians of these parts, but over which he had come 
as a boy." 44 Todd accepted the offer. The trail meandered 
through a labyrinth of lakes, ponds and streams which seemed to 
flow in every possible direction. The swampy terrain confused 
Murie. He later confessed that the "streams and rivers appeared 
to be going in so many directions, and up to this point we had 
been going in several directions ourselves." 45 The party continued 
threading its way through the watery maze, poling, paddling and 
wading rock strewn portages. By July 14, the expedition had 
failed to cross the "height of land," and still remained within the 
Saint Margaret watershed. To make matters worse, seven weeks 
of the twelve-week expedition had elapsed since their start and 
Todd estimated that at least two-thirds of the journey lay ahead. 
Todd decided to discard everything not essential. On July 19 they 

41 Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. See also Murie, 
Journeys to the Far North, p. 91. 

42 Murie was not alone in his occasional antipathy toward Todd. Todd's 
associates within the Biological Survey often found his personality annoy- 
ing. C. Hart Merriam, chief of the Survey, was often disturbed by Todd's 
zealous religious convictions. An incident which became legendary within 
the Bureau occurred when Todd refused to visit the bedside of his dying 
father because it necessitated traveling by train on the Sabbath. On one 
occasion when an ice wagon nearly ran over Todd, Merriam is supposed to 
have exclaimed: "Damned fool had a chance to run Todd down and he 
didn't do it." Although Merriam baited Todd, he generally respected his 
scientific abilities as did Murie. See, for example, Keir B. Sterling, Last 
of the Naturalists: The Career of C. Hart Merriam (New York: Arno 
Press, 1974), pp. 159-160. 

43 Todd, Birds of the Labrador Peninsula, p. 28. 


4r, Murie, Journeys to the Far North, p. 88. 


lightened their load, taking with them all the food and leaving 
behind one Peterborough canoe. 4C 

The expedition progressed more swiftly in the two light canoes. 
On July 22, Murie spotted White Mountain, the highest summit 
in that part of Labrador, and realized that they had crossed the 
height of land. A few days later the expedition portaged and 
paddled through a series of small lakes. Shortly before sunset, 
they entered one lake out of which a slow current flowed south- 
ward. The members of the expedition were jubilant. As Murie 
later recalled: "From here on, our poling was over; we were going 
downstream toward Fort Chimo, still far away. It would not be 
all river travel; of course, there were still a lot of lakes to paddle 
across." 47 The exhausted team reached Fort Chimo after nearly 
three months of traveling. 

Murie emerged from the exploratory trek a more seasoned nat- 
uralist and frontiersman. Some members of the expedition had 
exhibited signs of stress during the journey. Murie, on the other 
hand, had retained his composure. He had been too absorbed in 
recording the Ojibwa names for wildlife, collecting specimens and 
admiring the rugged Labrador landscape to become overly appre- 
hensive. The naturalist offered sound advice when necessary or 
when solicited, but seldom otherwise. Habits of careful observa- 
tion and disciplined, organized study had become ingrained. 
Throughout their passage Murie had demonstrated to Todd his 
usefulness as a field biologist. The trail leading to his naturalist 
career, although often obscured by financial obstacles, had been 
surprisingly short and clear. 

For over a month, Todd, Marshall and Murie remained near 
Fort Chimo awaiting the arrival of a steamship. While there, they 
collected additional specimens with good results. 48 The naturalists 
could tap two distinct life-zones within a short distance. The fort, 
enveloped in thick groves of slender tamaracks and spruces, 
marked the northern limit of the Hudsonian Life Zone. A few 
miles down river the mammal and bird life underwent a sharp 
change. Trees thinned rapidly, giving way to "bare rocks and open 
grassy tundra, dotted everywhere with lakes and ponds and little 
pools. 40 Considering their scientific records and the sizeable 
collection of specimens they had gathered, Todd judged the expe- 
dition as "one of the most important and successful we have under- 
taken in the north country." 50 On October 6, 1917, the supply 
steamer "Nascopie" arrived. The ship transported Murie, Todd 

4f; Todd, Birds of the Labrador Peninsula, pp. 27-28. 
"Murie, Journeys to the Far North, p. 88. 
4 *Todd, Birds of the Labrador Peninsula, p. 31. 
v 'Ibid., p. 30-31. 
mbid., p. 31. 


and Marshall around the barren Cape Childley, out of Ungava 
Bay, and on to Montreal. 51 

As the steamer docked, in another part of the world General 
John J. Pershing was deploying the First Division of the American 
Expeditionary Forces. Murie responded patriotically to America's 
entrance into World War I by enlisting in the United States Army 
Air Force. Throughout much of the next year, he received inten- 
sive training as an Army Air Force balloon observer. Before he 
could be dispatched overseas, however, German commissioners 
had signed the Armistice in a railway car near Campiegne. Murie 
returned home to Moorhead. 52 

During the remainder of 1918 and most of 1919, Murie worked 
as a jack-of-all-trades around the small Minnesota town. As in his 
childhood, he spent his spare time outdoors, observing nature, 
especially attuned to the habits of the uncommon Canadian jay. 
This bird was an infrequent visitor to the narrow strips of decid- 
uous woods lining the Red River, more commonly inhabiting the 
dense coniferous forests of Canada."' 3 

Probably during one of these short sojourns along the Red 
River, Murie met a small, stocky and gregarious naturalist-artist, 
Vernon Bailey, then engaged in a field investigation covering Min- 
nesota for the United States Bureau of Biological Survey. The 
two men discovered that they possessed similar backgrounds. Al- 
though born in Michigan, Bailey had worked on a Minnesota farm 
during much of his adolescence. In addition to sharing a mutual 
admiration for the outdoors, both naturalists had a common ac- 
quaintance, W. E. Clyde Todd. Todd and Bailey had been asso- 
ciates of the Biological Survey almost since its inception as a 
federal agency in 1886. When Murie aided Bailey with his biolog- 
ical research, a lasting and rewarding friendship developed between 
them. 54 


As the spring of 1920 approached, Olaus Murie hoped to win a 
position with the United States Bureau of Biological Survey. He 
had applied earlier that year for a position as a field biologist. His 

r,1 Much of the terrain covered by Murie during his two expeditions in 
Hudson Bay and Labrador was traversed by Sir John Franklin nearly one 
hundred years earlier. For a description of his journey, which is described 
in a tone similar to that of Murie, see Sir John Franklin. Narrative of a 
Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea (London: J. Murray. 1823). 

•"-Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11. 1977. 

r ' 3 01aus Murie, "Appearance of the Canada Jay at Moorhead, Minne- 
sota," The Auk Magazine, Winter, 1920, pp. 134-135. 

:,4 Keir B. Sterling, Last of the Naturalists, p. 107. Interview with Mar- 
garet Murie, January 11, 1977. 


application was promising for Edward W. Nelson, Chief of the 
Survey, found his experience in Hudson Bay and Labrador impres- 
sive. A practical knowledge of Canada's northland, however, was 
not solely responsible for Murie's optimism. His close friendship 
with W. E. Clyde Todd and Vernon Bailey proved helpful. A 
letter from Bailey especially carried influence, for he was the 
brother-in-law of C. Hart Merriam, the Survey's founder. 55 

Murie's ambition was realized when Nelson assigned him to 
explore additional unmapped northern territory during the fall of 
1920. Murie was to make a comprehensive study of the habits 
of the Alaskan caribou, mapping their migratory routes and esti- 
mating their numbers. In addition, he was to gather information 
on the distribution of birds and mammals. While conducting this 
broad investigation, Murie also served as federal fur warden for 
the entire Yukon Territory (Canada) and the interior of Alaska. 
His official title as "Assistant Biologist and Federal Fur Warden" 
suggested the immensity of the study and the difficulty of his task. 
Yet, he felt honored to undertake a study encompassing "the whole 
immense region of the North." 50 

Murie's investigation comprised a part of a new program of 
animal research. The Agricultural Appropriation Act for 1921 
allocated funds for the Survey to inaugurate scientific examina- 
tions into the "welfare and development" of the reindeer industry 
flourishing in the Nome region of Alaska. The Department of 
Education had first introduced the animals from Asia in 1892 to 
supply the Eskimo with a more dependable means of subsistence. 
By 1920, the original 1280 reindeer had swelled to more than 
200,000. In the meantime, enterprising whites had acquired a 
sizeable percentage of the herd and hoped to profit by what looked 
to be a lucrative venture. These owners demanded that the indus- 
try be organized in a more businesslike fashion. Murie was to 
gather the scientific data which would enable the industry to devel- 
op "on a plane comparable to other forms of livestock raising." 57 

In their experimentation with game management, the Survey 
considered the domestication of the caribou and even contemplated 
the hybridization of the heavier native animal with the reindeer 
"in an effort to produce a meatier animal." Believing the caribou 
to be a wild form of the domesticated reindeer, the Survey judged 
it a logical species for study. For six years Murie would investi- 

r,5 Weddle, "Wilderness Champion," Audubon Magazine, July -August, 
1950, p. 230. Information pertaining to Vernon Bailey and Nelson is de- 
rived from Keir B. Sterling, Last of the Naturalists: The Career of C. Hart 
Merriam (New York: Arno Press, 1974), p. 175. 

r,6 Murie, Journeys to the Far North, p. 104. 

57 Jenks Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey (Baltimore: The 
Johns Hopkins Press, 1929), pp. 117-118. 


gate the habits of a wild animal in order to assist in the health and 
propagation of a domesticated one. By 1926, he would be 
thoroughly acquainted with the habits of the reindeer's untamed 
cousin. 58 

The Survey's caribou project constituted no radical departure 
from contemporary trends in game management. Both the Survey 
and the United States Forest Service had long engaged in the pro- 
duction of herds of animals. The two federal agencies, however, 
had confined their previous efforts to the propagation of wild ani- 
mals. For example, Aldo Leopold, then a young forest ranger, 
stumped the Southwest advocating the cultivation of game animals. 
Leopold extolled the benefits of predator reduction campaigns, 
hunting restrictions and artificial replenishment to increase herd 
size. Applying the tenets of forest management to wild game, he 
proposed harvesting the surplus animals on "a sustained -yield 
basis. " 59 Now, the Biological Survey expanded its activities to 
include domesticated animals (reindeer). Murie's study of the 
caribou would enlarge that body of scientific knowledge needed to 
improve the quality and quantity of the reindeer herds in Alaska. 

Admittedly, the Alaskan enterprise subordinated scientific 
research to economic ends. The Survey had supported this util- 
itarian philosophy almost continuously since its inception as a 
Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy within the 
Department of Agriculture in 1886. fi0 The Division was created in 
the wake of devastating outbreaks of Rocky Mountain locusts in 
the Midwest. In response to outcries for federal assistance, Con- 
gress had appropriated funds for a study of birds in which a solu- 
tion was sought for an understandable economic problem. Under 
the directorship of C. Hart Merriam, insects were classified into 
"good" and "bad" categories while the economic value of birds 
was arithmetically computed. 61 

At the turn of the century, the Survey came under increasing 
Congressional pressure to demonstrate its usefulness. Much of 
the demand came from agricultural interests. Between 1870 and 
1890, millions of pioneer families surged into the Great Plains. 
As the farmer advanced many species of big game retreated. Cer- 
tain animals, however, benefited from the changes wrought in the 
environment. Rodents and their close relatives thrived in the 
freshly plowed fields while the tactics of wolves and coyotes mad- 
dened stockraisers. C. Hart Merriam joined the chorus of agri- 
cultural complaint, castigating predators as the cause of agrarian 

ssibid., p. 118. 

5!) Susan L. Flader, Thinking like a Mountain, (Columbia: University of 
Missouri Press, 1974), pp. 54-55. 

60 Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey, p. 162. 
"Sterling, Last of the Naturalists, p. 162. 


difficulties."- The validity of their complaint, however, may be 
questioned. It is possible that much as the Populist Party 
envisioned "free silver" as the panacea for their misery, farmers 
concluded that predator reduction campaigns could ensure their 
prosperity. Whatever the case, their allegations resulted in the 
enlargement of the Division into the Bureau of Biological Survey 
in 1905. 

Economic mammalogy dominated the Survey's activities after 
it achieved bureau status. Replying to outcries from ranchers and 
farmers, Congress appropriated $125,000 for the Survey to engage 
in "suppressive warfare" against predatory animals in 1915. Pro- 
fessional trappers were hired to destroy wildlife "injurious to agri- 
culture and animal husbandry on the national and public domain." 
Scientific knowledge regarding the habits of wild birds and mam- 
mals remained essential, but only as information necessary for the 
efficient, businesslike administration of wildlife resources. By the 
time Olaus Murie began his caribou study, the Survey was expend- 
ing nearly thirty times more money on economic studies than on 
scientific research. 03 

When Murie first arrived in Alaska, Nelson was supervising the 
establishment of a Reindeer Experiment Laboratory in the small 
town of Unalakleet, bordering the Bering Sea. Nelson located the 
experimental station in the heart of the reindeer industry. The 
Survey chief hired two grazing experts from the Forest Service 
and an experienced pathologist to man the laboratory. They were 
to conduct investigations along the coastal regions of Alaska while 
Murie's research would include Alaska's vast interior and portions 
of the Yukon Territory. 

As the summer of 1920 waned, Nelson and Murie journeyed up 
the Yukon River to Fairbanks. The two discovered that they pos- 
sessed much in common. Both men wanted to explore uncharted 
territory and to understand the adaptation of life to the environ- 
ment. In addition, they possessed the naturalist's intense interest 
in the outdoors and appreciated the hardships and skills associated 
with frontier travel. Most important, both feared the premature 
introduction of reindeer into caribou rangelands. Already, the 
expansion of the reindeer industry into the Bering Coast region 
had virtually eliminated the coastal caribou herds. Now, the 
reindeer industry gradually had begun penetrating the interior. 
Murie's primary assignment was to learn what parts of the country 
were inhabited by the caribou so that the expansion of the reindeer 
could be regulated. 64 

C2 Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey, p. 40. 

Mlbid., p. 140. 

fi4 Adolph Murie, A Naturalist in Alaska (New York: The Devin- Adair 
Company, 1961), p. 3. See also Olaus Murie to Edward W. Nelson, March, 
1921, in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. 


Nelson joined Murie on his first Alaskan field investigation. 
Late in the summer of 1920, the two hoped to observe the fall 
migration of the large Yukon-Tanana caribou herd. After depart- 
ing from Fairbanks, they traveled overland into the broad high- 
lands between the Yukon and Tanana Rivers. These uplands 
formed a natural highway for the wandering animals. Here, the 
caribou subsisted on abundant lichen growths and patches of dwarf 
birch. The caribou could also descend into the wooded stream 
valleys and browse upon thick growths of willows. 

In mid-July they encamped at the headwaters of the Chena 
River, a small tributary of the Tanana River not far from Fair- 
banks. The caribou appeared on July 28th, traveling in a north- 
westward direction. At first a trickle, the migration soon became 
a wave of wildlife. The herd's route covered a strip nearly sixty 
miles wide. During the peak of the migration, Murie daily counted 
over 1,500 animals pass. By early September, the procession had 
diminished to a scant one hundred per day.' 55 

On September 12th, the naturalists witnessed a peculiar phe- 
nomenon. The caribou now traveled in opposite directions, some 
wandering northwestward and others southeastward. Murie de- 
duced the reason for the separate migrations. Upon reaching the 
White Mountain district which divided the two river systems, he 
reasoned, the caribou had "doubled back" on a return journey. 
The naturalists had successfully plotted the summer goal of the 
animal's northern migration.' 1 " 

This reverse migration made an estimate of their numbers ex- 
tremely difficult. Relying upon a single route traveled, Murie 
calculated the Yukon-Tanana herd at more than 500,000. The 
stories of hillsides "covered with caribou" were true. Although 
Murie had initially doubted the accuracy of these tales, first-hand 
observations erased his skepticism. Mapping the distribution of 
the Alaskan caribou had begun. 67 

Their scientific excursion revealed Murie's ability to communi- 
cate easily with frontiersmen. Recognizing that many Alaskan 
pioneers were deprived of conversation and news of the "outside." 
Murie might begin an interview about politics or the condition of 
their prized sled dogs. Before long he had slipped into their 
confidence and was drawing out from them precise information 
regarding the mammals and birds of their locale. The caribou 
remained central to his questioning. How many? Where did you 
last see them? In what direction were they traveling? How many 

65 01aus J. Murie, "Alaska-Yukon Caribou," in North American Fauna 
No. 54 (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, Bu- 
reau of Biological Survey, 1935.) 

Mlbid., p. 6. 


years had you hunted them? Were their numbers increasing or 
decreasing? Unfortunately, Nelson disagreed with Murie's relaxed 
method of questioning. The Survey Chief believed that one should 
approach a frontiersman directly, interrogate him for useful infor- 
mation and be on his way. Debate over the better approach of 
interviewing ultimately provoked a rare outburst from the younger 
naturalist. After one interview, Murie stated, "Just leave me alone 
for a few months, then if you are still dissatisfied, fire me." 68 

Nelson honored the request, and now Murie faced the task of 
patrolling the interior of Alaska and the Yukon alone for hunting 
infractions. This was a difficult task. The Boone and Crockett 
Club, comprised of prominent Eastern politicians and sportsmen, 
had pushed through Congress a comprehensive game statute for 
Alaska in 1902. Unfortunately, the law contained a loophole. 
Game could be sold in season and could be killed for food at any 
time by Indians, Eskimos, "miners, explorers or travelers on a 
journey when in need of food." 69 

Although this clause emasculated the law, the environmental 
attitude of most Alaskans probably would have prevented the bill's 
passage without it. Many Alaskan residents, especially holdovers 
from the Klondike gold rush of 1898, were frontiersmen. They 
believed that individuals should be allowed to maximize their 
economic opportunities with as few governmental roadblocks as 

During the winter of 1920-1921, Murie remained near Fair- 
banks, gauging the overall conservation attitude of the region's 
inhabitants. His reports were far from optimistic. In one report 
to Nelson entitled "The Destruction of Game in Parts of Alaska," 
Murie criticized the widespread infraction of game laws. Iron- 
ically, he discovered that the majority of violations were committed 
within the recently created Mount McKinley National Park. The 
isolation of the park allowed prospectors, trappers and hunters 
from nearby Fairbanks to destroy caribou "without regard to bag 
limit." To make matters worse, they killed indiscriminately, 
shooting cows and calves alike. The greatest toll occurred in late 
fall, "just before the rutting season" when frontier families took 
twenty or more animals to sustain them through the winter. 70 

Market hunters contributed their share of killing. One profes- 
sional hunter from Fairbanks, in a style reminiscent of Buffalo Bill 
Cody, slaughtered 135 animals in a single day. The hunters often 

'^Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. See also Margaret 
Murie, Two in the Far North (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962), p. 203. 

fi9 Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey, p. 111. The Act was 
passed on June 7, 1902 (32 Stat. L., 327). 

7<l 01aus Murie, "Description of Game in Parts of Alaska, January 15, 
1921," p. 1, typescript in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. 


allowed wounded caribou to wander off if it "was putting up a 
difficult chase" and simply shot another. Much of the meat was 
sold to town markets or cafes. During the fall of 1920, Fairbanks' 
stores and restaurants received more than 1 80 caribou, sixty moose 
and nearly ninety mountain sheep. The "Model Restaurant" pur- 
chased the most meat, selling caribou for fifteen cents per pound. 71 

Murie recognized that frontier conditions often necessitated the 
killing of a large quantity of game. The lack of a good transporta- 
tion network placed an artificially high price on imported goods. 
For instance, the remote village of Tanana Crossing sold rice and 
bacon for thirty-seven cents and $1.25 per pound respectively. 
Roadhouse owners complained that they could not provide suffi- 
cient food for winter travelers unless the restrictions on the sale of 
game were relaxed. "- 

Following traditional hunting patterns, Indians also exacted a 
heavy toll on wildlife. Murie found one native hunting technique 
particularly wasteful. In a second report to Nelson in May of 
1921, he observed that the Indians "frequently set fire to the 
woods in order to make open areas where they can see the caribou 
easily when hunting them." One such fire enveloped a forested 
area "leaving only a few scattered green splotches for miles." 
Murie estimated that the relatively small Indian population be- 
tween Tanana Crossing and Fairbanks killed over 1200 caribou 
during the fall hunt of 1920. Excessive hunting also was endan- 
gering the moose. He attended one Indian potlatch near Fairbanks 
and observed twenty -two moose prepared for the ceremonial 
feast. 73 

Again, the naturalist tempered his criticism with a realistic ap- 
praisal of the Indian culture. Although local tribes violated game 
laws, Murie rarely witnessed food wasted. The great number of 
Indian dogs, commonly 20 per family, accounted for many hunting 
excesses. He estimated that ten caribou were required to feed one 
dog throughout the summer. He advocated a drastic reduction in 
the number of village dogs, but his major concern was related to 
the Indian's diminishing self-sufficiency. Native trapping for the 
winter of 1920-1921, had yielded few wolf pelts. Without suffi- 
cent furs, the Indians would be unable to trade for staples. Along 
the Kantishna River, Murie noted that "natives were in actual want 

"^Ibid., p. 6. 

72 01aus Murie to Edward W. Nelson. May 21. 1921. in OMC. Box 46. 
of CBDPL. 

73 01aus Murie to Edward Nelson, May 20, 1921. This ceremony served 
social and economic functions. The feast validated newly ascribed status 
of tribal leaders. When two or more tribesmen aspired for leadership, each 
would attempt to outdo the other in generosity, by distributing foodstuffs 
and gifts to fellow tribesmen. In this way the potlatch acted as a balancing 
mechanism, redistributing tribal wealth. 


of food." This dismal state of subsistence would surely result in 
increased killing of caribou when the spring migration began. 74 

As a scientist, Murie was puzzled by the discrepancy between 
the poor trapping of the Indians and the testimony from whites 
regarding the destructiveness of predators. As he journeyed 
throughout the Kantishna River district, the naturalist gathered 
facts on the predator-caribou relationship. By mid-January, he 
had discarded many frontier stories and reached some tentative 
conclusions. He "observed very little evidence of wolves" or 
bears. In fact, all indications showed that fur-bearing predators 
were scarce throughout Alaska. Murie attributed the decrease to 
a combination of natural and man-induced factors. The eight year 
cycle of the rabbit population had reached its nadir. Although 
many predators were affected, the lynx was the hardest hit by the 
hare's scarcity. Over-trapping when fur prices were "abnormally 
high," had also "thinned out the animals to a dangerous point." 75 

Murie attributed the exaggerated tales of predator destructive- 
ness to base human motives. Hunters were "anxious to have an 
increase in bounty laws" and to secure federal hunting positions. 
The image of the wolf, he noted, fluctuated with the availability of 
the caribou. In times of abundance stories of predator atrocities 
diminished, but when the caribou were scarce, the wolf became 
the scapegoat. 7,! One fact remained clear: the widespread Alas- 
kan attitude toward wolves, bears and other carnivores was en- 
twined in a mass of mythology which made it difficult to separate 
fact from fantasy. Empirical evidence drove Murie closer to an 
ecological understanding of predators. As a scientist his mind 
demanded truth. The truth he gradually uncovered contradicted 
the mythology. Henceforth, much of his writing sought to erase 
the mythology and expose the necessary role of predatory animals. 

Murie's duties as fur-warden remained peripheral to his main 
task of compiling a comprehensive life history of the caribou. His 
first solo winter trek had produced valuable information on the 
distribution of the Yukon-Tanana caribou herd. Next, he planned 
to observe the spring migration of the same herd through the 
upper Tanana River drainage. 

The investigation consumed nearly three months, from early 
April to mid-June. Murie spied the first migrating caribou on the 
28th of April. Most were does, heavy with fawn. They were 
departing their winter ranges for the fawning grounds deep within 
the Yukon-Tanana divide. This particular movement represented 
only "a small part" of the general migration, yet over 4000 animals 

74 01aus Murie to Edward Nelson, May 21. 

"■Olaus Murie to Edward Nelson, May 20, 1921. 

T,1 01aus Murie, "Destruction of Game in Parts of Alaska . . .," p. 7. 


streamed by him on the first day. After the migration had passed, 
Murie returned to Fairbanks. 77 

Nearly twelve months of wilderness travel had prepared Murie 
to enjoy a thirty-day respite in the river town. Shortly after his 
arrival, Murie accepted a dinner invitation to the home of Jess 
Rust, an engineer of the Northern Commercial Power Plant in 
Fairbanks. His wife's cooking and three inquisitive children pro- 
vided a pleasant contrast from the monotony of camp rations and 
the loneliness of frontier travel. Even more pleasing was his 
introduction to the other dinner guest, Miss Margaret Gillette. 
Although most of the evening conversation revolved around the 
young biologist's explorations, Murie managed to deflect the 
questioning to this attractive young woman. Her ready wit and 
ebullient personality intrigued him. 7s Margaret Gillette reacted 
similarly to Murie. Later she recalled her first impression of the 
"slim, blond young man, not handsome in my schoolgirl eyes, but 
with the freshest complexion and bluest eyes." As Murie escorted 
the college sophomore home, he learned that she had moved to 
Alaska in 1911, when her father was appointed assistant United 
States attorney at Fairbanks. 7!) 

During the next few weeks, the couple often hiked and boated 
together. They discovered much in common. Both had been 
raised on the frontier. More important, both desired to remain 
outside the growing urban environment. Margaret would often 
"prattle on in a schoolgirl fashion" attempting to draw out Murie's 
shy personality. She was amazed by the breadth of his wildlife 
knowledge. One evening Murie imitated the hooting of a great 
horned owl while they boated down the Tanana River. Suddenly, 
a "dark soft shape floated down into a tree-top right above" them 
and perched "silhouetted against the golden sky." "What kind of 
magic did this man have?" she wondered. 80 

Another incident impressed Margaret Gillette. Responding to a 
question about his job with the Survey, Murie told of a fellow- 
naturalist who had falsified a label on a bird specimen. The scien- 
tist had hoped to gain prestige by making a rare find. Instead, his 
deception was discovered; a prominent ornithological journal car- 
ried a brief note on his intrigue, and that scientist was "never heard 
again in scientific circles." She remembered Murie saying, "You 
see, all a scientist has is his integrity." 81 

77 Murie, "Alaska-Yukon Caribou," p. 72. 

78 Margaret Murie, Two in the Far North, p. 95. 


mbid., p. 96. 



Their courtship was soon interrupted by a new assignment for 
Murie. He was to investigate the feasibility of capturing and do- 
mesticating a herd of caribou within Mount McKinley National 


Early snows postponed the caribou domestication project until 
the following summer. In the meantime, Murie planned another 
dog sledding trip to collect Dall mountain sheep for the national 
museum. After traversing the lowlands south of the Alaskan 
mountain range, he sledded through Rainy Pass in mid-March. 
These steep glaciated slopes provided an ideal habitat for mountain 
sheep as well as caribou. One evening, atop a lesser peak, Murie 
succeeded in shooting two mountain sheep. As the sky darkened, 
however, he realized that he would be unable to carry both animals 
back to camp. One carcass must be left overnight. Having 
observed wolverine tracks while ascending the mountainside, the 
naturalist decided to "strike a bargain" with the predator. He 
would trade the meat for the skin and skull. While butchering one 
animal, he pulled the skin over the head, exposing much of the 
pure meat. He then packed the other animal in his ruck sack and 
returned to his base camp. Returning the next morning, he found 
that the wolverine had accepted the bargain. 82 

The incident revealed an appreciation for the needs of all forms 
of life. Murie admired the interesting habits of the wolverine, a 
much maligned, "trap robbing" predator. His action implied that 
man was no longer apart, but a fellow member in an enlarged 
biotic community. This new ecological responsibility demanded 
that he share, not exploit, nature's resources. 83 

The arrival of summer found Murie in Mount McKinley Na- 
tional Park. His instructions were to investigate the feasibility of 
domesticating the caribou. The study was to engage him for two 
consecutive summers. First he must capture the animals; this 
proved to be difficult. Their varying migratory routes complicated 
the task. Most had ascended the lush slopes of the Upper Savage 
and Sanctuary Rivers. Assisted by the park superintendent, Murie 
constructed a tight V-shaped corral across a narrow stretch of the 
Savage River Valley. 84 

Their combined efforts went for naught. The September mi- 
gration by -passed the valley and only a few animals drifted 
around the corral. Murie managed to shoot a few stray caribou 

82 Murie, Journey to the Far North, pp. 123-124. 

* 4 01aus Murie, "Domestication of the Caribou," July-September, 1922, 
typescript in OMC, Box 46, CBDPL. 


as specimens for the national museum. These bulls were cata- 
logued, measured, skinned, cut up into small pieces and then 
weighed by the bulky, "steelyards" which the naturalist carried in 
his backpack. 85 

Although his first caribou domestication attempt had failed, 
other less scientific activities kept Murie occupied. In return for 
his labor, the park superintendent asked Murie to serve as guide 
for a vacationing woman botanist. The naturalist described the 
incident with tongue in cheek. For a day, Murie recalled, he had 
trotted "along like a little dog behind her horse, and told her about 
the plants we saw and the flowers and birds and so on." Years 
later he likened himself to Mount McKinley's first natural inter- 
preter. He generally enjoyed the job and it foreshadowed his 
increasing sympathy for and involvement with the National Park 
Service. 86 

Subsequent attempts at domesticating the caribou would prove 
less strenuous since in the fall of 1922, his younger brother Adolph 
journeyed north to assist in the study. Adolph Murie, a recent 
graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, shared his brother's 
interest in wildlife. In later years, Adolph would thoroughly in- 
vestigate the predators of Mount McKinley National Park. His 
research, culminating in the monograph, "The Wolves of Mount 
McKinley," would earn him a reputation among naturalists and 
conservationists. 87 

After the two brothers rendezvoused at the Survey headquarters 
in Fairbanks, they rented a small cottage conveniently located near 
the home of the Gillette family. As they awaited the winter snows, 
Margaret and Clara Gillette taught the young men how to dance, 
often inviting them to picnics and barbecues. During one of these 
gatherings, Murie replied light-heartedly to a number of questions. 
Wondering if he was concealing something behind his perpetually 
"pleasant and agreeable" demeanor, Margaret snapped, "Oh, what 
everlasting good nature." Unexpectedly, Murie replied, "Look, if 
you want a fight you can have it." "Here was more than a pleas- 
ant companion," she later remarked. "Here was a man — gentle 
but with steel within." The brothers enjoyed the social amenities 
of Fairbanks until November 24 when they boarded a train, piling 
dogs, sleds and supplies into the baggage car and journeyed to 
Tanana on the Yukon River. 88 

8r, 01aus Murie, "Weighing Game Animals," Journal of Mammalogy, Jan- 
uary, 1928, pp. 74-75. 

86 Murie, "An Oral History," p. 7. 

87 Adolph Murie, "Wolves of Mount McKinley," in Fauna of the National 
Parks of the United States, (Washington, D.C.. United States Government 
Priming Office, 1940), 238 pp. 

88 Margaret Murie, Two in the Far North, pp. 97-98. 


It was to be an extensive reconnaissance trip. From Tanana, 
they traveled down the broad Yukon River to the hilly town of 
Kokrines where they conducted a routine survey of a reindeer 
herd. The condition of these domesticated animals dismayed 
Murie. The animals exhibited "abnormal" coloration and suffered 
from unusual antler growths which lacked "symmetry." Further- 
more, the congestion of herding seemed to cause excessive sickness 
as well as "abnormal breeding habits" among the reindeer. The 
taming of this close relative of the caribou, Murie concluded, had 
produced an inferior animal. The brief encounter strengthened his 
conviction to safeguard the purity of the interior caribou. 89 

Leaving Kokrines, the brothers continued cross-country to the 
mission village of Allakaket on the Upper Koyukuk River where 
they arranged for an Eskimo family to guide them up the Alatna 
River into the Brooks range. During the next four months they 
collected specimens and plotted the distribution of caribou. It was 
sometimes an inhospitable task. January temperatures averaged 
38 degrees below zero and one plummeted to 68 below. They 
passed numerous shivering nights in a seven-by-nine foot silk tent, 
heated only by a tin-plated Yukon stove. Moving into the Eskimo 
family's home, they fared little better. For two months, the nat- 
uralists subsisted on frozen fish and boiled lean meats. In a weak- 
ened condition, they broke camp and headed north. Hitching 
both sleds together to conserve energy and to increase speed they 
reached Wiseman, the main settlement of the Koyukuk Valley late 
in March. After replenishing supplies, they completed the last leg 
of their journey and arrived in Fairbanks on April 26. During 
their 1500 mile expedition, the naturalists explored arctic regions 
such as the Koyukuk River Valley which had never been pene- 
trated by white men. 90 

After a brief reunion with the Gillette family, the brothers em- 
barked on a second caribou domestication attempt. They entered 
Mount McKinley National Park in early July and were escorted by 
a ranger to the Savage River. The corral, built the year before, 
was still in good condition. While awaiting the fall migration, the 
naturalists explored the numerous tributaries of the river. 91 

It was during one of these wilderness hikes that Murie detected 
the previously unknown nesting places of the wandering tattler. 
Along the banks of Jennie Creek, he spotted a dull slate colored 
bird perched on a rock amidst the turbulent water. After further 

S!, 01aus Murie to Harrison F. Lewis, Chief of the Canadian Wildlife Ser- 
vice, Department of Resources and Development, Ottawa, Canada, January 
16, 1951, in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. 

!,0 Murie, Journeys to the Far North, pp. 135-142 passim. 

yl 01aus Murie, "Capturing Caribou," June 27-October 12, 1923, type- 
script in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. 


explorations, the brothers found many tattler nests along the grav- 
el stream bars. Murie speculated that the intricately woven struc- 
tures were scattered throughout the Alaskan range, but especially 
prominent along the northern slope. Later he accorded this 
discovery as one of the highlights of his career with the Biological 
Survey. 92 

While the brothers explored the Savage River Valley, other 
Survey members were driving a reindeer herd through Mount Mc- 
Kinley National Park. These officials intended to establish a herd 
at Broad Pass, just outside park boundaries on the Alaskan Rail- 
road. One evening, fifty reindeer wandered into Murie's camp. 
He drove the stragglers back to the main herd and found that 
their owners had not missed the animals. This negligence worried 
Murie, for interbreeding with the native caribou, he believed might 
create "a mongrel race of animals which scientists and sportsmen 
deplore." His concern was justified. Within years hundreds of 
stray reindeer had scattered throughout the park. The smaller, 
off-colored hybrids, Murie contended, posed a serious threat to 
the integrity of a park expressly set aside for the preservation of 
native fauna. 1 ' 3 

Murie's concern with interbreeding would lead to his first dis- 
agreement with Survey policy. Official policy urged reindeer ex- 
pansion at the expense of the caribou. Specifically, the naturalist 
argued that it "was premature to exploit the game country before 
a market has been developed." He complained that this poorly 
executed effort reflected a lack of coordination between the scien- 
tific and economic divisions of the Survey. Scientific research was 
again being subordinated to utilitarian ends. Murie's complaint 
went unanswered and this frustrating experience planted the seeds 
of future discontent with the Survey's economic priorities and nur- 
tured Murie's purist philosophy of game management. ! ' 4 

The rift between scientific and economic divisions within the 
Bureau of Biological Survey was rooted in the schism within the 
American conservation movement. In the last decades of the 19th 
century, only a few outspoken individuals had challenged the util- 
itarian tenets of the progressive conservationists. Preservationists 
such as the associate editor of Century, Robert Underwood John- 
son, and the spirited John Muir complained that the economic 
orientation of the federal government, its emphasis on efficient 

'•'-Olaus Murie. "Nesting Records of the Wandering Tattler and Surfbird 
in Alaska," The Auk Magazine, April, 1924. See also Weddle. "Wilderness 
Champion," p. 232. 

!,:i 01aus Murie to Dean Sage. January 12. 1938. in OMC. Box 46. of 

!,4 Chief of Biological Investigation to Mr. Redington. June 28. 1927. in 
OMC. Box 46, of CBDPL. This three-page letter quotes extensively from 


development of natural resources and its slogan of the "greatest 
good for the greatest number for the longest time" often ran rough- 
shod over the spiritual, inspirational values of wilderness. In the 
wake of rapid industrialization and urbanization, a so-called "cult 
of the wilderness" flourished. '•'•"' By the third decade of the 20th 
century, preservationists had matured as a political force. Patient- 
ly awaiting the fall migration of caribou, the government biologist 
often straddled both conservation camps. 

The migration began in mid-August. Once again, the main herd 
by-passed the corral. When the Gillette family joined the brothers 
late in the month, Murie became determined to capture at least 
a few of the stray caribou lingering in the valley. Their combined 
efforts succeeded in the capture of a three year old buck, a doe 
and a fawn. The animals were driven into a smaller compound 
and roped. Murie then haltered and hobbled the animals. Unfor- 
tunately, the fawn and doe suffered so much from overexertion 
that Murie released them "in hopes that they might recover when 
given their freedom." Only after considerable effort did they sub- 
due the bull. He was dehorned and left overnight "with a rope 
trailing from a halter." The next morning they found him dead. 96 

The frustrating experiment troubled Murie. Yet, characteristic 
of all his subsequent Survey investigations, his reports were concise 
and objective. The taming of bull caribou, the naturalist contend- 
ed, was "unadvisable." In a more constructive vein, he concluded: 
"Calves and yearlings will tame very readily." If domestication 
proceeded "sensibly," he insisted, the quality of the reindeer could 
be improved and the purity of the caribou protected. !,T For the 
moment utilitarian and aesthetic goals remained reconcilable. 

Although the caribou domestication project proved disappoint- 
ing, his courtship with Margaret Gillette blossomed. They had 
decided to be married while in Mount McKinley National Park. 
Knowing that Murie must return to Washington in December for 
new orders and to report on his caribou research, the couple post- 
poned the wedding until the following summer. In the meantime, 
Margaret intended to complete her business administration major 
at the two-year old University of Alaska. Until December, the 
brothers resided in Fairbanks polishing their scientific reports. In 
his spare moments, Olaus drew a huge geological map for the 
geology department. Adolph, pursuing less academic interests, 

'•'•"•For a detailed description of the birth and development of the "wilder- 
ness cult" see Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, pp. 141-161. 

96 01aus Murie, "Trailing the Caribou Herds," American Forests and 
Forest Life, Winter, 1924, pp. 27-29. See also Murie, "Alaskan- Yukon 
Caribou," p. 31. 

''"Murie, "Capturing the Caribou," p. 15. 


coached the girl's basketball team. On December 10th, the broth- 
ers departed the Alaskan Territory for the states. !,s 

It was not until March that Margaret learned of Murie's new 
assignment. He was to lead an expedition to the Hooper Bay 
region near the mouth of the Yukon River. The Survey wanted 
to learn more precisely of that area's abundant bird life. Two 
wealthy midwestern amateur ornithologists would accompany 
Murie and had agreed to pay half of the expenses. Murie wired 
Jess Rust in Fairbanks instructing him to purchase two teams of 
dogs. Several days later, Murie arrived in the Alaskan town. 
Briefly reunited, the couple planned an August wedding at Anvik, 
on the Yukon River. 00 

The Survey research team established headquarters at an unat- 
tended Bureau of Education schoolhouse on the Bering Sea coast- 
line. The site provided easy access to the rolling tundra extending 
inland as well as to the tidal marshes. The area resounded with 
the hooting, chirping and quacking of a myriad of bird varieties. 
Murie banded, sketched and studied the nesting habits of the em- 
peror goose, Steller's eider, jaegers and a host of rare shore birds. 
Although the multifaceted study proscribed a complete investiga- 
tion, the naturalist gathered valuable data on the incubation, 
nesting, mortality and subsistence of these winged visitors of the 
Bering Coast. The entire expedition covered nearly 800 meander- 
ing miles and lasted a little more than five months. As the nesting 
season closed, Murie boarded a small gas scow in the town of St. 
Michaels. 100 

By this time, Margaret Gillette, accompanied by her mother and 
best friend, had journeyed by train 75 miles down river to Nenana. 
She carried the wedding ring and several hundred dollars of the 
bridegroom's money. The evening of August 12th brought good 
news. Murie was headed up the Yukon River, accompanied by 
Associate Chief Henderson of the Survey. Since Margaret's father 
had been called out of town, Henderson would have the honor of 
giving the bride away. 101 

On August 19, the couple rendezvoused as planned at the Cath- 
olic mission village of Holy Cross. The steamer "General Jacobs" 
transported them down the Yukon River toward Anvik. The wed- 
ding was held several hours later at the unusual time of three in the 
morning. The rustic log church no doubt pleased the couple who 
desired to spend the remainder of their lives close to the frontier. 
They returned almost "reluctantly"' from the church to the deck of 

f,s Murie, Two in the Far North, pp. 98-100. 

^Ibid. See also Murie. Journeys to the Far North, pp. 146-147. 
lo0 Olaus Murie, "Nesting of the Snowy Owl." The Com/or. January. 
1929, pp. 3-12. See also Murie. Journeys to the Far North, pp. 146-153. 
101 Murie, Two in the Far North, pp." 105-106. 


the "General Jacobs." Once aboard, the paddle wheeled steamer 
immediately churned upriver to Nulato. 10L ' 

At this frontier settlement, the newlyweds debarked and moved 
into a two-room cabin where Olaus quickly initiated his bride in 
the ways of a field biologist. Margaret discovered that far more 
than caribou engaged his attention. The naturalist was learning 
all he could about the meadow vole, the red-backed mouse, the 
bog-lemming, brown lemming and various other species of mouse. 
Although tiny, he explained to Margaret, these creatures comprised 
a large link in nature's intricate chain of life. He soon educated 
his new field assistant as to what might lay beneath a mossy stump 
or under a dense mat of water rushes. She was amazed by his 
constant activity. Everywhere he went, mousetrap lines were set, 
plant specimens were collected and birds were identified. He 
commonly worked until late at night compiling notes and cata- 
loguing specimens. He soon enlisted Margaret's aid in labeling his 
massive inventory. By 1924, his collection totaled more than 
1900 separate entries. The couple remained in Nulato until 
August 27th when another steamer transported the two as far 
north as Bettles, at the junction of the Alatna, Koyukuk and Bet- 
ties rivers. 108 

As they voyaged up the Koyukuk River, Murie occasionally 
ventured ashore with his 16-gauge double barrel shotgun to gather 
specimens for the museum and provide meals for the crew. His 
weapon was skillfully crafted. He had inserted a smaller auxiliary 
cylinder carrying a .32 shot shell for small birds inside one barrel. 
One crew member was particularly impressed with the weapon 
and the skills of this naturalist. Otto Geist, "a stocky keen-eyed 
young second engineer of the Teddy H', not only watched Murie 
prepare specimens; "he asked questions — penetrating ones." His 
curiosity would eventually lead to a career in archaeology at the 
University of Alaska. The two men developed an enduring friend- 
ship and in the future would collaborate on several anthropological 
investigations. 104 

Disembarking at Bettles, above the arctic circle, Murie intended 
to examine what he described as the "Northern caribou herds." 
His survey was delayed until enough snow had fallen to allow dog 
sledding. The couple departed on a cold, clear morning, with 
Murie guiding the sled in front and Margaret trotting behind. 
Proceeding in this manner, they made good time and arrived in 

w -lbid., pp. 107-112. 

™Hbid., pp. 117-118, 166. 

104 Charles J. Keim, Aghvook, White Eskimo: Otto Geist and Alaskan 
Archaeology, with a foreword by Olaus J. Murie (Alaska: University of 
Alaska Press, 1969), p. vii. 


Wiseman, the northernmost settlement of white miners. Given a 
warm reception, Muried decided to remain in town for the night. 

His decision resulted in a rare scientific opportunity. The next 
morning a loud knocking awoke the naturalist. Some one yelled, 
"Mr. Murie . . . dere's millions of caribou up the trail." The state- 
ment surprised Murie, for no migrations had passed through this 
part of the arctic in years. He raced rifle in hand to verify the 
report. "Just think," he remarked, "I'm right here to see part of 
this migration when there hasn't been a caribou migration through 
this part of the Brooks range for as long as the older Indians can 
remember." The field biologist speculated that the "deep, . . . 
thick" lichen growths had attracted the animals. This unexpected 
phenomenon, he explained to Margaret, "will fill in gaps of my 
study." 105 His study, "Alaskan-Yukon Caribou," is still consulted 
by biologists examining the complex migratory patterns of the 
Alaskan caribou. 106 

Extending their survey northward, the couple made a looping 
journey along the base of the gentle Endicott range. Traveling 
overland, to avoid ice overflows and conserve time, they began the 
homeward leg of their expedition. On November 19th, they spot- 
ted the high granite promontory, marking the junction of the 
Tanana and Yukon rivers. The "smooth white avenue" of the 
Tanana would guide them back to Fairbanks. Throughout their 
six week wilderness honeymoon, the couple had been apart no 
more than a few hours. 

Murie's next survey project, however, would separate him from 
his wife for six months. Nelson had directed the naturalist to 
study, collect specimens and photograph the large brown bears of 
the Alaskan Peninsula. Early May found Olaus on the Aleutian 
Islands while Margaret joined her parents in their new home on 
the Twisp River in northcentral Washington. 1 " 7 

Never one to restrict himself to one subject, Murie continued to 
study the caribou and a host of other mammals. He soon found 
that traders, conducting a brisk business in caribou skins, had 
driven most animals toward the southwestern portion of the penin- 
sula. Nearly 7000 caribou inhabited the moderately sized Unimak 
Island. This number, he feared, was approaching the optimum 
carrying capacity. los 

In addition to collecting some excellent bear specimens, Murie 

1(,r, Murie, Two in the Far North, pp. 212-215. 

1,m See, for example, James E. Hemming, "The Distribution Movement 
Patterns of the Alaska Caribou," in Game Technical Bulletin no. 1, (Can- 
ada: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 1971). 

iO'Murie, Two in the Far North, pp. 259-260. 

10s Olaus Murie, "A New Alaskan Microtus." The Journal of Mammal- 
ogy. January, 1930, pp. 74-75. 


discovered a new species of Alaskan mouse. Fully absorbed in 
trapping this rare tawny colored microtus on one smaller island, 
he failed to notice his dingy slowly drifting out with the tide. He 
remained stranded on Amak Island, "a high cone of moss covered 
tundra," until late the next morning when an abnormally low tide 
allowed him to escape. 100 Only later did the naturalist learn that 
while he was marooned, Margaret had given birth to Martin Louis 
Murie. It would be three months before Murie would see his first 
son. 110 

Shortly thereafter, Murie began his last federal assignment into 
Alaska's vast interior. Margaret facetiously called the 1926 sum- 
mer excursion to the headwaters of the Old Crow River a Biolog- 
ical Survey "wild goose chase." In truth, Murie intended to band 
young geese and molting adults within their arctic breeding 
grounds. If enough geese were tagged and hunters were coopera- 
tive, their migratory routes could be learned. 111 

In May of 1926, Olaus, Margaret, their ten-month old son and 
Jess Rust journeyed by boat toward the Yukon Territory. Al- 
though it was more leisurely than all previous Survey expeditions, 
Murie never forgot that it was a scientific voyage. Whenever pos- 
sible, he collected mammals for the national museum. He often 
worked well after midnight, preparing specimens and compiling 

When they stopped in Nenana, Otto Geist greeted the travelers. 
The engineer informed Murie that he was now attending the Uni- 
versity of Alaska and had been selected to participate in an archae- 
ological dig along the Bering Sea coast. The news excited Murie 
for he shared Geist's enthusiasm for uncovering ancient relics. 
Both men discussed the possibility of discovering fossils along the 
Old Crow River. The chances were good, according to Geist, for 
the river was the descendent of an enormous Pleistocene lake. 112 

As they cruised up the clear, meandering Old Crow River, the 
group found some fossils. Bones and tusks of mammoths, skeletal 
fragments of prehistoric bison and horses, and a tooth of the giant 
beaver were found and preserved. These great creatures had suc- 
cumbed to centuries of climatic fluctuations. New animals now 
considered these undulating tundra highlands their home. "Things 
do change — all of them," Murie later wrote, and animals must 
either adapt or perish. 11 " The naturalist considered the migration 
of the Alaskan caribou as one of the more remarkable natural 


no Murie, Two in the Far North, p. 261. 

ni Ibid., p. 262. 

"-Ibid., pp. 266-267. 

n:, Murie, Journeys to the Far North, p. 182. 


adaptations. Even during the wild fowl banding, he devoted much 
thought to the causes of the caribou migration. 

Murie's scientific explanation for their migration is perhaps best 
expressed in his monograph, "Alaskan-Yukon Caribou. " Through- 
out his explorations, he discarded many migrations theories as 
overly simplistic. For example, he discounted the "need for shel- 
ter theory" because "it can hardly be said that they travel all these 
hundred of miles" for wooded shelter, "since the summer and 
winter ranges are substantially alike." In a similar vein, he be- 
lieved that the theories which attributed migration to annoying 
insects and to reproductive hormone secretions might account for 
local movements, but provided no universal explanation. The 
field biologist was convinced that "the prime cause of migration 
is the search for suitable food." He correlated the extremely slow 
growing lichen with their seasonal wandering. Since lichens were 
the staple of the caribou, he reasoned "that concentrations of herds 
on one range for any length of time would be disastrous to the 
stand." "Not only would the forage be cropped close," he con- 
tinued, "but much would be destroyed by constant trampling." 
He emphasized that their migration was by no means intelligently 
conceived, rather "built up by racial experience over a long period, 
during which many lean seasons caused by over-grazing repeatedly 
forced the animals to seek new ranges." In short, migrations acted 
as a safety mechanism, maintaining the carrying capacity of the 
range. Early frosts which made vegetation less palatable probably 
triggered the fall migration. Insects and hormone secretions caus- 
ing unrest, he added, "should not be ignored" as other possible 
factors in stimulating movement. 114 

The theory is remarkable for its ecological insight. It marked 
an early attempt to correlate the processes of environmental 
change directly with the long term fortunes of big game animals. 
Furthermore, his report is noteworthy for its recognition of plant 
life, especially lichen, as a limiting factor in caribou population 
and distribution. Previously, biologists and foresters such as Aldo 
Leopold, assuming stability in Southwestern United States game 
herds, had followed a static formula of game management. Herd 
size was regulated by adjusting hunting restrictions, predator con- 
trol programs and artificial replenishment. Little consideration 
was given to the delicate balance between wildlife and rangelands. 
The joker in their miscalculations was the assumption of stable 
populations. 115 Population irruptions of deer in many national 

114 Murie, "Alaskan- Yukon Caribou," pp. 45-50. 

115 For a detailed analysis of the evolution of game management during 
the late 1920s and early 1930s see Flader, Thinking Like a Mountain, pp. 


parks and forests during the 1920's demonstrated that the herds 
were anything but stable. 

For nearly six consecutive years, Murie had sledded and back- 
packed through the pristine interior of Alaska. It was no doubt 
satisfying for the naturalist to observe caribou following traditional 
migratory routes and to witness wildlife still preyed upon by 
wolves and other carnivores. The interior herds, unaffected by 
agrarian or urban settlement, were "thriving." This arctic region 
still retained its virgin equilibrium of soils and its integrity of flora 
and fauna. In short, the caribou study allowed Murie to observe 
a healthy big game population. By the end of 1926, Murie had 
concluded that the caribou's greatest enemy was "not the wolf, nor 
the hunter but man's economic developments, principally the rais- 
ing of reindeer." Just as Aldo Leopold's pack-trip into the Chi- 
huahua Sierras of Northern Mexico had revealed that deer and 
predators could exist in an uncontrolled habitat, Murie's journeys 
through the far north had convinced him that wildlife could be 
managed best by protecting the wilderness of the environment. llc 
Murie's wilderness experience and his resultant conclusions, how- 
ever, occurred almost ten years before Leopold would set foot in 
the Mexican Sierras. When Murie began his next study of the 
over-populated Jackson Hole elk herd, he would quickly and posi- 
tively identify the ecological imbalance. 


With the completion of the caribou study, the Biological Survey 
granted Murie a brief leave of absence to attend the University of 
Michigan. In less than nine months, he refined his field notes on 
the Alaska-Yukon caribou into a master's thesis. Aside from 
future honorary degrees, this was to be his highest academic 

After graduating in spring of 1927, Murie journeyed to Wash- 
ington, D. C. to confer with Nelson over his new assignment. He 
found scientists in Washington growing concerned over the pejo- 
rative condition of the Jackson Hole elk herd. Nelson believed 
that Murie's expertise regarding the Alaskan caribou made him 
the logical choice to direct a comprehensive investigation of one 
of the largest native elk herds in North America. Although some 
counts had been taken, nothing approaching a scientific investi- 
gation of these animals had yet been attempted. 

The plight of the herd had attracted national attention as early 
as the winter of 1908-1909. Then, nearly 20,000 hungry animals 
had descended into Jackson Hole valley in search of food. Heavy 

110 Murie, "Alaskan-Yukon Caribou," p. 7. 


snows encrusted range lands, making it impossible for the animals 
to forage subsistence. Thousands died of starvation. Stephen 
Leek, a local rancher, photographed the tragic scene. His photo- 
graphs appeared in various magazines and newspapers across the 
country. Many became alarmed over what appeared to be the 
imminent extinction of the Jackson Hole elk herd. 117 

Succeeding winters took their toll, convincing Congress that 
steps needed to be taken to ameliorate the "elk problem. " In 
1911, Congress appropriated $20,000 for feed. The following 
year additional money was designated for the purchase of lands 
north of Jackson. By 1913, a National Elk Refuge had been 
established. Here the elk would winter, receiving regular allot- 
ments of hay. The problem, however, was not solved. Recurrent 
periods of mass starvation confirmed what most naturalists already 
knew: mere protection and feeding was not enough. A solid 
ecological understanding of the elk was needed before effective 
management could proceed. lls 

The basis of effective management began when the National 
Conference on Outdoor Recreation requested President Calvin 
Coolidge to appoint a special commission to examine the elk 
situation in Jackson Hole. The "Elk Commission" was founded 
in 1926. Shortly thereafter it recommended that the Bureau of 
Biological Survey in cooperation with federal, state and local 
organizations undertake "a comprehensive investigation of the his- 
tory of the Jackson Hole Elk Herd and the factors affecting main- 
tenance in suitable numbers." 110 After talks with Nelson and 
Charles Sheldon, chairman of the commission, Murie agreed to 
direct the elk study. He considered it the ideal assignment, for 
like his Alaskan research, the Jackson Hole assignment would per- 
mit freedom yet require total commitment. 

Early in July Murie arrived at the northern entrance of Yellow- 
stone National Park. Traveling by bus toward Jackson, he viewed 
only a fraction of the park's 3348 square miles, but later com- 
mented that it was like entering "a different world." The snow- 
capped mountains, bubbling mudpots, vast pine forests, sparkling 
lakes, rugged gorges and spectacular waterfalls were unlike any- 
thing he had seen since departing Alaska. He was most impressed 
by the park's unrivaled wildlife population. 1 - 

117 David J. Saylor, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, (Oklahoma: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1970), p. 162. 

118 Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey, pp. 92-93. See also 
Chester C. Anderson, The Elk of Jackson Hole: A Review of Jackson Hole 
Elk Studies (Cheyenne: Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. 1958). 
pp. 25-27. 

119 Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey, p. 155. 

120 Margaret and Olaus Murie. Wapiti Wilderness (New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1966), pp. 8-9. 


Near Mammoth Hot Springs, however, Murie was dismayed by 
a "Buffalo Corral" where bison, deer, elk, coyotes, bears and other 
wild animals were kept in cages "for the close inspection of tour- 
ists." 121 The exhibit, he believed, was fair to neither wild animals 
nor humans. Years of wilderness backpacking and dogsledding 
had taught Murie that an appreciation of wildlife was proportion- 
ate to the effort expended. Furthermore, he thought that man's 
appreciation of wild creatures vanished when wildlife was placed 
in captivity. 

The "game display" was one of Acting Superintendent Horace 
Albright's efforts to popularize the park. Albright had served as 
the administrative right-hand man of Stephen Mather, the first 
director of the National Park Service. The young superintendent 
believed that wild animals constituted one of the most valuable 
attractions of the park and "visitors to Yellowstone had a right to 
see wildlife whenever possible." 1 -- Recognizing that increased 
tourism was the key to enlarging park appropriations, he had ex- 
panded the Buffalo Corral and publicized the bear pits. Murie 
acknowledged the importance of wildlife as a park attraction, but 
only in a natural setting. Their differences were rooted in the two 
fold purpose of the National Park Service, which called for main- 
taining the parks "in absolutely unimpaired form" while at the 
same time making them available for the "use, observation, health, 
and pleasure of the people." Albright, an avid booster of the Park 
Service, usually placed a higher premium on attracting the public 
to nature's splendors. In contrast, Murie contended that these 
"zoo-like" conditions intruded upon the park's natural beauties. 123 
This early disagreement opened philosophical wounds which even 
years of association in conservation battles failed to heal. Years 
later Murie, referring to his relationship with Albright, is purported 
to have stated on numerous occasions, "I just don't agree with him 
on anything." 124 

Ironically, both men shared many of the same preservationist 
precepts. Born and raised in the majestic Owens Valley of Cali- 
fornia, Albright like Murie had grown to "cherish the symbols and 
folklore of the frontier and to appreciate wilderness." Graduating 
from the University of California at Berkeley, Albright too had 
pursued a federal career, beginning as assistant attorney for the 
Secretary of Interior and in 1916 becoming a colleague of Mather 
in the National Park Service. In the true progressive spirit, 
Albright cloaked his aesthetic conservation attitudes in the rhetoric 

121 Donald C. Swain, Wilderness Defender: Horace M. Albright and Con- 
servation ("Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970). 
^-Ibid., p. 108. 

123 Murie, "An Oral History," p. 13. 
124 Jnterview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. 


of utilitarianism. He aggressively campaigned for Park Service 
road building programs in terms of "the greatest good for the 
greatest number." 1 -' This pragmatic approach to resource man- 
agement offended Murie's scientific integrity. The naturalist felt 
more in sympathy with the growing number of wilderness enthu- 
siasts. Men such as Robert Sterling Yard, of the National Parks 
Association, and Robert Marshall of the Wilderness Society, were 
more representative of his views. Robert Marshall, who in 1935 
would organize the Wilderness Society, believed in the idea of pre- 
serving wilderness areas for aesthetic reasons. For them, pristine 
forests constituted a last sanctuary from an overly materialistic 
society. In addition, they equated untamed nature with the reten- 
tion of national characteristics which they believed were vanishing, 
like the frontier, from American culture. 

Murie's criticisms were tempered by reality. As a member of 
the Biological Survey, he owed his first allegiance to the federal 
government. Furthermore, he still appreciated his scientific re- 
search and enjoyed his relative detachment from the world of 

In the meantime, Murie rented a four-room log cabin at the 
south edge of Jackson. The small town, planted at the foot of the 
Snow King Mountain, looked more like a set from a Hollywood 
western than the familiar Alaskan frontier encampment. Yet, 
nestled at the end of a sage valley and surrounded by bare and 
wooded buttes, the town retained a rustic flavor reminiscent of 
Fairbanks. 126 

On July 6, Aimer Nelson, manager of the National Elk Refuge, 
escorted Murie to the winter feeding grounds. The refuge encom- 
passed a broad sage flat bisected by meadow lands, totaling more 
than 4500 acres. Survey employees were harvesting the hay crop 
as they arrived. The harvest, insufficient to maintain the elk 
through a severe winter, would be used in emergencies. 127 

After observations, Murie determined the rough outline of his 
elk investigation. First and foremost would be an examination of 
the feeding habits of the animals and the carrying capacity of the 
range. The study would include the distribution and migration 

125 Swain, Wilderness Defender, pp. 319-320. 

126 Murie, Wapiti Wilderness, pp. 11-13. 

127 Ibid. See also Murie, "Report on Investigations of the game animals 
in Upper Yellowstone Thorofare Region as requested by the Yellowstone 
National Boundary Commission," December 1929, typescript in OMC. Box 
46, of CBDPL. An outline of the proposed research can be found in Murie, 
"Studies in Elk Management," Transactions of the Twentieth American 
Game Conference (New York: American Game Association 1934), pp. 



- ?'">" r *3% ; ; « 


-U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo 
Courtesy of Mrs. Olaus J. Murie 

Elk Grazing in Jackson Hole 

patterns of the elk, their breeding habits and the extent to which 
parasites and disease affected mortality. 

His work would be complicated by the jurisdictional question of 
who controlled the elk herd. In 1909, all wildlife within the state 
of Wyoming were declared the property of the state. In the same 
year, the Wyoming State Game and Fish Commission was created 
to manage the game and administer the game laws. The migratory 
animals, however, wandered over much National Forest property. 
As early as the winter of 1912, the National Forest Service ini- 
tiated systematic elk counts. A sizeable percentage of the Jackson 
Hole elk herd grazed in the high meadows of Yellowstone National 
Park during the summer. Finally, the Biological Survey since 1913 
had cared for the elk wintering on the National Elk Refuge. Thus, 
by the time Murie arrived on the scene, the welfare of the herd 
was entrusted to representatives from two divisions within the 
United States Department of Agriculture, one bureau within the 
Department of Interior and the Wyoming State Game and Fish 
Commission. Furthermore, national and local conservation and 
civic groups were concerned. The work of the study, however, 
would be undertaken by Murie and six assistants employed by 
the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. Their efforts would 


be supplemented by the Food Habits Division of the Biological 
Survey. 12 * 

Before the month had elapsed, Murie was in the fields trailing 
the elk through their high summer ranges. He was joined by 
Margaret, Martin and their new daughter, Joanne. Hiking along 
Pacific Creek inside Teton National Forest, the family was sud- 
denly confronted by eighty white -faced Hereford range cattle. 
"They aren't supposed to be up this far," Murie observed. The 
incident was a reminder of the competition between reindeer and 
the Mount McKinley caribou herds. Like the reindeer, cattle 
contested with elk for forage. Once again, a domesticated species 
was thriving at the expense of wildlife. A few days later, Dr. 
Maurice Hall, a parasitologist from the Bureau of Plant Industry*, 
accompanied by two veterinarians rendezvoused with the hikers. 
After Murie shot two elk, the doctors demonstrated how to per- 
form a post-mortem examination for parasites. 12 -' 

This brief excursion enabled Murie to observe first hand the 
damage which excess elk had inflicted upon the vegetation of 
the forest. The combined grazing of cattle, deer, and elk had 
accelerated the deterioration of the summer range land. Groves of 
aspen, a highly palatable browse for elk, had been severely dam- 
aged. Fir trees and willows had been "high-lined" as far as the 
animals could reach. Murie realized that these overstocked ranges 
carried a penalty which future generations would face. Not only 
did overstocking lead to overbrowsing and starvation, but it also 
lessened the carrying capacity of the range for years to come. 

More disturbing than an over-utilized national forest, was the 
total disruption of traditional migratory routes. Previously, elk 
had passed through Jackson Hole valley on their way to the bot- 
tom lands of the Green, Snake and Hoback rivers. Now, however, 
a patchwork of fenced rectangular farms blocked the way. Other 
factors aggravated the congestion. The combination of predatory 
animals, Indians, settlers and market hunters which formerly had 
held the herd to acceptable levels, was gone. In short, the ecolog- 
ical imbalance which Murie had feared in Alaska had already 
transpired in Jackson Hole. 130 

The consequences of this imbalance were most keenly felt dur- 
ing winter. Before artificial feeding began, winter elk losses had 
sometimes exceeded 20 per cent. Even with the creation of the 
National Elk Refuge and hay feeding, winter mortality hovered 
around six percent. 

128 For a brief discussion of the jurisdiction of the Jackson Hole Elk 
Herd, see Anderson, The Elk of Jackson Hole. pp. 23-27. 

129 Murie, Wapiti Wilderness, pp. 16-26. 

130 Murie, "Natural Elk Management," Nature Magazine. November. 
1937, pp. 293-295. 


Although worried by the high death rate, Murie and other nat- 
uralists were also intrigued by the abundance of barren does and 
the low spring fawn counts. The scientific explanation for these 
two related phenomena remained clouded. Foresters such as Aldo 
Leopold speculated that barren does might have resulted from 
killing too many bucks of breeding age. J. Stockley Ligon, chief 
of the Biological Survey predator control programs in the South- 
west, argued that fawn shortages resulted from the removal of too 
many large predators. He reasoned that smaller predators such 
as the coyote and bobcat had for some inexplicable reason extend- 
ed their habitat into the mountains and evolved into an extremely 
efficient predator of fawns. In a report of 1929, Ligon wrote: 
"The coyote, once the familiar clown of the prairie, where it had 
an economic value as a scavenger and as a check on rodent pests, 
in its new environment had developed into the predatory animal 
menace of North America." This "dare to civilization," Ligon 
continued, "accounted for ninety percent of the barren doe 
fallacy." 131 

Murie, on the other hand, doubted that small predators consti- 
tuted such a serious drain on big game populations. As early as 
the summer of 1927, he began studying the relationship between 
coyotes and elk in the Jackson Hole region. During the summer 
he collected and analyzed the stomach contents and feces from a 
number of coyotes. 132 

Although the results of the first season were inconclusive, other 
investigations were providing insight into the Jackson Hole elk 
problem. Murie speculated that disease played a significant role 
in elk mortality, low fawn counts and barren does. During the 
winter of 1927-1928, he studied the diseases of elk wintering on 
the refuge. The naturalist performed his first field post-mortem 
examination on a decrepit cow elk found dying inside the refuge 
barnyard. Pathological tissues were saved for future examination. 
After feeding began on January 10, the frequency of weak, 
dying animals jumped. An average of one elk per day succumbed 
during the winter. This trend persisted throughout March until 
feeding was discontinued in April. The total loss amounted to 
nearly 500 animals. During this time, Murie examined hundreds 
of elk carcasses. Some were too frozen to inspect. Coyotes beat 

131 J. Stockley Ligon, "Predatory Animals and Deer," typescript c. 1929, 
Leopold Papers in the University of Wisconsin Archives, cited from Susan 
L. Flader, thinking Like a Mountain, p. 96. 

1:i2 Murie, "Food Habits of the Coyote in Jackson Hole, Wyoming," 1932, 
24 pp., typescript in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. The monograph was later 
published under the same title as Circular no. 362 of the United States 
Department of Agriculture, October 1935. 


him to others. Nevertheless, by the end of April, he had con- 
ducted over 200 post-mortem operations. 133 

In a preliminary report to Nelson, Murie estimated the winter 
loss at 5 per cent, despite a mild winter. Most important, he had 
isolated the primary cause of sickness and mortality among the 
elk as necrotic stomatitis. The disease, known as "calf diptheria" 
or "sore-mouth" by cattlemen, also accounted for nearly 18 per 
cent of calf mortality. He found that coarse grasses such as 
squirrel-tail and cheat were present in the hay. The sharp seeds 
and awns of such grasses induced lesions in the tissues of the 
mouths of elk. These lesions then became infected with necrotic 
stomatitis. In the case of aged elk and calves, the disease was 
usually lethal. 

These conclusions were widely circulated. Many in the field of 
game management were forced to reevaluate their precepts and 
practices. Ironically, in their well-intentioned efforts to help the 
elk, Murie remarked, man had contributed to the herd's physio- 
logical degeneration. 134 

Even more unprecedented were the findings of his coyote study 
completed in 1932. The investigation, stretching over four con- 
secutive seasons, revealed that field mice, pocket gophers and 
grasshoppers, not elk, deer or mountain sheep comprised the staple 
diet of the predatory. Although a small percentage of adult elk 
had been detected in the feces and stomach contents, these traces 
were "almost without exception" from carrion. Winter killings 
were rare, Murie reported, and "coyotes have been seen to mingle 
with them freely without the elk paying them much attention." 
Furthermore, calf predation was negligible. The calves repre- 
sented in the diet of the coyote came primarily from aborted fe- 
tuses. Murie was at a loss to explain the "unknown ailment" 
causing elk abortion, but suspected that abortions were related 
to malnutrition. Recent studies have tended to corroborate his 
hypothesis. 135 

Murie concluded that coyote predation was "one of the lesser 
factors inimical to elk calves and would appear to play a relatively 

la3 Murie, "An Epizootic Disease of Elk," Journal of Mammalogy, Win- 
ter. 1930, pp. 214-222. 

134 Murie, "Report on Disease and Parasites of Big-Game in Jackson 
Hole— Winter of 1927-1928." typescript in OMC. Box 46, of CBDPL. See 
also Olaus Murie to Maurice Hall, February 19, 1928, in OMC, Box 46 of 

135 Murie, "Food Habits of the Coyote . . .", pp. 14-15. Research with 
cow elk in Wyoming has demonstrated that weight loss in excess of three 
per cent between January and parturition markedly reduces reproductive 
success; See, for example, E. T. Thorne, "Nutrition during gestation in rela- 
tion to successful reproduction of elk," Journal of Wildlife Management, 
1976. pp. 330-335. 


unimportant part in the productivity of the herd." "Were the 
coyotes left alone," he continued in reference to predator reduc- 
tion programs, "the elk problem would remain the same." Winter 
killings, the ravages of disease and hunting "comprised the prin- 
cipal drain" on the elk herd. 130 

Further investigations of the Jackson Hole elk herd, extending 
over several seasons, revealed that the "social problem" was far 
from solved. Sometimes as many as 8000 animals wintered on 
the refuge. This concentration of elk was destroying the browse 
shrubs immediately adjacent to the feeding grounds. In 1934 
Murie observed that the once thick willow groves had been vir- 
tually "eliminated from the refuge." 187 

More disconcerting than dwindling forage resources was what 
Murie labeled the gradual "pauperization of the elk." By the mid- 
thirties, hay feeding had passed the emergency stages and had 
become an annual program. The elk promptly arrived at the elk 
refuge in early winter, often several thousand strong, and patiently 
awaited their dole. If feeding was delayed, the animals often 
harassed neighboring ranches by breaking into their haystacks. 
Most had ceased the healthy habit of rustling for food. With the 
arrival of spring, the naturalist complained, "it had become neces- 
sary to drive many of the elk off the hay meadows with saddle 
horses and thus start them on their new migration to summer 
range." The Jackson Hole elk were quickly becoming a tame 
herd of sickly game animals. 188 

The congestion of the herd was dangerous from both a sanitary 
and aesthetic perspective. Concentration increased the hazards 
from parasitic and other diseases. The possibility of an epizootic 
was omnipresent. Specifically, Murie had detected the presence 
of contagious abortion among the elk. From an aesthetic view- 
point, Murie argued that it was unsportsmanlike "to keep an ani- 
mal on the game list and at the same time tame it and weaken its 
powers of resistence to the inclement factors of the environment." 
The naturalist recommended that the animals wintering on the elk 
range be reduced to approximately 6000 in number. Public senti- 
ment, however, was still not disposed to favor the proposal. 139 

Most Wyoming residents remembered when the Jackson Hole 
elk herd had appeared in imminent danger of extinction. Almost 
to the close of the century, market hunters made a comfortable 
living by killing elk, mountain sheep and deer for sale in railroad 
centers and mining towns or to professional taxidermists. During 
the first decade of the twentieth century, poaching gangs found the 

iMlbid., pp. 22-24. 

137 Murie, "Studies in Elk Management," p. 357. 


™>Ibid., p. 358. 


sparcely settled region of Jackson Hole ideal for hunting. Elk 
were their favorite targets. They left the carcasses to rot, removed 
the elk's tusks and sold the teeth as charms and emblems to mem- 
bers of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elk. 14 " Thus, 
the herd had a history of exploitation not easily overcome. 

Moreover, the lucrative dude ranching business around Jackson 
depended upon large big-game herds to satisfy eastern vacationers. 
As late as the mid-thirties Murie's demands for drastic reduction 
in elk numbers met stiff opposition. 

When the National Park Service announced plans in 1935 to 
reduce the population of the southern Yellowstone elk herd, the 
public outcry against the measure was loud. Murie adamantly 
supported the measure and privately confided to a friend in New 

If those who are opposed to the proposed action of the Park Service 
could see the condition of the range, could see the mountain sheep 
picking away the remnants of food left by the aggressive elk, could 
see how elk, deer, mountain sheep and antelope all strive to live on 
the same overgrazed area. I doubt if they could maintain that "wrong 
information" has been given. 

"I think," Murie added, "that we have made a national shibboleth" 
of the elk. In response to Congressman Ayes suggestion of trans- 
planting 3,000 elk from the park Murie added a touch of sarcasm. 
Speaking symbolically, he remarked that "our whole country is 
overgrazed" and everywhere "that we have an elk herd . . . there 
is a range problem." 141 

That same year the National Elk Refuge carried out an elk 
reduction program. During the winter of 1935-1936, over 500 
elk were killed by Survey officials. The reduction campaign al- 
lowed Murie to disprove the theory that barren does resulted from 
killing off too many bucks. Game managers such as Aldo Leopold 
had assumed that because of lopsided sex ratios in elk herds, 
about four does to every buck in Jackson Hole, many cows re- 
mained sterile. During the winter, the naturalist examined 334 
cow elk of breeding age. He found over 89 per cent of them preg- 
nant. The brief study made it clear that "normal breeding" had 
occurred. Scientists must look elsewhere for the cause of spring 
calf shortages. 142 

If Murie's opinions on big-game management provoked some 
public consternation, his ecological attitude toward predators pro- 
voked not only the public, but his own colleagues. In 1930, the 

14 °Saylor, Jackson Hole. Wyoming, pp. 141-142, 159-162. 

i^Olaus Murie to W. K. Sanderson, February 3, 1935 in OMC. Box 46, 
of CBDPL. 

142 Murie, The Elk of North America, (Harrisburg. Pennsylvania: The 
Stackpole Company and Wildlife Management Institute. 1951), p. 142. 


Survey had requested the field biologist to investigate the opera- 
tions of their predatory control programs in Colorado, South 
Dakota and Wyoming. The assignment came in response to alle- 
gations by the Society of Mammalogists (of which Murie was a 
member) that many control programs, especially poisoning, were 
unnecessary and harmful. The Society of Mammalogists originally 
had asked for a commission of two, composed of one member of 
their organization and one from the Survey to conduct the investi- 
gation. Upon learning of Murie's appointment, however, they 
withdrew this request. 143 

Murie inspected hundreds of poisoning stations during the 
months of November and December. He reported that in no re- 
gion "was there an abundance of fur-bearing animals." He also 
noted a great discrepancy in the accounts of coyote depredations. 
One sheep rancher boasted that he had never lost an animal, while 
others complained of extraordinary losses. Some stockgrowers al- 
leged that ranchers sold sheep to neighboring outfits or Mexicans 
and then reported them killed by coyotes for tax purposes. Murie 
was alarmed by the wasteful methods of federal trappers. Many 
poisoned animals were never found. Golden eagles, hawks, and 
other birds of prey were killed because of inadequate poisoning 
techniques. The problem could be rectified easily, he recommend- 
ed, by covering the bait with a light cover of leaves. 144 

More troubling was the proliferation of misinformation regard- 
ing predators. Federal hunters devoted much time and money 
to convincing farmers that predatory animals were harmful while 
stressing the beneficial side of big-game. The habits of coyotes 
and wolves were stigmatized as "blood lustful" and treacherous. 
"Grinning visages of stuffed coyotes and lambs being cruelly mur- 
dered," adorned many regional offices. There existed a strange 
cult of hunters, hating the object of their pursuit and striving 
to exploit "virgin fields where better monthly records could be 
made." This attitude toward wildlife, Murie reported, must be 
changed. The Division of Economic Investigations had become 
a self-perpetuating bureaucratic tool of large hunting and cattle 
organizations. 145 

Concluding his report, Murie emphasized that solid ecological 
information on predators should be collected prior to extermina- 

143 Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. 

144 Murie, "Report on Investigation of Predatory Animal Poisoning in 
Wyoming and Colorado," pp. 7-23, typescript in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. 

lir >Ibid., pp. 23-25. See also A. B. Howells to Olaus Murie, May 26, 
1931 in OMC, Box 46, of CBDPL. Howell was then a professor of the 
Anatomy Department of Johns Hopkins Medical School and member of the 
American Society of Mammalogists; both men apparently "were cussed out" 
by members of the Survey. 


tion campaigns. This information would "mean the difference 
between mechanical predatory animal control to assist one class 
and a definite conservation activity which would be more of a 
public service . . . affecting the nation as a whole." His report 
was read at a Society of Mammalogists' meeting and favorably 
received. On the other hand, Murie was severely reprimanded 
by the Chief of the Division of Economic Investigations. 140 

The following year, Murie's report on "The Food Habits of the 
Coyote of Jackson Hole" also met curt censure within the Survey. 
The Journal of Mammalogy and the National Audubon Society 
offered to publish the study. Leaders of the predatory animal 
control programs, however, opposed its publication. Stanley 
Young, chief biologist in charge of eradication methods, accused 
Murie of favoring the predator "on every possible occasion." Fur- 
thermore, officials felt that it would be a mistake to publish the 
manuscript for it would "probably cause some embarrassment in 
the future." 147 The minority opinion was best expressed by the 
chief of Food Habits Research, W. L. McAtee, who applauded the 
monograph as "just the kind of investigation we need as a guide 
toward policies as to the control of predatory animals." 148 Unfor- 
tunately, the Division of Economic Investigation wielded consider- 
able influence and publication was delayed several years. 

Murie's disenchantment with the Survey deepened during the 
1930s. Writing to Acting Chief Henderson, he described his grow- 
ing sympathy for the Society of Mammalogists in contrast to his 
minority position with the Biological Survey. "Am I a black sheep 
in the Bureau fold now?" Murie asked. 149 

In truth, Murie's frustration was justified. The Survey seemed 
blind to the recent wave of ecological studies flooding scientific 
circles. During the early thirties, ecologists such as Walter P. 
Taylor, Victor E. Shelford, F. B. Sumner and Aldo Leopold 
proved that the old conception of economic biology was obsolete. 
They discarded the precept which visualized the environment as a 
system of competitions and criticized game managers who gave a 

14 «A. M. Day to Stanley Young, March 8, 1932, in OMC, Box 45, 
CBDPL. Day was an associate biologist in the Division of Predatory 
Animal and Rodent Control. 

147 Murie's manuscript was submitted to various divisions of the Survev. 
McAttee's response was dated April 8, 1932, in OMC, Box 45, CBDPL. " 

148 Evidence shows that Murie was prevented from presenting his paper 
on the coyote at the Second North American Wildlife Conference in March 
of 1937. See Murie to C. M. Palmer, February 12, 1937. OMC, Box 45. 
of CBDPL. W. B. Bell, chief of the Division of Wildlife Research, also 
prevented the publication of the same article in Bird Lore Magazine. See. 
for example, Bell to William Voight, editor of Bird Lore Magazine, April 
16, 1937, in OMC, Box 48, CBDPL. 

149 Murie to Acting Chief Henderson. January 9, 1931, in OMC. Box 46, 


competitive edge to animals deemed "beneficial." Research had 
demonstrated that the floral and faunal communities were intri- 
cately woven into a complex "biotic community." These profes- 
sionals called for sympathetic management of all resources, includ- 
ing wolves, mountain lions and coyotes. This formula was essen- 
tial to preserve the health of the entire community. Rather than 
augmenting the supply of one "useful" faunal resource, naturalists 
now began to speak in terms of the preservation of the system as 
a whole. 150 

Aldo Leopold led the way in reformulating game-management 
programs. The devastating irruptions of deer in the Southwest 
had convinced him that a simple error in judgement could trigger 
environmental havoc. To forestall any such disruption, Leopold 
introduced his "conservation ethic," which extended man's social 
responsibility to soils, waters, plants and animals. 1 "' 1 But, as his 
biographer has pointed out, "the emphasis was not so much on the 
concepts of ecology, as on the use of tools — tools economic, legal 
and political, as well as scientific and technical — to create a more 
enduring civilization." 152 Leopold placed an abiding faith in the 
budding science of ecology to guide the way to intelligent wildlife 
management. The ethic asked that our dominion over nature once 
gained be self-perpetuating rather than self-destructive. In this 
light, the ethic looked back to the possibility of rational control of 
environmental forces, to the ideas of George Perkins Marsh and to 
the programs of such progressive conservationists as W. J. McGee 
and Gifford Pinchot. 

As Americans struggled in the depths of the depression, Murie 
turned to the formulation of his own philosophy of management. 
Initially, he preferred to justify the preservation of all forms of 
wildlife with democratic rationales. Harking back to the ideas of 
Frederick Law Olmsted, he asserted in 1935, that wild creatures 
appealed to all the people and were for everyone to enjoy. From 
a human standpoint, he rated recreational value of wildlife highest. 
Wild animals, he believed, provided sport for the hunter and obser- 
vation and photography for nature enthusiasts. Naturalists valued 
wildlife for its scientific value while others derived "an inspira- 
tional value." Most important, he believed that game management 
should not be conducted for any single class of citizens. Powerful 
hunting organizations such as the Boone and Crockett Club, he 
explained, often dictated the life or death of certain species. 
Wolves and mountain lions, for example, had been commonly 

150 Flader, Thinking Like a Mountain, p. 152. 

ir,1 Aldo Leopold, "The Conservation Ethic," Journal of Forestry, Octo- 
ber. 1933, pp. 634-643. 

]r, -Flader, Thinking Like a Mountain, pp. 25-26. 


eliminated to stimulate production of big game herds. 1 "'" A demo- 
cratic ethic must guarantee that no species be removed for the 
satisfaction of special interests. To dramatize his message, Murie 
elaborated to a friend : 

We have an elk commission and a fine lot of 
enthusiasm for the preservation of this animal . . . 
Do we have a national grizzly bear commission? 
Do we have a society to save the wolverine? 

Yet, these much neglected creatures, he continued, "are quietly, 
unobtrusively slipping out of our fauna." 154 

Murie could not ignore the implications of the science of ecology 
upon his democratic ethic. This new science recognized that man 
was only a fellow member of an enlarged biotic community. The 
right to exist must be extended to those members other than Homo 
sapiens. As early as 1935 he commented that "we have a trade 
of generosity toward wild creatures, a growing desire to save some 
of them for their own sake." 15 "' Here was an approach to game 
management which granted wildlife a home in an unspoiled habi- 
tat. He conceived of democracy as a way of life in which man 
respected the rights and needs of all creatures. After all, Murie 
asserted in his report on "The Food Habits of the Coyote of 
Jackson, Wyoming," the "wildlife question must resolve itself into 
sharing the values of the various species among the complex group 
of participants in the out-of-doors and wilderness wealth, with 
fairness to all groups." 156 This philosophy implied "hands-off" 
with regard to the environment, not dominion or control over 
environmental forces. This democratic philosophy enabled preser- 
vationists, scientists and a minority of Americans to clasp hands in 
the common cause of wilderness preservation. "There is here," 
Murie wrote a few years later, "opportunity for all out-doors men 
to recognize the common interests and work together for a mul- 
tiple, common cause. Wilderness must be kept whole, with all its 
physical as well as more intangible parts." 15 " 

As man and beast struggled for survival throughout the decade 
of the depression, Murie's investigation of the Jackson Hole elk 
herd had embraced a number of controversial topics. Predator 
control and elk reduction still kindled passion in many Wyoming 
residents. Yet, Murie emerged from the numerous public hearings 

153 Murie, "The Elk of Jackson Hole." Natural History, March, 1935, 

154 Murie to W. K. Sanderson, February 3, 1935, in OMC. Box 46, 

155 Murie, "The Elk of Jackson Hole," p. 247. 

i56Murie, "Food Habits of the Coyote . . .," p. 23. 

157 Murie, "Wilderness and Wildlife," The Living Wilderness, December, 
1937, p. 5. 


relatively unscathed. In his quiet, confident manner he weathered 
the shifting currents of public and professional opinion. His public 
appearances enabled him to polish his speaking and writing 

What is most important, the naturalist discovered that his opin- 
ions as a field biologist often paralleled those of the aesthetic con- 
servationists. The similarity was most evident in range conserva- 
tion and wildlife preservation. As his convictions pushed him 
further away from the Survey, his inclinations drew him into the 
ranks of the conservationists. In 1937, Murie would join with 
Robert Marshall, Aldo Leopold and Robert Sterling Yard to incor- 
porate the Wilderness Society, a national organization dedicated to 
the protection and extension of wilderness preserves. Murie's 
technical expertise in combination with his literary skills would 
prove valuable armaments in forthcoming conservation battles. 

OLAUS MURIE, 1935-1945 

President Roosevelt's appointment of Jay N. (Ding) Darling to 
head the Biological Survey in 1935 was received well by Murie. 
The year before, Darling had served with Aldo Leopold on the 
President's Committee on Wildlife Restoration. He helped draft 
a $25 million program for federal purchase of submarginal farm- 
lands and restoration of wildlife habitats. His ideas on wildlife 
management were progressive. Murie's first letter to his new chief 
introduced him to the Jackson Hole elk problem. "For the past 
six or seven years," he asserted, "we have been playing with luck" 
on the National Elk Refuge. Abnormally light snow fall, he 
warned, had disguised the poor condition of the range. More hay 
was not the answer. Instead, Murie urged the purchase of addi- 
tional winter range. His recommendations struck a responsive 
chord. 158 

The times seemed ripe for the fruition of many bold conserva- 
tion plans. Roosevelt's "New Deal" was accepted and Congress 
was channeling millions of dollars into work relief projects, such 
as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Federal Emergency 
Relief Act (FERA), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and 
Public Works Administration (PWA). Many of these projects, 
including wildlife restoration and reforestation, were undertaken 
within units of the national park system. Congressional appro- 
priations for emergency conservation programs skyrocketed within 
national parks, increasing to nearly $218 million by 1940. The 

i^Olaus Murie to Jay N. Darling, January 17, 1935, in OMC, Box 1, 


popular and expensive CCC was aimed at reducing unemployment 
through reforestation work. Hundreds of CCC camps were es- 
tablished within parks and monuments, employing thousands of 
young men in repairing roads, constructing trails, and building fire 
breaks. 159 

The inauguration of these projects required trained supervision. 
The Biological Survey was charged with implementing the pro- 
grams of wildlife management. Over the next decade, Murie 
would travel throughout the West gauging the condition of range- 
lands and appraising the need for wildlife restoration or reduction. 

In the Spring of 1935, Murie journeyed to Washington to study 
the Olympic elk herd. The trip west kindled pleasant memories. 
During the fall of 1916, he had explored the Olympic Peninsula 
with veteran woodsman, Grant Hume. At that time the rain for- 
ests were still wild, with an abundance of wolves and cougars. 160 
Returning in 1935, Murie observed many environmental changes. 
The predators had been virtually eliminated from much of the 
Olympic Peninsula. In their place, dense populations of elk and 
deer crowded rangelands. The five major river valleys of Olympic 
National Monument had been severely overgrazed. The forage 
of the Hoh River Valley had been hardest hit. Entire groves of 
hemlock had been "high-fined" while many palatable shrubs had 
been browsed into club-like shapes. Ranches hemmed the monu- 
ment, confining big game to high alpine slopes. The problems of 
the Jackson Hole elk were not unique. Murie learned that during 
the harsh winter of 1933, thousands of animals had starved. As 
in Jackson, local residents feared the herd's imminent extinction 
and demanded increased predator bounties. 161 

Murie's "Report on the Elk of the Olympic Peninsula" advised 
against bounties and exposed the fallacy of the herd's impending 
extinction. He diagnosed the primary cause of excessive elk mor- 
tality as necrotic stomatitus. The animals were dying from mal- 
nutrition, not intensive predation. 162 

In the spring of 1935, however, it was timber, not elk, which 
most concerned residents of Washington. As the once great forests 
of the Northwest dwindled, loggers were determined to begin oper- 
ations inside Olympic National Monument. On the other hand, 
conservationists argued for protection and the enlargement of the 
monument. Earlier in the year, Representative Monrad C. Wall- 

159 Donald C. Swain, "The National Park Service and the New Deal, 
1933-1940," Pacific Historical Review 16 (August, 1972). p. 324. 

160 Olaus Murie, "Mr. Felis Concolor is seen shrinking from Publicity in 
the Tree-Top," Outing Magazine, August, 1917, p. 7. 

161 Murie, "Report on the Elk of the Olympic Peninsula," 1935, pp. 1-14, 
typescript in OMC, Box 46, CBDPL. 

i«/Wrf., p. 14. 


green, spokesman for the preservationists, introduced a bill adding 
400,000 acres to the monument. Although supported by Interior 
Secretary Harold Ickes, the bill died in the hectic closing days of 
the Congressional session. 163 

While the controversy raged, Murie surveyed the region, formu- 
lating his elk management plans. Writing to Ben Thompson, assis- 
tant director of the National Park Service, he criticized the 
''unnatural monument boundaries which bisected several large riv- 
er valleys and thereby disrupted the summer migratory route of 
elk. He recommended that at least one major watershed be in- 
cluded within the enlarged monument. He preferred the Hoh 
River drainage from "a scenic" point of view for it included some 
of the largest stands of Douglas fir, Red cedar, Alaskan cedar and 
Sitka spruce that he had ever seen. "If this were not possible," 
he suggested the smaller Bogachiel valley which was "not so heavi- 
ly browsed and where cougars still remained plentiful." Murie 
acknowledged that "these river valleys take in the heart of the 
finest timber on the west side of the monument." For Murie, it 
was a matter of integrity. One should not compromise the prin- 
ciples of the park service to logging interests. He insisted that 
"the finest timber should be included and should never be cut." 
Only by following this course, he concluded, would the National 
Park Service and the elk receive a "fair deal." 164 

It was not until January of 1940 that his recommendations were 
adopted. Although President Roosevelt had signed the act abol- 
ishing the Mount Olympus National Monument and establishing 
an enlarged Olympic National Park on June 29, 1938, the new 
park excluded the Bogachiel and Hoh River valleys. Finally, on 
January 2, 1940, Roosevelt declared an addition of the great rain 
forests of the Bogachiel and Hoh River valleys, as well as several 
others, to the park. 16 "' 

Management problems in Jackson Hole prevented Murie from 
completing a comprehensive study of the Olympic elk herd. By 
the winter of 1936-1937, artificial feeding had evolved from an 
emergency measure to an annual program. The elk came prompt- 
ly to the Refuge in early winter and milled around like cattle await- 
ing their dole. Residents were beginning to describe the animals 
as the "hospital herd." 166 

To combat this condition, Murie formulated a plan which he 
called "Natural Elk Management." He first supervised the con- 

163 John Ise, Our National Park Policy: A Critical History (Baltimore: 
The Johns Hopkins Press, 1961), pp. 385-386. 

!6 4 01aus Murie to Ben H. Thompson, January 31, 1935, in OMC Box 
47, of CBDPL. 

lfir, Ise, Our National Park Policy, p. 389. 

lf)0 Murie, "Natural Elk Management," pp. 293-295. 


struction of a long drift fence to prevent the elk from harassing 
ranches during the winter. Next, he advised Aimer Nelson to omit 
the usual feeding program. As the animals began arriving, they 
congested in dense herds expecting their allotment. When no food 
was forthcoming, the elk scattered over the fields pawing through 
the snow for forage. At the end of February, the results of the 
experiment were encouraging. Mortality and sickness were sig- 
nificantly less than in previous winters. 1,;T 

This "hands-off ' theory of game management departed from 
contemporary trends in the field. Managers commonly manipu- 
lated environmental factors for those animals deemed "beneficial." 
As outlined in the November, 1937, issue of Nature Magazine, 
Murie's "Natural Elk Management" implied that a myriad of envi- 
ronmental factors, most beyond man's comprehension, functioned 
interdependently within the Jackson Hole elk herd. He now real- 
ized that a simple ecological oversight or miscalculation could 
trigger disaster. The proper role of management, he reasoned, 
was to preserve the greatest possibility of environmental processes 
so that the ecosystem might seek a natural equilibrium. 1,is 

Murie knew that his natural management was no panacea. Dur- 
ing the mild winter many elk had wintered in the foothills adjacent 
to the refuge. A succession of heavy snows might drive immense 
numbers to the refuge, deplete hay supplies and thereby precipitate 
starvation. As early as 1935, he had forecast the "ideal solution" 
in a letter to Jay Darling. The naturalist recommended that addi- 
tional lands, lying between Jackson and the Gros Ventre, be added 
to the refuge. If this were accomplished, he predicted, not only 
would there be more acreage for the cultivation of hay, but more 
winter range for the elk. Ui! ' 

A new assignment prevented Murie from pursuing this solution. 
Chief Darling had ordered a biological survey of the Aleutian 
Islands. The Survey's jurisdiction began in 1920 when the bureau 
was charged with the enforcement of Alaskan fur-laws and the 
administration of the blue-fox industry of the islands. Working 
in conjunction with the National Forest Service, the Survey had 
introduced sustained-yield concepts to the traditionally "boom and 
bust" industry. By the time Murie arrived, the fox industry had 
spread throughout the islands. 170 

This kind of management entailed a conflict of interests. Unlike 
most fur-farms where the animals were raised in pens, the Alaskan 

16! »01aus Murie to Jay N. Darling. January 17, 1935, in OMC, Box 1. 
of WHRC. 

170 Cameron, The Bureau of Biological Survey, pp. 114-116, 124-127, 


industry allowed the foxes to range at will. The foxes were then 
trapped during the winter when the furs were prime. Conserva- 
tionists feared that the large fox populations might eliminate rare 
bird species. They argued that the Aleutian Island Wildlife Res- 
ervation, established in 1913, guaranteed protection for the bird 
colonies. Fur-farmers, on the other hand, complained that eagles 
preyed extensively on foxes. Murie was to explore the true rela- 
tionship between fox and bird population of the Aleutians. 

In the spring of 1937, the United States motorship "Brown 
Bear" transported Murie and three other biologists from the Alas- 
kan Game Commission to the island chain. The scientists visited 
every "sizeable" island as well as smaller ones south of the Alaskan 
Peninsula and several points on the mainland. Their study re- 
sulted in a monograph entitled, "Fauna of the Aleutian Islands 
and Alaskan Peninsula." 171 

After examining numerous nests, Murie found that sea birds 
comprised the majority of the bald eagle's diet. He detected no 
evidence to support the allegation that eagles killed foxes. On the 
contrary, Murie observed fox families raised in close proximity to 
eagle nests. He concluded that the habits of the bald eagle "are 
harmless as far as man's economic commercial interests are 
concerned." 172 

If the food habits of the eagle were innocuous, the same could 
not be claimed for the habits of the blue fox. Their presence was 
most dangerous on the smaller islands with rugged shorelines. 
On these volcanic islands, the foxes were deprived from feeding 
upon the crustaceans which swarmed the sandy beaches of the 
larger islands. Instead, they subsisted primarily on bird colonies. 
Murie reported that "on some of the smaller islands the birds have 
been almost eliminated, and on many islands such birds as the 
eider ducks have ceased to nest except on a few offshore pinnacles 
where they can find protection." 173 The lesson was clear; the 
utilitarian policies of the Survey had disrupted the equilibrium of 
the Aleutian Islands. 

The assignment allowed Murie to indulge his anthropological 
as well as his biological curiosity. Like the earlier government 
scientist, John Wesley Powell, Murie harbored an interest in ab- 
original culture. While conducting the Aleutian Islands Survey, 
he interviewed Eskimos in order to ascertain their names for birds 
and mammals. It was a complex assignment and one which he 
believed anthropologists often oversimplified. He contended that 

171 01aus Murie, "Fauna of the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Penin- 
sula." North American Fauna No. 61 (Washington, D.C.: United States 
Department of the Interior, 1959), p. 1. 

^'-Ibid., pp. 111-116. 

™lbid., pp. 292-304. 


ethnologists usually obtained only the most "obvious and general- 
ized terms applied to a fauna." Association with tribesmen had 
convinced him that most primitive societies "clearly distinguished 
various species; almost as precisely as the scientist." He discerned 
at least three surviving Aleut dialects, Attu, Atka and Unalaska. 
He listed the scientific nomenclature and then the Indian dialect 
in his monograph. For example, the Bald Eagle was called re- 
spectively by the Attu, Atka and Alaskan Peninsula tribesmen, 
Tirrgh-luch, Tig-a-lach (A-waich-rich for an immature eagle) and 
Tikh-lukh. 174 

Murie collaborated with Otto William Geist, then professor of 
archaeology at the University of Alaska, on several anthropological 
studies. One winter he wrote Geist requesting "a skull or two" 
of an indigenous Eskimo dog "since he had a vague idea of doing 
a comparative study of dogs of the North." Geist, then excavat- 
ing a site on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, honored the 
request. During the winter of 1934, Murie received not two, but 
150 skulls from a pure strain of Siberian husky. Two large wood- 
en crates arrived shortly thereafter containing two "powerful," full- 
grown huskies. Over the years, Murie received over 900 dog 
skulls and sundry skeletal material from the site. Murie's identi- 
fications of these remains were published as three appendices with- 
in Geist's study, Archaeological Excavations at Kukulik. 175 

By the time that Murie completed his Aleutian studies, his inter- 
ests and writing style had changed. Biology still fascinated him, 
but gradually Murie the conservationist emerged. How could a 
sensitive person study elk when predators were rapidly vanishing, 
when entire forest watersheds were overgrazed and while Congress 
refused to honor the appeals for more national parks? If he could 
express his feelings toward nature and the need for the continued 
existence of wild areas to the American people, Murie was con- 
vinced that some of America's natural beauties could be preserved 
for future generations. Soon he was writing impassioned articles 
for popular magazines rather than preparing monographs for tech- 
nical journals. 

The periodicals of the Wilderness Society, the National Audu- 
bon Society and the National Parks Association became his favor- 
ite outlets. Upon returning to Jackson in 1937, he received letters 
from conservationists asking for information regarding the wildlife 

"*JWtf., pp. 27-28, 111. 

175 See, for example, "Notes on the Mammals of St. Lawrence Island. 
Alaska," Appendix 3, pp. 335-346. and "Dog Skulls from St. Lawrence 
Island, Alaska," Appendix 4, pp. 347-357, and "The Birds of St. Lawrence 
Island, Alaska." Appendix 5. pp. 359-376, in Archaeological Excavations 
of Kukulik," by Otto Geist and Froelich Rainey, Miscellaneous Publications 
2 (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Interior. 1936). 


of the Aleutian Islands. He responded by writing a brief essay 
entitled "Wilderness and Wildlife" appearing in the December is- 
sue of The Living Wilderness. The article conveyed his sense of 
"enjoyment" and gratitude while exploring "a bit of wilderness 
flung up from the sea." 176 

Murie's involvement with the Wilderness Society dated back to 
February of 1933 when he had first met Robert Marshall, the 
founder of the conservation organization. Both had been dinner 
guests of Dr. Robert Griggs, member of the National Research 
Council, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. 1 TT They discovered much in 
common. Although several years his junior and a product of an 
urban environment, Marshall, like Murie, had pursued a scientific 
career as a means to remain close to the outdoors. Marshall was 
also fascinated by blank spaces on maps and had been drawn to 
the Arctic. Shortly after Murie completed his caribou study, Mar- 
shall began explorations of the Upper Koyukuk River drainage in 
the Central Brooks Range. Marshall had literally followed in his 
footsteps when traversing the Arctic divide in the Brooks range 
and while interviewing old sourdoughs in the small mining en- 
campments of Bettles and Wiseman. Once Marshall had noted in 
his journal: "In the winter of 1923 the Murie brothers . . . had 
traveled into the mountains at the head of this stream. So far as 
we knew we were the next white men to come into the Kutuk 
Valley." 17 * 

They resumed their conversation a few nights later over dinner. 
Both expressed concern over many of Roosevelt's "new deal" pro- 
grams, especially the intensive road building campaigns of the 
CCC. They believed that the Sierra Club was geographically too 
limited in its environmental concern and agreed that a national 
organization to coordinate the growing sentiment for wild country 
was necessary. Marshall had forecast the formation of such a 
society as early as 1930 when he asserted that the only way to 
protect the few remaining primitive areas from the encroachments 
of civilization was "an organization of spirited people who will 
fight for the freedoms of wilderness." 179 

These sentiments crystalized in 1935 when Marshall, Leopold 
and a few wilderness enthusiasts formed the Wilderness Society. 

176 Murie, "Wilderness and Wildlife," p. 5. 

1 ""Interview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. 

1Ts Robert Marshall, Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Central Brooks 
Range, 2nd ed., with a foreword by A. Starker Leopold (Los Angeles: 
University of California Press, 1970), p. 90. 

17f, Robert Marshall, "The Problem of the Wilderness," Scientific Monthly 
30 (1930), p. 148. A brief biographical notice on Marshall can be found 
in Roderick Nash, "The Strenuous Life of Bob Marshall," Forest History, 
1966. pp. 18-25. See also Nash. Wilderness and the American Mind, pp. 


The small organizing committee published a brief pamphlet on 
January 21, 1935, which announced that "for the purpose of fight- 
ing off invasions of wilderness and of stimulating an appreciation 
of its multiform emotional, intellectual and scientific values, we are 
forming an organization to be known as the Wilderness Society." 180 

Robert Sterling Yard, a dedicated preservationist and former 
colleague of Stephen Mather, was elected president. Despite his 
initial restrictive membership policy, the society grew steadily. 181 
It soon became evident that the affairs of the organization were 
too much for one person to administer effectively. In 1937, 
five additional council members were added to the original eight. 
Murie accepted a seat on the council as a representative of 
Wyoming. 18 - 

The Wilderness Society was soon engaged in a series of contro- 
versies involving wild regions across the country, ranging from the 
Florida Everglades to Olympic National Monument in Washing- 
ton. One of the more contentious issues involved the Jackson 
Hole elk herd and the proposed enlargement of Grand Teton 
National Park. Murie had become involved in the fight through 
his concern for the elk. As early as 1935, he recommended that 
much of Jackson Hole be given National Park status or at least 
be added to the National Elk Refuge for winter range. 

Murie's old acquaintance, Horace Albright, shared these beliefs. 
In the late 1920s he had interested the millionaire-philanthropist 
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the Jackson Hole area. While guiding 
Rockefeller through the valley, Albright succeeded in enlisting his 
financial support for the preservation of the upper end of Jackson 
Hole. In 1927, Rockefeller had chartered the Snake River Land 
Company for the express purpose of purchasing the private land 
in Jackson Hole and then donating the lands to the federal govern- 
ment. Unfortunately, purchasing the land proved easier than con- 
vincing Congress to accept the gift. Opposition to enlargement of 
Grand Teton National Park's expansion derived from livestock 
interests, those persons suspicious of eastern wealth, and those who 
harbored resentment to any kind of governmental interference 
whether it be national park, national forest or the Bureau of Land 
Management. 183 Murie later recalled that local bankers, cattle- 
men "and their associates" now "became convinced that all their 

180 Harold C. Anderson, The Wilderness Society (Washington. D.C., 
1935). p. 4, quoted in Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, p. 207. 

lsl Robert Sterling Yard,, "A Summons to Save the Wilderness," 
The Living Wilderness, September, 1935, p. 1. 

1S2 Harvey Broome, "Origins of the Wilderness Society," July. 1940. pp. 

1S3 Robert Righter, "The Brief, Hectic Life of Jackson Hole National 
Monument," The American West, November, 1976, p. 33. 


grazing rights would be taken away; the federal government was 
going to gobble everything up." m 

Murie was gradually drawn into the controversy through his 
advisory position with the Wilderness Society and by his appoint- 
ment to the Board of Directors of the Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc. 
This was a corporation (originally the Snake River Land Com- 
pany) formed by Rockefeller to administer the Jackson Hole land. 
Initially, Murie appreciated the opportunity to formulate manage- 
ment plans for the valley. Over the next few years, however, he 
grew convinced that the Board of Directors slighted the opinions 
of local Jackson residents. In truth, the directors often failed to 
consult Murie. He was startled when he learned in August of 
1944, that the corporation had begun litigation with a local ranch- 
er over a trivial land matter. Although certain board members 
referred to the suit as "friendly" and "neighborly," Murie believed 
that the action illustrated the inept corporate mentality of the 
Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc. He predicted that their litigation 
would evoke "serious repercussions" from local residents. 185 He 
was correct. 

In November of 1945, Murie resigned his directorship in protest 
to the proposed Jackson Hole Game Park. Conceived by Rocke- 
feller, this plan envisioned a "wildlife display" where tourists could 
view animals with a minimum of exertion. Rockefeller's decision 
came as a distinct "shock" to Murie who believed that the plans 
remained tentative. Once again, he complained to Vanderbilt 
Webb, president of the Jackson Hole Preserve, that he was "being 
left in the dark." Murie considered the wildlife park a "ludicrous 
intrusion" within the majestic valley and pronounced the display a 
"zoo-like menagerie. " ls<i Years of wilderness travel had taught 
Murie that appreciation for nature was proportionate to the energy 
expended. Elaborating his opposition in an essay published in the 
National Parks Magazine, he stated that "discovering a bull moose 
has lost some of its value when you know that, without any effort, 
you can drive into the valley and see one under fence." 187 When 
Rockefeller ignored these criticisms and declared the park a "fait 
accompli," Murie resigned without bitterness, knowing that he 
must do so to preserve his integrity. 

Murie had become embroiled in a larger controversy when on 

ls4 Margaret and Olaus Murie, Wapiti Wilderness, p. 120. 

1S5 01aus Murie to Vanderbilt Webb, September 1, 1944. Kenneth Chor- 
ley to Olaus Murie, September 11, 1944, in OMC, Box 1, WHRC. 

1Kf; Olaus Murie to Vanderbilt Webb, November 4, 1945. Olaus Murie, 
"Wildlife Exhibit." Jackson Hole Courier, 8 November, 1945, in OMC, 
Box 1, WHRC. 

1S7 01aus Murie, "Fenced Wildlife for Jackson Hole," National Parks 
Magazine, 1946, pp. 8-11. 


March 15, 1943, President Roosevelt proclaimed Jackson Hole 
National Monument. His declaration transferred some 220,000 
acres to the east and adjacent to Grand Teton National Park into 
the national park system. It also added over 49,000 acres of 
private lands, the majority of which had been purchased by Rocke- 
feller's Jackson Hole Preserve. Murie was completing a survey 
of winter elk losses along the Gros Ventre River the day the 
monument was proclaimed. Like many preservationists, he was 
"stunned" upon first learning of the action. This disbelief, how- 
ever, quickly turned to jubilation. Many Jackson residents did not 
share his enthusiasm and they quickly organized a campaign to 
abolish the new monument. 188 

Murie's involvement deepened when Victor H. Cahalane, head 
of the Wildlife Management Division of the National Park Service, 
requested his services in formulating a comprehensive management 
plan for the monument. Writing to W. B. Bell, chief of Wildlife 
Research in the Biological Survey, Cahalane contended that "Mr. 
Olaus J. Murie undoubtedly knows more than anyone else about 
the fauna of Jackson Hole, and he can supply us with many needed 
facts. " 1S!I Bell agreed. A few days later, he solicited information 
from Murie on a complex series of topics, ranging from the monu- 
ment's impact on hunting to the prospects for wildlife restorations 
or reductions. 100 

Murie presented his recommendations a few weeks later during 
a National Park Service Conference in Chicago. Regarding hunt- 
ing within the monument, he noted that only one area would be 
closed due to its creation. Murie argued that this region had a 
dubious hunting value for it had been easily accessible by car. In 
previous seasons, he continued, hunting had degenerated into a 
"firing line" where hunters sometimes slaughtered elk from car 
windows, without ever emerging from their automobiles. He was 
convinced that "under normal times, in the absence of this monu- 
ment controversy, the sportsmen would undoubtedly prefer not to 
have this area opened to hunting." This suggestion more closely 
reflected his own sentiments than the majority of sportsmen. He 
had recently stopped hunting "because of the danger of unreliable 
hunters." In truth, powerful hunting organizations which opposed 
termination of hunting within the national monument presented a 
formidable obstacle for the implementation of his proposals. 101 

^Margaret and Olaus Murie, Wapiti Wilderness, pp. 121-122. See also 
"Citizens of Jackson Hole Committee," to Olaus Murie. November 15, 
1943. in OMC, Box 1. of WHRC. 

lsf >Victor H. Cahalane to W. B. Bell, April 7, 1943. in OMC, Box 1, of 

isoW. B. Bell to Olaus Murie. April 8, 1943, in OMC. Box 1. of WHRC. 

^Olaus Murie to W. B. Bell, April 16, 1943. in OMC, Box 1, of WHRC. 


Continuing, Murie turned to the reduction of the Jackson Hole 
elk herd. He recognized that the new monument might hinder 
future reductions of the overstocked herd, especially with hunting 
prohibited. But, according to his records "hunting had always 
been minimal in effect" and if reopened "it would still be neces- 
sary to reduce the herd on the elk refuge." Murie preferred not to 
set the precedent of allowing hunting within a national monument 
and believed that park officials should conduct any reduction pro- 
grams. 1!)1> Unfortunately, the need to reduce the herd provided 
sportsmen with an understandable argument to secure "regulated" 
hunting inside the monument. After 1950, deputized hunters 
would be permitted to kill elk in one portion of the national monu- 
ment. One historian has described this provision as an "unfor- 
tunate concession to the selfish demands of Wyoming sportsmen" 
and "an insult to the Park Service and ordinary decency. " 193 

About this time, the state of Wyoming sought redress through 
the judiciary. In the State of Wyoming v. Franke, 58 F.S. 890 
(1945) the state attempted to prove that Jackson Hole National 
Monument did not merit national monument status under the 
Antiquities Act of 1906 — the enabling act by which presidents 
could proclaim national monuments. The act specified that na- 
tional monuments must contain objects of archaeological, scientific 
or scenic interest. Both the state of Wyoming and the National 
Park Service provided expert testimony as to the scientific and 
historic mediocrity or distinctiveness of the new monument. 

Olaus J. Murie was one of many who testified on behalf of the 
National Park Service. Speaking before Judge T. Blake Kennedy 
of the U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming, sitting at Sheridan, 
he argued that Jackson Hole National Monument was unique and 
of outstanding biological interest. The naturalist pointed out that 
the area contained more than 120 species of birds, included forty 
species of mammals and provided a natural migratory trail for the 
elk. m A more knowledgeable and enthusiastic witness could not 
have been found. Murie had remarked to a friend shortly before 
the trial, "I have tramped over much of it and have driven over 
some of the back roads and to me the whole thing is exhilarating." 
The entire valley, he concluded, "is of national park calibre." 195 

™»John Ise, Our National Park Policy, p. 507. 

1! ' 4 Memorandum from Jackson Price, Chief Counsel, to the Director, 
August 30, 1944, reprinted in Leo H. Diederich (eds.) Jackson Hole 
National Monument, Wyoming: A Compendium of Important Papers Cov- 
ering Negotiations in the Establishment and Administration of the National 
Monument, 4 Vols., (Washington, D.C., ca. 1945. 1950), 2, Pt. 3, Exhibit 
33, p. 13. Copy of the four volumes in WHRC. 

1! » r '01aus Murie to Henry B. Ward, May 12, 1943, in OMC, Box 1 of 


Judge Kennedy in August of 1944, evaded a controversial deci- 
sion by ruling that it "was a controversy between the legislative 
and executive branches of the Government in which ... the court 
cannot interfere." Although clearly an equivocation, the National 
Park Service claimed the dismissed case as a victory for conserva- 
tion. Newton B. Drury, director of the National Park Service, 
congratulated Murie for his "influential" testimony which contrib- 
uted to the final verdict. 190 

Much of Murie's testimony refuted the official stance of the 
Wilderness Society. Robert Sterling Yard, president of the Society, 
had attacked the monument in the October 1943 issue of The 
Living Wilderness. Yard reminded his readers that Jackson Lake 
was in reality a reservoir, the result of dam construction in 1911. 
Through the 1930s, the president continued, he had opposed the 
inclusion of all Jackson Hole within Grand Teton National Park 
"because it would add another Hetch Hetchy to the system." By 
including a reservoir within the monument, he concluded, "a dan- 
gerous precedent would be set whereby the integrity of the national 
park system would be threatened." 197 Murie disagreed with what 
he considered the doctrinaire stance of Yard. He feared that the 
Wilderness Society was becoming too "pure" in its defense of wil- 
derness. This policy, he warned, might splinter the organization 
into opposing factions and thereby weaken the conservation move- 
ment. Writing to Charles Vorhies, secretary-treasurer of the Ari- 
zona Wildlife Federation, Murie stated that such an "altruistic 
stance" as that of Yard might also "fuel the flames that may yet 
destroy the national park system." 198 

When Devereux Butcher, executive director of the National 
Parks Association, asked Murie to write an article supporting the 
monument, but constructively criticizing some of its features, he 
consented. 199 His brief essay, "Jackson Hole National Monu- 
ment, ",/considered Roosevelt's proclamation a fait accompli. It 
suggested that conservationists direct their efforts toward "the vital 
question: What kind of administration of this area are we to 
have?" Murie objected to what he labeled "the piecemeal criti- 
cism" of the monument. Those persons who criticized the value 
of a "monotonous country of sage flats," he argued, were ignorant 
of its biological and historical significance. Murie emphasized 

liMi Newton B. Drury to Olaus Murie, August 29, 1944 in OMC. Box 1, 
of WHRC. 

1!,7 Robert Yard, "Jackson Hole National Monument Borrows Its Gran- 
deur From Surrounding Mountains," The Living Wilderness. (October, 
1943, p. 3. 

19 »01aus Murie to Charles T. Vorhies, August 30, 1944, in OMC. Box 1. 
of WHRC. 

i^'Devereux Butcher to Olaus Murie, June 3, 1943. Olaus Murie to 
Devereux Butcher, June 15, 1943, in OMC, Box 1, of WHRC. 


that "here at one time ranged the bison and the antelope. Here, 
still we find the sage grouse. And here too, pass many of the 
Jackson Hole elk in annual migration." The quality of land was 
not on trial, Murie asserted, but "whether or not we can retain the 
ability to be attuned to the many facets of primitive America and 
keep our souls receptive to their uplifting message." 200 

The successful defense of Jackson Hole National Monument 
was soon tempered by the death of Robert Sterling Yard. For 
nearly a decade, Yard bore the administrative burden of serving 
not only as president, but as executive editor of The Living Wil- 
derness. Because of his recent opposition to Jackson Hole Na- 
tional Monument, Yard had received criticism. Yet, Murie ex- 
pressed the sentiment of most conservationists when describing 
Yard as a "quiet, thoughtful . . . experienced writer and editor" 
and a "determined fighter for high ideals, uncompromising defend- 
er of standards." His death constituted a severe loss to the preser- 
vation movement. 201 

In April of 1945, Benton MacKaye, newly elected president of 
the Wilderness Society, requested that Murie assume the director- 
ship. He was tempted, for the position offered the opportunity to 
serve in a cause in which he believed. In addition, he was more 
dissatisfied than ever with his position with the Survey. For the 
past decade, the Survey had shuffled him throughout the western 
portion of the United States. His investigations ranged from the 
Sheldon Antelope Range and Refuge of northwestern Nevada to 
the deer of northern Minnesota. The time allotted for these 
studies, Murie contended, rarely exceeded a month and thereby 
resulted in superficial work. In a letter to Robert Griggs, he re- 
ported that division heads manipulated field biologists "like chess 
players to get jobs done." Furthermore, bureaucratic channels 
and procedures were growing tiresome. "For years," Murie as- 
serted, "I have tried to get the clue to the snarl of red tape that 
chokes the government scientist." After nearly two decades, he 
admitted that it still "remained a mystery." 202 

Murie's most recent assignment was indicative of his frustration. 
The Survey again had lent his services to the National Park Ser- 
vice. He was to investigate the "Yellowstone bear problem." He 
did not consider the job commensurate with his scientific training 
and believed that a younger biologist could determine how best to 

-'""Olaus Murie, "The Jackson Hole National Monument," National Parks 
Magazine, October, 1943, pp. 3-7. 

201 Olaus Murie, "Bob Marshall and Bob Yard," The Living Wilderness, 
10 December, 1945, frontispiece. 

202 Olaus Murie to Robert F. Griggs, January 22, 1945, in OMC, Box 
46. of CBDPL. 


protect the public from bear attacks. 208 More important, the Sur- 
vey still refused to adopt an enlightened attitude toward predators. 
Writing to the Chief of the Biological Survey, he complained that 
the Division of Economic Investigation had developed into a self- 
perpetuating bureaucracy. That division's predator reduction 
campaigns "were in great part designed to insure continuance of 
appropriations." The Survey had maintained its publicity cam- 
paign for so long, Murie added, that "the Bureau convinced itself 
that certain species at least were particularly bad and unworthy 
of consideration." He, in combination with a "small group of 
scientists," had stressed the ecological role of predators. The 
majority, however, criticized them "as theorists, and impractical." 
In short, his was a minority problem and so it appeared destined 
to remain. 204 

If repelled from his position with the Survey, Murie was attract- 
ed by his duties with the Wilderness Society. Through The Living 
Wilderness, his opinions could reach a large audience. More im- 
portant, as director he could accommodate his interest in wildlife 
and wilderness preservation. 

A sense of urgency motivated his final decision. As the war 
ended, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes grew preoccupied 
with massive hydroelectric power projects. Planning for these 
regional water-power projects shifted into high gear when in the 
spring of 1945 Harry Truman entered the White House. The new 
president proposed the immediate development of the Columbia 
and Missouri River systems along the lines of the earlier Tennessee 
Valley Authority (TVA). 203 "The blueprints" for these projects, 
Murie believed, "virtually postulate lifting the face of nature." So 
many dams have been planned, he added, that "they cannot be 
conveniently listed." When Murie offered his resignation to the 
Chief of the Biological Survey in September of 1945, he asserted 
that "never before has there been a greater threat to what remains 
of primeval America." 206 As director of the Wilderness Society, 
Murie was convinced that he would perform an important service 
for the American people by protecting those few remaining prim- 
itive areas. 

Initially, Murie had hesitated to accept the position because he 
believed it might entail a transfer from Wyoming. Murie went 
so far to offer to take the job for half pay provided he could 

203 lnterview with Margaret Murie, January 11, 1977. 

204 Olaus Murie to Clarence Cottam, Associate Chief of the United States 
Fish and Wildlife Service, December 10, 1947, in OMC, Box 46. of CBDPL. 

205 Elmo Richardson, Dams, Parks and Politics: Resource Development 
and Preservation in the Truman-Eisenhower Era (Lexington: University of 
Kentucky Press, 1973), pp. 14-19. 

206 Murie, "Bob Marshall and Bob Yard." 


remain in Jackson Hole. One thing was certain, he later recalled: 
"I didn't want to be in Washington." 207 This problem was resolved 
by the appointment of Howard Zahniser as executive secretary of 
the Wilderness Society and as editor of The Living Wilderness. 
Zahniser, destined to be the architect of the 1964 Wilderness Act, 
would administer the Society's Washington office. Murie, from 
his home in Moose, Wyoming, would appraise and formulate pol- 
icies of wilderness preservation in addition to his administrative 
tasks. 20 * 

It was an ideal arrangement. Both men were already friends, 
having first met while Zahniser served as an editor for the Bio- 
logical Survey. In addition, both were accomplished writers. In 
many ways, the professional relationship between Murie and 
Zahniser was reminiscent of that between Marshall and Yard. 
Like Yard, Zahniser was the more skillful administrator and effec- 
tive lobbyist. Like Marshall, Murie was the motivator, the driving 
force behind most crusades. His precise knowledge of wilderness 
areas across the country would provide the Society with needed 
firsthand information. At first, the division of responsibility was 
undefined. The separation of duties would evolve gradually by 
trial and error over a decade of preservation battles. 


When Olaus Murie assumed the directorship of the Wilderness 
Society, the conservation movement was on the defensive. The 
general postwar public sentiment favored unrestricted development 
of natural resources. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes had angered 
many westerners by enlarging the national park system and by 
upholding it inviolate during wartime mobilization. Many Con- 
gressional leaders still smarted over what they considered to be 
the "Ickesian Grab" of the "New Deal." They opposed any fur- 
ther centralization of administration in the Department of Interior. 
A combination of interests, including stockgrower associations, 
lumber organizations and mining industries, now pressed for relax- 
ations of regulations determining access to the public domain. In 
addition, President Harry Truman had made expansion of regional 
waterpower development a keystone of his administration's domes- 
tic policy.-' 09 These realities dictated the tactics of the Wilderness 

- l,7 Murie, "An Oral History," p. 5. 

-°*"Three Succeed Mr. Yard," The Living Wilderness, December, 1945, 
p. 4. 

-0»No comprehensive history of the conservation movement of mid- 
twentieth century has been written. Historians, however, have studied 
certain aspects of the movement. Elmo Richardson, Dams, Parks and 
Politics: Rosurce Development and Preservation in the Truman-Eisenhower 
(Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1973), examines the role of 


Society. Its role must be that of a watchman. In forthcoming 
years, Murie must concentrate on defending regions reserved in the 
national parks, monuments and forests. 

The defense of Jackson Hole National Monument was most im- 
mediate. Representative Frank Barrett, in January, 1947, re- 
sumed his efforts to abolish the monument by introducing H.R. 
1330. A few weeks later, the House Public Lands Committee, of 
which Barrett was now chairman, announced that hearings would 
be held in Washington, D.C., during the second week of April. 

In preparation, Murie began coordinating the efforts of the 
Wilderness Society. His recent election as president of the Jackson 
Hole Chapter of the Izaak Walton League provided the opportu- 
nity to speak in behalf of "local reaction" to the bill "and the 
evolution of sentiment in regard to it." This strategy would allow 
Howard Zahniser to present the official statement of the Wil- 
derness Society. To ensure a satisfactory representation, he cor- 
responded with leaders of several conservation organizations, 
informing them of the bill and outlining strategy. Finally, he 
drafted letters to influential members of the Public Lands Com- 
mittee disclosing the recent shift in local sentiment favoring the 
monument. To a few Congressmen, including Republicans Wesley 
D'Ewart of Montana and Frank Barrett, he enclosed copies of his 
article "Jackson Hole National Monument. " 21 ° 

Representatives from every major conservation organization, in- 
cluding the Sierra Club, National Audubon Society and the Nation- 
al Parks Association, attended the hearings and joined in opposing 
H.R. 1330. Preservationists benefited from statistics which con- 
firmed increased tourism within the monument. Fred M. Packard, 
president of the National Parks Association, reported that "of 
the 200,000 people who visited the valley since 1943, half of 
them did so in 1946." It was simply bad business to deprive 
valley residents of what should become "the major business of 
Jackson." 211 

Murie turned to the concept of a frontier democracy to defend 

federal agencies and officials. Roderick Nash, Wilderness and the Amer- 
ican Mind traces the intellectual and political sophistication of its leaders 
in Chapter 12, "Decisions for Performance." Michael McCloskey. "Wilder- 
ness at the Crossroads, 1945-1970," Pacific Historical Review, August, 1972. 
interprets the 1950s as a time when preservationists were more concerned 
with defending wilderness than launching an offensive campaign. 

210 Olaus Murie to Richard M. Leonard, April 1, 1947. Olaus Murie to 
Harry D. Miner, President of the Wyoming Division of the Izaak Walton 
League, March 10, 1947. Olaus Murie to Wesley D'Ewart. March 13, 
1947, in OMC, Box 1, of WHRC. 

211 Jackson Hole and the Landgrab." National Parks Magazine. October- 
December, 1947, p. 4. 


Jackson Hole National Monument. "It is becoming clear to us 
now that conditions in the valley are changing," he contended. 
No longer could citizens of Jackson Hole "go where they pleased, 
camp when or where they pleased." Twenty years later, he as- 
serted, when "the valley held only a scattered population" these 
"freedoms of action" had been possible. Now however, these 
"freedoms of the frontier" were vanishing. "Instead of dropping 
in to see neighbor Joe," he explained, one is more likely to be 
greeted by a "no trespassing" or "no fishing" sign. Unregulated 
private enterprise, he warned, could curtail even more freedom of 
movement. Murie recognized that federal intervention was a bitter 
pill for western states to swallow. Yet, "based on intimate contact 
with the people of Jackson Hole," he was convinced that residents 
were willing to accept it. Many, realizing that the frontier in 
American life was gone, had developed one common belief: "A 
love of this valley and a desire to preserve its beauty and primitive 
charm, with justice to all concerned." 212 

Murie's appraisal of Jackson Hole sentiment was accurate. The 
postwar tourist industry caused many to reevaluate Jackson Hole 
National Monument. Unprecedented numbers of vacationers were 
visiting the valley. Business was prospering, the small ski resort 
had expanded and property values had doubled then tripled. 
Murie expressed the attitude of many Jackson inhabitants when 
stating, "we have passed the point where there can be any argu- 
ment about recreation being the future of the valley." Residents 
now spoke in terms of the benefits rather than the liabilities of the 
monument. 213 

With the local sentiment changing and Congress concerned with 
other more pressing matters, Barrett's bill was stricken from the 
calendar on January 19, 1948. The general postwar mood of 
reconciliation was revealed when Wyoming Senators Joseph C. 
O'Mahoney and Lester C. Hunt introduced a bill to establish "A 
New Grand Teton National Park" in the 81st Congress, 1949- 
1950. The so-called "compromise bill" transferred all but 9000 
acres of the monument to the national park system. Although 
some preservationists criticized the bill's concessions, tax loss reim- 
bursements to Teton County, rights of way for livestock, preser- 
vation of existing grazing leases and "regulated hunting," 214 Murie 
realized that given the earlier strong opposition, the bill consti- 
tuted a substantial conservation victory. He expressed the senti- 
ment of most valley residents when writing: 

- 12 01aus Murie, "Testimony on H.R. 1330 before the Subcommittee on 
Public Lands, April 15, 1947," typescript in OMC, Box 1, WHRC. 

213/fcW., p. 5. 

2i4j hn Ise, Our National Park Policy, pp. 506-507. 


As one drives into and out of the town of Jackson, 14 miles to the 
south, passing through an unsightly parade of billboards that scar 
the charming scenery, one cannot help but breathe a sigh of grati- 
tude after crossing the park boundary to find a quiet and serene 
landscape. 21 "' 

Although tourism helped to preserve Jackson Hole National 
Monument, it also threatened the status of many wilderness areas. 
Postwar prosperity in combination with plentiful gasoline supplies 
unleashed a national thirst for recreational developments. Too 
often, Murie bemoaned, this enthusiasm did not "follow wise chan- 
nels."- 16 In southern California, vacationers demanded that San 
Jacinto and San Gorgonio Primitive Areas be developed for down- 
hill skiing. Inhabitants of ever-expanding Los Angeles basin 
wanted an aerial tramway up the steep slopes of Mount San 
Jacinto and desired winter accommodations within San Gorgonio 
Primitive Area. In 1946, Lyle F. Watts, chief of the Forest Ser- 
vice, had responded to these pressures by proposing boundary 
modifications in San Gorgonio Primitive Area for "winter recrea- 
tional developments." A few months earlier a "Winter Park Au- 
thority" was authorized to issue bonds for construction of a three 
million dollar tramway into the heart of the San Jacinto wilderness 

When not coordinating the affairs of the Wilderness Society, 
Murie gathered first-hand information on threatened wilderness 
areas. In May of 1946, he journeyed to southern California to 
inspect the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Primitive Areas. His 
investigations paralleled earlier work for the Biological Survey. 
He instituted a brief field study and then recommended land man- 
agement programs to federal agencies and to the public. 

Murie first communicated his ideas to Joseph R. Knowland, 
chairman of the California State Park Commission. This com- 
mission had recently been charged with administering the region. 
Murie warned of the growing "commercialization" and "degrada- 
tion" of recreational areas. While driving through San Bernardino 
National Forest, he had been appalled by "the extensive Com- 
mercial developments." It seemed that "the city has moved into 
the forest." He complained that "there is much of the forest land 
already developed for those who seek or need the comforts of 
civilization." On the other hand, those remnants of wilderness 
should be reserved for persons who quest for a more primitive 
recreational experience. 217 

Referring to Mount San Jacinto, Murie believed that the pro- 

215 Margaret and Olaus Murie, Wapiti Wilderness, p. 124. 
216 01aus Murie to Joseph R. Knowland, June 12, 1946. quoted in The 
Living Wilderness, Seotember, 1946, p. 25. 


posed tramway transcended the state level and had become a "na- 
tional question." He asserted that "in the creation of this park 
there was a distinct agreement with the National Forest Service 
that the primitive state was to be maintained, so as to be coor- 
dinated with similar primitive areas on the surrounding national 
forest." By bisecting the primitive area, the tramway would com- 
promise the integrity of the region as a whole. Concluding his 
letter, Murie reminded Knowland that "the country has its eyes on 
California anxiously awaiting the outcome." 218 

In truth, the periodicals of the Wilderness Society and the Sierra 
Club kept the public informed on the status of these wild preserves. 
Returning to Jackson, Murie contributed articles to both The Liv- 
ing Wilderness and the Sierra Club Bulletin. He employed the 
concepts of comparative values and minority rights to defend the 
mountains. A democratic society, he contended, should respect 
the rights of the few "who seek the solitude of primitive forest." 
"Surely these people," he believed, "as well as the skiers, have a 
claim on the mountain." The "benefits of such mass recreation," 
he continued, would decrease the pleasure of the few out of pro- 
portion to the gain of the many. Elaborating upon this theme, 
Murie said, "if there were abundant opportunities for wilderness 
recreation in this region, it might be valid to balance 100,000 
skiers against 10,000 wilderness users at a specific site and con- 
clude that skiing would be for the good of the greatest number." 
But, he concluded, "when we are considering a precious wilderness 
remnant, we are in fact balancing 100,000 skiers against the entire 
population." Quality as well as quantity must be considered in 
the ultimate handling of natural resources. 219 

As the controversy over San Gorgonio attained national dimen- 
sions, Chief Forester Watts called public hearings to ascertain both 
sides. Again, both Murie and Zahniser would testify. Since Murie 
had become a member of the Wildlife Society, he would speak in 
behalf of that organization while Zahniser would represent the 
Wilderness Society. A host of local and national organizations 
also joined the crusade. 

Testimony began on February 19, 1947, in San Bernardino Mu- 
nicipal Auditorium. The hearings started on a light note. Ralph 
W. Scott, a wilderness enthusiast and deputy attorney general for 
the state, commented that the Forest Service map depicting the 
proposed boundary modifications in red "looked like a worm en- 
tering a nice juicy apple." Then he quickly added, "it won't be 
long before the whole apple is gone." Murie added a touch of 


21 »01aus Murie, "Shall We Cherish San Gorgonio?" The Living Wilder- 
ness, September, 1946, pp. 13-14. 


levity when he quoted a verse from Robert Marshall: "Now little 
truck trail, don't you cry, you'll be a highway by-and-by." 22 " 

The collective testimony of the preservationists, however, illus- 
trated the array of sophisticated rationales for the continued exis- 
tence of wild country. The studies of Sigmund Freud and William 
James had correlated man's anxiety to a repressive civilization.-'- 1 
Since urbanization was the primary suppressing force, preserva- 
tionists could legitimately emphasize the psychological value of 
wilderness. Although some, such as David Brower of the Sierra 
Club, took this approach, Murie employed several justifications 
for wilderness. Like earlier utilitarian conservationists, he identi- 
fied "the value in the conservation of water supplies through water- 
shed protection." He also noted the scientific value of the region 
as one of the few remaining natural laboratories for ecologists. 
Most important, he believed that wild country perpetuated the 
freedom of choice "that Americans now have when they seek 
relief from the tension of a nerve-wracking civilization." Only by 
retaining roadless, undeveloped areas, he insisted, could this free- 
dom be maintained. 222 

Chief Forester Watts was impressed by the diverse rationales 
for wilderness. Perhaps more persuasive was their broad base of 
support. His Washington office had been flooded with letters 
favoring the wilderness preserve. Within days of the hearings, he 
reversed his earlier decision. Stealing a line from preservationists, 
he announced, "a rising demand for wilderness recreation and the 
influence of urban living induces more and more persons to seek 
the serenity and inspiration of wilderness areas." Murie's predic- 
tion rang true: As the frontier receded, man's appreciation for 
wildness increased proportionately. 223 

If Murie viewed tourism with ambivalence, he perceived postwar 
dam building with disdain. During the opening months of Tru- 
man's administration, Interior Secretary Julius Krug seemed pre- 
occupied with regional water-power developments. Two massive 
river basin projects, the Columbia Valley Authority (CVA) and 
the Missouri Valley Authority (MVA), were gaining momentum. 
In the eyes of Newton B. Drury, director of the National Park 
Service, Krug's new staff of bright-eyed college graduates appeared 

—''Highlights of the San Gorgonio Testimony," Sierra Club Bulletin. 
March, 1947, p. 23. 

221 This idea, implicit in Freud's work, is treated briefly in Nash, Wilder- 
ness and the American Mind, p. 202. For a more thorough discussion, see 
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans, and ed. James 
Strachey (New York: W. W. Norton and Company. 1962). 

-—Olaus Murie, "Why We Cherish San Gorgonio Primitive Area." 
The Living Wilderness, March, 1947, pp. 1-7. This article was used as 

223 "News Items of Interest," The Living Wilderness. Autumn. 1947, p. 24. 


eager "to remake the world." More ominous, the Bureau of 
Reclamation continued to disregard the National Park Service 
principle of park inviolability by surveying adjacent to and within 
units of the national parks. "Dams and More Dams," lamented 
a spokesman for the National Parks Association, are proposed 
within national monuments, parks and national forest wilderness 
areas.-- 4 

Of paramount concern to the director of the Wilderness Society 
was the proposed Glacier View Dam. Early in 1948, Michael 
Straus, chief of the Bureau of Reclamation, recommended a flood- 
control dam for the North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana. 
The dam was quickly endorsed by Democratic congressman Mike 
Mansfield who introduced H.R. 6153 to authorize construction of 
Glacier View Dam. Lt. General R. A. Wheeler, Chief of the 
Army Corps of Engineers, applauded the bill as "an integral part 
of the Columbia Basin Plan" which deserved a "higher priority . . . 
than timber or natural curiosities." Preservationists were skeptical 
and suspected that the dam would inundate a large portion of 
Glacier National Park. 225 

The role of the Wilderness Society in this battle illustrates their 
general strategy regarding threatened national parks and monu- 
ments. Upon learning of the proposed dam, Murie wrote Regional 
Director of the Park Service Lawrence C. Merriam requesting all 
pertinent facts relating to the dam. At the same time, he asked 
Zahniser to obtain statistics from the Reclamation Service in Wash- 
ington, D. C. 226 

Their responses enabled Murie to formulate a solid defense of 
the park. The Glacier View Dam would be nearly 400 feet in 
height and store over 3,160,000 acre feet of water. It would 
impound water for 28 miles and flood over 230,000 acres of which 
21,500 would be within the park. The reservoir would also 
deprive several species of big game of valuable winter range. 
Merriam's letter enumerated alternate sites which would be less 
environmentally destructive. 227 This information was subsequent- 
ly published with The Living Wilderness and used as testimony in 
forthcoming public hearings. 

Statistical evidence was essential, but Murie realized that with- 
out local support the defense would be futile. Both he and 

224 Richardson, Dams, Parks and Politics, p. 23; "Dams and More Dams," 
National Parks Magazine, July-September, 1948, p. 35. 

22r, Mike Mansfield to Olaus Murie, August 26, 1949, in OMC, Box 47, 
CBDPL. This letter quotes from Lt. General R. A. Wheeler. 

226 Lawrence C. Merriam to Olaus Murie, April 2, 1948; Robert Cooney 
to Olaus Murie, October 31, 1947, in OMC, Box 47, CBDPL. 

227 Lawrence C. Merriam to Olaus Murie, April 15, 1947, in OMC, Box 
47, CBDPL. 


Zahniser envisioned "a third-time staff member as a roving am- 
bassador" who would cultivate local sentiment and learn the "first- 
hand details in all the 48 states." Since their budget prohibited 
any such ambassador, Murie utilized other methods to arouse 
public opinion. Usually he relied upon Wilderness Council mem- 
bers, representing various states, to enlist support. Murie often 
diverted funds from the Society's treasury to these local representa- 
tives to sponsor local meetings of concerned citizens. In Montana, 
Murie asked Robert Cooney of the state Fish and Game Commis- 
sion to enlist support. This strategy succeeded, for in early May, 
1948, local citizens united as the Glacier Conservation Society. 
Their testimony would be important in the hearings scheduled for 
May 25 in Kalispell, Montana. 228 

Preservation organizations paraded a series of expert witnesses 
before Colonel L. H. Hewit of the Corps of Engineer at Kalispell. 
The Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, lzaak Walton League 
of America, National Audubon Society, Save the Redwoods 
League, Wildlife Society, Dude Ranchers Association and other 
organizations were represented. Testimony overwhelmingly op- 
posed Glacier View Dam. Newton B. Drury presented statistics 
showing the damage to the park which the dam would inflict. 
Flooding, he maintained, "would result in the destruction of 
approximately 8000 acres of virgin timber . . . and would re- 
duce the winter range of the species [white-tailed deer] by 56 
percent." 221 ' 

Murie testified on behalf of the Wilderness Society and the 
National Parks Association. He focused on the theme of social 
responsibility. When he began in August of 1914, a few farsighted 
individuals introduced a bill to create Glacier National Park. They 
were responding to a "social need of our country." As wilderness 
dwindled, "it became obvious that our outdoor recreation of the 
type afforded by our national parks [was] something our people 
as a whole should have for their well-being." This argument dove- 
tailed with his democratic defense. If wild country belonged to 
everyone, then certainly no national park should be modified be- 
fore a majority were convinced that "the expected benefits far 
outweigh the important values that would be sacrificed." Demo- 
cratic principles were subverted, he asserted, when "one agency, 

228 01aus Murie to Ross Leonard, Director of the Idaho Fish and Game 
Commission, January 5, 1954; Irving Clark to Olaus Murie. May 3, 1947; 
Olaus Murie to Robert Cooney, October 31, 1947, in OMC, Box 47, 

229 Newton B. Drury, "Testimony of the Director of the National Park 
Service in Opposition to the Glacier View Dam, presented at the Public 
Hearings conducted by the District Engineer. Seattle District, Corps of 
Engineers, at Kalispell, Montana, Mav 25, 1948," in OMC, Box 47, 


specialized for a simple function, assumes responsibility for impor- 
tant alterations of the surface of the earth." It was not ethical 
to have the Bureau of Reclamation or the Army Corps of Engi- 
neers dictate land-management plans and then "give other agencies 
merely a chance to hunt flaws in its plans." 230 

According to Murie, the greatest peril to the wilderness move- 
ment was the rhetoric of developers. The Bureau of Reclamation 
and Army Corps of Engineers were skillful at publicizing the 
material benefits of Glacier View Dam. Chambers of Commerce 
stressed the influx of jobs and money. Sympathetic newspapers 
portrayed the controversy as a choice between saving human life 
through flood-control dams or appeasing a few foolish sentimental- 
ists. In one of his more vehement letters, Murie wrote Assistant 
Interior Secretary Oscar L. Chapman, "If idealism and high pur- 
pose has no place in our practical planning then why do we con- 
tinue to preach it in one form or another in formal statements and 
public speeches?' 1 Castigating the rhetoric of the Bureau of Rec- 
lamation, he continued, "lip service is the dry rot of any institution, 
private or public, a creeping decoy that can surreptitiously immo- 
bilize the democratic process. " Wildlife and wilderness were the 
property of all the people, yet so often Americans were unaware 
of the problem or were presented only one side of the issue. The 
people must have the knowledge, time and opportunity to partici- 
pate in the decision-making process. 281 

The political climate of 1948 abetted the crusade against Glacier 
View Dam. A fierce partisanship divided Congress on all regional 
river basin projects. Western Republican governors almost unan- 
imously denounced the CVA as unwanted. The issues of central- 
ism versus localism in combination with cries of "socialism" of the 
"New Deal" plagued federal hydroelectric power projects. The 
mounting pressure from conservationists combined with political 
conservatives to tip the scales against Glacier View Dam. Late in 
1948, Interior Secretary Krug disclosed to officers of the Wilder- 
ness Society that "large power and flood-control projects such as 
Glacier View, should not be recommended for construction in 
national parks, unless the need ... is so pressing that the economic 
stability of our country or its existence, would be endangered with- 
out them." The Bureau of Reclamation fell into line. On April 
27. 1949, Newton Drury could report to Murie that the report on 

230 Olaus Murie, "Testimony on behalf of the Wilderness Society at the 
hearings at Kalispell, Montana, May 25, 1948, to consider the advisability 
of the Glacier View Project of the Corps of Army Engineers," in OMC, 
Box 47, CBDPL. 

231 Mike Mansfield to Julius Krug, February 25, 1949, in OMC, Box 47, 
CBDPL: Olaus Murie to Oscar L. Chapman, December 5, 1951, in ibid., 
Box 45. 


the Columbia River Basin Agreement: Principles and Responsibil- 
ities for the Comprehensive Plan of Development had eliminated 
Glacier View Dam from its pages. - :! -' 

Between his conservation efforts, Murie found time to continue 
his scientific interests. In 1948, he became the first United States 
research scientist to be awarded a Fulbright Fellowship. The grant 
enabled him to lead a team of American and New Zealand scien- 
tists in an investigation of the American elk which had been intro- 
duced into New Zealand around the turn of the century. This 
American-New Zealand Fiordland Expedition studied the adapta- 
tion of the elk and their impact in a country almost barren of 
mammalian life. During the course of their six month investiga- 
tion, the team estimated the herd at between 500 and 1000 ani- 
mals. It was a remarkably small increase for a country without 
natural predators. Murie concluded that competition from the 
European red deer in combination with disease accounted for the 
low population densities. 233 

The following year found Murie surveying Theodore Roosevelt 
National Memorial Park for possible wildlife restorations. In 
November he joined with Victor H. Cahalane, chief biologist of 
the National Park Service, in drafting a game-management plan. 
Their recommendations specified restorations of mountain sheep, 
bison, and antelope. By 1951, many of these proposals had been 
adopted. 234 

These studies, however, remained tangential to Murie's primary 
scientific interests. Since his arrival in Jackson Hole in 1927, 
he had continued his elk investigations, compiling information 
throughout the United States and in some foreign countries. His 
study, entitled The Elk of North America was published in 1951. 
This natural history represented the maturation of his wildlife- 
management ideas and contained the distillation of his experience 
as a field biologist. Aside from a few minor elaborations, his 
ecological theory of caribou-elk migrations — functioning as a safe- 
ty mechanism to preserve the carrying capacity of the range — 
remained unchanged. In 1952, the Wildlife Society awarded the 
study the Aldo Leopold Certificate for the outstanding publication 
of 1951. Murie was doubly honored when at their annual confer- 
ence, the Wildlife Society presented him the Aldo Leopold Award 

232 Julius A. Krug to William H. Draper, Jr., Acting Secretary of the 
Army, undated, quoted in "News Items of Special Interest," Living Wilder- 
ness, Winter 1948-49, p. 25; Newton B. Drury to Olaus Murie. April 27, 
1949, in OMC, Box 47, CBDPL. 

233 01aus Murie, "Big Trees and People," The Living Wilderness, Summer, 
1949, pp. 1-6. This essay describes his journey to New Zealand. 

234 Lawrence C. Merriam to Olaus Murie, October 28, 1949; Lawrence 
Merriam to Olaus Murie, January 25, 1951, OMC, Box 48. CBDPL. 


for his "service to wildlife conservation." Concluding the cere- 
monies, the President of the Society stated, "he has fought steadily 
and effectively for the persecuted species in our fauna, staying 
the unthinking hand from the sacrilege of extinction." By mid- 
twentieth century, Murie had unravelled the fact from mythology 
in the predator-prey interrelationship. 235 

His elk study was complemented a few years later by another 
scientific publication. In Alaska he had begun collecting casts of 
caribou and other animals. He had continued these pursuits while 
in Jackson and in 1948, the Houghton Mifflin Publishing Com- 
pany expressed interest in his plans for a field guide for North 
American animal tracks. By that time, Murie had expanded his 
original plans to include droppings, gnawings, nests and "pretty 
generally everything that would indicate the presence of mam- 
mals . . ." His efforts concluded six years later when the company 
published his Field Guide to A nimal Tracks as part of the Peterson 
Field Guide series.- 86 

In the meantime, Murie's role with the Wilderness Society had 
expanded. In July, 1950, he was elected president as well as 
executive director during the Society's annual meeting in Colorado. 
Howard Zahniser was re-elected executive secretary and editor of 
The Living Wilderness. Both men expressed alarm over Interior 
Secretary Chapman's endorsement of Echo Park Dam as part 
of a Bureau of Reclamation ten -dam, billion -dollar Colorado 
River Storage Project. The resulting reservoir would flood can- 
yons of the Green and Yampa Rivers within Dinosaur National 
Monument. 237 

Chapman's controversial decision regarding Echo Park Dam 
helped consolidate the ranks of preservationists. Whereas before 
membership had splintered over such issues as the enlargement of 
Grand Teton National Park, the dam provided a simple issue 
around which all could rally. Instead of the previous loose feder- 
ation of organizations, now prominent leaders united in a few 
highly centralized committees. David Brower of the Sierra Club, 
William Voigt of the Izaak Walton League, Howard Zahniser of 
the Wilderness Society and Ira Gabrielson, formerly chief of the 
Biological Survey, presided over one of the most influential. The 
Emergency Committee on Natural Resources quickly began pro- 

23.v'£)oubly Honored," The Living Wilderness, Spring, 1952, p. 27. This 
short essay contains excerpts from the Wildlife Society Conference in Mi- 
ami, Florida, on March 18, 1952. 

~' 3f! OIaus Murie to George Petrides, August 18, 1949, in OMC, Box 46, 
CBDPL. This letter describes Murie's interest in animal tracks. See also 
Olaus Murie, A Field Guide to Animal Tracks, 2d ed., (Boston: Houghton 
Mifflin Company, 1975). 

2 3""News Items of Special Interest," The Living Wilderness, Summer, 
1950, pp. 28-29. 


ducing "hard-hitting" illustrated pamphlets opposing Echo Park 
Dam. The committee also helped coordinate lobbying in Wash- 
ington, D.C. and muster expert testimony at Congressional hear- 
ings. By the following year, the committee had expanded its 
administrative duties to "causes" other than Echo Park. 238 

As Zahniser gradually absorbed more administrative tasks, 
Murie performed a larger role as spokesman for the Wilderness 
Society. Throughout the early 1950s he toured the country speak- 
ing to conservation organizations presenting visual shows and ex- 
posing what he considered to be the myopic vision of developers. 
From 1950 to 1953, he became the spokesman of the Wilderness 
Society. Excerpts from his speeches and testimonies filled the 
pages of The Living Wilderness. Once, when he delivered three 
lectures for the Eighth Annual Series of Isaac Hillman Lecture- 
ships on the Social Sciences at Pacific University, Howard Zahniser 
published them as an entire issue. Murie's ability to convey com- 
plex ideas, such as the intangible value of wilderness, in under- 
standable language, attracted a broad base of support. He drew 
upon his frontier experiences and his extensive readings to sub- 
stantiate* the belief that wild country exerted beneficial influences 
on man. He frequently interspersed his lectures with quotations 
from Emerson, Thoreau and Muir to illustrate how a few "brilliant 
individuals . . . with a vision" had kept this belief alive. Most 
often, however, he presented a democratic defense of wilderness. 
Speaking before his alma mater, Pacific University, he summarized 
his defense: "We have not achieved that coordination in public 
planning that would provide consideration of all the diverse needs 
and aspirations of people, a principle that surely should be innate 
in a Democracy." 239 

Many of Murie's speeches expressed concern over recent chang- 
es within the Department of Interior. For the first time in sixteen 
years a westerner held the reins of the Interior Department. Oscar 
L. Chapman had succeeded the retiring Julius Krug. The outbreak 
of the Korean War in June of 1950 heightened alarm. Several 
western Congressmen were renewing their demands for access to 
federal reserves. Senator Mike Mansfield declared that economic 
mobilization made Glacier View Dam mandatory. When Chap- 
man approved Echo Park Dam, Murie joined the chorus of pres- 
ervationist complaint. The decision, announced within days of 
Truman's dispatch of United States troops overseas, seemed to 
forecast the abandonment of national park principles. The abrupt 
resignation of Newton B. Drury a few months later tended to 

238 Roderick Nash traces the Echo Park battle in Wilderness and the 
American Mind, pp. 209-217. 

239 01aus Murie, "Wild Country as a National Asset," The Living Wilder- 
ness, Summer, 1953, pp. 1-30. 


confirm preservationists' worst suspicions. Most concurred with 
the much publicized editorial of the New York Times: 

In the absence of any other satisfactory explanation there has been 
widespread apprehension that Mr. Drury has been dropped because of 
his adamant resistence to efforts to invade the national parks and 
monuments . . . through the construction of giant dams. 240 

The alarm over developments within the Department of Interior 
continued several years and revealed many positive signs within 
the preservation movement. While the Echo Park controversy 
raged for five years, conservationists began a crusade for a national 
wilderness preservation system. The seminal idea can be traced 
to such enthusiasts as Benton MacKaye and Robert Marshall. 
These two men throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s advo- 
cated a nation-wide nexus of wilderness preserves. Murie's col- 
league, Howard Zahniser, reintroduced this idea at the Sierra 
Club's First Biennial Wilderness Conference in March of 1949. 
Central to his system would be a commission working in coopera- 
tion with land-administering agencies to recommend to Congress 
additions to or deletions from the system. Zahniser elaborated 
upon this plan at the Sierra Club's Second Biennial Wilderness 
Conference. He outlined how the National Park Service would be 
held legally responsible for reserving primitive areas within their 
jurisdiction. Wild areas would remain inviolate except by act of 
Congress or presidential proclamation.- 41 

The controversy over Echo Park also coincided with a period 
when conservationists were expanding their horizons to include 
wilderness "causes" in foreign countries. For example, in August 
of 1949 Murie attended the First International Conference for the 
Protection of Nature at Lake Success, New York. Under the 
auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural 
Organization (UNESCO), representatives of various nationalities 
discussed problems regarding the development of water power 
and flood control projects. Joining with Ira. N. Gabrielson and 
others, Murie helped draft plans for a ""central board of review" 
which would oversee international reclamation projects. The plan 
embodied the essentials of Murie's democratic ethic by calling for 
equal representation in planning and stating that "the complex 
needs of a community . . . should not be left to engineers no matter 
how skilled." 242 Three years later Murie again represented the 

24 0"News Items of Special Interest," The Living Wilderness, Spring, 1951, 
p. 45. This item quotes from a New York Times editorial of February 14, 

241 Roderick Nash traces the growth of this idea in Wilderness and the 
American Mind, pp. 220-226. 

242 01aus Murie, "Defending Recreational Areas," The Living Wilderness, 
Autumn, 1940, pp. 22-24. This contains information on the International 
Technical Conference on the Protection of Nature. 


Wilderness Society at the Third General Assembly of this world- 
conservation organization (now The International Union for the 
Protection of Nature). Convening in Caracas, Venezuela, officials 
from over thirty-one countries examined the problems of hydro- 
electric and irrigation developments and discussed their environ- 
mental consequences. Reporting these sessions in The Living Wil- 
derness Murie wrote, "there were diverse languages, and we some- 
times had great difficulty with the spoken words. But there was 
one common language in this group — the language of wilder- 
ness."- 4 ^ Just as U. S. troops were mobilized for overseas duty, 
preservationists were marshalling their efforts to begin an offensive 
campaign. The knowledge that they would be supported by wil- 
derness enthusiasts throughout the world instilled confidence in the 

Murie's conservation activities, however, were more effective 
on a national level. During whirlwind speaking engagements, he 
ranged from Alaska, where he spoke before a science conference, 
to Miami, Florida, where he participated in the annual meeting of 
the Wildlife Society. His activities during the winter of 1953-1954 
were typical. In September, he spoke before Wisconsin conserva- 
tionists at the annual meeting of Citizens Natural Resource Asso- 
ciation. 244 Shortly thereafter, Murie journeyed to Washington, 
D. C. to speak on the subject "Do We Need More Wilderness?" at 
the Mid-Century Conference on Resources of the Future. In Jan- 
uary he testified in a series of Congressional hearings. On January 
18, he joined with David Brower, Ulysses S. Grant III (grandson 
of the president) and others in speaking before the House Subcom- 
mittee on Irrigation in opposition to the proposed Echo Park Dam. 
Within days, he was urging the Board of Engineers for Rivers and 
Harbors to discard plans for the proposed Penny Cliffs and Bruce 
Eddy dams on the Clearwater River in Idaho. These dams, he 
argued, would "penetrate some six miles into the Selway-Bitterroot 
Wilderness Area."- 45 Hours later he spoke before the House Com- 
mittee on Agriculture and Forestry, opposing a grazing bill (H.R. 
6787) which would reduce federal jurisdiction over use of the 
public domain. 240 

Murie's winter tour culminated in an eight-day hike along the 
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal connecting Washington, D. C. and 
Cumberland, Maryland. Led by Supreme Court Justice William 

243 "News Items of Interest," The Living Wilderness, Autumn. 1952. 
p. 41. 

- 44 01aus Murie, et al., "Idaho Dam Threat," The Living Wilderness, 
Winter, 1953-1954, p. 40. 

246 01aus Murie et al., "New Grazing Bill," The Living Wilderness, Win- 
ter,, 1953-1954, p. 43. 


O. Douglas, the so-called "long-trek" dramatized the historic, 
aesthetic and scientific importance of the 189-mile belt of forested 
land. The excursion came in protest to plans to convert the canal 
into a motor-parkway. On March 19, over two dozen hikers, 
representing an equal number of conservation organizations, began 
the walk.- 47 

Although a quixotic demonstration in many ways, with trucks 
shuttling provisions and bedding to hikers at access points, the 
walk exposed a remarkable sentiment for preservation. Originally 
conceived as a small self-sufficient company of hikers, the excur- 
sion was joined by so many that these plans were soon discarded. 
In addition the trek became newsworthy. At every access point, 
reporters from major newspapers interviewed the hikers. Three 
television networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC, carried daily progress 
accounts of the group. At the conclusion, Olaus Murie, William 
O. Douglas and Sigurd Olson made a broadcast on ABC television. 
Speaking for all three, Murie said, "this intimate landscape, with 
all nature's manifestations, sealed off from the frenzied speed of 
modern civilization, is capable of giving us the atmosphere of that 
period in our history, a period when man contrived more with his 
hands and body than they do today." 248 Preservation of such an 
expanse of river and historic area was the more critical, according 
to Sigurd Olson, "in a land where opportunities for doing things 
in primitive settings and under natural conditions are becoming 
increasingly rare." 249 

It was in this spirit that an ad hoc committee formed on April 
22. Composed of Douglas, Olson, Murie, Zahniser and other 
leaders, the committee drafted and sent to Secretary McKay a 
statement recommending that the canal remain in the hands of the 
National Park Service and be "developed" as a recreational area. 
Responding on May 4, McKay endorsed their plan and agreed 
that "the gorge should be preserved and made available to the 

This minor battle reflected major trends in the preservation 
movement. With persuasive arguments for wilderness, preserva- 
tionists had broadened public support. During the Hetch Hetchy 
crisis, John Muir could have enlisted only seven national and two 
state conservation organizations. Fifty years later those figures 
had leaped to seventy-eight and two hundred thirty-six. Equally 
important, preservationists had developed effective lobbying tech- 

24'Jack Durham, "The C & O Canal Hike," The Living Wilderness, 
Spring, 1954, pp. 1-28. 

2i *Ibid., pp. 14-15. 

^nbid., p. 17. 

ssoDouglas McKay & William O. Douglas, May 4, 1954, quoted in Dur- 
ham. "The C & O Canal Hike," p. 22. 


niques and had improved coordination between organizations. 
Their political and public growth had been demonstrated in a num- 
ber of triumphs. Jackson Hole National Monument had become 
part of Grand Teton National Park in 1950. Developers had been 
turned back from Glacier National Park, San Gorgonio Primitive 
Area and Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in Montana. Emanating 
confidence, preservation leaders were prepared to push for positive 
confirmation of wilderness through legislation. 

Unfortunately, at this crucial period, the movement lost one of 
its most valuable spokesmen. Olaus Murie was hospitalized in 
May of 1954 for miliary tuberculosis. His convalescence would 
span thirteen months. 


When Olaus Murie was discharged from the National Jewish 
Hospital in June, 1955, criticism of the Eisenhower administra- 
tion's resource policies had reached a crescendo. Preservationists 
accused his administration of an exploitive attitude toward natural 
resources. This image crystallized during the opening months of 
1953 when Interior Secretary Douglas McKay endorsed Echo Park 
Dam as part of the Colorado River Storage Project, remained 
silent regarding a bill to transfer jurisdiction of grazing lands to 
state and private users, and supported the construction of three 
dams on the Snake River. Preservationists were quickly convinced 
that Interior Secretary McKay was the errand boy for vested inter- 
ests, and accordingly, labeled him "Giveaway McKay." 2 -"' 1 

Although McKay was innocent of the worst of these accusations, 
these incidents exerted an effect on the conservation movement.-"'- 
By rousing suspicions, McKay galvanized the movement and 
forced its energies toward political action. In a remarkable show 
of strength, the preservationists pressured Congress to delete Echo 
Park Dam from the Colorado River Storage Project in the spring 
of 1956. Murie, as did most preservationists, applauded the deci- 
sion as a vindication of the purpose and integrity of the National 
Park Service. Elated by victory, both he and Zahniser were eager 
to press for more positive affirmation of wilderness. 

Some historians interpret this Echo Park victory as a watershed 
in the conservation movement. They contend that the post-Echo 
Park mood was more assured, bold and adamant. Whereas pres- 

251 Richardson, Dams, Parks and Politics, pp. 153-171. See also Richard- 
son, "The Interior Secretary as Conservation Villain: The Notorious Case 
of Douglas 'Giveaway McKay'," Pacific Historical Review, August. 1972. 
pp. 333-345. 



ervationists previously had been concerned with defending wild 
country, they were now determined to launch the offensive. 25y 

A "two-front" strategy by the Wilderness Society gives evidence 
of this change. On one front, the organization continued to defend 
threatened wilderness areas. Indeed, the list of commercial inter- 
ests demanding access to preserves continued to expand. Michael 
Nader, appointed assistant executive secretary during Murie's ill- 
ness, would direct much of these defensive tactics. Nader's watch 
guard efforts allowed Murie and Zahniser to coordinate an offen- 
sive. Hoping to capitalize on the momentum of Echo Park, Zah- 
niser revived his campaign for a national wilderness system. On 
another flank, Murie spearheaded a crusade to establish a nine 
million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, embracing 
the eastern portion of the Brooks range, its foothills and coastal 
shores. 254 

The efforts of Murie and Zahniser were as bold as they were 
novel. Zahniser's wilderness bill represented the first legislative 
attempt to provide legal protection for roadless, undeveloped areas. 
The Arctic wildlife refuge, aside from its unprecedented size, re- 
vealed a new trend in wilderness planning. Whereas previous 
refuges usually included relatively small areas set aside specifically 
to protect endangered species, Murie's proposal intended to pre- 
serve an entire ecosystem. 

Murie realized that without solid scientific knowledge his pro- 
posal could never succeed. Fortunately, much information already 
had been gathered. While employed by the Biological Survey, 
Murie had explored and studied the Koyukuk and Old Crow River 
valleys. Later, Bob Marshall supplemented this knowledge by 
mapping the Upper Koyukuk River. In addition, naturalists had 
conducted thorough investigations on the northern side of the 
range. No biological study, however, had been attempted within 
the Chandalar-Sheenjek River drainage, flowing southward from 
the range into the broad Yukon Flats. A concentrated study 
of this region, Murie reasoned, would complete the ecological 
information. 255 

In 1954 Murie had persuaded Fairfield Osborn, president of the 
New York Zoological Society, to finance such an expedition. His 
illness had interrupted plans. By early 1956, however, he had 
organized a team of researchers and secured additional support 
from the Conservation Foundation. 256 

25:i See, fo rexample, Nash, Wilderness and the American Mind, pp. 209- 
236, and McCIoskey, "Wilderness at the Crossroads," 1945-1970." 

254 "News Items of Interest," The Living Wilderness, Winter-Spring, 1956- 
1957, pp. 28-32. 

-"■•^Margaret Murie, Two in the Far North, pp. 326-329. 

-™Ibid., p. 326. 


On June 1, 1956, Keith Harrington, piloting a Cessna 180, 
transported the team from Fort Yukon to an unnamed lake near 
the Sheenjek River. Once settled, Brina Kessel, professor of zo- 
ology at the University of Alaska, began gathering data on bird 
and floral communities. Kessel was assisted by George Schaller, 
a graduate student of the University of Alaska, who would later 
achieve international recognition for his biological studies. Olaus, 
aided by Margaret, studied mammalian life forms. Each day 
mouse trap lines were laid, scats were collected and analyzed, and 
field observations were recorded. Robert Krear, a graduate stu- 
dent of the University of Colorado, filmed their activities. His 
documentary would later be produced by the Conservation Foun- 
dation and distributed to mass audiences. - >r ' 7 

The team worked throughout the summer. Periodically, their 
base camp was moved upriver by aircraft as they expanded their 
investigation. In mid-June, Donald G. MacLeod, the Wyoming 
physician who had diagnosed Murie's illness, joined the group. 
Observing his sixty-five-year-old patient scramble up steep moun- 
tainsides must have been as disconcerting as it was remarkable. 
A few days later, John Buckley, a biologist of the Fish and Wild- 
life Service, added his services to the study. During the last week 
of the expedition, William O. Douglas and his wife rendezvoused 
with the researchers. While confined to tents during a thunder- 
storm, Douglas entertained the team with accounts of his expe- 
riences in the Himalayas, Siam, other parts of Asia, the back 
country of Australia and northern Canada. During the three- 
month study, the team compiled necessary information of the 
interrelationships of the arctic environment. After a brief reunion 
with Otto Geist in Fairbanks, Murie returned home to Moose, 
Wyoming. 258 

To cultivate public sentiment for the wildlife refuge, Margaret 
and Olaus pooled their literary talents. Over the next few years 
the couple published articles in Audubon Magazine, The Living 
Wilderness, Animal Kingdom, National Parks Magazine, Outdoor 
America and numerous other periodicals. Their essays described 
the aesthetic and scientific value of the Arctic region. The couple 
also produced a script for the sixteen millimeter color film, "Letter 
from the Brooks Range." The widely circulated film contained 
scenes of caribou migrations, ptarmigan, ground squirrels, grizzly 
bears and impressive wildflower displays. The narration stressed 
that nine million acres comprised a relatively small area when 

25""News Items of Interest," The Living Wilderness, Winter-Spring, 1956- 
1957, pp. 28-29. 
™Ibid., p. 28. 


compared to the immense territorial needs of caribou and arctic 
wildlife. 259 

As publicity mounted, Murie lobbied effectively for the pro- 
posed wildlife refuge. In March, 1957, he easily persuaded mem- 
bers of the Fifth Biennial Wilderness Conference to endorse the 
refuge. The conference recommended that the Bureau of Land 
Management formally designate and administer the region "with 
the paramount objective of maintaining unimpaired the ecological 
condition within the area." 260 Shortly thereafter, Murie was 
invited to participate in a two-day meeting of the Interior De- 
partment's Advisory Committee on Fish and Wildlife. Interior 
Secretary Fred Seaton had called the conference to hear recom- 
mendations on the proposed Arctic wildlife refuge. Supplement- 
ing his testimony with a brief slide presentation, Murie pointed out 
that the region abounded with large game, including dall sheep, 
lynx, wolverine, grizzly bear and caribou. In addition, he empha- 
sized that the region provided an important breeding ground for 
migratory waterfowl. "Here the scientist, be he professional or 
amateur," he contended, will have the opportunity to study an 
undisturbed ecosystem. Here also, he concluded, people sensitive 
to natural beauty can gain inspiration and enjoy a primitive recrea- 
tional experience. 1261 

Interior Secretary Seaton's swift endorsement of an "Arctic 
Wildlife Range," revealed a compromise with economic realities. 
As differentiated from a wildlife refuge, a wildlife range allows 
hunting and trapping. His endorsement further stipulated that 
metalliferous mining would be permitted within the range. These 
concessions are understandable in light of the history of American 
attitudes toward wilderness. It was still difficult to deny the claims 
of civilization. Murie recognized the bill's imperfections, yet 
praised Seaton's decision as the first step toward Congressional 
authorization. 262 

Two years later, Murie's vision of a vast wilderness sanctuary 
gained support. Representative Herbert C. Bonner of North Car- 
olina and Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington introduced 
identical bills in the 86th Congress to establish an Arctic National 
Wildlife Range. Although preservationists predominated during 
the House Committee hearings, Alaskan Senator Ernest Gruening 
and Representative Ralph J. Rivers led an influential opposition. 

25'JGeorge Marshall, "Arctic Wildlife Range Film," The Living Wilder- 
ness, Summer, 1959, pp. 21-22. The article reviews the film. 

260 "News Items of Interest," The Living Wilderness, Spring, 1957, pp. 

261 "Arctic Wildlife Range," The Living Wilderness, Autumn, 1957, pp. 

*>-lbid., p. 31. 


Gruening, a conservationist of the utilitarian school, denounced the 
assumption that wild creatures possessed the right to exist for 
their own sake. Opening the testimony on June 30, 1959, he 
declared: "I do not believe we should conserve moose for the 
sake of future moose." Furthermore, he could see no "foreseeable" 
need for wildlife protection since the region was located in a 
"highly inaccessible" and "remote" area. His strongest argument 
cited that the withdrawal of nine million acres would deprive his 
state of $275,000 of federal funds for highway construction. 263 

Representatives from the Wildlife Management Federation, Wil- 
derness Society, Izaak Walton League, Department of Interior, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Citizens Committee on Natural Re- 
sources and other organizations refuted these charges. Murie be- 
lieved that the bill provided Americans the opportunity to "be 
farsighted." He argued that a democratic society should guarantee 
the rights of wildlife as well as humans. The proposed wildlife 
range could satisfy both. First, he asserted, it would recognize 
"that in the Arctic our wildlife must have more room, a greater 
living space for the food and the migrations needed by those ani- 
mals." In addition, the range would fulfill a psychological need 
of the American people. "Today," he stated, "more than ever 
before, when we are filling the continent with the necessary im- 
pediments of our civilization, we realize the importance of un- 
spoiled wilderness places for people." 264 Ross L. Leffler, Assis- 
tant Secretary of the Interior, challenged the argument that no 
protection was required. Considering "the dramatic increase in 
population" and "improved facilities and equipment for surface 
and air transportation," he contended, "the area will cease to be 
remote sooner than we think" 26r ' After Interior Secretary Seaton 
relieved Senator Gruening's suspicions that the range would de- 
prive Alaska of federal assistance for highway construction, the 
opposition dissipated. On July 30, 1959, the House Committee 
reported the Arctic Wildlife Range Bill (H.R. 7045) favorably 
without amendment. 266 

Murie experienced his most satisfying conservation victory on 
December 7, 1960, when Secretary Seaton announced the estab- 
lishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Range. While some pres- 
ervationists disparaged the Act's accommodations to commercial 

263 U.S. Senate, Senate Subcommittee on Interstate and Foreign Com- 
merce, Hearings ... on S. 1899, A Bill to authorize the establishment of 
The Arctic Wildlife Range, Alaska, 86th Cong., 1st Sess., pp. 3-11. 

26i Ibid., pp. 58-59. See also U.S. Congress, House, Subcommittee on 
Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation, Hearings on H.R. 7045. 86th Cong., 
1st Sess., pp. 172-173. 

2«5/Z>W., pp. 16-17. 

266"]sj ews items of Interest," The Living Wilderness, Summer. 1959, 
p. 23. 


interests and the relative absence of opposition, Murie realized that 
the refuge constituted a significant accomplishment. No longer 
must preservationists wait until wildlife was pushed to the brink 
of extinction to press for protection. He was encouraged by 
the knowledge that Americans had formally expressed their desire 
to retain the integrity of an entire ecosystem before disaster 

Although of importance, the Arctic range was second in priority 
to conservationists' desire to see wilderness given legal protection. 
After persuading Senator Hubert Humphrey and Representative 
John P. Saylor to introduce bills for the creation of a national 
wilderness preservation system in the second session of the 84th 
Congress, Zahniser diligently shepherded the bills through a seem- 
ingly endless succession of public hearings. Witnesses appearing 
before these hearings demonstrated the increased sentiment favor- 
ing wilderness. Murie joined leaders from over eleven major con- 
servation organizations to attend the first Congressional hearing in 
June of 1957.- ,iT Representation increased with each new series 
of hearings. Furthermore, the bills drew vociferous grassroots 
support. Thousands of concerned citizens wrote their congress- 
men favoring the legislation. Although Murie drafted the official 
Wilderness Society statement and gave extensive testimony at two 
Congressional hearings, Zahniser deserves most credit for the bill's 
final passage in July of 1964. 2GS 

The two-pronged offensive campaign of Murie and Zahniser 
netted important gains for the conservation movement. From a 
quantitative standpoint, the Wilderness Act in combination with 
the Arctic National Wildlife Range set aside nearly 18 million 
acres of unspoiled wilderness. More important, the acts revealed 
that by the early 1960s, the American attitude toward wilderness 
was changing. Wilderness had become something more than land 
which remained to be developed. Many Americans now began to 
accept the desirability of retaining primitive regions as a perma- 
nent feature of the landscape. Finally, preservationists correctly 
interpreted the two legislative acts as vindication of their combined 
efforts. Murie recognized this when commenting in February of 
1961: "It gives these efforts a government sanction, makes these 
high purposes a part of government policy — as much to say . . . 
Good work, more power to you." 269 

2C7 01aus Murie, "Statement on a bill to establish on public lands of the 
U.S. a National Wilderness Preservation system . . . presented before the 
Subcommittee on Public Lands Committee on Interior and Insular Af- 
fairs ... on lune 19-20, 1957," in OMC, Box 47, of CBDPL. 

- 6 *For a brief discussion of the development of the wilderness bill in 
Congress, see Nash. Wilderness and the American Mind, pp. 220-227. 

26»01aus Murie, "Statement to Senate Committee on Interior and Insular 
Affairs, February 28, 1961," in OMC, Box 46, WHRC. 


In the midst of victory, Murie perceived a new subtle threat to 
wild country. With the prescience of issues to come, Murie feared 
that the very appreciation which preservationists had strived to 
cultivate was now undermining the quality of the recreational expe- 
rience. National parks reported a phenomenal rise in tourism, a 
rise which might foreshadow a shift to artificiality in recreation. 
In 1956, Conrad Wirth, director of the National Park Service, esti- 
mated that the total number of park visitors had leaped from 
twenty-five million to fifty million, and speculated that by the end 
of the decade these figures would approach eighty million.- 7 " This 
was popularity which even Stephen Mather could not have wished 
upon the parks. The essence of the recreational experience, Murie 
warned, might be destroyed if national parks, monuments and 
forests were "opened-up" to hordes of people. 

As early as 1940, Murie had foreseen the danger in permitting 
mass recreation within national parks. In a letter to Robert Ster- 
ling Yard, later published in The Living Wilderness, he argued 
that "wilderness is for those who appreciate it." To explain his 
message, he compared national parks to an art gallery. "One feels 
uplifted," he wrote, when surrounded by people who sincerely 
enjoy fine painting. In contrast, one feels distressed when en- 
countering "conducted groups who are enjoying the lark, but are 
mostly missing the values offered." Paradoxically, this elitist 
stance placed quality of experience above his democratic ethic. 
Quality, he reasoned, should not be jeopardized by encouraging 
multitudes to flock to parks. The solitude of pristine areas could 
not be shared simultaneously by innumerable people.- 71 

Two decades later, Murie's concern had intensified. An alarm- 
ing gap between tourist facilities and vacationers in the national 
park system had prompted Congress to grant $48,866,300 for 
park improvements in 1956. This so-called "Mission 66" called 
for road construction as well as enlargement of outdated tourist 
and administrative facilities. Director Conrad Wirth hoped that 
this expansion could accommodate the anticipated influx of vaca- 
tioners by 1966 — the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the 
park service.- 7 - Preservationists remained skeptical. Murie hoped 
that the program would avoid the development excesses of the 
earlier Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Hotels and roads, 
as well as people, Murie realized, could cheapen the recreational 

-~°Richardson, Dams, Parks and Politics, pp. 112-113. 

- 71 01aus Murie, "Wilderness is for Those Who Appreciate It." The Living 
Wilderness, July, 1940, p. 18. 

27 -John Ise, Our National Park Policy, pp. 547-548. See also "Mission 
66 for Grand Teton National Park," National Park Service Memorandum. 
United States Department of the Interior, OMC. Box 46. CBDPL. 


During his last years, Murie attempted to ensure that the pro- 
grams of Mission 66 did not detract from the integrity of the 
national park system. He wrote detailed letters to Wirth outlining 
his criticisms, which ranged from a Shrine of Ages Chapel on the 
rim of the Grand Canyon to road building within Mount McKinley 
National Park. His sharpest criticisms, however, were reserved 
for "improvements" within Grand Teton National Park. One high- 
way, stretching from Jackson along the eastern bank of the Snake 
River, he argued would "add an urban veneer" and would invade 
"the sanctity" of Jackson Hole.-™ A second access road connect- 
ing with Jackson Lake Lodge, he cautioned, would destroy the 
nesting habitat of the trumpeter swan. Wirth defended construc- 
tion as a necessary accommodation to burgeoning park visitation. 
Murie acknowledged the need for development, but emphasized 
that quality in planning should not be forgotten. Planners, he 
believed, "must not be content to be merely administrative tech- 
nologists." Too often, he added, they neglect the needs of wildlife. 
In addition, too often developers "strive to bring wildlife and all 
nature's manifestations into our hotel rooms." Appreciation of 
nature was proportionate to the energy expended, he reminded 
Wirth. "We must get away from mass recreation, and strive for 
quality" in the recreational experience. 274 

Although critical of some components of Mission 66, Murie 
enthusiastically supported the National Park Service interpretive 
programs. His intimate knowledge of wildlife was often solicited 
by park officials. As late as the winter of 1961-1962, Murie col- 
laborated with archaeologists in an investigation of the ancient 
animal life of Mesa Verde National Park. He spent hours identi- 
fying cartons of fecal material shipped to Moose from an excava- 
tion within the park. 275 

In September of 1962, recurring health problems forced Murie 
to reduce his role with the Wilderness Society. During the Coun- 
cil's annual meeting, he announced his retirement as executive di- 
rector. 276 His conservation efforts, however, continued. In July 
of 1963, he traveled to Camp Denali within Mount McKinley 
National Park where he participated in the annual conference of 
the Society. It seems fitting that the naturalist should again be 
hiking over tundra and recording the habits of Alaskan wildlife 

- 73 01aus Murie to National Parks Association Board of Trustees, April 
20. 1957, in OMC, Box 46, CBDPL. 

- 74 01aus Murie to Conrad Wirth, January 3, 1956; Olaus Murie to Con- 
rad Wirth, December 10, 1957; Olaus Murie to Conrad Wirth, October 21, 
1957; Conrad Wirth to Olaus Murie, February 14, 1958; Olaus Murie to 
Conrad Wirth, March 13, 1958, OMC, Box 46, CBDPL. 

- 7r, 01aus Murie, "An Oral History," p. 20. 

27C "Wilderness Council in Wyoming," The Living Wilderness 82 (Winter- 
Spring, 1962-1963), p. 39. 


while simultaneously expressing concern over road construction 
within the park and commercial pressures on the Arctic National 
Wildlife Range. 

Until his death from cancer on October 21, 1963, his life con- 
sistently combined scientific and conservation interests. 


Olaus Murie's philosophy of the importance of wilderness em- 
bodied the logic of a scientist with the sensitivity of an artist. His 
professional training in combination with his field experience con- 
vinced him that preserving wild country was an ecological neces- 
sity. In addition, his philosophy embraced romantic overtones, 
reminiscent of those of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emer- 
son and other transcendentalists. He believed that wilderness be- 
longed to everyone and all deserved to share in its uplifting qual- 
ities. Moreover, Murie's scientific and humanistic interests were 
complementary. Science remained a tool to fathom nature's laws 
and the adaptation of all life to the environment. An artistic 
impulse, on the other hand, allowed appreciation of the beauty of 
nature's intricate web of inter-dependencies. This aesthetic appre- 
ciation of life fostered humility which Murie considered to be a 
prerequisite for an ethical relationship toward land. 

Murie participated in the last wave of the scientific frontier. 
Late in the 19th century, scientists such as John Wesley Powell, 
Clarence King and Ferdinand V. Hayden had explored and chart- 
ed much of the western portion of the United States. By the sec- 
ond decade of the 20th century, North America had been largely 
surveyed, classified and civilized. Only the far northland con- 
tained regions where blank spaces on maps remained. Murie's 
biological explorations of Hudson Bay, Labrador and Alaska pene- 
trated arctic sectors in which no white man had ventured. His 
field observations convinced him that exploration was a fundamen- 
tal impulse. Much like John Muir, he believed that centuries of a 
primitive existence had inculcated within man a yearning for ad- 
venture and close contact with nature. These deeply rooted im- 
pulses were something that urban life could never satisfy. Deprive 
modern man of periodic returns to wilderness and anxieties arose; 
indulge his primitive longings and mental and physical rejuvena- 
tion resulted. Throughout his career, Murie declined professional 
positions which required a transfer from the rugged environment 
of Jackson Hole to an urban setting. 

Murie's biological investigations contributed to the advancement 
of the rudimentary science of ecology. His "Alaska-Yukon Cari- 
bou" monograph demonstrated that plant life was intimately linked 
to the health and distribution of big game populations. His re- 
search into the food habits of the coyote shed light on the neces- 
sary role of predatory animals. Both studies revealed the myriad 


of inter-relationships functioning within the environment and influ- 
enced a reappraisal of management policies. Naturalists began to 
evolve from manipulating environmental factors to allowing the 
ecosystem to seek its natural equilibrium. He recognized that wild 
environments could serve as natural laboratories for ecological 
studies. Never content with the mere advancement of scientific 
theory, however, Murie applied his precepts at the level of land 
manager. During the late 1930s, he initiated experiments in "nat- 
ural elk management" which employed a "hands-off ' philosophy, 
an emphasis accepted today. 

Murie gradually became concerned that future game managers 
might become mere technicians or what he called "philosophical 
illiterates." Too often, he complained, naturalists ignore the im- 
plications of ecology. This new science implied respect for the 
rights of life and the sensitivities of all fellow beings. A scientific 
monograph, he contended, would be socially irresponsible unless 
it appraised the needs of wildlife in conjunction with an ever en- 
croaching civilization. 

Murie's retirement from the Biological Survey in 1945 and his 
subsequent appointment as Director of the Wilderness Society was 
not unique in the conservation movement. By the mid- 19 30s, 
many scientists, including Aldo Leopold and Robert Marshall, had 
abandoned their careers. Like Murie, these men had become dis- 
satisfied with the utilitarian resource policy practiced by their re- 
spective agencies. Their ideas clashed sharply with those who 
advocated an expansive and multiple-use program of resource 
management. These aesthetic conservationists believed that an in- 
creasingly urban and industrial society should place a premium on 
preservation of pristine regions. They were less influenced by the 
writings of George Perkins Marsh and John Wesley Powell than 
those of Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. There was little 
room in federal agencies for an individual strongly wedded to such 
"impractical" precepts. Murie felt more at ease defending wilder- 
ness and wildlife while presiding over the Wilderness Society. 

Murie's values and ideas paralleled those of many leaders of the 
preservation movement. He accepted the inevitability of progress, 
but cautioned against spoliation of wilderness, for it had intangible 
values. He crusaded for reform, yet remained essentially moder- 
ate, working within the political system. He believed that modern 
man could experience psychological release and find inspiration 
within a primitive environment. Wilderness areas were "fountains 
of life," sustaining mental as well as physical health. He was 
drawn to the writings of Ernest Thompson Seton, Henry David 
Thoreau and John Muir, all of which glorified the primitive. 
Moreover, his extensive travels in the Canadian and Alaskan fron- 
tiers had convinced him that wilderness appreciation was propor- 
tionate to the exertion expended. His was an extreme position 


which considered that the highest use constituted primitive recrea- 
tional use. 

Murie's professional training taught him to place personal integ- 
rity above pragmatic accommodation. His position was deter- 
mined more often by this conscious and scientific fact than by 
commercial or political expedience. Yet, Murie was willing to 
compromise on minor issues. Unlike "purists , ' such as Robert 
Sterling Yard, he supported the efficacy of compromise to main- 
tain unity within the conservation movement. He demonstrated 
this willingness by fighting to include Jackson (Lake) Reservoir 
as part of Grand Teton National Park and later, by advocating a 
compromise Arctic National Wildlife bill. Only through unity 
could conservationists achieve significant and enduring victory. 
This unity often necessitated flexibility and compromise. 

Through his career as a wilderness spokesman, Murie employed 
a democratic rationale for the continued existence of wild country. 
His childhood along the Red River of Minnesota had conditioned 
him to cherish the symbols and freedoms of the frontier. During 
his journeys to the far north, Murie was impressed by the frontiers- 
man's egalitarianism. Like Frederick Jackson Turner, he later 
argued that national characteristics, such as individualism, rigor- 
ousness and self-reliance, as well as traditions, including democ- 
racy, had developed from close interaction with untamed country. 
Moreover, Murie drew the conclusion that Turner had only im- 
plied: since American traditions and qualities had been influenced 
by the frontier, he reasoned that preservation of wilderness could 
ensure their perpetuation. Harking back to the ideas of Frederick 
Law Olmsted, Murie asserted that primitive country was for all the 
people, not just the wealthy or elite. Democratic principles as- 
sumed freedom in recreational opportunities. Too often, he com- 
plained, this freedom was subverted in the name of progress by 
thoughtless development. Murie believed that greater participa- 
tion in public planning in combination with a deeper appreciation 
of our pioneer ancestry could best guarantee the continued exis- 
tence of primitive country. Murie's democratic defense, however, 
contained contradictions, for he often advocated restricted use of 
wild country to preserve the quality of the recreational experience. 
He doubted that unlimited numbers of Americans simultaneously 
could use a limited wilderness environment without damaging its 
intangible resources. 

If sometimes contradictory, Murie's democratic defense was 
flexible. As the science of ecology gained popular acceptance, he 
expanded his defense to include the rights and needs of all life 
forms. This conviction helped to revise the Western, Judeo- 
Christian ethic which granted man benevolent usufruct of all 
floral and faunal resources. A democratic society, Murie contend- 
ed, should protect the rights to growth, nourishment and self- 


determination of all species; should preserve their rights against 
blatant extermination; and most importantly, should ensure that 
their essential purpose in the intricate chain of creation be not 
irrevocably destroyed. Murie's democratic ethic considered man 
but a fellow inhabitant in a complex biosphere and thereby en- 
larged his social responsibility to include all animate life. In short, 
Murie's democratic defense of wilderness and wildlife helped to 
formulate a new environmental consciousness, an awareness grad- 
ually acquiring acceptance today. 

Murie helped to chart the direction of the conservation move- 
ment. He realized that without broad public support preservation 
could never succeed. Fortunately, Murie benefited from skillful 
reformulations of wilderness rationales. The psychological studies 
of Sigmund Freud and the frontier thesis of Frederick Jackson 
Turner as well as the land ethic of Aldo Leopold modernized 
justifications for pristine country. Armed with persuasive wilder- 
ness rationales, Murie helped to mold public sentiment, resulting 
in successful wilderness protection and eventually positive legisla- 
tive affirmation of wilderness. 

No single person or organization can claim responsibility for the 
conservation victories of the mid-twentieth century. It was a col- 
lective effort. A small coterie of trained leaders combined with 
an aroused public to convince Americans of the necessity of re- 
taining wilderness as a permanent feature of the American land- 
scape. Murie was one of this select few. His scientific studies, 
his efforts as spokesman for an influential conservation organiza- 
tion and his thoughtful and impassioned writings earn him a prom- 
inent position in the ranks of American preservationists. 

Seven Cetters 9 r wm 
Zhe Wyoming Zerritory 


Introductory Note by Paul H. Giddens 

When I was searching for materials for my book, The Birth of 
the Oil Industry, I examined many newspapers published in the 
Pennsylvania oil region in the 1860s and 1870s — the Titusville 
Morning Herald, the Bradford Era, the Oil City Derrick, the Oil 
City Register, The Venango Spectator (Franklin), the Crawford 
Democrat, (Meadville), The Warren Mail and others. 

One of the features that I frequently found in these newspapers 
was the publication of letters from some local citizen who was on a 
trip to the region west of the Mississippi River or else he had 
moved into that region. To let friends know what the West was 
like, they often wrote letters to the editor which were published 
in the local newspaper. 

In the Titusville Morning Herald I found seven letters written 
from the Wyoming Territory in July, August and December, 1870, 
and in February and April, 1871. Four were written from Fort 
Laramie, two from Rawlings Springs and one from the mouth 
of the Fontenelle River. Five were written by "Frontier," two by 
"C.E.W." and one by a J. Pomeroy. I have been unable to 
identify the writers but I am inclined to believe that they lived in 
Titusville at one time. 

The letters contain comments and observations upon Indian life 
and wars, Red Cloud, the Big Horn Expedition, army life on the 
frontier, the character of Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlings Springs 
and Greeley (Colorado), Fort David A. Russell, Fort Fetterman, 
the sterility of the country, mining and stock raising, the Green 
River Valley, the Rawlings Cornet Band and Pennsylvanians in the 
Wyoming Territory. 

Editorial Note 

Of the three individuals who wrote "Letters From the Wyoming 
Territory," only one can be conclusively identified. Details from 
the letters by the other two writers and other research sources 
have led Annals editors to attempt identification of them, too. 

"J. Pomeroy" was almost certainly Justin J. Pomeroy, an early 
Fontenelle Valley pioneer. Pomeroy and his family followed the 


construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Pomeroy and his two 
sons were construction workers on the track. Mrs. Pomeroy and a 
daughter kept a boarding house at Dale Creek where they fur- 
nished meals to track laborers. Later, they operated a hotel at 

By the end of the 1860s, they were living in Bryan, Wyoming. 
Pomeroy freighted merchandise from there to South Pass City. 
He wintered his livestock in the Fontenelle Valley. In 1870 the 
family moved to Kansas, returning four years later. 

Justin Pomeroy was the first postmaster at Fontenelle. He was 
listed in the 1880 census for that area as a sixty-one-year-old na- 
tive of Massachusetts. His connection to the Titusville area is 

C. E. W. may have been Charles E. Willson, listed in the 1 870 
Rawlins census as a thirty-two-year-old lawyer. Maryland was 
given as his place of birth. Annals editors base their identification 
on the initials, the contents of the letters and the style of writing. 

Although the writer cannot be conclusively stated, two people 
mentioned in the letter can be identified. One "CEW" letter 
refers to Robert H. Baxter. According to the 1870 census, Baxter, 
thirty-two years old, was a section foreman for the Union Pacific. 
He and his wife Ellen had four children. (One son, Robert H., 
Jr., died in California in 1940.) The elder Baxter was a Union 
Pacific roadmaster between Rawlins and Green River for many 

Another name from the letter is "Elvington Phillips." Although 
there is no listing for that name in the 1870 Rawlins census, Edwin 
Phillips is recorded. He was a thirty-year-old Ohio native who 
worked as a bookkeeper. Another Willson, William, is listed as 
being a Pennsylvania native and a bookkeeper. Possibly he and 
Charles were brothers, although such a relationship is supposition. 

The Willson connection to Titusville, Pennsylvania, is also un- 
known. It is possible that he had some interest in the oil drilling 
activity in the area. Perhaps he was an investor. 

The third letter writer is the most difficult to identify. He used 
the pen name "Frontier," eliminating any opportunity to base 
identification on name or initials. "Frontier" apparently was a 
popular nom de plume for Western correspondents during this 
period. (See Montana. The Magazine of Western History, Au- 
tumn, 1978, p. 20.) 

From details in one letter it can be assumed he was an enlisted 
man. The pen name itself may indicate his enlisted status because 
army service was very unpopular in that period. After the Civil 
War, it was commonly assumed that only "ne'er-do-wells" enlisted 
in the service. Certainly, if he were writing to his hometown, he 
wouldn't want to be so identified. 

The writer gives another clue to his rank. He mentions that he 


escorted the mail, adding that a corporal and two privates were 
assigned such duty. 

His mention of "lint" in the hospital marked from the ladies of 
"Crawford Co., Pa.," is interesting. He may have been either 
assigned to the hospital as a temporary steward or a hospitalized 
soldier. It is unlikely that he was there due to illness because he 
probably would not have had contact with supplies. He was cer- 
tainly not a permanent steward because they were not assigned 
duty as mail escorts. 

An entry in the "Medical History of Fort Laramie" indicates 
that a Private Charles J. Allen, Co. F, Fourth Infantry, was as- 
signed to temporary duty at the Post Hospital on July 29, 1870. 
He served there until relieved on January 10, 1871. The 1870 
census for Fort Laramie lists Allen's birthplace as Pennsylvania. 

An entry in the "Post Returns" for Fort Laramie of March, 
1871, indicates that Allen's company was reassigned to Louisville, 
Kentucky, leaving the fort on March 14. Allen's letters from the 
West may have ended because he was no longer "west." 

The evidence that the writer was indeed Allen is not conclusive. 
Based on historical record and the letters themselves, however. 
Allen appears to be a likely "Frontier." 

Fort Laramie, Wyoming Ter., 
July 27, 1870 

All is quiet on the Laramie post at present, but I am of the 
belief we shall be involved in an Indian war unless something is 
done before many months. Red Cloud, it is reported, is gathering 
his tribe and preparing his warriors to open hostilities. There are 
few lodges left here but that is supposed to be a blind. That there 
are an inadequate number of troops here and at Fort Fetterman is 
quite evident. To-day there are but 225 men and officers at that 
post or four companies, which should be at maximum strength 
470. Of these nearly one-third will be discharged by reason of 
expiration of term of service, during the month of August. The 
command of Fort Fetterman is in the same condition, with a still 
larger ratio to go out. If there is any intention to fight the "poor 
Indian" there must be reinforcements soon or the country will be 
startled by the news of fearful and frequent massacres. Great 
anxiety is felt for the safety of the "Big Horn Expedition." which 
left Cheyenne some two months ago for Big Horn Mountains, 
nothing reliable having been heard from them in some time. It is 
thought they may have been surprised by Indians on the route 
there. This belief is strengthened by the recent slaughter of miners 
by the Cheyennes near Laramie City. 

Of all the dull and unendurable lives the one of a soldier on the 
plains is the worst. It is just dragging out a miserable existence. 


Nothing in view but the parched and arid bluffs on all sides, the 
only green spot to be seen is along the river where a few miserable 
bushes manage to live. 

You cannot have any idea of the sterility of the country without 
seeing it, all sand and gravel, hardly any vegetation, a short wiry 
grass without apparent sap, and a few varieties of stunted cactus 
constitute the catalogue. 

There are miles and miles of country without the least water, 
and on the road between watering places, and old roadsters say 
it is the best piece of road in this country in that respect. There 
are two gardens at this post, which by hard labor, deep manuring 
and constant irrigation are kept in some semblance of cultivation. 

Living in "Doby Brick," (mud sun dried) quarters infested with 
bedbugs, on guard every night is enough to make any man wish 
himself in a civilized country, and out of the army, yet the men 
manage to pass away the time. In going through the quarters at 
almost any time of the day, you will see men "off-duty" stretched 
out on their Buffalo robes, "sleeping out their five years." 

However we have our little amusements, the post (Regimental) 
Band entertains us with choice music for an hour every evening. 
Then the Post Reading Room furnishes us with a few leading 
journals of the day, and a choice library of about one hundred 
and fifty volumes. 

There is also a dramatic association composed of Officers 
and their ladies, who once in two weeks contribute greatly to our 
enjoyment and for amature performances they are very good. 

Nearly all of our officers having gracefully dropped their brevet 
rank (lately abolished) without awaiting the order to that effect, 
and, in consequence, instead of "General," "Colonels," or "Ma- 
jors," we have plain "Captain" and "Lieutenant." "O! what a 
fall was there!" Some of them were loth, no doubt, to tear from 
their shoulders what did them so much honor (?) but it was 
inevitable, so with a sigh they assumed their lineal rank and pa- 
tiently await some more substantial token for past services from 
the hand of their grateful (?) countrymen. Some very cruel jokes 
were cracked at their expense by those officers who were not hon- 
ored by brevet rank, but they bore it bravely and kept a smiling 

The sanitary condition of the command is excellent, but a few 
cases of sickness being treated at the present time at the Post 
Hospital. The moral condition is very poor, but better since the 
sutler has been prohibited selling whiskey, which was the worst I 
ever tasted; and at the moderate price of twenty-five cents per 

The "boys" however, get beer at the same price per glass at 
"'Brown's Ranche," across the river, which I should judge was fully 


as poor as the "Shoe Fly Beer" so graphically described in a late 
number of your paper. More anon. 

Titusville Morning Herald, August 12, 1870 

Fort Larmie, August 4, 1870 
Were you ever in Cheyenne? You may have been, but not 
lately I think. Well, it is at the present time the most tumbled 
down affair you ever saw. I had occasion to go there the other 
day in mail escort and with difficulty found the town hid as it was 
with three years collection of rubbish, the houses are mostly frame 
and adobe brick (pronounced "doby") which, are a mixture of 
clay and straw made into bricks 14 by 8 inches; sun dried they 
make very comfortable houses, but not very durable. In the center 
of the streets was a miscellaneous collection of tin cans, old boots, 
broken crockery, barrels, etc, enough to choke up the road. I was 
informed by a bystander that the city authorities were discussing 
with becoming gravity the question, to clean the streets or move 
the town. 

Vice and filth go hand in hand; keno and faro are played openly 
and advertised on the street corners by flaming posters. Nearly 
everyone plays and the game goes on without the least check 
(except the want of stamps.) Prostitutes parade the streets at all 

-Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 
Cheyenne, 1878 


times of day and night, flaunting their gay dresses, and smiling 
and leering as only that class can do. 

There are some traces of past prosperity and more of decay in 
this wonderful city. It came up as it were, in a night, and has had 
its time of usefulness, and is now fast going to decay. The only 
structures of any importance, are the U.P.R.R., machine shops, 
which are well built and have a very substantial appearance. 

Fort David A. Russell is about three miles from the town, which 
is a twelve company post. The garrison consists of five compa- 
nies & the 5th Calvary and H Company of the 9th infantry. 

The post is commanded by Brevet Major General King, Colonel 
9th Infantry, and is headquarters of that regiment. 

Carlins camp is situated half way between the post and town, 
and is the depot quartermaster's stores for this portion of the 

The trip between here and Cheyenne occupies two days — the 
first day to Chug station, where are stationed a detachment of the 
4th infantry and a detachment of the 5th Cavalry; the next day we 
arrive in Cheyenne about 4 p.m. 

The scenery between the fort (Laramie) and Chug station is 
very grand, a line of bluffs rising ninety to one hundred and fifty 
feet in height, running for miles, broken up by passages between, 
look like some old Castle of medieval times, crumbling into ruins. 
The rest of the route is flat and uninteresting. 

The mail is accompanied by an escort of a corporal and two 

There is no reliable news regarding Red Cloud. Some say he 
is coming in to make peace, others think not. 

The Big Horn expedition have been heard from. They report 
no Indians, but their supplies are fast giving out, and they must 
have aid soon or give it up as a bad job. 

There are the usual number of rascally half breeds and Indians 
hanging around the post during the day; at night they leave for 
their "Tepee" (Sioux for house,) which is composed of a dozen 
stout poles tied at the top with strips of Buffalo hide, and set up in 
the form of a cone; they are covered with Buffalo hides, an opening 
at the bottom for entrance and a small one at the top for ventila- 
tion. In the morning they come back on ponies or mules, and 
some on horses, sometimes two or three on one animal. The 
squaws not having been accustomed to the luxury of the side saddle 
do not ride sidewise but "otherwise." The squaws have a weak- 
ness for paint, and in this respect are like their "white face" sisters, 
only they don't show as good taste in its application. They are 
considered to be in the heighth of fashion with their faces and part 
of their hair daubed profusely with Chinese vermillion. They may 
be found at any time around the company mess house and the 
Sutler store, waiting to receive all that may be offered or that they 


can make away with. It is astonishing to see what a quantity of 
food one of them will get away with. I fed one old fellow till I 
thought he would burst, and still he was not satisfied. If a platter 
full of baked beans, two loaves of bread, and a quart of Irish stew 
would not satisfy him, what more could I do? They evidently 
have a "sweet tooth," as they will trade anything they possess for 
a little sugar. 

The paymaster (Major Burbank) made his appearance on his 
bi-monthly visit to pay the garrison on the 27th ultimo. The most 
of the money went to the Sutlers for "red eye," and the conse- 
quences are a number of cases in the hospital, broken heads, black 
eyes, and twelve cases for court martial. Besides, there are a num- 
ber carrying logs weighing from twenty to thirty pounds, from 
fifteen to thirty days, for various offences. 

You may think this is a very immoral post, not at all, nothing 
more so than any other post. 1 have served at Posts east and west 
and I see no difference. 

Whiskey is the soldier's curse; a soldier who does not drink is 
rare; and if he does not on entering the army his good principles 
are soon overcome and he sinks to the level of his associates. It 
is whiskey that leads men to do most if not all that gets them into 
trouble, and in consequence drink to their own misery, but the 
fascination of the cup covers it and they curse their ill luck and 
drink the deeper. 

I wonder if the kind ladies of the Christian Commission have 
any idea that their work is still felt in the army, yet, it is and are 
remembered too with grateful feelings by many a poor, sick soldier. 

I found among the supplies of the Post Hospital at this place, a 
roll of lint with the inscription "From the ladies of Crawford Co., 
Pa." written on it. I find, also, bandages, pillows and various 
articles with the Christian Commission stamp upon them, showing 
that the great work of four years is still felt although the impulse 
that brought into life has ceased. We cannot complete the good 
the U.S. Christian Commission has done, and is still doing, though 
it is no more. 

Titusville Morning Herald — August 22, 1870 

Fort Laramie, W. T. 
August 28, 1870 
Editors Morning Herald : 

You no doubt wonder at my silence for the period of two weeks, 
though no doubt your columns have been filled with fully as inter- 
esting items as I could contribute. 

There is little news of importance to chronicle; the Indians, are 
quiet and friendly parties visit the post daily; the report is that Red 



— Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 
Fort Laramie, Late August, 1870 

Cloud is doing all in his power to induce his tribe to make peace 
and is traveling among the northern bands to have them come to 
his post for a council, he is expected in himself every day. 

Red Cloud has decided antipathy to whiskey, and says the white 
man who brings it to his camp shall die. He also says it makes 
his warriors fools and they then commit deeds for which he nor 
the chiefs of his tribes will be responsible for they not being con- 
trolable when under its influence. 

Red Cloud is above six feet in height, commanding figure, erect, 
and of much better appearance than any of his tribe. He speaks 
fluently and rapidly, with much gesticulation, in fact half of the 
conversation is carried on by signs. 

The Indian divides his time into "sleeps," "moons." and "sum- 
mers," meaning days, months, and years. 

The Indians are well armed with revolvers, carbines and rifles; 
they nearly all also carry a bow and a knife. Some of their weap- 
ons are of terrible appearance. I have a tomahawk in my posses- 
sion which consists of a spike on one side and a pipe-bowl on the 
other, the handle serving for a stem. They keep a tally of the 
number of scalps taken by cutting notches on their knifes and 

The Indians bury their dead in the branches of trees or in rough 
boxes. All their portable property is buried with them. They are 
wrapped in their robes or blankets, with their weapons, scalps, 
pipes, etc., and the more that is buried with them the greater re- 
spect is shown the relative of the deceased warrior. 

If any of them are sick the whole tribe gather around the "tiepe" 
and commence a series of the most dismal howls and yellings to 
frighten away the "evil spirit" which is supposed to possess the 
patient. In my opinion it would be more liable to kill than to cure. 

All the Sioux I have seen are well mounted, having horses, 
ponies, and mules in large numbers, and of the best quality. An 


Indian's greatness is estimated by his possession of stock, number 
of scalps, and his ability as a big talker. The right of marriage is 
simply a bargain between the would be husband, the parents of his 
would be bride, a pony and perhaps a buffalo robe thrown in is 
the average price. I wonder how our eastern girls would like such 
a procedure? 

Squaws generally make all the bead work, and some show great 
skill in arranging patterns for mocassins and tobacco pouches. I 
have seen almost every papoose that comes into camp, and have 
been to their camps, and have never heard one have a real baby 
cry; they may whimper but crying is altogether foreign to their 

Their love of gay colors is very noticeable, you can trade a gay 
colored piece of cloth twice as quick as one of twice its value of a 
sober tint. Red and blue flannel constitute a great part of a 
trader's outfit. 

Game is not very abundant in the immediate vicinity of the post; 
there are antelope and deer a few miles out but buffalo are scarce 
in this vicinity. Fish are plenty and easily caught both in the 
Laramie and Platte rivers, they are mostly catfish and pike, they 
lack, however, that sweetness of the varieties caught in eastern 

The fuel for the post is gathered in ravines and along the river, 
and consists of scrub pine and cedar, for which the government 
pays eleven dollars per cord. The logs for lumber are procured 
from Laramie Peak, some sixty miles distant, and are drawn by 

On the 22d inst. a brilliant meteor passed over the post at about 
7 o'clock p.m. — direction, from southwest to northeast. 

The weather this month has been very cold, more like Novem- 
ber than August fires being necessary seven days in the week for 
anything like comfort, the lowest point reached was on the 19th 
inst. when the thermometer indicated 34°. The average of the 
coldest day was 41.33°. How is that for August? 

If I am not frozen out I will write again soon. Yours, 

Titusville Morning Herald, September 7, 1870 

Rawlings Springs, Wy., 
December 26, 1870 
Editors Morning Herald: 

From the fact that quite a large number of Pennsylvanians are 
resident in Wyoming, I have no doubt but a few observations in 
relation to this country will prove interesting to your readers. 

The New Territory named, I believe, in honor of one of the 
counties in the old Keystone State, is improving with wonderful 
rapidity. While Laramie was yet a portion of Dacotah, Cheyenne, 


the "magic city," came into existence Minerva-like, and is now a 
town of large population and a commercial mart for the territory. 
Next in importance comes Laramie City, which is a fast growing 
place. Churches, schools, manufactories, and colleges flourish; the 
arts and sciences are propagated and newspapers flourish. 

Mining and stock raising are subjects which engage much atten- 
tion, and next year there will be vast amounts of capital invested. 
The extensive deposits of coal, iron, copper and paint ore, need 
only to be developed to expose riches that will prove the assertion. 
Adjoining is the Eldorado of the new world, Rawlings Springs, 
which is the county seat of Carbon County — an enterprising little 
town of seven or eight hundred inhabitants. There are large build- 
ings erected here for the use of the U.P.R.R. Co., and the works 
furnish employment to many men. We have a large hotel, college, 
school house, a place of worship, a summer resort — at the springs, 
a public reading room, a literary society, and a silver band that is 
second to none in the western country. This town is celebrated 
as being the only spot along the railroad, in Wyoming, where the 
noble red men ever came to grief. In four different attacks on the 
town, the Indians were as many times repulsed with losses and in 
no instance was a white man injured. 

Evlington Phillips whilom of the "oil regions" is one of our 
prominent citizens. He being an officer of the railroad company, 
possesses superior facilities for obtaining knowledge as to the ex- 
tent of our country's resources, and he pronounces the same to be 
rich. He and his accomplished lady are the life of our little social 
circle and highly respected in the community. Robert Baxter and 
many others formerly of Titus ville and other portions of Penna. 
are also here. They are doing well. 

To those persons who are desirous of seeking new homes — here 
in the Far West — it will no doubt prove gratifying to learn the 

— Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 
Bull Team at Rawlins, 1869 


actual surveys of the lands as the Great Highway are soon to be 
made. These lands are suitable for grazing, agriculture purposes 
and mining. When in the market they will sell rapidly. 

A company from N. Y. is taking out large quantities of paint 
ore, which is designed for use in the manufacture of paint and 
Salamander Chests. This article can be used for various other 

It is very cold here. The mercury at one time this month stood 
at 28 degrees below zero. We are having the coldest weather 
known in this country for five years. 

C. E. W. 
Titusville Morning Herald — January 2, 1871. 

Rawlings Springs 
Wy. Territory, Feb. 8, 1871 
Editors Morning Herald: 

Returned on a tidal wave it is time, perhaps, your correspondent 
be again heard from. During the few weeks that have elapsed 
since I had the pleasure to communicate with your readers there 
has been a marked change in the business affairs of our young 
Territory. Now, instead of the insecurity to life and property, and 
the social sluggishness that characterized the frontier in the early 
days, there appears to be a vivacity, intelligence and refinement 
among the people, and business enterprise that foretells prosperity. 
We have in the principal cities of the territories, manufactories, 
colleges, schools and fine art galleries, and the busy hum of trade 
and commerce is heard everywhere. 

In a few short years, it is confidently expected that the entrepot 
in Wyoming — Cheyenne — will be connected with Helena, Mon- 
tana, by rail, and also connections with roads running East, as 
also means of transportation for our mineral productions and 
yields from Agriculture pursuits and stock raising. A fine quality 
of wool will be gathered in the present year, Sheep raising has been 
tried and proven a success. To those who feel an inclination for 
new life, new changes and healthy pursuits, the fields of Wyoming 
present rare inducements, as a perusal of Dr. Reed's report as 
Surveyor General will evince, and to which attention is respectfully 
directed. Our climate is delightful, scenery beautiful ( that no poet 
can deny) and nature when in her more propitious mood presents 
varied charms to the painter, the hunter, the mineralogist, the lover 
of piscatory and acquatic sports, and I am sure the philosopher 
could find many pleasant walks without fear of stumbling over his 
patron rock. 

With all these mirror type expositions however, the citizens, 
especially of Rawlings, are occasionally greeted with visits from 
our Indian "relations," and only two weeks since a small band 
made a feint on the town, and indeed if the Cold snap to the north- 



— M. D. Houghton Photo 

Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 

Freight Wagon at Rawlins, 1882 or 1883 
Schoolhouse and County Courthouse in Background 

ward of us continues longer we may expect many more of them, 
with their legendary tales and superstitions praying for an armis- 
tice, and proposing "terms" of peace, as they will need food. 
Those of your readers who understand Indian character will doubt- 
less conclude that the creatures have heard from Congress, but 
that's all a joke. There are lots of Red Cloud's "bummers" con- 
tinually "around" picking up horses and occasionally a stray scalp. 
A funny incident occured last summer, and one which, singular as 
it was in its denoument, caused many old hunters to wonder on 
"the uncertitude of human life." A colored girl whose name was 
Susannah, was with a train of immigrants from Mobile en route 
for Oregon. While near this place they were attacked by Indians 
and Susannah captured. An eye witness to the affair remarks 
afterwards that the girl was borne away triumphantly by a Chief, 
in his arms. 

"When Sioux met Suse then came the bug of War." This is 

It would surprise many to learn that we have away here in the 
Rocky Mountains some decided musical talent. On the night of 
the second, the Rawlings Springs Cornet band, assisted by amateur 
talent, gave a grand concert in aid of Free Education. The selec- 
tions were very fine, and their rendition would defy Criticism — 
almost. Especially the efforts of Messrs. Devoid, Elvington Phil- 


lips, Esq., and other leading performers, were perfect and exqui- 
sitely and charmingly rendered. The vocal music was of no mean 
order. The affair, which was attended by persons from nearly 
every portion of the territory, was a decided success, and will add 
largely to the effect desired, and to so noble a project as instructing 
the young. 

From Utah the intelligence comes daily that fortunes are being 
made out of the silver mines near the City of Saints. Ever and 
anon the thud and heavy thumping of burden trains is heard, the 
cars loaded with ore, seeking its way to the East. The rapid 
strides that Civilization has made in the hitherto benighted regions 
of Mormonism (and which is due to the great measure providing 
for the Constructing of the Union Pacific Railway) has given a 
fresh and sudden impetus to enterprise. Capital finds its way in 
there and receives its reward for hire. The streets of Salt Lake 
are alive with people, and the principal thoroughfare crowded with 
Quartz brokers. 

A due regard for the opinion of men should impel writers to the 
observance of propriety, so I will close my letters with the promise 
of more anon. 

C. E. W. 
Titusville Morning Herald — February 18, 1871 

Fort Laramie, W.T. 
February, 17th, 1871 
Editors Morning Herald: 

My business completed I returned from Denver, Col. on the 
12th inst; on my way back I made a short stay at the Greeley 
colony and Fort D. A. Russell, W.T. The Greeley colony seems 
to be in a flourishing condition. There is a fair sprinkling of the 
down east Yankee among the steady going western farmers who 
have settled here, in fact nearly every portion of the country is 
represented. One of the peculiarities of the colony is that no 
liquor of any kind is allowed to be sold in the colony limits. They 
can boast of one very substantial brick block among the many 
shanties, and many houses are building that will be an ornament 
to the town. The country around is excellent for grazing purposes 
and I am assured by old "rancheros" that it is the best "sheep 
country" in the world. Cheyenne appears to be on the decline; 
the numerous fires of late have devastated the greater portion of 
the town, and very little building is going on. The greater part of 
the business of the town is in liquor and segars, the numerous 
saloons doing a flourishing business, the greater part of the cus- 
tomers being from Fort Russell some three miles distant. 

The garrison of Fort Russell is twelve companies for the winter, 
but as soon as spring opens the greater part will take the field. 


On Monday morning the 6th inst., a fire was discovered in the first 
sergeant's room of Company B, of the 14th Infantry, and before 
the alarm could be made general the whole building was in flames; 
the men lost the greater part of their clothing, arms, etc.; none of 
the company records were saved. It was currently reported that 
the building was fired by the first sergeant to cover his deficiency 
in arms and other government property. The loss to the men is 
severe; some having saved only sufficient clothing to decently cover 

Fort Russell is still the headquarters of the 9th Infantry, and the 
garrison consists of four companies of the 3d Infantry, and four 
companies of the 5th Cavalry. 

At this post (Fort Laramie) no changes have taken place. Gen- 
eral Augur is at present at the post on Indian business. The Sioux 
and Cheyenne tribes are mostly camped about two miles down the 
Platte River, and come in daily for rations; they say they are 
starving and that they can get no ammunition. There has been 
small issues of ammunition to them for past two weeks. 

There are rumored changes of commanders and regiments in 
this department as soon as spring opens, but where we shall go is 
yet an uncertainty. This regiment is certainly entitled to good 
quarters for a time at least, after four year's service on the fron- 
tiers. One of the rumors at present is that the regiment will go 
to the Department of the Lakes, headquarters at Fort Porter, Buf- 
falo, but that is hardly possible, and I do not expect it. 

There is very little encouragement for anyone to serve in the 
army at present. To all appearances the pay will be reduced to 
eleven dollars per month on the 30th of June, and the clothing 
allowance has been reduced to less than one-half what it was, mak- 
ing very little for a soldier to live on, and it would be a poor man 
indeed that could not do better in civil life. The present admin- 
istration of the army has ground the enlisted men of the army to 
the very dust, taking away every privilege and liberty that they 
have previously enjoyed, and now doing an injustice to all those 
who enlisted prior to the 30th of June, 1869, by reducing the pay. 
If this state of affairs continue, I can safely say that the number 
of desertions will be double than they have ever been. 

The Herald is regularly received, and eagerly read not only by 
myself, but by others who have been there and who, though far 
away, are still interested in oil. The mails are very regular for this 
season of the year, and only one delay has yet occurred this season. 

The weather is cold and blustering, with a light snow; the wind 
in this country seems to be constantly in motion, and sometimes 
we have a hurricane for twenty-four hours together. A calm day 
at this season is a rarity, and if the sun should come out we con- 


sider ourselves fortunate. If there will be one glad to get back 
into the States out of this regiment it will be 

Titusville Morning Herald, February 27, 1871 

At the Mouth of the Fontenelle River, W.T. 

April 19th, 1871 
Editors Morning Herald: 

This great Western Country is at present exciting so much inter- 
est in the Community east of the Missouri that I drop you a line 
from a point not usually struck by Bohemians in their newspaperial 

Fontenelle, where I am at present ranching, is situated about 
fifty miles north of Bryan Station, on the Union Pacific Railroad, 
and about nine hundred miles west of Omaha. 

The stream takes its course in the Green River Mountains, two 
hundred miles above this point, and empties into Green River, a 
large and beautiful stream, whose waters are clear and pelucid, and 
perfectly clear of alkili, a source of evil to many Western streams. 
The valley here is beautiful in every respect, the soil rich, grass 
abundant, and the weather mild the year around. The past winter 
there has not fallen, at any one time, two inches of snow in this 
valley, and yet not twenty miles away, the snowy ranges are cov- 
ered with snow to the depth of from ten to thirty feet. These 
mountains are also covered with pines equal to those of Wisconsin 
or those of the extreme New England States. 

The soil in the lower valleys can be, and often is, tilled with 
gratifying results of rich and abundant crops. 

As a cattle grazing country it cannot be equalled in the world, 
and today, within sight of my door, I have a large herd who are 
reveling in the luxury of young grass. There is still land here, 
thousands upon thousands of acres in this Green River and adja- 
cent valleys, that can be had for nothing. No speculators to bleed 
the immigrants — no government red-tapeism interfere with settlers, 
and further, no annoyance from Indians. 

Game can be had at the price of cartridges and time occupied 
in shooting the animals — elks, antelope, black tailed deer, also, 
wild turkey, prairie chickens, ducks and wild geese are numerous, 
while the streams are so flooded with beautiful speckled trout that 
the angler can take enough in a half an hour to almost supply the 
hotel. The head waters of the Green River and Fontenelle are at 
present occupied by trappers and hunters as well as gold prospec- 
tors. The former are of that peculiar species of wandering mortals 
who care for nought but their pony, buckskin suit, buffalo robe, 
arms and ammunition and a few traps. When trapping is not 
good the gold pan is used, hence between the steel and copper 
they often reap during the season of six or seven months a rich 


golden harvest, which they manage to enjoy during the winter 
months. The furs they secure are the otter, mink, and beaver. 
Other kinds are also taken, but are not so valuable, hence are not 
so much sought for. 

The gold found in the range or on the tributaries to Green River 
is decidedly rich and very pure. A party of prospectors with tools 
and materials for building sluices and runways, left here a few days 
ago for a point about one hundred miles west, where several rich 
"pockets" that panned out well had been discovered. 

This is about the season when that class of men start for the hills 
and if the one referred to above makes a hit, or, as we used to say 
in "Oildom," "strikes oil," the latter end of the season will see 
another immense rush to new diggings. 

Some evidence of silver, copper and coal have been found in 
this same range of mountains, but never examined it thoroughly. 

Chance L. Harris, an old hand in the oil region, but afterwards 
a mountain correspondent, was a guest at my ranch a day or two 
ago. He has been on the editorial staff of the Omaha Republican 
and Council Bluffs Times for the past two years; but about two 
months ago he tired of the States, and is again taking notes in the 
saddle, and very sensibly confines himself to the extreme interior, 
where newspaper men have never been, thus gathering items of 
news and importance never before published. To those interested 
in his welfare, I will say he is en route to these headquarters, men- 
tioned in the first part of my letter, and from thence purposes to 
strike over land to the extreme interior of Arizona; a truly danger- 
ous trip, but, as Chance himself expresses it, he is "well heeled," 
and will have long tried company 

Titusville Morning Herald — May 3, 1871 

John fc Kendrick 's Tight for 
Western Water Cegislation, 



Eugene T. Carroll 


Wyoming's first forty years of statehood parallel the careers of 
the three "grand old men" of state politics: Joseph M. Carey, 
Francis E. Warren and John B. Kendrick. Each man, in his own 
way, contributed his energy and ingenuity to the progress of his 
particular political party and the state of Wyoming within those 
four decades. 

Kendrick, who was just starting his cattle business when Wyo- 
ming was admitted to the Union, began his political career in 1910 
as a state senator from Sheridan County, was elected governor in 
1914 and United States Senator in 1916, serving in that latter 
office until his death in 1933. Kendrick was completely devoted 
to Wyoming and to the special problems that were unique to the 
western states at the beginning of the twentieth century. In gen- 
eral the primary concern was the proper use and development of 
the natural resources of their states, that is, land, water, forests and 

Kendrick knew, from firsthand experience as a rancher and 
stockman, what it meant to use and develop water and land in 
semi-arid Wyoming. When he reached the United States Senate, 
his first interests were those that he knew best. While he was a 
"typical" western representative, that is, serving the needs of his 
Wyoming constituents, he acquired a personal reputation for hon- 
esty and hard work. He was not a flamboyant political leader but 
rather he was a quiet and unassuming man whose influence was 
greatly felt in the legislative process that dealt with the pressing 
western problems of land and water. 

Elwood Mead, later to become Commissioner of Reclamation 
in the Coolidge, Hoover, and Roosevelt administrations, wrote a 
congratulatory letter to Senator -elect Kendrick on January 5, 
1917. While Mead hoped that Kendrick could make a "fruitful" 
service to the West on reclamation matters, he indicated strongly 


— Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department 
John B. Kendrick 


that the Reclamation Service itself needed to adopt a strong 
new policy toward potential settlers. "Water policy," he asserted, 
"must be changed to give the West some irrigable land." Mead's 
letter was the beginning of Kendrick's intense interest in water 
legislation. Toward the end of his career, Kendrick wrote to a 
nephew in Wyoming about the importance of water: "The more I 
observe the effects on the cattle of plenty of good water, either 
winter or summer, the more I am inclined to spend money to pro- 
vide the water.'" 1 

The two letters read together indicate the one, strong and totally 
dominant area that Kendrick followed throughout his senatorial 
career. He knew from his personal experiences that the semi-arid 
region in the West needed water in abundance if the land was 
going to be productive. He knew from his experiences in the state 
legislature and as governor that the normal problems of irrigation 
and reclamation could be completely overshadowed by the waste- 
ful use of water, by the inexperienced farmer, by the continuing 
jealousies, stalemates and interminable delays between state and 
federal bureaucracies. 

The major milepost in reclamation was expected to be the 
Carey Act of 1894, named after the Wyoming senator. The Act 
provided grants up to 1,000,000 acres of federal land to each of 
the public land states for the purposes of irrigation, reclamation 
and occupancy by settlers. These settlers had ten years to culti- 
vate twenty acres out of every one hundred and sixty. But the 
Act did not live up to its high expectations because of the high 
costs that applicants and private companies had to handle in actual 
project construction. It was also very evident that the total acres 
patented were not consistent with the one million acres or more 
given by the federal government. 2 

With the accession of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency in 
1901, the so-called reclamation acts of the nineteenth century gave 
way to the Newlands or Reclamation Act of 1902. This Act, ap- 
proved by President Roosevelt on June 17, 1902, centered on ten 
court-tested provisions that gave the Secretary of the Interior wide 
discretionary powers to provide funds for feasibility studies and 

iElwood Mead to John B. Kendrick. January 5, 1917. Box 21; JBK to 
Ernest Kendrick. December 22, 1931, Box 53. John B. Kendrick Collection, 
Western History Research Center, University of Wyoming. Hereafter cited 
as the "JBK Coll." This article is from a master's thesis on the senatorial 
career of John B. Kendrick. The author is indebted to Professor Robert W. 
Righter, Department of History, University of Wyoming, for his wise and 
constructive criticism of the Kendrick thesis. 

-T. A. Larson, Historx of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1965). p. 348. 


for construction of projects as well as the withdrawal of public 
lands that would be necessary for irrigation works. 3 

Two of the most controversial sections of the Act were Section 
3 which limited the acreage of public lands to not less than forty 
acres and not more than 160 acres per entry; and Section 8 which 
provided that nothing in the Reclamation Act was to interfere with 
the laws of any state or territory relating to the control, appropria- 
tion, use or distribution of water used in irrigation. This section 
was the basis for controversies in the Colorado River Pact of 1922, 
the North Platte litigation of 1931 and the Casper-Alcova project 
two years later. 4 

Senator Kendrick's first action in Wyoming reclamation came in 
1918. When the Indian Appropriation bill was introduced in the 
House, Congressman Frank Mondell of Wyoming, with the sup- 
port of both Kendrick and Senator Francis E. Warren, asked that 
$200,000 be appropriated for continued work on the Riverton 
Irrigation Project. The item was approved for one-half of the 
request and then sent on to the Senate. 5 

In the Senate the appropriation was cut out completely. Ken- 
drick immediately attempted to amend the bill with the amount 
reduced to $100,000. He and Warren wanted the money to re- 
main available for continued feasibility studies or beginning con- 
struction costs on the conditionally ceded lands of the Wind River 
Reservation.' 1 

Eastern senators opposed the appropriation because they said 
that in wartime, domestic appropriations should be kept as low as 
possible. Kendrick, tying the war to the appropriation, contended 
that many acres of land would be put under cultivation, and be- 
cause of those additional crops, more food would be raised for the 
army. He also asserted that the addition of these lands would help 
materially in the period of adjustment after the war. 7 The logic 
of Kendrick's argument was questionable even in time of war. If 
the land was put to use in terms of producing crops, the markets 

3 Alfred R. Golze, Reclamation in the United States, (New York: Mc- 
Graw-Hill Company, 1962), p. 102. 

4 Ibid., pp. 102-103. See also Norris Hundley, Jr., Water and the West: 
The Colorado River Compact and the Politics of Water in the American 
West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), for the Colorado 
River project; Gordon Hendrickson, "Water Rights and the North Platte; 
A Case Study of the Resolution of an Inter-State Water Conflict." (Ph. D. 
dissertation. University of Wyoming, 1976), for the North Platte litigation, 
and Paul A. Rechard, director, Compacts, Treaties and Court Decrees, 
Wyoming Water Resources Institute, Wyoming State Archives, Cheyenne, 
Wyoming, 1971, for the legal and political documents on the use and con- 
trol of Wyoming's interstate streams from 1922 to 1962. 

"Congressional Record, LVI, p. 3965, March 23, 1918. 

«Ibid., LVI, pp. 4119-4120, March 27, 1918. 



for those crops would be too far away, and transportation would 
be too costly. Kendrick evidently did not consider the long years 
spent by the government and the settlers between feasibility stud- 
ies, construction, planting crops, and harvesting those crops, to 
offset the total cost of the project. This same logic would later 
dominate Kendrick's political thought with the Casper-Alcova 

In Senate debate the next day Kendrick pointed out that every 
Western senator understood what a detriment an Indian reserva- 
tion was if the government failed to develop the reservation land. 
He argued that Wyoming was the only state that had not received 
a proportionate share of federal funds to develop the project. At 
this Senator Ashhurst of Arizona asked if both Senators Warren 
and Kendrick would accept $50,000 instead of the $100,000; the 
two senators agreed and the amendment was added to the bill 
which then passed. In answer to a question from Senator Johnson 
of South Dakota on how the appropriation was to be specifically 
spent, Kendrick stated that the amendment provided for the recla- 
mation of Indian lands primarily and for reimbursing the Indian 
fund for lands that might be incidentally reclaimed that were now 
owned by white settlers.* 

By the 1920s the major reclamation projects under the Carey or 
Reclamation Acts had been completed or stopped from lack of 
funds. Eastern senators generally brought up the enormous costs 
of the projects and the fact that many had not been completed. 
Midwestern representatives objected to the addition of more agri- 
cultural lands because they thought their states could handle the 
food needs for the ever-increasing population.'-' 

However, the interest in reclamation was still high, if sporadic. 
In April, 1920, Governor Dwight Heard of Arizona wrote to T. W. 
Tomlinson, secretary of the American National Livestock Associa- 
tion, about a meeting that he had just attended of the League of the 
Southwest. The delegates were given an outline of a plan for the 
development of the irrigation and power possibilities of the Colo- 
rado River Basin. Heard understood that 1 66,000,000 total acres 
would be involved in the plan, with 80,000,000 in public land. 
Most governors thought that the land should be ceded to the states 
although Heard was opposed to such a possibility; he felt that the 
small operator would receive better treatment from the federal 
government than from the states. 10 

sibid., LVI, pp. 4211-4212. March 28, 1918. 

! 'L. Ward Bannister to JBK. February 12, 1925. Box 41. JBK Coll. 
Bannister, president of the Denver Chamber of Commerce, was repeating 
a widely confirmed fact about the opinions of eastern and midwestern con- 
gressmen toward western reclamation projects. 

i"Dwight Heard from T. W. Tomlinson. April 5, 1920. Box 31. JBK Coll. 


Within two years the states of the Upper and Lower Colorado 
Basin had been able to agree to a compact. The main purpose 
of the compact was to provide for equitable distribution and ap- 
portionment of the waters of the Colorado River system. Article 3 
apportioned to the lower and upper basins the exclusive use of 
7.700,000 acre-feet of water per year. The dividing point would 
be Lee's Ferry on the Arizona-Utah border. The compact was 
signed in Santa Fe on November 24, 1922, by representatives of 
seven states and Herbert Hoover for the federal government. 11 

Frank Emerson, the compact representative for Wyoming, and 
later governor of the state, urged Kendrick in December, 1922, to 
secure congressional ratification as soon as possible. He contend- 
ed that Article IV of the compact would make power production 
subservient to what Kendrick had hoped for, agricultural and do- 
mestic purposes. Emerson felt that the principle of equity would 
be hotly debated by the states of the upper and lower regions 
although Article VI would provide for questions of allocation when 
they arose. Kendrick approved of the compact, but, he wrote, his 
chief anxiety "... now is, as it has always been, that no agreements 
be made that would in any way restrict the maximum development 
of the irrigation possibilities of our own state . . ." 12 The Senator, 
at this point, may have remembered his own struggle in 1920 
in relation to appropriations for three of his special pet projects. 
He had requested $25,000 for the investigation and survey of 
the Green River area, $150,000 for the Riverton Project, and 
$459,000 for the Shoshone Project. When the final appropriation 
bill was passed, he had to be content with $100,000 for Riverton 
and $459,000 for the Shoshone; the Green River appropriation 
was dropped completely. 13 

With the Colorado compact signed, the way was opened for 
the development of projects. After the Bureau of Reclamation 
had completed its preliminary investigations and a congressional 
delegation had visited a number of sites, Congress passed, and 

11 Rechard, Compacts, Treaties and Court Decrees. 

12 Frank C. Emerson to JBK, December 6, 1922, JBK to FCE, December 
23. 1922, Box 37, JBK Coll. Senator Kendrick was not unique in his 
anxiety about Wyoming's equity in the Colorado River Project. Senator 
Reed Smoot, for example, a Utah Republican, "vehemently opposed federal 
construction of generating facilities on projects where he thought private 
business could do as well . . . Smoot . . . feared Utah might lose the rights 
to water in the Colorado if provisions were not written into the bill to 
protect the states from appropriations by Southern California." Thomas 
G. Alexander, "Teapot Dome Revisited: Reed Smoot and Conservation in 
the 1920's," Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall, 1977, pp. 365-366. 

^United States Statutes at Large, 66th Congress, 2nd Session, 1920, Pub- 
lic Bill No. 246, p. 915. 


President Coolidge signed, the Boulder Canyon Project Act on 
December 21, 1928. 14 

In extended Senate debate prior to the passage of the Act, Sen- 
ator Kendrick played a formidable role. Arizona, while signing 
the Santa Fe Compact in 1922, had not ratified the agreement 
through its state legislature. Arizona's main complaints were of 
two kinds; one, she believed strongly that the major portion of her 
waters should be hers rather than California's or Mexico's; two, 
Arizona was also afraid that if the proposed Boulder Dam was 
built to a height over 600 feet that it would submerge the proposed 
sites for Glen Canyon Dam. 15 

Kendrick, in his Senate speech, argued that the provisions of the 
bill were not extended just for the good of one state but for all. 
He traced the beginnings of the Colorado River with special em- 
phasis on its origin at the foot of Fremont's Peak in Wyoming. 
The flow of the river, he contended, included a sufficient supply 
of water for every foot of the more than 6,000,000 acres of irri- 
gable land within its drainage. 16 

Kendrick argued that the eastern senators had never been 
able to conceive of the importance of water in the development 
of the arid West. The soil contained, by its very nature, the 
accumulated fertility of the ages, and yet, with only eight to ten 
inches of rainfall and without the use of irrigation, the land was 
unproductive. 17 

Some of the senators, he continued, were displeased because 
the Senate was expending unnecessary governmental funds for 
reclamation at a time when there was overproduction of crops. 
Other senators had suggested that the whole bill was unconstitu- 
tional. Kendrick retorted, "It is hoped that in passing upon a 
question which involves the consideration of life and property that 
we are not to find the Constitution and the Colorado River in 
collusion against the people of the Imperial Valley." 18 

On the construction of the dam, Kendrick said that the highest 
engineering authority had pronounced the proposed dam as the 
best known means of flood control on the Colorado. Kendrick 
asserted that every state in the union should be interested in the 
building of power plants for the production of hydroelectric power 
as the best means of guaranteeing to the government a return of 
the construction costs. The Senator emphasized his strong belief 

i^Golze, p. 106. 

^Hundley, pp. 171-172, 245, 248-249. 

^Congressional Record, LXVIII, pp. 4290-4326, February 21, 1927. 


18 Ibid. The controversial details of the Boulder Dam project are well 
documented in Beverly Bowen Moeller's, Phil Swing and Boulder Dam. 
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971). 


in equitable distribution and thought it better to invest in consistent 
construction of irrigation projects than in costly litigation between 
states. 11 * 

Senator Copeland of New York, in an exchange with Kendrick, 
asked if there was anything in the bill that would interfere with 
the right of Arizona to build Bridge Canyon. Kendrick replied 
that in committee sessions, former Chief Reclamation Engineer 
Weymouth had said that if Boulder Canyon Dam did not exceed 
550 feet, it would not interfere with later development. Copeland 
also wanted to know if there was any possible way of interfering 
in future projects on the Colorado. Kendrick emphasized that 
dam sites could only help with the growth of the Southwest. He 
then returned to the origins of the Colorado River and the special 
problems of Wyoming. He emphasized that the Green River 
Basin had 910,000 acres of undeveloped land, 500,000 of those 
acres in one contiguous tract and suitable for irrigation. He felt 
that the proposed legislation, at this point, would be good for 
Wyoming. 20 

Kendrick's correspondence prior to the long Senate discussion 
of the bill reflected much of what he had to say in the debates. 
For example, L. Ward Bannister, in January, 1925, hoped that 
Kendrick was correct in not objecting to Boulder Canyon Dam 
if it was not higher than required for flood conservation. Ban- 
nister argued that upper states could never be absolutely assured 
that such a dam would not lead to water priorities which would be 
asserted against the later appropriations for the upper states. Per- 
sons lower down on the river could open flood gates, release the 
water and construct dams. Kendrick replied that he was opposed 
to any development until the pact was ratified: "In my judgment," 
he wrote, "the proposition in hand is simply that of removing one 
obstacle at a time." He felt that in the interests of continued pro- 
tection and understanding, it would be well to have development 
in both basins simultaneously. 21 

Bannister wrote again that the other states should not antago- 
nize Arizona. He contended that the other states should believe 
strongly in self-interest, though, since the compact gave Arizona, 
California, and Nevada, 8,500,000 acre-feet out of the river and 
more in 1963 when the rest of the water was to be divided. Ari- 
zona, he contended, would not even sign the pact once she saw 
what she could get without signing it. 22 

Arizona's refusal to ratify the Colorado Pact continued through 

™Ibid., LXVIII, pp. 4290-4326, February 21, 1927. 

~ J L. Ward Bannister to JBK, January 5, 1925; JBK to LWB, January 18, 
1925, Box 41, JBK Coll. 
^LWB to JBK, February 12, 1925, Box 41, JBK Coll. 


the twenties. Two other events reflected the political irritation of 
senators and their constituents against Arizona's almost indepen- 
dent, go-it-alone attitude. In October of 1925 Bannister wrote 
again to Senator Kendrick protesting a power project lease to 
James B. Girand at Diamond Creek and the Colorado River in 
Arizona. Immediately, the senator, who was in Sheridan at the 
time, fired off a memo to the Federal Water Commission, protest- 
ing the Girand license and emphasizing that Arizona had not rati- 
fied the pact. O. C. Merrill, secretary to the FPC, replied that 
full consideration would be given to Kendrick's request not to 
issue the license. 23 

Bannister also protested to Senator Warren, chairman of 
the Senate Appropriations Committee, against the inclusion of 
Arizona's San Carlos Project in the appropriations bill. Kendrick 
also received a letter from Bannister in which he noted that Ari- 
zona's politicians were divided on the pact; Senator Hayden was 
for the pact, the state legislature was not. 24 

H. S. McCluskey, secretary to the Arizona committee concerned 
with the pact, emphasized to Kendrick in January, 1926, that in 
theory each state was entitled to use in a beneficial way all the 
water that falls within the state. He concluded that if there was 
excess water in the Upper Basin, it should be given to the Lower 
Basin at Lee's Ferry. 25 

S. G. Hopkins, through Governor Nellie Ross, received a letter 
from a member of the Arizona legislature that the proposed San 
Carlos Project could not injure the Upper Basin states at all. 
Hopkins replied that the Gila River was an important tributary 
to the Colorado and since it supplied precious water to the Imper- 
ial Valley and land acreage in Mexico, it should not be tampered 
with until the United States and Mexico signed a mutual treaty. 
Kendrick expressed total agreement with Hopkins' view. 2fi 

Kendrick had seen by this time the possible good and bad effects 
that state compacts could have on large regional areas of the West. 
He confided to Hopkins that Wyoming should try to work out a 
compact with Colorado and Nebraska on an equitable distribution 
of the North Platte waters. He asked if the governors of the three 
states had appointed special commissioners to work out a compact. 

23LWB to JBK, October 5, 1925; JBK to Federal Water Commission. 
October 14, 1925; O. C. Merrill to JBK, October 17, 1925, Box 42, JBK 

24LWB to Senator Warren, January 29, 1926; LWB to JBK, January 29, 
1926, Box 43, JBK Coll. 

25H. S. McCluskey to JBK, January 20, 1926, Box 43. JBK Coll. 

2«A. T. Kilcrease to Nellie Ross, January 18, 1926, Box 43. JBK Coll. 


Hopkins replied that commissioners were appointed in 1923 but 
had not come to any conclusions. - T 

Senator Kendrick's dream of ample water for increased popu- 
lation and agricultural abundance had been centered on the city 
of Casper for a long time. His cherished hope was that Casper 
would develop as one of the leading centers of the upper Rocky 
Mountain states. Casper was already a flourishing oil center with 
the Salt Creek field to the north. On April 19, 1924, Senators 
Kendrick and Warren joined together asking authorization of an 
investigation of the proposed Casper-Alcova Project. The Senate 
approved.' 8 

Kendrick and Warren were not the only Wyoming politicians 
who considered the Casper-Alcova project feasible. Frank Emer- 
son, state engineer and later governor, had commended the plan in 
1922 to F. E. Weymouth. He, too, conceived of Casper as a 
growing city with its present population coming from the develop- 
ment of oil lands. Even at this point, he thought, the Reclamation 
Service should develop large projects in the area of the North 
Platte. 25 ' 

Kendrick's forceful defense of the project came in December, 
1925, a year and a half after the bill had been introduced. In a 
speech before the Interior Secretary's Reclamation Conference, he 
defended the whole purpose of reclamation in light of what he 
termed "the current attitude of pessimism in regard to the record 
of reclamation in the United States." He argued that since recla- 
mation was largely experimental, at least twenty-five years should 
be given to the planning, development and maintenance of any 
large project. Reclamation must essentially be a continuing 
operation. 30 

In extended remarks for the Congressional Record, Senator 
Kendrick returned to the economic benefits to the city of Casper 
of the proposed project. Calling the central Wyoming city the 
largest industrial center in the state, Kendrick contended that an 
extended reclamation project would make the city almost self suf- 
ficient in relation to the production and consumption of food com- 
modities. But he warned that in order to avoid the mistakes of 
the past, settlers on reclaimed land should have to have some back- 
ground in farming and that banks and states would have to give 
moral and financial help to those settlers. In March he offered 

27 JBK to SGH, January 18, 1926; SGH to JBK, January 22, 1926, Box 
43, JBK Coll. 

^Congressional Record, LXV, p. 6704, April 28, 1924. 

29 Frank Emerson to F. E. Weymouth, April 11, 1922, Bureau of Recla- 
mation, Records Groups, 115, Box 626, Federal Archives Center, Denver, 

^'Congressional Record, LXVII, pp. 1571-1573. January 6, 1926. 


such a bill in the Senate which would have required the prospective 
settler to have at least one year's farming experience, possess cap- 
ital and machinery valued at not less than $500 for a separate 
farm or $200 for a fractional farm allotment. The applicant must 
maintain residence seven months out of a year and he must pay 
back all his loans. The bill was never reported out of committee. :: ' 

Kendrick continually showed concern in his correspondence for 
the beginning of reclamation projects in Wyoming. To Grace 
Hebard he wrote that the Colorado River Pact had not been rati- 
fied by the Arizona legislature, but ". . . since the state (Wyoming) 
contributes so heavily to the Reclamation fund from oil royalties, 
some initial development of desperately needed water projects 
should be started. " 32 

While the Wyoming congressional delegation was enthusiastic 
about the proposed Casper-Alcova Project, not all federal officials 
agreed. Elwood Mead told C. J. Bangert of Thermopolis, secre- 
tary of the Chamber of Commerce, that Interior Secretary Lyman 
Wilbur did not want to begin new projects until others, including 
Riverton, were finished. Ten million dollars had already been 
spent on the Riverton project and no estimate had been taken on 
the proposed Casper project.™ 

But by 1929 the project was still being explored. In January 
Kendrick introduced a resolution to obtain the consent of Congress 
to pacts that would be worked out between Wyoming, Colorado 
and Nebraska. By 1930 Commissioner Mead could tell the Wyo- 
ming congressional delegation that the project was being planned 
for the irrigation of 72,000 acres. A report on the feasibility of 
the whole project was made in May. Assistant Secretary P. W. 
Dent indicated to Mead that Secretary Wilbur had included 
$500,000 for continued investigation in the 1932 budget and for 
possible beginnings on construction. Dent ended by noting that 
the appropriation was included after a conference between the Sec- 
retary and Senator Kendrick. 34 

Secretary Wilbur was also concerned, though, with the possi- 
bility that Casper would be turned from its prime role as an oil 
city to that of an idealistic agricultural center. At a meeting with 
the Wyoming congressional delegation, the following facts were 
presented to the Secretary. Only 66,000 acres were considered 
irrigable, and of these, 21,000 acres of Class 1 land had smooth 

:n Ibid., Congressional Record, LXVII, p. 5261. March 6. 1926. 

{ ~JBK to Grace Hebard. October 24, 1927. Box 45, JBK Coll. 

;w Elwood Mead to C. J. Bangert, February 24, 1926. BR. RG 115. Box 
626, FAC. Denver, Colorado. 

^Congressional Record, LXX, p. 2276, January 26. 1929; EM to Wyo- 
ming Congressional Delegation, February 10, 1930; P. W. Dent to EM. 
July 10, 1930. BR, RG 115. Box 626. Denver. Colorado. 


topography and would be suitable for basic agricultural needs, 
while the remainder, Class 2, with rougher lands, was not suitable. 
The cost of the project would be $16,000,000. There would be 
very little economic return; thus he could not support the idea. 35 

Kendrick may not have fully realized at this time that both Sec- 
retary Wilbur and Commissioner Mead were concerned about the 
feasibility of the project. He knew only that "the future of one- 
fourth of Wyoming depends on the early development of the . . . 
project." He told N. D. Pearson that there would be $250,000 
for initial development of the project despite the fact that the 
House of Representatives was against old and new projects and 
that there was strong opposition from Colorado representatives. 
Of the project Kendrick said: "It is sufficient to say that it is 
justified by every law of economy and of equity and fairness to 
Wyoming.'" Historian T. A. Larson, however, quotes former Gov- 
ernor Leslie A. Miller as indicating that Kendrick was adamant in 
obtaining the project for Casper to show his appreciation for a 
two-vote lead against his 1928 senatorial opponent, Congressman 
Charles E. Winter. 36 

In early 1931 the congressional representatives of Wyoming and 
Colorado sent a joint letter to the governors of Wyoming and Colo- 
rado. They urged their water pact commissioners to meet and 
agree on compact terms for the North Platte River, receive the 
approval of the governor, ratify the agreements with their state 
legislatures and then present the compact to Congress for ratifica- 
tion. Joseph O'Mahoney wrote Kendrick that he had prepared a 
bill authorizing negotiations between Colorado and Wyoming, but 
Governor Emerson was not very favorable. Kendrick replied that 
he had understood that Congressman Taylor of Colorado would 
not allow favorable action in the House on Casper-Alcova until 
an agreement on a pact could be readied. 37 

In a speech prepared for the Denver Chamber of Commerce, 
Kendrick described the dilemma between Wyoming and Colorado. 
He noted that the original bill for the Casper-Alcova project had 
passed in 1926 without a dissenting vote. Now the whole bill had 
been changed along with the political and economic climate. He 
reviewed the original plan of the central Wyoming project. The 
Bureau of Reclamation originally planned to proceed with land 

3r »Ray Lyman Wilbur to JBK, December 4, 1930; RLW to Wyoming 
Congressional Delegation, December 3, 1930, BR, RG 115, Box 626, Den- 
ver, Colorado. 

38Larson, p. 421; JBK to N. D. Pearson, January 30, 1931, Box 52, JBK 

37 Joint Letter to Governors of Wyoming and Colorado from Congres- 
sional Representatives, January 27, 1931; Joseph O'Mahoney to JBK, Jan- 
uary 26, 1931; JBK to JO'M, January 28, 1931, Box 52, JBK Coll. 


reclamation in the upper levels of the North Platte. Pathfinder 
Dam and Reservoir were authorized for the reclamation of the 
Casper, Douglas, Goshen Hole and Fort Laramie districts in Wyo- 
ming and Nebraska. Large tracts of land were withdrawn by the 
government as a preliminary step to reclamation. Originally two- 
thirds of this land was in Wyoming, one-third in Nebraska. Then 
another study by the Bureau revealed that cost would be less on 
the lower levels of the North Platte and Wyoming's interests were 
abandoned. 38 

Kendrick noted that there was agreement in Congress at one 
time on the share of water Colorado should have from the North 
Platte River. Originally Colorado was to have a trans-mountain 
diversion of 30,000 acre-feet. But, through the efforts of Con- 
gressman Taylor, Colorado changed her demands from 30,000 to 
230,000 acre-feet and she also demanded that Wyoming protect 
her from Nebraska's demands. 

Kendrick used some interesting statistics before his Denver 
audience. First, he showed that at the time Colorado had some 
154,000 acres under irrigation in the North Park country, Nebras- 
ka had 600,000 acres and Wyoming a scant 54,000. But then he 
pointed out Wyoming contributed more than 60 per cent of the 
water expended. To the reclamation fund Wyoming contributed 
$38,000,000 in mineral royalties, Nebraska $2,000,000 and Colo- 
rado $10,500,000. Wyoming, Kendrick asserted, had contributed 
more than twice as much money as any other arid state from the 
time the Reclamation Law went into effect until 1932. He warned 
his audience that court action could very well delay the trans- 
mountain diversion in Colorado for many years. 

In early 1933 C. G. Perry of Bridgeport, Nebraska, a deputy 
attorney-general, wrote to Commissioner Mead about the pros- 
pects for the project. Mead replied that Interior took the view 
that the three states must decide among themselves how to allocate 
the waters of the North Platte. The Casper-Alcova would be 
wholly dependent on the seepage captured by the Seminoe Reser- 
voir and would not invade the rights of the river. The reservoir 
would be replenished from flood waters that escape the North 
Platte. 39 

Mead, in a memorandum to Secretary Wilbur, on the proper use 
and conservation of the North Platte River, noted that while 60 
per cent of the river was coming from Wyoming, the value of the 

38 This paragraph and the following two are taken from Senator Ken- 
drick's speech to the Denver Chamber of Commerce, September 30. 1932. 
Doc. Box 26, JBK Coll. 

3»C. G. Perry to EM, January 4, 1933; EM to CGP. January 9, 1933. 
Records of the Bureau of Reclamation, RG 115, Box 626, FAC, Denver. 


water should be measured by the local need for the crops grown, 
by irrigation and by the influence of the crops in providing winter 
feed for cattle and summer pasture for sheep. The cost of the 
Casper-Alcova project was now revised at close to $16,000,000, 
exclusive of power and storage development. 40 

Despite appeals from Colorado, the Casper-Alcova project was 
approved by the Public Works Board on July 28, 1933. The 
appeal to Commissioner Mead was rejected on August 1 1 . The 
problems with Nebraska were to continue for many years with a 
costly court fight that included the United States Supreme Court 
and a special court-appointed referee who would hear the long 
drawn-out case and make his recommendations to the Supreme 
Court. 41 

Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, in his caustic but honest 
diary, relates how the project was "evaluated" by the newly created 
Public Works Board and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 
Board, of course, was created to authorize and appropriate needed 
funds for public projects; however, the President made it clear 
that the Board was only advisory. On May 18, 1933, Ickes was 
present at a meeting with the President and Senators Joseph T. 
Robinson of Arkansas, Charles McNary of Oregon and Kendrick, 
at which time the project was discussed. After the senators had 
left, the President asked what Ickes thought about the project. 
Ickes replied that the project was one reclamation plan that he 
might favor. The President thought that the project could be 
built under the Public Works Bill. 42 

Ickes then reported to the President on July 28 that the Public 
Works Board had refused to approve the Casper-Alcova project. 
The President wrote directions in his own handwriting to put 
the project through at the next meeting of the Board. At his 
regular press conference, he announced that the project had been 
authorized. 48 

Kendrick, who had spent the summer in Washington lobbying 
for the project, returned to the state "as a warrior returning from 
battle." Casper arranged a parade in his honor while most news- 
papers across the state praised him for his long and strenuous 
work. 44 

By September the Reclamation Service had received $250,000 

^"Memorandum from RLW to EM, May 19, 1933, BR, RG 115, Box 
626. FAC, Denver, Colorado. 

41 Hendrickson. See footnote 4 for complete bibliographic title. 

4 -The Secret Diary of Harold L. Ickes: The First Thousand Days, 1933- 
1936 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), pp. 39-40. 

&lbid., p. 72. 

44 Jo Ann Fley, "John B. Kendrick's Career in the United States Senate." 
(Unpublished master's thesis, University of Wyoming, 1953), p. 124. 


from the National Recovery Administration for preliminary work 
on the project. Mead wrote Kendrick that critics in the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture were trying to convince the Public Works 
Board to reverse its decision since the project land would be mar- 
ginal crop land, there was no need for crops in that area and there 
was always a danger of graft. 43 

R. F. Walter, the chief engineer in Reclamation, understood 
from W. P. Wilkerson, secretary of the Casper Chamber of Com- 
merce, that the city had a huge unemployment problem, with 500 
to 600 families already on the rolls of the Community Relief Ser- 
vice. Wilkerson indicated that even with a few hundred people 
working on the Casper-Alcova Dam and the Seminoe Reservoir, 
the unemployment problem would be helped. 4 " 

With the death of Kendrick on November 3, 1933, the strong 
voice for the project was silent. On November 10, one week 
after the Senator's death, Secretary Ickes asked the President what 
he thought of naming the Casper-Alcova project after the Wyo- 
ming Democrat because ". . . this matter was nearest to Senator 
Kendrick's heart of anything of a public nature. The President 
thought well of the idea . ." Casper-Alcova funds, held up by a 
two-year dispute on adequate water rights, were finally approved 
by President Roosevelt in February, 1935, with a 1934 water right 
instead of 1904. 47 

The project, though, did not come up to the expectations of 
those who worked so hard. By 1961 there were only 20,790 acres 
of irrigated land, while the valuation of all the crops in that year 
amounted to about $1,000,000. Kendrick's assertion that the fu- 
ture of one-fourth of Wyoming depended on the project simply 
was not true. 48 

4:, R. F. Walter to Governor Leslie A. Miller, September 1, 1933: EM to 
JBK. September 2, 1933, BR, RG 115, Box 626, FAC, Denver. Colorado. 

4 «W. P. Wilkerson to RFW, September 14, 1933, BR, RG 115, Box 626. 
FAC, Denver, Colorado. 

4 7Ickes, pp. 118-119; Larson, p. 422. 

48 Larson, p. 423. 


The boys of the CR ranch got after a skunk the other day when 
the animal took refuge under one of their beds which had been 
taken to a shed for comfort during the summer. In pulling the 
bed around to get at the animal, a rattlesnake was disturbed from 
his slumber and came crawling out of the blankets. The reptile 
was AV2 feet in length and was ornamented with 15 rattles. 

— The Lusk Herald, October 8, 1886 

A. J. Coates, Big Horn, was so much pleased with The Sentinel 
that he called at the office Wednesday and subscribed for two 
copies for friends in the east. It is such substantial appreciation 
as this that maketh the heart of the printer glad, and beats "shoot- 
mouth." Sabe? Then come around at the sanctum and follow 
Mr. Coates' good example. Office hours from 9:30 p.m. to 9:30 
p.m. The latch string hangs on the outside, no dogs are kept and 
the "devil" is harmless. 

— The Big Horn Sentinel, Sept. 27, 1884 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
29th Mnual Zrek 

July 14-75, 1978 

Warning Qorge-ftrown's Park 

The trek began on Friday evening in Rock Springs, when regis- 
tration was held in the Community Art Center with a display of 
paintings prepared especially for the trek. The route of the trek 
had to be changed from Wyoming State Highway 373 because of 
a landslide on one section of the road. The trek went to Green 
River and followed State Highway 530 to Manila, Utah, and the 
Flaming Gorge Dam. The longer route provided several unsched- 
uled stops which included the Fire Hole area, Henry's Fork Valley, 
and Red Canyon Overlook. The rest of the trek followed the 
original schedule. 

Nearly 200 people, traveling in four chartered buses, left Rock 
Springs early Sunday morning, July 15, and returned about 10 
p.m., after a day in one of the most historic areas in Wyoming, 
and one which abounds in spectacular scenery. 

Each trekker received a booklet of historical information about 
the area covered in the trek, with maps and supplemental informa- 
tion about some of the places where the tour stopped or passed 

Box lunches were enjoyed on the lawn of the Williams home at 
Minnies Gap and a delicious hot roast beef dinner, catered by a 
Green River restaurant, was served at the Gates of Lodore. 

Tour director was Henry Chadey, director of the Sweetwater 
County Historical Museum. Chadey, Jim June and Raedell Varley 
were tour guides. Mr. and Mrs. June, Adrian Reynolds, Eleen 
Williams, Blake Ross and Michael Chadey assisted in preparing 
the historical papers. 

Others who assisted with the trek were the Sweetwater County 
Historical Society, the Sweetwater County Museum, the Rock 
Springs Fine Arts Center and the Wyoming State Archives and 
Historical Department. 





The Sweetwater Community Fine Arts Center, the Rock Springs 
City Library and Rock Springs School District No. 1 illustrate a 
unique cooperative program between three agencies. 

The Rock Springs Library, originally established as the Carnegie 
Library, is a branch of the Sweetwater County Library and is 
financed by the City of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County. 

Rock Springs School District No. 1, previously School District 
No. 4, began a collection of paintings in 1939 which had been 
displayed in the Rock Springs High School. The cooperation of 
the above agencies provided the development of the Community 
Fine Arts Center. 

The first library building was built on the present site furnished 
by the city fathers with funds received from Andrew Carnegie. 
The amount was $11,323. Not until 1954 was any improvement 
made on the original building and then the basement walls were 
reinforced and concrete flooring was put in all rooms. With the 
new flooring and lighting a separate Children's Library was estab- 
lished in September, 1955. 

In 1963, a city bond election was successful for bonds in the 
amount of $128,000 for a major addition and remodeling of the 
library. For a year the library operated in the old LDS Church 
on Blair Street and moved into the new building February 15, 

In 1971, a Community Fine Arts Program, organized under a 
Secondary Education Act, reached the end of government funding. 
It was such a cultural and educational service to the people that 
many felt it should not be abandoned. In order to maintain the 
program it was placed under the Sweetwater County Library Sys- 
tem. The Library Board then bought the existing building, a 
parking lot nearby, completely remodeled the old building and 
built a new county addition to the existing city library building. 
The City of Rock Springs gave a portion of Blair Avenue to the 
County Library Board on which to build the new addition. 

Some of the particular money received for the center included 
$68,634 from the Library Service and Construction Act, $75,000 
from Revenue Sharing Funds, the purchase of the parking lot by 
the City of Rock Springs for $22,000 and the purchase of the 
church building by the county for $28,500. The other money 
came from the County Library Fund levied each year for Library 
Service. Between 1972 and 1975, the county money amounted 
to $3,060,137. 

The facilities available at the Fine Arts Center provide sufficient 
areas to display the collection of paintings owned by the Rock 


Springs High School. This collection originated when students 
under the direction of Elmer Halseth purchased the first original 
oil painting, "Shack Alley," which became the nucleus. The col- 
lection now consists of over 240 works of art and is acclaimed 
the best owned by any American high school. 

The center has areas for traveling exhibits and sculpture. It is 
used by the people of Sweetwater County as a meeting place, for 
lectures, demonstrations, and musical and dramatic performances. 

After Elmer Halseth retired from the school district, the collec- 
tion was still maintained by the Rock Springs High School Art 
Department which has added paintings each year. The Rock 
Springs Art Guild also donates a painting a year to the permanent 

Henry F. Chadey 


Sweetwater County was established in 1 867 in Dakota Terri- 
tory under the name of Carter County. Later the name was 
changed to Sweetwater by the first Territorial Legislative Council. 
It appeared that the Democratic controlled legislature couldn't 
tolerate a county named for a Republican, William A. Carter of 
Fort Bridger. South Pass City was the county seat due to gold 
mining operations. The building of the Union Pacific Railroad 
gave impetus to the settlement of Green River and Rock Springs. 

Green River had been an Overland Stage station stop and had 
been laid out as a town by S. I. Field and H. M. Hook, a former 
mayor of Cheyenne. When the Union Pacific Lot Company ar- 
rived and found the town established and they did not have the 
opportunity to sell the lots, they persuaded the officials to move 
the railroad division point twelve miles west to Bryan. Green 
River had but 100 residents and the adobe brick section built 
on the east river bank was abandoned by 1871. The railroad's 
need for water forced the division point to be moved from Bryan 
and the Black's Fork to Green River on the Green. 

Green River prospered as a railroad town and as the gold min- 
ing population decreased at South Pass City a dispute developed 
between the two communities which eventually caused the district 
court to issue a mandamus moving the county seat to Green River. 
Shortly after the county seat was moved a new courthouse was 
built and used until 1967 when a new structure was built. 

The town of Green River has continued to grow and with the 
discovery of trona or soda ash in 1938 a new mining industry 
developed. Four trona companies mine ore to the west of the 
town and a fifth mine is being planned during 1978. The Church 
& Dwight Company, using soda ash, produces baking soda at the 


Allied Chemical plant and mine. Estimates are that 4000 train 
carloads of trona leave Green River each month. 

As a result of the trona industry, Green River has doubled its 
population since the 1970 census to more than 12,000 people. 
Extensive housing developments have been constructed, including 
many public buildings, and a new overpass over the railroad and 
river was completed in 1977. 

In the middle of the Green River is Expedition Island, a Nation- 
al Historic Site commemorating John Wesley Powell's expedition 
down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. The island is used 
as a recreational site and a pavilion on the island is being repaired 
and remodeled as a community center. 

Green River developed as a railroad town and Rock Springs 
as a coal mining town. An Overland Stage station was located to 
the north of Rock Springs and it was here that a spring named 
"Rock Spring''' was located. Later, the "s" was added to form 
the name "Rock Springs." The Blair brothers, Archibald and 
Duncan, operated the stage station and began the mining of coal 
southwest of Rock Springs in a section called "Blairtown" which 
is now a part of the city. It was under the auspices of the Union 
Pacific Railroad that Number One Mine was opened in 1868 and 
the town of Rock Springs had its beginning. 

The term, "Melting Pot of Wyoming," "was applied to Rock 
Springs because so many different nationalities were encouraged 
to come and work in the coal mines. Due to labor difficulties, 
Chinese contract laborers were employed in the mines. The gen- 
eral opposition to Chinese labor reached a zenith in the Chinese 
Massacre of 1885 in which the white miners chased the Chinese 
out, burned Chinatown and killed twenty-eight Chinese. The 
United States government stationed the army in Rock Springs at 
Camp Pilot Butte to protect the Chinese. This camp in the center 
of Rock Springs was used from 1885 to 1898. The two officers' 
barracks have been demolished but the enlisted men's barracks 
now serve as a Catholic school for the fourth through the sixth 

When coal mining decreased due to the change to diesel and oil 
power by the railroad, it appeared Rock Springs was doomed. 
Then the increased production of gas and oil and the discovery 
of trona ore provided a new economic base for Rock Springs. 
Adding to the economic support was the building of the Flaming 
Gorge Dam on the Green River and the Jim Bridger Power Plant 
which mines its own coal. This industrial boom caused an influx 
of people to the city and created a variety of problems. Perhaps 
the most unfortunate has been the fertile ground for the state and 
national media to hang out the dirty laundry and almost completely 
ignore the reliable citizenry who have worked diligently for com- 
munity betterment. 


In the Rock Springs of today, you'll find a city that has grown 
from 11,000 population to 29,000 since 1970. The city has been 
plagued with subsidence caused by the old mining excavations 
caving in, and the demand for services such as new housing, rec- 
reation and schools. The community buckled down to the task 
and began solving these problems. Of particular importance in 
working out the solutions were the willingness of the community 
and county to pass the one-cent additional sales tax to be used for 
local purposes; the passage of bond issues and the cooperation 
among the various levels of government and industry. 

At the present time, the Rock Springs area has the Western 
Wyoming Community College, the new Sweetwater County Me- 
morial Hospital, numerous new schools including a high school 
and enlarged recreational facilities. Extensive renewal has been 
instituted by the city and it is possible that some buildings which 
should have been preserved have been demolished. 

Henry F. Chadey 


Although this road, Highway 373, better known locally as the 
East Side Road, has no place in the history of pioneer routes 
between Rock Springs, Green River and the ranch country in the 
hills south of the two cities, it does have a place in modern history 
of the area. It is the only completely new highway to be built in 
Wyoming within the past twenty years, stretching for fifty-one 
miles from Highway 80, about midway between the two cities, to 
the state line to connect with the newly -constructed portion of 
Utah 260. This route was the source of controversy, a certain 
amount of intrigue, and interstate power play. 

A direct highway from Green River to Dutch John had been 
built by 1958, connecting to Dutch John and the Flaming Gorge 
damsite, to provide for hauling of materials and access to the 

This led to Rock Springs' strong desire for a direct road into the 
new national recreation area, resulting in a campaign for the new 
construction, with seemingly unsurmountable funding difficulties. 
A group representing the Chambers of Commerce of the two com- 
munities, along with state highway department engineers, was guid- 
ed over a suggested route closer to the Green River and the pro- 
posed Flaming Gorge Lake. Agreement was reached that this 
would be a route of value to the county and to eastern Utah, but 
the highway department ruled out a shore line road because of 
construction difficulties that would arise. 

Following this, one Sweetwater County commissioner, D. S. 
Ferrero, utilizing old roads and trails through the upper Big Fire- 
hole across Sage Creek and Currant Creek, along Wild Horse 


Canyon to Minnies Gap on the state line to connect with a Utah 
range, using county road crews, graded out a road that made 
possible a direct, but rough, road into Utah and Dutch John. 

At that time, Utah 44 into Manila from Vernal was a very 
mountainous road needing improvement which seemed slow in 
coming. A suggestion was made that the East Side Road, utilizing 
in Utah a paved road from Lucerne to Dutch John, a service road 
over the Green in Red Canyon and back via Manila, should be 
built if Green River and Rock Springs were to gain full advantage 
of the Flaming Gorge recreation and tourist development and if 
the Vernal group did not push for better cross-mountain roads. 

The Ferrero Freeway, as the graded road became known, drew 
controversy. During this time, Green River road people suggested 
that a pipeline bridge being built over the lake site just above the 
state line also include a highway bridge. Northwest Pipeline peo- 
ple agreed to that plan, but it was nixed by the Wyoming Highway 
Department. Then Daggett County and other Utah people pro- 
posed a high bridge over the lake at the north end of Flaming 
Gorge, but couldn't get it financed. A Green River committee 
also studied the possibility of a road, following the Ferrero Free- 
way to the Firehole, then crossing the lake and up over a mountain 
into Green River. 

None of these ideas proved acceptable. Finally, the Wyoming 
Highway Department agreed to make a survey. It was known that 
the road might require ten or twelve years and millions of dollars 
to construct, but the project was adopted and began to go forward 
as a state secondary highway, small piece by small piece, averaging 
about six miles per section, much of it very heavy construction. 
Public land funds were also obtained. In only a few areas was it 
possible to follow old ranch roads, or, as in the case of Little 
Mountain, an oil field road that had been built more than three 
decades ago by what is now Mountain Fuel Supply as access to 
the Clay Basin Field. 

In one short section, between the Bacon Rim Road, south of 
Firehole Junction and Sage Creek Junction, the new highway fol- 
lowed generally a road that had been used from the mountain 
ranches to the south and by the pony mail route of the 1890s 
between Green River and Brown's Park. 

The long, steep hill of the highway going off Mellor Mountain, 
takes one to the historic old Tabor Ranch, now strictly a horse-cow 
spread, but which once was a postoffice and center of an election 
precinct. The late T. A. Welch has told of his step-father, Hill, 
freighting beer from Green River to forts in the Ashley Valley of 
Utah, using the Tabor Dugway, which today's bus uses to reach 
the east end of the Little Mountain Dugway. 

At the east end of the mountain is a road from the east — this 
was the gas company's road onto Little Mountain above the rim 


of The Devil's Kitchen, which can be viewed to the east of the 
road and which was the site of one of the Hoy Ranches. From 
the Clay Basin Junction to Minnies Gap on Spring Creek at the 
south foot of Little Mountain the route is brand new, cutting 
through an area that until a few years ago was a famous deer 

In the late 1960s, Utah was seeking to have its people served 
by a shortened road into Flaming Gorge, objecting to the "round 
about" route through Green River or Vernal. Wyoming Highway 
Commissioners had met in Salt Lake City with the Utah Road 
Commissioners trying to obtain a connection with East Side Road 
to Minnies Gap and the Utah commission said they would meet a 
Wyoming road when it arrived at the state line. But the Utah 
legislature, in an unprecedented move, passed a resolution pro- 
hibiting the East Side connection until the road across southwest- 
ern Sweetwater County from Lonetree, Wyoming, was completed 
to connect with Utah 42 west of Manila, Utah. 

Green River had been opposing such a road, but the Utah action 
brought a crisis. A county road priority committee, including 
representatives from the two cities, finally agreed that a first prior- 
ity on Highway 373 toward LaBarge would be waived tempo- 
rarily, if this would be reinstated later. This allowed the Lonetree 
road to be approved, and when it went to final contract, the Utah 
road commission contracted the three miles between Dutch John 
Gap and Minnies Gap and so, in 1977, the entire route was opened 
with dedicatory ceremonies at Minnies Gap. 

During the early planning stages, this was probably the most 
controversial road built in Wyoming. 

Adrian Reynolds 


(This material was prepared for presentation on the east side of 
the Green River but was presented on the west side of the river. ) 

The Cherokee Trail which started in Arkansas passed through 
several states into Colorado and Wyoming. It went south past 
Laramie City, skirted north through the Medicine Bow range to 
Bridger Pass and joined the Oregon-California-Utah Trail at Fort 

After Ben Holladay had to move his Overland mail route from 
the Oregon Trail south, the names Cherokee and Overland Trail 
were used interchangeably. About twenty-five miles south of the 
Overland Trail in Sweetwater County we find a trail called Cher- 
okee. Actually, the name developed in 1849 when a party of 
Cherokees were heading for the gold fields of California and 
used it. 

Perhaps the name "Cherokee" is a misnomer, but on Sage Creek 
is the grave of Mathilda Armstrong, noted as traveling on the 


Cherokee Trail. Other people have reported other graves along 
the trail with names which have been traced to the Cherokee 

In Sweetwater County, several branches of the trail are found. 
One started east of Bitter Creek at Antelope Springs, and passed 
through the Titsworth Gap to Sage Creek. A second route is 
evident along the south boundary of Sweetwater County, passing 
through the Rife Ranch and also reaching Sage Creek. In 1977, 
the trail was traced by helicopter. The tracks were still visible. 
After the trail reached Sage Creek to the west of the Ramsay 
Ranch it crossed Hogback and entered the Currant Creek drainage 
going to the west where it crossed the Green River. On the west 
side of the Green River, it followed the south side of the Black's 
Fork River and headed toward the Oregon-California-Utah Trail 
near Bryan, Wyoming. 

Several ranches are still operating in this area. The Maxon 
Ranch, Ramsay Ranch and Currant Creek Ranch are raising cattle 
in this one-time sheep grazing area. 

William Gottsche at one time owned much of the land in this 
area. Upon his death and that of his wife, all his property was 
liquidated and the money helped establish the Gottsche Foundation 
in Thermopolis. Throughout the area there were many small 
ranches but these were sold either to the big ranch owners or the 
government. Some of those sold to the government are now under 
the waters of Flaming Gorge Lake. 

There is some indication that General William Ashley passed 
this way with his supplies of furs from the Rendezvous of 1825 
as he headed for South Pass on his way back to St. Louis. 

At one time there was a lumbering operation on Little Mountain 
to the southwest. To the south side of Little Mountain there are a 
number of stone circles similar to the Medicine Wheel in northern 

Within this area there is an elk herd that was established by 
bringing elk from northern Wyoming into the area. It is a good 
hunting area, however, and many hunters believe that when the 
Wyoming hunting season opens all the game crosses the Utah and 
Colorado borders out of Wyoming. 

Henry F. Chadey 


This camp was the construction headquarters of the Flaming 
Gorge Dam. It was named after a horse trader and trapper named 
John Honselena. It has a school and postoffice and serves as 
forest service headquarters. 

Although the dam is in Utah, it became a life saver for south- 
western Wyoming when the coal mines closed. The Wyoming 
Congressional delegation was very instrumental in getting the ap- 


propriation through Congress. It was reported that Congress 
appropriated the money for the dam even before the exact location 
was determined. The dam was started in 1956 and completed in 
1964. Besides its use for water storage and production of elec- 
tricity, it has become an outstanding recreation area for Colorado, 
Utah and Wyoming residents. 


Minnies Gap is located on the Utah-Wyoming border. The 
ranch at the gap was originally homesteaded by Minnie Crouse 
Rasmussen. It has recently been the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul 
Williams. Paul passed away in 1977 and is buried in a cemetery 
on the east side of the road and south of the ranch. 


On the road to Clay Basin you pass Pidgeon Canyon. Pidgeon 
is buried in the canyon. Minnie Rasmussen remembers that after 
he was buried someone dug up the body and he had to be reburied. 
It was shortly after Pidgeon was killed there by Ike Lee that 
Charles Teeters was passing a group of men who had something 
soaking. The men were soaking the flesh off Pidgeon's skull so 
they could send it to a doctor in the east who wanted a human 

Clay Basin was an early sheep grazing area, and in 1927, gas 
was discovered by Producers and Refiners Corporation, which was 
one of the predecessors of the Mountain Fuel Company. The gas 
from this area eventually supplied Salt Lake City. 

In the last two years the area has become a storage area for gas. 
It was discovered that the gas can be pumped in the porous sand- 
stone during the summer for easy availability during the winter 
when the gas is needed. 

In June, 1978, the facility was dedicated as the Kastler Station 
in honor of B. Z. Kastler, president and chairman of the board of 
Mountain Fuel Supply Company. 

Here is a part of Utah that has had close ties with Wyoming, 
and even today men working here live in Rock Springs and drive 
to work each day. The plant is operated twenty-four hours a day. 


As you leave Clay Basin and travel south toward the Green 
River, you pass through Ewing Canyon, which bears the name of 
one of the more colorful characters of the Brown's Park area, 
Jesse Ewing. Ewing originally was believed to be an outcast mem- 
ber of an eastern mining family; however, this is questionable. 
Before his days as a miner in the South Pass area, Ewing was a 


station keeper for the Overland Stage Line, carrying out his duties 
at many of the more dangerous stations. As a result he had ex- 
perienced such hazards as Indians, outlaws and bears. It was from 
a mauling by a grizzly bear that he achieved the distinction 
of being the ugliest man in South Pass. 

In the late 1860s, Ewing became one of the first prospectors 
in the Wasatch Mountains. He apparently found copper in the 
area of the canyon that now bears his name and had a number of 
mines and cabins throughout the area. However, Ewing was often 
hard pressed for capital to finance his mining operations. It was 
as a result of this that one of the most interesting things about 
Ewing comes to light. It seems that his usual way of financing 
was to find a partner with money, and to then use the money and 
the "partner" in the mining operation. Upon depletion of the 
partner's assets, Ewing chased him off with gun and knife. 

Ewing was extremely skilled with a knife which he was not 
afraid to use. One account tells of a young prospector working the 
same area as Ewing. Ewing took an immediate dislike to the 
fellow. One winter the man's body was found slashed to ribbons 
on the ice of the Green River, and it was said blood could be 
found half a mile down river. It could never be proved it was 
Ewing's work, but to most people it was obvious. 

Ewing also met his end in a bloody way. Ewing had taken in a 
Madam Forrestal as a houseguest at his mine. Sometime later, 
he took in as a partner an outlaw named Duncan. Duncan and 
Madam Forrestal took a liking to each other and there are many 
stories as to what this attachment between Forrestal and Duncan 
brought about. However, in the end Ewing was killed by Duncan. 
Some say it happened while Ewing was sneaking up to kill Duncan; 
others say Ewing was returning from the mine and Duncan gunned 
him down with Ewing's own gun. Nevertheless, he was killed and 
buried near the grave of the prospector he had killed near the 
Jarvie Ranch. Duncan and Forrestal left on Ewing's horse and 
Duncan met the same fate as Ewing a few months later in Utah. 
Madam Forrestal was never heard from again. 

Michael Chadey 


Brown's Park is an area that encompasses portions of three 
states, Utah, Colorado and a small section in Wyoming. Due to 
the geography, the people in a sense belong to Wyoming since their 
outside contact is to the north toward Green River and Rock 
Springs. During the 19th century the park was a "no man's land" 
in regard to the law. It was difficult to reach and the people had 
to shift for themselves. 

The Ute and Shoshone Indians used the park and it was a good 


wintering place. This is witnessed by the numerous artifacts, pic- 
tographs and petroglyphs found here. 

Besides entering the park by the Green River, the residents in 
the west used a trail through Red Creek and Willow Creek. Later 
the Jesse Ewing Canyon road was developed and is used today. 
On the east, Irish Canyon provided the road from the north while 
the route from the south and east was over some barren country. 

In 1942, the Union Pacific Coal Company Magazine published 
this description of the park: 

"This compelling area is known as Brown's Park, or, among the 
early and intrepid trappers, as Brown's Hole because it is so 
hollowed and bizarre in its features. It is unlike anything else 
in the world according to skilled geologists. It is a masterpiece of 
perfection in honest-to-goodness pure, rugged grandeur, but has 
never been capitalized as a resort or for recreation relaxation." 

In the same article, William T. Nightingale, Chief Geologist for 
the Mountain Fuel Supply Company, says, "It is a matchless treat 
for the geologist where he will find much to see and excite the 
imagination with awe. It surely feasts the eyes, and perhaps once 
was a mighty active spot in seismic disorders." 

The park, like the west, is ever changing and over the years has 
received considerable fame and publicity. Several movies have 
been made; numerous TV presentations have been prepared and, 
as recently as the summer of 1978, the British Broadcasting Com- 
pany was in the park televising. It has been written about in many 
books including the Outlaw Trail by Charles Kelly, Where the Old 
West Stayed Young by John Rolfe Burroughs and Flaming Gorge 
Country by Dick and Vivian Dunham. The November, 1976, 
issue of National Geographic Magazine featured "Riding the Out- 
law Trail," by Robert Redford. 

The parade of people who have been involved with the park 
could be described as the good, bad and indifferent. The parade 
begins with General William Ashley floating the Green River in 
1825 as he was preparing for the first Rocky Mountain Rendez- 
vous twenty miles up the Henry's Fork on the east side of the 
Green River. It continued when Baptiste Brown, a French Cana- 
dian and his squaw came to the park to reside in 1827. In 1837, 
we find a crude structure being built by three trappers in the 
eastern section of the park. The name of Fort Davy Crockett was 
given to that place but it earned the name of Fort Misery. Thomas 
Farnham stopped at Fort Davy Crockett in August of 1839 on 
his way to Oregon and the same month saw Dr. F. A. Wislizenus 
stopping on his way from Fort Hall in present-day Idaho. Another 
traveler, E. Willard Smith, was at the fort in October of 1839. 

In 1843, we find John C. Fremont traveling the park. It has 
been suggested that Mexican Joe, Juan Herrera, came to the park 
in 1847. This fellow became one of the notorious characters in 


the park with his rustling activities and his proclivity to fight with 
a knife. 

The year 1849 found an adventuresome group under the leader- 
ship of William Manley going through the park thinking that they 
could float the river to California. They left the main trail near 
Fontenelle and ended by climbing the cliffs out of the Green River 
and walking toward Salt Lake City. 

Sam Bassett, with a companion, Louis Simmons, a son-in-law 
of Kit Carson, made an appearance in 1852. Herbert Bassett 
followed his brother with his family in 1877. The Bassett family 
owned land in the park and the story of this family has become 
legendary. Herbert had one son, Ed, and two daughters, Josie and 
Ann, who was known as "Queen Ann." She was the first white 
child born in the park. 

Dr. and Mrs. Warren F. Parson arrived in the outpost in 1854 
and, as the first white woman in the area, she was called "Snapping 
Annie" because she was an excellent bullwhacker. 

John Wesley Powell, on his first exploration of the Green and 
Colorado rivers was in the park in 1869. The change of the name 
from Brown's Hole to Brown's Park was attributed to Powell. 
Many features along the Green River were named by Powell and 
his crew. 

The prospector, Jesse Ewing, settled in 1869 near Red Canyon 
where he found copper ore. 

After the 1870s, the following people moved into the park: the 
Jarvies in the west of the Green River; Goodson, who had been on 
Powell's first river expedition and his wife Kelvington; the Daven- 
port family who settled on Willow Creek. Others include Rife, 
Crouse, Tolliver, Hoy and Edwards. Up on Cold Spring Moun- 
tain, Isom Dart, a black man, and Matt Rash had cabins. Jim 
Reed, the squaw man, settled on Pot Creek and also Albert Wil- 
liams, another black, who outlived most of the old time residents. 
He passed away in 1934. 

Today as you travel through Brown's Park you realize that 
people were buried where they fell. An old timer remembers 
where some of the families were buried but their graves have been 
obliterated by time. Near the Jarvie place, now the Campbell 
Museum, Jesse Ewing and the man he killed lie side by side. At 
the Allen Ranch, Marie Allen and her two daughters are buried. 
Marie and her husband, Bill, were very interested in studying the 
history of the park and often assisted in tours of the area. Dr. 
John Parson is buried at his cabin site and the Bassett family 
cemetery is on their old ranch. When the cemetery was set aside 
it was the policy to bury members with Bassett blood in the plot. 
When the husband of one of the Bassett girls died he was buried 
outside the regular plot. At the Lodore Hall there is a small 


As you travel from the west end of the park, you'll enter by way 
of Jesse Ewing Canyon from Clay Basin. At the foot of the can- 
yon, the road west takes you to the working Allen Ranch and a 
few miles further is the Campbell Museum that has just recently 
been purchased by the government and will be preserved as a 
recreation spot. Below the Allen Ranch is the Utah Wildlife 
Refuge and on it is the Parson Cabin which is listed on the Na- 
tional Historic Place Register for Utah. Two different ferries were 
operated in the park. One near Jarvie was run by Albert "Speck" 
Williams who came to the area with the Davenports, and the other 
ferry was located below Dr. Parson's cabin. Some remains of this 
ferry can still be seen. 

On a flat bench west of Dr. Parson's cabin is a development of 
summer homes. There is an air strip located nearby as well as one 
located near the old Davenport Ranch which is now owned by 
Steve Radosevich. This ranch was noted for its fruit trees. 

Many of the other ranches are located on the north side of the 
road and since these are private property permission should be 
received before entering. The road is gravel and soon you'll be 
on an oiled or paved road, having now entered the Colorado part 
of the park. Since this had been such an isolated part of Utah, 
they have not been encouraged to spend money on the road. How- 
ever, a new road is being planned which will miss Jesse Ewing 
Canyon and Clay Basin but still make connections at Minnies Gap 
with the East-side Flaming Gorge Highway. It has been reported 
that the environmental study for this road has already exceeded 
the cost of making the highway from Interstate 80 to the Wyoming 
border at Minnies Gap. On the Colorado side is located the 
Brown's Park Wildlife Game Refuge. A swinging bridge is located 
across the Green River which passes Cassidy Point and allows you 
to drive to Vernal, Utah. Continuing east, you pass the Lodore 
Hall. Built in 1911, it was used as a school house and later con- 
verted to a dance and recreation hall. The Bassett and the Hoy 
ranches are on the north side of the road. The new school house 
is located in the east end of the park and close to this point a 
road cuts to the south that takes you to Lodore Ranger Station 
which is a part of Dinosaur National Monument. Here is located 
the famed Gates of Lodore through which the Green River leaves 
Brown's Park. 

Note: In September of 1978 someone built a fire in the Parson 
cabin and it burned to the ground. The site has been placed on 
the National Historic Register for Utah and the Daggett County 
Historical Society was in the process of placing a marker at the 



In 1880, Charley Crouse bought out Jimmie Reed's claim to 
what is now Crouse Ranch, located on the south side of the Green 
River near the base of Diamond Mountain on Crouse Creek which 
ran through Crouse Canyon. 

Crouse Canyon was a major route to cross Diamond Mountain 
and go to Vernal. As a result, the area above Crouse's Ranch 
was selected by Butch Cassidy as a hideout when he was in the 
area. This was the essential secret hideout the outlaws needed 
to maintain their freedom. The area above Crouse's cabin that 
was chosen was a rocky point that came to be known as Cassidy 
Point. High on a ledge, the outlaws built a cabin; protected by 
cliffs on three sides it was easy to defend. Necessities for the 
cabin were brought in from Rock Springs and always included 
large amounts of whiskey as well as playing cards. These helped 
to pass the winter months when the snow made it impossible to 
travel in the area. Up at Cassidy Point, the outlaws were often 
given pies and other treats by Mary Crouse. It was reported the 
outlaws always left a gold coin under the plates so as not to wear 
out their welcome. 

This was not Butch's only hideout in the area. Reportedly he 
had cabins in Red Creek Canyon, on Powder Mountain, in Little 
Hole and on Davenport Creek. There are indications that there 
were other hideouts in the area, not just Cassidy's but other out- 
laws', as well. However, many of these places remain hidden 
as they were meant to be. 

Charley Crouse was known for his shrewd business manner as 
well as his love for horse racing. He was also known for building 
a short-lived bridge over the Green River and for working various 
business and ranching establishments in Vernal, Rock Springs and 
Ashley Creek. However, Charley Crouse is most noted for an 
occasion when he had been drinking and got into a tussle with 
"The Speckled Nigger" Williams. Defending himself in the scuffle, 
Williams was stabbed in the groin. Seeing this, Crouse sobered 
up and sought out his wife, Mary, to help care for Williams. 
Reports indicate that Mary, with a combination of flour and a 
blanket, dressed the wound which eventually healed. Speck lived 
to be a very old man, and thus spared Charley Crouse from being 
brought up for murder. 

Michael Chadey 


The Lodore Hall, originally a school house, has been used as a 
social hall since 1946. The hall was built by the Evers Brothers, 
contractors from Green River, Wyoming. 

To the east is the cemetery and a monument dedicated to Fort 


Davy Crockett which was located in this area of the park. The 
monument is a stone removed from Irish Canyon, and contains a 
pictograph with three Indian figures on it. 

The first school held in Brown's Park, Colorado, was in 1879. 
A public school for Utah was built by about 1890. This school 
was used until 1911 when the children were sent to Lodore School 
House. This school was operated continuously until 1946 when 
the new school house was built farther east. It is still operating 
in the park today. The isolated area, the two counties and the 
two states made for a difficult operation of schools. There were 
other schools in the Utah section including a second one at Beaver 
Creek and one at Bridgeport. 


As early as 1852, Sam Bassett had explored the Brown's Park 
area and he returned to settle there. Later, Herbert Bassett, with 
his family, came and settled in the park with his uncle. 

Herbert Bassett was not a very ambitious or healthy man but his 
wife, Elizabeth, was a strong minded woman. Those who asso- 
ciated with her, liked her; those who didn't, disliked her. One 
author called her a prototype feminist, and a Machiavellian con- 
niver. She served as a doctor after the park doctor died. Because 
the family had an organ and books, the Bassett ranch was used as a 
social center for the park. 

The Bassett ranch was known for the hanging of John Bennett 
which was precipitated by the killing of a young boy, Willie Strang, 
by an Ed Johnson at the Red Creek Ranch. Johnson and two 
companions left the Wyoming area to avoid the law after the mur- 
der. During their efforts to escape, Valentine Hoy was killed by 
one of them, Harry Tracy. 

This incident actually brought the law to Brown's Park. Law- 
men from the three states were called in and a posse formed. Some 
of these men witnessed Bennett trying to supply the three outlaws. 
He was lured to the Bassett Ranch and even though a deputy sher- 
iff was at the ranch at the time, Bennett was later found hanging 
from the crossbar of the ranch gate. He was taken up the canyon 
away from the ranch house and buried. There were some reports 
the hanging was actually accidental. It was said that the group 
held a kangaroo court and sentenced him to hang. They then 
placed a rope around his neck and threw it across the crossbar 
intending to just give him a scare, then have the rope slide away. 
Instead, the rope got caught and Bennett died. 

Although Ann Bassett was sent to a private school and could 
be very charming, she could hold her own with any cowboy. She 
had several romances and marriages. Her romance with Matt 
Rash is of interest. Matt had a cabin up on Cold Springs Moun- 
tain. A man by the name of Tom Hicks came to the park rather 


mysteriously and made friends with the people. After Matt Rash 
and a black man, lsom Dart, were found murdered, Hicks disap- 
peared. Later, Ann speculated that Hicks had been sent to the 
park to flush out cattle rustlers since several others had received 
warnings and subsequently left the park. 

It was also reported that right after the killings a lawyer in Rock 
Springs had been instructed by a client to pay $1000 to a man who 
would be passing through Rock Springs. The lawyer waited in his 
office until midnight and made the payment. It was thought by 
some that Tom Hicks was really Tom Horn who later was hung for 
shooting a young boy in eastern Wyoming. Tom Horn's fee was 
$500 for a killing. 

Ann had a deep resentment for the large cattle ranchers trying 
to come into the park and did everything to discourage their ef- 
forts. Later she was tried for cattle rustling but never convicted. 


Located at this point is the Lodore Ranger Station, in Dinosaur 
National Monument. At this portal, the Green River passes be- 
tween cliffs that rise 2000 feet. The Green River falls 425 feet 
in twenty miles through the canyon. Powell named this Disaster 
Falls because he lost one of his boats and a third of his supplies 

The name, Gates of Lodore, came from one of the men on the 
Powell Expedition, Andy Hall, who suggested the name from a 
poem written by Robert Southey called Cataracts of Lodore after 
the falls in England. If you note the spelling of the name, you'll 
find both Lodore and Ladore. The original English spelling is 
with an "o" but the spelling with an "a" has been used on many 

Where the river bends south and enters the gates you witness 
formations of various colors that change constantly as the sun rises 
and sets. On the left bank, you see patches of dark rock of the 
Uinta Mountain Group which appears beneath the Brown's Park 
Formation. This contrast between the oldest and youngest rock 
formations in Brown's Park, one two billion years old which was 
eroded and capped by a formation laid less than sixty million years 
ago, is a spectacular sight. 


The highway from Brown's Park, Colorado, goes north through 
Irish Canyon. As is usual with all incidents in the park, there are 
several versions of the same story. The naming of Irish Canyon 
has several and here is one account. 

The Canyon was named for three Irishmen who had robbed a 
saloon in Rock Springs. They used a wagon to make their get- 


away and had it loaded with two kegs of whiskey, a trunk and the 
money. When they reached the canyon, it was impossible to get 
the wagon through. They ditched the money and the trunk then 
abandoned the wagon and headed south. The posse in pursuit 
killed two of the men. The other one escaped and ended up in 
Price, Utah. No one knows what happened to the money but 
many years later two empty kegs and an old trunk were found but 
it contained nothing of value. 

Mock Keviews 

Voltaire and the Cowboy: The Letters of Thurman Arnold. Ed. 
by Gene M. Gressley. (Boulder: Colorado Associated Uni- 
versity Press, 1977). Index. Illus. 552 pp. $15.00. 

It is always a pleasure when a local boy makes good in the out- 
side world. It is doubly satisfying when a young person from 
Wyoming succeeds in that sophisticated, urban world of the east 
coast and Washington, D. C. Such was the case with Thurman 
Arnold, Laramie born and Wyoming raised. This hefty book, 
masterfully edited by Professor Gene Gressley, tells of the life and 
accomplishments of Arnold through his letters to relatives, friends 
and passing acquaintances. 

Born in 1891, Arnold spent an idyllic childhood in Laramie. 
Like many western lads, he was shipped off to the East for his 
higher education. Wabash College in Indiana was an abysmal 
experience, but Princeton was more to his liking. By the time 
he had finished Harvard Law School he began to find himself. 
Returning to Laramie, Arnold hung out his shingle and began 
practicing law and dabbling in politics, all with varying degrees of 
success. Then, quite suddenly in 1927, Arnold permanently left 
Wyoming to accept the position of dean of the University of West 
Virginia Law School. This move came as a surprise, for not only 
his wife, Frances, but many others thought Thurman would even- 
tually follow John B. Kendrick as senator from Wyoming. But 
leave he did, to embark on a successful academic career at both 
the University of West Virginia and Yale University, then as the 
energetic assistant attorney general and head of the Antitrust Divi- 
sion (1938-1943) under President Franklin Roosevelt. Resigning 
this position, Arnold accepted a judgeship in the Circuit Court of 
Appeals. But Arnold was too much of an advocate to tolerate 
the dispassionate role of a magistrate, and after two frustrating 
years he resigned to form the law firm of Arnold, Fortas and 
Porter. The firm thrived, gaining a reputation for courage by 
defending Owen Lattimore and many others accused of subversive 
activities during that malevolent period known as the McCarthy 
era. He continued in private practice until his death in 1969. 
It was only then that he returned to his native state. 

Although Thurman Arnold spent few of his productive years in 
Wyoming, he never ceased to be a westerner, perhaps best de- 
scribed by Attorney General Robert Jackson as "a cross between 
Voltaire and the cowboy, with the cowboy predominating." He 
loved the West, and he never ceased to be a part of it, if only in 
spirit. As Professor Gressley characterized Arnold: "He was a 
Western progressive all his life, but far more politically conserva- 
tive than most of his friends or detracters ever realized." What- 


ever the exact meaning of this pronouncement, we know that the 
West was an indelible stamp on his character which served to influ- 
ence his personality and decisions at every turn throughout his life. 

The letters are arranged in a chronological fashion, following the 
before mentioned contours of Arnold's career. Like most editors, 
Gressley faced the challenge of culling only a few of the 17,000 
communications contained in the Thurman Arnold Collection, 
housed at the University of Wyoming. Surely another editor 
would have, at times, selected differently, yet no one can quibble 
with Gressley's determination to "accurately portray Thurman 
Arnold and at the same time spotlight his era." Nor can one 
question the editor's devotion to scholarly work, for the recipient 
of each letter is identified, usually in a most thorough fashion. 
Often the task of an editor appears deceptively simple. Gressley's 
prodigious efforts laid this myth to rest. 

From a Wyoming perspective, there are some disappointments. 
First, it must be noted that there are no letters for the period 1920 
to 1927, the very years when Thurman Arnold was most active in 
Wyoming as a Laramie attorney and an aspiring local and state 
politician. Gressley explains that "unfortunately, the Arnold cor- 
respondence from this era ... is non-existent." One is left only 
to speculate what wisdom and wit regarding his home state has 
been lost. Second, one could wish that Arnold's talents could have 
been directed more to Wyoming and the West. The letters reveal 
a man of brilliance, determination, and courage, tempered with 
irony and whimsy. Yet all this talent was seldom directed to 
solving the problem of his region. There is every indication that 
had he remained in Wyoming he would have become a senator, 
perhaps of the caliber of a Walsh, Borah, or Norris, and surely an 
excellent complement to Joseph O'Mahoney. As it was, Thurman 
Arnold's career is another testament to the thesis that Wyoming's 
ablest progeny leave the state, allowing us to reflect upon their 
success but not to benefit by it. 

Finally it must be noted that this volume contains an added 
bonus for the reader. It is a common practice for the editor to 
give a biographical sketch of his subject in preparation for the 
letters. However, Professor Gressley's ninety-four-page "Introduc- 
tion" goes far beyond the perfunctory. Using not only the letters, 
but newspapers, interviews, and various other primary and second- 
ary sources, the author has written an entertaining and thoughtful 
biographical piece. Some readers will find this introduction more 
useful than the letters, although in fact, each supports the other. 

With Gressley's biography, the letters, and Arnold's autobiog- 
raphy, Fair Fights and Foul, we are now beginning to have a clear 
view of this "complex, elusive, brilliant, blustering individual who 
was Thurman Arnold . . . ." 

University of Wyoming Robert W. Righter 


Glittering Misery. Dependents of the Indian Fighting Army By 
Patricia Y. Stallard. (San Rafael: Presidio Press; Fort Col- 
lins: The Old Army Press, 1978). Index. Illus. 159 pp. 

Of the army dependents, wives, children, laundresses and ser- 
vants, only the laundresses were recognized, and provided for, by 
army regulations. The other women never had a recognized status 
with the army. They were "camp followers" and were tolerated, 
not welcomed. Wives of enlisted men often served as laundresses 
in order to receive rations. Officers' wives who were from wealthy 
families were able to provide their own subsistence while traveling 
with their husbands. If they could not afford it, they remained 

Officer's wives were encouraged to keep journals of their travels 
with their husbands in the frontier army. Martha Summerhayes, 
Elizabeth Custer, Elizabeth Burt and the two Mrs. Carringtons are 
the more familiar women who recorded the events of their life as 
an army wife. 

Diaries and journals kept by the wives give us a good look at 
life on a military post, beyond the military maneuvers. Mrs. Sum- 
merhayes described her army life as glaenzendes Elend, "glittering 
misery, " hence the book's title. 

Life at a frontier military post was often difficult and accom- 
modations poor. These hardy women, determined to bring a 
"touch of class" to their surroundings, made do with whatever was 
at hand to brighten up their bleak existence. 

Other than a few published books written by the men who 
served with the Indian fighting army, or their wives, most of the 
information about the lives of army dependents is available only 
in the military records or diaries and letters in private collections. 
In Glittering Misery, Stallard brings together the story of the army 
dependents in a much needed compendium. The information is 
interesting and valuable to the military historian; the sources are 
well documented and reliable. 

Unfortunately, there are a few flaws which keep the book from 
being outstanding instead of just good. 

The style is not fluent and it lacks smooth transitions, preventing 
the book from being thoroughly readable. The book is replete 
with photographs, including some in poor condition which did not 
reproduce well. The index is far from complete, and is only useful 
if a place or name is sought. An analytical index would be helpful 
to the researcher seeking information on recreation, social life, 
parties, dances, sports, or any of the many topics discussed. 

References to Fort Phil Kearny are misspelled. Although litera- 
ture and military records do show the spelling also with an "e" 
after the "n", the only correct spelling is without the "e" because 
the fort was named for General Philip Kearny. It should not be 


confused with Fort Kearney, Nebraska, named for Col. Stephen 
Watts Kearny. In this instance the incorrect spelling has been 
accepted and made official by statute. 

Another error, with reference to Fort Phil Kearny, is found on 
page 21. The author states that it was earlier called Fort Carring- 
ton. There was never a Fort Carrington in Wyoming; however. 
Col. Henry B. Carrington led the command stationed at Fort Phil 

The most glaring fault is the choice of cover design. The silver 
and black dust jacket gives the book a cheap appearance rather 
than simulating the "glitter," as intended. It's too bad, because at 
first glance, the book is ugly and unappealing; however, once past 
the cover, the contents are worth examining. 

Wyoming State Museum Marion M. Huseas 

In Search of Butch Cassidy. By Larry Pointer. (Norman: Uni- 
versity of Oklahoma Press, 1978.) 294 pp., $9.95. 

Legends die hard in Wyoming. Especially around the area of 
Lander, which seems to have given birth to quite a few of them. 

I would cite as examples: 1) The Esther Hobart Morris "tea 
party" at South Pass City; 2) The story of the equestrian masochist 
who by-passed numerous telegraph stations to ride all the way 
from the Little Big Horn to Fort Stambaugh with news of the 
Custer defeat; 3) The death and burial of Sacajawea on the Wind 
River Reservation in 1884, and, 4) The return of Butch Cassidy 
from South America, where he was supposed to have been killed 
in 1908. 

Well, I've never believed the first three legends, but for some 
reason I've always clung to the last one. Larry Pointer's book. 
In Search of Butch Cassidy, goes a long, long way toward proving, 
finally, that Wyoming's most celebrated "badman" did indeed re- 
turn, and lived the rest of his life under an assumed identity in 
Spokane, Washington. 

The story of Pointer's search for Butch Cassidy begins, appro- 
priately, in the Stockgrowers Bar in Lander, where Allan Robert- 
son told Pointer about his grandmother, Dora Lamorreaux, who 
was one of Cassidy's girl friends in the 1890s. 

Allan and I were good friends in 1969, when I edited a newspa- 
per in Lander. I've heard the same stories from Allan, and from 
some of the oldtimers who frequented the Stockgrowers Bar. Ten 
years ago, there were still quite a few people alive in Lander who 
could remember meeting and talking with Butch Cassidy in 1934. 
when he returned to Lander on an extended camping trip. 

Armed with those interviews, Pointer went to Spokane and 
tracked down the adopted son and friends of William T. Phillips. 


the man who was Butch Cassidy. And, incredibly, even found 
a copy of the Phillips manuscript, "The Bandit Invincible," which 
he wrote in the early thirties and tried to get published after he lost 
his manufacturing business in the crash of 1929. 

But "The Bandit Invincible" isn't the only proof Pointer was 
able to turn up. The photographs of Phillips are a proof in them- 
selves. Pointer also turned up letters written by Phillips to another 
sweetheart, Mary Boyd Rhodes. Phillips would sign the letters 
"Your old Sweetheart, Geo." 

The Phillips letters of the 1930s were compared with an authen- 
tic Cassidy letter, written from Argentina in 1902, by a Master 
Graphoanalyst, who pronounced them as having been written by 
the same person! A Mexican fire-opal ring, given by Phillips to 
Mary Boyd Rhodes is pictured in the book. The ring is engraved 
"Geo. C. to Mary B." 

Pointer's research was extensive. He left few stones unturned 
in his search. For instance, he is able to prove that William T. 
Phillips did not exist before 1908. 

Apparently, Cassidy returned from Bolivia, where he had es- 
caped the gunfight that killed The Sundance Kid, with some money 
left in his jeans. He founded the Phillips Manufacturing Company 
in Spokane and invented, fabricated, and marketed a number of 
devices. One of these was an automatic garage door opener. 
Another was a mechanical adding machine, which he tried to sell 
to the Burroughs Company of Detroit. Burroughs refused to pay 
the asking price, and, shortly thereafter, came out with an adding 
machine of their own, according to Pointer. 

If the author's research adds up, Butch Cassidy's creative mind, 
diverted from new and exciting ways to dynamite a Union Pacific 
express car, evidently gave the world the adding machine. 

There are few flaws in this book. I recommend it highly. Those 
who have still clung to the legend that Cassidy did not die in 
Bolivia will say, "I told you so." 

And, those who didn't share that belief will say, "Well, 
maybe . . ." 

Wyoming State Museum Pat Hall 

West of Plymouth. By Virginia Cole Trenholm. (Cheyenne: 
_ Frontier Printing, Inc., 1978). Index. Illus. 133 pp. 
Family histories are always interesting to members of the fam- 
ilies about whom they are written. West of Plymouth is absorbing 
reading for those who cannot make personal identification with 
either the Cole or Trenholm families, although it was written pri- 
marily for the author's children "to acquaint (them) with bygone 


The book's readability is probably due in part to the fact that 
the author is an experienced writer and tells a story skillfully. 
Additionally, Mrs. Trenholm had extensive and detailed sources 
of information available to research her own family and her hus- 
band's. The most comprehensive, perhaps, were many old family 
letters saved for years in the attic of an ancestor of the author, 
and her grandfather's detailed and literate Civil War diary. An 
aunt of her husband was her primary source of information about 
the family of Robert Trenholm. She had for years searched family 
Bibles and church and county records in both the United States 
and Canada to establish the history of her family's several branch- 
es. This research, along with much personal reminiscence, pro- 
vided the greatest part of the Trenholm background. 

The author has traveled to most of the states where the two 
families had roots, including Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri and 
the Province of Quebec. Her personal observations are significant 
in updating locales and landmarks, many of which, inevitably, have 

Wyoming history oriented readers will be intrigued that the 
eventual joining of the Cole and Trenholm families, with such 
different geographical backgrounds, through the marriage of Vir- 
ginia Cole and Robert Trenholm, was in Wyoming. This is the 
pattern for many pioneer Wyoming families whose origins were in 
the eastern United States and who gradually moved westward as 
the Western frontier expanded. 

The many delightful family anecdotes which are interwoven in 
Mrs. Trenholm's story give life and personality to the people in 
West of Plymouth. Generous use of pictures also gives an added 
dimension to the narrative. 

The compendium will be invaluable to anyone reading the book. 
It is a carefully compiled list of all members of the Cole and Tren- 
holm families and includes vital statistics and highlights in their 
lives, beginning with the early 18th century for both families. 

Wyoming State Archives and Katherine A. Halverson 

Historical Department 

Shoots. A Guide to Your Family's Photographic Heritage. By 
Thomas L. Davies. (Danbury, N. H.: Addison House, 
1977). Index. Illus. 72 pp. $3.95. 
Photographs are truly a window into the past. With the upsurge 
in the popularity of genealogy, what family historian has not won- 
dered how to cope with the old, sometimes damaged pictures that 
find their way into our boxes and drawers. The answer seems to 
be a fascinating new sideline described in detail by Mr. Davies — 
become a Photohistorian! 


Genealogical data in itself is but a sekelton of names, dates and 
places. When family stories and pictures are included, our ances- 
tors begin to take form to our link with the past. However, many 
of us are intimidated with problems of light settings, darkroom 
equipment, and complicated files. 

Davies shows a remarkable ability in this small book to guide 
an amateur through a "how to" course of solutions to problems of 
location, organization, and restoration of old and new pictures. 

I was shocked to learn modern plastic album pages will even- 
tually destroy snapshots — and the beautiful color prints of today 
will be fading in about twenty years. Most of us have at least 
one old, lovely, but unidentified picture in our collection. Mr. 
Davies reminded readers "People whose portraits are on daguerre- 
otypes are all dead. Most cabinet card people are dead too, but 
some people still living may remember who they were. Identify 
your collection now before the people in your Kodachromes start 
to go"! 

For those who like a bit of a challenge, Chapter 3, "In the 
Daylight Darkroom: Archival Processes," would be an adventure. 
Davies described in detail techniques not well known he has used 
in relatively primitive conditions. 

It was delightful for me to be able to understand the processes 
and how I could do satisfying work with my trusty "instamatic." 
Sophisticated equipment, in most cases, was not necessary. Mr. 
Davies took pity on my dialing finger and stamp bill by thought- 
fully providing in Appendix B, Sources of Supply — manufacturers, 
importers, and a list of companies willing to mail order supplies. 

If I would be permitted to wish for one more chapter, I would 
ask the author for a few tips on taking pictures of cemetery stones. 
This area of a family's photographic heritage can be difficult and 
frustrating; little or inaccurate data is provided by faded stones 
and poor pictures. 

Don't underrate this book because of its size or price. Anyone 
interested in old or new pictures can easily and painlessly gain 
valuable knowledge and tips to give your photos a future. As Mr. 
Davies urges in Chapter 7, "Give your descendants something to 
think about!" 

Cheyenne Sharon Lass Field 

The Coal War: A Sequel to "King Coal". By Upton Sinclair. 
Introduction by John Graham. (Boulder: Colorado Asso- 
ciated University Press, 1976). Notes to introduction, xcii, 
417 pp. $12.50. 
The election of John D. Rockefeller IV as governor of the state 

of West Virginia symbolized the ending of an era. The thought 


that coal miners would ever cast their ballots in large numbers in 
favor of a member of a family responsible for the occurrence of 
the Ludlow Massacre would have been unthinkable until recent 
years. The Ludlow Massacre perpetrated by the minions of the 
Colorado Fuel and Iron Company controlled by the Rockefeller 
interests in April, 1914, was one of those symbolic acts of cor- 
porate brutality that continued to remind American labor of the 
great discrepancy between the idea of the United States as the 
"land of the free" and the grimmer reality. 

The Ludlow Massacre not only added fuel to the conviction in 
labor circles to the effect that capitalists were never to be trusted, 
but it also elicited some literary attention, understandably of a 
somewhat polemical variety, Upton Sinclair, a gadfly critic of 
American institutions and a maverick Socialist whose fame and 
fortune had been assured by the previous publication of the ep- 
ochal work, The Jungle, turned his considerable talents to the task 
of conveying the plight of the Ludlow miners in literary form to 
the reading public. Frustrated by the indifference on the part of 
the Rockefellers to public demonstrations of protest in which he 
participated, Sinclair penned, in white heat as usual, a two-volume 
work designed to reveal to the public the coal industry in its naked 

King Coal was the first volume produced by the prolific Sinclair 
and duly appeared in print with a relatively good sale. The Coal 
War was never published until it recently appeared in the present 

Although on the surface a love story, the real intent of The Coal 
War was to alert the American public to the evils embodied within 
the capitalist system. The author's narrative of the love of wealthy 
playboy-turned-reformer Hal Warner for his fellow upper class 
dweller Jessie Arthur and the coal miner's daughter Mary Burke 
provides the story line on the basis of which Sinclair describes the 
Ludlow Massacre in complete and telling detail. The author's 
painstaking description of the manner in which the coal miners 
were systematically opposed in their drive to gain equity by every 
organized agency of society is of considerable historical importance 
as a contemporary narrative of conditions above and beyond any 
literary importance that his work as a whole may have. Sinclair's 
polemical novel illuminates the way in which corporations hired 
private armies to forcibly break strikes and then, when subjected 
to public criticism, turned instead to the National Guard as a ve- 
hicle for strikebreaking activities. Based on considerable research 
and firsthand observation, The Coal War depicts the subversion of 
the democratic process by the mine operators as they compelled 
local and state officials to do their bidding and thwarted any effort 
on the part of the federal government to prevent the miners from 
being completely crushed under the heels of rampant "robber bar- 


rons." Of great interest to contemporary scholars is Sinclair's 
description of the multi-ethnic character of the striking mine popu- 
lation and his revelation of the process by which national enmities 
were temporarily subsumed under the umbrella of the union cause. 

The value of this first publication of The Coal War would have 
been materially lessened without the provision of the lengthy and 
most revealing introduction supplied by John Graham. Graham, 
a professor of English at the University of Colorado, places Sin- 
clair's work into its historical context, while at the same time 
providing a most acute textual analysis of the novel as a literary 
production. The importance of Sinclair's book as a historical doc- 
ument is considerably enhanced by Graham's endeavor. 

Washtenaw Community College Norman Lederer 

Ann Arbor, Michigan 

The Grassman. By Len Fulton. (Berkeley, California: Thorp 
Springs Press, 1974 (2nd printing, 1976). $2.95 paperback, 
$7.95 cloth. 

Len Fulton, publisher of Dustbooks which produces the indis- 
pensable yearly International Directory of Little Magazines & 
Small Presses, has written a fine novel, The Grassman, set in the 
Wyoming Territory of the 1880s. Drawing upon his own expe- 
rience of living in Wyoming during his undergraduate days and 
growing up in New England, Fulton has created a protagonist 
Andrew Finn, a lawyer from Boston who goes West for the first 
time to meet his uncle Ben Finn. 

Andrew read many books about the West like the Swede in 
Stephen Crane's "Blue Hotel," but unlike the Swede, he is a young 
man who is adept at juxtaposing book learning with real life. 
And like young Boone Caudill of Guthrie's Big Sky, Andrew has 
an uncle out in the alluring West. Ben Finn, however, is quite 
unlike Zeb in The Big Sky in that he is a rancher, not a mountain 
man, who is very possessive of his spread of land called the Black- 
tail out of Red Spring near Buffalo, Wyoming. 

The novel begins with Andrew Finn heading West on a train 
which is boarded in Iowa by an outlaw called Greak disguised as 
a preacher carrying a big brown Bible. Andrew meets an attrac- 
tive damsel by the name of Holly from Saint Louis. All three 
characters, by coincidence, are headed for Cheyenne, and thence 
to Red Spring: Holly to work as a piano player in the Porales' 
Saloon, Andrew to meet his uncle, and the Greak to serve as a 
rival rancher's hit man (unknown to Andrew). 

When Andrew finally arrives in Big Horn country, he is totally 
overwhelmed by the vastness of the land: 


"In the northwest a range of low hills, the Nine Mile, stretched 
north-south and fronted the distant Bighorns now darkened in 
shadows. Other hills, nearer to us than the Nine Mile, slipped 
up and down along the left, intermittently shrouding a longer view. 
Back of us lay the dusty miles of grass and blue sage; northeast 
the Pumpkin Buttes, but a few miles distant, spread out in flat, 
purple silence. Farther north the plains stretched in a dry, somber 
tone, broken here and there by eroded hills of red-brown and tan 
rock strata and loose, gritty earth. Faded green shortgrass had 
largely superseded the sage, though there were still healthy stands 
of it visible. Often the vast expanses of grass became diluted ecru, 
almost amber, and its monotony grew as steadily as the monotony 
of sagebrush. Only the great Buttes, under whose careless gaze 
we now moved, crashed the emptiness. Nothing occurred as we 
rattled across the flatland, awake and asleep, asleep and awake, 
hot, tired, dust-soaked, a tiny, plodding speck — alone. Was it 
some kind of torture, this endless outer distance against the tiny 
inner world? Could one after all take so much into such a little 
body without shrinking and distorting the miles between place and 

But the vastness of the land did not begin to match the vastness 
of his uncle's greed for water rights which were held in dispute 
by a rival French rancher by the name of Marquand of the Lazy M 
Ranch. Ten Smoke Creek was their bone of contention; without 
it there could be no productive cattle raising; without it, there 
could be no life for them. Instead of communally sharing Ten 
Smoke Creek, Finn and Marquand battled over it like the Indian 
tribes before them had battled over hunting grounds. The Finn- 
Marquand battle of 1886 is indeed reminiscent of the Johnson 
County cattle war of 1892 which is the subject of Robert Rori- 
paugh's novel, Honor Thy Father (1963). 

Andrew Finn comes of age as he experiences the cowboy life 
style so aptly described to Holly by the saloon keeper, Senor 
Porales: "Cowboys are tough because the land is tough. Life 
here is not something for the weak merely to endure: rather it is 
for the strong to make possible." The Wyoming wind, the scarcity 
of water, and the rapacity of ranchers all help mold Andrew's 
mind which became increasingly realistic. He witnessed duels with 
lariats, men almost gored to death by bulls, and many killings on 
the open range. All of his reading back in Boston could not begin 
to prepare him for characters like Greak or Paintrock. It is Paint- 
rock, a buck -toothed hireling of Marquand's, who nearly kills 
Andrew in the Porales' Saloon (much to Holly's horror), and it 
is the mysterious Greak who saves his life later on in that same 
saloon. Greak is a man who has killed but unlike Paintrock, he 
is not coldblooded. He has a sense of "Gawd" in him thanks to 
the Bible he seems to absorb while disguised as a preacher. Greak 


was hired to kill Ben Finn, but his inner sense controls his trigger 
finger. Something tells him Marquand "ain't worth workin' fer." 
His inner sense proves him right when he witnesses Marquand set 
a grass fire to exterminate Finn and company. Ultimately, Mar- 
quand and Finn die of gunshot between the prairie fires and smoke 
leaving only his son, Frank, daughter, Lindy, and visiting nephew, 
Andrew. Later Greak saves Andrew's life in the Porales' Saloon 
when he shoots Paintrock who held Andrew captive as bait to lure 
Frank to his death. 

The Grassman is more than an initiation novel; it is a novel 
about the inner depths of early western people. Through the 
people of the West, young Andrew Finn returns to Boston a more 
complete man. The Grassman is now being filmed for a movie 
set in Wyoming. 

University of Wyoming Richard F. Fleck 


Gregory D. Kendrick's manuscript on Olaus Murie was a 
Master's thesis at the University of Wyoming where he received 
his M.A. degree in August, 1977. He was assisted in the Murie 
study by a Grant-in-Aid from the Wyoming State Historical Soci- 
ety. Kendrick is presently employed by the Wyoming Recreation 

Paul H. Giddens, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, has a long and 
distinguished career in the field of education and is a recognized 
authority on the history of the oil industry. Colleges where he 
taught include the University of Kansas, Iowa State College, Ore- 
gon State College and Allegheny College. He was president of 
Hamline University at St. Paul, from 1953 to 1968, and has held 
the title of President Emeritus since that time. A prolific writer. 
Dr. Giddens published between 1928 and 1976 five books, four 
pamphlets, two booklets and 192 articles. Of these, the books, 
three pamphlets, one booklet and 97 articles are on the history of 
the petroleum industry. 

Eugene T. Carroll, received his B. A. from St. Mary's Col- 
lege, Winona, Minnesota. A former teacher, he holds an M.A. 
in English and Education from Arizona State University and an 
M.A. from the University of Wyoming, received in 1977. His 
historical interests center on the Western politician of the early 
twentieth century. Mr. and Mrs. Carroll moved last year from 
Denver to his family home in Billings. 


Alaska, 230-248, 265-268, 286, 294, 
295, 296 

Albright, Horace, 250, 269 

Allen. Pvt. Charles J., 305 

Allen. Marie, 346 

An Environmental Spokesman: 
Olaus J. Murie and a Democratic- 
Defense of Wilderness, by Greg- 
ory D. Kendrick, 213-302 

Armstrong, Mathilda, 341 

Ashley. William, 345 


Bailey. Vernon, 229, 230 

Bannister, L. Ward, 326, 327 

Barrett, Frank, 277, 278 

Bassett, Ann, 346, 349 

Bassett, Herbert, 346, 349 

Bassett, Sam, 346, 349 

"Bassett Ranch," 349-350 

Baxter, Robert H., 304, 312 

Bean. Prof. A. M., 221 

Bennett, John, 349 

Big Horn Expedition, 1870, 305, 

Blair, Archibald, 338 
Blair. Duncan, 338 
Blairtown, 338 
Brown, Baptiste, 345 
"Brown's Park," 344-347 
Bryan. Wyo., 304, 317, 337 
Bureau of Biological Survey, 229, 

231, 232, 241, 249, 262, 263, 275, 

276, 300 

"C.E.W.," 303, 304 

Calahane, Victor H., 271, 285 

Campbell Museum, 347 

Carey Act of 1894, 321 

Carroll. Eugene T., John B. Ken- 
drick's Fight for Western Water 
Legislation, 1917-1933, 319-333; 
biog., 363 

Casper, Wyo., 328, 332 

Cassidy, Butch, 348 
Casper-Alcova Project. 323, 328, 

329, 330, 331, 332, 333 
Chadey, Henry F., "Community 

Art Center," 336-337; "Sweetwa- 
ter County -Green River -Rock 

Springs," 337-339; "The Cherokee 

Trail." 341-342 
Chadey, Michael, "Ewing Canyon." 

343-344; "Brown's Park-Crouse 

Ranch," 348 
Cherokee Trail, 341 
"The Cherokee Trail," by Henry F. 

Chadey, 341-342 
Cheyenne, (Wyo.), 307, 312, 313, 

315, 316; photo, 1870, 307 
Chinese Massacre of 1885, 338 
Chug Station, 308 
Church & Dwight Company, 337 
"Clay Basin," 343 
The Coal War: A Sequel to "King 

Coal," bv Upton Sinclair, review, 

358-360 " 
Colorado River Compact, 324, 325, 

326, 329 
"Community Art Center," by Henry 

F. Chadey, 336-337 
Coyotes, 258, 259 
Crouse, Charley, 348 


Dale Creek, 304 

Darling, Jay N., 262, 265 

Dart, Isom, 346- 350 

Davies, Thomas L., Shoots. A 
Guide to Your Family's Photo- 
graphic Heritage, review, 357-358 

Douglas, William O., 290, 293 

Drury, Newton B., 281. 283, 284, 

Duncan, — -, 344 

"Dutch John and Flaming Forge 
Dam," 342-343 

"East Side Road," by Adrian Rey- 
nolds, 339-341 



Echo Park Dam, 286, 287, 288, 289, 

"Elk Commission," 249 
Emerson, Frank, 324, 328 
Ewing, Jesse, 343-344, 346 
"Ewing Canyon," by Michael Cha- 

dey, 343-344 
Expedition Island, 338 

Ferrerro, D. S., 339 

Field, S. I., 337 

Field. Sharon Lass, review of 
Shoots. A Guide to Your Fam- 
ily's Photographic Heritage, 357- 

Fleck. Richard F., review of The 
Grossman, 360-362 

Fontenelle Valley, 304, 317 

Forrestal, Madam, 344 

Carlin, 308 

D. A. Russell, 308, 315, 316 
Davy Crockett (Misery), 345, 349 
Fetterman, 305 
Laramie, 305-311, 315; photo, 

late August, 1870, 310 
Pilot Butte, 338 

"Frontier" (nom de plume), 304, 

Fulton, Len, The Grossman, review, 

"Gates of Lodore," 350 

Geist, Otto, 246, 267, 293 

Giddens, Paul H., Seven Letters 
from the Wyoming Territory 
1870-1871, 303-318; biog., 363 

Glacier View Dam, Mont., 282, 283, 

Glittering Misery: Dependents of 
the Indian Fighting Army, by 
Patricia Y. Stallard, review, 354- 

Goodson, Kelvington, 346 

Gottsche, William, 342 

The Grossman, by Len Fulton, re- 
view, 360-362 

Green River, 317 

Green River, Wyo., 337, 338 

Greeley Colony (Colo.), 315 

Gressley, Gene M., ed., Voltaire 
and the Cowboy: The Letters of 
Thurmon Arnold, review. 352-353 


Hall, Andy, 350 

Hall, Pat, review of In Search of 
Butch Cassidv, 355-356 

Halseth, Elmer, 337 

Halverson, Katherine A., review of 
West of Plymouth, 356-357 

Harrington, Keith, 293 

Harris, Chance L., 318 

Herrera, Juan (Mexican Joe), 345 

Hicks, Tom, '349 

Holladay, Ben, 341 

Honselena, John (Dutch John), 342 

Hook, H. M., 337 

Hopkins, S. G., 327 

Horn, Tom, 350 

Hoy, Valentine, 349 

Hunt, Lester C, 278 

Huseas, Marion M., review of Glit- 
tering Misery: Dependents of the 
Indian Fighting Army, 354-355 



Red Cloud. 305, 308, 310. 314 

Cheyenne, 316 

Sioux, 305, 308, 310, 311, 314, 
In Search of Butch Cassidy, by 

Larry Pointer, review. 355-356 
"Irish Canyon." 350-351 

Jaskson, Wyo., 251 

Jackson Hole elk herd, 248, 249, 
250, 251, 252. 253, 254, 255, 256, 
257, 262, 264, 269 

Jackson Hole Nat'I Mon.. 271, 272, 
273, 274, 277, 278. 279. 291 

Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc., 270 

John B. Kendrick's Fight for West- 
ern Water Legislation. 1917-1933. 
by Eugene T. Carroll. 319-333 

Johnson. Ed, 349 




Kastler, B. Z., 343 

Kendrick, Gregory D., An Environ- 
mental Spokesman: Olaus J. 
Murie and a Democratic Defense 
of Wilderness, 213-302; biog., 363 

Kendrick, John B., 319-333; photo, 

Kennedy, T. Blake, 272, 273 

Kessel, Brina, 293 

Parson, Ann (Snapping Annie), 346 

Parson, Warren F., 346 

Phillips, Edwin (Elvington), 304, 

312, 314 
Pidgeon, — , 343 
Pointer, Larry, In Search of Butch 

Cassidy, review, 355-356 
Pomeroy, Justin J., 303, 304, 318 
Powell, John Wesley, 338, 346 

Lederer, Norman, review of The 
Coal War: A Sequel to "King 
Coal," 358-360 

Lee, Ike, 343 

Leek, Stephen, 249 

"Lodore Hall," 348-349 

Lonetree, Wyo., 341 


MacLeod, Dr. Donald G., 293 
McAtee, W. L., 259 
MacKaye, Benton, 274 
Manley, William, 346 
Marshall, Alfred, 226, 228 
Marshall, Robert, 215, 251, 268, 

Mather, Stephen, 250, 297 
Mead, Elwood, 319, 329, 330, 331, 

332, 333 
Merriam, C. Hart, 230, 231 
Minnies Gap, 335, 341, 343 
"Minnies Gap," 343 
Mondell, Frank, 322 
Moorhead, Minn., 216 
Murie, Margaret Gillette (Mrs. 

Olaus), 237-302 
Murie, Olaus, 213-302 



Bassett, 349-350 

Brown's Ranche, 306 

CR, 334 

Currant Creek, 342 

Hoy, 341 

Maxon, 342 

Ramsay, 342 

Tabor, 340 
Rash, Matt, 346, 349 
Rasmussen, Minnie Crouse, 343 
Rawlins (Rawlings Springs), 311, 

312, 313, 314; photo, 1869, 312; 

photo, 1882-83, 314 
Rawlings Springs Cornet Band, 314 
Reclamation Act of 1902 (Newlands 

Act), 321, 322 
Reed, Jim, 346 
Reynolds, Adrian, "East Side Road," 

Righter, Robert W., review of Vol- 
taire and the Cowboy: the Letters 

of Thurman Arnold, 352-353 
Riverton Irrigation Project, 322, 324 
Rock Springs, Wyo., 338, 339 
Rock Springs Library, 336 
Rockefeller, John D., Jr., 269, 270 
Rust, Jess, 237, 246 


Nelson, Aimer, 251, 265 
Nelson, Edward W., 230, 231, 232, 
233, 234, 235, 248, 249 


Olympic National Park, 263, 264 
O'Mahoney, Joseph C, 278 

Salt Lake City, Utah, 315 

San Gregorio Primitive Area 
(Calif.), 279, 280 

Schaller, George, 293 

Seven Letters From The Wyoming 
Territory 1870-1871, introd. by 
Paul H. Giddens, 303-318 

Sheldon, Charles, 249 

Shoots. A Guide to Your Family's 
Photographic Heritage, by Thom- 
as L. Davies, review, 357-358 



Simmons, Louis, 346 

Sinclair, Upton, The Coal War: A 
Sequel to "King Coal," review, 

Stallard, Patricia Y., Glittering Mis- 
ery: Dependents of the Indian 
Fighting Army, review, 354-355 

Strang. Willie, 349 

Straus. Michael, 282 

Sweetwater Community Fine Arts 
Center, 336 

"Sweetwater County -Green River - 
Rock Springs." by Henry F. Cha- 
dey. 337-339 

Teeters. Charles, 343 

Titusville, (Pa.) Morning Herald, 

Todd. W. E. Clyde, 222-224, 226, 

227, 228 
Tracy. Harry, 349 
Trenholm, Virginia Cole, West of 

Plymouth, review, 356-357 


Welch, T. A., 340 

West of Plymouth, by Virginia Cole 

Trenholm, review, 356-357 
Wilbur, Int. Sec. Lyman, 329, 330 
Wilderness Society, 268, 270, 273, 

274, 275, 276, 280, 282, 286, 292, 

298, 300 
Wilkerson, W. P., 333 
Williams, Albert (Speck), 346-347, 

Williams, Paul, 343 
Willson. Charles E., 304 
Willson, William, 304 
Wyoming v. Franke, 272 
Wyoming State Historical Society 

'29th Annual Trek July 14-15, 

1978. Flaming Gorge-Brown's 

Park, 335-351 

Yard, Robert Sterling, 269, 273, 274 
Yellowstone National Park, 249, 250 


Voltaire and the Cowboy: the Let- 2 
ters of Thurman Arnold, ed., 

Gene M. Gressley, review, 352- Zahniser, Howard, 276, 280, 282, 

353 286, 287, 290, 292, 296 


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 Department asks for the assistance of all Wyoming citizens in its 
effort to secure and preserve records and materials. The Department facil- 
ities are designed to preserve these materials from loss and deterioration. 
Such records and materials include: 

Biographical and autobiographical materials, diaries, letters, account 
books, private records of individuals such as correspondence, manuscripts 
and scrapbooks. 

Business records of industries of the state, including livestock, mining, 
agriculture, railroads, manufacturers, merchants, ministers, educators and 
military personnel. 

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. 

Manuscripts 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 such as Indian artifacts, items 
related to the activities of persons in Wyoming or with special events in 
the state's history. 

All forms of Western art works including etchings, paintings in all media 
and sculpture.