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Volume 53, Number 1 
Spring, 1981 


The function of the Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department is 
to collect and preserve materials which tell the story of Wyoming. It maintains the state's 
historical library and research center, the Wyoming State Museum and branch museums, 
the State Art Gallery and the State Archives. The Department solicits original records such 
as diaries, letters, books, early newspapers, maps, photographs and art and records of early 
businesses and organizations as well as artifacts for museum display. The Department asks 
for the assistance of all Wyoming citizens to secure these documents and artifacts. Depart- 
ment facilities are designed to preserve these materials from loss and deterioration. 


Mrs. Suzanne Knepper, Buffalo, Chairman 

Dave Paulley, Cheyenne 

Mrs. Wilmot C. McFadden, Rock Springs 

Eugene Martin, Evanston 

Jerry Rillahan, Worland 

Mrs. Mae Urbanek, Lusk 

Ken Richardson, Lander 

Frank Bowron, Casper 

Attorney General Steven H. Freudenthal (ex-officio) 

ABOUT THE COVER — The cover painting of Fort Fred Steele was executed in the 1870s 
by Phillipe Denis De Trobriand. De Trobriand was a Frenchman of noble birth who had 
been educated at the College of Tours and awarded a law degree from Poitiers. He toured 
the U.S. in 1841, married an American woman, then went back to France for several years. 
In 1847, he returned to this country to live permanently. During the Civil War, taken with 
"... a cause that had immortalized Lafayette, " he became a citizen of the U.S. and as- 
sumed command of a group of Union volunteers as a general. After that conflict, he served 
as a colonel in the regular army. He was assigned to Dakota, Montana, Utah and Wyoming 
in the course of his military career. A diarist, poet, and novelist, De Trobriand was also a 
gifted amateur painter. Everywhere in his travels he saw subjects for pictures — his sketches 
and paintings include works on Indians, landscapes and Western military structures. Both 
in his journals and art works, De Trobriand revealed a remarkable perceptiveness of the 
world around him. He was sensitive to the people he encountered and to the environment in 
which he found them. De Trobriand's literary and artistic endeavors serve not only as 
aesthetic expressions of life in the American West a hundred years ago, but as valuable 
historical documents that provide a realistic, accurate picture of that lifestyle. The cover 
painting and a companion piece were purchased by the Wyoming State Art Gallery with 
funds contributed by members of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 



Volume 53, No. 1 
Spring, 1981 


Ed Herschler 


Dr. Michael J. Boyle 


William H. Barton 
Philip J. Roberts 


James R. Laird 
Timothy Cochrane 


Jean Brainerd 
Klaudia Stoner 
Kathy Martinez 



Benton and Bear River City 2 

by Emmett D. Chisum 



by Paul H. Giddens 


Newspaper Humor in the Old West 28 

by Robert G. Keller 


by Mel McFarland t 

BROADWAY IN COW COUNTRY: The History of ^'^ ^ 

Cheyenne Little Theatre (Part II) , . n(^ (._. . 38 

by Lou Burton ^ '^^ -^T- 


by Margaret E. Nielsen 


by Philip J. Roberts 





Annals of Wyoming is published biannually in the Spring and Fall. 
It is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society as 
the official publication of that organization. Copies of previous and cur- 
rent issues may be purchased from the Co-Editors. Correspondence should 
be addressed to the Co-Editor5. Published articles represent the views of 
the author and are not necessarily those of the Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department or the Wyoming State Historical 
Society. ANNALS OF WYOMING articles are abstracted in Historical 
Abstracts. America: History and Life. 


©Copyright 1981 by the Wyoming State Archives, Museums linH'Tiistorica I Department. 

University of Wyoming 

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Benton, Wyoming, U 

By Emmett D. Chisum 

As construction of the Union Pacific entered Wyo- 
ming, local inhabitants were apprehensive about the de- 
termination of division points along the Union Pacific 
line. These decisions by Union Pacific officials would 
determine the futures of Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, 
Evanston and Green River. A number of followers of the 
railroad construction crews would stay in these division - 
point towns, find useful occupations and contribute to 
the growth of the communities. Others would move 
from one construction site to another in their portable 
houses and tents, leaving few signs of the boom towns 
that were once at the end of the track. 

Construction of the Union Pacific was authorized by 
an Act of Congress in 1862, but progress was interrupted 
by the Civil War and only 40 miles of track had been 
completed by 1865. Following the war there were no dif- 
ficult problems in obtaining workers and materials, and 
with the appointment of General Grenville M. Dodge as 
chief engineer, considerable progress was made in the 
construction of the line across the plains of Nebraska.' 

Jack Casement and his tracking crew reached Chey- 
enne on November 13, 1867. On November 14, a vast 
assemblage of citizens and a brass band flocked to the 
Cheyenne Station to celebrate the arrival of the railroad. 
Eddy Street and the city hall were well lighted for the oc- 
casion, and a large transparent banner near the speakers 
stand bore the mottoes, "The Magic Town Greets the 
Continental Railway," "Honor to Who Honor is Due," 
and "Old Casement We Welcome You."^ 

Work continued in the Laramie Mountains during 
the winter, and 30 miles west of Cheyenne the town of 
Dale City was established by construction workers, 
tiemen and wood choppers. The Cheyenne vigilantes 
drove some of the undesirable elements out of their 
town, and they, too, came to Dale City.^ 

The survey of the town of Laramie was made in the 
fall of 1867, and when the Union Pacific commenced 
the sale of lots in April of 1868, there were several hun- 
dred people on the town site waiting to obtain title to the 
lots by the railroad in order to build their future homes. 
Within the first week over 400 lots were sold and within 
the next month, construction on buildings had started. 

The walls of the early buildings were constructed of logs 
or condemned railroad ties, and the roofs were of can- 
vas. '' 

In spite of the pleasant location of Laramie, the 
Cheyenne Daily Leader questioned the future status of 

But it is supposed that Laramie will be restored to its 
ancient and unbroken quiet except perhaps for the disturb- 
ing sound of a locomotive? Of great expectations is the 
town of Wyoming which is destined to supercede Laramie 
and become a candidate for the national capitol.* 
According to the notes left by Edward Ivinson, 
pioneer Laramie banker, there was a concerted effort 
made to locate the division point of the railroad at Wyo- 
ming, at the time known as Two Rivers. The place was 
about ten miles north of Laramie where the Big and Lit- 
tle Laramie Rivers unite. According to Ivinson, he fur- 
nished the financial aid to build the first courthouse 
which helped to make Laramie a division point. ^ 

On May 9 an army of workers stretched the iron rails 
across the town and headed for the plains beyond. The 
following day the first train arrived and it brought with 
it as diverse a collection of humanity and merchandise as 
ever was seen on the plains. There were cars loaded with 
merchandise, such as groceries, liquors, gambling out- 
fits, hardware and house-furnishing goods of every 
description. The people who came were largely of the 
class that had been following the railroad from point to 
point and had been doing business of one sort or another 
in the various temporary towns along the Union Pacific 

The proposed town of Laramie had been well adver- 
tised and the outlaw element realized that it was beyond 
the pall of civilization. The town served as a magnet for 
the worst sort of gamblers, thieves, highway robbers, 
and murderers who had been following the progress of 
the railway construction from Omaha west. It is safe to 
say that there were a great many men in early Laramie 
who had few moral principles, and they intended 
through violence to bring into subjection the citizens 
who favored decency and honesty.' 

A prelude to things yet to come was an incident in- 
volving W. H. Murphy and his friend, George Hayes. 


Laramie, Wyoming, circa 1868. "For a few weeks three desperadoes dominated the affairs of the town. 

On April 9, they were met by the Laramie police force 
and a few of their friends. The police tried to rob the 
two men and because they resisted the assault, they were 
arrested and put in jail. One member of the police 
force, a friend of Hayes, informed the two that the 
whole plot was to kill Hayes, and that Murphy was in no 
danger. During the night, the lawmen led by a man 
named Louis Roddapouch, opened fire on the jail. The 
first bullet from the lawman's gun wounded Murphy in 
the knee, but despite his wounds at least two of 
Murphy's bullets hit Roddapouch, inflicting flesh 
wounds. A group of citizens living nearby heard all of 
the shooting and broke in the jail and rescued Murphy. 

Roddapouch was captured the next morning and 
turned over to the sheriff. Murphy and his friends, in- 
tent on a lynching, demanded Roddapouch. As they 
prepared to hang him, Moll Tippets, who was known as 
the "Bull Whacker's Pet" came to bid Roddapouch 
goodbye. "Never mind," she said, "if these cruel men 
are against you. Remember God is for you." The lynch- 
ing was stopped by several armed men and Roddapouch 
was transferred to Cheyenne. * 

In spite of Laramie having a municipal government 
elected by the people, for a few weeks three desperadoes 
dominated the affairs of the new city. One outlaw 
operated a saloon in a log house, with a small backroom 
connected to the place. Men were made drunk, robbed 
and murdered. Their bodies were tossed into this 

backroom and then loaded into wagons and hauled out 
onto the plains for the coyotes and other animals to feast 
on. This saloon, operated by the Moyer brothers, 
became known as the "Bucket of Blood."'" 

The reaction produced by the criminal activities 
resulted in the organization of a vigilante committee 
composed of railroaders and businessmen who formulat- 
ed plans to take action against the outlaw element. On 
October 18, the hanging of a young man known only as 
the "Kid" by the vigilantes aroused the anger of the 
outlaw element. The vigilantes, in their next course of 
action, organized a raid on a notorious saloon known as 
"The Belle of the West." A hundred shots were ex- 
changed between the outlaws and the vigilantes and 
three of the vigilantes were killed before the battle end- 
ed. The vigilantes broke into the place and seized Con 
Wagner, Asa Moore and Ed Wilson. Their hands were 
tied by ropes and they were tied to the same building 
where the "Kid" had met his fate. The next morning 
"Big Steve" was captured and marched to a telegraph 
pole near the station house." 

According to an account by W. O. Owen, pioneer 
surveyor and mountain climber, the vigilantes seized 
"Big Steve" because he had failed to leave town as the 
group had ordered. He pleaded with the men to spare 
his life and said that he would leave town and not stop 
until he arrived in Omaha. Without benefit of clergy, a 
rope was fastened around his neck and he was pulled up 

a telegraph pole. "Big Steve" was so heavy that the noose 
broke and he fell to the ground. He was raised to the 
pole a second time and the rope broke. On the third at- 
tempt, the noose held and "Big Steve" was dead.'^ 

When Grenville Dodge, chief engineer of the Union 
Pacific Railroad, was away in Congress, Thomas Durant 
was circulating rumors that Laramie, and not Chey- 
enne, would be the main division point on the railroad. 
When General Dodge heard of the Durant stories and 
the nature of the affairs at the end of the track, he 
ordered his private car to proceed to Laramie. When 
Dodge arrived in Laramie, the "Big Tent" was doing a 
thriving gambling business. Dodge, displeased with the 
condition existing in Laramie, threatened to have 
General Gibbons send down a company of soldiers and 
proclaim martial law. Dodge also warned Durant not to 
interfere with his plans for building the railroad.'^ 

In October of 1868, the Union Pacific built the 
Thomburg Hotel. The dining room was being used as a 
restaurant for passengers on the Union Pacific. In the 
Thomburg Hotel Laramie had its first Christmas tree on 
Christmas Eve of 1868. In 1869, a reception was held in 
the hotel for Governor John Campbell, first governor of 
Wyoming Territory. 

With the organization of the Territory of Wyoming 
in May of 1869, a machinery for the government of the 

territory was created. County officers were appointed 
and the first term of court was held in 1869 with Judge 
William Jones presiding. N. K. Boswell became sheriff 
of the new county and was diligent in the enforcement of 
the laws.'"* 

The Frontier Index, "the press on wheels," followed 
the construction of the railroad from one town to 
another. In Albany County it was first published at Fort 
Sanders and later at Laramie. In August of 1868, the 
press was moved to Green River. Fred Freeman was the 
editor along the line on construction until his brother 
Legh took over the paper in Green River. In the frontier 
towns of the Union Pacific the Freeman brothers were 
recognized as the "chiefs of the vigilantes."'^ 

One of the early travelers on the Union Pacific, 
T. E. Lester gives the following description of Laramie: 
We are now approaching Laramie City — the end of 
the division, the proposed site of extensive railroad shops 
and quite a busy place, the natural outlet of the Laramie 
Plains, which is now open as a great grazing field, over 
which even now thousands of cattle are roaming." 
Edward L. Sabin, an early railroad historian, gave 
the following impression of Laramie: 

The big game heads, the agates, the opals, and moun- 
tain amethysts and rubies heaped in the show cases of the 
station eating house and were the feeblest of lures for in- 
coming tourists: the great water tank and its windmill 

Newly constructed railroad shops at Laramie, circa 1870. 

seventy five feet high, on a base twenty -five by fifteen 
feet - the sparkling streams of water flowing down the prin- 
cipal streets failed to wash away the sins of Laramie and its 
people until the vigilantes helped." 

Laramie became an important division point and 
men worked in the roundhouse and the shops. The 
steam cars rolled through the town day and night. To a 
large portion of the population the railroad was their 
means of earning a living and every train was known by 
a number. 

During the summer of 1868, the tracklayers were 
pushing out across the Laramie plains, and orders were 
issued to change the line, sloping it into the valleys of 
Rock Creek and the Medicine Bow River. This change 
in the plans added 20 miles to the original line and sta- 
tions were constructed at Rock Creek, Medicine Bow 
and Carbon.'" 

By June 18, there were 1,000 persons at the North 
Platte River Crossing. The town there, known as 
Brownsville, was constructed of log houses with canvas 
roofs. The buildings were constructed so they could be 
removed in case the Union Pacific laid out a town site. 
Fort Steele was established on the south side of the Platte 
and no new towns were to be established within three 
miles of the military reservation. The fort was useful not 
only as a protection against the Indians, but also to keep 
a check on the people who followed the construction 
from place to place. '^ 

In the early days of July, General Dodge issued an 
order for the citizens of Brownsville to move to the new 

railroad town located three miles from the North Platte 
on the edge of Dry Desert. Not only did all of the in- 
habitants move to this new location, but they were 
joined by an influx of the rough element from Laramie. 
A freight train crossed the new Platte River bridge "and 
the big tent with all of the gambling equipment arrived 
in the new town of Benton."^" 

Descriptions of Brownsville and Benton are found in 
a letter written to Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard from 
Meta Brown of Rawlins on February 22, 1919. Miss 
Brown wrote of an interview with Mrs. Lawrence Hayes 
of Rawlins: 

I had a very interesting conversation with her (Mrs. 
Hayes) concerning Benton. She moved from Cheyenne to 
Brownsville early in June of '68. When the reservation of 
the Fort was made, they were forced to move on to Benton. 
She says that Brownsville was very different from Benton in 
appearance since the people lived in rustic log houses along 
the river. Trees were in abundance and it was quite a pretty 
place. On the other hand, the houses in Benton were not 
log but were either shacks made of boards or tents or a 
combination of both.^' 

Another account of life in Benton comes from an ar- 
ticle in the Rawlins Republican by Mrs. Margaret 
Wallace. Mrs. Wallace relates that during the winter of 
1867, her father Larry Hayes constructed a building in 
sections which could be used as a restaurant. He loaded 
the building on a freight wagon in Cheyenne and 
journeyed west to secure a location for business. When 
they arrived in Brownsville on June 19, 1865, there- was 
about four inches of snow on the ground. They crossed 


Brownsville, Wyonung, IHhH. "People lived m rustic log houses along the river. Trees were in abundance and it was 
quite a pretty place. " 

the North Platte and in a few days were putting up a 
restaurant in Benton. Benton was supposed to be where 
the division point would be located because it was close 
to the needed water of the Platte River. ^^ 

The new town was located near the desert on a bare 
alkali plain. It took one half of a glass of the alkali water 
to furnish a physic of the strongest character. Water was 
hauled from the river, a journey of ten miles. The price 
for a barrel of water at one time went as high as ten 
dollars. A bath takes considerable water, but money 
could be saved if one gentleman doubled up with 

Editor Alfred J. Mokler of the Wyoming Pioneer 
gave the following description of Benton: 

Benton, is not but a name — all but faded from 
memory. In 1868 it was the temporary terminal of the 
Union Pacific Railroad; it earned wide notoriety as the 
most incandescent of red hot towns in the West; a cemetery 
was started there the same day that the town was estab- 
lished and before the next terminus west was set up, more 
than 100 graves disgraced the plot that was set aside in 
which the dead were buried. Benton was three miles from 
the Platte River and water was hauled in to supply the 
population; the price for a bucketful was ten cents, but 
since 'forty rod' whiskey could be had for twenty five cents a 
glass, water was tabooed except for cooking and cleaning 
purposes, and to quench the thirst of a few decent men and 
women who were compelled to make their homes there. 

Benton lay in the heart of barrenness, alkali, and 
desolation on the face of a windy desert, alive with dust- 
devils, sweeping along yellow and funnel-shaped says Zane 
Grey in his 'U.P. Trail.' It is a huge, blocked-out town and 
set where no town could ever live. It was 150 miles from 
Cheyenne. Benton was a prey for the sun, wind, drought 
and the wind was terribly hot in summer and insupportably 
cold in winter. No sagebrush, no greasewood, no trees, not 
even a cactus plant, nothing green or living to relieve the 
eye which swept across the gray and barren white plains, 
through the dust, to the distant hills or drab . . . The hell 
that was reported to be in Benton was in harmony with its 
setting. The population which made up the hell hole was 
composed of Mexicans, Blacks, loafers, tradesmen, 
laborers, gamblers and a heterogeneous mass of humanity 
of stragglers, and desperadoes, most of who live off the 
workmen and builders of the railroad. No more than one- 
tenth of the people living there could be termed as respect- 
able human beings.^'' 

Horse stealing appeared to be an important vocation 
in the Platte River area. Thirteen men charged with this 
crime were lodged in the guard house at Fort Steele. 
One of these men identified as "Buffalo Bill" (not the 
famous William F. Cody) was chased across the Platte 
River and succeeded in escaping. ^^ 

In the early days of the town's existence, labor prob- 
lems were common. A man named Wilson was hanged 
when he demanded his wages from a grading contrac- 
tor. The graders employed between Benton and the end 
of the track then went on strike, demanding an increase 
in wages from two to three dollars a day and free board. 
The men also demanded all of their back pay before 

leaving Benton so that they would have money to spend 
in the new town of Green River. ^* 

By July 20 a wooden bridge had been constructed 
across the Platte and trains were running to Benton. 
The tracklayers were building toward Green River and 
planned to reach Salt Lake City by next spring. With 
the opening of the track into the town more people 
moved in. Activities reached such a high pitch that it 
was necessary to have a guard of 12 soldiers to patrol the 

The following letter written by General Jack Case- 
ment to his wife in Ohio gives some idea of the condi- 
tions in Benton: 

Benton, August 1, 1868 
My Dear Wife: 

I arrived at this place yesterday morning and went to 
the end of the track thirty miles beyond here. So I have not 
had the opportunity to write before. Things are all working 
well here. Dan has gone to Cheyenne to spend the Sabbath 
with Mollie. She telegraphed that the baby was sick again. 
This is an awful place. Alkali dust knee deep and certainly 
the meanest place I have ever been in. I am so thankful 
that my darlings are where they are. Dan thought of mov- 
ing here, but dare not do it and has concluded to move to 
our club house, or send Mollie home whenever she may 
desire. Dan or myself will have to go nearly to Salt Lake to 
attend to our graders. Tell father if he wants any money to 
check on Wilcox in my name and get what he wants. 

Of all the "Hell on Wheels" towns, Benton, during 
its existence, had the reputation of being one of the 
worst. Soldiers from Fort Steele tried to preserve some 
degree of law and order and to lower the homicide rate. 
The military authorities placed a $25 fine on all persons 
caught carrying firearms in the town. The "respectable" 
people complained that this law made them easy prey 
for the brigands that operated at night. ^^ 

A brief riot occurred when Jack Harris was arrested 
by a soldier for cutting a dance hall tent with the inten- 
tion of robbing the cash box. His friends attempted to 
rescue him from the military, but the soldier fired wildly 
over their heads and were able to convey Harris to the 
guard house without inflicting any casualties on his 

J. H. Beadle, a famous novelist of the Western 
scene, arrived that August in Benton. The streets were 
eight inches deep with alkali dust, and in his dark 
clothes, he resembled a cockroach scrambling out of a 
flour barrel." 

Beadle was running low on funds and he decided to 
remain in the town for two weeks. Here is how he 
described Benton; 

The Toy™ lacked ordinary comforts, and there was 

not a green tree, shrub or patch of grass. The red hills were 

scorched as bare as if blasted by lightning.'^ 

A classic Beadle description is of the "Big Tent": 



. .JJ^'- 

.' a^^i " 

J ». 

•* *'*■■ >. 

Benton, Wyoming, 1868. "By day disgusting, by night dangerous, almost everybody dirty, many filthy and with the 
marks of lowest wee ..." 

The 'Big Tent' had served as a gambhng and drinking 
center in the town of Julesberg, Cheyenne and Laramie 
before being erected in Benton. This structure was a nice 
frame, a hundred feet long and forty feet wide, covered 
with canvas, conveniently floored for dancing. As we enter, 
we note that the right side is lined with a splendid bar sup- 
plied with every variety of liquors and cigars, with cut glass 
goblets, ice pitchers, splendid mirrors, and pictured wall- 
ing of our eastern cities. At the back end a space large 
enough for one cotillion is left open for dancing, on a raised 
platform, a full band is in attendance day and night, while 
the rest of the room is filled with tables devoted to monte. 
faro, rondo carlo, fortune wheels and every other species of 
gambling known. I acknowledge a morbid curiosity relat- 
ing to everything villainous, though 1 never ventured a cent 
but once in my life. I am never weary of watching a game, 
and the various fortunes of those 'who buck against the 

During the day the Big Tent' is rather quiet, but at 
night after a few inspiring tunes at the door by the band, 
the long hall is soon crowded with a motley throng of three 
or four hundred miners, ranchers, clerks and cappers. The 
brass instruments are laid aside, the string music begins, 
the cotillions succeed each other rapidly each ending with a 
drink while those not so employed crowd around the tables 
and each enjoy his favorite game. Tonight is one of unusual 
interest, and the tent is full, while from every table is heard 
a musical rattle of dice, the hum of the wheel, or the elo- 
quent voice of the dealer. Fair women, clothed with rich- 
ness and taste, in white airy garments mingle with the 
throng, watch the game with deep interest, or laugh and 
chat with the players.^' 

Other businesses in the town were housed in port- 
able buildings. These buildings of painted pine were 
shipped from Chicago at $300 delivered. The buildings 
could be erected in a day by two boys with screwdrivers. 
In dusty Benton in August of 1868, life was the 
cheapest commodity. Two men became engaged in a 
violent dispute over a debt. While the dispute was in 

progress, a man named Maxwell, unaware of danger, 
was walking down the opposite side of the street. One of 
the men, Kelley, drew a Spencer rifle, and with 
deliberate aim, fired and brought Maxwell to the 
ground. In spite of Maxwell's pleas for his life, Kelley 
walked deliberately up to him and shot with the contents 
of another barrel of his gun. The interference of the 
military prevented Kelley 's hanging. In a few days he 
escaped from the guard house at Fort Steele and headed 

Considerable excitement also was caused by the 
shooting of a man in a private row. Two men, Charles 
Hubbard and Tom McGinty, both bad characters, were 
having words over the division of their spoils. Hubbard 
pulled out a pistol and shot the other man through the 
stomach. After Hubbard had been arrested, a crowd 
gathered and tried to break into the guard house and 
obtain the prisoner. ^^ 

J. H. Beadle, present when the affair happened, 

The regular routine of business, dances, drunks and 
fistfights met with a sudden interruption on the 8th of 
August. Sitting in a tent door that day I noticed an alterca- 
tion across the street, and saw a man draw a pistol and fire, 
and another stagger and catch hold of a post for support. 
The first was about to shoot again when he was struck from 
behind and the pistol wrenched from his hand. The 
wounded man was taken into a cyprian's tent near by and 
treated with the greatest kindness by the woman, but died 
the next day. It was universally admitted that there had 
been no provocation for the shooting, and the general voice 
was, 'Hang him!'.''' 

To Judge W. R. Kuykendall, who visited the town 
for the purpose of electioneering, Benton was the 
roughest place in America. The killings, shootings, and 
crooked gambling were all daily events. Dance halls with 

the "painted cats" operated around the clock; crime ap- 
peared to afford a great deal of pleasure to the in- 
habitants of the place. The town of Benton was too far 
away for a sheriff to do anything without bankrupting 
the county.'' 

Samuel Bowles, reporter from the Springfield Re- 
publican arrived from Illinois to visit Benton. Bowles 
gave the following report: 

When we were on the Une, this congregation of scum 
and wickedness was within a desert section called Benton: 
One or two thousand men and a few women were en- 
camped on the alkali plains in tents and board shanties, not 
a tree, not a shrub, not a blade of grass was visable, the 
dust ankle deep as we walked through it, and so fine and 
volatile that the slightest breeze loaded the air with it, ir- 
ritating every sense and poisoning half of them, a village of 
a few variety stores and shops, by day disgusting, by night 
dangerous, almost everybody dirty, many filthy and with 
the marks of lowest vice, averaging a murder a day, gam- 
bling and drinking, hurdy dancing and the vilest of sexual 
commerce. The chief business and pastime of the hours, 
this was Benton. Like its predecessors, it fairly festered in 
corruption, disorder, and death, and would have rotted in 
this dry air. had it outlasted a brief sixty-day life.'* 
The alkali dust, or it might be called powder, 
became so disagreeable that it caused a number of Ben- 
ton citizens to move on to Green River. The alkali was as 
fine as flour, and due to the wind, its malignant effects 
were apparent. Many people, according to reports, were 
bleeding at the lungs from inhaling the alkali. It was 
suggested that with enough water the community of 
Benton could have been made to resemble one immense 
foaming powder.'® 

On August 13, 1868, the Cheyenne Daily Leader 
published this letter written by editor N. A. Baker dur- 
ing a visit to Benton: 

It is said that no thing on earth was made without a 
use but it is our most decided opinion that the wastes of 
Western Wyoming for the most part , are most unfit for the 
use of either white men or digger Indians. Either could 
starve if compelled to gather his substance from the soil or 
the chase. Indians and wild beast avoid it and the restless 
and adventurous white abhor it and abide in it only long 
enough to build a railroad through it and then resign it to 
the everlasting and lonely solitude, to be broken only by the 
impatient shrieks of the iron horse. 

The town of Benton, like the camps of the Bedouin 
Arabs, is of tents, and almost a transitory nature as the 
elements of a soap bubble. The ever restless spirit that 
animates western communities is in full vigor here, and 
each sojourner in the place seems fearful that somebody 
will get ahead of him in the race to the next town. Many 
have already left here for Green River, Ham's Fork and 
some other points where some trade may be engaged for a 
brief space, and where a few, very few, will make a little 
money. The railroad company has sold seventeen thousand 
dollars worth of lots here, in the few weeks that the town 
has been laid, and in this sentence may be seen the secret of 
where the main portion of the money goes.''" 
One of the best descriptions of the types of humanity 
that inhabited Benton is by Charles Giffin Coutant: 

The camp followers on arriving at the Platte selected a 
townsite about half a mile up the river, which they called 
Brownsville, and in an incredibly short time opened stores, 
eating houses, saloons, boarding houses, gambling and 
sporting places. Within forty-eight hours everything was in 
full blast, with a population numbering five hundred or 
more. It was a typical city of the wild west and was what 
was known as an 'all-night town.' Brownsville was short- 
lived, being supplanted by Benton, a railroad town three 
miles farther west. Benton, like Brownsville, had for its 
population a large number of disreputable characters and 
at once took high rank as a saloon, gambling and sporting 
town. In two or three days it had from 1,000 to 1,500 in- 
habitants, and there being no such thing as law and order 
the rough element ran things to suit themselves. Murder 
was an everyday occurrence and peaceably disposed people 
soon learned that protesting against violence was something 
that would not be tolerated by those in control of affairs. 
Benton in its day was certainly the one bad town along the 
line of the Union Pacific. In other places the better element 
attempted to make life and property secure and after a 
time succeeded, but in Benton no such effort was put forth 
and the result was that crime was popular and good con- 
duct undesirable with the rough element, and this con- 
tinued as long as the town lasted. Prize fighting and all that 
goes with it was patronized, and the place became the 
rendezvous of outlaws of every description. It was a city of 
portable houses and tents stretched over wood frames.'" 
To be at the right point for fleecing the track 
workers again, the inhabitants of Benton shipped their 
tents and portable stores to Green River City. While 
everybody in Benton was busy packing up for Green 
River City, there was an election of city officers in 
August and A. B. Miller was elected mayor of an almost 
deserted town.^^ 

In October there were enough residents left in Ben- 
ton to carry on another election. A man named Bell, 
who was employed by the railway company, tried to vote 
in the election. Tom McGraw challenged his right to 
vote. Bell, acting in self defense, shot McGraw in the 

J. H. Beadle revisited the site of Benton ten months 
after his first visit. On his second visit there was not a 
house or a tent to be seen, only a few chimneys and rock 
piles. The white dust covered even the desolate ceme- 
tery. "Only a memory remains," he wrote."'' 

(Two miles east of Benton the town of Parco came 
into existence due to the establishment of an oil refinery 
in the area. The refinery was organized to utilize the oil 
from the Salt Creek field. In 1934, the Parco Company 
went bankrupt and the town was bought by the Sinclair 
Oil Company and the name of the town was changed to 

The grading crew moved out across the red desert 
from the main construction camp in Rawlins. The 
tracklayers in August were averaging four miles per day 
and by the month of October the railway line had 
reached Green River. ""^ 

Some of the men from a grading camp went on 
strike and in a sullen mood with plenty of whiskey, they 

Bear R/ivr City, Wyoming, 1868. "From 200 tu 300 merciU. 
of manilla and bristling with pistols ..." 
encamped on McDermott's Island near the town. The 
drinkers raised hell all evening and threatened to take 
over Green River. The townspeople organized a well 
armed force and locked themselves in their houses until 
the excitement died down. The authorities threatened 
to place the town under martial law."^ 

The townspeople also became involved with the 
Union Pacific officials in regard to the illegal possession 
of a lot that belonged to the railroad company. The land 
agents threatened to use the military to seize the town 

During the latter part of September, 1868, as the 
construction crews pushed toward Utah Territory, the 
town of Bear River was constructed. The town was on 
the Old Overland Stage Road, north of Quaking Moun- 
tain. The population numbered about 2,000 persons, 
and the town contained about 140 buildings of varied 
sizes and shapes. A short distance from the center of 
town a coal mine was established by Throp, Head and 
Steele. The price of coal was seven dollars a ton, and 
when the first engine arrived on December 3, 1868, a 
supply of fuel was available. The merchants carried 
large stocks of goods in hopes that the town would 
become the winter quarters for the railroad."* 

In November 1868, when the graders reached Bear 
River, McGee and Cheeseborough had the grading con- 
tract for this stretch of road, and employed between 400 
to 500 men, most of them raw Irish immigrants. A 
Frenchman named Alex Topence had the contract for 
furnishing beef, and he put up a slaughter house and 
shack south of the tracks, while the so-called town was 
north. The town consisted of some roughly constructed 

,s jifuds u-u'lding pick handles . . .filled with four fat horns 

rooming and boarding houses and a row of business 
buildings comprising the California Clothing Store, 
Nuckles General Merchandise, a Jewish shoe store, and 
a number of saloons and gambling houses. On the same 
side of the track with Topence, the butcher, was the of- 
fice of the Frontier Index. "^ 

The roughs and gangsters that had been chased 
from Benton and the other towns east of Bear River 
eventually arrived there, and as more of these men ar- 
rived a jail was constructed to help maintain order. An 
election was conducted in the town, and the following 
officials were elected: J. B. Cooper, mayor; W. R. Arm- 
strong, marshal; J. H. Wilbur, clerk; J. H. Young, W. 
H. Bowers, W. N. Osborne, and C. H. Caswell, coun- 

The Frontier Index, a weekly newspaper, secured 
quarters in a small frame building near the proposed 
line of the railroad. Editor Legh R. Freeman started a 
campaign to rid the town of criminals: 

The baiid of garroters, who were recently driven away 
from some of our lower railroad towns are at last con- 
gregating in our midst and had better go slow or they will 
find the place too hot for this location. '' 
The outlaw population of Bear River in November 
had reached such proportions that the Frontier Index 
published along with its news items, another warning to 
all of the criminals in the place: 

There is not a place west of here that can be made to a 
point for anything until we build on the shores of Salt Lake 
next spring. We will ship frame houses and everything by 
rail then, and lumber is worth more there than here, we 
will make our winter's rent dear. Most of the cutthroat 
gang ordered to leave here vanished through there. There 


are several here yet who have the mark of the beast on their 

forehead, and had better make the cap fit themselves 

before Saturday at midnight, or climb a telegraph pole. 

This means business. 

Vigilance Committee'^ 

As in some of the other towns in Wyoming, a vigi- 
lance committee became the instrument for establishing 
order. With the necessity for faster construction on the 
line, graders in large numbers flocked into Bear River to 
drink and carouse in its numerous saloons and dance 

By the middle of November the track was within 
nine miles of Bear River. A trestle 600 feet long was con- 
structed across the stream. General Jack Casement and 
his Irishmen were slowed down by the lack of ties, which 
were floated down the Green River. It was difficult at 
this time to move the ties because the stream was very 
low and contained considerable ice. When the ties were 
secured, the tracklayers mingled with the graders in the 
rush to extend the line westward across Utah.^^ 

On November II, 1868, "Lynch Law" made an ap- 
pearance in Bear River, supported by the railroad of- 
ficials and a segment of businessmen. Jack O'Neil, Jim- 
my Powers and Jimmy Reed, three notorious robbers, 
were hanged on a beam extending from an unfinished 
building in front of the jail on Sulphur Street. The vic- 
tims were all young, aged 21, 22 and 23 years. O'Neil 
was formerly from Canada, but more recently from St. 
Joseph, Missouri. Jimmy Reed was originally from Utica, 
New York, and he had been chased from Laramie by 
the vigilantes there. ^'' 

The three men were confined in the jail and from 
there were taken by what the coroners jury termed 
"unknown parties" and hanged in the freezing air. They 
were cut down the next morning about seven o'clock and 
in the afternoon a wagon conveyed their bodies to graves 
dug in the frozen earth. At their funerals a great many 
of the outlaw element expressed their sympathy and a 
desire to take action against the men responsible for the 
hangings. ^^ 

Even after the action of the vigilantes, violence con- 
tinued in the town of Bear River. On Uintah Street a 
house popular with the graders was the scene of another 
crime. The desperado entered Ella Folsom's place and 
after a little blarney, threw his arms around her in an at- 
tempt to strangle her. Her struggles and the noise pro- 
duced by the action caused the villain to let go and leave 
the premises. ^^ 

Men were also victimized such as noted in a news- 
paper article: 

John A. Hoffman was garroted near the railroad cross- 
ing off Utah Street, and seventy -five dollars were removed 
from his pocket. One ruffian choked him while another 
rifled his pockets. According to John, the robbers did not 
get all his money, and if a policeman had not taken his 
revolver early in the evening, they would not have gotten 
away without a battle.^' 

Bear River became an armed camp, with both the 
offensive and inoffensive carrying guns. The construc- 
tion officials of the railroad carried their Winchesters 
while visiting the town. The tension of the struggle be- 
tween law and order on one side and crime, vice and dis- 

Fort Bridger, Wyoming, 1868. "The forces from Fort Bridger are hourly expected." 

order on the other exploded into violence on November 

The mob at this city has begun by burning the jail in 
which a number of prisoners were confined, upon which 
the citizens armed themselves, while the mob numbering 
two hundred were standing whooping over the burning of 
the jail, the citizens fired into them, killing twenty-five, and 
wounding fifty or sixty: the exact number is not yet ascer- 
tained. Frontier Index office was also burned to the ground 
and the editor is missing. It is not known whether he 
escaped or has been killed. The riot began about the hang- 
ing on November 11.*' 

It is feared that the city will be burned, women and 
children fleeing for their safety. The citizens have sent to 
the railroad grading camps for reinforcements. The utmost 
terror and confusion prevail, and it is impossible to 
distinguish friends from enemies. It is now feared that the 
mob may burn all of the houses and other property in the 
place. *^ 

Bear River was placed under martial law by the 
authorities at Fort Bridger and business proceeded as 
usual the next day. Armed guards were placed on the 
outskirts of town and others patrolled the streets. 
Rumors were circulated that a huge army of construc- 
tion workers were on the way to furnish relief to the 
citizens of the battered town. The mob scattered to the 
mountains where they conducted a meeting to formu- 
late a new plan of attack. In the first day's fighting, 
vigilantes Tom Smith and John Dailey were seriously 
wounded and not expected to live. A later report stated 
that 20 of the mob were dead, and 35 wounded. One 
citizen named Armstrong also was killed in the 

Stuart Henry described the Bear River battle: 
Tom Smith served at one time on the police force of 
New York. I have shadowy details of his wanderings over 
Utah and Nevada. Thence he returned to Iowa with wagon 
trains, hauling railroad material westward. Next he ap- 
pears on the frontier of Nebraska, employed in various 
capacities, following the Union Pacific construction. What 
a world of experience such rugged schooling brought him! 
Finally, and authentically, he was engaged with a large 
contracting firm whose headquarters in 1868 were at Bear 
River, Wyoming, where many hundred employees were 
congregated. The businessmen there had organized a 
'town' government, so called, adopted laws of their own 
and appointed a marshal!. Naturally, many outlaws and 
desperate characters collected and crime and lawlessness 

A young man from Smith's camp, his friend, merely 
disorderly under the influence of liquor, was placed in jail 
where there were three others who just before garroted and 
robbed a couple of men in open day. The exasperated cit- 
izens incited by a fugitive newspaper, housed in a tent on 
the outskirts of the town, organized a vigilance committee, 
made wholesale arrests and locked the prisoners in jail. 
Smith's camp companions invaded the town, destroyed the 
newspaper plant and, after releasing the prisoners, pro- 
ceeded to burn the jail, when Smith himself came on the 

The vigilance committee had, in the meantime, 
armed and gathered in a log storeroom, about fifty yards 
away. Smith, roused to fury, ran to the very front of the 


store, and emptied both his revolvers into the barricaded 
vigilantes, but fortunately killed no one, although he 
received several shots from the vigilantes. Despite several 
fearful wounds, he cooly marched off to a friend's house, a 
block or so away, where for a time his life hung in the 
balance. Troops from Fort Bridger were summoned, and 
the town itself was soon abandoned, as the road moved on. 

That Smith's motives and conduct in the premises 
were generally justified is evidenced by the fact that quickly 
upon his recovery he was chosen marshall of the next town, 
and so on continuously as towns were successfully located 
and abandoned, as the Union Pacific progressed, until it 
was completed, the following year." 

One of the best accounts of the Bear River Riot was 
published in the Cheyenne Daily Leader as follows: 

The morning dawned as God's Golden Sun beamed 
forth upon this wild splendor. Peace sat on the livelihood of 
every domicit and happiness reigned supreme over the city. 
As I write shouts of lawless murderers convened from ad- 
junct camps along the lines of the Union Pacific for the 
purpose of retaliating for injuries suffered by the operation 
of the shovel — by the execution of two or three notables 
recently at this city. From two to three hundred merciless 
fiends wielding pick handles and filled with four fathoms of 
manilla and bristling with pistols. Proceeding to the jail 
they immediately released the luckless boarders gathered in 
from time to time during the previous night. The mob then 
got out into Uintah Street, the Broadway' with us and 
patrolled the major portions thereof with random shooting 
and loud threats against the police, vigilante committee 
and the Frontier Index — the local dismanate — of wisdom 
— the editor and proprietor of which to have been an abet- 
tor of an investment in the maintenance of the vigilantes 
committee. Mr. Freeman seems to have been absent from 
his office at the time the mob with flaming torches rushed 
against the sole progressive institution of which we can 
boast. The clans entered and applied the torch which 
created serpent like flames enveloping the building and 
sealing the fate of 'The Press on Wheels' in Wyoming. 

The forms were made up for the Frontier Index to go 
to press — this being the day of publication for the journal. 
The workers inside the building were restrained from 
recovering their apparel from the ill-fated office. After the 
burning of the Frontier Index the mob returned to the cen- 
tral portion of the town for lunch. 

Lunch over - a rung was made for the 'Limbo the 
front portion of the building being used for a court house 
and the quarters of the police force, and the torches were 
applied to its unpretending walls. Retreating from the 
scorching conflagation, a rally of musketry was discharged 
into the store of S . F. Nicholls, the rendezvous of the police, 
regular as well as the deputies, fatally wounding one of the 
deputies, whereupon the police fired upon the aggressors, 
fatally wounding eight of the miscreants, a panic seized the 
populus and there was a scene of scrambling over the sage- 
brush, rock piles. Ladies fair and families with children in 
their arms fell in and made incredible lines to the bluffs. 
Stores, restaurants, gin mills, dance houses and every other 
place of business was closed. 

The display of musketry was at its height and kept up 
until three p.m., when the renegades dispersed and quiet 
was restored. The police in the town are in the quest of 
some of the marauders. 

Eight o'clock, no further development as yet, the 
forces from Fort Bridger are hourly expected. 

Twilight — The brief quiet that has prevailed gave way 
to active movement of news having reached the citizens, 
through the officers of the road that Carmichael's gang and 
other general contractors men are congregating at the 
various camps to renew the attack tonight. The drum is 
now beating through the streets, and a general appeal is be- 
ing made to the owners of the property to assist in measures 
for the general safety by coming forth for service. 

Ten o'clock, all is quiet, yet neither troops nor in- 
vaders appear, and it is likely that the scenes of the day will 
not be re-enacted. 

The only attempt at personal malice were made 
against the editor of the Index and one of the police, who it 
seems were overzealous in the discharge of his duties when 
the melee became general. 

Had the police called on the citizens as soon as the 
gang made a move on the jail, that building would doubt- 
less been saved along with the Frontier Index offices. '^ 
It would appear from the above that the press was 
destroyed by its support of law and order in the frontier 
towns along the Union Pacific railway. Legh Freeman 
with his support of the vigilantes against the criminal 
elements escaped. The destruction of the "Press on 
Wheels" ended a pioneer journalistic venture in Wyo- 
ming that had some impact on frontier society. 

Evanston, located 11 miles west of Bear River City, 
became a division point of the railroad. A 20-stall round 
house was erected to serve the railroad. The population 
grew as business became good. A large amount of 
freight was delivered there for the Salt Lake Valley, and 
a sawmill was established to utilize the pine forest 
located in Bear River. 

In the bitter cold of the winter of 1868, the tracks 
pushed on toward Wasatch, another "Hell on Wheels" 
town in Utah. The railroad through Wyoming was com- 
pleted and the towns that were to grow into important 
communities became more law-abiding. The temporary 
towns returned to sagebrush and alkali. 

1. Frederick L. Paxson, The Last American Frontier. (New York: 
The MacMillan Company, 1915). pp 495-496. 

2. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 16, 1867. 

3. Ibid., December 24, 1867. 

4. "Notes on Laramie," Grace R. Hebard Collection, American 
Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 

5. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 5, 1868. 

6. Manuscript of Edward Ivinson, Hebard Collection. 

7. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 11, 1868. 

8. "Notes on Laramie. " 

9. Laramie Boomerang. March 9, 1913. 

10. William Francis Hooker, "Hanging City Official In The Old 
West." Union Pacific Magazine. December 1922. Omaha (pp. 

11. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 21, 1868. 

12. Papers of W. O. Owen, American Heritage Center, University 
of Wyoming, Laramie. 

13. J. R. Perkins, Rails and War. (Indianapolis, Indiana: Bobbs 
Merrill Company, 1929). 

14. Laramie Republican (Daily Issue), August 9, 1917. 

15. Douglas C. McMurtie, "Pioneer Printing in Wyoming." Annals 
of Wyoming, January, 1933. 

16. John E. Lester, The Atlantic to the Pacific. (Boston: Shepard 
and Gill. 1873), p. 27. 

17. Edwin L. Sabin, Building the Union Pacific. (Philadelphia: The 
J. B. Lippincott Company, 1919). 

18. Cheyenne Daily Leader, June 30, 1868. 

19. Cheyenne Daily Leader, June 28, 1868. 

20. Ibid., July 7, 1868. 

21. Letter written by Meta Brovra of Rawlins to Dr. Grace Hebard, 
February 22, 1919, Hebard Collection. 

22. Rawlins Republican Bulletin, May 2, 1939. 

23. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 9, 1868. 

24. Alfred Mockler, "Benton Was A Red Hot Town in 1868," 
Wyoming Pioneer, Vol. I, No. 5 (July-August, 1941), pp. 

25. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 14, 1868. 

26. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 26, 1868. 

27. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 21, 1868. 

28. Letter written by General Jack Casement to Mrs. Casement in 
Ohio. Casement collection, American Heritage Center. 

29. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 23, 1868. 

30. Ibid., July 23, 1868. 

31. Ibid., August 10, 1868. 

32. J. H. Beadle, The Undeveloped West. (Cincinnati. Ohio: Na- 
tional Publishing Company, 1873). 

33. Ibid., pp. 91-92. 

34. Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 23, 1868. 

35. Ibid., August 10, 1868. 

36. Beadle, p. 88. 

37. William L. Kuykendall, Frontier Days. (Cheyenne: J. M. andH. 
L. Kuykendall, 1917). p. 126. 

38. Samuel Bowles, Our New West. (Hartford, Conn.; Hartford 
Publishing Company, 1869). 

39. Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 6, 1868. 

40. Editorial, Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 14, 1868. 

41. Charles Giffin Coutant, The History of Wyoming. (Laramie, 
Wyoming: Chaplin, Spafford and Methison, 1899). 

42. Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 24, 1868. 

43. Ibid., October 14, 1868. 

44. J. H. Beadle, Western Wilds And The Men Who Redeemed 
Them. (Cincinnati: James Brothers and Company, 1882). 

45. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 15, 1868. 

46. Ibid., July 9, 1868. 

47. Ibid., August 15, 1868. 

48. Ibid., November 15, 1868. 

49. "Bear Towti," Notes from Hebard Collection. 

50. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 14, 1868. 

51. Cheyenne Daily Leader, excerpted from the Frontier Index, 
November 7, 1868. 

52. Cheyenne Daily Leader, excerpted from the Frontier Index, 
November 14, 1890. 

53. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 14, 1868. 

54. Ibid., November 16, 1868. 

55. Ibid., November 18, U 

56. Ibid., November 17, 1868. 

57. Ibid., November 20, 1868. 

58. Ibid., November 22, If 

59. Ibid., November 22, U 

60. Elizabeth A. Stone. Uintah County, Its Place in History. (Glen- 
dale, California: Arthur Clark Publishers, 1924). 

61. Stuart Henry, Conquering Our Great American Plains. (New 
York: Dutton, 1950). p. 159-160. 

62. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 27, 1868. 


The Naval Oil Reserve, 
Teapot Dome 


Continental Trading 



By Paul H. Giddens 


"The Teapot Dome scandal had its origin over the leasing of naval 
petroleum reserves in California and Wyoming in 1922 and an attempt by the 
Secretary of the Interior and several private individuals to defraud the United 
States of its oil reserves for personal financial gain. In the affair there were two 
civil suits and six criminal trials. Three Cabinet members resigned and 
Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was sentenced to prison." 

Prior to the Watergate affair, our greatest and most 
sensational national political scandal was Teapot Dome. 
Since the latter had its beginnings in 1921 , many persons 
are too young to remember the facts and the passing of 
time has dimmed the memory of the oldsters. 

There are some similarities and differences between 
the Watergate affair and the Teapot Dome scandals. 
The abuse and misuse of executive powers gave rise to 
the Watergate affair and related activities. On the other 
hand, the Teapot Dome scandal had its origin over the 
leasing of naval petroleum reserves in California and 
Wyoming in 1922 and in an attempt by Secretary of the 
Interior Albert B. Fall and several private individuals to 
defraud the United States of its oil reserves for personal 
financial gain. In each affair there were lengthy in- 
vestigative hearings by a Senate committee. According 
to Senator Francis E. Warren, chairman of the Senate 
Committee on Appropriations, the Senate hearing and 
investigation of Teapot Dome up to April 16, 1924, cost 
$32,808.03.' Up to November 25, 1973, Congress had 
appropriated $4.8 million to investigate the Watergate 
affair. The Senate Watergate Investigating Committee 
had spent most of its $1,000,000 appropriation and was 
asking for $500,000 more. The Special Prosecutor's of- 
fice had a budget of $2,800,000. The House Judiciary 
Committee had received a $1,000,000 appropriation for 
its preliminary impeachment inquiry; $232,000 had 
been spent for extra White House lavvryers; and $220,000 

or more had been spent to pay Watergate grand jurors 
and stenographers.^ An exact figure of the total spent is 
probably impossible to determine because other costs 
were hidden in the budgets of the FBI, Congress, the 
General Accounting Office and in other governmental 
offices . 

Secrecy and deception, lies and evasion of questions 
and illegal surveillance characterized the action and 
testimony of some of the principals involved in both 
Watergate and Teapot Dome. Special United States 
prosecutors were appointed in each case to investigate 
and prosecute those who had violated the laws of the 
United States. In the Teapot Dome affair there were two 
civil suits, both of which reached the United States 
Supreme Court which upheld the federal government in 
its efforts to cancel the oil leases and restore control and 
ownership of the oil property to the federal government. 

There were also six criminal trials in the Teapot 
Dome case. Except for Secretary Fall, no one was found 
guilty and sentenced to prison for their part in the leas- 
ing of Teapot Dome. Harry F. Sinclair was the only 
other person who went to prison but his prison term had 
nothing to do with the leasing of Teapot Dome. He was 
found guilty of contempt of the Senate and of the Court 
and was sentenced to prison for three months in one in- 
stance and six months in the other. Public pressure 
forced three Cabinet members to resign because of their 
involvement in the Teapot Dome case. They were Secre- 


tary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Navy 
Edwin Denby and Attorney General Harry Daugherty. 
In the Watergate affair Richard Nixon, the President of 
the United States barely escaped being impeached and 
removed from office by resigning. Moreover, as of June 
22, 1977, 25 former aides of the Nixon administration or 
employees of the Committee to Re-elect the President, 
including John Mitchell, Nixon's campaign director and 
his attorney -general, had gone to prison for the role they 
had played in the Watergate affair.^ 

Naval petroleum reserves had their origin in the 
19th Century. Starting in 1864, five years after Colonel 
E. L. Drake drilled his famous oil well near Titusville, 
Pa., the U.S. Navy began the first in a long series of ex- 
periments with petroleum as fuel for naval vessels, ex- 
tending over the next 50 years. "* The increasing use of oil 
as fuel in locomotives, power plants, and steamships 
served to heighten general interest in oil as fuel.^ During 
the last 40 years of the 19th century, the British, Italian 
and German navies also began experimenting with pe- 
troleum as fuel in their naval vessels. 

There were many factors favorable to the use of pe- 
troleum as fuel in naval vessels, but the one great deter- 
rent to creating an oil -burning naval fleet by any coun- 
try was the fear that the supply of oil might not be ade- 
quate in an emergency. Despite this fear, the U.S. Navy 
in 1909 installed equipment for burning oil instead of 
coal under the main boilers of the battleship Cheyenne. 
By late 1909 the six largest U.S. battleships in commis- 
sion or under construction were equipped to burn either 
coal or oil, and 14 of the latest destroyers used oil ex- 

Having embarked upon a program of burning oil as 
an auxiliary fuel in our naval vessels, it was vital that an 
adequate supply of oil be created and maintained for 
the U.S. Navy.^ Therefore, President Taft authorized on 
September 27, 1909, the withdrawal from entry, sale, 
settlement and private appropriation of over 3,000,000 
acres of public land in California and Wyoming thought 
to contain petroleum deposits.' Subsequently, orders 
withdrawing additional public lands were issued. 

A year later, 1910, the Secretary of the Navy an- 
nounced, "All new destroyers and submarines are now 
desig[ned to use oil exclusively for fuel, while battleships 
and other large vessels were being fitted to carry oil as an 
auxiliary fuel."* In the same year, oil installations were 
placed in the battleships Delaware and North Dakota so 
that oil could be used as an auj^iliary fuel.^ When the 
Wyoming and Arkansas, the fastest and largest bat- 
tleships in the world, were completed in 1912, their 
boilers were fitted to bum both oil and coal. With only a 
portion of the U.S. naval fleet equipped to burn oil, the 
Navy was now using over 30,000,000 gallons of oil per 

In 1911 Congress authorized the construction of two 
dreadnoughts, the Nevada and Oklahoma. Should these 

giant battleships be equipped to bum oil exclusively? 
The Navy recognized the superiority of oil-burning bat- 
tleships and wanted to build them, but there was still a 
haunting fear that the supply of oil might not be ade- 
quate in an emergency. 

Before making any decision. Secretary of the Navy 
Josephus Daniels, on March 7, 1913, asked Secretary of 
the Interior Franklin K. Lane for expert advice on the 
future supply of oil." Was the Navy justified in adopting 
a policy of oil-burning battleships? Receiving assurances 
from Secretary Lane that the Navy might rely upon re- 
serves already existing for a supply of oil greater than the 
life of any battleship to be constructed within the next 
decade, the order was given to make the Nevada "the 
first oil burner in any Navy." "Henceforth," declared 
Secretary Daniels in 1913, "all fighting ships which are 
added to the fleet will use oil."'^ 

To insure an adequate supply of oil. President Taft 
on September 2, 1912, issued an executive order creat- 
ing out of the public lands, containing petroleum 
deposits and previously withdrawn from entry. Naval 
Petroleum Reserve No. 1, commonly called the Elk Hills 
Naval Reserve, in Kern County, California, for "the ex- 
clusive use or benefit of the U.S. Navy until this order is 
revoked by the President or by Act of Congress."'^ 
Reserve No. 1 consisted of approximately 38,069 acres. 
Not knowing the quantity of oil available within Reserve 
No. 1 , it seemed prudent to add to the area reserved for 
the future oil needs of the United States Navy. There- 
fore, President Taft issued a second executive order on 
December 13, 1912, creating Naval Petroleum Reserve 
No. 2, also in Kern County, California, commonly 
called the Buena Vista Hills Naval Reserve, involving 
approximately 29,391 acres.'" 

President Wilson on April 30, 1915, created Naval 
Petroleum Reserve No. 3, in Natrona County, Wyo- 
ming. '^ It consisted of approximately 9,481 acres contig- 
uous to and lying south of the great Salt Creek oil field. 
Within the reserve, 50 miles north of Casper, a high 
sandstone rock loomed up out of the bare sagebrush 
flats. It had a spout which made the rock resemble a 
teapot so this reserve was commonly called Teapot 
Dome. At the time, according to the U.S. Bureau of 
Mines, the Teapot Dome Reserve supposedly had 
135,000,000 recoverable barrels of oil. '^ 

President Harding issued an executive order on 
February 27, 1923, creating Naval Petroleum Reserve 
No. 4, in northern Alaska." It consisted of approx- 
imately 35,000 square miles in the western part of this 
possible oil-bearing region. 

The creation of these four Naval Petroleum Re- 
serves was regarded as insurance against the day when 
other domestic sources were inadequate or no longer 
available. If the country's commercial supply was 
depleted before the supplies of an enemy, it would then 
be in a position to draw upon these reserves. 

By an amendment to the Naval Appropriation Act 
of June 4, 1920, Congress directed the Secretary of the 
Navy to take possession, use and operate the Naval 
Petroleum Reserves and drill offset wells, if necessary, 
for the benefit of the Navy. He was charged with doing 
everything needed to conserve and protect the oil in the 
ground until the needs of the Navy required its extrac- 
tion. '* 

Three months after the inauguration of Warren G. 
Harding as President of the United States, upon the 
joint recommendation of Secretary of the Interior Albert 
B. Fall and the new Secretary of the Navy, Edwin Den- 
by, Harding issued an executive order on May 31, 1921, 
transferring the administration of the Naval Petroleum 
Reserves No. 1, 2 and 3 from the Secretary of the Navy 
to the Secretary of the Interior. '^ The Secretary of the 
Interior now had authority to grant drilling rights in the 
reserves. This marked the beginning of the Teapot 
Dome scandal. 

The issuance of the executive order was cloaked in 
secrecy. It was not published nor was it filed in the 
customary section of the State Department.^" The New 
York Times buried the transfer story on page 12.^' 
Later, the U.S. Supreme Court held the executive order 
of President Harding to be illegal because it purported 
to confer on the Secretary of Interior authority which 
Congress had lodged exclusively with the Secretary of 
the Navy. 

Old conservationist crusaders, like Senator Robert 
M. LaFollette, Gifford Pinchot and Harry Slattery, for- 
merly Pinchot's secretary and now secretary of the Na- 
tional Conservation Association, were suspicious and 
greatly disturbed when they learned of the executive 
order transfer and other anti-conservation actions of 
Secretary Fall. LaFollette began searching for pertinent 
documents and gradually more evidence began to filter 
in to the senator. When he sought the views of naval of- 
ficers, whom he knew had been against the transfer or 
the leasing of the reserves, he learned that they had all 
been ordered to distant sea stations. ^^ This further 
aroused his suspicions. 

Although the Naval Appropriation Act of June 4, 
1920, authorized the Secretary of the Navy to drill offset 
wells in the Naval Petroleum Reserves to prevent drain- 
age of oil by adjacent wells. Secretary of the Navy 
Josephus Daniels in Wilson's Cabinet, had not taken any 
action until shortly before his retirement from the 
Cabinet early in March, 1921. He had called for bids to 
drill 22 offset wells in a section of the Elk Hills Reserve to 
protect against the intensive drilling of the Standard Oil 
Company (California). ^^ The bids were not received un- 
til Denby became Secretary of the Navy and Fall became 
Secretary of the Interior and after Harding's Executive 
Order of May 31, 1921. When the bids were received, 
Fall accepted the best bid made, one by the Pan Amer- 
ican Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of the Pan 

American Petroleum and Transport Company, both of 
which were owned and controlled by E. L. Doheny. 
With this company. Fall made a lease on July 12, 1921, 
to drill offset wells in Reserve No. 1. There was little or 
no criticism of the lease because the drainage by adjoin- 
ing wells was evident and bidding for the lease had been 
open and competitive. 

On April 7, Fall announced the adoption by the In- 
terior Department of a new policy for protecting the 
Government against further losses of oil in the California 
reserves. He estimated that around 22,000,000 barrels of 
oil had been lost through the failure of the Wilson ad- 
ministration to drill protective offset wells there. ^'' The 
loss was irrecoverable and the Department of Interior 
could only inaugurate a drilling campaign to save the oil 
that still remained in the ground. The campaign had 
already started. 

Fall announced leases on Reserve No. 1 to two com- 
panies based on claims held prior to the withdrawal of 
the land by Taft. In making this announcement, Secre- 
tary Fall failed to disclose that on this very same day, 
April 7, he had signed a 20 -year lease, granting to Harry 

F. Sinclair's Mammoth Oil Company the right to drill 
and take oil and gas from the entire area of Teapot 
Dome.^^ The Government was to receive royalties of 
12.5 to 50 percent on the production of the wells. When 
production reached 20,000 barrels of oil a day. Mam- 
moth was to build a pipeline from Teapot Dome east to 
connect with the main trunk line from Kansas City to 
Chicago and to the Gulf in order to run the Govern- 
ment's royalty oil. Inasmuch as the Sinclair Pipe Line 
was already planning to build a pipeline from Chicago 
to Wyoming to offset high freight costs. Mammoth, 
which was without any facilities, designated the Sinclair 
Pipe Line as its nominee to carry the oil from Teapot 
Dome and the Sinclair Crude Oil Purchasing Company 
as its nominee to buy the oil and erect storage tanks at 
Teapot Dome. Both of these Sinclair companies were 
one-half owned by Standard Oil Company (Indiana). 

What had been secret and private information until 
now became public information on April 14 when the 
Wall Street Journal carried a front-page story about the 
leasing of Teapot Dome. Four days later, while Fall was 
away on a trip. Acting Secretary of the Interior Edward 

G. Finney formally announced the leasing of Teapot 
Dome to Mammoth. At the same time, Finney also an- 
nounced that Edward L. Doheny 's Pan American Petro- 
leum and Transport Company was being awarded a 
lease on parts of the Elk Hills Naval Petroleum Reserve 
No. 1 (dated June 5, 1922) under which the Navy's 
royalty oil from the reserve was to be exchanged for 
storage tanks, docks, wharves and other facilities for 
fueling the fleet that Doheny would build at Pearl Har- 
bor. He also announced the signing of a contract (dated 
April 25, 1922) under which Doheny was to provide 
storage for 1,500,000 barrels of fuel oil and for the 


delivery of that amount of oil for storage.^* The idea of 
having Doheny build storage tanks and docks in ex- 
change for the Navy's royalty oil was a clever scheme 
worked out by Fall whereby the Navy could by-pass Con- 
gress and use the money from its oil royalties to build 
storage tanks, docks and other needed facilities at Pearl 
Harbor, Hawaii.^' 

In the meantime. Fall's actions with respect to the 
Naval Petroleum Reserves had created suspicions and 
distrust among conservation leaders. It wasn't surpris- 
ing, therefore, that LaFollette prompted by Slattery took 
two steps. He introduced a resolution in the Senate on 
April 21, 1922, asking Fall to send to the Senate all the 
facts about the leasing of the Naval Petroleum Reserves 
No. 1, 2 and 3, a list of all oil leases, and all executive 
orders and papers, instructions, requests and actions re- 
lating to them in the files of the Interior Department.^* 
The adoption of this resolution by the Senate marked 
the beginning of the war on Fall. 

Since Fall had failed to explain or justify his recent 
leasing of the Naval Petroleum Reserves in any way 
LaFollette decided as a second step that he must try to 
smoke him out by calling for a Senate investigation. On 
the afternoon of April 28 LaFollette made a scathing 
speech in the Senate attacking both Fall and Denby. A 
number of Republicans were in their seats when 
LaFollette began speaking, but by the time he had fin- 
ished most of them had withdrawn from the chamber. 
LaFollette asked that the Senate Committee on Public 
Lands and Surveys be authorized to investigate the leas- 
ing of the Naval Petroleum Reserves and report its find- 
ings and recommendations to the Senate. The next 
afternoon, after a brief debate, the Senate adopted 
LaFollette's resolution by a unanimous vote: 58-0.^^ 
Thirty-nine Republicans voted for an investigation of 
their party's administration. 

The Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys 
was composed of many Republican party stalwarts in- 
cluding Reed Smoot of Utah (the Chairman), and Irvine 
Lenroot of Wisconsin. Three insurgent Republican Sen- 
ators, George W. Norris of Nebraska, Edwin E. Ladd of 
North Dakota and Peter Norbeck of South Dakota were 
also on the committee along with two Democrats, 
Thomas J. Walsh of Montana and John B. Kendrick of 

LaFollette urged Walsh, an able constitutional 
lawyer and a man of integrity, to take the leadership in 
conducting the investigation. Walsh accepted with 
hesitation and reluctance. LaFollette gave Walsh all the 
evidence he had gathered on Fall and Walsh suddenly 
received more material than he could handle. 

Unlike Nixon in the Watergate investigation. Secre- 
tary Fall did not invoke the doctrine of executive priv- 
ilege in responding to LaFollette's resolution requesting 
all the facts, papers, records and files of the Interior 
Department relating to the oil leases. In June, 1922, Fall 
sent to the Senate a truck load of documents (5,000- 
6,000 pages). ^^ They arrived along with a letter of 
transmittal from President Harding in which he said 
that "the policy which has been adopted by the Secre- 
tary of the Navy and the Secretary of the Interior in 
dealing with these matters was submitted to me prior to 
the adoption thereof, and the policy decided upon and 
the subsequent acts have at all times had my entire ap- 
proval."^' Fall included a full and comprehensive report 
on the naval reserve oil leases. 

The Senate committee hearings did not begin until 
18 months after the Senate had approved the investiga- 
tion. Between June, 1922 and October, 1923— some 16 
months — Walsh made a "laborious study" of the mass of 
evidence and became increasingly aroused over what he 
considered Fall's misconduct in office. 

While waiting for the hearings to begin. Fall con- 
tinued to dispose of the oil reserves at his command. ^^ 
On December 15, the Wall Street Journal reported that 
Doheny had secured an extension of his earlier contract 
of April 25, 1922, in which he had been granted prefer- 
ential rights to further leases. In time, it was learned 
that Fall had also leased to Doheny the entire Elk Hills 

On January 2, 1923, eight months after the Senate 
had adopted LaFollette's resolution to investigate the 
leasing of the Naval Petroleum Reserves, the White 
House announced that Fall had entered the Cabinet at a 
great financial sacrifice. Now he was resigning, effective 
March 4, in order to devote his time to his business af- 
fairs in the Southwest. The real reason, many believed, 
was the thought of the coming investigation of the naval 
oil leases. Later that spring. Fall traveled to Russia with 




cHeyenne state LEAOCK 

'. Z«-«(— MMBU 21S 




Harry F. Sinclair who was seeking an oil concession 

The Public Lands Committee made a feeble gesture 
toward activity in early February, 1923, when Smoot, 
the chairman, asked the Director of the Geological 
Survey for a list of the "principal" geologists in the U.S. 
From this list the committee selected two to examine 
Teapot Dome and report to the committee as soon as 

While the geologists wandered around Teapot 
Dome, Harding acted to strengthen his political posi- 
tion. ^^ He was surrounded by difficulties. The Congres- 
sional elections of the past autumn had reduced his 
Republican majority to eight in the Senate and five in 
the House. The farm bloc, including insurgent Repub- 
licans, now held the balance of power in Congress that 
blocked the administration's legislative program. The 
Department of Justice, headed by Daugherty, was 
reported to be lush with corruption. One of Harding's 
"Ohio Gang," Jesse Smith of the Justice Department, 
had died either from murder or suicide. There were 
rumors of looting by the Alien Property Custodian and 
by Charles R. Forbes, director of the Veterans Bureau. 
There were the stories about the little green house on K 

On June 20, 1923, the President left Washington on 
a transcontinental tour to Alaska, then down the West 
Coast to Seattle. By the end of the month he was in San 
Francisco. On the night of July 28, the President became 
ill and on August 2, he suddenly died. The cause of 
death was stated to be an embolism, according to his 
doctors. But how, asked William Allen White, editor of 
the Emporia Gazette in Kansas, could doctors diagnose 
an illness that was "part terror, part shame and part ut- 
ter confusion?"^'' Before he left Washington, Harding 
had discovered that some of his friends in the Ohio 
gang, whom he trusted, had betrayed him and this 
seemed to be more than he could bear. 

In the meantime, Calvin Coolidge, the Vice Presi- 
dent, became President. When he asked William 
Howard Taft what to do now that he was President, 
Taft told him "do nothing."'^ Accordingly, Coolidge re- 
mained quiet and did almost nothing for months. 

On October 22, 1923, at 10 a.m., Smoot called the 
Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys to order 
in the Senate Office Building and the hearings on the oil 
leases began. ^® Shortly thereafter. Teapot Dome began 
to engross the nation's attention just like Watergate did, 
as one "bomb" after another was dropped. 

Reports from the two geologists, who had been 
employed by the committee to examine Teapot Dome, 
were heard on the first day. They testified that 
Teapot Dome, originally estimated to contain about 
150,000,000 barrels of oil contained less than 70 percent 
of this amount and that the existing reserve was draining 
steadily into the adjacent areas. Smoot made the most of 

Senator John B. Kendrick 

their testimony — saying the action of Fall had been en- 
tirely justified. Fall, Denby, Sinclair and various naval 
officers and other government employees then appeared 
before the committee. ^^ 

Walsh was a lonely prosecutor during these first 
weeks. Republicans Smoot and Lenroot, if not hostile, 
were unprepared to investigate and Kendrick was a 
reluctant participant. Most of the Republican members, 
except Norris, and some of the Democratic members on 
the committee were not anxious to stir up trouble. 

Late in October, 1923, there was a rumor that 
Walsh was about to abandon his search for fraud in the 
leasing of Teapot Dome when stories began to reach him 
about Fall and some land deals in New Mexico. There- 
fore, he began calling witnesses from New Mexico. One, 
Carl Magee, a newspaper editor from Albuquerque, tes- 
tified how Fall, about the time he leased Teapot Dome, 
had suddenly shown evidence of financial well-being, 
had substantially increased his fortune, and had made 
beautiful improvements on his ranch at Three Rivers, 
New Mexico.^* This was in striking contrast to the cir- 
cumstances of several years past, when Fall seemed 
almost penniless. In fact. Senator Fall needed money so 
badly in February, 1920, that he could no longer afford 
to be Senator from New Mexico. He resigned his seat in 
order to recoup his fortunes and returned to his isolated, 
run-down ranch at Three Rivers, New Mexico, on which 
he could not even pay the taxes. Other Fall neighbors or 
acquaintances substantiated what Magee had said. 

J. T. Johnson, Fall's ranch manager at Three Rivers, 
testified that Harry Sinclair had visited Fall at his ranch 
around Christmas of 1921.^* Johnson also stated that 


Freight teams leaving Casper for Salt Creek and Teapot Dome. 

Fall lately had acquired several registered hogs, bulls 
and cows from Sinclair's farm in New Jersey. 

When Sinclair appeared before the committee for 
the second time, he brought his secretary and accoun- 
tant, G. D. Wahlberg, who displayed an account book 
showing receipts of payments from Fall for the livestock. 
Sinclair denied giving Fall a gift of any kind in return for 
the lease on Teapot Dome.'"' 

At the end of 1923, Fall, from his sick bed in his 
Washington apartment, sent Smoot a statement of his 
financial condition. He declared that in order to enlarge 
his ranch holdings in New Mexico, he had borrowed 
$100,000 in cash from Edward B. McLean, publisher of 
the Washington Post, in November, 1921. 

The flow of witnesses continued unabated, but the 
general impression in Washington was that Walsh was 
up against a stone wall. Both Denby and Fall, like 
Sinclair and Doheny, had denied under oath any collu- 
sion over the naval oil reserves, and Walsh could not 
prove otherwise. 

On January 3, 1924, McLean's lawyer, A. Mitchell 
Palmer, wrote Lenroot, Smoot's replacement as chair- 
man of the Senate Committee. Palmer had discussed 
Fall's story with McLean, now in Florida, and McLean 
would give the committee a complete statement about 
the loan to Fall, but he could not appear before the 
committee since he was in Florida and sick."^ He would, 
however, be glad to answer all questions in Palm Beach. 
The Senate Committee, therefore, appointed Walsh as a 
subcommittee of one to go to Florida to take testimony 
and issue subpoenas to require McLean or any other 
witnesses to appear and testify before him. 


On January 12 in Palm Beach, Walsh began ques- 
tioning McLean who "dumbfounded" him when 
McLean denied lending Fall the money at all. He said 
he had given Fall several checks, but they had all been 
returned uncashed. Fall happened to be in Palm Beach 
as the guest of McLean while Walsh was there, but he 
refused to appear before Walsh. However, Fall in a 
statement admitted that he did not finally use the 
money from McLean because he had found other 
sources in no way connected with Sinclair or Teapot 
Dome or any oil concession."" Fall had lied again. His 
admitted lie made dramatic and sensational news. It was 
a lie that Fall deeply regretted the rest of his life and his 
critics never allowed him to forget it. 

The Teapot Dome inquiry, close to expiration days 
earlier, now came alive. Any Republican hope for a 
quick ending of the inquiry, which was damaging the 
party's prestige, disappeared. Where had the $100,000 
come from? That was the most important question now. 
Ugly rumors and gossip in Washington and in news- 
papers throughout the country were pressing for an 

On January 24, 1924, in the presence of newspaper- 
men, senators and spectators, Doheny calmly testified 
before the Senate Committee that he, not McLean, on 
November 30, 1921 , had loaned Fall the $100,000 on his 
promissory note to enable Fall to enlarge his ranch in 
New Mexico. Doheny's son, Edward, Jr., had carried the 
$100,000 in cash from the bank to Fall's office "in a little 
black bag.'""" 

This was sensational news that made headlines. Fall 
and Doheny had been friends for over 30 years. They 

had prospected together for gold in the West years ago. 
Fall had suffered recent financial troubles while Doheny 
had become quite rich. According to Doheny, the loan 
had no relation to the Elk Hills lease of 1922; Pan 
American had made the best bid. Later during 
Doheny 's testimony, he produced the note signed by Fall 
when he received the 1 100, 000 loan, but Fall's signature 
had been torn off.""* Doheny himself had torn off the 
signature from the note because if he should die before 
Fall could repay the loan, Doheny did not want Fall to 
be pressed for repayment to the Doheny estate at an in- 
convenient time. He gave the signature to his wife so 
Doheny and his wife together held Fall's note and 

When Doheny revealed that he had loaned Fall 
$100,000, Congress quickly passed a resolution which 
was approved by the President on February 8, 1924, 
authorizing and directing the President to file suit to 
cancel all contracts and leases on the Naval Petroleum 
Reserves No. 1 and No. 3, recover the land, and employ 
special counsel to take charge of the prosecution. ""^ 

While the Senate hearings continued, the cry went 
unabated that the leasing of Teapot Dome must have 
been discussed in Cabinet meetings. Coolidge claimed 
that he had never heard the leases discussed in any of 
Harding's Cabinet meetings nor could Secretary of State 
Hughes, Secretary of War John W. Weeks or Secretary 
of Commerce Herbert Hoover."" Daughtery, the At- 
torney General, insisted that his legal opinion on the 
leases was never asked nor given and he knew nothing 
about the leases until the matter came up for investiga- 
tion. The Coolidge administration's position seemed in 
peril and its future status in doubt despite these denials. 

The next day after Doheny's statement, J. W. Zeve- 
ly, a lawyer for Sinclair, further involved Fall. He testi- 
fied that when Sinclair asked Fall to go with him to 
Russia, Fall needed $25,000 for personal business af- 
fairs. Sinclair told his secretary, G. D. Wahlberg to give 
Zevely $25,000 or $30,000 in bonds, if Fall should ask 
Zevely for it, which Fall did. Wahlberg sent the bonds to 
Fall's bank in El Paso."** The loan had never been repaid 
and no interest had ever been paid. By now, Coolidge 
and the Republican Party spokesmen seemingly had had 
enough. It was time to stop defending Fall and protect 
the Republican party. 

It was about this time that Coolidge asked Henry 
Slattery to the White House so he could learn the com- 
plete story. ""^ Apparently Coolidge had not known very 
much about the whole affair. When Slattery finished 
and had answered Coolidge's questions, Coolidge moved 
into action. Administration leaders, greatly worried over 
the political effect of Teapot Dome, agreed that the gov- 
ernment should take positive steps against the guilty, 
cancel the leases and restore the oil properties to the 
government. Bowing to public and party pressures, 
Coolidge issued a statement on Sunday, January 27, pro- 

posing to employ special counsel and bring suit to cancel 
the oil leases. The next day the House of Representa- 
tives, by a nearly unanimous vote, passed a resolution 
appropriating $100,000 to pay for Coolidge's special 
counsel. Coolidge selected two men to be special 
counsel. They were Silas H. Strawn of Chicago, a Re- 
publican, and Thomas W. Gregory of New York City, a 
Democrat and Attorney-General in Wilson's Cabinet. 
Both men accepted, subject to Senate approval. 

On January 31, Senator James A. Reed of Missouri 
asked that Doheny be recalled for further testimony be- 
fore the Public Lands Committee. Reed knew precisely 
what he wanted from Doheny and what the Committee 
should ask him. Reed's action was prompted by the fact 
that he le^ a powerful and bitter minority opposed to 
the presidential nomination of William Gibbs McAdoo 
by the Democratic party in 1924. McAdoo was favored 
for the Democratic nomination, but Reed wanted the 
presidential nomination himself. He arranged to cause 
problems for the McAdoo camp. He got Lenroot to 
recall Doheny to testify and ask him this question: "Have 
you employed any Cabinet officer (other than Franklin 
K. Lane) subsequent to his retiring from the Cabinet?"^" 
Doheny replied that he had hired several and among 
them were Thomas W. Gregory and William Gibbs 
McAdoo. McAdoo had been a member of a law firm 
Doheny had employed to represent him in Washington 
in connection with some Mexican oil matters. Doheny 
had paid the firm $100,000 in November, 1919. Beginn- 
ing on March 1, 1922, McAdoo had been paid an an- 
nual retainer of $25,000 per year. 

Until now the scandal had been almost exclusively 
Republican. Now the leading Democratic candidate for 
President had been smeared with oil and linked by im- 
plication to the Teapot Dome case and his reputation 
was damaged beyond repair. The Democrats were dis- 
mayed. They had hoped to make the oil leases an issue 
in the campaign of 1924 but it would be embarrassing to 
nominate a man who had been employed by Doheny. 

The next day Gregory withdrew as a Coolidge 
nominee for special counsel because his firm had repre- 
sented Doheny. In his place, Coolidge nominated Atlee 
Pomerene, a former Democratic Senator from Ohio. 
Albert J. Beveridge writing at this time to Gifford Pin- 
chot said: "Lord, but the country is howling."^' There 
were demands that the entire Coolidge Cabinet should 
resign. Bruce Bliven, writing in The New Republic, 
wrote that Washington was "wading shoulder-deep in 
oil. Newspaper correspondents wrote of nothing else, 
and in hotel lobbies, on the streets, and at dinner tables, 
oil was the only subject of discussion. Congress had 
abandoned all other business. No one knows what each 
day may bring forth. . . ."^^ 

When Lenroot notified Coolidge that the Senate 
Committee on Public Lands and Surveys would report 
adversely on Silas Strawn, Coolidge withdrew his name 


and nominated Owen J. Roberts, a Philadelphia lawyer, 
as the Republican counsel on February 15. In the 
Senate, a bitter debate raged over the confirmation of 
Roberts and Pomerene. It was charged that neither man 
knew enough about public land laws and issues but, in 
the end, both were confirmed and commissioned on 
February 19. 

On the previous day, the 18th, Denby, the Secretary 
of the Navy, resigned, effective March 10, after holding 
out for many difficult weeks. 

With Denby out, the heat was turned on Daugherty 
in full force. He was a friend of McLean, Sinclair and 
Doheny, his department had not offered one bit of 
evidence during the Senate investigation and Daugherty 
was charged with protecting crime and criminals and 
selling immunity from prosecution. Senator Wheeler of- 
fered a resolution calling for the investigation of Daugh- 
erty. Several Republican senators went to the White 
House to tell Coolidge that Daugherty should retire for 
the good of the party. Some Republicans opposed the 
maneuver, and there was talk of a split in the Repub- 
lican party. 

Coolidge, in character, for the moment did nothing. 
Senator Albert J. Beveridge was gravely concerned over 
the fact that ordinary citizens believed that "nobody is 
straight about anything." Major newspapers over the 
country editorialized on political immorality and the 
lack of leadership in the Republican party. On the last 
day of February, the Democrats in the Senate, without 
mercy or restraint, flayed Daugherty, the administration 
which had sheltered him and the oil scandal which had 
enveloped him. The Republicans simply sat in silence. 

The next day, the Senate passed the Wheeler resolu- 
tion to investigate Daugherty for failing to prosecute 
Fall, Sinclair, Doheny and other grafters. On the 1 2th 
the special investigating committee began its hearings. 
As stories came out about Daugherty, the little green 
house on K Street and Roxy Stinson, the divorced wife of 
Daugherty's late close friend, Jesse Smith, the pressure 
on Coolidge steadily mounted. After Secretary Hoover 
and Secretary Hughes went to Coolidge and asked him 
to replace Daugherty, Coolidge on March 27 sent a note 
to Daugherty saying he was expecting his resignation at 
once. The next day, Daugherty resigned but he never 
faced any court charges for any wrongs committed as 

As April gave way to May, there were no new revela- 
tions in the Senate Committee. Teapot Dome was 
buried deep in the inside pages of the daily press. At the 
hearings the storm of fruitful testimony had died away. 
Monotonous questioning of geologists and oil experts 
about drainage replaced the earlier sharp examination 
of sundry political figures. Attendance at the hearings 
fell off; there was not a single spectator in attendance on 
May 8. 

The end of the inquiry was now in sight. On May 2, 

Senator Francis E. Warren, chairman of the Appropria- 
tions Committee, reported to the Senate that the Teapot 
Dome investigation up to April 16, 1924, had cost 
$32,808.03. On May 14 Walsh suggested that the com- 
mittee adjourn subject to the call of the Chairman. Until 
1928 Teapot Dome, as a political issue, was relatively 

With the Senate Committee inactive, the initiative 
now passed to the President's special counsel, Owen 
Roberts and Atlee Pomerene. They had been at work 
since early March preparing for legal action. On March 
II, 1924, they left Washington, D.C., for Cheyenne, 
Wyoming. On the 1 2th the special prosecutors filed suit 
in the name of the U.S. against the Mammoth Oil Com- 
pany, the Sinclair Pipe Line Company and the Sinclair 
Crude Oil Purchasing Company in the U.S. District 
Court at Cheyenne. The action sought to cancel the 
agreement of April 7, 1922, and the supplemental lease 
of February 9, 1923, relating to the leasing of Teapot 
Dome, on the ground that the United States had been 
defrauded by Fall and Sinclair and that the lease was ex- 
ecuted without legal authority. ^^ The government asked 
for a restraining order, a decree nullifying the agree- 
ment, the appointment of receivers, a final injunction 
against the defendants, a decree for accounting, and a 
decree for ousting both the Sinclair Crude Oil Purchas- 
ing Company and the Sinclair Pipe Line Company from 
Teapot Dome. The two Sinclair companies had been 
made defendants because their rights were derived from 
Mammoth and the government alleged that both were 
trespassers. The court issued a temporary restraining 
order, appointed receivers, and set the trial for De- 
cember 20. 

From Cheyenne the special prosecutors went to Los 
Angeles where they were granted an injunction from a 
federal court against Doheny's Pan American Petroleum 
and Transport Company restraining further exploration 
of the Naval Reserve at Elk Hills. On March 17 they fil- 
ed suit against Pan American, charging fraud by Fall 
and Doheny and the lack of legal authority by Fall to 
lease the Naval Oil Reserve No. I. 

Sinclair not only faced charges in Cheyenne but he 
also had to face grand jury charges in Washington, 
D.C., for contempt of the Senate. He had appeared 
before the Teapot Dome Senate Committee on March 
22, 1924, to answer questions about his 1920 campaign 
contributions but he refused to answer any questions on 
the ground that the committee was without jurisdiction 
to question him further regarding the lease of Teapot 
Dome. Ten times (and for the same reason each time) 
Sinclair refused to answer on advice of counsel.^'' 

At its next session the Senate voted to ask for grand 
jury action against Sinclair for refusing to testify. On 
March 31 the grand jury indicted Sinclair for contempt 
of the Senate. The indictment was the first of its V-:id in 
Washington in 35 years." Despite the distinction. 

Sinclair pleaded not guilty and his lawyers began to 
prepare a defense. Sinclair gave bond and gained his 
freedom, pending trial. 

Early in June, 1924, Walsh submitted his report to 
the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys. In 
turn, the committee sent a majority report to the Senate 
that was in substantial conformity with that of Walsh. ^^ 
The report was signed by Chairman Ladd and seven 
other committee members, all of them Democrats or 
Progressive Republicans. The report charged Fall with 
utter disregard of the law and an unwarranted assump- 
tion of authority. It denounced the transactions center- 
ing around the oil leases as "essentially corrupt." 

There were mixed public reactions to the report. 
However, historian Joseph Schafer, writing in 1940, 
called Walsh's report "a masterly statement of the entire 
case, written in a judicial vein, without rancor and with 

Early oil strike, Salt Creek Oil Field, north of Teapot 

scrupulous care not to overstep the evidence."^' Senator 
Spencer of Missouri presented a statement signed by five 
minority members saying that they had not been given 
sufficient time to read the Walsh report, although the 
minority members had received a copy of the report as 
soon as other members of the committee and the entire 
committee had spent two days considering it.^* The 
minority also objected to some of Walsh's interpreta- 
tions. The Senate, on January 20, 1925, adopted the 
Walsh majority report. The hearings of the Senate Com- 
mittee on Public Lands and Survey were later published 
in three stout volumes containing 3,586 pages. 

While the Senate Committee hearings on Teapot 
Dome were coming to a close and the special prosecutors 
were preparing for the civil suit against Mammoth at 
Cheyenne, government agents in examining the records 
of certain banks in the West in which Fall had accounts, 
found reference to 3.5 percent Liberty bonds along with 
a list of their numbers. Through the Treasury Depart- 
ment they traced the bonds to stockholders in the Con- 
tinental Trading Company, Ltd., a Canadian corpora- 
tion, which had purchased a total of $3,080,000 in these 
Liberty bonds. This was another sensational develop- 
ment because Continental had been secretly organized 
and no one knew anything about it. Roberts and Pom- 
erene, therefore, filed an affidavit in a Toronto court, 
requesting authorization to take a deposition from H. S. 
Osier, president of Continental, who lived in Ontario. 

Continental had been organized in November, 
1921, in New York City by H. M. Blackmer, chairman 
of the board of the Midwest Refining Company; James 
E. O'Neil, president of the Prairie Oil and Gas Com- 
pany; Harry F. Sinclair, head of Sinclair Consolidated 
Oil Corporation; and Colonel R. W. Stewart, chairman 
of Standard Oil Company ( Indiana). ''' This group as 
private individuals had been incorporated in Canada as 
the Continential Trading Company, Ltd. On November 
17, 1921, Continental contracted with the Humphreys 
Texas Company and the Humphreys Mexia Company to 
purchase 33,333,333 barrels of crude oil at $1.50 a bar- 
rel. On the same day. Continental sold this contract to 
the Sinclair Crude Oil Purchasing Company and the 
Prairie Oil and Gas Company, jointly, for $1.75 a bar- 
rel. Sinclair Crude Oil Purchasing and Prairie took 
delivery of the oil directly from Humphreys and paid for 
it through Continental which netted a profit of more 
than $2,000,000. It invested the profit in Liberty Bonds 
buying them through a New York agency of the Domi- 
nion Bank of Canada. Osier then distributed these 
bonds to Continental's shareholders. 

Roberts and Pomerene were anxious to question 
Osier and others in Canada, hoping to learn who owned 
Continental stock and received the bonds. ^^ When Con- 
tinental went out of business in February, 1923, it had 
destroyed all books and papers, but the U.S. Govern- 
ment, fortunately, had the numbers of the bonds, and 


the Secret Service agents had already traced $90,000 
worth of them to Fall. Consequently, Continental was 
related to Teapot Dome and Roberts and Pomerene had 
good reason to investigate Continental. 

The Ontario Supreme Court directed Osier to ap- 
pear in Toronto before the U.S. Consul and answer 
questions, but Osier was hunting elephants in Africa. 
Blackmer and O'Neil were living in France and refused 
to appear and testify. Sinclair was under indictment for 
the Teapot Dome lease and could refuse to testify. 
Federal marshals could not find Colonel Stewart. 

Roberts and Pomerene had more immediate success 
in California. After a protracted trial, the Judge of the 
U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on May 28, 1925, 
held that Doheny's loan to Fall was a bribe that had in- 
duced Fall to grant Doheny the lease on the Elk Hills 
Reserve.®' According to the court, Fall and Doheny were 
guilty of fraud and conspiracy while Harding had ex- 
ceeded his presidential powers in making the transfer of 
the reserves to Fall. The court also found that Denby's 
role in the deal was "passive." The Judge cancelled the 
contract between the Government and Doheny's Pan 
American Petroleum Company. He charged Pan Amer- 
ican for all the oil it had extracted but directed the 
government to pay for the work Doheny had done under 
the contract at Pearl Harbor. 

Doheny appealed the decision. The U.S. Circuit 
Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the District 
Court's decision against Doheny in the Elk Hills case. 
Doheny appealed. The Supreme Court in a unanimous 
decision on February 23, 1927, cancelled Doheny's lease 
on Elk Hills and returned the Naval Petroleum Reserve 
to the Govenment. It refused to order repayment by the 
Government of any money Doheny and his company 
had spent on Elk Hills or at Pearl Harbor.®^ It also held 
that the Secretary of the Navy, Denby, "took no active 
part in the negotiations and that Fall acting collusively 
with Doheny, dominated the making of the contracts 
and leases." 

At Cheyenne, on June 19, 1925, the Government 
lost its suit against Mammoth. Judge Kennedy of the 
U.S. District Court upheld Sinclair's lease on Teapot 
Dome and found against the Government on every point 
that Roberts and Pomerene had raised, upheld the 
authority of Fall and Denby to make the lease and Har- 
ding to transfer the reserves.®^ Despite the adverse de- 
cision, Roberts and Pomerene managed to establish the 
fraudulent character of the Continental Trading Com- 
pany and to demonstrate that Fall — or he and his busi- 
ness associates had received a total of at least $233,000 
in Liberty Bonds from Continental's profits. The Judge 
dismissed as unproven the charge of collusion between 
Sinclair and Fall. The Government had been unable to 
offer direct proof that Fall had received any Continental 
bonds from Sinclair. Roberts and Pomerene appealed 
the decision. 

On September 28, 1926, the United States 8th Cir- 
cuit Court of Appeals, in the suit against Mammoth, 
held that the leases were procured through fraud and 
corruption and should be cancelled.^'' The Circuit Court 
instructed the District Court to enter a decree cancelling 
the lease and contract as fraudulent, enjoining the 
defendants from further trespassing on the reserve, and 
providing for a general accounting by Mammoth for the 
value of all oil taken from the reserve under the lease. 
The defendants appealed and on October 10, 1927, the 
Supreme Court in a unanimous decision sustained the 
decision of the Circuit Court and restored Teapot Dome 
to the complete ownership and control of the govern- 
ment. It declared the lease to be a culmination of a con- 
spiracy between Fall and Sinclair, "the purpose of which 
was to circumvent the law and defeat public policy." It 
assailed the drainage argument given by Fall as a reason 
for leasing Teapot Dome. 

These two decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court end- 
ed the civil trials in the history of Teapot Dome and Elk 
Hills. On March 17, 1927, Coolidge revoked Harding's 
executive order of May 31, 1921, transferring the naval 
oil reserves from the Navy Department to the Interior 
Department, and two months later the Secretary of the 
Navy formally took over the reserves from the Secretary 
of the Interior. 

The first of six criminal trials arising out of the in- 
vestigation of the oil leases began on November 22, 
1926, when Doheny and Fall were tried in the Supreme 
Court of the District of Columbia on the charge of con- 
spiracy.®^ On December 16 the jury acquitted both men. 

Sinclair was also on trial at this time, and on March 
17, 1927, in the Criminal Branch of the Supreme Court 
of the District of Columbia, a jury found him guilty of 
contempt of the Senate for refusing to answer questions 
before the committee. He immediately appealed to the 
U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, on October 17, in the 
same court, Sinclair and Fall went on trial for con- 

For two weeks the trial proceeded smoothly when 
suddenly Pomerene moved for a mistrial, charging an 
improper surveillance of the jury by agents of the Bums 
Detective Agency who had been hired by Sinclair. The 
judge ordered a mistrial and discharged the jury. For 
this lastest action, Sinclair drew another contempt ver- 
dict in February, 1928, and was sentenced to six months 
in jail. Sinclair appealed. On April 8, 1929, the U.S. 
Supreme Court affirmed Sinclair's three-month sen- 
tence for contempt of the Senate Public Land and 
Surveys Committee and on June 4, it affirmed his six- 
month sentence for criminal contempt of court. On May 
6, 1929, Sinclair went to jail. 

Shortly after the judge declared a mistrial in the 
trial of Sinclair and Fall on the conspiracy charge, 
Roberts and Pomerene sought a retrial. Fall was ill at his 
home in El Paso and gained a delay. With Sinclair 

standing alone before the court, the new conspiracy trial 
began on April 9, 1928. 

In the meantime, the Senate Committee on Public 
Lands and Surveys began a second though briefer in- 
quiry into Teapot Dome and the Continental Trading 
Company.*' Prompted by Paul Y. Anderson, a reporter 
for the St. Louts Post-Dispatch, Senator George W. Nor- 
ris introduced a resolution on January 4, 1928, ordering 
the committee to trace all of the Liberty Bonds of Con- 
tinental and find out the names of the beneficiaries.** 
Fall presumably had $233,000 of the original investment 
of about $3,080,000 but who held the other $2,747,000? 
Without debate or a dissenting vote, the Senate adopted 
Norris' resolution and on January 24, 1928, the commit- 
tee swung Teapot Dome back into the glare of public 
scrutiny. The chairman of the committee was Senator 
Gerald P. Nye, Republican of North Dakota, and once 
again Walsh was the prosecutor. 

The first witness, M. T. Everhart, son-in-law of Fall, 
admitted that in May, 1922, in Washington and New 
York, Sinclair delivered to him $233,000 in Liberty 
Bonds, all of which went to Fall.** In addition, Sinclair 
later "loaned" Fall an additional $36,000. These 
amounts of money plus those previously uncovered by 
the Senate Committee made Sinclair's contribution to 
Fall about $304,000. Counting the loan of $100,000 plus 
an additional $5,000 from Doheny meant Fall had re- 
ceived at least $409,000 from Sinclair and Doheny. On 
February 2, Colonel R. W. Stewart of Standard of In- 
diana refused to tell anything about the disposition of 
the $3,000,000 profit of Continental. He declared that 
he got none of it and had nothing to do with the distri- 

Some of the pressures and publicity shifted to the 
leaders of the Republican Party on February 11, 1928, 
when the Senate Committee received a report that 
$24,000 of Continental's profits had helped to wipe out 
part of the Republican campaign deficit of 1920. 
Naturally, Will Hays, the 1920 Republican National 
Chairman, immediately denied any knowledge of it. 
John T. Adams, Republican Chairman from 1921 to 
1924, also claimed he knew absolutely nothing of any 
Continental bonds. In February, there was evidence that 
Blackmer had deposited $300,000 in Liberty Bonds to 
the credit of the Republican National Committee, most- 
ly in the Chase National Bank in November and Decem- 
ber, 1923." In March, Will Hays finally testified that 
Sinclair had given him $260,000 for the Republican 
campaign fund. Of this amount, $100,000 was later 
returned to Sinclair.'^ 

In a letter to Walsh on March 10, 1928, Secretary of 
the Treasury Andrew Mellon said that late in the fall of 
1923, he had received $50,000 in Liberty Bonds from 
Will Hays, who had accepted them from Sinclair. '^ Hays 
wanted Mellon to keep the bonds and turn an equal 
amount of cash over to the Republican National Com- 

mittee which Mellon refused to do. He returned the 
bonds and made a $50,000 contribution of his own 
funds to the deficit. William M. Butler, the current 
Republican chairman, also testified that in 1923 Hays 
offered him $25,000 in bonds in return for cash but 
Butler, like Mellon, refused.'" Senator Borah was so 
outraged by the Continental bonds given to the Repub- 
lican party that he launched a movement to raise con- 
tributions of $1,000 and up to repay Sinclair and clear 
the party of this stigma.'^ All he could raise by March 30 
was about $8,000 so he returned the money to con- 

The Continental Trading Company inquiry never 
reached the intensity of the 1924 investigation. 
However, by the last of April, the Senate Committee 
had determined that $769,000 of Continental's profit 
had gone to Henry Blackmer; about $800,000 to James 
O'Neil; $759,500 to Colonel Stewart (who had turned 
over his share plus $38,000 in interest to the Sinclair 
Crude Oil Purchasing Company); $160,000 to Will Hays 
to help pay off the Republican deficit; $233,000 to 
Albert Fall and $757,000 to Sinclair (who had recently 
turned over his share plus $142,000 in interest to the 
Sinclair Crude Oil Purchasing Company).'* 

The Senate Committee met briefly on May 31 for 
the last time and the investigation of Teapot Dome came 
to an end. Before adjourning, Walsh and Nye submitted 
separate reports on the Continental inquiry to the 
Senate." In his report, Walsh did not mince words 
about the organizers of Continental. His remarks about 
Will Hays, Andrew Mellon and Sinclair were acrid. Ac- 
cording to Walsh, the Continental Trading Company 
"was a contemptible private steal, the speculations of 
trusted officers of great industrial houses, pilfering from 
their own companies, robbing their own stockhold- 
ers. . . ." According to Nye's report, the Senate investi- 
gation had "uncovered the slimiest of slimy trails beaten 
by privilege. ... It is a trail of dishonesty, greed, viola- 
tion of the law, secrecy, concealment, evasion, falsehood 
and cunning." 

The expense of the Continental inquiry, which had 
resulted in the recovery for the government slightly in 
excess of $2,000,000, with the prospect of getting more, 
had been $14,165.'* The hearings of the Committee on 
the Continental Trading Company, which ended on 
May 31, 1928, were published in one volume, consisting 
of 1,307 pages. 

As the hearings of the Senate Committee came to an 
end, the Federal District Court at Cheyenne made an 
accounting in the case against Mammoth at Teapot 
Dome. Final judgment was entered on August 17, 1928, 
and Mammoth was ordered to pay the U.S. 
$2,294,597.74 for 1,430,024.7 barrels of crude oil taken 
from Teapot Dome to which it was not legally entitled.'* 
Since Mammoth was unable to pay, the government 
filed suit against the Sinclair Crude Oil Purchasing 


Company for $2,294,597.74 plus 7 per cent interest as 
the purchaser of the oil from Mammoth. This was not- 
withstanding the fact that Sinclair Crude Oil Purchasing 
had already made full payment to Mammoth. The gov- 
ernment also claimed title to 17 storage tanks each with 
a capacity of 75,000 barrels and equipment which had 
been erected and paid for by Sinclair Crude Oil Pur- 
chasing on Teapot Dome. Before the case came to trial 
Sinclair Oil Purchasing and the government reached an 
agreement under which the government agreed to pay 
the company $170,000 for the 17 steel storage tanks 
while the company agreed to pay $2,906,484.32 for the 
oil and all expenses of the litigation. 

After the cancellation of the Elk Hills Reserve the 
government collected $34,981,449.62 from Doheny for 
the oil drilled and taken from the reserve.*" 

Beginning on April 10, 1928, while the Continental 
hearing neared its climax, Sinclair went on trial for con- 
spiracy to defraud the government in the District of Col- 
umbia Supreme Court. Fall was too ill to stand trial but 
he had given Pomerene a private deposition to the effect 
that he did not receive one cent from Sinclair for the 
Teapot Dome leases. Sinclair's trial lasted less than two 
weeks and the jury acquitted Sinclair.*' 

The U.S. Supreme Court had previously nullified 
the Teapot Dome lease and condemned it as the cul- 
mination of a conspiracy between Fall and Sinclair. Now 
a jury had acquitted Sinclair of any conspiracy with Fall. 
"The acquittal " was the greatest surprise Washington 
had had in years. Roberts and Pomerene were "dumb- 
founded " at the decision and sat in silence. 

On October 7, 1929, Fall finally appeared for trial 
in a District of Columbia court on the charge of accept- 
ing a bribe from Doheny. On October 23 the jury found 
him guilty but recommended leniency. He was frail in 
health and emaciated in appearance. In view of his 
physical condition the judge sentenced him to a year in 
prison and fined him $100,000. Fall appealed but the 
District of Columbia Appellate Court upheld the 
sentence and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review 
his case. Since Fall suffered from chronic tuberculosis, 
he was allowed to serve his term in an agreeable climate 
at the New Mexico State Prison in the high country near 
Santa Fe. On July 20, 1931, he entered the prison. It was 
the first time in American history that a Cabinet officer 
had been convicted of a felony and served a prison 

After a brief trial in March, 1930, a jury in the same 
District of Columbia court found Doheny not guilty of 
bribing Fall.*^ Senator George W. Norris had earlier 
said that "it is impossible to convict a hundred million 
dollars in the U.S." In view of Sinclair and Doheny's ac- 
quittal Fail's conviction seemed an injustice at its worst. 

Teapot Dome's legal history ended with the Fall and 
Doheny verdicts. Thereafter, Fall, broken in spirit and 
health and without money, withered and brooded for 13 

years. On May 9, 1932, he left the Santa Fe prison after 
serving nine months and nineteen days of his sentence, 
most of it in the prison hospital. He had not paid and 
would never pay the $100,000 fine. Agents of the De- 
partment of Justice investigated and found he was 
unable to pay it. Fall was virtually penniless by the time 
he entered prison. The Department of Justice petitioned 
the Court to amend his commitment and allow him to 
go free without paying the $100,000."" 

Three years after his release, a reporter who visited 
him found Fall a pathetic, broken old man. In 1925, 
through foreclosure, he had lost his great 700,000-acre 
ranch at Three Rivers. 

After Fall's release from prison, Mrs. Fall earned 
money operating a store in Three Rivers, a restaurant in 
El Paso and by home canning fruits and vegetables. 
After being evicted from Three Rivers ranch, the Falls 
lived in their home in El Paso. It was a pretty shabby 
place. In time. Fall became permanently hospitalized. 
On November 30, 1944, while he was reading his heart 
stopped. Mrs. Fall already had died in March, 1943. 

1. Burt Noggle, Teapot Dome: Oil and Politics in the 1920's. 
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1962), (New 
York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1965.), p. 144. 

2. The New York Times. November 25, 1973; The Washington 
Post, June 17, 1977. 

3. The New York Times, June 22, 1977. 

4. "Report of the Secretary of the Navy for 1864," House Executive 
Document No. 1, 38th Cong. 2nd. Sess.. p. 1096. (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1864) "Report of the Secretary of 
the Navy for 1867." House Executive Document No. 1, 40th 
Cong. 2nd. Sess. pp. 173-175; The Venango Spectator, 
(Franklin, Pa.), June 28, 1867; The Titusvilte Herald {Va.). ]u\y 
10, 1867. Giddens, Pennsylvania Petroleum 1750-1872: A Doc- 
umentary History, (Titusville: Pennsylvania Historical and 
Museum Commission, 1947). pp. 252-253, 317-325. Giddens. 
"When Oil Joined' the Navy," The Orange Disc. (Gulf Oil's 
magazine). September-October, 1945, pp. 2-7. 

5. Reginald W. Ragland, A History of the Naval Petroleum Re- 
serves And Of The Development Of The Present National 
Policy Respecting Them, (Los Angeles, California: n.p., 1944, 
pp. 20-21). 

6. Secretary of the Interior, P. A. Ballinger to President Taft, Sep- 
tember 17, 1909. Ragland, p. 24. 

7. Ragland, pp. 27-36. 

8. Giddens. "When Oil Joined' the Navy," p. 6. 

9. Ibid., p. 7, 

10. Ibtd. 

11. Ragland, pp. 73-74. 

12. Giddens. "When Oil Joined' the Navy," p. 7. 

13. Ragland, pp. 39-40. 

14. Ibid . pp. 40-42. 

15. Ibid., pp. 42-47. 

16. Ragland, p. 103; Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, Hearings 
Before the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, United 
States Senate Pursuant to S. Resol. 282, S. Resol. 294, and S. 
Resol. 4i4, 67th Cong. 3 Vols., (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1924) I. pp. 933, 1213. 

17. Ragland, pp. 47-49. 

18. Ibid., pp. 60-82. 55. 

19. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, I, pp. 177-178. 56. 

20. M. R. Wemer and John Starr, Teapot Dome, (New York: Vik- 
ing Press, 1959) p. 46. 57. 

21. Noggle, p. 20. 58. 

22. Ibid., p. 35. 

23. Ragland, pp. 135-136. 

24. Noggle, p. 35. 

25. Ibid., p. 36. 59. 

26. Ragland, p. 143. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, I, pp. 
296-298 gives the contract in full. 

27. Werner and Starr, pp. 47-48. 

28. Noggle, pp. 39-40. 60. 

29. Ibid., p. 42. 61. 

30. Ibid., p. 48. 62. 

31. See Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, I, for Harding's Letter of 63. 
Transmittal, June 7, 1922, and Fall's comprehensive report on 

the Naval Reserve Oil Leases, June 3, 1922, pp. 24-69. 64. 

32. Noggle, p. 51. For the Wall Street Journal reference to the ex- 65. 
tension of the contract of December 11, 1922, see Leases Upon 66. 
Naval Oil Reserves, I, pp. 413-416. 67. 

33. Noggle, pp. 65-56. 

34. Ibid., p. 57. 68. 

35. Ibid., p. 62. 69. 

36. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, I, p. 175. 

37. Ibid., I, pp. 175-282 for the testimony of Secretary Albert B. 70. 
Fall; pp. 282-309 and 363-390 for the testimony of Secretary Ed- 

vifin Denby; pp. 405-421 for the testimony of Edvfard C. Finney, 71. 

First Assistant Secretary, Department of the Interior; pp. 72. 

421-436 and 467-471 and 1017 for the testimony of Harry F. 73. 

Sinclair, President of the Mammoth Oil Co., New 'York City. 74. 

38. Ibid., I, pp. 830-843, 890-893 for the testimony of Carl Magee. 75. 

39. Ibid., I, pp. 869-890 for the testimony of J. T. Johnson. 76. 

40. Ibid., I, pp. 1017-1039 for the testimony of G. D. 'Wahlberg, ac- 77. 
countant and auditor for Sinclair. 

41. Ibid., I, p. 1432. 

42. Ibid., I, pp. 1453, 1545. 

43. Ibid., I, p. 1699. 

44. Ibid., I, pp. 1771-1772. 

45. Ibid., I, pp. 1919-1935. 

46. Ragland, pp. 149151. 78. 

47. Noggle, pp. 83-84. 

48. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, I, p. 1931. 79 

49. Noggle, pp. 86-87. 80 

50. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, I, pp. 1936-1940. 81 

51. Noggle, p. 108. 82 

52. Ibid., p. 110. 83 

53. Paul H. Giddens, Standard Oil Company (Indiana): Oil Pioneer 84 
of the Middle West, pp. 361-362. 

54. Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, III, pp. 2894-2900; Robert L. 
Owen, Remarkable Experiences of H. F. Sinclair With His Gov- 
ernment: Some Dangerous Precedents, (n.p. 1929.) 

Noggle, p. 145. 

Leases Upon Naval Oil Resemes, Senate Report No. 794, dated 
June 6, 1924. 
Noggle, p. 154. 

Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, Senate Report No. 794, Part 
2, dated June 6, 1924. Also see. Leases Upon Naval Oil Re- 
serves, Senate Report No. 794, Part 3, dated January 15, 1925, 
called Supplemental Minority Views. 

Giddens, Standard Oil Company (Indiana), 226-234; Leases 
Upon Naval Oil Reserves (Continental Trading Company, Ltd., 
of Canada), January 24 to May 31, 1928, (Washington: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1929). 
Giddens, pp. 362-364. 

Noggle, p. 182; U.S. v. Pan-Am., 6 F. 2d 43-89. 
Noggle, p. 183. 

Giddens, Standard Oil Company (Indiana), p. 366; U.S. v. 
Mammoth Oil Co., et al., 5 F. 2d 330-54. 
Giddens, Standard Oil Company (Indiana), pp. 366-367. 
Noggle, p. 185. 
Ibid., p. 185. 

Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, (Continental Trading Com- 
pany, Ltd., of Canada), January 24 to May 31, 1928. 
Giddens, Standard Oil Company (Indiana), pp. 367-368. 
Leases Upon Naval Oil Resemes, (Continental Trading Com- 
pany, Ltd., of Canada), pp. 48-68, 74. 

Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves, (Continental Trading Com- 
pany, Ltd., of Canada), pp. 164-198. 

pp. 357-416. 

pp. 459-481, 577-614. 

pp. 549-572. 

pp. 572-577. 

e, pp. 193-195. 

p. 197. 

For Walsh's Report for the Committee, Senate Report No 
1326, 70th Cong. 1st Sess., "Investigation of Activities of Con 
tinental Trading Co." see Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves (Con 
tinental Trading Company, Ltd., of Canada), pp. 11711183 
for Nye's "Supplemental Report, " Senate Report 1326, Part 2 
Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves (Continental Trading Com 
pany, Ltd., of Canada), 70th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 1185-1204. 
Walsh's Report, Leases Upon Naval Oil Reserves (Continental 
Trading Company, Ltd., of Canada), p. 1183. 
Giddens, Standard Oil Company (Indiana), p 
Wemer and Starr, p. 296. 
Noggle, p. 201. 
Werner and Starr, 
Noggle, p. 211. 
Ibid., p. 214. 





All the Ne^w^s 
That's Fit 

to Chuckle Over 

Neivspaper Humor in the Old West 

By Robert G. Keller 

Today's newspapers, even the tabloids, are pretty 
staid by comparison with those of yesteryear. In the 19th 
Century papers were more salty, more idiosyncratic. 
Objectivity was not particularly important, so the pages 
were enlivened with the personalities, crotchets and the 
sense of humor of the editors and reporters. 

That was especially true of papers in the west. Fron- 
tier journalists were not only as independent and ornery 
as any dusty cowpoke or grizzled miner; they were just as 
funny, too. The rigors of existence on the Great Plains 
seemed to stimulate the comic sense. 

In doing research for a historical novel set in Wyo- 
ming, I recently had occasion to read about five year's 
worth of the Cheyenne Daily Leader from the 1880's. To 
my surprise, the job, though time-consuming, was any- 
thing but boring. The paper was by turns informative, 
feisty and funny. What follows are some examples of its 
humor, which besides being amusing could also be 
remarkably sophisticated, even by our own standards. 

The humor took many forms. Sometimes the news 
items selected were intrinsically funny by themselves. 
Here are several such snippets: 

It is reported by a fairly reliable source that a widow in 
Oakland, California, has sued a newspaper for libel be- 
cause in its obituary notice of her husband, it spoke of his 
having gone to a happier home.' 

Dueling may be a barbarous practice, but it does not 
seem a very dangerous one — at least in France, where the 
mortality is shown by statistics to be in the ratio of one to 


An Eastern paper concludes an editorial in support of 
the movement against the use of slang by hoping that 'this 
movement will spread until the whole slang business is 

My personal favorite of this type concerns an 
organization in Portland, Maine, called the "Idle Sons 
of Rest." The charter of this "ancient order" allegedly 
provided that anyone caught working would be ex- 
pelled, and the statement below by one of its members 
may be apocryphal, but the Leader claims to have taken 
it directly from the pages of the Boston Globe: 

We sorta made one feller president, but he said we 
made him tired; then we 'lected a secretary, an' he went to 
taking notes, so we voted to expel him. He was working, 
you see, and the idea was to have an order that didn't do 
any work. Finally we 'lected a treasurer, and he said it was 
all right — if we'd make our own change and put the exact 
amount in his pocket. He was just the man we wanted. . . . 
More often than not, though, the news took on its 
comic aspect, not from what was reported but from an 
editorial remark that followed: 

A young man in New Orleans took his lady love to the 
theater the other night and fell dead in his seat. But young 
men will keep on taking their lady loves to the theater just 
the same as if this hadn't happened. 

Watermelons are getting so cheap that a first class 
stomach ache is now in reach of the most indigent. 

The Duke of Richmond . . . was shot in the knee the 
other day while hunting in Enzie Woods, Speyside, by one 
of his party. His grace was stunned by the shot, but is now 
in a fair way of recovery. One of the bearers was, at the 
same time, also shot and rendered insensible. In fact, the 

only thing that escaped being shot on the occasion of this 
famous hunt was the game. 

Professor Proctor figures that the earth is shrinking 
about two inches a year. That accounts for the nervous 
anxiety manifested by some people to possess it while it is 
some size. 

Nitroglycerine will cure angina pectoris, whatever that 
is; it will also cure a haunted house if properly applied. 

The body of the fashion editor of the Brooklyn Citizen 
was found floating in the East River the other day. The new 
style of stiff hats probably overturned his reason. 

It is not astonishing that the sea serpent should be visi- 
ble at summer resorts, but it is rather strange that its 
favorite haunt should be the coast of Maine, notwithstand- 
ing the prohibition laws in full force in that state. 

This is the wedding day of the [German] Princess Bea- 
trice. Circumstances over which we have no control 
preclude the possibility of our attending the ceremony. The 
affair will probably go off all right, however. 
Then as now newspapermen had certain targets that 
they tended to devote more attention to than others. 
PoHticians of course were always a staple. 

Senator Blackburn of Kentucky undertook to give 
President Cleveland a piece of his mind but couldn't deliver 
the goods for obvious reasons. 

There is no truth in the report that the Congressional 
Record is to be used by the signal service bureau for the 
measurement of wind. 

An exchange says: The Republican Party is not dead. 
That's what a tramp once said about his feet, but the^ 
were odorous evidences that he was mistaken. 

Congress has accomplished something this session: one 
Senator and three Representatives have died so far. 

Lawyers got their share of knocks too, as the follow- 
ing selections illustrate: 

There are 11,000 lawyers in the state of New York. 
What an appalling state to be in. 

When the angel Gabriel blows his horn, a vast army of 
lawyers will rise up and from sheer force of habit move for a 
continuance of the cases before the court. 

Four sheep, a hog and ten bushels of wheat settled an 
Iowa breach of promise suit where |25,000 damages were 
demanded. The lawyers got all but the hog, which died 
before they could drive it away. 

Jay Gould, the notorious robber baron, was a 
favorite subject for satirical comment, too. 

For six consecutive Sundays Jay Gould has attended 
church, and the New Yorkers who are keeping tab on him 
are prepared for almost anything in the way of deviltry 
from this time on. 

The book on railroad management which Jay Gould is 
said to be writing would be vastly more interesting were it 
to contain all that is certain to be left out of it. 

If Jay Gould visits Austria, the emperor can do no less, 
in recognition of his merits, than make him a Knight of the 
Golden Fleece. As a fleecer, Jay has always been a great 

If writers lampooned the plutocrats, though, they 
could be just as hard on the anarchists and other 

They found dynamite, a rusty file and an old revolver 
in the anarchist newspaper office in Chicago, but no trace 
could be found of the office towel. 

Herr Most [a German anarchist] professes himself will- 
ing to die for the cause of anarchy. He should cheerfully be 


accorded the privilege, but the probability is that he would 
again seek refuge under some convenient bed. 

There was no need for Henry George to start an "Anti- 
Poverty Society" so long as he can lecture at the rate of $300 
a night. 

Finally, there were also constant jibes at cornet 
players, greenhorns and England's poet laureate, Alfred 
Lord Tennyson. That the last two should have been 
picked on is fairly easy to understand, but it is less clear 
why cornet players were chosen as a recurrent butt. Yet 
they seem to have been regarded much the same as 
lunatics or lepers. 

The fact has leaked out that the Czar is an amateur 
cornet player. This may in measure explain the enmity of 
the nihilists and other hysterical people toward him. 
For the frontier journalists, the world was their 
oyster ... to gag on. However, that didn't mean that 
they overlooked their own immediate locale. Few local 
antics escaped their sharp pens, as these excerpts from 
the Leader show: 

The two tramps that were arrested on the train today 
claimed to be escaped New York baseball umpires. This 
was probably true, as neither knew anything about the 
game and were domineering and abusive to their fellow 

While on their way from Fort Washakie to the Na- 
tional Park [Yellowstone], President Arthur and party 

came to a lonely cabin on the summit of a desolate ridge. 
On the lid of a cracker box nailed above the door appeared 
the following: 'Ten miles from water, twenty miles from 
timber, and no grub in the house. God bless our home.' 

The Laramie Boomerang had an article Thursday 
reporting the murder of Officer Winn of this city, which is 
another evidence that one should go away from home to 
hear the news. Winn doesn't believe he has been killed, but 
some men are very stubborn that way. 

The Sioux Indians are reported as having organized a 
brass band, thus preserving even in civilization the 
aboriginal instinct which delights in torture. 

The most notable event of yesterday in the campaign 
against the Ute Indians, says the Denver Republican, was 
when Private Flannigan was ambushed by his mule. 
At times an entire column was filled with some com- 
ic tale of local foibles. Here are several such longer ac- 

This time it is a soldier. He had just received his quarterly 
pay. and was somewhat bewildered while on his way back 
to the post. In his dilemma he took a street car and stood 
out on the rear platform admiring the open air. Suddenly 
the car stopped and the old vet fell headlong onto the 
street. The passengers and driver hurried out to pick him 
up, expecting to find him hurt and bruised. But he arose 
slowly unaided and, addressing the driver with great digni- 
ty, he asked: 

'Been elision?' 

'Oh, no,' replied the driver. 

'Wagon broke down?' 


'Axshident 'fany kind?' 

'None at all.' 

'Well, 'fide known that I wouldn't got off.' 

Andy Casservan was in the city yesterday, and he and 
General Jack Meldrum were laughing over an incident 
which occurred once in Rawlins when Meldrum was clerk 
of a court there. Casservan had been summoned as a juror, 
and Sheriff Rankin had handed the names [of the 
veniremen] in his own classic chirography. Those who are 
familiar with Rankin's handwriting say that when he is in a 
hurry it is terrific, being a cross between a streak of zigzag 
lightning and the ground plan of a worm fence with some 
mock-orange hedges and a stone wall thrown in. When 
Meldrum, as clerk, began to call the names of the jurors, he 
worried along until he got to the name of Casservan. That 
gentleman was in court, but he didn't recognize his 
cognomen as called by the clerk, and it seems that the clerk 
didn't recognize it as written by the sheriff for he called 
'Mr. Crosscrown,' and receiving no reply made another in- 
vestigation and then called 'Mr. Goodpasture.' That didn't 
seem to fit anyone present either, and with desperation he 
investigated some more and concluded that 'Mr. Casegravy' 
was the man he wanted. Mr. Casegravy not materializing, 
the clerk wiped his brow, and with a mighty effort yelled 
for Coshocton, Constantinoble, Cucumber, Cassawary and 
so on, until his voice sunk to a whisper and he fell in his seat 
exhausted. Officers finally brought him around, and the 
sheriff was called upon to interpret the name. He gave it as 
his opinion that Casservan was the man who was wanted — 
in fact he was sure that Casservan was the man, but he 
wasn't sure that the name came in that exact place on the 
list, but nevertheless he went away muttering something 
about how clerks of courts should be qualified to read 
writing before being chosen for such offices. 


Then there was this story of the prominent 
Cheyenne banker who took a trip abroad, in the course 
of which he visited the Dead Sea. 

When Mr. Dare reached the famous inland sea. he 
cautiously approached a boatman who was standing on the 
shore, and began to read Arabic to him out of a three 
dollar guide book he had purchased in Jerusalem. The an- 
cient mariner stood, listened a moment, and then said in a 
tone of disgust: 'What's s'matter with you? Why don't you 
talk United States?' 

The Cheyenne man concealed his chagrin and aston- 
ishment, and said, 'So this is the Dead Sea, the place where 
our Savior walked on the water. I suppose you know the 
locality where he walked?' 

'That's what I do, doctor, and I'll take you out there in 
my boat, if you say so.' 

'How much will you charge to take me to the exact 

'Well, you look like a pretty decent sort of fellow, I 
won't charge you anything.' 

Mr. Dare was greatly surprised to encounter such 
liberality so far from Wyoming, but stepped into the boat 
and was rowed about a mile from the shore. After gazing 
around for a few minutes and seeing nothing remarkable 
about the place, he expressed a desire to return. 

'Charge you twenty dollars to go back,' said the enter- 
prising follower of the Savior's footsteps. 

'But I thought you said the trip would cost me 
nothing,' remonstrated the pioneer. 

'Naw. Nothing to come out; twenty dollars to get 

Mr. Dare handed the money-making navigator a gold 
piece but remarked in deep tones of disgust as he did so, 
'No wonder that Jesus got out and hoofed it.' 
Practical jokes were an especially popular form of 
fun among cowboys and others in the Old West, so'it is 
not surprising to find accounts of such tomfoolery in the 
newspapers, too. 

Yesterday morning on Sixteenth Street some fellow 
who was most outrageously drunk yet able to waddle 
around wanted somebody to show him where he could get 
another drink. He was too drunk to read signs, and writing 
was altogether out of the question with him. Ed Kapp, to 
whom he applied first, wrote on a large piece of paper the 
words, 'Take me somewhere else,' and giving it to him, sent 
him down to Reynold's barber shop, where he exhibited his 
credentials. It was a small favor to grant, but 'Doc' heeded 
the request and took him down to the corner where he 
pointed out to him the next victim. He in turn took him to 
somebody else, and so they kept passing and sending the 
poor fellow around from one saloon and shop to another to 
the immense amusement of all who witnessed the fun. At 
last the fellow, who for a long time took this passing around 
business to be a great favor shown him, became profoundly 
disgusted. He leaned up against a post and muttered to 
himself, 'Damfino how this is. 'Just then Policeman Sullivan 
came along, and the fellow, making a lurch or two in the 
middle of the sidewalk, showed his paper to the officer. 
That settled it with him. The request. Take me somewhere 
else,' was very promptly complied with, and he was 
marched off to the calaboose amid the grins of a good 
many wags who had been watching the fellow. 
Occasionally the journalist's humor took on a more 
biting edge. Comments on his fellow citizens were highly 
subjective and could be awfully unflattering. One of the 
more notorious of the local madames in Cheyenne was 
referred to as "Helen, the soft -eyed gazelle of fifty sum- 
mers and no one knows how many winters." Another 
woman was said to be so unprepossessing that the sight 
of her face would "wean a calf." But it wasn't only the 
distaff side that received such animadversions. One 
traveling drummer was reported to be so ugly that "the 
dogs die from exhaustion after barking at him," and 
another man was "so homely that the reflection of his 
face will dent a new milk pan." 


Rival newspapermen particularly were the subject of 
harsh commentary. Consider these remarks, for in- 

Of all the beastly, outrageous, disgusting, unnatural, 
degenerate, deformed, ill-gotten, misconceived, unlawful, 
illegitimate, diabolical, hypocondriachal, incongruous, er- 
ratical, nonsensical, heterogenous, heteroclitical, dough- 
headed, brain-spavined, idiotic, snidish, incomprehensi- 
ble, conglomeration of typographical bulls ever perpetrat- 
ed upon an innocent and unoffending public, the inde- 
scribable mass appearing in the Boise City Republican 
takes the cake. 
Or how about these? 

We have nothing more to say of the editor of the 
Sweetwater Gazette. Aside from the fact that he is a squint- 
eyed, consumptive liar, with a breath like a buzzard and a 
record like a convict, we don't know anything against him. 
He means well enough, and if he can evade the peniten- 
tiary and the vigilance committee for a few more years, 
there is a chance for him to end his life in a natural way. If 
he don't tell the truth a little more plenty, however, the 
Green River people will rise up as one man and chum him 
until there won't be anything left but a pair of suspenders 
and a wart. 

The oddities of local speech were also grist for the 
newspaperman's mill. "I'm gonna mash his skull clear to 

the spinal meningitis," one Cheyenne citizen was 
reported to have said of another. And there were these 
comments from a backwoodsman who saw a thermom- 
eter for the first time: 

'Are you acquainted with these machines? I'll own up 
that I don't know a dum thing about them. If this one ever 
had any hands, they're gone now for sure. I can't find any 
trigger, and if an alarm goes with it, I've lost it on the road 
down here. The keyhole, if there ever was one, must be 
stopped or covered, and I'm afraid that stuff 11 spoil in the 
glass if something ain't done to it.' 

Journalists had their own fun with the English lan- 
guage, too. Like the one who told of the elk that ran in 
to a group of hunters and, "surprised at the warmth of 
his reception and recollecting a prior business engage- 
ment, fled." Or the one who described a "pugilistic set- 
to," in which one of the combatants ". . . had his nasal 
appendage denuded of its superficial integuments." The 
fighters continued to ". . . artistically modify each 
other's physiognomy, until at length they looked on the 
one hand like a promiscuous chunk of raw beef and on 
the other like a fatigued remnant of a decayed pumpkin 


Puns were a particularly popular form of humor. 

It is said that someone has invented an india rubber 
horse that can run. He ought to be a daisy on the 'back 

The Odd Fellows . . . attended the funeral of Mrs. 
Henry Dillman in a body yesterday morning. 

It is said that Colonel Tom Ochiltree will shortly 
'blossom out as a lecturer.' If he does, it won't take him 
long to go to seed. 

Finally, the newsman sometimes just had fun for its 
own sake, making up droll stories with no grounding in 
fact whatsoever, and inserting them as fillers. 

Fogg admitted that he was never good at arithmetic. 
'There was my sister, for instance. When we were children, 
she was five years older than me. but now she is six years 

Man never has the same faith in the eternal fitness of 
things after his wife has made him a shirt. 

'Where do you expect to go when you die?' 

'What's that? Do I look like a tenderfoot?' 

'I simply asked you, my erring brother, where you 
think you will go when you die.' 

'Why to hell, of course. Ask me some harder question.' 

It is time to be reminded of the old joke about the 
Scotchman who was caught crawling toward a neighbor's 
hen roost. 'Where are ye ganging, mon?' was the challenge. 
'Back again,' was Sawney's reply. 

'For ten years past,' said the new boarder, 'my habits 
have been regular as clockwork. I rose at the stroke of six; 
half an hour later I sat down to breakfast; at seven was at 
work, dined at twelve, ate supper at six, and was in bed by 
nine-thirty, ate only hearty food, and hadn't a sick day in 
all that time.' 

'Dear me,' said the deacon in sympathetic tones, 
'What were you in for?' 

And there was this one about a dying wife who 
pleads with her penurious husband to grant her one last 
favor, that is, to bury her in Cleveland where she was 
born and raised, where she first met her husband, and 
where they spent their happiest years together: 

'But there will be considerable expense attached to it,' he com- 

'Oh, Robert! I will never rest easy in my grave anywhere else.' 

'Well, Maggie, I'll tell you what I'll do. I don't want to be mean 
about the thing. I'll bury you here first, and then, if I notice any signs 
of restlessness on your part, I'll take you to Cleveland afterwards.' 

So the dead hand of the past is not really so dead 
after all, and our Victorian forebears weren't quite as 
mirthless as we may sometimes think. Apparently they 
could laugh just as well as the rest of us. 



By Mel McFarland 

''On at least one occasion the 
train stopped and backed up 
more than a mile when the 
conductor's cap blew off his 
head. " 

Today trains leave the coal fields near Gillette, Wyo- 
ming, on an average of one per half hour, loaded with 
valuable fuel for somewrhere in the United States and in 
a few years it is expected to change to two or three trains 
per half hour. 

One hundred years ago a team of geologists discov- 
ered marketable amounts of coal in the Bear Lodge 
District of the Black Hills, northeast of Gillette. The 
coal market in the Black Hills in the 1870's was growing 
quite rapidly because the large gold mines and reduc- 
tion mills in the Lead-Deadwood area were eager to find 
a close supply of coal. Timber was too valuable to bum 
as it was being harvested for mine timbering and for 
buildings. Three companies were established, staking 
claims in the area of the discovery, each with its own 
company town. The largest of the camps was Aladdin, 
named for the character in the Arabian Nights. Coal 
from the mines was hauled directly to the mills and to 
the nearest railroad terminal, Belle Fourche, South 
Dakota. In ten years the demand exceeded shipping 

The three companies, combined under the Black 
Hills Coal Company, set about to build a railroad be- 
tween the mines and Belle Fourche. The Chicago and 
Northwestern Railroad had made a preliminary survey 
through the Black Hills at about the time of the coal dis- 
covery while searching for a route to the Tetons. The 
road was constructed to Belle Fourche, but a more 
southerly route was selected to the western gold fields. 
Logically the new railroad followed that old survey and 
connected with the C.&N.W. at Belle Fourche. 

The Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad filed 
their papers of incorporation on June 24, 1895. Because 
the route was all downhill from the mines, a small 
engine was all that the railroad needed. A slightly used 
4-4-0 type locomotive was purchased along with an an- 
cient passenger car. The required coal cars and other 
types of cars were provided by the C.&N.W. The larger 
road also agreed to help get construction started by pro- 
viding some of the supplies for construction. A flat car 
and a hand car made up the maintenance equipment. 

A small crew of men, including miners and ranch- 
ers, worked to build the railroad during the summer of 
1898. The winters in the area are long and severe and 
nearly all construction was stopped. 

In the spring of 1899 there were substantial changes 
in the mines at Aladdin. The Kemmerer brothers, M.S. 
and J. L. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who had held in- 
terests in the mines, bought the controlling interest in 
the mines, as well as the railroad. The little 18 -mile rail- 
road was not yet finished, but with warm weather and 
an influx of more money it was quickly completed. Two 
small gasoline powered railroad motor cars, only slightly 
larger than hand cars, were added to the railroad's 
equipment list. 


Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad locomotive No. 1 arrives at the Belle Fourche depot pulling the 
company's only passenger car, 1900. 

One of the road's two "din kys" pulls out of Aladdin with a full load aboard. 


Large beef shipments were sent east each fall from Aladdin. 

Actual construction work on the railroad took only 
eight months. A small yard in Belle Fourche connected 
with the yards of the C.&N.W. The single track, stan- 
dard gauge line ran through the low rolling hills of 
South Dakota the 11 miles to the Wyoming line. The 
seven miles to Aladdin were a bit rougher. It took 32 
bridges, averaging 60 feet in length, and 14 feet high, to 
clear the numerous crossings of the stream up the valley. 
It was determined that the 1881 vintage 56-pound rail, 
which was purchased used, would be good enough for 
many years. The small yard in Aladdin also connected 
to the coal mines. A single train running to Belle 
Fourche and back made any passing sidings along the 
way unnecessary. 

The first coal trains ran five days a week, which was 
reduced to three a week after a year. A train was run on 
the remaining three days hauling regular freight and 
passengers. The train occasionally consisted of only the 
engine and the 43-foot combination passenger, baggage 
and caboose car. The tiny gas motor cars were used to 
haul mail, milk, express and passengers when there was 
not a large enough load going east for the "big" train. 
Sunday was usually the only day there was no train, but 
in the spring and fall the train was rolled out for an oc- 
casional church excursion. 

Life on the railroad was very informal. The regular 
employees, who never numbered more than 20, normal- 

ly held other jobs in the mines or stores in Aladdin and a 
few held jobs on neighboring ranches. The same four- 
man crew ran every train with the steam engine. No 
timetables were issued and the crew made many stops as 
flagged. On at least one occasion the train stopped and 
backed up more than a mile when the conductor's cap 
blew off his head. The unflustered gentleman com- 
pleted his ticket taking before he told the engine crew. 
The cap was recovered and the train continued on its 

The crew often carried either fishing equipment or 
guns for hunting. The train could be seen stopped on 
one of the railroad's bridges while the crew fished or in a 
grove of trees while they hunted or picked wild berries 
along the way. Local farmers regularly rode the train 
into Belle Fourche for a days' shopping. The tracks ran 
near all of the homes in the valley. 

The coal mines slowed production after the turn of 
the century and no others were explored. Coal ship- 
ments were down to two a week and down to only one a 
week by 1910. Cattle and farm produce shipments had 
steadily increased each year as the farmers learned of 
the benefits of the railroad. Little farm towns like Sun- 
dance found it much better to travel the 20 or so miles to 
Aladdin than the 50 miles to the Burlington Railroad in 
Wyoming. Farmers and ranchers in southeastern Mon- 
tana often came more than 100 miles, because for them 


"A shipment of his hay was loaded and ready 
but the train crew was not. " 

it was the closest shipping point. One local rancher, 
however, became quite irritated at the casual operation 
of the line and decided to take matters in his own hands. 
A shipment of his hay was loaded and ready, but the 
train crew was not. The rancher, knowing the tracks 
were clear, proceeded to release the brakes on the car, 
and let it roll downhill into Belle Fourche. It arrived well 
before the train! 

The ancient Number 1 finally wore out, and a 
slightly newer 4-4-0 Rogers locomotive was purchased 
for $2,568, and became number "Four." When the coal 
ran out, the new engine ran only one day a week and 
rarely with anything but farm produce. The little 
gasoline cars, or "dinkys" as they were often called, car- 
ried most of the freight. One of the cars was finally 
scrapped to help keep the other one running. In 1917 
the single car carried over a 1,000 passengers, six at a 
time. The revenues had always barely matched ex- 
penses, but following World War I revenues dropped 
and expenses soared. 

In 1 922 the railroad and the mines were sold to local 
men. The new owners were mainly employees of the 
former owners and ranchers along the line. The men 
hoped to put at least one of the mines back into opera- 
tion and maybe even extend the railroad toward Sun- 
dance. A third locomotive was purchased from the 
Beaver, Penrose and Northern, a short Colorado rail- 
road that had just gone out of business. The little 4-6-0 
was fresh out of a rebuilding shop and ready for work. It 

was better suited for heavy loads than the older 4-4-0 
engine. The engine was given the number "Five." 

A half dozen used box cars and a caboose swelled 
the equipment list. One of the new cars, unfortunately, 
was destroyed shortly after it arrived. The picture was 
not bright for the new owners and in 1925 they tried to 
sell it to the C.&N.W., who wanted no part of the road. 
In 1927 the railroad was shut down. The "dinky" was 
parked in a shed behind the Aladdin Store and every- 
thing else was sold for scrap. The little car survived as a 
novelty for several decades, occasionally being rolled out 
for display. 

Aladdin has about 20 people today. The coal mines 
in the area made a few dollars after the railroad was torn 
out, one locality being reported as the site of a bootleg li- 
quor operation during Prohibition. A few families in the 
valley can relate family ties to the colorful little railroad, 
but there is little physical evidence left of the line. The 
present highway crosses the overgrown grade several 
times. The old yards in Aladdin are almost completely 
erased, while in Belle Fourche the old trackage remains. 

The Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad was the 
start of what is now one of the west's fastest growing 
businesses. The coal in one modern-day Burlington 
Northern hopper car is more than what was carried by 
an entire W.&M.R. coal train. The coal in an average 
100-car shipment today is greater than all of the coal 
ever shipped by train from Aladdin. 





Cow Country 

The History of 
Cheyenne Little Theatre 

Part Two 

By Lou Burton 

Several years later, after Mrs. Loomis had com- 
pleted her education at Smith College, she returned to 
Cheyenne, reentered society, and discovered the 
O'Mahoneys in the thick of things even though they, 
too, had only recently returned from Washington where 
Joe had served as secretary to Kendrick after his election 
to the U. S. Senate. 

Soon after their return to Cheyenne in 1922, the 
O'Mahoneys had been instrumental in reelecting Sen- 
ator Kendrick and putting Governor William Ross in the 
governor's office, an unprecedented coup for the 
Democratic party; Agnes had zestfully played her part, 
giving teas and receptions at the O'Mahoney bungalow. 

But this mode of entertaining was an exception to 
the norm; throughout the twenties and early thirties, the 
O'Mahoneys were more inclined to devote themselves to 
close friends. Agnes, like any woman of her position and 

time, was a capable bridge player, but not single-mind- 
edly devoted to the game as were many of her contem- 
poraries. She preferred, instead, to be involved in many 
things — at one time she served as executive secretary to 
Nellie Tayloe Ross — but of all things she was most 
devoted to being her husband's confidante and chief ad- 
visor. Indeed, it can probably be assumed that she was 
one of those who advised him against seeking his party's 
nomination for the state's only seat in the U.S. House of 
Representatives in December, 1929. Less than two 
months later, this amazing woman and her husband, 
resilient and undaunted, turned their talents to the task 
of bringing theatre to Cheyenne. 

The temptation to suggest the theatre project was 
conceived as an alternate channel for O'Mahoney ener- 
gies is too great to resist, but it must remain simply a 
suggestion. However, there is no doubt in the minds of 







any who knew the O'Mahoneys that Joe supported the 
endeavor as completely as Agnes supported him in his 
career. Just as she would later assist him with his re- 
search, his speeches, and the bills he presented in the 
U. S. Senate, he is believed to have advised her during 
the years she served as president of the Cheyenne Little 
Theatre Players. But his unobtrusive presence is in- 
dicated only once in the records. On December 12, 1930 
a special meeting of the Board of Directors was held at 
the home of Frederic Hutchinson Porter. Edith K. O. 
Clark included the following item in the minutes: 
At the close of the business meeting a delightful supper was 
served by Mrs. Frederick [sic] Porter, wife of the Vice- 
President (who was gracefully and efficiently assisted by 
Mr. J. C. O'Mahoney, husband of the President). 
All those who recall Agnes O'Mahoney speak of her 
grace, charm, wit, and intelligence; of her dedication 
and infectious enthusiasm; and of how all who were in- 
volved in Cheyenne's Little Theatre movement delight- 
ed in transforming her ideas into realities. She was, in- 
deed, an exceptional leader, but none have asserted that 
she was ever a star performer in a theatrical way. 

Although she had acquired an appreciation of fine 
drama as a theatergoer in various eastern cities and had 
undoubtedly attended performances on Broadway as 
recently as the summer of 1929 when she had worked at 
Democratic National Headquarters in New York, she 
had no illusions about her ability to direct a play, create 
a role on stage, or construct a set. These talents were 
possessed by others; fortunately, she recognized that her 
role was to channel their energies in ways that would 
strengthen the new organization. 

Her first major step in this direction resulted in the 
weekly workshops that followed the meetings of the 
general membership. During these workshops, stars of 
an entirely different sort moved center stage. We begin 
to find their names in the secretary's notebook and in 
news releases before the CLTP is a month old. The first 
news item significant in this respect appeared in the 
Tribune- Leader on March 8. 

The meeting [of March 5] was devoted to the reading of 
plays, the program being in charge of Mrs. W. H. Andrew, 
chairman of the play-reading committee. 

"Journey's End." the famed play without a woman in 
the cast, was read, with the parts taken by W. F. DeVere, 
Frederic H, Porter, Arthur Austin, Robert Caldwell, 
Ernest Sengart [sic] and George T. [sic] Guy of Cheyenne, 
and Capt. G. M. Seebach and Lieut. Walter C. Stanton of 
Fort Warren. 

"Journey's End" was thoroughly enjoyed and was fol- 
lowed with "The Reprisal," a short story, by F. Britten 
Austin and arranged for the stage by William F. DeVere. 
"The Reprisal" is a post-war story and the parts in the 
dramatization were taken Wednesday night by Mrs. James 
Greenwood, Mr. DeVere and Lieut. W. C. Stanton. 

Enthusiasm and interest were marked at the meeting 
Wednesday night. A "surprise" program will be presented 
March 12. Two sketches are to be proffered by Barrie 
O'Daniel [sic] and Mr. DeVere. 

The secretary's minutes reveal one fact not reported 
in the newspaper: The readings were entirely impromp- 
tu since the unnamed people who were to have present- 
ed a previously arranged program apparently got cold 
feet and failed to attend the meeting. But the surprise 
for the next meeting materialized with even greater 
grandeur than anticipated. O'Daniels and DeVere had 

"The Swan" October, 1931 

obviously been chomping at the bit. Edith Clark report- 
ed the events in her minutes of March 12th. 

The program was then turned over to Mr. Barrie 
O'Daniels who gave a brief explanation of the psychology of 
acting and directing, and then set an informal stage for the 
reading of "Three Pills in a Bottle." 
The parts were read by 
Mrs. Bruce Jones 
Jimmie Speer (age 11) 
Mr. R. G. Caldwell 
Mr. Fred Douglas. Jr. 
Lt. Farmer 
Mr. Saegart 
Mrs. Wm. Fairchild 
Mrs. H. J. Frawley 
After the reading of the play, a fantasie, there was a 
general discussion of the wisdom of attempting anything 
quite so subtle, as one of the first night productions. No 
formal vote was taken, but the feeling was rather against 
undertaking this fantasie quite so early in the C.L.T.P. ac- 

Mr. DeVere was then asked to direct the reading of Bar- 
rie's comedy 'The \2 ^ Look" 

The lines of this play were read by 
Mrs. Allan Pearson 

Alexander Adair (Ft. Warren) 
Lt. Stanton ( " " ) 

As a closing number, Mr. DeVere and Mr. O'Daniels read 
"Moonshiner" by Arthur Hopkins, a clever dialogue. 
Earlier that evening the Board of Directors had 
decided "to urge the early production of three one-act 
plays, to stimulate interest in the CLTP," and prior to 
the evening's readings DeVere suggested to the general 
membership that "The Twelve Pound Look," "Meet the 
Missus," and "Three Pills in a Bottle" be produced as 
the group's first public program. "Meet the Missus" had 
been read on February 26 and was considered appro- 
priate, but when the general membership voiced their 
reservations about "Three Pills in a Bottle" it was given 
no further consideration. 

Of a total membership of fifty-nine persons on 
March 12, 1930, at least eighteen had participated in 
one or more workshop play readings and an additional 
fourteen were actively serving on the Board of Directors 
or assigned to committees. Mrs. O'Mahoney, in just one 
month, and with the unflagging assistance of DeVere, 
Porter, and O'Daniels, had found ways to directly in- 
volve over half of the membership in the business of the 
group. Nevertheless, she announced the appointment of 
an "aggressive membership committee" that same eve- 
ning and then "urged all members and friends of the 
organization to try to interest others in coming to the 
meetings, and in joining the club." 

At the next meeting of the Board of Directors, on 
March 19, they demonstrated the sort of decisiveness 
that was needed to earn them a place in the community. 
It was reported that Mrs. Cahill, chairVnan of Music 
Week had invited the Cheyenne L. T. P. to perform 
Wednesday, May 7th. It was moved, seconded and carried 
that we accept this invitation. 

It was moved, seconded and carried that The Valiant, 
Meet the Missus and The Twelve Pound Look be prepared 
for this performance. Moved, seconded and carried that 
Mr. DeVere direct this production of these plays with the 
privilege of choosing an assistant as provided in the by laws. 

Mrs. O'Mahoney appointed Mr. Porter scenic artist and 
stage manager. 

In a matter of moments, that first Board of Direc- 
tors had the wisdom to recognize the two men who 
would most frequently be the de facto leaders of the 
CLTP during the organization's first quarter century. 
At the meeting of the general membership that followed 
a few minutes later, the decisions of the Board were an- 
nounced and accepted by the membership without ques- 
tion or discussion. 

As there was no further business the meeting was turned 
over to Mr. Devere who conducted tryouts for the Valiant 
and The Twelve Pound Look. The parts for Meet the 
Missus had been previously cast so that no tryouts for that 
were held. 

Bill DeVere knew from experience that the eight 
weeks the players had given themselves would be none 
too long for rehearsing the plays that had been selected, 
and it was especially important to him that the first 
public performance of the CLTP be successful. 

Bunk Porter, a man of forty who had enjoyed excep- 
tional success as an architect but who, according to his 
wife, had never before in his life been involved in any 
aspect of theatre was just as concerned and well orga- 
nized as DeVere. In spite of his inexperience, or perhaps 
because of it. Porter was ready to move center stage at 



Frederic H. "Bunk" Porter 


The 1935 production, "The Donovan Affair. " Left to right. 
Warren, Alice Fairchild, and James A. "Buck" Buchanan. 

the next meeting. The meeting on March 26 exemphfies 
as well as any other, the dynamic excitement and total 
involvement that made possible the achievements of the 

The meeting of the Board of Directors at 7:30 was 
routine; concern was expressed about "problems of in- 
creasing the membership," and Simpson, the treasurer, 
reported that he had arranged for the printing of "of- 
ficial CLTP receipt forms for dues paid," and that he 
"had tendered to Messrs. Laughlin and Mackay, owners 
of the Capitol Press which did the printing, two com- 
plimentary memberships for 1930."" 

Edith Clark's record of the open meeting that 
followed also starts out routinely, but then goes on to 
reveal how well Bunk Porter, the amateur, had done his 
homework, and how O'Daniels and DeVere filled out 
the evening's activities. 

Mrs. O'Mahoney . . . introduced Mr. Porter as the chief 
speaker of the evening. 

Mr. Porter gave a very interesting, entertaining and in- 
structive talk upon the development of scenic design and 
stage mechanics, showing an exhaustive study of the sub- 
ject. Mr. Porter reported that he Vifas asking the coopera- 
tion of all C.L.T.P. members who had indicated on their 
enrollment cards that they wished to study scene painting 
and stage settings, to submit plans for the staging of the 
three plays selected for presentation on May 7th. He stated 
that he would report at a later meeting the designs offered 
by various members. 

At the close of Mr. Porter's talk, Mr. O'Daniels was 
called upon. He complimented Mr. Porter upon his com-' 
prehensive discussion of the subject and added a few 
interesting facts taken from his own experience. 

Frederic H. "Bunk" Porter, Maxme Wail, Mary Helen 

Mrs. O'Mahoney then asked Mr. O'Daniels to direct the 
reading of "The Drums of Oude" — a very tense and stirring 
short play by Austin Strong. The lines were read by Mr. 
George Guy, Lt. and Mrs. Seebach and Mr. Ernest Saegart. 
The stage business directions [were] read by Mr. O'Daniels 
in a way to make the action of the play very vivid to the 

During the business meeting of the C.L.T.P., Mr. 
DeVere conducted in another room preliminary rehearsals 
of some of the scenes to be presented on May 7th. 
One cannot help but visualize the events of that eve- 
ning. Happily, Frances Mentzer Reiser, librarian at the 
Carnegie Library from 1929-1943 and president of the 
CLTP from 1933 until 1935, has explained how so many 
things might have happened and provided a description 
of the library. 

Throughout the thirties, according to Mrs. Reiser, 
the Women's Club rooms were reserved by the players 
almost every Wednesday evening. Located just to the 
north of St. Mary's Cathedral on the corner of Capitol 
Avenue and 22nd Street, the library was built of stone in 
a classic style with a colonnaded portico at the top of a 
long broad flight of stone steps. Meeting goers would 
pass through the portico, into a vestibule, climb a nar- 
row winding stairway to the second floor and finally turn 
right into the Women's Club rooms. These consisted of a 
meeting hall and small library room where various clubs 
kept their records. The hall was equipped with long nar- 
row oak tables, an ample number of folding chairs, a 
few groupings of occasional furniture, and a piano. 

Members of the Board of Directors began to arrive 
shortly after seven and gathered at one of the oaken 


tables, perhaps taking a moment or two to unfold and 
arrange chairs for the larger meeting that would follow 
their own. At 7:30 the directors' meeting began, and 
before 8:00 other members and interested people ar- 
rived and congregated in the hall or, if the weather was 
pleasant, on the steps or under the portico outside the 

The president usually called the general meeting to 
order at 8 o'clock. In those days the Board of Directors 
allowed itself only thirty minutes a week to do their of- 
ficial business, and it was only when an unanticipated 
question intruded that its meetings were prolonged. 

On March 26, 1930, Mrs. O'Mahoney was delayed, 
but as soon as the meeting was started, Bill DeVere 
quietly assembled some of the players he had cast and 
took them to the small library to assist them in rehears- 
ing lines. '^ He and Bunk would have agreed beforehand 
that some must prepare to play on the stage while others 
had to become involved with building sets. Time was 
short, but not so short that the players were concerned 
only with the three plays under consideration; conse- 
quently, it seemed quite reasonable for O'Daniels to 
organize a reading of still another play after he had cri- 
tiqued Mr. Porter's "comprehensive discussion" of scenic 
design. '^ 

It might well be imagined by contemporary readers 
that those who attended this meeting would have been 
satiated at the end of this evening, that they would have 
heard enough about theatre to last them for a month or 

more, but this was not the case. Those early members of 
the CLTP had appetities that brought them back, week 
after week, throughout the decade and beyond. 

We might explain their dedication by observing that 
there was little else to do during those years of the great 
depression. But it would be more reasonable to accept 
the testimony of those who were there: they participated 
because they loved theatre, because they sensed they 
were needed, and because they respected and admired 
their leaders. Furthermore, almost every meeting in- 
cluded a stimulating program, and they were able to 
witness their own g[rowth in almost every production 
they presented to the public. 

And finally, their interest never waned because they 
knew that ultimate control of their theatre rested in 
their hands through the election process stipulated in 
their by laws. Each year, immediately after the presen- 
tation of the last play of the season, ballots were 
distributed and each member voted for a slate of direc- 
tors. The slate was based upon nominations from the 
Board of Directors and the general membership. Some 
directors, like William DeVere, were reelected again 
and again and served continuously throughout the 

According to George Guy, a prominent Cheyenne 
attorney and civic leader who played in several CLTP 
productions during the thirties. Bill DeVere was the 
"heart and soul of the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players." 
Similar accolades have been rendered by many others 

John Godfrey and Virginia Kershisnik in "Holiday," April, 1938. The set designed and executed by "Bunk" Porter was 
used for a single performance and then dismantled and stored in the attic of the Consistory Building. 

including Bard Farrell, another of Cheyenne's well- 
known attorneys who was cast — with George Guy — in 
CLTP's first program of plays; and Alice Fairchild, 
who, after making her stage debut in the same program, 
became one of the finest actresses to perform with the 
group during the thirties, and its president in 1937.^" 
The praise is well deserved; Bill DeVere directed twenty- 
eight of the fifty-seven plays presented prior to the 
suspension of play production during World War II and 
several more after the war. And he frequently played 
roles — often in plays he was directing. According to 
Daze Bristol, many people would attend plays only when 
they knew Bill DeVere was to appear on stage. 

DeVere had legendary qualities. Like nineteenth 
century western heroes, he came from some unknown 
place east of the Mississippi — some say from the north, 
others from the south, and still others from the mid- 
west—and he brought special, almost magical, talents 
that would change the western landscape. But he was 
atypical, too. Katherine Halverson recalls that when she 
was a child, DeVere was a neighbor and didn't seem at 
all unusual, but as the years went by she realized 
Bill was never offstage; he never drew a breath that he 
was offstage — in his office, in a social situation, walking 
down the street, Bill was always on stage, but not offensive- 
ly. In Cheyenne, invariably, he was beautifully, impeccably 
dressed. He would wear a business suit, often a dark busi- 
ness suit, spats, pale grey spats as often as not; he would 
carry a walking stick and he would carry it with an air. He 
would wear a bowler hat and always the waxed moustache, 
you know, and twirled at the ends. This was part of Bill. 
And he'd attract attention — and he would have been disap- 
pointed the day he wouldn't attract attention. 

When Bill traveled in the East, he'd often wear heeled 
Western boots, stiff crackling yellow cowboy slicker and a 
cowboy hat. He was the epitome of a range cowboy in New 
York City, but he was the epitome of a Madison Avenue 
broker in Cheyenne. He was always on stage. 
When George and Lucille Guy were asked who had 
brought the CLTP into existence, they immediately 
started talking, both at the same time, about Bill 
DeVere. After a moment, things settled dovwi. 
Lucille: He was a ham at heart . . . 
George: He was an old-time vaudevillian; he'd been in 
vaudeville before World War I, traveled to the tank towns 
and all that kind of stuff . . . 

Lucille: But he was on stage every minute of his life . . . 
George: Yes . . . 

Lucille: But he was a warm, fine person. 
George: He wore a little waxed moustache, very fancy 
thing. He'd come downtown wearing a derby hat and 
spats . . . 

Lucille: Sometimes grey; some times black . . . 
George: A checked suit . . . 

Lucille: His costume . . . He carried a walking stick . . . 
George: A theatrical prop . . . 
Lucille: Yes. 

George: He had a pair of pince nez attached to a bi§f 
black ribbon. 
Lucille: Hal 

George: And the next time you saw him downtown 

he'd be in a cowboy outfit! 

This cowboy rode out of the east in 1922, returning 
to Cheyenne, a tank town he had visited in 1913 as a 
vaudevillian. His arrival, as might be expected in the 
case of a mythical hero, was unheralded. Having at 
some point in his travels found a wife with a soft 
southern accent, he was ready to settle down, and soon 
secured a position as manager of the Cheyenne Credit 
Bureau, a job he held the rest of his life. Somewhere 
along the line he had also acquired an understanding of 
the financial world to complement his understanding of 
human nature, so he was ideally suited for the job. In 
1930, when the CLTP was formed. Bill DeVere was in 
his late thirties, a successful man about town whose oc- 
casional apperances in amateur theatricals did little 
more than whet his appetite. His wife and son were also 
ready to launch the new theatrical enterprise; Louise 
would soon be assisting with makeup, and Bill, Jr. would 
be helping to build some of the first sets.'^ 

While Bill DeVere's contributions to what actually 
transpired on stage would be sufficient to earn him a 
prominent place in the history of the CLTP, he must 
also be given credit for other less celebrated activities 
that more than once enabled the organization to survive 
the financial crises that plagued it throughout the thir- 

Some old-timers would prefer to gloss over these 
problems, and some sincerely believe they did not exist, 
but others have been more realistic in their recollections. 
Daze Bristol, a centenarian who has experienced hard 
times and found her own way in the world through her 
second half century, recalls that "Bill DeVere was always 
the chief one to get money; he could get money any- 
where; he never gave up [the idea of continuing with the 
theatre]. But he was very secretive." 

On more than one occasion when money was short, 
faint-hearted members of Boards of Directors prevailed 
in their insistence that the membership should be con- 
sulted about attempting to continue for another season. 
For instance, on May 3, 1933, the program for "Out- 
ward Bound," the last play of the season, included the 
following note: 

As this is the last play of the season your attention is in- 
vited to the questionnaire, which is intended to determine 
the feasibility of going ahead with plans for continuation of 
the Little Theatre organization for next year. Will you 
kindly fill it out. 

Three things had contributed to the directors' hesi- 
tancy: Cheyenne was finally feeling the full effects of the 
depression; Agnes O'Mahoney had left the board to ac- 
company her husband to Washington after his appoint- 
ment to the Post Office Department; and, according to 
Mrs. Bristol, the newly-elected president of the players, 
Frances Mentzer, "was ready to give it up." 


William DeVere, the director of "Outward Bound," 
was not. In some way, unrecorded, he and others 
breathed new life into the organization and it returned 
with renewed vigor to commence a full season of five 
plays the following autumn. Furthermore, Frances 
Mentzer remained at the helm until 1935, guiding the 
CLTP through what must have been their most difficult 

DeVere, however, was not the only one who worked 
behind the scenes to secure additional funds for the 
struggling players. On December 9, 1935, Bunk Porter 
requested assistance from the Federal Theatre Project of 
the Works Project Administration. In his letter to Mr. 
Marschall, the Educational Consultant for the W.P.A. 
in Cheyenne, Mr. Porter explained: 

. . . the purpose of the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players in 
applying to the Works Progress Administration for relief 
funds is entirely because we were sure that we could not 
carry on with our regular productions this year, as we have 
been doing in the past, without outside help. 

We are without the services of an amateur director for 
the balance of the season. Heretofore no one has received a 
salary, profits, or dividends from the Cheyenne Little 
Theatre Players. Our expense of production is constantly 
unavoidably increasing, and we feel that our only salvation 
to secure a continuance of dramatic presentations this year 
is to pay for a good director to direct our remaining plays 
even if we have to hire a professional from out of Cheyenne; 
and in addition we will have to pay for some construction 
work in the scenic studio, as our scenic director finds it in- 
creasingly difficult to get adequate volunteer help, par- 
ticularly as funds are so limited for adequate equipment 
and material. 

Our presentations are financed partly by membership 
dues and partly by the regular fifty cents admission. All of 
the money thus received goes into the production and none 
has ever been diverted, during our five years of existence, 
to any person. We will have no objection to having a 
federal representative collect admissions, provided we are 
assured that such admissions go directly to pay production 
costs. The Cheyenne Little Theatre Players have no desire 
to profit from these admissions. We simply must have help 
to continue our regular activities. 

This matter must be settled very quickly, however, as 
the season is nearly at an end and none of our activities may 
continue after May 30th. . . . Unless this application is ap- 
proved very quickly, we will abandon all efforts to continue 
the high class of dramatic productions which we have given 
in the past. 

On December 18, 1935, the request for assistance 
was disapproved because it did not meet certain un- 
specified criteria; nevertheless, the leaders of the CLTP 
did find a way to continue production the following 
autumn. Even though DeVere was not available to di- 
rect during January and March of 1936, he did direct 
the April production and three of the four plays present- 
ed during the following season. 

There must have been occasional clashes of person- 
alities within the Players as there are within all organiza- 
tions, but none of these were permanently crippling. In- 
deed, events indicate that the conflicting opinions of the 

leaders throughout the decade strengthened rather than 
weakened the organization, and each individual who 
served as a director made his or her special contribution. 
One of these, Alice Fairchild, a graduate of the Law 
School at Boulder who had worked during the twenties 
as an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission in 
Washington, came to Cheyenne in 1929 as the bride of 
Bill Fairchild, who was sent to manage those theatres 
that belonged to his family, the Princess, the Lincoln, 
and the Atlas. 

Eight years later, after she had starred in many 
CLTP productions and after Bill had filled in the back- 
grounds in almost as many as a "spear carrier," Alice 
was elected president of the CLTP and was ready with 
an innovation of her own. 

As a long-time friend and admirer of Barrie 
O'Daniels, she decided to ask him to become the Players' 
first paid director, wrote him a letter offering him the 
job, and soon received his reply. 

Dear Alice 

It was a great pleasure to get your charming letter this 
morning — And I am now looking forward to the time when 
I shall be calling curtain for the first Production — the 
money that you offer is under the circumstances quite all 
right — Tho I would like my fare one way — that will 
amount to $30.00. I hope that is acceptable to the board 
and yourself — 

Regarding the plays you have in mind — I think all of 
them are splendid — but from a production and cast view- 
point — Winterset is a little too high — it is a great play — but 
I am trying to keep in mind the fact that you are paying me 
and also I must try and make you money by considering 
production expenses — the costuming in Brother Rat is 
something to consider — Petrified Forest should be a smash 
hit only one set and great theatre — Prelude to Exile I shall 
have to read — Tho I have played in "He Who Gets 
Slapped," I rather doubt its audience value in 
Cheyenne — as you requested I am sending the names of a 
few plays that I know to be surefire, "Libel" a tremendous 
success here in Pasadena — "Blind Alley" very 
dramatic — "Accent on Youth" very good — "Behold This 
Dreamer" this play was the comedy success of the season at 
the Pasadena Playhouse — a really sparkling fast moving 
piece of wit — I agree with you that I should devote my time 
to directing rather than acting — And Alice I know we will 
do big things in the Theatre— It will be worthy seeing you 
all again — I have always regarded you and Bill and the rest 
of the gang as mighty fine people — And I trust the renewal 
of our friendship will be of value to us all — 

Give my very best to the charming Mentzer of whom 
there is no better of — 


As it turned out, only one of the plays mentioned in 
the letter was actually produced, and this quite natural- 
ly was the one both Barrie and Alice saw as a winner, 
"The Petrified Forest." And Barrie was not able to stay 
for the entire season; he directed the October and De- 
cember plays and then went on to other, more lucrative 

May, 1935, "The Return of Peter Grim. " The design and construction of the set took one full year. 

When he was recently asked about that autumn, he 
remembered that he had been paid "the magnificent 
sum of $300 a month," but AHce Fairchild doesn't think 
it could have been so much. In any event, the CLTP 
must have, by 1937, entered upon more prosperous 

Perhaps the best measure of the superb talents of 
Bunk Porter as a scenic designer is to note that he pro- 
duced some of his finest sets during the years when 
money was most difficult to find. Beginning with the 
production of "The Trial of Mary Dugan" on February 
15, 1933, CLTP programs regularly included notes in- 
viting audiences "on stage to inspect the setting" after 
the conclusion of the play, and after "The Return of 
Peter Grimm" was presented on February 27, 1935, the 
following item appeared in a local newspaper. 
By Jennet S. Letts 
What was considered by many persons to have been the 
finest stage setting ever viewfed in Cheyenne and one of the 
best anywhere in the country, was the one used for the Lit- 
tle Theatre production, "The Return of Peter Grimm," at 
Consistory Temple Wednesday and Thursday evenings. 

The building of that setting was begun a year ago with 
the painstaking, careful planning of Frederick Hutchinson 
Porter and concluded during the past six weeks with "hard 
labor" on the part of Mr. Porter and his committee, R. 
Walter Bradley, Charles Dutcher, John Schaedel, Libby 
Hoffman and Mrs. Martin Weiss. 

It is a setting full of romance and atmosphere and 
history and a real feeling for the people of the past who 
once stepped and lived in such rooms and such houses. 

Based on the directions given by David Belasco whose 
settings were famous for their realism and detail, hundreds 
of pictures of genuine interiors in Holland and Flanders 
were pored over during the year's planning of the set. In- 
teresting steps in the actual work were rough sketches show- 
ing exits and entrances, based on Belasco's original setting 
and floor plan, a working model on which each of 53 pieces 
of scenery were numbered, then the construction, coloring 
and careful shading of each piece. 

Infinite pains were taken to get the effect of real Dutch 
paneling, authentic moulding, true Dutch tiling, and all 
the trappings and effects of a Holland interior such as it 
might have been modified by colonial influence in early 
New York. One detail of this work was the painting of four 
dozen delf blue plates, which from a short distance cannot 
be distinguished from the real. Canvas beams have realistic 
knotholes and grainings and cracks painted into them. Col- 
ors of curtains and wood have all been carefully studied 
and softened to produce the most artistic effect under the 
various lights thrown upon them. 

And all of these lights, absolutely everyone available in 
Cheyenne was used. There were 30 spotlights alone, two of 
them having come from New York to fit exactly the re- 
quirements of a certain effect. Also an interesting rain 
machine was procured in New York which consists of elec- 
tricity thrown on the back curtain in such a way as to look 
exactly like rain. 

Ted O'Melia, writing for the Tribune-Leader on 
May 2, 1935, said: 


The Wyoming Consistory Temple where Little Theatre productions were staged for twenty years. 

The production of "The Return of Peter Grimm." 
Wednesday night in Consistory Temple Auditorium, was 
the supreme achievement of the season for the Cheyenne 
Little Theatre Players. Its success transcends that of 
productions of several seasons and goes into the records as 
probably the finest work ever done by this group of 

After discussing the filled auditorium and the wisdom of 
the Players in choosing the play with "its fine emotional 
tempo, its superb outlet for acting, directing and 
stagecraft," O'Melia went on to speak of the group's for- 
tune "in possessing the two most essential parts of a suc- 
cessful players' group a competent director and skilled 
scenic architect and technician." 

William DeVere amply fills the former position. 
Wednesday's play, it can be said, was the acme of his 
presentations. In addition to being the guiding hand of the 
production he also carried the title role of Peter Grimm. In 
both he excelled. 

His presentation was sincere, convincing and sympa- 
thetic—all requisites of the character. His voice and make- 
up were closely allied to his interpretation. 

To Frederic Hutchinson Porter and to R. W. Bradley go 
the honors for one of the most impressive stage settings ever 
created. . . . And the stage management, including lights, 
which were a triumph in themselves in charge of these two 
men was an impressive feature. 

Especially effective were the sound effects, giving the 
impression of rain on the roof accompanied by thunder and 
lightning. Another delicate touch in the setting was the 
cloud picture as seen through the windows to the rear of the 
stage. It took ingenuity, indeed, to produce the effects of 
the sailing clouds. 

Appreciation of the setting was expressed at the rise of 
the curtain by a spontaneous outburst of applause from the 

Mr. Porter, who designed the setting, was at the pro- 
duction in a wheel chair, being convalescent from a recent 
severe sickness of influenza. 

Few, if any, Little Theatre productions throughout 
the country have ever had sets to compare with those so 
meticulously and lovingly created by Bunk Porter, and it 
is doubtful that anything to compare with his work has 
been produced in Cheyenne since he retired from the 
scene. He would not, however, wish to take full credit 
for the production of the sets he designed; he would 
have been the first to insist he could not have done 
without the assistance of Walter Bradley, his business 
partner for several years; Dr. Walter Lacey, a man with 
an eye for detail and an open invitation to the best 
homes in Cheyenne who always found the antique table, 
settee, or tablecloth that was absolutely correct for a 
particular setting; and many others who spent long 
hours in the various scene shops during that first decade. 
Bunk Porter, like the O'Mahoneys, was a native of 
Massachusetts who came to Cheyenne prior to 1920. He 
graduated from Tufts University; married Grace, a 
native of Colorado, in 1913, and then worked at various 
jobs in the east and west for one period on the Utah 
capitol in Salt Lake — and finally joined a partnership of 
architects in Cheyenne in 1918. By 1930 he had estab- 
lished a thriving business of his own, having designed 
some of the finest homes and buildings in the city. In ad- 


didon to these achievements, he must have been a closet 
theatre buff; otherwise, he could not have burst into full 
bloom as a scenic designer within weeks after the foun- 
ding of the CLTP. 

Like DeVere, Bunk was totally committed to quality 
theatre. He would no more let a lack of funds stand in 
the way of building an exquisite set than DeVere would 
allow high royalties to preclude the production of a fine 
play. The major difference between the two men was 
that Bunk would reach into his own pocket when money 
was needed while DeVere, not a wealthy man, would 
quietly approach someone else. Neither man troubled 
the Board with these problems; the Board then, as now, 
liked to think the Players could survive without 

As one reviews the records, one fact concerning the 
people who organized the CLTP cries out for recogni- 
tion. They were an exceptionally well-educated group. 
Bill DeVere had spent over twelve years in professional 
theatre prior to arriving in Cheyenne and many others 
had graduated from prestigious universities and col- 
leges. Architects, doctors, lawyers, army officers, and 
schoolteachers led the Little Theatre movement 
throughout the thirties, and not the least among these 
was a cadre of college women that included Agnes 
O'Mahoney, Alice Fairchild, Frances Mentzer Reiser, 
Martha Dudley, Meda and Maurine Carley, Fern Her- 
ring, Elizabeth Hofmann, and Ruth Loomis. 

Mrs. Loomis has described the younger women of 
this cadre as being "recently married, casually fashion- 
able, pseudo-intellectuals," but she smilingly confesses 
that they were also achievers, not so much as women, 
but as people who set high standards and goals for 
themselves and seldom failed to measure up to their own 
expectations. With such women committed to the enter- 
prise, and with men like DeVere, Porter, and O'Daniels, 
the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players could not help but 
succeed in their endeavor to bring quality theatre to 

Their goals and aspirations were succinctly stated on 
their first program, a program that was distributed to a 
capacity crowd at the auditorium in the old Consistory 
Temple on May 7, 1930. 

One of the outstanding cultural developments in this 
country during the past decade has been the organization 
of Little Theatre Groups, for the purpose of promoting the 
study and appreciation of dramatic literature. This move- 
ment was organized in Cheyenne in February of this year 
under the sponsorship of the Women's Clubs and of the 
several service clubs of the city. 

This is the first public performance of the Cheyenne 
Little Theatre Players, and on the interest with which it is 
received will depend in great measure the future of this 
organization. It is hoped that persons who are interested, 
not only in acting, but in the reading of plays, in directing, 
in lighting, and in scenic design, will find in the Cheyenne 
Little Theatre Players an opportunity for further develop- 
ment of their talents." 

The first of many favorable reviews that would be 
written about CLTP productions appeared in the Tri- 
bune-Leader the following day. 

A capacity crowd greeted the opening performance of 
the Cheyenne Little Theater [sic] Players, Wednesday 
night at Consistory Temple. Three one-act plays were given 
as a part of the National Music Week program. 

Directed by William DeVere, members of the casts per- 
formed adequately in all parts, giving eloquent testimony 
to the effort that had been expended by the director and 
players in making the performances a success. 

Scenic effects for the plays were made by William 
DeVere, Frederick Hutchinson Porter and other members 
of the Little Theater club. 

Mrs. J. C. O'Mahoney, president . . ., gave a brief 
resume of the history of the club, explaining its purpose 
and that anyone interested, not only in acting, but in the 
mechanics of the theater, was invited to join the players. 

The plays given ranged from comedy and satire to com- 
edy and then grim tragedy. Before the curtain was drawn 
on the closing scenes of "The Valiant," tears were being 
surreptitiously wiped away and sniffs were audible through- 
out the audience. 

The CLTP had arrived, a standard had been set, 
and the players looked confidently toward the future. 
Throughout the remainder of the decade and until 
World War II, their goals remained the same, and no 
serious thought was given to building projects that were 
beyond their means. 

A sly twinkle appeared in her eye when Frances 
Reiser was asked to compare the achievements of the 
CLTP prior to and since that war, and then she said 
softly and with infinite charm, "We built the theatre; 
the buildings came later." 

The truth of this statement is incontestable, but not 
necessarily uncomplimentary to either group. More re- 
cent times have also produced their heroes: organizers 
like Louise Hallowell and Elizabeth Escobedo, directors 
like Callie Milstead and John Carroll, and builders like 
Elizabeth Hofmann, Charles Anderson, and Bill Du- 
bois. They were ready to literally build on the founda- 
tions of integrity and reputation the CLTP had built 
throughout the thirties and forties. These moderns not 
only knew the CLTP deserved to have its own theatre, 
they were also innovators who found ways to raise the 
thousands of dollars needed for their projects. One of 
these fund-raisers, Elizabeth Hofmann, had been 
waiting in the wings since 1930, and others like Charles 
Anderson and Ted Glockler were relative newcomers. 

How they built the Playhouse at Windmill Road 
and Pershing Boulevard, how they brought the Melo- 
drama into existence, and how they first purchased and 
then renovated the Atlas Theatre as a home for the 
Melodrama, are stories that still must be told. 


This evidence of bartering is worthy of mention only because the 
CLTP no longer permits the exchange of complimentary tickets 
for services. 

The Board was delayed when Miss Clark asked to be relieved of 
duties as secretary because her employment would preclude her 
attendance at every meeting. Although she was subsequently 
replaced as secretary, she continued to serve on the Board and 
work on productions until ill health compelled her to seek the 
solitude of the Big Horns in 1933. The diary that records her last 
years in the wilderness has been published in Annals of W\om- 
mg, October, 1967. 

The play selected for reading that night , "The Drums of Oude, " 
became part of the CLTP's fourth production on January 28, 
1931 when it was presented along with "Rosalind" at the Con- 
sistory Temple. 

Most of those interviewed who attended the plays of the thirties 
remember Alice Fairchild as a talented and versatile actress, one 
who could play any character to perfection, making audiences 
sympathize with even the most despicable. But Mrs. Fairchild 
insists that Virginia Kershisnik, president of the Players in 
1939-1940, was by far the finest actress of the decade and that 
Fern Herring ran a close second. The actors most frequently 
remembered are Bill DeVere, Barrie O'Daniels, John Godfrey, 
and Lieutenant W. C. Stanton, Harold Vaughn is remembered 
as the big man with the big voice; his singing filled the Con- 
sistory on more than one occasion. 

William DeVere, Jr. now lives in Charlotte, N. C. He might 
have been asked about his father's origins, but I preferred to 
allow William, Sr. to retain the enigmatic quality he cultivated 
in Cheyenne. 

I have been told that Porter, DeVere, and Fairchild jointly con- 
ceived the Frontier Days Rodeo Night Show, bringing Sally 
Rand, the fan dancer, to Cheyenne in 1935, and that DeVere 
originated the now annual Kiwanis Clambake. Not being within 
the scope of this history, these tidbits have not been confirmed. 
The program also includes the names of the members of the 
Board of Directors, the producing director, the stage manager, 
the property committee, the players, and others who par- 
ticipated in the performance. These names include Janet Pear- 
son, Fern Herring, and Alice Fairchild, all destined to become 
president of the Players by 1937. 


'Roving Over 
the Wilds 
of Wyoming' 

By Margaret E. Nielsen 

On August 4, 1907, Leroy Stines sent a postcard 
from Winchester, Wyoming, to Blanche Lewis, the girl 
he left behind in Fairmont, Nebraska. The picture on it 
showed Roy, in engineer's clothing — pinch-crowned 
hat, open-necked shirt, rumpled trousers tucked into 
laced boots — standing behind a surveyor's transit check- 
ing his notes. 

The inscription on the card read, "Such things as 
these are occasionally seen roving over the wilds of Wyo- 
ming. Have camera now. R.S." 

After two years' surveying for the Chicago, Burl- 
ington and Quincy Railroad, he still considered himself 
lucky to be in the wilds. Although he had always been 
frail, he was expected, as the oldest child, to work long 
hours on the family farm, "setting an example for the 
hired man." When he graduated from high school, he 
had little hope for anything but a life of unremitting 
labor. When his father asked him if he wanted to go to 
the State University in Lincoln, he eagerly accepted the 


opportunity. Although mathematics had never been one 
of his strong points he chose a major in engineering. 
After two years of grappling with physics, mechanical 
drawing, and surveying, he learned that the Chicago, 
Burlington and Quincy Railroad was looking for 
engineers to lay out a proposed line from Frannie, Wyo- 
ming to Lander. 

Roy had dreamed of going west since boyhood. In 
the fall of 1905, when the Burlington sent out an urgent 
call for surveyors, the line was driving hard to beat the 
Chicago Northwestern Railroad to the markets of the 
lucrative mining and cattle country of northern Wyo- 
ming. With the opening of the Wind River Indian Res- 
ervation for settlement. Lander would be one of the 
chief registration points for new claims, and the Burl- 
ington was pushing the line south to head off competi- 
tion from the Northwestern.' 

A BurHngton folder, issued in 1906, had described 
the changes in the Big Horn Basin since the advent of 
the railroad in 1901. 

What was then an almost unknown and thinly inhabited 
region, giving little and taking little from the outside world, 
is today one of the great wealthy sections of America. Even 
greater changes will come within the next few years for the 
Burlington is penetrating the Basin with a new line from 
Frannie . . . through the Basin to Worland on the Upper 
Big Horn River. This new line will open up a section so rich 
that it seems well nigh impossible to speak of it too highly.^ 
James J. Hill, in describing the larger picture of the 
"ocean to ocean" market wrote: 

Cross the Pacific, and what do we find? Millions of people; 
and what can they buy? . . . (The Asian) will want of us 
only the simple staples, as grain, provisions, raw cotton, 
etc., from which to weave his cloth, and perhaps a little 
lumber, coal and some hand tools. But his principal de- 
mand vfilX be just the products which the present (and) 
coming population of America's great central and western 
zone is prepared to furnish . . . Now the Burlington has 
food and fuel to a degree not possessed by any other 
transportation system. Reaching from Chicago to Denver, 
and from the Twin Cities to St. Louis and Kansas City, it 
covers the richest and most diversified zone in the produc- 
tion of grain, provisions and fuel. What do these central 
prairies . . . require in return? They need lumber. From 
where is the lumber to come? From Washington and British 
Columbia . . . What then have we reached? We have a 
tremendous volume of traffic across the Northwest between 
Puget Sound and the Mississippi Valley. The northern 
railroads will carry westward the meat, corn and coal, 
together with the raw cotton originating within Burlington 
territory at St. Louis, and will place these products on the 
Pacific docks for export to Asia, and for the return trip the 
freight trains will bring back lumber for the Central and 
the East.^ 

Roy Stines was unaware of this grandiose scheme for 
the Burlington's future. To him, signing on meant a 
chance to see a virgin area before it lost its wild west ap- 

When the fledgling group of engineers arrived at a 
camp on the barren plains of northern Wyoming, Hugh 

Butler was division engineer for the railroad. A 1900 
graduate of Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, Butler 
had taken a temporary job with the Burlington to 
finance his law school education. He began as a laborer, 
chopping sunflowers and driving stakes for a surveying 
crew in Kansas. At Doane he had learned to read a Ver- 
nier transit used in the construction of the Hoosac Tun- 
nel by Thomas Doane. Doane was founder of the college 
and chief engineer of the Burlington. 

The transit boss, A. F. Hoagland, impressed with 
his ability, loaned Butler a copy of Searles Field Engi- 
neering, and he progressed rapidly from rear chain man 
to level man to field engineer." By the time he went to 
the St. Joseph office, it was assumed that he was a grad- 
uate engineer. 

But, when he tried to figure the stresses on a bridge 
he admitted he didn't know enough to do the job. His 
superior roared with laughter when Butler told him, 
"All the engineering I had was trigonometry, calculus, 
and . . . I've got an old copy of an engineering book." 
His supervisor told him, "Look here. You wouldn't 
want to embarrass all of us would you? I'm giving you 
orders to keep quiet about this. And if you happen to get 
stuck, don't tell anyone you don't know what to do. 
Come see me."^ 

Butler was assigned to Burlington West where he 
learned that the Burlington had convinced the Secretary 
of the Interior that it could complete a line from Bill- 
ings, Montana, to Worland, Wyoming, in time for the 
opening of the Wind River Indian Reservation. In addi- 
tion to Worland, Lander, a town on the Chicago and 
Northwestern, was a registration point. The competing 
road was well out in front and Burlington had decided 
to gamble on their young engineer's drive and ingenuity 
in the last stretch.^ 

When Stines' crew arrived, track laying had almost 
been completed. The bridge building was left to the 
last. It was this task which confronted the engineers. 
They found Butler to be a hard-driving and innovative 

As the competition between the railroads reached a 
fever point, the Tkermopolis Record kept up a constant 
stream of reports, or rumors, that a railroad would soon 
be built to the "Hot City." 

On September 16, 1905, a front page article an- 
nounced in headlines that the Burlington would build a 
branch from Worland to Thermopolis, and the Chicago 
Northwestern was planning a feeder from Thermopolis 
to Shoshoni, at the south end of the Wind River Can- 
yon. In succeeding issues, the paper reported that: 
there is great activity at McShane's tie camp . . . Both roads 
are aiming at the same spot to develop a new mining 
district. . . . The Northwestern Railroad is surveying a 
route from the new town of Shoshoni in a westerly direc- 
tion, and up the Wind River Canyon.' 


Bill Nye, in 1880, described the short work season in 

the climate is erratic, eccentric and peculiar . . . (and) the 
early frosts make close connections with the late spring bliz- 
zards, so that there is only time for a hurried lunch be- 
tween . . .* 
When snow enveloped the camp, work was shut down 
for the season. During the winter the decision was made 
to continue the line south from Worland toward Ther- 
mopolis. By April, "three large corps of engineers have 
been thrown into the field by the Burlington."' 

Ice still encrusted the river when the men returned 
to work. One heavy-laden wagon, which broke through 
the ice, had to be unloaded, and the contents carried to 
shore before the horses could struggle to dry land. The 
melting ice presented another problem when the flood- 
ed river threatened to carry away the tents pitched on 
the low shore. The men picked up the frame and canvas 
tents and carried them to higher ground. 

Progress dovvTi the grassy valley of the Big Horn was 
rapid that summer. They were at the mouth of Goose- 
berry Creek by December. "[Pjresent objective is the 
Gebo coal mine below Thermopolis." Surveys were also 
run up Kirby Creek toward the Stine mine.'" 

Reports of "a rich vein south of Thermopolis" and 
"the recovery of gold-bearing ore" may have precipitat- 
ed the Burlington's decision to explore the possibilities of 
a line through the rugged Wind River Canyon.'^ This 
steep-walled chasm would prove to be the most costly 
section of the whole line.'^ At times precipitous walls 
rose directly from the banks of the river, threatening to 
blot out the sky. Much blasting would be required. 
Where the construction crews could not go around the 
steep cliffs, they would tunnel through. The rocks from 
the blasting would be removed by hand, and hauled out 
in wheelbarrows.'^ 

As the crew pushed down the canyon, dodging fall- 
ing rock, clinging to or climbing over giant boulders, 
charting tunnels through barriers of solid rock, Stines' 
camera recorded the work and the rare moments of 
relaxation in camp. 

Sundays gave the engineers a chance to pore over 
charts and maps in daylight rather than the uncertain 
glimmer of kerosene lamps. It was also a time for wash- 
ing clothes, reading, playing cards or swapping tall tales 
around the campfire. One enterprising soul had 
brought a Victrola into camp. They listened to the tunes 
of the day while tipping the bottles smuggled into camp 
by the person assigned to climb out to the east and take 
"a trail to Bird's Eye Pass, a stage coach station on the 
top of the mountain, to get the mail."''' When time 
hung heavy on their hands, there were always stakes to 
be chopped. Stines sent a picture of himself at this oc- 
cupation entitled, "Making 'stake' in Wm." r 

Deer, elk, and big horn sheep browsed near their 
surveys, presenting a challenge to hunters and providing 

an ever-present supply of fresh meat. A climb to a rocky 
point on the cliffs afforded a view of the rushing water 
800 to 2000 feet below and of the tableland 
beyond. The men came to know one outcropping as 
"chimney rock." At another point, two towering col- 
umns seemed to lean against each other for support like 
two of the crew after a night out. 

The narrow canyon with its steep walls had long 
been a barrier to travelers going south. For many years, 
settlers were unaware that the Big Horn River 
emerging from the north end was known as the Wind 
River at the southern entrance. 

Much to the consternation of the uninitiated geography 
student, the Indians had two names for the stream: Big 
Horn for the lower portion and Wind for the headwaters. 
There the topography lent to a gathering of the winds as 
they flowed down the slopes of the (Wind River) mountains 
until in reality there was the "Big Wind." The dividing 
point in the stream is at the north end of the . . . canyon 
where "The Wedding of the Waters" . . . takes place. It is 
akin to a bride entering a church under one name and leav- 
ing it with another. This adds a bit of romance to the two 
names that continued to designate the one stream down 
through the years.'* 

The first white men likely to have gone the length of 
this mountainous trench were with the party of fur 
trader William Ashley. In his report to General Henry 
M. Atkinson on his trip from the rendezvous on the Yel- 
lowstone in 1822, Ashley wrote: 

"Things such as these are occasionally seen rox/ing over 
the wilds of Wyoming" — Stines postcard from Winches- 
ter, Wyoming. 


"Over 800 feet to the ground —Red Mountain over- 

The only very rugged part of the route is in crossing the Big 
Horn Mountain which is about 30 miles wide. I had the Big 
Horn river explored from the Wind River Mountain to my 
place of embarkation. There is little or no difficulty in the 
navigation of that river from its mouth to Wind River 
Mountain. It may be ascended for that far at a tolerable 
stage of water with a boat drawing three feet of water." 
The Thermopolis Record of April 13, 1907, de- 
scribed a trip made down the river seven years earlier: 
So far as we are able to learn this was the first passage of the 
gorge by white men. The primary object of the venture was 
to see what sort of mineral prospects were revealed where 
the mountains are cleft as by the stroke of a sword in the 
hands of a giant. The love of adventure was perhaps a 
strong secondary consideration. The fifteen day trip was 
made more difficult because the river was low and 
numerous rocks protruded that would have been safely 
covered in higher water. 

The men met the problem of shooting the rapids 
with considerable ingenuity. When they saw the need of 
lightening the boat, they threw out the four deer and 
three sheep they had shot. 

Strange to say, they were recovered farther down. ... In 
one place the skiff wedged between two rocks and the 
dashing water filled it almost immediately. Close by was a 
rock pinnacle, about the size of a fence post, rising from the 
water. Taking a wagon sheet from the boat, the men 
wrapped it around the rock, where it froze solid in a minute 
or two, making a sort of toadstool in the middle of the 
river. Onto this they loaded the entire contents of the boat 
and then stepped out onto a nearby rock. Relieved of its 
weight, the boat was tossed into the air by the current, 
turned completely over and dropped more than twenty feet 
downstream. After considerable work it was righted and 
the outfit replaced with nothing more than a thorough 

The discovery of coal brought changes after that 
daring journey. There were numerous miner's camps 
scattered along the stream. 

Trips into Thermopolis were a much anticipated 
event for the surveyors. There they relaxed in the water 
of the "world's largest mineral hot spring." In years to 

come, successive Burlington folders advertised the 
benefits of the 132° mineral springs: 

Any persons suffering from rheumatism, stomach troubles, 
catarrh, or nervous breakdown, may well spend a few 
weeks, or months, drinking and bathing in these waters 
from the hot interior of the earth.'" 

With the promise of a railroad connecting Ther- 
mopolis with the more populous sections of the country, 
plans were underway for a new sanitarium: 

to be erected here by a company headed by Dr. A. G. 
Hamilton of Springfield, Neb. . . . The building is to be 
composed of a main structure and two wings, 200x200 feet 
in size, two stories and a basement. . . . Every modem con- 
venience is to be installed and it is the design of the pro- 
moters to make this sanitarium one of the best in the coun- 
try. The cost is to be upwards of $100,000." 
These plans mirrored the general feeling of opti- 
mism in the little tovwi. 

Settlers were pouring in to take up claims on a newly 
opened portion of the Wind River Indian Reservation . . . 
while to the north . . . enormous coal deposits brought 
promise of a prosperous future. Hotels, blacksmith shops, 
general stores, meat markets, lumber yards — all were busy 
and expanding — and so were the saloons. Music could be 
heard coming from them day and night. Yet there was 
relatively little trouble, for several churches and a new 
school gave the stability often lacking in a burgeoning 

In spite of the town's new-found respectability, 
Stines was more interested in its past when it had been 
the hangout of outlaws whose exploits matched those of 
the desperadoes in the dime novels of his boyhood. Less 
than ten years before it was: 

the preferred rendezvous for such noted outlaws as Kid 
Currie and Butch Cassidy's Hole in the Wall gangs. These 
outfits would come into the country for entertainment, to 
shoot up old Thermopolis [at the mouth of Owl Creek] col- 
lect some revenue or gain a few recruits. Other outlaws of 
lesser attainments, horse thieves, common murderers or 
post office robbers frequented the locality to rest up from 
one exploit and plan new ones. . . . And while enjoying the 
health giving springs, should the eye of the law be turned 
towards them, it was easy to vanish into the mountain 
defiles nearby. A story is told that several of the Hole in the 
Wall gang that lived near Thermopolis and their kids went 
to school there. ^' 

In late fall, the project head pushed the crew to 
finish as much of the survey as possible before snow 
obliterated the rugged terrain. This meant long hours of 
work then a walk of two or three miles back to camp for 
the night. Stines was small, but wiry, and kept pace with 
the others. When the last stake was driven, the men 
broke camp and returned to Thermopolis. 

Stines checked into a hotel room and collapsed on 
the bed. Late the next morning he woke with a start. In 
the darkened room he sensed that someone was staring 
at him. He turned toward the door and saw a man's 
head outlined in the transom. When confronted the em- 
barrassed room clerk told Stines he was concerned 
because he had not seen Stine's since late afternoon the 
day before. He had come to check on him. 

Stines' cousin, Harry Smith, also of Fairmont, had 
signed on with the BurHngton about the same time. 
Assigned to a corps of engineers south of the canyon, he 
started as Hugh Butler had done, chopping brush and 
driving stakes. He soon progressed to other surveying 

Early in his stay, he saved his earnings as a laborer to 
fulfill a longtime desire to ride across the plains in full 
cowboy regalia. When he had accumulated the proper 
hat, woolly chaps and gloves, red shirt, bandana, pistol 
and holster, he borrowed a horse and had his picture 
taken to send back to the folks at home. He soon learned 
that the chaps and high-heeled boots were fine for 
riding through heavy brush, but were a definite han- 
dicap when walking across the rough terrain. 

When Stines was camped near Thermopolis one 
year, the cousins agreed to meet in the canyon and 
spend Christmas together. At the appointed time, Stines 
started walking from camp, ploughing through waist 
deep snow drifts, while Smith on his borrowed horse 
rode up from the south. When they met. Smith helped 
his exhausted cousin onto the horse and they took turns, 
riding and floundering through the snow until they 
reached Stines' camp. 

In 1908, as the surveyors neared completion of their 
work, rumors flew as to the future of the route. "The 
Northwestern was building up the canyon from the 
south and the Burlington was ready to lay track." "Both 
railroads were cooperating on a common line through 
the canyon." "The Northwestern backed Asmus Boysen 
who wanted to build a dam which would block the traf- 
fic." "Both railroads were working to keep the canyon 

To Thermopolis, the need for a railroad was of 
paramount importance. 

No other question so vitally affecting the state of Wyoming 
and its people has recently arisen equal to that involved in 
the application by state engineer Asmus Boysen for a per- 
mit to construct a 60 foot power dam in Windriver canyon, 
12 miles south of Thermopolis. It is of vital interest to every 
citizen of the state who looks forward to its growth and set- 
tlement along natural lines. . . . Careful and repeated 
surveys have demonstrated that there is no feasible route 
between the two districts [the Big Horn Basin and the re- 
mainder of the state]. . . . The fact that the citizens of Big 
Horn County must now go through Montana, Wyoming, 
South Dakota and Nebraska, and thence west through 
Nebraska, to reach the state capitol, when they could reach 
the same point in about 10 hours if they had a railroad con- 
nection . . . presents an irrefutable argument in favor of 
keeping the Wind River canyon free from any obstructions 
to railroad building. At this time, by a stage route of 50 
miles, over an almost impassable mountain, travel can go 
via Shoshoni, but no one will consider such a route if it is 
possible to secure railroad connection . . . The advantages 
to accrue to farmers and stock growers are not to be 
minimized, in that they will have, by the Wind River can^ 
yon route, a direct line to market, where now they must 
ship by the circuitous route through Montana. ^^ 

Although the dam was eventually built at a lower 
level, it was finally removed when it caused flooding of 
the tracks. In 1909, the Burlington began laying track 
from Kirby south through the canyon to Orin Junction 
and a link with the east-west line through Nebraska, as 
well as the northern end of the Colorado and South- 

In 1908, with work at a standstill, Hugh Butler felt 
he could no longer ask his wife to live in tents or box cars 
while he followed the railroad around the country. He 
returned to Nebraska to become manager of Curtis 
Mills. ^'^ From 1940 to 1954, he served as a United States 
Senator from Nebraska. 

Harry Smith went back to the family farm near Fair- 
mont. Roy Stines worked for the United States Reclama- 
tion Service to work on an irrigation project linking the 
Tieton River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington 
to the dry bed of the Cowichee River. '^^ 

When his father, Shelley Stines, and other relatives, 
organized the Bank of Fairmont, Roy returned to 
Nebraska to become cashier of the bank. He married 
Blanche Lewis and settled down to the life of husband, 
father, and small town banker. Through the years, the 
two cousins spent many hours reminiscing about their 
youthful adventures. 

Roy once remarked, "I never hear a train whistle 
that I don't want to get on it and head west." 

1. David J. Wasden, From Beaver to Oil, (Cheyenne: Pioneer 
Press, 1973), pp. 238-9. 

2. Val Kuska. "The Burlington and Big Horn Basin," paper, 1959, 
Nebraska State Historical Society Archives, Lincoln. 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ben F. and Ruth M. Sylvester, A Man and His College; The 
Butler-Doane Story, (Crete, Nebr.: Doane College Press, n.d.), 
p. 61. 

5. Ibid., pp. 72-73. 

6. Ibid., p. 76. 

7. The Thermopolis Record, Sept. 30. 1905. 

8. T. A. Laison, A History of Wyoming, (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1965), p. 360. 

9. Record, April 7, 1906. 

10. Ibid., Dec. 1, 1906. 

11. Ibid., Jan. 6, 1907. 

12. Wasden, p. 239. 

13. Ibid. 

14. Vera D. Sabin, "That Wind River Canyon Job, ' Rail Classics, 
(January, 1979), p. 20. 

15. Wasden, p. 91. 

16. Ibid., p. 24. 

17. Record, April 13, 1907. 

18. Burlington Route, 'Big Horn Basin, Wyoming," pamphlet, 

19. Record, April 13, 1907. 

20. Dorothy Milek, Thermopolis, letter to author, October 1, 1979. 

21. Wasden, pp. 287-288. 

22. Record, Feb. 15. 1908. 

23. Ibid. 

24. Richard C. Overton, Burlington Route; History of the Burl- 
ington Lines, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1965), p. 276. 

25. Sylvester, pp. 78-79. 

26. Spokesman-Review, (Spokane, Wash.), Aug. 22, 1909. 


By Philip J. Roberts 

Thomas Edison conceived the idea of the incandes- 
cent light while he was visiting in Wyoming in the sum- 
mer of 1878. At least that is the legend. The event is 
proudly advertised on the Wyoming highway map and 
commemorated by a marker thirteen miles west of En- 
campment along State Highway 70 in Carbon County.' 
The inscription on the marker reads: 

Thomas A. Edison camped near this spot in 1878, while 
on a fishing trip. It was here that his attention was directed 
to the fiber from his bamboo fish pole which he tested as a 
suitable filament for his incandescent electric lamp. Bom 
February 11, 1847. Died October 18. 1931. Age 84. Placed 
by the Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming, 

How a famous inventor camped in the wilds and ac- 
tually solved a problem that had vexed him after months 
of experimentation in a laboratory would be an ex- 
cellent argument for the value of wilderness as well as a 
good story. ^ Unfortunately, the story cannot be proven 
and, in fact, evidence seems to disprove it. 

Although the originator of the story cannot be de- 
termined, the earliest written account of the tale is a 
1922 article submitted to a company magazine by "an 
eyewitness" to the events described. The writer, R. M. 
Galbraith, was a retired Union Pacific Railroad 
employee who had written the article more than forty 
years after the Edison trip had been made. Galbraith, 
then living in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, wrote Howard 
Elliott, the editor of the Union Pacific Magazine, a cover 
letter along with the eight -page account of the Edison 
fishing expedition. "I did not return from my Western 
trip until about a week ago, hence my seeming delay in 
complying with your request that I write something that 
might be of interest to the readers of your valuable 
magazine," Galbraith wrote. ^ While it is clear that 
Elliott solicited the manuscript, there is no evidence that 
Elliott knew earlier about the Edison portions. Curious- 
ly, the Galbraith account makes no mention of the 
fishing pole and the bamboo filaments: 

After we had been there about three days, one morning 
at the breakfast table, Edison was asked by Professor 
Barker, "Well, Tom, how did you rest last night?" "Well," 
he said, "I wasn't thinking about resting. I lay and looked 
up at the beautiful stars and clear sky light, and 1 invented 
an incandescent electric light. ^ 

An examination of newspaper reports of the time, 
biographical material on Edison and recollections of 
contemporaries fail to authenticate the Galbraith story. 
What does appear, however, is an interesting and 
engaging tale of how a famous inventor came West in 
the name of science, stayed on to enjoy his first vacation 
in over sixteen years and returned East refreshed and 
prepared to continue experimentation with electric 

Edison was already a famous inventor when he was 
visited by his friend Professor George F. Barker in his 


Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory one spring day in 
1878. Barker, a professor of physics at the University of 
Pennsylvania, planned to participate in an expedition to 
view a total solar eclipse that summer and he invited 
Edison to join the party. ^ Henry Draper, professor of 
chemistry at New York University Medical School and 
pioneer astronomical photographer, was organizing the 

Although Edison had not had a vacation from his 
laboratory in many years, he agreed to join the expedi- 
tion only after he saw it as an opportunity to test one of 
his latest inventions. The device, a tasimeter, was 
designed to measure minute changes in temperature 
down to one -millionth of a degree Fahrenheit.^ It was 
popularly reported that if a man smoking a cigar 
entered the room where a tasimeter was placed, the in- 
vention would recognize the temperature change in the 
room.* An eclipse would be a perfect phenomenon dur- 
ing which the device could be tested, Edison believed. 

Astronomers had calculated the "line of central 
eclipse" as running from the Bering Strait, British Col- 
umbia, Wyoming, Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico.' 

Parties of astronomers from around the world chose 
viewing locations along the arc. Some went to Denver, 
Pikes Peak and Santa Fe. Draper picked the decade-old 
railroad town of Rawlins, Wyoming, for his eclipse 
headquarters. Only 600 people lived in the frontier 

After several weeks of preparation, Edison and the 
Draper party left New York on July 13 at 8:30 p.m. A 
New York newspaper reported that the party left that 
Saturday evening from Pennsylvania Station bound for 
Chicago. "The Pennsylvania, the Chicago and North- 
western and the Union Pacific Railroads and the 
American Express Company have granted the most 
liberal terms to the party," the newspaper reported." A 
front page article in the same paper mistakenly listed 
Edison's destination for the eclipse as "Nevada" but the 
inside page item read: "Prof. Henry Draper's solar 
eclipse expedition left New York for Rawlins, Wyoming 
Territory. . . ."'^ 

The party changed trains in Chicago where Edison 
spoke with the local press. In Omaha he received a note 
from the Union Pacific Railroad's superintendent of 
telegraphy to: "Please permit him (Edison) and 
members of his party to ride on the locomotive or where 
else they may desire."'' 

Five days after leaving New York City, the party 
passed through Cheyenne. "I am on my way to Rawlins 
to witness the eclipse of the sun, test my new tasimeter, 
and shall then go to the Yosemite Valley," Edison told a 
local reporter. "I shall be gone altogether six weeks. This 
is my first vacation in 16 years, and I have worked hard 
during that time as you know. "'" 

The Cheyenne newspaper noted that the thirty-one- 
year-old inventor already had 158 inventions to his 
credit and would be returning "to visit some of the prin- 
cipal places of Colorado" before returning home late in 
the summer. 

Later that evening (Thursday, July 18), the party 
stopped briefly at Laramie. Edison was met at the sta- 
tion by the telegrapher at Wyoming station, twelve miles 
north of Laramie. The telegrapher, Johnny Allyn, had 
written to Edison four months earlier "believing you to 
be one T. A. E. who I learned telegraphing with when a 
small boy at Detroit, Mich. , some fifteen or twenty years 
ago."''' The brief reunion elicited mention in the 
Laramie Daily Sentinel: 

During the few moments the train stopped here last 
evening we had an introduction to Professor Edison, the 
great inventor . . . He met here his old chum Johnny Allyn 
of Wyoming Station. He and John were office boys together 
in their younger days and Edison seemed as pleased to meet 
him as if they had been brothers." 

The special train, loaded with astronomers, scien- 
tists and their equipment, arrived in Rawlins late that 
night. Edison and his party may have stayed at a 
Rawlins hotel. One biographer incorrectly states that he 
stayed in the only hotel in town. The Wyoming Census 
for 1880 lists two such establishments there." Nate 
Craig, a telegrapher in Rawlins, recalled some years 
later that Edison simply boarded at the hotel. Craig 
quotes Edison: "We have a special car down there, on 
the side track, piled full of luggage and traps, in which 
we can sleep, while we can board at the hotel."" Lillian 
Heath Nelson, then a child of ten, recalled almost seven- 
ty years later that Edison lived at the "Rawlins House, 
Larry Hayes' Hotel" throughout his stay in town.'' 

Edison recounted the facts of his "first night in 
Rawlins" some twenty-eight years later. The story had 
never before been recorded: 

After we retired and were asleep a thundering knock on 
the door awakened us. Upon opening the door a tall hand- 
some man with flowing hair dressed in Western style 
entered the room. His eyes were bloodshot, and he was 
somewhat inebriated. He introduced himself as "Texas 
Jack" —Joe Chromondo [sic] — and said he wanted to see 
Edison as he had read about me in the newspapers . . . Jack 
explained that he had just come in with a party that had 
been hunting, and that he felt fine. He explained, also that 
he was the boss pistol shot in the West; that it was he who 
had taught the celebrated Dr. Carver how to shoot. Then 
suddenly pointing to a weather vane on the freight depot, 
he pulled out a Colt revolver and fired through the window, 
hitting the vane. The shot awakened all the people and 
they rushed in to see who was killed. It was only after I said 
I was tired and would see him in the morning that he left.™ 
Texas Jack's complete name was John Omohundro. 
Born in Virginia in 1846, he became famous first as a 
scout for the army at Fort McPherson and later as a 
guide for hunting parties in the West. In 1873 he toured 


the East with WiUiam F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) and his 
Wild West Show. The next year he was guiding the Earl 
of Dunraven to Yellowstone. Ned Buntline wrote a 
"dime novel" featuring his exploits as an army scout. He 
was popularly billed as "the first man to lasso an Indian 
on the American stage. "^' 

According to newspaper accounts, the Edison-Texas 
Jack meeting could not have occurred the first night 
Edison was in Rawlins. The Laramie Daily Sentinel 
noted on July 24, 1878, that: "John Omohundro (Texas 
Jack) went up to Rawlins last night with a party of 
friends, on a fishing and hunting expedition. '^^ Edison 
had been in Rawlins as long as three days before Texas 
Jack's departure from Laramie. The inconsistency may 
be explained by the fact that "Edison told the stories 
primarily for their effect, not their accuracy. He had lit- 
tle interest in dates, a bad memory for figures, a great 
capacity for generalization, a history of inconsistency 
and a penchant for exaggeration."^' Given the cir- 
cumstances of his stay and the newspaper accounts of 
Texas Jack's itinerary, it is more probable that the inci- 
dent occurred, not during Edison's first visit to Rawlins, 
but later in the summer. 

If the Texas Jack tale is apocryphal or misstated as 
to time, it is certain that Edison received a pass from the 
railroad superintendent the day after his arrival in 
Rawlins allowing him free passage "between Ft. Steele 
and Creston good for 12 days" (until July 31).^" 

That same day he and other members of the Draper 
group visited with local people in order to find a suitable 

place for a headquarters. Craig recalled that when 
Edison asked him about quarters, he "hunted up a 
railroad man whose family had gone East on a visit and 
asked him if he could use his house. He said that we 
could use the whole house if we wished, and gave me the 
keys."" The railroad man was R. M. Galbraith, a 
railroad master mechanic who had lived in Rawlins for 
almost four years. ^^ "The only place for people to stop 
was a railroad hotel at that time," Galbraith wrote years 
later, "and my wife being away from home, I turned my 
house over to Professor Draper, Mr. and Mrs. Watson, 
and Mr. Edison. They made the kitchen their laboratory 
for a week."^' 

Meanwhile, scientific expeditions continued to pass 
through on the Union Pacific to points further west. A 
day behind Edison, an expedition led by scientist Simon 
Newcomb and listing among its six members the chief of 
the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., and a well- 
known telescope manufacturer, went through Laramie 
and Rawlins to Creston, "a place with no population. "^^ 
The party included Commander W. T. Sampson, who 
20 years later would become a hero in the Battle of 
Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War. 

The Newcomb group was just one of five govern- 
ment-financed expeditions sent west to view the eclipse. 
Another group, led by Professor William Harkness, set 
up their instruments in Rawlins near the headquarters 
of Draper's privately financed operations.^* Other 
government scientists were preparing observations at 
Fort Lyon, Pueblo, and Central City, Colorado. Private- 

Larry Hayes' 
Rawlins House 
hotel. Mrs. Hayes 
is pictured at 
left. Date of this 
photograph is 



Edison (second from right) and the Draper party stand in front of Galbraith's chicken house converted into the eclipse 
"laboratory. " 

ly financed observations were being readied in Texas, 
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Idaho Springs and Lajunta, 
Colorado, and Virginia City, Montana. A Princeton 
University team was at Camp Nassau, near Denver, with 
several Columbia and Vassar scientists. Professor S. P. 
Langley and a party from Allegheny Observatory in 
Pennsylvania, worked with U. S. Signal Corps crews on 
Pike's Peak.^'" 

Preparations for the experiments planned by the 
Draper group took a variety of forms. Draper's own ex- 
periment relied on photography. "Fortunately, the 
water at Rawlins is suitable for photographic purposes, 
being brought from the granite hills three miles to the 
north by wooden pipes four inches in interior diameter," 
a New York newspaper reported.^' Edison was busy 
helping Craig take the "roof off a chicken house to ar- 
range a setting for (the tasimeter)."^^ This 
"observatory," measuring "sixteen feet long, with 
photographic building attached," was located to the 
east of the Galbraith house, the site apparently chosen 
because of the strength of the prevailing west winds. ^^ 

Newspaper readers were kept abreast of "Professor 
Edison's" progress. His constant communication with his 

chief assistant at the Menlo Park laboratory also drew 
press mention: "They talk business with each other every 
day over the wire."^'' 

It wasn't just the preparations for the experiments or 
the communications with the Menlo Park laboratory 
that occupied Edison's time. One morning he noticed 
some antelope near town and expressed the desire to 
shoot one. After practicing his marksmanship (appar- 
ently with a Winchester purchased for him by the rail- 
road superintendent for $35 in a Laramie store on July 
20),'^ he participated in two unsuccessful early morning 
hunts. Edison "gave up until after the eclipse." 

The list of items purchased in Laramie, however, in- 
dicate that he was planning to fish as well as to hunt. 
Along with the Winchester, 250 cartridges, a gun cover, 
and belt, were added a $5 fishing pole, a $5 "real," a 
$2.75 basket, $2.50 worth of line and a fly book for 
$2.50. Included on the bill is $3 for two dozen "fly's. "^« 

Although his presence in Wyoming was apparently 
well known, records show only one request for an inter- 
view from a Wyoming citizen. The letter, dated July 21 
and sent to Edison at Rawlins, was written by John Jar- 
vie, a thirty-five year old Scottish-bom saloonkeeper 



* : ...Pi:.-^dJL:SS7^J 

Front Street, Rawlins, as it appeared a year after Edison's visit. 

from Rock Springs. "What opportunity is there for me 
to see you?" the letter asks.'' There is no record of the 
reason for the request, whether Edison responded or 
whether a meeting was ever arranged. 

Another pre-echpse request, however, came from 
the Rocky Mountain News editorial department. It was 
more specific. "We would like a report of your observa- 
tions on Monday for publication the following day and 
will be very glad to have you transmit by telegraph (at 
our expense) as early Monday evening as convenient," 
the July 27 letter reads.'* 

The News as well as newspapers from New York and 
Wyoming, had been attempting to explain the eclipse 
phenomenon in their pages the entire week.'* The scien- 
tists were poised and the public and press were in- 
terested in what would be found during the complete 
eclipse of the sun set to begin in the early afternoon of 
Monday, July 29, 1878. 

The eclipse came as expected shortly after 2 p.m. on 
July 29, 1878."" The sky above Rawlins was clear and 
perfect for making solar observations from Galbraith's 

One Edison biographer wrote that the wind was a 
serious problem. "A storm arose, and the shelter began 
to disintegrate while Edison struggled to level a telescope 
at the sun and hold on to his other instruments."'" A 
Laramie newspaper, however, indicates it was less a 
storm than a normal Wyoming summer afternoon wind: 
"Not a cloud obscured the heavens and the air had that 
clear deep blue which is found nowhere else but in a 
mountain region. A rather stiff breeze of wind pre- 


vailed, but did not at all interfere with their 
operations. ""^ 

A dispatch published in the New York Daily Tri- 
bune the day after the eclipse affirms the Laramie 
report: "The weather here today was fine, the sky clear, 
and the observations a perfect success."'" 

The weather was clear throughout the area of max- 
imum eclipse with the exception of Denver where it was 
partly cloudy. People anticipating the view of the partial 
eclipse in New York City were disappointed by heavy 
cloud cover, making the eclipse "a total failure."'''' 

Edison's tasimeter failed to work properly. The in- 
dex capacity of the device proved to be insufficient to 
measure the extreme heat of the sun. The Laramie Dai- 
ly Sentinel, however, termed the experiment "extremely 
sucessful," the report adding that "it proved the ex- 
istence of heat in the corona.""^ The New York Daily 
Tribune was similarly positive although the Cheyenne 
Daily Sun confirmed that the experiment was indeed a 
total failure.''* Edison wrote of the experiment in his 
notebook: "No results." 

Henry Draper, the expedition leader, made photo- 
graphic negatives of the eclipse and surrounding areas of 
the heavens. These were some of the earliest photo- 
graphs ever taken of eclipse effects.''^ 

Other scientists reported successful sunspot observa- 
tions. World famous astronomer J. Norman Lockyer "is 
greatly surprised at the difference of eclipses occurring 
in different sun-spot periods and at the intimate relation 
of the brightness of the Corona to sun spots," the 
Cheyenne Daily Sun reported. The New York Daily Tri- 

bune reported that the Newcomb party's experiments 
were all successful.''* 

James Watson, one of the best known astronomers of 
the period, received a great deal of press attention. The 
University of Michigan professor had viewed eclipses in 
Iowa in 1869 and Sicily in 1870 and during the Wyo- 
ming eclipse, he claimed to have discovered another 
planet. "He found the lost Vulcan," according to the 
Laramie Daily Sentinel. The 240-pound scientist's 
"discovery" was later disproven.''® 

"Most of the scientific parties returned east today," 
the Laramie newspaper reported the next day. "Pro- 
fessor Edison left Rawlins for the Pacific Coast this 
morning," it continued.^" This is contrary to the 
recollections of three men who wrote about the Edison 
visit years later. Nate Craig, the telegrapher, recalled 
organizing a hunt for Edison and Draper immediately 
after the eclipse. Not only was Edison traveling west the 
next day but Draper had already left for the East, mak- 
ing Craig's story suspect.*^ 

The newspaper reports appear to contradict two 
other accounts as well. John Jackson Clarke, who served 
as station agent at Red Desert at the time, wrote in 1929: 
"The eclipse over and everything packed for departure. 




Receipt for goods purchased for the Battle hake ei^edi- 

science relaxed its austerity and devoted a day to a 
general hunt."*^ 

Railroad mechanic Galbraith wrote: "After the 
eclipse left there. Prof. Barker and Thomas A. Edison 
expressed the desire to go out on a hunting and fishing 
trip and I got up a party and equipment."" 

Edison still had two days left on his free railroad pass 
when he and Barker left Rawlins. They arrived in San 
Francisco in mid-week and on Saturday (August 3), 
traveled to Yosemite Valley to vacation.^" The following 
Wednesday the two scientists stayed at the "Mariposa 
Big Tree Hotel" in Big Tree Station, California, and 
visited the Mariposa Grove of Giant Trees. ^^ 

On August 9 Edison and Barker were in Virginia 
City, Nevada, where Col. Joseph G. Fair and W. H. 
Smith guided them through the mines after George S. 
Ladd, president of the Gold and Stock Telegraph Com- 
pany in San Francisco, requested that the inventor be 
given the tour. As a result Edison developed a crude 
method of finding ore with electricity. His discovery, 
however, was not commercially feasible at the time.^® 

Meanwhile, press reports continued to extol the 
wonder of the electric arc lights displayed at the Paris 
Exposition earlier in the summer. While Edison was in 
California, the Cheyenne Daily Sun published a report 
that a patent had been granted to William Sawyer for a 
"system of dividing a current of electricity." The article 
said carbon was the best material to use: 

If a current of electricity is made to pass through a very 
small piece of carbon, the size of the lead of a pencil, an in- 
tense light is given forth for a few seconds. Then the oxygen 
of the air enables the heat to bum up and destroy the car- 
bon. The only way is to keep the carbon in a vacuum or in 
perfectly pure nitrogen.*' 

The article added that Sawfyer had accomplished 
the feat. Certainly, Edison in San Francisco at the time 
was well aware of the developments, particularly since 
he kept in touch by telegraph with his Menlo Park 
laboratory. He continued his vacation trip as scheduled. 
While he was in Virginia City, Edison apparently 
telegraphed Galbraith in Rawlins, asking if a fishing trip 
could be arranged. Galbraith returned the two -word 
reply, "All right. "^* 

Edison and Barker arrived back in Rawlins on 
August 12, thirteen days after their first visit had con- 
cluded. The newspaper in Laramie reported: 

Today Prof. Edison, Captain Thornburg, commanding 

Fort Steele, R. M. Galbraith, Division Master Mechanic of 

the Union Pacific in Rawlins, Division Superintendent Ed. 

Dickinson and A. T. Wilkins, clerk in the Locomotive 

Department, Union Pacific of this city [Laramie], left 

Rawlins on a grand fishing tour on the Big Muddy, seventy 

miles south of that place. *' 

The paper printed a correction the next day, however: 

"Prof. Edison and Barker did not arrive in Rawlins until 

this morning, where they found a team in waiting and 

left at once to join the fishing party to Big Muddy. "^° 


Edison purchased several items from James France's 
general merchandise store in Rawlins before he joined 
the group. Included were five boxes of cartridges, a box 
of cigars, a quilt, a pair of overalls, a shirt and a pair of 

The entire expedition from Rawlins to Big Muddy 
and back lasted from August 13 until August 19. Post 
Returns for Fort Steele show that Major T. T. Thorn- 
burg who accompanied the Edison party, was on 
detached service from "12th to 19th Aug. 1878."*^ 

Little reliable information about the six-day fishing 
trip is known. Craig, who was not on the trip, recalled in 
1927 that Tom Sun guided the party. Further, he de- 
clared that he couldn't remember the names of anyone 
else in the party except Edison and Dr. Draper. Sun is 
unlisted in any other account and Draper had long since 
departed for the East.*' 

Lillian Heath Nelson, in an interview made more 
than seventy-five years after the event, recalled her 
father's part in the trip, incorrectly stating he arranged 
the expedition. 

They went by horseback and buckboard to Saratoga 
and Encampment then in to Battle Lake . . . There was a 
little cabin on the shore of the lake with the floor covered 
two inches deep with the debris from porcupine. Papa 
cleaned it out and Edison slept there . . . The group 
camped out a week or better and one morning Edison said 
to Papa: "I think I may have an idea for an incandescent 
light." Papa said: "Well, follow through with it." Papa cor- 
responded with Edison for a long time after that.''' 
Galbraith's account of the participants is at some 

After the Eclipse Expedition left there, Professor Barker 
and Thomas A. Edison expressed the desire to go out on a 
hunting and fishing trip, and I got up a party and equip- 
ment. The party consisted of Edison, George F. Barker, 
Major Thornberg [sic] commander at Fort Steele; J. M. 
Bennett, superintendent of bridges and buildings; Edward 
Dickinson, superintendent of Wyoming Division; J. H. Mc- 
Connell, master mechanic of Platte Division; Marshall Fox, 
reporter for the New York Herald, and myself with William 
Heath, artist and cook; Joseph B. Rankin as scout, a couple 
of soldiers to handle the pack horses and "Russian Ned" 
with a six-horse team to haul the dunnage.** 

Galbraith gives the itinerary as south from Rawlins 
to the Sierra Madre Range, taking the Cherokee trail to 
Jack Creek and Calf Creek, and then to Battle Lake. He 
then gives the description of the conversation, previously 
quoted, between Barker and Edison at the breakfast 

From there on Galbraith's account breaks down. He 
contends that Fox sent a story about Edison's description 
to the New York Herald and as a result, "both he and 
the associate editor came near losing their positions for 
publishing such rot."*^® The record shows talk of an in- 
candescent light was far beyond that stage. Certainly, 
the article that appeared in the Sun the week before was 
discussed by the scientists. Perhaps Galbraith was un- 
familiar with the developments and, therefore, misun- 

derstood the drift of the conversation or Edison was, in 
fact, boasting. Fox and his paper embarrassed them- 
selves the following April by printing the fact that 
Edison had perfected an incandescent light in an article 
entitled, "The Triumph of the Electric Light."®' 

There is no record of Edison's remark at Battle 
Lake, except for this 1922 recollection of Galbraith. 
During the intervening forty-four years, there is not a 
single reference to such an "event." 

The story later propounded that Edison had in- 
vented the light bulb by noticing the frayed ends of his 
bamboo fishing pole glow in the fire is even easier to dis- 
count. If such a discovery were made at Battle Lake, 
why did it take Edison thirteen months before he came 
upon a material that was suitable for the filament in the 
bulb? And the material wasn't bamboo. It was carbon- 
ized cotton thread. The improved bamboo filament was 
not "discovered" until April or May of 1880 after 6000 
other vegetable materials had been tried. 

Galbraith's worst error, however, is his "recollec- 
tion" about Major Thornburg. He quotes the major: 
"Gentlemen, this is very serious news. The Ute Indians 
have broken out at the White River agency and have killed 
Meeker, the Indian agent, and all of the white men con- 
nected with the agency, capturing Mrs. Meeker, Josephine 
Meeker and Mrs. Taylor. I am ordered to go at once in pur- 
suit of them. So I will leave you here, and I would advise 
that the party break up and follow me, as they are not a 
great distance from Battle Creek, their favorite hunting 

Unfortunately, the events Galbraith described did 
not occur until a year later September, 1879. Gal- 
braith concluded his recollections with the statement 
that Thornburg was killed just a week later. The fact is 
that Thornburg returned to Fort Steele after the hunt 
and left the next month for Sidney, Nebraska, on of- 
ficial business. He returned to Fort Steele later that fall 
and commanded the post until July 30, 1879. On that 
date he was sent on detached service and on Sept. 21, 
took command of the White River Expedition. He was 
killed September 29, 1879— one year, one month and 
ten days after Edison had left Wyoming for the final 

The Laramie Sentinel reported Edison's return to 
Rawlins on August 19, 1878. "They had a very pleasant 
hunt and fish, killing many elk, deer, antelope, etc., 
and bagging about 3,000 trout. Messrs. Edison, Barker 
and McConnell left for the east on No. 4."'° 

Edison and Barker were in Chicago on the 2Ist and 
then went to St. Louis where the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science was holding its annual 
meeting." Four days later he returned to Menlo Park 
and the laboratory work that awaited him in his search 
for the incandescent electric light. Thomas Edison never 
returned to Wyoming. 

1. "Battle Lake — on its shores in 1878, as a member of the Henry 
Draper Eclipse Expedition Thomas A. Edison aided by the 

frayed ends of his bamboo fishing rod conceived the idea of a 
non-conducting enduring carbon filament resulting in the later 
perfections of his incandescent electric lamp." Legend on 
Wyoming Highway Map, 1978. 

2. Philip White, writer and attorney, researched the legend in- 
tending to illustrate from it the value of wilderness on the 
American mind. He found that the "invention in the woods" 
story was too inconclusive to prove. Interview, Febr. 13, 1979. 

3. Galbraith to Elliott, July 20, 1922. Manuscript Collections, 
Historical Research and Publications Division, Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department. Galbraith was 
in the banking business in Arkansas. He had left Wyoming in 
1890, shortly after he and five other prominent men were im- 
plicated in the lynching of Jim Averill and Ella Watson (Cattle 

4. "With Edison on Union Pacific When Incandescent Light Was 
Invented," The Union Pacific Magazine, September, 1922, p. 4. 

5. George F. Barker (1835-1910) was graduated from Yale in 1858. 
He served for twenty-seven years as professoi of physics at Penn- 
sylvania. The editor of numerous scientific publications, he was 
acknowledged expert chemist, toxicologist and electrician. He 
was the first American to show the radioactive nature of 
radium. Allen Johnson, Ed., Dictionary of American 
Biography, Vol. 1 (New York: Scribner's, 1956), p. 601. 

6. Henry Draper (1837-1882) received his M.D. degree from the 
University of the City of New York in 1858, served as professor of 
physiology and analytical chemistry at his alma mater until his 
death. In 1874 he organized a government expedition to view 
the planet Venus. He frequently joined friends for hunts in the 
Rocky Mountains during summer vacations. DAB, Vol. 5, 

7. Three biographies of Edison are cited in this paper. The best 
and most recent is: Robert Conot, A Streak of Luck: The Life 
and Legend of Thomas Alva Edison (New York: Seaview Books, 
1979). Others are: Matthew Josephson, Edison — A Biography 
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959); and Ronald W. Clark, 
Edison: The Man Who Made the Future (New York: G. P. Put- 
nam's Sons, 1977). All three make serious errors, however, in 
their discussions of Edison's western trip. 

8. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 19, 1878, p. 4. 

9. The complete eclipse was the last viewed in the West for many 
years. The most recent total eclipse visible in the West was on 
Febr. 26, 1979. The next one will appear on Aug. 21, 2017. 
1880 Census for Wyoming. Manuscript collections, Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

11. New York Daily Tribune, July 15, 1878, p.l. 

12. Ibid., p. 5. 

13. J. J. Dickey to Division Superintendents and Train Dispatchers, 
Manuscript collections, Edison National Historic Site, New 

14. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 19, 1878, p. 4. 

15. Allyn to Edison, Edison National Historic Site collection. AUyn 
wrote to Edison on two later occasions. In 1879, he wrote advis- 
ing Edison of the absence of platinum mines in Wyoming: "Fact 
I don't believe there is a cent in mines in Wyoming in the 
average and if you hear any one praising the country for 
anything more than a good stock country call him bad names or 
anything else." Allyn to Edison, July 30, 1879. The only other 
recorded correspondence is a request from Allyn for Edison to 
examine rock specimens for metal concentrations. The notation 
at the bottom of the letter in Edison's hand says: ". . . send 
heavy matter to me by mail will assay. " 

16. Laramie Daily Sentinel, July 19, 1878, p. 4. 

17. Josephson, p. 175. The 1880 Wyoming Census lists two hotels in 
Rawlins by that year. The New York Daily Tribune, August 13, 
1878, p. 5, reports: (Rawlins has) "two hotels, one of which is ex- 


cellent; several good stores, one of which would do credit to a 
large eastern city; two churches; a schoolhouse and a jail; 
several saloons in which, though there is much drinking, there is 
but little drunkenness; several neat villas for prominent citizens 
and a still larger number of miserable shanties for the accom- 
modation of the poor Swedes and Irish who have made their 
homes here." 

18. Nate Craig, Thrills 1861-1887 (Oakland: privately printed, 

19. Lillian Heath Nelson interview. Manuscript Collections, Wyo- 
ming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department, un- 

20. Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Martin, Edison: His Life and In- 
ventions (New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1910), 
quoted in Clark, p. 85. 

21. Malvern Hill Omohundro, The Omohundro Genealogical 
Record (Staunton, Virginia: McClure Printing Co., 1950-51), 
p. 521. Omohundro was bom July 26, 1846, in Virginia and died 
of pneumonia on June 28, 1880, at Leadville, Colorado. The 
"Texas Jack Association " held a memorial service for him at the 
Tabor Opera House in Leadville June 28, 1980, 100 years to the 
day after his death. 

22. Sentinel, July 24, 1878, p. 2. 

23. Conot, p. 464. 

24. E. Dickinson to "Conductors, Laramie Division, "July 19, 1878. 
Edison National Historic Site collection. 

25. Craig, p. 32. 

26. "With Edison on the Union Pacific . . .", p. 5. 

27. Ibid., p. 25. 

28. New York Daily Tribune, Aug. 13, 1878, p. 5. "Few towns are 
less desirable places of abode than Creston and Separation; the 
tourist who goes either vnW find that they are names and little 
more, and he will fare badly unless he carries his ovm provisions 
along with him. They cannot even pretend to the dignity of a 
city, which can be acquired in the West by any place where 
there are a cow-house and two saloons . . . " 

29. New York Daily Tribune, August 13, 1878, p. 5. 

30. Ibid., July 27, 1878. 

31. Ibid., July 26, 1878, p. 5. 

32. Craig, p. 33. 

33. New York Daily Tribune, July 26, 1878, p. 5. 

34. Laramie Daily Sentinel, July 26, 1878, p. 3. 

35. Bill of sale, "Ed Dickinson bought of Louis Miller, July 20, 
1878," Edison National Historic Site collection. 

36. Ibid. 

37. John Jarvie to T. A. Edison, July 21, 1878, Edison National 
Historic Site collection. 

38. "T. D." to Prof. Edison, July 27, 1878, Edison National Historic 
Site collection. 

39. The New York Daily Tribune, July 27, 1878, included a listing 
of cities around the country and the beginning and ending of 
the eclipse in each city. 

40. Ibid., July 29, 1878, p.l. 

41. Josephson, p. 176. Clark is descriptive, too: "Every gust rocked 
the dilapidated chicken house and the vibrations forced Edison 
constantly to adjust the tasimeter. " p. 85. 

42. Laramie Daily Sentinel, July 30, 1878. p. 3. 

43. July 30, 1878, p.l. 

44. Ibid. 

45. Ibid., p. 3. 

46. Cheyenne Daily Sun, July 30, 1878, p.l. 

47. DAB, Vol. 5, p.435. 

48. For reports of scientific teams see: New York Daily Tribune, 
Aug. 31, 1878, p. 3 (Lockyer's lepon); Aug. 17, 1878, p. 7 
(Draper's report); and Aug. 26, 1878, p. 5 (Edison's report to the 
American Association for the Advancement of Science); Aug. 


21 p. 5 (Watson's report). 

49. July 30, 1878, p. 3. 

50. Ibid. 

51. Craig, p. 35. 

52. "Reminiscenses of Wyoming in the Seventies and Eighties," by 
John Jackson Clark. Annals of Wyoming, October, 1929, 
p. 229. 

53. "With Edison on the Union Pacific . . .," p. 25. 

54. Chronology, Edison National Historic Site. 

55. Ibid. 

56. Clark has Edison traveling from Raviflins south 100 miles on the 
railroad vt^hich is an impossibility. He also indicates that Edison 
investigated mines in Wyoming which he did not do. p. 86. 
Reports from contemporary newspapers fill in the chronology 
given by the Edison National Historic Site. Conot, p. 121. 

57. Cheyenne Daily Sun, Aug. 3, 1878, p. 3. A similar report on the 
"Lontin light " is foimd in the New York Daily Tribune, Sept. 7, 
1878, p. 6. 

58. Edison National Historic Site collection. 

59. Laramie Daily Sentinel, Aug. 12, 1878, p. 3. 

60. Ibid.. August 13, 1878, p. 3. 

61. "Prof. Edison bought of James France, Aug. 12, 1878," Edison 
National Historic Site. 

62. Post Returns, January 1878-November 1886, Fort Fred Steele, 
National Archives, Microfilm copy in the Wyoming State Ar- 
chives, Museums and Historical Department. 

63. Tom Sun was living on the Sweetwater, well north of Rawlins at 
the time. Craig apparently mistook Sun for Joseph Rankin who 
guided the group. Craig, p. 35. 

64. Nelson interview. Researchers at the Edison National Historic 
Site were unable to locate any correspondence between the two 
men although it may be in another uncatalogued collection or 

65. "With Edison on the Union Pacific . . .," p. 25. 

66. Ibid. 

67. Conot, p. 143. 

68. "With Edison on the Union Pacific . . .," p. 25. 

69. Post Returns, October, 1879. 

70. Laramie Daily Sentinel, August 19, 1878, p. 3. 

71. New York Times, Aug. 24, 1878, p. 5. 

WSHS Annual Meeting 

Lander, Wyoming 
September 5-7, 1980 

Registration for the 27th Annual Meeting of the 
Wyoming State Historical Society began at 7 p.m., Fri- 
day, Sept. 5, 1980, in the Senior Citizens Center in 
Lander, Wyoming. James K. Adams presented a slide 
program on "Indian Petroglyphs." 


At 9:45 a.m. President Jim June, called the meeting 
to order. After his welcome, he thanked the Fremont 
County Chapter for hosting the convention. 

Henry Chadey moved that the reading of minutes of 
the 1979 annual meeting be dispensed vkfith since they 
were published in the Fall, 1979, issue of Annals of 
Wyoming. Seconded. Approved. 

The treasurer's report was read and approved. 

Henry Chadey, chairman of the Constitution and 
By-Law committee, reported that copies of the revised 
Constitution and By-Laws had been sent to every society 
member. He had received comments about it, most of 
which were favorable. Dr. T. A. Larson wrote that he 
approved of the Constitution and By-Laws but wished to 
recommend editorial changes. 

Bill Bragg moved that Dr. Larson's housekeeping 
suggestions be included as amendments. Seconded. Ap- 

Motion made by Chadey that the revised Constitu- 
tion and By-Laws be accepted. Seconded. Approved. 

Awards Booklet Revisions Committee 

Henry Jensen, chairman of the Awards Booklet 
Revisions Committee, expressed his appreciation to 
those responsible for the awards booklet. He mentioned 
a few of the changes that were made. New awards were 

Jim June expressed his appreciation to Jensen and 
the committee for a fine job. Jensen made a motion that 
the revised awards booklet be accepted. Seconded. Ap- 

Ellen Mueller gave the Scholarship and Grant-in- 
Aid report for Dr. T. A. Larson who was unable to at- 
tend the meeting. 

Lucille Hicks has completed her "History of Park 
County." A few pages need to be rewritten and a few 
minor editorial changes must be made, but the commit- 
tee recommended that the Executive Committee accept 
the manuscript as soon as the changes have been made. 

Robert Murray has completed his "History of 
Johnson County. " Murray began his project 13 years 
ago. The result is a comprehensive and well-document- 
ed 392-page work which requires some minor editorial 
changes. The committee recommended final approval 
by the Executive Committee. 

Guy L. Peterson's seven-year-old contract to write a 
history of Converse County has been canceled by mutual 

John Paige is making satisfactory progress on the 
"History of Albany County" which he began in Feb- 
ruary, 1980. 

Marion Huseas is making progress on her Grant-in- 
Aid project to produce a manuscript on "The Social Life 
at South Pass City 1867-1870." She began her study in 
June, 1980. 

Mueller made a motion to accept the report. Sec- 
onded. Approved. 

Henry Chadey suggested that the names of com- 
pleted county histories be published in the "Wyoming 
History News." 

In Dr. Larson's absence Bill Bragg gave the legisla- 
tive report. Adrian Reynolds, Edness Kimball Wilkins 
and Dr. T. A. Larson made up this legislative commit- 
tee. Dr. Larson reported that he and Bill Bragg did all 
they could for the Historical Division and that Bill Bragg 
was mainly responsible for getting funding for a new 
staff position in the division. Bragg made a motion to 
accept the report. Seconded. Approved. 

Sharon Field was unable to attend the meeting and 
Ellen Mueller gave her cemetery report. "From the 
beginning of this project I have followed each lead avail- 
able through correspondence, and sometimes tele- 
phone, in order to gain the data needed. This also 
helped through word of mouth to make the project more 
available to the public. Some publicity about the project 
has been helpful to me. My most loyal support and help 
has come from the people of the State of Wyoming — not 
one I have spoken to has been critical of the project, and 
most eager to help whenever they could. 

"I have been asked why the filled-out forms have not 
been coming to Archives at a faster rate — I am certain 
we cannot expect these forms until late fall at the 
earliest. Summer work, plus the seeking of these places 
and data will take up time in each county. After the 
work in the field is done, the forms will have to be filled 
out, records checked, and small details gone over once 
again before they are mailed on to us. Meanwhile I am 
trying to keep up with the correspondence and questions 
on my desk!" 

Expense Report Sept. 18, 1979 - May 18, 1980 
Beginning Balance $170.00 

Postage $32.00 

Office Supplies $25.72 

file tabs 
Bank Charges $ 3.76 

check printing 
Total expense $61.48 

Balance on Hand $108.52 

Motion made by Mueller that the report be ac- 
cepted. Seconded. Approved. 

Ray Pendergraft reported that 161 people partici- 
pated in the 1980 trek which started in Worland and 
went into the Nowood country. A motion was made that 
Ray Pendergraft be thanked for a well-planned trek. 
Seconded. Approved. 

A motion was made by Henry Jensen that everyone 
stand in memory of Edness Kimball Wilkins, a great 
lady of the state and of the society, who passed away on 
July 15. Seconded. Approved. 

President Jim June introduced Dr. Mike Boyle, the 
new acting director of the Wyoming State Archives, Mu- 
suems and Historical Department. Boyle told of the 
future plans of the department and society. His main 
concern was that everyone cooperate and get on with 
plans for a successful department and society. 

Dave Kathka, state coordinator for the History Day 
program, was present to give a report on History Day 
1980. He gave the background of the National History 
Day project. He explained the district contest organiza- 
tion, state contest organization, national contest and 
funding. Even though this project was late getting 
started, there were 250 students throughout Wyoming 
who participated, 24 of whom were winners of the trip 
to the national contest in Washington, D.C. Kathka said 
he has great hopes for this project in the up-coming 
year. He is looking forward to more teacher, student, 
citizen and organization participation for 1981. 

Henry Chadey made a motion that the executive 
committee of the society study the project to see if it 
could possibly be combined with the Junior Awards Pro- 
gram of the society. The motion was seconded and ap- 
proved. Mrs. Clara Jensen asked that the 4th grade 
students still remain in the society's Awards Program. 
Kathka made a motion that the National History Day 
report be accepted. Seconded. Approved. 

Ellen Mueller gave a report of the society's financial 
support and help for 1980. She thanked Bill Barton, 
Katherine Halverson, Phil and Peggy Roberts for pre- 
paring a lunch for the winners on their way to Washing- 
ton, D.C. She and her husband Fritz also helped pre- 
pare the lunch. A motion was made to empower the Ex- 
ecutive Board to help finance and support History Day 
with a substantial increase next year. Seconded. Ap- 

A motion was made by Jack Mueller that the Wyo- 
ming State Historical Society recess and reconvene as the 
Wyoming Historical Foundation. Seconded. Approved. 

The following report of the treasurer of Wyoming 
Historical Foundation was given: 
Previous Balance 

Memorials $235.00 

Donations 75.00 


Industrial Donations 82.19 



A motion was made that the treasurer's report be ac- 
cepted. Seconded. Approved. 

President Jack Mueller said the purpose of the foun- 
dation was to raise money for the society projects to fur- 
ther history. He said that the foundation has not been 
too active because a definite project had not been decid- 
ed on. He stated that the foundation needed ideas for 
projects, memorials and donations. There are many or- 
ganizations to contact for contributions when a project 
has been established. A suggestion was made that 
leaflets be printed to explain the function of the founda- 

The terms of two members of the Historical Founda- 
tion Board have expired. A motion was made by Henry 
Jensen that Dave Kathka and Ray Pendergraft be nom- 
inated for the Board. Seconded. Approved. 

Dave Kathka and Ray Pendergraft were appointed 
for three-year terms. Bill Bragg, president of the society, 
and Mike Boyle, acting executive secretary for the socie- 
ty, are ex-officio members of the Historical Foundation 

Mueller made a motion that the foundation adjourn 
and the society meeting reconvene. Seconded. Ap- 
proved . 

President Jim June welcomed the Friends of Old 
Fort Bridger into the society. They are a new chapter. 

President June asked for volunteers and nominations 
for next year's Nominating Committee. Al Muller, Tor- 
rington; Bill Duncan, Lander; and Irene Brown, 
Jackson were nominated. A motion was made that the 
slate be accepted and an unanimous ballot be cast for 
them. Seconded. Approved. Irene Brown was appointed 
by the president as chairman of the committee. 

Bill Bragg, 1st vice president of the society, reported 
that there were 1,526 active members of the Wyoming 
State Historical Society. He announced that his project 
for the year of 1980-1981 would be to increase the 
membership of the society. He suggested a contest, the 
rules for which would be set by the Executive Commit- 

Bragg made a motion that only members of the 
society attend the annual trek. Seconded. Approved. 
Those who take guests will have to pay the membership 
fee before going on the trek. 

The members of the Awards Committee were asked 
to notify award winners prior to the presentation, giving 
them enough time to plan to attend the banquet to 
receive these awards. An invitation for the 1981 annual 
meeting was extended by the Natrona County Chapter 
and accepted by the membership. The 1981 annual 

meeting will be held at the Ramada Inn, Casper, Wyo- 
ming, Sept. 11-13, 1981. 

President Jim June invited Mark Junge of the Wyo- 
ming State Recreation Commission to say a few words. 
Junge mentioned some of the problems between the two 
state agencies in the last two years. 

Mike Boyle was asked to speak. Boyle made a few 
comments about Mark Junge's speech. Boyle said there 
were some problem areas that had become very ap- 
parent and he suggested that everyone think hard as to 
what the state is doing, as a government, about its 
history. Boyle said that this is an area in which the 
Wyoming State Historical Society should be interested. 

Julia Yelvington, state deputy archivist. Archives 
and Records Division of the department, spoke on the 
National Historical Publications and Records Commis- 

Yelvington explained that much of Wyoming's 
History is in its records, manuscripts, diaries and news- 
papers. This committee obtains national funds to be 
given to the states for grant proposals to help them 
preserve the records of their people. 

Reports from 12 local chapters were read. Motion 
was made to adjourn at noon. Seconded. Approved. 

Following the business meeting, a lunch of chicken 
and rice was served in the Senior Citizens Center. Tour 
guides Earl Kelly and W. L. Duncan then led the party 
to the Fort Washakie area including visits to the graves 
of Chief Washakie and Sacajawea, the Richard Greeves 
Art Gallery, Roberts Mission and Fort Washakie. 

A no-host hospitality hour was held before the ban- 
quet at the Lander Shrine Club. After a prime rib din- 
ner, Henry Jensen, master of ceremonies for the eve- 
ning, introduced the past presidents in attendance. 

Historical awards were presented by Don Hodgson, 
chairman of the Awards Committee. Publication 
Awards for non-fiction books went to Beryl Gail Chur- 
chill and Virginia Huidekoper. Honorable mention 
awards in this category went to Bill Bragg and Mae Ur- 

The Publications Award for book, biography or 
autobiography was given to Ann Bruning BrowTi, 
Gilberta Bruning Hughes and Louise Bruning Erb. 
Honorable mention in this category went to Mabel 

Publication Award for newspapers/editors was pre- 
sented to Ken Smith, editor of the Green River Star. 
Honorable mention in this category went to Steven W. 
Schenk and Gretchen Beming, editors of the Ther- 
mopolis Independent Record. 

Publication Award to author of a series of articles in 
Wyoming newspapers was presented to Beryl Gail Chur- 
chill. Honorable mentions in this category were given to 


Annie Jones and Mary Hansseii. 

Other awards and their recipients were: 

Publication Award for Newspaper and Periodicals 
(author of a series relating to Wyoming history which 
appeared in magazine or newspaper published outside 
of Wyoming) — Barbara Ketcham. 

Publication Award for Periodicals (author of articles 
appearing in a magazine published in Wyoming) — Mrs. 
Vema Davis. 

Activities Award — Teton County Historical Society 
for their project, an adult education class on Jackson 
Hole history. 

Activities Award (for a group) — the Hot Springs 
County Pioneer Association for promoting the local 
county's museum's activities. 

Activities Award (for an individual) — Earl Varney 
for promoting activities of the Hot Springs County Mu- 

Wyoming History Teacher Award — Helen R. 
Schroeler of Southside Elementary School in Worland. 

Cumulative Contribution Award — Ellen Mueller for 
"her outstanding work and contributions to the State 
Historical Society as well as to her own county chapter." 

Young Historian Award (Junior High School) — First 
place wrinner of $50 — Michele Salzman, Worland Jr. 
High; second place winner of $35— Jalaire Kimzey, 
Worland Jr. High. 

Young Historian Award (Senior High School) — First 
place winner of $50— Jenny DeBolt, Torrington Senior 
High; second place winner of $35— Jeff Jones, Huntle) 
High School; third place wanner of $25 —Robin Lippin- 
cott, Huntley High School. 

Audio- Video Award (Professional) — KTHE Radio 
Station in Thermopolis for promoting the county mu- 
seum and for a weekly service program called "Museum 

Audio-Video Award (Non-Professional) — Denice 
Wheeler of Uinta County for a series of weekly programs 
"Our Pioneer Heritage." John Bonar, Natrona County 
for "Someone Special," a series of over 50 vignettes 
about Wyoming personalities which he produced and 
were broadcast by radio station KTWO, Casper. 

Fine Arts Award (Painting) — Richard Scott, Jim 
Davis, Carol Kerley. Honorable mention — Bemice 
Bosch, E. Riley Ecton and Vonnie Hamden. 

Fine Arts Award (Music) — Ray Pendergraft for his 
country song, music and lyrics, "Washakie - And Blue 
Wyoming Skies." 

The L. C. Bishop Award — Mark D. Badgett of 
Sheridan for recording and preserving the history of the 
Bozeman Trail in Wyoming. 

The speaker of the evening. Dr. David Raynolds, 
who spent many years with the State Department, spoke 
on "In Search of Heroes." /■ 

Henry Jensen announced the officers for 1980-1981: 
Bill Bragg, President 
Don Hodgson, First Vice President 
Clara Jensen, Second Vice President 
Ellen Mueller, Secretary-Treasurer 
Jim June presented the gavel to Bill Bragg and 

wished him "a most successful year" as president. Mr. 

June then gave a short speech which summed up his year 

as president. Bill Bragg gave the President's Certificate 

of Appreciation to Mr. June. 

After a ham and egg breakfast at the Senior Citizens 
Center, many members toured the historic gold mining 
town of South Pass City. 



John Selman, Gunfighter. By Leon Claire Metz. 
(Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1980). 
Index, Bib., Illus., 254 pp., $6.95. 

This book is the second edition of the author's 
original 1966 work on John Selman, Texas gunfighter. 

This reviewer's interest in John Selman became 
acute when he was offered two of the famous firearms 
pictured in the book, one being Selman's Colt used to 
kill John Wesley Hardin and the other having been car- 
ried by Hardin. Almost every question this reviewer had 
and that you might have about Selman and his shadowy 
life is answered in this well -researched book. 

Selman, of course, is best remembered, if not loved, 
for ending the life of one of the West's most notorious 
outlaws, John Wesley Hardin, in El Paso, Texas, in 
1895. But this book goes much further than a discussion 
of the Hardin affair. It shows both sides of John Selman 
in an unbiased, factual way and describes a good many 
other interesting anecdotes in the life of Selman from his 
Civil War service to his escapades in Texas and New 

While he did serve at times in various capacities as 
an officer of the law, his life story leaves little doubt in 
the mind's eye that here was basically a cold-blooded, 
vicious socio-path. Estimates of the number of men who 
fell to his guns are between 25 and 30, and he was called 
a rustler, murderer, deserter, and robber. Interestingly 
enough, he was never convicted of a crime, witnesses not 
appearing or having conveniently moved by trial time. 

Selman was always a step short of fame and a step 
ahead of oblivion because he shunned publicity and did 
not want to become known. While other g^nfighters 
seemed to have their own public relations men (e.g., Bil- 
ly the Kid, Hickok, Hardin), Selman seemed to retreat 
to the shadows when the action got hot. John Selman, 
before he, too, was gunned down, had outlived all of the 


other gunslingers of the Old West and his passing really 
noted the passing of an era. 

Period photographs of most of the principals and 
places are included in this well -written book. If any 
criticism may be justified it is that all photographs are 
placed together in the center of the book, necessitating 
the reader to constantly turn from the text to the photos 
to see about whom the author is writing. 

Certainly all students of the Old West will find this 
book to be a necessary and valuable reference work to be 
placed in their personal library. 

Robert L. Nelson 

An attorney and owner of Manitou Gallery in Cheyenne, the reviewer 
is an authority on western outlaws. 

Man Made Mobile. Early Saddles of Western North 
America. Edited with a preface by Richard Ahlbom. 
(Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Press, 1980). 
$5.50 paper. 

To date, books and articles on saddlery have been 
largely works of little or no documentation, buttressed 
with poor and misleading photographs. These two fac- 
tors usually led to writing that was hardly more than 
romantic fabrication, misleading subsequent research 
and historical endeavor. It is with great anticipation 
that the saddle fancier and western historian would em- 
bark on reading this recent publication of the Smithso- 
nian Press. 

The text is devoted to four essays on early saddlery, 
a catalog of saddles in the recent Renwick Collection dis- 
play, and a glossary of saddlery terms. The stated pur- 
pose of the study was to examine the pre- 1 865 Mexican, 
Anglo, and Indian saddles of the West. 

The glossary of terms and photographs which ac- 
company the artifacts in the Renwick display are the 
strongest features of the book. This heretofore rare 
technical-illustrative treatment of the study of old sad- 
dlery is a welcome relief from the rambling, confusing, 
and inaccurate accounts this reviewer has encountered 
in the past. 

There are a few typographical and research mistakes 
which could be eliminated with better proofreading and 
scholastic investigation. Most of these difficulties arise 
when the authors attempt to expand their horizons from 
the intended study of pre- 1865 saddles to items pro- 
duced after the Civil War. These inaccuracies are 
typified by the puzzling statements made when describ- 
ing the Meanea saddle found in the Renwick Collection. 
This item is variously referred to as an "1880 saddle," a 
saddle made in the "late 1880's," and then its similarity 
to a 1900 saddle is noted. Considering the many saddle 
styles and innovations found in the Western saddle of 
the 1880's, these varied descriptions are misleading, to 
say the least. 

As a suggestion of a method for future study of sad- 
dlery artifacts this book is a positive step. However, as a 
tool for use in dating particular saddle types and 
makers, it is sadly lacking, especially in its treatment of 
the Anglo stock saddle. 

James Laird 

Mr. Laird, a research historian at the Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department, has conducted thorough 
studies of the Western stock saddle. 

The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyenne. By Stan 
Hoig. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1980). Index. Bib. Illus. 206 pages. $14.95. 

The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyenne is an interesting 
and entertaining compilation of short biographies. Dr. 
Hoig, professor of journalism at Central State University 
in Edmond, Oklahoma, has written a lucid and pro- 
vocative book in which he attempts to clarify the histori- 
cal context of Indian responses to White cultural pres- 
sures during the 19th century. The author's style is 
engaging and easy to follow and he draws from a num- 
ber of sources to support his conclusions. There are, 
however, significant limitations to this study. 

Though one cannot expect such a short work to de- 
tail the motivations for Indian responses, one can hope 
that a historical study will provide the reader with a 
general social context within which to locate Indiah re- 
sponses. Professor Hoig's presentation of Cheyenne cul- 
ture is simplistic and inadequate. This shortcoming 

leads to frequent misunderstandings. For instance, after 
discussing the heroic role of Black Kettle in Indian 
military history, Hoig says that this chieftain's only in- 
adequacy was his inability to control his young warriors; 
he clarifies that "the Cheyenne nation could produce 
outstanding men but . . . the chieftain system had no 
machinery to enforce laws or discipline within the 
tribe." This statement leads the reader to believe that, 
because this was not implicit in the chieftain system, the 
social structure of the Cheyenne had no culturally effec- 
tive ways of maintaining order. And, though one might 
grant that there was an inherent tension between the 
role of the young warrior and that of the seasoned man 
of peace, it is inaccurate to imply that the Cheyenne 
social structure had no mechanisms for handling inap- 
propriate behavior in any social category, warrior or 
otherwibC. But there are more serious limitations to this 

Hoig's work is founded in an assimilationist par- 
adigm of culture change, though his preface, which 
notes the Cheyenne's "stubborn" attempt to maintain 
their own cultural identity, initially might lead the 
reader to imagine otherwise. Chapter after chapter show 
the Cheyenne losing their way of life. The reader ex- 
periences a sense of helplessness after repeatedly hearing 
of the defeat of the chieftains and the ensuing cultural 
disintegration. And, while no one would argue that 
there were significant alterations in the Cheyenne way of 
life, Hoig makes no attempt to define the changing so- 
cial processes that guided these structural changes or the 
behavioral responses that sought to encompass them. 
Neither does he adequately acknowledge the persistent 
cultural continuity that pervaded the lives of the Chey- 

Because Hoig fails to recognize the enduring consis- 
tency of distinctly Indian values, he concludes that the 
Cheyenne "watched the world they knew and loved dis- 
appear forever" (p. 162). He is correct that the availabil- 
ity of food supplies dwindled and the freedom to 
traverse the plains unencumbered was denied, but these 
physical features of Cheyenne life were not crucial to the 
maintenance of Indian identity. The mythological 
framework through which the Cheyenne interpreted 
their world remained intact, though it too underwent al- 
terations, but the ability of the people to find meaning 
in their world persevered. 

In conclusion, though Dr. Hoig's book is interesting 
and easy to read, he fails to provide an adequate context 
for understanding the role and significance of the Chey- 
enne Peace Chief in the acculturative processes of the 
19th century. 

Kathleen M. O'Neal 

The reviewer is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of 
California, Los Angeles. 


William Robinson Leigh, Western Artist. By D. 
Duane Cummins. (Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press and Tulsa: Thomas Gilcrease Insti- 
tute of American History and Art, 1980). Notes. 
Bib. Illus. 204 pp. $19.95. 

In the introduction William Robinson Leigh is de- 
scribed as ". . .a pugnacious individualist, often arro- 
gant and openly disdainful of social imperatives, unin- 
hibited in thought, and remarkably gifted in many 
forms of expression." These words appear to accurately 
describe one of the giants in western art. 

The author has presented a well -researched and 
documented text that offers an insight into William R. 
Leigh and helps the reader to understand his lifetime of 
frustrations and disappointments. Beginning with a 
brief family background, the book describes the Leigh 
family living on their estate, Maidstone, Berkeley Coun- 
ty, West Virginia. During the Civil War Leigh's father 
served in the Confederate Army. In 1865 he returned 
home to find the estate in total disrepair with the family 
living on the brink of poverty. It was to these unpromis- 
ing circumstances that William was bom on September 
23, 1866. 

As a child he was self-conscious of his lack of formal 
education. Educated by his mother, he was schooled ex- 
tensively in the Bible, Shakespeare, basic arithmetic and 
the virtues of reading and writing. With relentless finan- 
cial oppression, childhood injustice, insult and incessant 
humiliators taunting him and making jokes at his ex- 
pense, he developed an enormous inferiority complex 
and near-paranoia. A feeling of inadequacy plagued 
him, molding a pattern of behavior that motivated him 
all his life. 

At age 14 he went to Baltimore to attend the Mary- 
land Institute of Art. It was during his third term he was 
told that the institute could no longer help him and that 
he should continue his studies in Europe. Leigh wanted 
to study in Paris but finances made it necessary for him 
to enter the Royal Academy at Munich, Germany. He 
studied at the Royal Academy for 12 years, returning to 
the United States in 1896. Again, financial hardship 
forced him to seek employment in the field of illustra- 
tion; his assignments brought him to the West where he 
made drawings and photographed the isolated Navajo, 
Hopi, and Zuni cultures. Many of his studies may be 
seen in the popular magazines of that time. At age 60 
Leigh was given the opportunity to go to Africa as artist 
for the American Museum of Natural History. For nine 
years he worked with the museum on its African Hall ex- 
hibit, but in 1935 he withdrew from the exhibit in 
disgust when the young artists and the lighting engineers 
were unable to satisfactorily simulate sunlight. 

William was twice married. His first marriage to 
Ann Seng was short-lived and ended in divorce. To this 
union a son, William Colston Leigh, was bom. In 1921 


he married Ethel Traphagen. After their honeymoon in 
the West they returned to New York and set up house- 
keeping— "in separate apartments." Leigh's concept of 
marriage was ahead of its time, believing "that it was the 
loss of individuality that caused a marriage to fail and 
that although two people were married, they could con- 
tinue on their own separate paths as well as retain their 
own names." 

William Leigh lived long enough to see the art crit- 
ics praise him and the newspapers to call him the "last of 
the great Russell -Remington -Leigh triumvirate." In his 
last years he experienced a popularity beyond any he 
had ever known. He received honors and awards but the 
most coveted honor of his career came when he was 
elected National Academician at the Annual Meeting of 
the National Academy of Design on March 2, 1955, just 
nine days before his death. 

Although William Leigh's life was constantly filled 
with financial difficulties it is felt that the author's treat- 
ment of these circumstances were over emphasized. 

Laura Hayes 

The reviewer owns the Wild Goose Gallery, Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

Fifty Years On The Old Frontier. By James H. 
Cook. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
3rd Printing, 1980). Index. 253 pp. |I4.95. 

Whenever I read or re-read a book such as this, I 
wish I had read it when I was thirteen or fourteen and 
spent much of my time living, in my imagination, in the 
world of the Indian and the old west. 

James Cook wrote in such an easy style that it is no 
chore to pick up his book and shortly find yourself chas- 
ing stampeding cattle or considering the wily Indian. 

Living as I do in eastern Wyoming and having lived 
in western Nebraska, I find the narrated events of cattle 
drives, Indian adventure, and ranch settlement comple- 
ment well the basic history of the area. 

Mr. Cook's description is not flowery, but good and 
relates clearly to the country involved. I am constantly 
amazed at how much he did and how much country he 
often covered on horsebackl The additional pages of 
photos in this printing add to the atmosphere which the 
words create. A minor inconvenience is the lack of dates 
for quick orientation and reference. While he does give 
general period dates, one often has to stop and count up 
the years from a last date to find when an event took 

I would, perhaps, differ with his rather curt treat- 
ment of Crazy Horse and his lionizing of Red Cloud. Mr. 
Cook hews to the late 1 9th century thought that the In- 
dian problems could more easily and quickly be solved if 

they could have just comprehended that the White Man 
was going to win the conflict and they should with haste 
take up his ways. However, he balances this with a 
capacity for compassion for the Indian based upon a 
fairly deep feeling for his thought and way of life. 

If you have never read it and like easy reading 
western biographical history, do it now. And, if you 
have read it, keep a copy around for friends or the kids. 

Don Housh 

Mr. Housh is director of the Homesteaders Museum, Torrington, 

National Parks: The American Experience. By 
Alfred Runte. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1979). Illus. 240 pp. $16.50. 

The national parks have changed greatly in the 108 
years since Yellowstone was established. The "idea" of 
the parks has come a long way since sport hunting was 
an accepted part of the Yellowstone experience and ar- 
my patrols guarded Yosemite. As Alfred Runte points 
out in his book, most national park historical research 
has been devoted to the "who" and "when" rather than 
to the "why" of the process by which modern park 
philosophy has evolved. Mr. Runte's book is a good first 
effort at examining the idea of national parks as a living 
and growing concept. There was great need for such an 

Mr. Runte's research has convinced him that tradi- 
tional interpretations of the national park phenomenon 
have missed some important social and economic fac- 
tors. He points out that Americans in the late 19th cen- 
tury were still hungering for ways to bolster their na- 
tional pride; they longed to compete with Europe in 
cultural leadership, and envied Europe's ancient tradi- 
tions. The spectacular scenery of the American West 
was one pathway to a feeling of national superiority. 

Runte also makes the essential point, currently ap- 
preciated only by some few historians and naturalists, 
that notions such as ecosystem preservation and wilder- 
ness appreciation had very little to do with the establish- 
ment of the first parks. "Monumentalism," or the ad- 
miration of huge, unique settings, provided an emo- 
tional basis for these early reservations (Yellowstone will 
always be a most-referred-to example; it didn't occur to 
the founders of that park that they needed to disallow 
hunting, rock-collecting, or any of the many other con- 
sumptive pastimes which are now outlawed in most 

Runte also makes the very good point, only lightly 
discussed by previous writers, that in order for pro- 
ponents of a park to get it established, they had to 
demonstrate (often repeatedly) that the land was worth- 
less for any commercial endeavor. 

Runte's enthusiasm for his cultural insecurity 
theme — that says Americans created parks in order to 
assuage their jealousy of European cultural traditions 
— overpowers his perspective sometimes. He notes in 
some detail the importance of commercial interests 
(especially railroads) in park legislation, but underesti- 
mates the relative importance of those interests. Tourist 
and related commercial interests repeatedly and directly 
influenced park legislation, sometimes to the point of 
helping initiate the movement to establish a park; those 
same interests were sometimes the ones to remind 
legislators of America's need to compete culturally with 
Europe. Considering how few people were actually in- 
volved in the national park movement before 1910, and 
considering that an almost unmeasurably small fraction 
of the general public had any contact with the parks at 
all, Runte should have been more cautious about ascrib- 
ing vague cultural insecurities such great influence 
where simple financial ambition was so obvious. His en- 
thusiasm for complex themes like cultural insecurity also 
blinds him to far simpler motivations. He rarely gives 
anyone credit for promoting a park just because it is a 
pretty place, or because such a wonderful place needs to 
be preserved. People don't need to be jealous of their 
ancestors to act out of esthetic concern. There are very 
few esthetically motivated people in this book. 

Runte also oversteps the bounds of historical inter- 
pretation to support his points. This is all the more un- 
fortunate because his points don't really need it. For ex- 
ample, many park visitors compared geological forma- 
tions to various architectural structures like towers, 
spires, and castles. Runte sees this as a manifestation of 
cultural jealousy; these people are showing their need 
for ancient ruins such as Europe has. 

Runte's presentation is also suspect in his manner of 
using quotations. There are several instances where his 
own words, attached to the end of a quotation, actually 
make a point not supported by the quotation. He quotes 
Yellowstone explorer Nathaniel Langford, who re- 
marked that no other places except Tibet and Iceland 
had geysers, and that the Firehole basin "surpasses all 
the other wonders of the continent." Based on these 
comments, according to Runte, "it followed that the 
scenery of the Old World, especially the Alps, had 
found its equal in the Rocky Mountains as well as in the 
Sierra Nevada." This is pretty conjectural, since, even if 
Langford may have thought so, he didn't say so; he 
didn't even mention the Alps or the Sierras. 

Runte tends to underrate the achievements of past 
historians. He says that former Yellowstone historians 
(he cites a few) did nothing to "add to our knowledge of 
the national park idea" when in fact one of the sources 
he lists, Haines, The Yellowstone Story, gives a far more 
detailed account of the European origins of the park 
concept than does Runte himself. 


Despite these weaknesses, Runte's book is a good 
one. What he has done, by surveying the history of many 
parks, is synthesize and sift an enormous amount of in- 
formation in order to identify overall trends that special- 
ists examining individual parks would not have seen (or 
even looked for). His book should be widely read by peo- 
ple who care where the national parks are going, and it 
should serve as a starting point for far more detailed 
studies of the social and ecological implications of the 
national park idea. 

Runte, though he recognizes the major dilemmas 
facing park managers who must preserve and yet share 
delicate ecosystems, has not ventured into the kind of in- 
terdisciplinarian research that will be necessary if we are 
to appreciate those yet poorly understood implications. 
It is unfortunate that he does not explore such pro- 
vocative recent developments in national park thinking 
as the natural fire programs, non -consumptive uses of 

fishery resources, or a host of other specific resource- 
related items that have been intensively researched and 
discussed since the Leopold Report appeared in 1963; 
these are visible manifestations of how the park idea is 
being reinterpreted today. It was his choice to ignore 
them, of course, and judging from his apparently slight 
acquaintance with such issues (his casual reference to 
the threatened extinction of grizzly bears from three 
parks is based on two shallow popular articles that are 
hardly admissable as scholarly evidence), he chose wise- 
ly. What he has achieved in this book is more than 
enough to stimulate others to continue the work of 
studying the national park idea. 

Paul Schullery 

The reviewer is Executive Director of the Museum of American Fly 
Fishing, Manchester, Vermont. He was formerly a naturalist and 
historian m Yellowstone National Park 


Ahlbom, Richard, editor, Man Made Mobile: Early Saddles of West- 
em North America, review, 66-67 

Aladdin, 34-37; photo, 35 

"All the News that's Fit to Chuckle Over: Newspaper Humor in the 
Old West," by Robert G. Keller, 28-33 

AUyn, Johnny, 55 


Baker, N.A., 9 

Barker, George F., 55, 59. 60 

Battle Lake, 54-61 

Beadle, J. H., 7-9 

Bear River City, 1012; photo, 10 

Belle Fourche, S. D., 36 

Benton, 6-9; photos, 2, 8 

Bird's Eye Pass, 51 

Blackmer, H, M., 23, 24, 25 

"Boom Towns on the Union Pacific: Laramie, Benton and Bear 
River City," by Emmett D. Chisum, 2-13 

Bowers, W. H., 10 

Bowles, Samuel, 9 

Boysen, Asmus, 53 

Bradley. R. W., 45, 46 

"Broadway in Cow Country: The History of Cheyenne Little Thea- 
tre, " (Part II), by Lou Burton, 38-48 

Brownsville, 6; photo, 6 

Burton, Lou, "Broadway in Cow Country: The History of Cheyenne 
Little Theatre. (Part II)", 38-48; biog., 72 

Butler, Hugh, 50, 53 

Casement, Jack, 3, 7, 11 
Caswell, C. H., 10 


Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, 49, 50 

Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, 34-37 

Chisum, Emmett D., "Boom Towns on the Union Pacific: Laramie, 
Benton and Bear River City," 213; biog., 72 

Clark, Edith K. O.. 39, 40, 41 

Clarke, John Jackson, 59 

Continental Trading Company, Ltd., 23, 25 

Cook, James H., Fifty Years on the Old Frontier, review, 68-69 

Cooper, J. B., 10 

Craig, Nate, 55, 56, 59, 60 

Creston, 56 

Cummins, D. Duane, William Robinson Leigh, Western Artist, re- 
view, 68 


Daniels, Josephus, 16, 17 
Dare, David D.. 31 
Daugherty, Harry, 16, 19, 22 
Denby, Edwin, 16-17, 18, 20, 22 
DeVere, William F., 39-47 
Doheny, E. L., 17, 20-21, 22, 24 
Draper, Henry, 55-60; photo, 57 

"Edison, the Electric Light and the Eclipse, 

Edison, Thomas A., 54-62 
Elk Hills Naval Reserve, 16, 24, 26 

Fairchild, Alice, 43-45 

Fall, Albert B., 15, 17-27 

Farrell, Bard, 43 

Fifty Years on the Old Frontier, by James H. Cook, review, 68-69 

by Philip J. Roberts, 

Folsom, Ella, 11 

Bridger, 12; photo, 11 
Steele, 7, 56, 60 

France, James, 59, 60 

Frontier Index, 5, 10-12 

Galbraith, R. M., 54, 56, 59, 60 

Giddens, Paul H., "The Naval Oil Reserve, Teapot Dome and the 

Continental Trading Company," 14-27; biog., 72 
Guy, George, 39, 41-43 


Halverson, Katharine, 43 

Harding, Pres. Warren G., 16-17, 18, 19 

Harkness, William, 56 

Harris, Jack, 7 

Hayes, George, 3-4 

Hayes, Larry, 55 

Hayes, Laura, review of William Robinson Leigh, Western Artist, 68 

Hoffman, John A, 11 

Hoig, Stan, The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyenne, review, 67 

Housh, Don, review of Fifty Years on the Old Frontier, 68-69 

Hubbard, Charles, 8 

Jarvie, John, 57 

John Selman, Gunfighter, by Leon C. Metz, review, 66 


Keller, Robert G., "AH the News that's Fit to Chuckle Over: 

Newspaper Humor in the Old West," 28-33; biog., 72 
Kemmerer, J. L., 34 

Kendrick, Sen. John B., 18, 38; photo, 19 
Kershisnik, Virginia, 48; photo, 42 
Kuykendall, W. R., 8-9 

LaFollette, Sen. Robert M., 17, 18 

Laird, James, review of Man Made Mobile: Early Saddles of West- 
ern North America, 66-67 
Lane, Franklin K.. 16, 21 
Laramie, 3-4; photo, 4 
Lenroot, Sen. Irvine, 18, 19, 20, 21 
Lester, T. £., 5 
Lockyer, J. Norman, 58 
Loomis, Ruth, 34, 47 


McConnell, J. H., 60 

McDermott's Island, 10 

McFarland, Mel, "Wyoming's First Coal Railroad," 34-37; biog., 72 

McGinty, Tom, 8 

McGraw, Tom, 9 

McLean, Edward B., 20, 22 

Mammoth Oil Company, 17, 22, 25-26 

Man Made Mobile: Early Saddles of Western North America, edited 

by Richard Ahlbom, review, 66-67 
Meldrum, Jack, 30 

Metz, Leon C.John Selman, Gunfighter, review, 66 
Miller, A. B., 9 ^ 

Mokler, Alfred J., 7 
Moyer brothers, 4 
Murphy, W. H., 3-4 


National Parks: The American Experience, " by Alfred Runte, re- 
view, 69 

"The Naval Oil Reserve, Teapot Dome and the Continental 
Trading Company," by Paul H. Giddens, 14-27 

Nelson, Robert C, review of John Selman, Gunfighter, 66 

Nielsen, Margaret E., "Roving Over the Wilds of Wyoming," 49-53; 
biog., 72 

Norris, Sen. George, 18, 19, 26 


O'Daniels, Barrie, 39, 40, 41, 44, 47 

O'Mahoney, Agnes, 38-47 

O'Mahoney, Sen. Joseph C, 38, 39 

Omohundro, John (Texas Jack), 55, 56 

O'Neal, Kathleen M., review of The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyenne, 

O'Neil, Jack, 11 
Osborne W. N., 10 
Osier, H. S., 23, 24 

Pan American Petroleum Co., 17, 22 

Parco (Sinclair), 9 

The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyenne, by Stan Hoig, review, 67 

Pomerene, Atlee, 21, 22, 23-24, 26 

Porter, Frederic H., 39-47; photo, 40 

Powers, Jimmy, 11 

Quaking Mountain, 10 



Rawlins, 55-61 

Rawlins House (hotel), 55; photo, 56 

Reed, Jimmy, 11 

Reiser. Frances Mentzer, 41. 43 

Roberts, Owen J., 22, 23-24, 26 

Roberts, Philip J., 'Edison, the Electric Light and the Eclipse. " 54- 

62; biog., 72 
Roddapouch, Louis, 4 
"Roving Over the Wilds of Wyoming," by Margaret E. Nielsen. 49- 

Runte, Alfred, National Parks: The American Experience, review, 


Sabin, Edward L., 5 
Sampson, W. T., 56 

Schullery, Paul, review of National Parks: The American Experi- 
ence, 69 
Sinclair, Harry F., 15, 17, 19, 20-21, 22, 24 
Smith, Harry, 53 
Smith, Tom, 12 
Smoot, Sen. Reed, 18-19, 20 
Stines, Leroy, 49-53; photo, 51 
Strawn, Silas, 21 
Sundance, 36 

Teapot Dome, 15-27 
Thermopolis, 50, 52-53 
Thornburg, Maj. T. T., 59, 60 
Thomburg Hotel (Laramie), 5 


Throp, Head and Steele, 10 

Tippets, Moll, 4 

Topence, Alex. 10 

Two Rivers (Wyoming Station), 3 

Union Pacific Railroad (construction of), 2-13 
U S.S Cheyenne, 16 
U S.S. Nevada, 16 
Wahlberg, G. D., 20, 21 
Walsh, Sen. Thomas J., 18, 20, 23, 25 
Watson, James, 56, 59 
Wilbur, J. H., 10 

William Robinson Leigh, Western Artist, by D. Duane Cummins, 

review, 68 
Wind River Canyon, 50-53; photos, 49, 52 
Wyoming (town), 3, 55 

"Wyoming's First Coal Railroad, " by Mel McFarland, 34-37 
Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad, 34-37 
WSHS 27th Annual Meeting, 62-65 

Young, J. H., 10 


EMMETT D. CHISUM is a Professor and Research His- 
torian in the American Heritage Center, University of 
Wyoming. He has a long-term interest in the develop- 
ment and impact of the railroads on the West. He au- 
thored an article for the Annals in the Spring of 1980. 

PAUL H. GIDDENS is a recognized authority on the 
history of the oil industry. He was awarded the PhD 
degree from the State University of Iowa and taught at 
the University of Kansas, Iowa State, Oregon State and 
Allegheny College. He was president of Hamline Univer- 
sity, St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1953-1968, and has held 
the title of President Emeritus since that time. Dr. Gid- 
dens is the author of five books and 200 articles, many 
on the history of the oil industry. He authored an article 
that appeared in the Fall, 1978, issue oi Annals. 

LOU L. BURTON holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in 
English from the University of Wyoming and is complet- 
ing course work for an M.A. in history there. Since his 
retirement from the U. S. Marine Corps, he has lived in 
Cheyenne where he and his family have been active in 
Cheyenne Little Theatre. His 50-year history of the 
CLTP was written with the assistance of a fellowship 
from the Wyoming Council for the Humanities. The 
first half of the article appeared in the Fall, 1980 issue of 

MARGARET E. NIELSEN, a resident of Kearney, 
Nebraska, is an author and historian. Much of the 
material in the article about her father, Leroy Stines, 
came from family reminiscences and research in the col- 
lections of the Wyoming State Archives, Museums and 
Historical Department. 

ROBERT G. KELLER is a freelance writer in New 
York. A graduate of Columbia Law School, he is the 
author of a suspense novel entitled Warning Call, pub- 
lished in March by Leisure/Tower Books. The idea for 
this Annals article was the result of Keller's research for 
a historical novel set in Wyoming. 

PHILIP J. ROBERTS is senior historian, Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. A 
graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Law, 
Roberts is a native of Lusk, Wyoming. 

EDWARD M. "Mel" McFARLAND is president of the 
Colorado Midland Chapter, National Railway Histori- 
cal Society. A teacher in Fountain, Colorado, he served 
in the U. S. Air Force at Sundance, Wyoming, and for- 
merly taught in Rapid City, South Dakota. His first 
book, The Midland Route, a story of the Colorado Mid- 
land Railway, was published in November, 1980. 



The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County chapters of the 
society have been chartered in most of the twenty-three counties of Wyoming. 
Past presidents of the society include: Frank Bowron, Casper, 1953-55; William 
L. Marion, Lander, 1955-56; Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody, 1956-57; Dr. T. A. 
Larson, Laramie, 1957-58; A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins, 1958-59; Mrs. Thelma 
G. Condit, Buffalo, 1959-60; E. A. Litdeton, Gillette, 1960-61; Edness Kimball 
Wilkins, Casper, 1961-62; Charles Ritter, Cheyenne, 1962-63; Neal E. Miller, 
Rawlins, 1963-65; Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper, 1965-66; Glenn Sweem, 
Sheridan, 1966-67; Adrian Reynolds, Green River, 1967-68; Curtiss Root, Tor- 
rington, 1968-69; Mrs. Hattie Burnstad, Worland, 1969-70; J. Reuel Armstrong, 
Rawlins, 1970-71; William R. Dubois, Cheyenne, 1971-72; Henry P. Chadey, 
Rock Springs, 1972-73; Richard S. Dumbrill, Newcastle, 1973-74; Henry Jensen, 
Casper, 1974-75; Jay Brazelton, Jackson, 1975-76; Ray Pendergraft, Worland, 
1976-77; David J. Wasden, Cody, 1977-78; Mabel Brown, Newcastle, 1978-79; 
James June, Green River, 1979-80. 

Membership information may be obtained from the Executive Head- 
quarters, Wyoming State Historical Society, Barrett Building, Cheyenne, 
Wyoming 82002. Dues in the state society are: 

Life Membership $100 

Joint Life Membership (husband and wife) $150 

Annual Membership $5 

Joint Annual Membership (two persons of same family 

at same address) $7 

Institutional Membership $10 

President, William F. Bragg, Jr., Casper 
First Vice President, Don Hodgson, Torrington 
lyo0-19ol Second Vice President, Clara Jensen, Casper 
VJriicers Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Ellen Mueller, Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, Dr. Michael J. Boyle, Cheyenne 




_-^afc^- je 


The function of the Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department is 
to collect and preserve materials which tell the story of Wyoming. It maintains the state's 
historical library and research center, the Wyoming State Museum and branch museums, 
the State Art Gallery and the State Archives. The Department solicits original records such 
as diaries, letters, books, early newspapers, maps, photographs and art and records of early 
businesses and organizations as well as artifacts for museum display. The Department asks 
for the assistance of all Wyoming citizens to secure these documents and artifacts. Depart- 
ment facilities are designed to preserve these materials from loss and deterioration. 


Mrs. Suzanne Knepper, Buffalo, Chairman 

Dave Paulley, Cheyenne 

Mrs. Wilmot C. McFadden, Rock Springs 

Eugene Martin, Evanston 

Jerry Rillahan, Worland 

Mrs. Mae Urbanek, Lusk 

Ken Richardson, Lander 

Frank Bowron, Casper 

Attorney General Steven H. Freudenthal (ex-officio) 

ABOUT THE COVER — The cover painting, entitled "Early Winter, " is the second Bill 
Gollings work featured on an Annals cover. The first was "The Night Hawk" on the Spring, 
1980, cover. Gollings completed "Early Winter" in 1921 and the 16x22-inch painting was 
loaned for Annals by Dr. William T. Ward whose collection of Gollings paintings was 
displayed in the State Art Gallery in the summer of 1981. A native of Idaho, Gollings and 
his family moved to Chicago when Bill was ten years old. He returned west when he was 18 
and rode the range as a cowhand in Montana and Wyoming for the next five years. In 1902 
and on several later occasions Gollings returned to Chicago to study art at the Academy of 
Fine Arts. Sheridan, Wyoming, had become his home, however, and in 1909 he built a 
studio there. Gradually , his works gained commercial acceptance. He died in Sheridan 
April 16, 1932. 



Volume 53, No. 2 
Fall, 1981 


Ed Herschler 


Dr. Michael J. Boyle 


William H. Barton 
Philip J. Roberts 


James R. Laird 
Timothy Cochrane 
Jean Brainerd 

Klaudia Stoner 
Kathy Martinez 




By Daniel A. Nelson 


By Jim Donahue 



By Rebecca Wunder Thomson 


Edited by Thomas R. Buecker 



By Dr. Anthony Palmieri and Chris Humberson 





Annals of Wyoming is published blannually in the Spring and Fall. 
It is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society as 
the official publication of that organization. Copies of previous and cur- 
rent issues may be purchased from the Co-Editors. Correspondence should 
be addressed to the Co-Editors. Published articles represent the views of 
the author and are not necessarily those of the Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department or the Wyoming State Historical 
Society. /^NNALS OF WYOMING articles are abstracted in Historical 
Abstracts. America: History and Life. 

©Copyright 1981 by the Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

The new justice in 1911 (standing, left) 



By Daniel A. Nelson 


one of the "nine old men" in 1936 (seated, second from left). 

And in spite of the fact that the President knew that 
Van Devanter was biased in favor of the great interests, 
he appointed him to the Supreme Bench. Upon whose 
recommendation was the appointment made? Will 
President Taft make this information public? 

William Jennings Bryan (in a speech 
criticizing the Van Devanter Supreme 
Court appointment, November 5, 
1911, Lincoln, Nebraska)' 

Warren's "crowning characteristic" was loyalty, "as 
he stuck to his friends through thick and thin, and 
through good and evil report. " 

W. C. Deming, Cheyenne publisher 
(commenting on a longtime friend, 
Francis E. Warren)^ 

In December 1910, President William Howard Taft 
appointed Willis Van Devanter as an Associate Justice of 
the United States Supreme Court. Undoubtedly the 
highest and most prestigious poUtical appointment ever 
given to a Wyomingite,^ it was not won without the exer- 
tion of tremendous effort on the part of Wyoming's Con- 
gressional delegation, which consisted of Senators Fran- 
cis E. Warren, Clarence D. Clark and Representative 
Frank Mondell. 

The Warren letterbooks, in the archives in the 
American Heritage Center at the University of Wyo- 
ming, contain valuable information on the circum- 
stances and behind-the-scene activities surrounding the 
appointment. This study will piece together the infor- 
mation from the letterbooks into a coherent narrative 
beginning with attempts by Warren to secure Van De- 
vanter a Cabinet position in the Taft Administration in 

Three observations should be made at the outset. 
First, the proper importance to be assigned Clark's and 
Mondell's roles cannot be ascertained from the letter- 
books. That they were influential is seen in the Warren 
correspondence, as well as in the few newspaper clip- 
pings which pertain to the appointment and are found 
in the Warren scrapbooks, also in the University of Wyo- 
ming's Archives. 

This leads to a second observation. There are only 
half a dozen articles relating to Van Devanter in the 
Warren scrapbooks, and while it might seem odd, this 
scarcity is easily explained after examining Warren's let- 
ters. Evident throughout the Senator's correspondence 
to Van Devanter and his supporters in 1909 and in 1910 
is the fact that many of the newspaper clippings which 
would ordinarily have been pasted in Warren's scrap- 
books were sent to Van Devanter, to his supporters to 
send on to President Taft, and directly to Taft by War- 
ren. While it is unfortunate that these clippings are not 
available for comparison, the few which are provide lit- 
tle information that is not obtainable through a careful 
reading of the letterbooks. 

Third, the Van Devanter appointment is an impor- 
tant, as well as an interesting, episode in Wyoming his- 
tory, for it clearly shows the tremendous influence which 
the "Warren Machine"^ wielded, not only at the state 
level, but also in national political affairs. This situation 
has occurred so seldom in Wyoming politics that when it 
does exist, it becomes a major part of the state's history. 
The writer of a laudatory article on Van Devanter 
wrote in "The Darling of Destiny" in The Saturday 
Evening Post, March 18, 1911: 

This [appointment] proves to all ambitious young men that 
there are but two things to do if they have the stuff in them: 
The first is to hook up with destiny; and the second is to let 
destiny land you in the state where live two men who are 
going to be tremendous powers in the United States Senate. 
Simple is it not? 

Van Devanter was considered for a Cabinet position 
in 1909 and received the Associate Justice appointment 
in 1910. A brief examination of his background and pre- 
vious accomplishments suggests that "The Darling of 
Destiny" label was justified. 

Van Devanter arrived in Cheyenne from Indiana in 
1884. Wyoming was still a territory, and Van Devanter 
linked himself closely with the Republican Party, con- 
trolled by the Warren political machine. Within two 
years of his arrival. Van Devanter, at age 26, was ap- 
pointed a commissioner to revise the territorial statutes. 
At 27, he became Cheyenne's city attorney; at 28, a 
member of the territorial legislature; and, in 1889, he 
was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of 
Wyoming Territory by President Harrison. After Wyo- 
ming achieved statehood in 1890, he was elected the 
state's first Chief Justice at age 30. 

In a territory where a lawyer was a rarity, the polit- 
ical and economic interests sought his legal skills, and he 
rapidly climbed up the political ladder. He resigned as 
Chief Justice within a matter of months and returned to 
private law practice with his brother-in-law, John 
Lacey, where from 1891-1895 he handled a number of 
cases for the Union Pacific Railroad and for large land 
and cattle companies. During these years he also served 
the Wyoming Republican Party in various capacities: 
chairman of the Republican State Committee, delegate 
to the Republican National Convention, and Republi- 
can National Committeeman from 1896-1900. 

In 1895 Van Devanter played a significant role in 
Warren's and Clark's successful United States Senate 
campaigns. He was soon rewarded for his strong support 
of Warren in the campaign against incumbent Joseph 
M. Carey, also from Cheyenne. From 1897-1903, 
through the influence of Senators Warren and Clark, he 
served as an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the 
Interior Department, with jurisdiction over public 
lands. McKinley had made this appointment, and Van 
Devanter's next advancement was made by President 
Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, when he appointed Van 
Devanter to fill a judgeship on the Eighth Judicial Cir- 
cuit. From here. Van Devanter went on to the Supreme 

These later advancements were also the result of the 
influence of Warren and Clark who have been described 
as Van Devanter's "patrons and pushers." They were im- 
pressed with the young lawyer's legal and administrative 
skills, and Van Devanter had shrewdly linked himself 
with the political and economic powers in Wyoming. 
(Sigfnificantly, Senator Clark's brother was vice president 
of the Union Pacific Coal Company.) Since his arrival in 
the Wyoming Territory, he had been valuable to them 
and to the Republican Party, and they were valuable to 
him as the political elements behind his remarkable ad- 
vancements.* Apparently the author of the article in 

The Saturday Evening Post accurately assessed and la- 
beled Van Devanter's career. 

The term "destiny" (which the author used) has two 
applications. First, it can be seen as the predetermined 
course of one's life; secondly, the word can imply the 
agents which do the determining. While it is difficult to 
prove that destiny in the first sense affected Van Devan- 
ter's career, it is easy to see destiny, in the second context 
of the word, as a tremendous force in his career. The 
agents who determined, or perhaps a better word would 
be "insured," his destiny were none other than the two 
powerful Republican senators from Wyoming. T. A. 
Larson suggests in his History of Wyoming that "Warren 
was the undisputed leader."' 

The most noticeable difference between the attempt 
to secure a position for Van Devanter in the Taft 
Cabinet early in 1909 and the two attempts for the Su- 
preme Court seat in 1910 is, in the first instance, a 
strategy of watch-and-wait as against the do-or-die cam- 
paigns which finally succeeded in December 1910. In 
letters to Van Devanter early in 1909, Warren wrote 
with calmness, "There may be nothing in the considera- 
tion of you for the Treasury portfolio, ... on the other 
hand, there may be quiet and full consideration, and 
you may be approached at any time."' 

On February 10, 1909, Warren wrote to Van Devan- 
ter that "I am keepin-on-sayin nothing. ... 1 know posi- 
tively nothing more than I did when 1 last wrote. ..." 
This was certainly not Warren's attitude of the following 
year, and perhaps not his attitude in 1909 regarding 
Van Devanter as a potential Supreme Court candidate. 
In a letter of January 27, 1909, to Van Devanter, the 
Wyoming Senator wrote that he realized "that Wyoming 
will not, in our life-time, probably reach the White 
House, though it is quite possible that somebody from 
Wyoming may reach the highest judicial or cabinet posi- 

Following the negative results of the push for a 
cabinet post, Warren wrote to Judge Van Devanter, who 
had been on the Eighth Circuit Court since 1903, that 
the President-elect (inaugurals were still held in March) 
". . .of his own volition told Knox that it would hardly 
be fair to you to ask you to give up a life position for a 
term — short or long — in the cabinet."^ Warren added 
that Taft also told Philander C. Knox, who was the new 
Secretary of State, "That if he was to appoint a man to 
the Supreme Bench now from the Eighth Circuit, it 
would be V--, etc. It would seem that the talk of your 
having something for the future was rather proposed by 
Taft, as 1 understand Knox."'" In the same letter War- 
ren looked to the future: "Now I believe the use of your 
name has been beneficial, rather than deterimental, be- 
cause Knox assures me with vigor that Taft understands 
perfectly that you were not asking for the place, but that 
your eyes were turned in another direction." 

The first Taft appointment to the Supreme Court 
came in October, 1909, when Justice Peckham died. 
This appointment went to Horace H. Lurton, an elderly 
judge, who got the position because of his lengthy 
friendship with Taft and the President's respect for his 
legal talents. Taft, who has traditionally been viewed as 
enjoying his position as Chief Justice more than that of 
President, admitted that the legal interests of the coun- 
try were probably not enhanced by Lurton's appoint- 
ment, for Taft remembered a critic of the appointment 
saying, "He says ... 1 shall sacrifice the needs of the 
country and the needs of the court to a personal feel- 
ing."" And this is what Taft, with his fine legal abilities, 
did with his first court appointment, and what he was 
determined not to do with the second. 

The next opportunity came early in 1910; although 
Van Devanter apparently had not been considered for 
the first appointment, he was in the running for the sec- 
ond. But this vacancy went to Governor Charles E. 
Hughes of New York, though not for any lack of interest 
or effort on the part of Warren and other Van Devanter 

The Supreme Court opening came with the death of 
Associate Justice Brewer, and Warren wasted little time 
to make his pitch for his candidate. In a letter to Taft, 
dated March 30, 1910, he wrote: 

... I have known the Honorable Willis Van Devanter, I 
dare say, ever since he graduated and became a member of 
the legal profession and a practitioner before the Bar, and I 
can say conscientiously, that during my twenty-eight years' 
of practice as an attorney, I have never met with any other 
gentleman who possessed, in my humble opinion, all the 
qualifications which go to make up a learned, upright and 
honest judge. 

Caught in a Wyoming spring snowstorm which had 
downed some telegraph lines, Warren wanted to make 
certain his voice was heard in the White House. Not 
waiting for mail delivery, the Wyoming Senator wired 
the President the following message the same day. In 
fact, it was sent over the wires twice since Warren 
wanted to make certain that Taft received it. 

On storm bound train I learn death of Justice Brewer from 
eighth circuit. Assuming pressure public business will sug- 
gest early action. I thus early wire you to beg appointment 
Judge Willis Van Devanter the ablest and most available 
man in eighth circuit and the peer of any in the country for 
this position. He is young, strong, vigorous, and reliable, 
resourceful and industrious to a remarkable degree, is 
versed in mining, milling, water right and irrigation laws so 
desirable for the west, and possesses all the qualities to 
honor this high judicial position and your administration. 

The telegraph lines from Wyoming were filled not 
only with messages to the President that day. Warren's 
letterbooks also show that he literally flooded the wires 
with requests to his contacts for aid in securing the posi- 
tion for the judge from Wyoming. For example, to 
Judge J. A. Van Orsdel, another successful Wyomingite, 

then seated on the Superior Court of the District of Co- 
lumbia, he wired, 

Got caught in storm. Wires down. Just reached here. Can't 
you and your associates act vigorously in ways open to you 
for Van Devanter to succeed Brewer. Reach members of 
Supreme Court if you can and think it advisable. 

To Senator Clark he wired: "Know you and Mondell 
working." In telegrams on the same day, to Clark and 
Mondell, he requested their aid in "soliciting endorse- 
ments . . . and securing such other assistance as possible 
and which you know so well how to reach." Here was 
Warren's own recognition of the power of the Wyoming 
Congressional delegation. 

As soon as Warren escaped the Wyoming snows, he 
returned to Washington. In a letter to Van Devanter 
dated April 2, 1910, three days after he had sent the 
numerous telegrams from Wyoming, Warren wrote that 
he arrived in Washington at 10:30, went to his hotel, 
changed clothes and was at the White House by 11 a.m. 
Unlike the actions regarding the Cabinet post for Van 
Devanter, there was no timidity or hesitancy. 

In his letter, Warren continued to relate to Van De- 
vanter the details of his call upon Taft and noted that he 
told him that the President had been in office for over a 
year and " 'this is the first time I have called upon you to 
press the claim of anyone and to ask for patronage.' " 
He noted that Taft had remarked that Van Devanter 
had a good friend in his Cabinet in Secretary of State 
Knox, but that the " 'New York circuit feels rather sore 
and exceedingly anxious for this appointment now, 
since it did not get the one made vacant a short time 
ago.' " Taft also commented that he would not be mak- 
ing the decision for " 'a month or even two and would let 
the proposed names go out to the country, give the 
country time to respond; and see what the country 
would say of good or bad — if there was anything bad — 
about each of the candidates.' 

Warren mustered all of his forces to let Taft hear 
from responsible people who favored Van Devanter. He 
sent the President articles from the leading Republican 
and Democratic papers in Wyoming and carried on 
heavy correspondence with innumerable contacts in at- 
tempting to secure endorsements. 

Warren worked indirectly, hoping that Taft would 
not realize his zealous efforts on behalf of Judge Van De- 
vanter. For example, Warren sent clippings to Van 
Orsdel and others telling them to distribute them among 
responsible citizens, especially in the legal profession, 
who could, in turn, send them to Taft on their letter- 
heads or under their signatures. Warren felt he had per- 
sonally sent Taft enough material for the President's 
"Van Devanter file." On April 10, 1910, Warren wrote 
the judge that he was enclosing clippings from some 
Washington newspapers and had "arranged to have a 
good article in The Washington Post." 

Warren's attempt to conceal his key role as Van De- 
vanter 's public relations man failed at one point as he 
had asked his Washington secretary in one of his tele- 
grams from Wyoming, to have Senator Guggenheim call 
on Taft and request Van Devanter's appointment. Evi- 
dently when Senator Guggenheim saw Taft, he spoiled 
Warren's scheme of having the endorsements appear as 
individual requests to the President instead of being vig- 
orously sought after by the Warren forces. On April 4, 
1910, Warren wrote to Van Devanter that "I am afraid 
Senator Guggenheim told the President that 'we' asked 
him as it would be just like him and his size to do so. You 
will remember I took pains not to write him direct." 

On April 20, 1910, Warren wrote the judge that 
Charles Evans Hughes would probably get the nomina- 
tion, which in fact happened several days later. Wyo- 
ming was certainly not as powerful or as influential as 
New York, and if the effort had failed this round, it was 
only a matter of time. In checking the time schedule, it 
appears that Taft had not kept in mind his mentioning 
to Warren (and to others) that the vacancy would not be 
filled until he had heard from responsible citizens 
around the country and had had time to evaluate the 
candidates. The appointment was made less than a 
month following Justice Brewer's death. 

In comparing the national reputations of Hughes 
and Van Devanter, it is remarkable that Van Devanter 
was so strong a possibility. This fact can be better under- 
stood by noting that the recently deceased Brewer was 
from the Eighth Judicial Circuit, one of the largest 
federal circuits, and that Taft realized the Western in- 
terests did need representation. The Hughes appoint- 
ment came so suddenly that letters of endorsement for 
Van Devanter were still pouring into his and Taft's of- 
fices from all parts of the West, even from attorneys in 
Hawaii. Scattered references in Warren's correspon- 
dence of the time (for example, April 2, 1910) indicate 
that Clark and Mondell were also actively soliciting sup- 
port and endorsements. 

On April 26, 1910, the day after Hughes' nomina- 
tion was sent to the Senate for confirmation, Warren 
wrote to Van Devanter that the matter had been decid- 
ed. He could be heading home to Cheyenne "as soon as 
possible." He indicated that he was sending the "Tre- 
mendous flood of papers of all kinds — public and pri- 
vate" to Van Devanter for safekeeping until they should 
need them on their "next endeavor." Also on April 26, 
1910, in a letter to John F. Carroll, editor of the 
Portland Telegram, (Oregon), Warren thanked the 
newsman for an editorial favorable to Van Devanter 
even though Hughes had been appointed. He continued 
with an optimistic outlook and a foreshadowing of 
events which followed later that year: 

Of course, all of our efforts have gone for naught so far as 
the present vacancy is concerned, but at the same time, we 
have built up a good, solid foundation for future efforts. 

The Supreme Court has, at least, two members who cannot 
hold on for long, and when these expected vacancies occur, 
either through resignation or other causes, we will be in a 
good position to again take up Judge Van Devanter's cause. 
By early May 1910, Warren was back in Wyoming 
having relaxed, for a moment, the pace of the Van De- 
vanter "push." There were no vacancies on the court, 
but as the preceding letter shows, Warren had expecta- 
tions. In a letter to Van Devanter on May 2, 1910, re- 
garding another letter of endorsement which had ar- 
rived, Warren wrote: "I am having to go on to the Presi- 
dent to be considered in connection with other letters in 
the 'Van Devanter file.' " The next opportunity to bring 
out the file was not far off, for the campaign for the 
judge from Wyoming was renewed after July 4, 1910, 
when Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller died. 

Senator Warren had returned to the East by July, 
1910, and upon hearing of Chief Justice Fuller's death, 
he tried to make an appointment to see President Taft, 
who was on a ten-day vacation at Beverly, Massachu- 
setts, and would have no appointments during the time. 
In a letter to Van Devanter dated July 7, 1910, Warren 
closed with the observation that "I do not know that I 
could have accomplished anything anyway." 

Warren had journeyed as far as Boston on July 6 but 
had returned to take his own vacation at a health spa at 
French Lick, Indiana. Warren, who was sixty-six in 
1910, undoubtedly was weary from the pressures of the 
Van Devanter campaign that spring. Here he heard 
from the President's secretary, Charles Norton, who 
apologized for Taft's inaccessibility. Warren wrote to 
Van Devanter that he could see no value in returning to 
Beverly, "especially so as the President gives it out so 
often that nothing will be done about certain appoint- 
ments and other business until late in the fall."'^ 

During the summer of 1910, another vacancy on the 
Supreme Court occurred with the resignation, due to 
poor health, of Associate Justice William H. Moody. 
Thus, with two unfilled seats. Van Devanter's chances 
improved, and Warren reinitiated his letters-of-endorse- 
ment drive in hopes of finally realizing his goal. To 
make certain that the President, who early in September 
was still in Beverly, would not forget Warren's desires, 
the Senator wrote him on September 6, 1910, hoping 
that Van Devanter would not be "overlooked" and that 
"my silence and absence from the Seat of Government 
may not militate against Judge Van Devanter's appoint- 

This letter to Taft is interesting for two reasons. 
First, Warren showed a new boldness by assuming that 
the appointment would be forthcoming. Second, it pro- 
vides straightforward evidence of the importance of 
Warren's role in the final outcome. 

However positive things looked early in the fall of 
1910, there were factors playing increasingly crucial 
roles in preventing Taft's appointment of Van Devanter. 

The first of these was the previously noted idea that by 
this time the Eighth Judicial Circuit could almost count 
on one of the appointments. 

As this was understood by everyone from the Presi- 
dent on down, other candidates from the circuit provid- 
ed increased opposition. Judge Sanborn of Minnesota 
was half-way in the running although he had been con- 
sidered several times before and was now seen as a 
"perennial candidate." The most powerful opponent 
was Judge Hook from Kansas. Even as late as a week be- 
fore Van Devanter's appointment was announced, War- 
ren had written the Wyoming judge of a conversation 
with Taft, during which Taft said, " 'I believe that I 
have decided to appoint Hook.' " The President admit- 
ted that " 'Yes, Van Devanter is one of the handsomest 
men I have ever seen, and would be so as a judge, while 
Hook is as homely as a hedge fence.' " Taft told Warren 
that he had gathered the judgments of many men on 
both judges, and it seemed to him that " 'the preponder- 
ance is favorable to Hook, besides the amount of busi- 
ness he does and the character of work he accom- 
plishes.' "'^ 


Senator Warren, Van Devanter's patron. 

This last comment of Taft's, praising the amount of 
work done by Hook and by imphcation suggesting that 
Van Devanter did not do a proper share of his judicial 
duties, became the most persistent obstacle to Van De- 
vanter's appointment. Judge Van Orsdel had written 
Warren on August 1, 1910, that "they are using the 
argument in the East against Van Devanter that he is a 
shirker. In fact, ... it is current report that he writes no 
more opinions at all." Van Orsdel advised that a state- 
ment concerning the number of opinions prepared by 
Van Devanter in comparison with the other judges from 
the Eighth Circuit would do much to dismiss this criti- 

In retrospect, this complaint of Van Devanter 's 
slowness of providing judicial opinions was largely justi- 
fied, for history has remembered him as a most inactive 
member of the Supreme Court, in some years producing 
only a single opinion, and none in 1935. Warren, too, 
seemed aware of this professional criticism of Van De- 
vanter's judicial life. As soon as he had secured the ap- 
pointment for the Judge, he wrote him a laudatory let- 
ter, in which he noted that a man from the Associated 
Press had told the Senator's secretary that Van Devanter 
was, at one point during the deliberations, being consid- 
ered for Chief Justice. After praising Van Devanter for 
two pages, Warren asked at the end of the letter, as if he 
would have preferred not mentioning it at all: "By the 
way, have you a lot of cases to write up and finish before 
you can take the oath for the Supreme Bench? Will the 
Attorney-General or the President probably make some 
expression about this?"'"' 

On December 2, 1910, Warren sent Van Devanter 
one of his "cipher dispatches," which when sent over the 
wires followed the line, and which, when reconstructed, 
read from left to right, from top to bottom. In code, the 
telegram began with "pursue me" and ended with 
"eleven." This method was used by Warren for confi- 
dential information, which in this instance would cer- 
tainly have done Van Devanter 's case no good, if it were 
made public knowledge, since it contained opinions 
made by the President himself. A copy of the telegram 




















































































































































































































































































The following day Warren sent a teleg[ram to his son 
Fred, in Cheyenne, who managed the diverse interests of 
the Warren Livestock Company. The Senator men- 
tioned the "rather vexing nature" of the message he had 
sent to Van Devanter and that he had expected a night - 
letter answer from the Judge, which had not yet arrived. 
He warned his son not to "bring the subject up unless he 

Van Devanter's next move was to answer Warren's 
telegram with his own, dated December 5, 1910, in 
which he admitted being slow and cautious in his circuit 
court work, "not from indolence or timidity ... or hesi- 
tancy . . ."in reaching decisions, but because he felt he 
was dealing with important cases which deserved his 
most thoughtful deliberation. He then asked in con- 
trolled prose that his name be withdrawn from consid- 

Warren sent a copy of the telegram to Taft, which 
included the following: 

I emphatically protest against impression which seems 
to have been created but make no complaint of President's 
attitude for it is obviously reasonable. I cannot prepare and 
submit showing in my own behalf now without assuming at- 

titude which would be distasteful to me. For this reason I 
prefer that further consideration of my name be omitted; 
then at some later time when there are no appointments at 
stake I shall hope President will permit me personally to 
make full statement of my work to him and yourself. I will 
owe this to both because of his consideration of my name 
and because of your interest in presenting it. 
The pressure was on, but Van Devanter had com- 
posed an eloquent telegram which carried emotional 
overtones of being unjustly accused without the proper 
means of defending or explaining his actions. Warren 
had sent the telegram to Taft "by riding page, and it 
seemed quicker than the page could possibly have 
reached there that I got a 'phone from Secretary Norton 
[Taft's personal secretary] saying the President wished to 
speak with me personally over the 'phone. "'^ Taft ex- 
plained that he would like to see Warren " 'to talk the 
matter over,'" and after conversing with Taft at the 

White House, Warren was only able to give unpleasant 
news — that it looked like Hook would get the appoint- 
ment. Yet, Van Devanter 's telegram must have influ- 
enced the President even more than he, or Warren, had 
been able to see. It might have been the beginning of 
Taft's soon-to-come switch to Judge Van Devanter. Its 
unjustly accused tone from the underdog must have 
stuck in Taft's mind. 

Two other developments during the following week 
enhanced Van Devanter's chances. The first of these was 
a private letter which Van Devanter sent to Warren, 
partially to answer the ciphered telegram, and more 
covertly, perhaps as an indirect source of information 
for Taft. Warren explained to Taft that he had a private 
letter from Van Devanter "which made the ratio of work 
done by the judge look quite different, and he im- 
mediately asked me to let him see it." Warren explained 


HiflMM 0—r* if TM Ui<4 

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iiOm WIBIi VU4MMIOT. ol Wroa- 
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tnm» OduM t tte XMfi ■laiM. 

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m»i*t iMMk t* k* niM, «<■«•>• 


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(oUevInc to mt; 

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■Ml kl* t r o fc i ^ iMl mMmt ki *■ 

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a aatlTa ot Ika ■■• atoU aa< a: 
■nilNk-Oai— o «aaasat. 

— "H a c a t loa waa t«oa4*«4 la tk< 

a long oaa Ikaa ynatMaa 
ki« la Ckaivaa*. Ha oaa aa a*( aa4 
m.iat jroaaa anaraay Ikaa mat ka 
kaa k»a laliia afar alaaa. Tka aaaa 
try la lo ba waiiamlaia* tor kaalac 
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■raataat ce»< la tka vrrM. aM Wy- 
aariof abiMild ka aapaa'ally pnM tkal 
jaa or bar toaa baa raaek n * tka aaol 
at all huoaa asMt'ofa." 
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iloB ol JiHlyi Vaalarsalar, «( Wyaa- 
las, by PrMWaat Taft lo tba fclikaal 
aooit of ih* land la rimwmt «llk m^ 
^oral br alt W)aariB(." 

Atlorcfy W. C. laaw: Ja4«> 

aa«riiataa ataatfa klifc aa a (•4a^ 
•I )a«|a aa4 hi kta aaw yaaHtaa aa 
luter or thr ■opraaa Caart will. 
I t>'l:F?K. be a eraaii to Wyoabi«. 

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an ^ul a Wyoalaa aaa «u a»- 
piiaut to tka m riai kawb tar tka 
raaaoa h« m imtt ba baltar aa«aalBi« 
•Ilk Mw«aoaa bar* to tba vaol 
ikoa aa Moura tatm-" 

Hob. H. S. B'«aMy: -Tka Wy«- 
ataf bar baa arrHtoly baaa oaoiyll- 
Baata4 to tba ibp ak iiai M at tmlm' 
Taataraaaar of tba olroaM mamii to 
tka oaprcaa koKk. Wa tool •ani- 
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aa bar* baaa aojt bl*ly hoaorad. 
tmim Viiiiaiamar la aot only oaa 
■t **m l-««ii« torau at tba oooatry. 
ba to alao a crMt and load aaa 
Tka anxHBIBaM la a Jaal rraard at 

G. A. Carla«: "l»iilliut TbH to 
'.ka awolBtaoat at Imtm WlOto Vaa- 
lavaalar baa iiiiini iMiiiaMy aai tba 
kopaa at tba poapto at Wynalag. To 
«*« y tkto ablit to tka kMaal 
bMribto koaar ooy towyor aaiy ka»a 

«■ ■• W«* towyar: -I»a atpatol- 
aaat ml Wllto Taadaraaiar to tba 
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•kaoM b* a aowoa «t tralUtoaMaa 
-0 all aitoaa of tba Batty 
lata alalaa. k bat 
XttoUtoory tbat Ika wm at ta«v 
at aMUty mmt 

laUad. W* aaa laat aaauad (tet 
attb oiaa Uka tmtm VaadwMtar 
a tka 

VOL. XXI, NO. lo;. 





•enata Judiciary Comiiittee Refert 
Appointmcnti to Subcommittee 
and Reccmmindatio-i Made for 
Immediate Action — Grand Jury 
Aaked to Investigate Recent Bum 
ing at Stake in New Moico. 

Wanhlogtoil, l>c 1. -ih^ s.nai. 
Judlnary commillee tcjay relerred 
tbe prealdeot'e tlw appoiutmimtt oi 
itaf (uuf-t or cooimi-:i V jjdKfH Kl u Mib 
«ummiLiiv for lnM-.-liK«l;i,n 
Will Be Confirmed. 

I lie Imm'dUli- lOuflrmaliOQ of Wil 
.11, \ sn L>evanter of Wyomluj aud 
JurL,,:i R Lamar uf tjeoit>ia a.i bu 
prt'UK- t-ourt Judtices »a3 recomra.*nd 
^■d tiy lh«- comrallli-e. 

Van Dmymntmr Conflrmad. 

Th«' it-nale thin aftf-riioon f'onnrm*-d 
iurti'ph It l.amar uf Uiorcla &nd Wil 
l.s Nan l'<\«ntir of Wyoniiog a,) aaao- 
• late Justices of th«* supreme rourt of 
ibo railed Suict 

The appointment drew favorable comment from Wyoming's newspapers. 

that he could not as it was "'strictly private." Warren 
was evidently counting on human nature to help him 
along, for the President seemed disappointed. Warren 
then told him, " 'Mr. President, I ought not to withhold 
anything from you, and if you will consider, in reading 
it, that it was absolutely a confidential, quickly- written, 
friendly letter such as husband and wife or brother 
might write to each other, I will bring it over and let you 
see it.' " 

Warren's psychology worked well, for by withhold- 
ing the letter and indicating it was of a very personal 
nature, he whetted the President's appetite to see it. The 
letter itself is not in the Warren letterbooks, but one can 
imagine that it made all the positive points about the 
Judge's career. Warren realized the effectiveness of his 
move, for he closed his letter to Van Devanter, in which 
he related the preceding conversation with the Presi- 
dent, on an affirmative note, by saying: "I am now look- 
ing for your appointment, and you will probably know 
about it before this letter reaches you."" That the letter 
was an important part of Taft's decision is also indicated 
by his note to Warren on the Van Devanter appoint- 
ment. The President began: "You will observe that I 
have appointed Van Devanter. I believe he will make a 
great Justice. I sincerely hope there is no doubt about his 
confirmation. I return the correspondence which you 
left with me."'* 

However, another Warren ploy was as influential as 
this letter in assuring that the appointment went to Van 
Devanter. The day of the appointment, Warren confid- 
ed in a letter to Van Devanter that "I guess the fire I 
started under Hook by claiming he was the insurgents' 
candidate has spread broadly. "'* 

Warren had suggested a similar notion to President 
Taft which was related in a December 9, 1910, letter to 
Van Devanter. Warren had gone to the White House 
ostensibly to speak to Taft on irrigation matters. He was 
to have seen Taft at 4:30, but Taft's slowness resulted in 
his not seeing the President until 7 p.m. Warren had 
presented the irrigation matter, during which Taft "had 
slept a part of the time," and Warren convinced himself 
that he should not mention anything about Van Devan- 
ter because of his recent withdrawal. However, Taft 
mentioned to Warren that the consensus of opinion of 
the Cabinet " 'seemed to be that Van Devanter ought to 
have the appointment." 

Taft himself seemed not yet fully convinced until 
Warren showed him clippings from "all of the afternoon 
papers" which suggested "that the insurgents were given 
credit for selecting the members of the Supreme Court 
to avoid their opposition and possible defeat of the nom- 
ination." The stalwart Taft was already having trouble 
with the insurgents in his party, the progressive Repub- 
licans who would later cost him re-election in 1912. The 
suggestion, which Warren seemed to have planted, that 

this troublesome faction was determining Taft's Su- 
preme Court appointments greatly vexed the President. 
Warren continued in the same December 9, 1910, 
letter to Van Devanter: "By this time Mr. Taft's sleepi- 
ness had entirely disappeared and he was the most thor- 
oughly awake man you ever saw, his eyes snapping fire; 
and the way he raked over the insurgents and what he 
said about them would not look at all well in print." 
Thus, on the tenth of December, the Senator could 
write Van Devanter that two Senators "were informed 
today very pointedly at the White House that Hook 
would not be appointed." Two days later congratulatory 
telegrams were being received by Van Devanter. 

While it is not possible to determine from the letter- 
books and the few available clippings whether or not 
Hook was the insurgents' candidate, Warren had evi- 
dently been influential in spreading the word that he 
was important to enough people, including the Presi- 
dent, to lead Taft to make the Van Devanter appoint- 
ment. Associate Justice Edward White was promoted to 
Chief Justice and Van Devanter and Joseph R. Lamar 
were appointed as Associate Justices. Senator Clark, as 
Chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, 
had the Van Devanter appointment confirmed before 
the end of 1910. 

The influence of Warren and Clark was also used to 
secure the confirmation of Van Devanter prior to that of 
Lamar. Warren wrote to Van Devanter in Cheyenne, af- 
ter the announcement, in a letter dated December 12, 

The order in which the names came to the Senate was: 
White, Chief Justice, Van Devanter, Associate Justice, and 
Lamar, Associate Justice.' ... I have talked with Clark . . . 
and have asked that the names be so reported from his 
Committee, in order that you may be senior to Lamar. 

Since Warren had exerted so much effort already, 
he was not about to overlook this final detail of the Van 
Devanter appointment. In a letter to Van Devanter on 
December 15, 1910, Warren announced the confirma- 
tion of both men. Lamar's confirmation came after Van 
Devanter 's, and this fact was added to the letter in War- 
ren's own handwriting. 

The struggle had been a long and intense one, and 
the aging senator commented to Van Devanter that it 
had been the most "acute" struggle of his career, except 
for one concerning getting a proper man appointed 
Quartermaster General of the Army.^" Such a remark 
revealed the tremendous political influence which War- 
ren possessed and had used.^' 

The newspaper clippings which are available recog- 
nized this fact only at a superficial level. The Sheridan 
Enterprise reported under the headline, "A Strong 
Trio, " on December 15, 1910: 

Every citizen of the state should keep in mind the im- 
portant part our delegation in congress has played in urg- 
ing the appointment of Judge Van Devanter to the high 


position he will soon assume. Senators Clark and Warren, 
and Congressman Mondell have been tireless in their efforts 
to bring about the appointment of a Wyoming man for the 
place, and the influence has had much to do with the hap- 
py result. The Wyoming senators and representative were 
ever watchful for the interests of their constituents. With- 
out their undivided effort Wyoming would not hold the 
high place it does in the councils of the Nation. . . . 
But the original bid and the final success of securing 
a Supreme Court appointment for a man from Wyo- 
ming had been much more than a newspaper article's 
mere recognition that the Wyoming Congressmen had 
worked hard for the Van Devanter appointment. It was 
the story of human beings interacting with and influenc- 
ing other human beings and was all the more intriguing 
because of the powerful political circles in which it had 

Reconstructing the inside story surrounding the ap- 
pointment of Willis Van Devanter to the United States 
Supreme Court, largely through the analysis of primary 
sources, reveals that history is much more than names 
and dates. Destiny is not in the stars, but instead rests 
with individuals who use their power and influence to 
create the history of their time. 

Gustavus Myers, History of the Supreme Court of the United 
States (Chicago, 1911-12), pp. 772-73. 

T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln, University of 
Nebraska, 1965). p. 316, 

Other Wyomingites who have received high political appoint- 
ments include Thurman Arnold, who served from 1938-1943 as 
Assistant Attorney General; Stanley Hathaway, who was briefly 
Secretary of the Interior duringjuly 1975; Richard Cheney, who 
served President Gerald Ford as Chief of Staff in 1976 and early 
1977; and the present Secretary of Interior James Watt. How- 
ever, considering the constitutional authority for such an ap- 
pointment and the lifetime tenure of Supreme Court Justices, 
the Van Devanter appointment can justifiably be considered 
"the highest and most prestigious." 

The Warren letterbooks are the primary source for any analysis 
of Francis E. Warren's long career since they contain all of his 
public and private correspondence. To make a more readable 
text, most footnote citations from the letterbooks and scrap- 

books have been eliminated. There are few newspaper or 
magazine clippings concerning Van Devanter in the Warren 
Collection. Those included in this study are from scrapbook No. 
3. The letters and telegrams are noted by date only and are all 
from the letterbooks, Volumes 50-56 inclusive. This provides the 
best method of documentation since it all comes from such a 
specific primary source. 

5. Larson, p. 316, first utilizes the term "Warren Machine." 

6. The biographical material is from I. S. Bartlett, History of Wyo- 
ming, II (Chicago, 1918), pp. 26-29: Larson, chapters 612: 
Myers, pp. 767-72: Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen, The 
Nine Old Men (New York, 1936), pp. 186-97. 

7. Francis E. Warren's state and national influence was 
remarkable during nearly half a century of holding political of- 
fices. A highly successful businessman and rancher, he was both 
Mayor of Cheyenne and Territorial Treasurer in 1884. He was 
Governor of the Territory of Wyoming, 1885-86 and 1889, and 
the first Governor of the State of Wyoming in 1890. He resigned 
in less than two months to be named the second United States 
Senator from the state, 1891-93. Wyoming had only one Senator 
(Joseph M. Carey) from 1893-95. Warren was re-elected to the 
Senate in 1895 and served continuously as a U. S. Senator from 
Wyoming until his death in 1929. During his Senate career he 
held many important committee assignments including chair- 
manship of both the Senate Military Affairs Committee and the 
Senate Appropriations Committee. He served in the Senate 
longer than any other individual except Senator Carl Hayden 
who served Arizona from 1926-70. 

8. February 3, 1909. 

9. Inaugurals were held in March until 1937. 

10. March 1, 1909. 

1 1 . Henry F. Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: 
A Biography, II (New York, 1939), pp. 530-31. 

12. July 17, 1910. 

13. December 7, 1910. 

14. December 13, 1910. 

15. December 4, 1910. 

16. Warren to Van Devanter, December 7, 1910. 

17. December 9, 1910. 

18. December 12, 1910. 

19. December 12, 1910. 

20. December 12, 1910. 

21 . An often cited instance of Warren's power and influence on the 
national level was the promotion of his son-in-law. Captain John 
J. Pershing, to brigadier general ahead of 862 officers who out- 
ranked him. Warren was then Chairman of the Senate Military 
Affairs Committee. (See Larson, p. 327.) 



the Great Depression 



"For some it was an attempt to acquire a bigger piece of the 
economic pie, but for most of the farmers it was a matter of 
economic survival. " 

During the 1920s and 1930s Wyoming agriculture 
suffered its greatest losses and hardships since the devas- 
tating blizzards of the winter of 1886-1887 had nearly 
wiped out the livestock industry. While this harsh set- 
back to the state was triggered by nature — the industry 
had contributed by overgrazing the open ranges — the 
tragedy for Wyoming settlers and farmers that occurred 
in the third and fourth decades of this century was near- 
ly entirely man-made. 

Throughout the state, but particularly in the Big 
Horn Basin, during those two decades, good, irrigated 
farm land was simply being vacated by bankrupt farm- 
ers who could not pay the taxes and assessments against 
the land. The exorbitant liens against the land had 
come from the landowners' optimistic judgments and 
decisions, and were so excessive for those years of ex- 
tremely low farm income and severe national depression 
that the vacated lands could not even be sold for taxes. 

Not only did this disaster ruin individual families 
and bring drastic hardship on farm communities, but it 
also threatened the state's national credit standing and 
imperiled its permanent school land fund. To under- 
stand how this tragic situation came about and how the 
state and its people fought back, it is necessary to review 
the history of irrigation in Wyoming. 

Irrigation began in the arid region that was to be- 
come Wyoming Territory as early as 1850. A few weary 
immigrants became discouraged with the long overland 
journey to California and Oregon and established small 
farms and ranches in the fertile river valleys near the im- 
migrant trails. The first water priority for irrigation, on 

the Bear River in what was then Utah Territory, was re- 
corded May 1, 1862.' This was seven years before the 
creation of Wyoming Territory by Congress. 

During the first 19 years of the existence of Wyo- 
ming Territory, irrigation, mainly related to the ex- 
panding livestock industry, increased dramatically. 
Many streams and creeks soon had more water users 
than water, and there was no system of appropriation. 
The upstream irrigator took all the water he could use, 
regardless of the needs of downstream users. The ter- 
ritorial legislature had recognized this in 1876, when it 
had required water claimants to file with the clerks of 
the district courts and had given district judges the 
power to adjudicate water rights.^ 

One impetus for bringing organization to this 
chaotic situation, and also for intensive agricultural ir- 
rigation, arrived in Wyoming in 1888 with the appoint- 
ment of Elwood Mead as the first territorial engineer, 
and later the first Wyoming State Engineer.^ Mead, an 
Indiana farm boy and graduate of Purdue University, 
had come west to teach engineering at what is now Col- 
orado State University.'' During his tenure there, he had 
served as Deputy State Engineer in Colorado, and also 
contracted frequently as a consulting engineer for irriga- 
tion projects in that state. Mead was eminently qualified 
for appointment in Wyoming. 

During his years as a student, and later as a pro- 
fessor and as an engineer supervising irrigation and con- 
structing irrigation projects in Colorado, Mead had de- 
veloped a passion for reclaiming the arid lands of the 
west. Shortly after his arrival in Wyoming, he toured the 

By Jim Donahue 


entire territory, mainly by horseback and wagon. Rather 
than the hundreds and hundreds of miles of thirsty, dry 
land, covered only with sagebrush and clumps of buffalo 
grass, with the vision of genius Mead saw thousands and 
thousands of prosperous farms with row upon row of 
thriving irrigated crops, watered by the snow-fed 
streams rushing from the mountains.^ 

With energy as boundless as his passion for irriga- 
tion. Mead commenced to bring his vision to reality in 
Wyoming. Quickly recognizing the chaotic situation 
that existed with water rights, he soon had all claimants 
to water filing statements of claim. The statements de- 
scribed the source of water used for irrigation, the num- 
ber of acres irrigated, the length and capacity of ditches 
used for irrigation, and the location of the ditches and 
the lands irrigated.' 

But it was the Wyoming Constitutional Convention, 
and the subsequent adoption of the Wyoming Constitu- 
tion, that gave Elwood Mead the opportunity to make 
his major contribution to the state. He devised a plan for 
giving complete control of water in Wyoming to the 
state, for adjudicating water rights, and a system for re- 
cording approved water appropriations that has en- 
dured, for the most part, for 91 years.' 

Working closely with a Laramie County farmer, 
J. A. Johnston, who served as chairman of the Constitu- 
tional Convention Committee for Irrigation and Water 
Rights, and with committee member Charles A. Burritt, 
an articulate Buffalo attorney, Mead was able to per- 
suade the committee to approve his ideas for controlling 
water and irrigation in the future state.* The committee 
then convinced the full convention to adopt the five 
brief sections in the Wyoming Constitution pertaining to 
water and irrigation, which had evolved from Mead's 
ideas. Two of the five sections contained ideas that were 
unique to water control and irrigation among the states, 
and a third section adopted a water concept, original in 
the west, and pioneered by California and Colorado. 

Section One of Article VIII declared all water, 
rivers, streams, springs, and lakes to be the property of 
the state. Section Two created a board of control, com- 
posed of the State Engineer and the superintendents of 
the four water divisions, empowered to supervise the 
waters and their appropriation, distribution, and diver- 
sion.'" The adjudication of water rights, except on ap- 
peal, was neatly taken out of a court system that was 
badly bogged down with water disputes and whose in- 
consistency in awarding water appropriations had dras- 
tically over-appropriated many streams. The Third Sec- 
tion of Article VIII of the new Wyoming Constitution 
adopted the principle, "priority of appropriation for 
beneficial use shall give the better right"" that is the 
standard for water management in the arid west. 

With the pattern for Wyoming water management 
clearly established by the adoption of the State Constitu- 
tion, Elwood Mead set out to turn the dry sagebrush 


basins and prairies into productive, family farms. A de- 
voted follower of Major John Wesley Powell, in 1887 
Mead was quoting Powell, " 'The right to use water 
should inhere in the land to be irrigated, and water 
rights should go with land titles.' "'^ 

Two years later before the United States Senate 
Committee on Irrigation, he was saying: 

It is useless to make any investigation or examination as to 
proper location of irrigation works while no control can be 
exercised over the settlement of land. The most satisfactory 
remedy for this state of affairs, and in my judgment the 
only efficient one, is for Congress to grant each state, all the 
irrigable land within its borders held by the general govern- 
ment, such state to be charged with the supervision of their 
reclamation and with their disposal to actual settlers.'^ 
It would be five years before Mead would see this 
idea, not originally his, enacted by Congress. 

Primarily from the urging of Major Powell, the 
federal government had first attempted to foster irriga- 
tion in the arid west with the passage of the Desert Land 
Act in 1877. This law permitted an individual to buy 
640 acres of land at 25 cents per acre, provided that 
within three years he brought water to the land for irri- 
gation and paid the government an additional one 
dollar per acre.'" Because of the unavailability of easily 
accessible water — most of the small streams and creeks 
were over-appropriated — and the cost for diversion of 
the larger streams and rivers was beyond the means of 
most settlers, the Desert Land Act was generally unsuc- 

Congress recognized this in 1891 and it modified the 
law, permitting two or more persons to construct irriga- 
tion canals and ditches for reclaiming the land. Though 
this modification of the Desert Land Act encouraged 
some irrigation project construction in Wyoming, it did 
not bring under irrigation anywhere near the amount of 
acres Mead considered irrigable. Nor did it encourage 
the migration of farm families to Wyoming that the 
state's senior political leaders wanted. 

Almost from their first day in the United States Sen- 
ate, Wyoming's first representatives in that body, Fran- 
cis E. Warren and Joseph M. Carey, began to propose, 
speak and work for the proposition Mead had suggested 
in his first annual report — Congress granting to the arid 
states all the irrigable land within their borders. Warren 
and Carey continued the crusade for more than three 
years. The two senators corresponded regularly with 
Mead, conferred with him when possible, enlisted other 
western senators in their cause and gained the support of 
Major Powell and other irrigation experts. Success came 
on August 18, 1894, with the approval of the Carey 
Land Act.'* 

The act did not comprehensively cede all irrigable 
land within the arid states to the state as Mead, Warren, 
and Carey advocated, but it did 

donate, grant and patent to the state free of cost for survey 
or price such desert lands, not exceeding one million acres 

in each state, as the state may cause to be irrigated, re- 
claimed, occupied, and not less than 20 acres of each 160 
acre track cultivated by actual settlers within ten years as 
after the passage of the Act." 

Two years later on June 11, 1896, Congress extend- 
ed the Carey Act, providing that a patent could be 
issued for any tract of land when a sufficient supply of 
water for irrigation was actually brought to the land." 
Historians have generally discounted the Carey Act. 
Only a small percentage of the land eligible for segrega- 
tion under the act was patented and the great majority 
of Carey irrigation projects initiated failed to bring set- 
tlers and water to the land. Though by 1902, in Wyo- 
ming 45,700 acres had been applied for under the act, 
only 11,321 acres were patented by the federal govern- 
ment. '^ A total of 67 Carey Act projects were approved 
by the state, ^'' but the great majority of the projects were 


"Irrigated, row crop agriculture was a substantial eco- 
nomic factor in the Big Horn Basin. " 

not concluded because construction costs exceeded 
available funding and bankrupted the promoters, or the 
project was merely speculative from the beginning, and 
when sufficient capital could not be raised, the project 
was abandoned. Even the two most notable Carey Act 
corporations, the Big Horn Basin Development Com- 
pany and the Wyoming Development Company, though 
successful in bringing water and settlers to the land, 
were fiscal failures for their investors. 

The Carey Act did, however, stimulate irrigation 
and settlement in Wyoming. Two Big Horn Basin agri- 
cultural communities, Lovell and Worland, that suf- 
fered severely because of drainage district insolvency in 
the 1920s and 1930s were founded as a result of Carey 
Act projects.^' Many small irrigation projects succeeded 
in bringing water and farmers to the land, but this scale 
of development and settlement was far from satisfactory 
to the promoters of irrigation and to the land specula- 

With the active support of Senator Francis E. War- 
ren and Congressman Frank W. Mondell from Wyo- 
ming, Congress passed the Newlands Acts or the Recla- 
mation Act in 1902. This law authorized the U. S. 
Geological Survey to construct irrigation and reclama- 
tion projects in western states with funds raised from the 
sale of public lands. ^^ During the following 50 years, 
Wyoming agriculture would benefit greatly from this 
enactment and the amendments to it. 

The first reclamation project in Wyoming was the 
Shoshone project, authorized in 1904.^' Taking water 
from the Shoshone River, this federal project was 
planned to eventually reclaim 200,000 acres of arid 
land. It was first envisioned as a Carey Act project 
by Buffalo Bill Cody, but he had been unable to raise 
the needed funds. Though the scale has never been 
achieved, when the first phase of the Shoshone project 
was completed in 1910, 15,000 acres came under irri- 
gation.^" By that year, irrigated, row-crop agriculture 
was a substantial economic factor in the Big Horn Basin. 

The towns of Cody, Powell, Garland, Deaver, Cow- 
ley, Byron, Lovell, Emblem, Burlington, Otto, Basin, 
Worland, and GreybuU were all inevitably linked to ir- 
rigation for their prosperity and future growth. This 
future looked bright with more and more acres of dry 
land being brought under water and new settlers acquir- 
ing rights to these acres every day. There was talk of 
flour mills, alfalfa mills, and sugar factories, but an 
ominous sign was appearing. The land was beginning to 

For a number of years agricultural experts, partic- 
ularly those employed by the federal government for the 
Shoshone project, had urged farmers in the basin to use 
less water for their crops. The great majority of the 
farmers paid little heed to these warnings, apparently 
believing that the more water applied, the greater the 


crop yield. They were soon to pay the price for this 
theory. ^^ 

Within a few years productivity was decreasing in 
the Big Horn Basin. The water table had risen to a 
dangerous level. Alkali was showing in what had been 
fertile fields. Horses and plows became mired when at- 
tempts were made to plow the fields, and some crops 
had to be harvested by hand or abandoned. 

Though the excessive application of water had ac- 
celerated the bogging, the heart of the problem was with 
the land itself. Much of the top soil in Wyoming, but 
predominantly in the Big Horn Basin, is underlaid with 
heavy clay, marl, and silt, blocking passage to the gravel 
below. With extensive irrigation and the excessive ap- 
plication of water, the clay and marl had swollen and 
packed, preventing natural drainage through the grav- 
el. It was this phenomenon that was causing the land to 
bog and "sour".^' 

The first official recognition of this prelude to 
tragedy came in 1911, when the 11th Wyoming State 
Legislature passed "An Act Providing for the Formation 
and Organization of Drainage Districts."^* This act, in- 
troduced by the President of the Senate, Jacob M. 
Schwoob, a Republican representing Big Horn and Park 
counties,^' permitted a majority of adult land owners, 
representing one-third in area of a land district, or adult 
owners of more than one-half of the acreage in the land 
district, to petition the district court for the formation of 
a drainage district.^" 

The law required the petition to set forth the pro- 
posed name of the drainage district, a statement of the 
need for the proposed drainage work, a general descrip- 
tion of the planned drainage system, a legal description 
of the lands to be included in the drainage district, the 
names of all the land owners in the district, and to "pray 
for the organization of a drainage district by the name 
and with the boundaries proposed, and for the appoint- 
ment of commissioners for the execution of such pro- 
posed work."^' Generally, the entire supervision of 
drainage districts, creation, appointment, and super- 
vision of commissioners, changing of boundaries, assess- 
ing damages and benefits, approval of assessment and 
borrowing of money, and the refunding of indebtedness, 
was placed in the hands of the district court. It would 
become an agonizing responsibility for some district 
court judges. 

Particularly, the supervision of drainage districts 
would become a heavy burden for young Percy W. 
Metz.'^ Practicing law in Basin when the Drainage Dis- 
trict Act was passed, it is doubtful that Metz had much, 
if any, awareness of the problems brewing with drainage 
of farm land, and in his wildest dreams could not visual- 
ize the vital role he would play. On his 30th birthday, 
March 4, 1 91 3, Percy Metz was sworn in as district court 
judge for the Fifth Judicial District, comprising Park, 
Big Horn, Washakie, and Hot Springs counties. He was 


the youngest person to hold this office and he served for 
37 years and nine months. ^^ For more than 30 of these 
years, he was enmeshed in the problems of drainage dis- 

Though the farmers and land owners in an area im- 
mediately adjacent to the town of Lovell petitioned for 
and were organized into the Lovell Drainage District in 
1912, there was not a rush to create drainage districts 
following the passage of the Drainage District Act.'* 
However, the political conditions were fomenting in 
Europe in 1912 and 1913 that would bring on World 
War I and foster the economic factors which would 
make it necessary, or at least desirable, for farmers 
throughout the United States to increase agricultural 
production. For farmers in the Big Horn Basin to ac- 
complish this, it would require the reclaiming of land 
that had bogged and "soured". 

During the years between 1910 and 1916 when a 
field bogged, it was abandoned and the farmer who 
owned it — few farmers at this period in time had all of 
their acreage under cultivation— simply transferred his 
efforts to land that had not been previously cultivated. 
By 1916, however, the squeeze was on. The war in 
Europe had brought prosperity to the United States and 
inflationary conditions were at work. Prices for agricul- 
tural products had soared, but along with this benefit, 

"On his 30th birthday, Percy Metz was sworn in as 
district court judge. " 

the cost for services which the farmer had to purchase 
had also risen dramatically. 

Moreover, in the Big Horn Basin a new cash crop 
had appeared on the scene. In 1916 the Great Western 
Sugar Company constructed a sugar beet refinery in 
Lovell and a year later the Holly Sugar Company built 
one in Worland.^'* Although the blessing of an assured 
cash crop to the farmers was considerable, the introduc- 
tion of this new product placed considerable pressure 
upon the individual farmer to increase his acreage under 
cultivation. Too, the growing of sugar beets demanded a 
generous application of water to a land where the water 
table was already critically high. 

The result was predictable. Throughout the Big 
Horn Basin, farmers and land owners stampeded to 
organize themselves into drainage districts to construct 
drainage systems. For some it was an attempt to acquire 
a bigger piece of the economic pie, but for most of the 
farmers it was a matter of economic survival. Between 
1917 and 1919, 11 drainage districts were formed in 
Judge Percy Metz's Fifth Judicial District. Drainage dis 
tricts were also organized in Fremont and Goshen coun- 
ties during these years. '^ 

Two of the drainage districts formed at this time 
were at Lovell and Worland. The petition to organize 
the Lovell Bench Drainage District was filed in the Big 
Horn County District Court on October 30, 1916. The 
petition included 3,601.96 acres in the proposed district, 
and stated that "cultivated land was water-logged and 
covered with mineral salts and in an alkalied condi- 
tion."'' Further, the engineering report for the proposed 
district concluded that this condition resulted from 
"layers or strata of clay or marl, which are impervious to 
water. "^' 

A hearing was held on the petition on March 14, 
1917. Attorney L. A. Bowman of Lovell represented the 
petitioners. The Lovell Bench Drainage District was or- 
ganized with Judge Metz appointing H. S. Jolley, B. L. 
Leithead, and H.J. Arnoldus commissioners for the dis- 
trict. Fifty-five land owners were included in the drain- 
age district, the State of Wyoming and the Lovell Irriga- 
tion District among them, and the drainage district pro- 
posed to construct 7.013 miles of drains at an estimated 
cost of $75,550.^^ 

Organized October 23, 1918, the Worland Drainage 
District, containing 6,803.10 acres, was one of the 
largest drainage districts formed. It was unique in that a 
good portion of the town of Worland, lot by lot, was in- 
cluded in the district. Cotner, Cotner and Kennedy, an 
engineering firm that did the surveying and planning for 
a number of drainage districts in the Big Horn Basin, 
proposed a drainage system for the Worland District 
with 15.8 miles of drainage ditches at an estimated 6ost 
of $178,472.65.''° The engineers for practically all of the 
drainage districts for which they worked sadly underesti- 
mated the depth of the drainage ditches, proposing 

ditches five feet deep and recognizing during construc- 
tion that the ditches had to be deeper, averaging eight 
feet throughout the Big Horn Basin. Too, the engineers 
planned gravel bottom ditches and later learned, to 
their sorrow, that a large percentage of the drainage 
ditches required tile if seepage was to be prevented."" 

Both the Lovell Bench and the Worland Drainage 
Districts sold bonds for the amounts estimated for con- 
struction, plus 15 percent for contingencies and main- 
tenance, at six percent interest to midwestern and east- 
ern investment companies. Between 1917 and 1920, 
Wyoming Drainage Districts sold more than four million 
dollars in bonds to construct the district court approved 
drainage systems. Nearly all of the bond issues carried 
an interest rate of six percent per annum and were 
scheduled for repayment in 10 to 15 years. Several of the 
drainage districts, including Worland, because actual 
construction costs (depth of ditches and tile) exceeded 
construction estimates, found it necessary to issue a sec- 
ond series of bonds to complete the planned drainage 
systems. The Worland Drainage District sold $66,667 in 
bonds early in 1922, to finish construction of its drain- 
age system. Moreover, consistently, the drainage dis- 
tricts had underestimated maintenance costs and were 
faced with increased assessments upon the landowners to 
maintain the drainage ditches.''^ 

All of this increasing financial burden was being 
placed upon the farmers and landowners in the face of 
worsening economic conditions. With the end of World 
War I, agricultural prices had begun to sag and by 1920 
were dropping drastically. Wyoming farmers, like their 
counterparts throughout the nation, were beginning to 
feel the pinch. By 1923 agriculture, in general, was en- 
tering a depression that would be the forerunner of the 
great national depression of a decade later, and as a 
consequence, Wyoming drainage districts were begin- 
ning to default on repayment of bonds issued for drain- 
age system construction. 

During the first three or four years of the decade 
most of the drainage districts were able to meet interest 
payments on their outstanding bonds, but not the prin- 
cipal payments. By the mid- 1920s many of the drainage 
districts were in arrears in both interest and principal. 

Though the amount seems insignificant in today's 
climate of plentiful money supply and extreme inflation, 
the Lovell Bench Drainage District was obligated to 
repay approximately $12,000 annually in principal and 
interest." This amounted to a Httle more than $100 for 
the average landowner included in the drainage dis- 
trict.'*'' In addition to this cost, the landowner was faced 
with an assessment for maintenance of the drainage sys- 
tem, assessment from the irrigation district in which he 
was included, and all of the normal property taxes. If an 
individual farmer had a mortgage to repay, which was 
not uncommon, he was in dire straights, indeed. The 
average landowner in the Lovell Bench Drainage Dis- 


trict had an annual assessment and tax bill during the 
early 1920s of nearly $400, this in a period when average 
farm income for a year had slipped to $1,500/^ For 
farmers included in drainage districts like the Worland 
Drainage District that had a much greater bonded in- 
debtedness than the Lovell Bench District, the situation 
was nearly impossible. 

The 17th State Legislature in 1923, both during the 
regular session and a special session held in July, recog- 
nized the severity of the problem. With the passage of 
Chapter 10, Session Laws of Wyoming, 1923, the Drain- 
age District Act was reenacted and amended. The main 
features of the new statute required drainage district 
commissioners to be more realistic and thorough in esti- 
mating proposed construction costs. It also facilitated 
the collection of delinquent assessments, required 
stricter adherence to authorized budgets, broadened the 
authority of the district courts to permit drainage dis- 
tricts to refund all types of indebtedness and permitted 
the use of state monies for the purchase of refunding 
bonds. "^ 

During the special session, the legislature enacted 
the Farm Loan Act. This law allowed the Wyoming 
Farm Loan Board to "loan money on and take as securi- 
ty for same, farm lands subject to liens, charges or as- 
sessments for drainage, reclamation or irrigation pur- 
poses.'"" The loans were limited to $20,000, and the 
Board was authorized to use up to $2,500,000 from the 
Common School Permanent Land Fund.''* These enact- 
ments initiated the state's fiscal involvement with the 
drainage districts. 

Within a month of the passage of Chapter 10, At- 
torney L. A. BovkTTian of Lovell, who was counsel for the 
Lovell Bench Drainage District and several other Big 
Horn Basin drainage districts, was urging State Treas- 
urer John M. Snyder not to bid on Natrona County 
school bonds, because he feared that state monies avail- 
able to purchase bonds would be expended.''^ Treasurer 
Synder reassured him, writing that the state had "one 
and one half million dollars in the permanent funds 
available for the purchases of securities, and the fund is 
growing larger each month.'"'" The Treasurer added 
that he was certain the Fiscal Board, composed of the 
elected state officials and responsible for the state's per- 
manent funds, would look favorably upon the purchase 
of drainage refunding bonds.''' 

Two weeks following this correspondence, the Fiscal 
Board adopted regulations applying to the purchase of 
drainage and irrigation district refunding bonds some 
irrigation districts were having the same fiscal problems 
as the drainage districts. As required by the new law, the 
Fiscal Board had appointed appraisers, who were 
charged with appraising the value of a district before the 
Fiscal Board could purchase any refunding bonds issued 
by the district. During the next three years the apprais- 
ers would be very busy.^^ 

Eventually, 18 drainage districts made application 
in district court to be allowed to issue refunding bonds, 
to pay off the districts' original capital indebtedness and 
for which the districts were unable to meet interest and 
principal payments. Fifteen of the drainage districts 
made their petition to Percy Metz. The intent, of 
course, was for the state to buy the refunding bonds — no 
private investor would touch them — and to use the pro- 
ceeds to buy back the original bonds. The Fiscal Board, 
after Judge Metz and the other district court judges had 
given their consent, did as planned and purchased the 
refunding bonds. ^^ 

Between 1923 and 1927, using the state's permanent 
funds, the Fiscal Board invested more than two million 
dollars into the drainage districts' refunding bonds. ^'' 
Not only did this benefit drainage districts, but also 
many local investors and banks, who had purchased the 
original bonds from the out-of-state investment firms 
and were holding the empty sack, got their money back. 

The landowners in the drainage districts gained in 
two ways. First, while the principal repayment schedules 
had been for 10 or 15 years for the original bonds, for 
the refunding bonds the repayment schedule was for 20 
years, reducing the annual principal payment. Second, 
with the refunding bonds, the interest rate was five per- 
cent, or less, compared with six percent for the original 
bonds. Again landowners realized a substantial sav- 
ings. ^^ 

So it appeared in 1927, that with the cooperation 
and assistance of the legislature and the state's five 
highest elected officials, the fiscal solvency of the drain- 
age districts had been saved. But it was not to be. The 
national economic situation deteriorated rapidly and 
with the collapse of the stock market in 1929, the entire 
country plunged into the "great depression." During the 
early years of the 1920s, farmers were selling their pro- 
ducts at prices that yielded little profit. Now with the 
onset of the depression, some crops could not be sold for 
any price. 

For the drainage districts, the obvious was occur- 
ring. Farmers with little, if any, cash income could not 
pay their assessment for the indebtedness of the 
drainage districts. Statistics for 1931 from the Farm 
Loan Board indicate that the average acre of land in- 
cluded within a drainage district was returning less than 
$15 in cash income to its owner while the assessments for 
drainage and irrigation averaged more than $85 annual- 
ly for this same acre of irrigated farm land.^® With this 
kind of economics, it is apparent that the drainage 
districts were in default on interest and principal due on 
the state's refunding bonds. By 1933 throughout the Big 
Horn Basin productive, irrigated farm land was being 
vacated on a massive scale. Tax sales were held, but 
there were no buyers and with each abandoned farm, 
the fiscal plight of the drainage districts became more 

"The dragline and 
maintenance crews were 
busy throughout the Big 
Horn Basin from April 
through October. " 

desperate. Complete loss of the state's permanent funds 
invested in the drainage districts became very real/' 

Once again the legislature took notice of the drain- 
age districts with the passage of Chapter 15 and Chapter 
79, Session Laws of Wyoming, 1933/* Chapter 15 dealt 
entirely with refunding indebtedness, permitting drain- 
age district commissioners, with the approval of the dis- 
trict court judge, 

to refund any lawful indebtedness of the district now exist- 
ing or which may hereafter be incurred by taking up and 
cancelling all or any part of its outstanding notes and 
bonds, as fast as they become due or before, if the holders 
thereof will surrender the same and issue in lieu thereof 
new notes or bonds of such district, payable in such time as 
the court shall deem proper.*' 

Not only did this law allow the district to refund all 
existing and future debt, but permitted them to set up a 
fund "necessary to provide for possible future defaults 
and delinquencies in the payment of assessments."^" 

Chapter 79, entitled "Liquidation of Delinquencies 
to State of Drainage and Irrigation Districts," autho- 
rized the Wyoming Farm Loan Board to file a certificate 
of delinquency in the district court having jurisdiction. 
The certificate would state the amount of delinquency, 
and once it was filed the judge of the district court was 
required to suspend the drainage district commissioners 
and to appoint a special commissioner to manage the af- 
fairs of the drainage district. The special commissioner 
served at the pleasure of the court and of the Farm Loan 
Board and his mission was to save the state's money.''' 
In effect, by these two laws, the Farm Loan Board, 
the name having been changed from the Fiscal Board, 
was given a blank check to solve the money problems of 
the drainage districts. However, a year later, little had 
been accomplished. 

Writing to Leonard S. Strahan, an attorney repre- 
senting some of the drainage districts. Governor Leslie 

A. Miller explained the Farm Loan Board's negotiations 
to sell the drainage district bonds to the Reconstruction 
Finance Corporation, a federal "New Deal" agency, de- 
signed to rescue local governments with money woes. 
The negotiations had ended when, following appraisal 
of the drainage districts, the R. F. C. had offered to pur- 
chase the bonds held by the state at the rate of seventeen 
and one half cents on the dollar. ^^ As Governor Miller 
said, "It was perfectly obvious to the Board that it could 
not undertake to assume such a loss to the permanent 
funds. "«^ 

Though the Wyoming Farm Loan Board was not 
willing to liquidate the drainage bonds at their ap- 
praised value, the board working with the Association of 
Drainage and Irrigations Districts of Big Horn County, 
developed a plan. This plan, based upon the two new 
laws, had four distinct features. First, there would be a 
drastic revision downward of the outstanding drainage 
bonds of each district so as to enable each district to 
make a full annual payment. Second, the plan would af- 
fix an exact liability to each tract of land within a 
drainage district. Third, the amount of money required 
to be paid each year for drainage assessments would be 
determined in such amounts so that the assessments 
could be paid from the proceeds of crop production. 
Fourth, a land classification system would be developed 
for each district, downgrading lands with less productive 
potential and eliminating from the district those lands 
within a district not capable of production.^" 

On April 7, 1934, after nearly a year of exploring 
the various options for dealing with the drainage dis- 
tricts' indebtedness, the board resolved to petition the 
District Court in Big Horn County for "the appointment 
of a Special Commissioner to administer, in behalf of 
said Board, the affairs of the North Bench Drainage Dis- 
trict and the Cowley Drainage District, both of which 


districts are located in Big Horn County."®^ Further the 
resolution called for the appointment of J. R. Ellis as 
special commissioner for these two drainage districts and 
stated that the purpose of the board was to deal with the 
obligations of the district and arrive at a proper and 
legal method of levying exact amount assessments 
against each individual parcel of land in each drainage 
district.*® In effect, once Judge Metz approved the peti- 
tion, the Farm Loan Board took over the management 
of the two drainage districts, with Special Commissioner 
Ellis replacing and assuming the functions of the three 
commissioners for each district. 

This was to be the method of solving the extreme 
problems of the drainage districts. The Farm Loan 
Board quickly proceeded to initiate this plan for the 
management of the drainage districts located in the Big 
Horn Basin. The Board named attorney L. A. Bowman 
of Lovell as special commissioner for six drainage dis- 
tricts.®' He was an excellent choice. Not only was Bow- 
man acceptable to the landowners and farmers, who 
generally opposed the state's plan, considering it inde- 
fensible meddling with local problems, but Bowman was 
knowledgeable as to the affairs of the drainage districts. 
He had served as legal counsel for several drainage dis- 
tricts since their inception and had worked closely with 
Judge Metz, the legislature and the Farm Loan Board to 
find just solutions for the problems. Bowman would 
serve as special commissioner for nine years and when 
his resignation was accepted in 1943, the fiscal woes of 
the drainage districts would be nearly over.®** 

Working through the special commissioners, the 
State Land Office and the State Engineer, the Farm 
Loan Board soon had completed appraisals — realistic 
evaluations, for the first time for the drainage districts 
for which it had assumed management. The appraisals 
done, the board had the data needed to develop a plan 
for refunding the indebtedness of the drainage districts 
and the repayment of the indebtedness. Though the 
plans for the drainage districts would vary because of in- 
dividual conditions, they contained three conditions 
which were constant. All of the repayment schedules 
would be for a very long period of time, some reaching 
well into the next century. The drainage assessment for 
each individual parcel of land would be so small as to 
virtually assure the landowner's ability to pay and a per- 
manent fund for the retirement of indebtedness and the 
maintenance of the drainage systems was established for 
each drainage district.®* 

The Farm Loan Board's administration of the 
drainage districts had one other important aspect. 
Those tracts of land within the drainage districts that 
had been abandoned and for which payments for assess- 
ments were drastically in arrears were awarded by the 
court to the Farm Loan Board. Through the permanent 
drainage district fund, the assessments for these tracts 
were now paid by the Farm Loan Board. The formerly 

abandoned tracts were maintained, improved with the 
construction of new drains, and eventually sold. Sale of 
these tracts of land began as early as 1937, and the ma- 
jority of the tracts had been sold by 1943, with the Farm 
Loan Board carrying the mortgage in numerous in- 

By 1940, the drainage district problems had been 
stabilized, and the land within the drainage districts was 
gradually being put back into production. From a spe- 
cial appropriation by the legislature, the Farm Loan 
Board had purchased a dragline to be used for the 
maintenance, improvement and extension of the drain 
systems. The work of the dragline and the maintenance 
crews was planned and supervised by the Special Drain- 
age District Commissioners, consulting with the Farm 
Loan Board. The dragline and the maintenance crews 
were busy throughout the Big Horn Basin from April 
through October, with the winter months used to repair 
and maintain equipment. Not only was the dragline and 
other equipment used to improve drainage districts 
managed by the Farm Loan Board, but it was rented to 
other drainage districts, irrigation districts, towns and to 
individuals as well." 

By 1940 the national economic climate was chang- 
ing. Europe was at war again, the United States was 
beginning to gear up for war, and agricultural markets 
were expanding. Once again agricultural products had 
cash value, prices were rising steadily, and the Big Horn 
Basin was gaining a semblance of prosperity after 20 
years of depression. It was the beginning of a prosperity 
that would endure, so that when the last of the drainage 
districts' indebtedness, stretching back to the World 
War I era, was paid off in 1977, the bankruptcies, the 
impossible assessments, the farm abandonments and the 
aura of desperation that had existed in the 1920s and 
the 1930s seemed only a bad dream. 

The Wyoming Farm Loan Board gradually released 
management control of the drainage districts during the 
war years and immediate post-war period, with the dis- 
tict courts appointing and supervising local commis- 
sioners for the drainage districts. Though the Farm 
Loan Board was at last out of the drainage district man- 
agement business, nevertheless they maintained a sharp 
eye on the drainage district accounts. But the danger 
was past. With the land that had lain fallow back into 
production, with new farmers, and a profitable agricul- 
tural climate, the drainage districts repayment funds 
were soon showing surpluses and bonds were being re- 
deemed ahead of schedule.'^ 

In 1966, the obligations of the drainage districts to 
the Wyoming Farm Loan Board were down to a total of 
$556,680, for 12 drainage districts." The Worland 
Drainage District owed the greatest amount, $101,500.''' 
The last of the drainage district bonds were redeemed 
from the State Treasurer in 1977, and, though it had 
been nearly a 60 year saga, the state had recouped every 

penny of permanent funds that had been invested in the 
drainage districts. The losses to unknown farm famihes, 
however, cannot be estimated or measured. 

1. Floyd A. Bishop, "Wyoming's Water- Yesterday, Today and To- 
morrow," Speech to the Wyoming Water Development Associa- 
tion Meeting, October 7, 1963. 

2. Wyoming Territory, Session Laws, 1876, Chapter 65, p. 377. 

3. Wyoming Blue Book, Fo/ume / (Cheyenne: Wyoming State Ar- 
chives and Historical Department, 1974) p. 466. 

4. El wood Mead, Correspondence, /555-iS90; Wyoming State Ar- 
chives, Museums and Historical Department. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Records of the Wyoming Territorial Engineer, 1888-1889. 
Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

8. Letter, Elwood Mead to the Irrigation Committee of the Wyo- 
ming Constitutional Convention, September 10, 1889; Wyo- 
ming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

9. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1965), pp. 254-255. 

10. Constitution of the State of Wyoming (Cheyenne: Thyra Thom- 
son, Secretary of State, 1981) p. 34. 

11. Ibid. 

12. "The Ownership of Water," Address by Elwood Mead before 
the Farmers at Fort Collins, Colorado, 1887, Records of the 
Wyoming Territorial Engineer, Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department. 

13. Report, Elwood Mead to the United States Senate Committee on 
Irrigation, 1889, Records of the Wyoming Territorial Engineer, 
Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

14. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 175. 

15. Ibid. 

16. Elwood Mead, Correspondence, 1890-1894, Wyoming State Ar- 
chives, Museums and Historical Department. 

17. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 303-304. 

18. Ibid. 

19. Ibid., p. 348. 

20. Commissioner of Public Lands, Carey Act Irrigation Project 
Files, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical De- 

21. Ibid. 

22. The Newlands Act, June 17, 1902. 

23. Beryl Churchill, Dams, Ditches and Water (Cody, Wyoming: 
Rustler Printing and Publishing, 1980), pp. 42-44. 

24. Ibid. 

25. Ibid. 

26. Ibid. 

27. Ibid., p. 65. 

28. Session Laws of Wyoming, 1911, Chapter 95, p. 139. 

29. Wyoming Senate Journal, 1911, Senate File No. 85. 

30. Session Laws of Wyoming, 1911, Chapter 95, p. 139. 

31. Ibid. 

32. Wyoming Blue Book, Volume III (Cheyenne: Wyoming State 
Archives and Historical Department, 1974), pp. 39-41. 

33. Ibid. 

34. Wyoming State Treasurer, Drainage District Bond Records. 
1911-1915, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical 

35. Torrington Telegram, October 24, 1974. 

36. Wyoming State Treasurer, Drainage District Bond Records, 
1916-1919, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical 

37. Ibid., 1916-1918. 

38. Ibid. 

39. Ibid.. 1918-1919. 

40. Ibid. 

41. Ibid. 

42. Ibid., 1917-1922. 

43. Ibid., 1920-1924. 

44. Ibid. 

45. Ibid. 

46. Session Laws of Wyoming, 1923, Chapter 10, p. 12. 

47. Session Laws of Wyoming, Special Session, 1923, Chapter 2, 
p. 5. 

48. Ibid. 

49. Letter. L. A. Bowman to John M. Snyder, Wyoming State 
Treasurer, March 20, 1923, Correspondence Files, Drainage 
District Records, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and His- 
torical Department. 

50. Letter, John M. Snyder, Wyoming State Treasurer to L. A. 
BovkTTian, Lovell, Wyoming, March 24, 1923, Correspondence 
Files. Drainage District Records. Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department. 

51. Ibid. 

52. Wyoming State Treasurer, Drainage District Bond Records. 
April, 1923, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical 

53. Ibid., 1923-1927. 

54. Ibid. 

55. Ibid. 

56. Wyoming State Treasurer, Farm Loan Board Records. 1931, 
Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

57. Letter. M. A. JoUey, Secy., Lovell Drainage District to H. R. 
Weston, Wyoming State Treasurer, March 23, 1934; Cor- 
respondence Files, Drainage District Records, Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

58. Session Laws of Wyoming, Special Session. 1933, Chapter 15, p. 
18; and Session Laws of Wyoming. 1933, Chapter 79, p. 91. 

59. Session Laws of Wyoming, Special Session, 1933, Chapter 15, 
p. 18. 

60. Ibid. 

61. Session Laws of Wyoming. 1933, Chapter 79, pp. 91-92. 

62. Letter, Governor Leslie A. Miller to Leonard S. Strahan, 
Lovell, Wyoming, March 14, 1923, Correspondence Files. 
Drainage District Records. Wyoming State Archives, Museums 
and Historical Department. 

63. Ibid. 

64. Minutes, The Association of Drainage and Irrigation Districts of 
Big Horn County, Lovell, Wyoming, March 26, 1934, Drainage 
District Records, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and His- 
torical Department. 

65. Resolution, Wyoming Farm Loan Board, April 7, 1934, Wyo- 
ming State Treasurer, Farm Loan Board Records, Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

66. Ibid. 

67. Wyoming State Treasurer, Farm Loan Board Records, 1934, 
Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

68. Ibid., 1934-1943. 

69. Ibid. 

70. Ibid. 

71. Letter, J. R. Ellis, Special Commissioner, Basin, Wyoming to 
Thomas K. Cassidy, Collector of Internal Revenue, Cheyenne, 
October 7, 1937; Wyoming State Treasurer, Farm Loan Board 
Records. Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical 

72. Wyoming State Treasurer, Drainage District Bond Records, 
1940- 1977, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical 

73. Ibid., 1966. 

74. Ibid. 





By Rebecca W. Thomson " 

Not long after new residents came with the railroad 
in July, 1867, the first Wyoming lawyers arrived and set 
up shop in Cheyenne. In August, 1867, W. W. Corlett, 
who was to become one of Wyoming's most respected 
lawyers, arrived. Corlett was a Civil War veteran who 
had graduated from the Union Law College of Ohio in 
1866. When Corlett came he joined the city attorney, 
James R. Whitehead, to become the prosecutor for that 
city. Corlett recalled that Cheyenne was a city of 500 to 
600 people living in tents or under wagons. "I had my of- 
fice with Whitehead in a tent and slept under a wagon 
myself for two or three months."' 

At that time, the official government for the entire 
area of Wyoming was located in Yankton, Dakota Terri- 
tory, hundreds of miles to the northeast. The days of 
railroad construction were wild times for Wyoming. 
Newspapers record much violence in the railroad tovkTis 
that sprang up overnight. Wife beating, prostitution, 
robbery, drunken brawls and gunfights were everyday 
news. Without a strong local government and with the 
territorial government days away in Yankton, violence 
gave rise to vigilante "justice." 

Wyoming's first recorded activity of this kind oc- 
curred in January, 1868. Three men who had been ar- 
rested for theft were released on bond. The next morn- 
ing they were found tied together with a large canvas 




which Hsted their names and the following: "$900 stolen, 
1500 returned, city authorities please not interfere until 
10 o'clock a.m. Next case goes up a tree. Beware of the 
Vigilance Committee." The next morning the Cheyenne 
vigilantes struck at Dale City and hanged three desper- 
adoes. A few days later they drove five "bad guys" out of 
Cheyenne. All of this activity created excitement in 
Cheyenne, the mayor and the newspaper deploring vigi- 
lante activity. 

In March, 1868, two men, Martin and Morgan, 
were lynched by a masked group. Martin was a notori- 
ous barkeeper who had been charged with murdering an 
accomplice and had been acquitted by the U. S. District 
Court. The Vigilance Committee did not agree with the 
verdict. Morgan was hanged for stealing mules. ^ After 
that, vigilante activity subsided in Cheyenne but con- 
tinued west vdth the railroad to Laramie City. Laramie 
had a well -organized group of vigilantes. 

In the mid-1870's, Wyoming was experiencing in- 
creasing difficulty with road agents robbing stage- 
coaches. In August, 1875, the Cheyenne Daily Leader 
stated: "Gold excitement has brought to our city many 
dangerous characters. . . . They live by appropriating 
the property of our people and, if the officers do not put 
a stop to this practice, a people's committee will take the 
matter from their hands. A little hemp could be used to 


good advantage." In June, 1877, under the title 
"Hankering for Hemp," the Daily Leader urged: 
If there is power in the land to stop this deviUsh work and 
hang these hellhounds, we call upon all in authority 
military or civil to use immediate and potent means. Other- 
wise the people must rise and summarily end the career of 
road agents and horse thieves, after which inefficient offi- 
cers will be deposed. 
These stirring editorials must have had an effect for on 
October 9, 1878, the Daily Leader reported: "The Good 
Work Progresses . . . two dead men with black faces and 
protruding tongues were left to fester on a tree." 

But crime on the frontier continued and the public, 
dissatisfied with results from the territorial courts, sup- 
ported these vigilante executions. Before 1887 there 
were only two legal executions — both men were "half- 
breeds." In the early 1880s the newspapers complained 
that there had been "scores of murders, coldblooded 
and atrocious," with little in the way of punishment so 
extralegal executions continued.' 

In January, 1879, "Dutch Charlie" Burris was 
lynched in Carbon and in 1881 his compatriot "Big 
Nose" George Parrott met the same fate in Rawlins. 
Henry Mosier, another murderer, was lynched in 
Cheyenne in 1883. Despite pleas from Mayor Joseph 
Carey and territorial officials to let the law punish 
Mosier, the mob hanged him from a telephone pole at 
the corner of 19th and Capitol. Most of the territory 
condoned these lynchings because all three men were 
well-known vicious characters whom it was feared would 
escape punishment without mob action. The newspaper 
supported these lynchings. The Cheyenne Sun stated: 
There has [sic] been so many long-winded ceremonious 
legal farces enacted in the courts of the Territory that it 
seemed to many of our thoughtful citizens as if the law was 
being used to protect and not to punish criminals. 
The Cheyenne Leader added: "Mob violence is deplor- 
able but unless the laws and the courts furnish protec- 
tion to life and punish crime, there is nothing left us."" 
In an attempt to remedy the lack of official and 
legal justice. Judge Ara Bartlett, Chief Justice of the 
Dakota Territory, came to Cheyenne to hold court in the 
spring and fall of 1868. For the transient railroad pop- 
ulation of southern Wyoming these two terms were not 
enough. The Dakota legislature and the Dakota judges 
were criticized for neglecting the Wyoming area. A 
Cheyenne lawyer observed in 1868 that "what may be 
very wholesome law among the Norwegians at Yankton 
is far from meeting the lightning-like necessities of a 
people whose every movement is made at the rate of 25 
miles an hour." The Daily Leader put it this way, 
"Dakota is a slow coach; we travel by steam. "^ 

Complaints flooded Washington about the tur- 
bulence and lack of government in Wyoming. As early 
as December, 1867, the governor of Dakota noted the 
crime and violence in the southwest part of his territory 
and urged that a separate territory be created in order to 

deal more effectively with it. Dr. Hiram Latham, repre- 
senting Wyoming people, went to Washington in Octo- 
ber, 1867. In an address to members of the Senate and 
House, he stated that the people of Wyoming "are prac- 
tically without government and without law. Vigilance 
Committees usurp the function of the court, and the 
only restraint upon the evil disposed is the fear of 
violence at the hands of those self-constituted 
tribunals." He also pointed to the strong support among 
Wyoming residents for the creation of the Wyoming 

Unfortunately, at the time the Wyoming Organic 
Act was introduced, a feud between President Johnson 
and Congress was at its height, and the Wyoming bill 
was attacked as "a scheme for officeholders." Wyoming 
experienced one of the longest delays of any territory. 
More than three years passed between the introduction 
of the act and its passage. Grant was criticized in Wyo- 
ming for his role in the delay and some members of 
Wyoming society felt it was a plan to prevent Wyoming 
from being settled by "conservative white men." Civil 
War emotions still ran high even in the West. The Fron- 
tier Index made this position clear: 

The community will not be run or represented by any one 
cent, pettifogging, cloaked, black Republican and all 
aspirants of that stamp had better pack their carpet bags 
and put out for Thad Steven's Hell at the head of the 
Yellowstone River. That is the only part of Dakota that the 
Devil has set apart for the domicile of such mongrels. Your 
store clothes do not encase the gizzard foot sambo smell, 
sufficiently secure to make your presence agreeable among 
honest white men.* 

Like the organic acts for other territories, Wyo- 
ming's followed the Ordinance of 1787 for the Ohio Ter- 
ritory. The organization of the judicial system was sim- 
ple. Under the act, the Wyoming Territory had three 
justices appointed by the President and confirmed by 
the Senate for four-year terms. They presided individ- 
ually as district judges and in a body as the Territorial 
Supreme Court. In both capacities they had jurisdiction 
over cases arising under United States or territorial law. 
Appeals went from the Territorial Supreme Court to the 
U. S. Supreme Court.' The Territorial Supreme Court 
met annually at Cheyenne. Throughout the territorial 
period, there were only three judicial districts, but their 
boundaries were changed several times. 

Judge A. C. Campbell, an early Wyoming attorney 
who knew most of the territorial judges, stated that it 
"was cynically remarked that the three district judges 
met in Cheyenne once a year as justices of the Supreme 
Court to affirm each others errors."' 

Statistics from those early days indicate that the 
Wyoming Territorial Supreme Court did not automa- 
tically affirm district court decisions. In the period up to 
statehood in 1890, the Supreme Court affirmed in 106 
cases, reversed in 51, dismissed 16 and modified five de- 
cisions of the lower court.' 


Chief Justice Marshall defined territorial courts as 
legislative courts, not constitutional courts.'" The prac- 
tical effect of this decision was that territorial judges 
were frequently removed for political reasons despite 
their pleas of immunity. 

The judges of the district courts ordinarily held two 
terms of court at the county seat of each county in their 
district. One frequently voiced criticism was the small 
number of judges for such large districts. Coverage in 
Wyoming on horseback or by stage was an almost impos- 
sible task, considering the vast distances between com- 
munities. This often led to long and costly delays in liti- 
gation. In Johnson County, Wyoming, where personal 
property was valued at |5 million, the district judge 
could make the 500-mile stage trip only once a year for a 
one -week session." 

Lack of money to effectively run the judiciary was at 
the center of most territorial judicial problems. The sal- 
aries of the judges of the district courts were covered by 
their salaries as Territorial Supreme Court Justices. 
These "pitifully meager" salaries were established by the 
Territorial Organic Act. From 1870 until statehood, 
Wyoming's justices had their salaries pegged at $3,000 
per annum. The deliberate failure of Congress to appro- 
priate the full amount of the judicial salary made the 
situation even worse. From 1877-1880 Congress appro- 
priated only $2,600 for each judge's salary.'^ 

The discrepancy between the value of the dollar 
from Washington and the value of gold, which was the 
currency in use in the West, increased the problem. The 
discounting for gold cost the judges about 15-25% 
before they even received their salaries.'^ Finally, like 
Wyoming boom town citizens of today, the judges had 
to contend with the very high costs of living on the fron- 
tier. Governor Moonlight, who received the same salary 
as the justices, complained that it was impossible to live 
here on the salary, however economical one may be. 
"The cost of keeping a horse is more than my pay will 
warrant, and so we go on foot . . ."'" Territorial Judge 
W. W. Peck apparently practiced moneylending. In 
1882 he offered to handle loans for President Hayes, 
noting that "there is no law against usury in the Ter- 
ritory . . ."'* Judge Kingman also complained about the 
salary, stating he was unwilling to board with laborers. 

Territorial legislatures tried to ease the problem by 
voting extra compensation. In 1873 Congress prohibited 
payment of extra compensation to governors, secretaries 
and members of territorial legislatures. Through an er- 
ror in rewriting the act, judges escaped this prohibition. 
Judges received $1,000 to $1,500 extra in Wyoming, but 
inadequate salary remained the reason most often cited 
for judicial resignations. 

The administration of justice was further hampered 
by unrealistic travel and per diem allowances for wit- 
nesses and jurors.'® These allowances, designed for 
Eastern states, were inadequate in the West. Jurors and 

witnesses collected traveling expenses of $.06 per mile 
and paid stage fares of $.25 per mile. The result was that 
witnesses would appear only if arrested, preferring to be 
taken to court as prisoners at the Government's expense 
rather than pay their own way without any hope of ade- 
quate reimbursement. 

The types of cases handled by the Wyoming terri- 
torial courts grew out of the economy of the state. Many 
of the cases brought to the territorial court had the 
Union Pacific Railroad as one of the litigants." Cattle 
cases were another source of frequent litigation. Breach 
of contract and rustling cases formed the bulk of those 
cases." Disputes over land were frequent, including 
boundary disputes between land claimants, claim jump- 
ers, miners, private citizens and the Federal govern- 

Wyoming had its share of criminal cases. ^^ The 
court also had the usual run of tax, procedure, agency, 
bank and contract disputes with which to deal. Of the 
cases decided by the Territorial Supreme Court, only 12 
were appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Of those 12, 
three were affirmed, three reversed, and the rest dis- 
missed or set aside. 

President Grant's judicial appointments for the Ter- 
ritory of Wyoming were announced on April 3, 1869. 
John H. Howe was appointed Chief Justice and John W. 
Kingman and W. T. Jones were named associate jus- 
tices. The judges went to work as soon as they arrived. 
Judge Kingman described his arrival in Cheyenne in his 

I went out there in May 1869, just after the Union Pacific 
Railroad had been opened for travel. All the new territorial 
officers arrived about the same time and we organized the 
government and the courts. We found a horrible condition 
of things. Apparently the worst men and women from the 
border states and many who had fled from the relentless 
draft among the rebels seemed to dominate society.^' 
Chief Justice Howe observed a year after his arrival 
that "reckless roving adventurers who have no settled, 
well-defined notions of the rights and obligations of so- 
ciety" were in the majority. The Chief Justice urged a 
"firm, inflexible and vigorous administration of the law" 
to confront crime and immorality, "which everywhere 
prevailed and was predominant."^^ 

Evidently the lav^ers were not much better than the 
general citizenry. Judge Kingman said, "Some of the at- 
torneys were wretched characters. I sent two of them to 
prison for 30 days each and disbarred two. These all left 
the Territory and never came back again. "^^ Chief 
Justice Howe experienced similar problems with the 
local bar. He fined four lawyers. The Cheyenne Leader 
supported the Chief Justice in his lack of sympathy for 
lawyers who overslept "on account of spiritual manifes- 
tations the previous evening." 

Evidently lawyers with "spiritual manifestations" 
continued to be a source of trouble to the courts. For ex- 
ample, in one decision Judge Peck noted: 


Street was a practicing lawyer at Cheyenne and the evi- 
dence of professional experts show that, when sober, he was 
a careful and precise draftsman of law papers; the structure 
of the deed is conclusive that he was sober when he 
prepared it and saw to this execution. 

Like many of Wyoming's territorial judges Chief Justice 
Howe had served in the Army during the Civil War and 
had risen to the rank of brigadier general. He was bom 
in New York and educated in Ohio, for a time serving as 
judge of the Sixth Judicial District of Illinois. He was an 
active Whig until 1860 when he became a Republican. 
W. W. Corlett described the Chief Justice as "peevish 
and fretful, although a man of pretty good ability. He 
was undoubtedly out of health, dyspeptic in his stomach 
and in his nature, too."^" 

Judge Kingman, also from the East, was a graduate 
of Harvard Law School. He practiced law in the office of 
Daniel Webster in Boston and served as a colonel in the 
Civil War. Bom in 1821 in New Hampshire, his ances- 
tors were the Brewsters who arrived on the Mayflower 
and settled in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1696 In- 
dians attacked the settlement, and his great-great- 
grandmother was found without her scalp and with a 
fracture in her cranium from a tomahawk. 

The Wyoming Territorial Legislature was the first 
legislature to grant women the right to vote and hold of- 
fice. The Wyoming legislators also adopted a law to 
"protect married women in their separate property, and 
the enjoyment of the fruits of their labor," and a law 
which provided that "in the employment of teachers, no 
discrimination shall be made in the question on account 
of sex. . . ."^* 

Governor Campbell was opposed to the Suffrage 
Act. Both Howe and Kingman were active in supporting 
Wyoming's early contribution to women's rights. In his 
autobiography, Kingman wrote that he and Howe 
talked to Campbell until midnight in order to convince 
him to sign the bill. "We presented all the arguments we 
could think of, for we were decidedly in favor of it as a 
matter of justice as well as of expediency. We at last con- 
vinced him and he signed it." Part of the justices' sup- 
port for extending the franchise to women was probably 
due to the "civilizing influence" women were credited 
with during frontier days. Kingman and Howe cited 
that attribute when they worked to get women to serve 
on juries.^' Like the citizenry at large, Wyoming juries 
were a rough group. Judge Kingman noted that "the 
courts were powerless to enforce the criminal laws in 
cases of high crimes. It was a common remark in the jury 
room, 'one man is dead, what do (we) want to kill 
another for?' "^^ 

Judge Kingman related the events that led to the 
first women in the world sitting on a jury in Laramie in 

The county officers, thinking to throw ridicule on the act 

and make trouble for the judges, summoned nearly all the 

respectable women in the city as jurors . . . This made the 

husbands furious, as they looked upon it as an insult as well 
as an outrage. Threats of violence were made unless the 
judge would discharge all the women at once . . , Judge 
Howe and I consulted over the subject and agreed that the 
women had the right to sit as jurors and should not be 
driven from the exercise of it without their consent. ..." 
In a letter ruling on the prosecutor's objection to 
women being empaneled. Judge Howe wrote: 

I will thank you to make it known to those ladies who have 
been summoned on the juries that they will be received, 
protected and treated with all respect and courtesy due and 
ever paid by true American gentlemen to true American 
ladies, and the court, by all the powers of the government, 
will secure to them all that deference, security from insult 
or anything which ought to offend the most refined woman 
which is accorded to women in any of the walks of life in 
which the good and true women of our country have here- 
tofore been accustomed to move. 

Thus, whatever may have been, or may not be thought 
of the policy of admitting women to the right of suffrage 
and to hold office, they will have a fair opportunity, at least 
in my court, to demonstrate their ability in the new field, 
and the policy or impolicy of their occupying it. 

Of their right to try it I have no doubt. I hope they will 
succeed, and the court will certainly aid them in all lawful 
and proper ways.™ 

Justice Kingman described the atmosphere which 
greeted the justices, "When we went to the Court House 
it was filled with a curious crowd, some to enjoy the fun, 
both most angry and sullen."^' 

From another perspective, one of the first woman 
jurors, Sarah Wallace Pease, described her jury sum- 

This proceeding was considered a very ludicrous affair . . . 
consequently when the eventful day arrived they (the 
women) were all in attendance, with the mutual under- 
standing that they would request to be excused. When we 
reached the old club house or barracks, which was digni- 
fied by being called a court house, we found it filled to 
overflowing with a crowd of men and women. . . .^^ 
Chief Justice Howe formally opened court by saying: 
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Grand Jury: It is a novelty to 
see, as we do today, ladies summoned as jurors. The exten- 
sion of political rights and franchise to women is a subject 
that is agitating the whole country. I have never taken an 
active part in the discussions, but I have long seen that 
woman was a victim to vices, crimes and immorality, and 
with no power to protect or defend herself from these evils. 
I have long felt that such powers of protection should be 
conferred upon women, and it has fallen to our lot here to 
act as pioneers in this movement, and to test the questions. 
The eyes of the world are today fixed upon this jury of 
Albany county. There is not the slightest impropriety in 
any lady occupying the position, and I wish to assure you 
that the fullest protection of the court shall be accorded to 
you. It would be a most shameful scandal that in our 
temples of justice and in our courts of law anything should 
be permitted which the most sensitive lady might not hear 
with propriety and fitness; and here let me add that it will 
be a Sony day for any man who shall so far forget the cour- 
tesies due and paid by every American gentleman to every 
American lady as to even by word or act endeavor to deter 
you from the exercise of these rights of which the law has 


Chief Justices 

John H. Howe 

Joseph W. Fisher 

James B. Sener 

John W. Lacey 

William L. Maginnis 

Willis Van Devanter 


invested you. I will conclude with a remark that this is a 
question for you to decide for yourself. No man has any 
right to interfere. It seems to be proper for women to sit 
upon grand juries, which will give them the best possible 
opportunities to aid in suppressing dens of infamy which 
curse the country. I shall be glad of your assistance in the 
accomplishment of this object." 

Next, Justice Kingman was called upon to address 
the prospective jurors. Judge Kingman related: 

I told them that they well knew how utterly unable the 
courts were to enforce the criminal law. in consequence of 
the unwillingness of such juries as we had been having, to 
convict anyone, that we believed a remedy would be found 
if the intelligent and moral women would come forward 
and help us by exercising the new powers now for the first 
time put into their hands; that they were more deeply in- 
terested in sustaining the honest and vigorous enforcement 
of the laws than any other class of citizens. We implored 
them to aid us as judges and protect themselves and the 
young society now just organizing itself.''' 

Pease described the reaction of the women to these re- 
marks by writing, "I hardly need to add that such words 
of commendation, coming from the bench had the de- 
sired effect and as a result every woman who had been 
called to serve was promptly sworn in."^^ The attorneys 
objected again and were overruled. Judge Howe, when 
threatened by irate counsel with an appeal from his rul- 
ing, responded, "Go ahead, and see how far you get with 
Kingman and me on the Supreme Court. " 

The news of the world's first women jurors was tele- 
graphed everywhere. Twenty-four hours later the King 
of Prussia cabled congratulations to President Grant. 
Newspaper writers and special artists from the illustrat- 
ed papers came to Laramie to record the historic event. 
The women jurors, despite pleas from the court, refused 
to pose for a group photograph. When going back and 
forth between the jury room and the courtroom they 
were "heavily veiled" to prevent sketches being taken. 
The precautions were to no avail, however. They were 
caricatured by the newspaper artists and many of the 
newspapers wrote unfavorable articles to accompany the 
drawings. In spite of this adverse reception, the female 
jurors fulfilled their responsibilities admirably. They sat 
in on a variety of cases including horse and cattle steal- 
ing, illegal branding and murder. 

The effect of the women on the male jurors was star- 
tling. Card and dice playing, drinking and even smoking 
and chewing were inhibited. The judges noted that even 
the courtroom shaped up. "Lawyers took their heels off 
the table, and quit whistling and expectorating. The 
Judge put his legs and feet under the bench where they 
belonged instead of on top of it, the attendants and 
spectators came better dressed; the room was kept neat 
and clean." The tone of the jury room was also radically 
changed. The first "female" Grand Jury was opened in 
prayer by a minister's wife. This same woman insisted, 
in spite of criticism from other female jurors, upon knit- 
ting throughout the court proceedings and delibera- 

tions. Juror Pease described her as knitting during the 
deliberation in a murder case, reciting in rhythm with 
her clicking needles. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood by 
man shall his blood be shed."^^ The man was convicted. 
When the jurors were discharged. Chief Judge Howe 
praised the women jurors, saying they exerted "a refin- 
ing and humanizing influence" and their presence 
marked "a new and improved epoch in the administra- 
tion of justice." In a later written statement, the Chief 
Judge commended the women for their "careful, pain- 
staking, intelligent and conscientious" attitude.'^ 

Judge Kingman maintained a strong interest in 
women's rights. He stated in his autobiography, "I can- 
not help regarding the part I took in securing the 
passage of the Woman Suffrage Act, in giving it vital 
force and effect and preserving its perpetuation and 
popularity as the most creditable act of my life."^* He 
gave interviews and speeches on the subject in several 
states. In 1876 he spoke to the Massachusetts legislature 
on the Wyoming experience with women's suffrage. In 
1874 in an interview with feminist Mrs. Lucy Stone, he 
observed, "A woman will not consent to be a butterfly 
when she can of her own choice become an eagle! Let 
her enjoy the ambitions of life. Let her be able to secure 
its honors, its riches, its high places, and she will not be 
its toy or simple ornament. "^^ 

Judge Kingman, like several other territorial judges, 
had interests in livestock. He was a major figure in Wyo- 
ming's sheep raising industry. In 1871 the Laramie Daily 
Sentinel reported that Judge Kingman had received a 
"whole train load of sheep from the East." Judge 
Kingman gained a wide reputation as an authority on 
sheep and was quoted as such in a report of the Secre- 
tary of the Interior. But his sheep raising activity also 
gave an opportunity to his critics. P. S. Posey said: 
Judge Kingman, instead of mounting armed chairs to 
frighten the souls of fearful lawyers, capers nimbly in an 
odorous sheepfold to the lascivious bawling of his rams. Be- 
sides, he ranks much higher as a lawyer among sheep than 
he does among men.''" 

Toward the end of his term. Chief Judge Howe ex- 
perienced problems of a more serious nature. In 1869- 
1870 Wyoming was excited by the Black Hills gold dis- 
coveries and there was much talk of sending an armed 
mining expedition north. Because of his "ability, ad- 
dress, high character, and social and political influ- 
ence,'"" Judge Howe was selected to represent Wyoming 
in Washington, D.C. Howe went to Washington and 
was successful in obtaining permission for the territory's 
northern expedition. Upon his return he was generally 
applauded by the residents for this accomplishment, but 
the Justice Department was not pleased with his activity. 
The actions that led to his early resignation began 
soon after his Washington success in 1870. A lawsuit was 
brought against the Union Pacific Railroad by a con- 
tractor who sought an award of $600,000. Judge Howe 


required the railroad to put up security for the claim, 
refusing to accept the bond signed by the Union Pacific 
directors because they were not residents and did not 
own property in Wyoming. Instead, the judge wanted to 
appoint a receiver. The railroad protested vehemently. 
Oakes Ames, Union Pacific promotor, called Howe's de- 
cision "an outrage that ought not to be submitted to." 
The railroad began to apply political pressure. The 
Justice Department instructed the Wyoming judge on 
the government's desire to see that the railroad be kept 
running. Howe was on the verge of removal. After two 
weeks, Howe capitulated to the railroad's demands. The 
case proceeded without a receiver and Oakes Ames was 
"gratified that the Wyoming courts have come to their 

Later Howe tried unsuccessfully to become the Re- 
publican nominee for Territorial Delegate to Congress. 
Governor Campbell halted Howe's ambition by appoint- 
ing Judge William Jones. After two and a half years on 
the bench, Howe resigned, a sick man. Two years later 
he died. Near the end of his service, Howe described the 
transformation of Laramie from a wild frontier town to 
a place known for its "peace, sobriety and good." While 
this statement may not be entirely accurate, it does 
reflect his estimate of the initial impact of the federal 
judiciary on the frontier.'*' 

Judge William Jones sat on the bench with Howe 
and Kingman. Born in Indiana, he served in the Civil 
War and was promoted to major "for gallant and meri- 
torious services on the field. " He began the practice of 
law in 1865 and in 1869, at the age of 27, he was ap- 
pointed justice of the Wyoming Territorial Supreme 
Court. Corlett described Jones as, "Entirely cool and im- 
partial on the bench and for that reason was approved 
by the bar and people.'"''' 

Jones was supported by Governor Campbell as the 
Republican nominee for Territorial Delegate to Con- 
gress and his selection in 1871 caused a schism in the 
Wyoming Republican party. This intra-party feud last- 
ed for over four years, until Governor Campbell's 
resignation in 1875. The Republican editor of the Lar- 
amie Sentinel later described this "war" between federal 
officers as one "which rapidly spread among the citizens 
of the territory and grew into the most bitter feud ever 
known in the West." 

On one side were Governor Campbell, Justice Jones, 
U. S. Attorney Joseph Carey (later a territorial justice), 
Frank Wolcott of the U. S. Land Office, and the editor 
of the Laramie Daily Sentinel. On the other side were 
Territorial Secretary Herman Glafcke, Surveyor General 
Silas Reed, U. S. Marshal Church Howe and the editor 
of the Cheyenne Daily Leader. Church Howe was the 
nominee for delegate by this faction of Republicans. 
Since he was the U. S. Marshal, the ramifications of the 
hostilities were serious for the judiciary. 

Following charges of vote-buying, the governor per- 
suaded President Grant to remove Church Howe as mar- 
shal in May, 1871. The Cheyenne Daily Leader blamed 
Howe's removal on the "meanness, political chicanery, 
and rotten machinations of the Campbell clique of polit- 
ical prostitutes and drunkards."'"* The marshal's re- 
placement left after a few days, on a cattle train in the 
middle of the night. Justice Jones accused Church Howe 
of buying off this replacement. Howe was then reap- 
pointed but removed again in 1872 when President 
Grant appointed Frank Wolcott as U. S. Marshal. This 
precipitated a flood of letters to Washington describing 
Wolcott as "obnoxious and hateful to us." 

By the spring of 1872, Campbell's superior position 
had eroded. Wyomingites were dissatisfied with Dele- 
gate Jones' job as their representative. Jones' problems 
coupled with the disarray among the Republicans led to 
a Democratic victory in the Delegate race in September, 
1872. In March, 1873, President Grant removed two 
more anti-Campbell Republicans, Glafcke and Reed. 

In 1874, Judge Joseph M. Carey was the Republican 
nominee for delegate. He was defeated by Democrat 
W. R. Steele. With a Democrat again in Washington, 
Campbell left Wyoming to become United States Consul 
to Switzerland. A concentrated effort to remove Judge 
Carey began. Edward Ivinson, a prominent Laramie 
banker, wrote to the U. S. Attorney General attacking 

Judge Carey is not a man of learning in the law or in 
anything else and is completely blinded by his likes and 
dislikes to such an extent that he cannot decide any ques- 
tion fairly. He always tried to protect his political friends 
and punish his political enemies. 

He described the Chief Judge as follows: "Judge Fisher is 
a weak old man, feeble in health and more feeble in in- 
tellect." Judge Thomas was characterized as a "vulgar 
whiskey drinker . . . hostile and abusive.'"** Ivinson con- 
cluded by threatening to leave the country unless there 
was a change of officers, but the removal effort failed 
and the "Campbell" judges remained on the bench. 

Judge Fisher, the judge described so unflatteringly 
by Ivinson, began his tenure on the bench in 1871, sit- 
ting with Kingman and Howe. He was born in Pennsyl- 
vania in 1814, admitted to the bar in 1842, and elected 
to the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1848. He enlisted in 
1861 as a captain of the Union Army, fought at Get- 
tysburg and was rewarded for his gallantry with the 
brevet rank of Brigadier General. President Grant refer- 
red to Fisher in complimentary terms in his memoirs. 

Ivinson was not Judge Fisher's only critic. The Chief 
Justice was condemned by P. S. Wilson, a Cheyenne 
banker, in letters to officials in Washington. On treat- 
ment of an embezzler by Judge Fisher and by a contempt 
of court punishment he received from the judge, Wilson 
wrote of Fisher: 


Associate Justices 

William T. Jones 

John W. Kingman 

Joseph M. Carey 

E. A. Thomas 

Jacob B. Blair 


William Ware Peck 

Micah C. Saufley 

Samuel C. Parks 

Asbury B. Conaway 

*Joseph W. Fisher served as associate justice for eight 
months in 1871 before he was named Chief Justice. 


The basilisk is hatched from the male bird's egg. It is a 

creature surpassing all others in its hideousness and venom. 

The way to kill it, is to hold before it a mirror, when it dies 

from terror. If our judicial basilisk will examine himself in 

this mirror of his deed, he cannot live."' 

In spite of such vicious attacks, Judge Fisher enjoyed 
a comparatively long term on the bench— over eight 
years. Unlike many of the territorial judges, he re- 
mained in Wyoming. In 1881 he was appointed U. S. 
Commissioner and served until statehood. The initial 
draft of the state's constitution was the work of the 
former justice. His son, Tunis J., better known as T.Joe, 
was a well-known figure in the Cheyenne legal commu- 
nity where he served as District Clerk of Court for many 

In 1873 E. A. Thomas was appointed to replace Jus- 
tice Kingman. A native of New York, he was 35 when he 
arrived in Wyoming. He had been mayor of Auburn, 
New York, and a captain in the Union Army. Judge 
Thomas served for four years and was the compiler for 
the first volume of the Wyoming Supreme Court deci- 
sions. He later returned to the East where he wrote sev- 
eral novels and a dictionary of biography. 

The last judge to serve during the Campbell admin- 
istration was Judge Joseph M. Carey. He was born in 
Delaware in 1845 and g[raduated from the University of 
Pennsylvania where, while studying law, he stumped on 
behalf of Republican candidates and campaigned for 
Grant in 1868. In 1869 Grant appointed Carey, at 

Carey's own request, to be the first U. S. Attorney for 
Wyoming. Two years later he resigned this office when, 
at age 26, he was appointed associate justice for the 
Wyoming Supreme Court, where he served from 

Carey went on to be elected Mayor of Cheyenne 
three times, Representative to Congress three times and 
after statehood he was elected Senator. In 1911 he was 
elected Governor of the State of Wyoming. While a 
delegate to Congress, Carey worked for Wyoming's 

As early as 1869 Judge Carey saw the possibilities in 
the cattle industry. In a letter he wrote to one of his 
brothers he said: 

I have for some time been thinking of suggesting to him 
[their brother John] to come to this country to engage in 
cattle and sheep raising. I know of nothing in which a man 
can so speedily and surely make a fortune ... A man with 
some capital that will stick to the business for 5 years with 
but ordinary luck can be worth $100,000. I believe it to be 
a sure road to fortune. ...''* 

In 1872 he and his brother brought a herd from Texas to 
Cheyenne. By 1875 they boasted the largest herd in the 
state, over 6,000 head. A decade later they had 32,287 
head of cattle. The company, J. M. Carey and Brother, 
was in operation for three-quarters of a century."* As a 
member of the judiciary, Carey was criticized for his 
business interests. While he was on the bench in 1876, 
Delegate W. R. Steele, the Democrat who defeated 

Courthouse interior, Evanston, Uinta County, in territorial days. 


Carey for the position in 1874, complained of his busi- 
ness interests to the attorney general: 

Judge Carey is a young man of limited experience at the 
bar, is largely engaged in private business which engrosses a 
very considerable portion of his time, almost the whole of 
it, thus preventing that undivided attention to his judicial 
duties, which is an absolute prerequisite to a good judicial 

Assessments of Carey's judicial performance varied. 
Opponents accused him of incompetence but his friends 
described him as dedicated and diligent. During the re- 
moval activity, after Campbell's departure, the U. S. 
Marshal at the Attorney General's request interviewed 
ten leading citizens about Carey's reputation. All pro- 
fessed to like him personally; all questioned his ability as 
a lawyer and judge. The marshal's report noted that 
Francis E. Warren liked Carey as an honorable and 
energetic gentleman "but as a lawyer thinks he does not 
know anything about it and very much prejudiced." 
Luke Murrin considered Judge Carey "a nice clever fel- 
low, highly honorable," but also stated that he "does not 
know any more about law than a hog . . . full of preju- 
dice and owTied and run by the Campbell clique."^' 
Carey did not lack support, however. He was able to get 
17 out of the 20 practicing lawyers in the territory to pe- 
tition Washington in his favor. Carey, was elected to the 
U. S. Senate in 1890 where he served until 1895." 

Carey was replaced by Jacob B. Blair. Blair was 
bom in what is now West Virginia in 1821. He studied 
law and was admitted to the bar. He was a representa- 
tive to Congress in the early 1860s as a Unionist and 
when West Virginia was admitted to the Union he con- 
tinued to represent the state. He also served as the U. S. 
Minister to Costa Rica from 1868-1873. President Grant 
appointed him Associate Justice of Wyoming in 1876. 
Attorney A. C. Campbell said: 

He had a charming personality and an amiable disposition. 
He also possessed a keen sense of humor which was fre- 
quently displayed upon the bench and occasionally savored 
a written opinion. ^^ 

In a homicide case before Judge Blair, a gunsmith 
was on the witness stand, located a few feet to the right 
of the judge. He held in his hand the defendant's revol- 
ver. As Judge Blair turned to deposit a mouthful of 
tobacco juice in the cuspidor, he saw the revolver 
pointed at him. He inquired, "Mr. Witness, is that gun 
loaded?" Upon receiving an affirmative answer. Judge 
Blair responded, "Point it towards the lawryers. Good 
judges are scarce."^' 

On election eve, 1884, Blair had adjourned his court 
"until the morning after James G. Blaine is elected Presi- 
dent." Soon after President Cleveland's inauguration. 
His Honor paid his respects to the new President. Cle^Te- 
land evidently kidded him a little and assured Blair that 
he would not be removed, barring the appearance of 
serious charges against him. Blair blurted, "Mr. Presi- 

dent, the most serious charge that I have heard is that I 
bet on Blaine."^'' 

While holding court in Albany County, Judge Blair 
occupied two rooms in the "Courthouse," one was his of- 
ficial chambers and, on the floor below, was his bed- 
room. A. C. Campbell was U. S. Attorney and the gov- 
ernment had brought suit against a man, Matt Patrick 
from Omaha, over the Star Route mail contract. A 
leading Omaha lawyer, John Webster, represented Pa- 
trick. Webster came to Laramie to argue a demurrer 
and the argument lasted most of the day. The judge en- 
tered an order denying the demurrer. That evening, the 
judge, Webster, Patrick and Campbell played whist in 
the judge's bedroom until a late hour. Campbell and the 
judge were partners. They had extraordinary luck and 
won every game. When the game was over. Judge Blair 
shook Campbell's hand and said, "Put it there, we can 
beat them upstairs and we can beat them downstairs." 
Attorney Webster exclaimed, "Yes, and damn you, you 
hold the cards in both places. "^^ 

Judge Blair continued to administer frontier justice 
until 1888. He moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he 
acted as probate judge and surveyor general of Utah un- 
til his death in 1901. 

Serving on the bench with Fisher and Blair was Wil- 
liam Ware Peck. The replacement for E. A. Thomas, he 
was appointed in 1877 by President Rutherford B. 
Hayes, a college classmate at Harvard. 

Peck was born in 1819 in Vermont. At the time of 
his appointment, he had been practicing law in New 
York City with John Van Buren, son of President Van 
Buren. He came to Wyoming highly recommended by 
members of the bars of New York and Vermont. Peck 
was commended by his peers in the following terms: "He 
was marked for his devotion to, and industry in, his pro- 
fession, and for his habit of thorough investigation of 
legal subjects, a gentleman of integrity and culture."^® 
His was an interim appointment which required confir- 
mation by the Senate at the next session. But before the 
year was out many people were calling for Judge Peck's 

The controversy over Judge Peck illustrates the 
many pressures that affected territorial justice and 
points out the importance of the ability to adapt to the 
frontier and its ways. Although Judge Peck's critics 
pointed to the exorbitant expenses incurred by the dis- 
trict court in the summer of 1877, it was apparent that 
personality conflicts played a large role in Judge Peck's 

His train pulled into Evanston at 2 p.m. and by 3 
p.m. he was holding court. Peck was a staunch Episco- 
palian and began and taught the first Sunday school in 
the area. The irrepressible A. C. Campbell remarked on 
Peck's use of prayer in the courthouse: "The citizens of 
that town would have been less astonished had one of 
their number opened a jackpot in the same manner."^' 


Senator Algeron S. Paddock of Nebraska accurately 
divined the reasons behind Judge Peck's practice. He de- 
scribed the justice as a self-acclaimed "apostle to the 
border country, sent here for missionary work to reform 
a depraved people."^' Peck's personal letters seem to 
bear this out. To his friend, President Hayes, he depict- 
ed his work as a "sharp contest, a close throat grapple 
between law and crime." The "lawless element" was a 
frequent subject in his correspondence. 

Besides his religious bent. Judge Peck was also de- 
scribed as deliberate, prim, and pompous. He mounted 
the bench with a "lordly air" said one critic. Another al- 
luded to Peck as "one of those gentlemen to whom it is a 
pleasure to part their names in the middle. "^^ 

Peck suggested to his fellow justices that when they 
sat as members of the Supreme Court they should wear 
robes. Judge Blair pretended to agree but suggested that 
Peck should get Chief Justice Fisher's opinion. He did 
and Fisher's reply was, "I'll be damned if I'll ever wear 

The crux of the case against Peck was the increase in 
court expenditures under his administration. He paid 
careful attention to the court rules, he required full rec- 
ords made for each case and consumed large amounts of 
time in gathering all the details in every trial. Cases that 
used to take a day to be tried now took closer to two 
weeks. All this concern for procedures raised court costs 
borne by the county from $3,800 to $11, 000. '^' Statistics 
published at the time show that in the July term of the 
previous year 25 civil and 10 criminal cases had been dis- 
posed of at a cost to the county of only $2,027.20, com- 
pared to Peck's July Term of 1877 when six civil and 14 
criminal cases cost the county $8,836.60.^^ 

In 1877 Judge Peck wrote to the President remind- 
ing him of his promise to renew his commission. He took 
that opportunity to notify him that Chief Justice Fisher 
"is over 70 . . . paralytic . . . (and) cannot probably live 
long . . . Now I want to be Chief Justice. ... Do not 
understand me however as intending to intimate that 
Judge Fisher is not entirely competent for his position. I 
have no thought of doing so. I am simply anticipating a 
vacancy ... I suspect his health is really yielding to over- 
work ..." 

Judge Peck was premature in his request. By that 
time the opposition to his confirmation had strength- 
ened. Local politicians, including former court officials 
and his predecessor, E. A. Thomas, were afraid of losing 
control of the federal "pork barrel." One of Peck's first 
acts had been to fine a lav^ryer ten dollars for contempt. 
Unfortunately forjudge Peck, the man was a delegate to 
the territorial legislature and was so offended by the 
judge's action that he vowed revenge. The delegate drew 
up the memorial to the President requesting him to 
withdraw the nomination. The legislature passed the 
memorial overwhelmingly. The legislature also request- 
ed that Territorial Delegate W. W. Corlett help get rid 


of Peck. Corlett sent the memorial to a judiciary com- 
mittee member with his comment that, "As the legisla- 
ture thus speaks without a dissenting voice it seems to me 
the authorities here ought to hesitate before sending 
Judge Peck to Wyoming as judge, when he must neces- 
sarily be without usefulness to our people." 

The President and Senate disregarded the Wyoming 
legislature's request and Peck was confirmed on Decem- 
ber 14, 1877. In retaliation, the legislature "sage- 
brushed" Peck. They passed a redistricting bill which 
relocated Peck's judicial district in the uninhabited 
northeastern corner of Wyoming. The old Third District 
was attached to Blair's Second District. At the same time 
Blair was given $1 ,000 and Fisher $800 per year in extra 
compensation to handle their increased workloads.*' 
This bill was approved by Governor Thayer in the face 
of nearly unanimous support in the legislature. The gov- 
ernor's assent to the "sagebrushing" bill was interpreted 
by the President and the Senate as defiance. Washing- 
ton's reaction was decisive — Thayer was out. 

At first Peck refused to yield to the redistricting and 
sought to maintain possession of his Third District court. 
He was unsuccessful. The judge reported to the attorney 
general that Sheriff Pepper locked him out of the build- 
ing, threatened to shoot him, and escorted Justice Blair 
into the courtroom to act in his stead. An affidavit sub- 
mitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee indicated that 
the sheriff refused to serve Peck's orders and threatened 
to "club him and his whole damned gang out of there" if 
the judge tried to hold court. 

The judge left for Washington in February, 1878, to 
defend himself. Led by the judiciary committee, the 
Senate passed a measure which voided the Wyoming 
act. But due to Corlett's faithful attention and hard 
work, it failed in the House. A scenario of federal au- 
thority versus territorial challenge figured prominently 
in the debates. An eastern Senator attacked the Wyo- 
ming legislature for its defiance of Congress: 

It is simply the question, presented in the bill before us, 
whether Congress shall surrender to the Territory or j 

whether the Territory shall conform, as in time past, and as I 

in all other Territories they have, to the administration of I 

the law according to its forms enacted here." I 

Former Justice Kingman called the Wyoming legisla- 
ture's action "a scandalous attack . . . upon the indepen- 
dence of our judiciary and the sovereignty of the Federal 

Charges and counter charges flowed into Washing- 
ton from Wyoming. The Wyoming legislature kept pass- 
ing resolutions and memorials on the Peck matter. One 
resolution declared the judge suffered from "certain in- 
firmities of mind." g| 

A communication published in the Salt Lake Tri- 
bune, signed "A Juryman", described Peck's procedure 
at Evanston: 

Whenever the time arrived for court to open he was in- ■ 

variably late . . . There were some exceptions to this rule, M 

c; c=> 3_i 3=2 "-r >-l <o i_f v3 El , 

^ u 3vi 13 .A>i >^ c :e:, , "Wvc 

Crook County Court- 
house, Sundance. Judge 
Peck, assigned to the 
sparcely populated 
northeastern corner of 
the state, never held 
court there. The county 
was not organized until 
1886, and court held in 
Sundance in August, 

though rarely, and when they did occur, woe befall the at- 
torney, witness or juror who arrived five minutes after his 
Honor . . . his method of trial is excessively tedious. He as- 
sumes the duties of courts, counsel and jury, forever inter- 
rupting lavi^ers to ask questions himself, and if an attorney 
who happens to be a special favorite of his (and there are 
some such) misses a good point, his Honor will call his at- 
tention thereto. He invariably aids the prosecution causes, 
and no man charged with any crime feels safe in being tried 
before him.*' 

Various polls were taken in the Third District to 
show support for one side or the other. The hardest 
worker for Peck was Alf C. Lee, Uinta County Clerk, 
who assembled a 24-page "Statement Supported by 
Proofs and Affidavits." It contained a list of supporters 
who were characterized as "responsible taxpayers" 
rather than the "promiscuous crowds" that were anti- 
Peck. The "Statement" showed that the loudest com- 
plainers about Peck's cost to the taxpayers had not paid 
"one quarter of a dollar of assessment" while Peck sup- 
porters accounted for one -half of all the taxes paid in 
the county. ^^ 

It was not surprising to discover that Peck received 
support from the ministry. One of his strongest backers 
was the Rev. F. L. Arnold, pastor of the Presbyterian 
Church in Evanston.®' 

Judge Peck never held court in northeastern Wyo- 
ming, but he did carry most of the burden in the^u- 
preme Court during the next four years. Since he had no 
district court chores, the other two judges permitted him 
to do most of the Supreme Court work. During 1878-79 

he authored 21 of the 25 opinions handed down by the 
Court. The opinions he wrote fill 269 pages of the Wyo- 
ming Reports compared to 85 for his associates. In gen- 
eral, his opinions reveal solid legal analysis and refer- 
ence to legal authorities. 

Even with Peck safely out of the Third District, the 
controversy did not end. The new governor appointed to 
replace Thayer, John Hoyt, arrived in early summer 
1878. At first he defended Peck but in November, 1879, 
he wrote the President that he believed that opposition 
was so strong that "the best interests of all parties con- 
cerned would be promoted by the assignment of the 
judge to some other field of labor . . . His voluntary re- 
tirement, or his appointment to another post, would put 
a final end to bitter feuds and partisan strife in all parts 
of the Territory ..." This letter may have been what 
prompted the nomination of Peck to an associate judge- 
ship in the New Mexico Territory in 1880. The attempt 
to get rid of Peck did not succeed because the New Mex- 
ico leaders heard of Peck's trouble in Wyoming and 
blocked his confirmation. 

In 1881 Peck applied for a position on the U. S. 
Court of Claims. A written statement supporting Peck 
for this position was signed by all the territorial lawyers 
except one and contained the following descriptive lan- 
guage, "... the ability, integrity and learning brought 
by you to the judicial office . . . dignity and courtesy of 
bearing, diligent, accuracy, fidelity, and courage . . ." 
Former Judge Fisher gave a true picture of the motives 


behind these laudatory statements in a letter to the U. S. 
Attorney General. 

I do not believe that a single member of the bar in this 
territory desires the return of Judge Peck to his present posi- 
tion and it was only with the hope of getting rid of him that 
the letter which was signed was gotten up. 
Peck was not appointed to the Court of Claims and, 
as his judicial term ended, petitions were circulated 
against him. He was not reappointed; in January, 1882 
he ceased to be a judge. Peck remained in Wyoming for 
ten years, engaged in private practice, and eventually 
got some measure of revenge against his enemies. He 
had succeeded in getting Governor Thayer removed in 
May, 1878. After his term ended he wrote to the At- 
torney General to criticize the other members of the 
bench. He wrote of Judge Blair, "The Judge of the Sec- 
ond District lazy, ignorant, frivolous, and pro- 
fane has been the buffoon of the Court for the last 
twelve years." Peck described a successor to the court as 
"without talent, poorly read, ill-trained and unbalanced 
in professional development below his years (and they 
are but 28), a judicial crudity — is profane, given to low 
intimacy and a frequenter of saloons." 

Peck's sweetest revenge came in 1889 when he suc- 
essfuUy blocked the appointment of W. W. Corlett as 
Chief Justice of the territorial court. It was Corlett who 
had done the work in Washington that allowed the 
Wyoming "Sagebrush" Act to remain in effect. Peck 
supplied the President with damaging evidence of Cor- 
lett's temporary defection from Republicanism in 1884. 
At that time Corlett supported Cleveland over Blaine 
and said so in no uncertain way. Corlett wrote a letter to 
a Democratic leader supporting Cleveland and de- 
scribed the Republican Blaine as a "plumed poppy- 
cock" and a "historical humbug." 

Peck also attacked Francis E. Warren. Five days 
after Warren's inauguration as governor, an unsigned 
article appeared in the New York Times charging the 
governor with illegal enclosures of government land. 
This was followed in June by three more letters on the 
same theme, but in these letters the writer revealed him- 
self as former Justice Peck. He stated that the governor 
had committed fraud in acquiring his large holdings in 
Wyoming. Peck described the "mammoth enclosures" of 
Warren Livestock Company as "mammoth evils" and 
charged that the firm's appetite for territory was "abso- 
lutely insatiable. . . . The chief and head and front of 
this offending, of this stupendous system and practice of 
oppressiveness and wrong is the Governor of Wyoming, 
sworn to obey an Act of Congress, which he audaciously 
defies."** The result was that Peck lost the position he 
held as assistant U.S. Attorney General and returned to 
New York City. 

Aside from these political problems, what kind of 
judge was Peck? A. C. Campbell was an intimate of 
Judge Peck and gave his personal view of him: 

William Ware Peck was a finished scholar, finely cultured 
and widely read. His memory was a marvel. He could quote 
correctly lengthy passages from the Old Testament and 
from the New. He could name offhand Dickens' leading 
characters. He could repeat pages of Scott's poems. He 
could reproduce striking sentences from Webster's speeches 
and from the opinions of Marshall, Taney and of Story. 
Owing to his impaired eyesight I frequently assisted Judge 
Peck in preparing briefs. That is to say, I would read to 
him decisions applicable to the questions involved . . . 
When I had finished reading an opinion he would discuss 
and dissect the same. His analysis, comments, and 
sometimes criticisms were an education and revelation to 

A Democratic leader and attorney, William R. 
Steele, gave his assessment of Peck, "an honorable, con- 
scientious gentleman, a good lawyer, and I believe an 
able judge." Former Justice Kingman wrote that Peck 
was a "keen, well read lawyer, an industrious, painstak- 
ing student, and a clear-headed incorruptible, fearless 
judge. " 

Two sympathetic but clear-sighted contemporaries 
illuminate how sagebrushing could happen to a judge 
despite these qualities. In Laramie, newspaper editor 
Hayford said Peck was a victim of "senseless 
persecution" but acknowledged "that he is a little too 
old fogeyish and puritanic for this latitude, and he let 
these traits manifest themselves in a way that excited 
prejudice and hostility in the minds of the free and easy 
Western people." A. C. Campbell noted that, "Al- 
though a learned lawyer, as a trial judge Peck was not a 
success. Like Charles Sumner, whom he greatly ad- 
mired, he was an idealist hence unfitted for a judicial 
position in a frontier community." In sum. Peck's down- 
fall resulted from his inability to adapt to the different 
ways of the Western frontier. 

In 1882 Samuel C. Parks was sent to take Peck's 
position on the bench. Parks was born in Vermont in 
1820 and moved to the Midwest early in life. A boyhood 
friend of Abraham Lincoln, Parks graduated from In- 
diana State University in education. He went on to 
receive an A.M. degree from Illinois State University 
and was a school commissioner for two years. He assisted 
in the convention of 1860 when Lincoln was nominated 
for the presidency. 

Lincoln appointed Parks associate justice of the 
Idaho territory in 1862 where he held the first courts in 
Idaho after its organization as a territory. He returned 
to Illinois to participate in the Illinois Constitutional 
Convention of 1870. In 1878 President Hayes appointed 
him associate justice of the New Mexico Territorial Su- 
preme Court. In 1882 he was transferred at his own re- | 
quest to the Wyoming bench where he served until 1886. 
He later moved to Kansas and Ohio, always serving in 
some court-related position. 

In 1879 President Hayes appointed Judge James B. 
Sener as Chief Justice to replace Fisher. Sener was born 


in 1837 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A. C. Campbell 
notes he "was a Virginian but not of a 'first family.'" 
Sener attended private schools and graduated from the 
University of Virginia and then from Washington and 
Lee College in law. He practiced law in Fredericksburg 
where he also served as sheriff and as sergeant in the ear- 
ly 1860s. He was a Confederate and although never a 
soldier he did act as an army correspondent for the 
Southern Associated Press with Lee's army. 

After the Civil War ended he became a "scalawag" 
and was elected to the House of Representatives as a Re- 
publican. He was then appointed Chief Justice for the 
Territory of Wyoming. Campbell described Sener as 
"uncultured, but not uneducated. Nature had not 
moulded him to shine in a drawing room, nor to add 
dignity to the bench." 

The downfall of Sener came when the Federal gov- 
ernment instituted proceedings against unlawful fencing 
in 1883. The U.S. attorney brought suit against Alexan- 
der H. Swan, one of the largest ranchers in Wyoming, 
and won the suit before Judge Sener. He then brought 
suit in December, 1883, against John Hunton and H. B. 
Kelly, both prominent members of the ranching com- 
munity. In retahation for his rulings, influential cattle- 
men blocked Sener 's reappointment in 1884. 

John C. Perry of Brooklyn, New York, had been ap- 
pointed and commissioned to succeed Sener but he died 
suddenly at his home before serving even a day. The 
man who replaced Sener as Chief Justice became one of 
Wyoming's most prominent and respected members of 
the bar, John W. Lacey. Lacey was born in Indiana in 
1848. At age 15 Lacey enlisted in the Indiana Infantry 
and served in different capacities until the end of the 
war. He graduated with a B.A. and an M.A. from 
DePauw University, and taught math at Quincy Col- 
lege. Lacey was a principal at three schools while he 
studied law under Isaac Van Devanter. He was admitted 
to the Indiana Bar in 1876 and married Van Devanter's 
daughter in 1878. Lacey had a successful law practice 
established when he was appointed Chief Justice by 
President Arthur in 1884. 

He served as Chief Justice for two years when he re- 
signed to take up private practice. He was considered by 
his contemporaries to be a competent jurist and was well 
respected by the legal profession. He is often called the 
"Nestor" of the Wyoming Bar. His law firm in Wyoming 
was composed of the top lawyers in the state. He first 
went into partnership with W. W. Corlett, whom 
Campbell and others refer to as the most brilliant Wyo- 
ming lawryer, and John A. Riner. Four years later, Cor- 
lett died, and soon after, John A. Riner was appointed 
the first federal judge for the District of Wyoming, It 
was then that Judge Lacey went into association with his 
brother-in-law, Willis Van Devanter, later United States 
Supreme Court Justice. 

Judge Lacey was allied with politically powerful men 
in Wyoming and often represented the interests of the 
cattlemen. In 1889 Lacey represented the six cattlemen 
who had been charged with the lynching of James Ave- 
rill and Ella "Cattle Kate" Watson. "Cattle Kate" was 
the only woman ever hanged in Wyoming, legally or il- 
legally, so this lynching received much publicity.'" 

In 1892 Lacey and his partner, Van Devanter, rep- 
resented wealthy cattlemen in the aftermath of the 
"Johnson County War."" 

In 1903, Lacey and a roster of famous lawyers, as 
well as a new, young attorney, T. Blake Kennedy, 
defended the infamous Tom Horn against the charge of 
the murder of a 14-year-old boy. Tom Horn was well 
known as a "hired gun" throughout the West. Their 
work was to no avail and Horn was hanged. 

Judge Kennedy in his memoirs gave his estimation of 
John W. Lacey when he wrote: 

Although possessed of a fine analytical mind, his outstand- 
ing success was undoubtedly chiefly attributable to his un- 
faltering energy and supreme devotion to his chosen profes- 
sion. His grasp of legal questions and his discerning mind in 
aligning authorities to sustain his contentions, distin- 
guished him as a powerful and brilliant advocate . . . He 
came to be known and rightfully so as the Nestor of the 
Wyoming bar. 

Judge Lacey recognized his "specialty" by stating, 
"If there is anything I have as a lawfyer, it is a nose for 

In 1886 upon the resignation of Lacey, President 
Cleveland appointed William L. Maginnis. Maginnis 
was born in 1854 in Zanesville, Ohio, and educated in 
the public schools and colleges there. Maginnis was only 
32 years old when he was named to the bench. He was 
assigned to the first judicial district. Campbell com- 
ments that he was "Perhaps the youngest of the territori- 
al judges, undoubtedly one of the brightest."" He was 
only judge until 1889 when he was removed. A U. S. 
Senate memorandum noted that Maginnis "was a hard 
drinker." But there is evidence to indicate that political 
factors played a major role in his removal. He moved to 
Utah and served as assistant U. S. Attorney of Utah dur- 
ing Cleveland's second term. He died in Utah. 

The same year Maginnis was appointed, Samuel T. 
Corn succeeded Judge Parks. Corn was born in 1840 in 
Kentucky. He graduated from Princeton and read law 
in Kentucky. He moved to Illinois and was elected state 
attorney in 1872. Corn was a Democrat. He came to 
Wyoming in 1886 to accept an appointment from Presi- 
dent Cleveland to serve on the Wyoming Territorial Su- 
preme Court. He served until June, 1890. After prac- 
ticing law in Evanston for several years, he was a Justice 
of the Wyoming Supreme Court from 1894-1905 and 
Chief Justice in 1903-1905. He died in Utah, January 28, 

When Justice Blair's last term expired in 1888, 
Micah C. Saufley was appointed by President Cleveland. 


Saufley was bom in 1842 in Kentucky and enlisted as a 
private in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the 
war. He studied law in Kentucky and began practicing 
in 1866. He was a member of the Democratic Party and 
was a presidential elector in 1880. 

When he came to Wyoming, he spoke of his exploits 
as a member of "Morgan's guerrillas." He also accused 
veterans of belatedly discovering war-related disabilities 
to qualify for pensions. A loud clamor arose from the 
Civil War veterans urging President Harrison to remove 
Judge Saufley who was characterized as the "irrepentant 
guerrilla. "^^ 

Judge Saufley had a chance to use some of his "guer- 
rilla" expertise when he ventured north to hold court in 
Buffalo. A pioneer lawyer and later clerk of court in 
Buffalo, T. P. Hill, provided the tale.'" On June 28, 
1888, the first day of the term, the courthouse was well 
filled. In the first row sat "an errant, disorderly crew ob- 
viously bent on disturbing and heckling the Court." 
When the judge entered "straight and erect in his long, 
black frock coat, and of more than average height . . . 
with a huge moustache and heavy goatee type beard," 
all in the courtroom arose except the front row boys. 
They proceeded to laugh and cat call. Judge Saufley 
"struck a resounding blow with his gavel and thundered, 
'On your feet out there, and quick.' They stood and he 



May, 1869 - October 11, 1890 




Howe .... 

May 25, 1869-October 14, 1871 

October 14, 1871-December 18 1879 

Sener .... 

December 18, 1879 July 5, 1884 

Lacey .... 

July 5, 1884-November 8, 1886 

Maginnis . 

November 8, 1886-October 1, 1889 

Devanter . 

October 1, 1889-October 11, 1890 




Jones .... 

June 13, 1869-December 10, 1869 

Kingman . 

December 10, 1869-March 20, 1873 

Thomas . . 

March 20, 1873-December 31, 1875 

Carey .... 

December 31, 1875-February 14, 1876 

Blair .... 

February 14, 1876-April 23, 1888 

Saufley . . . 

April 23, 1888-October 11, 1890 




Kingman . 

June 22, 1869-December 10, 1869 

Jones .... 

December 10, 1869-February 8, 1871 

Fisher .... 

February 8, 1871-October 14, 1871 

Carey .... 

January 18, 1872-December 31, 1875 

Thomas . . 

December 31, 1875-December 14, 1877 


December 14, 1877 January 11, 1882 


January 11, 1882-April 14, 1886 

Corn .... 

April 14, 1886 June 21, 1890 

Conaway . 

June 21, 1890-October 11, 1890 

continued by saying, 'I'll fine anyone or all of you in con- 
tempt of court for another show of disrespect. And all 
the fines will be collected, so help me.' " This speech had 
the desired effect and court business proceeded. 

But that was not the end of it. As Judge Saufley re- 
turned to his hotel, he was met at the entrance by the 
same miscreants who were now wearing guns. Unknown 
to them, the judge was packing a pearl-handled Colt 
.45. "The boys were noticeably chagrined when he 
pushed back his long frock coat with his right hand and 
grasped the weapon with a meaning they understood. 
Without a word, they moved on. "'^ Judge Saufley was 
not molested again in Buffalo. 

After statehood came and his position ended, Sau- 
fley returned to the life of a Kentucky lawyer and, later, 
a state circuit judge. 

The judge with the shortest period of service was 
Asbury B. Conaway. He was appointed by President 
Harrison June 21, 1890, and served until October II, 
1890. He was born in Illinois in 1837 and graduated 
from Iowa Wesleyan University with an LL.B. in 1860. 
Two years later he enlisted in the Iowa Volunteer Infan- 
try, reaching the rank of captain. He was elected to the 
Iowa legislature and in 1868 moved to Wyoming, living 
first in Wyoming's gold mining area, South Pass City. 
He moved to Green River in 1869 where he became 
county attorney for Sweetwater County. 

Judge Conaway was a participant in the Constitu- 
tional Convention and spoke favorably on the question 
of women's suffrage: 

From my earliest recollection I have been as a boy, and as a 
man, in favor of woman's rights. Before that question took 
the form of the question as to the right of suffrage, in my 
own childish and boyish mind, I had wondered why it was 
that any woman upon whom the necessity of self-support 
was imposed by circumstances, when that class of women 
did the same work that a man did, and did it equally well, 
why they did not receive the same compensation. I was 
always, as a boy and as a man, a woman's rights boy and a 
woman's rights man upon that question. And in reflecting 
upon that it seemed to me that to deprive women of the 
right of suffrage, of the right to vote, of the right of express- 
ing their opinion in that way upon public questions, might 
have something to do with it, and these considerations, 
which appealed to my sense of justice as a boy, are stronger 
today than they were then. It is claimed that a woman who 
does the same work as a man does not require or expect the 
same compensation, but I say, give her the opportunity to 
have a voice in these questions.™ ^ 

He was elected to the State Supreme Court in Sep- 
tember, 1890, and served as associate justice until 1897, 
when he was elected chief justice, a position he held only 
briefly until his death in December, 1897. 

Willis Van Devanter was Wyoming's "representa- 
tive" on the United States Supreme Court. Late in 1889 
President Harrison appointed Van Devanter to replace 
Maginnis on Wyoming's high court. 

Uinta County Courthouse (above) is still in use. The first Laramie County Courthouse (below) was used from 


Van Devanter was born in Indiana in 1859. His 
father Isaac, a lawyer, was an outspoken abolitionist. 
Originally Van Devanter wanted to be a farmer, but his 
father persuaded him otherwise. He graduated from 
Depauw University (at that time Asbury), received a law 
degree from the University of Cincinnati Law School 
and practiced law with his father and John W. Lacey. 
He and Lacey left Indiana when Isaac retired. Van De- 
vanter was 25 and had been married less than a year 
when he left Indiana for the Territory of Wyoming. He 
described his impression of early Wyoming legal prac- 
tice 50 years later by saying, "The Wyoming Bar was 
strong because the drones didn't come this way and 
those with any pronounced weaknesses didn't live long. 
Wyoming had no system of jurisprudence and as a result 
drew on the whole line of the best decisions. "'' 

Van Devanter practiced law statewide, traveling by 
stagecoach and horseback to plead cases. He soon repre- 
sented railroad, land and cattle interests. His earliest 
work was with the growing cattle companies, in particu- 
lar. Swan Land and Cattle Company, one of the largest. 
After two disastrous winters had hit the Wyoming 
plains, the big cattle business was virtually wiped out in 
Wyoming. The Swan Company went into bankruptcy 
with Van Devanter acting as receiver. He became well- 
known throughout Wyoming because of his work for 
Swan and several smaller cattle operations during the 
hard times.'* 

In 1886 Governor Warren appointed him to the 
commission to prepare the Revised Statutes of 1887. 
These laws were largely modeled on the statutes of Ohio 
which Van Devanter had studied while in law school in 
Cincinnati. Van Devanter drew up the enabling legisla- 
tion for the Capitol Building and the University of Wyo- 
ming. In later years, he spoke with pride of the role he 
played in the creation of the University of Wyoming. 

In October 1886 he was elected a Republican dele- 
gate to the territorial legislature. Van Devanter was 
Republican leader in the legislature. 

In 1887 Mayor C. W. Riner named Van Devanter 
Cheyenne city attorney. In the same year. Van Devanter 
formed a partnership with noted Wyoming jurist 
Charles N. Potter. Potter was a Wyoming Supreme 
Court Justice from 1891 until his death in 1927. His 
partnership with Van Devanter lasted until 1889, long 
enough to make their firm one of the most successful in 
the state. 

Accusations of fencing government land forced 
Warren from office and, later, his successor. Governor 
George Baxter. A Democrat, Thomas Moonlight, was 
appointed. His determination to break the hold of the 
"cattle barons" resulted in antagonism between Moon- 
light and the legislature. During this time, Van Devan- 
ter "faced off with the governor on many occasions and 
continued in his position as the acknowledged leader of 
the Republicans. 

In 1889 President Harrison reappointed Warren as 
governor. Democrat Maginnis was the Chief Justice of 
the Wyoming Supreme Court. The Republicans wanted 
him out and Van Devanter in. Maginnis was forced from 

Van Devanter was 30 years old when he assumed the 
responsibilities of Chief Justice of the Wyoming Terri- 
torial Supreme Court. Because of his youth, the wisdom 
of his appointment was questioned. He soon established 
a reputation for judicial fairness and ability which be- 
came more than local. 

From the first meeting of district court late in Octo- 
ber, the cases Van Devanter handled were the typical 
mixture of the routine and the dramatic. The grand jury 
in that first term handed down indictments in a knifing 
case, grand larceny, cattle rustling and attempted 
murder. Van Devanter became known for his lectures 
from the bench. The newspapers described his talks as 
"kindly", "fatherly", "quite plain", "timely", and simply 
"good advice." In larceny cases he was particularly 
severe since he believed that the West was a land of op- 
portunity for every man. "No one physically able to 
work," he told a convicted thief, "need steal in Chey- 
enne. "'^ Several years after he left the bench he de- 
scribed this phase of his career to Francis E. Warren: 
When Chief Justice of the Territory, I by virtue of that 
position also held the District Courts in the First District. 
During that time many important civil and criminal cases 
were tried before me and no appeal from my decision was 
ever taken in a criminal case, although I sentenced a great 
many offenders from murder down. In civil cases there 
were perhaps a dozen appeals, but my decision was af- 
firmed in every case ... In this respect my record is better 
than that of any Territorial judge, not even excepting 

In 1890 statehood came to Wyoming and with it the 
end of Van Devanter s job as territorial chief justice. 
Van Devanter, H. V. B. Groesbeck and Asbury Con 
away were selected as the Republican candidates for the 
Wyoming Supreme Court. Republicans won every office 
in the new state. One month after the election. Van 
Devanter and his fellow justices drew lots to decide the 
length of their terms, which were staggered, and to see 
who would be chief justice. Van Devanter declared that 
if he didn't draw the short term he would not serve. He 
drew the short term and the position as chief justice. 
Four days later he resigned anyway, presumably to earn 
more money in private practice. The judicial salary was 
still only $3,000. Probably his name was used to 
strengthen the Republican ticket and assure it of vic- 
tory. Governor Warren also resigned a few days after his 
election and became United States Senator from Wyo- 

Van Devanter continued his close association with 
Warren. He has been called "Warren's perfect lieuten- 
ant." He enjoyed hard work, had a bright intellect and 
was equally skilled at drafting legal documents, arguing 


orally in court and campaigning and "politicking."*' 
From 1890 to 1897 Warren and Van Devanter were an 
efficient team. Both owed some of their success to the 

After his resig[nation from the bench, Van Devanter 
continued to practice law in Cheyenne, establishing a 
partnership with his brother-in-law, John W. Lacey. 
They represented the interests of the cattlemen and the 
Union Pacific Railroad. 

From 1892 to 1895 Van Devanter served as chair- 
man of the Republican State Committee, and in 1896 he 
was a delegate to the National Republican Committee. 
In 1897 Van Devanter went to Washington, D.C., where 
he became the assistant Attorney General for the De- 
partment of the Interior. At this same time he also be- 
came a Professor of Law at what later became George 
Washington University. 

In 1903 he was selected to become a justice on the 
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1910, after seven 
years on the bench, Van Devanter was appointed to the 
United States Supreme Court by President Taft.*^ 
Justice Van Devanter served for 27 years on the Supreme 
Court. He authored few of the celebrated opinions that 
caused the clash between. President Roosevelt and the 
Supreme Court, but he worked on areas of the law 
where he had the expertise his brethren did not pos- 
sess—water rights, land law, Indian law and federal pro- 

Justice Van Devanter resigned from the Supreme 
Court in May, 1937, a move which helped to defuse 
Roosevelt's campaign to enlarge the highest court. The 
departure of one of the "old men" on the court reduced 
the momentum of the President's campaign. Within 
three hours after his retirement, the Senate Judiciary 
Committee voted 10-8 against the Roosevelt bill. Van 
Devanter was 78 when he retired, but he went on to 
serve as a trial judge in the Southern District of New 
York in 1938. He died in 1941. He was the only U. S. Su- 
preme Court justice ever appointed from Wyoming. 

(In the next issue of Annals, the history of U. S. 
District judges for the district of Wyoming will be told). 

1. W. W. Corlett, The Founding of Cheyenne, (Unpublished man- 
uscript, 1885), collections of the Wyoming State Archives, Mu- 
seums and Historical Department. 

2. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming, (Lincoln: University of Ne- 
braska Press, 1965), p. 47. 

3. Ibid., p. 231. 

4. Ibid., pp. 230-231. 

5. Ibid., p. 65. 

6. Frontier Index, (Green River City), August 11, 1868. 

7. Earl S. Pomeroy, The Territories and the United States, 
1861-1890, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 
1947), p. 51. 

8. A. C. Campbell, "Fading Memories," Annals of Wyoming, Jan- 
uary, 1943, pp. 38-39. 

9. John D. W. Guice, The Rocky Mountain Bench, (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1972), p. 13. 

10. American Insurance Company v. Canter, 1 Peters 511, 26 U. S. 
511 (1828). 

11. House Reports, (48 Cong., 1 Sess.) No. 254, p. 2. 

12. Guice, p. 39. 

13. Ibid., p. 41. 

14. Letter, Moonlight to Lamar, November 11, 1887, Moonlight 
Letterpress Book, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and His- 
torical Department. 

15. Pomeroy, p. 36. 

16. Guice, p. 45. 

17. Examples include: U.P.P.R. v. Hause. 1 Wyo. 27 (1871); 
McBnde v. U.P PR , 3 Wyo. 183 18 P. 635 (1888); UP PR v. 
Carr, 1 Wyo. 96 (1872). For cases involving personal injury, 
eminent domain matters, tax questions and damages resulting 
from fires set by locomotives. 

18. Ketchum v. Davis, 3 Wyo. 164, 13 P. 15 (1887). 

19. U. S. V. Douglas- William Sartoris Co., 3 Wyo. 287, 22 P. 92 

20. Phillip V. The Territory of Wyoming, 1 Wyo. 82 (1872) 
(murder); Hamilton v. The Territory of Wyoming, 1 Wyo. 131 
(1873) (keeping a lewd house); Fern v. The Territory of Wyo- 
ming, 1 Wyo. 380 (killing a horse). 

21. John W. Kingman, "Autobiography", Annals of Wyoming, 
July, 1942, p. 224. 

22. Letter, Howe to Attorney General E. R. Hoar, May 22, 1870, 
Wyoming Attorney General Papers, Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department. 

23. Kingman, p. 224. 

24. Hecht v. Baughten, 2 Wyo. 385, 392 (1881). 

25. H. H. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming, 
1540-1888, (San Francisco: The History Co., 1890), p. 741. 

26. Larson, p. 78. See also. Dr. T. A. Larson, "Wyoming's Contri- 
bution to Regional and National Women's Rights Movement," 
Annals of Wyoming, Spring, 1980, pp. 2-15. 

27. A member of one of Kingman's early juries described his service 
on the jury; 

Court we held in Lockeridges' billiard hall, the bar and 
billiard tables were removed . . . Early in the term a jury was 
secured in a felony case, the defendant was charged with as- 
saulting a man, hitting him over the head with a revolver and 
threatening to kill him. The case went to the jury at noon and 
several ballots were taken without a verdict. The "jury room" 
had several card tables equipped with cards and chips. The 
foreman, a Scotchman named "Uncle Bobby Reid " discovered 
the cards and exclaimed, "Come, boys, bide a bit with the 
voting; we will have a game of cards. " Card playing commenced 
and went on continually during the afternoon with an occa- 
sional interruption for a ballot. The judge was located in the 
next room behind a thin partition of wood and muslin. About 
6:30 p.m. the Sheriff was ordered by the court to bring in the 
jury. When they came in, Kingman turned to the clerk and said, 
"Mr. Clerk, enter up a fine of two dollars each against this jury 
for trying to arrive at a verdict by playing cards. Mr. Sheriff, 
they will stand committed until the fine is paid. John C. Friend, 
"Early History of Carbon County," Annab of Wyoming, July, 
1943, p. 280, 284-285. 

28. Kingman, p. 221. 

29. Kingman, p. 225. 

30. Quoted in Grace Raymond Hebard, "Woman Jurors," The 
Journal of American History, (1913), p. 1304. 

31. Kingman, p. 225. 

32. Robert C. Morris, Collections of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society, (Cheyenne; Wyoming Historical Society, 1897), p. 243. 

33. Ibid., p. 242. 


34. Kingman, p. 225. 

35. Morris, p. 244. 

36. Ibid. p. 242. 

37. Despite such high praise, women served for only three terms of 
the court. The prophetic remark of objecting counsel, "al- 
though judges seldom resign they sometimes sicken and die," 
came true for Chief Justice Howe who, due to illness, was forced 
to retire in 1871. He was replaced by a Southerner, Joseph 
Fisher, who was opposed to women's suffrage. Some years later 
when the State Supreme Court reviewed the claim that women 
should serve as jurors, it was waved aside with the statement, 
"At one time it was held by the courts of the Territory of Wyo- 
ming that women were competent jurors, but that ruling was 
speedily overturned by the same courts. The question was never 
passed upon by the supreme court either state or territorial." 
McKinney v. State, 2 Wyo. 719, 723 (1892). 

The practice of women serving on juries did not reassert 
itself until the legislature specifically authorized the practice 75 
years later. Republican State Chairman, Ewing T. Kerr, au- 
thored the bill at the request of several women's clubs and 
helped to get it through the 1949 legislature. (He became Wyo- 
ming's third Federal District Court Judge 10 years later.) Judge 
Kerr commented that it was not an easy bill to get passed. He 
faced opposition from his more conservative party members and 
lawyers who objected to women on juries. 

38. Kingman, p. 226. 

39. Ibid., p. 226. 

40. Guice, p. 147. 

41. Cheyenne Daily Leader, March 25-26, 1870. 

42. Lewis Gould, Wyoming: A Political History, 1868-1896, (New 
Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), pp. 29-31. 

43. Guice, p. 18-19. 

44. Bancroft, p. 741-742. 

45. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 18, 1871. 

46. Larson, p. 126. 

47. Guice, p. 53. 

48. Agnes Wright Spring, ed.. Collected Writings and Addresses of 
William Chapin Deming, (Chicago: Arthur H. Clark Co., 
1947), p. 20. 

49. Guice, p. 146. 

50. Ibid., p. 146. 

51. Larson, p. 126. 

52. In 1894 Carey was again in the midst of an intraparty feud. As 
a senator, Carey supported the National Republican Party's ad- 
herence to the gold standard. The West and Warren supported 
free and unlimited coinage of silver. Carey's adherence to the 
gold standard cost him re-election to the Senate and splintered 
the Republican Party in Wyoming. It also resulted in Carey's 
election as Governor in 1910 on the Democratic ticket. 

In 1912 Warren characterized Carey as "the most monu- 
mental hypocrite and the most infernal liar — when 
necessary' — that God ever permitted to live whom I have been 
permitted to meet." The feud, headed by Warren and Carey, 
finally ended in 1918 with the election of Carey's son, Robert, as 

Judge T. Blake Kennedy, Wyoming's second Federal 
District Judge, who knew both Carey and Warren, went to the 
root of these varied and sometimes negative assessments of Carey 
when he noted that Carey was aloof and cold and lacked the 
"common touch " that Warren had used so effectively. Judge 
Kennedy in his memoirs noted that while Carey was "possessed 
of a peculiarly vindictive disposition . . ."he was a man of "pre- 
eminent ability ... a big man in big things. " He considered him 
"perhaps the most astute and effective stump speaker that 
Wyoming has produced." However he was rated as a judge, 
there is no doubt of the importance of Joseph M. Carey to the 

state of Wyoming in its formation and in its growth while he was 
Senator and Governor. 

53. Several quotes from Judge Blair's opinions are evidence of his 
sense of humor: 'We have read with due care the testimony 
given at the trial and find, as is usually the case in actions found- 
ed on verbal agreements or understandings, that the parties had 
no difficulty in disagreeing as to all matters." Ketchum v. Davis, 
3 Wyo. 163, 167 (1887). 

In Hinton v. Winsor, 2 Wyo. 206, 208 (1880), Blair wrote, 
"We have examined the record in this case, with a degree of pa- 
tience and diligence seldom equaled, but never excelled in the 
history of judicial tribunals, to find something of which the ap- 
pellant might in equity complain, but all in vain. " 

In Garbanativ. Beckwith, 2 Wyo. 213(1880), he explained 
that, "The justice rendered judgment in favor of the defendant 
and against the plaintiff. And thereupon the plaintiff took an 
appeal to the district court with no better success, judgment be- 
ing rendered against him. Not being weary in search of substan- 
tial justice, he sues out a writ of error, and brings his case to this 
court where substantial justice is known to be administered in all 
its purity. " 

54. Campbell, p. 43. 

55. In another instance, Judge Blair was called upon to hold court 
in Buffalo. Nat Jones, formerly a cowboy, was the bailiff and he 
was unfamiliar with court proceedings. Clerk of Court John 
Meldrum. later Yellowstone Park Magistrate for 40 years, 
coached Nat and suggested that he not appear in court with his 
chaps and spurs. He wrote on a piece of paper what Nat should 
say when he opened court for the judge. On Monday morning 
when Judge Blair entered the courtroom, Nat arose. In the 
words of A. C. Campbell, "Never was a Beau Brommel so gor- 
geously attired. Between Saturday night and Monday morning 
Nat has assembled a greater assortment of colors than were ever 
worn by a yokel at a county fair." 

Nat began, "O yea, O yea, O yea. " Then he stopped, stam- 
mered and tried to start over. He placed his hand in his vest 
pocket. A pained expression came over his face. He turned to 
Meldrum with a trembling voice and said, "What in hell did I 
do with that paper you gave me? " Campbell, pp. 43-44. 

56. T. A. Larson, "Exiling a Wyoming Judge, " Wyoming Law Jour- 
nal, Spring, 1956, p. 171. 

57. Campbell, p. 42. 

58. Congressional Record, (45 Cong., 2 Sess.), p. 1204. 

59. Guice, p. 83. 

60. Campbell, p. 42. 

61. John D. W. Guice in The Rocky Mountain Bench wrote that 
"through his deliberate conduct of the court. Peck did unwit- 
tingly let court expenses get out of hand. But once he caught on 
to the capers of the court officials (lining their own pockets), he 
put an end to their lucrative practices and demanded to approve 
all bills rendered by the county." p. 82. 

62. Larson, "Exiling a Wyoming Judge," p. 172. 

63. Larson, History of Wyoming, pp. 129130. 

64. Congressional Record, (45 Cong., 2 Sess.), Feb. 20, 1878, pp. 
1203, 1206. 

65. Larson, "Exiling a Wyoming Judge, " p. 173. 

66. Guice, p. 91. 

67. Arnold wrote: "R. B. Hayes, President of the 'United States' 
Highly honored & much loved Pres. "I come to you once more in 
behalf of this Judicial District. It does seem, that the Saloon, 
Gambling and Impure houses of this District are determined to 
get rid of Judge Peck. The Legislature now says, as soon as he is 
confirmed by the Senate, they wilt appoint him to Pease County 
in the Black Hills, and one of them advised some of our good 
citizens, that we have his head shaved, or the Indians would get 
his scalp. I have been in this territory almost seven years ... In 


the July term of Court I was Foreman of "Grand Jury," and I 
think every one of the criminal cases originated either in Gam- 
bhng Saloons or Impure houses. Judge Peck has so instructed 
jurors, and explained the Laws, that this class of people, who 
have been largely in the assendency (sic), are determined to get 
rid of him. Since Judge Peck came among us one or two saloons 
have closed, and if he continues among us others will soon 
follow. Should our Dear Judge Peck be removed to Pease County 
by the Legislature may I be permitted to ask your Excellency to 
send us, if not a Christian Gentleman, at least a temperance 
man; but O, I would thank God so much if Judge Peck can con- 
tinue here. Eternity above will reveal how much you have en- 
couraged and cheered God's people in appomting Judge Peck to 
this place. He has already been the means of starting a Sabbath 
School in "Green River," a most fearfully wicked place. 

Ejc Judge Thomas is very popular among the Saloon people 
and has the reputation of patronizing them. It is not only our 
privilege, but our greatest joy to remember you daily at the 
"Throne of Peace. " 

I remain your most obedient servant, 

F. L. Arnold, Pastor of Presbyterian Church. 


P.S. Judge Peck is an Episcopalian." 
Gould, pp. 109-110. 
Campbell, pp. 40, 42. 

The Laramie Boomerang quoted a cattleman who explained 
that "the lynching of Averell and his woman was the direct out- 
growth of the failure of the courts in Wyoming to lend protec- 
tion to the property of cattlemen." The Salt Lake Tribune com- 

mented, "The men of Wyoming will not be proud of the fact 
that a woman — albeit unsexed and totally depraved — has been 
hanged within their territory. This is about the poorest use that 
a woman can be put to." The National Police Gazette told the 
story under an alliterative headline, "Blaspheming Border 
Beauty Barbarously Boosted Branchward." The cattlemen were 
released after the four witnesses to the crime failed to show up at 
trial; one died mysteriously, and the rest disappeared. No one 
was ever convicted for the lynchings. 

Helena Huntington Smith, The War on Powder River, (New 
York: McGraw Hill, 1966). 
Campbell, p. 45. 
Larson, p. 190. 
Guice, p. 36. 

Burton S. Hill, "Frontier Lawyer; T. P. Hill," Annals of Wyo- 
ming, April, 1962, pp. 43-48. 

76. Journal and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of the 

State of Wyoming, (Cheyenne: Daily Sun, 1893). 

77. Casper Tribune Herald, May 19, 1937. 

78. Paul M. Olsinger, "Willis Van Devanter: Wyoming Leader," 
Annals of Wyoming, Oct. 1965, pp. 171-174. 

79. Ibid., pp. 183-184. 

80. Letter, Willis Van Devanter to Francis E. Warren, January 21, 
1897, Warren collection, American Heritage Center, University 
of Wyoming. 

81. Gould, p. 126. 

82. See Dan Nelson, "The Supreme Court Appointment of Willis 
Van Devanter," Annals of Wyoming, Fall, 1981, pp. 2-11. 


Llf f lEB FE0M i P0Bf BlJMi0I 

Edited by Thomas R. Buecker 


Charles W. Taylor Collection, U.S. Military 
Academy Museum 

(Editor's Note: Fort Washakie, located on the Little 
Wind River in central Wyoming, was a little -known post of 
the frontier army. Though its role in the Indian Wars certain- 
ly lacked the glamor of more well-knoum posts such as Fort 
Laramie, it served the arm.y through and beyond the Indian 
War period. The history of the post had it's beginnings as 
Camp Augur, established at present-day Lander to protect 
the miners of the Sweetwater district from hostile Indians. 
Also the post served to protect the friendly Shoshoni Indians 
on the Wind River Reservation from the raids of the more 
powerful Sioux. In 1871, the post, renamed Camp Brown, 
was moved to a more centrally located site on the Little Wind 
River, some 15 miles northwest. At the new location, adobe 
and stone buildings were constructed to house two, and later, 
three companies of soldiers. In 1878, the post was renamed 
Fort Washakie, in honor of the great chief of the Shoshoni. 

From May 13, 1879 to May 1880, Fort Washakie was the 
home of Assistant Surgeon Charles K. Winne, his wife 
Caroline, and their infant son, Charles, Jr. Dr. Winne began 
his military sen/ice during the Civil War, and had served at 
several western posts before he resigned his commission in 
1873. In 1874, he married Caroline Frey Giddings. Caroline 
Frey was bom on July 8, 1841, in the small town of Palatine 
Bridge, New York. In 1861, she married Major Grotius R. 
Giddirigs, a Union army officer. Giddings died six years later 
while serving as Lieutenant Colonel of the 16th Infantry Regi- 
ment. After the Winnes were married, the doctor reentered 
the army and was assigned for duty in the Department of the 
Platte. From late 1874 to 1878, they were stationed at Sidney 
Barracks and Fort McPherson, Nebraska. After a one-year 
sick leave, Winne was assigned to Fort Washakie to serve out 
the last year of his four-year duty in the Department of the 

While they were stationed at Washakie, Caroline wrote 
57 letters (including several postal cards) to her father, John 
Frey, and brother, Samuel Ludlow Frey, back in Palatine 
Bridge. Writing at least once a week, the majority of the let- 
ters were sent to Ludlow. As presented here, they have been 
edited, removing details of family and eastern social matters, 
leaving her impressions and experiences of life at Fort 
Washakie. Spelling and punctuation have been left as Mrs.. 
Winne wrote it. The entire collection of the Caroline Winne 
letters is held by the New York Historical Society in New York 

May 2, 1879 Ludlow, postcard from Omaha 

We arrived yesterday all safe. Baby well and enjoyed the 
journey. Can't tell yet where we shall go. Will write you as 
soon as we know. Trees in full leaf & warm as June here. 


May 4, 1879 Father, from Omaha 

It is decided that we are to go to Fort Washakie in Wyo- 
ming T. about 150 miles from the railroad. We go by rail to 


Green River forty eight hours from here nearly. So we shall be 
a long way off. We shall go by stage as far as old Camp Stam- 
baugh' and there take special transportation. The journey 
will be a long and hard one for baby - but the post is said by 
everyone to be very delightful, pleasant, mild climate very 
healthful, good quarters, plenty of grass & trees, and of 
course magnificent scenery, it is in the Wind River Valley. I 
can write you more about it after we get there & have seen for 

Dr. Summers^ was anxious to send us there as it is out of 
the way - and there will be no danger of Charlies being sent 
into the field on any Indian hunts. I know we shall like it 
when once we are there. And really I am very glad to have 
baby in such a climate while he is teething, this his second 

We are having a pleasant visit here, the season is far 
ahead of the east. Trees in full leaf & so warm. 

hotel where we are settled to rest until Monday. The stage 
journey will be hard, but soon over & every one reports our 
new Post as very pleasant & desireable. We shall reach there if 
all is well Tuesday night. I will write as soon as rested enough. 
Gussie is with us. 

May 14, 1879 Ludlow, postcard from Fort Washakie 

We arrived yesterday about 6 P.M. very tired but all well 
& are staying with one of the officers, our things have not yet 
come of course - but we will be pleasantly fixed up when they 
do. A very nice house indeed, plenty of room. Now we are a 
fearful way off but still we'll be glad to be settled. Baby stood 
the journey wonderfully as more than happy playing out 
doors all day long. I will write & tell you of our long journey 
soon as I am rested enough - it really was not so bad as I 
feared it would be. we are all well. 

May 4, 1879 Ludlow, from Omaha 

It has been decided where we are to go and we shall start 
on Thursday. We are a good way off the railroad, 150 miles 
"Fort Washakie." We go to Green River by rail about forty- 
eight hours ride from here and then take a stage the first hun- 
dred miles - or twenty-four hours - and there we will have 
special transportation to meet us. It will be a very hard 
journey but very pleasant after we get there so everyone says, a 
very healthful pleasant climate, good quarters and a nice new 
hospital. And one very good thing is it is out of the way. There 
is no danger of Charlies being sent out on any of those wretch- 
ed Indian hunts. Dr. Summers particularly wanted us to go 
there on that account. I will try to get a map and mark on it 
our route & station. The post is in a valley. The country is 
wooded & we shall have grass. Good trout fishing and good 
hunting they say. So after we get there it will be all well 
enough but the journey will be fearful. Baby is well - and 
quite rested again. Everyone thinks he is a splendid boy. 

The weather here is simply glorious, warm & beautiful as 
June, and everything so green. We had a lovely ride yesterday. 
Dr. Summers came with his carriage & fast horses & took us. 
The country about here is beautiful. 

We picked Gussie' up at Kearney Junction. I had a letter 
from her on Friday. You can write & direct to Fort Washakie, 
Wyoming T. It will take a good long time for our letters to 
come & go as probably there is no mail oftener than twice a 
week - still I don't know about that. 

We are all well - and ready to make the best of our fate. 

May 10, 1879 Father, postcard from Green River 

Left O. on Thursday and arrived here this A.M. about 8. 
Comfortable journey & all well - baby enjoyed it very much. 
Gussy met us at Carny Junction. There is a nice little hotel 
here. Neat & comfortable & we are settled for a rest until 
Monday. Everyone reports our new post as very pleasant & 
desireable. The stage journey will be hard but soon over. Our 
address is Fort Washakie, Wyo. T. 

May 10, 1879 Ludlow, postcard from Green River 

Arrived this A.M. to breakfast. All well. Had a pleasant 
trip which baby enjoyed hugely. This is a desolate country, 
but curious. 6141 feet elevation. A nice comfortable little 

May 16, 1879 Ludlow 

I sent you a postal card soon as we came - but was too 
tired to write a letter. Our journey was a very [difficult] one. 
We were forty-eight hours from Omaha by cars and thirty-six 
by stage from Green River here - of course we did not sleep a 
wink on the stage except baby - he slept nicely and was won- 
derfully good. We came right over the mountains crossed the 
Wind River range of snow covered mountains at South Pass 
reaching the highest elevation at old Camp Stambaugh (now 
abandoned) something over eight thousand feet. The country 
is most desolate - nothing but sage brush covered hills & vast 
sandy plains as far as the eye can reach - as you are climbing 
one barren hill you think beyond this there will surely be some 
change but there is not - occasionally we forded a mountain 
stream and along its banks were a few willow bushes, but with 
this exception there is nothing but sand and sage brush, 
which is more gray than green - in the far distance we would 
at times see the snow covered ranges. We stopped for fresh 
horses about every fifteen miles & only at these stations did we 
see any signs of human life. After leaving Stambaugh - which 
is about forty miles from South Pass, the road begins to de- 
scend into the Wind River Valley and some of the hills are 
fearful - but the roads pretty good - and all safe - eleven miles 
of these dreadful hills brings us to the mouth of Red Canyon 
through which the road winds for about five miles - one side 
of the canon is grassy & wooded, the slope gradual. But the 
other side is very peculiar, high strangely wore rocks - of a sort 
of granite, a brighter red than I ever saw stone before & the 
soil is the same color, the road runs for miles through this red 
soil. The difference is altitude between Stambaugh & this 
Post is about three thousand feet this Post being 5460 - but 
the road is as much up hill as down almost. It is a hard tedious 
ride and we were very weary when we reached here. This post 
is pleasantly located right on the bank of little Wind River & 
in full view of the snow covered mountains on one side. The 
parade is green & small trees are growing in the post - along 
the bank of the river are quite large trees. The quarters are of 
adobe - one story very roomy & comfortable - with wide ve- 
randas. Our house is new & very pleasant - I will send you a 
plan of it when we get in - Now we are staying with one of the 
officers - Lieut. Thomas'* of the 5th Cavalry. Our goods are 
on the way & we hope to have them in a few days. I hate to 



Dr. Charles Winne 


Caroline Frey Winne 



stay with all our family so long with strangers though they are 
very nice & kind. 

The commanding officer is a bachelor Major Upham* of 
the 5th Cavalry. There are two companies of that Regt. here. 
Charlie has a very nice hospital, new, large built also of 

This mountain valley is quite fertile and very nice 
vegetables are raised here in the Post gardens. I think we shall 
be very comfortable pleasantly fixed for a year or so which is 
probably as long as we shall stay as Charlie only has to serve 
out the time of his sick leave in this Department. There are a 
great many Indians here - quite a large agency of Snakes, 
Arapahoes & Shoshonies besides a good many Bannack pris- 
oners^ at the post. They are all friendly Indians but lazy & vil- 
lianously dirty as all others, baby don't know what to make of 

There is a hot spring' about two miles from the post. We 
haven't been out to it yet - but they all go a great deal to 

We may be able to find some curiousities about here. The 
gentleman who keeps the eating house at Green River where 
we stayed had some very beautiful things. Christals & fossils, 
one large slab of creamy white stone had in it fifteen fossil 
fish, abut a finger or a little over long, possibly little trout, it 
was a very beautiful as well as wonderful specimen, the stone 
this yellow white & the fish dark brown, he said he had a great 
many with one or two fish small pieces. I shall try to get one 
when we go back. 

There is very little fine scenery along the U.P.R.R. as far 
as we came. The same very curious Butes. it is all so wild & 
barren - we were a little early to see the plains at their 
greenest. We had a charming visit in Omaha & were sorry to 
leave. At Sidney we breakfasted with Mr. Rumsey* & saw the 
old Post baby's birthplace ■ it makes me homesick, it looked so 
pretty there. At Cheyenne we saw Dr. Gibson whom Charlie 
relieved at McPherson.^ He is at Russell'" now & Charlie 
telegraphed him to be at the train if he could & also very 

unexpectedly Capt. Monahan." he was with Dr. Gibson hav- 
ing come up from Denver to consult him. he admired baby 
very much as every one does who sees him, & he is a splendid 
boy. You should see him playing outdoors here, setting flat on 
the ground and letting the gravel run through his fingers, 
throwing stones in the water, there are irrigating ditches all 
through the post of beautiful clear mountain water. 

Now you must not worry about us. we are a good way off - 
to be sure & I feel how impossible it would be to reach you as 
you us - but still we are all well - & we wont be here a great 
while & hope to be ordered east when our detail expires in this 
Dept. . . . We get mail daily and please send this letter on to 
Hoboken - it is useless to write it all over and they will want to 
know about us too. 

May 25, 1879 Ludlow 

I received your letter last Sunday, just a week from the 
day it was written. It seems a good way off - six days by mail, 
but it is right pleasant here & if our things ever come & we 
once get settled we shall like it very much. There never was a 
more quiet spot but you know we don't mind that, we couldn't 
be in a better place for baby . . . 

The great excitement of the past week has been the 
Shoshoni Sun Dance. We all went one afternoon and were 
given the seats of honor (on the ground) by old Washakie the 
head chief of the tribe. He is a very good Indian, was dressed 
in a half civilized costume, holding tightly in his hand a red, 
white & blue umbrella, he has a pleasant face looks very much 
like Henry Ward Beecher'^ - there were about sixty braves 
dancing the day we were over there, perfectly nude - except 
for a belt about their waists from which hung a narrow apron 
before & behind. There were a great many ornaments of 
feathers & beads around their necks & arms & in their hair. 
Part of them were painted a bright yellow & part of them 
white, it was a wild sight and impressed one very strangely. I 
must confess of having a very shakey feeling for a few minutes. 
I knew they were friendly Indians & had just shaken hands 

The Winnes probably 
lived in this officers' 


with old Washakie whos benevolent smiling face was an 
assurance of safely, but still - there we were entirely in their 
power surrounded by hundreds of them besides the dancers, 
of all ages from a wrinkled blind old squaw who poked the fire 
and stirred a kettle of some vile looking broth whom we were 
told was over one hundred years old, down to the smallest 
papose strapped to a board. They all seemed pleased to have 
us there tho & the dance went on. There were none of the 
cruelties nor none of the self torture that I supposed always 
accompanied a Sun Dance, in the center of the enclosure was 
a high pole to the top was fastened an old buffalo head & tail, 
painted & decorated with feathers & leaves. This I believe was 
the emblem of the Great Spirit & the dancers never for one in- 
stant take their eyes from it. every dancer has a little whistle 
made of bone and decorated with feathers & beads or painted 
which he blows constantly, the band sit on the ground around 
a large rudely constructed drum - upon which they beat with 
sticks accompanying the drumming by a monoteneous droan- 
ing sound - deafening to hear. The dance is simply a jumping 
up and dowm with the feet placed closely together & every 
part of their body in motion. Sometimes they dance out 
toward the pole with their arms thrown wildly up, they are 
given frequent rests of a few minutes for sleep - but have 
neither food nor drink during the whole time - four days. Of 
course, not all of them can stand it so long, some become ex- 
hausted and delirious from fatigue & hunger. When they 
think they have a vision & revelation from the Great Spirit its 
a wonder they don't all die for the exertion must be fearful. 
Some of them looked haggard and weary when we were there, 
and they kept it up over forty eight hours longer. Charlie & I 
wished a great many times that you could see it. We may be 
able to find you some beadwork & such curosities, but no 
relics of the stone age here I guess. '^ Mr. & Mrs. Thomas with 
whom we are staying have been several years in Arizona and 
have been all over those ruins of cave dwellings. There you 
could get loads of things. There were a little party of Bannack 
prisoners brought in here last Sunday.''' I saw the arms that 
have been taken from them at Major Uphams. There were 
only four bucks & "heap squaws" as I heard an old Indian say. 
There was one old gun the broken lock of which was bound 
up with hide put on raw so it was just as hard & firm as the 
iron itself & three bows with lots of arrows. No childs toys I 
tell you the two bows were very strong and the arrows tipped 
with iron & very sharp. Charlie & I went over to see the 
savages - for these have so recently been on the warpath. A 
wretched looking lot - filthy & almost naked their only 
clothing made of skins some dressed buckskin - but mostly 
with the fur on. You would enjoy studying them I doubt not. 
but one wearies of too many Indians - tho the Arapahoes are 
out on a hunt now. 

I drove dowm to the hot spring yesterday, but did not go 
in. it is very large over a hundred feet across & very hot. Major 
Upham promises to put new bath houses there, it is on the In- 
dian reservation unfortunately. 

. . . C. had a letter from Dr. Summers. He says he is glad we 
came back when we did. for had we waited till the last of the 
month or till he had knovvm what he does now - Charlie would 
have to take his turn at Fort McKinney'* & I could not have 
gone there. So you can imagine I am thankful for as good a 
place as this . . . 

June 1, 1879 Father 

Having sent you all a description of our journey out here, 
there is little else to write. Our baggage has not come yet 
much to our disgust - but we hope now to have it early this 
week - and to be settled in our own quarters. That is one very 
disagreeable thing about being stationed so far off the rail- 
road, it is so disagp-eeable to be obligated to accept the 
hospitality of other officers, who are perfectly strangers too - 
for so long - of course there is no hotel or any place to board 
here. There is nothing besides the post except the Post 
Traders house & store. 

There is a wonderful hot spring about two miles from the 
post. I haven't been in it - as the bath houses are in a very 
dilapidated state, but the officers and men go there to bathe a 
great deal. It is rather uncomfortably hot for bathing they 
say. I don't know just what the temperature is. it is quite a 
sheet of water about a hundred feet across, and the water 
bubbles up over a large space in the center as though it was 
boiling. Yesterday was quite cool and we could see the steam 
rise from it very distinctly from here, it is sulpher water I 

One thing we have very delicious & that is speckled trout. 
I never saw such large ones - two pound ones are considered 
small, how I wish Lud & Gus could come and spend a month 
or so with us. They would enjoy the fishing, and even the long 
journey over the mountains would be a change from eastern 
Hfe . . . 

We are awaiting anxiously to see what congress will do 
with the poor little army. It would be very hard to be left 
without any pay again, particularly for people who have just 
come from leave. '^ How I wish I knew someone who would 
take ahold of Charlies matters & get his old place back for 
him. his uncle will never do anything & it could be so easily 





June 2, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . You can't imagine how eagerly we watch the mails - I'm 
glad they come at night - as it is all we have to look forward 
to. As I wrote you yesterday our things have not come yet. So 
we are per force staying with the Thomas' yet. It is too bad 
but we can't help it. They are very nice people & we like them 
very much - but it seems a great imposition to be obliged to 
stay so long. There is a train expected in today ■ and we are 
trying to hope that some of our traps may be on it as the QM 
had notice last night of some of the things having started on 
the 28th by ox train, he said nothing of the rest of the trunks 
& things & we are dreadfully worried about them. Still we can 
do nothing but wait & possess our souls in patience so far as 
possible. I devoutly trust if we live to see the railroad again 
that we may never be out of sight or sound at least of it again. 

I have waited until we should get into our own quarters to 
give you a little plan of them & or the post. How I wish you 
could come & see it for yourself. The trout fishing is very fine 
near here - I never saw such large trout - two pound ones are 
considered quite small. None of the officers are fishermen, 
but the men go a great deal & often the Indians bring them to 
sell ... I should be glad to add to your collection but this 
country is not rich in anything but sage brush & stones. There 
are no interesting geological discoveries to be made about 
here - the whole surface of the ground is covered with round- 
water worn stones. There are no fossils found near here. I 
don't know how far we are from the Yellow Stone country - 
but I think about 150 miles. This hot spring I spoke of is 
about two miles from the Post. The bath houses are in such a 
tumble down condition that I haven't tried the water yet - but 
Gussie went in one day. She said she couldn't bear even her 
feet in at first it was so hot. One quite cool day last week I saw 
steam rising from it distinctly from here. 

The rock in Red Canon is not a lava deposit they say but 
a fine red sand stone with a little Iron in it. I will try to get a 
piece for you. I will pick up everything I can find that I imag- 
ine may be of interest to you. I sent you a box of wild flower 
roots the other day - which I hope will go safely. I don't know 
how you will tell whether they are alive or not as the flower is 
all that shows above the ground. There are no green leaves 
about it. The Indian Agent'" told us that some botanist who 
was with the Jones Geological Surveying party'^ through this 
country some two or three years since employed a party of 
Shoshoni squaws to dig him several hundred roots of it. he 
said it was a very rare plant but it is not rare here. We are told 
that the Indians eat the roots. Mr. Polton called it Luwissia^" 
but did not know how it was spelled. There are a great many 
very pretty wild flowers. I put in the box a little moss with a 
white blossum that is really beautiful, if it would grow east it 
would be beautiful for borders, it grows in vast quantities in 
this sand. 

... I have engaged a colored girl, a very excellent cook & 
laundress whom we found here . . . We have been to church 
once here, the Episcopal Bishop^' of Colorado & Wyoming 
was here & had evening service in one of the Co. dining 
rooms. I suppose it won't happen again however. 
. . . Charlie has just come in and sends love to you both, the 
train is in & our things are not on it & the ox train can not be 
here in less than a week from Mon. it is simply dreadful. 

June 6, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . We get exact time by the sun here. Mr. Thomas erected a 
sun dial on the parade a few weeks ago - it is a grand thing at 
a post, where as the clocks are always being put either ahead 
or back - to suit the convenience of the trumpeters. 

It has been very warm today - our warmest time is before 
10 o'clock in the morning. The quarters face so nearly east 
that we get the sun from there & there is seldom any breeze 
before that time, but as the sun gets higher we have the shade 
of the broad porches and always a breeze generally it might be 
safely called a wind, in fact the winds are the great drawback 
to this climate. Still we have no reason to complain. We are 
all so well - and our house is so bright & pleasant. We like it 
more and more. I wrote you I believe that Charlie had pur- 
suaded me to hire a colored girl who had been living with Dr. 
Grimes, the acting Assistant Surgeon whom Charlie relieved. 
Mrs. G & the Dr. too recommended her so highly as such a 
wonderful cook & so economical etc. etc. and Charlie was 
very anxious to have baby out doors all the time & of course 
Gussy couldn't do everything so I took Hester, and she was a 
very nice laundress but a miserable cook, very wasteful & ex- 
travagant and decidedly opposed to having any directions 
given or suggestions made, last Monday morning I told her to 
do something and she was very saucy & more over did not do 
it. So after breakfast Charlie went out to the kitchen & told 
her she could either obey my orders when I told her to do any- 
thing or she could, as I told her, leave. Which she did! much 
to my satisfaction. Gussy nearly danced for joy and did the 
washing & has developed a marvelous talent for everything. I 
told Charlie today that I should write you - never to say again 
that it was too bad that she came west & left us last fall - for in 
the end it has provided a blessing to us. She lived you know - 
with a lady who keeps the Officers mess at Omaha Barracks^^ 
last winter. She is a very nice cook. Gussie helped her cook & 
waited on the table and she certainly made good use of her 
time. She learned a great deal & really cooks well & waits on I 
the table beautifully & she is saving & economical to the last 1 

. . . We are all well - and find the little post & Garrison very 
pleasant. We miss fruit very much at least I do - but have 
some fresh vegetables, both companies have good gardens & 
share with us & Shoshoni Dick^^ brought me a nice pail of new 
potatoes one day last week. Poor fellow - I couldn't bear to 
take them from him. he wouldn't let me pay him anything for 
them. I am in hopes to get you a bow & arrows. 

June 10, 1879 Ludlow 

We are still waiting for our things, they have all been 
shipped and some are due here about tomorrow, it is very try- 
ing and hard to wait patiently. I hope the next time I write to 
be in our own house . . . 

I wish you could have some of the magnificent trout we 
have here. We get them so fresh and caught in this mountain 
stream constantly fed from melting snow. The flesh is solid & 
firm & sweet. We get nothing else very nice - no meat at all 
but beef & that of the very poorest kind & the commissary is 
very poorly supplied. The companies both have a garden & 
we have had a few fresh things, but whether we shall have 
when we get in our own house or not - I don't know, of course 
we have no claim upon them. 


The Indians still throng the Post, baby has grown ac- 
customed to them & doesn't seem to notice them anymore . . . 

June 22, 1879 Ludlow 

I send you a postal card the first of last week telling you 
that our things had at last come . . . Our things came in very 
good condition, a few have been wet a little but fortunately all 
white things that could be washed & the two or three books 
wet were of no special value. All our dishes, chairs & a bed 
stead & springboard are on another train expected in tomor- 
row. Them we shall see in ruins I fancy. We like our house 
very much, it is very cheery & pleasant. The rooms good sized 
& a splendid wide porch. I trust we may be left in peaceful 
possession of it while we stay at this post - but I am fearful of 
being moved. There is a rumor or rather a pretty reliable 
report that the stations of the 3rd & 5th Cavalry Regiments 
are to be changed - which will bring some of the 3rd here and 
probably two Captains in which case we shall doubtless be 
ranked out^'' - as this house is one of the newest - largest & best 
here, but sufficient unto the day is the evil there of so we wont 

The important event of the week besides our taking pos- 
session of our new quarters is babys having cut two teeth last 

I have succeeded in getting a whistle for you - which I will 
send by tomorrows mail with this. It is one that the Indians 

whom I got it from used at the Sun Dance. The bone is from 
an Eagles wing, it doesn't seem to make as loud a noise as they 
did at the dance - but then there were sixty of them blowing at 
once. I hoped to be able to get you one of the Bannack bows I 
wrote you about - but Major Upham has given them all away, 
he has some arrows he will give me & I will try through Mr. 
Moore the post trader" to get one for you. he is also Indian 
trader - and a very nice man. if he can't get one I will inter- 
view "Shoshoni Dick", he is a white man who lives with the 
Shoshoni. he does not know how he is, neither his nationality 
or his name, he thinks he must have been captured or lost 
from some immigrant train when he was very small - and has 
grown up with the Indians and has a squaw wife & children, 
he has been to the Dr. for treatment two or three times & the 
other day he came to report himself well & to express his 
graditude & said he would like to do something for the Doc- 
tor, if he wanted anything from the Indians, he would try to 
get it. So the next time I see him I will ask him. 

Charlie says tell you he wishes you could come out here - 
he thinks you would like it - and you could study the "Noble 
red man" to your hearts content. The dining room is Charlies 
favorite room in this house - there is such a good view of the 
mountains from the windows. 

. . . Charlie says to tell you the trouble about getting Indian 
curiosities is they charge so high for them - as soon as they find 
out anyone wants anything, but we will be glad to get what we 

Washakie , the Shoshone chief, is 
shown standing in front of the house 
he built. 


can for you. When they come in from their hunts you can get 
robes very cheap . . . 

Tell Katie Gussie read her letter. She has another devoted 
admirer here. A non-commissioned officer this time. I expect 
she will be engaged in a week or two. Isn't it funny what they 
all see about Gussy & fall in love with. 

June 29. 1879 Ludlow 

I am afraid you will think the whistle is lost before it 
comes. Charlie wanted to register it so I waited till Monday to 
send it and then the rest of our things came & we were too 
busy to send it. but it started on the stage from here Wednes- 
day. Our bedstead looked pretty hard when they came but 
nothing was broken & a little varnish will repair all damages. 

I enclose in this a plan of our house, we find it very cheer- 
ful & pleasant. The porch is so very wide it makes a fine place 
for baby to play. 

The past week has been like all the rest quiet & unevent- 
ful. Monday the Bannack prisoners went away under escort. 
They have gone back to Fort Hall.^^ They felt very badly to 
go. here they have been in the charge of the military. The 
men have had to work for a few hours every day and they have 
had their regular rations. Now they go back to their old reser- 
vation from which they were forced onto the war path by ac- 
tual starvation. They will have nothing to eat and nothing to 
do. Some of them cried because they had to go. We all felt a 
great deal of sympathy for them. 

July 13. 1879 Ludlow 

. . . The Paymaster, Major Stanton was here two or three 
days, he brought his daughter, a young girl of 14 years. She 
took her meals with us and a homelier, more uninteresting 
girl I don't think I ever saw. Thursday afternoon I had Major 
Upham, Major Stanton to dinner and a very nice dinner we 
had too - considering where we are . . . Mr. Moore, the Post 
Trader came over one evening for us to ride. We took the lit- 
tle man & he did have such a good time. We drove over to the 
agency & stopped at Washakie's cabin. The old man came 
out to the carriage to see us & told us through Mr. Moore as 
interpreter all about his farm. Seeming to be particularly 
pleased with the prospects of an abundance of watermelons. 
baby shook hands with him & as we started to come away held 
out his little hand again for goodbye. 

I have got a bow for you Lud. One of those Bannack bows 
I wrote about. It isn't very beautiful - but its the genuine 
thing. Major Upham gave it to me. I will send it when I can. 
of course it can't go by mail and the express charges would be 
too much from here. Mr. Moore is going east next month and 
I will ask him to take it as far as Chicago & express from 
there. Your signiture came back to us so you have the whistle. 

July 20, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . We are very sorry about the whistle. Charlie took such 
pains to put it up carefully in a little box so that it might go 
safely & the beads not be rubbed off. I never knew so many 
things injured in the mails as from this post . . . 

As to getting Indian things for you the trouble would be 
nothing - but they charge so fearfully for their things ■ they 
are not worth the money. You can't get a war bonnet that is 
one of those feathered head dresses that come to the ground 

behind made of eagle feathers for less than $35.00 - & so with 
all their stuff. They don't seem to have the pretty bead tobac- 
co bags which the Sioux always carry & you seldom see one of 
those Indians with a redstone pipe. In fact - if you saw them 
by the hundreds every day - men nasty & dirty & squaws still 
more filthy standing about starring in your windows & hang- 
ing around the kitchen ready to snatch up any & every scrap, 
you would be so sick & tired of Indians I don't know but you 
would throw away all the relics you have got. I pity them for 
they are imposed upon & plundered & half starved, but at the 
same time they are lazy & nasty & dirty ■ & altogether a nu- 
siance when one has to have them about all the time. 

July 27, 1879 Father 

. . . One day is like another we see the same people - & only 
the same four or five - I believe it would be lonely sometimes 
except for baby . . . 

We like our home very much & enjoy being in our own 
house again. Gussy does very nicely - I have no fault to find 
with her, in fact we are so pleasantly settled here ■ I dread the 
thought of another break up & move, particularly as the 
climate is delightfully healthy. The winter they say are par- 
ticularly pleasant. Our present garrison is very small. There 
are two companies but only one officer present with each - 
Lieut. Thomas with whom we staid so long & with the other 
Co. Lieut. Wheeler,'" who was also at McPherson when we 
were there. The commanding officer is Major Upham of the 
5th Cavalry. We like them all - and dread a change not know- 
ing who may come - and some who might come could make a 
quiet isolated little post like this very disagreeable. Still we 
must take our chances - for in September there will be a 
change. The stations of the 5th & 3rd Cavalry regiments are 
to be changed then & we shall get two companies of the 3rd 
but which Cos. of course we do not know. 

Charlie has a very nice hospital here new & quite large - it 
is not entirely complete yet - but everything he has asked for 
to finish & furnish it has been allowed. So he will soon have it 
just as he wants it. His eyes are no better - sometimes he thinks 
not quite so well. The intense glare of this treeless country is 
very hard for the eyes anyway, even the Indians suffer from it. 

We had no mail at all tonight. I suppose the cars were 
late at Green River yesterday morning & the buck board did 
not wait, every other day our mail comes in that way. 

August 10, 1879 Ludlow 

Poor Charlie has almost entirely given up reading at 
night - so I play chess with him or talk if I see he doesn't take a 
book. I think his eyes are not so strong as they were - it must 
be the intense glare, he says they pain him sooner when he 
reads than they did. I feel troubled & wish he could be retired 
on them. 

To answer your last weeks letter Mr. Moore left this 
morning & took the bow to send by express from some point 
on the R.R. it is a light package, not a thing of "beauty" as I 
said but genuine. 

I don't know about the Washakie winters, accounts dif- 
fer. We have hot enough weather - 98° today - it sounds 
though I did not think of its being hot. it is pretty cool to set 
out this evening. 


August 25, 1879 Carrie (her niece) 

. . . The only lady here at the post besides myself is Mrs. 
Thomas. She has two little girls - NeHie & Mollie about a year 
younger than you (Carrie was 11). They are in Chicago with 
their grandmother and every week they write long letters to 
their mama & papa ... If Uncle Charlie should be ordered 
to an eastern post next spring, you will have to make me a 
visit . . . 

There have been a great many Indians in the Post. Some 
dressed very gay. I wonder what you would think of them. Lit- 
tle Charlie likes to look at them & go up to them and shake 
hands and say how. One old squaw this morning lifted one of 
his pretty curls and said wano wano meaning good pretty. 

August 31, 1879 Ludlow 

I am glad you received the bow all safe. & that the ex- 
press charges were so little. I did not think they would be 
much, but I never heard of anything quite so cheap. I have 
heard of one or rather part of one stone arrowhead found in 
this vicinity. Charlie was called to attend a lady at Lander a 
little settlement some eighteen miles from here & he saw this, 
it was the point so he could not tell whether it had a flat or 
barbed base. 

We had heard a rumor of a place some eight or ten miles 
from here - where fossils are to be found fish etc. if we find it 
is so we are going out to get some. There are a great many 
curious things about here - we went a few evenings ago to see 
three natural curiosities all within 3/4 mile of each other, one 
a gypsum mound - or rather a very curious place where the 
different strata of rock for probably three or four hundred 
feet in depth - have been thrown up almost perpendicular. 

You can walk along the base for easy that distance & trace the 
strata standing on edge. Several different kinds of gypsum 
limestone - a beautiful soft greenish grey clay, a very soft grey 
stone - in which are countless numbers of small green fossil 
shells & in one part - a sort of red clay - full of curious lumps 
of Gypsum - beautiful white like salt, iron & copper pyrites & 
chrystals. it is a very curious place - and Charlie & Major 
Upham are greatly interested in studying out the different 
strata particularly the Major - he has nothing to do - and it is 
funny to see him mussing over those rocks forming lime & 
plaster of Paris - washing out copper & Iron & chrystals & oil- 
ing up clay and making casts & cups, he said yesterday he was 
going to make me a set of coffee cups. Well - this queer place 
we went to a little way from there is a tar spring. ^^ 
Asphaltrum I suppose it is - all the tar used here at the post 
for fence posts & etc they get here. There is any quantity of it 
in an immense big place & how deep no one knows, in some 
places very hard on others yielding to the hand & in others 
still liquid - The other curiosity is the hot spring I have told 
you of. 

We are all well and quiet as usual seeing no one from 
month to month but just our little garrison . . . 

By the way, Charlie sent a box of these little fossil shells to 
Prof. Marsh" asking him whether they were salt or fresh 
water shells & what, he says to tell you he doesn't know yet 
whether he has found a "horses" tooth or not. 

September 9, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . We are sadly in need of rain. The dust dreadful - there 
are large fires on the mountains, and with the dust & smoke 
some days we can't see even the foot hills. 

Fort Washakie, 1879 


Mr. Moore is the Indian Trader & buys any quantity of 
robes from them but I think they are mostly bought in the 
spring. Charhe thinks you could get a pair in New York as 
cheap as to buy them here & express east, but I will ask Mr. 
Moore when he returns & see what we can get a nice pair for. 
. . . An Indian brought some trout here yesterday two meas- 
ured 18 inches each. I took the smaller ones tho they are 
sweeter & better about 8 or ten inches. I don't know what they 
weighted I have no scale. 

September 14, 1879 Father 

. . . How I should enjoy having you all come & spend your 

summer vacations with us & possible next summer it may be. 

though the Dept of the East is so large we may be somewhere 

on the Upper Lakes^" - not much more acessable than we are 


The probability now is that there will not be any change 
in our garrison this winter that is - no change of companies, 
some officers who are on leave will probably soon return but 
we are not likely to have any more ladies. There is one besides 
myself - Mrs. Thomas, where we staid so long . . . 

Charlie has a little private practise here, he has been to 
Lander lately, a small settlement about 17 miles off. one 
broken leg case, I think he has had two citizens sick in hospital 
for some weeks of course there is no physician anywhere near- 
er than Green River & a very poor one there. 
... I often wonder that we are so contented here. Still it is 
home while we are here and our house is very comfortable & 
nice. We never had such nice quarters before. I shall feel bad- 
ly to give them up - for if we went east we couldn't hope for 
anything so good at any eastern post. We have a large open 
fireplace in our parlor which will be very cheerful for the 

September 14, 1879 Ludlow 

How I wish we could have some of your fruit & vegeta- 
bles. Yesterday we had a little box of fruit sent to us. Mr. 
Moore - our post trader - who is east sent it - I suppose from 
Chicago, a taste for each of the officers and we are as careful 
of it - There were four pears - a bunch of grapes three or four 
apples & a doz or 1 5 plums. It was very kind of him - as it is all 
we shall see - it is a treat. The little corn we have has been 
poor & tomatoes dito. just as they began to ripen we had a 
hard frost that killed all the vines tomatoes cucumbers & 
everything of that kind. 

This dry weather continues with great fires on the moun- 
tains. We can't see even the foot hills - for the smoke & dust, it 
will make it hard for cattle this winter the grass is all dried up. 

September 21, 1879 Ludlow 

Your letter came tonight. I will send you some of the little 
fossil shells - a letter from Prof. Marsh tonight says "Most of 
them are Trigomia,^' which indicates the Mesozoic forma- 
tion." So they are not fresh water shells, these little things are 
all we have found so far - but they belong to the same period 
with many beautiful chambered shells and fish & reptiles if 
one has the time & someone to do the hand digging no doubt 
a great deal could be found about here. We shall try again 
but I have so much to keep me ... I would like to go out often 
& camp a day or so in the canons and see what one could find. 

but of course we are just the ones who can't go. A physician 
never can leave home, if someone isn't sick - someone expects 
to be - or might be. 

September 30, 1879 Ludlow 

I have the fossils already sent & will try .to get them off 
tomorrow, they are just the same ones as Charlie sent to Prof. 
Marsh. The whole rock is just alike. We haven't been down 
there again. Charlie is very busy - he has more or less sick in 
the hospital all the time & in garrison & some private practise, 
tomorrow he goes to Lander again . . . 

October 9, 1879 Ludlow 

I hope you wont worry at my weekly letter being delayed, 
we are all well, but Mrs. Thomas' baby is very sick & has been 
for a week past. I try to be there all I can but it is only when 
my boy is asleep I can go & Charlie is there five or six times a 
day. Mr. Thomas has been out with his company for two 
months & some of the family have been sick nearly all the 
time.^^ This baby is nine months old today & has no teeth. 
The second day of his sickness he had convulsions. Charlie has 
had very little hope of him from the first but he is a little bet- 
ter. Mr. Thomas can't get home before the last of the month 
and it seems all the more dreadful to have the child die & he 
away. Mrs. Thomas said this morning - she was so thankful 
that the Doctor was here for she had perfect confidence that 
everything would be done that human power could do. but it 
is a fearful responsibility. I realize as I never used to what a 
physicians life is. Charlie has had two citizen patients in 
Hospital since we have been here - one with double "Pneumo- 
nia" & one with typhoid fever, both as near death as men 
could be and live, they are both up and convalescent now if he 
can save this dear little baby, I shall feel so thankful. 

Of course we are all greatly excited over this fearful In- 
dian business again. '^ Knowing the officers wounded & killed 
makes it seem more real. Dr. Grimes Charlie relieved here, he 
is an Act. Asst Surgeon. Lieut. Paddock & Capt. Lawson we 
know & also Thornburgh killed. ^* We had no news last night 
and don't know yet whether Genl Merritt reached the little 
party in time.^* I hate the sight of an Indian ever since this 
news came. I suppose these here are all friendly but they are 
all Indians. Sunday Old Washakie & Black Coal (Arapahoe) 
with some twenty or thirty sub chiefs had a council on Major 
Uphams porch & Washakie sent word to Genl Crooke'* that if 
he needed them he might rely on him to send out as many of 
his Shoshoni braves as he wanted. I don't know whether Black 
Coal would do as much with the Arapahoes or not. 
. . . Don't worry about us - we are in no danger here. And 
thank God, all are well. The little baby is better this evening. 

October 14, 1879 Ludlow 

The baby that was so sick when I wrote last is better a 
good deal better. Charlie thinks now he will get well but for 
days we scarcely dared hope - that Mr. Thomas would find 
him alive when he came. 

We are having glorious weather, warm & bright - the 
mountains are grand too in their whiteness, the snow must be 
very deep in some places, at Stambaugh last week there was a 
dreadful snowstorm - one of our officers was over there two or 
three days & came through dreadful drifts coming back. 



/. K. Moore was post trader at Fort Washakie for many years. His store was the main trading post on the Wind River 

October 19, 1879 Father 

The little baby of Mrs. Thomas who was sick when I 
wrote Gus is still very sick has been worse, but this morning 
seems brighter again. We try to hope it will get well - but 
Charlie really has little expectation of it. A courier was sent 
out yesterday morning to find Mr. Thomas if possible & if he 
is where he expected to be about this time. The man thought 
he could reach him in three days. Mrs. Thomas bears up won- 
derfully but it is very sad. and you can imagine we all feel very 
anxious, so few of us away off here, can't but share each 
others troubles. 

Mr. Moore has returned, he regretted not seeing either of 
you - If he had had your address, he would have sent you a 
note . . . but he was very busy all the time, he has to lay in a 
very large stock of goods in the fall while the roads are open, 
everything almost for a year, he keeps a very nice stock of 
goods & is Indian Trader besides you know - & has to have so 
much stuff for them trinkets, beads, etc. 

We don't expect any change of garrison here this fall - 
fortunately we are a safe distance from the Ute country. We 
like it here and Charlie has some outside practice. We rather 
dread the thought of a move in the spring, our house is so 
pleasant. Charlie will be a Captain next month. It will be five 
years since he entered. 

. . . Another mail & not a line from anybody. I wish our 
friends all had to be away off here a few years & see how they 
would like to be entirely forgotten. 

October 21, 1879 Ludlow 

We are all well - baby entirely over his little trouble & 
bright & cunning as possible. Weather beautiful. 

Baby Thomas not so well again, very doubtful if he lives 
many days. Mr. Thomas was sent for & got in yesterday. 

November 4, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . Charlie & Major Upham went to the lime kiln today ^but 
could not find anything of any consequence. I sent a little 
piece of what they did find - and all the rock is just the same 
as this piece, it is as you will see very hard & it was difficult to 
break it. Charlie said tonight he believed he would send a 

piece of it to Prof. Marsh just for the satisfaction of knowing 
what it is. 

Please tell us what a "Chatauqua" reading club is. 
Remember we live in the Rocky Mountains & are not posted. 

You know I had never had a line from Mary Frey since 
baby was bom or long before. Well one night last week I was 
surprised by a letter from her. The principle thing in which 
was a proposal to come and spend the winter with us. She said 
she had been thinking she would like to be with me this winter 
& if she could raise the money & I would tell her how she 
could reach here, she would like to come if agreeable with us 
... I replied telling her that we did not consider the journey 
safe for a lady alone at any season of the year, and not safe at 
this season anyway. There was danger of being overtaken by 
mountain storms & perhaps snowed in at Stambaugh for days 
often happens - and there is no one there at all but a tele- 
graph operator & one other man. I gave her all the facts of 
the journey & also told her that the expense of the journey 
from New York here could be scarcely less than $175.00 . . . 

November 11, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . We are just now reading English History (Macaulay) 
whether anyone else at the Post is reading anything at all - I 
don't know - doubtful I guess. It would be pleasant at an out 
of the way place like this to have a reading club, but as a rule 
Army Officers don't read - so far as I know. They don't do 
anything but play "poker" & loaf. 

I don't pretend to read in the day time - except Mother 
Goose - or "The Night Before Christmas" - or some other little 
classic for Boppers edification. I guess Charlie has read more 
"Mother Goose" this fall than ever in his life before - I always 
used to tell him that his education had been neglected ... 

Charlie is at last a Captain. It was five years yesterday 
since he entered the army. 

The little baby is better and if nothing more sets in will 
get better, it seems hardly possible for he was the sickest child 
alive I ever saw for so long. 

November 19, 1879 Ludlow 

I don't think Gussy has any idea of leaving me - certainly 


not this winter and I think she will probably stay while we are 
here. She did a very silly thing and not at all right to go off as 
she did & get married, but she has got a first rate man for a 
husband, perfectly temperate & steady with a little something 
laid by. he is an engineer by trade and does not mean to re- 
enlist when his time expires. He has the promise of work on 
the U.P.R.R. I believe & I believe they expect to live in 

. . . Would you while I think of it like some specimens of the 
Indian beads of the present Indians to compare with your an- 
cient ones. I can send you some from the store. 

We are invited out to dine on Thanksgiving at the mess - 
or rather Lieut. Wheelers he is a bachelor & keeps the mess, 
but I believe it is his dinner party - he has a colored man - who 
has cooked for him a great while & is a very superior cook I 
believe, he is making preparations for a splendid spread. I 
don't know what will be done on Christmas. I am going to 
give a New Years Lunch to the garrison & Mr. Moores family 
only twelve in all. but I shall try to have as eleborate a lunch 
as possible here. Mr. Moore gets a good many nice things for 
us ■ they are very nice people, his sister is with them this 
winter, not young but a very pleasant girl. 

November 30. 1879 Ludlow 

. . . We are all well and having a peaceful quiet time in our 
winter quarters seldom seeing a soul even of our small gar- 
rison. No one seems socially inclined. We all met at the din- 
ner party Thanksgfiving Day. it was meant to be a very nice 
dinner - there were a good many courses, but we are very 
much disappointed in Mr. Wheelers cook of who's skill we 

had heard great praises, but most every one else seemed to eat 
as they liked it. 

December 9, 1879 Ludlow 

. . . You ought not to say "nothing to write " for you do see a 
few people - and hear & know a little of the outside world, but 
it is a positive fact that not a soul has come to this post since 
last August ■ except two officers who if possible are less in- 
teresting than those who were here, not even the Paymaster 
comes which is an outrage as the men have already four 
months pay due them. 

Charlie sent some of that fossil rock from the lime kiln, 
such as I sent you, to Prof. Marsh, he has received it as we 
have the return register. I will write you what he says about it 
when we hear from him. 

December 25, 1879 Ludlow 

Charlie and I have come to the conclusion that we are 
glad Xmas comes once a year, for it has been a lively day I tell 
you. Bopper was loaded with presents, so many that he had 
no idea what to do with them all. he flitted about like a bird 
from one thing to another till he was tired out and his parents 
too except that I insisted upon his usual noon day nap he 
would have been tired out to death. 

Mrs. Thomas had a tree last night for Georgie and in- 
vited all the children. It was to be lighted at five o'clock and 
baby was to go of course - when yesterday morning her baby 
broke out with measles so of course he couldn't go and didn't 
remember anything about its having been promised him. un- 
til this afternoon when I was drawing him on the porch - he 

The hospital was a new building when Dr. Winne served at the post in 1879-80. This tum-of-the-century photograph 
was made by the Department of the Army. 


saw some evergreens up by their house - and he looked up at 
me with such a disappointed look and insisted upon going at 
once. I had to bring him in to divert him from it. 

There has been a great deal of measles among the In- 
dians and at the agency and at Lander & two soldiers in the 
Hospital with it but Charlie has been exceedingly careful & so 
far baby has escaped - Still I have no doubt he will have it. 

The little boy has talked a great deal about Santa Claus 
coming dovvm the chimney to fill his stocking and was very 
much interested & amused when I brought out a pair of little 
red stockings & pinned them up over the fire-place. This 
morning he woke early & I thought would insist upon seeing 
his stocking but he didn't & I dressed him as usual, and when 
we were all ready opened the door, you should have seen his 
eyes stick out. The room looked like a toy shop and some of 
the things are beautiful of their kind - I never saw more Xmas 
giving then there has been here. Mr. Moore had a large 
assortment of very nice toys & fancy things, and the men have 
bought without limit, the Thomas children were loaded with 
beautiful things by the men of their fathers company, and 
laundress children too had no end of things. 

Baby had nothing in that way of course except Sergeant 
Divine (Gussies husband)^' gave him a large & very handsome 
set of ten pins & a large humming top. and a man who lives 
with Major Upham bought him today a very pretty plated 
knife & fork. I was sorry to have either of them do it but they 
would have been greatly hurt if I refused their gifts. 

We wished for you to share our turkey & fixings this after- 
noon. Gussy got up such a nice dinner every bit of it her self 
except the cake & mince pie I made yesterday, we had oyster 
soup, Roast turkey & cranberries, 3 kinds of vegetables, hot 
French rolls, pickles, mince pie. Ice creme & cake & coffee. 
The stewards wife^' sent me over a qt of thick creme this 
morning. Gussy is certainly a very nice cook. I hate to think I 
must loose her. 

I don't know when this letter will go. Tuesday nights mail 
came in yesterday morning - and we have had none since nor 
is one expected before tomorrow night, it is reported today 
that the mail is blocked on the mountains somewhere. I don't 
know how the report came - but probably by horseback from 
Stambaugh. We have had intense cold for some days. Yester- 
day morning at seven o'clock 32 ° below - but we have not felt 
it in the house and the boy has only been kept in one day. 
Friday Morning - 

All well this morning - no measles as yet. It is warmer 
only 5 ° above, a bright beautiful vvdnter morning. I will finish 
this when there is any chance of the mail going out. 
Saturday - 

The mail came in last evening late - and brought your 
beautiful letter to Bopper. and another train of cars for him. 
he is delighted with his letter and sends a kiss to Uncle & Aun- 
tie. Much warmer this morning and all well. 

Boppers Xmas Presents 1879 

Mama & Papa - Beautiful saddle horse on wheels, set of 
nine pins, book - Under the Window, Whip, Driving reins 
with bells; Grandma Winne - Box building blocks, transp_ar- 
ent slate, set of magnetic toys (fish & ducks), Chinese straw 
bird whistle; Mrs. Armsby - Wax doll, toy watch & chain, 
rubber ball, picture book - (Mother Hubbard), picture book 

- (4 & 20 Blackbirds); Mrs. Yiels, Albany - Magic Mother 
Goose Melodies, a beautiful book. 

Gus - Book -Jennie Wren; Etta - Book - The Picture Al- 
phabet; a lovely collar - Carries own work; Christmas Cards, 
Xmas tree book - Hoboken; Box of candy - father; Savings 
bank - Lieut Wheeler; Train of cars - Lieut. Waite; Mouth 
Organ - Capt. Forbush; Creedmoor bank - Major Upham. 

Beautiful large wheel barrow & whip - Mrs. Moore; Tin 
market wagon & horses - Miss Moore; Large red, white, & 
blue ball and dog in a hoop ■ Gussie; Large set of ten pins & 
humming top - Sergeant Divine; Whip & card of paper sol- 
diers - Mrs. Thomas; Knife & Fork - O'Grady; Train of Cars. 

January 2, 1880 Ludlow 

Well yesterday was New Years and our lunch party was a 
decided success. Everyone came officers in full dress and 
everything was very nice. My dining table could not seat all - 
so I got another table and set them in this way. it looked pret- 
ty too. Bopper came up to the table & behaved like a little 
gentleman, he got tired toward the last and I let him go out to 
the kitchen, but while he staid he was no trouble at all & en- 
joyed it as much as anyone, he certainly is a good little fellow. 
After lunch was over he came back into the parlor and he did 
so behave so finely doing what he could to entertain his 
mamas guests. The officers pet him a great deal always - and 
of course asked him about his Christmas and in such a pretty 
half shy way he would go & get a book or something he par- 
ticularly likes & give it to one or the other of them. Your pic- 
ture letter he took first to Major Upham & opened it & 
showed him all the pictures & told him as well as he could 
what they were. I never saw him behave prettier. His papa 
was wonderfully proud of him. 

I suppose Dell would like to know what can be got for 
lunch away up here. So I will tell you - what I tried to have & 
couldn't and what I finally did have. 

Mr. Moore could not get me any quail or grapes, the 
grapes I gave up. but Charlie was set upon having quail so he 
wrote to a friend in Omaha to get them if possible & send by 
express. He finally succeeded in getting some & sent them in 
time to have been here Wednesday night but they are still on 
the road some where - so we did not have any quail, and the 
celery in the garden all froze solid in that very cold weather - 
so we didn't have chicken salad, but we did have 

Fried oysters - first - then Roast turkey - pickled oysters, 
shrimp salad - cranberry jelly, pickeled peaches - cucumber 
pickels - elegant french rolls ■ & bread & butter - and elegant 
coffee - then the table was cleared - and I had delicious ice 
creme - coconut cake (fresh coconut) - fruit cake - almond 
cake - citron cake & sponge cake. Coffee. Oranges, pears, ap- 
ples and everything was very nice of its kind. The Stewards 
wife helped me with the cake and I made the salad dressing 
and pickeled the oysters, but Gussie roasted the turkey and 
did all the rest & waited on the table beautifully. And after we 
were through she had her party The Sergeant - and the 
Steward & his wife. They enjoyed it. 

Saturday night - the mail is just in bringing from father 
and our New Years quail, eight days from Omaha - but it is 
aggravating. I suppose they have laid in Green River. This 
stage CO. do as they please - for it is ride with us or walk. 



Black Coal 


{i*'*'*^ • 'A \ 


January 13, 1880 Ludlow 

. . . This has been a dreadful day. I have never known such a 
wind here. In Sidney I have seen such but never here. The 
whole surface of the ground looks as if it had been swept with 
a stiff broom every bit of dusy & loose pebbles has been blown 
away. You have no idea of these winds - for at the east there is 
a lull sometimes but here it is one steady blow for hours 
together. & the dust penetrates everywhere. 

Well it is eight months today since we arrived at Wash- 
akie and probably in about four months more we will be 
packing up to go somewhere else. 

January 23, 1880 Ludlow 

There is nothing special to write about - the great event 
of the week has been the arrival of the Paymaster at last - the 
troops have not been paid in six months - so to them it was 
quite an event & to us it was something to see a new face - 
some one from the outside world. Major Wingard is a very 
pleasant elderly man - he spent an evening with us & was ex- 
ceedingly entertaining, he has been stationed on the Pacific 
Coast a g^eat deal. Says he has seen every Post from the 
border of Mexico to Sitka. '^ he was there once. 

January 26, 1880 Ludlow 

Your letter received tonight & was all of our mail. As to 
the rumor about our coming east - you know about all there is 
to know about it. I am sure I have told you several times that 
Charlie only came back to this Dept. to serve out the re- 
mainder of his detail in the Dept. the time he was on leave if 
just the year is counted and he is ordered as all other medical 
officers have been from this Dept. to the Dept. of the East 
- why we shall go east in the late spring or early summer. This 
we expect to do but when exactly is more than I know. The 
Dept. of the East is large and the Posts as a rule disagreeable 
& quarters bad. So we don't anticipate anything very delight- 
ful tho we may get a pleasant post. Charlie is a Captain now 
and the additional rank will give him more of a chance of 

... It has been a wonderful winter. I never saw anything like 
it. We had been fearful of no ice here as they never put it in 
before the end of January. & so let that very cold snap pass 
but last week they put it in such as it is. I believe they shaved it 
off both sides & the middle was still solid. 

February 5, 1880 Ludlow 

Your letter came as usual Monday - but I have not been 
able to write before - having been more than usually busy - 
and when evening came ■ tired. A very small boy arrived 
unexpectedly at the Moores Monday night ■ and Mrs. Thomas 
& I have been obliged to be there more or less every day since. 

Our garrison is beginning to break up. Mr. Thomas was 
ordered by telegram to go to Rawlins'"' (on the RR) as QM of- 
ficer there - and left this morning. She will go - as soon as it is 
safe to go with the baby over the mountains probably next 
month which will leave me the only lady at the Post. The sup- 
position is that a large Depot of supplies is to be established at 
Rawlins & troops concentrated there preparatory to the Ute 
war next summer ■ for a war there will doubtless be - was 
there ever such a farce as that whole business has been - it is 
altogether disgusting. 


February 11, 1880 Ludlow 

Yesterday I drove down to the hot spring with Mr. & Miss 
Moore & we ladies went in. The bath houses have been fixed 
up a little so ladies can go in very comfortably, there was a 
strong east wind blowing so the water was cooler than usual & 
very delightful - but I shouldn't want to try when it was much 
warmer, some of the very cold days this winter we have seen 
the steam from the spring rise in a solid white cloud as high as 
the bluffs beyond it & the spring you know is two miles from 
the post. 

February 15, 1880 Father 

... I have no patience with the U.S. Government in any of its 

branches. Civil or Military the whole thing is corrupt & rotten 

through & through. Such a mess as has been made of this Ute 

Indian business this winter is disgusting and the poor army 

will have to suffer & settle it next summer. 

... I wish I had something to write but there is positively 

nothing - I shall soon be the only lady here in garrison. Mr. 

Thomas has been ordered away and gone. & his family will go 

as soon as it is safe to go over the mountains with children. I 

suppose we shall go too by June tho we know nothing as of yet. 

February 20, 1880 Ludlow 

... I don't write many letters either for there is literally 
nothing to write about. I doubt if ever on the frontier it would 
be possible to find a post where there was so little to interest 
even the garrison and nothing to interest anyone outside. 

The paper^' in the March number of Harpers on the "Ar- 
rappahoes" is written by an acquaintance of ours, he was at 
Sidney when we first went there - we dined at his house that 
Xmas. And these Indians are the ones we see most every day. I 
saw both "Sharp Nose" and "Friday" today - the likeness of all 
of them are remarkably good that is the four - "Black Coal", 
"Washington", "Sharp Nose", & "Friday".''^ the squaws all 
look alike and are all equally dirty & the village which in the 
feature looks quite pleasant is as nasty a place as one can 
imagine. They are all coming in from their winter hunt now. 
& the post will soon be swarming wdth them again. "Inyons" 
as Bopper calls them. 

There is a rumor that all the Cavalry in the Dept. is to be 
ordered to Rawlins to be in readiness for a Ute Campaign in 
the spring, but we know nothing positive of course if it is so. 
Infantry \nl\ have to be sent to all these outposts & there is 
probably little if any truth in the rumors anyway. 

February 26, 1880 Ludlow 

I think I have even less than usual to write tonight - 
nothing has happened here - and we have so few letters - we 
hear little from the outside world. The measles have broken 
out again - in two different families among the children and I 
look every day for Bopper to come down with them . . . 

March 5, 1880 Ludlow 

When your letter came Monday night, I thought I should 
answer it at once - but my time has been all taken up this week 
again - that poor little Thomas baby is very sick again and I 
have been there all the spare time I have had. he was taken 
Tuesday evening with croup - the next morning he had a con- 
vulsion again, but he is better of all tonight & tho not out of 



danger - still we feel encouraged. There has been consider- 
able sickness here lately for this place, but we are all perfectly 
well I am thankful to say . . . 

I wish I could have some of your flowers ■ Flowers & fruit 
I miss more than anything. 

March 9, 1880 Ludlow 

We are all well as usual and surely have good reason to be 
thankful, for there never was so much sickness here - as there 
has been the past few weeks. Two of the Moore children have 
been sick - one very dangerously so for the past week - but he 
is better. So that Charlie feels now - that he will get well ■ tho 
not yet out of danger, a week ago Sunday a little child of our 
Commissary Sergeant died of malignant measles. ''' the only 
case of measles that has been anything to speak of - but the 
eruption did not come out at all & the child died in a few 
hours . . . The Thomas baby is well again, except a cough. I 
believe it pays to be - what people may call over careful of a 
child . . . 

The beads you speak of in the breast plate on Sharp 
Noses son are worn a great deal in that way by these Indians - 
they are made of a creamy smooth sort of pipe clay I think - 
the longest ones about as large as this paper is wide - are 
about $1.00 a piece at the store & the shorter ones |2, $3, & 
$5 per doz. I have thought too perhaps the tubes you found 
were beads. I will bring you some of their fancy beads when I 
come. Comparatively few of either the Arapahoes or Shoshoni 
have red stone pipes. They smoke mostly cigarettes, but those 
they have they have got in trade or some such way from the 

Charlie sends love to you both, he has worked hard the 
past week, with two such very sick children on his hands - but 
if only he can be the means of saving them, baby Thomas is 
most well again, it has been an anxious time being away off so 
far - and every one looking to Charlie as their only earthly 
hope when their children are so sick is a fearful feeling - you 
can't imagine it. I could only pray all the time that he might 
have wisdom given him to do just the right thing. 

March 16, 1880 Ludlow 

. . . There is little to tell you except about our weather. Last 
Thursday it was snowing hard when we got up and did not 
stop for one minute all day - how late into the night it snowed 
I don't know but sometime in the night it grew cold & the 
mercury fell to 23° below zero & that night the 12th it was 44° 
below, 13th 34° below - 14th 29° below & 15th 20° below . . . 
. . . such deep snows are not unusual here in March & April - 
in fact Mr. Moore says he has seen it three feet deep in April 
but only lasting for two or three days, but such intense cold 
was never knovni here by the oldest inhabitant, there is no 
record of anything below 39° below until this snap. We 
haven't suffered from it at all. The house has been very warm 
& comfortable, and then of course this low temperature not 
felt at all at this altitude as much as 10° below would be with 

March 25, 1880 Ludlow 

... As spring comes on - we begin to be very anxious for our 
orders. Charlie reported for duty on the 1st of May - & by 
rights ought to be relieved by the 1st of this May. I hope we 

shall get away by the last of May. anyway 1 am about tired of 
this. Still this place ■ like all others has its advantages. We 
have all been very well the whole year. 1 have had a great deal 
of headaches - owing Charlie thinks to the altitude, but thats 
all ■ and Bopper could not have had a better place for his 
teething . . . 

There are rumors all the time of a change of garrison 
here but we know nothing. Gussie told me the other day that 
even if L Co. (Devines) did go away she would stay with us till 
his time was out in the fall - if we staid here. 1 shall be sorry to 
lose Gussy. She learned so much at Mrs. Taylors'''' and has im- 
proved greatly in her cooking & everything, it will be a long 
time before 1 find her equal. She does everything. 1 wish 1 had 
some of your flowers. 

March 31, 1880 Ludlow 

Yours of the 21st came as usual. Our garrison is begin- 
ning to break up. Major Upham received telegraph orders 
Monday night to go at once to Cheyenne to take command of 
three Cos. of his Regt. & march with them to the site of the 
new post on the Niobrara. ('Tort Niobrara ")''* it is to be 
called & they with two companies of Infantry are to build it 
this summer he stated this morning. And Mrs. Thomas ex- 
pects to go next week to join her husband at Rawlins, and I 
suppose the whole Garrison will be soon changed - that is the 
expectation tho no one knows anything as yet. One of the In- 
fantry cos. going to the Niobrara is Capt. Rodgers**^ of the 9th 
2nd Lieut. G. R. Beardsley."' 

. . . I'll bring you some beads when we come. I wish you could 
have seen the Indian stuff Major Upham had. he called me in 
to see it all before he went, some really handsome shirts & 
quivers & war bonnets and etc. The handsomest of all a com- 
plete set of saddle equipments any civilized horse would run 
away with all that stuff on him. I suppose what he had must 
have cost him as much as $150 - I wouldn't give it - for since I 
have seen so many of the nasty creatures, I care very little for 
the stuff. 

April 14, 1880 Ludlow 

. . . You doubtless know & knew before we did that Charlie is 
ordered for his second or rather fourth examination, it seems 
an outrage that he should have to be examined again for the 
Majorty which probably he may never get - but so it is. what a 
fearful mistake he made when he resigned. 

When we shall get away we can't tell of course as yet. all 
the orders he has yet is the one direct from the Surgeon Genl 
relieveing him from duty in this Dept and after his examina- 
tion to report to the Surgeon Genl by letter for assignment to 
duty. Of course we can't leave here until someone is sent to 
take his place and as yet we have no orders from the Medical 
Director - we have not began to pack - but are planning it all. 
and I am sewing every minute so you must not look for Ittters. 
I will write when I can. We are all well. 

The Thomas family left last Saturday and I am now the 
only lady at the Post. 

Your letter came Monday night - in the same mail with 
the orders. 

April 22, 1880 Ludlow 

Charlies orders came Monday night - but I have been too 


busy & too tired, to write since I had some sewing that must be 
finished before we begin to pack, it is done & today I am pick- 
ing things over and getting rid of all superfluous bundles & 
putting things in shape to be packed. We sell nearly all the lit- 
tle furniture we had & so far have succeeded very well. We 
have no idea when we shall get away. Charlie will be relieved 
by a medical officer now at Camp Sheridan, Nebr.*^ and he 
by Dr. Grimes who was here when we came, of course we have 
to wait for them, but we rather expect to start between the 8th 
& 10th of May. I dread the journey it is long & hard & to take 
it twfice within a year is no fun, to say the least. 

The companies here are looking nightly for their orders. 
Of course we will let you know just when we start. 

April 30, 1880 Ludlow - Postcard 

Have no Idea yet when we shall start, everything packed 
that can be until we actually break up. All well but tired. In 
haste C.E.W. 

May 8, 1880 Ludlow 

. . . Dr. Corbusier''^ would be here by Thursday but the stage 
is in tonight and no sign of him yet - he has ample time if he 
had complied with his orders - "Without delay" When he will 
come is still a question but the sooner the better to suit us - we 
are all broken up - yesterday had the carpets up & cleaned & 
packed today, it won't take long to get off when he does come 

- We were in hopes to get away before the new garrison got 
here - but we shan't now - This waiting & uncertainty are 
becoming decidedly disagreeable. The only advantage of this 
delay is that the roads are improving all the time. I think if 
the weather is pleasant we will enjoy the ride over the moun- 
tains more than when we came. We shall have Red Canon 
and the mountains the first day when we are fresh, and now 
we know so much more about the country too & then we shall 
go up instead of dowm the worst hills. 

It will seem strange to us to be in any other Dept than this 

- but I am not sorry to leave this "blasted country" for one. 
particularly as the prospect for a Ute War seems to be what 
Army people have all the time felt it was - the vdse men in 
Washington to the contrary not with standing & some day 
there vnll be trouble v«th these Indians too. Old Washakie 
can't live always.*" 

Bopper is well and rather seems to enjoy this state of 
chaos, he is a funny little chap - says so many funny things - 
last night he was at the window with me and two squaws were 
outside & noticed him & were talking together about him evi- 
dently calling him pappose. He heard it & turned to me & 
said "Bopper pappose no" "very nice Bopper". 

We are all well & hope to see you soon, by the way, Capt 
Monahan has failed to obtain an extension of his sick leave - 
and is ordered to join his Co. at Fort Russell (Cheyenne) & 
Mrs. Monahan wrote insisting on our stopping to see them 

- we may stop over a day. 

May 13, 1880 Ludlow 

It is just a year tonight since we reached this post and you 
I suppose are daily expecting to hear we are on our waj^east 
from the fact that I have no letter at all from you this week. It 
is probable now that we shall not be able to leave before the 
23rd if we do then. The new command came in yesterday, it 

seems Dr. Corbusier was ordered to come with them but fail- 
ing to reach Fort Laramie on time. Capt. RusselP' tele- 
graphed to Omaha to know whether he should wait for Dr. 
Corbusier & the answer came not to wait. Dr. C would prob- 
ably overtake them at Fort Fetterman. Yesterday Charlie re- 
ceived an official letter from the Medical officer at Fort 
Laramie from which we learned that Dr. C left Fort Laramie 
on the 5th. So when he reached Fetterman this command 
were ten days from there. We hoped that he might decide to 
come by rail & stage & be here tonight but he didn't come so 
he is undoubtedly incoming across country & can't possibly be 
here before next Thursday (the 20th). it is very disgusting as 
we are entirely torn up.*^ and what adds to the pleasure ? of 
waiting is the fact that (at my suggestion) Gussie has decided 
to go across country with her husband - & the command start 
either Sunday or Monday - so I will be all alone. Still all 
things, even disagreeable ones, have an end & we doubtless 
shall live through it. We are all well & I shall take care that no 
one gets dyspepsia from high living. 

Gussie isn't very well anyway. She is tired out & needs a 
change & rest. I think the trip of three weeks will do her good 
& it will save them a good deal of expense. The Co. is in camp 
now & she went dov^Ti tonight to begin her Army life. She will 
come up & help me every day until they go - we shall miss her 
- she is a good faithful girl. 

You can't know how thankful we are to get away from 
here now - one of the new Captains has three of the very 
"badest" children I ever knew - & we know them of old at 
Sidney & a horrible dirty baby besides. We could not let Bop- 
per play with them and it would make great trouble. The new 
Dr. brings four boys the oldest ten years. 

Don't worry or expect us until you hear. I will send you 
word by the very first mail after Dr. C arrives & we will tele- 
graph from Rochester where we shall have to stay over night 

1. Camp Stambaugh was established on July 20, 1867, for the pro- 
tection of the miners in the Sweetwater district from hostile In- 
dians. The post was abandoned August 17, 1878. Francis P. 
Prucha, Guide to the Military Posts of the United States (Madi- 
son: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1964), p. 185. 

2. Lt. Col. John F. Summers was the Medical Director of the De- 
partment of the Platte. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register 
and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: 
G.P.O., 1903), p. 936. 

3. Augusta (Gussie) was a servant girl hired by Mrs. Winne at Fort 
McPherson. She did not go east with them during their 1878- 
1879 leave, but joined them at Kearney, Nebraska. Originally 
from Wisconsin, she was 23 years old at the time they went to 
Fort Washakie. Tenth U.S. Census, 1880. 

4. 1st Lieutenant Earl D. Thomas, Company G, 5th Cavalry, ar- 
rived for duty at Fort Washakie in October, 1878. While at the 
post, he served as the commanding officer of his company in the 
absence of Captain Edward Hayes, who was on a leave of ab- 
sence. Post Returns, Fort Washakie, May 1879. 

5. Major John H. Upham arrived and assumed command of Fort 
Washakie on August 8, 1878. While the Winnes were stationed 
at Fort Washakie, the garrison consisted of Companies G and L 
of the 5th Cavalry, with a strength of 130 officers and enlisted 
men. Post Returns, Fort Washakie, May 1879-May 1880. 

6. Due to hunger and poor reservation conditions, several hundred 
Bannacks, Piautes, and Umatillas fled their reservations in the 


early summer of 1878. After four months of military pursuit and 
fighting, the Indians were compelled to surrender and return. 
About 131 Bannacks were held as prisoners at Fort Hall and 
Fort Washakie through the winter, and were released the follow- 
ing summer to return to their proper reservations. A total of 57 
Bannacks were held at Fort Washakie. Robert Utley, Frontier 
Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 18661890 
(New York: MacMillan, 1973), pp. 321-328. 
. This spring is located 2.2 miles east of Fort Washakie on the 
road to Ethete. In 1874, Surgeon Maghee described the spring 
as being 315 by 250 feet in diameter and about 20 feet deep. He 
also remarked that "Used as a bath, the waters proved decidedly 
beneficial for rheumatic, neuralgic, syphilitic, and skin diseases; 
taken internally no perceptible effect is produced." Surgeon 
General Circular No. 8, Report on the Hygiene of the U.S. 
Army with Descriptions of Military Posts (Washington: G.P.O., 
1875), p. 325. 

The Rumseys were the proprietors of the "Sidney House" in 
Sidney, Nebraska, and were friends of the Winnes' while they 
were stationed at Sidney Barracks. While at Sidney, the Winnes' 
only child was born September 30, 1877. Thomas R. Buecker, 
"Letters of Caroline Winne From Sidney Barracks and Fort 
McPherson, Nebraska, \874-\878." Nebraska History. Vol. 62, 
No. 1, (Spring 1981), pp. 27. 35. 

Fort McPherson was established as Camp Cottonwood, in 1863, 
11 miles below the confluence of the North and South Platte 
rivers, for the protection of overland travelers. The Winnes were 
stationed from November 1877 to February 1878. Buecker, 
"Winne Letters," pp. 36-42. Dr. Edward F. Gibson was a 
25-year-old New York native. Tenth U. S. Census, 1880. 
Fort D. A. Russell was established July 21, 1867, to provide pro- 
tection for the railroad workers and the new tovm of Cheyenne, 
Wyoming. Prucha, p. 184. 

Captain Deane Monahan was the commanding officer of Com- 
pany G, 3rd Cavalry. The Monahans were close friends of the 
Winnes at Sidney Barracks. Buecker, "Winne Letters," pp. 

Mrs. Winne was not alone in the description of Washakie. In his 
narrative on his army career, Eben Swift also mentioned that 
the chief resembled Henry Ward Beecher. Paul Hedren, "Eben 
Swift's Army Service on the Plains," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 
50, No. 1, (Spring 1978), p. 152. 

Ludlow was an ardent collector of Indian artifacts, geological 
specimens, and other collectables. Whenever possible, the 
Winnes collected and sent him such articles. 
On May 18, Lt. Wheeler and a detachment from Company L 
brought in a party of Bannack prisoners consisting of four 
males, nine females, and seven children along with 18 horses. 
Post Returns, Fort Washakie, May 1879. 

Fort McKinney was established July 18, 1877, just west of pres- 
ent day Buffalo, Wyoming, for the control of Indians east of the 
Big Horn Mountains. Prucha, p. 183. 

In 1877, Congress failed to pass a pay appropriation, and the 
army went without pay from June 30 to November 17. 1877. 
Utley, pp. 62-63. 

In 1874, Dr. Winne resigned his commission, therefore losing 
time in grade for promotion. After re-entering the service, 
Winne tried unsuccessfully to be re-instated and not lose his 
previous service time. 

James I. Patten was the Indian Agent for the Shoshoni and 
Arapahoe agency at Fort Washakie in 1879. 
During the summer of 1873, an expedition led by Captain 
William A. Jones searched for a practical wagon road from the 
main line of the Union Pacific Railroad to Yellowstone Park and 
Fort Ellis, Montana. In addition, scientists with the party 
observed and recorded the geology and botany of the region 









they traveled through. William A. Jones, Report Upon the 
Reconnaissance of Northwestern Wyoming Made in the Sum- 
mer of 1873, (Washington: G.P.O., 1874). 
Lewisia Rediviva, or Bitterroot, is a low, succulent perennial 
with thick, fleshy roots that was used as a source of food by cer- 
tain Indian tribes in central Wyoming. 

The Rt. Rev. John Franklin Spaulding was the Episcopal Bishop 
for Colorado and Wyoming in 1879. 

Omaha Barracks was established December 5, 1868, just north 
of Omaha, Nebraska, and served as headquarters for the De- 
partment of the Platte. Prucha, p. 89. 

Aside from the information in these letters, no additional facts 
about "Shoshoni Dick " were found. 

Lower ranking army officers at frontier posts could be 'ranked 
out' and have their quarters taken by higher ranking officers 
that desired them. This practice caused disruptions and incon- 
veniences during garrison changes. 

J. K. Moore came from Fort Bridger to be the post trader for 
Camp Brown in 1869, and was later post and Indian trader at 
Fort Washakie. J. K. Moore, Jr., "Post Trader and Indian 
Trader Tokens," Annals of Wyoming, Vol. 27, No. 2, (October 
1955), pp. 130-135. 

Fort Hall was established on May 27, 1870, near the Ross Fork 
Agency of the Bannacks in southeastern Idaho. The post was 
built to control the Shoshoni and Bannack Indians in the vicin- 
ity. Prucha, p. 77. 

2nd Lieutenant Homer W. Wheeler joined post on January 7, 
1879, and served as company commander, post adjutant and 
treasurer, acting signal officer, and engineer officer. Wheeler's 
experiences at Fort Washakie are found in his article, 
"Reminiscences of Old Fort Washakie, " Wyoming Historical 
Department's Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 4, (April 15, 

This tar spring, also called ""Grims Oil Well, " was located two 
miles northeast of the post. It was described as being 12 feet in 
diameter, surrounded by a layer of asphaltrum 50 yards wide. 
Tar from here was used to cover building roofs at the post. 
Surgeon General Circular No. 8, p. 326. 

Prof. O. C. Marsh of Yale University was a pioneer paleontol- 
ogist who made several remarkable explorations through Wyo- 
ming, Colorado and Nebraska beginning in 1868. Military es- 
corts were furnished for his field work and he was well-known to 
many officers, who like Dr. Winne, sent specimens to him for 

During this period, medical officers were generally stationed 
four years in a department before they were transferred else- 
where. After four years in the Department of the Platte, the 
Winnes anticipated being transferred to a new post in the De- 
partment of the East. 

Trigonia was a fossil bivalve mollusk very common to Messozoic 
rock formations in central Wyoming. 

Lt. Thomas left post August 6, 1879, with a detachment of 41 
enlisted men for duty as an escort for a government surveying 
party surveying the northern boundary of the Wyoming Terri- 
tory. Post Returns, Fort Washakie, August, 1879. 
The Ute Uprising of 1879 was a result of unkept promises and 
inadequate rations at the White River Agency in northwestern 
Colorado. The situation at the agency rapidly deteriorated, and 
the agent called in troops to help maintain order and security. 
Utley, pp. 332-342. 
34. On September 29, 1879, a column of 120 officers and enlisted 
men, with supply wagons, on the way to the White River Agen- 
cy, was attacked by the Utes on Milk Creek, 15 miles north of 
the agency. In the ensuing battle and seige, Major T. T. Thom- 
burg, nine enlisted men, and three civilians were killed. Capt.J. 
S. Payne, Lt. J. V. Paddock, Acting Assistant Surgeon R. B. 










Grimes, two civilians and 43 enlisted men were wounded. 
Col. Wesley Merritt, 5th Cavalry, led the relief column that 
covered 160 miles in two and one-half days that relieved the 
beseiged command on Milk Creek on October 5, 1879. 

36. Brigadier General George Crook commanded the Department 
of the Platte from April 27, 1875, through the summer of 1882. 
Sgt. William Devine, Co. L, 5th Cavalry, was a native of New 
Jersey and 26 years old when he married Gussie. In May, 1880, 
Company L was transferred to Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and 
the Devines left Fort Washakie for the new post. Tenth U.S. 
Census, 1880; Post Returns, Fort Washakie, May 1880. 
The Hospital Steward was an enlisted man rated as a non-com- 
missioned officer who assisted the post surgeon in the operation 
of the hospital. Hospital Steward Richard Keogh was Winne's 
assistant and a 23 year veteran of the army. Medical Papers, 
Fort Washakie, November 1879. 

The Post of Sitka served as the Department Headquarters for 
the Territory of Alaska from 1867 to 1877. 
Rawlins, Wyoming, was the closest railroad point to the Ute 
Agency at White River. Four companies of cavalry and five 
companies of infantry encamped at the agency through the 
winter of 1879-1880, and were supplied from that point. 
Lt. H. R. Lemly, "Among the Arrapahoes," Harpers New 
Monthly Magazine , Vol. 60, (March 1880), pp. 494-501. 

42. Black Coal was the head chief of the Arapahoes on the Wind 
River Reservation. Washington was a chief who assumed this 
name in token of his desire to adopt the ways of the whiteman. 
Sharp Nose was Black Coal's lieutenant and served as an army 
ally on several occasions, particularly in the 1876 campaigns. 
William Friday was educated in St. Louis when he was young, 
and served as an interpreter before he died of kidney infection in 
May, 1881. 

Monthly medical records for February 1880 reported that the 
youngest child (female) of Commissary Sergeant Patrick Sulli- 
van died on the 28th from a malignant attack of measles. 
Medical papers. Fort Washakie, February 1880. 
Mrs. Taylor was the lady that kept the officers mess at Omaha 
Barracks (Fort Omaha) where Gussie worked before joining the 
Winnes for the trip to Fort Washakie. 

Fort Niobrara was established April 22, 1880, near the conflu- 
ence of Minnechaduza Creek and the Niobrara River in north - 
central Nebraska. The post was constructed for the control of 








the Brule Sioux on the Rosebud Reservation in the Dakota Ter- 
ritory. Prucha, p. 89. While traveling to Cheyenne, Major Up- 
ham's party was caught in a severe spring storm, resulting in the 
loss of one man due to exposure. Medical Papers, Fort Wash- 
akie, April 1880. 

Probably Capt. William Wallace Rogers, 9th Infantry. He 
enlisted at the beginning of the Civil War. Commissioned from 
the ranks, he was promoted to captain in 1879. He retired in 
1889 and died the next year. Heitman. p. 844. 

47. 2nd Lieutenant G. R. Beardsley, Company B, 9th Infantry, was 
an acquaintance of the Winnes' from New York. He graduated 
from West Point in 1879 and resigned his commission fifteen 
months later. Heitman, p. 203. 

48. Camp Sheridan was established in September 1874, for the con- 
trol of the Brule Sioux at the old Spotted Tail Agency in north- 
western Nebraska. 

Assistant Surgeon William H. Corbusier was assigned to replace 
Dr. Winne as post surgeon. The story of Corbusier s military ser- 
vice in the Indian War was prepared by his son, William T. Cor- 
busier, Verde to San Carlos (Tucson: Dale King, 1968). Chapter 
10 deals with the years they were stationed at Fort Washakie. 
Washakie actually out-lived the cessation of Indian Wars hos- 
tilities before the time of his death in 1900. At that time, the 
chief was still carried on the government roles as an Indian 
scout. Grace Hebard, Washakie: An Account of Indian Resis- 
tance of the Covered Wagon and Union Pacific Railroad Inva- 
sions of Their Territory (Cleveland: Arthur Clark, 1930), p. 

Captain Gerald Russell, commanding officer of Company K, 
3rd Cavalry. His company and Company H of the same regi- 
ment arrived at the post on May 12 to form the new garrison. 
Companies G and L, 5th Cavalry, left post on the 17th respec- 
tively for Fort Laramie and Fort Robinson. Medical Papers, 
Fort Washakie, May 1880. 

Unknown to Mrs. Winne, the Corbusiers met with several mis- 
haps that delayed their travel to Fort Washakie. After leaving 
Camp Sheridan on April 22, their ambulance was accidentally 
over-turned 18 miles west of Fort Robinson, injuring the 
doctor's ankle. Because of this accident and subsequent delays, 
Corbusier and family did not arrive at Fort Washakie until June 
1. Corbusier, pp. 179-184. 










<' .J_ 


By Dr. Anthony Palmieri and Chris Humberson 


A Civil War veteran, Finfrock came west in 1863 
to serve as a post surgeon. 

Of the people who settled early in the west it is often 
said that the physicians provided the best account of 
typical pioneer life since they were often the most pro- 
lific writers available. As well as being the medical ex- 
pert, physicians often became the town's druggist, civic 
and educational leader. Such was the case of John H. 
Finfrock for the newly erected town of Laramie, Wyo- 

Finfrock's early life was uneventful. Bom December 
9, 1836, in Columbiana County, Ohio, he was the son of 
Jonathan Finfrock. He attended county and city schools 
until the age of 20 when he studied medicine with his 
two uncles, Dr. William Blecker and Dr. A. Blecker. In 
1860, he left his uncles' medical practice and took a 
course at the Cincinnati medical hospital. He graduated 
with high honors in 1861.' Finfrock also attended Rich- 
mond College of Ohio, and the University of Michigan. 
He joined the Union Army March 12, 1862, and due to 
his unbridled enthusiasm, was promptly named a re- 
cruiting officer. He was soon appointed assistant sur- 
geon of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and served un- 
til the end of the Civil War.^ 

The captain's company saw considerable action. 
Finfrock often treated the wounded on the front line. He 
seemed to be often ill during the war since he reported 
he had a number of problems with fever and diarrhea 
for which he treated himself with quinine. While he was 
on leave from the army, he married Anna Catherine 
McCullough in Mansfield, Ohio, on June 22, 1862. He 
reported back to his army unit the day after his wed- 

Finfrock left three diaries of his days in the army. 
Mostly, they report on the weather, a few of his acquain- 
tances and his own illnesses and boredom. Occasionally, 
the diaries give insight into his medical work. He wrote 
of making a "sassafrass tea" while on march. Less than a 
week later he noted the death of John S. Fesres in the 
hospital at Stanford, Kentucky, of typhoid fever. Ty- 
phoid pneumonia claimed the life of another patient, 
Henry DeVore, on February 20, 1862. By then, Fin- 
frock's own health was improving. A week after 
DeVore's death, Finfrock left for Mansfield, Ohio, for 
10 days of sick leave. Throughout the period he com- 
plained of pains in his "chest, side and back." 

During April of 1862 he was back on the "front 
lines" treating many wounded soldiers. One of the most 
common ailments mentioned in his diary was diarrhea. 
In late May Finfrock's own health forced him to take a 
20-day sick leave and return home. His health improved 
slowly but he continued self-treatment with a dose of 

Calomel for his pains on June 12, 1862, and Blue Mass 
and Quinine on June 25. In the fall his company cap- 
tured Harrodsburgh, Kentucky, and 800 prisoners were 
taken. He returned home late in the year, again taking 
an extended leave due to illness. It was then that he was 
formally placed in charge of the drafted men of Mans- 
field, Ohio." 

In early 1863 Finfrock's company participated in the 
battle at Stone River. On February 18, 1863, Finfrock 
was advised by the Surgeon General of Ohio to resign 
due to poor health. He officially did so the next day, 
leaving the army on February 25 after receiving his res- 
ignation papers. 

Finfrock arrived in Cincinnati to begin medical 
study on March 23, 1863. While at the school although 
he still complained of feeling ill, his health improved. 
Diary entries include reports of attending operations 
and practicing amputations on cadavers. Finfrock's 
medical school education in Cincinnati ended with sub- 

Captain Finfrock during the Civil War. 


Finfrocks moved to Laramie where John 
practiced medicine and opened a drug store. 

mission of his "thesis" on Army hygiene to the dean of 
the faculty, and payment of his |25 graduation fee on 
May 23, 1863. Since his health had improved consider- 
ably and wanting to reenter the army, he took his med- 
ical exam boards on July 6 and 7, 1863, at Columbus 
and received word that he passed as First Assistant Sur- 
geon on July 8. 

He received his commission July 20, 1863, and 
started west on the 31st arriving at Leavenworth, Kan- 
sas, by way of St. Louis on August 13. On October 10 
the company reached Fort Laramie and Finfrock report- 
ed that the hospital was in "splendid" condition. 

He was assigned to Fort Halleck, near what is now 
Arlington, Wyoming, approximately 40 miles from Lar- 
amie. When he arrived at Fort Halleck, Finfrock found 
scurvy among the men and he immediately prescribed 
eating the wild onions abundant in the area. The scurvy 
cases soon improved. 

A variety of information about Finfrock comes from 
his 1864 diary. He suffered fairly severe facial neuralgia. 

Eagle Pharmacy owned by Finfrock and Thobro. 

he smoked, he was an avid reader, he published a few 
articles and he practiced dentistry. He was dismayed at 
postal inefficiency and he was an amateur meteorologist. 

About 17,580 men and 4,264 wagons passed Fort 
Halleck in 1864. He cared for the immigrant's diseases 
as they passed through, his pay often being in goods, 
stock or dogs. Finfrock found it necessary to complain 
about medicines being shipped from the Medical Pur- 
veyor's Office in St. Louis as did the surgeons at Fort 
Laramie.^ One of the few medical entries he made in his 
diaries while at Fort Halleck concerned repairing a 
coach driver's dislocated shoulder. On July 11-12, 1864, 
Finfrock helped a Dr. Force repair the shoulder using 
chloroform to sedate the coach driver. 

While Finfrock's life on the frontier was usually un- 
eventful, his wife arrived from Ohio on July 16, 1864. It 
was a long awaited move. The next week's diary entries 
tell of fighting with Indians and bedbugs. Finfrock also 
complained of having to wait two days for an ambulance 
to move the wounded to Fort Laramie. Indian hostilities 
continued sporadically during the entire summer. 

On August 9, 1864, Finfrock amputated the limb of 
a wounded man, but the patient died an hour later. 

Although not a common occurrence, a frontier phy- 
sician was sometimes called on to help deliver a child. 
On August 30, 1864, he wrote in his diary: "Mrs. Fisk 
was delivered of a female child at 8:00 p.m. —8 month 
child only lived 2 hours. Mrs. F. getting along very 

In September of 1864, Finfrock delivered two chil- 
dren, a clear indication that the area was being settled 
more quickly. 

Probably the most interesting medical entries in Fin- 
frock diaries were those of October and November of 
1864. On October 20, 1864, Finfrock traveled to a farm 
on the South Platte to see "Drago's boy" who was kicked 
by a mule, piercing a hole the size of a half-dollar in the 
left side of his frontal bone. Finfrock wrote: "2 oz. of 
brain escaped." He treated the injury by enlarging the 
wound and elevating the bone. His final note for the 
day "doing well but will likely die." On the 24th he 
reported "Drago's boy getting along all right." He went 
to see the patient again on November 2 and reported he 
was doing better. The patient was doing fine at his next 
visit on December 8, 1864. The diaries ended on January 
1, 1865, so the outcome of the child's condition is not 

While at the fort, the Finfrock's first child, William 
Edmund, was born on October 16, 1865. 

Fort Halleck was abandoned in 1866 and the Fin- 
frock's moved to Laramie where John practiced med- 


Laramie in the early 1870s, showing the Fmfrock house (7), north of Grand Avenue (16) 

icine and opened a drug store. During his practice Fin 
frock encountered the typical diseases of the time and 
area — diptheria, smallpox, syphilis, measles and scarlet 
fever. The Finf rock's settled into Laramie where John 
had a thriving business and Anna raised the children. 
Two sons born in Laramie grew to adulthood while a 
daughter died at the age of nine months. 

Finfrock's civic and medical contributions were 
widely recognized and appreciated by the community. 
He was often the subject of articles in the Laramie Sen- 
tinel or later the Laramie Republican. 

The Laramie Sentinel of January 4, 1871, described 
an operation performed by Dr. Finf rock. He amputated 
a leg by "disarticulation" (separation at joint) described 
as being "neatly and skillfully" performed. The paper 
went on to explain that the man's leg was crushed when 
run over by rail cars nine months earlier.^ 

In February of 1875 he wrote of the arrival of Sister 
Bruner and other nuns. They opened St. Joseph's Hospi- 
tal in the building abandoned by the railroad when its 
hospital was closed. Shortly after, when an explosion 
rocked the rolling mill, the hospital cared for many of 
the workers that were scalded in the mishap.' 

Finfrock was well known for his skill at amputations. 
The April 17, 1885, paper also reported on his work on a 
"Mr. Stamy" of Fort Fetterman who some years earlier 
had received a gunshot wound in the leg. In June of 
1884 his horse fell with him, causing his leg to break 
near the site of the original wound. The newspaper ac- 
count goes on to state: 

The leg was amputated by a surgeon (?) about five 
inches below the knee, but the stump did not heal and was 
very painful. On the 5th of February he came here and en- 
tered St. Joseph's hospital under the care of Dr. Finfrock. 
. . . Dr. Finfrock, as assisted by Dr. Stevens opened the 
stump and removed a piece of dead bone and a ligature 
tied around the main nerve, besides a bundle of silk lying 
loose in the stump.* 

Fmfrock appeared tu make uther majui medical 
contributions as reported in the local press. The first ap- 
peared in the Sentinel of April 17, 1885, and April 20, 
1885, under the heading "A Severe Operation:" 

A Cancer Weighing Over Three Pounds 
Successfully Removed 

One of the most dreadful afflictions to which the 
human race is subject and which results fatally in ninety- 
five percent of the cases that occur, is cancer. In this city 
yesterday a very successful operation was performed by our 
local physicians, and the patient not only stood it bravely 
but is getting along extremely well. 

Dr. Finfrock, assisted by Drs. Foster, Stevens, Gardi- 
ner and McAchren, removed the whole of the right breast 
and the gland in the arm pit, from the person of Mrs. P. A. 
Steinhoff, who for several years has suffered from the dread 
disease, which requires so terrible an operation. The mass 
removed weighed over three pounds. The lady bore the try- 
ing ordeal with heroic fortitude, and is doing nicely today. 
The doctors think that they have succeeded in getting the 
cancer, roots and all out and have no doubts of the 
patient's recovery. 

The follow-up story read: 

Our readers will remember that a few days ago Mrs. 
Steinhoff had an operation performed for the purpose of 
removing a cancer from her breast, which cancer weighed 
over three pounds. Dr. Finfrock informs us that the lady is 
doing so well that is really a remarkable case. The incision 
was measured today, and was eight and one-half inches in 
length. There is no suppuration, and, in fact, the operation 
has be a complete success it would seem.' 
Another of Finfrock's medical feats occurred on July 
29, 1891, and was reported in the Laramie Republican 
the following day under the title "Mending a Nerve:" 
A very delicate surgical operation, the third of the 
kind ever attempted in the western county, was successfully 
performed yesterday by Dr. J. H. Finfrock, assisted by Drs. 
H. L. Stevens and S. B. Miller, for Mr. John Allen. The 
history of the case is brief and well worth reading. 

On July 4 last, Mr. Allen accidentally stuck a knife in 
his wrist and cut off the ulnar artery and the ulnar nerve, 

Finfrock 's civic and medical contributions were 
widely recognized in the community. 


The Eagle Pharmacy was popular with the people 
of Laramie . . . "a model drug store/' 

the latter being the nerve that supphes some of the fingers 
with the sense of touch, and being about the size of a wheat 
straw. The hand soon after became numb, the muscles fell 
away and the member grew weak and helpless. The impor- 
tance of having an operation performed as soon as possible 
was impressed on Mr. Allen, and he finally determined to 
submit to it in order to save his hand. 

The doctor cut down and discovered that the nerve 
was separated about three-fourths of an inch— just as was 
expected. The severed ends were freshened by cutting off a 
little piece of each and the ends were then stitched together 
with catgut and the wound closed up. 

It was a very nice operation, most skillfully performed, 
and it is hoped that in a few months the hand will be in 
good condition. Recovery will be necessarily slow, but sure. 
There were some branches of the median nerve, which 
supplies other portions of the hand, also cut at the same 
time, but it was not thought best to try to take this up, as it 
would necessitate too much cutting.'" 
Of course, these newspaper accounts should be read 
with caution, because they may contain over-zealous re- 

Finfrock's pharmacy, the Eagle Pharmacy, was pop- 
ular with the people of Laramie and the Sentinel went 
on in great detail to describe the new drugstore as being 
"a model drug store, fully equipped and skillfully con- 
ducted" when the store was moved to a new location in 
1886. The article stated: 

Two weeks ago this well known and popular pharmacy 
was removed from the old stand in the HoUiday building to 
commodious and elegant quarters on Second street. An in- 
spection of the new store is respectfully invited by the pro- 
prietors, Messrs. Finfrock and Thobro. The former is the 
oldest druggist in Laramie, having been engaged m that 
business since 1868, with the exception of perhaps two 
years, when Mr. Thobro was away in New Mexico, at 
which time Dr. Finfrock closed out the drug store and gave 
his attention solely to his extensive practice. In 1885 Mr. 
Thobro, who is a thorough, experienced and competent 
chemist and druggist, returned, the partnership was then 
renewed, and their business became so enlarged and suc- 
cessful that the old quarters were not extensive enough, 
and the new building was erected in which they are now 
pleasantly located. The building is 66 feet by 24, two stories 

.' "vJ^ '-.'■ «^k^?^. 

Laramie, 1875. 


in height, with a basement beneath running from front to 
rear, and affording excellent storage capacity. The front of 
the basement is leased and used as a barbershop. The main 
store room is 54 feet in length with a dispensary in the rear 
12 feet deep, and an office 20 feet deep immediately back 
of the dispensary used by the doctor for private consulta- 
tion. The second floor is fitted for use exclusively as a pho- 
tograph gallery. The entire building is well lighted and 
heated. The firm have just invoiced their new stock, to the 
amount of $10,000, and the establishment is equal, if not 
superior, to any west of Omaha. 

In one of the front windows is a large glass tank which 
will soon be fitted up as an aquarium, and filled with finny 
beauties, and all sorts of queer and wriggling monstrosities. 
On the left as you enter the door is a showcase containing 
fine brands of domestic and foreign cigars, while opposite is 
another showcase where the ladies can find the choicest 
perfumes and toilet articles. The shelves are fully stocked 
with drugs and druggists' articles, and inquiries for goods 
in this line that you need, are always met with ready ser- 

The store is a credit to its owners, and another large 
stone in the edifice of Laramie's prosperity." 

Unfortunately, from a purely pharmacy history 
view, no accounts are available to judge Finfrock's 
capabilities as a druggist. He advertised often in the 
Sentinel offering "Fine Drugs, Medicines, Oil, Per- 
fumery, Fancy and Toilet Articles" as well as wall- 
papers. Advertising also included statements that pre- 
scriptions would be carefully compounded and that 
"prompt attention" would be given to mail orders.'^ 

Although the newspaper accounts might be exag- 
gerated, Laramie was considered lucky to have Finfrock; 
good medically trained people were scarce. As late as 
1880 Wyoming Territory only had 30 physicians and 
surgeons and four dentists. 

As well as the usual diseases taking their toll, the 
Union Pacific Railroad was a major destroyer of life. 
Locomotive boilers often exploded and low roofed snow- 
sheds, often called "mantraps" cracked skulls and often 
broke the necks of brakemen.'^ Finfrock took advantage 
of this by offering to serve as the U.P. Surgeon, one way 
to further supplement his income. 

Finfrock was interested in the public health of the 
community and urged the use of diptheria anti-toxin 

and the construction of a sewage system to replace out- 
door facilities in the town.'"* He also served as the chair- 
man of the first board of trustees for the University of 
Wyoming when the school was founded in 1886. He was 
a trustee until 1891. Finfrock was also chairman of the 
county commission and mayor of Laramie City in 1885. 

During the summer of 1893 John Finfrock spent sev- 
eral months in the east with his son. His health failing, 
Finfrock moved to Boise, Idaho, in September of 1893 to 
escape Laramie's 7,200 feet altitude. His health wors- 
ened and he died in Boise on November 11, 1893. His 
body was returned to Laramie for burial, his funeral 
procession was described as the largest ever in that city. 
The charter of the Masonic Lodge was draped in 
mourning for 30 days. 

Perhaps the feelings of Laramieites for John H. Fin- 
frock, Laramie's first physician and druggist, are best 
summed up in the final words said at his funeral: "He 
was a man take him for all in all. We shall not look upon 
his like again. "'^ 

1. Laramie Daily Boomerang, November 16, 1893. 

2. Biographical data on Finfrock is detailed in "John H. Finfrock 
and Family," File No. 719, WPA Collection, Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

3. The John H. Finfrock Diaries are held in the collections of the 
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. Unless 
otherwise cited, all quotations and specific information are from 
the diary accounts. 

4. Laramie Daily Boomerang, November 16, 1893. 

5. A. Palmieri and D. Hammond, "Fort Laramie Medicine, " 
Pharmacy in History XXI, No. 35 (January, 1976). 

6. Laramie Sentinel, January 4, 1871. 

7. Laramie Daily Boomerang, July 13, 1975. 

8. Laramie Sentinel, April 17, 1885. 

9. Laramie Sentinel, April 20. 1885. 

10. Laramie Republican, July SO, 1891. 

11. Laramie Sentinel, January 19, 1886. 

12. Laramie Sentinel, series of advertisements, 1885. 

13. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming. (Lincoln: University of Ne- 
braska Press, 1965), p. 200. 

14. Laramie Daily Boomerang, July 13, 1975. 

15. Ibid. 


WSHS 32nd Annual Trek 

Goshen and Platte County Ranches 
June 19-20, 1981 

The Goshen County Chapter hosted the 32nd WSHS 
Annual Trek which featured visits to historic ranches in 
Goshen and Platte counties. 

Following registration at Eastern Wyoming College 
on June 19, buses took the trekkers to the Pratt-Ferris 
Ranch east of Torrington. Curtiss Root spoke of the 
Pratt-Ferris ranch's history. The ranch dates from the 
1870s when Col. James H. Pratt and Cornelius Ferris, 
engaged in freighting goods to the Black Hills, saw the 
possibilities of ranching in the region. The Pratt-Ferris 
Cattle Company was organized in 1880 for $100,000, 
and backed by Chicago financiers; in particular, Levi Z. 
Leiter and Marshall Field. The house, known as the 
"Prairie Palace," was built in 1883. The first Red Cloud 
Agency was located at or near the ranch in 1871-72. In 
1873, the agency and Red Cloud's people were moved to 
the White River of northwestern Nebraska. 

The Saturday trek, consisting of seven buses, began 
at Torrington and proceeded south to the first stop at 
Bear Creek Station. Oscar Yoder told of the history of 
the station. Voder's grandfather, Philip Yoder, came to 
Wyoming in 1881. 

The second stop was a visit to the Yoder ranch built 
by Philip Yoder in 1887. Oscar and Vivian Yoder still 
live in the house. Refreshments were served at the ranch 
and then the trek continued on through the Bear Creek 
valley. Picture stops were made at the Gardner -Griffin 
house and the Dollar ranch. 

From the Bear Creek valley the trek turned north to 
meet highway 313 and continued into Chugwater. The 
headquarters of what was once one of the largest cattle 
operations in the west, the Swan Land and Cattle Com- 
pany, was the next stop. Formed under the management 
of Alexander Swan and backed with Scottish capital, the 
Swan Company (commonly known as the Two Bar after 
one of its brands) was a sprawling network of ranches. 
Russell Staats, who began his association with the Swan 
Company in 1927, spoke on the history of the company. 

The next stop was the Diamond Ranch, 13 miles 
west of Chugwater. The Diamond was started by a hot- 
tempered New York born eccentric who loved horses 
and designed buildings, George Rainsford. He selected 
the site in 1879. Rainsford designed a number of 
residences in Cheyenne. In the early 1920s, Major Paul 

Trek organizer Don Hodgson points to the Dollar Ranch as guide Lloyd Hunter prepares to speak into the 


John Hunton s Bordeaux Ranch was one oj the stops on the trek. 


Raborg assumed management of the ranch with the 
backing of his wife's family wealth. In 1933 his wife's 
family, the Obermans, took control from him and in 
1956, the ranch was sold to Hugh McDonald, a neigh- 
boring rancher. He later resold parts of the land. 

The trek participants enjoyed a barbecue lunch in 
the yard at the Diamond. After lunch the group re- 
turned to Chugwater and continued to the John Hunton 
ranch. Robert Larson presented a paper on Hunton at 
the site of the concrete house he built in 1881. 

The last stop on the trek was the Hiram Lingle 
Valley View Ranch near Lingle. Harold Winkle, a long- 

time resident of the area, told about the ranch and the 
Lingle family. Raymond Johnson, current owner of the 
ranch, spoke, too. Hiram B. Lingle came to the area in 
the early 1900s. The present Interstate Canal and the 
irrigation resulting from its construction were largely a 
result of Lingle's efforts. The town of Lingle was found- 
ed in 1910, although another community, Wyncote, was 
in existence nearby much earlier. 

The trek ended at Eastern Wyoming College. Trek 
coordinator was Don Hodgson. Trek tour guides includ- 
ed: Sandy Hansen, Robert Larson, Curtiss Root, Lloyd 
Hunter, Oscar Yoder and Hodgson. 



A Fragment: The Autobiography of Mary Jane 
Mount Tanner. Edited with an Introduction by 
Margery W. Ward in cooperation with George 
S. Tanner. (Sah Lake City: Tanner Trust Fund, 
1980). Index, Photos, 231 pp. 

The Autobiography of Mary Jane Mount Tanner 
contributes a valuable document to the growing body of 
western women's history. This woman's experiences may 
be particular in her difficulties as a pioneer Mormon 
woman and her conflicting feelings as one of the rela- 
tively small proportion of plural wives. However, her life 
also reflects the generalizeable: the painful reality of 
motherhood in the face of repeated childhood deaths; 
the assertion of feminine frailty in a role demanding 
strength and independence during long absences of 
father and husband; the frustrating daily obsession with 
writing while "being constantly annoyed by children." 
These are far more common women's experiences. 

The book is organized in a peculiarly frustrating for- 
mat. It includes an informative introduction by editor 
Margery Ward, followed by Tanner's memoirs (written 
between 1872 and 1879). Then it proceeds with three 
separate collections of correspondence with her father in 
California, her fiance/husband in California, and Mary 
Bessac, a non-Mormon aunt who remained in the East. 
All of these sections overlap in chronology, and com- 
parison of the various perspectives and contradictions is 
awkward at best. The organizational choice seems 
strange since the editor felt free to interrupt almost 
every page of the memoirs themselves with nearly a half 
page of footnotes and historical "corrections." Yet the 
valuable material in Tanner's correspondence is simply 
tacked on rather than providing additional coherent 

Several themes emerge as ongoing conflicts in Mary 
Jane Mount Tanner's life. Within the bounds of family 
life she would staunchly defend polygamy as a principle 

which required men not only to love but honor and sup- 
port women. She even declared it as a solution to prob- 
lems of abortion and infanticide, about which she ex- 
pressed repeated concern in her letters. She would enjoy 
sharing infant child care with a second wife whose child 
was born within two weeks of her own. But she also de- 
scribed the trial of sharing her husband and enjoyed less 
the responsibility of caring for five extra children when 
Myron threatened to divorce his other wife. Mary Jane 
clearly saw her primary role as that of mother, and 
could write about the deaths of three of eight children as 
"laying up treasure in heaven where . . . they will be 
stars in my crowTi of glory." Early marriage of women 
was not only generally expected, but for her, a way out 
of an unhappy home. Yet both she and her mother spent 
many married years with husbands away in California. 
If Tanner didn't articulate specific conflicts, at least her 
ambivalence is recurrent. 

Similar uncertainty appears in her aspirations for 
herself and her daughters. While she felt obvious pride 
that two sons graduated from Harvard, Mary Jane was 
less clear about her own and her daughters' education. 
More than once she mourned her own poor schooling 
and the meager opportunities available to her daugh- 
ters. Yet she warned relatives in the East that the price 
of too much education for girls might be broken health. 
She wanted her own writing to be recognized, often en- 
couraging relatives to send her letters to newspapers, 
and doing that herself as well. While she hoped that her 
writing "would leave something that will be of use for my 
children," she likely would have been pleased that when 
she died of a stroke at age 53, her obituary would read, 
"Mrs. M. J. Tanner, wife of Bishop Myron Tanner, of 
the Third Ward, perhaps more widely knovwi as the 
'Utah County Poetess,' was taken suddenly ill last Sun- 
day. . . ." 

The conflicting relationships between creative work 
and motherhood, between marriage and selfhood are 


constantly recurring themes in women's history, and as 
such deserve attention in the rare primary evidence from 
women's lives, most often in autobiographies and letters 
such as these. Mary Jane Mount Tanner's autobiography 
provides insight to more than the life of a Utah pioneer. 

Katherine Jensen 

Jensen is an assistant professor of sociology and director of women's 
studies at the University of Wyoming. 

North to Montana! Jehus, Bullwhackers, and 
Mule Skinners on the Montana Trail. By Betty 
M. Madsen and Brigham D. Madsen. (Salt Lake 
City: University of Utah Press, 1980). Map. II- 
lus. Appendices. Bib. xviii, 298 pp. $20.00. 

The development of the American West is often vis- 
ualized in the mind as an east -to -west process: even 
allowing for cattle drives and California mission devel- 
opment, the Overland trails, the railroad, the move- 
ment of the frontier itself seem to progress steadily west- 
ward. Mining rushes and subsequent settlement in the 
Intermountain and Rocky Mountain territories pro- 
duced some west-to-east movement, but nothing to dis- 
rupt the sense of a steady cross-country flow of people 
and "civilization." 

Betty and Brigham Madsen's book reminds us that 
north-south movement occurred too, for both social and 
economic reasons. The stage and freighting business 
between the predominantly Mormon territory of Utah 
and the rapidly expanding mining country of Montana 
was short lived. It underwent constant change as new 
communities grew up in Montana and as steamship and 
especially railroad lines made necessary or possible new 
shipping points. Above all, it was dramatically affected 
by rough and generally unpopulated terrain and by 
atrocious winter weather. But for two decades the flow 
of goods and people took place — at first almost exclu- 
sively northward; then, as Montana's mining grew, in 
the other direction as well. The business produced lively 
and dramatic tales and made life above a very primitive 
level possible in Montana. 

North to Montana! is essentially a descriptive work, 
not synthesizing or analytical. It fills in the gaps, geo- 
graphically and temporally. Its authors know their 
material well, and they also know a great deal about the 
context in which the Montana Trail freighting business 
operated. Unfortunately, their book does not communi- 
cate as much of that knowledge as it might. 

It is a frustrating book to read. The basic arrange- 
ment, essentially chronological, makes good sense. But 
the dozen chapters are broken up into innumerable 
small segments, sometimes only a page or so in length. 

The account is so fragmented that it is difficult to com- 
prehend in any broad sense. 

Some additions would strengthen the book. A brief 
sketch of the sequence of mining-camp establishment in 
Montana (with a more detailed map than that found on 
the endpapers) would help the reader understand the 
constant shift in stage as well as freight routes; another 
map of the area from the Utah border to Salt Lake City, 
showing rail lines and some topography, would make 
clearer the hassles over rail terminals and routes at that 
end of the trail. A drawing or two of how ox and mule 
teams are harnessed would make the rather technical 
descriptions of that crucial process clearer. Politics in 
Utah and Montana had much to do with the growth of 
both territories, and the freighting business both af- 
fected and was affected by economic development. 
More discussion of territorial legislative action would be 
useful, as would more discussion of the tensions between 
Mormons and gentiles in Utah and Idaho territories. In 
short, the Madsens have given their readers credit for 
more knowledge of the story's context than they are like- 
ly to have. 

There are a few minor mistakes presumably result- 
ing from typographical errors, but the book itself is well 
and attractively produced. It would have been helpful to 
explain why, all of a sudden, the "Utah Northern " 
railroad becomes the "Utah and Northern" if the period 
addressed is after November of 1878, when the Union 
Pacific bought out the road and changed its name 
slightly: it appears otherwise as sloppy editing, some- 
thing of which the book is remarkably free by any stan- 
dards. The lack of full citations in footnotes (they are 
found in the bibliography) is frustrating but under- 
standable in a book not meant as a major scholarly 
treatise — and it is certainly preferable to notes at the 

North to Montana! contains an interesting story. It 
could have been told better with a better organization 
and more attention to outside forces affecting it; but the 
book is nonetheless a welcome addition to the lore of In- 
termountain economic growth. 

Judith Austin 

The reviewer is a historian with the Idaho State Historical Society 
and editor of that agency's quarterly journal, Idaho Yesterdays. 

Wyoming: A Geography. By Robert Harold 
Brown. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1980). Index, 
selected Bibliography, Illus., Maps, Tables, 374 
pp., $35.00 cloth, $20.00 paper. 

The phenomena of the world around us crowd in at 
our senses in a bewildering variety of impressions, sym- 
bols and behaviors. Out of reality's riotous chaos our 


minds find, or impose, order, structure and symmetry. 
This then allows us (usually), by inference and analogy 
to anticipate and comprehend actions and meanings in 
each of our environments. 

This individual human enterprise has its academic 
version in the discipline of geography. These practition- 
ers gaze out upon the landscape searching for the pat- 
terns, the evidences, of human interaction with the en- 
vironment. But geographers are faced with the same 
dilemma that constrains the individual. Namely, how 
does one organize the overwhelming amount of data at 
one's disposal? What are the relevant categories of 
human behaviors, i.e. what people have been or are do- 
ing "out there," that will allow the geographer control 
over his materials? It must often seem that a fine, or 
even disappearing, line separates the trivial from the 
profound, the meaningful from meaningless, or the 
pragmatic from the mystical. 

Within the search for appropriate materials it is rare 
that a single geographer will choose a political unit the 
size of a state and successfully (not to mention coherent- 
ly) organize and present the possible perspectives. Hap- 
pily, Robert Harold Brown, has done exactly that for 
the state of Wyoming, making his book perhaps the 
single most valuable tool available for understanding the 
state. That is, of course, a bold statement, but Brown 
simply has no competitors, which makes his remarkable 
work all the more useful. 

Brown begins with the notion that Wyoming's exis- 
tence as a political unit is the fundamental organizing 
category to develop what he calls, ". . . modern regional 
political geography." However, while this is his starting 
place he ranges far and wide across the physical and cul- 
tural landscapes. He includes population, occupations, 
agriculture, industry, cultural and natural resources, 
transportation and social organizations. The data for 
each of these areas is first presented in an historically de- 
veloped narrative and then plotted on a map, or maps. 

The depth of research presented in Brown's imag- 
inative use of maps is a sign not only of his careful 
scholarship but also the fact that much of the material 
has been developed over a decade since the publication 
by DEPAD of his Wyoming Occupance Atlas. (1970). 

Of course in a book of this scope, the basic presenta- 
tion of each category is of necessity limited to a few 
salient features while the reader is directed to the notes 
for further investigation. Also, in such a format, the 
author will be strongest in his own areas of major in- 
terest and Brown is no exception. His standards for data 
inclusion are much more liberal in such areas as sym- 
bolic behaviors, rural ranch and farmsteads layout, or in 
general, anything that deals with cultural phenomena in 
the anthropological sense. He glosses over distinctive dif- 
ferences in ranching, farming and herding throughout 
the state where the presence or absence of water has 
created unique micro-cultural ecologies. However, the 

basic research on such communities in the state remains 
to be done and it borders on quibbling to fault Brown 
for not being more precise. 

Such concerns aside, this book belongs not on the 
shelf but on the desk of every person involved in study- 
ing, developing or understanding the state of Wyoming. 
We are all fortunate that Brown wrote it. 

Dennis Coelho 

The reviewer is a Folk Arts Coordinator for the Wyoming Council on 
the Arts. 

Movable Type, Biography of Legh R. Freeman. 
By Thomas H. Heuterman. (Ames: The Iowa 
State University Press, 1979). Index. Bib. Illus. 
172 pp. $9.95. 

Movable Type is the clever title for a biography, not 
of Johann Gutenberg, but of Legh R. Freeman, owner 
and publisher of the Frontier Index and other frontier 
newspapers. Gutenberg's invention of movable type in 
the 15th century provided impetus for the Renaissance, 
and by the 17th century, it had lent its force to the 
Reformation. The 19th century expansion of civilization 
into the American west was also supported by men with 
printing presses and cases of Gutenberg's movable type. 
This book is the story of the owner and publisher of the 
Frontier Index, a unique newspaper which moved from 
camp to camp with the advancing Union Pacific rail- 
road as it penetrated the high plains and the Rocky 
Mountains. The mobility of Legh Freeman's "Press on 
Wheels", however, was provided by the creaking wheels 
of freight wagons. 

The Index's slogan "Press on Wheels" conjures up 
the popular image of a newspaper plant conveniently es- 
tablished in a Union Pacific boxcar sitting at a railroad 
siding waiting only to be attached to a passing train and 
moved to its new locations as demand or the needs of the 
publisher dictated. In fact, the newspaper was often 
published in grading camps miles ahead of the end of 
the tracks. Until plant equipment arrived, and was un- 
packed and set up in a building at a new location, the 
newspaper was still being published in its previous loca- 
tion. The Frontier Index may therefore be considered to 
have been the press for the mobile town of "Hell on 
Wheels", but it inevitably became the "boomer" pro- 
moting settlement of the towns which would eventually 
emerge from the boisterous railroad camps. Legh 
Freeman and his brother became speculators in real 
estate, mineral development, and other enterprises as 
opportunities arose at each of the points at which they 
set up their printing plant. 

Dr. Heuterman once worked for the Herald- 
Republic in Yakima, Washington, where Legh R. 


Freeman had established one of his later newspapers. 
The author took his PhD. degree at the University of 
Washington, and he became Chairman of the Depart- 
ment of Communications at that institution. His exten- 
sive bibliography for this work is indicative of the prob- 
lems he encountered in his efforts to trace the story of 
the Freemans' transient newspapers. The sources of 
material in the book are thoroughly documented in 
notes at the end of the text for those with a scholarly 
interest in either the historical content or the author's 
evaluations of the significance of Freeman's contribu- 
tions to western journalism. The book is also of interest 
for western history enthusiasts as well as casual or recrea- 
tional readers. It is concisely written, informative and 

The Frontier Index was published at ten different 
sites along the location of the Union Pacific railroad in a 
period of only 36 months. Relatively few copies of the 
newspaper are extant, so much of Dr. Heuterman's ma- 
terial had to come from other sources. He dissects Legh 
Freeman's nature with descriptions of the Freeman heri- 
tage, dreams, writings and some of his more venture- 
some exploits. The author offers critical analyses of the 
techniques and devices Freeman used in his writing and 
publishing. He also explains the need for frontier news- 
papers to play to the romanticized image of the west 
held in the minds of eastern readers. 

In the tradition of those who take up the pen for use 
as a weapon against what each of them perceives as the 
sources of society's ills, Legh Freeman, usually over the 
pseudonym Horatio Vattel, sought the exclusion of cer- 
tain "undesirable" elements. For Freeman, the culprits 
included most racial minorities and certain lawless white 
men. The victims of some of Freeman's journalistic ti- 
rades came to consider Freeman and the Frontier Index 
at least as undesirable as they were. Rather than pub- 
lishing their views, a gang of such individuals took ac- 
tion at Bear River City, Wyoming on November 20, 
1868. They attacked the town, destroying the newspaper 
plant, and effectively silencing Legh Freeman, as Ho- 
ratio Vattel, at least for the moment. 

For students of Wyoming history, the Bear River 
City riot represents the end of the Frontier Index, but 
Dr. Heuterman gives us the rest of the story. He traces 
the tumultuous career of Legh Freeman through Utah, 
Montana, and Washington state until his death in 1917. 

It becomes a rather poignant story of a man am- 
bitious for public recognition and political power, frus- 
trated by his wanderlust, his unfortunate personality 
and his outspoken prejudices. Freeman never overcame 
his urge to keep moving on to conquer new horizons, 
especially when opportunities arose to set up newspapers 
for the purpose of promoting new railroad townS. He 
eventually alienated even his own sons. After leaving his 
father's employ, the youngest son quickly became an in- 
fluential publisher and successful in Washington state 

politics. He achieved the very things his father could 
not, demonstrating by his example the errors of the 
father's ways. 

Dr. Heuterman offers a critical analysis of Free- 
man's accomplishments and the reasons for his limited 
successes and repeated failures. He closes the biography 
of Legh R. Freeman with conclusions about the signif- 
icance of Freeman's frontier newspapers and their im- 
pact on the regions they served. This biography gives the 
reader a rare insight into the character and personality 
of the man who is its subject. 

LeClercq L. Jones 

The reviewer is Vice President of Frontier Printing, Inc. of Chey- 

Tour Guide to Old Western Forts: The Posts 
and Camps of the Army, Navy & Marines on the 
Western Frontier, 1804-1916. By Herbert M. 
Hart. (Boulder & Fort Collins: The Old Army 
Press, 1980.) $22.50. 

It is always exciting to know that another book or 
anthology on western forts of the military frontier has 
been recently published. This is so for the reviewer in 
the case of Herbert Hart's Tour Guide to Old Western 
Forts. However, one of its shortcomings is apparent in 
the title. The dimensions of the book, 81/^x11% inches, 
and its hardbound construction make it nearly impossi- 
ble to use handily if one plans to take it in the field to be 
used as a tour guide. 

If the reader considers himself a "fort freak" this 
book will give him a feeling of disappointment. The de- 
scriptions of each post are rather bland and replete 
largely with old information. On the other hand, the old 
maps at the beginning of each chapter are used to show 
where the forts and camps were located within states. 
This would be interesting to those who have familiarity 
with the topic. For those who are interested novices, 
these maps are rather confusing because they show none 
of the modern highways nor how one would reach a par- 
ticular post. Only by turning a few pages in the book 
and reading the descriptions for a post will you find how 
to reach the destination. 

There is a noble attempt to put in as many illustra- 
tions of the different posts as possible, but, in most in- 
stances, the photos are sized down and lack clarity and 
perspective. The same must be said of the plat maps 
used in the book. They are taken from a previous Old 
Army Press reprint of Outline Descriptions of the Posts 
in the Military Division of the Missouri, 1876. Although 
perhaps useful to a person who is familiar with 19th cen- 
tury military posts, the miniscule writing on the reduced 
plats makes them nearly useless. 


This work will offer anyone who wishes to tour by 
armchair a satisfactory orientation of western forts on 
the military frontier. However, with the large size of the 
book and the compactness of descriptions and illustra- 
tions the end result is confusion because too much was 

The author has previously published four works on 
western forts that can be considered classics. He has pro- 
jected one more to be volume five of that series. A fort 
enthusiast can only hope that it will happen soon. 

Ralph Stock 

The reviewer is deputy director, Museums Division, Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

Recollections of Charley Russell. By Frank Bird 
Linderman. Edited and with an introduction by 
H. G. Merriam. (Norman; University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1981.) Index. Illustrated. 148 pp. 

This is the second printing of the book originally 
published in 1963. It is a delightful account which 
should appeal to a broader audience than just Charley 
Russell fans. Linderman, a writer, jotted down his recol- 
lections shortly after the artist's death in 1926. Those 
coupled with an extensive collection of letters from his 
friend provide the basis for this small book (approx- 
imately 110 pages are devoted to text). 

Until this narrative, Russell biographers have ig- 
nored this resource and it would have been regrettable if 
this book hadn't materialized. It is evident that a close 
friendship existed between Russell and Linderman. The 
warmth and humor of the frontier artist are captured by 
his friend — whether it was on one of their regular hunt- 
ing trips, or on a visit to New York City or England. 

The depth of the friendship is also shown through 
the interest in each other's work. Linderman was instru- 
mental in securing two of Russell's earliest and biggest 
commissions up to that time (the Montana Club in 
Helena and the mural in the House of Representatives 
chamber in the Capitol in Helena). Linderman's interest 
in Indians led him into researching and writing about 
them — an interest both men shared. 

Since Russell visited the Linderman home on num- 
erous occasions, there are many references to this 
aspect, too. However, this reviewer found the section 
"As We Remember Mr. Russell " the least appealing. It 
is based upon the memories of the three Linderman 
daughters and lacks the spark of previous chapters. 

Recommended reading. 

Linn Rounds 

Rounds is editor o/ Wyoming Library Roundup and is Public Infor- 
mation Officer for the Wyoming State Library. 


Vanguard of Expansion: Army Engineers in the 
Trans-Mississippi West, 1819-1879. Historical 
Division, Department of the Army. (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1980). 

The Army Topographical Engineers' role in the ex- 
ploration of America's trans-Mississippi West was long 
overlooked by historians until William Goetzmann's ex- 
cellent 1959 study. Army Exploration in the American 
West, 1803-1863. Schubert, in Vanguards of Expansion, 
acknowledges Goetzmann's as the definitive work on the 
subject and offers his slim volume as a "more conve- 
nient," compact study for readers inside and outside the 
modern Corps of Engineers. The result is a well written, 
well illustrated book that relies heavily on Goetzmann, 
other secondary sources, published official reports of the 
"topogs' " expeditions, and an occasional manuscript 
collection. Schubert provides neither a re-interpretation 
nor new insights into the subject. His intention is to pre- 
sent a readable book for the layman and in that he suc- 

Describing the Topographical Engineers as the link 
in exploration between the mountain men and the post 
Civil War civilian scientists, Schubert traces their history 
from their status as the Bureau of Topographical Engi- 
neers within the Army Engineer Department (1816), to 
an independent Corps of Topographical Engineers 
(1831), to their merger into the Army Corps of Engi- 
neers during the Civil War, to the final eclipse of their 
official exploration duties by civilian scientists in the 
1879 formation of the United States Geological Survey. 

Throughout their history, an absence of government 
policy toward exploration meant the topogs' exploration 
duties were often secondary to military or political ones. 
As a result, Schubert writes, "the story of topog explora- 
tions and surveys in the West was generally that of indi- 
vidual officers' achievements instead of Bureau accom- 

Schubert's book reflects this thesis in its emphasis on 
individuals, ranging from the well known John C. Fre- 
mont and John W. Gunnison to the more obscure Wil- 
liam H. Emory, Lorenzo Sitgreaves and Gouverneur K. 
Warren. The result, however, is more an episodic than a 
cohesive history. Goetzmann places the Topographical 
Engineers in an historical — including a political, scien- 
tific, intellectual and cultural — context that provides a 
broader basis for understanding and evaluating the 
topogs' actions and achievements. In trimming down 
Goetzmann's massive study, Schubert chose to eliminate 
that kind of material. Consequently, the analytic and 
evaluative edge is reduced mostly to celebrating the 
engineers' scientific contributions. 

Among the topogs' contributions was information 
on Indian ethnology, including Lieut. Amiel W. Whip- 
ple's valuable report containing a vocabulary of Yuma 
Indian language. Schubert's own language with regard 

to Indians, however, is unfortunate. He adds "hostile In- 
dians" to the list of "obstacles" the topogs "faced and 
overcame." In the Southw^est, Schubert claims, Lieut. 
Col. Joseph E. Johnston and his assistants, "overcame 
many obstacles, from thieving bands of Apaches to the 
dry tableland between the Concho and Pecos rivers." 
The topogs themselves were not always inclined to view 
the Indians as merely troublesome obstacles and annoy- 
ances on the landscape. Schubert does present a number 
of compelling examples of his subjects' sensitivity to In- 
dians. Captain Thomas J. Lee, for example, resigned 
from the 1855 Harney punitive expedition against the 
Sioux "to avoid the disagreeable duty of chastising In- 
dians." Lee's replacement, Lieut. Gouvemeur K. War- 
ren, aided wounded Indian women and children during 
the fight at Ash Hollow and recorded in his journal, " 'I 
was disgusted with the tales of valor in the field, for 
there were but few who killed anything but a flying 
foe.' " And of his work in defining routes to invade Sioux 
country Warren wrote, " 'I almost feel guilty of crime in 
being a pioneer to the white men who will ere long drive 
the red man from his last niche of hunting ground.' " 

The strength of Schubert's book comes in moments 
like this when he fleshes out the handful of Army 
engineers who mapped and explored the West. As an in- 
troduction to the subject. Vanguard of Expansion is 
satisfying. For a more complete and penetrating analysis 
read Goetzmann's book. 

Sherry L. Smith 

The reviewer is an instructor at the University of Colorado in 

Ruxton of the Rockies. Collected by Clyde and 
Mae Reed Porter and edited by LeRoy R. 
Hafen. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
second printing, 1979). 325 pp. $7.95 paper. 

Life in the Far West. By George Frederick Rux- 
ton, edited by LeRoy R. Hafen. (Norman: Uni- 
versity of Oklahoma Press, fifth printing, 1979). 
252 pp. $4.95 paper. 

The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far 
Southwest, 1540-1846. By David J. Weber. 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, second 
printing, 1980). 263 pp. $6.95 paper. 

All three books are reissues of standard works on the 
fur trade era. 

George Frederick Ruxton was the third son born to 
his parents at Eynsham Hall, England. He was some- 
what of a problem in school and at age 13 was sent to a 
military college. Two years later he was expelled foj^his 
misdeeds. Thus free, he became intent on adventuring. 

Ruxton of the Rockies takes the young adventurer 
through Spain, Canada, Africa and Mexico. From Chi- 

huahua he headed for New Mexico, not without hard- 
ship, and then north to the Rocky Mountains. Of all the 
places Ruxton's journeys took him, none won his heart 
so completely as the Rocky Mountains. 

Back in Britain, Ruxton completed his manuscript 
Life in the Far West as well as a number of other articles 
based on his experiences. Life in the Far West originally 
ran as a serial in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 
June to November, 1848. It reads more like a novel and 
at times seems a bit far-fetched. Nevertheless, it is based 
in part on Ruxton's own experiences and those of his 
fellow mountain men. 

Unfortunately, Ruxton suffered from an injury re- 
ceived from a fall while in the Rockies and his health 
deteriorated. Still, he was determined to return to the 
Rocky Mountains and got as far as St. Louis, where he 
died August 29, 1848, at the age of 27. Ruxton managed 
to cram more life into the few years he traveled than a 
dozen people would in their collective lifetimes. These 
experiences are all chronicled in Ruxton of the Rockies 
and Life in the Far West, both very readable books. 

Weber's book on the other hand is quite different. 
In The Taos Trappers, Weber has pulled together an 
incredible amount of information from original sources. 
He describes the development of the fur trade in Taos 
and its role as a market and supply depot for the trap- 
pers. The last two chapters which focus on the declining 
years of the fur trade are the easiest to follow and are by 
far the most interesting. 

The Taos Trappers offers almost more than the 
reader wants to know about the southwest fur trade. 
The pages are so heavily documented as to interfere with 
the reading. It is an excellent reference book, however, 
and the bibliography alone is worth having. 

Marion M. Huseas 

Huseas is Curator of Research and Interpretation for the Wyoming 
State Museum. 

The Clearing of the Mist. By Richard F. Fleck. 
(Paradise, CA: Dustbooks, 1979). 147 pp. $2.95 
paper, $7.95 cloth. 

When two IRA rebels, hiding from the British, ac- 
cidentally discovered a forgotten diary the reader is 
taken on an adventure that leads from Ireland to the 
American West and back again. The author of the fic- 
tional diary, Brian McBride, is orphaned during the 
great Irish famine of the 1840s. After slaving on railroad 
construction to earn enough money to pay his passage to 
America, McBride leaves behind the terrible conditions 
of Ireland and takes an emigrant ship bound for Can- 
ada. His journey eventually takes him to the United 
States where he joins the army and winds up at Fort Lar- 


McBride quickly becomes disillusioned with his mili- 
tary experience and deserts to live with the Indians. 
Upon the death of his Shoshoni wife, he eventually finds 
his way back to Ireland only to find oppression there as 

Those with any experience in reading actual diaries 
from the 19th century will find McBride's account con- 
fusing. Author Richard Fleck goes to great lengths to 
establish the credibility of the diary, but then seems to 
quickly lose sight of the perspective. He begins Mc- 
Bride's diary in the first person, but then shifts to the 
third person and in between he carelessly vacillates back 
and forth. It likewise includes far too much dialogue to 
bear any resemblance to an authentic journal. And, if 
this dialogue is truly supposed to represent McBride's 
written account, then he had a strange manner of put- 
ting it down in trite accents, depending upon the na- 
tionality or race of the character. (Can an Irish person 
really detect an "Irish accent?") The story would have 
been much improved had it not been presented as a 

Though the reviewer cannot speak with any author- 
ity as to the historical accuracy of the first portion of the 
novel, the section relating to McBride's frontier experi- 
ences lacks accuracy and realism. This shortcoming can- 
not help but reflect upon the entire work. The author's 
portrayal of the Regular Army in the West is a mixture 
of Hollywood's A Distant Trumpet, Little Big Man, and 
Soldier Blue, with a good deal of Viet Nam era senti- 
ment throwTi in. It is clear that the author set out to 
malign the army, once again, as the stereotyped villain 
and scapegoat for all the Indian problems. Fleck even 
goes so far as to compare U.S. soldiers at Fort Laramie 
with Nazi SS troopers! The rest of this section further 
emphasizes the fact the author was clearly outside the 
realm of his expertise. It is obvious that Fleck cared little 
for historical facts as he carelessly bent them and fabri- 
cated his own to suit his argument. 

Though Richard Fleck attempts to draw parallels 
between the plights of the Irish and the American In- 
dian, the two situations bear little similarity. Making 
comparisons between the Irish rebellion and the Amer- 
ican frontier experience is like comparing apples with 
oranges. As a result. Clearing of the Mist strains in an 
ill-timed attempt to make a point about man's in- 
humanity and senseless prejudice. Unfortunately, it 
comes off as a shallow, impassioned, over-reaction and 
the point is lost somewhere in the mist. As an historical 
novel, it leaves a great deal to be desired. Clearing of the 
Mist clears up nothing at all and in fact further obscures 
human understanding behind a fog of bias and hack- 
neyed images. 

Douglas C. McChristian 

McChristian is with the National Park Service at Fort Davis, Texas. 

Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life Among 
the Indians. By James Willard Schultz, edited 
and with an introduction by Keith C. Steele. 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981). 
Index, Glossary, xiv, 384 pp. $7.95. 

This is the second release of Blackfeet and Buffalo: 
Memories of Life Among the Indians, with few altera- 
tions from the 1962 edition. The only major change is 
the elimination of 24 illustrations from the earlier hard- 
back edition. Regardless of this economizing measure, 
the book remains well worth reading by Northern Plains 
Indian aficionados and serious scholars alike. 

Blackfeet and Buffalo was first published posthu- 
mously, 15 years after Schultz's death at Fort Washakie. 
His second wife, Jesse Schultz, deserves credit for com- 
piling this text from widely scattered published sources. 

Schultz knew of what he spoke. Twenty-six years 
among the Pikuni, the southernmost tribe of the 
Blackfoot confederacy, gave him an intimate view of 
their way of life. Nor did Schultz watch objectively from 
the sideline. Instead, he passionately immersed himself 
in the Blackfoot way of life. For example, he married a 
Pikuni woman, went raiding with the Blackfeet, wit- 
nessed sacred ceremonies such as the Tobacco Planters 
Society ritual, and was an adopted member of the 
Pikuni tribe. In 1877 he came to the Blackfeet as a fur 
trader and later became a guide and interpreter. In his 
time with the Blackfeet, he witnessed the passing of the 
buffalo and the passing of the nomadic way of life of the 
Blackfeet nation. The death in 1903 of his wife. Fine 
Shield Woman, ended Schultz's intimate association 
with the Pikuni. He soon left Blackfoot country and 
from then on he wrote of the Blackfoot from afar. 

In the mid- 1880s Schultz's writing efforts were first 
noticed and encouraged by George Bird Grinnell, then 
the owner and editor of Field and Stream. In turn, 
Schultz introduced Grinnell to the Blackfeet. With this 
introduction and with continual help from Schultz, 
Grinnell wrote Blackfoot Lodge Tales. 

Grinnell's and Schultz's friendship grew through ex- 
ploration and hunting trips into the country that be- 
came Glacier National Park. In fact, the two spear- 
headed the drive to establish Glacier National Park. 
However interesting this portion of the text is, it is in- 
congruous with the major focus of the book. Additional 
discussion of big game hunting and place names in 
Glacier National Park only adds further dissonance to 
the tone and scope of the book. 

Blackfeet and Buffalo is divided into two parts; 
those narratives experienced and recounted by Schultz 
and those told of him by his Pikuni friends. The strength 
of Blackfeet and Buffalo is in its storytelling aspect. 
Schultz is a master raconteur at work. His years and 
knowledge of the Blackfeet culture enriches the narra- 
tives with a wealth of ethnographic detail which is unob- 

trusively related. The short story format is an excellent 
medium to recount personal experience stories and leg- 
ends. The only drawback to the short story format is 
that it produces a jumpy narrative flow and there is a 
slight tendency for repetition of story details. 

The engaging and personal aspect of Blackfeet and 
Buffalo overshadows its implicit and sometimes faulty 
historicity. Those readers initially concerned with the 
underdeveloped chronology in individual stories and the 
progression of the book as a whole will be allayed by the 
vividness of the narratives. Schultz is a storyteller not a 
historian. His narratives share characteristics of much 
orally communicated history. Generally, they have a dis- 
regard for standard chronology, a clustering of accounts 
around certain events or people and displacement of 
original actors in historical events. 

Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life Among the 
Indians is a good book. It has the balance of perceptive 
ethnographic detail with the action of a story well told. 

Timothy S. Cochrane 

The reviewer is the Oral Historian for the State Historical Depart- 

Am,erican Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity. 
Edited with an introduction by R. David Ed- 
munds. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1980). Index. Bib. Illus. 257 pages. $19.50, 
paper, $5.95. 

Even though numerous writers have sought to offer 
a knowledgeable account of the Native Americans' past, 
most historians have failed to analyze the variety of In- 
dian responses to White expansionism. Instead, a ma- 
jority of authors have concentrated on the more popular 
chiefs such as Crazy Horse or Geronimo who violently 
opposed the advancing frontier. In his edited work, 
American Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity, R. 
David Edmunds attempts to counter this tradition by 
focusing on the variety of methods, especially non- 
military actions, that tribal leaders used to resist 
political and cultural domination. 

The 12 biographical essays portray Indian political 
leaders from most areas of the country and from early 
eighteenth century to the present. As the editor notes in 
the introduction, the book does not investigate social 
and religious leaders or women who played a prominent 
role in a band's history. The writers demonstrate that 
tribes responded differently in striving to preserve parts 
of their traditions and land in the face of White aggres- 
sions. Cultural values, the band's relationship with qther 
Indians, the tribe's previous experiences with the for- 
eigners, and the chiefs' parental and educational back- 
ground accounted for much of the diversity in the 

Native Americans' reactions to acculturative pressures. 
Most authors examine leaders who chose non -violent 
methods in dealing with the White government. 

Despite this unique approach to the study of Indian 
history, the book has some weaknesses. Even though Ed- 
munds is responding to such works as The Patriot 
Chiefs, in which Alvin Josephy, Jr. focuses upon only 
those Indians who violently opposed frontier expansion, 
the editor nevertheless includes biographies of Sitting 
Bull and Santanta, two of the more famous men who 
employed force to protect their land and families. These 
articles do not contribute any new information to the 
numerous accounts of these chiefs, and they intrude 
upon the general context of the book which stresses non- 
military tactics. As a result, American Indian Leaders 
does not have a unifying theme to relate the diverse 
backgrounds and experiences of the various leaders. 

While the book successfully portrays the Indians' 
diverse responses to American expansionism, some au- 
thors do not present an accurate account of the chiefs' 
contributions to the tribe. James O'Donnell, Martin 
Zanger, and H. Craig Miner's essays on Joseph Brant, 
Red Bird, and Dennis Bushyhead do not examine the 
leaders' relationship to their band and thus fail to dem- 
onstrate how the actions of these chiefs benefited the 
people. By offering the illusion that Sitting Bull was the 
chief of all the Teton Sioux, Herbert T. Hoover con- 
dones the misconception that the entire tribe chose force 
in resisting White advances. This problem is also char- 
acteristic of Peter M. Wright's "Washakie"and Donald 
Worcester's "Santanta." 

In contrast to these articles, Gary Moulton, Michael 
D. Green, and William T. Hagan's essays on John Ross, 
Alexander McGillivray, and Quanah Parker portray the 
the importance of these leaders' actions in preserving 
some of the tribes' traditions. These chiefs demonstrated 
that non-military tactics were as viable as violent 
methods in protecting a tribe's identity. Other writers 
also rendered important contributions to the study of 
Indian history. 

The examination of leaders in the reservation era 
represents one of the strengths of this book. In Native 
American studies, most historians dwell upon the In- 
dians' reactions to White frontier expansion but fail to 
document tribal responses to acculturative pressures in 
the twentieth century. Peter Iverson's articles on Carlos 
Montezuma and Peter McDonald offer a valuable in- 
sight into the Indians' continued attempts to deal with 
White society during the reservation period. Not only 
does the author provide an analytical account of these 
leaders, but he also demonstrates that these Indians and 
their cultures did not disappear and die after the Whites 
confined them to a reservation. 

Through the examination of the various Indian re- 
sponses to expansionism, Edmunds' edited work pro- 
vides an important perspective to Native American 


studies. In addition, most of these articles no longer 
uphold the false impressions that the tribes possessed 
static cultures and that they were violent reactionaries to 
White encroachments. As the articles indicate, most 
tribes exhibited foreign policy objectives, and the inter- 
action of the changing Indian and White cultures pre- 
cipitated unique responses from the bands. Therefore, 
American Indian Leaders is a welcome and a needed 
addition to the investigation of Indian history. 

Michael A. Massie 

The reviewer is Historical Reiiew and Compliance Officer for the 
Wyoming Recreation Commission. 

The Democratic Art, An Exhibition on the 
History of Chromolithography in America, 
1840-1900. By Peter C. Marzio. (Ft. Worth: 
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, 1979). 

Art exhibition catalogues, by their very nature, tend 
to be extremely narrow and specialized pieces of pub- 
lishing, readable to scholars but often of little interest to 
the lay reader. Exceptions exist, of course. The glossy 
hardcover editions of the Museum of Modem Art's 
catalogues on Cezanne, The Late Work and more re- 
cent Picasso retrospective exhibitions are full of enough 
beautiful color pictures to grace any middle-class coffee 
table while containing a text detailed enough to please 
the most scrupulous academician. Likewise, the recently 
published catalogue The Democratic Art, An Exhibi- 
tion on the History of Chromolithography in America 
1840-1900 is both informative and enjoyable. 

Organized to coincide with the exhibition's opening 
at the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, in Septem- 
ber, 1979, the catalogue's text is written by Peter C. 
Marzio, Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Mr. 
Marzio has long been a champion of the less understood 
American art forms and he must have relished the 
chance to write the catalogue for a major exhibition of 
American chromolithography. The text's style is re- 
laxed, especially in the first chapter wherein Marzio 
defines the lithographic process in a completely succinct 
and understandable fashion. The process of lithog- 
raphy, and chromolithography especially, being as com- 
plicated as it is, this simple explanation is no small 
accomplishment . 

Once the definitions of the various lithographic 
methods are complete, the author aims straight for the 
heart of his premise. To him, the chromolithograph has 
long been ig^nored as a vital and important American art 
form and through the exhibition and catalogue text, 
Mr. Marzio sets out to raise it to its proper stature. Thus, 
the reader encounters numerous, though often dry, his- 
torical accounts of the various American printing com- 


Master printers made fine art available to this coun- 
try's public in mass quantities beginning in 1840 in Bos- 
ton. The first of these "chromistes", as master lithog- 
raphers were referred to, was the English immigrant 
William Sharp who printed America's first chromolitho- 
graph, a portrait of a certain gentleman named 
F. W. P. Greenwood, in 1840. Later, in Boston, the 
famous firm of L. Prang and Company was founded, in 
addition to that of Philadelphia's Thomas Sinclair and 
New York's Julius Bien and the most widely known firm 
of Currier and Ives. 

In the mid-19th century it was Louis Prang, the 
greatest entrepreneur of all, who most greatly advanced 
the cause of the chromo. He sensed, as well as much of 
his competition, that the chromolithograph was the 
great democratic art form suitable for consumption in 
mass quantities by the people of the greatest democracy 
on earth. This driving concern of Prang's made him rich 
and opened the way for chromolithographers to not only 
make a decent living but to experiment with their art 
form. Thus, by the 1880s, chromolithographs were 
made based on orig[inal designs for lithographs rather 
than paintings as had been the practice before. 

American firms, like the Courier Company of Buf- 
falo, discovered French artists like Henri de Toulouse- 
Lautrec who had been creating original chromolitho- 
graphs as advertising for the theatre, performing artists 
and restaurants. 

With the inevitable improvement in printing tech- 
niques, creating chromolithographs for "free" mass con- 
sumption, via hand bills and posters became affordable. 
In the best American tradition of free -enterprise, print- 
ing firms throughout the East and Midwest gained a new 
patron, corporate America. 

A favorite of Mr. Marzio's, and likely the public who 
viewed the exhibit, is a large chromo of Custer's Last 
Stand, printed by the Milwaukee Lithographic and En- 
graving Company in 1896. Across the bottom of the 
print below the title was the name of the sponsor, the 
Anheuser Busch Brewing Association. The idea of spon- 
soring art and entertainment may have been born with 
chromolithographs like Custer's Last Stand; at any rate, 
as democratic art goes, it was certainly an antecedent for 
television 50 years later. Though Mr. Marzio goes into 
detail describing the various able but uninspired print- 
ing firms which made chromolithography a popular art 
form, one company stands out today above the others 
— the Strobridge Lithographing Company of Cincin- 
nati. This company was the lucky recipient, during the 
1890s, of original designs by the leading Czech Art 
Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha who was under con- 
tract to Sarah Bernhardt, the premiere European actress 
of her day. The resultant large (often nearly seven feet 
high by three feet wide) chromolithograph posters ad- 
vertising Miss Bernhardt's American theatrical tours are 
the high point of the chromolithography movement in 

this country. It seems fitting that with the last of Bern- 
hardt 's American tours around 1900, the chromolitho- 
graph went out of favor with the American public. It 
was replaced by even more accessible and democratic 
art forms like photography, the cinema and eventually 

Mr. Marzio's final work on chromolithography is a 
valid one. Aside from the intrinsic aesthetic value of 
much of the chromolithographic production during the 
19th century (which he asserts has traditionally been ig- 
nored in favor of the finer printing methods of etching, 
copper engraving and the like), chromolithography, by 
the very nature of its "democratic" intentions is a very 
important cultural indicator. It thrived for 70 years be- 
cause it arrived at the same time as the birth of com- 
merce and was able to, in the author's words, "survive 
bad economic times, maintain low prices, respond to 
and guide public taste and deliver high quality goods." 
Reading Mr. Marzio's text and viewing the illustration 
in the catalogue attest to this assertion. The writer's and 
the exhibition's goal to elevate the chromolithograph to 
its proper place in the pantheon of American art is ac- 

Steve Cotherman 

Cotherman is curator of the State Art Gallery. 


The Western Peace Officer, A Legacy of Law 
and Order. By Frank R. Prassel. (Norman: Uni- 
versity of Oklahoma Press, second printing 
1975). Index. Bib. Illus. 330 pp. $7.95. 

This book makes two interesting statements. One is 
that the average frontier peace officer was no better or 
worse than the community he served. The other is that 
the West is more violent and crime-prone today than it 
was a hundred years ago. If the first contention is a little 
obtuse and moot, the second certainly has some sub- 
stance. One has but to glance at the daily news — printed 
or video — to see what Prassell is talking about. 

As with any subject of this nature, it becomes the re- 
sponsibility of the author to try to separate fact from fic- 
tion and to try to discuss whether or not the frontier law 
enforcement man was worthy of the reputation time has 
placed upon him. In some instances, the myth is more 
appealing than the bare facts. At other times, the ac- 
tualities are far bloodier and violent than the American 
public will find acceptable. 

The book is enhanced by some photographs includ- 
ing a few of hangings in progress. Four appendices pro- 
vide supplementary information. It is pleasant enough 
reading and will be enjoyed by aficionados of the more 
spectacular type of Western history. 

The following books are paperback editions of pre- 
viously published materials. Reviews have appeared in 
Annals of Wyoming or in other scholarly journals, but 
because of their ongoing popularity or academic worth 
they are once again brought to the reader's attention. 

The Gunfighter, Man or Myth? By Joseph G. 
Rosa. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
fourth printing, 1979). Index. Bib. Illus. 229 
pp. 15.95. 

Rosa is an English writer with a sincere interest in 
the American West. In this work, he discusses one of the 
West's larger-than-life legends — the gunfighter. Realiz- 
ing that motion pictures and television have elevated 
frontier gunfighters to hero status, Rosa objectively ex- 
amines these individuals and their violent activities. He 
points out that they shared some qualities with one 
another — pride, arrogance and an indifference to 
human life. They all had strengths of character as well 
as flaws. They were in short, not the immortal creatures 
Hollywood has given us. 

The photographs are a nice addition and the bibli- 
ography is most helpful to serious researchers desiring 
more extensive information on the topic. The book will 
be of interest to general readers as well as those specific- 
ally intrigued with the history of crime. 

The Court Martial of General George Arm- 
strong Custer. By Lawrence A. Frost. (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, second printing, 
1979). Index. Bib. Illus. 280 pp. $6.95. 

Someone once remarked that more books had been 
written about Napoleon Bonaparte than any other indi- 
vidual in history. There's a possibility that the remark 
was made before June 25, 1876, when George Arm- 
strong Custer achieved immortality in the Battle of the 
Little Big Horn. Among the many books on Custer 
available to the reading public is Frost's work on an inci- 
dent in the life of the general that occurred some nine 
years before Little Big Horn. 

In 1867, an extensive campaign was undertaken 
against the Plains Indians in Kansas. It proved disas- 
terous. To make matters worse, the futile campaign was 
costing an estimated $150,000 a day. When Custer 
made a wrong move that ordinarily would have resulted 
in a reprimand, the high command saw in him a perfect 
scapegoat. He was court martialed. 

Frost discusses the campaign, the decisive skir- 
mishes, and the court martial activities thoroughly. He 
has long been a Custer scholar, and has examined every 
available source in putting together this book. It is a 
lucid commentary on the Indian Wars of the 1860s. 


The California Gold Rush. By John Walton 
Caughey. (Berkeley: University of California 
Press, second printing, 1975). Index. Bib. Illus. 
323 pp. $5.95. 

This comprehensive history of one of the most im- 
portant epochs in America's history was originally pub- 
lished in 1948 under the title. Gold is the Cornerstone. 
Since that time, additional research materials have been 
discovered and other publications have resulted. None- 
theless, this remains one of the best chronicles of the 
California gold rush ever written, and in the second edi- 
tion, only a few additions were made in the bibliog- 
raphy. None were made in the text. 

Caughey 's book includes information on life in the 
diggings, early mining methods, social life in the boom 
towns and travel to the gold fields of California. Filled 
with quotes and engaging anecdotal material, his work 
is most readable. The narrative is simple and well con- 
structed. Because so much relevant material on the gold 
rush experience is contained in this little volume, it is 
recommended that every collector of published Western 
Americana have a copy. 

Jim Beckwourth: Black Mountain Man and War 
Chief of the Crows. By Elinor Wilson. (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, second printing, 
1980). Index. Bib. Illus. $6.95. 

The Mountain Man period in America's history 
seems to many modern readers, the most romantic era 
this nation produced. Its cast of characters were colorful 
individuals who have grown in stature with the passing 
of time. 

Among the most flamboyant of them was James 
Beckwourth, the son of a Virginia planter and a slave 
woman. If we can believe all the tales about Beckwourth 
that have been recorded, he did it all. He was a hotel- 
keeper, trapper, chief of the Crow nation, husband to 
seven wives (at one time) and an Indian agent for the 
Cheyennes. He was, if all this is true, a Victorian answer 
to the Renaissance man. 

Late in life, Beckwourth told his life story to a fellow 
named T. D. Bonner who edited and published the ma- 
terial. According to Elinor Wilson, Bonner was vastly 
more interested in money than in the true facts of the 
mountain man's narrative and added a few embellish- 
ments of his own to make the manuscript more market- 
able. She contends that Bonner's additions earned Beck- 
wourth the soubrette, "the gaudy liar." 

Whether or not the Black explorer accomplished all 
that is credited to him, his biography makes nice read- 
ing. It's light, brisk, and entertaining. The end notes 
and bibliography indicate that Elinor Wilson conducted 
extensive research on her idol. Her solid scholarship 
compliments a pleasant narrative. 

Kit Carson, A Portrait in Courage. By M. Mor- 
gan Estergreen. (Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, third printing, 1979). Index. Illus. 
Bib. $7.95. 

Kit Carson is one of those individuals who lived long 
enough to watch the frontier grow up and start to be- 
come middle aged. Born in North Carolina in 1809 he 
went west at an early age, and before his death in 1867 
he involved himself in some of the most amazing and in- 
triguing adventures recorded. He traveled with John 
Charles Fremont, fought Indians, became a brevet gen- 
eral, led expeditions, trapped and traded — he was, per- 
haps, the apotheosis of the Mountain Man. 

It must be understood, however, that all this adven- 
ture lends itself to distortion. Estergreen 's biography is 
intended to serve as a correction of that distortion. He 
has used material given him by Blanche Chloe Grant — a 
woman who collected first person accounts of Carson's 
life from people who knew him. They should know 
whereof they speak. The author has drawn upon 
Carson's own autobiography, too. The research sources 
all appear sound. 

When the reader finishes the first two chapters deal- 
ing with Carson's genealog[y and boyhood, the book 
comes alive and becomes an arresting piece of literature. 
The handful of photographs are an addition, but more 
would have been better. More are certainly available. 



"Act Providing for the Formation and Organization of Drainage Districts," 

16, 18 
Allen, John, 67-68 
American Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity, edited by R. David Edmunds, 

review, 79-80 
Ames, Oakes, 29 
Army, Department of the. Vanguard of Expansion: Army Engineers in the 

Trans -Mississippi West, 1819-1879, review, 76-77 
Arnold, Rev. F. L., S5 
Amoldus, H. J., 17 
Arthur, Chester A., 37 
Austin, Judith, review oi North to Montana! Bullwhackers and Mule Skinners 

on the Montana Trail, 73 
Averell, James, 37 


Bartlett, Judge Ara, 24 

Basin, Wyoming, 15 

Baxter, George, 40 

Bear River, 13 

Beardsley, Lt. G. R., 60 

Big Horn Basin, 13-20 

Big Horn Basin Development Co.. 15 

Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life Among the Indians, by James Wil- 

lard Schultz, edited by Keith C. Steele, review. 78-79 
Blaine. James G.. 33, 36 
Blair, Jacob B., 33, 34. 36. 37; photo, 30 
Bowman, L. A., 17. 20 
Brewer, Associate Justice David, 5 

Brown, Robert Harold, Wyoming: A Geography, review, 73-74 
Bruner, Sister, 67 

Buecker, Thomas R.. editor. "Letters From A Post Surgeon's Wife." 44-63 
Buffalo, Wyoming, 38 
Burlington, Wyoming, 15 
Burris, "Dutch Charlie," 24 
Burritt. Charles A.. 14 
Byron. Wyoming, 15 

The California Gold Rush, by John Walton Caughey, review, 82 
Campbell, Judge A. C, 24, 33, 36, 37 
Campbell, Governor John A.. 26. 29 

Augur. 45 

Brown. 45 

Sheridan. (Nebraska), 61 

Stambaugh, 46, 54 
Carey, Joseph M., 4, 14, 29, 32. 33; photo. 30 
Carey Land Act. 14-15 

Caughey. John Walton. The California Gold Rush, review. 82 
Christmas, 56, 57 
Clark, Clarence D., 4. 6, 10-11 

The Clearing of the Mist, by Richard F. Fleck, review. 77-78 
Cleveland, Grover, 33, 36, 37 
Cochrane. Timothy S., review of Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life 

Among the Indians, 78-79 
Cody. Wyoming, 15 
Cody, William F, 15 

Coehlo, Dennis, review of Wyoming: A Geography, 73-74 
Conaway, Asbury B., 38, 40; photo, 31 
Constitutional Convention (Wyoming), 14 

Constitutional Convention Committee for Irrigation and Water Rights. 14 
Corbusier. Dr. William H., 61 
Corlett. W. W.. 22. 26. 34. 36, 37 
Com, Samuel T.. 37; photo, 31 
Cotherman, Steve, review of The Democratic Art, An Exhibition on the 

History of Chromolithography, 80-81 
Cotner, Cotner and Kennedy, 17 
The Court Martial of General George Armstrong Custer, by Lawrence A. 

Frost, review, 81 
Courts. 22-43 
Cowley. Wyoming, 15 
Crook County Courthouse, photo, 35 ^ 


Dale City, 23 
Deaver. Wyoming, 15 

The Democratic Art, An Exhibition on the History of Chromolithography, 

by Peter C. Marzio, review, 80-81 
Desert Land Act, 14 

Devine, Augusta "Gussie," 46, 50, 52, 55, 56, 57, 60, 61 
Diamond Ranch. 70 
Dollar Ranch, 70 

Donahue, Jim, "Drainage Districts and the Great Depression, 12-21 
"Drainage Districts and the Great Depression," by Jim Donahue, 12-21 

Eagle Pharmacy (Laramie), 66-69: photo, 66 

Edmunds. R. David. American Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity, review. 

Eighth Circuit Court. 5-8 
Ellis. J. R.. 20 
Emblem, Wyoming, 15 
Estergreen, M. Morgan, Kit Carson, A Portrait in Courage, review, 82 

Farm Loan Act, 18 

Farm Loan Board. 18-20 

Ferris, Cornelius, 70 

Field, Marshall, 70 

Finfrock, Anna (McCuUough), 65 

Finfrock, John H., 64-69; photos, 64, 65 

Finfrock, William E., 66 

Fisher, Joseph W., 29. 32. 34. 35; photo. 27 

Fisher. Tunis Joe, 32 

Fisk, Mrs. , 66 

Fleck, Richard F.. The Clearing of the Mist, review. 77-78 

Force. Dr. , 66 


Hall (Idaho). 52 

Halleck. 66 

McKinney. 49 

Niobrara (Nebraska). 60 

Russell. 48. 61 

Washakie. 45; map. 49; photos. 44-45. 48. 53. 56 
Fossils. 48. 50. 53. 54, 56 
Frey. John. 45 
Frey. Samuel Ludlow. 45 
A Fragment: The Autobiography of Mary jane Mount Tanner, edited by 

Margery W. Ward in cooperation with George S. Tanner, review, 

Frontier Index. 24 

Frost, Lawrence A.. The Court Martial of General George Armstrong Cus- 
ter, review, 81 
Fuller, Chief Justice Melville W, 7 

Gardner-Griffm House, 70 

Garland, Wyoming, 15 

Gibson. Dr. Edward F.. 48 

Giddings, Major Grotius R., 45 

Glafcke, Herman, 29 

Great Western Sugar Company, 17 

Greybull, Wyoming, 15 

Green River, Wyoming, 46, 52. 54 

Groesbeck. H. V. B., 40 

The Gunfighter. Man or Myth?, by Joseph G. Rosa, review. 81 

Hafen. LeRoy R., Life in the Far West, review, 77 

Hafen, LeRoy R.. Ruxton of the Rockies, review. 77 

Hart. Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts: The Posts and Camps 
of the Army, Navy and Marines on the Western Frontier, 1804-1916, 
review. 75-76 

Hayes. President Rutherford B.. 25. 34 

Heuterman. Thomas H.. Movable Type, Biography of Legh R. Freeman, 
review. 74-75 

Hill. T. P., 38 

"A History of the Wyoming Territorial Supreme Court Justices," by Re- 
becca W. Thomson, 22-43 

Holly Sugar Company. 17 

Hook. Judge 7 

Howe, Church. 29 

Howe, John H., 25, 26, 28. 29; photo, 27 

Hoyt, John, 35 

Hughes, Governor Charles E., 5-6 

Humberson, Chris. "Medical Incidents in the Life of John H. Finfrock," 

Hunton, John, 37. 70-71 

Huseas. Marion H.. review of Life in the Far West. 77 
Huseas. Marion H.. review oi Ruxton of the Rockies, 77 
Huseas, Marion H., review of The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far 
Southwest, 1340-1846, 77 



Black Coal, 54, 59; photo, 58 

Friday, 59: photo. 58 

Sharp Nose, 59: photo. 59 

Washakie. 45, 48, 49, 54, 61: photo. 51 

Washington. 59: photo, 59 

Arapaho, 48, 59 

Bannock, 48, 51, 52 

Shoshone, 45 

Snakes, 48 
Interstate Canal, 71 
Irrigation, 12-21 
Ivinson. Edward, 29 


Jensen, Katherine. review of .4 Fragment The Autobiography of Mary Jane 

Mount Tanner, 72-73 
Jim Beckwourth Black Mountain Man and War Chief of the Crows, by 

Elinor Wilson, review. 82 
Johnson. Raymond. 71 
Johnston. J. A.. 14 
Jolley. H. S.. 17 
Jones Geological Survey. 50 
Jones. LeClercq. review of Movable Type. Biography of Legh R Freeman. 

Jones, W. T., 25, 29; photo, 30 

Kelly, H. B , 37 

Kennedy. T Blake, 37 

Kingman. John W.. 25, 26. 28. 34. 36; photo. 30 

Kit Carson. A Portrait in Courage, by M. Morgan Estergreen. review. 

Knox, Philander C. 5 

Moonlight. Thomas. 40 

Moore. J. K.. 51. 52. 54. 55. 57. 58. 59, 60; photo. 55 

Morgan. 23 

Mosier, Henry, 24 

Movable Type, Biography of Legh R. Freeman, by Thomas H. Heuterman, 

review, lA-lb 
Murrin, Luke, 33 

Nelson. Daniel A,. "The Supreme Court Appointment of Willis Van Devan- 

ter." 2-11 
North to Montana! Bullwhackers and Mule Skinners on the Montana Trail, 

by Betty M. Madsen and Brigham D. Madsen. review. 73 
Norton. Charles, 7 

Otto, Wyoming. 15 

Paddock. Algeron S.. S4 

Palmieri, Dr. Anthony, "Medical Incidents in the Life of Dr. John H. Fin- 
frock." 64-69 

Parks. Samuel C. 36; photo, 31 

Parrott. "Big Nose" George. 24 

Patrick. Matt, 33 

Patten. James I.. 50 

Pease. Sarah Wallace. 26. 28 

Peck. W. W . 25, 33, 34. 35. 36: photo. 31 

Peckham. Justice Rufus. 5 

Pepper. Sheriff 34 

Perry, John C, 37 

Porter, Clyde and Mae, Ruxton of the Rockies, review. 77 

Posey. P. S.. 28 

Potter. Charles N.. 40 

Powell. Wyoming. 15 

Powell. Major John Wesley. 14 

Prassel, Frank R.. The Western Peace Officer, A Legacy of Law and Order, 
review. 81 

Pratt. Col. James H. 70 

Pratt Ferris Ranch. 70 

Lacey. John W., 4, 37. 40: photo. 27 

Lamar. Joseph R.. 10 

Lander. Wyoming, 53 

Laramie. Wyoming (1870s), 67; photo. 67-68 

Laramie County Courthouse, photo. 39 

Latham. Dr. Hiram. 24 

Lee. Alf C. 35 

Leiter. Levi Z.. 70 

Leithead, B. L.. 17 

"Letters From A Post Surgeon's Wife." edited by Thomas R. Buecker. 44-63 

Life in the Far West, by George Frederick Ruxton. edited by LeRoy R. 

Hafen. review, 77 
Lime kiln. 55. 56 

Linderman. Frank Bird. Recollections of Charley Russell, review. 76 
Lingle. Hiram. 71 
Lovell. Wyoming. 15 
Lovell Drainage District, 1617 
Lurton. Horace H., 5 

Raborg. Major Paul. 70 
Rainsford. George. 70 
Rawlins. Wyoming. 58. 59. 60 
Reclamation Act. 15 

Recollections of Charley Russell, by Frank Bird Linderman. review. 76 
Reconstruction Finance Corporation. 19 
Red Canyon, 46. 50. 61 
Reed. Silas. 29 

Republican Party (Wyoming), 4 
Riner, C. W.. 40 
Riner. John A. 37 
Rodgers, Captain William W.. 60 
Roosevelt. President Theodore, 4 

Rosa, Joseph G.. The Gunfighter. Man or Myth?, review. 81 
Rounds. Linn, review oi Recollections of Charley Russell, 76 
Ruxton. George Frederick. Life m the Far West, review. 77 
Ruxton of the Rockies, collected by Clyde and Mae Reed Porter, edited by 
LeRoy R. Hafen. review. 77 


McChristian. Douglas C, review of The Clearing of the Mist, 77-78 

McDonald. Hugh. 70 

Madsen. Betty M., and Brigham D., North to Montana! Bullwhackers and 

Mule Skinners on the Montana Trail, review, 73 
Maginnis, William L.. 37. 40; photo. 27 
Marsh. Professor O. C. 53. 54. 56 

Martin. 23 

Marzio. Peter C. The Democratic Art. An Exhibition on the History of 

Chromolithography. review. 80-81 
Massie. Michael A., review of American Indian Leaders Studies in Diversity, 

Mead. Elwood. 13 
Measles. 57 
"Medical Incidents in the Life of Dr. John H. Finfrock." by Dr. Anthony Pal 

mieri and Chris Humberson. 64-69 
Medicine. 64-69 

Metz. Judge Percy W., 16 17, 20: photo. 16 
Miller. Governor Leslie A., 19 
Mondell, Frank W.. 4. 6, 11, 15 
Moody, Associate Justice William H, 7 
Monahan, Captain Deane, 48. 61 

St. Joseph's Hospital (Laramie), 67 

Sanborn, Judge . 7 

Saufley. Micah C 37. 38; photo. 31 

Schultz, James Willard, Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life Among the 

Indians, review. 78-79 
Schwoob, Jacob M.. 16 
Sener. James B.. 36. 37: photo. 27 
Sheep. 28 
Shoshone River, 15 
"Shoshoni Dick." 50, 51 
Smith, Sherry L.. review of Vanguard of Expansion: Army Engineers in the 

Trans- Mississippi V/est, 1819-1879, 76-77 
Smoking. 60 
Snowstorms. 54 
Snyder. John M., 18 
South Pass. 46 

South Pass City, Wyoming. 38 
Spaulding. Rt. Rev. John F.. 50 
Staats. Russell. 70 
Steele. Keith C. Blackfeet and Buffalo: Memories of Life Among the 

Indians, review. 78-79 
Steele. W. R,, 29, 32. 36 


Steinhoff, Mns. P. A.. 67 

Stevens, Dr. , 67 

Stock. Ralph, review of Tout Guide to Old Western Forts: The Posts and 

Camps of the Army, Navy and Marines on the Western Frontier, 

1804-1916, 75-76 
Stone. Lucy. 28 
Straham. Leonard S., 19 
Suffrage Act, 26, 28 
Summers. Dr. John F., 46, 49 
Sun Dance, 48-49. 51 
Sundance. Wyoming, photo, 35 
"The Supreme Ck)urt Appointment of Willis Van Devanter," by Daniel A. 

Nelson. 211 
Swan Land and Cattle Co.. 40. 70 

Taft, President William Howard, 4. 6-10 

The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 1540-1846, by 

David J. Weber, review, 77 
Thayer, Governor John, 34, 36, 36 

Thobro, 68 

Thomas, E. A., 32. 34; photo. SO 

Thomas, Lt. Earl D.. 46. 49. 50. 52, 58, 60 

Thomas, Mrs. Earl D., 54. 55. 56. 60 

Thomson. Rebecca W.. "A History of the Wyoming Territorial Supreme 

Court Justices," 22-43 
Tour Guide to Old Western Forts: The Posts and Camps of the Army, Navy 

and Marines on the Western Frontier, 1804-1916, by Herbert M. Hart. 

review, 75-76 


Uinta County Courthouse, photo, 39 
Union Pacific Railroad, 25, 28, 29 
U. S. Supreme Court, 24, 25; photos, 2, 3 
Upham, Major John H., 48, 51, 53, 55, 57 

Van Devanter, Willis, 211. 37. 38, 40, 41; photo, 27 

Vanguard of Expansion: Army Engineers in The Trans- Mississippi West, 

1819-1879, by Department of the Army, review. 76-77 
Van Orsdel. JudgeJ. A.. 5. 8 


Ward, Margery W. and George S. Tanner, A Fragment: The Autobiography 

of Mary Jane Mount Tanner, review, 72-73 
Warren, Senator Francis E., 411, 14-15, 33, 36. 40; photo. 7 
Washakie hot spring, 49, 50 
Watson, Ella "Cattle Kate," 37 
Weber. David J.. The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 

1540-1846, review. 77 
Webster. John, S3 
The Western Peace Officer, A Legacy of Law and Order, by Frank R. Pras- 

sel. review, 81 
Wheeler, Lt. Homer W., 52, 56 
White, Associate Justice Edward, 10 
Whitehead, James R., 22 
Wilson, Elinor, yim Beckwourth: Black Mountain Men and War Chief of the 

Crows, review, 82 
Wilson, P. S, 29 
Wind River Reservation, 45 
Winkle. Harold. 71 

Winne. Caroline Frey. 44-63; photo, 47 
Winne. Surgeon Charles K.. 45-63; photo. 47 
Wolcott. Frank. 29 
Worland, Wyoming, 15 
Worland Drainage District, 17 
Wyncote, Wyoming, 71 

Wyoming: A Geography, by Robert Harold Brown, review, 73-74 
Wyoming Development Co.. 15 
Wyoming Organic Act. 24 
"WSHS 32nd Annual Trek — Goshen and Platte County Ranches," 70-71 

Van Buren, John, 33 
Van Devanter, Isaac, 37 

Yankton, S.D., 22 
Yoder, Oscar, 70 
Yoder. Philip, 70 


. . . d'fyi *^A^w:U^rva^ ^fWw^ 

Numerous publications from the Wyoming State Archives, Museums and 
Historical Department are now available just in time for Christmas giving. The 
1982 Calendar of Wyoming History features striking historic photographs and 
interesting "anniversaries" from our state's past. The calendar is $3.50 plus tax 
and may be purchased at local bookstores or from the department, Barrett 
Bldg., Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002. 

tx/i^ct ^at ^/e^iyi fM^i^tiMn^ ^n^c^ume^n^ . 

Buffalo Bones: Stories From Wyoming's Past, Vol. 1, (1980). A compilation of 
20 stories from Wyoming history including the tale of Wyoming's first 
automobile and an analysis of 
Tom Horn's handwriting $1.50 plus tax. 

Buffalo Bones: Stories From Wyoming's Past, Vol II, (1981). Twenty-five more 
stories about Wyoming history including "Wild Bill's Bride, " "Pershing's 
Wyoming Connection, " and "Bad Timing for 
Butch Cassidy " $2.50 plus tax. 

Fort Bridger: A Brief History, (1981). A reprint of the popular Ellison history 
of the famous old fur trading post and military fort $3.50 plus tax. 

Peopling the High Plains: Wyoming's European Heritage, (1977). The human 
stories of the groups who contributed in making Wyoming what it is to- 
day, the book includes chapters on the English, Germans, Italians, 
Basques, Eastern Europeans and Greeks $7.95 plus tax. 

Saleratus and Sagebrush: The Oregon Trail Through Wyoming, (1974). The 
pioneers used Wyoming as a trail on their way west. This vivid account of 
the Wyoming portion of the route 
makes fascinating reading $3,50 plus tax. 

Summer Helmets of the U. S. Army, (1967). An in-depth study of the military 
headgear used on the frontier $2.00 plus tax. 

Many back issues 0/ Annals of Wyoming are available for purchase from the 
department. Write or call for a listing of the issues still in print. 



DANIEL A. NELSON has taught social studies at 
Laramie Junior High School for nine years. A past presi- 
dent of the Albany County Chapter, WSHS, and a past 
sheriff of the Laramie Corral of Westerners Internation- 
al, Nelson is employed each summer as assistant to the 
director of Bradford Brinton Memorial in Big Horn, 
Wyoming. He is a past president of the Wyoming 
chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The Van Devanter article 
was done to partially fulfill the requirements for a M. A. 
in American Studies from the University of Wyoming. 
Professors T. A. Larson and H. R. Dieterich served as 
advisors on the project. 

JIM DONAHUE is Archives Research Supervisor in the 
Archives and Records Management Division of the 
AMH Department, Cheyenne. His undergraduate 
studies v^fere in history at the University of Denver. He 
completed masters and doctoral coursework in educa- 
tion at the University of Northern Colorado. Although 
this is his first published article in Annals of Wyoming, 
Donahue has vw'itten extensively for education journals. 
"Drainage Districts and the Great Depression" evolved 
from his work appraising and processing the bond 
records of the Wyoming State Treasurer. The records 
are held in the AMH Department. 

REBECCA W. THOMSON practices law with the firm 
of Burgess and Davis in Sheridan. A 1978 graduate of 
the University of Denver College of Law, Thomson also 
holds a M. A. degree in Law Librarianship from the 
University of Denver. She was law clerk to Judge Ewing 

T. Kerr, U. S. District Judge, in 1979-80. This article, 
written as part of history of the Federal judges who have 
served in this circuit, will be published in book form by 
the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

THOMAS R. BUECKER is curator of Neligh Mills 
Historic Site, Nebraska State Historical Society. A 
graduate of Kearney State College, he is a native of 
Sidney, Nebraska. He edited Mrs. Winne's letter from 
Sidney Barracks and Fort McPherson for an article in 
Nebraska History, Spring, 1981. He authored "Fort 
Sidney: Its Role on the Upper Plains" which appeared in 
Periodical: The Journal of C. A.M. P. in March, 1981. 
Buecker was assisted on the Annals article by Eli Paul 
and the late Paul Riley of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society and T. M. Stout of the University of Nebraska, 

The article on Dr. Finfrock was first presented as a 
paper to the American Institute of the History of Phar- 
macy in March, 1981, at St. Louis. Dr. ANTHONY 
PALMIERI is associate professor of Pharmaceutics at 
the University of Wyoming College of Pharmacy. A 
graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he was 
awarded the M. A. degree from Rhode Island and the 
Ph.D. degree from the University of Georgia. He has 
published extensively in pharmacy journals and present- 
ly serves as editor of The Mask of Kappa Psi, a quarterly 
magazine. The article was co-authored by CHRIS- 
TOPHER E. HUMBERSON, a pharmacy student at the 
University of Wyoming and a Casper native. 


The Wyoming State Historical Society was organized in October, 1953. 
Membership is open to anyone interested in history. County chapters of the 
society have been chartered in most of the twenty-three counties of Wyoming. 
Past presidents of the society include; Frank Bowron, Casper, 1953-55; William 
L. Marion, Lander, 1955-56; Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody, 1956-57; Dr. T. A. 
Larson, Laramie, 1957-58; A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins, 1958-59; Mrs. Thelma 
G. Condit, Buffalo, 1959-60; E. A. Littleton, Gillette, 1960-61; Edness Kimball 
Wilkins, Casper, 1961-62; Charles Ritter, Cheyenne, 1962-63; Neal E. Miller, 
Rawlins, 1963-65; Mrs. Charles Hord, Casper, 1965-66; Glenn Sweem, 
Sheridan, 1966-67; Adrian Reynolds, Green River, 1967-68; Curtiss Root, Tor- 
rington, 1968-69; Mrs. Hattie Burnstad, Worland, 1969-70; J. Reuel Armstrong, 
Rawlins, 1970-71; William R. Dubois, Cheyenne, 1971-72; Henry F. Chadey, 
Rock Springs, 1972-73; Richard S. Dumbrill, Newcastle, 1973-74; Henry Jensen, 
Casper, 1974-75; Jay Brazelton, Jackson, 1975-76; Ray Pendergraft, Worland, 
1976-77; David J. Wasden, Cody, 1977-78; Mabel Brown, Newcastle, 1978-79; 
James June, Green River, 1979-80; William F. Bragg, Jr., Casper, 1980-81. 

Membership information may be obtained from the Executive Head- 
quarters, Wyoming State Historical Society, Barrett Building, Cheyenne, 
Wyoming 82002. Dues in the state society are: 

Life Membership $100 

Joint Life Membership (husband and wife) $150 

Annual Membership $5 

Joint Annual Membership (two persons of same family 

at same address) $7 

Institutional Membership $10 

President, Don Hodgson, Torrington 
First Vice President, Clara Jensen, Casper 
IVol-iyoZ Second Vice President, Fern Gaensslen, Green River 
vjrricers Secretary -Treasurer, Ellen Mueller, Cheyenne 

Executive Secretary, Dr. Michael J. Boyle, Cheyenne 

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