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Volume 56, Nujn 


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. 


Ken Richardson, Lander, Chairman 

Frank Bowron, Casper 

Dave Paulley, Cheyenne 

Eugene Martin, Evanston 

Jerry Rillahan, Worland 

Mrs. Lucille Dumbrill, Newcastle 

Thomas J. Mangan, Laramie 

Bill Bruce Hines, Gillette 

A. G. McClintock, Attorney General (ex-officio) 

ABOUT THE COVER — Shoshone warrior Moragootch proudly wore his most effulgent finery 
for this photographic portrait. It is one of nearly a hundred "carte de visite" pictures made 
by Baker and fohnston of Evanston in 1882 or 1883. "Carte de visite" photographs were one 
of the most interesting customs of the 19th century. Victorians produced, exchanged and 
collected them — literally by the thousands. Today, photographs of this nature are some of 
the most important visual documents available to history researchers. The Baker and Johnston 
collection includes not only the self-confident Moragootch, but other Shoshone, Arapaho, 
Yuma, Mohave and Apache Indians. Interestingly enough, Toos Day Zay, the wife of Cochise 
is among those represented. 



Volume 56, No. 1 
Spring, 1984 


Ed Herschler 


Dr. Robert D. Bush 


William H. Barton 


Jean Brainerd 
Rick Ewig 
Thelma Crown 


Kathy Martinez 
Ann Nelson 


Paula West-Chavoya 
Carroll Jones 


William H. Barton 



IN WYOMING 1868-1906 2 

By Steven C. Schulte 


By Leo Kimmett 



By William Hewitt 


By Gay Day Alcorn 


By Robert G. Rosenberg 



By Walter R. Jones 


Dunbar, Forging New Rights in Western Waters, reviewed by James 


Luchetti and Olwell, Women of the West, reviewed by Thelma Crown 

Ducker, Men of the Steel Rails: Workers on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa 

Fe Railroad, 1869-1900, reviewed by Paul L. Hedren 

Moulton, Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (The Journals of the Lewis 

and Clark Expedition, Volume 1), reviewed by James Walsh 

Jones, "Cheyenne, Cheyenne . . ." Our Blue-Collar Heritage, reviewed by 

William H. Barton 

Bloch, Overland to California in 1859: A Guide for Wagon Train Travelers, 

reviewed by Bernice Swartz 

Cheney and Cheney, Kings of the Hill: Power and Personality in the House 

of Representatives, reviewed by Rick Ewig 



ANNALS OF WYOMING is published biannually in the Spring and Fall by the Wyoming State Press. 
It is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society as the official publication of that 
organization. Copies of previous and current issues may be purchased from the Editor. Correspondence 
should be addressed to the Editor. 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 1984 by the Wyoming State Press. 

Indians and Politicians: 

The Origins of a ' 'Western" Attitude 

Toward Native Americans 

in Wyoming 1868-1906 

by Steven C. Schulte' 

The political history of Wyoming and other Western 
states has always been tied closely with the region's 
American Indian population. From the much studied and 
romanticized Indian war years of the 19th century to 
today's history seeking tourist, the Native American 
remains important both as symbol of a distant past, and 
as an actual presence in the state's population. 1 

A survey of 20th century Wyoming politicians and 
their attitudes toward American Indian policy reveals great 
intellectual linkage with the frontier era. Indeed, the per- 
sistence of frontier traits and attitudes among Wyoming 
politicians offers a revealing index to the overall Western 
attitude toward Native Americans. 2 Unfortunately, little 
historical scholarship exists to document this relationship. 
As a result, this study is a tentative exploration into what 
promises to be a most exciting topic. Yet several observa- 
tions that have guided this inquiry can be offered. 

Obviously, to understand the 20th century's antithe- 
tical and often troubled relationship between Western 
politicians and Indians, a strong grasp of its 19th century 
roots is necessary. Since the 1860s, Indian affairs in 
American politics has been distinctly a "Western issue." 
Westerners, from the frontier days to the present have 
tended to view Indians and Indian land as just one more 
obstacle in the frontier experience to overcome. More 
recently, Indian land has been coveted by white ranchers, 
real estate developers and energy interests who view reser- 
vation land as some of the last exploitable frontier regions. 
This attitude, characteristic of Western white "boosters," 
which advocates seizing and developing Indian land, is 
the primary element of continuity linking together over 
a century of Indian relations in the West. 3 

To most Western politicians, Indian affairs has been 
largely a local issue or problem — something the federal 
government or Bureau of Indian Affairs had no right to 
tamper with. Westerners have considered themselves to 


be experts on the "Indian problem" by virtue of their 
residence near the major areas of Indian population. 
Many politicians have supported legislative goals, both in 
the 19th and 20th centuries to maximize "freedom" for 
individual Indians. This legislation tends to allow Indians 
the unrestricted opportunity to dispose of their property. 
It also has the net effect of lessening tribal bonds. Wyo- 
ming's politicians, with only a few exceptions, have 
reflected this outlook, an attitude toward Indian affairs 
which began forming when the first politically ambitious 
men flocked to the railhead town of Cheyenne in 1867. 4 

Wyoming's early years, from original settlement to 
around 1900, witnessed the formulation and crystalliza- 
tion of prejudicial frontier attitudes toward Native 
Americans. Indians were perceived by both politicians and 
the frontier white population in a dichotomized fashion: 
either they were "good" and "noble savages" or "bad" and 
"brutal" Indians. Wyoming politicians reacted to most 
Indian actions through an understanding of these dual 
images. They also deliberately manipulated the "good-bad 
Indian" dichotomy to achieve political and Indian policy 
goals. 5 

The "good" Indian image is best represented by the 
dealings of early Wyoming politicians with the Wind Rivet 
Reservation tribes, the Shoshone and Arapahoe. Images 
of the "good" and "noble" Indian are best exemplified in 
official relations with Washakie, the longtime leader oi 
the Eastern Shoshone. 6 To many Wyomingites, Washakie 
appeared to be the wisest and noblest Indian who ever 
walked Wyoming's landscape. As Robert Berkhofer has 
noted, the image of the "good" Indian to whites suggested 

*The author would like to thank the Wyoming 
Council for the Humanities for its generous fund- 
ing of this study. 

"ease of exploitation. . . ." The "good" Indian made the 
accomplishment of European settlement, "religious con- 
version, and labor exploitation seem as easy as it was 
presumed profitable to White and Red alike." To territorial 
Wyomingites, Chief Washakie epitomized the Noble 
Savage. His foresight in accommodating the white man 
caused Euroamericans to celebrate him as a true friend 
who had chosen the best road for his people; to opt for 
cooperation instead of violent confrontation. 7 

The "bad Indian" image is best represented in the 
period to 1900 by the "hostile" Indians of the high plains, 
jthe Sioux and their allies. Early settlers of Wyoming 
invaded the last great refuge of these Indians, who, unlike 
the Shoshone, resisted the white invasion of their home- 
land. The negative image is best illustrated in territorial 
opinion of Sioux leader Red Cloud, who waged a suc- 
cessful campaign from 1866 to 1868 to eradicate the 
United States military presence from what would later con- 
stitute Northeastern Wyoming. 8 

These disparate images evolved from the first settle- 
,ment of Wyoming in 1867, at the height of the so-called 
Red Cloud's War in the Powder River region, to the 1890s, 
when frontier military hostilities had concluded. However, 
these images gradually developed an existence of their own 
and have conditioned politicians' responses to Indian 
policy questions into the 20th century. 

White frontier prejudice against Indians manifested 
itself early in the territory's history. In this formative 
period, all Indians posed both a psychological and real 
threat to the "pioneer" population. Few of the settlers along 
the Union Pacific's path bothered to differentiate between 
Shoshone and Sioux, "friendly" and "unfriendly" Indians. 
The earliest settlements in Wyoming, however, and the 
largest population centers in the territory's first years 
(Cheyenne and Laramie for example) occurred in the land 
of the Sioux and Arapahoe. Both tribes bitterly resented 
this massive population influx. Conversely, the first set- 
tlers often expressed shock and horror to discover that a 
serious "problem" with the Indians still remained. Thus 
the seeds of the negative Sioux image existed from the 
beginnings of white settlement. 

Reports of the 1866 Fetterman Massacre, as well as 
the constant Indian-white warfare along the Bozeman 
Trail in northern Wyoming shocked the nation into a 
serious reconsideration of its Indian policy. 9 The found- 
ing of Wyoming in 1867 and 1868 occurred during a time 
of transition in federal Indian relations. Eastern politi- 
cians, philanthropists and missionaries demanded a more 
humane Indian policy. After all, Quaker critics reasoned, 
the "Indian problem" seemed as far from resolution after 
a century of emphasizing violence as ever. Reformers 
demanded a policy that moved away from the traditional 
military emphasis. This desire to alter the course of federal 
Indian policy reflected the deep Congressional discourage- 
ment at the great number of military reverses, as well as 
the rising costs of frontier military expenditures. Ironically, 

it was at this crossroads in federal Indian relations that 
the future territory and state of Wyoming began receiv- 
ing its first white settlers. 10 

The Fetterman disaster and the deteriorating relations 
with the northern Wyoming tribes made it imperative for 
federal officials to effect a treaty to ensure the safety of 
the region's growing white population. But the Sioux, after 
completing two years of highly successful warfare along 
the Bozeman Road were in no mood to negotiate. When 
a federal peace commission arrived in Cheyenne during 
the fall of 1867 to start treaty talks, the Indians held com- 
plete control of the Powder River area; the Bozeman Trail, 
for all practical purposes, was closed." 

The Peace Commissioners arrived in Cheyenne only 
to be greeted with extreme cynicism and derision by the 
city's denizens. "The efforts of these sagacious powwows 
will be to drive the remaining ranchmen scattered along 
the Platte into the towns and forts for safety and protec- 
tion," the Cheyenne Daily Leader (newspaper) predicted. 
Cheyenne's citizens sincerely believed that the Indian threat 
could nip the young settlement's life in the bud of its first 
year. To many in the frontier population, Indian relations 
were a struggle for survival. Savagery (the Indian) would 
win unless the white population quickly asserted itself. 
The Cheyenne Daily Leader announced the frontiersman's 
formula to accomplish this goal: ". . . right or wrong, 
extermination [of the Indians] is a favorite idea of the peo- 
ple of the Plains." 12 

!? V \»**V"»~ ■•3%/jk ■*■■■ -* 

Chief Washakie 

The arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad in Cheyenne 
during November, 1867, sparked a temporary optimism 
about the otherwise dire Indian situation. "The grave of 
the Lo Family is dug, and the Eastern Lo sentiment shall 
be buried with it, and the poisonous arrow and treach- 
erous tomahawk shall henceforth be harmlessly shelved 
in the alcoves of the museum," the Cheyenne Daily Leader 
proclaimed. But soon drab reality reasserted itself. The 
fall parley of the Peace Commission was a miserable fail- 
ure, as most of the leading Indian patriots, including Red 
Cloud, refused to consider signing a treaty until the United 
States military posts along the Bozeman Trail were aban- 
doned. 13 

As the Peace Commission continued its efforts at 
assembling a representative body of Indian leaders, Wyo- 
ming residents expressed unrestrained disapproval of the 
Commission's intentions. In early March, 1868, Wyo- 
mingites learned, much to their dismay and anger, that 
the sine qua non of Red Cloud's demands was indeed the 
abandonment of the Bozeman Road fortifications. Soon 
thereafter, a panic wave swept throughout the young ter- 
ritory. Reports filtered to Cheyenne of clashes with Indians 
to the north and local citizens grew both frightened and 
skeptical of the proposed treaty. As the editor of the 
Cheyenne Daily Leader remarked: 

If they [the Treaty commissioners] should succeed in accom- 
plishing these or any one of these miracles [peace], they may 
next be expected to walk upon the waters and quell rebellions 
in the troubled ocean.' 4 

Several days before, reports had reached Cheyenne 
that "all of the old settlers and mountaineers" of the Fort 
Laramie district, men who "are not easily frightened by 
Indians," had fled to military posts for protection because 
they believed that the Indians are leagued together "for 
a general war of extermination of all whites." Such news 
bred both panic and hatred among the frontier popula- 
tion. The Leader predicted that during the coming sum- 
mer (1868) the plains "to the west, north, and east of this 
city will be the scene of the bloodiest and most extensive 
Indian war which the United States has ever known." 15 

Cheyenne citizens wanted to be ready if the Indians 
opted for war. In May a Cheyenne mass meeting sent a 
memorial to the United States Congress stating that they 
did not wish to be "barbarous to our barbarian enemies," 
but requested that the United States government either 
"protect us, or grant us the privilege of protecting 
ourselves." While the dreaded "war of extermination" failed 
to materialize, Sioux Chief Red Cloud's ultimatum for 
peace continued to anger many Wyomingites. Late sum- 
mer and fall saw the removal of Forts Reno, Phil Kearny 
and C. F. Smith. Finally, in November, 1868, Red Cloud 
agreed to sign the treaty. 16 

Treatymaking to the Wyoming frontier population 
indicated both weakness and capitulation to "savage" 
demands. One editor complained that Red Cloud had 
"dictated" the treaty terms. The 1868 treaties with both 

the Sioux and Shoshone "will be found to have been more 
important in . . . reduction of the privilege of the white 
man than in advancing the conditions of the Indians." 
In fact, Wyoming citizens immediately began clamoring 
for the revocation of both treaties. The first Wyoming Ter- 
ritorial Legislature, for example, drafted a resolution ask- 
ing Congress to dismantle the Shoshone Treaty of 1868. 1! 

From 1868 to 1900, Wyoming politicians and citizen; 
participated in a concerted though unofficial campaign 
to minimize the impact of all Indians upon territorial 
affairs and daily life. This "campaign" had two goals: tc 
remove the "hostile" Sioux from the territory, and to loci 
the Shoshone upon a diminished Wind River Reservation 
After 1876 and the final removal of the Sioux from Wyo 
ming, the territory's remaining Indians, the Shoshone anc 
Arapahoe, were increasingly viewed as a "nuisance." White: 
believed the Natives occupied valuable land which coulc 
be better utilized by an energetic and enterprising Anglo 
American population. Thus acquisition of Indian lane 
is a dominant theme in Wyoming's political relations witr 
the Wind River tribes after the more pressing busines: 
had been taken care of, the expulsion of the Sioux. 

To the outside world, Indian conflicts and Wyoming 
were synonymous during the late 19th century. For mani 
years, Denver's Rocky Mountain News (newspaper) wrote 
almost solely about Wyoming's Indian troubles when ii 
mentioned the territory. Nevertheless, Indian relation; 
were a reality of frontier existence. From the start, Wyo 
ming's politicians turned their attention toward th< 
numerous problems created when one culture encroachec 
upon another culture's land. 18 

Wyoming's first Territorial Legislature sought to take 
care of both dimensions of its Indian troubles: the "hostile 
Sioux and the Shoshone. Apparently acting out of a sense 
of frustration that the federal government would nevei 
solve Western Indian problems, the Wyoming Legislature'; 
Council resolved to call for a meeting of other Westen 
territorial governors, 

for the purpose of making a simultaneous movement against 
the hostile Indians [Sioux and allies] with militia or volunteer 
troops and set forever to rest the Indian question, and give 
Western settlers and their families that protection which they 
have hitherto asked for in vain. 19 

Several days later, the Council submitted another resolu 
tion to Congress asking for "a modification or abrogation 
of the 1868 treaty with the Shoshones. The Wyoming Ter 
ritorial Legislature adopted both resolutions. 20 

Wyoming's first Territorial Governor, John A. Camp 
bell (served 1869-75), and his successor, John Thaye; 
(1875-78), concentrated upon removing the Sioux threat 
The 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty gave the Sioux control o 
Wyoming land north of the North Platte River and eas 
of the Big Horn Mountains, a situation that distressec 
Wyomingites. Campbell argued that the treaty should be 
rescinded because it gave the Sioux, a people who hac 
no use for the land, absolute control over Wyoming'; 

Cheyenne in 1867, home of the Territorial Legislature. 


"richest" lands. Every Indian invasion south of the Platte 
helped justify, in officials' eyes, the breaking of the Fort 
Laramie Treaty. Campbell also agreed that a "modifica- 
tion" of the Shoshone Treaty of 1868 was in order. He was 
the first Wyoming official to suggest a form of land allot- 
ment for the Wind River Indians. In his annual message 
Campbell advised giving the Shoshone only "as much 
arable land as will by proper cultivation yield him a sup- 
port and no more." This idea evolved from governor to 
governor and eventually helped justify drastic land reduc- 
tions among the Wind River tribes in 1906. Furthermore, 
Campbell argued that both the Sioux and the Shoshone 
lands within the territory needed a quick "reduction" or 
!the "settlement of the country [will be] retarded." The 
Indian impediment to Wyoming's progress became a stan- 
dard theme in politicians' demands for dispossession of 
Native land. 21 

The Sioux territory, officially termed "Unceded Indian 
Land," seemed especially inviting to Westerners. Rumors 
that gold abounded in the Big Horn Mountains only 
served to exacerbate the frustrations of the white citizenry. 
President Ulysses S. Grant's so-called "Peace Policy" fur- 
ther antagonized frontier whites who believed that its 
smphasis on Indian reconciliation proved that distant 
Washington cared little about the West. A liberal east- 
erner, Edward M. Lee, after spending but one year in the 
heady frontier atmosphere of Cheyenne, demonstrated 
how quickly racial attitudes changed amidst Western con- 
ditions. He wrote that "no lasting peace can be enjoyed 
until these accursed savages have been thoroughly 
whipped." In 1873, Campbell still argued in messages to 
his Interior Department superiors that the northeastern 
part of the territory, "if properly cultivated would yield 
subsistence to civilized [emphasis added] people many 
times the number of non-producing savages now occu- 
pying it." 22 

Wyoming politicians and citizens continued to 
demand the opening of the unceded Sioux land. In 1873, 
the Territorial Legislature called attention to "Indian 
outrages" in Wyoming in response to the news that the 
United States Government was acting to protect its citizens 
residing in Spain from violence. In outrage, council 
member T W. Quinn of Sweetwater County offered a res- 
olution that the United States should take care of its 
domestic citizens first. He asked "the President of the 
United States to take into consideration the propriety of 
protecting American citizens at home [on the Wyoming 
frontier] as well as abroad." 23 The next year, General 
George Armstrong Custer, in flagrant violation of the 1868 
Fort Laramie Treaty, led 1,000 men into the Dakota Black 
Hills on a "reconnaissance" mission. His reports indicated 
the presence of gold, touching off a series of events that 
led to a massive migration to that region, as well as the 
removal of the Sioux from northeastern Wyoming. As early 
as September, 1874, a Cheyenne editor enthusiastically 
predicted, "We think we can safely assure our readers that 
this section of country [northeastern Wyoming] will be 
opened to settlement within the next twelve months." 24 

Despite the previous year's optimism, the Sioux, to 
the white population's dismay, continued to reside in 
Wyoming. Thayer, a veteran frontier politician, in 1875 
announced grandiose plans for what he believed was the 
imminent opening of the northern regions. He requested 
a memorial to Congress asking for the reconstruction of 
a wagon road to Montana, similar to the old Bozeman 
Route. The Legislature complied with a memorial that, 
in tone, all but counted the remaining days of the Sioux 
in the area. This resolution, introduced by Laramie 
County's W. L. Kuykendall, stated that it was drawn "in 
relation to the Sioux Indians and the settlement and 
development [by whites] of certain country claimed by 
them." 25 

In his annual address for 1875, Thayer prayed for the 
abrogation of the 1868 Sioux treaty. After all, the Indians 
had violated the treaty despite the good faith shown by 
federal authorities, he argued. Of course, the governor 
chose to make no reference to Custer's journey to the Black 
Hills. "It is a well settled principle in law," Thayer lec- 
tured, "that when one party to an agreement ignores its 
provisions, the other is absolved from all obligation to 
respect them." Furthermore, "Those lands are no use to 
the Indians . . . they neither cultivate the soil nor develop 
the wealth beneath." Thayer ended his revealing address 
with a recommendation for a "new policy with the Red 
Men," one that would make the government the "guard- 
ian," to treat them "as its wards, and control all their 
actions." Thayer and other frontier citizens believed treaty 
making had reached a farcical stage. The Indian con- 
tinually violated treaties, and, like children, "they are 
incapable of determining what is for their own good." Thus 
Thayer and most Wyomingites suggested that the only way 
to solve the "Indian problem" was with force — military 
subjugation, followed closely by a program of involuntary 
Americanization. Ironically, this "Western prescription" 
became the course followed by Indian policymakers. 26 

In 1876, three United States Cavalry units entered the 
"Unceded Indian Country" of northeastern Wyoming to 
herd any "hostile" Indians found back to designated Indian 
agencies, mostly in present-day South Dakota. Following 
the Custer debacle 27 in June, 1876, the last of the resisting 
Indians, mostly Sioux, but also some Cheyenne and 
Arapahoe, were removed from their former homeland. 
The final subjugation of the Sioux again spurred Thayer 
to eloquence. By extinguishing Indian title to the Powder 
River region, "the settlement of Northern Wyoming, 
hitherto prevented by marauding Indians, will now go for- 
ward, and its mineral and pastoral wealth be made 
available by the industry of the settler." Wyoming residents 
seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief following the 
removal of the Sioux. Wyoming stock growers, who had 
for so long chafed at the restraints that the federal govern- 
ment had imposed upon them because of the 1868 treaty, 
readied themselves to move northward as soon as possi- 
ble. As an 1877 guidebook portrayed the atmosphere of 
that year: 

. . . the Wyoming of today glows with a new life. Peace has dawned, 
so suddenly that the long fettered frontier has scarce awakened from 
its ten years of darkened dreaming. ... To define the thrill which 
permeates the frame of the first herdsman who pushes his flocks nor- 
thward across the Platte River . . . and sets his feet firmly upon "Indian 
ground" might also be a prosy task in the East, but in the valleys of 
Wyoming it will be an exciting tingle never to be forgotten. 

As historian T. A. Larson has summarized, during the 
1870s "it was touch and go whether Wyoming could sur- 
vive as a separate entity, as one problem after another 
defied solution." 28 

Wyoming's concern with Indians and Indian land 
nonetheless continued after 1877. While the Sioux still 
occasionally inspired fear because of their proximity to 


much of Wyoming, relations with the Shoshone and Ara- 
pahoes, the tribes of the Wind River Reservation, 
dominated the territory's minds and images for the rest 
of the century. Yet the "Sioux era," those years from original 
settlement to 1877 helped form a prejudicial mindset 
among the frontier population. A frame of reference that 
has colored political dealings with Indians into the pres- 
ent century. 

With the diminishing of the Sioux threat, Wyoming- 
ites only had to contend directly with the Shoshone and 
Arapahoe tribes. The Shoshones had occupied the Wind 
River Reservation since its creation in 1868. The Arapa- 
hoes had been moved to Wind River against the will of 
the Shoshones in 1877. 29 

While these tribes became the embodiment of the 
"good" Indian image, fear and prejudice still marked 
politicians' and neighboring whites' relations with them. 
It is interesting and significant that politicians frequently 
contrasted the "good" and "orderly" behavior of the Wind 
River tribes with the "hostile" actions of Wyoming's old 
nemeses, the Sioux. Both Wyoming tribes, aware of possi- 
ble advantages of doing so, portrayed themselves as 
peaceful and cooperative with both territorial and federal 
officials. This led to an evolving, positive image of the 
Wind River tribes among white politicians, a reputation 
enhanced by the cooperation obtained by the federal gov- 
ernment in dealings with them for reservation lands. Yet 
among neighboring whites and among the politicians 
themselves, prejudicial stereotypes existed that under- 
mined Indian-white relations leading to mutual fears and 
distrust. 30 Several highly instructive case studies demon- 
strate how the overall Indian image in Wyoming evolved 
from "savage" to "nuisance." 

In 1878, Wind River area settlers believed that an 
Indian war was imminent. Rumors of Shoshone and Ara- 
pahoe discontent and possible uprisings spread fear among 
white ranchers in northcentral Wyoming. Especially both- 
ersome to the stockmen were Indian raids on white-owned 
cattle. Conflict between Indians and ranchers is a per- 
sistent theme in the period from 1880 to 1900. In part, 
it represented a continuation of the old conflict between 
two cultures, with the new Euroamerican culture trying 
to displace the Native inhabitants. To many of the white 
ranchers, federal Indian policy was "stupid, foolish, sen- 
timental, hypocritical, and venal in execution." The 
ranchers' goals and values naturally conflicted with the 
aims of the Indian tribes, who, above all, were attempt- 
ing to make a fast adjustment to a radically changing 
world. 31 

Territorial Governor John Hoyt (1878-82) heard rumors 
of the impending "Indian outbreak" in the Wind River 
region. Hoyt recalled that the "Shoshones and Arapahoes 
were getting belligerent and making threats of a very 
alarming character." In conference with Washakie of the 
Shoshones and Black Coal of the Arapahoes, Hoyt learned 
that the Indians' complaints had been well-founded. Late 

delivery of rations and clothing, dwindling food supplies 
and disappearing game had pushed the tribes to the brink 
of desperation. Tribesmen, to avoid starvation had resorted 
to stealing stock from neighboring whites. As Washakie 
candidly assessed the situation: 

What, then, shall we do but, in some way, force attention 
to our unhappy condition? We cannot endure it longer, and 
must break away, in the hope of finding, among the whites 
outside, the things not furnished us here. If we kill a lot of 
them [cattle] in getting what belongs to us. the fault will 
not be ours. 
After discussing matters carefully with the Indians, Hoyt 
arranged for a quick distribution of food and clothing 
to defuse the potentially serious situation. This incident 
is highly representative of the type of Indian-white con- 
flicts that characterized the post-military era in Wyoming. 
Through federal neglect of the Indian trust responsibil- 
ity, desperate and starving Indians often resorted to steal- 
ing white ranchers' property. Such situations helped 
alienate white ranchers and local politicians from the 
federal government and contributed to the growth of 
negative stereotypes relating to the "dirty, poverty-stricken 
thieves," the Indians. 32 

The problems of tribal adjustment to a restricted land 
area became severely complicated by an increasing white 
presence and demand for Indian lands. As the 1880s 
turned into the 1890s, the Wind River Indians and other 
tribesmen came to be viewed not so much as sources of 
danger, but as a species of troublemaker. The Shoshone 
and Arapahoe, occupants of comparatively good reser- 
vation lands, incited the wrath of many whites who 
believed the area could be better utilized by "enterpris- 
ing" Euroamericans. Indian-white relations in Wyoming 
further deteriorated because of encroachment on reser- 
vation resources by white cattlemen who often trespassed 
stock to graze free. Indians complained that their stock 
often mysteriously disappeared while the herds of sur- 
rounding white ranchers kept growing. 33 

Nothing is more common in Western American his- 
tory than the "incessant demands from the West for the 
reduction of Indian lands." Similarly, Wyoming residents 
during the 1880s and 1890s began complaining steadily 
about what could be termed one of the state's first signifi- 
cant "law and order" problems -- Indians leaving the 
reservation to steal white-owned stock. Wyoming gover- 
nors during the 1880s read letters everyday from citizens 
who feared Indian uprisings. 34 In the northeastern part 
of the state, settlers still distrusted the Sioux. As Territorial 
Governor Francis E. Warren (1885-86) remarked, the Sioux 
"have given Wyoming more or less annoyance and anxiety 
through their marauding incursions from time to time." 35 
In the West, the Arapahoe and Shoshone still posed 
threats, but largely in citizens' minds. To the north, the 
Crow and Northern Cheyennes, residents of southern Mon- 
tana, occasionally frightened Powder River Basin resi- 

Most frontier citizens failed to realize that the Indians, 


while still resenting the white presence, only wanted the 
basic necessities of life — food and clothing. Thus they 
resorted to leaving the reservations to scavenge, not because 
of some old marauding instinct, but from dire necessity. 
If blame must be placed somewhere, it should be laid at 
the door of a malfunctioning federal Indian policy. 
Tragically, the "scares" caused by Indians walking away 
from the reservation occurred because of a misunderstand- 
ing of Indian motives. But perhaps more importantly the 
"panics" erupted because of already crystallized frontier 
prejudice against the Indians. The image of the loathsome 
savage still permeated Wyoming's white settlements. Yet 
two somewhat contradictory images continued to dom- 
inate Wyoming attitudes toward Native Americans near 
the end of the century. A positive image was held by fron- 
tier land promoters and politicians who desired to acquire 
Indian land or make political capital from Indian-related 
issues. More influential, however, was the negative "bad" 
Indian image, which, as a line of continuity from the days 
of the Indian wars, continued to be the dominant image 
among Wyomingites. Interestingly, Wyoming politicians 
seemed equally adept at manipulating both images to 
achieve political and personal goals. 

Indian "scares" continued to be a problem for Wyo- 
ming settlers during the 1880s and 1890s. Complaints 
about Natives' "visiting" neighboring whites' cattle herds 
often led to fears of possible Indian uprisings. As an 
example, Warren wrote to the commanding officer at Fort 
McKinney in 1885 about one such panic. Warren 
demanded to know if any grounds existed for the alarm, 
"or is this one of our periodical scares for which the fron- 
tier is noted?" 36 

Proposed solutions to the Indian difficulties took 
several forms. The most innocuous answer was to memor- 
ialize the United States Congress for action. In February, 
1866,, a Wyoming House Joint Resolution asked Congress 
to confine Indians strictly to the Wind River Reservation. 
Warren habitually tacked this suggestion to the end of his 
reports to the Secretary of the Interior. Territorial Gover- 
nor William Hale (1882-85) reported on another, more 
forceful proposed solution. The Wyoming Stockgrowers' 
Association had threatened to "arm their herdsmen and 
drive the Indians away from the ranges." But the most 
common suggestion concerned an overall change in the 
direction of federal Indian policy. This strategy was clearly 
rooted in the desires of stockmen and others to gain access 
to Indian lands. 37 

Wyoming politicians stood squarely behind the move- 
ment during the 1880s for the allotment of Indian land 
in severalty. For once, both Eastern philanthropists and 
Western "land grab" interests could support the same 
movement, though for vastly different reasons. Reformers 
envisioned allotment as the magic formula that would 
transform Indians into civilized agriculturalists. Westerners 
believed allotment provided the most efficient and accept- 
able method to gain access to "surplus" Indian lands. 


Clearly, the factor which swung Western support behind 
the bill that became the General Allotment or Dawes Act 
of 1887 was the provision allowing the Secretary of the 
Interior to purchase any unallotted lands for resale to 
private interests. 38 

The idea of allotment received widespread support 
in Wyoming. The Laramie Boomerang (newspaper) 
followed the legislative progress of the bill closely, hail- 
ing it as a "sensible proposition to treat the Indian the 
same as the white man," - this is the type of Western 
reasoning that has come to characterize "Western" solu- 
tions to Indian policy problems. At the bottom of such 
"solutions" are usually Indian land or resource grab 
schemes. The Dawes Act can be called the first Western 
non-military initiative in Indian policy. As the Boomerang 
later explained how the plan might work: 

If one or two tribes could be induced to lead off in this course 
[allotment] the others will gradually follow. As fast as the 
reservations are broken up the surplus lands can be trans- 
ferred to the public domain. 39 

In a lighter editorial supporting the plan, the 
Boomerang argued that the present plan of concentrating 
Indians upon reservations was convenient for the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs, but not good for the Indians. The writer 
might have also added "Western whites" to his last idea. 
The Boomerang reasoned: 

Indians are much like college boys, the more sociable they 
are, the more worthless they are apt to become . . . scatter- 
ing them would have a much better effect, since they would 
thus be compelled at least to work in order to get through 
the time. 40 

The Dawes Act only temporarily sated the land- 
hunger appetites of Wyomingites. Later amendments to 
the bill made it easier for whites to gain access to Indian 
land. On a national basis, Native Americans lost over 
90.000,000 acres of land to whites from 1887 to 1934, the 
years of the Act's operation. In Wyoming, Warren had 
reported that after all the Indians had received land in 
severalty, over 2,500,000 acres of Wind River Reservation 
land could be opened to white settlement. 41 

Two more great movements to gain access to Wind 
River Reservation land occurred during this era. Both 
Wyoming politicians, and white landowners applied 
extreme pressures to Shoshone and Arapahoe tribal leaders 
to force these cessions. In 1897, a Congressional act ratified 
an April, 1896, agreement with the Arapahoe and Sho- 
shone tribes which ceded the Big Horn Hot Springs to 
the United States for $60,000. During this transaction, 
55,040 acres passed from Indian control. 42 

Several years later, Indian land fever again struck Wyo- 
ming politicians who rightly calculated that great political 
rewards could be reaped from forcing Indian land ces- 
sions. This movement, which culminated in the "largest 
land grab of all," realized Warren, Campbell and other 
Wyoming politicians' dreams of opening the Wind River 
Reservation to white settlement, "except what may be 
necessary for the support of the Indians." While the idea 



Territorial Governor John Campbell (above), 
and Edward Lee (below). 


John Thayer 


Francis Emroy Warren 


to open the northern one-third of the reservation (above 
the Wind River) to general settlement had long been 
discussed, the movement did not gain credibility or 
momentum until Fenimore Chatterton and DeForest 
Richards, two ambitious politicians, began to agitate the 
issue during the 1898 political campaign. 43 

During that campaign, Republican Governor can- 
didate Richards and Secretary of State nominee Chatter- 
ton resolved, if elected, that they would initiate a move- 
ment to open the reservation to white settlement. They 
met some surprising opposition from entrenched white 
cattlemen who had enjoyed a monopoly of cheap reser- 
vation leasing rights. But with the full cooperation and 
support of Wyoming's Congressional delegation, especially 
Congressman Frank Mondell, the government forced a 
treaty or agreement upon the Wind River tribes. The 
agreement, reached in 1904, was ratified by Congress in 
1905 and the lands opened to settlement August 15, 1906. 44 

The 1904 land cession demonstrated the great distance 
Wyoming's Indian relations had traveled since the fear- 
ful days of 1867. The tribes, for a long time no military 
threat, had been stripped of any diplomatic power with 
the death of Washakie in 1900. Well before his death, the 
Shoshones embodied the "noble" Indian in Wyoming eyes 
in stark contrast with the Sioux. The best explanation for 
this positive assessment of the Shoshone relates to their 
alliance with the United States against their traditional 
enemies, the Sioux, during the 1870s military campaigns. 

But a better explanation of the Shoshone image was their 
usual cooperation with government goals for land cessions. 
As one person has observed, the whites of that region 
"could feel glad that they only had to deal with a Washakie 
. . . not the treacherous Sitting Bull and Red Cloud." 45 

The political machinations surrounding the enact- 
ment of the 1904 agreement offer a final, revealing glimpse 
of how Western politicians could exploit Indians and 
Indian-related issues. Local white citizens had lobbied 
among the tribe before the agreement had been voted 
upon encouraging Indians to approve the bill. H. E. Wads- 
worth, the government Indian agent clearly favored the 
bill and exerted his influence to gain Indian approval. 
Despite evidence of formidable Indian opposition, the 
government, Wyoming politicians, and local commercial 
interests, using pressure tactics, barely managed to muster 
enough Indian signatures to ratify the pact. Many of the 
Shoshones later admitted they had only signed the agree- 
ment because "Congress was going to enact the legislation 
anyhow." 46 The opening of the Wind River Reservation 
in 1904 left the Shoshone and Arapahoe Indians with but 
808,500 acres out of an original reservation of over 
3, 000, 000. 47 

A report issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
justified the opening of the reservation on the grounds 
that proceeds from the land sales would be used for the 
construction of Indian irrigation systems. While this rep- 
resented the "official" explanation, Wyoming Governor 


Bryant B. Brooks' reasons are far more realistic and can- 
did. His version of the opening strikes at the heart of why 
Wyoming and Western politicians, once the military phase 
of Indian relations had ended, could carelessly trample 
Indian rights. 

Both President [Theodore] Roosevelt and the Secretary of 
the Interior favor the opening of the reservation, two of the 
largest railroad systems, namely the Northwestern and the 
Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy have surveyed lines west 
into this territory, and state they will start construction work 
if the Reservation is thrown open. This would not only mean 
a great developement [sic] and rapid progress for Wyoming, 
but would also lead to the extension of, at least, these two 
great systems on to the Pacific Coast, thereby tremendously 
stimulating the progress of this whole arid region. 18 

Surely one Indian reservation could not be allowed to slow 
down or stop such projected economic progress. 

Perhaps a fitting postscript to this story in Indian- 
white relations concerns Chatterton's subsequent career. 
After pledging to work to "open" the reservation, the enter- 
prising Chatterton was elected in 1898, re-elected in 1902, 
and in 1903 ascended to the governor's chair upon the 
death of his running mate, Richards. Finally, after leaving 
public office, Chatterton became the attorney for the 
Riverton-based Wyoming Central Irrigation Company, as 
well as its General Manager. Thus he benefitted from the 
city he had been so instrumental in carving from the Wind 
River Reservation. 49 

From 1867 to 1906, Indian relations remained one of 
the major issues in Wyoming politics. Many politicians 
ensured success in their careers by merely denouncing the 
federal government's Indian policy. After the removal of 
the Sioux military threat in 1876-77, politicians found and 
exploited other Indian-related issues such as restricting 
Indian freedoms and reducing the size of the Wind River 
Indian land holdings. Wyoming politicians accurately 
reflected the prejudicial and stereotyped attitudes that 
evolved toward Native Americans during the frontier era. 
From the 1880s to the turn of the century, the once feared 
Native American was looked upon by Western whites as 
a mere nuisance, a bothersome relic from the past. Pro- 
gressive era Wyoming saw the Indian as almost a sub- 
human, an absentee occupant of valuable land, who 
locked-up resources that could be more productively uti- 
lized for the benefit of American society. The fascinating 
challenge of this episode in Indian-white relations is to 
assess the ways in which frontier prejudice and negative 
stereotypes have carried over into the present century to 
influence Indian-white relations. 

1. Wyoming, according to a 1981 study had 7,125 American Indians, 
or 1.5% of the state's total population. This is more than twice 
the national average for total percent Indian population. See 
Casper Star-Tribune , July 30, 1981. 

2. Arrell M. Gibson, The American Indian: Prehistory to the Pre- 
sent (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980), pp. 517, 526. 
Gibson goes on to say that "The twentieth century brought Indians 
no respite from private and public exploitation and abuse. Greedy 

non- Indians continued to prey upon allotments and tribal 
resources." p. 517. 

3. John Leipier Freeman, "The New Deal for the Indians: A Study 
in Bureau-Committee Relations in American Government" (Ph.D. 
Dissertation, Princeton University, 1952), pp. 8-10. 

4. Ibid. 

5. The "good-bad" Indian dichotomy is a convenient and useful 
method to discover political motivations. The good-bad dichotomy 
is analyzed in Robert Berkhofer, Jr., The White Man's Indian: 
Images of the American Indian From Columbus to the Present 
(New York: Alfred Knopf, 1978), pp. 118-119. 

6. For a study of Washakie in this laudatory vein, see Grace Ray- 
mond Hebard's uncritical Washakie (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark 
Company, 1930). A short but more balanced assessment is Peter 
M. Wright's "Washakie" in R. David Edmunds, ed., American 
Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1980). pp. 131-151. 

7. Berkhofer, White Man's Indian, pp. 118-119; examples of contem- 
porary statements praising Washakie are legion. See, for exam- 
ple, the undated manuscript in "Washakie" file, John Roberts 
Papers, Western History Research Center, University of Wyo- 

8. Red Cloud's War along the Bozeman Trail is examined in many 
places, but the most balanced assessment remains James C. Olson's 
Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1965). 

9. The more humane Indian policy that was in place after 1869, 
the so-called "Peace Policy," has recently been reexamined in an 
excellent study by Robert H. Keller, Jr., American Protestantism 
and United States Indian Policy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1983). 

10. Robert W. Mardock, The Reformers and the American Indian 
(Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1971), pp. 
23-25. The Fetterman Massacre occurred near Fort Phil Kearny, 
by present-day Buffalo, Wyoming. 

11. Olson, Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem, pp. 58-60; T. A. Lar- 
son, A History of Wyoming, Second Edition, Revised (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 29; Mardock, The 
Reformers and the Indian, p. 25. 

12. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 10, 17, 1867. 

13. Ibid., November 14, 19, 1867. 

14. Ibid., December 5, 1867 and April 3, 1868. 

15. Ibid., March 30, 1868. 

16. Ibid., May 1, 1868; Olson, Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem, 
pp. 79-82. 

17. Leader, May 13, 1868 and July 24, 1868; Council Journal of the 
First Wyoming Territorial Legislature, p. 139. The Wind River 
Reservation was established by this treaty. 

18. Mary Ann Riedel, "The Image of Wyoming in the Rocky Moun- 
tain News, 1867-1880" (M.A. Thesis, University of Wyoming, 
1967), pp. 10-14. 

19. Council Journal of the First Wyoming Territorial Legislature, p. 

20. Ibid., pp. 125, 139-140. 

21. "Message of Governor J. A. Campbell, October 13, 1869," in Coun- 
cil Journal of the First Wyoming Legislature, pp. 10, 17-18; Peter 
Kooi Simpson, "History of the First Wyoming Legislature" (M.A. 
Thesis, University of Wyoming, 1962), pp. 55-56. 

22. E. S. Osgood, The Day of the Cattleman (Minneapolis: Univer- 
sity of Minnesota Press, 1929), pp. 71-73; Keller, Jr., American 
Protestantism and Indian Policy, pp 98-105; Larson, History of 
Wyoming, p. 97; "Message of Governor J. A. Campbell, November 
4, 1873," in Council Journal of Third Legislative Assembly of 
Wyoming, pp. 15-18. 

23. Council Journal of the Third Wyoming Territorial Legislature, 
p. 74. 


Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 99; Donald Jackson, Custer's 
Gold: The United States Cavalry Expedition of 1874 (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1966); Leader, September 26, 1874, in 
W.P.A. Collection, 1520, "Trails and Expeditions," Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department, Cheyenne. 
Council Journal of the Fourth Territorial Legislature of Wyoming, 
pp. 72, 112, 134; for a biographical sketch of Thayer see Lewis 
L. Gould, Wyoming: A Political History, 1868-1896 (New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1868), pp. 50-57. 

"Message of Governor John M. Thayer to the Fourth Legislative 
Assembly," in Council Journal of the Fourth Wyoming Territorial 
Legislature, pp. 39-42. 

To recite the movements and countermovements of the famous 
Sioux War of 1876 is not the purpose of this study. Rather, see 
several of the better narratives on this campaign, Robert M. Utley, 
Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian (New 
York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1973); Ralph K. Andrist, 
The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians (New York: 
Collier Books, 1964). 

"Message of John M. Thayer, November 6, 1877," in Counciljour- 
nal of the Fifth Wyoming Territorial Legislature, p. 21; Larson, 
A History of Wyoming, p. 95; R. E. Strahorn, The Handbook 
of Wyoming and Guide to the Black Hills and Big Horn Regions 
(Cheyenne, 1877), pp. 20-21, quoted in Osgood, Day of the Cat- 
tleman, p. 78. 

For the story of the Arapahoe removal to the Wind River Reser- 
vation see Virginia Cole Trenholm, The Arapahoes, Our People 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970), pp. 321-362; and 
Virginia Cole Trenholm and Maurine Carley, The Shoshonis: Sen- 
tinels of the Rockies (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1964), pp. 275-284. 

Loretta Fowler, Arapahoe Politics, 1851-1978: Symbols in Crisis 
of Authority (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), p. 56. 
Montana rancher Granville Stuart quoted in Lewis Atherton, The 
Cattle Kings (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 
1961), pp. 125-127. 

Keplar Hoyt, Life of John Wesley Hoy t, 1831-1912, mss. in Wyo- 
ming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department, 
Cheyenne, pp. 309-317; "Report of Governor of Wyoming Ter- 
ritory, 1878," in Wyoming Governors Reports to the Secretary of 
the Interior, 1878-1890, Western History Research Center, Univer- 
sity of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming; Atherton, The Cattle Kings, 
p. 126. 

Fowler, Arapahoe Politics, passim. 

Osgood, Day of the Cattleman, p. 63; see, for example, cor- 
respondence in the letterbooks of Governors William Hale, Francis 

E. Warren and Thomas Moonlight, in Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department, Cheyenne, which are filled 
with such "scares" and complaints about Indians. 

"Report of the Governor of Wyoming Territory, 1886," in Wyo- 
ming Governors Reports to the Secretary of the Interior, p. 57. 

F. E. Warren to G. E. Compton, April 1, 1885, F. E. Warren 
Papers, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Depart- 
ment, Cheyenne. 

Laramie Daily Boomerang, February 4, 1886; "Report of the 
Governor of Wyoming in 1889," in Wyoming Governors Reports 

to the Secretary of the Interior, 1878-90, p. 620; "Report of the 
Governor of Wyoming in 1883," in Ibid. 

38. Frederick Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery: The Campaign to Assimilate 
the American Indians, 1880-1920" (Ph.D. Dissertation, Brandeis 
University, 1977), see Chapter Four: "Assimilation in Practice: 
Indian Lands," for a concise description of the Indian Allotment 
Act. Hoxie notes, as few scholars have, that the great demand 
for Western lands at this time was closely related to the tremen- 
dous increase in Western population: the population soared from 
4,000,000 in 1870 to 7,000,000 in 1880 in the area. Also see 

D. S. Otis, The Dawes Act and the Allotment of Indian Lands, 
edited with an introduction by Francis Paul Prucha (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1973); Robert Winston Mardock, 
The Reformers and the American Indian (Columbia, University 
of Missouri Press, 1971); Leonard A. Carlson, "Land Allotment 
and the Decline of American Indian Farming," Explorations in 
Economic History, 18(April 1981), argues that the Dawes Act made 
it easy and desirable for Indians to alienate land holdings, that 
it discouraged rather than promoted agriculture. 

39. Laramie Daily Boomerang, January 14, 20, 1886. 

40. Ibid, February 19, 1886. 

41. Larry J. Hasse, "Termination and Assimilation: Federal Indian 
Policy 1943 to 1961" (Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington State Univer- 
sity, 1974), pp. 12-13. 

42. Riverton Ranger, August 14, 1981; State Planning Board of Wyo- 
ming, Indian Lands in Wyoming (1936), Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department, Cheyenne, pp. 12-13; 
Trenholm and Carley, The Shoshonis, pp. 285-292. 

43. Thomas Hoevet Johnson, "The Enos Family and Wind River 
Shoshone Society: A Historical Analysis" (Ph.D. Dissertation, 
University of Illinois, 1975), p. 158; Fenimore Chatterton, Yester- 
day's Wyoming: Memoirs of Fenimore Chatterton, Territorial 
Citizen, Governor, and Statesman (Aurora, Colorado: Powder 
River Publishers, 1957), pp. 60-61. 

44. Fenimore Chatterton, "History of the Inception of Riverton and 
the Riverton Project in Fremont County, Wyoming," Annals of 
Wyoming, 25(January 1953), pp. 83-85. 

45. Johnson, "The Enos Family," p. 139. 

46. Ibid. , pp. 159-60. Johnson points out that 202 of 247 eligible 
Shoshone voters signed the agreement while only 80 of 231 
Arapahoes could be induced to sign. Johnson calculates that only 
58.2% of the total adult male Wind River Indian population 
agreed to the land cession. 

47. Ibid., p. 160. The Shoshonis parted with 700,000 acres in the 
Brunot Treaty or Agreement of 1872. See land cession figures for 
Wind River Reservation in Wyoming State Planning Board, 
Indian Lands in Wyoming, p. 20. 

48. W.P.A. Collection, 1453, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and 
Historical Department, Cheyenne; Bryant B. Brooks to Albert 

E. Meade, February 8, 1905, Bryant B. Brooks Papers, Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums and Historical Department, Cheyenne. 
For short biographical sketches of Brooks and Chatterton see 
Harry B. Henderson, Sr. , "Governors of the State of Wyoming, 
Article III," Annals of Wyoming, 12(April 1940), pp. 123-130. 

49. Henderson, "Governors of the State of Wyoming," pp. 124-125. 





by Leo Kimmett 


The 73rd Congress was called into special session on 
March 9, 1933, to hear and authorize one of President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt's favorite economic recovery pro- 
grams, the Emergency Work Act, soon to become known 
as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Senate Bill 
S-598 was introduced on March 27, passed by both Houses 
and on the President's desk for signature by March 31. 

By emergency powers granted to the President, there 
were 250,000 young men enrolled in CCC camps by July, 
1933. Control and transportation of the men was turned 
over to the Army in spite of fears that militarism would 
creep into the program; the Departments of Agriculture 
and Interior would plan and organize the work programs; 
and the Labor Department would be responsible for selec- 
tion and enrollment of applicants. Oddly enough, 
primarily through the efforts of a civilian director and 
advisory council to prohibit the newborn program from 
being smothered with red tape, the CCC was on a firm 
foundation of success by April, 1934. 

Sometime in the latter part of April or the first part 
of May a notice was printed in our local paper, The Powell 
Tribune, that teamsters were needed in the two CCC 
camps at Yellowstone Park. I was a senior in high school 
at that time, joyfully anticipating the graduation exer- 
cises that were to occur in a few weeks. This notice in the 
paper effectively encouraged several of us boys, being 
single, carefree and looking for adventure and employ- 
ment, to take advantage of this offer. Work for us in the 
farming community of Powell, when it was found, usually 
consisted of a ten-hour day in the fields with a $1.00 reward 
for our labor. So, about four of us seniors pooled our 
resources for gasoline, borrowed somebody's car, obtained 
permission from our superintendent to absent ourselves 
from school for a day, then drove 26 miles to Cody, Wyo- 
ming. There, at a Forestry Office, we applied for employ- 
ment as teamsters in a CCC camp. I had no qualms about 
my qualifications as a teamster. Having been born and 
raised on a farm north of Powell, I often used teams of 
horses for field work and trucks for hauling supplies and 

In about ten days we received notice to report for 
induction in CCC Camp 581, YNP-2, located at Canyon 
Junction in Yellowstone Park. Two of us, as seniors in high 
school, had to forego our graduation ceremonies and 
bestowed the diploma reception honor on our mothers. 
Early on the morning of May 16, Raymond Cles, Frank 
Revelle, two boys temporarily living in Powell and I were 
loaded into a city pickup and transported to Lake Junc- 
tion in Yellowstone. We arrived there about noon. A phone 
call was made to Canyon Junction and after a long wait, 
a stake truck was sent down from the CCC camp for the 
completion of our journey. Two other boys, Milden Pat- 
terson and Ray Thornberry from the Willwood area of 
Powell were also at this camp, having preceded us by a 
few days. Arriving at the camp about 2 p.m., we were 
first treated to lunch in the mess hall. We had been very 

hungry. Lt. Slater, our Commanding Officer, met us in 
front of the little office where we raised our right hand 
and were sworn into the CCC with the Oath of Enrollment: 

I. , do solemnly swear that the infor- 

mation given above as to my status is correct. I agree to 
remain in the Civilian Conservation Corps for the period ter- 
minating at the discretion of the United States between 

unless sooner released by proper authority, 

and that I will obey those in authority and observe all the 
rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereof. I 
understand and agree that any injury received or disease con- 
tracted by me while a member of the Civilian Conservation 
Corps cannot be made the basis of any claim against the 
government except such as I may be entitled to under the 
act of September 7, 1916, and that I shall not be entitled 
to any allowance upon release from the camp, except 
transportation in kind to the place at which I was accepted 
for enrollment. I understand further that any articles issued 
to me by the United States Government for use while a 
member of the Civilian Conservation Corps are and remain 
property of the United States Government and that willful 
destruction, loss, sale or disposal of such property renders 
me financially responsible for the cost thereof and liable to 
trial in a civil court. I understand further that any infrac- 
tion of the rules or regulations of the Civilian Conservation 
Corps renders me liable to expulsion therefrom. So help me 

Our next stop was at the Quartermaster tent where 
we were issued clothing. This clothing was straight army 
issue, from caps to shoes and a large portion was WWI 
surplus. We were also given a small pillow, a wool blanket, 
mattress ticking (which we filled with straw for our bunk) 
and a duffel bag for personal belongings. The newly issued 
clothing and toiletries was to be kept under our bunk, in 
a rectangular wooden frame supported by four short legs. 

Most of the structures in our camp were army tents. 
Five or six boys were quartered in each troop tent, a sim- 
ple layout consisting of a wooden platform, about fifteen 
feet square, with a board railing around the sides. Over 
this framework a pyramidal tent was placed supported 
by a center pole. A few of the tents had small wood- 
burning stoves, a comfort during the snowy and chilly 
weather that frequented the park. 

Approaching Canyon Junction from the south, one 
would travel near the west bank of the Yellowstone River, 
pass Chittenden Bridge on the right, and in another mile 
arrive at a road junction where a turn to the west or east 
would lead to other scenic park areas. It was at the south- 
west corner of this junction, on a small bluff and in a 
former tourist camp location, that our CCC camp was 
established. Looking down from this small, flat bluff, one 
saw a most striking panoramic view of the beautiful Can- 
yon area. To the northeast, was the stately, massive Can- 
yon Hotel, proudly perched on its own observation hill. 
Directly below and across the road from our camp was 
the Canyon store and service station, with a well worn path 
leading to our camp. 

Rest facilities, a few electric yard lights and a water 
main were already in the tourist campground area when 


Administration boys, cooks, clerks, first aid technician. Author in rear, far right. 

the CCC camp was established. Our mess hall was a long, 
frame building, about 20 x 100 feet, with a kitchen and 
food storage room located in the north section. There was 
a small office in the south section, and a large dining room 
between. Our log rest rooms, the showers, laundry 
building and the mess hall were the only wooden buildings 
in the camp. Everything else was under tents. The officers 
and supervisors lived in small individual tents on a little 
rise just above the new office building. These locations 
are mentioned because there are different roads through 
the Canyon area today and it would be difficult to locate 
the old CCC camp with its sylvan surroundings. 

Located in the center of our camp was the recreation 
tent. The major area of this tent contained tables and 
chairs used for letter writing, card games, meetings and 
other leisure-time activities. There was also a very small 
PX in the recreation tent. It was just one glass showcase, 
as I remember, containing candy bars, tobacco, gum, 
toiletries and stationery. Since most of the boys were penni- 
less when enrolled, we were issued a $2.00 coupon book 
so we could purchase soap, toothbrushes and other items. 
The $2.00 was deducted from our first pay. Religious ser- 
vices were also held in the recreation tent, and on occa- 
sions a minister or priest would visit the camp. 

On the morning following our arrival at camp, we 
reported to the medical tent, called the dispensary. Thor- 
oughly indoctrinated the previous night from the old- 
timers about the large, curved needle and where it was 
to be jabbed, we fearfully received our typhoid, diphtheria 
and smallpox immunization. We also became acquainted 
with the camp doctor, 1st Lt. Westerhout. He was a good 
doctor except that gentleness was not one of his known 
attributes. This reputation, no doubt, eliminated all cases 
of goldbricking in our camp. Generally, all the boys were 
in, and remained in, good physical condition. There was 
one unique medical case sometime in July, when a boy 
was diagnosed as having appendicitis. He was taken in our 


ambulance by Dr. Westerhout to the Park Hospital at 
Mammoth Hot Springs for an appendectomy. Within a 
few weeks the patient was back in camp and on active duty. 

There were about six work crews in our camp whose 
assignments varied from road and bridge work to forestry 
work. Each crew consisted of 25-30 boys with one civilian 
Forest Department supervisor and a truck driver. There 
was also a stake truck for transporting the crew to and 
from the respective work locations. A tarp was frequently 
placed over wooden bows on the stake trucks in case of 
inclement weather. 

Although all of us from Powell had enrolled as 
teamsters, at no time did any of us drive a team of horses. 
They were nonexistent in Yellowstone. Nor did we drive 
a truck. The position of truck driver was highly respected 
and sought after, since the sole responsibility of the driver 
was to care for his assigned truck and to safely transport 
its cargo. Drivers never assisted in the work that was 
assigned to the crew. 

An astonishing practice of these truck drivers that was 
previously unknown to me, and something I considered 
absurd since we never practiced it in our farm work, was 
the "double-clutching" procedure when shifting either to 
a lower or higher gear. I never did know if this was a 
specified procedure or just an act of showmanship on the 
part of the mechanically inclined drivers. 

It was the responsibility of one work crew to supply 
our camp with firewood. On each workday this crew 
searched the forest for dead pine, sawed these trees into 
four-foot lengths and neatly stacked the cord wood behind 
the mess mall. 

Our mess hall was one building we frequented three 
times a day and, although not always tasty, the food was 
adequate and nutritious. Three large, cast iron ranges suf- 
ficed for the cooking and baking in the kitchen. The four- 
foot sections of firewood were regularly tossed into the fire- 
box of these monstrous stoves by the mess hall attendants, 

thus providing a good steady heat for our cooks and 

Food provisions and all other camp supplies arrived 
on a monthly schedule via the old army convoy supply 
system from Fort Missoula, Montana, our headquarters 
center. About ten noisy, canvas-covered trucks would come 
roaring into camp on the scheduled afternoon and our 
supplies for the next month would be unloaded, a pro- 
ject that could have been frustrating but in reality was 
rather orderly. Early the following morning at daybreak, 
a good hour before reveille call, the drivers of the convoy 
trucks were up, starting their engines, and running these 
engines at full throttle for about 15 minutes. This warm- 
up procedure may have been specified in some regula- 
tion, since the entire operation was conducted by the 
Quartermaster Department of the Army. For us, these 
roaring engines were a rude awakening, depriving us of 
that extra hour's sleep in our normally quiet camp. 

One of the pleasantries after the arrival of the con- 
voy was the increased variety, for a few days, in our mess 
hall diet. Fresh meat (beef quarters) was brought in and 
it lasted only about a week since we had no refrigeration 
lockers, just the cool Yellowstone nights. After the fresh 
meat was gone, our cooks reverted to the old Army stand- 
by, canned beef. It was present at our dining tables as 
steak, meat loaf, cold cuts or stew. 

I don't recall that we ever had fresh milk, only the 
diluted evaporated milk for cooking and table use. Other 
than potatoes, onions and cabbage, fresh fruits and 
vegetables were nonexistent in our menu. 

As with any group of youngsters, one will find a cer- 
tain percentage complaining about the meals, but I never 
joined in this disapproval. Our meals were wholesome, 
if not balanced, and there definitely was no malnutrition 
or hunger as many were experiencing during those Depres- 
sion years. We had devoted and dependable enrollees as 
cooks and bakers in our kitchen, producing admirable 
meals from what they had to work with. 

On one occasion in the middle of July, our chief 
forestry supervisor was pleased with the work accomplish- 
ments of the boys, and decided to treat the camp. On a 
Sunday morning he came into the office and made several 
phone calls until he located what he wanted at the Lake 
Junction Hotel. He then dispatched a truck and personally 
took care of the arrangements and expenses in providing 
our camp with twenty gallons of vanilla ice cream as a 
dessert for the evening meal. 

Another very important use of our mess hall occurred 
on the first day of every month — payday. An army olive 
drab blanket was draped over one of the mess tables. 
Behind it sat the commanding officer, the executive officer 
and a paymaster who had previously arrived in camp with 
a satchel filled with $1.00 and $5.00 bills. The boys were 
lined up in alphabetical order in front of this table and 
in turn received their next month's allowance of a few 
dollars. Pay was always in even dollars; any portion of a 

dollar was carried over to the next pay period. Laying on 
the blanket in front of the CO. was a .45 army pistol, 
which I am certain was unloaded but placed there as a 
shocking reminder that this was neither the time nor the 
place for any nonsense. 

Connected with the subject of pay, it should be 
remembered that our wages were "a-dollar-a-day"; $30 
a month in actuality. We were allowed $6 per month at 
payday for our personal spending and the remaining $24 
was sent by Treasury check to the respective families of 
the enrollees. Six dollars a month seems, by today's stan- 
dards, to have been a pittance, but it was adequate for 
our few expenses and limited luxuries, such as tobacco 
or candy. The distribution of the $30 per month among 
the boys and their usually impoverished families, along 
with the work accomplishments, was viewed favorably by 
the public, thus allowing the continuance of the CCC pro- 
gram for several years. 

Most of the CCC camps were located in isolated areas, 
away from the money spending temptations of town or 
city. Prohibition was still in effect at that time and this 
fortunate situation eliminated any expenditures for alco- 
holic beverages. One sobering sight was impressed upon 
me after the June payday, when six or eight boys wanted 
to spend a weekend in the small town of Gardiner, Mon- 
tana. Returning to camp early Monday morning, about 
three or four of the boys were rolling in their vomit on 
the floor of the stake truck. These unfortunates learned 
the hard way about the prevalent falsehood that rubbing 
alcohol became harmless when filtered through a slice of 

There was a complement of about 200 boys in our 
camp. Approximately ten percent of these were in the 
administrative force of cooks, supply clerks, office per- 
sonnel, first aid technicians and the bugler. As I 
remember, reveille was at 6 a.m., breakfast at 7 a.m. and 
at 8 a.m. we assembled in a military formation for the 
"all present and accounted for" ceremony along with the 
hoisting of the colors. After dismissal, the work crews and 
individuals reported to their diverse assignments. Dinner 
was at noon, and work resumed at 1 p.m. Supper was at 
5 p.m. and after that we were free until taps (lights out|> 
at 10 p.m. Saturdays were usually spent in camp, a day 
reserved for cleaning the camp area, doing our laundry 
and maintenance of our equipment. Sundays were totally 
days of leisure and, infrequently, a minister (Catholic or 
Protestant) would conduct services in the recreation tent. 
There were a variety of activities for us in the park; sports, 
fishing, taking hikes through the Canyon area and an 
occasional drive through the park in one of the stake 
trucks. Observing the park wildlife was always a fascina- 
tion for us at these leisure times. We saw elk, moose, bear, 
badgers, coyotes and several species of birds. Especially 
memorable were the osprey as they would dive to the river 
surface and often fly away with a struggling trout firmly 
clenched in their talons. 


My first work assignment was with a crew that cleaned 
the roadside of brush, dead trees and debris, from the 
highway leading to Norris Junction. Upon completion of 
this project, we were given the task of locating a large, 
long, lodge-pole pine to be used as a flagpole for our 
camp. After locating the ideal pole, cutting it down and 
stripping the bark, we then had to do some careful 
maneuvering to get this pole back to camp and erect it 
near the camp entrance. 

CCC camp 581 was originally established the previous 
year in California and transferred later to Yellowstone Park 
in April or early May, 1934. Many of the original enrollees 
were finishing a year of service and were awaiting their 
discharge and return to civilian life. One such boy was 
the camp clerk in the small office at the south end of our 
mess hall. About a week after my arrival in camp, I went 
into the office one evening and, with no other intention 
in mind, asked permission to address an envelope on the 
office typewriter. I previously had taken a typing course 
in high school and the clerk noticed this fact when I 
addressed the envelope in the proper manner. I thanked 
the clerk and nothing more was said. A few days later the 
clerk came to me and stated that I was the only known 
boy in camp who could type. I could be his replacement 
as camp clerk if I wanted the job. He didn't have to ask 
me twice. No arm-twisting was needed for my acceptance 
of this position because it meant inside work and a $6 
per month increase in salary. 

My typing consisted of filling out requisitions, making 
up the payroll and traveling documents, but it was not 
a pressing job. An additional duty was to hold mail-call 
each day after all the boys had returned to camp. Stand- 
ing on a small platform near the mess hall, reading off 
names, and tossing the letter in the direction of the respon- 
sive "here" would normally be an artless routine, but not 
in our camp. By pure accident it happened that a great 
number of our boys were from the larger cities in Ohio 
and of Polish descent. Where I would normally expect 
a vowel in a surname, I was challenged with a C, K, W 
or Z, and some of those Polish names were real tongue- 
twisters for me. After a few days of mild resentment and 
some boos, I became more fluent in Polish pronuncia- 
tion and we all returned to more cordial feelings. 

Two of the other boys from Powell, Raymond Cles and 
Frank Revelle, also had some specialized work at our 
camp. Raymond, having had shop courses in high school, 
worked in the maintenance tent located behind the mess 
hall. His job was the care and repair of the innumerable 
camp tools — sharpening saws and axes, replacing broken 
handles and even some blacksmith work. Frank, when 
needed, was our camp plumber, acquiring this qualifica- 
tion by helping his father with their plumbing business 
in Powell. One of the appreciated accomplishments of 
Frank was his installation of a much needed wood-burning 
water heater for our shower and laundry use. Frank, a 
lad over six feet tall and weighing a good 200 pounds, 


was unable to obtain a pair of issue shoes when we enrolled 
because there were no size 13 on hand, so a special order 
was submitted to the supply center for his size. It was about 
a month before Frank's shoes arrived and, in the interven- 
ing time of cold and snowy weather, it was a miserable 
necessity for poor Frank to reactivate his old, worn-out 
shoes with ample inserts of paper and cardboard. 

Our office at the end of the mess hall was cramped 
for space. About the middle of June a new frame, one- 
room building, approximately 10 by 14 feet, was con- 
structed north of the mess hall as the new office building. 
A 220 volt generator at the Canyon Hotel supplied yard 
lights for our camp and other tourist camps in the area. 
But, as I remember, very little electric power was used 
in our camp, and lanterns were the main source of illumi- 
nation. A telephone connection also came from the Can- 
yon Hotel, and the electric lines were wired into the new 
office, making it rather updated. Still the telephone was 
the old wall type and two light sockets were wired in series 
to care for the 220 volt current. 

Most of the army officers and forestry supervisors, 
senior in age ten to twenty years over the enrollees, were 
married men and lived quietly in their own tent area. I 
can readily understand now that our officials, being 
separated from their families, had a minimal enjoyment 
of the Park, since they could not share this vacation land 
with their loved ones. There was very little boisterous talk 
generated in our office as the commanding officer was 
noticeably quiet and reserved. However, a trace of humor 
was frequently detected in his dialogue. I vividly recall 
one pithy elucidation from Lt. Slater at one of our morn- 
ing roll calls. It was a time when our camp had a critical 
shortage of that rolled paper product essential to the rest 
rooms. "Be sparing with the use of our short supply of 
toilet paper," he strongly admonished us, "and use both 
sides of it — if you have to!" 

A special discharge from the CCC could be obtained 
by any of the boys, or one could be obtained from the 
CO. for a valid reason. If a parent of a boy sent a nota- 
rized affidavit stating that their son had employment at 
home, or was needed at home for a just reason, the 
enrollee was given a discharge and provided transporta- 
tion back to his home, usually from the railroad at Gar- 
diner, Montana. This happened about twice a month. We 
had two cases when our CO. issued a discharge on his 
own discretion. One of the boys, possibly from lack of nor- 
mal muscular control, was constantly, unintentionally 
injuring himself. Dr. Westerhout, after treating this boy 
numerous times for cut fingers, bruises, and so on, recom- 
mended to the CO. that the boy be given a discharge 
before he seriously injured himself. Another case con- 
cerned one of the boys who took absolutely no interest 
or participation in any camp work or recreation activities. 
He was assigned to different supervisors and they all 
reported the same apathetic findings. It is my opinion, 
in retrospect, that the boy was severely homesick or 

depressed. Our CO., probably having the same opinion 
at that time, thought it best that the boy be discharged 
and returned to his parents. 

With long, daylight evenings, our camp life continued 
with varied activities. Many of the boys, after a day's work, 
would simply stay in their tents, visit or play cards. Some 
would practice baseball, and we did have a winning team. 
Other boys participated in horseshoe pitching or boxing. 
Another pleasant evening diversion was to dress up in our 
best olive drab uniforms and take a two-mile walk via Chit- 
tenden Bridge over to the Canyon Lodge, where there was 
always an evening of entertainment presented by the lodge 
employees or by the Forest Rangers. Afterwards, a dance 
was usually held for an hour or two, with music furnished 
by the lodge orchestra. 

Our baseball team always accepted the opportunity 
to play against other organized teams. One Saturday after- 
noon, we were challenged by a small but determined team 
made up from the employees of the Canyon Lodge. It was 
a Softball match and with some good field effort we 
obtained a victory. Because of unforeseen circumstances, 
our weakest player that afternoon happened to be our 
pitcher, a red-headed lad, bashful as could be. One of 
the girls in the Canyon Lodge rooting section soon had 
our scarlet-topped pitcher sized up: 

"Hey Red! What's your name?" "Hey Red! I like you!" 
"Hey Red! You're not playing fair!" "Can I see you after 
the game, Red?" 

Our red-faced pitcher became more flushed and less 
dexterous as the innings progressed and, needless to say, 
our winning of that game didn't come from strike-outs. 

There was a four-day holiday for us right after pay- 
day on July 1. Permission was granted for the use of a stake 
truck to transport any of us wanting a ride as far as Cody, 
Wyoming. Since Powell was just 26 miles on the other side 
of Cody, this gave some of the other boys from Powell and 
me an opportunity to return home for a short visit by 
simply hitch-hiking after arriving at Cody. I had invited 
one of the Polish boys from Ohio to accompany me on 
this trip. We certainly enjoyed our visit in Powell and at 
our farm, where the city lad from Ohio witnessed a new 

While at home I visited a neighbor friend, Ora Pal- 
mer, and made arrangements for him to construct a small, 
battery-powered radio for us, since there was no such lux- 
ury in our camp at that time. Ora was a gifted individual, 
who had a fondness for disassembling old radios and 
rebuilding them into homemade working models. A few 
days after returning to camp, I received from Ora, via 
parcel post, a one-tube radio assembled in a cigar box. 
We soon had that portentous electronic marvel operating. 
One of the boys in camp had a set of headphones and 
we, unbelievably, found and bought the needed batteries 
at the Canyon store. After the correct hook-up of wires, 
we could clearly tune-in broadcasting stations located in 
Billings and Denver. What a thrill it was to take turns 


One of the work crews in the Yellowstone CCC camp. 



Supply tents, 

and Administration quarters. 

Kimmett in front of the Mess Hall, 

May 1934. 

View from the camp, General 

Tent area, Yellowstone CCC Camp. 
Weather improved. 

Officers of the Camp. 
From the left, 1st Lt. Slater, 
Lt. Westerhout, other two 

Official photo 

of the assembled 

Camp's personnel, 

July, 1934. 



clamping the headphones over our ears and hearing the 
airway entertainment far from Yellowstone National Park. 
The boy who owned the headphones was completely 
obsessed with this unique electronic jewel, so I traded it 
off to him when I was soon to be on another assignment. 

It was necessary for me to spend extra hours during 
the evening in the new office should there be any phone 
calls. The fidelity of our antique wall telephone was, at 
best, very poor. A call came in one evening, the caller 
wanting to speak to one of the lieutenants. After repeating 
and verifying the name for correctness, I then walked up 
the small hill to the officer's tent area and called the lieu- 
tenant to the phone. To make a long story short, it turned 
out that one of the other lieutenants was wanted on the 
phone. For this botched communication I was given a 
royal, typical army verbal reprimand. This hurt. Coming 
from the gentle farming community of Powell where such 
vituperation was unknown, the shock of this reprimand, 
unjustified in all respects, had an acute effect on me. 

After a somewhat sleepless night, I decided that to 
be mentally upset like this was not worth the extra $6 a 
month so, the next morning, I requested the CO. that 
I be placed back on one of the work crews. Also, an 
enrollee had recently arrived in camp who was a whiz with 
the typewriter and I felt that he, being more qualified, 
was entitled to have the clerical job in the office. 

Another reason for my desiring a change was the for- 
mation of a sub -camp, to consist of some twenty boys and 
a supervisor. I volunteered to join this group and the days 
in that sub-camp proved to be my most memorable in 
the park. 

The Forestry Department wanted a fire trail con- 
structed into an isolated area in the Park, near Mary Lake. 
Our group was loaded onto three stake trucks, along with 
camping equipment, supplies, tools and food. We left our 
main camp at Canyon, drove south on the highway about 
seven miles, then turned to the right onto a rough wagon 
road for some ten miles until reaching Mary Lake. Our 
small camping tents were erected on the northwest shore 
of this small, pristine lake situated in equally beautiful 
forest surroundings. 

There was, as I recall, a small tent for the supervisor, 
about three crew tents under which we placed our bunks, 
a supply tent and a mess tent containing a few tables and 
some benches. All of this was about 100 feet from the shore 
of the lake. 

While loading all of our equipment back at Canyon, 
I was late (something unusual for me) in getting my 
wooden bunk loaded on the truck. In fact, I was the last 
to do so. After the trucks drove over that ten-miles of 
wagon road, all the bunks underneath mine were broken 
into various sizes of scrap lumber, so I didn't have to rebuild 
my sleeping facility after arriving at Mary Lake. 

Another essential project that first day was the dig- 
ging of a trench, which was spanned by two longitudinal 
poles that supported, at right angles, short and appro- 

priately spaced boards nailed onto the poles. A shovel full 
of dirt, scooped from the latrine bank into the bottom 
of the trench, completed each operation. Oh, the marvels 
of being uncivilized before the days of the Environmen- 
tal Protection Agency. Water for all our needs was car- 
ried up from the shore of the lake, and from that same | 
shore we also went swimming and bathing. Sickness? 
There was none in our sub-camp. 

The Forestry Department furnished our camp with 
a battery powered, short wave transmitter and receiver 
should any emergency occur. One boy assigned to this 
radio had to periodically call in to a central location three 
or four times a day. This location, I believe, was at Lake 
Junction. The cook, his helper and the radio operator were 
the only three to remain in camp during the work days. 
Our supplies and mail were trucked in from Canyon once 
a week. On one occasion a quarter of fresh beef, wrapped 
in a white cloth, was brought to us and we suspended this 
delicacy from a tree branch. We didn't care to share with 
any bear. 

The fire trail we built, began on the east shore of Mary 
Lake and continued to the south, and was simply an 
undulating graded pathway that we opened and threaded 
through the forest, dead timber, brush, hills and valleys. 
It was all muscle work, with the aid of picks, shovels, saws 
and axes. There were considerable good-natured and bois- 
terous complaints as to who was doing the most or the 
least amount of work. We labored under a wonderful 
supervisor and the trail gradually unwound, for several 
miles, to its destination. 

At the beginning of the trail construction, we would 
walk back to camp for our noon meal. On one occasion, 
when returning to our work location after lunch, we unex- 
pectedly came upon a smoldering fire about 25 feet in 
diameter. Needless to say, we were a busy crew stomping 
out that embarrassing conflagration since it could easily 
have spread into a major forest fire in that dry, August 
climate. It was concluded that one of the boys had care- 
lessly tossed a cigarette butt aside when we were return- 
ing to camp that noon. Our supervisor wisely decided that 
all future smoking along the trail would be restricted to 
specified times and places. After the trail extended over 
a mile in length, the time consuming routine of return- 
ing to camp at noon was dropped and thereafter lunch 
was carried when leaving in the morning. 

On our off days some of us would explore the environs 
of Mary Lake. To the east were several acres of hot, bub- 
bling springs, oddities of nature that fascinated us. One 
day I tossed a bar of laundry soap into one of these boil- 
ing pots, having heard of the profound lathering that 
would ensue. Breathlessly I stepped back to await a froth- 
ing that would never cease. Nothing happened. 

On another occasion about seven of us boys, out of 
curiosity, took an afternoon hike into a densely forested 
and hilly wilderness area. Eventually, deciding we had had 
enough exploring for that afternoon, we suddenly realized 


we were lost. In a situation such as this, I was fortunate 
in having an instinctive sense of direction, and was cer- 
tain that our camp was to the northeast from where we 
were. Most of the boys disagreed with me and insisted upon 
walking in a westerly direction. Even after a heated argu- 
iment, I was so positive in my opinion that I told them, 
i "you go your way and I'll go mine," and proceeded to do 
| so. One of the boys started to follow me, and soon after- 
wards the remainder of the group were behind my 
! trailblazing path. After about a mile trek through brush, 
I wooded area and rocks, we were back in recognizable ter- 
ritory and soon returned to our camp. 

While exploring the terrain in the vicinity of Mary 
i Lake, I noticed traces of what appeared to be an old road 
or trail coming from the west into Mary Lake. Years later, 
when reading the early history of Yellowstone Park, it was 
; a surprise to me that this was the old stage road used by 
early tourists in the park. The early road system guided 
i the travelers, all coming from Montana at that time, from 
Mammoth Springs to the Old Faithful area. The early- 
day tourist then backtracked as far as Nez Perce Creek, 
{followed this creek to Mary Lake where, no doubt, a plea- 
sant camping and rest stop was made. From Mary Lake, 
the stage road continued approximately on the same trail 
iwe had taken when coming to Mary Lake. This was desig- 
nated as the Alum Creek Road, leading eventually to the 
Canyon area. The drainage tributary for Mary Lake is 
Nez Perce Creek, a name associated with the defeat of 
that Indian tribe in 1877. Chief Joseph led his nation of 

Kimmett in front of the flagpole he 
helped erect. 

Tent area in subcamp at Mary Lake. 

Nez Perce through a route provided by the wilderness ter- 
rain of this creek and in doing so "out-generalled" three 
confused U.S. Cavalry troops pursuing his escape into 
Montana. In a life-and-death evasion from the laws of 
the white man, it is reasonable to assume that the environs 
of Mary Lake were of a utilitarian nature rather than one 
of peace and beauty for the pursued Indians. 

During the latter part of August, my oldest brother 
wrote and suggested that, if possible, I should strongly 
consider attending a university that fall. After weighing 
the pros and cons of what this involved, I wrote back that 
I would accept his suggestion. He would have to send an 
affidavit to the effect that my attending a school was the 
reason for a needed discharge. In a few days, about the 
same time we completed the construction of the fire trail, 
the affidavit arrived. On September 3, 1934, I obtained 
my discharge from the Civilian Conservation Corps and 
was soon back home making preparations for some higher 

During the continuance of the CCC for the next eight 
years, several changes were made. Ill fitting olive drab 
clothing was replaced by the more attractive cotton, khaki 
clothing. Better meals were provided with the inclusion 
of fresh produce and an educational advisor was assigned 
to each camp for the implementation of various training 
programs; and finally, barracks replaced the old army 
tents. With our sudden entrance into World War II in 

1941, expenditures and manpower were needed for the 
war effort. Congress simply let the CCC program expire 
by canceling appropriations for its continuance. By July, 

1942, the Civilian Conservation Corps was filed in the 
pages of history. 


* '■>•* 

"time Wmwi&m> $&wkm m&0 C&, 



The University of Wyoming 

Textbook Investigation Controversy, 

1947 to 1948 and Its Aftermath 

by William Hewitt 


Americans worried about many things after World 
War II, and communism probably headed the list. The 
uproar over communism in Wyoming swirled on the 
University of Wyoming campus in late 1947 and early 
1948, and for a brief time, made the University the focus 
of national anti-communist agitation. 1 The hunt for com- 
munist or subversive influence in American higher educa- 
tion reached its apogee in the 1952 to 1953 hearings of 
the Internal Security Subcommittee in New York City and 
the House Un-American Activities Committee's scrutiny 
of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
scientists. 2 

The furor in Wyoming began with a seemingly 
harmless motion before the Board of Trustees during its 
October 24-25 meeting in 1947. A Cheyenne dentist and 
treasurer of the board, Dr. P. M. Cunningham, proposed 
that U.W. President George Duke Humphrey "appoint a 
committee to read and examine textbooks in use at the 
University of Wyoming, in the field of social sciences, to 
determine if such books are subversive or un-American." 3 
This motion was seconded by board member H. D. 
DelMonte, of Lander, and carried unanimously, without 

DelMonte and Milward Simpson, President of the 
Board of Trustees, had just returned from a meeting of 
the Governing Boards of State Universities and Allied 
Institutions held at the University of Michigan. A speaker 
at the meetings warned of the threat posed by communist 
ideology to the American way of life. This threat was all 
the more insidious because it was through the medium 
of textbooks that "subversive" and "un-American" ideas 
seeped into the minds of unsuspecting, unguarded youth. 
Simpson later recalled that the speaker warned that some 
college textbooks if not explicitly subversive in their con- 
tent, "at least did not teach our own principles and ideas 
of government." 4 After hearing this presentation, the gov- 
erning boards passed a recommendation that American 
government and history courses be required of all univer- 
sity graduates. 5 

Simpson returned from Michigan determined in his 
capacity as President of the Board to counteract any 
subversive or un-American influence if it should be 
detected at U.W. Simpson had displayed energetic interest 
in university affairs as early as World War I when he was 
seeking his undergraduate education at U.W. 6 He not only 

This attention-getting cover appeared on a pam- 
phlet sent to University of Wyoming President 
George Duke Humphrey and the Board of Trustees 
by Robert Donner of Colorado Springs on Decem- 
ber 31, 1947. It stated, in part, "He [the under- 
cover Red] can use his fine- pointed needle to in- 
sert the Red poison so cleverly that you can hardly 
follow his motions." 

worked his way through the university holding such jobs 
as an instructorship in political science, but he also cap- 
tained the football, baseball and basketball teams and 
found time to be a debater and editor, as well. After 
interrupting his education for a stint, and serving as a 
second lieutenant in the infantry in World War I, he 
returned to Wyoming to receive his B.S. degree in 1921. 
He went on to study law at Harvard and was admitted 
to the Wyoming bar in 1926. Simpson's ambition found 
expression in his political career. As an ardent Republican, 
he served in the House of Representatives from 1926 to 
1927. With this experience behind him, in addition to a 
successful law practice and the vice-presidency of Husky 
Oil and Refining Company, he entered the U.S. Senate 
race in 1940 against New Deal Democrat, Joseph C. O'Ma- 
honey. O'Mahoney, then soundly defeated Simpson by 
almost 20,000 votes. 7 

During his 1940 effort to unseat O'Mahoney, Simp- 
son focused his campaign around his antipathy for the 
New Deal and his long-standing concern, dating from the 
Red Scare of post-World War I, about the possible spread 
of communism. 8 During the 1940 campaign, he reported 
that Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes had criticized 
his advertising slogan which read: "More Wyoming in 
Washington and less Washington in Wyoming." Simpson 
suggested that Ickes' attitude was "typical of the bureau- 
crats in Washington who wished to continue American 
[sic] on down the road to national socialism." 9 In a cam- 
paign speech at Guernsey, Wyoming, Simpson portrayed 
Nazism and Communism as equally abhorrent and men- 
acing while affirming that, "there is no place for them 
or for their foreign teachings in America." 10 

Revelations in Washington, D.C., provided Simpson 
with substantiation for his campaign rhetoric. Texas 
Senator Martin Dies had launched committee hearings 
on May 26, 1938, aimed at investigating subversive 
organizations. Dies cautioned in the committee's final 
report on January 3, 1940, that a "fifth column movement 
might be at work to subvert American democracy." 11 Simp- 
son cited Dies' findings when he told a meeting of 
Cheyenne labor leaders, "that vital offices of the national 
government are packed with communists and other fifth 
columnists." Furthermore, Simpson reported that the Dies 
Committee had "shown that there are more than 700 peo- 
ple in the employ of the government who are out-and- 
out Communists. . .[in addition to] at least 300,000 
dangerous fifth columnists. . . " 12 

After his defeat in 1940, Simpson threw his energies 
into his new position on the Board of Trustees of the 
University. In 1943 his colleagues elected him President. 15 
Simpson "marked a change in [the] trustees' attitude," 
according to Ralph McWhinnie, University of Wyoming 
Registrar at the time: "Milward went out and began to 
ask questions . . . but when he came back here [to the 
campus] he was looking for a place to find out what was 
going on. He used to come to my office . . . and he fre- 


quently was on the telephone — "What about this? What 
about that?' "" 

Simpson's spirited board leadership put him in a posi- 
tion to exert considerable influence over the university's 
new President, George Duke Humphrey, 15 who assumed 
the post in 1945 after extensive experience in Mississippi's 
educational system. Humphrey received his undergraduate 
education from State Teachers College, later renamed the 
University of Southern Mississippi, and at Blue Mountain 
College from which he received his B.A. degree in 1929. 
He went on to earn his M.A. degree from the University 
of Chicago in 1931 and his Ph.D. degree from Ohio State 
University in 1939. At the same time he worked as public 
school principal and then superintendent in the Mississippi 
public school system. In addition, he held the presidency 
of Mississippi State College at Jackson from 1934 until 
1945. 16 

Humphrey followed Simpson's and the board's direc- 
tion for a textbook investigation 17 and on November 12 
announced the selection of a seven-man review commit- 
tee under the chairmanship of Dean R. R. Hamilton of 
the law school. 18 Hamilton requested on November 25 that 
department heads submit a list of textbooks required of 
students in their department's classes. 19 

Meanwhile, faculty reacted to the board's resolution. 
On November 19, the Wyoming chapter of the American 
Association of University Professors, headed by Ruth 
Campbell and urged by Fred Nussbaum, 20 adopted by a 
vote of twenty-two to three a resolution which expressed 
concern for the integrity of the profession and the welfare 
of the university, and asked the trustees to reconsider their 
action. 21 The faculty, sparked by the AAUP, voted (123:24) 
at its regular meeting on December 9, to request a hear- 
ing before the Board in order to express their opposition 
to the investigation. The faculty elected a committee of 

fifteen, 22 to be chaired by T A. Larson, 23 head of the 
History Department, and charged this group with stating 
the faculty's position. 

Larson 24 urged a hearing for the committee of fifteen 
in letters to Humphrey and Simpson. 25 In anticipation 
of such a hearing, the committee of fifteen met on 
December 18 and subdivided into five committees to 
prepare reports on academic freedom, the undesirability 
of the examination of textbooks, the future effects of a 
textbook probe and course of action for the committee, 
the danger posed to the university by such a probe, and 
the rights and responsibilities of the faculty. The primary 
objective of the committee of fifteen was to get the board 
to rescind its action although it recognized, "the difficulty 
of presenting its case firmly without offending the board 
and making it impossible for the board to save face in 
a reversal or notification of its action." 26 Failing this objec- 
tive, the committee of fifteen hoped the board would 
clarify the terms "subversive" and "un-American." 
Moreover, and second only to the board's ending the inves- 
tigation, the committee hoped to compel the board to 
accept a statement affirming the principles of academic 
freedom as policy for the University of Wyoming. 

However, inflammatory press statements by both sides 
complicated negotiations. The first public reaction to the 
textbook investigation was an October 27 editorial by Ernie 
Linford in the Laramie Re publican- Boomerang, ironically 
one of several newspapers owned by U.W board Vice Presi- 
dent, Tracy C. McCraken of Cheyenne. Linford observed 
that while the board action was "not essentially dangerous 
in itself it could lead to horrendous things." He also stressed 
the need for protecting the university as a "free market 
of ideas." 27 This editorial was the first in a series challeng- 
ing the need for a textbook examination. As the dispute 
grew more heated, the series appeared under the byline 

Board of Trustees President Milward Simpson. 

Tracy McCraken, Vice President of the Board of Trustees, 
also statewide newspaper publisher and Democratic Party 
National Committeeman from 1942-1960. 


"One Man's Opinion." McCraken asked Linford to sub- 
mit his editorials for review. Linford balked and apparently 
began looking for another job because within a year he 
took a position with the Salt Lake Tribune. 28 

As the storm brewed, the student body joined in the 
academic freedom argument. Student editor Richard 
Redburn asserted in the Branding Iron that there was no 
basis for an examination of books and declared that the 
result would "embarrass a group of respected and respon- 
sible faculty members." 29 Redburn, a 23 year-old navy 
veteran, quoted an editorial from the University of Col- 
orado student newspaper, the Silver and Gold, which said 
that "purging the books is equivalent to closing the door 
of the market place," to which Redburn added, "It also 
is equivalent to losing the doorknob." 30 The student senate, 
headed by Glen R. Daniel, questioned the purpose of the 
textbook examination and asked for a definition of the 
terms being applied by the board to suspected texts. 
Similar resolutions emanated from Mortar Board, women's 
honorary, the Associated Independent Students and the 
University Veterans Club. 31 A clandestine student publica- 
tion called Common Sense made a brief appearance as 
well. It evidently reflected the sentiments of a vocal 
minority of the student body because on January 14, 1948, 
it reported widespread apathy among students. Yet, on 
[anuary 20, 1948, it claimed that "most students are deeply 
concerned, some of us are actually 'hot' about it." 32 

Conversely, an equally assertive defense of the board 
surfaced. The Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and cen- 
tral labor union boards passed resolutions backing the 
trustees. Moreover, the Wyoming Eagle (Cheyenne 
newspaper), owned and edited by board vice-president 
McCraken, 33 mounted a spirited defense. McCraken stated 
in an editorial of November 21, 1947, that the "freedom 
to write, preach, publish, read and think does not include 
the right to teach subversive doctrines in tax-supported 
public schools. An increasing number of persons, however, 
thinks [sic] it does. They call it academic freedom." Fur- 
thermore, he warned that purveyors of communistic 
theories had "wormed their way into textbook publishing 
houses," and that "it should be possible to check them on 
the classroom level." 34 

The Wyoming controversy splashed onto the national 
level at Christmastime. Fred L. Nussbaum alerted Thur- 
man Arnold, New Deal lawyer from Wyoming in 
Washington, who prompted Stephen White of the New 
York Herald-Tribune to investigate the controversy. 35 
Among other things, White quoted Simpson, McCraken 
and Cunningham (the only trustees available for inter- 
views during the holidays) as favoring annual textbook 
reviews as "a precautionary measure." Eventually stories 
about the U.W. investigation appeared in the Christian 
Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, Des Moines Register & 
Tribune, Chicago Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and closer 
to home Denver papers. 

In fact, the Denver papers sided with the trustees. 

George Duke Humphrey as depicted by artist Tom Ketron. 

Bruce Gustin, a Denver Post columnist, asked why the 
faculty objected to a book probe since it was no reflec- 
tion on the faculty. And he observed further that rumored 
resignations by faculty members seemed "far-fetched." 
Under the heading, "Are Textbooks Sacrosanct? We Don't 
Think So," the Post observed that "We have no doubt that 
what the trustees want to know is whether any particular 
social system is being advocated in classrooms under the 
guise of teaching. The answer probably is 'no' and should 
be arrived at early." 36 

Unguarded statements by participants on both sides 
inflamed opinion, as Ernie Linford indicated under the 
title "Bonfire Becomes a Conflagration." 37 Board member 
Dr. P. M. Cunningham sniped, "All this bunk about 
academic freedom doesn't impress me, ... If there were 
communists on the campus — and I don't believe there 
are — academic freedom is exactly the cry they would 
be raising." 38 Simpson affirmed before the Lander Rotary 
Club that he was responsible for the textbook investiga- 
tion. Moreover, he fixed blame for the unwarranted reac- 
tion to the probe on the Civil Liberties League, which 
charged the trustees with a breach of academic freedom 
in calling for an investigation. He asked, "What's it all 
about? I say that when there's so much fear and hullabaloo 
about an investigation of our textbooks, it's time we get 
busy." 39 

On the other side, Professor Gale W. McGee charged 
that, "it was a gratuitous insult to the social science staff 
to imply they are not competent to select their own text- 
books. Also, the trustees are aiding and abetting a national 
pattern of hysteria." 40 McGee occupied a difficult posi- 
tion due to his being the only member of the committee 
of fifteen without tenure. He discovered several years later 


that steps had been taken to acquire detrimental evidence, 
if needed, to remove him: "There were students in my 
classes . . . whose tuition had been paid by members of 
the board to report on my lectures, my class lectures." He 
learned of this, "when three of those students . . . sepa- 
rately came to me and told me about it . . . and what 
they had to do was hand in a report to one member of 
the board, not the president, but an officer. . . ." 41 And 
Larson revealed that these tactics almost resulted in 
McGee's losing his job at a special meeting of the board 
held at Sheridan during the controversy. 42 

The publicity generated by the controversy increased 
apprehension and suspicion among townspeople. Retired 
realtor H. H. Roach affirmed his support for the textbook 
investigation, but he warned, "it shouldn't be done by 
other professors. It would be the easiest thing in the world 
to gloss over anything they might find. The job should 
be done by lawyers and people like that here in the com- 
munity." Roach said his suspicions found confirmation 
during the controversy. "There's no doubt there has been 
some radicalism here at the university. The university kids 
where I park my car — I wouldn't know about it if I hadn't 
happened to talk to them — say the country can borrow 
its way out of debt, and they talk the darnedest mixture 
of Communism and Socialism you ever heard." 43 

Even though subtle pressures had come to bear behind 
the scenes, the Wyoming State Tribune declared in a 
United Press release that a straw poll in the city revealed 
unanimous support for the board. 44 The Denver Post 
reported on January 13, that five professors threatened 
resignation "unless the Trustees agree to keep their hands 
off the textbooks." The Post reported further that "The 
professor who disclosed resignation plans of the five said 
he considered the trustees had 'turned against the 
faculty.' " 45 R. E. Conwell of Economics and Sociology con- 
firmed this revelation in a letter to President Humphrey 
on January 20, 1948, warning of a rumored student strike 
in support of the faculty. A student opinion poll, in the 
form of a petition later submitted to Humphrey, counted 
261 opposed to the investigation with only fourteen in sup- 
port and four with no opinion. Conwell further suggested 
that if an amicable resolution was not found, some faculty 
members might "look around" for other opportunities. 46 

An initiative for a compromise that would extricate 
both sides from polemical positions originated with 
unlikely sources none other than Dr. P. M. Cun- 

ningham, and Tracy McCraken who had been labeled by 
the Des Moines Tribune on December 31, 1947, as "one 
of the fire-eaters for the investigations. " 47 McCraken wrote 
a letter on January 8, 1948, to Dr. E. S. Wengert, head 
of the Political Science Department and one of the com- 
mittee of fifteen, calling for a luncheon or dinner meeting 
with himself and Dr. Cunningham representing the board 
and Wengert and Larson representing the faculty. 
McCraken wrote, "I feel . . . that both of you are the kind 
who would make every consistent effort to reach a meeting 


of minds. . . ." 48 Wengert replied on January 10, "We are 
earnestly committed to discovering a mutually agreeable 
course of action by which the outside would particularly 
know that the University of Wyoming is devoted to the 
principles of free inquiry." 49 

Larson, like McCraken, expressed his desire for calm 
deliberation when he made his January 8, request to meet 
with the board. On behalf of the faculty, Larson assured 
Simpson and the board that "We do not question the legal 
authority of the board to order the investigation." Larson 
hoped that a faculty committee and the board could "sit 
down together and discuss in a friendly way how the best 
interests of the university may be served." 50 The board 
relented and set January 24, for a hearing date. McCraken 
worried that the lopsided composition of the two groups 
might put the board at a disadvantage. Therefore, he pro- 
posed equal representation for both sides. Even then, 
McCraken feared that a large, public hearing had the 
potential to degenerate into a brawl. His proposed 
Cheyenne meeting of two from each side met his expec- 
tations for moderation. 51 

The informal meeting McCraken desired took place 
on January 20, at the Plains Hotel, Cheyenne. 52 In effect, 
the decision reached provided that there would be no fur- 
ther textbook investigations and the board would accept 
the faculty statement on academic freedom. On the same 
day Simpson and Humphrey released the report of the 
special trustees' committee to examine social science text- 
books. Simpson declared, "I am indeed happy that the 
committee has found nothing in any social science text- 
book used at the LIniversity which is subversive or un- 
American." 53 After an extended discussion on the subjec- 
tivity of the terms "un-American" and "subversive," the 
trustees' committee arrived at "no comprehensive or 
precise definition of the terms," 54 and they charged the 
teacher "to lead his students ... to point out the bias, 
if any, of the author and to call to his student's attention 
any fallacies which may appear therein." 55 The trustees' 
committee concluded after examining the 65 textbooks 
in question that "Our examination failed to reveal any 
material in any book examined which, in the opinion of 
the committee, falls under the denomination of subver- 
sive or un-American." 56 

The trustees' committee's haste and lack of awareness 
of a national campaign being fostered against certain text- 
books caused it to overlook certain books targeted by the 
would-be censors. 57 A barrage of pamphlets had reached 
Humphrey and the board. 58 The cover of one striking 
pamphlet asked, "How Red is the Little Red Schoolhouse?" 
Another, News and Views edited by George Washington 
Robnett, borrowed an illustration from the September, 
1940, issue of The American Legion "magazine" with the 
banner headline, "Treason in our Textbooks." This pam- 
phlet, the editor declared, hoped to awaken its readers 
to "a radical type of 'liberalism' that has the same goal 
as Communism which is spreading among educators which 

is openly espoused under the license of academic 
freedom. . . ."The rest of the pamphlet discussed the "lit- 
tle digs here and there at our established order — and 
the little boosts here and there for Marxian collectivism," 
hidden in textbooks. 59 

More specifically, News and Views and many other 
pamphlets zeroed in on the books of Professor Harold 
Rugg of Teachers College, Columbia University. Rugg had 
endeavored to write a series of textbooks portraying 
American society with an assessment of both strengths and 
weaknesses. For this reason, his books headed the list of 
objectional books. 60 Some of the anti-Rugg pamphlets 
found audiences with President Humphrey and the Board 
of Trustees. 61 Ironically, Humphrey later donated two of 
Rugg's books to the U.W. library. 62 But more important, 
Harold Rugg's and Louise Kineger's The Building of 
America appeared on the list of books used by the Univer- 
sity Elementary School. 63 

One group called "The Sons of the American Revolu- 
tion" agitated for textbook examinations such as the one 
underway at U.W. , after having won a legislative investiga- 
tion of instructional materials in California. President of 
the Missouri Society of the Sons of the American Revolu- 
tion, John W. Giesecke, sent inflammatory pamphlets to 
Humphrey and the Board of Trustees and requested 
information on the University of Wyoming textbook inves- 
tigation to add to his own compilation of cases so he might 
agitate for a national investigation. 64 

The board and Humphrey released the findings of 
the review committee despite faculty and public protests. 
Tension among the faculty was revealed the day before 
the textbook controversy was publicly resolved. J. Howard 
Craven, Assistant Professor of Economics, presented the 
committee of fifteen with a petition calling on them "to 
urge strongly upon the Board of Trustees the necessity of 
rescinding their action in relation to current and future 
textbook examination." 65 One hundred and three faculty 
members — exclusive of deans, the trustees' committee 
and the committee of fifteen — signed the petition out 
of 163 approached. Craven divided those who did not sign 
into five groups: Those who believed in the need for board 
retraction, but who would not sign; those who expressed 
confidence in the committee of fifteen to put forward the 
faculty position without further faculty interference; a 
third group motivated by fear; a fourth group declined 
without comment, or on the basis of "personal reasons" 
or "friend of certain Trustees" or "ignorance of the mat- 
ter"; and finally a considerable number of those who 
disagree entirely with the faculty position, a few, 
"violently." 66 

Nevertheless, the proposed January 24, meeting 
between board and committee of fifteen took place. In 
the prepared statement of the committee of fifteen read 
by Larson before the board, he stated that "Mutual con- 
fidence . . . assures a satisfactory solution to the problem 
before us." Further, he affirmed the insulation of the cam- 

pus from radical doctrines. "I grant that sometime, 
somewhere, a trusted teacher may go haywire. He might 
even join the Communist party, although in this western 
country we would hardly know how to go about it ... . 
As you know, we have no leftist organization on campus." 67 

After a brief meeting with the faculty spokesmen, the 
board issued a statement acknowledging the fundamen- 
tals of the faculty committee's position and the declara- 
tion of principles of the American Association of Univer- 
sity Professors on academic freedom. Moreover, the board 
agreed, textbooks would be selected by the educators in 
the traditional way, with the qualification, "except upon 
extraordinary circumstances now unforeseen." If any 
further investigation was considered necessary the step 
would be taken only "after conferring with the president, 
deans and department heads concerned." 68 The faculty 
accepted the statement of the board as "definitive and 
creditable." 69 

The resolution of the textbook investigation did fall 
short of the expectations of a number of faculty members 
as indicated by an observation Craven made to Larson 
and the committee of fifteen on January 22. Craven 
believed that "the Faculty of the University of Wyoming 
is less desirous of having you [the committee of fifteen] 
obtain a meeting of minds per se, than of having you 
obtain a meeting of minds to the effect that the Board's 
textbook investigation order of October 24, 1947, should 
and shall be rescinded." 70 And yet the larger part of the 
faculty emerged from the textbook controversy believing 
they had gained in power and prestige. At least there was 
no further public challenge to their cry for academic 
freedom from the board. Marshall Jones, Associate Pro- 
fessor of Sociology, and Gale McGee later concluded that 
the faculty "came of age," displaying new camaraderie and 
cohesion as a result of the controversy. 71 Jones wrote to 
Hillier that, "I believe that we have actually lost little or 
nothing." In fact, Jones observed, "we have gained a pretty 
fair settlement of academic rights and responsibilities in 
full as far as the faculty is concerned plus some approach 
to an understanding of faculty rights and responsibilities 
by the Board." 72 In a February 5 letter to Humphrey, Jones 
embellished his assessment, adding greater faculty poten- 
tial in policy formation, increased communication 
between faculty and board and greater democracy on 
campus as outcomes of the controversy. 73 

The faculty and many outside observers concluded 
that the board's acceptance of the statement on academic 
freedom reflected a faculty triumph. One commentator. 
Dr. Alfred Crofts of Denver University, arrived at this con- 
clusion in a February 2, broadcast, sponsored by the Social 
Science Foundation of the University of Denver, over KOA 
Radio. Crofts focused on academic freedom as the primary 
issue. In reaction, Humphrey wrote to Crofts after the 
broadcast listing seven mistakes or misrepresentations 
made by Crofts, and furthermore, Humphrey wrote indig- 
nantly, "The broadcast took the viewpoint of the faculty 


that the textbook investigation was an infringement upon 
Academic Freedom." 74 

For Humphrey and most of the board, other issues 
outweighed the preoccupation with academic freedom. 
The board never retreated from its stand by rescinding 
the order for the investigation. In fact, Humphrey released 
a statement on behalf of the board on January 26, which 
asserted that, "the board wishes firmly to reiterate its stand 
that it will not suffer or tolerate subversive teachings or 
practices within the University. This great institution has 
not been and will not be allowed to become a breeding 
ground for insidious un-American propaganda." 75 

The subsequent involvement of Simpson and Hum- 
phrey in the anti-communist crusade attested to their 
undiminished commitment. Simpson's concern over the 
possible subversive threat to America through education 
remained strong. He presided at the Association of Gov- 
erning Boards of State Universities and Allied Institutions 
in 1951, and told the 75 members attending the meeting 
at Texas A&M that "a subversive element in the United 
States was trying to undermine the youth of the land and 
catch adults in its fold." 76 The other trustees avoided public 
attention on the anti-communism issue, with the excep- 
tion of Governor Lester C. Hunt, ex-officio member of 
the board: He had not been at the October 24-25, 1947, 
meeting calling for an investigation, and remained aloof 
during the controversy making no comment when queried 
by the press. Later, however, his stand against Sen. Joseph 
McCarthy distinguished him. 77 

Although many observers viewed him as neutral dur- 
ing the textbook controversy, Humphrey probably sym- 
pathized with the Board of Trustees as illustrated in his 
subsequent support of censorship activities. For example, 
he enthusiastically recommended The Educational 
Reviewer to William Robertson Coe, potential benefac- 
tor to the University. 78 This publication, edited by Lucille 
Cardin Crain, began publication on July 15, 1949, with 
a critical review by Edna Lonigan of Frank Abbott 
MagTuder's American Government. After incorrectly 
quoting and interpreting Magruder's writing she judged 
it subversive of the free enterprise system. 79 Apparently 
Humphrey was unaware that the University High School 
used Magruder's text. 80 Be that as it may, Humphrey 
requested a copy of the Reviewer from Crain and praised 
it in a subsequent letter saying, "I think they [the reviews] 
are fair and unprejudiced and give a fine analysis of the 
books considered. I believe your publication has a definite 
contribution to make to education in America." 81 Crain 
apparently printed Humphrey's laudatory comments caus- 
ing him "considerable embarrassment." 82 Humphrey had 
entered the anti-communist crusade, but he did not want 
his cause to be public if he could help it. 83 

In private, Humphrey developed his relationship with 
Coe, another vocal anti-communist. Coe and Humphrey 
met through an introduction by Simpson. Coe's philosophy 
and his long time residence in Cody naturally acquainted 


William Robertson Coe. 

him with the town's most prominent resident, Simpson 
When Coe proposed to give the State Historical Depart 
ment a small part of his collection in late 1947, Simpsor 
assured him that "it would have better care and atten 
tion and be more conspicuously exhibited at the Univer 
sity of Wyoming." 84 Thus, Simpson introduced Coe to the 
university and to Humphrey. Realizing the possible benefit: 
of Coe's friendship with the university, Humphrey carefulh 
cultivated Coe's confidence. The campaign began in ear 
nest with an honorary degree for Coe, conferred upon hin 
in absentia in 1948. 85 Thereafter Humphrey endeavorec 
to prove to Coe that they were ideological compatriots 
The Humphrey/Coe exchange of anti-communist 
anti-subversive and free enterprise information providec 
the basis for an association that would pay big dividend; 
for the University of Wyoming. Humphrey hoped to nar 
row Coe's interest in Wyoming generally to the university 
specifically. Coe's interest in the state dated from 1910 
when he purchased Colonel Cody's (Buffalo Bill) rancl 
near Cody. Coe became an enthusiast of Western Amer 
icana, collecting books, maps, manuscripts, pictures anc 
objets d'art which he donated to Yale University — the 
nucleus of the Yale Collection in Western Americana. 
Acknowledging Coe's largess, Yale University librariar 
James T. Babb said in 1954 that, "Mr. Coe believes thai 
the best method, for dealing with the insidious and creep 
ing influence of communism, socialism and totalitarianisrr 
and to preserve our system of free enterprise, particular!) 

so in our institutions of higher learnings, is to stress the 
teaching of America and the principles which have made 
it so great." 86 

In furtherance of his aim, Coe suggested that Hum- 
phrey consider joining the Freedoms Foundation, 
"chartered for the purpose of expounding to the people 
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights." 87 Coe recom- 
mended Humphrey to Kenneth Wells, the Executive Vice 
President of Freedoms Foundation, who invited Humphrey 
to be on the national board of directors. 88 Humphrey also 
worked with Simpson on the Crusade For Freedom, 
organized in 1949 by a group of private citizens "deter- 
mined that communism shall be stopped and freedom 
saved." 89 

Coe had no trouble finding a sympathetic audience 
in Humphrey. A little more than a year after the Wyo- 
ming textbook investigation, Coe sent Humphrey a copy 
of the pamphlet titled, "How Red is the Little Red School- 
house?" with the observation, "To my mind this insidious 
and creeping influence of Communism in our educational 
institutions, and particularly with the young, is one of the 
great dangers to our country." 90 Humphrey replied, "I 
shudder to think of the movements that are developing 
in our country today against our type of government," 91 
Humphrey added, sure that it would please Coe, that the 
University of Wyoming Board of Trustees had recently 
passed "a regulation that the University shall not employ 
or continue to employ any person who advocates the over- 
throw of the United States Government or who belongs 
to any organization which advocates the overthrow of the 
United States Government." 92 In conclusion, Humphrey 
alluded to the controversy at the University of Washington, 
where faculty members accused of being communists lost 
their jobs, as an example of what must be guarded against 

Dr. T. A. Larson, 
U. of W. History Department Head. 

at Wyoming. 93 On November 26, 1949, Humphrey fur- 
ther observed, "The incident at the University of 
Washington last year, resulting in the Communists being 
expelled from the University, has, however, had a* tonic 
effect on higher education and has caused us to re-examine 
our ideals and objectives." 94 

Pressing for Coe's involvement, Humphrey met per- 
sonally with him twice in 1949. The first meeting occurred 
in late March at Phoenix, Arizona, and developed their 
mutual understanding. The second took place on Decem- 
ber 11 and 12 at the Taft Hotel in New York City. After 
this meeting, Humphrey telegraphed Simpson in Cody, 
"Conference, Coe, very satisfactory. Told me would help 
us substantially but did not say how or when. It will take 
time, but he is very interested in university. It may or may 
not be a library." 95 At the same time, Humphrey embarked 
the university on an American Studies Program of its own, 
with a five year plan. 96 Humphrey requested a copy of 
Yale's American Studies Program from Coe and appointed 
a committee to rework the plan for Wyoming. He met 
with Coe in early 1950 to discuss funding for the 
program. 97 

Coe optimistically believed the state would aid such 
a program. He observed to Humphrey that "with a 
Republican Legislature and a Republican Governor I 
should think a presentation of the problem of teaching 
America' without any political influences, there would be 
some likelihood of the State rendering assistance." 98 Hum- 
phrey informed Coe in August that he proposed to pre- 
sent the American Studies Program to the 1951 
legislature. 99 

Eventually, the University of Wyoming developed an 
American Studies Program. Humphrey's and Simpson's 
ground work with Coe in the late 1940s and early 1950s 
succeeded. Coe donated some 700 items to the library in 
1952, and after his death on March 14, 1956, his estate 
provided $1,800,000 for the construction of a library with 
$750,000 to be provided by the state agency. 100 

Anti- communism in Wyoming functioned as a baro- 
meter for gauging tensions within the state. During the 
1940 senatorial campaign, Simpson adopted the issue with 
mixed results. He lost the election, but found many sym- 
pathetic listeners. After World War II, a succession of 
external and internal challenges produced a climate of 
opinion, in America and Wyoming, more conducive to 
warnings of communist subversion. The suggestion of com- 
munist subversion, both at the meeting of Governing 
Boards of State Universities and Allied Institutions in Ann 
Arbor, Michigan, and in pamphlets pointing to subver- 
sive and un-American textbooks, sanctioned the anti- 
communist stance at the University of Wyoming. 

The faculty of the university and members of the press, 
however, obstructed the efforts of Simpson, the board and 
Humphrey, by interjecting the academic freedom issue. 
The historian of the communist issue at the University 
of Washington. Jane Sanders, defines academic freedom 


"as the right of teachers, researchers and students to an 
atmosphere in which they may freely investigate and 
discuss whatever it is they are interested in, an atmosphere 
conducive to disinterested scholarship and characterized 
by a lack of inhibiting pressures or restraints from col- 
leagues, the administration, the state, or other outside 
agents." 101 The faculty at the University of Wyoming won 
acceptance of the principle with the board, but Simpson 
and Humphrey continued to involve themselves in anti- 
communist movements such as the ones calling for text- 
book investigations. In fact, Simpson and Humphrey used 
these ideas to show the University of Wyoming's great 
benefactor, William Robertson Coe, that they sought com- 
plementary goals. 

1. Ernest H. Linford, "The Winter They Read the Books," in Ralph 
McWhinnie, ed., Those Good Years At Wyoming U (Casper, 
Wyoming: Prairie Publishing Company, 1965), pp. 176-180; 
Wilson O. Clough, A History of the University of Wyoming (1965), 
pp. 262-267. 

2. Robert W. Iverson, The Communists and The Schools (New York: 
Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1959). 

3. Office of the President, General Files [hereafter OPGF], Minutes 
of the Board of Trustees, October 24-25, 1947, p. 10. 

4. Wyoming State fournal (Lander), January 15, 1948; Humphrey 
tQ Simpson, September 8, 1947, OPGF. 

5. The Wyoming Board of Trustees noted with satisfaction later that 
Wyoming Complied Statutes 1945 (Chapter 67, Article 14, Sec- 
tions 1406-1410 inclusive) required instruction in the essentials of 
National and State constitutional government, "including the 
study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals . . . ." 
The campaign against subversive or un-American doctrines in 
textbooks increased in intensity in the 1940s, after two decades 
of development. Beginning in the early 1920s, after the Red Scare, 
the Hearst operated Herald Examiner in Chicago led a spirited 
campaign against subversive texts. In a similar vein, Illinois 
utilities magnate Samuel Insull investigated texts in use in the 
Illinois schools in the early 1920s to purge volumes critical of the 
utilities. Similar textbook studies followed in Missouri, New York, 
Pennsylvania. New Jersey, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Texas, 
Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan. Washington and Califor- 
nia. Jack Nelson and Gene Roberts, Jr., The Censors and the 
Schools (Boston, Massachusetts: Little Brown and Company, 
1963), pp. 32-33, 38-39; Cedric Belfrage, The American Inquisi- 
tion, 1945-1960 (Indianapolis, Indiana: The Bobbs-Merrill Com- 
pany, Inc., 1973). 

6. Simpson brought an extensive Wyoming background to the board, 
rich in the history of the state. His maternal grandfather, Finn 
Burnett, originally came to Wyoming as a participant in the 
Powder River campaign against the Dakota Sioux and Cheyenne 
Indians in 1865. His paternal grandfather, John Simpson, and 
his father journeyed to Wyoming in 1885 and established the first 
store and post office in the Jackson area. Milward's father, 
William, taught himself law while working as a cow puncher and 
practiced law for 50 years on the Wind River Indian Reserva- 
tion, and at Lander, Meeteetse and Cody. Milward was born on 
November 12, 1897, at Jackson, Wyoming. Marjorie Dent Canbee, 
ed., Current Biography 1957 Yearbook (New York: The H. W. 
Wilson Company, 1957), pp. 510-512; Wyoming State Tribune, 

March 16, 1943; "Milward L. Simpson: Wyoming's 'Fiery Petrel' 
is Still Afire," Empire Magazine of The Denver Post, October 31, 
1976, pp. 30-39. 

7. Canbee, Current Biography, pp. 510-512. 

8. Carl Latham, The Communist Conspiracy in Washington: From 
the New Deal to McCarthy (New York: Atheneum, 1969), pp. 

9. Rock Springs Miner, November 1, 1940. 

10. Laramie Republican Boomerang, October 21, 1940. 

11. Martin Dies wrote in his memoirs that his beliefs stemmed from 
the conviction that the United States had taken a wrong turn in 
1933 in recognizing the USSR. 

12. T, A. Larson, History of Wyoming, Second Edition (Lincoln, 
Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 451. 

13. Laramie Daily Bulletin, March 20, 1943. Remarkably little politics 
reported on board, Rawlins Republican Bulletin, June 21, 1945. 

14. Interview with Ralph H. McWhinnie by author, Deborah Hardy 
and Steven Schulte, October 14, 1982. Simpson files in the OPGF 
bulge with correspondence whereas those of other trustees are vir- 
tually empty. 

15. Humphrey had made a favorable impression on President James 
Lewis Morrill during their committee work on the Association 
of Land Grant Colleges and Universities. Morrill wrote of Hum- 
phrey in this press release announcing Humphrey's appointment: 
"I have been closely associated with him on two committees — 
and have been impressed with his good judgment and common 
sense, his thoroughness, his constructive philosophy, and his 
enjoyable sense of humor." OPGF, [Press Release on G. D. Hum- 
phrey Becoming President of U.W.]. President James Lewis Mor- 
rill apprised Humphrey that his position was open. Morrill wrote 
to Humphrey on January 27, 1945, that, "Without knowing 
whether you would be at all interested and being aware of your 
very deep commitment to the South and your place of leader- 
ship there, I still ventured to suggest to our Board of Trustees at 
its meeting on January 15th that you might well be considered 
for the Presidency here." Morrill to Humphrey, January 27, 1945, 

16. John F. Ohles, Biographical Dictionary of American Educators, 
vol. 2 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1978), pp. 
680-81. Humphrey was born on August 30, 1897, at Dumas, 
Mississippi, and died on September 10, 1973, at Laramie, Wyo- 
ming. National Cyclopedia of American Biography, vol. 1: 
1953-1959 (New York: James T White and Company, 1960), pp. 
398-399. For a laudatory portrayal, see M. C. Wood, "The Suc- 
cess Story of Wyoming U. ," Coronet (July, 1953): pp. 144-147. 

17. It is T A. Larson's opinion that Humphrey should have headed 
off the investigation. Interview with T. A. Larson, November 28, 

18. Humphrey to Hamilton, et. al.. November 12, 1942, OPGF. The 
other members of the committee to review the textbooks: Floyd 
Clarke, head of the zoology and pre-medical programs; R. D. 
Goodrich, Dean of Engineering; J. A. Hill, Dean of Agriculture; 
M. C. Mundell of the business college (later dean); W. C. Reusser 
of adult education (later dean); and L. L. Smith, Associate Dean 
of Liberal Arts. 

19. Hamilton to Larson, Wengert, Sanford and Burwell, November 
25, 1947, Wilson O. Clough, MSS, American Heritage Center, 

20. Phi Beta Kappa Meeting, November 24, 1975, "The Textbook 
Investigation." Tape and transcript in possession of Richard Hillier. 

21. Ruth Campbell. President AAUP and R. H. Denniston, secretary- 
treasurer to G. D. Humphrey, November 24, 1947, OPGF. This 
meeting transpired on November 19, 1947. 

22. Members of the committee: Richard L. Hillier, english, secretary; 
Wilson O. Clough, english; John Goodman, education; Ruth 
Hudson, english; Marshall Jones, economics and sociology; Gale 


W. McGee, history; H. T. Northern, botany; F. L. Nussbaum, 
history; Lillian Portenier, psychology; W. G. Solheim, botany; 
H. D. Thomas, geology; FrankJ. Trelease, law; and E. S. Wengert, 
political science. 

23. William R. Steckel, "T. A. Larson: A Tribute," in Roger Daniels 
ed., Essays in Western History in Honor of Professor T. A. Lar- 
son (Laramie, Wyoming: University of Wyoming Publications, 
1971), pp. vii-xi. 

24. Larson received his A.B. in 1932, and M.A. in 1933, from the 
University of Colorado. He earned his Ph.D. from the University 
of Illinois in 1937, and did post-doctoral study at the University 
of London, 1937-1938. He joined the faculty of the University of 
Wyoming in 1936 and served as head of the department from 

25. Larson to Simpson, January 8, 1948, OPGF An attached unsigned 
note reads, "This letter, as I see it. is an attempt to put the Trustees 
on the defensive. I think a simple acknowledgement of the letter 
and a statement that the Trustee's will be glad to have the writ- 
ten statement will be sufficient." 

26. Minutes of First Committee of Fifteen Meeting, December 18. 

1947, in the Senate Room of the Wyoming Student Union, by 
Richard Hillier, Secretary, 5 pp. mimeographed, Larson Personal 

27. Republican Boomerang, October 27, 1947. 

28. High Country News, February 6, 1981; interview with Richard 
Hillier, October 22, 1982 (side B, p. 2). Harrassment occurred 
on the campus, as well. Anonymous letters posted on bulletin 
boards warned that university employed students involving 
themselves in the controversy might find it difficult to retain 
employment with the university. Murray Carroll to author at 
discussion following May 10, 1983, Laramie Westerners presen- 
tation, "Influences in the Wyoming Textbook Probe of 1948." 

29. Denver Post, January 16, 1948. 

SO. Ibid.; Letter to author from Redburn, July 27, 1983. 

31. Glenn R. Daniel to president and Board of Trustees, January 15, 

1948, OPGF; Linford, "The Winter," p. 279. 

32. Common Sense, January 14, 20, 1948. Richard Hillier observed 
that the publication. Common Sense, heartened the faculty. Inter- 
view with Richard Hillier, October 22, 1982 (side B, p. 5). 

33. Tracy S. McCraken graduated from the University of Wyoming 
in 1917. He then served as a lieutenant in the infantry during 
World War I. Returning to Laramie in 1919, he worked successively 
as reporter, city editor, editor and editor-manager of the Laramie 
Boomerang. In 1923, he moved to Casper to serve as secretary 
for United States Sen. John B. Kendrick. He returned to Cheyenne 
in 1926 and purchased the Eagle. He took over the Wyoming State 
Tribune in 1937. Who's Who in the West (Chicago, Illinois: The 
A. N. Marquies Company, 1953), p. 425; Wyoming Eagle, 
December 27, 1960. 

34. Wyoming Eagle, November 21. 1947; Staff Writer Richard Dud- 
man's interview of McCraken in the Denver Post, January 12, 13, 

35. Interview with Richard Hillier, October 22, 1982. White tele- 
phoned Humphrey on the morning of December 23 for a state- 
ment. Humphrey gave him a chronological summary which 
formed the basis for all of his later statements. OPGF. "Statement 
by the President of the University of Wyoming Concerning the 
Investigation of Social Science Textbooks," December 26, 1947. 
Simpson urged this course "knowing the proclivity of the papers 
to distort and color things with their yellow journalism, . . ."Simp- 
son also argued that Humphrey should, "Say that you are sur- 
prised that Arnold has encouraged this." Simpson also quipped, 
"We will not cowtow [sic] to a bunch of crack-pots who want to 
make this a publicity stunt and make a mountain out of a 
molehill." OPGF. "Telephone conversation with Milward Simp- 
son," December 23, 1947. 

36. Denver Post, December 31, 1947. 

37. Republican Boomerang, January 12, 1948. 

38. New York Herald Tribune, December 25. 1947. 

39. Wyoming State Journal (Lander), January 15, 1948. 

40. Denver Post, January 13, 1948. This reference to "insult" angered 
some board members who took umbrage at their actions being 
so interpreted. Phi Beta Kappa, p. 15. The issue of "academic 
freedom" and Dr. Cunningham's observation that communists 
rallied to just such a cry, provoked indignant public response. For 
example, Jack Chambers of Cheyenne wrote to Humphrey on Jan - 
uary 20, 1948, that, "Evidently Dr. Cunningham was endeavor- 
ing to smear all those faculty members using the term academic 
freedom,' and at the same time, was hoping to mislead the public 
into thinking that anyone else using the above phrase, was either 
a dirty 'red' or a 'fellow- traveler.' Moreover, Chambers went on, 
"It seems that several members of the Board of Trustees deem 
themselves better qualified to judge the fitness of certain textbooks 
than are the various faculty members who use those very same 
tools of their trade — textbooks. 

"I also wonder if Dr. Cunningham would be willing to allow 
a professor of social science to dictate the particular kind of tool 
to be used in doing all types of dental work; or would Atty. Simp- 
son likewise be willing to let this same professor choose at ran- 
dom, the kind of law book Mr. Simpson must use as h^s guide 
in conducting a certain type of case before a court of justice; and 
furthermore, just how do you suppose Editor Tracy McCraken 
would react if this same nosy professor insisted on 'purging' some 
of Editor McCraken's snappy little political editorials on the 
grounds they were 'subversive' of present day Republicanism and 
might eventually cause some politically weak-kneed member of 
the Republican Party to repudiate 'the party lineLa-nd become 
a New Deal Democrat — and eventually even non-professors 
would all agree was much too horrible for the tender simple 
(almost wrote "simple-minded") mind of the average politician 
to contemplate "Jack Chambers to G. D. Humphrey, January 19, 
1948, OPGF; "Textbook Investigation," carbon copy, Larson Per 
sonal File. 

41. Interview with Gale McGee by Deborah Hardy, May, 1983, p. 10; 
Phi Beta Kappa meeting, November 24, 1975, p. 15; Interview 
with Larson, November 28, 1982, p. 5. Hillier recalled that McGee 
often said, "I made it possible for him to be elected to the senate 
because if he had ever said what he thought on that particular 
occasion he never would have got enough votes to be elected to 
the Senate." Interview with Richard Hillier, October 22, 1982, 
pp. 4-5. Hillier and McGee relate how Hillier sat next to McGee 
at the face-to-face meeting with the board on January 24, with 
Hillier restraining McGee from making provocative replies to 
board member statements. Two usable sketches of McGee's early 
years: Charles Moritz ed.. Current Biography Yearbook (New 
York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1961), pp. 281-283; The 
National Cyclopedia, p. 346. 

42. Interview with McGee, p. 10. 

43. Denver Post, January 18, 1948. 

44. Wyoming State Tribune, January 21, 1948. 

45. "Student Opinion Poll," Textbook Reading 1947-48, OPGF. One 
applicant for a position at the university purportedly stated that 
"My political beliefs are sufficiently conservative to arouse no ques- 
tion as to my loyalty." "How An Investigation of Textbooks Injures 
the University of Wyoming," p. 4, Larson Personal File. 

46.Conwell to Humphrey, January 20, 1948, OPGF; Denver Post, 
January 13, 1948. 

47. Des Moines Tribune, December 31, 1947; OPGF; Casper Star 
Tribune, October 18, 1981, for McCraken's purported affront to 
students at the university with his comment that, "we do not want 
boys and girls in their formative years, who tend to believe 
anything that they read in textbooks, to be exposed to insinua- 


tions." Veterans, especially, resented the idea that they could not 
make judgments for themselves. Murray Carroll to author, 
Laramie Westerners presentation. 

48. McCraken to Wengert, January 8, 1948. "Textbook Investigation," 
Larson Personal File. In interview with Larson, November 28, 
1982, Larson believed that the initiative for a compromise had 
to come from a board member. Larson expressed that he feared 
the consequences of continued agitation over the textbook issue. 
He wrote to Alice Keldsen who had requested a statement of facts 
on the textbook probe, for the Office of Alumni Relations, on 
January 16, 1948, that if the issue was not resolved, "the prospect 
is a dreary one: there will probably be resignations, replacements 
will be hard to find, students will demonstrate, the University will 
be censored by professional organizations, State support will 
waiver, and incalculable damage will be done to the University." 
Larson to Alice Keldsen, January 16, 1948, "Textbook Investiga- 
tion," carbon copy, Larson Personal File. Her request for infor- 
mation to Board of Directors of the Alumni Association. 

49. Wengert to McCraken, January 10, 1948. 

50. Larson to Simpson, January 8, 1948, Larson Personal File. 

51. McCraken to Humphrey, January 6, 1948, McCraken mss., OPGF. 

52. Both Cunningham and McCraken served as president of the Plains 
Hotel Company; Thomas S. Chamberlin, ed., The Historical 
Encyclopedia of Wyoming, vol. 1 (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Published 
by the Wyoming Historical Institute, 1910), p. 250. 

53. Larson, Committee's Textbook Reading, OPGF. 

54. Ibid., p. 2. 

55. Ibid., p. 2. 

56. Ibid., p. 3. Hamilton explained to Humphrey that "all the 
members of the committee did not examine all the books involved. 
Neither were all the books read from 'cover to cover.' " Hamilton 
to Humphrey, January 21, 1948, OPGF. 

57. The Review Committee met for the fourth time on January 15 
and hastily reworked the reading assignments to meet a January 
24 deadline and accommodate the board. "Unapproved Minutes 
of the Special Textbooks Examining Committee," pp. 1, 15, 48, 

58. A portion of the pamphlets received by Humphrey and the Board 
contained racial and anti-Semitic slurs. This kind of pamphlet 
material is analyzed in Leo Lowenthal and Norbert Guterman, 
Prophets of Deceit: A Study of the Techniques of the American 
Agitator (New York: Harper and Row, 1949), pp. 6, 10, 16. 30, 
32, 40, 70, 102, 137. 

59. News and Views, March 14, 1941, OPGF. A letter to the Cody 
Enterprise, February 11, 1948, by Martin N. Littleton, a promi- 
nent Cody attorney, reflected the flavor of these pamphlets, but 
more importantly, he revealed that the resolution of the contro- 
versy on the U.W. campus in no way diminished the continued 
intensity of the anti-communist rhetoric. Under the title "Reds 
on the Campus." Littleton said in part: "The Communist gets 
nowhere when he exercises his Right of Freedom of Speech 
amongst his own ungly [sic], unshorn rabble because they are 
already converts. To spread his Godless doctrine of despair and 
defeat he must sneak in under the camouflage of far loftier pur- 
poses and use the needle in a way that does not arouse the vic- 
tims suspicions as to the germs he is injecting. He must seek fer- 
tile fields than which there are none better than our Universities. 
He comes in heavily disguised and when he is discovered he sets 
up the howl about being denied his Right of Freedom of Speech. 

"The Communist is a very active and vocal termite, so when 
you hear that old familiar squawk which rings so often across our 
fair land these days about being denied the Right of Freedom 
of Speech, you may, in most cases, identify it with some red worm 
which has crawled out from under a log and is trying to compel 
someone to provide him with victims into which he can inject 
his poison." Cody Enterprise, February 14, 1948. 

60. C. A. Bowers, The Progressive Educator and the Depression: The 
Radical Years (New York: Random House, 1969), pp.195-197; 
Lawrence A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School: Pro- 
gressivism in American Education 1876-1957 (New York: Vintage 
Books, A Division of Random House, 1961), pp. 183, 233; and 
Frances FitzGerald, America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the 
Twentieth Century (New York: Vintage Books, A Division of Ran- 
dom House, 1980), pp. 36, 108, 122. 

61. MazJ. Herzberg, "Rugg, Harold," in The Reader's Encyclopedia 
of American Literature (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 
1962), p. 982; Peter F. Carbone, Jr., "Rugg, Harold Ordway," in 
Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1980). Rugg's publisher, Ginn and Co.. reported that initially 
the campaign against Rugg afforded publicity for his works which 
sold a mere 289,000 copies in 1938, but shot up to 5,500,000 
copies, in use in over 5,000 school systems in 1940. In the long 
run, however, the national pamphlet campaign pricked the 
ballooned sales of Rugg's books. By 1944 sales had plummeted 
to 21,000 copies. 

62. Harold Rugg, Changing Civilizations in the Modern World: A 
Textbook in World Geography with Historical Backgrounds 
(Boston, Massachusetts: Ginn and Company, 1930); and Harold 
Rugg, American Life and the School Curriculum: Next Steps 
Toward Schools of Living (Boston, Massachusetts: Ginn and Com- 
pany, 1936). 

63. Hamilton to Humphrey, January 21, 1948, OPGF. See list attached 
to letter. 

64. Nelson and Roberts, The Censors, pp. 45-49. An alumnus, Russell 
F. Estes (M.A. , Wyoming), wrote to Humphrey on March 6, 1948, 
calling attention to an attached clipping: "Sons of American 
Revolution Forced L. A. Schools to Ban Building of America 
'Subversive.' " This pressure to scrutinize textbooks came too late 
for the public debate in Wyoming, but would have a sympathetic 
audience among many Wyomingites. Educational Reviewer, Vol. 
1, No. 1 [July 15, 1949] Lucille Cardin Crain to Humphrey, 
September 20, 1949, OPGF. Humphrey sent the Missouri Society 
of the Sons of the American Revolution a "chronological sum- 
mary of Development and conclusion." Humphrey to John W. 
Giesecke, February 12, 1948. [Outside correspondence]. 

65. Larson Personal File. In interview with Larson, November 28, 
1982, Larson refers to this petition as a wasted effort. 

66. To committee of fifteen, January 22, 1948. Designated the "Op- 
posing Twenty-Four," Larson Personal File. 

67. Introductory statement of Larson, chairman of the committee 
of fifteen, delivered before the board of trustees, January 23, 1948, 
Larson Personal File, OPGF. 

68. Report of president of board of trustees, January 24, 1948. [Faculty 

69. "Textbook Investigation," OPGF. 

70. Craven to committee of fifteen, January 22, 1948, Larson Per- 
sonal File. Hillier reflected that many of the faculty members who 
did not support the committee of fifteen during the controversy 
changed their views with the passage of time. Interview with 
Hillier, October 22, 1982 [Side B, p. 9]. 

71. Marshall E. Jones to Hillier, January 27, 1948, "Textbook Investiga- 
tion," Hillier Personal File. 

72. Phi Beta Kappa meeting, November 24, 1975. "Textbook 
Investigation," tape and transcript in possession of Hillier, pp. 1, 
20. Also, interview with McGee by Hardy, p. 1; Paul Crissman, 
Professor of Philosophy; R. E. Conwell, head of Economics and 
Sociology wrote to Humphrey expressing their pleasure in the out- 
come. Crissman to Humphrey, January 26, 1948; Conwell to Hum- 
phrey, January 27, 1948, OPGF. 

73. Jones to Humphrey, February 5, 1948 [Outside Correspondence], 

74. Crofts to board of trustees, January 16, 1948. Humphrey did not 


hear the broadcast but received a transcript from Glenn J. Jacoby. 
Jacoby to Humphrey, February 13. 1948; Humphrey to Crofts. 
February 19, 1948; Crofts to Humphreys [sic], March 8, 1948, 

75. Office of the President, "To Members of the Instructional Staff." 
January 26, 1948, OPGF. 

76. Cody Enterprise, October 18, 1951. Simpson continued to suspect 
that communism had seeped into the university. He wrote to Hum- 
phrey on April 11 that editorials in the Branding Iron of April 
7, critical of the board's procedures with the allocation of building 
funds, "are all scurrilous and an indication that if not a com- 
munistic trend, there is certainly a Pink trend on the editorial 
staff." Simpson to Humphrey, April 11, 1949. 

77. Rick Ewig, "McCarthy Era Politics: The Ordeal of Senator Lester 
Hunt," Annals of Wyoming 55 (Spring, 1983), pp. 9-21. 

78. Coe followed Humphrey's suggestion. Coe to Humphrey, October 
6, 1949. "Humphrey in the middle again." Interview with Hillier. 
October 22, 1982, p. 9. 

79. Nelson and Roberts, The Censors, pp. 40-44. 

80. Hamilton to Humphrey, January 21, 1947, OPGF See list attached 
to letter. 

81. Humphrey to Mrs. Kenneth C. Crain. September 26, 1949, OPGF. 

82. Humphrey to Crain, December 19, 1949, OPGF. Humphrey's 
interest in anti-communist literature emerges from OPGF. For 
instance, he made note of bulk rates for such publications as 
"Counter-Action" (A monthly bulletin presenting all the real facts 
about communism — its objectives, methods, techniques and cur- 
rent party line strategy; the true meaning and consequences of 
communism and just how it would affect you). "Communism." 
1948-1949. In addition, he ordered ten reprints of the article, "The 
Reds Are After Your Child." by Henry D. Gideouse. The American 
Magazine (July, 1948) pp. 19, 129-30, 132-134. 

83. Before the controversy was resolved, Dr. A. J. Allegretti, a 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, M.D. , wrote to Humphrey on January 22 
that, "There is no question that textbooks over the country con- 
tain subversive comments and that this is an insidious and con- 
certed attempt to indoctrinate our youth. . . ." Humphrey replied, 
"I quite agree with your point of view." Allegretti to Humphrey, 
January 22, 1948; Humphrey to Allegretti, February 2, 1948. 
Humphrey, nevertheless, made general public statements about 
communism during the crisis of the Korean War years. For 
example, he admonished new students to the university in 1950 
to, "Find out all you can about Communism, the greatest threat 
to our way of life, so that you will be prepared to combat its 
influence wherever you find it." Riverton Review, September 21, 

84. Simpson to Humphrey, December 22, 1947, OPGF. 

85. Humphrey and Simpson conferred the Doctor of Laws Degree 
on Coe, in person, at a small ceremony at Coe's home at Plant- 
ing Fields, Oyster Bay, Long Island, in November 1948. Simp- 
son to Coe, October 28, 1948; Coe to Humphrey, November 4, 
1948; Coe to Humphrey, March 24, 1949, OPGF. 

86. Archibald Hanna, "Collectors and Collections of Western 
Americana," in Reader's Encylopedia of the American West (New 
York: James T White and Company, 1946), p. 358; Mary C. 
Withington (compiler) A Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Col- 
lection of Western Americana Founded by William Robertson Coe 
Yale University Library (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale Univer- 
sity Press, 1952); James T. Rabb, William Robertson Coe and His 
Library of Western Americana, An Address Given Before the 
University of Wyoming Library Associates, July 23, 1954, p. 6. 
Coe termed the present the "Socialistic Millenium." He added, 
"I venture the opinion that the best method of dealing with the 
insidious and creeping influence of Communism, particularly in 

our institutions of learning, is to stress the teaching of America 
and the principles which have made it so great." "Coe Remarks 
at Yale Dinner," attached to Coe to Humphrey, April 26, 1949. 

87. Coe to Humphrey, May 27, 1949. "Coe. W.R.," OPGF. 

88. Coe to Humphrey, September 23, 1949. "Freedom's Foundation" 
1950-51; Kenneth Dale Wells to Humphrey, September 26, 1949; 
Humphrey to Wells, October 3, 1949. 

89. "Crusade For Freedom." Press release, January 18, 1951, OPGF. 
Humphrey served as state chairman and Simpson organized the 
Cody area. Lucius D. Clay, National Chairman, to Humphrey, 
December 13, 1950; Humphrey to Don F. Martin, October 20, 
1950. Humphrey resigned as state chairman due to the work 
involved on April 24, 1952. Humphrey to Harold B. Miller, Presi- 
dent, Crusade for Freedom. 

90. Coe to Humphrey, April 26, 1949, OPGF. The statement. "The 
little red school house is redder than you think" had been 
attributed to Simpson prior to the textbook investigation, sug- 
gesting that he may have been influenced by this pamphlet before 
Humphrey and the board received it on December 31, 1947. Lar- 
son refers to the statement in: interview with Larson, November 
28, 1982; interview with Hillier, October 22, 1982 [Part A, p. 9]; 
Phi Beta Kappa meeting, November 24, 1975 [Tape and transcript 
in possession of Hillier, p. 14]. Coe expressed these comments at 
a Yale dinner on April 20. 1949. Coe to Humphrey, April 20, 
1949. Remarks attached to letter. 

91. Humphrey to Coe [cc to Simpson], May 3. 1949, OPGF. 

92. Humphrey to Coe. Coe responded, "I am glad to read of the 
regulation recently adopted by your Board of Trustees. The Com- 
munists and such always try to influence the minds of the young." 
Coe to Humphrey, May 27, 1949, OPGF. 

93. Jane Sanders, Cold War on the Campus: Academic Freedom at 
the University of Washington, 1946-64 (Seattle, Washington: 
University of Washington Press, 1979). 

94. Humphrey to Coe, November 26, 1949. Humphrey got his infor- 
mation from "The University of Washington Record," Vol. 1, No. 
5, February, 1949, in OPGF, "Communism," 1948-1949; and AAUP 
Chapter Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 1, February, 1949, "The Tenure 
Cases At the University of Washington, 1948-1949." 

95. Western Union Telegram to Simpson from Humphrey, n.d.; 
Meeting set. Humphrey to Coe, December 5, 1949, OPGF. 

96. Humphrey to Coe, January 5, 1950. The adoption of the American 
Studies Program did not always go as smoothly as Humphrey 
planned. For example, Larson, who served on the committee to 
rework the Yale program for Wyoming, wrote to Humphrey on 
March 2, 1950, that the committee balked when it "came to 
endorsing slogans with political overtones, many of them strik- 
ingly similar to Republican Party slogans in an election year." Lar- 
son to Humphrey, March 2, 1950, OPGF. 

97. The meeting occurred at Coe's Phoenix. Arizona, retreat at the 
Castle Hotel. Coe to Humphrey, February 22, 1950. 

98. Coe to Humphrey, April 18, 1950. 

99. Humphrey to Coe, August 21, 1950. 

100. Emmett D. Chisum, "Notes On The Development of the Univer- 
sity of Wyoming Libraries and Special Collections," Annals of 
Wyoming 54 (Spring, 1982), pp. 30-31. Simpson, elected Gover- 
nor of Wyoming in 1954, praised his generosity in his "Message 
Delivered to the Thirty-Third Session. Wyoming Legislature" in 
1955. "The simple and most effective process of combating Com- 
munism and Fascism in the teaching of what is right with 
America, as evidenced by its historic past, . . . Mr. Coe's gift is 
being used in various ways to build up the role of one University 
in American Studies. . . .". p. 11. 

101. Sanders, Cold War, p. vi. 


William Jennings Bryan 

The Great Commoner 
in Carbon County 


William Jennings Bryan's Visits to 
Saratoga and the Encampment Valley 

by Gay Day Alcorn 

William Jennings Bryan's visits to the Saratoga and 
Encampment Valley in 1901 and again in 1904, caused 
a furor of excitement which was long remembered by local 
Democrats and Republicans. Twice a candidate for Presi- 
dent of the United States of America and twice defeated 
by William McKinley, Bryan was even so the virtually 
undisputed leader of the Democratic party. At the zenith 
of his political career, he was considered a powerful and 
dramatic figure in American politics. From 1896 until his 
death in 1925, Bryan's influence was evident. Some even 
compared him to Henry Clay and James G. Blaine. 

Valley citizens were delighted to have a nationally 
known personality come to their portion of the state 
although they usually voted Republican. In 1901, Bryan 
was the guest of Dr. John E. Osborne for ten days of fishing 
in the valley. Osborne was a member of the Democratic 
National Committee, had been Governor of Wyoming 
from 1893 to 1895, and Wyoming's Congressman in 
Washington, D.C. from 1897 until 1899. He was also a 
prominent Rawlins doctor and considered one of Carbon 
County's largest sheep ranchers. 

A speaking engagement was arranged in Saratoga at 
the Jensen Opera House 1 for the "Boy Orator of the Platte," 
who talked before a packed house for an hour. He spoke 
on issues of his last campaign, and while Republicans 
hoped his speech would be nonpartisan, they were happy 
to have the opportunity to hear him anyway. Following 
the talk, the hall was cleared for dancing and almost 
everyone had a chance to shake hands with the famous 
man. 2 

In 1904, Platte Valley people were interested to learn 
William Jennings Bryan planned to bring his family, 
private secretary and physician to the region for a couple 
of weeks vacation. The Saratoga Sun announced that 
Bryan had been in poor health for some time and was 
looking for "rest and pleasure." 3 When the entourage 
arrived in the area people learned Dr. Osborne was act- 
ing as personal physician to Bryan. Osborne could not 
have timed the visit better, because he was engaged in a 
second campaign for Governor of Wyoming that fall 
against Bryant B. Brooks. The Democratic gubernatorial 
candidate was happy to receive the support and friend- 
ship of the most prestigious man in his party. 

The vacation began with a burst of fanfare when the 
group reached Saratoga. Mayor Charles P. Clemmons put 
his Rochester Heights home, regarded as the most elab- 
orate in town, at the disposal of Bryan and Osborne, and 
the banquets and receptions began. Clemmons, a staunch 
Democrat, was an attorney and a leading mining entre- 
preneur who prided himself on successfully negotiating 
the million dollar sale of the famed Ferris- Haggarty mine 
above Encampment. Clemmons' charming young wife, 
Mayme, was the eldest daughter of the I. C. Millers of 
Rawlins, one of the most prominent families in the county. 

First there was the large but informal reception at the 
Clemmons residence on Monday evening. The Ladies 
Guild of the Episcopal Church also chose that night for 
their social at the rectory. 4 Bryan and Osborne excused 
themselves from the Clemmons reception long enough to 
go to the Episcopal soiree where there were many people 
to greet them. They both made short speeches and the 
event was regarded as a tremendous success. 

Tuesday found the Bryan and Osborne party ready 
for some sport. The famous orator had been putting on 
some weight but looked well nevertheless. He dressed for 
the out-of-doors in a light corduroy suit and a wide 
brimmed slouch hat. The men set off on a fishing excur- 
sion on the Platte River north of Saratoga at the Pick 
Bridge. One of the community's foremost fishermen, 
George (Baldy) Sisson was selected to guide the trip. When 
they reached their destination, Bryan took up a position 
on the bridge and Sisson went downstream. After a pre- 
scribed length of time, Sisson came back to the bridge. 
"The Great Commoner," as he was also called, had nothing 
to show for his time, but the local fisherman had a great 
mess of fish. The politician could not understand this 
disparity of fortune. Sisson, who was regarded as a local 
wit said, "I thought you just wanted to go fishing, I didn't 
realize you wanted to catch fish." 5 

The party did not have much better luck duck hunt- 
ing than they did fishing until they happened onto the 
ranch of Louis G. Davis, south of town. 6 Here they 
"bagged" some of Davis' tame ducks. Rumors ran rife that 
Davis, a prominent Republican, was not happy to have 
his ducks shot regardless of who was among the hunting 


The Saratoga residence of Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Clemmons. 

The Bryans and Osborne were guests for dinner and 
the night at the ranch home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry 
Kuykendali, also south of Saratoga. Kuykendall was the 
son of Wyoming's influential pioneer, Judge William L. 
Kuykendall. The old family were likewise owners of the 
large H Bar Ranch. 7 Georgia Kuykendall was also a 
daughter of the I. C. Millers, and a sister of Mrs. 

The next night the Saratoga Eastern Star had the 
statesman lined up for a "little banquet." Knowing how 
their guest liked to eat, they provided their best recipes 
at the Masonic Lodge which was well decorated with red, 
white and blue swags. Again, both men made short 
speeches and everyone reminded themselves that the object 
of Bryan's visit was for a rest. 8 

The thriving mining town of Encampment was the 
site of Thursday's activities for the group including Bryan, 
his wife, Osborne, Saratoga's Mayor Clemmons and Bryan's 
secretary Mr. Harrison. The whirlwind tour began when 
they arrived at two in the afternoon and a large dinner 
was prepared for them at the Bohn Hotel. As soon as they 
finished eating, the men rushed to city hall where 
Encampment's Mayor William M. Englehart called the 
meeting to order. Dr. Osborne gave a brief talk and then 
Bryan began his address. There was great applause and 
a number of nearby dogs began to bark. When quiet was 
again restored, Bryan said the meeting was obviously a 
"howling success." He went on telling that President 
Roosevelt was a good fellow, but underneath he was warlike 
in nature. The orator took serious exception to the Presi- 
dent's recent statement to the West Point cadets that a 

soldier should be ready and anxious to fight. He taunted 
that a fireman might as well be in a hurry for a fire to 
start, or an undertaker anxious for a death. In concluding, 
he said his gospel of peace was greater than his love of 
gold and silver. 9 Later, an informal reception was given 
at the Bohn Hotel for Mrs. Bryan by the ladies of Encamp- 
ment. Following this the group toured the Encampment 
smelter and headed back to Saratoga. 

Democrats and Republicans were both invited to Fri- 
day evening speeches at the Jensen Opera House. The 
packed building rocked with applause for the two men 
even though it was estimated the audience was two-thirds 
Republican. Mayor Clemmons again introduced the 
speakers. Osborne said he was a somewhat unwilling can- 
didate for governor and had nothing personal against the 
Honorable B. B. Brooks. He went on to say he really cared 
nothing for the position. Mark Crawford, the Republican 
editor of the Saratoga Sun added, "anyway he says he 
doesn't." 10 

Crawford hurried to point out, "the political 
barometer [here] remains about the same." He had other 
barbs regarding Bryan's speech on imperialism, noting 
". . . it was plain to be seen that the man who is wedded 
to silver is still in error on the subject of imperialism also. 
. . . The result of the past four years would hardly war- 
rant a thinking man in following Mr. Bryan now." 11 

A lively dance followed the speeches, and despite 
Crawford's opinions, "thinking people" were pleased to 
meet Bryan. 

When Bryan visited the valley in 1901, he expressed 
a desire to see the headwaters of the North Platte River, 


because he was known throughout the nation as the "Boy 
Orator of the Platte." He was taken farther south on a 
fishing excursion through the fertile Brush Creek area, 
where he received a warm welcome. The local school 
children and their teacher, Miss Georgie Bailey, stood 
beside the road clapping and cheering "Hurrah for Bryan," 
as the party went past. 12 At the lovely Tilton Ranch home, 
they were invited to return for a longer stay at their earliest 
convenience. On this first fishing trip Bryan found the 
reason for his nickname, he laughingly said, "It was 
because of the wide expanse of mouth." 13 

Bryan and Osborne accepted the Tilton's offer of a 
return visit for the second half of the 1904 trip. With the 
first week's appearances and obligations out of the way, 
the little group was free to head up the river to rest and 
relax at the Tilton Ranch. Early Saturday morning, six- 
teen-year-old Cecil Ryan, was sent out from Saratoga on 
a fast horse to Tiltons with word the famous guests were 
on the road and would be arriving shortly. 

William E. Tilton was a wealthy rancher from Mass- 
achusetts with a sizeable spread. His cattle were run under 
the well known T up and T down brand. 14 He was a 
Republican yet to be elected to public office, but he had 
been a member of the returning board which seated 
Osborne in the Wyoming governor's chair in 1893. This 
act did not make Tilton popular with fellow Republicans 
but Osborne felt kindly toward him. Ellen Judd Tilton, 
his wife, was the social arbitrator of the community for 
a number of years. She came to the valley from an old 
New England family and was very well educated. Her 
home was considered one of the nicest, 15 and Tilton's table 
was usually covered with many elaborate dishes made from 
recipes which Ellen brought from the East. 

Bryan and Osborne spent the week hunting and fish- 
ing on the Platte River and on Brush Creek. The orator 
even took time out to plant a flag pole and put up a white 
flag on top of Bennett's Peak, a neighborhood landmark. 16 

The three Bryan children also had a chance to relax 
and a time to enjoy life in Wyoming's great ranching 
country. Their eldest daughter, nineteen-year-old Ruth, 
accompanied the family even though the year before she 
had married against her parents' wishes to William Homer 
Leavitt, a portrait painter. Unlike her thirteen-year-old 
sister Grace, who was a frail and quiet person, Ruth was 
a sports enthusiast with an exuberant nature. Ruth and 
her fifteen-year-old brother, Williams Jennings Bryan, Jr., 
joined the local young people and rode horseback 
throughout the area. 17 


Charles P. Clemmons (top), Saratogas staunchly 
Democratic Mayor, played host to Bryan. John E. 
Osborne (bottom), Rawlins physician, sheep man, 
former Governor and Congressman, also served 
as Bryan's host. 



^^^^^UpC^ ■ 



mW MUM i 




v -^..y 


Helen Jv 

<i<i Tilton 

Friends and neighbors of Tilton's were all welcome 
to stop by and meet the famed Democrats. A community 
picnic was also held at Frank Sterrett's Ranch and everyone 
had a second chance to get together and talk with the 
visitors. The barbecue was good but the flies and mos- 
quitos were fierce. 18 All in all, this week in the country 
was a very pleasant interlude for the renowned guests. 

Despite the campaign help Osborne received from the 
"Boy Orator of the Platte," a few weeks later he was 
defeated in his race for a second term as Governor of 
Wyoming, by B. B. Brooks. 

In years to come Brush Creek residents forgot all about 
Osborne's political defeats, and Bryan's third unsuccessful 
try for President of the United States in 1908, when he 
labored in vain to beat William Howard Taft. Neither did 
they recall the early days of President Woodrow Wilson's 
first administration when William Jennings Bryan was 
appointed Secretary of State, and Osborne was appointed 
his first assistant. 

What people did remember, was Bryan the staunch 
Presbyterian, who neither smoked, drank, chewed nor 
swore, allowing his daughter Ruth, to ride horseback all 
over the area wearing pants. It was a perfect scandal! 

1. The Jensen Opera House was built in 1900 by Gustave Jensen in 
the 100 block of West Main Street, next door to the Masonic 
Lodge. Later, it was moved to a new location, 110 West Bridge 
Street, where it is known as the Range Theatre. 

2. The Saratoga Sun, September 15, 1904. 

3. Ibid. 

4. The Episcopal rectory built in 1890. on the corner of Main and 
First Streets is still used for its original purpose. 

5. Author's interview of the late Joseph Tichenor, in Saratoga in 1977. 
Mr Tichenor was a member of the fishing party that day. 





6. The Louis G. Davis Ranch is now a portion of the Lazy 1 
Ranches, Inc., owned by Charles W. Mcllvaine. 

7. Kuykendall's H Bar Ranch is better known today as the Mill 
Ranch owned by Nicholas Petry. 

8. The Saratoga Sun, September 22, 1904. The Masonic Lodg< 
located on a corner of Main and First Streets is still used a 
Masonic Lodge. The structure was enrolled in the Nat 
Register of Historic Places in 1978. 
Grand Encampment Herald, September 23, 1904. 
The Saratoga Sun, September 29. 1904. 

Author's interview of Robert D. Young, at the Young Ranc 
Brush Creek, in 1977. The Brush Creek School District Nui 
22, was located at the Charles C. Young Ranch. Robert Yo 
the son of Charles, was one of the students during this ti 
Saratoga Sun, August 27, 1901. 

The Tilton Ranch has been owned for many years by Joh 
Rouse, a leading authority and author of three books on v 
cattle and one on Spanish cattle in the Americas. (All are 
lished by University of Oklahoma Press. ) The ranch is know 
day as the One Bar Eleven Ranch. 

Charles E. Winter, Grandon of Sierra (New York: J. J. Little 
Ives Co., 1907), pp 120-123. Winter's thinly disguised account 
an excellent picture of the ranch home. He said, "No more p 
ant quarters could be imagined." 

This old flag pole can still be seen at the Grand Encampi 
Museum in Encampment, Wyoming. 

Leavitt was much older than his wife Ruth. He later aband 
her and their children to study art in Paris, and in 1909 they 
divorced. Ruth successfully supported herself and her fami 
a woman of letters being a writer, lecturer, speech instructoi 
Congresswoman. She served as Minister to Denmark from 
to 1936 and she was married two other times. When Ruth 
in 1957 she was buried in Copenhagen. 
Author's interview of Mary Ridding Morgan, in Denver, Coloi 
in 1980. The Sterrett Ranch is best known today as the B 
Creek Ranch, and it has been owned for many years by Mrs. I 
R. Caldwell. 



by Robert G. Rosenberg 


Driving across the magnificent Snowy Range road, hiking or fishing 
along the trails and streams of the Medicine Bow National Forest, 
today's visitor may be unaware of the colorful era of the railroad tie 
industry and of the rugged life of the tie hack in these mountains less 
than a half century ago. The tie industry left few physical remnants; 
it did not change the face of the mountains. However, traces of both 
the industry and its men still exist for those who will take the time 
and effort to seek out the old, weathered, v-notched cabins, silted-in 
splash dams, or rotting stacks of unshipped, handhewn ties. Even these 
few signs gradually are being reclaimed by the forest. 

The Medicine Bow region of Wyoming was the center of the hand- 
hewn railroad tie industry from 1867 to 1940. Construction of the 
transcontinental railroad through the heart of the region in 1867 and 
1868 was the catalyst for this development. Had Chief Engineer Gren- 
ville Dodge and the Union Pacific Railroad Company chosen a route 
north or south of the area, the pattern for development of the Medicine 
Bow region would have been drastically altered. ' 

For this study, the Medicine Bow region is defined as those por- 
tions of the Laramie and Medicine Bow Ranges bordering the Laramie 
Plains in southeastern Wyoming. The Sierra Madre Range, paralleling 
the Medicine Bow Range to the west, also was utilized in the railroad 
tie industry. These three ranges are now included in the Medicine Bow 
National Forest of Wyoming. 

By 1867, the basic components of a great industry were united 
in what is now southeastern Wyoming. Large stands of lodgepole pine 
in the Medicine Bow area adjacent to the right-of-way of the Union 
Pacific were the first significant timber reserves encountered after cross- 
ing the treeless plains to the east. The region also contained a large 
number of "driveable" streams and rivers down which the hewn ties 
could be transported from remote areas to the railroad mainline. 

Not only were the railroad crossties cut in this region for the Union 
Pacific during its initial building phase, but an enduring industry 
developed based on the need for periodic tie replacement along the 
line. The "tie hack," with his broadax and brawn, was the key figure 
in this industry. He hewed ties from the native stands of lodgepole 
pine and delivered the finished product to market by means of the 
now-legendary tie drives. This tie industry and accompanying unique 
way of life persisted until 1940, when the Union Pacific Railroad no 
longer accepted handhewn, river driven ties. The tie industry in the 
Medicine Bow region, its great timber companies, the tie hacks, and 
the regulating role of the United States Forest Service contribute to 
the story of one of Wyoming's most colorful eras. 

Pioneers in the Medicine Bow Tie Industry 

One of the most basic components of railroad con- 
struction is the wooden crosstie. Tie hacks (men who cut 
crossties), pike poles, pickaroons, broadaxes, thick forests 
of lodgepole pines and ice-choked mountain streams com- 
prised the elements of the railroad tie industry era. The 
tie industry in the Medicine Bow region began with the 
construction of the first transcontinental railroad, and was 
shaped by the pioneer timber companies and their rela- 
tionship to the Union Pacific Railroad in the late 19th 
and early 20th centuries. 

As early as March and April, 1867, the Laramie 
Mountains were ". . . swarming with hundreds of men 
engaged in cutting and hauling ties." 2 The Union Pacific 
Railroad reached the site of present-day Cheyenne, Wyo- 
ming, on November 13, 1867, but the severe winter 
prevented construction progress for more than a few miles 
beyond that point. However, railroad tie and cord wood 
cutting continued unabated in the Laramie Mountains 
(first known as the Black Hills). Newspapers in Cheyenne 
and Denver constantly advertised for more laborers. At 
least three companies, Gilman and Carter, Paxton and 
Turner, and Sprague, Davis and Company, contracted with 
the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867 to cut ties in this region 
prior to continued construction the following spring. 3 

A major consideration of the tie industry throughout 
its history involved efficient transportation of the ties. Dur- 
ing the earliest operations in the Laramie Range, ties were 
hauled and skidded to the railroad right-of-way by teams 
of oxen and horses. Robert Chambers had told tie con- 
tractors about timber stands in the Chambers Lake vicinity 
in northern Colorado, and explained that ties could be 
hauled to the headwaters of the Laramie River and driven, 
or floated to the railroad on the Laramie Plains. Crews 
were sent into the area and established a camp on the 
shore of the lake. Ties were cut, skidded and banked along 
the Laramie River to await the spring thaw. This 1868 
drive may have been the first significant tie drive in the 
Medicine Bow region and, indeed, in the Rocky Moun- 
tain West. 4 


Although many of the first tie hacks or choppers were 
restless Civil War veterans seeking adventure on the western 
frontier, Gilman and Carter's first tie camp at Pine Bluffs 
was composed primarily of French-Canadians experienced 
in logging. 5 A great influx of Scandinavian choppers 
occurred later in the 19th century. 

Gilman and Carter's main camp was moved west from 
Pine Bluffs to a point about one mile north of Ft. Sanders 
in the fall of 1867. In June, 1868, they established a camp 
two and one-half miles north of Sherman, Wyoming, 
called Sherman Camp Station. Other tie camps were 
established south of Tie Siding and at Rock Creek and 
Medicine Bow in Wyoming, along the Union Pacific right- 
of-way. An estimated several hundred thousand ties and 
100,000 cords of firewood for steam engines were cut near 
Sherman Station and Tie Siding so that the tie contrac- 
tors, ". . . had stripped the hills and canyons for many 
miles north of Sherman and Tie Siding Stations." 6 These 
camps should not be confused with Tie City, a large tie 
camp situated near the head of Telephone Canyon, which 
was active during the early tie cutting operations. Tie City 
is now the site of the Tie City forest campground. 

The Gilman and Carter organization was composed 
of two factions: the Gilman Brothers headed by John 
Gilman; and the Carter faction, composed of the part- 
nership of Levi Carter and General Isaac Coe. Due to a 
contract dispute, the partnership was dissolved by mutual 
consent; henceforth the two companies operated separately 
as the Gilman Brothers and Coe and Carter. 7 The Coe 
and Carter company became the dominant force in the 
tie industry in Wyoming prior to 1900. 

Coe and Carter paid 35 to 65 cents and received $1.00 
to $1.30 for each tie from the Union Pacific, a handsome 
profit for that time. Ties were delivered at Sherman Sta- 
tion, Ft. Sanders, and other points along the railroad 
right-of-way. Cordwood, used as fuel for engines, was pur- 
chased at $6.00 to $8.00 per cord and sold to the railroad 
for $12.00 to $16.00 per cord. 8 

Numerous local merchants in and around the new 
town of Laramie, Wyoming, including Wilcox and Crout, 
C. H. "Charlie" Bussard, J. S. McCool, Charley Hutton, 
the Dawson Brothers and the Trabing Brothers, par- 
ticipated in the business of supplying the Union Pacific 
with ties. All of these interests participated in the large 
tie drives down the Little and Big Laramie Rivers during 
the 1870s and 1880s, and in providing cut lumber for the 
construction of the railroad town on the Laramie Plains. 9 

C. H. "Charlie" Bussard was successful in the timber 
industry during the early 1870s and was known to enlist 
emigrants passing through Laramie to work in his tie 
camps. The Laramie Daily Sentinel ran the following 
advertisement for Bussard: 

A Chance for Laborers: 

I wish to contract for the making and delivering of railroad 

ties anywhere on the line of the U. P. R.R., from the Black 

Hills to Elk Mountain, for which I will pay cash every thirty 

days. 10 

The Laramie community realized the economic bene- 
fits of the tie industry and praised Bussard's efforts in 1872: 
Charles (Bussard) is doing a good deal to develop the 
resources of this country. We suppose he will within a year's 
time convert the timber standing in the mountains into from 
75 to 100 thousand dollars. In doing this he will furnish 
employment for several hundred men, who with families, will 
become citizens among us and help to build up all branches 
of industry and trade in our midst." 

J. S. McCool centered his operations at Tie Siding, 
Wyoming, in 1874, and at Red Buttes the following year. 
Tie Siding quickly grew into a settlement with a school, 
railroad station, telegraph office and a number of dwell- 
ings. By 1876, McCool was employing 250 men and had 
produced 100,000 ties by the end of the summer. 12 

The Dawson Brothers maintained a headquarters and 
commissary near the junction of Mclntyre Creek and the 
Laramie River in Colorado in the 1870s. During the Panic 
of 1873, they suffered financial setbacks, and their opera- 
tions were temporarily taken over by Coe and Carter. 
However, 1876 newspaper accounts stated that the Dawsons 
had brought in 80,000 to 90,000 ties on the annual drive. 13 
The Trabing Brothers, mercantile dealers and 
freighters whose operations were centered in the towns of 
Medicine Bow and Laramie, Wyoming, had so many 
government contracts that, in 1877 they required 75 to 
100 teams for hauling goods. They were also involved in 
the railroad tie business, and, in 1878, brought in two 
drives which netted 42,000 ties. 14 

The Handhewn Tie 

Although over 2,500 patents have been issued for 
substitute materials, the wooden crosstie has endured. Five 
characteristics are necessary in a wooden tie: durability, 
treatability, resistance to impact, resistance to spike pull- 
ing and lateral displacement of spikes and a large and 
inexpensive supply. 15 

The Medicine Bow region of Wyoming has been 
blessed with vast stands of lodgepole pine. Although it 
is not necessarily the best wood for making crossties (oak 
is considered the best), its attributes are straight and tall 
growth, gradual taper, relatively clear bole, and ideal size 
for hewing. A tree 16 inches in diameter can yield as many 
as six crossties. 16 

The ideal lodgepole pine for ties was about 11 inches 
in diameter at breast height, allowing the hack to reach 
the required dimensions with a minimum of scoring and 
hewing while still yielding several ties. Historic 
photographs and written accounts reveal that the first ties 
for the transcontinental railroad were chopped to length 
instead of sawn. Stacks of crude chopped ties were com- 
mon finds in the woods of the Medicine Bows in the 1920s, 
and as late as the 1950s such ties were found on Elk 
Mountain. 17 An eight foot tie length became standard, 
and in the 1870s the Union Pacific required a width and 
depth of seven inches. "Specifications demanded that the 
tie have at least five inches of hewn surface on both sides." 18 


Tools of the tie hack with finished tie. 


An efficient method of tie production evolved and was 
adopted by most timber operations. Each tie hack was 
allotted his own strip of timber which was about 150 feet 
to 200 feet wide and up to one-half mile long. His first 
task was to cut an eight foot wide skid road lengthwise 
through his timber strip so that the finished ties could 
be hauled out. The tie hack, an individualist who prefer- 
red to work alone on his own strip using his own methods, 
worked both sides of the road and was responsible for drag- 
ging the finished tie to the strip road and stacking it. 19 

The tie-making process began by the tie hack felling 
a suitable tree with a one-man crosscut saw and limbing 
it with a double-bitted ax, which was also used to score 
the two opposite surfaces to be hewn. Scoring established 
the dimensions for a tie and saved time in hewing. Some 
tie hacks used a chalk line on each side to be sure of the 
dimensions, but many of the experienced hacks could "eye 
up" a tree. The entire length of the tree was usually scored 
with the tie hack working from butt to top, standing on 
the trunk as he worked. The upper portion of the tree, 
which was too small for ties, was often used for making 
mine props The double-bitted ax was then exchanged 
for the now-legendary broadax which weighed seven 
pounds, and had a ten to twelve-inch blade. The scored 
surfaces were hewn to final dimensions working along the 
grain of the wood. A finished surface hewn by a skilled 

hack would look as though it had been planed. The bark 
on the surface upon which he had been standing was then 
removed with a "spud" or "spud peeler," a long, wooden - 
handled tool with a curved blade on one end. In the 
Medicine Bow region, the peeler was often crafted by the 
camp blacksmith from the blades of discarded crosscut 
saws, and was preferred over the manufactured item. 20 

The tie hack carried an eight foot guide stick for 
measuring tie lengths. The hewn log was cut into lengths, 
and the last step involved peeling the bark from the 
previously unexposed underside of each tie. The chop- 
per dragged the finished tie to the strip road with a pick- 
aroon, a tool resembling an ax with a metal point on one 
end which was sunk into the tie, and he stacked the ties 
along the road, five high with no less than 25 ties to a 
stack. 21 

Since tie making was piece work, the tie hack strove 
for efficiency. A competent hack could make 20 to 25 ties 
per day in the Medicine Bow region. Some achieved a 
reputation for cutting 50 or more ties in a day, but such 
a pace was difficult to maintain day after day. As the 20th 
century progressed, virgin stands of timber became scarcer 
thereby reducing the efficiency of the tie hack. 22 

Tie hacks received a price per tie which tended to fluc- 
tuate significantly depending on the company, time period 
and the demand. During the rush to complete the first 


transcontinental railroad, the tie hack received 35C to 65<? 
per tie, however this price dropped after the railroad was 
completed. 23 Coe and Carter, one of the pioneer timber 
companies, paid as little as seven to eight cents per tie 
before the end of the 19th century. 24 In 1904, the Carbon 
Timber Company was paying twelve to fourteen cents per 
tie, and in 1914, fifteen cents per tie. 25 A local newspaper, 
reporting on a successful strike of the Foxpark Tie and 
Timber Workers Union in 1934, stated that they were to 
receive 25 < for a first grade tie, seventeen cents for seconds, 
and twelve cents for thirds. 26 The tie hack's wages com- 
pared favorably to other manual labor available in the 
West at that time. The hack usually constructed his own 
cabin near his strip with materials available in the forests 
as well as those provided by the company. 27 

Once the tie was made and stacked along the strip 
road, the work of the tie hauler began. The tie hauler 
owned his team of two horses and often had a third. In 
addition, he had to provide the fodder, harnesses, and 
hauling sleds. Hauling was done in the winter and spring 
months when snow covered the ground. Sixteen-foot sleds 
called go-devils, and capable of carrying 50 ties per trip 
were used. The hauler worked the strip roads which were 
inter-connected with main roads throughout the cutting 
area. Stacked ties were loaded and hauled to the landing 
banks to await the spring thaw and tie drive. In springtime, 
or whenever the roads had bare spots, a "road monkey" 
often followed the team to shovel snow under the sled run- 
ners. The tie hauler hoped to make four trips per day, 
depending on the distance from the cutting area to the 
landings. With a rate of 15C per tie and four trips of 50 
ties each, in the 1920s a hauler could make up to $30 per 
day. It would appear that the tie hauler made very good 
wages, however, he was responsible for maintaining a team 
of horses in winter in the mountains and his overhead was 
high. 28 

The Medicine Bow Tie Drives 

"Your legs would turn blue - they'd get stiff. Once in a while 
we had to build a fire up on the bank. Then wed stand there 
and jump up and down. God, you like never got the cir- 
culation going. You pretty near froze your legs off!" Andy 
Moline, tie hack and river rat. 29 

The tie drives (floating cut ties on fast-flowing streams) 
began on the smaller streams in late spring in the Medicine 
Bow region, usually in May when the snow began to melt. 
On the west side of the Medicine Bow Range, ties were 
driven down the various tributaries to Douglas Creek. A 
tie drive in 1938 by the Wyoming Timber Company serves 
to illustrate the procedure followed in that area. 30 

"Splash dams" were built near the headwaters of the 
smaller streams. As the snow began to melt, the splash 
dam could be closed at night, storing needed water to 
be released the next day, carrying ties down an otherwise 
undriveable stream. As water was released, the landings 
were broken up with pike poles and pickaroons, and the 
ties were floated downstream. The Wyoming Timber 

Tie hack at work with broadax. Note size of 
ax blade in comparison to man's head. 

Company used a large pond on the headwaters of Douglas 
Creek which was filled at night and opened in the early 
morning. The drive to the North Platte River required 
three weeks and about 40 men working ten-hour days. 
Keystone and Devil's Gate were considered the most dif- 
ficult sections along the creek, due to narrow canyons and 
steep gradients. 31 A v-shaped flume was constructed and 
used in the early 20th century at Devil's Gate to negotiate 
the canyon. A similar flume was used on Muddy Creek 
and in several other places in the Medicine Bow region. 
Chutes, such as the Sederlin Slide, were often built on steep 
hillsides in order to slide the ties down to water courses 

Tie drives were timed to take advantage of the short 
period of "high water" when the snows began to melt. 
Waiting too long could result in the stranding of ties and 
other materials for another season. The tie driver or "river 
rat" was skilled at handling ties and wading ice-cold waters 
over slick rocks. Tie-log jams occurred occasionally and 
were dangerous because of the tremendous water pressure 
which could build up. Experienced drivers scrambled atop 
the jam, attempting to dislodge key ties without being 
caught when it suddenly exploded free. A 1905 account 
in the Grand Encampment Herald describes a tie jam 
which ended in disaster: 

It was reported Monday morning that a man employed on 
the French Creek tie drive was drowned Sunday night while 
assisting his partner in breaking a jam. The ties gave way, 
both men falling in front of them in swift water. One man 
succeeded in getting back on the ties but a tie struck one 
on the head and he was washed down against a tree, where 
the ties piled upon him. . , 32 


\ ■ fe* 


lies, mine props and saw logs jammed in a drive on Douglas Creek. A jam of this magnitude could require dynamite 
to dislodge it. 

The ties had to be kept moving steadily downstream, 
avoiding rocks, islands, or any other obstruction, including 
sloughs and low spots outside the channel. Once the ties 
reached the North Platte River, they were boomed and 
held until the water receded into its natural banks. Other- 
wise, high water could carry the ties far from the chan- 
nel, where they would be stranded when the waters 

"Lead gangs" preceded the main drive in order to keep 
ties from floating into side channels, sloughs, and low 
spots, especially along the North Platte where the river 
meandered across wide meadows. These men often built 
barriers, called cribs, across channels to prevent the ties 
from floating into them. Perhaps the most difficult part 
of the drive involved carrying grounded ties back to the 
main channel across mud flats. A water-logged tie, which 
could weigh about 200 pounds, was hoisted onto the 
shoulders of two men who then slogged through hundreds 
of feet of mud to reach the main channel. 33 

The role of boats on the North Platte River drive was 
recalled by Peter Lepponen, a former tie inspector for the 
Union Pacific Railroad, when he stated that three boats 
were employed on the river north of the A Bar A Ranch 
— two bed boats and a cook boat. These boats carried 
camp supplies and could be used for crossing the river 
when necessary. The lead gangs of three or four experi- 
enced men often had their own boat, cooking outfits and 
tools. The rear guard was accompanied by as many as 

three boats one with sleeping gear, one with cooking 
gear, and one to transport men to rescue stuck ties. The 
cook and his "flunkeys" were responsible for providing the 
huge meals and for setting up the night camp. Tepee tents 
were provided for every two men. 34 

The men wore good wool clothing and the most 
expensive boots available. These had one-inch thick soles 
with driving caulks. The drivers promptly slit a hole in 
their new boots near the toe to let the water out. 35 

In addition to the dangers inherent in driving ties in 
swift water, north of the town of Saratoga, Wyoming, rat- 
tlesnakes were a constant hazard. The river rat had to look 
under and around each stranded tie before hoisting it onto 
his shoulder, lest he find a rattler sharing the ride. In one 
such incident a large rattlesnake was seen swimming away 
from a tie immediately after it had been dumped into the 
North Platte. The drivers never knew whether it had been 
swimming through the area or had been inadvertently car- 
ried a 100 yards on their shoulders. For braving the hard- 
ships and dangers of a tie drive, in the 1920s workers were 
paid 75< an hour plus meals. 36 

At Fort Steele, where the tie drive ended, the Wyo- 
ming Timber Company in 1938 amassed about 265,000 
ties which were caught by a large boom stretched across 
the North Platte River. A continuous chain with "dogs" 
or spur-like projections caught and carried the ties up a 
ramp and along a platform past the Union Pacific tie 
inspectors. These inspectors checked each tie for proper 


dimensions and condition. Laborers pulled the culls, 
which were either rejected or used on sidings where the 
traffic was light. In one instance, 500 ties were rejected 
because they had been hewn about one-quarter inch too 
thin. With such exacting standards, it is amazing that 
many tie hacks could hew a tie without using measuring 
devices or chalk lines. 37 

Ties were often pulled because they still retained outer 
bark or in many cases still had an inner layer of bark which 
made treatment with preservatives difficult. Laborers 
would peel such ties at this point and approved ties would 
be loaded directly onto railroad gondolas for shipment 
to Laramie. Four men were assigned to each car and could 
load 300 to 350 ties in about 20 minutes. 38 

The final step from tree to crosstie took place at the 
Laramie Tie Treatment Plant, where the tie was soaked 
in preservative after being scored with hundreds of small 
holes to aid in absorption. In relatively dry, cold climates, 
untreated ties may last from five to eight years, but treated 
ties will last from 20 to 30 years. Tie treatment thus lowers 
the maintenance costs of any railroad as well as conserv- 
ing timber resources. Grooves were automatically cut in 
each tie to match the plates which held each tie to the 
rail. Because the plant was partially automated, it was 
essential that the ties be precise dimensions to fit the 
equipment; thus the tie inspectors imposed exacting stan- 
dards. 39 

Portrait of the Tie Hack 

"If it hadn't been for the tie hack, there wouldn't have been 
a railroad across this country." Peter Lepponen, former tie 
inspector for the Union Pacific Railroad.* 

The tie hack was the central figure in the tie industry 
from 1867 to 1940. Rugged and individualistic, he devel- 
oped a unique way of life which evolved to meet the needs 
of the industry. The tie hack had to live close to his work 
which meant adopting a high country way of life. He had 
to contend with deep snows for at least six months of the 
year, extreme temperature fluctuations of -40 degrees or 
lower to + 40 degrees during the winter, lack of conven- 
iences and isolation. Isolation separated the tie hack from 
the mainstream of Western society and may have retarded 
cultural assimilation and kept inherited language and 
customs intact well into the 20th century. Thus, while the 
livestock industry reigned over the open plains and the 
cowboy was becoming the symbol for the territory and 
state, the lumber industry and the tie hack ruled the 
mountains with a totally different high country way of 
life. 41 

The society of the tie hack was composed of several 
disparate nationalities but had the bonds of a common 
tie-making occupation and the mountain environment. 
Starting in the 1890s, Scandinavians dominated the 
Medicine Bow tie industry. Swedes and Norwegians rep- 
resented the largest group, with Finns, Austrians, Germans 
and others in lesser numbers. 42 

High country camps were organized according to the 
needs of the railroad tie industry. Cutting areas were 
divided into "layouts" or camps of 40 to 60 men each, with 
a larger centralized company headquarters and commis- 
sary. The timber bosses decided the location of the camps 
based on the geography of the cutting area and for effi- 
ciency in cutting and removing the ties. 43 

Tie hacks built their own cabins, either near others 
in the camp area or at a distance in the surrounding 
timber. Cabins were built of peeled lodgepole pine using 
once common v-notching at the corners. The v-notched 
cabin, still found today in the Medicine Bow region may 
be characteristic of Scandinavian building traditions 
brought from northern Europe, since many of the tie hacks 
came directly to the Medicine Bow region and had no 
opportunity to learn new building techniques elsewhere 
in the United States. Many cabins exhibited handhewn 
inner walls. Building a tight cabin was easy for a man 
who made his living with double-bitted ax and broadax. 
Logs fitted closely and were chinked with moss, mud, or 
even cement, when available. Wood strips or saplings were 
sometimes nailed into place on the outside of the horizon- 
tal joints to hold the chinking materials in place. Stone 
chimneys and fireplaces were seldom built because of the 
impermanent nature of the tie camp, however, wooden 
floors were laid for additional warmth and convenience. 
An example of high country adaptation was the snow roof 
which was built on top of the existing roof to bear the 
weight of heavy winter snow, provide a dead air space for 
warmth and protect the waterproof surface below. Inside 
the cabin furnishings, such as chairs, tables and beds, often 
were hand-crafted by the occupant. Mattresses were 
stuffed with hay or evergreen boughs, woolen blankets took 
the place of sheets, and a large canvas covering on top 
of the bed provided extra warmth and counteracted 
moisture. 44 

Experiences representative of many of the Wyoming 
tie hacks are illustrated by the account of Nels A. Moline. 45 
"Andy" Moline and his family immigrated to America 
from northern Sweden in 1910 when Andy was four years 

They had a pretty comfortable living. But Dad, he was a 
wanderer — 6031, he wanted to go, and they advertised 
America, you know, where you could pick gold off of trees. 
Come to America and get rich quick. That was exactly the 
way the Swedish people pictured it. So he packed and sold 
the place, sold his cow and his horse and everything he had. 
And then, we come to America in a third class boat. Now 
I remember that and I was about four years old. I was sick 
— oh, oh was I seasick! 

John Peter Moline brought his family directly by train 
to Foxpark, Wyoming, and a tie camp run by Dan Wilt 
and Osea Nelson of the Standard Timber Company. Andy 
Moline grew up in tie camps in the Medicine Bows and 
in southwestern Wyoming on Black's Fork and North Cot- 
tonwood Creek, northwest of Big Piney. His first job was 
as a cook's flunkey on a river drive at age fourteen; he 


also worked as a road monkey. Schooling was a hit-and- 
miss proposition, gained on a seasonal basis in nearby 
communities or from occasional schools set up in the tie 

Supplies and medical help reached the camps slowly, 
via wagons or sleighs. In the winter of 1920, Moline's 
thirteen-year-old sister Christina was stricken by diph- 
theria. The nearest doctor delayed the tedious trip by 
buggy and sleigh, and she succumbed before he arrived: 
By God that doctor kept puttiri it off, puttiri it off . . . He 
couldn't come for this, he couldn't come for that reason . . 
and it was about a week, and she had diphtheria- She was 
choking! Now he could have saved her. He charged $50 and 
all he did was come up and back after she died. I thought 
to myself if I ever meet that guy, I'd wring his neck! 
Moline followed his father's footsteps and became a 
tie hauler with his own team of horses, married and raised 
a family in the tie camps of Wyoming. He was known as 
"Moose" because of his physical size and prowess and was 
highly regarded by his peers. 46 

Moline recalled the cuisine of the tie camps as mostly 
"meat and potatoes." A hack paid $1.50 per day for all 
the food he could eat. The typical breakfast consisted of 
hot cakes, eggs, bacon or ham, oatmeal and strong cof- 
fee. Most of the meat was bought from local ranchers, 
however beef was often varied with wild meat such as elk 
and mule deer shot by the tie hacks. Cabbage and car- 
rots were common, as were several different kinds of dried 
fruits, such as apples, apricots and raisins. A good camp 
cook adept at baking pies, rolls, cakes and bread on a 
wood stove was highly regarded. 47 

The tie hack was not to be denied his share of beer 
and liquor, and his resourcefulness produced great quan- 
tities of moonshine. Oskar, one Finnish cook, brewed a 
vat of whiskey from 25 pounds of prunes. Late one fall, 
Moline's camp obtained a wagon load of frozen potatoes 
from which they made potato whiskey described as 
". . . awful drinkin' stuff." The hacks also produced a 
good, heavy-bodied beer using hops, yeast, malt syrup, 
water and brown sugar. 48 

The life of the tie hack was based on hard outdoor 
labor, so that physical prowess was greatly admired. Those 
who could hew the most ties, lift the heaviest loads, and 
display the greatest agility in the tie drives became the 
heroes and leaders of the tie hack community. Games 
revolved around feats of strength — wrestling and free- 
for-all fighting or contests displaying tie-making skills. 
Love of the outdoor life led to recreational pursuits such 
as hunting and fishing, skiing, hiking and picnicking. 
Other recreation included dances, which became popular 
as more women came to the tie camps. Music was pro- 
vided by workers versatile on the violin, guitar or accor- 
dian, and their talents were in great demand. 

The Finnish contingent in each camp built steam 
baths, a tradition brought from Finland, and used them 
on a regular weekly basis. The bath was followed by a 
romp in the snow, then a quick run to the nearest wood- 
stove and hot towels for drying. The Finns were accus- 
tomed to both sexes using the facilities, but other women 
in camp shied away from the Finnish steam baths. 49 

The life described by Andy Moline was one of endless, 
hard outdoor labor with few conveniences; a life fraught 
with tragedy but also simple pleasures. The excitement 
in his voice and the gleam in his eyes when he reminisces 
conveys his love for that lost way of life, the era of the tie 
hack, not so far removed in time, but light years away 
from the lifestyle of the 1980s. 

The Coe and Carter Years 

According to Ranger John Mullison's history for the 
Forest Atlas in 1909, Coe and Carter established tie camps 
along every driveable stream on the east side of the Snowy 
Range and on Douglas and South French Creeks on the 
west side. Mullison estimated that three million ties were 
cut from Medicine Bow lodgepole pines from 1867 to 1870 
for the Union Pacific, in addition to approximately 75,000 
cords of wood. According to Mullison, indiscriminate cut- 
ting and shoddy logging practices led to numerous forest 
fires which were allowed to burn themselves out, resulting 



Tie hacks don suit and tie at the 
conclusion of the spring tie drive. 
Dating from the Prohibition era, 
this photograph proves that liquor 
was available in spite of that 
federal mandate. 


in extensive erosional damage to the watershed. 50 Once 
the initial railroad construction phase passed, prices for 
ties dropped to about 5(K for a first-class tie, and specifica- 
tions increased from six by six inches to seven by seven 
inches. Delivered cordwood prices fell to $6.50 per cord. 
When the tie industry stabilized and the day of quick and 
easy profits had passed, most small competitors were 
forced out of the business which Coe and Carter now 
dominated. The Coe and Carter company provided nearly 
all the railroad ties for Wyoming, western Nebraska and 
parts of Colorado. 51 

Coe and Carter had many diversified business inter- 
ests, including freighting, with lines to Montana and Utah; 
bringing cattle from Texas to fatten in Nebraska and on 
the Laramie Plains; and raising stock, including mules, 
horses and oxen. Their interests gradually centered on the 
markets provided by the Union Pacific Railroad. They 
sold cattle to supply meat for railroad camps, stock for 
hauling operations and supplied crossties for railroad 
construction. 52 

The presence of the Union Pacific guaranteed a con- 
tinued market for ties and other materials from the 
Medicine Bow region. However, the railroad controlled 
its freight rates so that tie contractors found it prohibitive 
to ship ties to other potential markets. The Union Pacific, 
realizing that Medicine Bow timber was the major source 
of ties and the depletion of the forests would be a serious 
blow, therefore indirectly controlled timber cutting in the 
Medicine Bow region by means of the freight rates. 

At this time, the timber companies were under no 
government regulations and used the forests in the public 
domain and their resources free of charge. The Commis- 
sioner of the General Land Office for the United States, 
however, attempted to regulate the industry in the Wyo- 
ming Territory in October 1871. Parties were required to 
notify the district land office and pay a tariff for cutting 
timber; apparently the regulations were never taken seri- 
ously by the large timber interests. In Albany County, a 
16% percent tax was levied on lumber, but was dropped 
due to disapproval of the general public. Timber taxes 
remained an issue throughout the 1870s, but business 
appeared to continue as usual. 53 

Coe and Carter operations in the Medicine Bow Range 
had camps on Rock Creek, Bow River, Brush Creek and 
French Creek. Ties were floated down the North Platte 
River to Ft. Steele. 54 

A significant change in the lumber industry came in 
1875 with the formation of the Rocky Mountain Coal 
Company, essentially a subsidiary of the Union Pacific 
Railroad. Coal mines were located all along the railroad 
right-of-way throughout Wyoming, and steam locomotives 
switched from wood to coal. The cordwood industry was 
ended, but a new business in mine props began to take 
its place. From 1870 to 1880, Mullison estimates that 
2,500,000 ties and 400,000 mine props were cut, delivered, 
and sold from the Medicine Bows. 55 

Coe and Carter continued to dominate the Union 
Pacific business by suppressing private contractors and 
disgruntled employees who tried to cut, drive, and deliver 
ties on their own. Evidently, Coe and Carter had influen- 
tial political connections in Washington. One particular 
incident provoked a complaint to the Department of Inte- 
rior in 1880. A "special agent" was dispatched to quell 
wildcat operations, but a reciprocal complaint was made 
by the independents to the same department. An agree- 
ment was reached by which Coe and Carter bought the 
forest lands they had logged for $1.25 per acre. Acreage 
on which they had operated for ten years was bought for 
$35, 000. 56 

The Timber and Stone Act of 1878 was used fraudu- 
lently by the early timber interests to fell and remove trees 
on the public domain. Initially, it was intended ". . . for 
building, agriculture, mining or other domestic purposes," 
since Wyoming Territory was considered a mineral district. 
The penalty for violating this statute was a $500 fine and 
up to six months imprisonment. 57 It was customary for 
timber company employees to file on 160 acres at the 
request of the company. This land was then used by the 
company for logging purposes, and the dutiful employee 
was rewarded with a payment of $100. 58 

Coe and Carter owned large blocks of timber near 
today's Bow River Campground and the Turpin Reservoir 
area. One of the foremen was Frank Barclay, whose head- 
quarters appears on 1888 General Land Office plat maps 
at the approximate location of the Bow River Camp- 
ground. 59 During the spring of 1883, Barclay drove 
104,000 ties down the Medicine Bow River. 60 

In 1884, Coe and Carter was dissolved. The senior 
member's son assumed control under the firm name of 
Coe and Coe and continued operations on the Medicine 
Bow River and Rock Creek from 1880 to 1890. Mullison 
indicated that the amount of material driven and sold 
far exceeded the quantity they could have cut on their 
own holdings. 61 

The decade 1880 to 1890 witnessed a substantial 
decrease in demand for ties due to internal problems 
within the Union Pacific Railroad, however, the 1890s were 
even more uncertain for the tie industry. The Union Pacific 
Railroad was in receivership from 1893 to 1897, never 
having paid its original construction costs or debts to the 
federal government. 62 In the spring of 1895, the Union 
Pacific cancelled all of its tie contracts, forcing Coe and 
Coe to suspend many of its operations. The company 
became active in the Uintah Mountains in Utah during 
the 1890s, and gradually relinquished its dominance of 
the Medicine Bow region. 63 

The last reference to Coe and Coe in this area involved 
a timber trespass case against Frank E. Coe. The Forest Ser- 
vice claimed that he had unlawfully cut ties in the French 
Creek area from 1900 to 1903. The final disposition of 
the case is not known, but it shows that Coe and Coe was 
still active in the Medicine Bow region as late as 1903. 64 


The Formation of the Medicine Bow National Forest 

The forested areas of southeastern Wyoming provided 
free timber for the logging interests for nearly three 
decades prior to the formation of the Medicine Bow 
National Forest. The timber companies exploited these 
free resources to the point where citizens of forested regions 
around Laramie petitioned President McKinley in 1899 
to set aside the Medicine Bow area forests as a reserve, 
citing the "wholesale stealing of timber by the companies." 
The result of the petition was to have been the creation 
of the Medicine Bow Forest Reserve by the Secretary of 
the Interior, but apparently powerful timber interests 
delayed the action. 65 

The Crow Creek Forest Reserve in the Laramie Range 
was established in 1900 by President McKinley, although 
very little saleable timber remained in that region. On 
May 22, 1902, the Medicine Bow Forest Reserve was 
established. The original boundaries encompassed about 
two million acres of the Medicine Bow or Snowy Range. 
The east and west boundaries approximated those of the 
present forest area, and the southern boundary extended 
south into Colorado to the area of Estes Park. 66 

Soon after the formation of the Medicine Bow 
National Forest, timber cutting was regulated and govern- 
ment sales were initiated. Gradually, master plans were 
developed for cutting order in various regions of the Forest. 
First, maps, timber estimates, reports and stumpage 
appraisals were made, then the sale was advertised at the 
appraisal value for bidding. No bids were accepted below 
this value. The successful bidder made a contract with 
the Forest Service which outlined the conditions of cut- 
ting and scaling, classes of timber to be manufactured, 
stumpage prices, plan for logging and brush disposal. 
Exact boundaries were marked, and specific trees were 
designated for cutting by Forest Service personnel. The 
tree was blazed with a "U.S." at breast height and also 
near the base to control the cutting of unmarked trees. 
Stumps were not to be more than twelve inches high, a 
restriction that demanded a good deal of snow removal 
around the tree by the tie hack. Full utilization of the trees 
was urged. Unused brush from limbs and tops was to be 
piled up and burned when there was sufficient snow cover 
to reduce fire hazard. Ties, props, and saw logs were scaled 
or counted by rangers at the landings and checked against 
deposits or funds of operators made before cutting. In 
addition, the actual logging practices were often moni- 
tored by forest rangers. 67 

The Carbon Timber Company 

When the Union Pacific Railroad cancelled all its tie 
contracts in the spring of 1895, a large number of timber 
men were left unemployed. Two enterprising businessmen 
reasoned that the railroad would eventually require more 
ties. Butcher Charles L. Vagner and banker Louis R. 

Meyer, both from Carbon, offered to supply lumbermen 
and provide the money for land entries under the Timber 
and Stone Act. In return, the men would cut ties and 
props and prepare them for the 1896 drive in anticipa- 
tion of the railroads. 68 

The partnership cut ties and props from camps estab- 
lished on the Medicine Bow River and Rock Creek. In 
1900, the company, incorporated as the successor to the 
partnership, was capitalized at one million dollars, chiefly 
in owned timberlands. The principal stockholders were 
the McGrews of Omaha, closely associated with the Union 
Pacific Railroad and R. D. Meyer of Hanna, who took 
over his father's interest in the company as a large 
stockholder. Andrew Olson, "White Andy," was a valued 
employee of the companv, acting as supervisor of wood 
operations and later serving as its president. In 1914, R. D. 
Meyer was secretary and the younger McGrew was the 
general manager at Ft. Steele. 69 Sam Thompson, a 
Norwegian who had Americanized his name from Sern 
Thomasson Skjorland, was timber boss at Hog Park, Elk 
Mountain, Keystone, and Devil's Gate until the company's 
demise. 70 

The company's large operation at Ft. Steele included 
a box factory, sawmill, tie loading plant, main boom, and 
company store. A company town mushroomed around 
these facilities, utilizing 497 acres. There was also a sawmill 
plant, company store and lumber camp south of Encamp- 
ment at Hog Park, and sawmill and loading plant at 
Medicine Bow. By 1914 the company owned a total of 
26,939 acres of timber land. 71 

The Carbon Timber Company's prime years were 
from 1900 to 1906. Because of its close relationship with 
the Union Pacific Railroad, "it virtually controlled the 
Union Pacific's tie supply between Cheyenne and Odgen." 
Wooden doors for coal and grain cars were manufactured 
at Ft. Steele and sold for 35( each. In one year alone, 
60,000 doors were purchased by Union Pacific. Because 
the Union Pacific Coal Company was closely associated 
with the railroad, all orders for mine props were given 
to the Carbon Timber Company. 72 

In 1906, Carbon Timber Company negotiated two 
contracts with the young Medicine Bow National Fores: 
management. This represented the first two large timber 
sales within the forest. The May 2, sale was located on 
the headwaters of Douglas Creek near Keystone, and the 
October 18, sale was located on French Creek. The May 
2, sale was ultimately cancelled in 1908 due to poor 
management by the company. The Carbon Timber Com- 
pany had the same problems with the October 18 sale, 
and the Forest Service finally allowed the company to back 
out of the second sale as well. 73 

In September, 1907, the Carbon Timber Company was 
involved in a timber trespass case resulting from cutting 
beyond its rightful boundaries. A settlement of $80,000 
was reached, half in costs and half in labor on a telephone 
line and wagon road. 74 


The Carbon Timber Company absorbed the opera- 
tions of J. C. Teller, who had cut timber from camps on 
Pass Creek, North and South Brush Creeks, and North 
French Creek from 1899 to 1902. Teller delivered ties to 
the Union Pacific Railroad and was involved in the most 
famous timber trespass case in Wyoming. Although John 
C. Teller, a nephew of Colorado Senator Henry M. Teller, 
had been involved in numerous federal suits he always 
managed to escape settlement. Finally Teller was forced 
to pay the government $27,440 in May, 1912." 

The Carbon Timber Company also had large opera- 
tions in the Sierra Madres, soon to become Hayden 
National Forest. It had been logging on Encampment 
Creek in 1902 with a large camp of almost 500 men. By 
the following spring it had 500,000 ties ready to drive to 
the North Platte River and on to Ft. Steele. 76 

The Grand Encampment Herald regularly featured 
news of developments at Hog Park because that town 
benefitted directly from the logging operations. In 1902, 
the camp was described by a reporter for the paper: 

The tie camp headquarters occupies a very pretty spot in 
a park called Encampment Meadows, about twenty miles 
south of Grand Encampment, bordering on the Colorado 
state line. 

The establishment of the tie camp adds much to the 
development of the country. About 300 men will be employed 
and most of them are men who have not previously resided 
in the vicinity of Grand Encampment. This will be a hand- 
some addition to the population of southern Carbon Co. 
Grand Encampment will be the base of supplies for the tie 
camp, adding commercially to the interests of this place, and 
the new wagon road built to the camp opens a new mining 
country which will also be tributary to Grand Encampment." 
The newspaper continued to praise the timber com- 
pany and its contributions to the greater community until 
December 8, 1911, when it announced that the Hog Park 
tie camp would be abandoned the following spring after 
the tie drive. The paper stated that government regula- 
tions prevented the company from operating at a profit: 
"The present policy is to let it stand for future genera- 
tions or be consumed by forest fire, rather than let it be 
used to aid in the present prosperity and development of 
the country . . . your Uncle Sam has written 'finis' to this 
industry . . ." 78 

The Carbon Timber Company continued limited 
operations in the Sierra Madres until 1915. 79 The gradual 
decline of the company was precipitated by a number of 
factors. The Forest Service's stricter regulation of timber 
cutting in addition to stumpage fees had an immediate 
adverse effect on the company's economy, and ended vir- 
tually free use of public resources. Harry B. Henderson, 
who appraised the worth of the Carbon Timber Company 
in 1914, stated that in his opinion the timber company's 
tie business was a losing operation. 80 

Furthermore, the company fell out of favor with the 
Union Pacific Railroad and lost its preferred mine timber 
and car door business. Then, in 1909 and 1910, a large 
number of ties were rejected by railroad inspectors. The 


company had attempted to keep the price of ties at 65 <f 
to 66<? apiece, but in 1910 Dan Wilt, a former company 
timber boss, attempted to deliver ties for a lower price 
by forming his own concern, the Standard Timber Com- 
pany. As a result, by 1913, the Carbon Timber Company 
had almost no business from the Union Pacific. Although 
it was able to make amends with the Union Pacific and 
receive part of the business that fall, it never again held 
a monopoly on the tie industry. 81 

In 1915, the continued financial difficulties of the Car- 
bon Timber Company resulted in the formation of a new 
concern. The bondholders foreclosed on its properties 
which were sold at a sheriffs sale for $366,168.67. The 
same bondholders were the purchasers, who then formed 
the Wyoming Timber Company in November, 1916. The 
Wyoming Timber Company was, in reality, a re-organ- 
ization of the Carbon Timber Company. Michael Quealy 
of Elk Mountain owned the Quealy Livestock Company 
and P. J. Quealy of Kemmerer owned the Kemmerer Coal 
Company. They were the key financial backers in the new 
corporation. C. D. Williamson was the general manager 
and treasurer. Notable figures of the old Carbon Timber 
Company, such as Andrew Olson and Sam Thompson, 
became employees of the new company. 82 In 1933, P. J. 
Quealy died, and C. D. Williamson became the domi- 
nant force and president of the Wyoming Timber Com- 
pany. This concern represented the major timber interest 
in the Medicine Bow region until 1951. 83 


Perhaps the most tragic chapter in the history of the 
Wyoming Timber Company was caused by a worldwide 
epidemic from which the isolated tie camps of the 
Medicine Bow region were not immune. During the 
Christmas season of 1918, a serious influenza epidemic 
broke out in four Wyoming Timber Company tie camps 
near South French Creek. The camps, known as Head- 
quarters, Sourdough, Camp Four, and Hans Glad, were 
all within % to 1 V4 miles of one another. This undoubtedly 
aided in the spread of the disease. 84 

The report of Ranger Cyril B. Webster details the 
chain of events at French Creek. Miss Marie Glad arrived 
from Elk Mountain on December 21, to visit her parents, 
Mr. and Mrs. Hans Glad, at the Hans Glad camp. A dance 
was held on December 22, and by the morning of Decem- 
ber 23, the entire family was sick with "severe colds." No 
one from the other three camps attended the dance. A 
second contributing factor was the return of Ole Wolden, 
woods foreman, on December 24, from a trip to company 
headquarters in Hanna. He had passed through Rawlins 
where influenza was rampant at the time. 85 

It is probable that the flu was brought in from an out- 
side community by one or both of the above mentioned 
sources, since the tie camps were isolated, especially in 
winter. Large quantities of liquor and wine were brought 
in on December 24 for the Christmas celebrations. On 

Skidding ties to a landing, 1921. 

Christmas eve and Christmas day, there was a good deal 
of intermingling among the four camps as the festivities 
continued. A contributing factor in the severity of the 
epidemic may have been the heavy holiday drinking, for 
which the tie hacks were notorious. Many victims probably 
attributed early flu symptoms to the effects of alcohol. 86 

Axel Axelson, the first fatality, had been alone in a 
hand banking camp for two days, but had previously been 
in contact with people from the Hans Glad camp. By 
Christmas morning he was sick, and during the early 
morning hours of December 31, he died. The same day 
he became ill, he was to have been married in Denver 
to Mrs. Freda Benson. A telegram from Ranger Louis 
Coughlin informed her of his death. Mrs. Benson told 
Coughlin that Axelson had no relatives in America. 87 Seek- 
ing his fortune in America, Axelson died in a snowbound 
cabin in the Wyoming mountains far from home without 
the comfort of loved ones. 

Ole Wolden fell ill on Christmas night, and by 
December 27, nearly everyone in all the camps was 
stricken. Rangers Webster and Bunnell and a Mrs. Purdy 
were the only healthy people at Camp Four. 88 

Help arrived that day when Dr. Irwin came from Sara- 
toga and injected all victims with an influenza anti-toxin, 
although it was already too late for some. Digitalis, 
strychnine and cough medicine were left by the doctor 
to be administered by Webster, Bunnell, and Mrs. Purdy. 
A total of 30 cases were observed by the doctor during 
his first visit to the camps. By his second visit on December 
30, the condition of many of the victims had deteriorated. 

He left the next morning, even though Axelson had died 
and the few remaining healthy people were exhausted 
from caring for the ill. The doctor did not return until 
the afternoon of January 1. That same evening, Mrs. An- 
drew Pearson and Fritz Carlson died. On January 2, James 
Praig, a man named Dolman, Ole Wolden, and Mr. Purdy 
died. In his report, Webster stated that Praig ". . . 
expressed the desire to die and helped himself along by 
refusing medicine and crawling out from under the covers. 
A fire was kept in the stove against his will. He was ap- 
parently perfectly sane to the last, and realized what he 
was doing." 89 

Andy Moline recalled that survivors of the epidemic 
at French Creek told him that as death claimed the flu 
victims, their corpses were taken out to a woodshed where 
they were stacked like cordwood and quickly became 
frozen. 90 On January 3, Andrew Pearson died. That day 
the frozen bodies were piled on tie-racks and hauled to 
Sanger's Ranch and then to Encampment. The last fatality 
was Frank Sundcrist who died in the afternoon of the same 
day. 91 

In four camps, 36 out of a population of 46 were 
stricken with influenza, and of these, nine had succumbed. 
During the crisis, temperatures had averaged 15 degrees 
below zero. 92 Later, Dr. Bogard and three nurses came 
from Laramie and tended the remaining ill at these camps 
as well as at Spring Creek tie camp where nine cases had 
been reported. 93 At least one fatality, Eric Bowman, was 
reported at Spring Creek, and possibly one other, judg- 
ing from the tone of the newspaper account. 94 Another 


tie hack named Sandquist died at Keystone on January 
6. The outbreak then subsided, and no other deaths were 
reported after January 7. 95 

Scapegoats were sought for the French Creek tragedy, 
including Dr. Irwin of Saratoga and the Wyoming Tim- 
ber Company. Apparently Dr. Irwin's initial reports to the 
company had suggested that the outbreak was not serious 
and therefore, the company was lax in bringing its 
resources to bear in fighting the epidemic. Acting forest 
supervisor Coughlin became disgusted with C. D. William- 
son, suggesting that P. J. Quealy of Kemmerer be notified 
". . . since the local representatives of the Wyoming 
Timber Company seem to be either helpless or useless." 96 

The strain of the ordeal at French Creek is indicated 
by Ranger Webster's request for transfer to California as 
soon as the epidemic was past and his services were no 
longer required. 97 Certainly Rangers Webster and Bun- 
nell of the U.S. Forest Service performed above and beyond 
the call of duty in caring for the sick with very little out- 
side help, especially from the Wyoming Timber Company 
which should have been responsible for its own employees. 
Today their names are all but forgotten, as is the terrible 
epidemic of 1918. 

The End of an Era 

The Medicine Bow tie industry was alive and well after 
the decline of the Carbon Timber Company, despite 
periodic economic fluctuations. A number of smaller, 
independent tie companies evolved with varying degrees 
of success. In 1913, the Union Pacific Railroad attemp- 
ted to obtain its ties from west coast sawed Douglas fir, 
but because the west coast companies could not meet the 
large demands. Otto Gramm of Laramie received a con- 
tract and subsequently organized the Foxpark Lumber 
Company. Dan Wilt's Standard Timber Company was also 
centered around Foxpark. Both men took advantage of 
the recently constructed Laramie, Hahn's Peak, and Pacific 
Railroad. Ties could be loaded and hauled by rail to 
Laramie, where they were treated at the creosote plant 
which had been built in 1902. The railroad helped new 
companies get started in the southern portion of the 
Medicine Bow, and the timber companies saved the rail- 
road from bankruptcy. 98 

On January 7, 1914, the Forest Service offered for sale 
all the timber adjacent to the railroad line from the Col- 
orado state line to Foxpark. The timber area was divided 
into blocks and over a period of years was sold to Osea 
Nelson of the Union Timber Company, Dan Wilt of the 
Standard Timber Company, and the Bergstrom Brothers 
of the Laramie Timber Company. 99 

In 1915, the town of Gramm grew up around a large 
sawmill along the railroad line south of Foxpark. Most 
timber cutting operations at this time were located in this 
area. George Duthie, Forest Supervisor, described the 
workers and conditions at this time: 

A shortage of labor was at times a serious problem for the 

operators. Many of the tie cutters were 'floaters' recruited 

in Denver. In order to keep the men in camp in those days 
before radio and television, it was necessary to provide some 
amusement. Therefore, a poolhall was permitted to open in 
Gramm. Another already existed at Foxpark. The men for 
the most part were a rugged lot and on several occasions the 
supervisor was faced with the problem of keeping bootleg- 
gers, gamblers, and other purveyors of illicit sport out of the 
camps. It took rugged men to buck ties in deep snow. There 
was a singular lack of labor-saving devices such as we expect 
to find on similar operations today. For example, a crew of 
husky tie loaders worked in a rotating line. As the inspector 
marked each tie, which weighed from 150 to 250 pounds, 
a 'loader' shouldered the tie and staggered up a ramp into 
the railroad car. 100 

The Douglas Creek Tie Camp Company at Albany, 
Wyoming, was actually a working subsidiary of the Wyo- 
ming Timber Company, which guaranteed their timber 
sales contracts. Hans Olson, Charles Engstrom, and Vic- 
tor Strandquist incorporated for the January 5, 1917, 
timber sale on the Medicine Bow. Approximately 51,000 
ties were cut from this sale. 101 

The early 1920s saw a gradual change in the lumber 
industry with the development of gasoline and diesel 
powered portable sawmills and a better road system in 
the Medicine Bow Forest. With better roads, portable units 
could be hauled by tractor to timber areas, and ties could 
be economically sawed instead of handhewn. This develop- 
ment signaled the end of the tie hack era. One forest 
official prophetically queried, "Is the time approaching 
when the picturesque tie hack with his broadax will be 
replaced by a sawmill on wheels?" 102 

A record number of railroad ties, mine props and 
lumber were cut in 1925, making it one of the biggest log- 


_ aJS* \ " * 



A tie flume in operation. 


ging years for the Medicine Bow National Forest. 103 Major 
companies participating in this bonanza were the Wyo- 
ming Timber Company, Stroud and Sheppard, and Otto 
Gramm Lumber Company. The latter was organized by 
Otto Gramm founder of the Foxpark Timber Company, 
Andrew Olson, formerly of the Carbon Timber Company, 
and Hans and Ivor Olson, Andrew's brothers. Their first 
sale was in the Squaw and Lake Creek units north of Fox- 
park; however, they soon transferred operations to the 
Laramie River watershed in Colorado. 104 

Louis Coughlin, ranger and historian, estimates that 
during the boom year of 1925, a total of 44,810,000 
measured board feet of lumber with a value of $1,183,240 
were cut and delivered at Laramie, Wyoming. About 500 
men participated in the lumber operations that year, and 
the Laramie tie treatment plant supported a working force 
of 92 men and a payroll of $139, 520. 105 

The Wyoming Timber Company, headquartered in 
Hanna, Wyoming, was cutting on Keystone and Horse 
Creeks in the Medicine Bow National Forest in 1926. 106 
Its large camp at Keystone was described in a local 
newspaper in April 1928: 

The logging camp of the Wyoming Timber Company at the 

Holmes, Wyoming post office, locally called Keystone is an 

innovation as logging camps go in this part of Wyoming. 

It is located on Douglas Creek at the mouth of Keystone 

Creek. A sawmill also is located at the camp. A dozen 

buildings including the commissary, cookhouse, bunkhouse 

for the bachelors, 2-room cabins for married men, and 

several barns, are scattered throughout the timber. Each 

cabin or barn and the sawmill as well, are equipped with 

electric lights. Kerosene lanterns and gasoline lamps have 

been banished from the camp. The tie hacks and lumber 

jacks from neighboring logging camps look with envy upon 

the Keystone camp and its 'city lights.' 107 

The company, also cutting along Muddy Creek, had 

a camp known as "Camp No. 2" along this stream and 

another on Indian Creek, a small tributary. Ties cut in 

this area were driven down these tributaries to Douglas 

Creek, where a large boom was in place and a dam was 

built to flood the flats. 108 

In 1934, the largest single timber sale to date on the 
Medicine Bow was awarded to the Wyoming Timber Com- 
pany. The sale involved 18,000 acres on the Douglas Creek 
unit near Keystone. As many as 200 men were employed. 109 
According to Louis Coughlin, the first timber sale 
where motor vehicles were used extensively was in February 
1924, on the Hayden Division of the Medicine Bow 
National Forest by the firm of Daniels and Helmick. 
Another firm, Stroud and Sheppard, used trucks to haul 
material from Dutton Creek to Rock River, a distance of 
25 miles. 110 Subsequently, the logging industry began haul- 
ing logs to permanent, fixed milling plants. Roads and 
trucks steadily improved, and in 1937, R.R. Crow and 
Company hauled logs from Barrett Creek to their mill 
in Saratoga. 111 

During the transition period between horse-drawn 
sleds and motorized vehicles, the tie hack was still active 

and the large tie drives continued each spring. As late 
as 1938, the Wyoming Timber Company drove 300,000 
ties down Douglas Creek to Fort Steele. In addition, some 
350,000 ties were driven down the Laramie River from 
northern Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming, by the Foxpark 
Timber Company and the Otto Timber Company. The 
latter drive was considered one of the largest in history. 112 
The end of an era came in 1940, when the Union 
Pacific Railroad entirely discontinued the use of hand- 
hewn, river-driven ties. 113 Such ties often became badly 
checked on each end, and were known as broomed ties. 
This made them prone to moisture and decay. The more 
uniform sawn ties were easier to lay and replace and 
presented a better bearing surface. The last tie drive in 
the Medicine Bow region was in the spring of 1940, on 
Douglas Creek by the Wyoming Timber Company. C. D. 
Williamson, company president, was quoted in the Sara- 
toga Sun: 

It is quite certain there will be no drive next year, and there 
is some doubt if there will ever be another drive . . . The 
railroad has indicated it does not want any more river-driven 
ties. The officials claim that the sand and grit carried by 
river-driven ties interfere with the machinery at the tie 
plant. 114 

As a result of the decline of the tie industry, emphasis 
in the lumber industry shifted from railroad ties to lumber 
and studs. By 1967, only ten percent of the Medicine Bow 
National Forest products were composed of railroad ties. 115 


Few skilled occupations become obsolete virtually 
overnight as did the making of handhewn railroad ties. 
Based on one market, the Medicine Bow tie industry was 
always tenuous, experiencing the boom and bust cycle typi- 
cally associated with hard-rock mining. After 1940, some 
of the displaced tie hacks and haulers found work in the 
sawed-tie industry or moved north to the Wind River 
country in Wyoming, where some railroad ties were still 
being hewn and river-driven up until 1946. Other workers 
found laboring jobs in logging-related activities in the 
forested mountains just to get by, but it was never the same. 
The legendary broadax, pike pole and pickaroon were laid 
aside to become reminders of a bygone era. The ring of 
the broadax, jingle of bells on the big horse teams and 
the hardy laughter of the Scandinavian hacks were gone. 
The skills of the father were useless to the son in the age 
of machines, and the high country fell silent in winter. 
The enormous spring drives when 300,000 ties choked 
Douglas Creek, the Hog Park tie camp, home to over 500 
men, the Fort Steele tie plant with its great boom and 
chain —all became memories. The great timber com- 
panies such as Coe and Carter, Carbon Timber Company, 
and the Wyoming Timber Company are seldom spoken 
of today and remembered by only a few. Engines of the 
Union Pacific still roll across the wide prairies of Wyo- 
ming, but their rails are set on sawed ties cut from Douglas 
fir trees grown far to the west. 




1 1 









Lola M. Homsher. "The History of Albany County, Wyoming to 
1880." (Master's thesis, University of Wyoming, 1949). pp. 30-31. 
William H. Wroten, Jr., "The Railroad Tie Industry in the Cen- 
tral Rocky Mountain Region: 1867-1900." (Unpublished Doctoral 
Dissertation, Department of History, University of Colorado, 
Boulder. 1956), p. 12. 

John Bratt, Trails of Yesterday (Lincoln: LIniversity Publishing 
Company, 1921), p. 162; and Homsher. pp. 57-58. 
Ansel Watrous, History of Larimer County, Colorado (Ft. Col- 
lins: Courier Printing and Publishing Co.. 1911), p. 163; and 
Wyoming State Tribune, June 4, 1944. 
Wroten, pp. 12. 27. 
Bratt. p. 162. 

Ibid., pp. 136-137. 153-154; in June 1868, Gilman and Carter took 
a contract to cut ties for the construction of the Denver Pacific 
Railway from Cheyenne to Denver. The ties were cut on the head- 
waters of the Cache La Poudre River in Colorado and driven 
downstream to the prairie. The Gilman faction did not believe 
the venture would prove profitable and attempted to withdraw 
from the agreement. Coe and Carter assumed the entire contract 
which, in the end, netted $50,000. 
Ibid. , p. 144. 
Homsher, pp. 58-59. 

Laramie Daily Sentinel, October 31, 1872. 
Ibid., June 29. 1872. 

Cheyenne Weekly Leader, August 12, 1876, quoted in Wroten. 
p. 133. 

Wroten. pp. 49. 130-131. 

Ibid., pp. 51, 116; and Laramie Weekly Sentinel, July 6, 1878. 
Nelson C. Brown, Forest Products (New York: John Wiley and 
Sons. Inc., 1950), pp. 73, 75-76. 
Ibid., p. 80. 

Nels A. Moline, personal communication, Saratoga, Wyoming, 
April 5, 1982; and Rawlins Daily Times, August 17, 1974. 
George B. Linn, "The Tie Drivers of the Twenties," In Wyoming 
(April/May), 1973. 

Moline; and Peter Lepponen, personal communication. Walden, 
Colorado. June 6. 1982. 

Brown, p. 12; and Moline; and Joan T. Pinkerton. Knights of 
the Broadax (Caldwell. Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1981). p. 19. The 
U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a study in 1915. which 
revealed that the time expended per tie, including all the steps 
described, averaged 22.3 minutes. A tie hack could therefore pro- 
duce 21.5 ties in an eight hour day. D. T. Mason. "Utilization 
and Management of Lodgepole Pine in the Rocky Mountains, 
U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 234 (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1915), p. 11. 
Homsher. p. 8. 

Interview with Louis Sederlin by Ranger Bruce Torgny, February 
20. 1935, Box 8, Medicine Bow National Forest Collection. 
American Heritage Center. University of Wyoming. Hereafter 
cited as the "MBNF" Coll. 

Grand Encampment Herald, July 1, 1940; and Harry B. Hender- 
son, "In the Matter of the Appraisement of the Property of the 
Carbon Timber Company, etc.," 1914. Wyoming Timber Com- 
pany Collection. American Heritage Center, University of 

Scrapbook Press Clippings, n.d.. MBNF Coll. At least five scrap- 
books are included in this collection; however, many of the clip- 
pings bear no date or name of newspaper. 

30. Letter from J. S. Veeder, Forest Supervisor to Regional Forester, 
Denver, May 20, 1938, Box 8, MBNF Coll. 

31. Ibid. 

32. Grand Encampment Herald, June 9, 1905. 

33. Moline; and Lepponen; and J. S. Veeder letter, MBNF Coll. 

34. Lepponen. 

35. Sublette County Artists' Guild, Tales of the Seeds-Ke-Dee (Denver: 
Big Mountain Press, 1963), pp. 260-261; and Lepponen. 

36. Lepponen. 

37. Ibid , and J. S. Veeder letter, MBNF Coll.; and Moline. 

38. Lepponen. 

39. Brown, pp. 72-73. 

40. Lepponen. 

41. The term "high country way of life" was used by Scott Thybony 
to describe aboriginal peoples in the Medicine Bow region. See 
Scott Thybony and Robert G. and Elizabeth L. Rosenberg, "Class 
I Cultural Resource Overview of the Medicine Bow National 
Forest" (Report on file. Medicine Bow National Forest, Laramie, 
1982). p. 59. 

42. Wroten. p. 212; Moline; and Lepponen. 

43. Moline. 
44. Ibid 

45. The following discussion is taken from a taped interview with Nels 
Moline unless otherwise noted. 

46. Bill Aho. personal communication, former sawmill operator, 
Pinedale, Wyoming, July 28, 1982. 

47. Moline; and Wroten, p. 12; and Linn, "Tie Drivers of the 

48. Sublette County Artists' Guild, Tales of the Seeds-Ke-Dee, p. 258. 

49. Moline: and Lepponen; and Wroten. pp. 232-234. 

j(l\ Mullison "Historv of the Medicine Bow National Forest," 
1909. pp. 43-44, Box 8, MBNF Coll. 

51. Ibid., pp. 45-46. 

52. Bratt. p. 164; and Wroten. pp. 23-24. 
53.Homsht-r. pp. 60-62. 

54. Mullison, p. 46. 

55. Ibid., pp. 46-47. 

56. Ibid., pp. 50-51. 

57. U.S. Statutes at Large, 1877-1879. pp. 88-89. 

58. Mullison. p. 51. 

59. Louis E. Coughlin's Historical Notes. 1951, Timber Management, 
Box 8, MBNF Coll. Ranger Coughlin. "dean of the forest rangers" 
in the Rocky Mountain region, worked for the U.S. Forest Ser- 
vice for over 45 years starting in 1908. He was the unofficial 
historian for the Medicine Bow National Forest and collected 
memos, letters, old reports and personal interviews throughout 
his tenure which he hoped to develop into a history of Medicine 
Bow for its 50th anniversary in 1952. However he was forced to 
retire before the project could be completed He died in Laramie 
in 1962. 

60. Ft. Collins Courier. May 10. 1883. 

61. Mullison, pp. 51. 53. 

62. James L. Ehernberger and Francis G. Gschwind, Sherman Hill 
(Callaway, Nebraska: E and G Publications, 1973), pp. 27-29. 

63. Wroten. p. 59. 

64. Coughlin's Notes, February 9, 1951, pp. 8-11. Timber Trespass, 
Box 8, MBNF Coll. 

65. Wroten, p. 204. 

66. Robert K. Bruce, "History of the Medicine Bow National Forest, 
1902-1910," (Master's thesis, Unversity of Wyoming. 1959), p. 1. 
In 1908, the Forest was divided. The Colorado section was named 
the Medicine Bow Forest; the Wyoming section, including Crow 
Creek Reserve was named the Cheyenne National Forest. Two years 
later, the Colorado portion became known as the Colorado 
National Forest. This land represents about two-fifths of the 
Medicine Bow National Forest today. The Hayden Division of the 


Medicine Bow National Forest was originally set aside as the Sierra 
Madre Forest Reserve on November 5, 1906. Two years later, the 
Sierra Madre Reserve and portions of the Park Range Forest 
Reserve (now part of the Routt National Forest in Colorado) were 
combined to form the Hayden National Forest. On August 2. 
1929, President Hoover dismantled the Hayden National Forest. 
The Colorado portion was added to Routt National Forest, the 
Wyoming portion was added to the Medicine Bow National Forest 
as the Hayden Division. Coughlin's Notes. Box 30, MBNF Coll. 

67. U.S. Forest Service, "Forestry Practiced on the Medicine Bow 
National Forest in Wyoming," n.d.. Box 30, MBNF Coll. 

68. Paul L. Armstrong, "History of the Medicine Bow National Forest 
Service," Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical 
Department, Historical Research and Publications Division, 

69. J. H. Potts, "Data Concerning Carbon Timber Company, Its 
Investments and Operations," 1914, Box 30, MBNF Coll. 

70. "History of Wyoming Timber Operations Told," The Daily Times, 
Rawlins. August 17, 1914, Lumber-Tie Industry-Wyoming (L97-ti- 
wy), American Heritage Center. 

71. Potts, "Data Concerning Carbon Timber Company": and Harry 
B. Henderson, "In the Matter of the Appraisement of the Prop- 
erty of the Carbon Timber Company, etc.." 1914, Wyoming 
Timber Company Collection, American Heritage Center. 

72. J. H. Potts, "Memorandum Covering the Past History. Present 
Organization and Status and Probable Future of the Carbon 
Timber Co., November 7, 1914," Timber Management, Box 9, 
MBNF Coll. 

73. Bruce, pp. 68-69, 72. According to Chief District Inspector Smith 
Riley, the company was losing money on the sale because of: 1) 
lack of supervision in the woods; 2) cutting unmarked trees (which 
resulted in the paying of trespass fines); 3) careless stacking on 
banking grounds (slowing spring drives); 4) unthorough cutting 
of areas (meaning the company had to go back to comply with 
the contract); 5) lack of supervision and use of improper tools 
in driving operations. 

74. Coughlin's Notes, February 9, 1951, Timber Trespass, Box 8, 
MBNF Coll. 

75. Ibid. 

76. James Blackhall, "History of the Hayden National Forest," July 
20, 1915, p. 1, Box 4. MBNF Coll. 

77. Grand Encampment Herald. August 22, 1902. 

78. Ibid.. December 8, 1911. 

79. Blackhall, pp. 2-3. 

80. Henderson, "In the Matter of Appraisement," p. 6. According 
to company figures, the following costs were involved in bringing 
one finished tie to market: 





brush and piling 

yardage and loading 





15 cents 



3'/ 2 
51 V4 cents 









Forest Service stumpage fees and cleanup procedures (brush and 

piling) cost about fourteen cents for every finished tie. 

Potts. "Memorandum Covering Carbon Timber Co." 

Rawlins Republican-Bulletin, May 2, 1939; and E. B. Tanna 

Memo, December 28, 1916, included in Coughlin's Notes, Box 

8, MBNF Coll. 

Laramie Republican-Boomerang. December 10, 1951. 

"Ranger's Report on the Attack of Influenza in the French Creek 

Tie Camps of the Wyoming Timber Company, December 21, 1918 

to January 21, 1919," p. 4, included in Coughlin's Historical Notes, 

February 27, 1951, Box 8, MBNF Coll. 

Ibid. , p. 5. 

Ibid., pp. 5-6. 

Louis E. Coughlin, "Influenza Epidemic 1918-19, Tragedy at the 

French Creek Tie Camp," memorandum for files. January 1-3, 

1919, in Coughlin's Historical Notes. February 27, 1951, Box 8, 

MBNF Coll. 

"Ranger's Report," pp. 5-6. 

Ibid., p. 6. 


"Ranger's Report." p. 7. 


Coughlin, "Influenza Epidemic." 

Laramie Republican, January 7, 1919. 

Ibid , January 6, 1919. 

Coughlin. "Influenza Epidemic." 


George A. Duthie, "The Medicine Bow National Forest, 1913-1916." 

pp. 4-6, Box 4, MBNF Coll. 

Ibid , pp. 4-5. 

Ibid., pp. 5-6. 

Coughlin's Historical Notes, 1951, Timber Sales, Box 8, MBNF 


U.S. Forest Service. "Washington Bulletin." 1923, Box 30, MBNF 


Rock River Review, July 1. 1926. 

Coughlin's Notes, Timber Sales. 


Rawlins Reporter, October 30. 1926. 

Scrapbook Press Clippings, 1927-1934 scrapbook, MBNF 


Laramie Republican-Boomerang, May 8, 1927. 

Armstrong, p. 8. 

Coughlin's Historical Notes, June 23, 1952, Box 30. MBNF 



Encampment Echo, May 26, 1938. 

Coughlin's Notes, June 23, 1952. 

Saratoga Sun, May 9, 1940, in File No. 1408. WPA Collection, 

Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 

Historical Research and Publications Division, Cheyenne. 

U.S. Forest Service, letter. October 31. 1967, Box 8, MBNF 



Bear River 

Coal Company 
at Almy 

—~> ■ li'rc- - 

&■** .... .- 



by Walter R. Jones 



Almy was one of Wyoming's earliest and more influen- 
tial coal -mining communities during the last three decades 
of the 19th century. Situated on the eastern side of the 
Bear River approximately three miles north of Evanston, 
Wyoming, the Almy mines were producing nearly one- 
third of the coal mined in the Territory of Wyoming by 
1880, and by 1886, these mines accounted for 329 of the 
Territory's 1,129 coal miners. 1 The Almy mines, however, 
suffered three disastrous explosions between 1881 and 1895 
that resulted in the death of 111 miners. 2 Two of these 
explosions - 4 March 1881 and 12 January 1886 
occurred before Wyoming had enacted any sort of min- 
ing safety legislation. The purpose of this article is to 
explore the possible connection between the three Almy 
disasters and the passage and effectiveness of Wyoming's 
first coal-mining safety law which was introduced into the 
Ninth Territorial Legislature on 28 January 1886. 3 

Coal-mining operations at Almy were the result of a 
series of events that culminated in the presence of two large 
coal companies: The Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron 
Company, and the Union Pacific Coal Company. The 
Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company at Almy was 
originally the Bear River Coal Company which began to 
explore for coal in that region during the summer of 1868. 
The Bear River company opened a mine at Almy in 
September, 1868, and by 1870, had become the Rocky 
Mountain Coal and Iron Company, a firm controlled by 
the Central Pacific Railroad. An early and important per- 
son connected with the Rocky Mountain Company's Almy 
operations was Newell Beeman who started as the com- 
pany's bookkeeper in 1871 and was promoted to superin- 
tendent at Almy in 1873. The Union Pacific Coal Com- 
pany's mines were opened by Thomas Wardell, a Missouri 
miner who ran a company known as the Wyoming Coal 
and Mining Company. Being independent of the Union 
Pacific Railroad, the Wyoming Coal and Mining Com- 
pany contracted to sell its coal to the Union Pacific, but 
in 1874, the railroad took over Wardell's mines and began 
to produce the coal on its own. 4 


Several prominent people in government positions 
visited the Almy mines in the early 1870s and gave favor- 
able reports on the expanding operations that they wit- 
nessed there. Injune, 1871, Silas Reed, Surveyor General 
of Wyoming Territory, inspected the Almy mines and 
noted the names of the coal companies, the number of 
mines, the quality of coal and the markets to which the 
Almy coal was being shipped. 5 Later that year, F. V. 
Hayden, a geologist with the federal government, passed 
through Almy on his way down the Bear River Valley and 
observed similar findings. 6 Neither visitor recorded any 
negative information about the Almy mines in official 

In 1873. Rossiter W. Raymond, United States Com- 
missioner of Mining Statistics, sounded the first ominous 
warning about the hazardous mining conditions that 
existed at Almy. In describing the Almy mines in his 
annual report, Raymond commented: 

The Evanston coal is clean, and exhibits almost no stratifica- 
tion, while cross-seams are extremely numerous, so that 
undercutting is carried on at a disadvantage, and the pro- 
duction of a vast amount of slack is the consequence, which 
is filled on the lower side of the main gangways so as to level 
them. The coal, and especially the slates, containing much 
iron pyrites, and the layers of slack often being from 4 to 
5 feet thick, there is a great danger of spontaneous combus- 
tion; and the Wyoming Company intends, therefore, to hoist 
in future the greater part of the small coal and burn it on 
the surface. 7 

Two years after Raymond's report, the Union Pacific 
Coal Company's Almy Mine Number One caught on fire 
and was flooded — against the mine foreman's advice - 
to extinguish the blaze 8 Soon after this the Union Pacific 
abandoned the mine. The rest of the decade passed 
without a major mishap at Almy while the combined coal 
production of the Rocky Mountain and Union Pacific coal 
companies' Almy mines for the 1870s amounted to 
1,226,574 tons: Approximately 46% of Wyoming's coal 
production for the ten-year period. 9 

Then came Wyoming's first coal-mine disaster — the 
sixth worst in its history from 1868 to 1931 — when the 
Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company's Almy Mine 
Number Two blew up on 4 March, 1881. 10 A Salt Lake 
City newspaper report described the violent nature of the 

The gas in Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Co.'s mine No. 
2 at Almy, exploded at 8:45 last evening, throwing the flames 
many hundreds of feet high out of the main slope carrying 
away the buildings around the mouth of the shaft and set- 
ting the machinery and buildings on fire." 

Thirty-eight miners were killed: 35 Chinese and three 
white. 12 The disaster was the fourth worst in the history 
of coal mining in the United States up to 1881 .' 3 

The 1881 explosion served notice that the Almy mines 
were exceptionally dangerous. Cliff Stuart, a popular- 
history author about the Evanston area, stated that the 
Almy mines had a variety of hazards, including "fire, 
water, methane gas, explosive dust, rock faults and moun- 

tain shifts." 14 Fifteen years — and two Almy disasters — 
after the 1881 explosion, Wyoming coal-mine inspector, 
David G. Thomas, reported in chilling terms: 

The most dangerous mines in the state are the ones at Hanna, 
Red Canon [Red Canon was an extension of the Almy com- 
munity. Almy was a string of communities that dotted the 
Bear River Valley.] and Almy. These mines evolve fire-damp 
[methane gas] in large quantities, which is a continual source 
of care and anxiety on the part of the management. This 
gas is constantly oozing from the fissures in the coal and rock 
and the current of pure air required to dilute and carry it 
off is enormous. 15 

While Thomas' report implied that the coal-mine 
operators at Almy were safety-conscious people in 1896, 
evidence exists to suggest that such was not the case ten 
years earlier. Large-scale coal-mining operations in the 
United States during the latter half of the 19th century 
were highly competitive enterprises, and ample documen- 
tation can be cited to demonstrate that the coal-mine 
owners indirectly contributed to the hazards of mining 
by their disregard for safety measures. The owners' sole 
concern was often that of profit. In The History of Legisla- 
tion for the Protection of Coal Miners in Pennsylvania, 
1824-1915, Alexander Trachtenberg declared that the 
Pennsylvania mine operators were only interested in the 
amount of coal that their mines could produce. 16 William 
Graebner, author of Coal-Mining Safety in the Progres- 
sive Period: The Political Economy of Reform, concurred 
with Trachtenberg by arguing that coal-mine owners were 
economic men who were singularly concerned with high 
and low production costs in a fiercely competitive market- 
place. 17 

In translating this idea of owner neglect to the coal- 
mining-safety situation in pre-1900 Wyoming, the second 
of Almy's three mine disasters is instructive. In its article, 
"The Explosion at Almy," the Salt Lake Herald reported 
on 15 January, 1886, that 13 coal miners — 11 men and 
two boys — had been killed by an explosion in the Union 
Pacific Coal Company's Almy Mine Number Four. 18 The 
results of the explosion were devastating: On 16 January, 
1886, the Herald graphically described the mutilated con- 
dition of the slain miners and commented that the explo- 
sion's blast had dashed "everything that stood in its way 
to pieces." 19 Several months later, Newell Beeman, hav- 
ing just been appointed to the Territory's newly created 
post of coal-mine inspector, published a report that gave 
substance to the charges made by Trachtenberg and 
Graebner against mine owners. In his report, Beeman 

Until recently very little attention has been paid to ventila- 
tion in most of the mines in the Territory, the levels and rooms 
being worked without lines, and no system of ventilation or 
drainage, the main object having been to get out the coal 
at as little cost as possible, regardless of the health and safety 
of employees or the future development and operation of the 
mines. This economical policy resulted last January in an 
explosion of fire damp in one of the mines, which cost the 
lives of thirteen men. 20 


Newell Beeman, Wyoming's first inspector of coal mines. 

This was Wyoming's second coalmining disaster. 
Before an attempt can be made to assess the impact of 
the two Almy explosions on Territorial coal-mining safety 
legislation, another aspect of Almy's coal-mining history 
must be considered: The ability of the community's coal 
miners to articulate the need for mining safety laws. Here 
it is important to discuss historic features of Almy's 
economic, ethnic and religious character. 

From its beginning, Almy was a series of company- 
built mining communities that were grouped around the 
various mine openings along a sandstone bluff on the Bear 
River. 21 In 1891, Andrew Jenson, a historian for the Mor- 
mon Church, visited Almy and observed the spread-out 
nature of the community: 

The miners' cabins, which chiefly consisted of small frame 
houses containing from one to three rooms each, are built 
in clusters along the county road leading from Evanston to 
Woodruff, and form a sort of string-town nearly five miles 
long. 22 

In addition to the miners' quarters, the string of com- 
munities had other structures necessary to provide a high 
degree of self-sufficiency. After his visit to Almy in 1871, 
Silas Reed enumerated the buildings that were being con- 
structed by the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company. 
In all, Reed noted three engine houses with snow sheds, 
three blacksmith shops, two stables with corrals, a powder 
magazine, a store, an office, an ice house, a butcher shop 
and various small buildings. 23 Almy also had several 
churches, schools, a labor union hall and recreation 
facilities. 24 

A significant social characteristic within Almy's cluster 
of mining camps was its ethnic composition. Almy was, 

from approximately 1870 to the termination of its large- 
scale mining in 1900, a settlement populated mainly by 
foreign-born residents. At first, the immigrants came from 
the British Isles as revealed by the 1870 census which 
showed that nearly 70% of Almy's population was from 
England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Of the 104 names 
on the rolls for the dwellings that surrounded the Wyo- 
ming Coal Company's mine, 48 were from England, 37 
from Scotland and three from Ireland. For the 38 people 
listed as living around the Rocky Mountain Company's 
mine, 12 were from Scotland, two from Wales, and one 
each from England and Ireland. 25 

Within a year of the 1870 census, however, Almy's 
ethnic composition changed dramatically as a result of 
the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company's importa- 
tion of Chinese workers. Silas Reed reported in 1871 that 
of the Rocky Mountain Company's labor force of 230 men 
at Almy, 175 were Chinese. 26 Rossiter Raymond's 1873 
report elaborated on the trend toward the use of Chinese 
in the Rocky Mountain mines: 

The Rocky Mountain Company employs mostly Chinese, a 
sufficient number of English and American miners being 
only retained to train the former. The Wyoming Company 
employs English, Scotch, and American miners at 
Evanston. 27 

The 1880 census demonstrated the continuation of the 
employment of foreign-born miners. Of Almy's 238 coal- 
mine workers, 168 were Chinese while 37 were English, 
18 Scots, 14 Welsh and one from Ireland. 28 

By 1880, resentment against the Chinese workers in 
the United States had grown to a significantly high level. 
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was one manifesta- 
tion of this resentment while the slaying of 28 Chinese 
at Rock Springs, Wyoming, on 2 September, 1885, was 
another. In October, 1885, national labor leader, Terence 
V. Powderly, speaking to the General Assembly of the 
Knights of Labor, lashed out against the use of Chinese 
workers in American mines: 

The recent assault upon the Chinese at Rock Springs is but 
the outcome of the feeling caused by the indifference of our 
law-makers to the just demands of the people for relief. No 
man can applaud the act by which these poor people were 
deprived of their lives and homes. They were not to blame. 
They were but the instruments in the hands of men who 
sought to degrade American free labor. Had those who made 
the attack upon the Chinese at Rock Springs but singled out 
the men who smuggled them into the country and offered 
them up as a sacrifice to their own greed, I would have no 
tears to shed. 29 

Powderly's expression of a working-class antagonism 
toward the Chinese and his reference to the slayings at 
Rock Springs, Wyoming, were reflected by events at Almy 
and Evanston: Events that strongly suggest that Almy's 
white miners were conscious of and in sympathy with a 
nationwide, working-class desire to alter their working con- 
ditions. Following the outbreak of violence in Rock Springs 
on 2 September, 1885, the Union Pacific Railroad trans- 
ported many of the surviving Chinese to Evanston, Wyo- 


ming, where a large Chinese community existed imme- 
diately north of the railroad depot. 30 On 3 September, 
1885, however, Territorial Governor Francis E. Warren, 
who had traveled to Rock Springs, received a telegram 
from Sheriff J. J. LeCain of Evanston who felt that "the 
outrages at Rock Springs are liable to be repeated here." 
Warren hastened by special train to Evanston where armed 
men had gathered, prominent citizens were being threat- 
ened by anonymous letters and the white miners of Almy 
were meeting in a rented hall to demand the expulsion 
of the Chinese from the Almy mines. The governor then 
requested that the President of the United States dispatch 
federal troops to Rock Springs and Evanston, and by 5 
September, 1885, two companies of United States Infan- 
try — Company A of the Ninth Regiment and Company 
I of the 21st Regiment — were in Evanston's Chinatown 
to which all of Almy's Chinese miners had been removed. 
At Almy the coal mines were closed and white miners were 
warning the Chinese not to return lest they be shot at. 
Beckwith, Quinn and Company, the Evanston business 
firm that had provided the Chinese laborers for the Rock 
Springs and Almy mines, was warned to pay off the 
Chinese and to get them out of town. On the evening of 
8 September, 1885, and the next morning, reinforcements 
were added to the troops at Rock Springs and Evanston, 
but by this time the situation had become more peaceful. 
On 9 September, 1885, Warren notified military author- 
ities in Washington, D.C.: 

Chinamen who took refuge in Evanston when driven from 
Rock Springs are now aboard cars returning to Rock Springs 
under guard of civil officers, followed by train transporting 

Chinese miners, however, were not returned to Almy, and 
when the mines there reopened only white miners 
remained to work them. 

Not only did the Chinese incident at Rock Springs 
and Evanston reflect Almy's link to a national working- 
class consciousness, but it created the circumstances by 
which Almy developed a strong community identity based 
on ethnic origins. William Moroni Purdy, a survivor of 
Almy's disastrous 1895 explosion, described Almy's cohesive 
identity when he wrote in 1944: 

Perhaps nowhere could you find a community or a group 
of communities more closely united, being practically all 
English speaking, their religious and recreational activities 
were so closely knit, as to form with few exceptions, one huge 
family. 30 

Once the Chinese were gone from Almy, the only non- 
English speaking group of immigrants was from Finland. 
This group began to move to Almy in significant numbers 
in 1884 and it seemed to be more integrated into the com- 
munity than the Chinese had been. 31 

Religion was a major influence in the cohesiveness 
found at Almy. The four main Christian churches in the 
community were the Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran 
and Mormon. Church buildings were constructed for the 
Methodist and Lutheran groups while the Episcopalians 


maintained a Sunday school program at Almy. 32 The most 
prominent religious group at Almy, however, was the Mor- 
mon church. Mormon historian, Andrew Jenson, noted 
that his church had had 125 members in Almy in 1870 
and that by 1878, the church had established a ward 
organization with James Bowns, a coal miner from 
England, as the leading lay official. Of the thirteen miners 
killed in the Almy explosion of 12 January, 1886, at least 
eight were Mormon. In 1889, the Mormons constructed 
a large, brick meeting house at Almy near Mine Number 
Five. 33 In commenting on the construction of this building, 
a New Deal Federal Writers Project author reflected the 
ethnic-religious cohesiveness that existed in Almy during 
the late 1800s: 

They were a happy, congenial group of people, mostly 
English, Irish or Scotch, with several families of Finlanders 
and one or two Norwegians. They never failed to cooperate 
when asked for a donation. When the Mormon church was 
built, each and everyone subscribed whether he belonged 
or not. 34 

Wyoming's Ninth Territorial Legislature convened in 
Cheyenne on 12 January, 1886, less than five months after 
the Chinese massacre at Rock Springs. 35 At 11:30 that eve- 
ning the Union Pacific Coal Company's Almy Mine Num- 
ber Four blew up, killing 13 miners. 36 The disaster received 
front page coverage in the Territorial capitol's newspaper, 
The Democratic Leader, which announced that the bodies 
of two miners had been thrown out of the mine into a 
field one-half mile away. 37 All of the adult miners were 
married which meant that Almy was left with 11 widows 
and 22 fatherless children. 38 At that time, Wyoming had 
no coal-safety laws whereas 13 coal-mining states already 
had enacted such legislation. 39 Pennsylvania, which had 
passed the country's first mining safety law in 1869, was 
considered to be the most progressive state in the coun- 
try for mining legislation. 40 Delivering an opening address 
to the Territorial Legislature on 19 January, 1886, Wyo- 
ming's Governor Warren commented on the Territory's 
lack of a safety ordinance: 

Your attention is also called to the necessity of providing by 
law suitable protection for the miners against dangers aris- 
ing from improper ventilation, insufficient timbering, want 
of escapement shafts, and other accidents incident to min- 
ing underground. 41 

Warren made no specific mention of Almy, yet if he 
had any specific Wyoming coal-mining disaster in mind 
when he delivered the address, he would have had to have 
been referring to Almy because the Territory's only two 
fatal explosions to date had occurred there. 

On 20 January, 1886, Territorial Representative 
Stephen W. Downey, an attorney from Albany County, 
introduced a resolution to the Territorial House. He spoke 
directly to the recent Almy explosion and laid the blame 
upon the Territorial Legislature for its not having pre- 
viously enacted any form of coal-mining safety laws. In 
an "eloquent and forceful speech," Downey contended that 

Union Pacific Coal 

Company mine tipple 

at Almy. 

the Legislature could restore its good reputation by pro- 
viding for the financial relief of the widows from the Almy 
explosion. His resolution called for the payment of $1,000 
to each of the eleven widows. Representative John L. 
Russell, a Mormon coal miner from Almy, seconded 
Downey's resolution. Opponents to the motion were quick 
to argue that the Territory could not become "a sort of 
a father to everybody." 42 The move to compensate the Almy 
widows was defeated, but a first direct connection between 
the Almy explosion and the lack of safety legislation had 
been made. 

Before a second Almy connection could be made in 
the Territorial House, the legislators' attention turned to 
two other coal-mining concerns. On 25 January, 1886, 
Representative Isaac Whitehouse, a Rock Springs coal 
miner who had been jailed during the Chinese Massacre, 
called for a joint legislative committee to investigate the 
Chinese incident. This proposal, however, was rejected on 
the grounds that a Sweetwater County grand jury had 
already "fully and thoroughly" investigated the affair and 
that to have the Territory repeat the work would not only 
incur an unnecessary expense but would "invade the prov- 
ince" of the grand jury. 43 

On 26 January, 1886, Whitehouse next introduced a 
bill to "regulate coal weighing at mines." 44 This bill 
represented a common-concern item among coal miners 
in the United States who felt that coal companies were 
cheating them out of money by improperly weighing the 
coal that the miners produced. 45 The bill passed both 
chambers of the Legislature, but on 8 March, 1886, War- 
ren vetoed the measure. Citing the violation of civil con- 


tracts, class legislation, arbitrary treatment of Wyoming 
coal and the rendering of Wyoming coal as uncompeti- 
tive in the national marketplace, Warren's reasons for 
rejecting the bill closely resembled the arguments used 
by pro-mine-owner lobby groups in other states where coal- 
mining safety laws had been opposed. 46 

Given the conservative nature of Wyoming's Territorial 
governor and legislature in 1886 — as reflected in the 
rejection of Downey's Almy-widow resolution and White- 
house's coal -weighing bill — it is possible to conceive of 
the Ninth Territorial Legislature as an anti-coal miner 
assembly. Yet two days after the introduction of White- 
house's weighing bill, Representative John L. Russell 
presented House Bill #23: An act "regulating coal mines 
and providing for the lives, health and safety of those 
employed therein." 47 And herein resided the second con- 
nection between the Almy explosions and the passage of 
Wyoming's first coal-mining safety law. By 1886, Russell 
was a well established member of Almy and was to a great 
extent typical of his fellow residents. Early records of his 
Almy activities indicate that he was the clerk for the Mor- 
mon Church's Almy Ward. 48 The 1880 Almy census lists 
him as 27 years old, married, a coal miner and an immi- 
grant from Scotland. 49 His political influence within the 
community is attested to by the fact that he not only rep- 
resented Almy at the Ninth Territorial Legislature, but 
that he was also to be a delegate to Wyoming's Constitu- 
tional Convention in 1889 and was also to serve as a State 
Senator from 1890 to 1893. 50 As a coal miner, Russell was 
conscious of his working-class status and was assertive of 
his Almy residency. "I work for a living," he declared at 


the 1889 Constitutional Convention, "My people I repre- 
sent are a working class people." His "people," he declared, 
were "the miners of Almy." 51 

It is important to recall that the majority of Almy's 
miners were immigrants from the British Isles once the 
Chinese had been removed from the community and that 
Russell, being from Scotland, was representative of the 
town's ethnic composition. Even as late as 1900, when the 
Almy mines were being closed down, census records indi- 
cate that 63 of Almy's 108 remaining miners were from 
England, Scotland and Wales. 52 In The History of Legisla- 
tion for the Protection of Coal Miners in Pennsylvania, 
Trachtenberg emphasized the fact that many of Penn- 
sylvania's coal miners were from England, Scotland, Wales 
and Ireland, and he concluded that not only had these 
miners benefitted from an English coal-mining-safety- 
legislation movement in the 1850s but that they had 
become active supporters of a similar movement in Penn- 
sylvania in the 1860s. 53 While it cannot be proven that 
Russell was personally influenced by events in England 
or Pennsylvania, there is evidence that at least one con- 
temporary Scottish miner in Almy was said to have gained 
his reform activism from his mining experiences in Scot- 
land. This was Matthew Morrow who began to mine coal 
at age nine, then moved to the United States in 1879 and 
finally, in 1886, settled in Almy where he found the min- 
ing conditions to be "as bad or worse than they had ever 
been in Scotland." 54 Morrow became involved in miners' 
organizations at Almy and once served as the Knights of 
Labor's Master Workman for the community. 55 Therefore, 
it is reasonable to believe that the immigrant miners of 
Almy were, concerning a mining-safety movement, influ- 
enced to a significant degree by their ethnic heritage and 
that Russell, as their representative to the 1886 Legisla- 
ture, was similarly motivated to espouse protective legis- 

Once introduced House Bill #23's journey through the 
Territorial Legislature was swift and virtually uncontested 
with only scant alteration to the original text. On 11 
February, 1886, the House passed the bill on third reading 
with a vote of 21 ayes, zero nayes, and three members 
absent. In the Council the bill passed unanimously on 16 
February, 1886. 56 Then, on 21 February, 1886, four days 
before Warren signed the bill into law, Cheyenne's The 
Democratic Leader carried a front-page story under the 
headline: "A Disaster at Almy." According to the article 
Almy's Mine Number Three had just exploded while 40 
men were inside. Thirteen miners were injured, one severe- 
ly. The story claimed that several days before the explo- 
sion, miners had refused to enter the mine because of an 
accumulation of fire damp. 57 This incident was something 
of an exclamation point to the Legislature's passage of 
House Bill #23, and on 25 February, 1886, Warren signed 
the bill into law. On 6 March, 1886, Almy's John L. 
Russell, chairman of the House's Mines and Mining Com- 
mittee, reported: 

John L. Russell 


Your Committee No. 9, to whom was referred that portion 
of the Governor's message relating to mines and mining, beg 
leave to report that they have carefully considered the same 
and think the legislation already passed, with that in pro- 
gress, very fully protects the mining interests, and also the 
health and safety of those employed therein. 58 
Wyoming's new coal-mining safety law was composed 
of 23 sections, the majority of which were outlined by 
marginal notations as follows: 

Maps of mines, Each mine to have not less than two shafts 
or slopes, How outlets shall be kept. Ventilation. Fire damp, 
Mining boss — his duties, Rules to be posted. Protection of 
miners, Territorial inspector of coal mines, Inspector shall 
give bond. His duties, Inspectors' rights and duties, Acci- 
dents in mines. When territorial inspector neglects his duties, 
Appeals from decisions of inspector. Mining board. Who shall 
be employed. Penalty for violating this act. Lawful damages, 
Stretchers at mouth of mine, Special report of territorial 
inspector, Reports from mine owners to territorial inspec- 
tors, Penalties for violation of provisions of this act. 59 
Being Wyoming's first mining safety law, this act was 
not a pioneering piece of legislation. Its contents closely 
resembled Maryland's Safety Law of 1876 and Penn- 
sylvania's bituminous mine safety act of 1877. 60 Even if the 
law added nothing new, however, it did address a set of 
common problems that many coal-mining states were 
interested in: Problems such as the need for proper mine 
ventilation and two mine entrances, the advisability of 
maintaining updated maps of a mine's workings and of 
providing stretchers at the opening to each mine, and the 
importance of having a government inspector of coal 
mines. For Wyoming, the creation of the office of Ter- 
ritorial inspector of coal mines was the heart of House 
Bill #23. Sections 8-14, 19 and 20 addressed the position 
and demanded that the person filling the office have "a 
thorough knowledge of practical mining and mining engi- 
neering" and that this person not be "an employee, owner 


or part owner of any mine in the Territory." The inspec- 
tor was to be at least 30 years of age and of "good repute 
and temperate habits." His duties included the examina- 
tion of every coal mine in Wyoming at least once every 
three months "to see that all the provisions of this act are 
observed and carried out." Compensation allowed the 
inspector included an annual salary of $2,500 and travel 
expenses. 61 When a delegate to the Constitutional Con- 
vention in 1889 proposed that Wyoming save the $2,500 
salary by making the State geologist the "ex officio" mine 
inspector, John L. Russell countered: 

The position of coal mine inspector is such a one that the 
necessary knowledge is not obtained in schools, the practical 
knowledge that office demands is only obtained in coal 
mines. 62 
The coal-mine inspector's position was retained by the 
State's constitution. 63 

Although the contents of House Bill #23 added 
nothing new to the corpus of state mining-safety laws, the 
timing of the bill's passage reflected a national sequence 
of events that Trachtenberg felt to be significant: A fact 
that represents the third Almy connection. In his discus- 
sion of the passage of Pennsylvania's 1870 coal-mining 
safety law, Trachtenberg described the Avondale coal-mine 
disaster of 6 September, 1869 — in which 179 miners died 
— and commented: 

The Avondale disaster did for the miners of Pennsylvania 
what the disasters in the mining region of England had done 
for the English miners. It was largely through such wholesale 
sacrifice of lives that better legislation for the protection of 
miners was secured. 64 

Graebner, while not relating such timing to the passage 
of a specific coal-mining safety act, pursued a similar line 
of reasoning when he detailed the events that led to the 
creation of the United States Bureau of Mines in 1910. 
Noting two particular catastrophic mine explosions in 
December, 1907 Monongah, West Virginia, on 6 

December, with a death toll of 361 and Darr, Pennsylvania, 
where 239 miners were killed — Graebner concluded that 
it was this set of explosions that brought the need for better 
safety laws to the public's attention and created a demand 
for national legislation. 65 

In terms of the timing of the passage of Wyoming's 
mining safety act, Trachtenberg's sequence-of-events 
theory possesses a certain validity that provides an 
immediate-cause nexus between the Almy mine disaster 
of 12 January, 1886, and the passage of House Bill #23. 
At least one person contemporary to the actual events com- 
mented on the possible connection, and he was C. G. 
Epperson, an Evanston resident who was appointed to the 
office of Territorial inspector of coal mines on 1 October, 
1887. 66 Displaying an intricate knowledge of the mining 
situation at Almy, Epperson discussed the character of 
Almy's Mine Number Four — "a great mine was in pros- 
pect" - in his 1888-89 report and gave a vivid account 
of the results of the 12 January, 1886, explosion: 

A terrific explosion of fire-damp and coal-dust, (mine be- 
ing very dry) January 12, 1886, distroying [sic] 13 lives, all 

that were in the mine at the time, crippling the fan beyond 
use, blocking up air-ways so that they were not available, the 
fire from the explosion visiting every portion of the mine, 
and not one timber was left standing inside. 6 ' 

Then Epperson speculated on the possibility that the mine 
disaster had provided a stimulus to the swift and successful 
movement of House Bill #23 through the Ninth Territorial 

This explosion was possibly, the immediate cause of the 
passage of the Mining Law. under which the mines are at 
present conducted, as the 9th general assembly was in ses- 
sion on its occurence, [sic], and the bill was introduced and 
passed, but a few days later. 68 

Once Wyoming had enacted its mining-safety law of 
1886, nine years passed without a coal-mine disaster. Then 
on 20 March, 1895, Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Com- 
pany's Almy Mine Number Five exploded, killing 61 
miners. 69 This was Wyoming's third and worst disaster to 
date and it called into question the effectiveness of the 
State's mining-safety laws which had not been improved 
since 1886. Having been opened in 1877, Mine Number 
Five caught on fire in January, 1891, but was determined 
in 1892, to be in good repair after a new air course had 
been installed. 70 A coroner's jury which investigated the 
disaster declared that the cause of the 20 March, 1895, 
explosion was a combination of fire-damp and coal dust. 71 
The State inspector of coal mines agreed with the jury's 
conclusion and commented: 

The mine was fearfully dusty, and the miners had been work- 
ing all day, firing heavy shots, the mules tramping all day 
with loaded and empty trips. At every shot fired, and steps 
of the mules and movement of the cars, the impalpable dust 
was raised into the current of air, which averaged more than 
a thousand cubic feet per minute per man, was carried for- 
ward to every nook and crook in the mine, and all it needed 
was a strong flame to start it on its course of destruction." 

Again an Almy connection surfaced. As enacted in 
1886, Wyoming's mining-safety law had no provision for 
dealing with coal dust. Graebner noted in Coal-Mining 
Safety Legislation in the Progressive Period that once a 
state had created a mining-safety law with a mine- 
inspector clause, the new mine inspectors would soon begin 
to call for improved safety legislation. 73 This was the case 
with Wyoming. After Almy's Mine Number Five had 
exploded, State Mine Inspector David G. Thomas noted 
in his 1896 report that the Almy mines had recently 
installed water-sprinkler systems to keep down the coal 
dust. Citing the Almy improvements, Thomas 

The above mentioned mines are being well cared for in this 
respect [the use of sprinkler systems], but a provision in the 
Mining Law should be added making it compulsory to 
sprinkle with water all mines generating fire damp. This 
legislative precaution while not really needed at present, for 
reasons above stated, would enable the inspectors, in mines 
hereafter evolving fire-damp, to make recommendations 
which would prevent the dust from entering largely into the 
dangers of the mine. 74 

On 20 December, 1900, Wyoming's inspector of coal 
mines, Noah Young, filed his annual report for the year 


ending 30 September, 1900, and mentioned that the Rocky 
Mountain Coal Company had closed its Almy Mine Num- 
ber Five on 30 April, 1900, and its Almy Mine Number 
Six on 30 May, 1900, while the Union Pacific had ceased 
operating its Almy Mine Number Seven on 1 May, 1900. 75 
This was the end of large-scale coal-mining in Almy. One 
author of the New Deal era commented that these closures 
were due to the Central Pacific Railroad's converting to 
oil-burning locomotives and the Union Pacific's turning 
to other sources of "better, cheaper coal." 76 On 16 March, 
1901, Evanston's weekly newspaper, The Wyoming Press, 
reported: "Great Explosion at No. 7 Mine, Almy." 77 Stating 
that the mine had been closed for the past year, the 
newspaper noted that the explosion was the result of gas 
and commented that the mine was now "exposed to the 
ravages of fire." 

Such was a fitting end to Almy's 30 years of big- 
company coal mining. Over the last three decades of the 
19th century, Almy's mines had provided a series of 
mishaps that contributed to the passage of House Bill #23 
and then suffered further disaster that reflected the bill's 
inadequacies. As this article has attempted to demonstrate, 
the precise connection between Almy's unfortunate events 
and the enactment of Wyoming's first coal-mining safety 
law is of a direct, immediate nature. House Bill #23 was 

presented to the Ninth Territorial Legislature, then passed 
and signed by the governor into law within weeks of the 
12 January, 1886, Almy disaster. Not only did this tragic 
explosion cause a lively debate in the Territorial House 
over financial compensation for Almy's widows from the 
1886 explosion, but this debate was joined by an Almy 
miner who approved of the compensation idea and who, 
a week later, introduced House Bill #23. The bill passed 
through both chambers of the legislature so quickly that 
little record was recorded of it either in the chamber jour- 
nals or the local newspapers covering the legislature. 
Therefore, it cannot be proven at this time beyond a doubt 
that the Almy disaster was on the minds of the members 
of the Territorial Legislature at the moment they voted 
for the safety law. Reason suggests, however, that the 
timing of the explosion and the passage of the bill involve 
a logical sequence -of- events pattern that make Almy's role 
in the passage of the law critical. The merits of this logic 
are strengthened by the statements of Trachtenberg and 
Graebner who draw attention to the general connection 
between the timing of coal-mine disasters and the passage 
of safety laws. 

Beyond the immediate cause nature of Almy's link to 
House Bill #23, however, it is most difficult to provide a 
conclusive, long-term or cumulative connection between 

Aftermath of the 1895 explosion at Almy, Mine Number Five. 



events at Almy and the passage of the bill. This paper 
has explored the possible links that existed in the form 
of such events as the 4 March, 1881, Almy explosion, the 
expulsion of the Chinese from the Almy mines in 1885 

— with the resultant ethnic solidarity move in Almy 
and the opinion of a coal-mine inspector that the Almy 
mines were among the most dangerous in all of Wyoming. 
History whispers that it is reasonable to assume a profound 
cause-and-effect relationship between events at Almy and 
the passage of House Bill #23, but even without the ability 
to prove such a nexus, it is possible to demonstrate the 
fact that Wyoming's third mine explosion again at Almy 

— revealed a weakness in the states mining safety law since 
this explosion was attributed to a cause not addressed by 
the mining law. This suggests further that Almy occupied 
a most influential place in reflecting not only a need for 
coal-mining legislation, but a need for continual revision 
of the initial laws. Thus, it can be stated that Almy was 
one of the most important of Wyoming's early coal-mining 
communities: Important not in the figures of production 
or economic contributions to the Territory and State, but 
in terms of social and legal influences. 


Historic episodes sometimes are punctuated by ironic 
events which reflect the circumstances that generated the 
original episodes. Regarding John L. Russell's connection 
with House Bill #23 beyond its passage, the irony became 

On 31 March, 1886, Newell Beeman was appointed 
by Gov. Francis E. Warren to be the Territory's first 
inspector of coal mines. 78 As previously mentioned, 
Beeman had been superintendent of the Rocky Moun- 
tain Coal and Iron Company's Almy mines. Then, on 20 
August, 1886, Beeman resigned from the inspector's office 
for reasons of "important personal business." 79 Shortly 
thereafter, John L. Russell applied for the position, stating 
that he had been a coal miner for twenty years. 80 Gov. 
Warren, however, responded to Russell's application rather 
curtly and informed him that he [Russell] was ineligible 
for the position because of his having been a member of 
the legislature that had created the position. 81 Thirteen 
years later, Russell died in a coal-mine accident near Kem- 
merer, Wyoming. His death was mentioned in the coal- 
mine inspector's report of 31 December, 1899: 

John L. Russell; age 46; nativity, Scotland; occupation, sec- 
tion foreman; married, wife and seven children; killed in 
Mine No. 1 at Diamondville, Feb. 12th 1898. He had been 
in the employ of the Company about six months at the time 
of his death. This man with others, was working to extinguish 
the fire in the mine. He ventured to [sic] far and was asphyx- 
iated. Coroner's jury reported no one to blame. 82 
This is a sad conclusion to Russell's role in the passage 
and operation of House Bill #23: An act "regulating coal 
mines and providing for the lives, health and safety of 
those employed therein." 

1. U.S. Department of the Interior, Mineral Resources of the United 
States: Calendar Year 1885, (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1886), p. 73; and Carbon County Journal (Rawlins, Wyo- 
ming), July 31, 1886, p. 4. 

2. U.S. Bureau of Mines, Wyoming Coal Mine Explosions, 1881-1931, 
Information Circular, No. 6765 (April 1934), prepared by G. M. 

3. Wyoming Territorial Legislature, House, House Journal, 9th Ter- 
ritorial Legislature, 1886, p. 47. 

4. Much of the information regarding the opening of mines at Almy 
is of a confused and contradictory nature (See Appendix A). This 
author found the most useful sources regarding the initial opera- 
tions of the Rocky Mountain and Union Pacific mines to be: 
Elizabeth Arnold Stone, Uinta County: Its Place in History 
(Laramie, Wyoming: Laramie Printing Co., 1924), pp. 121-125; 
The News Register (Evanston, Wyoming), May 8, 1897; Union 
Pacific Coal Company, History of the Union Pacific Coal Mines, 
1868 to 1940 (Omaha, Nebraska: The Colonial Press, 1940), pp. 
98-100; and T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming, 2nd ed. rev. (Lin- 
coln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), pp. 113-114. 

5. Wyoming Territorial Surveyor General, Report of Silas Reed, 
Surveyor General of Wyoming Territory for the Year 1871 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1871), pp. 19-20. 

6. U.S. Department of the Interior, Preliminary Report of the United 
States Geological Survey of Montana and Portions of Adjacent 
Territories, prepared by F. V. Hayden (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1872), pp. 193-196. 

7. U.S. Treasury Department, Statistics of Mines and Mining in the 
States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains, prepared by 
Rossiter W. Raymond (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1873), pp. 369-370. 

8. Stone, Uinta County, pp. 124-125. 

9. Department of Interior, Mineral Resources, p. 73. 

10. Bureau of Mines, Wyoming Coal Mine Explosions. 

11. Salt Lake Herald, March 5, 1881, p. 1. 

12. Philip A. Kalisch, "The Woebegone Miners of Wyoming: A 
History of Coal Mine Disasters in the Equality State," Annals of 
Wyoming, (October 1970), p. 238. 

13. U.S. Bureau of Mines, Coal-Mine Fatalities in the United States, 
1870-1914, compiled by Albert H. Fay (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1916), p. 69. 

14. Cliff Stuart, "Killer Mine," Frontier Times, (February- March 
1965), p. 12. 

15. Wyo. State Inspector of Coal Mines, Annual Report of the State 
Inspector of Coal Mines for the Year Ending September 30th, 
1896, prepared by David G. Thomas (1896). 

16. Alexander Trachtenberg, The History of Legislation for the Pro- 
tection of Coal Miners in Pennsylvania, 1824-191? (New York: 
International Publishers, 1942), p. 24. 

17. William Graebner, Coal-Mining Safety in the Progressive Period: 
The Political Economy of Reform (Lexington, Kentucky: Univer- 
sity Press of Kentucky, 1976), p. 142. 

18. Salt Lake Herald, January 15, 1886, p. 8. 

19. Salt Lake Herald, January 16, 1886, p. 8. 

20. Carbon County Journal, July 31, 1886, p. 4. 

21. See Appendix A for a list of Almy mines. 

22. Andrew Jenson, "Almy Ward: Uintah [sic] County, Wyoming," 
Papers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt 
Lake City, Utah (Church Historian's Office, Microfilm reel 10591), 
p. 25. 

23. Surveyor General, Report of Silas Reed, p. 19. 

24. These facilities were often moved from location to location as a 
camp was shifted from one mine entrance to another. They were 
also improved upon as demand warranted during the 1870s and 
1880s. For examples see: Jenson, "Almy Ward." pp. 14-15, 22-23; 


Stone, Uinta County, pp. 127, 129130; Salt Lake Tribune, April 
24, 1979, p. 6A; and The Wyoming Times, March 14, 1912, p. 1. 

25. U.S. Census Bureau, Ninth United States Census, 1870: Volume 
I; Wyoming (Washington: 1870), sheet 552. 

26. Surveyor General, Report of Silas Reed, p. 19. 

27. Treasury Department, Statistics of Mines, p. 369. 

28. U.S. Census Bureau, Tenth Census of the United States, 1880; 
Volume I: Wyoming; Almy (Washington: 1880), sheet 326. 

29. Terence V. Powderly, Thirty Years of Labor, 18591889 (New York: 
Augustus M. Kelley, 1967), p. 215. 

30. All information for the Chinese massacre was taken from: Wyo- 
ming Governor, Special Report of the Governor of Wyoming to 
the Secretary of the Interior Concerning Chinese Labor Troubles 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1885), pp. 111-116; 
[Isaac H. Bromley], The Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs, 
Wyoming Territory (Boston: Franklin Press; Rand, Avery, and 
Company, 1886), p. 3; and Stone, Uinta County, p. 127. 

31. Lorenzo Groutage, Wyoming Mine Run (Salt Lake City, Utah: 
Paragon Press, 1981), p. 118. 

32. Stone, Uinta County, p. 134; and Salt Lake Tribune, April 24, 
1979, p. 6A. 

33. Stone, Uinta County, p. 129. 

34. Jenson, "Almy Ward," pp. 13, 17. 23. 25. 

35. "Organizing of Miners in Almy" (WPA Manuscript Collection, 
Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 
Cheyenne, Wyoming), #1350, p. 2. 

36. Legislature, House Journal (1886), title page. 

37. Salt Lake Herald, January 15, 1886, p. 8. 

38. The Democratic Leader, January 15. 1886, p. 1. 

39. Jenson, "Almy Ward," pp. 20-21. 

40. U.S. Bureau of Mines, Historic Summary of Coal Mine Explo- 
sions in the United States, Bulletin 586 (1960), prepared by H. B. 
Humphrey, p. 15. 

41. Graebner, Coal-Mining Safety, p. 72. 

42. Wyoming Territorial Governor, Biennial Message of Francis E. 
Warren, Governor, to the Legislature of Wyoming: Ninth 
Assembly (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Press of the Daily Sun, 1886), 
p. 8. 

43. The Democratic Leader, January 21, 1886, p. 3. 

44. Legislature. House Journal (1886), pp. 32, 76-77. 

45. Ibid , p. 36. 

46. For examples of this concern, see: Trachtenberg, History of 
Legislation, pp. 13, 88; and Katherine A. Harvey, The Best 
Dressed Miners: Life and Labor in the Maryland Coal Region, 
18351910 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969), pp. 216-220. 

47. Legislature, House Journal (1886), pp. 253-256. For examples of 
coal-mine-owner resistance to mining safety legislation see: 
Trachtenberg, History of Legislation, pp. 62-63, 88-89, 94-95. 

48. Legislature, House Journal (1886), p. 47. 

49. Jenson, "Almy Ward," p. 8. 

50. Census Bureau, Tenth Census, sheet 326. 

51. Marie H. Erwin, Wyoming Historical Blue Book (Denver, Col- 
orado: Bradford-Robinson Printing Company, 1946), p. 641. 

52. Wyoming Constitutional Convention, Journal and Debates of the 
Constitutional Convention of the State of Wyoming (Cheyenne, 
Wyoming: The Daily Sun Book and Job Printing, 1893), pp. 250, 

53. U.S. Census Bureau, Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900: 
Wyoming, Schedule No. 1 — Population: Volume 3 (Washington: 

54. Trachtenberg, History of Legislation, pp. 26-27. 















"Organizing of Miners in Almy," p. 1. 

Wyoming Labor Journal (Cheyenne, Wyoming), August 31, 1917, 
p. 21. 

Legislature, House Journal (1886), pp. 47, 80, 83, 97, 127. 
The Democratic Leader, February 21, 1886, p. 1. 
Wyoming Territory, Session Laws of Wyoming Territory Passed 
by the Ninth Legislative Assembly Convened at Cheyenne on the 
Twelfth Day of January, 1886 (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Vaughn and 
Montgomery, Printers and Binders, n.d), p. 57; and Legislature, 
House Journal (1886), pp. 238-239. 
Wyoming. Session Laws (1886), pp. 44-57. 
For Maryland's law see: Harvey, Best Dressed Miners, p. 210. Since 
its first coal-mining safety law — Schuylkill County Ventilation 
Act of 1869 — Pennsylvania progressively revised its safety regula- 
tions. In 1870, after a disaster at Avondale, the state passed a 
second and more comprehensive ventilation act. Then, in 1877, 
after seven years of legislative debate, the state enacted a law "pro- 
viding for the means of securing the health and safety of persons 
employed in the bituminous mines of Pennsylvania." Additional 
revisions were made in 1885, 1889 and 1893. See: Trachtenberg, 
History of Legislation, pp. 32-35, 41-45, 72-73. 106-115, 135, 

Wyoming, Session Laws (1886), pp. 50-51. 
Constitutional Convention, Journal and Debate, p. 853. 
Ibid., Constitution section, p. 36. 
Trachtenberg, History of Legislation, p. 37. 
Graebner, Coal-Mining Safety, pp. 11-15. 

Wyoming Territorial Inspector of Coal Mines, Report for Oct. 
1, 1888 to Sept. 30, 1889, prepared by C. G. Epperson, p. 17. 
Ibid., p. 18. 
Ibid., p. 18. 

Wyoming State Inspector of Coal Mines, Annual Report: Inspector 
of Coal Mines of Wyoming, 1895, prepared by David G. Thomas 
(Year ending 30 Sept. 1895). 

Wyoming State Inspector of Coal Mines, Biennial Report of State 
Inspector of Coal Mines to John E. Osborne, Governor of the State 
of Wyoming, prepared by David G. Thomas (7 April 1893), pp. 

State Inspector, Annual Report (1895). 

Graebner, Coal-Mining Safety, pp. 4-5. 

Wyoming State Inspector of Coal Mining, Annual Report of the 
State Inspector of Coal Mines for the Year Ending September 30th, 
1896, prepared by David G. Thomas. 

Wyoming State Inspector of Coal Mines, The Report of the State 
Inspector of Coal Mines for the Current Year Ending September 
30th, 1900, prepared by Noah Young. 
"Organizing of Miners at Almy," p. 4. 
The Wyoming Press, March 16, 1901, p. 1. 
Carbon County Journal, July 31, 1886, p. 4. 
Beeman to Warren, August 20, 1886, Francis E. Warren Collec- 
tion, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie, 

Russell to Warren, September 10, 1886. Francis E. Warren Col- 
lection, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, 
Laramie, Wyoming. 

Warren to Russell, October 4, 1886. Francis E. Warren Papers, 
Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department, 
Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

Wyoming State Inspector of Coal Mines, Office of State Coal Mine 
Inspector for Wyoming, December 31, 1899, for Year Ending 30th 
September 1899, prepared by Noah Young. 

Coal mines at Almy, Wyo. 






Wyoming Coal Co., succeeded by Union Pacific Coal Co 


Before 1888 


Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Co 

June, 1869 



Union Pacific Coal Co 

1880 . 

May, 1887. 
November, 1888. 
Still Operating. 
About 1901. 
April, 1900. 





Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Co 

August, 1869 



First, April, 1871; second, 1888 



Union Pacific Coal Co 


Number of Mines Located at Almy 



An early account of the initiation of mining at Almy appeared 
in a News Register article on 8 May 1897. According to the article, 
the following events led to the opening of Almy's first mines: 

- Means and Shafer, two men dispatched by Union Pacific civil 
engineer. Major Lawrence, discovered coal in the Almy area and filed 
separate coal-mining claims. 

- Shafer sold his claim to Lawrence who formed a partnership 
with Means and several other men. They created the Bear River Coal 

- The Bear River Coal Company opened Almy's first coal mine 
in September, 1868. 

- In November, 1868, Thomas Wardell sent a party of miners 
to Almy. By December, he was operating a coal mine 1,000 feet south 
of the Bear River Coal Company's mine. 

- Soon after Wardell began his Almy mining operation, 
Lawrence ran him out of Almy. 

- Wardell returned with a group of armed men and regained 
his property. 

- Soon after Wardell had reappeared, the Bear River Coal Com- 
pany was taken over by a Cheyenne mining company called the Rocky 
Mountain Coal Company. 

- As the Bear River company's Almy properties were being 
turned over to the Rocky Mountain Coal Company, Lawrence repos- 
sessed Wardell's land with the aid of a Salt Lake law officer, and then 
gave Wardell's property to the Rocky Mountain Coal Company. 

- Wardell's former mine later became known as the Rocky Moun- 
tain Coal and Iron Company's Mine Number One. 

- Wardell then opened a mine at Almy for the Wyoming Coal 
and Mining Company. This mine was designated as the Wyoming Mine 
Number One. 

- The Wyoming Coal and Mining Company also opened the 
Wyoming Coal and Mining Company's Mine Number Two which 
became known as the Hinton Mine after William Hinton, a superinten- 
dent for the Wyoming company, took over the mine to operate for 

- In May, 1869, Henry Simon began to excavate the Rocky 
Mountain Coal Company's Mine Number One. 

- In January, 1870, the Rocky Mountain Coal Company became 
the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company, an enterprise that was 
soon to be controlled by men such as Charles Crocker who were con- 
nected to the Central Pacific Railroad. 

- In 1871, the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company opened 
Mine Number Three. 

- Newell Beeman, who began as a bookkeeper for the Rocky 
Mountain Coal and Iron Company, became the firm's superintendent 
at Almy in 1873. In 1886, he resigned the superintendent's position 
but later became the company's general manager. 

According to History of the Union Pacific Coal Mines, the Union 
Pacific's Almy mines encountered the following history: 

- Wyoming Mine; opened by Thomas Wardell in February, 1869, 
taken over by the Union Pacific Coal Company in 1874 and closed 
because of a fire in 1875. 

- Hinton Mine; opened in 1869 by William Hinton and Michael 
Quealy and closed in 1874 when the Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron 
Company "holed" into it. 

- Windsor Mine; opened in 1874 when the Hinton Mine was 
closed, and was holed into by the Union Pacific in 1877. 

- Mine Number Four: opened in 1875 by the Union Pacific and 
closed in 1888 after a fire broke out, killing four miners. 

- Mine Number Three; opened by the Union Pacific in 1880 
and abandoned because of squeeze in May, 1888. 

- Mine Number Seven; opened by the Union Pacific in 1888 and 
closed in 1900. 


Interior Department geologist. A. C. Veatch, did an extensive 
study of the geology of the Almy area during the summer of 1905. 
Included in his subsequent reports was information on the number 
and locations of the Almy mines. Above is a chart he provided in his 
1907 report: 


In 1918, the Union Pacific Railroad resurveyed its line to Almy 
and noted the location of the following mines (listed in sequence from 
the southern most mine to the northern most): 

- Mine No. 3; UP. 

- Mine No. 3.5; UP. -Old Wyoming Mine 

- Mine No. 2; R.M.C.&I. Co. 

- Mine No. 4; Thomas Opening 

- Mine No. 4; U.P. 

- Mine No. 4.5; UP. -Being operated by the Bear River Coal 

- Mine No. 5; R.M.C.&I. Co. 

- Mine No. 6; R.M.C.&I. Co. 

- Mine No. 7; U.P. 

- Mine No. 8; R.M.C.&I. Co. 



Forging New Rights in Western Waters. By Robert 
G. Dunbar. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1983.) Index. Illus. 217 pages. Cloth, $19.95. 

For a resource that is as vital to an entire region, and 
a lasting topic for political rhetoric and editorial com- 
ment, it is amazing how little scholarly research and 
writing has been done on western water, its usage, develop- 
ment and legal and property status. Professor Robert Dun- 
bar's new and excellent book. Forging New Rights in 
Western Waters, is long overdue, and should be required 
reading for Westerners who want a better understanding 
of the arid region's vanishing water resources. 

Professor Emeritus at Montana State University and 
formerly associate professor at Colorado State University, 
Dunbar's research into western water spans more than 40 
years, and the data is meticulously accurate and lucidly 
presented. Dunbar develops his theme in the traditional 
chronological manner, discussing the distinct geographical 
conditions of the contiguous western states, all of that vast 
area west of the eastern boundaries of the Dakotas, 
Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, to introduce his 
theme. The first settlers in this arid region immediately 
recognized the overwhelming need, because of the 
geographical conditions, to develop new schemes for water 
usage and legal controls for the water. The book relates 
their efforts to accomplish this and many of the ramifica- 
tions involved. 

Of particular interest to Wyomingites, and significant 
to understanding water management throughout the West, 
are the chapters dealing with the development of the 
Wyoming system of water management and control, and 
the diffusion of the basic elements of the system to other 
western states. Elwood Mead, the first Wyoming Territorial 
Engineer and State Engineer, is credited with being the 
father of the Wyoming system, which declared water to 
be public property and placed its management under an 
administrative board, rather than in the courts as had 
been first done in the western territories and states. Mead's 
role and contributions to national water policy, after his 


departure from Wyoming, are noted throughout the text. 

The book explores the involvement of the federal 
government with western water resources, both positively 
and negatively. The development of a national reclama- 
tion policy, beginning with federal surveys of western lands, 
the enactment by Congress of the Desert Land Act, the 
Carey Act, and the Reclamation Act of 1902 is traced. 
The federal government's part in developing rights to 
interstate waters in the west, first through litigation in the 
federal court system, and then through a leadership role, 
resulting in the many compacts which divide the waters 
of interstate streams and rivers is analyzed at length. Nor 
does the book neglect the current relationships between 
the western states and the federal government, the con- 
cerns of the states with recent federal assertions to rights 
in western waters. 

Forging New Rights in Western Waters is must reading 
for Westerners who have concerns about the West's most 
precious resource, water. Our future depends upon its 
careful management. 

James Donahue 

The reviewer is the Archives Research Supervisor for the State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department. 

Women of the West. By Cathy Luchetti in col- 
laboration with Carol Olwell. (St. George, Utah: 
Antelope Island Press, 1982). Appendix. Chronol- 
ogy. Footnotes. Bibliography. Photographic 
sources. 240 pp. $25.00. 

Women of the West is a tribute to the ordinary wife, 
mother and pioneer woman who contributed significantly 
to western settlement. This work does not chronicle the 
Jessie Benton Fremonts or the Narcissa Whitmans, but 
rather the common women whose stories have been told 
only in brief lines and passages. 

Keeping a low editorial profile, Luchetti and Olwell 
have utilized letters, diaries and a vast selection of 
photographs to document the lives of eleven of these 
women and lift them from the shadows and obscurity of 
unrecorded history. « 

The photographs tell the truth of the westward migra- 
tion. It stares out at the reader through the squinting eyes 
of gaunt, sunburned faces that reflect the hardships these 
women endured with patience and fortitude. These are 
not the faces of the famous or the infamous, but portraits 
of the everyday women who came West in search of their 
own dreams or in support of their husband's quest for a 
new and better life. 

Each woman portrayed in this book is able to touch 
the audience with her feelings of fatigue, trauma, failed 
expectations. As well, there were the bright happy times 
of excitement and gaiety. Through each woman's in- 
dividual words we are transported back in time to the 
covered wagon and the soddie house on the prairie. We 
are with her as she "aids the sick, delivers the babies and 
buries the dead. Her stock of folk remedies is complete 
and her value inestimable.'' 

There is particular emphasis on minority women 
- Native Americans, Blacks, Chinese and Japanese. 
Luchetti's research sadly reveals that "first-hand material 
from these women is rare. They were often illiterate and 
seldom encouraged by their cultures to record their 
thoughts. Like all women who came West, they were 
challenged by the times and did what they could to sur- 
vive." Their problems were even more remarkable than 
those of their white sisters due to language barriers and 
ethnic discrimination. 

Women of the West is lavishly illustrated with over 
140 meticulously chosen photographs that not only 
enhance the text, but in many ways surpass it. They stand 
as the record of an era and speak as a silent agency bring- 
ing to light women's role in building a new empire on the 
distant borderlands of the frontier. Olwell is to be com- 
mended on the excellent selection of prints that along with 
Luchetti's text, allows us to view the westward migration 
in its blunt reality. 

This work serves as a well deserved tribute that will 
give the audience a new sense of appreciation for the 
pioneer women in the western march for settlement. 

Thelma Crown 

Men of the Steel Rails: Workers on the Atchison, 
Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, 1869-1900. By James 
H. Ducker. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1983). Index, Bib., Illus., 220 pp. S17.95. 

In Men of the Steel Rails author James H. Ducker, 
a historian with the Bureau of Land Management in 
Alaska, presents a remarkably vivid portrait of the com- 
mon men who people the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 
Railroad in the final third of the 19th century. Corporate 
histories of railroads like the Santa Fe abound, but until 
now no one has cared to give but a cursory glance to those 
thousands of workers who built and maintained these 
roads, switched the cars, fired the engines, or sweated in 
the shops. Nor for that matter has it been possible to ap- 
preciate the varied sacrifices of the families left behind 
when their railroadmen were called back for extra duty. 
Sunday work, or to those seemingly countless other 
absences standard to the occupation. 

Ducker tells of this and more with ease. Although he 
is especially adept at telling about the common railroader, 
like " 'Dad' McKanna passing out cigars when his repaired 
engine emerged from the shop. Jack Meierdick's daily trek 
between the Florence station and his rural farm, Tom 
Foley's drinking spree and El Paso Special,' and George 
Hill's sacrifice of a promotion to a passenger run in order 
to have more time with his family," Men of the Steel Rails 
is as much a comprehensive examination of the many 
other factors and influences bearing on the lot of these 
dedicated workers. He analyzes the lure of railroading: 
Santa Fe's recruitment, discipline, and paternalistic 
policies; railroad towns; the Brotherhood movement; and 
early employee related strikes. The sum is an engrossing 
and unique look at railwaymen's lives, and an in-depth 
consideration of labor relations in the late 19th century. 

Conclusions will logically be drawn from Men of the 
Steel Rails to be applied to the workers of America's other 
great railroads, particularly the transcontinentals. Alas. 
as yet there are no comparable comprehensive studies of 
the thousands of Chinese who built the Central Pacific 
Railroad, or the uniquely diverse crews who toiled on the 
early Union Pacific. Until these needed examinations 
appear, Ducker's book will stand alone, serving as an 
important measure for all future works in the field. 

Paul L. Hedren 

The reviewer is Oral History Superi'isor at Archives, Museums and 
Historical Department. 

The reviewer is the Xational Park Sendee historian at Golden Spike 
National Historic Site, Promontory, Utah. 


Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. (The Jour- 
nals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Volume 
1). Edited by Gary E. Moulton. (Lincoln: Univer- 
sity of Nebraska Press, 1983). Bibliographical 
References. List of Maps. 23 p. [151] p. of plates, 
including 134 maps. Cloth, $100.00; $85.00 when 
a standing order is placed for all future volumes 
in the series. 

On May 14, 1804, Captains Meriwether Lewis and 
William Clark left the area that is now St. Louis with an 
expedition force of approximately 50 men and embarked 
on the first, and one of the most successful, government 
explorations. The expedition force explored the lands of 
the Louisiana Purchase, traced the Missouri River to its 
source, crossed the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia 
River and the Pacific Coast, and returned to St. Louis 
on September 23, 1806. During the 28 months of the ex- 
pedition, Lewis, Clark and four enlisted men gathered, 
compiled, and recorded a wealth of material and infor- 
mation. The maps of the expedition's outbound and 
inbound routes represent a major portion of the six men's 
efforts. Clark, the principal cartographer, drew the maps 
with great care and accuracy from direct observations and 
reports of Indians and fur traders along the way. These 
maps are contained in the Atlas of the Lewis & Clark 
Expedition, the first volume of the new edition of The 
Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, a projected 
eleven volume set. 

It has been almost 80 years since The Original Jour- 
nals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Reuben 
Gold Thwaites, were published in 1904-05. The need for 
a new edition of the journals has been realized for some 
time due to advances in editorial and publishing tech- 
niques and much new manuscript material that has been 
uncovered since Thwaites' edition. This new edition will 
bring together all of this material in its entirety and cor- 
rect order. 

Gary E. Moulton, editor, has compiled an atlas that 
is a complete and definitive set of maps produced on the 
expedition, accompanied by maps produced before and 
after the expedition. The Atlas is a collection of high 
quality, map facsimiles - 115 of the maps were photo- 
graphed directly by the printer. The volume contains 129 
historical maps, 42 never before published. Of these, 34 
are accurate copies of Clark's maps that represent about 
900 miles of the expedition. The size of the Atlas (13.5 
inches x 19.5 inches) permits 118 of the maps to be 
reproduced at their full, original size. In two instances, 
in addition to the individual maps, a mosaic of maps has 
been created, photographed, and reduced and provides 
a small-scale, composite map of a particular region dur- 
ing the expedition. 

Five new reference maps were drawn for the Atlas. 
Two show the entire outbound and inbound routes of the 
expedition and three serve as map indexes to the entire 


historic map collection. A north arrow and the dates of 
the expedition are provided for each route map on every 

The eleven page introduction, which contains 142 
annotated notes and references, provides an excellent over- 
view and cartographic history of the expedition. The 
"Calendar of Maps" is a complete listing of the 134 maps 
in the volume and provides the date of the map, the size, 
a brief description, the abbreviation of the collection 
where the original map is located (The seven abbrevia- 
tions and complete name and location of the collections 
are listed at the beginning of the "Calendar"), and 
references to the corresponding map number in the 
Thwaites' edition, when applicable. 

The only flaw, and it is a minor one, pertains to six- 
teen maps, each covering two pages. Some detail and con- 
tinuity from one page to the next is lost due to the binding. 

This atlas is a beautiful and well-constructed volume, 
using quality paper and binding. It will prove to be an 
essential reference tool for any library or individual 
interested in the American West or Lewis and Clark. It 
is highly recommended for all academic libraries and all 
but the smallest of public libraries. However, as mentioned 
above, it is an essential purchase well worth the price for 
any size library that has a collection on the American 

James Walsh 

The reviewer is the Maps/ Documents Librarian at Coe Library, Univer- 
sity of Wyoming, Laramie. 

"Cheyenne, Cheyenne, . . ." Our Blue-Collar 
Heritage. By Gladys Powelson Jones. (Cheyenne: 
Frontier Printing, Inc., 1983) Maps, Illus. Index. 
Bib. 220 pp. $11.55 

Area history has matured from the fad and trend stage 
and is now a serious discipline, regarded with deserved 
respect by scholars and researchers alike. When no less 
a prestigious organization like the American Association 
for State and Local History publishes a "how to" book on 
local history, one senses that area history is an accepted 
approach to the permanent chronicling of our nation's 

Gladys Powelson Jones has admirably accomplished 
this in "Cheyenne, Cheyenne, . . ." Our Blue-Collar 
Heritage. It is, in short, the story of the south side of 
Cheyenne -- an area where the residents of the state's 
capital lived, played, worked, laughed, sorrowed and were 
educated. Mrs. Jones, who migrated from North Dakota in 
1921 to live in south Cheyenne has recorded with remark- 
able clarity and understanding the lifestyle of a younger 

and saucier city. She admires and respects the past of that 
portion of the city, but manages to do so without undue 
sentimentality or maudlin-colored verbiage. 

Perhaps one of the most outstanding aspects of her 
story is that she has captured the concept of "neighbor- 
hood" that once existed in Cheyenne and other cities of 
similar size. Each area of towns all throughout America 
had neighborhood grocers, milliners, laundries, dairies 
and other such shops. There were fire stations, sometimes 
serving as the social center of the neighborhood. These 
town areas or geographic precincts also had churches, 
dutifully attended by close-by residents and also serving 
as social centers. 

The author also acknowledges the rich ethnic com- 
position of south Cheyenne, where Blacks, Scandinavians, 
Germans, Japanese, Greeks, Hispanics and Germans from 
Russia all lived side by side, working to educate their 
children and working to insure that life in the new coun- 
try was indeed a dream-come-true. 

Thorough research is the foundation of the book, and 
all the information in it is as accurate as documents and 
oral interviews can guarantee. It stands as a solid history 
of a portion of Cheyenne. Just the same, it has been writ- 
ten with a sense of humor and the anecdotal material is 
just as relevant to the book as the scholarly work that went 
into it. It is this reviewer's firm conviction that Mrs. Jones 
believes that history should be enjoyable. She has suc- 
ceeded admirably in her work. 

Also evident, is her respect for education and 
educators — and Wyoming has produced some remark- 
able individuals in this area. While the Equality State may 
exist in isolated grandeur, its people are by no means 
ignorant or unaware of the world in which they live. Our 
literacy, ability to perceive and retain are second to none, 
and we in Wyoming can stand toe to toe with savants from 
anywhere. Gladys Powelson Jones has obviously enjoyed 
a good education in the Cheyenne school system and is 
cognizant of the fine experience she had. Again, she 
delivers proper kudos without mawkishness or syrupy 
nostalgia. She simply recognizes superior educators in a 
system that produced fine contributing young people for 
its community. 

It is a good read. Perhaps, it can be used as a format 
by aspiring authors who want to write about their town 
— or their part of town. It was hard work for Mrs. Jones. 
But again, she believes history should be enjoyable and 
it is easy to see that she enjoyed her task. 

William H. Barton 

The reviewer is Editor of Annals of Wyoming. 

Overland to California in 1859: A Guide for 
Wagon Train Travelers. Compiled and edited by 
Louis M. Bloch, Jr. (Bloch and Company, 
Cleveland , Ohio, 1983.) Index and Illustrations. 
64 pages. Cloth, $9.95. 

Initially considering this collection of excerpts from 
five mid-19th century publications, this reviewer thought 
the editor might have intended this assemblage for those 
to whom it was dedicated: ". . . to those unsung heros [sic] 
and heroines, the horses, mules and oxen. . . ." (Dedica- 
tion) However, further reflection revealed some -- not 
many, but some — redeeming qualities, among a host of 
the other kind. 

The apparent purpose of these vignettes was to 
acquaint the reader with the ordeal ahead of our hearty 
pioneers who sought to traverse the awesome Great Plains, 
mountains and deserts separating civilization east of the 
Mississippi from the wondrous California and Oregon. The 
four month overland journey was fraught with danger 
from countless sources and the chances of success were 
exponentially enhanced by knowledgeable preparation, 
about which the book is intended to initiate the reader. 

The book extracted material from Captain Randolph 
B. Marcey's The Prairie Traveler, (1859) dealing with 
choosing a route, organization of a company, supplies and 
clothing, camping, litters, marching, camp selection and 
protection, river fording, Indians and Indian fighting. 
Edward Everett Hale's Kanzas and Nebraska, (sic) (1854), 
was quoted for a description of those areas and Utah des- 
cribed in either the editor's own words or from excerpts 
from States and Territories of the Great West, (1856), 
which the editor claims to quote but, no reference was 
observed by this reviewer. The Annals of San Francisco 
and the History of California, was cited for a description 
of the discovery of gold in that area and its consequences. 

Lack of footnotes and only sufficient source documen- 
tation to keep the perpetrators innocent of blatant pla- 
giarism, disqualify this manuscript as any serious piece 
of resource material. The prints and maps were mentioned 
in the preface as coming from the aforementioned four 
books but, there was no clue as to which. Drawings could 
have come from anywhere and two of the primary sources 
apparently had no author. Punctuation was casual at best. 
Advertisements were reproduced from The United States 
Commercial Register, (1852). There was included a brief 

Beginning students of history could benefit from the 
material and the brevity of the passages might serve a 
motivated teacher as a stimulus for classroom discussion 
or more detailed group or individual research. It could 
also serve as an example of improper and/or non-existent 

Bernice Swartz 

The reviewer is an educator at Pioneer Park School in Cheyenne. 


Kings of the Hill: Power and Personality in the 
House of Representatives. By Richard B. Cheney 
and Lynne V. Cheney (New York: The Continuum 
Publishing Company, 1983). Index. Bibliography. 
Notes. Illustrations. 226 pp. $14.95. 

Strong leadership in as large and unwieldy an institu- 
tion as the U.S. House of Representatives is never easy, 
and oftentimes impossible. However, in Kings of the Hill, 
Richard and Lynne Cheney chronicle the careers of eight 
representatives who did manage to build and maintain 
coalitions in the House, thus enabling them to control it 
for a time. 

All of the eight representatives had a direct influence 
on the evolution of power in the House. Henry Clay trans- 
formed the position of Speaker of the House from a cere- 
monial post into a power center which he used "to propel 
the country" into the War of 1812. By the 1830s, when 
James K. Polk became speaker, strong political parties had 
formed and Polk used his position to accomplish the goals 
set by President Andrew Jackson. Although Thaddeus 
Stevens never became speaker, he gathered enough power 
as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee 
which enabled him to pose a formidable challenge to 
President Andrew Johnson, which the Cheneys believe, 
almost altered our form of government. The speaker from 
1869-1875, James G. Blaine, who was not hesitant "about 
using the speakership to work his legislative will," wanted 
to become president, but was tainted by the charge of 
"financial dishonor." 

Joe Reed, speaker from 1889-1891, and 1895-1899, 
brought about with his knowledge of rules and pro- 
ceedings, "the most revolutionary changes ever accom- 
plished in the institution's way of doing business." The most 
powerful speaker, "Uncle" Joe Cannon (1903-1911), wit- 
nessed the speakership grow weaker and weaker, and by 
the time he left the House, "the office that had made him 
famous was as powerless as it had been in the nation's 

beginnings." Nicholas Longworth (1925-1931), however, 
reversed the decline begun by Joe Cannon and restored 
the speakership to its previous powerful position. Finally, 
Kings of the Hill details the importance of Sam Rayburn's 
tenure as speaker. Under Rayburn, the House voted to 
expand the Rules Committee, and although this did not 
increase the speaker's power, "it would eventually make 
the house less able to prevent liberal administrations from 
having theirs." According to the Cheneys, Lyndon Johnson's 
Great Society would not have been possible without this 

Kings of the Hill tells the fascinating story of the inner- 
workings of the House of Representatives by focusing on 
eight strong leaders. The Cheneys then go on to lament 
the lack of strong leadership or centralized power in the 
House today, and see this as the main problem confron- 
ting the institution. "Today's Congress members find it 
extremely difficult to say no to interest groups that besiege 
them. Political action committees and propaganda 
machines make it even more difficult for them than for 
their predecessors, and there is no strong leadership to 
ease the burden." The authors, however, have not lost hope 
entirely. They believe that some members, who are frus- 
trated by the institution, yet also love it, will attempt to 
control it, "and some few will succeed." 

After each chapter there are bibliographies and notes 
sections. The notes are somewhat unusual in that they are 
not marked in the text and are only listed by page number 
in the notes section. This, however, does not detract from 
this enjoyable, well-written book about an institution 
which too often is disregarded in discussions of the leader- 
ship of our nation. 

Rick Ewig 

The reviewer is Senior Historian for Archives, Museums & Historical 



Alcorn, Gay Day, "The Great Commoner of Carbon County," 34-38, 

biog., 74 
Almy Mine Number One, 56 
Almy Mine Number Two, 56 
Almy Mine Number Four, 56, 61 
Almy Mine Number Five, 61; photo, 62 
Almy Mine Number Seven, 62 
Almy, Wyoming, 55-65 

American Association of University Professors, 24, 27 
Arnold, Thurman, 25 
Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, (The Journals of the Lewis 

and Clark Expedition, Volume 1), edited by Gary E. Moulton, 

review. 68 


Barclay, Frank, 46 

Barton, William H., review of "Cheyenne, Cheyenne . . ." Our Blue 

Collar Heritage, 68-69 
Bear River Coal Company, 55 
Beckwith, Quinn and Company, 58 
Beeman, Newell, 55-56, 63; photo, 57 
Big Horn Hot Springs, 8 
Bloch, Louis M., Jr., Overland to California in 1859: A Guide for 

Wagon Train Travelers, review, 69 
Bozeman Trail, 3-4 
Brooks, Bryant B., 10, 35, 38 
Bryan, William Jennings, 35-38; photo, 34 
Bureau of Indian Affairs, 8-9 
Bussard, C. H. "Charlie," 40 

Campbell, John A., 4-5, 8; photo, 8 

Campbell. Ruth, 24 

Canyon Junction, 13 

Carbon Timber Company, 42, 47-48, 50-51 

Carter, Levi, 40 

CCC Camp 581, YNP-2, 13 

CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp.), 12-21 

Chambers Lake, Colorado, 39 

Chambers, Robert, 39 

Chatterton, Fenimore, 9-10 

"Cheyenne, Cheyenne ..." Our Blue Collar Heritage, by Gladys 
Powelson Jones, review, 68-69 

Cheyenne, Wyoming, 3-4, 39, 47; photo, 5 

Clemmons, Charles P., 35-36; photo, 37 

Cheney, Lynne V., Kings of the Hill: Power and Personality in the 
House of Representatives, review, 70 

Cheney, Richard B., Kings of the Hill: Power and Personality in the 
House of Representatives, review, 70 

Chinese, 57-58 

Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882, 57 

Cles, Raymond, 16 

"Coal Mine Explosions at Almy, Wyoming: Their Influence on Wyo- 
ming's First Coal Mining Safety Laws," by Walter R. Jones, 55-65 

Coal Miners, 55-65 

Coe and Carter Company, 40, 42, 45-46, 51 

Coe and Coe, 46 

Coe, Frank E., 46 

Coe, Gen. Isaac, 40 

Coe, William Robertson, 28-30; photo, 28 

Conwell, R. E., 26 

Crain. Lucille Cardin, 28 

Craven, J. Howard, 27 

Crofts, Alfred, 27 

Crown. Thelma, review of Women of the West, 66-67 

Cunningham, Dr. P.M., 23, 25-26 

Custer, George Armstrong, 5-6 


Daniel, Glen R., 25 

Davis, Louis G. , 35 

Dawes Act of 1887, 8 

Dawson Brothers, 40 

DelMonte, H. D., 23 

Dies, Sen. Martin, 23 

Donahue, James, review of Forging New Rights in Western Waters, 66 

Douglas Creek Tie Camp Company, 50 

Downey, Stephen W. , 58 

Ducker, James H., Men of the Steel Rails: Workers on the Atchison, 

Topeha & Santa Fe Railroad, 1869-1900, review, 67 
Dunbar, Robert G., Forging New Rights in Western Waters, review, 66 

Emergency Work Act, (CCC), 13 
Encampment, Wyoming, 35-36 
Englehard, William M., 36 
Epperson, C. G., 61 
Evanston, Wyoming, 56, 58 

Ewig, Rick, review of Kings of the Hill: Power and Personality in the 
House of Representatives, 70 

Federal Peace Commission, 3 

Fetterman Massacre of 1866, 3 

Forging New Rights in Western Waters, by Robert G. Dunbar, review, 


Laramie Treaty of 1868, 4-6 

McKinney, 7 

Phil Kearny, 4 

Reno, 4 

Sanders, 40 

C. F. Smith, 4 

Steele, 43, 46-47, 51 
Foxpark Lumber Company, 50-51 
Foxpark Tie and Timber Workers Union, 42 

Giesecke, John W , 27 

Gilman and Carter, 39-40 

Gilman, John, 40 

Graebner, William, 56, 61 

Gramm, Otto, 50-51 

Grant, Ulysses S., 5 

"The Great Commoner of Carbon County," by Gay Day Alcorn, 34-38 

Gustin, Bruce, 25 



Hale. William, 7 

Hamilton, R. R., 24 

"Handhewn Ties of the Medicine Bows," by Robert G. Rosenberg, 

Hanna, Wyoming, 56 

Hayden, F. V., 56 

Hedren, Paul L., review of Men of the Steel Rails: Workers on the 
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad 1869-1900, 67 

Hewitt, William, "The University of Wyoming Textbook Investiga- 
tion Controversy, 1947 to 1948 and Its Aftermath," 22-33, biog., 

Hoyt, John, 6-7 

Humphrey, George Duke, 23-24, 26-30: photo, 25 

Hunt, Gov. Lester C, 28 


"Indians and Politicians: The Origins of a Western' Attitude Toward 

Native Americans in Wyoming 1868-1906." by Steven C. Schulte, 

INDIANS -Chiefs and Individuals 

Joseph, 21 

Red Cloud, 3-4 

Sitting Bull, 9 

Washakie, 2-3, 6. 9: photo, 3 
INDIANS -Tribes 

Arapahoe. 2, 4, 6-7, 9 

Cheyenne, 7 

Crow, 7 

Nez Perce, 21 

Shoshone. 2, 4, 6-7. 9 

Sioux. 3-7, 9 
Influenza Epidemic, 48-50 

Jenson, Andrew, 57 
Jones, Gladys Powelson, "Cheyenne, Cheyenne ..." Our Blue Collar 

Heritage, review, 68-69 
Jones, Marshall. 27 
Jones, Walter R , "Coal Mine Explosions at Almy, Wyoming: Their 

Influence on Wyoming's First Coal Mining Safety Laws," 55-65: 

biog. 74 


Kimmett. Leo. "Life in a Yellowstone CCC Camp," 12-21; photos, 
14, 18, 21; biog.. 74 

Kinegar, Louise. 27 

Kings of the Hill: Power and Personality in the House of Represen- 
tatives, by Richard B. Cheney and Lynne V. Cheney, review, 70 

Knights of Labor, General Assembly, 57 

Kuykendall, Harry, 36 

Kuykendall, W. L.. 5 

Laramie Tie Treatment Plant, 44 

Laramie Timber Company, 50 

Laramie, Wyoming, 40, 44 

Larson, T. A., 6, 24, 26-27; photo, 29 

Lee, Edward M., 5; photo, 8 

Lepponen, Peter, 43-44 

"Life in a Yellowstone CCC Camp," by Leo Kimmett, 12-21 

Linford, Ernie, 24-25 

Luchetti, Cathy, Women of the West, review, 66-67 


Mammoth Springs, YNP, 21 

Mary Lake, 20-21 

McCool, J. S., 40 

McCraken, Tracy C, 24-26; photo, 24 

McGee, Gale W., 25-27 

McWhinnie, Ralph, 23 

Medicine Bow National Forest, 47, 51 

Men of the Steel Rails: Workers on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa 
Fe Railroad, 1869-1900, by James H. Ducker, review. 67 

Meyer, Louis R., 47 

Meyer, R. D., 47 

Moline, John Peter, 44 

Moline, Nels A., 44-45, 49 

Mondell, Frank, 9 

Mormons, 58 

Morrow, Matthew,- 60 

Moulton, Gary E., Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, (The Jour- 
nals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Volume 1). review, 68 

Mullison. John, 45-46 


Nelson, Osea, 44, 50 

Nez Perce Creek, 21 

Ninth Regiment, Company A., 58-59, 62 

Ninth Territorial Legislature, 55 

North Platte River, 42-43, 46 

Nussbaum, Fred, 24-25 


Olson, Andrew, 47-48 

Olwell, Carol, Women of the West, review, 66-67 
O'Mahoney, Joseph C, 23 
Osborne, John E., 35-38; photo, 37 
Otto Timber Company, 51 

Overland to California in 1859: A Guide for Wagon Train Travelers, 
compiled and edited by Louis M. Bloch, Jr., review, 69 

Palmer, Ora, 17 
Patterson, Milder, 13 
Paxton and Turner, 39 
Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, 40 
Powderly, Terence V., 57 
Powell, Wyoming, 13-14. 20 

Quealy. Michael, 48 
Quealy, P. J.. 48, 50 
Quinn, T. W., 5 



Raymond, Rossiter W. 

Red Canon, 56 

Redburn, Richard, 25 

Reed, Silas, 56-57 

Revelle, Frank, 16 

Richards, DeForest, 9-10 

Riverton, Wyoming, 10 

Roach, H. H., 26 

Rock Creek, Wyoming, 40 

Rock Springs, Wyoming, 57 

Rocky Mountain Coal and Iron Company, 55-57 

Rocky Mountain Coal Company, 46 


Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Pres.), 13 

Rosenberg, Robert G., "Handhewn Ties of the Medicine Bows," 39-53; 

biog., 74 
Rugg, Harold, 27 
Russell, John L., 59, 61, 63; photo, 60 

Saratoga, Wyoming, 35, 43 

Schulte, Steven C, "Indians and Politicians: Origins of a Western' 

Attitude Toward Native Americans in Wyoming 18681906." 

2-11; biog. 74 
Senate Bill S-598 (CCC), 13 
Sherman Camp Station, 40 
Simpson, Milward, 23-24, 26, 28-30; photo, 24 
Sisson, George (Baldy), 35 
Slater. Lt., 16; photo, 19 
The Sons of the American Revolution, 27 
Sprague, Davis and Company, 39 
Standard Timber Company, 44, 50 
Stuart, Cliff, 56 
Swartz, Bernice, review of Overland to California in 1859: A Guide 

for Wagon Train Travelers, 69 

Teller, J. C, 48 

Thayer, John, 4-6; photo, 9 

Thomas, David G., 56, 61 

Thompson, Sam, 47-48 

Thornberry, Ray, 13 

Tie City. 40 

Tie Hacks, 39-53; photos, 41, 45 

Tie Siding, Wyoming, 40 

Tilton, Ellen Judd. 37; photo, 38 

Tilton, William E., 37; photo, 38 

The Timber and Stone Act of 1878, 46-47 

Trabing Brothers, 40 

Trachtenberg, Alexander, 56, 60 
Twenty-first Regiment, Company I, 58 


Union Pacific Coal Company, 55-56; photo, 59 
Union Pacific Railroad, 39-40, 43, 45-48, 50-51 
"The University of Wyoming Textbook Investigation Controversy, 1947 
to 1948 and Its Aftermath," by William Hewitt, 22-33 

Vagner, Charles L., 47 



Walsh, James, review of Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, (The 
Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Volume 1), 68 

Wardell, Thomas, 55 

Warren, Francis E., 7-8; photos. 9, 58, 63 

Wells, Kenneth. 29 

Wengert, E. S.. 26 

Westerhout, 1st Lt. (Dr.). 14. 16; photo. 19 

White, Stephen. 25 

Whitehouse, Isaac, 59 

Williamson, C. D., 48, 50-51 

Wilt, Dan, 44, 48, 50 

Wind River Reservation, 2, 6, 8-9 

Women of the West, by Cathy Luchetti in collaboration with Carol 
Olwell, review, 66-67 

Wyoming Central Irrigation Company, 10 

Wyoming Coal and Mining Company, 55, 57 

Wyoming Legislature's Council, 4 

Wyoming Timber Company, 42-43, 48-51 

Yellowstone Park, 13, 16, 21 
Young, Noah, 61 



LEO G. KIMMETT is a descendant of early day 
homesteaders in the Powell area. He was born on the fam- 
ily farm north of that community and attended schools 
there. He graduated from Regis College in Denver with 
a B.S. degree and was employed for many years as a 
chemist. During the Second World War, he served in the 
Pacific with duty on Guadalcanal. Since his retirement 
in 1977, he and his wife Julia have enjoyed travel, 
genealogy, gardening and membership in historical 

ROBERT G. ROSENBERG is a historian and office direc- 
tor of Cultural Research and Management, Inc. Prior to 
this, he served as the Review and Compliance historian 
at the State Historic Preservation Office and was for a 
number of years, librarian at the University of Northern 
Colorado and Boulder city libraries. His article, "The 
Dempsey-Hockaday Trail" was published in Annals of 
Wyoming in 1982. Rosenberg's interests include many out- 
door activities including backpacking, hunting, moun- 
tain climbing and traversing historic trails. 

GAY DAY ALCORN is a native of Saratoga and descended 
from pioneers of that area. A graduate of the University 
of Wyoming, Alcorn is a writer, and actively collects books 
and manuscripts pertinent to the history of the South 
Platte Valley. Her book, Tough County: The History of 
the Saratoga and Encampment Valley, 1825-1895 was 
recently released. She has traveled to London, Edinburgh 
and Mexico to conduct research. Her memberships 
include the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association, 
Wyoming State Historical Society, Grand Encampment 
Museum and the Jacques Laramie Chapter of the DAR. 

WILLIAM L. HEWITT is a Ph.D. candidate at the 
University of Wyoming. He has taught in Colorado and 
New Mexico public schools. He is the author of "Mex- 
ican Workers in Wyoming During World War II: Neces- 
sity, Discrimination and Protest," an article published in 
the Fall, 1982 issue of Annals of Wyoming. 

WALTER R. JONES is a librarian and Head of the 
Western Americana Division, Special Collections Depart- 
ment at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah. 
Previously, he served for six years as head of the Uinta 
County Library in Evanston and as Reference Librarian 
at the Natrona County Library in Casper. His book Sand 
Bar was published in 1981 and his article, "Casper's Pro- 
hibition Years," was published in the Spring, 1976 issue 
of Annals of Wyoming. He was a witness to the rapid social 
and economic change that took place in Evanston due 
to oil exploration and he feels this has given him an ap- 
preciation of the dynamics of such a phenomenon. 

STEVEN C. SCHULTE is a graduate student at the 
University of Wyoming currently finishing work on his 
Ph.D. in history. He has taught at Dakota Wesleyan Uni- 
versity in Mitchell, South Dakota. His article titled "Con- 
gressman E. Y. Berry and the Origins of Indian Termina- 
tion," will be published in a forthcoming issue of South 
Dakota History. He is an active member of numerous 
organizations including the Wyoming State Historical 
Society, Western History Association, Western Social 
Science Association and the Organization of American 



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 Domimck, Cody, 1956-57; Dr. T. A. Lar- 
son, 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, Torrington, 
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; Don Hodgson, Torrington, 
1981-82, Clara Jensen, Lysite-Casper, 1982-83. 

Membership information may be obtained from the Executive Headquarters, 
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, Fern Gaensslen, Green River 
First Vice President, Dave Kathka, Rock Springs 
Second Vice President, Mary Garman, Sundance 
Secretary-Treasurer, Ellen Mueller, Cheyenne 



Volume 56, Number 2 
Fall, 1984 


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. 


Ken Richardson, Lander, Chairman 

Frank Bowron, Casper 

Dave Paulley, Cheyenne 

Eugene Martin, Evanston 

Mrs. Lucille Dumbrill, Newcastle 

Thomas J. Mangan, Laramie 

Bill Bruce Hines, Gillette 

A. G. McClintock, Attorney General (ex-officio) 

ABOUT THE COVER— Piegan Blackfeet Chief Mehksehem-Sukas (Iron Shirt) zoas painted in water- 
color by artist Karl Bodmer, when the young Swiss visited the American West in 1833-1834. Bodmer 
traveled with his patron, the Prussian Prince Maximillian, from St. Louis as far west and north as 
Montana. During the journey, he made many sketches and watercolors, sometimes taking an entire 
day to complete a single portrait. In the midst of 20,000 Blackfeet, Bodmer painted portraits and a 
depiction of an attack on Port McKenzie by a large force of Assiniboin and Cree Indians. The Europeans 
abandoned the hostile Rockies for Port Clark, North Dakota, where they spent the whiter. Bodmer con- 
tinued his work and became the last white artist to record the Mandan tribe before a terrible smallpox 
epidemic decimated their numbers some years later. Working under circumstances so adverse that his 
paints often froze, Bodmer continued to make sketches of Indian ceremonies and lifestyles. They con- 
stitute a superb ethnological document and have been used for research by scholars and artists since 
they appeared as full color prints in 1839. Bodmer never returned to America, and at the time of his 
death in 1893, his Indian engravings were forgotten by the French Barbizon school near Paris where 
he had spent the greater part of his professional years. The cover illustration and the paintings accom- 
panying "The Gros Ventre and the Upper Missouri Pur Trade 1806-1835" are courtesy of the Inter- 
North Art Foundation/Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska. ANNALS OF WYOMING is grateful 
for the courtesy and cooperation of that fine institution. 


Volume 56, No. 2 
Fall, 1984 


Ed Herschler 


Dr. Robert D. Bush 


William H. Barton 


Jean Brainerd 
Rick Ewig 
Thelma Crown 


Kathy Martinez 
Ann Nelson 


Paula West-Chavoya 
Carroll Jones 


William H. Barton 



by Charles S. McCammon 


by John S. Gray 


Fur Trade, 1806-1835 21 

by Thomas F. Schilz 


Woman Suffrage in Wyoming 29 

by Virginia Scharff 


A Challenge to Gifford Pinchot and the Conservative Ethos 38 

by Hugh T. Lovin 




ANNALS OF WYOMING is published biannually in the Spring and Fall bv the Wyoming 
State Press. It is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society as the of- 
ficial publication of that organization. Copies of previous and current issues may be purchased 
from the Editor. Correspondence should be addressed to the Editor. Published articles repre- 
sent 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 1984 by the Wyoming State Press. 

The Other Thornburgh 


Charles S. McCammon 

While commander at Fort Fred Steele, Major Thomas 
Tipton Thornburgh's star rose briefly over Wyoming, 
flickered weakly and died. His death September 29, 1879, 
in a Ute Indian ambush at Milk Creek, Colorado, and his 
leadership of one of the several unsuccessful field com- 
mands sent to halt the return of Dull Knife and Little Wolf's 
Northern Cheyennes to their homeland, assured that his 
name would be recorded in the western legend book. 1 On 
the other hand, his older brother, Jacob Montgomery 
Thornburgh, spent more time in Wyoming and passed 
practically unnoticed. Hero of the Civil War, a courageous, 
non-partisan attorney general in the disruptive, often 
violent, post-war East Tennessee and a three-term Con- 
gressman, Jake became an intimate friend of Judge William 
A. Carter of Fort Bridger, and a hunting companion of 
General George Crook. 2 For at least four years he traveled 
to Wyoming to seek restored health. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War the 25-year-old Thorn- 
burgh had been practicing law for two years in his 
hometown of New Market, Jefferson County, Tennessee. 
His father, Montgomery Thornburgh, a district attorney 
general and three-term senator in the Tennessee Leg- 
islature, fought so strongly to keep his state in the Union 
that, after Tennessee seceded, he was arrested as a political 
prisoner and sent to Macon, Georgia, where he died. 3 
Soon after his father's arrest, Jake, like thousands of other 
loyal East Tennesseans, slipped through the Confederate 
lines into Kentucky where he enlisted in May, 1862, as a 
private in the Union Army. In the fall of 1862, he was 
released from duty to assist Colonel R. M. Edwards in 
recruiting volunteers for the First East Tennessee Cavalry, 
which eventually became the Fourth Regiment, Tennessee 
Volunteer Cavalry. Jake was elected Lieutenant Colonel 
and when Edwards' commission was denied, he assumed 
command of the Fourth. Although the regiment had a full 
complement of companies, it reportedly lacked the total 
number of men needed to entitle Thornburgh to the rank 
of full colonel. He led the Fourth in the campaigns of 
Rousseau, Sherman, Thomas and Canby. Following the 
battle of Okalona, Mississippi, in the winter of 1864, he 
acted as a brigade commander. In the summer of 1864, dur- 
ing the Alabama raid of General Rousseau, he replaced his 
uncle, Colonel Duff G. Thornburgh, as a commander, First 
Brigade, Fourth Cavalry Division, and for a short time had 
to assume command of the Fourth Division, Cavalry 
Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The Fourth raided and 
scouted in eight states, marching over 30,000 miles. 

While recruiting volunteers for the Fourth, Jake had 
met Martha Adaline Smith of Madisonville, Tennessee. He 
continued to slip through the enemy lines to visit Miss 
Smith. However, the Confederates learned of his court- 
ship and a squad was assigned to capture him. In this they 
'were successful but before he could be taken to prison he 
was left in a room alone with Alf Swann. Jake managed 
to catch Swann off guard and seizing his revolver, he told 

Swann that he would kill him on the spot unless he was 
given back his horse and a ten minute start; that it was 
not cricket to capture a man when he was courting and 
not fighting. 4 Jake escaped and he and Ada were married 
on May 10, 1864. She joined him in Nashville where the 
Fourth was stationed and joined the other army wives who 
followed their husbands on campaigns. 

The Tennessee federal volunteer troops were orphans; 
their state had joined the Confederacy and they had no 
state government to support them. Few of the regimental 
commanders had prior military experience. Jake fought 
through the war as the Fourth's commander with the rank 
of Lieutenant Colonel. He was considered a stern dis- 
ciplinarian, an unusual characteristic among these Ten- 
nessee volunteers. However, after a battle he was said to 
have attended the wounded, both Yankee and Rebel, with 
the gentleness and kindness of a woman 5 . He received four 
minor battle wounds and injuries. 

Following the Rousseau-Alabama raid in 1864, Thorn- 
burgh served as a Judge Advocate, not rejoining his regi- 
ment until the battle of Mobile, April, 1865. 6 

At the close of the war, President Johnson offered 
Thornburgh a Regular Army commission as a Major in the 
Seventh U.S. Cavalry which he declined to return to his 
law practice. In 1866, he was appointed Attorney General, 
Third Judicial Circuit Court of East Tennessee, the posi- 
tion held by his father at the outbreak of the war. He was 
reelected to this position in 1868 and 1870. Although a 
strong Republican, he earned the reputation as an honest, 
courageous, non-partisan jurist, who through his just deal- 
ings did much to restore peace in one of the most turbulent 
post-war districts. When he ran and won the election as 
U.S. Congressman from the Second District in 1872, he 
received strong Democratic support. The latter party in 
Monroe County, a Confederate stronghold, wrote him in 

By a bold, fearless and conscientious course in the firm and im- 
partial discharge of the onerous duties of your important and respon- 
sible position and by your influence for good otherwise exerted, you, 
forgetting the passions and prejudices of the times, and standing 
sometimes almost unsupported, and often in personal danger, did 
more to calm the stormy passions of the times, bring order out of 
confusion and restore good feeling between the Union men and the 
ex-Rebel, than any other man in our community. 7 

In those few communities where his life was threat- 
ened, whenever he spoke, he had two revolvers on the 
rostrum before him. In a letter to Laura Pettibone he tried 
cautiously to warn her that he might be forced to kill a man 
to protect himself. 8 In the campaign of 1872, he was given 
the name "The Little Giant." He sought and was reelected 
to Congress in 1874 and 1876. 

A year before Jake was first seated in Congress, Ada 
died, February 23, 1872, as the result of a compounded 
drug prescription in which morphine had mistakenly been 
substituted for quinine 9 leaving Jake with a motherless six- 
year-old daughter. Almost immediately President Grant 


Postmaster General Key party prior to departure for Cheyenne. Front row, R to L: D. M. Key, Mrs. Key, Mrs. James, Mrs. 
S. A. Key, Mrs. ]. E. White, Miss Emma Key, Mrs. Pierson. Second row, R to L: F. W. Palmer, Master Palmer, Miss 
Kate Key, Mrs. J. M. Thornburgh, Capt. J. E. White, E. S. Bean, Cal Chase. Third row, R to L: Dr. David Day, Gov. 
Pillsbury, Mr. Hendley, Capt. S. A. Key, John Jameson, Capt. Patton, Dr. A. Kirth. 

appointed Congressman-elect Thornburgh as a U.S. Com- 
missioner to the International Exposition in Vienna. Dur- 
ing the 1873 European trip, his daughter, Maggie, lived 
with his sister, Mrs. John Minnis. The Thornburgh family 
has retained the many letters written by a lonely, loving 
father to his daughter. 

It was during his second term in Congress that Thorn- 
burgh met Laura Emma Pettibone, a native of the District 
of Columbia. They were married April 29, 1875. To this 
second marriage were born: Thomas Montgomery (died 
1878), Ann Elizabeth, John Minnis and Laura. 

The Jefferson County Thornburghs were lovers of the 
outdoors, always having good horses and hunting dogs, 
being skilled with rifle, shotgun and fishing rod. It was 
this skill that attracted General Crook to young Major 
Thomas Tipton Thornburgh, Jake's younger brother. On 
a hunt with Tip Thornburgh during the first week of 
September, 1878, John Bourke recorded: "After supper 
Major Thornburgh, one of the finest rifle shots in America, 
hit with a rifle, five times in succession, a condensed milk 
can which Lt. Spencer threw up in the air for him to shoot 
at, and also knocked into kingdom come a five cent nickel, 
under the same circumstances." Tip told Bourke, who had 
been two years behind him at West Point, that the men 
in his home, shooting locally made rifles, generally would 


hit a silver dime bull's-eye three times out of fi 
hundred yards. 10 

Tip became Crook's protege' and it was 
through this relationship that Jake met the gen 
Crook letters to Jacob Thornburgh began in Se 
1879. Most probably thev met during the summe 
in Wyoming, as Bourke reported that Crook was 
near Fort Fred Steele, where Tipton had assui 
command on July 7, 1878. n Congressman and Mi 
burgh were traveling in Wyoming in August , 
tember, 1878. 

A few months after the death of their first sc 
een month-old Thomas, Congressman and Mr: 
burgh accepted an invitation to accompany Pc 
General David McKendree Key and his rather la 
on an extensive railroad tour of the West. Mr. K< 
torney from Chattanooga, Tennessee, had oppc 
nessee seceding from the Union, but after his st£ 
the Confederacy, he served the Rebel cause wit] 
tion as a colonel. After the war he was a leader ir 
servative element and did much to restore unity ir 
munity as a chancery court judge. Upon the de; 
President Andrew Johnson, then back in Wash: 
a senator, Key was appointed to the Senate to 
Johnson's term. 

The inclusion of the Thornburghs in the party may 
jhave been a conciliatory gesture. Jake had supported his 
'old friend, Congressman Horace Maynard, as the south- 
erner for Hayes' cabinet. Key had strongly supported 
another man in the Republican primary preceding Jake's 
treelection in 1876. Possibly Hayes, who by now had 
'become pleased with, and a friend of his postmaster 
(general, may have been involved. Jake was one of the 
several congressmen selected by President Grant to in- 
vestigate the Hayes-Tilden election dispute and only a year 
earlier had been instrumental in getting the President to 
include Knoxville in his tour of southern cities. 13 Or, 
perhaps, Jake had already announced that he did not plan 
to run for reelection in the fall. 

On Friday evening, August 30, 1878, the Cheyenne 
paper, The Daily Sun, reported that Congressman Thorn- 
burgh and Dr. Baxter, 14 members of the Key party, would 
leave the group at Carter Station for a couple of days of 
fishing near Fort Bridger and would rejoin the party at 
Ogden after their visit to Salt Lake City. The Sun also 
reported that on the return [from San Francisco] the party 
would stop at Fort Steele for a "grand hunt." Major Thorn- 
burgh was to be assigned by Crook to look after the party. 15 

Bourke, enroute from Salt Lake City to Omaha, August 
29 or 30, 1878, reported receiving a telegram from Thorn- 
burgh asking him to go with him on the train as far as 
Hazard, Wyoming, to meet his brother and the Key party. 
At Fort Steele, the Fourth Infantry band with the officers 
and ladies of the fort greeted the group at the railroad sta- 
tion. 16 

The Thornburghs stopped at Fort Steele on their return 
trip, but there is no record in the Post Returns of Tip's 
detail to a hunting party. He did, however, leave on Sep- 
tember 13,1878, to chase Dull Knife and Little Wolf and 
undoubtedly missed the hunt with his brother. 

Remarkable as it may seem, while Thornburgh, with 
Bourke as an observer, was taking to the field to try to in- 
tercept the Northern Cheyennes, Crook was departing 
from Omaha on September 23, 1878, to go hunting. Lieu- 
tenant Schyler and Webb Hayes accompanied him and 
they picked up John Collins in Cheyenne. 17 It would ap- 
pear that the general included Congressman Thornburgh 
in this hunt out of Fort Steele. 

The Knoxville Daily Chronicle reported the return of J.M. 
and Mrs. Thornburgh on November 2, 1878, from their 
visit to Wyoming Territory and Fort Fred Steele. The con- 
gressman and his party had killed eleven elk one morn- 
ing before breakfast and two more later in the day. In ad- 
dition, they had taken deer, mountain sheep, grouse and 
wild geese. (The elk head that hung for several decades 
in the Knoxville B.P.O.E., Lodge 160, was one contributed 
by Thornburgh.) 

Space does not permit a review of the history of Fort 
Bridger. However, it should be noted that between June, 
1878, and June, 1880, Bridger was truly "Carter's Fort" 

five at 


jmed p 


son, ei^ 

is. 1H 




as no troops occupied this facility during this period. 

Jake Thornburgh seems to have met Judge Carter in 
August, 1878, when he and Dr. Baxter left the Key party 
at Carter Station to go fishing while the others visited Salt 
Lake City. The Ogden and Salt Lake City papers do not 
list them among the visitors although their wives were 
present. One assumes that Jake's service at Mobile under 
Judge Carter's dear friend, General Canby, helped open 
the door for the friendship between the two men. Canby 
had honored the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry by selecting 
them as the first Union troops to enter Mobile. It is im- 
possible to imagine Thornburgh and Baxter in Bridger 
without visiting that genial, southern host. A letter from 
Baxter dated July 12, 1879, to Jake at Fort Steele leaves lit- 
tle doubt that the two had met Carter. The doctor con- 
cluded his letter with "You must go and see Judge 
Carter." 18 

As noted above, by July, 1879, former Congressman 
Thornburgh was back in Wyoming and he would remain 
there almost continuously until late November, a practice 
that would be followed until Judge Carter's death. The 
reason given for the extended stays was to regain his health 
"in the bracing summer climate of the Rocky Mountains." 
His letters, most newspaper reports and even Bourke's 
diary are filled with references to his poor health. However, 
no place is there recorded a reliable hint of the type of ill- 
ness he was experiencing. His loving, concerned letters to 
his oldest daughter and his young second wife preclude 
one saying that he was escaping to a man's world. There 
is no question that, like Teddy Roosevelt and men of lesser 
stature, a stay in the West restored his zest for life. His 
home became filled with mounted heads and tanned hides. 
The Crook letters indicate that the general recognized a 
kindred spirit. At the same time one must recognize how 
Jake treasured the visits to his new friend, Carter. 

On July 26, 1879, on the occasion of his wife's 23rd 
birthday (Jake was off one day), Thornburgh reported that 
he was at Carter's, was ill and had come over from Fort 
Steele on July 25, apparently seeking the better accom- 
modations at the Carter's. He reported, "... one of Judge 
Carter's daughters married Dr. Corson, an Asst. Surg, in 
the Army, who was visiting in Bridger and who was tak- 
ing care of him . . . Judge Carter is just as kind as possi- 
ble and the ladies (wife and daughters) seem as if they were 
sorry I do not need more attention. The Judge neglects his 
business to stay around and see if I do not need more at- 
tention." One wonders if the Judge regularly dosed him 
with his famous cure-all, Cook's Balm of Life? After birth- 
day greetings, he concluded his letter, "You will find 
hereafter that they [the birthdays] will seem to come closer 
together. But the same time is given between each to labor 
for the right, to perform faithfully our part in the great 
drama of life, and to try to better and brighten this world 
by having lived in it." 19 

Judge William A. Carter 

Man/ Eliza Carter 


The Carters extended an invitation to Major and Mrs. 
Thornburgh and her sister to visit while Jake was in 
Bridger. On July 29, the Major replied, "Mrs. T. & Miss 
Clark think they would like to run up tomorrow night 
reaching Carter at 10 a.m. on Tuesday." 20 Apparently the 
people of Fort Steele thought no more of a quick trip to 
Bridger than present day residents of Cheyenne think of 
a day's shopping in Denver. 

After recovering from his illness, Jake remained in 
Wyoming. The Knoxville Chronicle reported August 23, that 
he had improved in health and was on a hunting trip. On 
September 9, the paper reported on his improved health 
and that he was at Fort Steele. On September 6, 1879, 
Crook wrote from Oakland, Maryland: 

No one regrets more than I do mv inability to be with you on your 
hunt, but circumstances over which I could not control have been 
carrying me along, apparently without any definite object, ever since 
I last saw you, but I see very plainly I will be kept away from the 
hunt all the same. A thing I can't tell you how much 1 regret, as 
I have had my heart set on it during the past year & now I fear I 
will not be able to get a hunt at all this year. I am so delighted to 
hear your improvement in health. Tell your brother I have just re- 
ceived his letter-will tell him all about it when I see him. Please give 
my kindest regards to the folks— 21 

The general did get his hunt in 1879 as Bourke recorded 
that he hunted through Spotted Tail agencies to Rock 
Creek, Wyoming. 22 On September 23, 1879, Crook wrote 
a brief note from Fort Omaha to forward a copy of the in- 
struction he had sent to the commanding officer at Fort 

McKinney, regarding Thornburgh's proposed hunt. Jake 
may not have received this prior to his departure as he 
wrote Carter from Fort Steele on September 12, urging him 
to take a needed vacation and join him on the hunt stating 
that they would be leaving on September 20 or 21. "Our 
program is to first hunt in what is here called the Medicine 
Bow Range and from there into the mountains south of 
the Platte where it passes Fort Casper and Fetterman . . . 
We will go well prepared as we can take wagons the en- 
tire route." After wishing the judge well on his September 
cattle sale, he ended, "If you find it impossible to go with 
us, take the matter into consideration whether Willie 23 can 
not go. We would be very glad to have him along and he 
is enough of a nimrod to enjoy it. If I can induce my two 
friends from Tenn . 24 to take a short run with me on to 
Salt Lake after the hunt, I will stop over a day or two with 
you on my return. I am unwilling if I can avoid it not to 
see Bridger & the happy family there once more before go- 
ing home." His letter was signed, "I am your friend." 25 
Jake had engaged Taylor Pennock, one of the principal 
scouts at Fort Steele and when his friends, Sanford and 
Webb, arrived, he and Major Thornburgh departed on the 
fateful hunt from which Tip would be ordered to lead his 
command into Colorado to aid Indian Agent Meeker dur- 
ing the threatened Ute uprising. Jake and party with Pen- 
nock continued on the hunt. Tipton Thornburgh was killed 
on Milk Creek, Colorado, on September 29. 

On October 3, Jake responded to Carter's letter of 

... He met a soldier's fate at the head of his command while 
cooly, prudently and bravely discharging his duties. Certainly this 
is no inglorious ending of a soldier's life. I have, I think, too much 
of the soldier in me to so regard it. I am giving my attention to his 
family. I can do nothing for the dead but honor his memory, to the 
living I have duties which I shall try to discharge . . . My friends, 
Mr. E. J. Sanford & T. S. Webb left here last night for Salt Lake City. 
I desired they should know you and you them. Could I have gone 
with them I think they would have called and seen you. But being 
strangers to you I think they hesitated to visit you without me, 
though I conveyed your invitation to them. They stop at the Walker 
House where they will stay 2 or 3 days. If on their return, they should 
stop over to see you, I will meet them there unless something de- 
tains me here. 26 

On October 14, 1879, the Knoxville Daily Chronicle 
reported, "E. J. Sanford and T. S. Webb returned home 
yesterday . . . 'leaving Jake at Fort Steele' . . . who was 
much improved in health, looking better than from years 
past. The camp life agrees with him and he will likely re- 
main there, looking after the wants of his brother's fam- 
ily, till cold weather drives him home." 

Bourke in Omaha was also devastated over the death 
of his friend, Tip Thornburgh. He entrained immediately 
for Rawlins to join the rescue unit bound for Milk Creek; 
Major Clark, Tip's father-in-law, was on the same train. 
On the train from Cheyenne bound for Fort Steele was Jake 
Thornburgh. Bourke recorded, "I avoided meeting him (as 
well as Clark) whose dejection was remarkable." Crook 
was in Chicago when news of the disaster reached him; 
he departed immediately for Omaha and Rawlins. 27 

Jake accompanied his brother's body to Omaha for the 
funeral and burial after which he returned to Wyoming. 
In November, the Chronicle reported his return stating that 
he had killed a buffalo bull, three elk, four blacktailed deer 
and two antelope. On this late season hunt he had hunted 
alone much of the time except for the rancher he had 
employed to drive his camp wagon. Most of the hunt was 
in snow. 

Some confusion exists on the hunts of 1878 and 1879. 
Collins in his book, Across The Plains In '64, reported that 
in early September, 1879, Crook with Ludington, Bourke, 
Congressman Thornburgh, Webb Hayes and Collins hunted 
in the Battle Creek Mountains and Grand Encampment 50 
miles south of Fort Steele. This does not relate to the pro- 
ceeding record of Thornburgh 's 1879 season. The kill 
recorded by Collins more closely relates to that recorded 
in the Chronicle for the 1878 season. However, Bourke was 
hunting with Tip Thornburgh at the beginning of Sep- 
tember, 1878, and was not with Crook at the end of the 
month. Bourke makes no reference to Ludington in 
Crook's party of late September, 1878. Thornburgh was 
no longer in office in 1879; references to him after 1878 are 
usually as Colonel Thornburgh. Collins recorded the 
members of the hunting party of the first week of October, 
1878, as Crook, Schyler, Hayes, Collins, Capt. Bisbee with 

two drivers, fifteen soldiers and one mule-mounted or- 
derly. 28 

On December 25, 1879, Thornburgh wrote a lengthy 
letter to Carter. "On my return from Washington to spend 
the Hollidays [sic] with my family, I found your very in- 
teresting letter of the 5th inst. on my table." The judge 
had been seriously ill and after expressing concern for his 
health, Thornburgh made a lengthy commitment to help- 
ing Carter and/or his family at any time. Continuing he 

In Washington met the new Sect of War 29 with whom I was ac- 
quainted. Among other things I asked him why it was such an of- 
fense against the Govt, to kill an old blatherskite of an Indian agt 
and some laborers and that for this offense a demand for the sur- 
render and trial of eleven indians had been demanded for 'making 
war' against the govt, killing some of the most promising of her of- 
ficers and men ... Of course, he gave no good answer— for none 

Jake promised to send Carter a copy of information that 
he picked up in Washington regarding the abandoning of 
certain western forts. After reporting on the health of his 
family, he added, "I took them to Chattanooga to visit 
friends. William A. Wheeler, Vice President is spending 
the hollidays [sic] there and I am invited to be there and 
meet him." He closed his letter with, "It is pleasant 
Christmas day's work to write to you and when I write 
to you I feel I am also writing to your noble wife and fam- 
ily. A Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all at 
Bridger." 30 

Thornburgh's reference to information regarding the 
closing of western forts is the only suggestion that Carter 
may have asked his help and influence in reopening or re- 
tention of Fort Bridger as a military base. If he had been 
asked, Thornburgh undoubtedly would have tried to help. 
Even while he was ill at the Carters in the summer of 1879, 
he was corresponding with his friend, Dr. J. H. Baxter, 
Chief Medical Purveyor, who was seeking promotion to 
the position of Surgeon General. Thornburgh even offered 
to leave Bridger to journey to Washington to help Baxter. 
At the same time he was soliciting Baxter's aid in getting 
a contract approved for a doctor at Fort Steele. Although 
he never ran again for public office, Jake remained an ac- 
tive Republican campaigner. 

Thornburgh returned to Wyoming in 1880, carrying a 
copy of a letter written June 28, 1880, by A. Bell, Depart- 
ment of the Interior, to Colonel Norris, Superintendent of 
Yellowstone Park. 

I learn that my old friend, Hon. J. M. Thornburgh, formerly in Con- 
gress from Tenn., intends to visit the Park sometime this season. 
If you should hear from him there, or meet him, do the best possi- 
ble to make his visit enjoyable. 

Thornburgh is one of the salt of the earth,— contains enough 
loyalty and patriotism in his personality to leaven the whole South. 
I commend him to your courtesy as a friend who never flinched in 
the presence of rebels and who will be equally at home among the 
grisslys [sic]. 31 

On July 26, 1880, Crook wrote Thornburgh from Fort 

Yours of 23rd just rec. this morning, I am sorry you have left 
Bridger, as Bourke & I leave here day after tomorrow for Bridger 
to examine country between here & Uintah Agency. We expect to 
leave Ogden on the morning of the 11 of August for the Yellowstone 
Park & have made all arrangements for you to accompany us. 32 

Crook's letter caught up with Jake at Fort Washakie 
and he retraced his trail to Fort Bridger arriving on August 
9. The next day, Crook, Major Roberts, Colonel and Mrs. 
Stanton, Colonel Ludington, Colonel Thornburgh, Bourke, 
Governor and Mrs. Pound, escorted by Major Bisbee and 
Lieutenant Young of Fort Bridger, departed for Carter Sta- 
tion. The Carters must have been busy entertaining so 
many visitors. At Carter Station, the group caught the train 
for Ogden; Hayes, who had come to join the group, was 
on the train. At Ogden, they met Secretary of the Interior, 
Carl Schurz, and his party consisting of his two daughters, 
his private secretary, McHannis, McGaulieu of New York 
City, Tom Mayers, the secretary's nephew and others from 
Salt Lake City who had escorted them from Salt Lake City. 
Leaving the women and Gov. and Mrs. Pound, the com- 
bined group entrained on a special chair car for Ross Fork 
(Fort Hall). En route, they rejected a request from Sir John 
MacReid and his escort to join the party for Yellowstone. 

At Fort Hall the group made a short stop enabling 
Schurz to hold a council with the Shoshone and Bannock 
Indians— and Bourke could fill numerous pages of ethno- 

logical data in his journal. Jake, Ludington and Stanton 
probably used the delay as an excuse to go fishing because 
Bourke recorded that the three were maniacs on the sub- 
ject of fishing. 

Continuing on the train from Ross Fork, the party 
detrained at Beaver Canyon where they were met by Major 
Bainbridge, 14th Infantry, with a military escort. Tom 
Moore, Crook's favorite packer, was "master of transpor- 
tation," in charge of an immense pack train. This was a 
strenuous trip due to the route, and the hunting and fishing. 
In camp they lived well, however, thanks to the generous 
provisions of Schurz. 

Schurz was not a newcomer to gun and rod or the 
West. Both Hayes and Collins had hunted with him on 
earlier occasions and the President's son was there at the 
insistence of the Secretary, as well as Crook. Bourke 
recorded that Schurz ". . . is a very genial companion, 
puts on no airs whatever and exerts himself to make 
everything run smoothly. He is a wonderfully fine linguist 
. . . he is a good shot ... he rides well." 33 

One wonders if Jake Thornburgh changed his opinion 
of Schurz. In his Christmas letter of 1879 to Judge Carter, 
he stated, after the Secretary of War had asked him if he 
didn't want to talk to the Secretary of the Interior, "... 
he had no business with Mr. Schurz ..." implying, it 
would appear, that Schurz was personally responsible for 
the Ute uprising. 34 Or, perhaps, Jake always strongly loyal 
to President Grant, had his partisan nose out of joint 


"Five Terrors of the Wind River Range" at Fort Washakie in 1886. General George Crook is seated, and on his left is Webb Hayes, son of President 
Rutherford B. Hayes. Others, but in no confirmed order are, John Collins, A. E. Touzalin (Vice-president of the Santa Fe Railroad) and General 
T. H. Stanton. 


because Schurz had deserted the party. 

For some reason Jake remained with Bainbridge and 
the escort when Crook with Ludington, Stanton, Hayes 
and Bourke departed the Park on August 23, 1880, for 
Beaver Canyon. 35 This was an election year, and Jake was 
chairman of the local district Republican nominating com- 
mittee and had to come home early. A dispatch dated Sep- 
tember 4, 1880, from The Laramie Times to the Knoxville Daily 
Chronicle stated that Thornburgh had arrived and was stay- 
ing at Thornburgh House, named after his brother. By 
September 27, he was in Knoxville and on October 20, 
1880, in Roane County where the "Little Giant" received 
a strong ovation before he spoke. 

Today, some would group these hunter-fishermen 
with other raiders, rapists, extractors of the natural 
resources of the Rocky Mountains. Others would give our 
eyeteeth to have accompanied them. For the professional 
soldiers, the hunts were an escape from the boredom of 
frontier duty. For men like Schurz, Thornburgh and others, 
it was not only an escape from the pressures of political 
life, but a return to one of the few rememberable pleasures 
of the Civil War— the comradeship of camp life. What an 
experience it must have been for the youthful Hayes to 
grow up under the tutelage of Crook. Undoubtedly, he 
would call upon these lessons when he commanded troops 
in Cuba and the Philippines. 

According to Bourke, Crook made two hunts in 1880: 
the first to Yellowstone and the second near Rock Creek. 36 
Followingjhe second hunt the general wrote Thornburgh 
on November 28, 1880, from Fort Omaha. 

1 am very glad to get your letter & to learn of your improving health . 
1 had feared your health had prevented your joining us or our hunt 
during early part of October. Your place at the "festive board" was 
vacant— also had a mule for you to hunt with.— We had a glorious 
time & fine success. We got 4 "bar" in one day. 1 hope if we live 
next year you will join us on a hunt. Mrs. Thornburgh & the Clarks 37 
are quite well & seem to get along finely. Stanton, Luddington [sic], 
Bourke & Roberts write with me in much love to you. 

No record has been uncovered to show that Thorn- 
burgh made another trip to Wyoming, although he re- 
ceived a lengthy newsy letter written on May 15, 1881, from 

Your letter of the 17th April came some time ago and gives us all 
great pleasure. I should have answered sooner, but our house has 
been all to pieces, undergoing a course of thorough repairs, and the 
dust has been blowing about so much that I could never find a clean 
or quiet spot, where I could write with any satisfaction, besides I 
have had the most idle, worthless, and dishonest workmen to deal 
with, who had no object in view but to protract my work, and get 
as much out of my pocket as possible, for the very— amounts of labor. 
Knowing I would get nothing out of them without being present 
all the time I have had to be about from 5 o'clock in the morning 
and do more of the hard labor myself than any two of them. At night 
I have been so worn out with fatigue that it would have been dif- 
ficult matter for me to have written my name. But I will not worry 
you, any further, with excuses. It is the Holy Sabbath, but still hear, 
in the dining room, the faint sound of a hammer, about every % 
of an hour, sounding the death knell of my money, and I am scarcely 
able to keep my temper long enough to write you a decent letter. 

I am rejoicing that you have lately regained your health and 
hope, in the future, you will do nothing to cause the return of your 

You may rest assured, my friend, that while here, you never 
said or did anything which would possibly have given me or any 
member of my family affront. I always relied upon your judgement, 
and any advice you may have given was always accepted with 
gratitude and profit. Willie expects to return home shortly after 20th 
of June, the close of his first year at the University, and, I hope, 
has profited by the opportunity he has had. 

So far, I think, he has gotten "honorable" in all his studies. But 
1 fear he has picked up a few false notions, the outgrowth of an ef- 
feminate society but these, I hope can be rectified by a short associa- 
tion with practical men. He seems to be greatly anxious to return 
home and is looking forward with such great pleasure to the time 
of his departure from there. 

Your friend, Mr. Baxter, 38 was here for several days, the guest 
of Lt. Young, 39 with whom he was previously acquainted. 1 was 
much pleased with him, but was so hard at work at the time that 
I had but little opportunity to talk with him except on the subject 
of cattle. He wished to purchase an interest in my herd on Stinking 
Water, but as I had made all mv arrangements to send Peter 
McCulloch 40 back there with mowing machine, horse rake, plow, 
horses, tools and such supplies, I declined to sell or could not, after 
my arrangements with McC. even if had decided to do so. I gave 
him all the information I had in relation to cattle he might be able 
to purchase, and directed him to Abram Hatch, of Heber City, Utah, 
who had 2500 for sale. From here he went to Salt Lake City, and 
I requested him to write me from there and let me know whether 
he had met with any sellers. But 1 was informed by Liet Young, who 
seemed to be his principal advisor that he had gone back East, but 
he did not inform me what he had done, and his replies to my ques- 
tions were so crusty that I did not press him. The park looks pret- 
tier than I have seen it any previous spring. The grass is now six 
inches high in the valley and all the trees clothed with a rich verdure. 

Capt Bisbee 41 has done a great deal to improve the old fort and 
its surroundings and you would be delighted to see it in its new 
dress. I have also made very many improvements, but they cost me 
much work and many a dollar. Among the improvements I have 
made are a new kitchen and a handsome fitting up of the old one 
for the family dining room. The ceiling of the old dining room has 
been raised and the whole newly plastered and we are putting in 
a big window which will give plenty of light. 

I have done much on Black's and Smith's Fork in the early of 
spring and tomorrow start teams to haul my wood, almost 1,000 
cords. McCullough started with his outfit day before yesterday. 

We are expecting a number of visitors at the Park this summer. 
Genl [sic] Harney writes me that he will certainly be out. Dick Cor- 
son and wife, who expected to come here, will not come, but will 
go thru Yuma by the Southern route to Philadelphia. 

I hope you will find time to visit us this season, as nothing would 
give us more pleasure to see you in full health. I have not been well 
for some time, but think my sickness results mainly from hard labor. 
As soon as I can get through with my building I am determined to 
take life easier. 

Mrs. C. and the girls are well and join me in love to you and 
yours. 42 

But Carter did not take life easier. Crook arrived soon 
after Carter had written his friend. The judge immediately 
became involved in the building of a road to the newly 
designated Fort Thornburgh near Uintah Agency over a 
route he had recommended to Crook. The Ogden Morning 
Herald reported on July 29, 1881, that Crook had departed 
after visiting and fishing at Bridger. Bourke recorded that 


the general hunted in 1881, from Cheyenne to Medicine 
Bow. 43 On August 1, 1881, Crook wrote from Fort Omaha 
what would be the last letter found in the Thornburgh file. 

I was at Bridger when I received your kind letter. I did not answer 
then because I had forgotten the date of your reunion. Subsequently 
I received order (in view of the Utes to be all removed to my Dept.) 
to return to my Head Quarter [sic] & there remain until Gen. 
Sheridan's return from the Yellowstone Park which he expects to 
be about the 10th of Sept. On the 14th of September I must be at 
the reunion of the Army of West Va. at Wheeling, if it is possible 
for me to get off, so as much as I would like to be with you will 
have to say no. 

I have been spending a couple of weeks at Bridger, where we 
had a lively time. We often talked about you & wished you with 
us. Roberts & Stanton were with me part of the time. Mrs. Crook 
is at her home— will not return here until late in the fall. Bourke is 
absent in the Magnis Country writing up those Indians. Roberts, 
Luddington [sic] & Jack Pot Stanton send their love. 44 

Carter became so involved in the road to Fort Thorn- 
burgh that he began to supervise the building of the road 
with his own men and equipment. He became ill in camp, 
and western Wyoming lost its most important pioneer on 
November 7, 1881, when he died at his home of pneu- 
monia and/or pleurisy. 

Jake Thornburgh had given up public office after three 
terms in Congress. He rejected "a very important appoint- 
ment" tendered by President Hayes to remain at home. 
By 1881, he had another young daughter and son, named 
John Minnis, for his brother-in-law who had commanded 
the Third Tennessee Cavalry. Young John was born three 
days after Carter's death, and was to become his father's 
fishing companion before he was of school age. 

Jake did not lose his interest in the West. In 1883, he 
submitted a bond to John W. Green, U.S. Commissioner, 
Eastern District of Tennessee for a license to trade with the 
Ute Indians of Ouray, Utah Territory. John W. Hugus, of 
Fort Fred Steele, and Thornburgh were partners. His 
friend, T. A. Webb and his law partner, Judge George An- 
drews, signed as sureties. 45 

In May, 1883, Jake wrote his daughter, Maggie, that 
he would be leaving for the West in July. The Knoxville 
Daily Chronicle noted his return on September 5, 1883. Was 
Jake in Wyoming pursuing his plan for a license to trade 
with the Utes? If so, did he join Crook on his hunt south 
of Fort Bridger? Possibly Walter S. Schuyler's papers in 
the Huntington Library or a rescreening of the Cheyenne 
and Laramie papers would answer these questions. 

Jake continued to have bouts of illness, and drove 
himself beyond his physical capabilities. During his last 
illness, reported as inflammation of the bowel, he was in 
severe pain for several weeks. His editor friend wrote, 
"The last conversation the writer of this sketch had with 
him, he expressed a desire to live long enough to secure 
for the son of his deceased brother an appointment as a 
cadet at West Point." 46 He died September 19, 1890, six 
months after his friend, George Crook. He was only 53 
years old. 


1. See Marshall Sprague, Massacre, The Tragedy at Whiteriver (Boston: 
1957). Robert Emmitt, The Last Trail (Norman: 1954). J. McClellan, 
This is Our Land, vol. 1 (New York: 1977) vol. 2 (Jamestown: 1979). 

2. Except as noted, biographical data on Jacob Montgomery Thornburgh 
was taken from The Biographical Dictionary of The American Congress- 
Alexander Echel, History of the Fourth Tennessee Cavaln/, private print- 
ing (Knoxville: 1929); obituary, Knoxville Daily journal, September 20, 

3. Thornburgh's letter of resignation to Brig. Gen. W. D. Wbipple, June 
14, 1865, in the Military Service Record— Lt. Col. Jacob M. Thorn- 
burgh, National Archives. The more frequent references on Mont- 
gomery Thornburgh's imprisonment list Andersonville, but this 
would have been impossible as this enlisted men's prison was not 
opened until after his death. Other references record his imprison- 
ment at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

4. Letter to author, May 16, 1967, from Judge John Minnis Thornburgh, 
Jake's son, quoting this storv told to him by Judge Kinnev Barton, 
Tennessee Court of Civil Appeals. The youthful Swann was also from 
Jefferson County and possibly knew Thornburgh. After the war, 
Swann was one of only two ex-rebels who was not harassed into leav- 
ing the countv; possibly Thornburgh, as district attorney, was able 
to repav a debt. 

5. Letter General John T. Wilder to Knoxville Daily journal, September 
23, 1890, and letter from Major Will A. McTeer to Knoxville Daily jour- 
nal, September 23, 1890. 

6. General Canby, a personal friend of Judge Carter, directed the land 
attack at Mobile. This fact may have speeded the early friendships 
of Carter and Thornburgh. 

7. Letter dated October 8, 1872, in the Thornburgh Family Collection. 
This large collection of letters, scrapbooks and other documents is 
in the possession of the author. Subsequent references will list Thorn- 
burgh Collection. 

8. Ibid. 

9. Knoxville Daily Press and Herald, February 24, 1872. 

10. John G. Bourke, Diary, photoprint copy, Special Collections, Zim- 
merman Building, General Library, University of New Mexico, Albu- 
querque, Vol. 27, p. 40-46. Hereafter sited as Bourke, Dian/. 

11. George Crook, Ed., Martine F. Schmitt, General George Crook, His 
Autobiography (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1960), 2nd 
Ed., p. 274. Hereafter, Crook. Also Post Returns, Fort Fred Steele, 
National Archives, Microfilm copy in the Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department. 

12. Oliver P. Temple, East Tennessee and the Civil War (Cincinnati: 1899) 
pp. 273, 309-311. 

13. Thornburgh Collection. 

14. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States 
Army (GPO, Washington: 1903), vol. 1, pp. 1472-1473. Jedediah Hyde 
Baxter, born in Vermont, served in the Civil War as a surgeon; Lt. 
Col., Asst. Medical pur., UAS, July, 1867; Chief Med. pur., 1872; 
Colonel 1874; brig. gen. and surgeon general 1890; died December 
4, 1890. Dr. Baxter does not appear to be related to the Knoxville 

15. Members of the Key party: Postmaster General and Mrs. Key; S.A. 
and Mrs. Key and two daughters, Chattanooga; Congressman and 
Mrs. J. M. Thornburgh; Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Baxter, Washington; H. H. 
Harrison, member of 43rd Congress, Nashville; and Mrs. James, wife 
of Postmaster of New York; Mrs. Pierson, wife of Asst. Postmaster 
of New York; Major Hendley, President Hayes' private secretary; 
Capt. James E. White, Supt. Sixth Div. of Union Pacific Railroad, 

16. Bourke, Diary, vol. 27, pp. 39-40. 

17. Ibid, vol. 29, pp. 20, 76. 

General Crook's frequent hunting companions: 
Webb Cook Hayes, born March 23, 1856, second son of Ruther- 
ford B. Hayes, had known Crook since childhood. He and John Col- 

lins hunted with the General every year from 1878-1890, except 1885 
and 1886, when Crook was back in the Southwest. Hayes and Col- 
lins also made several hunts with Carl Schurz. Webb distinguished 
himself as an officer in Cuba, the Philippines and China; received 
the Medal of Honor. 

John Sloan Collins after 15 years as post trader in Fort Laramie, 
established successful businesses with his brother in Omaha. He 
published two books on his western experiences, Across the Plains 
in '64 and My Experience in the West. 

John Gregory Bourke, served as enlisted man during the Civil 
War, graduated West Point 1865, served many years as Crook's Aide 
de Camp and was the General's principal biographer. He also pub- 
lished numerous other books and articles on western campaigns. He 
developed a solid reputation as an anthropologist and spent most 
of his time after 1881 in this field. Died 1896. See Heitman, vol. 1, 
p. 232. 

Cyrus Swan Roberts and Walter S. Schuyler were ADC to Crook 
during this period. Roberts rose through the ranks during the Civil 
War and reenlisted in Regular Army. See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 835. 
Schuyler was a cadet at West Point during the time of Tip Thorn- 
burgh and John Bourke, graduating in 1866; cited for gallant service 
in Arizona Apache campaigns and Sioux campaigns in the Big Horns. 
See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 867. 

Thaddeus Harlan Stanton rose through volunteer ranks during 
the Civil War and remained in Regular Army in Paymaster Corps. 
However, during the Powder River campaign, Crook gave him com- 
mand of irregular and civilian troops. At the time of this article he 
was with Crook in Omaha as a Paymaster. See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 916. 

Marshall Ludington was also a product of the Civil War, remain- 
ing in the Service in the Quartermaster Corps. He was with Crook 
in Sioux campaigns and at the time of this article was with Crook 
in Omaha as Quartermaster. See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 646. 

18. Heitman, vol. 1, p. 328. Joseph Kirby Corson, born in Pennsylvania, 
served in Civil War as an enlisted man and as a surgeon; asst. surg, 
USA 1867; major 1888; Medal of Honor in 1899 for most distinguished 
action near Bristol Station, Virginia, in 1863; retired 1897. 

19. Thornburgh Collection. 

20. Clark Robertine, Mrs. T. T. Thornburgh's sister. Also, Western 
History Department, Denver Public Library, M-60-552, Microfilm roll 
#1, William A. Carter papers, 1855-1884, letter #37. Hereafter, Denver 
Public Library. 

21. Thornburgh Collection. Closing remark suggests that Crook knew 
Mrs. Thornburgh, undoubtedly from the 1878 visit to Fort Steele. 

22. Crook, p. 274. 

23. William N. Carter, Judge Carter's son. 

24. Goodspeed, History of Tennessee (Nashville: 1887), p. 1041. Edward 
Jackson Sanford, Knoxville's "Connecticut Yankee" who remained 
during the cholera epidemic of 1854 to help nurse the sick and bury 
the dead, supervised bridge building for General Burnside, fought 
in the defense of Fort Sanders and became a successful industrialist 
and banker following the war. The Sanford family were close friends 
of the Thornburghs. Jake took young Edward Terry Sanford, E.J.'s 
son, in as a law partner upon his graduation from Harvard Law 
School. Edward T. would administer Jake's estate for almost two 
decades and appoint his son, John Minnis as Referee in Bankruptcy. 
Will T. Hale and Dixon L. Merritt, History of Tennessee and Tennes- 
seans (Chicago:1913), vol. 5, pp. 1406-1409. Major Thomas Shepard 
Webb served during the Civil War under General Polk and General 
Forrest. After the war he moved to Knoxville where he became one 
of the city's most successful attorneys. The friendship with Webb, 
a strong Confederate, demonstrates the character of Thornburgh, who 
also returned briefly to New Market after the war and a law partner- 
ship with an ex-rebel colonel. 

25. Letter #38, Denver Public Library. 

26. Letter #39, Denver Public Library. 

27. Bourke, Diary, vol. 24, October 1 or 2, 1879, p. 251. 

28. John S. Collins, Across the Plains in '64 (Omaha: National Printing 
Co., 1904), p. 114; and Collins file, Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial 
Library, Fremont, Ohio. 

29. Theodore C. Blegen, Minnesota, A History of the State (St. Paul: 1975), 
pp. 238-40, 242, 263, 294. Alexander Ramsey, Minnesota Territorial 
Governor, 1848-53, State Governor, 1860-63, U.S. Senate, 1863-79, 
Secretary of War, 1879, Hayes Cabinet. 

30. Letter #40, Denver Public Library. 

31. Thornburgh Collection. A. Bell was probably an Asst. Secretary of 
the Interior because in other references he signed as Acting Secretary 
during Mr. Schurz' absence. 

32. Ibid. 

33. Bourke, Dianj, vol. 28. August 7-23, 1880, pp. 674-717. 

34. Letter #40, Denver Public Library. 

35. Bourke, Diary, vol. 39, p. 739. 

36. Crook, p. 274, also, Hiram M. Chittenden, The Yellowstone National 
Park (Cincinnati: The R. Clarke, 7th Ed., 1912), p. 103. 

37. Major and Mrs. Robert D. Clarke, Paymaster, Fort Omaha and Mrs. 
T. T. Thornburgh's parents. Crook's letter in Thornburgh Collection. 

38. George White Baxter, soon to be well known in Wyoming as a cat- 
tleman, politician and briefly territorial governor in 1886, was son 
of the popular Judge John Baxter, Knoxville; he had also married into 
a prominent Knoxville family. He was a graduate of West Point, 1873, 
and at the time of this letter was "looking over the field" prior to 
resigning his commission, July, 1881. After his Wyoming career he 
returned to Knoxville in 1902. See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 200; Hale and 
Merritt, vol. 4, pp. 1472-73, as well asT. A. Larson, History of Wyom- 
ing (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965); Lewis L. Gould, 
Wyoming a Political Story, 1868-96 (New Haven: 1968); A. S. Mercer, 
The Banditti of the Plains (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 

39. Robert Hunter Young. This popular officer of the Fourth Infantry was 
a product of the Civil War. He was with Crook during the Sioux cam- 
paigns. See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 1067. He was initially identified for 
the author bv Tom Lindmier, Curatoi, Fort Bridger State Historic Site. 

40. Peter McCulloch had been associated with Judge Carter for more than 
ten years. During the drought of 1879, Chief Washakie invited the 
Judge to take his cattle to the Stinking Water region. See Ester 
Johansson Murray's "Short Grass and Heather, Peter McCulloch 
in the Big Horn Basin," Annals of Wyoming 51 (Spring, 1979): 105-106. 

41. William Henry Bisbee, product of the Civil War, who had a successful 
military career as an infantry officer, retiring in 1901 as brigadier 
general. See Heitman, vol. 1, p. 220. 

42. Thornburgh Collection. 

43. Crook, p. 274. 

44. Thornburgh Collection. 

45. Ibid. 

46. Knoxville Daily Journal, September 20, 1890. Tip's son became a 
surgeon, U.S. Army; his gTandson, Thomas Tipton, graduated from 
West Point and was killed in action in France, in World War II. Jake's 
son, John Minnis, followed his father into law, holding almost 40 years 
a judgeship in Bankruptcy; he died December 24, 1981 at age 100. 

Acknowledgements: Special thanks for aid and encouragement are 
due: Tom Lindmier, Curator, Fort Bridger State Historic Site; Dr. Em- 
mett D. Chisum, Research Historian, American Heritage Center, 
University of Wyoming; Phillip J. Roberts; the staff of the Western 
History Department, Denver Public Library; Dr. William MacArthur, 
Jr. and staff, McClung Historical Collection, Knoxville-Knox County 
Public Library; the staff of the Non Print Department, General Library, 
University of Tennessee, and finally, Dr. Thomas A. Smith and staff, 
the Rutherford B. Hayes Library, Fremont, Ohio. 



Part I 

John S. Gray 

The decade of the 1850s witnessed a succession of con- 
tractors struggling, with little success, to establish a reliable 
and paying U.S. Mail and passenger service across the 1200 
miles of the central route (the old California Trail) stretch- 
ing from the Missouri River to Salt Lake City. Usually 
named as the last of these "shoe-string" lines was the 
Hockaday Salt Lake Mail, which tradition acknowledges 
only as the inconsequential predecessor of the glamorous 
staging empire of Russell, Majors and Waddell. 

It was Alexander Majors himself who planted this 
disparaging image of the Hockaday operation, when he 
wrote in his memoirs: 

They had a few stages, light cheap vehicles, and but a few mules 
and no stations along the route. They traveled the same teams for 
several hundreds of miles before changing, stopping every few hours 
and turning them loose to graze, and then hitching them up again 
and going along. I made a trip in the fall of 1858 from St. Joseph, 
Mo. to Salt Lake in their coaches. It was twenty-one days . . .travel- 
ing at short intervals dav and night. 1 

The records show to the contrary that Majors' partners 
soon bought up Hockaday's "cheap vehicles, few mules 
and no stations" for $144,000! Either they got badly stung, 
or Hockaday's Salt Lake Mail deserves another look. 

John M. Hockaday, as a young man of Independence, 
Missouri, qualified himself for the law, but promptly 
entered the trade between Missouri, Salt Lake City and 
California in 1850, and then took up a business residence 
in Salt Lake City in 1852. 2 On November 3 of the latter 
year J. H. Holeman, Utah Indian Agent, wrote to Wash- 
ington from Fort Bridger, protesting Mormon attempts to 
take over the gentile-owned ferries on Green River, then 
in Utah Territory, noting that "Major [?] Hockaday, who 
will hand you this, is fully advised of all circumstances; 
I refer you to him for further information." 3 The follow- 
ing December 28, J. M. Hockaday, said to be of the "topo- 
graphical Corps" (?) and presumably bearing the Indian 
Agent's letter, rattled into Independence as a passenger 


in the Salt Lake Mail wagon. 4 It was Samuel H. Woodson, 
of Independence, who held the first contract for this 
monthly mail service, from 1850 to 1854, at $19,500 a year. 5 

On November 6, 1853, John M. Hockaday completed 
a survey of Fort Bridger and surrounding land for old Jim 
Bridger, whom the Mormons had just ousted from his 
trading post. With Indian Agent Holeman, Hockaday was 
traveling east on December 10, when a party of Sioux 
braves ran off a span of his mules at Ash Hollow, below 
Fort Laramie, for which loss Hockaday submitted a claim. 
When friction over the Green River ferries flared up again, 
the gentile owners consulted lawyer Hockaday, who wrote 
a letter in their behalf at Salt Lake City on June 11, 1854, 
inquiring about their legal rights in the matter. 6 

That summer of 1854, Hockaday also made his first 
venture into the stage business. Woodson's Salt Lake Mail 
contract having run out, a new four-year contract at $36,000 
a year was let to William M. F. Magraw and John E. Reeside 
for a monthly service starting July 1, 1854. By August 23, 
the Deseret News was running an ad for John M. and Isaac 
Hockaday's (a brother or cousin?) passenger service to 
operate in conjunction with Magraw's mail trains. 7 This 
arrangement between the Hockadays and Magraw was 
probably a limited one, for no record of a full partnership 
has been found. 

Although Magraw planned to establish twelve relay 
stations 100 miles apart, the records indicate that only six 
were actually set up. They were located at: the Big Blue 
River (present Marysville, Kan.); Fort Kearny; Ash Hollow 
(where the trail crossed to the North Platte); Fort Laramie; 
Independence Rock (on the lower Sweetwater); and Fort 
Bridger. He used light mulewagons, one for the mail bags 
and one for passengers, each in charge of a conductor who 
made the full 1200-mile trip, the crews and passengers 
camping out at night, much as described by Alexander Ma- 
jors. 8 Even this primitive service was dependent upon 

Eastern advertisers, anxious to sell their product, presented a somewhat 
unrealistic view of stage travel in this engraving which was originally 
published in Harper's Weekly. 

peace on the plains, but operations had scarcely started 
when Indian warfare broke out (the Grattan Massacre near 
Fort Laramie on August 18, 1854, which brought Gen. 
William S. Harney's punitive campaign the next summer). 

How many passengers the Hockadays carried is un- 
known, but two wagons left Salt Lake City on November 
2, 1854, with conductors John Jamison and James Wheeler, 
assisted by Thomas Hackett. The passenger wagon carried 
Charles A. Kincaid, a partner in the gentile mercantile firm 
of (Howard) Livingston, Kincaid & Co., in Salt Lake. On 
nearing Andrew Dripp's trading post, a few miles below 
Fort Laramie on November 13, a party of Sioux ambushed 
the train, killing all but passenger Kincaid, whom they 
wounded severely. They also carried off $1070 in gold coin, 
ripped open the mail bags and drove off all the mules. 9 

These disasters brought a prompt withdrawal of Ree- 
side from the mail contract, as well as Isaac Hockaday from 
the passenger business. It has been widely assumed that 
John M. Hockaday had been a partner in the Independence 
to Santa Fe mail contract let to Jacob Hall in 1854, but there 
is proof that it was Isaac who took a full partnership with 
Hall, after pulling out of the Salt Lake passenger deal. An 
affidavit made on January 12, 1855, in behalf of Magraw's 
Indian depredation claim, reads in part: "Affiants Isaac 
Hockaday and Jacob Hall swear that they are contractors 
for the Independence to Santa Fe mail route . . .; that they 
are residents of Independence, Mo. . . ." 10 

Indian danger, combined with heavy mountain snows, 
nearly abolished mail and passenger service to Salt Lake 
for the rest of the winter of 1854-55. John M. Hockaday 
made a trip to California in January as a passenger on a 
mail train from Salt Lake to San Diego, operated by George 

Chorpenning, the pioneering mail contractor over the 
Sierra Nevada. John M. later made an affidavit in behalf 
of a Chorpenning claim, stating that this train, as did others 
that winter, carried extra states-bound mail via California, 
since snow blocked the direct route to Independence. 11 

Though Magraw tried to secure a release from his mail 
contract, the Postmaster General ordered him to continue 
the service at an increased compensation for his second 
year. A St. Louis newspaper reveals that by the end of 
August, 1855, Magraw was receiving delivery of new mail 
wagons and six new coaches from Concord, New Hamp- 
shire, embodying "improvements which will be a great 
convenience and comfort to passengers." 12 This makes it 
clear that the line was improving, not abandoning, 
passenger service. And John M. Hockaday had apparently 
assumed a larger role in the enterprise, sometimes referred 
to as the Magraw-Hockaday line. 

Magraw did win a release from his contract on August 
18, 1856, which also terminated Hockaday's first staging 
experience. By that time, the Mormons, exasperated by in- 
adequate mail service, were organizing an ambitious mail, 
express and freighting company of their own and planning 
to establish settlements with trading posts and relay sta- 
tions along the route. This was the Brigham Young Express 
and Carrying Co., usually abbreviated to "B.Y.X." On Oc- 
tober 19, 1856, the Postmaster General awarded a contract 
for monthly mail over the remainder of Magraw's term to 
Hiram Kimball, the Mormon agent of the B.Y.X. But lack 
of mails in the interim so delayed notice of the award, that 
service could not begin until the next February. Then, after 
only a few runs, the eruption of the tragicomic Mormon 
War brought annulment of the B.Y.X. contract on June 10, 
1857. 13 

The irregular mails of 1856 had helped to conceal from 
the nation a dangerous flare-up of friction in Utah. The 
news broke in the spring of 1857, when a spate of cor- 


respondents' dispatches and complaints from federal of- 
ficials fleeing from Mormondom hit the eastern news- 
papers. The stories were all intemperate and some "facts" 
were utterly false, but others were only too true. Mutual 
religious intolerance contributed billows of emotional 
smoke at a "sacred" level, but the underlying flame sprang 
from collisions at a purely "profane" level. Although the 
Mormons merely wanted to be left alone to live according 
to their own religious lights, their way was to set up an 
all-powerful Church-State within a nation proud of its Bill 
of Rights and its separation of church and state. Cool heads 
that might have worked out acceptable provinces for the 
hierarchy and the government were conspicuously absent 
from both sides. 14 

Among the numerous conflicts at the profane level, 
was the incompatibility of the Mormon and national court 
systems. In Utah, the probate courts handled all cases, 
criminal and civil, with judges, juries and lawyers 
answerable only to the Mormon hierarchy. This conflicted 
with the territorial system, in which federally-appointed 
judges presided over district courts to handle major cases, 
federal cases and appeals from lower courts. The Mormons 
so systematically harassed and defied the territorial court 
system as to reduce it to virtual paralysis. And Hockaday, 
one of the few gentile merchants in Salt Lake City and an 
outspoken critic of the Mormon treatment of women, was 
caught in this maelstrom. 15 

Before Hockaday left on a business trip to Washington 
(where he was in June, 1856), he appointed as his business 
agent in Salt Lake, one Peter K. Dotson, a gentile friend 
of three years' residence there and also the federally- 
appointed U.S. Marshal of Utah. Soon after Hockaday left, 
Mormons seized his valuable tannery. On advice of at- 
torney Thomas S. Williams, an on-again-off-again Mor- 
mon, Dotson tried to repossess the tannery for his friend, 
with the result that he and Williams were promptly ar- 
rested and heavily fined by the local probate court. The 
outraged pair appealed this decision to the district court, 
presided over by federally-appointed Associate Justice 
Ceorge P. Stiles, a Mormon apostate. 

At a preliminary hearing in November, the judge 
scheduled the appeal for a full hearing the next February- 
over violent Mormon protests. The Mormon hierarchy 
promptly ex-communicated lawyer Williams on November 
12. Then on the night of December 28, 1856, a party of Mor- 
mon vandals burned the law libraries and papers of both 
Judge Stiles and Williams; they also stole the judge's court 
records, and all but a few privy to the secret believed they 
had been thrown in the fire, too. Before the hearing was 
to be held on February 13, 1857, Mormon agents, wielding 
knives and revolvers, forced Stiles to accept all orders from 
the hierarchy. 

For legal help, Williams had called in David H. Burr, 
one of two gentiles allowed to appear before Utah courts. 
He was also the federally-appointed surveyor general of 

Brigham Young, for whom an ambitious freighting company was named. 

Utah, a victim of severe harassment by Mormons, who 
were led to believe that federal surveying was nothing 
more than a device to swindle Mormons out of their land. 
When the hearing opened, Burr immediately asked Stiles 
whether he would obey orders from the hierarchy, or 
honor his oath of office. This precipitated a riot among the 
Mormons, whose vituperation, guns and knives forced a 
hasty adjournment of the court, sine die. Burr and Williams 
were promptly disbarred and Hockaday's coveted tannery 
remained in Mormon hands. 

These and other episodes led to the exodus of federal 
officials from Utah, including Chief Justice W. W. Drum- 
mond, Associate Justice Stiles, U.S. Marshal Dotson, 
Surveyor-General Burr, Indian Agent Garland Hurt, Salt 
Lake Postmaster Hiram F. Morrell and lawyer Williams. 
Their reports as well as news dispatches from others, 
helped to launch the ill-advised Utah Expedition to sub- 
due the Mormons by military force. 

On June 12, 1857, just two days after the cancelation 
of the B.Y.X. mail contract, Hockaday submitted a bid to 
carry the monthly Salt Lake mail for one year at $62,000. 
His cost analysis reveals that he planned to use the same 
six relay stations as Magraw, with three mail trains run- 
ning between Independence and Fort Laramie and three 
others between there and Salt Lake. This would require 
eighteen men, 92 mules and ten 6-mule coaches. But at this 
time, a dominant Southern administration was dedicated 
to a southern route to the Pacific, no matter how costly 
and roundabout. As a result, a niggardly contract at $32,000 
was let for the Salt Lake Mail to Stephen B. Miles, of 
Delaware. 16 


This forced Hockaday to turn to another iron he had 
warming in the fire. As early as May 22, 1857, Judge Drum- 
mond had identified John M. Hockaday as U.S. Attorney 
for Utah, though there is no proof that he had assumed 
his duties there. If President Pierce had made this appoint- 
ment, it still became the prerogative of President Buchanan 
to make his own choice when he assumed office on March 
3, 1857. Not until August 3, did Buchanan announce that 
he was "retaining" Marshal Dotson and Attorney General 
Hockaday in office. 17 Also, because of the growing Mor- 
mon troubles, Buchanan appointed Alfred Cumming as the 
first gentile governor of Utah Territory. 

By this time, most of the troops assigned to the Utah 
Expedition were on the march west, to be followed by Gen. 
Albert S. Johnston, as commander, and a battalion of 2nd 
Dragoons. Some of the new Utah officials went out with 
these troop details, but Hockaday, Dotson and Postmaster 
Morrell accompanied a private party that overtook the 
dragoon rear and joined the full command at Camp Scott, 
adjacent to Fort Bridger, on November 20. 18 Because of 
Mormon destruction of some supply trains and the already 
advanced season, Johnston was compelled to winter his 
troops at this point in the mountains. This long delay 
enabled some heads to cool with the fortunate result that 
negotiations permitted a bloodless entry of federal troops 
into the Mormon capital on June 26, 1858. 

During that frigid winter spent on short rations, the 
new Utah officials began holding court sessions, with 
Hockaday as the U.S. Attorney. But troops and civilians 
alike were soon complaining that the mail trains of S. B. 
Miles were always late and often missing. Accordingly, 
Hockaday arranged with Morrell to gather up the back- 
log of mail and army dispatches and start east with them 
on January 5, 1858, in company with Albert G. Browne, 
clerk. Hockaday delivered this mail to Independence on 
February 19, for which the Postmaster General paid him 
$3000 out of the Miles contract. He continued on to reach 
Washington on March 4, determined to resign his Utah 
appointment if he could secure a suitable mail contract. 19 

Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown had enthusias- 
tically favored the policy of using mail contracts to sub- 
sidize public transportation to the West in order to speed 
its development and strengthen its ties with the East. He 
did this by replacing minimal "star" mail contracts with 
subsidizing contracts for rapid mail with passenger service, 
paying well enough to justify the extra equipment and sta- 
tions that alone made fast service possible. The trouble was 
that as an ardent Southerner, Brown had short-changed 
the heavily-traveled central route while engineering a plush 
subsidy for his favorite southern route. 

On September 16, 1857, Brown let a contract to the But- 
terfield Overland Mail Co. to deliver the mail between St. 
Louis and San Francisco by a semicircular route across the 
uninhabited desert via El Paso, Tucson and Los Angeles. 
The route was 2795 miles long, but since the first 160 miles 

used the railroad west to Tipton, Missouri (a 12-hour run), 
the staging portion was 2635 miles. The service was to be 
twice a week, through in 25 days at 105 miles a day. The 
contract covered six full years at a compensation of $600,000 
per year. This subsidy, amounting to $227 per year per 
mile, was deemed sufficient to support stage stations every 
ten to twenty miles. A unique feature of the contract pro- 
hibited any reduction in service or compensation for any 
reason whatever, and allowed a full year to prepare for an 
initial run on September 15, 1858. 20 

Hockaday was undoubtedly aware that this flagrant 
favoritism had provoked the North into calling for equal 
subsidy of the central route. He also perceived that But- 
terfield's year of preparation time left an opening for a com- 
petitor to get into operation first. To exploit these oppor- 
tunities, he met with Chorpenning, who was then in 
Washington to renew his mail contract, and together they 
planned a competitive service over a shortened central 
route. Hockaday bid to carry the mail from St. Joseph, 
Missouri, soon to become the western terminus of the Han- 
nibal and St. Joseph Railroad, to Salt Lake City, a short- 
ened distance of 1140 miles. Chorpenning bid to carry it 
from Salt Lake to Placerville, California, the eastern ter- 
minus of a short railroad from Sacramento. Within a year 
Chorpenning would be able to shorten his route from 
about 1,000 miles to 660. 

Pressure from the North did compel Brown to award 
subsidizing contracts to both Hockaday and Chorpenning 
on April 1, 1858, but he designed them to prevent any com- 
petition with his favored southern route. Early in June, 
1858, Congress tried to intervene by passing a joint resolu- 
tion demanding fast service on the central route, but Presi- 
dent Buchanan promptly vetoed the bill, thus marking 
Hockaday and Chorpenning as sheep for slaughter. 21 Only 
an unshakeable confidence in the superiority of the cen- 
tral route could have induced the pair to tackle such for- 
midable odds. 

The only attractive feature of the contracts 22 was the 
short preparation time (one month for Hockaday and three 
for Chorpenning), which would enable them to beat But- 
terfield into service. Chorpenning's contract was for the 
usual four years (July 1, 1858 to June 30, 1862), but Hocka- 
day's for only 31 months (May 1, 1858, to November 30, 
1860), thus allowing little time to recover a heavy invest- 
ment. Both contracts featured a sliding scale of increasing 
compensation for increased service, but this proved mere 
bait when Brown fixed Hockaday's compensation at 
$190,000 a year for the weekly mail, through in 22 days, 
and Chorpenning's at $130,000 a year for a weekly mail, 
through in 16 days. Even by their shorter route, a weekly 
service at a slow 55 miles a day and through in 38 days, 
could not compete with Butterfield's twice-a-week service, 
at 110 miles a day and through in 25 days. Furthermore, 
their subsidy amounted to $149 per year per mile, only two- 
thirds of Butterfield's. By such planned inferiority, Brown 


Fort Bridger offered supplies and a resting place to trans-continental travelers of all kinds 

forecast his decision never to allow the central route to 
carry first-class transcontinental mail. 

The contracts also featured another booby-trap. Under 
no circumstances could Butterfield's pay or service be 
reduced, but Hockaday's and Chorpenning's contracts car- 
ried the following clause: "The Postmaster General may 
discontinue or curtail service, in whole or in part, in order 
to place on the route a greater degree of service, or when- 
ever the public interests require such discontinuance or cur- 
tailment for any other cause; by allowing one month's ex- 
tra pay on the amount of service dispensed with." Hocka- 
day's contract also carried another, completely contradic- 
tory, clause: "the Postmaster General reserving the fur- 
ther right to reduce the service to semimonthly whenever 
the necessities of the public and the condition of affairs in 
the Territory of Utah may not require it more frequently, 
at $190,000 per year." This full pay of $190,000 for half ser- 
vice appears as a reiteration in the contract. 23 

The energetic Hockaday spent the month of April in 
vigorous preparations for the maiden run of the mail. Pre- 
cisely on schedule, on the morning of May 1, 1858, his mail 
and passenger wagons pulled up at the St. Joseph post of- 
fice to load 800 lbs. of mail and two passengers, Albert G. 
Browne of the Neiv York Tribune and James W. Simonton 
of the New York Times. 24 On May 27, they rolled into the 
temporary terminus at Camp Scott-Fort Bridger, where the 
Utah Expedition was still waiting to resume its march into 
Salt Lake City. Simonton introduced his long and inter- 
esting account of the journey with the following general 

We left St. Joseph with the first mail under the contract on the 1st 
of May, only 27 days [?] after the contract was signed, a time quite 
too brief for the organization of a route 1200 miles long through a 
wilderness country. Nevertheless, though delayed by storms and 
a river rendered temporarily impassable by heavy rains, without relay 
stations, the first trip was made in 27 days. The contractors are busily 
engaged now in stocking the road, intending to locate a station for 

every fifty miles of the road, at which fresh animals may be had and 
the passengers find rest and refreshment . . . 

The fare to Salt Lake for passengers is fixed at $200, which in- 
cludes board as well as conveyance. The coaches are light but 
strong— similar in construction to the ordinary ambulance used by 
officers of the army, with seats and backs so arranged that they may 
be let down at night to form a very comfortable mattress for the 
passengers who have occasion to sleep on them. With the appliances 
of comfort thus introduced, a trip across the plains will lose much 
of the rough and robust interest which it has hitherto possessed . . . ffi 

Simonton thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor living and 
occasional scares of the long trip. Though he did not name 
the conductor, it was undoubtedly James E. Bromley, who 
did conduct the first return trip that left Camp Scott on 
May 29. Bromley, having been born on September 7, 1832, 
in St. Joseph County, Michigan, was still in his 25th year. 
In the early 1850s he had been associated with a Missouri 
stage company, rising to division agent. In July, 1854, he 
conducted the first mail train to Salt Lake on the Magraw 
contract and remained with that firm until its contract was 
canceled in August, 1856. The next spring he joined Ma- 
graw's Pacific Wagon Road Expedition, a Department of 
the Interior program to improve and shorten the old Cali- 
fornia trail, remaining until fall when the Utah Expedition 
halted further work on the road that season. Magraw and 
most of his crew enlisted as 9-month volunteers in Johns- 
ton's army, but Bromley says the army hired him as a scout 
and guide. 26 This is probably correct, for otherwise he 
would not have been free so early to become a conductor 
on Hockaday's line. 

Simonton wrote that heavy rains so muddied the roads 
and swelled the streams that they averaged only 31 miles 
a day over the first 278 miles to Fort Kearny, reached May 
9. For the next 162 miles up the Platte to the lower (shortly 
to be named Beauvais') crossing of the South Platte, they 
made a fast 65 miles a day, but then lost a good day and 
a half hunting a passable ford over the flooded river. They 
lost another half a day at Fort Laramie on May 18, and 


beyond there army orders slowed them some more. They 
passed Independence Rock on the 23rd, crossed South 
Pass on the 25th and rolled into Camp Scott on the eve- 
ning of May 27. This was five days beyon'd schedule time, 
but not bad for an initial run over an unstocked line. 

In a hasty note that Simonton had sent by the first 
return mail of May 29, he reported that "our arrival in 27 
days was hailed joyfully by the Army, which expected it 
to take twice as long . . . Now that the mail contractors 
have distributed their stock over the route, I think you can 
rely on regular service." Hockaday must already have sent 
out some relay teams, for conductor Bromley drove that 
first return mail into St. Joseph in a record 17 days. The 
first mail to continue into Salt Lake City left St. Joseph on 
June 5, completing the full trip in 21 days. 27 Thereafter, 
Salt Lake City enjoyed its first dependable weekly mail, 
for the trains left both terminals every Saturday morning 
and reached their destinations on an average of twenty 
days later for the next six months. Since the Postmaster 
General had not ordered this faster-than-schedule service, 
he happily withheld the extra pay it would otherwise have 

The first mail from Placerville on Chorpenning's new 
contract bounced into Salt Lake City on July 21, another 
initial trip delayed by stocking the line. The first westbound 
transcontinental trip left St. Joseph on June 19, reached 
Salt Lake City on July 8 (twenty days), whence Chorpen- 
ning forwarded it to Placerville on July 19 (31 days total). 
There the whole town turned out to give it a rousing 
celebration to the claim of a 29-day through trip. If this 
figure is correct, the mail laid over for two days at Salt Lake 
to make an uncoordinated connection. 28 

Hockaday and Chorpenning thus met their goal of in- 
stituting the first transcontinental service two months 
ahead of Butterfield, but the eastern newspapers soon 
revealed how Pyrrhic was the victory. They regularly noted 
the arrivals of western mails, summarizing their latest 
news. It was invariably the "Utah" mail that arrived at St. 
Joseph, and starting in the fall, the "California" mail that 
arrived at Tipton. Soon even the public knew that the only 
cross-country mail the Postmaster General ever consigned 
to the central route consisted of old newspapers and 
franked government publications, universally dubbed 
"Pub. Docs." and deemed useful only for filling chuck- 
holes in the road. 

Simonton also made one of the early westbound trips 
over the Chorpenning line, leaving Salt Lake City on July 
19, and reaching Placerville in fourteen days and six 
hours. 29 His lengthy account reveals that at that time 
Chorpenning was still using the old roundabout road that 
headed far north of Salt Lake before veering west to pick 
up the head of the Humboldt River. In successive steps, 
spread over some six months, Chorpenning would shorten 
his route to 660 miles by adopting the Egan Trail that 
crossed the desert west of Salt Lake. 

Hockaday's plans for equipping his line were far more 
ambitious than any of his predecessors. As Simonton had 
revealed, he initially expected to erect stations every 50 
miles, which for a 1140 mile route meant 23 stations, in- 
cluding both terminals. But as will emerge, he soon ex- 
panded this number to 36, averaging 33 miles apart, prob- 
ably the most he could wring from his subsidy. This 
number would permit frequent relay teams and provide 
accommodations for passenger meals and rest, but there 
was more to the scheme than this. 

Congressional acts of March 3, 1856, and 1857, offered 
special inducements to mail contractors on east-to-west 
links, or extensions, of routes running between the tier of 
states on the west bank of the Mississippi and the Pacific 
Ocean; they granted the right to pre-empt land, limited 
to 320 acres each, at stations no less than ten miles apart. 30 
Hockaday intended to make such preemptions, covering 
grazing and even crop land, where suitable, and then equip 
the stations as public trading posts, or "road ranches" as 
they came to be called. It would take a little time to establish 
them and would require an elaborate freighting service to 
supply them with provisions, animal forage and trade 
goods. For this purpose, he established a convenient head- 
quarters for business and freighting in Atchison, Kansas, 
on the west bank of the Missouri only a few miles below 
St. Joseph. 

The mail contract was apparently held in the name of 
Hockaday & Co., in which David H. Burr, the former 
surveyor-general of Utah and a friend of Hockaday, held 
a financial interest as well as serving as contract surety. 
In addition, this pair formed Hockaday, Burr & Co., as a 
Utah freighting firm, which apparently also contracted to 
carry some of the heavy freight for the mail concern. The 
Atchison Champion (a Saturday weekly) carried notices of 
the freighting activities of both firms, sometimes confus- 
ing the two. In addition, the issue of July 24, 1858, featured 
a tabular list of sixteen freighting outfits that had left the 
city (dateless and incomplete, but in good sequence) up 
to July 21 (misprinted as July 1), and the issue of October 
30 added eight more outfits to the table to make 24 for 
the entire season. 

These tables reveal that "John M. Hockaday & Co., 
of Independence, Mo.," sent out three outfits that sum- 
mer, all as "supply trains for mail stations." They were 
delivering men, mules and provisions to the first set of 22 
stations. The first train consisted of ten wagons, twenty 
men, 80 mules and 23,000 lbs. of freight; as No. 2 in the 
table, it must have left in May. The second consisted of ten 
wagons, eighteen men, 85 mules and 21,000 lbs. of freight; 
as No. 6 in the table, it must have left in June, as confirmed 
by a notice in the issue of June 19, that a supply train of 
the Salt Lake Mail contractors had left the city that very 
day. The third consisted of 57 wagons, 69 men, six horses, 
312 mules and 204,000 lbs. of freight; as No. 22 in the table, 
it probably left in the first half of August. In confirmation, 


August 14 issue noted that "the Salt Lake Mail contrac- 
tors are now freighting [implying that the train had already 
left?] . . . 4,500 bu. of corn designed for the different mail 
stations along the route." If it had left early that week, say 
August 10, it should have reached "this side of the moun- 
tains," some 800 miles out, where about September 29, 
a returning Salt Lake Mail passed "one of Hockaday's 
supply trains." 31 

The season table reveals that Hockaday, Burr & Co., 
of Salt Lake City, dispatched as the last outfit of the season 
a mammoth train of 105 wagons, 225 men, 200 mules, 1,000 
cattle, 50 horses and 465,500 lbs. of freight. The Champion 
of August 14, described this identical train of 25 mule- and 
80 ox-wagons as then being assembled for loading to Salt 
Lake. The editor further commented: 

Hockadav, Burr & Co. design establishing a chain of station 
stores on the line from Atchison to Salt Lake City, making Atchison 
the principal depot and outfitting point. They have the contract for 
carrying the Salt Lake Mail and their design is to locate these stores 
all along the mail route to supply their mail trains as thev pass, and 
also to furnish the people of the plains with merchandise. They will 
thus avoid the necessity of carrying supplies with each mail train as 
has heretofore been the custom. Mr. Hockaday, the senior partner 
of the firm, is now in this place, personally supervising the loading 
of his goods. The enterprise he has undertaken is a gigantic one, 
but will be a great promoter of civilization and settlement in the vast 
territory west of here. 

The Champion of September 25, indicated that this 
mammoth train left for Salt Lake and the mail stations 
along the route about September 14. This statement, 
together with the excess of mules and men, imply that a 
portion of this train was also serving the mail line. The 
September 14, departure is confirmed by a report from a 
returning mail that it had passed a Hockaday supply train 

at Scott's Bluff, some 555 miles out, about November l. 32 
This late departure meant that the train could not complete 
its journey until winter was well advanced, suggesting that 
it was expanding the number of stations to 36, as was ac- 
complished by the next spring. 

This supply operation introduces a famous character 
employed by Hockaday as well as his staging successors- 
Joseph Alfred Slade. Folklore paints him as the archetypical 
"badman," though he was in fact a superb stage man. 
Mark Twain, while staging west in August, 1861, picked 
up a wealth of gossip (as he clearly warned his deaf 
readers) about Slade, which he later embroidered in his 
own inimitable style. One of these tall-tales relates that 
Slade, as train-master for a California-bound emigrant 
train, shot down one of his wagon drivers, purely for 
"kicks." 33 Other evidence tames this story down and fits 
it into the context of the Hockaday operations. 

The fullest, first-hand account of this incident was told 
to C. G. Coutant by Hugo Koch, who came west in the 
fall of 1858, as a teamster in a freighting outfit from Atchi- 
son in charge of Slade. Near Green River, a fellow teamster 
named Farrar quarreled with Slade, who shot him; to 
Slade's deep regret the wound proved fatal. A partial con- 
firmation comes from Sir Richard Burton, whose stage- 
coach passed a grave on the west bank of Green River on 
August 22, I860, which contained the remains of "one Far- 
rer [sic], who had fallen by the revolver of the redoubtable 
Slade." Another comes from Granville Stuart, who came 
to Green River August 1, 1858, and traded there until leav- 
ing in October; he did much the same thing the next year. 
While he was there, wagonmaster Slade shot a teamster. 
Stuart misdated this event in 1859, for Slade was elsewhere 
in 1859. 34 



Stage stations varied in quality, cleanliness and construction, 
supplies appear to be stored on the roof. 

At this one, the hostess displays her collection of pots, while 


As a wagonmaster with a freighting outfit from At- 
chison in the fall of 1858, that reached Green River by Oc- 
tober, Slade could only have been with Hockaday's third 
supply train, which had left August 10/ and was sighted 
"this side of the mountains" in late September. The other 
tabulated trains that went that far were either too early or 
too late. John Doniphan, in recalling early stage coaching 
to Salt Lake, mentions "the famous Slade, who had been 
promoted from clerk, to a supply train, to a division 
agent." 35 Since Slade attained the latter position with the 
Hockaday line, his supply train job must have been with 
the same firm, which was involved in freighting only in 

The Nezv York Tribune of November 19, 1858, provides 
a general description of the organization of the Hockaday 
line as of that date, based on information from its cor- 
respondent, Albert G. Browne, an eastbound passenger 
on the mail that left Salt Lake City on October 16: 
... So far from interrupting the communications to Utah during 
the winter, the contractors anticipate making all trips within schedule 
time. This line is thoroughly stocked, and a string of twenty-two 
stations has been established between St. Joseph and Salt Lake City, 
averaging fifty miles apart. Drivers are furnished at every station 
to convey the mail to the next. The route is partitioned into four 
great divisions: from St. Joseph to Fort Kearny, from there to Fort 
Laramie, from there to the upper crossing of the Sweetwater, and 
from there to Salt Lake City. To each of these a road agent was as- 
signed, who superintends all the stations and the transit of the mails. 
On the western division, the services of the most experienced moun- 
taineers have been engaged to conduct the mail across the moun- 
tains during the winter . . . 

Travelers' accounts specifically name only a few of this 
first set of 22 stations. Teamster Robert T. Ackley noted 
in his diary "a trading post or mail station, kept by a 
Frenchman," at Ash Hollow on July 19, 1858, and a trading 
post at Devil's Gate on August 14. Percival G. Lowe, a 
superintendent of army transportation, recorded in his 
diary on August 22, a mail station at O'Fallon's Bluffs, 
which became a well known post on the Platte in western 
Nebraska, kept by Crawford Moore and Benjamin Grimes. 
Lowe also mentioned a mail station at the mouth of Echo 
Canyon on October 2, and on his return from Salt Lake 
on October 21, named the keeper as a seceded Mormon 
named Briggs. On October 29, he noted a mail station nine 
miles east of South Pass, which identifies it as Gilbert's 
Station, kept by young Henry S. Gilbert. On November 
2, Lowe spoke highly of the young man who kept the 
Devil's Gate Station; it was located a mile west of the Gate 
and apparently replaced the old Independence Rock Sta- 
tion. A news account of the arrival of a mail at St. Joseph, 
mentioned that Geminien P. Beauvais' well-known trading 
post eight miles east of Fort Laramie was also a Hockaday 
station. 36 

Another letter-writing passenger boarded the mail train 
at St. Joseph on August 14, for a 22 day trip to Salt Lake. 
This was Kirk Anderson, a former editor of the St. Louis 
Missouri Republican, but soon destined to publish in the 

Mormon capital a gentile newspaper called the Valley Tan. 
He wrote on August 17, from Daniel Patterson's Ranch on 
the Big Sandy in Nebraska (probably already a Hockaday 
station): "These mail trains of Hockaday & Co. run on 
railroad principles and afford very little opportunity to 
scratch a line, as they put . . . passengers as well as mails 
right through in quick time." Unfortunately he names no 
other stations or keepers, and only twice refers to chang- 
ing teams— at Ash Hollow and Fort Bridger; his conduc- 
tor was Jim Bromley. 37 

The titles of stage personnel have caused much con- 
fusion, partly from carelessness and partly because they 
were slow to become standardized. Among supervisory 
personnel, the highest was general superintendent (of the 
whole line), then division superintendent (of two or more 
divisions), division agent (of one division) and station 
agent (of one heavy-business station, such as a terminal 
or junction). A "route" or "road" agent was an early term 
for any of these supervisory personnel, except station 
agent. A conductor, assisted by a wagon driver, took 
charge of a mail and passenger party, which camped out 
at night. When stations became frequent and coaches either 
ran all night, or stopped overnight at a station, a stage 
driver handled the coach while an express messenger had 
charge of express matter and passengers. Stationkeepers, 
with hostlers and herders, were at the low end of the stag- 
ing totem pole, though the first might be prominent as a 
trader or host. 

Hockaday himself was undoubtedly the general su- 
perintendent of his line. Initially the stations were few and 
conductors apparently made the full run with the mails, 
but the establishment of divisions with supervising divi- 
sion agents marked the transition to more frequent sta- 
tions, more relay teams and shorter runs for teams, drivers 
and conductors. The four divisions identified in the above 
quote, were, starting from the east, respectively 278, 332, 
271 and 242 miles in length. At this time a Mr. Ashton was 
apparently division agent of the western division, and ac- 
cording to P. G. Lowe's diary, the station agent at the Salt 
Lake City terminal was "Dodson," undoubtedly Peter K. 
Dotson. The rest are unknown, but a number of conduc- 
tors for this period are named in newspaper items: James 
E. Bromley, P. T. Conner, Benjamin J. Rupe, A. Burns 
and George W. Constable. The names of a few more per- 
sonnel will emerge in the course of this story. 





1. Alexander Majors, Seventy Years on the Frontier (Columbus: Long's 
College Book Co., 1950), p. 165. 

2. "Journal of Capt. Albert Tracy," Utah Historical Quarterly 13(1945):106; 
J. M. Hockaday to G. W. Manypenny, June 12, 1856, in "Hockaday 
Claim Papers," Letter from Upper Platte Agency, 1856, M234, R889, 
NARS; "George Chorpenning Claim," SRNo. 346, 41C3S(Ser. No. 
1443), p. 6. 

3. "Utah Expedition," HED No. 71, 35C, IS (Ser. No. 956), p. 159. 

4. Louise Barry, Beginning of the West (Topeka: Kansas Historical Soci- 
ety, 1972), p. 1136. 

5. Leroy R. Hafen, The Overland Mail (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 
1926), p. 57. 

6. J. Cecil Alter, Jim Bridget- (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1962), p. 168. 

7. Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 60 (mail contract); A. R. Mortenson, "A 
Pioneer Paper Mirrors the Breakup of Isolation in the Great Basin," 
Utah Historical Quarterly 20 (January 1952):78. 

8. "Magraw Claim," HR No. 6, 34C, IS (Ser. No. 868) pp. 4ff. 

9. "Livingston, Kincaid Claim," SR No. 257, 34C, IS (Ser. No. 837); 
News reports and claim affidavits in Letter from Upper Platte Agency, 
M234, R889. 

10. Letter from Upper Platte Agency, M234, R889. 

11. "Chorpenning Claim," SR No. 346, 41C, 3S (Ser. No. 1443), p. 6. 

12. Nebraska Historical Society Publication 20(1922):276. 

13. Hafen, Overland Mail, p. 61; Harold Schindler, Orrin Porter Rockwell 
(Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1966), pp. 241ff. 
For a balanced account, see Norman F. Furniss, The Mormon Conflict 
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1960). 

Dale L. Morgan, Great Salt Lake (Indianapolis: Bobbs-MerrUl Co., 1947), 
pp. 263-66, and Furniss, Mormon Conflict, give the background to the 
court conflict and introduce the characters of the Hockaday case 
without mentioning it. The present account is supplemented by a 
detailed Salt Lake City dispatch, signed "Utah," New York Times, May 
18-19, 1857. 

16. "Hockaday & Liggitt Claim," SCR No. 259, 36C, IS (Ser. No. 1040), 
Minority Report, pp. 36-39; Hafen Overland Mail, p. 63 (for Miles Con- 
tract); J. Sterling Morton, Illustrated History of Nebraska (Lincoln: Jacob 
North & Company, 1905), p. 706 (Miles sketch). 

17. New York Times, May 26, 1857 (Drummond letter); August 3, 1857. 

18. "Diary of William A. Carter to Utah, 1857," Annals of Wyoming 11 
(April 1939), passim. 



19. Utah dispatch in New York Tribune, February 2, 1858; A minute of 
May 28, 1848, in Postmaster General's Record Book, Rte. 8911, RG 
28, NARS; St. Louis dispatch in New York Times, February 26, 1858; 
Washington Dispatch in New York Times, March 6, 1858. 

20. Hafen, Overland Mail, pp. 89ff. 

21. Ralph Moody, Stagecoach West (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 
1967), pp. 125-126. 

22. "Hockaday, Liggitt Claim," SCR No. 259, 36C, IS (Ser. No. 1040), 
Minority Report, p. 13; "Chorpenning Claim," SR346, 41C 3S (Ser. 
No. 1443), p. 8. 

23. The quote is from the majoritv report; the minority report features 
a different punctuation so unintelligible as to raise the suspicion of 

24. St. Joe dispatch in New York Tunes, May 13, 1858. 

25. Ibid., June 30, 1848. 

26. Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah (Salt Lake City, 1904), pp. 428-29 
(sketch of Bromley). 

27. New York Tunes, June 24, 1858 (Simonton quote), June 21, 1858 
(Bromley's return to St. Joe); Atchison Champion, July 24, 1858 (first 
run to Salt Lake). 

28. Salt Lake dispatch in New York Tunes, August 24, 1858 (first Chorpen- 
ning mail); Moody, Stagecoach West, pp. 89ff (first transcontinental 

29. New York Times, September 22, 1858. 

30. New York Tribune, September 17, 1857. 

31. St. Joe dispatch in New York Tribune, October 26, 1858. 

32. St. Louis dispatch in Ibid., November 18, 1858. 

33. Mark Twain, Roughing It (New York: Harper & Row reprint of 1871 
ed.), p. 62. 

34. C. G. Coutant, Histon/ of Wyoming (Laramie: Chaplin et al, Printers, 
1899); Richard F. Burton, City of the Saints, ed. Fawn M. Brodie (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), p. 191; Granville Stuart, Forty Years 
on the Frontier (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1957), p. 151. 

35. Frank A. Root and William E. Connelley, The Overland Stage to Califor- 
nia (Columbus: Long's College Book Co., 1950), pp. 446-47. 

36. Richard T. Ackley, "Across the Plains in 1858," Utah Historical Quar- 
terly 9(1941):198, 204; Percival G. Lowe, Five Years a Dragoon (Kan- 
sas City: Franklin Hudson Pub. Co., 1906), pp. 315, 332, 342-43, 347; 
Leroy R. Hafen, Colorado Gold Rush, 1858-59 (Glendale: Arthur H. 
Clark Co., 1941), p. 59. 

37. Eugene T. Wells, "Kirk Anderson's Trip to Utah, 1858," Missouri 
Historical Society Bulletin 18(1961):3-19. 


The Gros Ventres and the 

Upper Missouri 

Fur Trade, 1806-1835 

Thomas F. Schilz 

Atinsa Chief Niatohsa is shown enjoying his pipe. He wears the topknot, 
distinctive to some Upper Missouri tribes. 

About 1650 the Assiniboines and Crees forced the Gros 
Ventres and Arapahoes from their woodland hunting 
grounds in western Manitoba and Minnesota. Although 
the Gros Ventres and their Arapaho kinsmen were skilled 
warriors, with bows and arrows they were no match for 
tribes armed with guns. 

An Algonkian-speaking people, the Gros Ventres 
separated from their Arapaho kinsmen soon after 1650. 
While the Arapahoes migrated southward toward the 
Platte River, the Gros Ventres drifted westward and set- 
tled along the south fork of the Saskatchewan. By the mid- 
dle of the 18th century they occupied a considerable ex- 
tent of territory between the South Saskatchewan and the 
mouth of the Marias. They allied themselves with the 
Cheyennes and the four tribes of the Blackfeet confederacy 
which were the Piegans, Siksika (or Blackfeet), Bloods and 
Sarcees. Although the Gros Ventres frequently traded with 
British merchants in Canada, they regarded these white 
men as allies of their Assiniboine enemies and were more 
often than not at war with them. 

The Gros Ventres traded with a variety of tribes along 
the Missouri. They bartered furs and buffalo robes for corn, 

horses and other goods of the village Indians of the up- 
per Missouri. 1 Admired for their skill at dressing buffalo 
robes, the Gros Ventres had begun to penetrate the 
Spanish trade network on the upper Missouri by 1795. 2 
The Spaniards found the Gros Ventres to be ready cus- 
tomers for firearms, tobacco and other goods. Gros Ven- 
tre trading parties also visited their Arapaho cousins along 
the upper Arkansas and traded with the comancheros from 
New Mexico. 

The American purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 
1803 ended a decade of peaceful trade between the Gros 
Ventres and Spaniards. From the first years of their 
penetration of the northern plains after 1804, the Gros Ven- 
tres were the most relentlessly hostile Indian tribe the 
American trappers encountered in the trans-Mississippi 
west. 3 Two decades of warfare against English traders in 
western Canada had hardened the Gros Ventres against 
the white men, and led to contempt for their fighting abil- 
ity. At the same time, the Gros Ventres' victories had given 
them confidence that their own war medicine was stronger 
than that of the whites. 

American fur trappers and traders who explored the 
upper Missouri and its tributaries in the early 19th century 
often mistakenly referred to the Gros Ventres as "Black- 
feet." This was a natural error since the Gros Ventres often 
camped with their Blackfeet allies and spoke a related 


Occasionally, Americans confused the Gros Ventres 
with an unrelated Siouan tribe, the Hidatsas, who were 
also called "Gros Ventres." Although the Hidatsas were 
agriculturalists who occupied villages along the Missouri and 
the Gros Ventres were nomadic buffalo hunters, white 
men failed to differentiate between the two tribes by name. 
Some observers, noting the linguistic and cultural dif- 
ferences between the two tribes, referred to the Hidatsas 
as the "Gros Ventres of the Missouri" and to the Gros 
Ventres themselves as the "Gros Ventres of the Prairies," 
ignoring the fact that several Gros Ventre bands occupied 
territories along the Missouri. 

The Gros Ventres displayed hostility toward American 
trappers because they resented the sale of guns and am- 
munition to their enemies, the Shoshones, Nez Perces and 
Flatheads. In addition, the Gros Ventres regarded Ameri- 
can mountain men as interlopers who hunted the beaver 
and buffalo whose skins they relied on to trade for guns 
and other goods. The balance of power on the Great Plains 
was so precarious that the possession of a few muskets 
might give one tribe an overwhelming military advantage 
over its enemies. Without beaver to trade to the British in 
Canada, the Gros Ventres could not acquire guns. Without 
guns for war and hunting, they were doomed. The Ameri- 
cans' sale of guns to the Gros Ventres' enemies and their 
trapping of beaver needed for trade goods infuriated the 
Gros Ventres, who wanted to maintain the balance of 
power in their favor. 

The Gros Ventres and their Blackfeet allies controlled 
rich hunting grounds that possessed a fatal fascination for 
white trappers. By the 1830s Gros Ventres and Blackfeet 
war parties killed an average of 50 Americans a year. 4 Gros 
Ventre bands often roamed between their own lands and 
the territory of their Arapaho cousins along the Arkansas. 
As a result, American trappers unexpectedly encountered 
Gros Ventre war parties hundreds of miles from the tribes' 
usual hunting grounds. 

In 1806, members of the expedition of Meriwether 
Lewis and William Clark became the first Americans to en- 
counter the Gros Ventres. The Lewis and Clark expedi- 
tion had traveled overland from St. Louis to the Pacific 
Ocean, acquiring scientific information and laying claim 
to the farthest frontiers of the Louisiana Purchase and 
Oregon for the United States. On their trip west the ex- 
plorers met no Gros Ventres. Lewis believed, however, 
that the Gros Ventres' business could be valuable and that 
a trading post should be built in their country to entice 
them to trade with Americans rather than with the English 
in Canada. 5 

On their return trip from the Pacific, Lewis left Clark 
and the main body of the expedition to explore the course 
of the Marias, which was within Gros Ventre territory. Ac- 
companied by George Drouillard, Reuben Fields and 
Joseph Fields, Lewis set out for the Marias in July 1806. 
Upon approaching the Marias, the Americans encountered 

eight Gros Ventres led by two minor chiefs, Wolf Calf and 
Side Hill Calf. The Gros Ventres offered to camp with the 
Americans and passed around a calumet. They appeared 
surprised when Lewis informed them he represented a 
great "white chief" far to the east of their country and were 
skeptical of the Americans' assertion that they had crossed 
the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. 

At daybreak Lewis awoke to find Joseph Fields strug- 
gling with one of the Gros Ventres who had seized his rifle. 
As Lewis stood up and reached for his own weapon, he 
saw Fields stab the Indian. Lewis then shot another Indian 
who had grabbed one of his own pistols. Although the 
white men chased the surviving Indians for some distance 
on foot, Lewis and his companions finally gave up and 
returned to their camp. Gathering up the Gros Ventres' 
horses, weapons and food, they hastily rode back to the 
Missouri to rejoin Clark's party. 6 

Lewis and Clark's report, which noted the richness of 
the western country in beaver and other fur-bearing 
animals, prompted a number of American trappers to ex- 
plore the Missouri in hopes of making their fortunes in the 
fur trade. Manuel Lisa, a Spaniard from St. Louis who had 
traded with the Osages and had trapped beaver along the 
Arkansas, organized the first of such major expeditions in 
1807. Lisa's fur brigade built a post on the Big Horn River 
and established relations with two of the sedentary tribes 
of the region, the Mandans and the Arikaras. Using them 
as middlemen, he acquired a large assortment of furs in 
trade with the nomadic tribes of the northern plains. At- 
tempting to capitalize on his initial success, Lisa, Auguste 
Chouteau, Pierre Menard, Andrew Henry and other 
prominent St. Louis businessmen organized the St. Louis 
Missouri Fur Company. The new company employed trap- 
pers to collect furs and proposed building a series of forts 
on the upper Missouri to protect and supply their em- 
ployees. Menard, Henry, John Colter and George Drouil- 
lard led the company's first expedition westward in 1809, 
and were continually harassed by Gros Ventres and Blood 
war parties. 

In April, 1810, several members of Colter's trapping 
party became the first American victims of Gros Ventre 
hostility. On this occasion Colter (who had barely escaped 
with his life from a Blackfeet war party in 1808) camped 
with his companions on the Jefferson Fork of the Mis- 
souri—the heart of the Gros Ventre and Piegan southern 
hunting grounds. Colter and several other trappers had 
left camp to set traps while three men, Ayers, Cheek and 
Hull, remained behind to dry beaver pelts. A party of 30 
to 40 Gros Ventres attacked these three as they worked. 
Ayers, refusing to defend himself, tried to run and was 
killed by a lance. Cheek shot one of the Gros Ventres but 
was killed while trying to reload his musket. Hull was cap- 
tured and apparently killed later. 7 Two other trappers, 
Freeharty and Rucker, returned to the camp to help their 
comrades and suffered the same fate as Hull. 8 The surviv- 


Camp of the Gros Ventres of the Prairies on the Upper Missouri. 

ing members of Colter's party abandoned their equipment 
and fled down the Missouri to Lisa's fort. 9 After robbing 
the cache Colter's men abandoned, the Gros Ventres, in 
a gesture designed to flaunt their contempt for the Amer- 
icans, visited Lisa's fort wearing the trappers' clothes and 
carrying their weapons. A few days later Drouillard and 
two Delaware Indian companions were ambushed and 
killed, presumably by the same Gros Ventres. 10 

The frequent attacks of the Gros Ventres and their 
allies finally forced the Americans to abandon the upper 
Missouri. Gros Ventre hostility toward American trappers 
continued throughout the next two decades. Their raids 
limited the ability of the Americans to collect furs and com- 
pete with the larger and more established Hudson's Bay 
Company. These skirmishes benefitted the Gros Ventres 
by providing them with captured furs to trade to the British 
in Canada as well as horses and guns. 

So many stolen pelts ended up in Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany warehouses that American trappers accused the 
British of supplying guns to the Gros Ventres and thereby 
encouraged thefts and violence. 11 In 1823, Major Benjamin 
O'Fallon, Indian agent for the upper Missouri tribes, ex- 
pressed this opinion when he accused the British of being 
"greedy wolves" who, alarmed by the commercial success 
of their American rivals, furnished the Gros Ventres and 
other hostile tribes with guns in hopes of destroying the 
republic's fur trade. 12 O'Fallon was disturbed by an attack 
on a trapping party carried out by Blackfeet Indians who 

had gained entrance to the American camp by means of 
a letter of introduction from a Hudson's Bay Company of- 
ficial who assured the Americans that the bearers were 
faithful friends of the white men. 13 On this occasion, the 
"faithful friends" killed five Americans and stole a fortune 
in furs which they sold to the Gros Ventres. The Gros Ven- 
tres, in turn, passed the stolen pelts on to the British. 14 

Sometimes the Gros Ventres attempted to avoid trou- 
ble with the Americans only to have extenuating circum- 
stances dictate otherwise. In 1825, for example, James 
Clyman and three companions camped peacefully with a 
Gros Ventre party of seventeen warriors. In the night, 
three young warriors who sought to earn their first scalps 
at the trappers' expense, crept up on the sleeping Amer- 
icans and killed one of them with an axe. 15 The other 
Americans barely escaped with their lives, and lost 166 
pounds of beaver pelts. 16 

General William Ashley's Rocky Mountain Fur Com- 
pany suffered innumerable attacks by Gros Ventre war par- 
ties. Because Blackfeet warriors had driven his 1822 expedi- 
tion from the upper Missouri, Ashley's 1825 outfit at- 
tempted to avoid hostile Indians by trapping in the Snake 
River valley and the Wasatch Mountains. Ashley's men 
collected an enormous number of pelts, many of them pur- 
chased from British trappers. 17 

Ashley's trappers returned from the Great Basin via 
South Pass and the Bighorn River valley. In July, 1825, 60 
"Arapahoes" (Gros Ventres) attacked Ashley's expedition, 


ran off the horses, and wounded William Sublette. 18 The 
Americans were forced to cache some of their pelts, which 
the Gros Ventres then stole and sold to Hudson's Bay 
Company traders. 

American trappers were not safe even west of the 
Rocky Mountains. Ashley's expedition of 1827 made its 
summer rendezvous at Bear Lake in north Utah in June, 
camping with a large band of Shoshones who pleaded for 
the white men's protection. The Shoshones reported that 
the Gros Ventres had wiped out one of their bands earlier 
in the year and had attacked several of their hunting 

Three days after the rendezvous began, a band of 120 
Gros Ventres attacked the Shoshones, killing three men 
and two women who were digging roots some distance 
from their camp. 19 Led by William Sublette, the American 
mountain men rushed to the Shoshones' aid and forced 
the Gros Ventres to retreat to a stand of timber on a moun- 
tain side above the rendezvous, where the Indians began 
constructing breastworks out of logs. The 300 Americans 
and their Shoshone allies attempted to surround the Gros 
Ventres, but the thick undergrowth around the Indians' 
log fort prevented them from doing so. After six hours of 
fighting, the Gros Ventres retreated, leaving behind six 
dead warriors but taking all of the Shoshones' horses. 20 
The Shoshones lost eleven killed while one white trapper 
was wounded in the fight. 21 

The Bear Lake rendezvous of 1828 also began with a 
battle between the trappers and the Gros Ventres. A Gros 
Ventre war party numbering 200 warriors attacked a party 
of 30 Americans led by Robert Campbell while the white 
men were en route to Bear Lake. The Americans retreated 
to a stand of willow trees and managed to repulse the Gros 
Ventres' repeated charges. 22 After four hours of fighting, 
the white mens' ammunition was so depleted that Camp- 
bell and a companion mounted the party's fastest horses 
and galloped through the attackers to get help. 23 The two 
Americans managed to elude a small party of Gros Ven- 
tres who gave chase and rode eighteen miles to the ren- 
dezvous site. Seventy white men and several hundred 
Shoshones returned with Campbell to the scene of the bat- 
tle, only to find that the Gros Ventres had retreated, car- 
rying off $5,000 worth of pelts, 40 horses and several packs 
of trade goods. 24 Two of Campbell's men died in the fight. 

The Gros Ventres involved in the two battles of Bear 
Lake were southward migrating bands that had left their 
homes on the upper Missouri and were traveling to the 
Arkansas to visit their Arapaho kinsmen. Gros Ventre 
traditions attribute this migration in the late 1820s to Old 
Bald Eagle, a chief whose wife had run off with another 
man. Old Bald Eagle followed the lovers to their sanctuary 
among the Arapahoes and stayed there for several years. 
Smaller Gros Ventre bands, led by Bear Tooth, Elk Tongue 
and Iron Robe, also migrated south to the Arkansas dur- 
ing this period. Since one of the Gros Ventres' major 

Mexkemauastan (Stirring Iron) Atinsa Chief 

migration routes followed the Green River divide to the 
southern end of Bear Lake before turning east toward 
South Pass, Ashley and Campbell had camped directly in 
the Indians' line of march. 

Despite these attacks, American mountain men con- 
tinued to operate in Gros Ventre country, pursuing the 
quick riches available to the successful trapper. Few of 
these men successfully eluded Gros Ventre war parties. 
In 1832, for example, Thomas Fitzpatrick was attacked by 
a Gros Ventre hunting party while he was setting traps 
on the Green River in Wyoming. Although Fitzpatrick 
avoided them by hiding in a cave above the river for three 
days, he stumbled upon a Gros Ventre camp shortly after 
leaving his sanctuary. The Gros Ventre warriors forced him 
to abandon his pack animals and chased him until his horse 
gave out. To escape his pursuers, Fitzpatrick climbed up 
a cliff above the Green River and hid among the rocks. The 
Gros Ventres camped below Fitzpatrick' s hiding place, and 
while he watched they divided his pelts, equipment and 
horses. Fitzpatrick hid for another two days while the Gros 
Ventres searched for him, and then he slipped away at 
night, making his way on foot to the trappers' rendezvous 
at Pierre's Hole. 25 

When Fitzpatrick arrived at Pierre's Hole on July 8, 
1832, he found there several trappers whom the Gros Ven- 
tres had recently robbed. Among these was William Sub- 
lette's Rocky Mountain Fur Company brigade, which had 
been attacked by the Gros Ventres and lost many horses 


on the Lewis fork of the Snake River in early July. Sublette 
had rescued several small parties of trappers employed by 
the firm of Gant and Blackwell, who were too weak to de- 
fend themselves from the Indians. 

The rendezvous of 1832 broke up on July 17 and one 
party of trappers, led by Milton Sublette, set out toward 
the Snake, camping eight miles from Pierre's Hole. The 
following morning Sublette and his men broke camp, but 
had gone only a short distance when they ran into 400 Gros 
Ventres. 26 This Gros Ventre band, led by Baihoh and Iron 
Robe, was part of Old Bald Eagle's people, returning from 
a six-year sojourn among the Arapahoes. These Gros Ven- 
tres had already gained wide notoriety for their harassment 
of American and Mexican traders on the Santa Fe trail. 27 
They had amassed an enormous herd of horses stolen from 
ranches in northern Mexico and were returning to their 
own hunting grounds on the northern plains via the Green 
River valley and the Three Tetons. 

The Gros Ventres displayed a British flag to Sublette's 
party as an indication of their peaceful intentions. Baihoh, 
holding aloft a calumet, advanced on horseback towards 
the trappers, and was met by a Metis named Godin and 
a Flathead warrior. Godin smiled, grasped Baihoh's hand 
in a gesture of friendship, and ordered the Flathead to 
shoot. As the Gros Ventre chief fell from his horse, Godin 
seized his red Mexican blanket as a trophy and galloped 
back to the trappers. 28 

The Gros Ventres immediately retreated to a stand of 
timber on the banks of Pierre's River, and began con- 
structing a log barricade. Sublette's party was meanwhile 
reinforced by 200 white men and 500 Flatheads and Nez 
Perce allies. 

Holding a council of war, the leaders of the trappers 
(the Sublette brothers, Robert Campbell and Fitzpatrick) 
recommended a frontal assault on the fort, but the faint- 
hearted shouted down this suggestion and many of them 
returned to the trappers' camp. At William Sublette's in- 
sistence, 30 of the remaining trappers attempted to storm 
the Gros Ventres' stronghold. Crawling through under- 
brush toward the fort, Sublette's men burst into a clear- 
ing in front of the redoubt but were driven back by gun- 
fire, losing 23 men. The excited and undisciplined white 
men were unable to devise an acceptable new strategy. In- 
stead, they divided into small groups and crept toward 
their enemies' makeshift fort, concealing themselves 
behind trees and in ravines. Zenas Leonard, a trapper who 
took part in the battle, noted that the trappers crawled for- 
ward "upon our hands and knees" but were unable to 
reach the redoubt. Of the four men in Leonard's party, 
only Leonard escaped unscathed. 29 The Nez Perces and 
Flatheads, believing their enemies to be doomed, made 
several desperate charges, attempting to count coup, and 
lost a number of warriors as a result. 

John B. Wyeth reported that the battle continued un- 
til nightfall. 30 At that point Sublette suggested setting the 

fort afire. His Indian allies objected to this plan because 
it would destroy their chance of plundering the fort, but 
they were ignored. Sublette's plan was frustrated, how- 
ever, by what Leonard called "a most ingenious and well 
executed device of the enemy." 31 According to Leonard, 
the Gros Ventres "commenced the most tremendous 
shouts of triumph and menaces of defiance, which seemed 
to move heaven and earth." 32 A rumor spread through 
the American ranks that a Blackfeet war party was ransack- 
ing their main camp and killing the trappers, women and 
greenhorns who had remained there. The white men and 
their Indian allies rushed back to Pierre's Hole to face this 
new "threat" but discovered that they had been deceived. 
The trappers waited until dawn to resume their attack and 
then discovered that the Gros Ventres had escaped. 33 They 
left behind 20 dead and 30 horses (including Fitzpatrick's, 
which he reclaimed) while 32 of the trappers and their In- 
dian allies lost their lives. 

Militarily, the battle of Pierre's Hole was a draw. The 
Gros Ventres' warriors, burdened by women and children, 
posed no real threat to the trappers. From a practical view- 
point, it is unlikely that Baihoh and Iron Robe intended 
to fight since they had peacefully approached Sublette's 
party. The battle proved costly to the white men since it 
increased the Gros Ventres' hostility and resulted in at- 
tacks on several trapping parties later that year. 

The first victims of the Gros Ventres' revenge were a 
party of eleven trappers led by Alfred Stephens, who left 
Pierre's Hole on July 25. They were attacked by a Gros 
Ventre war party and three of the white men were killed. 34 
The Gros Ventres were joined by Eagle Rib's small band 
of Blackfeet, who normally hunted with them, even travel- 
ing as far south as the Platte to visit the Arapahoes. Eagle 
Rib's warriors attacked Henry Vanderburgh's American 
Fur Company brigade in October, killing Vanderburgh and 
another trapper. In March, 1833, Gros Ventres ran off 
Christopher (Kit) Carson's horses and fired on Carson and 
his companions. The Gros Ventres refused to let him trap 
beaver on their lands, despite his marriage to an Arapaho 
woman which made him their kinsman. 35 

The Gros Ventres also tracked down the survivors of 
the Vanderburgh expedition and attacked them near the 
headwaters of the Missouri in April, 1833. After chasing 
the trappers into a log redoubt, the Indians asked to parley 
and demanded presents which the white men gave them 
as a means of saving their scalps. 36 Benjamin Bonneville, 
whose trapping party bartered whiskey and tobacco to the 
Gros Ventres for beaver pelts and horses (after the Gros 
Ventres had stolen most of Bonneville's pack animals), 
regarded them as the most troublesome Indians on the 
northern Great Plains. 37 Other American trappers would 
have agreed with Bonneville. 

The Gros Ventres' thirst for revenge after the Battle 
of Pierre's Hole also extended to the white men's Indian 
allies. A Gros Ventre party of 300 warriors invaded the 


The Steamer Yellow-Stone on the 19th April, 1833. This vessel was Bodmer ami Maximillian's mode of travel for 1,500 miles. 

Snake River valley in March 1833 and attacked a Nez Perce 
village. One of the Nez Perce chiefs, whom the whites 
called Blue John, attempted to draw off the enemy by circ- 
ling behind them and stealing their extra ponies. The Gros 
Ventres trapped Blue John and his 30 followers in a can- 
yon and killed all but one. 38 

While the tribulations of the mountain men and their 
Indian allies did not end with the Battle of Pierre's Hole, 
neither did the Gros Ventres'. Several months after the 
battle, a Crow war party surprised the Gros Ventres as they 
traveled to visit their Blackfeet allies. A dozen warriors 
were killed and almost 100 women and children were cap- 
tured. In a few days the Crows released their captives and 
sent them home with a peace offering of tobacco and 
horses. The Crows had apparently mistaken the Gros Ven- 
tres for marauding Sioux. 

The Battle of Pierre's Hole and its aftermath marked 
the last large-scale conflict between the Gros Ventres and 
the Americans on the Missouri. In 1831 the American Fur 
Company had begun to abandon the fur brigade system. 
The expense and danger involved in outfitting and main- 
taining a brigade in Indian country encouraged the Amer- 
icans to adopt the Hudson's Bay Company system of of- 
fering trade goods to Indians who would collect furs to 
barter with them. 

Kenneth McKenzie, the American Fur Company's chief 
agent on the upper Missouri, had opened trade relations 
with the Piegans in 1830. In 1831 McKenzie's lieutenant, 
James Kipp, built a post at the mouth of the Marias called 
Fort McKenzie, and began trading whiskey, tobacco, guns, 
blankets and other goods to the Piegans and their allies. 39 


McKenzie's second post (Fort Union) at the mouth of the 
Yellowstone, also became a center of Blackfeet-Gros Ven- 
tre trade. The Indians offered tallow, pemmican, buffalo 
meat, buffalo robes and beaver pelts in exchange for trade 
goods. McKenzie dispensed liberal amounts of firewater, 
tobacco and peace medals to impress the Gros Ventres 
and their allies. His steamboat, the "Yellowstone," which 
was used to transport furs downriver to St. Louis, was 
regarded with awe by the Indians. They believed McKen- 
zie was a powerful shaman who could make the boat belch 
steam and smoke. This display of McKenzie's "medicine" 
enhanced his reputation among the Indians. 

The Gros Ventres settled into a pattern of trading buf- 
falo robes and fine furs along the Missouri while carrying 
their supplies of beaver pelts to the British posts in western 
Canada, since the British lacked rafts to transport heavy 
hides by water to York Factory. Observers who witnessed 
the Gros Ventres' relations at American trading posts por- 
trayed them as peaceful entrepreneurs. Prince Maximillian 
of Wied, a gentleman-naturalist who came from Germany 
in 1832-1834 to study the Indians of the upper Missouri, 
traveled with fur trader David Mitchell and his party 
upriver on boats provided by the American Fur Company. 

The German naturalists encountered a Gros Ventre 
party while traveling by boat between Fort Union and Fort 
McKenzie. The Gros Ventres, who were led by a medicine 
man named French Child and a chief called Iron-Which- 
Moves, motioned from the river bank for the Americans 
to stop and trade. 40 

Although Maximillian reported that the Americans 
were fearful of the Gros Ventres' reputation for violence 

(they had recently destroyed a British post in Canada and 
killed eleven white men there), Mitchell ordered the 
keelboat stopped and lowered a boat. Mitchell had the 
Gros Ventres chiefs rowed out to the keelboat where he 
gave them presents and passed around a calumet. 41 
Several Gros Ventre women who had accompanied the 
chiefs on board attempted to pilfer small items or were of- 
fered for sale by male relatives. In an effort to clear the Gros 
Ventres from his boat, Mitchell sent a trading party ashore 
and remained several hours until the Gros Ventres were 
satisfied with their transactions and moved on. 42 Mitchell 
discounted the Gros Ventres' reputation for treachery and 
informed Maximillian that he had "always transacted 
business with them with pleasure." 43 

Maximillian's party encountered another Gros Ventre 
band during their stay at Fort McKenzie. The Gros Ventre 
chief Eh-Siss (The Sun) was especially friendly to the 
Americans, embracing and kissing his white friends at the 
fort. 44 

Maximillian summed up his estimation of the Gros 
Ventres by calling them expert beggars and horse thieves, 
and noting that they had a great desire for American trade 
goods. Their method of dressing buffalo robes, by bleach- 
ing them with white clay and then decorating them with 
transverse stripes of porcupine quills, was widely admired 
by other tribes and brought a good price at the trading 
posts. Gros Ventre women, who possessed a reputation 
for beauty and voluptuousness, were sought after by 
white men as country wives and companions. 

Fort Union on the Missouri. 

Many traders who dealt with the Gros Ventres praised 
their friendliness toward American traders and noted their 
hostility toward white trappers. 45 Like most tribes, the 
Gros Ventres resented the presence of trappers who de- 
stroyed buffalo, disturbed small game and competed with 
them for beaver pelts. The white trappers were a threat 
to the Gros Ventres' livelihood and even their existence, 
since the trappers deprived them of the pelts and robes 
they needed to purchase guns, ammunition, tobacco and 
other goods. Since the Gros Ventres and their Blackfeet 
allies occupied a country in which beaver and other 
furbearing animals were plentiful, white men frequently 
trespassed on the Gros Ventres' lands. 

The Gros Ventres struggled to keep the white trappers 
from intruding on their hunting grounds while effectively 
exploiting this wealth for themselves. As they made war 
on trappers, the Gros Ventres maintained a profitable and 
steady commercial alliance with American traders, who 
provided them with the items they wanted. The Gros Ven- 
tres effectively blocked the advance of the American fur 
trappers on the upper Missouri. In doing so they helped 
insure the demise of the mountain man in the northern 


1. Pierre Antoine Tabeau, Tabeau's Narrative of Loisel's Expedition to the 
Upper Missouri, edited by Annie H. Abel, translated by Rose Abel 
Wright (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939), p. 154. 

2. Declaration of Fotman and Joucquard, St. Louis, July 4, 1795, in 
Abraham P. Nasatir, editor, Before Lewis and Clark, 2 vols. (St. Louis: 
St. Louis Historical Documents Foundation, 1952), 1:333-335. 

3. Hiram Martin Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West, 2 
vols. (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1935), 2:839. Chittenden notes 
that many of the Gros Ventres' acts were charged to the Blackfeet. 

4. Alfred Jacob Miller, Braves and Buffalo: Plains Indian Life in 1837, in- 
troduction by Michael Bell (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 
1973), p. 124. 

5. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Original Journals of the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 8 vols. 
(New York: Antiquarian Press, 1959), 6:106. 

6. Ibid., 5:223-225. 

7. LeRoy Hafen, The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, 10 
vols. (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1966), 4:77-78. 

8. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 2:882-883. 

9. Hafen, Mountain Men, 4:77. 

10. Ibid., 4:81-82. 

11. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 1:151. 

12. O'Fallon to General Henry Atkinson, July 23, 1823, in Chittenden, 
American Fur Trade, 1:157-158. 

13. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 1:148. 

14. Alexander Henry and David Thompson, New Light on the Early History 
of the Greater Northwest: The Manuscript journals of Alexander Henry and 
David Thompson, 2 vols., edited by Elliott Coues (Minneapolis: Ross 
and Haines, 1965), 2:735-736. 

15. Delmont R. Oswald, editor, The Life and Times of James P. Beckwourth 
as Told to Thomas D. Bonner (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1972), pp. 62-69. 

16. Dale L. Morgan, editor, The West of William H. Ashley (Denver: Old 
West Publishing Company, 1964), pp. 270-271. 

17. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 1:273-274. 

18. Harrison Dale, editor, The Ashley-Henry Expedition and the Discovery 
of the Central Route to the Pacific, 1822-1829 (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark 
Company, 1918), p. 155. 

19. Oswald, James P. Beckwourth, pp. 108-111. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Morgan, William H. Ashley, p. 168. 



22. Ibid., pp. 186-187. 

23. Ibid., pp. 314-315. 

24. Ibid., pp. 186-187. 

25. Zenas Leonard, Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard, edited 
by Milo Milton Quaife (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), 
pp. 60-64. 

26. Ibid., p. 69. 

27. Josiah Gregg, The Commerce of the Prairies, edited by Max Moorhead 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954), pp. 59-66. 

28. Hafen, Mountain Men, 1:124. 

29. Leonard, Narrative, p. 72. 

30. John B. Wyeth, Oregon, or a Short History of a Long Journey from the 
Atlantic Ocean to the Region of the Pacific by Land, in Early Western Travels, 
edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 32 vols. (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark 
Company, 1904-1907), 21:71-72; Stanley Vestal, Jim Bridger, Moun- 
tain Man (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970), pp. 51-52. 
Leonard, Narrative, p. 73. 

33. Ibid., p. 74. 

34. Wyeth, Oregon, pp. 73-74; Don Berry, A Majority of Scoundrels (New 
York: Harper and Brothers, 1961), p. 272. 

35. Chittenden, American Fur Trade, 2:660-662; Vestal, Jim Bridger, p. 97. 

36. Warren Angus Ferris, Life in the Rocky Mountains (Louisville: Lost 
Cause Press, 1961), p. 374. 

Washington Irving, The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, USA, in the 
Rocky Mountains and the Far West, edited by Edgely Todd (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), p. 385. 
Ibid., pp. 140-141. 

Charles Larpenteur, Forty Years a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri: 
The Personal Narrative of Charles Larpenteur, 1833-1872, edited by Elliott 
Coues (Minneapolis: Ross and Haines, 1962), pp. 109-115. 
Maximillian, Prince of Wied, Travels in the Interior of North America, 
in Early Western Travels, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 32 vols. 
(Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1904-1907), 23:70-72. 
Ibid., 23:72-73. 
Ibid., 23:74. 
Ibid., 23:73. 
Ibid., 23:165-167. 

Francois Chardon, Chardon's journal at Ft. Clark, 1834-1839, edited by 
Annie H. Abel (Iowa City, Iowa: Athens Press, 1932), pp. 347-348. 







Note: The editorial staff of Annals of Wyoming wish to thank the author for procuring the full 
color illustrations used in this article. They are lent by the InterNorth Art Foundation/Joslyn Art 
Museum, Omaha, Nebraska. This is the first occasion on which an Annals article has been il- 
lustrated with full color reproductions of paintings. 


The Case for Domestic Feminism: 
Woman Suffrage in Wyoming 


Virginia Scharff 


Historians of woman suffrage in Wyoming have until now 
failed to address the role of Victorian notions about women in 
shaping suffragist activity, as well as women 's endeavors in other 
areas. Women of the period would certainly have entertained the 
notion that domesticity and deference could be deployed on behalf 
of feminist goals. This article seeks to reconstruct the "separate 
spheres" of women and men in the Sweetwater mining settle- 
ments that sait William Bright to the legislature in 1869, in order 
to understand how women in those communities might have 
worked to secure their enfranchisement. Building on recent 
historiography in women's history and research in Wyoming 
archival sources, it argues that in spite of fragmentary sources 
and women's attempts to cover their tracks, some Sweetwater 
women contributed materially to their own enfranchisement, and 
that such women deserve credit for political savvy of a kind prev- 
iously little understood. 

In 1869, William H. Bright of South Pass City, Wyo- 
ming Territory, introduced the first successful bill in 
American history to fully enfranchise women. Wyoming his- 
torian T. A. Larson has written, "What is important is what 
happened to the bill, and why, after it was introduced." 1 
Such a view, however, makes women the objects rather 
than the subjects of historical inquiry, passive if interested 
spectators to men's public, official actions. Private events 
have often had public consequences, particularly in sex- 
segregated Victorian America where half the population 
was theoretically restricted to the private sphere. This 
paper investigates the social context in which Bright came 
forward to advocate a reform which was gaining support, 
but which was still widely seen as the radical goal of a few 
eccentric women. I will argue here that the factor most 
neglected by previous students of woman suffrage in 

Wyoming is the role of the domestic Victorian woman, a 
shrouded figure constrained by social mores to remain 
publicly silent, and whose private opinions would not 
necessarily have been reflected in public agitation. Those 
Victorian women may have been excluded from public 
power, but they often ruled the private sphere. Such 
women played a major role in building the community that 
elected Bright. 

The largest of three isolated settlements on the crest 
of the Continental Divide in Sweetwater County, Wyo- 
ming, South Pass City was a microcosm of American Vic- 
torian culture. At the same time, the ever present need to 
improvise solutions to the problems of life on the frontier 
created some flexibility in normally rigid Victorian social 
structure. Men outnumbered women four to one in this 
town of 460 souls, and public life was masculine in the ex- 
treme during the summer mining season. 2 Alcohol appears 
to have been central to male social life. Seven retail liquor 
dealers, three breweries and one liquor wholesaler con- 
ducted business in the town. 3 Public activity in South Pass 
City and its sister towns of Atlantic City and Hamilton City, 
more commonly known as Miner's Delight, revolved 
around the gold mines and the saloons, and though not 
as rowdy as life in the railroad towns of southern Wyo- 
ming, doubtless proved lively enough. Chicago journalist 
James Chisholm noted that the miners engaged in gam- 
bling and "drinking to a considerable extent," and that, 
"a vast amount of gold dust is ground in the whisky 
mill." 4 The quantity and content of saloon advertisements 
in The Sweetwater Mines, The South Pass News and The Fron- 
tier Index suggests that public life was identified with the 
bars to a staggering degree. One advertiser maintained 
that, "There is no better appetizer than one of [this 


"drinking to a 
considerable extent," 


establishment's] cocktails taken before breakfast in the 
morning," and Mines editors Warren and Hazard fre- 
quently recommended their favorite watering holes in the 
editorial columns of the paper. 5 

Most women in South Pass City avoided this kind of 
public activity, remaining essentially invisible at home. The 
only recorded incident in which a South Pass housewife 
entered a saloon that was open for business involved a hus- 
band who had "imbibed somewhat in excess": 

When the wife sent one of the children down to tell him to come 
home, he had the child return to deliver the message that he was 
too drunk to come home and if she wanted him to return home, 
they would have to come after him with the wheelbarrow. This thev 

The town appears to have upheld the notion of women's 
public invisibility, and to have credited the Victorian maxim 
that a woman's name should never appear in print but 
twice, once to herald her marriage and again to announce 
her death. The Sweetwater Mines reported the birth of a baby 
girl with regrets that, "Nature has so willed it that the first 
child born in Sweetwater shall not become a miner. It may 
aid, however, in developing the country." Neither mother 
nor daughter were mentioned by name in the paper, 
though the father's name appeared in the birth notice. 7 
By the middle of the 19th century, the cult of woman as 
mother, nurturer and guardian of the home had been fully 
conceived. Sentimental novels and popular magazines like 
Godey's Lady's Book shaped an ideology which assigned 
women responsibility for upholding national morality as 
well as wholesome, loving and gentle rule in the home. 
The Victorian mother, pure, pious, submissive and do- 


mestic, was also a "mother of civilization." 8 Through 
abiding love, Christian piety, careful preservation of the 
family's domestic refuge and her own stainless example, 
she would teach her children to control destructive pas- 
sions. The mother was to guide her sons away from ac- 
tivities men were known to fall into when the influence 
of female purity was lacking— gambling, drinking and 
fighting, for example. Women were expected to exert such 
influence entirely within the private sphere assigned to 
them, while men took care of public business. 

The system of separate spheres meant that women were 
entirely isolated from political and economic power, but 
it also gave women a power base in the home, upon which 
they built a distinctly female subculture. 9 Strong personal 
relationships among women bound together a domestic 
culture that occupied itself with home management, child- 
rearing, childbirth, nursing, religious activity, education 
and benevolent associations. The community of female kin 
and neighbors had been a mainstay of women's lives in 
Eastern towns, and was further reinforced by men's 
absences during the Civil War. Women moving west en- 
deavored to preserve what they could of their own culture 
against heavy odds, even as necessity forced them to 
assume traditionally male responsibilities. Most pioneer 
women held fast to their own ideas about woman's sphere 
and assumed that it was their duty to bring domesticity, 
culture and stability to the frontier. 10 

The stage that carried William and Julia Bright to the 
Sweetwater mining area in July of 1868 also brought Major 
Patrick Gallagher and his wife Frances to the district. Like 
Julia Bright, Frances Gallagher was 24 years old and mak- 
ing an attempt to create "domestic comfort under the most 

unpromising circumstances." 11 We know more about 
Frances Gallagher than we do about Julia Bright because 
James Chisholm boarded with the Gallaghers in Miner's 
Delight. Chisholm expressed great admiration for Frances 
Gallagher's willingness to consent to a life in a mining camp 
that offered her little society. Only three other women lived 
in Miner's Delight at that time, none of whom were close 
to Gallagher in age, interests or social position. Chisholm 
commented, in the language of Victorian chivalry: 

Apart from woman in the abstract, for whom I retain an unspeakable 
veneration, she must be a brave soul who, accustomed to the 
refinements of life, can voluntarily front the hardships and perils 
of a mining camp like this, far in the remote wilderness, that she 
might be the sharer of her husband's fortunes for better or worse. 12 

Frances Gallagher could not always keep up the brave 
front, however. According to Chisholm, who occasionally 
acted as her confidante, "She sometimes pines for home 
so pinefully [sic] that I get quite sympathetic on the sub- 
ject." 13 In the larger Sweetwater settlements, women 
might fend off loneliness with daily visits to one another. 
Major Gallagher does not appear to have been privy to his 
wife's confidences. Perhaps it was easier for Frances 
Gallagher to bare her soul to a literary outsider than to her 
own husband. Apparently women's public silence did not 
prevent private conversations with compassionate men in 
the Sweetwater. Frances Gallagher sought community 

where she could, and viewed herself as a community 
builder, since she was among the first residents of the area 
to teach school. 14 

Against the transient current of mining camp life, 
Sweetwater district women worked to create community 
and stability. Janet Sherlock Smith, whose descendants 
have persisted in the South Pass area though the gold 
mines have long ceased to yield profit, told historian Grace 
Raymond Hebard that she thought South Pass City had 
been rather a law-abiding town, given the fact that 
Methodist-Episcopal services had been held there, and that 
there had never been a lynching. 15 Smith, who was the 
most successful of the town's handful of women lodging- 
house keepers, was as celebrated for her fulfillment of the 
Victorian ideal as for her considerable financial acumen. 
Her grandson, James Sherlock, recalled an incident in 
which Janet Smith reputedly prevented the only lynching 
that might have marred the town's record. A man named 
Al Tomkins had shot and killed George McOmie, Smith's 
brother, and a mob gathered in the town's main street to 
hang Tomkins without benefit of trial. James Sherlock 
wrote that: 

Hearing of the plot, grandmother in her devout Christian and 
characteristically kind and sensible manner, interceded. She said that 
her loss was already great enough without having this man's blood 
on her hands, and she knew that in living with his own conscience 
and Divine judgement, the man would receive his just punishment."' 

Fashion Plates from Godey's 

Ladies' Book Illustrated the 

1860s Ideal of American 

Womanhood. On the Frontier, 

It Was Difficult To Maintain 

Such an Elegant Image. 



South Pass City 

some years after frontierswomen strove to recreate the social, moral and religious amenities of the 

It should be noted that Janet Smith's acceptance of respon- 
sibility for civic morality, combined with her piety and 
modesty, was tinged with what must be called a certain 
prudishness. She did tell Hebard that church services had 
been held in town, but she neglected to mention that since 
no church was ever constructed, the devout were forced 
to meet in the Magnolia Saloon. 17 The frontier might force 
the use of public buildings for contradictory purposes, but 
the Victorian frontierswoman need not acknowledge the 

Aside from women's participation in the town's re- 
ligious life, local newspapers record only one other instance 
in which women contributed to public social life, and that 
in a typically feminine manner. At Christmas time in 1868, 
when winter had driven off most transient fortune hunters, 
the women of South Pass City, Atlantic City and Miner's 
Delight combined their efforts in a Christmas party de- 
scribed by The Sweetwater Mines as "the first social gather- 
ing of our people." The newspaper, referring to women 
by initials and titles only (Mrs. S., Miss T.) presumably to 
preserve feminine modesty, apparently endorsed the no- 
tion that barroom gatherings of men could not properly 
be termed "social gatherings," and acknowledged the 
women's contribution in observing that they "furnished 
a most excellent supper and overcame obstacles which 
would have appalled anyone except women." 18 

Recent research in 19th century American family life ! 
suggests that the female pose of public deference was 
counterbalanced by a corresponding growth of women's 
power and autonomy within the family. Quantitative 
historian Daniel Scott Smith labelled this phenomenon 
"domestic feminism." 19 Women who would never have 
considered overstepping the bounds of femininity by 
speaking their minds in public places expressed themselves 
at home, sometimes forcefully. Patriarchal Victorian 


ideology held that women would be most effective at get- 
ting what they wanted by using gentle persuasion, but 
Mrs. Carr's employment of the wheelbarrow in bringing 
a drunken husband home provides a glimpse into a domes- 
tic life in which women were neither deferential nor overly 
concerned with preserving an atmosphere of peace and 
quiet. Some of the jokes printed in The Sweetwater Mines 
echo the theme of women's assertiveness at home: 

A cynical journalist says the reason so many marriages occur im- 
mediately after a war, is that bachelors become so accustomed to 
strife that they learn to like it, and after the return of peace, they 
enlist in matrimony as the next thing to war. 20 

"None but the brave deserve the fair." No, and none but the 
brave can live with some of them. 21 

I would like to suggest that domestic feminists were 
of two kinds, those who did act authoritatively within the 
confines of woman's sphere, and those whose apparently 
submissive or gently persuasive behavior covered grow- 
ing feminist convictions. Further, as women's power grew 
at home, their sphere of influence gradually widened. 
South Pass City's women were earning the respect due 
them for their role in community building, providing the 
town with a social life outside the saloons, and parti- 
cipating in religious and educational activity. Most were 
middle-class housewives who served as models of domes- 
ticity, working to re-create the home-based culture that had 
sustained them back in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Illinois and Missouri. They also saw themselves as the 
most effective brake on frontier violence. Meanwhile, back 
in those home states, more and more women were con- 
fronting the system of separate and unequal spheres by 
stepping into politics as public advocates of woman suf- 
frage and of temperance. As Wyoming Territory set about 
organizing its first government, the questions of extension 
of the franchise to women and blacks engaged the nation, 
and women took to public platforms in the name of reform. 

Esther Morris 

Most Victorian women, however, would have protected 
themselves from the public censure that was heaped upon 
female orators, preferring to pursue their goals more 
covertly. Many women followed the lead of pioneer 
women's educator Mary Lyon, who had masked her desire 
to innovate on women's behalf with a veneer of female 
deference. Lyon had written her friend Zilpah Grant in 
1837 with regard to her plan to found Mount Holyoke 
Female Seminary, cautioning: 

It is desirable that the plans relating to the subject should not seem 
to originate with us but with the benevolent gentlemen. If the ob- 
ject should excite attention there is danger that many good men will 
fear the effect on society of so much female influence, and what they 
will call female greatness. 22 

Where evidence of women's public assertiveness was 
concerned, social attitudes had become no less repressive 
by 1869. In looking for women's role in the introduction 
of Wyoming's woman suffrage bill, most previous scholars 
have sought suffrage organizations and other signs of 
women's public activity on behalf of their enfranchisement. 
Wyoming Territory was, however, newly settled and or- 
ganizationally underdeveloped in any case. We must also 
take Victorian social pressures into account and look for 
women's activism where it would have been most likely 
to occur. The fragmentary evidence we have suggests that 
there was in South Pass City at least one openly avowed 
suffragist woman, the redoubtable Esther Morris, and that 

even she softened her public activities with as much be- 
coming female modesty and maternal nurture as a six-foot 
tall, 180-pound person could muster. Further, in the vague 
person of Julia Bright, we begin to see a woman all but 
lost to history, whose complete acceptance of the domestic 
Victorian female role was mixed with a desire to see that 
women had the vote. Julia Bright theoretically had no more 
power over her husband than any other woman of her 
kind, but William Bright was one of twenty-odd men in 
Wyoming who were in a position to affect women's rights 
in the Territory. Julia Bright thus held a disproportionate 
share of power, and we will presently see how she exer- 
cised that power. 

Fifty-six year old Esther Morris arrived in South Pass 
City in the summer of 1869, joining her husband and three 
sons. 23 She has been described as a woman of "strong 
character, positive will, and dominating spirit [who] would 
attract attention in any company . . . with her boys, what 
she said was law." 24 T. A. Larson has written that Mor- 
ris, "was not the usual type of reformer, since she cam- 
paigned for no public office for herself or others, wrote 
nothing for publication, and made no public addresses ex- 
cept for very brief remarks on few occasions." 25 In spite 
of the fact that Morris did address at least one suffrage con- 
vention at some length, Larson's assessment is essentially 
correct. Morris warned women, "Do not agitate. . . . The 
women can do nothing without the help of men. It is a 
rule of life that we must all work together." 26 

Not long after Morris moved to South Pass City, the 
Territory held its first elections. Reconstruction tensions 
were evident in territorial politics. The Frontier Index, the 
press on wheels that moved westward through Wyoming 
as the Union Pacific railroad progressed, left no uncertainty 
about its position on votes for blacks or women, proclaim- 
ing at the head of its editorial column: 

As the emblem of American Liberty, The Frontier Index is now 
perched upon the summit of the Rocky Mountains, flaps its wings 
over the Great West, and screams forth in thunder and lightning 
tones, the principles of the unterrified anti-Nigger, anti-Chinese, anti- 
Indian party— Masonic Democracy!!!!!!! 

The Motto of this Column: Only WHITE MEN to be natural- 
ized in the United States. The RACES and SEXES in their respec- 
tive spheres as God Almighty originally created them. 27 

Race hatred was as powerful a force in South Pass City 
as anywhere in the country. The 1870 census reported that 
there were twenty blacks in the Sweetwater mining area, 28 
and some black men had attempted to exercise their newly 
won right to vote in the Wyoming Territorial elections of 
September, 1869. Justice J. W. Kingman of the Territorial 
Supreme Court recalled that: 

At South Pass City some drunken fellows with large knives and 
loaded revolvers swaggered around the polls, and swore that no 
Negro should vote. . . . When one man remarked quietly that he 
thought the Negroes had as good a right to vote as any of them had, 
he was immediately knocked down, jumped on, kicked, and pound- 
ed without mercy and would have been killed had not his friends 
rushed into the brutal crowd and dragged him out, bloody and in- 


sensible. There were quite a number of colored men who wanted 
to vote, but did not dare approach the polls until the United States 
Marshal, himself at their head and with a revolver in hand, escorted 
them through the crowd, saying he would shoot the first man that 
interfered with them. There was much quarrelling and tumult, but 
the Negroes voted. 2 ' 

The black vote, presumably Republican, had more sym- 
bolic than political impact. Masonic Democracy did 
triumph that year, when Wyoming Territory elected an all- 
Democratic legislature to go to Cheyenne to do business 
with President Grant's Republican gubernatorial ap- 
pointee. Among those elected were William Bright and 
another South Pass City Democrat, Ben Sheeks, a lawyer 
who would become the most vocal opponent of Bright's 
woman suffrage bill. 

The question of woman suffrage aroused significant 
interest in Wyoming that fall. Two feminist speakers, Anna 
Dickinson and a St. Louis suffragist named Redelia Bates, 
spoke in favor of votes for women at large meetings in 
Cheyenne. 30 Numerous individuals in the Territory sup- 
ported woman suffrage, including Secretary of State Ed- 
ward M. Lee. 31 It may have been that those who sought 
to build stable communities in Wyoming concluded that 
the only way to combat the political influence of the worst 
"elements common in border communities," and to 
counteract the Territory's reputation for lawlessness and 
violence, was to give women the vote. 32 Secretary Lee put 
the matter succinctly: enfranchising women would uplift 
civilization in the Territory, since, "the average class of 
women in a new colony is . . . very much superior to the 
average class of men." 33 Reverend D. J. Pierce, a New 
England Baptist minister who had recently moved to Lara- 
mie, believed that: 

We need to intrust our State interests to the class most noted 
for true character. As a class, women are more moral and upright in 
their character than men. Hence America would profit bv their 
voting. 34 

Both Esther Morris and William Bright subscribed to 
the concept of women's moral superiority, as well as to 
a racist rationale for woman suffrage then being offered 
by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. 35 
Alienated from radical Republican leaders with whom 
they had fought for the abolition of slavery as a result of 
the bitter suffrage contests in Kansas in 1867, Stanton and 
Anthony had turned to the Democrats for support for their 
cause. 36 These suffragists declared that white women who 
had served as guardians of the national morality, keepers 
of the nation's hearth, and mothers of American civiliza- 
tion, were far more deserving of the vote than ignorant 
former slaves. At the same time, Anthony, Stanton and 
their good friend Anna Dickinson began to travel around 
the country lecturing and organizing. On these tours, the 
feminist activists who had stepped outside woman's 
sphere into the bright light of public controversy reached 
a large new audience, gaining the support of women who 
were not ready to speak or act publicly, but who believed 

in the necessity of reforming women's position in Amer- 
ican society. Dickinson's well-publicized appearance in 
Cheyenne has been noted. Anthony spoke to a gathering 
in Galena, Illinois, sometime in the late winter of 1869, not 
far from the town of Peru in which Esther Morris was then 
living. 37 Whether or not Morris attended the lecture, she 
would certainly have been aware of the meeting since the 
Midwestern newspapers covered the suffragists' tour 

Morris' influence on William Bright is difficult to 
estimate. Bright, like Morris' husband John, was an un- 
successful miner and saloonkeeper. 38 The least convincing 
but most widely circulated account of Bright's intention 
to introduce the woman suffrage bill first surfaced in 1919, 
on the eve of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amend- 
ment. H. G. Nickerson, who had lost the legislative seat 
to Bright in 1869, claimed 50 years later that he too had 
been an early convert to the cause of woman suffrage. Ac- 
cording to Nickerson's story, Esther Morris had held a tea 
party in her home some time before the election, inviting 
himself and William Bright as well as most of the women 
of the town. Morris allegedly asked both candidates to 
promise to introduce the woman suffrage question in the 
legislature should either be elected, which both candidates 
agreed to do, knowing how much influence wives had over 
their enfranchised husbands. 39 Grace Raymond Hebard 
popularized the tea party story in a pamphlet titled, "How 
Woman Suffrage Came to Wyoming (1869)," and most 
Wyoming school children are familiar with this version of 
the story. While Nickerson's belated disclosure of his role 
as an advocate of woman suffrage would seem to under- 
mine his credibility, it is interesting to note that he would 
have remembered women as political activists only in a 
domestic setting. Men might discuss public affairs over 
whiskey at any local saloon; women would have met over 
tea in somebody's parlor. 

Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, who succeeded Susan B. An- 
thony as president of the National American Woman Suf- 
frage Association, publicized another explanation of Mor- 
ris' relation to Bright. According to Shaw, Morris was a 
skilled midwife who helped Julia Bright through a difficult 
birth. Shaw claimed that Bright: 

told Mrs. Morris that if there was any measure she wished put 
through for the women of the territory, he would be glad to introduce 
it. She immediately took him at his word by asking him to introduce 
a bill enfranchising women, and he promptly did so. 40 

While this story of Bright's motivation enjoyed popular- 
ity among suffragists, it is contradicted by the fact that the 
1870 Territorial census lists Salt Lake City as the birthplace 
of Julia Bright's only child, William, Jr. 

If gentle feminine persuasion was nearly as effective 
as the Victorians claimed, a more plausible explanation of 
William Bright's reason for championing woman suffrage 
is that Julia Bright in some way convinced him to introduce 
the bill. No record of Julia Bright's reasons for believing 


W. H. Bright 

Benjamin Shecks 

in woman suffrage remains, but Justice Kingman wrote 
that William Bright "did his wife's bidding," and that: 

[Bright's] character was not above reproach, but he had an excellent, 
well-informed wife and he was a kind, indulgent husband. In fact, 
he venerated his wife and submitted to her judgement and influence 
more willingly than one could have supposed, and she was in favor 
of woman suffrage. 41 

Opponents as well as supporters of woman suffrage were 
aware of Julia Bright's part in the process that brought the 
bill before the legislature. Ben Sheeks wrote, in a letter to 
Grace Raymond Hebard: 

Mrs. Bright was a very womanly suffragist and I always under- 
stood and still believe that it was through her influence that the bill 
was introduced. I know that I supposed at the time that she was the 
author of the bill. What reason, if any, I had for thinking so I do 
not remember. Possibly it was only that she seemed intellectually 
and in education superior to Mr. Bright. 42 

The "womanly" Julia Bright would not have been likely 
to seek a public forum to express her views. In privately 
pressing her husband to campaign for woman suffrage, 
she was working within the system. As a model of Vic- 
torian feminity, winning her battles through soft-sell sug- 
gestions, Julia Bright was a domestic feminist who never 
courted public disapproval by carrying on public agitation. 
At the same time, neither did she claim whatever credit 
she deserved. Four letters to Grace Hebard, written in 1913 
at Hebard's instigation, constitute Bright's entire documen- 
tary legacy. In those letters, Bright testifies to her hus- 

band's sincere interest in woman suffrage and more im- 
portantly to the fact that he was "particularly fond of his 
home." Hebard had originally written to William Bright 
to discover his reasons for introducing the suffrage bill, 
but William had died in 1912. Julia assumed that Hebard 
was interested in William Bright's history, and the tone 
of Julia's letter, written when she was 69 years old, 
in failing health, alone in the world and ready to die, re- 
mains deferential and self-effacing to the end. By the time 
Hebard got around to asking Julia Bright to explain why 
her husband had introduced the bill, Julia had been dead 
for four years. 43 

Wyoming men were not threatened by the enfranchise- 
ment of such women, women who seemed to know their 
place. Edward M. Lee insisted that Wyoming's women 
voters still rode side-saddle, and not a one "became any 
less a Christian wife and mother" for having voted: 
The pestiferous free-love doctrines, with which the atmosphere 
of certain Eastern platforms and editorial fields has lately become con- 
taminated, find no converts in this sprightly young territory. 44 

Even Esther Morris, whom Ben Sheeks thought "too man- 
nish to influence Bright," acknowledged that, "So far as 
woman suffrage has progressed in this territory, we are 
entirely indebted to men." 45 Julia Bright did inquire after 
Robert Morris, one of Esther Morris' sons, in a letter to 
Hebard, indicating that Robert had been a good friend; a 
letter from Robert to The Revolution dated seventeen days 
after the signing of the woman suffrage bill indicates that 


he and his mother, both acknowledged "open advocates" 
of woman suffrage in the town, went to visit the Bright 
cabin shortly after the passage of the bill, to thank William 
Bright for his "services in their behalf." 46 According to this 
early letter, William Bright maintained that he had not been 
"convinced by a woman's lecture or newspaper, for I never 
heard a woman speak from a rostrum," but Bright may 
have been convinced by one or more women who knew 
him well, and knew better than to overstep the bounds 
of deference. 

Domestic feminists in South Pass City appear to have 
accomplished as much as they could toward enfranchis- 
ing women, given the exclusion of women from political 
power. If most men were unsympathetic to suffragist 
oratory, they would have been more likely to have been 
influenced by women who were canny enough to put their 
cases deferentially and in private. We should recall that 
Esther Morris, the most outspoken suffragist in the town, 
warned against agitation and insisted that, "while she ad- 
vocated the elevation of women, she does not wish the 
downfall of man." 47 

Esther Morris would become the first woman justice 
of the peace in the world, after the enfranchisement of 
Wyoming women had opened the door to officeholding 
as well. Even after she became a public servant, Morris re- 
mained true to her maternal, domestic feminine identity. 
Her first case was a suit against her predecessor for his 
refusal to surrender the court docket. She went to his 
house to get the docket: 

and found his wife ill, his twin sons crying, and everything in 
disorder. Judge Stillman was in a foul mood. Besides his having been 
ousted by a woman, his household was in a distraught state. I had 
twin sons and knew something of what his trouble was. I staved 
and took care of his children and wife, and we became good friends. 48 

Morris sometimes seems to have regarded her judicial 
responsibilities as variations on the theme of mothering 
and housekeeping. Stillman's docket was in such disar- 
ray, she told a convention of the American Woman Suf- 
frage Association in 1872, that, "She did not want it. It 
was a dirty docket anyhow, and her son got her a nice clean 
one for her own use. . . . She knew lawyers would fight, 
but when they quarrelled before her she merely said, 
'Boys, behave yourselves.' " 4q In her more than eight 
months of service, Morris heard 26 cases, half-civil, half- 
criminal, carrying out the duties of her office with distinc- 
tion. Being a woman, she was considered particularly 
tenacious in upholding public morality, one report claim- 
ing that she was: 

especially severe on drunkenness, remorselessly inflicting on every 
inebriate brought before her the full penalty of the law. Some are 
said to have tried the effect of tears upon her, but they afterward 
declared that it did no more good than pouring whiskey down a 
rathole. 50 

In the presence of motherly justice, offenders behaved like 

Edward M. Lee, who declared himself pleased to sign 


Morris' judicial commission, praised her morally uplifting 
tenure in his article on "The Woman Movement in 

She at once familiarized herself with the principles of common 
law and with the Territorial statutes . . . Her court sessions were 
characterized by a degree of gravity and decorum rarely exhibited 
in the judicature of border precincts . . . During her administra- 
tion a decided improvement in the tone of public morals was 
noticeable. 51 

In spite of the fact that her appointment had attracted na- 
tional attention, and that Morris was a public officeholder, 
Lee chivalrously omitted mention of Morris' name through- 
out the article. 

As women began to enter public and political life in 
increasing numbers, deference and submissiveness defined 
female behavior less and less. The socially imposed 
anonymity of the Victorian woman masked women's ac- 
complishments, and the record that remains for us is par- 
tial and frustratingly sporadic. Robert Morris wrote that: 
They who finish the grand reform of equal rights will no more 
realize the hard work, self-denial, and suffering it required, than 
the polisher who has glazed the statute, which has employed so 
many days' hard work in quarrying and chiselling the rough mar- 
ble to a beautiful form. 52 

It is ironic that many of the pioneers in the women's rights 
crusade may have deliberately obscured their accomplish- 
ments. In 1907, long after the issue of woman suffrage had 
presumably been settled in Wyoming if not the nation, 
Wyoming suffragists might still be found cautioning each 
other, "We can do more with our votes when we keep 
rather quiet. ... It does not do to let men think we are 
aggressive." 53 Wyoming women had theoretically won 
political equality, but many continued to acknowledge 
social inferiority. Could such a contradiction have been eas- 
ily reconciled with the toast that the men who enfranchised 
Wyoming's women offered in December, 1869, when 
Bright's bill became law: "Lovely ladies, once our 
superiors, now our equals."? 54 

1. T. A. Larson, "Dolls, Vassals, and Drudges: Pioneer Women in the 
West," Western Historical Quarterly 3 (January 1972):9. 

2. U.S. Department of the Interior, Compendium of the Ninth Census (June 
1, 1870), pp. 372, 592. See also Wyoming Territory Manuscript Cen- 
sus 1870, Western Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie, 

3. T. A. Larson, Histon/ of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1978), p. 204. 

4. Lola M. Homsher, ed., South Pass, 1868 (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1960), p. 73. 

5. Frontier Index, October 9, 1868: Sweetwater Mines, May 27, 1868; May 
30, 1868; June 10, 1868. 

6. James Sherlock, South Pass and Its Tales (New York: Vantage Press, 
Inc., 1978), p. 44. 

7. Sweetwater Mines, June 3, 1868. 

8. Mary Ryan, Womanhood in America (New York: New Viewpoints, 
1975), pp. 143-145. See also Barbara Welter, "The Cult of True 
Womanhood; 1820-1860," American Quarterly 18 (Summer, 1966). 

9. John Mack Faragher and Christine Stansell, "Women and Their 
Families on the Overland Trail to California and Oregon, 1842-1867," 
in Nancy F. Cott and Elizabeth H. Pleck, eds., A Heritage of Her Own: 
Toward a New Social History of American Women (New York: Simon and 
Schuster, 1979), p. 249. 

Ibid., p. 253. Also Julie Roy Jeffrey, Frontier Women (New York: Hill 
and Wang, 1979), pp. 62, 77. 
Homsher, South Pass, 1868, p. 80. 
Ibid., p. 81. 
Ibid., p. 104. 

14. Marjorie C. Trevor, "History of Carter-Sweetwater County, Wyoming 
to 1875," (M.A. thesis, University of Wyoming, 1954), pp. 111-112. 

15. Ibid., p. 95. 

16. Sherlock, South Pass and Its Tales, pp. 68-69. 

17. South Pass News, August 31, 1870. 

18. Sweetwater Mines, December 30, 1868. 

19. The most detailed and convincing study in this area is Scott Smith's 
"Family Limitation, Sexual Control, and Domestic Feminism in Vic- 
torian America," Feminist Studies 1 (Winter-Spring 1973):40-57. 

20. Sweetwater Mines, April 4, 1868. 

21. Ibid., June 10, 1868. 

22. Eleanor Flexner, Centun/ of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement 
in the United States (Cambridge and London: The Belknap Press of 
the Harvard University Press, 1980), p. 33. 

23. Edward T. James and Janet W. James, eds., Notable American Women, 
1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard 
University Press, 1971), 2:319. 

24. Laramie Republican Boomerang, July 25, 1937. 

25. Larson, Histon/ of Wyoming, p. 93. 

26. Mary Lou Pence and Lola Homsher, Ghost Towns of Wyoming (New 
York: Hastings House, 1956), p. 35. 

27. September 15, 1868. 

28. Compendium of the Ninth Census, p. 372. 

29. Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler, Woman Suffrage and 
Politics (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923), p. 76. 

30. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 81. See also Larson, "Dolls, Vassals, 
and Drudges," and Larson, "Petticoats at the Polls," Pacific Nortlnoest 
Quarterly 44 (April 1953):74-79. 

31. See Edward M. Lee, "The Woman Movement in Wyoming," The 
Galaxy 13 (June 1872):755-760. 



32. Allan Grimes has most fully expounded this view of woman suffrage 
successes in the West in his The Puritan Ethic and Woman Suffrage (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1967). 

33. Lee, "The Woman Movement," p. 755. 

34. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, 
History of Woman Suffrage, 3d of 6 vols. (Rochester, New York: Charles 
Mann, 1887), p. 740. 

Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 80n. Also, William Bright was an ac- 
tive Mason throughout his life. See Julia Bright to Grace Raymond 
Hebard, April 17, 1913, Grace Raymond Hebard Papers, University 
of Wyoming Library, Laramie, Wyoming. 

Ellen Carol Dubois traces the development of the woman suffrage 
movement in her masterful Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of 
an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1869 (Ithaca, New 
York: Cornell University Press, 1978). See especially chapters three 
and four for the background of the emerging movement. 

37. Dubois, Feminism and Suffrage, pp. 180-183. 

38. Wyoming Territory, Manuscript Census of 1870; also Larson, Histon/ 
of Wyoming, p. 89. 

H. G. Nickerson, "Historical Correction," Wyoming State journal of 
Lander, February 14, 1919. 

Anna Howard Shaw, The Ston/ of a Pioneer (New York and London: 
Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1915), p. 243. 

41. Stanton et al., History of Woman Suffrage, 3:730. 

42. Ben Sheeks to Grace Raymond Hebard, n.d., 1920?, Grace Raymond 
Hebard Papers, University of Wyoming Library, Laramie, Wyoming. 
Julia Bright to Grace Raymond Hebard, March 28, 1913; April 9, 1913; 
April 17, 1913; October 19, 1913; Grace Raymond Hebard to Julia 
Bright, October 15, 1919, Hebard Papers. 
Lee, "The Woman Movement," p. 759. 

Esther Morris to Isabella Beecher Hooker, n.d., Hebard Papers. 
Robert Morris to The Revolution, December 27, 1869. Copy in Hebard 
South Pass News, March 19, 1870. 

48. Quoted in Pence and Homsher, Ghost Towns, p. 35. 

49. San Francisco Chronicle, February 16, 1872, clipping in Hebard Papers. 

50. Undated news clipping, Hebard Papers. 

51. Lee, "The Woman Movement," p. 756. 

52. Robert Morris to Cousin Fanny, n.d., 1870. Copy in Hebard papers. 

53. T. A. Larson, "Wyoming Contributions to the Regional and National 
Women's Rights Movement," Annals of Wyoming 52 (Spring 1980): 

54. Grace Raymond Hebard, "How Woman Suffrage Came to Wyoming 
(1869)," (n.p., 1920), p. 7. 








A Challenge to Gifford Pinchot 
and the Conservative Ethos 

by Hugh T. Lovin 


By nearly all accounts, President Theodore Roosevelt's 
greatest legacies include heeding counsel from Gifford Pin- 
chot, chief of his Forestry Service, who convinced the Presi- 
dent to regulate access to what remained of the nation's 
forests. But the Rooseveltian conservation ethos featured 
other equally grandiose visions, among them agricultural 
reclamation of the arid lands that lay beyond the hun- 
dredth meridian. There, optimists in the government 
estimated, were 75,000,000 to 100,000,000 acres awaiting 
irrigators. 1 However, it was argued, states could not be 
entrusted to oversee the development of this national 
agricultural treasure. Congress responded to such rep- 
resentations in 1902, passing legislation reflecting the 
federalism of Pinchot and his disciples. Not the least of the 
latter was Frederick Newell, a former president of the 
American Forestry Association, who soon stood at the 
helm of the U.S. Reclamation Service. 2 And in a few years, 
control of millions of western acres, 8,998,723 alone in 
Wyoming forest reserves in 1908, passed under the sway 
f;f Pinchot and Newell 's bureaus. 

Far West residents grumbled about the new federal 
bogeymen, while intermountain state governments chal- 
lenged the new conservation ethos as Pinchot and Newell 
administered it; and not always was this resistance, as pro- 
gressive historiography and preservationist rhetoric would 
have it, self-serving responses from stockraisers intent on 
keeping their ranges intact. Indeed, one important Wyo- 
ming dissenter, Clarence T. Johnston, challenged the new 
ethos on the most highminded of grounds. Because of 
Wyoming geography and climatology, Johnston con- 
tended, the ends of the new ethos were contradictory for 
forest reserves and reclamation tracts ultimately co-existed 
in his state at the expense of the latter which best served 
the public weal. 

A civil engineer trained at the University of Michigan, 
Johnston resided in Wyoming, except for several years 
tenure as a U.S. Department of Agriculture official, before 
becoming Wyoming State Engineer from 1903 to 1911. He 
held this post at a time when federal forest resource policies 
had generated vehement opposition in Wyoming. Politi- 
cally Johnston was obliged to acknowledge sympathetically 
the outcries when the U.S. Forest Service restricted usage 
of the public domain and further alarmed citizens by trans- 
ferring unforested lands to the national forest system. 3 But 
the duties of Johnston's public office, as well as his per- 
sonal inclinations, caused him to eye even more critically 
federal reclamation results in the state. There the fruits of 
reclamation were unprepossessing. Seemingly the federal 
bureaucracy had dawdled. One recurring criticism was that 
the reclamation service practiced engineering perfect- 
ionism, while Shoshone project settlers waited until 1910 
for a dependable water storage reservoir. Delays in con- 
structing the same essential facilities continued until 1922 
and 1924 on the North Platte and Riverton projects. 4 Like- 
wise annoying, federal reclamation administration was 

Clarence T. Johnston 


ensnarled in red tape, Johnston complaining that dealing 
with Newell's bureau "requires some diplomacy [even] to 
do business." 5 

Worse, in Johnston's thinking, Pinchot's foresters and 
his U.S. Reclamation Service disciples opposed "every- 
thing under private enterprise" at a time when Wyoming's 
chances for attracting new infusions of capital for develop- 
ing its resources had never been better. According to 
Johnston, Newell, just as abrasive as Pinchot and his 
forestry subordinates, had appointed himself "bell cow" 
of all reclamation realms and preached that "no person 
or association can do much for the people but him." 6 Of 
all incidents that Johnston encountered in his official duties 
as State Engineer before 1909, perhaps none better sym- 
bolized for him federalism's turn-of-the-century evils than 
the tribulations of Alexander Toponce. A colorful veteran 
of Old West mountaineering, mining, cattle drives and 
who later graduated to frontier business entrepreneur, 
Toponce had promoted a so-called Grand Canyon Canal 
scheme to which Johnston gave official approval and his 
personal admiration. Toponce proposed to tap Greys River 
water in Wyoming, irrigate certain Wyoming lands west 
of the Continental Divide and, to make the project finan- 
cially more viable, extend the irrigation system to 9,000 
Idaho acres. But the U.S. General Land Office, at the in- 
stigation of Reclamation Service officers, blocked the proj- 
ect for years on pretext of possible federal reclamation of 
the Idaho lands. 7 


Nor was Johnston alone in such diagnoses. Comment- 
ing on western demands for control of its natural resources, 
a pamphleteer declared: "The East has had its cake and 
eaten it; in turn the West, too, desires to munch its cookie 
in its own way." 8 An Omaha entrepreneur, his plans for 
Wyoming and Nebraska reclamation tracts thwarted, 
charged that federal officials attempted "to ride roughshod 
over every private enterprise." 9 More important, Wyoming 
Governor Fenimore Chatterton demanded the ouster of 
Newell from office in 1904, on grounds that Newell's 
agency sought a monopoly on reclaiming arid land, and 
Johnston sighed that at last the neck of one of Pinchot's 
disciples appeared to be in the noose. 10 

Governor Fennimore Chatterton. 


Given this disillusionment with the nation's newest 
federalism, Johnston encouraged land reclamation in 
Wyoming at private instigation under the federal Carey Act 
of August 18, 1894, though he admitted privately that state 
administration of the law was sometimes defective. 11 
However, "Newell, Pinchot & Co." remained in power 
after 1904, much to Johnston's disgust, and he soon re- 
newed his charges that federal administrators unwisely 
discouraged the development of Wyoming resources by 
private capital. But no longer did Johnston predict im- 
minent ouster of the federal bogeymen. Instead, he had 
concluded that eastern university professors, leaders of 
professional societies and conservation lobbies exercised 
sufficient clout nationally to sustain Pinchot and his coterie 
within the government. Moreover, Johnston believed, Pin- 
chot and Newell controlled the influential National Irriga- 
tion Congress, making the organization a "one ring cir- 
cus" for espousing the policies of "our Washington 


theorists." Finally, with so many credulous easterners sup- 
posedly on Pinchot's side and equally supportive of 
Newell, Johnston looked for ways to rebut their offending 
ideas and battle federal officials. As a first step in that direc- 
tion, he weighed the chances of challenging "Pinchotism" 
on scientific grounds and raising suspicions of the new con- 
servation ethos among members of his own professional 
fraternity, those "eastern engineers who are full of Pin- 
chot's ideas." 12 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service's latest defenses 
of forest reserves included publishing of evidence that na- 
tional forests provided flood control and augmented the 
hydroelectric potential of streams. In 1908, the American 
Institute of Electrical Engineers reiterated such arguments 
to Wyoming Governor Bryant B. Brooks, who was also a 
critic of Pinchot. Brooks instructed Johnston to reply, and 
the latter made the most of this opportunity to invoke 
science on the side of western exceptionalism, instruct 
engineering science on anti-Pinchot viewpoints and, once 
this dialogue was begun, plead the case for western self- 
determination on political, social, as well as scientific 
grounds. Better to appreciate his arguments by letting 
Johnston speak for himself, the text of his first letter to 
Charles H. Porter follows: 13 

... I presume that your association [American Institute of Electrical 
Engineers] has satisfied itself by some scientific experiment as to the 
basis of theory on which your resolutions are founded. This assump- 
tion on my part is natural since you represent scientific men. I am 
not very well acquainted with conditions in the east . . . My infor- 
mation concerning forest conditions in the West and the effect of 
forest growth on run-off of streams in the inter-mountain region has 
come from long years of personal observation and experiment. 

Water power is one of the valuable assets of the country. In fact 
with the improvement of electrical machinery, I look to see the de- 
mand for water power sites at a premium from this time forth. There 
are two factors to be considered in connection with water power 
development. The first is the volume of water available, and the sec- 
ond is the available head. The regularity of flow of the streams is 
important, but if vou have the water here in the west it can be stored 
and the discharge of the streams governed thereby. 

In the inter-mountain region all of our dangerous floods come 
from the timbered districts in the mountains. This is natural since 
our mountains go above timber line, trees growing not higher than 
from 9,000 to 11,000 feet. Forests break the winds, and this is a coun- 
try where the wind blows considerably. The snow falls in a blanket 
in the forested areas and with the return of warm weather it all goes 
away in a few weeks. Not only do we experience dangerous floods 
in our streams from this source of supply, but the water carries drift 
which damages all structures in our creeks and rivers. Our late water, 
and the discharge which makes our streams, in their normal condi- 
tions valuable comes from regions above timber line, and from slopes 
below where the wind has a free sweep and where the snow lies 
in great drifts. So much for the effect of forests on run-off in this 
section of the country. 

Unlike much of the eastern part of the United States we suffer 
from a scarcity of water even when all of the flow is stored. This 
puts a new phase on the problem of forests and their relation to the 
water supply, because forests absorb a large volume of water 
themselves. According to the only scientific data I have, it requires 
about 500 pounds of water to produce a pound of dry wood matter. 

The measurements upon which these figures are based was made 
by Prof. King of the Agricultural Experiment Station of Wisconsin. 14 
It is unnecessary for me to apply these figures in practice, but to 
call your attention to some matters that appeal te me . . . An or- 
dinary tree will produce about a ton of dry matter in 16 years, in- 
cluding the deposit of leaves shed each year. This means that in the 
period it has censured 1,000,000 pounds of water or approximately 
16,000 cubic feet. This demand for water seriously effects the flow 
of our streams. For instance the combined discharge of all streams 
in the State [Wyoming] is about 11,500,000 acre-feet of water per 
annum, or a volume that would cover 11,500,000 acres to a depth 
of one foot. We have something like 10,000 square miles of forest 
reserves which take up, use and dissipate at least 16,000,000 acre- 
feet of water per year. The question is, with all the demands upon 
our streams by irrigators and by those who have installed hydro- 
electric plants, whether or not the growing of such trees as are com- 
mon to the Rocky Mountain Region is economical. 

You are probably aware that the Bureau of Forestry is a prolific 
advertiser. Its chief [Gifford Pinchot] is probably one of the best politi- 
cians in the service of the Government. He conducts a press agency 
at the expense of the Government, and he spends much of his time 
attending conventions in order that his work may be brought before 
the people. Many of his theories have but little foundation in fact, 
or from a scientific standpoint. He has made much of the claim that 
forests have a beneficial influence on streams. He has never proven 
this. Because your association is of a scientific character ... I can- 
not believe that you are following the popular trend of sentiment 
as it has been directed by the advertising bureaus of [the] Forestry 

I believe in protecting the forests and openly advocate the 
removal of the tariff on foreign lumber for this purpose. Mr. Pin- 
chot cooperates with the Lumber Trust and hence is not in a posi- 
tion to recommend any tariff reforms in this direction. 1 commend 
Mr. Pinchot's work in so far as he compels orderly cutting of timber, 
the protection of forests from fire, etc. I do not follow him blindly, 
however, in all of his theories, and I believe that he advances these 
for the purpose of gaining support here and there from those who 
do not demand to be shown that such theories are based on truth. 

I trust that I may hear from you and . . . will appreciate any 
information that can be considered as scientific and reliable. 1 do 
not care to have arguments (?) made which compare a stream in 
Arizona with one in Oregon. What we need is to have a tree planted 
or to select one that is planted. Actually measure the volume of water 
it absorbs in growing; actually measure the volume of deposit of 
vegetable matter produced by trees; actually measure the volume 
of water "conserved" by this deposit and find if possible the benefits 
from the trees through the shade furnished by it or the winds broken 
by it. 

Not persuaded by Johnston's arguments, Porter 
defended both the Institute's scientific positions and Pin- 
chot's work. But fuller rebuttal of Johnston's "science" and 
more skillful defense of the Rooseveltian conservation 
ethos reached Johnston from another member of his pro- 
fessional club. George F. Swain of the engineering faculty 
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote, his letter 
here cited nearly verbatim in order to follow closely the 
debate which Johnston had initiated: 15 

. . . you express some doubt as to the desirability of the movement 
for the acquisition of national forests and . . . you also question the 
value of forests as regulators of stream flow. As I have been particu- 
larly interested in this [conservation] movement . . . lam taking 
the liberty of writing you to express the hope that you will do nothing 
to impede this movement even if you feel some doubt as to certain 

points involved. 

There are four points, any one of which will . . . justify this 
movement, and I think that every engineer should do his utmost 
to aid it. The first of these points is the question of timber supply. 
I trust you have read the report of the Secretary of Agriculture [James 
Wilson], from which you will perceive the importance of in- 
augurating, as soon as possible, more scientific methods of forestry 
under government control for the preservation of our hard wood 
supply, and also of our supply of pine and spruce. If you could see 
the wanton destruction which is taking place in some parts of our 
Appalachian region you would appreciate this better, and if you have 
occasion to use much timber in your work I think you must be 
somewhat apprehensive as to what engineers will do ten or fifteen 
years from now if the price of timber continues to rise, as it surely 
will if present conditions continue. 

The second point is the value of forests in regulating the flow 
of streams, the third is their office [function] of protecting the soil 
from erosion, especially on steep slopes, and the fourth is the con- 
sequent injury to the navigation of our streams by silting up. 

You are perfectly correct in assuming that we have satisfied 
ourselves as to the theoretical basis for our action. Every scientific 
authority that I know of, every book on forestry, every book on 
hydrology, recognizes that forests are great regulators of flow. Any 
one who takes the opposite ground on this point will put himself 
in the end in an unfavorable and possibly humiliating position. 

I have been interested in reading your remarks with reference 
to the conditions in the west ... I cannot believe that the presence 
of forests increases the violence of floods. This is contrary to all ex- 
perience elsewhere, as well as to all principles. You say your floods 
come from forested areas; this may be so, but it is very different 
from saying that the presence of forests increases floods. If your 
forests should be cut down, the floods from these areas would surely, 
on the average increase in volume. It will not do to compare one 
district which is forested with another district which is not forested 
because the conditions of the two cannot be identical. In order to 
have experimental proof it would be necessary to have the same area 
in one case forested and in the other case deforested under iden- 
tical conditions of rainfall, etc. There is a very large quantity of 
evidence with reference to the effect of forests on floods. The ex- 
perience in Southern France and in other countries of Europe is in 
direct contradiction to some of the statements or implications in your 
letter. I cannot believe that snow in a forested area will go off more 
quickly when warm weather comes than it would from the same area 
if deforested. 

With reference to the absorption of water to which you refer, 
it is . . . true that trees, like every other living organism, evaporate, 
but it has never been proved to my knowledge that a forest 
evaporates more of the rain which falls upon the area covered than 
would be evaporated if there were no covering. While the trees 
evaporate from their leaves, they diminish the evaporation from the 
soil itself. Of course, if no rain falls upon an area, or comes to it 
by underground seepage, trees will not grow . . . [and] it is equally 
true that in such a case there would be no streams draining the area, 
and no floods. If a small amount of rain falls, there may be only 
enough to supply the trees, leaving none to flow off. The conditions 
in an arid region are no doubt different from those in a wet region. 
The Appalachian is a comparatively wet region. 

There is another point . . . and that is that if the forests do in- 
crease the total evaporation from the area covered, then they also 
increase the rainfall . . . The rain which falls comes from the sea 
and from evaporation from the land. Part of it flows back to the sea 
and part is evaporated from -the land. If you increase the evapora- 
tion from the land you increase the moisture in the air to be 
precipitated. Of course a particular square mile of forested area may 
not get in any one year any more rainfall, but broadly speaking, if 


forests increase the evaporation then they increase the rainfall. But 
... I have never seen any proof that they increase either, and if 
you are familiar with the writings of foreign experimenters in forest 
meteorology, such as Ebermayer, 16 you are aware of the fact that 
they reach about the same conclusion. As I look at it, the great value 
of the forest is in regulating the flow, and preventing the water which 
falls from being discharged suddenly into the streams . . . 

Of course in this matter as in most others, many people go to 
extremes ... It must not be expected . . . that if a region is allowed 
to grow up into forests the flow [of water] will be made perfectly 
uniform. There will still be large variations and there will always 
be floods, but my own study of the matter . . . convinces me, as 
it has every other careful student whose conclusions I have read, 
that forests do greatly regulate the flow of streams, and prevent ero- 
sion and the consequent filling up of water courses. 

Finally ... I think you will find that measurements similar to 
those you suggest have been made by foreign observers and I would 
suggest that you read the work of Ebermayer. It would not seem 
to me, however, necessary to actuaJlv measure the volume of deposit 
of vegetable matter since it is a matter within the common knowledge 
of everybody that there is a layer of vegetable matter in forests, pro- 
duced and preserved by the forests; neither do I quite understand 
what vou mean by measuring the volume of water "conserved" by 
this deposit. 

After this scientific rebuttal to Johnston, Swain chided the 
Wyoming State Engineer for animus toward Pinchot: 

I think vou will find on further investigation that your statement 
that Mr. Pinchot's theories "have but little foundation in fact or from 
a scientific standpoint" is entirely unjustified and is rather unfair. 
You say he does not prove his statements, but he certainly has behind 
him all the best authorities. 

1 regret especially that you feel as you do toward the Depart- 
ment of Forestry, which I believe is doing a very great and valuable 
work in which it should be supported bv us all. At any rate you 
may rely upon it that Mr. Pinchot is supported not "here and there," 
but by a very large body of men who are reasonable and who do 
not follow anyone blindly but are well informed themselves on the 

Johnston bristled at what he judged Swain's preemp- 
tory lecturing, and soon he shared Swain's communica- 
tion with many western state officials and others who sup- 
ported Johnston's battle against "Pinchotism." Among 
Johnston's sympathizers, the State Engineer of Idaho com- 
plimented Johnston for handling "these gentlemen and 
their pet hobby without gloves." He called Swain's 
message an "I-will-explain-this-very-carefully-to-you-if- 
you-will-pay-strict-attention attitude," but urged Johnston 
to persist while remaining "charitable" toward Swain and 
"those [other] theorists" who simply "did not know any 
better." 17 

Johnston, still testy from having yet to gain eastern 
converts, vented his anger in a first draft of a reply to 
Swain. But Johnston accepted counsel to revise the draft, 
particularly dropping his accusations about Pinchot's luke- 
warm progressivism because of the forester's subservience 
to the "Lumber Trust," and Johnston consented to adding 
mollifying references to Pinchot "as a personal friend" 
whose policies were unwise, "even though . . . fathered 
by Mr. Pinchot and many men who have position and in- 
fluence." However, Johnston told his official counterpart 


in Idaho that Pinchot's critics in the West must never relent 
from resisting federalism's newest evils. Better it was, 
Johnston declared, to "unite [in] some way to show that 
we think once in a while out here, even though Pinchot 
may [claim to] have a corner on the grey matter market." 18 
Finally, Johnston mailed a lengthy reply to Swain, his 
response here quoted almost in entirety because it sum- 
marizes Johnston's own dissent and, more significantly, 
constitutes an eloquent precis of the numerous grounds 
on which other critics also challenged the Rooseveltian con- 
servation ethos. Johnston wrote: 19 

... I can assure you that I should like to see every precaution taken 
to insure to ourselves and to those who follow us a supply of cheap 
lumber. No person enjoys a forest or loves a tree more than I do. 
The people of the West have been tree planters. I have seen the plains 
of Iowa changed completely by artificial forests. The same process 
is going on today in States further West. There are more trees in 
Wyoming now than there were when the first white man crossed 
this territory a hundred years or more ago . . . 

... I realize that the forest conditions of the country east of 
the Mississippi are far different from those in the Rocky Mountains. 
I do not believe that many people in the East understand this. I know 
that much timber has been destroyed in your mountains. While 
careless cutting of timber should be discouraged, I do not believe 
in attempting to control private forests. I am further satisfied that 
when the demand for lumber becomes acute, our government will 
solve the problem at that time. It seems to me that to become 
hysterical regarding our lumber supply at this time can benefit no 
person unless it may be those in charge of the forest service. If lands 
now devoted to the growing of trees can be made more profitable 
when put to some other use, it seems reasonable to me that this 
should be done. Trees will be grown when it becomes profitable to 
do so. In the meantime Canada and Mexico have almost inexhaustible 
forests which we can use as soon as the tariff is removed. This seems 
to be the practical way of protecting our forests now, if they need 
protection. In my judgment the removal of the tariff on Canadian 
lumber would afford our forests more protection than the govern- 
ment has thus far rendered in any other way. I have never heard 
this advocated by any of the adherents of the present forest service 

I have read the recent report of the Secretary of Agriculture to 
which you refer. Having been in the service of the government [as 
a Department of Agriculture official] I can recognize a report prepared 
by the Chief of the Forest Service, even though the report is pub- 
lished under the name and authority of the Secretary. I have writ- 
ten similar reports and they have been prepared in a similar way. 
This [report] relates to the necessity of a more scientific control of 
forests in order that our hard woods particularly may be preserved 
and conserved. This is all right. I believe, however, that if national 
forests, such as we have in the West, are created in the East in such 
a way as to retard development, they will be as unpopular there 
as they are here ... I am in favor of forest reserves controlled wholly 
in behalf of the people and I should like to see any policy adopted 
which has for its purpose the preservation of the lumber supply. 
However, the government should not undertake any work which 
retards development. This is quickly felt in the newer States where 
capital comes [in] but slowly. If the present plan of conserving 
everything until our great grand children can use them is carried 
out the West must suspend its growth. The engineers from your 
great [educational] institutions will have to work for the government, 
the railroads or some municipality. Individual or cooperative effort 
must cease. I have no private reasons for opposing some of the 
policies of those who now consider it necessary that they should 

think and plan for our welfare. Wyoming has been studied pretty 
thoroughly by unbiased men. I am in close touch with those who 
observe and study forest conditions. It is an easy thing for a man 
to fall into line when popular sentiment has been directed in favor 
of one policy or another. He follows the line of least resistance. I 
have followed the discussion of forestry and stream run-off for over 
twenty years and know well when the theory of benefits to our 
streams by forest covering was first introduced. I believed it at first 
because it seemed to be supported by men who should be informed 
and who should have reasons for their statements. Since that time 
I have travelled over every Western State. I have been through every 
important mountain range and have made measurements which 
have led me to believe that the question is still an open one . . . 

Johnston invited Swain to observe at first hand in Wyo- 
ming the "relation of forests to run-off" water, a resource 
not necessarily lost in wet Appalachian regions; but, as 
Johnston still contended, it was inevitably wasted in quick 
melting of Rocky Mountain snow in May and June unless 
man intervened to prevent the loss. Demanding this water 
resource for irrigators, access to which he believed was 
thwarted by the forest service with specious flood control 
rationales, Johnston continued: 

You perhaps know that floods do not worry us here. Our aim is 
to obtain the largest volume of water and to STORE the excess which 
comes when irrigation is not practiced for the farmer's use during 
the summer. Trees require a large volume of water in their growth. 
I do not believe that it is good economy for Wyoming to dedicate 
a very large volume of water for growing such trees as are natives 
of this altitude when the water can be utilized to much better ad- 
vantage by the farmer. I refer you to an article appearing in the Trans- 
actions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. LIX, page 
493, by Mr. Raphael Zon, Chief Branch of Silviculture, U.S. Forest 
Service. His investigations have resulted in his arriving at conclu- 
sions very similar to my own. He refers to Prof. Tourney's work in 
California. 20 [However,] you cannot apply results obtained in Califor- 
nia to the Rocky Mountain region any more than you can compare 
Arizona with Oregon . . . 

We are not troubled here with floods. Reservoirs properly located 
will afford us all the protection we will need in this direction and 
serve to hold flood waters until needed in the summer. I know of 
no lands in the State that have been damaged by erosion. 

Finally, Johnston penned three more pages, again 
challenging Swain's scientific appraisals before concluding 
with a peroration on the forest service and its alleged con- 
tribution to turn-of-the-century federalism's raw deal for 
the west. Johnston wrote: 

I should like to refer you to Mr. W. H. Rosecrans, C. E., Engineer 
in charge of hydro-electric development for the Arnold Company 
of Chicago . . . 21 He has traveled extensively through the West. He 
has made special studies relating to forests and their effect on stream 
flow in connection with his field operations. If any man should be 
unbiased in his conclusions relating to the question, it is Mr. 
Rosecrans, because if forests do perform the service claimed for them, 
it is a matter of dollars and cents to him. 

You have some rivers in Maine where the forests covering their 
drainage areas have been removed many times. If forests there have 
any marked effect on stream run-off the measurements should show 
this to be the case. I have made inquiries in this direction and those 
who have looked into the matter for me, say that the gaugings do 
not show that the forests have had such an effect as claimed for them. 
It is very probable that should some of the forests be removed the 

snow falling in the winter months would drift and hence melt much 
more slowly with the return of warm weather. 

I think I have every report published in France, Spain and 
Germany relating to this question. It seems to me in nearly every 
publication . . . the author has assumed a theory to begin with and 
has tried to make his field work check with his office conjectures. 

I do not believe that you can find an observer of the U.S. Weather 
Bureau who will support any theory which holds that because forests 
increase the evaporation they in like manner increase the rainfall. 
Our [Wyoming] air is extremely dry and we have considerable wind. 
If the State has ever received any precipitation from moisture 
evaporated from our own forests, I am thoroughly satisfied that con- 
ditions at the time were very unusual indeed. 

In a discussion of this kind we must be reasonable in so far as 
possible. This I have tried to be. When one has been connected with 
the Government service and finds one or two great bureaus [Forest 
Service and Reclamation Service] in the advertising business, he has 
every reason for exercising some caution when it comes to accepting 
all that may be published. I can send you, if you so desire, daily 
clippings from Mr. Pinchot's Bureau which are mailed to our papers 
for the purpose of educating the people. This education does not 
embrace such articles as that of Mr. Zon . . . but it relates to the 
policies and politics of the Bureau of Forestry. I do not believe that 
Mr. Zon's article has ever been published by the department. 

I have read the work of Ebermayer. I do not regard his results 
as applying where conditions are as different as they are in the Atlan- 
tic States and the Rockv Mountain Region. Yes, I think in the Rocky 
Mountain Region the experimenter should measure the volume of 
vegetable deposit from the forests. We have many forests growing 
where it would worry the scientist to gather a bushel of any kind 
of soil on an acre. It is held by all of the advertising literature put 
out by Mr. Pinchot that the vegetable deposit under the trees "con- 
serves" the moisture and holds the water until later in the season 
when it passes away into natural channels. If this is true, the water 
so "conserved" should be measured. 

As an engineer, I can honestly say that the average reader who 
digests the advertising matter published, not only in the newspapers 
but in magazine of standing, believes all that he reads. There are 
too many of these kind of people compared with those who read 
and think at the same time. Some of these articles doubtless apply 
to your | eastern] forests. They are largely dreams to our people here 
who understand conditions. As I said before, I am willing to accept 
any theory which is substantiated bv scientific investigation. It may 
seem that all authorities favor the policies of the Bureau of Forestry. 
When you study these authorities you will find that by following 
the circle you will finally come back to the Bureau itself. 

I believe Wyoming would be better off if all forested areas were 
thrown open to settlement. I believe that our lands can be used to 
better advantage, if we can produce some timber of a commercial 
kind and I believe that we can; it is a question of whether or not 
it pays to do so when we consider its quality at best, the value of 
the lands for other purposes and the tremendous drain on our water 
supply to maintain them. It should be remembered that a country 
where the total run-off [water] is insufficient is much different from 
one which must provide against floods. 

I have always been proud of Mr. Pinchot. I like to be able to 
say that we have produced a man who has led in such an impor- 
tant work, yet there are places where I believe our citizens would 
be in better condition had the forest reserves not been created, or 
if created they had been confined to actual timbered areas and land 
not capable of a higher and better use. 

Our great Americans have developed through responsibilities 
having been placed upon them. As soon as the Government begins 
to conserve everything and make it impossible for private enterprise 
to thrive, initiative must cease. Wyoming has absolute control of the 


water within its boundaries. No misuse has been made of this 
resource, in fact we have the model irrigation laws of the world. 
The user of water is thoroughly protected. The law is framed for 
the people and not for the speculator. The government has not 
passed an act which compares with this in so far as the control of 
any other natural resource is concerned. 

Still seeking eastern support among professionals who 
had defended Pinchot, Johnston referred to Pinchot's 

policies as merely unwise, and at last concluded his 


1 should like to meet you and talk with you regarding many prob- 
lems that have arisen here in the West. I should like to have you 
understand to what extent the West has already suffered because 
so much of its business must be done at a distance of 2,000 miles 
and how difficult it is to deal with bureaus where important mat- 
ters are referred to poorly paid clerks. 


1. Paul W. Gates and Robert W. Swenson, History of Public Land Law 
Development (Washington, D.C.: Public Land Review Commission, 
1968), pp. 644-646; Benjamin Horace Hibbard, A History of the Public 
Land Policies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1965 ed.), pp. 

2. William Lillev, ID and Lewis L. Gould, "The Western Irrigation Move- 
ment, 1872-1902: A Reappraisal" in The American West: A Reorienta- 
tion, edited by Gene M. Gressley (Laramie: University of Wyoming, 
1966), pp. 67-74; Michael G. Robinson, Water for the West: The Bureau 
of Reclamation, 1902-1977 (Chicago: Public Works Historical Society, 
1979), pp. 10, 12, 15, 16. 

T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1965), pp. 319, 377-385; Gene M. Gressley, "Arthur Powell 
Davis, Reclamation, and the West," Agricultural Histon/, XLII (July 
1968): 255-256. Pinchot denied charges that his agency included non- 
forested land in National Forests with reckless abandon, as Forest 
Service opponents had alleged; but he insisted on creating forest 
reserves unrelentingly "as soon as practicable," and on all land having 
"chief value for forest reserve purposes." Pinchot to F. R. Gooding, 
March 23, 1906, Frank R. Gooding Papers, Idaho State Archives, 
Boise. In 1906, Congress prohibited Pinchot's agency from establishing 
new forest reserves unilaterally. 

4. Robinson, Water for the West, pp. 21, 24. 

5. Larson, History of Wyoming, pp. 355-357; Johnston to James Stephen- 
son, Jr., May 23, 1908, Idaho Reclamation Records, Collection AR-20, 
Idaho State Archives, Box 13. This collection hereafter cited IRR. 

6. Johnston to Wayne Darlington, September 1, 1904, Box 2, IRR. 

7. Johnston to F. H. Newell (copy), May 23, 1908, Johnston to Ste- 
phenson, May 23, December 2, 1908, Box 13, IRR. For Toponce's own 
account of his Old West experiences, see: Reminiscences of Alexander 
Toponce Written by Himself, edited by Robert A. Griffen (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1971 ed.). 

8. The West and the East: An Appeal, as cited in Miscellaneous Speeches of 
Burton L. French (Washington, D.C.: 1908), p. 10, copy in Burton L. 
French Papers, Miami University Library, Oxford, Ohio. 

9. Howard C. Leavitt to Stephenson, January 26, 1905, Box 2, IRR; and 
for a contemporary appraisal of Wyoming's reclamation potential at 
private hands, see: William E. Smythe, The Conquest of Arid America 
(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1899, 1905, reprinted 1969), 
pp. 228-29. 




10. Johnston to Darlington, September 1, 1904, Box 2, IRR; Twin Fall'. 
(Idaho) Neios, November 11, 1904, p. 1. 
Johnston to Stephenson, February 26, 1908, Box 13, IRR. 
Johnston to Stephenson, March 28, June 2, 1908, Stephenson tc 
Johnston, June 8, 1908, ibid. 

Johnston to Porter, January 25, 1908 (copy), ibid. The letter hen 
reproduced, except for omission of irrelevant statements, has beer 
edited to correct minor misspellings. 

Johnston here alluded to the work of soil scientist Franklin Hiran 
King (1848-1911), and probably to King's A Textbook of the Physics o 
Agriculture (Madison, Wisconsin: By the author, 1900, 1901, 1903 
1907), or possibly to King's The Soil; Its Nature, Relations and Fundamen 
tal Principles of Management (New York: Macmillan Company, 1902) 
or one of several subsequent editions. 

Swam to Johnston, March 18, 1908 (copy), Box 13, IRR. The docu 
ment has been edited to correct a few errors in spelling anc 

Swain referred here to Ernst Wilhelm Ferdinand Ebermaye: 
(1829-1908), a German scientist; for a translation of Ebermayer': 
writing to which Swain almost certainly referred in his letter, see 
Ebermayer' s Experiments on Forest Meteorologxf, Translated from Eber 
mayer's Original Work and Converted into English Units by Rober 
E. Horton (Battle Creek, Michigan: 1911). 

17. Stephenson to Johnston, April 14, 1908, Box 13, IRR. 

18. Johnston to Swain, March 21, 1908 (copy), and Johnston to Stephen 
son, March 26, 1908, ibid. 

19. Johnston to Swain, March 21, 1908 (copy), ibid. The document ha: 
been edited to correct a few misspellings, and certain irrelevan 
phrases and personal asides in Johnston's letter are also omitted here 

20. Here Johnston referred to writings of James William Toume) 
(1865-1932), most likely to Tourney's "The Relation of Forests t( 
Stream Flow," United States Department of Agriculture Yearbook, 190. 
(Washington, D.C.: 1904), pp. 279-288. 

21. An engineering and construction contractor with offices at Chicago 
Arnold and Company sent Rosecrans to the West in 1908. His primaiy 
assignments were to evaluate hydroelectric power "possibilities" o: 
several streams and to study the potential of certain Carey Ac 
reclamation tracts. Mostly this work was on behalf of an Arnold anc 
Company client, J. G. White and Company of New York City 
Rosecrans to Stephenson, April 20, June 1, 1908, Box 14, IRR. 



Cowgirls, Women of the American West: An Oral History, by Teresa Jordan 
(Garden City, N.Y .: Doubleday & Company, 1982). IUus. Bibliography. 
Index. 301 pp. Cloth. $19.95. 

Teresa Jordan certainly earns her spurs with this con- 
temporary portrait of the American cowgirl as a separate 
and distinct version of the mythic American cowboy. Ms. 
Jordan traveled over 60,000 miles to interview women 
throughout the West who speak about their lives on 
ranches, the courage and stamina needed to take the reins 
of ranch management after the death of a spouse, and their 
love and understanding of the Western landscape as a 
unique ecosystem which should not be abused by 
overgrazing or development. What emerges from this fine 
collection of interview material, historic and contemporary 
photographs, and excerpted anecdotes is a portrait of the 
rural western woman in the 20th century as a solid and 
resilient equal to her male counterpart. Thirty women talk 
candidly about family pressure to stay home to cook and 
clean as well as the difficulties encountered in pursuing 
careers as women ranchers in a world traditionally domi- 
nated by men. 

The late Marie Bell, the author's great aunt, lived at 
Iron Mountain, Wyoming. She described having to wear 
dresses and stay in the saddle: 

When I was real little I rode in dresses, 'cause they didn't have 
pants for kids or anything. Then I started wearing divided skirts. 
They were short— they came up just below your knees. They would 
flap, and oh, they just scared a horse to death. We'd tie them down 
with pieces of twine or rawhide. Course, the horse would get used 
to them pretty quick. The first time I wore Levi's my mother had 
a fit. I forget how old I was, but I must have been around twenty, 
because I'd been away to school. Mother just thought it was terri- 
ble, but they were a whole lot safer than divided skirts. 

The cowgirls, ranch women and female ranch hands 
in this book are iconoclasts who spend their long working 
days on horseback and in pickup trucks checking for breaks 
in fences, helping with difficult livestock pregnancies, and 

constantly being on the alert for potentially dangerous 
changes in the weather— lightning and range fires in the 
summer, blizzards and drifting snow in winter. These 
women work just as hard as any cowboys. They are to- 
tally at home on the range. 

In her introduction, Teresa Jordan defines the first 
woman stereotype in the West as the prairie madonna, or 
19th century earth mother with long calico skirts and a babe 
in each arm. Jordan then begins each interview segment 
with a brief description of the woman interviewed and tells 
us who the lady is, where she lives, what she looks like 
and where the interview took place. Jordan lets the women 
speak for themselves which they do, admirably. Mildred 
Kanipe from near Oakland, Oregon, says, "I was my dad- 
dy's only boy. He taught me everything I know. I say I 
learned from an expert, 'cause boy he was." She continues, 
"I must have been around eighteen when I bought the first 
land. I wasn't even grown yet. But I wanted land. I had 
to have me some land." Kanipe's words are echoed by 
almost every one of the interviewees who speak poignantly 
of their relationship to the soil and their deep desire to con- 
tinue ranching and to expand their operations even in the 
face of declining market prices for livestock. 

Born and raised on a ranch in southeastern Wyoming, 
the Yale-educated author, Teresa Jordan, has that knack 
unique to oral historians and cultural journalists of getting 
people to speak candidly about themselves. The women 
she interviewed must have felt comfortable and relaxed in 
her presence. They talk openly about marriage and divorce, 
losing fathers and husbands in ranch accidents, problems 
with alcoholism, and the inevitable loneliness that comes 
from physical isolation and the responsibilities inherent in 
making irrevocable financial decisions about cattle and 
crops. Maggie Howell, a ranch hand for the Miller ranches 
south of Daniel, Wyoming, says, "I get lonely out here. 
Sure. Of course. God, yeah. But that's part of the price 
of this kind of work. I prefer loneliness to crowds of peo- 
ple in big cities." 


Teresa Jordan explains those drawbacks and the de- 
manding environment of working ranch women. She has 
written ten chapters which describe cowgirls born to ranch- 
ing, cowgirls who married ranchers, cowgirls who returned 
to the home places and cowgirls who worked as profes- 
sional rodeo stars up to 1941— the old "Wild Bunch" as 
opposed to the "New Breed" members of the Girls Rodeo 
Association. Jordan writes about women from both eras. 

Interspersed among the interviews and photographs 
are brief excerpts from numerous first person accounts by 
Western women. The excerpts' juxtaposition between in- 
terview segments sometimes break the flow of thought for 
the reader who must turn the page to finish the excerpt 
and then go back to finish the interview, but the anecdotes 
are worthwhile and they frequently serve to clarify or 
elaborate on material from the oral histories. 

Jordan's Cowgirls is a testament to farm and ranch life. 
Perhaps she should also have interviewed those ranch 
women, like those ranch men, who found the life too hard 
and the economic constraints too rigid and so abandoned 
their dreams to take jobs in small towns away from the 
vast expanses of gram grass and blue sky. In her epilogue 
Jordan notes, "I have seldom entered a countrywoman's 
home without being met by a perfunctory apology for the 
housekeeping. Then there is the apology for dress, for the 
roughness of hands, the untidiness of hair. I have to get 
through the apologies to find the honest pride in a life well 

Jordan has found that honest pride. These women tell 
their stories as if the reader were right beside them drink- 
ing a cup of hot, black coffee in some spacious ranch 
kitchen. No more will American cowboys have to ride into 
the sunset alone, but then to read these cowgirls' stories— 
they never did. 

The reviewer has done extensive work in local and community history and is 
the author of America's Country Schools (1984), published by The Preserva- 
tion Press, National Trust for Historic Presentation. 

Westering Man: The Life of Joseph Walker, by Bil Gilbert (New York: 
Atheneum, 1983.) viii + 339 pp. Maps, addendum, notes, bibliography, 
index. $17.95. 

In 1832, the most lavishly outfitted fur brigade yet to 
leave Missouri departed for the heart of the mountain 
trade, the "Valley of the Green" in what is now Wyoming. 
This caravan, guided by Joseph Walker, would be the first 
to roll supply wagons through the shadow of South Pass 
blazing the way for the hordes of immigrants that would 
carve the Oregon Trail. 

Notable as it may seem, this was not the first nor the 
last of Walker's outstanding exploits. His remarkable 
achievements spread across half a century of the American 
West. What is more remarkable, however, is the realiza- 
tion that Joseph Walker's contributions to the "Western 
movement" have not been emblazoned in the annals of 
Western exploration. 


Now, a new biography by writer-historian Bil Gilbert 
has put Walker in his proper place as one of the West's 
few remaining unsung heroes. Previous biographical ef- 
forts have fallen short of a complete and accurate account- 
ing, but Westering Man emerges among them as a factual 
and illuminating work. Gilbert whips new insight into the 
life of Joseph Rutherford Walker, including a correct mid- 
dle name, not done by previous historians. 

Uncovering the events and circumstances of "Captain 
Joe's " story presented a nightmare of research problems 
for Gilbert. Constantly flicking in and out of recorded 
history, Walker's whereabouts surface in the period jour- 
nals, but then disappear again with months of absence. 
In addition, many first-hand details of his travels were 
swept away with his diary in the crossing of a fast river. 

The apparent ambiguity of Walker's saga is due in part 
to the fact that he stayed very low key. He was not a brag- 
gart, unlike many of his contemporaries, and managed to 
avoid the literary stare of the public eye— for that matter the 
eye of the historian as well. 

Nevertheless, Gilbert has pieced together the scattered 
sources and traces Walker through five decades of fron- 
tier experience. He moves from the shadowy days of the 
Sante Fe trade to the provocative era of the mountain men, 
from the years as guide, peacemaker and explorer to his 
reluctant return to civilization. 

Many of his expeditions are marvelous adventures in 
the making of the American West. With his band of trap- 
pers, he was the first to cross the central Sierra to the Pacific 
coast. He later guided the first wagon train to California. 
His epic journey to the Prescott gold fields of Arizona left 
the military and historians alike, bedazzled with his 
strategies and logistics. 

Although a definitive biography of Joseph Walker may 
not be possible, Gilbert's effort certainly comes close. The 
depth of his research shows throughout the text strength- 
ened by the extensive notes and bibliography following it. 
His assessments are evenhanded and strike a nice balance 
between the scholarly and popular study of frontiersmen. 
For the broad minded historian Westering Man provides a 
cornucopia of 19th century Americana. For those who de- 
light in following the frontier spirit, this book will provide 
ample spice for thought. 

Wilson is Director of the Museum of the Mountain Men in Pinedale. 

Many Tender Ties. By Sylvia Van Kirk (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1983) Index. Bib. Notes. 242 pp. Paper, $9.95; Cloth, $21.50. 

This book was first published in Winnipeg in 1980. 
Whether it was originally published in English or French 
is not stated. Since this is an American edition, however, 
the text would flow more smoothly if the French phrases 
were omitted, and English used throughout. After several 

repetitions of a la facon du pays I decided it meant something 
like "common-law wife" in the context in which it was 
used. It was still annoying because it disrupted the word 

In spite of this irritation, the book is good. The sub- 
ject of women in the fur trade has never before been fully 

Since there were no white women, the desirability of 
the Indian women was enhanced. They cemented the fur 
trader-Indian tie and therefore had an impact on the trade. 
While the Indian women played a significant role in the 
early fur trade, Indian men never were considered a part 
of fur-trade society. 

Indian women brought work skills to marriage that 
white women could not in an environment foreign to them. 
Many permanent families developed. There were, how- 
ever, some problems. Hudson Bay Company employees 
could not take their native wives to England when they 
retired, nor could they remain on the North American con- 
tinent. This caused break-ups of long-standing family rela- 
tionships. The North West Company had no such restric- 
tions. The Hudson Bay Company paid for the support of 
a wife, whereas this was not true of the North West 

While many traders did not like leaving their Indian 
wives and families behind, they usually took a white wife 
after retirement in England. 

Marriage to a fur trader offered Indian women an alter- 
nate life style and a relief from their traditional life. This 
induced other Indian women to try it. Traders married In- 
dian women over a long period, but the Indian women 
gradually lost out to mixed blood women as daughters of 
mixed marriages reached marriageable age. Finally, by the 
19th century, if a white man married an Indian woman he 
was criticized and Indian women lost status. Trader fathers 
pushed their mixed blood daughters toward acculturation 
and education. By this time, white women immigrated, 
married traders and replaced Indian and mixed blood 
women as wives. 

Many Tender Ties is well researched and is a valuable 
contribution to the fur-trade literature. 

Tlie reviewer was formerly the Curator of History at the Wyoming State Museum. 

types ranging from museums of natural history, art and 
cultural history to botanical gardens, zoos, historic houses 
and open-air museums. 

A number of similarities unite this assemblage of 
museum masters. All were of western European or Amer- 
ican birth. Most were figures of the 18th and 19th centuries. 
A sizeable number of the museum masters received their 
inspiration from industrial exhibits and world's fair exposi- 
tions. George Brown Goode, for example, acquired his 
museum indoctrination while working to organize displays 
at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. He later 
put this experience to good use when he became director 
of the United States National Museum of the Smithsonian 
Institution in Washington. Perhaps most importantly, 
Alexander stresses that all twelve of the museum in- 
novators emphasized the educational function of mu- 
seums. They did not view museums as mere artifact re- 
positories, but rather as institutions where knowledge 
could be disseminated to the visiting public. 

Alexander's background qualifies him as something of 
a museum master in his own right. He has directed both 
the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and the New York 
State Historical Association, founded the American As- 
sociation for State and Local History, served as supervisor 
of interpretation at Colonial Williamsburg and launched 
the University of Delaware's museum studies program. 
Despite his experience as an educator, administrator and 
academician, Museum Masters should interest a broad au- 
dience including travelers and museum aficionados. Alex- 
ander appeals to the general reader through a combina- 
tion of lively prose and an ability to accentuate the 
struggles, controversies and triumphs which marked his 
subjects' lives. Nevertheless, this work will prove most 
valuable to museum experts concerned with their profes- 
sion's traditions. 

The reviewer is Monuments and Markers Historian for the Wyoming Historic 
Preservation Office. 

A Taste of the West: Essays in Honor of Robert G. Atheam. Edited by Duane 
A. Smith (Boulder: Pruett Publishing Co., 1983). Illus. Notes, Index, 
xii + 186 pp. Cloth, $17.95. 

Museum Masters: Their Museums and Their Influence, by Edward P. Alex- 
ander (Nashville: The American Association for State and Local History, 
1983). Notes. Index. Illus. 428 pp. $22.95. 

Edward P. Alexander provides an examination of the 
evolution of museum administrative practices through this 
collection of twelve brief biographical sketches. The eleven 
men and one woman whom Alexander identifies as 
museum masters each guided their respective museums 
in innovative directions which continue to have signifi- 
cance today. This study examines a variety of museum 

There exists in the academy a kind of intellectual 
genealogy— a line of scholars whose thinking and writing 
influences, directly or indirectly, the shaping of any one 
student. According to this pedigree, the new doctorate's 
mentor is the father, the mentor's mentor the grandfather, 
and so on. Those of us interested in the history of the 
American West usually trace our intellectual roots back to 
Frederick Jackson Turner. A Taste of the West is, in essence, 
a selected intellectual genealogy of the Western historians 
sired by the late Robert G. Atheam of the University of 


This slim volume consists of ten essays by former 
Athearn students, whom Duane A. Smith collectively 
describes as "a motley group whose interests range from 
Chicago Cubs history to a host of equally esoteric topics, 
such as saloons, the New Deal, and missionaries on the 
frontier (p. xii)." Their mentor, forsaking the all-too- 
common practice of narrow specialization, wrote on a wide 
variety of Western topics, including railroad history, the 
military, foreigners in the West, Colorado history and 
blacks in Kansas. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the 
selections presented here reflect a similarly broad assort- 
ment of subjects, which in turn truly enables the book to 
provide the reader with "a taste of the West." 

Few themes of Western history are not touched upon 
in this anthology. Indian policy during the Reconstruction 
era serves as the topic of essays by Norman Bender and 
William E. Unrau. Various aspects of the Rocky Mountain 
mining frontier are explored by David Halaas, Duane A. 
Smith and David H. Stratton. Contributions by Maxine 
Benson and Elliot West deal with the increasingly popular 
subject of women in the West. David Emmon's discourse 
on the safety-valve theory and directed emigration con- 
cerns yet another facet of the region's social history. The 
range cattle industry is the focus for Harmon Mothers- 
head's donation. Finally, Steve Mehls and Carol Drake 
(Athearn's only husband/wife team of graduate students) 
trace the genesis of the multiple-use philosophy for public 
lands to Colorado congressman Edward T. Taylor. All this 
represents but a sample of the scholarship by 28 Ph.D.s 
molded by Athearn during his 35 year teaching career at 

As may be expected in a work covering so many topics, 
its value will be conditioned by each reader's own par- 
ticular tastes. All the essays are well-written and soundly 
researched, so those with a broad interest in Western 
history will enjoy this book. Students of Wyoming history 
will find Mothershead's "Protection to Promotion in the 
Range Cattle Industry" especially noteworthy. In this 
piece, the author relates the experiments tried by cattlemen 
during the late-19th century to adapt to a rapidly indus- 
trializing society. His description of the attempts to adjust 
include the Wyoming Stock Growers Association as an ex- 
ample of statewide organization and the Swan Land and 
Cattle Company as an illustration of corporate accommoda- 
tion to the changing times. Some Wyoming readers may 
also find interesting Stratton's account of the little-known 
massacre of 31 Chinese gold miners in Idaho's Hell Can- 
yon in 1887, an incident akin to Wyoming's Rock Springs 
Massacre two years earlier. 

A Taste of the West will also have a special appeal to 
the many who knew, and knew of, Robert G. Athearn. 
For this book is as much about him as its actual contents. 
Throughout his long career, Athearn contributed greatly 
to the field of Western history, a fact formally recognized 
in 1983 when he received the inaugural Western History 


Association Prize, given in recognition of a distinguishe< 
body of writing by a scholar of the West. Sadly, he passe< 
away shortly after receiving this prestigious award. 

To this, and a long list of other accolades, can be addec 
A Taste of the West. As the subtitle clearly indicates, the con 
tributors compiled these essays as a tribute to their men 
tor. By reflecting Athearn's catholic interests in Westen 
history, his devotion to primary research and his abilit 
to write in clear and lively prose, they have succeeded ii 
doing so. 

Bn/ans is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Wyoming Histon/ Department 

Wild Wind Wild Water. By Lavinia Dohler (Casper, Wyoming: Misty Mour 
tain Press, 1983). 259 pp. Paper, $8.95. 

Beginning with the land lottery in August 1906, th 
novel portrays the settling of the area around Rivertor 
Wyoming, and covers the first difficult months of the set 
tiers clearing land and building cabins. In the acknow 
edgements, the author describes the book as an historic; 
novel about her parents and the other homesteaders li\ 
ing near the Wind River Mountains during the first tw 
decades of the 20th century. Actually the novel covei 
only the first two years; the epilogue gives the historic; 
facts of the remaining time. 

The title of the book originates from the wind blow 
ing across the prairie and the struggle to find water for th 
undeveloped land. The story is mainly about the buildin 
of the irrigation systems necessary to bring life to the ari 

The Wyoming Central Irrigation Company, under th 
direction of salt magnate Joy Morton of Chicago an< 
Fenimore Chatterton, then serving as Wyoming's Secretar 
of State, was formed to develop an irrigation distributio 
system for the new homesteads. The approximate 1,150,00 
acres of undeveloped land north of the Wind River ha< 
recently been ceded from the Shoshone Indian Reserve 
tion, now called the Wind River Reservation. Chatterto 
believed that 350,000 acres of the sagebrush covered prairi 
could be brought under cultivation if irrigation canals wer 

Prospective settlers from the eastern states were lure> 
by a pamphlet describing the fruits of farming in Wyoming 
The problem was that until the irrigation system was built 
farming was all but impossible, and until the farmers mad 
money on their crops, they could not afford to pay for th 
canal systems. So it was a difficult situation and many c 
the first homesteaders did not succeed. 

Instead of the 100,000 people expected to migrate t 
central Wyoming, only about 10,000 applied for home 
steads, and not all of those names were drawn in the lam 
lottery. In the end only about 600 claimed their home 
steads. So right from the beginning, the Irrigation Com 
pany was working with fewer farmers than expected; yet 

the expenses for building the irrigation system were as high 
as predicted for the larger numbers. While the Wyoming 
Central Irrigation Company had solid financial backing to 
begin with and worked closely with the state engineer, 
problems grew and years passed before the promised 
canals were completed. As described in the epilogue, the 
company's five-year irrigation contract was canceled by 
the state engineer in 1910 and Morton, president of the 
company, was reported to have lost $300,000. 

This novel is an interesting mixture of fact and fiction. 
The basic story is factual: for instance, some of the letters 
written by the state engineer to the Commissioner of In- 
dian Affairs in Washington are quoted verbatim. Most of 
the historic personages are correctly named; however, one 
of the main characters, Secretary of State Fenimore Chat- 
terton, is called Felix Chesterton, and Joy Morton is referred 
to as Norton. Since the Governor is correctly named, why 
isn't the Secretary of State? These inconsistencies bothered 
the reviewer. Some editorial inaccuracies are also noted: 
the state engineer is sometimes referred to as Clarence 
Johnston (correct) and other times as Johnson (incorrect). 

One misrepresentation of the book concerns Wyo- 
ming's water law. The book constantly refers to the "sell- 
ing of water rights." In actuality all that is sold is the right 
to the conveyance. Wyoming's Constitution states that 
water within the boundaries of the State is the property 
of the State; and water rights are accorded to priority of 
appropriation for beneficial use. 

Other problems with this book are poor editing. Words 
are often incorrectly broken at ends of lines (for example, 
voi-ce, scra-ped, wal-king, ten-ts, etc. etc). Omission of 
opening or closing of quotations occurs many times. One 
blatant example of an editorial mistake is on page 196. The 
quotation reads, "must ever" instead of "must never," thus 
Removing the meaning of the sentence. 

There are two central themes in this book: the meeting, 
falling in love and marriage of two homesteaders (fic- 
lonalized names of Dobler's parents); and the history of 
; :he Wyoming Central Irrigation Company. The basic his- 
toric information is correctly presented. Therefore, the 
lovel has value for reading buffs of early Wyoming and 
■Western Americana. 

The reviewer is the Librarian for the Department of Economic Planning and 
Development, and enjoys writing historical novels. 

Conversations With Wallace Stegner on Western History and Literature. By 
Wallace Stegner and Richard W. Etulain (Salt Lake City: University 
of Utah Press, 1983). Index. Illus. viii + 207 pp. Cloth, $15.00. 

Only rarely, perhaps, does a book appear that can ap- 
ical to almost anyone interested in the history, literature 
:pr contemporary life of the American West. Such a book 
Is Conversations with Wallace Stegner, eminent author of fic- 
!ion and historical works of the West. About four years ago, 

Richard Etulain, professor of history at the University of 
New Mexico and editor of the New Mexico Historical Review, 
sat down with Stegner at his California home and queried 
him on his life's work. This volume is the highly stimu- 
lating result. 

The initial chapters mainly center on Stegner's fiction. 
As a young boy on the plains of Saskatchewan, Stegner 
tells us, he developed a strong sense of place and of the 
growing pains a frontier society suffers. Perhaps no other 
work reflected this upbringing as well as the Big Rock Candy 
Mountain, and here we learn how the author "was exor- 
cising" his own father in the chief character Bo Mason (p. 
42). We learn too that the novel was influenced by Fred- 
erick Jackson Turner, that Stegner examined "the ending 
of the frontier and what it does psychologically to whole 
bodies of people" (p. 61). Etulain astutely probes Stegner 
on his other novels, Joe Hill, Wolf Willow, Recapitulation and 
the Pulitzer-prize winning Angle of Repose. Yet the replies 
are not merely the author's musing on his own works, at- 
tractive only to devotees of literature. Stegner combines 
commentary on his writings with thoughtful observations 
about American and western American culture, past and 

Western historians will relish the conversations con- 
cerning Mormon history and culture, romantic myths of 
the cowboy and mountain man, the modern West as a 
pacesetter of American culture and the wilderness West. 
These chapters cannot easily be summarized nor would 
it do to try because they must be savored. The further one 
reads the more one marvels at Stegner's knowledge, in- 
tegrity and candor. The book is nicely edited and retains 
the flavor of the conversations. One shortcoming is the lack 
of a good introduction outlining Stegner's career. Still, this 
is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a major American 
writer and into the region "beyond the hundredth meri- 
dian" to which he has devoted his distinguished career. 

Hanvy has done graduate work in the Histonj Department of the University 
of Wyoming and has had an article published in a previous issue of Annals of 

Cntcible for Conservation: Tfie Creation of Grand Teton National Park. By Robert 
W. Righter (Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press, 1982). 
Notes. Bih. Illus. Maps. 192 pp. $12.50. 

Crucible for Conservation describes the creation of Grand 
Teton National Park. Author Robert W. Righter consulted 
private and public documents, publications and partici- 
pants to create a carefully constructed case study of the 
conservation movement. The book is useful as a detailed 
examination of the personalities, motivations and passions 
as well as the major philosophic and political issues accom- 
panying conservation. 

Crucible is built upon Alfred Runte's thesis that 
America's natural features take the place of a viable natural 
culture. Americans thus have a national interest in preserv- 


ing their country's natural features and resources. This 
interest flowered into a movement for conservation in the 
1890s, when realization grew that natural resources were 
limited. That movement caught up the future park area 
in Wyoming's northeast corner, including the Grand Teton 
Mountains and the area immediately to their east, Jackson 
Hole. 1898 and 1919 attempts to give the area national park 
status failed. Often heated maneuver and compromise fol- 
lowed, culminating in a 1929 park encompassing only the 
mountains. Jackson Hole joined them in 1950 to create the 
present park. 

Private, commercial and public interests, as well as 
forces typifying the conservation movement, shaped the 
52 year struggle. Participants line up along the dominant 
opposing philosophies, utilitarian and preservationist, in 
the conservation movement. Utilitarians opposed the park. 
Anticipating efficient commercial exploitation of the area's 
natural resources, such as lumber, grazing land and 
scenery, they feared federal control would preclude de- 
velopment. The utilitarians included the U.S. Forest Ser- 
vice, ranchers and hotel owners. Preservationists, favor- 
ing the park, believed natural resources should remain in 
an untouched primal state for their aesthetic value. Those 
espousing the preservationist doctrine included the Na- 
tional Park Service, local residents and John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr., who purchased much of Jackson Hole to save it from 

Maps and photographs highlight the clearly written 
narrative. Descriptions of the magnificent scenery, "taw- 
dry" dancehalls and the participants' often histrionic 
remarks supplement discussion of the issues, making 
Crucible pleasurable as well as informative to read. Righter 
does seem to be a preservationist, and at times apparently 
joins the battle against the utilitarians, pronouncing the 
preservation of natural beauty a "noble cause" (p. 152). 
However, there are but few examples of this distinctly 
minor shortcoming, which do nothing to cloud an other- 
wise effective preservation. 

The reviewer is a graduate student in the Department of History, Carnegie-Mellon 

Raised on the Kansas and Arizona ranching frontiers 
of the 1870s and 1880s, young Sharlot had ample oppor- 
tunity to learn the drudgery of daily ranch chores, but lit- 
tle opportunity for formal schooling. Still, she read 
voraciously and developed the bright, charming asser- 
tiveness that was to characterize her adult personality. As 
a young woman she gained recognition in the literary 
world by publishing poetry and journal articles. Bitterly 
resentful of the matrimonial bondage that she observed in 
her mother's life and in the lives of women around her, 
Sharlot welcomed writing as an avenue to financial and 
social independence. 

Philosophically a representative pioneer, Ms. Hall was 
devoted to Manifest Destiny and the boosting of her home 
territory. An active lobbyist in the successful 1906 battle 
against joint statehood for Arizona and New Mexico and 
an ardent collector of prehistoric artifacts and local pioneer 
memorabilia, Ms. Hall believed she had earned the post 
of territorial historian when the office was created in March 
of 1909. By October of that year she secured the position, 
but not without conflict. Within three years she lost the 
office, a victim of the same style of political maneuvering 
she had used to gain it. Later, a legal conflict with her 
publishing company resulted in her agreement to never 
fulfill her dream to publish a history of Arizona. Thwarted 
in these aspects of her career and tormented by personal 
problems, Hall retired for nearly twelve years from public 
life. Her renewed contribution to Arizona came in the form 
of her personal restoration of the Territorial Governor's 
Mansion in Prescott and the building of the museum next 
to it to house her collections. Here she worked until her 
death in 1943. 

Poet, activist, historian— Sharlot Hall was a gifted, 
fiercely independent woman at a time when few women 
shared her "passion for freedom." Maxwell's sensitive 
biography, generously laced with Sharlot's own words, 
provides an admiring tribute to this complex woman 
whose poetry, pluck and public service earned her a prom- 
inent place on the roster of significant Arizona pioneers. 

The reviewer is a Graduate Assistant in the History Department of the Univer- 
sity of Wyoming. 

A Passion for Freedom: The Life of Sharlot Hall. By Margaret F. Maxwell 
(Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1982) Index. Bib. Illus. 234 pp. 
Cloth, $17.50. 

In Prescott, Arizona, one may visit the Territorial 
Governor's Mansion and, just to the west of it, the Sharlot 
Hall Museum. Who was this woman who earned a mu- 
seum in her name? Margaret Maxwell meticulously 
combed archival material from numerous libraries and col- 
lections to piece together the myriad facts and forces that 
combine to form the life story of the unusual and notewor- 
thy Sharlot Hall. 


Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You. By David E. Kyvig and 
Myron A. Marty (Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State 
and Local History, 1982). Preface. Index. Illus. Bibliog. Appendix. 300 
pp. Cloth, $16.95. 

David E. Kyvig and Myron A. Marty have success- 
fully collaborated on a previous book, Your Family History: 
A Handbook for Research and Writing (1978) but their recent 
work, Nearby History, provides an even broader approach 
to community and family history, architectural history and 
documentary photography. 

As with other books published by the American As- 
sociation for State and Local History, Nearby History is an 
invaluable resource for students, scholars, genealogists, 
librarians, local history buffs and anyone else for whom 
historical research with primary sources is either a voca- 
tion or an avocation. Kyvig and Marty not only help to 
legitimatize the growing field of community history, but 
by writing this thorough and well-researched book they 
draw together in one volume the seemingly disparate 
threads of current historical materials and techniques. 

French historians of the Annales School and Marc 
Bloch in particular, began 40 years ago to look at French 
history not just as the pageantry of politicians and generals, 
of kings and their elusive kingdoms, but also as the history 
of the common man. What emerged was a comparative 
study of the French people which focused on villages and 
their environments instead of Versailles and its gardens. 
French historians had turned historical scholarship end for 
end. The late Ray Allen Billington described this process 
as "History from the bottom up." David Kyvig and Myron 
Marty give it a new name— nearby history. 

The acceptance of this "new" social history met with 
initial skepticism in the United States because academic 
historians were too busy defining the American character 
and the American mind. They used weak mortar to cement 
a consensus view of American history that within the last 
twenty years has fallen apart. The celebrated American 
melting pot is now more accurately described as an ethnic 
mosaic and women and minority groups are at last given 
the space they deserve in history textbooks. 

As Kyvig and Marty succinctly note in their first chap- 
ter "Why Nearby History?" 

The authors believe that every person's world has a history which 
is useful, exciting and possible to explore. Rather than identify this 
past as "local" or "community" history as some have done and 
limit it to a concept of place, or call it "family history" and restrict 
it to a concept of relationship, or talk about material culture and con- 
fine the discussion to objects, we have chosen the term "nearby 
history" to include the entire range of possibilities in a person's 

Kyvig and Marty explore those possibilities in twelve 
chapters which are broad enough to accurately introduce 
the subject to someone in need of perspective and a 
methodological frame of reference. A survey book such as 
this with chapters entitled "Traces and Storytelling," 
"Published Documents," "Unpublished Documents," 
"Oral Documents," "Visual Documents" and "Artifacts" 
offers an excellent point of departure for serious applica- 
tion of these materials and techniques. Each chapter is clear 
and concise although some passages border on the sim- 
plistic because they rephrase obvious statements. 

At the conclusion of each chapter is an extremely 
.valuable bibliographic essay which thoroughly charts the 
j terrain and helps to compensate for the short examples 
given in the test. Interspersed among the chapters are 

photographs, maps, historical advertisements and excerpts 
from oral histories, family histories and community his- 

The authors state that "The emotional rewards of 
learning about a past which has plainly and directly af- 
fected one's own life cannot be duplicated by any other 
type of historical inquiry." Nearby History offers a set of 
coherent and understandable guidelines for these local as 
well as academic historians seeking to utilize new materials 
and techniques within their professional research rep- 

David E. Kyvig and Myron A. Marty are to be com- 
mended for giving us the sources and resources to better 
understand the near-by world around us. Published in 1982 
and already into its second printing a year later, Nearby 
History should prove to be a valuable tool to local his- 

Additional photo caption material would have helped 
to explain ambiguities in the photographs and longer ex- 
cerpts from family and neighborhood histories would have 
helped to illustrate the authors' points, but Nearby Histonj 
is an excellent resource which should serve long and well 
the ever-expanding community of historians for which it 
was written. 

The reviewer has done extensive work in local and community history and is 
the author of America's Country Schools (1984), published by The Presenta- 
tion Press, National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Railroad Maps of North America: The First Hundred Years. Compiled by An- 
drew M. Modelski (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Geography 
and Map Division; for sale by the Superintendent of Documents, 
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984). Bib. Illus. Maps (some 
colored), Index, xxi, 186 pp. $28.00. Government Printing Office 
Stock Number: 030-004-00021-3. 

Andrew Modelski and the Geography and Map Divi- 
sion of the Library of Congress are to be commended for 
compiling and producing such an exquisite and organized 
atlas. The 92 maps selected for the atlas provide an ex- 
cellent representation of the maps produced during this 
continent's first 100 years of railroads. Each map is accom- 
panied by a complete bibliographic citation, dimensions 
of the map and a short, but informative, narrative that 
describes the map and provides a description of the rail- 
road line, system, etc. 

The introduction serves as an excellent overview to the 
development of railroads in the United States, Canada and 
Mexico. It also covers the building of the transcontinental 
railroad, mapmaking and printing, the progress of new 
printing techniques and the growth of mapping. 

The atlas is divided into three sections; each section 
devoted to one of the three countries noted. The choice 
of maps selected is well-balanced and varied. For exam- 
ple, the section on the United States includes coverage of 
the eastern and western railroad surveys, general, regional 
and travelers' maps, railroad lines and terminal maps. 


The quality of the reproductions are excellent and some 
are in color. Nine of the maps include enlargements which 
provide much greater detail. One may browse through any 
section to locate material or use the index which is very 
complete. Information on ordering black and white photo 
reproductions, color transparencies of the maps and pho- 
tographic reprints of the illustrations from the Photodupli- 
cation Service of the Library of Congress is also included. 

Railroad Maps of North America is highly recommended, 
especially for any library with a railroad, history or 
Western Americana collection. The reasonable price and 
the quality of the atlas make it a worthwhile and extremely 
useful acquisition for any library or individual with an in- 
terest in railroads. 

Walsh is the Maps/Documents Librarian at Coe Library, University of Wyoming, 

New Mexico. During depression days, it helped ranchers 
survive drought and low livestock prices. 

This is an excellent book for all present-day dude 
ranchers. It is full of hints on how best to succeed and run 
a better business. It is also fine reading for the elderly and 
those who can't go to a dude ranch: the story of riding 
and camping in beautiful mountains. It re-awakens mem- 
ories to those who have been a dude. 

The book concludes with a discussion of how present 
government policy forbids horseback riding in National 
Parks. Other governmental restrictions and regulations 
pertinent to dude ranching are also discussed. This infor- 
mation may be useful to those planning a career in that 
field or a summer visit to a Western dude ranch. 

The reviewer is the author of numerous books on Western topics including Wyo- 
ming Place Names and Ghost Trails of Wyoming. 

Dude Ranching, A Complete History by Lawrence R. Borne (Albuquerque: 
University of New Mexico Press, 1983) Index. Illus. Bib. Notes. Ap- 
pendix. 322 pp. $24.95. 

This well-researched book is a complete history start- 
ing with the first dude ranch, OTO, opened by Dick Ran- 
dall, a hunting guide, on Cedar Creek in Montana in 1898. 

In 1879 Howard Eaton, a rancher at Medora, North 
Dakota, liked the beauty of the Bad Lands there so much 
he invited his eastern friends to come for visits. In 1903, 
he moved to Sheridan County, Wyoming, and settled on 
Wolf Creek in the Big Horn Mountains. Eaton and his 
brothers, Alden and Willis, sent out brochures and built 
cabins. They had 70 paying guests by 1904. These were 
middle class families on vacations, not hunting parties. The 
ranch of more than 7000 acres also raised cattle and horses. 
In 1903, a road was opened to the east entrance of Yel- 
lowstone Park. Trips were made there from the Eaton 

Novelist Mary Roberts Rinehart often stayed at the 
Eaton Ranch, where she wrote, and took pack trips. Other 
famous guests there included Teddy Roosevelt and Will 

The word "dude" originated as western slang in the 
1880s. It had no bad connotation but meant an eastern non- 
resident who stayed on a ranch, usually paying for his 

Dude ranching grew rapidly in Wyoming, Montana 
and Colorado, then spread to Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and 

Jackson Hole Journal. By Nathaniel Burt (Norman: The University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1983) Illus. Index. 221 pp. Paper $16.95. 

The author, Nathaniel Burt, is the son of Struthers and 
Katharine Burt, who combined writing with managing a 
dude ranch. He was born on the kitchen table in a log cabin 
in Jackson Hole. 

Nathaniel Burt begins his story in 1910 and continues 
to 1970, covering early dude ranching, the establishment 
of Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole of 

He answers many questions concerning the establish- 
ment of Grand Teton National Park. The Jackson busi- 
nessmen, ranchers and dude-ranchers were against the 
park promoters. They cited loss of taxes, government in- 
terference in Teton County and the take-over of their 
business by non-residents as justification for their stance. 

The promoters wanted to preserve Jackson Hole as it 
was, and not ruin the beauty of the valley. They wanted 
to conserve the timber and lakes. In the end the Rockefeller 
money assisted in establishing the Grand Teton National 

The conservationists and the businessmen seem to be 
living in harmony in Jackson Hole today. 

The reviewer is the author of the biographical histories Wild Bill Hickok and 
Calamity Jane. 



Agoratus, Steven, review of Crucible for Conservation, 49-50 
Alexander, Edward M., Museum Masters: Tlieir Museums and Tlieir Influence, 

review, 47 
American Forestry Association, 39 
Anthony, Susan B., 34 
Ashley, Gen. William, 23, 24 
Atlantic City, 29, 32 
Baxter, Dr. J. H, 4, 7 
Bodmer, Karl (artist) biog., inside cover 

Borne, Lawrence, Dude Ranching, A Complete History, review, 52 
Bourke, John, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 
Brooks, Gov. Bryant B., 40 

Brigham Young Express and Carrying Co., ("B.Y.X.") 13, 14 
Brigham Young, photo, 14 
Bright, Julia, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35 

Bright, William H., 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 36; photo, 35 
Bryans, Bill, review of A Taste of the West: Essays in Honor of Robert G. 

Athearn, 47-48 
Burr, David H., 14, 17, 18 
Burt Nathaniel, Jackson Hole journal, review, 52 
Butterfield Overland Mail Co., 15 
Campbell, Robert, 24 
Carter, Mary Eliza, 5, 6, 9; photo, 6 
Carter, Judge William A., 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; photo, 6 
"The Case for Domestic Feminism: Woman Suffrage in Wyoming," by 

Virginia Scharff, 29-37 
Chatterton, Gov. Fenimore, 40; photo, 40 
Chisholm, James, 31 
Chorpenning, George, 13, 15, 16, 17 
Clark, William, 22 

"Clarence T. Johnston's Dissent: A Challenge to Cifford Pinchot and the Con- 
servative Ethos, by Hugh T. Lovin, 38-44 
Colter, John, 22, 23 
Conversations with Wallace Stegner on Western Histon/ and Literature, by 

Wallace Stegner and Richard Etulain, review, 49 
Cowgirls, Women of the American West: An Oral History, by Teresa Jordan, 

Crook, General George, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; photo, 8 
Crucible for Conservation by Robert W. Righter, review, 49-50 
Cummings, Gov. Alfred, 15 
Dickinson, Anna 34 

Dobler, Lavinia, Wild Wind Wild Water, review, 48-49 
Drouillard, Georges, 22 

Dude Ranching, A Complete History, by Lawrence R. Borne, review, 52 
Easton, Karen M., review of A Passion for Freedom: The Life ofSharlot Hall, 50 
Etulain, Richard, Conversations with Wallace Stegner on Western History and 

Literature, review, 49 
Fitzpatrick, Thomas, 24, 25 

Bridger, 5, 9, 10, 15; photo 16 
Fred Steele, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 
Union, photo, 27 
The Frontier Index, 29, 33 
Gallagher, Frances, 30, 31 
Gallagher, Patrick, 30, 31 

Gilbert, Bil, Westering Man: The Life of Joseph Walker, review, 46 
Codey's Ladies' Book, 30; photo, 31 
Grand Canyon Canal, 39 
Grant, Pres. Ulysses S., 3, 5, 8 

Gray, John S., "The Salt Lake Hockaday Mail," Part I, 12-20; biog., 56 
"The Gros Ventres and the Upper Missouri Fur Trade, 1806-1835," by 

Thomas F. Schilz, 21-28 
Gulliford, Andrew, review of Cowgirls, Women of the American West: An 

Oral History, 45-46, and Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You, 

Hamilton City, (see Miner's Delight) 
Harvey, Mark W. T., review of Conversations with Wallace Stegner on Western 

History and Literature, 49 
Hayes, Webb, 7, 9; photo, 8 
Hebard, Grace Raymond, 31, 32, 34, 35 
Hockaday, Isaac, 12, 13 
Hockaday, John M., 12-20 
Hudson's Bay Co., 23, 24 

Huseas, Marion, review of Many Tender Ties, 46-47 

Baihoh, 25 
Blue John, 26 
Godin, 25 
Iron Robe, 25 

Mehksehem-Sukas (Iron Shirt) Cover 
Mexkemaustan (Stirring Iron), photo, 24 
Niatohso, photo, 21 
Old Bald Eagle, 24, 25 
Side Hill Calf, 22 
Wolf Calf, 22 
22, 23, 24 
Arapahoes, 21, 22 
Arikaras, 22 
Assiniboines, 21 
Blood, 22 
Cree, 21 
Crow, 26 
Flatheads, 22, 25 

Gros Ventres, 21-28, photo of camp, 23 
Hidatsas, 22 
Mandans, 22 
Metis, 25 

Nez Perces, 22, 25, 26 
Osages, 22 
Piegans, 21, 22 
Sarcees, 21 

Siksikas (Blackfeet), 21, 22, 23 
Shoshones, 22, 24 

fackson Hole Journal, by Nathaniel Burt, review, 52 
Johnson, Pres. Andrew, 3, 4 
Johnston, Gen. Albert S., 15, 16 
Johnston, Clarence T., 39-44: photo, 39 
Jordan, Teresa, Cowgirls, Women of the American West: An Oral History, 

review, 45-46 
Key, Postmaster General David McKendree, 4, 5; photo, 4 
Kingman, J. W. 33, 35 

Kyvig, David E., Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You, review 50-51 
Larson, Dr. T. A. 29, 33 
Lee, Edward M., 34, 35 


Leonard, Zenas, 25 

Lewis, Meriweather, 22 

Lisa, Manuel, 22 

Lovin, Hugh T., Clarence T. Johnston's Dissent: A Challenge to Gifford Pin- 
chot and the Conservative Ethos, 38-44 

McCammon, Charles S., "The Other Thornburgh," 2-11; biog., 56 

McGowan, Anne, Review of Wild Wind Wild Water, 48-49 

McKenzie, Kenneth, 26 

Magraw, William M. F., 12, 13, 16 

Majors, Alexander, 12 

Many Tender Ties, by Sylvia Van Kirk, review 46-47 

Marty, Myron A., Nearby Histon/: Exploring the Past Around You, review, 

Maxwell, Margaret F., A Passion for Freedom: Tlie Life of Sharlot Hall, review, 

Maximillian of Wied, Prince, 26-27 

Miner's Delight, 29, 31, 32 (see Hamilton City) 

Mitchell, David, 26, 27 

Modelski, Andrew M., Compiler, Railroad Maps of North America: Tlie First 
Hundred Years, review, 51-52 

Morris, Esther, 33, 34, 35, 36, photo; 33 

Mueller, Ellen Crago, review of Jackson Hole Journal, 52 

Museum Masters: Their Museums and Their Influence, by Edward P. Alex- 
ander, review, 47 

Nearby History: Exploring the Past Around You, by David E. Kyvig and Myron 
A. Marty, review, 50-51 

Nickerson, H. G., 34 

Newell, Frederick, 39, 40 

Noble, Bruce J., review of Museum Masters: Their Museums and Their In- 
fluence, 47 

North Platte Project, 39 

"The Other Thornburgh," by Charles S. McCammon, 3-11 

A Passion for Freedom: The Life of Sharlot Hall, by Margaret F. Maxwell, 
review 50 

Pinchot, Gifford, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 

Porter, Charles H, 40, 41 

Railroad Maps of North America: The First Hundred Years, Compiled by An- 
drew M. Modelski, review, 51-52 

Reeside, John E., 12, 13 

Righter, Robert W., Crucible for Conservation, review, 49-50 

Riverton Project, 39 

Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 23, 24 

Roosevelt, Pres. Theodore, 39 

St. Louis Missouri Fur Company, 22 

"The Salt Lake Hockaday Mail," Part I, by John S. Gray, 12-20 

Sanford, E. J., 6, 7 

Scharff, Virginia, "The Case for Domestic Feminism: Woman Suffrage 

in Wyoming," 29-37; biog., 56 
Schilz, Thomas F., "The Gros Ventre and the Upper Missouri Fur Trade, 

1806-1835," 21-28; biog., 56 
Schurz, Secretary of the Interior Carl, 8, 9 
Shaw, Dr. Anna Howard, 34 
Sherlock, James, 31 
Sheeks, Benjamin, 34, 35; photo, 35 
Shoshone River, photo, 38 
Simonton, James W., 16, 17 
Slade, Afred Joseph (Jack), 18, 19 
Smith, Daniel Scott, 32 
Smith, Duane A., ed., A Taste of the West: Essays in Honor of Robert Atheam, 

review, 47-48 
Smith, Janet Sherlock, 31, 32 
South Pass City, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36 
The South Pass News, 29 
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 34 
Stegner, Wallace, Conversations with Wallace Stegner on Western Histon/ and 

Literature, review, 49 
Sublette, William, 24, 25 
Swain, George F., 41, 42, 43 
The Sweetwater Mines, 29, 30, 32 
A Taste of the West: Essays in Honor of Robert G. Atheam, ed., Duane A. 

Smith, review, 47-48 
Toponce, Alexander, 39 
Thornburgh, Ann Elizabeth, 4 
Thornburgh, Col. Duff G., 4 
Thornburgh, Jacob Montgomery (Jake), 3-11 
Thornburgh, John Minnis, 4, 10 
Thornburgh, Laura (daughter), 4 

Thornburgh, Laura Pettibone (mother), 3, 4, 5, 6; photo, 4 
Thornburgh, Maggie, 3, 4, 5, 10 
Thornburgh, Martha Adaline Smith, 3 
Thornburgh, Montgomery, 3 
Thornburgh, Thomas Montgomery, 4 
Thornburgh, Maj. Thomas Tipton, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 
Urbanek, Mae, review of Dude Ranching, A Complete Histon/, 52 
U.S. Reclamation Service, 39 
Van Kirk, Sylvia, Many Tender Ties, review, 46-47 
Walsh, Jim, review of Railroad Mapis: The First Hundred Years, 51-52 
Webb, T. S., 6, 7, 10 

Westering Man: The Life of Joseph Walker by Bil Gilbert, review, 46 
Wild Wind Wild Water, by Lavinia Dobler, review, 48-49 
Wilson, Gary, review of Westering Man: The Life of Joseph Walker, 46 
"Yellow-Stone" (Steamer), 26: photo, 26 



JOHN S. GRAY is a Professor Emeritus in Physiology. 
Prior to his retirement in 1974, he was associated with 
Northwestern University Medical School for more than 
35 years. His interest in Western history began in about 
1955, and since that time, he has written numerous articles 
and books on the subject. They include: The Poudre River, 
The Centennial Campaign: the Sioux War of 1876 and Cavalry 
and Coaches: the Storx/ of Camp and Fort Collins. A resident 
of Fort Collins, he devotes a great deal of time to research. 
His affiliations include the Western History Association, 
and both the Chicago and Fort Collins Corrals of West- 
erners International. 

HUGH T. LOVIN has been a professor of history at Boise 
State University in Idaho since 1968. A native of that state, 
he has lived in Alaska, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington, 
prior to his return to Idaho in 1965. He has written a broad 
variety of articles for a number of scholarly magazines in- 
cluding Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Oregon Historical 
Quarterly, Arizona and the West and Journal of the West. His 
main field of endeavor is the history of politics in the 
American West from the late 19th century to the present. 

CHARLES S. McCAMMON is a retired U.S. Public Health 
Service physician. Most of his career was spent in the In- 
dian Health Service and included five years in Billings, 
Montana, as director of that program in Wyoming and 
Montana. His interest in Wyoming and Montana started 
much earlier, having grown up on the stories of James 
Willard Schultz and spending eight weeks camping in the 
two states in 1935. In addition to B.A. and M.D. degrees 
he has a MPH degree from the University of California, 
Berkeley. Besides several medical and historical articles he 
has written for various western horse publications on trail 
horses and tack. He says that he would like to qualify as 
an amateur historian but probably would settle for amateur 
investigative reporter. 

VIRGINIA SCHARFF is presently a Ph.D. candidate in 
history at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She has 
received her B.A. from Yale and a Masters in history from 
the University of Wyoming. For a number of years, she 
has been associated with Wyoming Chautauqua, a touring 
educational program funded by the Wyoming Council for 
the Humanities. In that capacity, she has served both as 
an assistant director and as a performer, portraying Dr. 
Grace Raymond Hebard, and pioneer woman Julia Bright, 
both important personalities in Wyoming's past. She has 
produced many scholarly papers and articles, primarily on 
the subjects of women's rights and suffrage in the 
American West. In her leisure time, she enjoys cooking* 
nature study, gardening and politics. 

THOMAS F. SCHILZ is originally from Saginaw, Michi- 
gan, but since his college days, has made his home in the 
West. He holds a B.A. in Geography from the University 
of Houston, and both a M.A. and Ph.D. earned at Texas 
Christian University in Fort Worth. He has authored an 
impressive number of scholarly papers and articles on the 
subject of Native Americans and that ethnic group's trade 
activities. He presently is a professor at TCU and lists 
among his affiliations, Organization of American His- 
torians, American Historical Association, Wyoming State 
Historical Society and the Texas State Historical As- 



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. Lar- 
son, Laramie, 1957-58; A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins, 1958-59; Mrs. Thelma G. Con- 
dit, 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, Torrington, 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. Wadsen, Cody, 
1977-78; Mabel Brown, Newcastle, 1978-79; James June, Green River, 1979-80; 
William F. Bragg, Jr., Casper, 1980-81; Don Hodgson, Torrington, 1981-82, Clara 
Jensen, Lysite-Casper, 1982-83. 

Membership information may be obtained from the Executive Headquarters, 
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, Fern Gaensslen, Green River 

First Vice President, Dave Kathka, Rock Springs 
1983-1984 Second Vice President, Mary Garman, Sundance 

Officers Secretary-Treasurer, Ellen Mueller, Cheyenne 

Executive-Secretary, Dr. Robert D. Bush 

Coordmator, Ann Nelson 


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