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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. The State 
Historic Preservation Office is also located in the Department. 


Frank Bowron, Casper, Chairman 

Lucille Clarke Dumbrill, Newcastle 

Mary Sawaya, Kemmerer 

Tom Mangan, Laramie 

Bill Bruce Hines, Gillette 

Gladys Hill, Douglas 

Mary Guthrie, Attorney General's Office, Ex-officio 


Dona Bachman 

James Donahue 

Rick Ewig 

Mark Junge 

Linda Rollins 

Ellen Mueller, Ex-officio 
President, Wyoming State Historical Society 

Frank Bowron, Ex-officio 
Chairman, State Library, Archives, Museums and Historical Board 

ABOUT THE COVER— A sketch of the Wyoming Capitol in 1890, found in the Cheyenne Daily 
Leader, July 23, 1890. The accompanying article stated: "In all Cheyenne, which is preeminently 
a city of handsome buildings, no structure compares in massiveness and beauty with Wyoming's 
statehouse, a noble structure at the head of Capitol avenue. " Wyoming will celebrate the centennial 
of the laying of the Capitol cornerstone on May 18, 1987. (AMH Dept. photograph) 



Volume 59, No. 1 
Spring, 1987 


Mike Sullivan 


Dr. Robert D. Bush 


Dr. John P. Langellier 


Rick Ewig 


Jean Brainerd 
Roger Joyce 
Ann Nelson 


Kathy Martinez 
Judy West 


Paula West-Chavoya 
Carroll Jones 
Ed Fowler 


Dr. John P. Langellier 



7 5% 

The Letters of John A. Feick . . 
edited by Rick Ewig 


by Michael Massie 



by Gerald M. Adams 

by Hugh Jackson 




Plains Indian Women in Historical Perspective 48 

by Thomas SchUz and Jodye Lynn Dickson Schilz 





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 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. PubUshed 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 1987 by the Wyoming State Press 

Lizzie Feick 


The Wyoming State Capitol, completed almost a cen- 
tury ago, still serves as the seat of Wyoming's government. 
The design and the construction of the structure, however, 
have a decidedly Ohio influence as both the architect and 
the construction firm came from that state. Correspon- 
dence from John A. Feick, a member of A. Feick & Bro., 
the firm which built the Capitol, still exists in the Feick 
family archives. The letters, written during John's stay in 
Cheyenne, provide an interesting look at the Wyoming of 
100 years ago and at the construction of the Capitol. 

President Andrew Johnson signed the organic act 
creating Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868, although the 
territorial government did not officially organize until 1869. 
Cheyenne, the largest city, became the capital. Because 
there was no Capitol building, two rooms were rented, one 
on Sixteenth Street and one on Seventeenth Street, for use 
by the two houses of the legislature, the Council and the 

House of Representatives. The territory rented other 
quarters in later years until the governor and legislature 
gave consideration to a permanent building in 1886. ^ 

Governor Francis E. Warren in his 1886 address to the 
legislature broached the topic of a government building. 
He stated "it would afford greater convenience to the 
public if the various territorial offices could be brought 
together in a central location. "^ The legislature agreed and 
authorized the Capitol to be built at a cost not to exceed 

To begin the process of construction Warren appointed 
a five man Capitol BuUding Commission. The members 
first elected Erasmus Nagle, a well known Cheyenne 
businessman, as chairman and then began the process of 
selecting site and architect. The commission chose two 
blocks on Hill Street, now known as Capitol Avenue, for 
the location.^ 

John A. Feick 

Considering bids from firms in Ohio, Minnesota and 
Michigan, the commission decided upon architect David 
W. Gibbs of Toledo, Ohio, to design the building. Accord- 
ing to the commission's final report, Gibbs had much ex- 
perience in the planning and construction of large public 
buildings and "had given to that class of work special and 
particular attention."* 

Again drawing from Ohio, this time from Sandusky, 
the commission selected the firm of A. Feick & Bro. to con- 
struct the Capitol. Feick's successful bid came to $131,275.13 
for a building of wood construction with an iron tower. ^ 
The contractor broke ground on September 9, 1886.* 

Adam and George Feick founded A. Feick & Brother 
in 1872.'' Adam, born in Germany in 1832, emigrated to 
the United States in 1852 and settled in Sandusky, where 
his older brother Philip had taken up residence a few years 
earlier. George, younger than Adam, did not arrive in 

America untU 1866, when he also located in Ohio. Adam 
employed George in his construction firm untU they 
formed their partnership in 1872 which lasted until Adam's 
death in 1893. 

At the time the Capitol Building Commission awarded 
the contract to the Feicks, their company was completing 
several buildings on the campuses of Oberlin College and 
Lake Erie College for Women. The firm already had con- 
structed several large stone churches in Ohio along with 
buildings for the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home. 

The distance between Sandusky and Cheyenne, how- 
ever, presented some problems and necessitated a long 
stay in the West for a member of the company. The Feicks 
subcontracted with Robert C. Greenlee of Denver, but still 
needed someone to be in Cheyenne. At first George trav- 
eled to Wyoming and made the early arrangements. He 
then expected to return to Ohio while his nephew, Adam's 

son, John A. Feick, oversaw construction. On November 
26, 1886, George wrote to John from Cheyenne: 

Mr. Greenlee furnished good bond and think from present 
intimation all will go well as may be expected I have made 
contract for cut stone Have also completed contract for about 
1 'A million brick The weather just now is bad but as soon 
as the weather is better things can move all right I am getting 
prices on lumber by different home parties and will try Chicago 
on my way back. My present plans are as follows 1 will engage 
a small house right near the Capitol building and expect you 
to move out here perhaps in February or March all depending 
some what on the weather. WiU get all lumber and (nock down) 
frame here by the same time you can easily take charge of all 
we have to do make the centers frame Joist and put frames 
to gether. In fact one man can take all of the wood work until 
the building is inclosed of course all the interior wood work 
will have to be prepared East and we can easily bring a few 
good men to put it up. This is a very lively town and you and 
you wife will like it very well I think better than Oberlin or 
eaven Sandusky. As I have learned so far if a man wants to 
do the right thing the people will Stand by him. Think it would 
be well for you when in Sandusky to have some one file a ap- 
plication for you to the Masonic fratternity, as it will be of some 
use to you and will take you about two month to become a 
master mason. 

WUl write you again from Chicago 

Yours as ever 

G. Feick* 

February 5 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

I suppose you received the letter I wrote you when I 
arrived. I had quite a long trip, and feel very lonesome and 
homesick for you, to be fifteen hundred miles away from 
you and in a part of the country where you have to wear 
a beUy-band to keep your cap on your head is a pretty hard 

There are very wealthy people living in this town but 
they all look to me like Cow-boys, Lizzie you can not 
imagine what kind of a country this is you can go just one 
hundred miles straight out in the country and not see a 
house or a living sole, but wolves, prarie Dogs, Deer, there 
are some very heigh mountains that you can see from 
Cheyenne that have snow on the top all the year around 
and the cars run to the top of them and that is 8000 feet 
heigher than Cheyenne. Cheyenne is just two and one half 
miles heigher in the air than Sandusky is, so you can 
imagine how the wind blows. 

I will close for two night and write you another letter 
in the morning, hoping to hear from you soon .... 
Your true & faithful husband 
John A. Feick 

It is not known how John, only 24, reacted to this 
assignment, the first where he could not commute between 
home and worksite, but during his stay in Cheyenne he 
wrote many letters to his wife of only two years, Lizzie. 
Her widowed father, Constantine Zipfel, was in Germany 
at the time visiting various spas, leaving Lizzie to care for 
her brothers and sisters in Sandusky and keeping her from 
accompanying John. They did not know when she could 
join him. 

John's correspondence provides an interesting look at 
his first reaction to Wyoming and how it changed, his 
loneliness, the hard work involved and his many activities 
and acquaintances during his stay. 

Feby 2, 1887 
Dearest Wife! 

I just arrived at Cheyenne right side up and handled 
with care. 1 tell you it was a long ride. 1 thought that I went 
around the world five times, can not tell you any thing 
about Cheyenne yet, just came in and is very dark, will 
write you a good long letter tomorrow which you will get 
Sunday morning if you go to the post office between 9 & 10 

It is snowing & blowing bad enough to scare a man 
to death the first night, would have written you from 
Chicago, or Omaha but train went right straight through. 

Do not worry about me I will try & do the best I can 
I feel very lonesome & tired .... 
John A. Feick 

Feby 13, 1887 

Dearest Wife, 

I received your first letter and was glad to hear from 
you I thought you would never write. I am well but terri- 
ble homesick, you asked me where I was last Sunday, in 
the morning 1 had breakfast at 9 o clock Then Mr. 
Greenlee & I went out after Jack Rabbits Came back at 2 
o'clock and had Dinner Then we took a walk around the 
town Had supper at six Then 1 went to church till half 
past nine, and then to Bed. 1 am stopping with Commis- 
sioners Nagle's Mother a very fine place and get my meals 
at the Hotel. We have had very cold weather heare 12 
below zero, and the next day it would be so hot that I could 
not stand it with my under cloths on. We have some terri- 
ble winds heare will write you this evening again must 
go to Dinner 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

Feby 14, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

I received another ones of your letters and two papers 
this evening and was glad to hear from you. I see by the 
papers you have plenty of rain East .... we never have 
rain here all the year around but we have some very queer 
weather in this country in the morning it is bitter cold from 
10 to 2 o'clock in the afternoon the sun shines so hot that 
we are looking for shade and from 2 o'clock the wind will 
blow so hard that you would think the world was coming 

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John A. Feick's first letter to Lizzie from Cheyenne. 

to an end. Sunday morning I was to church in the after- 
noon I went for a walk in the country had supper at six 
and then went to church again We have some very nice 
churches in this city. ... 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

Feby 17, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

We had a fire here last night and the wind blew at the 
rate of 75 miles an hour and now are having a terrible snow 
storm but very little of the snow stays on account of the 
wind, I am getting a little over my being Homesick cause 
I get a letter or paper of you most every night. The maU 
comes in once a day and that is in the evening after sup- 
per. 1 was to see Katie Putman at the Opra House last rught 
it was a very good show wish you could have been here 
to see it. I am getting aquainted with a good many very 
nice folks, but have not been inside of a Saloon yet nor 
have I touched a drop of intoxicating liquor since I left 
home & don't intend to if I can holde it out which I think 

I can .... 

Your most affectionate Husband 

J. F. 

Feby 18, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

I received your sixth letter of Feby 15 to night and was 
verry glad to hear from you. The wind done considerable 
dammage around here, a freight train of 48 cars was blown 
off the track about a mile from town all telegraph wires 
are down, yesterdays train was 19 hours late. The Denver 
passinger train that left here in the morning was blown 
of the track & rolled down a steep hill, 2 passingers were 
killed and a good many had their arms & legs brooken. 
The roof was blown off of the Catholic Convent which is 
west to the capitol it is a large four story building (Brick)' 
... I am very sorry that 1 could not be home on your 20th 
Birthday, but still I thought of you all the time I wanted 
to buy you a small it was verry pretty something new that 
I never saw before there were 4 nice gold leaves hooked 
together & looked very rich, but the price was to rich for 
my pocket Book $42.00 is what he asked and it was not 
longer than your little finger but it was a daisy, but never 
mind I love you just the same only take good care of your 
self. . . . 
Yours as ever 
John A. 

^sicK & a^j^ 






/tSi-c^^^ ,</t'^ 


^O"-^/'*. a»^^rt^ ^i^^CM^ tf^ -tt^^*- /^^(, , /^i^ ,ta-c--^ —if-^^. 


Feby 20, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

. . . the house that I wanted to get is rented to another 
man that was right close by the Capitol. Board is very high 
here I pay $10.00 ten dollars a month for my room and five 
& a half dollars a week for my meals, so that comes very 
high. Meals I get at the Restaurant and the room of Mr. 
Nagles mother the man was at Sandusky, I have a very 
nice room and a good bed so 1 can rest well at night. But 
sometimes I get so homesick for you that I think I must 
pick up and go home, but it can not be helped, you must 
not worry about me will try and take good care of myself 
you need not be afraid of me making a mash the women 
that are in this city are all homely, if I was to kiss one of 
them it would turn my stomach, have not seen a good 
looking girl yet. ... 1 will send you a newspaper from 
Cheyenne which you show to the boys and then you send 
it to your father which I think will interest him very much 
in telling old country people how they Brand Cattle in the 
Wild West send it as soon as you can that he will get it 
before he leaves there. . . . 
Yours as ever 
John A. F. 

Feby 22 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

. . . the weather was very warm today and tonight 
it is 12 below zero. You can tell L. Kinzler that I am Board- 
ing Mrs. O'Reiley's Hotel, . . . You can tell Cap Brown 
if you see him that that there is plenty of game in this 
country such as Deer, antelope. Jack Rabbits wolves etc 
and if he wants to enjoy a good hunt, to come out here, 
give him my best regards. Cheyenne has about 15 thou- 
sand inhabitants They were all enjoying Washingtons 
Birthday today. They have some finer stores here than 
there are in the East only that everything is very expen- 
sive and the only thing I buy here for the same price as 
I do East is postage Stamps. . . . 
John A. F. 

Feby 23, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

... I was in the house all day last Sunday on account 
of bad weather, you asked if they have any saloons here, 
I can tell you the town is made up of Saloons but I have 
not stepped inside of one yet. I am very tired and homesick 
but feel very well otherwise. . . . 
Yours John A. F. 

March 1, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

I received your letter of Saturday morn this evening 

and tomorrow night I wUl be here just one month but that 
one month seems to me like one year, we are have nice 
summer here for the last two days & hope it will stay so 
for some time It seems very queer to see no snow in 
Cheyenne but at a hundred miles distence you can see the 
tops of mountains covered with snow & does not seem 
more than two or three miles away, this is a queer coun- 
try I tell you. . . . 

. . . You asked me if I had my washing done at the 
laundry, I have not had any cloth washed since I am here. 
The first day I struck town they told me any man that wore 
a white shirt would be shot, so I bought a blue sailor shirt 
or what ever you would call them in Ohio, I have not 
changed since nor have I had my Sunday cloth on since 
the day I struck town and the shirt will last 3 months longer 
with out changing, you will think that 1 am a Cow-Boy 
when you see me again. . . . 
Respectfully as ever 
John A. F. 

March 9, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

. . . We have not had any rain since I am here but still 
have lots of wind. My cloths don't need washing yet and 
my socks have no bottom, but will get them washed and 
wear them as leggins I get shaved twice every week which 
costs 15c every time and 35c for a Hair Cut. . . . You need 
not be afraid of me looking for another bed pardner as long 
as I am out here. They have plenty of bad houses out here 
but they do not bother me. 

It is true what I told you about wearing white shirts. 
I wish you could be out here when the corner stone will 
be laid The Free Masons are going to lay the stone and 
expect to have a grand time over it. I think George will 
be out when the time comes and if your father is at home 
then you can come with him. . . . 
Yours in haste 
John A. Feick 

March 12, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

The mail is four hours late this evening so I can not 
get it until morning but will try and write you a little letter 
tonight. I am feeling considerable better today than I have 
been for some time. I will move to my new palace'" as soon 
as my blankets come I have it fixed up in grate shape, it 
is a room about the size of your dining room on the East 
side I have four bunks two over each other, one for Chas 
W. one for George when he comes, and one for myself 
and the other is a spare bed for company when we have 
any I got some coffee sacks filled them with straw and that 
makes a very good straw tick. On the West side in one cor- 
ner I have my wardrobe for my cloths & C next to that is 
my desk for my papers. Books & c.f. and in the west cor- 
ner is my wash stand have a baisen, dipper, soap pail & 

C in it under it a place for my shoe brush and blacking 
and other thrash and a room for a chamber but dont need 
any on the north side back of the door is the grand look- 
ing glass, towels, broom and C and on the South side is my 
trunck with shelves and c.f. over it, and in the center of 
the room I have a center table of my owne make. Monday 
the men are coming to put Electric light in my room, a lamp 
would have been good enough for me but the electric light 
is just as cheep and there is no danger with fire, the room 
is not very heigh just heigh enough so that I can stand up 
straight. I made it low on count of the wind, have two win- 
dows in the room with curtins on them so you can imigine 
what kind of a palice I have. If Chas. W. is not gone yet 
when you get this letter send two good towels and an old 
hair brush so that I can brush my hair once in a while. I 
will write you more about it & tell you how I like it when 
I live in it a while, my meals I shall get down town at 
Wilcoxes'i^ the same as always. Having no news I will close 
hoping you are all well and that I may hear from you soon 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

March 15, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

... I begin to like this country better every day the 
grass is coming out green and the leaves are coming out 
on the trees, the air is so clear and pure that you can see 
one Hundred and fifty miles and see the snow on all the 
tops of Mountains. Mr. Nagle took me out for a ride last 
Sunday and I enjoyed it very much, he has a very fast 
team. . . . They are blacks and are well mated and I tell you 
I rode just as fast as I ever want to ride in a buggy. You 
tell Chas Joe and Joe Lerman if they want to see nice horses 
and horses that are fast they should come out here. Mr. 
Nagle sold a horse to a Chicago man for six Thousand two 

hundred dollars last Saturday, he would not have sold her, 
but she was a terrible kicker and he could not drive her. . . . 
This morning when I went to Breakfast I saw a Chinaman 
laying in the Street with his head cut off and it looked terri- 

. . . You asked me in your last letter if I chewed I do 
and every body else in town even every little boy that can 
walk, there is something in the climate that makes people 
chew here so excuse me I never drink, they tell me the 
whisky a man gets here would make a man go home and 
rob his own trunk 

You dont see as many drunkards in Cheyenne as you 
do in Sandusky and the town is kept very orderly other 
wise I think you will like it when you come out, perhaps 
you can get your father to come out with you for a visit 
when he comes back. 1 know he would enjoy himself very 
much to go out on the ranches Sunday N. [Nagle] and I 
were on Arbuckles ranch that is 14 miles from town, he 
is the only man around here that raises sheep and has two 
hundred thousand sheep on his ranch (Arbuckle is the man 
that manufactures Coffee in the East) then we went to Posts 
Ranch and saw 18 Stallions that he Mr. Post got from 
France Europe last week, he told us he had over two thou- 
sand horses on his ranch and they are all well bred 
horses Mr. Post has the largest horse ranch in the 
world he says the 18 Stallions cost him Sixty two thou- 
sand dollars. ^^ I will close for this time hoping you are 
all well 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

March 18, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

... if you come 1 will not keep house but will board 


f /i ? C^ :.i>t^'/'i^ 


Feick's drawing of the interior of his "palace" located on the Capitol grounds taken from his March 12, 1887 letter. 

and sponge on the neighbors as a good many other peo- 
ple do. I shall stay until the building is finished if I keep 
well that is if you come out, if not 1 shall come home once 
to see you George will be at Cheyenne the First of April. 
The carr came to Cheyenne this evening and will 
urdoad it tomorrow afternoon if everything goes all right. 
The apples you sent with Chas are very good But I tell 
you the nicest thing we have in our shanty is the electric 
light we take it in bed with us. . . . 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

March 19, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

. . . We got our carr unloaded this after noon and 
found the cake which pleased me very much and the 
sausage was emence you teU Charly that 1 am ever so much 
obliged for it. Mr. OBrine" one of the Territory Commis- 
sioners says he never saw such sausage, he eat half a pice 
and wanted to take the other half to his wife he says he 
never eat any sausage that tasted better to him than that. 
The cake is good and did not dry up very much for which 
I am ever so much obliged. . .hoping you are all well 
Yoiirs as ever 
John A. Feick 

March 20, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

I received your letter this evening and was very glad 
to hear you are all well. 1 will draw you a better picture 
of our room when I have a little more time You can send 
towels that go on a roller and I will make a roller for them. 
Today I bought a stove and a large chair in a second 
handed store, 5.00 for the stove and 2.50 for the 
chair AUmost every body in Cheyenne has been to my 
room to see it and think it is very comfortable little 
place. . . . 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

March 29, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

I received your letter No 25 this eve but did not get 
any papers If Katies sister could talk English she could 
get work here girls are very scarce in this country and get 
big pay for ordinary house work they get Twenty dollars 
(20) a month room and board and that is a big pay for a 
young girl. . . . The wind blew very hard today so that 
a person could not see their hand before their face. . . . 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

View of the Capitol cornerstone laying ceremony, May 18, 1887. After a parade through downtown Cheyenne, people gathered for the official Masonic 
dedication ceremonies and speeches by Joseph M. Carey, Wyoming's delegate to Congress, and Governor Thomas Moonlight. On the left is what 
probably served as Feick' s "palace." 


Immediately following the cornerstone laying the crowd enjoyed a barbecue held on the grounds just west of the Capitol. The menu consisted of 
mutton, bread, "cornerstone pickles," lemonade and roast beef The Cheyenne Daily Sun reported "the fare was unusually good and tasted all 
the better from the fact of keen appetites and being eaten out of doors. " 

Apr. 2, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

I received two of your letters this evening No 29 & 30 
and was glad to hear from you. 1 got a letter of George 
saying that he was going to Denver Colorado and would 
not be in Cheyenne till Tuesday night, he is going there 
to See George Cooke & his wife. If George asks you again 
about comming out you tell him you insist on comming 
out or want me to come home, 1 know one thing that I 
shall not stay here alone all Summer if I can help it. . . . 
You must think I look terrible raggid the way you write I 
have lots of mending to do and keep my cloths in good 

Mrs. Nagle is going to take me to the Ranch tomor- 
row morning and we are going to stay all day to have a 
ruck pick. Wish you could be here to go along Having no 
more news I will close hoping you are all well which I am 
the same. . . . 
Yoiurs as ever 
John A. Feick 

April 7, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

I have not written to you for two or three days, have 
allways been busy during the day and at night time we 
were with the Capitol Commission or at Nagles's house^^ 
so I did not get time to write, but am sorry for and will 
try and be a little more promt after this George came Tues- 
day night and was very glad to see some one from San- 
dusky. Mr. Filbys son is out here too and seems to like 
it very well. The towels you sent me are very nice and so 
is the comb & brush for which I am ever so much obliged. 
George sleeps on the top bunk in our castle, 1 will close 
and write you more news tomorrow night 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

April 11, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

... I supose you think it queer, because I did not 
write to you this and last week as much as usual George 


& I were off every night and was kept very busy It is 
twelve oclock now, and just came home from Mr. Nagles. 
Sunday Mrs Nagle & I were out to the Herferd ranch all 
day and had a grand time & wished you were here very 
much. . . . 

We are having very nice weather and am beginning 
to like this place very much, when you come I think you 
will have to move out here I think you will like it very 
much after you get aquainted 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

April 25, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

. . . Chas & I were working at Nagles house for the 
last three days we had an awful snow storm here last 
Thursday, the snow was even with the top of our shanty 
and could not get out untill we had shoveled our way 
out the snow was 15 & 20 feet in some places. . . Hav- 
ing no news 1 will close hoping you are well & that I may 
see you soon 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

May 1, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

I received your letter and papers and was very glad 
to hear from you 1 was not feeling very well for the last 
two days. We had a terrible Snow storm last night and it 
is terrible cold today. We are going to have a grand time 
at the laying of the corner stone and wish you could come 
by the 18th of May, it will be something that you never 
see before the train is here and must get this mailed to go 

Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

I wish you would bring Alfred with you, speak to Chas 
& Joe about it I think it would do him considerable good, 
there are good & better Catholic schools here than there 
are in Ohio. Mr. Nagles little boy would like to have him 
come very much he has a very nice little poney & buggy 
and is just about Alfreds size, if he did not want to stay 
long he could go back by the first of Aug When Geroge 
or one of the Commissioners went East. 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

May 6, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

I received your letters & papers tonight and was very 
glad to hear from you, but not that you was not comming 
out for the laying of the corner stone. We are estimating 
for May again so 1 do not get time to write long let- 
ters have to sit up half of the night to get through with 
my work. Having no news I will close hoping to hear from 
you again. 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

May 26, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

... 1 supose by this time you know what kind of a 
time we had at the laying of the Corner Stone," people 
expect to have a larger time on Decoration day,^'' I tell you 
this is a great country for excitement. 

People are more liberal & a nicer class of people than 
you find in the east. 

Train is here & I must close hoping to see you soon. 
Many kisses. 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

May 2, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

. . . People here are going crazy over the corner 
stone they have collected $1800.00 Dollars to lay it with, 
they are going to have a Barber Cue, that is something that 
you or I never saw in the East, perhaps you don't know 
what a Barber Cue is, if you dont I'll not tell you what it 
is untill you come to see it. The People of Cheyenne have 
appointed me on two committees on Committee of ar- 
rangements, and on the Committee of receptions, so you 
see 1 don't belong to you common people in Ohio any 
more. Inclosed find notice they sent me, was to the meeting 
tonight and had quite a time, Mrs. Nagle & Mrs Wilcox 
expect to see you by the 18th of May 87 If you come out 
here and stay till fall you can vote, all women have the 
right to vote when in the Territory 3 months. 

... If the boys and the other children do not care, 


May 31, 1887 

Dearest Wife: 

Received your letter but no paper this evening have 
had lots work to do and did not feel very well is the reason 
that I did not write so often. Before you come out go to 
George and have him explain to you how to come. You 
can go to Chicago without a sleeper you get there about 
12 o clock at night that same day you start, then you change 
& take the Rock Island R. R. to Omaha you get there the 
next night about 7 50 o clock; on that train you can get your 
meals in the Dining car that costs 75c a meal, you must 
ask the conductor where to get your sleeping car ticket or 
ask George he can tell you more about it than I can rite. 
At Omaha you change cars again and take the Union Pa- 
cific R.R. that runs to Cheyenne, there is one that leaves 
for Denver at the same time so be careful that you get in 
the right one, you must get your sleeping car ticket at 

Omaha as you go through the depot to the Union Pacific 
that will cost you 4.00 Dollars, the one you get at Chicago 
will cost 3.00 Dollars, if you take the sleeper you wUl be 
well taken care of if you dont know just what to do ask 
the porter on the sleeper and he will tell you just what to 
do, you will not have to waight more than an hour any 
where if you dont miss any trains. Have Geo. give you 
time tables of the 3 roads & explain to you so that you know 
where you are going Enclosed find time card of the 
U.P.R.R. you can telegraph when you come having no 
news I will close hoping to see you soon many kisses to you 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

June 1, 1887 
Dearest Wife: 

1 received your letter and papers and was very glad 
to hear from you. . . You rite that you all wondred what 
I was doing Sunday Mr. Nagle took me to the post in his 
buggy we had a nice time hearing the band play then we 
went to the fairgrounds & saw the Base Ball game. 

Hoping you will get out all right & have a nice journey 
1 will close hoping to see you soon Many Kisses to you^^ 
Yours as ever 
John A. Feick 

January 11, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie: 

I've received no letter of you yet and am patiently 
waiting for one to see how you got home and what all the 
folks thought when they saw you come in the door. . . 
We are having regular summer weather it is very warm. 
The town has considerable life in it since Lection day, than 
the Legislature met last Tuesday and the Street Cars run 
every five minutes, there are many strange people in town 
and everthing is very lively about Chian. . . 
John A. 

January 12, 1888 
Dearest Lizzie: 

Have received no letter of you yet but shurely aught 
to get one tonight or in the morning; We have had nice 
weather ever since you left but today it is blowing terrible 
hard the sand is blowing around so that a person can 
hardly see their hand before there face. 

I have no news at present only that 1 miss you a great 
deal & feel terrible lonesome and everybody else that sees 
me asks where you are 

WUl close this hoping to hear from you tonight. . . . 
John A. 

January 17, 1888 
Dearest Lizzie: 

Just got home from the Capitol and it now is half past 
eleven, Mr. & Mrs Wilcox are drinking a Tom & Jerry on 
the head of the new mothern— law. We work all last Sun- 
day and every night this & last week hense the delay of 
my writing. I think we will get home very soon so have 
a little patience and we will soon be together again. . . . 

. . . Sam Wilcox wants me to go in Business with him 
and will give me a good show 1 am really on the fence 
& don't know what to do, but will want to go home once 
more and see all the folks & what father thinks about it. 
Of course 1 do not want to leave him if I am any help to 
Your Dear John 

Jany 22, 1888 
Dearest Lizzie: 

I received your letter this evening and was very glad 
to hear from you, we are all well at present & hope we 
will be until I get home. We have regular summer weather 
for the last five days and it seems so funney when you say 
that you go out sleighing in Sandusky. 

The plasterers left on the new road tonight and wanted 
me to go with them the worst way, & said they would pay 
my fare If I would go with them. They will send us a dog 
(Pug) to Sandusky to my address so when it comes you 
will have to take good care of it until I get home. They 
hated to leave with out me but it will not be very long 
before I get home. 

We worked hard all day at the Capitol we have sec- 
ond & third stories finished and have the dome very near 
finished then all there will be left is the basement & first 
story settling up, pack our trunk & tools, sweep out the 
building, have our trunks taken to the depot, buy our 
tickets, tell them all good bye, jump on the train, kiss my 
best girl, ride for two days and a night on the train, then 
we are in Sandusky. . . . 
John A 

Jany 28, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie: 

I received a letter of you this evening and was very 
glad to hear from you, 1 did not write to you last night 1 
was very tired and came home late tonight we did not work 
at the Building but 1 had to work at the office awhile tonight 
it is now ten oclock and being my Birthday is today I send 
Toney over for a Growler which we quietly are drinking 
on the head of the Birthday, we have got to work in the 
morning so you cant expect much news of me tonight. 
John A. 


February 1, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie: 

I received your letter this evening and was very glad 
to hear from you again We are having it very warm here, 
warmer than it was any time last summer and we are work- 
ing as hard as we can to get finished and get home. . . . 
John A. 

Feby 9, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie: 

. . . Lizzie how would you like to move to Denver to 
live I think there's where 1 will spend my next summer 
I might just as well get out of Sandusky first as last and 
try my luck. . . 
John A. 

Feby 23, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie 

. . . Dear Lizzie if everything goes right we will leave 
Chian about 4 weeks from next Saturday and be in San- 
dusky about the 28 of March and then wont we have a 
bulley time. I can hardly wate till the time comes. . . 
John A. 

Feby 25, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie 

four weeks from tonight you will get a telegram of me that 
I leave Cheyenne 

Feby 26, 1888 

Dearest Liz: 

I received your kind & welcome letter I supose you will 
miss some of my letters the passinger going East caught 
a fire & burnt 15 cars Killed several and injured a good 
many." Adolph & Crist were scart to go last night they 
will both come to see you. . . . 
John A. 

March 5, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie: 

I received all of your letters supose you think 1 have 
forgotten you because I did not write for so long The 
members of the Legeslature had an excursion to Denver 
and invited us along so George, Gerlach, Louey, and I 
went. We had a nice time. John Greenlee took me all 
around the town, and at night we went to the Labor Opera 

house and saw Fantasnia it was a good show and we en- 
joyed it very much. 
John A. 

March 13, 1888 

Wife Lizzie 

... I think we can start for Sandusky a week from 
next Saturday if nothing happens so you can stop writing 
a week from tomorrow the 14/88 having no news I will 
John A. 

March 14, 1888 

Dearest Lizzie: 

. . . we will get done here just the time I have 
promised and all the men will go east just that time if 
nothing happens I will go to Salt Lake City if 1 possibly 
can so I will be home 2 or three days later, of course this 
may not be for certain but want to go very much if I 
can. . . . 
John A. 

March 17, 1888 
My Dearest Lizzie: 

I received your kind & welcome letter this evening and 
was very glad to hear from you. I am well & glad to hear 
you are the same, only that I am terrible homesick and anx- 
ious to see you all again I supose in a week from tonight 
by this time we will have all our tickets bought and on the 
train then 1 will be happy when two days are gone by so 
as to see Sandusky, but for some reason I hate to leave 
Cheyenne I dont know why I am not very much stuck 
on the town but 1 hate to leave it 

Mr Nagle wants me to stay here the worst way & says 
he will help me in every way that he can Mrs. N. sends 
her best wishes to you. . . 
John A. 

March 20, 1888 

My Dear Lizzie: 

I received your letter & was glad to hear from you we 
are having lots of snow and bad weather, we will all be 
finished to go home Saturday, if I go to Salt Lake City you 
must not be angry with me for I would like to see it very 
much if I can work some skeame to get there without Geo 
knowing it. Mrs. Nagle sends her best wishes to you & 
wishes you were back again. I will telegraph you when I 
start for home. . . 
John A 


View of the finished Capitol in 1888. Wings were added in 1890 and again in 1917. 

The Capitol Building Commission accepted the com- 
pleted building and submitted its final report on March 31, 
1888. By that time, however, the legislature had author- 
ized the addition of wings onto the Capitol which were 
completed in 1890. Wings again were added in 1917. Chey- 
enne contractors constructed both additions, not A. Feick 
& Bro. 

John and Lizzie never did settle in the West. Instead 
they chose to remain in Sandusky. After the death of 
John's father in 1893, John and George formed a partner- 
ship. In the early 1900s, John started his own company and 
in 1914, his son, John Charles, became a partner. Still ac- 
tive today, the family company now is known as Feick 
Contractors and rehabilitates Sandusky's older buildings, 
many built by their ancestors. 

The Wyoming Tribune reported on the day of the lay- 
ing of the cornerstone. May 18, 1887, on what had 
transpired up until that time and looked ahead. "Work on 
the capitol was commenced September 1886 since which 
time a large force of men have been constantly em- 
ployed. . . . The Contractor for this immense work 
Messrs. Feick & Brother, are deserving, and are receiving 

the warmest congratulations of all our people for the 
elegant and artistic manner in which they are fulfilling their 
contract. The firm has the distinguished reputation of not 
only being in every way responsible, and as builders of 
large structures they stand second to none in the United 
States as the splendid capitol of Wyoming will fuUy testify 
when completed. Mr. John Feick is ably representing the 
firm in the work of construction here." The Feicks did con- 
struct a building in which Wyoming always has and always 
will be proud. 

1. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming, 2nd ed. (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1978), pp. 64-74. 

2. Cheyenne Daily Sun, January 20, 1886, p. 4, c. 2. 

3. "Final Report of the Capitol Building Commission," Office of the 
Capitol Building Commission, Cheyenne, Wyoming, March 31, 1888, 
p. 4, Archives Division, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and 
Historical Department (AMH Dept.), Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

4. Ibid., pp. 8, 13. 

5. Ibid., p. 25. 

6. Cheyenne Democratic Leader, September 10, 1886, p. 3, c. 3. 


7. All background material on the Feick family taken from Anita Gund- 
lach Feick, Building America: A History of the Family Feick (Feik-Fike) 
(Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, Inc., 1983), and letter from 
Anita Gundlach Feick to editor. 

8. All correspondence can be found in Feick family archives, Sandusky, 
Ohio. Letters are presented exactly as written. 

9. This wind storm derailed four trains in Colorado. According to the 
newspaper report, no one was killed, but several severely injured. 
In Denver the storm unroofed buildings, leveled smokestack chimneys 
and telephone and telegraph poles, while in Cheyenne it damaged 
the roofs of the convent, the new Union Pacific Railroad depot and 
other buildings. Cheyenne Democratic Leader, February 18, 1887, p. 1, 
c. 1, p. 3, c. 1. 

10. John located his new "palace" on the Capitol grounds. 

11. The WUcox' owned a restaurant in Cheyenne at 217 West 16th Street. 

12. On March 14, 1887, the body of the "Chinaman" was found under 
the floor in a vacant house. Authorities identified the person as Charlie 
Thong, also known as Charlie Sevan. Cheyenne Democratic Leader, 
March 15, 1887, p. 3, cc. 1-2. 

13. Morton E. Post served on the Capitol Building Commission. He ar- 
rived in Cheyenne in 1867. In 1872, he founded the PO Ranch north 
of Cheyenne in order to raise horses. Besides ranching. Post also 
owned a Cheyenne bank, Morton E. Post & Company. The Wyom- 
ing ranching industry experienced a devastating winter in 1886-1887. 
Post's bank, because of its many loans to ranchers, failed in 1887. 
Post, who lost almost everything, eventually paid back most of his 
creditors and moved to California. The Arbuckle Coffee Company 
purchased the PO Ranch in 1891. "PO Ranch," by Ellen Mueller, 
Vertical File, "Arbuckle Coffee," Historical Research and Publications 
Division, AMH Dept. 

14. Nicholas J. O'Brien, a stockman, was a member of the Capitol Building 

15. John Feick helped in the construction of Erasmus Nagle's house, 
located on 17th Street in Cheyenne. Nagle used stone block originally 
meant for the Capitol, but which the Capitol Building Commission 
rejected. By the 1950s, this stone began to flake and crumble, 
necessitating a stucco covering. 

16. The Capitol's cornerstone was laid May 18, 1887. That afternoon, peo- 
ple from around Wyoming and from Colorado and Nebraska wit- 
nessed a parade through Cheyenne and the Masonic dedication 
ceremony, listened to speeches by Judge Joseph M. Carey and Gover- 
nor Thomas Moonlight and enjoyed a barbecue on the grounds just 
west of the Capitol. Cheyenne Daily Sun, May 19, 1887, pp. 1, 3; 
Cheyenne Democratic Leader, May 19, 1887, p. 3. 

17. Decoration Day, begun by the Grand Army of the Republic as a way 
to honor those who died in the Civil War, is now known as Memorial 
Day. Cheyenne celebrated in 1887 with a parade, the dedication of 
the Grand Army of the Republic monument at the city cemetery and 
the decoration of the graves of the Civil War veterans. Cheyenne 
Democratic Leader, May 28, 1887, p. 3, c. 2. 

18. Lizzie did come out West during the summer of 1887. She returned 
to Ohio in January, 1888, when the letters again resume. 

19. A passenger train and a freight train collided on the main line of the 
Union Pacific Railroad near Colton, Nebraska, on February 25, 1888. 
Several of the freight cars carried "gasoline oil," which burst into 
flame. An engineer was the only fatahty, although the crash injured 
many. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 26, 1888, p. 1, c. 4. 

Sketch of the Capitol after the first addition. 


Michael Massie 

Throughout Western history, water has played a crit- 
ical role in the evolution of this arid region's economic and 
social institutions. In the past, this scarce resource has pro- 
vided urban centers with the sustenance for growth, has 
converted dry, barren land into productive agricultural 
areas and has fostered the development of the stockrais- 
ing and the mineral industries. Today, a host of interest 
groups competes for the right to use this dwindling water 
supply in order to survive and to expand in the future. 
Native Americans represent one of these contestants. 

In 1977, the State of Wyoming sued the Arapahoes and 
the Shoshones of the Wind River Reservation in order to 
determine the tribes' claims to the Wind River. This case 
deals with such issues as beneficial and future uses, storage 
and priority rights. While the state hopes to define the 
quantity of the Indians' water rights in order to insure 
downstream Whites a definite flow of water, the tribes 
desire to retain enough of the resovirce to guarantee an eco- 
nomic base for their society. The Wyoming Supreme Court 
is now considering the case. Appeals to federal courts are 
possible and a final decision is years away. 

Whatever the determination is, most of it wiU be based 
upon the activities surrounding the Fort Belknap Reserva- 
tion in Montana around the turn of the century. In the 1908 
court case of Winters v United States, the U.S. Supreme 
Court supported the Assiniboines' and the Gros Ventres' 
claims to Montana's Milk River and established, for the 
first time, a general definition of Indian water rights. Since 
then, historians and lawyers have dwelled upon the legal 
foundations of this crucial interpretation. Unfortunately, 
they have generally ignored the social, economic and po- 
litical movements that shaped this important decision and 
still continue to influence the contemporary status of 
Indian water rights. 

A few historians, such as Norris Hundley in YJater and 
the West, have examined the long history of Western water 
development and conflicts. In "The Winters' Decision and 
Indian Water Rights: A Mystery Reexamined," Hundley 
also analyzed many of the factors that eventually encour- 
aged the federal government to defend the Indians' rights 
to water. 

However, these previous works have not investigated 
the cultural, political and economic forces that significantly 
affected the landmark Winters decision. The history of the 
Assiniboines and Gros Ventres, federal Indian policy and 
the demands of Western Whites influenced the court's final 
judgment. As a result, the events centered around Mon- 
tana's Fort Belknap Reservation profoundly shaped the 
futiire course of Indian water rights. ^ 

Neither of the Fort Belknap tribes were residents of 
Montana before the Whites arrived on this continent. In 
the 17th century, the Gros Ventres lived near the Blackfoot 
in the Saskatchewan River Basin of western Canada. At 
the same time, the Assiniboines, having separated from 
the Sioux Nation in northern Minnesota, traveled to the 
eastern Canadian grasslands. These Indians possessed a 
woodlands cultiire in which their economy depended upon 
hunting and agriculture. ^ 

By the mid-18th century, portions of each tribe mi- 
grated onto the Great Plains and formed a new cultxire. 
Here, they found a large number of bison and soon 
depended upon this ariimal for their food, clothing and 
shelter. Agricultural practices disappeared and hunting 
became the central part of their economy. While some 
northern bands maintained a woodlands lifestyle, the 
southern people evolved a Plains culhire.^ 

In evolving this Plains culture, water performed signifi- 
cant social and economic functions in the peoples' lives. 


Important ceremonies such as the Sun Dance depended 
upon an abundant supply of water in order to meet the 
desires of a large gathering of Indians. Throughout the 
years, the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres searched for 
the river valleys in order to protect themselves from the 
winter wind and cold and to sustain their large horse herds 
on the vegetation that surrounded the streams and lakes. 
Since the bands often needed a fresh supply of water, they 
camped near a river or stream after a day's travel. As a 
result, water was one of the most important resources these 
tribes used.* 

The destinies of the Southern Assiniboines and Gros 
Ventres paralleled those of other Plains Indians. In the 
1750s, the Assiniboines were one of the first tribes in the 
region to receive guns from the British traders. With their 
allies, the Crees, they used their superior military power 
to expand further West and to force other tribes out of the 
North Central Plains. This movement displaced the Gros 
Ventres and these people formed an alliance with the 
Blackfoot in order to fight the Assiniboines.' 

These Indians remained enemies until intertribal war- 
fare and White immigration forced them to cooperate. The 
advancing frontier decreased the bison herds of the eastern 
plains, and the Sioux, moving West in their search for more 
bison, encroached upon the Assiniboines' territory. The 
large bison population of Montana also induced the Black- 
feet to enter the area from the north. Soon, fights erupted 
as each tribe competed for the decreasing food supply. In 
the 1860s, caught between two powerful nations, the 
Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres were forced to share 
the declining resource.* 

As more frontiersmen settled in the region, conflicts 
increased between the Whites and the Indians. The tribes 
resisted this advancing frontier, but treaties and thefts 
slowly eroded the Indians' land base. By the 1870s, the 
bison was rapidly disappearing in most sections of the 
Plains. This destruction of the Native Americans' tradi- 
tional economy altered their culture and drove the people 
onto a reservation to seek food, clothing and shelter.^ 

In 1873, the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres agreed 
to reside on the Fort Belknap Reserve, a small tract of land 
on the Milk River. The acceptance of a limited reservation 
marked a new era in the tribes' histories. Some aspects of 
their cultures changed, but many people also retained 
some of their traditional customs. As a result, various 
lifestyles and ideologies arose on the reservation as each 
individual attempted to deal with a new environment in 
his own way. 

One of the last remaining herds of bison in the United 
States grazed on the Fort Belknap Reserve. Thus, the 
tribes' economy and lifestyles did not change immediately. 
From 1873-1888, the reserve's agents made few attempts 
to teach White practices to the Indians. Superintendent 
W. L. Lincoln encouraged some farming, but the tribes, 
still relying mostly on the bison for food, clothing and 


shelter, ignored the agent's demands. By 1884, cultivation 
consisted of 350 acres.' 

Instead of imitating Anglo customs, most of the In- 
dians adhered to traditional values. The people continued 
to practice horse raids. Sun Dances, purification cere- 
monies and bison hunting. To demonstrate their freedom 
from the superintendent's control, most bands camped 
long distances from the reserve's headquarters. As a result, 
the chief maintained his leadership status while the agents 
exerted little authority over the Indians.' As Lincoln noted, 
"they cling with great tenacity to many of the old usages 
of the race."^° 

This apparent independence from White authority and 
acculturative demands suddenly ended with the local ex- 
tinction of the bison in 1884. During the winter of that year, 
many Assiniboines and Gros Ventres starved or froze to 
death. Since these conditions compelled the tribes increas- 
ingly to rely upon federal rations for survival, most of the 
Indians moved closer to the agency headquarters. ^^ 

With the destruction of the traditional economy, some 
people experienced changes in their lifestyles and beliefs. 
Generally, many members of the older generation con- 
tinued to follow some traditional customs such as leader- 
ship roles, religious ceremonies and the tribal languages. 
However, many of the younger generation, especially 
those born after 1884, did not strictly adhere to ancestral 

Since the reservation confined the Native Americans' 
mobility and flexibility, the band organization no longer 
proved viable. The traditional leaders such as the chiefs, 
council members and warriors no longer held as much influ- 
ence over the group. These authorities' past experiences 
and honors had little relevance to the younger generation. 
Even though they still possessed some significance as the 
bearers of the traditional society, their roles as political 
leaders dwindled with the increasing power of the White 
agent. ^2 

This disruption in band organization resulted in a 
leadership crisis among the Assiniboines and the Gros 
Ventres and precipitated a split in tribal unity. Those In- 
dians who were born on the reservation and who attended 
St. Paul's Catholic Missionary School tended to question 
the power of the traditional government. Former leaders 
no longer provided the guidance that many members of 
the younger generation needed in order to cope with a new 
cultural environment. However, these same Indians pro- 
tested the corruption and the domineering attitudes of the 
White agents. By rejecting traditional authority, these 
Native Americans formed a divisive element within the 
tribe yet failed to replace the former political organization 
with a more contemporary adaptive system." 

The role of tribal societies also fell into disuse or 
changed. These organizations no longer provided the tradi- 
tional services for the band. Many dissolved shortly after 
1890, but the police society continued to exist. Instead of 

enforcing council decisions, these members often carried 
out the agents' directives. This society soon lost much of 
its influence within the tribe." 

Divisiveness also characterized reservation religious 
practices. Even though the agent prohibited most former 
ceremonies such as the Sun Dance, some past dances per- 
sisted on Fort Belknap. The Ghost Dance Hand Game con- 
tained many of the social elements found in past 
ceremonies. These functions continued to hold meaning 
for the older generation, but many of the younger Indians 
did not perceive the relevance of these traditional rites. As 
a result, most of them turned to White sponsored events 
such as square dances and rodeos. These activities con- 
tained some psychological connection to their daily lives 
in agriculture or in stockraising." 

Whether a person continued to foDow traditional prac- 
tices, accepted new ideas, or both, the Assiniboines and 
the Gros Ventres needed to create a new economy to 
replace their past reliance on the bison. Not only would 
this financial foundation provide the necessary sustenance, 
but it would offer some stability in this era of ideological 
change. The Whites' American Indian policy greatly in- 
fluenced the economic systems that arose on the reservation. 

Throughout the 19th century, many reformers at- 
tempted to "civilize" the Indians. By teaching White values 
to the Native Americans, these humanitarians sought to 
end the conflicts between the tribes and the frontiersmen 
and to absorb the Indians peacefully into the "superior" 
culture. This policy of assimilation received much support 
in the 1870s and the 1880s. Eastern organizations such as 
the Indian Rights Association and many church groups 
desired to change the Indians' lifestyles and to prepare them 
for entry into White society. ^* 

The General Allotment Act of 1887 reflected these con- 
cerns and profoundly affected American Indian poUcy until 
the 1920s. In constructing this law, most Congressmen 
believed that farming would provide the Native Americans 
with the necessary morals to become United States citizens. 
Through an agricultural existence, the Indians would aban- 
don their traditional hunting lifestyle and would under- 
stand the importance of private property and Anglo eco- 
nonuc values. Consequently, the reservation agents urged 
the Indians to till the land and to assume the social 
characteristics of self-sufficient farmers. ^'' 

In permanently establishing the Fort Belknap Reser- 
vation for the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres, the 1888 
Executive Agreement reflected this American Indian policy. 
The pact called for the conversion of the Indians from an 
existence based on hunting to an economy dominated by 
farming. The government also granted a large amount of 
money to assimilate these people. Besides encouraging 
"... the Indians to buUd houses and enclose their farms 
. . .,"1* Congress gave the tribes $150,000 for "the pur- 
chase of cows, bulls, . . . agricultural and mechanical 
equipment, . . . [and] any other aspect to promote their 

This desired transformation to a new lifestyle de- 
pended upon a past tribal value. In order for farming to 
succeed in the arid West, the Indians needed to irrigate 
the land. Hence, the traditional importance of water in the 
tribes' cultures continued on the reservation. 

Even though the agents promoted farming on the Fort 
Belknap Reservation, many Indians preferred stockraising. 
Previously, the bison had determined the male and female 
duties in society. Essentially, the men hunted the bison 
while the women prepared the kUl. In the agricultural 
economy, the men perceived farming to be the women's 
duty, and many refused or were reluctant to till the soil. 
Therefore, the tribes needed a different means of dis- 
tinguishing men's and women's roles. Since the horse- 
manship and the other skills involved in stockherding 
resembled those found in bison hunting, many males 
chose raising cattle over growing crops. ^° 

Farming and ranching without irrigation proved dis- 
astrous for the Indians. Even though the agents tried 
various programs to induce the people into agriculture, 
continued crop failures discouraged the tribes from tilling 
the soil. In a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 
agent Simmons stated that "... there are many seasons 
of drought and discouragement experienced here in agri- 
cultural pursuits and only those who have reliable facilities 
for irrigation succeed in the business. "^^ Many of the Gros 
Ventres moved away from the ai;id land surrounding the 
Milk River and settled in the mountainous area of the Lit- 
tle Rockies region with the hopes of grazing some cattle 
on the lush, stream-fed ranges. But, the stock quickly con- 
sumed the grass, and, without irrigation, the Indians were 
unable to grow the necessary hay to retain a large herd." 
Beginning in 1896, the agents petitioned Congress for 
money to build an irrigation system on the reservation. 
Superintendent Hays believed that irrigation was the only 
way to convert the Indians into farmers and to assimilate 
them into White society. In his 1898 annual report, he 
stated that: 

When these systems have been established and the Indians 
taught to handle the water properly, and with those already 
in operation, there is no reason why they should not be able 
to make their own living and become independent citizens. Ir- 
rigation is the only salvation in this arid section." 

Congress agreed with Hays and biannually appropriated 
$20,000 to the Fort Belknap Reservation for irrigation as 
a means of furthering Indian acculturation. 2* 

The watering systems greatly improved agricultural 
conditions. By 1905, the reservation had four irrigation proj- 
ects, and nearly one-tenth of the land was suitable for 
growing vegetables and grains. The canals encouraged 
some Indian families to accept an agricultural existence. 
Despite these successes, though, most Native Americans 
continued to snub farming, and instead used the water to 
increase their horse and cattle herds. ^^ 

By 1905, the tribal livestock industry had greatly ex- 
panded, and the reservation sold thousands of pounds of 


Irrigation system in Lodge Pole Canyon on the Fort Belknap Reservation. 


beef to surrounding communities and to the nearby Great 
Northern Railroad. The irrigation system made possible 
this dramatic increase in cattle production. The people used 
the water to grow large fields of hay, thereby supple- 
menting the food supply of the cattle. As a result of these 
higher jdelds in farming and stockraising, the Fort Belknap 
economy became more stable throughout the 1890s and 
the 1900S.26 

Despite this growth, the Indians experienced mixed 
economic results. The agents' insistence upon farming im- 
peded the full development of the stock industry. Since 
cattle represented the only possible means of gaining finan- 
cial independence in an arid region, this hindrance pre- 
vented the reservation from reaching self-sufficiency. 
Nevertheless, economic activity did increase due to the 
construction of the irrigation system. 2'' 

As in the past, water continued to play a significant 
social role for the tribes. The increased reliability of farm- 
ing and ranching that irrigation offered was important to 
the Indians in a time of ideological transition and dis- 
ruption. Since water constituted an integral part of their 
life, just as it had in the pre-reservation years, anyone who 
threatened the supply of this resource also endangered the 
Assiniboines' and Gros Ventres' existence. In this instance, 
the policy of assimilation and the corresponding emphasis 
upon agriculture and stockraising fortified the traditional 
importance which the tribes placed upon water. 

However, the tone of American Indian policy began 
to change around the turn of the century. By the 1900s, 
the Whites' optimism for quick acculttiration of the Indian 
turned to pessimism. Congress still used assimilation as 
the foundation of its Indian policy, but most Anglos real- 
ized that the Native Americans would not entirely accept 
White values on their own volition. On many reservations, 
the people continued to follow traditional practices.^* 

Most Whites recognized that assimilation might take 
decades to accomplish. However, instead of questioning 
the false, ethnocentric assumptions that characterized the 
policy of acculturation, the Whites assumed a more active 
role in coercing the Indians into accepting Euro- American 
values. By allowing settlers to buy or lease tribal lands, 
federal officials hoped that White industry would serve as 
an example of perseverance and enterprise for the Indians. 
Congress believed that the Native Americans would be 
forced over a long period of time to adopt the methods and 
ideas of their bosses. Furthermore, in extinguishing the In- 
dians' title to their land, the government fulfilled Western 
desires for more territory and started the process of ter- 
minating the reservation system.^' In other words, govern- 
ment officials used acculturation as a tool to control most 
of the Indians' remaining land and resources. 

This attitudinal shift from optinusm to pessimism 
greatly affected the Fort Belknap Reservation. Since most 
of the prime property in northern Montana had been set- 
tled by the 1890s, incoming cattlemen desired more land. 
Instituting its new policy of buying or leasing tribal areas. 

Congress met these Western demands by purchasing 
18,000 acres in 1896 from the Assiniboines and Gros 
Ventres. In addition, federal administrators encouraged the 
agents to offer inexpensive, short term leases in order to 
induce White businesses to move onto the remaining por- 
tion of the reservation. Many stock associations, including 
the Matador Cattle Company, rented good grazing tracts, 
and corporate officials of the Amalgamated Sugar Com- 
pany perceived the reservation as a source of cheap labor 
and land. 3" 

As these Whites moved onto tribal areas, they too 
utilized the irrigation works as the basis of their economy. 
These settlers appropriated some of the water from the 
canals to increase their herds and to raise farm products 
and sugar beet crops. The White population grew through- 
out the 1890s and the early 1900s, and by 1920, non-Indians 
controlled over 58% of the tribes' irrigated lands. Just as 
the Indians, these reservation Whites depended upon Fort 
Belknap's watering system for economic survival. ^^ 

Besides expanding onto the reservation, many Whites 
settled around the Indian lands in northern Montana. Like 
the tribes, these immigrants also needed water to grow hay 
and to support their livestock industry. However, these 
Whites adhered to state water laws in appropriating the 
area's water. ^^ 

In apportioning the region's scarce water supply, most 
states abandoned the Eastern tradition of riparian water 
rights and practiced the doctrine of prior appropriation. 
Since the areas to the east of the 100th meridian experi- 
enced sufficient raii\fall for agriculture, the use of water 
in rivers, streams and lakes was not necessary. Conse- 
quently, riparian water law prohibited the consumption 
of this resource by individuals. 

The aridity of the West and the region's scarce water 
supply prevented the implementation of the riparian 
system in this area. Ranchers and farmers needed irriga- 
tion water in order to raise crops and to support livestock. 
Therefore, Western states followed the policy of prior ap- 
propriation, which allows the first claimant of a stream or 
river to divert as much water as he desires in fulfilling his 
needs. Later settlers may also utilize this resource, but, in 
times of scarcity, they must yield to the initial user as much 
of the commodity as he presently employs. The only stipu- 
lation that accompanies this right is that the owner apply 
the water to beneficial purposes. By failing to meet this de- 
mand, he loses his "first settler's" status, and the pri- 
ority claim passes on to the new senior property owner. ^^ 

To Montana, the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres 
not only stood in the way of White expansion, but the 
tribes were not using the Milk River beneficially. The state's 
officials failed to recognize that the tribes on the reserva- 
tion had utilized the water before the Whites had arrived. 
Because of this failure and because the federal goveriunent 
promoted local White control of the reservation economy, 
Montana did not uphold the tribes' claims to the Milk 
River. Instead, due to the large migration of cattlemen into 


the lush grazing lands of the Upper Missouri River Basin 
in the 1890s, administrators issued priority patents to these 
migrants in order to enhance the state's economic expan- 
sion. ^^ 

The completion of the Great Northern Railroad and the 
plentiful supply of inexpensive grazing land encouraged 
many people to settle around the reservation. By 1900, 
many cattlemen and some recently organized towns were 
consuming large amounts of the area's water. Downstream 
users such as the Fort Belknap Indians did not complain 
about these increased appropriations, for the Milk River 
contained enough water for all parties. However, droughts 
began to occur after 1900, and the usually abundant water 
supply decreased. 35 

Thus, with state claims and support, Henry Winter, 
Mose Anderson and other cattlemen continued to ap- 
propriate water from the Milk River and, by 1905, cut off 
all of the downstream flow to the Fort Belknap Reserva- 
tion. This action shattered the reservation Whites and In- 
dians' economies. Since the local officials refused to 
acknowledge the tribes' water rights, the absence of water 
continued and threatened to destroy Fort Belknap's farm- 
ing and stockraising industries. ^^ 

The reservation faced a devastating situation. All of the 
diverse interests depended upon the Milk River for 
economic success. Agent Logan stated that: 

So far this Spring we have had no water in our ditch whatever. 
Our meadows are now rapidly parching up. The Indians have 
planted large crops and a great deal of grain. All this will be 
lost unless some radical action is taken at once to make the set- 
tlers above the Reservation respect our rights. To the Indians 
it either means good crops this fall, or starvation this winter.''' 

Even though the absence of water endangered the oat, 
wheat and vegetable crops, damage to hay production 
represented the greatest menace. The loss of this product 
would cripple the Indians' stockraising economy. In ad- 
dition, the absence of a reliable water supply would 
discourage White business interests on the reservation. In 
order to prevent a complete financial collapse, Logan peti- 
tioned the District Attorney General to bring suit against 
the White ranchers upstream and to force them into allow- 
ing a downstream flow.^* 

Government officials encountered a difficult situation. 
By following its policy of forced acculturation. Congress 
condoned Western progress and favored White control of 
tribal resources. Conversely, assimilation required a self- 
supporting occupation for the Indians. Officials recog- 
nized the inherent contradiction of forced acculturation. 
Through the events transpiring around Fort Belknap, the 
government realized that advancing local control en- 
dangered this self-sufficient tribal economy. Should they 
ignore the plight of the Assiniboines and Gros Ventres and 
promote Western development, or should they preserve 
the Indians' rights to water and bolster the reservation's 
economy? The answer was not based upon legal matters 
but upon financial, social and political considerations. 


The tribes' farms and stock depended upon irrigation. 
Without water, most of their economic foundation would 
collapse, and the only stability in a period of social change 
would die also. As a result, the Indians requested that 
agent Logan attempt to restore their traditional water sup- 
ply. In an era when federal officials did not consider most 
Native Americans as citizens, this appeal would have gone 
unnoticed if the reservation Whites had not supported the 
tribes' demand. ^^ 

Logan played a critical role in sustaining the tribes' 
demands for water. As a devout follower of the national 
policy of forced acculturation, he promoted farming as the 
key to assimilation. Even though most of the Indians 
preferred stockraising to farming, and ranching proved 
more successful in this arid environment, the agent con- 
tinued to advocate agriculture as the route to assimilation. 
As Logan stated in a report to the Commissioner: 
I firmly believe that the Indian has to learn to be a good farmer 
before he can be much good at anything else ... I have often 
wondered if the Office [Commissioner of Indian Affairs] realized 
the magnitude of this undertaking— the heart breaking, nerve 
racking work that it takes to make 1300 people, who only a few 
years ago were savages whose energies were spent only in war 
and the chase, and scorned the use of the plow, into intensive 

The absence of water destroyed many of the tribes' farms 
along the Milk River. In order for Logan to accomplish his 
goal of assimilation, he petitioned the government to 
uphold the Native Americans' rights to the resource. Since 
most of the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres spurned 
farming and many chose cattleraising for a living, the 
agent's demand for water reflected more the nation's goal 
of acculturation rather than the tribes' economic interests.^' 
Despite this desire to "civilize" the Indians, the need 
of the reservation Whites for a dependable water supply 
was the determining factor in Logan's request to uphold 
the tribes' water rights to the Milk River. Even though 
Logan perceived agricultural skills as an important factor 
in acculturation, he emphasized White leasing and owner- 
ship of reservation land as the key to the tribes' eventual 
assimilation into the dominant society. The reservation 
Whites would employ the Assiniboines and the Gros 
Ventres who refused to farm and would serve as examples 
of industry and progress to these recalcitrant Indians. By 
1905, many Whites rented or owned large sections of the 
tribal property. Some local settlers married Indian women 
and began to farm land and to graze stock for free on the 
reservation. Of the 5,000 acres of irrigated land, the Assini- 
boines and the Gros Ventres used approximately half of 
this area while reservation Whites and the agricultural 
school tilled the remainder. Since the tribes irrigated most 
of their property from streams and springs, the absence 
of water in the Milk River affected at least as many Whites 
as Indians. Finally, Logan received more than $10,000 in 
grazing permits that year despite canceling many leases 
due to the water shortage.*^ 

Besides these Whites who already lived on the reser- 
vation or who rented property, Logan was attempting to 
lure more businesses and ranchers onto tribal lands. The 
agent encouraged local farmers and corporations to grow 
sugar beets on the reservation in order to employ those 
Indians who refused to till the soU. In implementing his 
sugar beet program, he offered at least 10,000 acres of in- 
expensive irrigated land to W. B. French of Harlem, Mon- 
tana, to H. H. Nelson and to David Eccles, Henry H. 
Rolapp and Matthew S. Browning. This acreage repre- 
sented at least four times more irrigated land than the In- 
dians presently used. Also, Logan began to negotiate with 
the Amalgamated Sugar Company to establish a large 
sugar beet operation. Moreover, he desired to lease sec- 
tions of land to White ranchers, including thousands of 
acres to the Matador Cattle Company from Trinidad, Col- 
orado, and to Edward A. Lacock.*^ 

Through his ambitious leasing program, Logan had in- 
duced many Whites to move onto the reservation by 1905. 
Additionally, he had promised thousands of acres more 
of land to sugar beet growers and grazers. However, a 
thriving White economy depended upon a reliable water 
supply. Many stockgrowers threatened not to renew their 
leases if sufficient water were not available. Before agree- 
ing to rent land for sugar beet crops or grazing, busi- 
nessmen demanded irrigated land and an adequate water 

Without water, the Whites would leave the reserva- 
tion. To Logan, governmental officials and many Eastern 
reform groups such as the Indian Rights Association, the 
absence of a White presence removed the "civilizing" in- 
fluence from the Indians' lives. Logan believed that in 
order to assimilate the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres 
successfully. Fort Belknap needed a stable economy and 
a reliable water supply. As a result, the reservation Whites' 
economic requirements and the acculturative goals of 
American Indian policy were the determining factors in the 
federal government's support of Indian water rights. There 
was little interest in regaining the water in order for the 
Indians to build a self-supporting economy of their choice. 
In 1905, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Francis Leupp 
ordered the District Attorney General to sue Henry Winter, 
Mose Anderson and the other ranchers. ^^ 

On June 26, 1905, Attorney General Carl Rasch, on 
behalf of the federal government and the tribes, sued the 
Montana ranchers and demanded that these Whites allow 
5,000 inches of water to flow down the river. The defen- 
dants objected, stating that they received their priority 
water rights legally from Montana and that these state 
patents were superior to the Indians' claims. Rasch insisted 
that the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres had utilized 
the river long before the Whites had settled in the area and 
thus possessed a priority title. Judge William H. Hunt of 
the Ninth Circuit Court of the District of Montana listened 
to these contentions and issued his decision on August 7, 

In addition to the legal concerns. Hunt also empha- 
sized social, economic and political reasons for his affir- 
mation of the Indians' water rights. He pointed out that 
in order to sustain their culture and society, these tribes 
had used the Milk River for over a century. Consequently, 
when the Indians relinquished their title to much of the 
surrounding land in the 1888 agreement, they did not 
release their claim to the river, for they realized that the 
water was necessary to survive on the arid Plains. The 
judge stated that: 

The parties to the [1888] agreement appreciated this necessity 
[need for irrigation], and purposely fixed a boundary line of 
the reservation at a point in the middle of the main channel 
of Milk River ... I believe the intention was to reserve suffi- 
cient of the waters to insure to the Indians the means wherevnth 
to irrigate their farms.^' 

Political issues also irvfluenced the court's decision. 
Without water, the Indians could not achieve economic in- 
dependence and hence would remain dependent upon the 
federal government for survival. The judge pointed out 
that this situation would be unfair to the tribes and to the 
American taxpayers. Since assimilation required a self- 
sufficient Indian economy, irrigation was necessary to 
fulfill the goals of American Indian policy.*^ 

This court's justifications in upholding the tribes' rights 
to water served as a model for other legal interpretations 

Judge William H. Hunt upheld the Indians' water rights in a 1905 
decision, stressing the social, economic and political concerns. 


of this case. After an appeal by the Winter and Anderson 
parties, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed 
the lower branch's decision. On February 5, 1906, Judge 
Hawley wrote that "... the Government and the Indians, 
in agreeing to the terms of the treaty [1888 agreement], 
acted in the utmost good faith toward each other . . . [and] 
that they knew that the soil could not be cultivated without 
the use of water to irrigate the same."'" Encountering 
failure again in the judicial system, the White ranchers 
turned to the Supreme Court for a different explanation 
of the facts. 

In Winters v United States, the 1908 U.S. Supreme 
Court's decision upheld the tribes' water rights. Chief 
Justice Joseph McKenna concurred with the lower courts' 
considerations and stated that the Fort Belknap Indians 
preserved their resource claims in the 1888 treaty. 
The Indians had command of the lands and the waters- 
command of all their beneficial use, whether kept for hunting, 
"and grazing roving herds of stock" or turned to agriculture 
and the arts of civilization. Did they give up all this [in the 1888 
agreement]? Did they reduce the area of their occupation and 
give up the waters which made it valuable or adequate? . . . 
It would be extreme to believe that . . . Congress destroyed 
the reservation and took from the Indians the consideration of 

their grant, leaving them a barren waste— took from them the 
means of continuing their old habits, yet did not leave them 
the power to change to new ones.^° 

Even though no specific clause of the agreement defined 
these rights, the Indians realized that the land was worth- 
less without water. When the tribes ceded some of their 
ancestral land to the United States, they obviously did not 
intend to relinquish all of their water. ^^ 

The court also based its decision upon federal jurisdic- 
tion of reserved land. When the Indians signed the 1888 
agreement, the federal government withdrew all the public 
land that comprised the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. 
Because the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the implied 
reservation of Indian water rights, any future state laws 
could not violate these Indian claims. As a result, Henry 
Winter's diversion of the Milk River was in violation of 
federal intent and national laws.'^ 

The 1908 decision set an important precedent in defin- 
ing Indian water rights. The judges upheld the tribes' 
rights to water and denied state interference in the Native 
Americans' diversion of reservation rivers, streams or 
lakes. In spite of these provisions, however. Western 
pressure in Congress and the continued federal emphasis 

:-f->r •>• 


Dam across the Milk River at high water. The Fort Belknap Indian School stands nearby. 

on local White control of reservation development pre- 
vented the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres from im- 
mediately realizing the complete potential of their claims. 
Economic, social and legislative issues greatly affected 
the Supreme Court's decision. The same forces that in- 
fluenced this ruling also determined the manner in which 
Congress interpreted the judgment. In 1908, White society 
was not culturally pluralistic, and federal officials did not 
recognize the validity of a reservation economy controlled 
by the Indians. Instead, the pessimistic assimilation which 
characterized American Indian policy from 1900-1920 
shaped the administrators' attitudes toward the Winters 

Even though the Assiniboines' and Gros Ventres' 
social and financial needs influenced the federal govern- 
ment's decision to sue the Montanans, the decisive 
pressure to restore the flow of the Milk River came from 
the White reservation ranchers and agent Logan. Thus, 
Fort Belknap's conquest in the Supreme Court battle was 
more a victory for the Whites' motives than for the Indians' 
desires. Federal officials used the Winters guarantee of 
reservation irrigation to induce businessmen and settlers 
into leasing or buying more tribal lands. As a result, a court 
decision which supposedly upheld tribal water rights in 
reality promoted White ownership of the Indians' land and 

From 1908-1925, the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres 
slowly lost control of most of their resources and witnessed 
the erosion of their economy. Despite the Winters decision. 
Whites soon gained possession of the tribes' water. In 
1909, the Bureau of Reclamation assumed jurisdiction of 
the reservation's Milk River Irrigation Project and increased 
the canals' size and lengths. Money for this construction 
came from the Indian Service funds, yet the agency fun- 
nelled most of the additional water to off-reservation 
ranches. As agent Logan declared: 

In some cases I think a careful investigation will show that the 
irrigation of the Indian lands is a secondary consideration in 
the calculations of the Reclamation Service, and it will be found 
that the canals are to be extended beyond the reservation boun- 
dary and the waters used on other lands . . . this means a much 
increased cost, and if this cost is paid from Indian Service money 
. . . then some one other than the Indians will reap the 

The Fort Belknap Indians paid for a larger irrigation system 
that benefitted White landowners throughout northern 
Montana. 54 

In addition to receiving no added advantages from the 
Bureau of Reclamation projects, the tribes also consumed 
less water due to the large influx of Whites onto the 
reservation. The agents used the easily accessible canal 
system to induce many businesses and cattlemen to lease 
or buy Indian lands. With the promise of sufficient water 
and cheap property, superintendent Logan rented thou- 
sands of acres of irrigated land to sugar companies 
for the growing of sugar beets. By 1915, the Matador Cat- 
tle Company grazed over 15,000 cattle, about five times 

the combined size of the Indians' herds. The only stipula- 
tion attached to most of these leases was the requirement 
of the Whites to irrigate the land.'^ 

Due to these leasing practices, the tribal economy was 
in shambles by 1925. Since Whites controlled over 58% of 
the tribes' irrigated lands, the Indians did not expand their 
businesses or increase their use of the resource. Conse- 
quently, the decade long drought that struck northern 
Montana starting in 1915 destroyed many of the tribes' 
farms and most of the stockraising industry. The agents 
exacerbated this situation by allowing the Whites to ap- 
propriate most of the dwindling water supply. Within 
seventeen years after the Winters decision, the Indians had 
lost control of their water and land, and had witnessed the 
disintegration of their economy. Instead of becoming a self- 
sufficient people, the Assiniboines and the Gros Ventres 
owned a minority of the reservation and did not manage 
their resources. '* 

Despite its guarantee of water, the Winters Doctrine 
did not prevent the economic and social disasters that the 
Indians encountered after 1908. There were two reasons 
for this. First, the Supreme Court judges provided the legal 
interpretation, but the legislators determined how the deci- 
sion was applied to the reservation. Federal officials be- 
lieved that White ownership of Indian resources best 
served the assimilative and economic interests of the tribes 
and the country. Only when the Native Americans later 
gained some control over reservation affairs did the Winters 
decision provide some protection of the tribes' water. 5'' 

Second, the Winters Doctrine contained ambiguities 
and omissions which prevented many Indians from real- 
izing their water rights. The 1908 decision only applied to 
those tribal lands such as Fort Belknap that were reserved 
by executive agreement between the Indians and the 
United States. The government administrators refused to 
uphold the Indians' water rights on the reservations 
formed by treaties, legislative bills or executive orders. 
Westerners continued to appropriate tribal water on most 
of the reservations, and a majority of Native Americans 
gained no immediate legal protection from the Winters case.^ 

The court also neglected to define who owned the 
water rights on the ceded portions of the Indians' territory. 
For example, in 1905, Congress obtained sections of the 
Wind River, Uintah, Flathead, Blackfoot and Yakima reser- 
vations to buOd irrigation systems and to open these for- 
merly arid lands for White settlement. McKenna failed to 
clarify whether the national or state governments exerted 
control over these irrigated tracts. With the Congressional 
emphasis upon local White ownership of tribal resources, 
the states assumed jurisdiction of these regions and pre- 
vented the Indians from acquiring their water rights in 
these areas. Confusion increased when some of these lands 
were later returned to the Indians, such as on the Wind 
River Reservation in Wyoming. Did the tribes' priority 
rights on these tracts extend to the original treaty or begin 
when the lands were returned?^' 


These omissions and vague terminology have kept In- 
dian water rights in flux to the present. The two most con- 
troversial interpretations extending from the 1908 decision 
are the determination of the exact water quantity that the 
Indians possessed and who reserved the Indians' rights 
to the water. William H. Veeder and other students of tribal 
water rights contend that the Assiniboines and the Gros 
Ventres reserved the rights to the Milk River. Since these 
Indians had always utilized the northern Montana waters, 
they established an "immemorial foundation" in that they 
had used the Milk River as long as could be remembered. 
According to the law of prior appropriation, these peo- 
ple possessed senior water rights, and any state titles to 
the Milk River could not interfere with this claim. ''° These 
researchers note that in the 1908 Winters case, McKenna 
stated that ". . . the Indians had command of the lands 
and the waters— command of all their beneficial use."*^ 

Other people disagree. They assert that the federal 
government reserved the water for the tribes. Thus, the 
Indians' rights to this resource began with the creation of 
the reservation. Any Whites who diverted the river or 
streams before this date had the senior water rights. The 
Winters decision also supports this position. '^ McKenna 
stated that "... the government is asserting the rights 
of the Indians."*' Later court cases have not clarified this 

The 1908 Supreme Court was also vague on the quan- 
tity of water that the Indians reserved. In one part of the 
case, the judges indicated that the tribes possessed rights 
to the entire flow of the Milk River. But, in another area, 
they contended that the Indians were entitled to the 
amount of water sufficient for irrigation.*^ 

To add to this confusion, the judges ruled that the In- 
dians would not lose their water rights if they were not 
using the resource at the time. Due to population growth 
and the probable expansion in agriculture and stockrais- 
ing, the judges recognized that the tribes' water re- 
quirements would eventually increase. In more recent 
court cases, other judges and many lawyers agreed with 
this interpretation and defined the quantity of water re- 
served for Indian consumption as the amount needed to 
fulfill present and future needs. ^^ 

This formula was vague and confounding, for it failed 
to provide a precise quantity that the tribes could ap- 
propriate legally without complaints from the local Whites. 
Because the Winters decision did not clarify this ambiguous 
measurement, decades of litigation ensued between White 
ranchers and the nearby reservations. Finally, in 1963, the 
Supreme Court attempted to resolve this issue. In Arizona 
V California,^'' the judges determined that the Indians' por- 
tion of the Colorado River was the volume of water needed 
to irrigate all potential agricultural land on the reservation. 
This decision applied to the tribes on the Chemehuevi, 
Cocopah, Yuma, Colorado River and Fort Mohave reser- 
vations. *^ 

This interpretation clarified some aspects of the issue 


but neglected to set measurable guidelines in determin- 
ing the water quantity for all Indian lands. The court ruled 
that these Indians' water rights began with the creation 
of their reservations. However, these five reservations were 
established by either an act of Congress or an executive 
order. The judges remained sOent on the priority rights 
for those tribes on reserves formed by treaties or agree- 
ments. In addition, assessing water volume by the amount 
of irrigable agricultural land was as imprecise and confus- 
ing as the "future use" method. As a result, the debate 
continues over this feature of Indian water rights. 

In addition to the debate over quantity, water quality 
has become an important issue. Water pollution was not 
a pertinent question in 1908, and the Winters Doctrine does 
not directly address the problem. Nevertheless, the in- 
creased upstream contamination by industry and urban 
areas decreases the usable amount of Native American 
water claims. To many tribes, pollution minimizes the 
quanfity of their guaranteed appropriafions and, therefore, 
violates the intent of the Winters decision. The Spokane 
and Quinault tribes in Washington state have recently ex- 
perienced problems concerning water quality.** 

As is the case with water quantity and quality, much 
controversy exists concerning the use of appropriated 
water. The 1908 court concluded that the tribes could 
employ their water for purposes of irrigation. However, 
later court decisions have contended that the Native 
Americans may utilize their water for agriculture and other 
beneficial uses. To the Indians, the "other beneficial uses" 
clause indicated that they could implement their water for 
any type of improvements that they desired. After World 
War II, some tribes such as the Navajo, Crow and North- 
ern Cheyenne appropriated their water for the commer- 
cial development of their coal, gas and uranium deposits. 

Since commercialization requires more water than the 
limited farming previously pursued on the reservations, 
many ranchers, industries and urban dwellers complained 
of these additional appropriations of a dwindling resource. 
Whites desired that employment of reservation water be 
restricted to agricultural purposes only. This definition 
severely confines the "other beneficial uses" clause and 
prevents the Native Americans from completely utilizing 
their water allocation. Presently, Whites continue in their 
attempts to restrict the application of Indian water rights 
and thus retard the development of tribal economic in- 
dependence on some reservations.*' 

Even though the 1908 Supreme Court judges appointed 
the national government as the protector of Indian water 
rights, federal officials have been among the worst trans- 
gressors of the Winters principles. Tweedy v Texas Co^" 
substantiates this charge. The United States District Court 
of Montana limited Native American claims by setting the 
reserved water quantity at what the tribes beneficially 
employed at the present time. This conclusion violated the 
future use clause.''' 

In the past few years, the United States Supreme Court 

Group of Assiniboines ready to round up cattle. 

has been reluctant to uphold Indian water rights. Culmi- 
nating in the 1983 case of Arizona v San Carlos Apache Tribe/^ 
the court has recently penrutted state courts to decide ques- 
tions concerning the tribes' legal rights to water. Since local 
judges have not traditionally protected the Indians' Winters 
rights, their decisions could reduce the Indians' claims to 
the region's streams and lakes. In following this new 
philosophy, the Wind River Reservation tribes are pres- 
ently defending their water rights in the Wyoming courts. ^^ 
In addition to the courts' attempted restrictions, federal 
agencies such as the Bureau of Reclamation blatantly ig- 
nore the Winters Doctrine. Throughout this agency's 
history, it has adhered to the strictest interpretation of In- 
dian water rights in order to promote federal and private 
resource development. Even though the 1937 decision in 
Shoshoni Tribes of Indians v United States^* prohibited federal 
theft of Native American priority rights, the BR continues 
the policy of limiting tribal water allotments. For example, 
the bureau sold Indian clainis without tribal consent to in- 
dustrial users of the Big Horn River and the Big Horn Lake. 
Also, the Reclamation Service's Pyramid Lake Project has 
reduced the Paiute water supply by one-third and has en- 

dangered the tribe's economy by raising the salinity con- 
tent of the lake, thereby killing the trout. ''^ 

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has also bargained away 
Indian water rights. In the coal, uranium and oil leases 
of the 1950s and 1960s, the BIA not only leased or sold tribal 
resources for low royalties, but the agency also allowed 
White industries to appropriate much of the reservation 
water, just as Logan and other agents had done on the Fort 
Belknap Reservation earlier. Since the late 1960s, Indian 
activist groups such as CERT (Council of Energy Resource 
Tribes) and NARF (Native American Rights Fund) have re- 
gained some of these past losses.''* 

Federal officials' reluctance to guarantee tribal water 
claims illustrates an important principle in Indian-White 
relations. Even though a governmental decision such as 
the Winters Doctrine upholds basic civil rights for the In- 
dians, no White organization, including the federal govern- 
ment, will always preserve those liberties. The events on 
the Fort Belknap Reservation and the continued violations 
of Indian water rights support this contention. The pro- 
tection of tribal freedoms occurred only after the Native 
Americans became active in the political and judicial pro- 


cess, especially in the 1960s and the 1970s. The events sur- 
rounding the Winters decision demonstrate that the Indians 
and not the Whites must determine the tribes' futures. 
Through these controversies, the Winters Doctrine re- 
mains important today. Unfortunately, lawyers often 
debate the varying interpretations of this 1908 case from 
a strictly legal perspective. While judicial matters certainly 
have significance, the more important cultural aspects 
rarely become a determirung factor in the courts' or govern- 
ments' decision making process. Yet, throughout many 
reservations, the Indians need water to maintain their 
society and to achieve some economic independence in 
their lives. The roots of the Winters Doctrine and Indian 
water rights stem from the social, economic and political 
forces surrounding the Fort Belknap Reservation at the turn 
of the century. These cultural considerations are crucial to- 
day for a complete understanding of the American Indians' 
water rights and their desire for self-determination. 

1. Norris Hundley, Jr., Water and the West: The Colorado River Compact 
and the Politics in the American West (Berkeley: University of Califor- 
nia Press, 1975); Hundley, "The 'Winters' Decision and Indian Water 
Rights: A Mystery Reexamined," in Western Historical Quarterly 13, 
No. 1 (January 1982); See also Michael A. Massie, "The Defeat of 
Assimilation and the Rise of Colonialism on the Fort Belknap Reser- 
vation, 1873-1925," in American Indian Culture and Research Journal 7, 
No, 4 (1984). 

2. John C. Ewers, Blackfeet Indians: Ethnological Report On The Blackfeet 
and Gros Ventre Tribes of Indians (New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 
1974), pp. 52-53; Michael Stephen Kennedy, The Assiniboines: From 
the Accounts of the Old Ones Told to First Boy (James Larpenteur Long) 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), pp. xxiv-xxx; A.C. 
Breton, "The Stoney Indians," in Man (1920):65; Robert H. Lowie, 
"The Assiniboine, " Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of 
Natural History 4, part 1 (November 1909): 7-8; Raoul Anderson, 
"Alberta Stoney (Assiniboine) Origins and Adaptations: A Case for 
Reappraisal," Ethnohistory 17, nos. 1-2 (Winter-Spring 1970):50-58; 
Regena Hannery, The Gros Ventre of Montana (Washington, D.C.: The 
Catholic University of America Press, 1953), pp. 1-2; Alvin M. Josephy, 
Jr., The Indian Heritage of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974), 
pp. 116-117, 308, 310. 

3. Frank Raymond Decoy, Changing Military Patterns on the Great Plains: 
Seventeenth Century Through Early Nineteenth Century (Locust Valley, 
N.Y.: J. J. Augustin Pubhsher, 1953), pp. 41, 45-57, 66; Kennedy, 
The Assiniboines, pp. xxx-xxxii; David Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap 
Assiniboine of Montana," (Ph.D. dissertation. University of Penn- 
sylvania, 1938), pp. 2-3; Flannery, The Gros Ventres, pp. 53-61, 73-80; 
Clark Wissler, North American Indians of the Plains (New York: 
American Museum of Natural History, 1912), pp. 18-21; Melvin R. 
Gilmore, "Old Assiniboine Buffalo-Drive in North Dakota," Indian 
Notes 1, No. 4 (1924): 210; Elliot Coues, editor. The Manuscript Jour- 
nals of Alexander Henry and of David Thompson, 1799-1814: Exploration 
and Adventure Among the Indians on the Red, Saskatchewan, Missouri and 
Columbia Rivers, 2 vols. (New York: Francis P. Harper, 1897): I, pp. 
516-520; David Rodnick, "Political Structure and Status Among the 
Assiniboine Indians," American Anthropologist 39, No. 3 (]uly- 


September 1937): 408-409; Ewers, Blackfeet Indians, pp. 28-29; Sym- 
mes C. Oliver, "Ecology and Cultural Continuity as Contributing Fac- 
tors in the Social Organization of the Plains Indians," in Man in Adap- 
tation: The Cultural Present, ed. Yehudi A. Cohen (Chicago: Aldine 
Publishing Company, 1968), pp. 304-306; Charles Reher, Danny 
Walker and Sandra Todd, "Natural Environment and Cultural 
Ecology," in "Archaeology of the Eastern Powder River Basin," ed. 
George M. Zetmens and Danny N. Walker (Bureau of Land Manage- 
ment Contract #YA-512-RFP6-104, May 21, 1977), pp. 38-39; Robert 
F. Spencer and Jesse D. Jennings, The Native Americans (New York: 
Harper and Row Publishers, 1965), pp. 337-339. 

4. Charles A. Reher, "Ethnology and Ethnohistory," in "Archaeology 
of the Eastern Powder River Basin," ed. George M. Zeimens and 
Danny N. Walker (Bureau of Land Management Contract #YA- 
512-RFP6-104, May 21, 1977), pp. 198-200; Ewers, Blackfeet Indians, 
pp. 32-34; "Declaration of the Indian Rights to the Natural Resources 
in the Northern Great Plains States," Report, prepared by member 
tribes in the Native American Natural Resources Development Federa- 
tion of the Northern Great Plains in conjunction with the Native 
American Rights Fund, Bureau of Indian Affairs and private con- 
sultants, June, 1974, File 002635, Native American Rights Fund, 
Boulder, Colorado, p. 5; Edwin T. Denig, "Of the Assiruboines," 
edited by John C. Ewers, Missouri Historical Society Bulletin 8, No. 2 
Oanuary 1952): 122-123; William H. Veeder, "Indian Water Rights and 
Reservation Development," in Red Power: The American Indians' Fight 
For Freedom, ed. Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. (New York: American Heritage 
Press, 1971), p. 190; Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiniboine," p. 
26; Kennedy, "The Assiniboines," pp. xxv, 3-7. 

5. Secoy, Changing Military Patterns, pp. 39-41; Ewers, Blackfeet Indians, 
p. 47; Edward E. Barry, Jr., "From Buffalo to Beef: Assimilation on 
the Fort Belknap Reservation, " Montana Magazine 26, No. 1 (January 

6. Denig, "Of the Assiniboines," pp. 144-145, 147; Ewers, Blackfeet In- 
dians, pp. 165-166. 

7. Everett W. Sterling, "The Indian Reservation System on the North 
Central Plains," Montana Magazine 14, No. 2 (April 1964): 93-94; Barry, 
"From Buffalo to Beef," p. 41. 

8. W. L. Lincoln to Ezra A. Hoyt, October 7, 1878, Fort Belknap Indian 
Agency Papers, Box 17, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 
Record Group 75, Federal Archives and Records Center (Seattle, 
Washington). All correspondence cited hereafter can be found in the 
Fort Belknap Indian Agency Papers, Records of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, Record Group 75, Federal Archives and Records Center in 
Seattle, Washington; Lincoln to Hiram Price, April 3, 1882, and 
January, 1884, Box 17. 

9. Lincoln to Hoyt, August, 1879, Box 17; Lincoln to Price, May 1, 1882, 
Box 17; Edwin Fields to John H. Oberiy, August 31, 1888, Box 18. 

10. Lincoln to Price, August 22, 1884, Box 17. 

11. Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiniboine," p. 4. 

12. Ibid., p. 8. 

13. Ibid., pp. 4-5. 

14. Kennedy, The Assiniboines, p. 187; Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiru- 
boine," pp. 8-9. 

15. Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiniboine," pp. 88-92, 123-125. 

16. For a general background in 19th century assimilation policies see: 
Bernard W. Sheehan, Seeds of Extinction: Jeffersonian Philanthropy and 
the American Indian (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 
1973); Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr., Salvation and the Savage: An Analysis of 
Protestant Missions and American Indian Response, 1787-1862 (Lexington: 
University of Kentucky Press, 1965); and Francis Paul Prucha, 
American Indian Policy in Crisis: Christian Reformers and the Indian, 
1865-1900 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1976). 

17. Frederick E. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery: The Campaign to Assimilate 
the American Indians, 1880-1920," (Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis 
University, 1977), pp. 93-95, 99-104 (In 1984, Hoxie's dissertation was 
published under the book title A Final Promise: The Campaign to 

Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920); S. Lyman Tyler, A History of Indian 
Policy (Washington, D.C.; United States Department of Interior, 
Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1973), pp. 95-97; Brian W. Dippie, "That 
Bold But Wasting Race: Stereotypes and American Indian Policy," 
Montana Magazine 23, No. 1 (January 1973):4-6, 11-12; Prucha, American 
Indian Policy in Crisis, pp. 258-262; Hemy L. Dawes, "Defense of the 
Dawes Act," in Americanizing the American Indian: Writings by the 
'Friends of the Indians' 1880-1900, ed. Francis Paul Prucha (Lincoln; 
University of Nebraska Press, 1978), pp. 100-110. 

18. U.S. Statutes at Large, 25:113-133 (1888). 

19. Ibid. 

20. Fields to John H. Oberly, August 31, 1888, Box 18; A. O. Sinunons 
to Thomas Jefferson Morgan, November 25, 1891, Box 18; Luke C. 
Hays to William A. Jones, August 7, 1899, Box 19; Rodnick, "The 
Fort Belknap Assiruboine," pp. 6-7, 32; J. M. KeUey to Daniel M. 
Browning, December 8, 1893, Box 54. 

21. Sirrunons to Morgan, November 25, 1891, Box 18. 

22. Fields to Oberly, August 31, 1888, Box 18; Hays to Jones, August 9, 
1897, Box 18; Hays to Browning, August 8, 1896, Box 18; Rodiuck, 
"The Fort Belknap Assiniboine, " pp. 6-7, 9-10. 

23. Hays to Jones, August 13, 1893, Box 19. 

24. Hays to Browning, August 8, 1896, Box 18; Hays to Jones, August 
13, 1898, Box 19; U.S. Statutes at Urge, 26:989 (1891); 28:305 (1894); 
29:341 (1896); 29:350-353 (1895); 30:592 (1898); 33:1048 (1905); 34:330 
(1906); 34:1015-1017 (1907); 35:83 (1908). 

25. Hays to Browning, August 8, 1896, Box 18; 1931 Summary Irrigation 
Report, Fort Belknap Indian Agency Papers, Box 359, Records of the 
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, Federal Archives and 
Records Center (Seattle, Washington); Hays to Jones, August 7, 1899, 
Box 19; Hays to Jones, August 9, 1897, Box 18; William R. Logan to 
Francis Ellington Leupp, September 1, 1905, Box 20; A. E. Curmnings 
to Hays, April 25, 1898, Irrigation Program Records, Box 359. 

26. Hays to Jones, August 9, 1897, Box 18; Hays to Jones, August 7, 1899, 
Box 19; Hays to Jones, August 23, 1898, Box 19; Cummings to Hays, 
April 25, 1898, Box 359; Robe to Browning, August 5, 1893, Box 18. 

27. Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiniboine," p. 10; E. B. Meritt to Cato 
Sells, April 26, 1916, Box 30; Keimedy, The Assiniboines, p. 186; Logan 
to Returning Hunter, March 8, 1905, Box 57. 

28. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 214-217, 326-328. 

29. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 343-344, 365-367, 399-401; Tyler, A 
History of Indian Policy, pp. 96-106; Arrel Morgan Gibson, The American 
Indian, Prehistory to the Present (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath and 
Company, 1980), pp. 500-501, 507-508; Robert E. Berkhofer, Jr., The 
White Man 's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the 
Present (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), pp. 174-175: Wilcomb E. 
Washburn, The Indian in America (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 
1975), pp. 243-244, 246-249. 

30. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 419-432; U.S. Statutes at Large, 
29:350-353 (1895); Barry, "From Buffalo to Beef," pp. 41, 46; H. H. 
Miller to Sells, August 25, 1914, Box 22; Meritt to Sells, September 
7, 1915, Box 23; J. T. Marshall to Charles Henry Burke, February 17, 
1922, Box 27; Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiniboine," p. 15; Logan 
to Leupp, August 10, 1907, Box 21; Logan to Leupp, October 24, 1907, 
Box 21. 

31. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 422-432. 

32. Michael P. Malone and Richard B. Roeder, Montana: A History of Two 
Centuries (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976), pp. 125-126; 
Lincoln to Price, May 26, 1884, and August 5, 1884, Box 17. 

33. Norris Hundley, Jr., "The Dark and Bloody Ground of Indian Water 
Rights, Confusion Elevated to Principle," Western Historical Quarterly 
IX, No. 4 (October 1978): 459-460; Hundley, Water and the West, pp. 
66-69; Harold A. Ranquist, "The Winter's (sic) Doctrine and How 
It Grew," Brigham Young University Press 3 (1975):645-647; William 
H. Veeder, "Water Rights in the Coal Fields of the Yellowstone River 
Basin," in American Indians and the Law, ed. Lawrence Rosen (New 
Brunswick: Transaction Inc., 1976), pp. 80-81. 

34. Robert D. DeUwo, "Indian Water Rights— The Winters Doctrine Up- 
dated," Gonzaga Law Review 6 (Spring 1971):218-219; Edward W. Qyde, 
"Indian Water Rights," in Water and Water Rights, ed. Robert Em- 
met Clark (Indianapolis: The AUen Smith Company, 1967), pp. 
377-379; "The Right to Remain Indian: The Failure of the Federal 
Government to Protect Indian Land and Water Rights," Submitted 
to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by the AH Indian Pueblo 
Council, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 8, 1972, Folder 
002579, Native American Rights Fund, Boulder, Colorado, pp. 12-15; 
Arthur A. Butler, "Indian Reserved Water Rights and State Asser- 
tions of Power to Control Waters on the Reservation," in Studies in 
American Law, ed. by Ralph W. Johnson (Seattle: University of 
Washington Problems Seminar Study, 1974), p. 30. 

35. "United States v Mose Anderson et. al.: The Ninth Circuit Court of 
the United States for the District of Montana," (July 12, 1905, and 
March 4, 1906), Ninth Circuit Court Papers, Box 6659, District Court 
Records, Record Group 21, Federal Archives and Records Center 
(Seattle, Washington). All Ninth Circuit Court and Ninth Circuit Court 
of Appeals papers cited hereafter can be found in Box 6659, District 
Court Records, Record Group 21, Federal Archives and Records 
Center in Seattle, Washington; Malone and Roder, Montana, pp. 
134-135; Hundley, "The 'Winters' Decision," pp! 19-22. 

36. DeUwo, "Indian Water Rights," pp. 218-220; Hundley, "The Dark 
and Bloody Ground," p. 45; Logan to Leupp, September 1, 1905, 
Box 20; Logan to Carl Rasch, June 25, 1905, Box 57. 

37. Logan to Leupp, June 3, 1905, Box 20. 

38. Logan to Leupp, September 1, 1905, Box 20; Logan to Leupp, June 
3, 1905, Box 20; Logan to Rasch, June 18, 1905, Box 57; Logan to Rasch, 
June 25, 1905, Box 57; Logan to Rasch, July 11, 1905, Box 57; Logan 
to Cyrus C. Bobb, July 12, 1905, Box 57. 

39. Logan to Leupp, September 1, 1905, Box 20; Logan to Leupp, June 
3, 1905, Box 20; "United States v Henry Winters et. al. :Appeal from 
the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Montana," 
(9th Or. Ct. of Appeals, Feb. 5, 1906). 

40. Logan to Leupp, July 28, 1909, Box 21. 

41. "United States v Mose Anderson et. al.: Bill of Complaint," (9th Cir. 
Ct., June 26,1905); Logan to Leupp, June 3 and September 1, 1905, 
Box 20; Logan to Rasch, June 18, 1905, Box 57; Logan to Bobb, July 
12, 1905, Box 57. 

42. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 367, 404-434; Francis E. Leupp, The 
Indian and His Problem (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), 
pp. 79-86, 305-327; Dudley Haskell Burney, "The Indian Policy of 
the United States Government from 1870 to 1906 with Particular 
Reference to Land Tenure," (Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford Univer- 
sity, 1936), pp. 213-233; Simmons to Morgan, March 28, 1892, Box 
18; "United States v Mose Anderson et. al.: The Ninth Circuit Court 
of the United States for the District of Montana," (July 12 and 17, 
1905); Logan to Jones, August 26, 1902, Box 20; Logan to Leupp, July 
28, 1909, Box 21; Logan to Coburn Cattle Company, April 27, 1905, 
Box 57; Logan to Leupp, September 1, 1905, Box 20. 

43. Logan to W. B. French, September 28, 1905, Box 57; Report on the 
Agricultural Lease of Tribal Lands for Sugar Beet Culture, January 
22 and December 9, 1908, February 26, 1909, Box 365; Rodnick, "The 
Fort Belknap Assiniboine," pp. 15-16; Logan to Leupp, October 24, 
1907, August 10, 1907, July 25, 1909, Box 21; Logan to Valentine, July 
30, August 11, August 31, 1910, Box 21. 

44. Logan to Leupp, September 1, 1905, Box 20; Logan to French, 
September 28, 1905, Box 57; Logan to Leupp, June 19, 1905, Box 20; 
Logan to Rasch, June 18, 1905, and June 25, 1905, Box 57; Logan to 
Leupp, August 10, 1907, and July 25, 1908, Box 21. 

45. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 430-434, 472-473, 475; Hundley, 
"The 'Winters' Decision," pp. 22-23. 

46. "United States v Mose Anderson et. al.: Injunction Hearing," (9th 
Cir. Ct. July 17, 1905); "United States v Mose Anderson et. al.: De- 
fendant Hearings," (9th Cir. Ct. July 15-17, 1905); Hundley, "The 
'Winters' Decision," pp. 22-24. 


47. "The United States v Mose Anderson et. al.: Memorandum Order," 
(9th Cir. Cf. August 7, 1905). 

48. Ibid.; Monroe E. Price, Law and the American Indian (Indianapohs: 
Bobbs-MerriU Co., Inc., 1973), p. 316; Bill Leaphart, "Sale and Lease 
of Indian Water Rights," Montana Law Review 33 (Summer 1972):266; 
Logan to Belknap Ditch Company, April 5, 1906, Box 56; "United 
States V Mose Anderson et. al.: Petition for Order Allowing Appeal," 
(9th Cir. Cf. April 21, 1906); "The Right to Remain Indian," p. 13; 
Hundley, "The 'Winters' Decision," pp. 24-31. 

49. "The United States v Henry Winters et. al.; Appeals from the Cir- 
cuit Court of the United States for the District of Montana," (9th Cir. 
Ct. of Appeals, February 5, 1906). 

50. Winters v United States, 207 US 555-576 (1908), 143F 740 (1906). 

51. DeUwo, "Indian Water Rights— The Winters Doctrine Updated," pp. 
221-224; Leaphart, "Sale and Lease of Indian Water Rights," pp. 
266-267; Hundley, "The Dark and Bloody Ground," pp. 445-482; 
Stephan C. Kenyon, "The Reserved Right to Water Quality: A Winters 
Tale," in Studies in American Law, ed. Johnson, p. 9. 

52. Veeder, "Indian Prior and Paramoimt Rights," pp. 640-641; Ranquist, 
"The Winter's (sic) Doctrine and How It Grew," pp. 656-665; William 
H. Veeder, "Winters Doctrine Rights in the Missouri River Basin," 
submitted to the Native American Rights Fund, Boulder, Colorado, 
October 13, 1965, Folder #002309, pp. 5-7. 

53. Logan to Robert Grosvenor Valentine, November 17, 1909, Box 21. 

54. Ibid. 

55. Logan to Leupp, October 24, 1907, July 25, 1908, Box 22; Logan to 
Valentine, July 28, 1909, Box 22; Report on the Agricultural Lease 
of Tribal Lands for Sugar Beet Culture, January 22, 1908, Fort Belknap 
Indian Agency Papers, Box 365, Records of the Bureau of Indian Af- 
fairs, Record Group 75, Federal Archives and Records Center (Seat- 
tle, Washington); Miller to Sells, August 25, 1914, Box 23; Meritt to 
Sells, August 4, 1915, Box 24. 

56. Symons to Sells, February 25, 1920, Box 28; Summary Irrigation Data, 
1931, Box 359; J. T. Marshall to Charles Henry Burke, March 18, 1924, 
Box 28; Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap Assiniboine, " pp. 17-19; Hoxie, 
"Beyond Savagery," p. 483. 

57. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 430-434; Rodnick, "The Fort Belknap 
Assiniboine," pp. 73-82. 

58. Hoxie, "Beyond Savagery," pp. 430-432. 

59. Ibid. 

60. Veeder, "Winters Doctrine Rights in the Missouri River Basin," pp. 
3-9; "Declaration of Indian Rights to the Natural Resources in the 

Northern Great Plains States," June, 1974, Folder 002635, Native 
American Rights Fund, Boulder, Colorado, p. 5; Ranquist, "The 
Winter's (sic) Doctrine and How It Grew," p. 654. 

61. Winters v United States, 207 US 576. 

62. Leaphart, "Sale and Lease of Indian Water Rights," p. 272; Price, 
Law and the American Indian, p. 318; Clyde, "Indian Water Rights," 
p. 388; Hundley, "The Dark and Bloody Ground," pp. 462-469. 

63. Winters v United States, 207 US 576. 

64. Ibid., 207 US 564-578. 

65. Price, Law and the American Indian, p. 319; Leaphart, "Sale and Lease 
of Indian Water Rights," p. 272. 

66. Arizona v California 373 US 596, 598-601 (1963); 376 US 344-345 (1964). 

67. Monroe E. Price and Gary D. Weatherford, "Indian Water Rights 
in Theory and Practice: Navajo Experience in the Colorado River 
Basin," in American Indians and the Law, Lawrence Rosen (New 
Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1978), pp. 102-104; Clyde, "Indian 
Water Rights," p. 386; Hundley, Water and the West, pp. 302-303. 

68. Dellwo, "Indian Water Rights," pp. 239-240; Kenyon, "The Reserved 
Right to Water Quality," pp. 2-11. 

69. Veeder, "Indian Prior and Paramount Rights," p. 662; Price, Law and 
the American Indian, p. 319; Ranquist, "The Winter's (sic) Doctrine 
and How It Grew," pp. 657-658; Veeder, "Winters Doctrine Rights 
in the Missouri River Basin," pp. 15-23; Veeder, "Water Rights in 
the Coal Fields of the Yellowstone River Basin," pp. 89-90; Hundley, 
Water and the West, pp. 303-306. 

70. Tweedy v Texas Co., 286 F. Supp. 383 (District Court of Montana, 1968). 

71. Leaphart, "Sale and Lease of Indian Water Rights," p. 246; Veeder, 
"Water Rights in the Coal Fields of the Yellowstone River Basin," 
pp. 95-96. 

72. Arizona v San Carlos Apache Tribe, 1035. Ct. 3201 (1983). 

73. Mary Wallace, "The Supreme Court and Indian Water Rights," in 
American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century, Vine Deloria, Jr. (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), pp. 197-220. 

74. Shoshone Tribes of Indians v U.S., 299 U.S. 476, 497 (1937). 

75. Veeder, "Water Rights in the Coal Fields of the Yellowstone River 
Basin," p. 94; Pat Porter, "Indian Resources: Struggles Over Water 
Rights," The Christian Century 89, No. 7 (February 17, 1972);209-210; 
"Declaration of Indian Rights," pp. 3-4. 

76. Wallace and Page Stegner, "Arabs of the Plains," Atlantic 241, No. 
4 (April 1978): 72-74; Veeder, "Indian Water Rights and Reservation 
Development," pp. 191-195. 


When the 11th Infantry Regiment returned from the 
Philippine Islands in 1904 to take station at Fort D.A. 
Russell near Cheyenne, Wyoming, now Francis E. Warren 
Air Force Base, they brought war trophies taken in 1901 
from the village of Balangiga. An insurgency had broken 
out on the Islands in the Spring of 1899, soon after the end 
of the Spanish- American War, when various tribal and na- 
tional interests tried to take over. The United States ac- 
cepted the task of protecting and pacifying these Islands. 
A good part of the U.S. Army, regulars and volunteers, 
had been shipped to the Philippines by mid- 1900 to put 
down the insurrection; the number of troops there peaked 
then at 63, 000. ^ The treaty with Spain ending the Spanish- 
American War had resulted in the United States acquir- 
ing Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba and the Philippine Islands. 
The Philippines demanded the close attention of the U.S. 
Army for some time. 

duty, three officers and 72 enlisted. The commander of 
Company C, Captain Thomas W. Connell, was no new- 
comer to combat or the Philippines. He had graduated 
from the U.S. Military Academy in 1894, served at the Bat- 
tle of San Juan HUl in Cuba, saw combat in China with 
the American contingent of the China Relief Expedition 
and had participated in several engagements against Fili- 
pino insurgents in northern Luzon. Perhaps he should 
have known better, but he felt that the local Filipino of- 
ficials in Balangiga were s5Tnpathetic to the Americans and 
trustworthy, particularly the town's chief of police and the 

At 6:30 on the morning of September 28, 1901, when 
Company C was at breakfast in the mess tent, a surprise 
attack occurred. The trusted chief of police triggered the 
attack by signaling for the church bell or bells to ring. He 
and the town presidente then led the assault on Company 




by Gerald M. Adams 

Most important of the 11th Irifantry war trophies 
brought back from the Philippines were two bells and a 
cannon. Those trophies now occupy a place of honor near 
the flagpole in Trophy Park at the center of Francis E. 
Warren Air Force Base, a part of the rich heritage of this 
historic western military installation. 

Company C, 9th Infantry, occupied several buildings 
in the small garrisoned village of Balangiga on the island 
of Samar during the late summer of 1901, which included 
a convent adjacent to the chiirch. Filipino resistance had 
been expected to collapse with the capture of their leader, 
Emilio Aguinaldo, in July, 1901. A reduction in American 
forces, particularly the volunteers recruited by Congress 
expressly for the occasion, had begun even before Aguinal- 
do's capture. Still, guerilla warfare continued against the 
American troops in different parts of the Islands with dif- 
ferent factions, but in a less organized fashion. 

Even though frequent insurgent activity continued on 
the island of Samar throughout the summer of 1901, it 
seemed that an adequate force occupied Balangiga in 
September of that year; 75 men of Company C were on 

C with an estimated 400 native bolomen who emerged 
from various quarters of the village and the jungle that 
skirted the village.^ The long bolo knife served the native 
as a tool and a weapon, thus the term bolomen came to 
be applied to these men by American soldiers. Forbidden 
to own firearms, the bolomen captured or stole American 
rifles and ammunition for their insurgent operations. 

Three officers and 29 men, including the first ser- 
geant, were killed during the initial attack, plus several 
others whose bodies were never found. The senior non- 
commissioned officer present. Sergeant Frank Betron, 
organized a defense which successfully held off the at- 
tackers even though they had captured a good supply of 
arms and ammunition. Betron judged the Americans' posi- 
tion in Balangiga to be untenable and so collected the 
wounded and loaded the survivors into five barotos (native 
boats) docked at the foot of the village. He hoped to reach 
Basey, some 25 miles up the coast of Leyte Gulf, where 
Company G of the 9th Infantry was located. 

Before leaving the dock at Balangiga, three Americans 
returned to the village to try to burn the barracks and 


rescue the flag. Rifle fire from the insurgents prevented 
burning the barracks, but Private Qaude C. Wingo did suc- 
ceed in recovering the American flag. 

Betron reached Basey with two barotos the next morn- 
ing at 4 o'clock, September 29, and gave the alarm of the 
attack on Balangiga. His total party consisted of 25 in- 
cluding 22 wounded and two who had died enroute. The 
loss of life was finally established at three officers and 42 
men of Company C Eight of those were either killed at 
Balangiga, burned in the barracks by the insurgents or lost 
in the Gulf in the barotos that failed to reach Basey. Wingo 
was one of those lost from a baroto seen by a survivor to 
swamp in the Gulf.* 

An expedition to regain Balangiga left Basey on the 
steamship S.S. Pittsburg at 9 a.m. on September 29th with 
55 men of Company G, 9th Infantry. Commanded by Cap- 
tain Edwin V. Bookmiller, Company G landed at Balan- 
giga after a three hour trip and quickly recaptured the 
village. They first secured the commissary and ordnance 
supplies that had not been carried away by the insurgents. 
Bookmiller' s men then buried the three officers and 29 men 
killed the day before whose bodies still remained in the 
plaza. They were buried in the plaza in front of the church. 

Bookmiller knew that his force could not be absent 
from Basey for too long without inviting an "insurrecto" 
attack on Basey. Shortly after Balangiga was burned. Com- 
pany G re-embarked on the S.S. Pittsburg at 6:15 p.m. for 
the return trip to Basey, secure in the knowledge that not 
much was left in Balangiga that could help the insurgents. 

While enroute from Balangiga back to Basey, Book- 
miller and Company G encountered a steamer carrying 
Colonel Isaac D. DeRussy, commander of the 11th Infan- 
try Regiment, with 132 men from Companies K and L. 
They had been ordered from Tacloban to Balangiga by 
Department of the Visayas Commander, Brigadier General 
Robert P. Hughes, to "chastise the savages if found. "^ 

Although the insurgency movement on the island of 
Samar remained active for several more years, the Balangiga 
area quieted down after the September 28th attack. Units 
of the 11th Irifantry remained at Balangiga until October 
18, 1901, when they were relieved by the Marines. The 
Marines were in turn relieved by Company C of the 15th 

The prospect of the 11th Infantry returning in late 1903 
to the United States was well received in the Regiment. 
"We're Going Home," has been an announcement joy- 
ously received by American troops throughout the world 
and throughout the nation's history. The reduction of U.S. 
forces in the Philippines had brought the strength there 
to 843 officers and 14,667 enlisted by the end of 1903, down 
from 63,000 in 1900. 

While the 11th Infantry's experience at Balangiga 
proved to be much less eventful than the 9th Infantry's, 
the 11th Infantry brought home the war trophies. These 
included two large bronze bells cast in the late 19th cen- 
tury and a much older cannon. The bells had been taken 


because one or both had been used by the insurgents to 
signal the attack on Company C, 9th Infantry. The can- 
non had been taken from the plaza in front of the church 
because it looked like it might make a good war trophy. 

Fort D.A. Russell had been founded in 1867, concur- 
rently with and next to the city of Cheyenne, as a tem- 
porary twelve company infantry/cavaky post to protect the 
Union Pacific Railroad from the Indians. The post had been 
declared permanent in 1884 with good brick structures 
replacing many of the temporary wooden buildings. A 
reduction in size came with the permanent post status to 
an eight company complement. 

After the end of the Spanish-American War and with 
the Indian wars ended. Fort Russell came to be less im- 
portant than before. No major units were assigned on a 
permanent basis and the post stood in immediate danger 
of being closed. There were other western military installa- 
tions being dismantled at this time for minor reasons, but 
the reasons for closing Fort Russell included one major one. 
The army and Cheyenne had a disagreement over the divi- 
sion of Crow Creek water and it threatened the existence 
of the fort. The Department Commander's annual report 
to Washington, dated August 31, 1902, sounded gloomy 
indeed for the fort's future: 

The long standing controversy between the city of Cheyenne, 
Wyo., and the authorities of Fort D.A. Russell, Wyo., regard- 
ing certain water rights has reached such a stage as to render 
it necessary that the rights of the Government be ascertained 
and upheld, or the post be abandoned, or the garrison greatly 
reduced. This matter has already been made the subject of an 
official report forwarded to the Adjutant-General of the Army.' 

By 1904, the water problem had been resolved, most prob- 
ably with the help of Wyoming's Senator Francis E. War- 
ren, a member of the Senate Military Affairs Committee. 
Dr. T. A. Larson, of the University of Wyoming, gave a 
good example of the Senator's well-known political 
pragmatism in his book. History of Wyoming (revised), with 
these words, "... Warren favored a large standing ar- 
my, with as many men as possible stationed in Wyo- 
ming."'' The U.S. Army did not object and the assignment 
of the 11th Infantry opened a new era for Fort Russell and 
for Cheyenne. 

On March 23, 1904, the 11th Infantry Regiment with 
eight companies and all their equipment, commanded by 
Colonel Albert L. Meyer, started arriving at Fort Russell, 
happy to be back in the United States.* Another four com- 
panies were to follow within the year making one of the 
largest infantry complements that had so-far been stationed 
at the fort. The eight companies were housed in the eight 
brick infantry barracks built in 1884 (still in use) on the site 
of the early 1867 post. 

Soon after the 11th Infantry began arriving, a local 
newspaper report cited a sizeable appropriation forwarded 
to the Senate for building additional barracks and other 
buildings at Fort Russell to accommodate the additional 
units to be assigned. The article went on to say how much 

Cheyenne appreciated the efforts of Warren in making Fort 
Russell one of the most important military posts in the 
United States.' The post was being enlarged to become 
brigade size, which was achieved in 1910. A brigade usu- 
ally had three regiments assigned, consisting of infantry, 
cavalry and artillery. 

The 11th Infantry did not get around to unpacking all 
the war trophies from Balangiga for a while or maybe they 
were slow in arriving. On May 16, 1905, the Cheyenne Daily 
Leader newspaper reported that the cannon had been 
mounted on the parade ground near the flagpole along 
with other relics from the Philippines ". . .to include the 
famous bell which gave the signal for the massacre of a 
whole company." Two large bells three feet tall and a 
seven foot cannon were proudly displayed in front of the 
flagpole on the parade ground, named Marne Parade in 

the 1920s, after the famous World War I battlefield in 
France. A sign was installed over one of the bells that said; 

This bell hung in the church at Balangiga, Samar, PI, and rung 
the signal for the attack on Company C, 9th U.S. Infantry, Sept 
29 [28], 1901. Taken by Company L, 11th Infantry and detach- 
ment of Company K, 11th Infantry, the first units to reach the 
scene after the massacre. 

In 1910, Lieutenant Paul M. Goodrich, who had served 
with the 9th Infantry on Samar in 1901, visited Cheyenne 
and Fort Russell. The 11th Infantry's claim stated on the 
sign over the bell, of being the first to reach the scene of 
the massacre, disturbed Goodrich. He sent a picture of the 
beU and sign with a letter to the 9th Infantry Headquarters 
at Warwick Barracks, Cebu, P.l. The 9th Infantry promptly 
forwarded the letter and picture to Bookmiller in Boston 

The sign above the bell 

erroneously credited units of the 

11th Infantry with being the 

first to reach Balangiga after the 

battle. After further research, the 

sign was changed in 1911 giving 

proper credit to Company G, 9th 

Infantry, for recapturing 




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T/je an;;;/ displayed the cannon and bells as war trophies on the parade ground near the flagpole on the western part of the post soon after the 
11th Infantry returned from the Philippine Islands in March, 1904. The flagpole, cannon and hells were moved east on Randall Avenue in the 
mid-1920s to Trophy Park. 

for his comment." When Bookmiller's statement was 
received, the regimental commancier. Colonel C.J. Crane, 
requested in the 3rd Endorsement that the colonel of the 
11th Infantry look into the matter and set the record 
straight. According to Crane, who was also in the Philip- 
pines in 1901, "... the best claim to priority of arrival at 
Balangiga after the massacre belongs to Capt. Bookmiller 
and his Company G of the 9th Inf." 

A total of fifteen endorsements were added over the 
next six months from officers who were in the Philippines 
in 1901. In 1910, they were stationed at West Point, N.Y., 
Boston, Massachusetts, San Antonio, Texas, Washington, 
D.C. and several different Army headquarters in the Philip- 
pines. The respondents unanimously agreed with Book- 
miller's report of being first on the scene with Com- 
pany G, 9th Infantry, after the massacre at Balangiga in 
September, 1901. When this mass of evidence reached him. 
Colonel Arthur Williams, commander 11th Infantry on 
maneuvers in Texas, agreed in one of the concluding en- 


dorsements: "The inscription over the bells at Fort D.A. 
Russell, Wyoming, clearly appears to be erroneous, and 
will be corrected at the first opportunity." 

One of many interesting comments sparked by Good- 
rich's letter came from Major General James Franklin Bell 
at Headquarters PhOippines Division in Manila. Bell had 
been in the Philippines in 1901, served as Chief of Staff, 
U.S. Army in Washington from 1906 to 1910, and was back 
in the Philippines in 1911. In the 7th endorsement dated 
March 23, 1911, he made this statement: 

There seems no doubt that the 9th Infantry was first to arrive 
at Balangiga after the massacre. ... In this connection it may 
be appropriate to question the propriety of taking (even as a 
souvenir) a bell belonging to the Catholic church simply be- 
cause a recreant native priest either used it or permitted it 
to be used to sound a signal of attack on American soldiers. 
The bell belonged to the church and not to the priest. It was 
not the fault of the church but that of the priest that it was mis- 

When the 11th Infantry departed for the Mexican 
border in February, 1913, in response to the dangerous 
situation developing in Mexico, the war trophies stayed 
in front of the flagpole at Fort Russell. Orders had been 
received at 6 p.m. and the first section of the 11th Infantry 
entrained at midrught for Galveston, Texas. ^^ The 11th In- 
fantry had expected to return to Fort Russell when the 
emergency ended in Mexico, but that was not to be. The 
11th Infantry was never again able to call Fort Russell 

As the years passed, the cannon and the bells became 
a familiar part of the post scene in front of the flagpole on 
the Marne Parade. The building program continued from 
1904 to 1912 and moved the center of the post eastward 
toward Cheyenne. When World War I broke out in 1917, 
the infantry, cavalry and artillery regiments were soon in 
France or on their way. Fort Russell served as an induc- 
tion center and when the war was over, a discharge center. 
It did not take long after the war to regain a full brigade 
status with infantry, cavalry and artillery units again in 

In the 1920s, the flagpole was relocated from the Marne 
Parade eastward to a more central location on the main 
thoroughfare, a small triangular plot on Randall Avenue 
named Trophy Park. The cannon and bells went along, the 
cannon mounted on the same simple metal frame and the 
bells resting on a thin wooden platform. On January 1, 
1930, the post's name changed from Fort D. A. Russell to 
Fort Francis E. Warren, in honor of the late and long-time 
Wyoming senator. 

In early 1941, when America began to rearm prior to 
entering World War II, Fort Warren changed missions; no 
longer would the combat arms of infantry, cavalry and ar- 
tillery be assigned. The post became a Quartermaster Re- 
placement Training Center (QRTC) in 1941, and a very 
large one with troop strength reaching some 20,000 in 1943. 
In 1947, the mission and service changed— Fort Francis E. 
Warren became Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, also 
known as F. E. Warren AFB, with the mission of technically 
training young airmen. Things stayed much the same in 
Trophy Park with not much attention paid to the bells or 

The years rolled by and memories faded, records were 
lost or destroyed during World War II and people forgot 
what the trophies were doing in Trophy Park. The bells 
may have been stored for a while. When the Strategic Air 
Command (SAC) started shopping in the mid-1950s for a 
suitable area to deploy the first intercontinental ballistic 
missiles (ICBMs), Warren AFB offered an excellent head- 
quarters basing site. The Trairiing Command training Hus- 
sion could easily be transferred to another base. The op- 
portunity to be the first ICBM base posed an excitement 
indeed for the Cheyenne community, military and civilian 

A new command, new faces and new interests raised 
some new questions, or questions about some old articles. 

the bells and cannon in Trophy Park. It was felt that their 
historical value should be established, if they had any 
historical value and accountability assigned to some 
responsible agency if the bells and cannon were to be re- 
tained at Warren AFB. There was some sentiment for ship- 
ping the bells back to the Philippines, or somewhere. So 
little was known about the cannon in the 1950s that it was 
sometimes referred to as a swivel gun, another tj^e of gun 
entirely. A 1957 memo to the Base Commander from the 
Information Services Officer reflected the difficulty often 
encountered when trying to establish long dormant his- 
torical values: 

Basic questions involved with regard to the bronze swivel gun 
and other items of historical value at Warren Air Force Base 
remain unanswered. Correspondence on the questionable 
items originated from this office as a result of a Base Inspector 
report that accountability for these items must be assigned to 
some responsible agency." 

As a means of trying to recapture the history of the 
bells and cannon, queries were sent from the base to 
various archival and historical agencies asking for infor- 
mation. The base might have indicated some willingness 
in those queries to dispose of both the bells and cannon. 
In any case, some interesting replies were received. A let- 
ter from the Historian, Thirteenth Air Force located in the 
Philippines, stated that the cannon had very little value 
but the bells were another matter.^* He suggested that it 
would be a very fine public relations gesture for the Air 
Force to return the bells to the Philippines. He also offered 
to work out all the details for returning the bells. 

In 1982, 24 years later, the same historian related an 
interesting story to a Department of the Air Force historic 
preservation officer visiting the Philippines. According to 
the historian's irvformation, the bells at Warren AFB came 
from a mission near Fort Stotsenberg, earlier located close 
to the present American Clark Air Base. These bells had 
been taken by American troops to prevent the mustering 
of Filipino "insurrectos" during the insurgency. He sug- 
gested the existence and location of the bells be verified 
and the possibility of their return to the Philippines be con- 
sidered. The public relations benefits of returning the bells 
to the Philippines again was mentioned. ^' There have been 
more recent requests for the bells and they have been 
answered with a polite no. 

Another respondent, this one a firearms consultant in 
Princeton, New Jersey, speculated in 1957, that the bells 
and cannon were of some value and should not be de- 
stroyed. He did not think that West Point or Annapolis 
would be interested in the material, but the National Park 
Department would welcome them for installation some- 
place. The department had many tracts of land throughout 
the United States which needed some form of decoration. 
The Princeton consultant concluded with this, "... my 
feeling is that it is safer for posterity where some young 
regular Army officer will not be able to send it to be melted 
down the next time we have an emergency. "^* 


After Warren AFB had been a SAC ICBM base for 
almost ten years, the late Colonel Robert J. Hill, com- 
mander of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing, decided in 1967, 
that the bells deserved a better presentation. He had an 
attractive curved red brick wall constructed in Trophy Park 
for the bells with a handsome bronze plaque on the wall 
between the bells telling the story of the Massacre at 
Balangiga. A faint inscription appears on the back of both 
bells that has been there many years: 






Some uncertainty has remained as to whether there 
were one or two bells in the church at Balangiga, or 
whether one or two bells were used to signal the attack 
on Company C, 9th Infantry. There could have been a bell 
in the church and one in the plaza. Several references men- 
tion a bell and certainly most viUage churches in the Philip- 
pines, or anywhere else in the world, are lucky to have 
one bell. But the 11th Infantry brought home two large bells 
about three feet high and supposedly from Balangiga. If 
they acquired the second bell in Balangiga, did it come from 
the church? The caption on the sign over the bell that 
aroused Goodrich's ire in 1910 simply stated, "This bell 
hung in the church at Balangiga and rung the signal for 
the attack on Company C. . . ." 

Both bells show the Franciscan emblem, the cross with 
human arms crossed in front and the stigmata on the 
hands. The Franciscans are a religious order founded in 
the 13th century. Another religious order, the Society of 
Jesus better known as the Jesuits and founded in 1534, had 
been on Samar until 1768 when they were expelled from 
the Philippines. ''' The Franciscans carried on the work of 
the Jesuits. The bells were cast after the expulsion of the 
Jesuits, one showing a date of 1863, and the other 1889. 
A parish priest's name, Agustin Delgrado, appears on the 
1889 bell but there is no identification of church or village. 

Some conjecture has appeared in recent years that the 
bells were brought from the Philippines to the United 
States on the battleship Wyoming in 1904. No evidence 
has been found to support such a happening. On the con- 
trary, battleships are not good troop transports and have 
rarely been used for such purposes. It seems more 
reasonable to believe that the bells and gun were brought 
to the United States in 1904 along with the unit equipment 
of the 11th Infantry Regiment and on the same troop 
transport ship. 

After fixing up the bells nicely in 1967, Colonel HUl ap- 
parently did not see much need to do anything for the 
cannon. It stayed on its simple metal stand in front of the 
flagpole, exposed to the elements and small children who 
liked to stuff things down its 2.5 inch barrel opening. 
Periodically the cannon would get a fresh coat of paint, 
usually a tepid green. 


The project to reconstruct the history of the bells and 
cannon, started in the mid-1950s, continued through the 
years and did bring in some useful information, but not 
enough. The cannon might have gotten a new coat of paint 
as a result of it all. One of the most useful letters received 
came from retired Army Colonel William Alexander, 
whose father. Captain Robert Alexander, had served as 
quartermaster of the 11th Infantry in 1901-1904.1' Captain 
Alexander had been largely responsible for shipping the 
war trophies from the Philippines when the 11th Infantry 
left to take station at Fort Russell in 1904. Alexander, later 
a major general, had been aware of the origins of the can- 
non, according to his son, and had probably been respon- 
sible for selecting it as a regimental war trophy. 

In 1979, and partly as a result of Colonel William Alex- 
ander's earlier letters urging that inquiries be made to 
England, 1' Wing Historian Staff Sergeant William E. Wood- 
bridge, Jr., wrote to the Tower of London with a descrip- 
tion and photographs of the cannon. ^^ The responding let- 
ter stated that the cannon was a rare English Falcon cast 
at Houndsditch near London by Robert Owen in the year 
1557.2' The rose relief and the letters MR (Maria Regina) 
on the cannon breech were Queen Mary's monogram. The 
cannon had been cast during the short reign of Mary 1, thus 
the rose, the only known cannon bearing Queen Mary's 
monogram. The Tower of London's Deputy Master of the 
Armouries, H.L. Blackmore, acknowledged that they 
would be pleased to acquire the cannon, either by gift or 
sale. If acquired, they would find it an honored place in the 
Tower of London next to a cannon of the making of the 
husband of Queen Mary (Philip of Spain). 

When the cannon's vintage and ancestry became 
known to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., 
it too wanted the piece. Restoration could be done by ex- 
perts there but display space would be a problem for 
several years, or until some additional building had been 
completed. Still they wanted the cannon. The Falcon had 
been a popular English artillery piece for ship and shore 
up through the 18th century. Its presence in Balangiga 
might have been due to the English occupying parts of the 
Philippines in the late 18th century. They might have left 
it behind then, or earlier. 

Colonel Charles H. Greenley, commander 90th Stra- 
tegic Missile Wing at Warren AFB in 1981, had the Falcon 
taken from its nondescript stand in front of the flagpole 
soon after its true identity and value became known. Kerry 
Drake, editor of the Cheyenne Sunday Eagle-Tribune 
newspaper, had written some excellent articles which gave 
the cannon considerable notoriety. ^^ Placed in a secure 
room in the base motor pool, the cannon awaited a deci- 
sion on its next resting place. Even though a Falcon can- 
non weighed 700 pounds and was seven feet long, it could 
have been spirited away from its old stand in front of the 
flagpole by any strong young man with a pickup truck. 

With the Tower of London and the Smithsonian In- 
stitute in Washington both anxious to acquire this rare and 

(Above) The bells as they look today in Trophy Park. The plaque reads: "THE BELLS OF BALANGIGA: These bells 
came from a church in Balangiga, Samar, located in the Philippine Islands. The ringing of these bells signalled the attack 
by Bolo tribesmen on Sunday morning, the 28th of September, 1901, in which company 'G' of the Ninth US Infantry 
was massacred." (Below) The restored cannon in its new shelter. 


ancient cannon, the decision for its disposition passed to 
higher headquarters. The agency that received the cannon 
would be responsible for its professional restoration and 

Some sentiment surfaced for sending the cannon back 
to London where it came from and where it could be prop- 
erly restored and displayed. Others were all for sending 
it to the Smithsonian where proper restoration could be 
done. It could also be displayed there to a wide audience 
as a U.S. Army war trophy. Sending the cannon some- 
where, anywhere, "just to get it off the Base and out of 
our hair," also had some advocates among the active duty 
Air Force and particularly so when restoration costs and 
security measures were considered. The costs would be 
considerable and appropriated Air Force funds were not 
available for such projects, historic as they might be. 

A strong interest in keeping the Falcon in Wyoming 
developed when it became apparent that it would soon be 
gone if something was not done quickly. Interest rose high 
among military retirees in Cheyenne and members of the 
state and county historical societies. Fortunately, Air Force 
retiree Edward A. Tarbell, a western history buff who 
served as volunteer base museum curator and vice presi- 
dent of the Rocky Mountain Department of the Council 
on America's Military Past (CAMP), was able to rally the 
historic preservation forces interested in keeping the Falcon 
at Warren AFB where it belonged. 

Through Tarbell's patient but persistent efforts, meet- 
ings were held in April, 1981, with Greenley and his staff. 
The proposals offered were designed to convince Greenley, 
as well as his staff and higher headquarters, that proper 
restoration could be done locally in order to keep the Falcon 
cannon at Warren AFB. The key proposal included form- 
ing a "Save the Cannon" committee to be headed by 
retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert R. Scott, a 
former wing and division commander at Warren AFB liv- 
ing in Cheyenne. 23 Scott also headed the Military Retiree 
Council, a volunteer organization that kept in touch with 
the approximately 1,500 military retirees in the Cheyenne 
area. 2* 

As a first order of business, the help of the military 
retiree community in the Cheyenne area was recruited. 
Retired Air Force Master Sergeant Jerry Bresnahan, owner 
of Elbe Arms in Cheyenne and a professional gunsmith, 
volunteered to do the cannon restoration work. Donations 
were solicited from the local community, mairJy the 
military retirees. Active duty airmen and officers were also 
invited to contribute. When the Warren AFB Federal Credit 
Union generously offered to match contributions to the 
"Save the Cannon" fund, the money problem disappeared. 
With all the local interest generated in keeping the can- 
non in Wyoming and the resources for cannon restoration 
and shelter construction coming together so well, Greenley 
strongly recommended to Headquarters SAC that the 
restored Falcon cannon stay in Wyoming at Warren AFB.^^ 

By June, 1981, SAC agreed that Warren AFB would 


be the proper place to keep the Falcon cannon and that 
professional restoration could be done there by Bresnahan. 
The letter of authority to Greenley was signed by the chief 
of staff. Major General Andrew Pringle, Jr., and had these 
good words: 

"Restoration of the Falcon cannon would be in keeping with 
F.E. Warren APB's long and distinguished heritage. It is an am- 
bitious undertaking. As with other museum and heritage pro- 
grams, additional appropriated funds cannot be provided by 
this headquarters for restoration and display projects. Given 
the lack of funding, it is with pleasure I note Colonel Adams' 
interest in restoring the cannon in the local area. Once a prof- 
fer of gift has been submitted and you are personally satisfied 
that expertise is available to properly restore the cannon and 
provide for its appropriate display, proceed with the acceptance 
of the gift. "2^ 

The formalities for the proffer of gift and acceptance 
of the gift, pertaining to the restoration of the cannon and 
construction of a secure shelter, were quickly completed. 
Then the long and painstaking task of restoring the can- 
non began. The cannon was moved from the secured room 
in the base motor pool to a horse stall in the old veterinary 
stable where water, drainage and good light made for bet- 
ter working conditions. A few months later, the onset of 
a severe Wyoming winter required the cannon to be moved 
again to a heated working area, this time to the Elbe Arms 
shop in Cheyenne. Thdre Bresnahan spent more than 3,000 
hours during the next four years restoring the cannon. Six 
different colors of paint were encountered— white, black, 
orange, gray, silver and green— and some of the colors had 
been applied several times to the cannon during the 
previous 424 years. Bresnahan estimated that there were 
35-40 coats of paint on the piece. ^^ 

Two concerns of all preservationists restoring ancient 
bronze pieces are (1) the extent of surface corrosion and 
bronze disease that might appear when many layers of 
paint are removed, and (2) saving the surface patina. After 
many tests and calls to other arms restorers, several kinds 
of chemicals and paint removers were used successfully 
by Bresnahan. There were some easy areas where ancient 
coats of paint came away as expected, but there were also 
hundreds of hours spent with a dental pick, Q tips and 
magnifying glass removing paint. When the restoration 
was completed in 1985, basic bronze with a good patina 
showed over most of the cannon surface. A few spots re- 
tained a smattering of paint on small surfaces that had 
granulated. Sand blasting or grinding, anathema to most 
arms restorationists, would have been required to remove 
these remaining traces. They were better left alone. 

A handsome red brick and plate glass shelter with 
shake shingle roof and concrete base, built by the Reserve 
Naval Construction Force of the Naval Reserve Center of 
Cheyenne, housed the cannon at the dedication on Sep- 
tember 7, 1985. Now securely protected from the ravages 
of Wyoming weather and small children, the Falcon rests 
on a wooden gun carriage constructed by the 90th Civil 
Engineering Squadron's carpenter shops. The carriage is 

modeled after the English fortress canrion carriages of the 
16th century. Located near the flagpole and bells in Trophy 
Park as before, a vastly improved presentation is offered 
of this noble war trophy. 

As chairman of the "Save the Cannon" committee. 
General Scott presided over a proper dedication ceremony 
for the newly-constructed shelter and the restored Falcon 
cannon. At the conclusion of the ceremony. Colonel Arlen 
D. Jameson, commander of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing, 
accepted the keys to the shelter.^* The Falcon cannon 
looked very comfortable and right in its new setting, like 
it might be good for another 424 years. An earlier 
newspaper article caption had used words most ap- 
propriate: "After n Years, Warren Cannon Now Has 

1. William Addleman Ganoe, History of the United States Army (New York: 
D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1942), p. 47. 

2. Principal soiirces for the Balangiga Massacre and the retaking of the 
village were obtained from Captain Bookmiller's report, October 1, 
1901, of the Balangiga action of September 28, 1901, found in the 
records of the Adjutant General's Office, National Archives. A copy 
in author's files. 

3. United States Congress, House, Annual Reports of the War Department 
for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1902, Vol DC, 57th Congress, 2d Ses- 
sion, 1902, p. 609. 

4. Captain F. L. Palmer's report of the statements of survivors of the 
Balangiga Massacre obtained from records of the Adjutant General's 
Office, National Archives. Mention is made by several survivors of 
Private Qaude C. Wingo's brave actions and good leadership qualities. 
He retrieved the flag at Balangiga and offered to stay behind if there 
wasn't room for everyone in the barotos to leave and escape certain 
death. His baroto was seen to sink in the Gulf by one of the survivors 
in another baroto. A letter from the War Department to the Honorable 
W. C. Adamson, House of Representatives, dated December 20, 1905, 
returned a letter of Dr. J. Claude Wingo of Rock Springs, Wyoming, 
father of Claude C. Wingo. Dr. Wingo had requested a copy of the 
report of the massacre at Balangiga. Five years later, another letter 
from the War Department to the Honorable W. C. Adamson, January 
6, 1910, revealed that Dr. J. Claude Wingo, Clarendon, Kansas, still 
sought a copy of the report of the massacre that cost his son his life. 
Extracts of Palmer's report in author's files. 

5. Actions taken following the Balangiga Massacre are found in "Final 
Report of Brig. Gen. Robert P. Hughes, U.S. Army, Corrmianding 
the Department of the Visayas," United States Congress, Annual 
Reports of the War Department, Vol. DC, 57th Congress, 2d Session, 1902, 
pp. 593-638. 

6. "Report of Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston, U.S. Army, Commanding 
the Department of the Colorado," United States Congress, House, 
Annual Reports of the War Dqjartment, Vol. IX, 57th Congress, 2d Ses- 
sion, 1902, pp. 20-29. 

7. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, rev. 1978), p. 317. 

8. "Eleventh Arrives," The Wyoming Tribune, March 24, 1904, p. 1. 

9. "More Barracks for Fort Russell," Cheyenne Daily Leader, April 15, 
1904, p. 6. 

10. The fifteen endorsements responding to Lieutenant Paul M. 
Goodrich's letter of 1910, complaining about the caption over the beUs 
at Fort D. A. RusseU, were obtained from the records of the Adjutant 
General's Office, National Archives, AGO 1778230 filed with AGO 
400401. Copy in author's files. 

11. Ibid. 

12. "11th Infantry Quickly Follows Artillery to Border," Cheyenne State 
Leader, February 25, 1913, p. 1. 

13. Memo from Irvformation Services Officer Captain Arthur LaCroix to 
Air Base Group Commander, F. E. Warren AFB, March 28, 1957, Sub- 
ject: Historical Objects at Warren. On file in the Real Property Manage- 
ment Office, 90th Civil Engineering Squadron, F. E. Warren AFB. 

14. Letter to Coirunander, 3450th Techrvical Training Wing, F. E. War- 
ren AFB, January 28, 1958, from Mr. W. T. T. Ward, Historian, Thir- 
teenth Air Force, in the Philippines. On file in the Real Property Man- 
agement Office, 90th Civil Engineering Squadron, F. E. Warren AFB. 

15. Letter to Headquarters Strategic Air Command (Mr. Stark) from 
Department of the Air Force Historic Preservation Officer, Ms. Joan 
Scott, March 16, 1982, Subject; Historic Preservation— Philippine Mis- 
sion Bells. On file in the Real Property Management Office, 90th Civil 
Engineering Squadron, F. E. Warren AFB. 

16. Letter from Mr. Mac Weller, firearms consultant, Princeton, New 
Jersey, January 17, 1957, Subject: Weapons at Francis E. Warren AFB, 
Wyoming. On file in the Real Property Management Office, 90th Civil 
Engineering Squadron, F. E. Warren AFB. 

17. Letter to Mr. Chips Ward, Command Historian, Headquarters Thir- 
teenth Air Force from Faculty House at Ateneo de Manila, Marula, 
P.I., H. de la Costa, S.J., Department of History, November 25, 1957. 
Father de la Costa declared that bells with Franciscan emblems prop- 
erly belonged to the Franciscan order. He also informed Mr. Ward 
where the bells could be delivered in the Philippines. 

18. Letter of inquiry to Commanding General, Frances E. Warren AFB 
from Colonel William Alexander, USA(Ret), October 18, 1963. 

19. Letter to Post Museum, F. E. Warren AFB, from Colonel William Alex- 
ander, USA(Ret), August 2, 1968. Colonel Alexander wrote that his 
father knew the cannon had been cast during the reign of "Bloody 
Mary" and suggested the Museum write to England for more 

20. William E. Woodbridge, Jr., "A Tudor Cannon at Warren Air Force 
Base," Annals of Wyoming, 52 (Spring 1980): 22-24. 

21. Letter from H. L. Blackmore, Deputy Master of the Armouries, H. 
M. Tower of London, July 2, 1979. Copy in author's files. 

22. Kerry Drake, "After 77 Years, Warren Cannon Now Has Respect," 
Tribune-Eagle, April 19, 1981, p. 1; Kerry Drake, "Task Force to Save 
Carmon Formed," Tribune-Eagle, April 26, 1981, p. 2; Kerry Drake, 
"It's Here to Stay— Warren AFB Caimon Gets Face Lift," SunDAY 
Magazine of the Wyoming Sunday Tribune-Eagle, November, 1981, 
p. 3; "Carmon Restoration (photo)," Tribune-Eagle, June 20, 1982. 

23. "Task Force to Save Caimon Formed," Tribune-Eagle, April 26, 1981, 
p. 2. 

24. Gerald Adams, "Military Retirees Consider Cheyeime More Popular 
Now," Tribune-Eagle, August 23, 1981, p. 20. 

25. Letter to Headquarters Sfrategic Air Command from Commander, 
90th Sfrategic Missile Wing, April 23, 1981, Subject: Warren Falcon 

26. Letter to Coiimiander, 90th Sfrategic Missile Wing from Headquarters 
Sfrategic Air Command, June 11, 1981, Subject: Falcon Cannon. 

27. Conversation with Jerry Bresnahan at Elbe Arms in Cheyerme, August 
19, 1986. 

28. Kerry Drake, "Tudor Cannon Dedicated at Warren Air Force Base," 
Tribune-Eagle, September 8, 1985, p. 3. 

29. Kerry Drake, "After 77 Years, Warren Cannon Now Has Respect," 
Tribune-Eagle, April 19, 1981, p. 1. 



by Hugh Jackson 

"^ government might perform the part of 
some of the largest American companies, 
. . . and several states . . . have already- 
attempted it; but what political power could 
ever carry on the vast multitude of lesser 
undertakings which the American citizens 
perform every day, with the assistance of the 
principle of association?"^ 


Indeed, wherever one turns in the Uruted States, there 
is an association of some sort. Volunteering, be it money 
or time, is an integral aspect of American society. From 
charities to civic groups, literary clubs to neo-Nazi 
organizations, the voluntary sector has entrenched itself 
in our lives in much the same way as have the sectors of 
business and government. It is the third sector, and there 
are very few, if any, of us who are not connected with it 
in some manner. This seems obvious enough today, as we 
are bombarded with television commercials and "junk" mail 
soliciting support for a multitude of non-profit, non- 
governmental causes. But America has always had a strong 
penchant for volunteering. The lines quoted were writ- 
ten by the French observer, Alexis de TocquevUle, 150 
years ago. 

People volunteer for various reasons. In Tocqueville's 
time, volunteering, while taking many forms, was most 
often associated with the philanthropic efforts of the upper 
class, efforts aimed toward moral and cultural indoctrina- 
tion as much as alleviating undesirable conditions. With 
more leisure time and the advance in material conditions, 
communications and other factors, middle and lower 
stratas of society have gained the time, the inclination and 
the administrative and technical skills to volunteer 
themselves. Today, as in the 1830s, people join together 
in accordance with their own needs as well as the needs 
of others. Charities and charitable giving have expanded 
greatly, but so has volunteering by people who are im- 
mediately interested in their own problems. The banker 
may send $500 to the American Cancer Society and also 
be a member of his industry's legislative lobbying group. 
The waitress may send $5 to the American Cancer Society 
and also be a member of a neighborhood group attempt- 
ing to get a street paved. While they have widely divergent 
resources or immediate goals, both recognize the benefits 
of volunteering and association. Whether their motives are 
self-serving or grounded in a benevolent concern for a 
cause, both the banker and the waitress are the inheritors 
of an American cultural phenomenon that states: if we 
want something done, we must do it ourselves. 

Wyoming, like the rest of the nation, has had a strong 
spirit of volunteerism. Like people throughout the nation, 
volunteers in Wyoming have gathered for a veritable 
plethora of reasons, as evidenced by these passages from 
a letter by Mrs. Nellis E. CortheU, wife of a Laramie at- 
torney, describing the first meeting of the Laramie 
Woman's Club in 1898: 

We began business with 135 charter members— then we hired 
a hall .... But what a crudity in ideas and of opinions and aims. 
Some came to embroider, some to read Schopenhauer . . . one 
group of women was for making war on the trusts, another 
wanted to banish the tin cans from the suburbs of Laramie. We 
had a dear old lady in our midst who had not kith or kin or 
home, so we started in to build an old lady's home around her 


Volunteering, associating, can mean many things to many 
people. The diversification of volunteerism is even more 

astonishing when one considers that the concerns ex- 
pressed, from intellectual endeavors to national politics, 
came not from an eastern or even a midwestern city, but 
from the scarcely populated Wyoming of 1898. 

At the same time, Wyoming was and remains, unique 
to the rest of the nation. Wyoming's resources, geography, 
climate, all worked to forge a distinct economy, attracting 
few yet particular types of people and establishing a clearly 
identifiable cultural heritage. The shape taken by volun- 
tary associations in Wyoming has been dictated by those 
tangible factors, such as the economy. Voluntary as- 
sociations in the state have also been an expression of Wyo- 
ming culture. As the history of Wyoming differs from that 
of other states, so does the history of volunteerism within 
the state. 

The preeminent figures in the settlement of Wyoming 
are those of the cattleman and his employee, the cowboy. 
Associated with rugged individualism, independence and 
hard work, the cattle cultiire was the progenitor of the 
Wyoming image. Though Wyoming was a backwater of 
sorts, a frontier, the image was quite in keeping with the 
19th century liberal spirit as might be found in England 
or New York City: success or failure is wholly dependent 
on individual merit or the lack thereof, the best govern- 
ment is the least government and property is sacrosanct. 
In a society ever more industrialized and urbanized, where 
the individual seems to count for less and less, it is little 
wonder that Wyomingites cling to the cowboy in\age of 
independence and self-reliance. Wyomingites proudly call 
their home the "Cowboy State," and they seem to agree 
overwhelmingly that theirs, with the bucking horse and 
rider, are the most distinct yet representative license plates 
in the union. ^ 

When the cattlemen settled in Wyoming, they brought 
the principle of association with them. There were no fire 
departments, but there were still fires, and people faced 
the choice of banding together or watching property bum. 
Labor intensive processes such as branding and putting 
up hay also required neighborly cooperation and a spirit 
of self-help. But, probably the first formally organized 
voluntary associations were those which would succeed 
or fail in varying degrees and finally emerge as the Wyo- 
ming Stock Growers Association. 

The Wyoming Stock and Wool Growers Association 
organized in Laramie, 1871. After changing its name to the 
Wyoming Stock Graziers Association and electing the ter- 
ritorial governor, John A. Campbell, as its president, the 
stockmen went to the Legislature, requesting and receiv- 
ing the enactment of stiff penalties for stealing livestock.'* 
Although the extremely harsh winter of 1871-1872 wiped 
out stock, stockmen and the Association, this early group 
helped establish the close relationship the agricultural in- 
dustry would share with state political power. 

A new group, the Laramie County Stock Growers 
Association, formed in Cheyenne, 1873. Introducing 
cooperative roundups in an effort to curb cattle theft on 



Stock Growers Convention in 1914. 

the open, unguarded range, the Laramie County Associa- 
tion evolved into the Wyoming Stock Growers Associa- 
tion (WSGA) in 1879.5 1^ the boom period 1880-1887, the 
WSGA expanded its interests to include freight rates, 
brand inspection, disease prevention relative to cattle and 
various questions concerning the use and purchase of 
public lands.' In addition, the WSGA pushed the Maverick 
Law through the territorial Legislature, allowing the 
Association to decide who would receive unbranded cat- 
tle found in official state roundups.^ 

With the Maverick Law, it would seem the WSGA was 
having nothing but success in terms of protecting its in- 
terests. After all, the cattle industry was the most well- 
represented in the Legislature.* But apparently the enact- 
ment and enforcement of laws in the territory were al- 
together different things, for cattlemen felt compelled to 
instigate the Johnson County War in 1892. Not an official 
act of the WSGA, the cattlemen's invasion of Johnson 
County to arrest rustlers, and the subsequent surrounding 
of the invaders by Johnson County settlers had at least 
imofficial support from the Association. As John Qay, then 
president of the Association but in Europe at the time, later 
wrote, "I was innocent as an unborn babe," but adds, 
"some of my associates were in it tooth and nail."' 

The Johnson County War has been fought again and 
again in history books and Hollywood movies, the attach- 
ment of sympathy and blame differing from version to ver- 
sion. But assuming that the cattlemen's motives were 


honorable, that the settlers were in alliance with rustlers, 
the invasion was still illegal. Moreover, it marked a funda- 
mental misconception on the part of the cattle culture men- 
tality, ably expressed in the WSGA's official history: 
The invasion failed because the cattlemen did not perceive that 
vigilante days in Wyoming were over, that a blood purge would 
not accomplish a moral reform. They sadly misjudged popular 
sentiment; apparently they had no idea that Settlers had so 
many on their side, or that the invasion would arouse such swift 
and spirited resistance. They did not recognize the "rhythm of 
change" that was at that time affecting the whole country . . . 
historians have come to call this period the "Watershed of the 
Nineties." On one side of the watershed lay pioneer America. 
On the other side was the beginning of the modern era.'" 

Time has healed the wounds of the Johnson County War. 
But the war symbolizes a problem which the WSGA, in- 
deed, much of Wyoming, has had to deal with since. The 
"modem era" required the further expansion and centraliza- 
tion of government and even the sacrifice of individual 
liberty in the face of a larger public good. Laissez-faire 
liberalism of the 19th century, passionately embraced by 
ranchers, proved inadequate in meeting the political and 
economic needs of the rest of Wyoming's population. The 
resulting conflict in views of liberty has made it increas- 
ingly difficult for a spirit of self-reliance, of independence, 
in short, the Wyoming spirit, to be sustained. 

While not its stated aim, the WSGA has been at the 
forefront of maintaining the much-vaunted image of in- 
dependence in Wyoming. True to the 19th century 

liberalism which served as the philosophical framework for 
the cattle culture, government presence in Wyoming is con- 
sistently referred to as government intrusion. For instance, 
the 1943 expansion of Grand Teton National Park was, in 
the eyes of the Association, no less than a "seizure" of 
private property. ^^ Regardless of the subsequent value of 
the Park, in terms of both aesthetics and tourist dollars, 
the WSGA's opposition is somewhat understandable since 
over one-half of Wyoming was already owned by the 
federal government at the time, and the creation of the Park 
in 1929 was thought to be the last of Wyoming land set 
aside for that purpose. ^^ 

Less understandable, and even distressing, was the 
WSGA's continued opposition to a mineral severance tax. 
Of course, taxation in general is a violation of the tradi- 
tional free enterprise philosophy so prevalent in the 
Wyoirung image. But considering the millions or even 
billions of dollars diverted from state revenue between 
statehood in 1890 and the adoption of a mineral severance 
tax in 1969, WSGA opposition seems to be little more than 
the expression of an outdated ideology, the type of anach- 
ronistic thinking which led to the Johnson County War. 

While the Wyoming Stock Grower's Association may 
continue to espouse and attempt to preserve the indepen- 
dent "cowboy state" ideology, its volunteerism has taken 
many forms. The WSGA has donated vast historical re- 
sources to the state archives and to the University of 
Wyoming. This generosity, however, does not detract from 
the fact that the Association represents primarily a self- 
interested form of volunteering, its first order of business 
being the health and development of the cattle industry 
in Wyoming. The organization's success in its primary goal 
has been clear, and its impact on the state of Wyoming, 
whether through the Legislature or as custodian of the 
Wyoming image, has been greater than that of any other 
voluntary organization in the state. 

A more innocuous, if less important manifestation of 
the cattle culture meeting volunteerism, can be found in 
the annual summer celebrations held in nearly every Wyo- 
ming towTi. These celebrations, marked by parades, rodeos, 
contests and other forms of entertainment, are not only 
a source of revenue for local economies, but also serve as 
an expression of civic pride. They are usually organized 
by a committee of volunteers in cooperation with local 
government and business and they invariably operate 
under a Western theme: Pioneer Days, Woodchoppers' 
Jamboree, Cowboy Days, Jubilee Days (a celebration of 
statehood), or, the most famous and successful in the state 
if not all of the West, Cheyenne Frontier Days. 

Frontier Days began in 1897. Then, as now, it was 
planned by the Frontier Days Committee of the Chamber 
of Commerce, an all-volunteer group which has assured 
that the celebration has never missed a year since its in- 
ception. In addition, the townspeople in general give 
voluntary support through everything from dressing in 
Western garb to restoring wagons for the parade. Proceeds 

from the rodeo and other events have gone toward the 
creation and maintenance of the parks system in Chey- 
enne. Moreover, Frontier Days brings thousands of visi- 
tors to Cheyenne each summer, providing profits for 
hotels, restaurants, bars, retail stores and other businesses. 
The prestige of "The Daddy of 'Em All" has attracted 
opera, stage and movie personalities, journalists from 
around the nation, and, once as President and later as Ex- 
President, Theodore Roosevelt. Frontier Days has also 
played host to visitors from around the world, including 
a 1962 United Nations delegation representing 30 countries. 

Colonel E. A. Slack, in reference to the celebration he 
helped to found, stated: "It is simply remarkable that the 
entire affair is managed by local talent."" This remark 
seems as relevant today as when it was said in 1903. In- 
deed, the unqualified success of Cheyenne Frontier Days, 
as well as smaller yet similar celebrations throughout the 
state, suggests that the "cowboy spirit" in Wyoming is quite 
amenable to the spirit of volunteering. 

To be sure, Wyoming is most often nicknamed the 
Cowboy State. Yet the nickname as acknowledged on the 
state seal recognizes the state as the first to allow women's 
suffrage. The very first Legislature of the Wyoming Ter- 
ritory, 1869, allowed women over the age of 21 and residing 
in Wyoming the right to vote and hold elective office. 
Women's suffrage was retained in the state constitutional 
convention of 1889, and Wyoming has since been offici- 
ally nicknamed "The Equality State." 

Esther H. Morris, the "first woman judge," served as 
Justice of the Peace in South Pass City for eight and one- 
half months in 1870. Two months after leaving the bench, 
she wrote to the National Woman's Suffrage Association 
Convention: "So far as woman's suffrage has progressed 
in this territory we are entirely indebted to men."" There 
was no women's agitation for suffrage in 1869 or 1889. In 
fact, there were hardly women, the man to woman ratio 
in those years being six to one and three to one, respec- 
tively. It would seem, then, that the men of Wyoming were 
particularly forward-looking and enlightened relative to the 
rest of the country. Certainly there were men who sup- 
ported suffrage as an egalitarian cause. But the granting 
of women's suffrage in Wyoming was, more than anything 
else, part of an effort to remedy Wyoming's perennial prob- 
lem of attracting population. As Wyoming's senior his- 
torian, T. A. Larson, concludes: "Without the public rela- 
tions angle, Wyoming's first legislature almost certairJy 
would not have approved the suffrage biU.''^^ 

If any women decided to settle in Wyoming hoping 
to enjoy equal rights, and there is no evidence to suggest 
any did, they would soon have met with frustration, for 
Wyoming remained a man's world. Women's role in the 
rest of American society was an expanding one, the Civil 
War eventually affording them an opportunity to make 
contributions to the economy and to support the nation 
in other areas. Wyoming's symbolic offer of suffrage was 
simply not enough to draw women away from more pop- 


ulated regions, and the practical reality was even less in- 
viting; women's political influence and representation ac- 
tually lagged behind that of the surrounding states of Col- 
orado, Idaho and Utah."' The women of Wyoming did not 
yet seem interested in fighting for political power. For 
many, volunteering was an active, acceptable and sufficient 
manner in which to affect their environment and be heard. 

The Woman's Club of Cheyenne organized in 1894, 
with only five charter members. The Club was abundant 
in public spirit, sponsoring numerous fund-raising cam- 
paigns and even furnishing the maternity room at the 
County Hospital.'^ In 1903, Mrs. William Guiterman of the 
Cheyenne Club became interested in the advantages of col- 
lective action. In 1904, the Wyoming Federation of 
Women's Clubs held its first meeting in the Cheyenne 
Carnegie Library with delegates of fifteen clubs from 
around the state in attendance.** 

The Wyoming of the early 20th century did not easily 
lend itself to a statewide voluntary organization. Towns 
were few and far between, and travel, if not wholly im- 
possible in winter, was difficult at best. The executive of- 
ficers of the Federation of Women's Clubs could rarely 
meet more than once a year, and delegates to the state con- 
vention weathered what were often arduous, expensive 
and time-consuming journeys." No doubt the Stock Grow- 
ers Association faced a similar predicament, particularly 
before 1900 when transportation and communications were 
even less developed. But the ranchers organized out of self- 
interest and viewed their Association as an economic and 

political necessity. The Wyoming Federation of Women's 
Clubs, on the other hand, organized out of beneficence and 
civic responsibility. Overcoming the challenges posed by 
a rustic environment frequently involved sacrifice. In this 
light, the early achievements of the WFWC are aU the more 

A popular conception of women's clubs was expressed, 
rather condescendingly, by a Glendo, Wyoming, man 
answering his granddaughter's inquiry as to Grandma's 
whereabouts: "She is at club. The ladies today, are to 
decide whether to make the pot holders round or square."^" 
Granted, women's clubs often discussed "ladies" concerns 
about food preparation, sewing and cleaning. And the 
WFWC had a Home Economics Division under a Depart- 
ment of Applied Education. This Department, as outlined 
in the President's Annual Address to the WFWC in 1921, 
"has four subdivisions: Food, Clothing, County Coopera- 
tion and Thrift. The conservation of natural resources has 
also had a place on our programs and Wyoming wiU always 
on account of her vast forests and national parks be greatly 
interested in this division. Under this head comes Forestry, 
Waterways, Bird and Natural Life."^* There is no mention 
of pot holders, round or square and Grandpa's remark ex- 
presses ignorance as much as levity. 

In addition to the Department of Applied Education, 
the WFWC had Departments of American Citizenship, 
Fine Arts, Press, Public Welfare and Legislation. The Fed- 
eration's success under these six departments were 
substantial and, compared to any number of men's associa- 

The Owls, a 

Newcastle Women's 

Club, 1907. 


tions of the same period, far more important to Wyoming's 
long-term development. 

A notable interest of the WFWC was higher education. 
Internally, the Federation established an endowment fund 
to provide scholarships for women. Externally, it advocated 
a women's residence hall and the creation of a Domestic 
Science Department at the University of Wyoming. 

Believing that "the greatest gift to any state is its boys 
and girls ... so what better work could we enlist in,"^^ 
the Federation petitioned the Legislature for a reformatory 
for boys. In 1911, the petition was answered with alloca- 
tion of state funds for the Wyoming Industrial Institute. 
The WFWC maintained an active concern for conditions 
at the Institute, staunchly advocating continued Legislative 
funding and generally receiving the same.^^ Comparable 
success with the Legislature resulted from a WFWC cam- 
paign for a constitutional amendment which established 
the state juvenile court system. ^^ 

During World War I, the Federation joined with the 
rest of the nation to aid the war effort through promoting 
the purchase of Liberty Bonds, focusing attention on bet- 
tering conditions in army camps, supporting education in 
food production and conservation and establishing furlough 
homes for American soldiers in France. Similar goals were 
undertaken in World War II, including the organization 
of USO centers and scrap metal campaigns. ^^ 

A major WFWC accomplishment was to firm the foun- 
dation for the organization and preservation of historical 
material in the state. In attempting to remove the political 
patronage associated with the office of State Historian, as 
weU as create a more harmonious relationship between the 
state and the university in regard to preservation of 
historical resources, the Federation immersed itself in 
political controversy. Controversy ended in compromise, 
and, much to the chagrin of the Federation, the State 
Historian would continue to be appointed by the gover- 
nor. But the system for preservation and organization of 
state archives was enlarged and improved (with support 
of the Stock Growers Association, it should be added), and 
the Federation's efforts met with at least qualified success.^* 

With their support of women's education or the boys' 
reformatory, the Women's Clubs voiced concerns which 
may have gone unheard. At the same time, issues raised 
by the Clubs were often little more than echoes of a na- 
tional mood. For instance, in the early 20th century, the 
Federation advocated Prohibition, embraced the movement 
for higher morality in motion pictures and was an integral 
force in the Americanization of immigrants. But whether 
introducing ideas or restating fashionable ones, the role 
of the WFWC has been vital to the history of volunteerism 
in Wyonung. If the Federation is not as active today as it 
once was, it is perhaps due to the changing economic 
climate in America which has placed women in the work 
force and left them little time for volunteering. But that is 
a problem of the present and not the past. 

What is clear about the past is that Wyoming women 

were eager volunteers. It is true that some volunteered out 
of the boredom that must have accompanied the Wyoming 
frontier. As one woman reminisced: "We really pioneered 
for several years, living first in a tar paper shack .... 
Within a year ... I had become a member of the Tues- 
day Study Club (of Lingle) .... Membership in this small 
club was all that kept me from rusticating completely. "2'' 
Certainly the clubs were fun, offering recreation and relief 
in the place of day-to-day drudgery. But the Federation's 
achievements represent an expression of altruism and civic 
pride on the part of most Federation members. The volun- 
tary spirit of Wyonung women is perhaps best expressed 
by an outsider, a regional director of the League of Women 
Voters in Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Iowa and Min- 
nesota: "I really feel more in touch with the women of 
Wyoming through these splendid club reports than I do 
with any of my other states . . . ."^^ 

To be sure, the people of Wyoming take pride in their 
heritage as residents of the Equality State. It is similar, if 
less pronounced, to the affection they hold for the Cowboy 
State theme. Equally significant to the state's development 
is Wyoming's ethnic heritage. Yet that aspect of Wyo- 
ming's cultiiral identification is less apparent, and perhaps 
invisible. For some of the groups who came to Wyoming 
early and in large numbers— Eastern Europeans, Germans, 
Greeks, Italians or Irish— have since become fully as- 
similated into American society. The passage of time, 
periodically aided by the nationalism of World Wars and 
Red Scares, has removed many descendants of these groups 
from their European backgrounds, interest in foreign 
languages or cultures dying among successive generations. 
Such was not always the case. Early Wyoming im- 
migrants, while desirous of success in the American system 
for themselves and for their children, also felt the ties to 
their original lands: 

If persons are differentiated by color or complexion, language, 
or any other means, they need to feel a part of something 
which is uniquely their own. Foreign-born residents in an area 
where they are called upon to interact on a daily basis with per- 
sons of different backgrounds feel the need for establishing 
themselves as something special in a foreign land.^' 

Immigrants expressed these feelings through retaining 
traditional foods, language, music or art and religion. The 
"need to feel a part of something which is uniquely their 
own" also led to the establishment of voluntary ethnic 

Ethnic groups in the state of any substantial popula- 
tion organized in one or another form. The Maennerchor 
Society, a German men's singing group in Laramie from 
about 1880 to the early 1900s, the Dante Alighieri Society, 
formed by Sunrise-Hartville Italians in 1906, the American 
Hellenic Education Progressive Association and the Greek 
American Progressive Association, plus the Swedish Be- 
nevolence Society of Cheyenne were only a few of the 
many organizations, some still in existence, which were 
concerned with mutual aid and cultural preservation. One 
of the most popular and active of these was the German 


Turnverein Society of Cheyenne. Mention in the Cheyenne 
Daily Leader newspaper in 1868 of a Turnverein ball 
establishes it as one of the earliest as well.^" 

The Turnverein Society built its own hall in Cheyenne 
in 1891. It was large, and the community in general as well 
as the Society made use of it. Formally opening with a 
classical concert by the New York Philharmonic Club, the 
hall hosted social events, church bazaars, balls, political 
rallies, prize fights, theatricals and weekly Turnverein 
meetings for nearly twenty years. ^^ While the Society's 
basic goal was the preservation and continuance of Ger- 
man culture, it proved to be a valuable asset to many 
Cheyenne citizens. With later generations, interest in 
things German declined, along with membership in the 
Society, and the hall was sold. Not surprisingly. World 
War 1 rendered German culture decidedly out of vogue and 
the Society disbanded. 

If the Stock Growers Association represents volunteer- 
ing for self-Lnterest, and the Federation of Women's Clubs 
for beneficence, then the ethnic organizations represent 
both. Like the WFWC, the ethnic societies were often in- 
volved in community service. Like the WSGA, the ethnic 
societies were formed to preserve a way of life and work 
for the betterment of a homogeneous group sharing 
similar, often identical interests. The cattlemen joined for 
economic and cultural survival, as did the ethnics. The 
Stock Growers Association is a moderate success by any 
standards. Relative to such groups as the Turnverein So- 
ciety, the WSGA success is unqualified. To be sure, Wyo- 
ming is the Cowboy State, not Little Germany or Little 
Italy. Perhaps societies like the Turnverein simply could 
not outlive their usefulness. On the other hand, there are 
still cowboys in Wyoming, as there are still people who 
take pride in and celebrate their ethnic backgrounds, and 
the two groups are not mutually exclusive. That one type 
of association has outgrown and survived the other is testa- 
ment to the fact that the history of volunteering in Wyo- 
ming is integrally linked to the broader story of Wyom- 
ing's cultural development. 

It may come as something of a surprise, then, that 
there have been voluntary organizations in the state which, 
far from representing traditional perceptions of Wyoming, 
seem indigenous to other, more "civilized" areas. Few 
people nationwide, or in the state for that matter, might 
expect the cradle of American individualism and the do- 
it-yourself attitude to have actively supported orphanages. 
Perhaps fewer still would guess that the home of Frontier 
Days long has been charmed by the presence of a local 
theatre group or a literary society. While none may have 
gone as far as Nellis Corthell, who routinely painted out 
the cowboy on his license plate each year,'^ many people 
throughout Wyoming's history were far more concerned 
with creating a productive, enlightened environment than 
promoting the cowboy image. 

One of those so concerned was Patrick A. McGovern, 
Roman Catholic Bishop of Cheyenne. Although the Epis- 


copal Cathedral Home in Laramie, dating from 1910, and 
the more recently established State Home for Dependent 
Children in Cheyenne, offered facilities for homeless 
children in the state, McGovern discovered in the early 
1920s that 77 Wyoming children were being sheltered in 
three Denver orphanages. Apparently of the mind that 
Wyoming children should be cared for within Wyoming, 
McGovern set the wheels in motion for the creation of an 
orphanage in the state. In 1924, at a price so low it 
amounted to a gift, a 93 acre farm was acquired near Tor- 
rington. Between 1925 and 1928, the state was canvassed 
and $175,000 raised. Ground was broken in the spring of 
1929, and St. Joseph's Children's Home opened on Sep- 
tember 1, 1930.33 

The year 1930 was singular for the opening of an or- 
phanage. Father John Henry, the first superintendent at 
St. Joseph's, concisely and accurately noted the effects of 
the Depression, writing: "When our income decreases our 
enrollment increases. "3'' Yet during the 1930s, St. Joseph's 
added a barn and other outbuildings, pavement and side- 
walks, landscaping to remove the "penitentiary" look of 
the building and a chapel. While these additions left the 
institution substantially in debt, the amount owed had 
been reduced to $10,000 by 1944, 3^ suggesting not only ef- 
ficient administration on the part of the orphanage, but 
generous giving on the part of Wyoming donors. 

While St. Joseph's was open to children of all denom- 
inations, it was run by Catholics. Torrington had only a 
small population of Catholics, and many local residents in- 
itially viewed the orphanage with skepticism. It did not 
take long, however, before the town took pride in St. 
Joseph's. The school system cooperated splendidly and 
townspeople were quick to befriend the children, as well 
as offer part-time employment. The children became very 
active in local organizations such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts 
and 4-H, the latter with the assistance of area farmers and 
ranchers. The annual Christmas pageants staged by the 
children were sell-outs. Indeed, the people of Torrington, 
it seems, wanted the children "to believe that the world 
beyond St. Joseph's would be a friendly and hospitable 
place. "3* 

Any discussion of St. Joseph's, or Wyoming volun- 
teerism in general, would be sorely lacking were no men- 
tion made of T. Joe CahiU. A "man with a million friends," 
it seems CahUl solicited funds from all of them for St. 
Joseph's. On a more personal level, he was loved by the 
children, frequently visiting them or taking them on ex- 
cursions, particularly to Frontier Days, another voluntary 
effort to which he gave 30 years of dedicated service. Born 
in Wyoming in 1877, Cahill loved the state and was a true 
inheritor of the cowboy image (he presided over Tom 
Horn's hanging, at Horn's request). Yet Cahill, far from 
the strong, silent type so often associated with perceptions 
of the Cowboy State, was a tireless and vocal supporter 
of a benevolent cause. Said Bishop Hubert Newell, at 
Cahill' s funeral in 1965: "Wherever its [St. Joseph's] story 

Patrick A. McGovem, Roman Catholic 
Bishop of Cheyenne, was instrumental 
in the founding of St. Joseph 's 
Children's Home in Torrington. 

is told in the future decades or even a century from now, 
the name of T. Joe CahUl will be mentioned with reverence 
and love, the children who have benefited through his 
generosity will sing his praises to God and man."^'' Those 
who view the Cowboy State as simply that and little more 
should be surprised to find such words describing a man 
who was so frequently referred to as "Mr. Wyoming." 

St. Joseph's and Cahill are only two examples of a 
cultural diversity in Wyoming that transcends the cowboy 
image. Another is the existence of "Broadway in Cow 
Country" as represented by the Cheyenne Little Theatre 
Players. Inspired by the free theatres of Europe and similar 
groups in Chicago, Qeveland, Detroit, Pasadena and other 
cities, the Little Theatre Players sought to fill the void left 
by road shows which had either gone bankrupt or settled 
down in larger cities. Boasting a vaudeviUian-turned- 
businessman, a former Redbook cover-girl, an aspiring ac- 
tor with experience in motion pictures and active support 
from several local volunteer groups, the CLTP presented 
its first public performance on May 7, 1930. By 1979, the 
CLTP had acquired properties in excess of a half-million 
dollars and a reputation as one of the oldest community 
theatres in the Uruted States. ^^ 

The Cheyenne Little Theatre was not the only cultural, 
"high-brow" volunteer group in Cheyenne. In 1901, the 

Young Men's Literary Club held its first meeting. The Club 
was composed of the most prominent men in the com- 
munity, if not the state, including former and futtire gover- 
nors, senators, congressmen, judges and people of com- 
parable importance. In their weekly meetings, these men 
would hold lively discussions about the political questions 
of the day or deliver papers on academic topics ranging 
from Aristotle to Zoroaster. They were also beneficial to 
the community in a practical sense, addressing issues such 
as public lands use or sewer systems, and donating 40 acres 
to a boys' lodge. 

The existence of the Little Theatre Players and the 
Young Men's Literary Club suggests that Wyoming was 
not as backward or culturally destitute as many might 
believe. It is only fair to add that both clubs were exclusive, 
their membership rosters reading like the Cheyenne social 
register. Volunteering in Wyoming, then, often might take 
the appearance of a class affair. Even the Federation of 
Women's Clubs, ostensibly a benevolent association, fell 
under criticism on this point. To be sure, Wyoming, like 
the rest of the nation, has had clearly identifiable class Hnes 
between, say, the lawyer and the miner. But within a small 
population, such as Wyoming's, the interests of lower and 
upper class are more frequently intertwined with one 
another than might be the case elsewhere: 


The Cheyenne Little Theatre Players, 1940, from the play, "Yes and No. 

Perhaps we were all the "Babbitts" of Main Street that Sinclair 
Lewis ridiculed. He never knew the joys of achievement, the 
vicissitudes and happy surprises of life in a small town. To him 
had been denied the realization of the compelling activity in- 
spired by the golden bonds of friendship that transcend that 
of David and Jonathan. There were lost to him the pleasures 
of exchanged ideas; lives snatched from defeat to be crowned 
in victory; tragedy and sorrow dispelled by happiness as the 
strong arm of a powerful and influential Qub member, without 
ostentation, grasped the hand of a true and helpless friend." 

When Harry B. Henderson delivered these remarks to the 
Young Men's Literary Club, he spoke as a "powerful and 
influential Club member," not a "helpless friend," and 
he may have romanticized or exaggerated the democratic 
character of small towns. At the same time, a project where 
success or failure is dependent on voluntary effort often 
cannot afford to be class exclusive, and Henderson's sen- 
timents regarding volunteering in small towns ring at least 
partly true. 

Lower or upper class, self-serving or benevolent, there 
is no doubt that volunteering in Wyoming has been sur- 
prisingly diverse and has manifested itself in a multitude 
of forms. Those noted here represent only an introduction 
to private, non-profit groups and much work remains to 
be done. Rotary Clubs and fraternal organizations, such 
as the Elks and Kiwanis have a long history in the state, 
knowledge of which would very likely be a source of pride 
for Wyomingites. The efforts of churches may very well 
constitute the largest single voluntary contribution to the 
state in an organized sense, and their story should be told 


as well. Voluntary support of the University of Wyoming 
is a perennial source of both pride and controversy, and 
one might ask if any volunteer group has ever been or- 
ganized to assist the University in any significant way 
beyond the promotion of athletics. An accurate list of all 
non-profit, non-governmental associations, clubs and 
societies in the state, both past and present, would be a 
very long one. Yet the history of each, aside from being 
interesting in itself, would say something about the state 
in general. The countless occasions of neighbor helping 
neighbor, without ever organizing formally, would prob- 
ably say more about the people of Wyoming than would 
the history of any association, club or society, but that type 
of volunteering is rarely documented, hence, difficult to 
research and its story may remain untold. 

The cowboy image, the equality theme and a smaU 
population necessarily produce a type of volunteering in 
Wyoming which differs from that of other areas. Other 
general themes of Wyoming history remain unaddressed 
relative to volunteering. For instance, much of the state's 
economic instability is a result of what is often referred to 
as economic colonialism, where investment for industry 
comes from outside the state and profit from industry 
leaves the state. From the Union Pacific Railroad in the 
1860s to the oil companies in the 1980s, economic col- 
onialism has been a major theme in Wyoming's develop- 
ment. How has volunteering been affected when profit 
from the minerals industry has left the state? Has 
volunteering suffered because a corporation operating in 

Wyoming has had its best and brightest working out of 
an office in Colorado, Texas or Pennsylvania? Or have cor- 
porations in the state given generously to Wyoming volun- 
tary enterprises? Similar questions could be asked in the 
context of a north-south political split, an inordinate federal 
presence or the boom-bust cycle. 

Much has been written about politics and economics 
in Wyoming. Volunteering, on the other hand, is too often 
viewed as the activity of do-gooders, innocuous and of only 
minor importance. It is ironic that there has been so little 
written about volunteering in a state which prides itself 
in its independence, where the much-vaunted image of 
self-reliance professes to put faith in people and not 
government. Perhaps this is due to overshadowing by 
glamorous, romantic tales of rustlers and lawmen, cavalry 
and Indians, trappers and entrepreneurs. The history of 
volunteering seems pale by comparison. Yet without the 
impact of the Stock Growers Association, the benefits 
derived from Frontier Days, the Federation of Women's 
Clubs or St. Joseph's Children's Home, the cultural con- 
tributions of the ethnic societies, the Cheyenne Little 
Theatre Players and the Young Men's Literary Club, 
Wyoming would be much different, frequently much less, 
than what it is. 

T. Joe Cahill 

1. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (New York: Random 
House, 1981), pp. 405-406. 

2. Undated, unaddressed letter from Mrs. Nellis E. Corthell, CortheU 
Family Collection, American Heritage Center, Laramie, Wyoming. 

3. T. A. Larson, Wyoming, A History (New York: W, W. Norton and Com- 
pany, Inc., 1977), pp. 108-142. 

4. Ibid., pp. 114-115. 

5. Ibid., p. 116. 

6. Kathryn Gress, Ninety Years Cow Country (Wyoming Stock Growers 
Association, 1963), p. 14. 

7. Larson, Wyoming, A History, p. 120. 

8. Ibid., p. 128. 

9. Maurice Frink, Cou> Country Cavalcade (Denver: Old West Publishing 
Co., 1954), p. 140. 

10. Ibid., p. 147. 

11. Gress, Ninety Years Cow Country, p. 23. 

12. Frink, Cow Country Cavalcade, p. 173. 

13. Robert D. Hanesworth, Daddy of 'Em All, The Story of Cheyenne Fron- 
tier Days (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Flintlock Publishing Company, 1967), 
p. 42. 

14. Larson, Wyoming, A History, p. 91. 

15. Ibid., p. 80. 

16. Ibid., p. 103. 

17. Mary B. Dahlgren, "Fifty Years Service: History of the Wyoming 
Federation of Women's Clubs" (Master of Arts Thesis, Uruversity 
of Wyoming, 1956), p. 130. 

18. Ibid., p. 2. 

19. Ibid., p. 53. 

20. Douglas Budget, December 15, 1977. 

21. The Wyoming Clubwoman, President's Annual Address, Mrs. Lin I. 
Noble, V. 2, no. 9 (October 1921), p. 8. 

22. Ibid. 

23. Dahlgren, "Fifty Years Service," pp. 70-71. 

24. Ibid., p. 73. 

25. Ibid., pp. 81-85. 

26. Ibid., pp. 75-77. 

27. Ibid., p. 53. 

28. The Wyoming Clubwoman, v. 1, no. 9 (October 1920), p. 2. 

29. Gordon Olaf Hendrickson, ed., Peopling the High Plains, Wyoming's 
European Heritage (Cheyerme: Wyoming State Archives and Historical 
Department, 1977), p. 180. 

30. Cheyenne Daily Leader, April 24, 1868. 

31. Hendrickson, Peopling the High Plains, p. 42. 

32. Roger L. Williams, Aven Nelson of Wyoming (Boulder: Colorado 
Associated University Press, 1984), pp. 19-20. 

33. JuUanne Lefevre, For Wyoming's Children, A Half-Century History of St. 
Joseph's Children's Home (St. Joseph's Children's Home, 1980), p. 31. 

34. Ibid., p. 42. 

35. Ibid., p. 44. 

36. Ibid., p. 40. 

37. Ibid., pp. 55-56. 

38. "Broadway in Cow Country," Annals of Wyoming, 52 (Fall 1980): 2-9. 

39. Harry B. Henderson, "History of the Young Men's Literary Club," 
MSS 238A, Historical Research and Publications Division, Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums and Historical Department, Cheyenne, 


"A Cheyenne Woman in the Robes of a Secret Society," by Leonard Baskin, color lithograph, 1974. 





Plains Indian Women 

Historical Perspective 


Thomas Schilz 


Jodye Lynn Dickson Schilz 


Describing the tribes of the Great Plains for the first 
time, American males praised the bravery and self- 
confidence of the Indian men while admiring the women 
solely for their beauty and grace. Often long deprived of 
female companionship, such White men ignored these 
women's skill and courage, preferring instead to concen- 
trate on, as William Clark put it, their amorous disposi- 
tions. ^ Standards of beauty even determined how Indian 
women were categorized, either as comely "maidens" or 
plain "squaws." Indian males reiriforced White ideas of 
masculine superiority on the plains by their frequently 
abusive treatment of their wives. As a result, many White 
observers regarded Native American women as the virtual 
slaves of their male masters. ^ Yet Plains Indian women en- 
joyed a much broader and more complex role in tribal 
society than most of these Whites could have imagined 
given their ideas as to "a woman's place." Native 
American women, on the whole, enjoyed greater economic 
and social freedom than their White contemporaries. Even 
more importantly, Indian women often engaged in occupa- 
tions usually reserved for men, and, with an attitude lack- 
ing in most White males, their Indian counterparts often 
openly encouraged and supported those females within 
their tribe who took on roles of leadership. 

Women provided important economic services in the 
tribal community, making clothing, tipi covers and tools 
as well as butchering and preserving meat plus dressing 
hides and pelts. Their performance of such tasks gave 
casual White observers the impression that Indian women 
were confined solely to roles as domestic servants, but such 
was not generally the case. In many instances. Plains In- 
dian women possessed the sole right to dispose of the 
hides, snowshoes, goosedown blankets, moccasins, agri- 
cultural products and other goods that they produced.^ 
Through these means women became active entrepreneurs 
who exercised a great deal of control over the distribution 
of trade goods. In most tribes, women possessed their own 
personal property such as tipis, horses and assorted 
household items. While it is true that a man could cut off 
his wife's nose or beat her for adultery, she could divorce 
him by simply throwing his goods out of her lodge, and, 
if necessary, she could even kill him. 

Indian societies were dynamic systems that allowed an 
individual to seek self -fulfillment. Custom defined specific 
roles for the sexes, as it does in all societies, but individuals 
of both sexes could satisfy themselves by participating in 
nontraditional activities without fear of social censure. ■* In- 
dian women often engaged in three occupations generally 
reserved for men: as warriors, shamans and diplomats. In 
these areas, individual women excelled and were fre- 
quently mentioned by White observers not so much be- 
cause of their uniqueness in Indian culture, perhaps, but 
rather because such roles were denied to White females. 

The number of women among Plains tribes who served 
as warriors is unknown. Warriors were deemed successful 
because they had special spiritual power, or medicine. 


Generally speaking, this power was acquired through vi- 
sions. Women did not as a rule seek visions, but if they did, 
their power was considered as potent as a man's medicine. 

In critical situations where the survival of a band was 
at stake, women normally fought alongside men. In one 
notable instance, Old-Lady-Grieves-the-Enemy, a Pawnee, 
defended her village when it was attacked by Poncas.^ 
Pawnee men, seeing themselves outnumbered and believing 
the Poncas intended to burn the village, resigned them- 
selves to their fate and cowered in their lodges. Old-Lady- 
Grieves-the-Enemy, however, smeared soot on her face as 
war paint and sallied forth to face the Poncas on her own. 
Aroused by her bravery, the men followed suit and de- 
feated the enemy. Years afterward, when warriors from 
both tribes reviewed this battle, the Poncas praised the 
courage of the old man who had defeated them, and were 
astonished to discover that the warrior had been a woman. 

Several women became warriors out of choice rather 
than necessity. Perhaps the best known of these was a 
Crow called Woman Chief. A Gros Ventre by birth. 
Woman Chief had been captured in a raid at about the age 
of ten and was reared as a Crow. Her foster father en- 
couraged her desire to assume a warrior role and gave her 
weapons and horses. Upon his death, she began providing 
meat for his household. Described as a tall and muscular 
woman. Woman Chief wore traditional female clothing but 
possessed her own lodge, horse herd and weapons. She 
preferred to hunt rather than to engage in domestic pur- 
suits. '■ Unlike some other women who became warriors. 
Woman Chief never married because she refused to subor- 
dinate herself to a husband. She became the third rank- 
ing chief among the Crows and acquired four "wives," 
or female servants, who took care of her belongings. 

Woman Chief acquired her status as a warrior during 
a battle with the Blackfeet. In this encounter, several Crow 
men were killed and the remaining warriors, with their 
women and children, took refuge in the stockade of a 
trader's fort. Refusing to run away from the Blackfeet, 
Woman Chief rode out alone to face the enemy. She shot 
and killed three Blackfeet who came forward to parley with 
her and escaped unharmed from the remaining Blackfeet.'' 

Woman Chief quickly became an important war leader 
and collected a number of followers. Her medicine was 
regarded as especially strong, and male warriors eagerly 
joined her raiding parties because they were always suc- 
cessful. On her first raid, she captured 70 horses from a 
Blackfeet camp and killed one of the enemy.* Following 
the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1851, a Gros Ventre war party 
ambushed and killed her. 

Other women also adopted the lifestyle of warriors. 
Two Crow women, The-Other-Magpie and Finds-Them- 
and-Kills-Them, took part in the Battle of the Rosebud in 
1876. A military column under General George Crook, 
searching for Indians led by Crazy Horse and Dull Knife, 
encountered a large war party of Sioux and Cheyennes 
under Crazy Horse on Rosebud Creek in Wyoming. Sev- 

"Dance of the Mandan Women," by Carl Bodmer, engraving, c. 1840. 

eral Crows, including the two women warriors, accompanied 
the White soldiers as scouts. During the course of the bat- 
tle, The-Other-Magpie counted coup on a Sioux warrior 
while Finds-Them-and-KUls-Them shot several of the 
enemy using a borrowed rifle. Finds-Them-and-Kills-Them 
also rescued a Crow warrior whose horse had been killed.' 

Several women fought on the other side in the Battle 
of the Rosebud. Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a sister of the 
Cheyerme Chief Comes-in-Sight, followed her brother into 
battle and participated in several Cheyenne charges against 
Crook's troops. When Comes-in-Sight's horse was shot, 
Buffalo Calf Road Woman rescued him by riding into the 
melee and helping him up on her own horse. '" The Chey- 
ennes referred to this engagement with Crook's soldiers 
as "the battle where the girl saved her brother," in 
remembrance of Buffalo Calf Road Woman's deed. 

One month later, when General George Custer's 
Seventh Cavalry attacked the Sioux-Cheyenne village on 

the Little Big Horn, a Sioux woman named Moving Robe 
led Gall's warriors into the fight. Carrying the weapons 
of her brother, who had been killed in the Battle of the 
Rosebud, Moving Robe inspired Sioux men to fight harder 
to prevent being outshone by her." 

Moving Robe and The-Other-Magpie became warriors 
to seek revenge and quiet the dead's spirits who demanded 
an eye for an eye. Other women also sought revenge for 
relatives slain in battle. Running Eagle, a Piegan, sought 
to avenge her husband who had been killed by the Crows. 
In her first raid. Running Eagle brought back three Crow 
horses. On another occasion, her medicine, which was 
alleged to give her prophetic powers, enabled her to foretell 
of an encounter with a Nez Perce camp while her war party 
was exploring the Yellowstone River. In accordance with 
her prediction, the Piegans encountered an enormous Nez 
Perce encampment. Unable to retreat, the Piegans dug rifle 
pits and repulsed several Nez Perce attacks. The Piegans 


"Indian Women Moving," by Charles M. Russell, oil on canvas, 1898. 
"The Silk Robe," by Charles M. Russell, oil on canvas, c. 1890. 

(Above) ' 'Receiving A Draught of Water from an Indian Girl, ' ' by Alfred Jacob Miller, 
pencil/pen/ink with grey wash, c. 1837. (Below) "Lewis and Clark on the Lower 
Columbia," by Charles M. Russell, watercolor, 1905. 

later attributed this victory to Running Eagle's medicine. 

Running Eagle often discarded her role as a warrior 
and dressed as a woman to gain entry to enemy camps 
where a member of her sex would not be suspected of 
being a spy. By this means, she was able to steal large 
numbers of horses. Her career ended when the Flatheads 
killed her during a raid.'^ 

Accounts of women warriors run throughout the his- 
tories of tribes on both the northern and southern plains. 
In the south, the Tonkawas, for example, produced a 
number of such leaders. This tradition took firm root in 
1872, when Tonkawas, scouting for the army, were led into 
battle by a young woman who was the daughter of John- 
son, the tribe's war chief. Two years later, when Ranald 
MacKenzie's troops attacked the Southern Cheyennes, 
Comanches and Kiowas at Palo Duro Canyon, several 
women accompanied the scouts. These Torikawa women 
rounded up horses, counted coup on wounded Coman- 
che warriors and collected trophies of the campaign." 

Women in Plains Indian society who were denied the 
excitement of battle for one reason or another found solace 
in their participation in scalp dances. In some instances, 
women were allowed to torture male captives, but female 
captives were generally safe from tortiire or mutilation from 
any member of a tribe. Despite the role of women in war- 
fare, most tribes subscribed to the old Gros Ventre adage 
that "women and children do not make good charcoal." 

Some Indian women who sought adventure chose to 
find it in the pursuit of spiritual powers rather than war 
honors. Among some tribes, like the Comanches and 
Cheyennes, tradition held that the medicine man, or 
shaman, was expected to have a female assistant— usually 
his wife, sister or daughter. If a man could not find a female 
relative who wanted to learn his art, he could seek female 
help elsewhere. Spiritual power of this nature was con- 
sidered so volatile that a woman's presence was thought 
necessary to help control it. Women who could not or- 
dinarily become shamans on their own in some tribes, 
usually wielded power through their male associates in this 
fashion. Often these women carried on as shamans after 
their male comrade's death. 

In several tribes, women could become shamans on 
their own. Pawnee women were often shamans or 
"witches" by profession, specializing in love magic and 
controlling weather. War Leader Woman, an important 
Pawnee shaman, kept a live rattlesnake under her pillow 
as an animal helper and was feared by her people for her 
power to bewitch her family's enemies. On one occasion 
her son. Lone Chief, had quarreled with another warrior 
over the distribution of horses taken in a raid. As a result 
of this dispute. War Leader Woman and the mother of 
Lone Chief's rival argued as well. Most of the tribe at- 
tributed the sudden death of Lone Chief's enemy to War 
Leader Woman's sorcery.** 

Sometimes a shaman's power was said to be gained 
from a near brush with death or a freak accident. Such was 


the case with the Apache medicine woman Tze-go-juni, 
who, in her youth, had been taken as a slave and lived 
among the Mexicans of Sonora for five years. After return- 
ing to her people, Tze-go-juni was attacked by a moun- 
tain lion and badly mauled. She survived that ordeal only 
to be struck by lightning. Once again she recovered, and 
from that time forward the Apaches attributed her power 
as a shaman to her encounters with nature. ^^ 

A number of medicine women used their powers to 
heal the sick. Feather Woman, a Crow shaman, had been 
captured during a raid on an Oglala Sioux camp along with 
many other women and children. After several entreaties 
by the Sioux, the Crows agreed to return their captives in 
exchange for horses. The Sioux refused to take Feather 
Woman or her young daughter because they claimed she 
had stabbed her husband to death. Instead, the Crows 
adopted Feather Woman and she began to practice heal- 
ing arts. Her medicine animal, the mountain lion, was 
greatly revered by the Crows, who regarded her associa- 
tion with this animal and her own powerful visions with 
awe. Feather Woman was reputed to be able to cure the 
sick simply by touching them with her hand.** The Man- 
dan medicine woman Stays Yellow, on the other hand, 
used a thorough knowledge of wild plant pharmacology 
to work her cures. 

Women held important roles in tribal religious rites as 
well. In the Blackfeet Sun Dance ceremony, for instance, 
a female leader called a medicine woman organized the 
ritual by vowing to undergo the sacrifice of leading the Sun 
Dance. Among the medicine woman's many duties was 
the preparation and distribution of buffalo tongues, the 
holy food used in the Sun Dance communion meal. 
Cheyenne women were expected to play an important role 
in the construction of the Sun Dance lodge. Pawnee 
women were the major contributors in the tribe's planting 
ceremonies and Arapaho women summoned the buffalo 
herds through their own rituals.*" 

Among the Sioux, the culture hero. White Buffalo 
Maiden, was responsible for giving her people buffalo and 
teaching them how to live. Similar beliefs were found 
among tribes on the southern margins of the Great Plains 
in New Mexico. 

The arrival of Europeans on the plains led to intermar- 
riage between White men and Indian women. White 
traders and Indian chiefs often arranged these "country 
marriages," as Europeans called them, in order to secure 
alliances through wedlock that would bring about in- 
creased trade. "Country wives," the women who par- 
ticipated in these marriages, often served as diplomats be- 
tween their own people and those of their husbands. They 
smoothed rough feelings caused by the inevitable cultural 
friction and served as bridges for cultural exchange.** 

One such woman diplomat was Owl Woman, the 
"country wife" of trader William Bent. As the daughter 
of Yellow Wolf, a noted Cheyenne chief. Owl Woman was 
a shaman respected by her tribe who nurtured relations 



"Indian Maiden," by Charles M. Russell, watercolor, 1898. 


between her people and white traders. Another "country 
wife/' Medicine Snake Woman, was a Blood Indian who 
married Alexander Culbertson, the bourgeois of Fort Union, 
in 1828. Her influence among the chiefs of the Blackfeet 
confederacy, especially with her brother, Seen-from-Afar 
(head chief of the Bloods), and her cousin Little Dog (head 
chief of the Piegans), allowed American traders to enter 
the Blackfeet territory peacefully— a privilege not pre- 
viously granted to Whites. Her influence helped the United 
States sign a treaty with the Blackfeet in 1855, and she 
made important contributions to Lewis Henry Morgan's 
study of North American ethnology, by providing him 
with information on the kinship systems of her people. ^' 

Deer Little Woman was another of these women diplo- 
mats who contributed to American-Indian peace. An Assi- 
niboine who married Edwin Denig, Culbertson's successor 
as bourgeois at Fort Union, Deer Little Woman influenced 
her husband to further the careers of her brothers, First- 
to-Fly and The Light. As a result of their good relations 
with this White trader, both First-to-Ry and The Light were 
able to supply their tribe with an abundant supply of trade 
goods, and this, in turn, enabled them to become promi- 
nent Assiniboine chiefs. Like Medicine Snake Woman, 
Deer Little Woman made important contributions in 
ethnology through her husband's writings about the In- 
dian tribes of the upper Missouri. 2" 

In Canada, Thanadethur, a Chipewayan woman cap- 
tured by Crees and given to the English, brought her own 
tribe into closer economic relations with the White men and 
arranged peace between the Chipewayans and Crees. 
Among the Arapahoes, Kit Carson's marriage to Singing 
Wind probably saved his life since the Arapahoes had a 
reputation for their inhospitable treatment of other White 
trappers. As a kinsman by marriage, Carson could move 
about freely in the Arapahoes' territory and gather pelts 
for trade. Other "country wives" such as Sacagawea, a 
Shoshoni, and Marie Dorion of the lowas, served as gviides 
and interpreters for White explorers. ^^ 

As with their counterparts in White society, Indian 
women fulfilled traditional roles as mothers, wives and 
keepers of the family household. Yet Indian women were 
not confined to these roles exclusively. Sometimes, as in 
Comanche and Crow society, they were allowed to speak 
in council and thereby attained a measure of political in- 
fluence.^ Other Indian women broke completely from the 
traditional mold to assvune identities as warriors, sorcerers, 
chiefs and diplomats. In doing so, they made names for 
themselves among their own people. Unlike their counter- 
parts in the White world, these women were not looked 
upon as aberrant nor criticized for betraying their sex. In- 
stead, they were judged on their worth as individuals and 
encouraged to fulfill their potential. 

1. Rudolph Kurz, Journal of Rudolph Freidrich Kurz: An Account of His 
Experiences Among Fur Traders and American Indians on the Mississippi 
and the Upper Missouri Rivers During the Years 1846 to 1852, trans, by 
Myrtio Jarrell, ed. by J.N.B. Hewitt (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1970), p. 38. 

2. Pierre Antoine Tabeau, Tabeau's Narrative of Loisel's Expedition to the 
Upper Missouri, ed. by Annie H. Abel (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1939), p. 149. 

3. George F. Will and George E. Hyde, Com Among the Indians of the 
Upper Missouri (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964), p. 19. 

4. Robert Lowie, The Crow Indians (New York: Holt and Reinhart, 1935), 
p. 48. Men also adopted female roles and dress in many Indian 
societies. These berdaches, or "men-women," were considered im- 
portant individuals. 

5. Gene Weltfish, The Lost Universe: Pawnee Life and Culture (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1968), pp. 42-43. 

6. Edwin Thompson Denig, Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri, ed. 
by John C. Ewers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), 
p. 196. 

7. Ibid., p. 197. 

8. Ibid. 

9. Frank B. Linderman, Pretty Shield (New York: John Day Company, 
1972), pp. 228-230. 

10. George Bird Grinnell, The Fighting Cheyennes (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1915), p. 324. 

11. Charles Eastman, "Rain-in-the-Face, The Story of a Sioux Warrior," 
Outlook 34 (October 27, 1906): 507-512. 

12. John C. Ewers, "Deadlier than the Male," American Heritage 16 (June 
1965): 12-13. 

13. Robert Carter, On the Border with MacKenzie, or Winning West Texas 
from the Comanches (Washington, D.C.: Eynon Press, 1935), pp. 

14. Weltfish, The Lost Universe, p. 336. 

15. Thomas E. Mails, The People Called Apache (Englewood Cliffs, New 
Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1974), p. 147. 

16. Linderman, Pretty Shield, pp. 177-179. 

17. John C. Ewers, The Blackfeet, Raiders on the Northwestern Plains (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1958), pp. 175-180; Weltfish, The Lost 
Universe, pp. 95-96; Alfred Kroeber, The Arapaho, 2nd ed. (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1983), pp. 210-225; Royal B. Hassrick, 
The Sioux (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964), p. 281. 

18. Sylvia Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur Trade Society, 
1670-1870 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980), pp. 28-29. 

19. John C. Ewers, Indian Life on the Upper Missouri (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1968), pp. 62-63. 

20. Ibid. 

21. Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties, pp. 66-67; David F. Hawke, Those Tremen- 
dous Mountains: The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (New York: 
W. W. Norton & Co., 1980), pp. 187-189. Many women also married 
pronunent leaders of other Indian tribes, thereby improving inter- 
tribal relations. 



]. E. Stimson: Photographer of the West. By Mark Junge. Lincoln and London: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1985. 210 pp. Cloth $29.95. 

Mark Junge's /. E. Stimson: Photographer of the V^est is 
the biography of a Wyoming photographer whose career 
extended from the late 1880s through the first half of the 
20th century. Joseph E. Stimson was born in a rural area 
of South Carolina in 1870, moved with his family to 
Nebraska and, in 1889, settled in Cheyenne where he pur- 
chased a photographer's studio and equipment to initiate 
his life-long pursuit, of promotional and portrait pho- 
tography. Endowed with a particularly good eye and ap- 
preciation for pastoral settings, Stimson took a countless 
number of scenic pictures for the Union Pacific Railroad, 
the Wyoming Department of Immigration and even the 
United States Bureau of Reclamation. His work, which 
exists today in the form of nearly 7,500 glass-plate and 
nitrate negatives, is of such high quality that his self- 
proclaimed title as "scenic artist" is not an idle claim. The 
majority of Stimson's negatives are at the Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department, where 
author Mark Junge first became engrossed in their historic 
and fascinating properties. 

/. £. Stimson is essentially a coffee-table book with the 
added benefit of excellent scholarship and perceptive 
thematic comments. In a brief but lucid fashion, Junge sug- 
gests, with ample documentation, a belief that Stimson 
deserves a place within the "pantheon of Western pho- 
tographers" for two reasons. In the first place, Junge con- 
tends that Stimson, whose most productive period was the 
opening decade of the 20th century, was able to capture 
the essence of the West at a moment when that region 
crossed a threshold from the frontier to a more modern 
state of existence represented by cities with elaborate brick 
structures, large-scale coal mines, productive oil fields and 
intricate railroad networks. Stated Junge: "What Stimson 
offers is a frontal view of the American West as it wanted 
to see itself, at a time when it was proudly emerging from 
rude, frontier beginnings." Junge elaborates by com- 
menting that Stimson's photographs fill a hiatus between 
Francis Parkman's "Idyllic West" and David Plowden's 
more contemporary scene. Second, the author argues that 
Stimson's claim to enduring recognition is based in part 
on the fact that he is one of the very few professional 

photographers who spent their careers photographing the 
Rocky Mountain region. In this respect, Junge compares 
Stimson to William H. Jackson and Timothy O' Sullivan. 
Junge's book works both as a collection of fine pho- 
tographs and as an interpretative analysis of Stimson's con- 
tributions to the recording of the development of the West 
in the early 20th century. Through Stimson's camera lens, 
Junge perceives the West as a dynamic region which has 
endeavored to create and promote its claim to scenic 
beauty, economic vitality and historic importance. Through 
his own skill at organizing textual materials, Junge presents 
Stimson's photographs in a series of subject-oriented sec- 
tions that include chapters on portraits, urban settings, 
railroads, farms and ranches, and the industrial and min- 
ing West. Within each chapter is a sprinkling of notable 
facts to enhance an understanding of many of the pho- 
tographs, a number of provocative comments on the sig- 
nificance of Stimson as a photographer, and a generous 
number of black and white photographs that range from 
farm and mountain settings of Wyoming and Colorado to 
street scenes and buildings of such picturesque settings as 
Salina, Kansas, Deadwood, South Dakota, Omaha, 
Nebraska, and Salt Lake City, Utah. /. £. Stimson: 
Photographer of the West, in short, is the well organized, well 
researched, thought provoking and interesting account of 
a Western photographer whose accomplishments merit 
serious consideration by those who wish to understand the 
importance of the history of the American West. 

The reviewer is head of the Western Americana Division, Special Collections 
Department, Marriott Library, University of Utah. 

Teepee Neighbors. By Grace Coolidge. Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, New Edition Reprint, 1984 (Originally published: Boston: The 
Four Seas Co., 1917). Index. 163 pp. $7.95 paper. 

Grace Wetherbee Coolidge was the wife of The 
Reverend Sherman Coolidge, a fuU-blooded Arapahoe and 
minister of the Episcopalian Church. She was born in 
Boston of a very proper family. Early in her life the family 
moved to New York City, where her father owned two 


Runs-on-Top, or Sherman Coolidge, was born some- 
time in 1862 near Goose Creek, in the Wind River Country 
of Wyoming. His parents were Arapahoes and his early 
years were filled with the dangers with which all 
persecuted peoples must contend. 

In the springtime of 1870, Runs-on-Top's band was at- 
tacked by a large band of Shoshones and the youngster 
was taken captive. Not long afterward he was given to 
American troops. The lad was befriended by an army 
surgeon and renamed after General William Tecumseh 
Sherman. Later that same year. Captain and Mrs. Charles 
A. Coolidge adopted him. 

Sherman Coolidge' s position among both Whites and 
Indians was unique. He was respected by the White com- 
munity because of his education and manner and because 
he was Captain and Mrs. Collidge's son: on the other 
hand, he was accepted by the Indians, though somewhat 
hesitantly, because of his lineal descent from Arapahoe 

Teepee Neighbors is filled with the historical and 
sociological perspectives of a woman who witnessed the 
daily hardships of the Arapahoes and Shoshones in the 
early 20th century. 

Mrs. Coolidge's candid and straight-forward portrayals 
of the everyday lives of ordinary people on the Wind River 
Indian Reservation leaves us one of the most revealing ac- 
counts of White-Indian relations of the period and an in- 
sight into the roots of the problems of many Indians on 
and off reservations today. 

A woman is a woman and can talk to other women, 
regardless of ethical, racial or even language barriers and 
Mrs. Coolidge talked to her dusky-skinned neighbors. By 
the time she had gotten around to setting down her opin- 
ions and experiences she had identified herself with those 
neighbors. The book is thus laden with personal insights 
into the lives and condition of the Indians during that 

The author in her preface wrote: "The objection has 
often been made to these sketches that they are sad. Peo- 
ple won't read such painful stuff, editors have said to me. 
Then I slowly look over and consider my pages. Am I 
justified in changing this or that? There is only one 
response for me to make; I'm sorry, but they are all true. 
I cannot alter them." 

During this period the infamous manual labor train- 
ing schools, instituted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and 
modeled after the Carlisle "experiment" were flourishing. 
Grace Coolidge was bitterly opposed to the practice of 
separating children from their parents and thoroughly 
disliked and condemned the "Carlisle system" of Indian 
education. She was never reconciled to the idea and 
philosophy of boarding schools for Indian children, even 
when some of these schools were established nearer to 
tribal lands than Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. 

Teepee Neighbors is important to Native American 
studies because it is a sympathetic, objective social history 


of the Arapahoes and Shoshones as wards of the federal 
government. It is simple, it is moving, and Grace Cool- 
idge's humanity will undoubtedly leave something behind 
for everyone. 


The reviewer is former Editor of Special Publications for the Wyoming Game and 
Fish Department. 

Custer's Fall: The Indian Side of the Story. By David Humphreys Miller. Lin- 
coln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1985. Bib. lllus. 
Map. Table. 271 pp. $7.95. 

Historians have written more about the 1876 battle of 
the Little Bighorn than any other military engagement in 
the world's history. Despite this intensive study, several 
aspects of the fight remain questionable, particularly since 
most of the early investigators ignored the Indian par- 
ticipants who were the only surviving eyewitnesses of the 
battle with Custer. However, David Humphreys Miller 
sought to remedy this omission. For twenty years. Miller 
interviewed many of the Crow, Arikara, Cheyenne, 
Arapahoe and Sioux who participated in this conflict, and 
he later published his findings in Custer's Tall, a 1957 work 
which the University of Nebraska's Bison Books has re- 
cently reprinted. 

As the Northern Cheyenne and Sioux moved onto reser- 
vations in the late 19th century, they were reluctant to 
discuss the battle of the Little Bighorn, for they distrusted 
the Whites and feared reprisals for their victory in Mon- 
tana. Because Miller had visited or lived on the reserva- 
tions for approximately twenty years and spoke the Lakota 
language, many of these Indians trusted him and began 
to elaborate on the details of the battle. After speaking to 
more than 71 eyewitnesses individually and in groups and 
to the surviving Crow and Arikara scouts. Miller recon- 
structs the battle of the Little Bighorn from the viewpoints 
of the Native Americans. 

Following a brief chapter that places the battle into 
historical context, the author provides an overview of the 
1876 nulitary campaign against the Northern Plains tribes 
and a detailed account of the Indians' and Whites' actions 
on the Little Bighorn. He also explores many of the con- 
troversial issues surrounding the battle, such as Custer's 
alleged Indian mistress and child, his desire to become 
President, his reasons for attacking a village of approx- 
imately 12,000 Indians, Major Reno's attack, retreat and 
eventual survival, the reports of suicides among the sol- 
diers and the Indians' mutilations of the corpses. He also 
notes that Custer was mortally wounded or killed early in 
a fight that lasted for less than 30 minutes. In the final 
chapter. Miller relates that myths about this battle were 
created almost immediately, such as the incredible story 

that Sitting Bull had attended West Point with Custer and 
graduated as a better tactician than the horse-soldier. 

While a few books relating a particular Indian's exploits 
in the battle were printed in the 1930s, Miller's work is the 
first attempt at a comprehensive account of the Little 
Bighorn fight from the Native Americans' point of view. 
In 1957, Custer's Fall provided new information that could 
not be found in other reports of the battle, such as the 
tribes' motives for resisting a forced reservation existence, 
a detailed description of the destruction of Custer's com- 
mand and the Indians' reactions to their victory. The book 
also dispelled many popular myths about this fight. 

Despite these important strengths, the book suffers 
from a few weaknesses. The absence of footnotes prevents 
the reader from verifying Miller's conclusions and from 
analyzing his sources. This is particularly troublesome for 
a work based primarily on oral interviews. In addition. 
Miller does not indicate how he dealt with conflicting or 
inaccurate information, which invariably occurs when one 
tries to interview 70 eyewitnesses 60 to 80 years after an 
event transpired. Finally, Bison Books should add an in- 
dex and an updated preface that places Miller's work into 
a historiographical context. 

Regardless of these problems, Custer's Fall provides im- 
portant information that any student of the battle of the 
Little Bighorn will need to know. By focusing on the In- 
dians' view of this fight. Miller demonstrates that the 
cultural conflicts that precipitated this battle were more 
significant than the military engagement in determining 
the future of the Sioux and Cheyenne participants. This is 
an important message for those researchers who seek to 
uru-avel every unexplained detail of Custer's last minutes 
while ignoring the cultural forces that symbolized the bat- 
tle and have continued to affect the American Indians for 
the past century. 

The reviewer is historian and curator of South Pass City Historic Site. 

Historic Ranches of Wyoming. By Judith Hancock Sandoval. Casper: 
Nicolaysen Art Museum, 1986. List of Photographs. 97 pp. $12.00. 

Wyoming's image is that of the "Cowboy State." We 
are essentially rural and agricultural and— despite the 
presence of oil wells, coal mines and farms— ranches are 
symbols of that environment. Articles, books and films 
have been done about ranches, ranch life, rodeos and 
rodeo cowboys, but no one has systematically documented 
with narrative and photographs the state's ranch 

With tenacity and aggressiveness, Judy Sandoval has 
visited and photographed a number of Wyoming ranches, 
and has managed to get her exhibit published as a book. 
Ms. Sandoval's self-assigned task helps us realize that 
there is a treasure of ranches and ranch structtires found 

in this state and her work is a step toward their 

The book begins with an essay which, written by the 
"Dean" of Wyoming historians. Dr. T. A. Larson, is a 
scholarly and proper introduction. Robert Roripaugh's 
essay near the end of the book is a wonderful reminiscence 
that educates while it entertains— a nice touch to the book 
by a well-known Wyoming author. One of the photo cap- 
tions contains an interesting sidelight by Lucille Hicks and 
there are occasional pieces of information from ranchers 
that give the book flavor. 

Ms. Sandoval admits on page one that the book is only 
preliminary and that is the main reason why she can be 
forgiven for the book's shortcomings. One of these short- 
comings is organization. It is non-existent. There are no 
table of contents, and no index, only a list of photographs. 
A state map contains dots to indicate the location of ranches 
but the dots are not numbered to correspond with ranches 
or photographs. Cattle, sheep and dude ranches are mixed 
together as if ranches are just ranches. The book was 
adapted from an exhibit and maybe all pictorial books do 
not need to be rigidly organized. But if Historic Ranches of 
Wyoming was designed to be a photo essay only, there is 
no need for extended captions with extraneous information. 

Ms. Sandoval states that 40 per cent of her caption 
material is from published sources and 60 per cent from 
information provided by ranchers, but no documentation 
exists for either. If nearly half of the book relates to pub- 
lished sources, a bibliography would be helpful so that 
other ranch studies, such as Wyoming's Pioneer Ranches by 
Burns, Gillespie and Richardson, at least could be recog- 
nized. In short, the book is not a scholarly work, even 
though it contains a scholarly essay by Dr. Larson. Neither 
is it prose, even though it contains a prose essay. The 
narrative is a broken and arbitrary approach to docu- 
menting ranches, and appears to be a quick transcription 
of field notes. 

In some cases photo captions do not provide enough 
information about ranches— including their founders or 
owners— in order to give you an understanding of them. 
Basic information such as north-south directions is lack- 
ing even though non-essential data is plentiful. Names of 
people appear as if we had already been introduced to 
everyone. For example, on pages 23 and 29 Sandoval 
writes about sheep "jugs," stating: "Old Man Perry, who 
built them, died of tick fever. Before the vaccine was in- 
vented a man could pick 30 ticks off his body in a day and 
not get them all before one got him." Who is "Old Man 
Perry?" And, if the statement about ticks is not Sandoval's, 
which probably it is not, who gets the credit? Who is Mary 
Taylor Beach and what relation does she have to the Taylor 
Ranch in Uinta County (p. 42)? Where, in that same en- 
try, are the Uinta and Shoshone Reservations? Where is 
Sam Parker's Mill and why is he important to the Bovee 
Ranch (p. 53)? Why are L-shaped bams good against roar- 
ing winds and blizzards (p. 29)? 


Occasionally people are introduced whose identity you 
do not learn until later. For example, Gerry Spence is men- 
tioned on page sixteen, but you do not find out that he 
is the famous Wyoming lawyer until page twenty. The 
name David Williamson appears more than once, long 
before his accomplishments as a stonemason are related 
on page 48. One wonders why so many names are in- 
cluded. If it is a matter of being polite, even the people 
whose names appear in print could be offended because 
it may be that not everyone was included who should have 
been. The casual reader is offended, however, because he 
is asked to read a string of names that mean nothing to 
him without more background information. 

Leased and deeded acreage is provided in some ranch 
entries and not in others. The same is true of cattle and 
sheep numbers, or tons of hay produced, or dates of 
original water rights, or altitudes of ranches. Why are 
various ranch buildings listed when they are not shown 
in the photo? Some information is totally useless. For ex- 
ample, on page 57, who cares that within weeks after the 
sale of the Hereford Ranch bull, Lerch, progeny per- 
formance and semen sales paid off? It has the ring of an 
auctioneering advertisement. Why should it be noted that 
an etching of a deer in a forest adorns a ranch house front 
door if you cannot see it in the photograph (p. 53)? 

Some statements are simply untrue. For example, in 
the caption relating to the Horse Barn on the Lloyd Ranch 
in Albany County, it is stated that no other buildings in 
the state "have such an interesting history dating back to 
the first settlement period by the white man" (p. 29). There 
are still a few buildings along the Overland Trail dating 
back to 1862, and a number of other buildings exist which 
date back to the first settlement period by the White man, 
depending upon the settlement since some areas of the 
state were settled later than others. On page 58, Ms. San- 
doval asserts that Cheyenne Indians made their "last 
stand" at the Graves Ranch on Upper Red Fork of the 
Powder River. The Cheyenne were not destroyed as a tribe 
at that engagement, nor did they make a "stand." They 
were routed out of their tepees by Colonel Mackenzie's 
troops and retreated to the Powder River Basin, eventu- 
ally reaching the Red Cloud and Spotted Tail Agencies. 
On page 88, it is stated that A. A. Anderson convinced 
President Roosevelt to create the first forest reserve in 1902 
when, in fact, the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve was 
created in 1891 by President Harrison. 

Ms. Sandoval's strength is not documentation and 
organization; rather, it is the accomplishment of being able 
to visit as many ranches as she did in such a short period 
of time. Given her access to so many ranches and ranching 
people, it is a pity she did not take more time to study 
Wyonning's ranch industry. The result is a work that is 
neither fish nor fowl, neither scholarly nor coherent as a 

photo essay. The lack of thoroughness might be due to Ms. 
Sandoval's short tenure in the state. She is from New York 
City and had to absorb a lot of information during her stay 
in Wyoming. That may be why the East Fork of the Wind 
River is described as the "East Fork of the Wind River Can- 
yon" (p. 16); the term "cross-hairs telescope" used instead 
of "transit" (p. 16); or the "Laramie Peak Range" (p. 45) 
and "Laramie Mountain range" (p. 48) used instead of 
"Laramie Range." It is perhaps why the term "log men" 
(p. 70) is used instead of "tie hacks." It may be why the 
Kite Ranch (p. 45) is described as being located north of 
the Fetterman Road, a north-south trail. Although north- 
south roads can take east-west bends, the exact location 
of this particular ranch is not clear. It may be why the loca- 
tion of the Hardpan Ranch is given as the valley of the 
Shoshone River (p. 75) although the river has two major 
forks. It may be the reason why, on page 30, a stock range 
can be described in such mixed terms as having "extended 
from Clarks Fork to Owl Creek, covered the south side of 
the Big Horn River and the land along the Rocky Moun- 
tains." On the other hand, lack of familiarity with the state 
is not a reason for misspelling the word, Hambletonian 
(pp. 42, 66). 

The photographs in Historic Ranches of Wyoming 
demonstrate the need for another work on Wyoming's 
ranch architecture in which large-format photography is 
used instead of small-format or 35mm, photography. A pic- 
torial work on architecture needs large-format photography 
for clarity as well as perspective correction. Some of the 
book's prints are too grainy and some are too soft, if not 
slightly out-of-focus, such as photographs #31, 50 and 64. 
The quality of the photography is not consistent, even for 
small-format photography. Some entries such as #7, 26, 
47, 49, 50 and 57 could have been done by anyone with 
a 35mm camera who bothered to get out of the car and 
shoot. Finally, the book's design is such that you have to 
flip a page or two forward or backward in order to see in 
a photograph what the author describes in the caption. 

Nevertheless, some photographs of ranch equipment 
and outbuildings are interesting, since one does not usually 
see lambing sheds, root cellars and slaughterhouses. Some 
photographs display good composition, exposure, focus 
and flair, such as entries #4, 24, 25, 37, 43, 53 and 74. 

In summary, the Historic Ranches of Wyoming is an at- 
tempt at something which should have been done long 
ago: documentation of Wyoming's ranch architecture. 
However, it needs to be done in a more systematic, com- 
prehensive fashion using proper camera equipment and 
incorporating more research. 

The reviewer is the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer of the AMH 



MICHAEL MASSIE is the historian and site curator at 
South Pass City Historic Site. He graduated from the 
University of Wyoming in 1980 with a M.A. degree in 
History. He has previously been published in the American 
Indian Culture and Research Journal. 

JODYE LYNN DICKSON SCHILZ now teaches at Mankato 
State University, Minnesota. A Ph.D. candidate of U.S. 
History at Texas Christian University, SchUz received her 
M.A. degree in U.S. History at TCU in 1982. 

THOMAS SCHILZ is Coordinator, American Indian 
Studies Program, Mankato State University, Minnesota. 
He received his Ph.D. degree in U.S. History at Texas 
Christian University in 1983. His publications include two 
books and numerous articles and book reviews. 

HUGH JACKSON has a B.A. degree in History from the 
University of Wyoming. Currently he is a graduate stu- 
dent studying history at the University of Minnesota, 

GERALD M. ADAMS (Col. retired) now of Cheyenne 
retired from the Air Force in 1978, after a long career as 
a pilot, staff officer and unit commander. He holds M.A. 
degrees from Long Island University in International Af- 
fairs and History from the Uruversity of Wyoming. His ar- 
ticles on early aviation in Wyorhing, western military 
history and ranching have been published previously in 
Annals of Wyoming and Cheyenne newspapers. 


Annals of Wyoming will be experiencing several changes 
in the upcoming issues. First of all, the editorial staff has 
started this column, "Inside Wyoming," which will be- 
come a regular feature. The editors will include such things 
as editorials, discussions of interesting historical topics, in- 
triguing oral history interviews or descriptions of impor- 
tant collections held in the Wyoming State Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department. 

Another item to be started will be a "Letters to the 
Editor" section. Anyone may write to Annals and comment 
on any article or book review included in the journal. If 
you have more information you would like to share or per- 
haps find something you believe to be in error, please write 
in and tell us. We ask that letters be limited to 200 words. 

The editors reserve the right to select those which will be 
included and to edit the letters if necessary. 

Wyoming will celebrate its centennial in 1990. The 
editorial staff wishes to publish two special issues of An- 
nals of Wyoming in honor of the celebration. We are issuing 
a call for papers to include in those issues. Topics could 
be the drive for statehood, the constitutional convention, 
woman's suffrage, early government or other relevant 
issues. However, they need not be confined to these issues, 
but could explore any number of subjects and how they 
have changed throughout Wyoiiiing's history. Proposals 
should be submitted to the editor and should include the 
title of the paper along with a 200 word summary and a 
resume. Deadline is January 1, 1988. 



Adams, Gerald M., "The F. E. Warren Air Force Base War Trophies from 

Balangiga, P.I." 29-37; biog., 61 
A. Feick & Bro., 2-4, 13 
Aguinaldo, Enulio, 29 
Alexander, Robert, 34 
Alexander, William, 34 

Amalgamated Sugar Company, Montana, 19, 21 
"Amazons, Witches and Country Wives: Plains Indian Women in 

Historical Perspective," Thomas Schilz and Jodye Lyrm Dickson Schilz, 

American Hellenic Education Progressive Association, 43 
Anderson, Mose, 20-22 
Arbuckle Ranch, 7 
Arizona v California, 24 
Ariwrm v San Carlos Apache Tribe, 25 


Balangiga, Philippine Islands, 29-32, 34 

Basey, Philippine Islands, 29-30 

Battle of the Rosebud, 50-51 

"Behind the Capitol Scenes: The Letters of John A. Feick," Rick Ewig, 

ed., 2-14 
Bell, James Franklin, 32 
Bent, William, 54 
Betron, Frank, 29-30 

Blair, Neal L., review of Teepee Neighbors, 57-58 
Bookmiller, Captain Edwin V., 30-32 
Bresnahan, Jerry, 36 
Browning, Matthew S., 21 
Bureau of Indian Affairs, 25 
Bureau of Reclamation, 23, 25 

Eccles, David, 21 
Eleventh Infantry, 29-34 

Ewig, Rick, ed., "Behind the Capitol Scenes: The Letters of John A. 
Feick," 2-14 

Feick, Adam, 3, 13 

Feick, George, 3-4, 6, 8-13 

Feick, John A., 2-13; photo, 3 

Feick, Lizzie, 4-13, photo, 2 

Feick, Philip, 3 

"The F. E. Warren Air Force Base War Trophies from Balangiga, P.I. 

Gerald M. Adams, 29-37 
Fort Belknap Reservation, 15-17, 19-26 

D. A. RusseU, 29-34; photos, 31-32 

Francis E. Warren, 33 
Francis E. Warren AFB, 29, 33-34, 36-37; photos, 35 
French, W. B., 21 
Frontier Days, 41, 44, 47 

General Allotment Act of 1887, 17 

German Turnverein Society, 43-44 

Gibbs, David W., 3 

Goodrich, Paul M., 31-32, 34 

Grand Teton National Park, 41 

Great Northern Railroad, 19-20 

Greek American Progressive Association, 43 

Greenlee, Robert C, 3-4 

Greenley, Charles H., 34, 36 

Guiterman, Mrs. William, 42 

Cahill, T. Joe, 44-45; photo, 47 
Campbell, John A., 39 
Capitol Building Commission, 2-3, 8-9, 13 
Carson, Kit, 56 

Cheyenne Little Theatre Players, 45, 47; photo, 46 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, 2-13, 29-31, 36, 39, 41-45 
Clay, John, 40 

Company C, Ninth Infantry, 29-31, 34 
Company G, Ninth Infantry, 30, 32 
Connell, Captain Thomas W., 29 
Coolidge, Grace, Teepee Neighbors, review, 57-58 
CortheU, Mrs. Nellis E., 39 
Corthell, Nellis E., 44 
Council of Energy Resource Tribes, 25 
Crane, C. J., 32 
Crook, George, 50 
Culbertson, Alexander, 56 

"The Cultural Roots of Indian Water Rights," Michael Massie, 15-28 
Custer, George A., 51 

Custer's Fall: The Indian Side of the Story, by David Humphreys Miller, 
review, 58-59 

Dante Alighieri Society, 43 
Denig, Edwin, 56 
DeRussy, Isaac D., 30 
Drake, Kerry, 34 


Hawley, Judge, 22 

Hays, Luke C, 17 

Henderson, Harry B., 46 

Henry, John, 44 

Hill, Robert J., 34 

Historic Ranches of Wyoming, by Judith Hancock Sandoval, review, 59-60 

"The History of Volunteering in Wyoming," Hugh Jackson, 38-48 

Hughes, Robert P., 30 

Hundley, Norris, 15 

Hunt, Judge William H., 21; photo, 21 

Indian Rights Association, 17, 21 

Comes-in- Sight, 51 

Crazy Horse, 50 

First-to-Fly, 56 

Gall, 51 

Little Dog, 56 

Lone Chief, 54 

Seen-From-Afar, 56 

The Light, 56 

YeUow Wolf, 54 

Apache, 54 


Arapahoe, 15, 54, 56 

Assiniboine, 15-17, 19-26, 56; photo, 25 

Blackfeet, 15-16, 50, 54, 56 

Cheyenne, 50-51, 54 

Comanche, 54, 56 

Cree, 16, 56 

Crow, 50-51, 54, 56 

Hathead, 54 

Gros Ventre, 15-17, 19-26, 50, 54 

Nez Perce, 51 

Pawnee, 50, 54 

Piegan, 51, 56 

Ponca, 50 

Shoshone, 15, 25 

Sioux, 15-16, 50-51, 54 

Tonkawa, 54 

Buffalo Calf Road Woman, 51 

Deer Little Woman, 56 

Feather Woman, 54 

Finds-Them-and-Kills Them, 50-51 

Marie Dorion, 56 

Medicine Snake Woman, 56 

Moving Robe, 51 

Old-Lady-Grieves-the-Enemy, 50 

Owl Woman, 54 

Running Eagle, 51, 54 

Sacagawea, 56 

Singing Wind, 56 

Stays Yellow, 54 

Thanadethur, 56 

The-Other-Magpie, 50-51 

Tze-go-juni, 54 

War Leader Woman, 54 

White Buffalo Maiden, 54 

Woman Chief, 50 
Indian Water Rights, 15-26 
Indian Women, 50-56; photos, 48-49, 51-53, 55 
brigation, 17, 19-24; photo, 18 


Junge, Mark, /. E. Stimson: Photographer of the West, review, 57 

Junge, Mark, review of Historic Ranches of Wyoming, 59-60 

Jackson, Hugh, "The History of Volunteering in Wyoming," 38-48; biog., 

Jameson, Colonel Arlen D., 37 

/. E. Stimson: Photographer of the West, by Mark Junge, review, 57 
Johnson County War, 40-41 
Jones, Walter R., review of /. E. Stimson: Photographer of the West, 57 

Lacock, Edward A., 21 

Laramie County Stock Growers Association, 39-40 

Laramie Woman's Club, 39 

Leupp, Francis, 21 

Lincoln, W. L., 16 

Logan, William R., 20-21, 23, 25 


McGovem, Bishop Patrick A., 44; photo, 45 

McKerma, Joseph, 22-24 

Maennerchor Society, 43 

Massie, Michael, "The Cultural Roots of Indian Water Rights," 15-28; 

biog., 61 
Massie, Michael, review of Custer's Fall: The Indian Side of the Story, 58-59 

Matador Cattle Company, Trirudad, Colorado, 19, 21, 23 

Maverick Law, 40 

Meyer, Albert L., 30 

Milk River, Montana, 15-17, 19-26; photo, 22 

Miller, David Humphreys, Custer's Fall: The Indian Side of the Story, review, 

Montana, 15-17, 19-26 
Morris, Esther H., 41 


Nagle, Erasmus, 2, 4, 7, 9-11 
Native American Rights Fund, 25 
Nelson, H. H., 21 


O'Brien, Nicholas J., 8 
The Owls; photo, 42 

Philippine Islands, 29-34 
Post, M.E., 7 
Pringle, Andrew, Jr., 36 
Prior Appropriation, 19, 24 

Rasch, Carl, 21 
Riparian water rights, 19 
Rolapp, Henry H., 21 

St. Joseph's Children's Home, 44-45, 47 

St. Paul's Catholic Missionary School, Montana, 16 

Samar, Island of, Philippine Islands, 29-31, 34 

Sandoval, Judith Hancock, Historic Ranches of Wyoming, review, 59-60 

SchUz, Jodye Lyrm Dickson, "Amazons, Witches and Country Wives: 

Plains Indian Women in Historical Perspective," 48-56; biog., 61 
SchHz, Thomas, "Amazons, Witches and Country Wives: Plains Indian 

Women in Historical Perspective," 48-56; biog., 61 
Scott, Robert R., 36-37 
Shoshoni Tribes of Indians v United States, 25 
Simmons, A. O., 17 
Slack, E. A., 41 
Swedish Benevolence Society, 43 

Tacloban, Philippine Islands, 30 

TarbeU, Edward A., 36 

Teepee Neighbors, by Grace Coolidge, review, 57-58 

Torrington, Wyoming, 44 

Trophy Park, F. E. Warren AFB, 29, 34, 37; photos, 35 

Tweedy v Texas Co., 24 


United States Supreme Court, 15, 22-25 


Veeder, William H., 24 


Warren, Francis E., 2, 30-31 
Wind River Reservation, 15, 23, 25 
Wingo, Claude C, 30 
Winter, Henry, 20-22 


Winters Doctrine, 23-26 

Winters v United States, 15, 22-26 

Woman's Club of Cheyenne, 42 

Woman's Suffrage, 41 

Woodbridge, William E., 34 

Wyoming Federation of Women's Clubs, 42-45, 47 

Wyoming State Capitol, 2-13, photos; 8-9, 13-14 

Wyoming Stock and Wool Growers Association, 39 

Wyoming Stock Graziers Association, 39 

Wyoming Stock Growers Association, 40-44, 46; photo, 40 

Wyoming Supreme Court, 15 

Young Men's Literary Club, 45-47 

Zipfel, Constantine, 4 



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 Armsh-ong, 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; Fern Gaensslen, Green River, 1983-84; Dave 
Kathka, Rock Springs, 1984-85; Mary Garman, Sundance, 1985-86. 

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, Ellen Mueller, Cheyenne 

First Vice President, Mary Nielsen, Cody 
1986-87 Second Vice President, Loren Jost, Riverton 

Officers Secretary-Treasurer, Lucille Dumbrill, Newcastle 

Executive-Secretary, Dr. Robert D. Bush 

Coordinator, Judy West 



Springs White Minors 
Drive Them Out. 


rhrcc of tlic IVIoiifil^oliniiN Known to 

Be Killed and Probably IVIorc— 

The Troubles Reach a Climax. 

Special to TuxBun: 

Rock Springs, "Wyoming, Septcm- 
>cr 2. — ^Thc long brewing troubles bc- 
iween the white miners and Chinese 
;mploye4 by the Union Pacific com- 
[mny here broke out today, culminat- 
ing in a bloody attack upon the latter. 
rhc trouble commeuccd this mor^ I 
ing about 7 o'clock at miiif^^ 
and a fight occurred bo 



Volume 59, No. 2 Fall, 1987 



^^'^ Further From the Scene of Bloo 
^ shed and Fire at Rock Springs. 


k Springs Exhibits a Dislike of 
the Celestials, 

Drives Them Out With Slaugh- 
ter and Conflagration. 

Lie j'esterday afternoon a Leader 
rter received information that S — ^1 
to pay at Rock Springs. The report 
^hat the miners there had killed hun- 
fs of the Chinese miners and had 
eJ the Chinatown of that place, and 
soldiers had been ordered from Fort 
e to quell the riot. Forthwith the 
rter hunted up Mr. L. M. Tisdell, 
ock Springs, who is here attending 
eachers' institute, but he having left 

A Reign of Terror and Disgrace 
Western Wyoming. 

Yesterday morning Governor Wan 
telegraphed from Rock Springs tl 
every Chinaman in that place, 500 
number, had been driven out. He &i 
that at that time fifteen dead bodies h 
been found and that is probably not h 
of those killed by assault and burned 
death. Fifty houses belonging to t 
railroad company have been burned, a 
fifty more belonging to Chinamen. T 

nViincimpn wlin WArft drivfin out. ft] 


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. The State 
Historic Preservation Office is also located in the Department. 


FrarJ<; Bowron, Casper, Chairman 

Lucille Clarke Dumbrill, Newcastle 

George Zebre, Kemmerer 

Tom Mangan, Laramie 

Bill Bruce Hines, Gillette 

Gladys Hill, Douglas 

Gretel Ehrlich, Shell 

George Ziemans, Lingle 

Mary Guthrie, Attorney General's Office, Ex-officio 


Dona Bachman 

James Donahue 

Rick Ewig 

Mark Junge 

Linda Rollins 

Mary Nielsen, Ex-officio 
President, Wyoming State Historical Society 

Frank Bowron, Ex-officio 
Chairman, State Library, Archives, Museums and Historical Board 

ABOUT THE COVER— The Cheyenne newspapers carried extensive coverage of the event which 
is now known as the "Chinese" or "Rock Springs Massacre." White miners rioted, killing 
28 Chinese, wounding fifteen and chasing hundreds out of Rock Springs. Governor Francis E. 
Warren played an active role in the resolution of this crisis as can be seen in the article, 
"Governor Francis E. Warren, The United States Army and the Chinese Massacre at Rock 



Volume 59, No. 2 
Fall, 1987 


Mike Sullivan 


David Kathka 


Rick Ewig 


Jean Brainerd 
Roger Joyce 
Ann Nelson 


Kathy Martinez 
Judy West 


Paula West-Chavoya 
Carroll Jones 
Ed Fowler 




by Patrick McCarthy 


Cornish Impressions of the Trek West 

by Brian P. Birch 



by Murray L. Carroll 



by David M. Delo 




The William Lee Diary Account of the 

James H. Simpson Expedition, 1858-1859 36 

by John P. Langellier 




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 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 1987 by the Wyoming State Press 




by Patrick McCarthy 

. . . there are in these prairies, and the forests of the Rocky 
Mountains, beaver and fur trappers, who live at their own 
cost. . . . They are, for the most part, enterprising, robust 
men, capital riflemen, and, from their rude course in life, 
are able to endure the greatest hardships.'^ 

Few early day travelers were as fortunate as German 
Prince Maximilian to witness the mountain man— the fur 
trapper and/or trader of the 19th century trans-Mississippi 
West. Maximilian's account is testimony to the mountain 
man's image in the late 1830s— the declining years of the 
heyday of the western fur trade. 

Once a subject left to historians and writers of popular 
literature, this historical figure has been re-created in 
twenty documentary films released over the past 35 years. 
His presence on celluloid has led to a "sub-genre" of fOms 
which can be termed "mountain man documentaries." 
Despite his extensive characterization on-screen, what the 
cinematic trapper symbolizes to society and how he com- 
pares with any other media heroes have never been deter- 
mined. Therefore, this essay summarizes the depiction of 
the mountain man in the documentary mode while con- 
trasting his screen "persona" with that of a more popular 
media figure— the cowboy— in the classic Western movie. 

The mountain man documentary and the Western 
have endured because of common features; namely larger- 
than-life protagonists like the mountain man and the cow- 
boy. Both characters have qualities generally exceeding 
human capabilities because they perform extraordinary 
feats of strength and endurance. On a more earthly level, 
they are brave and robust men who ride horses and carry 

guns. These mutual attributes find them living in the same 
place: the Intermontane West. Yet, their loyalties are divided 
between the Western wOds and society; that is each man 
has one foot in the wilderness and one foot in civilization. 
This personal tension mirrors a theme shared by both types 
of films: civilization versus the "wide open spaces" and 
the intrinsic conflicts therein. Given such similar char- 
acteristics, one might think that the universe of the moun- 
tain man documentary matches the classic Western; how- 
ever, closer inspection reveals that vast differences exist 
between their filmic worlds. 

These dissimilarities can be explained by using a 
method of inquiry known as genre criticism. This approach 
simply enables one to identify a category of films by generic 
elements: (1) characterization; (2) iconography; (3) theme; 
(4) setting; (5) plot structure; and (6) style (aesthetic 

Characterization basically refers to how an individual, 
such as the mountain man or cowboy, is developed over 
the course of a motion picture or series of films. In short, 
what attributes make these dwellers of the cinematic West 
distinct personalities? As a bold and resourceful drifter, the 
mountain man goes wherever he wants, with whomever 
he wishes and when he desires— in a womanless world. 
He is an adventurer-explorer who does little trapping or 

A contemporary mountain man. 

trading, and he enjoys male companionship almost ex- 
clusively. This self-contained soul is essentially a 
wilderness stoic who directs all his energies to "surviv- 
ing" in the wilds. His home is where he puts his head, 
which is neither on a mattress nor next to a woman. Nar- 
ration in the documentary film. The Mountain Men (1964; 
Barr films), amplifies the autonomy the mountain men 
relishes on celliiloid: "Life in the mountains required 
tough, hardy men, men as wild and free as the country 
in which they lived." 

Even though he and the cowboy are restless people 
"on the move," the latter is a forerunner of society and 
protector of civilization. Scholar Will Wright says the classic 
Western "is the story of the lone ranger who rides into 
a troubled town and cleans it up, winning the respect of 
the townsfolk and the love of the schoolmarm."^ Accord- 
ingly, "Women are primary symbols of civilization in the 
Western. "3 Scholar Philip French writes: 

. . . there are two kinds of women [in the Western] . On the 
one hand there is the unsullied pioneer heroine: virtuous wife, 
rancher's virginal daughter, schoolteacher, etc.; on the other 
hand there is the saloon girl with her entourage of dancers. 
The former are in short supply, to be treated with respect and 
protected. The latter are reasonably plentiful, sexually available 
and cormnunity property.^ 

In the course of his activities, the cowboy interacts with 
women and various townspeople. While he maintains con- 
tact with civilization on a regular basis, the mountain man 
is a refugee from society; his only constant companions 
are horses and the nightly campfire. 

Iconography— what a character wears and manipulates 
as part of his daily existence— reveals that the celluloid 
mountain man is "fitted" to the outdoors by the way he 
dresses. He wears animal skins and usually a hat made 
of fur. This is earthy clothing of a woodsman, a "natural" 
man whose attire is practical and blends with the forest. 
In such outdoor surroundings the mountain man enjoys 
unrivaled mobility through the ready access of transport 
and the skill by which he uses horses and other means, 
such as watercraft, of getting around. An additional horse 
or two may serve as a pack animal; for the mountain man 
takes with him all his earthly possessions wherever he 
goes. Large accessories are packed by horses or mules; 
some small items go into a "possibles sack," which hangs 
from his neck. Nothing impedes the mountain man's 

The cowboy travels equally as light; his pony carries 
the cowboy himself, saddlebags and a blanket roll. 

However, his costume is strikingly different from the 
buckskin worn by the mountain man. The cowboy gen- 
erally wears a white, ten-gallon hat, is clean-shaven, and 
his clothes are often well-pressed. His boots, chaps, heavy 
shirt and bandana symbolize a mixture of dandyism and 
utilitarianism. In contrast, the mountain man's clothing 
clearly illustrates that he identifies with wOd creatiires, and 
like them he is a full fledged denizen of the woods. He 
and the cowboy depend on natural instincts and few 
material possessions to survive, but the trapper needs lit- 
tle help from civilization. 

How these two "westerners" lead their lives is also 
determined by another icon— the gun. Unlike the cowboy, 
who usually packs around a little, short pistol, the moun- 
tain man lugs a big, long, heavy, frontloading rifle. This 
death-dealing instrument is used expertly by the moun- 
tain man to kill wild game with a skill that qualifies him 
as a premier hunter on a plane with "the deerslayer." Most 
often, his muzzleloader, as a symbol of machismo and 

power, remains draped across one of the mountain man's 

wide shoulders; for he participates in virtually no violence 

involving humans. He is potentially as explosive as the 

cowboy is violent in westerns, yet the mountain man's 

virility— as represented by guns— is sublimated or diffused 

through his association with nature. 

In opposite fashion, the cowboy, according to scholar 

Robert Warshow, is a "killer of men."^ He adds the gun 

tells us that the cowboy "lives in a world of violence, and 

even that he 'believes in violence.' " Scholar John Cawelti 


The most important implication of this killing procedure seems 
to be the qualities of reluctance, control, and elegance which 
itassociates with the hero. . . . The cowboy hero does not seek 
out combat for its own sake and he typically shows an aver- 
sion to the wanton shedding of blood. Killing is an act forced 
upon him and he carries it out with the precision and skill of 
a surgeon and the careful proportions of an artist.' 

To maintain this code of honor, the cowboy participates 
in gunfights, fistfights and various duels with men. The 
celluloid mountain man would have none of this; he is a 

pacifist who seeks in men comradeship and friendship, 
although such meetings are brief. He enjoys what author 
Leslie Fiedler terms "homoerotic relationship," or strong 
friendships among men.^ 

The ultimate "foe" for the mountain man turns out 
to be nature. Seasonal weather patterns, precipitous moim- 
tains, attacks from grizzlies and freezing, turbulent rivers 
are among the threats to his well-being. Inasmuch as 
nature does not directly claim any mountain man's life in 
these films, he becomes a "survivor." Referring to him in 
this maimer would be the supreme compliment. Still, there 
are no material rewards associated with his punishing 
lifestyle. Unlike the real mountain man, this filmic figure 
participates in "surviving" not as a direct outgrowth of 
any trapping/trading ventures. It is a more basic gratifica- 
tion which impels the cinematic trapper to endure the 
greatest hardships imaginable in the western wUds. What 
is at stake for him is some masculine ideal. 

The man versus nature theme takes a different turn 
in the classic Western. Whereas nature is the mountain 
man's home, as well as a proving ground for him, the 
cowboy views unsettled country in strictly an adversarial 
light. Wilderness, then, should be subdued or conquered 
in paving the way for civilization in the eyes of the cowboy. 
Conversely, the trapper seeks not to harness the land; he 
simply wants to exist peacefully and in harmony with the 
outdoors. Thus, he winds up as an inhabitant of the deep 
forest, a dark and frightening place where few cowboys go. 

Setting— the physical environment where the film(s) 
takes place— is further important insofar as the West in 
mountain man films has not been made into an East, with 
all the materialism of society. While the Western seeks to 
preserve civilization, which extends from the East, the 
mountain man's universe has largely been left unchanged 
by his appearance on the scene. Civilization has tainted 
the seductive landscape of the West in Hollywood "shoot- 
em-ups," but there are no disturbing remnants of society, 
such as ghost towns, in mountain man documentaries; the 
impermanence of life is found only in moccasin tracks and 
the ashes of campfires. 

While the campfire acts as a social facilitator in bring- 
ing mountain men together on rare evenings, the great 
gathering of these staunch individualists occurs at filmic 
restagings of the historical "rendezvous"— yearly meetings 
of fur trappers, traders and Indians during the halcyon 
years of the western fur trade (1825-1840). On this occasion 
the celluloid trapper experiences his only contact with 
civilization because he trades for goods with suppliers from 
the East. In a sense, the rendezvous is the mountain man's 
answer to the cowboy's saloon or "watering hole." 
However, this get-together of the he-men in some high 
valley is less an open-air bar and brothel than a chance to 
re-establish the male camaraderie which unites these 
celibate backwoodsmen. 

Rendezvous (1976), a documentary made in Wyoming, 
and the only mountain man film exclusively devoted to 

re-creating this event, is a short motion picture about three 
trappers who meet on the way to this "f of arrow" of old. 
They are depicted as backslapping buddies and outdoors- 
men with unusual skills. One member of this threesome 
even catches a trout with his bare hands, a "fish" story 
if there ever was one. Once they get to the rendezvous, 
it is not trading furs which occupies their time, but par- 
ticipating in the festivities of the occasion. At another point 
in the film, Roy KerswUl, the producer of this documen- 
tary, is seen— brush in hand— putting the finishing touches 
on a painting. His voice-over is a telling tribute to this film's 
characterization of the mountain man: 

One has to live the life of a mountain man to really be able to 
paint him. I think in every mountain man there was that little 
spark of a need for total freedom. And he was as close to real 
freedom as anyone could get. Once a year he had to attend 
the rendezvous where he'd pick up more black powder. But 
other than that he was totally free. He could go anywhere he 
wanted to go. All his physical needs were right there. And I 
think maybe this . . . [pause] this is what we look for— all of 
us— one way or another we look for this. There are times, 
perhaps, I wish I could put my buckskins on and take off. 

This illusory portrait of the mountain man mirrors the 
image painted of him by the combined plot structure of 
these various documentary films. In essence, this generic 
component relates to story lines built around "segmenta- 
tion," a term which breaks down a filmic narrative into 
a beginning, middle and an end usually developed in 
chronological order. Mountain man documentaries gen- 
erally lack this cohesive organization because plot struc- 
ture portrays the trapper mainly as a "pathfinder"; only 
what motivates him to follow so many different paths virtu- 
ally remains a mystery. One clue is that his major activity 
is traveling to and from locations which are practically 
unknown to the viewer. Therefore, wanderlust appears to 
be an end in itself. 

Because of the various people the cowboy encounters, 
and since he is basically an extra-legal agent on the side 
of law and order, the classic Western may incorporate 
involved plot structures to deal with the complexity of 
human relationships. Whereas this generic element is 
loosely arranged and quite simple in mountain man docu- 
mentaries, the Western features plot "twists" which create 
suspense and alter expectations of the viewer. Plot struc- 
ture, then, is peripherally important to the mountain man 

Style— the final genre component— pertains to what 
visual and aural techniques the filmmaker uses to present 
subject matter. Such techniques include cinematographic 
elements relating to the camera (i.e., shot types, angles, 
camera movement, framing and composition); principles 

of editing; aural devices (i.e., sound effects and narration); 
lighting strategies; and special effects, such as (map) 
animation, created by a film lab. These aspects are not 
discussed owing to their diverse nature, and because con- 
tent about the mountain man apparently does not demand 
that documentarists use other than fundamental tech- 
niques in portraying him. However, subject matter in the 
classic Western is often depicted through the use of 
sophisticated aesthetic techniques. 

By any standards, the mountairi man emerges on cellu- 
loid as an imposing, yet enigmatic, figure. Characteriza- 
tion reveals that he has the leathery look of an out- 
doorsman and the rugged qualities to match his appear- 
ance. Iconography also gives him the exterior image of a 
woodsman through the clothing he wears, his gun and 
horse— a symbol of grace, dignity and power. Setting 
places him in the Rocky Mountain West, and the theme 
of man versus nature shows that he gets his masculine 
identity from being able to survive in the wilderness. That 
he leads a rootless, homeless and, outwardly, an aimless 
existence is disclosed by examining plot structure. Subse- 
quently, applying these genre elements to the mountain 
man documentary strongly suggest that the trapper's 
separation from civilization is complete. 

How does one personalize this remote individual who 
seems so detached from society? Initially, one can think 
of a host of unflattering terms by which to characterize his 
behavior. He could be thought of as gynephobic because 
he seems to fear women. He could also be considered a 
misanthrope since at the very least he seems to distrust 
people. In addition, he may be deemed a mysogamist 
because he appears to avoid or detest marriage. However, 
any figure who would risk being known by all these terms 
must find reward in his lifestyle beyond the individuality 
and freedom he already has. 

Perhaps author Phyllis Klotman provides a key to 
understanding him as a type of "Running Man." To use 
her description of this phrase, the mountain man is "the 
protagonist who rejects the values of the culture or society 
in which he finds himself by birth, compulsion or volition, 
and literally takes flight."' As a person who rejects society, 
the trapper seeks happiness through introspection and his 
wandering ways, and without the help of a mountain 
"ma'am." For him, domesticity and responsibility are out. 
Symbolically speaking, he does not want to cut the lawn, 
paint the picket fence white, feed the dog, take out the gar- 
bage and put diapers on the baby; let alone take a nine 
to five job. Moreover, the mountain man's life is simple 
and austere. He has few creature comforts, such as a 
house, and his world is not cluttered by modern con- 
veniences, urban congestion and complexity. This man 
finds reassurance in a tactile or sensory universe (i.e., what 
he cannot feel, touch or smell does not exist). Moreover, 
he is a universalist who identifies with all living things in 
the forest. Klotman, therefore, may have the answer to 
what ultimately propels the cinematic mountain man: 

Perhaps he [Running Man] represents, in the romantic tradi- 
tion, not what we were but what we wished to be. Perhaps 
it is simply the desire to be free, unfettered, unconstrained; 
the desire not to adjust; not to accommodate; not to belong; 
alienation by choice." 

It seems that the mountain man documentary has 
resurrected James Fenimore Cooper's Natty Bumppo from 
The Leatherstocking Tales or Rousseau's "natural man," the 
romantic inhabitant of the forest. As a figure in real life, 
the latter first captivated the public's imagination in the 
late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was a frontiersman 
then, when Americans began moving West from under the 
shadow of the AUeghenies and the Great Smoky Mountains. 

However, as author Marshall Fishwick notes, this 
forerunner to the historical mountain man eventually 
"traded coonskins for sombreros,- long rifles for six 
shooters, and moccasins for spurs, without losing for a sec- 
ond . . . [his] fascination for the hero-loving American 
public."" In the meantime, the mountain man became a 
transitional figure between the frontiersman of Daniel 
Boone's time and the cowboy, who was more at home on 
the Great Plains. Eventually, the cowboy fell heir to the 
broad landscape of the West, which the buckskin-clad 
mountain man, and the frontiersman before him, once had 
claimed for themselves. 

That the cowboy remains such a popular figure today 
is owing to the dime novels and other popular paperbacks 
which kept his image alive long after the cattle drive and 
range wars became things of the past. It was only natural, 
then, that mass media would adopt him, instead of the 
mountain man, as "the Man of the West." 

Furthermore, why the cowboy is more of a hero than 
the mountain man could be traceable to the cinematic trap- 
per's salient characteristics. Because of his wanderlust, the 
mountain man personifies democratic ideals, such as in- 
dividuality and freedom, and represents America's "tradi- 
tion of mobility." Historian Ray Allen BUlington believes 
that this last characteristic "was an integral part in the raw, 
sweaty drama that was western economic development. "^^ 
The trapper's mobility, in turn, mirrors the restlessness of 
the American people. Words once penned by Robert Louis 
Stevenson attest to this characteristic: 
For my part 
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go 

I travel for travel's sake 
The great affair is to move." 

Yet, the mountain man is such a mobile and solitary 

figure that he becomes simultaneously an attractive and 

repulsive character. Author Martha Wolfenstein writes 

about filmic figures who have the trapper's qualities: 

Perhaps the thing from which the hero suffers most, and which 
contributes to the semblance of his guilt, is that he is alone . . . 
Americans tend to feel uneasy alone; they feel they are unloved 
and therefore unworthy of love— there must be something 
wrong with them. . . . The image of the outcast ... is un- 
congenial. Thus, if the hero is alone, even though we know 
that the suspicions against him are unfounded, he tends to re- 
tain an aura of guilt." 

Thus, the cinematic mountain man has almost too much 
individuality and freedom for Americans to embrace him 

Scene from the 

National Film Board of 

Canada production, 

"The Voyageurs. " 

wholeheartedly as a cultural hero. Americans seem to ad- 
mire the autonomous lifestyle of the cinematic trapper, but 
in the end he is also a threatening figure owing to his 
solitary nature, as well as his wanderlust. 

In the final analysis, the cowboy has always enjoyed 
overwhelming approval as America's chief western hero, 
perhaps, because he has a clean, upright appearance, while 
the mountain man is dark, disheveled and hairy. By these 
characteristics the cinematic mountain man is also too "un- 
civilized" to play any "civilized games," such as protecting 
society, as the cowboy does in motion pictures. Even if the 
mountain man were in the cowboy's shoes for a short time, 
from what intruders would this earthy backwoodsman pro- 
tect society? The traditional enemy of civilization in the 
Western is the Indian. However, the human being the 
filmic trapper most resembles is the red man. As such, the 
mountain man is nomadic, lives off the land and par- 
ticipates in an alternative lifestyle which is unacceptable 
to society at large, which the cowboy ultimately protects. 
Overall, then, the classic Western may represent aspects 
of civilization such as the machine age, rational culture and 
population density. Clearly, the mountain man documen- 
tary turns this orientation upside down. 

PATRICK McCarthy, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Film and Television 
in the Department of Communication at Indiana State University. 

1. Maximilian, Prince of Wied, Travels in the Interior of North America, 
Part I, in Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed.. Early Western Travels, 32 vols. 
(Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1907), vol. 22, p. 379. 

2. WUl Wright, Six Guns and Society (University of California Press, 1975), 
p. 32. 

3. John Cawelti, The Six-Gun Mistique (Bowling Green University Popular 
Press [no date]). 

4. Philip French, Westerns, Cinema One series, no. 25 (New York: Ox- 
ford University Press, 1977), p. 62. 

5. Robert Warshow, "Movie Chronicle: The Westerner," in Gerald Mast 
and Marshall Cohen, eds.. Film Theory and Criticism 2nd ed. (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 475. 

6. Ibid., p. 486. 

7. Cawelti, The Six-Gun Mistique, p. 59. 

8. Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel (New York, 1966), 
p. 194. 

9. PhyUis Rauch Klotman, Another Man Gone: The Black Runner in Con- 
temporary Afro-American Literature (Port Washington, N. Y. : Kennikat 
Press, 1977), p. 3. 

10. Ibid., p. 41. 

11. Marshall W. Fishwick, "The Cowboy: America's Contribution to the 
Worid's Mythology," Western Folklore 11 (April 1952): 77. 

12. Ray AUen Billington cited in Clark C. Spence, "Knights of the Tie 
and Rail— Tramps and Hoboes in the West," Western Historical Quar- 
terly 2 Oanuary 1971): 19. 

13. Robert Louis Stevenson quoted in a Nissan advertisement on the back 
cover of America [the Nissan student travel guide]. Fall 1984. 

14. Martha WoUenstein, Movies: A Psychological Study (Glencoe, Illinois: 
Free Press, 1950), p. 184. 

During the middle years of the last century, the valley 
of the Platte, leading up to South Pass, acted as a great 
funnel which led thousands of migrants and adventurers 
v^festwards across the Plains and through Wyoming. Whether 
this westward crossing was made in the company of one 
of the many ox-wagon trains which rolled along the trail 
in the late 1840s, or as part of the much more lightly- 
equipped "handcart migration" of the Mormons a decade 
later, all of those who recorded their impressions of the 
trek spoke of the numerous privations and dangers they 
faced. 1 For the most part, the increased traffic along the 
trail as the years passed did little to reduce the simi of those 
difficulties. It is true, of course, that some of the hazards 
of the journey, such as the dangers of the river crossings 
and the threat of Indian attacks, were gradually reduced 
as more ferries and forts were set up along the trail. Yet 
as each year went by and as each season advanced, parts 
of the trail suffered further overgrazing and the increased 
rutting of the various paths further slowed one's passage. 

Some groups, like the gold-seeking forty-niners, for 
whom the crossing seemed but a frustrating obstacle to a 
fortune awaiting them in the Sierra Nevada, were often 
less well-prepared for the difficulties of the trip. Because 
they needed to get to the Californian gold fields as quickly 
as possible, the gold-seekers were often tempted to take 
greater risks than other users of the trail, and sometimes 
paid for these with their lives. Seldom were they willing 
to halt their journey for any length of time to recuperate 
their animals, or to wait often for days at a ferry point to 
cross a river. Too often they were unprepared to jettison 
equipment and supplies in order to lighten the load. As 
a result, during the peak months of the gold rush the trail 
became littered with the evidence of defeat, with dead 
animals and abandoned provisions. As one Englishman 
who joined the trek to California from the mines of Wiscon- 
sin noted in 1850: "you would be surprised to see the prop- 
erty left and destroyed on that road: it was a hard time 
with a great many in crossing, the provisions getting short 
and no means to get more. The migration across the plains 
last season was estimated at 80,000 persons and reports 
said 5000 died on the way."^ 

There is now a vast literature on the overland emi- 
grants and especially those who joined the gold rush. Well 
over 100 preserved travel diaries, written by overland 
emigrants during 1849 alone, have been analyzed to see 
what they tell of the difficulties of the passage and the 
travelers' reactions to them.' Remarkably, little evidence 
has come to light of European parties who made up part 
of this westward flow. Coming from the more crowded 
and tamed environments of Europe, these nugrants could 
be expected to find the dry, empty West an even greater 
challenge than their American counterparts. 

Prominent among the Europeans rushing to the gold- 
fields were considerable numbers of Cornish miners who 
were either being attracted away from the declining tin and 
copper mines of southwest England, or who were moving 


0f ti|e Srek WtBt 

bH Srian i. fStrcl; 

on from the Wisconsin lead-mining district to which they 
had gone from Cornwall by the thousands in the 1830s and 
1840s. No record exists of the number of Cornish who 
were enticed from Cornwall or Wisconsin to the far West, 
but thousands gathered in the goldfields. Nevada County, 
California, for example, had 500 English miners among its 
population by 1860, and most of these were from Cornwall.* 

No record exists of the number of Cornish who found 
their way to California by the various routes open to them. 
Some undoubtedly took direct sea passages from England 
to San Francisco via Panama while some endured the 
17,000 mile, eight month voyage around Cape Horn.^ It 
seems likely, however, that just as many made the overland 
journey west from New York or Wisconsin. Not orJy was 
the land route a shorter way to California— especially for 
those already in Wisconsin— but it was also generally a 
quicker and less expensive way west, and few Cornish 
miners could afford to spend many months on route with- 
out an income. Going overland also avoided the extra cost 
of getting inland to the goldfields once one had disem- 
barked at San Francisco at the end of a long sea voyage.* 

As a result, not only did hundreds of Cornish miners 
in Wisconsin hit the overland trail to California, but many 
others coming from England rejected the longer sea 
passage to San Francisco. They instead chose a shorter 
Atlantic crossing to New York, or some other port on the 
Atlantic seaboard, followed by travel overland often via 
Wisconsin, where one might also join up with other Cor- 
nishmen planning the journey west. 




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Mineral ( £ 
IOWA Dubuqu^^ _ _^^e, 
Iowa y^ , 

'^° NEBRASKA .^aiil^ \«>-^^ 

Council Bluffs , 


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The route followed 
500 km 


Route followed by Walters-Uren party from Wisconsin to California. 

The recent discovery of the daily journal of a miner 
from Cornwall who took this route to California provides 
some graphic detail of the experiences of one small group 
of Cornishmen on the California trail. These experiences 
paralleled those recorded by a few of the many others 
whose letters home to Cornwall have been preserved.'' 

Little can be discovered of the writer of this journal, 
a major portion of which is reproduced here. He did not 
even reveal his name although we know that he joined up 
with his Cornish cousin John Walters and William Uren, 
another Cornishman, in Wisconsin for the trek to the 
goldfields. We also know that the writer of the journal left 
Cornwall early in April, 1849, and reached Quebec seven 
weeks later. He continued his journey on to Wisconsin by 
river and lake boats to Milwaukee which he reached by 
early June. He stayed in Wisconsin for nine months work- 
ing, presumably as a miner. Then at the end of March, 1850, 
he left Mineral Point, Wisconsin, with his compatriots 
Walters and Uren, on the four month trek west that was 
to be full of dangers and privations. 

In several ways the journal of the Walters-Uren party 
shows the conditions and pace of their crossing were not 
unlike those endured by many other Cornish miners 
heading for California at about this time. Three similarities 
in particular can be noted. 

First, the four month period which it took the Walters- 
Uren group to reach the goldfields from Wisconsin was 
of the same order of duration as for many other parties 
of miners caught up in the rush, and was a faster crossing 

than achieved by those who were not spurred on by the 
same panic. John Grenfell, another Cornishman who 
reached the goldfields in July, 1850, and within a few days 
of the Walters-Uren party, also took four months on the 
overland route from east to west.^ Edward Dale, a Cor- 
nishman who reached California in September, 1850, took 
a little longer.' He spent three months covering only the 
second half of the journey from Laramie to California 
mainly because he took a fifteen day break in Salt Lake 
City to recuperate. He later regretted this lost time although 
those who took no time off did find the trek very ex- 
hausting. Grenfell noted it as a "tiresome journey both for 
man and beast" and concluded it "has wasted my strength 
considerably and 1 was getting very thin."" 

In contrast to the forty-niners, those going west at this 
time who were not caught up in the gold fever normally 
took longer on the journey in order to reduce the fatigue 
and the perils, especially from being caught in the moun- 
tains in the winter and from over-working their animals. 
Again we can quote the case of a Cornishman, Samuel 
James, who, fresh from England, set out from Wisconsin 
with a party heading along the California trail in October, 
1850, with Oregon as their eventual destination." But they 
did not reach this point until eleven months after leaving 
eastern Wisconsin, mainly because they chose to over- 
winter for five months in Iowa before attempting the most 
hazardous part of their trek. 

When on the move, however, all groups seemed to go 
along at about the same pace, covering ten to twenty miles 


a day depending on local conditions and the type of ani- 
mals being used. There is little to suggest that progress got 
slower the longer the trail extended. Indeed, the Walters- 
Uren group seemed to make their slowest progress on the 
first leg of their journey across Iowa and to speed up con- 
siderably on the more grueling westerly parts of the trek 
when the need to cover ground was most urgent. 

A second point of similarity in the experience of many 
of the Cornish, like others, on the gold rush trail was the 
degree of privation they suffered on the western, mainly 
desert, parts of the journey, and their general underestima- 
tion of the dangers that faced them. The Comishman, John 
Grenfell, believed he fared better than many in not losing 
any horses to fatigue or to the Indians, and in having to 
jettison only a few belongings, but when his party reached 
the Sierra Nevada they found that they had to cross snow 
up to twenty feet deep. Edward Dale, another Cornish- 
man, lost his prized ox after only a two hour illness on the 
Humbolt River and told of many who had lost far more 
in this area. As he wrote: "The destruction of property in 
this desert is beyond my description. You will scarcely 
believe me when I say that I do not think $250,000 will 
cover the loss of property on this 45 miles; dead horses, 
mules, oxen, wagons, harness, and all kinds of outfits were 
strewed all over the place; the stench from so many dead 
cattle were almost insupportable. "'^ The Walters-Uren 
party similarly suffered and had finally to abandon its 
wagon and join up with another Cornish party before 
reaching the Sierra Nevada, but as the journal which 
follows makes clear they witnessed other trekkers who suf- 
fered far more than they. 

A third point of similarity in all of these accounts by 
the Cornish on the California traU can be seen in their com- 
mon reaction to Wyoming and their first encounter there 
with a western mountain environment. After the relative 
tedium and ease of crossing the grassy plains of Nebraska, 
Wyoming confronted the Cornish, like others, both with 
greater difficulties and delays and yet a quality of scenic 
grandeur which, for the spirit at least, offered some com- 
pensation. The West, and especially the Mountain West 
was a region that appeared larger than life. As a result, 
their accounts of the trek through Wyoming and the 
Rockies are often fuller than for any other part of the 
journey. The Walters-Uren journal that follows clearly 
shows that they experienced no major delays on the trek 
west until they reached and attempted to cross the Green 
and other rivers in Wyoming, rivers which they heard 
claimed the lives of others who risked too much in at- 
tempting to wade across. In a similar way, the Comishman 
Edward Dale, on his group's passage through Wyoming, 
reported very long delays at the river ferries which he said 
were "so crowded that there was no chance for us cross- 
ing the Platte for a week so we thought we had better build 
a boat and put ourselves across." They then sold their boat 
"at a high price" and continued their journey, but not 
before hearing of another adventurer upstream who was 


making $3,000 a day from ferrying emigrants across the 

All of these difficulties on the Wyoming part of the 
trek, which were but a prelude to much greater privations 
awaiting the forty-niners to the west, also provided the 
Cornish with time to admire the mountain scenery, much 
as the English have always taken an interest in their sur- 
roundings.** Once they had gotten as far as Nevada, they 
found nothing of interest to relieve the harshness, but in 
Wyoming there was much to soothe the frustrations. At 
several points west of Scotts Bluff, the writer of the Wal- 
ters-Uren journal was clearly impressed with the moun- 
tain scenery, part of which he rather grudgingly described 
as "grand and picturesq." But other Cornishmen on the 
trek were more fulsome like Samyel James who believed 
the scenery just east of Fort Laramie resembled "some fine 
scenery in Old England" and saw the upper Platte Coun- 
try as "delightful country fit for angels to dwell in."*^ 

The first part of the Walters-Uren journal is simply a 
description of the writer's Atlantic crossing and onward 
journey to Wisconsin. There he met up with his two Cor- 
nish compatriots and recommenced his jovimal as they set 
out for California. 

I left Minerall Point March 28th 1850 in company with 
cousin John Walters and William Uren for California and reach'd 
Dubuque on the 29th and started the next morning for Iowa 
City and reach'd it on April 3rd. Came through Cascade, 
Animosa, Iowa City moving on, and went off the road to 
Montezuma. Came though Newton, Fort Desmoine. Cross'd 
the Mokokida [MaquoketaJ, Cedar, Iowa, Skunk, Desmoine, 
Coon and three other rivers and reach'd Kawsville [Council 
Bluffs] on the 22nd. We have paid $1.75 per hundred for hay 
and $1.00 per bushell for corn. We left Kawsville on the 25th 
and cross'd the Missouri river on the 26th on the south side 
of the Piatt river. 

Sunday 28th we encamped on Salt Creek. 29th we had a 
very stormy night, had our tents blown down. May 1st saw 
the remains of several waggons that were deserted by persons 
that was carrien provisions out to the forts. We struck the Piatt 
bottom and kept on the south side of it. 2nd we came through 
a large Indian village, it was deserted. The part of the country 
we have come through is verry thinly timbered. 6th reach'd 
Fort Kearney 246 miles from the Misouri river. Saw severall 
young buffaloes which they had kept into a yard. 12th we 
cross'd the south fork of the Piatt river. It is a wide stream about 
from a ¥4 to V2 a mile wide and a sandy bottom, several teams 
got stuck into it. Game appears to be more plentiful than before 
and feed better. In the evening five men from our company 
went out to hunt buffalo and killed one and next morning 13 
of us went out for some of it and killed another, about sb< or 
eight hundredweight. Antelope and wolves verry plenty. 15th 
killed another young buffalo and met with a great number of 
soux, sioux or siux Indians which appears to be verry friendly 
and beggin of every teem that pass by. We came through Ash 
Hollow today, feed verry scarce, scenery rather more picturesq 
than what we had previously pass'd. 

16th and 17th we met with a great deal of Indians and came 
through their village. They would trade anything for wiskey, 
suggar or bread but money they did not care about. 18th we 
pass'd by what is called the Courthouse Rock and got in sight 
of the Chimney Rock. 20th we got up to it, it is said to be 200 
feet high and it is composed of a kind of clay. 21st we pass'd 

Scots Bluffs and Cold Springs at which last place their is a 
trading post. The scenery that we pass'd through today was 
grand and picturesq, the bluffs high on each side and thinly 
scatter'd over with cedar wood. 22nd we pass'd another trading 
post. 23rd we reach'd fort Laramie. The fort is situated on the 
Laramie river. We had to ford it to reach the fort. We stopt their 
and got some bread at 14 cents per lb, and then went out about 
IVi miles and encamp'd. 24th Black Hills in sight. Had a hail 
and thunderstorm. 25th encamp'd on Horseshoe creek. 26th 
laid over, had wind, rain, haU, snow, hot and cold. 27th drove 
about 30 miles over the Black HUls, roads bad and feed verry 
scarce. 29th we cross'd Deer creek and struck the Piatt river 
again. Weather verry warm, see snow on the tops of the moun- 
tains. 30th we reach'd the ferry, had to pay $4.00 per waggon 
and 25 cents per horse for crossing. 31st we cross'd the river 
and drove out about 12 rrules through a sandy country thickly 
covered with wild saige and encamp'd on some minerall 

June 1st we pass'd some alkali springs. 2nd we pass'd near 
some alkali lakes and saw a great quantity of saleratus and en- 
camp'd close to Independence Rock which rock is worthy the 
emigrants notice. 3rd we pass'd the Devils Gate. It is a narrow 
pass through which the Sweetwater river runs, the sides of 
which is 400 feet high. 6th we came by considerable snow and 
went a snowballing one another. 7th we reached the famous 
South Pass of the Rocky mountains. 8th we came to the junc- 
tion of California and Oregon roads. We took the right-hand 
road and encamp'd near the Big Sandy. 9th we left the Big 
Sandy about 4 o'clock in the afternoon for the desert lying be- 
tween the Sandy and Green river which we consider about 45 

or 50 miles. We reached the river about 10 or 11 o'clock in the 
morning when we had to swim our horses across the river, 
some men rafting, and others took off the box of their wag- 
gons to cross the river. There was one man wash'd off his horse 
in fording the river and drowned. 11th there was two men 
drowned. We got ferry'd over in the evening, pay'd $10 per wag- 
gon and had to work the boat a good deal ourselves to get 
across. 12th we left Green river. The country that we pass'd 
through was very mountainous. 13th just the same. Reach'd 
Hams fork of Bear river. Here we had to see a little of the 
Elephant.'* We had to take out all our things out of the wag- 
gon and haul them across the stream in a waggon box and take 
the waggon aboard and put it over in the same way. 14th and 
15th we had verry cold weather, hail and snow. 15th we cross'd 
several branches of Bear river and descended some verry steep 
mountains. 16th we reach'd Thomas's fork of Bear river where 
we had to take our things out of the waggon, and carry them 
across the stream on horseback. Verry cold, snow'd a great part 
of the night, good grass now. 

18th we reach'd the Sodaw springs and drank out of them 
and near by we came through an Indian encampment [Snake 
tribe] and bought a poney. About two irules from here the road 
forks, one going to Fort Hall and the other the cutoff to Califor- 
nia. The road through the cutoff is generally through a moun- 
tainous country and is said to be 108 miles through to the Fort 
Hall road again but it is from 125 to 135 miles. Sunday 23rd 
we cross'd several streams and made about 6 or 8 miles. 25th 
we reach'd the Salt Lake road again. 26th we came up by Goose 
Creek and took a desert of fifteen miles. 27th we came through 
Thousand Springs valley, feed verry scarce a great part of the 

Crossing the North Platte above the mouth of Deer Creek by ferry. 


Devil's Gate 


way. Friday 28th I saw some hot springs and wash'd my hands 
in it. It was so hot I could not bear to keep my hands in it. Satur- 
day 29th we reached the Humbolt river and had to take our 
things across the stream in the waggon box. Sunday we lay 
over and ferry'd severall waggons across the stream. 

July 1st we went down the river and cross'd another stream. 
Their was good grass some part of the way down the river and 
a great part of the way there was scarce any grass and watter 
bad. Sunday 7th we reach'd what we supposed was St. Mary's 
sink where we stopt to cut grass to carry across the desert. There 
was one man drown'd crossing the river to see about grass. 

8th we started in the evening about 8 o'clock expecting to 
drive to the sulphur springs but was sadly disappointed. Then 
we kept down the river until Sunday where we found plenty 
of good grass. Through the last week we have seen a great quan- 
tity of horses left on the road some dead and some alive and 
waggons left at almost every camping place. We left our own 
waggon and took Thomas Prisks and joined teems with Gregory 
Philips and the Davys. Their is no grass to be got from where 
we started last Monday to where we now are except going into 
watter and mud two or three feet deep. Saw a great many nearly 
out of provisions, some entirely so. One company killed a mule 
to try and eat for want of other food. The watter is bad down 
in this part of the river but we have to use that or none. We 
have seen dead horses floating down the river near where we 
was using it and yesterday there was a man seen floating in 
the watter but they could not take him out. 14th and 15th we 
lay over to rest oiu: horses hoping to put them across this 
dreaded desert. 16th we left the slough about 6 o'clock in the 

evening and drove down to the sulphur springs where we 
reach'd in the morning some very steep mountains and pass'd 
the summit of the Sierra Nevada or California mountains and 
the most horrid roads that even came under my notice. Snow 
very deep in the mountains. Meeting a great many speculators 
everry day going out with provisions to meet the emigrants.''' 
27th we drove about 1 rmle south of the road and lay over just 
all day. 28th we came within about 1 mile of Weavertown. 29th 
we drove into the town and sold one of our horses for $55 and 
saw a great many folks diggin which all appear to be getting 
some gold. 29th we commenced to work in Neber Creek two 
or three days and then removed to Hangtown or Placerville. 

The journal ends on the writer's arrival in the gold- 
fields apart from a short note on his return journey to 
England less than a year and a half later." He had spent 
fourteen months searching for gold. The journal gives no 
indication of his success apart from a reference to his sell- 
ing twelve ounces of gold dust at seventeen dollars an 
ounce at Sacramento at the end of his stay in California, 
but we cannot know if that was the total of his find. 

It is of interest to note, however, that on deciding to 
return to England, the writer of the journal chose the sea 
route via San Francisco and Panama where he walked 
across the isthmus. He was clearly not alone in making this 
choice of route for his return journey, and many of the Cor- 
nish, like others leaving California, did everything to avoid 

0> Mm^^m.; * 

South Pass 
11k- G-iteway of the Rockies. Over rliis upLind w.iy during open months of [he y 
passed the high tide of covered-wagon migration. 


Fmm an orifiinal i>;iiiitiMe made in iS>^ 

another crossing of the continent by land. As John Grenfell 
wrote after reaching California by the overland crossing 
in 1850: "I should be very sorry to have to travel it 
again. ... 1 believe I shall take the timbering horse [sail- 
ing ship] next trip."" In choosing the sea route back to 
England the writer of the journal was able to reach 
Southampton less than two months after leaving the gold- 
fields and to enjoy such an uneventful journey that it only 
rated these few lines: 

Staid in the gold mines until the 28th day of September 1851, 
on which day I left for Sacremento and home in company with 
Christopher Clemence and several others going to Wisconsin 
to their familys. We reached Sacremento City on the 29th about 
11 o'clock in the forenoon and left it again about 2 o'clock in 
the afternoon for San Francisco which we reached about 11 
o'clock in the evening. We left San Francisco on October 1st 
for Panama on board the steam ship Oregon. On our way down 
we put into Monteray and St. Diego and Aucapulco and reach'd 
Panama on the 18th of October and walk'd about 11 or 12 miles 
across the Ismus of Panama and took lodgings for the night 
in a rag house. We reach'd Cruses the next evening and stop 
that night at Millers Hotel and next morning 20th hired a boat 
to take us down to Chagres for which we had to pay $5.00 each 
(60 miles). 23rd we went on the Med way steamship bound for 
Southampton. We sail'd from Chagres and put into Carthagena 
for the mail and arrived at St. Thomas on the 31st where we 
had to stop untU the 5th of November taking in cargo and to 
stop for the mail when we again started for Southampton and 
reach'd it on the 26th. 

Brian P. Birch is Senior Lecturer in Geography, Southampton University, 
England. Annals published his previous article, "From Old England to Old 
Faithful: A Victorian Englishman's View of the West," in Spring, 1982. 


1. See R. H. Brown, Historical Geography of the United States (New York, 
1948), p. 502, and John D. Unruh, The Plains Across: The Overland 
Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-60 (Urbana, Chicago, 
London: University of Illinois Press, 1979). 

2. Letter from John T. Grenfell, a Cornish miner in California, in Royal 
Cornwall Gazette, January 16, 1852. Grenfell's figure of 80,000 cross- 
ing the plains in 1850, a peak year, was probably an over-estimate. 
Others have suggested little more than half that figure. Nor did 5,000 
die although the best recent estimate suggests that 2,000 may have 
died on the trails in 1849, another peak year like 1850. Nevertheless, 
Grenfell was right to point, as many others did, to the scenes of 
desolation along the way as animals died, equipment was abandoned 
and parties turned back. Unruh, The Plains Across, p. 152. 

3. Dale Morgan, "The Significance and Value of the Overland Journal," 
in K. Ross Toole et al.. Probing the American West (Santa Fe: Museum 
of New Mexico Press, 1962), pp. 26-34. 

4. The two main sources on Cornish miners in America are A. C. Todd, 
The Cornish Miner in America (Glendale, California: Arthur Clark Co., 
1967), and J. Rowe, The Hard-Rock Men, Cornish Immigrants and the 
North American Mining Frontier (Liverpool University Press, 1974). For 
information on Cornish miners in Wisconsin, see L. A. Copeland, 
"The Cornish in South-West Wisconsin," Wisconsin Historical Collec- 
tions 14 (1898), and J. Schaefer, The Wisconsin Lead Region (Madison, 

5. O. Lewis, Sea Routes to the Cold Fields (New York, 1949). As many 
as 16,000 gold seekers took the Cape Horn route to San Francisco 
and the gold fields in 1849 compared with about 25,000 who crossed 
the plains, but it is not known how many of those were from England 
or from Cornwall. See D. Wright, "The Making of Cosmopolitan 
California: An Analysis of Immigration 1848-1870," California Historical 
Society Quarterly 19 (1940): 323-43. 

6. Few details are available of the costs of passage on the variety of routes 
available from England to the Califorrua gold fields. One report in 
an English newspaper in early 1849 indicated that there were plenty 
of ships going out by various routes in order to cater for what it termed 
the "goldmania" then sweeping England. These rates started at £25 
sterling and the route to Galveston, Texas, was particularly recom- 
mended. Royal Cornwall Gazette, January 19, 1849. Taking into account 
the combined cost of their fare and wages lost during the time on 
route, a faster, overland route would generally be the cheapest. On 
the basis of the cost of the fare alone, one Enghsh newspaper, the 
West Briton, in December, 1850, gave the Cape Horn route as cheaper 
than the alternative across Central America either through Panama 
or Nicaragua, but made no mention of a land route such as that 
westwards from New York. West Briton, December 13, 1850. For more 
general information on the relative advantages and costs of each route, 
see Unruh, The Plains Across, pp. 400-403. 

7. Diary of a journey made in 1849 to Canada and the USA, Cornwall 
Record Office document FS.3/81. This is a 31 page handwritten journal 
of which the first half is a daily log of the writer's Atlantic crossing 
to Quebec. The second half of the journal, reproduced here with per- 
mission, describes the four month onward journey the writer made 
from Wisconsin to California. The writer wishes to acknowledge the 
help of the Cornwall County Record Office, Truro, and Mr. H. Douch, 
of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, in tracking down the 
materials used in this article. The journal is published with the per- 
mission of the Cornwall Record Office. 

8. Royal Cornwall Gazette, January 16, 1852. Four months was about the 
average time for the overland journey in the late 1840s, but this fell 
to about three and a half months in the 1850s. These averages, 
however, are based on the time taken to cross only from the outfit- 
ting towns, normally on the Missouri, to California. The Walters-Uren 
party started their journey 300 miles farther east and took nearly a 
month to reach the Missouri River. See Unruh, The Plains Across, p. 

9. Letter from Edward Dale, a Cornish miner in California, in West Briton, 
August 29, 1851. 

10. Royal Cornwall Gazette, January 16, 1852. 

11. D. James, From Grand Mound to Scatter Creek (Olympia: State Capital 
Historical Association of Washington, 1980). 

12. West Briton, August 29, 1851. 

13. Ibid. Trail stories and the West in general led to exaggerated claims 
of which this is one example. Ferrymen generally charged three to 
five dollars a crossing so that no single ferry could make $3,000 a 
day, although large sums were made during the course of a season 
leading to a proliferation of ferry points on the North Platte. 

14. For an account of another later 19th century Englishman who admired 
the scenery of part of Wyoming, see Brian P. Birch, "From Old 
England to Old Faithful: A Victorian Englishman's View of the West," 
Annals of Wyoming 54 (Spring 1982): 2-9. 

15. D. James, From Grand Mound to Scatter Creek, p. 15. 

16. A term used on the trail referring to the need to disassemble equip- 
ment to get across a river. 

17. Over the years the trail attracted many traders and others anxious 
to cash in on the needs of the travelers. Unruh devotes no less than 
two of his eleven chapters to this aspect of the overland emigration. 
See Unruh, The Plains Across, pp. 244-301. 

18. The Walters-Uren group was not unusual in staying only a few 
months in the gold fields. Most saw California as a place in which 
to try to make a fortune and then to leave as quickly as possible. 

19. Royal Cornwall Gazette, January 16, 1852. 


Governor Francis E. Warren, 

The United States Army 

and the 

Chinese Massacre at 

Rock Springs 

No white miner can afford to vote for Warren 
and his Chinese record. 

^'GuilfT/t or itot yuilty^ theymust he convicted." 

He believes in protecting American labor. 
See other side. 

"Afore soldiers and bayoiuU, my friartdi the ChiTiese must be 

He is peculiar for ways that are dark and 
tricks that are vain. 

*'/ propose to keep tfte Chinese here and if you make any fur- 
tJuT trouble with them, I'll leave a hole in the ground where Almy 
now stands^ 

If he can't keep his Chinese friends in •'he 
mines, he is going to employ them to l)ld 
down his fraudulent pre-emption claims. 

^ F. E. tK^% THE djllE^E pi^OTEdTOl^. ♦ 

•Pack the Jury. They Must be Convicted."-^- 

by hiurray L. Carroll 

(Above and left) Two sides of poster published by the Evanston Register 
during Warren's Gubernatorial campaign in 1890 blasting him for his 
role in the events following the Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs in 1885. 


The "Chinese Massacre" at Rock Springs, Wyoming, 
occurred on September 2, 1885. For Francis E. Warren, 
Governor of Wyoming Territory, it was a major crisis, 
possibly the most serious crisis to face a governor in the 
nearly sixteen years of the Territory's existence. 

Beyond the inherent seriousness of the situation itself, 
for Warren it was a personal political crisis. A republican, 
he had been appointed by lame-duck President Chester 
A. Arthur on February 27, 1885, less than a week before 
democrat Crover Cleveland's inaugtu-ation. As expected, 
the republican-controlled senate confirmed his appoint- 
ment, but it also was anticipated that he would be replaced 
shortly by a democrat. Although Warren was generally 
liked and respected throughout the territory, Wyoming 
democrats wanted one of their number in the governor's 
chair. From the establishment of Wyoming as a separate 
territory, the White House had been under republican con- 
trol, and all the territorial governors had been republican. 

W. H. HoUiday of Laramie, recently defeated by republi- 
can Joseph M. Carey for the seat as delegate to Congress, 
was mentioned frequently in democratic newspapers as a 
potential nominee. Forty-one year old Warren, a wealthy 
Cheyenne merchant and stock grower, was the first Wyo- 
ming resident appointed to the governorship. He had been 
active in territorial politics for many years, having served 
as Territorial Treasurer, Mayor of Cheyenne and as a 
member and President of the territorial legislature. He did 
pass up a chance to enter the national political scene by 
refusing his party's nomination as territorial delegate in 
the 1884 election. This powerless position was not sought 
after, and both parties had trouble finding nominees in 1884. 

Although the outbreak of trouble in Rock Springs at 
this particular time came as a surprise, the seeds of the 
dispute had been sown ten years earlier. When the Union 
Pacific Railroad opened the coal rrunes in Rock Springs in 
1868, most of the miners were European immigrants from 
Scandinavia and the British Isles. Following a bitter labor 
dispute and strike in 1875, during which army troops were 
called in to restore order, the Union Pacific contracted with 
Beckwith, Quinn & Company of Evanston to provide 
Chinese miners for the mines at both Rock Springs and 
Almy. Later, Beckwith and Quinn furnished miners of all 
nationalities for the railroad's mines handling all the details 
such as payrolls, hiring, firing and operating the company 
stores. 1 For the most part, there was no open antipathy 
between the Chinese and the White miners, but there was 
a strong, underlying, latent resentment of the Chinese by 
the White miners. The Chinese kept to themselves, worked 
hard without complaint, often in areas where other miners 
refused to work. All along the Union Pacific Railroad line, 
the Knights of Labor organized the mines and railroad 
shops, as well as other industries. One major goal of this 
growing national labor movement was the exclusion of 
Chinese labor from the United States. 

In April, 1885, for example, the following advertise- 
ment appeared in the Laramie Daily Boomerang: 

To all Knights of Labor and workingmen in Laramie and 

Whereas, Miller & Benson, proprietors of the Wyoming 
House, have refused to take any notice of our request that they 
employ other than Chinese cooks, you are hereby notified that 
an order of boycott has been issued against said firm of Miller 
& Benson, and we request our friends and instruct our members 
to use all lawfxil means to withdraw patronage from said firm 
until their practice of employing Chinamen is discontinued. 
Dawn of Light Assembly 3256^ 

There was no pay differential between the Chinese and 
European miners, both were paid at the same rate per ton, 
although the White miners averaged a little more per day 
in wages, probably owing to higher production on their 
part.^ The Chinese, however, would not strike, nor would 
they join the White rruners in complaining to the Union 
Pacific or Beckwith, Quinn & Company about working con- 
ditions. Out of the some 500 miners employed in Rock 
Springs in September, 1885, 150 were White and the 
balance Chinese. There were 100 or more unemployed 
White miners living in town as weU."* Since Rock Springs 
was a company town, the plight of the unemployed miners 
was particularly difficult. 

On the morning of September 2, 1885, a conflict be- 
tween White and Chinese miners over work assignments 
at No. 6 mine apparently was the catalyst precipitating the 
mob action that has come to be known as the "Chinese 
Massacre."' About 2 p.m., a mob of some 150 White 
miners armed with rifles opened fire on the Chinese sec- 
tion of town and then set it afire. All of the residents not 
killed or wounded fled into the surrounding hills. The 
Whites killed 28 Chinese, either by gun or fire, severely 
wounded fifteen and forced some 500 to leave town. About 
$148,000 worth of property was looted or destroyed.' The 
railroad immediately instructed its train crews to pick up 
any refugees found along the right-of-way and transport 
them to Evanston. Special trains carrying food, water and 
medical supplies were dispatched in both directions from 
Rock Springs to provide aid to those who had taken refuge 
in the hiUs. Those rescued were taken first to Green River, 
then to Evanston. 

Neither the town officials in Rock Springs nor the 
Sweetwater County officials were able to restore order or 
protect the Chinese and their property. Joseph Young, the 
Sweetwater County Sheriff, was at the coimty seat in Green 
River. When he became aware of the conditions in Rock 
Springs, he requested help from the territorial govern- 
ment.'' Sheriff Young arrived from Green River on the 
evening of September 2, but, as he had notified Governor 
Warren, he found it impossible to restore order without 
outside aid. Later he told a reporter from the Salt Lake 
Tribune that he could not have gotten the services of three 
men to suppress the riot, or maintain order after it was sup- 
pressed; he therefore turned to the territorial government 
for help.* 

Warren was almost as helpless as the sheriff. Wyoming 
Territory did not have a militia, and Warren did not have 
the authority to declare martial law even if there had been 


a militia for him to call upon to enforce it. In 1856, the 
United States Attorney General had ruled that territorial 
legislatiires, not territorial governors, were vested with the 
power to declare martial law.' 

Warren telegraphed General O. O. Howard, Com- 
mander of the Department of the Platte in Omaha, for 
troops. He also telegraphed Secretary of War William C. 
Endicott.i" Neither Howard nor Endicott had the author- 
ity to help him. As a result of a struggle between a 
republican president and a democratic congress over fed- 
eral intervention in elections in the South, the Army Ap- 
propriation Act for 1879 included a provision commonly 
called the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibited the use 
of any part of the army as a posse comitatus for the execu- 
tion of laws except as provided by the Constitution or by 
act of congress." On September 3, Warren appealed directly 
to the president for aid.^^ 

He was advised by telegraph that he must make per- 
sonal application to the president in the manner and form 
indicated in the Constitution and statutes. At the same 
time, however, at the president's direction, Endicott 
ordered the movement of two companies to Rock Springs 
under his authority to prevent interference with the United 
States mail or mail routes. ^^ 

Meanwhile, Warren and Union Pacific Superinten- 
dents Wurtele and Dickenson went to Rock Springs by 
special train. They stopped in Laramie and picked up N. K. 
Boswell, Chief Detective of the Wyoming Stock Growers 
Association. Boswell was a close friend of Warren and had 
served as a special agent for the Union Pacific since 1867. 
Boswell was undoubtedly the most experienced law en- 
forcement officer in the territory." Before leaving 
Cheyenne, Warren had taken the precaution of making a 
personal call on Colonel John S. Mason, commander of 
Fort D. A. Russell, alerting him to the problem, and sug- 
gesting that he have troops ready to move if approval for 
the use of Federal troops was received. ^^ 

When he arrived in Rock Springs, Warren found condi- 
tions even worse than he had been led to believe from the 
communications he had received. All the buildings in the 
Chinese community, as well as railroad section houses 
which the Chinese occupied, had been burned. The mob 
had ordered the Superintendent of Mine Number 6, James 
Evans, and W. H. O'Donnell, store manager and contract 
labor manager for Beckwith & Quinn in Rock Springs, to 
leave town. The smouldering ruins of the burned buildings 
were looted for money or other valuables the Chinese may 
have cached and not been able to retrieve. ^* Later, in an 
interview with a reporter from the St. Louis Republican, War- 
ren stated: 

It is the most damnable and brutal outrage that ever occurred 
in any country. Those fellows actually attacked the Chinese in 
their own abodes while they were packing to get away, and 
in many instances shot them unresistingly, and pushed them 
back into the shanties and roasted them like so many rats, and 
for miles around Rock Springs on the morning when I arrived— 
which was the morning after the riot— the air was fairly reek- 
ing with the smell of burnt human flesh." 

On September 3, the governor and his party conferred 
with Sweetwater County officials in Green River before 
returning to Cheyenne. A message was received from 
Evanston that the arrival of the Chinese who fled Rock 
Springs was creating friction between the White and 
Chinese miners in Almy, three miles from Evanston. The 
danger of the Rock Springs outrages being repeated in 
Evanston aiid Almy appeared imminent.^* 

Warren and party proceeded to Evanston on Sep- 
tember 4." He telegraphed the president from Evanston 
stating there was open insurrection in Rock Springs; the 
Chinese who had taken refuge in Evanston had been 
ordered to leave; the sheriffs were powerless; and, since 
Wyoming had no territorial militia, troops were needed not 
only to protect the mail and mail routes, but to support 
civil authority. 2" Warren returned to Rock Springs on 
September 5 and again telegraphed the president, point- 
ing out that the legislature of Wyoming was not in session 
and could not be called in time to request help as required 
by law.^^ The Salt Lake newspapers noted that Warren's 
first request ignored Section 4, Article III of the Constitu- 
tion requiring applications for aid to be from the legislature 
if it could be convened. He also telegraphed S. R. Callo- 
way, General Manager of the Union Pacific, suggesting 
that the railroad complain vigorously to Howard's head- 
quarters in Omaha, and through its Boston offices directly 
to the secretary of war, charging insurrection and con- 

Since tensions in the Evanston-Almy area remained 
high, Warren and party returned there September 7. Large 
numbers of White miners had quit work at Almy. They 
threatened the Chinese with death if they did not leave. 
They also held public meetings in Evanston and Almy to 
incite action against the Chinese. Anonymous threatening 
letters were received by Union Pacific officials and promi- 
nent Evanston residents who were known to support the 

In compliance with the president's instructions to En- 
dicott of September 3, Lt. Colonel H. L. Chipman and two 
companies of the 7th Infantry from Fort Fred Steele were 
sent to Rock Springs. In response to Warren's September 
4 telegram, Lt. Colonel T. M. Anderson and one company 
of the 14th Infantry from Fort D. A. Russell were sent to 
Evanston. ^'' 

At the same time. Colonel A. McD. McCook, Com- 
mander of the 6th Infantry at Camp Murray, Utah, was 
alerted to the possible movement of his troops. Camp Mur- 
ray was fourteen miles from Wauship Station, the nearest 
rail and telegraph connection, adding to the communica- 
tions difficulties. On September 8, McCook received orders 
to send six companies to Wauship Station for transporta- 
tion by rail to Evanston where they would be under the 
command of Anderson. The orders were received at 4:30 
p.m., and the troops departed for Wauship Station at 6:30 
p.m., and entrained for Evanston shortly after midnight.^' 


On September 7, Warren had again telegraphed the 
president from Evanston, stating: 

—the unlawful organized mobs in possession of coal mines at 
Almy, near here, will not permit Chinamen to approach their 
own homes, property, or employment. From the nature of the 
outbreak sheriff of county caimot rally sufficient posse and Ter- 
ritorial government caimot sufficiently aid him. Insurrectionists 
know through newspapers and dispatches that troops will not 
interfere under present orders, and moral effect of presence 
of troops is destroyed. If troops were known to have orders 
to assist sheriff posse in case driven back, I am quite sure civil 
authorities could restore order without actual use of soldiers; 
but unless United States Government can find way to relieve 
us immediately, believe worse scenes than those at Rock 
Springs will foUow and all Chinamen driven from the Territory. 
I beg an early reply and information regarding the attitude of 
the United States Government. 

Francis E. Warren 
Warren sent the message because the miners found out 
through the Salt Lake newspapers, and probably from the 
soldiers, that the army's role was limited to protecting the 
mail and mail routes. He feared they would assume 
that the mines and the Chinese were fair game unless the 
civil authorities had the army to back them. Major General 
John M. Schofield, commander of the Division of Missouri, 
and Endicott, tried to find some means of meeting War- 
ren's requests and at the same time not violate the Posse 
Comitatus Act. Schofield was of the opinion that since the 
Union Pacific had been established by an act of Congress 
and was an indispensable military and mail route, it should 
be placed under the protection of United States Army 
troops. His definition included the property and employees 
and extended to the mines and miners since they were 
necessary for the continued operation of the railroad. ^^ 
Endicott and Secretary of State Bayard came up with 
a more unusual solution, however. Under Article VI of the 
Constitution, treaties are part of the supreme law of the 
land; under Article II, the power to enforce the law is 
vested in the president. The United States had signed a 
new treaty with China on November 17, 1880. Article III 
of this treaty stated in part: 

If Chinese laborers, or Chinese of any other class, now either 
permanently or temporarily residing in the territory of the 
United States, meet with ill-treatment at the hands of any other 
persons, the Government of the United States will exert all its 
power to devise measures for their protection, and to secure 
to them the same rights, privileges, immunities, and exemp- 
tions as may be enjoyed by the citizens or subjects of the most 
favored nation, and to which they are entitled by treaty. 2* 

It was because of this treaty, and the president's 
responsibility to enforce it, that the companies of the 6th 
Infantry were dispatched to Evanston to reinforce Ander- 
son. This avoided martial law, and politically was a more 
palatable reason for intervention than Schofield's. 

Meanwhile, Warren and the Union Pacific officials met 
with a delegation of six miners from Almy, Leban Heward, 
John Haldane, John Shaw, William Reese, Samuel Young 
and Hezekiah Turner. An agreement was reached to return 
all the Chinese miners to Rock Springs and use only White 
miners at Almy.^^ This decision was made in spite of the 
fact that Evanston had a large Chinese population, and 
with its Joss House was one of the major Chinese social 

Francis E. Warren 

and cultural centers in the United States. There are indica- 
tions that members of this delegation later may have been 
subject to some retaliatory measures by the Union Pacific 
Coal Company or Beckwith & Quinn.^"" 

It is fortunate that the presence of the army seemed 
to calm the situation without the need for actual use of 
force, since the president vested the direct control over the 
use of the troops in Schofield in Chicago: 

If necessity actually exists for the actual employment of this 
force in protecting life and property and aiding the civU 
authorities in preserving the peace and in the arrest of those 
committing offenses against the laws, you are authorized to 
use it for these purposes;— The President desires that the com- 
mander of each detachment communicate with you and receive 
instructions directly from you, to make sure that the force is 
not unnecessarily used.'* 

Schofield telegraphed Warren repeating the instruc- 
tions he had received from the president. This severely 
limited the latitude of authority of the field commanders. 
It also removed the post commanders at Forts D. A. Russell 
and Fred Steele from the chain of command, as well as 
Howard, Commander of the Department of the Platte in 
Omaha. It made it clear that Warren had no authority over 


Harper's Weekly, in its ScpHember 2b, 1885, issue, printed this drawing by T. de Thulstrup of the Chinese Massacre. 

the use of the troops beyond making suggestions to the 
respective commanders in Evanston and Rock Springs for 
Schofield's decision. 

On September 9, a train carrying approximately 700 
Chinese nuners, laborers, their families and some civilian 
officials departed Evanston for Rock Springs. It was 
preceded by another train carrying four of the six com- 
panies of the 6th Infantry to protect the returning Chinese 
enroute and to reinforce the troops already in Rock 
Springs. ^^ 

A delegation of White miners from Rock Springs went 
to Denver for a meeting with the general manager of the 
Union Pacific to protest the return of the Chinese to Rock 
Springs, but received no satisfaction. Warren stayed in 
Rock Springs until September 11. Although the situation 
remained tense, the presence of the governor and the 
troops seemed to prevent more violence. ^^ 

The government directors of the Union Pacific, General 

E. P. Alexander, M. A. Hanna and Judge James W. Savage, 
happened to be in the West making an inspection tour of 
the railroad. They met in Rock Springs on September 17-18 
with members of the examining commission established 
by order of the Chinese Minister, and consisting of Colonel 

F. A. Bee, Chinese Consul General from San Francisco, 


his interpreter, Tseng Hoy, and Huang Sih Chen, Consul 
General from New York. The Commission was escorted 
by McCook, 6th Infantry Regimental Commander. United 
States Attorney A. C. Campbell and Warren represented 
the territory. The directors agreed to meet with the miners' 
delegation which had met previously with the railroad of- 
ficials in Denver, and any other residents who wanted a 
hearing. The Chinese commission established the identity 
of its deceased countrymen and made arrangements for 
the disposition of the remains. Jointly, the Chinese officials, 
the directors, Warren and Campbell met to take testimony 
from some of the Chinese survivors and others in order 
to try and determine what had happened, and who had 

On September 21, the mines reopened. The railroad 
issued a notice that mines 1, 3, 4 and 5 would resume 
operations at 7 a.m., and that all miners and other 
employees were expected to report to work at that time. 
All those not intending to work were instructed to pick up 
their time checks. Some known or at least suspected par- 
ticipants in the riot had been discharged. Those discharged 
and those who refused to return to work were not to be 
employed by the company in the future. '^ They were of- 
fered passes for themselves and their families to leave Rock 

Springs at the company's expense, provided they accepted 

the offer before September 26. Warren, Chipman and the 

railroad officials agreed that the tensions would be eased 

if the unemployed White population was encouraged to 

leave the area. Some did leave. The results, however, were 

not all that had been hoped. Many had no place to go, and 

failing to take advantage of the railroad's offer, were forced 

to remain in Rock Springs. Others who could leave chose 

not to, feeling that in time the Union Pacific would be 

forced to compromise. Simultaneous with the reopening 

of the mines, two more companies of troops from the 21st 

Infantry at Fort Sidney, Nebraska, were sent to Rock 

Springs. 3* Schofield, members of his staff and Warren, who 

had retiirned to Cheyenne to meet the general, arrived in 

Rock Springs September 21.^'' 

Newspapers in the West vehemently criticized the 

decision to return the Chinese to Rock Springs. The editor 

of the Boomerang for example wrote: 

Does the Union Pacific company, the firm of Beckwith, Quinn 
& Company and other Chinese sympathizers, realize the task 
they are undertaking. If they are so blind as to expect to rule 
by the use of bayonets and bullets, they deserve the fate which 
is reserved for them. —It is easy to say: "We vi\& enforce our 
rule by the use of troops," but soon the dynamite and the torch 
will be called into requisition, and the railroad company will 
find too late that they have made a bargain with the devU.'' 

The Salt Lake Tribune questioned the wisdom of 
employing Chinese, pointing out that the railroad's prop- 
erty extended for some distance without any protection ex- 
cept the "forbearance and good will of the people."^' The 

Knights of Labor threatened a general strike which it was 
sure would be respected and joined by the other railway 
unions, paralyzing the Union Pacific from Omaha to 
Ogden. The following notice was posted prominently in 
Cheyenne on the night of September 26: 


ALL CHINAMEN found in the City of Cheyenne after 

October 1st will be subject to a 


AND RIDDEN from the City on a raU. 



In messages to A. C. Campbell, U.S. Attorney, N. N. 
Craig, Laramie County Sheriff, A. H. Reel, Mayor of 
Cheyenne, E. W. Mann, Prosecuting and County Attorney 
for Laramie County, and T. Jefferson Carr, U.S. Marshal, 
Warren cited the contents of the poster and made it clear 
that he had no intention of allowing any more anti-Chinese 
activity in Wyoming. To each of the addressees he stated, 
"I trust you will find a way to bring the perpetrators of 
this to justice, and to this end I desire to call the matter 
to your official attention."*" Warren also urged Calloway 
not to compromise with the White miners because he felt 
that the good order of the Territory and the discipline of 
the railroad were both at stake. *^ 

Sixteen men had been arrested and held in Green River 
for suspicion of mvirder based on Chinese testimony. The 
Sweetwater County Grand Jury opened hearings in early 
October, and on October 7 they announced their findings: 

Chinese preparing to board box cars for return to Rock Springs from Evanston, September 9, 1885. 


In the foreground of this photograph of Rock Springs can be seen New China Town and Camp Pilot Butte Center, area ISSS. 

that although they had examined a large number of wit- 
nesses, "no one was able to testify to a single criminal act 
committed by any known white person that day." The 
Grand Jury report went on to state: 

While we find no excuse for the crimes committed, there 
appears to be no doubt of abuses existing that should have been 
promptly adjusted by the railroad company and its officers. If 
this had been done, the fair name of our Territory would not 
have been stained by the terrible events of the 2nd of 

It was implied by the Grand Jury and in the press that 
the Chinese themselves had fired their homes, although 
no explanation was offered for this strange charge. The 
findings were not too surprising, since of the sixteen grand 
jurors, eleven were from Rock Springs. 

That evening, a large rally was held in Green River to 
protest the continued use of Chinese labor in the mines 
and the presence of troops to enforce the laws. Petitions 
were drawn up on both issues together with a resolution 
to send the petitions to the territorial delegate in congress 
to be presented to the president. Among the prominent 
speakers present was Melville C. Brown from Laramie, at- 


torney for the White miners. Brown was one of Warren's 
most bitter enemies, both political and personal, although 
they were both members of the republican party. *^ The next 
day, the men who had been jailed in Green River were 
greeted by a large crowd at the railroad station in Rock 
Springs and welcomed home as heroes. 

To add to the problems of Warren and the railroad, 
the miners at Carbon went on strike October 1 in sympathy 
with the miners at Rock Springs and Almy. There were 
no Chinese miners in Carbon, and neither the railroad nor 
Beckwith, Quinn & Company had any plans to use them 
there. Warren characterized the miners at Carbon as 
"disposed to be a little ugly."** 

Despite the continued tension, the War Department 
proposed withdrawing all the troops from Evanston and 
the majority from Rock Springs by the end of October. Ex- 
cept for the mine officials, the Chinese and possibly the 
prostitutes and saloon keepers, most of the residents of 
Rock Springs probably would not have missed the soldiers. 
However, several residents of Evanston petitioned War- 
ren to have the military presence retained in that city.*^ 
Except for two companies at Rock Springs and one at 

Evanston, all the troops returned to their home duty sta- 
tions by November 1.** The Catling gun detachment mem- 
bers in Evanston returned to their parent regiments. The 
Catling gun itself was transferred to Rock Springs, in- 
dicating the army was prepared to use major force should 
trouble flair up again. *^ 

The railroad assigned six special agents, possibly 
Pinkerton Detectives, to Rock Springs. These six carried 
deputy sheriff's commissions from Sheriff Young as well 
as deputy marshal's commissions from United States Mar- 
shal Carr. Warren also tried, unsuccessfully, to make 
similar arrangements with Sheriff Rankin of Carbon 
County. Carr did agree to deputize the railroad special 
agents for duty in Carbon if necessary.*^ 

Special Order 105, Platte Department, dated October 
20, 1885, designated the camp at Rock Springs Camp Pilot 
Butte, and the one at Evanston Camp Medicine Butte.*' 
The Uruon Pacific Railroad started construction of perma- 
nent buildings for both camps. Camp Medicine Butte con- 
sisted of a single 50-man barracks, a guardhouse and a 
warehouse. The detachment officers lived in private facili- 
ties, such as the Pacific Hotel, owned by the railroad. Camp 

Pilot Butte was a little more elaborate, consisting of dou- 
ble barracks, 200 feet long by 28 feet wide, housing two 
companies, 104 men, orderly rooms, kitchens and mess 
halls. Opposite the barracks, two triple sets of officers' 
quarters stood. Other buildings on the post included 
stables, warehouses and service buildings. A special spur 
was laid from the main line of the railroad to the camp site. 
The camp was built along Bitter Creek, adjacent to the site 
of the burned-over Chinese settlement. The railroad leveled 
this area and constructed 62 frame and two log buildings 
to replace the destroyed Chinese homes. 5° 

The Laramie Boomerang editorialized: "The Mongolians 
will not feel entirely at home, however, until they get their 
homes in a comparatively filthy state, nor will they feel free 
of fear for some time to come, even though they have a 
Catling gun there to protect them."^^ This probably re- 
flected the opinion of most of the residents of the territory. 
Coal production was down, and rumors persisted that 
when the railroad had established its control unequi- 
vocally, the White miners would be invited back to work. 

Warren and the railroad had no intention of knuckhng 
under to public opinion or to the White miners, however. 
Beckwith, Quinn & Co. recruited some Mormon miners 
from Utah for both the Almy and Rock Springs mines, but 
continued to use mostly Chinese miners in Rock Springs. 
The policy announced when the mines reopened on Sep- 
tember 21 remained in effect. Those miners who had not 
reported back were struck from the roles and could not ex- 
pect future employment with the company. Winter found 
many Rock Springs residents in difficult circumstances. 
The company offered low-cost transportation out of Rock 
Springs at the rate of one cent per mile. Many who had 
chosen to stay in September now no longer had the means 
to leave at any price. 

In early December, the buildings at both Camp Pilot 
Butte and Camp Medicine Butte were finished. The troops 
abandoned their tent camps and settled into permanent 
quarters. ^^ 

Despite increased tension in Rock Springs, caused by 
the hardships suffered by the unemployed White miners, 
the winter passed quietly. In March, 1886, Howard asked 
Warren and the Union Pacific officials about the advisability 
of removing the troops. Both agreed that the troops could 
leave Evanston safely, but recommended that the troops 
should be left in Rock Springs "until there is a more set- 
tled feeling among laboring men in that vicinity." Warren 
pointed out that many of the White miners who had been 
in Rock Springs when the trouble started were still there, 
that they were unrepentant and sullen and that their hatred 
of the Chinese was unabated. '^ 

For some reason. Camp Medicine Butte was not com- 
pletely abandoned until April 4, 1887.5* Camp Pilot Butte 
continued in use until February, 1899. It was a sub-post 
of Fort D. A. Russell in Cheyenne for the last years of its 
existence. 55 The other major military posts in Wyoming 
when Camp Pilot Butte was founded. Fort Bridger, Fort 


Fred Steele, Fort McKinney, Fort Laramie, all relics of the 
Indian Wars, had been abandoned. In a strange twist of 
irony, the last unit to garrison Pilot Butte was Company 
"K," 24th Infantry Regiment, a Black unit.s* 

The presence of the troops did seem to help keep the 
peace in Rock Springs, since in the entire thirteen and a 
half years the troops were there, they were never called 
upon to intervene on behalf of the Chinese. The 1882 
Chinese Exclusion Act, and the 1892 ten-year extension, 
resulted in a declining availability of Chinese labor. By the 
time the army abandoned Camp Pilot Butte, miners rep- 
resenting several nationalities were employed in Rock 
Springs, including many Japanese.^'' 

Warren's actions in Rock Springs aroused hostile 
response in the democratic press, and generated strong 
protests among the largely democratic labor organizations. 
He not only had problems with the democrats, but Wyo- 
ming republicans split on the issue as well. Many, such 
as Judge James W. Hayford, editor of the Laramie Sentinel, 
and Melville C. Brown, were out-spokenly anti-Chinese 
and were critical of Warren's handling of the affair. While 
Hayford recognized that Warren had done his duty as a 
federal officer, he was critical of the return of the Chinese 
to Rock Springs and of some of the governor's statements. 
His political opponents on both sides continued to raise 
the issue throughout his political career. Former Gover- 
nor Fenimore C. Chatterton noted in his memoirs that after 
the Rock Springs incident, Warren often was referred to 
as "Chinese Warren."^* 

It may temporarily have cost him political support 
within Wyoming, but the speed of his reaction, his per- 
sonal attention to the situation and the fact that order was 
restored without further loss of life or property damage 
did not go unnoticed. In their report for 1885, the govern- 
ment directors of the Union Pacific Railroad stated: 

The conclusion forced upon the directors was that the massacre 
was without cause or excuse, unless a violent and wide-spread 
race prejudice may furnish the latter. To such feeHngs, however, 
the governor of Wyonung afforded a conspicuous exception. 
His firmness and courage, together with the ready response 
made by the President to his requisition for troops, prevented 
a more general uprising, in which the property and interests 
of the Government and the road might have been alike sacri- 

The support of powerful individuals such as Mark 

Hanna, James Savage and E. P. Alexander, as well as that 

of an institution as important as the Union Pacific Railroad, 

made it unlikely that President Cleveland summarily 

would replace Warren as governor. His decisions on the 

Rock Springs massacre appear to have been made with less 

concern for his own political future than with fulfilling his 

responsibilities as governor. He saw what occurred in Rock 

Springs as illegal, inhumane and beyond the willingness 

or ability of local authorities to control. The massacre was 

a challenge to the authority of the territorial government, 

in danger of spreading and possibly increasing in intensity 

and seriousness. It was a situation that needed to be met 

quickly and firmly and controlled by the most expedient 


means available. He also saw it as a violation of the rights 
of the Chinese miners, both legal and human, which was 
intolerable. He was well aware of the violent anti-Chinese 
sentiment prevalent throughout not only the territory but 
the entire West, and that supporting the rights of the 
Chinese over the claims of the Whites would not be a 
popular position with either his party or the democrats. 
He made the choice of asking for military assistance 
because it was the only option open to him to restore order 
and assert the authority of the territorial government. He 
supported the return of the Chinese miners to Rock 
Springs both as an expression of support of their rights 
and as a message to those who had instigated and par- 
ticipated in the riots that their lawlessness might go un- 
punished by law but would not be rewarded by a moral 

Although the Chinese Massacre probably was not the 
key factor in launching Francis E. Warren on a major 
political career, it undoubtedly played an important role. 
Had he failed to act decisively, or had the situation escaped 
his control, he certainly would have been replaced im- 
mediately and his political future placed in serious 
jeopardy. Instead, he continued to serve under the first 
Qeveland administration for almost half of its term, despite 
the constant clamor of the democratic party for his replace- 
ment by one of their own. He had made politically power- 
ful allies and had gained favorable publicity on a national 
level, both important factors in establishing a successful 
political career. After a two and a half year hiatus, he 
returned as governor during the last eighteen months of 
Wyoming's territorial days, and was the first elected gover- 
nor of the state. He resigned the governorship after one 

month to accept appointment to the United States Senate, 
where, except for the period 1893 to 1895, he represented 
Wyoming continuously until his death in 1929. 

MURRAY L. CARROLL received his Ph.D. in International Relations and 
Diplomatic History from the University of Connecticut. He presently is a retired 
Lt. Colonel of the U. S. Army and is a full-time researcher and writer of Western 

After the "Massacre," the Union Pacific Railroad built "New China Town" in Rock Springs. 



^gJl^ .^^ 

Photograph taken of Camp Pilot Butte from southwest bank of Bitter Creek. Buildings (left to right) are Officers Quarters, Quartermaster Warehouse, 
and Enlisted Barracks. Note freight car on siding and dugout houses in the bank of Bitter Creek. 

1. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Af- 
fairs, Providing Indemnity to Certain Chinese Subjects, House Executive 
Documents, Vol. 12, Report 2044, 49th Congress, 1st Sess. 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), p. 13. 

2. Laramie Daily Boomerang, April 2, 1885. 

3. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Providing Indemnity. 

4. U.S. Adjutant General's Office, Federal Aid in Domestic Disturbances 
1787-1903, Senate Documents, Vol. 15, No. 209, 57th Congress, 2d 
Sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1903), p. 215. 

5. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Providing Indemnity, p. 15. 

6. Ibid., p. 4. 

7. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Special Report Concerning 
Chinese Labor Troubles, 49th Congress, 1st Session, House Exec. Doc, 
Vol. 12, No. 1, Part 5 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Of- 
fice, 1886), p. 1225 (Telegram, Sheriff Joseph Young to Governor Fran- 
cis E. Warren, September 2, 1885). 

8. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Providing Indemnity, p. 24. 

9. William E. Birkhimer, Military Government and Martial Law (Kansas 
City: Franklin Hudson Publishing Co., 1914), p. 498. 

10. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, Microcopy No. 
204, Roll 2, telegrams. Governor Francis E. Warren to General 
O. O. Howard and Secretary of War William C. Endicott. 

11. Sec. 15, Army Appropriation Act of June 18, 1878, 20 Stat. 152. 

12. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, Telegram, 
Governor Francis E. Warren to the President, September 3, 1885. 

13. United States Congress, Senate, op. cit., p. 216. 


14. Laramie Boomerang, September 5, 1885. For details of BosweU's career, 
see Mary Lou Pence, Boswell the Story of a Frontier Laivman (Laranue: 
By the Author, 1978). 

15. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Chinese Labor Troubles, p. 

16. Mrs. J. H. Goodnough, "David G. Thomas' Memories of the Chinese 
Riot as Told to His Daughter," Annals of Wyoming, 19 (July 1947): 

17. Laramie Weekly Sentinel, September 12, 1885. 

18. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Chinese Labor Troubles, p. 1228. 

19. Ibid. 

20. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, telegram 
Governor Francis E. Warren to the President, September 4, 1885. 

21. Ibid., telegram. Governor Francis E. Warren to the President, 
September 5, 1885. 

22. Ibid., telegram. Governor Francis E. Warren to S. R. Calloway, 
General Manager U.P.R.R., September 5, 1885. 

23. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Chinese Labor Troubles, p. 1230. 

24. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Providing Indemnity, p. 18. 

25. Department of War, Returns From U.S. Military Posts, Camp Medicine 
Butte, Wyoming Territory, Microcopy No. 617, Roll 767, September, 1885. 

26. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, telegram. 
Governor Francis E. Warren to the President, September 7, 1885. 

27. U.S. Congress, Senate, Federal Aid in Domestic Disturbances, p. 216. 

28. Sidney L. Gulick, The American-Japanese Problem (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1914), p. 332. 

29. Elizabeth Arnold Stone, Uinta County and Us Place in History (Laramie: 
The Laramie Printing Company, 1924), p. 120. 

30. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, Letter, 
Governor Francis E. Warren to E. Dickinson, Asst. Supt. U.P.R.R., 
December 10, 1885. 

31. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Chinese Labor Troubles, p. 1231. 

32. Department of War, Returns from U.S. Military Posts, Camp Medicine 
Butte, Microcopy 617, Roll 767, September, 1885. 

33. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Providing Indemnity, p. 19. 

34. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, 49th Cong., 1st Sess., 
House Executive Doc. 12, No. 1, Part 5 11, Report of the Government 
Directors of the Union Pacific Railway Company (Washington, D.C.: 
Goverrunent Printing Office, 1886), p. 1235; and Providing Indemnity, 
pp. 23-25. 

35. Laramie Boomerang, September 21, 1885. 

36. Department of War, Returns from U.S. Military Posts, Camp Pilot Butte, 
Microcopy 617, Roll 926, September, 1885. 

37. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, telegram, 
Governor Francis E. Warren to Major General J. N. Schofield, 
September 20, 1885. 

38. Laramie Boomerang, September 11, 1885. 

39. Laramie Boomerang, September 21, 1885. 

40. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial papers, letters. 
Governor Francis E. Warren to A. C. Campbell, U.S. Attorney, N. 
N. Craig, Sheriff, Laramie County, A. H. Reel, Mayor of Cheyenne, 
E. W. Mann, Prosecuting Attorney, Laramie County, and T. J. Carr, 
U.S. Marshal. 

41. Ibid., telegram. Governor Francis E. Warren to S. R. Calloway, 
September 18, 1885. 

42. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Chinese Labor Troubles, p. 1233. 

43. Laramie Boomerang, October 8, 1885. 

44. Department of the Interior, Wyoming Territorial Papers, letter. Gover- 
nor Francis E. Warren to D. O. Clark, October 24, 1885. 

45. Ibid., letter. Governor Francis E. Warren to C. D. Clark, October 16, 

46. Department of War, Post Returns, Camp Medicine Butte, and Post 
Returns, Camp Pilot Butte, October, 1885. 

47. Ibid. 

48. Laramie Boomerang, September 25, 1885, and letter. Governor Fran- 
cis E. Warren to D. O. Clark, October 24, 1885. 

49. Department of War, Post Returns, Camp Medicine Butte, and Post 
Returns, Camp Pilot Butte, October, 1885. 

50. Laramie Boomerang, October 24, 1885, and Department of War, Descrip- 
tive Commentaries From the Medical Histories of Posts, Microcopy No. 
M903, Roll 4, Capt. Walter D. McCaw, "Special Report on Camp Pilot 
Butte, Rock Springs, Wyoming." 

51. Laramie Boomerang, October 24, 1885. 

52. Department of War, Post Returns, Camp Medicine Butte, and Post 
Returns, Camp Pilot Butte, December, 1885. 

53. Department of the Interior, Wyorrung Territorial Papers, telegram. 
Governor Francis E. Warren to Major General O. O. Howard, April 
2, 1886, and letter, April 5, 1886. 

54. Department of War, Post Returns, Camp Medicine Butte, April, 1887. 

55. Department of War, Post Returns, Camp Medicine Butte, August, 1894. 

56. Department of War, Post Returns, Camp Pilot Butte, February, 1899. 

57. Department of Commerce, Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900, 
Microcopy No. T623, RoU 1827. 

58. Ferumore C. Chatterton, Yesterdays' Wyoming (Aurora: Powder River 
Books, 1957), p. 32. 

59. U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, House Executive Docu- 
ment, Government Directors, p. 1235. 


h'rl Smilk 


> -?w« f *• /"■/■ 



\ O [Peak "J* 


1 ; tm* 




f£rl\Fetl«rmti» -. j 

Map /ound in ]. H. Triggs "History of Cheyenne and Northern Wyoming, " 1876. 


The Little Known 

Battle of 
Snake Mountain 

Map taken from "Report of Expedition Through the 
dated September 20, 1881. 

Horn Mountains, Yellowstone Park, Etc., by Lieutenant General P. H. Sheridan, 


Captain Alfred Elliott Bates 

June 30, 1874, Camp Brown, Territory of Wyoming: 
"Scene of unusual activity at the post," recorded Dr. 
Thomas Maghee in the post medical journal. Touring 
military brass had arrived, including Regional Com- 
manding General Philip Sheridan of Civil War fame. The 
same day. Chief Washakie's Shoshone scouts reported 
they had found a camp of Northern Arapahoes and Sioux 
hidden in the Owl Creek Mountains. 

The Owl Creeks were off-linuts to reservation Indians 
and there was reason to believe the warriors of that village 
were responsible for six years of raids in the valley. When 
Sheridan heard the report, he approved of a full punitive 
expedition, which meant the Shoshones would accompany 
the cavalry. 

The Second Cavalry and Chief Washakie's Shoshones 
had often worked together. Not orJy was Camp Brown 
located on the Wind River Indian Reservation in the Wind 
River Valley, its primary mission was to protect the 
Shoshone tribe from their enemies. 

The Shoshones had migrated from the Green River to 
the Wind River Valley for their annual fall buffalo hunt 
since the 1840s. The advantages that made the area a choice 
location— abundance of game, warm winter weather and 


an interstitial position between Sioux, Crow and Cheyerme 
territories— also made it a frequent battleground. 

Until the late 1860s, the Shoshones were frequently 
challenged by roving Teton Blackfoot. They also lost hun- 
dreds of warriors in a protracted conflict with the Crow. 
In a bloody three day contest called the Battle of Crowheart 
Butte, Chiefs Washakie and Big Robber of the Crow set- 
tled the issue of hunting rights by personal combat. 
Washakie, then nearly 60 years old, allegedly killed his op- 
ponent, ripped out his heart and ate it to signify his 
prowess and the Shoshone victory. The Crow and 
Shoshones made peace in 1870. 

But as of 1874, Washakie still had enemies, because 
in 1865 he had rejected Red Cloud's offer to join the Sioux 
in the fight against the Wliites. That decision also made 
him an enemy of the Cheyenne and Northern Arapahoe, 
the Sioux's allies. ^ 

These three tribes had not only harassed Washakie's 
people, they had taken the lives of more than 50 residents 
in the mining towns of South Pass City, Atlantic City and 
Miner's Delight since 1867. ^ 

The location of the reservation— granted to the Sho- 
shones at the treaty of Fort Bridger in 1868— had been Chief 
Washakie's choice.* But his tribe was relatively weak in 
1868. He had recently lost 30 of his best men to the Sioux, 
and no Indian Agency had been put up for his people. He 
thus refused to occupy his new home until the United 
States government provided military protection. Some- 
what belatedly, the military established the Shoshone 
Agency and Camp Augur (later named Camp Brown), 
which it garrisoned with 50 men.^ 

In retrospect, Washakie's request appears well jus- 
tified, for both Camp Brown's infantry and cavalry had 
skirmished with raiding Indians from the first days of sum- 
mer, 1869, through the sununer of 1876. The situation at 
Camp Stambaugh* was identical. 

The June 30 discovery of the Owl Creek village came 
several weeks after two men from A Company, 13th In- 
fantry, had had a brief run-in with a roving band of In- 
dians near Bull Lake. The soldiers, part of Captain Robert 
Torrey's road construction gang,^ had been ordered back 
to the post on muleback, to pick up the mail. 

The two soldiers scrambled to the top of the closest 
bluff and prepared to defend themselves. The Indians, 
which the men later identified as Sioux, sent one warrior 
forward who questioned them about the location of 
Washakie and his Shoshones.* 

Torrey's muleback mailmen made their report to Cap- 
tain Alfred Elliott Bates, Company B, Second Cavalry, who 
was in charge whUe Torrey was away. Bates, who had ar- 
rived at Camp Brown four months earlier, had spent a hec- 
tic spring with Lieutenants Robert H. Young and Frank 
V. Robinson and Company B, chasing Indians who were 
raiding local settlements.' 

The next day, with a combined force of cavalry and 
Shoshones, Bates tracked the Sioux band, but quit when 

the trail left the valley via the Owl Creeks. Washakie 
assigned six braves to "dog" the trail. When they returned 
and reported that the trail led into the Big Horn Valley, 
Young allegedly urged Washakie to send additional scouts 
to explore the source of Nowood and Bad Water Creeks 
in the southern rim of the Big Horns. Washakie concur- 
red and it was there his scouts found the village. i" 

"The atmosphere was almost festive," permed Maghee 
in retrospect. "We knew the village was the rendez-vous, 
the infernal nest of the hellish, murderous scoundrels 
which had infested this country since the white people had 
attempted to make an honest living there. "^^ 

Camp Brown's assault force, 56 men of Company B 
under second-in-command Lieutenant Robinson, plus 
twenty Indian scouts under Lieutenant Young, 4th Infan- 
try, was issued four days of rations and 200 rounds of am- 
munition. ^^ Medical officer Maghee was accompanied by 
a wagon and four hospital men. A ten mule pack train car- 
ried extra ammunition. 

The Shoshone contingent under Washakie included 
his English-speaking sub-chief, Narkok, and 167 warriors. 
Six White hunters, who resided near the post or were 
employed by the government, went along. ^^ The officer 
in charge was Bates. 

The war party rode out from Camp Brown at eight 
o'clock the evening of July 1. Years later. Post Trader James 
K. Moore^* told his son he remembered the stately 
Shoshone's battle parade around the post prior to their 
departure. 15 

The troupe traveled east, past the mouth of the Little 
Wind River to Big Wind River where they made camp. 
After the 35 mile night march, Maghee wrote " . . .under 
the bluffs, secreted in timber and bushes, we remained all 
day. No fires." 

The colimin remounted when the sun set. By dawn, they 
covered 45 miles of "mean country" to the confluence of 
the Bridger and Bad Water Creeks. Maghee said alkali 
made the creek look like mUky soap suds and advised 
against driiiking it.^^ As the men spread saddle blankets 
in the tall sage and cottonwoods, Robinson was struck by 
the silence. Horses and men alike "took on that quiet 
business air that is so noticeable when aU realize something 
serious is at hand."^^ Once again, no fires. 

North of their bivouac, an outcrop of deep magenta 
was visible in the sharp foothills which marked the end 
of open desert. Farther north, at the entrance of Bridger 
Creek Trail and Cottonwood Canyon, the color changed 
to red-orange. A lonely hump of land marked the track of 
Bad Water Creek, then the plain stretched south towards 
the Oregon Trail. ^^ 

That rught, the warriors pressed north into the moun- 
tains, unaware their target was still 30 miles away. Maghee 
recalled "sorrowfvd calls" of the coyote that rose from the 
front ranks to advise advance scouts of the command's 
position. The column probably saw the Wind Rivers on 
their left. In late evening, it stands up on the horizon as 

Dr. Thomas Maghee 

a long grey shadow with an uneven crest, sometimes 
crowned by a thunderhead, or a cape of white. 

Robinson noted from the stars that they traveled north- 
east. "No sounds except the occasional click of horses feet 
on rocks. Good trail and good time." Maghee had a con- 
trasting opinion. "We had several boggy, alkali creeks to 
cross and deep arroyos, ravines, high sandy ridges and 
infernal sage brush deserts found the terrain treacherous 
and taxing," he wrote." 

The original location of the village, described by Robin- 
son as a "close valley,"^" was deserted, but scouts cap- 
tured two Sioux horses. The village, they concluded, was 
still near. So Bates called a quick council. "Flowing hair 
and swarthy countenances [of the Shoshones] mingled 
with the eager faces and courtly uniforms of the officers, 
a scene worthy of the pencil of the artist, " penned Maghee 
in his diary. 

Washakie sent out scouts, but Bates could not wait. 
Robinson said he ordered everyone to mount. They 
galloped across the high plateau for nearly an hour. The 
pack train with the extra ammunition would have to try 
to find us on its own, he recalled. Now, time was of the 
essence, for daylight was breaking upon the command and 
surprise could be lost if they did not hurry. 

Scouts rode in to say the village was less than a mile 
away, so Bates took a scout and galloped away to see for 
himself. The village stretched along a narrow valley 500 


feet below the edge of the rock strewn plateau. ^^ A Y- 
shaped stream meandered east along the valley floor. The 
downslope approach from Bates' position was easy on 
horseback, yet the slope on the opposite side to the north, 
behind the village, was too steep to escape from on 

While Bates was away, Shoshone warriors a half mile 
to the rear began to don war dresses and sing their war 
chant. Robinson cussed and shouted to Washakie, "in 
Heaven's name" to stop them or "all hope of surprising 
the village would be at an end." In desperation, he 
repeated what his commanding officer had done earlier 
that morning— ordered everyone to mount. 

Robinson met Bates coming back. Still mounted, the 
captain informed him the village was not 40 lodges as 
reported, but 112. Robinson wrote that he contemplated his 
death that July 4th, while Bates described his plan. 

Bates ordered Young to descend into the canyon from 
the head of the west fork of the stream.^ He (Bates), Robin- 
son and Company B would attack from the heights of the 
tableland. Bates' first report to his Commanding Officer, 
Torrey, perhaps in hindsight, declared that the Shoshone 
would have to keep the Arapahoes from taking the bluffs 
on the far side if the attack was to be successful. No one 
knows, however, whether that message was delivered 
loudly and clearly to Washakie's interpreter, Narkok, 
before the fight. This point was to become a bone of con- 
tention later. 

In early July, the morrung sun lights the tops, then the 
flanks of the tablelands. The gorge in which the village was 
ensconsed remained in shadow. As the sun rose, it popped 
up behind the northeast shoulder of Battle Mountain, ^^ and 
shone directly on the slope Young was ordered to take into 
the gorge. 

Bates decided the cavalry must attack on foot, so he 
ordered Sergeant Fuller and every fourth man to hold the 
horses. That left 32 men for the charge. Each trooper had 
80 cartridges in his belt for his Springfield .45 carbine and 
a colt revolver. 

As for the Shoshones, Maghee said they remained 
mounted in a straight line. Robinson, who never referred 
to more than 50 Shoshone warriors at any time, said they 
were afoot, behind them. "In the sleepy village, all was 
silent as death, the ponies lying lariated at the doors of 
the teepees [sic]," stated Maghee's medical journal. 

Bates ordered the men to descend at the double. "We 
had gone but a short distance," stated Robinson, "when, 
seeing such a hot time ahead of us. Bates and 1 and many 
of the men threw away our blouses, for we preferred to 
meet it in blue shirts." Halfway down the hill, they heard 
yells and the cracks of rifles to their left. Young and the 
scouts entered into the battle. 

Bates' men pressed into the village in close skirmish 
order. The Shoshones fired into the village over their 
heads. To Robinson, the attack was almost a complete sur- 
prise; to Maghee, less complete than it could have been.^'' 


Horses broke their pickets and fled through the village. 
Young killed a medicine chief before his party lost two 
Shoshones. Fighting was hand to hand— "in some in- 
stances, men fighting for the same rifle. "^^ By the time the 
attackers dominated the village, more than a dozen enemy 
lay dead in the valley. 

Many Arapahoe, rifles in hand, had escaped down the 
ravine that ran through the village and climbed crevices 
up the far slope. One hundred feet up that hillside, directly 
above the village, was a narrow plateau the length of a foot- 
ball field. The Shoshones, Bates emphasized in his report, 
had not been aggressive enough to deny the enemy the 

Robinson reported yells, cries and curses rang out far 
above the incessant rattle of the carbines and the sharp 
crack of the Winchesters with which the Arapahoes were 
armed. Young, a squad of soldiers and a force of 
Shoshones under Washakie, attempted to dislodge the 
Arapahoes with a flank attack. They moved up a draw 
north of the village, but came under sharp fire. 

While Company B held the center of the village, 
Maghee set up his field hospital at a tepee. The assault 
party around him remained in hot engagement, killing In- 
dians at close range with revolvers. A wounded Indian 
fired at Bates from less than twenty feet. Bates dispatched 
him with a pistol shot. 

Bullets whined around Maghee as he tended a 
wounded Shoshone. One bullet creased his forehead. 
"When an Indian rushed from a lodge and took aim at one 
of our men," said Robinson, "Maghee dropped his 
bandages, picked up a carbine and shot the man, then 
coolly returned to work." 

Momentum of the fight shifted as the Arapahoes con- 
solidated their position on the bluff. Within one minute's 
time. Private James M. Walker was shot through the head 
and Private Peter F. Engell through the lungs and heart. 
A ball went through Private CD. French's nose into his 
eye (which he later lost). 

As Young, Cosgrove, Yamell and Indian scouts fought 
their way up the bluff, Leslie Gable was shot in the arm 
and Pierson was shot through the hand. Several 
Shoshones were immediately killed and two more 
wounded. The fight was sharp and confusing, partly 
because there were so many horses in the way.^* Then 
Young was shot in the upper thigh. 

About that time. Bates decided to pull out of the 
village. Enemy fire was becoming too effective. Ordering 
the surgeon to move to a safer locality, he withdrew 
towards the hill from which they had attacked. Maghee 
wrote that Bates could have burned the village, but his men 
had reported the lodges full of children and women. 
"Besides," he added, "Bates fully intended to return." 

When Washakie saw the captain withdrawing, he told 
Cosgrove and Le Clair to get Young off the cliff. They 
hoisted Young on Cosgrove 's horse, then Cosgrove 
mounted another and led Young out. With Bates' men out 

Crowheart Butte, where 

Chiefs Washakie and Big 

Robber fought and settled 

the issue of hunting 

rights between the 

Shoshones and Crow. 

of range, the fxill enemy above turned on Young's party. 
Washakie and his men covered the rear as the men 
descended the hluii. 

Nearly three hours had passed. ^^ Young's estimates 
of casualties, according to Maghee, was "up to a hundred 
killed and 175 wounded." An "Eye Witness" account 
printed in the Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 14, 1874, said 
about 50 were killed and twice the number wounded. 
Robinson said that as nearly as he could count, the enemy 
lost 60 in the village. At least 250 horses had been captured. 

The conmnand, however, was at a disadvantage. The 
enemy was stiU strong, well armed and in position. Young 
and seven others were wounded and ammunition was run- 
ning low.^^ Shoshones also reported seeing smokes from 

above the bluffs. The Arapahoes were signaling a friendly 
group whose identity, size and location were unknown. 
To try to re-enter the canyon to destroy the village or root 
the Arapahoes from their perch could be costly. With four 
dead, eight wounded and an anxious band of Shoshones, 
Bates gave the signal to withdraw. 

The day had been hot, the journey back, slow. Robin- 
son and the ten men who had held the horses served as 
rear guard. Robinson wrote that the enemy followed them 
with some force, but as they were tired and also probably 
low on ammunition, did not attack. When the sun set, the 
column halted by a creek near the eastern end of the Owl 
Creek Mountains, far north of their original route. 

Bates sent two noncommissioned officers on fresh 


stock to Camp Brown to alert Torrey of the fight and their 
need of assistance. Two hours later, the column moved 
on, and about daylight crossed near the head of Bad Water 
Creek. At ten that morning they hit the Big Wind River. 
The command bivouacked, and after lying down, Robin- 
son said they "all were like dead men."^' 

At sundown, July 5, Torrey met the column about 30 
miles east of the post. After resting four hours, the command 
moved to big bend of Wind River where many settlers had 
gathered. Ambulances and medicine were on hand. The 
battle group made it to the post by 3:00 p.m. July 6.^° 

Torrey's initial report reflected what Bates had told 
him. "Owing to the failure of the Shoshones to perform 
their part allotted them," wrote Torrey, "the enemy ob- 
tained possession of a high sandstone bluff, . . . and from 
this point in a few minutes inflicted severe loss on the 
party." He approved of Bates' decision to terminate the 
attack, not only because he was low on ammunition and 
the enemy was still strong and building signal fires, but 
because he had been unable "to get any assistance from 
his Indian allies to carry the bluff occupied by hostile 
forces. "^^ 

Maghee was kinder. He differentiated between young, 
diffident Shoshones who had not been in battle before, and 
veteran Shoshones under Washakie whom he said had 
fought well. Robinson made no mention of Shoshone 

Shoshone Indian Agent James Irwin was infuriated. 
When General Sheridan wrote that the battle did not end 
as satisfactorily as desired due to bad conduct on the part 
of the Shoshones, he wrote the Commission of Indian Af- 
fairs. ^^ The "Shoshones," he said, "lost as many killed 
and wounded as the white troopers." Then he addressed 
the rear guard action the Indians had taken to protect 
Young's evacuation. 

Irwin also wrote that several young Indians told him 
they were alarmed when Bates and his men started 
shooting desperately towards the slopes. They did not 
have any markings to separate them from the Arapahoes 
and feared the cavalry would shoot them as well. 

"Finally," added Irwin contritely, "The interpreter has 
several times complained to me that he could not under- 
stand Captain Bates, as he speaks fast and uses better 
language than the poor fellow had been used to hearing."^' 
He concluded his letter by saying that "Captain Bates is 
a young officer . . . and did his work well, but may 
perhaps have expected too much of others." 

Robinson, who referred to the battle as "one of the 
most gallant and spirited fights that ever occurred in the 
West," added that "Bates deserves well of his country and 
the hearty thanks of the settlers in the Wind River Valley 
country even to the present day." 

DAVID M. DELO is studying for his Ph.D. in History at the University of Wyo- 
ming. He has had published a number of historical articles in Wind River Moun- 
taineer and is also a writer of novels. 

1. Also known as the Battle of Bates. 

2. Colonel J. M. Chivington's troops massacred several hundred men, 
women and children in an Arapahoe-Cheyenne village at Sand Creek, 
Colorado, November, 1864. The following month, after a 1,000 lodge 
council at Cherry Creek, the two tribes joined the already warring 
Sioux to initiate the Sioux Indian War of 1865-1868. See Fort Laramie 
and The Sioux (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1967). 

3. The raids began July, 1867, the summer that placer miners, working 
the streams in South Pass, located the gold-rich Cariso shelf that 
marked the beginning of the South Pass gold rush. A letter to editor, 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, March 14, 1874, listed men killed on the Sweet- 
water since 1867. 

4. Although a successful war chief, Washakie was also a noble, intelligent 
man who had promoted peace with Whites and had favored the reser- 
vation system as early as 1850. See Indian Agent Luther Mann's 
reports, "Utah Superintendency Records," Vols. 27-30, Annals of 

5. Letter from Governor Campbell to Indian Commissioner, May 18, 
1869, in Letters Received by Office of Indian Affairs from Wyoming 
Superintendency, microfilm fUes, Denver Archives. Note: Camp 
Augur (1869-1870), was renamed Camp Brown (1870-1879), which 
was then renamed Fort Washakie (1878-1909). Until 1871, Brown was 
located at present day Lander, Wyoming, then relocated fifteen miles 
north to the Popo Agie, the site of current Fort Washakie. 

6. Stambaugh was established at Atlantic City in June, 1870, to protect 
the mining towns. See Major J. Lambert, One Hundred Years With The 
Second Cavalry (Topeka, Kansas: Press of the Capper Printing Co., 
Inc., 1939). 

7. Captain Torrey was Camp Brown's Commanding Officer from May, 
1871, until January, 1875 (minus a leave of absence). He developed 
the first 90 rrules of the road to Yellowstone National Park, which 
was finally punched through Togwotee Pass in 1898. Robert was also 
the brother of Lin Torrey, the Wyoming Representative who created 
Torrey's Rough Riders for the Spanish-American War in 1898 and 
who ran the M- (EMBAR) ranch in the Owl Creeks. See David M. 
Delo, "Yellowstone Road," Wind River Mountaineer, Spring, 1986. See 
also, J. Lin Torrey file, American Heritage Center, University of 

8. The story of the two soldiers, printed in the Cheyenne Daily Leader, 
July, 1874, was submitted by "Lone Star" from Fort Washakie. This 
author believes Lone Star is Assistant Medical Officer Thomas Maghee 
who maintained a diary, wrote the Fort Washakie medical journal 
between 1873 and 1878, and recorded bits of Indian lore. 

9. Lambert, One Hundred Years. Company B was also the most active 
of all Second Cavalry companies the previous sununer when it was 
stationed at Camp Stambaugh. 

10. The Jim Bridger Mountains. 

11. Fort Washakie Medical Journal, Denver Public Library. 

12. Brigadier General Robinson's account of the Snake Mountain 
expedition— one of the two eyewitness accounts— originally written 
for an organization called the "Order of Indian Battle," in 1933, as 
reprinted as Appendix 28 in Lambert, One Hundred Years. 

13. The six included Texan Nelson Yamell, friend and assistant to Thomas 
Cosgrove, Camp Brown's chief scout, and John Dwight Woodruff, 
a legend in his own right as an early Wyoming hunter, mountaineer. 


trapper, explorer, miner and military scout and guide. Medical Jour- 
nal. See also, "Diary of Dr. Maghee," Nebraska History Magazine, 
12 (July, 1931). 

14. From a 1956 letter by James K. Moore Jr. James K. Moore Sr. was 
Post and Indian Trader from the fall of 1870 until 1906. See David 
M. Delo, "Post Trader, Indian Trader," Wind River Mountaineer, 
Fall, 1986, and Winter, 1987. 

15. The Shoshones' precision battle parade, which impressed fur traders 
as early as rendezvous in the late 1820s, was the subject of a painting 
by Alfred Jacob Miller. V. C. TrerJiolm and M. Carley, The Shoshones: 
Sentinels of the Rockies (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964). 

16. Maghee identified the stream as Bad Water Creek because of the alkali 
water. Robinson was sure it was Bridger Creek, a tributary of Bad Water. 

17. Robinson, "Order of Indian Battle," p. 293. 

18. The author hiked the country the first week of July, 1986. 

19. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 25, 1874. 

20. This might have been Cottonwood Canyon. 

21. The battlegroimd occurred in central Wyoming— 30 rrules north of Lysite 
in the Jim Bridger Mountains, at the northern end of a dissected plateau. 

22. Young's sortie consisted of himself, twenty scouts, the six hunters, 
Washakie, Narkok and an unknown number of Shoshones. Medical 

23. Snake Mountain's name on current Topographic maps. 

24. Maghee said the young and inexperienced Shoshones raised a ruckus 
that prevented a complete surprise. 

25. Robinson, "Order of Battle," p. 295. 

26. In their haste to secure the bluff— according to Robinson— the enemy 
had driven 150 horses up with them. Many were killed during the 

27. The only reference to the length of the battle was made by Indian 
Agent Irwin. Letter to The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, July (no 
day given), 1874. 

28. The ammunition train that was left behind in the rush had never 
found the command. 

29. Robinson was the orjy person to describe the return trip. 

30. Captain Robert A. Torrey, "Preliminary Report" to Asst. Adjutant 
General, HQ Dept. of the Platte, Omaha, Nebraska, July 7, 1874. 

31. Ibid. 

32. Letter, Dr. James Irwin, Shoshone Indian Agency to Indian Com- 
missioner, July 15, 1874, Denver Archives. 

33. Ibid. Note: Narkok was one of many who, in 1859, "set Washakie 
aside" to raid White settlers and emigrant trains with chiefs Pocatello, 
Sagowitz and Sanpintz. Alter Colonel Connors defeated the raiders 
at the Battle of Bear River in 1862, Narkok returned to Washakie. See 
"Utah Superintendency Records," Vols. 27-30, Annals of Wyoming. 








by John P. Langellier 


William Lee 

When the author of this article first read the manuscript account 
which serves as the basis of the following narrative, it started 
a hunt to find the "missing" photographs from the Simpson Ex- 
pedition. After several years, he located what may well be the 
earliest photographs taken of the American West, scattered among 
four institutions. Examples of these pictures accompany the text 
of William Lee's 1858-1859 "diary" now held by the Library of 
Congress. Several of the accompanying photographs first appeared 
in William P. MacKinnon's article, "125 Years of Conspiracy 
Theories: Origins of the Utah Expedition," Utah Historical 
Quarterly, Volume 52, Number 3, Summer, 1984. 



In the wake of the war with Mexico the spirit of 
Mariifest Destiny continued to fire American expansion. 
Acquisition of new territory and the discovery of gold in 
California also stimulated this westward course of empire. 
Often, elements of the United States Army contributed to 
the march toward the Pacific. Nowhere was the military's 
influence felt with more effect than as a result of expedi- 
tions conducted by Uncle Sam's elite Corps of Topographi- 
cal Engineers. 

Indeed, during the 1850s, many of these "Topogs" 
followed the example set by Lewis and Qark, Zebulon Pike 
and John C. Fremont. Some sought routes for the construc- 
tion of railways so that the nation would be linked with rib- 
bons of iron from coast to coast. Others looked to the 
establishment of wagon roads to carry the ever increasing 
numbers of pioneers to the edge of the continent. 

These military men did more than map the regions 
they explored. They led complements of geologists, 
paleontologists, naturalists and other men of science and 
letters who helped chart and change the image of the 
"Great American Desert." In so doing, they opened the 
way for the conquest of the frontier.^ 

Captain James H. Simpson characterized the officers 
involved in this dynamic work. A native of New Jersey, 
Simpson was orJy fifteen years old when he entered the 
United States Military Academy in 1828. Shortly after his 
graduation from West Point, the new "shavetail" received 
a post graduate education in the Florida swamps against 
the hard fighting Seminoles. Then, in 1838, he transferred 
from the Artillery to the newly formed Topographical 
Engineers. For the next two decades he remained active 
in this branch which took him to various assignments in 
the East and the South. ^ Having built a solid reputation, 
Simpson caught the eye of Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, 
who, during the late 1850s, commanded a large field force 
raised to march for Utah. This unit of more than 2,000 men 
responded to orders from Washington to accompany 
Utah's new chief executive and a number of lesser ter- 
ritorial officials sent to replace Brigham Young, so that the 
Mormons would not thwart federal authority.^ 

Originally, Simpson was to prepare itineraries and 
maps for various reinforcements sent out from Fort Leaven- 
worth since Johnston went in the vanguard with only part 
of his authorized strength. The captain began to carry out 
this assignment with the aid of many able assistants, in- 
cluding junior officers and civilians who performed a wide 
range of scientific and technical tasks. He also brought "a 
photographic apparatus" with him along with all the 
"necessary chemicals." Simpson realized that other ex- 
peditions had attempted similar experiments with the 
camera as a means to record their journeys. He confessed 
that in "every instance, and even with operators of un- 
doubted skill, the enterprise" had proven a failure in the 
past. For this reason he exhibited little faith in the daguer- 
reotype which he said provided fair portraits and could 
capture "objects close at hand," but was no match for the 


trained illustrator when it came to "extensive mountain 
chains and other objects having considerable extent"— the 
meat of any expedition to the vastness of the West. Given 
this attitude, Simpson dismissed the efforts of the two 
photographers who accompanied him. He even declined 
to mention their names in his published Report of the Ex- 
plorations Across the Great Basin in 1859, the resume of the 
entire trip which he presented at the conclusion of his 

Fortunately, one of his young civilian assistants 
thought more highly of the photographers and their abil- 
ity. William Lee, an adventurous youth of some means, 
found the camera an ideal way to record his sojourn. As 
a consequence, he kept a number of the images and placed 
them with his own unpublished notes. These views, along 
with Lee's diary, flesh out Simpson's excellent, yet imper- 
sonal official narrative. Select pictures and excerpts from 
Lee's account help document this fascinating footnote of 
American heritage, and appear here as windows to the past. 

Lee began his journal the day he left Washington, ' 
D.C., April 11, 1858. Boarding a train for Cincinnati he met > 
some others from the party, including Charles S. McCar- I 
thy, the taxidermist for the group. ^ They passed through ' 
Harpers Ferry, soon to become a milestone in national 
history, but to Lee was merely a stop for dinner on the 
first leg of the trip. The train traveled through the night. 
Rain and excitement made it impossible for him to "sleep 
a wink. "5 

Two days later, Lee reached Ohio where he received 
word to join Simpson and the rest of the contingent on 
Wednesday. Reporting at the appointed time and place in- 
troductions were made. It seemed as if everyone took stock 
of their new traveling companions. Once on the train, the 
quiet broke. Soon, every man became "very talkative and 
cracking jokes all the way" to St. Louis. Arriving in the 
bustling river city, each member sought lodging and food. 
Once they took care of these needs, most purchased items 
for the trip and enjoyed one last glimpse of "civilization." 
Lee even managed to see a circus and attended Senator 
Thomas Hart Benton's funeral.* The death of this cham- 
pion of national expansion came at the very time that Lee 
and his associates were about to help fiirther the famous 
politician's dreams. 

After this brief layover, the men boarded a steamboat 
bound for Fort Leavenworth, an important outpost which 
overlooked the banks of the Missouri River since its 
founding in 1827. The craft, the Minnehaha, boasted "a fine 
band on board and a nine-pounder whose business it was 
to salute every boat it meets." Lee pronounced the cuisine 
"excellent but the company bad." While playing cards, "a 
gentlemanly sharper" bested him for $2.50 before being 
put off the boat when he was discovered as a cheat. The 
gambler and some other unsavory sorts went ashore at 1 
midnight while a drenching rain fell to dampen their I 
larcenous spirits.^ 

Sunday the 18th proved less exciting, although Lee met 

Fort Leavenworth's dragoon bar- 
racks, erected in the 1830s under 
the supervision of Stephen Watts 
Kearny, served as Lee's "hostelry" 
during his first night in Kansas. 
The officers quarters to the left were 
erected in 1855 and are still 

some Bostonians and enjoyed the magnificent scenery 
along the Missouri. Later, he joined in singing and 
dancing. By Tuesday, after "a rousing big supper with 
wine of all kinds furnished by the boat . . . everyone got 
tight and had a free fight by night." The next day they 
landed at Leavenworth where Lee spent a more subdued 
evening "in the barracks with soldiers." This was the last 
time he would sleep indoors for many months.* On the 
morning of April 22, he breakfasted with the legion of 
teamsters who drove the massive freight wagons that sup- 
plied Johnston's army with its lifeblood. With a full 
stomach, Lee then made his way with others to report to 
Lieutenant Kirby Smith, destined to become a Union 
Volunteer infantry colonel in a few more years.' 

The subaltern saw to it that the party received tents. 
They spent that night under canvas, but awoke chilled 
from the morning frost. i" When Simpson arrived on the 
23rd, he arranged for blankets and other equipment which 
made things somewhat more comfortable. Lee contended 
that he began "to get used to camp life" after that, 
although he admitted that after a month away from his 
family he heard "a sweet female voice" sing Annie Laurie, 
which triggered a bit of homesickness." The melancholy 
faded soon since Lee and his colleagues started to learn 
the mysteries of their astronomical and magnetic instru- 
ments, along with gaining familiarity with the transit and 

The completion of this training phase coincided with 
improved relations in Utah, yet Simpson's people still had 

a valuable mission to perform. On May 31, 1858, they left 
the nest at Fort Leavenworth for the long trek west. The 
first miles followed the rut-worn tracks taken by so many 
earlier military columns. Sometimes, during these open- 
ing days, Lee simply threw himself on the ground and 
slept exhausted, under the stars. He eventually thought 
better of this and pitched a tent, but after waking up one 
night in the middle of a "young river," he learned to dig 
a trench around his shelter in the event of rain.^^ 

Moving forward, Lee helped Henry Engleman, the 
major scientist of the group, gather geological specimens 
and fossils. 1^ He performed a number of other duties, 
observed the strange surroundings and tasted his first buf- 
falo which he found "very like beef."^* 

Comradeship strengthened. Data expanded. The party 
pressed through Nebraska. Here they celebrated the 
Fourth of July with the troop escort turning out in full dress 
and firing volleys of musketry. ^^ Two days later, Lee ob- 
served his first Sioux. He recorded, "They traded almost 
everything they had for sugar." With this discovery, Lee 
was able to obtain a bow and arrows and a pair of moc- 
casins. The tribesmen seemed just as intrigued with white 
accoutrements since Lee noticed one Oglala with a watch 
chain just like his. 

Indians became more common sights as the column 
continued. No clashes erupted, however, as they passed 
villages of Native Americans. Countless prairie dog villages 
dotted the countryside too. The only thing which seemed 
to outnumber these amusing little creatures were swarms 


On July 25, Lee noted that the ex- 
pedition "stopped at Courthouse Rock 
on our road today and Mills took a 
picture. Engleman and myself as- 
cended the bluff— it IS 300 feet 
high—formed by sandstone— very 
steep with several names cut on top, 
but bears a very slight resemblance to 
a Court House. " 

In mid-August, the group reached In- 
dependence Rock and Devil's Gate. 
Lee found the second landmark to be 
"merely an opening in the mountains 
through which the Sweetwater 
[River] passes." Nevertheless, he kept 
the three pictures of this formation 
which the photographer took from 
various distances. 


of mosquitoes. These pests caused Lee and his tent mates 
to burn gunpowder inside to drive them away." 

Toward the end of July, the rather passive nature of 
the trip was shattered. Two of the men started an argu- 
ment. Finally, one attempted to strike the other with a 
spade. His opponent responded with lightning quick 
thrusts of a Bowie knife. He inflicted "three severe 
woimds, one being just below the appex [sic] of the heart." 
On July 21, the victim died. A drum head court martial 
found the killer guilty. The sentence was discharge from 
the train, some 188 miles from the nearest settlement. Fort 
Kearney, Nebraska. ^^ The man forfeited most of his belong- 
ings and with only his blankets strapped on his back, he 
set out on foot, hoping to reach his destination before 
natural or human dangers overtook him. Later, the man's 
kit was sold at auction.^' 

After the harsh realities of frontier justice, more cheer- 
ing news reached the men when they chanced upon the 
peace commissioners returning from Salt Lake. They con- 
firmed the settlement which avoided bloodshed with the 
Latter Day Saints." From then on, the remainder of the 
trip seemed less urgent. During the following weeks Lee 
enjoyed his work and went with Engleman and the pho- 
tographer, C. C. Mills, to Court House Rock for a picture. 

The next day, they spied Chimney Rock which Lee found 
more interesting. He maintained "it is one of the most 
singular works of nature 1 have ever seen." At twenty 
miles it appeared to him as "a lighthouse and you can 
easily imagine the broad prairie 'water.' It consists of sand- 
stone and is a long chimney (as it were) on top of a high 
and perfectly conical hUl. . . ."'^° 

While Lee mentioned that the photographers made 
views through High Bluff the day after sighting Chimney 
Rock, no pictures remain to record this portion of the jour- 
ney. By July 30, however, the men had set the camera up 
again. On that day they came to Fort Laramie, a former 
trading post purchased for the United States Army in 1849.^1 
Lee favored the place more than Fort Kearney, perhaps 
because he spent one night with several of his colleagues 
in Mills' tent drinking "Longworth's Sparkling Catawba," 
a gift from one of the local officers on August 3.^^ 

After this brief rest, the expedition again broke camp 
and continued. They saw many new sites and even wit- 
nessed a victory dance of some Arapahoes at the Platte 
River Trading Post where these "finelooking fellows" 
displayed the scalp of a fallen Ute enemy. Diversions, 
duties and hunting forays left the band with few idle hours 
as they followed the Oregon Trail and passed such land- 

When the party arrived at Fort Laramie, Lee found the installation ' 'a pleasanter place than Kearny [Kearney], " perhaps 
because he helped empty "a few bottles of Longworth's Sparkling Cataivba" there on August 3. 


marks as Independence Rock, Devil's Gate, the Sweet- 
water and the Green River." 

On September 2, 1858, they reached Fort Bridger in 
the far southwestern corner of modern Wyoming. ^^ Jim 
Bridger originally selected this spot more than a decade 
and a half earlier to supply the last of the fur trappers and 
traders, as well as to provide goods for the overland 
pioneers who came in increasing numbers after the death 
of the beaver hat industry. Bridger eventually left the area 
in haste when Brigham Young sent out a posse of more 
than 100 "avenging angels" from Salt Lake to arrest the 
old scout for alleged infractions in his dealings with the 
Indians. Years later, when Johnston's army marched 
against the Mormons, Bridger guided them back to his 
former business locale. ^^ The site had changed since his 
tenure, for the industrious Mormons made many improve- 
ments, including the completion of a substantial stone 
stockade which replaced Bridger's crude wooden facUity. 
When news came that the U.S. Army approached, the 
Mormons abandoned the compound, but not before torch- 
ing the buildings and whatever other material they had 
to leave behind, thus denying it to the oncoming enemy. 

When Johnston's advance force arrived, they gathered 
at a nearby area which they called Camp Scott. Some 
detachments went back to Fort Bridger and attempted to 
make it habitable. All suffered in the valley, spending a 
miserable winter with short supplies. Eventually, they left 
Camp Scott. While the main body proceeded to Utah, 
Johnston left behind a garrison to repair and expand Fort 
Bridger. To maintain his lines of communication with this 
post, he ordered Simpson's men to survey a road to his 
new headquarters at Camp Floyd, Utah.^^ The engineer, 
who had raced ahead of Lee and most of the other expedi- 
tion members, accomplished this task before the group 
reached Bridger Valley. After a brief rest there, they con- 
tinued the march over the new road Simpson had surveyed. 

As they entered Utah, Lee noticed evidence of the 
preparations the Mormons had made to repel the military 
units sent against them. At Echo Canyon they took advan- 
tage of the strongpoint nature provided them and en- 
hanced the defenses with "piles of rocks in the shape of 
barricades" on the heights. Ditches crossed the road as did 
breastworks, while the bushes concealed the remains of 
huts for the defenders to use as shelter while not on the 
lookout for their federal foes. 2'' 

These relics of the war that never exploded slipped by 
as the column neared Salt Lake. On September 13, they 
plodded over the roughest part of the road yet encoun- 
tered. They were rewarded for their efforts by a glimpse 
of Salt Lake City. Lee exclaimed, "it was a beautiful sight." 
Anxious to obtain a closer view, Lee hastily left his things 
in camp and went with McCarthy into town. The place 
continued to impress him, especially since he discovered 
that "there were some fine looking women in the city."^* 

The following day brought the entire force into the 
community, "with colors flying and the band playing 


Lee spent a considerable part of the winter of 1858 at Fort Bridger working with the road survey between that former trading post and Salt Lake. 
The stone stockade was erected by the Mormons after they replaced Jim Bridger and his more primitive wooden outpost. The U.S. Army used the 
facility for many years until they demolished it to make way for a new barracks late in the Victorian era. 


which created quite a sensation." After the grand entrance, 
Lee again wandered about and concluded that "there are 
several fine stores here and a prison" with only a handful 
of Indians as inmates. Two or three gambling houses also 
existed, "but they are frequented only by Gentiles," Lee 
maintained. That night, a Mormon visited their camp and 
a friendly conversation followed. In general, the party en- 
joyed good relations with the local population despite the 
fact the two sides had recently been ready to fight each 

While the people were civil, Lee did not like the dust 
which covered the countryside. Yet, life in the territory was 
much improved over that on the trail. When Lee and the 
others reached Simpson at Camp Floyd on September 15, 
they not only saw a circus performance, but also they took 
in a presentation at the post theater. The following eve- 
ning Lee partook of an excellent dinner at one of the of- 
ficer's quarters and met General Johnston at last.^" 

After these exchanges, Lee headed back to Fort Bridger 
where he was to perform a number of duties, including 
some survey work. He managed to accept some dinner in- 
vitations from the post commander and his wife in addi- 
tion to other social events, but Lee mostly concentrated 
on his assignments.^^ 

Winter set in just as Lee and his crew concluded their 
efforts. At the end of November they mounted, having 
broken camp, and started back to Camp Floyd. Sub-zero 

temperatures, wind, snow and storms slowed their move- 
ment. Lee and several others sustained frostbite. The situa- 
hon deteriorated to such an extent that some of the govern- 
ment property had to be abandoned, "with the exception 
of the ambulance with ten mules attached to it." Lee went 
on, leaving McCarthy and two wagons with several of the 
other men behind. On December 18, his contingent linked 
up with a rescue party sent out by Johnston. Lee directed 
them to McCarthy. He then brought his weary comrades 
into Camp Floyd the next day. Here, quarters awaited 
them. The comforts were most welcome. ^^ 

During the holiday Lee revived, obtained a new hat 
and some boots and watched another theatrical offering. 
A grand review and the drumming out of a thief likewise 
caught his eye in the days just after Christmas. New Years 
brought a round of visiting and the arrival of McCarthy 
and his party. With the exception of a horse race, where 
"bets ran high," and the arrival of some Ute Indians into 
Camp Floyd, Lee found little to say in his journal for the 
remainder of the winter. ^^ 

The approach of spring unlimbered his pen once more. 
On April 20, 1859, Lee again visited Salt Lake City where 
he "met a great many Mormons emigrating north." He 
"noticed in almost every wagon a man with at least two 
wives and lots of children." His jaunt about town also 
brought him into contact with the territorial governor, 
Alfred Cummings, and Brigham Young's brother-in-law.^ 

Lee casually mentioned that on January 20, 1859, "a party of 6 Ute Indians visited . . . and the quartermaster provided 
them with a Sibley tent [the teepee shaped shelter in-the background] and provisions. " The central figure in this portrait 
is "Arrapene (Sinnearoach) the head chief" of the Utes, and "Luke the interpretor" was another member of the tribal 


Lieutenant Smith, destined to die as a Union officer in the Civil War, works with Lee and McCarthy to make solar 
observations at Camp Floyd late in 1858. 

Salt Lake City greeted the weary column when it arrived on September 13, 1858. Lee seemed particularly interested 
in "Brigham Young's Harem— a house (surrounded by a high wall) with 60 windows each window lighted a room 
with a wife in it. On the outside was a porch with a lion carved in granite. " The stately structure can still be visited today. 


The Tabernacle was another prominent feature of early Salt Lake. Lee described the community as having many un- 
bumt brick homes, "several fine stores," a prison and two or three gambling houses which were "frequented only 
by Gentiles. " He also took note of "some fine looking women" while passing through town for the first time. 

Lee made these rounds with John Reese, the founder of 
Genoa, the first settlement in Nevada. ^^ This trail blazer 
was hired to guide Simpson's group on their next, and 
most important assignment, the exploration of a direct 
route to northern California. Before setting out, Lee com- 
pleted some last minute shopping. His souvenirs consisted 
of a pair of moccasins to send home, two copies of the Book 
of Mormon and a daguerreotype portrait of Brigham Young 
made from the original taken the previous July. With pur- 
chases in hand, he soon retraced his steps to Camp Floyd. ^^ 
Final preparation lasted but a few days. By May 3, 
Simpson gave the order to his men and their military escort 
to begin their historic foray. During the next several 
months, the 64 member expedition crossed desert and 
mountain, reaching Genoa, a small settlement at the base 
of the Sierra Nevadas on June 13. Here, Simpson left his 
tired command, then caught the stage to Placerville. Once 
in California, he made his way to San Francisco where he 
reported his progress to his superiors. Toward the end of 
the month he rejoined his men, setting out for the return 
to Camp Hoyd on July 24. 3'' Lee's diary essentially mirrors 
Simpson's report during this phase of the story.'* What 
neither man's account records is the importance of this ac- 
complishment. Within days of the party's return in early 
August to Camp Floyd, pioneers repeated the route Simp- 
son's party blazed. Their efforts cut off some 250 miles to 
San Francisco, thereby reducing the journey by an average 
of two weeks through very rugged terrain. 


Emigrant traffic flowed over the trail on a regular basis 
thereafter. The Pony Express also selected his northern 
route as its course through this region. The telegraph lines 
followed suit. In modem times, U.S. Highway 50 continues 
to run along Simpson's road for most of its length through 
the Great Basin. ^^ 

When Lee's train pulled into Washington, D.C. on 
October 25, 1859, he must have returned with a sense of j 
satisfaction.^" His overland odyssey ranks as one of the 
most significant chapters in the opening of a vital region. 
While the major credit for this feat belongs to Simpson, 
Lee's part, and that of his companions, deserves to be 
recorded along with the other explorers who helped build 
a nation. 

JOHNP. LANGELLIER, Ph.D., former Head of the Wyoming State Museum, 
is now Senior Research Historian and Head of the Library at the Gene Autry 
Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles. His most recent book, The Drums 
Would Roll; U.S. Army Bands on the Frontier, 1866-1900, is the first in 
a series printed by Arms and Armour Press of London. 

1. For details on this subject consult William H. Goetzmann, Army 
Exploration in the American West, 1803-1863 (New Haven: Yale Univer- 
sity Press, 1959). 

2. Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the 
United States Army, Vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Print- 
ing Office, 1903), p. 888, and Report of the Explorations Across the Great 
Basin in 1859 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1983 reprint), pp. 6a-6b. 

3. Harold D. Langley, ed.. To Utah with the Dragoons and Glimpses of Life 
in Arizona and California 1858-1859 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah 
Press, 1974), pp. 1-16 provide a useful overview of the complex ac- 
tivities related to the Utah Expedition. Also see Leroy R. and Ann 
W. Hafen, eds.. The Utah Expedition, 1857-1858 (Glendale, Califor- 
nia: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1958). 

4. Report of the Explorations. 

5. WilliamLee, "ACopy of My Notes Taken WhUe on a Journey Across 
the Plains from Washington, to Genoa, Carson Valley Utah. From 
April 11th 1858 to Oct. 25th 1859" (unpublished MSS, Library of Con- 
gress Manuscript Division, Lee-Palfrey Family Collection, Box 4). 
Hereafter referred to as "Lee Diary" with dates of entry. 

6. Some suggestions about this influential man's thoughts on westward 
expansion can be found in Thomas Hart Benton, Thirty Year's View, 
2 vols. (New Haven: Greenwood Press, 1968). 

7. "Lee Diary," April 14-April 17, 1858. For a basic account of Fort 
Leavenworth's early years read Elvid Hunt and Walter E. Lorence, 
History of Fort Leavenworth, 3827-2837 (Fort Leavenworth: Command 
and General Staff CoUege, 1937). 

8. "Lee Diary," April 18-April 21, 1858. 

9. Joseph Lee Kirby Smith, a New Yorker, graduated from West Point 
in 1857, receiving a commission as a second lieutenant of 
Topographical Engineers. During the Civil War, he became the com- 
mander of the 3rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He died in October, 1862, 
from wounds received at the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi. Heitman, 
Historical Register, p. 901. 

10. "Lee Diary," April 22, 1858. 

11. Ibid., May 9, 1858. 

12. Ibid., May 10-June 2, 1858. 

13. Examples of Engleman's work can be found in Report of Explorations, 
pp. 169-207, 247-336, 435-447. 

14. "Lee Diary," June 12 and June 22, 1858. 

15. Ibid., July 4, 1858. 

16. Ibid., July 6-7, 1858. 

17. Estabhshed in 1848 on the right bank of the Platte River near present- 
day Kearney, Nebraska, the post served as one of the original guar- 
dians of the Oregon Trail. It continued in use until 1871. D. Ray 
Wilson, Fort Kearney on the Platte (Dundee, Illinois: Crossroads Com- 
munications, 1980). The "Lee Diary" entry for June 18, 1858, described 
it as "a mean place-4 wooden houses and a few mud huts for the 

18. "Lee Diary," July 2-21, 1858. 

19. Ibid., July 23, 1858. 

20. Ibid., July 25, 1858. 

21. A former fur trade site. Fort Laramie came into the hands of the U.S. 
Army in 1849. Many fine histories treat various aspects of this post's 
past. Perhaps the best known account continues to be Leroy R. Hafen 
and Francis Marion Young, fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West 
1834-1890 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984). 

22. "Lee Diary," July 30 and August 3, 1858. 

23. Ibid., August 16-31, 1858. Aubrey L. Haines, Historic Sites Along the 
Oregon Trail (Gerald, Missouri: The Patrice Press, 1981), pp. 197-269 
provide a summary of the route followed by the Simpson Expedi- 
tion as it went along the Oregon TraQ during this period. 

24. R. S. Ellison, Fort Bridger: A Brief History (Cheyenne: Wyoming State 
Archives, Museums and Historical Department, 1981), details the 
history of this one-time trading post that became a U.S. military in- 
stallation from 1858 through 1890. 

25. Two biographies discuss this colorful character. They are: J. Cecil 
Alter, Jim Bridger (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982); and 
Stanley Vestal, Jim Bridger Mountain Man (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1970). 

26. First called Camp Hoyd in honor of the Secretary of War, John Floyd, 
when founded in 1858, the post was renamed Fort Crittenden at the 
outbreak of the Civil War. The founding of Fort Douglas in Salt Lake 
City, in 1862, led to the abandonment of the earlier post which was 
located at Provo, Utah. Robert W. Frazer, Forts of the West (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1965), p. 166. 

27. "Lee Diary," September 10, 1858. 

28. Ibid., September 13, 1858. 

29. Ibid., September 14, 1858. 

30. Ibid., September 15, 1858. For a useful biography of this interesting 
military figm-e obtain Charles P. Roland, Albert Sidney Johnston, Soldier 
of Three Republics (Austin: University of Texas, 1964). 

31. "Lee Diary," September 29-October 30, 1858. 

32. Ibid., November 28-December 19, 1858. 

33. Ibid., December 21, 1858-March 20, 1859. 

34. Ibid., April 20, 1858. 

35. "In the spring of 1851 Reese and his companions loaded ten wagons 
with flour, bacon, butter, eggs and many other articles, and set out 
for Carson Valley." They arrived and purchased Mormon Station, 
founded in 1849, and renamed Genoa in 1855. This trading outpost 
became the first permanent settlement in Nevada, and Reese enjoyed 
a fairly active role in early Nevada political history. Effie Mona Mack 
and Byrd Wall Sawyer, Our State: Nevada (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton 
Printers, 1956), pp. 57, 171. 

36. "Lee Diary," AprU 21, 1859. 

37. Ibid., May 3-July 24, 1859. 

38. "Lee Diary" for the months of May and June closely parallel segments 
of Simpson's Report of Explorations for the same period. 

39. Report of Explorations, p. 6c. 

40. "Lee Diary," October 25, 1859. 



Seeds-Ke-Dee Reflections. Published by the Sublette County Artist's Guild. 
Printed by Modern Printing, Laramie, 1985. 393 pp. Illustrated. 

The Crow Indians called it Seeds-Ke-Dee Agie or 
Prairie Hen River. Today, we know it as the Green River. 
It is a thread that winds through the tapestry of one of 
Wyoming's most important ranching regions. And it ties 
together the lives and experiences of the area's residents. 

Like people in other areas of Wyoming, the people of 
the Green River Valley are often isolated from each other 
by distance and weather. So they cherish the opportunities 
they have to get together and share stories of their ex- 
periences, their good times and their difficulties. The 
Sublette County Artist's Guild has long served a useful 
function in gathering some of those stories and publishing 
them. Seeds-Ke-Dee Reflections is the third such publication 
from that organization and it is served up with a liberal 
sprinkling of local artwork and poetry. 

In the introduction, the guild's Book Committee says 
the purpose of the book is to preserve a part of the history 
of the Green River Valley. And, the committee writes, the 
stories have been "written as life has been lived here, 
honestly, and simply." 

And so it is. You will find no scholarly treatises here, 
no footnotes, no bibliographies. None are needed. What 
you will find is a cornucopia of short historical sketches. 
Most are first-hand accounts written by the people who 
were participants in the events described, and family 
histories written by children and grandchildren of the peo- 
ple who settled the valley. Some of the stories tell of signifi- 
cant events. Others tell of everyday events— the things that 
will not make the history books of the future. And it is 
these stories which give us a valuable look at life as it was 

As with most books of this type there are high points 
and lows. Among the best stories are "The Ferry Boat and 
Footbridge," by Caryn Murdock Bing, "His Last Tune," 
by Madge McHugh Funk, "The Changing Face of Hay- 
ing," by Pearl Budd Spencer, "The Green River Bar- 
Daniel, Wyoming," by Pat Walker and "Community Halls 
Areas Community Halls Do," by WUda Springman. Also 
worthy of note are "Electric Power in Pinedale," by Bar- 
bara Wise, "Vint Faler— My Father, My Friend, My Pal," 
by Faren Faler, "Pay Dirt for the Preacher or Our Favorite 

Poker Game," by Helen Sargent and "A Study in Con- 
trast," by Peggy Kvenild. 

Those who enjoy homespun poetry will find a feast of 
material here as the historical sketches are interspersed 
with a wide variety of verse. As with most books of local 
history, this one would be more useful had an index been 


The reviewer is first I'ice-president of the Wyoming State Historical Society and 
Public Information Officer, Central Wyoming College, Riverton. 

Letters from Honeyhill: A Woman's View of Homesteading 1914-1931. By 
Cecilia Hennel Hendricks. Boulder, Colorado: Pruett Publishing 
Company, 1986. Introduction. Illustrations. Postscript. Index. 704 pp. 
$22.95 cloth. 

In December, 1913, Cecilia Hennel, a professor at In- 
diana University, married John Hendricks, a seriously 
wounded veteran of the Spanish American War who 
turned to homesteading in Wyoming in an effort to recover 
his health. To her family and close circle of university 
friends, the marriage and the move to Wyoming in 
January, 1914, must have seemed dubious. 

But for Cecilia Hennel Hendricks, the marriage and the 
homesteading experience proved catalysts to her artistic 
temperament. In John she found more than a husband, 
she found a soul mate with whom she could share "ideas 
and ideals"; a partner whose love, courage, sympathy and 
general "live-ableness-with" fostered her artistic growth. 

The homesteading experience on Honeyhill Farm in 
the Shoshone Valley near Powell, where she and John kept 
bees and produced honey provided the raw information 
for meticulously detailed— usually typed— letters to her 
parents and sisters back home in Indiana. The almost daily 
letters home provided her family with richly catholic 
vignettes of homesteading. There are details on raising 
bees, marketing honey, canning, butchering, churning but- 
ter, baking bread, irrigating, gardening, cooking, making 
improvements and all the operations involved in convert- 
ing "raw desert to full bloom." 

Letters from Honeyhill is much more than a factual 
eyewitness account of homesteading. It chronicles tech- 
nological developments— automobiles, airplanes, radios, 
picture shows, "talkies," telephones, victrolas and 

electricity— with a freshness and a sense of the marvelous. 
It reminds us of important roles played by the railroads 
and mail order catalogs in connecting Wyoming's rural 
population with the outside world. It provides us with 
patriotic and sometimes nativist glimpses of life on the 
home front during World War 1. 

The letters also serve as reminder that for much of 
Wyoming the 1920s was the start of the Great Depression. 
They powerfully convey the struggle against forces— un- 
predictable prices, growing competition, rising freight 
rates, taxes, bad investments and weather— which spelled 
ruin for thousands of homesteaders. And they portray the 
heroic efforts of families "up against it," fighting to 
preserve their places. One cannot read the letters without 
feeling the numerous parallels between the Great Depres- 
sion and the agricultural crisis of the 1980s. But despite 
mounting sense of financial crisis in the volume, there is 
a counterbalancing optimism, part of which is rooted in 
values— self-reliance, hard work, frugality and faith— the 
Hendricks and other homesteaders lived by. 

Yet another source of their optimism was a commu- 
nity spirit reflected in numerous activities and organiza- 
tions: charivari, gargantuan dinners, booster clubs, ladies 
aid groups, churches, good roads organizations, chautau- 
qua, fairs, carnivals, circuses, oyster feeds, the Red Cross 
and so forth. Neighbors helping neighbors is a recurrent 
theme throughout the volume. 

Mrs. Hendricks' portraits of rural and small town life 
are not romanticized, but sharply drawn and realistic 
statements covering a range of emotions: amusement, frus- 
tration and occasional disbelief. We share her amusement 
over paper wads in church, party line gossips and hired 
hands who always show off with a car. We catch her frus- 
tration with long-winded ministers and prudish mentalities 
who label O'Henry a "nasty" author. And we smile at her 
disbelief and frustration with wives who make a crusade 
of rescuing spinsters from the stigma of remaining single. 

At the heart of Letters from Honeywell is the un- 
mistakable presence of the author doing what she did best: 
working and sacrificing for her family and practicing her 
craft— writing. And that craft reflects her many-sided 
interests- women's issues, teaching, literature, music, 
politics, farming, community, family and university life. 

When growing financial pressures forced Mrs. Hen- 
dricks to return to Indiana University in 1931, the long 
separations from John intensified their love. Their cor- 
respondence reflects a deeply sacrificial love and is 
poignantly moving. By 1936, John's health had failed and 
Cecilia returned to Billings, Montana, where he was hos- 
pitalized. Following his death in December, 1936, Cecilia 
took him back to Indiana for burial, retracing the same 
route they had taken on their honeymoon. 

The editorial work of the Hendrick's daughter, Cecilia 
Hendricks Wahl, is an admirable contribution to the Let- 
ters. Her introduction, postscript and photos provide a 
valuable focus. 

Letters from Honeyhill rightfully deserves a place 
alongside Elinore Pruitt Stewart's classic: Letters of a Woman 

The reviezver is an Associate Professor, University School, University of Wyoming. 

New Courses for the Colorado River: Major Issues for the Next Century. Edited 
by Gary D. Weatherford and F. Lee Brown. Albuquerque: Univer- 
sity of New Mexico Press, 1986. 253 pp. $35 doth. $17.50 paper. 

This book is the uneven result of collective scholarship. 
The work of sixteen different authors is based on the pro- 
ceedings of the Colorado River Working Symposium held 
at Santa Fe, New Mexico, May, 1983. Weatherford and 
Brown have compiled a useful history of the Colorado 
River Compact in particular and the management and 
political manipulation of western water resources in 
general. It does not carry the profound impact of Donald 
Worster's Rivers of Empire (1986), but the editors have done 
us a service by displaying the range of interests in western 

The separate articles are given scope by Arizona's 
Governor Bruce Babbitt as he briefly lays out the nature 
of political ventures in water development. Roderick Nash, 
the indefatigable keeper of the "wilderness mind" in 
America, gives evidence that he is now in danger of becom- 
ing irrelevant. A prestigious scholar cannot afford to be 
out of step with political realities and to plead simply, that 
"development has gone far enough." As much as we may 
search for "wilderness values" and agree with the need 
to "transcend utilitarianism," we need also to realize that 
the changes civilization brings to the natural landscape are 
also part of the inevitable result of our very human 

At the same time, B. Delworth Gardner's reflexive 
commitment to a "free market economy" nears self-cari- 
cature. He is as surprised as though it were a fresh revela- 
tion that "political and legal criteria would allocate water 
on the basis of constitutional right" rather than on purely 
economic criteria. He appears actually to be unaware, if not 
insensitive, that these very acts of political influence are 
the American method of creating a democratic process. 

As we have come to expect, it is Norris Hundley who 
provides the necessary historical sweep of western water 
law. He makes the case for a "West against itself." It is 
the rivalry, ambitions and fears of the states, a cautious, 
inconsistent Supreme Court, and the political calculations 
of Congress which manifest the political contest called 

Between the idealists focusing on the need for an "ethic 
of (human) responsibility" in natural development and the 
undisturbed seeing only an urgency for the "economic 
good," we learn a good deal of history in this useful volume. 

We are given renewed insight into the vitality of fed- 
eralism. Indeed, the courts. Congress and the states have 


been overly deferential to the custom of laissez-faire. If 
there is any unifying theme to these disparate essays, it 
is a call for new federal-interstate relations in terms of water 

We see that the recent rulings of the Supreme Court 
declaring water to be an article of interstate commerce ac- 
tually make fiction out of a state's (e.g. Wyoming's) claim 
to "ownership" of water. The concerns of the states of the 
Colorado River Basin, such as Wyoming, are intrinsically 
involved in foreign affairs; their concern cannot only be 
with domestic consumption. 

Interstate water compacts do not bind the Indian tribes; 
Indians' water rights exist whether or not they actually use 
the water. Reservation "rights" are superior to later non- 
Indian rights. Indian water claims, via the Winters Doc- 
trine, represent an enormous collection of possible pre- 
emptive claims. 

While the particular works of Worster, Hundley or 
Gates may be more penetrating, there are not many re- 
cent volumes more useful than this in reflecting policies 
and attitudes toward western water. 


The reviewer is Associate Professor of History, Northwest Community College, 
Powell, Wyoming. 

The Native Home of Hope: People and the Northern Rockies. Edited by Thomas 
N. BetheU, Deborah E. Tuck and Michael S. Clark. Salt Lake City and 
Chicago: Howe Brothers, 1986. xi + 196 pp. Illustrated. $12.50 paper. 

Historians prefer the convfortable distance of several 
generations to provide them with historical perspective on 
the larger events which shape an area or a region. Jour- 
nalists, on the other hand, are constantly faced with the 
need for front page news, and in their rush to chronicle 
current events they frequently report irrmiediate facts 
without analyzing the larger issues involved. The Native 
Home of Hope: People of the Northern Rockies is a successful 
synthesis of both current events and historical perspective, 
and it functions admirably as a contemporary oral history 
of concerned citizens from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. 

As the central Rockies prepared for the onslaught of 
mineral and energy extraction produced by inflation and 
the energy crisis in the 1970s, numerous governmental 
associations and groups formed to help rural communities 
cope with distinctively urban problems. Most of those 
groups have dissolved as boomtowns have gone bust, but 
one group which remains, the Northern Lights Research 
& Education Institute, continues to provide thoughtful 
commentary on current economic and environmental 
issues. This book is a result of that involvement, and it 
takes its title from Wallace Stegner's statement that "Angry 
as one may be at what heedless men have done and still 
do to a noble habitat, one cannot be pessimistic about the 
West. This is the native home of hope." 

This book rings of promise and hope without wallow- 
ing in self-delusion. Times are tough across all segments 

of the Western economy from agriculture to mining, and 
the bloom is definitely off the energy rose. Traditional 
economic mainstays and lifestyles are being threatened, 
and the optimistic in-migration of the 1970s has given way 
to retrenchment and out-migration in the 1980s. All these 
issues as well as commentary on water rights, higher ed- 
ucation, agricultural debt, MX missiles and regional 
political action are thoughtfully addressed in The Native 
Home of Hope, which is a careful compilation of superbly 
edited oral histories by 25 farmers, ranchers, conserva- 
tionists, politicians, businessmen, students, unemployed 
miners, wildlife experts, white water guides, artists, 
scholars and Hispanic organizers. 

Interviews by labor leaders, Indian filmmakers and en- 
vironmentalists also speak to the deep sense of commu- 
nity which abides in the small towns and ranching areas 
of the West. Rugged individualism must of necessity give 
way to concessions and compromise, and though few 
political conservatives are interviewed, most of the views 
expressed in these pages focus on the need to retain tradi- 
tional family values and unexploited open space. The 
theme "quality of life" runs like a hidden thread through 
every oral history. 

The volume features fine photographs by Mike 
McClure and a useful introduction by Montana writer 
William Kittredge. Dan Whipple of the Northern Lights 
Institute also provides a succinct "Guide to the Northern 
Rockies" as an informational appendix. The book's only 
problems are in presentation not in content. To be useful, 
the photographs should have been captioned with date 
and place. The oral histories also should have been dated. 
The table of contents should have clarified in a few words 
the context of each interview rather than simply listing the 
names of the interviewees. For example, to state that Tom 
Preuit is a beet farmer and rancher, and that Gretchen and 
Harry Billings edited The People's Voice would have in- 
creased the book's value as a reference work. As it is, with 
edited interviews in lieu of thematic chapters, and without 
an index, finding subject references can be unnecessarily 
time consuming. 

The Native Home of Hope: People and the Northern Rockies 
is a highly successful book in a very readable format which 
will stand as a major contribution to understanding the 
20th century West in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The 
precise oral histories clarify that however rural and remote, 
international economics reach to the heart of every Western 
town dependent on dollars from agriculture, energy or 
tourism. The reader comes away with a much better 
understanding of how Westerners must grapple with the 
vagaries of the marketplace while retaining their own com- 
munities and sense of rootedness. 


Vie reviewer is Director of the Western New Mexico University Museum in Silver 


The Mythic West in Twentieth Century America. By Robert G. Athearn. 
Lawrence: University of Kansas, 1986. Index. Illustrated. 275 pp. 
$25.00 cloth. 

The well-known western historian and historian of the 
American West, Robert G. Athearn, presents a convinc- 
ing account as to how and why the mythic West has sur- 
vived in a highly technical, industrial and urbanized 
American society of the 20th century. For Athearn, the 
legendary traditions inherited from this country's last fron- 
tier, located in the plains and Rockies region of the United 
States, are now so firmly entrenched in the American mind 
that they have become an integral part of our national iden- 
tity and cultural experience. The myth has become real 
because our view of the past, be it based in legend or real- 
ity, influences our expectations and hopes for the future. 

However, Athearn proceeds well beyond rehashing or 
redefining the role of myth in the American West. He, in- 
stead, examines the on-going interrelationships between 
the romantic legacies of the plains and Rockies frontier (Old 
West) and the events and circumstances of the 20th 

Despite the interpretive nature of The Mythic West, 
Athearn is able to avoid becoming overly academic for a 
general audience while, at the same time, presenting 
enough substance to challenge the interests of those with 
more scholarly inclinations. Rather than plaguing the 
reader with innumerable details and bits of data, the author 
offers insight and anecdotal passages which spark a degree 
of introspection and even wonderment. 

This clearly is a book full of messages about serious 
issues confronting a unique region of this country. Within 
the context of exploring the mythic West in modern times, 
the author examines a variety of subjects including: psy- 
chological uncertainty and economic depression in the 
West during the 1920s and 1930s; tourism's increasing role 
in the western economy; the dilemma of colonialism; con- 
tinued perpetuation of the Old West through fictionalized 
accounts; and controversy over the appropriate use of 
public lands. 

Athearn's selection of themes is apropos for the 1980s 
when states as Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, 
Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and the western segments 
of other Great Plains states from North Dakota to Texas, 
exist in a cultural environment partially created by the in- 
teraction of modernizing forces with those values, 
behaviors and traditions associated with the Old West. 

Athearn devotes the beginning chapters of his book 
to describing the affects of rapid change on the West of 
the Rockies and Great Plains. Rather quickly the Old West 
passed from the scene as the forces of industrialization 
swept over the country near the turn of the century. In 
the West, the livestock industry with its enduring connec- 
tion to the frontier and the frontier hero-type, the cowboy, 
increasingly found itself sharing the land with farmers who 
formed communities, plowed up the land at an alarming 
rate and finally succumbed to industrial agriculture. These 

20th century westerners, though still hundreds of iiiiles 
from any modern, urban center, eagerly sought the bene- 
fits of technical progress in the form of paved streets, 
motion picture houses, automobiles, radios and a wealth 
of merchandise from mail-order houses. 

One spin-off of this maturing process in the West is 
what Athearn calls the "nervous years." As the nation was 
finding a sense of identity in the values of the Old West, 
westerners were busy searching for respectability and 
economic stability. Their nervousness stemmed from 
sweeping social changes impacting the West during the 
early 20th century and from a national expectation that the 
West should continue to be the repository of the country's 
raw and dynamic past at a time when the West was more 
interested in shaking off the turbulence of its frontier 

M the reader is looking for a polemic on the West as 
being the last bastion of genuine Americanism, Athearn 
will prove disappointing since he quickly exposes the stan- 
dard myths surrounding the western traits of rugged in- 
dividualism, independent mindedness, tolerance, pa- 
triotism and progressiveness. Throughout the book, 
Athearn is more concerned about hard realities and 
paradoxes facing the West and refrains from getting 
sidetracked into intellectualizing the mythic theme. One 
example of this approach is his treatment of the mythic 
West during the depression of the 1930s. 

The Great Depression did more than devastate the 
West economically, it also threatened the popular image 
of a region. Rather than being self-sustaining the fragile 
western economy was highly dependent on natural forces, 
outside investment and, now with the New Deal, the 
largesse of the federal government. After adequately 
describing the negative impact the depression had on the 
West, Athearn presents a dilemma confronting westerns— 
the reality of dependency versus the mind set and image 
of championing independence and individualism. West- 
erners, such as latter day beef barons, quickly criticized 
the "foreign power on the banks of the Potomac" and 
eastern financial interests for infringing upon their domain. 
Athearn, however, accurately recognizes that the economic 
security of the West rests with outside irifluences, be it the 
federal government, oil companies or tourists. The depres- 
sion of the 1930s in combination with the dust bowl 
severely called into question certain mythic qualities of 
the West. 

Economic colonialism is not entirely a pejorative 
phenomenon for Athearn, because in his view westerners 
were not always the victims of outside forces but often 
learned to play the game as in the case of tourism. Many 
western communities with their staged gunfights, rodeos 
and wild west depictions learned the value of hawking 
nostalgia despite their resentment of the "dudes" who 
showed up to grab a part of the mythic West within the 
content of its majestic landscape. The Irma, Cody, Wyo- 
ming's, $80,000 luxury hotel, which opened in 1902, and 


the more than 100 dude ranches in Wyoming alone were 
designed to capture the tourist dollar. The author rec- 
ognizes that during most of the 20th century, the mythic 
West has been used as a means for turning a buck. 

For those who were unable to see the "real" thing 
firsthand, the fictional West, as presented through novels, 
movies and television, offered them the cowboy, a hero 
type possessing simple tastes, a strong character, rugged 
qualities, righteous wrath and impeccable survival skills. 
Author Owen Wister, in his book The Virginian (1902), first 
captured the essence of what would become the arche- 
typical American hero, the cowboy. Despite brief periods 
of declining audience or reader interest, the western movie, 
television show and novel persisted, and in Athearn's 
opinion have made the mythic West such an integral part 
of American folklore that we now need it as a staple part 
of our cultural diet. 

While recognizing the mythic West's national appeal 
and its usefulness as a binding force and element in the 
collective experience of Americans, Athearn resists the 
temptation to apply mythic frontier qualities to the 20th 
century residents of this region. For example, he views 
westerners as being more oriented towards conservatism 
and provincialism than to experimentation and broad- 
mindedness. Trying to fit Frederick Jackson Turner's fron- 
tier traits into the West and westerners of the 20th cen- 
tury is anachronistic and distorts reality, but this distor- 
tion or exaggeration, it appears, has become vital to per- 
petuating the mystic West. A specific contribution of the 
author is his ability to explain the myth and how it func- 
tions without losing sight of actual historical and behavioral 

One chapter in the book was not written by Athearn, 
who died in 1983, three years before this book was pub- 
lished. An associate of Athearn, Elliott West, and other 
friends pulled the book together into final form with one 
chapter, "The Wilderness Evangelists," being written by 
West, who drew extensively from Athearn's notes. Pre- 
sented in this chapter is an overview of a struggle between 
conservationists and preservationists over how public 

lands of the West either should or should not be used. The 
wilderness evangelists or preservationists favor maintain- 
ing nature in as a pure a form as possible, which 
necessitates severely restricting human use of pristine 
regions of the West. They are outspokenly opposed to the 
increased economic and recreational exploitation of the 
West's natural wonders. For them, the preservation of 
these natural assets is essential to sustaining the spirit of 
the United States and is, therefore, symbolic of the promise 
of the country's future. 

Others, labeled as conservationists, are more inclined 
towards wise usage of the land, be it for livestock graz- 
ing, reservoir development, mining, timbering or tourism. 
There has emerged what the author calls the dilemma of 
purity or growth. 

After tracing the philosophies and impact of key con- 
servationists and preservationists, the author concludes the 
chapter by recognizing how even the most diehard pro- 
ponents of multiple use (of land) have been influenced by 
the wilderness evangelists. Though the reader might dis- 
agree with Athearn's or West's slant on the issue of preser- 
vation versus conservation, one must recognize how well 
the chapter ties this issue in with the historical and 
symbolic West of the 20th century. 

Throughout The Mythic West, Athearn skillfully sifts 
through the complexities of modern developments in the 
West and clearly explains how societal changes moulded 
people's perceptions about the land, themselves and the 
frontier legacy. In addition to being a highly respected 
scholar, Athearn also is a keen observer of his western en- 
vironment. Through The Mythic West, he has left us with 
a lively, thought provoking account of how myth and 
reality have become so intertwined that a knowledge of 
both are required to provide us with a basis for under- 
standing the modern West. 


The reviewer is Social Science Division Director, Laramie County Community 
College, Cheyenne, Wyoming. 




I would like to comment on Mark Junge's review of my exhibition 
catalog, "Historic Ranches of Wyoming," which appeared in the Spring, 
1987, issue ot Annals of Wyoming. 1 particvilarly wish to rebut the reviewer's 
comments with regard to: the photography; the alleged "errors"; and 
the content, style and organization of the exhibition and captions. 

First, the photographs. Mr. Junge argues that 35mm photography 
does not provide the clarity and perspective correction available with 4x5 
and larger format cameras, but, in fact, 35mm cameras with perspective 
corrective lenses are the format most often used in svu-veys of historical 
architecture. The 35mm format provides advantages that larger cameras 
do not. For example, the smaller format camera equipment better cap- 
tures the mood and activities on a ranch site for documentary purposes 
when nothing is staged. In addition, representatives of the Wyoming 
Council for the Humanities, the University of Wyoming, the Nicolaysen 
Art Museum and the University of Nebraska Press, as well as Mr. Junge, 
all reviewed my work prior to beginrung this project and no one criti- 
cized or questioned the 35mm format. The photographs stand on their 
own merit. 1 hope that anyone who wishes to truly judge the quality of 
my work will view the original photographs (at the American Heritage 
Center) and not simply the reproductions which appear in the catalog. 

Second, the alleged "errors." Mr. Junge suggests that not enough in- 
formation is included in the captions to give the reader an understand- 
ing of the ranches and the people associated with them. But in most in- 
stances they are mentioned and the catalog contains a variety of facts, 
colorful stories, and htmiaruzing detail. I believe this pioneering work 
provides the viewer/reader with a sense of the subject, the questions 
scholars should ask when studying material culture, and leads for future 
investigation. The catalog answers the questions raised by the Larson 
and Roripaugh essays, tells us what Wyoming ranches look like and what 
is important about these places. Finally, Mr. Jvmge takes words or phrases 
out of context and then charges that what 1 say is not true. To this, 1 can 
only say that I did my research and 1 have sources for the statements 
he questions. 

And finally, the content, style and organization. The content is based 
on a prodigious amount of research covering twenty-eight months, four- 
teen of which were spent in the field. I researched thousands of sources 
including books, oral interviews, maps, etc. I know more Wyoming history 
and geography than 75% of the state's residents. I read it, Uved it, walked 

it. I hunted through cemeteries, hauled my truck out of mudholes and 
found remote abandoned sites by horseback and hiking. Ask the hun- 
dreds of people I have called and gone to see how thorough my research is. 

This is not a "photo essay" (those appear in magazines); it is an ex- 
hibition and exhibitions are unique. Each exhibition has its own format 
and design. As exhibition catalogs go, this one is pretty good. It pro- 
motes the beauties of Wyoming and the ranch culture, the main purpose 
of the project. 

The content and style of the captions are cohesive, sensitive, careful 
combinations of information from many kinds of sources, including direct 
observations. They give the humorous side of the story and my audience 
keeps reading and looking. 

If Mr. Junge did not see the organization in this book he wasn't pay- 
ing attention. The photographs cover from early to late buildings in the 
major sections (time). The buildings of different kinds of materials are 
grouped— stone, log, frame. The kinds of building are grouped— houses, 
other dwellings, bams, other work buildings. The kinds of buildings for 
sheep ranching are together. The guest ranches are at the end, then come 
the graveyards— of people and machinery. It took thirty years of ex- 
perience designing exhibitions to be able to coordinate the information 
and visual images from hundreds of places in sixteen counties in a way 
that makes seeing the show a pleasure, not a lesson. All of the people 
I have heard from who have seen the exhibition— people of all ages, pro- 
fessions and levels of society seem to understand it and be intrigued by it. 

Finally, I resent Mr. Junge's remark about my place of birth and 
residence. New York City. This is the worst kind of chauviiusm, an at- 
titude Wyoming should avoid like the plague as it seeks to attract tourists 
and international business enterprises into the state. 

Anyone who wishes is welcome to improve, expand upon, or write 
poetry about the beginning I made with "Fhstoric Ranches of Wyoming." 
I developed and carried out the project in hopes someone would. For 
the past several months I have been trying to raise the money to provide 
my archive of 11,000 photographs— with the survey forms, maps, inter- 
views and documentation— to a state institution. Most of the people in 
Wyoming have been extremely helpful, generous and wonderful to me, 
particularly the ranchers. Thank you, Wyoming— 1 vdll never forget you. 

(This letter was shortened.) 



Alexander, General E. P., 20, 24 
Almy, Wyoming, 17-18, 22-23 
Anderson, Lieutenant Colonel T. M., 18-19 

Atheam, Robert G., The Mythic West in Twentieth Century America, review, 


Bates, Captain Alfred Elliott, 30-34; photo, 30 

Battle of Crowheart Butte, 30; photo, 33 

Bear River, 11 

Beckwith, Quinn & Company, 17-19, 21-23 

Bee, Colonel F. A., 20 

Bethell, Thomas N., Deborah E. Tuck and Michael S. Clark, editors. The 
Native Home of Hope: People and the Northern Rockies, review, 50 

Big Sandy River, 11 

BUlington, Ray Allen, 6 

Birch, Brian P., "Crossing Wyoming with the Forty-Niners: Cornish Im- 
pressions of the Trek West," 8-15 

BosweU, N. K., 18 

Bridger, Jim, 42 

Brown, F. Lee and Gary D. Weatherford, editors. New Courses for the Col- 
orado River: Major Issues for the Next Century, review, 49-50 

Brown, Melville C, 22, 24 

California, 8-10, 13-14 

Calloway, S. R,, 18, 21 

Campbell, A. C, 20-21 

Campbell, Robert, review of Letters from Honeyhill: A Woman's View of 

Homesteading, 48-49 

Augur, 30 

Brown, 30-31, 34 

Floyd, Utah, 42, 44, 46; photo, 45 

Medicine Butte, 23 

Murray, Utah, 18 

PUot Butte, 23-24; photos, 22-23, 26 

Scott, 42 

Stambaugh, 30 
Carbon, Wyoming, 22 
Carr, U.S. Marshal T. Jefferson, 21, 23 
Carroll, Murray L., "Governor Francis E. Warren, the United States Army 

and the Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs," 16-27 
Cawelti, John, 4 
Chatterton, Fenimore C, 24 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, 21 
Chimney, Rock, 41 
Chinese, 17-25 
Chinese Massacre, 17-25 
Chipman, Lieutenant Colonel H. L., 18, 21 
Clark, Michael S., Thomas N. Bethell and Deborah E. Tuck, editors. The 

Native Home of Hope: People and the Northern Rockies, review, 50 
Cleveland, President Grover, 17-19, 24-25 
Cornish Miners, 8-10 


Court House Rock, 41; photo, 40 

Craig, N. N. 21 

"Crossing Wyoming with the Forty-Niners: Cornish Impressions of the 

Trek West," Brian P. Birch, 8-15 
Cummings, Alfred, 44 


Dale, Edward, 9-10 

Delo, David M., "The Little Known Battle of Snake Mountain," 28-35 

"Desert Documentary: The William Lee Diary Account of the James H. 

Simpson Expedition, 1858-1859," John P. Langellier, 36-47 
Devil's Gate, 11, 42; photos, 12, 40 

Endicott, Secretary of War William C, 18-19 

Engleman, Henry, 39, 41 

Evans, James, 18 

Evanston, Wyoming, 17-20, 22-23 

Fiedler, Leslie, 5 
Fishwick, Marshall, 6 

Bridger, 42, 44; photo, 42-43 

D. A. Russell, 18-19, 23 

Fred Steele, 18-19 

Laramie, 11, 41; photo, 41 

Leavenworth, Kansas, 38-39; photo, 39 

Sidney, Nebraska, 21 
French, Philip, 3 

"Governor Francis E. Warren, the United States Army and the Chinese 
Massacre at Rock Springs," Murray L. Carroll, 16-27 

Green River, 11 

Green River, Wyoming, 17, 21-22 

Grenfell, John, 9-10, 14 

Gulliford, Andrew, review of The Native Home of Hope: People and the North- 
em Rockies, 50 


Haldane, John, 19 

Hanna, M. A., 20, 24 

Hayford, Judge James W., 24 

Hendricks, Cecilia Hennel, Letters from Honeyhill: A Woman's View of 

Homesteading, review, 48-49 
Heward, Leban, 19 
HolUday, W. H., 17 
Howard, General O. O., 18-19, 23 
Huang Sih Chen, 20 



Big Robber, 30 

Narkok, 31-32 

Red Cloud, 30 

Washakie, 30-32, 34 

Cheyenne, 30 

Crow, 30 

Northern Arapahoe, 30-34, 41 

Shoshone, 30-34 

Sioux, 30, 39 

Teton Blackfoot, 30 

Ute, 44; photo, 44 
Irwin, James, 34 


O'Donnell, W. H., 18 
Oregon-California Trail, 8-14 

Posse Comitatus Act, 18-19 



Reel, Mayor A. H., 

Reese, John, 46 

Reese, William, 19 

Robinson, Lieutenant Frank V., 30-34 

Rock Springs, Wyoming, 17-25; photos, 22-25 


James, Samuel, 9-10 

Johns, Jim, review of The Mythic West in Twentieth Century America, 51-52 

Johnston, Colonel Albert Sidney, 38, 42, 44 

Jordan, Roy, review of New Courses for the Colorado River: Major Issues for 

the Next Century, 49-50 
Jost, Loren, review of Seeds-Ke-Dee Reflections, 48 


KerswUl, Roy, 5 
Klotman, Phyllis, 6 
Knights of Labor, 17, 21 

Langellier, John P., "Desert Documentary: The William Lee Diary Ac- 
count of the James H. Simpson Expedition, 1858-1859," 36-47 

Lee, William, 38-46; photos, 37, 45 

Letters from Honeyhill: A Woman's View of Homesteading, by Cecilia Hennel 
Hendricks, review, 48-49 

"The Little Known Battle of Snake Mountain," David M. Delo, 28-35 


McCarthy, Charles S., 38, 42, 44 

McCarthy, Patrick, "The Mountain Man Documentary as the Contra 

Western," 2-7 
McCook, Colonel A. Mc D., 18, 20 
Maghee, Dr. Thomas, 30-34; Photo, 31 
Mann, E. W., 21 
Mason, Colonel John S., 18 
Maximilian, Prince, 2 
Mills, C. C, 41 
Moore, James K., 31 
Mormons, 38, 41-42, 44 
"The Mountain Man Documentary as the Contra Western," Patrick 

McCarthy, 2-7 
The Mythic West in Twentieth Century America, by Robert G. Athearn, 

review, 51-52 


The Native Home of Hope: People and the Northern Rockies, edited by Thomas 
N. Bethell, Deborah E. Tuck and Michael S. Clark, review, 50 

New Courses for the Colorado River: Major /ssues for the Next Century, edited 
by Gary D. Weatherford and F. Lee Brown, review, 49-50 

Salt Lake City, 41-42, 44; photos, 45-46 

Savage, Judge James W., 20, 24 

Schofield, Major General John M., 19-21 

Seeds-Ke-Dee Reflections, by Sublette County Artist's Guild, review, 

Shaw, John, 19 

Sheridan, General Philip, 30, 34 

Simpson, Captain James H., 38-39, 42, 44, 46 

Smith, Lieutenant Kirby, 39; photo, 45 

Sublette County Artist's GuUd, Seeds-Ke-Dee Reflections, review, 48 

Sweetwater County, Wyoming, 18-19, 21 

Torrey, Captain Robert, 30, 32, 34 

Tseng Hoy, 20 

Tuck, Deborah E., Thomas N. Bethell and Michael S. Clark, editors. The 

Native Home of Hope: People and the Northern Rockies, review, 50 
Turner, Hezekiah, 19 

Union Pacific Railroad, 17-24 
Uren, William, 9-13 



Walters, John, 9-13 

Warren, Gov. Francis E., 16-25; photo, 19 
Warshow, Robert, 4 
Wauship Station, 18 

Weatherford, Gary D. and F. Lee Brown, editors. New Courses for the Col- 
orado River: Major Issues for the Next Century, review, 49-50 
Wind River Indian Reservation, 30 
Wisconsin, 8-10, 14 
Wolfenstein, Martha, 6 
Wright, Will, 3 

Young, Brigham, 38, 42 
Young, Joseph, 17, 23 
Young, Lieutenant Robert H., 
Young, Samuel, 19 



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, GUlette, 1960-61; Edness Kimball WUkins, 
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; Fern Gaensslen, Green River, 1983-84; Dave 
Kathka, Rock Springs, 1984-85; Mary Garman, Sundance, 1985-86; Ellen Mueller, 

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, Mary Nielsen, Cody 

First Vice President, Loren Jost, Riverton 
1987-88 Second Vice-President, Lucille Dumbrill, Newcastle 
Officers Secretary-Treasurer, Roseine Church, Cheyenne 

Executive-Secretary, David Kathka 

Coordinator, Judy West