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Full text of "Annals of Wyoming"

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NNALS of 
WYOMING 

Volume 61, No. 1 Spring, 1989 



THE WYOMING STATE ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL DEPARTMENT 

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. 



WYOMING STATE LIBRARY, ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND HISTORICAL BOARD 

Frank Bowron, Casper, Chairman 

Lucille Clarke Dumbrill, Newcastle 

George Zebre, Kemmerer 

Tom Mangan, Laramie 

Bill Bruce Hines, Gillette 

Gladys Hill, Douglas 

Gretel Ehrlich, Shell 

George Zeimans, Lingle 

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

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD 

Lawrence A. Cardoso 

David Kathka 

William H. Moore 

Robert L. Munkres 



ABOUT THE COVER— A sketch ofWyoming's Historic Governors' Mansion by Elizabeth L. Rosenberg. The Wyo- 
ming State Museum Volunteers commissioned the drawing in 1984 as a fund raising project. Ms. Rosenberg is 
a free lance artist specializing in pen and ink draxvings of historic architecture. For a detailed discussion of the history 
of the Mansion, see "Wyoming's Historic Governors' Mansion, " by Timothy White in this issue of Annals. 



oA 



NNALS of WYOMING 



Volume 61, No. 1 
Spring, 1989 



GOVERNOR OF WYOMING 

Mike Sullivan 

DIRECTOR 

David Kathka 

EDITOR 

Rick Ewig 

ASSISTANT EDITORS 

Jean Brainerd 
Roger Joyce 
Ann Nelson 

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS 

Kathy Rores 
Judy West 

PHOTOGRAPHIC 
ASSISTANTS 

Paula West-Chavoya 
Carroll Jones 
Ed Fowler 




WYOMING STATE PRESS 
MANAGING EDITOR 
Rick Ewig 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



WYOMING'S HISTORIC GOVERNORS' 

MANSION 2 

by Timothy White 

JEWS IN WYOMING 10 

by Carl V. Hallberg 

THE WIND AT WORK IN WYOMING 32 

by Robert W. Righter 

DR. WILLIAM SABIN BENNETT: The Rise 

and Fall of a Pioneer Doctor 39 

by Ester Johansson Murray 

INSIDE WYOMING 47 

ANNALS' REVIEWS 55 

BOOK NOTES 61 

INDEX 63 



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 1989 by the Wyoming State Press 



WYOMING'S HISTORIC GOVERNORS' MANSION 



by Timothy White 








Construction of the Governors' Mansion began during the spring of 1904 and was completed the folloioing fall. 



Introduction by the author 



A few years ago, a Cheyenne resident dropped into the Man- 
sion to show me a photograph she thought might he of interest. 
The 1945 photo shows Elise Nila Hunt, daughter of Governor 
Lester C. Hunt, on her wedding day, standing in the Mansion 
living room with her bridegroom who zvas dressed in his officer's 
uniform. I was struck by the importance this bit of personal 
history had both for interpretation and research of the Mansion. 
This photo gave me the idea to begin a collection of photographs 
showing family life in the Mansion. When I contacted members 
of former first families for photos, they not only responded by 
donating excellent photographs, they also related many stories 
surrounding the photos themselves. Thus began my oral history 
research of the Mansion and Wyoming's First Families. 

When 1 began the collection and research as the Mansion 's 
Curator eight years ago, I realized that a complete history of the 
building and the families who occupied it had never been re- 
searched or written. I did not realize this history would be dif- 
ficult because each first family created its own history, although 
when the families left office, they took their stories with them. 
Thus the Mansion history was not preserved here. Not even a 
Mansion scrapbook had been established and passed on from fam- 
ily to family. Researching and writing this history was also dif- 
ficult because of the large number of residents and staff who lived 
in the Mansion. 

As I continued my research and oral interviews, I noted how 
fragile and fleeting history can be; how family histories are easily 
lost and not easily, if ever, recovered. Three of the Mansion 's 
residents, a first lady, a governor's daughter and a cook, have 
died since I interviewed them. I also discovered that the inter- 
views of the Mansion 's staff and neighbors offered a wealth of 
information. Although my research has helped to recapture some 
of the Mansion's history, many gaps remain. This article only 
scratches the surface compared to the depth of information that 
could be mined. I hope this article will provide a framework for 
other research and articles about the Historic Governors' Man- 
sion, and will show the value of photographs and oral history 
in preserving the past. 

Wyoming entered the Union as the 44th state on 
Jiily 10, 1890, but the state legislature did not appropriate 
funds to build a Governor's Mansion until eleven years 
later. The reason for this delay is not known. The leg- 
islature authorized $37,000 to build the Mansion and 
selected Charles W. Murdock of Omaha, Nebraska, as the 
architect and James R. Grimes as the contractor. Construc- 
tion began in the spring, 1904, and was completed that fall. 
The final cost of the two and one-half story, red brick Col- 
onial Revival Mansion, with separate carriage house, was 
$33,253.29. This figure included the purchase of the cor- 
ner lot at East 21st Street and House Avenue for $3,000, 
the landscaping, $2,036, and all of the original furnishings 
$4,500.1 



From 1905 to 1976, the Mansion was the residence of 
nineteen Wyoming first families. Governor Bryant B. 
Brooks and his family were the first to occupy the newly- 
built Governor's Mansion in 1905. Brooks, a Natrona 
County rancher, and his wife, Mary Naomi Brooks, had 
five children— four daughters, Jean, Lena, Abby and 
Melissa, and a son, Silas, the youngest child. The children 
brought their pet pony from the V-V Ranch with them. The 
pony was quartered in the carriage house and tended by 
the resident horse groom, Charlie Anderson. Melissa 
Brooks Spurlock recalled that she and Lena chose the 
northeast bedroom so that they could be close to the car- 
riage house to hear their pet pony .^ The Brooks family was 
the largest and youngest ever to occupy the Mansion. 

Charlotte Chaplin Smith was one of five Chaplin 
children who grew up in a house three doors west of the 
Mansion. The Brooks household made an indelible impres- 
sion on young Charlotte, who recalls to this day the names 
of the Brooks' cook, Annie Duffy, and the parlor maid, 
Fanny Brooks (no relation to the Brooks family). Charlotte 
and her sister Ruth watched the Mansion being built and 
remember the stone workers carving the Corinthian capi- 
tals which grace the Mansion portico. Mrs. Smith fondly 
recalls the plays which the Brooks and neighborhood 
children presented under the eaves of the third floor. The 
"stage" was the ceiling of the portico, which was three 
feet above the floor level. The primary source of light came 
from the round, paned window in the center of the por- 
tico's pediment. After rehearsing, the Brooks children in- 
sisted that their mother and father attend the performance. 
Charlotte Smith also remembered the Mansion's spacious 
basement provided an ideal locale for indoor winter 
track meets. 3 

In February, 1907, the family of Peter S. Cook, a 
pioneer plumbing contractor, state legislator and Cheyerme 
mayor, moved into the beautiful Queen Anne house 
located immediately east of the Mansion. The Cooks had 
five children. Their youngest child, David, became a close 
friend of SUas Brooks. Dave Cook recalls how, in 1910, 
Governor and Mrs. Brooks, the five children, the two live- 
in maids, and he watched HaUey's Comet from the dormer 
window of the maid's east bedroom on the third floor.* 

Dave Cook also tells how he and SUas or "Si" loved 
to fish and would walk down to the train yard in the early 
morning and catch the north-bound Cheyenne Northern 
Railroad (later the Colorado & Southern), to Isley station 
to go fishing on the Russell Van Tassell Ranch. Later in 
the day, the train would stop on its way back and pick up 
the boys. Governor Brooks personally had made the ar- 
rangements with Van Tassell for his son and Cook's son 
to fish on the ranch. The boys used to go fishing so often 
that Governor Brooks became weary of Dave Cook ring- 
ing the front door beU so early in the morning, waking the 
entire household. Dave and Si devised a plan to avoid this 
problem. They tied a long string to one of Si's big toes and 
strung it from SUas' bed, through his second floor bedroom 

3 




Melissa, Silas, Abhy and Lena Brooks enjoyed a tea party at their V-V ranch house near Casper, circa 1906. The eldest Brooks' daughter, Jean, 
was attending school in the East. 



window, down to the front portico steps. From then on, 
Dave simply pulled the string to awaken only Silas. ' 

Joseph M. Carey succeeded Brooks in the governor- 
ship. Governor Carey, who had served the Territory of 
Wyoming as Territorial Delegate to the United States Con- 
gress and as a U.S. Senator from 1891 to 1895, took office 
in 1911. He and his family never lived in the Mansion, 
however, because he chose to continue living in his own 
mansion located on Carey Avenue and 22nd Street. 

In 1914, Governor John B. Kendrick was elected to suc- 
ceed Carey. Kendrick, a Sheridan County rancher, and his 
family did move into the Mansion and began to change 
the interior of it as early as 1915. He replaced the drawing 
room fireplace mantel with the oak-paneled mantel and 
over-chimney piece which remain today. At this time, Ken- 
drick replaced all of the original, brass combination lighting 
fixtures with aU-electric fixtures. These combination fixtures 
were two-armed, one arm used electricity, the other gas. 
When frequent brown-outs and electrical failures occurred, 
the gas arm could then be lit as a back-up system. 

While Kendrick's daughter Rosa-Maye was visiting the 
East, she saw a painting by Joseph Henry Sharp hanging 
in a New York art gallery. The painting, titled "Along the 
4 



Little Big Horn," depicts a Crow Indian winter encamp- 
ment. Rosa-Maye convinced her father to purchase the 
painting. The painting hung prominently in the living 
room of the mansion during the Kendrick residency. Thefi 
Rosa-Maye donated the painting to the State of Wyoming. 
It now hangs in the Wyoming Senate chamber of the State 
Capitol.* 

After serving two years as governor, the Democratic 
Party urged Kendrick to be a candidate for the United 
States Senate. Manville Kendrick, the Governor's son, 
recalls that his father declined the offer, claiming that the 
people of Wyoming had elected him to a four-year term 
which he intended to complete. Despite Kendrick's wishes, 
a write-in campaign was conducted, and Kendrick was 
nominated by write-in votes in the primary and then 
elected to the U.S. Senate in the general election in 1916.^ 

Then Secretary of State, Frank Houx, became the 
acting governor in 1917. Houx, the first Mayor of Cody, 
Wyoming, moved into the Mansion with his wife, Ida, and 
their four children. Mercedes Houx Wallace, a daughter, 
still remembers the visit of William Jennings Bryan to the 
Mansion. Mrs. Wallace also recalled that her father took 
office during World War I and that he was called the "War 



Governor." She also remembered that her mother, Ida 
Mason Christy Houx, gave up the Mansion's domestic help 
and used that money to buy war bonds.* 

Floyd Artist, a life-long neighbor of the Mansion, was 
born in 1904, the year the Mansion was under construc- 
tion. Artist recalls that the Houx daughters. Vera, Mercedes 
and Thora, held circuses for the neighborhood children in 
the carriage house and they referred to Charlie Anderson, 
the horse groom, as "Charlie Governor."' 

Houx unsuccessfully ran against Robert D. Carey in 
1918. Governor Robert Carey, the eldest of two sons of 
Governor Joseph M. Carey, was bom in Cheyenne in 1878. 
He was the first Wyoming-born governor (and also, later, 
the first Wyoming-born U.S. Senator) to serve his state. 
Carey graduated from Yale University and was the Direc- 
tor of the Wyoniing Development Company, Wyoming's 
first major irrigation enterprise. He lived at Careyhurst, 
the beautiful residence in Converse County which his wife, 
Julia, the daughter of Brigadier General H. B. Freeman, 
had created from the original three-room ranch house. Julia 
Carey loved to fish and hike in the beautiful lulls of Con- 
verse County, and much preferred living at Careyhurst to 
living at the Governors' Mansion. She candidly admitted 
that of the four years she was Wyoniing's First Lady, she 
only lived in the Governors' Mansion about nine months. i" 

Cheyenne attorney William B. Ross was elected Gover- 
nor in 1922. On June 24, 1923, Governor Ross greeted 
President and Mrs. Warren G. Harding when the Presi- 
dent's train arrived at the Union Pacific Depot in 
Cheyenne. Harding's trip to the West would be his last; 
he died in San Francisco on August 2nd, 1923. Following 
the appendicitis-related death of Ross in 1924, Secretary 
of State Frank Lucas became acting governor. Frank Lucas 
had earlier served in the Wyoming legislature preceding 
his election as Secretary of State. For 25 years, he was the 
owner, publisher, and in the beginning, the typesetter for 
the Buffalo Bulletin. ^^ 

State law required a special election to fill the gover- 
norship. It was generally known, early on, that the 
Democratic candidate would be William Ross' widow, 
NeUie Tayloe Ross, a former school teacher. When Frank 
Lucas had been elected Secretary of State, he and his wife 
Ina gave up their newspaper business in Buffalo and moved 
to an apartment in the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne. Though 
he was acting governor, Lucas and his wife graciously 
continued living in their apartment until the special elec- 
tion was held and a new governor elected. ^^ Thus, Nellie 
Tayloe Ross did not have to move out of the Mansion and 
then back in when she defeated Casper attorney E. J. 
Sullivan, the Republican candidate, in the special election. 
Nellie Ross was the first woman to serve as a state's gover- 
nor in United States history. 

Two years later, however. State Engineer Frank C. 
Emerson defeated Mrs. Ross in her bid for re-election. 
Governor Emerson took office in 1927 and won re-election 
in 1931. Less than eight weeks into his second term, Emer- 
son, at the age of 48, died of influenza. Mrs. Emerson and 



her three sons, David, Eugene and Frank, also seriously 
HI, were unable to attend the public memorial service that 
took place in the Capitol rotunda. A private service was 
arranged for the family in the drawing room of the Man- 
sion, but even then, only the youngest son, Eugene, was 
well enough to attend. The other family members listened 
to the service from their second floor bedrooms. 

Secretary of State Alonzo M. Clark, who had taught 
school for 21 years in Campbell County before being 
elected Secretary of State, became acting governor and 
served for almost two years, 1931 to 1933, before a special 
election was held to fill the vacancy. Clark served during 
the darkest hours of the Great Depression. As a tax-saving 
measure, Clark and his wife continued living in their home 
just behind the Capitol Building at 108 West 25th Street. 
During his campaign for election to a full term, Clark said, 
"by not using the Governors' Mansion, 1 am able to report 
a saving to the State of better than four thousand dollars 
per year.'i' Clark lost the special election to Leslie A. 
Miller, who was sworn in as governor on January 2, 1933, 
and then elected to a full term in 1934. 

Following Alonzo Qark's lead. Miller and his wife, 
Margaret, continued living in their home on West 27th in 
order to save money and to allow the Mansion to become 
an office building to house the state headquarters of the 
Emergency Relief Administration (ERA), and later the 
Works Progress Administration (WPA), both New Deal pro- 
grams, i* At that time, the original Mansion furniture was 
stored at Ware Furniture Storage in Cheyenne." In 1937, 




Governor and Mrs. Frank Emerson and sons posed for a photograph 
on the steps of the Mansion portico. From the top, Frank Jr., Governor 
Emerson, David, Mrs. Emerson and Eugene. 



the WPA disbanded and the Mansion reverted back to the 
governor's residence. When the storage bill for the fur- 
niture was presented to the state legislators for payment, 
they decided that all of the furniture should be sold at 
public auction to defray the storage costs. The lawmakers 
then appropriated $12,000 to refurbish and refurnish the 
Mansion, which was necessary after 32 years of active 
use.i^ 

The Millers played an important role in the redecora- 
tion and the money was well-spent. They completely re- 
modeled the kitchen and pantry and added a breakfast 
room off the dining room on the east side of the house. 
The Millers eliminated two bedrooms and one of the 
original two bathrooms on the second floor and replaced 
them with three new bathrooms and five large closets. 
Since 1937, the second floor has had four bedrooms, each 
with a full bath. To complete the refurbishing. Governor 
Miller and his wife, Margaret, traveled to Chicago with a 
Casper interior decorator to purchase new furniture at the 
Chicago Furniture Mart. The Millers moved into the 
Mansion for the remaining two years of his six-year 
administration.!'' 

Nels Smith followed Miller into the governor's chair. 
Smith had established and operated ranches in Crook and 
Weston counties before being elected governor. The 
Smiths found the newly-redecorated Mansion conducive 
to entertaining. One of their many house guests was 
internationally-known opera singer, Jessica Draggonetta, 
who performed in Cheyenne and established a lifelong 
friendship with Marie Smith, Wyoming's first Wyoming- 
born First Lady." Governor and Mrs. Smith hired 
Johneana Scribner as housekeeper and cook. She and her 
husband, Charles, a conductor on the Union Pacific 
Railroad, created living quarters in the basement. The 
Scribners had to use the bathroom on the third floor to 
bathe, however, according to Evelyn Grant, the upstairs 
maid who had her quarters on the third floor. ^^ Johneana 
(nicknamed Janeen) Scribner worked at the Mansion for 
16 years, serving through five administrations. 

Lester C. Hunt succeeded Nels Smith in 1943. Gover- 
nor Hunt, a dentist from Lander, and his wife, Nathelle, 
continued the Mansion's tradition as a social and cultural 
center of Cheyenne and Wyoming. In 1946, the Hunts 
hosted a two-day public viewing of the sterling silver ser- 
vice from the battleship, the U.S.S. Wyoming, when it was 
decommissioned. In 1948, President and Mrs. Harry 
Truman and their daughter Margaret made a whistle-stop 
campaign appearance in Cheyenne. FoUovdng a parade 
from the depot to the Capitol where the President spoke, 
the Hunts entertained the Trumans at the Mansion. 2° 

Evelyn Grant recalls that the Hunts brought their baby 
grand piano with them when they moved into the Man- 
sion. The Hunts placed their piano in the middle of the 
living room facing the Mansion's baby grand. Daughter 
Elise Hunt and son. Buddy, often performed piano duets. 
Mrs. Grant also remembers the champagne wedding 
reception held in the Mansion for Elise Nila Hunt and her 
6 



groom, 1st Lieutenant H. W. Chadwick, following their 
wedding at St. Mark's Church. ^^ 

Governor Hunt established the collection of photo- 
graphs of Wyoming's First Ladies which is a permanent 
exhibit at the Mansion today. Nathelle Hunt, the eldest 
living former First Lady, now resides in Spokane, Wash- 
ington. Two years into his second term as Governor, Hunt 
ran for the U.S. Senate and was elected. His unexpired 
term as governor was filled by Arthur G. Crane who was 
acting governor from 1949 to 1951. Crane had been Presi- 
dent of the University of Wyoming from 1922 to 1941. Dur- 
ing his tenure, the University's enrollment nearly tripled 
which necessitated the construction of fifteen new build- 
ings. He thus became known as "Crane the Builder. "^^ 

Frank Barrett, an attorney from Lusk, was serving his 
fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives when 
he successfully ran for governor in 1950. By this time, the 
Mansion needed a sprucing-up, and Mrs. Barrett en- 
thusiastically took on the project. She selected new paint 
colors and wallpaper for several rooms. ^' Governor Bar- 
rett served two years before he won election to the U.S. 
Senate. Then Secretary of State, C. J. "Doc" Rogers, a 
Cheyenne businessman and owner of the Top Rail Motel 
on East Lincolnway, served as acting governor until 
Milward L. Simpson took office as governor in 1955. 

Simpson graduated from the University of Wyoming 
and Harvard Law School. He was the first University of 
Wyoming graduate to serve as governor. Simpson wanted 
to have one room in the Mansion reflect Wyoming's land 
and people, so he commissioned Tom Molesworth of 
Cody, owner of the Shoshone Furniture Company, to build 
a set of furniture for the governor's den. Molesworth, who 
had attended the Art Institute of Chicago, constructed the 
furniture from native pine and cedar. The upholstered 
pieces feature embroidered pine tree boughs and the In- 
dian Paintbrush, Wyoming's state flower. The den, now 
renamed the "Wyoming Room," remains unchanged. ^^ 
Simpson and his wife, Loma, also created an open-air sun 
porch off the second floor. 

J. J. "Joe" Hickey became governor in 1959. He and 
his wife, Winifred, both natives of Rawlins, lived with their 
two sons, John and Paul, in the Mansion for two years. 
During that time, they enclosed the sun porch so that it 
could be used year-round as a family room. Following the 
death of U.S. Senator-elect Keith Thomson, Hickey re- 
signed as governor. Secretary of State Jack R. Gage 
became acting governor and appointed Hickey to the 
senate vacancy. ^^ 

Prior to his election as Secretary of State, Jack Gage 
had served as State Superintendent of Public Instruction 
from 1935 to 1939. Gage was the first University of Wyo- 
ming graduate to hold one of the top five elected positions 
of the state. Governor Gage, an author and humorist, and 
First Lady Leona Gage, also a U.W. graduate, had both 
been teachers in Wyoming before they entered politics. 

Clifford P. Hansen, a Jackson rancher, defeated Gage 
in the gubernatorial election and was sworn in as gover- 




Governor and Mrs. Lester C. Hunt hosted their daughter's wedding reception at the Mansion on January 18, 1945. Elise Nila Hunt married 1st 
Lt. Russell H W. Chadwick. The baby grand piano behind the couple and the comer cabinet with glass doors were among the furnishings taken 
to the new Mansion in October, 1976. 



nor in 1963. Hansen and his wife, Martha, redecorated the 
drawing room. The First Lady installed silk curtains and 
handscreened, damask-patterned wallpaper which remain 
today. 2* During their tenure, Montana Governor Tim M. 
Babcock (1%2-1969) was a frequent visitor at the Mansion. 
Rorence Conroy, Hansens' cook, recalled that during one 
Christmas season. Governor and Mrs. Hansen cooked and 
served dinner to Florence's family and the family of Mary 
Stephen, the maid. Following dinner, the children played 
bingo, and Martha Hansen distributed the prizes. ^^ Hansen 
served one term as governor before he successfully ran for 
the U.S. Senate. 

Stanley K. Hathaway succeeded Hansen in 1967. Hath- 
away, an attorney from Torrington, Wyoming, also was 
elected to a second term in 1970. He was the first gover- 
nor to complete a second term, thus the Hathaway family 
lived in the Mansion longer than any other First Family. 
First Lady Bobby Hathaway, an artist, took an active in- 
terest in the history and interior design of the Mansion. 
She sought to impart a museum character to the state 
rooms. Under her direction, the third floor rooms, origin- 
ally used as maids' quarters, were refurbished for the two 
Hathaway daughters, Susan and Sandra. Mrs. Hathaway 
established the first Governors' Mansion Library with the 
nucleus of 60 books by Wyoming authors donated to the 
Mansion by the Wyoming Press Women's Association. ^^ 



The library has grown and is now located at the new 
Governors' Mansion. 

During their administration, the Hathaways enter- 
tained many prominent guests, including New York 
Governor Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1973), who was treated 
to a wild venison dinner prepared by Mansion cook 
Horence Conroy. Presidential candidate Richard Nixon 
was a house guest at the Mansion on April 21, 1968. May 
Eastgate, who succeeded Horence Conroy as the Mansion 
cook, recalls that she and Mrs. Hathaway planned an 
elaborate menu which featured roast beef with Yorkshire 
pudding.^' The Hathaways' daughter, Sandra Hathaway 
D'Amico, was impressed with the presence of the Secret 
Service assigned to the future president. ^^ The Hathaways 
also entertained author James Michener who was in 
Wyoming doing research for his novel. Centennial. ^^ 

Governor and Mrs. Ed Herschler began serving Wyo- 
ming in 1975. Before he became governor, Herschler prac- 
ticed law in Kemmerer and operated the Herschler ranch 
in Lincoln County. When the new governor and his wife 
Casey moved into the Mansion, the new Governors' Man- 
sion was already being built . The Herschlers have the 
distinction of being the last First Family to live in the old 
Governors' Mansion. They lived in it for almost two years 
before moving to the new Mansion, located in Frontier 
Park, in October, 1976. First Lady Casey Herschler easily 




Ed and Casey Herschler posed with the Governor's mother, the late Mrs. Ned Herschler, in a photograph used to publicize the 1975 Symphony 
Ball. They are standing in front of the fireplace mantle installed during the Kendrick administration. 



transferred the warmth and open hospitality of the old 
Mansion to the new Mansion and took an active interest 
in the preservation and interpretation of the old Mansion 
as a historic house museum. Because Herschler was elected 
to and served an unprecedented third term, the Herschlers 
lived at the new Mansion for more than ten years. ^^ 

Today, Wyoming's 29th Governor, Mike Sullivan, and 
First Lady Jane Sullivan reside at the new Mansion with 
their daughters, Michelle and Theresa, and son Patrick. 
Mrs. Sullivan continues a tradition among Wyoming first 
families to enhance and preserve the governors' home. 

After the new Governors' Mansion was buQt, the old 
Mansion became the Historic Governors' Mansion, a state 
site museum administered by the Archives, Museums and 
Historical Department. The Mansion opened to the public 
in July, 1977. As a museum, the Historic Governors' Man- 
sion continues to be the center of many cultural and social 
activities as it was when Wyoming's First Families resided 
there. During the Simpson tenure, the Sioux Indians, in- 
cluding the late Princess Bluewater, danced on the front 
lawn of the Mansion during Cheyenne Frontier Days. From 
1906 to 1958, the Mansion's carriage house served as a 
neighborhood voting precinct. In 1969, the Mansion was 
enrolled on the National Register of Historic Places. In 
December, 1976, the Mansion was the Women's Civic 
League Christmas House. The annual Christmas Candle- 
light Tours and Concerts, begun in 1981, continue to be 
a popular event. In addition to special events, the Man- 
sion is open for touring five days per week. Tourists from 
all over the world have visited the Mansion. 

Restoration of the Mansion has been a major focus 
since it became a state site museum. Three bedrooms have 
been restored. Some of the original furnishings from 1905 
have been repurchased and placed in the Mansion. In 
1986-1987, the entrance hall was restored to its 1905 decor, 
including the re-installation of a pair of brass, combination- 
style ceiling fixtures. The Cheyenne Historic Preservation 
Board recognized the restoration work when the Mansion 
received the William R. Dubois Award for historic preser- 
vation in 1988. A permanent exhibit of photographs 
donated by Wyoming's First Families has been established, 
and these photographs illustrate, in a graphic and personal 
way, the many chapters of the building's history. 

Although the Historic Governors' Mansion was 
modest in size and decor compared to many other ex- 
ecutive mansions, Wyoming people have always been 
proud of this dignified and gracious home they provided 
their governors. The Historic Governors' Mansion con- 
tinues to be a beautiful and lasting tribute to Wyoming's 
rich and colorful people and heritage. 



1. Minutes, Wyoming State Capitol Building Commission, 1901-1905, 
Archives and Records Management Division, Wyoming State Ar- 
chives, Museums and Historical Department, Cheyenne. 

2. Telephone interviews with Melissa Brooks Spurlock, Casper, Wyo- 
ming, 1983, 1984. 

3. Interviews with Charlotte Chaplin Smith, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
November 16, 1982, October 19, 1984. 

4. Interviews with Dave Cook, Cheyenne, Wyoming, October 21, 
November 2, 1984. 

5. Ibid. 

6. Telephone interviews with Manville Kendrick, Sheridan, Wyoming, 
January 30, April 16, November 18, 1986. 

7. Cheyenne State Leader, August 23, 1916. 

8. Telephone interviews with Mercedes Houx Wallace, Hobbs, New 
Mexico, November 14, 1986, March 19, 1987. 

9. Interview with Floyd Artist, Cheyenne, Wyoming, April, 1987. 

10. Interview with Mrs. Joseph M. Carey III, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
July 29, 1987. 

11. Telephone interview with Clariece Lucas Carrel, Pensacola, Florida, 
December 7, 1988. 

12. Ibid. 

13. Wyoming Eagle, August 5, 1932. 

14. Wyoming Eagle, February 23, 1937. 

15. Interview with Margaret Laybourn, Cheyenne, Wyoming, July 23, 
1985. 

16. Session Laws of Wyoming, 1937, Chapter 2, p. 3. 

17. Interview with Katherine Miller Mabee, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
January 15, 1989. 

18. Interview with Christy K. Smith, Cheyeime, Wyoming, July 26, 1986. 

19. Telephone interview with Evelyn Grant, Meridan, Idaho, January 12, 
1989. 

20. Interview with Robert R. Larson, Cheyenne, Wyoming, June, 1987. 

21. Interview with Evelyn Grant. 

22. Telephone interview with Paul Crane, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
December, 1985. 

23. Interview with Mrs. Frank A. Barrett, Cheyenne, Wyoming, January, 
1986. 

24. Interview with Sue Breisch Buchanan, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
November 19, 1986. 

25. Interview with John Hickey, Cheyenne, Wyoming, July 26, 1985. 

26. Interview with Clifford and Martha Hansen, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
May 22, 1986. 

27. Interview with Florence Conroy, Cheyenne, Wyoming, October 11, 
1986. 

28. Mrs. Stanley K. Hathaway, "Wyoming: The Executive Mansion," 
Executive Mansions and Capitols of America, Eds. Jean H. Daniel and 
Price Daniel (New York: Putnam Publishers, 1969), p. 120. 

29. Telephone interview with May Eastgate, Saratoga, Wyoming, 
January 13, 1989. 

30. Interview with Sandra Hathaway D'Amico, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
June 18, 1987. 

31. Interview with Susan Hathaway Garrett, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 
January 13, 1989. 

32. Interviews with Casey Herschler, August 2, 1984, April 19, 1985. 



TIMOTHY WHITE, a Cheyenne native, graduated from the University of Wyo- 
ming. He did graduate work in painting and interior design at Pratt Institute 
of Art and Design in Brooklyn, New York, and for several years pursued a paint- 
ing career in New York. He has been Curator of the Historic Governors' Man- 
sion since February, 1981. 



JEWS 

IN 

WYOMING 

by Carl V. Hallberg 



The author wishes to acknowledge research 
funding for this project from the Wyoming 
Council for the Humanities. 







T^e Pittsburgh Press printed this picture in its October 24, 1911, issue, to accompany an article on a plan to place Jews on homesteads in Wyoming. 
The caption to the piece read: "No more bondage in Industrial Egypt; jews Swarm to New Promised Land in the West; Onto Soil for Hundreds 
From the Ghetto." 
10 



In western Jewish studies, the subject of Jewish life in 
the Rocky Mountain states has generally not received 
careful attention. With few exceptions, Jewish themes have 
long appeared to be irrelevant for a region where the 
Jewish population has been viewed as very small, insulated 
from national issues or non-existent.^ This had been 
especially true of Wyoming, where only recently have there 
been some efforts to explore the state's ethnic heritage in 
which Jews too have had a part.^ A closer examination of 
the Jewish experience in Wyoming will provide new in- 
sights about Jews in Wyoming and in the West. 

Jewish immigration and social life in Wyoming have 
always been connected with economic developments in 
transportation, mining and agriculture, from the first set- 
tlement of the state in 1867 to the energy boom of the 1970s. 
For the first pioneer Jews, opportunity on the western fron- 
tier appeared through the efforts of the Union Pacific 
Railroad in building a transcontinental line across the then 
Wyoming Territory. From the founding of Cheyenne in 
1867 to the completion of the railroad across Wyoming in 
1868, construction crews and boom camps attracted 
itinerant frontier merchants, some of whom had been 
following the progress of the railroad across the plains. In- 
cluded in this westward stream of emigrants were Jews. 
In the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the camps and new 
towns, the profile of these Jewish pioneers became but one 
part of the heterogeneous population. Like other business- 
men, they were independent men bent on economic gain 
rather than establishing roots in the new territory. Many 
came with a colorful background of transient existence, 
during which time they had acquired their experience in 
the field of merchandising and had become somewhat ac- 
culturated to life in the West. What made them different 
from their neighbors were personal qualities and man- 
nerisms that were their Jewish heritage. 

While Jewish merchants were not singled out publicly 
as Jews, their identity was sometimes known in private 
circles. Such an observation was made in Cheyenne in the 
winter of 1868 by James Chisholm. Chishobn was on his 
way to the gold fields around South Pass City when a 
snowstorm forced him to remain in Cheyenne. Due to the 
storm's severity and probably his own unpreparedness, 
he found himself without proper means of shelter and 
became gravely ill. He wrote in his diary: 

I was rescued by a Jew who drew me into his clothing store. 
. . . My Hebrew friend was very kind, and I felt like the 
wounded knight of Ivanhoe, only it was Isaac, and not the gen- 
tle Rebecca, who tended me.' 

His "Hebrew friend" may have been Ben Hellman, a 
pioneer clothier, but how Chisholm recognized his rescuer 
as a Jew was not recorded. 

Chisholm's remark was to become typical of local and 
regional knowledge about Jews as personal identification 
became a common means of measuring the Jewish 
presence in Wyoming. Even in larger Jewish circles and 
in some early historical studies, individuality was evidence 



of Jews in a state where the Jewish population was often 
known only by individuals rather than by a reference to a 
common cause or a religious community. This would be 
true not only for Wyoming, but for the Jewish populations 
in other western states, leading to the impression that the 
character of western Jews was markedly different from 
eastern Jews by the time and place of their newly chosen 
home and by the absence of anything remotely Jewish by 
eastern standards. Distance may have physically isolated 
western Jews from the main currents of Jewish culture, but 
many responded to the lack of cultural amenities by bring- 
ing their Jewish background to their respective areas. 

This fact was probably known best to the newspaper, 
the American Israelite. The Israelite's principal task was to 
foster the spirit of Judaism, particularly Reform Judaism 
under its editor and publisher. Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, 
through the printed word. As a voice of American Judaism 
reaching out to pioneers and formative religious commu- 
nities, the paper claimed a national circulation by the 1870s. 
Indeed, to many small communities and insulated in- 
dividuals, the Israelite did serve as a primary tool of ad- 
vancing the cause of Reform Judaism. That the paper had 
a wide circulation was evident from brief notices about local 
synagogues, donations to Jewish relief and welfare or- 
ganizations and personal travels. Each short feature may 
have consisted of one sentence, a couple lines or a list of 
names, but when viewed collectively, these notices docu- 
mented the geography of Jews in the American West. 

While the Israelite willingly printed local notices, the 
paper was devoted primarily to publishing news on na- 
tional and regional events directly relevant to the shaping 
of American Reform Judaism. One city that did merit 
special attention was Cincinnati, only because it was the 
home of the Israelite and the focus of the Reform move- 
ment in America. It then fell to local correspondents 
elsewhere to report about their community in greater detail 
in order to show the paper's midwestem readers that one's 
Jewish identity had not been lost and that the spirit of 
reform had staunch adherents elsewhere. 

Though the Israelite was cognizant of its western sup- 
porters in Wyoming in the 1870s, the state's Jews did not 
receive substantial public attention through the pages of 
the paper until the 1880s and the 1890s. How the Israelite 
obtained information about Wyoming is a matter of con- 
jecture. In any case, news from the state, which was either 
about individual travels or donations to Jewish charities, 
was infrequent, brief and often lost among the many lines 
in the Israelite. The reasons for this kind of reporting prob- 
ably rested somewhere between the nature of the source 
and the editorial policies of the paper. The overall result 
was hardly informative for it revealed very little about the 
character and composition of the Jewish population in the 
state. In November, 1888, in marked contrast to previous 
presentations of Wyoming, Maier Marks, a dry goods mer- 
chant in Cheyenne, decided to bring Cheyenne and 
Wyoming to the attention of the Israelite. 

11 



It may, perhaps, surprise many of your readers to learn that 
out here on the frontier, and, as many term it, "the other side 
of civilization," there is an intelligent and prosperous Jewish 
population ....■* 

Marks was an appropriate spokesman for Wyonung. 
He and his business partner, William Meyers, came to 
South Pass City from Salt Lake City about 1869. Their dry 
goods store profited, but only a short time due to a decline 
in gold production in the area. The two men soon closed 
their store and began anew in Cheyenne in the summer 
of 1870.5 From 1870 to 1888, Marks and Meyers witnessed 
the growth and development of the Jewish community of 
Cheyenne and would be part of the core of the Cheyenne 
Jewish community until the turn of the century. At the time 
of Marks' letter to the Israelite, the first Jewish congrega- 
tion in Wyoming had been organized in March, 1888, with 
Marks as one of its directors.* In his closing remarks to the 
Israelite, Marks promised to write future articles about 
Cheyenne for the pleasure of the paper's subscribers. 
Although no personal letters followed, Marks, at least, had 
brought Cheyenne and Wyoming to national attention. 

Marks' letter, like many others in religious and ethnic 
newspapers, was intended primarily to make his co- 
religionists rediscover their western brethren. Due to 
limited transportation and communication lines in the 
West, most eastern Jews were not totally aware of the scale 
of Jewish settlement or of the extent to which Judaism had 
been carried across the country. Western Jews, however, 
were not forgotten among individuals concerned with the 
welfare of Jews and the future of Judaism in the region. 
Social and rabbinical leaders in the East realized that the 
Jewish population was becoming widely dispersed and that 
many western Jews lived in sparsely populated areas 
without any religious direction or giiidance. To bring these 
Jews within the framework of the American Jewish com- 
munity would be difficult. Central to the problem was not 
when, but how. Western migration was independent of 
any central or gxiiding forces, and the Jewish presence was 
more often than not suspected, or known generally but 
not specifically. What was first needed before religion could 
be brought to the frontier was information about the set- 
tlement of Jews. 

The first group to define the geography of Jews was 
the Board of Delegates of American Israelites. Formed in 
1869, it was the first national Jewish organization in the 
United States dedicated to the preservation of the civil 
rights of Jews. Initially the scope of its activities were con- 
fined to the eastern coast until the mid-1870s, when the 
board decided to broaden its influence nationwide. Before 
it could do so, however, the board needed exact informa- 
tion on the location of Jews and Jewish institutions in the 
country. Lacking such, the board decided in 1876 to con- 
duct a national census of the Jewish population in America. 

Because the board had very little material with which 
to begin its project, the enormity of the task quickly became 
apparent. At first, it relied upon a national networking 
system based solely on correspondence with known in- 
12 



dividuals and institutions. While this was a good starting 
point, it later proved inadequate when inquiries were made 
about other areas. To expand the network only created more 
administrative and financial problems for the board. As the 
census became increasingly expensive to conduct and the 
acquisition of precise figures became more difficult, the 
board began to look for outside help and turned to the 
Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Founded in 
1873 by Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, the objective of the 
organization was to create a center for American Judaism. 
When approached by the board of delegates with the topic 
of a national Jewish census, the Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations readily consented, not only 
because it involved contact with Jews across the country, 
but also because the project could have long-term rewards 
for the union. No sooner had the board of delegates made 
its proposal to the union than an agreement of coopera- 
tion was quickly approved by both organizations. Together 
they would embark on an ambitious task of conducting a 
complete and thorough census of the Jewish population 
in the United States. 

The census took two years to complete. After the first 
year, the initial difficulties experienced by the board of 
delegates still hampered the progress of the census. When 
preliminary findings were published in 1877, the organizers 
admitted that the results were considered unsatisfactory 
and not reflective of the true population. Although there 
were Jews in Wyoming at this time, the census missed 
them entirely. Other procedural errors and difficulties in 
gathering accurate data awakened organizers to the fact 
that their task was not as simple as it first seemed. Deter- 
mined nonetheless to meet the challenge, the two groups 
agreed to commit more money to their project. At the same 
time, they also decided to modify their goal. They 
acknowledged that their original aim of conducting a 
thorough and complete census was unrealistic because not 
every community or individual could be counted. Thus the 
work was prefaced on the fact that all figures would only 
be close approximahons of the total populahon.'' When the 
census was finally completed in 1878, more than 200,000 
Jews in the country had been counted. 

Of the states and territories, Wyoming ranked at the 
bottom of the list with 40 Jewish residents.* This figure was 
only for Cheyenne. The absence of other dties suggests 
that the only contact between the census takers and Wyo- 
ming was with a person or people of the capital city. It is 
also evidence of the lack of communication with fellow 
Jews in the territory, for there were Jews living in Wyo- 
ming cities along the Union Pacific Railroad. 

Despite problems in its methodology, the census of 
1878 was a major achievement in enumerating the Jewish 
population. Unfortunately, the census takers did not 
publish any information on the character of the people or 
the environment in which they lived. Whether this was 
intentional or not is hard to say, since the original census 
records no longer exist to allow the modern researcher the 
privilege of re-evaluating the information. A similar 



predicament also faced the inquiring reader of the late 19th 
century. A person interested in supplementary data had 
only a limited number of other sources available to him. 
There were many books, pamphlets and articles on the 
western states, but few of these were by Jewish writers and 
fewer still were the number of Jewish writers describing 
Wyoming. 

The first critical accounts about Wyoming to appear in 
the Jewish press came from the hand of Dr. Max Lilien- 
thal. A noted author and reform rabbi, Lilienthal presented 
mixed reviews about the Wyoming Territory. While travel- 
ing to California in 1874 and 1879, he recorded his obser- 
vations about Wyoming for the young readers of Sabbath- 
School Visitor. As the train made its way from Cheyenne 
to Evanston, he toured the major cities along the route and 
reported in a positive, educational and colorful manner on 
the general character of the urban and natural environ- 
ment. In the end, he left his readers with the impression 
that Wyoming was worthy of exploration by young minds. ^ 
To his adult readers, however, Lilienthal conveyed a very 
different impression. On a trip to California in 1876, he por- 
trayed the state as a desert wilderness covered only by sand 
and sage. Traveling through the territory seemed to him 
like a rite of passage to San Francisco. 

It is a tedious ride, the ride through Wyoming territory. 
. . . It is an awful monotony relieved at last by the sight of the 
Rocky Mountains and Black Hills [foothills between Cheyenne 
and Laramie] ...."' 

His harsh commentary on the entire state contradicted the 
statements he had made in Hebrew Sabbath-School Visitor. 
While these later remarks may have appeared authori- 
tative to LUienthal's uninformed adult readers, they were 
probably born out of an important desire to reach a final 
destination. 

Within a year after LUienthal's journey in 1876, Rabbi 
Isaac Meyer Wise toured the West as a representative of 
the Union of American Hebrew Congregations to enlist the 
support of Jewish communities for Hebrew Union College. 
Obviously aware that there were Jews in Wyoming, his 
transcontinental railroad crusade took him to Cheyenne 
in the summer of 1877. He found his trip somewhat tire- 
some, for he, like Lilienthal, was bored by the seemingly 
uncompromising expanse of the plains from Nebraska to 
eastern Wyoming. The appearance of the Rocky Movmtains 
on the horizon was a pleasant and welcomed sight. As to 
Cheyenne, he found "a new city of some substantial 
buildings and a large number of shanties."" His brief por- 
trait probably stirred little interest nationwide about the 
city, but this was not important to him. What was impor- 
tant was that he found a Jewish community here sym- 
pathetic to his cause. 

Wyoming's image fared no better in the eyes of a 
foreign correspondent. In 1876, Henry Sienkiewicz, a 
reporter for the Gazeta Polska of Warsaw, made a tour of 
the United States. His purposes were to satisfy his curiosity 
about the country and to corifirm the colorful and roman- 
tic images in newspapers and books about the American 



West. To Sienkiewicz 's dismay, he found the seemingly 
wild stories and reports about inherent natural disasters and 
Indian troubles to be unfounded. Most disappointing to 
him was the blandness of the prairie landscape. From Iowa 
to Nevada, he wrote, it was "one tremendous treeless 
prairie, covered only with grass and sweetbroom, and here 
and there with scrawny willow bushes along river beds."^^ 
As Sienkiewicz traveled from Wyoming through Nevada, 
the landscape seemed even more emotionally unsettling. 
It would be a futile attempt to depict for the reader what a dread- 
ful, oppressive effect Wyoming, Utah and Nevada had upon 
me as I traveled through them on the transcontinental railroad. 
There the eye has nothing to rest upon other than endless 
desert, jagged Dantesque rocks, or precipices whose satanical 
names makes one shudder. An occasional salt lake reflects a 
leaden, sullen sky. In areas as extensive as some European 
states, I did not see even a single tree. From time to time small 
herds of antelope or deer flitted between the rocks, but what 
these animals eat and drink still remains a mystery to me ..." 

At Sherman, the highest point along the railroad, he com- 
mented, "nothing is more desolate than the view from 
here."" 

Although the purpose of the western travels of Sien- 
kiewicz, Lilienthal and Wise differed, there was some 
similarity in their descriptions of the plains frontier for their 
readers. Because other matters merited more attention, 
their views of the environment were of secondary and 
passing concern and their overall method of reporting was 
narrow and reflective of eastern attitudes about urban Ufe. 
Like most observers unacquainted with, if not uninterested 
in, the nature of the land, they were quick to make 
generalizations about the terrain within one or several 
states, to focus on the vastness and melancholy of the ter- 
rain, and to note the incongruity between the breadth of 
the landscape and the diminutive scale of human activities 
upon it.^^ By focusing on the broad natural vistas, the 
observers considered man-made features as separate, in- 
dependent features rather than as extensions of settlement 
on the plains. By emphasizing the singtilarity of things, 
they inferred the isolation of its inhabitants. 

Except for LUienthal's report in the Sabbath-School 
Visitor, the writers gave little evidence that they took time 
to discover the character of the place or community. Most 
of their viewpoints were of a Ansual criteria and were made 
from the comfort of their railroad car. Of the writers, only 
Rabbi Wise had sought out and recorded the presence of 
Jews. Had it not been for him, a serious reader might have 
assvuned that there were no Jews out here. But Wise was 
also, in a small way, like the other writers by conveying 
Wyoming in terms deemed culttirally unsuitable for Jews. 
The impact of these statements on eastern attitudes with 
regard to the West and western immigration cannot be 
measured, although given the small amount of space allot- 
ted to these topics, the effect is probably insignificant. 

One important theme that escaped the writer's atten- 
tion were the forces behind western settlement. What 
means of making a living that went unnoticed by Lilien- 
thal, Wise and Sienkiewicz were known to Jews in the 

13 



immediate region. Indeed, most Jews who settled in Wyo- 
ming had been residing in the neighboring states of Col- 
orado, Utah, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, and had 
first-hand knowledge of the opportunities available to them. 

From 1867 to 1910, Wyoming Jews were a mixed and 
varied lot. Guarding the frontier were Jewish soldiers sta- 
tioned at Fort D.A. Russell in Cheyenne to Fort McKin- 
ney in Buffalo. After the closure of most military outposts, 
there still remained a Jewish element among military per- 
sonnel in the state. Mining camps attracted Jewish mer- 
chants eager to outfit and supply avaricious gold miners. 
Jewish participation in the actual extraction of ores was 
largely confined to areas of management or investment. 
However, there were two exceptions. In Fremont County, 
one mine was called the Irish Jew, even though it appears 
that its owners were not Jewish. Even more notable is the 
existence of a Jewish miner, Moritz Aronstein. Aronstein 
operated a rooming house in Colorado Springs before he 
purchased a mining claim south of Lusk, Wyoming. As 
the story goes, he was tricked into buying land seeded with 
gold nuggets.^* In agriculture, Jewish homesteaders in 
Laramie, Platte and Goshen counties struggled to become 
successful farmers, while Isadore Bolton of Carbon County 
managed a sheep ranching empire stretching from Hay- 
den, Colorado, to Rawlins, Wyoming. ^^ 

The majority of early Jews were frontier merchants. By 
the time of their arrival in Wyoming, they were knowl- 
edgeable in the merchandising of clothes, liquor, cigars and 




Max Idelman of Cheyenne. 
14 



various sundry goods, were often quite enterprising and 
mobUe when new opportunities became available else- 
where, and had established varying degrees of credit with 
wholesalers in New York and Chicago. Success in their 
endeavors depended upon their personality, business ex- 
perience and corrmiunity involvement. If a merchant man- 
aged to attain some social prominence, he often became 
recognized as one of the economic builders of his com- 
munity and a symbol of respectable merchandising." 

Several men who prospered in one town went on to 
expand their business operations into neighboring boom 
towns. Ben Hellman and the firm of Marks and Meyers 
opened branch stores in Laramie by 1870." The liquor 
wholesale dealers of Brown and Gottstein began in 
Evanston about 1873. Brown left for Nevada in 1875, but 
his post was filled by Max Idelman, an astute Russian- 
Polish immigrant from St. Joseph, Missouri. By 1878, Gott- 
stein and Idelman had stores in Laramie, Cheyenne and 
Deadwood. After the firm of Gottstein and Idelman 
dissolved in 1878, the two men opened competing liquor 
businesses in the new town of Fort Fetterman in 1886. 2" 
In northeast Wyoming, Abe and Meyer Frank opened a 
general store in Sundance in 1884 and five years later 
opened a second store in Newcastle. ^^ 

Jewish immigration to Wyoming was influenced by 
personal initiative, perceptions and information networks. 
If a business grew or expanded, Jewdsh merchants some- 
times brought unemployed family members into the 
business. The newcomer provided the extra clerical help 
until such time, if ever, he could become independent. In 
some cases, the newcomer would operate the branch store. 
The Idelman Brothers of Cheyenne was headed by Max 
followed by his brothers Abe and Philip and Max' son 
Samuel, with Philip in charge of the Fort Fetterman store. 
In Sundance, Maier Marks brought in his brother Abe from 
Minneapolis to help run his store. When a second store 
was built in Newcastle in 1889, the Frank brothers sent for 
their brother-in-law, Isaac, to manage it. Such actions 
within a family were done primarily for managerial 
reasons, since family members were well acquainted with 
the business and were more responsive to the concerns 
of the business than were non-fanruly help. In addition, 
the entrance of a family member increased the local Jewish 
population. Even if the Jewish population consisted of 
family members, a family unit brought and insured the 
preservation of Judaism in the small town. 

The skill of the merchant was tested by his ability to 
conduct business under various conditions. Depressions, 
bank failures and fires could wipe out a merchant who did 
not have financial reserves to begin anew. A common and 
persistent problem was obtairiing payment on outstanding 
debts from his customers. If necessary, the merchant 
resulted to legal action to make his customer assume some 
responsibility for his commitments. Legal action was im- 
portant, not only for the maintenance of the agreement be- 
tween the two parties, but in order that the merchant might 
meet his obligations with his creditors. Lastly, in the course 



of the business, Jewish merchants, like their Gentile 
counterparts, sometimes ran up against the legal codes. 
Minor infractions resiilted from the lack of emotional 
restraint in interpersonal dealings, failure to obtain the 
proper license or an ignorance of local ordinances. 

A pioneer merchant's future relied not only on his 
ability to conduct business, but on his ability to attain and 
maintain good credit with his wholesalers. ^^ As the Jewish 
merchants of Cheyenne and Laramie were well aware, 
however, getting a good credit rating was not easy for 
Jews. Nineteenth century reports by R. G. Dim & Com- 
pany, the nation's credit reporting agency, were biased 
against Jews, reflective of a period when eastern banking 
and business firms charged Jews with dishonesty in their 
business affairs and lacking the character to do otherwise. 
It was along this kind of thinking that the identification 
of Jewish merchants were made in R. G. Dun & Company 
reports for the benefit and careful consideration of 
wholesalers and distributors.^' It remained to be seen in 
subsequent accounts if the individual or individuals then 
matched common stereotypes. 

Conflicting and vague images more often than not 
were the norm. For example, on Ben and Isaac HeUman, 
a R. G. Dun & Company agent reported that 

they are Jews + so quiet + unassuming that but little is said 
abt [about] them. I have no means of knowing their means or 
worth [.] they [sic] . . . [are] consid[ered] perfectly reliable + 
stand high in this community as bus[iness] men . . .^* 

Henry Altman, a man who would make a name for himself 
in Cheyenne business and social circles, was considered 
"scaley" because he bought his own business paper at a 
discount of 50 percent. Consequently, agents for R. G. Dun 
& Company urged future creditors to be cautious in their 
dealings with him.^^ Herman Rothschild, a dry goods 
dealer in Cheyenne in 1869, also did a good business, but 
it was difficult to determine his means because "they are 
Jews. "2* A year later, when the business changed its name 
to Israel Herman & Company, it was reported that "as 
bus[iness] men they stand ab[ou]t as f[ai]r with the rest 
of the Jews here."^'' 

Overall, the reports of R. G. Dim & Company agents 
showed that Jewish merchants varied in ability and talent. 
Ben Hellman, Gottstein & Idelman and Marks & Meyers 
were able to make a profit and satisfy the daims of their 
creditors, traits very commendable in the eyes of R. G. Dun 
& Company and eastern and midwestern wholesalers. 
Other businessmen were not so fortunate, and it was not 
too difficult to figure out why. Poor business practices and 
an inability to pay back creditors on a timely basis resulted 
in lower credit ratings and subtle warnings to future 
creditors. 2* Lacking financial reserves and insurance, a few 
Cheyenne businesses were wiped out by a city fire in 1870. 

A number of Jewish businessmen linked their survival 
to those forces which brought on an economic boom or cer- 
tain profit, rather than on the future of a community. The 
best example of this fact is illustrated in terms of the 
building of the Union Pacific Railroad in Wyoming. Mer- 



chants eagerly followed the railroad's progress in order to 
profit from the construction camps and new railroad 
towns. Even though the railroad line was 45 rmles to the 
east, the city of Cheyenne already was taking shape. ^^ The 
construction of permanent structures gave shape and 
character to the urban environment. As buildings arose, 
their size and dimensions were topics of the Cheyenne 
Leader as a signal of the permanence of this new city, op- 
timism in the economic future and the civic character of 
its owners. By the winter of 1867, Cheyenne counted 
among its businesses the clothing store of Ben and Isaac 
Hellman, a confectionary of Louis Altheimer and a general 
store of Henry Altman. As the rail lines moved west of 
Cheyenne, several Jews, such as Simon Durlacher and 
Henry Altman, closed their stores and began anew in 
Laramie. In Laramie it was reported that "Jew peddlers" 
were among the city's first arrivals.'" Why the author chose 
this terminology is unknown. One can only suspect that 
the reference may not have been a reflection of the ethnic 
character of the emigrants, but the writer's critical, albeit 
scathing, perception of business practices. 

While Durlacher and Altman would make Laramie 
their home, others continued to tag along with the railroad. 
Simon Bamberger, future Utah governor, came to Chey- 
enne to collect on a debt for a St. Louis creditor. By the 
time of his arrival, he learned that his debtor had left the 
city and his old office had been closed. Bamberger then 
moved west, caught up with the railroad crews at Pied- 
mont in southwest Wyoming, and opened a general store 




Meyer Frank, businessman in Sundance and Newcastle. 



15 



there. A short time later he moved to Utah and made his 
permanent home in Ogden.^i Louis and Gerson Altheimer, 
two pioneers of Cheyenne, left the city in 1868 for more 
auspicious offerings elsewhere. They made their respec- 
tive fortunes in Arkansas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. ^^ 

Other economic developments, most noticeably in the 
area of mining, had a similar influence on migration pat- 
terns. In the mid-1870s, the Black Hills gold rush attracted 
Cheyenne Jews to the gold camps even though Cheyenne 
was becoming a major outfitting and transportation center 
to the Black HiUs. Railroad construction and coal and 
mineral mining across Wyoming attracted numerous 
Jewish merchants back into the state at the same time that 
gold and sUver rushes in Colorado, Utah, Montana and 
Idaho were making Wyoming a crossroads for travel within 
the Rocky Mountain states. It was about this time that 
Jewish immigration in Wyoming, the Rocky Mountains 
and the Great Plains was being reviewed in larger circles. 

In the 1890s, national Jewish organizations, concerned 
about the future of the Jewish immigration from Europe 
and the sodal welfare of Jews in the urban ghettos, con- 
sidered the role the West should play to benefit such pro- 
grams. The resettlement of urban Jews, the redistribution 
of urban labor and the procurement of homes for new im- 
migrants had long been social programs confined to and 
resolved in the East. But as the scale and difficulty of 
welfare issues increased as a result of Jewish immigration 
from Europe, social leaders looked to their western 
brethren for assistance. Some not only sought economic 
aid, but also a geographical solution involving the reloca- 
tion of urban Jews. These men recognized that any efforts 
at resettlement and distribution required knowledge about 
the geography of Jewish settlements in the country. The 
key points to insure the success of such a program were 
contact and cooperation with communities and individuals 
sympathetic to their causes, a process that might require 
a close look at areas not normally considered culturally ac- 
ceptable for Jewish immigrants due to limited organized 
Jewish life. In some cases, the size of the local Jewish 
population, although an important consideration, would 
be waived on account of the expressed commitment of 
western participants, so that states like Wyoming would 
be deemed acceptable places for Jewish settlement. 

When resettlement and distribution programs were in- 
stituted, the westward migration of Jews then assumed a 
new perspective. Whereas prior activities had rested en- 
tirely upon the motives of the emigrant, a part of the 
westward movement was now carried out under the 
names of charity and philanthropy. The role of personal 
motivation was not diminished in any way, but remained 
a prime prerequisite in a resettlement program, since the 
directing organization worked with individuals willing to 
relocate. 

One of the more popular programs involved the place- 
ment of Jews on farms. In the 1880s, agriculture as a voca- 
tion fit for Jews had a wide acceptance among Jewish 
leaders, charities and benevolent organizations. Their prin- 
16 



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Rahhi Leonard Levy of Pittsburgh convinced the Jeiuish Agricultural 
Society to sponsor the first Jewish farmers in Wyoming. 

ciple argument to their skeptics was that Jews had the 
ability to be good farmers as they did tradesmen. Only 
historical circumstances restricting vocational opportunities 
imposed since medieval times and the perpetuation of 
urban retail trades kept Jews from working the soU. 

Farming programs of the 1880s were mainly attempts 
at establishing an agricultural Utopia. Jews established col- 
onies across the Great Plains with the hope they would 
be self-sufficient agrarian communities and thus dispel the 
commercial stereotypes of Jews. While the organizers had 
good intentions, they had little or no planned programs 
or method of assimilating the Jewish farmers into the 
American agricultural scene. A combination of 19th cen- 
tury romanticism, spiritual idealism associated with a life 
on the soil, and charity clouded their minds as well as that 
of their supporters and many participants. The unpre- 
paredness of Jewish farmers for a life on the soil, the poor 
choice of lands and the lack of supervision and guidance 
made for a bad start and gave poor publicity to the idea 
of farming as a Jewish vocation. ^^ 

Nonetheless, ardent advocates remained committed to 
the prospect that Jews could be farmers. If properly ad- 
ministered, sodal reformers believed that agriculture could 
be a way of life for the unemployed and immigrants and 
a means of relieving urban congestion. In Philadelphia, the 
National Farm School, under the able directorship of Rabbi 
Joseph Krauskopf, showed that young men could be ade- 



quately trained to assume careers in agriculture. But it was 
through a combination of charity and financial assistance 
that the Jewish farming program got off the ground. In- 
strumental in this regard was philanthropist Baron De 
Hirsch, who donated millions of dollars to agricultural col- 
onization programs in North and South America. In 
America, his efforts resulted in the establishment of the 
principal agricultural credit agency for the Jewish farming 
movement, the Jewish Agricultural Industrial Aid Society, 
later called the Jewish Agricultural Society (JAS). 

Organized in 1900, the JAS operated from a generous 
trust fund of $2.5 million from De Hirsch. While it also con- 
cerned itself with the redistribution of Jewish labor as part 
of its industrial aid program, it concentrated its efforts at 
the outset to funding as many agricultural applications as 
possible. In the process, the JAS confronted many of the 
problems of earlier agricultural ventures, but resolved them 
to some extent by offering educational assistance, super- 
vising the choice of lands and applicants and funding only 
cooperatives. Its first endeavors in New York and New 
Jersey proved very successful and sufficiently demon- 
strated to the JAS and agricultural supporters the Jews' 
ability to become farmers. With these accomplishments, 
the society expanded its activities westward. 

The JAS found no shortage of applicants anxious to 
acquire their own land, even on the plains. Across the 
Great Plains there was still plenty of land available for 
homesteading. Federal laws prohibited the communal 



ownership of land, but rural communities comprised of in- 
dependent, ethnic farmers would constitute a close 
similarity to previous cooperative ventures. The JAS began 
its western venture with a loan to Jewish farmers in North 
Dakota in 1906. Less than a year later, it provided finan- 
cial assistance to Jewish farmers in Wyoming. 

Proposing a Wyoming settlement to the JAS was Rabbi 
Leonard Levy of Pittsburgh. Levy was one of the foremost 
Jewish leaders who reflected the progressive thinking of 
his time, stirring his congregation and community to deal 
with social problems of the day. Among other things, he 
sympathized with the social plight of Russian and Eastern 
European Jews and was very active in promoting Jewish 
immigration to the United States. He also realized that as 
long as these immigrants continued to leave in increasing 
numbers and congregate in eastern cities, conservative 
cries in Congress for immigration restriction for Eastern 
and Southern Europeans would continue. By providing for 
the employment and resettlement of Jews Levy believed 
he could resolve both problems. 'Tt is not restriction that we 
need," he wrote, "but proper distribution we require."'^ 
The two promising areas for future Jewish settlement in 
his view were the South and the West, where the popula- 
tion and industrial activities were growing.^^ His call for 
redistribution began in his own city, when he convinced 
the JAS to sponsor fourteen Pittsburgh families to 
homestead, fifteen miles south of Torrington at Huntley, 
which was also known as Allen. 




Girls of the Jewish School near Huntley posed in 1918 with items made for the Red Cross. 



17 



Any hope that the Wyoming colony would mirror the 
New York and New Jersey experiences was quickly dis- 
missed, for the society immediately reported that the set- 
tlers "could not possibly have made a more injudicious 
selection."^* The land was arid and irrigation was only 
a distant possibility because the government's reclamation 
efforts on the North Platte River around Casper were pro- 
gressing slowly eastward. The JAS figured it would be five 
years before any irrigation benefits would be realized. In 
the meantime, loans were sent to the colonists for tem- 
porary relief. In 1908, continued cries from Torrington and 
from friends in Pittsburgh reminded the JAS of how it had 
entered "what seemed to us a doubtful venture . . . ."■'^ 
Additional loans totalling more than $4,000 were sent, but 
it was soon learned that the settlers in conjunction with 
local dealers had misappropriated the money. Adding to 
the difficulties, the JAS found homesteaders reluctant to 
take out mortgages on their real property as collateral for 
financial assistance. The JAS had to settle instead for cattle 
mortgages in seven cases.'* 

Troubled by financial problems of its settlers, the JAS 
turned to an independent observer to comment on the Tor- 
rington situation. The man they picked was Rabbi 
Abraham R. Levy, secretary of the Jewish Agriculturists' 
Aid Society of America (J A AS), a Chicago organization. 

Levy was one of the guiding forces behind the JAAS 
and one of the strongest advocates of farming as a 
livelihood for Jews. The JAAS, like the JAS, believed the 
Jew could become a good farmer and perceived agriculture 
as a preventive, rather than curative, charity for needy 
Jews. The JAAS was primarily concerned with arresting 
the plight of the Russian Jew, getting him out of the con- 
gested urban environment and placing him into a more 
wholesome atmosphere. To Levy, the Jew's pension for 
independence, economy, industry, love of family and love 
of home life were urban characteristics that could be car- 
ried out in a rural atmosphere and accordingly would make 
an agriculture enterprise successful. '' Levy's idealism was 
aptly reflected in the gratuitous assistance and generosity 
of the JAAS, for every effort was made to accommodate 
all applicants. There was no selection process for applicants 
and no supervision in the choice of lands. Instead the JAAS 
trusted in the individual's abilities and sincere desire to 
be a farmer. Though it operated only on donations from 
Chicago's Jewish community, the JAAS could afford to be 
liberal in its philanthropy, for among its directors were 
some of Chicago's leading social and business leaders, in- 
cluding Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, Julius Rosenwald, Adolph 
Loeb and Hugo Pam. 

Before he left for Wyoming, Levy read the reports of 
the JAS and after making his inspection, found the situa- 
tion to be portrayed accurately. Traditional farming prac- 
tices would be difficult for a time, but he suggested that 
the farmers should be supported financially until the 
government reclamation project was completed. In the 
meantime. Levy figured that a loan of $250 per person, 
gardening and work on area farms would help sustain the 
18 



colonists. Future monetary allotments may be substantial, 
but he believed this was necessary if any Jewish farming 
program was to succeed.*" 

Levy tried to be objective in his report to the JAS, 
though he could not help but add his approval to the 
Wyoming experiment. For the JAAS, he had no doubts that 
Wyoming offered excellent opportunities so that the JAAS 
could take an active part in the Jewish agricultural 
movement. 

As for our Organization, I was of the opinion that we should 
assist as large a number of people as possible to settle in the 
territory, believing that valuable and permanent homes would 
thus be secured for many of our Jewish poor in a country where, 
climatically as well as economically, conditions are most 
favorable.'" 

Before the JAS published its report, the JAAS had plans 
to transplant a sizeable Chicago colony on the Wyoming 
plains. The urban Jews of Chicago were as much attracted 
to the benefits of homesteading as their counterparts in 
Pittsburgh. But the JAS' depressing statements on Wyo- 
ming in 1907 and 1908 caused the JAAS to reconsider the 
scope of their own program. Because "those that expressed 
the opinion spoke as with authority," the society nearly 
discarded its plans. Upon further reflection, and consider- 
ing the earnestness of the applicants and the intention of 
the society, the society did send ten families to Wyoming.*^ 

The society did not regret this action. In fact, it believed 
the new colonists would not encoimter quite the hardships 
and difficulties of their predecessors, for the government's 
reclamation work on the North Platte seemed near at hand. 
In 1909, in accordance with federal law, the Secretary of 
the Interior withdrew lands in the immediate area from 
settlement. Levy took this to be a sure sign that an irriga- 
tion system would be built within two or three years. He 
also reported that the company working for the govern- 
ment might offer employment to economically troubled 
farmers. He estimated a man could earn between $40 and 
$50 per month while a man with a team of horses could 
earn between $100 and $200 per month. Certain of these 
facts. Levy Was convinced in the soundness of the JAAS 
in sponsoring homesteaders in Wyoming. It was disap- 
pointing to him that by heeding the reports of the JAS, 
the JAAS would not play a major role in Wyoming. Levy 
sadly noted: "We have lost a great opportunity in having 
disregarded the proposition of settling several hundred 
families in that territory."*' 

Sympathizing with the desires of the farmers and 
wrestling with its own decisions, the JAS continued 
nonetheless to support the efforts of Jewish farmers in 
Wyoming from 1907 to 1912. Besides the Torrington- 
Huntley- Allen area, a second Jewish farming community 
was established at Iowa Center east of Chugwater, the core 
group of which consisted of family members headed by 
Abe Blatt, a fruit peddler from St. Paul, Minnesota. 
Elsewhere there were numerous individuals who filed for 
homesteads around Guernsey, Granite Canyon and outly- 
ing areas of Torrington and Iowa Center.** While com- 



munal ownership was not allowed under the federal 
homestead laws, a rural Jewish community did arise com- 
prised of the neighboring farming families whose religious 
lifestyles brought Judaism to the plains of Wyoming. With 
a majority of students being Jewish, the schools at Iowa 
Center and AUen were nicknamed "Jewish School" by 
county residents. ^5 

The JAS and its Chicago counterpart, the JAAS, had 
good reasons to believe the Torrington-Huntley- Allen area 
settlers would succeed. Agricultural opportunities in 
eastern Wyoming had long been lauded by the railroads 
and the state as potentially productive. The federal govern- 
ment's reclamation efforts were near at hand, and even 
without irrigation the outlook for some farming families 
was promising. In 1913, Abe Shapiro of Iowa Center had 
a reported indebtedness of ordy $200, most of it incurred 
due to the illness of his wife. His assets included 320 acres 
of land, two horses, a cow and a calf, a barn, a house, a 
granary, vsdre fencing, chickens and $300 in crops. After 
assessing Shapiro's situation, S. S. Pearlstine, a Cheyenne 
attorney, commented that "[i]f he [Shapiro] had the 
resources and stock to sufficiently cultivate the whole 
acreage, his crop today would be worth at least $3,000."'** 
This figure, probably inserted to impress readers on 
Shapiro's productivity and prosperity, was actually the 
medium received by farmers nationally and did not take 
into account other obligations a farmer might have had.*^ 
If Shapiro's outlook appeared fortuitous, Pearlstine 
foresaw an even better future for a neighbor, Nathan 
Cohen. Formerly a junk dealer, Cohen had assets totaling 
more than $2,600. His situation was not only productive 
and apparently profitable, but reflected the purposes 
underlining the Jewish farming movement. 

When he came to Wyoming he was not in the best of health, 
but now is as rugged as [he is] adamant. He expects to put twice 
as much in cultivation next year, and stated that he would feel 
most grateful, indeed, unless he could do somebody a service 
by telling them of his happiness and prosperity.'" 

Cohen and Shapiro were but a small group of farmers who 
appeared somewhat successful, at least in their first year. 
On the other hand, others had to turn, often repeatedly, 
to the JAS for assistance, a sign of major underlying prob- 
lems which would result in the eventual failure of the 
Jewish farming experiment in Wyoming. 

In spite of past experiences and preparation, the Jewish 
farnung movement still contained some romantic images 
of life on the soil. By supporting Wyonung's Jewish 
farmers, the actions of the JAS appeared somewhat naive 
and Hi-conceived when compared with the society's 
eastern endeavors. Most striking of all was the apparent 
laxity it initially took in handling loan applications. The 
close supervision and guidance which contributed largely 
to the success in the East were missing and were replaced 
by trusting in the sincerity of applicants to be good farmers. 
Secondly, the society could not take a hard hand at deter- 
mining the location of farms as it had in the East. 

Of equal if not greater influence on JAS was the deter- 




Rabbi Abraham R. Levy of the Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society strongly 
supported the settlement of Chicago Jews on farms in Wyoming. 

mination of Jewish homesteaders. There is no doubt the 
concept of free land was both an attractive and desirable 
objective. Positive images associated with working and 
owning land meant the possible realization of the yeoman 
heritage idealized in popular and classical literature. For 
immigrants, land ownership was a symbol of wealth here- 
tofore denied them. A national study conducted in 1910 
found that while Jewish farmers struggled to eke out a 
living, "the desire of having a piece of land all their own 
is very strong in those men."'*' 

Such idyllic prospects soon gave way to the sudden 
realization that free land did not come cheap, but came at 
a great price, financially and emotionally. At the outset, 
homesteaders were faced with developing farming stra- 
tegies and trying to build a new life on an unf anvQiar land- 
scape.^" Most homesteaders, Jewish and Gentile, did not 
have the benefits of dry farming techniques or ready ac- 
cess to irrigation. Moreover, Jewish farmers came with little 
or no knowledge of farming. Subsequently, a farmer found 
his labors on the land often proved far greater than 
expected. His largest investment was in land and in crops, 
usually com, with the hope a good price could be obtained 
at harvest time. The remaining portion of his property 
usually consisted of a house, barn, maybe fencing and, to 
supply some basic needs of the family, a couple horses, 
cattle and some chickens. For the farm to succeed, strong 

19 



reliance was placed on individual determination and com- 
munal assistance, including that from Gentile farmers 
(goyitn).^'^ 

Though homesteading entailed inherent hardships and 
personal sacrifices, any reservations on the part of Jewish 
farmers probably were dismissed by reminders of past ur- 
ban occupations in retail and building trades. That many 
came from non-agrarian backgrounds may suggest their 
former vocations were unsuccessful or marginal. That there 
were no regrets is also evident from the initial number of 
applicants and later, from those who took out additional 
loans and mortgages to make their agricultural life suc- 
cessful. Personal motives could rtm much deeper emo- 
tionally. For Morris Sincher, agricultural problems were 
forgotten with vivid reminders of social injustices and pro- 
grams in Russia. Having left his wife behind, he hoped 
through his labors he would soon be able to bring her to 
America. Just when this seemed possible, his sister-in-law, 
Mindel, informed him his wife had been killed the previous 
year. Mindel then reminded him his wife's fate was the 
fate of many as "tausends [sic] of young men and women 
loosen [sic] ther [sic] lives everyday in Russia, and 1 think 
that they are better of[f] because we are sufferi[n]g too 
much."" 

Except for the JAS and the Jewish rural schools, there 
was not much novelty placed on the presence of Jewish 
farmers in Wyoming by the press, regionally or locally. 
Their rural isolation sheltered them from the focus of local 
publicity. From a national viewpoint, experiments in 
Jewish farming already were widespread. In 1911, the 
Jewish farming experience took on a different perspective 
among Wyoming and national officials. 

That year the National Association of State Immigra- 
tion Officials embarked on a campaign to encourage im- 
migration in the Great Plains states. The idea itself was not 
new other than regional states apparently agreed to work 
together rather than, as in the past, against one another. 
Among the western immigration officials who supported 
such a program was Wyoming's Commissioner of Im- 
migration, Roy W. Schenck. 

Schenck had only been Commissioner of Immigration 
a short time when news of a western immigration program 
reached him. In fact, his department had just been created 
by the state. Wyoming's governors, who saw immigration 
as an essential part in the growth and development of the 
state, long desired an immigration department. State leg- 
islators, however, with their ties to the cattle industry, con- 
tinued to block such efforts. Finally, under Governor 
Joseph Carey, the state created the Department of Immigra- 
tion in 1911 with Schenck as its director. From the start, 
Schenck worked hard to promote Wyoming, particularly 
its agricultural opportunities, by distributing pamphlets, 
answering inquiries and publicizing the state through a 
traveling exhibit and with exhibits and his attendance at 
land conventions. After his first year, he reported there 
was a wide interest in Wyoming from people of all back- 
grounds, including "Hebrews. "'^ 
20 



In October, 1911, Schenck went to Chicago to meet 
with other immigration officers regarding a new western 
immigration program. During his stay, he met a group of 
people interested in settling Jews in Wyoming. Numerous 
private discussions soon led to a tentative deal. Reporting 
back to Governor Carey, Schenck felt very confident a 
Hebrew agricultural colony would be planted in Wyoming. 
He believed 100 emigrants might be encouraged to settle 
on 8,000 acres of land, "if the terms are satisfactory. "5* 
After reading these notices, Carey was greatly pleased with 
the prospects. A man who supported efforts in the areas 
of agricultural development and immigration, Carey noti- 
fied Schenck, "I hope we may be able to 'land' some 
of them. "55 Shortly after he informed Carey of these 
events, Schenck left Chicago for a land convention in Pitts- 
burgh. It was here, where a national land convention and 
a national convention of Jewish charities were held 
simultaneously, that the Chicago discussions received na- 
tional publicity. 

The "deal" was sensational even by the standards of 
the JAS. Under the proposed plan, 450 Chicago Jewish 
families would move into the Wheatland district in the 
spring of 1912. The site seemed ideal, for it was still open 
to homesteaders and was considered one of the more 
promising dry farming regions by the U.S. Reclamation 
Service. Each family would be supplied with 80 acres of 
land and $1,000. In return, the state of Wyoming prom- 
ised to give the colonists agricultural advice and 
assistance. 5* On paper, the plan was the largest and most 
expensive colonization scheme ever attempted in the state. 
If it succeeded, it would be a big boost to the state's im- 
migration program and a major achievement for Schenck. 
It was also seen as the beginning of a new era of western 
immigration. A. M. Liebling, editor of the Daily Jewish 
Press, said confidently, "we expect the movement to be 
national in scope," even though the Jewish farming move- 
ment had long been in existence. ^^ 

In social circles, the exciting, but unsubstantiated 
news, was that the colony's sponsor was Julius Rosenwald, 
Chicago philanthropist and founder of Sears, Roebuck and 
Company. His rumored association gave a sense of prestige 
and credibility to the project, and with his support, the 
Wyoming colony could expect close supervision, but also 
generous aid. However, no one was quite sure if Rosen- 
wald was bankrolling the entire project. The vra-e service, 
nonetheless, hinted at the speculative nature of this elusive 
backer, stating that while Rosenwald had not yet made any 
definite commitments, he was interested and "his in- 
terests generally develop into something substantial. "^^ 

Contrary to rumors and speculations, Rosenwald's in- 
volvement remained fictional. He was aware of a Wyoming 
colonization scheme, but denied any association with it. 
To what degree he was familiar with the plan cannot be 
determined. His records at the University of Chicago 
Library make reference to a fUe on the Wyoming project, 
but unfortunately, this has been lost. Still, it is very likely 
that any resettlement of Chicago Jews in the name of char- 



ity wotild have been reviewed carefully by one of the city's 
prominent philanthropists. Since he had watched the 
Jewish farming movement from the start, he was in a posi- 
tion to evaluate the merit and feasibility of an agricultural 
colony in Wyoming. 

While his immediate reaction to the project is difficult 
to measure, his correspondence in the following year 
shows that he apparently was becoming doubtful about 
the Jewish farming movement in general. On the JAAS, 
of which he was a board member, he said it "has had a 
very unfortunate experience in placing farmers. "^^ He also 
believed forced colonization schemes by charity organiza- 
tions "were far from desireable."*" His own experience 
with the troubled Clarion Colony in Utah made him ap- 
prehensive of any endeavor undertaken on a large scale 
or blindly by persons not acquainted with the fundamen- 
tals of agriculture. 

For all its sensationalism, the Wyoming colony failed 
to materialize. After his attendance at the land convention 
in Pittsburgh, Schenck did not make any further mention 
to Carey of a Jewish settlement. Neither did the J AS or the 
JAAS make any reference to it, and school census, mort- 
gage records and local newspapers fail to show any large 
influx of Jewish farmers into the state. While Jewish 
farmers continued to file for homesteads in Wyoming, they 
did not do so on the scale anticipated by Schenck. 

In his correspondence to Carey, Schenck never revealed 
the names of his contacts in Chicago, nor did he follow- 
up on this lead.*i As stated, any resettlement of Chicago 
Jews in the name of charity would probably have been 
reviewed by Julius Rosenwald. If there was such a con- 
nection, it would follow that Rosenwald acted in behalf 
of the JAAS. It now seemed the earlier excitement ex- 
pressed by Levy about Wyoming was being reawakened 
and was about to be realized. 

On the other hand, it appears very unlikely the JAAS 
would have committed itself to such a grand program. 
Financially, the society did not have the means to be as 
generous as it had been in the past. Poor loans in the past 
soon put the society in a dire economic condition, so that 
by 1911 it already was financially overextended and barely 
able to assist those under its care.^^ Rosenwald's comment 
on the society's "unfortunate experience" reflected how 
the society's benevolence had gotten the better of itself. 
As its financial obligations continued to burden the JAAS, 
the JAAS looked more and more to the JAS for assistance. 
It became the western office of the JAS in 1912. 

The acquisition of the JAAS by the JAS was done out 
of consideration for Jewish farmers. As a branch of the JAS, 
the Chicago office found there was a great demand among 
Jews to settle in the West. The JAS was sympathetic, but 
unable to accommodate all the requests. Earlier in 1909, 
it had made significant policy changes concerning Jewish 
agricultural settlements. Rather than continue to risk 
countless failures to individuals and to the organization's 
name, it would only encourage and assist those fit for a 
life on the soU. The JAS had no intentions of abandoning 



settlers sponsored by itself and the JAAS, but the JAS 
realized the troubled conditions of western farmers were 
not likely to improve. All that could be done was to con- 
tinue to offer as much assistance and cooperation as possi- 
ble.*^ Technical aid also was provided through the Federa- 
tion of Jewish Farmers. Its publication, the Jewish Farmer, 
gave advice on agricultural topics and concerns. More im- 
portantly, most of the articles were written almost entirely 
in Yiddish, the language of the Eastern European farmer. 
In addition, the Federation provided marketing and pur- 
chasing aid in the form of cooperatives. A local branch of 
the Federation organized in Goshen County in 1914, but 
lasted only one year.** 

By 1912, the JAS lamented that the Wyoming farmers 
seemed no better off than they were five years ago. A ma- 
jor problem since the beginning was the delay in the 
government's reclamation project. The possibility of irriga- 
tion systems still seemed years away. For its part, the JAS 
tried to keep abreast of the government's work in Wyo- 
ming, or at least get some kind of encouraging word. Past 
inquiries to the Department of Interior on projected sched- 
ules of completion were of little help. Five years after spon- 
soring the first Jewish homesteaders to Wyoming, the JAS 
was notified that reclamation work was anticipated for the 
immediate area. Progress hinged upon the department's 
ability to get 95 percent of the deeded land owners to sign 
contracts for the construction of canals. While a long- 
sought irrigation program seemed near, the JAS was told 
not to expect too much too soon. 

... it is noted that you are interested in a settlement of Jewish 
farmers within this area. It, therefore, may be appropriate to 
call attention to the fact that extreme care should be used in 
encouraging any developments which are dependent upon the 
building of this [Fort Laramie Canal] or any other canal until 
the work is actually constructed. There are too many contingen- 
cies, legal, financial, and other wise, to justify embarking in any 
enterprise, especially where considerable number of poor peo- 
ple are concerned, until the irrigation works are actually com- 
pleted and in use. I am writing this, as the Department cannot 
afford to be put in the position of in any way encouraging risks 
of this kind. In all past history, both of private and public enter- 
prises, it has been shown that they are inseparably connected 
with disappointment as to the time of completion.'^ 

The advice was realistic, but for the JAS, untimely, because 
there were Jewish settlers already in the area. Unfortu- 
nately for the JAS, it would be several more years until 
the Fort Laramie Canal was constructed and ten years 
before the government completed its reclamation work on 
the North Platte River.** 

In the following years, the agricultural climate in 
Goshen and Platte counties worsened. Low agricultural 
prices and limited marketing methods plagued county 
farmers. Aid from the county extension service was limited 
as the state extension service was still in a formative period 
and county agents varied in ability, knowledge and public 
relations. From 1922 to 1928, Platte County was without 
a county agent to assist area farmers. New programs in 
planting cash crops, rotation crop farming and soil fertility 

21 



were in their infancy. While these programs seemed prom- 
ising, they required an initial investment that many 
farmers could not afford to make. As it was, many farmers 
already were going to the banks for loans, only to be re- 
fused. ^^ Some Jewish farmers supplemented their farm in- 
comes by working on neighboring irrigated farms and in 
the sugar beet factories, engaging in some form of truck 
farming or doing odd jobs.*^ At the outset, farmers counted 
on the JAS for loans to help through the difficult financial 
periods, but even aid from the JAS soon became difficult 
to attain as the number of loans being denied quickly 
equalled and surpassed the number of loans being granted. 
This development resulted from new loan policies initiated 
by the board for the JAS to be less charitable and more 
fiscally responsible in its dealings. As personal debts 
mounted, most farmers were forced to make the hard deci- 
sion of abandoning their agricultural dream. After selling 
or losing their farms, some resumed their former urban 
trades in Cheyenne, Wheatland, Torrington or Denver. 
Most of Wyoming's Jewish farmers moved to California 
where new opportunities were most plentiful and where 
large Jewish communities offered some semblance of 
cultural continuity and stability. 

The Wyoming experience was no doubt a great disap- 
pointment to the JAS, given the years it watched farmers 



struggle to make the land fruitful without the benefit of 
irrigation. Between 1907 and 1933, the organization granted 
121 loan applications totalling more than $95,000 and closed 
on 104 loans amounting to more than $70,000.*' The 
western farming experience in general was a financial 
failure for the JAS and prompted a review of goals and ob- 
jectives. Among other things, agricultural sponsors agreed 
that in the future, closer attention would be paid to the 
character of the land and the cultural needs of Jewish 
farmers. Dtiring the depression era, some deemed it essen- 
tial that farmers be located in close proximity to large 
Jewish communities and be engaged in a manufacturing- 
agricultural cooperative.'''' 

The early agricultural activities of the JAS were but part 
of a larger plan of social reform within the larger organiza- 
tion of the Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society. 
As a sister organization of the JAS, the Industrial Aid 
Society, later the Industrial Removal Office (IRO), worked 
to redistribute Jewish labor across the country. The pro- 
gram was created in order to relieve urban congestion in 
the eastern cities, to improve the living conditions of Jewdsh 
immigrants by transplanting them into the interior portions 
of the country, and indirectly, to keep the immigration 
doors open. In some respect, the activities of the IRO 
proved much more successful than those of the JAS, 




Children celebrated July 4th at the Jewish School near Iowa Center in 1915 or 1916. 



because they could be readily and widely implemented 
without much personal adjustment on the part of the ap- 
plicant and without expense to the IRO. 

In order for its program to succeed, the IRO established 
a network of contacts with Jewish communities across the 
country. Agents were sent abroad to measure the prospects 
of relocating Jewish emigrants in the interior portions of 
the country. Priority was given to large and established 
Jewish communities, although larger towns might serve 
as distribution centers to smaller towns, particularly in the 
mercantile fields. ^^ Once a suitable city was found, a local 
committee was orgaruzed consisting of prorrunent people 
familiar with the econoiruc and cultural atmosphere. The 
committee then kept the IRO abreast of job vacancies, ar- 
ranged for housing and employment, saw to the general 
comfort of the immigrant in his new surroundings and 
reported any problems to the IRO. For its part, the IRO 
examined the quality of applicants and selected com- 
munities that could accommodate the transplants. 

Basically, every city, regardless of the size of its Jewish 
community, was given due consideration by the IRO. It 
could not afford to be particular or choosy if its program 
was to succeed. This was especially true in evaluating states 
like Wyoming, where the only Jewish commxmity of any 
. size and organization was in Cheyenne. Subsequently, the 
IRO reviewed applications from individuals in small towns 
across the state. Familial surroundings also were con- 
sidered the proper cultural milieu for the applicant. For 
example, a Torrington resident offered to take in his 
brother's fanuly and provide hkn with employment in 
order to prevent him from deserting his wife and 
children. ^^ 

Careful planning and study were important in the 
relocation of individuals, but problems arose nevertheless. 
Some immigrants found their new surroundings alien and 
did not want to remain in their chosen home. Those who 
failed to keep their jobs could become a public burden. A 
larger problem for organizers was trying to make the West 
cognizant and sympathetic to the problems of over- 
crowding and unemployment among Jews in the East. 
Westerners, in turn, protested the character of the im- 
migrants, arguing mainly that they could not be assimilated 
into their social environment. ^^ 

The difficvilties in placing men in Wyoming arose two 
years after IRO work began in the state. In 1904, Cheyenne 
requested four men to work in the Union Pacific Railroad 
shops. To IRO organizers, this was a good sign from 
Cheyenne. However, this order proved to be a bad ex- 
perience for both sides with many problems surfacing at 
once. Within a month, three of the four men had lost their 
railroad and subsequent jobs. Samuel Idehnan, spokesman 
for the Cheyenne committee, stressed that the community 
had done everything possible for them. He blamed the IRO 
for sending men not fit for a life in a western city and 
threatened to withdraw Cheyenne from the list of IRO 
cities. 



Don't send me any more men. The last three you sent me 
have proven to be absolutely worthless. After securing work 
for them in a half dozen different places[,] all of them were fired 
on account of their inability to comprehend any thing [sic] [and] 
they decided to travel to some larger city where there are many 
people of their own kind and where they [can] make themselves 
understood and feel at home. This is no place for Greenhorns. 
People like these ought to be given some kind of work where 
they can work in bunches. It won't do to put them out singly 
among people that don't understand them and don't have any 
sympathy for them.'* 

The IRO apologized for these inconveniences and was 
willing to make amends so that the Cheyenne community 
would be cooperative in the future. David Bressler, man- 
ager of the IRO, responded that the relocation of people 
was not an exact process, but promised to try to send peo- 
ple who were somewhat familiar with the land.^^ Despite 
Idelman's defiant stance, he was willing to try to support 
a worthy program. 

Cheyenne's initial experience was shared by Charles 
Benjamin in Cody. A German immigrant, Benjamin was 
a tailor who came to Cody around 1910. His business 
quickly prospered and he soon sent a request to the IRO 
for an assistant in 1910. The new man's stay was short, 
because his wife did not like the country. The following 
year, Benjamin put in another request with a preference 
for a bachelor. Although Benjamin was the only Jewish 
family in town, he informed the IRO that he could make 
a man's stay comfortable, and if a man could adjust to liv- 
ing alone, he would find Cody a nice place to live.''* 

Benjamin, however, needed a man as soon as possi- 
ble. Delays in processing and sending a suitable person 
in 1911 prompted Benjamin to withdraw his offer, for it 
was too late in the season to give a man steady employ- 
ment. The following year saw more delays on account of 
a sickness in the applicant's family. Meanwhile, work was 
piling up as Benjamin had counted on an assistant by this 
time. Three months later, in August, 1912, the IRO can- 
didate, Harry Reidinger, and his family of three arrived 
in Cody.'''' 

Reidinger apparently chose not to remain a permanent 
resident of Cody nor a permanent employee of Benjamin, 
for two years later, in 1914, Benjamin once again made 
another application for an assistant. Past IRO applicants 
had come with their families and chose not to remain long 
in his employment. He emphasized he wanted a good 
tailor, fairly Americanized, and "one hew [who] is willing 
to stay here, not to make a few dollars and gon[e] back 
to new york [sic]."^* TTie IRO agreed to find a suitable man, 
but there is no record of the IRO's efforts. 

Acting in concert with the IRO were organizers de- 
sirous of rerouting immigration through Galveston, 
Texas.''' Its chief sponsor was Jacob Schiff, a prominent 
New York philanthropist. Schiff was convinced that by of- 
fering an alternative immigration port of entry, Jewish im- 
migrants would not congregate in New York City. Such 
a site would not be easily found, because New York of- 
fered a full spectrum of Jewish life and the only western 

23 



city which could make a similar claim was Chicago. Schiff 
realized that if any immigration program was to succeed, 
the immigrant also would have to make some effort to ad- 
just to unfamiliar surroimdings rather than be part of the 
mainstream funneling into the country through the eastern 
corridors. Addressing the problem in 1904, Schiff stated 
that it was all too easy for communities to ship immigrants 
to New York rather than make "even partial provision for 
their sustenance and employment."*" 

Here was the basis for a new program. If a new im- 
migration port could be found, which would be Galveston, 
and if commimities would make some effort to provide jobs 
and shelter, then Jewish emigration would have conquered 
two hurdles. Moreover, by settling and acculturating Jewish 
immigrants in the interior portions of the country, conser- 
vative cries for immigration restriction would be calmed. 
Like the IRO, the Galveston Plan focused its resettlement 
activities initially in the states west of the Mississippi River, 
because Schiff and others viewed the interior as a kind of 
safety valve for the benefit of Jewish immigration. Because 
limited job opportunities in western states restricted the 
ability of those states to handle large numbers of im- 
migrants, Galveston Plan organizers broadened the scope 
of their activities area to include the Old Northwest and 
eventually the entire country. 

On the surface, the idea did seem to have some valid- 
ity. The West lacked laborers to meet the growing demands 
in agriculture and industry. For a Jewish resettlement pro- 
gram, all that was now needed was to settle a few im- 
migrants to establish the nucleus to attract others. As Schiff 
wrote, 

. . . with the successful settlement of such a number, others 
would readily follow under their own accord, and that then 
a steady stream of immigration would flow through New 
Orleans and Galveston into the territory between the Missis- 
sippi River on the East, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Gulf 
on the south and the Canadian Dominion on the north. '^ 

To popularize the Galveston Plan, Schiff enlisted the ser- 
vices of the U.S. Commissioner of Immigration, the Jewish 
Territorial Organization and Morris Waldman and David 
Bressler, two IRO men very familiar with removal work. 

Schiff 's plan rested largely on the work of Bressler and 
Waldman. Operating in much the same manner as the 
IRO, Waldman toured the West and established a network 
of local committees to work with Galveston leaders. At the 
outset, it was readily agreed that resettlement throughout 
the trans-Mississippi West was unrealistic. Only those 
states with industry and large Jewish communities could 
make the plan work. Gties like Cheyenne, Boise, Salt Lake 
and Helena and the states of California and Washington 
"all, more or less, offer opportunity for effective 
cooperation. "*2 Sparsely settled areas and small towns 
with limited or no industry could not be counted on, 
because they could not provide the atmosphere necessary 
for the immigrant's cultural adjustment. 

In his first tour of the West in 1907, Waldman com- 
24 



mented that there may be more limitations than organizers 
previously realized. 

We cannot expect a large volume of co-operation from the towns 
in the far Southwest and Northwest, because they are very small 
and they have practically no industries, still, they should be 
included in order that the distribution may be as wide as 
possible.'^ 

After several months of touring the West, Waldman 
became more skeptical about the project. 

You must understand, though the opportunities in the area are 
fine for good mechanics and strong laborers, they are very 
discouraging for some of the people who are being sent over 
there. There is more opportunity for our people in the one State 
of Ohio than there is in all of the states of the hinterland.*'' 

In looking at the northern Rocky Mountain states, he 
reassessed the occupational situation and concluded that 
there were no offerings in Montana, while Boise and 
Cheyenne might be counted upon occasionally to take a 
man.*5 

Waldman' s attitude was not unfounded but neither 
was it to be completely true. A depression at the outset 
of the program made jobs scarce and hindered the initial 
efforts of the IRO. But by 1910, the IRO happily reported 
that in nine years, the program had contacts with nearly 
every state in the country. Ironically, the IRO found that 
in northern Rocky Mountain states there were more place- 
ments in Montana than in Idaho and Wyoming combined. 
The Big Sky State outdid both Idaho and Wyoming in the 
number of cities to which immigrants were sent (7 in Mon- 
tana to 1 in Idaho and 3 in Wyoming), and in the total 
number of emigrants sent to a state (61 in Montana to 9 
in Idaho and 15 in Wyoming).** 

Nationally, the IRO relocated nearly 80,000 people 
across the country. Montana, Idaho and Wyoming did not 
play significant roles in the relocation programs of the ERO 
and the Galveston Movement, because small Jewish com- 
munities and linuted employment opportunities in these 
states restricted the degree of participation. It is also ap- 
parent that the IRO's experience in Wyoming fluctuated 
greatly due to need and demand. Between 1902 and 1917, 
46 applicants were placed in 9 Wyoming cities. Among the 
24 states working with the IRO, Wyoming ranked 22, being 
above New Hampshire and Nevada.*'' 

It is very difficult to assess in detail the efforts of the 
IRO, the Galveston Plan and the Jewish Agricultural So- 
ciety in Wyoming. In comparison to other states, there are 
few records on their activities detailing the names and 
places of contacts, names of participants and performance 
ratings. It is nevertheless obvious from annual reports and 
statistics that Wyoming was a full participant. If nothing 
else, all of these national programs resulted in a renewed 
look at the Jews in the western states. While small in 
number and widely dispersed, western Jews were in- 
tegrated into national networks and were able to participate 
in national issues. 

Though there were avenues of communication, it was 



quite a different and difficult matter to bring Judaism to 
western Jews. Of the national Jewish organizations of the 
period, none were more concerned than the Union of 
American Hebrew Congregations, which recognized that 
its future lay in its ability to cultivate those interested 
people, not only in the Midwest, but also the West. What 
resources the Union had in the way of men and material 
were not adequate to meet the challenges of catering di- 
rectly to the needs of pious individuals. A program of 
itinerant rabbis in the South and the Midwest failed to be 
implemented in the West due to the size of the areas to 
be covered and a lack of commitment from rabbis 
themselves.** 

Reform Judaism still managed its way westward through 
its followers. Travel to friends and family helped reaffirm 
personal values. Before the automobile, railroads served 
to link the frontier Jew with cultural centers in the East. 
It was by the railroad that Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise had con- 
tacted western Jewish communities in 1876. Since the 
railroad was the lifeline to many frontier communities, the 
Khela Bnai Israel Congregation of Council Bluffs sent in- 
vitations to cities along the Union Pacific for Jewish peo- 
ple to come to Council Bluffs for Yom Kippur in 1868.*' 
Another instrument of western Judaism was the American 
Israelite. From its pages readers were kept abreast of 
religious issues. In November, 1888, Maier Marks reported 
that the newspaper was widely read in Cheyenne.^" In- 
terest in Jewish activities in the nation and abroad was ap- 
parent from lists of Cheyenne contributors to social and 
benevolent organizations.'^ Through the circulation of the 
Israelite and personal values, Jewish identity was not lost 
within the mainstream of frontier society. 

The perpetuation of Reform Judaism in Wyoming was 
later advanced by the Department of Synagogue and Ex- 
tension Work of the Union of American Hebrew Congrega- 
tions. It provided outreach programs in the form of 
literature, correspondence courses and instructional and 
inspirational mailings. While not as effective or desirous 
as an itinerant rabbi, these materials did meet part of the 
spiritual needs in Wyoming. Designed primarily to ease 
the cultural isolation of Jewish farmers, the program found 
interested participants not only in Iowa Center, Guernsey 
and Allen, but also Cheyenne and Gillette. '^ 

On the local level, personal and collective efforts deter- 
mined the character and future of Judaism in a commu- 
nity. In respect to organized religious life, Jews often found 
themselves too small in number to establish a religious 
community, support a rabbi or even hold a minyan. (To 
hold a service requires at least 10 adult males.) Yet, the 
initial efforts in fostering Judaism began on the grass roots 
level. The most noticeable time was usually around the 
High Holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, the 
Jewish New Year. The occasion was often recorded in the 
local press by the closing of a Jewish-owned business and 
was probably followed by private observances in the home 
or among several families. '^ Future events might see the 
foundations of Jewish life being planted in a dty as the local 



Jewish population grew and assumed a more visible pro- 
file. In turn, as a religious community took shape, Jewish 
life acquired a formal appearance. 

The first congregation was organized in Cheyenne.'* 
As a center of government and transportation, Cheyenne 
attracted the largest Jewish population in the state. Jewish 
life was readily apparent by early notices in the 1870s of 
Jewish businesses closing for Yom Kippur. As the com- 
munity continued to grow, Jewish life became organized 
and assumed a formal appearance. Bertha Myers, wife of 
pioneer William Myers, organized a Sunday School in 
1875, a Reform congregation. Congregation Emanuel, in- 
corporated in 1888 and a Jewish cemetery was plotted that 
same year. There were tentative plans for the construction 
of a temple, and to help, a Ladies Jewish Sewing Circle, 
organized in the 1890s by Bertha Myers, sold knitted goods 
to raise funds for a temple and to support programs in the 
East. However, a temple for Congregation Emanuel never 
materialized because there were never enough members 
to finance its construction. Nonetheless, Congregation 
Emanuel remained a strong symbol of Reform Judaism in 
Wyoming. By the turn of the century, Cheyenne became 
a serru-regular training ground for student rabbis during 
the High Holidays. The chance for practical experience 
coupled with cross-country travel made the Cheyenne post 
a very attractive assignment. 

In the following years, membership in Congregational 
Emanuel began to dwindle. German Reform Jews were not 
entering the state in large numbers because the Jewish 
emigration from Europe was dominated by Orthodox Jews 
from Eastern Europe. Congregation Emanuel's declining 
membership became more and more apparent as its found- 
ing members grew old or died and few children remained 
in the area to be members. Religiosity was not in trouble, 
but, as Mrs. Allenstein commented to directors of Hebrew 
Union College in 1917, there were "only a few who wish 
these services. "'' The last student rabbi to Cheyenne came 
in 1918. For the capital city, Jewish life was not in danger 
of decline but was showing signs of change. 

Before World War I, the Jewish population in Wyo- 
ming was increasing. Developments in agriculture, min- 
ing, oil, transportation and tourism and the growth of small 
towns in the state attracted new waves of settlers. In some 
respects, the new emigrants were no different than their 
territorial predecessors in that they exhibited indepen- 
dence, mobility and creativity in their economic endeavors. 
They differed in that they were more diversified in their 
backgrounds and attitudes. They were retailers, peddlers, 
junk and hide dealers, hotel operators, blue collar workers, 
professionals, Orthodox and Reform. Geographically, 
there was a wider distribution of Jews than in territorial 
years as a result of personal perceptions and information 
networks within families or national movements, like the 
Galveston Plan. Unfortunately, population figures are not 
totally reliable. Unlike the census of 1878, more organiza- 
tion and effort went into enumerating the Jewish popula- 
tion in the 1920s and 1930s, although some reliance was 

25 



placed on estimates and on the estimates of individuals 
unacquainted with a particular area. 

Nonetheless, it was undeniable that the Jewish popula- 
tion was growing, and as a result, Jewish life became more 
apparent. In Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie and Rock 
Springs, there was often a person knowledgeable in the 
Jewish liturgy to be appointed as a lay leader until such 
time a student or resident rabbi could be called or a visiting 
rabbi made a stop in the area. In Rock Springs, a Jewish 
community was centered around the family of Wolf Cohen, 
a Denver shoemaker turned dry goods dealer and the 
founder of Congregation Beth Israel in the mid-1920s. 
While religious observances of Yom Kippur in Laramie 
were recorded in the 1890s, the first minyan was held in 
1926.'* The oil boom in Casper attracted numerous Jewish 
families from Denver. In 1923, a B'nai B'rith lodge was 
formed, a sign to Denver's Jeivish News of a formative com- 
munity in the making. '^ Later, in 1928, a representative 
of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations con- 
vinced the small, but devout, community to organize 
themselves. Shortly afterward, the Casper Jewish Com- 
munity Association was formed, comprised of the city's 
prominent professionals and businessmen. '^ Arthur Le- 
bowitz, a student rabbi at Hebrew Union College, con- 
ducted the first High Holiday services in 1929 and 1930.'" 
Student rabbis served the Casper community intermit- 
tently during the High Holidays from 1930 to 1946 and con- 
tinuously since 1947. 

Changes in the Jewish population were most noticeable 
in Cheyenne, where an Orthodox community arose on the 
east side of town. The population of Orthodox Jews grew 
rapidly and in 1910 formed Mt. Sinai Congregation. Dif- 
ferences between Emanuel and Mt. Sinai were very evi- 
dent in two ways. Whereas Emanuel relied upon a pool 
of educated lay leaders, Mt. Sinai was always served by 
trained rabbis. Whereas Congregational Emanuel long 
dreamed of a temple, Mt. Sinai soon completed plans for 
one. In 1915, construction commenced on the first syna- 
gogue in Wyoming in a public ceremony that included the 
attendance of former Governor Joseph M. Carey and 
Mayor R. N. La Fontaine. Further sign of the community's 
growth was evident in 1923 when the building was en- 
larged to include five classrooms, a large hall, a gymnasiim:\ 
and a swimming pool.i"" 

Meanwhile, the only organization of Reform Judaism 
in the city was the Ladies Circle. It operated as a sewing 
and social function in the mid-1930s long after Congrega- 
tion Emanuel disappeared, knitting and selling for the day 
when a reform temple would be built . Despite their strong 
interests, the city's declining number of Reform Jews real- 
ized that no temple was forthcoming and that their finan- 
cial activities merely served to divide rather than unite the 
Jewish community. After the death of Bertha Myers, the 
principle force behind the Ladies Circle, these funds were 
donated to Mt. Sinai Congregation. 

Because of its size, Cheyenne's Orthodox community 
orgaruzed numerous organizations to meet the cultural and 
26 



-mk^ 




The original design of Mt. Sinai Synagogue in Cheyenne. 



spiritual needs in the locality and the region. By 1930, there 
were a men's and ladies' B'nai B'rith, a branch of the 
Jewish Welfare Board, the Workmen's Circle and a news- 
paper, the Wyoming Jewish Press. The Cheyenne Relief 
Society was organized in 1925 to provide assistance and 
aid to Jewish travelers and transients. Jewish military per- 
sonnel from Fort F. E. Warren were regularly invited to 
services and activities. ^^^ A Service Men's Hebrew Pro- 
gressive Association organized in 1930. ^"^ At the present 
time, Jewish services are still held at the post by lay officers. 

During the 1920s and 1930s, the automobile emerged 
as the medium for Judaism. Better roads and increased per- 
sonal mobility resulted in increased contact between Wyo- 
ming Jews and western regional centers, greater coordina- 
tion between local communities and the development of 
an ad hoc networking system across the state. With greater 
personal mobility, services in one city could be attended 
by Jewish residents from outlying towns. It was reported 
that the first High Holiday services in Casper drew Jews 
from all parts of the state. "^ Residents of Kemmerer, 
Rawlins and Evanston traveled to Rock Springs.^"* Laramie 
residents went to Cheyenne, while Sheridan, Gillette and 
northern Wyoming residents went to Sheridan or Billings, 
Montana. Religious lines were not restricted to neighbor- 
ing counties. In order to get a minyan, the Rock Springs 
community, for example, used to send for Jewish soldiers 
at Fort F. E. Warren in Cheyenne for the High Holidays. ^^^ 

The automobile also increased the influence of major 
regional centers on Wyoming. Salt Lake City, Denver and 
Billings became more conveniently accessible for Jews 
desiring some form of organized religious life. Family ties 
to former religious associations were more convenient and 
more accessible. For example, trips to Denver became com- 
monplace for former residents who lived in Rock Springs, 



Laramie and Cheyenne. Northern Wyoming's services 
were almost entirely one-directional with the Billings 
Jewish community, until 1924, when the rabbi of Billings 
traveled to Sheridan to celebrate Yom Kippur in Wyo- 
ming, i"* 

Another feature contributing to the extension of 
regional influences during this same period was the 
development of a Jewish press in the Rocky Mountains. 
The Denver Jewish Press, later renamed the Intermountain 
Jewish News, found eager subscribers across Wyoming 
desirous of some reading material with religious news per- 
tinent to their area. In turn, the paper relied mostly on 
anonymous correspondents in Casper, Rock Springs and 
Laramie to keep the region abreast of their activities as well 
as their presence. In Cheyenne, the correspondent of the 
News was Abraham Goldstein. A man of many talents and 
varied experiences, he was a homesteader, pawnbroker 
and foremost a newspaperman who had worked in 
Chicago and Omaha. In addition to providing the News 
with information about the Jewish community in Chey- 
enne, he established the Wyoming Jewish Press in 1930 as 
a state Jewish newspaper. His endeavor served as a tem- 
porary medium in addressing general items of interest and 
in providing a guide to the Jewish population of the state. 
The paper was discontinued shortly after Goldstein's death 
in 1943. 




Rabbi Arthur Lebowitz, who, while a student at Hebreiv Union College 
in Cincinnati, conducted the first Jewish services in Casper in 1929. 



World War II and booms in the mining industry 
brought renewed life into existing Jewish communities. 
The Casper Jewish Community Association of 1929 ap- 
parently dissolved in the wake of the depression, but the 
Casper community received Jewish servicemen stationed 
at the Casper air base during World War 11. In the post- 
war era. Temple Beth Israel organized and functioned from 
1958 to 1981 and in 1959 constructed the second Jewish 
house of worship in the state. i"'' Today, Temple Beth-El 
stands as another symbol of organized Jewish life in one 
of the state's largest cities. In Rock Springs, the Beth Israel 
Congregation of the 1920s and 1930s was revived in the 
1980s. 1"* A Laramie Jewish Community Association was 
organized by a handful of individuals in 1980. Retired rab- 
bis or student rabbis from Hebrew Union College in New 
York come once a year to conduct High Holiday services."' 
Undergoing a different transition from other cities dur- 
ing the same period was Cheyenne. As a center of govern- 
ment, transportation and home to a military base, the 
Jewish population remained larger here than anywhere 
else in the state. In the post-war years, the Jewish popula- 
tion and membership at Mt. Sinai grew to its highest levels. 
To meet the needs of a growing congregation, a new syna- 
gogue was built in 1951. Congregation president Sol Bern- 
stein observed that the new building was a symbol and 
a catalyst for worship. 

This building is dedicated to the glory of G-d and to the ser- 
vice of all people. This is the second Synagogue that this con- 
gregation has been privileged to erect[.] How much nobler in 
concept and in construction is this one compared with the first 
[.] How more richly fashioned to nourish in us a reverence for 
G-d, a love for our heritage, a respect for each soul fashioned 
in G-d's image!"" 
But the life source of the synagogue was predicated on the 
continued commitment of the community. As Rabbi 
Herbert Friedman of Denver wrote, "[T]he structure is 
valuable only if the very walls breathe the love of Judaism 
for which it was erected, "i" 

One of the more troubling problems for the Cheyenne 
community was not so much the sustaining of a synagogue 
by the community, as it was the procurement of a resident 
rabbi. Rabbinical commitments were usually of a short term 
and ended when opportunities with larger congregations 
appeared more enticing. To the ambitious Orthodox rabbi, 
there was little need in Cheyerme for a full-time rabbi. 
Moreover, Jewish atmosphere was not as developed as in 
the East, making it difficult for young orthodox rabbis to 
maintain a strict kosher lifestyle and thus want to stay in 
Cheyenne. Nor was the formative congregation able to 
support adequately a resident rabbi. Rabbi Lehrer (1912-1915) 
took in boarders, while Rabbi Abraham Hoffman (1917-1938) 
opened a kosher meat market, the Hoffman Livestock 
Company, in order to support his family. ^^^ While many 
rabbis served Cheyenne but a couple years, there were 
several leaders whose length of service were reflective of 
the faith and strength they saw in the community, the most 
notable being Rabbi Abraham Hoffman and Rabbi S. Mor- 
ris Susman (1963-1978). 

27 













1 


fjaf'S^''' .^Bk 






^^^ ..^ ii^ 


p^ 


SSP^B 






'^^sm 


IP 


^' am 


^^^88 




mmi^^^^^^^m^^Mi^d^ML 



Mt. Sinai Synagogue in 
Cheyenne today. 



■m 



Change and continuity has marked the Jewish experi- 
ence in Wyoming. Jewish life has been comprised of a mix- 
ture of people-mobile, intransient, Orthodox, Reform and 
independent. Seriously affecting the course and character 
of Jewish life are changing economic conditions in Wyo- 
ming's mineral industry that has resulted in rapid varia- 
tions in the size and character of the Jewish population in 
a community. The emigration of local Jews has been detri- 
mental to the future of any formative community and any 
hope for a synagogue or a resident rabbi among formative 
congregations is impossible under these circumstances. 

Meeting the needs of the Jewish population in smaller 
towns has never been easy. In the past, mailings and 
itinerant rabbis provided the only means of reaffirming 
one's religious beliefs outside of the home. Other, more per- 
sonal outreach programs have arisen with the development 
of Jewish communities in Wyoming and neighboring 
states. Cheyenne's rabbi, the only resident rabbi in the en- 
tire state, has been called upon to attend to Jewish needs 
across Wyoming. Casper's High Holiday services have 
met, to some extent, needs in the central part of the state. 
Jews in northern Wyoming have also looked to Billings. 
As Rabbi Samuel Horowitz of Billings critically noted, 
there is but one rabbi for Montana, Idaho and northern 
Wyoming. While he felt somewhat privileged in this 
regard, he realized that the territory was too much for one 
man. At the same time, he felt his work could be made 
more effective. Among other things he called for a place 
of worship at Yellowstone National Park for Jewish 
visitors. "3 
28 



While there are efforts to bring organized Jewish life 
to a community, there is also concern on how the emigra- 
tion of family members and neighbors affects community 
life. For younger Jews, especially those in professional, 
managerial and administrative fields, occupational oppor- 
tunities are greatest outside of the state. As future genera- 
tions continue to exhibit greater occupational and social 
mobility, the attraction to regional commercial centers such 
as Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco, becomes 
greater at the expense of the local community and the fam- 
ily unit. Even the familial and spiritual ties that at one time 
attracted Jews to Denver, Billings and Salt Lake City has 
greatly diminished and eventually disappeared with the 
diffusion of family members. In turn, issues of family life 
are more acute as families try to balance social activities 
and still maintain one's Jewish identity in a small town. One 
of the results has been intermarriage of Jews and Gentiles 
and, unless some arrangements or considerations are 
mutually agreed upon, the dissolution of Jewish life in the 
home. Families concerned with their children's religious 
future have considered moving to another city, indirectly 
arranging marriages, or even sending children to a large 
university in order to meet other Jewish youth. 

Although the Jewish population in Wyoming is the 
smallest in the United States, its size does not make it any 
less important in a larger context, nor is it totally removed 
from involvement with Jewish issues. Instead, Jewish life 
in Wyoming has been shaped by the character of Jewish 
settlers, the economics of the state and the activities of 
regional and national Jewish organizations. Ehiring the 



dedication ceremonies of the new synagogue in 1951, Sol 
Bernstein commented that there were members who wit- 
nessed the construction of the former and present build- 
ings. He concluded that the contrast in styles was not as 
important as the evidence of the continuity of their faith."* 
The history of Jews and Judaism outside of Cheyenne is 
often not accompanied by such visual and physical 
changes. Yet, whether an established community or one 
person, there remains a Jewish element in the history of 
Wyoming. 



CARL V. HALLBERG is Archivist/Historian for the Archives and Records 
Management Division, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Depart- 
ment. He received his M.A. in History from Colorado State University, Fort 
Collins, and B.A. from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illirwis. 



1. For general studies, see Hynda Rudd, "The Mountain West As A 
Jewish Frontier," Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly, 13 (AprU 
1981): 241-256; Robert E. Levinson, "Jews and Jewish Communities 
on the Great Plains," Red River Historical Review, V (Fall 1980): 55-70; 
and ibid., "American Jews in the West," Western Historical Quar- 
terly, V Quly 1974): 285-294. 

In May, 1986, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Rocky 
Mountain Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Judaic Studies 
at the University of Denver hosted a convention on the theme of 
"The Jewish Experience in America: A View From the West." On 
the local level, in June, 1986, the congregation of Mt. Sinai in 
Cheyenne celebrated its 75th anniversary. The occasion not only 
recognized an institution, but Jews in the capital city and Wyoming 
as well. 

2. See, for example, Gordon Olaf Hendrickson, ed.. Peopling the High 
Plains: Wyoming's European Heritage (Cheyenne: Wyoming State Ar- 
chives and Historical Department, 1977); Lawrence D. Cardoso, 
"Nativism in Wyoming, 1868 to 1930: Changing Perceptions of 
Foreign Immigrants," Annals of Wyoming, 58 (Spring 1986): 20-38; 
' 'Biographical Sketches of Jewish Citizens of Cheyenne, Wyoming, ' ' 
MSS 229 A, Historical Research and Publications Division, Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums & Historical Department (AMH). 

3. Lola Homsher, ed.. South Pass, 1868: James Chisholm's Journal of the 
Wyoming Gold Rush (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1960), 
p. 28. 

4. American Israelite, November 16, 1888, p. 6. 

5. Western Territories, Vol. 2, p. 4, R. G. Dun & Co. Collection, Baker 
Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Business 
Administration. 

6. Corporation Record, Laramie County, Vol. 42, p. 99. 

7. Proceedings of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Vol. I (New 
York: Bloch and Company, n.d.), pp. 352-357, 508-516; Address to 
the President and Representatives of the Board of Delegates of 
American Israelites, May 28, 1877, Annual Reports, Union of 
American Hebrew Congregations Records, American Jewish Ar- 
chives, Cincinnati, Ohio; Statistics of the Jews of the United States . . . 
(Philadelphia; Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1880), 
n.p.; Proceedings at the Session For 5367, Held at the City of New York 
[Board of Delegates of American Israelites] (New York: Davis Print- 
ing Office, 1877), pp. 10-15. 

8. Statistics of the Jews of the United States, pp. 54-55. 

9. Hebrew Sabbath-School Visitor, October 1874, No. 38, pp. 150-151; No. 
39, pp. 154-155; No. 40, pp. 158-159; No. 41, pp. 162-163; September 
26, 1879, pp. 308-309. 



10. American Israelite, June 2, 1876, p. 5. 

11. William K. Kramer, ed.. The Western Journal of Isaac Meyer Wise, 1877 
(Berkeley: Manges Museum, 1974), p. 7. 

12. Charles Morley, ed., Portrait of America: Letters of Henry Sienkiewicz 
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), pp. 68-69. 

13. Ibid., pp. 198-199. 

14. Ibid., p. 80. 

15. David Lowenthal, "The American Scene," in Geographic Perspec- 
tives on America's Past: Readings on the Historical Geography of the United 
States, ed. David Ward (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 
p. 18. 

16. Lusk Herald, March 3, 1932, p. 1. 

17. Max P. Cowan, "Memoirs of the Jewish Farmers and Ranchers of 
Colorado," Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly, 9 (AprU 1977): 
224; Wyoming Jewish Press, September 22, 1930, p. 15. 

18. For an overview of the frontier merchant, see Lewis E. Atherton, 
The Frontier Merchant in Mid-America (Columbia: University of 
Missouri Press, 1971) and Fred Mitchell Jones, Middlemen in the 
Domestic Trade of the United States, 1800-1860 (Urbana: University of 
Illinois, 1937). On the background of merchandising by Jews, see 
Rudolph Glanz, "Notes on Early Jewish Peddling in America," 
Jewish Social Studies, VII (April 1945): 119-136. 

19. Western Territories, Vol. 2, p. 66; Laramie Daily Sentinel, September 

24, 1870, p. 3. 

20. Western Territories, Vol. 3, pp. 300, 434; Cheyenne Daily Leader, 
March 1, 1877, p. 4; May 1, 1878, p. 4; Bill Barlow's Budget, June 30, 
1886, p. 6; July 21, 1886, p. 4; Laramie Daily Sentinel, April 2, 1878, 
p. 4; April 15, 1878, p. 4. 

21. Elizabeth J. Thorpe, "Meyer Frank and His Family," Bits and Pieces, 
9 Oanuary-February 1973): 8. 

22. Atherton, pp. 59-98; Jones, pp. 18, 65-66. 

23. Moses Risdilin, "Introduction," American Jewish Historical Quarterly, 
68 (December 1978): 392; Peter R. Decker, "Jewish Merchants in San 
Francisco: Social Mobility on the Urban Frontier," American Jewish 
Historical Quarterly, 68 (December 1968): 398-399. 

24. Western Territories, Vol. 2, p. 66. 

25. Ibid., pp. 78, 114. 

26. Ibid,, p. 144. 

27. Ibid. 

28. See, for example, ibid., p. 100. 

29. Cheyenne Leader, September 19, 1867, p. 4. 

30. J. H. Triggs, History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory 
. . . (Laramie: Powder River Publications and Booksellers, 1955), p. 
5. The book was originally published in 1875. 

31. Utah Since Statehood, Vol. Ill (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing 
Company, 1919), p. 317. 

32. Arkansas Gazette, November 20, 1919, p. 150; American Israelite, June 

25, 1908, p. 6. 

33. Among the many works on the Jewish farming movement in 
America, see Leo Shpall, "Jewish Agricultural Colonies in the United 
States," Agricultural History, 24 Ouly 1950): 120-146; Uri D. Herscher, 
Jewish Agricultural Utopias in America, 1880-1910 (Detroit: Wayne State 
University Press, 1981); Gabriel Davidson, "The Jew in Agriculture 
in the Uruted States," American Jewish Year Book, 37 (5696/1935): 
99-134; Samuel Joseph, History of the Baron De Hirsch Fund: The 
Americanization of the Jewish Immigrant (New York: The Jewish Publica- 
tion Society, 1935); Leonard C. Robinson, "Agricultural Activities 
of the Jews in America," American Jewish Year Book, 14 
(5673/1912-1913): 21-115. 

34. Jerrold Goldstein, "Reform Rabbis and the Progressive Movement" 
(Master's Thesis, University of Minnesota, 1967), pp. 46-47. 

35. Ibid. 

36. Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, Annual Report for the 
Year 1907 (New York: Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Socie- 
ty, 1908), p. 15. 

37. Ibid., Annual Report for the Year 1908 (New York: Jewish Agricultural 
and Industrial Aid Society, 1909), p. 25. 

29 



38. Ibid. 

39. "Jews as Farmers," American Israelite, June 24, 1909, p. 3; A. R. Levy, 
"Farming and the Jews, " Amencfln Israelite, December 26, 1906, p. 5. 

40. Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society of America, Report for the Year 1908 
(Chicago: Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society of America, 1909), pp. 
22, 24. 

41. Ibid., p. 24. 

42. Ibid. 

43. Ibid. 

44. Homesteading by Jews was not limited to southeastern Wyoming. 
The interests of the J AS were mainly in Goshen and Platte counties. 

45. Dorothy Keenan, "The Jewish Settlement at Huntley, " Bits & Pieces, 
4 (March 1968): 12-14; ibid., "The Huntley Homesteaders," Bits & 
Pieces, 4 (October 1968): 1-6; "Cowboys & Kneidelach," Jerusalem 
Post, September 8, 1978, article in possession of the author; "The 
Jewish Community," in Mary Elizabeth Cotton Anders, ed., Iowa 
Center Journal: A History of a Community in Goshen Couyity, Wyoming 
(Scottsbluff, Nebraska: Brenizer Historical & Genealogical Publica- 
tions, 1983), pp. 6-8; Frank M. Fieldman, "The Jewish Settlement 
of Huntley, Wyoming," in "Biographical Sketches of Jewish Citizens 
of Cheyenne, Wyoming"; Amelia Massion Green to author, 
December 11, 1987. 

46. S. S. Pearlsdne, "Jewish Homesteaders in Wyoming-1913, " Westeni 
States Jewish Historical Quarterly, XII (October 1979): 31. 

47. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States, 
Coloftiat Times to 1970, Bicentennial Edition, Part 1 (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1975), p. 483. 

48. Pearlstine, pp. 31-32. 

49. "Jewish Farming in the Midwest," article in Jewish Agricultural 
Society Collection, American Jewish Historical Society. 

50. John G. Rice, "The Role of Community in Frontier Prairie Farm- 
ing," in Ward, p. 188. 

51. Interview with Arnold Sky, Denver, Colorado, June 13, 1987. 

52. Mindel Sincher to Mejlack Sincher, no date. Letters and Petitions, 
Vol. I, p. 80, Clerk of Dish-ict Court, Platte County, Wheatland, 
Wyoming. 

53. Wyoming State Board of Immigration, Biennial Report, 1911-1912 
(Cheyenne: S. A. Bristol Company, 1912), p. 46. 

54. Roy W. Schenck to Governor Joseph M. Carey, October 12, 1911, 
File 3387, Governor Joseph M. Carey Records, Archives and Records 
Management Division, AMH. 

55. Governor Joseph M. Carey to Roy W. Schenck, October 13, 1911, 
and October 24, 1911, Governor Joseph M. Carey Records. 

56. American Israelite, October 12, 1912, p. 3; Pittsburgh Press, October 
24, 1911, p. 14; Torrington Telegram, October 12, 1911, p. 1. 

57. Pittsburgh Press, October 24, 1911, p. 14. 

58. Ibid.; Covington [Kentucky] Post, October 21, 1911, Folder 2, Bob LO, 
Julius Rosen wald Papers, University of Chicago Library. 

59. Julius Rosenwald to M. F. Westheimer, March 16, 1912, Folder 12, 
Box XXn, Julius Rosenwald Papers. 

60. Julius Rosenwald to Charles Freund, August 1, 1913, Folder 11, Box 
XXII, Julius Rosenwald Papers. 

61. By 1912, Schenck managed to spend all of the money appropriated 
to his department and was ordered by Carey to stop altogether. 
Schenck has been viewed as impulsive and wasteful by one historian, 
but it must be remembered that Schenck was in competition with 
many older, more experienced state immigration boards. While 
Schenck's administrative style did not endear him to political op- 
ponents, feelings which were felt by the Carey administration, Carey 
did applaud the board for its work "of great magnitude" and urged 
the legislature to continue to fund it. The appropriation bill m 1913 
failed to pass. Betsy Ross Peters, "Joseph M. Carey and the Pro- 
gressive Movement in Wyoming" (Ph.d. dissertation. University 
of Wyoming, 1971), pp. 104-105, 167, 191; Message of Joseph M. Carey, 
Governor of Wyoming, to the Twelfth State Legislature, 1913 (n.p., n.d.), 
pp. 9-10, in Joseph M. Carey Collection, American Heritage Center, 
University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming. 

30 



Accompanying Schenck in Chicago was Carey's son, Robert. 
Carey's papers at the Wyoming State Archives, Museums, and His- 
torical Department suggest that Robert also played a role in the 
resettlement of Chicago Jews to Wyoming. Unfortunately, his let- 
ters to Carey on this matter are not in the governor's official records 
and Robert's personal records at the American Heritage Center fail 
to shed any light on this period of his life. 

62. Robinson, pp. 74-76. 

63. Ibid., p. 55. 

64. American Jeimsh Year Book 16 (5675/1914-1915): 283. 

65. Samuel Adams to Gabriel Davidson, n.d.. Reclamation Service, Of- 
fice of the Secretary, RG 48, Records of the Department of the In- 
terior, National Archives. 

66. Fifteenth Annual Report of the Reclamation Service, 1915-1916 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1916), p. 256; Twenty- 
first Annual Report of the Reclamation Service (Washington: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1922), p. 79. 

67. Goshen County Extension Service, Annual Narrative Report, 1923 
(n.p.), p. 4; ibid.. Annual Narrative Report, 1924, n.p. 

68. Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, Annual Report for the 
Year 1911 (New York: Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Socie- 
ty, 1912), p. 34; ibid.. Annual Report for the Year 1916 (New York: 
Jewish Agricultural and Industrial Aid Society, 1917), p. 11. 

69. Joseph, p. 288. 

70. Ibid., p. 126; The Provisbnal Commission for the Establishment of Jewish 
Farm Settlements in the United States, n.p., in The Organization for 
Jewish Colonies in America Records, American Jewish Historical 
Society. 

71. Assistant manager to David Bressler, October 15, 1906, Follow-up 
Correspondence, IRO Records, American Jewish Historical Society. 

72. Harry Coleman to IRO, June 27, 1912, Job Offers Accepted, IRO 
Records. 

73. Joseph, p. 186. 

74. Samuel Idelman to IRO, September 24, 1904, Local Agent's Cor- 
respondence, IRO Records. 

75. David Bressler to Samuel Idelman, September 30, 1904, IRO Records. 

76. Charles Benjamin to IRO, November 7, 1911, and November 21, 1911, 
IRO Records. 

77. Ibid., August 12, 1912, and August 22, 1912; Assistant Manager, IRO, 
to Charles Benjamin, August 23, 1912, and August 26, 1912. 

78. Charles Benjamin to IRO, June 25, 1914, IRO Records. 

79. See Bernard Marinbach, Galveston: Ellis Island of the West (Albany: 
State University of New York Press, 1983). 

80. Cyrus Adler, Jacob H. Schiff: His Life and Letters, Vol. 11 (Garden Ci- 
ty: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1929), p. 95. 

81. Ibid., p. 99. 

82. IRO Secretary to Morris Waldman, November 4, 1907, Galveston 
Immigration Plan Records, American Jewish Historical Society. 

83. Morris D. Waldman to David M. Bressler, February 21, 1907, 
Waldman-Bressler Correspondence, Galveston Immigration Plan 
Records. 

84. Morris D. Waldman to David M. Bressler, July 19, 1907, Waldman- 
Bressler Correspondence. 

85. Ibid. 

86. David M. Bressler, The Removal Work, Including Galveston (n.p.: 1910), 
p. 21. 

. Joseph, p. 290. 

. Thirty-seventh Annual Report of the Union of American Hebrew Congrega- 
tions (n.p., 1911), pp. 6512-6513. 

. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 14, 1868, p. 1. 

. American Israelite, November 16, 1888, p. 6. 

. Ibid., April 17, 1874, p. 7; December 22, 1892, p. 9; January 30, 1896, 
p. 1; February 4, 1897, p. 7; Jeanette Meisell Baron, ed.. Steeled by 
Adversity: Essays and Addresses on American Jewish Life by Salo Witt- 
mayor Ba ron (Philadelphia : The Jewish Publication Society of America, 
1971), pp. 235, 266. 

It was reported that a Jewish Mutual Benevolent Society met 



87 



in the Sternberger House. No further information was given as to 
the nature of the society or its activities. Cheyenne leader, January 
14, 1868, p. 1. 

92. Forty-third Annual Report of the Union of American Hebrew Congrega- 
tions (Cincinnati: May and Kreidler, 1917), p. 8032. 

93. The Cheyenne Leader noted the coming of the Jewish New Year in 
1868 to 1870, but did not reveal if it was being observed in the city. 
Probably the earliest recorded observation was held by George Frank 
and Brothers in South Pass Qty. George and J. H. Frank operated 
a clothing store, and George was also the only licensed auctioneer 
in Sweetwater County at the time. South Pass News, September 27, 
1870, p. 3; Michael Massie, Curator of South Pass City Historic Site, 
to author, July 15, 1988. 

94. For more information on the early Jewish community in Cheyenne, 
see Carl V. Hallberg, "Early Jews in Cheyenne," Rocky Mowitain 
Jewish Historical Notes, 8 (5747/Winter-Spring 1987); 3-7. 

95. Mrs. Julius AUenstein to Rev. Louis Grossman, June 5, 1915, Holi- 
day Positions, Hebrew Uruon College Records, American Jewish Ar- 
chives, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

96. Intermountain Jewish News, October 23, 1926, p. 2. 

97. Denver Jewish News, May 23, 1923, p. 3. 

98. Wyoming Jewish Press, September 22, 1930, p. 13. 

99. Casper Herald, October 2, 1929, p. 2; Casper Daily Tribune, October 
1, 1929, p. 8; ibid., September 22, 1930, p. 8. 

100. Denver Jewish News, January 24, 1923, p. 5. 

101. Wyoming Jewish Press, October 2, 1940, p. 4. 

102. Ibid., September 22, 1930, p. 6. 



103. Casper Herald, October 2, 1929, p. 2; Casper Daily Tribune, October 
1, 1929, p. 8. 

104. Rock Springs Rocket, September 26, 1924, p. 1; September 16, 1926, 
p. 1. 

105. Interview with Phyllis Silverman, Lakewood, Colorado, March 14, 
1987. 

106. Sheridan Post-Enterprise, September 28, 1924, p. 5. 

107. Corporation 76057, Defunct Corporations, Secretary of State Records, 
Archives and Records Management Division, Wyoming State Ar- 
chives, Museums & Historical Department; Amy Shapiro, A Guide 
to the Jewish Rockies: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming (Denver; Rocky 
Mountain Jewish Historical Society, Center for Judaic Studies, 
University of Denver, 1979), p. 34. 

108. Interview with Edward Shineberg, Rock Springs, Wyoming, May 
16, 1987; interview with Jonathan Shineberg, Rock Springs, Wyo- 
ming, May 16, 1987. 

109. Interview with Edward Jackson, Laramie, Wyoming, September 17, 
1987. 

110. "Cheyenne Synagogue Dedication," 1951, Sol Bernstein Papers, 
private collection. 

111. Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman to Mt. Sinai Congregation, June 14, 1951, 
Sol Bernstein Papers. 

112. Arme Schorer to author, December 26, 1985; "Biographical Sketches 
of Jewish Citizens of Cheyenne, Wyoming." 

113. Billings Gazette, April, 1960, article in Samuel Horowitz Papers, 
American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

114. "Cheyenne Synagogue Dedication." 



31 



THE WIND AT WORK 
IN WYOMING 

by Robert W. Righter 



The author would like to thank the Wyoming 
Council for the Humanities for a generous 
research grant which made this article possible. 




Laramie school children demonstrate some positive and exciting possibilities with the Wyoming wind. 
32 



Almost everyone reacts to the Wyoming wind. Take, 
as examples, two famous 19th century visitors. The first 
was John C. Fremont. In 1842, he and his men camped 
on the North Platte River. It was a normal July day: warm 
and sunny, with clear to partly cloudy skies. Most men 
were relaxing. However, Charles Pruess, the caustic Ger- 
man scientist, was busy. He had built a small fire in his 
tent-lodge and was measuring the temperature of boiling 
water. In an attempt at some ventilation, Pruess raised 
the ground pins of his tent. He got more than he bargained 
for. Fremont explains: "At this instant, and without warn- 
ing until it was within fifty yards, a violent gust of wind 
dashed down the lodge, burying under it Mr. Pruess and 
about a dozen men, who had attempted to keep it from 
being carried away. I succeeded in saving the barometer, 
which the lodge was carrying off with itself, but the ther- 
mometer was broken."^ 

Novelist Owen Wister offers another example. The 
famous author of The Virginian loved Wyoming. He con- 
tinually praised the contours of the country and the char- 
acter of the people. The wind, however, was another mat- 
ter. Writing to his mother in 1885, Wister explained that 
there was only "one thing about this country I don't like— 
and only one. The wind. Never did breeze fulfil [sic] the 
Scripture so completely. We'll be in the nuddle of a 
cloudless and calm, sunlight or moonlight. Without any 
premonition there'll come a rush from some where that 
blows the things off the table— slams the doors— tears up 
our tent pins— and has once taken the whole tent down. 
This wiE last about fifteen mintes [sic], and then everything 
will be as still and silent as before. "^ 

Pruess' and Wister's experiences were certainly not 
unique. Almost any Wyomingite can conjure up a story 
about the wind, and many of them are true. The wind has 
swayed Wyoming lives, and influenced the state's folklore. 
In Rawlins a restaurant waitress was asked if the wind ever 
stopped blowing. Her smug reply was: "Only when it 
stops to blow the other way."^ Thurman Arnold, perhaps 
Wyoming's most illustrious native son, told an oft-repeated 
story of Rawlins which is applicable to a host of Wyoming 
towns: "The wind stopped blowing for a moment, and 
everyone in town fell down."^ Ted Olson, reflecting on 
his boyhood days living on the Laramie River, recalled that 
sometimes the winter wind gusts "were so savage that we 
had to turn and wait until they worked their tantrums 
out. "5 Geologist David Love also talks of the wind and how 
its ageless work has eroded and shaped the Wyoming land- 
scape. Mixing folklore with history, and perhaps with a 
knowing twinkle in his eye, he divulged to author John 
McPhee that: "Old-timers used to say that a Wyoming 
wind gauge was an anvil on a length of chain. When the 
land was surveyed, the surveyors couldn't keep their 
tripods steady. They had to work by night or near sunrise. 
People went insane because of the wind."* 

The wind has always been a topic of conversation, and 
often it is more. It has turned a gentle rain into a tornado. 
In the winter time the "wind chill factor" has been the 



causal agent which turns a pleasant snowfall into a dan- 
gerous blizzard. In the milder months, like Fremont and 
Wister, Wyomingites have been haunted by abrupt winds 
which have knocked down trees, flattened gardens, blown 
off roofs and carried off most everything that was not bat- 
tened down. Aeolus, the Greek god who controlled the 
wind, was a fickle fellow, and no where was he more 
capricious than in Wyorrving and the arid West. Psy- 
chologically, the winds presence or absence has been said 
to determine moods of depression or skittishness. Some 
might argue that the wind has been a final catalyst for 
suicide, although such claims have no scientific basis.'' 

Science aside, the Wyoming wind is usually thought 
to be a negative force. One rarely hears a good word for 
the wind, except its ability to clear the air dtiring the mos- 
quito season. The purpose of this essay is to put in a good 
word for the Wyoming wind, this unappreciated primal 
force. Although it is unquestionably a nuisance, in some 
respects the wind has served us well. Undeniably, it has 
been a significant factor in the settlement of the state. 

When we think of the wind at work in Wyoming, we 
must first consider the windmill. Developed by the Per- 
sians in the 7th century A.D., these earliest windmills were 
employed to grind grain in more arid regions where water 
power was unavailable.* By the 12th century millers and 
farmers used them widely in England and northern 
Europe. In a world of intermediate technology and re- 
newable energy resources the windmill and the water- 
wheel provided power for numerous tasks.' 

However, these old world windmills were not trans- 
ferred successfully to the new world. A few English post 
type nulls were constructed on the Atlantic Coast, but 
waterwheels were more popular. The drier climate of the 
American West provided a more suitable environment. 
Westerners needed an apparatus that could pump water. 
But it could not be the European style, for to be successful 
this windmill had to be inexpensive, portable, self- 
regulating and require little maintenance. The inventive 
American-mind was equal to the task. Daniel Halladay, a 
Connecticut mechanic born in Vermont, developed just 
such a machine in the mid-1850s. By 1857, he and others 
had formed the Halladay Wind Mill Company. Two west- 
erly moves later, Halladay and his partners settled in 
Batavia, Illinois, under the corporate banner of the U.S. 
Wind Engine and Power Company. The company strug- 
gled in the 1860s, but by the mid-1870s it was on a firm 
financial footing. i" 

The "Halladay" windmill was the first to be used in 
Wyoming. The Union Pacific Railroad brought the first 
sizable White settlement to the region. Hand-in-hand with 
the railroad was the windmill, providing water to the 
thirsty steam locomotives of the Union Pacific. Various size 
windmills were installed at convenient watering places 
along the line. The largest boasted a wheel that had a cir- 
cumference of 39 feet. Such a windmill was installed in 
Laramie, and became a landmark for many years. These 
Halladay windmills were buUt to withstand the punish- 

33 



ment of the occasional gale-force winds that swept across 
the southern Wyoming plains. Protection was accom- 
plished by sections of wooden blades, each attached to the 
larger wheel. When the wind became severe each section 
would furl inward, allowing the wind to pass with little 
resistance. 

We also know that the Union Pacific Railroad made 
cattle raising feasible by providing transportation to eastern 
markets. However, the windmill was equally important. 
Pioneer ranchers settled along reliable streams and rivers, 
and ran their cattle in a close vicinity. This system was suc- 
cessful enough, but millions of acres of grassland proved 
unusable, simply because water was not available. It was 
impossible to utilize rangelands more than fifteen miles 
from a surface water source. The windmill resolved the 
problem, expanding the cattle range by thousands of acres, 
particularly in eastern Wyoming." 

State statistics on the use of windmills are non-existent. 
It has been estimated that some 6.5 million windmills were 
sold in the United States between 1880 and 1935.12 We do 
know that only a few Wyoming farmers used windmills 
for irrigation purposes. Generally, in the eastern corridor 
of the state they preferred to rely on dry land farming 
techniques for wheat and grain crops. But thousands of 
windmills were used to pump water for stock ponds. Just 
how many functioned in Wyoming at the turn-of-the- 
century is impossible to determine. Even today accurate 
statistics on the number of stock wells is unavailable. 
Pressed to give a number in 1985, Dick Stockdale, of the 
Wyoming State Engineers Office, estimated that some 
20,000 stock wells are in use, 7,000 of them powered by 
windmills." 

Perhaps the numbers are not important. We do know 
that the windmill became an accepted part of the Wyoming 
countryside. It offered a colorful vertical relief on the 
horizontal landscape. It demanded another skUl from the 
Wyoming cowboy, who might often be expected to climb 
the tower to oil the machine or make repairs. Often the 
windmill was the only landmark for many miles. Also, it 
provided the only water. Therefore, both cows and cow- 
boys congregated nearby. During harsh weather it could 
be a point of reference on an indistinguishable landscape. 
The windmill has been an enduring presence on the North- 
ern Plains, past, present and sirrely in the future. In many 
respects it is a highly practical technology. An abundance 
of wind is employed to alleviate a shortage of water. The 
windmill exploits a free, renewable and abtmdant source 
of energy to increase the supply of a scarce necessity of 
life. What more could one ask? 

While windmills were changing the use and appear- 
ance of the grasslands, in Wyoming towns another tech- 
nological wonder came into common use. By the early 
1890s, such towns as Cheyenne and Laramie boasted elec- 
tricity, produced by small steam-driven generating systenis. 
The advantages of electricity were apparent, particularly 
in lighting and power needs which involved turning or 
spinning. Ranchers were curious, and perhaps a few 
34 



longed to have this new labor-saving luxury. If so, it was 
possible, for in the 1890s, the Fairbanks, Morse Company 
made available an electric version of its popular Elipse 
windmill. i* It was the first wind unit available to the public. 
This variation on a water-pumping windmill was not suc- 
cessful. The multi-bladed wheel turned too slowly to 
generate efficiently. Nor was the machine reliable for 
customers unfamiliar with this new force called electricity. 

It was not until after World War I that "wind chargers" 
made their appearance in Wyoming and the Northern 
Plains. When they did, they looked altogether different 
from the water-pumping windmills. They used two and 
three-bladed propellers which had been developed by 
aeronautical engineers for airplanes during World War I. 
These propellers turned many more revolutions per 
minute, making an elaborate gearing system unnecessary. 
Thus in the 1920s, this new technology combined with a 
more receptive market to encourage a number of com- 
panies, both new and old, to begin production of small 
wind generators for rural use. 

For Wyoming ranchers the attraction was free fuel. 
Once the unit was paid for, theoretically the purchaser 
could have the advantages of electricity without cost. This 
was the "selling point" in competing with the gasoline- 
powered generators, popularly known as "Delco units." 
The HEBCO Wind Electric Company advertising leaflet 
was typical in its promise that the owner of their machine 
would have "electric power, running water under pres- 
sure—all Without Fuel Cosf— without the noise and bother 
of a gas engine ..." Among the testimonials of satisfied cus- 
tomers was that of a farmer from Wheatland, Wyoming.i^ 

Such machines as the HEBCO, the Aerolectric and the 
Jacobs were expensive systems, designed to provide for 
the electrical needs of a ranch or farm. Farm machinery 
such as a milker, separator, grinder and circular saw could 
be operated by a wind generator with an adequate storage 
battery system. Furthermore, home appliances could be 
used, easing the drudgery of household work. The Perkins 
Corporation claimed that their Aerolectric wind turbine 
"will furnish you with an automatic FARM HAND ..." 
It will do the washing, "make ironing a pleasure, make 
cleaning a joy" and will run such appliances as a toaster, 
a coffee percolator, curling iron and many others. *' 

As with the water-pumpers, it is impossible to estimate 
how many wind chargers operated in Wyoming. Company 
records are virtually non-existent. Neither federal, state nor 
county records give us any clues. One must be content 
with oral history. In conversing with a number of old-time 
Wyoming ranchers, one has little difficulty triggering a 
dialogue about wind chargers. Many used wind generators 
during the Depression era. World War II and the post-war 
years. If they did not have one, they usually recalled a 
neighbor that did. They were a common sight, particularly 
in the eastern counties of the state. 

Of course many of the uruts were not powerful or ex- 
pensive. Numerous ranchers simply desired to have 
enough electricity to operate a few 40-watt lights and a 



This photograph taken at 
Sherman Station in 
1869, is of a smaller ver- 
sion of the Halladay 
windmill (U.S. Wind- 
power) which was 
employed along the Union 
Pacific line. The 
photograph looks like the 
windmill is destroyed, but 
that is not the case. Most 
of the sections are simply 
furled inward, which 
meant it was a normal day 
on the pass— windy' 




Giant Laramie Windmill. This is, of course, a well known photograph of the largest of the Halladay windmills— 39 feet in circumference. Notice 
how it dwarfs the Union Pacific engine. 



radio. Such units as the Miller Airlite, the Universal Aerol- 
Electric, Paris-Dunn, Zenith, Airline, Wind King and 
Windpower could do the job with a nominal cost of $10 
to $100.1^ 

Though the proliferation of wind chargers and gasoline 
generators ("Delco units") was considerable, ranchers did 
not consider them the final answer. In towns and cities 
utility companies were stringing electrical wire, providing 
residents with unlimited centralized power. Ranchers 
wanted the same. However, because of the great distance 
involved, companies could not be persuaded to run lines 
to rural regions. 

Federal intervention provided central power for much 
of Wyoming's ranching community. In 1935, Congress 
passed the Rural Electrification Act, establishing the Rural 
Electrification Administration. This agency encouraged and 
subsidized the formation of cooperatives. Their purpose 
was to provide electricity to rural people. Between the late 
1930s and the 1950s, "hi-lines" were stretched throughout 
the state, bringing unlimited electrical energy to the 
countryside. 

Of course for every gain there is a compensatory loss. 
While few would question the benefits of REA power, the 
"hi-line" did still the wind chargers of Wyoming. Typically, 
they rusted on the tower, lofty monuments to a doomed 
technology. Sometimes they were discarded to the ranch 
yard scrap heap. They could not be sold, for no demand 
existed. They remained valueless until the rebirth of in- 
terest in the 1970s. The tower, however, advised Successful 
Farming magazine, could be put to good use as a televi- 
sion antenna!^* 

To some degree television added to the final demise 
of wind chargers in Wyoming, simply because it rep- 
resented the growing desire for electrical luxuries 
unavailable with the 32-volt wind charger system. Ida 
Chambers and her son Roy supplied the electrical needs 
of their Jackson Hole ranch between 1946 and 1954 with 
the "Windcharger" machine. However, they wanted to 
have television and a freezer, luxuries unavailable with the 
32-volt system. They hooked up to REA power. Just how 
successful their Windcharger system was is subject to 
dissimilar memories. Ida Chambers fondly recalled no 
repairs were necessary, and that it was a "very, very good 
investment" and "the greatest thing that ever was."" Her 
daughter-in-law Becky, however, remembered differently, 
recalling that when Ida hooked up to REA she "gathered 
all her 32-volt appliances, marched out to the yard, dug 
a hole, and threw them in— glad to be rid of them."^'' 

Across the state in Laramie, Joe Orr remembered his 
"Wind King" machine with fondness. He used it in his 
Centennial, Wyoming, cabin from 1947 to the mid-1950s. 
His primary difficulty was the batteries would freeze in the 
winter. Furthermore, it became more and more difficult 
to obtain Direct Current (DC) appliances, and parts became 
non-existent. When REA came along and offered to hook 
him up for only $10, and a minimum of $3.60 a month, 
he could not resist. ^^ 
36 





The Chambers place on Mormon Roiv, Jackson Hole. Ida and her 
daughter-in-law are mentioned in the manuscript. This is a "Wind- 
charger" unit which gave good service in the late 1940s and 1950s. 



Such stories abound in Wyoming. In truth, most peo- 
ple would agree with Clara Jensen, who lived in the tiny 
town of Lysite. She and her husband were mighty happy 
to get rid of their windcharger because it was constantly 
breaking down.^^ Geologist David Love, raised on an 
isolated Wyoming ranch, also recalled that his parents were 
constantly "fussing" with the wind machine." Thus, 
unless a rancher was particularly knowledgeable regarding 
electricity, a central power system was most welcome. Not 
only would it provide unlimited, reliable power, but no 
longer would you have to climb that tower and endanger 
your life fooling with the confounded wind machine! The 
fact that the rancher would no longer be "power-inde- 
pendent," and that more centralization might intrude on 
his individualism seemed a small price to pay. 

Today only a few small wind generators operate in the 
state. More familiar to most residents are the huge wind 
generators located near the town of Medicine Bow. Here 
the wind speeds average more than twenty miles per hour. 
With such potential, in 1977, the Bureau of Reclamation 
initiated an experimental project, with the thought that 
eventually a wind power plant featuring some 40 or more 
units and producing 100-megawatts of power would be 
developed. The bureau sponsored the construction of two 



units: the Boeing MOD-2 and the Hamilton-Standard 
WTS-4. The dimensions of these machines were quite stag- 
gering. The height with blades in vertical position of the 
Boeing MOD-2 was 350 feet, and for the Hamilton Stan- 
dard, almost 400 feet (391). The total weight of the Boeing 
was 580,000 pounds, and the Hamilton-Standard, 791,000 
pounds. Perhaps more significant, when generating 
properly, together the units would provide energy to meet 
the needs of some 3,000 homes. ^* 

The Medicine Bow units were part of a national re- 
search and development project. In the early 1970s, as a 
result of gasoline shortages and an awareness of the 
nation's energy dependence, the Department of Energy 
sponsored a MOD series of large wind generators in San- 
dusky (Ohio), Block Island (Rhode Island), Boone (North 
Carolina), Clayton (New Mexico), eastern Washington, 
northern California, and most recently, Hawaii. The ob- 
jective was to test the feasibility of large units, which might 
in the 21st century provide as much as ten percent of the 
nation's energy needs. ^ 

The success of this effort is open to differing interpreta- 
tions. On the positive side, much has been learned, and 
engineering knowledge has been expanded. On the nega- 
tive side, the machines broke down with disappointing 
regularity. The experimental unit at Sandusky, Ohio (Plum 
Brook Station), failed in less than two days, prompting the 
New York Times to headline its story, "$1 Million for orJy 
30 Hours of Work.''^^ 

At Medidne Bow, the Boeing and Hamilton-Standard 
were no exception. They were shut down frequently. Com- 
pounding the problem was the cost of repair. When the 
main bearing of the Boeing failed, the repair bill was 
estimated at $1.5 million. The Bureau of Reclamation put 
the unit up for sale, but there were no takers. In 1987, a 
scrap metal company dynamited the tower and hauled it 
all away. The Hamilton-Standard may suffer an identical 
fate. It is no longer operating. The Bureau of Reclamation 
has ended its experiment with the Wyoming wind, and 
even if the Hainilton-Standard escapes the wrecking ball 
and survives as a tourist attraction, its functional use is 
probably at an end. 

Is the functional use of Wyoming's wind also at an 
end? Has the failure at Medicine Bow drained forever the 
state's enthusiasm for wind energy? Not necessarily. The 
wind is still available, and elsewhere in the nation there 
have been notable successes. In California, tax incentives 
and the cooperation of utility companies has led to the 
development of wind power plants at Altamont, Pacheco, 
Tehachipi and San Gorgonio passes. There are well over 
15,000 units in California. 2'' They generate electricity for 
the average needs of more than 300,000 homes. ^^ Of 
course, these machines are not without problems. In 
engineering, blade fatigue has proved costly. Noise pollu- 
tion has become an issue. Many people find the wind 
power plants visually imattractive. These problems, com- 
bined with other obstacles, have caused some companies 
to file for bankruptcy. 2' 



In conclusion, during the past 100 years the wind has 
occasionally been bent to the wUl— rather than the con- 
sternation—of "Homo Wyomo," as T. A. Larson liked to 
call Wyoming people. Whether the Aeolian science can 
be used to further the prosperity and growth of the state 
remains to be seen. At present, wind energy is in— pardon 
the expression— the doldrums. The destruction of the Boe- 
ing MOD-2 and the shut down of the Hamilton-Standard, 
combined with small machine failures, is not encouraging. 
Elsewhere the wind energy business has been plagued 
with technical, environmental and economic crisis. Further- 
more, private and public utility companies have a surplus 
of electrical energy. Presently, they are actively opposing 
the cogeneration of energy from alternative sources. 

Yet, times change. Few can realistically believe that the 
energy crisis of the 1970s will not return in the new cen- 
tury. It would be folly to assume that energy abundance 
will permanently prevail over scarcity. Perhaps it is fair to 
prophesy that when Wyoming oil shale becomes valuable, 
so will its wind. One fact is evident: when the oil, the coal 
and even the oil shale are gone, the wind will remain. It 
will sweep across the corridor of the southern Wyoming 
plains as long as human beings scratch out a living. 
Perhaps one day it will be welcomed as a benefactor, pro- 
viding energy in a post-petroleum world when non- 
renewable sources are all but gone. Perhaps in a new cen- 
tury, Wyoming people will take to heart Professor of 
Engineering Emeritus John Hill's challenge: "People are 
always cussing and damning Wyoming's winds. Some say 
they're the cause of suicide. I say let's make winds our 
friends, not our enemies. "3" 



ROBERT W. RIGHTER is Associate Professor of History, at the University of 
Texas at El Paso. He is the author of two books, Crucible for Conservation: 
The Creation of Grand Teton National Park and The Making of a Town: 
Wright, Wyoming. 



1. Donald Jackson, Mary Lee Spence. The Expedition of John Charles 
Fremont, 3 Vols. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970), pp. I, 242. 

2. Owen Wister to his mother, July 28, 1885, in Francis K. W. Stokes, 
My Father, Owen Wister (Laramie, Wyoming: 1952), p. 40. 

3. Related to the author on a windy day in Rawlins. 

4. Thurman Arnold, Fair Fights and Foul (New York: Harcourt, Brace 
& World, 1965), pp. 9-10. 

5. Ted Olson, Ranch on the Laramie (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1973), 
p. 43. 

6. John McPhee, "Annals of the Former World," The New Yorker 
(February 26, 1986): 65. 

7. The most famous statement about the psychological effects of the wind 
was the novel. The Wind, published in 1926 by Dorothy Scarborough. 
The plot centers around Letty, a southern-born woman, who mar- 
ries a west Texan in the 1880s. Slowly the west Texas environment, 
and particularly the wind, bring Letty to a point of insanity. The novel 
was denounced in Texas. 

8. See E. W. Golding, The Generation of Electricity by Wind Power (Lon- 
don: E. & F. N. Sons, Ltd., 1976, 2nd Ed.), p. 6; also see Suzanne 
Beedell, Windmills (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975), p. 13. 

37 



10 



11 



See Edward J. Kealey, Harvesting the Air: Windmill Pioneers in Twelfth- 
Century England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987). 
T. Lindsay Baker, "Turbine-Type Windmills of the Great Plains and 
Midwest," Agricultural History, LIV (January, 1980), p. 39. For a 
definitive work on American-style windmills see T. Lindsay Baker, 
A Field Guide To American Windmills (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1985). 

In Walter Prescott Webb's The Great Plains (New York: Grosset & 
Dunlap, 1931), pp. 333-348, we find one of the first enlightening ex- 
planations of the importance of the windnuU in the settlement of the 
Great Plains region. 

12. Landt Dennis, Catch the Wind: A Book of Windmills and Windpower (New 
York: Four Winds Press, 1976), p. 61; Kansas Wind Energy Handbook 
(Kansas Energy Office, 1981), p. 2. 

13. Interview with Dick Stockdale, Wyoming State Engineers Office, by 
author, August 13, 1985. 

14. Baker, Field Guide to American Windmills, p. 45. 

15. Herbert E. Bucklen Corp. (HEBCO) folder. Windmill Literature Col- 
lection, Pan Handle Plains Museum, Canyon, Texas. 

16. Perkins Corporation, folder 4, Windmill Lit. Collection, Pan Handle 
Plains Museum. 

17. Michael A. Hackleman, The Homebuilt, Wind-Generated Electricity Hand- 
book (Mariposa, California: Earth Mined, 1975), passim. Hackleman 
made no effort to identify all the manufacturers, but simply noted 
the brands that he had located and often restored to use. Also, of 
particular note: Hackleman stated that eastern Wyoming was a par- 
ticularly fruitful hunting region for old wind chargers, simply because 
REA was late in arrival, and the arid climate guaranteed that the 
discarded apparatus would not be badly rusted. 



18. R. Fincham, "Use Your Windmill For Television," Successftil Farm- 
ing 48 (AprU 1950); 111. 

19. Interview with Ida Chambers by author, August 4, 1986. Ida 
Chambers was in her 90s at the time of the interview. She has since 
passed away. 

20. Interview with Becky Chambers by author, June 30, 1986. 

21. Telephone interview with Joe Orr by author, August 12, 1985. 

22. Clara Jensen, a leader in the Wyoming Historical Society, has since 
died. She told the author about her dissatisfaction with the wind 
generator informally in 1982. 

23. As with Qara Jensen, this information was recalled by David Love 
in an informal conversation with the author. 

24. Information from a Bureau of Reclamation pamphlet titled, "Wind 
Power from Medicine Bow" (n. p., n. d.), pp. 8-11. 

25. British Wind Energy Association, Wind Energy for the Eighties 
(Stevenage, UK: Peter Peregrinus Ltd., 1982), p. 172: also see "Wind 
Power From Medicine Bow," p. 11. 

26. New York Times, Sunday, June 27, 1976. 

27. Donald Marier, Paul Gipe, "Bridging the Gap," Alternative Sources 
of Energy 87 (January 1987): 6-9. 

28. See "Windletter," Number 4, 1988, publication of the American Wind 
Energy Association. 

29. "Windletter," Number 4, 1988, p. 4. There are two monthly 
magazines which regularly report on the successes and failures of 
the wind energy business. They are Alternative Sources of Energy, and 
Windpower Monthly. 

30. Laramie Boomerang, March 20, 1977. 



38 



DR WILLIAM SABIN BENNETT: 

The Rise and Fall of 
a Pioneer Doctor 



by Ester Johansson Murray 




39 



"I was born in Lawrence, Kansas, a few days after the 
bloody raid on the town by Quantrill," said Dr. William 
S. Bennett, when interviewed for the Northern Wyoming 
Herald, May 16, 1913, at the peak of his prominence and 
career.' Although Dr. Bennett sometimes stated his age as 
figured from 1863, the Quantrill attack date, his death cer- 
tificate revealed his birth day was July 1, 1870. Perhaps to 
give himself more credibility as an experienced doctor, he 
added seven years to his actual age. This alteration of truth 
is minor compared to later actions of this upwardly mobUe, 
respected physician, who reached great success, only to 
fall into disgrace, to be tried in a court of law for immoral 
behavior and eventually to die from alcoholism. His trial 
was a result of breaking a law which is practically unknown 
today, the 1910 Mann Act, also known as the Federal White 
Slave Act, a law to prohibit interstate transportation of 
women for immoral purposes and directed at prostitution. 

Bennett grew up in Chicago and claimed it as his home 
town. He graduated from Hahnemann Medical College of 
Chicago with honors in March, 1891. Later he took courses 
at Chicago Post Graduate College and at the Ophthalmic 
College of Chicago so he could fit glasses. While "filling 
in" for six weeks for Dr. McGown in Friendship, Wiscon- 
sin, he met and married Clara Elizabeth Holm on 
September 23, 1891. Clara was born in Friendship on 
February 23, 1868, the daughter of Andrew and Rebecca 
Barnson Holm. 

Bennett established a practice in Meeteetse, Wyoming, 
in 1899, after the state issued him a license to practice 
medicine, surgery and obstetrics on February 14 of that 



year. 2 All together the Bennetts had four sons and one 
daughter. Bertram was the first born, Frank, born May 13, 
1894, Clara, who died in infancy in 1896,^ William Sabin, 
"Bill," or "Willy," was born in Meeteetse on February 28, 
1899, and Joseph Dexter, "Jo," often spelled Joe in the 
newspapers, was also born in Meeteetse, June 12, 1900. 

In connection with his medical practice, Bennett 
established the first drug store in Meeteetse, Bennett's 
Drug, with himself as manager. It was located on the 
northeast corner of the block between Park and State 
streets, across from the Mercantile. It later became the 
Pioneer Pharmacy.* 

Bennett advertised his business in several ways. He 
purchased ads in the Meeteetse and Cody newspapers. He 
also had at least one outdoor advertising sign painted by 
his friend, Italian Count Valentin deColonna, aka Bill 
MOler, a remittance man who was decorated with the Croix 
de Guerre during World War 1. The sign is near Highway 
120, one mile north of the historical Halfway Station sign 
and is 300 feet west of the old road between Cody and 
Meeteetse. Faintly discernible in 1987, it must have been 
painted before 1909, when the doctor moved to Cody. It 
is on an east facing rock, painted white with a black border 
and black letters. It is approximately eight feet by four feet 
on the fairly even surface of coarse, beige colored sand- 
stone. It consists of three lines, the top says "BEN- 
NETT'S," the middle "DRUG STORE," and the bottom 
"phone 58." On the top of the sign is a small, round white 
circle with a red cross, Bennett's logo. 

During their tenure in Meeteetse, the Bennetts lived 



The Bennetts' home in 
Meeteetse, Wyoming. 




40 




Dr. Bennett's advertisement between Cody and Meeteetse. 



in a house diagonally across the intersection from the bank. 
The present address of that house is 2006 Warren Street 
and is a two story house painted yellow with white trim. 
Jeanette Cheeseman Miller lived near the Bennetts and 
recalled Mrs. Bennett dressed the boys nicely and kept up 
a fashionable home. She also said, "Dr. Bennett was a nice 
looking man, he and Mrs. Bennett were 'dressy people.' 
He was one of the best doctors in the country. "^ 

When the Cheesemans lived at their ranch near the 
Upper Sunshine School, Bert Cheeseman broke his leg. 
He was outdoors during recess, running and playing in 
the school yard and stepped in a prairie dog hole. He was 
taken to the ranch house and his folks sent a rider off on 
the twenty mile trip to Meeteetse to get the doctor. Ben- 
nett arrived late that night in his horse and buggy. "1 was 
just a little kid," said Jeanette, "and I was so scared 1 hid 
under the bed."* 

Another long time resident of Meeteetse, Georgia 
Schulties, said her mother, Mrs. Avery, was at times a mid- 
wife in the town. She remembered that Dr. Bennett did 
not want to take care of patients who could not pay.'' 

Bennett served the community in other ways than just 
his medical practice. In 1901, the townspeople elected him 
councilman.* He also served "several times" as mayor.' 

Bennett served as a member of the Wyoming House 
of Representatives when the residents of Big Horn County 
elected him to that body in 1908, on the Republican ticket 
with 2,682 votes. During his term he authored a bill that 
took saloons out of drug stores and restricted the sale of 
poisons and harmful drugs. He initiated the law for the 
State Board of Health to collect vital statistics and worked 
to have Park County become a separate county.'" 



In 1904, Bennett opened an office in Cody. He still had 
a thriving business in Meeteetse so he divided his time.'' 
By 1909, however, the Bennetts moved to Cody. They sold 
their home and many of their furnishings to Mr. and Mrs. 
Frank Blackburn and family. '^ In Cody they bought a two 
story house next to the big, boxy, Sant Watkin's house 
which was on the comer of "First" Street and Bleistein. 
The present address is 1032 Bleistein Avenue. Neither the 
outside of the Meeteetse house nor the Cody house has 
been greatly altered and the exteriors of these homes re- 
tain their historical integrity. The local newspaper greeted 
their move by stating that Dr. Bennett was an "active, 
public spirited gentleman, as well as a pushing business 
man." He also was a member of the Masonic organization. 

Following the move to Cody, Bennett went to Chicago 
where he took a seven week post-graduate course in 
surgery at the Chicago Post-graduate Hospital. It was 
noted that while there he bought an x-ray machine and 
up-to-date appliances.'^ 

In Cody, he established his office, his drug store and 
a jewelry store in the gray, native stone building east of 
the Irma Hotel. It was known as the Cody Drug and 
Jewelry Store. It is today 1202 Sheridan Avenue. His slogan 
was "Bennett Handles the Goods," and his logo was the 
small red cross. Jay Powers, Mrs. Bennett's brother-in-law, 
was in charge of the merchandise. 

Bennett was well received in Cody. He was a slim, 
handsome man with dark hair and mustache, energetic, 
amiable and had all the social graces of a polished 
gentleman. He was closely connected with every major 
event in Cody in one way or another, medical, social or 
civic. In 1912, he was elected to the school board in Cody. 

In 1913, at the height of his popularity, Bennett ran 
on the Peoples Ticket for mayor and was elected for one 
term. As one of Cody's leading citizens and mayor he had 
many official and unofficial duties as town booster. Ac- 
cording to Ray Prante, "Bennett was a great promoter of 
Cody."'-* When the Secretary of Interior came through in 
1913 to tour the North Fork, Bennett entertained them. 
When the Prince of Monaco came out to hunt with Buf- 
falo Bill at Pahaska, Bennett welcomed the prince on the 
veranda of the Irma Hotel and later had a "long chat with 
the Prince," according to the newspaper. 

After " Spend- A-Million" Gates returned from his 
famous 25-day hunt in the Thorofare in 1913, he became 
Ul and Bennett was called to his private Pullman car to con- 
sult with Gates' personal physician. Following Gates' 
death from apoplexy, Bennett accompanied the body to 
New York, and later took advantage of being in the East 
to meet with Wyoming legislators in Washington, D.C. He 
also purchased a supply of Christmas merchandise for his 
drug and jewelry store. Only one reference mentioned he 
was paid $10,000 and all expenses for his services to the 
Gates family.!' 

About this time was noted the first hint of the begin- 
ning of changes in the personality and actions of Bennett. 
Prante stated it this way: "After he came back from his 

41 




The Bennetts' home in Cody, 

Wyoming. 



trip with the body of Spend-A-Million Gates is when he 
went bad. Something happened about that time. Mrs. Ben- 
nett stayed by him all the time through all the troubles."^* 

Despite financial troubles and extra-marital in- 
volvements, Bennett continued his active life and career, 
all done at a fast pace. He was one of the first men to buy 
an automobile in Cody and drove as fast and sometimes 
faster than road conditions would allow. He had a 48 hp 
Oakland and in 1913 bought a new 54 hp, 6 cylinder Hud- 
son with electric lights and an electric starter. On April 24, 
1914, as goodwill ambassadors, Bennett and "Billy" 
Deegan, cashier of the First National Bank, met the 
MacAlleenan hunting party at the Burlington depot and 
drove them to the Majo Ranch at the head of the South 
Fork, where they were booked for a spring bear hunt. Joe 
MacAlleenan later wrote in his book, Dian/ of a Wyoming 
Bear Hunt, about the exciting ride from the depot to Cody. 
"We proceeded at high speed and skidded three times hit- 
ting the guard rail." That was on the rain-slippery clay 
roads from the depot, down over the Shoshone River 
bridge and up the Mill Hill road onto 2nd Street (now 12th 
Street), into town. Even with the harrowing ride, the hunt 
was a successful one."' 

A sampling of Bennett's medical calls will be listed as 
they were reported in the local newspapers or from recent 
interviews with people who have a direct memory of 
him. Gladys Jordan Allen remembered Bennett treated her 
sister, Edith, who contracted polio about 1910. He was 
called and confirmed a diagnosis of polio, or infantile 
paralysis as it was known then. He was not able to pro- 
vide any curative treatment. Allen said: "He prescribed 
42 



some medicine that came in a glass bottle. My mother put 
the bottle on her dresser and when the sun shone on it 
the bottle blew up."^* 

A 1913 issue of the Northern Wyoming Herald reported 
he left early one morning for the YU Ranch near Meeteetse 
where Joe Isham was "dangerously ill" with an attack of 
appendicitis. Apparently he drove his Oakland at full 
speed. It did not state, however, whether he had to operate 
on the kitchen table. 

In December, 1914, Bennett had to make an urgent 
business trip to Burlington, Wyoming. Three Cody boys 
hitched a ride to see a basketball game there. Bennett, rac- 
ing along in his Hudson, turned a corner at too high a 
speed and the car flipped over. It pinned Bennett under 
the steering wheel and scattered the boys. The boys freed 
him and all walked into Burlington, got help and the next 
morning returned to Cody under their own power. 

In January, 1915, when Pat Kelly had an accident at 
the Red Hill tunnel, Bennett made it to the scene of the 
accident in fifteen minutes, the newspaper boasted. Surely 
he was at that time "the fastest doc in the West." 

During May, 1915, Bennett, as official greeter, was on 
his way to meet the mayor of New York City to escort his 
group into Cody. He stripped the gears on his car at Sage 
Creek, a few miles east of Cody, and his good friend, J.M. 
"Jakie" Schwoob, another auto owner, had to send his 
car out as a replacement. 

Thus Bennett rushed about the Big Horn Basin, 
treating patients and greeting notables. One would think 
he was the only doctor available, but during the years he 
practiced, there were from time to time in Cody, Drs. 



Howe, Waples, Lane, Bradbury, Ainsworth, Trueblood 
and Kinney. Occasionally there was cooperation, but 
mostly each one took care of his own patients. 

Bennett accompanied his son, William, to New York 
where he had enrolled at Cornell University. The oldest 
son, Bert, had worked as a cashier at the First National 
Bank for several years. He resigned and went into selling 
insurance, moved to Casper and later to Cheyenne. In 
1916, there was the first publicized hint of financial prob- 
lems when the First National Bank brought suit against Dr. 
Bennett for default. 

For a number of years, while Bennett was carrying on 
his duties as a doctor and promoter of Cody, he also was 
carrying on in a highly improper manner by having an af- 
fair with Cassie, a madam from one of Cody's brothels. 
According to Prante: "He was quite a nice man, he just 
got off on the wrong foot. He was very handsome. He just 
seemed to go to pieces overnight. When he came back from 
that trip east with the body of Spend-A-MilUon Gates, he 
wasn't Dr. Bennett anymore."" That was in 1913, how- 
ever, and it was in 1919 that he became financially 
strapped, and in 1921 that his business and extra-marital 
affairs became intolerable to the civic leaders of Cody. 

In talking with early residents of Cody, one finds a 
number of tales of the affair between Bennett and Cassie. 
Huldah Hoglund Borron said the stress of the overwork 
from the 1918 flu epidemic got to him. He openly began 
seeing and supporting his mistress. "He bought his wife 
and Cassie each a dress exactly alike, said Borron, and 
when Mrs. Bennett was at the post office getting her mail, 
Cassie also was there, leaning over to get her mail from 
her box. When she straightened up they confronted each 
other in the identical dress." Borronfelt "this was the final 
straw for Mrs. Bennett. She stayed on awhile and then 
moved to Cheyenne to be near her son, Bert."^" 

Myrtle Tennyson recalled when Dr. Bennett and Cassie 
wanted to get away from it all and have some privacy they 
drove out in the hills and pitched a tepee. Lloyd Tennyson 
said one time his family, the Einar Tennysons, were com- 
ing in from their home up Cottonwood Creek near Marlow 
Basin, and when they got down past Dan Marlow's place 
and were on the old Convict Road, they saw Bennett's car 
and the tepee he and Cassie had pitched in that remote 
spot. 2^ 

Prante said one time Bennett and Cassie drove out on 
a dark night to a local trysting place called Red Lake, south 
of Cody on the old Southfork road. Red Lake is a dry lake 
bed, but that night it was gumbo mud and the pair had 
to slog out through it. The car was left stuck in the mud.^^ 

By 1918, Bennett's interests in financial matters were 
taking precedence over his interest in his medical practice. 
In June of that year, the local newspaper reported he had 
returned from a "trip to Nevada where he closed one of 
the biggest deals of recent date in mining circles by pur- 
chasing the old Silver Eagle property near Ely, Nevada, 
also the Taylor mine." This was the Taylor mining district 
of the 1893 era, sixteen miles south of Ely. His plans were 



for a big campaign of development to clean out and build 
a big concentrating mill. Bennett said there was $1,000,000 
worth of ore in sight of the mines.-' 

He had been struck with mining fever and was pour- 
ing his efforts and money, and other people's money, into 
this old mine. According to Lloyd Tennyson, Bennett had 
talked several Meeteetse men into sinking money into his 
investment. These men were D.H. "Whoopie Dan" 
Wilson, E.P. Bowman, who built a hardware store in 
Meeteetse in 1902 and who served as postmaster for fif- 
teen years, Fred A. Whitney and Martin L. Pratt. These 
men formed the Wyoming Mining and Milling Company. 
Apparently each one put in $25,000 at first, then another 
$25,000. After investing so much they hated to quit and 
kept going deeper and deeper until they had sunk from 
$100,000 to $125,000 each. According to Tennyson, "Charlie 
Webster was at the time miffed because he wasn't asked 
to join the company, but the investment broke the Mee- 
teetse men. Mrs. Whitney hawked her diamonds and Mrs. 
Bowman was reduced to eating out of garbage barrels."^* 

Bennett was convinced that by using modern methods 
the mine could be operated profitably. He believed they 
could cull the mine dump of 20,000 tons of silver ore. 
However, first they had to build a six mile long water line 
and buy and install a compressor hoist and other equip- 
ment. The bullion was to be shipped to the California 
United States Mint. Silver was at that time up in value. 
The venture never did succeed. 

Even with his personal and business difficulties, Ben- 
nett's personal popularity was slow to decline. The State 
Board of Health appointed him health officer for Park 
County in April, 1919. He continued to travel frequently 
and in the same month of his appointment, he made a trip 
to Salt Lake City. He was in need of a new car and bought 
a second hand super six speedster. 

Apparently strapped for money, he sold his Cody 
Drug Store to Drs. Trueblood and Lambert, but he kept 
his medical practice. He sold his jewelry stock to a buyer 
in Riverton and sold his real estate in Meeteetse. 

Bennett did attend to his medical practice when he was 
in town. On May 15, 1919, he was in attendance and 
delivered this writer. Apparently, his mind was not com- 
pletely on his work because he left a surgical needle in the 
patient's bed. This was soon noticed. 

When Bennett stayed in Cody and practiced medicine 
he was a competent physician. Frances Jones Purvis (Mrs. 
Henry) in a 1987 interview said, "Dr. Bennett was a 
brilliant man, ahead of his time. He saved my life in 
1919. "25 

Frances Purvis, aged 86 in 1987, has lived a vigorous 
outdoor life since Dr. Bennett amputated her right leg 
because of impaired circulation in 1919. She first sought 
treatment from Drs. Lane of Cody and Whitlock of Powell 
for an undiagnosed illness. She had spent eight weeks in 
Whitlock' s Powell hospital, returned to Cody and was stay- 
ing with the Walter Kepfords. She was constantly feverish 
and losing weight. It was Stampede time, 1919, and her 



left leg felt "like it was going to sleep all the time." It was 
decided to call her doctor to come and check her. Lane 
was so delayed in coming that after a long wait Bennett 
was called. 

Purvis had been running a temperature since March, 
so upon examination Bennett decided she had an infec- 
tion causing pus in her pleural cavity. He made two holes, 
one in her side and one in her back and cleaned out the 
pus. She was "put under" with ether. ^^ This operation 
cleared up the chest problem and she responded well. Her 
temperature went down right away, but there was a clot 
under her knee and after a month the clot still had not 
dissolved and her "toes were drying up and turning black." 
Bennett called in another doctor for consultation and they 
decided the leg had to be removed. Bennett performed the 
surgery and left a \Vi inch stump below the knee. He had 
wanted to leave a longer stump, but wanted to get well 
above the trouble spot and get "good sound flesh," so fur- 
ther amputations would not be necessary. Purvis weighed 
70 pounds after her illness and she was very weak. By 
September her leg and back had healed and she began to 
regain her health. She had kind feelings toward Bennett, 
as she said, "He saved my life."^^ 

In March, 1920, the ?ark County Enterprise noted Ben- 
nett returned from a four month trip in the Seven Lakes 
District in New Mexico. "He acquired quite a lot of acreage 
and got some producing oil wells." He had added oO to 
his other mining interests. The other Cody newspaper, the 
Northern Wyoming Herald, a more straight-laced paper and 
not friendly with Bennett, published on March 10, 1920, 
"Dr. W.S. Bennett accompanied by E.L. Bridgford of 
Denver and Miss Ruth T. Steigerwald of New York City 
arrived in Cody overland. These two people represent 
capital. Bennett is engaged in the oil game in southern 
states and has bought a home in Denver but expects to live 
here and resume his practice of medicine in Park County." 
The April 28, 1920, issue of the Park County Enterprise, put 
it this way: "Dr. Bennett returned to Cody and expects 
to remain in Cody and devote his time entirely to his pro- 
fession and practice." 

Bennett found another investment closer to home. In 
May, 1920, a group of investors made up of Bennett, Larry 
Larom, Caroline Lockhart, S.A. Hired and CM. Conger 
purchased the Park County Enterprise. Two months later, 
despite his promise to remain in town and continue his 
practice, Bennett traveled to Ely, Nevada, on a business 
trip regarding his silver mine. 

About this time Bennett began a series of moves. He 
moved his office from the Cody Drug to space in the Irma 
Hotel and hung an electric sign on the porch over the en- 
trance. His office probably was the last room on the 
southeast corner, later used as an office by the Valley 
Ranch Company. Perhaps as an economy effort, the Ben- 
netts moved out of their home on Bleistein and into the 
Christ Church rectory in November, 1920. After a brief time 
there they moved into a residence at the comer of Beck and 
First Street.28 

AA 



In December, 1920, the Bennetts again moved, this 
time from the house at the corner of Beck and First Street 
to an apartment in the Irma Hotel. While things were go- 
ing from bad to worse, the worst was yet to come for Ben- 
nett, although it must have been some consolation that his 
three sons were rising to prominence. The Park County 
Enterprise reported that W.S. Bennett, Jr., was appointed 
Assistant District Attorney for the city and county of 
Denver. "The twenty-two year old man was born in Park 
County, Wyoming, and a graduate of Cornell University. 
He is the younger brother of Major Bennett, Secretary to 
Governor Carey of Wyoming. "^^ 

All through his adventures, Bennett continued as 
health officer, but by the summer of 1921 there was 
outright pubUc disapproval of his conduct. How long this 
feeling had been latent is difficult to tell. The people did 
not approve of his affairs with Cassie and other women. 
There was much disapproval of his bilking the Meeteetse 
investors. His in and out of town ramblings were not 
looked upon favorably. The slowness of action by the 
townspeople partly could be because he was a doctor, his 
wife was above reproach and his sons were achievers. 
However, from June, 1921, until his death in March, 1924, 
it was all downhill for him. 

The Northern Wyoming Herald reported in its June 22, 
1921, issue, a resolution adopted by the Cody Club, Cody's 
Chamber of Commerce and the town's ruling hand. 

Inasmuch as the conduct of the present incumbent of the 
county health office, W.S. Bennett, has been decidecily of a 
disgraceful nature, the club endorsed the following resolution 
to be sent to the governor of the state and the secretary of the 
public health department at Cheyenne: 

"To the Honorable Governor and the State Board of Health 
of Wyoming: 

"At a regular meeting of the Cody Club held Monday noon, 
June 20, 1921 the following resolution was introduced and 
unanimously adopted: 

"Resolved, That the Cody Club is shocked and outraged 
by the reported ungentlemanly and dishonorable behavior of 
the present County Health Officer, and hereby asks the Gover- 
nor and State Board of Health for his immediate removal and 
the appointment of some one in his place whose conduct is more 
nearly in accord wdth the ideals of honor and decency held by 
this community. Several times in the past few years this town 
has been agog over some scandal in which this individual was 
reported as the chief actor, and this club voices the enlightened 
sentiment of this community, in requesting that he be per- 
manently retired from any office of honor and responsibility 
in this county, from this time forth. 

(Signed) The Cody Qub"'" 

This resolution must have been another embarrassment to 
the family, especially to Bert Bennett, who worked in 
Governor Carey's office. 

Newspaper items of Bennett became very short al- 
though his family's activities still were covered. In July, 
1921, it was reported that Jo Bennett, "an honor man at 
Yale" and a junior was a friend of the J. Pierpont Morgan 
family and accompanied them on their yacht on a cruise 
to Bermuda. And in September, "Cody loses a bridge 



player when Joe [sic] Bennett returns to school." Two years 
later after his father's scandals had surfaced, young Jo was 
following an active social life, the newspapers stated he 
was making a trip around the world with the Colgate fam- 
ily. ^^ Returning to the business of the elder Bennett, the 
Park County Enterprise reported on December 7, 1921, that 
"Dr. Bennett is moving to GreybuU where he will set up 
an office." 

News stories from 1922 reveal what was going on in 
Bennett's private life. What happened to his affair with 
Cassie is not certain, but in November, 1922, a newspaper 
had a headline which read: "Greybull Pair Is Nabbed By 
Police." 

Dr. W.S. Bennett, 52 year old physician, and Mrs. W.E. St. 
Clare [sic] 31 and pretty, both of Greybull, were fined $50.00 
and costs each in police court yesterday afternoon as the result 
of their arrest early yesterday in one of Sheridan's leading 
hotels. 

A raid on the room occupied by the pair at 3;45 o'clock 
yesterday morning brought sensational developments. Mrs. St. 
Clare [sic] is said by the officers to have attempted to escape 
by crawling out the window. The attempt was foiled however, 
by the appearance of two officers below the window. The light 
had been turned out and door locked, the officers said. 

The two had arrived in Sheridan on the late night train and 
had registered at the hotel under the names of J.D. Ashley and 
Mrs. Jennie D. Shirley, and had been assigned to rooms on dif- 
ferent floors. The arrests were made by Officers Staggs, Rogers 
and Fowler of the dty police force and Todd of the Burlington 
special agency, who first gave warning to the city officials. 

Mrs. St. Clare [sic] is being held on word from Greybull 
officers that she is wanted there. Her husband is said to have 
filed suit for divorce against her asking custody of their small 
daughter. She and the physician are said to have fled from her 
husband, who telegraphed Thursday to local police to be on 
the lookout for his wife.'' 

By way of explanation for this compromising situation, the 
Rustler said Bennett had discontinued his practice in 
Greybull and was on his way to Lodge Grass, IVIontana, 
to open a new practice. He posted the appropriate money 
for himself and Mrs. St. Clair and he was freed, with a 
trial pending in 1923. 

As is sometimes the case in these affairs, the more that 
comes to light the more confusing and improbable it be- 
comes. The Rustler added further information. The doctor 
returned to Greybull, but St. Clair was held at Sheridan 
on a charge of kidnapping her little daughter. In the 
pending divorce case. Court Commissioner Bonwell had 
given the mother custody of the child. Later, an order had 
been issued giving the father the right to see the child a 
part of each week. In taking the child to Sheridan she had 
violated the court's order. A few days later the court 
ordered the father be given custody of the child, the 
charges of kidnapping were withdrawn and St. Clair left 
for Cheyenne. 

The trial in the case of the United States against Dr. 
W.S. Bennett for violation of the Mann Act took place in 
Cheyenne five months later, beginning on April 19, 1923, 
and ending April 21.^3 The Mann Act also was known as 
the White Slave Traffic Act. It was a criminal offense to 



transport any woman or girl in interstate or foreign com- 
merce for the purposes of prostitution, debauchery or other 
immoral purposes. Congress had passed this act on June 
25, 1910. 

The Wyoming State Tribune and Cheyenne State Leader for 
April 21, had the headline, "Hung Jury Result of Bennett 
Trial Mann Act Charge." Some of the testimony was in- 
credible. St. Clair stated at the trial that her husband had 
been abusive toward her and she had fled with the doctor 
as a result. Then the doctor declared there had been no 
immorality, that he had taken ill in his room and St. Clair 
had come to nurse him. The officers testified that "she was 
in negligee attire when arrested." 

The Tribune reported St. Clair was the star witness and 
gave several pieces of conflicting testimony. After objec- 
tions from the prosecuting attorneys, the defense attorneys 
insisted it is a woman's privilege to change her mind. 
Testimony from young lawyer, W.S. "Bill" Bennett, 
brought out the fact that he had been trying to get his father 
relocated in Lodge Grass from Greybull and St. Clair was 
to be his office girl and nurse. Also mentioned was that 
Mrs. Bennett had departed to visit relatives in the East in 
May, 1922. The defense declared it was not a separation. 

R.L. Wilson took the stand and testified Bennett had 
rented rooms from a bank in Lodge Grass for setting up 
an office, but had changed his mind after the notoriety he 
and Mrs. St. Clair had gained after being found together 
at the Sheridan Inn. When St. Clair took the stand in rebut- 
tal, testimony revealed she had bought clothes at the 
Denver Dry Goods Company in the amount of $165.25 in 
November, 1922, and at Daniels and Fisher for $200.00. 
Bennett had paid both bills. 

Legal facts on the Bennett trial show there were two 
dockets, numbers 1958 and 1959.34 Docket 1958 is the 
U.S.A. vs. W.S. Bennett— violation of the Act of Congress 
known as the White Slave Traffic Act. Docket 1959 was 
essentially the same except Jennie St. Clair was added as 
codefendant. 

Both pled not guilty to the charge. Bennett's bond was 
$2,000, later reduced to $1,000, the same as St. Clair's. The 
jury could not agree on a verdict in the case and was 
discharged. In November, a new trial date was set for 
December 10, 1923. On December 4, Bennett's attorney 
filed a motion for continuance which was granted. The sec- 
ond trial was then scheduled for May, 1924. 

There Was to be no new trial, however, as Bennett died 
March 30, 1924. The Nevada Death Certificate stated Ben- 
nett, age 53 years, 7 months, 29 days, died of "Alcoholism 
(chronic)." Contributory cause was "Moonshine." Ben- 
nett, Jr., who gave his address as Rawlins, Wyoming, 
signed for the body, which was buried in Ely, Nevada. 

Bennett's obituary in the local newspapers was short. 
The Park County Herald for April 2, 1924, stated he had been 
practicing in Ely for several months. The Cody Enterprise 
and the Meeteetse News had equally brief statements. 

Mrs. Bennett moved back to Friendship, Wisconsin, 
where she taught grade school for many years. She died 

45 



February 6, 1954, having outlived all but one of her 
children. 

Most of the memories of Bennett have faded away in 
Park County. All that remain are the houses and buildings 
occupied by him and his family, bits of advertising signs 
painted on sandstone rocks, newspaper stories and folk 
tales, and some antique furniture representing more stories 
than will ever be known about the life of a once promi- 
nent physician, whose life followed a path of self destruc- 
tion and ended ignominiously. 



ESTER JOHANSSON MURRAY (Mrs. John A.) is a Cody native. Her father 
came to Cody in 1902, and was an old-time guide. Her mother arrived in 1910. 
Murray is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and has had articles published 
in Annals of Wyoming, True West and In Wyoming. She is a member of 
the Park County and Wyoming State Historical societies and lives in Billings, 
Montana. 



1. On August 21, 1863, William Clarke Quantrill led a band of 450 
Confederates and guerillas who sacked and burned Lawrence, Kan- 
sas, and murdered 150 men and boys. E.B. Long, The Civil War Day 
by Day: An Almanac (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Com- 
pany, Inc., 1971), p. 399. 

2. Archives and Records Management Division, Wyoming State Ar- 
chives, Museums and Historical Department (AMH Dept.), Cheyenne. 

3. Letter from Edith Holm Dittburner, ruece of Clara Holm Bennett, 
Friendship, Wisconsin, to author, June 25, 1988. Edith believed one 
child was buried in Meeteetse, and possibly the other also. She did 
not know the cause of death. This writer examined all the Meeteetse 
gravestones August 21, 1988. There were none for Frank or Clara 
Bennett. 

4. Interview with Bob Adams, March, 1987, Cody, Wyoming. 

5. Interview with Jeanette Cheeseman Miller, September, 1986, Cody, 
Wyoming. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Interview with Georgia Avery Schulties, October 26, 1986, Meeteetse, 
Wyoming. 

8. Cody Enterprise, February 25, 1987. 

9. Northern Wyoming Herald, May 16, 1913. 

10. Ibid. 

11 . Lucille Nichols Patrick, The Best Little Town by a Dam Site (Cheyenne, 
Wyoming: Flintlock Publishing Co., 1968), p. 77. 



12. Interview with Margaret Blackburn Hughes, October 26, 1986, 
Meeteetse, Wyoming. 

13. Wyoming Stockman and Farmer, September 17, 1909. 

14. Interview with Ray Prante, September 7, 1986, Cody, Wyoming. 

15. Billings Gazette, January 9, 1966. Feature interview with 90 year old 
Dick Nelson of San Diego, California, former Wyoming railroad man. 
Nelson said, "A Cody doctor, who by the request of his (Gates) family 
in New York, accompanied the remains on the special train, and was 
paid $10,000 and all expenses." According to Edith Dittburner, "Uncle 
Will (Dr. Bennett) was a very kind man and wonderful doctor. After 
his contact with the hunter who died in Cody (Spend-A-Million Gates) 
he stopped in Friendship and took his wife's cousin, Clara Smith, 
who had been paralyzed early in life, to Chicago to consult specialists. 
Unfortunately, she was not helped." Telephone conversation with 
Edith Dittburner, August 10, 1988. Qara Smith "was Register of Deeds 
in Friendship for years and years. Court house employees remember 
Bert Bennett, always dressed in western clothes, pushing his aunt 
Clara Smith's wheelchair up the ramp almost on a daily basis." Let- 
ter to author from Alma Thurber, Register of Deeds, Adams County, 
Wisconsin, May 3, 1988. 

16. Interview with Ray Prante, September 7, 1986, Cody, Wyoming. 

17. Joseph MacAUeenan, Diary of the Wyoming Bear Hunt (Brooklyn, New 
York: P.J. Collison & Co., n.d.), pp. 7, 35. 

18. Interview with Gladys Jordan Allen, September 4, 1987, Cody, 
Wyoming. 

19. Interview with Ray Prante, September 7, 1986, Cody, Wyoming. 

20. Interview with Huldah Hoglund Borron and Francis Hayden, March, 
1986, Cody, Wyoming. 

21. Interviews with Lloyd and Myrtle Freeborg Tennyson, 1986 and 1987, 
Cody, Wyoming. 

22. Interview with Ray Prante, September 7, 1986, Cody, Wyoming. 

23. Northern Wyoming Herald, June 12, 1918. 

24. Interviews with Lloyd and Myrtle Freeborg Tennyson, 1986, and 1987, 
Cody, Wyoming. 

25. Interview with Frances Purvis, March 7, 1987, Cody, Wyoming. 

26. Myrtle Freeborg Tennyson recalled being Frances' roommate at Kep- 
fords. She said she was enlisted to help with the draining process. 

27. Interview with Frances Purvis, March 7, 1987, Cody, Wyoming. 

28. In renumbering the Cody streets. First Street became 11th Street. Park 
County Archives, Cody, Wyoming. 

29. Park County Enterprise, September 15, 1920. 

30. Northern Wyoming Herald, June 22, 1921, p. 1. The last time Bennett 
was paid for serving in this position was June, 1921. Archives and 
Records Management Division, AMH Dept. 

31. G. Colgate roomed with Jo Bennett during his sophomore year. 
History, Qass of 1922, Yale Uruversity. 

32. Big Horn County Rustler, November 17, 1922. 

33. The Bennett court records are at the Denver Federal Center. Agency 
Group #21 Accession #57-A-48, Agency Box 26 of 37. Old location 
#469899. New location Denver Federal Center, Building 48, Denver, 
Colorado. 

Federal Qerk of Courts Office, Joseph O'Mahoney Building, 
Cheyenne, Wyoming. 



34 



46 



INSIDE WYOMING 



One of the darker chapters m our nation's history was 
the interning of the 110,000 Japanese-Americans and 
Japanese alien residents living on the West Coast during 
World War II. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 
fears that these two groups posed a threat to the security 
of the United States led to an intense campaign by West 
Coast public officials to deal with the Japanese- American 
community. Their efforts resulted in President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt signing Executive Order #9066 on February 19, 
1942, which allowed for the evacuation of the West Coast 
Japanese and their placement into restricted areas. Eventu- 
ally, the government constructed ten relocation centers in 
various parts of the country to house the uprooted 
Japanese residents of the West Coast. 

Wyoming played an important role in the relocation 
because of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, active 
from 1942 until November, 1945, between Cody and 
Powell. This camp housed more than 10,000 Japanese and 
in size was the third largest city in Wyoming at the time. 

The federal government formed a new agency, the War 



Relocation Authority (WRA), to oversee the evacuation and 
manage the camps. The various names of the camps, as 
in the case of Heart Mountain, were derived from local 
geographic features or nearby settlements. Titles included 
Manzanar, Gila River, Tule Lake and Jerome among 
others. Called concentration camps by many, including the 
internees, the WRA euphemistically used such terms as 
"colony," "relocation center," "resettlement center," and 
"evacuation center." This was done because WRA officials 
"felt it was easier to win public acceptance and find jobs 
and homes for 'relocatees' from 'relocation centers' than 
'prisoners' from 'concentration camps.' "^ 

The WRA portrayed these camps as typical American 
communities, even though they were surrounded by 
barbed wire and watched by armed soldiers in guard 
towers. Guy Robertson, Project Director for Heart Moun- 
tain, stated in 1943 that the Wyoming community of 
Japanese was just like "any normal community in interests 
and activities."^ 

These claims of normality for the concentration camps. 




"Evening falls over the Heart Mountain Relocation Center where nearly 11,000 persons of Japanese ancestry reside. One by one, 
lights dim out in the barracks and Wyoming's third largest city dozes off to sleep." (September 19, 1942) 



47 



however, according to one historian, were "simply untrue. 
Whatever appearances there were of a healthy, full com- 
munity life were just that— appearances. At most they pro- 
vided a thin veneer over a life filled with petty conflict, 
artificiality, and pain." Work in the camps "was either a 
combination of drudgery and 'make-work' or else public 
improvement projects deliberately designed to benefit the 
non-Japanese who would remain in the area after the war 
was over." Wages were very low, $12 a month for un- 
skilled labor, $16 for semi-skilled and $19 for professional 
or highly skilled. The WRA espoused the principles of free 
speech and self-government, but in reality these were cur- 
tailed or non-existent. 3 

"Heart Mountain, in conception, design, and opera- 
tion, was a concentration camp. To those imprisoned there, 
the realities of existence were not community involvement 
or meaningful work or self-government, but rather con- 
finement, dependency and powerlessness."'' According to 
the editor of the Heart Mountain Sentinel: "... there is 
something lacking. Perhaps it is because no American ever 



can be satisfied with existence behind barbed wire under 
the eyes of armed sentries. Perhaps the lack can be ex- 
pressed in the one word, freedom, without which life loses 
zest and living becomes an empty pantomime."' 

Recently, the Photographic Section of the Wyoming 
State Archives, Museums and Historical Department re- 
ceived a collection of WRA photographs, complete with 
original captions, of Heart Mountain. These photographs 
present an idyllic view of the work, educational and recrea- 
tional activities of the internees. No barbed wire or armed 
guards are seen, only the edited excerpts of daily life. 

1. Bill Hosokawa, Nisei; The Quiet Americans (New York: William Mor- 
row and Company, Inc., 1969), p. 348. 

2. Douglas W. Nelson, Heart Mountain: The History of an American Con- 
centration Camp (Madison: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 
1976), p. 31. 

3. Nelson, Heart Mountain, pp. 31-34. 

4. Ibid., p. 34. 

5. Heart Mountain Sentinel, January 1, 1943, p. 4, c. 2. 




"A nursery school group at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center where persons of fapxinese parentage, evacuated from west coast defense areas 
are now residing." (January 4, 1943) 




"Furniture for the schools, public buildings and administrative offices is being made in the wood working shop at the Heart Mountain Relocation 
Center by these evacuee residents." (September 22, 1942) 

49 




' 'A shoemaker busy in the shoe 
repair shop at the center. With 
every available shoemaker at work, 
the flood of shoe repair is so great 
that completed work is promised 
in three months. The rough coun- 
tryside and a town without 
sideivalks and pavement areas 
makes short work of foot gear. " 
(January U, 1943) 



"For this young former 
Califomian of Japanese 
ancestry, learning to ice skate 
is a challenge. By this, his 
third time out, he has learned 
a healthy respect for the 
vagaries of ice and is intent in 
learning to avoid a third layer 
of bruises. Centerites en- 
thusiastically took up ice 
skating at the first Wyoming 
winter freeze." (January 10, 
1943) 




50 




"Young Mike Hosokawa's chief interests are mechanical. In the tradition of American boyhood, his toys were 
soon in pieces to see what makes them go. His father, Bill Hosokaiva, Nisei leader and editor of the Sentinel, 
Heart Mountain Relocation Center newspaper, is a graduate of Washington U, a former West Coast neivspaper 
men [sic] and foreign correspondent in the Orient." (January 8, 1943) 



R1 



"Ruby Hifumi, 16 year old 
high school student with a 
special Neiv Year's flower ar- 
rangement. The material is a 
piece of pine, a sprig of sage 
with paper flowers indicating 
a plum tree and a paper bam- 
boo. The flower arrangement 
of the three materials sym- 
bolizes in order, hardiness, 
courage and strength. " 
(January 9, 1943) 





"Minnie Hegoro, an art student at the 
University of California in Los Angeles before 
the evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry 
from west coast defense areas, is taking up 
the art of the potters wheel at the Heart 
Mountain Relocation Center Ceramics Plant, 
where dishes and other pottery products for 
this and other relocation centers will be 
made." (January 12, 1943) 



52 




"Tloo small girls, whose grand- 
parents came to the United 
States from Japan, play with 
clay toys in the nursery school 
at the Heart Mountain Reloca- 
tion Center." (January 4, 1943) 



"A group of centerites gather 
around two of the center's ex- 
pert Go players. The game, 
popularly conceived as a game 
of military strategy, it is 
more nearly a battle of keen 
wits, tho even this has been 
frustrated by a six year old 
boy who recently defeated IS 
players in simultaneous 
games at this center. " 
(January 4, 1943) 




53 




"Visiting soldiers from the Army of the United States are entertained in the Heart Mountain Rebcation Center where persons 
of Japanese ancestry, evacuated from west coast defense areas, now reside; by girls of the Heart Mountain USO, the only nationally 
recognized USO chapter operating within a relocation center." (June 4, 1943) 



54 



ANNALS' REVIEWS 



Vie Sword of the Republic: The United States Army on the Frontier, 1783-1846. 
By Francis Paul Prucha. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. 
Originally published: New York: Macmillan Publishing Co. Inc., 1969. 
Illustrated. Maps. Index. Notes. Bibhography. xvii and 442 pp. Cloth 
$29.95. Paper $12.95. 

Francis Paul Prucha is one of our most respected west- 
ern historians. Beginning with the publication of his Har- 
vard doctoral dissertation in 1953 {Broadax and Bayonet: The 
Role of the United States Army in the Development of the North- 
west, 1815-1860), Prucha launched a writing career that has 
spanned a quarter-century and includes 22 volumes of 
history and 40 monographs and miscellaneous pieces. 
While his early writings dealt with antebellum military 
history, his later work has centered on American Indian 
policy, and his recent two-volume study. The Great Father: 
The United States Government and the American Indians, 
published by the University of Nebraska Press, 1984, is 
recognized as the definitive work on the subject. For his 
remarkable record, his peers honored him in 1987 with the 
Western History Association Prize for distinguished 
studies. 

Originally published in 1969, Sword of the Republic is 
the culmination of Prucha's early interest in military 
history. His book is the first chronological volume in The 
Macmillan War of the United States Series (17 volumes), 
produced in the 1960s and 1970s under the general editor- 
ship of Louis Morton. Generally, Prucha tells the story of 
the beginnings of the regular army and its role in establish- 
ing American sovereignty on a frontier rapidly expanding 
from the Appalachians to the Pacific Ocean during the period 
between the American Revolution and the Mexican War. 

On June 2, 1874, the last Revolutionary soldiers left 
federal service, except for 25 men at Fort Pitt and 55 at West 
Point, specifically retained to guard military stores. The 
following day. Congress asked the states for 700 men for 
one year to garrison former British posts in the West that 
were now under U.S. control. The need to protect settlers 
on the northwestern frontier from Indian warfare con- 
vinced members of Congress to provide for the same 
number of troops in 1785, this time providing a three-year 
authorization and dropping the description of the force as 
"militia." This was the inauspicious beginning of a regular 
army, which by 1845 would number 8,509 officers and men. 

Slow growth in numbers during the 1785-1845 period 
reflected the belief of the Founding Fathers that a standing 
army in peace time was inconsistent with the principles 
of republican government and dangerous to the liberties 
of a free people. But the frontier grew rapidly— tre- 
mendously with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803— and 
Indian tribes presented a continuing problem, requiring 



protection for and from the rush of exploiters and settlers 
that filled the Old Northwest and spilled over into the 
trans-Mississippi West in a few decades. Besides its role 
as the agent of empire, the army physically attacked the 
wilderness, building forts, roads and bridges, and at times 
conducting extensive farming operations and gathering 
some of the first scientific data on the great hinterland. 
Among the major campaigns of the period were Indian ac- 
tivities surrounding the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War 
of 1832 and the Second Seminole War of 1835-1842. The 
volume ends with a description of the army's early ac- 
tivities on the Great Plains and the founding of Fort Kearny 
and Fort Laramie to protect westward migration. While 
Prucha notes that American ideals inhibited development 
of the strength needed to carefully control westward ex- 
pansion and avoid several lamentable conflicts, the army 
was able to uphold American dominion within the terri- 
torial limits of the United States from foreign encroach- 
ments and against Indian nations and thereby successfully 
performed its mission. 

One will find very little social history in this volume. 
While problems of desertion and drinking are mentioned, 
there is nothing, for example, on the army ration, what 
soldiers did for entertainment or what they suffered from. 
Nor does the author treat weaponry or other equipment. 
Developments in the staff branches of the service— quar- 
termaster, subsistence and medical, to name three— are not 
covered. Occasionally, the necessity for treating subjects 
topically within an overall chronological context creates 
problems. We find, for example, onpage 391, that in 1845 
Stephen Watts Kearny recommended against the purchase 
of Fort Laramie for a military post and, on page 393, that 
in 1842 John C. Fremont recommended in favor of it. 

When this volume appeared in 1969, it received rave 
reviews. Robert Athearn called it "a tremendous piece of 
research," and Richard Knopf declared that "it should re- 
main the standard work on the army before 1846 for many 
years to come." Nearly 20 years later, those judgments 
stand. 

JOHN D. McDERMOTT 
The reviewer is a freelance historian, Sheridan, Wyoming. 



Entrepreneurs of the Old West. By David Dary. Lincoln: University of Ne- 
braska Press, 1987. Originally published: New York: Knopf, 1986. 
Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. Notes. 325 pp. Paper $11.95. 

David Dary has given us another book on the "Winning 
of the West." Dary's focus is on what he calls "a silent 

55 



army; ' ' businessmen, town-builders and speculators fixed 
their gaze on profit and self-advancement, and with luck 
and guile "in time, tradebecame thecivilizerof the West." 

Dary provides factual information on particular inci- 
dents of western history. His book is a chronicling of the 
rise and/or fall of selected individuals who are examples 
of the market-place ethic. The stories of Wells, Fargo and 
Company, Russell, Majors and Waddell, the Goldwaters 
in Arizona, all the names, dates and anecdotes are the 
substance and the theme of this book. 

By far the brightest parts of the book are the snatches 
of original documents, the personal diaries and letters, the 
company inventories and price lists and the physical descrip- 
tions of trading posts, bank buildings and "boom" towns. 
The glimpse of John HubbeU's trading post empire or John 
Chisum's cattle kingdom, or Granville Stuart's 1862 diary 
description of mining in Montana are worth reading. 

Dary's illustration of the prime importance of the 
railroad in promoting and building the West is an exam- 
ple of the continuous and essential involvement if not the 
actual underwriting of commercial ventures by the federal 
government. Dary does not confront this complex relation- 
ship directly and there are other points raised in the book 
which could well have been enlarged upon. The federal 
government's "hands off" policy toward the West dur- 
ing the Civil War is another inviting story. President Lin- 
coln was so anxious to have a pro-Union West that 
Nevada's 1864 constitution was telegraphed to him, word 
by word. Dary finds the important point earlier established 
by Gene Gressley that much of western enterprise was 
built on eastern money. It was easy to start a bank in the 
West, but the interest rates were too high for most "profit 
seekers" so they borrowed eastern capital. Dary also 
reiterates the fact that ranching, for instance, was a risky 
business, and many investors lost money. 

Saying all this, we need to recognize that Entrepreneurs 
of the Old West is "old-fashioned" western history that ac- 
cepts without blinking the injury done to minorities, 
Indians and the land itself in the name of progress and 
"potential profits." Dary makes it appear as though fron- 
tier "fleecing," robbery and pettiness were all an expected 
part of what was an economically-directed westward 
movement. Dary's strongest intellectual outrage goes only 
to the point of saying, "the country merchant . . . did not 
conduct business with a great deal of alertness to customer 
interest." 

Dary's attitude toward Indians is short-sighted— they 
simply stood in the way of expansion and economic op- 
portunity. In 1880s Oklahoma, Indian leaders "fought 
every move to organize the territory for statehood." By 
1875, "the Indians were gone from Texas, and the region 
. . . was safe for White settlement." 

Finally, there was no compelling reason to have writ- 
ten this book. Apart from the interesting details and anec- 
dotes, this is a book which requires no mental investment 
by the reader. And, as well-meaning as it is, the book 
perpetuates a misplaced conclusion. 
56 



Dary has it that this "silent army" of entrepreneurs 
were transformed by the West, "as they crossed the un- 
settled prairies and plains ... a unique spirit that was less 
trammeled by tradition began to emerge;" they began to 
believe in self-reliance, independence and dream of 
freedom; they helped to create a West which valued per- 
sonal initiative. 

Not quite. The West may have provided a wider op- 
portunity for self-advancement, but it did not create the 
principle. The pioneers, merchants, land speculators, cat- 
tlemen and town builders were already committed to the 
values of the enterprise system. "Seeking opportunity and 
profit" is, for better or worse, what America is all about. 
That is the very basis which has laid out the contours of 
our society. Ours has always been a nation whose sense 
of identity is connected to its commerce. 

We need to place the West within the mainstream of 
American history and to recognize its continuity as well 
as its uniqueness. 

ROY JORDAN 
The revieuier is Associate Professor of History, Northwest Community College, 
Powell, Wyoming. 



The Bozeman Trail: Highway of History. By Robert A. Murray. Boulder, 
Colorado: Pruett Publishing Company, 1988. Illustrated. Map. Index. 
85 pp. Cloth $24.95. Paper $11.95. 

During the middle of the 19th century, American ex- 
plorers found another of the continent's natural "high- 
ways," this one lying north of Fort Laramie, Wyoming. 
Soon called the Bozeman Trail, the 400 plus mile "high- 
way" extended north by northwest along the Big Horn 
Mountains and across the border, then west by northwest 
to the mining camps and valleys of southern Montana. For 
the five years of 1864-1868, the Bozeman Trail played a cen- 
tral role in the drama of United States-Indian relations and 
a somewhat more ambiguous role in the history of west- 
ward migration. Robert Murray has penned a series of 
brief, encyclopedia-styled sketches of the prominent 
pioneers, soldiers, stations, forts, Indian battles and 
historic incidents whose names have become associated 
with this trail. His purpose is to provide "tourists, students 
and armchair history buffs" with a "capsule" of "the 
colorful events of the early days along a whole trail system 
in readable form within a single volume" (Introduction). 

Murray's book begins with a first chapter on the origins 
of the trail and its earliest Indian and American users. The 
story of the traO itself is then told in 40 encyclopedic en- 
tries found within the next four chapters, chapters which 
focus upon specific segments of the trail as it was traveled 
from north to south (e.g. "Bridger's Ferry to Fort Reno"). 
Most of these entries relate to the earliest efforts to main- 
tain the Bozeman Trail during the 1860s, with additional 
entries on the pioneering and military efforts of the 1870s. 
The 40 entries are of three lengths: 50-100 words to cover 
such topics as "Montgomery Van Valzah's Mail Party 



Massacre," 250-300 words to cover such topics as "The 
German Lutheran Mission On The Powder River," and 
800-900 words to cover such topics as "The Wagon Box 
Fight." The book concludes with a fine essay, "The Boze- 
man Trail Today," which provides useful information on 
the physical remains, museums, highways, and so forth, 
appropriate for the modern road explorer. 

Murray writes in a straightforward, sometimes folksy, 
style. Unfortunately, his generally informative, readable 
entries are disrupted with occasional "gee whiz" facts and 
observations of little relevance to the story line and with 
an annoyingly chronic use of the exclamation point to ar- 
tificially punch up the narrative. The strong suit of the 
book, however, is the visual presentation of the story of 
the Bozeman Trail. Murray or the editors of Pruett should 
be commended for the knowledgeable selection of the 70 
paintings, drawings and photos, and the more than 40 por- 
traits, which strikingly document the history of the trail. 
Well-designed maps could have enhanced both the writ- 
ten and pictorial components of the book, but the editors 
instead chose to insert four times the very same map 
already printed twice as the inside front and back covers 
of the book. These inserted maps, slightly larger in scale, 
contain no new cartographic information. 

Books of this nature must be judged, finally, on how 
well they meet the needs of their intended audience. In 
this regard, Murray's book may be of use for those who 
want brief factual information on the people and events 
associated with the early history of the Bozeman Trail. 
However, students and buffs should be aware that even 
modest-sized libraries wiU likely contain virtually all of the 
ready-reference information provided by Murray. Students, 
buffs and librarians will more likely want to consider pur- 
chase of this book on the merits of its pictorial presenta- 
tion. As for motoring tourists, the book could provide some 
pleasurable, irvformative motel reading, but the always 
sound tourist advice, caveat emptor, suggests a perusal of 
the book before parting with one's money. 

DAVID L. FERCH 
The reviewer is Associate Professor of History, Mount Mercy College. 



Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Bighorn. By Neil C. Mangum. 
El Segundo, CA.: Upton and Sons, 1987. Illustrated. Index. Notes. 
Appendices. Bibliography. 180 pp. Cloth $35. 

The Custer Tragedy: Events Leading up to and Following the Little Big Horn 
Campaign of 1876. By Fred Dustin. Introduction by Frank Mercatante. 
El Segundo, CA.: Upton and Sons, 1987. Reprint of 1939 edition 
by Edwards Brothers, Inc. Illustrated. Notes. Appendices. Bibliography. 
275 pp. Cloth $45. 

Custer saw. Custer rode. Custer died, along with more 
than 200 men of the Seventh Cavalry. This relatively in- 
significant military engagement on the Little Bighorn River 
in Montana has spawned more research and publications 
than any other single event in American history. Upton 
and Sons Publishers has recently released a series of books 
related to the Battle of the Little Bighorn, including Neil 
C. Mangum's Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little 



Bighorn and a reprint of Fred Dustin' s 1939 study. The 
Custer Tragedy. 

Little had been written concerning the conflict on 
Rosebud Creek, even though it occurred just eight days 
before and a few mUes east of the Little Bighorn engage- 
ment. Using primary and secondary sources, Mangum cor- 
rects this omission by providing a detailed and interesting 
account of General Crook, his role in the 1876 military cam- 
paign, and the battle just inside the Montana border from 
Wyoming. As part of a three-pronged military offensive 
which included General Terry's and Colonel Gibbon's col- 
umns in Montana, Crook's army of 1,325 soldiers and 260 
Crow and Shoshone scouts invaded Indian country from 
Wyoming in June, 1876, hoping to force some Sioux and 
Cheyenne onto reservations in Dakota Territory. Fearing 
that the soldiers would attack their camps, several hun- 
dred Indians charged Crook's column on Rosebud Creek. 

With the help of maps and photographs, Mangum de- 
scribes the details of the ensuing six hour struggle, in- 
cluding the key role the Indian scouts played in keeping 
Crook's casualties to a minimum. Nevertheless, the Sioux 
and Cheyenne accomplished their objective when Crook 
retreated to Goose Creek in Wyoming, eliminating the 
threat to their villages. 

As a conclusion to this primarily military account, 
Mangum compares and contrasts Crook's and Custer's 
styles of command and the resulting differences in the out- 
comes of the Rosebud and Little Bighorn engagements. 
Noting that the three columns were operating indepen- 
dently of each other and that immediate communication 
of the results of the battle was impossible, the author 
makes a good case for absolving Crook of any blame for 
Custer's subsequent downfall on the Little Bighorn 
battlefield. 

While Battle of the Rosebud offers new information and 
interpretation, the scope of the book is limited primarily 
to military maneuvers, which is characteristic of most 
studies of the 1876 campaign. As a result, several impor- 
tant points are neglected, such as what the Sioux and 
Cheyenne hoped to accomplish by staying in such large 
camps, why the Crow and Shoshone were leading White 
soldiers into battle against other Indians, why the military 
was attacking people who were rightfully occupying their 
land, and what significance, if any, did the Indians attach 
to the fight. Addressing these issues would have identified 
the cultural and economic conflicts which precipitated the 
battle, thereby providing a meaningful context for the 
events detailed in the book. 

Just a few days after the Rosebud engagement, Custer 
and a couple hundred soldiers rode down Medicine Tail 
Coulee and never returned. Fred Dustin 's 1939 study. The 
Custer Tragedy, provided the most comprehensive examina- 
tion of the battle of the Little Bighorn and the most com- 
plete bibliography of Custer literature up to that time. His 
detailed account of the battle and the events surrounding 
it have been repeated, revised and supplemented by count- 
less writers over the past 50 years. Yet, his portrayals of 

57 



Colonel Custer and Major Reno are the more interesting 
and controversial legacies of the book. 

Disputing previous publications by Edward Godfrey, 
a survivor of the battle, and Elizabeth Custer, the colonel's 
widow, DustLn believes Custer to be ". . . one of the most 
overrated men on the stage of American life" and describes 
him as power hungry, pretentious, egotistical, immature and 
arrogant. In contrast, the author defends the actions of Reno, 
who often was blamed for Custer's disaster. Using primary 
sources and reconstructing the battle at the scene 62 years 
later, Dustin contends that Reno's retreat saved his men 
from the same annihilation that Custer failed to prevent. 

Even though many of Dustin's conclusions about the 
battle, Custer and Reno's decisions would be disputed by 
later researchers. The Custer Tragedy elevated the study of 
this conflict from eulogies of Custer to a more thorough 
and comprehensive scholarship. As a result, his work re- 
mains important, although students of the battle would 
need to wait eighteen years for most of the Indian par- 
ticipants' views of the fight, initially contained in David 
Humphreys Miller's Custer's Fall. 

Dustin's and Mangum's books offer new insights into 
the 1876 military campaign, furthering our understanding 
of these two battles. Mangum's work will be particularly 
valuable to the State of Montana in its efforts to preserve 
and interpret the Rosebud battlefield. However, one con- 
tinues to hope for another "Fred Dustin" to arrive on the 
scene in order to advance the scholarship again, beyond 
detailed accounts of military engagements and colorful per- 
sonalities to research on the more important historical 
forces which precipitated these battles and continue to af- 
fect Indian-White relations today. 

MICHAEL A. MASSIE 
The reviewer is the curator/historian of the South Pass City State Historic Site, 
Wyoming. 



distinguished directors of Westerns, Tuska points out, in 
first-person sentences, what he likes or dislikes about their 
work. Sometimes the criticism seems influenced by friend- 
ship. For instance, after providing the narration of a some- 
times disgusting interview with director Sam Peckinpah, 
Tuska writes: "With the affection I have come to feel for 
this man over the years, it is not the easiest thing to write 
critically of his Western films, yet it must be done" (p. 
119). The reader is left wondering if Tuska provided such 
an apology just to suggest his criticism has the validity of 
an insider "who knows." Whatever the reason, it un- 
necessarily seems to call the author's impartiality into 
question. 

More interesting than Tuska 's discourses on the works 
of directors is his section on frontier legends. There, he 
traces the lives of such luminaries as Jesse James, Billy the 
Kid, Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp and how they have 
been portrayed on fOm. He concludes that each has been 
variously shown as "all bad, all good, or as good becom- 
ing bad" (p. 218). Tuska takes issue with film critics who 
claim that the decade during which the film was made 
largely determines how they will be portrayed in it. In- 
stead, Tuska reiterates the point from his chapters on par- 
ticular directors: the interpretation is a personal one made 
by the individual director. In a sense, he reasserts the 
"great man theory" and applies it to filmmaking. 

The book, despite occasional irritating digressions, 
should be of interest to any Western movie-goer. Whether 
or not one agrees with Tuska 's point of view, his argu- 
ments may cause one to reevaluate how and why particular 
Westerns have become movie classics. 

PHIL ROBERTS 
The reviewer is a doctoral student in history at the University of Washington, 
Seattle. 



The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to the Western. By Jon Tuska. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Originally published: 
Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1985. Illustrated. Index. 
Notes. Bibliography, xix and 264 pp. Paper $10.95. 



Nezv Views of Monnon History: A Collection of Essays in Hotwr of Leonard ]. 
Arrington. Edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher. 
Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987. Index. Notes. Bibliog- 
raphy, xvii and 438 pp. Qoth $19.95. 



Jon Tuska is no stranger to film criticism or the Western 
genre. In fact. The American West in Film is the second book 
Tuska has written about the making of Western movies. 
His first, a popular history of Western film production, met 
with mixed reviews following its publication by Double- 
day in 1976. 

Tuska admits in the preface to this volume that it was 
not possible to combine film history and film criticism into 
one book about Westerns. Therefore, the casual reader ex- 
pecting a flashy tale of Western movie-making may be 
disappointed with The American West in Film even though 
Tuska does serve up bits of movie set gossip and plot lines 
of films in between his very personal criticisms and 
elaborate arguments of film theory. 

For what the book may lack in flash, however, it amply 
supplies in controversy. In analyzing the films of six 
58 



Editors Bitton and Beecher state in the introduction of 
Neiv Vieivs of Mormon History that "... the work of a 
historian has to be almost one of celebration. It is an ac- 
tivity of exploration and discovery, it is interesting, it 
makes a difference." As a tribute to the Mormon historian 
and scholar, Leonard Arrington, the editors invited those 
who had a close relationship with Arrington and who were 
themselves working in the field of Mormon history to par- 
ticipate in this collection of essays. This is their celebra- 
tion of the life of Arrington. 

The Noah Arrington family, a Mormon family origin- 
ally from Tennessee, settled early in the century in the 
Magic Valley area of Idaho. Growing up on the family farm 
during the Depression, Arrington continued in this field 
when he declared his major, agricultural economics, at the 
University of Idaho. He completed his Ph.D. in economics 



at the University of North Carolina in 1946. His disserta- 
tion on the economic history of the Mormons was pub- 
lished in 1958 under the title Great Basin Kingdom. Thus he 
was established as a leader among those professionally 
studying the Mormon past. Arrington founded the Mor- 
mon History Association in 1965, and was called by the 
church in 1972 to be their church historian, a position 
formerly only held by an apostle of the church. In 1982, 
he and his staff were transferred to Brigham Young Univer- 
sity, establishing the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for 
church history. Arrington continues to encourage all 
historians to pursue scholarly study of the Mormon 
culture, and many of the historians included in this col- 
lection have been greatly influenced by his example. 

Neiv Views of Mormon History is divided into four parts: 
Part One, "Early Mormonism, Aspects of History and 
Theology"; Part Two, "The Church and the People, in 
Utah and Abroad"; Part Three, "Mormon-Gentile Rela- 
tions"; and Part Four, "Mormonism in the Large Perspec- 
tive." Parts One and Two are written by Mormon scholars 
who explore the myths of Mormon History. The twelve 
essays lay the foundation for the non-Mormon reader and 
broadens the reader's view of Mormon history. 

Known for adhering to the ancient scholarly tradition 
of precise recordkeeping, the Mormons have been called 
into question on the historical documentation of the Book 
of Mormon. However, Richard Bushman, Professor of 
History at the University of Delaware, does not address 
this controversy in his essay, "The Book of Mormon in 
Early Mormon History." Instead, he advises us to not use 
the proof text method in our analyses, but to bear in mind 
the "genius of the Book of Mormon" which "is that it 
brings an entire society and culture into existence, with 
a religion, an economy, a technology, a government, a 
geography, a sociology, all combined into a complete 
world." He states: "Nothing less than the restoration of 
world history was the charge given to Joseph Smith when 
he accepted the responsibilities of seer and translator pro- 
phesied of him in the Book of Mormon." 

Thomas G. Alexander, Director of Brigham Young 
University's Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, 
continues Bushman's line of thinking in " 'A New and 
Everlasting Covenant': An Approach to the Theology of 
Joseph Smith." Since the idea of a covenant between God 
and man are both present in Judeo-Christian tradition and 
biblical accounts, Joseph believed that the restoration of 
the gospel could only be accomplished if mankind would 
realize the old covenant had been broken and a new cov- 
enant adopted. The term covenant is used so many dif- 
ferent ways in early Mormon history that it can be seen 
as "the central organizing principle of the faith of early 
Latter-day Saint theology." Joseph Smith used this con- 
cept of a new covenant to bring an entire new society and 
culture into existence as he played the role that we today 
associate with biblical prophets. His continuous revelations 
from God on the original intent of the biblical texts became 
the foundational doctrines of the church. Alexander pur- 



sues the early understanding of these doctrines in the Mor- 
mon society, and concludes with the observation that 
people were attracted to Mormonism because they were 
searching for the message of the primitive church, the im- 
minence of the second coming of Christ and the certainty 
that those who preached the gospel had authority. 

In the early years of the church the number of followers 
was limited. However, after the Saints reached Utah, the 
church had to address the need for admirustration and cen- 
tralized dedsion-making. The collection of tithes, the crea- 
tion of the United Order of Enoch for communitarian 
reform, the industrialization and urbanization of a tradi- 
tionally rural society, the development of missions abroad, 
the impact of suffrage on Mormon women and the infusion 
of other cultures into Utah were some of the issues ad- 
dressed in this phase of development. The historians in 
Part Two reflect this social history by exploring these 
various facets of Mormon life. 

Part Three and Part Four provided a point of reference 
to identify intellectually with their culture and faith. The 
scholars' comparative analysis of Mormon thought as it 
relates to traditional Christian theology seemed to indicate 
a movement by Mormon historians to bring the Mormon 
church into the mainstream of today's American religious 
movement. Jan Shipps, Director of the Center for American 
Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University, addresses 
the stereotypes of Mormon and non-Mormon communities 
in the 20th century. Her model categories of people, which 
she locates along a belief-behavior continuum, was quite 
helpful in delineating the current thought on Mormonism. 
The comparative essay on the "Socioreligious Radicalism 
of the Mormon Church: A Parallel to the Anabaptist," and 
the philosophical essay on "Time in Mormon History," 
were especially stimulating for those of us who are in- 
terested in biblical history and thought. James Allen's 
discussion of the historiography of Mormonism since 1950 
in "Creators and Creations of Mormon History" empha- 
sized that Mormon historians are no longer having to ap- 
proach their task from a defensive position; they are now 
able to re-examine old assumptions and seek new perspec- 
tives on their own history. 

It has been assumed that we as historians can be more 
objective as we are removed from situations or events by 
time. Possibly this is true. However, as the Mormon his- 
torians perform more research and re-interpret their past 
history, I hope they do not re-interpret the motives, con- 
victions and passions that were such a vital part of that 
history. The evolution of each religious movement contains 
these so-called irrational elements and they are usually the 
driving force in the early development and fulfillment of 
each member's own unspoken ideals. This collection of 
essays is another step in the development of the Mormon 
movement and is a worthy accomplishment by these 
scholars. 

RHEBA MASSEY 
The reviewer is the Review and Compliance Historian, Wyoming State Historic 
Preservation Office, Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

59 



No Stqt Backward: Women and Family on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier, 
Helena, Montana, 1865-1900. By Paula Petrik. Helena: Montana Historical 
Society Press, 1987. Index. Bibliography. Notes. Appendices, xix and 
141 pp. Cloth $19.95. 

Central to Paula Petrik's No Step Backward is her belief 
that "The urban mining frontier transformed its in- 
habitants, particularly its women, and promoted increased 
economic opportunity and social equality for its oftentimes 
unwilling changelings" (xiii). To test this thesis Petrik 
chooses as her venue Helena, Montana, a rough mining 
camp that evolved into a regional economic and political 
center in the northern Rockies. 

Petrik begins with a survey of Helena's early economic 
evolution. Its demographic composition during its forma- 
tive years was decidedly male— typical of nearly all early 
frontier urban areas. Yet the male domination of the 
business climate provided economic opportunity for many 
of the women who slowly trickled in from the East (and 
from other western mining camps) especially in the ser- 
vice sector, including prostitution. The profession soon 
became "the largest single female employment outside the 
home until 1900" in Helena (p. 25). Indeed, during the 
1870s and 1880s Petrik contends that Helena's prostitutes 
"created an economic empire within the city" (p. 24). The 
author's chapter on Helena's prostitution, "Capitalists 
with Rooms," is a lively and original contribution to the 
scholarship on the subject and grounded in first rate 
statistical research. Petrik analyzes court records, deeds, 
mortgages, tax assessments and census returns to paint 
an engrossing social and economic portrait of these "fancy 
ladies" and "soiled doves." By the mid 1880s, as a group 
they were a potent force within Helena's growing econ- 
omy, outgaining many male wage-earners; several madams 
even enjoyed enough success to become substantial 
property-holders and moved into legitimate business con- 
cerns. Many of these women also learned how to use the 
court system to their benefit— in short, they adapted to the 
conditions of the frontier and learned to compete in a 
hitherto male dominated arena. 

Despite the engaging observations on Helena's demi- 
monde, the heart and soul of No Step Backward lies in 
Petrik's discussion of Helena's middling women via her 
exploration of several of Helena's more prominent early 
pioneers and their progeny. By use of their letters, diaries 
and even divorce records, Petrik is able to breathe life into 
Helena's middling women— life that usually escapes the 
social and economic historian enslaved by statistics— and 
as a result concludes that "Frontier women . . . redefined 
womanhood" (p. 96). Petrik closes the work with a 
chapter, a postscript really, on the women's suffrage 
crusade in Montana, again focusing on Helena, while 
detailing how the movement grew and developed through 
succeeding generations of pioneer daughters. 

No Step Backward is a meticulously researched work in 
which its author employs the latest methodological tech- 
niques used by current social historians. Thankfully, 
60 



Petrik's 22 statistical tables— the vogue fashion of contem- 
porary social and economic historians— are confined to ap- 
pendices and not forced upon the reader within the text. 
Furthermore, though this is a work mainly on women's 
history and provides a glimpse at how frontier women 
coped and ultimately politicized themselves in a decidedly 
male chauvinistic world, Petrik has refrained from stri- 
dency in coming to her conclusions and presents a carefully 
balanced, objective history. No Step Backward is an 
outstanding achievement in the social and economic 
history of women on the Rocky Mountain mining frontier 
and sets a new standard by which to measure future 
studies of the genre. 

KEITH EDGERTON 
The reviewer is an Instructor in the Department of Humanities/Philosophy, 
University of Montana. 



Life in Alaska: The Reminiscences of a Kansas Woman, 1916-1919. By May 
Wynne Lamb. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Illustrated. 
Map. Notes. 166 pp. Cloth $19.95. Paper $8.95. 

This is the story of May Wynne Lamb's experiences 
as a teacher in the remote Yupik Eskimo village of Akiak 
on the Kuskokwim River. Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman, 
Lamb's niece and a professor of English at the University 
of Nebraska, Lincoln, edited and introduced the volume. 

The story itself is a simple one. May Wynne Lamb 
signed a contract to teach in a United States government 
Native school in Akiak. The village was difficult to reach 
in pre-aviation days, so the author went by ocean steamer 
from Seattle to St. Michael near the mouth of the Yukon 
River. She continued her journey on one of the numerous 
river sternwheelers up the Yukon. At Russian Mission she 
and several others got off to travel the Yukon-Kuskokwim 
Portage and reached Akiak in nine, rather than the pro- 
jected five, days because of weather problems. The trip had 
taken nearly six weeks from point of origin to destination. 
She settled in and taught school. During her second year 
she met, fell in love and married Frank Lamb, a young 
physician who had come to take charge of the new hospital 
at Akiak. The lovers married in October, 1917. In 1918, May 
Wynne gave birth to a baby boy, and Dr. Lamb died on 
December 23, 1918, on the Yukon at Old Hamilton, Alaska, 
a victim of the great influenza epidemic of that year. 

Unfortunately, the author's impressions of Alaska are 
superficial and add no insights about the territory nor its 
people to the existing literature. Her narrative is peopled 
by stereotypes. 

For example, John Kilbuck, a full-blooded Delaware In- 
dian, and a graduate of the Moravian school in Bethlehem, 
Pennsylvania, she describes as "very quiet and reserved 
with an air of dignity, possessing many of the attributes 
of his race ... If he was your friend, he was loyal to the 
last" (p. 33). That description, of course, fits the noble 
savage perfectly. 

Ole Andersen is the stereotypical Norwegian, "with 
all the earmarks of his country in looks and speech: sun- 



bleached hair, blue stem, piercing eyes, and a bright, hand- 
some face" (p. 33). Her Scandinavians are all broad- 
shouldered and tall. The one Englishman, Percy Goodair, 
as expected, was cultured and "came with all the dignity 
of an English lord, for he had a title" (p. 65). 

The Natives do not fare too well at the author's hands. 
She made no efforts to understand another culture. All 
Natives speak pidgin English. For example, the Eskimo 
guide who took the party across the Yukon-Kuskokwim 
Portage, is typical. At the end of the journey he states 
proudly: "Me takum pay. Me no gettum lost" (p. 34). Her 
children enjoyed school "for there was little of interest in 
that country to divert their attention, or to play hooky" 
(p. 59). Natives, of course, had an entirely different view 
of their country. The author describes the steam bath as 
"a unique way of bathing" which "answered in a primitive 
way the same purpose as our hot and cold shower" (p. 
87). On Yupik dancing, a most important facet of that 
culture, she observes that "it was, indeed, a simple, artless 
dance" (p. 88). 

In short, the author spent three years in Alaska and 
yet learned little, if anything, about the people she was 
to serve. Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect a teacher to have 
the powers of observations of the Russian explorer. Lieu- 



tenant L. A. Zagoskin, who traveled in that region between 
1842 to 1844 and left a splendid account of his experiences. 
This reviewer is of the firm opinion that most of the jour- 
nals left by government officials, teachers or missionaries 
do not merit publication. The few meritorious manuscripts 
should be published because they enrich our understand- 
ing of life in the north and Alaska's Native cultures. May 
Wynne Lamb's Life in Alaska does not belong in the latter 
category. Her book, however, tells us much about her char- 
acter and attitudes, and those of the society she lived in. 
There are a few mistakes. There was no such office as 
a territorial marshal (p. 51). Alaska had a federal judiciary, 
and by Mrs. Lamb's time, the territory had been divided 
into four judicial divisions, each with a U.S. Marshal who 
appointed his deputy U.S. Marshals. Ducks did not live 
on fish (p. 55), so what the author cooked could not have 
been ducks. The parka covers are called kuspuks, not 
cushbrooks (p. 91). The Kuskokwim River certainly does 
not translate into Cough river. Kuskokwim is the genitive 
of Kuskowik. The last syllable means river, and the rest 
of the name is of unknown meaning. 

CLAUS-M. NASKE 
The reviewer is a Professor in the Department of History, University of Alaska 
Fairbanks. 



BOOK NOTES 



The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. By John C. Fremont. 
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988. Illustrated. 
XV and 319 pp. Paper $14.95. 



Exploration of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. By Howard Stansbury. 
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988. Illustrated. 
Index, xiii and 421 pp. Paper $24.95. 

In its Exploring the American West series, the Smith- 
sonian Institution Press is reprinting rare and out-of-print 
reports origjnaUy prepared by the nation's first government 
and military explorers. Included in the John C. Fremont 
work are his expedition to the Rocky Mountains in 1842 
and his explorations of Oregon and California in 1843 and 
1844. These reports were first published in 1845. In 1849 
and 1850, Howard Stansbury explored and surveyed the 
valley of the Great Salt Lake. Both Fremont and Stansbury 
were part of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engi- 
neers. These and other reports provided the first glimpses 
of the lands west of the Mississippi River. 



Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails. 
By Stanley B. Kimball. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois 
Press, 1988. Illustrated. Index. Maps. Appendix. Bibliography, xviii 
and 299 pp. Cloth $37.50. Paper $15.95. 

In this book, the author traces the routes of the Mor- 
mon, Oregon-California, Overland, Santa Fe and other 
trails followed by westward pioneers during the 19th cen- 
tury. The author also describes important points of interest, 
including forts, trail centers and museums. The many maps 
and photographs are great additions to the book. 



With Crook at the Rosebud. By J.W. Vaughn. Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press,i^988. Originally published: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 
Stackpole Co., 1956. Illustrated. Map. Index. Notes. Bibliography. 
Appendices. 171 pp. Paper $8.95. 

A week before General George Custer's defeat at the 
Little Big Horn, a U.S. Cavalry and Infantry column led 
by General George Crook fought a party of Cheyenne and 
Sioux led by Crazy Horse at the bend of the Rosebud River. 

61 



J. W. Vaughn carefully examined this battle which he con- 
sidered to be of greater historical significance than the one 
Custer lost. 



The Bullwhacker: Adventures of a Frontier Freighter. By William Francis 
Hooker. Edited by Howard R. EMggs. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1988. Originally published: Yonkers-on-Hudson: World Bk. 
Co., 1924. lUustrated. xxi and 167 pp. Paper $5.95. 

William Hooker left Wisconsin bound for Wyoming 
Territory in the early 1870s. Soon afterward he found 
himself driving a team of oxen hauling supplies to such 
places as Fort Fetterman and Red Cloud Agency. He 
chronicled his adventures in this book which was first 
published in 1924. 



Tim McCoy Remembers the West. By Tim McCoy with Ronald McCoy. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Originally published: 
Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977. Index. Illustrated, xxii and 
267 pp. Paper $8.95. 

Tim McCoy, known and remembered as a star of 
Western films in the 1920s and 1930s, also was a working 
cowboy and rancher, a performer in the Ringling Brothers 
and Barnum and Bailey Circus and head of a Wild West 
show. In his autobiography McCoy relates episodes of his 
long life in the American West. 



Cheyenne: City of Blue Sky. By Judith Adams. Northridge, California: 
Windsor Publications, Inc., 1988. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. 123 
pp. Cloth $27.95. 

This is a promotional book about Wyoming's capital 
city. Produced in cooperation with the Cheyenne Chamber 
of Commerce, Cheyenne: City of Blue Sky contains many 
historical photographs along with a brief history of the city. 



Buckskins, Bullets, and Business: A History of Buffalo Bill's Wild West. By 
Sarah J. Blackstone. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, Inc., 
1986. Illustrated. Index. Notes. Bibliographical Essay, xi and 134 pp. 
Cloth $27.95. 

This study looks at the career of Buffalo Bill Cody dur- 
ing the years he organized, promoted and starred in his 
Wild West show. The author included such topics as the 



logistics of touring such a show, the treatment of Indians 
and other minorities, as well as the way the show 
presented a mythic image of the American West which is 
still with us today. 



The Galvanized Yankees. By Dee Brown. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1986. Illustrated. Index. Map. Notes. Bibliography. 216 pp. 
Paper $7.95. 

This book tells the story of the Galvanized Yankees, 
those capttired Corifederate soldiers who agreed to switch 
uniforms in order to serve in the West and provide a 
valuable service at a time of great need. From 1864 to 1866 
these soldiers fought Indians, escorted supply trains along 
the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, guarded surveying par- 
ties for the Union Pacific Railroad and manned lonely out- 
posts on the frontier. 



Molders and Simpers: Montana Women as Community Builders, An Oral 
History Sampler and Guide. By Laurie Mercier, Mary Murphy, Linda 
Peavy, Diane Sands, Ursula Smith. Molders and Shapers Collective 
of Montana, 1987. Illustrated. Bibliography. Appendices. 33 pp. Paper 

$8.00. 

The authors of this study saw a need to reevaluate the 
role women and women's organizations have played in 
shaping Montana communities. Not only does the study 
accomplish that purpose, but much more. It also serves 
as a guide to the planning and producing of oral history 
projects. The book describes the steps necessary for a suc- 
cessful oral history project: collecting records; examining 
records; outlining topics; conducting the interview; pro- 
cessing the interview; and turning out a final product. In- 
cluded are sample forms needed for any successful project. 



To No Privileged Class: The Rationalization of Homesteading and Rural Life 
in the Early Twentieth-Century American West. By Stanford J. Layton. 
Brigham Young University, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, 
1988. Index. Notes. Tables. 90 pp. Paper $6.95. 

This monograph, seventeenth in the Charles Redd 
Monograph Series, examines the origin of the enlarged 
homestead acts of the 20th century American West, their 
lack of success and eventually their supersession by the 
1934 Taylor Grazing Act. 



Corrections to Fall, 1988, Annals of Wyoming ... In the 
review of Calamity Jane and the Lady Wildcats, Wild BUI 
Hickok's correct name should have been James Butler 
Hickok instead of William Butler Hickok ... In the arti- 
cle, "The Mummy Cave," all photographs were taken by 
Jack Richards. 
62 



INDEX 



Altman, Henry, 15 

American Israelite 11-12, 25 

The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to the Western, by Jon Tuska, 

review, 58 
Anderson, Charlie, 3, 5 
Arnold, Thurman, 33 
Aronstein, Moritz, 14 
Artist, Floyd, 5 

6 

Bamberger, Simon, 15 

Barrett, Gov. Frank, 6 

Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Big Horn, by Neil C. Mangum, 
review, 57-58 

Beecher, Maureen Ursenbach, editor, Nezv Views of Mormon History: A Col- 
lection of Essays in Honor of Leonard /. Arrington, review, 58-59 

Benjamin, Charles, 23 

Bennett, Clara, 40, 43, 45-46 

Bennett, Dr. William Sabin, 40-46; photo, 39 

Bitton, Davis, editor, Neiv Views of Mormon History: A Collection of Essays 
in Honor of Leonard ]. Arrington, review, 58-59 

Bolton, Isodore, 14 

The Bozeman Trail: Highway of History, by Robert A. Murray, review, 56-57 

Brooks, Fanny, 3 

Brooks, Gov. Bryant B., 3 



Carey, Gov. Joseph M., 4, 20-21, 26 
Carey, Juha, 5 
Carey, Gov. Robert D., 5 
Chadwick, H. W., 6; photo, 7 
Chambers, Ida, 36 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, 11-16, 22-28 
Chisholm, James, 11 
Clark, Gov. Alonzo M., 5 
Cody, Wyoming, 23, 41-44 
Cohen, Nathan, 19 
Conroy, Florence, 8 
Cook, Dave, 3-4 
Cook, Peter S., 3 
Crane, Gov. Arthur G., 6 

The Custer Tragedy: Events Leading up to and Following the Little Big Horn 
Campaign of 1876, by Fred Dustin, review, 57-58 

D 

Dary, David, Entrepreneurs of the Old West, review, 55-56 

Dettirsch, Baron, 17 

"Dr. WiUiam Sabin Bennett: The Rise and Fall of a Pioneer Doctor," Ester 

Johansson Murray, 39-46 
Duffy, Annie, 3 
Durlacher, Simon, 15 
Dustin, Fred, The Custer Tragedy: Events Leading up to and Following the 

Little Big Horn Campaign of 1876, review, 57-58 



Edgerton, Keith, review of No Step Backivard: Women and Family on the Roch/ 

Mountain Mining Frontier, Helena, Montana, 1865-1900, 60 
Emerson, Gov. Frank C, 5; photo, 5 
Entrepreneurs of the Old West, by David Dary, review, 55-56 



Ferch, David L., review of The Bozeman Trail: Highway of History, 56-57 
Frank, Meyer, 14; photo, 15 
Fremont, John C, 33 



Gage, Gov. Jack R., 6 
Galveston Plan, 23-24 
Goldstein, Abraham, 27 
Grant, Evelyn, 6 
Grimes, James R., 3 



H 



Halladay Wind Mill Company, 33 

Hallberg, Carl V., "Jews in Wyoming,' 

Hansen, Gov. Clifford P., 6, 8 

Hansen, Martha, 8 

Harding, President Warren G., 5 

Hathaway, Bobby, 8 

Hathaway, Gov. Stanley, 8 

Heart Mountain Relocation Center, 47- 

HEBCO Wind Electric Company, 34 

Hellman, Ben, 11, 14 

HeUman, Isaac, 15 

Herschler, Casey, 8-9; photo, 8 

Herschler, Gov. Ed, 8-9; photo, 8 

Hickey, Gov. J. J., 6 

Hoffman, Rabbi Abraham, 27 

Houx, Gov. Frank, 4-5 

Houx, Ida, 4-5 

Hunt, Ehse Nila, 6; photo, 7 

Hunt, Gov. Lester C, 6 

Hunt, Nathelle, 6 

Huntley, Wyoming, 17-19 



photos, 47-54 



I 



Idelman, Max, 14-15; photo, 14 
Idelman, Samuel, 23 
Industrial Recovery Office, 22-24 
Iowa Center, Wyoming, 18-19 

J 

Jensen, Clara, 36 

Jewish Agricultural Society, 17-22, 24 

Jewish Agriculturists' Aid Society of America, 18-19, 21 

"Jews in Wyoming," Carl V. Hallberg, 10-31 

Jordan, Roy, review of Entrepreneurs of the Old West, 55-56 



K 



Kendrick, Gov. John B., 4 
Kendrick, Manville, 4 
Kendrick, Rosa-Maye, 4 



Lamb, May Wynne, Life in Alaska: The Reminiscences of a Kansas Woman, 

1916-1919, review, 60-61 
Laramie, Wyoming, 14-15, 26-27 
Lebowitz, Rabbi Arthur; photo, 27 
Levy, Rabbi Abraham R., 18; photo, 19 
Levy, Rabbi Leonard, 17-18; photo, 16 
Life in Alaska: The Reminiscences of a Kansas Woman, 1916-1919, by May 

Wynne Lamb, review, 60-61 
Lilienthal, Dr. Max, 13 
Love, David, 33 
Lucas, Gov. Frank, 5 

M 
McDermott, John D., review of The Sword of the Republic: The United States 

Army on the Frontier, 1743-1846, 55 
Mangum, NeilC, Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Bighorn, review, 

57-58 

63 



Mann Act, 40, 45 

Marks, Maier, 11-12, 14-15 

Massey, Rheba, review of New Views of Mormon History: A Collection of 

Essays in Honor of Leonard ]. Arrington, 58-59 
Massie, Michael A., review of Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little 

Bighorn, 57-58 
Massie, Michael A., review of The Custer Tragedy: Events Leading up to and 

Following the Little Big Horn Campaign of 1876, 57-58 
Medicine Bow, Wyoming, 36-37 
Meeteetse, Wyoming, 40-41 
Meyers, William, 12, 14-15 
Miller, Jeanette Cheeseman, 41 
Miller, Gov. Leslie A., 5-6 
Molesworth, Tom, 6 

Mt. Sinai Synagogue, 26-27; photos, 26, 28 
Murdock, Charles W., 3 
Murray, Ester Johansson, "Dr. William Sabin Bennett: The Rise and Fall 

of a Pioneer Doctor," 39-46 
Murray, Robert A., The Bozeman Trail: Highway of History, review, 56-57 

N 

Naske, Claus-M., review of Life in Alaska: The Reminiscences of a Kansas 
Woman, 1916-1919, 60-61 

New Views of Mormon History: A Collection of Essays in Ho}tor of Leonard J. 
Arrington, edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, 
review 58-59 

Nixon, Richard, 8 

No Step Backward: Women and Family on the Rocky Mountain Mining Fron- 
tier, Heletw, Montana, 1865-1900, by Paula Petrik, review, 60 



o 



Olson, Ted, 33 



Pearlstine, S. S., 19 

Petrik, Paula, No Step Backward. Women and Family on the Rocky Mountain 

Mining Frontier, Helena, Montana, 1865-1900, review, 60 
Prante, Ray, 41, 43 
Prucha, Francis Paul, The Sword of the Republic: The United States Army 

on the Frontier, 1743-1846, review, 55 
Pruess, Charles, 33 
Purvis, Frances, 43-44 

R 

R. G. Dun and Company, 15 

Righter, Robert W., "The Wind at Work in Wyoming," 32-38 

Roberts, PhU, review of The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to 

the West, 58 
Rockefeller, Gov. Nelson, 8 



Rogers, Gov. C. J. "Doc," 6 

Rosenwald, Julius, 18, 20-21 

Ross, Gov. Nellie Tayloe, 5 

Ross, Gov. William B., 5 

Rothschild, Herman, 15 

Rural Electrification Administration, 36 



Schenck, Roy, 20-21 
Schiff, Jacob, 23-24 
Scribner, Charles, 6 
Scribner, Johneana, 6 
Shapiro, Abe, 19 
Sienkiewicz, Henry, 13 
Simpson, Gov, Milward, 6 
Sincher, Morris, 20 
Smith, Charlotte Chaplin, 3 
Smith, Marie, 6 
Smith, Gov. Nels, 6 
Spurlock, Melissa Brooks, 3; photo, 4 
Stephen, Mary, 8 
St. Clair, Mrs. W. E., 45 
Sullivan, Jane, 9 
Sullivan, Gov. Mike, 9 
Susman, Rabbi S. Morris, 27 

The Sword of the Republic: The United States Army on the Frontier, 1783-1846, 
by Francis Paul Prucha, review, 55 



Tennyson, Lloyd, 43 
Torrington, Wyoming, 17-19, 22 
Truman, President Harry, 6 

Tuska, Jon, The American West in Film: Critical Approaches to the Western, 
review, 58 

u 

Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 12-13, 25 

w 

Waldman, Morris, 24 

Wallace, Mercedes Houx, 4-5 

War Relocation Authority, 47-48 

White, Timothy, "Wyoming's Historic Governors' Mansion," 2-9 

"The Wind at Work in Wyoming," Robert W. Righter, 32-38 

Wise, Rabbi Isaac Meyer, 11-13, 25 

Wister, Owen, 33 

Wyoming Jewish Press, 26-27 

"Wyoming's Historic Governors' Mansion," Timothy White, 2-9 



64 



WYOMING STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

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 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 Bumstad, 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, 
Cheyenne, 1986-87; Mary Nielsen, Cody, 1987-1988. 



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, Loren Jost, Riverton 

First Vice President, Lucille Clarke Dumbrill, Newcastle 
1988-89 Second Vice-President, Danny Smith, Cody 
Officers Secretary-Treasurer, Gladys Hill, Douglas 

Executive-Secretary, David Kathka 

Coordinator, Judy West 



HI 



A 



NNALS of WYOMING 



Volume 61, No. 2 
Fall, 1989 



GOVERNOR OF WYOMING 

Mike Sullivan 

:)IRECTOR 

David Kathka 

•DITOR 

Rick Ewig 

ASSISTANT EDITORS 

Jean Brainerd 
Roger Joyce 
Ann Nelson 

■DITORIAL ASSISTANTS 

Kathy Flores 
Judy West 

•HOTOGRAPHIC 
ASSISTANTS 

Paula West-Chavoya 
Carroll Jones 
Ed Fowler 




ATi^OMING STATE PRESS 
MANAGING EDITOR 
Rick Ewig 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

A TERRITORY IS FOUNDED: Political, Social, 
Econonuc and Educational Conditions 

in Wyoming 1850-1890 2 

by Johanna Nel 

THE OVERLAND MAIL IN WYOMING 13 

by Patricia Ann Owens 

"Y'ALL CALL ME NIGGER JIM NOW, 
BUT SOMEDAY YOU'LL CALL ME 
MR. JAMES EDWARDS": 
Black Success on the Plains of 

the Equality State 20 

by Todd R. Guenther 

ISAAC C. MILLER: Events in 

The Life of a "High-Toned" Dane 41 

by Mark E. Miller 

INSIDE WYOMING 51 

ANNALS' REVIEWS 53 

BOOK NOTES 57 

INDEX 59 



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 orgatuzation. 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 1989 by the Wyoming State Press 



A TERRITORY IS FOUNDED: 

POLITICAL, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL 
CONDITIONS IN WYOMING 1850-1890 



By Johanna Nel 




The Union Pacific Railroad played a very important role in the founding and settling of Wyoming. This photograph icas taken in 1870. 



Last year, 1988, marked the hundredth anniversary of 
the first official step taken towards the establishment of 
the State of Wyoming. On February 7, 1888, the Tenth 
Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wyoming formally 
requested permission from Congress to write a constitu- 
tion and to form a government of their own. At this his- 
toric time many Wyomingites and others interested in 
the history of the West are turning their attention to earlier 
days when this vast land was being tamed. Why did peo- 
ple come to Wyoming? What factors led to statehood? 
What were the political, social, economic and educational 
conditions prior to, and during, territorial days? With 
this essay an attempt is made to answer some of these 
questions. 

At the dose of the 18th century, Wyoming still lay 
virtually undiscovered by White Americans. The land 
beyond the Mississippi River was believed to be an area 
unfit for White men, a vast, inhospitable stretch of desert 
sands beyond which the mountains lay as an insurmount- 
able barrier. During the first half of the 19th century, the 
only White inhabitants of the entire Rocky Mountain area 
were the trappers and traders who were migrating from 
place to place. Even though official reports of government 
explorers, such as Lewis and Clark, called attention to the 
possibilities of settlement in the northwest portion of the 
country, almost half a century elapsed before the first ac- 
tual settlements came into being. In fact, it was not until 
1842, when Captain John C. Fremont did a comprehen- 
sive geographical survey of the area lying between the 
Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean, that the extent of 
ignorance about the western regions was discovered. Fre- 
mont saw the possibility of establishing an overland 
communication system between the Atlantic and the Pacific 
oceans. 1 

As a result of the great depression of 1837 and the 
build-up of population along the Mississippi River Valley, 
many people in the United States looked towards the West 
as the land of opportunity. When gold was discovered in 
1848 in California, thousands of people set out to find their 
fortunes. Some went via Cape Horn while others crossed 
the mountains and plains on their way to, what proved 
to be at that time, the richest gold mines in the world. 
Remarkable, however, is the fact that this part of the coun- 
try, more traveled over than any other area between the 
Pacific Ocean and the Great Plains, remained unsettled for 
an unbelievable long period.^ 

The first people to come to Wyoming with the inten- 
tion of settling down were a group of 55 Mormons who 
arrived in November, 1853.' Hoping that they would be able 
to make a living by providing supplies to travelers on their 
way to the Pacific Ocean, they settled in what is now 
known as Uinta County.* At this time the Indians still had 
full control over the northern portion of the territory— a 
situation that was to last until 1876. 

One of the most potent factors in bringing settlers into 
Wyoming and transforming American life on the plains. 




i^L^uwu 



[on jPaeifi^ ]^ai^ge|d.5 1^ 



etermmed the locatio: 
i|dV:ivisinn points.^ Th 



transpc rtation for people, products 




- /ay terminals along 

ills, freight depots, 

'a|d not only provided 

and manufactured 



necessities, oui its owners also sold the land which they 
had received from the government as compensation for 
building the railroad, at reasonable prices to settlers.^ Ac- 
cording to the contract with the government, the railroad 
companies received, for each mile of track laid, twenty sec- 
tions of public land— every odd numbered section in a strip 
twenty miles on each side of the track.* The availability of 
relatively inexpensive land served as a tremendous booster 
to the immigration movement to the West. According to 
Ichabod S. Bartlett, the population of Wyoming increased 
from 400 people in 1860, to 9,118 in 1870.' This was only 
an estimate, however, since no official census was taken 
before 1869.1" 

On July 4, 1867, the railroad company established an 
office on Crow Creek and named it Cheyenne after an 
Indian tribe in the vicinity." The Union Pacific Land Com- 
pany started the sale of lots immediately. With a start- 
ing price of $150, a third of which had to be cash, the same 
lots sold for $1,000 one month later. ^^ According to Hubert 
H. Bancroft, prices increased at the rate of approximately 
$1,000 per month during the first summer." When the 
railroad tracks finally reached Cheyenne four months later, 
the town already had 4,000 people, a city government, a 
brass band and two newspapers." Within a few weeks 
after the arrival of the railroad the population had increased 
to 6,000. Learning that Cheyenne would be the terminus 
for the winter, "all the scum of society which had drifted 
along with the pay car of the railroad company" decided 
to take up residence in the town.^^ While tents, sodhouses 
and "dug-outs"" provided for the necessary shelter, 
drinking, gambling, robberies and assaults became a daily 
occurrence. During the winter of 1867-1868, Cheyerme was 
considered by a number of authorities as the worst town 
on the frontier. 1^ Some even called it the Sodom of the 
West!!* When authorities proved to be powerless to con- 
trol crime and the patience of the law abiding citizens ran 
out, a vigilante committee came into being to help keep 
the order. 1' The Cheyenne Daily Leader of January 13, 1868, 
mentioned a vigilante committee of 200 strong. Luckily, 
when spring came the majority of transients moved on 
with the railroad, leaving Cheyenne much more peaceful, 
with a more or less permanent population of 1,500. In spite 
of the loss in population the town of Cheyenne survived 
and continued to grow at a steady pace.^" Railroad in- 
dustries were developed and stock raising became the 
major industry in the vicinity of the town. 

When Laramie City was laid out by the railroad com- 
pany in April, 1868, the history of Cheyenne was repeated.^! 
The population expanded at a tremendous rate and for a 
time this town too was overrun by "desperadoes and lewd 
women. "^ As the railroad pushed westward, however, 
much of the immoral element passed along with it.^' 

3 



Territorial organization for the expanding population 
along the railroad became a political necessity, and on July 
25, 1868, the Organic Act was passed, which created Wyo- 
ming Territory and defined the present boundaries. 2'* It was 
carved out of the territories of Dakota, Utah and Idaho, and 
was 365 miles in length and 276 miles in width. According 
to a geographical description that appeared in the Cheyenne 
Leader in 1871 under the heading, "Wyoming As It Is," the 
southern half of the territory consisted of an elevated and 
broken plain with an average elevation of 5-6,000 feet above 
sea level. The northern half of the territory, with an average 
elevation of 3,000 feet, was considered to be the best for 
agricultural purposes. Regarding the climate, the author 
declared it to be "one of the finest and most salubrious in 
the world," one which exerts a "bracing and energizing ef- 
fect on the human system. "^^ 

On April 17, 1869, Wyoming territorial government 
began with the arrival of the first governor.^* A unique 
aspect of the Wyoming situation was brought to the set- 
tlers' attention when Governor John A. Campbell, in his 
inaugural address to the First Legislative Assembly, ex- 
plained to his audience that it was the first time in the 
history of the country that "the organization of a territorial 
government was rendered necessary by the building of a 
railroad." Up until that time, "the railroad had been the 
follower instead of the pioneer of civilization.^'' The railroad 
and the telegraph were no novelty to the early pioneers of 
Wyoming, and "modem" methods of tiavel and communi- 
cation constituted a part of the very basis of the develop- 
ment in Wyoming.^* 

As the building of the Union Pacific progressed, towns 
such as Benton, Rawlins, Green River City, Bryan, Bear River 
City and Evanston came into being. ^^ Some of these sur- 
vived for only a short time while others became permanent 
settlements. 

The departure of the Union Pacific construction workers 
during the winter of 1868-1869 brought a severe decline in 
the population, as well as an economic depression.^" The 
census, taken in 1869, showed a population of only 8,014— a 
half of what it had been the previous year.^^ According to 
Marshall Howe's report, Laramie County had 2,165 peo- 
ple and Albany Covmty 2,127.^^ Resulting from this massive 
departure, public improvements came to an almost stand- 
still. Business was bad, capital weak, and opportunities for 
laborers, clerks and mechanics almost non-existent. '' Illus- 
trating some of the difficulties experienced, editor Nathan 
A. Baker of the Cheyenne Leader wrote: 

The natural resources of the mining districts contain the elements 
of inexhaustable wealth, but then they must have steady, per- 
sistent, patient workers. They must have costly machinery which 
has to be freighted up mountains, and through valleys, and 
over extensive plains, to places distant from the great thorough 
fares, and in many cases almost inaccessible.''' 

Times remained hard, but conditions did improve 
somewhat during 1871 and 1872.^^ Community leaders such 
as Joseph M. Carey encouraged their fellow citizens by 
reminding them of the fact that "labor, toU, and privation 
4 




John A. Campbell served as Wyoming's first territorial governor from 
1869 until 1875. 



must be endured to make a new and unpopidated countryi 
wealthy and populous."^* 

Efforts to attract immigrants were made by both gover- 
nors and secretaries, who made numerous speeches in the^ 
East praising the advantages of living in Wyoming. 3'' The 
Union Pacific also did their share of promotion by appoint- 
ing Dr. Hiram Latham, a well-spoken railroad surgeon, as- 
advocate for immigration. They not only paid him to "ex- 
plore and investigate the country," but also provided him 
with an irrigated experimental farm to promote f arming. ^ 
In the January, 1870, edition of the Wyoming Tribune, a plan 
was mentioned to collect and exhibit specimens of all 
Wyoming's minerals under the guidance of Dr. Latham. 
This was considered good advertising and of "utmost im- 
portance to the future of Wyoming. "'^ 

Newspapermen such as James H. Hayford of Laramie, 
and Baker and Herman Glafcke of Cheyenne, also did a 
great deal to promote immigration. Although encouraging 
immigrants to come to Wyoming, Baker did not neglect to. 
warn of the conditions that might have to be faced: 
Men who come here from the East will soon learn that things 
don't run in grooves. A man should make up his mind to rough 
it. He must bid adieu to all the delights of cultivated society— 
strictly speaking. The great finishing touches of civilization which 
make large cities so attractive, will all be wanting in the moun- 
tain settlements, and even in the larger towns of the West. A 
man who can't sleep outside of a feather bed need not come. 



A man who can't be happy without the New York Times or Sun 
or some other great journal to read before breakfast, had better 
stay in New York . . . Whoever comes here without means (no 
matter what his previous condition) and is above sawing wood 
or driving team, if occasion requires, had better turn back im- 
mediately, and make the best of his way home before he gets 
broke' or degenerates into a gambler or a horse thief and gets 
his neck 'broke.'* 

Glafcke wTote promotional articles about Wyoming, *^ while 
Baker, concerned with the immorality of Cheyenne, urged 
citizens to help banish prostitution and gambling from the 
city. Only then he maintained, "will immigrants seek this 
place, instead of avoiding it for its wickedness, as it does 
now.*2 "If we want to invite irrmnigration from the intelligent 
and industrious of the East," he said, "we must first show 
them that we have schools .... a liberal and enlightened 
common school system was needed." He also urged readers 
to "encourage newspapers, sustain churches, and found 
libraries. "*3 

In their reflection on community life, and their writings 
about the ideals and needs of the territory, newspapers 
played an important part in the building of frontier towns. 
In proportion to the population, the number of newspapers 
in Wyoming was always high.** Starting with the Cheyenne 
Leader, established by Baker and J. E. Gates in 1867, *' the 
number had grown to eleven in 1880. The Wyoming pop- 
ulation at that time numbered 20,789.« By 1890, when the 
population had tripled, the number had increased to 38.*'' 



In their reflection on community life, and their writings 
about the ideals and needs of the territory, newspapers 
played an important part in the building of frontier towns. 
In the first issue of the Cheyenne Daily Leader, Baker made 
the following statement regarding the philosophy of his 
paper: "The Leader will labor to present a faithful pictiire 
of life and events in the far West, and wiU represent with 
fidelity and truthfulness the peculiar advantages and interest 
of the thriving city of Cheyenne."*^ While early Wyoming 
newspapers demanded state and national reform, clamored 
for the better organization of territory, county and schools, 
and crusaded for the establishment of state institutions and 
public offices in their towns, they wanted, above all, local 
recognition.*' Starting in 1886, most newspapers in the ter- 
ritory demanded statehood. 5" Velma Linford found in her 
research that it was not unusual to see the newspaper press, 
loaded on a wagon, drawn by oxen or horses, enter a future 
Wyoming town, even before the people had arrived!^^ 
Newspapers often experienced difficulties to survive 
because subscriptions rarely paid for all expenses. ^^ They 
generally had to depend upon advertising and other print- 
ing activities such as hand bills, programs, booklets and cir- 
culars to keep out of the red.'' Business boomed, however, 
when traveling troupes and speculators arrived in town.'* 
The early settlers brought with them a background of 
cultTore, represented in intellectual tasks, social aspirations 
and religion. These qualities had to be merged into a new 







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President Ulysses S. Grant appointed John A. Campbell Wyoming's territorial governor during April, 1869. 



environment with fewer cultiiral facilities, but not very dif- 
ferent from that of Eastern states. While the basic needs for 
existence remained the chief concern for many years, the 
early pioneers had definite prerequisites as far as their 
cultural environment was concerned. '' Some desperadoes 
and adventurers floated in among the early settlers, but they 
were, according to Bartlett, for the most part, transients. 
"The real, bona fide first settlers of Wyoming were men 
of sterling character, of broad vision and undoubted 
courage."^ "Nowhere in the world are the people so ven- 
turesome, so beheving, so industrious. Everybody has a 
"big thing and is confident of his ability to work it out . . . 
Adventure, faith, work, and muscle are the grand means 
of success. "^^ Wyoming pioneers were, as S. S. Stockdale 
almost poetically declared, "the descendants of the sturdy 
Puritans and courtly Cavaliers; of staid New Englanders 
and gentlemen of intense Southern blood; men and 
women of genius and of character."'* The new territory at- 
tracted courageous professional men and on many a ranch 
an Ivy Leaguer was roughing it out. In the words of a 
newspaperman who had visited the rural areas during the 
summer of 1880: 

In Wyoming there is a class of highly educated men engaged 
in the cattle trade. The men are sunburned and wear flannel shirts 
on the ranch, but none need mistake them for corrunon or ig- 
norant persons. They are in very many cases gentlemen of culture 
and standing. In the circle of ranchmen whose acquaintance I 
formed during my stay, there were several of considerable wealth 
and scholarly attainments who, traveling to the West for health, 
had become interested in the cattle business, and enchanted by 
the wild open life, and who had invested in stock, roughed it, 
and were enjoying the cUmate, the freedom and the excitement, 
as well as the money it brings. One gentleman— mine host, had 
been in the royal navy of Great Britain; but he now likes the 
biUowy prairies better than the deep blue sea. A neighbor was 
one of the best special geologists in America. Traveling in the 
pursuit of his profession, he saw there was money in cattle and 
so left his aesthetic Boston home for a tent." 

In talking about the earlier years, Wyoming University Presi- 
dent, Charles W. Lewis, wrote in the 1904 University 
Melange: 

Men and women have had to measure strength with stem 
nature. Physical endurance has had much to do with success. 
When our fathers were standing face to face with Nature, pierdng 
the mountains, subduing the forest and the plain the pursuit 
of science for its own sake was forbidden .... Many of them 
came from Eastern homes where the cry of want had never been 
heard. Many of them came with college training and culture, 
but all the easy things had to be left behind, and a future state 
was formed on the backbone of the continent." 

Reverend C. T. Brady, a missionary who came to the 
West during the 1880s, was also impressed with the quality 
of people found on ranches and farms, and maintained that 
no matter where he went he "never got away from culture 
and refinement." Sketching an incident that occurred on 
one of his many travels, he said: 

I once stopped for a glass of water at a non-descript dwelling, 
half dug-out, half-sodhouse, alone on the prairie. A woman came 
out to meet me . . . graceful and pretty ... in spite of her worn. 



haggard, overworked look 
Eastern college." 



She too was a graduate of an 



Although many of the early settlers were educated, quite 
a number of them knew little about farming.*^ 

As in the rural areas, the towns too had their quota of 
educated people, many of whom were doctors, lawyers, 
professors or engineers. Here, however, a more materialistic 
philosophy of life seemed to prevail. In writing about her 
first impressions of the people of Wyoming, Mrs. Camp- 
bell, wife of the first governor, remarked, somewhat criti- 
cally, on this characteristic, saying that "while earnestness, 
intelligence, and courtesy characterized the people, all 
seemed to be working under the same great impulse to 
make a fortime and to do so quickly. "^^ Additional evidence 
of this desire to make money is found in the content of the 
first paper that was read at the newly established Young 
Men's Literary Association of Cheyerme. On this occasion. 
Dr. E. H. Russell, a young physician, declared that "we 
are all in search of wealth .... which is the mainspring 
of life, .... and the propelling power in every move- 
ment."*^ Concerned with this excessive striving after earthly 
goods, N. A. Baker, editor of Wyoming's first newspaper, 
warned his readers against the tendency of becoming totally 
"absorbed and swallowed up in the pursuit of gain," mak- 
ing "every other consideration secondary to the aU pre- 
vailing passion for riches." He reminded his readers of the 
importance of other values such as "health, mental ciolture, 
integrity, a high sense of honor, a consciousness of moral 
rectitude, and benevolence. "*' 

The early Wyoming lawmakers were adventurous, 
robust, and clear-thinking individiaals who took care to write 
into their territorial laws the things in which they believed. 
During the first session of the legislature several revolu- 
tionary laws regarding the equality of women, in both voice 
and action, were passed.*' In fact, Wyoming startled the 
world when from its "primeval mountains and plains was 
fired the first shot for equal suffrage." Bartlett drew atten- 
tion to the fact that this enactment was not the result of 
"an idle fancy," nor was it an effort to gain notoriety or 
to make "a joke," as has been asserted at times. "Every 
step in its passage through the legislature showed grim 
determination."*'' This enactment, which took a great deal 
of courage, provides insight into the philosophy and char- 
acter of the early Wyoming pioneers. 

Even though Wyoming was considered to be blessed 
by "one of the finest and most salubrious climates in the 
world,"** life was unquestionably hard. This was especi- 
ally true for the people out on the ranches.*' These settlers, 
who lived in log or stone homes, were often separated from 
both neighbors and friends by miles of virgin land.''" With 
roads little more than trails during the summer, and usu- 
ally completely covered by snow in the winter, they lived 
extremely lonely lives. Although stage coaches traveled 
along the tiails during the 1850s, and the Pony Express came 
into being in 1860, the postal service and other means of 
communication were inefficient and expensive.''^ The cost 
of a letter delivered by the Pony Express, for instance, was 




Wyoming's first museum was established in Cheyenne during 1867 and was located betiveen 16th and 17th streets on Eddy Street, now Pioneer Avenue. 



five dollars 7^ Ranchers and fanners, especially the women, 
suffered from loneliness and isolation. ''^ In the words of a 
rancher's wife who remembered life before the advent of 
the automobile: "We just dreaded living so far from every- 
body and the whole world .... 36 miles from the nearest 
town or railroad."''* Reverend Brady, in his Recollections of 
a Missionary in the Great West, also referred to this aspect 
of frontier life when he said: "The distances to be covered 
are so great . . . and demands upon strength and bodily 
vigor so overwhelming, that it is no easy matter for the 
strongest to live up to."'^ It is thus no wonder that the early 
pioneers found it hard not to lose sight of the finer and 
spiritual things in life while constantly toiling and struggling 
to make a Living under such extremely harsh drcimistances. 
In the towns conditions were a great deal better. As a 
rule the cultural aspects of life were not neglected. People 
often organized cultural groups such as women's clubs, 
fraternal groups and literary sodehes as soon as towns were 
established, and no time was wasted to establish schools 
and churches. Neither insufficient services nor filthy streets. 



overrun by cows and hogs, deterred them. ^^ It was not 
unusual at that time to open the daily newspaper and find 
in it a request to have the streets cleaned, a report about the 
daily confrontations between hogs and dogs, and in the 
same paper, a report about an art gallery being opened.^ 
Many of the towns were eyesores in the beginning, but 
as time passed they became more attractive and present- 
able.^* nourishing merchants and cattlemen started to build 
mansions, and many of the prosperous cattlemen and min- 
ing promoters decided to reside in the towns for the greatest 
part of the year, instead of living out on the ranches or 
mining sites. ^' 

A striking characteristic of territorial Wyoming was the 
scarcity of women. In 1870, the ratio was one to six for all 
persons over 21 years of age.*" By 1880, the ratio had im- 
proved considerably, but men still outnumbered women. 
The Leader reported that of the 4,625 people in Albany 
County, 3,009 were men. In Laramie County, the numbers 
were 4,313 male to 2,096 females. ^^ This dearth of women, 
and also of children, greatly influenced social life in Wyo- 

7 



ming. Single men, having little family life, crowded the 
saloons, and drinking and prostitution became instruments 
through which to escape the loneliness and coarseness of 
their lives. The Cheyenne Daily Leader remarked in the fall 
of 1869 that "all of the three vices, prostitution, gambling, 
and drunkenness are indulged in— seemingly without an 
attempt to conceal it."*^ The Wyoming Tribune reported the 
next summer that "two- thirds of the business places in 
Cheyenne were saloons and the other third wholesale liquor 
houses."*' A law was passed in 1884 which made it a misde- 
meanor to keep a house of prostitution, but few merchants 
paid heed to it, arguing that prostitution was an inevitable 
vice in a society with so many single men. Gambling was 
also a favorite pastime among men.*^ Thousands of dollars 
changed hands at horse races,*' while poker games 
sometimes resulted in the loss of complete ranches and 
whole herds of cattle. In an effort to curtail social drinking, 
which was almost the rule among men in the territory, a 
law was enacted which provided for the closing of saloons 
on Sunday. This created such resentment, however, that 
it had to be repealed. 

Riding and roping contests, baseball, football and target 
shooting were some of the more "healthy" forms of recrea- 
tion and in many towns roller skating rinks were found 



where young and old enjoyed themselves.** Starting in 
1876, when a Laramie resident became the first proud owner 
of a bicycle, bicycle riding became a popular pastime and 
both Cheyenne and Laramie had bicycle clubs.*'' Hunting, 
fishing, picnicking and camping-out were also popular 
pastimes during the territorial days. On occasion, special 
trains were chartered for picnic excursions.** Wherever 
families were available, dancing was to be found and both 
the society balls*' and the honky-tonk dances in the saloons 
were well attended. The Buffalo Bulletin reported in 1892 
that weekly all-night dances were being held on Johnson 
County ranches, and that these sodal get-togethers were 
helpful in breaking the dreariness and monotony of the long 
winters. As a rule, variety shows,* which normally included 
dancing, singing and acrobatic acts, drew larger crowds than 
the occasionally offered drama and operatic music. '^ 

Even though the outlying towns and communities did 
not enjoy the conveniences and entertainments which were 
available in the larger towns, the country people seldom 
missed the opportunity to combine social activities with 
their work. Neighbors often joined together to build fences, 
erect buildings and round up stock, transforming necessary 
work projects into social affairs. Stock shipping was re- 
garded as the culmination of their social and business lives. 



*^*^*'*Hi» 



.<%, 







School in Buffalo, 1895. 



On such occasions the whole family usually spent several 
days in town, with the women visiting and shopping and 
the men attending to the shipping of the stock. '^ 

In spite of the fact that the Methodist, Episcopal, 
Presbyterian, Baptist, Roman Catholic and Mormon 
churches had been active in Wyoming even before the ter- 
ritory was established, religion was largely neglected. '^ The 
Wyoming Tribune, April 8, 1871, reported, somewhat 
ironically, that the Wyoming pioneers may be a God- 
fearing people but that they were certainly not a church- 
going people. In a survey of church attendance in Laramie 
during January, 1881, Laramie editor Hayford found that 
only one in ten people went to church— the majority of 
whom were women. However, said editor Glafcke of the 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, "the morals of our community are 
good." Justifying his statement, he added that, "we have 
one large, fine graded school, several good churches, three 
organized religious societies, a lodge of Good Templars 
and one of the Masons. "'^ Denominational rivalry was less 
prominent in Wyoming than in older communities in the 
East, and total church membership for 1890 was also ten 
percent lower than the average of the United States— 21.4 
percent as opposed to 34.5 percent nation wide.'^ 

The violence and lawlessness of those early days have 
been greatly exaggerated by movies and the television. 
Although newspaper files do tell about shootings, knifings, 
wife beating and of the violence resulting from conflicts 
over land claims, the territorial settlers were, on the whole, 
a civilized people, or relatively so.^ In the private letters 
of E. E. Robinson, written from Rock Creek, Wyoming Ter- 
ritory, during 1870 to a friend in the East, he told him that 
"the law in this country consists of Colt revolvers, Henry 
rifles, and 'Arkansaw' bowie knives."'^ On the other hand, 
some people were of the opinion that "Cheyenne was as 
quiet and orderly a city on Sunday as a great many in the 
old States, in spite of open saloons, restaurants and billiard 
rooms. "^^ Laramie also was declared "pretty decent." 
Crime and drunkermess were not increasing and "the peo- 
ple were good-living, clean-thinking, and morally- 
inclined."^ 

Early Wyoming lawmakers also saw to it that free and 
compulsory education was provided to the youth.™ Among 
the early settlers in Wyoming were large numbers of col- 
lege educated and professional men and women, who 
were determined to see that their children received the 
education they deemed necessary for civilized living.^"! The 
value that had been placed on education, even before the 
territory was officially created, "^ is illustrated in a report 
that appeared in the Cheyenne Leader, January 6, 1867. 
Baker, expressing his pleasant surprise at the large number 
of citizens that had gathered, in spite of a temperature of 
23 degrees below zero, to dedicate a school house, said that 
"the room was densely crowded with an anxious assem- 
blage of our best citizens . . . impressed with the impor- 
tance of the undertaking." Two months later, the Wyoming 
Tribune mentioned that there were 109 White children and 
14 "colored" children eruolled. The school had two 



teachers and the students were studying reading, spell- 
ing, writing, geography, grammar, arithmetic, algebra and 
philosophy. 1"^ 

Wyoming's constitution provided for the maintenance 
and regulation of education. It was stated that education 
was to be free regardless of color, race, religious belief or 
sex, and that no religion was to be taught in schools. No 
public money was allowed to go to religious schools. 

More evidence as to how people felt about education, 
is to be found in Governor Campbell's message to the First 
Legislature as it appeared in the Cheyenne Daily Leader: 

The subject of education will doubtless receive your early at- 
tention. In laying the foundation of a new state, this should 
be the comer stone for without it no durable political fabric 
can be erected. It matters little how great our material prosperity 
may be, if our moral and intellectual growth does not keep a 
pace with it. It is a duty we owe not only to ourselves and to 
our posterity, but to all mankind. In the diffusion of knowledge 
among the people rests our only hope for the preservation of 
our free institutions .... Now in the infancy of our Territory, 
let the fostering aid and encouragement of the government be 
given to every scheme for the advancement of education, and 
to establish as the cornerstone of our embryo state the princi- 
ple of universal, free, common school education.""* 

Because of the meager and shifting population, schools 
were, however, slow to take root, and were often extremely 
unstable in character. In 1872, there were only nine schools, 
four public and five private, with a total enrollment of 305 
students. i°5 There were 31 libraries, containing an ag- 
gregate of 2,603 volumes. Twenty of these libraries were 
private with 1,500 books, and 1,000 volumes belonged to 
Sunday Schools. The territorial Library was also started and 
had 103 volumes. 'o* 

Although the enthusiasm for, and the support of, ed- 
ucation remained high, the task of "holding successive 
generations up to the culture level of their predecessors''^''^ 
was tremendous. In sketching the difficulties that Wyo- 
ming educators were facing at the turn of the century, 
O. E. Swanson, President of the Wyoming Teachers 
Association, argued that: 

The difficulty of the task is vastly increased when the people 
to be educated are spreading out into new territory, or taking 
into themselves large elements from foreign civilizations, or 
from distantly related portions of our own civilization. Add to 
this the responsibility which modem democratic aspirations im- 
pose, of educating each succeeding generation better than its 
predecessor, more extensively and more variously, and the task 
with which educators of Wyoming are wrestling is seen to be 
one of almost overwhelming difficulty.^"' 

In 1873, the Commissioner of Education reported that 
most of the population of 9,000 to 10,000 people, was scat- 
tered along the Union Pacific for a distance of 500 miles, 
and that there were few places large enough to support 
a school. Yet in spite of this fact, he found that "wherever 
there are people and children in one place, enough to form 
a school, a school is established and an effort made to have 
a good one.""' 

In 1874, teachers' institutes became organized and in 
1877 all principals of graded schools were required by law 



to attend these institutes. ^i" At these institutes, which 
lasted from four to ten days, common problems were 
discussed, courses of study designed and textbooks 
selected.!" 

In 1877, John W. Hoyt, soon to be Wyoming governor 
and later the first president of the University of Wyoming, 
stated with a great deal of enthusiasm that "the public at 
large feels a great pride in the public schools of the Terri- 
tory ... I have never known a community, whether in this 
country or in Europe, more zealously devoted to the cause 
of popular education.""^ Governor Hoyt also established 
the Wyoming Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters."' 

The compulsory school attendance law required that 
"all between the ages of 7 and 20 years inclusive," had 
to attend school for at least three months of each year. 
Parents who neglected to send their children to school were 
subject to a penalty of $25 for "each and every offence.""^ 
Most of the other states or territories in the United States 
during that time had less strict requirements for com- 
pulsory school attendance. 

When statehood came Wyoming had a well developed 
school system with a university and at least eight public 
high schools, four of which were accredited by the univer- 
sity. A total of 7,675 students were enrolled in the public 
schools."^ According to the constitution, the 16th and 36th 
sections of every township belonged to the school and 
could never be sold for less than three-fourths of its as- 
sessed value or for less than ten dollars an acre. The fund 
itself had to remain intact and only the income from it was 
allowed to be used. 

Between 1880 and 1890 Wyoming's population tripled, 
increasing from 20,789 to 62,555 people."* Immigrants, 
attracted by the vast coal beds, copper, and occasional gold 
mines, the livestock industry, and the promise of employ- 
ment on the railroad, came in a steady stream."'' Many of 
them found work in mercantile and transportation busi- 
nesses in frontier towns."* 

During the 1870s and 1880s, this brand new "free-for- 
all, room for everybody," country also became known as 
the finest grass range territory in the United States."' The 
Wyoming Tribune reported of the "hundreds of miles of un- 
bounded pasture field . . . where the numbers of herds- 
men were constantly augmenting. "^^^ The cattle industry 
grew with leaps and bounds, and with 50 million acres 
of public land just waiting for cattle, even foreign investors 
became interested in the business. ^^^ Notwithstanding the 
high freight costs, the Wyoming ranchers were able "to 
furnish Eastern beef-eaters with sirloins and roasts, better 
and cheaper than those of their home production." The 
Wyoming Stock Growers Association, formed in 1873 as 
the Laramie County Stock Growers Association, repre- 
sented a capitalization of more than $100 million (at a time 
when Wyoming was still a wilderness), and Cheyenne, on 
a per capita basis, was the richest city in the world ac- 
cording to livestock capitalization. ^^^ 



In 1877, the total assessed valuation of taxable property 
in Wyoming Territory was $8,275,823.33.1" During these 
years the territory assumed a cosmopolitan character. It 
represented "every language, religion, environment, 
custom and conceivable grade of education, "i^* Many 
foreign and eastern cattle companies were established"^ 
and large amounts of money flowed from England, Scot- 
land, France and the New England states to Wyoming. The 
open range industry boomed from 1880 to 1886, but by 1890 
the ever increasing numbers of sheep began to crowd out 
the cattle on many ranches. In addition, homesteaders 
began to file on land during the 1870s and started to fence 
their properties. i^* When they included their water sources, 
tremendous hazards were created for the cattle on the 
range. 1^'' 

Mining became more important after the Civil War and 
coal mining attracted people from all nationalities. This not 
only brought in much needed business to the territory, but 
it also brought organized labor to an otherwise, in- 
dividualistic kind of life style. ^^^ 

When the northern and central areas became settled 
during the mid-1880s, new counties were created from the 
five original ones, bringing the number to thirteen at the 
end of the territorial days. The main means of trans- 
portation during this time were still stagecoaches and 
freight wagons. 

The political history of Wyoming during territorial days 
was relatively unmarked by any striking events."' The 
costs to the general government was limited to the supply 
of military service, and to government appropriations not 
exceeding $34,000. Bancroft was of the opinion that "of 
all the younger common wealths, none have conducted 
their public affairs more carefully or with better results 
than Wyoming.""" 

Development between the years 1884 and 1888 was 
slow but steady. During this period the legislature 
authorized the issue of $230,000 in bonds to be divided be- 
tween a university building fund, a capital building fund 
and a fund for the construction of a hospital for the insane. 
An act also was passed to create an institution for the 
education of deaf mutes, a much needed penitentiary, a 
normal school at Sundance and an agricultural college at 
Sheridan. "1 Being primarily rural, however, with only a 
few small industries and little manufacturing, territorial 
people were generally speaking, not prosperous. "^ 

On February 7, 1888, the first official step towards 
statehood was taken when the Tenth Legislative Assembly 
of the Territory of Wyoming requested permission from 
Congress to write a constitution and to form a government 
of their own."' Two years later, on July 10, 1890, Wyo- 
ming became the 44th state to be admitted to the Union, 
leading the Cheyenne Daily Leader to announce that: "after 
22 years of territorial bondage, Wyoming had achieved 
statehood.""* 



10 



JOHANNA NEL received her Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University 
of Wyoming in 1986. Presently she is an Academic Advisor at the Center for 
Academic Advising at the University of Wyoming. She serves as Adjunct Pro- 
fessor in the Department of Educational Administration and Adult Education 
and also teaches a class in the Department of Educational Foundations and In- 
structional Technology. Dr. Nel is a Board Member of the Albany County Chapter 
of the Wyoming State Historical Society. 



1. Robert C. Morris, "Sketch of Wyoming," in Selectbns of the Wyo- 
ming Historical Society, ed. Robert C. Morris (Cheyenne: The Wyo- 
ming Historical Society, 1897), p. 20. 

2. Hubert H. Bancroft, The Work of Hubert Howe Bancroft: History of 
Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming (San Francisco: The History Com- 
pany Publishers, 1890), pp. 25, 694. 

3. E. E. Baker, "Education in Wyoming," Wyoming School Journal 5 
(1908): 53. 

4. Ichabod S. Bartlett, Histon/ of Wyoming (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke 
Publishing Co., 1918). This group, according to the Utah Handbook 
of Reference, should receive the credit for being the first actual set- 
tlers in Wyoming. Forts Laramie and Bridger, established in 1834 
and 1843 respectively, were not considered as true settlements in 
the sense of families wanting to stay permanently. 

5. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 15, 1869; and Bartlett, History of Wyo- 
ming, p. 163. 

6. Wyoming Tribune, October 8, 1870. 

7. Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 17, 1867; September 1, 1869; and 
Wyoming Tribune, May 14, 1870. 

8. Report of the Governor of Wyoming to the Secretary of the Interior, 1886 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), p. 8. 

9. Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 430. 

10. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 22, 1869. 

11. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 5, 1871; and Baker, "Education in Wyo- 
ming." 

12. Baker, "Education in Wyoming." Baker gave this figure as $1,600. 

13. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, p. 734. 

14. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 18, 1867; November 14, 1867; and 
Velma Linford, Wyoming Frontier State, (Denver, Colorado: The Old 
West Publishing Co., 1947), p. 194. 

15. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, p. 738. 

16. E. Deaiinger and C. A. Cagle, A History of Wyoming (1976), p. 6. 
A dug-out resembled a half-basement about four feet deep which 
was boarded up all around about three feet high with boards to form 
a low gable roof. This was covered with dirt and straw to keep it 
from leaking and also to insulate it. Dug-outs usually had dirt floors. 

17. Baker, "Education in Wyonung." 

18. Wyoming Tribune, October 8, 1870. 

19. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, p. 738. See also 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 11, 13; March 21; October 19, 20, 21; 
December 2, 1868. 

20. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 17, 1875. 

21. E. E. Robinson collection, American Heritage Center (AHC), Laramie, 
Wyoming. Robinson wrote these letters to a friend back East tell- 
ing him about conditions in Laramie: "There was a time in Laramie 
City, when if a man shot another and left him laying in the street, 
he would be promptly arrested for obstructing the side-walk, and 
this a common occurrence, until the citizens, on arising one morn- 
ing, found twelve of the 'shootists' with 'hemp neckties' on, hang- 
ing from telegraph poles, the victims of an impromptu vigilance 
committee. The 'vigs,' by continuing this 'hemp neck-tie' process, 
soon cleared Laranue of her share of the roughs and desperadoes 
following the Union Pacific. Since then the streets are rarely 
'obstructed.' " 



22. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, p. 739. See also 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 17, 1872. 

23. Baker, "Education in Wyoming." 

24. Cheyenne Daily Leader, June 22; July 23, 1868, August 9, 1869. See 
also Session Laws of the State of Wyoming, 1891. 

25. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 25, 1871. 

26. Cheyenne Daily Leader, April 17, 1869. 

27. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 13, 1869. 

28. Francis Beard, Wyoming from Territorial Days to the Present (Chicago: 
The American Historical Society, Inc., 1933), p. 326. 

29. Wyoming Tribune, November 20, 1869. 

30. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 108. 

31. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 13, 1869. 

32. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 16, 1869. Contains a discussion 
of county lines. 

33. Wyoming Tribune, May 7, 1870. 

34. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 28, 1869. 

35. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 10, 1871; November 11, 1873. 

36. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 108. 

37. Report of the Governor to the Secretary of Interior, September 27, 1887 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1887), p. 7. 

38. Wyoming Tribune, March 26, 1870. 

39. Wyoming Tribune, January 22, 1870. 

40. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 28, 1869. 

41. Cheyenne Daily Leader, April 6-16, 1872; January-March, 1875. 

42. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 14, 1869. 

43. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 25, 1869. 

44. Cheyenne Daily Leader, April 10, 1872. 

45. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 19, 1867; April 8, 1869. 

46. 1880 Wyoming Census. 

47. Eleventh Census of the United States, 3895 (Washington, D.C.: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, n.d.); and Lola M. Homsher, Wyoming: A Stu- 
dent's Guide to Localized History (New York: Teachers College Press, 
Columbia University, 1966), p. vi. 

48. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 19, 1867. 

49. Rock Springs Rocket, November 1, 1912; and Linford, Wyoming Fron- 
tier State, p. 208. 

50. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 29, 1886; May 9, 1889. 

51. Linford, Wyoming Frontier State, p. 276. 

52. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 26, 1867; July 23, 1870; Wyoming 
Tribune, October 8, 1870. See subscription rates. 

53. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 1, 1889. 

54. Linford, Wyoming Frontier State, p. 288. 

55. Beard, Wyoming from Territorial Days to the Present, p. 324. 

56. Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 197. 

57. "Who are the people that came to Wyoming?" Cheyenne Daily Leader, 
November 5, 1867. 

58. S. S. Stockdale, untitled, Wyoming School Journal 2 (1905): 48. 

59. Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 21, 1880. 

60. Charles W. Lewis, untitled. The University Melange 1 (1904): 13. 

61. C. T. Brady, Recollections of a Missionary in the Great West (New York: 
Charles Scribners' Sons, 1900), p. 48. 

62. Ibid., p. 46. 

63. Mrs. J. A. Campbell, "Wyoming Territory: As Seen by the Wife of 
Wyoming's First Governor," in Collection of the Wyoming Historical 
Society, ed. Robert C. Morris (Cheyenne: Wyoming Historical Society, 
1897), p. 316. 

64. Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 26, 1867. 

65. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 23, 1869. 

66. Wyoming Tribune, December 11, 1869; October 1870. 

67. Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 197. 

68. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 25, 1871. 

69. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 28, 1882. 

70. C. T. Brady, Recollections, p. 73. 

71. Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 27, 1871; March 10, 23; April 2; 
May 22; September 1, 1874. 

72. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, p. 228. 

11 



73. Brady, Recollections, p. 47. "The life of a frontier farmer's wife is about 
the hardest which can fall to the lot of women. All the cares of a 
large and ever-increasing family, with several hired hands to cook 
and wash for, usually a calf or two to bring up by hand, a brood of 
motherless chicks needing attention, a kitchen garden, cows to milk, 
and Heaven only knows what else! She has no society and no 
amusements, very infrequent church services, with no time to read 
and no place to go. She even finds no interest in the changing 
fashions, for the fashion of her narrow world never changes. When 
by chance she does survive all the troubles and labors of youth and 
middle life, she becomes one of the finest, sturdiest, strongest, most 
independent and self-respecting of women." 

74. Sheridan Post, January 9, 1914. 

75. Brady, Recollections, p. 73. 

76. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 29, 1869; May 11, 1872. "Dirty streets 
are the curse of this town." 

77. Wyoming Tribune, May 28, 1870. 

78. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 11, 1872. 

79. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 2, 1875; August 23, 1885. 

80. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 202. 

81. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 27, 1880. 

82. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 1869. 

83. Wyoming Tribune, May 7, 1870. 

84. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 1, 25, 1875. 

85. Cheyenne Daily Leader, June 30, 1875. 

86. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 6, 1872. 

87. Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 30, 1882. 

88. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 23, 1871. 

89. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 15; October 27, 1869. 

90. Cheyenne Daily Leader, March 16, 1869. 

91. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 208. 

92. Linford, Wyoming Frontier State, p. 302. 

93. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 221; and Laramie Boomerang, June 15, 
1912. 

94. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 17, 1875. 

95. Larson, History of Wyoming, p. 225; Wyoming Tribune, June 18, 1870; 
Laramie Boomerang, January 25, 1915. 

96. Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 26, 1868; September 27; October 4, 
1869. 

97. E. E. Robinson collection, AHC. Robinson also described the follow- 
ing incident: "I was engaged in playing a match of Ball in Laramie 
City on the 4th [July 1870], and myself and another player were 
endeavoring to lead a drunken man off the field, when he in a playful 
manner drew a six-shooter and told us to 'git.' I not being accus- 
tomed to this western mode of arguing, was disgusted, and did 'git' 
in good order." 

98. Cheyenne Daily Leader, March 7, 1869. 

99. Laramie Boomerang, November 18, 1914. 

100. A. D. Cook, "Educational Progress in Wyoming," Wyoming School 
Journal 2 (1909): 9. The compulsory educational law was one of the 
best in the country and illiteracy was universally low. 

101. Cora M. Beach, Women of Wyoming (Casper, Wyoming: Boyer and 
Company, 1927); Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 24, 1867. "The 
American people demand schools for their children and are unwilling 
to live where they are not to be had. It was long since established by 
our fathers, that the only soUd foundation for permanent prosperity 
is the virtue and intelligence of the people." 

102. A. D. Cook, "Educational Progress in Wyoming," Wyoming School 
Journal 2 (1909): 9. "Wyoming has always shown a great interest 
in education. Even in the earliest days of the Territory, when the 
first mile of railroad was being pushed slowly forward, the agita- 
tion for schools was started. That same characteristic, energy in 
educational affairs, has dominated the people of Wyoming all 
through her history." 



103. Wyoming Tribune, March 12, 1870. I 

104. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 13, 1869. 1 

105. Report of the Commissioner of Education fjr the year 1872 (Washington, 
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1873), p. 383; and E. G. Dexter, 
A History of Education in the United States (New York: The MacMUlan 
Co., 1911), pp. 152, 614, 616. 

106. Report of the Commissioner of Education pr the Year 1872 (Washington, 
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1873); E. E. Baker, "Education 
in Wyoming," Wyoming School Journal 5 (1908): 74; Cheyenne Daily 
Leader, October 13, 1869. 

107. O. E. Swanson, "President's Address to the Wyoming State 
Teachers Association," Wyoming School Journal 5 (1908): 105. 

108. Ibid. 

109. Report of the Commissioner of Education for the Year 1873 (Washington, 
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1874), p. 468; Cheyenne Daily 
Leader, May 7, 1872. 

110. Report of the Commissioner of Education forYear 1877 (Washington, D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, 1878). 

111. Executive Documents of the House of Representatives, 1887-1888; 
and Compiled Laws of Wyoming, 1876, Chapter 103, Section 7. 

112. Report of the Commissioner of Education for Year 1877, p. 297. 

113. Message of Governor Hoyt to the Seventh Legislative Assembly, January 

12, 1882, p. 25. "The Wyoming Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Let- 
ters, an association organized within the past year .... deserves 
mention here, as marking an important step in the intellectual and 
social progress of the territory." Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 13, 
1882; The University Melange 1 (1904-1905): 51-54. J 

114. Report of the Commissioner of Education for the year 1877. ■ 

115. Wyoming, Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruc- 
tion (1890-1892). 

116. Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 185. 

117. Wyoming Tribune, December 18, 1869; January 1, 1870. The article 
mentioned 15,000 square rmles of lignite coal beds. Report of Gover- 
nor of Wyoming to the Secretary of the Interior, September 27, 1887, 
p. 28; September 19, 1888, p. 14; Cheyenne Leader, July 22; October 

13, 1869; Report of Governor Hoyt to the Secretary of the Interior (1878), 
p. 15. 

118. 1883 Directory of Cheyenne (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Sun Steam Book 
and Job Print, 1883), p. 26. 

119. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 8, 1877; November 7, 1879; and 
Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 365. 

120. Wyoming Tribune, January 8, 1870. 

121 . Report of the Governor of Wyoming to the Secretary of the Interior (1881), 
p. 52; and Homsher, A Student's Guide, p. 19. 

122. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 27, 1871; Report of the Governor of 
Wyoming to the Secretary of the Interior (1886), pp. 20, 26. See Minutes 
of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, 1881-1922, AHC; and 
Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 364. 

123. Cheyenne Daily Leader, August 2, 1877. 

124. Swanson, "President's Address," Wyoming School Journal, p. 105. 

125. Report of the Governor of Wyoming to the Secretary of the Interior (1887), 
p. 51. 

126. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 25, 1871. Editor Baker reported that lands 
were open to homesteading and law allowed settlers to occupy 160 
acres at the rate of $1.25 per acre. After five years homestead title 
may be acquired. 

127. Bartlett, History of Wyoming. 

128. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 13, 1869; November 18, 1875. 

129. Bancroft, History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, p. 756. 

130. Ibid., p. 757. 

131. Ibid., p. 758. 

132. Homsher, Student's Guide, p. 23. 

133. Bartlett, History of Wyoming, p. 185. 

134. Cheyenne Daily Leader, July 10, 1890. 



12 



THE OVERLAND MAIL 
IN WYOMING 



by Patricia Ann Owens 



'Nothing on God's earth must stop the 
United States Maii" 



i^crcrras 



# €;ji,l»jf#®iit 



-^1 




This woodcut was made in 1866 and used in an advertising poster for the California Stage Compan\ which earned passengers and mail 



13 



By the mid-19th century the Oregon Trail had become 
a national highway. Settlers followed the trail to Oregon 
and California, but had little tendency to establish perma- 
nent settlements anywhere along the trail. As mining 
populations became entrenched in Montana and other 
areas of the West a need developed for a transportation 
network that would ship out the gold and a system that 
would bring supplies, mail and news to the settlements. ^ 
Various freighting companies were established to meet this 
need, and the most famous such firm of Russell, Majors 
and Waddell also organized the Pony Express to carry the 
mail to points in the West as well as to California. The Pony 
Express had a brief existence, but it did have the distinc- 
tion of carrying the news of the election of Abraham Lin- 
coln to California. It was discontinued October 26, 1861, 
when the overland telegraph was completed. ^ 

The mail was a link to home for the settlers in the West. 
They felt a vital need for information from the East, and 
through constant reminding they kept the federal govern- 
ment aware of its responsibilities to the West. Most govern- 
ment officials realized the difficulties in providing an 
overland mail service while admitting that such a service 
was a necessity for bonding together the East and West.^ 
It was obvious that mail service to the West would benefit 
economic development of the entire country and would 
advance civilization in the West. Leaders in Washington, 
wishing to promote both prosperity and civilization, 
favored a transcontinental overland mail system and 
passed appropriate legislation. Mail was carried to sparsely 
populated regions and through uninhabited regions in 
hopes of encouraging settlement. Regular mail service was 
a sign of security.^ The mail service brought improvements 
to a region and prepared it for the emigrants yet to come.^ 
Beyond all of these arguments was the importance of the 
mail in human terms. Soldiers, miners and emigrants got 
lonesome without the letters from home.* 

Opponents of the overland mail pointed out the hard- 
ships experienced by many western travelers as sufficient 
reason for not establishing official mail routes to the West.'' 
Nevertheless, the demand for overland mail increased. 
One of the loudest cries for the maU route came from 
California. In February, 1860, the California legislature in- 
structed that state's senators and representatives to secure 
passage of a law in Congress providing for a daily mail ser- 
vice from the Mississippi River to California. The Califor- 
nia legislature maintained that the overland route could 
deliver the maU in a shorter time and with more regularity 
than ocean vessels, and above all the establishment of a 
route would tend to "promote settlement and bring into 
market millions of acres of land now considered too remote 
for civilization, and would also tend to secure emigration 
to the Pacific States . . . ."* 

Postmaster General Joseph Holt expressed opposition 
to the overland route in his 1860 annual report. He held 
that an overland mail system would have to cross deserts 
and mountains in all types of weather carrying tons of mail 
14 



each year and that the same mail could more regularly be 
delivered by other routes. Overland mail would benefit no 
one but the contractor.' Despite such opposition, a bill 
establishing an overland mail route passed Congress. 

When hostilities broke out between the North and 
South in 1861, the mail route had to be changed. Congress 
authorized the postmaster general to discontinue the mail 
service on the southern overland route which was near the 
Confederate's domain. The mail was now to move along 
the central overland route from a site on the Missouri River 
to PlacerviUe, California. Authorization was also given to 
increase the mail schedule to six times a week." 

The contract, let to the Butterfield Overland Mail Com- 
pany, covered the period July 1, 1861, through July 1, 1864, 
for a fee of one million dollars per annum." The mail con- 
tract provided that the mail be carried through in twenty 
days, eight months of the year and in 23 days during the 
four winter months of the year. Bad weather made travel 
conditions poor during the winter months, thus the addi- 
tional three days allowed for delivery. ^^ Mail on the cen- 
tral route would start July 1, 1861, from St. Joseph, 
Missouri. 

The eastern division of the mail route, which ran from 
Atchison to Salt Lake City, was operated by the Central 
Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company (the 
C. O. C. and P. P. E.) owned by the firm of Russell, Majors 
and Waddell. The firm experienced financial difficulties 
and was forced to borrow money from a western finan- 
cier, Ben Holladay. By March 21, 1862, Holladay took con- 
trol of the company, foreclosing on money owed him." 
As a result, Holladay also received the contract for the 
overland maU. He reorganized the line and divided the 
route with W. B. Dinsmore, president of the Adams Ex- 
press Company, who took the western end of the route 
from Salt Lake City to Placerville, California." 

Mark Twain, who traveled the overland route to 
Nevada, wrote about Holladay in Roughing It: 

No doubt everybody has heard of Ben Holliday [sic]— a man 
of prodigious energy, who used to send mails and passengers 
flying across the continent in his overland stage-coaches like 
a very whirlwind— two thousand long mUes in fifteen days and 
a half .... 

Twain recounted the tale of a young man who was told 
the story of Moses and how he led his people out of Egypt 
300 miles to a new land taking 40 years to do it. The boy 
answered, "Forty years? Only three hundred miles? 
Humph! Ben Holliday [sic] would have fetched them 
through in thirty-six hours. "^^ 

Holladay was born in Carlisle County, Kentucky, in 
1819, and moved to western Missouri as a young boy. 
There he operated a store which supplied goods to the U.S. 
Army during the Mexican War. Money from these and 
other business ventures enabled him to loan money to the 
stagecoach line of Russell, Majors and Waddell and eventu- 
ally obtain the mail contract and operate nearly 5,000 miles 
of stage lines. ** Holladay was an effective executive who 




The Overland Mail coach in front of station at Fort Bridger, ca. 1864. 



possessed an ability to organize the many aspects of the 
overland stage business. ^'' He appeared as a coarse fron- 
tiersman to many, yet was ambitious and filled with the 
cunning of a gambler who would risk his entire fortune 
when a greater one could be acquired. i* One of Holladay's 
contemporaries wrote that Holladay was a "man of restless 
and untiring vigor. "^^ He combined his many talents with 
his first hand knowledge of the frontier to develop a great 
stage line. He hired skillful and experienced men to drive 
his coaches, purchased first-class coaches and the finest 
horses and mules. He paid his men on time and, to the 
pleasure of the Post Office Department, he delivered the 
mail.^o 

There were 93 stations along the mail route from At- 
chison, Kansas, to Salt Lake City, Utah.^i These stations 
were ten to twelve miles apart. Every 50 miles there was 
a "home station" where the drivers changed and made 
their homes. These were also eating stations for passengers 
riding the coaches. Intermediate stations along the route 
were called "swing stations" and here only horses were 
changed. 2^ The station buildings were constructed of logs 
and sod and divided into one to three rooms. Here peo- 
ple ate, slept and bought groceries and whiskey from the 
store room. 23 These were primitive facilities but they were 
not the only hardships experienced by the stagecoach 
drivers and passengers. The weather was a formidable foe. 
Furious snowstorms would blast the route for weeks on 
end in the winter, and flooded streams would turn the 



route into a quagmire in the spring. ^^ These conditions 
slowed down or completely stopped mail delivery at 
various times from 1862 to 1865. 

The overland mail crossed through the present-day 
states of Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah in the com- 
pletion of the eastern division of the route. In Wyoming, 
the route passed between Fort Laramie in the east and Fort 
Bridger in the west. Beginning in 1862, this region became 
the scene for numerous Indian raids upon the mail route, 
emigrants and the telegraph. 

The depredations by the Indians coincided with the 
removal of troops from various western forts. The troops 
were sent east to fight the Confederacy and in April, 1862, 
Indian war parties took advantage of the situation by fre- 
quent attacks on stagecoach stations between Fort Bridger 
and the North Platte River. Mail was often destroyed by 
the Indians, scattered across the plains or lost in stations 
set on fire by the Indians, and those stations attacked lost 
numerous horses and mules. ^^ 

A small force of soldiers from Fort Laramie tried to 
guard the 500 miles of mail route. However, they were in- 
effective and the Indians continued their raids. Messages 
from Fort Laranue reported that "the road is in danger 
daily from Platte Bridge to Salt Lake Valley. "^^ In order 
to afford some protection, two coaches were run at a time 
with a double set of men. However, this proved unsuc- 
cessful. On April 17, 1862, dual coaches were attacked by 
45 Indians who fired upon the men and coaches causing 

15 



severe damage before retreating four hours later. ^^ In 
another show of force, the Indians attacked a mail station 
within two hours after a detachment of troops left the 
vicinity.^* The Indians were able to attack quickly with force 
and evade the troops. 

The Indian raids during 1862 took their toll on the mail 

delivery, causing the postmaster general to report in his 

annual message of that year that the mail service had not 

been satisfactory. He was, however, optimistic that it 

would be made successful. The mail route was becoming 

more and more important. The postmaster general reported: 

Everyday brings intelligence of the discovery of new mines of 

gold and silver in the region traversed by this mail route, which 

gives assurance that it wUl not be many years before it will be 

protected and supported throughout the greater part of the 

route by a civilized population. As an agency in developing 

these resources for the government the mail line is indispensable 

and every needful protection and support should be given to 

the company, and some allowance made for failures in the 

beginning of the undertaking.^' 



the Oregon Trail. This new route was often referred to as 
the Cherokee Trail or the Bridger's Pass route. ^ Abandon- 
ing the old route was not without great expense to Holla- 
day's company. It was necessary to abandon 26 mail sta- 
tions and build 25 additional stations along the new route, 
new stations meant new houses, new barns and new sup- 
plies all at increasing expense. '* Holladay estimated the 
total cost at $50,000. 

To protect the new route, James Craig, the coirmiander 
at Fort Laramie, ordered escorts of 25 to 30 men to accom- 
pany the stages. 35 Sending these troops more than 100 
miles to the south forced Craig to divide his forces and 
severely limited his ability to protect the emigrant trains 
that passed through the region. ^^ In such a weakened posi- 
tion, Craig petitioned his superior officers for additional 
troops. 3'' 

Holladay also petitioned Washington for protection of 
his stages carrying the mail. He had friends in the Post Of- 
fice and War departments and he appealed to them in his 




fc^ivKtf'^fs: 




The Overland Mail leaving Deer Creek Station during the 1860s. 

The mail route through present-day Wyoming suffered 
so severely during 1862, that all along the line were found 
disorgariized and abandoned stations. 3° After Holladay had 
studied reports of the raids committed by Indians on the 
route between Fort Laramie and South Pass, listened to 
advice from the persons familiar with the country, and real- 
ized the inability of the military forces adequately to pro- 
tect the stage line, he decided to move the line to a more 
southern route. ^^ He later testified before a Congressional 
committee on his decision: 

1 deserted and abandoned all stations and moved south from 
various fwints 100 to 300 miles for the new route, ... I can 
state under oath that the mails could not have passed over the 
old road without enormous expenditure of money and loss of 
life and property. Indeed, I know it was impossible to carry 
the mails regularly on that route. General Craig agreed with 
me that it was impossible to afford me protection with his 
force. ^^ 

The postmaster general gave permission in Jioly, 1862, to 
change the mail route. It was located 100 miles south of 
16 



effort.'* The mail route had been destroyed for hundreds 
of miles and Holladay experienced great financial loss. 
Therefore he took his case to President Abraham Lincoln. 
When he went to the White House, Holladay was accom- 
panied by Senator Milton Latham of California. Latham 
was especially interested in maintaining the regtilar mail 
service on the overland route to California. Holladay ex- 
plained the situation to the president, and Lincoln told 
him, "you must have protection; the mails must be car- 
ried." Lincoln instructed Holladay to carry the mail at all 
hazards and promised he would be protected by the gov- 
ernment and that he would be compensated for his 
losses. 3' 

Holladay's friend. Senator Latham, wrote to President 
Lincoln on April 26, 1862, requesting that authority be 
given to Brigham Young, leader of the Mormons in Utah, 
to raise 100 men to protect the overland route.'"' Lincoln 
endorsed the request and Adjutant General Lorenzo 
Thomas telegraphed Yoimg on April 28 and informed him 



that by authority of the president he was to raise, arm and 
equip a company of men for 90 days service and they were 
to proceed to Independence Rock, a landmark east of Fort 
Bridger, to protect the new mail route. *' The Indians soon 
disappeared from this region and the Mormon forces 
served only 30 days before being mustered out.*^ 

Despite Holladay's hopes, the southern route was not 
immune to Indian raids. *^ An employee of Holladay's 
wrote from Salt Lake City in June, 1862, that the Indians 
had caused a suspension of the mails and this would con- 
tinue until troops could arrive to protect the route from 
further violence.*^ 

By 1864, travel along the overland trails had increased 
to the point that it rivaled the days of heavy overland 
migration during the rush to California gold fields in 1849. 
For a stretch of 400 miles along the mail route the Indians 
plundered wagons, coaches, stations and brought Holla- 
day's empire to a standstill. ^^ The mail delivery was im- 
peded; stations, houses, supplies were burned; and agents 
were murdered.** All of this brought financial difficulties 
to HoUaday. The overland mail was shut down as a result 
of the Indian raids at a time when it would have paid the 
best. Summer and fall were good times for coaches to carry 
passengers. Now no passengers rode the coaches, no mail 
was delivered and overland commerce in general was hurt. 



Mail had to be sent by ocean vessel. Burned stations, stolen 
livestock and other destroyed property cost HoUaday 
several hundred thousand dollars.*^ 

Once again HoUaday appealed for protection of the 
mail route to President Lincoln. A representative from 
Holladay's firm, George Otis, visited the White House ac- 
companied by the assistant secretary of the interior, the 
acting postmaster general, as well as delegates from 
Oregon and Colorado. They told Lincoln the mail coaches 
would run if the goveniment would furnish military guards 
and escorts. Otis reported that Lincoln replied: 

Mr. Otis, we are in a great strait with the country today; at this 
time we have very few, if any, troops to spare. But I want you 
to understand, as the agent of Mr. HoUaday, that this line must, 
under no consideration, be stopped .... This thing must be 
protected, and it shall be protected.'" 

Clearly, Lincoln recognized the importance of the mail 
route in connecting east to west during the war. The presi- 
dent gave Otis a letter to take to General S. R. Curtis at 
Fort Leavenworth. Lincoln asked Curtis to meet with Otis 
to discuss protection for the overland mail route and "to 
do the very best you can for this important interest . . . ."*' 
Curtis in turn ordered the commander at Fort Laramie, 
now Brigadier General Robert B. Mitchell, to "make the 
overland stage route as secure as possible. "5° Mitchell's 




Stagecoach used along the Overland Mail route. 



V 



success was no greater than Craig's had been. Small 
groups of men were stiE trying to guard 500 miles of coun- 
try, raids were committed daily and Mitchell expected a 
general outbreak. '' 

While Holladay experienced difficulties with Indian 
raids along the mail route, he was facing the end of the 
contract period for the mail. It was necessary to devote 
some effort to the renewing of the contract. The maU con- 
tract possessed by Holladay was set to expire on June 30, 
1864. The postmaster general, by authority of various acts 
of Congress, divided the mail route into sections and an- 
nounced in October, 1863, he would accept bids for the 
mail service until March 3, 1864. ^^ Holladay bid on route 
number 14260 to run daily coaches both ways between At- 
chison, Kansas, and Salt Lake City, Utah, a distance of 
1,220 miles. His bid for this portion of the overland route 
was $385,000. For the complete route extending to Folsom, 
California, Holladay bid $820,000, but he was not the 
lowest bidder. =3 John H. Heistand of Lancaster, Penn- 
sylvania, bid $750,000 to cover the entire overland route, 
but then withdrew the bid.'^ Holladay then informed the 
postmaster general that he should receive the contract since 
Heistand had withdrawn his bid. After some delay the con- 
tract was offered officially to Holladay and he accepted on 
August 5, 1864.55 

The new contract for October 1, 1864, to September 
30, 1868, stated that the contractor was to carry the maU 
with "certainty, celerity, and security . . . ." The mail was 
to be carried in a "safe and secure manner free from wet 
or other injury." If carried on a horse, the mail was to be 
carried under an oil-cloth or bear skin and if carried in a 
coach then placed under the driver's seat. The carrier was 
to protect the mail and lock it up or put it in a safe place 
at night. Holladay would receive payments in the months 
of May, August, November and February for carrying the 
maU. 5* 

The schedule of departures and arrivals took into con- 
sideration the bad weather conditions during the winter 
months. From October 1 to April 1, the mail was to leave 
Atchison daily at 8 a.m., arrive at Salt Lake City on the 
fourteenth day after, by 2 a.m., then leave that city daily 
at 7 p.m. and arrive at Atchison on the fourteenth day after 
by 1 p.m. The one way trip between either dty was a total 
of 306 hours. During the other eight months of the year, 
April 1 to December 1, the mail was to leave Atchison daily 
at 8 a.m., arrive at Salt Lake City on the eleventh day after 
by 11 a.m., then leave Salt Lake City daily at 10 a.m. and 
arrive at Atchison on the eleventh day after by 1 p.m. This 
was a one way trip of 243 hours. 5'' To maintain such a 
schedule, Holladay kept a number of coaches rolling across 
the plains at all times. The distance was immense and the 
organization of such an undertaking was complicated. 

The Indians continued their raids throughout 1865. In 
January of that year, the Cheyerme and Sioux took con- 
trol of the route for 200 miles along the Platte River. These 
raids played havoc with the mail and made deliveries ir- 
18 



regular along the eastern half of the route. 5* 

Holladay continued the mail service throughout the 
years of the Civil War when communication with the West 
was so vital. Damages suffered as a result of the continu- 
ing raids accumulated. Holladay was a successful 
businessman and a sly one at that. The railroad began its 
rapid expansion across the continent after the close of the 
Civil War, bringing with it new and faster maU delivery. 
Holladay realized that it was time for him to abandon the 
overland maU. On November 1, 1866, he sold the Overland 
MaU Company to WeUs, Fargo and Company and quit a 
winner. 5^ 



PATRICIA ANN OWENS is instructor of history and political science at Wabash 
Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. She received her Ph.D. in history from 
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, M.A. in history and M.S. in forestry 
from SIUC, and B.A. in history and political science from Illinois State Univer- 
sity. She is a master's candidate in American Studies at the University of Wyoming. 



1. Frederick L. Paxson, History of the American Frontier 1763-1893 (Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1924), p. 466. 

2. U.S., Congress, Senate, Report of the Postmaster General 1860, Executive 
Department, 36th Cong., 2nd sess., 1861, p. 560. 

3. J. V. Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King: A Chapter in the 
Development of Transcontinental Transportation (Glendale, California: 
The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1940), p. 45. 

4. LeRoy R. Hafen, The Overland Mail, 1849-1869: Promoter of Settlement, 
Precursor of Railroads (Qeveland: The ,\rthur H. Qark Company, 1926), 
pp. 329-330. 

5. Ibid., p. 331. 

6. Lewis Byram HuU, "Soldiering on the High Plains; The Diary of Lewis 
Byram Hull, 1864-1866," edited by Myra E. Hull, The Kansas Historical 
Quarterly Vll (February 1938): 19. 

7. Roscoe P. Conkling and Margaret B. Conkling, The Butterfield Overland 
Mail, 1857-1869: Its Organization and Operation over the Southern Route 
to 1861; Subsequently over the Central Route to 1866; and under Wells, 
Fargo and Company in 1869, Volume 1 (Glendale, California: The Arthur 
H. Clark Company, 1947), p. 85. 

8. U.S., Congress, House, Miscellaneous Document 18, 36th Cong., 1st 
sess., 1860. 

9. U.S., Congress, Senate, Report of the Postmaster General 1860, Executive 
Documents, 36th Cong., 2nd sess., 1861, p. 436. 

10. U.S., Congress, Senate, Report of the Postmaster General 1861, Executive 
Doctmients, 37th Cong., 2nd sess., 1862., p. 560; and William E. Lass, 
From the Missouri to the Great Salt Lake: An Account of Overland Freighting 
(Nebraska State Historical Society, 1972), p. 122. 

11. U.S., Congress, Senate, Report of the Postmaster General 1861, Executive 
Documents, 37th Cong., 2nd sess., 1862, p. 560; and Conkling, The 
Butterfield Overland Mail, Volume 11, p. 341. 

12. U.S., Congress, Senate, Report of the Postmaster General 1861, Executive 
Documents, 37th Cong., 2nd sess., 1862, p. 560. 

13. Lass, From the Missouri to the Great Salt Lake, pp. 122-123; Frederick, 



Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, pp. 62-65; Hafen, The Overland Mail, 
1849-1869, p. 227; Hiram S. Rumfield, "Letters of an Overland Mail 
Agent in Utah/' edited by Archer Butler Hulbert, Proceedings of the 
American Antiquarian Society 38 (April 18, 1928-October 17, 1928): 267; 
and Raymond W. Settle and Mary Lund, War Drums and Wagon Wheels: 
The Story of Russell, Majors and Waddell (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1966), p. 166. 

14. Conkling, The Butterfield Overland Mail, Volume II, p. 239; and Settle 
and Lund, War Drums and Wagon Wheels, p. 163. 

15. Mark Twain, Roughing It (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 
1913), p. 41. 

16. Dumas Malone, editor. Dictionary of American Biography, Volume V 
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932), p. 141; and Hafen, The 
Overland Mail, 1849-1869, pp. 295-296. 

17. LeRoy R. Hafen and Carl Coke Rister, Western America: The Explora- 
tion, Settlement and Development of the Region Beyond the Mississippi, 
2nd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1950), 
p. 466. 

18. Paxson, History of the American Frontier 1763-1893, p. 466; Frederick, 
Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, p. 24; and Ray Allen BUlington, 
Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier, 4th ed. (New 
York: MacrmUan Pubhshing Company, Inc., 1974), p. 551. 

19. Eugene F. Ware, The Indian War of 1864 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 
1960), p. 181. 

20. Frank A. Root and William Elsey Connelley, The Overland Stage to 
California: Personal Reminiscences and Authentic History of the Great 
Overland Stage Line and Pony Express from the Missouri River to the Pacific 
Ocean (Published by the authors, 1901); reprint ed. (Columbus, Ohio: 
Long's College Book Company, 1950), p. 48; and Richard A. Bartlett, 
The New Country: A Social History of the American Frontier 1776-1890 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), pp. 303-304. 

21. Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, pp. 101-102. 

22. C. G. Coutant, History of Wyoming, Volume II (New York: Argonaut 
Press, Ltd., 1966), p. 388; and Dee Brown, The Galvanized Yankees 
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1963), p. 20. 

23. Brown, The Galvanized Yankees, p. 20; and Root and Connelley, The 
Overland Stage to California, p. 64. 

24. Rumfield, "Letters of an Overland Mail Agent in Utah," p. 292; and 
Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, p. 113. 

25. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 9; Hafen, The Overland Mail, 1849-1869, p. 242; and 
Grace Raymond Hebard, Washakie: An Account of Indian Resistance of 
the Covered Wagon and Union Pacific Railroad Invasion of Their Territory 
(Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1930), p. 105. 

26. War of the Rebellion, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office 1880-1900), series 
I, vol. XIII, p. 459 (hereafter cited as O.R.). 

27. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 9. 

28. Ibid., p. 55; and O.R., I, XIH, p. 459. 

29. U.S., Congress, House, Report of the Postmaster General 1862, Executive 
Documents, 38th Cong., 3rd sess., 1863, p. 126. 

30. Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, p. 94; and U.S., Con- 
gress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd sess., 
1880, p. 51. 



31. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 62. 

32. Ibid. 

33. Root and Connelley, The Overland Stage to California, p. 92; Hafen, 
The Overland Mail, 1849-1869, p. 230; Lass, From the Missouri to the 
Great Salt Lake, p. 123; Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, 
p. 94; and Robert M. Utley, Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States Army 
and the Indian 1848-1865 (New York: MacmiUan Publishing Company, 
Inc., 1967), p. 281. 

34. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 2; and Root and Connelley, The Overland Stage to Califor- 
nia, p. 361. 

35. O.R., I, Xin, p. 468. 

36. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 54; Hebard, Washakie, p. 106; and T. A. Larson, History 
of Wyoming, 2nd ed., revised (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1978), p. 19. 

37. O.K., I, Xin, p. 466. 

38. Bartlett, Vw New Country, p. 304. 

39. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Docimnent 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, pp. 57, 61. 

40. Abraham Lincoln, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by 
Roy P. Easier, vol. V (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers Univer- 
sity Press, 1953-1955), p. 200. 

41. O.R., III, II, p. 27; and Hebard, Washakie, p. 106. 

42. Hafen, The Overland Mail 1849-1869, p. 247. 

43. O.R., I, Xin, p. 451. 

44. Rumfield, "Letters of an Overland Mail Agent in Utah," pp. 267-268. 

45. Dee Brown, The Westerners (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 
1974), p. 168. 

46. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 1. 

47. Root and Connelley, The Overland Stage to California, pp. 439-440, 442. 

48. U.S., Congress, Senate, Miscellaneous Document 19, 46th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1880, p. 57; and Brown, The Galvanized Yankees, pp. 15-16. 

49. Lincoln, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. VII, p. 530. 

50. O.R., I, XLI, II, p. 302. 

51. Ibid., p. 429. 

52. U.S., Congress, House, Report of the Postmaster General 1863, Executive 
Documents, 38th Cong., 1st sess., 1864, pp. 11-12. 

53. U.S., Congress, House, Executive Docvunent 99, 38th Cong., 1st sess., 
1864, p. 2; and Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, pp. 117-119. 

54. U.S., Congress, House, Executive Document 99, 38th Cong., 1st sess., 
1864, p. 2; Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, pp. 117-118; 
and U.S., Congress, House, Report of the Postmaster General 1864, Ex- 
ecutive Documents, 39th Congress, 2nd Session, 1865, pp. 782-783. 

55. U.S., Congress, House, Report of the Postmaster General 1864, Executive 
Documents, 39th Cong., 2nd sess., 1865, pp. 782-783; and Frederick, 
Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, p. 118. 

56. U.S., Congress, House, Executive Document 20, 40th Cong., 2nd 
sess., 1868, pp. 3-4. 

57. Ibid., p. 6. 

58. U.S., Congress, House, Report of the Postmaster General 1865, Executive 
Documents, 39th Cong., 1 sess., 1866, p. 3; and Root and Con- 
nelley, The Overland Stage to California, p. 371. 

59. Frederick, Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, pp. 260-261. 



19 



"Y'ALL CALL ME NIGGER JIM NOW, 

BUT SOMEDAY YOU'LL CALL ME 

MR. JAMES EDWARDS": 

Black Success on the Plains of the Equality State 

by Todd R. Guenther 




The now abandoned home of Jim and Lefhel Edwards. 



20 



Out on the rolling, rugged Wyoming prairie not far from the 
one store town of Lost Springs (pop. 38), there is a forlorn, 
forgotten ranch. Amid its weathered, fallen corrals, blown down 
windmills, (and) rusting ancient cars there is a gaunt stone- 
face house with a wisp of smoke trailing up to the sky. In the 
shadows of the kitchen, heaped with unwashed dishes, pots 
with half-eaten food and old papers, lives James Nathaniel Ed- 
wards, now 85 years old. His hair has turned almost completely 
white. His shoulders are beginning to bend . . . This is the man 
who once was the greatest negro cattle rancher in all the West 
. . . Jim Edwards is a legend in Wyoming, a name that will long 
be remembered wherever and whenever cattlemen gather to 
talk about the building of the West.^ 

The preceding passage dramatically gives Edwards 
somewhat greater significance than history has yet chosen 
to. Ciirrently, virtually nothing is known of the history of 
Blacks in Wyoming, and only a small amount about Blacks 
in the West. Very little information exists, then, for com- 
parative purposes, making such grandiose rankings unsup- 
portable. Nevertheless, during the first half of the 20th cen- 
tury, Edwards and his wife Lethel were, possibly, the most 
successful Black ranchers at least in Wyoming, if not the 
West. It is clear they were more prosperous and produc- 
tive than many White homesteaders in the region, a large 
number of whom lived in squalor before going bust dur- 
ing the 1920s or 1930s. During that whole period the 
Edwards thrived. Because they accomplished so much 
more than the majority of their more numerous White 
counterparts, common sense suggests they were probably 
more financially successful than all their peers, the few un- 
documented Black ranchers included. 

Originally from Ohio, Edwards was bom on February 
14, about 1871, and may have come West as early as the 
1880s when around the age of 16.^ The amount of educa- 
tion he received is unknown, but bank checks he wrote 
in the 1920s are in a very clear, confident, legible hand. 
He never discussed his early years with the informants 
who provided much of the information about him. William 
Nuttall is "sure he didn't" trail cattle between Mexico and 
Canada as the imreliable author of the Ebony article claims, 
and it is doubtful he was in the West before 1900. Local 
tradition maintains that before coming to Wyoming he 
served in a Black cavalry unit in Cuba during the Spanish 
American War. According to this version he was an NCO 
who refused to lead his troops into a valley he had scouted 
and knew to be infested with an overwhelming number 
of enemy. Art Joss, a neighboring rancher, thought he 
subsequently deserted and that Edwards may have been 
a pseudonym; Nuttall thought he was discharged. Refer- 
ring to the incident and his presence in Wyoming he once 
said, "I wouldn't've been here if it wasn't for that." Nut- 
tall said that later in life, Edwards "hated anything 
military. "3 The National Archives, however, contains no 
record of a James Nathaniel Edwards serving in either of 
the Black cavalry units in the U.S. armed forces, although 
he might have served with a state volunteer unit. 



Edwards appeared in Newcastle, Wyoming, with his 
father in 1900 in response to help wanted advertisements 
placed in eastern newspapers by the Cambria coal mine. 
Both had worked in coal mines in Ohio. They came West 
with a group of Italian miners who soon drove them away. 
What became of the elder Edwards is unknown. Jim 
walked south looking for work until arriving in the Lusk 
area, a distance of about 80 miles. There, the WiUson 
Brothers Ranch hired him to herd sheep on the Running 
Water, now called the Niobrara River. 

Edwards worked for the Willsons for ten or fifteen 
years, eventually as a foreman. That put him in a super- 
visory capacity over lower ranking White employees. He 
remained on the Willson payroll at least until December, 
1914.* Joss said the Willsons refused to pay him a decent 
wage and threatened to report him to the military au- 
thorities if he quit, but that he finally took them to court 
and won the case.' No court records for the case were 
located, but if this account is accurate, it suggests he did 
not desert. As Edwards was involved in many legal dis- 
putes through the years, it seems likely that if he was in- 
deed a deserter, the fact would have been discovered. 

The Willson brothers originally placed Edwards on his 
Harney Creek homestead early in the century. Joss thought 
it was aroimd 1906 or 1908.' During the blizzard of 1949, 
Edwards said that he had looked "out of the same win- 
dow for 50 years. "^ Nuttall estimated he was on the 
homestead as early as 1901 or 1902. He applied for a patent 
on the land where his buildings were situated in 1908, but 
may have been there earlier. In a common arrangement 
of the day, the Willsons set him up with the imderstand- 
ing that he would turn the place over to them after prov- 
ing up. Instead, when he received the patent he kept it. 
When he sold out years later he had eighteen sections of 
land, including two leased school sections, was a respected 
member of the community and highly regarded as a cattle 
and horse breeder. 

Edwards was the first Black person to live in the area. 
The name of Nigger Baby Spring, now called Baby Springs 
Draw, several rrules north of his homestead, suggests the 
possible presence of earlier Blacks in the area when 
geographical features were still being named. That assump- 
tion is inaccurate. The name probably results from "the 
black, tarlike mud through which the water seeps to the 
surface." Any one or anything "drinking there, or stand- 
ing in the water [will] emerge . . . plastered with the black 
ooze."* 

Edwards began ranching when the Wyoming cattle in- 
dustry was experiencing a period of "general steady 
growth, with [only] nunor setbacks."' By this time stock- 
growers had adopted winter feeding methods as opposed 
to letting the animals fend for themselves during the brutal 
Wyoming winters. They had also learned advanced dry- 
farming and irrigation techniques in their feed crop pro- 
duction which allowed them to produce larger amounts 
of feed. Because of past disasters caused by overgrazing, 

21 



ranchers also became respectful of the shortgrass prairie's 
low carrying capacity. Between 1900 and 1910 the number 
of cattle on the plains declined by 36.7 percent." Cattlemen 
who fed their stock and kept costs down usually prospered 
during this period. Jim Edwards, an intelligent and talented 
stockman, earned a position in that category. 

Edwards was fortunate in that he did not have to 
winter feed his stock. His land just north of the Harney 
HiUs provided exceptionally good pasture. These beautiful, 
cedar dotted hills are on the divide between the North 
Platte and Running Water (Niobrara) rivers. Because of 
their elevation they receive slightly more annual precipita- 
tion than surrounding areas. The average precipitation 
there is eighteen inches per year, as compared to sixteen 
elsewhere in the vicinity. Although it is obvious the vegeta- 
tion in the HiUs is relatively lush, the precise figures were 
not documented until Catherine Nuttall kept daily records 
for the United States Geological Survey for 35 years. The 
extra moisture resulted in increased biomass and thus car- 
rying capacity for Edwards' land, thereby contributing to 
his future success by letting him produce more with less 
effort and expenditure than his competitors. 

Also during this period, much of the remaining open 
range was claimed by new homeseekers and established 
ranchers trying to enlarge their holdings. Thirty-eight 
million acres were claimed on the Great Plains between 
1911 and 1914. >' In 1913, Edwards received his first patent 
on 90 acres surrounding his cabin. Stockmen who did not 
own their grazing lands often lost portions of the open 
range they had used to others taking advantage of the 
Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 or the Stock Raising 
Homestead Act of 1916. '^ Throughout much of the thirty 
year period from 1890 to 1920, Edwards thrived. He was 
able to do so because national economic trends created a 
usually favorable market for cattlemen and because he was 
a gifted, accomplished stock-grower who was prudent in 
his business dealings. 

World War I brought a short-lived economic boom to 
Wyoming ranchers. Improved animal husbandry methods 
and a growing market enabled them to nearly double the 
number of cattle between 1914 and 1918." This un- 
precedented boom resulted in wild inflation and ex- 
travagant speculation in agricultural commodities. Many 
new banks opened with poor organization and funding by 
parties wanting to capitalize on the situation. Environmen- 
tal factors, however, in the form of summer droughts and 
severe winter blizzards in 1919 and 1920, compounded by 
the effects of a nationwide economic depression follow- 
ing the war and lasting through the early 1920s, spelled 
doom for many of the large ranches with high operating 
costs and smaller, new homesteads, without the resources 
to survive hard times. Nationwide, "net farm mcome 
plunged from a total of nearly $10 billion in 1919 to $4 
billion in 1921."" In 1920, steers sold for $150 per head 
and much land was still open to homesteading. By 1924, 
steers were down to $60, cows went for anywhere from 
22 



$75 to $25, and choice Wyoming farmland sold for as low 
as $75 per acre. In short, in Wyoming the Great Depres- 
sion began in the 1920s. What followed after the 1929 
market collapse was just more of the same to western 
stockmen. Farmers and ranchers had bank loans based on 
boom prices, when crop and livestock prices fell below 
cost, many gave up and just walked away. Banks in the 
eastern part of the state were heavily over-extended and 
many failed. In fact, all the unsoimd national banks in 
Wyoming failed during the 1920s, so that unlike many 
other states in the union, none of Wyoming's closed dur- 
ing the 1930s. Of the 47 national banks operating in the 
state in 1921, 23 were out of business in eight years. Of 
the 133 state or private banks open to business in the early 
1920s, 76 dosed by 1927, and only 32 were left by 1936. 
Edwards received a severe, but not devastating financial 
blow during this period. When banks in Manville and Lusk 
failed, he lost $30,000, an astronomical sum at the time. 
Two banks in Manville dosed, in 1922 and 1923, and three 
in Lusk, during the years 1920, 1923 and 1924. Seven other 
area banks, in Shawnee, Keeline, Douglas and Casper, 
were also casualties. Ranches that survived this era were 
generally small or mid-range, easily managed, family sized 
operations. That included the Edwards ranch. An addi- 
tional loss suffered by Edwards at this time was a poorly 
invested $10,000 in a California movie venture with Neal 
Hart, a former Lusk resident. ^^ 

Thirty of Edwards' bank checks survive, dating be- 
tween 1929 and 1940. Twenty-one were drawn on the First 
State Bank of Douglas in 1929 and 1930. Eight dated 
1938-1939 were on account at the Converse County State 
Bank. One, dated 1940, was from the Lusk State Bank. This 
sample is too small to draw any accurate conclusions, but 
may indicate that after the earlier small town bank failures, 
they were utilizing larger banks, presumably with greater 
assets, in larger communities. The sample is also insuffi- 
cient to define spending patterns, but drafts were written 
to a variety of individuals and businesses. A few examples 
are purchase of gasoline and oil, tractor repairs, agricultural 
seed and supplies from neighbors, auto parts, lumber, 
$5.00 at a pool hall, a new kitchen stove ($88.25, Wrought 
Iron Range Co., November 1930), groceries, land, doctor 
bills and other unrecorded expenses. 

Edwards was a hard worker, driven to succeed in spite 
of the obstacle created by his racially determined status as 
a second class citizen. He never stopped to eat a midday 
meal because it would have interfered with his daily goals. 
He said his brand, -f (sixteen bar one, on the left ribs of 
his cattle and the left shoulder of his horses), represented 
the ratio of sixteen White men who lived in the neigh- 
borhood to one Black man. Overt racism was not a prob- 
lem around Lost Springs, where "only a few people were 
afraid of them and made remarks about 'this country [was] 
no place for a nigger.' " Only a few neighbors avoided Ed- 
wards because of his race. He was generally accepted as 
equal, but "[tjhere are always some people who hate 



negroes even though they do not know thern.''^* The situa- 
tion in the Harney Hills may have resulted from the small 
number of Blacks in the area who consequently were not 
threatening to their White neighbors, or to unusually open- 
minded attitudes on the part of local Whites. In spite of 
this general lack of local prejudice, however, Jim Crow 
lived out West, too.^'' Consequently, Edwards was often 
wary in his dealings with Whites, especially women. He 
lived through a time when the lynching of Black men for 
allegedly assaulting White women was often applauded 
and few of the White majority burdened themselves with 
concerns about due process of law or guaranteed protec- 
tion of rights until proven guilty. Between 1914 and 1920, 
382 Blacks were lynched in the United States and many 
others imprisoned or executed under questionable cir- 
cumstances." When the course of his work took him to 
a neighboring ranch, Edwards consistently refused even 
to dismount his horse, much less enter the house, if a 
woman was home alone." When he did accept an invita- 
tion to stop, he invariably ate in the kitchen or outside 
while the family dined. It should be recalled that Edwards 
first came to Lost Springs after being driven from a Wyo- 
ming mining job in a racial confrontation with White 
miners. Perhaps the lynching of a jailed Black man, even 
in the supposedly liberal, enlightened university town of 
Laramie in 1904, served to keep the need for caution fresh 
in his mind. The turn of the century murder of another 
Black homesteader with the audacity to settle in the 
Equality State, near Casper, possibly did not escape his 
attention either. The message that Blacks could not rely 
on the law to protect them from White hatred no doubt 
was driven home repeatedly by subsequent lynchings in 
Rock Springs in 1917 and Green River in 1918. ^^ Edwards' 
consciousness of his tenuous position in western society 
could only have been imderscored by Wyoming laws pro- 
hibiting inter-racial marriage, passed in 1913, and another 
permitting the establishment of segregated schools as late 
as the 1960s in defiance of the state constitution. As in 
much of American history, the early decades of the 20th 
century are remembered as a bleak era for Blacks. They 
faced continued oppression, especially those who suc- 
cessfully acquired money and education. Woodrow Wilson's 
administration was decidedly racist and expanded segrega- 
tion. In 1913, Booker T. Washington wrote, "I have never 
seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they 
are at the present time."^^ 

A large part of Edwards' success is attributable to his 
wife, Lethel. She was described as "small, very neat, clean, 
quiet" and Ught complected.^ She did not try to straighten 
her hair, which was combed down neatly. Her parents may 
have been born slaves. They cooked on Mississippi River 
steamboats until her father developed tuberculosis and 
they moved to Telluride, Colorado, where he continued 
to cook for a short time before his death. Subsequently his 
widow, Marie Dawson, and her two children, Lethel and 
Doris, moved to Denver. Lethel, born between 1895 and 



1900, was the oldest. She was fashionable, educated (pos- 
sibly even at the college level) and bright. She was eager 
to try new technologies and techniques that would improve 
life and production. She was an accomplished musician and 
excellent pianist. She sang at the Black Hills Passion Show 
with some of her students, at the Lusk fair, at funerals and 
numerous other gatherings. During the three years Union 
Oil spent drilling a (dry) test well near the Edwards' 
homestead, she taught music to the children of the drillers. 
According to one unreliable source, Lethel also sang in the 
choir at the Congregational Church in Lusk where they 
were members and had contributed money to help build 
the structure. 23 Nuttall said the Edwards did not belong 
to a church. 2* A minister friend from Denver, who was also 
an artist, did visit and preach three or four times a year 
though, and Lethel helped with the church choir at the 
Baptist Church in Lusk one summer. She preferred re- 
ligious music, including both Black spirituals and old Euro- 
pean hymns, but joked during the 1930s with neighbors 
Mable Howard and Catherine Nuttall about opening a 
nightclub for ranchers in the Harney Hills. She also en- 
joyed western folk music. After she and Jim were married 
in Denver in 1914, she brought a baby grand piano to the 
two room cabin that would be their home. Jim was not 
musical and neither sang nor played an instrument. 

One wonders what possessed a sophisticated young 
city girl to marry a rancher many years her senior, leave 
familiar surroundings in a community with a large Black 
population, and move to what must have seemed a 
desolate and uniformly Caucasian part of a largely un- 
populated state. Perhaps she recognized Denver's grow- 
ing racial tension and wanted to escape the sinister stir- 
rings of organized bigotry for a home with the attractive 
nickname, "The Equality State." A few years later, in the 
early 1920s, Denver's 6,000 Blacks were opposed by 17,000 
local members of the Ku Klux Klan. That organization was 
so powerful that its leaders willingly associated with it in 
news photos and articles, and even "frequently requisi- 
tioned men and vehicles from the police department" for 
their own purposes.^ Lethel must also have recognized 
Jim as an up and comer. Already he was selling cattle in 
Denver. He wore good clothes, was six feet tall (she was 
5'2"), attractive and slender, and had nice manners. Ruth 
Grant described him as "soft spoken, polite, clean about 
his person, and amiable." Jim's color was very dark brown, 
literally black, his fuU head of hair was cropped short, and 
he sometimes wore a small mustache. Except for his skin 
color, Jim looked and acted the part of a classic Old West 
cowboy. He was a "tall, athletic, lanky cowboy [who] rolled 
BuU Durham cigarettes, [was] quiet, polite, [quarrelsome] 
only when drinking, clean and well kept." Although 
Lethel disapproved of any kind of alcohol, Jim liked 
whiskey and if he went to town alone he usually got drunk. 
Even during Prohibition it was a simple matter to get liquor 
from bootleggers and local moonshiners. There is no evi- 
dence that Edwards or any of their frequent visitors were 

23 



involved in rum-running themselves. Nor did Edwards 
swear, but that may have been because "Lethel was very 
religious and . . . didn't approve."^* 

Whatever the attraction, Jim and Lethel struggled 
together to fulfill the American dream of success. Other 
Blacks questioned whether participation and membership 
in White society was a worthwhile goal, though. DuBois 
wrote, "... one ever feels his twoness— an American, a 
Negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled striv- 
ings, two warring ideals in one dark body. "2'' No matter 
how successful a Black person was, they were still seen 
first as Black and thus, even if proud of it, were not fully 
accepted as equals in the dominant White society. The Ed- 
wards were to deal with this dichotomy for the remainder 
of their lives. Liquor loosened Jim's tongue on one occa- 
sion during a moment of rage, frustration and anguish, 
probably during the 1920s. While in Lost Springs he 
entered the old hotel for a drink or two. This business 
served as a meeting place for people to eat, play cards and 
visit, regardless of race. Edwards, resentful after being 
heckled by some of the other patrons responded, "Y'all 
call me 'Nigger Jim' now, but someday you'll call me Mr. 
James Edwards! "^^ It is clear that though he was already 
financially well off, he did not feel accepted as an equal 
to Whites, but rather, that at mid-life he was determined 
to become so and did not accept his lower rank in society. 
It might be appropriate to note at this point that Jim was 
not without prejudices of his own. Like most Wyomingites 
of his day, "Jim didn't like Mexicans."^' 

Marie Dawson also moved to Wyoming, though it is 
not known if she and her youngest daughter, Doris, came 
immediately. Both filed large homestead claims several 
rmles west of Edwards' on December 29, 1916. 3" The claims 
were north of a high, boulder covered hill called Rocky 
Top, or Rough Top locally. Marie had a small cabin in 
which she stayed during the summers to prove up on her 
claim. She continued to spend the winter months at home 
in Denver. She listed her address as 2301 Washington 
Street when endorsing checks in May and October, 1929. 
Both were drawn on the Edwards' account, one in the 
amount of $125.00 to pay a debt owed Dr. I. S. Huffer, 
M.D., suggesting a possible medical problem at that time. 
Her cabin was a typical homestead shack, 12 feet square, 
one room, built of sawn lumber and tarpaper. The land 
was fenced and the cabin was situated on a ridge above 
a small spring. Jim and Lethel checked on her frequently 
until she moved in with them about 1940. Mrs. Dawson, 
as she was called, was about 4 '9" tall, light complected, 
and wore her hair in an old style with many small braids 
all over her head. Although she was very old, she gave 
the appearance of good health, not even wearing glasses. 
She was reticent and seldom talked, even around Lethel, 
although the two were very fond of each other. She and 
Jim also got along well. Whenever anyone else was around 
she busied herself in the kitchen. She did much of the 
housework and kept the place very neat. At an unknown 
24 



date, probably before 1920, Doris moved to Salt Lake City. 
Marie joined her about 1943. Although her background, 
including education, is a mystery, she was apparently 
literate. 

The White ranchers in the area respected Lethel and 
addressed her as Mrs. Edwards. This may have been due 
in part to traditional courtesy or deference towards women 
in that time and place. Nevertheless, her energy, intel- 
ligence, ability, the diligence with which she worked, 
and her refined ways caused them to admire her. Although 
he too was respected by most, Jim did not get the polite 
title of "Mr." He was known as "Nigger Jim," or simply 
"Jim." This prefix seems to have been quite common for 
Black homesteaders in Wyoming. Depending on context 
and the speaker, it may or may not have been intended 
in a derogatory fashion. Most people did not think 
anything of using the title. Indeed, they probably did not 
think about it at all. Had anyone given it any thought, they 
doubtless would have said it was no different than calling 
a German "Dutch Charlie." Chuck Engebretson, a rancher 
in the area, said "nigger" was not intended as slur Ln Jim's 
case.^^ But, because he was Black, aware of his different 
status before the law and in the eyes of the majority of 
White Americans, and was familiar with all the different 
usages and intents behind the word, Jim recognized the 
label as derogatory and disliked it Intensely. So did Marie. 
When a young White man came to the door once and asked 





^mW ^BniH^ 


I 


^ ^^■lJV-k^^^^^PI 


V V. ^^. .^^K^^^^^tS^ w ^^^F^'^^^i 


■ ..^.TTjmWwI 





Lethel Edwards and dog, Jack, sometime before 1934. 



to speak to "Nigger Jim," the old woman coldly re- 
sponded, "You all want to see James Edwards. "^^ 

The original dwelling on the homestead to which Jim 
brought his bride was a two room log cabin. Earl Eutsler 
and his father, who ranched about five miles northeast, 
built it. 33 They may have been hired for the job by the 
Willson brothers. The cabin was constructed of logs which 
were probably cut in the cedar groves on the Harney Hills 
just south of the homestead. Its two rooms were later used 
as the kitchen and front (living) room where the house was 
erdarged. 

Lethel was responsible for the many improvements to 
the cabin, which were initiated only a few years after her 
arrival. Eventually, the house would become almost 
palatial by rural Wyoming standards. Sometime between 
about 1914 and 1917, the Union Oil Company began the 
first of three or four years of drilling for oil just north of 
the Edwards homestead.^* Jim, at Lethel's urging, got a 
job hauling fuel oil and water from the town of Keeline 
to the well site by team and wagon. This brought in extra 
cash used to defray construction expenses. The money oc- 
casionally seemed not quite worth the dangerous effort 
when the heavy tank wagon bogged down or even tipped 
over. On at least one occasion, Edwards needed the help 
of a neighbor and another team to get pulled clear of the 
mud and moving again. 




Jim Edwards, ca. 1930. 



Edwards added in 1918 or 1919 a master bedroom, 
plumbing, downstairs bathroom with a shower and stool, 
front porch, garage, two second story bedrooms and an 
upstairs bathroom, all of frame construction. The front 
(south) porch was enclosed and made into a library and 
sunroom in 1934. In 1940, the unpainted external front and 
side walls were faced beautifully with large, round granite 
and quartzite stones that Lethel gathered into pUes on the 
prairie for Jim to collect later with a team and wagon. This 
gave the house the substantial appearance of having been 
built of stone, and made it much tighter and warmer in 
the winter. Today, a few piles of Lethel's stones remain 
uncollected, scattered across the prairie. The trim of the 
house was painted a pale, creamy yeUow.^s In 1987, rem- 
nants of piping for hot and cold water and a toilet were 
located in the upstairs bathroom, but Nuttall said that 
when the Edwards lived in the house, no running water 
was available upstairs. Instead, a basin and pitcher were 
located in the small washroom at the head of the stairs. 
The flooring in the house was tongue and groove 1" by 
4" fir throughout, with the exceptions of the west entrance 
hall and downstairs bathroom, which both had concrete 
floors. The open wooden stairway with ornately turned 
spindles in the banister led up from the front room. All 
the interior walls were covered with plaster and lath and 
were painted or papered. 

The Edwards' hot and cold running water and shower 
were remarkable on a Wyoming ranch of that era. In the 
1920s and 1930s, Saturday night was "bath night" on most 
ranches. To bathe, Nuttall had to carry water uphill from 
a spring a quarter mile west. It was, typically, heated on 
the kitchen stove and then poured into the large galvan- 
ized tub on the floor in front of the stove. An old song 
went, "Well water's low, nearly out of sight, we can't take 
a bath tUl Saturday night." Bathing and the use of 
deodorants and bath powders did not become common un- 
til the 1950s or later when electricity reached the rural areas 
and supplied ranches with pressurized water systems. In 
an age when most rural western families. White or Black, 
lived in a crowded room or two at ground level with no 
amenities, the Edwards' impressive house does not seem 
to have caused much, if any, racially complicated jealousy 
from the neighbors. It was, however, the talk of the neigh- 
borhood. Following its abandonment, there were even sug- 
gestions that it be turned into a museum imtil cattle got 
inside and ruined the interior. 

Like the house, the outbuildings were of high quality. 
A windmill up the slope to the south pumped water into 
a tower faced with stones to match the house. The room 
beneath the tank contained a stove to prevent the water 
from freezing during the long cold winters. The elevation 
of the tank was sufficient to pressure water into the upstairs 
faucets. The corrals, possibly the most important structiires 
on a ranch, were built solidly of logs, planks and stone. 
Oddly, and suggestive that Edwards may not have been 
raised in an agricultural setting, the corrals and bams were 

25 



no -"^ 




located uphill from the other buildings. This necessitated 
excavation of a drainage ditch through the yard to prevent 
the run-off from washing manure into the other buildings. 
This ditch is now almost completely washed in. One barn, 
built of log and stone, was quite substantial and divided 
into several sections along its east- west axis. Another, also 
aligned east-west a short distance north of the first, and 
probably newer, was evidently of frame construction 
placed on a poured concrete foundation. The bur\khouse 
was located immediately east of the latter barn and con- 
nected to it by a short sidewalk. This structure was nicer 
than many homestead cabins. It had two rooms, windows, 
a stove, internal walls nailed over the studs, and two beds 
to accommodate four adults. A simple ice-house was dug 
into a bank northwest of the house. It was little more than 
a hole in the ground covered by poles and straw, but it 
served the purpose. Ice was cut at a spring east of the 
house and at the main springs over on Harney Creek. A 
frame chicken coop and another unidentified, collapsed 
frame structure, complete the ruins observed at the site. 
The outbuildings were unpainted. There are indications 
other structures may have existed. 

After Edwards abandoned the homestead in the 1950s, 
people flocked in to scavenge the dumps and haul away 
anything of use or value left behind, including the flat 
building stones used in the barn. Worn out equipment had 
been deposited on the hillside about a quarter of a mile 
south of the buildings. As smaller household goods wore 
out or were discarded, they were deposited in a trash heap 
across the creek east of the house. That dump could not 
be located in 1987 and presumably either washed away or 
is now covered. 

Unlike the majority of ranchers, Jim did not do his own 
building or carpentry. Indeed, he "could hardly drive a 
naU."^* Consequently, they hired the work done. Supplies 
were purchased in Keeline, Lost Springs and Custer, South 
Dakota. During the Depression years of the 1930s, Jim 
usually had two or three young Black men come from 
Denver to work for him in exchange for room and board. 
They were responsible for much of the menial labor, stock 
tending, maintenance and construction at the place, and 
had to "work HARD. "3'' Jim also hired a few Mexican 
sheep herders to tend his flocks. Occasionally he employed 
Whites as well for various jobs. Jim rarely built fence and 
his employees typically did not, either. If his neighbors 
wanted to keep his stock out of their pastures, or vice- 
versa, they had to buUd it. Jim was either a firm believer 
in the perpetuation of the open range, or raised in an ur- 
ban environment and unaware of rural etiquette. It is also 
possible that he did not want to hinder access to his land 
for stray cows and unbranded calves. He did assist the 
Nuttalls with some fencing on one occasion when their cat- 
tle bothered him. 

The Great Depression resulted in beef prices and con- 
sumption falling drastically. Farm prices dropped 60 per- 
cent, but production decreased only 6 percent creating a 



huge excess of unmarketable produce. By 1932, ranchers 
were experiencing the worst depression in their economic 
history. Between 1929 and 1933, farm income was cut in 
half. The Federal Surplus Relief Corporation purchased 
livestock from failing ranchers in 1933, 1934 and 1936 and 
slaughtered many right where they stood on the range. 
Like the brief depression following World War I, this 
period also experienced unfavorable weather. A series of 
droughts, worst in 1934, wreaked havoc on the native 
prairie vegetation needed to support the cattle. In the mid- 
and late 1930s, federal relief was almost three times as great 
per capita in the agriciolturally dependent state of Wyo- 
ming as in the rest of the country. In 1935, 17 percent of 
Wyoming residents were on relief. In 1936, the Resettle- 
ment Administration purchased 320,000 acres in eastern 
Wyoming in order to institute conservation practices. The 
Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 withdrew nearly all remaining 
unappropriated land still in the public domain. By 1936, 
143 million acres were affected. This was a devastating era 
in the history of the Wyoming cattle industry. Numerous 
ranches and farms failed, resulting in many displaced 
families and abandoned homesteads. ^^ 

Unlike so many of their peers, the Edwards success- 
fully weathered those hard times. They utilized the fan- 
tastically inexpensive labor pool provided by unemployed 
members of the Black community in Denver. They adopted 
some of the new conservation techniques, including plant- 
ing a windbreak of Russian Olive trees, well adapted to 
arid regions, northwest of the house. Jim also took advan- 
tage of government assistance programs to build small 
reservoirs, build some fence and raise wheat. They man- 
aged to keep major operating expenses low, and find 
markets for what they produced. They even invested in 
a restaurant on the Sandbar in Casper, for which they sup- 
plied much of the meat.^' Edwards managed to expand his 
holdings during this period. He traded some horses to 
Lewis Lee for one parcel, and bought and sold with other 
neighbors as well. 

In the fall of 1936, Jim proved, with his neighbors, that 
"he thought it very important to vote." Jim, Bill Nuttall 
and Warren Larson shoveled through miles of deep snow 
drifts to reach a ranch owned by Gene Willson. Catherine 
Nuttall was staying there to care for WUlson's and Nut- 
tail's cattle, but they all needed to go to Keeline to vote. 
Lethel was visiting her many friends in Denver as she often 
did for a week at a time, so did not vote in that election, 
but normally exercised her right to suffrage. Jim was a 
Republican and thus probably voted for Kansas Governor 
Alf Landon in the presidential race. Franklin Roosevelt, the 
Democratic candidate, won nearly twice as many popular 
votes and 523 electoral votes to Landon's eight. Some 
observers feared the collapse of the two-party system. Black 
voters in northern cities, where Edwards was probably 
from originally, had traditionally been Republicans. Dur- 
ing the 1930s many changed the affiliation to the Demo- 
crats, attracted by the New Deal response to the misery 

27 



RUSSIAN 
OLIVE 
TREES 



UTHOUSE 




STONE BARN 
FOUNDATION 




TWO TRACK ROADS 



THE EDWARDS RANCH: 
48N03I2 



20 m. 



N 



EQUIPMENT DUMP 




caused by the Depression. Edwards, having adopted a 
rural western lifestyle, was not a part of the eastern, urban 
Black trends." One is inclined to wonder what he thought 
of Roosevelt's "Black Cabinet," as the many highly edu- 
cated Black advisors to the President were called. Roosevelt 
has been called "the most appealing president since 
Abraham Lincoln" to Black Americans.'*' He was obviously 
an improvement on Herbert Hoover, who nominated a 
White supremacist to the Supreme Court, favored southern 
White Republicans over Blacks, and appeared uncon- 
cerned by their suffering. The President however, never 
endorsed two important goals of the civil rights movement, 
a federal law prohibiting lynching and abolition of the poll 
tax. Additionally, some New Deal programs were hostile 
to Blacks. The Agricultural Adjustment Act forced many 
Black tenant farmers and share-croppers off the land. Two 
federal housing agencies hindered progress by refusing to 
guarantee Black mortgages on houses purchased in White 
neighborhoods and by financing segregated housing proj- 
ects. The Civilian Conservation Corp. was segregated, as 
were many Tennessee Valley Authority sponsored proj- 
ects. In response to the National Recovery Administra- 
tion's agreeing to lower wages for Blacks and not Whites, 
a Black newspaper wrote that the NRA might be "a 
predatory bird instead of a . . . messenger of happiness."*^ 
Many service positions such as waiters and janitors, fre- 
quently held by Blacks, were excluded from social security 
coverage and minimum wage provisions of the 1938 Fair 
Labor Standards Act. Edwards may or may not have been 
aware of all these factors. It cannot be determined whether 
he supported the Republican party in response to factors 
such as those discussed, as a matter of tradition, or for 
some other reason. 

The Edwards always had good cars and good clothes. 
The vehicles were purchased used, but in good condition. 
They drove a team and buggy until acquiring their first auto 
in the late 1920s, when such conveyances were still a 
novelty in the area. They owned three at different times, 
a Dodge with a rumble seat, a Buick touring car and a 
Chevrolet. They never owned a pickup truck, instead using 
teams and wagons for all hauling. Catherine Nuttall was 
a young school teacher in Lost Springs when she first met 
the Edwards in 1931 at the Hitshew home where she 
boarded. She came home from school one day to discover 
Lethel seated in the kitchen waiting for Jim and Charlie 
Hitshew to get the Edwards' car pulled out of the mud with 
a team of horses. Lethel was fraU, very quiet and dressed 
nicely in a black fur coat for their drive to Douglas and 
back. After marrying and moving to a ranch just east of 
Edwards', Nuttall rode "to Douglas once with Jim and 
Lethel," about 1935, before they had a car of their own. 
"That was enough," they said, as the old cavalryman was 
"a very reckless driver and [they] were glad to get home 
safely. "'*3 Lethel did not drive the autos, but could handle 
a team. She could also ride and had two saddle horses, 
one a baldface, the other a stocking legged bay. 



The Edwards' material lifestyle was comparable to that 
of most Americans, but ahead of the times in the rural 
West. Because they were contemporary Americans, they 
consequently outpaced their neighbors in more ways than 
just having a fine two story home with hot and cold run- 
ning water, expensive, fashionable clothes, and an 
automobile. Their telephone was installed extraordinarily 
early for a Wyoming ranch when the oil company drilling 
nearby ran a phone line past their house during World 
War I. Neighbors did not get telephones until 1934 or elec- 
tricity until 1964.'*'' They also had the first pressurized 
kerosene cook stove in the area, which was easier to use 
and meant not having to cook over smoky coal or wood 
fires, plus a kitchen that was not unbearably hot in the 
summer. They also had the first pressure cooker, which 
Lethel used extensively while canning garden produce and 
meat. The first radio in the area, powered by batteries, was 
installed in the Edwards' house in 1930. It was an Atwater 
Kant shelf model. "Denver was the main station that 
everyone listened to. It was a rare event to get Chicago 
at night. "'*5 How they recharged the batteries is unknown 
since they did not have a wind generator. 

In short, the Edwards were the aristocrats of the neigh- 
borhood in spite of the cultural hindrance created by White 
attitudes toward their race. It is interesting that even dur- 
ing the nationwide upsurge in bigotry, intolerance and Ku 
Klux Klan activity during the 1920s and 1930s— called "the 
most powerful social movement of the decade in terms of 
numbers and political influence"^*— the Edwards were not 
harassed in spite of their conspicuous affluence when so 
many White farmers and ranchers were living in poverty 
and failing financially. The Edwards "had above average 
nice things, [but] no one thought of them as being 
wealthy," even though their ranch was also "above 
average" in size.*'' 

Jim and Lethel 's daily activities were quite different. 
Their tasks were divided along gender based Unes as was 
typical of homestead families. Jim's days were devoted 
primarily to caring for the large stock. This kept him busy 
from dawn to dusk most of the year. "Jim was a splendid 
horseman, and handled teams of horses with expertise."** 
Much of his time was spent horseback, riding over many 
irules of the beautiful, rugged landscape on unshod horses. 
Edwards took exceptional care of his livestock and en- 
couraged those around him to do the same. One morn- 
ing, after watching a youthful Bill Nuttall weather the buck- 
ing of an unruly horse, he commented, "Kid, if you'd throw 
away those spurs and feed your horse some oats he 
wouldn't buck on you that way."*' Edwards never used 
spurs. Like most cowboys Jim carried a lariat on his sad- 
dle, but "he wasn't too good [with a rope]. Just fair."^" 
He normally dressed in blue jeans and cowboy boots, 
which were a must for safe riding. He sometimes wore 
work or dress trousers and flat soled shoes depending on 
the circumstances. 



29 



Work on horseback always had potential for danger. 
A spooky horse, or a mount that stumbled in a treacherous 
location, could maim or kill an unlucky rider. Lightning 
was another source of danger. A mounted rider was some- 
times the highest target on the prairie. A Mexican 
sheepherder working for Jim, named Chavez, was struck 
during an afternoon thunderstorm one June. When he 
came to, his back was badly burned by the picket chain 
attached to the horse's reins, which had been flung over 
his back. The nails in his boot soles also burned the bot- 
toms of his feet. Strangely, his horse survived too, but the 
sheepdog that had been next to them was killed. After he 
managed to crawl several miles to the Edwards' buildings, 
Jim took him to the doctor in Douglas. Chavez later 
recovered. 

Jim carried a gun everywhere he went and was a good 
shot. It was common for cowboys to carry guns, which 
were used to kill "rattlesnakes, badgers, porcupines, 
prairie dogs, and other varmints," and were also "handy 
to get a grouse, sage chicken, or rabbit for supper. "'^ When 
on horseback he carried a handgun. While herding sheep 
he either carried a rifle or kept it close by in the sheep 
wagon. His rifle was a .32-20, a versatile caliber introduced 
about 1882, which fired a bullet rather large for the amount 
of powder behind it, but was adequate for use on deer, 
rabbits, coyotes or other targets at ranges of about 200 yards 
or less. A variety of arms manufacturers produced many 
different models of this caliber weapon in several price 
ranges through the years. It is remembered primarily 
because the ammunition it used could be fired in either 
rifles or pistols. Bearse, referring to the .32-20, writes, 
"Many frontiersmen found it advantageous to have one 
cartridge for use in rifles and sixguns."'^ It was a fairly 
popular rifle until other models were introduced in this 
century, but Jim seemed content to continue carrying it. 
His pistol was a .45 caliber single action Colt, which did 
not fire a compatible cartridge, however. 

Edwards raised thoroughbred saddle horses, Hereford 
cattle, sheep and high quality Percheron draft horses, a 
breed preferred by those who could afford them. He also 
had twenty or thirty hogs which he allowed to roam the 
open range and ruin his neighbors' yards and hay mea- 
dows, much to their vexation. He had 80 acres in oats and 
raised a good grade of macaroni wheat on another 80 acres. 
Jim furnished the land and seed, but contracted out the 
labor. Each party received half of the harvest. His fields 
were on the north side of the Harney Hills and produced 
about 20 bushels per acre. He also had about 40 acres in 
hay, which was stacked, never baled. He got about one 
ton of hay per acre. None of his land, crop or pasture, was 
irrigated. Four acres northwest of the house were tilled for 
a garden. Ebony gives obviously inflated statistics: 1,000 
cattle, 9,000 sheep, 200 horses, 5,000 chickens and 500 
hogs, in addition to 200 acres plowed. '^ Experienced area 
ranchers familiar with the Edwards' holdings and the car- 
rying capacity of the local rangelands, give more plausi- 
ble estimates: a total of about 200 cows and calves, 30 or 
30 



40 horses, 1,500 sheep, 200 chickens, 40 turkeys, 30 guinea 
hens and 25 hogs.'^ Edwards ran his stock on sixteen sec- 
tions of land which he owned and two school-sections 
rented from the state, in addition to using portions of the 
remaining open range. During the short summers, most 
of the stock was pastured in the vicinity of Rocky Top. 
Horses ran there year around. Diaring the winter and 
spring, the other animals normally grazed on the excep- 
tionally good grass in Jim's Harney Hills pasture. Those 
figures represent the peak of the Edwards' production dur- 
ing the late 1930s and early 1940s. His share of the wheat 
was sold at the elevator in Keeline. Lambs were shipped 
to Denver and Chicago, cattle to Omaha and Denver, 
dressed turkeys and chickens to Casper and Chicago. Get- 
ting stock to market meant trailing them to a railhead. 
Ranchers in the Harney HUls generally drove them to 
Shawnee, Lost Springs, Keeline or even Manville. Between 
the 1930s and 1950s cattle were sold to local buyers. 

Lethel's days were also full. She had a number of 
valuable skills including cabinet making, furniture 
upholstering, sewing (particularly beautiful curtains), 
braiding rag rugs and keeping Jim's hair trimmed. With 
her mother's help, the house was kept meticulously clean. 
She kept only a few house plants, including geraniums and 
wandering jews, usually on the sunporch. They also were 
responsible for preserving all the garden produce and cook- 
ing each meal for all the help and any guests that happened 
to be present at mealtime. After saying grace, Lethel always 
served the large meals for the family, guests and hired men 
in the kitchen. Her mother made baking powder biscuits 
for every meal. Any leftovers were fed to the dogs. In the 
spring, Lethel planted the large garden, but left its care 
and maintenance in the hands of the seasonal help. Like 
most ranch women her age, she never wore pants even 
to work in, only dresses. Younger women however, some- 
times wore blue jeans. She and her mother usually wore 
white, tie-around-the-waist aprons to protect their 
clothing. On hot summer afternoons, when kids from 
ranches to the north would ride through the Edwards' yard 
to reach the county road and pick up the mail, Lethel en- 
joyed going outside to give them a drink from the well. 
She never invited them into the house, though. 

She raised all the fowl on the place, which included 
chickens, ducks, turkeys and guinea hens. By taking a 
university extension class in Casper she learned how to 
caponize them, and about 1934 generously held demon- 
strations to teach her neighbors the skill . Lethel shipped 
high quality dressed turkeys to Chicago for a time and 
received complimentary letters in return addressed to 
"The Turkey Lady, Keeline, Wyoming." She also did the 
bookkeeping and business affairs for the entire ranch 
operation because "Jim was not a businessman. "^^ 
Although everyone knew her as Lethel, she signed the 
checks, Ethel Edwards. 

Because they never had children, Lethel was not faced 
with the time consuming task of childcare. Although she 
and Jim liked children, probably even wanted them, it was 



out of the question. Her health was never good, and preg- 
nancy would have been dangerous for her. 

The Edwards were almost always friendly and polite 
with their neighbors. As was customary in an agricultural 
community, they traded labor at certain times of the year 
such as haying, lamb docking, sheep shearing, branding, 
etc. Edwards even loaned his horses to people needing an 
extra team or two.^* They always gave the Nuttalls a freshly 
dressed lamb when they sold in the fall. Mabel Lindmier 
described him as a "wonderful man" who would ride up 
to talk, come inside if her husband was home, and help 
them do anything. ''' The Nuttalls described him as "very 
neighborly. "5* Ruth Grant elaborated: 

My father, William Lindmier, Sr., came here to homestead in 
1916. Dad always said of [Jtm] that he would help homesteaders 
whenever they asked. He harbored no resentment towards 
them, nor did the homesteaders resent Jim. However, it was 
a fact that the homesteaders learned quickly that Jim was not 
altogether to be trusted— by this 1 mean that he always managed 
to be compensated for any service he performed— nothing was 
"for free." My father said of Jim, "That coon would promise 
you that he would do anything for you, but you had better see 
that the promise was kept the day it was made, or he would 
conveniently forget his commitment." Even though no one ex- 
actly trusted Qim], I never heard of anyone ever coming to 
physical blows with him. Everyone just had to watch him pretty 
closely, for he was a sly individual. He was soft spoken . . . 
and amiable, but also was able to look out for his own interests, 
and those of others which would benefit him in the long run.^' 

Late in life, Edwards reportedly told of some neighbor- 
ing ranchers having tried to "horn in" on his land, but 
that he fought them off in gunbattles. "No man will ever 
run Jim Edwards from his land! Let'em know right away 
that you're going to fight for what you own. Just because 
a man's colored is no reason for people to think he's a 
coward."*" Shootouts in the 20th century West were un- 
common. This passage may have been fabricated by the 
article's author to entertain readers. Certainly, none of his 
neighbors ever heard of his involvement in a shootout. If 
the quoted passage is authentic, Jim was probably refer- 
ring to confrontations other than gunfights. Edwards did 
have occasional encounters with violence through the 
years, but some of them were of his own making. For ex- 
ample, he once bought, but characteristically failed to pay 
for, a hay rake from Doug Fowler, a neighbor. When the 
latter's brother. Wade, subsequently went over to reclaim 
the rake, Edwards said he was going to pay and would 
not let Fowler take it. After a heated argument there was 
a fight which Jim evidently won. No one ever knew ex- 
actly what happened, but Fowler had two black eyes and 
a bruise on his cheek afterwards. Perhaps Edwards had 
a "gun battle" by pistol- whipping Fowler, who began to 
"carry a gun for Jim."" 

Edwards frequently neglected to pay his debts. In 
similar incidents, he bought an old tractor for plowing in 
the late 1930s, even though he used horses for most proj- 
ects. Joe Kuhn, the dealer in Lusk, eventually had to 
repossess it. On at least two occasions the Edwards were 



taken to court by creditors. On January 7, 1927, they signed 
a promissory note for $159.79 to Abe Friedman at 8 per- 
cent interest xmtil maturity on April 1, 1927. A small part 
of the debt was paid a year later, in February, 1928, but 
in October of that year they were summoned to court for 
a civil suit to recover principal, interest and legal fees 
amounting to $133.87. Edwards did not appear, so after 
waiting for one hour the judge decided against him. Court 
costs were an additional $7.75. The Edwards may have 
been short of cash at this time for they still did not pay 
the debt. In December, 1928, an officer of the court placed 
attachments on one phonograph and records, one farm 
wagon, one hayrack and wagon, one hay rake, one disk- 
drill, one spring wagon, and one set of harness. Edwards 
signed the document, "1 accept this attachment but [illegi- 
ble] said articles are [already] mortgaged. James Edwards." 
Later, in 1937, Sam Joss obtained a judgment against Ed- 
wards on a mortgage lien for $3,646.84. The judge awarded 
Joss nearly 1,000 acres of land appraised at $2,320.00. 
Edwards redeemed the debt in January, 1938, with a pay- 
ment of $3,931.36 to Joss, covering fees and interest at 
seven percent. ^^ 

Edwards' lackadaisical attitude toward repaying debts 
and favors carried into other areas also. He often "bor- 
rowed" equipment from neighbors and then kept it. Lind- 
mier loaned him a breaking plow which he did not get back 
until the 1950s when they discovered it discarded in a pile 
of old equipment. 

Edwards was not the only one in the area who had 
people trying to horn in on his land. Sam Joss, who began 
working for WUlson Brothers with Jim in 1900, at one time 
owned a parcel of land surrounded by Edwards' land to 
the east of the Edwards' homestead. Joss claimed the 
homestead about 1898. He refused to rent the land to Jim 
and allow the latter to "get the upper hand on him."*^ Ed- 
wards, however, used the land as though it were his own. 
As soon as Joss' hired man fixed the fence and left, Jim 
loosened the wires to give his cattle, sheep and horses 
access to Joss' good springs and grass. 

Time and again Edwards pushed people as far as they 
let him. Once their limits were established they often 
became friendly. In 1927 or 1928, Earl Dunham, a cowboy 
for Fred Williams' large operation headquartered about 40 
miles north of Douglas, had problems with Jim. Williams 
rented some grazing land from Edwards to rim 100 head 
of cows and calves for the summer. Twice when checking 
the cattle Dunham found Jim's stock mixed in with them. 
Both times he angrily drove them out and fixed the fence. 
Williams told him to get along, not fight, with Jim. The 
third time he left to check the cattle, he put a pistol in his 
chaps pocket where it would be in plain sight. When he 
encountered Jim, whose cattle were again stealing grass 
that Williams had paid for, Dunham told him to keep the 
cattle out, "or else," implying that he would shoot them. 
Edwards immediately rounded up his cattle and kept them 
out. "Earl and Jim were always friends after that."'* 

Additionally aggravating to the neighbors were Ed- 

31 



wards' hogs— the bane of the neighborhood. Jim's wander- 
ing swine are one of the things most remembered about 
him. Unrestricted, they did not just eat the grass, rather, 
they rooted up the prairie and hay meadows everywhere 
they went, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. 
Hardy Lee, a neighbor who lived three and a half miles 
to the south, in exasperation, loaded up a truck with hogs 
that came around his house, took them to Casper and sold 
them. He had the check sent to Edwards and had no more 
trouble thereafter as Jim kept his hogs away. Another time, 
a sow and her young broke into Nuttall's pasture where 
Bill was working with a green-broke bronc. He decided to 
rope her for a joke, but the horse reared and the sow freed 
herself from the slack loop and escaped. Jim's old 
employer. Gene Willson, eventually began carrying a gun 
to shoot any of the animals he found in his hay land north 
of the Edwards. Grant writes: 

He had a large bunch of razor-back hogs ... I recall the vicious, 
tusked sows with half grown pigs following them coming into 
our yard— some three miles down Harney Creek to the north 
[of Edwards]. They would stand slavering and snuffling, look- 
ing for something to eat (Mother raised chickens). Running 
them off was a project, usually taking shots over their heads 
since our dogs had no luck in turning them around. '^ 

Like many people who believe themselves un- 
observed, Edwards was not above trying his hand at a lit- 
tle rustling. It was said in those days when a man could 
ride all day without seeing another human being, "that 
it was stupid to eat your own beef ."*''' It was much cheaper 
to eat someone else's, and their's tasted better, anyway. 
Few people ate much of their own stock; it was worth more 
if sold. 

One very hot day in July, Jim was riding near the Wanek ranch. 
He came on a nice fat three-year-old heifer belonging to Joe 
Wanek. Believing himself to be quite alone, Jim decided that he 
would drive the heifer home and butcher her. Joe Wanek 
witnessed the theft, but he allowed Jim to take the heifer. Later, 
Joe rode to the Edwards' place and accused him of the act. Of 
course, Jim denied everything until Joe unearthed the fresh hide 
of the animal which wore the U Lazy Y brand. Joe told Jim to 
keep the beef but that on his way home he was going to find a 
nice, fat heifer wearing the 16 Bar 1 and take her along. He 
did just that. Joe got his beef back, but the Waneks had to work 
hard all night canning the meat to keep it from spoiling . . . 
The incident did not seem to cause any lasting hard feel- 
ings, though, for both of the Wanek girls took music lessons 
from . . . Lethel." 

Bill Nuttall's first encounter with Edwards also in- 
volved a controversy over the ownership of livestock in 
an incident which reveals much about the Edwards and 
area ranch life at the time. There was a severe drought in 
Converse and Niobrara counties in the summer of 1919, 
followed by a hard winter and spring in 1920. Many ranch- 
ers did not have enough feed for their cattle so turned them 
out onto the open range to fend for themselves. The State 
Humane Society shipped hay by train to Douglas, which 
was then distributed to area feeding stations. One station 
was located on the Harney Meadows near the Edwards' 
32 



place. Cattle fed there came from ranches on Walker Creek, 
Twenty MUe Creek and Harney Creek. Nuttall, then 16, 
was hired by Fred and Stella Williams to gather their cows 
and bring them home in early summer. He did not know 
the Edwards were Black as he first approached the place 
on horseback at about dusk. This is one of several instances 
in which people did not seem to think the Edwards' race 
important enough to mention. A young Black man, Mar- 
cus Bradley, told him to put his horse in the bam and come 
into the house for supper. He added that Mr. and Mrs. 
Edwards would return soon from their wagon trip to 
Keeline, thirteen or fourteen miles southeast of the ranch. 
Depending on the load, three or four hours were needed 
to drive a team and wagon between the ranch and either 
Keeline or Lost Springs. The trip was usually made about 
once a month. Jim and Lethel arrived home about eight. 
Bill was "quite surprised" to see they were Black, and "a 
little uneasy," not having been near Blacks previously. 
Sensing his discomfort, Lethel sat down at her piano and 
played a song for Jim and Bill, after which they showed 
him upstairs to his room. The Edwards were up and had 
finished milking by dawn when Nuttall heard the cream 
separator running in the entranceway below and went 
down to breakfast. 

That morning Jim and Bill found three of the Williams' 
cows, but Jim said one was Lethel's, branded with her 3D 
(the brand originally belonged to a man named Dourghty 
who worked for Sam Joss, but was purchased along with 
some cattle by the Edwards). Nuttall insisted the cow was 
Williams', so roped and threw her, then cleaned the brand 
with a knife to prove his case. After their brief confronta- 
tion, Edwards called Bill "the hot-headed, red-headed 
kid, " but they became friends and eventually neighbors.'* 

Often, cattle from neighboring ranches were dis- 
covered in Jim's pastures. When questioned, he once 
responded, "Mr. Bill, I just don't know how the cow got 
over on my place. You take her back with you."*' If the 
cow had had a calf by its side, the calf usually disappeared. 
When a buyer once pointed out that one cow in a herd 
was a stray, Jim said he would take it to the owner. 
However, when the buyer bought the cattle, the cow was 
still in the herd, but it carried Jim's fresh brand then. This 
same buyer claimed to have encountered Jim night-riding 
on many occasions, and said that "Jim's rope was pretty 
long, and he knew how to use it," meaning not that he 
was a good roper, but that he was an experienced rustler.''" 

On March 18, 1915, a neighboring landowner, A. A. 
Spaugh, filed a complaint stating Edwards ordered John 
B. Tapoya to kill some of Spaugh's livestock "for mutton" 
in early December, 1914. Tapoya was evidently one of Ed- 
wards' subordinates in the employ of the Willson brothers. 
Tapoya was arrested but released on March 20 after the 
judge determined there was "not probable cause for 
holding" him. In his testimony, Edwards said that the 
previous autumn he branded with the Willson brothers' 
brand, "by mistake," approximately 20 head of some 40 
Spaugh sheep at the ranch. He did not order his herders 



to kill any sheep. They were instructed to bring in strays, 
but only skinned sheep which died naturally. By March, 
only ten or thirteen of Spaugh's sheep remained alive. The 
figure hardly supports Edwards' reputation as a skilled 
stock-raiser. In spite of Spaugh's failure to prove any 
misconduct by Edwards or Tapoya, it certainly appears that 
some type of illegal behavior may have taken place. When 
the case was dismissed, the judge ordered a frustrated and 
doubtless angry Spaugh to pay the prosecution costs 
incurred.''^ 

There were a few other Blacks in the area, but most 
were only temporary summer residents. A family named 
Hughes lived in the vicinity of Lost Springs year round 
during the 1930s. About 1933, they trailed perhaps 15 head 
of cattle up from the vicinity of Harrison, Nebraska. These 
were pastured in Edwards' Rocky Top pasture until 
another location could be found. They were laborers on 
farms and ranches but did not own their own land. They 
lived one summer in an old house on the Edwards' prop- 
erty. Hughes' step-daughter, Venessa, was 14 and helped 
Lethel with the cooking and housework during the busy 
times of lambing and shearing. ''^ 

J. Edwin Sizer, a young cousin of Lethel' s from Min- 
neapolis, spent many summers living on the ranch. He was 
described as "the blackest little boy."''^ Sizer often brought 
friends along, including a young White boy, Willard (Bill) 
Wheelock. No relatives of Jim's ever visited. If Jim's father 
was still living, he never saw the ranch, nor did the one 
brother Jim left behind in Ohio. Edwards never returned 
to his family home after settling near Lost Springs. 

Most of the other Blacks in the area came out during 
the summers as a result of the Edwards' encouragement. 
Five or six were friends who had served in the military who 
came to live in their daim shacks and thus fulfill the 



homestead requirements for getting patents on the land 
they claimed. None of them raised their own stock. After 
proving up, which they could do in less than the normal 
time because of their status as veterans, they sold the land 
to the Edwards.''* This was during the 1920s, and Jim paid 
them about $1.25 per acre, the same value the government 
allowed for improvements on the homesteads. Some were 
in the area earlier. Marcus Bradley first began his process 
of claiming land in 1911. ^^ Thus Jim and Lethel were able 
to enlarge their real-estate holdings relatively inexpens- 
ively, making them very competitive with other successful 
ranchers in the area who did not have that advantage. Ed- 
wards evidently learned his lesson well from his days with 
the Willson brothers. One of these families was named 
Kercheval. They were originally from the deep South. Dur- 
ing the winters he worked in the Ford garage in Douglas, 
she was a hairdresser. Marcus Bradley was a barber in 
Chadron, Nebraska. Several others were red-caps on the 
Uruon Pacific Railroad. These people were all in addition 
to the friends, relatives and employees from Denver and 
Minneapolis. Although the Edwards were the only per- 
manent, landed Blacks in the area, their ranch in the 
Harney Hills was the focal point for a small Black com- 
munity of their own creation. Thus, even though they lived 
in a predominantly White area, they did not lack for com- 
panionship from other Blacks. 

This situation points out the surprising level of 
tolerance exhibited by the Edwards' White neighbors. 
Rural westerners, often called "red-necks" in the ver- 
nacular, are generally perceived as being quite conservative 
in racial matters, among other things. In this case, their 
easy-going behavior, which is also typical, might be ex- 
plained because they probably did not find the Edwards 
themselves particularly threatening. Jim had a reputation 



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some summer visitors to 

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for exercising extreme caution in his contacts with White 
women, a subject which could elicit frenzied hysteria in 
the calmest White community. Nor did they have children, 
who might have been perceived as threats for desiring to 
associate too freely or intimately with the sons or daughters 
of local Whites. But they were actively engaged in bring- 
ing additional Blacks into the area, any of whom might 
have chosen to stay. Those activities could have been view- 
ed with apprehension in many communities. But in Lost 
Springs, "they were considered homesteaders, the same 
as white people," however, "nobody expected a railway 
porter, a barber, or a night watchman [for example] to stay 
in the country."''^ The Edwards' conspicuous affluence 
during times when many ranchers across the West were 
struggling desperately to survive financially could have 
been another source of conflict. The distressing, even ap- 
palling, treatment of wealthy, "uppity" Blacks by Whites 
has been a common literary and historical topic through 
the years, yet there were no such incidents directed toward 
the Edwards. Even Jim's proud, occasionally combative, 
willingness to stand up to Whites, dating back at least to 
his days in the cavalry, and his habitually permitting his 
stock to ruin other peoples' property, potentially explosive 
situations in other places, seemingly caused him no more 
trouble than they would a White man. He seems to have 
had even less, for many a White man was killed or jailed 
for stealing other peoples' livestock or damaging their 
property. The attitudes and behavior of the Edwards' 
White neighbors were not totally without prejudice, but for 
unexplored reasons were much more tolerant than many 
of their contemporaries across the nation. 

The Edwards did not limit their socializing to the Blacks 
around them. Graciously entertaining guests in the role 
of a country gentleman seems to have been a big part of 
Jim's life, especially in the summer months when the roads 
were passable. Using ice from the ice-house, they treated 
many of their summer visitors, who came from all over the 
country, with homemade ice cream served in cut glass ice 
cream goblets (now in the possession of Catherine Nut- 
tall) while Lethel played her baby grand piano. Many were 
Black friends from Denver, including "preachers and 
teachers" and an artist. On one occasion in the early 1930s, 
they invited some neighbors over to listen to a Black 
preacher friend who, with his wife, was visiting from 
Denver. As they served ice cream after the sermon, the 
three-year-old daughter of Warren Larson said to Lethel, 
"Your hands are black!!" The Larsons had not told their 
children that the Edwards were Black. Although the other 
guests were slightly embarrassed, Lethel was not and 
responded simply, "Yes, child."'''' 

Jim and Lethel never became overly familiar or intimate 
with their neighbors. They did not attend dances, school 
parties, wedding parties, or other gatherings. There is no 
way of knowing whether they did so out of simple dis- 
interest, or to avoid any risk of suffering racially motivated 
harassment. It is nearly inconceivable that the cautious Jim 
would have danced with a White woman. Attending such 



functions could have been unpleasantly awkward, not to 
mention being painful reminders of real positions in 
western society. Nor did they typically visit the homes of 
their neighbors, though some neighbors were often invited 
to the Edwards'. They did occasionally go to the Nuttalls', 
even taking their out of town guests with them. Although 
she was, perhaps, her best friend in the area, Catherine 
Nuttall always addressed Lethel formally as "Mrs. Ed- 
wards. "''^ 

From about 1937 to 1942 the Edwards were visited an- 
nually by some White friends who worked in a Chevrolet 
plant in Kansas City.''' They had three week vacations and 
managed each year to pull a travel trailer to Wyoming 
which they parked next to the windmill. They probably 
helped with groceries, and the women helped Lethel cook 
and work around the house. Occasionally they did some 
riding. They were excellent singers and interested in 
western folksongs, which Lethel enjoyed singing with 
them. Catherine Nuttall taught them some songs. Favorites 
included, "Come a ki yi yippi yippi ya," "Red River 
Valley" and "Wyoming." They enjoyed popular sheet 
music as well, which Lethel purchased often. Some lyrics 
were obtained from old phonograph albums. All three 
women enjoyed entertaining as well. Once, with the Nut- 
talls and Edwards, they all participated in a Fourth of July 
amateur rodeo north of Lance Creek. Bill Nuttall received 
several cracked ribs in the wild cow milking contest, but, 
characteristically of the people in that day, was back at 
work in the hay fields the next morning. 

The men were good horsemen and did a lot of riding 
with Jim. They also helped with some fencing and stock 
tending. One year they took Jim's worn old saddle back 
to Kansas City and had it rebuilt for him. They also gave 
him a beautiful bridle and saddle blanket to show their 
gratitude for the generous hospitality they received. The 
last year they visited, they hauled several loads of rock to 
the southwest corner of the front yard to build "a sur- 
prise." They laid up a two foot high rectangular wall before 
being suddenly called home. The enclosure, whose pur- 
pose was never learned, still stands unfinished in the yard. 

Seldom interrupted by guests during the long, snow^ 
winters, the Edwards were comfortable in their home. Ex- 
cept for an occasional visit with a neighbor, their only com- 
panions were usually their dogs. Jim's favorite was a Ger- 
man shepherd named Jack who accompanied him every- 
where when Jim was on horseback. Jack killed rattlesnakes 
and was bitten several times, but always recovered. Other 
people considered Jack vicious, but he was affectionate 
towards Lethel and Jim, who kept him under control. 
Oddly, they did not have any cats either as house pets or 
mousers in the barns. 

The snowbound isolation of the winter months al- 
lowed them time to read and catch up on correspon- 
dence. Both Jim and Lethel were literate, though Lethel 
had more formal education than Jim. Like most ranch 
wives, she also did most of the letter writing. They 
subscribed to weekly newspapers including The Lusk Herald 

35 



and The Lost Springs Times. They also took Ebony Magazine. 
Their relatively large library contained a King James Bible, 
a twelve volume set called The Book of Knowledge and 
perhaps 50 other titles.*" 

The house was kept warm by several stoves placed in 
the kitchen, front room and master bedroom. Because the 
plaster and lath ceilings were uninsulated, enough heat 
rose into the upstairs bedrooms to keep them habitable. 
No openings exist in the upstairs chimney to accommodate 
a stove pipe. Because the attic was also, typically of that 
era, uninsulated, the heat then continued on out through 
the roof. The stoves burned wood obtained along the creek 
or coal procured from several outcrops in the pastures. In 
the summer and fall Jim and the hired men strip-mined 
enough by hand to get them through the winter. There 
were several small commercial coal mines in the area where 
coal was also available. A rail embedded across the top of 
the front wall of the house to hold the stones over the win- 
dows of the sun room was obtained from the Rosin mine 
located about five mOes west.*^ 

The Edwards' diet was typical in many ways of Wyo- 
ming ranch families, though perhaps spiced with more 
variety and luxuries. They raised potatoes, green beans, 
turnips, cabbage and tomatoes in the garden. When the 
raccoons neglected to eat them all, a few ears of corn were 
salvaged from the com patch. Much of the produce was 
laboriously canned using the large pressure cooker. For ex- 
ample, they canned 30 to 50 quarts of green beans each 
year. During the year they slaughtered an average of about 
three or four cattle, ten sheep, five hogs, 100 chickens and 
40 turkeys. This was enough to feed themselves, the help 
and their many guests. When Jim first arrived, people ate 
a great deal of game, including deer, antelope, sage- 
chickens and cottontail rabbits. By the late 1920s, game 
animals were almost non-existent in Wyoming. Deer and 
antelope hunting was subsequently made illegal in the 
Harney Hills untO about 1954.82 

Additional quantities of the usual ranch groceries were 
purchased at stores in Keeline, Lost Springs, Douglas and 
Lusk. The Nuttalls estimated annual totals at roughly 100 
lbs. dry beans, 600 lbs. flour, 200 lbs. sugar, 200 lbs. corn 
meal, 200 lbs. oatmeal, several hundred-pound sacks of 
potatoes and canned goods by the case. Other store bought 
foodstuffs included salt, syrup, baking soda and powder, 
chocolate, among others. ^^ 

A cellar was excavated beneath the floor of the garage 
with the trap door just outside the entrance to the kitchen. 
It was large enough to store most of the food and protect 
it from freezing. The garage could be heated, if necessary, 
by a stove placed near the back door on top of the wooden 
roofed cellar. 

The difficult years of the Depression began to ease by 
1938 as the economy slowly improved and increased pre- 
cipitation levels put an end to the terrible drought. The 
range recovered rapidly due to the low number of stock, 
which began to thrive again on the rich prairie short- 
36 



grasses. When World War II began, it brought a period of 
unparalleled prosperity that caused cattlemen to increase 
their production. Wartime controls ended in 1946 and 
prices rose even higher, making " . . .it possible for a man 
to buy a dogie in the morning and sell it in the afternoon 
for enough profit to pay for his dinner and perhaps a few 
drinks."*^ In the late 1940s, most cattlemen paid their debts 
and took care not to incur any new ones, and saved more 
money than they previously would have been able to in 
a lifetime. Many of the relatively few remaining truly large 
ranches sold out for high prices and the family sized opera- 
tion came to dominate the scene. 

Although the Edwards profited from the wartime 
economy, they would not enjoy with their neighbors the 
heady days of the postwar years. Lethel began to suffer 
increasingly from terrible hemorrhages. Finally, about 2:00 
a.m. one morning shortly before Christmas in 1945, she 
began bleeding profusely from the nose. Jim frantically, 
but unsuccessfully, tried to telephone the Nuttalls for help 
when his own efforts to stop the torrents of blood failed. 
He then carried her to the car, hoping to drive through 
the snow and reach a doctor in time to save her. Lethel 
may have lived long enough to reach Douglas, Casper or 
even Denver; no one knows what happened that night ex- 
cept that she bled to death. She was orJy 45 or 50 years 
old. The location of her grave is unknown, but it is prob- 
ably in Casper or Denver. 

Following Lethel's death, the grief-stricken, 74 year- 
old Edwards became a recluse when home, drinking 
heavily and not tending the ranch, which began to crum- 
ble around him. The buildings took on an air of abandon- 
ment and decay. The formerly spotless house grew filthy. 
He often left for days at a time to frequent the old saloon 
and red-light district in Casper known as the Sandbar. He 
also made extended trips to Denver. He sometimes was 
visited, not by old friends, who began to avoid him because 
of his drinking, but by new people he met in bars. They 
came out to the ranch for riotous and destructive parties. 
These bacchanalian orgies were restricted to the Edwards' 
ranch after Nuttall threatened to shoot them if they ap- 
proached the Nuttall place again. 

Once after Lethel's death, two of Jim's drinking bud- 
dies brought him home with a good supply of liquor. The 
three began to drink heavily and Jim said he was going 
to shoot himself. Victor Kamp, a young White man whom 
Jim had hired to herd sheep, met Nuttall on the road and 
asked for help. He got into the pickup and they drove to 
Edwards', where they told Jim's friends to leave. Jim was 
lying on the bed beside a gun mumbling that he wanted 
to die. He dozed off after talking to them awhile, so they 
put the gun away and went home. Jim never mentioned 
the episode. Nuttall often looked after Jim for about four 
years following Lethel's death. They took him to town oc- 
casionally in their pickup, took meals to him when he was 
snowed in, and made sure he always had plenty of food 
and fuel enough to keep warm. At mid-century, Edwards 




(Left to right) The bunkhouse, house, stock tank, windmill/well and stone water tower still remain from the days of Jim and Lethel Edwards. 



was a slightly built, wdry old man, "with an abundance 
of kinky, white hair— whiter still against his very black 
skin."^^ 

Edwards' last moment in the sun came during the 
winter of 1949. Ebony Magazine, a nationally circulated 
periodical for Blacks, published a feature about him. It was 
filled with errors and exaggerations either of Jim's or the 
author's making, and had the depressing title, "The Last 
Days of Jim Edwards. ' '** Nevertheless, the renown it gave 
him must have been pleasing. The article called him "the 
greatest negro cattle rancher in all the West," and was 
acknowledged in a local newspaper.*^ 

Not many years were required for the Edwards' hard 
earned fortune to disappear. Jim soon began to sell off his 
holdings, first the livestock, then the mineral rights 
underlying the land to Carl Spacht. Household items and 
agricultural equipment were sold piecemeal, not at auc- 
tion. Some small things were given to friends.*^ 

An attempt to stave off ruin came too late. Recalling 
Lethel's wish that he never let the ranch faU into the hands 
of Whites, Edwards began to look for Black stockmen who 
could take over after his death. He found a family named 
Furman at Cold Springs, Wyoming, with several sons who 
came to work for him and become familiar with the place.*' 
Nuttall said the Furmans were miners, from Rock Springs, 



not Cold Springs. Two were described as "dependable," 
one spent much time drinking on the Sandbar. They did 
some farming for Jim and leased the ranch, on which they 
ran a few cattle purchased with a government loan.'" Jim 
described them as "the cream of the crop," adding, "1 feel 
like I can leave this world now and know that my ranch 
will always be a credit to my race."'^ But by this time, the 
buildings and remaining livestock were in poor condition 
and there was no money to make improvements. Nuttall 
said that Lethel's cousin, J. Edwin Sizer, had long expected 
to inherit the ranch, but that Jim lost it before that hap- 
pened. In 1950, Edwards was forced to sell out to creditors 
Beryl Fullerton, Otto Bible and Roy Pennington.'^ 

The ranch foreman and his wife who moved into the 
beautiful house threw out "the big, gray enamel Home 
Comfort cookstove, complete with a hot water reservoir," 
saying they would not "eat off something a nigger cooked 
on."'^ With no family, ignorant young Whites living in his 
house, and the ranch he built no longer his, Jim moved 
to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where he lived briefly. 

James Edwards died from suffocation January 6, 1951, after 
water boiled away in a pot in which chicken was being cooked 
[and] filled a basement room with smoke. A companion in the 
room, Tillie Trimble, age 33, wife of Columbus "Monk" Trim- 
ble, also overcome by smoke was reported recovering at the 
Scottsbluff Hospital. 

37 



Firemen were called to the house at 11:05 p.m. by Carmen 
Hernandez, age 13, niece of Steve Hernandez, who rents the 
upstairs rooms in the home. Carmen and her brother Rudy, 
age 8, reported seeing smoke pouring up through the bathroom 
floor and called firemen. 

Edwards and Tillie Trimble were found unconscious on a 
bed in the basement and were immediately carried outside 
where manual respiration aid was given until a resusdtator was 
brought. Edwards was pronounced dead at 11:50 p.m. by Dr. 
John Heinke.''' 

The Edwards' story began when Jim appeared on the 
Running Water owning nothing but the clothes he wore, 
a character reminiscent of Horatio Alger's rags to riches 
tales. The end of the story, however, seems almost 
Shakespearean in its tragedy. One cannot help but suspect 
that had the marriage produced a child, an heir, the story 
would have ended differently. Yet that ending does not 
diminish the remarkable and real accomplishments of their 
lives and the environment in which they lived. 

In spite of his obvious familiarity with Jim Crow 
"laws" governing White and Black relations in much of 
the country, Edwards was more than willing to stand up 
to Whites verbally or physically. He was aware of his status 
as a second class citizen but refused to accept it. Under cer- 
tain circumstances which excited deadly hysteria among 
Whites, such as the relations of Black men and White 
women, however, he accepted the need for extraordinary 
caution. In Wyoming he was renowned both for that cau- 
tion and, at other times, his defiant behavior. The latter 
seems to have dated back to his military career, at least, 
if not further. 

His aggressive, sometimes combative behavior might 
not have been tolerated by the dominant White culture in 
other areas of the country. An extraneous factor which 
might be considered crucial to the Edwards' success was 
the attitude of acceptance exhibited by the majority of 
Whites around Lost Springs and Harney Hills. Without 
that, the Edwards' efforts might have come to naught. 
Even today, the tradition of friendly, easy-going, openness 
is pervasive in the atmosphere among the Edwards' former 
neighbors and their descendants. The Edwards' neighbors 
generally accepted them not only as equals, as human 
beings, but even as economic superiors. While few peo- 
ple actually accepted them as friends, doubtless in part 
because of the Edwards' disinterest in socializing at public 
gatherings, they were admired for their success. That situa- 
tion would have been intolerable in many parts of the 
nation. This is not to suggest that the area was without 
racist sentiment, conscious or otherwise, but it was not a 
powerful force in local human interactions. Race relations 
are never simple situations, but the climate of the area was 
generally amicable and Edwards behavior showed he was 
aware of its complexities. In that atmosphere, persever- 
ance and intelligence allowed the Edwards to thrive. They 
became successful and admired people in their adopted 
home on the prairies of east-central Wyoming, and known 
to Blacks across the country. 
38 



Little is known of Edwards' background. He was prob- 
ably not raised in a rural setting, which makes his subse- 
quent success in agriculture and animal husbandry all the 
more remarkable. Like his father, he may have worked in 
coal mines somewhere in his native Ohio, growing up in 
an urban or semi-urban environment. Exactly where or 
when he was born, and how he was brought up can only 
be speculation. Even if he did not have a detailed body 
of knowledge pertaining to ranching when he arrived in 
Wyoming, he was possessed of an aggressive intelligence 
which allowed him to learn quickly and prosper. Starting 
with nothing, in a few years he managed to take what 
many perceived as an empty piece of the Western wilder- 
ness and turn it into a large and prosperous ranch. 

After marrying, Edwards and his wife became more 
successful than most White ranchers of the times. Because 
Whites were so far in the majority, it is safe to surmise that 
the Edwards were more successful than most ranchers, 
regardless of race. Comparing them to the few, largely un- 
documented Black ranchers would no doubt result in the 
same conclusion. Within one decade he and Lethel had 
also managed to amass a small fortune in area banks even 
while purchasing additional land and livestock. Yet their 
spending on luxuries was far from miserly. Indeed, their 
home and furnishings were counted among the finest for 
mOes aroimd. When the banks failed they lost tens of 
thousands of dollars, but they had prepared so well against 
financial misfortune that they were able to absorb the stag- 
gering losses and stiU enter the Great Depression in a much 
sounder condition than many farmers and ranchers. In 
fact, they continued to prosper throughout the 1920s and 
1930s when so many others went bankrupt. 

Exactly how they met and what attracted them to each 
other will never be known. It is clear they "married for 
love," but the marriage was a good one for both people. 
Lethel was young, innovative, educated and hard-work- 
ing. Paired with the older, more experienced, equally hard- 
working Edwards, they created a productive combination. 
Although Lethel definitely came from a very urban back- 
ground, she was bright enough and sufficiently willing to 
learn that she was able to teach new agricultural skills to 
her rural neighbors. Jim was becoming financially suc- 
cessful before they married, but she expedited the process, 
and was largely responsible for the many material im- 
provements and beautification in their standard of living. 

The Edwards' roles and significance are interesting. 
Among the earliest settlers in Harney Hills, they were well 
established when the waves of new settlers arrived be- 
tween 1914 and 1920. This put them in a position to loan 
equipment and labor, and give valuable advice to the 
newcomers, facilitating transitions to new homes. Perhaps 
this helps to explain the openminded ways they were 
treated by their almost exclusively White and less well-off 
neighbors. At any rate, the Edwards played significant 
roles in settling and developing the area between Douglas 
and Lusk. 



Larson says that minorities in Wyoming have received 
comparable treatment to that accorded them in other 
predominantly WASP states. The picture here is gilded 
slightly because the small minority population contributed 
to the inaccurate notion that discrimination did not exist 
in the Equality State. '^ Attitudes of the White majority in 
Wyoming were consistent in many ways with Victorian era 
White feelings of superiority common across the nation. 
Gordon Hendrickson explained that Blacks and Mexican- 
Americans were the most visible and easily identifiable 
ethnic groups in Wyoming, and that in the assimilation 
process they lagged behind other groups and frequently 
assumed the least desirable jobs and living quarters.'* This 
situation resisted from prejudice on the part of employers 
and landlords more than Black desires for such lifestyles. 
But White bigotry was not consistent across the state. Just 
as Wyoming's legal system was schizophrenic on racial 
matters, guaranteeing equality even as it forbade the same, 
the "popular mind" also sent confusing, conflicting 
messages to the Black community. Lynchings and murders 
of Blacks in Wyoming took place, but were rarities, easily 
outnumbered by stories of Black successess on various 
scales.'^ Blacks in rural Wyoming generally had access to 
resources and opportunities for financial success com- 
parable to their White homesteading counterparts. 

The Edwards were probably the most successful of all 
the Black homesteaders in Wyoming at any date. Their 
enterprise began in poverty, as was typical, but quickly 
rose to unusual heights. That might not have been 
tolerated in other parts of the country, perhaps even other 
parts of the state. The Edwards were accepted by their 
neighbors as equals, or possibly better. Few addressed him 
as Nigger Jim, his success did not spawn animosity, even 
his breaking the law, abusing western traditions and tak- 
ing rapacious advantage of neighbors' property and good- 
will resulted in little or no real trouble. In some ways, and 
not just economically, Edwards was "more than the equal 
of his neighbors." This does not quite balance his fear 
when dealing with White women, however, or his being 
called a "nigger," and being seen as one by the law. The 
Edwards were not fuU equal to Whites, but probably had 
a better life in the Equality State than would have been 
possible most anywhere else at that time. 

Writing of Jim, a former neighbor summarized: 
All in all ... he was a good man, and . . . was liked in the 
community. His feet, as aU our feet, were made of clay, but 
my memories of him are good. I have a lot of respect for any 
black man who invades a white territory, makes a living for 
himself, and builds a home as elaborate as his was on the 
prairie. I believe that had Lethel lived, the ending to Jim's story 
might have been very different— but who knows?" 



TODD R. CUENTHER, a native Nebraskan, has resided in Wyoming for ten 
years. He did undergraduate work at Luther College and the University of Wyo- 
ming before working for several years as an archaeologist. He earned a M.A. 
in American Studies from UWin 1988. Presently, he is curator of South Pass 
City State Historic Site where he lives with his wife Barbara and son Nate. 



1. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, p. 39, 

2. Ibid., pp. 39-40. 

3. Interview with Catherine and William Nuttall, April 9, 1987; Letters 
to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, January 20; February 
1988; Catherine Nuttall, "Edwards, James 'Nigger Jim,' " Pages from 
Converse County's Past (Douglas, Wyoming: Heritage Book Commit- 
tee, 1986), p. 174; and interview with Art Joss, Sr., April 9, 1987. 

4. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987; 
and Combined Civil and Criminal Docket, ManviUe, Wyoming, Justice 
of the Peace, Volume 1, p. 176, Archives and Records Management 
Division, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Depart- 
ment (AMH), Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

5. Interview with Art Joss, Sr., April 9, 1987. 

6. Interview with Art Joss, Sr., April 9, 1987. 

7. Letters to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, December 7, 
1987; January 20, 1988. 

8. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

9. Skylar Scott, "Appendix A, Historical Overview of the Stockgraz- 
ing Frontier," in Reiss et al. Results of a Class 11 Inventory on the Deer 
Creek Reservoir Roads and Results of the Testing on the Deer Creek Reser- 
voir, Converse and Natrona Counties, Wyoming, 1986. 

10. John T. Schlebecker, Cattle Raising on the Plains, 1900-1961 (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1963), pp. 25-26. 

11. Ibid., p. 51. 

12. Roy M. Robbins, Our Landed Heritage in the Public Domain, 1776-1970 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976), pp. 363, 387. 

13. T. A. Larson, Wyoming: A Bicentennial History (New York: W. W. Nor- 
ton, 1976), p. 134. 

14. Marybeth Norton et al., A People and a Nation: A History of the United 
States, Since 1865, Vol. II (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982), p. 671. 

15. Peter W. Huntoon, "The National Bank Failures in Wyoming, 1924," 
Annals of Wyoming 54 (Fall 1982): 34-44; interview with Catherine and 
William Nuttall, April 9, 1987; and letter to author from Catherine 
and William NuttaU, May 3, 1987. 

16. Letters to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, November 16, 
1987; February 14, 1988. 

17. J. W. Smurr, "Jim Crow Out West," in Historical Essays on Montana 
and the Northwest, J. W. Smurr, ed. (Helena: Western Press, Historical 
Society of Montana, 1957), pp. 149-223. 

18. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, p. 653. 

19. Interview with Catherine and William Nuttall, April 9, 1987; and in- 
terview with Mabel Lindmier, April 9, 1987. 

20. Stan Gustafson, Vigilantes of Wyoming (New York: Hearthstone Press, 
1971), pp. 127-131; Frank Schubert, "The Black Army Regiments in 
Wvoming, 1885-1912" (Master of Arts Thesis, University of Wyoming, 
1970), p. 75, ff. 21; Laramie Boomerang, September 1, 4, 1904; and Ar- 
chives and Records Management Division catalog files, AMH. 

21. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, p. 591. 

22. Letters to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 7, 
March 23, 1988. 

23. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, p. 39. 

24. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, December 7, 
1987. 

39 



25. Robert A. Goldberg, "Beneath the Hood and Robe: A Socioeconomic 
Analysis of Ku Klux Klan Membership in Denver, Colorado, 
1921-1925," Western Historical Quarterly 11 (April 1980): 184. 

26. Letters to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, October 3, 
December 7, 1987; January 20, February 2, 1988; Letter to author from 
Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988; and "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," 
Ebony, March 1949, p. 39. The article described Edwards as being 5 '4" 
taU and weighing 155 pounds in his prime. 

27. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, p. 591. 

28. Bill Donnelly, quoted in letter to author from Catherine and William 
Nuttall, January 20, 1988. 

29. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 2, 1988. 

30. General Land Office tract books. Bureau of Land Management 
Archives, Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

31. Letter to author from Chuck Engebretson, October 10, 1987. 

32. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987. 

33. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, January 20, 1988. 

34. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, October 3, 1987. 

35. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, October 3, 1987. 

36. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, October 3, 1987. 

37. Interview with Catherine and William Nuttall, April 9, 1987; and letter 
to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, November 16, 1987. 

38. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, p. 709; Deborah Welch, "An 
Historical Overview of the North Antelope Coal Company's North 
Antelope Mine in Campbell and Converse Counties, Wyoming"; 
"Appendix I, Historic Overview of Bates Hole, Natrona County, 
Wyoming," in "A Cultural Resource Inventory of the Proposed 
Shirley Rim Road— Little Red Creek Realignment in Natrona County, 
Wyoming, 1982," p. 20; Wyoming: A Guide to Its History, Highways, 
and People (New York: Oxford University Press, 1941; reprint ed., Lin- 
coln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981); and Schlebecker, Cattle Rais- 
ing on the Plains, p. 156. 

39. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ehotiy, March 1949, p. 40; and let- 
ter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, December 7, 1987. 

40. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, January 20, 1988; 
and Norton et al., A People and a Nation, pp. 736-737. 

41. Norton et al., A People and a Nation, p. 740. 

42. Ibid., p. 741. 

43. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, November 16, 
1987. 

44. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, December 7, 
1987. 

45. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, January 20, 1988. 

46. Robert A. Goldberg, "Beneath the Hood and Robe: A Socioeconomic 
Analysis of Ku Klux Klan Membership in Denver, Colorado, 
1921-1925," Western Historical Quarterly 11 (April 1980): 181. 

47. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 14, 
1988. 

48. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

49. Interview with Catherine and William Nuttall, April 9, 1987. 

50. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 2, 1988. 

51. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 7, 1988. 

52. Ray Bearse, Centerfire American Rifle Cartridges, 1892-1963 (South New 
Brunswick, New Jersey: A. S. Barnes and Co., 1966), p. 124. 

53. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, p. 40. 

54. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, December 7, 
1987. 

55. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 14, 
1988. 

56. Interview with Mabel Lindmier, April 9, 1987. 

57. Interview with Mabel Lindmier, April 9, 1987. 

58. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 14, 
1988. 



59. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

60. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, p. 39. 

61. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, November 16, 
1987. 

62. Combined Civil and Criminal Docket, Manville, Wyoming, Justice 
of the Peace, Volume I, p. 278, Archives and Records Management 
Division, AMH; and Clerk of Court Records, Niobrara County, 
Wyoming, Miscellaneous Record 91, 1937. 

63. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, November 16, 
1987. 

64. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, January 20, 1988. 

65. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

66. Ruth Grant, "The Wanek Family," in Pages from Converse County's 
Past, p. 622. 

67. Ibid., pp. 621-622. 

68. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987. 

69. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

70. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

71. Combined Civil and Criminal Docket, Manville, Wyoming, Justice 
of the Peace, Volume I, p. 176, Archives and Records Management 
Division, AMH. 

72. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987 

73. Interview with Catherine and William Nuttall, April 9, 1987. 

74. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987 

75. General Land Office Tract Books, Bureau of Land Management 
Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

76. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 14, 
1988. 

77. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987 

78. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, March 23, 1988 

79. Letter to author from Catherine and Wilham Nuttall, November 16 
1987. 

80. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 2, 1988, 

81. Interview with Chuck Engebretson, September 7, 1987. 

82. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, February 2, 1988 

83. Letters to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, November 16 
December 7, 1987. 

84. Schlebecker, Cattle Raising on the Plains, p. 186. 

85. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 

86. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, pp. 39-41. 

87. Lusk Herald, April 28, 1949. 

88. Interview with Chuck Engebretson, September 7, 1987; and letter to 
author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 1987. 

89. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, p. 39. 

90. Letter to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, December 7, 
1987. 

91. "The Last Days of Jim Edwards," Ebony, March 1949, p. 41. 

92. Letters to author from Catherine and William Nuttall, May 3, 
December 7, 1987. 

93. Interview with Catherine and William Nuttall, April 9, 1987. 

94. Catherine Nuttall, "Edwards, James 'Nigger Jim,' " in Pages from Con- 
verse County's Past, p. 174. 

95. Larson, Wyoming, p. 105. 

96. Gordon O. Hendrickson, "Immigration and Assimilation in Wyo- 
ming," in Peopling the High Plains, ed. Gordon O. Hendrickson 
(Cheyenne: Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, 
1977), p. 184. 

97. Todd R. Guenther, "At Home on the Range: Black Settlement in Rural 
Wyoming, 1850-1950" (Master of Arts Thesis, University of Wyoming, 
1988). 

98. Letter to author from Ruth Grant, March 10, 1988. 



40 



ISAAC a MILLER 

Events In the Life of a 
"High-Toned" Dane 



by Mark E. Miller 




Portrait of Isaac Carson Miller at the peak of his successful business career. 



41 



Isaac Carson Miller's story is about a young immigrant 
who matured with the Wyoming frontier. He was born on 
March 6, 1844, on the island of M0n, Praesto County, Den- 
mark. His birth name was Isaac Carstensen (or Carsensen), 
which he later simplified by condensing his surname and 
adding a new surname taken from his father's occupation.^ 
I.C.'s Old World experiences nurtured a restless spirit that 
eventually would take him beyond Denmark to the 
American West in search of greater opportunity. He would 
become a kind of rural renaissance man, whose breadth 
of character, commitment to responsible decision-making 
and willingness to take risks established him as one of the 
most successful, yet unpretentious, pioneers in Wyonung. 

It is difficult to tease from the musty pages of history 
why immigrants leave their homeland to face uncertainty 
in a distant country. For I.C. Miller the reasons may have 
been many. He was twenty years old in 1864 and entering 
his adult life; but things were rotten in Denmark. His father 
owned no more than 125 cultivated acres for his mill 
because Danish law prohibited large agricultural estates.^ 
Such a small field could not be divided through inheritance 
and still support I. C. and his siblings as they grew and 
began families of their own. 

Limited economic opportunity created only some of the 
problems facing Danish youth. In 1864, the duchies of 
Schlesvig, north of the Eider River, and Holstein, on the 
south, were torn between political allegiance to Denmark 
and Prussia. Christian I had signed a decree in 1481 declar- 
ing Schlesvig and Holstein would remain forever un- 
divided.^ By the time this document was signed, centuries 
of shipbuilding had depleted many Danish oak forests, 
allowing heather moors to invade the countryside. Prevail- 
ing winds swept over the treeless land and stripped the 
once rich topsoil, threatening cultivated fields.^ But 
Schlesvig was still rich in arable land during the 1860s, and 
Denmark wanted to retain her agricultural wealth. Because 
of the ancient 15th century document, this also meant 
keeping Holstein despite her intention to align politically 
with Prussia. 

Prussia and her Austrian allies, under the military 
leadership of Otto Edward Leopold Von Bismarck, solved 
the problem by force. Bismarck attacked the Danes on 
February 1, 1864, with well armed, numerically superior 
troops. By June the outcome was inevitable. The Danish 
fleet still controlled the coastline and seaways around the 
islands, but they had lost the war.^ Many Danes who did 
not want to live under Prussian rule emigrated. Some prob- 
ably believed Denmark should not have claimed political 
authority over Holstein in the first place, but let the duchy 
decide her own fate. Like other disillusioned countrymen, 
I. C. boarded a ship bound for New York. He would spend 
his 21st birthday and the rest of his life on American soil. 

I. C. (later known as Ike) landed in the states amidst 
the Civil War with only 35 cents to his name. He learned 
the language and customs of his new home, then bummed 
his way to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1866, where he engaged 
42 



in marketing. The city was a hotbed of commerce prepar- 
ing for Union Pacific railroad construction, and Ike earned 
money to finance the next leg of his journey west. In 1867, 
he traveled to North Platte, Nebraska, then worked with 
the railroad as it built to Bitter Creek in Wyoming Territory. 
References are unclear whether Ike hacked ties, laid track 
or was a store clerk during this time, but he did engage 
in merchandising at Bitter Creek between the fall of 1868 
and the spring of 1870.* 

By June 6, 1870, Ike had backtracked east to Rawlins 
(Rawlings) Springs where he became a store clerk. The 
budding community, whose name later was shortened to 
Rawlins, boasted a population of 612.^ Ike entered into 
partnership with W. R. Cogswell in 1871 and located placer 
claims at Poverty Hill in the Hahn's Peak gold mining region 
of Colorado.* He and Cogswell wintered in Rawlins the 
first year, but returned to mining operations for a total of 
two seasons, not really making much profit. Nonetheless, 
this enterprise initiated a lasting relationship between the 
two pioneers which spanned many years and involved 
other mining ventures. In 1873, Ike returned to Rawlins 
and entered the local business community to stay. 

His first community venture was running the Alham- 
bra Saloon on the south side of the tracks opposite 4th 
Street. Pat Downs established the Alhambra in 1873 and, 
later that same year, Ike became junior partner. The two 
worked together for about a year until Downs sold out to 
Ike. Ike enlarged the saloon and made it a thriving 
wholesale and retail business.' D. M. "Little" Van worked 
with Ike for a while before relocating in the Snake River 
country. ^^ 

The Alhambra boasted the delightful "Las Ninfas" 
cigars and advertised a wide stock of spirits, including fine 
imported champagne, brandy, gin, bitters and other qual- 
ity liquor. Scotch and Irish whiskies, Kentucky bourbon, 
rye and sour mash soothed the palates of Old World im- 
migrants and displaced easterners who longed for the 
flavor of their homeland. Some thirsty patrons did not pay 
off the credit extended them, so on Christmas Day 1880, 
Ike announced that beginning January 15, 1881, the Alham- 
bra would operate only on a cash basis." 

The local newspaper noted with wry humor the pop- 
ularity of saloons in the frontier town: "Many a woman 
dusts bilhard chalk off her husband's coat, and a big tear 
stands in her eye as she thinks how late he works nights 
at his desk by the whitewashed wall."" On a separate 
occasion, a reporter lamented that "one of the 'regulars' 
who is an easy drinker, by mistake swallowed a glass of 
water the other day, instead of his usual dram of 'gin. ' The 
timely arrival of a physician with a stomach pump saved 
his life."" Ike sold the Alhambra business to John Dyer 
and Ben Northington in May, 1881, but apparently retained 
the property and continued to make improvements to the 
building. ^^ 

Ike became firmly entrenched in the dvic affairs of 
Rawlins during the 1870s. He began buying cattle on a 



modest scale the same year he bought into the Alhambra, 
and ran cows throughout his ranching career. But his first 
publicized purchase, which was consummated over cham- 
pagne in the Alhambra one Saturday night in November, 
1879, may not have produced any beef at all. The evening 
began with Ike, Charley Blydenburgh and a Mr. Hooper 
from Arizona popping a few corks while reliving past 
exploits. It seems Hooper was just passing through and 
had 2,700 head of cattle waiting at Bitter Creek. Come 
sunup. Hooper and the rest were great friends. In fact, they 
were such good friends that Ike was the proud owner of 
Hooper's entire herd. Hooper disappeared soon after and 
the newspaper account does not mention whether or not 
the cattle, if they even existed, ever made it to Carbon 
County range. Ike did get a message from his old partner 
Pete Downs in Evanston, which complimented him on his 
purchase and jokingly asked him to treat the Honorable 
Mr. Hooper with greatest respect, because Hooper also cost 
Downs $55 when they became friends. ^^ Hooper ap- 
parently conned more than one southern Wyoming resi- 
dent during his trip through the territory. 

On a more lasting note for the decade, Ike married Ada 
Kirk on May 7, 1874. ^^ She was the daughter of Henry A. 
Kirk and Mary E. (Parrish) Kirk. Henry was a Civil War 
veteran, educator, businessman and successful farmer who 
spent much of his career in Rawlins. 

The decade of the 1880s involved the most diverse ac- 
tivities in Ike's life. His business and civic interests ex- 



panded considerably. Ike owned sheep as early as 1875, 
but did so only on a modest scale until 1880. In 1881, he 
entered into partnership with Joel J. Hurt, and their in- 
vestments soon established them as leading operators in 
Carbon County, which generally was more tolerant of 
sheepmen than were other parts of the territory. One of 
their early purchases was the sheep herd belonging to the 
Blydenburghs, Sam Morgan and Roberts of the Jack Creek 
Land and Cattle Company. ^^ Miller and Hurt's flocks 
flourished on prime grazing land in Carbon County,^' 
where herds wintered along the North Platte River and 
summered in the Seminoe Mountains. The partners bred 
Merino bucks to Columbia ewes for a hearty, more profit- 
able cross. To better distribute produce to consumers, they 
ran a meat market in Rawlins at the corner of Front and 
5th streets.^' 

Ike's interests, however, were not limited to stock rais- 
ing. His business acumen and recognition as a fair, civic- 
minded citizen earned him the 1880 Democratic nomina- 
tion for the office of Carbon County Sheriff. He was 
characterized during the campaign as a gentleman of fine 
physique and resolute character with plenty of sand to do 
the job. Ike defeated incumbent James G. Rankin on elec- 
tion day November 2, 1880.^" Rankin was a well-known 
Republican who had recently gained notoriety for bring- 
ing George Parrott, alias Big Nose George, from Montana 
to Rawlins to stand trial for the celebrated Elk Mountain 
murders of Tip Vincent and Robert Widdowfield. Parrott 




Front Street scene in Rawlins, Wyoming, variously dated between 1879 and 1883. Telegraph pole at left is probably the one from which Big Nose 
George hanged on March 22, 1881. 

43 



sat in the Carbon County jail awaiting trial in District Court 
while the elections were held. The sweet taste of victory 
was short-lived for Ike, because he was appointed foreman 
of the special grand jury summoned to hear the territory's 
case against Big Nose George on November 15. The outlaw 
was found guilty and sentenced to hang on Saturday, April 
2, 1881.21 

Ike settled into the sheriff's duties on January 3, 1881. 
His many responsibilities carried him throughout Carbon 
County which, in early 1881, ran from Colorado north to 
the headwaters of the Powder River. Ike was responsible 
for tax collecting and keeping the peace during the first 
year of his term, which began with a bang, rather than a 
whimper. He sensed strong community resentment to- 
ward Big Nose George, because Vincent and Widdowfield 
had been popular in Carbon County. Many ddzens desired 
revenge. As precautionary measures to control the 
populace, he ordered the publication of the Wyoming laws 
pertaining to legal executions, and posted notices remind- 
ing citizens of the law against concealed weapons. ^^ In late 
March, 1881, Ike was called away to Sand Creek on official 
business. Big Nose George attempted a jail break during 
his absence. The escape was foiled, but later that evening, 
March 22, a masked mob of irate citizens broke into the 
jail, dragged the prisoner toward the railroad tracks and 
hanged him from a telegraph pole in front of J. W. Hugus 
and Co.'s store." 

A year later, almost to the day, a second vigilante 
action shook the foundation of civilized life in the grow- 
ing frontier town. On Sunday morning, March 19, 1882, 
a lynch mob grabbed from custody three thieves accused 
of beating and robbing a Chinaman. The desperados were 
James Lacey, Robert Roderick, alias "Opium Bob," and 
a man named Carter. They were believed to be part of a 
larger, organized gang of thieves operating throughout the 
surrounding country. Lacey and "Opium Bob" were left 
dangling at the stockyards for passersby to view, but Carter 
escaped. 2'* This act was even more callous than Parrott's 
lynching the year before, because the suspects had not 
even been tried for their crimes. This incident stimulated 
renewed efforts to protect citizens and prisoners alike 
through due process of law. 

Ike's duties did not always involve dealing with 
vigilante justice. He recorded the normal list of arrests for 
a frontier town along the railroad. Only a week or so before 
the Lacey and "Opium Bob" lynching. Miller arrested a 
couple of horse thieves named Thomas Curran and Mat- 
thew Guyer. They had robbed Knox and Co.'s saddle and 
harness shop, and made off toward Sand Creek. A month 
after this arrest the sheriff escorted Curran, Guyer and a 
convicted murderer from the territorial prison in Laramie 
to the penitentiary at Joliet, Illinois, where they would 
serve out their sentences. ^^ 

The arrest of Curran and Guyer had personal reward 
for Ike, because in February, 1882, Ike had purchased 
half interest in the saddle and harness business owned by 
44 



Reuben B. Knox.^' Knox' enterprise, established in the 
spring of 1879, boasted well-crafted saddles that earned 
a valued reputation throughout Wyoming Territory and 
surrounding regions. The new firm, known as R. B. Knox 
and Co., kept the original Cedar Street location. Ike pur- 
chased full, but short-lived, ownership on December 15, 
1882.27 In July, 1883, Mr. John Foote bought the company 
and placed Knox in charge once again. ^^ 

Ike was re-elected in November, 1882, defeating Isaac 
Amos for the job. 2' During his second term, he continued 
several innovative practices initiated during his first years 
of office. In particular, Ike worked to clean up the town 
and make Rawlins a more presentable community. He col- 
lected donations for street cleaning projects, and used a 
prisoner street gang to sweep away dust, rid town lots of 
sagebrush and grade some streets. 

The early 1880s also was a time of growing stress on 
the rangelands of Carbon County. Cattlemen were con- 
cerned about rustling and the Wyoming Stock Growers 
Association worked diligently to eliminate losses. In late 

1883, the association hired John M. Finkbone of the Turtle 
Detective Agency in Chicago to investigate activities along 
the Sweetwater River. In September, Ike and Detective 
Finkbone rode north to the Sand Creek country with re- 
quisitions for Clabe and Bill Young. They arrested Clabe 
and charged him with the murder of a man in Texas back 
in 1878.^" It seems the Stock Growers Association beheved 
Young was guilty of illegal branding. There was little 
evidence on the hoof by the time of his arrest, however, 
because Clabe had sold his livestock a month earlier to the 
Sand Creek Land and Cattle Co.^^ 

Clabe Young was a popular cattleman in the region, 
and had been foreman for Tom Sun's Hub and Spoke out- 
fit. ^^ Several residents heard of the sheriff's trip and tried 
to warn Clabe and Bill about the warrants. They were suc- 
cessful only in the latter case." Clabe' s friends, unsym- 
pathetic toward the big cattle outfits run by absentee 
owners, were pleased to hear from Nate Young in April, 

1884, that brother Clabe had been tried in TUden, Texas, 
on March 13, and found not guilty. ^^ Clabe, BUI and Nate 
eventually were blacklisted by the Wyoming Stock Grow- 
ers Association, although Clabe overcame that complaint 

tOO.35 

Leroy Donovan, a young man from Sweetwater 
County, was found guilty of first degree murder in Oc- 
tober, 1883.^* He killed a man in Rock Springs and was 
tried in Rawlins under change of venue. The court inter- 
viewed 107 prospective jurors before a panel of citizens 
unopposed to capital punishment was selected. They were 
sworn in, then knelt and prayed to assure a just verdict. 
Such behavior contrasted dramatically with the mob tac- 
tics of recent years, and signaled a trend toward a more 
positive community attitude. 

Donovan, alias John Lee, was sentenced to hang on 
January 18, 1884. The task fell to Ike, and he was deter- 
mined to follow the law as well as make the prisoner's last 




/. C. Miller (right) and Homer 'France in front seat driving in a parade. 

months as comfortable as possible. As the day approached, 
workers erected the scaffold near the courthouse, and con- 
nected it to the jail building with a fourteen foot high fence 
concealing all activities from outside view.^^ Only a few 
people were legally permitted to witness the hanging. Ike 
fastened the noose around Donovan's neck at the ap- 
pointed time, then asked the condemned man if it was all 
right. The convicted murderer answered "It's about as 
tight as you can get it without choking me." Then Donovan 
was hanged.^ It was an unpleasant but necessary task if 
Rawlins was to become a more law abiding community. 

Rawlins' first legal execution was not the only event 
during Ike's tenure as sheriff which inaugurated a new era 
for criminal justice. Community concern over vigilante ac- 
tivity prompted the formation of a police force, ^^ and tax 
collecting was removed from the sheriff's duties to allow 
more time for other tasks. Also, prisoner street gangs pro- 
vided a greater return from community investment in the 
penal system. No longer would Rawlins be depicted as an 
unsettled town in the territorial frontier; Ike helped build 
a civic pride that endures today. 

Dee's overall performance earned him consideration as 
a Democratic nominee for a third term. But the October, 
1884, convention instead nominated him for County 
Treasurer and Probate Judge.*" His years in law enforce- 
ment ended and he focused on even more challenging roles 
in city, county and territorial affairs. 

Ike sirffered the first political defeat of his career when 
he lost to incumbent D. C. Kelly in the race for Probate 
Judge and Treasurer. Carbon County residents might have 
regretted their choice in later years, however, because in 
March, 1887, there was concern over Kelly's alleged in- 
volvement in embezzling funds. ^^ Kelly ended up paying 
back the county to avoid indictment by the grand jury.'*^ 

Rawlins incorporated in May, 1886, under by-laws, or- 
dinances and articles that laid the groundwork for city 
government. Residents elected Ike as their first mayor to 
preside over the important decisions facing the city. One 



account recalls the efforts of several women who wanted 
him to win the election. These ladies voted once, went 
home to change clothes and put on veils, then returned 
to the polls to vote again. ■'^ M. E. Hocker, Chas. E. 
Chrisman and John Carrick were listed as trustees for the 
first city council.** The new mayor approved and signed 
the first city ordinance on April 28, 1886, which codified 
30 sections of the by-laws for the government of the Board 
of Trustees of the city of Rawlins. ^^ He served as mayor 
for one year, then was succeeded by Dr. John E. Osborne. 

Ike's political commitments kept him busy at the ter- 
ritorial level as well, initially as a delegate to the 1886 
Democratic convention held in Rawlins.*' Then, at the 1888 
Democratic territorial convention in Cheyenne, the Honor- 
able I. C. Miller and C. E. Blydenburgh were chosen to 
serve as territorial central committee members. Ike also was 
temporary chair of the county convention where he and 
G. Caldwell were picked to run for territorial council. C. 
C. Wright, A. McMicken and Ike's father-in-law, H. A. 
Kirk, were chosen as candidates for the House of Repre- 
sentatives.*'' Unfortunately for the county Democrats, 
Republicans R. M. Galbraith and C. W. Burdick won the 
two council seats in November.** 

Although not particularly interested in a political 
career, Ike agreed to try for public office one more time. 
President Benjamin Harrison signed the statehood bill for 
Wyoming on July 10, 1890. It was successful in Washington 
D.C. largely through the efforts of Joseph M. Carey, 
Wyoming Territory's last delegate to Congress. Territorial 
Governor Francis E. Warren, a Republican and friend of 
Carey's, wasted no time in establishing state government. 
Five days after statehood he set a special election for 
September 11, 1890.*' This gave political parties less than 
two months to schedule conventions, select candidates and 
campaign for five state offices and the new state's lone seat 
in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ike accepted the 
nomination of his party for Wyoming's first state treasurer.^" 
Ike's opponent was Otto Gramm, a former druggist and 
prominent county treasurer and probate judge from Lara- 
mie. '^ The election was a disaster for the Democratic party, 
due largely to the popularity and political power of Carey 
and Warren. Republicans swept all state offices and the 
congressional seat. Dee was beaten by a count of 8,824 votes 
(56.5 percent) to 6,790 (43.5 percent), losing in aD coun- 
ties. ^^ Those concerned with the fact of a short campaign 
could take solace in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson. 
The great novelist once proclaimed: "Politics is perhaps 
the only profession for which no preparation is thought 
necessary. "53 

Throughout these years, Ike never lost sight of his 
livestock interests or the growing difficulties in grazing 
Wyoming's public range lands. He and other industry 
leaders advocated an organized lobbying effort to protect 
their businesses. In May, 1880, the Carbon County Stock- 
growers Association organized so stockmen could legally 
appoint a stock detective and petition the county commis- 
sioners for his salary. The detective would represent area 

45 



ranchers during round-ups.^ Both cattlemen and sheepmen 
became members when the 1881 meeting was held in Dee's 
office. Ike was elected treasurer and Joel J. Hurt was ap- 
pointed to the committee charged with drafting a set of 
by-laws.'' The organization seems to have lasted until pas- 
sage of the Maverick Bill in 1884, which assigned stock de- 
tection and roimd-up supervision to the state organization.'* 

When the county stockgrowers association weakened, 
Ike and Hurt aligned with other operators to form an 
organization of county sheepgrowers. The Rocky Moun- 
tain Wool Growers Association was established on March 
2, 1886, with Ike as treasurer.'^ Hurt succeeded him at the 
1887 meeting and Ike was elected president. Dee and several 
other woolgrowers also incorporated a company to build 
and operate a wool warehouse which would store clips un- 
til transportation costs and the wool market assured pro- 
ducers of satisfactory profits." He was re-elected president 
at the third annual meeting of the association when discus- 
sions centered around Union Pacific wool transportation 
rates. Other railways had lowered rates and stockmen 
pressured the U.P. to do the same.'' Association members 
also worked with other livestock interests in opposing 
President Grover Cleveland's efforts to remove the wool 
tariff and establish free trade. John Mahoney, in particular, 
criticized Cleveland's action as being uncalled for and 
cowardly, stating that it should be sat down upon. Ike, in 
an apparent reference to the President's massive physique, 
commented that "it was now sat down upon about as 
heavy as it could be."*"" 

The year 1888 was a pivotal one for Ike's interest in 
the sheep industry. In October, he and Hurt dissolved their 



partnership and spUt their flocks.'^ Their herd had peaked 
a few years earlier at 40,000 head when they ran 20-man 
shearing crews at their pens north of Rawlins. By 1888, 
their flock totaled about 25,000 head,*^ ^yj thjg was still 
too many to sustain on their range north of Rawlins. Hurt 
trailed 3,000 sheep into what soon would be Natrona 
County, *3 then operated out of Casper for several years. 

Six months later, the Rocky Mountain Wool Grower's 
Association held their fourth annual meeting. Members 
discussed a major issue in Carbon County's livestock 
business, that of grazing on "checkerboard" lands. 
Checkerboard lands are those sections twenty miles either 
side of the Union Pacific railroad line. As an incentive to 
buUd the railroad, the federal government gave the Union 
Pacific surface and mineral rights to all odd numbered sec- 
tions in this corridor, but retained ownership of even 
numbered sections. This produced an ownership pattern 
where no two adjacent sections were owned by the same 
landholder. To move from one private section to another, 
or from one public section to another, required crossing 
over adjacent squares like jumps in a checkers game. At 
this meeting, the association adopted a resolution pledg- 
ing support to R. T. Rankin who was defendant in a lawsuit 
instigated by the Swan Land Company. Rankin allegedly 
trespassed his sheep on railroad lands recently purchased 
by the company,** which already had been involved with 
earlier litigation regarding fencing of public lands.*' 

The complex issue of private use of public range lands 
became more heated as time passed. Related problems of 
rustling and homesteading on the public domain would 
soon find graphic expression in the lynching of two alleged 




The Rawlins National Bank, shown here, was established ]une 9, 1899, and was located in the Osborne Building. I.C. Miller, seated, was its first 
president between 1899-1912. J.C. Davis (left) and Frank Hadsell are standing in front of the cashier's window. Jim Randle is the cashier behind 
the window, and an unidentified man stands in back of him. 
46 



rustlers in a rocky canyori above the Sweetwater River. In 
late July, 1889, Rawlins residents received word that James 
Averell and Ella Watson had been hanged. Sheriff Frank 
Hadsell arrested several prominent cattlemen, and the case 
against the defendants was brought to District Court in 
Rawlins on Monday, October 14. Judge Samuel T. Corn 
presided as jury selection began. One prospective juror, 
William Jungquist, was excused because William Daley 
submitted an affidavit to the court arguing that Jungquist 
was prejudiced against the defendants. The name of Isaac 
C. Miller was drawn to fill the vacancy, and he subse- 
quently was appointed foreman.** 

This was a sensitive case due to the nature of the crimes 
and the prominence of the people implicated. Corn was 
specific and deliberate in his charge to the jury: 

In making your investigations you will hear the evidence for 
the prosecution only, and if upon the evidence introduced by 
the prosecution it appears that an offense has been committed, 
and who the offenders are, it is your duty to return an indict- 
ment. It is not your duty, and you are not permitted to examine 
witness upon the part of the defense. Whatever defense there 
may be in any case must be made upon a trial before a petit 
jury in open court. Yet you will consider all the evidence in- 
troduced before you by the prosecution and if from it the 
defense appears, you will return no bill. 

A full grand jury consists of sixteen members— twelve of 
your number present constitute a quorum to do business, and 
twelve must concur in finding an indictment before it can be 
returned a true bill. Your foreman is authorized to swear all 
witnesses examined by you . . . 

Corn continued with intentional emphasis on the 
Sweetwater affair: 

It is not ordinarily necessary to charge the grand jury with 
reference to special crimes. The prosecuting attorney is author- 
ized to be present during your sessions (except during the ex- 
pression of your views or when a vote is being taken) and will 
advise you. But it has come to my ears and is the subject of 
much conversation in this community and has been widely 
published in the newspapers that certain persons are charged 
with the hanging of a man and woman by lynch law in this 
county, and it is evident there is great feeling and excitement 
in the community in regard to it. In such matters you are pre- 
eminently the guardians of the safety of the people and the good 
order of society. You have sworn to present none through 
malice or Ul will and to leave none unpresented through fear, 
favor or affection. It becomes you in connection with this mat- 
ter to be specially regardful of the obligations of that oath. Some 
of the ancients portrayed justice as a goddess blindfolded. Her 
eyes were hoodwinked that she might not know even the per- 
sons upon who she was called to pass judgment. In one hand 
she held the balances to weigh the evidence with absolute im- 
partiality, and in the other a sword with which to execute her 
decrees. This idea of "justice blind" should be your guide in 
this matter. Weigh the evidence vwth absolute impartiality and 
without regard to persons, and then strike no matter upon 
whom your blow may fall. 

You have also sworn to keep secret the proceedings of the 
grand jury and by the statute it is made the duty of the court 
to charge you specially as to this obligation. It is intended that 
the grand jiuy shall act with entire independence, unaffected 
by outside influences. In order that that independence shall 
be preserved it is essential that all expressions of opinion and 
votes of individual members upon the various matters coming 



before you should be known to yourselves alone and should 
go no further. All that the public is entitled to know, in case 
an indictment is returned a true bill, is that twelve of your 
number voted in favor of the finding. And in case an indict- 
ment is ignored, that less than twelve were in favor of the bUl."' 

Few incidents in Wyoming history have received as 
much critical review as the Sweetwater lynchings, but facts 
clearly indicate that jurors abided by the full charge of the 
court in their deliberations. The panel considered two 
murder indictments pertaining to the Sweetwater incident, 
and according to each document, examined John De Corey, 
John S. Cranor and John L. Sapp as witnesses for the pro- 
secution. Prosecuting attorney, David H. Craig, failed to 
bring sufficient evidence against the defendants, so each 
indictment was returned to the court and proclaimed not 
a true bill under signature of Isaac C. Miller, foreman of 
the grand jury. The docvmients were filed with the clerk 
of court on October 24, 1889. ^^ All proceedings were secret, 
as mandated by Corn. The substance of debate died with 
the last juror. 

The 1890s passed with relative calm compared to the 
preceding decade. In 1890, Ike built a stone ranch house 
and barn on Hurt's old homestead. These buildings still 
stand today. At the April, 1890, meeting of the Rocky 
Mountain Wool Growers' Association, Ike anticipated the 
needs of the sheep industry in Wyoming: 

"What we need most," he argued, "is a closer organization 
of the woolgrowers of the county and territory. Wyoming is 
distinctively a sheep country, and in a very few years sheep 
raising will be the principal industry of the territory. The ad- 
vantages to be derived from thorough organization was fuUy 
exemplified by the cattlegrowers' association, which was a very 
powerful one. Cattle men received every benefit of favorable 
legislation, as well as the best possible rates from the railroad 
company, all on account of their organization, and what had 
been accomplished by the stock men could be done by the sheep 
men if they made their organization powerful enough. "'^ 

His call for a Wyoming-wide organization, however, 
would not become a reality until 1905, when the Wyoming 
Wool Growers' Association was organized under the aus- 
pices of the State Board of Sheep Commissioners.'''' 

The sheep industry was enjoying real growth and pros- 
perity, due in part to the decline in the cattle business. In 
1892, there were more sheep than cattle in Wyoming, and 
Carbon County led the state in sheep production. While 
wool traditionally had been the major focus of producers, 
now more attention was being paid toward mutton to sup- 
plement ranch income. Good quality Merino wool brought 
about $1.90 per fleece. Wethers shipped for slaughter 
yielded about $3 per head, with cull stock about 50 cents 
to a dollar lower. These were good prices considering the 
average cost per head for raising sheep was only about 50 
cents. ^^ 

But prosperity also bred conflict. Wyoming witnessed 
an unprecedented demand for multiple uses of the public 
domain, including grazing, homesteading and public ac- 
cess, water rights, wildlife management and fencing. The 
primary problem was common access to public range lands 

47 



Honorable Isaac C. Miller as 

depicted in the May 11, 1889, 

issue of the Carbon County 

Journal. 












for grazing, because large cattle corporations had fenced 
out other operators. Unfortunately, the government 
vacillated over a policy on proper range use, thereby 
creating an obstacle rather than an aid to ecologically sound 
management. Interior Secretary Teller declared that grazers 
could not fence public lands, and proclaimed that his 
department did not object to fence destruction by the 
public who wanted access to the lands for settlement. He 
assured everyone the government would initiate legal pro- 
ceedings against those who fenced. ''^ This band-aid remedy 
was codified in the Unlawful Inclosures of Public Lands 
Act on February 25, 1885.^^ What began as a flickering 
ember in the early 1880s soon spread into an inextin- 
guishable wildfire— the legality of fencing public lands is 
as real a problem today as it was a century ago. 

In a sense, the government's prohibition of fencing 
precipitated deterioration of range condition in the West 
as much as did the alleged overgrazing practices of 
livestock operators. Without fenced pastures, even small 
homesteaders who owned stock might keep animals on 
the same range for extended periods to graze forage to 
ground level so neighboring herds would not trespass. 
Overgrazing occurred on private and public land alike, 
because federal law did not permit homesteads large 
enough to sustain economically viable herds. Stockmen 
48 



were caught between a rock and a hard place. Either they 
fenced the range and faced prosecution, or they obeyed 
the law and witnessed range land degeneration. This 
ultimatum ignored the fact that fences could increase ranch 
values, protect pastures and waterholes, enhance wildlife 
habitat, control the drift of livestock and help regulate 
breeding to improve herd quality. ^'' 

Open range grazing actually produced more problems 
than it solved. This was particularly true in the checker- 
board lands. In the late 1890s, these problems directly af- 
fected Ike's operation along the North Platte River. He 
recently had acquired the Union Pacific lands north of the 
river, and given notice to adjacent operators. On the first 
day of November, 1898, herders from the Cosgriff outfit 
drew their guns and crossed the North Platte with 6,000 
sheep. They watched as their herd depastured nineteen 
sections of Ike's winter range. Ike took the Cosgriff s to 
District Court where the case was tried as a trespass on 
uninclosed lands. The Cosgriff s argued they intended only 
to graze in common on adjacent federal sections, and could 
not distinguish uninclosed, unmarked private land. How- 
ever, section comers were marked by rockpiles and similar 
features, and Ike's foreman, Charley Wagers, was at the 
scene to let everyone know they were on private land. It 
was illegal to drive livestock upon the uninclosed lands 



of another against his wUl, and evidence clearly showed 
that the Cosgriff herd not only crossed, but actually grazed 
Ike's sections. The court decided in Ike's favor, and held 
that it was not necessary to separate private lands from 
adjacent public domain by a fence. Ike was awarded pay- 
ment to cover both livestock losses and the cost of replace- 
ment feed to sustain his remaining herd through the 
winter. ^5 Fenimore Chatterton filed a motion for a new trial 
on behalf of the Cosgriff brothers. The Wyoming Supreme 
Court heard the appeal, but upheld the lower court judg- 
ment favoring Ike.''' 

Ike's diverse interests kept him going back and forth 
between Rawlins and his ranch. When in town, his home 
continued as a center for many social gatherings. Drifting 
cowboys often would bunk down in his bam rather than 
pay for a hotel room. Once, a couple of riders from John 
Coble's ranch near Bosler stayed overnight following a full 
day's ride; they were Earl (Amos) Johnson and Tom 
Horn.'''' Ike also operated the Ferris-Haggerty copper mine 
near Encampment for a while following George Ferris' 
death. And, he was named first president of the Rawlins 
National Bank when that business was established about 
the turn of the century. But business affairs did not con- 
sume his entire time. At least once he escaped to enjoy 
the natural wonders of Yellowstone with his father-in-law 
and several others.''* 

Ike enlarged his ranch during the late 19th and early 
20th centuries by purchasing homesteads. Union Pacific 
sections and surrounding outfits. His acquisitions included 
an old English outfit called the RS, the Buzzard Ranch on 
Sand Creek, the George Ferris Ranch and several home- 
steads along the North Platte River, and the I Lazy D 
(Hurt's original holdings). He also leased the Dumbell for 
a time, which extended his sheep camps north to the out- 
skirts of Casper.^' Eke's ranch covered hundreds of 
thousands of acres in south central Wyoming and was one 
of the largest in the county. 

Of all the livestock, horses were Ike's true passion. He 
loved thoroughbred saddle stock and strong, well-matched 
teams. He praised how the animals thrived on Wyoming's 
intermountain meadows, and when he harnessed a fast 
team, he always gave them free rein. 

By 1910, Ike had earned an opportunity to reflect on 
his many accomplishments. One day he and his daughter, 
Katrine, were riding in the buggy between the ID Ranch 
and his Buzzard holdings. "Papa," she said as she con- 
sidered her father's advanced years, "would you be will- 
ing to sell off some of the land?" "No Kitten," he 
answered with his favorite nickname for her, "I came from 
Denmark with almost no money, and built just exactly 
what I want. There is no way I would divide it up, but 
I am considering an offer from a buyer in Salt Lake who 
is interested in the entire outfit."*" Perhaps recalling his 
youth long ago on his father's farm in Denmark, Ike re- 
fused to let his estate disarticulate into less viable parcels. 

Isaac C. Miller died in Long Beach, California, on May 
31, 1912, *i before any sale of the ranch. His life spanned 



the birth and early growth of Wyoming. His eyes saw her 
develop from a raw, imtamed frontier territory into a 
strong and prosperous state, rich in agricultural wealth. 
He lived during Wyoming's formative years and died as 
she mastered the industrial age. Perhaps his greatest 
achievement was his role in the agricultural development 
of the West, participating first hand in food and fiber pro- 
duction to help fuel the growth of civilization. His life may 
seem colorless and phlegmatic to some, but his character, 
and the character of others like him, is deeply woven into 
the fabric of Wyoming history. 



MARK E. MILLER is Wyoming State Archaeologist and lives in Laramie. He 
received a B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming, 
and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado. While his primary 
interest and prior publications focus on Wyoming prehistory, he also has exten- 
sively researched the history of Carbon County and the activities of his great- 
grandfather, 1. C. Miller. Dr. Miller is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor soci- 
ety and Sigma Xi scientific research society. 



1. Interview with Katrine Miller HadseU, Rawlins, Wyoming, August 
3, 1979. 

2. World Book Encyclopedia, 1959 ed., s.v. "Denmark." 

3. Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1983 ed., vol. 23, p. 198. 

4. Lands and Peoples: The World in Color, vol. 2 (New York: GroUer In- 
corporated, 1964), p. 102. 

5. Palle Loring, A History of the Kingdom of Denmark, trans. David Hohnen 
(Copenhagen: Host & Son, 1960), p. 228. 

6. Interview with Katrine Miller Hadsell, Rawlins, Wyoming, August 
3, 1979. 

7. Wyoming Territorial Census, 1870, p. 152. 

8. M. Wilson Rankin, "Reminiscences of Frontier Days," Anrmls of Wyo- 
ming 16 January 1944): 80. 

9. Carbon County Journal, February 4, 1882. 

10. 100 Years in the Wild West (Rawlins, Wyoming: Rawlins Newspapers, 
Inc., 1968), n.p. 

11. Carbon County Journal, December 25, 1880. 

12. Carbon County Journal, November 22, 1879. 

13. Carbon County Journal, October 15, 1881. 

14. Carbon County Journal, June 3, 1882. 

15. Carbon County Journal, November 22, 1879. 

16. Marriage Certificate, Rawlins, Carbon County, Wyoming Territory. 
Issued by Justice of the Peace, M. Lockridge, May 7, 1874. Carbon 
County Courthouse, Rawlins, Wyoming. 

17. Carbon County Journal, October 1, 1881. 

18. Edward Norris Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails (Iowa State Col- 
lege Press, 1948), pp. 316-317. 

19. Carbon County Journal, September 18, 1886. 

20. Carbon County Journal, November 6, 1880. 

21. Carbon County Journal, December 18, 1880. 

22. Carbon County Journal, January 8; March 12, 1881. 

23. Carbon County Journal, March 26, 1881. 

24. Carbon County Journal, March 25, 1882. 

25. Carbon County Journal, April 15, 1882. 

26. Carbon County Journal, February 11, 1882. 

27. Carbon County Journal, December 23, 1882. 

28. Carbon County Journal, July 14, 1883. 

29. Carbon County Journal, November 11, 1882. 

49 



30. John Rolfe Burroughs, Guardian of the Grasslands: The First Hundred 
Years of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (Cheyenne, Wyoming: 
Pioneer Printing & Stationery Co., 1971), p. 121. 

31. Carbon County journal, August 11, 1883. 

32. Carbon County journal, October 15, 1881. 

33. Ruth Beebe, Reminiscing Along the Sweetwater (Boulder, Colorado: 
Johnson Publishing Co., 1973), p. 65. 

34. Carbon County journal, April 12, 1884. 

35. Wyoming Stock Growers Association circular, September 2, 1885, con- 
cerning "black listing" of certain employees, Charles "Pat" Hall, ed., 
Docuynents of Wyoming Heritage (Cheyenne: Wyoming Bicentennial 
Commission, 1976), p. 82. 

36. Carbon County journal, October 20, 1883. 

37. Carbon County journal, January 19, 1884. 

38. Carbon County journal, January 19, 1884. 

39. Carbon County journal, March 25, 1882. 

40. Carbon County journal, October 18, 1884. 

41. Carbon County journal, March 26, 1887. 

42. Carbon County journal. May 14, 1887. 

43. Martha Larsen, Martha's Past and Repast (Rawlins, Wyoming: Peter 
Hansen Ranch Trust, 1986), p. 24. 

44. A. McMicken, The Revised Ordinances of the City of Rawlins, Carbon Coun- 
ty, Wyoming (The Journal Publishing Co., 1893), pp. 3-4. 

45. City of Rawlins Record Book, pp. 1-6, Carbon County Museum, 
Rawlins, Wyoming. 

46. Carbon County journal, October 2, 1886. 

47. Carbon County journal, October 6, 1888. 

48. Carbon County journal, November 17, 1888. 

49. T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1965), p. 263. 

50. I.S. Bartlett, ed.. History of Wyoming, vol. 1 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke 
Publishing Company, 1918), p. 213. 

51. Ibid., p. 48. 

52. Marie H. Erwin, Wyoming Historical Blue Bool<: A Legal and Political 
History of Wyoming 1868-1943 (Denver, Colorado: Bradford-Robinson 
Printing Co., 1946), p. 1176. 

53. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford Univer- 
sity Press, 1955), p. 514. 

54. Carbon County journal, May 8, 1880. 

55. Carbon County journal, April 9, 1881. 

56. Burroughs, Guardians of the Grasslands, pp. 105-108. 

57. Carbon County journal, February 6, 1886. 

58. Carbon County journal, March 19, 1887. 

59. Carbon County journal, March 10, 1888. 



60. Carbon County journal, March 10, 1888. 

61. Carbon County journal, October 20, 1888. 

62. Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, p. 317. 

63. Struthers Burt, Powder River: Let 'er Buck (New York: Rinehart and 
Co., 1938), p. 348. 

64. Carbon County journal, April 6, 1889. 

65. Harmon Ross Mothershead, The Sivan Land and Cattle Company, Ltd. 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), pp. 114-116. 

66. Carbon County journal, October 19, 1889. 

67. Carbon County journal, October 19, 1889. 

68. Murder Indictments Numbers 258, 260, filed October 24, 1889, Car- 
bon County, Wyoming Territory, Archives and Records Management 
Division, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Depart- 
ment (AMH), Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

69. Carbon County journal, April 5, 1890. 

70. Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails, p. 589. 

71. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Husbandry, Special 
Report on the History and Present Condition of the Sheep Industry of the 
United States, by D. E. Salmon (Washington, D.C.: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1892), pp. 771-775. 

72. Carbon County journal, December 8, 1883. 

73. Unlawful Inclosures of Public Lands Act, February 25, 1885, Supple- 
ment to the Revised Statutes of the United States, vol. 1, 2nd ed., 
1874-1891, pp. 477-478. 

74. Gary D. Libecap, Locking up the Range: Federal Land Controls and Graz- 
ing (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1981), 
p. 23. 

75. Isaac C. Miller vs. Cosgriff Brothers, State of Wyoming, Carbon 
County, District Court, Carbon County Civil File 817, November 21, 
1899, Archives and Records Management Division, AMH. 

76. Charles N. Potter, Wyoming Reports: Cases Decided in the Supreme Court 
of Wyoming from July 26, 1901 to September 11, 1902, vol. 10 (Chaplin, 
Spafford & Mathison, 1903), pp. 190-239. 

77. Reminiscence of Earl (Amos) Johnson, 1972, in author's possession. 

78. Daniel Y. Meschter, ed., "Sixty Days To and In Yellowstone Park," 
Annals of Wyoming 44 (Spring 1972): 5-23. 

Interview with Frank Edward Miller, Rawlins, Wyoming, October 
13, 1988. 

Interview with Katrine Miller HadseU, Rawlins, Wyoming, February 
11, 1981. 

Standard Certificate of Death, index no. 414 156, City of Long Beach, 
County of Los Angeles, State of California, Department of Health 
Services, Office of State Registrar of Vital Statistics. 



79 



81 



50 



INSIDE WYOMING 



After deliberations of less than a month, 45 members 
of Wyoming's one and only constitutional convention 
signed the document which enumerated the future state's 
fundamental laws and principles. With the completion of 
the constitution more than 100 years ago, Wyoming took 
a step in its quest for statehood. 

Talk of statehood for Wyoming began as early as 1868 
when the Territory of Wyoming was created. Twenty years 
later in 1888 Wyoming's territorial assembly sent a 
memorial for statehood to the United States Congress. As 
a result, biUs for statehood were introduced in both houses 
of congress, although neither passed. ^ 

Still believing this to be the appropriate time for tran- 
sition from territory to state, Wyoming continued as if Con- 
gress had passed an act enabling Wyoming to move ahead. 
Territorial Governor Francis E. Warren called for an elec- 
tion of delegates to the constitutional convention to be held 
July 8, 1889. Of the 55 men elected that day, 49 attended 
the convention which began September 2, 1889, and was 
held in the Supreme Court room in the Capitol building. 

Writing a state constitution in less than a month was 
an enormous task. In order to accomplish the feat, the 
delegates constilted other states' constitutions. Warren 
wrote to the five other territories also nearing statehood, 
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and 
Idaho, and received copies of their constitutions. Others 
also were consulted, but apparently the three from which 
the delegates most liberally borrowed were from Montana, 
North Dakota and Idaho. 

The delegates did include some original provisions in 
Wyonung's constitution, however. The most noted is the 
inclusion of woman suffrage. First passed by the territorial 
assembly and signed by Governor John A. Campbell on 
December 10, 1869, the law had been unchallenged since 
1871 when Campbell vetoed a bill which would have 
repealed it. Since that time suffrage had become well ac- 
cepted in Wyoming. A.C. Campbell of Cheyenne, how- 
ever, moved that woman suffrage be offered to the elec- 
torate separate from the constitution. He stated he 
supported suffrage, but that others were concerned that 
the people had never voted on the issue. The delegates 
defeated Campbell's motion 20-8 and included woman suf- 
frage in Article VI. ^ 

One less successful issue was that of imposing a ton- 
nage tax on coal. M. C. Brown of Laramie proposed in- 
cluding such a tax of IVz cents per ton of coal in the con- 
stitution. The state would receive 1 cent and the county 
in which the coal was mined Vi cent. Brown argued that 
two-thirds of Wyoming's coal left the state and believed 
those who benefitted should help support Wyoming's 
government. Coal was the largest industry in Wyoming, 
but according to Brown did not pay much in the way of 
taxes. Leading the opposition to this proposal was CD. 



Clark of Evanston. Clark argued it was unfair to single out 
one industry for taxation, it would lead to a surplus in the 
state treasury, it was unfair for the state to receive more 
than the county and it was an issue which should be de- 
cided by the legislature, not in the constitution. Brown 
wanted to include it in the constitution so as to remove 
it from the influence of corporation lobbyists. The tonnage 
tax proposal failed. Years later Brown described the failure 
of the tax as one of the "gravest omissions" in the 
constitution. 3 

Once completed the delegates voted on September 30, 
1889, 37-0 to adopt the constitution, and then gathered to 
sign the document. According to the Cheyenne Daily Leader: 

. . . There was scarcely any ceremony about the final work of 
the body and while the exuberant spirits of some of the younger 
members found vent in sallies of wit, there was still something 
impressive about the act, and a hush fell over the throng about 
the presiding officer's desk when the members one by one af- 
fixed their signatures to the document which will in a great 
measure control the destiny of what is certain to become a leader 
in the sisterhood of states, a brilliant star in the firmament of 
the republic, an occupant of a place in the front rank in the 
onward march of advancement.' 

Before the document was sent to congress, the people 
of Wyoming were to vote whether to adopt it or not. A 
corrmiittee of the convention, in a written address, ex- 
plained to the people why the constitution should be 
adopted. Warren introduced the address with a short state- 
ment of his own in which he said: 

Every county in the Territory was represented in the con- 
vention. A month's time of careful, conscientious, and pain- 
staking labor has been spent in formulating this constitution. 
In all our deliberations we have endeavored to embody in our 
fundamental law such economic measures as we believed would 
comment our work to the people of the whole Territory, without 
reference to partisan politics, and with equal protection for the 
rich and poor.^ 

According to the convention committee: 

For twenty years and more Wyoming has been laboring vm- 
der the disadvantages of a Territorial form of government. These 
disadvantages are numerous. We have no voice in the selec- 
tion of the most important officers who administer our local 
affairs; no voice in the enactment of laws by Congress, to which 
we must yield obedience, and no voice in the election of the 
Chief Magistrate of the Republic, who appoints the principal 
officers by whom the executive and judicial affairs of our Ter- 
ritory are administered. It has been well said: "A Territory can 
not have a settled policy. The fact that Congress may at any 
time annul its legislation on any matter of purely local concern 
prevents active co-operation by the people on those higher 
planes of public Ufe which result in the establishment of a per- 
manent State policy." The abuse of the veto power by alien 
governors, the lack of familiarity of alien judges with our laws, 
and the frequent changes of our executive and judicial officers, 
as it has been in the past and may be again in the future, can 
not but discourage the people. Although citizens of the United 
States in name, we have, in fact, been disfranchised. Territorial 
representation in Congress is a delusion— the Territories of these 

51 



United States have no representation. Taxation without rep- 
resentation, a condition in many respects allied to colonial 
vassalage, with the many other wrongs that follow the applica- 
tion of those two anti-American ideas, and with which you are 
familiar, have all uruted to render the condition of the people 
of Wyoming— the most energetic, inteUigent, and patriotic 
citizens of the United States— well nigh intolerable. 

We have endured all those things up to the present time 
without a murmur of discontent because we have not heretofore 
seen our way clear to throw off those chains of political and 
industrial bondage, and to ask, with hope of success, our ad- 
mission in to the Federal Union, where we would enjoy equally 
with sister States the right of local self-government and those 
other natural and inalienable rights guaranteed in the Constitu- 
tion to every man. The residents of Wyoming are the descen- 
dants of free citizens, such as framed the Constitution of the 
United States. The loyalty of the sons to republican institutions 
and their love of liberty have not been decreased but increased 
by the hardships and dangers that have been endured and by 
the difficulties that have been encountered and overcome in lay- 
ing the foundation. It is admitted that Wyoming Territory stands 
next in order in its right to admission into the Union. We believe 
she is now ready to assume the responsibility of statehood-to 
cast off the burdens and inconveniences of Territorial vassalage. 
She can now ask for admission with hope of success. Her time 
has arrived. For the first time in ten years public opinion in 
the older States has so changed as to view the admission of 
new States with a fair degree of favor. If not admitted at this 
time, we may reasonably expect the wave of public sentiment 
will soon recede and the old unfavorable attitude toward the 
Territories wUl be again established. In this event our admis- 
sion as a State would become so problematical that we need 
entertain no hope of obtaining the rights and benefits of 
statehood for the next ten years. 

While the cost of State government is increased over the 
Territorial government in some departments, the savings in 
other departments, the retrenchment in other directions, the 
increase of population and assessable property that will follow 
our admission as a State will in a short time materially lessen 
the burdens of taxation, while to delay our application for ad- 
mission until the "swing of the pendulum" of public opinion 
has reached the opposite position from that so favorable now 
to the formation of new States will be to fasten upon us for 
a long term of years all the abuses of financial management that 
have made our taxation burdensome and made plethoric the 
pockets of public officials at the expense of the tax-payer. 



The Convention and the Constitution 

The delegates in this convention came from both political 
parties from all sections of the Territory. It was non-partisan 
in character; indeed it may be truthfully said that in its delibera- 
tions there was at no time a division of its membership on party 
lines. Sectional questions were at no time considered, but to 
act for the common good of the whole people of Wyoming 
seemed to be the ruling motive. The material, industrial, and 
professional interests were represented in its membership, and 
no outside influences were permitted to affect their action. 

The constitution adopted is believed to be fairly conservative 
and also progressive. It is the first constitution adopted by man 
which gives to each citizen the same rights guaranteed to every 
other citizen. Under its provisions pure elections are practically 
guaranteed, and economy of administration assured .... 

In the interest of local self-government, to promote the 
general good, and to encourage the future growth and develop- 
ment of the State of Wyoming, the constitutional convention 
having finished its work, respectfully solicits your candid con- 
sideration of the constitution herewith submitted and ratifica- 
tion of the same by your suffrages.* 

Voting on November 5, 1889, Wyoming's electorate 
approved the constitution, 6,272, to 1,923. Although the 
inclusion of woman suffrage did lead to some spirited 
debate in Congress, both the senate and the house passed 
Wyoming's statehood bill during the first half of 1890, and 
on July 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the 
bill making Wyoming the 44th state to join the Union. 

Most of the delegates of Wyoming's constitutional con- 
vention have long since been forgotten. In some instances, 
only their names are known, nothing else. The document 
they produced, however, is still vital and does provide a 
lasting legacy for the state of Wyoming. 



The details of the events leading up to, during and following the con- 
stitutional convention are taken from T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming, 
2nd ed., rev. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), pp. 236-261. 
Journal and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Wyo- 
ming (Cheyenne, Wyoming: The Daily Sun, Book and Job Printing, 
1893), pp. 345-359. 
Ibid., pp. 637-697. 

Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 1, 1889, p. 3, c. 3. 
Virginia Cole Trenholm, ed., Wyoming Blue Book, vol. 1 (Cheyenne: 
Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department, 1974), p. 558. 
Ibid., pp. 558-560. 



52 



ANNALS' REVIEWS 



Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Fron- 
tier. By Robert M. Utley. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1988. Illustrated. Maps. Index. Sources, xvii and 226 pp. 
Cloth $19.95. 

One may wonder, as did this reviewer, whether the 
world really needs another volume of Custerania. More 
ink has dried on the pages of Custer biographies than blood 
spilled on the banks of the Little Bighorn. However, if 
anyone need accomplish such a task it is Robert M. Utley. 

More than 40 years ago Utley began his National Park 
Service career at Custer Battlefield National Monument. 
Before retirement he rose to Service Chief Historian and 
Deputy Director. Along that road he earned a reputation 
for solid, balanced and impartial scholarship, particularly 
when dealing with the western frontier military and In- 
dian experience. 

In his preface, Utley touches on his reasons for a cur- 
rent Custer biography. First, he wanted to explore his own 
feeling about the man, rather than the myth. Second was 
the publisher's desire to launch a new series of brief 
biographies significant to the American West. A current 
Custer biography would make the series more complete. 
Last, and certainly not least, Utley wanted to place Custer 
in the broad context of those historical epochs with which 
he was directly involved. 

What resulted is a very enjoyable and highly crafted 
work tracing George Armstrong Custer from boyhood to 
immortality. Born December 5, 1839, in New Rumley, 
Ohio, George Custer spent most of his boyhood in the 
Monroe, Michigan, home of his half sister, Lydia Arm, who 
had married David Reed. By all appearances Custer had 
a normal, happy childhood. After a brief career teaching 
school, Custer entered the U.S. Military Academy at West 
Point. As clouds of Civil War drifted across the nation he 
graduated, last in his class of 34. 

Custer proved a capable staff officer and rose rapidly 
in volunteer service to temporary Major General. He par- 
ticipated in most of the major engagements in and around 
Washington, D.C., earning a reputation for flamboyance 
as well as aggressiveness. 

After the war Custer faced the demobilization and a 
regular captain's rank. Fortunately, he was selected for the 
Lieutenant Colonelcy, second-in-command, of the newly 
organized Seventh Cavalry. 

Utley traces Custer's career from the plains of Kansas 
and Nebraska to the frozen prairies of Dakota. He discusses 
the political and social climate of the times which shaped 
that career and illuminates the culture and attitudes of 
Native American tribes that opposed those forces. Interlaced 
are discussions of those events and personalities that split 
the loyalties of the Seventh Cavalry officers' corps. The 
author also touches upon often neglected aspects of 



Seventh regimental history such as its role in the post-Civil 
War reconstruction of the South. 

One might suspect Cavalier in Buckskin culminates with 
an in-depth analysis of Custer's Last Stand and the Battle 
of the Little Bighorn, June 25, 1876. While Utley does a 
superb job treating Custer's last fight, he more appropri- 
ately ends with a chapter discussing Custer's tactics and 
personality in the broader context of his times. 

Serious students may find the lack of footnotes to be 
an irritant, particularly in those portions of the book that 
deal with such often debated subjects as Custer's marital 
fidelity, and his supposed but mythical presidential aspira- 
tions. Cavalier in Buckskin is a well written, well researched 
book that holds something for both a general reader and 
the student. 

ROBERT R. RYBOLT 
The reviewer is a Park Ranger with the National Park Service previously as- 
signed to Custer Battlefield National Monument. 



Death on the Prairie: The Thirty Years' Struggle for the Western Plains. By 
Paul I. Wellman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987. 
Originally published: New York: Macmillan, 1934. Illustrated. Index. 
Bibliography, xii and 298 pp. Cloth $27.95. Paper $8.95. 

Death in the Desert: The Fifty Years' War for the Great Southwest. By Paul 
I. Wellman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987. Originally 
published: New York: Macmillan, 1935. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography, 
xiv and 294 pp. Cloth $27.95. Paper $8.95. 

The University of Nebraska Press has reprinted two 
classic early accounts of the 19th century frontier Indian 
wars by Paul Wellman. Wellman's career began as a Kan- 
sas newspaperman. Later, he moved to Los Angeles where 
he worked as a screenwriter, then as a fulltime writer of 
Western history and fiction. 

Both books are representative of an early phase of 
historical writing on Indian- White relations characterized 
by popular writers who sensed the great drama of the In- 
dian wars of the 19th centtiry. Both histories are lively and 
fast-paced, though almost devoid of analysis. Neverthe- 
less, they manage to convey the drama that has captiired 
so much worldwide interest in the American frontier. Death 
on the Plains focuses on the Indian wars of the Northern and 
Central Plains. With chapters covering such topics as the 
Minnesota Sioux Uprising, the Custer debacle of 1876, all 
the way to the bloody field at Wounded Knee in 1890, 
Wellman narrates a blow-by-blow account of the irulitary 
movements surrounding each confrontation. In Death in 
the Desert, Wellman chronicles the 50 year struggle to 
destroy Apache resistance in the American Southwest. 

Written during the 1930s, Wellman uses language and 
terminology which may alarm the modern reader. "The 
savages yelled as they saw themselves discovered ..." 

53 



{Death on Plains, 108); Indians are variously referred to as 
"red men," "hostile hordes" and "screaming savages." 
Yet interestingly, Wellman writes with great sympathy for 
the Indians, often portraying them as victims of American 
aggression. Wellman' s writing might be the historical 
equivalent of a frontier novel or Hollywood Western. His 
rapid, flowing style will surely appeal to new generations 
of Western history readers. It is hoped, however, that those 
same new readers will credit Wellman for kindling their 
interest, but then move on to more scholarly studies of 
Indian- White relations. This is not to say that Wellman has 
fabricated his stories or composed two works of fiction. 
He has read many of the primary sources, but has em- 
bellished them with a noveUst's eye for color and detail. 
In short, these two works, now back in print, make ex- 
citing reading, but if you expect a comprehensive analysis 
of the Indian Wars of the late 19th century, you will not 
find it in Wellman 's works. 

STEVEN C. SCHULTE 
The reviewer is an Assistant Professor of History, Mesa State College, Grand 
junction, Colorado, 



Fort Laramie in 1876: Chronicle of a Frontier Post at War. By Paul L. Hedren. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Illustrated. Maps. Index. 
Notes. Bibliography, xiii and 312 pp. Qoth $24.95. 

To date, three lengthy histories of Fort Laramie have 
been written, each of them from a different point of view, 
all of them written by competent historians or accom- 
plished writers, and every one contributing special 
knowledge and insights. They are LeRoy R. Hafen and 
Francis M. Young's Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West, 
1834-1890 (Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1938), Remi 
Nadeau's Fort Laramie and the Sioux Indians (Englewood 
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1967), and David Lavender's Fort 
Laramie and the Changing Frontier (Washington, D.C.: Na- 
tional Park Service, 1983). Add to this a brief summary 
written by the late Fort Laramie Superintendent David L. 
Hieb— Forf Laramie National Monument (Washington D.C.: 
National Park Service, 1954)— and you have a body of work 
upon which historians and visitors to Fort Laramie (now 
called a National Historic Site) can depend for generaliza- 
tions concerning the post's place in the history of the West 
and many of the details of its long life. 

And yet, incredible as it may seem, none of these 
works is solidly based on the voluminous military records 
that exist in the National Archives. In Fort Laramie in 1876, 
Paul Hedren deftly demonstrates the usefulness of this 
material and what we have been missing. Basic to his study 
are post and regimental returns. These statistical 
documents contain very brief accounts of activities: they 
record troop movements, changes in command, skirmishes 
and unusual happenings. Hedren puts meat on this 
skeleton and gives it life by exerdse of his organizational 
skills and the addition of supplemental first-person ac- 
54 



counts, information from contemporary newspapers, and 
judicious use of military correspondence emanating from 
the post and the administrative and support offices that 
aided and controlled it, including the District of the Black 
Hills, the Department of the Platte and the Division of 
the Missouri. 

Hedren sees Fort Laramie playing several specific roles. 
The post was the closest military base to the Black HUls 
and the guardian of the most popular route to the gold- 
fields— the road from Cheyenne to Custer City and Dead- 
wood. Troops at Fort Laramie's subposts at Sage Creek 
and Red Canon protected stage and telegraph lines, keep- 
ing transportation and communication links open through 
continuous patrols, chasing renegade raiders, and escort- 
ing civilian wagon trains. Second, Fort Laramie was the 
funnel through which filtered the men and supplies for 
the southern arm of the 1876 Sioux Campaign commanded 
by General George Crook, whose forces engaged in the 
Reynolds Fight on the Powder River in March, the Battle 
of the Rosebud in June, the Battle of Slim Buttes in 
September, and the Dull Knife Battle in November. 

Finally, Fort Laramie was the scene of a multitude of 
arrivals, respites and departures that were the beginnings, 
middles and ends of a variety of adventures and episodes 
important in shaping the history of the region. The list of 
those coming and going in 1876 is a recitation of luminaries 
in the Western History Hall of Fame: military leaders Philip 
Sheridan, George Crook, Eugene Carr, Ranald MacKen- 
zie and Wesley Merritt; junior officers John G. Bourke, 
Charles King and Anson Mills, ultimately destined for 
greater glory with the pen than the sword; flamboyant 
Western characters Buffalo Bill, Wild BUI Hickok, Calamity 
Jane and Captain Jack Crawford; the Irish pencil pusher 
John T. Finerty, Chief Spotted Tail, Big Bat Fourier, Frank 
Grouard and Frank North and the Pawnee Scouts. Add 
to this group, M. Notu, the commander-in-chief, of the 
royal army of Japan, and you have perhaps a frontier 
menagerie unequalled in glamour and disparity. 

What Hedren undertook was a very difficult task: to 
tell the story of a post whose daily, on-site mission was 
patrol and supply, whose resident soldiers participated in 
some, but not all of the direct action of the 1876 Sioux Cam- 
paign, and whose role periodically expanded and con- 
tracted as a control center for the military expeditions under 
Crook's command in the spring, summer and fall. That 
he succeeds in investing Fort Laramie with a clearly defined 
personality is a triumph of imagination and scholarship. 

The head of the body is Lt. Col. Edwin F. Townsend 
of the Ninth Infantry, the post commander who labored 
long and hard to meet the various demands placed on him 
by his myriad duties; the heart is manifest in the women 
of the post— Elizabeth Burt and Cynthia Capron— who 
keep us apprised of the daily happenings and the ebb and 
flow of emotions; and the arms belong to Capt. Teddy 
Egan and his Company K of the Second Cavalry, who 
seem to be everywhere, chasing Sioux on the Black Hills 



Trails, riding r^orth to fight with Colonel Joshua J. Reynolds 
on the Powder River and rushing south to protect ranches 
on the Chugwater. When the year was over, the Cheyenne 
had been defeated. Crazy Horse's Sioux had or\ly one more 
battle left to fight, the Fort Laramie companies that had 
worked to make this possible were on their way to other 
assignments, and the post was about to begin an era of 
peaceful decline. 

Hedren's contends that Fort Laramie made its greatest 
contribution to the settlement of the West during the 
Centennial Year, and few will dispute the judgment after 
reading this fascinating book. Now that he has shown the 
way, hopefully others will treat the fort's preceding 
military history in similar fashion. 

JOHN D. McDERMOTT 
The reviewer is a freelance historian, Sheridan, Wyoming. 



The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattlemen's War. By Dean F. Krakel. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Originally published: 
Larainie, Wyoming: Powder River Publishers, 1954. Illustrated. Index. 
Bibliography, xi and 274 pp. Cloth $22.95. Paper $8.95. 

Few episodes in Wyoming history elicit more interest 
than the life and hanging of Tom Horn, scout, stock detec- 
tive and convicted murderer. Horn came to Wyoming in 
the 1890s, hired by the Wyoming Stock Growers Associa- 
tion in an attempt to deal with the rustling problem. Horn's 
tactics may have been too extreme for some in the Associa- 
tion as he was soon let go. Shortly thereafter, a few mem- 
bers of the Association hired him on their own. Many 
believe Horn to be responsible for several killings of 
so-called rustlers, but no charges were ever brought against 
him until 1902, and then for the murder on July 18, 1901, 
of a fourteen year old boy, Willie Nickell. Horn was con- 
victed and hanged on November 20, 1903, for the killing 
of Nickell. 

The Saga of Tom Horn examines Horn's exploits during 
his years in Wyoming. The strength of the book lies in its 
coverage of Horn's trial. Extensive portions of the trial 
transcript are included. Those portions not included are 
clearly and concisely described by the author. Also, the 
days leading up to and including the hanging are handled 
effectively. The myth that Horn never hanged is put to rest 
in this book. 

Other areas of the book are not handled as well as the 
trial, however. The lack of footnotes is frustrating. A 
bibliography is included, but it is difficult, at times impossi- 
ble, to determine from which sources various information 
comes. Also, the book deals too much in conjecture. In 
determining motivation for Horn's shooting of Nickell, 
Krakel uses the incident from 1890 when Kels Nickell, 
Willie's father, stabbed John Coble. Horn worked for and 
became a close friend of Coble. According to the book, 
when Coble told Horn of the incident he became angry. 
"Horn's hatred of Nickell must have been immediate— 



secretly he vowed revenge and would someday take 
careful aim on him . . . ." (p. 13) 

When describing the killing of Willie the author also 
indulges in supposition. He studied the available iriforma- 
tion then stated: "In view of this evidence perhaps the 
crime was committed in this way:" (p. 14) This version in- 
cludes the mistaken belief that Horn mistook Willie for Kels 
because the boy was wearing his father's hat and slicker. 
This is not supported by the transcript. No one who was 
asked what Willie was wearing that fateful day mentioned 
anything about a slicker. 

One wonders if Krakel's views have changed during 
the intervening 34 years from when the book was originally 
published. A new introduction by him certainly would 
have added to this edition. 

Even with these drawbacks. The Saga of Tom Horn is 
still the best book about Horn's adventures in Wyoming. 
The University of Nebraska Press is to be commended for 
making this long out of print book available again. We 
probably never will know for sure if Horn did or did not 
shoot Willie, but that only adds to the mystique of the man 
whose hanging in 1903 has been described as the end of 
the Old West. 

RICK EWIG 
The reviewer is Editor of Annals of Wyoming. 



The Protestant Clergy in the Great Plains and Mountain West, 1865-1915. By 
Ferenc Morton Szasz. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 
1988. Illustrated. Index. Notes. Bibliography. 288 pp. Cloth $27.50. 

This book examines the lives, efforts and influences 
of the Protestant clergy in the Great Plains and Rocky 
Mountain states. Such an undertaking is admittedly vast 
in its scope and, given the variety of Protestant denomina- 
tions, complex. To narrow the field, the author concen- 
trates on the mainstream Protestant bodies— Presbyterians, 
Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists and Congregational- 
ists— though there are occasional references to other Pro- 
testant groups. Catholics, Mormons and Jews. 

Szasz devotes much of the book to Protestant evan- 
gelism, since bringing religion to the frontier and spreading 
the gospel were of upmost importance to ministers and 
missionaries. The religious hurdles faced by evangelicals 
are detailed in the context of personal trials and social stir- 
roundings. Szasz shows that Protestant clergy and churches 
proved to be quite creative in making the best of their situa- 
tion, in adapting old methods to fit varied circumstances 
and in using new developments in transportation to Chris- 
tianize a large and sometimes indifferent territory. Separate 
chapters are given to describing Protestant missions among 
the Indians, Hispanics and Mormons, because these groups 
presented cultiaral and dogmatic obstacles to ministers and 
church leaders. 

Missionary endeavors and evangelism are but one part 
of the western religious experience. The author broadens 

55 



the picture to include such topics as Sunday schools, 
church socials, the role of women within the church, 
religious schools and colleges, denominational conflict and 
cooperation, Protestant and Catholic rivalry, the economic 
and mobile lives of ministers and the theological content 
of western sermons. Religion in the West was thus more 
than bringing words of salvation, but embraced many 
levels of community, individual and intellectual life. 

In the center of this activity is the minister. Drawing from 
a variety of materials on the famous and not so famous, 
the author finds that the Protestant clergy often assumed 
many roles in their communities. Besides being preachers, 
they were also teachers, counselors, administrators, civic- 
minded individuals and social reformers. Subsequently, 
the success of the Protestant mission in the West was, in 
a larger sense, very much dependent upon the personal- 
ity, attitude and competency of the churches' representa- 
tives. Szasz is careful to point out that such men were not 
always effective or successful. While many ministers ex- 
hibited a vibrant and enabling spirit, there were others who 
were less than inspired with their duties and despondent 
in their western assignments, both of which could result 
in frequent ministerial turnovers and tests of faith within 
the congregation itself. 

The book concludes with an examination of the social 
gospel movement in the West. Szasz stresses that eastern 
activities, which have been long synonymous with the social 
gospel movement, had parallels in the West. He gives 
numerous examples to show the continuity of actions, 
ideas and personalities and elaborates on those "specific 
needs of the region," namely the care of health patients 
and the education and assimilation of Chinese immigrants. 
He concludes that the social gospel ministry, which sup- 
posedly originated in the East in the 1880s, was an integral 
part of the western Protestant mission in the 1860s. 

Szasz ends the chapter with a two page look at the 
literature of Charles M. Sheldon. Though a little too suc- 
cinct, it is disappointing in that it does not reveal whether 
or not Sheldon's efforts had any real effect or were echoed 
elsewhere. While Sheldon has been recognized as the 
western social gospel theologian, any comparison be- 
tween him and Walter Rauschenbusch will have to be 
found elsewhere. 

The book is not a definitive work in other ways due 
to the author's efforts to narrow the scope of his topic. Ex- 
cept for Hispanics, Chinese and Indians, Europeans, other 
Asian immigrants and Blacks are incidental facts. Szasz also 
does not mention the role of regional denominational net- 
works. His treatment of national church policies for In- 
dians, Hispanics and Mormons on one hand, and home 
missionary activities on the other are not balanced in terms 
of effort and administrative problems. His discussions 
about national concerns for the welfare of western churches 
are too general with the result that the Protestant ex- 
perience appears largely the byproduct of numerous un- 
organized individuals working independently of their 
56 



respective churches. 

These problems do not significantly affect the overall 
purpose of the book. In his introduction, Szasz comments 
that of all western characters, the clergy have not received 
their due consideration in historical studies, let alone in 
cinema or popular myth. Towards these ends he has ac- 
complished his task. He has drawn upon a broad range 
of sources and studies for a colorful and informative nar- 
rative and has amply documented his research. The bibli- 
ography, however, does not do the author justice, and the 
interested researcher is best advised to refer only to the 
footnotes for source material. It is, overall, an insightful 
and useful book which should encourage further work on 
this multifaceted subject. 

CARL V. HALLBERG 
The reviewer is Archivist/Historian for the Archives and Records Management 
Division, Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department. 



Western Women: Their Land, Their Lives. Edited by Lillian Schlissel, Vicki 
L. Ruiz and Janice Monk. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico 
Press, 1988. Illustrated. Index. Notes, vi and 346 pp. Cloth $27.50. Paper 
$14.95. 

In the last decade, historians have tried to understand 
the experiences of women in the American West from a 
multi-cultural, class-sensitive perspective. Doing so upsets 
conventional wisdom, throwing into question even the 
notion of a "West" (which after all was, for migrants from 
Mexico, the North). This record of scholarly self-criticism, 
often painfijl, has yielded exciting results in four major con- 
ferences, several collections of essays, countless journal 
articles, and increasingly in full-length monographs. 

Most of the essays and commentaries in this anthology 
were presented in 1984, at a conference sponsored by the 
Southwest Institute for Research on Women and Women's 
Studies at the University of Arizona. This volume reflects 
scholars' commitment to seeing Western women's di- 
versity. The editors have gathered together studies of 
Anglo domestic ideology. Native American religion, fron- 
tier family tensions, Mexican-American women's work, 
women's responses to Western landscape, cross-cultural 
marriage in the fur trade, Indian women's legal rights, 
comparative frontier studies and historic site interpretation. 
The comments that follow each essay reflect the virtues 
and vices of conference comments. Some provide useftil 
summaries, comparisons or challenges. Others seem to be 
the commentator's way of getting in a plug for his or her 
own work. 

Worth singling out in the collection are Robert 
Griswold's elegant discussion of domesticity, Vicki Ruiz' 
well-crafted piece on Mexican-American women, and 
Genevieve Chato and Christine Conte's rich and disturb- 
ing study of the erosion of Indian women's rights. These 
pieces and the comments that follow each demonstrate the 
importance of gender, class and ethnicity for Western 



women's relation to culture, the economy and the state. 
Jacqueline Peterson also contributes an innovative essay 
on the connection between native women's religious ex- 
periences and their willingness to marry White men. 
Antonia Castaneda's comment on Sandra Myres' essay 
deserves mention as especially illuminating. 

The editors offer an introduction to each main essay, 
as well as a general introduction and epilogue. They 
sometimes claim too much for the volume. The call for 
Western community studies seems dated in light of work 
by Kathleen Underwood on Grand Junction and Paula 
Petrik on Helena, for example. The suggestion that 
Western women's historians have done little work on ef- 
forts to "christianize" non-Christian people, and have 
failed to appreciate the importance of ethnidty and class, 
does a disservice to Western women's historians who have 
tackled these issues, and belies the voluminous and in- 
formative endnotes that follow each article in Western 
Women: Their Land, Their Lives. 

In the epilogue the editors offer an agenda for future 
research. For the most part they raise significant questions. 



but in a couple of cases they miss the mark. Do we really 
"need to ask whether domestic ideology was a construc- 
tive or a negative system for Western women?" Can we 
even answer such a question? They also ask whether the 
West is "a region best (or only) understood by West- 
erners," drawing a parallel to the matter of whether ethnic 
history can "be written by scholars who do not share an 
ethnic identification with their research subjects." These 
are not comparable issues. A person can change geographical 
affiliation by moving from Montana to Maine or Australia 
to Arizona; one does not ordinarily change ethnicity by 
hitting the road. Regional identity, while important, does 
not have nearly the pervasive salience of race or ethnicity. 
Quibbles aside. Western Women is essential reading for 
anyone interested in the history of women in the American 
West. The editors are to be commended for assembling a 
provocative group of pieces which testify to the growth 
and variety of research in the field. 

VIRGINIA SCHARFF 
The reviewer is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. 



BOOK NOTES 



Basin City: The First County Seat in the Big Horn Basin. By Lylas Skovgard. 
Basin, Wyoming: TimberTrails, 1988. Illustrated. Maps. Index, xiv and 
146 pp. Paper $10.95. 

The early years of Basin, Wyoming (1896-1918), located 
in Big Horn County, are recounted in this book. The study 
is not intended to be a complete history of Basin, but a re- 
counting of the major events which helped shape the town 
during its formative years. The book concludes with bio- 
graphical information about some of the town's original 
settlers. 



Preserving the Game: Gambling, Mining, Hunting & Conservation in the 
Vanishing West. By J. R. Jones. Edited by Reade W. Doman and Tom 
Trusky. Boise, Idaho: Hemingway Western Studies Center, Boise State 
University, 1989. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography, iii and 172 pp. Paper 
$14.95. 

Not only was J. R. Jones a gambler at cards, but also 
at Life, such as the time he took up homesteading at Jackson 
Hole, Wyoming, in 1907. Jones' careers included big game 
himter, homesteader, merchant, conservationist and author. 
His articles and short stories, some of which were pub- 
lished in such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post and 



Sunset Magazine, have now been compiled in this volume. 
Topics range from gambling in western gold camps, Jones' 
support for the creation of Grand Teton National Park, to 
the saving of the pronghorns. Included at the beginning 
of every chapter is biographical information about Jones 
written by Reade Dornan, English Professor at the Univer- 
sity of Michigan, Flint. 

Pony Trails in Wyoming: Hoofprints of a Cowboy and U.S. Ranger. By John K. 
Rollinson. Edited by E. A. Brininstool. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1988. Originally published: CaldweU, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 
1941. niustrated. Index. 425 pp. Cloth $29.95. Paper $11.95. 

John K. RoUinson left New York in 1890 at the age of 
sixteen to become a Wyoming cowboy. This he did and 
in Pony Trails in Wyoming he recounts his many experiences 
in Wyoming which included cowpunching, trapping, 
breaking horses and driving a freight team. He also was 
a U.S. ranger in the Yellowstone Park area. 



Utah: A People's History. By Dean L. May. Salt Lake City: University 
of Utah Press, 1987. Illustrated. Maps. Index. Bibliography, xii and 210 
pp. Paper. 

57 



Written in conjunction with a television series about 
Utah history, this book examines Utah from its desert 
beginnings, to its settlement and up to present day. This 
general history is what the author describes as "popular 
and personal." At the end of each chapter annotated 
bibliographies are included. 

The Wild Bunch at Robbers Roost. By Pearl Baker. Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1989. Originally published: New York: Abelard- 
Schuman, 1971. Illustrated. Index. Maps. 224 pp. Cloth $19.95. Paper 

$7.95. 

The Robbers Roost is located in southeastern Utah and 
was used as a hideout by outlaws, including Butch Cas- 
sidy, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The area is perfect 
for such a purpose. The terrain is hazardous, it is remote 
and easily defendable. The author grew up on a ranch that 
included Robbers Roost and heard many of the legends 
and spoke to many who remembered that time period. 

The Country Railroad Station in America. By H. Roger Grant and Charles 
W. Bohi. Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The Center For Western Studies, 
Augustana College, 1988. Illustrated. Index. Additional Readings. 192 
pp. Paper $19.95. 

This revised and enlarged version of the 1978 edition, 
looks at country railroad and interurban stations found in 
the United States and Canada, although its major focus 
is the stations in the Midwest. The authors explore the im- 
portance of the stations as a community hub and provide 
"an architectural overview of the combination freight and 
passenger depot." 



Touring the Old West. By Kent Ruth. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1987. Originally published: Brattleboro, Vermont: S. Greene 
Press, 1971. Illustrated. Maps. Index. Bibliography. 218 pp. Cloth $21.95. 
Paper $7.95. 

Kent Ruth has compiled a guide to what remains of 
the western frontier in 21 states, including Wyoming. He 
describes the various trails located in the West, forts, fur 



trade sites, gold and silver camps, hotels, ghost towns, 
mountains and mountain passes, rivers and the Indians 
of the Southwest. 



Yellowstone Place Names. By Lee H. Whittlesey. Helena: The Montana 
Historical Society Press, 1988. Illustrated. Maps. Bibliography, xviii and 
178 pp. Paper $11.95. 

More than 650 Yellowstone National Park place names 
can be found in this book. Compiled by the author during 
12 years of research, the information provided can be used 
as a guide to the park, a commentary on unique places and 
a concise history of Yellowstone. 

Mesa Verde National Park: Shadows of the Centuries. By Duane A. Smith. 
Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1988. Illustrated. Bibliography. 
Notes. Index. Maps, xi and 254 pp. Cloth $25.00. Paper $12.95. 

Mesa Verde National Park, located in the southwestern 
corner of Colorado, is the only national park preserving 
the culture of prehistoric man. This book details the 
discovery of the cliff dwellings and Anasazi ruins in 1888, 
the struggle to establish the park, which was led by a small 
group of women environmentalists, and the development 
and management of the park. Also explored are the effects 
of railroads and highways on the park along with an 
evaluation of the impact of tourism. 

Discovering Wyoming. By Robert A. Campbell and Roy A. Jordan. Salt Lake 
City: Peregrine Smith Books, 1989. Illustrated. Index. Maps. 184 pp. 
Cloth $15,95. 

Wyoming fourth grade teachers now have a new text- 
book to use in their classroom. Discovering Wyoming ex- 
plores Wyoming's environment, geology, its first people, 
mountain men, the western migration, statehood, the 
world wars, the years since World War II, state and local 
government, the state's ethnic heritage and also looks 
ahead. 



58 



INDEX 



Averell, James, 47 



B 

Baker, Nathan A., 4-6 

Bible, Otto, 37 

Bradley, Marcus, 32-33 

Brady, C. T., 6-7 

Buffalo, Wyoming, photo, 8 

Butterfield Overland Mail Company, 14 



Campbell, John A., 4, 9; photo, 4 
Campbell, Mrs. John A., 6 
Carbon County Stockgrowers Association, 45-46 
Carey, Joseph M., 4 

Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Fron- 
tier, by Robert M. Utley, review, 53 
Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company, 14 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, 3-6, 8-10; photo, 7 
Cogswell, W. R., 42 
Corn, Samuel T., 47 
Craig, James, 16, 18 
Curtis, S. R., 17 



Glafcke, Herman, 4-5, 9 

Gramm, Otto, 45 

Guenther, Todd R., "Y'all Call Me Nigger Jim Now, but Someday You'll 
Call Me Mr. James Edwards: Black Success on the Plains of the Equal- 
ity State," 20-40 



H 

Hadsell, Frank, 47 

Hallberg, Carl V., review of The Protestant Clergy in the Great Plains and 

Mountain West, 1865-1915, 55-56 
Harney HUls, 22-23, 25, 29, 33, 38 
Hayford, James H., 4, 9 
Hedren, Paul L., Fort Laramie in 1876: Chronicle of a Frontier Post at War, 

review, 54-55 
HoUaday, Ben, 14-18 
Holt, Joseph, 14 
Hoover, Herbert, 29 
Hoyt, John W., 10 
Hurt, Joel J., 43, 46-47 



'Isaac C. Miller: Events in the Life of a 'High-Toned' Dane," Mark E. 
Miller, 41-50 



D 

Dawson, Marie, 23-25 

Death in the Desert: The Fifty Years' War for the Great Southwest, by Paul 

I. Wellman, review, 53-54 
Death on the Prairie: The Thirty Years' Struggle for the Western Plains, by 

Paul I. Wellman, review, 53-54 
Dinsmore, W. B., 14 
Donovan, Leroy, 44 
Downs, Pat, 42-43 
Dunham, Earl, 31 
Dyer, John, 42 



Edwards, James, 21-39; photos, 25, 33 

Edwards, Lethel, 21, 23-25, 27, 29-30, 32-33, 35-39; photo, 24 
Ewig, Rick, review of The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattlemen's War, 
55 



Fre'mont, John C, 3 

Finkbone, John M., 44 

Fort Laramie, 15-16 

Fort Laramie in 1876: Chronicle of a Frontier Post at War, by Paul L. Hedren, 

review, 54-55 
Friedman, Abe, 31 
FuUerton, Beryl, 37 



Joss, Art, 21 
Joss, Sam, 31-32 



K 

KeUy, D. C, 45 

Kirk, Ada, 43 

Kirk, Henry, 43 

Kirk, Mary E., 43 

Knox, Reuben B., 44 

Krakel, Dean F., The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattlemen's War, 

review, 55 
Ku IQux Klan, 29 



Lararrue, Wyoming, 3-4, 8-9 
Latham, Hiram, 4 
Latham, Milton, 16 
Lee, Hardy, 32 
Lewis, Charles W., 6 
Lincoln, Abraham, 16-17 



M 

McDermott, John D., review of Fort Laramie in 1876: Chronicle of a Frontier 
Post at War, 54-55 

59 



Miller, Isaac C, 42-49; photos, 41, 45-46, 48 

Miller, Mark E., "Isaac C. Miller: Events in the Life of a 'High-Toned' 

Dane," 41-50 
Mitchell, Robert B., 17-18 
Monk, Janice, editor. Western Women: Their land, Their Lives, review, 56-57 



N 

Nel, Johanna, "A Territory Is Founded: Political, Social, Economic and 

Educational Conditions in Wyoming 1850-1890," 2-13 
Northington, Ben, 42 
Nuttall, Catherine, 22-23, 27, 29, 31, 35 
Nuttall, William, 21, 25, 27, 29, 31-32, 35, 37 



Schlissel, Lillian, editor, Western Women: Their Land, Their Lives, review 

56-57 
Schulte, Steven C, review of Death in the Desert: The Fifty Years' War fo 

the Great Southwest, 53-54 
Schulte, Steven C, review of Death on the Prairie: The Thirty Years' Strug 

gle for the Western Plains, 53-54 
Sizer, J. Edwin, 33, 37 
Spaugh, A. A., 32-33 
Swanson, O. E., 9 
Szasz, Ferenc Morton, The Protestant Clergy in the Great Plains and Moun 

tain West, 1865-1915, review, 55-56 



Otis, George, 17 

"The Overland Mail in Wyoming," Patricia Ann Owens, 13-19 

Owens, Patricia Ann, "The Overland Mail in Wyoming," 13-19 



Tapoya, John B., 32-33 

"A Territory Is Founded: Political, Social, Economic and Educationa 

Conditions in Wyoming 1850-1890," Johanna Nel, 2-12 
Thomas, Lorenzo, 16 
Twain, Mark, 14 



Parrott, George, 43-44 
Pennington, Roy, 37 
Pony Express, 14 

The Protestant Clergy in the Great Plains and Mountain West, 1865-1915, by 
Ferenc Morton Szasz, review, 55-56 



R 

Rankin, James G., 43 
Rankin, R. T., 46 

Rawlins, Wyoming, 42-49; photo, 43 
Robinson, E. E., 9 

Rocky Mountain Wool Growers Association, 46-47 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 29 

Ruiz, Vicki L., editor. Western Women: TheirLand, Their Lives, review, 56-57 
Russell, E. H., 6 
Russell, Majors and Waddell, 14 

Rybolt, Robert R., review of Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer 
and the Western Military frontier, 53 



The Saga of Tom Horn: The Story of a Cattlemen's War, by Dean F. Krakel, 

review, 55 
Scharff, Virginia, review of Western Women: TheirLand, Their Lives, 56-57 



u 

Union Pacific Railroad, 3-4 

Utley, Robert M., Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and th 
Western Military Frontier, review, 53 



w 

Wanek, Joe, 32 

Watson, Ella, 47 

Wellman, Paul I., Death in the Desert: The Fifty Years' War for the Grea 

Southwest, review, 53-54 
Wellman, Paul I., Death on the Prairie: The Thirty Years' Struggle for th 

Western Plains, review, 53-54 
Wells, Fargo and Company, 18 
Western Women: Their Land, Their Lives, edited by Lillian Schlissel, Vickl 

L. Ruiz and Janice Monk, review, 56-57 
Wyoming Stock Growers Association, 10, 44 
Wyoming Wool Growers Association, 47 



"Y'all Call Me Nigger Jim Now, but Someday You'll Call Me Mr. Jame- 
Edwards: Black Success on the Plains of the Equality State," Todd 
R. Guenther, 20-40 

Young, Bill, 44 

Young, Clabe, 44 



987 



60 





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