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Full text of "Annals of Wyoming"

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WYOMING 

Tne ^9(^oinin^ History Journal 



Winter 1999 



Vol. 71, No. 1 




UNiVt; 



lAfi^Mit., K1071 




Keays ' original design 



Flag as it appears today 



About tne Cover Art 



"Winning Design, D. A. R. Contest to Design the Wyoming State Flag'" 



Verna Keavs. then a young art school student, submitted the design, pictured on the 
cover, in tlie contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revohition in 1916. 
Keavs ' design was chosen over 37 other entries and. in 1917. it became the official 
flag of the State of Wyoming. Except for the change in the buffalo direction (made 
unilaterally by the indomitable Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard). the flag of today retains 
the same colors and design elements as Keays envisioned it in 1916. The original 
drawing is part of the collections of the Wyoming State Museum. Division of Cultural 
Resources. Department of Commerce, and is reproduced here by permission. (The 
agency 's name officially becomes the Department of Parks and Cultural Resources 
later this year). Keays ' daughter writes of her rnother, the "Betsy Ross of Wyoming 's 
flag. " in one of this issue 's "Wyoming Memories. " 



The editor of Annals of Wyoming welcomes manuscripts and photographs on ever\ aspect of the histor\ of Wyoming and the West. 
Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or which offer new interpreta- 
tions of historical events. First-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be considered for use in 
the "Wyoming Memories'" section. Articles are reviewed and refereed by members of the journal's Editorial Advisory Board and 
others. Decisions regarding publication are made by the editor. Manuscripts (along with suggestions for illustrations or photographs) 
should be submitted on computer diskettes in a format created by one of the widely-used word processing programs along with two 
printed copies. Submissions and queries should be addressed to Editor. Annuls of IVyuniing. P. O. Box 4256. University Station, 
Laramie WY 8207 1. 



fT-- 



Editor 

Pliil Rolu-rts 

Hook- i\t'\iL'w i.tlitor 
Carlllallherg 



[tditorial Advisory Board 

Barnara Hiit!art, c\'ansU»n 

Maoel }3ro^'n, Newcastle/Cneyenne 

Micnafl I. I)c-\-ine, I_aramie 

lanu'? [■) ^.rnlliln, In, Cnf\'enne 

IXm 1 k>iU?i.'ii, lornn^tiin 

Lorcii Io?l, I\i\'erton 

Davul Kathka, IColIc Sprint:? 

1 ,\ Lacfon, LarainiL' 

l.Jin [) NUM.Tniutl, Sheridan 

Kanl I Viu-on I\onn, Cheyenne 

rhcrn' L. ^milh, M^ul'^e 

I hoiiia? I", ^trinKK, Casper 

Lawrence M. Woods, "Borland 



et\ 



Vkvoniinfi State Ilistorital : 
l\i hi it at ions Committee 

IvkIv' I:uit!, Laramie 

I )a\-ul Kathha, Rock Sprmtl? 

Shern L Smith, Moose 

\]uv Laureiue, Laramie 

Nancy L mlis, Lncnui < 

W'llham il. Moore, Laranue (ex ciriicio) 

! attv M\err, Wheatland (ex-officio) 

Loren jost, Ri\'erton (ex-orricio) 

Phd Roherts, Laramie (ex-onicio) 



Vyomin^ State Historical Society 
hxecutivc Committee 

[^atty Myers, President, Wheatland 

Oax'e Taylor, Casper 

Milce loraiiit!, Xeuxastle 

l_inua I'anian, ^^lievenne 

DiclcWillr, Cody' 

Rick l:^-ih!. Laramie 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Jermy Wight, -Altt^n 

Judy '^'est, Memhership Cooruinator 



Governor oi Wyoming' 

Jim Geringer 



\^yomingf Dept. oi Commerce 

Tucher l-a^^an, Oirector 

Kar\'l l)eiii?-on Ronh, Aihiiinislrator, I )i\'. or 

L idtural Resi)uri,es 



Wvoming i arUs C^ C ultural Resources 
C ommissicm 

William Diihois, Lheyeiine 
Charles A. Lmerin, Laramie 
Oiann Reese, Lyman 
Rosie Berger, Big lL»rn 
B. Byron Price, Cody 
Herb Prencn, Newcastle 
Irankiim Isabel!, b'bosboni 
Jeanne I liclcey, Cheyenne 
[ lale Kreyciw, Douglas 

L niversitv oi uvoniing' 

[Mithp Ouhois, Presiclenl 
Michael L De\ane, Director, 

/Vmerican Heritage Center 
Oliver Walter, Dean, 

Colletle oi Arts and Sciences 
William 11. Moore, Lnair, Dept. or Histor\' 




i 1 1:- <.-:y i.-,n L 'C' L:::-! \\\\\ 



JUL 2 7 laqq 



nnals of '' 

WYOMING 



Tne Wyoming Hist 



orv Journal 



^(^omin^ Memories 



Winter 1999 Vol. 71, No. 1 



Verna Kcays, Wyoming's Fla^ Desig'ner 



n\' \ nscilla 



Kc\es N ew'cll 2 



Wyoming' Memories 



Tales OI the Homestead 

By Mari!arel M. Arross 10 

Bivouac of the Dead': The Battk> of Bennett Butte, Mik-s' I'ight 
on the Clark's I'orh Re.xamincd 

By Kyle \'. Wilpole 17 



Booh R 



ooK Keviews 



Edited hv Carl Hs 



.41 



konua, Vova^es oi Discovers: Essavs on tlic- Lewis anil C lark I:\pc"cliti()n, reviewed h\' 

Don } lodtison 
Hurt. Tlie Rural ^Test Since ^Xorl(l War II, reviewed hv William 1:. Lass 
1 LLlretn and Mciran, Disease antl Medical Care in the Mountain VCest, Essays on 

Region, History and Practice, rexdewed ny Marie Slielstad 
Irtrattcin, Tempest Over Teapot Dome: The btttn*- ol Alnert B. Lall, rc\iened nv Mike 

Ivotnman, Dc\'il s Bargain: loiirisni in liic Iwcntietli C entiir\' /\im*rican \Xc#t, re- 

vicwL'tl li\' Marie Iiingi.' 
rark^^', winti River Adventures; Mv Rile in I'rontier uxoniin^', ie\'iL-\\oJ n\' IlhuI ^uientner 
Riie\' antl Ltulain, By Grit ana Grace: Hk'\en VConien Who :^na]H'il the /Vmerican 

West, revieweu ny Ainv I^awrence 

Letters to the Editor 48 

Wyoming' Picture Inside Back 

Aimals ofH'yuming The IVynming Hislan Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming Stale Historical 
Society in association with the Wyoming Department ot Commerce, the American Heritage Center, and the 
Department of History. University of Wyoming. The journal uas previously published as the Oiiaricrly 
Bulletin (I923-I')25). Annuls uf Ityoming (1925-1993). li'yoming Annals ( 1993-1995) and lVy,>ming His- 
tory Journal ( 1995-1996). The Annals has been the otTicial publication of the Wxoming State Historical 
Society since 1953 and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Membership dues 
are single. $20; joint. S30; student (under 21 ), $15; institutional, $40; contributing, $100-249; sustaining. 
$250-499; patron, $500-999; donor, $1,000+. To Join, contact your local chapter or write to the address 
below. Articles m Annals of /IromDit,' are abstracted in llislm-iCLil .IhstruLts and America History ami Lite. 

Inquiries about membership, distribution, reprints and back issues should he addressed lo .ludy West, Co- 
ordinator, Wyommg State Historical Society, I 74(11H84 Dell Range Blvd.. Che\enne WY 82009. Editorial 
correspondence should be addressed to the editorial oftlce oi Annals oi H'yoming, .American 1 leritage Cen- 
ter. P. O. Bo.\ 4256. University Station, Laramie WY 82071 

Printed by Pioneer Printing. Cheyenne, Wyoming 
Copyright 1999, Wyoming State Historical Society ISSN: 1086-7368 



Wyoming Memories 




Verna Keays, 
Wyoming's 
Flag Designer 




By Priscilla Keyes Newell 



Verna Keays at the 
time she designed the 
Wyoming State flag. 



Verna Keays. who designed the Wyoming state flag, 
was m\ mother. Many people affectionately called her, 
"Wyoming's Betsy Ross." Her parents, pioneers in 
Wyoming, spent most of their lives in Buffalo. 

Elizabeth Parke Keays. Verna"s paternal grand- 
mother, was a widow whose husband, a jeweler and 
silversmith, died in New Me.xico, where he had gone 
hoping to be cured of tuberculosis when her son, Wilbur, 
was four years old. After his death, she conducted a 
small private school, educating Wilbur and several other 
children. 

She left her home in Decatur. Illinois, to move to 
Colorado on April 20, 1 866, with Wilbur, then ten years 
old. called Will by his family. They rode in a covered 
wagon, planned to live with her aunt, Elizabeth 
""Auntie" Hickock Stone, her mother's sister.' 

Elizabeth and Will crossed the plains with another 
family, led by a man who was a close friend of Eliza- 
beth Stone. At Fort Kearney, Nebraska, where they 
waited for enough wagons to gather to be escorted 



through Indian country by cavalry, a trunk with all 
Elizabeth's and Will's clothes was stolen. The sutler 
there gave Elizabeth enough calico for a dress and a 
shirt and overalls for Will. 

They arrived in Fort Collins on June 1, 1866, where 
Elizabeth became the small community's first school 
teacher, holding her classes in Auntie Stone's home. 
She later married Harris Stratton, and they had three 
daughters. 

In the fall of 1882, Will, now called Billy by his 
friends, first saw Wyoming on a hunting expedition 
with a man named Charlie Andrews, an engineer and 
surveyor. They rode from Fort Collins into southern 
and central Wyoming. The trip lasted from September 
14 until the end of October. Billy and Charlie lived off 
the land, supplementing their meals of biscuits and 
bacon with rabbit, antelope, venison, duck, elk, buf- 

' I have a copy of her diary about this trip, written by her daugh- 
ter, Lerah. 



Winter IQQQ 



falo and an occasional meal at a friendly rancher's table. 
It snowed several times and they were forced to stay in 
their tent for a day or two.- 

He returned to Wyoming in 1884 to work on an irri- 
gation project near Buffalo (which was soon aban- 
doned), then became a hand on the Cross H ranch. 

Vema's mother, Estella Ferguson, came to Wyoming 
from Cambridge, Ohio, to visit her sister, Clara Collins, 
who lived in Basin City. She was the youngest of nine 
children. Her father had been a colonel in the Civil 
War, fought in many battles. He was an attorney in 
Cambridge, was elected prosecuting attorney for two 
years in Guernsey County, and was a state senator in 
1852-53. A tine horseman, he always attracted atten- 
tion in parades when mounted on his charger; it was 
said that no local patriotic event was complete without 
an address by Colonel Ferguson. He pampered and 
adored his favorite child, Estella, who wished she could 
also be a lawyer, something which was not possible 
for women in those times. 

Her oldest brother, Joseph, was a captain in the civil 
war. When the war ended he also came west, for the 
next seventeen years served in the regular army. He 



fought with Reno's cavalry in the Battle of the Little 
Big Horn, was wounded in the leg. He later returned to 
Ohio where he practiced law in Cambridge. 

On her way to visit Clara, Estella passed through 
Buffalo and met Billy. She spent the winter with Clara; 
on her return in the spring, she again saw Billy. They 
were married in September of 1892 in Omaha, Ne- 
braska, at the home of her aunt, then settled in Buffalo. 

Estella was a high-spirited woman who carried her- 
self with an air of arrogance, had dark hair and brown 
eyes. When 1 knew her later, she wore her then-white 
hair pulled back into a French twist. Wilbur was quiet 
and gentle with soft gray eyes; as an older man he had 
a Vandyke beard. 

They opened a hotel, "The American," and ran it to- 
gether. One of their most interesting guests was Tom 
Horn who, it is said, departed in a hurry ahead of law - 

- Billy's diary, which I also have a copy of, contains \ivid 
descriptions of the country, mentioning that the best area for elk 
was a few miles south of Casper and the buffalo range was north- 
west of Casper toward the South Fork of Powder River. The hunt- 
ers didn't realize that the ground they camped on would produce 
millions of dollars worth of oil and gas forty years later. 




(Front row. left to right): Polly. Betty. Alice. (Back row): Verna. her husband Arthur. Estella (holding Keuiing). 
Billv and Parke. Author 's collection. 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



men. He forgot his spurs; they're now in the Jim 
Galchell museum in Buffalo. 

In 1 9 1 Estella's brother, Valentine. "Uncle Vollie", 
a contractor and cabinet maker, spent a year with them 
building their permanent home. It sat on a hillside be- 
hind the post office, with a beautiful view of the Big 
Horn Mountains.^ 

Billy had many different occupations. Besides the 
hotel, he owned a restaurant. He also served as county 
clerk, count) treasurer and postmaster. 

Their daughter, Vema, was bom August 16, 1893. 
Twelve years later, Estella had a son, Parke. Vema went 
through grammar school in Buffalo. She was a pretty 
child and young woman, with gray-green eyes and 
blonde hair which darkened to a medium brown as she 
grew older. She sometimes wore it on top of her head 
in a "Gibson Girl" style. 

When she was in her teens, Vema went to Cleve- 
land, Ohio, to live with an aunt of her friend, Eleanor 
Parmelee, where the two girls were to improve their 
know ledge of proper lady's behavior and study at Cen- 
tral High School. The Parmelee family was very close 
to Vema's family in Buffalo. Eleanor's father was a 
district judge. 

In 1912, Vema finished high school and entered the 
Art Institute in Chicago for a three-year art course, from 
which she graduated w ith honors. The trip there began 
w ith Bill\- driving her to Clearmont in a horse-drawn 
buggy, w here she took the Burlington train. 

When she returned to Buffalo, her father urged her 
to enter a contest sponsored by DAR to design a state 
flag for Wyoming. She wasn't very excited about it, 
but after a bit of nagging by Billy, she began to think 
about her entry. 

Vema said she woke up one night with the design 
complete in her mind. A friend was spending the night 
with her, but when Vema awakened her to tell her of 
the bison and Wyoming seal, the friend was too sleepy 
to care. Verna always believed this idea came from 
"the true source of all creation." 

The prize for designing the flag was $20. There were 
37 entries. Vema's won. It was chosen at the annual 
convention of the Wyoming DAR in Sheridan in Octo- 
ber, 1916.'' Several entries embodied the same sym- 
bolism, but the placing of the state seal on the bison 
helped win the contest because it represented the tmly 
westem custom of branding.-"* 

Vema's entry was done in watercolor, gouache and 
ink. (See cover illustration). It was inscribed as fol- 
lows by her mother in her beautiful handwriting: 



Design for flag of State of Wyoming 



Seal of Wyoming 
brand on bison. 
American Bison 



The heart of the flag, the 



The monarch of the 



plains of Wyoming. (Incorrectly called buffalo.) 

Red The red man (Indian) and blood of 

Pioneers who reclaimed the country. 

White Freedom of plains and purity for all. 

Blue The blue of our sky and mountains 

color symbolic of fidelity and justice. 

Colors Those of our national flag. 

Designed by 

Vema Keays 
Buffalo, Wyoming 
Scale 1 inch = 1 foot 

Vema was 24 when the flag she designed was offi- 
cially designated the state flag. The flag was adopted 
by the 1 4th Wyoming State Legislature on January 3 1 , 
1917.^ One of the six original flags is now in the Car- 
bon County Museum, Rawlins. Made by Vema, it was 
given to W. W. Daley when he was a member of the 
State Senate, later donated to the museum by his son, 
P. E. Daley. Sen. Daley introduced the bill into the 
senate. It was passed by both houses. Govemor J. M. 
Carey signed the bill along with another introduced by 
Daley designating the Indian Paintbmsh as the state 
flower.^ 

The original flags were made of taffeta, with colored 
pieces stitched together by machine. The bison is 
painted by oil on the blue center field and the state seal 
is inked in on the bison. It measures 28 x 40 inches. 

Vema designed the bison to face into the wind. Dr. 
Grace Raymond Hebard, whose idea it was to have the 



' In the 1980s this house, still on its hillside long after Billy 
and Estella were gone, was moved to a new location on the north 
edge of Buffalo, where it is now. It was replaced by a drive-in 
bank. Moving it must have been quite a Job as it has two stories, 
four bedrooms and an inner lining of brick for insulation behind 
its white clapboard exterior. 

"^ Buffalo Bulletin. Feb 1, 1917. 

-"' Casper Tribune Herald 1967. 

''Buffalo Bulletin February 1, 1917 

' The Daley Bill for state flag was Senate File 25 and his bill 
for the state flower was Senate File 26. A bill in the 28th state 
legislature authorized giving Vema one of the first flags in rec- 
ognition of her service to the state. The bill was passed and signed 
by Govemor Lester C. Hunt on February 20, 1945. He surprised 
her with two flags, one hand painted, made of silk taffeta, its 
paint cracked with age, and a new silk one. These were to be 
retained by Vema and her heirs, but she gave them to the ar- 
chives of the State of Wyoming, "for the good of the state." 



Winter 1999 



Verna and the State 
Flag she designed. 
Photo made about 
I960. 




Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) compe- 
tition for the flag, served as the organization's State 
Regent at the time. Dr. Hebard thought the bison would 
look better facing the staff The first flags ordered were 
made in this way. She had a painting prepared by a 
New York artist of the state flower, and a design of the 
state flag. Nothing officially was ever done to make 
the change in the way the bison faced; it was Dr. 
Hebard's idea.^ 

In Vema's scrapbook about the flag, there is a letter 
from Dr. Hebard. In it. Dr. Hebard asked, "1 am won- 
dering if in the outline of the buffalo's face could there 
not be a little forelock running down and not just one 
continuous straight line from the top of his ear to his 
mouth?'"' 

With Dr. Hebard's letter in Vema's scrapbook is one 
from a friend of hers with a few suggestions about the 
flag, such as: 

Could you have the bison lift one foot, smile a little 
to relieve his solemn look, or wink his right eye, sort 
of playfully, you know, as if he were looking at Dr. 
Grace Hebard.'" 

Near the time she designed the flag, she was the win- 
ner of a prize offered by the Chicago, Burlington and 
Quincy railroad for a design to be used in dining car 
decoration. 

Verna worked in commercial art in Buffalo after her 
graduation from the Art Institute. She designed sev- 



eral small decals of a bison with the Big Horns behind 
it which says, "Cloud Peak." On the back of one, Verna 
wrote: "Made for Buffalo, ordered by John C. Flint, 
designed b> Verna Kea\s 1919." Also, probably done 
for a realtor, she painted a water- color map of Buf- 
falo, showing what must have been a new housing de- 
velopment draw n on the edge of town toward the moun- 
tains. 

In 1919 Verna was a bill clerk for the Wyoming State 
Senate. Two years later, she was telephone messenger 
for the senate.' ' 

Her brother, Parke, attended the University of Ne- 
braska. He eloped with Alice Purcell from Broken Bow, 
Nebr. Later, he became editor of the Custer Count}- 
Chief, the local newspaper, owned by Alice's family. 
When Parke brought .Mice home. Estella was so angry 

" Dr. Hehard vva.s very acti\e at the Liniversit\ of Wvoiiiing, 
held many otTicL-s there, including service on the Board of Trust- 
ees, board secretary, librarian and teacher of political science 
and economy. See Larry Brown, "First Lady of Wyoming His- 
tory, Grace Ra> niond Hebard," IVyoming. Annuls 66 (Fall. 1')94).6. 
See also Biographical files, .\merican Heritage Center. 

'' Letter, Dr. Grace Hebard, I'niversity of Wyoming Depart- 
ment of Political Economy, Laramie, to Verna Keays, February 
25, 1919. There are 36 "Dear Verna" letters in the "Wyoming 
State Flag" \ertical tile in the collections of the .American Heri- 
tage Center, LIniversity of Wyoming, Laramie. 

'" Verna Keays Keyes scrapbook, author's collection. 

" "List of Officers, Members, Committees and Employees," 
The Senate of the Fifteenth and Si.xteenth State Legislatures of 
Wvomine, Reaular Sessions, 1919 and 1921. 



Annals of Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 



she refused to shake Alice's hand when they were in- 
troduced. She calmed dow n e\ entually. Parke and Alice 
had a happy marriage. The>' had three children- a son 
and two daughters. 

Vema had planned to teach, but after World War I, 
veterans had been invited to file homestead claims near 
Buffalo and the town was filled with soldiers. My fa- 
ther was one of them. Vema fell in love with him and 
they were married on June 1 , 1921. 

Arthur Ke>es, actually named Charles Arthur, was 
bom in Minneapolis. Minnesota, in 1895. His mother 
died when he was very young and he was raised in 
Park Ridge, Illinois, by his grandmother and aunt and 
uncle, E\ a and Henry Wemo. 

He was slender, slight in build, about five feet, ten 
inches tall, with light brown hair, gray eyes, fine fea- 
tures. He was a tense, high strung man who drove him- 
self to succeed unfil the end of his life. He loved mu- 
sic, had a fine tenor voice. He studied at a Chicago 
music conservatory and \olunteered as an usher at the 
Chicago opera. 

In World War 1 Arthur ser\ed in the entertainment 
corps of the Marines, for the most part in France. He 
took great pride in the fact that Bobbie Bums and his 
"bazooka," a famous comedian of the times, was part 
of his group. 

Vema's name changed from Keays to Keyes, pro- 
nounced the same. She told me when she heard some- 
one sa\', "Mrs. Keyes" in the first days of her mar- 
riage, she thought they were speaking to her mother. 

My father gave up his homestead and they moved to 
Billings, Montana, where my sister, Bett>'. was born 
on December 18, 1923. 

My father refused to work for someone else. He was 
very much his own person. He attempted several busi- 
ness ventures which were unsuccessful. They moved 
to Casper, and I was bom there on February 25. 1925. 

Casper then had about 40.000 people. It was a boom- 
ing oil town, with three refineries, Texaco, Standard 
and White Eagle, which was a subsidiar>' of Ohio Oil, 
spewing sulfur fumes into the air. Everyone said it just 
"smelled like money" 

Vema and Arthur had and made good friends there, 
including Mae and Warren Hagist. Mae had family in 
Buffalo and Warren worked for the White Eagle refin- 
ery. Other finends v\ ere George Ann and Mar\'in Bishop. 
Marvin was our attome\' and Vema and George Ann 
often played bridge together. Others were Renan and 
Davey Johnston. Davey was regional head of the local 
power company and one of the first to climb the Grand 
Teton. Later, a coal-fired power plant near Glenrock 
was named for him. 



At first, we rented a small white fi^ame house. Later, 
my father built a larger home on Grant Street. The house 
still stands. 

My father founded a steel fabrication company, Keyes 
Tank and Supply Company, which constructed prima- 
rily oil storage tanks. The oil industry was thriving in 
Wyoming, and he was doing well, his small company 
growing, but the depression of the thirties had a dra- 
matic affect on all our lives. 

Feeding us, maintaining a normal family life, became 
increasingly difficult for him. One of the few times I 
saw my mother cry was when Betty, playing a child's 
game, broke a dozen eggs on her little red chair. They 
decided my mother, Betty and I should move to Buf- 
falo and live with my mother's parents while my fa- 
ther stayed in Casper and tried to re-build his business, 
which at this point was worthless. 

In the summer of 1 93 1 , Vema gathered some of our 
belongings together, stored fumiture with fi-iends and 
my father drove the three of us to Buffalo. He sold our 
home and found a room in a boarding house. He had 
little money, but never declared bankruptcy, eventu- 
ally repaying every debt. 

Buffalo was a small town of about 4,000 people. Clear 
Creek ran through the center of town. On hot summer 
days, one felt cooler watching it swirling under the 
bridge on Main Street. What was intended to be a short 
time in Buffalo stretched into nine years. It must have 
been hard for my grandparents to give up the leisure 
they had eamed after raising their own family. They 
suddenly had two lively little girls, six and eight, and 
their mother, who silently grieved over the loss of her 
home and her absent husband. We never felt deprived 
of the security of being surrounded by a warm, caring 
family. They put up with us, our muddy feet, our 
friends, our puppies. Their patience and the courage of 
our mother and father left Betty and me as fulfilled 
and happy as any child could be. 

There were many fi^iends for Vema fi^om her grow- 
ing-up years in Buffalo. Ruby and Jack Burnett lived 
across the street. Jack was English—there were quite a 
few English people in the area— and Ruby was part In- 
dian, looked it with her high cheekbones, brown eyes. 
Vema was always welcome there for a brief rest when 
things got a little up-tight at home. Dave and Bess Muir 
came to our house often for dinner. Dave was Scottish, 
and Bess taught school. On some holidays, Dave would 
march down Main Street playing his bagpipes. Flora 
Laing was a widowed fi-iend, with whom Vema often 
enjoyed evening bridge games. 

Vema was a gregarious woman, liked people, made 
friends easily, and enjoyed a good conversation with 



Winter 1999 



7 



just about anyone. Once we went to a Crow Indian 
fair. Vema sat next to a Crow woman at the rodeo and 
as a young Crow bolted out of the chute on a bucking 
horse, the woman proudly said to Vema, "He's my 
baby!" 

My father came to see us as often as he could, and 
we sometimes went with him when he called on oil 
companies and refineries. He didn't seem to think in 
terms of fast or slow when he drove a car. He just settled 
himself behind the steering wheel, put his foot on the 
gas pedal and took off There was no speed limit in 
Wyoming at that time. One could go fifty to one hun- 
dred miles with no signs of human habitation, seeing 
only an occasional windmill whirling endlessly in its 
seemingly lifeless domain. 

On one of our trips, Vema kept asking Arthur to slow 
down. He persistently ignored her. When we came to a 
small town, she told him to let us out. She felt she 
could no longer risk our lives with his dangerous driv- 
ing. He^topped, my sister and I obediently hopped out 
behind Vema and watched as he roared past the houses 
and vanished over a hill. Within a few minutes we heard 
the sound of an engine and he whizzed into sight, driv- 
ing as fast as ever. Vema, Betty and I climbed back in, 
he turned the car around and once more we headed 
down the road -at the same speed as before. 

We joined the Episcopal Church. The minister, Elvin 
L. Tull. a tall, dark-haired man with glasses, was as 
familiar w ith archeology and astronomy as he was with 
theology. Betty and 1 sang in the children's choir each 
Sunday at a vesper service. To promote good atten- 
dance at choir practice, he gave each child in the choir 
a candy bar every other Thursday. 

Mrs. Tull wore her black hair in a knot on top of her 
head, from which many stringy clumps escaped. Rev- 
erend and Mrs. Tull and Vema became close friends. 
The Tulls knew a great deal about Indian artifacts, and 
Verna spent many happy hours with them rattling 
through the sagebrush in the Tull's old car looking for 
rock scrapers and arrowheads. 

Vema organized the tlrst Girl Scout troop in Buffalo 
when I was about eight. Our activities included meet- 
ing in the Parish Hall of the Episcopal Church, cook- 
outs, hiking, and looking for Indian artifacts, now one 
of Vema's favorite hobbies, which she shared with the 
girls. 

After a couple of years, two weeks of Girl Scout 
camping in the Big Homs each July became an annual 
experience. The camp was called Camp Sourdough, 
situated in an area developed by Buffalo citizens for 
various community activities. A couple named George 
and Nora Gardner were two of its mainstays, Nora, 



with black hair and snappy eyes to match it, was the 
cook, always generous with a cookie for lucky ones 
who were near when she was baking. George, gray 
haired, deeply tanned, with faded blue eyes and skin 
etched with tine lines by the wind and sun ever-present 
in his cowboy's life, and a helper, brought a string of 
horses, taught us how to care for and ride them. 

The camp had a main lodge and dining room, one 
other small cabin, and two outhouses. Most of us lived 
in tents while some of the leaders lived in the cabin. 
Clear Creek flowed beside us, its water bubbling over 
and around rocks, providing a place for baths and wad- 
ing. 

Vema's interest in camping expanded and she took 
training in camp-directing from the National Girl Scout 
Council. She then directed camps in several places in 
the west. While she was involved in her training, she 
met Lady Baden-Powell, international president of Girl 
Scouts. Vema felt that our camping and scouting ex- 
periences helped fill the void in our lives caused by 
Arthur's absence. Wherever Vema went camp direct- 
ing, Betty and I tagged along. One interesting camp 
was in the Black Hills of South Dakota, another at a 
dude ranch named Crossed Sabers outside Cody. The 
owner let the girls camp there before the dude season 
opened.'- Vema was a member of the regional com- 
mittee for scouts for four years, served as chairman of 
the regional camp committee for three years and did 
much to improve camping in her region.' ' 

Every summer we spent several weeks in the Big 
Homs with friends. The Parmelee family had a cabin 
there, and when Eleanor came to visit with her three 
girls, we joined them. Vema took her water colors, her 
preferred paint, and would sit and paint someone's cabin 
or a lake while we kids climbed rocks, crossed Clear 
Creek on fallen trees, ran and shrieked at each other 
and picked flowers. 

Another friend. Miss Mary W. Lane, a small, gray- 
haired woman who had taught my Uncle Parke. Betty 
and me sixth grade, had come west from Massachu- 
setts. Miss Lane always had Sunda\- dinner with our 
family. She had joined Wilbur and Estella for years, 
and after Betty and I arrived. Miss Lane always left 
two quarters on Estella's dresser for us. She also had a 
small cabin. Each summer Vema, Betty and I spent 
one or two weeks there. Clear Creek ran near it, the 



'- In 1996 my husband and 1 were dri\ing from Yellowstone 
Park to Cody, and we saw the sign. Crossed Sabers. We vsent in 
and met the daughter of the present ow ners. The ranch looked 
just like 1 remembered it. 

'- Unidentified newspaper clipping, author's collection. 



8 



Annals or Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 



Ranger Station was close, Frank Horton had a dude 
ranch down the road a couple of miles. Frank had been 
in the state legislature when Vema worked there and 
was very kind to her. 

Most people dropped lime down the holes in out- 
houses regularly to help eliminate odors and keep them 
sanitary. Miss Lane preferred to use ashes from the 
wood stove for this purpose. The procedure was to leave 
them in a metal bucket until there were no simmering 
coals or hot ashes, then dump. 

On the last July day of one summer's visit, we ate a 
picnic lunch by a little stream across the road from the 
cabin. A thick screen of large pines, aspen and willow 
bushes hid the road from our sight. We were munch- 
ing our ham sandwiches when we began to hear a 
strange crackling noise coming from the direction of 
the road. The sound became louder; finally Vema told 
Betty to go see what was happening out there. 

Betty disappeared through the willows, then 
screamed, "It's a fire, it's a fire!" Miss Lane's out- 
house and several good-sized pines were hurling flames 
toward the sky. 

"Go get the ranger!" Vema shouted to Betty, who 
took off, pounding down the dusty road. 

Vema began lugging buckets of water up the hill from 
the stream, pitching it into the flames. About the time 
the ranger and helper arrived in their pickup with tanks 
of water to strap on their backs, Frank J^orton came 
driving down the road, on his way from Paradise Ranch 
to Buffalo. 

The fire was extinguished. We arrived in Buffalo late 
that aftemoon and everyone in town knew, thanks to 
her friend Frank Horton, that Vema Keyes had bumed 
down Miss Lane's outhouse. This event gained her 
much more attention then her flag for quite awhile in 
Buffalo. She was fined by the government for each 
tree that was destroyed and paid to have the outhouse 
rebuilt. 

In 1941 our family was re-united in Casper. The de- 
pression was over and my father's company was again 
successfully doing business. He wanted to build an- 
other home, so we rented a house to live in while it 
was being completed. The new one was to be on a 
hillside which overlooked Casper and the countryside 
beyond. Betty would be a senior in Casper high school, 
and I was a sophomore. 

Vema's life changed. She gave up her work in Girl 
Scouting and became very involved in Republican 
politics. She served a term as chairman of the Natrona 
County Republican Party. When Nelson Rockefeller 
campaigned in Wyoming, she officially greeted him. 



Also, she was active in the Casper Fine Arts Club, of 
which she was one of the founders, DAR and PEO. 
She spent many aftemoons playing bridge. 

Our lives changed in another way, also. Arthur had 
been raised in the Christian Science church, and when 
we retumed from Buffalo, we attended their services 
regularly. Vema eventually became a devout Christian 
Scientist. After I married, my husband and I retumed 
to the Episcopal church. 

Betty went to college and Vema and I had the fun 
and hard work of moving into the new home. 

She received many letters about the flag, answering 
all that required an answer. She spoke to many groups 
of people, not only in Casper, all over the state. Each 
year she was asked to talk to fourth graders in Casper. 
She loved children and enjoyed doing this. After her 
speech, many children wrote her, telling her how much 
they had liked hearing her story. She kept the letters, 
re-reading some of the special ones and cherishing 
them. 

The DAR chapter in Casper gave out "C" pins sev- 
eral times a year to honor students. Vema often handed 




Arthur and Vema at their new house, 1941. 



Winter IQQQ 



out the pins. Betty usually marched across the stage to 
recei\ e her pin. I preferred to sit in the back of the 
auditorium as at that time I was not a dihgent student, 
preferring more social activities, with boys if possible. 

In 1941 an air base for training of B-24 crews opened 
in Casper. Vema became a gray lady and went to the 
base once a week to help the soldiers, writing letters 
for sick ones, doing whatever else was needed. Man\ 
soldiers sat at our dinner table during the next few years. 

1 married one of them. In 1944 I fell in love with 
Donald Newell, a pilot. He went overseas to Italy and 
I returned to my second \ear of college. When he came 
back the next June with a purple heart and a distin- 
guished tlying cross, we were married in the li\ing 
room of my home. We had three children, a son and 
two daughters. Betty married a navy ensign named 
Norman Williams; they had four children, three girls 
and a bo_\ 

Vema and Arthur decided to build another house. 
They sold the one at 7 1 I East 1 1 th Street and rented an 
apartment. 

His business was thri\ ing when he slipped on a patch 
of ice outside his office and fell, breaking his leg. His 
death in May, 1951, at the age of 56, was attributed to 
a blood clot from this injury. Although he was a Chris- 
tian Scientist, Arthur had medical help for his broken 
leg, was hospitalized and wore a cast. At the time he 
died, the new house wasn't fmished. Vema lived in 
apartments the rest of her life. She sold Arthur's com- 
pany, including a new plant he had built in Provo. Utah. 

Vema and Arthur had planned to travel when he re- 
tired. After his death, she set out on her own. First, she 
went on a cruise to the Mediterranean e\ en though she 
knew no one on the ship. She invited Don and me and 
Mark, our small son, to New York to see her off She 
made friends so easily she didn't have a lonely mo- 
ment and communicated with quite a few people she 
met on the cruise for many years. Next, she toured the 
Orient, visiting Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong and other 
places. A friend went with her this time and, unfortu- 
nately, became very sick with pneumonia on the trip. 

Vema brought home beautiflil silk fabrics and gifts 
for all the family from this trip. She was an excellent 
seamstress, and made several dresses for Betty, me and 
herself All through the years she had sewed for us, 
smocking our dresses when we were small. When we 
were in high school, we would see a dress we liked in 
a store and Vema would whip one up Just like it! She 
made my high school graduation dress. 

Alaska was another place she enjoyed seeing— this 
time, with a healthy friend accompanying her. She took 



Don and me on a trip with her to the Bahamas. Each 
\ ear she alternated Christmas and Easter \ acations w ith 
Betty and me. usually slaying several weeks with each 
of us, and we both visited her some time every sum- 
mer in Wyoming with our children. 

One year she took all of us, Bett\ and Norman and 
all their children, Donald and me and all our children, 
plus a bab_\ sitter tbr the younger ones, to a ranch out- 
side Jackson. We hiked, rode horses, Vema always 
riding with us. We went into Jackson. The\ dail\ had 
a take robbery with the sheriff and all the "bad guys" 
chasing each other around. The kids lo\ ed it. 

For many years, Vema managed the Christian Sci- 
ence Reading Room in Casper, which was good for 
her. It gave her days purpose and kept her from feeling 
lonely. She lived for thirty years as a widow, as coura- 
geously as she had lived all her life. Betty and Norm, 
then retired, had been sta_\ ing in an apartment near her 
when she died in 1982 at age of 89. 

Whenever Don and I go back to Wyoming, which is 
often, and I tlrst see that bison tlying in Wyoming's 
almost e\ er-present wind, m_\ throat tightens, my eyes 
tinule. 




Flag as it now Lippcais--Dr. Hehcird "rcwi-.scJ" 
the buffalo from Keays ' original Jcsign. 

The ciiithor. PriscilUi Kcves Newell, is the 
daughler of Vema Keays Keyes. PriscilUi. al- 
ways ktwwn as "Polly" by her fajuily and 
friends, married Donald Newell in 1945. After 
World War II. Newell graduated with a degree 
in civil engineering from the University of 
Wyoming. He began working for the Keves 
Companies. After PriscilUi 's father died and 
the companies were sold, he worked in steel 
construction, fie held executive positions in 
Birmingham. Chicago. Shreveport. Dallas. 
Newport News and finally, in Bristol. Tennes- 
see, where he and Polly have retired. 



"Wyoming Memories 






H omesceAa 



BY MARCARC^ M. flRRP^ 



One of the first colonists, James Otis is a direct an- 
cestor on my mother's side. This James Otis also was 
one of the signatures on the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. He was free of spirit, intelligent, fiercely politi- 
cal, in that he desired much, and immediate change in 
his new world, and was willing to work as well as fight 
for that change. From him, through the female descen- 
dants, came the Havens, our great grandfather.' 

This story begins much later, in Charles City, Iowa, 
with Willus Elton Haven physically striking Carrie 
Weeks Haven, causing her to fall down a set of stairs.-^ 
This, apparently was either enough the first time, or it 
had happened before and she resolved to end it then - it 
is somewhat unclear because the story was not some- 
thing our mother wished to talk about. Family violence 
of any kind was a taboo subject with our mother. I 
consider it amazing that she told me at all. Divorcing 
Willus Haven, an almost unheard of act for that time, 
but true to her ahead-of-her-time nature, grandmother 
resolved to take her children and head West to seek her 
fortune. She had two sisters, Helen and Marie, who 
had both married well and gone West with their hus- 
bands, and that should be good enough for her family 
and for society. Her life was now her own - she would 
live her own history.. 

There were three of them that went with Carrie Weeks 
Haven-Jean the eldest girl, Irving the only boy, and 
the youngest, Helen, our mother. Another daughter, 
Louise, had died in childhood some years earlier, in 
about 1905. Carrie had an elderly mother, whom she 
took with her and cared for until she died. This family 
on the female side has always been close and available 
for one another throughout the travails of life. 

By all accounts, Carrie was extremely capable. Her 



father, being one of the few farsighted men of his time, 
wished his daughters to be educated. He was a news- 
paper man himself, and taught Carrie enough of the 
trade that she was able to support herself and the chil- 
dren adequately, but by no means richly, while they 
were growing up. 

The first stop was outside Rapid City, S.D., where 
Carrie, her sister Marie, and her friend Mable Zimmer 
took up homesteads. Much strife came during this time, 
with sub-zero temperatures, inadequate housing in the 
form of the drafty homestead shacks, lack of fruit, there 
being almost none available even in the stores at that 
time, due to shipping delays and shortages. Once, dur- 
ing this period, Carrie sent daughter Helen home to 
attempt to stay with the Haven's for awhile, since she 
was the youngest. She did not wish to stay with her 
father, and contacted Carrie to let her come home. This 
was done, and she made the long train trip across the 
plains again alone, arriving at Rapid City once more, 
none the worse for her adventures, having seen a man 
dead from being run over by the train while lying on 
the tracks and having an anxious moment when she 
could not locate her ticket. The ticket was located at 
last by some means, and she was allowed to go on. 

Carrie worked in a printing office or newspaper in 
Rapid City, managing to save enough money to move 
again to the young frontier cowtown of Buffalo, Wyo- 
ming, where she and several other stockholders began 
a second biweekly publication for the town of Buffalo 
called the Buffalo Voice. After beginning publishing, 

' The lineage can be found written out on a plain sheet of paper 
in the family Bible. 

- The Havens' were grandparents of the author. 



Winter, 1999 

she found other newsprint and Linotype equipment she 
needed in Gillette, and she, her daughter Helen, and 
Helen's school friend Ida Potts went to Gillette and 
brought it back. 

Carrie was very active politically, especially in 
Women's Rights. 

One night, coming home late down main street, Car- 
rie and Helen were almost run over by a man on a snorty 
horse. This man was wearing a long buffalo-type great- 
coat, and the horse was frightened by it flapping in the 
windy night. It was in dead of winter, also, and very 
cold. The man managed to turn the spooking horse back 
off the sidewalk into the street once more, and the two 
women continued on. Later, the man called Carrie to 
apologize for almost running into her, (which turned 
out to be an excuse to see her). The man became Carrie's 
second husband. Earl Miller. 

Earl was an excellent carpenter and he was good help 
in the newspaper, when she could keep him working. 
By all accounts, he did not hold steady, and she could 
never sufficiently count on him for support, either 
monetarily or morally. Nonetheless, she lived with him 
until she died, thinking that since she had been foolish 
enough to marry unwisely again, she may as well see it 
through. Helen never spoke ill of Earl, though, saying 
that he was good natured, and never mean to any of 
Carrie's children. This was a lot, in those days, when 



n 

men did virtually as they pleased with the little woman 
and the kids. 

This was now 1924. Helen Haven had been well re- 
ceived in Johnson County High School. She was one 
of the foundation members of the girls agriculture class, 
helping form the group. She was one of the founda- 
tion members of the girls basketball team, and a "yell 
leader" for the boys football team. She was editor of 
the school paper and of the yearbook. She was inter- 
ested in education, and planned to become a school- 
teacher, all of this being borne out by newspaper ar- 
ticles and her school yearbooks. She loved horses, and 
she and her friend, Ida Potts, rode together a lot, taking 
long rides up the Black and Yellow Trail (now^ High- 
way 16) which was an old Indian trail over the moun- 
tain to Tensleep, still visible. On one of these rides, 
they found an Indian arrow with the point and the old 
buckskin still holding it in place. They brought it down 
and gave it to the Gatchell family, who were in the 
initial phases of a fledgling museum. 

That summer, she worked for .lack Moore, who had 
a ranch outside of Buffalo. Jack was a pioneer who had 
been in the Wagon Box battle with the Sioux.' 

' 1 wish 1 had pressed her more for details of the acquaintance 
of this man, but alas, I did not when 1 could, and the history is 
long lost now. She mentioned it in passing, not considering how 
important it may actually become. 



4--»- 




News room of the Buffalo Voice, Buffalo. Earl Miller. Carrie's husband, is pictured. Author's collection. 




Annals of Wyoming;The Wyoming History Journal 



Carrie 
Weeks 
Haven 
Miller 



.« < 



When the Bill> Creek Oil Field came through, Car- 
rie took Mom and they went out to photograph the oc- 
casion for the paper. These photos captured the gusher 
as it happened. Carrie was also invited out to the Hole 
in the Wall ranch for a photo session and a meeting of 
some kind and took Mom with her.^ 

THE SCHOOLMARM: 

Trail Creek-Cody. Wyoming. Fall. 1926-Spring.l928 

Mom graduated from Johnson County High School 
in the spring of 1925. She then went to Laramie for 
Summer School where she completed her teacher's 
degree for that time, which was called Nomial Train- 
ing. When she successfully went through the course, 
she was on her own. Her uncle by marriage, Ralph 
Hardin, (married to Carrie's sister, Helen) was super- 
intendent of schools in Cody at the time. He offered to 
help her attain a position, but Helen declined, wishing 
to '"do it herself." She answered an ad in a Gillette pa- 
per. They had a country school between Linch and Mid- 
west and needed a teacher. She arrived, full of energy 
and enthusiasm, but it was short-lived. The schoolhouse 
was a one-room shack on the prairie, which in itself 
was no shock or even a surprise. She expected hard- 
ship and understood the country she lived in, under- 
stood trials of the tTedgling ranches and struggling 
people who were attempting to educate their children 
without sending them the miles and miles by wagon, 
ancient car or horseback to the larger schools. (Even 
the larger schools were not so large in those days). . 

But she did not expect to earn $30 per month and 



then have her room, board and teaching supplies de- 
ducted from it. This she learned, in addition to the fact 
that the one room school's wood stove was too small 
to adequately combat the cold, after she arrived. She 
felt that even though she wanted to give it a try, she 
simply could not afford to do it. So, putting her pride 
in her pocket, she contacted her Uncle Ralph and he 
set her up with her first real teaching job, just outside 
of Cody at the Trail Creek Ranch. 

Trail Creek, nestled in a sheltered draw beyond the 
river at the base of the Rattlesnake mountains (part of 
the Absaroka Range), was a cozy, peaceful valley that 
was watched over by a large red butte that jutted out of 
the foot of the mountain, in total contrast to the rest of 
the terrain. The old Bannock Indian trail wound along 
in this area and over the mountain.^ 
The little log schoolhouse was quite adequate for the 
purpose of a country learning center. Children from 
families at several of the other far-flung ranches of the 
Cody country, as far away as the Painter Ranch in Sun- 
light Basin, and from Clark, almost in Montana, at- 
tended the school. Helen taught there from 1 923 to 1 928 
when the school was closed in the consolidation pro- 
cess. This is the assignment that earned her a spot in 
the Park County Historical Book as being one of the 
first schoolmanns of the district. She loved her job, 
and the children - she was full of stories about them in 
later years. It was a good time for her. 

It was at Trail Creek that she met our father, who 
was a cowboy there, working w ith the sheep and cattle. 
He spent part of the summer packing salt to the stock 
on the mountain range, and they were taken with each 
other, to the utter consternation and horror of Uncle 
Ralph and Auntie Helen. Our father w as known to drink, 
and our mother's family were teetotalers, warning her 
of the potential problems alcohol brought to a family 
situation. In spite of this, he was a good person, and 
though he was certainly not of their kind or social stat- 
ure due in part to his lack of more opportune family 
circumstances, they did not really harbor any huge dis- 
like of him. Anyone conversing with him, even in pass- 
ing, could tune in to his keen mind and worthwhile 
character. But they also knew only too well the kind of 
life our mother would lead if she married him— leaping 
from job to job, ranch to ranch, always in spare cir- 

"• 1 believe the lady who owned the ranch at that time was named 
Mrs. Webb, although I'm not sure of this. The Archives of this 
old newspaper are found in the Johnson County Library. 

"■ During the year that he worked the ranch land, our father 
found several ancient pole tipi's, some in fairly good condition 
still, some with traces of rawhide still clinging to them. The ranch 
was then owned bv the Heald familv. 



\Tinter, 1Q99 



13 



cumstances, in search of the elusive dream. Of course, 
they were right. 

In 1 928. after school closed for the summer, the little 
country schools began to consolidate into the larger 
districts. At that point, all school teachers had to pos- 
sess a four-\ear degree in order to teach. Funds were 
not available. Mom, never the aggressor, was confused 
and frightened. She then turned her thoughts to mar- 
riage, as Dad had suggested, and planned to obtain the 
rest of her degree later. Perhaps he would help her- 
perhaps. To use her own words "I didn't know what to 
do next. 1 was desperate." Dad went to Washington 
state to fight fires that summer, and Mom had gone 
there before him after the school closed, to stay with 
another aunt (Aunt Marie— another sister of Carrie) un- 
til she could tlnd another job. It was there that she and 
Dad were married. It was at that turning point in their 
lives that the rift in her family occurred. She summed 
it up several times, but always in the same short, de- 
fensive sentences because it was never easy for her to 
speak of it. Dad had evidently pulled up to the curb in 
his car with several other people. He had been fighting 
tire, as had his companions. They were grimy with soot 
and ash. They came from the hills into the town of 
Everett. Washington, and had come straight to her door 
to ask for her. These are her own few words she used to 
describe the scene that followed: 

Auntie Marie looked out the window and saw them 
getting out of the car. She turned to me and exclaimed 
"You are NOT going out with THOSE people, are 
you?" I told her, '".Auntie Marie, there's nothing wrong 
with Jack. You are not even giving him a chance. Yes, 
I am going with them and if you don't approve, I just 
won't come back. 

She also said it was not something she wanted to do- 
go against the wishes of her family.*' She never returned 
to school to finish her teaching degree, and she saw 
very little of her family after that. Working in Wash- 
ington that summer, they were married in August, and 
sta\'ed the w inter. They returned to Wyoming the next 
spring and took up a homestead claim in the Garfield 
Peak area, known as Snyder Basin, 60 miles west of 
Casper on the Raderv ille Route. This was the wide open, 
stark, and strangely beautiful land of contrasts that al- 
ways seemed to hold their hearts. They returned to re- 
tire close to the same valley they had helped settle some 
forty years before as youngsters. True to the predic- 
tions of Aunties Marie and Helen, they had little more 
material possessions than they had when they started. 
The salmon swim unerringly upstream to the spawn- 



ing grounds - the deer return to the place of their faw n- 
ing - and people will often do the same if the first memo- 
ries of their youth are powerful enough. 

THE HOMESEEKERS - 1930 

Joe Snyder~he was mentioned to Mom and Dad when 
they began to take up their claim in the valley. He. too, 
had homesteaded that particular area, had proved up, 
and leased his land to them to compliment theirs while 
they were proving up. He also knew Orey and Ben 
Roberts, who were neighbors in the valley, and intro- 
duced the folks to them. He was full of tales of the old 
days, and gave them much history of the valley, in- 

" In my mind's eye, I can picture her there at the window, in 
absolute emotional conflict - standing up against authorit\ - which 
was not at all her usual nature - and loyalU defending something 
she felt was right or someone she loved - which detlnitely was 
her nature. The rest of the story that follows is the history of this 
encounter. E\en as I write, sevent> years after the fateful e\ent 
occurred. I have the impulse to laugh out loud - although at the 
time it was probably anylhing but humorous. 




The author's father, L. J. McMorrow. 



u 



Annals of Wyoming iTlie Wyoming History Journal 



eluding the fact that it had been on the route from the 
Hole-in-the-Wall to Brown's Park in Colorado~the 
Outlaw Trail, as it was known. 

They talked it over, contacted our mother's brother, 
who by this time was in California, our dad's brother. 
Bob, in Idaho, and convinced them both to join them 
in staking the claims. If they took the claims to adjoin 
each other, a large portion of the entire valley would 
be theirs. A third person, whom Dad had worked with 
at Healds, Paul McKenna, turned out to be a reprobate, 
without much to recommend him at all. He was added 
to this group and they all filed. McKenna left before 
the others, much to the relief of the others. 

The valley was broad and green, surrounded by a 
range of small mountains through which flowed a sweet 
water creek, fed by springs on all sides. It was sweet 
water in an area of soda and alkali that spread on all 
other sides around it, beyond the shehering arms of the 
basin. This made the wide expanse valuable because 
the soil was rich. The rust-red, iron-tinted soil clung to 
the clothes like dye, but would grow anything once 
w ater was put to it. It promised to be worth many times 
over the cost of the improvements, and indeed it was, 
had the\' only stayed the course that they set for them- 
selves that day as they rode up the old wagon tracks 
with Joe. Many years later, they described the lush con- 
dition of the range and grass: "It was thick and high, 
very little brush scattered through it, growing tall 
enough to whip the stirrups as we rode." 

Joe took them past Orey Roberts, who lived at the 
mouth of the valley, almost to the Raderville Route 
road that ran past to Casper, past the olu home place 
Joe's family had started, long gone with only the lone 
Cottonwood planted by his mother remaining to mark 
the site. A faint trace of the foundation for the original 
cabin was still there, and they rode past it on up the 
draw. It was there that the folks decided to build their 
cabin, with the view of Garfield Peak beyond. 

They arranged to lease Joe's ground, and went to 
town to begin paper work for their own adjoining 
claims. Shortly after, arriving back in Thermopolis for 
a last business visit with Joe, they bought five head of 
horses from Squire Jones, a local horseman whose ranch 
lay up Buffalo Creek. These horses were - "Old Maybe" 
"Tripods" "Bess" "Uncle Wiggley" and another whose 
name has gone. Taking the horses, they drove them 
from Thermopolis straight through the back country to 
Garfield Peak. It took three full days to make the trip. 
They described the wild land, the creeks, the skies and 
stars at night, an old cabin they attempted to stay the 
night in, but couldn't due to the packrats that rushed 




Helen Haven McMorrow, the author 's mother 

back and forth across their bedrolls - finally rolling 
them out in the brush outside by the campfire. 

As the noon sun brightened directly above their heads, 
they stopped along a little creek bottom in a deep can- 
yon and let the horses graze and rest. While they were 
there, a brand inspector driving a wagon and team with 
a horse tied to the tailgate stopped to talk with them, 
and asked for the bills of sale for the horses. Fortu- 
nately, everything was in order, Dad having worked 
enough of the big ranches to know what was needed. 
The inspector reminded them before he drove on, ob- 
viously referencing their youth, "Make sure you always 
have papers on any stock you push and you'll be ok." 

Two days later, in the long shadows of the afternoon, 
they arrived at their new home - with their bedrolls, 
five head of horses, and each other. 

GREEN VALLEY- 1930 

They immediately camped near the spot where they 
intended to build their house and pitched a large, wa- 
terproof tent. This tent was their home for most of the 
early part of the spring and summer while they worked 
on the house. Mom's stepfather, Earl Miller, came alone 
from California and assisted them with its raising. They 



Winter, 1999 



15 



had found an old house in town that was for sale, dis- 
mantled it, and hired the lumber hauled out from Casper. 
They put down a foundation, built a fireplace with an 
old scavenged culvert pipe for a chimney, and covered 
it with rock which looked nice for having been made 
such a long way out in the hills with so few tools and 
materials. They laid floors and covered them with cheap 
linoleum. They dug out the spring and fixed a spring 
house over it just behind the house, where it kept things 
cool even in the hottest summer days with the cold air 
circulating from the emerging icy water from the moun- 
tain - and the site was well shaded by the foliage of the 
trees that grew around it. Mom planted wild roses by 
the front door, hung curtains in her windows. 

They took a walk up the ridge on the evening they 
had finished enough to move in, and sat looking over 
the valley, reveling in the sharp fresh air and the vista 
below. 

The other young people were busy, too. Uncle Bob 
built a log cabin just over the ridge. Ir\'ing put up a 
flimsy pole shack and McKenna raised a house of logs 
on the creek below them. One of the first rifts in the 
harmony of the group came when they discovered 
McKenna had not bothered to fix or maintain a proper 
outhouse. This was disturbing to them, and it also was 
to the claims inspector when he appeared suddenly one 
day later the next year to approve the improvements. 
Whenever McKenna's name was mentioned, Mom 
looked very aggrieved, and it was apparent that no af- 
fection lay between them. 

That summer was busy and flew past with no time to 
relax or reflect, as did several summers in the follow- 
ing years. During one of them. Mom's old school chum, 
Ida Potts, came with her little boy and stayed for a over 






a^Slt. 




month. They took their children and made many walks 
into the hills, listening to the sweet bird voices, talking 
and lending moral support to each other as they had 
always done as girls. They were women now , with the 
colors of the universe not nearly as bright, nor the an- 
ticipation of the future quite so magical as it had seemed 
only a few short years before. 

But it was the beginning of an era that forever cap- 
tured the imagination and the memories of these people, 
binding them together as a backdrop that held every- 
thing firmly in place with them for almost sixty more 
years. 

A SPARROW FALLS, 1930 

The first winter spent on the Homesteads were espe- 
cially hard on all of the young settlers. They had not 
had time to properly prepare for such a long time, such 
a long way from town, with such little monetary re- 
sources. To spend an entire winter subsisting on what 
had been gathered, bought, or prepared the fall before 
took planning. 

Thus it was, that when the first storms hit the valley, 
all of them thought they had prepared enough for the 
first winter, and resigned to stay put. There was no 
way out except by horseback. The roads were impass- 
able. Snow removal is still almost non-existent on the 
remote county roads, and at that time, it was nil. To 
attempt to drive out meant taking as much run at the 
drift as was possible, roaring the primitive automobile 
into it as far as could be thrust, making two tracks that 
stopped short, attempting to back up if the wheels could 
tlnd purchase, and taking yet another run into the same 
tracks, hoping to move them several more feet before 
the momentum failed. It was dangerous 
and futile in the worst of the weather. 
Horseback for sixty miles was not a vi- 
able option except in dire need, but e\ en 
then, one cast around for all possible so- 
lutions before undertaking such a ride in 
sub-zero weather. If one actually made it 
out to the main road, there remained the 
return trip, with the hard-won tire tracks 
drifted shut again, only this time more 
firmly. 



o McMorrow homestead ruins as it 
^ appeared in 1998 



16 



Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



Unrelenting, the storms came in one after another, 
with below-zero temperatures that made the gun bar- 
rels frost, making it dangerous to attempt to shoot. The 
snow was so deep that hunting was all but impossible 
because the animals had left the valley. 

In the latter part of January, at the height of the win- 
ter shut-in, food was very low. Root vegetables from 
their garden, such as carrots and potatoes, were all that 
remained. The 50-lb. sack of pinto beans was gone. 
The deer that had been jerked from the fall before, what 
was left of it, had to be saved for the men to use on 
their rides on the trap lines, it being light and compact 
and the one absolutely necessary staple of the trips. 
The weather showed no warming with which to melt 
the snow. All seemed quite hopeless. 

One morning, they fed the few chickens their mea- 
ger breakfast of whole oats and potato peelings (most 
of the peelings used by the people themselves as "in 
the jackets'"). They discovered through new eyes and 
awakening hunger a common sight that had completely 
gone unnoticed before in more provident circumstances. 

Sparrows. 

Jiundreds of them. "They had always been there, 
come to think of it," they told me later. They came 
down to feed among the chickens, rushing in and around 
the crippled, frozen feet of the tew tame fowl that re- 
mained —spared tor the eggs — to snatch bits of oats 
and food where they could. Plump and healthy, they 
appeared not much the worse for wear just because of 
the winter, and they did not migrate. They knew how- 
to fend for themselves throughout the harshest turns of 
weather. 

Armed with fresh resolve. Dad proceeded to the little 
log chicken house beneath the rim rocks. He carried 
with him a flat piece of leftover house sheeting, ap- 
proximately 3 ,\ 4 feet, along with a short stick and a 
tortured ball of twine that Mom had painstakingly saved 
from parcels (parcels being tied in twine to mail in those 
days). Within moments he had his scheme in motion. 
Propping the flat sheet of board up on the stick, fragile 



support indeed, for a purpose, he affixed the end of the 
ball of twine to it, and unrolled it back to the house. He 
said he did this first so that the chickens and sparrows 
wouldn't eat too much of the bait before he was ready 
to spring the trap. This clearly shows how lean the pro- 
visions had become. When he had the length of twine 
safely leading away, he sprinkled oats under the board, 
and sat down to wait. Within moments, the area under 
the board was filled with little sparrows, noisily and 
aggressively shouldering one another for the oats. 

With a jerk of his hand, Dad yanked the string, pull- 
ing the short stick support out from under the board, 
collapsing it instantly on the sparrows, driving them 
into the snow under it. Carefully, he removed the tiny 
feathered bodies, 23 of them in all. Cleaned, skinned 
and eviscerated, with several carrots, onions and pota- 
toes, they made a wonderfijl stew, "just one succulent 
bite each," they told me later. But very tasty and plump. 
And, best of all, it was a renewable resource! "The Lord 
will provide." 

Another testimonial, bom of need, to the ancient law 
of "survival of the fittest." Once again, the creatures of 
the field-even the smallest, most unobtrusive of them, 
the sparrow-had filled a vital need in a desperate mo- 
ment. If anyone needs any greater reason to respect 
these creatures of our natural world, I surely don't know 
what it would take to convince them.... 



Author Margaret M. Arross was born in 1945. She 
lives in the Powell. Wyoming, area where she con- 
tinues an interest in photographing old Wyoming 
homestead cabins— "as many as I can find on the 
back roads before they are all gone. " This article 
is extracted from a book-length manuscript about 
the lives of her parents and family. 



'Bivouac of the Dead' 




^^.M^-' >^ 



By Kyle V. Walpole 

When compared to the Custer disaster in June of 1 876 
or the vvintPy' September battle of the Bear Paw Moun- 
tains that ended the Nez Perce run for Canada, the Battle 
of Bennett Butte or "Miles" Fight on the Clark's Fork," 
as it has become known, in September, 1878. seems 
little more than a skirmish. 

Col. Nelson A. Miles and a small detachment of in- 
fantry, aided b\ some 75 Crow scouts, attacked a 
Bannock Indian village nestled on an island and west 
bank of the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River. 
Within two hours the tally stood at eleven dead or dy- 
ing, scores injured, and all hope lost that the party of 
some 20 Bannock' lodges could cross the national bor- 
der into Canada to join Sitting Bull. As one battle par- 
ticipant put it, "for the number engaged, [the fighting] 
was as vicious as any old Indian-fighter would wish to 
see, and in their own argot, while it lasted 'h— I was a- 
poppin*."- 

The beginning of the Bannocks' "bid for freedom" 
came at the end of an already tortuous path. On the 
heels of a war that stretched from southwest Idaho into 
northeast Oregon, a well-traveled trail for one small 
band that refused the reservation system took them east- 
ward into a new military division, through three differ- 
ent military departments, across the continental divide, 
and into the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. The Bannock 
trail crossed paths w ith others such as Richard "Beaver 
Dick" Leigh, members of the 1 878 Hayden expedition, 
"Yellowstone" Kelly, and the determined sights of Col. 
Miles. 

Within the stor> of events that ultimately brought 
Indian and soldier together on that dreary September 



Bennett Butte, viewed looking northeast. Miles used the hutte to locate the 
Bannock encampment on the night of Sept. 3, 1878, and camped along 
Bennett Creek (the line of trees) after the battle .Author's photograph 

morning, a mystery also was written. Contemporary 
military accounts of the battle proved to be sketchy. 
Determining Crow and Bannock participants also be- 
comes an elusive task because such names were sel- 
dom recorded. (The narrative thus emerges as a script 
with non-Indians in leading roles and the Crows and 
Bannocks as "extras"). Archaeological evidence such 
as firearms, shell casings, bullets, bones, and other ar- 
tifacts have been found in various locations from as far 
south as an area referred to as "Miling Bend" to as far 
west and north as the current cemetery in the town of 
Clark. For years after the battle, animals scavenged 
buried remains, children growing up in the region dug 
up artifacts, and collectors added momentos to their 
desktops. Bones were removed from the site and stored 
in locations such as the Park County Jail vault. 

With such sources guiding the amateur and profes- 
sional researcher, the history of the battle developed 
into confused and often contradictor* accounts. In some 
cases myth combined with vivid imagination 
transmogrified the infantry attack and capture of the 
Bannock village into a Custer-like duel to the last man 
or a Sand Creek st> le slaughter in w hich "all the women 
and children [were] killed."-' With both militar\ offic- 
ers and Indians sharing similar names in the Bannock 
war, (e.g. Capt. Evan S. Miles and Col. Nelson A. Miles 

' Bannack also used as is "Shoshoni" for Shoshone. 

- Fred A. Hunt. "A Purposeful Picnic." Pail III. Pacific Monthly, 
XIX. (May. 1908). 524. 

^ See report of L. Blakeslev. State Historical .Archives. Nov. 
20. 1987. Also see report of May N. Ballinger. Park County His- 
torical Society. 



IS 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Jour 



and Chief Egan and Capt. James Egan), much confu- 
sion resulted. Two authors place Col. Miles (instead of 
Capt. Evan S. Miles) as the actor in an engagement at 
the Umatilla Agency in Washington while at the same 
time confusing the chronology of events surrounding 
the Battle of Bennett Butte."* Furthermore, most "re- 
searchers" delving into the battle's mysteries focused 
their searches to particular elements of the battle. Some 
relied on the written record, others on archaeological 
evidence, while a few contented themselves with battle- 
field folklore. These written recollections, like the arti- 
facts, ended up scattered in various locations. 

The story leading to Miles' Fight began in the val- 
leys of eastern Idaho, west of Wyoming. Swarms of 
mosquitoes and grasshoppers swam in the summer air 
west of Yellowstone and the Tetons during that sum- 
mer of 1878. The "last mountain man" of Wyoming, 
Richard "Beaver Dick" Leigh, wrote that the "winged 
varmints" created quite a disturbance as they clouded 
the damp valleys that flowed into southeast Idaho. Al- 
though in "better health" despite the continuing effects 
of a smallpox infection that killed his Bannock wife, 
five children, and newborn baby in December of 1 876, 
he struggled to keep the pests off his horses and him- 
self while, at the same time, tending to daily necessi- 
ties. By mid-July, the seasoned trapper noticed the skies 
darkened and another dilemma drifting toward the Great 
Divide. A neglected prospector's campfire had ignited 
the forest and "over a hundred miles of country" lay 
scorched and "still abuming."^ 

Other fires had begun that summer, fanned by the 
eastern winds of settlement and the jet stream of gov- 
ernment bureaucracy and mismanagement. It seemed 
the U.S. government's war with bands of Bannock, 
Paiute, and Shoshone during the summer had, for the 
most part, concluded. Two large battles, one at Silver 
Creek and the other at Birch Creek, accompanied by a 
tenacious military pursuit, ended the majority of armed 
Bannock opposition. Disgruntled bands were left to 
scatter throughout Idaho into Oregon, Montana, and 
Wyoming. Leigh kept in touch with Fort Hall Reser- 
vation Agent W.H. Danilson. He had agreed to work 
as a spy during the fall, scouting the tributaries of the 
Snake River for signs of the scattered bands. Danilson 
speculated that many of the Indians he watched leav- 
ing the fort would travel to Camp Brown in Wyoming 
anticipating better conditions with Washakie's people 
along the Wind River. While some of those leaving, he 
believed, only sought respite from unsuitable condi- 
tions on the Fort Hall Reservation, he speculated that 
others might be disposed to acts of violence.^ 



The Bannocks were well-armed and mobile follow- 
ing a summer of warfare spanning from southeast Idaho 
to the eastern reaches of Oregon and southeast Wash- 
ington. Reports came in August of encounters west of 
Yellowstone Park.'' From Camas Creek Stage Station, 
cavalryman Captain Sanford C. Kellogg telegraphed 
Omaha Barracks that a driver on the Salmon City Stage 
brought word that Green's cavalry "had turned Indians 
northward towards Big-hole." He further specified that 
"Ball was at Junction on [the] Salmon Stage road [that] 
leads off to Virginia City."^ Kellogg surmised that "Ball 
w[ould] head them (the Bannocks) off at Horse Prai- 
rie" as "but one other route is left open for them from 
Big Hole, and that is across the north end of Horse 
prairie, coming on this road at Red Rock."^ 

Members of the 1878 Hayden expedition also ran 
into the group of Bannocks. A letter fi-om J.V. Hayden 
to the Secretary of the Interior on Sept. 1, 1878, re- 
counted the close confrontation: 

I have the honor to report that the division of the 
survey with which I am connected arrived at the Up- 
per Basin on the 26th of August. Soon after our arrival 
Mr. A.D. Wilson, in charge of the Primary Trianguia- 
tion, and party came into our camp on foot, having 
been robbed of their entire outfit, near Henry's Lake 
[west of Yellowstone Park], on the evening of the 25th 
by a band of Bannock Indians. 

Mr. Wilson had completed his station on the sum- 
mit of Sawtelle's Peak and the party was in camp sit- 
ting around the campfire when the Indians fired into 
their camp, and at the same time ran off all their ani- 
mals consisting of 12 mules and 2 horses. Mr. Wilson 
and party concealed themselves in the bushes until 
morning then marched to our camp, a distance of about 
60 miles, fortunately no one was hurt. Mr. Wilson in 
the night threw his great Theodolite and Barometer 
into the bushes, and Saturday he returned with them 

■* Virginia Cole Trenholm and Maurine Carley, The Shoshonis: 
Sentinels of the Rockies (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1969), 263-265. 

5 Thompson, 97-98. Entry for August 8, 1878. 

<> Thompson, 96-97. 

' For information on the Bannock War of 1878, see the flawed 
but informative work by George F. Brimlow, The Bannock In- 
dian Warofl878(Ca\A\MQ\\, Ida.: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1938). 

* Letter dated August 26, 1878, from Enclosure, report of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Robert Williams, Assistant Adjutant General, 
Omaha Barracks, to Assistant Adjutant General, Missouri Div., 
Sept. 2, 1878. U.S.D.W., A.G.O., Old Records Div., 7337/1878. 
Citation in Brimlow, 181. 

' From Enclosure, report of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Will- 
iams, Assistant Adjutant General, Omaha Barracks, to Assistant 
Adjutant General, Missouri Div., Sept. 2, 1 878. U.S.D.W., A.G.O., 
Old Records Div., 7337/1878. Citation in Brimlow, 181. 



Winter 1999 



19 



safely. The Theodolite was the only object money could 
not replace and we will soon have him on duty again. 
I would respectfully suggest that the Hon. Secretary 
of the Interior inform the Agents of the Bannocks and 
give them authority to seize the lost property when 
they can find it.'" 

Two days later (August 27), Captain James Egan lo- 
cated and skirmished with the same group of Indians, 
capturing 56 stock animals in the engagement. With 
renewed vigor, the Bannock group moved east into 
Yellowstone Park." The trail long had been a familiar 
route to them. Avoiding Blackfeet and Flathead teiri- 
tor>' to the north, Bannock hunting parties would as- 
cend Targhee Pass, ford the Madison and Gardiner Riv- 
ers, travel up the Lamar Valley and descend into the 
Sunlight Basin along the Clark's Fork to the Big Horn 
Basin to the East. The path afforded sufficient protec- 
tion from enemies while at the same time providing 
access to four connecting hunting regions: the Three 
Forks, Gallatin, Yellowstone, and Shoshone valleys. '- 

During their foray, the Bannock continued to pro- 
vide a conspicuous presence. Major J. S. Brisbin, from 
Fort Ellis in Montana, later revealed the temporary panic 
when he reported that he had stationed himself, thirty 
soldiers and ten citizens "near Boetters ranche [Boettlers 
Ranch in the Paradise Valley, north of Mammoth] and 
that from that location to Hot Springs" the Bannock 
had raided all the stock of those they passed, including 
that from the Hayden expedition.'^ Colgate Hoyt, trav- 
eling with his brother, the Reverend Wayland Hoyt, 
and other members of Colonel Nelson A. Miles' en- 
tourage to visit Yellowstone in the fall of 1878, also 
noted the heightened fears. The 29-year-old traveler 
mentioned that Brisbin had camped with them at Mam- 
moth Springs on the Gardiner River. 

The company of cavalry and "a larger party of vol- 
unteers" was a prudent addition to the touring party as 
"there were many rumors of the Hostiles being near in 
great numbers, & fears were entertained of their going 
down the valley capturing stock and killing all they 
might meet."''^ Lieutenant William Philo Clark of the 
2d U.S. Cavalry, Hoyt reported, had left the remaining 
group of tourists "two weeks before on the 
Yellowstone," encountering the Bannock band on Au- 
gust 29 near Index Peak at the head of Rosebud Creek.'-'' 
Clark struck the band again the next morning, report- 
edly' "inflicting some damage upon them" and captur- 
ing one prisoner.'^ From their Mammoth Springs en- 
campment, Hoyt and the others would "remain for sev- 
eral days [to wait] for the Gen'l."'"' Indeed, none knew 
the fate of General Miles nor of the Bannocks that had 



already confronted one another on the banks of the 
Clark's Fork. 

Colonel Miles viewed the approaching autumn of 
1878 with relief During this time "active operations 
were still suspended, as the entire country had been 
cleared for the second time of hostile Indians."'*^ Based 
at the newly established Fort Keogh at the mouth of 
the Tongue River, Miles determined to use the period 
of respite by mixing "military duty with pleasure."''' 
The commander organized an expedition "to establish 
a wagon route and telegraph line west of Fort Keogh, 
to reconnoitre [sic] the country, and also to visit 
Yellowstone Park."-*^' Ten officers and 1 00 "of the most 
experienced soldiers" would accompany four civilians, 
five ladies (including Miles' wife Mary and daughter 
Cecilia) and two other children on a "leisurely" west- 

'" Letter of J.V. Hayden, U.S. Geologist, to Carl Shurz, Secre- 
tary of the Interior, Sept. 1, 1878. U.S.D.I.. 0.1. A.. General Files. 
Idaho, H 1605/1878. 

" Colonel John Gibbon to Adjutant General. Missouri Div., 
Sept 1, 1878. U.S.D.W'., A.G.O., Old Records, Division., 7309/ 
1878. In Brimlow, 181. 

'- From map in Aubrey L. Haines, The Bannock Indian Trail 
(Bozeman, Mont.: Artcraft Printers, 1964). 

'-' Brimlow, 183. From Gibbon to Assistant .Adjutant General. 
Missouri Div., Sept. 4, 1878. 

'■* James S. Brust and Lee H. Whittlesey, ""Roughing It Up the 
\'ellowstone to Wonderland:' The Nelson Miles/Colgate Hoyt 
Party in Yellowstone National Park, September 1878," Montana 
The Magazine of Western Histoiy 56, (Spring 1996), 58, quotes 
from the diary of Colgate Hoyt's account of a t\vo-month journey 
through Yellowstone. 

15 Brust and Whittlesey, 58; Brimlow 182. 

'" Annual Report of the Secretary of War for the Year 1878 
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1878), 67; Brust and 
Whittlesey, 58. 

" Brust and Whittlesey, 58. 

'* Biographical information about Miles comes from General 
Nelson A. Miles, Personal Recollections and Obsei-vations of 
General Nelson A. Miles Embracing a Brief View of the Civil 
War or From New England to the Golden Gate and the Story of 
His Indian Campaigns with Comments on the Exploration. De- 
velopment and Progress of Our Great Western Empire (Chicago: 
The Werner Company, 1896), 294-301; Virginia W. Johnson, The 
Unregimented General: A Biography of Nelson A. Miles ( Bos- 
ton: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1962) 2 12-2 13; Nelson A. Miles, 
Serving the Republic: Memoirs of the Civil and Military Life of 
Nelson A Miles Lieutenant-General. United States Army (New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1911), 193-196; Dumas Malone (ed.), 
Dictionar}- of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1933), 614-616. Reference istotheNez Perce War of 1877 
in which Miles defeated Chief Joseph at the Battle of Bear Paw- 
Mountains. Also, see a biographical sketch of Miles by Robert 
M. Utiey in Paul Andrew Hutton (ed.). Soldiers West: Biogra- 
phies from the Military Frontier (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press), 213-227. 

''' Miles, Serving the Republic. 192. 

-" Miles, Personal Recollections, 294. 



20 



Annals of Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 



ward journey. Many of the soldiers were members of 
the 5th Infantry marching band.-' 

Leaving Fort Keogh, the entourage, replete with 
camp equipage, wagons, pack trains, and saddle horses, 
sauntered up the Yellowstone River to Rosebud Creek. 
Miles recalled that this portion of the trip was "a con- 
tinuous delight."'-- Game abounded and the waters of 
the upper Yellowstone provided ample trout for meals. 
Riding on a route similar to that taken by the ill-fated 
General George A. Custer in late June of 1876, the 
party camped along the Little Bighorn within the shad- 
ows of the hill-strewn battlefield, taking time to "ex- 
amine" the topography of the area. 

Within two weeks after leaving Fort Keogh, the party 
approached Fort Custer, situated on a high bluff be- 
tween the confluence of the Big Horn and Little Big- 
horn Rivers.-^ As the group skirted the northern reaches 
of today's Gallatin National Forest and "neared the 
Yellowstone Park," Miles received word of the Bannock 
band heading through the Park. The Indians had raided 
and were "on the warpath" in Idaho. The colonel be- 
lieved the invasion "meant devastation to the settle- 
ments of our district of country." His later writings re- 
veal no ambiguity as he recalled "I at once prepared to 
check any such invasion."-'^ 

Miles had long since learned not to let an opportu- 
nity pass him by. grasping every moment for glory that 
presented itself Historian Robert Utley sums up the 
feisty commander's character by noting that Miles: 

was destined to become one of a small handful of suc- 
cessful Indian-fighting generals. . . A powerful ambi- 
tion almost unlimited in its ends as well as in its means 
spurred him time and time again to solid achievement. 
It also drove him to disparage the achievements and 
abilities of others, to share laurels with bad grace, and 
to exploit every influence to advance his fortunes. 
Coloring the ambition was an acute defensiveness over 
his lack of a formal education; he had learned by self- 
study and experience and had risen by merit from the 
lowly status of Boston crockery clerk to major general 
and corps commander.-^ 

The Civil War provided Miles with his chance to 
prove his merit on the battlefield. Wounded numerous 
times while in command. General Hancock described 
his actions at Fredericksburg as "most admirable and 
chivalrous."-^ By the end. Miles had participated in all 
but one of the major campaigns of the war. 

The Indian Wars soon became a new theater for the 
military man to perform. In the 1875 Red River War 
on the Staked Plains, he campaigned against Cheyennes, 
Kiowas, and Comanches. Later, he assisted in the wars 



against the Sioux in Montana, driving Sitting Bull into 
Canada while dispersing other bands. 

In 1877, he had marched more than 160 miles to in- 
tercept Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce at the 
Battle of Bear Paw Mountains.-^ The effort followed 
Chief Joseph's brilliant military feint. Chased by 
Howard from the west and blocked on the Clark's Fork 
by Col. Samuel D. Sturgis (fi-om Miles' command), 
the Nez Perce appeared to move south toward the Stink- 
ing Water River (September 8, 1877), while the main 
body of Indians traveled northward. Humiliated, Sturgis 
finally realized he had been duped. Catching up with 
Howard, he awaited the reproach of an angry Colonel 
Miles.-^ One year later, the determined Miles would 
assume personal direction from the beginning. No sub- 
ordinates would be provided a chance to bungle the 
effort. Indeed, Lt. Colonel George P. Buell, post com- 
mander of Fort Custer, also received word of the 
Bannocks and organized a "Bannock Trip" in order to 
stop the Indian advance. But Miles would leave no time 
for Buell to catch up.-^ 

On catching word of the approaching Bannocks, 
Miles considered his options. They would likely leave 
Yellowstone by one of two passes. "I was obliged," he 
recalled, "to divide my limited force in order to inter- 
cept them at either point."^'' Forty men were sent un- 
der Lt. Hobart K. Bailey to Boulder Pass, "a very rough 
and difficult trail,"^' flowing to the north above the 
Lamar Valley of Yellowstone Park. Some thirty others 
accompanied the non-combatants to "the nearest mili- 
tary post" of Fort Ellis, twenty-two miles away,^- near 
present-day Bozeman. Miles, with about thirty-five 



-' Richard Upton (comp. and ed.). Fort Custer on the Big Horn 
1877-1898 its history and personalities as told and pictured by 
its contemporaries (Glendaie, Calif.: The Arthur H. Clark Com- 
pany, 1973), 49-50. 

-- Miles, Personal Recollections, 295. 

-^ Ibid. 

-'' Quoted in Miles, Personal Recollections, 295. Also, see 
Miles, Serving the Republic, 193. 

-^ Utley, Frontier Regulars, 220. 

-''Dumas Malone (ed.). Dictionary of American Biography XII, 
614. Miles was only twenty-six on Oct.21, 1865, when he gained 
the rank of major-general of volunteers of the II Army Corps. He 
commanded some 26,000 officers and volunteers. 

"Malone, 614-615. 

-* See Utley, Frontier Regulars, Chapter Sixteen, 296-319. 

2" Upton, 48-50, 52. 

'" Miles, Serving the Republic, 193. 

^' Miles, Personal Recollections, 295. 

^- Waukesha Freeman. October 10, 1878. Private Sanger's ac- 
count states that "When within twenty-two miles of Fort Ellis, 
the general received a dispatch, saying that the hostile Bannocks 
were moving down Clark's Fork." 



Winter 1999 



21 



men, would backtrack east and attempt a forced march 
up the Clark's Fork to position his contingent along 
the more likely travel corridor.-'-' 

The remaining group of some thirty soldiers and of- 
ficers moved toward the Absarokee (Crow) Agency 
southeast of Fort Custer. Miles dispatched "scouts" 
ahead of the force in an attempt to acquire Crow allies 
and add the military might of numbers to his rapidly 
dwindling command. Although "friendly with the 
Bannock Indians," the Crow, in Miles words, "had al- 
ways been loyal to the government and friendly to the 
whites."-'"^ The colonel sought to persuade the Crow 
that the Bannocks intended to plunder their reservation 
and "neighboring settlements." Other inducements— 
"food, ammunition, and all the horses they could cap- 
ture"-would be offered as well. On a mission for mili- 
tary converts. Miles contldently strolled into the agency. 

The scouts" initial efforts seemed successful. The 
Crow informed them that, following the arrival of the 
command, they would accompany Miles on his jour- 
ney southward. Upon the colonel's arrival, the Crow 
warriors cast a confounded gaze toward the small force. 
With thoughts of the pounding inflicted on the mili- 
tary by the Nez Perce in 1877, the Crow asked when 
the main command would arrive. Miles replied that his 
small group comprised the command in its entirety. 
Although "assured that although this was the only com- 
mand we had," Miles attempted to persuade the Crow 
that "it was composed entirely of experienced Indian 
fighters, that every man in it was a 'medicine' man, 
and that we needed no greater force than this against 
the Bannocks."-'-'' The warriors considered the colonel 
overly optimistic. For the time, he and his men would 
be on their own. 

During this rendezvous. Miles did persuade a Crow 
named little Rock to provide intelligence concerning 
the whereabouts of the Bannock. The enigmatic mixed- 
blood (likely Crow and French)^^ allegedly traveled 
with the Bannock through Yellowstone. After what 
historian Bob Edgar describes as a "falling out," Little 
Rock headed for the Crow reservation.-'^ Capt. Erasmus 
Corwin Gilbreath, Commander of Company H of the 
1 Ith Infantry at Fort Custer from 1877 to 1882, re- 
called that Little Rock "had lived with them [the 
Bannock] for years and had taken his wife from amongst 
them. -After coming through the mountains with them, 
he had become displeased about something, and had 
slipped off and reported their coming at the Crow 
Agency just as General Miles arrived in that vicinity. "^^ 
Miles account of Little Rock suggests he met the inter- 
preter at the Crow agency and sent him from there to 
ascertain the position of the Bannocks. In the colonel's 



words, after encountering the roving band. Rock 
"passed on as if journeying in the same direction from 
whence they had come until he had gone a safe dis- 
tance away and then circled around, returned, and re- 
ported to me the night before the attack. "-''^ Presum- 
ably, Rock was versed in English, Bannock, and Crow. 
His utility as an interpreter between command and Crow 
would develop further. 

Unsuccessful as a recruiter, the colonel's impulsive 
tendencies revived and officer and soldier once again 
headed south along the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone. 
Within an hour two Crows described as "desperate- 
looking" approached.'*" They declared that they did not 
fear the Bannock and would assist Miles, and the latter 
noted that "their appearance, words and actions seemed 
to contlnn their professions." The example spawned 
several more waves of warriors, "the bravest first and 
the most prudent and timid last," Miles recalled, until 
75 warriors filled the ranks.'*' Among the new arrivals 
were Gray Bull, Big Nose. Little Light, Little Fire, 
Crazy Crane, Yellow Face, and Gray Blanket."*- Miles 
seemed accurate in describing the new complexion of 
the entourage: "It then appeared more like an Indian 
expedition than a march of white soldiers."'*-' 

By forced marches (with the officers likely on horse- 
back).'*'* the military and Crows headed south along 
the Clark's Fork. The group possibly pulled one or two 
of the wagons they had carried from Fort Keogh. With- 
out the burdens of artillerw thev managed to reach Heart 



" Miles, Personal Recollections, 295-296; Miles, Sening the 
Republic, 192. 

-" Miles, Personal Recollections, 296. For information regard- 
ing Crow service as scouts for the U.S. military during the Indian 
Wars, see Thomas W. Dunlay, Wolves for the Blue Soldiers In- 
dian Scouts and Auxiliaries with the United States Army, 1S60- 
1890. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982). 

^-'^ Miles, Personal Recollections. 296. 

-'* In Fred .\. Hunt's account, "A Purposeful Picnic." Part 111 
Pacific Monthly XIX. (May. 1908). 523-531. Rock is identified 
as Rocque Barcoume. 

" Jeannie Cook, L>nn Johnson Houze, Bob Edgar, and Paul 
Fees, Buffalo Bill 's Town m the Rockies: .4 Pictorial Histoiy of 
Cody. (rvo/);;);g (Virginia Beach, Va.: Donning Compan>, 1996), 
34. ' ' " " 

■« Upton, 50. 

'■' Miles, Personal Recollections, 299. 

^"Ihid, 296. 

■'I Ibid. 

■*- Letter, Mardell Plainfeather, Park Ranger, Custer Battlefield 
National Monument, to Lillian Turner, Buffalo Bill Historical 
Center, February 7, 1989. 

■*-' Miles, Personal Recollections, 296. 

■*'' The officers and women had ridden on horses during the 
initial portion of the trip. See Miles, Personal Recollections, 295. 



22 



Mountain by the afternoon of September 2. ''^ The hghtly 
cedared and pined hills on the northwest side of the 
bluff provided a perfect view of the long, green-cov- 
ered Bald Ridge just to the south of the treacherous 
Clark's Fork Canyon."*^ A "pocket" in the mountain 
concealed the soldiers. Crows, horses and pack mules. 

Miles ordered a few of the scouts to occupy the crests 
of the high surrounding buttes. With field glasses and 
telescopes "under the cover of some cedar or pine bush," 
they scanned Bald Ridge twelve miles to the west and 
the long valley floor leading northward where a large 
bend in the river turned its waters toward Fort Custer.'* '' 
Until "noon the next day,"''^ a small contingent of of- 
ficers, scouts, and Indians searched "with a powerfiil 
field glass.""*' Miles had warned that each time an in- 
dividual scoped he was "never to reveal as much as the 
top of his head over the crest unless it was covered by 
some bush or tall grass."-''*' The effort paid off 

Around eleven o'clock the morning of September 3, 
a thin line of movement could be seen moving at the 
top of Bald Ridge some twelve miles to the west. It 
slowly traversed down a tortuous, rocky path to the 
valley below. About six miles fi^om the "pocket," the 
commander and company watched as approximately 
eighty Bannocks with some 250 horses set up a camp 
roughly six miles to the north. The location they chose 
placed them at the confluence of the Little Sand Cou- 
lee and the Clark's River.""' 

The camp, on a large island just before the north- 
ward bend and on the west bank of the river, situated 
the Bannock in an ideal location for water and adequate 
defense. To the south, east and west, rolling hills pro- 
vided a position for lookouts to scan a long, tlat plain 
leading to Heart Mountain. The river had spent millen- 
nia carving out sheer cliffs as it meandered round the 
bend, leaving but a small sliver of incline on its south- 
em end by which it could be ascended. To the west, 
large sagebrush partially camouflaged the camp and a 
long hill parallel to the bend in the river, approximately 
800 yards away, blinded one's view of the village if 
looking at it from the plain on the west. Among the 
sagebrush on the northwest bank, grasses fed by an 
occasionally spilling river supplied ample forage for 
the horse herd. Large cottonwood trees also supplied a 
scattered shade along the banks. Miles recalled the ac- 
tions of the Bannocks on reaching the campsite: 

[They] unsaddled and turned out their horses — quite 
a large herd — posted their videttes or lookouts on the 
bluffs immediately adjacent to the camp, built their 
camp fires, and settled down apparently confident of 
their safety, and utterly unconscious of the strong com- 
mand concealed in their vicinity. ^- 



Aiinals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History 




Bald Ridge as viewed from Highway 120 

Fearing the often practiced tactic employed by Indi- 
ans under attack whereby a camp scattered on horse- 
back leaving no substantial trail to follow. Miles dem- 
onstrated a surprising amount of restraint while his 
command waited for evening to close the day. Storm 
clouds had begun to filter into the sky shadowing the 
Big Horn Basin. With the cover of night's darkness, 
Miles ordered his men northward to the vicinity of the 
camp. Prior to leaving, the colonel issued instructions 
to his men. "All bits, picket-pins, carbine snaps or other 
jingling appurtenances" were to be carefully wrapped 
and stored so as to deaden any sound hinting the ap- 
proach. -''^ Fears began to develop among the soldiers 
as to the odds of an attack on a Bannock camp approxi- 

■'-'' In Personal Recollections, 296, Miles suggests that his com- 
mand arrived at the base of Heart Mountain "one day in advance 
of the Bannocks" which implies September 3. However, in Ser\'- 
ing the Republic, 1 94. he notes that "we remained until near noon 
of the next day," which implies an arrival on the 2nd of Septem- 
ber. The report of the Battle in the Waukesha Freeman. October 
10, 1878, notes that the command "proceeded to Clark's Fork 
which they reached on the 2nd of September." I have interpreted 
the narrative with a Sept. 2 arrival. 

■"* Bronson Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name." Park 
County Historical Society archives, MS9V-41-4. I agree with 
Tolman's argument that "the command hid on the northwest side 
of Heart Mountain, which is about twelve to thirteen miles from 
the summit of Bald Ridge, while waiting for the first arrival of 
the Bannocks." The "presence of Cedar or pine would indicate 
the edge of Heart Mountain rather than Little Sand Coulee." 

■'■' Miles, Personal Recollections, 296. 

■•* Miles, Serving the Republic, 194. 

'" Ibid 

'" Miles, Personal Recollections. 291 . 

" Firearm tag on revolver donated by R. L. Fouse. He found 
and donated the 1865 Remington from battle site. Collection tag 
in Buffalo Bill Historical Center describes gun as found "in a 
gravel bar at the mouth of the Little Sand Coulee." This informa- 
tion discounts later historical assumptions placing the site of the 
battle farther southwest at Miling Bend. 

-''- Miles, Personal Recollections, 291 . 

5^ Fred A. Hunt, "A Purposeful Picnic," Part III, Pacific 
Monthly. XIX (May, 1908), 523. 



Winter 1999 



mately four times greater in number than the soldiers. 
Without the direct fighting aid of the Crows, who some 
referred to derogatorily as out only for the "seductive- 
ness of proffered lucre," some soldiers scorned "if we 
didn't get the Bannocks, they most assuredly would 
get us."-^'' 

Crossing to the west bank of the Clark's Fork during 
the evening of the 3rd, Miles positioned himself near 
three small hills (Bennett Butte) about two miles to the 
west of the Indian camp. For a brief time Miles may 
have attempted to use the elevated hills to reconnoiter 
the position of the encampment. Through the driving 
rainstorm, the exact location of the Bannock camp could 
no longer be ascertained. 

Once again Miles solicited the services of the Crow. 
The first two Crows to join the contingent were se- 
lected to find the Bannock encampment and gather in- 
telligence as to the placement of lodges, the horse herd, 
and b^nd numbers. Cloaked in blankets, the pair wan- 
dered through the rain into the camp, "pretending they 
were Bannocks looking after their horses." Returning 
a "little after midnight" on the 4th, they reported to 
Miles. "The Bannocks were in a strong position," and 
"we [will] get whipped if we [go] in there among the 
tall sagebrush [described as "towering above the head 
of a horse']."-"'-'' Considering the Crows incompetent as 
fighters, the soldiers continued to worry about their lim- 
ited numbers. "It was eminently necessary to use [a] 
strategy," Fred A. Hunt recalled, "to make reasonably 
sure that each bullet would find a billet, or that as many 
possible of the Bannocks should be placed hors-de- 
combat ere the paucity of the attacking force should be 
ascertained."-'''' 

Tacfically, Miles needed to create the appearance of 
larger numbers. Calling on Snyder, the bass-drummer 
of the regimental band with "lungs like bellows of the 



village blacksmith," the colonel laid out a plan. When 
the order for the skirmishers to fire was given, Snyder, 
who had been provided with brass, was to "blow his 
bugle vigorously and to rapidly change his musical 
coign of vantage, so that many buglers would appear 
to be 'splitting the ear' of day with their melody. "-^^ 
Snyder seemed intent on sticking to the formalifies of 
bugling. As "all soldierly' dufies hav[e] their specific 
trumpet summons," Snyder questioned Miles as to his 
musical preference. Waving off an}' particular choice 
of calls, he bawled out bluntly, "Blow like hell!"-* 

Tactical planning aside, the troops still needed to find 
the Bannocks. The column "groped [its] way along, 
not knowing exactly the direction of the camp."-"*^ In 
the blinding torrents of rain and darkness few signals 
could provide a beacon by which to home in on a par- 
ticular location. The flat plane seemed lifeless against 
the thundering sky. Movement would continue for only 
moments at a time; the entire command would be halted 
to search for the unknown location of the camp. Fi- 
nally, "just before daylight" around four in the morn- 
ing, a golden glow glinted from a distant depression to 
the East. An early-rising Bannock prepared a fire out- 
side a lodge. The dim hue provided Miles with the tar- 
get he had been looking for. 

'■"Hunt, 523. 

'-"^ Miles, Sen-mg the Republic 194; Miles, Personal Recollec- 
tions, 297, quote in parentheses from Waukesha Freeman. Fehru- 
aiy 19, 1880. 

-'' Hunt, 523. Henry \. Frith, an enlisted man in Captain 
Gilbreath's Company H traveling with Buell to rendezvous with 
Miles, reported that he heard others describe that the soldiers 
"were to fire as quickly as possible and not to take aim, so as to 
deceive the Indians as to their strength . . ." See Upton, 53. 

"Hunt, 523. 

58 Ibid. 

-'' Miles, Serving the Republic. 194. 




24 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



After reaching the thin hill angling the Clark's Fork 
some 800 yards west of the camp, Miles ordered his 
men to form into a skirmish line under the direction of 
Capt. Andrew Saydam Bennett. The events to come 
likely seemed routine for the dashing and adequately 
mustached 48-year-old Indian War veteran.^° Miles 
placed his fiall confidence in the fact that Bennett could 
lead a successful attack on the encampment. Miles wrote 
about him in January of 1880: 

Capt. Andrew S. Bennett, fifth U.S. Infantry, has been 
an officer of my regiment for years. During the great 
civil war he served his country with distinction, and 
enduring all the hardships incident to that long and 
desperate struggle for human rights, and the mainte- 
nance of a just and liberal government. After the war, 
the fortunes of service placed him on the western fi"on- 
tier where his services have been valuable to the gov- 
ernment and to the frontier settlements. He has served 
in most of the western territories east of the Rocky 
Mountains, maintaining an honorable record for devo- 
tion to his profession, and faithfulness in the discharge 
of every duty; he was engaged in numerous campaigns 
and several battles.*' 

With Bennett leading the charge, the infantry shifted 
from a vertical march to a makeshift horizontal skir- 
mish line, unable to see clearly. Miles ordered the Crows 
to the right flank and instructed all to focus on the flick- 
ering fire as the point of attack. Halting several times 
to adjust to the darkness and re-acquire the light, the 
command moved silently through the sagebrush. Cap- 
tain Bennett coaxed his men forward along the right of 
the line. Entering into the lower plain adjacent to the 
bend in the river, the troops encountered the Bannock 
herd. Slowly yet deliberately, the Crows moved to the 
left of the skirmishers, gathering the herd to the rear. 

Closing in, the camp became visible and the "pearly 
dawn" revealed about twenty lodges nestled on the west 
bank and the island. The large sage bushes concealed 
the troops from the unsuspecting, and for the most part 
still asleep. Bannocks. As the troops neared to 100 
yards, Captain Bennett and his men readied them- 
selves.^- Miles motioned for Snyder to provide the call. 

The "sweet air of early morning" ended with a terse 
"Fire!" followed by the "crash of twenty-five rifles dis- 
turbing the tense and quiet expectancy."^^ The portly 
Snyder ran from one side of the line to the other pro- 
viding a "pot-pourri of calls" until the "melody ex- 
pired in a dismal wail" after he tripped over a root. 
Dropping the bugle, Snyder reached for his gun and 
"joined in the ping-pong of the fijsillade."^'* Bennett 
commanded assurances to his men, guiding them for- 
ward toward the village. 



The stillness of morning shattered as bullets bit into 
the Bannock lodges. Dismayed, frightened, and yet 
determined, the Indians did react. Some sprung from 
their lodges to swim the river, leaving their belongings 
in an attempt to outrun the gunfire.^^ Others set up an 
impromptu defense of desultory fire in the direction of 
the troops. One of the Bannocks managed to sight in 
the Crow warrior Two Crows as he worked to capture 

'" Bronson Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name." Park 
County Historical Society archives, MS9V-41-4, Tolman notes 
that Bennett was bom February 8, 1 830, in Auburn, New York. 

*' Letter from Maj. Gen. N.A. Miles, U.S. A. to Mr. Chas. W. 
Bennett, Waukesha, Wisconsin. In Waukesha Freeman, Feb. 19, 
1 880, 4. The Report and Collections of the State Historical Soci- 
ety of Wisconsin (Madison; David Arwood, State Printer, 1879), 
472, notes that "In April, 1861, Andrew S. Bennett was made a 
Second Lieutenant in the Fifth Wisconsin regiment. He served in 
action during the Civil War at Williamsburg, Richmond, Antietam, 
Gettysburg, and the battles of the Wilderness. It seems ironic that 
Captain Bennett should survive some of the bloodiest battles of 
the Civil War, only to die in an easy morning surprise attack on a 
small group of sleeping Indians." 

'- Hunt notes (page 524) that Bennett, "forming his command 
of eighteen or so men under cover of the sagebrush, led the charge 
. . . ." This does contradict his later description of "twenty-five 
rifles." 

" Hunt, 523-524. 

^^ Ibid., 524. 

*5 Miles, Personal Recollections, 299. 




Bannock prisoner, Sept. 1878 



Tinter 1999 




Bannock prisoners fi-om the "Miles Fight' 



a portion of the horse herd, shooting a lead ball into his 
abdomen. 

For about twenty minutes, fire and smoke sparked 
throughout the village and Miles ordered Bennett to 
charge the camp. Leading the attack adjacent to the 
upstream point of the island, "moving on foot from the 
right to the left of the line," Bennett fell to the ground, 
a large hole puncturing the center of his chest, exiting 
below his right shoulder.*^*^ Without their captain the 
troops continued their charge, the fire from their Spring- 
field 45-70's forcing the remaining defenders to furi- 
ously ford the river or surrender. Their horse herd re- 
moved, ele\en of their band dead, and 31 captured, 
about half of the approximately eighty Bannocks man- 
aged to escape within the bluffs of the Little Sand Cou- 
lee or among the Cottonwoods along the Clark's Fork.*''' 
By six that morning, silence returned to the plain. 

Before the fighting had ended. Miles exaggerated that 
■"there was scarcely a Crow Indian, and not a single 
Bannock horse, to be seen in the valley. ""^^ With the 
booty of battle acquired, as had been their ordered ob- 
jective, many of the Crows returned to the agency. 
"Some of them did not stop until they had reached the 
agency, a distance of seventy-five miles," the Colonel 
reported, yet others "left their captured stock in the 
hands of their friends four or five miles back in the 
foot-hills, and remmed to the assistance of the froops."^^ 
Many of those that remained aided the soldiers. With 



the entire camp, 250 horses, and 32 Bannocks captured, 
the troops focused on burying the dead, securing the 
prisoners, and setting up a camp for themselves. 

There were wounded on both sides. With numerous 
Bannocks injured. Dr. Rosten G. Redd attempted to 
patch up individuals on both sides. ^" Nothing could 
revive Captain Bennett nor one other man (described 
by Frith as a Frenchman and likely a reference to Little 
Rock).^' Redd had propped Bennett's body against a 
tree "with the shoulders bare" to examine the wound 
and an orderly wiped a bloody froth from the captain's 
still lips.^- Wrapped in a blanket by Private Sanger of 
Bennett's company, the body was "placed on a horse 

'''■ Ibid. The quote is from the IVatilieslia Freeman. October 10, 
1870. In Buffalo Bill's Town in tlie Rockies: A Pictorial History 
of Cody. Wyoming. Bob Edgar suggests that Bennett was "on horse- 
back and gave the order to fire into the lodges." However. 1 ha\e 
found no evidence to corroborate the assertion. 

'>' Waukesha Freeman. October 10. 1878. .Account of Pri\ate 
Sanger states that "'quite as man>' Indians escaped as v\ere cap- 
tured." 

''* Miles, Personal Recollections, 299. 

"" Ibid. 

"" Hunt inaccurately named the surgeon as Major Henr\ R. 
Tilton (p.524). Later he noted that Tilton attended to "all unsurgical 
wounds." Perhaps Tilton assisted surgeon Redd w ith the wounded, 
yet neither Miles or any other accounts refer to Tilton. 

'1 Frith, 54. 

'-Miles, Personal Recollections, 300; report of Henry .A. Frith 
in Upton, 53. 



26 



Annals oi Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 



and [taken to] the camp three miles away on the stream 
now called Bennett's Creek in honor of the dead of- 
ficer."^^ It seemed ironic to the soldiers, as it did to 
Miles, that a "soldier who had risked his life on many 
a hard-fought battlefield... must meet his death at last."'''' 

Another soldier, Private McAtee, also received a 
wound in the arm, yet would recover. Little Rock, how- 
ever, met the same fate as Bennett. When the bullets 
stopped flying, the soldiers realized that he, too, had 
been killed. Dr. Redd tended to Two Crow's abdomi- 
nal wound as well. Realizing the warrior would not 
recover, he injected morphine to deaden the pain. Two 
Crows died later that day.^^ 

Shortly after the morning battle. Lt. Col. Buell's eight 
troops of cavalry arrived. Capt, Gilbreath reported fol- 
lowing Buell with some 40 wagons, 250 pack mules 
loaded with 350 pounds each, and 50 infantrymen of 
the 1 Ith's Company H.^^ Enlisted man Henry A. Frith 
recalled that as they neared the site, a courier could be 
seen a mile or more to the west "riding at a lope."''^ 
Frith continued: 

We did everything possible to attract his attention in 
order to discover the whereabouts of General Miles; 
we fixed small arms and halooed to little purpose; we 
finally fired off a piece of artillery we had with us, but 
although he must have heard the racket, he kept his 
lope and even seemed to increase it. Evidently he had 
his orders to stop for nothing. I afterwards discovered 
that the courier was my friend Joe Hart of the 2nd Cav- 
alry with a dispatch from General Miles to telegraph 
the fight. As we neared the scene of the fight we met 
one and two Indians, evidently 'Crows,' each driving 
small bands of captured horses. They too kept going 
and didn't want any familiarity.''^ 

Buell's arrival apparently sparked a heated argument 
between Miles and Buell. Frith reported: 

A soldier told me of a stormy meeting between Gen- 
eral [Lt. Col.] Buell and General [Colonel] Miles. Buell 
complained that couriers from General Miles, that 
morning and the evening before especially, studiously 
kept away from his command, and that if the Bannocks 
had 'taken in' Miles' small command, that he felt sure 
that he would have been blamed for not getting in time 
for the fight; that in justice to his command he would 
make an official report of all the circumstances of the 
affair. Buell said that he had sent Miles a courier the 
evening before and that it was his opinion that the whole 
Indian camp could have been captured without firing a 
shot and that he would hold General Miles responsible 
for the death of Captain Bennett. '^ 



With the battlefield secured, the last of the prisoners 
were rounded up. Remaining beside the "rapid, clear, 
trout stream that came down from the mountains," the 
command camped in the shadows of the butte during 
the evening. Two Crows, "a very popular man in the 
tribe," was laid to rest at the top of its easternmost hill. 
His body was "bedecked with all the valuables that he 
had possessed, as well as some belonging to his 
finends."^*^ Miles also noted that "his body was lifted 
on the shoulders of four of his comrades, who slowly 
moved up the side of the butte chanting their sorrow in 
low, moumftil tones, while the other Indians bewailed 
his loss according to the custom of their people."^' 

Fred A. Hunt noted that Rock was buried in the same 
location: "the Crows had made a shallow grave on the 
summit of an adjacent hill for the interpreter and the 
Crow." In that location, he reported, "they were en- 
tombed by the superposition of rocks and small boul- 
ders, so that a coyote-proof mausoleum was pro- 
duced."^- At least one of the remaining Crows revealed 
frustration either from the death of a comrade or the 
inability to capture any horses. "A squaw had been 
killed," Frith remembered, "who was buried by the 
soldiers, and dug up by a Crow, who had probably 
missed the main chance — the horses." This individual 
later "dug up the dead squaw and dragged her around 
by a rope at the tail of his horse. "^■'' The soldiers re- 
buried the woman. Other Barmocks were buried along 
the banks of Bennett creek to the southeast of the butte.^'* 

The account of Fred A. Hunt also implies that Buell's 
main column may not have fully arrived or assisted 
with the confinement of the prisoners. Camped in the 

'5 Waukesha Freeman, October 10, 1878. Bennett Creek runs 
to the south of the Bennett Butte and Little Rocky Creek drifts to 
the north of the Butte. 

'■» Miles, 300. 

'5 Hunt, 524. 

'"' Upton, 49. The date of September 7 is reported by Gilbreath 
as when "I left the post at the same time as the cavalry on Sep- 
tember 7, and we camped together at Fly Creek that night." This 
date would make the arrival on the day of the battle an impossi- 
bility — thus the date of September 7 was either mislabeled by 
Gilbreath or recorded incorrectly by Upton. 

" Upton, 52. 

'8 Ibid. 

■"Upton, 52-53. Official numbers in "Chronological list of ac- 
tions, &c., with Indians from January I 1837, to January, 1891" 
lists the September 4 battle on the Clark's Fork (Mont.) as 1 Of- 
ficer killed, 1 Citizen , 2 enlisted men (Little Rock and Two 
Crows), 1 1 Bannocks killed and 31 captured. 

*" Miles, Personal Recollections, 300. 

8' Ibid. 

82 Hunt, 526. 

83 From Frith's account in Upton, 54. 



Winter 1999 



shadows of the butte. Hunt asserted that "our cares 
[now] commenced, as they [the Bannock prisoners] out- 
numbered us four to one, and there was no place where 
they could be confined."^- The soldiers instructed the 
captives, reported by Frith as "mostly squaws and chil- 
dren,"^^ to sit in a circle around "a mammoth fire." 
Major John J. Upham, commander at Camp Brown, 
later reported Ploqua as the Bannock chief among the 
captured. ^^ A new interpreter, referred to as Gushing, 
apparently informed the Bannocks that if anyone stood 
without permission he would be summarily shot.^^ 

Numerous "articles of luxury, such as gold pens and 
jewelry," were taken by the soldiers as the spoils of the 
battle before they gathered the prisoners around the fire. 
Private Sanger believed most of these items had "been 
taken from white men and made a queer contrast with 
the appearance of their later possessors."^'' Stripped of 
their possessions and facing an uncertain future, the 
captured sat silently before the tlickering tlames, their 
f^ces casting stoic shadows against the trees. 

The Bannocks seemed dismayed by their defeat. "I 
spoke to a young white [perhaps lighter in color but 
still Bannock] squaw who spoke fairly good English," 
Frith remembered as he encountered the captives ear- 
lier that day, "and she said that had the Indians known 
that Miles had only 30 men (she didn't consider the 
Crow scouts) the Indians could have killed them all."'^° 

Hunt reported that the doctor continued to tend "all 
unsurgical wounds; Indians and soldiers alike."'" He 
recalled one particular young boy who was suffering 
from wounds received during the engagement: 

He was very badly wounded in half-a-dozen places, 
notwithstanding which he fought like a wild-cat, bit- 
ing, scratching and kicking at his captors ere he was 
taken. Afterward he refused the proffered food and 
snarled and glowered at the soldiers, so his wounds 
had to be dressed forcibly while he was under duress. 
But all the time he never allowed one expression of 
pain to escape him, although he must have suffered 
agonizing torments. Yet this boy was quite a pet at 
Fort Keogh a few months subsequently; the kindness 
of the soldiers tamed him, as well as many another 
Indian. '- 

Prospects proved slightly better for the Bannocks that 
managed to escape capture along the Clark's Fork. Two 
groups seem to have gone in opposite directions from 
the battlefield. One worked its way north, entering the 
Crow Agency. Although Miles detached Lt. Oscar F. 
Long with a small contingent to "intercept and capture 
the escapes [sic]," as Hunt described it, "they [the 
Bannocks] unquestionably were hospitably received and 



... the similarity of appearance between the tribes en- 
abled their undetectable assimilation."''-'' 

Miles, his mission complete and his drive for recog- 
nition temporarily satisfied, set his sights once again 
toward the western mountains by which the Bannock 
had just come.''"* Although the vacationers mourned the 
loss of Captain Bennen, the party did not have to con- 
tend with any further military campaigning during the 
trip.''^ He sent couriers to Lt. Bailey and also to the 
wagon-train going to Fort Ellis so as to direct the vaca- 
tioners to plan to rendezvous with him at Mammoth 



*•' Bob Claycomb, a Cody resident who has recovered bone, 
bullet, and shell fragments, mentioned the removal of a decom- 
posed body (sometime during Sheriff Blackburn's term as Park 
County Sheriff) from the banks of the river southeast of the Buttes. 
See Addison Bragg, "Battle Relic Sparked His Interest In Indian 
Wars," Billings Gazette. June 26, 1977, in which Fred Vickery 
noted that the Bannocks were buried "just east of the present cem- 
etery" in Clark. On a "Geologic Map of the Bighorn Basin, Wyo- 
ming" by C.A. Fisher, 1905, Bennen Creek, on the north, joins 
the Linle Rocky, on the south, appro.ximately one mile west of 
the town of Clark. Bennen Creek then flows to the south and east 
of the butte, joining the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone River 
approximately two miles north of Little Sand Coulee. 

85 Hunt, 525. 

^* Upton, 54. 

*" See Washburn, 242. Upham mistakenly listed the date of the 
battle as Sept. 5 and also incorrectly stated that "the troops kill[ed] 
a good many horses — mostly stolen Americans — and all the 
squaws and children." This assertion prompted many incorrect 
appraisals of the battle in the 20th centur\. Upham's source was 
listed as Dick Washakie's son, "just in from Clark's Fork." 

«« Hunt, 525. 

*' Waukesha Freeman. October 10, 1878. 

'"Upton, 54. 

9' Hunt, 525. 

« Ibid., 526. 

"^^Ibid., 527. Although the Crows fought against the Bannocks 
in order to acquire horses, the two tribal groups had trade and 
hunting affiliations. .Although cultural differences were surely no- 
ticed by the Crow and Bannocks, Indian agents on the Crow res- 
ervation likely, as Hunt implies, had a difficult time distinguish- 
ing between the two tribes. 

'••For an account of the vacation to Yellowstone and informa- 
tion pertaining to photographs see James S. Brust and Lee H. 
Whittlesey, '"Roughing It Up the Yellowstone to Wonderland': 
The Nelson Miles/Colgate Hoyt Party in Yellowstone National 
Park, September 1878" Montana: The Magazine of Western His- 
tory, 56 (Spring 1996), 58. In Virginia W. Johnson's biography 
of Miles, The Unregimented General, she notes on page 213 that 
Govemor Potts of Montana telegraphed Sherman in Washington. 
In the message the Govemor declared "our people are clamorous 
for Miles to command all Montana troops." Govemor Potts to 
Sherman, Helena, Montana, Sept. 1 2, 1878. Military Records of 
Nelson A. Miles. 

■^5 Miles biographer Virginia W. Johnson notes that Miles' wife 
Mary was "visibly shaken" at the news of Bennett's death. See 
The Unregimented General, 213. 



28 



Annals of Wyoming :TKe Wyoming History Journal 



Hot Springs. Frith's company under Lt. Col. Buell 
transported the Bannock captives back to Fort Custer.'^ 

Capt. Gilbreath's detachment, waiting five days while 
Capt. Bennett's bod\ was embalmed and prepared to 
be transported, camped at the "edge of the mountains 
and . . . feasted on the most beautiful scenery that I 
[Gilbreath] have ever seen." After a week, his contin- 
gent traveled north through Pryor Gap, passing "old 
Fort C.F. Smith, which v/as buih near where the Big 
Horn River comes through the mountains.'"'^ Private 
Sanger and Lt. Woodruff from Capt. Bennett's com- 
pany, accompanied his body to Waukesha, Wiscon- 
sin.'* Ironically, missing the action of the battle, on 
Gilbreath's return to Fort Custer on September 20, 
1878, he commented that the Bannock Campaign was 
"about as pleasant a campaign as I was ever in."'' 

The same day the Waukesha Freeman printed an ac- 
count of the battle by Private Sanger, October 10, 1878, 
developments of another kind were taking place at 
Camp Brown on the Wind River Reservation. Dr. 
Hayden and his entourage had arrived at the fort, wrap- 
ping up a survey of the region. Photographer William 
Henry Jackson used the opportunity to take some pic- 
tures and gather information about the reservation. On 
October 8, 1878, he reported encountering a familiar 
character in the region. After the Englishman and a 
few of his Indian friends "escaped with their hair," 
Richard Beaver Dick Leigh traveled to Camp Brown. 
(Pam and Tadpole of the Bannocks would soon be- 
come his father and mother-in-law after he married their 
daughter Susan). Perhaps joining the Bannocks from 
Fort Hall and the Eastern Shoshones on an annual fall 
hunt or helping Agent Danilson with continuing intel- 
ligence concerning the Bannocks, Jackson described 
meeting the trapper on August 8,1878: 

Dr. (Hayden) and I go on ahead. Meet Beaver Dick. 
All Indians away from the post and agency on hunt. 
Persuade Dick to go into camp with us to be photo- 
graphed. Lea\ e order for train to camp on Sage Creek. 
Dr. and I go on to the Post. Get dinner and some provi- 
sions for camp and ride back by another route. ''"^ 

On October 10, Jackson described photographing 
"Dick's Indians until noon."'^' A day later, however, 
he spent his time shooting pictures of less enthusiastic 
subjects. "Photographing Bannock prisoners in the fore- 
noon," the entry for the 1 1th stated. The prisoners were 
the last vestiges of Bannock resistance, captured by Lt. 
Hoel S. Bishop in a brief engagement one month prior. 

Lt. Bishop, with a detachment from Company G, had 
departed from Camp Brown on Sept. 10 after reports 
filtered in of escapees from the Bennett Butte fight. 



Two days after reaching the head of the Big Wind River, 
a group of the accompanying Shoshones captured seven 
Bannocks on the Dry Creek tributary. "^^ After what 

'"' See Miles, Personal Recollections. 300; Upton, 54. Two 
Stanley J. Morrow photographs on page 51 of Upton supposedly 
picture the Bannock warriors captured in the Bennett Buttes battle. 

'' Upton, 54-55, a continuation of Captain Gilbreath's story. 

'^ Waukesha Freeman. October 10, 1878. Bennett was buried 
Wednesday, October 9, 1878, under the direction of the Masonic 
Fraternity. All businesses in Waukesha were closed from 3 to 4 
p.m. to observe the service. 

9" Upton, 55. 

'00 Thompson, 105-106. 

io'ft;(^., 106. 

'0- Thompson, 107. The two engagements were sometimes re- 
ported as the same and thus confusion exists as to the e.xact num- 
ber captured and killed and the specific location of each battle. 
See Official Record of Engagements with Hostile Indians, Lieu- 
tenant General PH. Sheridan Commanding, which describes 
Bishop striking "a party of Bannocks on a tributary of the Snake 
River, Wyoming, kill[ing] one Indian and captur[ing] seven, to- 
gether with eleven horses and three mules: the prisoners had es- 
caped from the fight with Colonel Miles on Clark's Fork, Sep- 
tember 4th..." 




Bannock woman prisoner, photo made at Fort Keogh 



Winter 1Q99 



29 



some then describe as "a pursuit of two hundred and 
fifty miles,"'"-' Bishop "overtooi< and engaged on the 
16th""^'"' Bannocivs on the Buffalo Fork of the Snake 
River, "twenty miles south of Yellowstone lake."'"-'' 
Casualties were reported as two warriors killed, 20 In- 
dians and 14 animals captured.'"^ Crow scout Thomas 
LeForge, who accompanied Bishop, described the en- 
counter: 

The Bannock decided to surrender to the troops and 
they moved in a peaceful manner to do so. Neverthe- 
less, volleys of gun-fire were poured into them and 
several of them were killed. I remember that one 
woman had a thigh broken by a bullet. She hid out 
with her baby but she was discovered, brought into the 
agency, and cared for until her recovery. It seemed to 
me the killing of these Indians when it was plainly 
CMdent they were trying to surrender was a \iolation 
of the humanities. They did not respond to the fire."'"' 

As the captured Bannocks marched to Camp Brown 
to be processed, and photographed by Jackson, the "last 
mountain man of Wyoming" witnessed the end of a 
war he had watched from its beginning. Those prairie 
and forest fires that still smoldered in the Tetons and 
Yellowstone Park would soon be squelched with the 
coming of rain, winter, a new year, and eventually a 
new century. Other fires would not simply fade away. 
They would bum away pages of the record, char over 
truth, and enter the frenzied fingers of ambitious dia- 
rists. The tlames would be fanned into a mystery. 

Smoke from the soldiers' Springfields had barely be- 
gun to lift from the battlefield before m_\lh clouded 
recollections of events. Some contemporary accounts 
contain ludicrous assumptions, so touched with the hy- 
perbolic pen that they seem best suited for dime-nov- 
els. That many historians have reported such exaggera- 
tions as truth magnifies the dilemma, particularly when 
they consult only one or two sources. 

A ftirther issue concerns those who, not finding the 
"stuff of legends" amid Clark's Fork battle lore, have 
endeavored to create their own versions of the histori- 
cal record. In some cases, a universal framework has 
been established and General Miles merely placed in 
the milieu. He could just as easily fit the mold of an 
ambitious Gen. Custer storming across the Washita or 
a vicious Col. Chivington mowing down droves of in- 
nocents along a desolate Sand Creek. 

Many researchers studying the Battle of Bennett 
Butte, when confronted by contradictory or uninterest- 
ing infomiafion, have relied on another method of in- 
quiry: folklore and legend, or better yet, making some- 
thing up. Hence, in "new and improved versions," bur- 



ied Indians somehow managed to strew themselves 
across a riverbed, cannons carried themselves from 
Montana to the battlefield, and a horse suddenly ap- 
peared under Captain Bennett as he guided his men in 
the pre-dawn attack. And finally, shot through the heart 
and killed "instantly," the captain somehow found time 
to provide a few heroic last words to his comrades and 
make funeral arrangements before drifting from a state 
of total unconsciousness to eternal sleep. '"^ 

Exaggerations and distortions emerged immediateK' 
after the event. Frontiersman Finn Burnett reportedly 
happened upon the battlefield "the day following the 
massacre."'"'' The diary entry for the 5th reads: 

The thickets had been blown to bits by cannon shots, 
and the bodies of squaws and papooses lay with the 
remams of Bannock warriors amid the wreckage.. . The 
path along which the Bannock had fled, was still slip- 
pery with blood, pro\'ing thai they had transported many 
corpses and wounded soldiers."" 

The Burnett account has two problems: the descrip- 
tion of cannon destroying the thickets and the descrip- 
tion of bodies scattered across the battlefield. 

Many "historians" have given credence to Burnett's 
claims that cannonfire tore the Bannock camp apart on 
the morning of September 4, 1878. In their book about 
the trapper Richard "Beaver Dick" Leigh, Edith and 
William Thompson noted that "The soldiers turned a 
cannon on the 'renegades" and massacred them while 
the Crow scouts drove away two hundred and fifty of 
their horses."'" Another book follows suit with "while 
a cannon massacred the hos tiles, the Crow scouts drove 
away 250 of their horses."' '- The Archaeological Site 
Survey Form of an area known as "Miling Bend""' 

'"-^ George F. Price (comp. ), Across the Continent with the Fifth 
Cava/n'(lMevv York: D. Van Nostrand, 18831, 169. 

'""' The Record of Engagements with Hostile Indians Within the 
Military Division of the Missouri Lieutenant General P H 
Sheridan Comttianding, lists the Bishop engagement as Sept, 12. 

i«-^ Price, 169. 

^''"■Ibid 

""Thompson, 107. I have been unable to locate any primary 
documents that include this citation and thus it must be \ iewed 
with some skepticism. 

'""Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name," 4. 

'"''Thompson 106. Fora biography on Burnett, see Robert Beebe 
David, Finn Burnett Frontiersman: The Life and Adventures of 
an Indian fighter, mail coach driver, miner, pioneer cattleman, 
participant in the Powder River expedition, survivor of the Hav 
Field fight, associate of Jim Bridger and Chief Washakie (Glen- 
dale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1937). 

""Thompson, 106-107. 

'" Ibid., 106. 

"- Trenholm and Carley, 264. 

' " Also written as "Myling Bend." 



30 



Ajinals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



also assesses the situation, asserting incorrectly on two 
accounts that General Miles attacked "with canon [sic] 
at dawn."""* 

Suspicions must be raised in regard to Burnett's 
claims. Most notably, no other accounts of the battle, 
taken from soldier, scout, Indian or non-Indian, report 
the use of cannon in the engagement. To the contrary, 
Fred A. Hunt's apprehension prior to the attack had 
much to do with his doubts that "twenty-five rifles" 
could take an Indian encampment of some 80 persons. 
Even Capt. Gilbreath, who reported that he was taking 
a pack train "across the country to the mouth of Clark's 
Fork," noted no artillery in his supplies."^ 

The only account where artillery is described comes 
from Henry A. Frith, whose company followed Buell 
to the battlefield. Frith mentioned that at the sight of a 
courier riding more than a mile away, "we fixed small 
arms and halooed to little purpose..." until finally the 
men "fired off a piece of artillery we had with us."' '^ 

A second issue concerning cannon stems from the 
burdens involved in traveling with heavy field pieces. 
Miles, determined to leave Buell behind and curtail 
the current of the enemy as quickly as possible, would 
have been placing himself at a disadvantage by gather- 
ing burdensome cannon. Such equipment prevented 
efficient logistical movement. Furthermore, a command 
of only 30 men seems unlikely to be toting around large 
arms and shells. The fact that members of the 5th In- 
fantry (and a few of the 2nd Cavalry) accompanied the 
colonel, without any artillery units, supports a conclu- 
sion that artillery was not used. 

Burnett's claims also seem unreasonable when one 
considers descriptions of the attack on the Bannock 
encampment. Traveling in the dark amid sagebrush 
"taller than a horses back," Bennett's men were within 
1 00 yards before the first shot had been fired. For an 
artillery barrage to begin at such a moment would have 
placed Miles' own men in tremendous peril. They, too, 
stood well within the target range. 

An artillery scenario limits the role of the Crows in- 
volved, too. Capturing the herd of some 250 horses 
required a close proximity to the encampment as well 
as a quiet environment up until the point where the 
horses had been secured and the attack could begin. 
Had artillery shells burst into the morning darkness 
before this time, the horses would have likely scattered 
leaving the Crow empty-handed. Had they come after, 
Bennett and his men would have found themselves 
pummeled by "fiiendly fire." 

Burnett's short summary of events shows other faults. 
He noted that the "bodies of squaws and papooses lay 



with the remains of Bannock warriors amid the wreck- 
age.""'' Not only does this not fit with the officers' 
and soldiers' statements regarding burial of the dead, 
but it does not fit with the locafion in which some bod- 
ies were recovered in the 20th century (near the 
riverbank of Bennett Creek, south of the Butte). Al- 
though not concerned with the medical factors contrib- 
uting to disease. Miles' men (and Buell' s men for more 
than a week afterward) were camped not two miles from 
the battlefield. The stench from decaying bodies (all 
the more so if buried near the butte) would have added 
impetus to getting the dead beneath the ground as 
quickly as possible. 

Even the last portion of the entry, in which Burnett 
allegedly saw a "path along which the Bannock had 
fled" that was "still slippery with blood, proving they 
had transported many corpses and wounded soldiers 
[warriors]," presents problems. Foremost, such a "path" 
filled with Bannocks carrying wounded companions 
would have provided an easily identifiable trail for 
Miles' men to follow. On the contrary. Miles reported 
the difficulty encountered during "mop up" operations 
as the Bannocks had scattered in various directions very 
rapidly. Oscar F. Long's detachment, for instance, could 
not find, nor catch up to, the northern vectored 
Bannocks fleeing the battlefield. 

Most interesting, Burnett failed to mention any sol- 
diers. Certainly Miles command would have been in 
sight and definitely Buell's troops by the following day. 
Bennett's death, the Crow scouts, and all soldierly ac- 
tivity remain conspicuously absent from his account. 
However, as mentioned already, troops remained in the 
vicinity many days after the engagement, and certainly 
a frontiersman in the area would have been aware of 
such ongoing military activity. 

All in all, Burnett's story appears to be a grand fabri- 
cation. Perhaps the trapper had become familiar with 
military actions in the past and decided to create a gen- 
eralized scenario. Perhaps the story emerged as a tale 
told around a campfire. Whatever the case, the mo- 
tives that lay beneath the manufactured myth remain a 

"''Archaeological Site Survey Form, "Bannock Battlefield," 
48PA315 (Sept. 10, 1978). Park County, Wyoming. Site evalu- 
ated April, 1981. Investigators: Stuart W. Conner, Dr. Frank 
Wierzbinski, Denes Istvanffy, Michael Bryant, Aubrey Haines, 
and Wilber E. Bunn. Informants: Bronson Tolman; Fred and 
Louise Vickery. Survey contains map of site (Miling Bend), evalu- 
ation, one page of field notes (4/25/81), and archaeological site 
survey form. 

i'5 Upton, 48-50. 

I'^/Wrf., 52. 

'"Thompson, 106-107. 



Winter 1999 



31 



mystery. Unfortunately, historians have on many oc- 
casions taken the trapper at his word, and a distortion 
in the historical record has resuked. 

Writings regarding the battle years later have also 
tinted perceptions. Word choices have added impact to 
bullets, illuminating images in the mind of a battle that 
never was. The use of the word "massacre," as already 
suggested, tarnishes objectivity. It implies an indis- 
criminate slaughter reminiscent of Col. Chivington and 
the "Bloody 3rd's" attack, torture, and mutilation of 
Cheyennes along Sand Creek in 1864. By the same 
token the Archaeological Site Survey Form (Sept., 
1978) compares Col. Miles to Gen. George A. Custer. 
Referring to the battlesite. the survey states: 

"Here Gen. Miles pulled a Washita on a sleeping band 
of hostile Bannocks.'""^ Such a comment disregards 
contemporary military tactics in 1878, generalizes a 
"Sand Creek scenario" into the situation confronted by 
Col. Miles, and neglects the unique circumstances of 
the battle. Unlike Cheyenne's camped along Sand Creek 
in 1864 who were following military procedures and 
flying a flag of peace (and were attacked by Volun- 
teers, not Regulars), the Bannock band at Bennett Butte 
had raided on their journey and fell well within mili- 
tary guidelines designating them "hostile." Further- 
more, in the Battle of the Washita, Custer and some 
800 troopers from the 7th Cavalry attacked fifty-one 
lodges."^ Miles had no such firepower at Bennett Butte. 

The "massacre concept" has taken another strange 
turn in regard to the battle. Rather that assuming that 
the Indians were the victims of a bloodthirsty military 
company, some have turned the tables, manufacturing 
a fable of a different kind. In this scenario some inter- 
pret Burnett's statement pertaining to wounded Indi- 
ans ("transported many corpses and wounded soldiers") 
as a reference to dead infantrymen. Ironically, a docu- 
ment from the Wyoming State Archives (11/20/87) 
which states that "twenty Bannock lodges were attacked 
and all the women and children killed" also uses this 
plot. '2'' In Captain Bennett's "valiant attempt to put an 
end to the Indian outrages," the document describes 
that he and his men "were outnumbered by the Indi- 
ans, and consequently were massacred almost to a 
man."'-' Interestingly, Bennett and not Miles becomes 
the new "hero" in such a scenario. The noble and "val- 
iant" commander, attempting to "put an end to the In- 
dian outrages in that part of the Big Horn Basin," found 
the fate of Custer as he endeavored, outnumbered, to 
attack the Indian village.'-- 

Bennett also takes on the appearance of John Wayne 
in some depictions. Incapacitated by a lead missile that 



penetrated his heart and exited through the right shoul- 
der, most accounts describe Bennett's death as instan- 
taneous. Lt. Oscar F. Long's account in the Waukesha 
Freeman (February 19, 1880) notes that after being 
"pierced through the heart by the bullet of a ruthless 
savage," the Captain "lay upon the cold damp ground 
in a most cheerless mountain country. ..'dead on the 
field of glory.'"'--' Yet, referring to the same account, 
Bronson Tolman's "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name" 
states that "Army Surgeon Dr. Redd reached him 
(Bennett) in a few minutes and heard him say he wished 
to be buried in his home town in Wisconsin."'--' As in 
a Hollywood western, a voice has been given to the 
dead. One wonders if Capt. Bennett would have con- 
curred with the burial arrangements attributed to him. 

Such tidbits regarding deathbed speeches, the num- 
ber of casualties on either side, or the position of his- 
torical actors at a particular time seem, on the surface, 
mere inconsequential details. However, small facts pro- 
vide vital information in regard to an overall view of 
the battle. A reference to direction, the flow of a stream, 
or the descriptions of plant life can lead to a more com- 
plete analysis of events. When such minute details are 
fabricated or thrown in without substantiation, the en- 
tire scenario of an event can be turned around. Such 
has been the case with the Battle of Bennett Butte. 
Bronson Tolman managed to recognize the significance 
of Miles' description of his location while viewing the 
Bannocks descending Bald Ridge. The presence of ce- 
dar and pine trees, along with a distance often or twelve 
miles, does indeed indicate a location very close to Heart 
Mountain. 

A description by Lt. O.F. Long in the Waukesha Free- 
man proves to be more difficult to determine.'--'' Long 
noted that Bennett fell "near the upper end of the is- 
land." Tolman interpreted the "upper end" to mean "the 
right or north end of the skirmish line."'-'' Although 



"*• Archaeological Site Survey Form. 

"■^ See Ulley, Frontier Regulars, 150-151. Custer's men had 
trailed some 100 returning warriors, raiding through Kansas settle- 
ments, back to Black Kettle's village on the Washita. 

'-" Report of L. Blakesley, State Historical Archives, Nov. 20, 
1987. See also Addison Bragg, "Battle Relic Sparked His Interest 
In Indian Wars," Billings Gazette. June 26, 1977. 

'-' Report of L. Blakesley, State Historical Archives, Nov. 20, 
1987. 

'-- Report of L. Blakesley, State Historical Archives, Nov. 20, 
1987. 

'-' Waulieslta Freeman. February 19, 1880. 

'-■•Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name." 

^-^ Waulcesha Freeman. February 19, 1880. 

'-'' Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name." 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



Tolman argues that the soldiers attacked from the west, 
if Bennett was positioned on the right end of the skir- 
mish line and the northern end of the island, the direc- 
tion of the attack would have come from the east. An- 
other interesting account comes from Bob Edgar, ar- 
chaeologist and proprietor of "Old Trail Town" in Cody 
and co-author of Buffalo Bill 's Town in the Rockies: A 
Pictorial History of Cody, Wyoming. In the book, Edgar 
suggests that "Captain Bennett was on horseback and 
gave the order to fire into the lodges."'-^ 

Edgar told this author that Bennett's horse was sil- 
houetted against the rising sun and, thus, made an easy 
target for the Bannock warriors. Such an account adds 
to the battle's mysteries. Primary documentation indi- 
cates Bennett was "moving on foot from the right to 
the left of the line."'-^ Furthermore, the sun behind 
Bennett's back would have placed the beginning of the 
attack from the east toward the west, a physical impos- 
sibility considering descriptions of the battlefield (high 
cliffs to the east of the river). '-^ 

Untangling the written record renders only part of 
the story concerning the Battle of Bennett Butte. Arti- 
facts provide additional clues as to the locations. How- 
ever, artifactual materials recovered in the vicinity of 
the butte yield more questions than answers. With al- 
most 120 years stretched between the day of the battle 
and the present, the integrity of the battle theater is 
very poor. Coyotes, badgers and other rodents worked 
their way into rock-covered graves, scattering flesh, 
bones, and clothing for many miles in every direction. 
Children also discovered mysterious buttons, bodies, 
and other trappings. That many of these children have 
since died, without writing down the whereabouts of 
their item's removal, leaves few clues as to the loca- 
tion of their findings. In an interview with a reporter 
from The Billings Gazette (6/26/77), Fred Vickery re- 
membered growing up near Bennett Butte: 

We used to play around those buttes just east of the 
present cemetery. There were quite a few bodies up 
there at one time — Indians, I suppose — but from 
what I remember there wasn't much left of them. The 
badgers and prairie dogs had done a pretty good job of 
disturbing them.'^" 

New technologies sparked renewed interest in the 
battlefield as well. In the twentieth century, amateur 
archaeologists, arrowhead hunters, and farmers using 
mechanical plows uncovered an array of artifacts. An 
1 866 Springfield rifie recovered in the 1920s by a Mr. 
Lanko, who owned a ranch on Lime Creek, north of 
Bennett Creek, now is displayed in Bob Edgar's "Old 



Trail Town."'^' Unfortunately, no information concern- 
ing the removal of the rifle was provided other than "in 
the vicinity" of Bennett Butte. The only substantiated 
piece of evidence connecting the battle to a particular 
location was a Remington New Model Army revolver 
(.44 caliber) donated to the Buffalo Bill Historical Cen- 
ter by R.L. Fouse. The tag accompanying the donation 
of the Remington noted "This gun is thought to have 
been lost in the Battle of Bennett Buttes, near Clark. It 
was found by R. L. Fouse, in a gravel bar at the mouth 
of little Sand Coulee. Presented to the Museum by Mr. 
R. L. Fouse." 

Some primary historical evidence links distinct geo- 
graphic features to particular locations, thus assisting 
in determining prime artifact locations. The top of the 
butte in which Little Rock and Two Crows were bur- 
ied, for instance, seemed a likely spot in which some- 
thing could be found. Prior to World War II, longtime 
Cody resident Bob Claycomb uncovered a 45-70 shell 
casing, two phalanges, two additional bone fragments, 
and a mini-ball bullet. The phalanges originally were 
believed to be from one or both of the Crows, and the 
front-flattened bullet possibly that which killed Little 
Rock or penetrated Two Crows' stomach. Upon review 
of the alleged human remains, Dr. Mark Miller of the 
University of Wyoming noted that the "finger bones" 
were those of a pronghom, not a person. Nothing ex- 
plains the recovery of the spent shell casing from the 
location, however. The Union Metallic Company cas- 
ing was not standard military issue in 1878. Might the 
used (and partially damaged) casing have been on the 
person of Little Rock or Two Crows when they were 
buried (perhaps with the intention of being reloaded)? 
It may have been damaged by one of the rocks placed 
on top of the bodies during the burial on the southern- 
most point of the three hills. 

One of the most puzzling aspects of Bennett Butte 
battlefield archaeology (or more aptly "artifact re- 
moval") surrounds the mystery of human remains. 
Despite time, scavengers, and weekend "treasure hunt- 
ers," bodies were reportedly uncovered, despite Finn 
Burnett's contention that they were scattered on the 
banks of the Clark's Fork and left to rot. Yet, where 
are the bodies now? Many have since disappeared and 
those responsible for their recovery have either mis- 

'2^ Cook, Houze, Edgar, and Fees, 34. 

'28 Waukesha Freeman. October 10, 1878. 

'-' See Long's description of the battlefield, Waukesha Free- 
man. February !9, 1878. 

'30 Addison Bragg, "Battle Relic Sparked His Interest In In- 
dian Wars," The Billings Gazette. June 26,1977. 

'3' Information provided by Bob Edgar. 



yaoBSmUMM 



Winter 1999 



placed or lost corresponding documentation or in some 
instances died without leaving any detail. Human arti- 
fact evidence must be viewed with some skepticism. 
Since soldiers apparently buried the dead from the battle 
in locations other than where the engagement occurred, 
does the discovery of human remains actually provide 
an indication as to the battlesite? 

A discovery of a body allegedly occurred in 1 90 1 . In 
field notes accompanying the Archaeological Site Sur- 
vey Form, written 4/25/81, one of the investigators (ap- 
parently Stuart Conner as indicated by a signature that 
appears to be "Stu") noted a conversation with long- 
time Clark resident Elmer Bunn. After searching the 
Miling Bend area for battle evidence, the notes state: 

Elmer showed us basement walls of cobbles of 
Mylings' house. He said little girl buried on a slight 
raise south of house but not sure where grave is. His 
family came to area in 1901. In Elmer's earlier yrs 
there was a line of Cottonwoods in what's now high 
sage brush across Clark's Fork from a high Pt Must be 
a tritle up stream from present trees.' ''- 

Where this "little girl" is buried today and whether 
or not she was connected with the battle, remains a 
mystery. Another problem with this account stems from 
the lack of additional graves or bodies. It seems highly 
improbable that soldiers would have buried one little 
girl far from the burial spot of the other dead Bannocks. 
The uncertainty of not knowing "where [the] grave is" 
only raises additional concerns as to the authenticity 
and credibility of the account. 

Bob Claycomb recalled hearing of an additional 
"body" being removed "prior to the war [WWII]" from 
a bank along Bennett Creek immediately south by 
southeast of the butte. The corpse, allegedly fully 
adorned, suggested the individual had been a Bannock 
killed in the engagement and buried after the battle. 
Claycomb recalled that Park County Sheriff Frank 
Blackburn, who retired in 1959 following 32 years of 
service, kept the remains in the vault of the Park County 
Jail.'-'^ With the demolition of the old jail and vault to 
provide a parking lot for new police facilities, the hu- 
man remains vanished, too. The current jailer. Bob 
Brown, remembered viewing photographs of the re- 
mains as they lay within the old vault. However, an 
investigation for the photographs and accompanying 
documentation yielded no results. 

While indexing the Cody Enterprise in the summer 
of 1997, Park County Historical Society officials un- 
covered one explanation regarding the bodies recov- 
ered by Blackburn. An article titled "Historians Mysti- 



fied by Aged Skeletons" in the July 16, 1953, issue 
concerned Blackburn's recovery of two bodies along 
the Clark's Fork.' '"* The article reported that the "two 
sons of William Close" spotted "the fore part of a skull 
buried in the sand" while fishing along a small island 
in the river. Blackburn's investigation yielded two in- 
complete skeletons. "The lower jaw of one skull was 
missing" the paper noted, yet "thigh bones, vertebrae, 
hip sockets and rib bones were found." Other fragments 
were also located, including "materials which looked 
like leather or part of a raincoat . . . pearl and metal 
buttons, a cartridge shell, an awl, and an Indian skin- 
ning knife made from stone." A "triangular shaped piece 
of cloth," described as possibly a military insignia, was 
also recovered beside a rusted belt buckle and cloth. 

The Enterprise noted that "theories are advanced that 
they may have been trappers, soldiers, or gold pros- 
pectors." Jimmy Allen, described by the paper as 
"Cody's outstanding Indian authority," believed the two 
were "wandering trappers who were ambushed by In- 
dians" because a recovered stone skinning knife re- 
sembled that "used by Indians as a scalping knife." 
Allen believed an awl, found "some 40 feet from the 
site," resembled a type used to shoot fish. 

Desiring more substantial answers. Blackburn stated 
that he intended to contact University of Wyoming 
paleontologist William Mulloy. Such an examination 
would likely reveal "whether or not there [were] evi- 
dences of scalping, or perhaps provide detailed identi- 
fication." Bob Witter, a "former Princeton paleontolo- 
gist who now lives in Cody," did manage to complete 
a "personal inspection" of the remains. He determined 
that they "'were almost certainly soldiers, most likely 
members of the cavalry," and they were roughh' 25 
and 45 years old. The buttons, puttee pieces of leather, 
and other "Civil war variety items led Witter to con- 
clude that the men died around 1880." 

Speculation also concerned the Battle of Bennett 
Butte. The Enterprise reported that the "place where 
the skeletons were found is about four miles from the 
Miles Battleground or Bennett Battlefield."''"" How- 
ever, there were still Cody residents confident in their 
assumption that the remains were those of Bennett. 

The end of the Enterprise article engages in its own 
speculation. In a fashion Burnett would admire, the 
article recounts Miles' pursuit of the Bannocks. .A.t this 

'-- Archaeological Site Survey Form, "Bannock Battlefield." 
Survey contains map of site (Miling Bend), evaluation, one page 
of field notes (4/25/81), and archaeological site survey form. 

'" Cook, Houze, Edgar, and Fees, 143. 

^^"^ Cody Enterprise. July 16, 1953. 

^^ilbid. 



34 



Annals of Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 



point, it mentions that the Bannocks were camped along 
Chapman's Bench, a prominent ridge to the southwest 
of the area known as Miling Bend. With imagination 
as a source, the story says Bennett climbed to the top 
of Bennett Butte and fortified its top with "rifle pits" 
that "may still be seen." Following the ascent, Bennett 
"ordered his men to fire" on the Indians below. 

Such an account is ridiculous. The soldiers would 
have been some two miles away from the Indian en- 
campment at Little Sand Coulee if situated on the butte. 
When the location of the two bodies at the mouth of 
Paint Creek is taken into consideration, they were four 
miles away. No rifle pits exist or were ever made on 
the top of the butte. Furthermore, Bennett's men would 
have been practically invisible in the morning dark- 
ness secluded in rifle pits. Yet, the Enterprise version 
of the story has Bennett being shot on the top of butte 
and then somehow reappearing some four miles away 
— with a companion no less. Bennett's remains were 
shipped to Waukesha, Wisconsin, for burial immedi- 
ately after the battle. Any remains tied to the Bennett 
Butte fight would be Bannock or Crow. 

Other human remains have been recovered recently 
from the vicinity of the battle. The Wyoming State 
Crime Lab removed a few remains in the 1 980s or 1 990s 
and sent them to osteologist (physical anthropologist) 
Dr. George Gill at the University of Wyoming. Dr. Gill 
is currently conducting a review of his findings and 
will provide a report upon completion. The general lo- 
cation in which the remains were recovered and infor- 
mation regarding genetic characteristics has not been 
ascertained. 

Within the last ten years, Park County Coroner Don 
Easton recalled that a body had been removed from a 
bank of the Clark's Fork approximately five or six miles 
downstream from the Bennett Butte region. Sent to the 
Smithsonian Institution, investigation revealed the re- 
mains to be those of a Native American woman. Easton 
believed the body had then been shipped back to the 
Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. However, no 
human remains were ever received from the 
Smithsonian by that institution. Under current repa- 
triation laws, it is unlikely that any museum would have 
accepted the remains for storage. Perhaps the body was 
returned to the Bannock reservation in Idaho? Currently, 
its whereabouts are unknown. '^^ 

Other artifacts have provided even more peculiar 
quandaries. When speaking with the Billings Gazette 
reporter in June of 1 977, Fred Vickery, who grew up 
near Clark, was photographed holding a long bayonet. 
It had been found by his brother Edward "wedged in 



the crotch of a tree," he claimed, after he "returned 
from a trip up the canyon." '^'^ The bayonet entered 
Bennett Butte legend as an item recovered in "Miling 
Bend," tied unmistakably to the engagement with the 
Bannocks. The "Miles Bannock Battle Site Examina- 
tion" in the Archaeological Site Survey Form, written 
by Kenneth J. Feyhl on May 19, 1981, noted: 

Fred Vickery of Billings, Montana told me he knew 
of military issue buttons and, as I recall, scraps of cloth- 
ing and blankets being found around the three small 
buttes on Barmen Creek near the Clark, Wyoming cem- 
etery and two and one half miles from Miling Bend. 
Also Fred's brother, Edgar Vickery, found what I as- 
sume to be a Civil War-vintage bayonet in the crotch 
of a Cottonwood tree in Miling Bend in about the year 
1900.. .138 

A mistake had been made. Although Edward was 
killed fighting in France during World War I and, thus, 
the specifics behind his finding are difficult to deter- 
mine, other factors weigh heavily against a Bennett 
Butte connection. At the outset, Fred Vickery 's descrip- 
tions raise questions. Billings Gazette reporter Addison 
Bragg noted that Fred had "visited the Canyon Creek 
battle site north of Laurel many times" and "has a few 
relics to show for it."'^^ Perhaps the bayonet had been 
recovered at that site. Col. Sturgis, once again pursu- 
ing the Nez Perce in 1877 following the loss of the 
trail farther south at the Clark's Fork, attacked the In- 
dians along the rim rock of Canyon Creek. '~'° Fred 
Vickery's reference to his brother finding the bayonet 
"from a trip up the canyon" also raises doubts, as both 
Miling Bend and the bend at little Sand Coulee are not 



'3* In late December, 1997, Jim Hudson, a former Clark resi- 
dent, called me regarding a story he had heard about the "mass 
grave" of Bannocks. He reported he had spoken with several Clark 
residents over the years who assured him that the Bannock dead 
had been buried in what is today the southwest corner of the Clark 
Cemetery. About 1983, Hudson noted that he was shown the 
"square of sunken ground in the corner of the cemetery." Hudson 
also also notified Randy Thompson, of the Shoshone-Bannock 
Tribes Heritage Tribal Office/Cultural Resources, Fort Hall, Idaho. 
Thompson, a direct descendant of Richard Leigh (Leigh's daugh- 
ter Emma was his grandfather's mother), expressed interest in 
the site, suggesting the tribe may investigate it further and, per- 
haps, be able to locate descendants of the Bannock participants. 

^^'' Billings Gazette. June 26,1977. 

'^* "Miles-Bannock Battle Site Examination" from Archaeo- 
logical Site Survey Form. "Bannock Battlefield," 48PA3 15 (Sept. 
10,1978). 

'39 Billings Gazette. June 26, 1977. 

'•"' For information concerning the Battle of Canyon Creek, 
see Utley, Frontier Regulars, 310-311. 



■liilllllUIIIIIWlBll 



Winter 1999 



35 



within a canyon. Maybe Edward's venture took him 
into the Clark's Fork Canyon (farther west) in which 
he found an artifact from the campaign against the Nez 
Perce, or perhaps Fred Vickery incorrectly remembered 
the bayonet, actually found at Canyon Creek, as lo- 
cated at Miling Bend? 

The most interesting aspect of the bayonet find con- 
cerns the reference to it as "from an army rifle."'"" No 
military accounts describe the use of bayonets at any 
time during the attack nor are they mentioned as any of 
the "appurtenances" in Hunt's recollections. Even 
Bennett's "charge" seems to have been an "every man 
for himself" run into the encampment firing 
Springflelds. It was not a fixed-bayonet attack. 

Howard Madaus, curator of the Cody Firearms Mu- 
seum (Buffalo Bill Historical Center), and his assis- 
tant, Simeon Stoddard, examined the Billings Gazette 
photograph of Fred Vickery holding the alleged "Army" 
baVonet. After inspection, both insisted that the bayo- 
net was much to short to fit a Springfield 45-70. Rather, 
the blade was from a British Martini-Henry rifle. Al- 
though manufactured in the early 1870s, such a rifle 
would not have been used by the U.S. military in 1 878. 
Nor, both argued, was it likely that a Bannock or Crow 
would have been able to acquire such a weapon be- 
cause the Canadian government kept close tabs on mili- 
tary issue arms. It is possible, although not probable, 
that a Bannock may have traded for the weapon while 
crossing through Idaho. Another oddity exists, how- 
ever, in the fact that the bayonet was "wedged in the 
crotch of a tree." Why would a Bannock, Crow, or sol- 
dier decide to leave behind a bayonet and nothing else? 

While the Remington firearm recovered by R. L. 
Fouse and items found by Bob Claycomb have pro- 
vided valuable information as to specific battlefield 
logistics, other items only raise questions. Disappear- 
ing bodies and a bayonet that doesn't fit the circum- 
stances only magnifies the dilemma created by the ero- 
sion of memory, reliance on rumor, and loss of per- 
sons that do hold the answers to the depredations of 
fime. Perhaps such answers can be found elsewhere? 
Maybe geographic indicators hold the keys that can 
unlock a hidden monument guarding, as the Waukesha 
Freeman referred to it, "The bivouac of the dead."'"*- 

Identifying the precise location of the battle provides 
the first step toward the creation of a monument com- 
memorating the participants on both sides. Unfortu- 
nately, many maps neglect to mention the site, and all 
miss the mark in pinpointing its location. Ironically, 
even when a location is correcfly labeled, it is often 
placed in the wrong spot on the map. By reviewing the 



historical record, 20th century cartographic attempts 
to locate the site, and the 1981 Archaeological Survey 
of the Miling Bend area, geographic clues exist to sur- 
mise the location of the battlefield. 

The one primary account describing the battlefield 
appeared in the Waukesha Freeman, ¥ihr\xdiX\- 19, 1880. 
Gen. Miles, introducing the description, remarked that 
Lt. O.F. Long, Acting Engineer Officer, had also pro- 
vided him with "as good a map as I have been able to 
obtain of that country" [the battlefield]."'-^' 

Because no map has been identified, the lieutenant's 
written description provides the sole source regarding 
the location of the Bennett Battle. Long reflected on 
his own difficulty determining the position of the site. 
After noting that the location "is cold, uninteresting, 
and ordinary'," he reported it as "about sixty-five miles 
from the mouth of the Clark's Fork, in a region which 
will long remain in comparative obscurity." It "lay in 
Wyoming not far from the western line in latitude," 
and he reported the location incorrectly as latitude 44, 
45', 30" and longitude 109, 13'. 20".'-*-^"So little is 
known that even the general course of rivers and ranges 
indicated on the map [not provided] are only approxi- 
mately correct," he continued. 

The battlefield proper is on the left bank of Clark's 
Fork. To the west at a distance of eight hundred yards 
a line of low hills run at a small angle with the river, 
sloping gently toward it and carried with a loose drift 
where the grass grows but sparsely. On these low hills 
was formed the first skirmish line. The bottom land is 
covered with a heavy growih of sage brush (artimisia) 
[sic] towering above the head of a horse, it affords good 
protection to a wily foe, and was chosen perhaps for 
that very purpose. A few cottenwood [sic] trees are 
scattered at intervals over the battlefield and beyond 
the sage brush and between it and the river is an island 
three hundred yards long and half as wide. Opposite 
the island and on the convex side of the river, the latter 
has cut the loose incoherent soil and sandstone bluffs 
about thirty feet in hight [sic] and inaccessible present 
themselves. However, at the lower end of the island, 
where the river bends, there is a ford where it may be 
crossed and the top of the bluffs reached. On the island 
and among the thick sage brush the teepes [sic] of the 

'■" Billings Gazette. June 26, 1977. 

'■*- Waukesha Freeman. February 19, 1S80. 

'« Ibid. 

'■*■' The latitude and longitude provided b\ Long, Bronson 
Tolman determined in "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name," "plots 
five and one half miles south of the Clarks Fork River and one 
half mile west of Pat O'Hara Creek in high, rough ground," and 
therefore, it "does not coincide with his description of the site in 
a bend of the Clarks Fork River." 



36 



Annals oi Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 




The ridge on which the first skirmish line was organized. 



Bennett Butte Battle Site 

Located on Highway Map of Park Countv Wyoming 

1979 



Northern Bridge 




Restaurant and Heyfield 



Map of the 
battle on the 
Clark 's Fork 
(left) and 
detail of the 
battlesite 
(right). 



Bannocks were placed. Outside of the Indian camp and 
not a few yards irom it in the sage brush, a Httle col- 
umn of troops was formed in a second skirmish line. 
Near the upper end of the island and on this line Capt. 
Bennett fell, in the execution of his office, encourag- 
ing his men to noble deeds. '"^ 

Added to the sketchy description, some official docu- 
mentation also referred to the location incorrectly. The 
"Chronological list of actions, &c.., with Indians from 
January 1. 1837, to January, 1891" described the site 
as "Clark's Fork, Mont."'-'^ 

With nothing substantial to guide them, cartographers 
in the twentieth century have also missed the mark. 
Some have placed the battle site southeast of the Bennett 
Buttes (Sees 22 and 23 of T57N, R102W)'4^ near what 
had been the Clark Post Office in 1916.i'*« A Depart- 
ment of the Interior Geological Survey Map (date un- 
known) places the battle in a similar location, confin- 
ing it to the southeast comer of section 22, immedi- 
ately northeast of the butte. 

Other maps make more egregious mistakes. One uni- 
dentified portion from a map displaying county bound- 
aries and physical features of northern Wyoming lists 
the battle as occurring on the east side of the Clark's 



Bennett Butte 
12 to''] a.m- 
sept 4\ 

\ 




Fork, apparently east of the confluence of the Clark's 
Fork and Big Sand Coulee. A map Great Western In- 
dian Fights even places the battle in the wrong state, 
locating the site well within Montana. 

In many cases, however, the common assumption 
has been that the battle took place in the area known as 
"Miling Bend" (Sec. 4 of T56W, R102W), named for 
a rancher who lived in the region in the early twentieth 
century. Bronson Tolman noted that "the Bannock camp 
must have been in this particular spot because this is 
the only place on the Clarks Fork River that fits all [of 
O.F. Long's] descriptions."''*' 

Even Miling Bend, as a map in the April 1997 issue 
of Wild West magazine demonstrates, has not always 
been accurately defined. This rendition locates the site 
of the battle at "Myling Bend" yet places the marker 

'''5 Waukesha Freeman, February 19, 1880. 

''" " Chronological list of actions, &c., with Indians from Janu- 
ary 1 1837, to January, 1891" lists the September 4 battle on the 
Clark's Fork (Mont.) with 1 Officer killed, 1 Citizen, 2 enlisted 
men (Little Rock and Two Crows), 1 1 Bannocks killed and 31 
captured. 

'■*'' In the Park County Historical Archives file pertaining to the 
battle, one of the documents regards this location as a "potential 
[historical] site in Park County." Unfortunately, it does not coin- 
cide with the location of the battle. 

''** C.H. Scoville, Park County Gateway to Yellowstone Na- 
tional Park Wyoming (Map), Ralston, Wyoming, 1916. Park 
County Historical Society Archives. See also USGS map from 
June, 1952, of "Shoshone National Foresf which places site in 
sections 21, 22, and 23. 

'■" Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got Its Name." 



Winter 1Q9Q 




(Top photo): A view from the hayfield south to- 
ward the mouth of the Little Sand Coulee. Note 
Heart Mountain in the background and the thin 
ridge to the eastern cliffs at the left. 
(Bottom): A view of the battlefield looking north- 
east as the river bends to the north. Note the high 
cliffson the convex side of the river and the rem- 
nants of the island. 



much too far to the north, leaving the real location com- 
pletely off the map.'-^° 

Indeed, when identified and located correctly, the 
Miling Bend site offered enthusiasts the most promise 
in yielding the actual location of the battle. Without 
any tangible artifactual evidence, such as the revolver 
found by Fouse at the mouth of the Little Sand Coulee, 
the site seemed to fit descriptions perfectly--or a per- 
fect fit could be molded to descriptions. In the end, 
such reasoning overlooked important clues and, as a 
frustrated Aubrey Haines evidenced, failed to substan- 
tiate Miling Bend as the site. 

The lure for archaeological loot from the battle 
reached a climax in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 
Convinced that Vickery's account and Tolman's rea- 
soning pointed to the Miling Bend area, Yellowstone 
Park historian Aubrey Haines, Stuart Conner, Dr. Frank 
Wierzbinski, Denes Istvanffy, Michael Bryant and 
Wilber E. (Elmer) Bunn set out to add weight to their 
"assumptions." In the end, their findings only added to 
the mystery of the battle. Guided by faulty infonnation 
and a literal interpretation of the battlefield representa- 
tions, combined with attempts to make the landscape 
fit within such limited confines, left the researchers 
lookins in the wrona location. 



After "Fehyl & Conner fooled around from 1 974 to 
1978 to identify the site," it was apparent!}' ""finally 
located" on September 10, 1978. The preliminary Ar- 
chaeological Site Sur\'ey Fonn was completed in April 
of 1980. It noted the dilemmas already encountered by 
those trying to pinpoint the battle's location, explain- 
ing that the "camp site is located erroneously on 
U.S.G.S. maps. . . The maps refer to the site as the 
Miles Battlefield." Despite such ambiguity, the docu- 
ment asserted confidently that Miling Bend ""is the lo- 
cation of the Bannock camp which was attacked by 
General Nelson A. Miles." Numerous ""stone chips" 
found in the vicinity suggested, if nothing else, that 
the ""location was a camp site in prehistoric times."' ""' 
Because no material was collected during the prelimi- 
nary investigation, the document recommended an in- 
tensive ground survey as a next step. 

A year later, in April, 1981, the examination moved 
forward. Kenneth J. Fehyl documented the efforts. As 
a first task, the team "'appraise[d] the relative merits" 



''" Sidne Lynde, "Death Along the Montana-Wyoming Bor- 
der," Wild West. (April, 1997), 60-63. Flawed map on page 63. 

'-'^' Archaeological Site Survey Form. "Bannock Battlefield," 
48PA315 (Sept. 10,1978). 



38 



Annals ot Wyoming;Tke Wyoming History Journal 



of the "candidates for the site of the engagement." They 
employed three metal detectors, scanning the "bulge" 
west of the river for shell casings, bullets, or other evi- 
dence of the engagement. Fehyl noted that "this bulge 
is somewhat set apart from the Miling Bend area proper 
not only by the high, dense sagebrush and cottonwoods, 
but also by a slight swale, extending NE and SW, par- 
alleling the river at the bulge and suggesting that at 
some time in the past it may have been a river chan- 
nel." What Fehyl was searching for was a trough indi- 
cating a pathway by which the river may have at one 
time formed the island described in Long's report. In 
Feyhl's mind, the "situation would have resulted in an 
island."'52 

Fehyl described the site in 1981. "Most of the Miling 
Bend bottom now consists of thick deposits of wind- 
blown sih. "'5^ In their appraisal of "other likely bends 
in the Clarks Fork River," Fehyl contended that "none 
fit as well as Miling bend." Restating Lt. Long's de- 
scription of the battlefield, he noted the river's con- 
cave bend to the left, the line of low hills 800 yards to 
the west, the heavy sagebrush and cottonwoods, the 
description of an island, which in his estimation would 
have been 1 300 feet long and 300 to 400 feet wide, and 
sandstone cliffs on the convex side of the river. Most 
curiously, Fehyl pointed out that "the river bends at 
precisely the lower and of what we assume to be the 
'island' and the bluffs can easily be 'reached' from this 
point." ' - ■> Indeed, at the northern, downriver portion of 
what could be considered the island, the sandstone cliffs 
opposite the river end and a small bulge forms on the 
eastern edge of the river. This forces water to curve to 
the west around the bulge which forms a natural ramp 
leading to the top of the eastern bluffs. With the island 
visualized in this manner. Long's descriptions seem to 
fit. The small bulge (north end and downriver) bend- 
ing the river provides a perfect "ford" by which "the 
top of the bluffs [can be] reached." 

When considering Long's report, however, perspec- 
tive must be taken into account. As he pointed out in 
the Waukesha Freeman, his descriptions were at best 
"only approximately correct."'^^ Despite the fact that 
Long served as the acting engineering officer for Miles, 
apparently he had no surveying equipment during the 
"expedition" against the Bannocks. Furthermore, 
Long's recollections were presented to the Waukesha 
Freeman more than a year after the battle took place. 
Reconstructing details of the site from memory and 
field notes might provide a slightly cloudy portrait of 
the landscape and events. 

Distances and the descriptors provided by Long raise 



interesting questions, too. The fact that three small hills 
have been termed "Bennett Butte" suggests an inher- 
ent difficulty in determining precise landmarks. To the 
west of the Little Sand Coulee site, approximately 800 
yards distant, runs a low ridge perhaps twenty feet high. 
A similar landmark exists at the Miling Bend site. 
Long's descriptions refer to "low hills" on which the 
first skirmish line was formed. Considering Long's per- 
spective, in which a small ridge seemed much like a 
hill shrouding an adequate view of the encampment 
from the west yet offering the ideal spot to form a skir- 
mish line, the description begins to fit into place. A 
long, narrow ridge does fit the description of "low hills." 
One driving toward the Clark Cemetery at the base of 
Bennett Butte from Highway 120 travels directly 
through this landmark. 

The most troubling conclusion of the 1981 survey 
involved the search for the "island." As mentioned in 
the description of the Miling Bend bulge, the team rea- 
soned that a small depression extending southwest from 
the bulge to the straight portion of the river indicated 
that water likely traveled between the points at one time. 
Fehyl's conclusion that the "river bends at precisely 
the lower and of what we assume to be the 'island'" at 
which point the bluffs to the east can be reached, pre- 
sents a problem, however. While the river does indeed 
bend around the small, downriver bulge at a point where 
the hypothesized island would have existed, it fails to 
recognize that Long's descriptions may refer to the 
larger bulge on the concave (west) side of the river. In 
Miling Bend, the main bend (on the west [concave] 
portion of the river) begins near the center of the visu- 
alized island (with cliffs on the convex side of the river), 
not at the exit location of the sage-filled depression (or 
northern point of the island). If the wind-blown silt 
deposited opposite the main bulge, not the smaller to 
the north on the opposite (eastern) side of the river, is 
taken into consideration and used as a reference for the 
location of the island's downriver point, cliffs present 
an impenetrable barrier, not a point where "the top of 
the bluffs [can be] reached."' ^6 

The survey team's conception of the "bend" of the 
river fits Long's description only if the larger bulge of 
the island (the west bank of the island on the convex 
side of the river) is overlooked and the smaller bulge 

'5- All quotes from Kenneth J. Feyhl, "Miles-Bannock Battle 
Site Examination," April, 1981. 

'^-^ Waukesha Freeman, February 19,1880. 
156 Ibid. 



Winter 1Q9Q 



39 



farther north compensated to fit the description. The 
main larger "bend" in the river occurs long before the 
downriver (northern) point of the island and smaller 
bulge. 

The survey team "re-appraised" other locations "for 
several miles upstream and down from Miling Bend" 
after "no positive evidence could be found in the metal 
detector survey" and "careful examination could not 
identify [the island] positively."'-''^ Despite finding no 
artifacts (which frustrated Aubrey Haines), and despite 
the fact that the island could not be positively identi- 
fied, Fehyl still believed "Miling Bend [was] the scene 
of the Bannock Battlefield." 

The Little Sand Coulee site (southeast sec. 25 and 
western portion ofsec. 30, T57NR101 Wand R102W) 
seems never to have been appraised on its own merits. 
The site does mold nicely in to Long's account, even 
though a hayfield now covers the west bank along the 
bend. To the west, the low hills of the first skirmish 
line, as described before, run "at a small angle with the 
river." Tall sagebrush does still stand on the east bank 
as well as untilled portions to the west, with large cot- 
tonwoods scattered along the downriver portion of the 
bend holding tightly to the soil. Steep sandstone cliffs 
shadow the convex side of the river to the east, broken 
by the mouth of the Little Sand Coulee to the south 
looking toward Heart Mountain, and once again emerg- 
ing on the west bank of the Little Sand Coulee. At the 
exact point in which the river follows a major bend to 
the north steep bluffs can be ascended along a thin ridge 
on the eastern edge of the Little Sand Coulee, 

An island also still exists in this location, the rem- 
nants of which extends perhaps 800- 1 ,000 feet upriver, 
beyond the Highway 1 20 bridge to the west (upriver). 
The current island ends (downstream) at the precise 
bend in the river, at which point the ridge lowers fi^om 
the cliffs toward the Little Sand Coulee. The water level 
(in June 1997) was extremely high as spring runoff 
produced flooding along some portions of the Clark's 
Fork. With less runoff, the island no doubt fills a larger 
portion of the river. Furthermore, it appears that the 
river once cut more deeply into the mouth of the Little 
Sand Coulee, perhaps extending for several hundred 
feet before forming an oxbow lake and eventually dry- 
ing up. This island has grown and receded with the 
cunents of the river. 

The Little Sand Coulee site also offered a means of 
escape which the Miling Bend location failed to pro- 
vide. Col. Miles noted that some of the Bannocks 
"jumped into the river and swam to the other side."'^^ 
Disoriented by a dawn attack, it seems logical to as- 



sume that most people in the same circumstances would 
attempt to flee in the direction opposite attacking troops, 
particularly when the number of attacking soldiers was 
not known. However, considering the number of 
Bannocks that did escape, the enveloping cliffs of the 
Miling Bend site would have precluded an effecfive 
escape path. Broken sandstone faces and extremely 
steep ravines border the eastern and southern banks of 
the river. Crossing the water would have left a Bannock 
with few options. Only a few of the deep gorges lead- 
ing to the eastern plateau existed among impenetrable 
cliffs. These ramps would have been particularly diffi- 
cult to find in the morning darkness. If a Bannock did 
manage to find one of these protected pockets on the 
eastern bank of the river, an ideal location existed to 
mount a defense. On reaching the plateau, the flat plain 
likely afforded few options in regard to decent hiding 
places and, thus, escape would be difficult. One could, 
have fired from folds in the ravines or along the rim of 
the plateau east of the river, presumably with impu- 
nity. No accounts describe any bullets raining down 
on the troops from the opposite bank of the river. 

At the Little Sand Coulee site, escape routes existed 
along the ridge to the top of the eastern cliffs, along 
two draws up the Little Sand Coulee to the south, and 
along the bluffs to the southwest of the battlefield (still 
south of the river). Strewn along the mouth of the 
continence were additional high sagebrush, providing 
an escapee with an adequate screen fi^om the sights of 
the soldiers' Springfield rifles. Jumping into the river 
fi"om the west bank or irom the island toward the east 
bank makes sense at the Little Sand Coulee site. To 
capture the fleeing Bannocks, Bennett's men had to 
cross the river, scour the sagebrush, and search the many 
hills and gaps along Little Sand Coulee. Such a flight 
offered numerous escape alternatives and provided 
many visual barriers by which the Bannock could hide 
from the soldiers' view. 

Another interesting factor in determining the battle 
site concerns Miles' movement on the night of Sep- 
tember 3 and 4. At some point, his troops forded the 
Clark's Fork in order to reach what would become 
Bennett Butte. The ford likely occurred to the south- 
west of Miling Bend, just north and east of a promi- 
nent plateau known as Chapman Bench. Despite the 
driving rainstorm, it seems very likely that if the 
Bannock encampment rested in Miling Bend, both par- 

"' Kenneth J. Feyhl, "Miles-Bannock Battle Site Examination," 
April, 1981. 

'^* Miles, Personal Recollections, 299. 



40 



Annals ot Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



ties would have seen one another. Miles makes no men- 
tion of backtracking. The Miling Bend site would have 
taken him back in the direction from which he had just 
traveled. The sites near the mouth of Paint Creek (where 
Blackburn discovered the two bodies in 1952), as well 
as that near the Clark's Fork bend at Pat O'Hara Creek, 
are located more than two miles from the butte to the 
southwest (as noted in Long's description). Both of 
these locations do not fit descriptions pertaining to the 
large island nor the "impenetrable" cliffs to the east of 
the river. A Little Sand Coulee site, with the low ridge 
on the west, would have been concealed as Miles' com- 
mand forded the river. Furthermore, homing in on the 
early morning fire after wandering the flat plain, if at 
Miling Bend, would have placed Miles' men to the 
north as they traveled southward from the butte. The 
attacking force would have come from the north to- 
ward the south from which the encampment would have 
likely been much more easily visible. At the Little Sand 
Coulee site the attackers would clearly have approached 
from the west and the encampment would have been 
concealed (as described) by the prominent ridge to the 
west of the battlefield. 

It does not seem surprising that attempts to pinpoint 
the battle at Miling Bend left the survey team, and 
Aubrey Haines, in particular, "visibly discouraged." '^^ 
Based on sketchy historical and artifactual evidence, 
the team followed the assumptions of Tolman and what 
still seems the most logical location when Long's de- 
scriptions are taken into account. With its winding cliffs 
on the east and large bulge reminiscent of an island 
long ago and small "bend" at the lower end of the hy- 
pothetical island, it seemed to Tolman the "only place 
on the Clarks Fork River that fits all the descriptions."'^^ 
Perhaps, in the end. Long's original descriptions were 
faulted. Distances were limited to all but approxima- 
tions, hills were described as buttes, and long ridges 
were reduced to "low hills." 

Additionally, the Little Sand Coulee site settles into 
place when descriptions of the battle are taken into 
consideration. The location of the first skirmish line 
confirms Miles' difficulty in locating the encampment 
as he traveled the flat plain. The ridge blocks all view 
of persons at the mouth of the coulee. The dim glow of 
a fire would have provided the only indication of a 
camp situated there. Furthermore, reports of Bannocks 
fleeing the battlesite suggest easily accessible routes 
of escape. Miling Bend, confined by cliffs and ravines 
on its convex side, afforded limited escape possibili- 
ties. In the end, lacking artifactual evidence, limited 
by geographical descriptions, and nullified by the lo- 



gistics of the historical record, Miling Bend may not 
fit Long's descriptions as once presumed. A review of 
such evidence, although limited by its own faults, 
strongly suggests that the battle occurred at the mouth 
of the Little Sand Coulee. 

Little did Richard "Beaver Dick" Leigh know that 
the smoke from the forest fires he watched in 1878 
would catch the currents heading east, clouding his- 
tory into the late twentieth century. The story behind 
Miles' Fight on the Clark's Fork ended up in much the 
same shape as Leigh's second homestead, ravaged by 
floodwaters that swept through the Teton Valley after 
a dam collapsed in June of 1976. Bits and pieces of 
information drifted downriver. Most were lost, sink- 
ing to unattainable depths or scattered in the abyss of 
the mighty Pacific. Some of the wreckage, however, 
drifted ashore or tangled within the roots that held the 
banks from the floodwaters. From this debris, little was 
left from which to reconstruct the cabins. 

There were, however, some who remembered details 
as to how each log fit against the other, how fences 
defined and confined particular geographic features, and 
the names and faces of those who once traveled in and 
out of the structure's front door. When the memories 
faded, some sifted through the scattered remains of an 
event that once was, uncovering what they claimed were 
the morsels to solve a developing mystery. With some 
of the pieces in hand, one vital element remained enig- 
matic: no foundation could be found. 

In the end, a painting emerged of the battle. In some 
areas, the image is less clear than in others. The names 
and faces of most of the Bannocks and Crows seem 
but impressionistic icons while those of the 5th 
infantry's leadership stand out with sharp detail. Even 
the background of the painting at times seems lost amid 
the heavy' strokes of a wide brush. It is indeed a work 
in progress, the final touches of historical and archaeo- 
logical investigation yet to be delicately applied. 

'^* Field notes of Stuart Connor from "Bannock Battlefield Trip 
to Myling Bend, April 25, 1981. 



159 



Tolman, "How Bennett Creek Got It's Name." 



Kyle V. Walpole graduated with a master 's degree 
in Western American history from the University of 
Wyoming in 1998. Focusing on 19th century mili- 
tary and Native American history, he conducted a 
study of the Bennett Butte battle during an intern- 
ship with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, 
during the summer of 1997. His research led to his 
master 's thesis from which this article is derived. 
Walpole plans a career in public history. 



Book R 



e Views 



Edited tv Carl HallLert 



Voyages of Discovery: Essays on the Lewis and 
Clark Expedition. Edited by James P. Ronda. Hel- 
ena: Montana Historical Society Press, 1998..v/v + 351 
pages. Illustrations, maps, notes, index. Cloth. $45. 00; 
paper. $19.95. 

The historic Lewis and Clark expedition continues 
to nourish our national pride and frequently provides a 
historical comparison or commentary with later explo- 
ration efforts, including the space program. The expe- 
dition celebrates national success, expansion, adven- 
ture, cooperation and courage and remains the quintes- 
sential exploration epic in our nation's histor>'. Thus 
an already receptive audience of historians and laymen 
will be gratified and rewarded in reading James P. 
Ronda's Voyages of Discovery. 

Ronda adds his own essays to the contribution of 
such historian-scholars as John Allen, John Ewers, 
Albert Furtwangler, Silvio Bedini, Gary Moulton and 
of course, Bernard DeVoto and Donald Jackson - fa- 
miliar names to those acquainted with the literature 
about the expedition. Incorporated into the collection 
are brief source documents that add tidbits of interest, 
such as President Jefferson's instructions to Meriwether 
Lewis, Dr. Benjamin Rush's questions about Native 
American medicine, morals and religion for Lewis to 
investigate and Sergeant John Ordway's letter to his 
parents that expressed his joy at being selected to be 
"one of them pick'd Men from the armey, and 1 and all 
the party if we live to Return, . . . ." 

The essays have been organized into six general cat- 
egories: Genesis, the Corps of Discovery, The Jour- 
ney, Mutual Discovery, Homecoming and Looking 
Back. In essence, the essays examine Jefferson's mo- 
tives and expectations, the planning and organization 
of the expedition, the character of the corps, key events 
and changes during the twenty-eight month, 9,000-mile 
trek, scientific instruments and their use, relations with 
Native American peoples and the literary history asso- 
ciated with the expedition. 

As a whole, the reading reflects the fertile diversity 
of research and academic inquiry and emphasizes the 
complexities surrounding the expedition. In conse- 



quence, the Lewis and Clark expedition becomes far 
move than the dramatic adventure story of two bold 
leaders and their followers blazing a trail to the Pa- 
cific. In fact, the book's title "Voyages" signifies that 
there were many "explorations" that occurred during 
the expedition. For Native Americans, it meant the in- 
clusion of a new people and culture into their world 
view. For the men of the expedition it lead to the cre- 
ation of a community that made its way through a se- 
ries of other human and botanical communities. 
In attempting to explain why Jefferson decided on such 
an expedition, Ronda asserts that upon reading 
Alexander Mackenzie's 1801 narrative about his ear- 
lier transcontinental treks across Canada, "Jefferson's 
answer to Mackenzie's initiative, was bom at that mo- 
ment." Ronda likewise emphasizes that Jefferson's 
written instruction to Captain Lewis, which included 
scientific and commercial interests, served to define a 
national strategy that would satisfy the "land hungers 
and restless energies of a young nation." It is of inter- 
est to learn that Jefferson wisely accepted the advice of 
Attorney General Levi Lincoln to expand the 
expedition's goals. An expedition with multiple objec- 
tives could withstand failure in regards to one pursuit 
without being labeled a total failure by Jefferson's po- 
litical enemies. 

Geographer John Allen, well known for his writing 
about the expedition, makes a major contribution with 
his thought-provoking essays describing the perceived 
images of the land and available maps on the eve of the 
expedition; the relationships that developed between 
the corps and the Indians; and how scholars and the 
public have viewed the expedition since its return to 
St. Louis in 1 806. In fact, readers may be surprised by 
Allen's statement that "Looking back upon the Lewis 
and Clark Expedition after the passage of 160 years, it 
appears that this pioneer venture into the wilds of the 
Upper Missouri was much less successful in the field 
of Indian diplomacy than in the fields of geographical 
exploration and scientific discovery." 

Allen ftirther notes that the expedition failed to ful- 
fill the expectations of the scientific community at that 
time due to the lack of any substantial scientific re- 



42 



Annals or Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



ports. Then there was Jefferson's disappointment that 
the explorers had been unable to find a practical route 
for commerce across the mountains. Nor was the pub- 
lic clear about the expedition's benefits. 

Fortunately, the reputation of the two captains and 
the expedition has been elevated over time due to the 
efforts of historians who periodically returned to edit 
the original journals penned by Nicholas Biddle in 1 814. 
Allen and Ronda's essays trace the evolution of his- 
torical writing that reached milestones in the works of 
Elliott Coues 1893 re-editing of Biddle's work and 
Reuben Gold Thwaites eight-volume series in 1904. 
Subsequent historians such as Bernard DeVoto, Donald 
Jackson and Paul Outright have added to the record. 
Gar\' Moulton's more recent commitment to produce a 
multi-volume updated series of the journals brings us 
to the present. 

Ronda's book is a reminder that the Lewis and Clark 
expedition can be studied through the prism of per- 
spectives that encompass an abundance of issues rang- 
ing from geographic places and events to personalities 
and national interests. If the essays serve to expand 
our appreciation and understanding of the expedition, 
they also invite further "voyages" of scholarship, and a 
reexamination of the motives, challenges and conse- 
quences of national exploration. 

Don Hodgson 

Eastern Wyoming College 



The Rural West Since World War II. Edited by 
R. Douglas Hurt. Lawrence: University Press of 
Kansas, 1998. x + 258 pages. Illustrations, notes, 
bibliography, index. Cloth, $45; paper. $25. 

This excellent work consists of an editor's introduc- 
tion and ten scholarly essays. The "rural west" was 
defined as the "agricultural, small-town and reserva- 
tion West" (p. 5) of portions of the eleven states be- 
tween the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific. In the four 
states (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New 
Mexico) located partially in the Great Plains, the au- 
thors were "asked to analyze only those areas that fall 
within the geographic definition of the Far West" (p. 
5). 

The authors covered a variety of subjects. In "Na- 
tive Americans; The Original Rural Westerners," David 
Rich Lewis concluded that since World War II the de- 
scendants of the first people have de-emphasized agri- 
culture in favor of industry, mining, fishing and tour- 



ism. But despite this reorientation, he stressed, 
ruralness, although threatened by technological 
changes, continues to define their character. 

The essays by Paula M. Nelson and Sandra Schackel 
on rural life and social change and ranch and farm 
women respectively summarized the sociological 
change wrought by the rapid adaptation of electricity, 
gas-powered vehicles, modem highways, telephones, 
and television. The social and economic implications 
of ethnic diversity was covered by Anne B.W. Effland, 
"Migrant and Seasonal Farm Labor in the Far West." 

The significant role of the federal government in 
western agriculture was the greatest concern of Donald 
J. Pisani and Thomas R. Wessel. In "Federal Water 
Policy and the Rural West," Pisani described the pro- 
found effects of government dams on agricultural irri- 
gation and noted that federal water projects stimulated 
industry and urbanization as well. In writing on agri- 
cultural policy, Wessel covered two main areas - water 
development and public grasslands. 

The other four writings concentrate on the nature and 
effects of recent changes in agricultural practices and 
techniques. In analyzing the impact of environmental- 
ism, James E. Sherow noted that some western farm- 
ers are cooperating with environmentalists by lessen- 
ing dependence on pesticides and herbicides and striv- 
ing to relate agriculture to the total natural world, rather 
than targeting maximum production. In "Agricultural 
Science and Technology in the West," Judith Fabry 
emphasized "systems of technology" involving labor 
saving machines, specially bred plants and animals and 
use of chemicals. Mark Friedberger's writing on cattle 
raising and dairying described, among other things, the 
revolutionary impact of the shift from grazing to dry- 
lot feeding. Last, Harry C. McDean in "Agribusiness 
in the American West" covered the interrelationships 
of agriculture, national and international trade, bank- 
ing, food processing and the advent of supermarket 
chains. 

Although each chapter deals with a specific topic, 
collectively they aptly characterize western agriculture 
since World War II. Today's rural west as contrasted 
to that of 1945 has less, but much larger farms, less 
rural people, less small towns, a much more comfort- 
able and convenient lifestyle, vastly more irrigated 
farmland, a much heavier reliance on technology and 
closer economic ties to the nation and the world. 

Hurt pointed out that the history of the rural West 
since 1 945 has been neglected by historians. This book 
should make a significant contribution towards filling 
that void. All the essays were well-researched, lucidly 



Winter 1QQ9 



43 



and thoughtfully written and copiously documented. 
Other than furnishing timely information, they should 
help inspire further studies of the recent and contem- 
porary rural West. This book is highly recommended 
for anyone interested in the history of agriculture or 
the development of the post-frontier West. 

William E. Lass 
Minnesota State University 
Mankato 

Disease and Medical Care in the Mountain 
West: Essays on Region, History and Practice. 

Edited by Martha L. Hildreth and Bruce T. Moran. 
Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1998..v.vz + 154 
pages. Illustrations, maps, notes, index. Cloth, 
$39.95. 

Health care and the treatment of diseases are serious 
fmancial and personal decisions for individuals, groups, 
and families, and for those who are underinsured, un- 
insured or seriously ill. The current medical conven- 
tion that emphasizes hospitals, group practices, spe- 
cialists, and managed care is differentiated through the 
study of ailments and health care in Disease and Medi- 
cal Care in the Mountain West. Winner of the 1997 
Wilbur S. Shepperson Humanities Book Award fi^om 
the University of Nevada Press and the Nevada Hu- 
manities Committee, the eight essays contained in the 
volume are drawn from a 1993 conference on regional 
medicine, health, and health care. Through a diversity 
of topics and specific studies, the work provides an 
introduction to the medical history of this geographi- 
cal region. The volume emphasizes a sense of place, 
environment, work patterns, and cultural factors in the 
mountain west's particular medical history instead of 
examining the diseases themselves and their treatment. 

In the introduction and first chapter, the editors and 
Ronald L. Numbers make the case for using region - 
whether defined geographically, by nodes of political 
or social power, culturally, or by disease - as a means 
of examining the environment and how human culture 
interacted with it. The editors have also provided a short 
introduction to the historiography of medical study and 
how that research has changed from defining diseases 
by region to diseases having a "scientific universal- 
ism," that is, disease affects everyone in the same man- 
ner regardless of locale. The editors also aptly noted 
that there are numerous other topics awaiting scrutiny 
and the need to place regional medical studies in the 
context of the country's larger medical trends. 



The remaining seven chapters contain an exceptional 
breadth of subjects and issues for the region's health 
care and diseases. In Chapter 2, Thomas J. Wolfe ex- 
amines the compatible views of self-reliance, virtue, 
and anti-monopoly held by the Mormons and practi- 
tioners of Thomasonian alternative medicine, who used 
herbs and steam baths to regulate the body. The self- 
imposed isolation of the Mormons in Utah and a lack 
of health care workers among them contributed to the 
acceptance of Thomasonian practice and beliefs extend- 
ing beyond its length of prominence in the general popu- 
lation. Marie I. Boutte's examination of suicide in White 
Pine County, Nevada takes a specific locale and region's 
cultural values of individualism, self-reliance and atti- 
tudes toward death as an extension of previous studies 
that focused on social and economic factors. Diane D. 
Edward's study of the U.S. Department of the Interior's 
chronic mishandling and inattention to the members of 
the Blackfeet Indian Tribe, along with isolation and 
distance from policy-makers, contributed to harrow- 
ing health afflictions. These activities and lack of re- 
sponsiveness reflected the Department of the Interior's 
actions on a national level for Native American health. 
In Chapter 5, Victoria A. Harden examines two dis- 
eases that appeared in the twentieth century that had 
geographical associations - Rocky Mountain Spotted 
Fever and AIDS. Harden argues that location has a 
larger role in developing social constniction of the dis- 
eases than the understanding of the disease scientifi- 
cally. Alan Derickson's essay in Chapter 6 focuses on 
the application of technology and industrialization in 
Nevada hardrock mining and miner's silicosis. By uti- 
lizing automation techniques, an endemic problem 
turned into an epidemic that affected 20% or 30,000 
miners at any given time from 1900-1925. Economic 
and political factors such as a pro-mining attitude and 
lack of a state or local health mechanisms also contrib- 
uted to the problem, but it was technology - using wet 
cutting methods instead of dry ~ that returned the epi- 
demic back into an endemic problem. The mixture of 
spiritual and practical goals and nurses" education and 
training came into disharmony in Pierce C. Mullen's 
analysis of the Methodist Deaconeses of Montana. 
While providing a "peculiarly American amalgamation 
of secular philanthropic spirit and traditional practices 
of the convent" (84-85), their heavy work requirements 
for nurses' training did not meet the goals of the nurses 
or their educational institution. In the eighth chapter, 
Paul D. Buell provides a succinct overview of Chinese 
medical practice in China and following immigration 
to the United States. As practiced in America, a cus- 



44 



Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



torn of pragmatism and adaptation helped to ensure ad- 
herence to traditional approaches while absorbing non- 
Chinese clients and techniques. 

This is an informative and well-crafted volume with 
illustrative and descriptive essays on the mountain 
west's medical and epidemiological history. This vol- 
ume is surprisingly jargon-free and offers a differing 
approach to medical study of the mountain west. Ad- 
ditional studies and subject-matter can build upon this 
\olume. 

Mark Shelstad 
University of Wyoming 

Tempest Over Teapot Dome: The Story of 
Albert B. Fall. By David M. Stratton. Norman; 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. xiv + 376 
pages. Illustrations, bibliographic essay, index. 
Cloth, $29.95. 

David H. Stratton has produced a long overdue book 
about Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall's involve- 
ment in the Teapot Dome scandal. While other authors 
have looked at this story as a conservation issue or an- 
other in a long line of Harding administration scan- 
dals, Stratton focuses on the man responsible for leas- 
ing the Naval Oil Reserves. 

In Tempest Over Teapot Dome the reader follows 
Albert Fall as he moved from Tennessee to Texas and 
back, then to the Territory of New Mexico and mining 
expeditions south into Mexico. It was during Fall's early 
years in the Southwest working as a cowboy, miner 
and lawyer that opinions and attitudes which comprised 
his character were developed. 

After settling in New Mexico, Fall became involved 
in territorial politics in the 1880s. Though a devout 
Democrat in his early political career. Fall eventually 
switched to the Republican party. It was not easy fit- 
ting in with a group of individuals he had opposed and 
fought with for a number of years. Whether a Demo- 
crat or a Republican, "Fall had learned how govern- 
ment could be made to serve one's own needs and the 
special interests of friends" (p. 66). Fall found that he 
could push through "a personal objective over strong, 
entrenched opposition" (p. 1 06). These new-found abili- 
ties would lead to his eventual downfall. 

Albert Fall stepped onto the national political scene 
in 1912 when he entered the United States Senate. Fall 
was a "corporation man" who believed that the West 
should be developed for the benefit of individuals and 
the country. This belief brought Fall into conflict with 



conservationists like Gifford Pinchot and his follow- 
ers. This was especially true when Fall accepted the 
position of Secretary of the Interior following the elec- 
tion of Warren G. Harding to the presidency in 1920. 

Stratton states numerous times throughout the book 
that Fall suffered fi-om. financial problems throughout 
his entire life and he often borrowed money fi-om his 
industrialist friends. In addition, "Fall's personal am- 
bition and his freewheeling economic philosophy, par- 
ticularly on the role of private enterprise in resource 
development, always cloud any assessment of his offi- 
cial actions" (p. 212). This combination and bad tim- 
ing contributed greatly to Fall's demise. 

Though Stratton does not seem to be Fall's apolo- 
gist, he does point out that there was much more to this 
issue than a government official selling leases to 
Doheny and Sinclair, his oil magnate iriends. Stratton 
suggests that had Doheny and Sinclair not loaned Fall 
any money, the latter would still have awarded them 
leases on the Naval Oil Reserves. And, had Fall not 
awarded the leases to his Iriends, Doheny and Sinclair 
would still have loaned him money. As the reader fol- 
lows the developments of Albert Fall's career and philo- 
sophical beliefs he/she will see that the leasing of the 
Naval Oil Reserves by Fall to private industry was in- 
evitable and likely had little or nothing to do with any 
money he received. 

This book is well-written and an easy and interesting 
read. It will be usefiil to any student or scholar study- 
ing the Teapot Dome incident. New Mexico politics 
and early twentieth century American political history. 

Miiie Mackey 
Powell, Wyoming 

Devil's Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth - 
Century American West. By Hal K. Rothman. 
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998. xiv 
+ 434 pages. Photographs, notes, bibliographic 
essay, index. Cloth, $34.95 

The "Devil's bargain" is made by local people who 
live in American tourist destinations. The Devil offers 
economic growth. In return they get not-so desirable 
change in local culture and environment. The most 
obvious of Wyoming's Devil's bargains is Jackson 
Hole, described by Wyomingites as a place where "the 
billionaires are pushing out the millionaires." Here neo- 
natives and part-time residents build "trophy homes" 
or "starter castles" in the shadow of the Tetons, caus- 
ing property values and taxes to rise while the less de- 



Winter 1999 



sirable part of the valley floor is littered with the non- 
descript architecture of chain stores, fast food restau- 
rants and housing for service workers. 

Hal Rothman, professor of history at the University 
of Nevada -Las Vegas, has written a wonderful and 
monumental piece of history. He plays down his vast 
research, stating: 

The real sources for the study of tourism as recent 
history are the people and the places where tourism 
occurs. Conversations and libraries, coffeehouses and 
archives provided the raw material for this book as 
much as did books and articles. From Wallowa County, 
Oregon to Santa Fe and from the coast to Kansas, ev- 
eryone has a take on tourism. I've tried to reflect as 
many of those perspectives as I can. "(p. 425) 

Although Rothman was inspired by his experiences 
and conversations, his book is the product of deep re- 
search not only into general sources on the history of 
American tourism, but into documents relating to spe- 
cific tourist sites and communities. In one case (chap- 
ter 8, footnote 24) Rothman provides eight sources for 
one statement. One footnote (chapter 12, footnote 9) 
contains more lines than the paragraph it is supposed 
to document. But Devil 's Bargains is not just a show- 
piece of scholarly research; it is a fascinating collec- 
tion of stories about the development of such distinc- 
tive Western tourist destinations as Grand Canyon, 
Santa Fe, Sun Valley, Aspen, Vail, Snowmass, Steam- 
boat and Las Vegas. Rothman chose these places be- 
cause they were representative of certain genres of tour- 
ism. 

If you don't trust the film industry to show you how 
mobsters built Las Vegas, read Rothman's account of 
how it grew from a mustard seed into a city whose 
beacon lights flash in the eyes of astronauts in outer 
space. His tale of Nevada gaming will make your head 
spin like the drums of a slot machine, the stories of 
bigger and bigger casinos rolling toward you like cher- 
ries. Each period in Las Vegas history, like another 
heaping plateful at a casino buffet, is almost too rich to 
digest. 

From Depression days forward, tourists were not 
drawn to Nevada on account of its agriculture or min- 
ing historic sites. Today, if historic themes are por- 
trayed at all in the gaming industry -the Comstock Lode 
display in a Reno casino, for example- they are mere 
sidebars designed to pump up the casinos' main theme: 
"You, too, can be rich!" The purpose of these billion- 
dollar corporations, like other western tourist opera- 
tions, is to make money and to "give the people what 
they want," even if the history they sometimes portray 



is skewed, or the city's personality becomes warped. 
But those problems don't faze Las Vegas. The pur- 
view of its casinos is the history of the civilized or 
uncivilized world. In the Great American Desert of 
southern Nevada, amidst surreal glitter that decorates 
the "Strip", the visitor can view major landmarks of 
the New York City skyline compressed into one or two 
city blocks, gamble in a steel and glass Egyptian temple, 
observe the holographic Greek god Bacchus in conver- 
sation with his mythical peers or stand nearby as an 
entire pirate ship sinks with its captain below the sur- 
face of a pond. But you don't have to go to Nevada to 
experience the virtual reality of late twentieth century 
tourism. It is available at the local "splashland" where 
you can ride artificial waves, in gyms where you can 
climb rock walls with safety ropes or, if you are less 
venturesome, in an IMAX theater where you can virtu- 
ally take part in the ascent of Mt. Everest. 

Notwithstanding the excitement he generates in tell- 
ing about growth and change in the West, Rothman 
never allows the reader to lose sight of the dark side of 
tourism or its symbolic meaning in American society. 
He entreats you to recognize that there is a Devil's bar- 
gain in each economic success story. He does not fail 
to remind you that the success of places like Las Ve- 
gas, Disneyland or Branson, Missouri, stems directlv 
from American values. The archetypal representation 
of postmodern American tourism is Las Vegas, which 
constantly reinvents itself to provide what late twenti- 
eth-century American tourists demand: entertainment 
with amenities, not physical recreation or intellectual 
illumination. 

It was not always so. In the nineteenth centun. an 
elite class of visitors was transported comfortably to 
places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone where 
they could experience the power of nature. The Na- 
tional Park Service, in collaboration with concession- 
aires, accommodated their guests, planning the visitor 
experience in such a way as to reassure them that the 
nation had the power to control nature for their benefit. 
Thus, their faith in America's greatness was affirmed. 
Not until the arrival of the automobile, and particu- 
larly after World War II, did tourism become truly de- 
mocratized. Returning war veterans and middle class 
Americans had disposable income, and spending it was 
a symbol of status. Tourism competed with the acqui- 
sition of material goods as a status symbol. It also be- 
came available to blue-collar workers and their wives 
and kids, although in a less luxurious form than that 
experienced by people of means, and travel had to be 
crammed within the span of a two-week vacation. This 
is something which the owners of casinos like Circus- 



46 



Annals ot Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



Circus understood well, and they catered to the station 
wagon and Winnebago-owning masses. Visits to natu- 
ral and historic sites, formerly de rigneur to the travel- 
ing upper classes, eventually became commonplace for 
the masses. The burgeoning American middle class 
flooded national parks and sites such Grand Canyon, 
Yellowstone and Bandelier National Monument. Some 
of the popular tourist attractions were privately owned, 
such as Carlsbad Caverns. Others -inventions like 
Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland- had much less 
intrinsic or accumulated cultural value than government 
owned and operated sites. Although all of these desti- 
nations became available to Americans, tourism was 
not the same for everybody, and the amenities one could 
purchase conferred status. For example, although ski- 
ing grew in popularity, beginning in the 1950s, most 
middle class Americans could not afford to buy con- 
dos or second homes in Vail or Snowmass. They might 
rub shoulders with celebrities in Sun Valley and As- 
pen, but they certainly couldn't afford the celebrity 
lifestyle. 

Students of Wyoming and the West know that much 
has been written about the history of western mining, 
particularly the mining of precious metals. They are 
also aware of books and movies that mine the popular 
historic themes of associated with the livestock indus- 
try or homesteading. Probably they are also aware that 
tourism is one of the top three industries in Wyoming, 
but they may not know how or why it got to that posi- 
tion. If you have never given serious thought to how 
tourism reached its current importance in the Ameri- 
can West, you must read Rothman's book. It may sur- 
prise you to learn what motivated you to drag your 
family around the U.S. A for two weeks every summer. 
On the other hand, you might be, the type of person 
who doesn't want to read something just because some- 
one says you "should" read it, but if you pick up a 
copy of this book I promise that you will be entertained 
as well as educated. Devil's Bargains is not only a 
primer for the history of tourism in the twentieth cen- 
tury American West; it is a study of class in society 
and the search for status and identity. Best of all, for 
people who like action, it is a cornucopia of stories 
about pioneer tourism entrepreneurs. 

The problem with the book is the writing style. Al- 
though I admire Rothman's storytelling ability and 
appreciate the way he elaborates his historical hypoth- 
eses, building his postulates block by block, I found 
some of the text redundant and some phrasing ("pon- 
derous stasis," p. 255) enigmatic. Occasionally his sen- 
tences are unnecessarily complex or clumsy. For ex- 
ample: "'This is how Las Vegas used to be,' comic- 



turned pitchman Joe Piscopo, by 1997 a handsome 
middle-aged man who exuded a charisma that the firm 
hoped Las Vegans would take as their own self image, 
affirmed for the Palace Station, the flagship in the chain, 
'before the pyramid (at the Luxor, a Circus Circus 
project that opened in the mid 1990s), before volca- 
noes,' such as impresario Steve Wynn placed in front 
of his Mirage Hotel"(p.317). 

Despite my notion that Rothman—the editor of the 
"Development of Western Resources" series in which 
this book appears-could benefit by utilizing a good 
editor himself, I recommend this book to every student 
of western history, to every instructor of those students, 
to legislators, to chambers of commerce and state, 
county and municipal planning office officials, and to 
any other citizen of our state who believes that tourism 
is a good tool for extricating Wyoming fi-om her late- 
millennium, economic quagmire. Personally, I look 
forward to the sequel of this book, which, according to 
Rothman, will expand his study of tourism to the en- 
tire nation. 

Mark Junge 
Cheyenne 

Wind River Adventures: My Life in Frontier 
Wyoming. By Edward J. Farlow, edited by Loren 
Jost. Glendo: High Plains Press, 1998. 256 pages. 
Illustrations, notes, index. Cloth, $29.95; paper, 
$14.95. 

This collection of anecdotes provides an interesting 
look at Wyoming during a period of transition from 
the 1870s through the 1920s. Ed Farlow came to Wyo- 
ming as an observant, fifteen-year-old runaway. He 
married the most popular girl in Lander, a niece of the 
Sioux chief Gall, and had several children. Farlow's 
later years were devoted to preserving the history and 
mythology of the ft-ontier on paper, in museums and 
through film. This memoir, completed in 1939, is the 
culmination of that effort. Farlow lived into the atomic 
age, dying in Lander in 195 1 . 

The story opens with his 1 861 birth on an Iowa farm 
and an impoverished childhood. In 1876 he rode the 
rails to Wyoming looking for wild west excitement. 
His first job, on a ranch west of Laramie, was a pun- 
gent dose of reality. He was told to pull the wool off 
carcasses of sheep that had died the previous winter 
and had been thrown on a shed roof to "ripen up." 

Subsequent chapters, not arranged chronologically, 
record his learning the cowboy trade, trips across the 
plains and experiences trapping and prospecting. By 



mmm 



Winter 199Q 



47 



1879 he had migrated to the South Pass gold fields. 
That fall, after the Ute uprising, he walked to Rawlins, 
took a train back to iowa and convinced the first of his 
brothers to come west with him in the spring. They 
settled and became prominent in Lander. Other chap- 
ters include cattle roundups, brand inspections, outlaws, 
voting, buffalo hunts, President Arthur's visit, putting 
on Wyoming's first big wild west show and rodeo and 
the "wolf roundup" of 1917. A fairly reliable eye-wit- 
ness, Farlow recounts less accurately events which tran- 
spired before his arrival. 

In the politically incorrect jargon of his time, he tells 
of working for "squaw man" Jules Lamoreaux, an old 
time Fort Laramie trader who educated his half-Sioux 
daughters in such fine schools that they were among 
the more "cultured" and refined of Lander's citizenry. 
Farlow was not considered a squaw man when he wed 
one of these polished girls who even served as presi- 
dent of the Pioneer Association. 

Farlow was interested in race relations and sensitive 
to other cultures during an era when the opposite was 
typical. He was fascinated by Native Americans, learned 
some of their languages and became adept at sign lan- 
guage. In one incident, he buried an Indian grave that 
had been looted by whites. In light of that, his reaction 
to the 1907 recovery of Harvey Morgan's mutilated 
skull - he was killed by Sioux in 1870 - is particularly 
interesting. This discovery prompted Farlow and oth- 
ers to build the Lander Pioneer Museum. Farlow even 
took the skull with him on a film tour to London. 

Among the most important topics in the book is his 
perspective on the early Wyoming tllm industry. Dur- 
ing the 1920s and 1930s, Farlow worked on several 
classic Hollywood westerns. Another old-time Lander 
cowboy, Tim McCoy, had become adjutant general of 
the Wyoming National Guard and was contracted to 
provide hundreds of Indians for several films. McCoy 
hired Farlow, well-known "friend of the Indians" to do 
the legwork. In his autobiography, McCoy claims the 
greatest importance in negotiations with the tribes. In 
this memoir, Farlow claims the same role. Regardless 
of which ego was correct, both argued for high wages 
for Indian actors, and filming western movies became 
a great economic boon to residents at Wind River. 
Farlow and McCoy supported the Indians' refusal to 
comply with all the directors' demands, thereby help- 
ing them preserve on film certain aspects of their tradi- 
tional cultures. Not averse to enriching themselves in 
the process, both men were concerned about the wel- 
fare of the Indians on the reservation and on the movie 
sets. 



This book is an interesting, if brief and anecdotal, 
narrative of Wyoming history. Gaps in the manuscript 
leave one wanting to know more, particularly consid- 
ering all that Farlow and his brothers had accomplished. 
Jost did an excellent job of editing and annotating the 
original manuscript. The book is well-made and easily 
readable, no typographical errors were noted and the 
editor and publisher are to be commended. 

Todd Guenther 

The Pioneer Museum, Lander 

By Grit & Grace Eleven Women Who Shaped 
the American West. Edited by Glenda Riley and 
Richard W. Etulain. Golden: Fulcrum Publishing, 
1997. xiv+ 226 pages. Illustrations, bibliographic 
essays, index. Paper. 

Scrupulous research and talented writing by established 
historians combine to make this book of essays an im- 
portant and welcome addition to the historical record of 
the Frontier West. The bibliographic essays that follow 
each chapter will be especially valuable both to research- 
ers of women's history and those with a wider interest. 

Some of the stories are well known, others obscure, 
but all bring new research and details to illuminate the 
lives of these remarkable women. Each essay carefully 
establishes the context of the time and place with valu- 
able and often overlooked background information. 

For instance, in "La Tules, The Ultimate New Mexi- 
can Woman," Janet LaCompte tells us that Mexican 
women of the mid-nineteenth century could keep their 
maiden name when they married, along with property 
rights and access to the courts — much to the disapproval 
of the Americans of that day. 

These memoirs are arranged into two groups: first the 
easily recognized image-makers, followed by selections 
about the more obscure women who "devoted their ef- 
forts and energies to the refinement and bettennent of 
the American West." 

Calamity Jane Canary and Annie Oakley are two of 
the most recognizable names presented and each played 
similar roles in creating the mylh of the "Western Cow- 
girl." But there the resemblance ends. Richard T. 
Etulain's blunt assessment of Calamity Jane as a prosti- 
tute and alcoholic may not please some, but the persona 
created by the florid dime novels remains important in 
Western Americana. Oakley, by contrast, is almost pu- 
ritanical, happily married to a partner who honed her 
skills and stage presence into a legend "that played a 
major role in the world's great love affair with the West." 



48 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



Jesse Benton Fremont is included in this group but is 
she, as Mary Lee Spence, the author of this segment, 
contends, the "most notable" of this pantheon of "women 
who shaped the West?" 

Of the lesser known women portrayed, Mary Ellen 
Pleasant is perhaps the most astounding. A black ser- 
vant woman of obscure origins, she rose to become one 
of the wealthiest and most powerftil people in the quag- 
mire of early San Francisco's financial world. 

The reader will also meet Mother Katharine Drexel, a 
wealthy Chicago socialite who devoted her entire for- 
tune to creating schools for Indian children; and "Iron 
Eye's Daughters," two Ponca women whose compel- 
ling voices for Indian rights resulted in significant re- 
form of Indian policy. 

Both Abigail Scott Duniway, a powerful force in the 
struggle for women's rights and suffrage, and Elinore 
Pruitt Stewart, as a courageous and optimistic home- 
steader, will be familiar names to many readers. These 



essays, however, add depth and perception to their his- 
tories. 

Although the collection includes accounts about 
women from nuns to prostitutes, these women are united 
here by the commonality of their "admirable grit and an 
elusive grace" to achieve goals that impacted on the 
Frontier West in a significant way. According to Glenda 
Riley, one of the editors, this group is also representa- 
tive of the breadth and significance of the roles played 
by all women on the Western frontier, but the book does 
not bemoan the fate of women in the West or the lack of 
historical recognition. Instead, it presents these narra- 
tives in a straightforward, impartial manner that lets the 
events speak for themselves. 

This very readable book has a brief biography, a "vita" 
of each author and a detailed, helpfial index. 

Amy M. Lawrence 
Laramie 



Letters to tne Editor 



Editor: 

1 think that it is imperative that the people who pro- 
duce your magazine do their best to be accurate. I was 
surprised when I saw your description "About the Cover 
artist" explaining the cover picture (Annals, Spring, 
1998). You quoted a mythological tale about Phillips. 
This story has been refuted by true historical data which 
should be reported by your magazine. Read Powder 
River Country by Hanson, pp. 79-8 1 . 

Margaret Brock Hanson 
Kaycee, Wyoming 

Editor: 

The cover of the recent Annals (Autumn, 1998) was 
of special interest. With some searching I might dis- 
cover the identity of the sender of the postcard, but I 
can identify the recipient. She was Julianna Willson, a 
first cousin of my father. Her home was Guernsey where 
her father, Edmund Willson, was foreman many years 
for Charles Guernsey. He had first worked for Guern- 
sey with the Three 9 outfit on the Cheyenne River north 
of Lusk. Julianna, as well as her step-brother, my Dad's 
sister and one of his brothers, attended high school in 
Salem, Massachusetts, where three "maiden" Willson 
aunts lived. They felt an Eastern education was impor- 
tant and encouraged this. Julianna's pet name was 
"Doodie Wissie." Several years ago I first became ac- 



quainted with Mrs. Frederick, whose family ultimately 
bought the Guernsey ranch. I asked if she knew Julianna 
and she promptly replied, "Doodie Wissie, of course. 
She and I grew up together." She told me some cute 
stories about their friendship. Mrs. Frederick also told 
me that her father was an officer at Fort Laramie in the 
days when it was an active military post.... 

Anne Willson Whitehead 
Lakewood, Colorado 

Editor: 

William R. Supemaugh's article "Enigmatic Icon: 
The Life and Times of Harry Yount," {Annals, Spring 
1998), includes a photograph on page 28 captioned 
"Harry Yount in the mountains" and credited to the 
Yellowstone National Park collection. National Park 
Service. This photograph was made by William Henry 
Jackson in 1 874 and is titled "North From Berthoud 
Pass," according to Peter B. Hales in his William Henry 
Jackson and the Transformation of the American Land- 
scape, 1988.... 

Rick Walters 
Photographic Technician 
American Heritage Center 
University of Wyoming 



Wyoming Picture 



On the Edge 

This early 20th centwy photograph taken on 
Mount Owen is from the FritiofFiyxell collec- 
tion, American Heritage Center. 




Join tne ^SX^oming State Historical Society 


and your local nistorical society cnapter 


State Membership Dues: 


Special membership categories are available: 


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Contributing: $100-249 


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Benefits of membership include four issues 


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per year of Annals of Wyoming, ten issues of 
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and discounts for various Society activities. 


For information about membership in the 
Wyoming State Historical Society and infor- 
mation about local chapters, contact 

Judy West, Society Coordinator 




1740H184 Dell Range Blvd. 




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-fl 




'^nai^ 



Is of 



WYOMING 

Tne ^Wjomin^ History Journal 



Spring 1999 



Vol. 71, No. 2 




About tne Cover Art-- 

The Animal World 

1956, film poster (detail) 

American Heritage Center, Forrest J. Ackerman Collection 

This startling poster advertised the 1956 documentary The Animal World. Written and 
Directed by Irwin Allen (who later became known for such disaster epics as Voyage to the Bottom 
of the Sea and The Towering Inferno), this film primarily consists of stock footage used to tell the 
story of the development of life on earth. 

The Animal World is most notable, however, for a fifteen-minute sequence on dinosaurs that 
uses stop-motion animation by two of the greatest special effects artists of the twentieth century, 
Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen. O'Brien created the special effects for the first of many film 
versions of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World (1925), but he is best known for 1933's 
King Kong. Ray Harryhausen animated a dazzling array of creatures for films such as The Beast 
from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963). 

While the animated dinosaurs in the film are presented in a historically accurate time sequence, 
the poster follows the common film practice of ignoring scientific accuracy by mixing together 
dinosaurs of different periods. Thus Wyoming's state dinosaur, the Cretaceous period Triceratops, 
appears alongside the Jurassic Ceratosaurus and Apatosaurus (formerly, and perhaps more 
popularly known as Brontosaurus). 

This poster, and the dinosaur sequence from the film, will be included in the exhibition From 
Como Bluff to Cultural Icon: Our Enduhng Fascination with Dinosaurs at the University of Wyoming 
Art Museum, June 18 through November 14 (closed September 6 through 24). Organized by the 
Art Museum and the University of Wyoming Geological Museum in association with the American 
Heritage Center, From Como Bluff to Cultural Icon: Our Enduhng Fascination with Dinosaurs 
presents the history of paleontology in southeastern Wyoming and traces the enduring presence 
of the dinosaur in popular culture. 

Discovered in 1 877 by two employees of the Union Pacific Railroad, Como Bluff is one of the 
most important dinosaur discovery sites in the world. The astounding Jurassic dinosaurs excavated 
there had a tremendous impact on the development of vertebrate paleontology and provided the 
core specimens for many of the world's major museums. 

From Como Bluff to Cultural Icon marks the 1 00'^ Anniversary of the Fossil Fields Expedition, 
which was organized by Professor Wilbur Knight of the University of Wyoming, and examines 
earlier dinosaur discoveries at Como Bluff. In addition, the exhibition explores the dinosaurs 
themselves with two dramatic full-size skeletal casts, actual bones, beautiful late 19'^-century 
lithographs, and 19'*' and 20'^ Century paintings that depict Wyoming and its dinosaurs as they 
might have appeared some 140 million years ago. From Como Bluff to Cultural Icon also traces 
the enduring presence of dinosaurs in popular culture through films, print media, corporate identity, 
and roadside attractions. For more information, call the museum, 307/766-6622. 

-Scott Boberg 



The editor of .Annals of Wyoming welcomes manuscripts and photographs on every aspect of the history' of Wyoming and the West. 
Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or which offer new interpretations 
of historical events. First-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be considered for use in the 
"Wyoming Memories" section. Historic photo essays for possible publication in "Wyoming Memories" also are welcome. Articles are 
reviewed and refereed by members of the joumal's Editorial Advisory Board and others. Decisions regarding publication are made by 
the editor. Manuscripts (along with suggestions for illustrations or photographs) should be submitted on computer diskettes in a format 
created by one of the widely-used word processing programs along with two printed copies. Submissions and queries should be ad- 
dressed to Editor. Annals of Wyoming, P. O. Bo.\ 4256, University Station, Laramie WY 82071 . 



^^w 



\y 



Editor 

Pliil Rok-rls 

Book Review liaitor 
Carl Hallterg 



Editorial Advi5or\' Board 

Barbara Bogart, Evanston 

iMaLel Brown, Newcastle/Cneyenne 

Micnael J. De\dne, Laramie 

James B. Grirritn, ]r., Cneyenne 

Don Hodgson, Torrington 

Loren Jost, Riverton 

Davia Katnka, Rock Springs 

T. A. Larson, Laramie 

|onn D. McDermott, Sneridan 

Karv'l Denison Robb, Cneyenne 

Snerry L. Smitn, Moose 

Thomas F. Stroock, Casper 

Lawrence M. Wooas, \(orlana 

Wyoming' State Historical Society 
PuDlications Committee 

Rick Ewig, Laramie 

Davia Katnka, Rock Springs 

Snerry L. Smitn, Moose 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Nancy Curtis, Ulendo 

XX'illiam H. Moore, Laramie (ex orricio) 

Patty Myers, XY'Keatlantl (ex-officio) 

Loren Jost, Riverton (ex-orricio) 

Pnil Ronerts, Laramie (ex-oHicio) 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Committee 

Patt>' Myers, President. WkeatlanJ 

Da\*c Ta\ U^r, Casper 

Mike Jording, Newcastle 

Linda Fabian, Cbevenne 

DicL W'llJer, Cody' 

Rick Ewig, Laramie 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Jermy NCigbt, Arton 

Judy West, Membersnip Coordinator 

Governor oi Wyoming 

Jim Oeringer 

Wyoming Dept. oi Commerce 

Tucker Fagan, Director 

Wvoming Parks & Cultural Resources 
Commission 

William Dubois, Cneyenne 
CnarlesA. Guerin, Laramie 
Diann Reese, LvTnan 
Rosie Berger, Big Horn 
B. Byron Price, Cody 
Herb Frencn, Newcastle 
Frank Tim Isabell, Snosnoni 
Jeanne Hickey, Cneyenne 
Hale Kreycik, Douglas 

University or Wyoming 

Pnilip Dubois, President 
Micbael J. Devine, Director, 

American Heritage Lenter 
Oliver \(alter. Dean, 

College oi Arts and Sciences 
William H. Moore, Cbair, Dept. of Histor>' 

Printed by Pioneer Printing, Cneyenne 




2 T \-m 



jUk 



finals of 

WYOMING 



The Wyoming Histoiy Journal 



Spring 1999 Vol. 71, No. 2 

Lander's Pride and Joy: Tne Old btone bclioolnouse 

Bv Toda Lnientner 2 

Honiesteading' tne Tnunder Basin: 
Teckla, Wyoming', 1917-1938 

By William R Fischer 21 

Visions Beyond An Arrow or Fire ": 
Wyoming's Pendray and tne Other Rocket Experimenters 

By Da\dcl L. Roherts 35 

Book Revie\\'s 

Edited W Carl Hallherg 41 

Bettelvoun and Waggoner, With Mv Own Eves: A I.aRota VConian IflU Her People's 

History, re\iewt'd by Warren Metcalf 
Bovle, Los Capitaiistas: Hispano Merchants and the ^anta I"e Trade, re\'K'\VL'd nv 

Frank: V^an Nuys 
Davis, Mv Chosen Trails: A Wvominsj' VTonian s Recollections Through the 

Twentieth Centur\', rexicwcd n\' I atty Myers 
Miller, Hollow Victor\': The ^hite River Expedition of 187Q and the Battle of 

Milh CreeK, re\ieweu nv Thomas R. Buecker 
Decker, Olu Fences, New Neignhors, reviewed oy Richard Francaviglia 
Gorzalka, Wyoming's Territorial Sheriffs, reviewed by Michael 1. Pfeiier 
Evans, King of the Western Saddle: The Sheridan Saddle and the Art ol Don 

Kin^, revdewea nv James Laird 

Index 47 

Wvoininp' Picture Inside Back 



Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming Histoiy Journal is published quarterly h\ the W'\ oming State Historical 
Society' in association with the Wyoming Department of Commerce, the American Heritage Center, and the 
Department of History, University of Wyoming. The journal was previously published as the Ouarieiiy 
Bulletin ( 1923-1 Q25), Annals ofWyamnig (1925-1993). Wyoming Annals { 1993-1995) and Wyoming His- 
tory Journal (1995-1996). The Annals has been the official publication of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society since 1953 and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Membership dues 
are: single, $20; joint, $30; student ( under 2 1 ), $ 1 5; institutional, $40; contributing, $ 1 00-249; sustaining, 
$250-499; patron, $500-999; donor, $1,000+. To join, contact your local chapter or write to the address 
below. Articles in Annals of Wyoming are abstracted in Historical Abstracts and America History ami Life. 

Inquiries about membership, distribution, reprints and back issues should be addressed to Judy West, Co- 
ordinator, Wyoming State Historical Society , 1 740H1 84 Dell Range Blvd., Cheyenne WY 82009. Editorial 
correspondence should be addressed to the editorial office of Annals of Wyoming. American Heritage Cen- 
ter, P. O. Box 4256. University Station, Laramie WY 8207 1 . 
Our website address is: http://ww^v. uwyo.edu/ A&STiistop. 'whjoum.htm 



Copyright 1999, Wyoming State Historical Society 



ISSN: 1086-7368 



.^d/naer^^ ^^th^ a/mjl ^cm: 









Lander's stone schoolhouse, shining in the morning sunlight. Oct. 8, 1886 Note the construction rubble still littering the grounds, 
the outhouse at rear, and the lack of any nearby buildings. The school, when built, was just outside town. All of the boys playing 
with their lariats is no surprise, but the boys and girls playing cricket instead of the great American pastime of baseball is unexpected. 

The stone school house at the southwest comer of Sixth and Garfield Streets has 
played roles of varying significance in Lander's development since the idea to build 
it was conceived in the early 1 880s. It is particularly important for representing the 
pioneer determination to educate frontier youth in spite of difficulties arising from 
isolation, lack of capital, dearth of qualified teachers, inadequate facilities, and 
other problems. Education was seen as a necessity for economic prosperity. 



Spring 1999 

It was also required for the maintenance and dis- 
semination of traditional, east coast, Euro-American 
socio-cultural values to untutored frontier children and 
the offspring of immigrants and Native Americans. This 
wide-spread attitude is illustrated in the Currier and 
Ives lithograph of Frances Flora Palmer's painting. 
Across the Continent: IVesrward the Course of Empire 
Takes Its IVay. by the prominent placement of the pub- 
lic school in the center foreground (5t't' photograph, 
next page). That Lander settlers firmly held the same 
beliefs is plainly evident in the story of the develop- 
ment of the local educational system and construction 
and use of the stone schoolhouse. 

For a decade following its construction in 1885, the 
stone school house ser\ ed as the figurehead of the grow- 
ing frontier village, proving residents' detemiination 
to build a permanent community with a refined and 
educated citizenry. They were preparing their children 
for life in the fast-approaching twentieth century. A 
photo of the year-old school taken in 1886 shows that, 
although of simple design, considerable artistry and 
pride were incorporated into the edifice (facing page). 
Later, the school house became the neglected rear wing 
of a larger building and was recently threatened with 
demolition. Now, as Lander prepares to enter a new 
millennium, the stone school is on the verge of reclaim- 
ing its fonner prominence. The stone school will again 
become a major contributor to the general quality of 
life and the education of children at the foot of the Wind 
River Mountains. 

When Wyoming became a territory in 1 868, the con- 
cept of free public education had long been an integral 
part of American society. A tax-supported public school 
system was incorporated into Wyoming law b\ the first 
territorial legislature in 1869. School taxes could not 
exceed two mils of the assessed property value within 
the county. If the county treasurer had insufficient funds, 
students' parents had to pay the balance. South Pass 
City, forty miles south of Lander, was home to 
Wyoming's first public school in 1 870. In 1 876 school 
attendance for at least three months per year became 
compulsory for Wyoming children between the ages 
of six and twenty-one. This then, was the framework 
within which Lander pioneers operated as they initi- 
ated a local educational system.' 

The stone schoolhouse, which is the embodiment of 
widely held pioneer philosophies and territorial law, 
was not the first hall of academe to grace Lander's 
muddy streets. A history of the earliest educational ef- 
forts was provided by the Rev. George Mooney at a 
school function in 1895: 



In 1 868 the United States government consummated 
its treaty with the Indians of this section of this coun- 
try. One year later a military post known as "Camp 
Brown" was established on the present site of Lander. 
The next year the camp changed its location and sub- 
sequently became Fort Washakie. A few of the fol- 
lowers of Camp Brown remained behind to establish 
the town of Lander [known then as Pushrootj. 

In 1871 Mr. James I. Patten, now a citizen of Lander, 
was sent as lay missionary and teacher to the Indians 
of the adjoining reser\ation. Mr. Patten is thus entitled 
to the distinction of being the pioneer of education in 
this part of the State. Remaining among the Indians 
tor a few years, Mr. Patten after resigning his position 
came to Lander hoping to secure the location of a school 
at this place. We are infonned that the school district 
to w hich Lander then belonged extended to Green Ri\ er 
where the county superintendent resided. Mr. Patten 
being notified that he must repair to Green Ri\er for 
examination, took to fanning instead. 

About 1874 or 1875 Edward Lawn [a saloon keeper 
better known as Red Cloud] opened the first school in 
Lander, occupying a building then situated between 
the CoUage Home hotel and the livery bam. Later, the 
school moved to a log cabin on the opposite side of 
Main street. - 

The original school acquired by Lawn was a one room 
log cabin built in the early 1 870s Isee i/histration. page 
1 7). After the town was platted and the a\ enues w ere 
laid out, the school was in the middle of the extended 
and straightened Main Street. To correct the problem, 
the cabin was moved aside to 556 Main. The building 
was eventually incorporated into a home and office 
before being moved away from the business district. It 
still stands as part of a residence at 991 South Fourth 
Street. Teachers were barely able to provide the most 
basic of educations. Amelia Hall, w ho taught there dur- 
ing the summer of 1 878 and simultaneously organized 
the first Sunday School, wrote: 

At the end of the street was a log building used as a 
school house. I taught school the first summer I was 
here. 1 had forty scholars crowded into one small room 
as every child in Lander attended school, ages ranging 
from fi\ e to sixteen. We had a tew homemade benches, 
a table & chair. The school books were odds & ends 



' Robert Rosenberg, "Historic Overview of Education in 
Sublette County, Wvoming," contract report prepared for the 
Sublette County Certified Local Government Commission, on file, 
Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, Cheyenne, 1988. 

- "It Was Dedicated Monda\," Fremont Clipper. November 
15. 1895. 



Annals of WyomingiTke Wyoming Histon,' Journal 



gathered from somewhere — no two books alike. The 
old log building was used until 1885 when the stone 
school house was built.' 

Even in public schools students received instruction 
in more than just "The Three R's of Readin/ Ritin,' 
and Rithmetic."' In spite of prescriptions against the 
mixing of church and state a fourth "R," religion, was 
included. Mrs. Hall had written friends and relatives 
back home in Rodman, New York, that her school had 
no books and the whole community lacked Bibles and 
prayer books. More than fifty volumes arrived about a 
month later, and were distributed among the students 
and settlers. The Reverend Father Sisson, a Catholic 
priest and itinerant missionar\' from Laramie who made 
periodic visits to the area, held mass in the coarse log 
school and commended Mrs. Hall for teaching Sunday 
School.^ 

Not only Lander children attended classes in the little 
school. Youngsters from outlying areas and ranches 
were commonly sent to town for "book learning." 
Transportation for rural children was a problem then 
just as it is today. In his day ledger, recording informa- 
tion about his store and ranch operation at the head of 
Red Canyon, about fifteen miles to the south between 
Lander and South Pass City, English immigrant Will- 
iam (Boss) Tweed penned these words about his son: 



Dec. 18th, 1882 Benjamin Tweed Camenced to go 
to School at Lander City also to bord at Mr. Davis 
Hotel at the rait of twenty dollars per month 

March 6th [1883] Quit Bording come home on the 
Seventh on the coach-"' 

Fourteen-year-old Ben may have been summoned 
home to alleviate his parents' escalating worries about 
him living and traveling on his own. It had become 
apparent to everyone in the area that obtaining an edu- 
cation could prove fatal to their children. Only two 
weeks earlier, widely loved teenager Maggie Sherlock 
died horribly in an event which traumatized central and 
western Wyoming. The Tweeds felt her loss person- 
ally because the Sherlocks had been friends, neighbors, 
and business partners since 1868 when both families 

' "90 Year Old Landmark, Once a School. Leaves Main Street," 
Wyoming State Journal, clipping on file. Pioneer Museum, n.d., 
summer of 1964; If'yoming Stare Journal. August 26. 1925; 
"Saloon Men and Gamblers Put Mone> in Lander Church Fund," 
Wyoming State Journal. .April 16. 1932; .Amelia Hall. Mountain 
View Ranch, May 26th, 1930, untitled manuscript in Pioneer 
Museum collections. 

■'"First School House," Wyoming State Journal. May 26, 1938. 
Sisson performed marriages and other ceremonies during the 
course of his journeys. For example, he pronounced Jim Smith 
and the widowed Janet Sherlock man and wife at South Pass City 
in 1874. 

'Tweed Daybook, September 1878-Feb. 1890, 184, in 
collections of Fremont Countv Pioneer Museum (unaccessioned). 




A widely popular Currier and Ives lithograph of Frances Flora Palmer 's painting titled "Across 
the Continent: Westward the Course of Eniprie Takes Its Way. " This work depicts "Manifest 
Destiny" hard at work conquering the boundless horizons of possibility of the Atnerican West. 
Public schools were at fi-ont and center of this effort as the picture indicates. 



Spring IQQQ 

were among the earliest settlers in tlie adjacent South 
Pass gold mining region. 

Maggie was a stage coach passenger en route from 
her home in South Pass City to a Catholic boarding 
school in Salt Lake City. Her coach and several others 
were caught in a tremendous blizzard in February 1 883 
and a number of people perished. After two days lying 
buried in the snow, Maggie's coach was located and 
she was cut from her frozen clothing and taken to Dry 
Sandy Stage Station, near present-day Parson, Wyo- 
ming. The Reverend .lohn Roberts, an Episcopal mis- 
sionary who had been a passenger on another coach, 
was stranded there and helped care for Maggie who 
was suffering from exposure, dehydration, and frozen 
limbs. Her driver died before her eyes and was buried 
in a snowdrift at the station. 

Roberts, only recently arrived from a posting in the 
Bahamas, was headed to the Shoshone Agency at Fort 
Washakie, near Lander, to establish a mission and In- 
dian school. During the coming _\ears he would also 
help organize the Lander schools and Lander's Trinity 
Episcopal Church, plus many other congregations 
around the region. Had he, too, perished in the stomi, 
both secular and religious education in the Wind River 
valley would have received a devastating blow.'' 

Maggie lingered in agony for several days before suc- 
cumbing. Tweed's neighbor. Dr. Wilson, aided by the 
post surgeon from the fort, tried futilely to help her 
and afterwards brought firsthand stories of her suffer- 
ing and the family's misery into the Tweeds' parlor. 
The Sherlock tragedy resulted simply from wanting a 
decent education for their daughter. This episode em- 
phasizes the sometimes even fatal difficulties experi- 
enced by pioneer families trying to educate their chil- 
dren on the frontier. The deaths and maiming of the 
many people on the coaches nearly brought an end to 
stage traffic in the Lander area. On a positive note, it 
also catalyzed, or at least contributed to. Lander's de- 
termination to build a good school system. Parents and 
civic-minded individuals resolved that local children 
would not ha\ e to continue being shipped off and sub- 
jected to such dangers in order to be well educated.^ 

The next year, 1884. Fremont County was created 
and Lander was named the county seat. The rugged, 
mountainous area go\ emed was huge, stretching some 
250 miles north to south (from Sweetwater County to 
the Montana border) and extending roughly 120 miles 
east to west. The first school districts in this vast wil- 
derness were established at that time. In an election on 
April 22, 1 884, James 1. Patten was chosen as the first 
County Superintendent of Schools. During his brief 
tenure a total school apportionment of S3500 was di- 



\ided among eight school districts. District One at 
Lander, with SI 003.65, had by far the greatest single 
share. 

Lander, as the seat of county go\ eminent, w ilh a mild 
climate and rich natural resources, grew steadily in spite 
of its remote, isolated location 1 50 miles from the Union 
Pacific Railroad. Still, it was at this time a rough, fron- 
tier town with frequent gunplay in the muddy streets 
lined with numerous log saloons and other simple build- 
ings; Lander had a long way to go to become the model 
community local visionaries foresaw. Work toward thai 
end was progressing rapidly, though, and significant 
changes are visible in photographic views of the town 
taken only a few years apart in 1 883 and about 1 887 
(following page). One of the first steps to be addressed 
was the pressing need for adequate educational facili- 
ties to enlighten the young already living there and to 
attract more families of respectable character. Accord- 
ing to the Wind River Mountaineer, January 1, 1885: 

Lander is impro\ ing. Already she boasts of fine stone 
buildings, and the adobe and log houses are fast gi\ ing 
place to more substantial stnictures of stone and framed 
buildings... In order to keep pace \\ ith the times, a new. 
and commodious school house is much needed here ... 

Patten, who ser\ed as superintendent only until Janu- 
ary of 1 885. initiated the planning and fund-raising ef- 
forts to upgrade the school system. The site selected 
for the new school was a 1 50' by 1 50' parcel consisting 
of Lots 1.2. and 3 of Block 28 in the Original Townsite 
of Lander. The land may have been purchased for the 
project, but was most likely donated b\ early-day Pony 
Express rider and Indian fighter Benjamin Franklin 
Lowe. Italian immigrant banker Eugene Amoretti. and 
the other men who laid out the town. They donated 
land for se\'eral churches and the courthouse. A gift of 
land to build the school would have been in keeping 
with their efforts to create a model community. Patten 
enjoyed the pleasure of initiating construction of the 
new facility before his term expired. 

Exactly how construction of the expensive new stone 
school building was funded was not recorded. Dona- 
tions from the public clearly paid at least part if not all 

''Tom Bell. "Roberts Was Elder Brother To .All." Wind River 
Mounlameer, ? (April - June I'^87):4-24; Elinor R. lVlarkle> and 
Beatrice Crofts, eds.. Walk Softly This Is Cod's Country Letters 
and Journals of Rev. John Roberts (Lander, W>oming; Mortimore 
Publishing. 1QQ7). 

Todd Guenther, editor, "Dear Peter: The Letters of a Pioneer 
Mother and Sister." Wind River Mountaineer, 1 (April - June 
1991): 23-27; Tom Bell. "The Terrible Blizzard of 1883." Wind 
River Mountaineer, 4 (January - March 1988): 4-1 1. 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 





of the costs. There was at this time in Lander's early 
history a great deal of competition for fiands to build 
several large edifices. The cumulative results of these 
drives bespeak the determination of early settlers, all 
relatively recent arrivals to the new town, to shape their 
community for the best. The repeated displays of gen- 
erosity and volunteers' consistent ability to raise sig- 
nificant sums of money through public subscriptions 
from a small, cash strapped frontier community were 
nothing short of remarkable. 

The Catholic church, built of stone by a man named 
McLimans two years before the school, provides a good 
example both of the fundraisers' success and building 
costs associated with a structure like the school. Dur- 
ing December 1882, a three-day benefit fair was held 
which raised $1,812. There were only about 1 00 people 
in the village at that time, and the average daily wage 
was only one to two dollars, so the results are astonish- 



View to the west along Main Street, 
taken from the hill near the present- 
day Pronghorn Lodge. The photo was 
taken in 1883, possibly by a 
photographer associated with 
President Chester A. Arthur 's sojourn 
through the area on his wav to 
Yellowstone. Ervin Cheney 's 
blacksmith shop is the large, false- 
fronted log building in the 
foreground. The rear of the stone. 
Catholic Church is visible at the 
middle left edge of the photo. 



This c. 1887 photo, taken from a 
slightly different angle, shows several 
developments. New homes and the 
stone schoolhouse are in the area 
beyond the Catholic Church. 
Downtown, some large commercial 
buildings have been built to 
accommodate the growing retail 
sector. These include the 1887 
Fremont Lumber Company building 
(shown at right, the four second-story 
windows facing the camera looked 
out from the Fremont Clipper offices). 
The large brick building to the left of 
that was the Odd Fellows Hall, built 
in 1886. The first floor was leased to 
a succession of commercial ventures. 



ing. The church, about half the size of the school, was 
completed in the spring of 1883. The total cost was 
about $3,000 and the congregation was nearly free of 
debt due to the generosity of Lander citizenry.* 

Simultaneous fundraising efforts for Trinity Episco- 
pal Church are better documented. Lander residents 
were forced to contribute money to erect both struc- 
tures. All locals were expected to dig deeply into their 
pockets to support these ventures. Fund-raiser H. E. 
Wadsworth described the process of soliciting dona- 
tions. He also introduced Jack Parker, who ran a noto- 
rious saloon and outlaw hangout but nevertheless played 
a prominent role in efforts to raise money first for the 
Sunday school and later the public school bell: 

* "The History of Lander and of Holy Rosary Parish," unpub- 
lished manuscript, n.d., on file at Pioneer Museum, 38, 39; 
"Catholic Church Was First Built Says E.J. Farlow," Wyoming 
State Journal, n.d., clipping on file. Pioneer Museum. 



Spri ng 1999 

As a member of the committee for the raising of such 
funds, I was courteously received by all members of the 
gambling fraternity, saloon keepers, and representati\es of 
even more shady lines of business, all contributing gener- 
ously, regardless of creed or the lack of it. I remember that 
old "Black Jack Parker," who had one of the best-known 
saloons and gambling places in town, located on Main street, 
opposite the old Lander hotel, was very enthusiastic about 
the new church, and subscribed his name gladly, with a 
few characteristic, profane remarks.'* 

Parker's saloon was the site of frequent violence and 
wasn't really a very funny place. A local man, who 
brought his wife and children to Lander in 1 882, made 
a diary entry which underscores what a tough, "Old 
West" type of institution Parker's saloon was: "Aug 
1 5 1 885 this evening about 5:30 Oclock Frank Howard 
shot and kild Charley Williamson in Jack Parkers So- 
loune.""' 

Children who grew up in this section of the frontier 
and attended classes in the Lander school were famil- 
iar with violence in its crudest fonns. In 1873, two 
years after Ed Lawn opened Lander's first public school, 
the village was attacked by the Sioux and two women 
were killed in a cabin only two blocks from the school. 
"Indian scares" remained a part of daily life for many 
years. The tribes had generally been confined to reser- 
vations and peace had prevailed in the Lander area since 
the late 1870s — Fort Stambaugh near South Pass City 
was deemed unnecessary and closed in 1878 — but 
people still lived with apprehension. The feeling of 
physical safety inspired by thick stone walls may have 
been a contributing factor in Landerites' selection of 
that building material. The intent in building the school 
was to overcome the rough frontier life-style both men- 
tally and physically: to keep children safe, to educate 
them, and to provide them with a more uplifting built 
environment, thereby creating a more civilized com- 
munity. 

A mother and daughter who survived the desperate 
warfare of the 1 860s and 1 870s noted another series of 
frightening events that affected Lander area children at 
the relatively late date of 1882, 

May 12th, 1882. We have had quite an Indian scare 
lately. 1 do not know whither the Indians have settled 
down yet or not. I think the [soldiers] did perfectly 
right in killing Captain Jack. He was here for the pur- 
pose of trying to get the Young Bucks to join him to 
fight the whites and he was one of the instagators [sic] 
of the Meeker Massacre. 

May 14th, 1882. [Twelve year old] John went to the 
[Lander] valley with Billcox. He was going to be gone 
a week or ten day[sj and instead of that did not come 



back for three weeks ... We were awful uneasy about 
him on account of the Indians bemg so bad ..." 

Fear and death in street fights, skirmishes, diseases, 
or accidents were part of growing up on the frontier. 

" Christine Fuller. Superintendent ot Schools, Fremont C'ount\, 
l,ander, Wyoming, (unpublished manuscript on tile. Pioneer 
Museum, 1965); "Trinity Church. Lander. 1883-1QS3." 2; H. F. 
Wadsworth. "Saloon Men and Gamblers Put Mone\ in lander 
Church Fund," IVyoining Stale Jminuil. April 16. 1432. 

Parker sold his saloon in the 200 block of Main Street to Edward 
Lannigan in the late 1880s or earl_\ l8Q0s. With son Joe behind 
the bar. the Lannigan saloon remained a lively and tough frontier 
bar. It continued to be a prominent institution in downtown Lander 
during an era when all normal men were expected to imbibe treeK , 
The omnipresent Butch Cassidy was once enjoying a peaceful 
drink or three when warned by a fellow patron that the sheriff 
was coming to arrest him. Butch preserved his freedom b\ tleeing 
through the back door. 

In 1 89.^1 Tom Shepheard. alias Tom Osborne, an illiterate rancher 
who owned that famous outlaw hang-out, the Quien Sabe Ranch, 
murdered a man named Thorn on the steps of the saloon. Thorn 
had misrepresented a document and cheated Osborne out of his 
ranch. When Osborne discovered what had happened he tracked 
Thorn to the bar, told Thorn he "didn't propose to stand it [and 
wanted] what's right," Thorn retorted "I'll give you nothing," 
whereupon Osborne said, "You won't, hey?" pulled out a revolver 
and shot him. Sheriff Stough had ridden down the street past the 
saloon just moments before the shooting and reported that: "1 
rode on about titt\ \ards when 1 heard a shot tired. 1 whirled m\ 
horse around, 1 seen Thorn hump over and run in the saloon door 
and Osborne after him. As I got off my horse, I heard another 
shot or two in the saloon. As I jumped inside ... 1 hollowed to 
Osborne 'to hold up.' .At that time, Osborne was within two or 
three feet of the hack door. I hollowed for him to come to me and 
he did so, still holding his pistol in his right hand. I grabbed his 
pistol, took it away from him and started him to jail." 

Osborne was sentenced to tlfteen years for manslaughter and 
served his time in the Territorial Penitentiarx' with Butch Cassidv. 
Tom Bell, "Charles Hett: Neighbor of Outlaws and Rustlers," 
It'iinl River Mountaineer, 6 (July - September 1990): 5. 6; Tom 
Bell, personal communication Februar\ 15. 1996. 

'" Ed Farthing, Sr., diary, Freinont County Pioneer Museum, 

' ' Janet and Maggie Sherlock letters to Peter Sherlock in. Todd 
R. Guenther, "Dear Peter: The Letters of a Pioneer Mother and 
Sister," Wind River Mouiitairieer. 7 (April-June 1991 ); 16. Captain 
Jack was a Colorado Ute who came to the Wind River Reservation. 
In 1879, he had been a leader in the violent upheaval on the White 
River Reservation in which the despised agent Nathan Meeker 
and others were killed. .After killing a Fort Washakie soldier in 
the spring of 1882, Jack perished when troops fired a cannon into 
his teepee. Delighted whites concurred with the conclusion in his 
obituary that cannons as well as schools were educational tools: 
"On Saturday last he retired to his tepee, little dreaming that he 
would be carried out of it in a salt bag ... His body will lie in state 
in a cigar bo.x, until the time set for his burial, when he will be 
interred with proper ceremonies and a corn planter. We believe 
that the mountain howitzer is destined ... to become an important 
factor in the civilization of the Indian and the amelioration of 
mankind." Bill N\e, quoted in T..'\. Larson, HisloiT ot Wyoming 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978), 107. 



Annals oi Wyoming :Tne Wyoming History Journal 



Death was also a frequent visitor within the apparent 
safety of the home. Typical families of eight to twelve 
could almost expect that one or two children would die 
before reaching maturity. In the Cheyenne cemeteries, 
for example, nearly 40 percent of those people buried 
between 1875 and 1900 were under the age often. In 
spite of all the physical and emotional difficulties of 
life on the frontier, many settlers held a belief in 
progress and the indomitable superiority of American 
civilization. It was pioneers' firm conviction that, as 
illustrated by Currier and Ives' contemporary view 
(page 4), wilderness and Native Americans would ei- 
ther have to acquiesce, get out of the way, or be de- 
stroyed. As the painting suggests, schools all across 
the region were at the forefront of this process. Lander 
celebrated its role in the advancement of western civi- 
lization with the end of the successful fund drive and 
beginning of construction on the stone schoolhouse.'- 

Although advertised bids for school construction 
projects were not required by Wyoming statute until 
after 1886, the school house project was put out for 
bids. Local builders Peter Williamson and William 
Frederick bid $3,810 and $3,757 respectively for stone 
and brick construcfion on the 38' x 50' building with 
thirteen-foot ceilings. The project, however, was 
awarded to the Rawlins firm of Carson and Bond for a 
stone building at $3,557. Bob Bond had a good reputa- 
tion in Lander, also having built Amoretti's First Na- 
tional Bank and Baldwin's Store, both on Main Street. 
There is no evidence that an architect drew up plans 
for the school. Consistent with the time and place. Bond 
likely designed and engineered the building himself 
based on the Board's verbal specifications and his ex- 
perience as a builder.'^ 

Construction started at the beginning of October, 
1884. On the 7th, Bond began making frequent visits 
to Ervin F. Cheney's blacksmith shop just east of the 
river on Main Street (see photos, page 6). Almost ev- 
ery other day through November, Bond brought in stone 
cutting and shaping tools to be sharpened and repaired. 
In the next few weeks he spent $52.25 at Cheney's. '"* 

A number of masons lived in Lander at this time and 
most probably worked on this project. Among them 
were the Williamson Brothers who buiU Ed Tweed's 
fine stone house on Squaw Creek, Charles Harrison, 
and widely known Howard Crispin who moved to 
Lander in 1882. Crispin, who later carved many of 
Lander's grave stones, is the most likely candidate to 
have inscribed the datestone which the proud commu- 
nity placed prominently above the school's front door. 
The stone read, "Lander Public School Erected A.D. 
1885."i5 



Lander boasted several stone buildings by the mid- 
1880s. Prominent among them were the Catholic 
Church, Third and Garfield, built 1 882-1 883; Baldwin's 
Store, Third and Main, built 1 883-1 884; and Amoretti's 
bank, 258 Main, built 1885-1886. Many quarries on 
public and private land provided rock for projects small 
and large. Among the most prominent were Wyopo, 
about a mile and a half north of Lander, Battrum Gap 
southeast of town, and Sinks Canyon. The stone had to 
be hauled in small loads on horse-drawn wagons. 

The lion's share of rock work on the school was com- 
pleted by December 1 884. After that, the carpentry work 
was initiated. The structure now had a recognizable 
shape and observers thought, albeit incorrectly, that 
the building was nearly ready for occupancy. The local 
paper wrote on January 1, 1885: 

The New School is approaching its completion thanks 
to the untiring and most devoted efforts of Mr. P. Kurry 
[sic, Correy]. The date of its commencement will be 
published in this paper, also the order of the day. The 
list of benefactors and subscribers will follow, as soon 
as possible.'* 

In fact, the school still had many months to go be- 
fore it would be completed, though why it took so long 
is a mystery. Perhaps the project stalled while addi- 
tional funds were raised. At any rate, the framing and 
roofing were not completed until September. 

Pat Correy, whose "devoted efforts" were praised by 
the Mountaineer editor, was a well-known local car- 
penter and family man with a personal interest in 
Lander's developing school system. Although one of 
his young children died in the late 1880s, by 1896 he 
and his wife and five studious children lived at the cor- 
ner of Sweetwater and Third Streets. A man named 
Hodder from Salt Lake City helped with the interior 



'- Dennis Frobish, "The Cheyenne Cemetery: Reflections of 
the Life of a City," Annals of Wyoming, 62 (Summer 1990): 90- 
99; Elliot West, Growing Up With the Country: Childhood on the 
Far Western Frontier (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico 
Press, 1989), 37-41. 

'-' C. G. Coutant, Lander, Lander Valley, and the Mines 
Directory, (Lander: Clipper Book & Job Print, Co., 1896), 23; 
Edward Farthing, Sr., Diary for 1885, copy on file. Pioneer 
Museum; "Old School Bell To Pioneer Group," Wyoming State 
Journal, March 16, 1939; Wind River Mountaineer. May 28, 1885. 

'■• E. F. Cheney Day Ledger, "Blacksmithing Account, 
Commenced Work Nov. 6, 1883," in Pioneer Museum archive. 

'^ Clipper, Sept. 24, 1887; "Crispin" folder, vertical files. 
Pioneer Museum, Lander. 

'* Wind River Mountaineer, January 1, 1885. 



Spring 1999 

carpentry and framing. He was best known for his or- 
nate finish work around doors and windows." 

Ed Farthing, a plasterer, noted in his diary on .luly 7, 
1 885, that "Mr. Bond ask me to figer on the plastering 
of the school house." He began work on August 26, 
1885, tlrst helping the carpenters finish up and then 
devoting several days to shingling the roof When that 
was finished, he began the difficult, labor intensive 
interior lath and plastering. Ed's assistants were Ed 
Zimmerman and Ed Smith. Presumably, the\ were ad- 
dressed by nicknames or surnames to avoid confusion. 
Farthing's son. Jack, and another man who worked only 
a half day before quitting rounded out the crew. Far- 
thing paid the latter a total of one dollar. 

The lath was in place and the building was finally 
ready to be plastered at three in the afternoon on Sep- 
tember 4. By Monday, September 14. they had "got 
one Large room finished and nearly the celon of the 
other w hen our puttie rund out and Ed Zimmerman got 
through for he hat to go away." According to Farthing's 
descendants, lime used in the plaster w as procured from 
a kiln in Sinks Canyon. Other more prominent kilns 
included Blair and Crispin's kilns north of town near 
Wyopo.'^ On September 22, 1885, almost a year after 
the constniction project began. Farthing's crew finished 
plastering the school house and on the 24th, Farthing 
settled up w ith Bond. They had plastered 662 square 
yards at $1.12 per yard for a total of $741 .44.''' How 
much he was paid for his other work is not recorded. 
Farthing's handiwork received favorable mention in the 
press: 

The wails are very snn)oth and true, and tiie finish is 
firm and beautiful, being as white as Parian marble, 
and almost as free from cracks on the surface. There is 
no "chip" cracking discernable in any part of the 
work.-" 

The wonderftil new school which had taken so long 
to build was a tremendous improvement on its crude, 
log walled and dirt-roofed predecessor. A photo shows 
that a foyer or coat room was located just inside the 
front door. The building was divided lengthwise into 
two large, bright and well-ventilated classrooms. The 
dividing wall, in addition to separating the primary from 
the upper grades, provided structural support to the 
building and for the centrally located brick chimney. 
Each classroom needed a stove to keep students warm.-' 

Capping the new edifice was a lovely-toned bell, cast 
in 1882 at Vanduzen & Tift's Buckeye Bell Foundry 
in Cincinnati, Ohio. This beautiful, silvery, 300-400 
pound instrument, costing $75 to $100, was the source 
of great community pride, controversy, and excitement. 



The strife was related to the roughly simultaneous con- 
struction of the Episcopal Church in a story wherein 
matters of church and state became peculiarly entw ined. 

Back in December of 1 880, prior to the organization 
of any Lander churches, the Methodists had started a 
non-denominational Sunday school. Classes were first 
held in the intermarried white and Shoshone home of 
old-time frontiersman/trader William Boyd on Washa- 
kie Street. The first Sunday school project was a fund- 
raiser for books that exolved into something larger: 
acquisition of a bell for the Episcopalians and an organ 
for the Catholics. All agreed that when Lander's first 
public building was erected, these accouterments would 
be placed in that structure and the congregations would 
have to obtain their own equipment. 

Nothing worked so simply, however, and from be- 
ginning to end, the Sunday school, nascent public 
school, bell, local saloons, and citizenrv' were embroiled 
in comical controversy. First, the Sunday school sec- 
retary, who was a government surveyor, worked for 
months without pay, exhausted his credit and friends" 
charity, and then gambled away the $17.50 raised to 
purchase Sunday school books in a failed attempt to 
raise money to live on. Three weeks later when the 
books had not arri\ ed, he confessed when questioned. 
Frank Ecoffce, Bill Boyd and Billie O'Neal,-- hurley 

'^ Tom Bell. "'Howard Crispin, Master Stonemason; His work 
still stands in Lander." IViiui River Afcuiiuuiiicer. 6 (October- 
December 19'^0):4,5; "Lander Visit Recalls Building of Our 
School." Wyoming Slate Jounud. August 10, lQ.i'>. 

'"Jim Farthing, personal communication. Februar\ 20, l^^Jt); 
Tom Bell, "Howard Crispin, Master Stone Mason." 4. 5. 

''' Edward Farthing, Sr., Diary for 188.^, entries for Jul>, August, 
and September, copy on file. Pioneer Museum. 

-" Wind River Mowitaineei; September 25, 1883; Jim Fanhing, 
personal communication, Feb. 0, 1996, based on a diar> kept by 
his grandfather, Edward Farthing, Sr. The island of Paros was 
noted for its marble which was used extensivel) for sculpture in 
ancient times. More recently, Parian ware was the name of soft 
cream colored china used unglazed to make statuettes. 

-' Wyoming State JounuiK August 26, 1925; Ray Fuller, 
personal communication. March 1996; Amelia Hall. Mountain 
View Ranch, May 26, 1930, untitled manuscript in Pioneer 
Museum collections. 

-- Like Bill Boyd, Ecoffee had moved to the Sweetwater gold 
mines before moving into the Lander \alle\. EcotTee had earlier 
been employed by the renowned frontier trader Bissonette at his 
trading post on Deer Creek and there become acquainted with 
Boyd and the large Lajeunesse family. Ecoffee married 
Bissonette's half-Sioux daughter. Ecoffee bought a ranch where 
the city of Lander now stands and raised a family there. 

William, or Billy O'Neal was another earl> settler in the Lander 
valley. He was an organizer and the Captain of the Pushroot 
Rangers, a local militia formed to fight off attacking Indians and 
help keep order in the frontier community. Lander's original name 
was "Pushroot" for all the vegetables grown there to support the 
nearby gold miners and soldiers at Camps Stambaugh and Brown. 



10 



Annals of Wyoniing:The Wyoming History Journal 



frontiersmen all, dragged the embezzling secretary 
down the street to Parker's saloon where they learned 
the soft-hearted bartender had loaned him another $25 
which was also lost.-' 

The men told Jack he would have to put up for the 
kids [so Parker] reached behind the bar and threw out 
$50 and told them to buy the song books and have a 
balance besides. 

The balance gave another inspiration to the Sunday 
school workers and they decided to buy [a] bell and 
organ and proceeded to raise the money. It came eas- 
ily for everyone in town chipped in, saloon men, gam- 
blers and all, and the money soon piled up. 

The proposition to place the bell on the first public 
building had its complications and misunderstandings. 
The Episcopal Church was built [earlier in 1885] and 
was the community church. There the bell hung. The 
membership ... stoutly contended that the church was 
a public building and entitled to [keep] the bell. Oth- 
ers, and among them the ones most active in the Sun- 
day school, believed it should go on the new school 
house then in process of erection. The [school] build- 
ing was almost complete and it looked like it would 




This c. 1885 photograph shows a forlorn Trinity 
Episcopal Church with its empty belfiy. The church 
faced east across Third Street toward the slightly older 
Catholic Church. Pioneer Museum photograph 



have no bell in the tower when [several] strongarms, 
after splicing the main brace, got a wagon, took off the 
bell and put it where they believed it belonged. Before 
dawn the clear notes rang out over the city and the 
whole [panic-stricken] population turned out thinking 
it was a fire or an Indian uprising. Excitement ran high 
and when peace was restored, the sun was up in the 
east and all were apparently pleased except the Epis- 
copalians. It should be added.. .that when his draft came, 
young Quinn made good, paid every cent he owed and 
when he left Lander did so with the high regard of 
everyone.-"* 

Thus, with the installation of the bell, was completed 
Lander's stone school house, the first building in town 
to be erected specifically to serve as a place of learn- 
ing. Amelia Hall, who had taught in the old log cabin, 
praised the beautiful new school, "It had two rooms 
and was such an improvement on the old building. It 
was thot large enough to accommodate all the children 
in Lander for many years."--'' 

The honor of opening the new school building to stu- 
dents in the autumn of 1 885 fell to Mrs. F. E. Caldwell 
who succeeded Patten as Superintendent for a regular 
two-year term. Herrecordsof December 7, 1885, show 
the apportionment of the General County School Fund 
at that time had increased to $5000, but it had to be 

-' An Episcopal Church was formed in South Pass City in 1870 
by Reverend Fitman. This institution only lasted about one year 
before the bust in the mining district drove the congregants away. 
According to "A New Church Bell," The Clipper, July 24, 1896, 
Mrs. J.D. Woodruff initiated another subscription to acquire a 
bell for Lander's Methodist Episcopal Church. That church bell 
was double the size of other bells in the city, weighing 700 pounds. 
It cost $110. Based on this information, the school bell is believed 
to have cost somew hat less. "Saloon Men and Gamblers Put Money 
in Lander Church Fund." Wyoming State Journal. April 16, 1932. 

William Henry Harrison Boyd was an old-time frontiersman 
who had been all over the west in the early days. He was associated 
with trapper-trader Charles Lajeunesse. called Seminoe. The latter 
had a trading post near Devils Gate on the Sweetwater and was a 
partner of Bissonette in his post at Deer Creek east of Fort Caspar. 
About 1865, Seminoe gave his twelve-year-old, half-Shoshone 
daughter over to Boyd's care during an Indian scare. By the late 
1860s the two were living together as man and wife in the South 
Pass mining district. They afterward took up land along the Popo 
Agie which quickly became part of the growing town of Lander. 

-'' "P.S. Quinn, Early Resident, Tells of First Sunday School 
Organized in Lander Valley," Wyoming State Journal, October 
28, 1925. In a Wyoming State Journal article, October 21, 1937, 
it is claimed that the bell was removed from the Sunday School 
building and placed on the schoolhouse by unanimous consent 
and that subsequent public conscriptions permitted the purchase 
of another bell for the church. 

-' Amelia Hall, Mountain View Ranch, May 26, 1930, untitled 
manuscript in Pioneer Museum collections. 



■iiiiiiiiiiiMiia 



Spring 1QQ9 




divided among more schools. In the course of the year, 
the county had expanded to include 260 pupils in eleven 
school districts. 

Incredibly, no records can be found celebrating ex- 
actly when the stone school house first opened its doors 
to students. Only Ed Farthing's diary makes a few ob- 
lique references to education during that w inter of 1 885- 
1886. On Monday, November 30, 1885, he did some 
trading with local merchants and bought two school 
books for his son Harry. Next, on January 21,1 886, he 
bought Harry a spelling book. On February I I, after 
mentioning previously that he was ill, he recorded that 
"Tedey stayd home from School to day he is complaing 
with lumps in his grind, his Mother rubed him with 
Rad[illegible] relef "-'' 

The school's better documented third year opened 
on Monday, October 3, 1887, with forty pupils: six- 
teen in the principal department and twenty-four in pri- 
mary. J. B. Long was master of the principal grades 
while Mrs. T. R. Season taught primary classes. Our 
modem popular belief that married women were not 
considered suitable teachers during the nineteenth cen- 
tury clearly did not hold true in Lander. The Seasons 
ranched about twelve miles from town so she boarded 
while school was in session. When Long left shortly 



This photograph of students and faculry at the stone 
school house nas taken on the stujie diiv as the photo 
on page 2. The people are not identified^ Fremoiu 
County Pioneer Museum photograph 

after the beginning of the year Season was promoted 
to replace him. 

The Clipper of Sept. 17, 1887, congratulated the 
Board for securing the services of such accomplished 
and efficient teachers and noted a few weeks later that 
the public school was progressing nicely and that at- 
tendance was increasing. To further provide for the 
many students" needs, J. K. Moore's big Lander store 
advertised a "Large lot of School Books, just recei\ ed." 
The growth was largely a seasonal occurrence as rural 
kids' ranch and farm responsibilities decreased in au- 
tumn and they were enabled to attend classes. Newly 
arrived families contributed to the student body. Also 
in November, the voters of School District One were 
called by Board Secretary, renowned Indian fighter, 
reservation fanning instructor and local jeweler, Finn 

-* Fartiiing diary, page 79, Nov. 30, 1885; page 92. Jan. 21. 
1886; page 9^ Jan. 31, 1886; page 98, Feb. 11. 1886; in Pioneer 
Museum collections. At this time. Farthing contributed a dollar 
to the most recent fund drive, this time "to help pay the pasiage 
of three man to Chiane to spout about the new cort house." 



12 



Annals or WyomingrThe W/oming History 



Burnett, to a special meeting in the school house to fill 
a vacancy on the board. -^ 

Even while it appeared that life and learning would 
proceed smoothly beneath the stone schoolhouse's 
pretty bell, dissension again reared its head and Lander 
was in an uproar during the 1887 holiday season. It 
became clear that the difficulties of erecting the build- 
ing were simple matters compared with actually oper- 
ating the school. The faculty was in flux. Throughout 
the winter positions were vacated, charges of corrup- 
tion were leveled, and a competing school was started. 
The public school faced stiff, if short-lived, private com- 
petition and then, upon coming up victorious, increased 
its enrollment by half The problem developed when 
some of Lander's prominent families preferred to send 
twenty-four of their children to a newly organized pri- 
vate, or "select," school, which also opened in October 
of 1887, and was apparently affiliated with Reverend 
Roberts and the Episcopal Church. 

The select school teacher was a Mrs. M. C. Vine- 
vard. who was evaluated after a few weeks as being 
"generally satisfactory" but some parents and board 
members openly hoped that "there should be a little 
more life infused" into her overly conservative and stem 
methods and curriculum. In a tumultuous pre-Christ- 
mas meeting of the select school trustees and patrons, 
the infuriated Mrs. Vineyard resigned in an irrevers- 
ible manner. J. I. Patten was given the responsibility of 
finding a replacement. Preferred candidates would be 
local but were to be "of high order."-^ 

At the same meeting select school board members J. 
Russell and M.W. Shidy resigned. They also served 
on the board of the public school, a conflict of interest 
which was deemed "impolitic. "Businessmen J. B. 
Houghton. E. T. St. John. E. F. Cheney, and Mr. Bill- 
ings were elected to fill the many vacancies on the se- 
lect school board. Rev. Roberts promised to help. The 
Clipper 's editor was glad to see the determination of 
local citizens to build up Lander's educational system. 

Mrs. Vineyard determined to plow ahead on her own. 
She promptly advertised that she would open her own 
private school on January 2, next door to the Amoretti 
residence. Tuition would be $5 per month plus $1 for 
incidentals. Her effort and that of the select school were 
short-lived and soon all of Lander's kids were enrolled 
in the public school.-^ 

That same contentious Christmas season, the editor 
of the Wind River Mountaineer charged F. E. Caldwell 
and the revered Capt. H. G. Nickerson with misuse of 
public school funds during the building of the stone 
schoolhouse. But, the Clipper editor would hear none 
of it, nor did the public put stock in the innuendoes 



which quickly blew away in the winter zephyrs. ^° 

In January, the Clipper editor wrote, referring to the 
enlarged student body, that, "our public schools were 
never in a more flourishing condition." He praised the 
addition of steps at the school's front door, but com- 
plained about water running around the bridge and 
flooding west Main Street which made "travel ugly for 
pedestrians especially school children." For weeks the 
children were compelled to wade through 1" to 3" of 
water flowing over deep mud in order to reach the 
schoolhouse. Residents near the bridge were even forced 
from their homes by the flood.'' 

At mid-month, Mrs. Beason resigned when her hus- 
band accepted a ranch manager position on a large op- 
eration far away in the northeast part of the county. 
She was replaced by Miss Agnes Russell who had taken 
over the primary grades when Beason became princi- 
pal. The Mountaineer attacked Miss Russell who was 
defended by the Clipper as having been "competent 
and satisfactory especially in light of the disadvantages 
under which she labored," though the problems she en- 
countered were not identified. The Clipper added that 
the school under her management was an improvement 
over the previous winter under Caldwell. -'- 

One of the territorial teachers institutes was held in 
Lander in 1888. These annual, state-sponsored events 
were held at locations all around the territory for "the 
instruction and advancement of teachers." The program 
began in 1877; after the University of Wyoming was 
founded in 1886, it became an active participant. At 
least some of the lecturers in Lander were local instruc- 
tors. Programs included. "How to interest pupils in 
reading." by Miss Mattie Standish; "Why should Physi- 
ology be taught in our schools," by Miss Lizzie Carr of 
Lander (this subject, with an emphasis on the evils of 
alcohol, became mandatory in the Revised Statutes of 
Wyoming (J 887); "A teacher's duty outside the school- 
room," by Miss Agnes Russell of Lander; "Should 
teachers expect or require of pupils a high moral stan- 
dard?" by Miss Fannie Alden; and "An ideal teacher," 
by Miss Mamie L. Hayes."'' 

-' Clipper. Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 8, Nov. 19, 1887. Burnett was 
former Senator Al Simpson's great-grandfather. 

-'^Clipper, Sept. 24, Nov. 5, December 24, 1887. 

-''Clipper, Dec. 31, 1887, 

^° Clipper, ian. 1, 1888. 

■' Ibid 

" Clipper, ian. 21, 1888. 

-'' "Program for Teacher's [sic] Association, Nov. 24th, 1888," 
Clipper, Nov. 21, 1888; Robert Rosenberg, "Historic Overview 
of Education in Sublette County, Wyoming," contract report for 
the Sublette County Certified Local Government Commission, 
on file, Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, 1988. 



Spring 1999 

In spite of the obstacles. Lander's educational sys- 
tem was progressing. With the addition of the school 
house. Lander was able to boast in a "Boom" edition 
of the Clipper, intended to attract settlers by provid- 
ing, 

a pleasant place in which to make a home ... we 
present... a city delightfully situated, with good soci- 
ety', schools and churches, an atmosphere of moral re- 
finement in which to rear and educate their children, 
and all the elevating influence of an eastern city ... 
The settler coming to Fremont County can ... be in an 
old, settled community. They would have the advan- 
tages of Church and School. Possibly the churches 
and schools might be a little more distant than in the 
east, hut the miles are not as long in Wyoming [as in 
other places] ... -'** 

In part because the town now had a fine school to 
help attract families, the population began to grow al- 
most exponentially. Their numbers and the institutions 
they helped develop began to smooth Lander's rough, 
frontier edges. Homesteaders were moving into the 
\alle_\s of the Popo Agie River, whose branches flow 
through and around Lander, and the nearby Wind River, 
in such numbers that Ten'itorial Governor Moonlight 
in 1887 asked the Department of Interior to promptly 
locate a Land Office in Lander. 

With the influx of people the county now contained 
fifteen school districts. Lander, the first formed and 
numbered "1," was still the largest and received the 
greatest appropriation: $784.67 out of $4059.86. Yet, 
this amount was less than in years past. Clipper editor 
Wynn wrote that the beatitiful and still new public 
school house would ha\e to close about April 1. 1888. 
due to the severe shortage of funds. This situation re- 
sulted from the increased competition for a limited 
county school budget which was based on an inad- 
equately small tax levy. People who had been happy to 
make generous contributions to build the school were 
not eager to pay taxes sufficient to fund operations. 
Wynn hoped the problem would be resolved and school 
would be able to resume in September. '^ 

Sometimes, attempts were made to procure additional 
school funds from diverse or unorthodox sources On 
November 5, 1 887. the Clipper reported that "a scrap- 
ping affair occurred at one of our saloons, in conse- 
quence of which one Charley Rogers, failing to con- 
tribute to the school fund the modest sum of thirty dol- 
lars, was sent to jail." 

Among those flocking to the Lander area were many 
midwestemers. Not all of them came as fairiilies or 
were even adults. The school faculty and student body 



13 

were mixtures of people from all over the globe and 
with strikingly different backgrounds. A young bach- 
elor named Lou Blakesley emigrated to Lander and be- 
came one of the last people to teach in the intact stone 
schoolhouse. He was bom in Illinois in 1 868 and mo\ ed 
to Kansas with his parents while still a \'outh. He and 
several friends trailed a herd of horses to Lander to sell 
in 1 890. He stayed and soon married local girl Louella 
Knott. Blakesley took charge of the school and taught 
there until 1893 when he moved to Greybull.-''' 

Another Kansan who came alone joined the student 
body. After reaching maturity he helped the commu- 
nity chart its course into the twentieth century. Lloyd 
liams' mother died when he was bom in 1871. His 
Civil War veteran father and oldest brother placed the 
baby in care of an aunt and made their way west to 
pioneer near Lander. During his childhood, Lloyd was 
fascinated b\' letters from the wild west and at age of 
1 4, detemiined to strike out on his own. Reaching Che\ - 
enne, he hired on as a cowboy with a westbound trail 
crew to help dri\ e cattle farther west. He left them in 
the vicinity of South Pass and turned north. "Upon 
reaching Lander, he received a wann welcome from 
the united family, entered the stone building ... and 
went to school." 

liams acctmiulated valuable knowledge within the 
stone walls that contributed to his future success. He 
worked as a ranch foreman in Montana, then returned 
to Lander and "acquired the C. G. Coutant homestead 
at the foot of Table Mountain." He enlarged the or- 
chard, developed the ranch, attracted national seed com- 
panies to use Lander area agricultural products, and 
started a creamery and cheese factory. Altogether, he 
played a significant role in the development of com- 
mercial agriculture around Lander.-''' 

During the 1 890s Lander's stone schoolhouse became 
seriously o\ercrowded. When it was erected the stu- 
dent body consisted of fewer than 40 students, but this 
figure doubled every few years. It is a wonder that teach- 

'^ Clipper. October 29, 1887. 

^'' Clipper. Jan. 7, 1888. 

'*' Tom Bell. "Overland to Wyoming in 1800." Wind River 
Mountaineer 8 (January - March 1992): 1 1. 

'' The Coutant family came to Lander in the 1890s after a stint 
in the South Pass gold fields. Charles, the patriarch, published 
the Lander Clipper during the booming mid-1890s. was active in 
the educational community, and became Wyoming's first historian 
of note when he published his massive History of Wyoming in 
1899. The ranch, consisting of claims made by several family 
members, is now owned b\ the author of this article who lives in 
Lloyd liams' 1890s ranch house next to the Coutants' collapsed 
creekbank dugout. Wyoming State Journal. "Death of Llo\d liams 
Closes a Useful Life," April 15. 1937. 



14 



Annals oi Wyoming :Tne Wyoming History Journal 



ers were able to keep up from week to week. Enroll- 
ment figures for primary, intennediate, and grammar 
school classes document the village's rapidly swelling 
population: 



Academic Year Beginning 


No 


Students 


1892 




55 


1893 




86 


beginning 1894 




137 


tlnal 1 894 




209 



While much of the nation languished during the eco- 
nomic hard times of the 1890s, Lander boomed. (Com- 
pare the view of Main Street, below, to those on page 
6). There was very little cash throughout the 1 880s and 
1890s. but ambitious locals found ways to start new 
businesses, erect large buildings and accumulate real 
estate, live stock, and other types of property so that 
the bustling community began to assume a prosperous 
air. Already, by 1893, the eight-year-old stone school- 
house, which even the town's most aspiring boosters 
had thought would serve for many years, was far too 
small. If Lander was to continue to prosper, the need 
for a new school had to be addressed. 

The annual school meeting for this district was held 
Monday e\ening ... There was some talk indulged in 
with reference to bonding the district for the purpose 



of erecting a school building, which shall be sufficiently 
large to properly accommodate the school population 
which has so increased that the old building is inad- 
equate.-'^ 

The school board saw no reason to abandon the stone 
school in response to the overflowing classrooms. In- 
stead, in 1 895, a huge, brick addition was planned that 
would dwarf the stone school which would become 
the rear wing of the large structure (right). During con- 
struction, about half of the front wall of the stone school 
was removed and the proud, frontier era datestone which 
had graced the front entry was broken, discarded, and 
buried beneath the new building. The belfry was re- 
moved from the stone school when the front wall was 
torn down. The old Sunday school bell was moved to a 
new housing above the new front door where "the old 
timers can [still] hear in its clear tones the spirit and 
integrity of the old pioneer."^''' 

High winds slowed the brick-layers and the magnifi- 
cent $10,000 building was not ready until late in the 

-8 Fremont Clipper. December 17, 1887; "School Meeting," 
Clipper, May 5, 1893; "Our Schools," Clipper. September 14, 
1895. 

'*' "It Was Dedicated Monday," Fremont Clipper, November 
15. 1895; "The New School Building," Clipper [?], October 11, 
1895; "P. S. Quinn. Early Resident, Tells of First Sunday School 
Organized in Lander Valle\," Wyoming State Journal, October 
28. 1925. 




The view eastward up Main Street in 1907. Results of extensive development during the 1890s and early 1900s 
are plainly visible. The four-story Fremont Hotel (right), built in 1891. was the largest building in the count}'. 



Spring 1999 

fall. It was tlnaiU dedicated on 
November 11, 1895. The new 
complex provided space for all 
grades through twelve. This was 
the first time complete high 
school coursework was offered 
in Lander. That significant ac- 
complishment was still a rarity in 
rural parts of Wyoming. The 1 896 
Lander Directory proudh' 
boasted: I 

"-> 

;/) 

The pride of the City of Lander - 
is largely centered in its public g 
schools. No expense has been ~;^ 
spared to make the schools all that i 
they should be to insure [sic] the ^ 
complete education of our youth, 1 
and, to this end, the great effort '£ 
of the school board has been tend- 
ing. Competent teachers, a com- 
fortable and even elegant school 
building, and all the necessary 
appliances have been pro\ ided, and the consequences 
are that we ha\e a public school system equal to the 
best in the country. 

Lander [now has] the distinction of being an educa- 
tional center. The Lander High School is recognized 
as being one of the best in the State. It is one of the 
"Accredited High Schools," and our graduates may 
enter the State University on the presentation of their 
diplomas. Our courses are thorough and practical. Our 
magnificent High School building would be an honor 
to a city many times the size of our own. Our Public 
School Library consists of o\er 500 \olumes...Our 
chemical laboratory is a well equipped department of 
chemical science, where indi\ idual class work is per- 
formed. In this department, set apart expressly for 
chemical operations, may be found apparatus and 
chemicals necessary to perform all unportant experi- 
ments in connection with the subject. 

The citizens of Lander refer with pride to her public 
schools, and in doing so they do not forget ...the won- 
derful progress made in the past three years...'*" 

The school board had possessed the wisdom to plan 
ahead for future growth and the building was so spa- 
cious that it even contained extra classrooms in antici- 
pation of continued growth. The second floor of the 
new addition was, at tlrst, empty in anticipation of a 
continually expanding student body. In the first year 
of use, classes occupied only the four downstairs rooms 
in the new building and the two rooms in the stone 
school. One of these latter was used by the primary 



15 




Front view oftlie IS95 bricli addition to tlie stone school The older structure 
is hidden from view behind the center of this comparatively massive edifiee^ 



department and the other for laboratorx' purposes, prob- 
abh the chemistry lab described in the Latider Direc- 
toiy^ 

It is interesting to note that some of Lander's most 
influential families, who played instrumental roles in 
the creation of the school district and construction of 
the school, did not send their children to attend. At 
different times during the ISSOs through early 1900s, 
the Amorettis, Baldwins, Crowleys, Parks, and others 
sent their children away to boarding schools in Salt 
Lake City, Denver, Omaha, and elsewhere. This in- 
cluded the extended Sherlock-Smith famiK which, even 
after Maggie's terrible death, sent four of her siblings 
away for educations. Perhaps, in spite of local boost- 
ers" cheer-leading, the Lander school was not as good 
as advertised. Parents ma\ ha\ e desired to obtain a more 
well-rounded and diverse education in an institution 
with a larger faculty, and greater emphasis on religious 
instruction as most of these schools were associated 
with churches. An additional intent may have been to 
expose these small-town frontier children to a more 
cosmopolitan life-st_\ le similar to w hat their parents had 
known before settling on the western frontier. Or, in 
some cases, the decision may have represented an ef- 
fort to elevate a family's social status in the commu- 
nity.-*' 

■"' C. G. Coutant. Lander. Lander I 'alley and the Mines Directoiy 
(Lander: Clipper Book and Job Print. 1896). ii. 3. 



16 



Annals oi Wyoming :The Wyoming History Journal 



Professor Little, in charge of the Lander Public 
School, anticipated that enrollment would explode to 
240 or 250 during the 1 895- 1 896 year. The larger stu- 
dent body resulted, in part, from the fact that high school 
courses would now be offered so older students would 
attend. Previously, only grammar students were pro- 
vided for. The Class of 1901, consisting often boys 
and one girl, was the first to graduate after taking all 
twelve grades in Lander. Their education began in the 
old stone school in 1 889, the last year Wyoming was 
just a frontier territor\'. Their commencement marked 
another milestone in the development of Lander's edu- 
cational system. 

After spending a huge sum on construction, the school 
board overlooked important finishing details. Worse, 
subsequent administrations neglected their responsibil- 
ity to maintain the fine building. Within a few years 
both old and new sections were embarrassingly shabby. 
Finally, in 1904, the trustees made considerable 
progress. Outhouses were erected, with separate facili- 
ties for the boys and girls. A six-foot board fence seg- 
regated the playground and "the boys are shut out en- 
tirely of the girls department and what has heretofore 
been a social disgrace to the Lander Public Schools 
has been entirely remedied." 

Work on the dilapidated main building was also ac- 
complished. 

The repairs and painting on the high school building 
improved the appearance of that institution of learning 
about 100 per cent. No repairs ha\ing been put on the 
building since its erection in 1895. It began to look 
like a place only inhabitable for "Georgia com crack- 
ers" or "South Carolina clay eaters." It required 97 
new panes of glass to replace those broken out of the 
windows during the past ten years. Seventeen door 
knobs in the building are either entirely lost or broken. 
The interior and exterior of the school building now 
look neat as paint and calcimining can make it. Messrs. 
Sypes, Shedd and Coon are royal gems when it comes 
to school matters, and the CLIPPER would recommend 
that the tax-payers, who are in most cases the parents 
of the pupils who attend the schools, go and look over 
the school buildings and premises themselves. The im- 
provements not only add to the good looks of the build- 
ing and premises but serve to preserve the building as 
well.-*^ 

Some of the damage and wear to the building re- 
sulted from acfiviues unfamiliar to modem scholars. 
For example, one Halloween, a group of students, in- 
cluding both boys and girls, broke into the building 
and took a calf upstairs. The calf was tied to the bell 
rope and rang the bell all night long as it wandered 



back and forth. In such settled times, no local men ran 
into the streets in their nightclothes clutching a rifle 
and fearing an Indian attack like earlier residents had 
during the nocturnal celebration of the bell's placement 
on the stone school house.'^^ 

Among the boys who were separated from the "girls 
department" were several who loved to play baseball. 
The ball-field at the school was merely an open area in 
the adjoining cow-pasture with a hump in the middle 
for a pitcher's mound. One of the boys, Jim Scott, bom 
in 1888 in Deadwood, South Dakota, started school in 
the old stone schoolhouse about 1893. On the sandlot 
he usually played third base and planned to be doctor 
when he grew up. That was before he was spotted by 
professional scouts. Scott went on to national promi- 
nence as a pitcher with "the Chicago White Sox for 
whom he twirled the pill for many years." Nicknamed 
"Death Valley Jim" in the pros, he averaged forty games 
per season and stopped both the mighty Ty Cobb and 
Babe Ruth. Scott left baseball in 1917 and served as a 
captain in the United States Army during World War I. 
He was not part of the infamous "Black Sox" team that 
threw the 1919 World Series. George Farthing, son of 
the man who plastered the walls of the stone school in 
1 885, also went on to play pro ball. Though the Lander 
Public School had no physical education program, at 
least two local sons made good in the world of sport.-*"* 

Highly respected Lander physician Arthur H. Coo- 
per, as a member of the school board, had long pro- 
moted student health and physical education. When he 
finally succeeded in having them added to the curricu- 
lum in 1925, the Wyoming State Journal acknow\edged 
the benefits of "the change in policy to modem meth- 
ods of handling the training of the physical life of the 
entire student body." The paper went on to point out 
that what was still needed to fully implement the pro- 

"" Many documents in the Pioneer Museum, and tlie Tibbals 
Collection and Smith and Sherlock files, as well as other 
documents and artifacts at South Pass City State Historic Site, 
contain information on this subject which begs further research. 
See, for example. Janet Sherlock Smith letter, March 4, 1883, 
and Sister Mary Charles letter, February 8, 1883, both quoted in 
Todd Guenther, ed., "Dear Peter, The Letters of a Pioneer Mother 
and Sister," Wind River Mountaineer, 1 (April - June, 1991): 24, 
25. 

■*- Clipper, September 2, 1904. 

"" Tim Buck Two, "In Lander." Wyoming State Journal, 
December 30, 1937. 

■'■' "Ball Playing Hero Returns to Boyland," Wyoming State 
Journal, September 26, 1940; "Jimmy Scott Tells About His 
Career on the Diamond," Wyoming State Journal, October 21, 
1910; "Scott, James," folder, vertical files. Pioneer Museum; Greg 
Harris, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 
Cooperstown, New York, telephone interview, March 29, 1996. 



spring 



1Q99 



gram were adequate facilities adjacent to the school, 
especially a "modem athletic tleld for out-of-doors ac- 
tivities. ""*-■" 

Cooper also fought to get the schools to hire a nurse 
to look after the welfare of the students. He did not 
succeed in this effort until tragedy struck during the 
winter of 1 924. On October 9, nine-year-old Roy Ogden 
had been playing on the swings and eating an apple at 
recess. When recess ended and 

the bell rang he started to run in the back door [into the 
old stone schoolhouse]. Very near the door he fell, 
jumped up and ran a few steps more and fell again. No 
sign of injury was to be noticed except a tiny red mark 
on the forehead. While running with his mouth full of 
apple he had inhaled some. ..two doctors and three 
nurses worked over the lifeless body for two hours but 
he never drew breath from the time he fell the second 
time. 

Roy was in the third grade, a bright, active child, 
and the empty seat and silence in place of his usual 
ready response caused a hush and atmosphere of sad- 
ness to fall over the room and the children of the school 
who sense the untimely loss of their playmate, a life 
just begun. -"' 

It was quickly recognized that the boy might have 
survived had adequate medical care been immediately 
available and the school board soon hired a nurse. A 
few months later, in February 1925, Dr. Cooper him- 
self died prematurely. The community grieved w ith his 
widow, who was hired as a second school nurse.'*'' 



17 

Throughout the first decades of the twentieth cen- 
tury the student body continued to grow and within 
just a few years still more classroom space was needed. 
Across sixth street from the stone and brick building 
another school was constructed in 1912. This ornate 
yellow brick structure served as Lander's high school 
until 1919. In that year, the brand new Fremont Count\ 
Vocational High School opened at the west end of town 
and the 1912 high school was con\erted to a grade 
school. The old stone and brick school building con- 
tinued in its role as a grade school until 1 937 when the 
present South Elementary was constructed just a block 
and a half away. 

The dedication ceremony for South Elementar_\ be- 
came something of a memorial for the pioneer era and 
the old stone school. That aging building was still a 
focal point of the community and the things it stood 
for were much in peoples' minds. Though elderly pio- 
neers attending the function cheered the wonderful, 
modem, new facilit\, they wistfulK recalled the old 
days on the frontier. Robert Hall, husband of frontier 
teacher Amelia Hall w ho had passed away just the year 
before, provided a nostalgic look at earl> educational 

""^ Tom Bell, "Pioneer Profiles: Dr. ."Arthur H. Cooper." Il'imi 
River Moimtaincei-. 1 I (.lul\ - September 1995): 2. 29. 30; Tom 
Bell, personal communication. March 29, 1996. 

""" "Chokes On .Apple Results in Death," Wyoming Suiti: Jowual . 
October 10. 1924; Ruth Trbovich interview. March 29. 1996. 
Lander; Tom Bell, personal communication. March 29. 1996. 

^'' Tom Bell, personal communication. March 29. 1996. 



mm^;p\^f ■,;'■•; ''■;"\mf;' !<'%^i,^<.i^^^:\:^ 







Aged pioneer Robert 
Hall's 1^3' sketch of 
Lander's first school, a 
crude, log structure 
built in the middle of 
Main Street. 



18 



Annals of Wyoming:TKe Wyoming History Journal 



efforts. He also presented the principal with a large, 
framed drawing he made of Lander's first school. He 
stated that it was to be placed in the new facility to 
remind students of the progress that had been made 
since Lander was founded. Though pleased and awed 
by the community's progress, he rued the forthcoming 
abandonment of the stone building they had worked so 
hard to build and whose useful life they had intended, 
like the stone buildings of Europe, to last for so much 
longer.'^^ 

The stone schoolhouse, with the huge brick addition, 
was apparently used for storage for the next two years. 
In 1939 the forlorn structure was leased from the county 
by Charles Hayes who headquartered a trucking busi- 
ness there. The stone schoolhouse was converted into 
a machine shop. Structural modifications were neces- 
sary to accommodate this new function, including re- 
moval of interior walls and knocking out portions of 
two of the school's exterior stone walls to create large 
bay doors. Bays were also built into the north and south 
walls of the brick addition and it was used as a drive- 
through warehouse (see photograph, below). 

During Hayes' construction work, a chance visit to 
the school by the elderly son of one of the carpenters 
who erected the building in 1 885 was described in the 
local paper: 

Fred C. Hodder of Glendale, Calif, is here looking 
over Lander where his father was an early day carpen- 
ter and worked on the school house in [1885]. From 
the old building now being remodeled by Charles 
Hayes, Mr. Hodder rescued a wood car\ed spiral orna- 
ment which adorned the two upper comers of a door 
casing as the last word in builder's art. This was his 
father's particular line and the sou- 
venir looks the part with the old 
wrought iron nails still sticking 
through ... Mr. Hayes further dug up 
a stone upon which was carved 
'"1885", this being presumably the 
comer stone of the rock building first 
built to house the halls of learning in 
Lander. It is suggested that this rock 
suitably tableted follow the bell i 
which Mr. Hayes generously donated S 
to the Lander Pioneers association ^ 
and be a part of the museum at the g 
pioneer cabin. ■^'^ ^ 

Hayes had removed the belfry | 

above the brick addition and donated '^ 

the bell. Stub Farlow, whose image, % 

many believe, appears on the Wyo- i 

ming license plate, hauled the bell 

to the cabin. Mart Homecker sug- 



gested that it be mounted on the Pioneer Cabin Mu- 
seum to call old-timers to meetings. A few years later, 
the bell was thus installed and rung for the first time 
from its new perch at midday on a Wednesday in Sep- 
tember of 1941. The stone was not added to Museum 
collections until 1996.-"0 

During the early 1 950s, part of the second floor of 
the brick addition was used as a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) 
training room. The CAP was a federally sponsored pro- 
gram intended to create and maintain a nationwide pool 
of trained flight personnel, thereby avoiding a repeti- 
tion of pre World War II deficiencies during an era of 
heightening Cold War tensions. It trained young people 

■•^ Wyoming State Journal. July 1, 1981; Journal, March 15, 
1918; Journal, March 27, 1941; Ray Fuller, Jim Farthing, and 
Tom Bell interviews, Lander, February 17, 1996; "First School 
House," Wyoming Stale Journal. Ma> 26, 1938. 

^'* "Lander Visit Recalls Building of Our School," Wyoming 
State Journal, August 10, 1939; "Death of Builder Recalls First 
School," Wyoming State Journal, December 19, 1940. The 
Wyoming State Journal, February 24. 1938, said Hayes was 
purchasing the building but evidently the deal fell through and he 
onl\ leased it according to later articles. The dated "corner stone" 
described in the quoted passage was actually the datestone located 
high in the wall above the front door of the school. For some 
reason, Hayes did not donate it to the Pioneer Museum. Instead, 
the stone fragment remained in the school building until the mid- 
1980s when the Road Department vacated the school and was in 
the process of throv\ ing the oil spattered stone away. County Clerk 
Jim Farthing's step son, Galen Richards, rescued the stone and 
gave it to his father for safe-keeping. It was stored for a decade in 
a shed behind Farthing's house and donated to the Pioneer Museum 
on February 12, 1996. for eventual inclusion in the restored school. 

■"""Old School Bell To Pioneer Group." Wyoming State Journal, 
March 16, 1939; "First School Bell Rings for Pioneers," Wyoming 
State Journal. September 11, 1941. 




The rear and north side of the two schools, shown in this 1985 
photograph. Bay doors were added in the late 1930s. 



mmmiwii 



Spring 1999 

in airplane identification, meteorology, navigation and 
basic flying skills, helped locate missing aircraft, etc. 
The local chapter was outfitted with a Link Trainer 
which was housed in the old school building. This cov- 
ered cockpit device was used to teach instrument fly- 
ing. Access to the CAP facilities was via an outside 
fire-escape staircase on the south side of the brick build- 
ing.-'^' 

By 1964 both the stone and brick sections of the di- 
lapidated school had reverted to county use. The stone 
portion became the County Road Department mainte- 
nance shop. The first floor of the brick addition was 
used as a warehouse and the second story was con- 
verted into a flreanns training range for the police and 
sheriffs departments. Instructional shooting and fire- 
arms safety classes for local youth were also held 
there. -''- 

At first glance, some of the post- 1939 adaptations of 
the old school seem dismal. However, because the 
building continued to be immediately useful it was pre- 
served. And, in reality, the building's new roles were 
part of significant trends. The dawning era of automo- 
bile transportation was a key part of Lander's contin- 
ued development in the larger context of twentieth cen- 
tury evolution of the West. During the period when 
motor vehicles became the primary mode of transpor- 
tation, many of the trucks that kept Lander's stores and 
homes supplied with necessities were maintained in 
the building and much of the freight was handled there. 
Later, during the 1960s and '70s, Wyoming roadways 
were upgraded to accommodate dramatically increas- 
ing numbers of vehicles traveling at ever higher speeds. 
During this period, the school continued to play a ma- 
jor transportation related role. The heavy equipment 
which built and kept the roads passable was maintained 
within the old stone walls. Meanwhile, the building 
continued to play an educational and training role. Area 
law enforcement agencies, youth education activities, 
and even in national defense programs all utilized the 
space provided by Lander's pioneer settlers so many 
years before. 

When the County Road Department obtained new 
garages northwest of town, the stone school house en- 
tered a truly bleak stage and was very nearly destroyed. 
In 1985, the 100th anniversary of the opening of the 
stone school, the county let a bid to demolish the entire 
stone and brick complex. The brick addition was razed 
that autumn. Almost literally stepping in front of the 
wrecking-ball. County Clerk Jim Farthing (grandson 
of builder Ed Farthing) and Tom Bell, staff historian at 
the Pioneer Museum and descendant of an even earlier 



19 

pioneer family, conferred to try to save the historically 
significant stone school before it was too late. With the 
support of other concerned citizens, they managed to 
persuade the Fremont County Commissioners to halt 
the destruction of the stone building. After the brick 
addition was removed, the desolate stone building was 
left standing with the front wall gaping open.'"' 

Demolition contractor Bill Gay "presented a figure 
for leaving the old school building [intact] at an esti- 
mated extra cost of S6000" to the Commissioners. 
According to the terms of an agreement established 
between the County Commissioners, the County Clerk, 
and the Pioneer Museum, the Museum budget had to 
underwrite full-payment of this remarkable demand. 
This was a staggering amount of money for the Mu- 
seum and terminated most other projects. 

The original preservation plan called for a commit- 
tee separate from both the Museum and Pioneer Asso- 
ciation to manage funds contributed to the Save Old 
School (SOS) project. In subsequent years the fund 
has come under the jurisdiction of the Pioneer Asso- 
ciation and is augmented by additional funds in the 
Pioneer Museum budget which, together, total several 
thousand dollars. 

County Clerk Farthing and the Commissioners in 
1985 discussed using the old building to store \oting 
machines, which would save the County about S500 
per month. Weatherizing the structure would involve 
extending the roof boarding up the front wall, insulat- 
ing the ceiling, and having the utilities turned back on. 
In exchange for use of the building for an unspecified 
number of years, the clerk's office agreed to repair and 
maintain the building. This effectively, if temporarily, 
preserved the structure. Thus, the old stone school house 
which was once the figurehead of culture and educa- 
tion in Lander and the Wind River valley narrowly es- 
caped from the brink of destruction. ^■' 

Two years later, on May 12, 1987. Tom Bell and 
Museum Director Henry Hudson again met with the 

■''' Eva (Freese) Peden, personal communication, February 23, 
1996. Peden was a member of CAP. 

^- Bill Marion, "90 'S'ear-Old Landmark, Once a School. Leaves 
Main Street." IVyimung State Journal, 1964. 

^' People who spoke in defense of the school included Walt 
Ellis, Kathy Daniels, Rosalyn Hedges, Ada McDonnell, Colleen 
Coleman, and Dave Raynolds who all spoke at Commission 
meetings. Personal communication, .lim Farthing and Tom Bell, 
February, 1996; Fremont County Commissioners Proceedings, 
April 23, May 14, and May 2L 1985. 

'"'County Commissioner's Proceedings, August 27, 1985; Tom 
Bell, "Old Stone Schoolhouse Project," manuscript. Pioneer 
Museum, n.d. 



20 



Annals or Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



Commissioners. They requested that the County deed 
the stone school house property — three lots and two 
buildings — at Sixth and Garfield Streets to the Mu- 
seum Board. The two men described plans to restore 
and use the old building for children's exhibits. Al- 
ready the Lander Garden Club and the Pioneer Asso- 
ciation were removing extensive rubble deposits and 
landscaping the lots. This included obtaining topsoil, 
planting trees, bushes, flowers, and grass and install- 
ing an underground sprinkler system. Clark's Land- 
scaping and City Plumbing contributed to the watering 
system. 

The Commissioners noted that voting machines were 
still being stored in the two buildings on the property 
and stated that until new facilities could be constructed 
for that purpose, the voting machines would have to 
remain. There were no plans to build new storage fa- 
cilities and it was evident that this would be a long 
term arrangement. With that understanding. Commis- 
sioner Tom Satterfield of Riverton moved that Lots 1, 
2, and 3 of Block 28 of the Original Townsite of Lander 
be deeded to the Fremont County Pioneer Museum. 
The deed was recorded on May 20. 

The Pioneer Museum became responsible for utili- 
ties and other expenses even though the Museum did 
not get possession of the building. ^^ After repeated re- 
quests by the Pioneer Museum, the huge, archaic me- 
chanical voting machines finally were removed from 
the building during 1 996 when the county began using 
smaller Optech machines that were stored elsewhere. 

Due to lack of extensive maintenance the building is 
now at a crossroads. It will not survive much longer 
without comprehensive repairs. If it is to be restored, a 
new use must be identified which is both appropriate 
and capable of generating sufficient public excitement 
to spur a successful, large-scale fund-raising effort. A 
complicating factor is that the Pioneer Museum itself 
which traces its roots to 1886 and was housed in the 
oldest museum building in Wyoming, was declared 
unsafe and closed permanently in September 1 998. This 
more pressing problem of finding new quarters for the 
Pioneer Museum has taken precedence over concerns 
for the old stone schoolhouse and the ultimate fate of 
the building is unknown. 

Lander' s stone school house served as a place of learn- 
ing fi-om 1885 to 1937. It later played less significant 



roles in maintaining the Wind River Valley's transpor- 
tation connections with the outside world. During that 
period it still played a limited educational role as part 
of a complex that provided various types of training 
space for children, law enforcement officials, and de- 
fense programs. From 1985 to 1997 the old building 
housed Fremont County's vofing machines and in that 
way continued to contribute to the county's progress 
even though its maintenance has been largely ignored. 
After many decades of physical neglect, a group of se- 
riously interested citizens hopes to restore the once 
beautiful building to a position of prominence. The cur- 
rent preservation effort, like the original construction 
drive, is dependent on public generosity. It is also an 
extension of the work of those early pioneers who 
shaped the community and state. They built the school 
of stone to prepare their children for life in the myster- 
ies of the coming century, and to last indefinitely into 
the future, for us. They graced the building with a bell 
which will be returned to the building to summon suc- 
ceeding generations. The early pioneers expected us to 
show the same foresight they demonstrated by taking 
care of our own descendants and assuming responsi- 
bility for the well-being of the community. This is ac- 
complished in part by preserving this edifice as we pre- 
pare to enter not only a new century, but a new millen- 
nium. 



'' Tom Bell, personal communication, February 12, 1996; 
Fremont County Commissioners minutes. May 12, 1987; County 
Commissioners Deed, May 12, 1987; Tom Bell, photo caption, 
IViiid River Mountaineer, 1 (October - December 1985): 21. 



Todd Guenther received a BA/Honors in 
Anthropology /Archaeology and MA in 
American Studies, both from the University of 
Wvoming. He has been a field crew siiperx'isor 
for the Office of the Wyoming State 
Archaeologist, Curator/Assistant Superin- 
tendent at South Pass City State Historic Site, 
and is now the director of the Pioneer Museum 
in Lander. 



(^tomesteadina the 
^lohundev 




'sasin: 



^eckla, Q^Uiwminf^, 



19r7-1938 



:^^^ij Q/J///inff/ (£P. ^^isc/icf 



It was [a hard life] at the time, [but] that 's the way it was. 
People now can V imagine what it was like, but them times it 
was there and nobody knew any different. ' 



^ 



Ithough the histor\' of homesteading in the 
Teckia area of the Thunder Basin in north- 
east Wyoming provides valuable insight on 
numerous issues, it is the experiences and responses of 
common homesteaders to their situation that define this 
article.- Nevertheless, the national context in which the 
experience took place remains essential to the story. 
The Teckia story supports and defies classical and con- 
temporary historical interpretations of homesteading in 
the Thunder Basin, and the American West in general. 
The story is primarily narrated in historical accounts 
as a futile and ignorant attempt at farming luckily res- 
cued by government intervention. Despite traditional 
historical accounts of the period. Teckia homesteaders 
displayed a considerable amount of personal initiative 
and community cooperation which allowed them to 
experience a degree of success and personal jo\ de- 
spite economic fluctuations and climactic vicissitudes. 
The popular historical interpretation minimizes the 
validity of the experience, and distorts the outcome of 
it as well. In fact, many Teckia homesteaders did suc- 
ceed during the 1920s and occasionally prospered dur- 
ing their experience, while government intervention 
during the 1930s often failed to benefit substantially 
manv of the homesteaders. Manv Teckia homestead- 



ers demonstrated personal initiative, fought the odds, 
and believed in what they were doing; however, they 
also relied on collective strength and accepted govern- 
ment assistance. Homesteaders in the Thunder Basin 
undoubtedly settled the area w ith numerous intentions, 
and a permanent home ranked high among them. As a 
group they were neither completely naive victims in a 
widespread land fraud when they arrived, nor were they 
rescued b> the government from all despair w hen they 
left. Their story presents a much more dynamic ac- 
count.' 



' Robert R. Macke\ . inter\ iew h> author, tape recording. Teckia. 
Wyoming. 14 October 1997; Mr. Mactce\ was bom in 1924. 

- This article is an historical analysis of the Teckia homestead- 
ing community with a particular emphasis on the William and 
Rhoda Mackey homestead. Those interested in a detailed descrip- 
tion of the material culture of the Mackey homestead or other 
cultural resource issues pertaining to this paper are referred to 
Wyoming State Historic Preser\ ation Office site form 48C.A2675 
and the attendant cultural resource investigation. .Additional ma- 
terial on cultural resource issues pertaining to the Teckia area 
can also be found in the several cultural resource investigations 
that have been conducted in recent years, which are located at the 
Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office in Cheyenne, Wyo- 
mins. 



22 



Annals ot Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



On one level, the life and death of the Teckla home- 
steading community directly corresponded to events 
of national and international importance. Likewise, the 
homesteading community responded to broader events 
and regional conditions in ways relevant to itself The 
details of the experience are to be found in both loca- 
tions — in the distance and in Teckla. Regardless of the 
question, the story revolves around the lives and expe- 
riences of those who lived it. They are the source for 
understanding it. It is a story narrated by many people, 
which ultimately reveals the complexities of the area, 
initial settlement of the area, homestead life in the area, 
the development of community life, and the final de- 
mise of this brief episode in northeast Wyoming's his- 
tory. 

The outbreak of World War I triggered a substantial 
boom for American agriculture in the mid-to-latel910s. 
Unable to satisfy their domestic needs, warring Euro- 
pean nations resorted to American producers to supply 
them with necessary levels of food and fiber. Soaring 
prices accompanied the high demand for American farm 
products, and American farmers enjoyed a period of 
relative prosperity. American entrance in the war in 
April 1917 fiirther escalated the demand for agricul- 
tural products. Farmers responded by placing thirty 
million previously uncultivated acres into production 
on the Great Plains alone. The boom continued un- 
abated for American farmers until demands and prices 
dropped precipitously in mid-1920.'* 

American agriculture experienced an economic down- 
turn in the early 1 920s although the catalyst of the World 
War I years did sustain some farms. Many farmers in 
the Great Plains practiced a type of cultivadon known 
as dry farming, indeed much of the new ground broken 
in the Great Plains during the First World War was 
devoted to dry farming. Requiring no irrigation and 
practiced in areas of semiaridity, dry farming methods 
were relatively new when the wartime boom hit, only 
having been seriously introduced at the turn of the cen- 
tury. The general aridity of the Great Plains and a se- 
vere drought in the early 1890s encouraged sustainable 
agricultural practices for the Great Plains, which re- 
sulted in the Campbell method of dry farming. The 
Campbell method, developed in South Dakota by Hardy 
Webster Campbell, gained respectability in the Great 
Plains, and was presented as a reliable farming method 
to prospective Great Plains settlers.-"" 

The rise of the dry farming movement on the Great 
Plains inspired passage of the 320-acre Enlarged Home- 
stead Act of 1909, and the subsequent passage of the 
1916 Stock Raising Homestead Act. The 1909 legisla- 
tion attempted to address the need for fallow acreage 



under the Campbell method, while the 1916 legisla- 
tion increased entry allowances to 640 acres to encour- 
age stock grazing as a supplement to farming. The dry 
farming movement and the subsequent settlement ac- 
companying it developed through private initiative as 
well as from governmental and private boosters. Na- 
tional planning of agriculture at the time embodied the 
attitude that "settlers should be free to engage in dry- 
land agriculture wherever topography and economy of 
operation favored such enterprise." Private initiative, 
newly developed farming methods, available public 
land, boosterism, and rapidly expanding farm markets 
formed the backdrop for settlement of places like the 
Thunder Basin of northeast Wyoming.^ 

Wyoming fared similarly to other states during the 
agricultural boom of the First World War years. Wyo- 
ming wheat producfion rose from 2,250,000 bushels in 
1913 to 6,600,000 bushels in 1918. The agricultural 
prosperity of the war years was replaced by intermit- 
tent setbacks during the 1920s. Wyoming farmers faced 
drought in 1 9 1 9, and commodity prices remained weak 
throughout the 1920s. Regardless, yields remained high 
and homesteaders continued to farm. In fact, 1919-21 
were the peak years for new homestead entries in Wyo- 
ming, and the decade of the 1920s witnessed the trans- 
fer of nearly ten million acres of land from the public 
domain to private ownership in Wyoming.^ 

The Wyoming Board of Immigration, a state agency, 
aggressively promoted homestead settlement of Wyo- 
ming in 1919-20. Its campaign focused on enticing 
settlers from neighboring states, but ranged as far as 



-' Those interested in the specific historiography of the area 
should consult: Dena S. Markof; "Cultural Resource Inventory: 
A Historical Study of the North Antelope Coal Field, Campbell 
and Converse Counties, Wyoming" (prepared by Western Cul- 
tural Resource Management, Inc. for North Antelope Coal Com- 
pany, 19 June 1981); Robert S. Rosenberg, "A Historical Synthe- 
sis of the Eastern Powder River Basin, Campbell and Converse 
Counties, Wyoming" (prepared by Rosenberg Historical Consult- 
ants for Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, May, 1991); 
Gene Munson and David Ferguson, "Class III Cultural Resource 
Inventory of Tract E Adjacent to Rochelle and North Antelope 
Mines, Campbell County, Wyoming" (prepared by GCM Services, 
Inc. for Powder River Coal Company, May, 1995). Copies of these 
unpublished reports are available at the Wyoming State Historic 
Preservation Office in Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

■* Theodore Saloutos, The American Farmer and the New Deal 
(Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1982), 3-4; Mary W. 
M. Hargreaves, Dry Farming in the Northern Great Plains: Years 
of Readjustment. 1920-1990 (Lawrence, KA: University Press of 
Kansas, 1993), 10. 

^ H&'c%xsa.\ts, Dry Farming. 1-3. 

^ Ibid., 4, 69, 102. 

' T. A. Larson, History of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1965), 396, 41 1-I2, 414-15. 



Spring 1999 

the Midwest. Despite the rise of homesteading in the 
late 1910s and 1920s, tanning was still insignificant in 
comparison to the Wyoming livestock industry as late 
as 1929. 

A significant number of Wyoming's dry land home- 
steaders failed during the 1920s. Of those remaining, 
most were not prosperous during the 1 920s even though 
many homesteaders who stayed were encouraged to 
continue during exceptional years like 1927.** 

The Teckia homesteading community and surround- 
ing area mirrored the trends taking place on the state 
and regional level. Homestead entries flourished in the 
late 1910s and into the early 1920s. Settlers arrived 
primarily from neighboring states, established homes, 
and developed a pennanent community. Tliey attempted 
farming with mixed success and failure, and they 
supplemented their operations w ith animal husbandry. 
During the 1 920s, a number accomplished their objec- 
tives, as is evident in the improvements and subsequent 
patenting of their homesteads.'' 

The experiences of twelve Teckia area homesteaders 
indicate the basic pattern of settlement, agricultural 
development, and homestead improvement. The twelve 
reveal the broad patterns at work in the establishment 
of Teckia as a homesteading community.'" 

Homesteaders William Mackey, Marion Reed, John 
Brewer, John Dillon, and Eugene Callan all filed their 
homestead entries in 1917. In doing so, they home- 
steaded during the major period of settlement in the 
Teckia area — the late 1910s. Five others filed their 
homestead entries between 1 9 1 8- 1 92 1 , while two filed 
in 1927 and 1928, respectively. Seven of the home- 
steaders filed their homestead entries under either the 
1 909 Enlarged Homestead Act or the 1 9 1 6 Stock Rais- 
ing Homestead Act, while five of them filed entries 
under both acts. Marion Reed, Eddie Corder, and three 
others moved to Wyoming from Nebraska, while the 
Crouchs hailed from Missouri and others came from 
places such as Oklahoma and North Carolina. 

The marital status of the homesteaders and the kin- 
ship networks among the group reflected an obvious 
inclination toward permanent residency. Eight of them 
were married, while only four claimed children. The 
Crouchs, Mary Springer, and Joel Hamilton were wid- 
ows and widowers, but they too with the exception of 
Springer had families among the group. The Crouchs 
were mother and son, while Joel Hamilton was Will- 
iam Mackey's father-in-law. Although Mary Springer 
was unrelated among this group of Teckia homestead- 
ers, two of her sons, Stuart and Harry, and a daughter, 
Mrs. R. J. Holmes, all homesteaded near her.' ' 

This group of homesteaders experimented with dry- 



land agriculture. While attempting to cultivate crops, 
they lessened their risks by raising livestock as well.'- 
Seven reported cultivating between forty and forty-five 
acres within the first three to five years of filing their 
homestead entry, while one each reported cultivating 
twenty-two acres, fifty-five acres, and seventy-five 
acres. Most planted a variety of crops such as com, 
oats, cane, rye, millet, flax, and wheat. Ten reported 
planting com, oats, or cane at least once, while three 
tended to concentrate on wheat. Of those reporting, four 
experienced crop failures in 1919, and one reported crop 
failures in 1932-34. Far more common was the claim 
of at least satisfactory crops. William Mackey reported 
success with com, cane, and wheat in 1918. Eugene 
Callan reported success in 1 920 with com and rye. John 
Crouch reported success with oats and com in 1924. 
Joel Hamilton reported success with wheat in 1929. 

For some, the initial physical impro\ ements home- 
steaders erected on their entries, and their eventual suc- 
cess in patenting their homesteads demonstrated a de- 
gree of commitment to permanent residency. Regard- 
less of the role improvements played in the legally 
mandated development of the homestead, they indi- 
cate serious attempts at pemianent settlement. Initial 
improvements included permanent homes, bams and 
stock shelters. Other standard improvements reported 

*/Wt/.. 415-16, 418. 

"* .Although as Larson points out. "Despite the spectacular ac- 
quisition of land under the homestead laws, the number of farm 
and ranch units increased onl_\ from 15.748 in IQl') to 16.01 1 in 
I'JZQ. and the rural farm and ranch population increased onl> from 
67.076 to 72.<)05. People who were already on the land in 1919 
sooner or later came into possession of most of the newly home- 
steaded land." He also notes that entries and patents from 1915 
to 1935 shows appro.xm lately 72.700 homestead entries in Wyo- 
ming and only 45,300 paternts during that 21->ear period." Ibid.. 
416. 

'" Post- 1908 General Land Entry Files of the General Land Of- 
fice, "Marion W. Reed, Wyoming, HS patent no. 862322 and 
926875," "Walter Spurgeon, Wyoming, HS patent no. 922145," 
"Eddie L. Corder. Wyoming, HS patent no. 966074," "John E. 
Brewer, Wyoming. HS patent no. 870426," "William P. Mackey, 
Wyoming, HS patent no. 837967," "Missouri E. Crouch, Wyo- 
ming, HS patent no. 1075024," "John Crouch, Wyoming, HS 
patent no. 987667," "John Dillon. Wyoming, HS patent no. 
827408," "Eugene E. Callan, Wvoming, HS patent no. 879163 
and 895906," "Daniel A. Mack, Wyoming, HS patent no. 
907385," "Mary B. Springer, Wyoming, HS patent no. 1023816 
and 1046717," "Joel M. Hamilton, Wyoming, HS patent no. 
1062240," RG 49. Archives I Textual Reference Branch, National 
.Archives and Records .Administration. Washington, D. C. 

" Post- 1908, "Reed," "Spurgeon," "Corder," "Brewer," 
"Mackey," "Crouch," "Crouch," "Dillon, " "Callan," Mack," 
"Springer," "Hamilton." 

'- lbid.\ It is unknown to what degree, if at all, Teckia area 
homesteaders practiced true dryland farming methods. 




Thunder Basin 
homestead, c. 1919. 




sSS^JSsS'S'ijr*:';!.'*'? 



ii 



-ViSiSs^ 






tV^v* 




Rhoda and William Mackey. wedding photo. June 25. 1905 

Photographs courtesy of Rose Mackey McLaughlin, Gillette 



CONVERSE COUNTY 



1 




Mackey children in 1924. Left to right, Joe, Bes.s, Rose. Boh (infant). Elsie 



26 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Jc 



48CA2675 
MACKEY HOMESTEAD 



■^ SITE AREA 



Fl-n FEATURE 

__ EPHEMERAL 
^~ DRAINAGE 

RANCH ROAD N 

contour interval 5 ft 

I I 

150 ft 




by homesteaders included chicken houses, hog houses, 
fencing, stock reservoirs, cellars, granaries, wells, cor- 
rals, windmills, and an auto shed. Teckla area home- 
steaders such as the Mackeys, Putnams, Soderbergs, 
Niemcyks, Paynes, and Judds created the community 
of Teckla and, in so doing, looked to the ftjture. The 
experience of the Mackey family in particular reveals 
many details of Teckla homestead life. 

William and Rhoda Mackey, natives of Pisgah For- 
est, North Carolina, along with three children. Vera, 
William Boyce, and Rose, arrived in Gillette, Wyo- 
ming, by train on April 6. 1917. Greeted by snow, the 
Mackey's pitched tents on the outskirts of Gillette, and 
established a temporary camp before heading to their 
future home in the Thunder Basin. William and his 
brother-in-law. Gene Callan, had visited Wyoming in 
February, 1917, at which time they both filed adjoin- 
ing homestead entries. They returned to North Caro- 
lina for their families, and returned together to Wyo- 
ming in April to establish their newly claimed home- 
steads. The Mackeys and Callans lived in their make- 
shift home on the outskirts of Gillette for about six 
weeks, while William and Gene prepared their home- 



GCM Sei^ices 

Steads for residency. William and Gene moved their 
families to their new homes after building temporary, 
one-room, saddle-roof shacks on each homestead en- 
try. Equipped with a new wagon, two horses, and a 
Ford car, the two families made the slow sixty-mile 
trip south from Gillette to their new adjoining home- 
steads camping along the way.' ' 

Once on their homestead, the Mackey's immediately 
set about developing it. They cleared sagebrush, and 
prepared to begin farming. To provide for the immedi- 
ate needs of the family, William found temporary em- 
ployment as a sheepherder with a large local sheep 
operation owned by Ernest Spaeth. He apparently 
needed extra income, while Spaeth wittingly or unwit- 
tingly helped finance his competition for land — the 
homestead movement. 

The Mackeys also welcomed four more children into 
their family, Elsie, Bess, Joe, and Bob, after their ar- 
rival in Wyoming. In addition to the growth of their 

'-' Elsie Mackey Bard, "The Mackeys Homestead in Wyoming 
in 1917," in Campbell County: The Treasured Years, ed. Campbell 
County Historical Society (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Pub- 
lishing Company, 1991), 344. 



Spring 19QQ 

immediate family, William and Rhoda were joined by 
several other relatives in Wyoming. Rhoda's father, Joel 
Mackey Hamilton, and two brothers, Spurgeon and Bill, 
as well as William's brothers, Joe and Charles, tiled 
homestead entries near the Mackey and Callan home- 
steads. The Mackeys and their extended family joined 
others in establishing the community of Teckla.''^ 

William had filed a 320-acre homestead entry under 
the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 on February 10, 
1917, and an additional 320-acre homestead entry un- 
der the Stock-Raising Homestead Act on Februar} 16, 
1917. The family eventually patented both claims. He 
initiated the final process toward patent on his first 
homestead entry in 1921, and in 1922 on his second 
homestead entry. Teckla area homesteaders David E. 
Ankeny, Frank Boss, Spurgeon Hamilton, Aleck A. 
Soderberg, Walter Spurgeon, and Charles Mackey tes- 
tified as witnesses in the various stages of final proof 
proceedings.'" 

According to the final proof testimony, the Mackey's 
established residence on the homestead on May 16, 
1917, and planted a ten-acre feed crop of com and cane 
that year. He planted twenty acres in com, cane, and 
wheat in 1918. which produced a "good crop." Unfor- 
tunately, his initial success was followed by the 1919 
drought, which devastated that year's forty acres of com, 
cane, and rye. He recovered the next year with a suc- 
cessful forty-acre crop of com and rye, and he reported 
a successful fifty-five acre crop in 1 92 1 . He also grazed 
livestock on the homestead. 

In addition to the agricultural development of the 
homestead, Mackey also added numerous physical im- 
provements during the early years on the homestead. 
By 1921, the homestead included a cellar, a bam, a 
corral, and two and one-half miles of fence. Signifi- 
cant for credit purposes, Mackey estimated the total 
value of all his homestead improvements to be $ 1 . 1 00. ' '' 

On Mackey's second homestead entry, he described 
the land as generally level with native short grasses, 
sagebrush, and cactus. It supported at least twenty 
sheep, ten to fifteen head of cattle, and six to eight 
work horses, which also grazed on the original entry. 
Mackey had also erected two miles of two-wire fence 
supported by fence posts positioned two rods apart on 
his additional entry in 1919, while also digging a well 
and developing a stock reservoir in 1 92 1 . He estimated 
the value of the additional improvements at $500, which 
increased the total value of improvements on his home- 
stead to $1,600.'^ 

The United States Department of Interior denied 
Mackey's second patent pending a field investigation 
of the second homestead entry. Mackey appealed the 



27 

decision and sought the assistance of Wyoming Sena- 
tor John Kendrick in the matter. Kendrick responded 
to Mackey's plea with a letter to the Department of 
Interior on September 9, 1 922. urging a speed\ resolu- 
tion of the matter. He further informed the Department 
of Interior that Mackey sought approval for a Federal 
Farm Loan, which was contingent on his additional 
homestead patent. The Department of Interior heeded 
Kendrick's request, and on October 21, 1922, a field 
agent for the Department of Interior recommended that 
Mackey be issued the patent. '*" 

The Mackeys, like so many other families in the area, 
settled into their life in the Thunder Basin in the early 
1920s after the initial settlement shock waned. The 
decade of the 1920s presented a moment for Teckla 
area homesteaders to mature in their situation as indi- 
vidual homestead families and as members of a larger 
loosely defined homestead community. As such, the 
Mackey famil_\ had limited agricultural success through 
most of the 1920s. (The Mackey's degree of success 
between 1922-25 is unknown, while it obviousl\ ex- 
isted to some extent considering their continued exist- 
ence and success in the late 192Us.) 

The Mackey farm operation succeeded in the late 
1920s through diversified cultivation, poultry raising, 
and animal husbandry. Mackey marketed 500 pounds 
of beans, 10,000 pounds of oats, 310 pounds of pota- 
toes, forty-eight bushels of wheat, 500 bushels of com, 
and 1 5 1 pounds of dressed turkeys between October 
and November 10, 1926. In 1927. wheat, oats, and tur- 
keys were sold, while 1928 included the sale of oats, 
hogs, wheat, cattle, and turkeys. The farm produced 
189 bushels of winter wheat, flax, sixty-four bushels 
of rye, and 716 pounds of live turkeys for sale in 1929. 
The sale of fami products declined in 1 930 to 1 1 bush- 
els of wheat, an undisclosed amount of rye and fiax, 
and sixty turkeys, while turkeys dominated 1 93 1 sales. '" 

William and Rhoda's daughter. Rose, remembered 
the 1920s as seemingly prosperous years on the home- 
stead, although tempered by the basic hardships of 
homestead life. Rose recalled her mother raising fresh 

I-" Ihid 

'^ Post- 1 908, "Mackey." Macke\ received the patent on his 
first homestead entry on December 9, 1921, and the patent on his 
second homestead entr\ on March 31. 1923. 

^^ Ihid. 
"* Ibid. 

'" 1926 Farm Products Sold. 177, 1927 Farm Products Sold. 
1 78. 1 928 Farm Products Sold. 1 78-79, 1 929 Farm Products Sold. 

180, 1930 Farm Products Sold, 181, 1931 Farm Products Sold, 

181, William P. Mackey Business Ledger, in possession of Rose 
Mackey McLaughlin, Gillette. Wyoming. 



28 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History 



produce in large unirrigated gardens, the children tend- 
ing to chickens, turkeys, and milking cows, and her 
father farming. She referred jokingly to herself and her 
siblings as "turkey herders" in reference to their sur- 
veillance of the birds while the\ foraged. Turkey herd- 
ing also brought with it additional duties. The turkeys 
apparently possessed a keen sense of detecting rattle- 
snakes, which allowed the children prime opportuni- 
ties to kill them. Moreover, turkey raising culminated 
in the fall slaughter with her father killing the birds, 
and the rest of the family plucking them. The birds 
were then packed in barrels and sold. The family also 
milked cows, and shipped the cream for sale. Rose also 
recalled her father farming with horses before purchas- 
ing a tractor in the late 19208.-*^ 

Rose's brother. Bob, provided additional memories 
about farm life from his childhood. He recalled the 
children's duties consisting of milking cows, feeding 
bum lambs, and feeding hogs. Although Bob vaguely 
recalled his father farming with horses, he better re- 
membered the notoriety surrounding his father's pur- 
chase of a 1530 International tractor, combine, plow. 
and tandem disc in 1928. He also used the new power 
machinery to farm land owned by Gene Callan and 
Spurgeon Hamilton. 

William turned to flax production in the late 1920s 
as its value increased. Flax prices peaked in 1 929, and 
Mackey was positioned to benefit from the increase. 
The Mackeys planted about twenty acres of tlax, likely 
in 1929, and were quite successful with it. William at- 
tempted to capitalize on his success again the next year, 
but the price dropped and he ended up with a "tlax bin 
full of tlax. " Bob recalled his father growing a variety 
of crops, and hauling wheat to Gillette for sale. The 
Mackeys ceased crop farming in the mostly drought 
years of the 1 930s although William planted a success- 
ful fifty or sixty acre crop of wheat around 1937.-' 

In addition to raising farm products for market, the 
Mackeys also produced the necessary items for their 
own consumption. According to Bob, "you pretty near 
had to raise all your food in them days." Rhoda Mackey 
consistently grew a large garden to supply the family 
with fresh produce. She grew beans, potatoes, peas, 
onions, carrots, tomatoes, and, on at least one occasion 
even watermelon. Despite her success, gardening pre- 
sented risks, considering she gardened without irriga- 
tion. 

The family's diet also included pork and beef raised 
on the homestead. In fact, Mr. Mackey consistently 
raised pigs, and the family ate pork "all the time." The 
family also supplemented its diet with wild game such 
as antelope. Raising the food was merely the begin- 



ning of the process though, it was then followed by the 
formidable task of preserving it.-- 

The magnitude of the task is reflected in Bob's 
memory that his mother seemed to be "canning all the 
time." Rhoda purchased bulk shipments of jars and lids, 
and "she canned everything." The seemingly endless 
task of canning garden produce and meat culminated 
in the "hundreds of jars of different things" she pre- 
served. Rose recalled an additional and highly signifi- 
cant aspect of the canning procedure — Rhoda's pur- 
chase of a pressure cooker. Prior to the arrival of the 
pressure cooker, Rhoda canned with a pot of boiling 
water used as a hot-water bath. The hot-water bath 
was not only time intensive, but it also limited the num- 
ber of items available for canning. Alternatively, the 
pressure cooker dramatically reduced the time involved 
in the canning procedure, and allowed Rhoda to pre- 
serve other foods such as meat.--' 

The Mackeys also preserved food using other tech- 
niques. They cured pork with Morton sugar cure, butch- 
ered steers in the fall as the temperature dropped, and 
buried carrots in boxes of sand. They prepared their 
own sausage, and Rhoda also made cheese. Without 
an ice house or ice box, the Mackeys relied on a root 
cellar dug by William to store their food, although some 
of their neighbors did use ice houses. The cellar housed 
more than food though. Rose recalled the fear she and 
her siblings had entering the cellar, because lizards of- 
ten times lurked under the cellar stairs. 

Despite all their food preparation, the family occa- 
sionally endured great hardship on the homestead. In 
fact. Rose and Bob recalled being "a little too suffi- 
cient" on one occasion. The family exhausted their sup- 
ply of flour during one particularly brutal winter storm, 
which forced them to use a grain pig feed called red 
dog to make flour until they could resupply.-'' 

Despite the aridity of the area, the Mackeys adjusted 
to the situation. Although the gardening and farming 
relied on rain alone, it came often enough during the 
1920s to ensure their survival. The family also had a 
well on the homestead to accommodate their house- 
hold needs, but they later hauled water from a 
neighbor's well. The well on the adjoining Corder 
homestead produced a premium soft water the Mackeys 
cherished. They valued it enough to bother with the 
trouble of hauling it in barrels for use on their own 

-" Rose Mackey McLaughlin, interview by author, Gillette, 
Wyoming, 8 November 1997; Mrs. McLaughlin was bom in 1916. 
-' Mackey, interview; Hargreaves, £)rc Farming, 45. 
-- Mackey, interview. 

-^ Mackey, interview; McLaughlin, interview. 
-■' Ibid. 



Sprind IQQQ 

homestead. Rhoda also melted snow for water in large 
tubs during the winter if hauHng water or getting to 
their well was too difficult. 

Homestead life also presented additional issues nec- 
essary to the well-being of the family that w ent be\ ond 
the questions of food and water. Kerosene, coal, wood, 
muscle, and batteries powered the necessities and con- 
veniences available to the Mackey's in their household 
duties and pastimes. Kerosene lamps provided the 
Mackey's with household lighting, while they heated 
their home and cooked their meals on stov es fueled by 
coal and wood. The Mackeys joined neighbors at the 
nearby Cantleld coal mine in the fall to gather their 
annual coal supply, and they collected wood in the 
nearby Rochelle Hills. Coal was later acquired at the 
East Antelope coal mine, which was operated by their 
neighbor Felix Niemcyk.--"' 

Muscle powered many household tasks such as wash- 
ing clothes. The job entailed hauling large quantities 
of water by the children, and labor intensive scrubbing 
performed by Rhoda. The power available to them did 
provide recreation on occasion, too. The Mackeys pur- 
chased a thousand-hour battery radio from a mail order 
company after hearing one at a nearby teacher's home. 
With a radio of their own, they consistentl_\ tuned in 
Nash\ ille's Grand 01" Opry program on Saturday eve- 



nmss 



26 



Alternative sources of power and corresponding ap- 
pliances arrived much later than the 1920s and 1930s. 
Electricity, wind-powered generators, and propane fu- 
eled appliances dramatically changed life on the home- 
stead, but the\' arrived long after the homestead era had 
ended. They arrived in the late 1930s, with the advent 
of the RE A (Rural Electrification Administration) and 
brought with them expanded opportunities for refrig- 
eration, heating, cooking, lighting, entertainment and 
communication. During the 1920s and early 1930s, the 
Mackeys along with their neighbors survived with the 
technologies and energy sources available to them. The 
situation demanded great labor, yet it hardly represented 
something unknown to countless other rural and even 
urban families at the time.-^ 

Despite the "tlies in the summer and the drafts in the 
winter," the homestead house gathered the family to- 
gether for work, pleasure, and unity. The Mackeys ini- 
tially resided slightly east of the location they tlnally 
established as their permanent homesite. In 1921 they 
moN'ed their original homestead shack to the new loca- 
tion, and proceeded to establish the new homesite. They 
replaced their original home with a new gable-roofed 
house at the time of the move, which became the prin- 
cipal family residence. The new house consisted of a 



29 

twenty-one-by-tlfteen-foot log section, and a twelve- 
by-si.xteen-foot squared log section which was added 
around 1930. A porch and a lean-to were added on to 
the house around 1938-39. The house contained a 
kitchen, a living room, and another room for sleeping. 
The lean-to provided storage space, and they used the 
original homestead shack as a bunkhouse. The home- 
site also included a hand dug root cellar, a turkey house, 
bam. and a dugout chicken house. -*^ 

The Mackey's situation drastically differed from that 
of fellow Teckla homesteader and widow Mary 
Springer, but Springer's lifestyle does provide insight 
into Teckla homestead life. Some neighbors contested 
her homestead patent, but Teckla homesteader .lames 
A. Payne claimed Mary Springer's home was "ftimished 
like the usual homesteader [house]..." Fler son, Harry 
Springer, another Teckla homesteader described his 
mother's home as "a comfortable log house, mudded 
up and well furnished." It was a fourteen-by-sixteen- 
foot log home with a tweK e-inch dressed board floor. 
Protecting the home was "a good lumber flat roof cov- 
ered with thick rubberoid rooting material." Within the 
home. Springer had a nine-by-twelve-foot rug and 
ample furnishings. Her furnishings included "a full bed, 
a sanitary couch that could be made into a full bed, a 
chifferobe, a birdseye maple dressing table and chair 
to match, a dining table, 2 rocking chairs and 2 straight 
back chairs." She heated the home and cooked on a 
stove, that reportedly "heated and baked well." In ad- 
dition, she "had all [the] cooking utensils and neces- 
sary silverware."-'' 

Beyond the fencelines of individual homesteads ex- 
isted the broader community of Teckla. The commu- 
nity was bound together by kinship in several instances, 
but also by a communal spirit reflected in local recre- 
ation, child rearing, and religious worship. Although 
community life surely existed beyond those practices, 
they did represent a significant portion of Teckla's com- 
munity identity. For instance, neighbors joined together 
and collectively purchased a steam tractor to thresh 
grain, and they commonK acted as midwives at the 
births of each other's children. The>' also gathered for 
Fourth of July picnics and political rallies, while they 

-•' Ibid. 

-" Ibid 

-'' Macke> interview. 

-* McLaughlin, interview; Mackey, interview; Robert R. 
Mackey, interview by author. Teckla. Wyoming. 8 July 1997. 
Those interested in a detailed description of the Macke> home- 
stead material culture are referred to the Wyoming State Ftistoric 
Preservation Office site form of site. 48CA2675. on file at the 
SHPO in Che>enne, Wyoming. 

-" Post- 1908. "Springer. 1023816." 



30 



Annals or Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



eagerly visited the Teckia post office three times a week 
for mail and conversation.-'" 

William Mackey donated two acres for a site to lo- 
cate a community hall and school for Teckia home- 
steaders. The hall accommodated various events such 
as dances, school programs, and religious services. Next 
to the hall was a school for local children to attend. 
Neighbors eagerly joined together to build the log hall, 
and they later celebrated together within its walls. 
Dances, a frequent form of winter entertainment among 
the Teckia homesteaders, were commonly held at the 
community hall. Music was provided by various local 
musicians. Nell Judd played the piano, Owen Ankeny 
and Ike Isenberger were on the fiddle, and a Murphy 
w as on the drums. Couples danced waltzes, polkas, the 
Charleston, and the two-step. Bootleggers also fre- 
quented the dances with illegal alcohol, which ended 
many dances in drunken brawls. Nevertheless, the 
dances provided fond memories for those who attended, 
and also provided homesteaders with a welcomed com- 
munity social event.'' 

Although many dances were held at the community 
hall, it was also common to hold dances in certain 
homes. Teckia homesteader, John Dillon, hosted dances 
at his large frame home on numerous occasions. Strik- 
ingly different from other dances. Bob Mackey recalled 
that on one occasion at the Dillon home, a phonograph 
produced the music rather than live musicians. Former 
Teckia resident. Jinx Putnam, also remembered a couple 
dancing a finger polka at the Dillon home. He had 
"never heard of it since." Putnam's family hosted dances 
at his home when he was a child. Another neighbor, 
Joe Judd, hosted dances in a large bam he had on his 
homestead.-'- 

The Pleasant View school, located adjacent to the 
community hall, provided another form of community 
interaction in the fall, winter, and spring. Even though 
it was more directly associated with the children, the 
school also linked Teckla's adults together in a com- 
mon enterprise. The eldest Mackey child. Vera, taught 
briefly at Pleasant View, while her younger siblings 
and neighbor children attended her classes. Former 
Pleasant View students. Jinx Putnam and Rose 
McLaughlin, recalled fond memories of their school 
days. It provided a welcomed opportunity to meet with 
other children, and develop friendships outside of the 
home. School also provided occasions for the children 
to express their talents before their families and neigh- 
bors. The school children held annual Christmas per- 
formances as well as other programs throughout the 
year in the community hall for the entertainment of 
everyone.^^ 




Pleasant View school children. 1925. Front row: Elsie 
Mackey. Edna Callan. Rose Mackey, John Reed. Back 
row: William Boyce Mackey. Mrs. Genevra Bird. Lyle 
Reed. Photo courtesy of Rose Mackey McLaughlin 



Religious services occupied an additional segment 
of community life each summer. Although without a 
resident minister, many Teckia residents supported the 
occasional non-denominational Christian services pro- 
vided by traveling preachers. Preachers traveled from 
Savageton, and elsewhere, to host "all day dinner on 
the ground" services. These services earned this name, 
because it would be a day- long event of preaching and 
eating. Visiting ministers also taught Sunday school to 
the children when they were available. According to 
Bob Mackey, one particular minister referred to as a 
"holy roller" disappointed him, because the man 
claimed he could jump over his pulpit with the joy he 

'° Harry G. "Jinx" Putnam Jr., "Harry G. Putnam I Story, " in 
Campbell County: The Treasured Years, ed. Campbell County 
Historical Society (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Publishing 
Company, 1991 ), 468; Mackey. interview. 14 October 1997; Harry 
G. "Jinx" Putnam Jr., "The Good Old Days, " in From the Belle 
Fourche to .Antelope: History of Southern Campbell County, ed. 
Harriet Underwood (Wright, Wyoming: Wright Centennial Mu- 
seum, composed and printed by Action Printing, Gillette, Wyo- 
ming. 1991). 203: McLaughlin, interview. 

" Putnam, "Good Old Da>s," 202-03; McLaughlin, interview; 
Mackey. interview, 14 October 1997. 

'- Putnam, "Good Old Days," 202; Robert R. Mackey, inter- 
view by Gene Munson, Teckia, Wyoming, 30 April 1997. 

'-' Putnam, "Harry G. Putnam," 468; Putnam, "Good Old Days," 
203; McLaughlin, interview. 



Spring IQQQ 

had, yet he never did. Summer religious ser\ ices also 
included full immersion baptisms on occasion. Bob 
Mackey recalled the congregation gathering at a deep- 
water hole on Porcupine Creek one summer for the 
baptism of a few men. including the Mackey 's neigh- 
bor Eddie Corder. Religion provided yet another op- 
portunit\ for Teckla area homesteaders to come together 
as a community and celebrate the joys as well as the 
sorrows of homestead life.^'* 

Although commitment sustained the settlement of 
individual homestead families in the Thunder Basin 
and the community life they developed at Teckla, the 
continuation of the depression and the continuing 
droughts forced many homestead families to reconsider 
their future. Federal government land management 
policies influenced their immediate fUture as well as 
that of Teckla and the Thunder Basin. These policies 
reconfigured the community of Teckla. The homestead 
families and the Teckla community of the late 1910s 
through the early 1930s largely disappeared, as a new 
era dawned in land management and local settlement. 

The continuing severe drought and consistently low 
commodity prices ravaged Great Plains dryland fann- 
ers and stockgrowers during the 1920s. The deteriora- 
tion of conditions for dry land farmers and ranchers 
prepared the w ay for a radical transfonnation of Ameri- 
can agriculture. American agricultural planners recog- 
nized that the post-war oversupply of fami products 
had led to failures of private initiative in agriculture in 
the early 1920s. They recognized the need tor central- 
ized planning of farm production and proposed vari- 
ous solutions. Local initiative found little fulfillment 
in many of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal 
agricultural policies and programs.''' 

With the failures of state and local agricultural relief 
policy, the federal government provided federal fund- 
ing and relief programs. With these changes came cen- 
tral planning directed by the federal go\ emment which 
intended to remedy perceived land use mistakes ac- 
complished under private initiative. New Deal land use 
readjustment was a commitment to purchase private 
land for better land management. This proposal was 
■'translate[d]...into reality on the Great Plains in the 
1930s by calling for curtailing rather than increasing 
areas devoted to crop production." The New Deal's 
policy commitment "to rationalize land-use patterns and 
enhance economic opportunities for small farmers" 
manifested itself in federal resettlement programs. New 
Deal resettlement programs sought to purchase land 
deemed submarginal, reclaim it as timber or grazing 
reserves, and relocate the previous owners on federal 
resettlement projects. ^"^ 



31 

Wyoming farmers and ranchers suffered drought 
throughout the 1920s and early 1930s. The situation 
was truly desperate for many. Federal plans called for 
a professional planner's preliminary investigation and 
ultimate designation of land according to its produc- 
tive value. The process resulted in a Wyoming resettle- 
ment project. Unlike resettlement projects in other 
western states, Wyoming's funding dwindled and the 
project ended with only the land purchases and subse- 
quent reclamation work. Although several families were 
relocated, a large scale resettlement communitx for dis- 
placed farmers was never full\ realized in Wyoming. 
Nonetheless, the Resettlement Administration's Thun- 
der Basin, Wyoming, resettlement project reoriented 
the future course of land management in the Thunder 
Basin and settlement at Teckla in particular.'^ 

The tlrst Agricultural Adjustment Administration, a 
New Deal agency, initiated the Northeastern Wyoming 
Land Utilization Project, better known as the Thunder 
Basin project, in late 1934. A preliminar\ investiga- 
tion of the Thunder Basin was conducted in August, 
and a field office was established in October. Admin- 
istration of the project was transferred to the Resettle- 
ment and Farm Securit\ Administration in early 1935, 
and development of the project quickly followed. Field 
agents began appraising the land holdings of persons 
interested in selling properties in January 1935, and a 
final plan to proceed was submitted in June. Project 
officials accepted the tlrst purchase option from a local 
landowner on September 30, 1935. Presidential ap- 
proval was given on January 8, 1936, and payments to 
landowners began Febmary 26. 1936. The final Fed- 
eral payment for a tract of land was made May 23, 
1938. In three and one-half years. Thunder Basin and 
Teckla underwent substantial change.'^ 

The total Thunder Basin project area, which included 
the Teckla area, encompassed approximately 1 ,098,000 
acres in two separate areas. The main portion of the 

"McLaughlin. inter\iew: Macke>. interx iew. 14 October l')97. 

'^ Harareaxes, Diy Farming. 69. 102-03. 

''' Hargreaves. Z)n' Fa/'wwg, 69. 102-03; Richard Lowitt. The 
.Veil' Deal and the West (Bloomington: Indiana Universits Press. 
1984), 33-34; Brian Q. Cannon. Remaking the Agranati Dream: 
iVeir Deal Rural Resettlement in the Mountain West (.'Albuquer- 
que: University of New Mexico Press. 1996). 1. 

" Lowitt. The Ne\v Deal. 35; Larson. Wyoming. 418. 444-45; 
Cannon. Agrarian Dream. 1. 10-11.6. 

'"Northwestern Wyoming Land Litilization Project, Thunder 
Basin National Grassland, (WY-LU-21). Douglas, Wyoming. 
[1955?], Thunder Basin Land L'tilization Project Papers. USPS 
Permanent Records. Douglas District Office. Douglas. Wyoming 
(hereafter cited as Thunder Basin Papers); Thunder Basin Project. 
11 June 1938, Thunder Basin Papers. 



32 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



project area equaled roughly 42 by 36 square miles of 
land, while the smaller portion equaled twelve square 
miles of land. The project area included portions of 
Campbell, Converse, and Weston counties. Although 
the project only planned to purchase 274,91 1 acres of 
land, the project area represented a much larger area, 
because it encompassed already existing public land 
and tracts of land retained by private parties. 

Of the 309 families inhabiting the total project area 
at its inception, 1 72 of them departed the area by July, 
1940. The remaining families in the Teckla area and 
throughout the Thunder Basin entered a fundamentally 
different era than the one they left behind.^'' 

The federal government undertook the Thunder Ba- 
sin project to develop "a large project to be used as an 
agricultural demonstration of restricted grazing."'*'^ The 
transfer of land from private property to the public do- 
main paid landowners who otherwise would have lost 
everything. The program sought to bolster "economic 
independence and stability in the area by adjusting the 
population to the productivity of the land."'*' The fed- 
eral government also sought to reorder land use and 
associated agricultural life in an economically and so- 
cially viable way-something private initiative had 
proven incapable of doing."*- 

County school officials believed the "Land Policy 
program... [would] eliminate some of. [the] smallest 
and most isolated schools and will therefore contribute 
to the general welfare of our school system.""*-' School 
officials considered some rural schools to be "far from 
desirable.""''' The Campbell County Rehabilitation 
Committee supported the idea that farmers "be allowed 
to trade their land to the government for irrigated 
tracts."'*^ Ernest P. Spaeth, chairman of the committee 
and a large sheep operator, heartily endorsed the pro- 
gram. Thomas A. Nicholas, a livestock operator with 
land adjoining the project area, believed that a "much 
lasting benefit in the way of stabilizing the livestock 
industry may be accomplished by government way of 
ownership of certain submarginal grazing lands." He 
wondered, however, "what range will be available and 
whether any outside livestock owners will be able to 
take advantage of government purchased lands to un- 
fairly compete with us.""** 

Fifty homesteaders, twenty from the Teckla area, 
signed a petition circulated by the Mack brothers of 
Teckla. The petition, submitted to the Federal Emer- 
gency Relief Administration, sought a speedy federal 
buyout. Teckla petitioners included relatives of the 
Mackeys, Spurgeon and Joel Hamilton, Eugene Callan, 
and Joe Mackey, as well as John Crouch, R. J. Holmes, 
John Payne, and William Murphy. The signatories rep- 



resented a common sentiment among many Teckla 
families. The petition stressed the "unknown misery" 
attributed to the previous several years of drought and 
debt in its endorsement of the project. Many Teckla 
homesteaders undoubtedly sought direct relief from any 
possible source in the hope that they might relocate 
elsewhere on favorable terms."*^ 

At the heart of the project was the assumption that 
the land use situation "could never have been remedied 
through private initiative or by the state or local gov- 
ernment, and which has been the principal cause of the 
present social and economic distress of the population 
of the area.""*^ 

"[T]he land which has been a burden to its owners, 
and the occupants of the area who have for many years 
been a burden on society, will both be rehabilitated on 
a permanent basis. ""^^ The project planners criticized 
"the intrusion of the homesteader in the range coun- 
try." The project directors also believed "the experi- 
ence of these farmers will be repeated" if they are left 
to themselves, because "hope springs eternal. "'^ 

Project directors lumped social conditions together 
with economic conditions in the Thunder Basin, and 
concluded both to be "extremely undesirable." Unde- 

''' Land Use Summar>' Report for Project LA-WY-I, [30 June 
\93T?], Thunder Basin Papers; Report of Families LU-WY-38-i 
Site I and II, 1 July 1940, Thunder Basin Papers. 

""' Land Use Summary- Report for Project LA-WY-L [30 June 
1937?], Thunder Basin Papers. 

"" Ibid.; Resettlement Administration Land Acquisition Project 
Analysis Report, 28 July 1936, Thunder Basin Papers. 

■»- Ibid 

■" Marion Heald to John A. Goe, 1 1 April 1935. 

■*■' Ibid 

*^ Willot Keyser and Vem Wolfley to Carl Bingemer, 1 Au- 
gust 1934. 

""^ Ernest P. Spaeth, W. B. Saunders, and L. R. Underwood to 
Submarginal Land Purchase Program, 9 April 1935, Thomas A. 
Nicholas to Land Policy Section Agricultural Adjustment Ad- 
ministration, 10 April 1935, Submarginal Land Program Agri- 
cultural Demonstration Projects, Wyoming, Proposal No. A-I Sites 
1 and 2, Thunder Basin Northeast Wyoming, Final Plan, 15 May 

1935, Thunder Basin Papers. 

■•^ Submarginal Land Program Agricultural Demonstration 
Projects, Wyoming, Proposal No. A-I Sites 1 and 2, Thunder Ba- 
sin Northeast Wyoming, Final Plan, 15 May 1935, Thunder Ba- 
sin Papers; Mackey, interview, 30 April 1997. 

■'*' "Resettlement Administration Authorization for Preparation 
of Project Plan," 31 March 1936, included in Resettlement Ad- 
ministration Land Acquisition Project Analysis Report, 28 July 

1936, Thunder Basin Papers. 
■" Ibid 

-'''' Submarginal Land Program Agricultural Demonstration 
Projects, Wyoming, Proposal No. A-I Sites 1 and 2, Thunder Basin 
Northeast Wyoming, Final Plan, 15 May 1935, pp.2, 43, Thunder 
Basin Papers. 



Spring 1Q9Q 

sirable living conditions included everything from the 
lack of running water in homes, large families living in 
small homes, one "family of seven. ..living in a house 
with no floor," diet, government assistance, to the dis- 
tance between homesteads and schools. It was asserted 
that "in no instance does a dry farmer's property listed 
for sale include water piped into the house." The gen- 
eral absence of telephones also served as a sign of so- 
cial disadvantage. While recognizing "local social ac- 
tivities such as Literary Societies, School entertain- 
ments, and School Board quarrels and Country Dances," 
it was ultimately concluded that "recreational advan- 
tages are very meager." Abysmal living conditions 
surely existed for many Thunder Basin homestead fami- 
lies, although project directors were also guilty of mis- 
interpreting the area's social and cultural life.-^' 

Teckia families were given a choice to either stay or 
sell to the Thunder Basin project. Many chose to sell. 
As of June, 1 938, 1 77 families had departed the Thun- 
der Basin. Sixteen families relocated outside of Wyo- 
ming with government assistance, eleven families re- 
located within Wyoming with government assistance, 
t1ve families awaited a funded relocation, and 145 re- 
located without requesting assistance. -"'- 

Project officials loosely monitored the situations of 
families that relocated without aid. They discovered 
generally disheartening results — "that the majority so 
relocated are more or less on a 'shoe string basis'" in 
their new location."' ' Furthennore, it was reported that 
"many of the families who have left the state are re- 
ported as being without fiinds."-"''^ This was a signifi- 
cant fact indeed, considering most of the people relo- 
cated out of state to Idaho. Oregon or Washington. Only 
"a small majority" were able to "relocate themselves 
on more productive farms," while "a number" returned 
to previous occupations.''"' 

William Mackey, like some others, declared "he 
wasn't any better off than any of the rest... [but he con- 
cluded] where are you going to go to do any better?" 
He considered the government homestead purchase 
prices to be insufficient for a favorable relocation. Con- 
sequently, they remained and survived as best as pos- 
sible on a steady diet of beans and potatoes. Far from 
being unaffected, the Mackey's power fann machinery 
purchased in 1928 was repossessed and the drought 
resulted in severe dust storms that forced Rhoda to hang 
"wet blankets over the windows" to keep the dust out- 
side the house. 

Their survival depended on their self-sufficiency, but 
also on public works projects. William along with many 
others who remained in Teckia and the Thunder Basin 
found employment with the Works Progress Adminis- 



33 

tration (WPA) during the depression. The WPA initi- 
ated the reclamation work central to the Thunder Basin 
resettlement project. Mackey and others earned a sal- 
ary.-'*' 

Public works projects aimed at rangeland develop- 
ment. Projects included building range reservoirs, di- 
version dams, cattle guards, fencing, dipping vats, cor- 
rals, rodent eradication, seeding, flood control, and 
contour plowing. It also included tearing down recentlv 
vacated homestead buildings, and reclaiming the home- 
stead sites. As of June, 1938, approximately seventy- 
five men had been employed per month for two-and- 
one-half years on Thunder Basin public works projects. 
They demolished 112 buildings and took down 300 
miles of fencing, seeded 463 acres, and built 125 im- 
pounding dams. Not all buildings were destroyed. Many 
were salvaged by those remaining in the area. 

Other sources of income also existed in the early years 
of the depression and before. Several Teckia area home- 
steaders had produced illegal alcohol in the Rochelle 
Hills during Prohibition until it ended in 1933.-^^ 

The results of the Thunder Basin project sometimes 
defied expectations and failed to alleviate serious mis- 
ery. Those remaining were expected to be the benefi- 
ciaries of a well-ordered, centrally-managed, public- 
grazing reserve. Regardless of the intent, well estab- 
lished livestock operators were positioned to benefit 
from the new management policies to the detriment of 
small or recently established operators. Without access 
to a sufficient grazing allotment, some small operators 
simply folded. Like project participants in nearby states, 
many "who sold out to the government could barely 
hope to clear their debts, with little suiplus to carry 
into new ventures." hi fact, a monthly report in Au- 



■"' Resettlement Administration Land Acquisition Project Anal\- 
sis Report, 28 July l')36, I, Thunder Basin Papers; Land Use Sum- 
mary Report for Project LA-WY- 1, [.lO .lune 1937?). 2. Thunder 
Basin Papers; Submarginal Land Program Agricultural Demon- 
stration Projects, Wyoming, Proposal No. A-1 Sites 1 and 2, Thun- 
der Basin Northeast Wyoming, Final Plan, 15 May 1935, 1 3. Thun- 
der Basin Papers. 

''-Thunder Basin project. 1 1 .lune 1938. Thunder Basin Papers. 

'^ Land Use Summary Report for Project LA-W^'-i. [30 .lune 
1937?), 3, Thunder Basin Papers. 

^■' Ibid. 

'-"' Thunder Basin project, 1 1 June 1938. Thunder Basin Papers. 
Mackey interview, 14 October 1997; McLaughlin, interview. 

'^ Land Use Summary Report for Project LA-WY-1, [30 June 
1937?!, 2, Thunder Basin Papers; Thunder Basin project. 1 1 June 
1938. Thunder Basin Papers; Submarginal Land Program Agri- 
cultural Demonstration Projects. Wyoming. Proposal No. .A-1 Sites 
I and 2. Thunder Basin Northeast W'soming. Final Plan. 15 May 
1935, 27. Thunder Basin Papers; Mackey. interview, 14 October 
1997. 



34 



Annals ot Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



gust, 1936 claimed the $5 to $1500 paid to families for 
their homesteads "will be exhausted in a short time, 
should they not be successful in locating a new home 
immediately." Slightly later, project officials worried 
about the "uncertain state" "of the necessary Resettle- 
ment for the families being dispossessed...." This was 
a concern exacerbated by the fact that "in most cases 
the only asset these families had were the farms on 
which they lived, and after land sale money had been 
received... and debts adjusted very little was left, in 
some cases nothing.-"'^ 

The story of Teckla represents a significant moment 
in the history of northeast Wyoming's settlement and 
land management history, as well as the nation's re- 
sponse to these issues. The story reveals the variety of 
situations, lifestyles, and events homesteaders experi- 
enced on the terms of those who lived it — the families, 
individuals, and neighbors who, with conviction, staked 
their claim in the Thunder Basin. Of utmost impor- 
tance, it reveals the transition Teckla underwent dur- 
ing the 1930s as homesteaders willingly accepted fed- 
eral relief 

New Deal relief alleviated the immediate distress of 
many, yet the results were ambiguous when examined 
over a longer period. The project addressed some im- 
mediate concerns, yet many continued to endure hard- 
ship. The Mackeys and others knew a different story. 
They knew a life of hardship and success balanced by 
personal commitment and community support. It was 



also a lifestyle recognizably susceptible to risk. The 
risks overwhelmed many during the 1920s and 1930s, 
but not to the discredit nor the validity of their earlier 
experience. They settled a difficult region, yet adjusted 
themselves to it with trial and error and, in the process, 
created a community. 



-^* Submarginal Land Program Agricultural Demonstration 
Projects. Wyoming, Proposal No. A-1 Sites 1 and 2, Thunder Ba- 
sin Northeast Wyoming, Final Plan, 15 May 1935. 21, Thunder 
Basin Papers; Cannon, Agrarian Dream. 6, 1 1 ; George Darlington, 
"Reflections, Opinions, & History of the Douglas Ranger Dis- 
trict," Douglas, Wyoming, [1991?], 6,11-12; Hargreaves, Dry 
Farming 122,103; Resettlement Administration Monthly Report 
On Families Residing On Land Utilization Projects, 1 August 
1936. Thunder Basin Papers; Land Use Summary Report for 
Project LA-WY-L [30 June 1937?), 14, Thunder Basin Papers. 



William Fischer is a doctoral student in 
American histoiy at the Catholic University' 
of America in Washington. D. C. He com- 
pleted this article as part of a project with 
GCMSen'ices, Inc.. a cultural resource man- 
agement fnn. and with the financial support 
of Powder River Coal Company. 



VISIONS BEYOND 
*AN ARROW 
OF FIRE': 



WYOMING'S 
PENDRAY AND 
THE OTHER 
ROCKET 
EXPERIMENTERS 




crican 
Heritage 
Center 



G. Edward Pendrav 



BY DAVID L. ROBERTS 



G. Edward Pendray came from a part of America 
where the word "pioneer" made a lot of sense. Pendray 
described himself as "a product of the homestead surge 
of 1 906- 1 2 in western Nebrasls.a and eastern Wyoming." 

in a 1926 letter with New York Herald Tribune let- 
terhead, Pendrav wrote to a Wyoming friend, "\ know 
homesteads and homesteaders.. .1 write of almost noth- 
ing else when 1 am in a serious mood... No matter how 
long I stay in New York. 1 shall never be anvlhing but 
a Westerner. Some day I hope to figure out how to 
make my living in Wyoming, so 1 can come out to live 
again on my prairies."' 

Bom in Nebraska in 1901, Pendray grew up on a 
Wyoming ranch in the Van Tassell area, between Lusk 
and the Nebraska community of Harrison. He attended 
the University of Wyoming in the early 1920s and 
served as editor of the campus newspaper, newly named 
The Branding Iron. 



Pendray was a "pioneer." but not in the way that the 
word traditionally had been applied to someone from 
the rural West. In fact, he did most of his "pioneering" 
efforts in the East where he became a pioneer in Ameri- 
can rocketry and space exploration advocacy. 

Upon one return to Lusk, he treated residents to a 
public presentation. While some people viewed him as 
"eccentric" and considered his ideas to be "far out," 
especially for that time period, many people marveled 
at his knowledge and predictions about science. - 

After completing graduate studies at Columbia Uni- 
versity, Pendray went on to work for the New York 
Herald Tribune, serving in a number of positions: re- 
porter, assistant city editor, picture editor and science 

' G. Edward Pendray. letter to Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard. 
Nov. 24. 1926. American Heritage Center. University of Wyo- 
ming. Laramie. Wyoming. 

- Interviews with Lusk. Wvomina. residents hs the author. 



36 



Annals or Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



editor. He also served as science editor for the Literaiy 
Digest magazine. 

In 1936, he joined Westinghouse Electric and Manu- 
facturing Company as assistant to the president, devel- 
oping a public relations program and a technical jour- 
nal. One of Pendray's projects was the Westinghouse 
World's Fair exhibit that included a "time capsule," 
which, according to biographical information at the 
University of Wyoming American Heritage Center in 
Laramie, was a term he "coined."' 

He left Westinghouse to start his own public rela- 
tions firm in New York. Among his other accomplish- 
ments: he serxed as editor of the National Public Rela- 
tions Journal: he developed the Guggenheim Jet Pro- 
Dulsion Center at California Institute of Technology 




PenJray (center, wearing hat) visits German racket facilitv. April. 1931. 
During the visit, Pendray and colleagues were impressed by the test firing 
of a liquid-fuel rocket motor. 



and the Guggenheim Laboratories at Princeton Uni- 
versity; he wrote non- fiction and science fiction books. 
His early advocacy of space flight and his pioneering 
work designing and experimenting with liquid propul- 
sion rockets was truly remarkable. 

Pendray and his wife, Leatrice, helped found the 
American Rocket Society in 1930. The first gathering 
of the small group of mainly writers who would begin 
the organization occurred in the Pendrays' apartment 
in New York City. Most contributed science fiction 
articles to Hugo Gemsback's Science Wonder Stories. 
Three years earlier, the word "astronautics" had been 
coined by a French science ficfion writer, who also 
joined friends in Paris to form a committee to promote 
space flight.'* 

Like the French group, Pendray 
and the Americans were drawn to- 
gether by the one, shared dream — 
the prospect of sending vehicles 
into space. As writers, they knew 
how to gain publicity for their 
cause. They planned promotional 
activities, presented information 
about every aspect of spaceflight 
at their meetings, and published 
related material in a publication 
edited by one of the society's 
members. 

The transition from discussion 
to experimentation began when 
the Pendrays traveled to Europe 
in 1931 to visit European rocket 
experimenters. In Germany, they 
observed a test firing of a liquid- 
ftiel rocket motor and were ex- 
tremely impressed. They left Ber- 
lin with an agreement that the 
German and American rocket or- 
ganizations would exchange infor- 
mation.'' 



' Biographical sketch of G. Edward 
Pendray, June 1967, American Heritage 
Center, University of Wyoming, 
Laramie, Wyoming. 

■* Frank H. Winter, Prelude to the 
Space .4ge. t/ie Rocket Societies: 1924- 
40 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian In- 
stitution Press, 1983), 25. 

^ Beryl Williams and Samuel Epstein, 
The Rocket Pioneers. On the Road to 
Space (New York: Julian Messner, Inc., 
1961), 177. 



namamnBiiB 



spring 



1999 



The American Rocket Society's first rocket was con- 
structed in 1932 at a cost of $49.40. In a November 
trial launch in New Jersey, the rocket launch failed be- 
cause of the rain and other problems. 

The society's first rocket to actually lift off went up 
250 feet in 1 933. A more respectable showing was the 
organization's last rocket, which tlew to 1.338 feet in 
1 934. After that, the group devoted its limited resources 
to more practical tests in which rocket engines were 
fired on stands and closely observed for data collec- 
tion. The testing proved fruitful in the study of a vari- 
ety of techniques and devices.^ 

The organization became the largest professional 
rocket engineering group in America. It merged with 
another group in 1963 to fonn the American Institute 
of Aeronautics and Astronautics, tallying a member- 
ship of 20,000 from the aerospace industry.'' 

The rocket societies were the "roots" for the modem 
Space Age. Frank Winter, historian of the National Air 
and Space Museum's Science and Exploration Depart- 
ment and author of the 1982 book Prelude to the Space 
Age: The Rocket Societies. 1924-1940. said the rela- 
tionship between the early rocket societies and today's 
space program was very important. 

"These groups laid the groundwork for later rocket 
research in several ways," Winter said in a 1982 ar- 
ticle. "First, they helped to educate the scientific com- 
munity and the public in general. The societies were 
largely responsible for keeping alive the idea of travel- 
ing into space, despite constant skepticism. 

"Second, the rocket societies helped train some of 
the best minds around — men who became leaders in 
the space program a few decades later. It would be im- 
possible to estimate how many young people were 
motivated by these rocket societies."^ 

In 1958, Pendray was a consultant to the Select Com- 
mittee on Astronautics and Space Exploration of the 
U.S. House of Representatives, and aided in the estab- 
lishment of NASA. 

One of Pendray's older contemporaries was Robert 
H. Goddard (1882-1945). Goddard is now known as 
the father of American rocketry, and NASA's Goddard 
Space Flight Center in Maryland was named in honor 
of him. 

By 1909, Goddard had worked out the theory of the 
multi-stage rocket and, with more than 200 patents from 
1914 until his death, he had covered almost every con- 
ceivable aspect of rocket design, propulsion and guid- 
ance.'' 

However, during his lifetime, Goddard received scant 
recognition for his role in rocket science, largely be- 
cause of his work for the Navy, which demanded se- 



37 

crecy, and his own preference to work as a secretive 
researcher. His reluctance for publicity was probably 
understandable, following the furor that Goddard had 
suffered in the 1920s. On Jan. 12, 1920, a story "Be- 
lieves Rocket Can Reach Moon" in the New York Times 
featured an essay by Goddard. 

The following day, in an editorial, the New York 
Times ridiculed Goddard for making the same "mis- 
take" as science fiction author Jules Verne by suggest- 
ing that a rocket could function in a vacuum. (The Times 
oftlcially apologized decades later, in 1969, when 
Americans landed on the moon and proved Goddard to 
be correct.) 

By 1921, sensational news stories had featured nearly 
20 people volunteering to go on a rocket to the moon. 
Goddard had been both praised and lampooned. In an 
effort to dispel the clamor and put the "human cargo" 
idea in practical perspective, Goddard again spoke to 
the press, explaining about the extreme temperatures 
on the moon and other problems. The resulting news 
story was titled, "Moon Beams Would Cremate Hu- 
man Rockets," setting off another round of sensational 
news articles."' 

Thus, Goddard stopped granting interviews and re- 
fused to give comments about his activities. 

Many of his calculations about space tJight were se- 
curely put in a locked tile, with instructions that they 
were to be "opened only by an optimist."" 

In the meantime, however, reactions overseas to his 
views were much different. Gennany emerged with a 
serious interest in rocket development, thanks to Pro- 
fessor Hermann Oberth. Mrs. Goddard recalled, "Many 
foreign nations, including Russia, Japan, Gennany and 
Italy, wrote to my husband asking for his services, but 
he turned them all down even though he received little 
support from his own government after World War 1 ."'- 

The ridicule persisted, in 1929, Goddard launched 
his liquid-propellant rocket named "Nell" which suc- 
cessfully perfonned as expected. However, one news- 

'' Frank H. Winter, Rockels Into Space (Cambridge, Mass.. 
Harvard Liniversity Press, 1990), 39. 

' Biographical si<etch. American Heritage Center. L'niversity 
of Wyoming. 

* Rita Bobowski, "When the Space Age was but a glimmer in a 
dreamer's eye," Research Reports, National Air and Space Mu- 
seum, Washington, D.C., Spring 1982, 4-5. 

''Arthur C. Clarke, The Promise of Space (New >'ork: Harper 
and Row Publishers. 1968), 16-17. 

'" Shirley Thomas, Men of Space. Profiles of the Leaders in 
Space Research. Development and Exploration (Philadelphia: 
Chilton Company, 1960), 32-33. 

" Ibid., p. 43. 

^-Ibid., 35. 




Pendray (right) on inspection trip to German rocket 
facilities. 193 L 

paper headlined its story about the launch, "Moon 
Rocket Misses Target by 238,799 1/2 Miles."'^ 

So. in 1930, to escape publicity, Goddard moved his 
rocket experiments to the remote town of Roswell, New 
Mexico. 

The beginnings of experimental work by Pendray and 
his group of rocketeers in the American Rocket Soci- 
ety did not stem directly from Goddard's work. Pendray 
wrote, "When Goddard in his desert fastness in New 
Mexico proved uncommunicative, those of us who 
wanted to do our part in launching the space age turned 
to what appeared the next best source of light: the Ger- 
man Interplanetary Society in Berlin.''* 

Like others who saw Goddard as an enigma. Time 
magazine sourly noted in a 1944 article, "Because 
Goddard has published little on his findings and has 
experimented mostly in the privacy of a New Mexican 
desert, fellow rocketeers consider him a 'mystery 
man'."'"' 

Time magazine added, "No astronaut. Professor 
Goddard has restricted his aim to rather low altitudes." 

In defense of Goddard, Pendray fired off a protest to 
the editor: "Your reporter evidently has not read 
Goddard' s classical report on rockets published in 1919 
by the Smithsonian Institution. This is the monograph 



Annals ot Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

that reopened rocket experimentation and really started 
the modem era of rocket research." 

Pendray said that Goddard's brilliant theoretical 
analyses clearly qualified him for better treatment. 
"Goddard was not only an 'astronaut,' as you call them, 
but actually started the whole modem cycle of astro- 
nautics. He is the spiritual leader (of all rocket experi- 
ments) in the '20s and '30s." 

Goddard greatly appreciated Pendray's response. 

For that evaluation of Goddard, Pendray was ahead 
of his time. Pendray also was ahead of his time be- 
cause of his belief in space travel, his rocket society 
leadership, and his own active work in rocket experi- 
mentation. 

Later, he wrote The Coming Age of Rocket Power. 
With the assistance of Goddard's widow, Pendray ed- 
ited Rocket Development: Liquid-Fuel Rocket Research, 
1929- 194 1, a book dealing with Goddard's experimen- 
tal work; and helped edit and prepare for publication, 
The Papers of Dr. Robert H. Goddard. '^ 

In a chapter he wrote in the 1 964 book The History 
of Rocket Technology. Pendray cited the successes of 
Goddard's pioneering efforts: 

— First to develop a rocket motor using liquid pro- 
pellants (liquid oxygen and gasoline, 1920-25); 

— First to design, construct, and launch successfully 
a liquid-fuel rocket (March 16, 1926at Auburn, Mass.); 

— First developed gyro-stabilization apparatus for 
rockets (1932); 

— First used deflector vanes in the blast of the rocket 
motor as a method of stabilizing and guiding rockets 
(1932); 

— Received the first U.S. patent on the idea of multi- 
stage rockets (1914); 

— First explored mathematically the practicality of 
using rocket power to reach high altitudes and escape 
velocity (1912); 

— First to publish in the U.S. a basic mathematical 
theory underlying rocket propulsion and rocket flight 
(1919); 

— First proved experimentally that a rocket will pro- 
vide thrust in a vacuum (1915); 

— Developed and demonstrated the basic idea of the 
"bazooka" during World War I (November 9, 1915), 
though his plans in the U.S. Army files were unused 
until World War II; 

— First developed self-cooling rocket motors, vari- 
able-thrust rocket motors, practical rocket landing de- 

"»/V., 38. 

'■* G. Edward Pendray, author of chapter "Pioneer Rocket De- 
velopment in the United States," in Eugene M. Emme, ed. The 
History ofRoclcet Teclmology. Essays on Researc/i. Development 
and Utility. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1964), 24. 

'-^ Hany V^u\foTst, The Rocketmakers (New York: Orion Books, 
1990), 148-150. 

'* Biographical sketch, American Heritage Center, University 
of Wyoming. 



^pnng 



1999 



vices, pumps suitable for liquid rocket fuels, and fore- 
cast jet-dri\ en airplanes, rocket-borne mail and express, 
and tra\el in space. '^ 

Goddard flight-tested 3 1 rockets in New Mexico. One 
reached 7,500 feet in 1935; another, the same year, at- 
tained more than 700 miles an hour.'^ 

Goddard was issued 48 patents for basic rocket hard- 
ware. After Goddard's death in 1 945, an additional 1 3 1 
posthumous patents would be granted to his widow, 
for a total of 214 patents.''^ 

"The work of Dr. Goddard. of course, underlies all 
modem development in rocketry and space flight," 
Pendray wrote, adding that the efforts of the American 
Rocket Society's "Experimental Committee and inde- 
pendent experimenters served to develop a vital body 
of knowledge about what will and will not work in this 
new field of technology."-'^' 

Pendray said the efforts brought forth people with 
experience and know-how who were ready and w illing 
to take leadership positions in the modem rocket and 
missile age. He wrote, "And perhaps equally impor- 
tant, the early rocket experiments helped to promote 
an ever-mounting pitch of interest and enthusiasm, and 
stirred large portions of the human race to desire the 
eventual conquest of space — thus generating the broad 
public support which for any great and costly new 
project is a \ ital necessity for success in a democratic 
society."-' 

While advocates and scientists of the early 20th cen- 
tury, such as Goddard and Pendray, were important in 
laying the groundwork for the modem Space Age, by 
no means did they "invent" rockets. 

Rocket use, mainly as fireworks, dates back more 
than 1,000 years ago in China. 

The Chinese "arrows of fire" were improved upon 
by Arab military men about 1280 A.D. One innova- 
tion was described as an air squid or traveling land 
mine — the weapon would scurry across land in the 
manner of a squid through water. -- 

While the gun was the preferred firearm in Europe, 
war rocket use flourished in India from at least the mid- 
1500s. 

In Europe, one of the first major military uses of rock- 
ets occurred during the 1739 battle for the Isle of 
Chiozza in Italy, when rockets set afire an almost im- 
penetrable fortress.--' 

The Congreve era of rocketry propelled the expan- 
sion of the rocket as a weapon. British Colonel Will- 
iam Congreve wrote, "In the year of 1 804, it first oc- 
curred to me, that as the... rocket is exerted without any 
reaction from the point of which it is discharged, it 



39 

might be necessarily applied, both afloat and ashore, 
as a military engine. I knew that rockets were used for 
military purposes in India, but that their magnitude was 
inconsiderable, and their range not exceeding 1,000 
yards. "-"^ 

According to Frank H. Winter's book The First 
Golden Age of Rocketry. Congrev e disco\ ered that, like 
cannon balls, ranges of rockets could be increased and 
predicted according to the angles at which they were 
discharged. He developed ways to make the rockets 
more exact and more powerful. 

While the first use of the Congreve rockets in com- 
bat ended in failure for the British, the second combat 
use. against the French, proved successful. 

Winter noted that there is no evidence that the 
Congreve rockets changed fundamental militarx tac- 
tics. However, the rockets did give an edge to the ele- 
ment of surprise. The primary tactical value was psy- 
chological — to demoralize the enemy, according to the 
Winter's book. The twisting, "hissing projectiles, usu- 
ally fl\ ing at threateninglv low levels, terrified untrained 
troops, native warriors, and cavalry horses."-"" 

Congreve's rockets were utilized frequently by the 
British against America during the War of 1 8 1 2. 

The most famous moment was during the bombard- 
ment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry in September of 
1814 when lawyer Francis Scott Key immortalized the 
spectacle of "the rocket's red glare" in a verse in what 
later became the U.S. national anthem. "The Star- 
Spangled Banner."-^ 

In August of that same _\ ear. rockets scored their big- 
gest victory at the battle of Bladensburg, Maryland. In 
retaliation for American destruction of York (later 
Toronto), the British colony of Upper Canada in 1813. 
the British attacked America's capital of Washington 

'' Emme. The History of Rocket Technology: Essays on Re- 
search. Development and Utility: 21. 

"* Winter. Rockets Into Space. 33. 

'" Ihui.. 34. 

-" Emme, Tlic History of Rocket Technology: Essays on Re- 
search, Development and I'tiliry: 11 . 

-I Ibid. 11. 

-- Bruce Ketcham, managing editor, and Ralph C. Martin, chief 
editor. Rocket and Space Science Series: Volume 1 — Propulsion 
(Indianapolis: Amateur Rocket Association, Howard W. Sams 
and Co., Inc., The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.. 1*567), 9. 

-' Ibid.. 9. 

-■* Frank H. Winter, The Golden Age of Rocketry (Washington, 
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1990), 15. 

-- Ibid., xiv, preface. 

-'' Wernher \on Braun and Frederick 1. Ord\\a_\ III, Histoiy of 
Rocketty and Space Travel (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Com- 
pany, 1975), 31. 



40 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



and ultimately burned the White House. The Ameri- 
can troops, ill-prepared and hastily recruited for de- 
fense of Washington, were outmatched by the profes- 
sional British troops experienced in fighting Napoleon's 
forces in Europe. 

Winter's The First Golden Age of Rocketry described 
the account: 

Surveying the movements of the opponents from afar 
were three men on horseback: President James Madi- 
son, Secretary of War James Monroe, and Attorney 
General Richard Rush. British troops approached the 
Bladensburg Bridge and attempted to force their way 
across v\ ith a sudden discharge of rockets. American 
guns responded immediately and swept down almost 
an entire company of British infantry. The British sur- 
vivors instantly took refiige behind a nearby warehouse; 
among them were the rocketeers, who again fired rock- 
ets. Secretary Monroe saw the projectiles "fall near 
the President" and Attorney General Rush afterwards 
wrote, "Their rockets tlew o\er us as we sat on our 
horses." President Madison discreetly advised his min- 
isters to retire to the rear of the American lines. Ameri- 
can General Winder rode along the line encouraging 
his men to disregard the rockets, but instead, his troops 
panicked at the sight and the horrible hissing sound of 
the weapons as the British aimed them with increasing 
accuracy. The 5th and 24th Baltimore regiments sim- 
ply fled the tleld. The British at once stormed over 
Bladensburg Bridge; Washington lay before them un- 
protected. The U.S. Capitol building was burned the 
night of August 24, 1814. Dolly Madison bravely re- 
trieved some of the White House treasures before the 
British arri\ ed. Law books and other combustibles were 
said to have been piled up against the White House 
and other buildings, and fired at by the rockets. The 
State, War and Navy buildings were all destroyed, and 
the Capitol was gutted.-' 

The war rockets that Congreve had developed through 
the years "ranged from a small 12-pound rocket carry- 
ing a charge of 48 carbine balls to a 42 -pound rocket 
that carried a carcass charge weighing 1 8 pounds or a 
spherical bomb that weighed 1 2 pounds," according to 
The Rocket Pioneers on the Road to Space by Beryl 
Williams and Samuel Epstein.-* 

In the 1840s, Englishman William Hale introduced 
major improvements for war rockets. The Congreve 
and Hale rockets appeared in three major U.S. con- 
flicts: the War of 1 8 1 2, the Mexican War, and the Civil 
War. The introduction of the breech-loading, rifled gun 
in the 1 860s was a technological advance in weaponry 
that would replace the war rocket. 

However, rockets were also used to help save lives. 
Winter's book explained the use: 



On the terrible day of December 29, 1807, the Brit- 
ish frigate Anson foundered off Loe Bar near Heiston, 
England. The Anson crew of 100 lost their lives in a 
futile attempt to swim the short distance to the shore 
amidst crashing waves while Helston's horror-stricken 
villagers stood on Mount Bay's rocky cliffs and 
watched helplessly. One witness was Henry 
Trengrouse, a Heiston cabinetmaker, who worked over 
the next decade developing a reliable, practical, life- 
saving apparatus that included, in addition to the rocket, 
a pulley line and hawser; cork life vest and bosun's 
chair, to be hove over the line; rocket launcher; modi- 
fied military musket; lifeline; and a wooden sea chest 
for carrying it all. The rescue rocket was used to carry 
an attached lifeline over a ship in distress. The line 
was secured to the vessel's mast and the shipwrecked 
were conveyed to safety by a lifebelt.-' 

Fireworks, weapon, rescue apparatus, and space ve- 
hicle — the rocket kept designers dreaming about possi- 
bilities. And the Space Age became a beneficiary of 
those dreams. 

From Wyoming, G. Edward Pendray was one of the 
dreamers. He was one of the designers and experiment- 
ers. 

As a boy growing up on a Wyoming ranch, Pendray 
must have looked with awe and wonder at the stars in 
the night sky. Throughout his life, he enjoyed an ex- 
citement about science and discovery. 

Pendray and the other rocket experimenters envi- 
sioned more for the rocket than just an "arrow of fire." 
They looked into the future, and saw the wondrous 
possibilities of a path to the stars. 



-' Winter, The Golden Age of Rocketiy. 24-26. 
-* Williams and Epstein, The Rocket Pioneers on the Road to 
Space. 23. 

-" Winter, The Golden Age of Rocketiy. 225 and 228. 



David L. Roberts founded and published the 
Medicine Bow Post in Medicine Bow. Wyoming, 
and served as its editor and publisher for 1 1 
years. Roberts was born in Lusk. Wyoming. This 
stoiy about G. Edward Pendray and the rocket 
experimenters is adapted from one of the chap- 
ters in his forthcoming book. "Dateline: Outer 
Space. A Histoiy of NASA 's Journalist-in-Space 
Project. " 



Book R 



e Views 



Edited Ijv Carl HallLer^ 



With My Own Eyes: A Lakota Woman Tells 
Her People's History. By Susan Bordeaux 
Bettelyoun and Josephine Waggoner. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1998. xl + 199 pp. 
Illustrations, chart, maps, index. Cloth, $35. 

It is a great pity that the authors of this illuminating 
little volume never got the chance to see it in print. 
Both died more than fifty years ago. A collaborative 
effort of two mixed-blood Lakota women, IVith My 
Own Eyes tells the story of the Oglala and Brule people 
over a period of approximately thirty years, from the 
1 850s to about 1 880. Bettelyoun and Waggoner sub- 
mitted their manuscript to the Nebraska Historical 
Society in the 1 930s, but for the reasons which follow, 
the Society's editors deemed it unfit for publication. 
Historians and other scholars often made use of it in the 
following decades, but now. finally, due to the con- 
scientious scholarship of Emily Levine, the book has 
been published for the benefit of a wider audience. 

What the editors of their day found objectionable we 
have reason to celebrate. As Levine points out in her 
introduction, Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun and Josephine 
Waggoner wrote from a privileged viewpoint. As 
mixed-bloods, they could see and interpret history 
from both Indian and white perspectives. Bettelyoun, 
in particular, also benefitted from the close proximity 
of her family to these events. Her father, French- 
American fur trader James Bordeaux, operated a 
trading post near Fort Laramie during the critical years 
of the 1850s and 1860s. He was at hand during the 
famous "Mormon cow incident" that led to the deaths 
of Lt. John L. Grattan and those under his command. In 
fact, Bettelyoun's father buried these soldiers. Mem- 
bers of her family were also close at hand during the 
several engagements in the 1870s. Her brother, Louis 
Bordeaux, was an eyewitness to the death of Crazy 
Horse. 

Proximity and perspective made the manuscript 
valuable. Mari Sandoz, then a Nebraska Historical 
Society employee, made strenuous efforts to get the 
work into print, but a succession of Society editors 
faulted the prose and questioned its historical accuracy. 



In a very real sense, Bettelyoun and Waggoner failed in 
their quest for publication precisely because of their 
h_\brid approach. The manuscript does refiect the 
grammar and syntax of Native speakers. Perhaps even 
more distressingly to the editors of their day, the 
narrative emphasis reflects the oral tradition. Names 
and dates are occasionally in error and the chronology 
is circular and repetitive rather than linear. But the 
underlying signitlcance of events shines through with 
great clarity. Levine has properly chosen to preserve 
the prose in its original fomi, while standardizing the 
punctuation. Factual errors are unobtrusively treated in 
endnotes. The authors related marvelous stories told to 
them again and again by kin and tribal members. For 
contemporary readers these stories are all the more 
important because they refiect the values and per- 
spectives of the authors themselves. 

One should not conclude, however, that this work 
necessarily reflects American Indian or even Lakota 
viewpoints. It is more accurate to note that Bettelyoun 
and Waggoner brought a mixed-blood perspective to 
their narrative-a world which, as Levine notes, remains 
practically unrepresented in Native American histori- 
cal literature. A later chapter on Crazy Horse and 
Spotted Tail nicely illustrates this tendency. Both 
warriors receive sympathetic treatment despite the 
contradictory nature of their lives and philosophies in 
confronting the tide of white settlement. The authors 
saw value in both resistance and accommodation. 

Regrettably, Bettelyoun and Waggoner elected to 
close their account with the subjugation of the Lakota 
people in the 1880s. The concluding chapters contain 
only a few interesting comments on the repression of 
Indian artwork and traditions. One can only wonder 
how much richer this treatment would have been if the 
authors had recorded their insights about the humani- 
tarian reform movement and the boarding school 
environment. 

Warren Metcalf 
University of Oklahoma 



42 



Annals ot Wyoming: Tne Wyoming History Journal 



Los Capitalistas: Hispano Merchants and the 
Santa Fe Trade. By Susan Calafate Boyle. Albu- 
querque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997. 
xix +236 pp. Illustrations, tables, maps, ap- 
pendices, notes, bibliography, index. Cloth, $45. 

Frequently neglected in traditional accounts about 
the Santa Fe Trail, Hispano merchants played a signif- 
icant role in the complex global trade network of which 
the trail was a part. Crafting a variation on commercial 
capitalism that fit well the unique circumstances of a 
frontier borderlands economy. New Mexican comer- 
ciantes survived, prospered and contributed in large 
measure to the expansion of trade that followed the 
U.S. -Mexican War. These enterprising nineteenth- 
century Mexican and Mexican-American merchants 
are the primary focus in Los Capitalistas, a short but 
solid study by Susan Calafate Boyle. 

Boyle notes that, with Mexican independence in 
1821, New Mexican traders hoped a new regime in 
Mexico City would offer the kinds of material aid 
Spanish colonial rule had never provided. Instead, 
when not stifling trade with bureaucratic minutiae, 
shifting laws and regulations and high import duties, 
the central government continued the neglect of its 
colonial predecessor. Meanwhile, Captain William 
Becknell and other Americans "opened" the Santa Fe 
Trail, which brought relatively inexpensive, higher 
quality merchandise into New Mexico and fostered a 
growing economic dependence on the United States. 

While Hispano merchants slowly turned their atten- 
tion toward the east, Boyle finds that traditional trade 
patterns remained central to their activities until the 
late 1 830s. The Santa Fe trade cannot be considered 
solely in terms of the route between New Mexico and 
Missouri. Traders ventured far into the Mexican 
interior on El Camino Real, doing business in major 
mercantile centers such as Chihuahua, Durango and 
Zacatecas. Yet, to compete with Americans and other 
foreigners on El Camino Real, as well as the Santa Fe 
Trail, New Mexicans found they had to build extensive 
commercial networks in the United States. 

Not even the disruptions of war between Mexico and 
the United States in the 1 840s had a serious impact on 
New Mexican merchants' relationship with American 
mercantile interests. Although records are incomplete 
and thus inconclusive, Boyle argues that it is likely that 
New Mexicans, while perhaps not controlling the 
Santa Fe trade, were indeed major players. Beginning 
in the years prior to the war, Hispano merchants 
contributed significantly to the introduction of mercan- 



tile capitalism in New Mexico. To underscore this 
point, Boyle devotes one chapter to Felipe Chavez, an 
eminent New Mexican merchant with broad con- 
nections in the United States. In addition to profits 
fi-om the trade, Chavez probably amassed additional 
wealth through mining, sheep raising, crop agriculture, 
store keeping, real estate, freighting and supplying 
United States army posts. The career of this pioneer 
mercantile capitalist, Boyle claims, "was exceptional 
but not unique." (p. 88) Unfortunately, in the decades 
after the Civil War, as Boyle demonstrates with U.S. 
census records, Hispano merchants saw their assets and 
opportunities decline as Anglos consolidated their 
economic and political supremacy in New Mexico 
Territory. 

As Boyle concedes in her conclusion, Los Capital- 
istas is not a definitive study of the Santa Fe trade. Yet, 
her book fills some important gaps in the economic and 
social history of nineteenth century New Mexico. 
Bringing Hispano merchants into the discussion en- 
riches our understanding of the Santa Fe Trail and the 
trading network for which it provided a vital link. 
From Spanish, Mexican and New Mexican territorial 
and state archives to the personal papers of Hispano 
merchants, Boyle's research is impressive and well- 
focused. Los Capitalistas would be a useful selection 
for upper-division and graduate-level courses in the 
American West or Borderland studies. In addition, 
aficionados of the Santa Fe Trail will be pleased by 
Boyle's effective placement of that icon of Western 
lore in an appropriate historical context. 

Frank Van Nuys 
University of Wyoming 

My Chosen Trails: A Wyoming Woman's 
Recollections Through the Twentieth Century. 

By Vema Burger Davis. Golden: Deep Creek 
Press, 1998. 218 pp. Illustrations. Paper, $12.95. 

Vema Burger Davis' memories reach across Johnson 
County, Wyoming and beyond. She began life in what 
we consider a "simpler" time, and her memoir begins 
with stories of her childhood. The mountain picnics, 
the playhouse in the shed attic that was safe from boys, 
her first teachers and the town flood are all recorded. 
Her teaching experiences in rural schools and as a 
music teacher reveal her concern and appreciation for 
everyone she has met and worked with. She includes 
some surprises, too, like the explanation of gypsum 
burning that created the plaster for white walls; the 



nTYiTMrnnrnmrw 



Spring 1999 

pack rat who visited her classroom; hauling eggs to her 
mountain home; and a description of living above the 
clouds. 

Her brave adventures in furthering her musical 
education in Chicago, spending a summer in Yellow- 
stone National Park and spending another summer on a 
dude ranch surprise the modem reader who may think 
that travel for education and jobs is a recent trend. She 
provides lots of comparisons that allow us to think 
about changing times: the differences in the classroom, 
the differences in high school athletics, the differences 
in family holidays, the differences between Chicago 
and Wyoming. 

The book does not contain an index and has only one 
map. The photographs are clear, but there could have 
been more. On the positive side, Mrs. Davis shows an 
immense appreciation for her western landscape. Her 
descriptions of the Powder River country, the Big Horn 
Mountains, and the community of Buffalo, Wyoming, 
provoke clear images and reveal her love for this part of 
Wyoming. For people not familiar with Buffalo his- 
tory, she adds today's names to describe old locations. 

1 have heard some of her stories before, and 1 have 
read the book before, too. This time 1 read My Chosen 
7>a//5 as more than a collection of sweet stories. It is 
well written and a good read. It is a reminder and an 
acceptance of changing times. As Mrs. Davis looks 
forward to the next century, she has provided us a 
special peak into the past. My Chosen Trails does what 
a local history should do. 

Patty Myers 

President, WSHS 

Director, Platte County Library 



Hollow Victory: The White River Expedition of 
1879 and the Battle of Milk Creek. By Mark E. 
Miller. Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 
1998. xviii + 249 pp. Illustrations, maps, 
appendices, bibliography, index. Cloth, $27.50. 

The Battle of Milk Creek was the unfortunate 
consequence of an incompetent Indian agent, Nathan 
C. Meeker, forcing his will on the Utes of north central 
Colorado. As a result. Meeker and ten other whites 
were killed. In the ensuing military battle and siege at 
Milk Creek, one U.S. Army officer. Major Thomas T. 
Thomburgh, nine enlisted men and three accompany- 
ing civilians died, and forty-four others were wounded. 
The attacking Utes suffered a corresponding number of 



43 

casualties. Both the massacre at the Ute agency and the 
Milk Creek fight could have been avoided. 

In Hollow I'ictofT, Mark E. Miller presents a fresh 
view of this bloody chapter of Indian wars history. 
Rather than dwelling on the chain of events that led to 
conflict at the White River Agency, Miller focuses his 
attention on the battle, the subsequent siege and the 
march of the relief column that ended the ordeal. Over 
the years a considerable body of literature emerged 
about the Milk Creek fight. Unfortunately, according 
to the author, the broad range of participant observers 
led to "confusion that permeated the historical record." 
Miller's purpose is to set straight much of this 
ambiguity. 

Miller aptly points out the unique features of the 
battle in the annals of Indian War history. Many Ute 
warriors who fought the soldiers actually had served as 
their allies in the 1876-77 Great Sioux War. Besides 
being the longest sustained tight betv,'een soldiers and 
Indians - 142 hours - Milk Creek was one of the most 
decorated battles of the Indian wars with eleven Medals 
of Honor, sixteen Certificates of Merit and four legis- 
lative resolutions issued. All of the soldier casual-ties 
were caused by gunshot; the bow and arrow was not a 
factor. Another sidelight, just before the fight began, 
Colorow , a Ute leader, played cards ( monte ) as the Utes 
awaited the solder advance. Thomburgh's solders then 
rode into an ambush and were encircled for days by the 
triumphant Utes. Interestingly, the first troops riding to 
the rescue. Captain Dodge's Ninth Cavalry company, 
received the imperiled command's desparate call for 
help not by fast-riding courier but by a note pinned to a 
sagebrush by the roadside. 

Hollow Victor}- also gives the reader additional 
source materials in several valuable appendices. Be- 
sides the usual official reports, a thorough list of 
civilian and military participants and casualties is 
presented. Several men found here had later connec- 
fions with Fort Robinson, Nebraska, history. In 
Appendix C, "Citations for Bravery at Milk Creek," 
Pvt. Eugene Patterson received a Certificate of Merit 
for bravery. In Table C.2, "Selected Indian Wars 
Campaign Medals," Caleb Benson, a Ninth cavalry- 
man who arrived with Dodge, was later issued Medal 
No. 1485. Bothmenlaterservedat Fort Robinson, and 
both Patterson's certificate and Benson's medals are on 
display at the Fort Robinson Museum. 

The author freely admits his is not the last word on 
the Milk Creek battle. He encourages further archeol- 
ogy to substantiate details about the fight and the routes 
and campsites used by the troop columns. Readers 
wanting to find out what happened at Milk Creek will 



44 



Annals or Wyoming: Tne Wyoming History Journal 



welcome this book, as well as those with a frontier 
military interest looking for a good source book on a 
noteworthy and intriguing Indian wars conflict. 

Thomas R. Buecker, Curator 
Fort Robinson Museum 
Nebraska 

Old Fences, New Neighbors. By Peter R. Decker. 
Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998. xxiv + 
159 pp. Paper, $19.95. 

Tucked away in the San Juan Mountains of 
southw estem Colorado, Ouray County is no stranger to 
boom and bust. Although Ouray County's landscape 
reveals scarcely a trace of its original Native American 
inhabitants who were dispossessed here in the 1 800s, 
the legacy of silver mining and cattle raising is clearly 
visible in many portions of this mountainous county. 
Ouray County has a number of characteristics that link 
it to the rest of the Rocky Moimtains, including a 
rigorous climate and marginal economy that conspire 
to weed out all but the most tenacious of year-round 
residents. Located far from the major interstates, Ouray 
County still has a "pioneer" character that is classically 
Old West. 

Observing in the preface that ". . . the past can be an 
unpleasant place if it does not conform to present-day 
m\ths that have been created from it," Decker promises 
that he will not shy away from the less saccharine side 
of history, including tales of alcoholism, debilitating 
accidents and bankruptcy. This, one senses quickly, 
will be far less sentimental than many popular 
histories. Decker next provides a relatively unvar- 
nished overview of the coimty's history since the mid- 
nineteenth century, briefly relating the transition from 
fur trapping to the silver mining booms and the 
displacement of the Ute Indians. Ouray County 
became, by about 1890, one link in the chain of 
American urban-industrial development, as evidenced 
by the creation of its county seat and most prominent 
town, Ridgway. Decker also describes the homestead- 
ing that occurred here and alludes to the powerful 
federal presence as much of the county's land is held in 
the Uncompaghre National Forest. 

This is not a traditional county history, for portions 
of it have an autobiographical tone that helps 
personalize the story. This is especially true of the more 
recent history that is also covered. Because the author 
was a former academic who changed careers in the 
1970s to make a go at ranching, he relates the recent 



history using personal anecdotes. This type of auto- 
biographical perspective is becoming increasingly 
common in writings about the West published by 
university presses. Although it helps to sell books 
aimed at a broader market, some of these 
autobiographies work better than others. Happily, Old 
Fences, New Neighbors is one of those books in which 
autobiography lends credibility without pretense. 

Decker does not preach, nor is he mawkishly 
sentimental. Instead, he relates an interesting story 
about one relatively small county in the West that has 
broader implications for the entire West. In retrospect, 
autobiography is the only technique that would work so 
well. In the process of becoming a rancher. Decker 
learned many things worth sharing about the people 
and land of Ouray County. He has a great eye for detail, 
yet never loses sight of the broader picture. With wit 
and candor. Decker describes his family's efforts in 
light of community/county dynamics and larger 
changes sweeping the ranching industry. This is a 
bittersweet story, for after a quarter of a century. 
Decker finally came to the realization that he and his 
family could no longer live in the place they had grown 
to love. Decker's experience - the inability to hold out 
in the face of changing markets, rising costs and rising 
taxes - has been acted out many times as locales make 
their transition from Old West to New West. The 
tribulations that faced Decker individually were also 
faced by the community collectively. In other words, 
the general character of the West is changing because 
the individual characters are changing. 

One might suggest a few items, such as additional 
illustrations and an index, that could have made this 
book even better. Nevertheless, its has a spartan quality 
that is in keeping with its sobering theme. Tersely 
written and yet very easily read, this book could have 
wound up as a harangue against the newcomers. But 
instead of yet another academic or journalist diatribe 
about the transition away from ranching, logging or 
mining - enterprises that many of these same critics 
excoriated just a few years ago - Decker tells the story 
with a sense of understanding. In sharing many lessons 
he learned from the history of this tough landscape, 
Decker puts a human face on the transitions sweeping 
Ouray County. Old Fences, New Neighbors is 
refreshing yet rich in pathos. It provides an important 
vignette in the changing character of the West, 
reminding us once again that regional history is, after 
all, local history. 

Richard Francaviglia 
University of Texas at Arlington 



""'■■■ —— ^■— . 



Spring 1999 



45 



Wyoming's Territorial Sheriffs. By Ann 

Gorzalka. Glendo: High Plains Press, 1998. 336 
pp. Illustrations, appendix, hihliographv. index. 
Paper. $14.95. 

Ann Gorzalka has found rich material in the stories of 
the 61 men who served as sheriffs, elected and 
appointed, in pre-territorial and territorial Wyoming. 
This exhaustively researched, colorfully written and 
generously illustrated book reveals much about the 
diverse individuals who served as lawmen. At times, 
the narrative is hampered by a dearth of analytical rigor 
and an uncritical acceptance of traditional and 
sometimes inaccurate perceptions of law and order in 
the Old West. Yet, the books's comprehensive and 
textured portrayal of criminal justice during Wyoming's 
formative years merits a wide audience. 

It is perhaps not surprising that biographies about 
early Wyoming's law officers tell us much about the 
territory itself These men possessed sutTicient 
influence and respectability to be appointed or elected 
to an office with substantial law enforcement and tax 
collection duties. The sheriff was the premier agent of 
law and foremost symbol of government in 
Wyoming's remotely-bordered counties. Sheriffs 
served temns of two years and were limited to no more 
than two terms in succession. Some, like Uinta 
County's Samuel Dickey, went on to serve in the state 
legislature or in other municipal, county, state or 
federal offices. 

Gorzalka's detective work sketches a mixed group 
with varying backgrounds and allegiances. Many had 
been bom in eastern and midwestem states, and a 
substantial minority were immigrants from England or 
Scotland. Particularly fascinating are the sherifTs 
occupations before and after public service: freighting 
goods across the region, running general stores and 
more specialized mercantile establishments, working 
for the Union Pacific, mining, practicing law, raising 
cattle and sheep and working as stock detectives. 
Despite their integral roles in the territory's nascent 
establishment, the sheriffs sometimes betrayed diver- 
gent sympathies. Most typical was a loyalty to the large 
cattlemen and other incorporating range and business 
interests, as with Johnson County's Frank Canton and 
Albany County's Nathan Boswell. But other sheriffs, 
such as Elias Ulysses Snider and William Angus, both 
of Johnson County, sided with the small settlers. 

Gorzalka is usually scrupulous in attempting to 
present both sides of a story, but she tends to 
oversimplify the question of law and order. In this 



narrative, Wyoming was innately lawless during its 
early years. Lawbreakers were dastardly blemishes on 
the social order. Sheriffs were courageous warriors 
who upheld civilization in a wild country. Vigilantes 
stepped in when unbridled criminality became a prob- 
lems and law enforcement was distant or non-existent. 
"It was a time without guidelines or jails. Even 
vigilantes did not seem interested in enforcing the 
laws."( p. 190) 

These romantic images of the Old West remain 
powerful and contain some strands of truth, but they 
often fail to do justice to the complexity of the 
historical record. In fact, the vigilante committees in 
1868 were as much about political and economic 
competition in newly established communities as they 
were about lawlessness. Lynchings in Wyoming in the 
1880s resulted not from frontier anarchy but from 
particularly heinous murders and concerns about the 
enforcement of the death penalty law, the conflict over 
the control of the range and the sustenance of white 
supremacy over Chinese amid labor competition in the 
coal mines. Gorzalka strongly favors the establishment 
perspective, particularly in her treatment of the 
Johnson County War (pp. 235-238, 251-253). But 
more recent scholarship has questioned many 
aspects of the large cattlemen's version. An ap- 
proach that treats the Johnson County episode in 
the context of long-term class conflict over the 
incorporation of the range is more useful than one 
that frames the confrontation in terms of lawful- 
ness/unlawfulness. Both sides, the large cattlemen 
and the small settlers, were willing to bend the law 
for the promotion of their property interests. 

On a minor note, the text contains several errors. 
A man named Moritz was hanged by a vigilante 
committee in Laramie in 1 868, not in 1 888 (p. 54), 
and lynchers hanged Henry Mosier in Cheyenne 
on September 17, 1883, not in 1888 (p. 52). 

Despite these caveats, this is a well-researched 
and fascinating volume that will be of interest to 
many students of Wyoming history. 

Michael J. Pfeifer 
Evergreen State College 



46 



Annals or Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



King of the Western Saddle: The Sheridan 
Saddle and the Art of Don King, By Timothy H. 
Evans. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 
1998. 72 pp. Illustrations, bibliography. Cloth, 

$25. 

There has been an ever increasing interest in the 
evolution of the western saddle and the makers of these 
unique American tools. Articles and books on the sub- 
ject universally feature three problems: a scarcity of 
primary source data, a lack of thorough research skills 
and a lack of training or study at the university level 
which seldom prepares museologists, historians and 
curators to be knowledgeable in this interesting field 
of study. 

Timothy Evans has carefully eliminated some of the 
research problems noted above by using primary source 
data gathered from the subject of this book, Don King, 
and other artisans mentioned in the text. The author 
shows an appreciation of the research problems by ad- 
dressing an area where an intense focus can be brought: 
a study of a modem saddle type and one of the major 
saddlemakers who developed this saddle. Evans has 
provided a pleasing combination of interviews and 
photograph to illustrate saddle and tooling patterns. 

The book begins by taking the reader effortlessly 
through a brief history of western saddle types and 
leather workers. Later, the book provides details about 
Don King's life which includes accounts of his devel- 
opment as an artist and how this development resulted 
in the evolution of a distinct modem saddle type. 

Future historians who may disregard contribu- 
tions of hobbyists, collectors or even saddlemakers 
can leam from the author's collaborative approach. 

Evans' study generally discusses the subject arti- 
san, Don King. Bom in Douglas, Wyoming, King trav- 
eled with his father, an itinerant cowboy, and leamed 
to work as a cowhand and leamed a variety of ranch- 
related jobs. Like many cowboy/saddlers who preceded 
him. King observed/admired fancy carved cowboy 
saddles and even "hung out" at famous saddle shops 
like Porter's Saddlery in Phoenix, Arizona. Later, in 
his home state of Wyoming, he began to do consign- 
ment saddle work for other well-known saddlers like 
Rudy Nudra and Otto Emest of Sheridan, Wyoming. 

King gradually developed the Sheridan style saddle, 
which is a type of saddle carving rather than a unique 
type of saddle constmction. This carving style, devel- 
oped in the years 1955-85, features small flowers in a 
dramatically detailed layout surrounded by leaves and 
stems with designs that flow around the flowers in a 



repetitive fashion. The flowers and leaves on a Sheridan 
layout do not have a noticeable beginning or end but 
move in circles. This latter concentric approach is not 
new, but what is new is the precisely detailed carving. 
The old west saddlemakers who featured floral tooled 
saddlery, like Main and Winchester and Visalia of Cali- 
fornia and F. A. Meanea and J. S. Collins of Chey- 
enne, Wyoming, tried to cover a large area of leather 
with one flower and a couple of leaves. King and prac- 
titioners of the Sheridan saddle style seem to move in 
the opposite direction of the old school. They fill a 
small space with as many flowers and leaves as pos- 
sible and do it with work which emphasizes detail. 

Master saddler Tony Holmes of Cheyenne, Wyo- 
ming, once said that there were no new ideas in 
saddlemaking, "just modifications of old ideas." King 
has borne out the Holmes' theory. 

The book should be of interest to saddle collec- 
tors, historians and leather-carving enthusiasts. This text 
is very readable in a short space of time but the readers 
will find themselves going back repeatedly to the 
illustrations and beautiful, detailed photographs of 
saddles. This work is a good starting point for study of 
this twentieth century Sheridan saddle type and should 
generate discussion among collectors and other 
saddlemakers. 

James Laird 

Laird's 'Western Americana 

Santa Fe, N. M. 



Ind 



ex 



Across the Continent; Westward the Course of 

Empire 3 
Agricultural Adjustment Administration 31 
Alden, Miss Fannie 1 2 
American Institute of Aeronautics and 

Astronautics 37 
American Rocket Societ> 36. 37. 38. 39 
Amoretti, Eugene 5 
Amoretti's First National Bank 8 
Ankeny, Owen 30 
"arrows of fire" 39 
Arthur, President Chester A. 6 



B 



Baldwin's Store 8 

baseball 16 

Battrum Gap 8 

bazooka 38 

Beason, Mrs. T. R. II 

bell, public school 6. 10. 12 

bell, Sunda\ school 14 

Bell, Tom 19 

Berlin 36 

Billings,- 12 

Bird, Mrs. Geneva 30 

Bladensburg Bridge 40 

Bladensburg. Mar. land 39 

Blair and Crispin's kilns 9 

Blakesley. Lou 13 

boosterism 22 

Bootleggers 30 

Boyd, William Henry Harrison 9, 10 

Bo\ le. Susan Calafate. book reviewed 42 

Branding Iron 35 

Brewer, John 23 

Buckeye Bell Foundry 9 

Buecker, Thomas R,. reviewer 44 

Burnett. Finn 12 



Caldwell. F.E. 12 

Caldwell. Mrs. F.E. 10 

California Institute of Technology 36 

Callan, Eugene 23, 26, 28, 32 

Camp Brown 3 

Campbell, Hardy Webster 22 

Campbell Count) Rehabilitation Committee 32 

Campbell method of dry farming 22 

Canfield coal mine 29 

canning 28 

CAP facilities 18. 19 

Captain Jack 7 

Carr, Miss Lizzie 12 

Carson and Bond 8 

Cassidy, Butch 7 

Catholic Church (Lander) 6 

Cheney, Ervin 6, 8, 12 

Chicago White Sox 16 

Christmas programs, school 30 

City Plumbing (Lander) 20 

Civil Air Patrol (CAP) 18, 19 

Clark's Landscaping (Lander) 20 

Columbia University 35 



Congreve, Col. William 39 
Congreve rockets 39 
Cooper. Dr. Arthur H. 16. 17 
Corder. Eddie 23,31 
Correy. P, 8 
Cottage Home hotel 3 
Coutant, C. G. 13 
cricket 2 

Crispin, Howard 8 
crop failures 23 
Crouch family 23 
Crouch, John 23, 32 
Currier and Ives picture 3, 8 

D 

dancing 30 

"Dateline: Outer Space," 40 

Davis, Vema Burger, book reviewed 42 

Decker. Peter R., book reviewed 44 

Devils Gate 10 

Dillon. John 23. 30 

dry farming 22 

Dry Sandy Stage Station 5 

dust storms 33 



East Antelope coal mine 29 

Ecoffee, Frank 9 

Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 22, 23,27 

Enrollment figures. Lander school 14 

Evans, Timothv J., book reviewed 46 



Farlow, Stub 18 

farm prices 22 

farm produce 27 

Farm Security Administration 31 

Farson, Wyoming 5 

Farthing, Ed 9, II, 19 

Farthing, George 16 

Farthing, Jack 9 

Farthing, Jim 19 

Federal Emergency Relief .administration, 32 

Federal Farm Loan 27 

federal resettlement programs 31 

Fischer, William P., author 21, (bio, 34) 

Fitman, Rev,- 10 

Fla.\ 28 

Fort McHenry 39 

Fort Stambaugh 7 

Fort Washakie 3 

Francaviglia, Richard, reviewer 44 

Frederick, William 8 

Fremont Clipper 6 

Fremont County Commissioners 19 

Fremont County Pioneer Museum 20 

Fremont County Vocational High School 1 7 

Fremont Hotel 14 

Fremont Lumber Company 6 



Gay, Bill 19 

General County School Fund 10 

German Interplanetary Society 38 

German rocket facility 36 

Gemsback, Hugo 36 

Gillette, Wyo 26 

Goddard, Robert H. 37-39 



Goddard Space Flight Center 37 
Gorzalka, Ann. reviewed 45 
grazing allotment 33 
Guenther, Todd, author 2. (bio. 20) 
Guggenheim Jet Propulsion Center 36 
Guggenheim Laboratories 36 
gyro-stabilization 38 

H 

Hale. William 40 

Hall. Amelia 3. 10. 17 

Hall. Robert 17 

Hamilton famih 27. 32 

Hamilton. Joel 23. 28 

Harrison. Charles 8 

Harrison, Nebr. 35 

Hayes. Charles 18 

Haves, Miss Mamie L 12 

History of Rocket Technology 38 

HAIS, Anson 40 

Hodder, Fred C. 8, 18 

"Hollow Victory: The White River E.xpedi- 

tion of 1879," reviewed 43 
Holmes, R.J. 32 
Holmes, Mrs. R. J. 23 
Holmes. Tony 46 
homestead patent 27 
homesteading 21 
"Homesteading the Thunder Basin: Teckla, 

Wyoming." 21-34 
Homecker. Mart 18 
Houghton. J. D, 12 
Howard. Frank 7 
Hudson. Henry 19 

I-J 

liams. Lloyd 13 
Isenberger, Ike 30 
Isle of Chiozza 39 
Judd family 26 
Judd, Nell 30 



Kendrick. John B. 27 

Kerosene lamps 29 

Key. Francis Scott 39 

King. Don 46 

"King of the Western Saddle: The Sheridan 

Saddle." reviewed 46 
Knott, Louella 13 



Laird. James, reviewer 46 

Lajeunesse, Charles 10 

Lajeunesse familv 9 

Land Office, Lander 1 3 

Lander Directory 1 5 

Lander Garden Club 20 

Lander High School 15 

Lander Pioneers Association 18 

Lander Public School 16 

"Lander's Pride and Jo\ : The Old Stone 

Schoolhouse" 2-20 
Lander's stone schoolhouse (photo) 2 
Lannigan saloon 7 
Lawn, Edward 3, 7 
Literarv Digest 36 
Long, J. B. 11 



48 



Annals oi Wyoming: Tne Wyoming History Journal 



"Los Capitalistas: Hispano Merchants and the 

Santa Fe Trail." reviewed 42 
Lowe, Benjamin Franklin 5 
Lusk 35 



M 



Mack brothers 32 

Mackey, Bob 28 

Mackey children (photo) 25 

Mackey homestead ruins (photo) 24 

Mackey, Rhoda and William 21, (photo) 25 

Mackey, Rose 27 

Mackey, Vera 30 

Mackey, William 23-30 

Madison, James 40 

McLaughlin. Rose 30 

McLimans, - 6 

Medicine Bow. Wyoming 40 

Meeker Massacre 7 

Metcalf. Warren, reviewer 41 

Methodist Episcopal Church (Lander) 10 

Miller. Mark E., reviewed 43 

Monroe, James 40 

Mooney, Rev. George 3 

Moore, J. K. II 

Morton sugar cure 28 

Murphy. - 30 

Murphy, William 32 

"My Chosen Trails; A Wyoming Woman's 

Recollections," reviewed 42 
Mvers, Pattv. reviewer 43 

N 

National Air and Space Museum 37 
NASA 37 

National Baseball Hall of Fame 16 
National Public Relations Journal 36 
New Deal agricultural policies 31 
New Deal relief 34 
New York Herald Tribune 35 
New York Times 37 
Nicholas, Thomas A. 32 
Nickerson, Capt. H. G. 12 
Niemcyk family 26 
Niemcyk, Felix 29 

Northeastern Wyoming Land Utilization 
Project 31 



O 



Oberth, Hermann 37 

Odd Fellows Hall (Lander) 6 

Ogden, Roy, death of 1 7 

"Old Fences, New Neighbors," reviewed 44 

O'Neal, Billie 9 

Optech machines 20 

Osborne, Tom 7 



Palmer, Frances Flora 3 

Parker, Jack 6 

Parker's saloon 7, 10 

Patten 12 

Patten, James I. 3, 5 

Payne family 26 

Payne, James A. 29, 32 

Pendray, G. Edward 35-40 

Pendray, Leatrice 36 

Pfeifer, Michael J., reviewer 45 



phonograph 30 

pigs 28 

Pioneer Cabin Museum (Lander) 18 

Pisgah Forest, North Carolina 26 

Pleasant View school 30 

children (photo) 30 
polka 30 

Popo Agie River 13 
Porcupine Creek 31 
pressure cooker 28 
Princeton University 36 
public school, first in Wyoming 3 
Pushroot 3 
Pushroot Rangers 9 
Putnam family 26 
Putnam, Jinx 30 



Quien Sabe Ranch 7 
Quinn, P.S. 10 



R 



radio 29 

Red Canyon 4 

Red Cloud 3 

Reed, Lyle 30 

Reed. Marion 23 

Religion 31 

Resettlement Administration 31.34 

Richards. Galen 18 

Roberts. David L.. author 35. (bio. 40) 

Roberts. Reverend John 5.12 

Rochelle Hills 29. 33 

rockets 35-40 

Rodman. New York 4 

Rogers. Charley 1 3 

Roswell. New Mexico 38 

Rural Electrification Administration 29 

Rush, Attorney General Richard 40 

Russell, J. 12 

Russell, Miss Agnes 12 



St. John, E. T. 12 

Satterfield, Tom 20 

Savageton 30 

school. Lander 2-20 

school, Teckia 30 

school district, 1st Fremont County 13 

School taxes 3 

Science Wonder Stories 36 

Scott, Jim. pro baseball player 16 

Seminoe 10 

Shepheard. Tom 7 

Sherlock, Maggie 4 

Sherlock-Smith family 15 

Shidy,M. W. 12 

Shoshone Agency 5 

Sinks Canyon 8 

Sisson, Reverend Father 4 

Smith, Ed 9 

Smith, Janet Sherlock 16 

Soderberg family 26 

South Elementary (Lander) 1 7 

South Pass City 3, 5 

space flight 36 

Spaeth, Ernest 26, 32 

Springer, Mary 23, 29 

Squaw Creek, 8 

Standish, Miss Mattie 12 



Stock-Raising Homestead Act 22, 23, 27 
Stone schoolhouse (Lander) 2-20 
Sunday School 3,9,30 
Sypes, Shedd and Coon 16 



Taft, William Howard (photo, inside back) 
Teckia, Wyoming 21-34, (map, 24-25) 

community hall 30 

community identity 29 

established 27 

post office 30 
telephones 33 
Thunder Basin 21-34 
Thunder Basin homestead (photo) 24 
Thunder Basin project 31 
Time 38 
time capsule 36 

Trinity Episcopal Church (Lander) 5, 6 
turkeys, raising 28 
Tweed, Benjamin 4 
Tweed. Ed 8 
Tweed, William (Boss) 4 

U 

Universitj' of Wyoming 12 

V 

Van Nuys, Frank, reviewer 42 
Van Tassell 35 
Vanduzen & Tift 9 
Verne, Jules 37 
Vineyard, Mrs. M. C. 12 
"Visions Beyond 'An Arrow of 

Fire':Wyoming's Pendray" 35-40 
voting machines 20 

W 

Wadsworth, H. E. 6 

Warofl812 39 

Westinghouse Electric 36 

wheat production 22 

White River Reservation 7 

Williamson, Charley 7 

Williamson, Peter 8 

Wilson, Dr. - 5 

Wind River Mountaineer 5 

Wind River Reservation 7 

Winter, Frank 37, 39, 40 

"With My Own Eyes: A Lakota Woman 

Tells Her People," reviewed 41 
Works Progress Administration 33 
World War 1 22 
World's Fair 36 

Wyoming Board of Immigration 22 
Wyoming State Historic Preservation 

Office 21 
Wyoming State Journal 1 6 
"Wyoming's Territorial Sheriffs," reviewed 

45 



Zimmerman, Ed 9 



aummetsts^a 



Spring IQQQ 



49 



Wyoming Picture 




All but nvo of the U. S. Presidents since Grant have visited in Wyoming. (Exceptions are Grover Cleveland 
and Benjamin Harrison). Pictured is President William Howard Taft who campaigned throughout Wyo- 
ming in 1911. During that tour. Taft made speeches at Cheyenne. Laramie. Rock Springs, and Newcastle 
(where he .spoke from the steps of the newly constructed Weston County Courthouse). 



Plan Now to Attend the Ainiual 

WYOMING STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 



TREK 



Hosted by the .\lbany Cotuit\' Chapter 
Registration deadline: Jime 9, 1999 
Highlights will mehide CXerland Trail sites, stage stations, the Lin- 
coln Highway, Centennial and other historic places in .\lbany Coimt\'. 
For more information, check the latest issue of Wyoming Ilistoiy News 
or contact Elnora Frye, 745-8328, or .Amy La^^Tencc, 745-5948, Trek 
Coordinators, Albany Covmt\' Chapter. 



I ■ 



DnaaioDBai 



U>7 




nals of 

WYOMING 

Tne ^(^oming History Journal 



summer 



1999 



Vol. 71, No. 3 




On me Cover 



When famed Wyoming photographer J. E. Stimson visited the 
Tetons in the summer of 1922, he shot a number of scenes that 
he later "colorized." The front cover is a photograph he made 
with this process of hand-tinting. He titled it "Teton Peak from 
the outlet on Leigh's Laive, 1922." The original photograph is 
held in the J. E. Stimson collection, Wyoming State Archives, 
Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, Cheyenne. 



Tnis Special Issue: Tne Tetons 



This special issue features four articles on 
the Grand Tetons. Historian Robert W. Righter 
assesses the role of the National Park Service 
in influencing the man-made environment of 
Grand Teton National Park. Tamsen Emerson 
Hert provides a "travel narrative " to historic 
sites in the park area. Mark Han-ey assesses 
the ongoing controversy as to who was the first 
person to climb the Grand Teton. The dispute 
bettveen Nathaniel Langford and Williatn Owen 
brought heated exchanges between them and 
their respective supporters over the years. 
SheriT Smith concludes this special section with 
an account of Verba Lawrence, a long-time 



Jackson Hole resident who kept a Journal of her 
life. 

This issue also includes our regular features. 
This issue 's "Wyoming Memories " is an account 
of an unusual animal visitor to these parts— a 
hvena. Long-time Society member Ellen Mueller 
tells us the story. Our "Wyoming Portrait" in 
this issue is of pioneer ranchman R. S. Van 
Tassell. The biography is written by Cheyenne 
historian Shirley E. Flynn. 

With this issue. Annals returns to "timely" 
publication. Readers can expect to see the issue 
appear during the season indicated on the cover. 

—Phil Roberts, Editor 



The editor of Aniuil.s of IVyomiiii; welcomes manuscripts and photographs on ever) aspect ol the histor) of W'\oming and the West. 
Appropriate lor submission are unpublished, research-hased articles which pro\ ide new intormation or which oft'er new interpretations 
of historical events. t"irst-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be considered for use in the 
"Wvoming Memories" section. Historic photo essays for possible publication in "Wyoming Memories" also are welcome. Articles are 
re\iewed and refereed b\ members of the Journal's Editorial Ad\ isory Board and others. Decisions regarding publication are made by 
the editor. Manuscripts (along w ith suggestions for illustrations or photographs) should he submitted on computer diskettes in a format 
created by one of the widely-used word processing programs along with two printed copies. Submissions and queries should be ad- 
dressed to tiditor. Annals of Wyoming. P. O. Box 4256, University Station, Laramie WY 82071 . 



Editor 

Phil Roterts 

Book Review I:aitor 
Carl HallLerg 



nditorial ,\dvisor\' Roaru 

Barbara Bogarl, Lxani^tun 

Mate! Brown, N'ewcastle/CIieyenne 

Micnael J, Devdne, Laramie 

James B. Grinitn, )r., Clicyenne 

Don HoQgson, Torrington 

Loren Jo$t, Riverton 

Da\na KatiiKa, Rolk Springs 

T. A. Larson, Laramie 

Jonn D. McDermott, Slieridan 

Snerry L, Smith, Moose 

Tnomas F. Stroock, Casper 

Lawrence M. Woods, VC'orlana 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

RicK Ewig, Laramie 

Da\'ia Katnlca, Rock Springs 

Snerrv L. Smitn, Moose 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Nancy Curtis, Glenao 

William H. Moore, Laramie (ex olticio) 

Patty Myers, WkeatlanJ (ex-of^icio) 

Loren Jost, Riverton (ex-otricio) 

Pnil Ronert?, Laramie (ex-orricio) 

Wvoming' >tate riistorical i^ocietv 
Executive Committee 

Patty Myers, President, Wheatland 

Dave Taylor, Casper 

Mikejording, Newcastle 

Linda Fabian, Cheyenne 

Dick Wdder, Cody 

Rick Ewig, Laramie 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Jermy Wight, Arton 

Judy West, Membership Coordinator 

Governor of Wyoming 

Jim Geringer 

Wyoming' Dept. or State Parks ana 

Cultural Resources 
John Keck, Director 

Wyoming Parks & Cultural Resources 
Commission 

William Dubois, Cheyenne 
Charles A. Guerin, Laramie 
Diann Reese, Lyman 
Rosie Berger, Big Horn 
B. Byron Price, Cody 
Herb French, Newcastle 
Frank Tim Isabel!, Shoshoni 
Jeanne Hickey, Cheyenne 
Hale Kreycik, Douglas 

University oi Wyoming 

Philip Dubois, President 
Michael J. Devine, Director, 

.American Heritage Center 
Oliver Walter, Dean, 

College oi Arts and Sciences 
William H. Moore, Chair, Dept. ol I listor 

Printed by Pioneer Printing, Cheyenne 




nnah of 

WYOMING 



Tne Wvoming History 



Wyoming Portrait 

Renesselaer Scnuylcr \'an Tassell 

By Snirley E. Flvnn 



Summer 1QQ9 Vol. 71, No. 3 



^(^omin^ Memories 



Crook County s Hyena 

By Ellen Cra^go Mueller 



M©\M.mMW, 



13 




Special Issue: Tne Tetons 



Preserving' tne Past: 
The Case or Grand Teton National Park 

All Opinion Piece by Robert W. Rignter Q 

To Presers'e the View: A Tour in Text and Pictures of Historic Sites 
Relating to the Estar)lislinient or C'ranci Teton National Paru 
By Tanisen Emerson Heii 14 

First Ascent or the Grand Teton: The Great Controversy 

By Marie Harvey 24 

A JacKSon Hole Lire: Verba Lawrence 

By Sliern' L. Sniitli 35 



Recent Acquisitions in the Hebard Collection, L^W Libraries 44 

Recent Additions and Processed Collections, Department ol 

t'tate Parks and Cidtural Resources, i?tate /Vrcbives 44 

Book Reviews 

EJitedKyCarlMalllierg 45 

Index 4i 

Wyoming' Picture 48 

Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming State Historieal 
Society in association with the Wyoming Department of Commerce, the American I leritage Center, and the 
Department of History, University of Wyoming. The journal v\as previously published as the Quarterly 
Bulletin ( I'^23-I925), Annals of Wyoming {\^2S-\'^'^},). Wyoming Annals ( 1993-1 W5) and Wyoming His- 
tory Journal ( 1995-1996). The Annals has been the official publication of the Wyoming Stale Historical 
Society since 1953 and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Membership dues 
are: single, $20; joint, $30; student (under 21 ). $15; institutional, $40; contributing, $100-249; sustaining, 
$250-499; patron. $500-999; donor, $1,000+. To join, contact your local chapter or write to the address 
below. Articles in .-lo/w/.vo/Kytim/^i; are abstracted in Historieal Ahstraets and America History and Life. 

Inquiries about membership, mailing, distribution, reprints and back issues should be addressed to Judy 
West, Coordinator. Wyoming State Historical Society. PMB# 184, I740H Dell Range Blvd., Cheyenne 
WY 82009-4945. Editorial correspondence should be addressed to the editorial ofTice of Annals of Wyo- 
ming, American Heritage Center, P. 0. Box 4256, University Station, Laramie WY 82071. 
Our website address is: http://www.uwyo.edu/A&S/history/vvhjoum.htm 



Copyright 1999, Wyoming State Historical Society 



ISSN: 1086-7368 



W^'^oming Portrait: 



RENESSELAER SCHUYLER 
VAN TASSELL 

By Snirley E. Flynn 



Good Old Van. If a man can be measured by the 
company he keeps, Renesselaer Schuyler Van Tassel! 
stands at the highest mark. His admirers ranged from a 
12-year old kid poking about the streets of Cheyenne 
in 1 868, to President Theodore Roosevelt during his 
\isits to Wyoming in 1903 and 1910. He was a "man's 
man," ramrod straight and steady in business. With a 
gleam in his eye, he loved life and lived it to the ftillest 

Bom in 1 845 in Comstock, New York, of Dutch an- 
cestors who had arrived in the New World about 1630, 
Van Tassell came west before there was a Wyoming 
Territory or a Cheyenne. He had spent the earlier years 
of his manhood in Iowa. By 1865, he was at Fort 
Kearney, Nebraska Territory, the leader of a party of 
1 5 men who were headed westward along the proposed 
route of the Union Pacific Railroad. They smelled op- 
portunitv'. 

The stubborn post commander. Major John Talbot, 
detained the adventurers because he did not regard it 
safe for a party of only 16 men to travel into the In- 
dian-infested country to the west. Talbot required Van 
Tassell to enlarge his party to 50 men before he would 
allow the expedition to set out for Wyoming country. 
After meeting that requirement, the party ventured west. 
Talbot himself almost immediately resigned his com- 
mission and anived in Cheyenne, Dakota Territory, in 
1867, before the railroad.' 

In 1 866, Van Tassell, in the company of Tom McGee 
and John Sparks, wintered on Shemian Hill. They cut 
ties for the Union Pacific around their headquarters at 
Tie City, a camp near the foot of Cheyenne Pass at the 
point where today's Happy Jack and Telephone roads 
join. The railhead of the Union Pacific did not reach 
Sherman Hill until 18 months later. 

Very little regarding Van Tassell's brushes with the 
Indians is known. He did relate that on one occasion 
when he was pursued by Indians, he shot his horse and 
used the carcass as a bulwark behind which he shot at 
his attackers until help arrived.- 

What is known, however, is that his partners, Tom 
McGee and John Sparks, were stalwart men, too. 
McGee took a homestead in the area where the trio 



hacked ties and developed a ranch that he passed on to 
his son Bert. Sparks moved west to put his roots down 
in Nevada where he became governor. The town of 
Sparks is named after him. 

Van Tassell, then 22 years old, settled in Cheyenne 
as soon as the town was founded and engaged in freight- 
ing and stock raising. He had a contract to carry mail 
between Cheyenne and Fort Collins before a railroad 
connected the two towns. 

A 12-year-old youngster poking around Cheyenne, 
George E. Lemmon, arrived in Cheyenne with his fam- 
ily a few weeks after the first train whistle in Novem- 
ber 1867. As a footloose kid, he moseyed about the 
dusty railhead and in later life remembered: 

R. S. Van Tassell was about the youngest man in 
business in Cheyenne. He was in the livery business 
with one Gline, the tlrm of Gline and Van Tassell. He 
owned a little black race horse that stood pat for his 
size but was a little flighty, and one day in a race, 
Johnny Gline (son of the partner) riding, he bolted at 
the outcome, throwing Johnny into the judges stand, 
cutting a big gash on Johnny's head and rendering him 
unconscious for some time. ' 

Van Tassell always relished fleet horses. 

James A. Moore, also early in the Cheyenne area, 
was a certified hero of the Pony Express. His route was 
from Midway Station, halfway between Fort Kearney 
and Cottonwood Springs, to Julesberg, a distance of 
140 miles. On one memorable ride, Moore found his 
relief rider unable to ride, and he immediately turned 
around and rode back doing 280 miles in 22 hours. For 
this Ben Holladay gave him a gold watch and a certifi- 
cate for his remarkable performance."^ 

' Talbot's obituary. The Wyoming Tribune (Cheyenne), July 
13. 1910. 

- Van Tassell's obituary, Douglas Enterprise. April 14. 1931. 

' George L. Lemmon Stories. WPA project. Vertical file 242, 
Wyoming State Archives division. Parks and Cultural Resources 
Department, Cheyenne. 

■* Moore's obituary, Cheyenne Daily Leader. December 16, 
1873. 



Summer 1999 



The cattle industry was in an embryonic stage in the 
early 1870s. To fulfill contracts to furnish beef to the 
various military posts in Wyoming territory, early stock- 
men trailed longhoms up from Texas and turned them 
out to graze on the nutritious short grass. The cattle 
flourished. The owners quickly found that they could 
go into their herd and find acceptable beef for sale ten 
months of the year. Moore was among this group and 
it was said he was second only to .lohn W. lUiff in the 
number of cattle he had in Wyoming in the early 1 870s.-"" 

Moore also was a partner in the Great Western Cor- 
ral, the most extensive stabling establishment in the 
west. It could accommodate 250 horses and .100 wag- 
ons. The corral covered half a block.*' This vast opera- 
tion served as a teamster terminal, a market place for 
horses of all kinds, a rough hostel and a stage line ter- 
minal. It easih outdistanced the Gline and Van Tassell 
operation. 

Van Tassell put in with the more successful man and 
soon was freighting for him, although he presented him- 
self as a partner. 

Moore prospered, but died 
tragically on December 14, 
1873. in Sidney, Nebraska, 
"after a protracted illness of 
about three months occa- 
sioned by injuries received in 
fall from a load of hay... Suf- 
fice it to say that in all the 
relations of life, he has 
proven himself worth\ of 
confidence and esteem.'"^ In 
addition to a fine reputation, 
Moore developed by hard 
work the .IM ranch south of 
Lusk, Wyoming. His town 
house w as an elaborate man- 
sion on Ferguson Street 
(now Carey Avenue) in 
Cheyenne, where he lived 
with his wife and two chil- 
dren. His will stipulated that 
the familv was to continue to 
live in Cheyenne, which he 
considered his home.** 

"Van Tassell began his 
business career in a livery 
stable. He bettered his con- 
dition immeasurably by mar- 
rying .lim Moore's widow. 

He succeeded not only to his nor- -r ,, 

^ PCI (,,, Tassell 




widow, but also to his 9,000 head of cattle, his range 
on the Running Water, and the J Rolling M brand, to- 
gether with the privileges, prerogatives and prerequi- 
sites appertaining there to."'' He moved into his new 
wife's home and embellished it with stained glass and 
chandeliers. Howev er, this was still raw Wyoming; one 
morning a horse thief was found hanging from a Cot- 
tonwood tree by their front door. 

The 1870s found Van Tassell engaging extensively 
in cattle raising-with his major holdings fomierlv those 
of James Moore-on the Running Water in what is now 
Niobrara County and on Pole Creek in Laramie County. 
The latter became known as the 'home ranch" and was 
about 23 miles northwest of Cheyenne. 

Van Tassell also operated the Union Pacific stock 
yards at Chevenne for more than 40 v ears. During this 
period he provided feed there for millions of sheep and 
cattle. 

The 27-year-old Van Tassell hosted an impromptu 
meeting of five men in his liverv stable in 1872. Ac- 
cording to .lohn Rolfe 
Burroughs in Gucirtlinn of 
the Grassluiuls. "it is rea- 
sonable to suppose that the 
aforementioned meeting, 
which was held for the pur- 
pose of fomiing a v igilante 
committee to cope with 
cattle thieves, took place on 
his premises. The name of 
one of the participants has 
been lost to historv , but it 
is important that, in addi- 
tion to Van Tassell, .lohn H. 

^ John Rolte Burroughs, 
Giuiiduin of the GrusslaiiLis The 
First Hundred Years nf the Wyo- 
ming Stoekgrowers Assoeiation 
(Chevenne: Pioneer Printing & 
Stationery Co.. 1971). 36. 

" E. H. Saltiel and Geo. 
Barnett. History and Business 
Direetorv of Clieyenne and 
Guide to the Mining Regions of 
the Roeky Mountains (Chevenne. 
Dakota: L. B. Joseph Booksell- 
ers and Publishers. 1868), 26. 

" Moore's ohituarv. Daily 
Leader. 

" Ihid. 

"" V\'illiam H. Barton, ed. Early 
Cheyenne Homes - 1880-1890 
Wyoming State .Archives. Muse- 
ums and Historical Dept.. l')83), 
2<). 



American Heritace Center 



Annals ot Wyoming;The ^Tyoming Histon' 



and Thomas F. Durbin and Charles F. Coffee were 
present." "^' The Durbin brothers and Coffee were charter 
members of the Livestock Association of Laramie 
County. Wyoming, which later metamorphosed into 
the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. These were 
the men who really started the ball rolling in the direc- 
tion of a permanent, viable organization of cattlemen 
in the State of Wyoming. Their immediate concerns 
were two fold, first to plan the roundups and second to 
control the rustling. Young Van Tassell stood with the 
leaders at the opening bell. 

Perhaps it was because he always stepped back and 
surveyed the scene before plunging in, or because dur- 
ing these years he was younger than most other busi- 
nessmen, or because he was away working. Van Tassell 
is not mentioned in Stock Growers files until he for- 
mall_\ joined, six years later, in 1878. He never took an 
official role in the organization, although he appears to 
have been a proud member. His obituary states, "He 
took an acti\e interest in the association throughout 
his life."" 

Mary Moore Van Tassell died of consumption in 
Boston on December 5, 1883, and is buried in Chey- 
enne. In 1888, her children, Blanche and Granville, 
placed a stained glass window in the newly built St. 
Mark's Episcopal church and dedicated it to her 
memory; it is inscribed FAITH.'- Renesselaer Van 
Tassell assumed her property. 

Soon Old Van was off to other things. "'If the old 
rascal had one eye out for women who were as lonely 
as they w ere attractive, he apparently had the other eye 
peeled for the main chance because, when his wife died, 
he married Louise, the daughter of wealthy stockman 
Alexander H. Swan."'-' Although Van Tassell seems 
to have been a bit opportunistic in this, he had a head 
for business and during the cattle boom years of the 
1880s, he was accounted very wealthy. 

For the nuptials, the Presbyterian church in Chey- 
enne, decorated by many choice and elegant tloral de- 
signs, provided a sumptuous backdrop for the bride. 
She was attired in a white costume of faille francais 
v\ ith a court train and bodice trimmed with pearls. The 
reception was in the Swan home. The newspaper re- 
ported that after a wedding trip to California, "they will 
reside at the handsome stone residence on the comer of 
Nineteenth and Ferguson streets. This handsome build- 
ing was the gift of the bride's father to her."'"* She was 
22, and he was 41. 

The hard winter of 1 886- 1887 and the economic de- 
bacle that followed w ere only months away. By spring, 
both Van Tassell and his father-in-law were totally 
devoid of assets. Their cattle perished in the winter bliz- 



zards. According to George Lemmon, Van Tassell had 
$ 1 50,000 in liabilities. It is to his credit, truly the mark 
of the man, that he refused to repudiate this obligation. 
Not only did Van Tassell live to pay off every cent of 
his debts, but he is said to have ended up with a finger 
in every lucrative business pie in Cheyenne. 

Van Tassell and his young wife, Louise Swan, never 
took possession of the monumental stone house. Since 
Alexander Swan could not pay for its construction, the 
property reverted to the contractor, Robert W. Brad- 
ley. He sold it to David D. Dare, a dashing photogra- 
pher/businessman who appeared on the scene. Known 
as Castle Dare, the house immediately gained landmark 
status. However, Dare fell on hard times and could not 
pay for it either. Possession again reverted to the con- 
tractor, and Bradley moved in with his family of three, 
Florence, Walter and Maude. 

Van Tassells came into possession of the .1. B. Tho- 
mas property in August 1892. The mansion complex 
had been designed for the Thomases by George D. 
Rainsford. It consisted of the mansion, a greenhouse 
and the carriage bam, situated on half a block of spa- 
cious lawn, at what was then the end of East 1 7th Street. 
The bam sported hard wood floors and stalls. One sum- 
mer day, friends gathered to pick over two hundred 
pounds of grapes from the greenhouse vines. ' "^ 

As the troubles between the Wyoming Stock Grow- 
ers Association and the small ranchers in Johnson 
County escalated in early 1892, Van Tassell, "one of 
the inner ring of sooners who had long ruled the affairs 
of the Association, was sent to Colorado to buy horses 
for the expeditionary force, a move made to bypass the 
questions which would certainly be asked if any Wyo- 
ming ranch owners started working their horses so early 
in the year."'^ Who better to send than Old Van with 
his connections in both the Association and horse trad- 
ing circles? Tradition says he secured 400 horses from 
a dealer in Longmont, Colorado. 

'" Burroughs. 35. 

" Van Tassel I's obituary. The Wyoming Tribune. April 15, 1931. 

'- Shirley E. Flynn, Our Heritage: 100 Years at St. Mark's 
Cheyenne. Wyoming (Cheyenne: Pioneer Printing, 1968), 87. 

'' Lemmon, loose sheet in Vertical File 242, Wyoming State 
Archives. 

^'' Cheyenne Daily Leader. December 10, 1886. 

'^ Gladys Powelson Jones, The First Hundred Years. 1886- 
1986: The Van Tassell Carriage Barn. National Register of His- 
torical Places (Cheyenne: Cheyenne Artists Guild, 1986), 6. For 
a biography of Dare, see William H. Barton, "David D. Dare and 
the American Dream," Annals of Wyoming 51 (1979), 8-23. 

"" Helena Huntington Smith, The War on Powder River: The 
Histoiy of an Insurrection (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1966), 191. 



1999 



"Castle Dare. " 
the Cheyenne 
home origi- 
nally given to 
Van Tassell 
and hl.s second 
wife as a 
wedding 
present. 
Ironically, it 
was where his 
third wife 
Maude 
Bradley, 
daughter of its 
builder, was 
reared. 




1 



mm 



The Van Tassell name surfaces again in the legend 
of the missing copies of the second printing of A. S. 
Mercer's Banditti of the Plains. Mercer, the Che> enne 
newspapemian who started out sympathetic with the 
"invaders" in their vendetta against the "rustlers and 
nesters" of Johnson County, turned coat. His book lam- 
bastes the Invaders. A first printing of 1,000 copies 
sold quickly and a second larger printing was ordered 
from a plant in Denver, but it never reached Mercer's 
office. Speculation was that the shipment was either 
hijacked along the way and burned or stored in some 
secret place. Certainly the Stock Growers' interests did 
not want the secrets it contained out on the street! 
Through the haze of whispered gossip, one name con- 
sistently surfaces in the disappearance of the hot books, 
"an agent of the cattlemen, R. S. Van Tassell, destroyed 
them. The name at least is specific. And through all the 
hearsay, the persistent smell of burning. ' '' 

Old Van was listed as a member of the Cheyenne 
Club during its heyday. He seldom attended. Accord- 
ing to Burroughs, he was never a part of the arguments, 
fracases and denouements of its more flamboyant mem- 
bers such as John Coble, the Oelrich brothers, Frederic 
deBillier and Hubert Teschmacher. 

One of Van TasselTs hobbies was always to have a 
handsome black saddle horse name "Gypsy." A con- 
summate horseman, as tine a figure of man on horse- 
back as ever rode the ranges, he never— for 50 years- 
was without a favorite mount thus named. 



Dept. of State Parks and Cultural Resources 

On May 30, 1 903, President Theodore Roosevelt and 
a party often rode horseback from Laramie to Chey- 
enne. They changed horses at the Tie City ranch of 
Tom McGee. The President proceeded at a rousing clip 
as he lead the way with only one member of the party 
at a time riding beside him. As the party came in sight 
of the east slope, looking down into the valley through 
which the Colorado and Southern Railroad runs. Old 
Van appeared. He turned to the President and said, "The 
road forks here. That way (indicating a road running 
around the head of the draw ) is a long way around, but 
we can cut otT a couple of miles by taking this trail. 
Which shall we take?" Acknowledging that the resi- 
dent rancher knew the territory, the President answered 
by saying, "Lead the way." Van dug his spurs into his 
horse and started down the rough and rocky trail. One 
member of the part\ remembered that some of the group 
tired along the \\a_\ and when the pace became faster, 
cussed Old Van to a turn. 

The group arrived at the Van Tassell "home ranch" 
on Pole Creek at 12:45 after a three hour and forty tlve 
minute ride covering 40 miles. "At Van Tassell's a 
bountiful repast was served, the President having a 
hearty appetite after the gallop through the hills. A jolly 
hour of rest was spent after the meal, and the President 
and escort again took horse to Cheyenne.""'^ The Presi- 

^^ Ihul.. 279. 

'" William Chapin Deming. Roosevelt in the Bunk House, and 
Other Sketches, 2d ed. (Laramie; Laramie Printing Co., n.d.), 41. 



Annals ot Wyoming :Tke Wyoming Histon' Jc 



dent thanked his host and called him a "Mohawk Dutch- 
man" in reference to his New York state heritage.''' 

Colonel Roosevelt, as he chose to be addressed after 
leaving the presidency in 1908, returned to Cheyenne 
in 1910 where he was the guest of honor at Cheyenne 
Frontier Days. His visit lasted several days. One 
evening, he and a small escort took a circuitous route 
by horseback through Fort D. A. Russell, then over the 
plains to the northeast heading for the Pole Creek sheep 
and cattle ranch of Senator Francis E. Warren. Arriv- 
ing just as the sun was dropping down behind the Rocky 
Mountains, the President reached the ranch house on 
the run, his horse heaving as if it had been engaged in 
a race, which indeed was what had happened. 

"Riding with Roosevelt was Renesselaer S. Van 
Tassell, a pioneer cattleman of Cheyenne, then nearing 
seventy years of age, straight as an Indian, a magnifi- 
cent horseman and one of Frederic Remington's favor- 
ite subjects, as delineated in his character sketches of 
the West. As Roosevelt and Van Tassell drew nigh, 
the former, gazing admiringly at Van Tassell, said, "The 
old rascal tried to beat me.'"-'' 

Businesswise, Van Tassell seized the moment; how- 
ever, sometimes the moment seized him. George 
Lemmon. the kid on the Che\ enne streets in 1 867 who 
grew into a respected stockman in South Dakota, re- 
lated that, after the hard times in the late 1880s, Van 
Tassell, "got even with a lot of property on hand and 
good credit, and from about 1 889 to 1902, he had prac- 
tically every business in Cheyenne that was a live busi- 
ness - these in addition to his range cattle." 

Van Tassell solidified his holdings, or those inher- 



ited from his first wife. Beginning with a small home- 
stead on the Running Water Creek near Lusk in the 
1870s with cattle running on the open range, he ac- 
quired thousands of acres of the range and developed 
an appreciation for the land. Observing that cattle could 
not live on the open range without supplemental hay, 
he began to buy land along the creeks where grass could 
be harvested for winter feed. He advocated the care of 
rangeland. Like an early day environmentalist about 
1910, he said, "I won't live to see the day, but many of 
you will, when people will regret that they ever plowed 
up this buffalo grass sod."-' During the 1930s, ranch- 
ers lived to see that day. 

Lemmon ended up his assessment of Van Tassell, 
"Good Old Van - 1 have had lots of business deals with 
him and every one of them satisfactory, I guess to 
both."-- 

In addition to the Cheyenne Stockyards, Van Tassell 
operated one in Green River. He sold coal from his 
Cheyenne headquarters at 1 5th and Eddy Street, now 
Pioneer Avenue. Several of his business journals and 
check registers are in the Wyoming State Archives. 
Written in beautifiil script, they indicate the extent of 
his business operation and the elite manner in which 
he lived.-' 

'"' A. C. Guernsey, Hyoniing Cowboy Days (New York: G. P. 
Putman's Sons, 1936). 81. 

-" Deming, 3. 
,-' Burroughs, 261. 

-- Lemmon papers. Vertical File 242. Wyoming State Archives. 

-•' Van Tassell ledgers, journals and check stub books. Collec- 
tion H58-59, Wyoming State .Archives division. Parks and Cul- 
tural Resources Department. 




Van Tassell 
accompanied 
Theodore 
Roosevelt on 
rides in 
southeastern 
Wyoming 
during both the 
1903 and 1910 
S trips made by 
§ the "Rough 
Rider's" trips 
to Wyoming. 



cummer 



1999 



Van Tassell belonged to the Cheyenne Club, the Fort 
D. A. Russell Oftlcers Club (dues: $1 per month) and 
patronized the best shops in town. Both Van Tassells 
had dentistry work done by Wyoming's premiere den- 
tist. Dr. Peter Appel in January 1909; the bill was 
$201.50. 

He bought 1 19 head of cattle from rancher Charles 
B. Irwin in April 1911 for $2,975. In January of that 
year, he purchased two stallions from John M. 
Kuykendall, a well-known horse fancier, for $1,000. 

The same check register reveals the breakdown of 
his marriage to Louise. She traveled east in February 
1909, and by August of that year, he sent a draft to the 
New Brown Hotel in Denver to apply to "Mrs. Van 
TasselFs account." He remitted $1,214.80 to the Den- 
ver Dry Goods Company to cover her account and by 
December 191 1, he was forwarding a monthly allow- 
ance of $400 to her in Denver. Earlier that year, he sent 
the Stock Growers Bank $ 1 ,082 to co\ er her overdrafts. 
Meanwhile, Old Van was taking care of business in 
Cheyenne and eating at the Kabis Cafe or at Harr\ P. 
Hynds" Grill. 

The couple, whose marriage was a stellar social event 
in 1886, was now rent asunder. On January 17, 1912, 
Louise W. Swan Van Tassell, plaintiff, was granted a 
divorce from R. S. Van Tassell. She charged that he 
neglected her and that he ne\er came home. He did not 
argue. Two of the most prominent names in Cheyenne 
legal circles represented them. Mrs. Van Tassell hired 
T. Blake Kennedy, and Van Tassell retained John 
Lacey. Both lawyers later became judges. The tile con- 
sists of three documents: the petition, a short answer, 
and the decree. Only the signature of a judge was needed 
to end the union. After the action, Louise Swan Van 
Tassell disappeared from the scene. -"^ 

Van Tassell retained his sharp eye for fine horses, a 
good business opportunit\ and comeK \s omen. On July 
17, 1913. he took his third wife. The bride was Maude 
Bradle\ . the 36-year-old daughter of Robert W. Brad- 
ley. She had been reared in Castle Dare after Bradley 
had reclaimed it from D. D. Dare. 

"Mr. Van" was more than 30 years her senior. Un- 
like his flamboyant Victorian-style wedding to Louise 
Swan, this simple ceremony in the home of the bride's 
sister, Florence LaFontaine, was marked by two short 
paragraphs in the local newspaper. It ended with, 'Both 
Mr. And [Sic] Mrs. Van Tassell are too well known in 
Cheyenne to need introduction and both are blessed 
with numerous friends who will rejoice at the happy 
termination of their romance."-"' 

They enjoyed a luxurious life, living in the Morrie 
Avenue mansion, entertaining at their ranch home and 



wintering in California. Van Tassell continued to ride 
a "Gypsy" many miles daily until 1919, when a swing- 
ing ranch gate struck his hip and slowed him down. He 
had difficulty walking and riding. He continued, how- 
ever, to direct his immense ranch interests until his death 
on April 12, 1931, in Pasadena, California.-'' He is 
buried in a large stone mausoleum in Lakeview Cem- 
etery, Cheyenne, along w ith members of the Bradley 
famih'. His name is embossed in nine-inch-high letters 
on the lintel. 

Maude Bradley Van Tassell outlived him by 1 7 _\ ears. 
She continued life in the same mode, presided over her 
large home, managed the ranches and spent winters in 
California. One accounting states that she inherited 
40,000 acres in four ranches. The original at Van 
Tassell, Wyoming, east of Lusk on the Nebraska- 
Wyoming border, according to one source, was "1/2 
da>s drive from Mrs. Van Tassell's home m Chey- 
enne."-^ The next largest was 27 miles north of Chey- 
enne at Islay, Wyoming. There were two smaller 
ranches west of Cheyenne. Upon her death on July 25, 
1 949, the estate was sold and the proceeds given to the 
public. 

What did our Mohawk Dutchman leave as a memo- 
rial to a life tilled with trail blazing adventure and busi- 
ness success? He had no children, the ranch property 
was sold, the livestock dispersed and the mansions torn 
down. Once a shipping point on the Fremont. Elkhart 
and Missouri Valley Railroad line, the hamlet of Van 
Tassell, Wyoming, is now bypassed by the Burlington 
Railroad. Only a few scattered buildings, a sign telling 
that the first American Legion Post in the countr\ was 
established there, and a post office situated in a home, 
mark the spot. The population is eight. 

Renesselaer Schuyler Van Tassell is a forgoften man. 

-"* Document 10 #88, on microfilm in the otTice of the Clerk of 
the Court. Laramie Count\. Wyoming. 

-"■ The Wyoming TnhiiiiL'. ,lul_\ 18. 1^13. 

-'' Van Tassell's ohituar\. Douglas E)Uerprise. April 14. 1931. 

-' "Wyoming Cowbelles." Annals of Wyomnig 20-21 (1948- 
49). 231. 



After retiring as director of the Chevenne Fron- 
tier Days Old West Museum in 799/. Slur/ey 
Flynn devoted three years to researching and 
writing Let 's Go! Let 's Show! Let 's Rodeo: The 
Histoiy of Cheyenne Frontier Days. The book 
was published in 1996 to mark the 1 00th run- 
ning of that event. A resident of Chevenne. she 
currently is collecting stories of "forgotten pio- 
neers, " both male and female. 



W^ 



Mt 



voming inemories 



Crook County's Hyena 



By Ellen Crago Mueller 



"A laughing hyena is roaming the hills somewhere in 
Crook County, having escaped from the Barney Brothers 
circus early Monday morning." So reported the 
Sundance Times on the front page, June 4, 1936. 

"A trailer carrying animal cages was overturned and 
several animals made their escape," the paper reported. 
"All were captured except the hyena, and while circus 
employees spent several hours in trying to capture the 
beast, he made good his escape." 

The hyena escaped on what became Interstate 90, one 
mile east of Beulah on the Wyoming-South Dakota state 
line. It wandered north along the state line and, for several 
days, people heard the strange barks and howls. It was a 
scary sound. 

"Circus employees state it is doubtful if the animal 
would live long in this climate, but that remains to be 
seen," the Times article added. "They hyena is a dog- 
like animal with longer fore legs than hind legs, and a 
mane." 

My parents. John and Edith (Thomas) Crago, had 
purchased the Sidney Thomas homestead (my 
grandparents" place), one mile north of Beulah. In the 
summer of 1 935, the federal government purchased most 
of the livestock in the area because of the drought and 
the poor market for beef cattle. We had plenty of hay so 
Dad culled his herd and kept the best to feed throughout 



I^ Sundance Times 

Published Thursdaus In The Black Hills Of Wyoming 



TOLUICE 40 



THTmSDAY, Jinre 4, 1838 



the winter. 

/"» ■ u» ■ im/i OHiclat Paptr Crook Countu, Citu of Sundance, and U^. Land Offict 

One night in 1936. 
our cattle began to 
die, one by one. 
Within hours, two- 
thirds of the herd was 
dead. No one knew 
what caused the 
deaths so the meat 
could not be eaten nor 
the milk from the 
milk cows used. All 
that could be 
salvaged were the 
hides. The carcasses 
were hauled to a gully 
in the back pasture 
and buried. 



Soon, coyotes found the gully with the meat. They 
immediately called in all their family and friends and 
began devouring the meat. At that point, they were the 
best fed and noisiest coyotes in Wyoming. 

The escaped hyena, roaming nearby, heard the coyotes 
and went to our pasture to investigate. Soon, he had run 
off the coyotes and was enjoying a solo feast. In a few 
days, he either tired of the beef diet or the coyotes 
reasserted their "ownership." The hyena went over the 
hill to the sheep camp of neighbor Henry Tauck to sample 
some mutton. 

There weren't many radios in that area in 1936. The 
reception was not very clear either. The only local news 
was from the weekly newspaper that came out on Friday. 

When the hyena appeared at the sheep camp during 
the night, the sheepherder heard the commotion and 
thought the coyotes were attacking his tlock. He grabbed 
his ritle, spotted the hyena and shot it. The next morning, 
when he went out to remove the carcass, he was horrified. 
He hadn't heard about the escaped hyena and had no 
idea what it was that he had killed. Eventually, he did 
contact a sheriffs deputy in Beulah who identified the 
animal as the escaped hyena. 

"Evidently lambs looked pretty good to the beast," 
the Sundance Times reported the next week, "but the 
sheepherder objected, so the laughing hyena is not 

laughing 
anymore." 



NTTUBEB 22 



HYEITA KOTQCiro HmS IN 
THE COUNTY; ^SCAPED FEOM 
emeus HEEE ON MONDAY 

CA laughlni; hyena is roamine 
Lhe lilIlH aooiewbere in urooK 
couuiy, tiaviiiK escaped [rom ttiu 
Baxney Brothers circus early 
Monday mornlns. 

A -trailer carrying animal 
cagts was overturned and several 
animals made their escape. All 
wcro CADtuied tiut tlie lu'ciuu aaii. 
ithlle circus Aauiloyees sp«a.l 30Vt_ 
cral hours in irylag to capture 
the beast, he ma<te good his es- 
cape: 



Circus omploreeB'tt^tod that It 
was «Ioubt(ul if tb^ animal would 
Ure long in this cUjiiate% but that 
remains to -be seen. The hyena 
Is a dog-like animal with longer 
fore legs than hind legs, and with 
a mane. 

« 



The author, a 
former Wyo- 
ming State His- 
torical Society 
president and 
long- time Soci- 
ety member, is 
a frequent con- 
tributor to An- 
nals. She lives 
in Cheyenne. 




AN OPINION WTECm BY 



The mountains of Grand Teton National Park draw 
millions of visitors every year. Jackson Hole's 
landscape represents one of the most sublime in the 
world. Yet, often overlooked in the natural beauty of 
the region is a rich human history. While the mountains 
remain unscathed, over the past seventy years the 
historically significant buildings have been quietly 
disappearing. This article attempts to explain the loss 
of this historic heritage. It also calls for a change of 
heart in park policies as well as a renewed commitment 
to preserve the best of what remains. 

Although today there is reason for optimism, in the 
past park leadership has often taken the position that 
cultural resources are not important. They have burned, 
removed, or ignored historic building with little regard 
for the past. 

Why was this so? How could the leadership of an 
agency entrusted with preserving our cultural heritage 
be so disrespectful of that very heritage? There are a 
number of explanations, including budgetary ones. 
Historic preservation costs money. And, of course, 
some years ago administrators designated Grand Teton 
park as a natural area, thereby relegating cultural 
resources to a very low priority.' In addition, a number 
of superintendents have been disinterested in cultural 
resources and one was openly hostile.- Also, some park 
naturalists have argued that wildlife habitat will suffer 
if cultural resources receive attention.' Although all 
these justifications have some validity — and I will 
return to two of them — I believe that the unique history 
of the park partially explains, paradoxically, the 
antipathy toward history. 

Politicians and philanthropists created Grand Teton 
National Park in a crucible of controversv seldom 



equaled in environmental history annals. Whereas 
Congress created Yellowstone within two years, the 
mountainous park to the south required some fifty-two 
years from idea to reality. This struggle cannot be fully 
retold here. It is enough to say that cattlemen, rugged 
individualists. Easterners, "New Dealers," "state's 
righters," state of Wyoming officials. Forest Service 
personnel, and Park Service leaders aU wanted control 
over Jackson Hole and the Tetons. They cajoled, 
fought, and sued each other before the Park Service 
emerged triumphant."* 

How did this tempestuous history undermine historic 
preser\ation';* Much of the fiat, broad reaches of 
Jackson Hole had been homesteaded. The areas around 
Mormon Row, Jenny Lake. Moose, and Moran all 

' The Grand Teton National Park .\ Ulster Plan. I'^Tb, p. 3. states 
that "Grand Teton, by the provisions of its estahhshment act, is a 
natural area." 

' Since some of these superintendents are ahve and some are 
still active in the NPS. it seems reasonable to avoid naming 
specific superintendents. 

' Other reasons that have surfaced included problems with 
preserving structures on a flood plain. A common reason for 
inaction is the lack of a consensus, even though the structure or 
site has been studied and documented. 

■* For a full account see Robert \\ . Righter, Cnicihlc For 
Conser\-alioii:Tlie Struggle for Grand Teton National Park 
(Boulder: Colorado .Associated University Press. 1982). See also 
David J. Savior, Jackson Hole. IVyoming (Norman, Oklahoma: 
University of Oklahoma Press. 1970); Alfred Runte. National 
Parks: The American Experience (Lincoln: University of Neb- 
raska Press, 1 979); John Ise, Our National Park Policy: A Critical 
Histoiy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1961 ). For a 
more local account see Robert B. Belts, Along the Ramparts of the 
Tetons: The Saga of Jackson Hole. IVyoming {Bou\der: University 
of Colorado Press. 1978). and Nathaniel Burt. Jackson Hole 
Journal (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 1981). 



10 



Annals or Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



featured numerous buildings, grazing cattle, and some 
irrigated fields. To create the park as we know it today, 
these settlers and dude ranchers would have to be 
bought out. The man to do it was John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr., who in 1927 committed himself to purchasing 
private land north of Jackson and on both the west and 
east side of the Snake River. By 1 933 he had purchased 
o\ er 30,000 acres. The modis operandi of Rockefeller's 
Snake River Land Company was to either bum or 
remove settler structures with the thought that they 
distracted from the natural, pristine beauty of the 
valley. No one knows just how many structures the 
company and the Park Service destroyed between 1 927 
and 1980, but the most knowledgeable estimate is 
seventy-five percent." 

Sensible reasons existed for torching many of these 
buildings. Some were poorly constructed, example of 
what locals called cowboy carpentry. Some buildings 
featured advertising, multiple power and telephone 
lines, and unsightly building materials. Others were 
falling down, even without the assistance of the Snake 
River Land Company. These buildings detracted from 
the mountain landscape.^ Thus the company busied 
itself with not only buying land, but sanitizing these 
purchases through removal of human presence. Since 
the homesteading era was so recent (about 1890 to 
1930) it seldom, if ever, occurred to company officials 
that they were destroying buildings of potential 
historical or cultural value. The only buildings to 



escape this purge were those which had immediate 
utility — either to serve the traveling public, the needs 
of the company, or the National Park Service. 

In other words, from the mid- 1920s leadership has 
been committed to destroying evidence of settler 
habitation, thus returning the park landscape to a pre- 
1880 condition. The Snake River Land Company 
commenced this program, but when the National Park 
Service acquired title to the land in 1949 it continued 
the program of clearing buildings and structures. This 
practice continues to this day. It is a historical pattern 
ingrained for seventy years. There have been 
exceptions, such as the Cunningham Homestead and 
the Maud Noble cabin, and past administrators should 
be given credit. 

However, in general the NPS has tended to view 
early ranching structures as graffiti on the landscape: 

' Former Grand Teton National Park historian John Daugherty 
gave 75% as a reasonable estimate. In conversing with Mike 
Johnson, the current Cultural Resources specialist, he believes 
this is a reasonable estimate. 

^ In a long letter from Horace Albright to Wilford Neilson, 
April 5, 1933, published as Mi\ John Z). Rockefeller. Jr. 's 
Proposed Gift of Land for the National Park System in Wyoming, 
Albright made it clear that both Rockefeller and his wife were 
appalled at the tawdry dance hall and "unsightly structures" in the 
Jenny Lake area. Certainly Rockefeller's decision to act was 
largely based on his realization that Jackson Hole was doomed to 
the ubiquitous ugllfication associated with unplanned tourist 
development unless he did something. 



Leek 's Lodge. 
Photograph was 
taken .shortly he- 
fore the building 
was demolished. 










cummer 




Bar BC RiVich in the !920s^ 
J. E. Stimson photograph. 
Wyoming Stale Archives. 
Dept. of State Parks and Cul- 
tural Resources 



edifices which represent desecration of nature. Never- 
theless, attitudes change and time passes. It is good to 
remind ourselves that the National Register of Historic 
Places guidelines state that a structure only fifty years 
old may be eligible. Thus, what was one generation's 
graffiti ma\ be a later generation's historical artifact. 
One hundred and t1ft> years ago migrating Americans 
scribbled their names on the surface of Independence 
Rock. Nowadays we revere such graffiti, protecting 
and interpreting it. 

For a number of _\ ears Grand Teton National Park 
administrators had little interest in preserving, let alone 
protecting. It is time for a change, for there is little left, 
and no viable reason to continue the cultural carnage. 
The argument that Grand Teton is a "natural area" is no 
longer \iable. That is an arbitrar\ categorization which 
can occasionally give direction, but surely should not 
rescind the charge under the 1916 NPS Organic Act 
and the Historic Sites Act of 1935 to protect, preserve 
and interpret our cultural heritage. 

Of course in today's world it is more difficult for 
administrators to simply bum down a building. They 
must contend with Section 106 of the Historic 
Preservation Act of 1966, which requires study and 
evaluation. Unfortunately, continued site study often 
sounds a death toll tor the cultural resource in question. 
For instance, in Grand Teton Park. Leek's Lodge, 
enrolled on the National Register, represents a victim 
of indecision. From 1970 and perhaps earlier, the NPS 
vacillated on what to do with this historic lodge on the 
shores of Jackson Lake. In the meantime Leeks Lodge 
deteriorated. By 1986. when I first took an interest in it, 
it was beyond repair or recycling. In 1995 park 



administrators asked for bids to remove the building. 
Neglect, administrative apath\ and indecision resulted 
in the effective destruction of the building. Continued 
study -- \\ ithout stabilization and interpretation — can 
simply guarantee the loss of the very resource which is 
being studied. Leek's Lodge has now been burned and 
all remnants of its existence remo\ed. 

.Another example which illustrates the need for 
action rather than talk is Struthers and Katherine Burt's 
Bar BC dude ranch, estabished in 1912. It quickK 
became the best known dude ranch in the \alle_\. The 
Burts w ere both educated Easterners, yet committed to 
Jackson Hole. While Struthers ran the ranch. Katherine 
wrote novels. Besides attracting important literary 
figures from both the East and West Coasts. Struthers 
took a leading role in the fight to establish Grand Teton 
National Park. In fact, an argument can be made that 
without his efforts, the park as we know it toda\ . w ould 
not exist. 

The Bar BC has both a physical and a literary history, 
and is without question the most historic dude ranch in 
the national park." Howe\er, it also became a thom in 
the side of park administrators. Brietl_\, Struthers Burt 
sold out in 1929 to his partner. Irving Corse. In turn. 
Corse sold to Rockefeller's Snake River Land 
Company, w ith the pro\ ision that he and his inunediate 
heirs could continue to run the place. Corse committed 
suicide, but in the meantime he had married a women 
Two books focus on the Bar BC. Struthers Burt wrote The 
Diary of a Dude-Wrangler (Nev\ ^ork: Charles Scribner's Sons. 
1*^24) and his son, Nathaniek who was born on a kitchen table at 
the Bar BC in 1913. vjvoie Jackson Hole Journal (Norman: Cniv. 
of Oklahoma Press. 1983), largely the story of his boyhood in 
Jackson Hole and the Bar BC. 



12 



Annals oi Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 



thirty years his junior. Margaretta Corse carried on 
until the 1980s. 

By the 1 950s, however, the Bar BC had lost its sheen 
and glamour. The buildings were in disrepair and 
Margaretta rented them out cheap in the 1960s and 
1970s. She also came to despise the National Park 
Service, and I think the feeling was mutual. I remember 
in 1980 arriving at the bench above the Bar BC with 
Grand Teton National Park historian John Daugherty. 
John announced he would go no further, fearing that 
Margaretta might shoot her rifle at him. He had no idea 
whether she would aim to hit. 

Perhaps the shaky relationship between Margaretta 
and the NPS made administrators blind to the historic 
importance of the old dude ranch. In 1983, when I was 
a member of the Wyoming Consulting Committee for 
the National Register, the committee visited the Bar 
BC. Superintendent Jack Stark accompanied us, and as 
we walked through the old ranch he leaned over to me 
and said, "Bob, I want to bring in a bull dozer and level 
this place."' One thing about Stark, he always spoke his 
mind, and you knew exactly what he thought about 
cultural resources! 

In 1986 Stark did his best to carry out this wish. By 
that year Mrs. Corse resided in a Philadelphia nursing 
home. She authorized the Frome Auction Service of 
Afton, Wyoming, to dispose of the remaining Bar BC 
property. What was remarkable was that not only the 
furniture and various memorabilia would go, but also 
the guest cabins, the main house, the dining hall, and 
the recreation hall.* Didn't those building belong to the 
National Park Service as a result of Rockefeller's 
(Jackson Hole Preserve) gift in 1 949? A check with the 
Teton County Assessor's office revealed that county 
property taxes had not been collected on the buildings 
since 1 948 ~ a clear sign that the buildings belonged to 
the federal government. 

When confronted with this evidence, park adminis- 
trators retreated. Faced with local newspaper publicity 
and concern by the both the National Trust for Historic 
Preservation and the Advisory Council for Historic 
Preservation, Assistant Superintendent Bill Schenk 
admitted that "ownership was still unclear.. .and they 
[the cabins] would not be offered for sale Saturday." '' 

Of course there was nothing unclear about owner- 
ship. The administrators at GTNP were attempting to 
rid the park of the building without going through the 
normal steps (Section 106 of the 1966 Historic 
Preservation Act) of evaluation for historic structures. 
Local vigilance, the media, and the help of national 
organizations exposed their plans, thus thwarting a 
legally questionable action. 



Although local vigilance saved the Bar BC buildings 
from removal and probable destruction, the status of 
the old dude ranch remains in question. A new 
superintendent has been ambivalent at best, and when 
ambivalence is the feeling, studying is the policy. 
Remarkably, the National Park Service issued a 
contract to the Roy Eugene Graham and Associates for 
a Historic Structures Report on the Bar BC. The cost: 
Approximately $225,000 dollars! The report suggested 
that the 160 acre property should be enclosed by a 
cyclone fence. Furthermore, the dilapidated cabins 
should be restored at a price tag exceeding one million 
dollars. Preposterous in cost and impractical in its 
recommendations, the report was far from helpful since 
the recommendations were out-of-character with NPS 
standards. It merely gave the GT administrators 
another excuse for doing nothing. If the Park Service 
had spent the $225,000 in stabilizing the buildings and 
inter-preting the site, it would have been money well 
spent.'" 

Although volunteers have cleaned the site and 
replaced the roofs on some of the Bar BC cabins, the 
NPS remains ambivalent. However, at this writing it 
appears that the majority of the buildings will be 
stabilized and interpreted for the public." 

These hopeful signs at the Bar BC suggest that the 
Park Service is beginning to respond to preservationist 
concerns. Nowhere is this new spirit of cooperation 
more evident than on Mormon Row, the farming 
community established in 1896. Over the years many 
of the buildings have been removed, and with the 
exception of the Clark Moulton family's one acre, the 
settlement has been in moldering decay. However, in 
the summer of 1 995 the Moulton family restored the 
much-photographed bam, and the following year a 
volunteer group from Lansing, Michigan, stabilized 
the Andy Chambers homestead house. Last summer 
the work continued, as the Lansing group restored the 
Chambers pump house, and crews contracted by the 
National Park Service shingled six Mormon Row bams 
and homes. Plans are now underway to make this 
historic district available to the public as an historic 
walking tour. Given the setting and the resource, it will 
likely become a popular locale for those tourists 
seeking a different experience. 

« Jackson Hole Ne^^'s, July 30, 1986, 1. 

' Casper Star-Tribune, August 16, 1986, Bl. 

'" I do not know the exact cost of the Bar BC contract, but NPS 
officials have not objected to a figure between $225,000 and 
$240,000. 

" Telephone conversation with Mike Johnson, Cultural 
Resource Specialist, GTNP, March 5, 1999. 



Summer 1999 

Another significant site which seemed destined for 
gradual ruin, if not the wrecking ball, was the 
magnitlcent Geraldine Lucas homestead, nestled at the 
base of the Tetons. For years its future was uncertain, 
but now it appears it will be a candidate for modified 
restoration. Volunteers from the Teton County Historic 
Preservation Board cleaned up the place in 1 996. Other 
volunteers have shored up the roof on the original 
homestead house. The National Park Service is 
considering issuing a permit for use as the center of an 
artist-in-residence program. 

These activities at the Bar BC, Mormon Row and the 
Lucas Homestead have energized those interested in 
historic preservation. There has yet to be a strong 
commitment to historic perservation by Grand Teton 
administrators, but the work has begun and volunteers 
are cleaning sites and pounding nails. Perhaps that is all 
we can hope for, and yet workers should not labor 
without assurances that their efforts are not in vain. 

Other regional superintendents could provide a 
model. At Glacier National Park Superintendent 
Randy Jones is turning preservation around. Over a 
year ago he remarked that historic preservation "is long 
overdue. The natural parks have been long overlooked 
for their cultural and historic values, and certainly this 
park has..." '- Amen. He is changing things. From 
what I hear, he has embraced cultural resources. We 
need that sort of commitment in Jackson Hole. 

A recent article in National Parks Magazine by 
Yvette La Pierre states that "the Park Service is 
beginning to recognize that landscapes shaped by 
humans — cultural landscapes — are as much a part of 
our country's rich heritage as natural ones." " I hope 
the word reaches Northwest Wyoming. 

What has become evident to some superintendents is 
that when you eliminate human beings from the natural 
landscape, you are creating an artificial one. We are a 
part of nature, for better or worse, and to eliminate the 
human species ( where it once existed) from the story of 
the park is to create an artificial story; a story which 
does not relate to reality. 

Of course, as we know, money is usually the bottom 
line, and it is a requirement for historic preservation. It 
is an age old justitlcation for inaction. However, this 
excuse may be going by the wayside. In a 1997 com- 
mentary in National Geographic Traveler magazine, 
editor Richard Busch remarked that with the new 
entrance fee schedule, Grand Teton National Park 
could expect increased revenue of approximately S4 
million over the next three years. What to do with the 
money? Busch states that the "dollars will be put to 
work improving roads and trails, renovating the 



13 

visitors center, and restoring historic buildings..." '"■ 
Supposedly there will be four million dollars for three 
issues. It might be sheer folly to expect such generous 
funding for historic resources, yet the need and the 
importance can no longer be swept under the rug, nor 
can Teton Park administrators put forth the traditional 
budget excuses with a straight face. Money is 
available, and it is high time that cultural resources 
claim their due. 

So people who care about cultural resources in Grand 
Teton National Park have hope. Teton County now has 
a Historic Preservation Board (CLG) which reviews 
and comments on park proposals. It also addresses 
preservation issues outside park boundaries. It has 
contracted to survey all historic sites and buildings in 
the county, and this survey is in the second year of a 
three year time frame. Board members conduct 
windshield surveys of properties, write National 
Register nominations, educate children, and often get 
their feet wet and their hands dirty. 

Interest in history extends to the county as well as the 
park. 

But to return to the park. It has local support. Money 
is available, and opportunities for public/private 
partnerships on projects abound. It is time for action. 
The public has a right to expect the utmost dedication 
from the agency which is responsible for the cultural 
resources of not only Grand Teton National Park, but of 
the nation. 

■ Kevin McCullen, "Delving Into a Park's Past." Rocky 
MoiiiUain News. September 14, 1997. 14A. 

' N'vette La Pierre. "The Taming of the View," Nalioiuil Parks 
(September/October. 1997), 30. 

'^ Richard Busch, "Editor's Note," Ncilional Geographic 
Traveler 14 (July/August, 1997), 10. 



The author is a seasonal resident of Jackson 
Hole and a recently retired professor of his- 
tory at the University of Texas at El Paso. 
He was formerly on the histoty facultw Uni- 
versity of Wyoming. In August he will Join 
his wife. Sheny L. Smith, at Southern Meth- 
odist University as a research professor of 
histoiT. He is author of Crucible for Conser- 
vation: The Struggle for Grand Teton Na- 
tional Park (Colorado Associated University 
Press. 1982). and more recently. Wind Power 
in America: A History (University of Okla- 
homa Press. 1996). He continues his com- 
mittnent to historic preservation in Jackson 
Hole. 



To Preserve the View 







A "Tour" in Text and Pictures of Historic Sites 

Relating to the 
Establishment of Grand Teton National Park 

By Tamsen Emerson Hert 



Picture a dance hall on the east side of Jenny Lake or 
400 summer homes dotting the shores of Jackson Lake. 
Imagine scores of fast food restaurants, motels and curio 
shops lining Highway 191 . This sight could have been 
seen were it not for the strong commitment to 
conservation that a number of Jackson Hole residents 
demonstrated between 1920 and 1950. Concern for 
the preservation of the Tetons as well as the view from 
east of the Snake River pitted neighbors against each 
other. Nathaniel Burt, son of Struthers Burt, gave 
tribute to those concerned individuals: "To those like 
my father and his friends who loved the country as 
they had first known it, but who recognized that the 
tourist was coming, some sort of special preservation 
scheme was imperative. Letting human nature take its 
course meant ruin."' 

At times even those on the same side disagreed over 
practices and plans for the Park. John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr., entered the scene early on and without his 
involvement, the Park certainly would have been 
smaller.- 

This tour will guide you to some of the scenes, and 
discuss some of the individuals, that were most 
significant in the park debate. A few of the sites simply 
provide a little history about the Jackson Hole region. 



Begin at Park Headquarters in Moose. Directions to 
the next site follow each summaiy. Some of the roads 
you will he traveling on are dirt and by looking at the 
map you can find alternative routes if you wish to 
remain on paved roads. 

Directions : Leave the parking lot at the Visitor 
Center. Turn towards the Park Entrance Gates. Your 
entry fee is good for seven days at both Grand Teton- 
Yellowstone National Parks. Go north on the Teton 
Pork Road. Turn right at the road to the Chapel of the 
Transfiguration and Menor 's Feriy. 

MAUD NOBLE CABIN 

This is where it all began. On July 26, 1923, Horace 
Albright, Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, 
received an invitation to meet with local residents and 
conservationists Struthers Burt, Horace Camcross, Jack 
Eynon, Joe Jones, Dick Winger and Maud Noble. These 
individuals discussed their concerns about the future 

' 'H?L\h?in\e\^un, Jackson Hole Journal. (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1983), 132. 

- The story of the struggle is quite involved. Robert Righter 
has provided the full story in his book. Crucible for Consen-a- 
tion: The Struggle for Grand Teton National Park ( Boulder: Colo- 
rado Associated Universitv Press, 1982). 



1999 



15 

the Tetons as a backdrop, is one of the most 
photographed sites in Wyoming. 

Other residents of Antelope Flats took the opportunity 
to sell their kinds to John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s Snake 
River Land Company. Many people, including Gov. 
Frank Emerson were unhappy about these sales. They 
believed good, arable lands should not be part of the 
land purchase. However, settlers in Mormon Row 
wanted to sell. The Snake River Land Company 
purchased the land for S50 an acre. Homesteads that 
had not been improved in the required amount of time 
were terminated by the General Land Office.' 

Today the Park Ser\ ice does not have plans for this 
area. There is potential here, as with other areas 
throughout the Park, for a "living history" program. 

Directions : Return to the Antelope Flats road and 
turn east. Lo^ structures stood on the north side of the 
road This was the Pfeifer houiestcail The orii^inal 
buildings here were left to decay and burned in a 
wildfire in 1994. Joe Pfeifer came to Jackson 's tfolc 
from Montana in 191(1 mid lived here, without any 
nuidern conveniences, luitil his ileath in 1964. Contiinie 
on the Antelope Flats Road. Before reaching the 
Schwiering Studio, take the old Yellowstone li'agon 
Road and travel north. 

' Orin H. and Lorraine G. Bonney. Bonnc\s Guulc Grand 
Telon .\alional Park ami Jack.'^o?i's Hole (Houston: (3rin [1, and 
Lorraine G. Bonney, 1%1, 1970), 86. 

^ Robert Righter. .-I Telon Country .-[luliolagx (Boulder; Rob- 
erts Rinehart Inc.. IQW). 173. 

' Risihter. Crucible for Ci)n.sen'alion. 64. 



of the valley. Commercialization threatened the 
destaiction of wildlife as well as the scenic beauty. 
Struthers Burt, a writer and dude rancher, stated the 
plan: "It would be a museum on the hoof — native 
wild life, cattle, wranglers, all living again for a brief 
time each summer the life of the early West with its 
glamour, romance and charm."' The majority felt that 
this proposal was sound. A "recreational area" reflected 
their preference for protection but not the limitations 
of preservation as then existed in Yellowstone. They 
wanted to provide for traditional activities such as 
hunting, grazing and dude ranching. 

The plan of action required one or more wealthy 
individuals to quietly purchase land north of .lackson's 
Hole. The individual(s) would then hold the land until 
Congress would reimburse the landowner and turn the 
land over to the National Park Ser\ ice. Those concerned 
people attending this historic meeting had no idea that 
they would need onh one individual to accomplish their 
dream. 

The plan first discussed at this site has been 
accomplished b\ the creation of Grand Teton National 
Park. A plaque on the doorway reads: "The broad 
vision and patriotic foresight of those who met here 
that July evening in 1923 will be increasingly 
appreciated by our country with the passing years." ^ 

Directions . Tour the Menor 's Feny area and visit 
the Chapel of the Transfiguration. Travel east to Moose 
Junction. Turn north on Highway 191. Drive a short 
distance to .4ntelope Flats Road, turn right. .4t the first 
dirt road (Kelly), turn south. This area is known as 
Mormon Row. 



MORMON ROW 

Mormon Row was settled around the 
turn of the century by several Mormon 
families moving into the area from Idaho. 
May, Moulton, and Chambers are just a 
few of those early settlers — many of their 
descendants reside in Jackson today. A 
school, church and other buildings are all 
that remain. 

John Moulton and his wife Bartha, 
homesteaded here in 1908. While pro\ing 
up on the land, John worked on other 
ranches and trapped beaver and coyotes. 
The Moulton homestead was sold to the 
National Park Service in 1953 with a lease 
on the land until John Moulton's death. 
The Moulton Bam. on the west side with 




Site of Pfeifer Homesteao 



Krois 



16 



Annals or Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 




Postcard. Kimmel Kabim and Jenny Lake Store, Jackson Hole. c. 1 940. 



Author's collection 



HEDRICK'S POINT 

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and his family visited Horace 
Albright in Yellowstone in July 1926. Albright took 
the family on a tour of the Jackson Hole area. The 
spectacular scenery of the Tetons made an impression 
on Rockefeller and his wife. Both were disturbed by 
the commercial developments encroaching on the 
Leigh-String-Jenny Lake region. 

On the return trip to Yellowstone Albright stopped 
near this point on the bluff overlooking the Snake River. 
(See photograph, page 14). Albright described it: 

It was particularly lovely that afternoon. The shadows 
of the Tetons were already reaching across the ri\'er 
bottoms, but Antelope Flats, the lands around Blacktail 
Butte and the distant hills cutting off Jackson from the 
Gros Ventre were still bathed in sunshine from a clear 
sky. As we stood on this little "rise" and absorbed the 
beauty of the scene spread before us, I told Mr. and 
Mrs. Rockefeller of the meeting at Miss Noble's cabin 
three years earlier and the plan to protect and preserve 
for the future this sublime valley." 

Rockefeller's commitment to preservation of the 
valley inay have come from stopping at Hedrick's Point. 
That winter. Rockefeller requested Albright's report 
and map discussing the proposal outlined at this point 
overlooking the Snake. Rockefeller made his decision 
— acquire lands throughout the valley to protect the 
scenery and preserve the wildlife. 

The Snake River Land Company was incorporated 
on August 25, 1927, and purchase of the lands began. 

Directions : Continue north on the wagon road until 
you return to Highway 191. Turn right (north) and 
then turn left at the Cunningham Cabin Historic Site. 



CUNNINGHAM CABIN 

J. Pierce Cunningham lived in Jackson Hole for 40 
years. This homestead, established in 1 890, formed the 
nucleus of his Bar Flying U Ranch. Cunningham served 
as postmaster, game warden and justice of the peace. 
When Teton County was organized in 1923, he was 
chosen as one of the commissioners. From the parking 
area there is a short trail to the buildings. A guide to 
the area is available. ' 

Reports of a horse stealing operation based in Red 
Lodge, Montana, appeared in many newspapers during 
1892. In April 1893, two suspected horse thieves, 
George Spenser and Mike Burnett, who had wintered 
at Cunningham's Spread Creek Ranch, were shot by 
posse members. Later investigation revealed that the 
leaders of the posse were not U. S. marshals.* 

Directions : Continue north on J 91 to Moran 
Junction. Turn west and continue to the Oxbow Bend 
Turnout. 

OXBOW BEND 

Laurance Rockefeller inherited his father's love of 
nature and interest in conservation. He took over the 
Jackson Hole Project in 1945 and developed tourist 
attractions that would appeal to those visitors in the 
valley for only a short visit. One of these attractions 

" Letter, Horace M. Albright to Mr. Wilford Neilson, "History 
of the Snake River Land Company and of the Efforts to Preserve 
the Jackson Hole Country for the Nation," (Jackson: Snake River 
Land Company, 1933?), 24. 

' Cimningliam Cabin Self-Guided Trail. (Moose: Grand Teton 
Natural History Association, 1985). 

* Elizabeth Wied Hayden, "Shoot Out at Cunningham's Cabin," 
Teton 8:29-31. 



3'ummor 



1999 



was the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park located at the 
Oxbow Bend. 

The Wildlife Park was to be a fenced area containing 
buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, black bear, beaver and other 
native species. The plan suggested that such an 
attraction would serve as "a gathering point for 
naturalists and wild-life enthusiasts, and an area for 
scientific study in wild-life conservation, propagation, 
and management on a scale unparalleled in the nation.'"" 
Such a park would ensure visitors a view of western 
wildlife. 

This "zoo" (as it was referred to by some) incited 
another battle between already warring factions. 
Conservation groups were especially upset at this plan. 
Olaus Murie, wildlife biologist and supporter of the 
park plan, was vehemently opposed to such a "park." 
In an article in National Parks Magazine in 1 946. Murie 
wrote: 

I ga\ e whole-hearted support to the creation of the 
Jackson Hole National Monument, with the thought 
that the area would give protection to the intangible 
\alues that are so important in this valley. I want to 
make it clear that I did not ad\ ocate a road-side zoo in 
the midst of the grandeur of Jackson Hole. On the 
contraPv'. it is this kind of intrusion which must be kept 
out of the valley.'" 

Supporters of the wildlife park argued that it would 
serv e as an educational instrument. In the end, Laurance 
backed off and the fences came down. 

This location was also the original site of the 
University of Wyoming/National Park Sen, ice Research 
Center. The buildings were relocated to the AMK 
Ranch when it became the research center. 

Directions : Continue on Highway 89 past the 
Jackson Lake Junction. Stop at the Willow Flats 
Turnout. Across the road is the former Jackson Lake 
Ranger Station. 

JACKSON LAKE RANGER STATION 

This was the site of the most physical battle in the 
struggle to create Grand Teton National Park. President 
Franklin Roosevelt established Jackson Hole National 
Monument March 15, 1943 — withdrawing a portion 
of acreage from the Teton National Forest. This did 
not bode well with the U. S. Forest Service. As Robert 
Righter described it, "From the beginning the Forest 
Service had openly or covertly opposed National Park 
Service objectives in Jackson Hole. Now it was difficult 
to admit defeat and graciously turn over some 1 30,000 
acres of land and lakes."" 



17 

Regional Director of the National Park Service, 
Laurence C. Merriam, arrived in Jackson Hole to 
oversee the changing of the guard. A description of 
what he found is reported by Righter. 

When the Forest Service evacuated m June, 1943 it 
was not done with what one might call a spirit of 
camaraderie. Not only were the furniture and 
equipment taken from the Jackson Lake Ranger Station, 
but ail the plumbing in the basement, kitchen, and 
bathroom was removed. E\en doors, cupboards, 
drawers, and cabinets, plus the accompanying 
hardware, were considered "movable equipment." 
Well tubing was removed, and an underground tank 
unearthed and packed away. To complete the task a 
four-foot square hole was cut in the living room, 
severing not only the flooring but the floor joists as 
well. In short, the station was uninhabitable.'' 

The Forest Service agreed to make the necessarv 
repairs and provide replacements of fixtures to make 
the structure livable. Today this infamous structure is 
a residence for park employees. 

Directions: Continue north o// <S'y to Jackson Lake 
Lodge. 

JACKSON LAKE LODGE & LUNCH TREE HILL 

Lunch Tree Hill is the spot from which John D. 
Rockefeller, Jr. first viewed the Teton Range in 1926. 
A plaque on top of the hill reads: 

This tablet is placed here in tribute to Mr. John D. 
Rockefeller, Jr.. whose vision, generosity, and love of 
country have made possible the presers ation of this 
region in its pristine beauty and grandeur. Here the 
spell of the magnificent Teton Mountains and the 
beautiful valley they guard first captivated him. He 
has since come often to this hilltop for renewed 
inspiration. 

The original resort was the Amoretti Inn. built in 
1922. Located only 1/2 mile from Moran, it was one of 
the largest of early tourist resorts. Its name was changed 
to Jackson Lake Lodge a short time after it was built. 

Purchase of Jackson Lake Lodge by Rockefeller 
interests was not part of the original plan. However, 
the owners wanted to sell. They received S40,000 in 
Teton Investment Company stock and $35,000 in cash 

' Olaus J. Murie, "Fenced Wildlife for Jackson Hole," Na- 
tional Parks Magazine. 20. Jan. -March 1946, 8. 
"'Ibid.. 9. 

" Righter. Crucible for Conser\-ation. 121. 
- Ibid. 



IS 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



for the lodge. Tourist facilities were not encouraged in 
the original plan for park expansion, but following the 
establishment of the larger park, it became necessary 
to provide overnight facilities. 

It took nearly three years to build the present Jackson 
Lake Lodge. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. carefully selected 
the site — adjacent to Lunch Tree Hill. The main 
lounge picture window, 60 feet wide and 2 stories high, 
frames the Tetons. According to Bonney's Guide, 
Rockefeller had a scaffold erected to the exact level of 
the lounge floor — he wanted to be sure that "America 
saw the Tetons in the perspective he saw them." The 
Lodge was dedicated June 1 1, 1955, "both as a gift to 
the American people and a pilot project in park 
development."'' 

While the view is inspirational, the architecture has 
been debated. Some claim that the poured concrete 
structure, supposed to resemble wood-grain, does not 
blend with the environment. 

Take time to enjoy the view from the lounge or the 
patio. Moose and beaver are frequent visitors to the 
willow flats. Don't miss the murals in the dining room! 

Directions : Leave the lodge area and head north on 
191 &287. Travel past Colter Bay. Turn left at the exit 
for Leeks Marina. 

LEEK'S LODGE 

Stephen N. Leek (1858-1 943 ) arrived in the Jackson 
Hole area in 1888 and became one of the first settlers 
to establish a pennanent residence. His ranch is thirty 



miles south of this lodge and was among the earliest 
dude ranches in the valley. 

Leek is remembered for his involvement with the 
Jackson Hole elk herd. During the 1890's and 1900's 
he witnessed the winter starvation of the elk. He used 
a portion of his hay harvest to feed the elk and prevailed 
on neighbors to do the same. The Jackson elk herd 
became his crusade. Telling photographs and lectures 
in the East brought national attention to the plight of 
the elk. He aroused enough attention that in 1912 the 
Jackson Hole National Elk Refuge was established. 

Leek also served as a guide and outfitter to hunters. 
It was not until 1 926-27 that he built his hunting lodge. 
He was both architect and builder. The nomination of 
Leek's Lodge to the National Register of Historic Places 
reads: 

Leek's name stands in a prominent place among the 
organizers and workers of the nation's earliest 
conservation efforts. This lodge should also be 
preserved as a memorial to a man who, given only a 
limited formal education, became, in the interest of 
wildlife preservation, a self-educated biologist, an 
author, a lecturer, [and] photographer and still remained 
a frontiersman. 

Leek's Lodge remained in use as a recreational facility 
for visitors through 1974-75 and was removed in 1 998. 
All that remains today is the stone fireplace.'^ 

" "Jackson Lake Lodge Dedication," June I L 1955, foreword. 
'"' "Park Officials Want Leek's Lodge Removed," Casper Star 
Tribune. }u\y 7, 1995, B3. 




The stone 
fireplace, all 
that remains 
of Leek 's 
Lodge. 1998. 



r-ummer 



1Q99 



19 



Directions : North of Leek 's Lodge is a paved road 
leading to the University of Wyoming/National Park 
Service Research Center. 

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING - NATIONAL 
PARK SERVICE RESEARCH CENTER 

The original ranch was estabhshed in 1 890-9 1 by John 
Dudley Sargent (descendant of artist John Singer 
Sargent) and Robert Ray Hamilton (descendant of 
Alexander Hamilton). Marymere. Sargent's name for 
the ranch, was among the early attempts at dude 
ranching. 

Many strange events occurred during Sargent's 
residence here. In 1891 Hamilton disappeared while 
hunting. After several days, searchers found his 
drowned body two miles below the Jackson Lake outlet. 
There is speculation that Sargent was involved in the 
death but this w as never pro\ en. Six years later, a very 
ill Mrs. Sargent was taken from the ranch so she could 
receive medical treatment. Adelaide Sargent died April 
11,1 897. There are many conflicting stories about this 
episode. Some imply that Sargent beat her; others that 
she'd had some sort of accident and her husband was 
treating her illness the best he could. Sargent was 
scheduled to stand trial for the murder of his wife in 
April 1 900 but the case was dismissed due to conflicting 
testimony and the lack of substantial evidence. 

After the death of Adelaide, Sargent renamed 
Marymere the Pinetree Ranch. A few years later, he 
remarried. Most people considered his new wife crazy 
because she would set in a tree completely naked, play 
her violin and eat peanuts.'' John D. Sargent lived here 
until his suicide in 1913. The ten-room cabin was torn 
down several years later. 

Pinetree Ranch was sold for $600 to cover delinquent 
taxes. Lou Johnson, a sales executive for the Hoover 
Vacuum Cleaner Company, purchased Sargent's ranch 
in 1926. The Johnson home, built the following year, 
is a two-story building because Johnson's wife was 
afraid to sleep in a ground floor room w ith bears in the 
area. Several other buildings including a boathouse were 
constructed at this site. The Johnson's named their 
residence on Jackson Lake the Mae-Lou Lodge. 

Following the death of Lou Johnson in 1931, Slim 
Lawrence became caretaker of the Mae-Lou property. 
Alfred Berol of the Eagle Pencil Company (became 
the Berol Corporation in 1969) purchased the ranch in 
1936 for $24,300. Construction began on the Berol 
Lodge in 1937. A new name was adopted — AMK. 
Ranch — representing the first letters of the first name 
of each family member. The Berol home is a single- 



story structure v\ ith windows looking out at Jackson 
Lake. Today, the master bedroom ser\ es as a research 
library for the Uni\ersity of Wyoming. 

Alfred Berol was notified in 1 938 that the AMK could 
be condemned as part of the proposed extension of 
Grand Teton National Park. As executor of his father's 
estate, Kenneth Berol deeded the AMK to the United 
States in 1976 for S3. 3 million.'" 

The University of Wyoming - National Park Service 
Research Center relocated to the AMK property July 
15, 1977. Research is conducted here on all aspects of 
the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Recently, the focus 
has been on the aftermath of the 1988 forest fires. 

Directions : Leave the Leeks Marina area and go 
south on 19! & 2S7 to the Jackson Lake Junction. A 
museum and visitor center is h)cated at Colter Bav At 
the Jackson Lake Junction, take the Teton Park Road 
to Jackson Lake Dam. There is a small parking area 
on the south side of the dam. 

JACKSON LAKE DAM & MORAN TOWNSITE 

When the original dam was proposed b\ the Bureau 
of Reclamation, not one word of protest was raised. 
The first dam on Jackson Lake was a crude rock-filled, 
log-crib structure erected in 1906. This dam washed 
out in 1910 and was replaced by a reinforced concrete 
dam in 1911. The second dam was barely finished 
when instructions were received to raise the lake level 
an additional ten feet — this was completed in 1916. 
During the I980's additional work was done on the 
dam. 

The argument against the dam arose when park 
expansionists wanted to include Jackson Lake. Some 
residents felt that the dam itself was a \ iolation of 
wilderness. The National Parks Association argued that 
to include a reservoir was a violation of the sanctity of 
a national park. Bob Righter states "the damming of 
Jackson Lake was an act of environmental desecration 
second only to the inundation of Yosemite's Hetch 
Hetchy Valley."" 

Amo Cammerer, Director of the NPS argued in favor 
of including the reservoir: "...the construction of a new 
reservoir which means violation of another great scenic 

'" Esther Allen, "Strange Music at Merr\ mere." Teton. 9 ( 1 916). 
16. 

"• -Through the Years at the AMK," Teton. 10 (1977), 2-5 & 
61-64; Kenneth L. Diem, A Tale of Dough Gods. Bear Crease. 
Cantaloupe and Sucker Oil: Marymere/Pinetree/Mae-Lou/AMK 
Ranch. (Moran: Llniversity of Wyoming-National Park Ser\ice 
Research Center, 1986). 

'" Righter, Crucible for Consenritu^n. 10. 



20 



Annals oi Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 



area, is a very different thing from the attempt to save 
a previously violated area from further exploitation. '^ 

In the end, park extension won the battle for inclusion 
of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. 

The original town of Moran was located just east of 
the Jackson Lake dam. In 1928 the Snake River Land 
Company purchased the land and all buildings from 
Ben Sheffield for $ 1 06,425. The town was dismantled 
in 1 957 — buildings were destroyed or relocated to other 
sites and the natural environment has reclaimed the area. 

Directions : Contimie south from the dam. To the 
right is Signal Mountain Lodge. Turn east at the Signal 
Mountain Scenic Drive exit. This is a five-mile drive 
to the summit of Signal Mountain. 

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN DRIVE 

The naming of Signal Mountain stems from the 
Sargent - Hamilton partnership. When Robert Hamilton 
was reported lost in 1891, searchers agreed to light a 
signal tire on the summit of this mountain (elev. 7,731 
ft.) when his body was found. 

Pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson 
accompanied the 1871 Hayden scientific expedition of 
to Yellowstone. Jackson's photographs contributed to 
the establishment of Yellowstone National Park. 
Hayden and Jackson returned to the area in 1872. 
William H. Jackson first recorded the majesty of the 
Tetons from the summit of this mountain in 1878. 



In an address prepared for, but not read, at the 
dedication of the Teton National Park on July 29, 1 929, 
Jackson discussed the numerous times he visited the 
area and the conditions in which he worked. He 
concluded: 

I have returned here frequently in the meantime, for 
pleasure instead of profit, for there is — on our 
continent, no grander or more satisfying prospect than 
the one now before us in which beauty, as well as 
majesty, are combined.'" 

Directions : Return to the highway and continue 
driving south. Turn west at the North Jenny Lake 
Junction. This is a one-way road to the south. There 
are several turnouts for photo opportunities. 

JENNY LAKE DRIVE 

The boundaries of the Park established in 1929 
included the Tetons and the eastern edge of Leigh, 
String and Jenny Lakes. Ideally, Grand Teton National 
Park was to be the first "wilderness" park. No hotels or 
facilities were to be included in park boundaries — not 
because Jackson residents were committed to wilderness 
but because they wanted to protect private and 
commercial interests. While there was little opposition 

'"Ibid., 91. 

'" William H. Jackson, "Address Regarding First Photograph- 
ing of the Tetons," Annals of Wyoming. 6 (July-October 1929), 
189. 




Lucas-Fabian 
Cabins. 1990. 



1999 



21 



to preserving the mountains, the battles began when 
conservationists and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., expressed 
an interest in protecting the view. 

Over the next 14 years Rockefeller's Snake River 
Land Compan\ purchased some 35.000 acres in order 
to protect the area. In 1 942, after numerous attempts at 
park expansion. Rockefeller threatened to sell the 
acreage if the Goxemment did not want it. On March 
16, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established 
Jackson Hole National Monument. Rockefeller deeded 
his 35,000+ acres as a gift to the federal government 
on December 6, 1949. After protracted disputes. 
Congress established the present Grand Teton National 
Park in September 1950 by combining the 1929 Park 
and 1943 Monument. 

To acknow ledge the Rockefeller's contribution to the 
preservation of Jackson Hole, Congress authorized the 
transfer of 24,000 acres of Forest Ser\ ice land as the 
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. Robert 
Righter states that the purpose of this land transfer was 
twofold: "To commemorate the many significant 
contributions to the cause of conser\ ation in the United 
States by Rockefeller, and to provide both a symbolic 
and desirable physical connection between the world's 
first national park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Teton 
National Park."-" 

Directions : Along this drive are Jenny ami String 
Lakes: Jenny Lake Lodge: and the Jenny Lake Ranger 
Station and Store. Coming out at South Jenny Lake 
Junction, continue driving south. Just south of the 
Glacier Gulch turnout a dirt road goes west to the 
Lucas-Fabian Site. 

LUCAS - FABIAN SITE 

Mrs. Geraldine Lucas was the first Jackson area 
woman to climb the Grand Teton and she did that at 
the age of 59. A hardy individual, Mrs. Lucas bathed 
daily in Cottonwood Creek which tlowsjust north of 
the Lucas cabin. 

Opposed to park extension and Rockefeller's land 
purchases, Lucas promised that she would never leave 
her land. According to Bonney 's Guide, she told 
Rockefeller "you stack up those silver dollars as high 
as the Grand Teton and I might talk to you." When she 
died in 1938, her ashes were buried on the property.-' 

It is ironic that her adversaries, Harold and Josephine 
Fabian, president and secretary of the Snake River Land 
Company, occupied the ranch after Mrs. Lucas' death. 
The Fabians were responsible for planning and 
completing the restoration of Menor's Ferry. Josephine 



Fabian was instrumental in the Jackson Hole Oral 
History Project and has written about the area's history. 
Directions : Return to the Teton Park Road and go 
south. The exit to the Bar B C Ranch is on the left 
(east). (If you reach the Cottonwood Creek turnout, 
you 've gone too far). 

BAR B C RANCH 

Struthers Burt, a writer from Philadelphia, and Dr. 
Horace Camcross, a psychiatrist, established the Bar 
BC in 1910 after a lengthy search for the ideal site for 
a dude ranch. They both agreed on this site directly 
east of the Grand Teton and on a curse on the west 
bank of the Snake River. Zoe Hardy wrote: "It was a 
place that could support the practical needs of a ranch 
— water, grazing land, trees and bountiful hunting and 
fishing. It had two additional ingredients for a 
successful dude ranch: isolation and exceptional 
beauty. " 

The Bar B C was the second dude ranch in the valley. 
"Dudes" first arrived here in 1912. In the early years 
there were dances, costume balls, trapshooting, rodeos 
and horseback riding. Nathaniel Burt recalled: 

The principal occupation of the ranch and of its dudes 
was riding... To take care of all this riding there was a 
complex of constructions. There were two big corrals, 
a long low saddle shed (ne\er "tack room") open on 
one side. ..hitching fence opposite the saddle shed, and 
back beyond all this the bam and blacksmith shop.-' 

Struthers Burt supported the idea of park expansion. 
The Bar B C and the Three Ri\ ers Ranch hosted people 
supporting both sides of the argument. Struther's son, 
Nathaniel remembered several heated discussions 
between 1930 and 1950. In Jackson Hole Journal he 
summed up the differing \ iewpoints. "The opposition 
was funda-mentall_\ based on plain instincti\e hatred 
of government encroachment. The support was based 
on equally instinctive hatred of commercial 
encroachment."-^ 

Burt and Camcross gave up the Bar B C in 1930. 
The Burt family mo\ ed farther north to the Three Rivers 
Ranch. Ir\ing P. Corse controlled the Bar B C after 
that. The Snake River Land Company purchased it 
and provided a lifetime lease to Corse and his second 

-" Righter, Crucible for Consen-alion. 148. 
■' Orin and Lorraine Bonney, Bonney's Guide. 82-83. 
-- Zoe Hard\, "The Lite Span of a Dude Ranch: The Bar B C 
1912-1989," Teton, 21 (1989). 21. 

-' Nathaniel Burt, Jackson Hole Journal. 34-35. 
-'Ibid., 129-130. 



99 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming Histon' Journal 




Bar BC Ranch in 1990 



wife. He died in 1953 and Mrs. Corse operated the 
ranch, run-down as it was, until 1986. This historic 
dude ranch is now part of Grand Teton National Park.-' 
Directions : Return to the Teton Park Road and go 
toward the Moose Visitor Center. After passing through 
the Park gates, take the Moose- Wilson Road south. The 
private road to the Murie home is on the east. 

MURE HOME 

Margaret (Mardy) and Olaus Murie moved to Jackson 
Hole when Olaus was appointed head of the National 
Elk Refuge in 1927. Both were avid conservationists 
and supported the idea of park expansion. Dr. Murie is 
recognized as the foremost authority on North American 
elk and caribou. Olaus' private convictions often 
clashed with the policies of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service — his employer. He retired in 1 945 to become 
national director of the Wilderness Society, a position 
he held until 1962. Righter described Olaus Murie as 
a "man who combined scientific knowledge and love 
of the wilderness with honesty and openness."-* As 
mentioned earlier, it was Olaus who was vehemently 
opposed to the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park. 

Mardy Murie was the first female graduate of the 
University of Alaska. A well-known conservationist, 
Mrs. Murie continues her crusade. Autobiographical 
books. Two In The Far North and Wapiti Wilderness, 
describe her life in Alaska and Jackson Hole. 

Olaus' "naturalist's studio" and some research notes 
have been retained by his widow in their log home south 
of Moose. Mardy frequently gives talks to students from 



the Teton Science School and to other groups. The 
Murie home is now part of Grand Teton National Park 
though Mardy Murie holds a lifetime lease. 

Directions : Return to the Moose- Wilson Road and 
go south. This road, while paved, is narrow and has 
several curves. At the point where the pavement ends 
is the gate to the JY Ranch. 

JY RANCH 

The West, the new summer playground of America. 
A veritable invasion of eastern tourists has followed 
the opening of this beautiful country which offers the 
vacationist, known in the parlance of men of the range 
as "dude," a solution for the summer vacation problem. 

Louis Joy arrived in Jackson Hole in 1907 and 
established his homestead in 1 908. The JY Ranch was 
the first dude ranch in the area. Struthers Burt partnered 
with Joy until Burt established the Bar B C farther north 
along the Snake River. Owen Wister stayed at the JY 
while his cabin was constructed at the R Lazy S Ranch 
just to the south. (The Wister cabin was dismantled 
and reconstructed at Medicine Bow, Wyoming, in the 
mid-1970s). 

A Pennsylvania businessman, Henry Stewart, 
purchased the JY in 1920. Stewart recognized the 
recreational value of Jackson Hole and was an active 



-■' "Records and History on the Bar B C Ranches,' 
Hole Museum NeMsletter, 4 (August 1986), 2-3. 
-"Righter, Crucible for Conservation. 128. 



Jackson 



Summer 19QQ 

supporter of the idea discussed at Maud Noble's in 
1923. Under Stewart's ownership, the JY prospered. 
The boundaries of the 1929 Grand Teton National 
Park included the JY Ranch. Stewart asked S250.000 
for the ranch when the Snake River Land Company- 
first approached him. He received S90.000 in 1932. 
Considered the "most scenic" of all dude ranches in 
Jackson Hole, Rockefeller and his sons favored it. 
Rockefeller requested that the JY be retained b\ his 
family. Rockefeller wrote; 

My children are greatly interested in this ranch and 
are anxious that I should retain it, for the present at 
least, for the general use of the family. This 1 shall 
presumably do. Howe\er. so long as the Park line 
remains as it is, it would be possible for me to give the 
whole or any part of this land to the Park at any time in 
the future without any government action. On the other 
hand, if our family should permanently retain it, no 
harm would be done.-" 

The JY remains in the possession of the Rockefeller 
family today. This "special treatment" has left some 
bitter feelings. Nathaniel Burt expressed just such a 
sentiment, "...the fact that the Rockefeller family itself 
bought and kept the old JY Ranch ...instead of selling 
it to the Snake Ri\ er Land Company as my tather sold 
his ranch — this too has not been popular... The JY 
Ranch is well kept and in good hands; but private 
holdings of that kind in the park were not supposed to 
be encouraged."-*' 

The JY and Bar BC ranches led the way for others to 
provide services for the dudes. As Nathaniel Burt wrote, 
"Though the two originals, the Bar B C and the JY, no 
longer operate as true dude ranches, their descendants, 
whether as private ranches or as active dude ranches, 
still proliferate."-' 

Directions : Reliirn to Jackson Hole. Either continue 
on the dirt portion oj the Moose-Wilson Road or 
backtrack to Moose and return to Highway 2H7. The 
final stop of this tour is at the Xational Elk Refuge. 



23 

range encompassed the surrounding mountains as far 
north as Yellowstone. During the winter months the 
elk would congregate in the Jackson vicinity. Dean 
Krakel 11 has pointed out that the elk population was 
kept in check by disease, predators and starvation. '- 

With the arrival of settlers in the region, much of the 
traditional range of the herds was used for li\ estock 
and crops. Fences blocked the age-old migration routes. 
There was not sufficient amounts of grass left to feed 
the elk so thousands starved. 

The winter of 1910-11 w as particularly harsh — thus 
the message sent by Stephen Leek to communities 
throughout Wyoming. Three days later the first load of 
hay arrived. Leek was among the first to help feed the 
elk. With his photographs and lectures, he brought 
attention to the decimation of the elk. 

After federal investigation concerning the starving 
elk, a refuge project was initiated. The National Elk 
Refuge was established August 10, 1912. for the care 
and preservation of the elk. From 2,800 acres in 1912, 
the refuge has increased to 23,754 acres. Elk may be 
the primary reason for the refuge but other wildlife 
benetlt as well. Moose, mule deer, bighorn sheep and a 
small flock of trumpeter swans li\e here. 

This "tour" discussed only a few of the places 
significant to the creation of Grand Teton National Park. 
There are many more scattered throughout the Park but 
their existence is ignored by the National Park Ser\ ice. 
Many of these, such as Leek's Lodge and the Pfeifer 
Homestead. ha\e been lost in the last fi\e years. 
Nonetheless, remaining historic sites help tell the story 
of the struggle to preserve the view. 

" Righter, Crucible for Consen'alion. *>. 
-^Nathaniel Bun. Jaclcson Hole Joiinuil. 142. 
-" Ibid. 68. 

"'" Righter, .-) Teton Country .■\ntlwlog\\ 165. 
'' Dean Krakel II, Season of llie Elk. (Kansas Citv: Louell 
Press, 1976). 51. 
'- Ibul. 53. 



NATIONAL ELK REFUGE 

JACKSON, Wyo. Feb. 7, 191 1. — Unless fed, five 
thousand elk will perish within two weeks. 

S.N. LEEK-'" 
Jackson Hole and the surrounding mountains are 
home to the largest elk herd in the world. Theodore 
Roosevelt referred to the Jackson area as the "home of 
all homes for the elk."'' 

It is thought that there were 60,000 or more elk in 
the Jackson Hole area in the 19th century. Summer 



Tainsen Emerson Hert is the Wyomhig Bibli- 
ographer at the Utiiversity of Wyoming Li- 
braries. She holds masters degrees in libraty 
science and American histoiy from Emporia 
State University in Kansas. A regular con- 
tributor to Annals, this article stems from her 
interest in historic structures in national 
parks. 




Nathuniel P. 
LangforJ 



Recognition of being first to summit the Grand car- 
ried tremendous prestige since few peaics in North 
America offer such a striking and imposing profile. The 
Grand has been aptly called "America's Matterhom" 
for its angular ridges and impressively pointed top. 
Soaring some 7000 feet above Jackson Hole, (13,770 
feet above sea level) the Grand captivates viewers from 
every angle by its sheer North and West faces, its high 
rising East Ridge, its numerous snowflelds, and its dis- 
tinctively angled summit, all which mark it as one of 
the great peaks in the entire Rocky Mountain chain.' 

Fur trappers who hunted for beaver and convened at 
the yearly rendezvous during the 1 820s and 1 830s knew 
the Grand and its sister Tetons as dominant landmarks. 
The peaks loomed far above the west side of Jackson 
Hole, the long and narrow valley named for David Jack- 
son, a fiar trader.- Few of these traders, of course, paused 
to contemplate a climb up the Grand or any of the high 
peaks, no doubt because of their keener interest in trap- 
ping beaver. Moreover, the sharp summits and loom- 
ing granite walls of the great peaks undoubtedly pro- 
voked a sense of awe if not fear. 



Montana 
Historical 
Society 



First Ascfnt d 
The Great 



Q urine the 1 9'^' and early part of 
*^ world achieved numerous first 
and the Matterhorn in the f^lps. Mt. I 
west and Alasl^a. and countless othen 
Credit for a first ascent often carrie( 
One of the most long lasting and bitte 
Place in the late 1 9^^ and early 20^'' cer 
in northwest Wyoming. The debate ra 
scientific expedition led by Ferdinand B 
party in 1898. This controversy ov€ 
other first ascents, marked by the in 
sional reputations, and not a few cha 



Nevertheless, it was fur traders and trappers who first 
attempted to climb the highest of the Tetons. In 1 843, 
a trader named Michaud LeClaire made the first known 
attempt on the Grand. Beaver Dick Leigh, another trader 
who lived in Idaho and frequented Jackson Hole in the 
middle of the 19th century, testified to Michaud's at- 
tempt and to his failure to reach the summit. Leigh 
himself hiked into Garnet Canyon below the Grand in 
1 858 and may have reached the Lower Saddle between 
the Grand and Middle Tetons. During the next several 
years other parties endeavored to scale the peak only to 
experience similar disappointment.^ 

For a beautifully written and classic description of the Grand 
Teton range the place to start is Fritiof Fryxell, The Tetons: In- 
terpretations of a Mountain Landscape (Berkeley and Los Ange- 
les: University of California Press, 1966); for a more personal 
encounter with the peaks by a climber see Robert Leonard Reid, 
Mountains of the Great Blue Dream (Albuquerque: University of 
New Mexico Press, 1998), 19-21. 

- A good introduction to the mountain fur trade with numerous 
references to David Jackson is Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith 
and the Opening of the West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1964). 



e Grand Teton: 
ntroversy 



by Mark Harvey 

snturies mountaineers around the 
if such major peaks as Mount Blanc 
d Mt. McKinley in the Pacific North- 
rth f^merican and Canadian Rockies, 
ors and sparked fierce competition, 
mountaineering controversies took 
;r the first ascent of the Grand Teton 
cades between members of an 1 872 
ind four climbers of a private climbing 
and" resembled those surrounding 
big egos, the burnishing of profes- 
;aults. 



In the summer of 1872, two members of Ferdinand 
Hayden's Geological Survey of the Territories claimed 
the first ascent. Nathaniel P. Langford, the first super- 
intendent of Yellowstone National Park, and James 
Ste\enson, ascended the Grand on July 29, although 
whether they reached the true summit remains a con- 
tentious issue. ^ Approaching the Tetons from the west 
and their camp in Alaska Basin, Langford, Stevenson 
and several others climbed the steep slopes up to the 
huge Lower Saddle which lies between the Grand and 
the Middle Tetons at an elevation of 1 1 , 600 feet. From 
there, they scrambled upward and to the north an addi- 
tional fifteen hundred feet and reached another higher 
saddle; then — so the>- claimed — they surmounted the 
final six hundred feet by utilizing a huge sheet of ice 
into which they cut steps with their boots." Upon gain- 
ing the summit, Langford wrote later, "We felt that we 
had achieved a victory, and that it was something for 
ourselves to know — a solitary satisfaction — that we 
were the first white men who had ever stood upon the 
spot we then occupied. Others might come after us, 
but to be the first where a hundred had failed was no 




braggart boast."'' 

Langford' s description of the topmost portion of the 
Grand above the Upper Saddle was vague, generating 
considerable doubts about their claimed ascent in later 
years. However, his summary of the climb, published 
in Scrihner's Monthly magazine in 1873, proves that 
the two men reached the Upper Saddle and the lower 
subsidiary peak just west of the Grand's summit. Here, 

' Leigh N. Ortenburger and Reynold G. Jackson, A Climber's 
Guide to the Teton Range 3"' ed. (Seattle: The Mountaineers. 1 996), 
152; Orrin H. Bonnes and Lorraine G. Bonney. The Grand Con- 
troversy: The Pioneer Climbs in the Teton Range and the Contro- 
versial First Ascent of the Grand Teton (New \orl<: .American 
.Alpine Club Press. 1W2). 17-19. 

■* Stevenson was in charge of one of Ha\den"s Survey divi- 
sions, responsible for exploring the Tetons and \ icinity . Langford, 
in addition to serving as the first superintendent of >'ellow stone, 
had e.xplored the Yellowstone region in 1870. See Nathaniel Pitt 
Langford, The Discovery of Yellowstone Park: Journal of the 
Washburn Expedition to the Yellowstone and Firehole Rivers in 
the Year IS'O (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972). 

" Nathaniel P. Langford. "The Ascent of Mount Hayden." 
Scribner's Monthly 6 (June 1873). 144. 

^ Ibid. 



2b 



Annals or Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 




his official report of the 1 872 Survey, Ferdinand Hayden wrote 
that the Enclosure was on the main summit of the Grand. 
Langford understandably cringed at reading Hayden's words 
because if accepted as true the conclusion could easily be 
drawn that he and Stevenson did not attain the highest sum- 
mit but merely the lower one at the Enclosure. Indeed, some 
of their colleagues in the survey speculated as much, surmis- 
ing that Langford and Stevenson could not see the actual sum- 
mit which was hidden in the clouds. Langford did not under- 
stand why Hayden could have been confused about the loca- 
tion of the Enclosure, since Langford had spoken with Hayden 
about their climb on several occasions. In any event, Hayden's 
report helped to ignite the controversy by confirming exist- 
ing doubts among various members of the Survey that the 
two men had reached the summit.'* In later years Langford 
tried to correct Hayden's error by citing his own Scrihner's 
article, which clearly stated that the Enclosure was located 
on the lower peak. 

Meanwhile, in the years following the alleged first ascent, 
others attempted to scale the Grand. A party of four mem- 
bers of the Hayden survey tried in 1877, including one Tho- 
mas Cooper, who later figured prominently in the contro- 
versy that emerged full blown in 1 898. Cooper and his party 
reached the Lower Saddle and possibly the Upper Saddle, 
but not the summit. The following year, 1878, still another 
Hayden Survey party planned an attempt. This time, the two 
lead climbers, both of whom had ascended Mount Blanc in 
the French Alps the year before, were unable to make the 
ascent because of lost mules at their base camp. Their third 
partner, A. D. Wilson, reached the Enclosure with a large 
theodolite, a tool he used to make triangulation measurements. 
Proof of Wilson's having reached the Enclosure appeared 
nearly a century later. In 1975, Leigh Ortenburger, author of 
The Climber 's Guide to the Teton Range, discovered with 
his daughters a metal matchbox in the rocks at the top of the 
Enclosure with Wilson's name scratched on its side.'" 



Scnhuer s Monlhly. June /.S7j. 

atop the lower peak, Langford and Stevenson discov- 
ered "a circular enclosure, six feet in diameter, com- 
posed of granite slabs, set up endwise, about five feet 
in height. . . . Evidently the work of the Indians, it 
could not have been constructed less than a century 
ago, and it is not improbable that its age may reach 
back for many centuries."' Their discovery gave rise 
to the name Enclosure for the lower peak, the summit 
of which can be reached by climbers today in only a 
few minutes from the Upper Saddle." 

Langford's article in Scribner 's Monthly made clear 
that the Enclosure was not on the summit of the Grand 
but lower down on a side peak. However, confusion 
over its location emerged soon after their climb, and 
helped spark the controversy in its earliest phase. In 



M 



ore than a decade passed with little or no climb- 
ing activity. Then, in 1 89 1 , William Owen and 
his wife Emma Matilda, along with two others, reached 
a point above the Lower Saddle. This proved to be the 
first of several attempts by Owen to scale the Grand. 
Two years later, a Captain Charles H. Kieffer, stafioned 
at Yellowstone National Park, attempted the Grand with 
two other soldiers, Logan Newell and John Rhyan, and 
they claimed to have reached the top by one of the south- 
em ridges on the peak. If Kieffer and his party did in- 

'' Ibid., 145. 

" Ortenburger and Jackson, Climber's Guide, 200-201. 
'' This point comes from Langford's letter to Henry Gannett, 
April 28, 1897, quoted in Bonney and Bonney. 78. 
'" Ortenburger and Jackson, Climber's Guide, 152. 



1999 



21 



deed reach the summit, however, they did little * 
to publicize the fact. The only known evidence Br^vg 



of this climb is Kieffer's letter and sketch draw- [K 
ing of the Grand which he sent to William Owen '|* _| 
in 1899." Thus. KietTer's claimed ascent also' ' .; 
remains a matter of dispute. 

Finally, on August 11, 1898, William Owen 
and three tYiends, the Reverend Franklin 
Spalding, John Shive, and Frank Petersen, 
reached the summit by climbing the upper West 
face above the Upper Saddle and by the route 
that now bears two of their names: Owen- 
Spalding. Upon reaching the top at four o'clock 
in the afternoon, the four men took in the mag- 
nificent view , car\ ed their names into a rock, and =jy, - ; 
placed a banner of the Rock\ Mountain Club w.'S-:--'-^" 
which had sponsored the climb.'- Two days later 
the party returned for a second ascent. This time 
Petersen, Shive, and Spalding climbed to the sum- 
mit where they built a large rock cairn, while 
Owen took photographs of them from the Enclo- 
sure. In subsequent days numerous observers, 
including T. M. Bannon of the Geological Sur- 
vey, saw the banner and stone monument from *t 
the valley floor through field glasses. The 1898 'j 
climb was thus well documented.'^ 

A month later Owen wrote an article about the • 
party's success which appeared in the Avu' York :4^'^*''./^J 
Herald. Owen clearly intended his account to establish that their 
triumph was indisputably the first ascent. In prose that sounded 
the dominant theme of what soon became William Owen's life- 
long campaign, he asserted that "No human being had been there 
before. Not a stone was turned. No semblance of a monument. 
Not the slightest shadow of a record of previous ascent. Every- 
thing just as Nature left it."'"" Owen felt certain that his part\ was 
the first, but he also relied on what he considered "unimpeac 
able" evidence including an affidavit by Thomas Cooper, an ac- 
quaintance of Langford and Stevenson in 1872, as well as other 
evidence. 

The //cTw/t/ article soon ignited a flerce debate that played out 
over the next several decades. Owen spent years denouncing 
Langford's and Stevenson's claimed ascent of 1 872, solicited af- 
fidavits from participants, and corresponded w ith climbers and v ari- 
ous experts on such topics as mosquitos above timberline and the 
reliability of aneroid barometers which Langford had used to esti- 
mate the height of the Grand. 

" Bonney and Bonne>. Craw/ rt)/;r/-o\'e/-5v. 64-65. Kieffer's letter to Owen 
of April 3. 1899, and sketch ofthe Tetons and route he ascended on the Grand 
appears in "Subject File — Mountain. Grand Teton." .American Heritage Cen- 
ter, University of Wyoming. 

'- Williain Owen, "Grand Teton's Summit." New York Herald. September 




NAK"Kt)W ESCArt 



in rHii.MA^ MllK\N 



Scribner's Monthly. June 187i 
'' Ibid : Ortenburger and Jackson. Chinber's 
Guide, 1 53; Frank Spalding. "The Teton Ascent." 
Laramie Republican. August 18. 1898. in Box 4. 
William Owen Papers. .American Heritage Cen- 
ter. University of Wyoming (hereafter cited as 
Owen Papers. ,AHC). 

'■* Owen. "Grand Teton's Summit." Septem- 
ber 18. 1898. 



28 



Annals of Wyoming: Tke Wyoming History Journal 







''V^Rr.* ■'i,. 



w^-* i'^ 
^i^ 







'Tm'o (/m.v /i//t'/- ihe party returned for a second ascent. This time Peterson. Shive. and Spalding climbed to 
the summit where they buih a large rock cairn, while Owen took photographs of them. " 



Owen's doggedness in attempting to prove that the 
1 898 ascent was the first to reach the summit of the 
Grand became so vigorous that not a few observers 
came to resent his campaign. Some did so because he 
all but ignored the other men of the ascent team for 
their contributions to the climb. In particular, Owen 
gave little credit to Frank Spalding who discovered the 
route from the Upper Saddle to the summit and led the 
climb. Spalding's lead was an act of tremendous cour- 
age given the unknown hazards on the climb, the route 
finding challenges, and the terrific exposure beyond 
the Upper Saddle. Others resented Owen's efforts out 
of respect for Langford and Stevenson (the latter died 
in 1 888) and they regarded Owen's actions as an attack 
on their character. To a large extent Owen did himself 
no favors in the court of public opinion. In their recent 
book on the controversy, Orrin and Lorraine Bonney 
portray Owen as a man obsessed with his place in his- 
tory who manipulated evidence, misrepresented the 
views of others and ""made a virtual career out of his 
obsession to be 'first'. "'^ 

Owen based his case that Langford and Stevenson 
did not attain the summit in 1 872 partly on the fact that 
they left no cairn or any physical evidence. Since it 
was a widely practiced and standard procedure of climb- 
ers to erect such cairns or some other type of monu- 
ment, Owen felt their failure to do so offered powerful 
evidence indicting their claim. Frank Spalding agreed, 



telling his fellow climbers repeatedly on the descent in 
1 898 that no self-respecting climber who attained such 
a summit would fail to build a cairn.'*" Langford, for 
his part, downplayed the issue, citing the success of a 
climb by C. E. Faye in the Canadian Rockies in prior 
years for which no cairn was built.'' Defenders of 
Langford also pointed out that he and Stevenson lacked 
sufficient time on their 1872 climb to build a cairn. 
(Indeed, Owen, Shive, Petersen, and Spalding did not 
build a cairn on the 1898 ascent due to lack of time; 
they erected the cairn two days later upon their return). 
Since the lack of physical evidence had not settled 
the matter, Owen obtained infonnation which he con- 
sidered even more persuasive: an affidavit from Tho- 
mas Cooper. This affidavit, along with Owen's own 
essay, was published in an issue of Forest and Stream 
in November, 1 898. Owen had first met Cooper in 1 896, 
having learned that Cooper was an experienced packer 
who might be willing to work for Owen on one of his 
surveys. When Owen met Cooper he had no knowl- 
edge of Cooper's familiarity with Langford and 
Stevenson, nor did he then have any reason to question 
their claim ofhaving reached the summit in 1872. Thus, 
when Cooper informed Owen that he had been a packer 

'^ Bonney and Bonney, Grand Controversy, 121-22. 
"' John Shive to W. O. Owen, August 29, 1924, Box 2, Owen 
Papers, AHC. 

' '' Bonney and Bonney, Grand Controversy, 96-97. 



■summer, 



IQQQ 



29 



with the Hayden Survey in 1 872 and that he knew that 
Langtbrd and Stevenson had not made the summit, 
Owen's competitive instincts were fired. Following the 
success of his own party's ascent in 1898, Owen re- 
quested a full account from Cooper of his recollections 
from 1872. 

In his 1898 affidavit. Cooper indicated having been 
a member of the USGS and the Wheeler Expedition in 
1872, and to have known Langford, Stevenson, and 
Professor Hayden. He stated that "all members" of the 
USGS Survey had been drawn into the dispute over 
Langford's and Stevenson's claim of reaching the sum- 
mit and that several of them had doubted their claim. 
According to Cooper's affidavit, Hayden himself re- 
marked in 1878 that he "knew their statements were 
not correct [and] knew Stevenson and Langford had 
never been on top of the peak." Most importantly. 
Cooper's affidavit described a personal encounter with 
James Stevenson in Rawlins in October, 1877, when 
Stevenson admitted to Cooper that he and Langford 
had reached the Upper Saddle and the Enclosure in 1 872 
but did not attain the summit."* 

Langford wasted no time challenging Tom Cooper's 
aftlda\ it. In a subsequent issue of Foresr ami Streom, 
Langford denied having known Cooper in 1 872 and he 
cited testimony of Henry Gannett, chief Geographer of 
the Hayden Survey in 1872, who stated that Cooper 
was not a member of the Survey that year. Cooper had 
also claimed that Langford had been in charge of one 
of Hayden's divisions, but Langford denied this and 



insisted that he "was never a member of the Survey, 
nor had charge of a division."'" Langford concluded 
that Cooper's affidavit of 1898, had been "well pre- 
pared in some respects, [but] exhibits the inherent weak- 
ness of a declaration, which, having a slight coloring 
of truth, is chiefly notorious for a disregard of facts."'" 

Owen did not rely on Cooper's affidavit alone. In 
the fall of 1 898, he also obtained an affidavit from Wyo- 
ming Governor William A. Richards. Before entering 
politics, Richards had been a civil engineer and sur- 
veyor. In 1 874, he had been at work marking the w est- 
em boundary of Wyoming and had encountered [Rea- 
ver Dick Leigh, who had also been a member of 
Langford's and Stevenson's party in 1872. When 
Richards shared a copy of Langford's Scrihner's ar- 
ticle with Beaver Dick, the latter "emphatically stated" 
that their claim of reaching the summit was untrue.-' 

Responding to Richards' affidavit in Forest and 
Stream, Langford denied that Beaver Dick Leigh was 
on the 1 872 ascent party and claimed that on .July 29, 
the day of the ascent, Beaver Dick was fifty miles away 

'" Cooper's aftldavit was taken in Laramie Count\ on October 
21. 1898; it appears in Box 2, Owen Papers, AUC; it was also 
published in Forest and Stream. November 5, 1898, and more 
reeentK in Bonney and Bonney, Grand Controversy. 417-419. 

'" Langford's letter appeared under the title "The Ascent of 
the Grand Teton." Forest and Stream. No\ ember 19. 1898. 

-" Ihid. 

-' Richards' affidavit was written on October 4, 1898. and ap- 
peared in Forest and Stream. November 5, 1 898. A copy is found 
in Box 4, Owen Papers, AHC. 



"Camp Onx'ii, Aug. 
12. 1898. •• Pictured 
(I to r): Petersen. 
Cooper (kneeling). 
.S p a I d i n g . 
Mc Derm en I. Shive. 
Photograph by W. O. 
Owen. Owen collec- 
tion. American Heri- 
tage Center. 




30 



Annals of Wyoming: Tlie Wyoming Histor>' Journal 



searching for a route into the Firehole River Basin. 
Langford's statement prompted Governor Richards to 
reaftlmi his original statement in a letter to the editor 
oi Forest and Stream?- Langford then obtained testi- 
mony from Beaver Dick himself in which Leigh ad- 
mitted to having been far removed from the area of the 
Grand. 

Langford also gained the support of his friend Hiram 
Martin Chittenden who wrote a twelve-page report on 
the Grand debate. As a prominent engineer and also 
historian of the American West, Chittenden's support 
gave Langford a powerftil ally. Chittenden criticized 
Cooper's affidavit for several inaccuracies, and he in- 
dicated that while Stevenson had admitted to Cooper 
of never having reached the summit of the Grand, he 
evidently never admitted the point to anyone else, in- 
cluding his own wife whom Chittenden interviewed. 
"So far as 1 have been able to ascertain," Chittenden 
wrote, "Cooper is the only person whom Stevenson 
ever told that he did not ascend this mountain."--' 

The affidavits fully launched the controversy in the 
weeks following the 1898 ascent, which quickly de- 
veloped into a war of words between Owen, Langford, 
Cooper, Richards, and Chittenden. Yet the affidavits 
merely added fuel to the fire rather than helping to re- 
solve the issue. Each side believed that it had the best 
witnesses and therefore the most reliable information 
about the 1 872 climb. Owen considered Cooper's affi- 
davit unimpeachable, while Langford believed it was 
filled with errors and misleading information. Not sur- 
prisingly, the debate began to focus increasingly on 
the character of various participants. Owen, for his part, 
obtained a statement from a Judge Charles Potter, of 
Cheyenne, who testified to Cooper's responsible char- 
acter, "good citizenship and integrity."-^ 

As the battle over the affidavits settled into a contest 
over who said what and when, the entire dispute in- 
creasingly came to focus on what many regarded as 
the single most important primary source document of 
the 1872 climb: Langford's essay published in 
Scribner's Monthly in June of 1873, "The Ascent of 
Mount Hayden." The essay remains to this day the 
central piece of evidence in the dispute, owing in part 
to recent research which reveals that Langford wrote 
several drafts of the piece before it appeared in 
Scrihner 's Monthly in June of 1 873. Leigh Ortenburger, 
the late co-author of the authoritative climbing guide 
to the Tetons, spent years researching the Owen- 
Langford controversy, and examined Langford's sev- 
eral drafts carefully. While Ortenburger's research has 
not yet been published, those familar with his work 
claim that it raises numerous questions about Langford's 



motives since he apparently changed his story in the 
various drafts.-' 

Yet the published version from Scribner 's Monthly 
also sparked considerable debate. In their recent book. 
The Grand Controversy, Orrin and Lorraine Bonney, 
long-time Teton climbers and historians of the range, 
scrutinized Langford's article careftally and concluded 
that it provided a clear and "straightforward" account 
of the topmost portion of the Grand above the Upper 
Saddle. The Bonneys vigorously defended the 1872 
climb as the first ascent. However, their use of evi- 
dence and their overall argument can be questioned and 
their book should not be taken as the last word on the 
subject.-^ 

To their credit, the Bonneys devoted considerable 
space to Langford's observations on the climb and to 
his description of the uppermost portion of the Grand. 
While they enthusiastically endorsed his description 
as a reasonable and accurate account of today's Owen- 
Spalding route, the fact remains that Langford provided 
little detail of the configuration of the mountain above 
the Upper Saddle. As a resuft, many climbers familiar 
with the peak remain doubtful that Langford and 
Stevenson were actually there in 1872. 

Langford's description of the final six hundred feet 
of the Grand beyond the Upper Saddle was short, only 
three or four paragraphs (depending on how one inter- 
prets the essay). In this section Langford first recounted 
Stevenson's unceasing and eventually successful ef- 
forts to scale an overhanging rock. Then, Langford 
took one long paragraph to describe a huge sheet of ice 

-- Langford's letter to Forest and Stream, Richards' letter to 
the editor, December 13, 1898, Bo.x 2, Owen Papers, AHC. 

- ' Chittenden's "report" was actually a twelve-page letter, Feb- 
ruary 14, 1899, to editor of Forest and Stream; Box 2, Owen 
Papers, AHC. 

-'' Potter's statement, October 21, 1898. Box 2, Owen Papers, 
AHC. 

-■'■ Author's interview with Reynold Jackson, April 7, 1999. 
Ortenburger died in a wildfire which engulfed a neighborhood of 
Oakland, California, in 1991, His history of the Teton range has 
not yet been published. 

-'' This author disagrees with parts of the Bonneys' book and 
questions their argument that Langford and Stevenson made the 
top in 1872. Although their book is based on a good deal of 
research and offers much useful information, the conclusions they 
draw from the evidence can be questioned at numerous points. In 
a sentence which reveals something of their approach, the Bonneys 
conclude that "Just as a key was needed to unlock the summit of 
the Grand, so too is a key needed to unlock the mystery of the 
1872 ascent, and the key is in believing that Langford's account 
is true. Once that has been done everything else falls into place." 
[p. 236]. This seems akin to accepting the guilt or innocence of a 
charged individual on trial in order to help make sense of the 
evidence brought before the court. The evidence should be weighed 
in order to reach the conclusion, not the other way around. 



Summer, IQQQ 

which cking to the uppermost part of the Grand and 
which he said proved to be the key to reaching the sum- 
mit. By cutting steps into the ice with their boots, 
Langford and Ste\enson ascended the hazardous ice. 
then clambered "over the fragments and piles of gran- 
ite which lay between us and the summit," reaching 
the top at 3 p.m.-^ 

Leaving aside the ice sheet for the moment, the pri- 
mary problem with Langford's account was its vague- 
ness. Many subsequent climbers who read it recognized 
little about the upper 600 feet of the Grand — toda\ "s 
Owen-Spalding route. That route, though not at all tech- 
nicall_\ difficult, does entail distincti\ e and memorable 
pitches.-'* From the Upper Saddle the route moves to 
the north where it follows a narrow and extremely ex- 
posed ledge out along the western face of the Grand 
for about 300 feet. It passes along the Belly Roll, a 
huge flake of rock; from there climbers reach a remark- 
able and extremely exposed ledge called the Crawl or 
Cooning Place, about 18 inches wide and 15 feet long 
that lies directly underneath an overhang. Frank 
Spalding, leader of the 1 898 climb, found that in order 
to cross the ledge he had to remove the camera strapped 
to his back and crawl on his stomach all the wa\ across, 
while trying to avoid peering over his left side down a 




W. O. Owen "readyfora climb " in 1925. "The ban- 
ner on the wall is my old metal flag we planted on 
the summit of the Teton in 1898. " Owen wrote on 
the back of the photograph. 



sheer 3000-foot wall to the bottom. Once past the Crawl, 
the route continues up the Double Chimney for 25 feet, 
at which point climbers can choose to ascend the Owen 
Chimney or the Catwalk. Higher up, these two alterna- 
tives converge below Sargent's Chimney. Once past 
the final chimney, the climb involves scrambling to 
the top.-" 

Langford pro\ided little description of these distinc- 
tive portions of the cUmb. Given his fiowery and at 
times dramatic prose, it is especially curious that he 
offered no account of the Crawl section, the narrow 
ledge under the oxerhang.'" To defend him on this point, 
the Bonne> s pointed out that Langford and Ste\ enson 
might not have crawled across the ledge but might have 
done what virtually every climber does to cross it to- 
da\ — use the ledge for a handhold and find good foot- 
holds down below. If Langford and Stevenson did pass 
the Crawl in this manner, then the experience would 
not ha\e been so memorable as it was for Spalding, 
Owen, Shive, and Petersen in 1898. If so, they may 
have had no reason to mention it.'' 

But Langford's account came under fire in other ways, 
especially his discussion of the large ice sheet. Langford 
described a huge hanging sheet of ice, lying atop the 
rock at a 70-degree angle, and noted that he and 
Stevenson approached the ice with considerable trepi- 
dation. "Beside the danger of incurring a slide which 
would insure a rapid descent to the base of the moun- 
tain," he wrote, "there was the other risk, that the frail 
fastenings which held the ice-sheet to the rocks might 
give way while we were crawling over it, and the whole 
field be carried with us down the terrible precipice." 
Yet knowing how close they were to the top they took 
heart and "laying hold of the rocky points at the side of 
the ice-sheet, we broke with our feet in its surface a 
series of steps, up which we ascended .... to its top- 
most junction with the rock."'- In a letter to Owen in 
1 898, Langford said that "we never could have reached 
the summit but for the aid of the sheet of ice, which 
formed our Ladder."'-* 



-' Langford. "Ascent of Mount Hayden," 144. 

-** A "pitch" refers to a small segment of the overall climb, 
often equal to the length of a rope. 

-" For a description of the route see Ortenburger and .lackson. 
Climber's Guide. 157-159; see also Spalding to Langford. De- 
cember 5. 1898. Bo.x 2. Owen Papers, AHC. 

'" Paul Petzoldt made this point in a letter to the editor of 
Outdoor Life. The letter is not dated but was probabK written in 
the fall of 1924. Box 2, Owen Papers. AHC. 

" Bonnev and Bonney. The Grand Controversy. 1 18. 

^- Langford. "Ascent of Mount Hayden." 143-44. 

^^ Langford to Owen. September 15, 1898. Box 2. Owen Pa- 
pers, AHC. 



32 



-/Vnnals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



Owen and other climbers harbored many doubts. 
Frank Petersen, a member of the 1 898 party, remarked 
that such an ice-sheet, "after two months exposure to a 
summer sun, could not possibly cling to the hard, steep, 
granite face on the west side of the Grand Teton. It is 
simply impossible."" Paul Petzoldt, who began his 
long climbing career in the Tetons during the 1920s, 
believed that ice sheets of such size and extent as 
Langford described normally do not disappear within 
a few years, yet he knew of no such ice sheet on the 
upper west side of the Grand. Even if the ice sheet did 
exist in 1872, Petzoldt doubted that Langford and 
Stevenson could have kicked holes in the hard ice. 
"Climbing ice sheets on that slant is not probable and 
the kicking process must have resulted in some badly 
bruised toes. For the latter Langford does not ac- 
count.""' Another piece of evidence challenging the 
presence of the ice sheet is a photograph taken by Wil- 
liam Henry Jackson from the top of Table Mountain 
within a few days of Langford's and Stevenson's al- 
leged ascent in 1872. The picture displays the upper 
West Face of the Grand but shows no large draping 
sheet of ice.'" 

If the presence of the ice sheet raised many doubts, 
so too did additional details in Langford's essay. Once 
above the ice, Langford reported seeing fresh tracks of 
"that American Ibex, the mountain sheep, — the only 
animals known to clamber up the sides of our loftiest 
peaks." In the next sentence he mentioned seeing "flow- 
ers also, of beauteous hue, and delicate fragrance, 
[which] peeped through the snow ...."" But in the minds 
of some, Langford's most fanciful sighting was mos- 
quitos on the summit itself" 

These sightings provoked a great outcry from Owen, 
Petersen, Spalding, and Shive and their defenders. As 
for the mountain sheep, Shive claimed to have "hunted 
these animals for thirty years over the Teton moun- 
tains and 1 know that no sheep that ever breathes could 
get that close to the top of the peak unless he had wings 
.... It arouses my curiosity, too, to know what a sheep 
would be doing three thousand feet or so above the 
point where he could get anything to eat."'" Others 
similarly denounced the sheep sighting, Petersen say- 
ing in an affidavit that "a sheep might get to the 'En- 
closure' if he were driven there; but he could no more 
climb the last 600 feet of the Grand Teton than he could 
climb a telephone pole."*' Numerous climbers since 
have agreed that the precipitous walls on the upper 
Grand make the presence of such wildlife an impossi- 
bility. They have also expressed doubts about wild- 
flowers, based on the height of the Grand and the com- 
plete lack of soil or vegetation near the top. While flow- 



ers such as Sky Pilots have been seen between the Lower 
and Upper Saddles, no reports of flowers between the 
Upper Saddle and the summit have ever been re- 
corded.^' 

Owen and his compatriots could hardly contain their 
laughter at Langford's claim of mosquitos on the sum- 
mit. Shive, a resident of Jackson Hole for nearly three 
decades and a hunter in various mountain ranges in 
northwest Wyoming, said "never in my life have I seen 
a mosquito 500 feet above timber line, which, in this 
vicinity of the Tetons is about 1 0,200 feet above the 
sea.""*- Owen, of course, left nothing to chance. He con- 
sulted with an entomologist, L. O. Howard of the United 
States Department of Agriculture, on the likelihood of 
finding mosquitos thousands of feet above timberline. 
Howard replied that little research had been done on 
the matter and "science has not determined the point 
about which you inquire." But Howard was doubtful 
that mosquitos would breed above timberline and he 
believed they "would not rise above this line unless 
carried by strong currents of air."'" 

Two additional points from Langford's essay also 
provoked debate. If Langford and Stevenson did reach 
the summh surely they would have had a sense of how 
the top actually appeared. In this regard, Langford's 
description of the summit as a "bald, denuded head ... 
worn smooth" by the elements" gave further support 
to Owen and his allies. ^^ Far from being a bald or 
smooth cap of granite, the top of the Grand is, as Frank 
Petersen described it, "a mass of chopped and broken 
blocks varying in size from a tea kettle to a cook-stove." 
Referring to Langford's choice of words of a bald sum- 
mit, Stevenson remarked that "no intelligent man, had 
he ever seen the summit of the Grand Teton, would 
have written such a description as this."'" 

'"• Petersen's affidavit, dated September 9, 1 924, taken in Teton 
County, is in Bo.x 2, Owen Papers, AHC. 

-'"' Petzoldt to editor oi Outdoor Life, n.d., but probably the fall 
of 1924. Box 2, Owen Papers, AHC. 

-'* Reynold Jackson interview, April 7, 1999. 

■''' Langford, "Ascent of Mount Hayden," 144-45. 

^^ Ibid.. 148. 

''' John Shive to William Owen, August 29, 1 924, Box 2, Owen 
Papers, AHC. 

•"' Petersen affidavit, Sept. 9. 1924, Box 2, Owen Papers, AHC. 

■^' See William Owen's letter, "The Ascent of the Grand Teton," 
Forest and Stream, December 31, 1898, Box 3, Owen Papers, 
AHC; Renny Jackson interview, April 7, 1999. 

''- Shive to Owen, August 29, 1924, Box 2, Owen Papers. 

■" L. O. Howard to Owen, December 3, 1898, Box 2, Owen 
Papers, AHC. 

''"' Langford, "Ascent of Mount Hayden," 144. 

■'- Frank Petersen affidavit, Teton County, Wyoming, Sept. 9, 
1924, Box 2, Owen Papers, AHC; Bonney and Bonney, Grand 
Controversy, 119. 



Sur 



IQQQ 



A final matter focused on the elevation of the Grand 
Teton. Langford, who carried an aneroid barometer on 
the 1872 ascent, stated in his Scrihner's Monthly ar- 
ticle that the summit was 1 3,762 feet (above sea level)/" 
When Owen estimated the top of the peak to be 13, 
800 feet two and a half decades later, Langford felt that 
the two figures were so close that Owen's estimate sub- 
stantiated his own and thereby bolstered his own case. 
Owen, wanting to leave no evidence of Langford's 
unchallenged, eventually found a way to discredit 
Langford's figure with assistance from the U.S. Geo- 
logical Survey. In 1926, Julian Sears, acting director 
of the Survey, informed Owen that the agency had con- 
cluded that readings from aneroid barometers were very 
unreliable, "even in the hands of skilled observers. "''^ 
Sears indicated that readings from aneroids were known 
to have been inaccurate by several thousand feet. This 
comforted Owen greatly and enabled him to place yet 
another nail into Langford's and Stevenson's claims.^" 

The Owen-Langford controversy waxed and waned 
for at least three decades after the 1898 ascent. Re- 
markably, as The Climber 's Guide to the Teton Range 
points out, no one revisited the summit of the Grand 
until 1923. two and a half decades after that ascent. 
Beginning in 1 923 several parties made the ascent, and 
the publicity resulting from them helped to revive the 
old controversy between Owen and Langford. 
(Langford died in 1909). Owen himself climbed the 
Grand in August, 1924, at the age of 65, more than a 
quarter century after his initial climb."''' By now, it may 
be said that William Owen had time and the benefit of 
changing circumstances in Jackson Hole on his side. 
During the 1 920s several climbers, including the young 
and courageous Paul Petzoldt. had reached the top of 
the Grand and had verified much of Owen's doubts 
about Langford and Stevenson. Owen capitalized on 
their experiences and finally achieved the recognition 
he had so long sought. 

Owen also found that leaders of the town of Jackson 
and of Teton County could be courted for they did not 
wish to be associated in any way with such a long stand- 
ing controversy involving the highest peak in the Teton 
range. Owen made sure that several prominent citi- 
zens of Jackson Hole and of the town of Jackson itself 
were made aware of what he considered to be grave 
weaknesses in Langford's and Stevenson's case, and 
he found them all in agreement that the great contro- 
versy should be brought to an end. Leading business- 
men and pillars of Jackson such as Robert E. Miller, 
W. C. Deloney, Richard Winger, and A. C. McCain 
subsequently signed a petition which Owen presented 
to the Teton County Board of Commissioners in 1926. 



33 

The petition offered a "resume of evidence" including 
Cooper's 1898 affidavit and Langford's article from 
Seribner's Monthly with the "inherent improbability 
of [its] numerous statements." The Teton County com- 
missioners subsequently adopted a resolution denounc- 
ing the 1872 ascent by Langford and Stevenson "as 
spurious and utterly without foundation in fact," and 
credited Owen, Spalding (now dead), Shive, and 
Petersen with the first ascent on August 1 1, 1898.^" 

■"* Langford, "Ascent oflVlt. Hayden," 148. 

-'■ Sears to Owen, August 23. 1926, Box 2, Owen Papers, AHC. 

""* In light of the problems with aneroid barometers as well as 
the uncertainty of whether the 1872 party reached the summit, it 
is perhaps amazing that Langford's estimate of 13,762 feet is 
only eight feet lower than the modern day measurement. See 
Bonney and Bonney, Grand Controversy, 123. 

*"* "Owen Returns to Teton Peak," Laramie Boomerang, Au- 
gust 26. 1924. 

^" The Teton County Commissioners resolution is in Box 2, 
Owen Papers. AHC. 




Owen holds the plaque commemorating his climb of the 
Grand. Pictured with him at ceremonies held in July. 
1932. are Horace Albright (left) and Sam T. Woodring, 
the first superintendent of Grand Teton National Park. 



34 



Annals of Wyoming: Tne Wyoming History Journal 



Heartened by the commissioners' actions, Owen ap- 
proached the Wyoming legislature, pressing for a simi- 
lar resolution. In 1927 the state House of Representa- 
tives passed a resolution conferring the honor on the 
1 898 party, a move that provided official state recog- 
nition and stipulated that the state historian "incorpo- 
rate in the historical records of her office this finding 
of the Legislature."" 

Additional recognition and officially sanctioned hon- 
ors were forthcoming in subsequent years. On March 
4, 1929, the National Board of Geographic Names ap- 
proved of Owen's name for the second highest peak in 
the range, the picturesque spire just to the north of the 
Grand." That same year. Congress created Grand Teton 
National Park to protect the high peaks. Owen took 
delight in seeing a National Park Service press release 
announcing the new park in which the NPS credited 
Owen and his three companions with the first ascent of 
the Grand, and said of Langford and Stevenson that "it 
now appears that they climbed one of the higher sister 
peaks, mistaking it for the Grand Teton."" 

On July 30, 1929, Owen attended a ceremony dedi- 
cating the newly created Grand Teton National Park. 
Afterwards, he rode by car to the town of Jackson, join- 
ing several other passengers including Dr. Grace 
Raymond Hebard, who stunned Owen with a report of 
her recent conversation with William Henry Jackson 
at Jackson Lake Lodge. Jackson had accompanied the 
1872 Hayden survey and had joined Langford and 
Stevenson's ascent party on the first portion of the 
climb. Now, almost sixty years later, Jackson had in- 
formed Hebard that Langford had admitted to him that 
he and Stevenson never made the summit. Thrilled by 
this latest evidence in his favor, Owen quickly asked 
Hebard to confirm Jackson's statement in writing, and 
he took affidavits about Hebard's conversation in the 
car from Allen Austin and Rose Crabtree, residents of 
Jackson who had also been passengers in the car.""" 
Owen believed that Jackson's statement provided the 
clinching evidence for the 1 898 ascent, if any such evi- 
dence were needed. 

Perhaps it is safe to say that no final settlement 
of the Langford-Owen controversy will ever 
be reached, and it has not been the purpose of this es- 
say to offer any final proof Certainly if additional 
diaries or manuscripts are uncovered in the future the 
case will be revisited again. Yet if final proof seems an 
unlikely possibility, the fact remains that William Owen 
triumphed in the dispute decades ago and, until addi- 
tional information is found, he and his colleagues will 



continue to have credit for the first ascent. 

By the end of the 1920s much had changed in Jack- 
son Hole, including the growth of the town of Jackson 
as well as the renewed interest in clim.bing the peaks. 
These economic and cultural developments affecting 
the valley enabled Owen to capitalize on the uncertain- 
ties and ambiguities surrounding Langford's and 
Stevenson's claimed ascent of 1 872. By that time, nu- 
merous climbers familiar with the Grand simply could 
not comprehend or follow Langford's description of 
the Owen-Spalding route. Furthermore, Owen found 
sympathetic ears and minds among local business lead- 
ers who felt that their community's future and its re- 
spectability in the eyes of other Wyoming citizens rested 
in part on having an accurate sense of its own history. 
Those interests found favor in the state legislature as 
well. A combination of elements, then, enabled Owen 
to triumph in the end. Though the 1898 ascent was 
hardly his triumph alone, Owen's tireless efforts el- 
evated him into the public spotlight and ensured that 
his name, far more than that of his equally courageous 
colleagues, was forever identified with the first ascent 
of the Grand. 

-''' Joint Resolution No. 2, Wyoming House of Representatives, 
February 9, 1927, Box 4, Owen Papers, AHC; "Conqueror of 
Grand Teton Recognized by Legislature After Lapse of Years," 
Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1927, clipping in Box 2, Owen 
Papers, AHC. 

'- W. O. Owen, letter to the Wyoming State Tribune. February 
18, 1945, clipping in Bo,\ 2. Owen Papers, AHC. 

'^ Quoted in Owen's letter to editor of Jackson Hole Courier, 
March 28, 1929, clipping in Box 2, Owen Papers, AHC. 

■'■* Owen letter to Wyoming State Tribune. Feb. 18, 1945, Box 
2, Owen Papers, AHC. 



Mark Han'ey is associate professor of history 
at North Dakota State University, Fargo. His 
scholarly interests center on the American West 
and its environmental history, especially na- 
tional parks and wilderness. He is author of A 
Symbol of Wilderness: Echo Park and the 
American Conservation Movement (Albuquer- 
que: UNM Press, 1994). He has climbed the 
Grand Teton on three occasions, the first at 
the age of 14 in 1971. 



A Jackson Hole Life: 
Verba Lawrence 




Slim and Verba La«renc 



By Sherry L. Smith 



Jackson Hole is a many-storied landscape.Of course.most 
o its stories, at least those which have found the.r way into 
p in feature men.After all, historians traditionally associate 

h n^ain themes of that valleys history - fur trapping^ big 
game hunting, homesteading, dude wrangling, park making, 
ranching and -politicking"— with men.' 



36 



Annals or Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



Occasionally one gets a glimpse of women in the 
midst of Jackson Hole's historical figures; Jenny, 
trapper Beaver Dick Leigh's Shoshone wife, or 
Jackson's 1920's all woman city council and mayor. 
But frankly these women are there as anomalies, inter- 
esting for their exoticism, their difference, the spice 
they add to a stew that is predominantly Anglo and 
male. In short, for decades Jackson Hole's stories fo- 
cused on activities deemed important because they were 
economic and political, those more "public" arenas 
where men dominated. Moreover, the men's voices 
were those most easily reclaimed in government docu- 
ments, in the newspapers which chronicled their ac- 
tions, and in the letters and diaries that historians sought 
out in archives. Women, of course, were there all along. 




Verba Lawrence 



They rarely took public roles, but that does not mean 
they were invisible. They seldom articulated their opin- 
ions in public forums, but that does not mean they were 
silent. Over the last century, women in Jackson Hole 
have left an abundance of evidence that they had sto- 
ries of their own. And they told them. Such stories' 
transition to the pages of history books merely awaited 
someone's interest to recapture and re-articulate them.- 
This is a story about one of those women who "came 
to Wyoming long, long time ago now," to borrow a 
phrase from Jackson Hole songwriter Beth Mcintosh's 
lovely song "Three Women," and who left a rich record 
of her experiences. Verba Delaney Lawrence arrived 
in the Tetons in the early I920's, a teenager looking 
for work in the valley's budding tourism industry. What 
she found was a life. For the next fifty years. 
Verba enjoyed a partnership with her husband 
Cecil "Slim" Lawrence and an unusual opportu- 
nity to enjoy a special comer of the valley through 
the core years of the twentieth century. The 
Lawrences served as caretakers for a spectacular 
property, overlooking Jackson Lake and the ma- 
jestic Teton Range. Various owners christened 
that place differently: "Marymere" under John 
Sargent's ownership, "Mae-Lou" during the 
William Johnson era, and the "AMK" during the 
Berolzheimer years. ^ Verba deeply loved that 
place. The importance of it — the centrality of it, 
really — to the contours of her life is undeni- 
able. 

* The author thanks the Wyoming State Historical So- 
ciety for providing a Lola Homsher Research Grant and 
the University of Wyoming-NPS Research Center where 
she and her husband, historian Robert H'. Righter, spent 
six weeks researching and writing. The center is located 
at the former AMK. Verba Lawrence 's home for many 
years. 

' Among the best-known works chronicling Jackson 
Hole history are Robert B. Betts, .4long the Ramparts of 
the Tetons: The Saga of Jackson Hole. Wyoming (Boul- 
der: Colorado Associated University Press, 1978). David 
J. Savior, Jackson Hole. Wyoming ("Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1970), and Robert W. Righter, Crw- 
cible for Conservation: The Struggle for Grand Teton 
National Park (Boulder: Colorado Associated University 
Press, 1982) 

- For a recent example see Sherry L. Smith, "A Woman ^ 
Life in the Teton Country: Geraldine A. Lucas," Mon- 
tana, the Magazine of Western History 44 (1994): 18-33. 

^ For an excellent history of this property see Kenneth 
L. Diem, Lenore L. Diem, and William C. Lawrence, A 
Tale of Dough Gods. Bear Grease. Cantaloupe and Sucker 
Oil: Marymere/Pinetree/Mae-Lou/AMK Ranch (Moran, 
Wyoming: University of Wyoming-National Park Service 
Research Center, 1986). 



1999 



37 



However, her place in Jackson Hole was not as un- 
limited as the landscapes which surrounded her. To 
some degree economic class and gender circumscribed 
it. An examination of Lawrence's life, then, provides 
an opportunity to engage some broader questions re- 
garding the relationship between the West as region, 
women's roles, and women's potential to challenge the 
boundaries and limits placed upon them by gender ex- 
pectations and economic status. For the first half of 
this century, at least, Jackson Holers saw their valley 
as a remote and isolated one. For some, that meant it 
was a place where non-traditional roles were more ac- 
ceptable or, at least, tolerated. Did Jackson Hole's sup- 
posed "frontier" existence allow women more freedom 
to challenge prescribed roles? Did Verba Lawrence even 
care about such things']* And what about social and eco- 
nomic class? Did Jackson Hole offer any special eco- 
nomic opportunities for working class women? How 
did the wealthy and the people they employed see one 
another earlier in this century? In a place that used to 
pride itself on the supposed absence of such social dis- 
tinctions, does the everyday life of an ordinary woman 
shed any light on the possible existence of class divi- 
sions in Jackson Hole before the advent of gated com- 
munities and multi-million dollar second homes?'* 

Verba Lawrence was an unpropertied, working class 
woman, although she probably did not identify herself 
that way. To a historian, however, Lawrence offers a 
special opportunity to examine and analyze the experi- 
ences of one of Teton County's "service class" — be- 
cause she was a writer, of a kind. For thirty-seven years 
Verba kept a diary. Nearly every day she jotted down a 
line or two in little leatherbound, five year diaries — 
providing valuable views into the daily life and musings 
of one of Jackson Hole's less prominent citizens and 
little known worlds.'' 

In Mary Clearman Slew's book, Balsamroot, the 
author writes about her Aunt Imogene who, like 
Lawrence, kept diaries for decades. The journals "are 
filled," in Blew's words, "like a ragbag with the daily 
doings that make up a life." Reading the diaries. Blew 
goes on, "is to experience the absolutely linear. A plot 
sort of emerges, like a river, continuous, with appar- 
ently unrelated details bobbing to the surface and then 
submerging." Moreover, the diaries convey a most com- 
pelling sense not only of the immediate, but also of the 
past. For on "a given page [which] contains five en- 
tries for five consecutive years; she could take in at a 
glance what she hoped for the year before, or the year 
before that, or what she had dreaded." Finally, Blew 
says about Aunt Imogene's diaries, "She is place-spe- 
cific. I could draw a map of that thirty-mile radius 



[wherein she lived], re-create its textures out of 
memory."^ 

All the same holds true of Verba Lawrence's diaries. 
They are filled with the "ragbag" of commonplace, 
everyday events. They chronicle the immediate, but 
also the retrospective. They are linear although, espe- 
cially during the first two decades, they are almost cir- 
cular as the patterns of life determined by nature's 
changing, cyclical seasons, dictated so many aspects 
of Lawrence's life. Finally she is indeed place specific. 
For most of their married life Verba and "Slim" 
Lawrence rarely left the thirty-mile radius of their north- 
em Jackson Hole home. Although she did not own a 
square inch of it until very late in life. Verba consid- 
ered this "my country" which she possessed not by le- 
gal claim but b\ virtue of li\ing on it and loving it. In 
the end, Lawrence was not a particularly introspective 
person. Perhaps the few lines, the tiny space, allowed 
per day in such five-year diaries, did not encourage 
musings beyond the day's detritus. But Verba seemed 
more given to action than reflection and if she ever 
pondered deeply on her life and its larger significance, 
she did not commit such thoughts to paper. 

Verba arrived in Jackson Hole from the west. In 1 906, 
one year after her birth in Iowa, Verba Delaney's fam- 
ily moved to Teton Valley, on the west side of the 
Tetons. The family, which was Monnon, farmed near 
Alta. Starting in 1 92 1 , at age 1 6, Verba began working 
in the summer for various Jackson Hole families: the 
Edicks in Kelly, Frews in Moose and by 1923-24 she 
waited tables at Ben Sheffield's Teton Lodge in Moran, 

"* These kinds of questions have particular!) attracted the atten- 
tion of western historians in recent years. See Julie Roy Jeffrey, 
Frontier Women The Trans-Mississippi West. 1S40-ISS0 (New 
■*iork: Hill and Wang, 1979); Susan Armitage and Elizabeth 
Jameson, eds.. The If'oinen's West (Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1987); Glenda Rilev. The Female Frontier A Com- 
parative View of Women on the Prairie and the Plains ( Lawrence: 
University Press of Kansas, 1988); Ruth B. Moynihan. Susan 
Armitage and Christine Fischer Dichamp, eds.. So Much To Be 
Done: Women Settlers on the Mining ami Ranching Frontier (Lin- 
coln: LIniversity of Nebraska Press, 1990); Susan Armitage and 
Elizabeth Jameson, eds.. Writing the Range: Race. Class, and 
Culture in the Women's West (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press. 1997); and Dee Garceau, The Important Things of Life: 
li'omen. Work, and Family in Sweenvater County Wyoming. 1880- 
1929 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997). 

■■ The Verba Lawrence diaries span the years 1 93 1 to 1 968. The 
diaries reside at the Teton County Historical Society, Jackson, 
Wyoming. Xero.x copies are available at the American Heritage 
Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming. .All diary 
entry citations which follow refer to the original diaries at the 
Teton County Historical Society. 

*■ Mary Clearman Blew, Balsamroot: A Memoir (New York: 
Penguin Books, 1994), 124-25. 



38 



Annals or WyomingiTne Wyoming History Journal 



the town that used to sit adjacent to the current Jackson 
Lake Dam site. It was while working in Moran that 
Verba met Slim Lawrence, as one would expect, at a 
dance. Lawrence, a driver for the Lander- Yellowstone 
Transportation Company in the summers, stayed in one 
of Sheffield's cabins and punched cattle, hauled wood 
and served as a guide and butcher for Sheffield during 
the off-season.^ 

The nature of their courtship reflected the changing 
patterns of their time, as Victorian manners faded and 
the unchaperoned, youth culture of the 1920's replaced 
it. Far from family super\'ision and control. Verba en- 
joyed a measure of autonomy and freedom yet, pre- 
sumably, Victorian sexual standards remained intact. 
In this respect, her behavior typified that of other rural 
Wyoming women of her day, whereby independence 
and loosening family control over courtship stopped 
short of eastern versions of the "New Woman," who 
supposedly threw old rules about sexual propriety to 
the wind. As historian Dee Garceau explained it, in 
rural Wyoming "unsupervised courtship was double- 
edged, for it threatened single women with exclusion 
if they violated its standards. The double moral stan- 
dard was nearly as effective as chaperones in discour- 
aging single women from sexual expression."* 

Whatever the intimate details of their courtship. Verba 
and Slim married in 1929. This was Slim's second 
marriage. '* A few months after the wedding, the couple 
snared the perfect job: caretaker for William Louis 
Johnson's place, north of old Moran. Johnson made 
his fortune as Division Manager of the Eastern Sales 
Division of the Hoover vacuum cleaner company and 
in 1 926 purchased the John D. Sargent homestead prop- 
erty. The following year he began construction of a 
two-story log lodge which remains standing to this day. 
The Johnsons intended this place only as a vacation 
home (particularly for hunting), however, and so hired 
Slim and Verba to watch over the property year-round. '" 
Tourism, long an element of Teton County's economy, 
initially brought both Verba and Slim to Jackson Hole. 
It was the advent of wealthy peoples' "second homes," 
a phenomenon usually associated only with late twen- 
tieth century developments, which provided them with 
the livelihood, stability and security that lasted tlve 
decades." In short, outside capital created the frame- 
work of the Lawrences' lives. 

Slim and Verba moved into the "Mae-Lou Lodge," 
an amalgamation of William Johnson's wife's name 
and his middle name, in May 1930.'-^ The next six years 
were the happiest of Verba's life. Although isolation, 
unremitting winter weather and hard work character- 
ized her days, Verba loved it all. True, she had to wear 



snowshoes to hang clothes out to dry in January, but 
she did not mind. In fact. Verba was truly a sports- 
woman — snowshoeing or webbing as they called it, 
skiing, hunting, dog sledding, fishing and horseback 
riding whenever the chance arose. "I'm pretty hard to 
live with if I stay in all day," she reflected in her di- 
ary.'^ As for the absence of people, she preferred it 
that way. Certainly she welcomed the intermittent visi- 
tor or occasional, all-night dance at Moran, but she was 
most happy alone with Slim on the "ranch." Rare mo- 
ments of complaint and loneliness creeped in only when 
she was truly alone. Visits to town or the outside world 
held no appeal, unless her husband went and left her 
behind. Only then would she grouse: "I'm a permanent 
fixture here" or "I'm beginning to think I'm glued to 
this place."'"* 

In some respects the Lawrences' life, well into the 
1930's, approximated a nineteenth century "frontier" 
life more than a twentieth century "modem" one. They 
gathered supplies over the autumn months and then 
settled in for the duration of the winter, isolated until 
the early spring. Heavy snow and inadequate road clear- 
ings meant they would not go into town for five or six 
months. For instance, between November 10, 1931, 
and May 16, 1932, a six-month stretch, they did not 

^ Diem, et. al., 57-70. Cecil Lawrence was born in Laramie, 
Wyoming, in 1899. His father visited Jackson Hole in 1876. look- 
ing for game to feed railroad workers, and undoubtedly regaled 
his son with stories of the place. Sidney Lawrence also intro- 
duced his son to guns, trapping, horses and dogs when the former 
worked on a ranch near the Colorado/Wyoming border. After his 
father died in 1912, Slim visited Jackson Hole and Yellowstone 
National Park for the first time, in the company of family friends. 
His party camped on the John Sargent property. After stints in 
the Navy during World War 1 and working with the Yellowstone 
Sheep Company out of Lander and Riverton, he landed a Job driv- 
ing for the Lander-Yellowstone Transportation Company which 
brought him to Jackson Hole and into Verba's orbit. 

' Garceau, 72. 

''Diem, et. al., 70. 

'" For more information on William Johnson, see Diem, et. al., 
33-44. 

" For an analysis of the history of tourism and the "second 
home" phenomenon in Jackson Hole see Hal K. Rothman, Devil's 
Bargains: Tourism in the Twentieth-Centwy West (Lawrence: 
University Press of Kansas, 1998), 131-135. Rothman makes the 
case that writer Owen Wister was among the first to inaugurate a 
seasonal migration of wealthy people, who eventually became 
second-home owners, when he first visited the region in 1887 
and eventually built his own cabin along the Snake River. Ray 
Hamilton and John Sargent, who built the first domicile, a ten- 
room cabin, on the Sargent/Johnson/Berol property, do not repre- 
sent the same phenomenon because they intended their place as a 
permanent, rather than second, home. 

'- Diem, et al, 33-39. 

'3 January 18, 1934. 

'■•November 5, 1931, and August 17, 1943. 



Summer 1999 




Lawrence enjoyed many outdoor sports 
once go to Jackson, a distance of approximately twenty- 
tlve miles. William Johnson provided some luxuries 
such as a telephone in 1930. part of the Bureau of Rec- 
lamation line from Jackson Lake Dam. and a 700-\vatt 
Kohler gasoline engine generated electricity for the 
place. But running water was another matter. From 
December until mid-April, Lawrence shut off the wa- 
ter s\ stem to pre\ ent freezing pipes. Thereafter, on wash 
days. Slim cut holes in the ice and carried pails of wa- 
ter from Jackson Lake up to the house. When it was 
time for a bath, the couple resorted to a galvanized wash 
tub until the spring thaw.'"' 

Consequently, their marriage and their work repre- 
sented a partnership, not uncommon among contem- 
porary ranch families in Wyoming.'*' While most rural 
men and women understood and accepted gender-based 
divisions of labor with men managing the outside 
"heavy" work and women taking up the domestic, 
household chores, circumstances often required all fam- 
il\- members to pitch in and do whatever was necessary 
to make the ranch successful. Consequently, gender 
crossovers — particularly women engaging in "men's" 
work — were not uncommon. However, historian 
Garceau explains that women did not particularly seek 
out "transgression of gender boundaries" and even un- 



39 

derplayed its significance by insisting that family and 
ranch demands required such expanded duties. In other 
words, rural Wyoming women neither sought out nor 
celebrated role change but rather "approached [it] con- 
servatively."' '' Although the Lawrences did not run a 
ranch, their isolation and self-sufficiency for months 
at a time mirrored at least some aspects of that life. To 
be sure. Slim took on the heavy outside work and Verba 
looked after the cooking, cleaning and washday chores. 
Yet each helped the other, whenever necessary, and 
Verba's outdoors-orientation meant her mental health 
required getting out of their home whenever possible 
and whate\ er the \\ eather. Such blurring of gender lines 
carried no political implications for the Lawrences, it 
simply reflected the nature of their work and their tem- 
peraments. 

Further, when it came to their fur trapping activities. 
Slim and Verba clearh worked as partners. Slim's in- 
troduction to small animal trapping derived from his 
father's tutelage in southeastern Wyoming. Once en- 
sconced on the Johnson place, he received a Wyoming 
Game and Fish Commission permit to trap the nearby 
Arizona Creek drainage. Slim and Verba set two 
traplines, a total of about 150 traps, and checked their 
lines several times a week. Each check required ap- 
proximately a ten mile roundtrip. Although Verba knew 
nothing of trapping before her marriage, she became 
an enthusiast and sometimes worked the traplines alone, 
using horses, snowshoes or skis — depending on 
weather and snow depth — to reach them."'^ 

Trapping pro\ ided cash, something in relativ el\ short 
supply, particularly during the Depression. The 
Lawrences averaged between SI 000 and $1500 e\ery 
year from their pelts and between 193 1 and 1950 they 
harvested 101 coyotes, 63 weasels, 1 lynx, 8 minks, 
2 1 7 pine martins, 5 red foxes, and one skunk. '"* In the 
early years the Lawrences evinced no sentimentality 
regarding the animals. In fact. Verba reported in 1933, 
"A red letter day for Cecil, he caught the red fox that 
has been running around here for years."-" Onh' later 
in life, did Cecil admit his appetite for killing these 
animals had greatly diminished. Verba never let senti- 
mentality interfere and as late as 1949 she regretted 
springing a trap and turning a beautiful red fox loose.-' 

''Diem, et al, 40-41, 70-71 

'" For an analysis of gender dynamics in earl> twentieth cen- 
tury Wyoming ranch families, see Garceau. 8<J-1 1 1. 

'' Garceau, 89. 

'« Diem, 76 

'"Diem, 78. 

-" December 29, 1933. 

-' December 10, 1949. She did not indicate the reason for 
doing this. 



40 



Annals of WyomingrTke Wyoming Histor\' Journal 



The Lawrences must have perceived the proceeds 
from pelts as a crucial element of their financial situa- 
tion. Surely the cash helped them weather the Depres- 
sion. Otherwise, that great economic calamity seem- 
ingly had no impact on them. In fact, many aspects of 
their lives seemed blissflilly removed from the broader 
world's potential slings and arrows as they surrendered 
to the natural rhythms of northwest Wyoming. A cy- 
clical pattern dictated Verba's days during the 1930's: 
starting with the fall hunting season, followed by the 
long, long winter months, a brief spring, and a hectic 
summer. Usually in September the Lawrences began 
stocking up on food to last for months, storing the more 
perishable items in a basement and using Jackson Lake 
ice to keep it cool. Slim purchased the winter supply of 
gasoline and Verba began canning. October brought 
big game hunting. Slim provided Verba with various 
firearms, including a .22 as a Christmas present in 193 1 . 
Initially, she claimed, "As a 'gunma' I'm not so good. 
I shot things up today, shot a hole thru the wall."-- Her 
shooting eventually improved. Each harvested an elk 
every year. They also hunted moose and waterfowl and, 
of course. Verba loved fishing. By November Slim 
drained the water to the kitchen to prevent bursting 
pipes. The Lawrences passed the time, over the winter, 
completing day-to-day chores, checking the traps, dog 
sledding, hunting archaeological and historical artifacts 
around the property, and ice fishing.-'' Larger animals 



offered the most excitement. In the early thirties, par- 
ticularly, Verba's diaries noted more sightings of ani- 
mals than people. Sometimes the encounters proved 
dangerous and conflicts with moose and bear, in par- 
ticular, usually ended up with one fewer animal 
around.-"* 

In April the lake's ice would begin to break. Others 
signs of spring included returning bluebirds, seagulls, 
and the unmistakable call of the reappearing sandhill 
cranes. "The air is ringing with the cries of sandhills," 
she wrote one late April day."- April also meant taking 

-- December 6, 1931 

-^ Eventually the Lawrences' archeological and historical arti- 
fact and photograph collections became the foundation for the 
Jackson Hole Museum which Slim and fellow Jackson Holer 
Homer Richards founded in 1958. Slim's historical interests led 
him to serve two terms on the Wyoming State Historical Advi- 
sory Board. He was also a charter member of the Wyoming State 
Historical Society. The WSHS eventually honored Lawrence and 
Richards for creating the Jackson Hole Museum which remains 
open to the present. Diem. 82. 85. 

-•' For example on May 14, 1934, Verba wrote, "A red letter 
day for Cecil and Cap [their dog]. They mixed with 3 grizzly 
bears as a result one bear's stretched out in the boathouse. Cecil 
owes his life to Cap." September 20, 1935, she recorded. "The 
fun started when Cap treed a black bear. 9 P.M. Cecil made a 
good shot." She spent the next morning frying bear grease. Verba 
killed some bears herself, including one on May 17, 1941:"killed 
my bear at 5:20, nice brown, shot him through the heart. Was I 
ever excited." 

-' April 24, 1946. 




Verba Lawrence shoveling snow from roof of house, Jackson Hole. 



Summer 



1999 



a hath in a real hathtiih, "a hig moment in the life of a 
Jacivson Holer" and mid-May brought a return to town. 
On May 20, 1933, Verba recorded, undoubtedly with 
tongue in cheek, "Resting after my trip to the city."-*" 

During these early years of caretaking. Verba lived a 
life of nearly complete autonomy and contentment. 
After completing her indoor chores she was free to do 
what she wanted: join Slim in outside activities, snow- 
shoe or ski to Moran for the mail, or gaze at the beau- 
tiful Tetons across Jackson Lake. Of course the Johnson 
fortune made such a life possible for a property-less 
woman like Verba Lawrence. And the Johnsons proved 
quite undemanding employees. In fact, Mrs. Johnson 
died in 1930 and William Johnson succumbed in 1931. 
For the next five years, while the executor of the 
Johnson estate retained the Lawrences as caretakers, 
they had the place virtually to themselves, keeping up 
the property but otherwise answering to no one.-^ 

All that changed in 1 936 when Alfred and Madeleine 
Berolzheimer, wealthy Easterners whose fortune de- 
rived from the Eagle Pencil manufacturing firm, pur- 
chased the Johnson place for a little over $24,000.-'^ 
On July 7, 1936, Verba wrote in her diary: "Mr. 
Berolzheimer w ires that he has title to the place." And 
then she added, somewhat ominously, "that means get 
busy." One week later, Berolzheimer's carpenters ap- 
peared. "1 don't like so many people around," Verba 
complained. Several weeks after that the new propri- 
etors arrived. "Washday," she reported, "Lm the laun- 
dress, just one of the hired help."-** Of course, she had 
always been "hired help." But six years of virtual inde- 
pendence and little interference undoubtedly made this 
new change of ownership difficult to take. Moreover, 
the Berols, as they preferred to be called and to which 
they changed their name during World War II, began 
planning a gigantic, new house which, in time, meant 
more work: many more windows to wash, many more 
guests to look after, and many more people to serve at 
dinner.-^'^ In fact. Verba began referring to the Berols' 
place as the "big house." Whether she intended the al- 
lusion to a slave's master's home, remains uncertain. 
By August 1936 she was writing in her diary: "I'm so 
tired just from so many around., seemed good to be 
away from the place..." and then added, "1 never used 
to say such things."" 

The Berols did not take form as people, let alone 
friends, in Verba's account. Their personalities, inter- 
ests and even tastes remain unrecorded. They repre- 
sented, quite simply, the employer. In diary entries. 
Verba often referred to them with the impersonal "they," 
and, of course, never by their first names. Alfred and 
his wife Madeleine came from a different world; one 



41 

of privilege, wealth and class distinction. The Berols 
treated the Lawrences with the respect due any long- 
term, reliable employees, but the lines between em- 
ployer and employee were clearly drawn and neither 
family evinced much interest in crossing them except 
for an occasional horseback ride together. Of course. 
Verba never articulated, directly, an awareness of class 
distinction. Yet her feelings came through in oblique 
entries such as those about the relationship between 
the Berol's dog and hers: "Socks really hasn't any love 
for French Poodles. Can't blame him.. .Poor Zip and 
Jerry have to be chained up because they might tear the 
Poodle to ribbons." The next day she went riding and 
admitted, "it is good to get away from the place. "'- 

Without a doubt, the Berol's presence, which usu- 
ally lasted about two and one-half months out of every 
year (late July to early October), disrupted Verba's 
normal routine and enjoyment of the exquisite prop- 
erty. The Berols, from all appearances, were generous 
employers but also demanding — at least while they 
were in residence. They loved to entertain and expected 
Verba to supervise the dinners and even serve the guests 
which, on one occasion, included Jackson Hole dude 
ranchers and writers Stnithers and Katharine Burt. Other 
guests included labor leader John L. Lewis, who Verba 
thought looked like a bull, and publisher Alfred 
Knopf''-' She was, of course, not invited to join them 
at the table. Verba's place was in the kitchen. She 
dreaded the work and resented the implications. One 
August day, while preparing dinner for 25, she thought 
"oh! for a good old snowstonn."^"' Another day she 
confided to her diary, "The B's arrived about 5:30, it 
was nice while they were away." On yet another occa- 
sion, she confided, "[I) will be glad when the B's leave 
so we can do something."'' ■ 

-" April 25, \^32 and May 20, 1033. 

'' On December 9, 1031. Verba noted they received word of 
Mr. Johnson's death and added, "We loved him ver\ much, this 
is truly one of our saddest day (sic)." Friends interred William 
and Mae Johnsons' ashes on their Jackson Hole propertv . F.verv 
Memorial Day thereafter. Verba Lawrence placed tlowers on the 
grave. 

-''Diem, et. al., 45-7. 

-"July 9. 1936and July 27. 1036. 

-'" For information on the Berol name change see Diem. et. al., 
46. For other examples of Verba's reactions to the new owners 
and their more demanding work load see July 22. 1938 and July 
30, 1938. 

" August 18, 1936. 

'- August 24, 25, and 26, 1939. 

'■' For Verba's comment on Lewis, see August 24, 1939. For 
more on the Berols' entertaining at the AMK, see Diem, et al, 52- 
53. 

^•* August 10, 1941. 

-'' September 27, 1937, and October 3, 1945. 



42 



Axinals ot Wyoming:Tke Wyoming History Journal 



Eventually the Berols would leave, usually around 
October, and Slim and Verba would reclaim the "ranch" 
as their own. This was, as Verba put it, "my country." 
Of course, it was not theirs, at least not legally. They 
occasionally looked into purchasing some land of their 
own, but it would have been impossible to match the 
spectacular location and setting of the AMK and they 
lacked the financial wherewithal to buy a more modest 
version anyway. ^^ The Lawrences never did purchase 
property. Instead, as the years passed, they simply grew 
more accustomed to the hectic routines attached to the 
Berol's stays and then heaved a sigh of relief when 
their "masters" returned East. 

The Lawrence-Berol relationship is instructive for 
what it reveals about the interplay between "natives" 
(year-round residents) and "neo-natives" (wealthy, sea- 
sonal residents) of Jackson Hole in the early decades 
of the twentieth century. The latter, according to histo- 
rian Hal Rothman, approximated the natives in dress 
and activity during lengthy visits to the valley, but they 
brought a level of sophistication and worldliness the 
locals lacked. Further, they neither endured northwest 
Wyoming's hard winters nor depended upon it for their 
economic well-being. Natives, on the other hand, could 
not escape Jackson Hole's "environmental and eco- 
nomic constraints," and so, Rothman concludes, "If the 
locals resented the stream of visitors that grew into a 
river, it would be hard to blame them."' '' A measure of 
this pertains to Verba's state of mind. She was resent- 
ful. Yet she did not covet the Berols' wealth and eco- 
nomic independence; she simply disliked the demands 
such wealth put upon her and its power to limit her 
freedom to enjoy Jackson Hole to its fullest during the 
summer months. And she did not dread the winter 
weather; she welcomed it! For once the Berols departed 
and winter set in. Slim and Verba regained control of 
the property, their time, and their lives. As Rothman 
himself acknowledges, at least through the 1950's, na- 
tives "endured the summer and the profits it brought to 
rediscover the essence of their town and themselves."-'* 
That, in a nutshell, describes the Lawrences. 

Still, there was no denying change was in the air. By 
the early 1940's increased road plowing and develop- 
ment of mechanized oversnow vehicles diminished the 
Lawrence's winter isolation. Verba and Slim drove into 
town more often, and by the years following World 
War 11, Verba began complaining about traffic, crowds 
and the difficulty of finding a parking place on a 
summer's day. Not all changes were regrettable, though. 
She enjoyed going to the movies and skiing on Snow 
King, the town hill, where locals constructed a rope 
tow in the late igSO's.^"^ 




Slim Lawrence and the Berols 

More and more people from the outside world dis- 
covered Jackson Hole. Simultaneously, Verba's con- 
tacts with that world increased exponentially. Radio 
brought the world's news to her cabin and in 1 939 she 
carefully tracked the German invasion of Poland, Italy's 
alliance with Germany, and the English and French 
declaration of war on Germany. On December 7, 1 94 1 , 
the Lawrences returned from "a quiet, beautiful day on 
Two-goo-tee (sic) [Towgotee Pass] to learn., .that Ja- 
pan had declared war on us.""**^' For the duration. Verba 
paid particularly close attention to the war's Pacific 
theater and on December 7, 1944, recorded: "Hope 
before another Dec. 7th comes that we have beat the 
Japs into the earth for the., sneak deal." Not above us- 
ing common, derogatory terms for the Asian enemy, 
she admitted she had difficulty conceiving of the Japa- 
nese as human.'" Verba did not mention rationing or 

''' Slim Lawrence apparently tried to purchase the Sargent ranch 
before William Johnson did buy it. See Diem, et al, 57. 



'^ Rothman, 
'« Ibid., 279. 

.V) 



34-135. 



' Among the movies Verba noted seeing were "Shane" 
"Spencer's Mountain," both filmed in Jackson Hole. 
■"'December?, 1941. 
■" January 26, 1944. 



and 



Summer 1999 

indicate which local men went off to fight. But on 
November 1 1, 1945, the Lawrence enjoyed Annistice 
Day and expressed gratitude that "so many of the Moran 
boys were home.""^- Over the years, Verba's interest in 
the outside world continued as she jotted down fleet- 
ing thoughts on the Cold War, arrival of television in 
Jackson Hole, space travel, President John F. Kennedy's 
assassination, the war in Vietnam, and the presence of 
"hippies" on the Berol property.'^' 

In 1 954 Verba Lawrence decided to take another job, 
off the AMK, although her reason for doing so remains 
unrecorded. Slim"s back problems, which required 
hospitalization at the Mayo Clinic, may have been a 
factor. She became the Moran postmaster, a position 
she held until her retirement in 1 967. This new respon- 
sibility also altered the Lawrences' lives. For one thing, 
they no longer wintered on the AMK, living instead at 
Moran or the Jackson Lake Lodge. The couple acquired 
a television. They also began yearly jaunts out of Jack- 
son Hole altogether, visiting the Southwestern states 
or Las Vegas for a month in the winter or early spring. 
Meanwhile life in Jackson Hole was changing consid- 
erably. More and more tourists clogged the roads and 
rendered the town even less attractive. Even such no- 
tables as President John F. Kennedy and Lady Bird 
Johnson were visiting Jackson Hole by the I960's. 

When Verba retired as postmaster she and Slim be- 
gan plans to build a home of their own. Alfred Berol 
deeded them one acre of his property and allowed them 
to build a house on the AMK, presumably in gratitude 
for their long and loyal service to his family and in 
recognition of the Lawrences' deep connection to the 
place. In the spring of 1968, Verba and Slim spent their 
spare time clearing brush and trees at the homesite and 
by fall carpenters had completed the house. Verba nev er 
enjoyed it, however. She suffered a stroke before its 
completion and although she took up residence in the 
home, her health deteriorated. Over the many years of 
diary-keeping. Verba had noted deaths by suicide. In 
the end. she chose that option for herself On July 8, 
1970, Verba Lawrence shot herself, apparently finding 
her slow, agonizing decline, no longer bearable. A be- 
reaving Slim buried her on a hilltop, overlooking her 
beloved Tetons. 

For much of her adult life in Jackson Hole, Verba 
Lawrence enjoyed incredible freedom - a freedom made 
possible, ironically, by the economic infusion of out- 
siders' wealth into the valley. In some respects. Verba 
choices were limited. She lacked education, drive, and 
capital. What she did have was the good fortune to tlnd 
her way into Jackson Hole, a place whose magnificent 
landscapes attracted the wealthy. Her livelihood de- 



43 

pended upon people who could afford to hire caretak- 
ers and make life in such a special spot possible for 
someone v\ ho could never afford it otherwise. The land- 
scape attracted the upper class and they, in turn, of- 
fered work. For only a few months out of e\erv year 
did Verba have to actually cope with this fact: only 
when the Berols arrived was she reminded of her sta- 
tus as "hired hand;" only momentarily did she feel, 
almost viscerally, the economic reality and class strati- 
fication that have long been a part of Jackson Hole's 
history. 

Through it all. Verba Lawrence embraced the most 
traditional woman's role: helpmate of husband. Here 
again, she had the good luck to meet and marry a part- 
ner who shared her love of the outdoors, provided an 
outlet for her interest in sports, and encouraged her to 
partake of them wholeheartedly. A more constrained, 
domestic setting and a more conventional marriage 
would have made her, as she put it, "hard to live with" 
— in short, a very unhappy woman. It was the combi- 
nation of her husband, their relationship, the spectacu- 
lar landscape, and the employment opportunities 
wealthy people provided, that allowed a working-class 
person such as Verba an uncommon opportunity to 
experience the best kind of lite Jackson Hole had to 
offer. If the trade-otTwas a "devil's bargain," as histo- 
rian Rothman characterizes such relationships between 
locals and wealthy neonatives. Verba Lawrence had 
few objections. Her only complaint: time passed too 
quickly. 

■"= November 1 1, 1045. 

""' The latter did not appeal to Verba who chased them off. 
See May 21, 1*^68, for an example. 



Shern' L. Smith is an Associate Professor of 
History at Southern Methodist University- and 
seasonal resident of Jackson Hole. She is the 
author ofReimagining Indians, 1 880- 1 940 (Ox- 
ford University- Press, forthcoming), as well as 
Sagebrush Soldier (University of Oklahoma 
Press. 1989). which chronicles her great- 
grandfather 's army experience on Wyoming 's 
Bozeman Trail and in the Dull Knife Battle in 
1876. Smith also has published a number of ar- 
ticles on Western women 's historw 



Recent Acquisitions in the Hebard Collection, \JW Libraries 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert, University or Wyoming Libraries 



Davis, Verna Burger. My Chosen Trails: A Wyoming 
Woman's Recollections Through the Twentieth Century. 

Golden, CO: Deep Creek Press, 1W8. Hebard & Coe CT 275 
.D2846 A3 1998 

Evans, Timothy H. King of the Western Saddle: The Sheridan 
Saddle and the Art of Don King. Jackson, MS: University Press 
of Mississippi, 1998. Hebard & Science TS 1032 .E93 1998 

Everhart, Bill. Take Down Flag & Feed Horses. Chicago: 
University of Illinois Press, 1998. Hebard & Coe F 722 .E92 
1998 

Fox, Wesley. Union Pacific, Cheyenne West, Part 1. 
Cheyenne, 1996. Hebard & Science TF 25 .U5 F669 1996 

Garceau, Dee. The Important Things of Life: Women, Work 
and Family in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, 1880-1929. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Hebard & Coe F 
767.S9G36 1997 

Inada, Lawson Fusao. Drawing the Line, Poems. Minneapolis: 
Coffee House Press. 1997. Hebard & Coe PS 3559 .N3 D73 1997 
Concerns the "draft" resisters at Heart Mountain. 

Japanese-American Relocation Reviewed. Berkeley: Bancroft 
Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1976. Hebard D 769.8 
.A6 J363 1976 V. 1-2 

McCoy, Michael. Journey to the Northern Rockies. Old 
Saybrook, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 1998. Hebard & CoeRef 
F 721 .M45 1998 

McDermott, John D. Frontier Crossroads: the History of 
Fort Caspar and the Upper Platte Crossing. Casper, WY: City 
of Casper, 1997. Hebard F 761 .M2 1997 

McNamee, Thomas. The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone. 
NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1997. Hebard & Science QL 
737 .C22 M393 1997 

McWilliams, Esther. The Beauty of the Bighorns. Woodburn, 
OR: Beautiful America Publishing Company, 1998. Hebard & 
Science QH 105 .W8 M38 1998 



Miller, David. L. (comp.) Hans "Peppi" Teichner. Ashland, 
OR: David L. Miller, 1997-98. 2 vols. Hebard & Coe GV 854.2 
.T44 H367 1997 v. 1-2 

Pellatz, Karla Steinle. Tastes ATours of Wyoming. Casper: 
Wyoming Homestay and Outdoor Adventures, 1997. Hebard & 
Sci TX7I5 .P386 1997 

Peace & Change. Special Forum Issue: Relocation of Jap- 
anese Americans During World War H: The Heart Mountain 
Experience. Sonoma, CA: California State College, 1998. Hebard 
JX 1901 .P248 v. 23, no. 2, April 1998 

Reckling, Frederick W. & JoAnn B. Samuel Howell "Doc" 
Knight: Mr. Wyoming University. Laramie, WY: University of 
Wyoming Alumni Association, 1998. Hebard & Geology QE 22 
.K64 R425 1998 

Ryder, Lyn. Road Ranches Along the Oregon Trail 1858 to 
1868: Between Marysville, Kansas and Fort Kearny, Nebraska. 
Niwot, CO: Prairie Lark Publications, 1995. Hebard & Coe 
F 597 .R975 1995 

Schubert, Frank N. Outpost of the Sioux Wars: A History of 
Fort Robinson. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1993. Hebard & Coe F 674 .F7 S35 1995 

Shannon, Donald H. The Utter Disaster On the Oregon Trail. 
Caldwell, ID: Snake Country Publishing, 1993. Hebard & Coe 
F 746 .S536 193 

Wadsworth, Nelson B. Set in Stone, Fixed in Glass: the 
Mormons, the West, and Their Photographers. Salt Lake City: 
Signature Books, 1996. Hebard NA 5235 .S23 W32 1996 

White, William W. The Oregon, California, and Mormon 
Trails by Air: A Pilot's Guide to the Immigrant Trails. North 
Logan, UT: Western Airtrails, 1997. Hebard & Coe F 591 .W553 
1997 



Readers can access the Hebard HomePage at: 
http://www.uwyo.edu/lib/heb.htm. 



Recent Additions and Pi 



rocesse 



d Collections 



Department or State Parks and Cultural Resources 

Wyoming State Archives 

Compiled by Curtis Greubel, Researcb Supervisor 



Non-Government Acquisitions 



^fyoming State Government 



Wyoming Mining Association 

Various publications and papers, 1969-1999. 
Wyoming School Board Association 

Newsletters, 1994-1999. 
Wyoming Extension Homemakers Council/Wyoming 
Association for Family and Community Education 
Additions to collection dating from 1931 to 1997. 
William Dubois 

Cost data book for buildings designed by Dubois, c. 1908-37. 
Wyoming Republican Party 

Campaign literature, 1986, 1994. 



State Planning Coordinator 

Records to 1987. 
Department of Commerce, Cultural Resources Division 

Administration records to 1993. 
Wyoming State Auditor 

Correspondence, additions from 1871-1997, and 
publications. 
Wyoming Attorney-General's Office 

Photographs of past attorneys-general from 1890-1970. 
Processing of the records of Gov. Ed Herschler's three terms 
should be completed by the fall of 1999. 



Book R 



ooR ive Views 

Eaitea dv Larl Hallberg 



From the Old Northwest to the Pacific 
Northwest: the 1853 Oregon Trail Diaries of 
Patterson Fletcher Luark and Michael Fleenen 
Luark. Edited by Howard Jablon and Kenneth R. 
Elkins. Independence. MO: Oregon-California 
Trails Association. 1998. xvi - 215 pages. 
Illustrations, maps, notes, appendices, biblio- 
graphy, indexes. Cloth. $27.95: paper, $14.95. 

Brothers Michael and Patterson Luark set off from 
lUinois to travel to Oregon in the spring of 1853. 
Patterson took with him his wife, Mary, their three 
children and his son from a previous marriage. Michael 
left his family behind. Both brothers kept diaries about 
their journey, although Patterson's apparently exists 
now only on microtllm. 

The Luarks followed the common Oregon trail route 
through Kansas to the south side of the Platte River in 
Nebraska. Near Fort Kearny they joined a number of 
other emigrants to cross the river and thereafter they 
kept to the north side route. They followed the Sublette 
Cutoff to Idaho and the Snake River route to Oregon. 
At the Columbia River the brothers parted company, 
Michael traveling the remainder of the distance by water 
and Patterson going by land. 

Of the two diaries, Michael's is the more detailed. 
To the modem reader the great weakness of Oregon 
Trail diaries is the concentration on the availability of 
wood, water and grass to the neglect of the surrounding 
human drama. Michael's diary has its share of this 
bias along with an almost tedious description of the 
exact route of travel. It was Michael's intention that a 
family friend should follow him, bringing his family 
the next year; and it seems probable that his diary was 
intended to be a guidebook for them. This did not 
happen, but for anyone interested in tracing exact trail 
routes, Michael's diary is a wonderful tool. 

The year 1 853 was a quite one on the trail. The Luarks 
did not encounter any Indian troubles, and it was not a 
major cholera year. Patterson Luark planned carefijUy 
and well, and he was lucky. He did not bury any family 
members on the road. There was one moment of high 
tension when a member of Patterson's trail was killed, 
quite unnecessarily, by a member of another train. 
There were no repercussions. No one was willing or 



able to enforce punishment for the incident. Those who 
study the experiences of children on the trial will be 
interested to read that Patterson's fourteen year old son, 
Marcellus, deserted the train after the wagons had 
crossed South Pass, apparently intending to go back to 
Illinois. He was taken in by a train some distance behind 
and a few days later, his father road back to get him. 
Altogether the Luark diaries describe a reasonably typi- 
cal, fairly undramatic crossing which probably reflected 
the experiences of thousands of other trail travelers. 

From the Old Northwest to the Pacific Northwest is 
part of the Emigrant Trails Historical Studies Series 
under the general editorship of Susan Badger Doyle. 
The book is illustrated by many excellent maps showing 
the Luark's route and the various other routes which 
they might have taken. Extensive footnotes amount 
almost to a third diary of the route a modem traveler 
would take to retrace, as nearly as possible, their steps. 
Occasionally, the editors intrude to tell the reader again 
what Michael or Patterson have already said, but in 
general their extensive knowledge of trail migration is 
an aid to put the Luarks' diaries in context. 

The Michael Luark Papers and the microfilm copy 
of Patterson Luark's diary are housed at the University 
of Washington, Seattle. The publication of such docu- 
ments is a great aid to researchers and is probably the 
only opportunity for schoolchildren and casual readers 
to access such records. The Emigrant Trails Historical 
Studies Series is, on this account, a most worthwhile 
project. 

D. C. Thompson 
American Heritage Center 
University of Wyoming 



Americans View Their Dust Bowl Experience. 

Edited by John R. Wunder, Frances W. Kaye and 
Vernon Carstensen. Niwot: The University' Press 
of Colorado. 1999. xvi + 429 pages. Illustrations, 
maps, notes, index. Cloth. $34.95. 

The editors of Americans View Their Dust Bowl 
Experience claim a twofold goal for their book: to let 
Americans speak for themselves about the Dust Bowl 
and to provide a "dynamic story" for use in secondary 



46 



Annals ot Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 



and higher education (p. xi). They seek to "foster an 
understanding of the physical and mental dimensions 
of the disaster" so that another such calamity will not 
occur (p. 3). Approximately one-third of the book 
consists of primary documents. The other two-thirds 
contain academic analyses. 

The editors divide the text into five parts. John 
Wunder. fonner director of the University of Nebraska's 
Center for Great Plains Studies, introduces the work in 
the first part and his mentor, the late Vernon Carstensen, 
offers a collection of primary documents in the second 
part. Wunder describes Dust Bowl resident reactions 
to relief efforts ranging from the Farm Holiday 
movement with its protest marches and penny auctions 
to cooperation with New Deal bureaucrats. The primary 
sources, about half of them derived from New York 
Times articles and the other half from contemporary 
magazines, provide first-hand accounts about the Dust 
Bowl. Carstensen's collection conveys the feelings of 
anger and desperation that translated into organized 
protest, despondency toward the dust and a fascination 
with rainmaking. 

Frances Kaye, former editor of Great Plains 
Quarterly, coordinates the rest of the text's selections 
which largely consist of professional journal article 
reprints. The third part describes societal responses and 
institutional activism stimulated by the Dust Bowl. One 
particularly insightful essay by Dorothy Schwiederand 
Deborah Fink explains how women cut costs by 
enhanced home production ranging from the weaving 
of rugs to the butchering of meat. Most of the section's 
articles analyze the Farm Holiday movement in the 
Dakotas and Nebraska. The fourth part delivers two 
selections which portray the liberal media's comment 
on the Dust Bowl including a communist newspaper 
in Plentywood, Montana and Pare Lorentz's video 
documentary "The Plow that Broke the Plains." The 
fmal part yields historical overviews best exemplified 
by Donald Worster's "The Dirty Thirties: A Study in 



Agricultural Capitalism." Harry McDean's "Dust Bowl 
Historiography," first printed in 1986, completes the 
volume. 

Two common threads that run through the book are 
a broad geographic interpretation of the Dust Bowl and 
that "desperate times lead to desperate measures." 
Approximately half the articles discuss states outside 
the traditional Dust Bowl of the southern plains. The 
unlawful actions of the Farm Holiday protestors demon- 
strate a radicalization of a traditionally conservative 
area. Still, as conditions improved, conservatism and 
lawfulness prevailed over the forces for change. These 
transformations varied by sub-region, i.e., the Farm 
Holiday movement of South Dakota proved signifi- 
cantly weaker than that of more liberal North Dakota. 

Ultimately, the editors succeed in their goals of 
providing primary source material and a repository of 
academic analyses to illustrate the Dust Bow! 
experience. The book encapsules the contents of larger 
primary source collections or monographs. However, 
the analyses do not rival the classic monographs of Paul 
Bonnitleld, The Dust Bowl: Men. Dirt and Depression 
(1979), R. Douglas Hurt, The Dust Bowl: An 
Agricultural and Social History (1981) or Donald 
Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s 
{ 1 979). These titles appear in the very useful select and 
modem bibliographies given in the book. Although the 
editors could have strengthened this work with a 
conclusion explaining how their selections enhance 
Dust Bowl study and/or synthesizing some of the 
contributors' arguments, this book occupies an 
important niche in the study of American History. 

Scholars and educators who want a somewhat eclectic 
reference tool or reader on the Dust Bowl will want to 
put this work on their shelves or in their classes. 

Ken Zontek 
University of Idaho 



IMPORTANT ADDRESS NOTICE 



Society Coordinator Judy West reminds 
members that, effective in October, the U. S. 
Postal Service will be requiring that the fol- 
lowing address be used on all correspondence 
concerning Annals mailing and membership 
information. Mail addressed in any other 
form will not be delivered after Oct. 31, 1999. 



WYOMING STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

PMB#184 

1740H DELL RANGE BLVD 

CHEYENNE WY 82009-4945 



Ind 



ex 



Aibrighl. Horace 14, 16. (photo. 33) 

Alia. W>o 37 

American !he\ 32 

Amencan legion Post, first 7 

■Americans View Their Dust Bo'aI Expenence."" 

edited h\ John R Wunder. Frances \^' Kaye 

and Vernon Carslensen, re\iewed, 45 
"Amenca's Mailerhom" 24 
AMK Ranch 17. 14.36.42 
Amoretli Inn 17 
aneroid barometer .33 
Antelope Flats Road 15 
Appel. Dr Peler 7 
Aunt imoyene's diaries 37 
Austin. Allen 34 
Balsamroot 37 
"Bandmi of the Plains" 5 
Bannon. T M 27 
Bar BC Ranch 11. 12. 21 

auction at 12 

in l*>PO (photo) 22 
Bar Flyinii H Ranch 16 
bams. Momion Rou 12 
Belh Roll. 31 
Berol. Alfred l^J. 43 
Berol- Kenneth W 
Berolzheimer. Alfred 36. 41 
Beroizheimer. Madeleine 41 
Blacktail Bulie 16 
Bleu. Man. Cleamian 37 
Bonne\. Omn and Lorraine 28. 3') 
Bonne\ "s Guide 18 

Book Reviews, edited h> Carl Hallberg. 45-46 
Bradle>. Florence 4 
Bradlcv. Maude 4. 7 
BradleN.R W 4. 7 
Bradle>. \^ alter 4 
Brammer. Francis 48 
buildings, historically sigmfleanl ^ 
Burnett. Mike 16 
Burroughs. John Rolfe 3 
Burl. Nathaniel 14. 21. 23 
Burl. Slruthers 14. 15. 22 
Bun, Siruthers and Kaihenne 11,41 
Busch_ Richard 13 
caim. buill on Grand Teton 28 
Camnierer. Amo W 
Camp Owen. Aug 12, 18^8. (photo, 2*^) 
Camcross. Horace 14, 21 
Carslensen. Vernon. ""Americans View 

Their Dust Bowl F\penence."" 

reviewed. 45 
Castle Dare 4. 7. (photo. 5) 
Chambers. *\nd> 12 
Chapel of the TransHguraiion 14 
Che>enne Club 5. 7 
Che\enne. Dakota Temlon. 2 
Che\enne Frontier Da>s 6 
Che\enne Pass 2 
Che>enne Slock\ards 6 
Chittenden. H M. 3(.) 
Climber's Guide to the Teton Range 

26. 33 
Coble. John 5 
ColTee. Charles F 4 
Colorado and Southern Railroad 5 
Colter Bay 18 
Comsiock. New. \oA 2 
Cooning Place 31 
Cooper. Thomas 26. 27. 2**, (photo. 2'^) 

atTidavitof I8Q8 29 
Corse. Irving 11.21 
Corse. Margareila 12 
Cottonwood Creek 21 
Crahtree. Rose 34 
"Crook Count) *s H\ena.*' b> Fllen Crago 

Mueller 8 
cultural resources. NPS \iew of 9 
Cunningham C abin Historic Site 16 
Cunningham Homestead 10 
Cunningham. J Pierce 16 
D, A Russell Officers Club 7 
Dare. Da\ id D 4. 7 
Daugheny. John 12 
deBillier. Frederic 5 
Delane> lamil> 37 
Deloney. W C 33 
Denver Dry Goods Companv 7 
Depression, in Jackson Hole 3** 
dog sledding 38 
Durbin. John and Thomas 4 



Eagle Pencil Compan> 14. 41 

Earharl. Amelia, (photo. 48) 

Ediek lamil> 37 

electricity, generation of 39 

elevation. Grand Teton 33 

Elkins. Kenneth R , ed , ""From the Old 
Northwest lo the Pacific Nonhwest the 
1853 Oregon Trail Diaries of Patterson 
Fletcher l.uark and Michael Fleenen 
Luark."45 

Emerson. Go\ Frank 1 5 

Eynon. Jack 14 

Fabian. Harold and Josephine 21 

Faye.C E 28 

Firehole River Basin 30 

"First Ascent of the Grand Teton The Great 
Coniroverss ." by Mark Harve\. 24-34 

fishing 40 

fiowers. on Grand Teton 32 

Flynn. Shirley E . ""Renesselaer Schuvler Van 
Tassell."2-7. (bio. 7| 

Forest and Stream 28. 29. 30 

Fort D A Russell 6 

Fremont. Elkhart and Missouri \'alle> RR 7 

French poodle^ 41 

Frew Tamil) 37 

"From the Old Northwest lo the Pacific 

Northwest the 1853 Oregon Trail Dtanes 
of Patterson Fletcher Luark and Michael 
Fleenen Luark." reviewed. 45 

Frome Auction Service 12 

Gannett. Henrv 29 

Garceau. Dee (quoted) 38 

Garnet Canyon 24 

gender expectations 37 

General Land OtTice 1 5 

Geological Survey. 27 

Glacier Gulch 21 

Glacier National Park, historic preser\ Jlionl 3 

Gline and Van Tassell siahles 2.3 

Gline. Johnnv 2 

grartlli. historical 1 1 

Grand Controversv (book) 30 

Grand Teton, first ascent 27 

Grand Telon National Park 9. 11.33.34 

Grand 1 elon National Park, entrance lees 1 3 

Great Western Corral 3 

Green River Stockyards 6 

""Guardian of the Grasslands" 3 

Civpsv (horse) 5. 7 

Mamillon. Robert Ra\ 19.20 

Happv Jack road 2 

Hard). Zoe. quoted 21 

Harvey. Mark. "First Ascent of the Grand 
Teton The Great Controversv," 24-34. 
(bio. 34) 

Hayden. F V 26. 29 

Havden survey 20. 25. 34 

Havden Surve> in 1872 29 

Hebard. Dr Grace Raymond 34 

Hedncks Point 16 

Hert. Tamsen Emerson. "To Preserve the 
View A Tour in Text and Pictures of 
Historic Sues Relating to the Establish- 
ment of Grand Teton National Park." 14- 
23. (bio. 23) 

Hetch Helchv Valley 14 

Hisionc Preservation Act of 1966 il 

Hislonc Preservation Board. Teton Co . 13 

historic preservation, in Teton Co 13 

Historic Sites Act of 1935 11 

Holladav. Ben 2 

homesteading. Jackson Hole 9 

Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Companv 19. 38 

Howard. L O 32 

Hvnds" Grill 7 

ice sheet, on Grand Teton 31 

[llif.JohnW 3 

Independence Rock 1 1 

Irwin. Charles B 7 

Islay. Wyoming 7 

J Rolling M 3 

JM ranch 3 

Jablnn. Howard, ed . '"From the Old Nonh- 
west lo the Pacific Nonhwest the 1853 
Oregon Trail Diaries of Patterson Fletcher 
Luark and Michael Fleenen Luark." 45 

Jackson Hole elk herd 18 

"A Jackson Hole Life Verba Lawrence." by 
Sherry L. Smith. 35-43 

Jackson Hole Museum 40 

Jackson Hole National Elk Refuge 18 

Jackson Hole National Monument 17. 2! 
established 17 

Jackson Hole Oral Histor> Project 21 



Jackson Hole Wildlilc Park 17, 22 

Jackson 1 ake 11. oh 

Jackson [ ake Dam 19.38.39 

Jackson Lake Lodge 17. 18.34.43 

Jackson Lake Ranger Station 1 7 

Jackson. David F 24 

Jackson. William H 20. 32. 34 

Jenny Lake 9 

Jenny Lake Drive 20 

Jenny Lake Lodge 21 

Jennv Lake Ranger Station 21 

Jennv Lake Store (illus ) 16 

John D Rockefeller. Jr . Memorial Parkway 21 

Johnson County Invasion 4 

Johnson. Lady Bird, in Jackson Hole 43 

Johnson. Lou 19 

Johnson. Mae 41 

Johnson. William Louis 36. 38. 41 

death of 41 
Jones. Joe 14 
Jones. Randv 1 3 
Jov, Louis 22 
JY Ranch 22, 23 
Kabis Cafe 7 
Kaye. Frances W . ""Amencans View Their 

Dust Bowl Expenence." reviewed. 45 
Kellv.Wvo 37 

Kennedv. John F . in Jackson Hole 43 
Kenned). T Blake 7 
KietTer-Capt Charles H 26, 27 
Kimmel Kabins (itlus.) |6 
Knopf. Alfred, in Jackson Hole 41 
Kohler gasoline engine 39 
Krakel. Dean II 23 
Ku) kendall. John M 7 
Lace). John 7 
LaFoniaine. Florence 7 
La Pierre, ^'vette 13 
Lakeview Cemetery 7 
Lander-V el low stone Transportation 
Companv 38 
Langford. Nathaniel P 25-31. 33. (photo, 24) 

death ol 33 
Langlord-( >wen conlrovers) 34 
Lawrence. (_ ecil "Slim" 19. 36-43. (photo. 35. 

41) 
Lawrence. Sidnev 38 
Lawrence. Verba 35-43 

counship. 38 

death. 43 

diary. 37 

marriage. 38 
LeClaire. Michaud 24 
Leek. Stephen N 18.23 
Leek's Lodge 1 1 
Leeks Manna 18 
Leigh, Beaver Dick 24. 29, 36 
Leigh, Jennv 36 

Leigh-Stnng-Jennv Lake region 16 
Lemmon, George F 2. 4. 6 
Levvis. John L 41 

Livestock Association of Laramie Count) 4 
Lola Homsher Research Grant 36 
Longmonl. Colorado 4 
Lucas- Geraldine 21 
Lucas homestead 1 3 
Lucas-Fabian site 21 
Lunch Tree Hill 17. 18 
Lusk, W)oming 6 
McCain. A C 33 
McDerment. - (photo. 29) 
McGee. Tom 2. 5 
Mcintosh, Belh 36 
Mae-Lou Lodge 19. 36. 38 
Marymere 19. 36 
Maud Noble cabin 10 
Mayo Clinic 45 
Medicine Bow. 'A'yoming 22 
Menors Fern. 14 

restoration 21 
Mercer. A S 5 
Memam. Lawrence C 17 
Middle Telons 25 
Miller. RobenE 33 
Mohawk Dutchman 6 
Moore 3 

Moore. Blanche 4 
Moore. Granville 4 
Moore. James A 2 

Van Tassell marries vvidovv of 3 
Moose Visitor Center 22 
Moose. Wvo 9. 37 
Moose-Wilson Road 23 
moral standard 38 
Moran. 9 



original townsite of 20 
Mormon Row 9. 12. 15 
Mome Avenue mansion 7 
mosquitos 32 

on lop of Grand Teton 27 
Moulton Bam 15 
Moulton. Clark 12 
Moulton. John and Bartha 15 
Mount Blanc 26 
Mount Owen, naming of 34 
mountain sheep 32 

Mueller. Ellen Crago. ""Crook County's 
Hyena." 8 
Mune. Olaus 17 
Mune. Olaus and Margaret 22 
National Board of Geographic Names 34 
National Elk Refuge 22, 23 
National Geographic Traveler 13 
National Park Service 34 

\ lew loward cultural resources 10 
National Parks Magazine 13, 17 
National Register of Historic Places 1 1 
National Trust for Historic Preservation 12 
neonaiives 43 
New Brown Hotel 7 
New York Herald 27 
Nevvell- Logan 26 
Niobrara County 3 
Noble. Maud, cabin of 14 
NPS Organic Acl 1 I 
(Delrich brothers. 5 
Onenburger. Leigh 26. 30 
Owen. Emma Matilda 26 
Ctwen. William 24-34. (photo. 25) 

climbs Grand ai age 65 33 
Owen-Langford controversv 33 
Owen-Spalding route 27. 31. 34 
0\bow Bend 16 
Park Headquaners in Moose 14 
Petersen, [-rank 27, 31. 32 (photo. 28. 29) 
Pet/oldi. Paul 32. 33 
Pfeifer homestead If.iphoto. 15) 
PI'eiler. Joe 15 
Pinetree Ranch 19 
plaque. Owen (photo) 33 
Pole Creek 5 
Ponv Express 2 
Poller. Judge Charles 30 
Presbvtenan church jChevenne) 4 
""Preserving the Past The Case of Grand 
Teton National Park" 9 
Radio, in Jackson Hole 42 
Rainsford, George D 4 
"Recent Acquisitions in the Hebard 

Collection. I'VV Libraries." 44 
"Recent Additions and Processed Collec- 
tions. Depanmenl of Stale Parks and 

Cultural Resources. State Archives." 44 
red fox 39 

Remington. Frederic 6 
"Renesselaer Schuyler Van Tassell." b> 

Shirley E Flynn. 2-7 
Rhvan. John 26 
Richards. Homer 40 
Richards.Gov W'llliam A 29.30 
Righter. Roben. quoted 17. 19. 21. 22 
Righter. Roben W . "Preserving the Past 

The Case of Grand Teton National Park 

An Opinion Piece." 9-13. (hio. 13) 
Rockefeller. John D. Jr. 10. 14. 16-18.23 
Rockefeller. Laurance 16 
Rock) Mountain Club 27 
Roosevelt. Franklin D 17 
Roosevelt. Theodore 2. 5. 23 (photo. 6) 

at Frontier Davs 6 
rope tow. Snow King 42 
Roihman. Hal. quoted, 42 
Rov Eugene Graham and Associates 12 
Running Water Creek 3. 6 
St Mark's Episcopal church 4 
Sargent. .Adelaide 19 
Sargent. John Dudle) 19, 36 

homestead 38 
Sargent. John Singer 19 
Sargent's Chimnev 31 
Schenk. Bill 12 
Schwienng Studio 15 
Scnhner's Monthlv 25. 27. 30. 33 
Sears. Julian 33 
service class 37 
Sheffield. Ben 20.37.38 
""Shane" 42 
Sherman Hill 2 
Shive. John 27. 31 . (photo. 28) 

on mosquitos 32 



shooting 40 

Signal Mountain Lodge 20 

skis 39 

Smith. Shem L.. "'A Jackson Hole Life; Verba 

Laurence." 35-43. (hio. 43) 
Snake River Land Company 
10. 11. 15. 16. 20. 21. 23 
Snow King ski area 42 
snowshoemg 38 
Spalding. Re\. Franklin 27,28. 31. (photo. 28. 

2<)t 
Sparks. John 2 
Sparks. Ne\ada 2 
"Spencer's Mountam," 42 
Spenser, George 16 
Spread Creek Ranch 16 
Stark. Jack 12 
Stevenson. James 25-2'5. 32 
Stewart, Henr\ 22 
Stock Grouers Bank 7 
Swan. Alexander H 4 



Table Mountain 32 

Talbot. Major John 2 

telephone. Jackson Hole 3Q 

Telephone road 2 

Teschmacher. Hubert 5 

Teton County Assessor's office 12 

Teton Count) Board of Commissioners 33 

Teton County Historic Preservation Board 
13 

Teton Investment Company 17 

Teton Lodge 37 

Teton National Forest 17 

Thomas. J B- 4 

Thompson. D C. review of ■"From the Old 
Northwest to the Pacific Northwest: the 
1853 Oregon Trail Diaries of Patterson 
Fletcher Luark and Michael Fleenen 
Luark." 45 

Three Rivers Ranch 21 

"Three Women" (song) 36 

Tie City 2. 5 



"To Preserve the View: A Tour in Text and 
Pictures of Historic Sites Relating to the 
Establishment of Grand Teton National 
Park." by Tamsen Emerson Hert. 14-23 

Towgotee Pass 42 

trapping, m Jackson Hole 39 

triangulation measurements 26 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife SerMce 22 

LI.S. Geological Sur\'ey 33 

Universit> of Alaska 22 

University of Wyoming/National Park 

Service Resear 17. 19 

Van Tassell "home ranch" 5 

Van Tassell. Louise Swan 4 
divorce. 7 

Van Tassell. Mary Moore, death of 4 

Van Tassell. Maude Bradle\ 7 

Van Tassell. R. S. 2-7 

Van Tassell. Wyoming 7 

vigilante committee 3 

Warren. Senator Francis E 6 



Wheeler Expedition 29 

Wilderness Society 22 

Wilson. A, D, 26 

Wmger. Richard 14. 33 

winter of 1886-1887 4 

Wister cabin 22 

Wister. Owen 22, 38 

Woodring. Sam T. (photo, 33) 

Wunder. John R., "Americans View Their Dust 

Bowl Experience." reviewed. 45 

Wyoming Consulting Committee for the 

National Register 12 
Wyoming legislature, resolution for Owen 34 
Wyoming State Historical Societ\ 40 
Wyoming Stock Growers Association 4 

founders of 4 
Yellowstone Wagon Road 15 
Zontek. Ken. review of "Americans View Their 

Dust Bowl Experience." 45 



Wyoming Pictures 




Aviator Amelia Earhart had flown into Cheyenne just 
before this picture was shot by legendaiy Wyoming 
Eagle photographer Francis B rammer. According to 
Brammer 's later recollections, the photography was 
delayed because the famous flyer suffered a bout of 
air sickness prior to arrival and, for the first half hour 



Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources 
after landing, she laid in a crawl space under an air- 
port building in order to recover. Pictured with Earhart 
are (from left): Leo Herman, commander at Fort 
Russell: Miss Frontier of 1932 Edith Gogerty (later 
Mrs. S. T. Stevens): and Cheyenne Mayor J. F. 
Wevbrecht. 



Join tne Wyoming State Historical Society..., 
ana your local historical society chapter 



The Wyoming State Historical Society is a confederation of more than 20 local chap- 
ters located in every area of the state. Members enjoy the frequent gatherings of their 
local groups and participate in programs and activities that preserve and interpret their 
communities" history. Several times each year, members from all across Wyoming 
come together for major events where they celebrate common historical interests. 

Membership in the society is open to everyone. Member benefits include a subscrip- 
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Membership dues also provide support for a comprehensive awards program that rec- 
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If you are a member of the Wyoming State Historical Society, we solicit your contin- 
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them) to join. Contact a member of your local historical society, or write to the 

Wyoming State Historical Society 

PMB#184 

1740H DELL RANGE BLVD 

CHEYENNE WY 82009-4945. 

Membership dues are: S20 (single); $30 (joint); $15 (student, under 2 1 years of age); 
$40, (institutions). For those who wish to support the society in a more substantial 
way, participation at one of the following levels is appreciated: contributing member 
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more). In addition to all benefits of regular membership, participation at these le\els 
are recognized in Wyoming Histoty News. 



nnals of 



m 



WYOMING 



: The ^(^oming History Journal 



Autumn 1999 




Vol. 71, No. 4 



, '^' 



' 1 




> k' 












'(;*. 



"War Talk, Christmas Cheer, 1924" 

Oil 28 •• X 38 " 

The cover painting was done by Wyoming 's famed "cowboy art- 
ist." E. IV. "Bill" Gollings. 

Born in Idaho in 1878. Gollings and his family moved to Chi- 
cago when he was ten years old. He studied drawing in school 
there and after a series of odd Jobs, he returned west in 1896. For 
more them five years, he rode the range as a cowhand for Montana 
and Wvoming cattle outfits. He continued his drawing in his spare 
time. Just after the turn of the century, he returned to Chicago and 
attended the Academy of Fine Arts. 

In 1909 he built a studio in Sheridan and worked on Sheridan 
area ranches while he painted couunercially. Gradually, his works 
gained favor with critics and collectors. 

He died on April 16. 1932. in Sheridan. 

The painting is from the Sheriy Nicholas collection housed at 
the University of Wyoming Art Museum. 



The editor of Annals of \i yarning uelcomes manuscripts and photographs on ever\ aspect of the histor> of W\oming and the West. 
Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or which offer new interpretations 
of historical events. First-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be considered for use in the 
"Wyoming Memories" section. Historic photo essays for possible publication in "'Wyoming Memories" also are welcome. Articles are 
reviewed and refereed by members of the journal's Editorial Advisory Board and others. Decisions regarding publication are made by 
the editor. Manuscripts (along with suggestions for illustrations or photographs) should be submitted on computer diskettes in a format 
created by one of the widely-used word processing programs along with two printed copies. Submissions and queries should be ad- 
dressed to Editor, .Annals of Wyoming, P. 0. Box 4256, University Station. Laramie WY 82071 . 



Editor 

I'llll K.^kTl. 

Hook* RcNiL'w I'.clitor 
Carl HallKeri; 



Editorial Advisor\' Board 

Barbara Roslart, Evan^to^ 
Mabel brown, Newcaj^tle/L lievt-nn 
Micnael J. Dexine, Laraniit- 
James B. Griiritn, }r, Cncyeniu' 
Don Houg^on, Torririi^ton 
Loren Io<t, l\i\'erton 
Da\'lu K.itnica, Rock r-prin^^ 
r. A, L.ir^on, Laramie 
)onn I). McDermott, irnerlJan 
Snerr\' 1,. ^niitli, Nu>o?e 
Tnoma? \\ ^troL>clc, Casper 
Lawrence NL Woods, Worland 



^ \ oiiiiniS' ^tate Historical ^T'ociety 

Runlications Committee 
Rick Lwii;, Laramie 
Da\-id Katlika, Ri'ck rpnns^> 
Sliern' L r^mitli, ^K'o^e 
/Vm\' l-au'rence, Laramie 
Nancy Curtis, C'lentlo 
W'illiam M. NU'orc, Laramie (ex officio) 
Patty Myer>, W'lieallantl (e\-..lIicio} 
Loren )ost, Riverton (ex-olricio) 
Phil Roberts, Laramie (ex-officio) 



Wyoming' State Mistoricai Society 

Executive Committee 
Mike loraint;. President, Ne^'castle 
DavelavUir, IstXi^e IVes, Casper 

lermy W.^lit, -^lul \'ice IVs., BecllorJ 

I_mJa Labian, ^ecretar)', L neyenne 

Pick Wilder. Treasurer, ColI\' 

Patty Mvcrs,WbeatlanJ 

-\m\' Laurence, Laramie 

Joyce Warnke, Torrintfton 

Lloyu Totla, Sberidan 

Juav West, Memnersnip CoorJinat.^r 

Governor or Wyoming" 

Jim Geringer 



Wyomina' Dcpt. of State Parks and 
Cultural Resources 

Jonn Keck, Director 



Wvoniing Parks &' Cultural Resources 
Commission 

William Dubois, C!ie\eiine 
Lnarles A- Liuerin, Laramie 
Diann Reese, L\nian 
Rosie Ber:5er, Big ruirn 
B. Byron Price, Cody 
Herb Frencn, Newcastle 
Frank Tim Isabell, Irlmsnoni 
Jeanne Mickey, Cneyenne 
Hale Krewik. Douglas 

L^niversity ot Wyoming' 

Pbilip DubtMS, President 
Micnael J. De\ane, Director, 

.-Vmerican Heritage Center 
Oliver Walter, Dean, 

College Lil Arts and Sciences 
William H. Moore, Cnair, Dept. of History 

Printed bv Pioneer Printing, Cneyenne 



^pnnals of 

WYOMING 



Tne Wyoming History journal 



Autumn lOQQXol. 71, Xo. 4 



W^omln^ Memories 



Canipaig'n Memories 

By lames B. GriHitli, )r 2 

Beyond a Literar\' Adventure: 

Bonne^'ilie's and Fremont's Conquests 
or the Wind Ri\'ers 

B\'\'ernon I^. \'olpe 15 



Creneral Slieridan's Pass, 1807-1883 



B 



\' lames K 



Wolf. 



Climbino the Grand: Another \icw 

Letter to the Editor n\' )esse O Connor . 



29 



.41 



Book Reviews 

liJiteJ liv C ar! Hallters; 42 



Indc 



.47 



W> 



yoniing Picture ...^^..,-:jp./c:::;s,..!:^.5^.^/7..ia--lr--- 



.48 



■\ 1 =^ ^-i-7 L^ i-L 



3 - 3 2 



iily 



Annals o/ II'] omini; The ll'yiiming History Journal is published quartcrl> b\ the \\ \oming State Historical 
Society in association with the Wyoming Department ot Commerce, the American Heritage Center, and the 
Department ot History, Liniversity ot Wyoming, The journal was pre\iousl\ published as the Oiiarierly 
Bulletin ( 1 923- 1 925 1. Annals of ll'yotning ( 1 925- 1 993 ). Il'yomiiii; Annals ( 1 993- 1 995 ) and ll'yoming His- 
tory Journal ( 1995-1996). The Annals has been the ofTicial publication of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society since 1953 and is distributed as a benefit of membership to all society members. Membership dues 
are: single, $20; joint, $30; student (under 21 ), $15; institutional. $40; contributing, $100-249; sustaining. 
$250-499; patron, $500-999; donor, $1,000+. To join, contact your local chapter or write to the address 
below. Articles in Annals afll'roming are abstracted in Histivical Abstracts and America History and Life. 

Inquiries about membership, mailing, distribution, reprints and back issues should be addressed to .lud\ 
West, Coordinator, Wyoming State Historical Society, PMB» 184, I74(IH Dell Range Blvd., Cheyenne 
WY 82009-4945. Editorial correspondence should be .addressed to the editorial office o\' Annals of Wyo- 
ming. American Heritage Center, P. O. Box 4256, University Station, Laramie WY 82071. 
Our website address is; http: www.uw\o.edu.A&S history whioum.htm 



Copyright 1999, Wyoming State Historical Societj 



ISSN: 1086-7368 



Wyoming Memories 




CAMPAIGN MEMORIES 



James B. Griffith, Jr. 



As I have been offered this opportunity to author a 
"Wyoming Memories" for the Annals it occurred to 
me that it might be desirable to write for a different 
reader; those who have never sought an elective office 
nor worked their hearts out for someone else. Those 
who have campaigned for themselves or become deeply 
involved in a political race already know what I hope 
my words convey. They know political campaigns and 
their results magnify the feelings of excitement, joy, 
disappointment, satisfaction, lasting friendship, bitter- 
ness, stress, worry, and humor to mention a few. 

In campaigns there are nearly always many losers, 
and of course only one winner. With perhaps three or 
more opponents in a primary and statistically only half 
a chance of winning in the general, the odds of success 
are poor. Be this as it is, our democracy is fortunate 
that people will put their necks on the line despite the 
odds, for they provide the heart and keep the blood of 
democracy flowing. 

It must be an inherited trait but family groups seem 
to have a tendency to follow the same general interest. 
In my family there seems to e.xist a desire to partici- 
pate in various levels of political activity. 

In Wyoming that desire likely started with my ma- 
ternal grandfather, Harry C. Snyder, who arrived in 



Wyoming behind some 3,000 head of Mexican cattle 
which had been driven all the way from Matagorda 
Bay, Mexico. Another cowboy on that 1879 drive was 
John B. Kendrick, who was to become a Wyoming gov- 
ernor and U.S. Senator. Both were loyal Democrats. 
Harry Snyder became a rancher in what is now Niobrara 
County and later was owner and operator of the H. C. 
Snyder and Company, a mercantile company in Lusk 
which sold hardware, clothing, fiamiture, groceries, etc., 
and did it all on credit. When the ranchers sold their 
livestock and paid their annual bill they would be re- 
warded with a new hat. 

Mr. Snyder was a pioneer mayor of Lusk and seemed 
to have a special interest in education, which was prob- 
ably partly because he married Mary Vincent, a teacher 
who worked at various locations along the Cheyenne- 
Deadwood Stage Line. She may well have been the 
first college educated teacher north of Fort Laramie. 

During the homesteading era when ranchers and 
homesteaders were not friends, he served on the school 
board. In his book Hat Creek and Hard Times, Dr. 
Edward C. Bryant, a leading American statistician, 
writes, "In the spring of 1 9 1 3 my parents and others 
increased the pressure on the school board for a com- 
munity school. H. C. Snyder tried to resign from the 



Autumn 1999 



board because he was embarrassed they wouldn't fund 
schools for the homesteaders. His resignation wasn't 
accepted and the board voted to build a school along 
the Hat Creek road..." 

He served one term in the Legislature as a Represen- 
tative from Converse County and was chairman of a 
committee to break off the eastern portion of Converse 
into a new county. In Mae Urbanek's book IVyoming 
Place Names, she gives Snyder credit for the name 
Niobrara. In 1 9 1 6 he was a candidate for the State Sen- 
ate but withdrew because of ill health and died before 
the election. That was the Democratic side of the fam- 
ily. 

The Republican side started when my Dad, with per- 
haps a fifth grade education, learned the printing busi- 
ness in Lexington, Kentucky. Later he worked his way 
west after serving in numerous capacities at a number 
of newspapers. He was also a member of the American 
Federation of Labor ( AFL ) and in 1 909 was an official 
at a national convention under the famous labor leader 
Samuel Gompers. He described his family as strong 
Lincoln Republicans. While writing for the S'afroiia 
Count}- Tribune he took a turn at politics and was elected 
a Natrona County Commissioner. He only served one 
term. 

My mother and father were widow and widower when 
they became acquainted during the Wyoming Press 
Association conventions. Mother was a feminine pio- 
neer for women were rarely publishers and editors, and 
she was both at The Lusk Herald. They were married 
on Easter 1926. Before long they set out on yet another 
newspaper venture, as they and the J. E. Hanways ot 
Casper went to Laredo, Texas where they published 
The Laredo Time.s, which was a daily paper with one 
issue in English and another in Spanish. It was during 
this experience that I came into the world. When I was 
but 31 days old the family, then consisting of yours, 
mine and ours, moved to Lusk. I guess the bilingual 
operation didn't work out. Never in my life did I call 
attention to the fact that by birth I was a Texan I just 
ignored it and let Wyoming people assume I was a 
Wyoming native. 

Then came the depression and the Snyder ranch was 
sold to sa\e the store, but with its credit program it 
also went down. I do believe I remember the election 
night of 1932; but than again maybe it was just be- 
cause I had been told about it. The returns were posted 
in the vacant Snyder store. Dad was running for the 
Legislature and like all Republicans during the Hoover 
depression he was badly beaten. He never ran for elec- 
tive office again. 



Of course 1934 was again an all Democratic year, 
and then came 1 936 and one of Dad's best friends, Frank 
A. Barrett, Lusk lawyer, was running for Congress. 
Barrett's son Jim, now Judge of the Tenth Circuit Court 
of Appeals, accompanied his dad on much of the cam- 
paign putting up posters and handing out brochures. 
Barretts often campaigned with Senator Robert Carey 
who was running for reelection. He had previously 
served Wyoming as governor. Democrat Paul Greever, 
a Cody lawyer, was seeking his second term in Con- 
gress. 

In the words of Judge Barrett: "The 1936 election 
was an across-the-board Democratic sweep. In iny dad's 
case, he quickly put it behind him and buried himself 
in his law practice. In Senator Carey's case the defeat 
was devastating. He died about a year later." 

After the overwhelming Democratic victories of 
1932, 1934 and 1936 the Wyoming Republican party 
was little more than a memory. Dad always said be- 
cause no one else was dumb enough to take it, he was 
elected Republican State Chaimian in 1 937. The Wyo- 
ming GOP was $3000 in debt and in 1937 that was big 
money. The organization existed only on paper, and 
there were few creditable candidates in the wings. Even 




J. B. Griffith, the author's father, was a prominent 
pubhsher and RepubUcan Part}' official 




Annals of Wyonimg:The Wyoming History Journal 



Frank Barren, the only Wyomingite ever elected to all 
three top elective offices— the U. S. House, the Gover- 
norship and the U. S. Senate. 



though the GOP future looked dark indeed, there would 
be an election in 1938 and the elephant would have to 
make an appearance if America's two party system was 
to exist. Dad enlisted George Houser, publisher of the 
Guernsey Gazette, and Cheyenne lawyers Harry B. 
Henderson and Ewing T. Kerr to serve as a sort of 
kitchen cabinet. 

All fi\ e of Wyoming's elected officials were Demo- 
crats, both houses of the Legislature were controlled 
by the Democrats, both U.S. Senators were Democrats, 
and Wyoming's only congressman was a Democrat. 

First came an all-out recruitment effort, and that was 
followed by what must have been an unexpected ag- 
gressive campaign. When the dust settled the nation 
was still finnly controlled by the Democrats, but not 
Wyoming. Nels Smith (R) was Governor, Mart 
Christensen ( R ) was State Treasurer and Esther Ander- 
son (R) was Superintendent of Public Instruction, and 
that meant control of the State Boards. Both houses of 
the Legislature had GOP majorities, and Frank Horton 
(R) had been elected to Congress. Dad was appointed 
Land Commissioner, but still retained his chairman- 



ship of the party. Some called him an autocrat, and the 
Wyoming Eagle read "GOP now means Griffith's Own 
Party." 

World War II slowed, but did not stop, political ac- 
tivity. Dad needed a first rate candidate for Congress. 
He begged Frank Barrett to run, but Barrett still re- 
membered 1936 and wouldn't consider a second try. 
On the final day for filing Dad forged "Frank A. Barrett" 
on a nomination petition and paid the filing fee. Barrett, 
who was pure Irish anyway, really got his Irish up and 
threatened legal action against Dad. Dad asked Frank 
to wait a few days and see the reaction to the announce- 
ment. He waited. Then fi-om the Republican state head- 
quarters in the basement of the Frontier Hotel, Dad 
phoned people all over the State asking them to phone, 
write or telegraph Barrett and tell him how pleased they 
were that he was running for Congress. Barrett was 
encouraged and decided to remain on the ticket. He 
won. He won again in 1944, and in 1946 and in 1948. 
He was elected Governor in 1 950 and elected U.S. Sena- 
tor in 1952. In the entire history of the United States 
there have been only a handful— likely fewer than a 
dozen elected officials~who have held these three high 
offices. 

In 1942 Lester Hunt defeated Nels Smith for Gover- 
nor partly because of Smith's reading ability. He was a 
non-stop reader, and just read the speeches others, like 
my Dad or Ewing Kerr, who was Attorney General, 
had written for him. He always read the whole talk, 
including even the inserted words, "pause for applause." 

Following the change in governorship the Griffith 
family moved back to Lusk and The Herald. The Her- 
ald was now under the management of Gerald Bardo, 
who became Dad's partner and later my partner. 

The summer of 1 948 game me a different view of 
politics as both Jim Barrett and I were attending the 
Republican National convention in Philadelphia. As 
our Dads were both delegates, we were designated 
Honorary Assistant Sergeant at Arms which meant we 
could get on the convention floor but didn't have a 
seat. This was the tlrst ever televised convention. That 
fact alone meant the convention hall would be an oven, 
as the black and white TV required powerful arc burn- 
ing lights. This year was also probably the last time the 
television didn't dominate national political conven- 
tions. Jim and I made our way with the delegation and 
met every one of the candidates. One of my most vivid 
memories of the convention came about at two a.m. 
after a long and very hot day, when the hero of the 
Bataan death march. General Wainwright, standing 
before a half empty hall gave a nomination speech for 



Autumn 19QQ 



Douglas MacArthur. Tom Dewey was nominated for 
the second time for president. I just didn't care much 
for him, but in November 1 did cast my first ever vote 
for him. Would you believe this I wanted Harold 
Stassen. A great many others didn't care for Dewey 
either, as Truman pulled the greatest upset of any presi- 
dential race. 

In 1950 I had just received my degree from Wyo- 
ming U and started to work at The HcraUI. But 1950 
was a thrilling year for Luskites as Frank Barrett was 
running for Governor. Among other things a car cara- 
van was organized which visited Douglas, Wheatland 
and Che>enne. I have my doubts if it really did much 
good, but it gave all of us a feeling we were really 
campaigning. Barrett won big and I was impressed 
when I witnessed my first inaugural. 

In 1952 I tlrst learned about how even small com- 
munities can pla\ hardball politics. Nationallx the Re- 
publicans were basicall_\ divided into two presidential 
camps — the Robert Taft supporters and the General 
Eisenhower troops. Because someone had asked, I w as 
the Eisenhower county chairman. C. W. Erwin, the 
president and principal owner of the Lusk State Bank, 
which was Lusk's only bank, was making it his per- 
sonal project to see that Taft would be the nominee. 
The late C.W. was a formidable man. It so happened 
that he had a perfect matching glass eye and the local 
joke for years was that if \ou wished to know which 
eye was the glass eye, just ask C.W. for a loan and the 
glass eye was the one with the kindly look. He was, 
however, a fine community man. outstanding school 
board member, and chief developer of the Niobrara 
Country Club. 

I had done my homework and contacted most of the 
precinctmen and precinctwomen, but the conservatism 
in Niobrara was fairly strong for Taft. At any rate when 
the county convention was held I thought there were 
six Ike and four Taft delegates — but it might have been 
five and five. Inasmuch as Frank Barrett was now run- 
ning for the U.S. Senate, his son, Jim, who was secre- 
tary-treasurer of the Niobrara Republicans, didn't want 
to be a delegate, but accepted the tenth or last alternate 
position. 

The state convention w as held in the Masonic Temple 
in downtown Casper as the location was a short walk 
from Casper's three major hotels. County Chairman 
Tom Miller called for a 10 a.m. meeting of the Niobrara 
delegation to be held in his room in the Gladstone Hotel 
so that the membership of the various committees could 
be elected. Tom then learned the convention would 
convene at ten, so he and others attempted to notify the 



delegates the county meeting would be at nine. Every- 
one but C.W. got the word. In his own words. .lim 
Barrett writes: 

I was called to ser\'e in his stead because I was the 
only alternate delegate who could be located. So the 
election of committee members proceeded after 1 had 
been elected secretary of the meeting. The votes were 
all done by written ballots. I cast one vote for Taft and 
one for I-isenhower, but knew that C.W. would ha\e 
cast his votes for Taft. The Fisenhower people now 
had a slight majority on each committee, including the 
important nominating comnntlee. .lust before the meet- 
ing was o\er there was a knock on the door and it was 
C.W. He had finally been located, but it was too late. 
Mr. En\in declared the meeting was unconstitutional 
and wanted to know who had ser\ed in his place. Of 
course, it was me. He asked about the composition of 
the committees and when so informed he asked who 
counted the \otes. Of course, it was me. Fortunatel> I 
had retained the v\ritten ballots and otTered them to 
him. He refused to lodk and heatedl\ proclaimed that 
the first order of business would be a challenge as to 
the composition of the committees. Fach of us held 
our breath as the conxcniKin opened, hut Mr. Frwin 
did not pursue Ins challenge. 

Statewide the Eisenhower efforts were not as suc- 
cessful as Niobrara's, for the delegation to the national 
convention had six for Taft, two for Eisenhower and 
four uncommitted. Of course, Ike went on to win the 
nomination and served two temis as president. 

The bitterness over the Niobrara delegation hung on 
much like a skunk's spra\' clings to a long hair dog. 
C.W.'s temperature remained hot, and among his ac- 
tions he gave his staff firm instructions to '"never buy 
anything at The Heruhi again." Then one day he asked 
his head man. Max T. Bird, if he had a large manila 
envelope. Max found one in his desk. Still later on that 
day, June 1 0, 1 952. C.W. asked for a second one. Max 
didn't have one so he took a short walk up Main Street 
and bought a 9 x 12 envelope which I believe sold for 
about 4 cents. After using the new envelope C.W. asked 
Max where the found that en\'elope and Max said at 
The Herald. Max later said C.W. had real fire in his 
good eye when he pointed at Max and said "You're 
fired." And he was. The June 12 issue of The Herald 
carried a front page article which read, "Max T. Bird. 
cashier of The Lusk State Bank for the past five years, 
unexpectedly resigned Tuesda\ . Reason for the resig- 
nation were not made available for publication." The 
article went on to glorify Max and all he had meant to 
the coinmunitN . 



6 



^Vnnals or WyomingiThe Wyoming Histor\' Journal 



Things were really in the soup now. Max didn't have 
a job and we were the cause. The obvious solution was 
to start a bank for Max to nin. With Democrats like 
Roscoe Kilmer and Republicans like Dad and Andy 
McMaster and the help from U.S. Senator Lester Hunt 
(D-Wyo) and Gerr\ Bardo doing much of the paper 
w ork, the Stockmans National Bank w as bom and Max 
had a job. To be certain, there was a need for a second 
bank, but it was small town politics which ignited the 
flame. Dad and Andy were among the original direc- 
tors. Years later it was fitting that Geixy Bardo became 
a director. The bank is now a Communitx First bank. 
And the election of 1 952 sent Frank Barrett to the U.S. 
Senate. 

1 don't recall any effort on my behalf in the 1954 
election, but in 1955 Dad resigned his position as 
Niobrara's Republican State Committeeman. 1 was 
elected to take his place, a position I held until 1970. 
Neither do I have memories of the 1956 election, but 
1958 was one which is remembered with much bitter- 
ness b> the Barrett family and friends even today. He 
was running against Democrat Gale McGee, a U W his- 
tory professor, and while the campaign was generally 
hot. it was at the very end that could have defeated 
Barrett. Three days before the election Drew Pearson, 
a nationally syndicated columnist, wrote in his "Wash- 




Staii Hathaway 



ington Merry Go Round" column that Barrett person- 
ally intervened with the IRS-Treasury people on be- 
half of former Senator E. V. Robertson against the gov- 
ernment. Evidently the Wyoming Democratic party had 
been made aware such a column was going to be pub- 
lished. Brochures asking "Can you trust this man?" were 
distributed as the column was published. Similar ad- 
vertisements appeared in several Wyoming papers. The 
story was one big lie, but the timing was such that it 
could not be answered. McGee won, but with only 
50.8% of the vote. The column could well have made 
the difference. Rather than a libel suit Pearson offered 
a cash settlement, but that was refused, as Barrett wished 
to clear his name. In time a suitable retraction was pub- 
lished and through his son Jim the retraction column 
was run throughout Wyoming. 

The Democratic convention in 1 960 had to be a high- 
light for the longtime Wyoming Democratic National 
Committeeman Tracy McCraken for he, as chairman 
of the Wyoming delegation, cast the deciding votes 
which nominated John Kennedy for president. Of course 
Kennedy went on to become president in a tight win 
over Richard Nixon. Wyoming's popular congressman 
Keith Thomson was elected to the U.S. Senate, but died 
before he was even sworn in. Governor J.J. (Joe) 
Hickey, in effect, appointed himself to the Senate, a 
move that pro\ed unpopular in 1962 when Simpson 
and Hickey had a rematch, but for the Senate. This 
time Simpson won. Mrs. Keith (Thyra) Thomson went 
on to be elected Wyoming Secretary of State, a posi- 
tion in which she sat comfortably for twenty-four years. 

It was, however, during Hickey's senate service that 
he and Senator McGee worked with another man who 
would later come to the Wyoming political scene to 
influence the economic well being of the Cheyenne area. 
Colonel Ed Witzenburger as Air Force Liaison Officer 
to the Senate, helped convince Secretary of the Air 
Force Eugene Zuchert to have the Minuteman ICBM 
deployed at Fort Warren. 

During 1 963 Republican State Chairman John Wold 
asked me to head a nominating committee to find a 
new state chainnan. The thinness of my memories fails 
to recall the other committee members, but we were in 
agreement that Stan Hathaway would be an excellent 
choice. Thus it was that I drove south from Lusk to 
Torrington and asked Stan if he would accept the nomi- 
nation. I had just assumed he would, but I received a 
very definite "NO". After phone Conversations with 
the committee members it was suggested I ask Stan a 
second time. There was no question in my mind but 
what I needed some big reinforcements so I requested 
Harry Thorson of Newcastle, a former state chairman, 



Autumn IQOQ 



7 




Ed Witzenbiirger 

and at the time Wyoming National committeeman, to 
accompany me to visit Stan once again. When I say 
big, Harry was of the around 300 pounds size. We did 
in fact make the trip and after a rather lengthy session 
with Stan and a reduction of his liquor supply, he fi- 
nally agreed to take the nomination. 

Stan ran an excellent, but tutile campaign. There was 
no way to overcome the anti-Barry Goldvvater land- 
slide. All statewide Republican candidates lost, and for 
the tlrst time since the 30"s, the Democrats controlled 
the Wyoming House of Representatives. The Republi- 
cans had a majority of one in the State Senate. But b\ 
that time, Stan had become known throughout Wyo- 
ming and it is my belief that if he refused that chair- 
manship he might not have gone on to become the first 
person to ser\e two full temis as Governor of Wyo- 
ming. 

Yes, Harry and 1 went back in 1966 to ask him to run 
for Governor, but we were too late, for the people of 
Goshen County as well as others from around the state 
already had him committed. He had outstanding oppo- 
sition in the primary election with Joe Burke, promi- 
nent Natrona County rancher, as his principal oppo- 
nent, and the articulate Casper lawyer Ernest Wilkerson. 



in the general election. But the sad Republican "tears 
of '64 were tears of joy in '66" as the entire Republi- 
can national and state ticket won. 

Meantime down in my small county of Niobrara a 
most unusual— perhaps even completely unique— event 
took place. Following the 1960 census and the legisla- 
tive reapportionment, Niobrara had been combined w ith 
Converse County into a single state senate district. This 
was still the era of paper ballots and the requirements 
of just how many were to be printed and the rotation of 
names was exacting. The law required the county clerk 
to oversee the printing process. The Republican pri- 
mary pitted Estelle Stacy of Douglas against Jim Th- 
ompson, a Niobrara rancher and four-temi state repre- 
sentative. Mrs. Stacy was a most devoted Republican 
and not only national committeewoman but secretary 
of the National Republican Committee. Niobrara vot- 
ers had the correct feeling that this might be the final 
time they could elect a state senator. The north Lusk 
precinct had the most Democrats, but they joined in 
the fight of Little Niobrara against Big Converse County 
and sw itched, even if just for the day, to vote Republi- 
can. After the limited number of white (Republican) 
ballots were gone. County Clerk Doris Christian gave 
her approval to use verified sample ballots. Soon the 
sample ballots had all been cast. What now? Can a le- 
gal voter be turned away for lack of ballots? At the 
time the statutes also required that the ballots be printed 
in the county's legal newspaper the week before the 
election. With great reluctance Mrs. Christian gave her 
approval to use the ballots as printed in last week's 
Herald. There were several, probably not many, bal- 
lots cast that carried a Safeway advertisement on the 
back. Jim carried Niobrara by an amazing 6 to 1 mar- 
gin, but that effort wasn't necessary as he also carried 
Converse. 

Jim ran again in 1970 against Democrat Rory Cross 
and barely won. That was the last time Niobrara had a 
state senator and it is not likely Niobrara will ever have 
another. Later Rory became a Republican and was 
elected as a legislator from Converse County. 

I cannot set a time or a place when I decided to be- 
come a candidate for State Treasurer. No one really 
urged me to. but late in 1969 I gave the idea serious 
thought and can assure all that there is a vast space 
between thinking about it and actually announcing. 
With my good friend and fomier county Republican 
chairman. Bob Darrovv. I became the first candidate to 
announce for any otTice. The announcement was made 
the evening of Tuesday, February 3, 1970. in the once 
again vacant room in the former Snyder building. It 
had been occupied for many years by the Midwest 



yVnnals oi Wyoming:The Wyoming History Journal 




Author's collection 



"Torchlight Parade " in support of Grijfith 's nomination. Liisk, 1970 



Hardware. Perhaps the template for the campaign was 
set that night, which was concluded with a torchlight 
parade. 

As 1 was single at the time and attempting to raise 
three teenage daughters, they became my campaign 
team. The early February announcement was made so 
that I could attend the Lincoln Day dinners around the 
state as a candidate. At first we traveled only on week- 
ends, and while 1 would visit the business district the 
daughters would leave brochures at homes. For the most 
part the work fell to my two youngest, Laura, 15, and 
Lynn, 13. Sally had her hands full preparing to gradu- 
ate from high school as valedictorian and working to 
gain admission to Harvard. 

Later I had a primary opponent, Floyd Holland, a 
former mayor of Cheyenne and a fine man. He, too, 
traveled the state, and had Dave Carmichael, Chey- 
enne lawyer and active Republican, travel with him. In 
the final month, the three Griffiths went full time. 1 
needed a little more muscle with posters, etc., so I hired 
Greg Osborne, son of Keith and Mary Osborne of Chey- 
enne, to help. We covered an additional 25,000 miles. 
As I look back, 1 probably should have been charged 
with child abuse. I didn't know unfil after that Laura 
had been taking "No-Doz" pills, sometimes without 
water, while she drove. One day Lynn went with me in 
a chartered plane and we fiew from Lusk to a breakfast 
in Cheyenne, lunch in Casper, afternoon coffee in 
Worland and dinner in Sheridan, and then back to Lusk. 
It was about a 19-hour day. 

Inasmuch as I believe that a political candidate should 
get all his or her dirty linen out of the closet before 




Griffith's 1970 primary campaign team. Daughter 
Sally, 1 7, is standing next to the candidate. Daughter 
Laura. 15. is seated on the left and daughter Lynn. 
13, is on the right. Sally Griffith collection. 



Autumn 1999 



someone else finds it, I ad\ertised that in 1950 I had 
been stricken with mtiltiple sclerosis and that explained 
why 1 walked with a stagger. If nothing else in that 
campaign, 1 did acquaint a great many Wyoming people 
with MS. 

Holland had served as Grand Master of the Wyo- 
ming Masonic Lodge and therefore had a statewide re- 
lationship. Both State Treasurer Minnie Mitchell and 
incumbent Everett Copenhaver quietly supported him. 
I did have the quiet support of Stan Hathaway. 
Holland's declared expenses were two and one-half 
times mine. I, or rather we. won by 3970 votes. I had 
anticipated that 1 would be facing Elizabeth Phelan in 
the general, but about 3 a.m., the returns from Uinta 
County came in, and Bob Adams, a perennial candi- 
date for Treasurer, won the Democratic nomination by 
532 votes. 

One of the most fortunate events of my political life 
happened even before the general started. Colonel Ed 
Witzenburger, after three wars and 30 years in the Air 
Force, had been released and was visiting in Lusk with 
his in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Thompson. The\ lived 
directly across the alley from our home. Ed walked 
across that dirt alle\ and said, "Eleanor and I would 
like to go campaigning with you." I said, 'T can't af- 

13 



ford you." He said, "We're free." We campaigned in 
their car, and I'm sure, often on their money. 

At an> rate it was a good campaign with Stan 
Hathaway setting the course. Even though it is almost 
automatic for a Republican to be elected Treasurer in 
Wyoming, we campaigned hard. In all of Wyoming's 
history there has been onl\ one Democrat elected Trea- 
surer — J. Kirk Baldwin in 1932. I can't explain it. but 
the fact is obvious. 

In political life name recognition is paramount, but 
at times embarrassment shows. During the 1970 gen- 
eral Vice President Spiro Agnew came to Casper largely 
to campaign for Harry Roberts in his race against Teno 
Roncalio for Congress. In a talk at what was then the 
Ramada Inn in Casper, he concluded with "so I urge 
and ask you to vote for my friend Hany Taylor." That 
race was one of the closest statewide races ever-- 
Roncalio winning by only 608 votes. 

That same year Ed Herschler had been given to un- 
derstand that Teno. \\ ho had previously ser\ ed in Con- 
gress, would not be a candidate for the Democrat nomi- 
nation, so Herschler filed. Then later, for w hate\ er rea- 
son, Teno had decided to rim. Herschler never publicly 
criticized Teno, probably because he knew there would 
be another dav. Years later Herschler did, however. 




The 1971 inauguration of Wyoming's five state elected officials. From left: Gow Stan Hathaway. Secretniy of State 
Thyra Thomson. State Auditor Everett T. Copenhaver. State Treasurer Jim Griffith. State Superintendent of Public 
Instruction Robert Schrader. Supreme Court Justice Norman B Grav who presided at the swearing-in ceremonv. 



Annals oi Wyoming:The Wyoming I listen' Journal 




The author during his first campaign in 1970. 



make his bitterness known to close friends. I suppose 
that some will be surprised to learn that 1 was one of 
them. 

One evening in the '70 campaign a rally was being 
held in snow-covered Dubois in the building where the 
banquet room and bar adjoin. The local emcee had at 
least one too many, and when it came to introducing 
the governor he said, "And now it is my pleasure to 
introduce the finest governor Wyoming ever had, 
Clifford Hansen." Stan Hathaway stood up and with 
his usual sharpness said, "1 agree with you, but my 
name happens to be Stan Hathaway". 

Then after my election 1 had a name problem, for the 
president of the Cheyenne City Council was also named 
Jim Griffith. The Laramie Boomerang published an 
editorial that 1 should not be serving Cheyenne as well 
as the state. It was necessary for me to explain that my • 
name was James B. Griffith and his middle initial was 
T. But then there were also other cases of confusion. 

During my campaigns 1 tried to cover all the places 
regardless of size, and 1 firmly believe that that is the 
way Wyoming candidates should do. The only total 
wasted effort was when my wife Carolyn and 1 drove 
to Colony, Wyoming's most northeastern community. 
The truth is that Colony can't be driven to on a paved 
road without going through Montana or South Dakota. 
Everyone 1 could find lived and voted in South Da- 
kota. 

Campaigning in Jackson before the August primary 
is much the same problem, for most people are tourists 



and the local people are just too busy. I tried to visit 
with people waiting in line at the bank drive-in win- 
dow but even that wasn't really satisfactory. 

When 1 first started trying to do the radio talk shows 
I was loaded with fear but before long, the ham in me 
came through and 1 looked forward to getting on the 
air whenever I could. Inasmuch as most radio types 
really know little about the minor elected offices, I 
found it very useful to furnish them with some logical 
questions which sounded tough, but ones that I was 
ready to answer. Then, too, if the show is a call-in, it is 
a good idea to have a few people planted around so the 
questions you want asked are forthcoming. During the 
1974 campaign in Wheatland, Dick Jones, the Repub- 
lican candidate for governor, was being interviewed, 
when suddenly the interviewer announced, without 
warning, "Now the interview will be completed by Jim 
Griffith." Carolyn saw my panic and started handing 
me notes. It went reasonably well, but afterward, Dick 
said, "Did you have to ask the tough questions?" 

Once in Gillette I was scheduled for a few minutes, 
and when I showed up on time, the station manager 
asked, "Where is your interviewer?" Thus Carolyn be- 
came a radio interviewer. 

In 1970 Vice President Spiro Agnew was having an 
ongoing fight with the press, and I was on a call-in 
show in Casper, when a lady who knew me and my 
press background, asked if Veep Agnew would last. I 
said that I thought he was able to take care of himself 
Four years later from the same station and same show 



Autumn 1999 



11 



the same lady again phoned and asked what I thought 
of Agnew now. Of course, Agnew had since resigned 
over a scandal which had taken place when he was 
governor of Maryland. I could only answer that Agnew 
had lost. 

In mid- 1973 Copenhaver resigned as State Auditor 
because of failing health. Gov. Stan appointed my 
deputy Ed Witzenburger. His only reservation was that 
Ed had long ago declared Lusk as his home. He did so 
because his wife Eleanor was a Niobrara native. Stan 
had no concern about Ed or his ability, but asked. "How 
can I justify having two Lusk guys on the boards'?" It 
worked. 

1 ran unopposed in the primary for State Auditor in 
1974 because the Constitution prohibited the State Trea- 
surer from succeeding himself or herself For years, 
Minnie Mitchell and Everett Copenhaver had switched 
offices. Thus, Ed Witzenburger ran for Treasurer. It 
was to be the last time that a switch was made and we 
were glad to end the practice. While I was unopposed 
in the primary and no Democratic candidate had filed 
for Auditor, things looked fairly good for me. But Bob 
Adams, who evidently just liked to campaign, received 
59 write-in votes to run against me. The part of the 




Jim and Carolyn Griffith 



campaign which was most aggravating was Elizabeth 
Phelan running against Witzenburger. She made claims 
that we had been purchasing worthless bonds, which 
later proved to be completely unfounded but caused 
some concern at the time. 

Following Herschler's inauguration in 1 974, the four 
Republican elected officials got together and jokingly 
called ourselves "TGWS," for "Thank God Wyoming's 
Safe," or "Thomson, Griffith, Witzenburger and 
Schrader." Inasmuch as Thyra held the highest office 
and had served longer than we men, she considered 
herself the leader. As I can remember we had a single 
meeting. It was held in Thyra's lovely home. Thyra 
had some people she wanted to fire, but we didn't agree, 
and that was the end of "TGWS." 

Political activity in the fall of 1977 was slow, so 
Carolyn and I decided to give the 1 978 election an early 
start. Some 300 attended our "political happening" held 
in the fairgrounds auditorium in Lusk, and we had a 
spaghetti dinner served, a band and a Cheyenne quar- 
tet for entertainment. Everyone who thought the\ might 
be a state-wide candidate was invited to speak, but only 
for 87 seconds. The speakers were plentiful. It was just 
a fun time but there was one man who used the oppor- 
tunity to give his first political talk before a Wyoming 
audience — Dick Cheney. 

If ever there was an election won with a single sen- 
tence it was Al Simpson's first race for the U.S. Senate 
against Raymond Whitaker, Casper Democrat. In 1978 
in a joint appearance before a packed house in Casper, 
Whitaker spoke at first, going on and on at great length, 
painting Al as the lowest form of human. He attacked 
his legislative record in great detail, and even took on 
Milward Simpson's senate service. The crowd was 
growing weary of the tirade, and when Al finally rose 
to speak he said. "Pesky fellow, isn't he?" The crowd 
roared, and that was the start of eighteen years of ef- 
fective service. 

If course, there was more than that, but Al Simpson, 
the tallest man ever to serve in the Senate, carried all 
twenty-three counties. Dick Cheney did nearly as well, 
and because he had more staff (sometimes I traveled 
alone, the rest of the time just Carolyn with me), he let 
his guys help me. That's the reason that my posters 
were placed directly above most public urinals in Wyo- 
ming. 

Most campaigns become too serious until the inten- 
sity is self-defeating. At the 1978 Republican conven- 
tion in Jackson, Carolyn and I, with the help of some 
others, staged a one-way humorous phone conversa- 
tion stunt which was patterned after comedian Bob 
Newhart, a popular entertainer of that era. Then in 1 982 



12 



Annals oi Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 



at the Sheridan Convention we copied another popular 
entertainer. Johnny Carson, by bringing in "Griffith the 
Magnificent," complete with costumes and real liye 
belly dancers. After being carried to the stage, I gave 
the answers to questions before they were asked. It, 
too, was a smash hit. 

1 was not opposed in the primary in 1978 and there 
were no Democrats on the ballot, but .lim Polis started 
a write-in campaign and, thus, won the nomination. It 
reall\ wasn't much of a contest, but inasmuch as I was 
5 1 years old, 1 must admit that his constant charge that 
I was a tired old man grew annoying. For the first time 
I carried all twenty-three counties and received over 
69% of the vote. 

The 1978 election did bring a first to the Equality 
State— three of the t1\e elected officials were women. 
Treasurer Shirley Whittler (R) and Lynn Simons (D) 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, joined with Thyra 
Thomson (R) Secretar\ of State. This bothered me not 
at all but it did concern Governor Herschler. In fact, in 
his inauguration address, he said, "Thanks for Jim 
Griffith so 1 don't have an entire kitchen cabinet." The 
women were good officials. In all my sixteen years on 
the various state boards there were no, or at least none 
that I can remember, partisan \otes. This is in direct 
opposition to what the Legislature displays. In fact, 




Casev and Ed Herschler 



when the location of the Wyoming Women's Center 
came before the Board of Charities and Reform, I had 
to get the two Democrats, Herschler and Simons, to go 
with me in naming Lusk as the site. 

One day— I don't even remember the year— Gov 
Herschler phoned from his office to me, and asked if 
he could come visit for a few minutes. Of course he 
could — there is little that is more flattering than when 
a governor asks permission to come down and hall and 
visit. The fact is that he came to my office numerous 
times, as he knew that it was much more effort for me 
to make the walk between the offices than it was for 
him. Of course this came about because his wife, Casey, 
and I were both multiple sclerosis victims. 

On this particular day he came with a request. He 
said that a group was going to hold a dinner in honor of 
Casey and asked if Carolyn and I would attend. It was 
also to be appreciated if I would sit at the head table 
and offer a few remarks. I accepted but said I would let 
them know about Carolyn later. 

While I knew that it would, of course, be a Democrat 
show, I felt a kindredship with Casey. Many times the 
two of us gave each other support, particularly at cock- 
tail parties. Alcohol increases the instability which is 
among the curses of MS. 
Carolyn refused to attend the dinner and doubted my 
sanity and loyalty that I would attend and 
even agree to speak at what was really a 
Democratic fund raiser. Of course it was a 
fund raiser. They even charged me $25. I 
can't say that I was the only Republican 
elected official to ever speak at a Democratic 
fund raiser while in office, but I never heard 
of another. 

Bob McCraken, son of Tracy, the almost 
forever Democratic National Committeeman, 
and biggest newspaper owner in Wyoming, 
was emcee. As was often said during scores 
of years, Tracy and Dad were friendly en- 
emies. Many years they were joint emcees at 
the Press Convention dinners. Bob first in- 
^ troduced the Governor and in turn Gov Ed 
y introduced me— not a glowing introduction, 
J but adequate. I had intended to just tell a bit 
2 about Tracy's and Dad's chatter through the 
I years, offer a few words of praise about 
^ Casey, and sit down. However, during din- 
J ner I had a chance to give the two or three 
S. hundred in attendance in the combined rooms 
I of the Hitching Post a good examination and 
made a decision that I needed to say more. 



Autumn 1999 



13 



The atiilior and 
his wife Carolyn 
at the time he 
announced his 
retirement from 
state government 
in 1986. Author's 
collection. 




Never before and in all likelihood never again would I 
have a chance to speak to so many Democrats. After a 
McCraken-Griffith story and words of praise for Casey, 
I concluded my remarks with something that went to- 
gether like this: 

Friends, I'm not here under false colors - you all 
know that I was a Republican when 1 walked in the 
door, and I'll be a Republican when I lea\e. 1 also know 
that most of you are Democrats and stUl will be when 
I sit down. Of course I see in the audience a number of 
Republican who also happen to be state employees 
(looking at the Go\enior). I suppose that you. Gover- 
nor, are also making a mental note of who is present. 
Now what I w ant to tell you is that Wyoming in unique. 
Both you and I ha\e a great number of friends, which 
happen to belong to the other parly. But in Wyoming 
we ne\er let our partisanship, no matter how strong, 
interfere with our friendship. Thank you. 

Without question I received the longest, strongest, 
standing ovation I ever had anywhere. The final analy- 
sis came from a completely nonpartisan magazine. The 
P.E.O. Record, which is a publication of the P.E.O. 
sisterhood, a women's organization devoted to educa- 
tion. Inasmuch as Casey was a P.E.O., they had an 
article on the dinner, which closed with: "Although the 
dinner for Casey was a Democratic event it was a Re- 
publican, State Auditor Jim Griffith, who stole the 
show." 



The campaign of 1982 was my last, but I did not 
know that nor did it even cross my mind. Again, I wasn't 
opposed in the primary, but that isn't quite the advan- 
tage it may seem. For starters, it eliminates the possi- 
bility of raising campaign funds and, of course, you 
aren't able to attract the voters' attention. I and/or we 
traveled much of the state anyway, but it was in a lei- 
surely manner. 

By now the Republican leadership had grown tired 
of beating each other up in the race for Governor, so 
there was an unofficial agreement that there would onK 
be one serious candidate and that it would be fonner 
speaker of the house and grandson of a former gover- 
nor — Nels Smith of Crook Count\ . Nels was on the 
primary campaign trail but Just eight days before the 
last day to file when a bomb shell fell. Nels announced 
that "for personal and health reasons," he was with- 
drawing his candidacy. While there w ere two other Re- 
publican candidates, they were not considered serious 
candidates so Republican Chairman Fred Schroeder 
appointed a committee headed b\ Stan Hathaway to 
find another suitable candidate. 

The committee of Senator Clifford Hansen, former 
chairman Ed Witzenburger, Harry Roberts, Tom 
Stroock and Charles Scott selected fonner speaker of 
the house and Casper oilman Warren Morton as the 
candidate. This was indeed an awkward start, and while 
Warren gave it a good try Herschler ended up carrying 



14 



Annals oi Wyoming:The Wyoming Histon' Journal 



all the counties except Campbell and Park and, thus, 
Wyoming had its first and only three-tenn goyemor. 

The 1982 campaign ended up with a six days, three 
stops per day blitz. The candidates plus Al Simpson, 
loaded into two planes and we traveled like a flying 
circus. Now Simpson wasn't a candidate, but acted as 
the master of ceremonies, and with the aid of a timer to 
keep us in line and on time. Politicians being what they 
are. the timer became a hated device. At the last rally 
which was at the college in Riverton Dick Cheney and 
I conceived a plot. While the order in which the candi- 
dates spoke varied, 1 asked that 1 might be the last to 
speak, which was fine. As I rose to speak 1 gave a hand 
signal to Dick, and he picked up the timer and gave it 
to me and I smashed it with my cane. Al jumped up, 
and with the type of language for which he became 
famous, he described the types of low-life we two were 
and demanded reimbursement of $7.95. At the next 
GOP state convention, Dick and I presented Al with an 
engraved hour glass. Actually it wasn't really an hour 
glass, for the sand fell through in 13 minutes. Several 
times in my presence, Al has described the event. 

It wasn't that I was over-confident, but Carolyn and 
I had signed up for a trip which started on election day. 
I had to phone back from Cairo, Egypt, to learn if I had 
won. It was by far my greatest victory, for I not only 
topped the ticket but of the 469 Wyoming precincts, 1 
carried 455. My Democratic opponent, Sid Komegay, 
a self-described demolition contractor from Cheyenne 



who had been a write-in during the primary, carried 
the remaining 14 precincts. Carolyn and I had a great 
and interesting boat trip up the Nile. 

I like to believe that all my sixteen years in state 
government were productive and that my last term was 
the most interesting. Certainly it helped to improve the 
state's finances. The travel for the Department of Inte- 
rior got tiresome but my service on committees for 
Secretaries Jim Watt and Don Hodel was most inter- 
esting and educational. Watt, of Lusk and Wheatland, 
took a beating from the media, et al., but his creation 
of the Mineral Management Service was a giant step 
for fiscal responsibility. 

With Carolyn at my side the press seemed surprised 
when 1 made the announcement that I would not be a 
candidate for elective office again. They were, how- 
ever, very complimentary and I was flattered. 

To all those present politicians and to those still to 
come, my free advice is to retire too soon rather than 
too late. 



The author, one of the most popular people ever 
elected to statewide office in Wyoming, lives in 
retirement in Cheyenne and Arizona. He is a 
long-time member of the Wyoming State His- 
torical Society and, since 1996, he has served 
on the Board of Editors of Annals of Wyoming. 



mmui: 



jjiii 
fjiliiirf's 

OF m illlD 

III )!!ira I HIP! 




- W ..'^■ 

Fremont's ascent, from Republican campaign literature. 1850s. 

Wyoming's Wind River Range can still tempt today's tourist or hopeful hiker. 
When these majestic mountains are viewed from nearby Pinedale the modem visitor 
no doubt understands why the range's first American explorers would endeavor to 
climb its most lofty summits, perhaps Fremont Peak which seems to dominate the 
mountain vista, or Gannett Peak, officially the highest spot in the state.' 



16 



Aiinals or Wyoming :Tne Wyoming History Journal 



"'I* he first recorded climbs of these fabulous 
I mountains belong to Captain Benjamin 
J Bonneville and Lieutenant John C. Fremont, both 

members of the U.S. Army but men who hiked Wind 

River trails for quite different reasons.- While 

Bonneville's motives for seeking to cross this range 

have been capably recorded by the famous American 

author Washington Irving, 

the reasons Lieutenant 

Fremont came to 

Wyoming's Wind Rivers 

ha\e not been careful Iv 

examined by modern 

scholars. This was 

unfortunate. For the record 

reveals that the famous 

young explorer scaled the 

heights of the Wind River 

Mountains for remarkabK 

romantic reasons, but not 

the ones usually assumed. 
Despite earning intense 

scholarly criticism. 

Fremont's admittedlv 

controversial life has not 

always received s\ stematic 

investigation. Certainlv his 

1 856 run for the presidency 

and his abortive efforts to 

free Missouri's slaves early 

in the Civil War have John C 

inspired considerable study. But while the record of 

his five western expeditions has encountered rather 

diligent study, surprisingly little scrutiny has been 

'The fur trappers had explored the W ind River region thor- 
oughly, but not necessarily the high peaks. Moreover, many as- 
sumed the entire region lay in "American" territors . although the 
exact location ofthe summits climbed b\ Bonne\ ille and Fremont 
remained unclear. To pinpoint the position of South Pass repre- 
sented (in theory ) one of Fremont's key tasks. He did verity that 
the pass's latitude placed it just north of Mexican territory (marked 
b\ the 42''' parallel as established in the 1819 treat_\ with Spain); 
then the 1846 Oregon treaty with Britain would confirm the en- 
tire region as "American." 

- Which peaks Bonneville and Fremont actually cliinbed pro- 
vide continuing debate for mountain enthusiasts. One line of 
thought (not currently popular) is that Bonne\ille climbed the 
peak in the \\ ind Risers name bearing his name. Another is that 
Bonneville in fact climbed the highest peak in the range. Gannett. 
See Orrin H. Bonney and Lorraine G. Bonney. Guide lo the IVyo- 
ming Mountains and Wilderness Areas (Chicago: Swallow Press. 
1960). 12-13. 375-376. 386-391. 499. Yet the Bonney s also in- 
sisted that Fremont had climbed Woodrow Wilson Peak, but 
Fremont Peak seems the more likely choice today. See Joe Kelsey. 
Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains (San Fran- 



granted the origins of his famous first mission along 
the Oregon Trail in 1842.' This historic journey 
brought the young officer ofthe Army's Topographical 
Corps through Wyoming's South Pass, already a noted 
corridor through the Rockies for westward bound 
travelers. And then late in the summer of 1 842 Fremont 
undertook a well-publicized climb in the Wind River 

Mountains, claiming 
that the summit 
ultimately reached repre- 
sented the highest in the 
entire Rocky Mountain 
chain. After raising an 
American flag — "where 
never flag waved 
before" — Fremont later 
highlighted this moun- 
tain adventure in his 
popular official report of 
the expedition which 
focused so much 
attention on the over- 
land trail."" Pioneers 
would read of Fremont's 
exploits while contem- 
plating their own 
western travels; the 
memorable scene upon 
the Wind River summit 
would be portrayed 
Fremont again and again b\ 

artists as well as those supportive of Fremont's political 
ambitions.' As such depictions ofthe famous climb 
proliferated, Fremont's dramatic jaunt to the top ofthe 

Cisco; Sierra Club. 1980). 56-57. A recent hiking guide assumes 
that Fremont did climb the peak named in his honor, but suggests 
that Bonne\ille may ha\e climbed either Mount Chauvenet or 
Wind River Peak. Ron .Adkison. Hiking li'yoming's Hind River 
Range (Helena. Montana: Falcon Press. 1996). 26-27. 

' Fremont has been the subject of many biographies, several 
overly critical. The best study is Allan Nevins. Fremont: Path- 
marker ofthe West, available in several editions, including a pa- 
perback edition published in 1992 by IJniversitv of Nebraska Press. 

'' Fremont's reports were ordered published by the U.S. Senate 
and then went through several private printings. The texts ofthe 
reports are easily accessible to the modern reader in The Expedi- 
tions of John Charles Fremont, vol. 1; Travels from 1 838 to 1844. 
edited by Donald Jackson and Mary Lee Spence (Urbana; Uni- 
versity of Illinois Press, 1970). The text ofthe first Fremont re- 
port from Jackson and Spence will be hereafter referred to as 
"Fremont Report." 

'In 1898 the U. S. Post Office would select Fremont's pose 
upon the Wind River peak for one of its first commemorative 
stamps. Herman J. Viola. Exploring ihe West (Washington. D.C.; 
Smithsonian Books. 1987). 67. 




Autumn 19Q9 



17 



Wind River peak came to symbolize the heroism of 
America's westward drive tor empire." 

Yet despite the notoriety suiTounding Fremont's feat 
in ascending the Wind River summit, historians have 
not scrutinized completely the motivations for the 
apparently romantic gesture. Many have retold the story, 
but most apparenth assume that Fremont detennined 
to climb the peak literally on the spur of the moment, 
supposedly a sublimel\ characteristic act of impulse. 
One student of the Fremont expeditions belie\ed that 
youthful enthusiasm drove Fremont to climb the 
mountain ""because it was there." Perhaps the leading 
authoritv on western exploration, William Goetzmann, 
remarked that Fremont's planting of an American flag 
atop the Wind Ri\ er peak amounted to ""an impulsive, 
boyish gesture," but one that captured the nation's 
fancy. The most recent Frem.ont biography claims that 
the youthful explorer ""suddenK " decided to climb the 
peak after becoming fascinated by the mountains he 
encountered.' Actually the record indicates a completely 
different interpretation must be adopted, one 
surprisingly more intriguing even than the story of a 
handsome young soldier who braved a high mountain 
peak to hoist America's symbolic claim to the West 
and all its treasures. 

^1 atives no doubt had wondered at the mysteries of 
Ml the Wind Rivers for untold years and mountain 
4-J men had scouted the region, but the mountain range 
had remained largely unknown to the burgeoning 
American nation far to the east. This would be forever 
changed by Washington Irving, then America's most 
celebrated writer. Recognized as the father of the short 
story for such gems as "Rip Van Winkle" and "The 
Legend of Sleep\ Hollow." Ir\ ing is toda\ perhaps not 
much appreciated as a leading interpreter of the 
American West before the Civil War. After a long 
sojourn (some 17 years) in Europe, Irving returned to 
America facing the eager expectations of his 
countrymen. He would not disappoint those who hoped 
his talents would turn to American themes. In 1832 
Irving undertook a brief junket across the plains into 
what is today Oklahoma, subsequently penning his first 
western tale.,-/ Tour on rhe Prairies {pvibhshed in 1835). 
Next, Irving contracted with one of America's 
wealthiest citizens, John .lacob Astor, to tell the story 
of the ambitious but initially unsuccessful attempt to 
launch America's fur trade enterprise to the Oregon 
Country at Fort Astoria. The Wind River Range thus 
first came to widespread public attention in Irving's 
classic tale, Astoria (published in 1836), but it would 
be still another Irving production. The Adventures of 



Captain Bonneville. t/.5./J. (originally titled The Roek\' 
Mountains when published in 1 837), that would further 
highlight the high Wyoming peaks. ^ 

Captain Benjamin Bonne\illc (like Fremont, of 
French origins) evidently had not been satisfied with 
his service at various American frontier Army posts. 
He thereupon hatched a scheme to inject himself 
squarely into the center of the expansive > oung nation's 
westward surge by entering the potentially lucrative 
fur trapping trade. Scholars still debate the actual 
motivations behind the Bonneville enterprise. Few ac- 
cept that it was simply a fur-trading venture. Some 
suspect that secret government motives were involved, 
to sp\ on the Indians or the British, probably both. At 
the very least, the episode is characteristic of the often 
strange combination of motives driving America's 
imperial thrust westward. From Lewis and Clark 
through the expeditions of Zebulon Pike and e\ en John 
Fremont, government sponsored exploring missions 
held sometimes unspoken but scarcely secret 
geopolitical objectives. Bonneville evidently intended 
to scout his chances for profit in the fur trade while 
simultaneously serving national interests by collecting 
intelligence about the much-prized northwestern 
region." In any event, his superiors granted Bonneville 
a most unusual leave of absence to pursue his 

"More so than Bonneville, Fremont's political connections 
ensured that his Wind Ri\er climb would achieve greater atten- 
tion. See Thomas Hart Benton, Thirtv Years' Hew: or. A Hisiury 
of the IVorldng of tlie Anieneun Cin'ernnienl for Thirty Years. 
From 1820-1850 (New Vork: D. Appleton and Company, 1854), 
\ol. 2, 478-47'), and Senator Lewis Linn in Congressional Globe. 
27"' Congress, 3"" Session. .i89-3O0. 

Ferol Egan, Fremont: Explorer for a Restless .\alion (New 
York: Doubledav, \'->71: reprint ed., Reno: University of Nevada 
Press, 1985), lO.i; William H. Goetzmann, Army Exploration in 
the Amenean West. 1803-1863 (New Haven: Yale LIniversitv 
Press, 1959), 82; Andrew Rolle, John Charles Fremont: Charae- 
ter as Destiny. (Norman: LIniversitv of Oklahoma Press, 1991), 
41. In "Dixision of the Waters: Changing Concepts of the Conti- 
nental Divide, 1804-1844," .Journal of Histoneal Geography 4 
( 1978): 367, John Logan Allen also construes Fremont's climb as 
a symbolic gesture. Allen's latest work does not directly address 
this issue. .Mien, ed.. North America Explored. A Continent Com- 
prehended {L'mco\n: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1997), 345-346. 

" The best edition of Irving's Bonneville is Edgeley W. Todd, 
ed.. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville. U.S.A.. in the Roeh- 
Mountains and the Far ll'est (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1961). For a revealing discussion of Irving's negotiations 
with Astor, see Peter Antelyes, Tales of Adventurous Enterprise: 
IVashington Irving and the Poeties of Western Expansion (New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 150-156. 

" Edgeley Todd discusses these issues most capably in his in- 
troduction to lr\ing"s Bonneville. xxiv-\xxvii. See also William 
H. Goetzmann, Exploration <£• Empire: The Explorer and the Sci- 
entist in the Winning of the American West (New York: Alfred 
Knopf, 1966), 149-150. 



IS 



Annals of Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History Journal 



unspecified intentions. Captain Bonneville's travels in 
the mountains pursued a variety of objectives; one of 
his brigades led b\ Joseph Walker skirted the Great 
Salt Lake (at one time known as Lake Bonneville) and 
then completed a long reconnaissance all the way to 
Mexican California.'" In the meantime Bonneville 
probed British strength in the Oregon Country, observed 
the Indians, and planned potential military posts in the 
region. Irving's detailed account of the Captain's 
exploits thereafter brought the Wind Rivers further to 
the attention of American readers. 

Wvoming's Wind River Mountains stood nearly 
astride the main routes fur trappers followed into the 
beaver regions of the Rockies; the Wind Rivers also 
loomed in the background at many of the annual 
rendezvous sites established by the fur traders. It was 
probably natural therefore that eventually authors would 
tell of this beautiful chain of mountains with the alluring 
name. (And by the late 1 830s Alfred Jacob Miller had 
publicly displayed his portraits of the Wind River 
Range)." What is more interesting is that some, 
including Washington Irving, would then jump to the 
conclusion that these mountain peaks represented some 
of the highest in the Rockies. No clear reason for this 
exists other than that the much higher peaks to the south 
in today's Colorado had not become objects of either 




Washington Irving 



literary attention or scientific study, aside from the 
rather cursory surveys by Zebulon Pike and Stephen 
Long. (And apparently the mountain men had 
speculated around their campfires that the Wind River 
peaks represented the Rockies' highest.) In truth the 
peaks of the Wind River Range could not match the 
loftiness of Colorado's highest summits. Indeed, 
Fremont's claim to glory must face the fact that the 
peak he ascended (probably either Fremont Peak or 
Woodrow Wilson) was not even the highest in the Wind 
River range ( an honor held by Gannett Peak). Naturally 
no one knew this at the time. 

Irving first boasted of the Wind River peaks in his 
famous historical narrative of the Astorian enterprise. 
In this memorable tale based on historical circum- 
stances, Irving drew particular attention to the 
interesting origins of the Wind River name and the 
beauty of the surrounding region.'- This famous 
American storyteller then went on to speculate about 
the majestic heights of the mountains and to rhapsodize 
about the range's central place in western geography: 

One of its peaks [the Wind River Range] is prob- 
ably fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, 
being one of the highest of the Rocky Sierra [or moun- 
tains]. These mountains give rise, not merely to the 
Wind or Bighorn River, but to several branches of the 
Yellowstone and the Missouri on the east, and of the 
Columbia and Colorado on the west; thus dividing the 
sources of these mighty streams." 

This revealing view commanded by the Wind River 
summits, so vividly sketched by Irving who had never 
viewed the scene, would reappear in Bonneville's 
narrative as well. 

It should be noted that in this case Irving merely 
speculated on the peak's altitude and claimed it must 
be "one of the highest" of the Rocky Mountains. 
Captain Bonneville, and subsequently Fremont as well, 

'" See Bil Gilbert, Westering Man: Tlie Life ofJosepli Wailier 
(Norman: University of OI<lahoma Press, 1983). 

" Miller's paintings of the "Mountains of the Winds" had been 
included in public showings in Baltimore and New York in the 
late 1830s. The shows had attracted newspapier attention as well. 
See Marvin C. Ross, ed., Tlie West of Alfred Jacob Miller 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951; reprint ed., 1968), 
xxii-xxiv and Ron Tyler, ed., Alfred Jacob Miller: Artist on the 
Oregon Trail (Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, 1982), 35-39. 

'-In Astoria. Irving reported that the Wind River, a tributary 
of the Big Horn, earned its name from the winter blasts of wind 
that swept across the valley through "a narrow gap or funnel in 
the mountains." Washington Irving, Astoria: or. Anecdotes of an 
Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains, edited by Edgeley W. 
Todd (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964), 253-256. 

" Irving, Astoria^ 254-256. 



Autur 



1999 



19 



would assume the Wind River peal< each cHmbed to be 
the highest in the entire western chain. Bonneville's 
claim derived from his extensive travels throughout the 
region; Fremont could point to the conclusions of the 
mountain men recorded for history b\ lr\ing. But 
Fremont would go one better b\ measuring the high 
peak scientifically, as we shall see. 

At one point during his wanderings in September 
1833 Bonneville sought to quickh reenter the Green 
Ri\er \alle> b> crossing the Wind River Range (trom 
east to west) from the Popo Agie area. An arduous 
journey followed through the ravines and up the heights 
of the Wind Rivers, leading Bonneville to ascend a 
high peak to afford a better \iew. The Captain's struggle 
to attain the summit of this unspecified peak allowed 2 
Irving once again to marvel at the incredible panoramic 7; 
view provided bv the Wind River summit. This 1 
mountain vista beheld "vallevs ulitterine with silver & 
lakes and gushing streams," portra\ed once more by S 
Irving as the sources of the West's great rivers: = 

Beyond the snowy peaks, to the south, and far, far 
below the mountain range, the gentle river, called the 
Sweet Water, was seen pursuing its tranquil way 
through the rugged regions of the Black Hills. In the 
east, the head waters of Wind River wandered through 
a plain, until, mingling in one powerful current, they 
forced their way through the range of Horn Mountains, 
and were lost to view. To the north, were caught 
glimpses of the upper streams of the Yellowstone, that 
great tributary of the Missouri. In another direction 
v\ ere to be seen some of the sources of the Oregon, or 
Columbia tlowing to the northwest, past those tower- 
ing landmarks the Three Tetons, and pouring down 
into the great la\'a plain, while, almost at the captain's 
feet, the Green Ri\ er, or Colorado of the West, set 
forth on its wandering pilgrimage to the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia. . .'■• 

Although in this second instance Irving reported 
Bonneville's claim that this peak might represent the 
"loftiest point of the North American continent," in 
this context Irving expressed some doubt due to 
Bonneville's inabilit\ to verify the peak's height 
through scientific means. The importance of this 
passage (or the earlier one in Astoria) is that evidently 
it had come to the attention of a young lieutenant of 
the Army's Topographical Corps. John Fremont, thanks 
to his apprenticeship served with the French scientist 
Joseph Nicollet, was a rare American qualified to 
determine the altitude of the peak by a new method 
using a barometer, a technique introduced to America 
by Nicollet. Eventually Fremont would become the first 




B. L. £. Bonneville as General 
American to employ this method to judge the height of 
a mountain peak; he would then proceed to claim the 
honor of scaling America's highest peak. Not only had 
the Irving narratives induced Fremont to claim that the 
Wind River peaks represented the Rockies" highest, 
but most amazingly, the evidence suggests that Ir\'ing's 
writings had inspired the young officer to undertake 
the quest in the first place. 

The work of Washington Irving could hardly have 
failed to escape Fremont's notice. If it had, surely John's 
talented wife Jessie or her father. Senator Thomas Hart 
Benton from Missouri, would have introduced him to 
it. Senator Benton had long promoted American 
enterprise and emigration to Oregon, at least partly 
motivated by the legacy of the Astorian venture so 
memorably recorded by Irving. Jessie inherited her 
father's passion and no doubt drew on this as she helped 
John complete his official government report once he 
returned to Washington. In any event, convincing 
evidence exists that the Fremonts had been aware of 
Irving's work's; their description of the view John 
obtained from the summit of his Wind River peak 

" Irving, Bonneville. 187-191. 



20 



Annals o{ WyomingiThe Wyoming History Journal 



followed quite closely the literary standard earlier 
established b\ Irv ing in Astoria and Captain Bonneville. 
In completing their report in 1843 the Fremonts 
constructed a famous scene upon the Wind River 
summit, including John's raising of an American flag, 
his encounter with a solitary yet symbolic bee, and an 
amazing view strikingly reminiscent of that sketched 
(twice) by Irving. Like Irving's Bonneville, Fremont 
too spied shimmering lakes and streams that gushed, 
giving birth to the West's most impressive rivers: 

On one side we overlooked innumerable lakes and 
streams, the spring of the Colorado of the Gulf of 
California; and on the other was the Wind River valley, 
where were the heads of the Yellowstone branch of 
the Missouri; far to the north, we just could disco\ er 
the snowy heads of the Troi.s Teions. v\here were the 
sources of the Missouri and Columbia rivers, and at 
the southern extremity of the ridge the peaks were 
plainly \ isible, among which were some of the springs 
of the Nebraska or Platte river.'- 

Irving had not climbed atop the Wind Rivers as 
Bonneville and Fremont had, but neither had Jessie 
Fremont. And John, unlike Bonneville, had assaulted 
the mountain from the western slopes. Still ♦ht 
Fremonts adopted Irving's literary version to capture 




John J. A bert 



the significance of the scene John had encountered after 
a taxing climb into the mountains. Written with the 
help of his imaginative wife, a young lady well-versed 
in the lore of western literature, Fremont's version not 
surprisingly adopted a literary convention well- 
established in Irving's historical accounts of the Wind 
River Range. 

Considering Fremont's evident close reliance on 
Irving's published works, surprisingly little attention 
has been focused on the explorer's reasons for coming 
to the Wind River Range. Scholars have usually noted 
the young lieutenant's willingness to exceed his official 
instructions — abetted no doubt by his powerful father- 
in-law — and they have been especially observant (and 
critical) of his tendency to act impulsively. But the 
available evidence now suggests that there was more 
method than madness to Fremont's sometimes 
impetuous search for fame and glory. In point of fact, 
while it is no doubt true that Fremont exceeded his 
written instructions, he had not done this merely on an 
impulse. Indeed, the jaunt to the Wind River Mountains 
had been carefiilly researched and deliberately planned. 
The remaining romantic part is that Fremont's Wind 
River heroics had been inspired by the prose of 
America's most famous author. Irving's tales of earlier 
exploits in the fabulous chain of mountains with the 
captivating name evidently induced the Fremont family 
to take equally dramatic action, including preparing for 
the climb in advance."" To reach the Wind River 
peaks — a region considerably north and west of the 
Oregon Trail's route through South Pass — Fremont 
would need to undertake a significant detour. Such a 
route had not been hinted at in any of his instructions. 

The traditional view — that Fremont decided to climb 
the peak nearly on a whim — is all the more surprising 
considering that Fremont had not been silent on his 
reasons for climbing the peak. His report, written 
admittedly after the fact, provides ample clues about 
his intentions to scale what he believed was the West's 
highest peak. Although the lieutenant had not been 

'- "Fremont Report," 271-272. 

""Some scholars may have been aware in general terms of the 
Fremonts' subsequent reliance on Irving's published works in 
preparing their reports. For example, Allan Nevins In 77?^ Dic- 
tionary of American Biography v. 7 (New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1931), 20, noted that the Fremonts may have "modeled" 
their works on that of Irving. (But in his famous biography of 
Fremont Nevinsjust briefly mentioned Irving.) On the other hand, 
the most recent biographies of John and Jessie do not mention 
Irving at all. Neither does Irving's name appear in the indexes of 
the standard edition of the Fremont reports. In any event, Irving's 
specific influence, particularly in motivating Fremont's objec- 
tive before the fact, has not been completely recognized. 



Autumn IQQQ 



ordered to go beyond South Pass so as to venture into 
the Wind River region, his report indicates that he 
intended to do this from the beginning. And in this 
case, Fremont's intentions receive substantiation from 
his able but mostly dissatisfied assistant, Charles Preuss. 
Several key statements in the Preuss diary suggest that 
Fremont had intended to visit the Wind Rivers, 
apparent!)' preciseK' to verity a remarkable claim made 
in the Irving narratives. 

To appreciate the motivations behind Fremont's 
supposedly impetuous act we must reconsider many 
years of American interest in the western landscape. 
Fur trapping was usually the immediate moti\ ation but 
beyond this men sought fame as well as a clearer image 
of what lay beyond the far horizon. Lewis and Clark 
had found mostly rough going in the countrv to the 
north of W\oming. Soon, however, the search for a 
better route across the continent did eventually uncover 
the South Pass, so called because it lay to the south of 
Lewis and Clark's famous route across the continent. 
The tlrst white men to encounter the pass probably 
belonged to the homeward bound party of the Astorian 
enterprise, led by Robert Stuart in 1812. But this 
discovery was not widely publicized, leading to the 
pass's "rediscovery" in 1 824 by Jedediah Smith's band 
of trappers under the overall command of William 
Ashley.'^ 

After these initial forays the pass became somewhat 
better known, although its exact location and geographic 
attributes still remained mostly a mystery to learned 
men to the east. One apparent objective of Fremont's 
expedition would be to t1x this position on the map, a 
goal that the eager young lieutenant achieved only w ith 
limited success. South Pass is admittedK a surprisingly 
broad open area. Travelers — including Fremont's 
party — often expressed surprise and even disappoint- 
ment that the famous opening through the mountain 
wall was not a more impressive narrow gap or sheer 
chasm. Observers typically did not realize they had 
passed the continental divide until noting the streams 
flowed in the opposite direction. Thus, perhaps we can 
forgive the young lieutenant for failing to fix the pre- 
cise location of South Pass, which he claimed was as 
easy to ascend as Capitol Hill back in Washington. ( In 
other words, pioneer families and their wagons would 
have no difficulty). In any event, Fremont's ultimate 
objectives exceeded merely a visit to the strategic South 
Pass, no matter how important that mountain passage 
might prove. Indeed, a foray into the mysterious Wind 
Rivers — so dramatically portrayed in print and on can- 
vas — promised to elevate the young lieutenant even 
higher in public esteem. 




Southwest 
Museum, Los 
Armeies 



Jessie Benton Fremont 



Records now show that Lieutenant Fremont had been 
initially directed by his superior officer. Colonel John 
Abert, simply to survey an important leg of the Oregon 
Trail along the Platte Ri\er. But Senator Benton 
appealed his son-in-law's instructions, hoping that 
South Pass could be included in the orders. "* Benton 
in particular had long been aware of the fur trappers" 
adventures across the pass and hoped to encourage U.S. 
expansion to Oregon as well. Abert probabh' hoped to 
placate the powerful senator but also feared 
overburdening the young officer. Thus, the colonel only 
informally agreed that Fremont could visit South Pass 
should circumstances permit. No mention had been 
made of \ enturing into the Wind Ri\ er Range, certainlv 
not to climb a certain peak there. But the evidence 
suggests that this was exactly what Fremont had in 
mind, perhaps from the beginning.'" 

'" For a highly readable summary of these events, see Robert 
M. Utiey. A Life Wild and Perilous: Mouritain Men and the Paths 
to the Pacific (New York: Henry Holt, 1W7). 

'"For Fremont's written instruction see. Abert to Fremont. .April 
25, 1842, in Jackson and Spence. Fremont Expeditions, vol. 1, 
121-122. 1 discuss in greater detail Benton's appeal of Fremont's 
orders in "The Origins of the Fremont Expeditions: John J. Abert 
and the Scientific Exploration of the Trans-Mississippi West," 
forthcoming in The Hislonan. 



22 



/Vnnals or Wyoming:Tne Wyoming History 



al 



We know that Fremont had such intentions because 
he told us so, at least indirectly, in his official report of 
the expedition. Prior planning obviously played a role 
in the 1842 mission. In addition to requisitioning 
barometers and other instruments to measure altitudes, 
Fremont arranged for a makeshift American flag — 
suitable for hoisting on a lofty summit — as well as 
additional equipment needed for the mountains.-" 
(Depending on how far he advanced along the Platte 
Ri\ er route, Fremont could encounter other mountains 
before reaching the Wind Rivers, but it is clear from 
the context that the equipment was meant entirely for 
that range). And according to Charles Preuss, Fremont 
had brought along some brandy precisely to "empty a 
glass on top of the mountain."-' Of course, Fremont's 
father-in-law had already appealed his written 
instructions so as to allow the young lieutenant to 
approach the Wind River region via South Pass. Such 
preparations hint at the mission's actual goal, but that 
the "high peaks" of the Rockies represented the 
expedition's ultimate destination is best revealed by 
the words of both Fremont and Preuss. 

The journal of Charles Preuss — which did not come 
to light until finally translated and published in 1958 — 
today provides the most convincing evidence in this 
case. For one thing the dour German artist and map- 
maker kept a regular journal that, unlike Fremont's 
official report, was composed on the trail more or less 
on a daily basis.-- (Fremont had forbidden the men to 
keep journals intended for publication; Preuss wrote 
his private diary for the information of his "old girl," 
his wife back in Washington City). Thus Preuss 
provides contemporaneous testimony, while Fremont's 
remarks are, strictly speaking, after the fact. It is also 
true that close reading of the Fremont reports suggests 
that Jessie Fremont could embellish the mission's 
activities to heighten the dramatic tension. A quest to 
find and climb the West's highest peak suited her needs 
quite well. This could not, however, be the case with 
the private diary of Charles Preuss — which never had 
been intended for publication. 

Clearly the Preuss diary is remarkably honest — at 
times painfully so — and without much embellishment. 
In many cases he severely criticizes his commanding 
officer — the man who had given him a much-needed 
job — for his obvious overexuberance and apparent 
incompetence. Yet it is the Preuss testimony that allows 
us to recognize that Fremont had been amazingly 
straightforward in his subsequent report about his 
original motivations for the journey. Whatever his 
official instructions, John Fremont intended to achieve 
fame by verifying the memorable predictions Irving 



had made about the western mountains, specifically the 
high peaks of the Wind Rivers. 

It has often been noted that Fremont showed 
inattention in failing to mark precisely the position of 
South Pass, presumably a key objective of his 
mission.-' True, the South Pass is an open expanse 
more than a specific spot and consequently difficult to 
locate exactly. Beyond this, however, Fremont reported 
(and his map so indicates) that on his first trip through 
South Pass he traveled on the northern fringes of the 
pass area (or just to the south of the Wind River chain). 
At this point his report claimed that he intended to cross 
the dividing ridge several miles to the north and then 
to return to the more popular wagon road — ostensibly 
the main focus of his mission.-'^ Yet just a few pages 
later in the report. Fremont admits to a much grander 
design. Noting again that these mountains held the 
headwaters of "four great rivers" — the Colorado, 
Columbia, Missouri, and the Platte — he wrote that after 
"having ascended the mountains," he had intended to 



'"Actually the Benton-Fremont family created an enduring myth 
that John's expeditions were in fact secret missions carried on 
without the complete knowledge of the government. This was 
quite an exaggeration, although Benton had corresponded in pri- 
vate with Abert about John's instructions. But the family may 
not have been completely dishonest in fabricating the myth in so 
far as the intention to visit the Wind River Mountains had not 
been officially approved by the Topographical Corps. 

-" Perhaps the best evidence of Fremont's intentions are his 
vouchers for purchases made in St. Louis before his departure 
(dated in May 1842) and submitted to the Army following his 
return. Besides purchasing "mountain" barometers, Fremont also 
bought two pairs of "ice shoes" and other climbing equipment. 
When government auditors later questioned these purchases, 
Fremont submitted this justification: "The articles in this ac- 
count were for use among the ice-fields in the Survey of the Wind 
River Mts." See Jackson and Spence, Fremont Expeditions, vol. 
1, 142-143. 

-' Charles Preuss, Exploring with Fremont: The Private Dia- 
ries of Charles Preuss. Cartographer for John C Fremont on His 
First. Second and Fourth Expeditions to the Far WeiC, translated 
and edited by Envin G. and Elisabeth K. Gudde (Norman: Uni- 
versity of Oklahoma Press, 1958), 43. 

--At one point Preuss remarked that he had to write daily in his 
diary, otherwise "I may forget important things." His long ac- 
count of the mountain climb was written on the trail a few days 
later. Preuss Diary, 36, 44. 

-■'See, for example, Goetzmann, Exploration & Empire, 259. 
Fremont "neglected" to fix the location of South Pass on the out- 
ward journey. But he intended to revisit the spot several days 
later (to be further discussed), and on his return he did locate the 
wagon road through the pass and note its latitude. On his second 
journey the following year he took care also to note the longitude 
of the pass, although like other explorers his calculations of lon- 
gitude were quite inadequate. (This was due primarily to the limi- 
tations of the instruments). 

-^"Fremont Report," 253. 



■fiflH 



Autur 



19Q9 



continue a complete circuit of the Wind River Range. 
After crossing the range via a pass "at the northwestern 
end of the chain" — inspired no doubt by Bonneville's 
earlier crossing of Union Pass — Fremont had proposed 
to then skirt the eastern slopes and return to his previous 
encampment on the north end of South Pass. Only a 
variety of circumstances forced him "very reluctantly" 
to abandon the plan.-^ 

The Preuss diary provides contemporaneous support 
for this revealing claim in the Fremont report. In fact, 
Preuss noted that only the headaches (literal and 
otherwise) the young lieutenant endured in climbing 
the Wind River peak induced him to return to the South 
Pass "instead of rounding the mountains."-" Together 
with Fremont's actual movements, these records reveal 
the extent to which Irving's writings — especially on 
Bonneville's activities — had inspired Fremont's 
exploratory efforts. Even as he reached the long sought 
South Pass — which after all had been discovered by 
others — Fremont suddenly veered in a different 
direction. Did he hurry to the north on the most direct 
approach to the Wind River peaks? Had his desire to 
ascend the heights of the Wind Rivers and then to circuit 
the range been spurred by Irving's accounts'? The 
evidence would suggest just such a conclusion and that 
this particular impulse had been one of long duration. 

Preuss's journal provides further strong evidence that 
Fremont's original purpose was exactly to march past 
the South Pass in order to gauge the elevation of the 
Wind River Range's highest peak. As the Fremont party 
approached Fort Laramie in eastern Wyoming reports 
swirled of Indian dangers beyond the post. Preuss 
reacted to these rumors (on July 9'^) as his detachment 
neared Nebraska's Chimney Rock. The threat appeared 
serious enough that Kit Carson, a favorite Fremont 
guide destined for hero status, reportedly issued an oral 
last will — a trapper custom. Under these circumstances 
Preuss thought it foolhardy to proceed on and thus risk 
many lives, "just to determine a few longitudes and 
latitudes and to find out the elevation of a mountain 
range." Better to turn back, Preuss confided in his diary, 
"and limit ourselves to the survey of the Platte."-' 

Preuss evidently knew that Fremont's original 
instructions restricted him to the Platte survey, but he 
also apparently realized that the lieutenant had grander 
intentions. At Independence Rock (on August 2""^) 
Preuss again complained that the expedition sfill had 
many miles to travel even after crossing the mountains, 
presumably at South Pass. Fremont had evidently 
confided in his fellow mapmaker; Preuss's assistance 
would be essential in the success of the mission. Long 
before approaching ^lic vicinity of South Pass, much 



23 

less the Wind Rivers themselves, Preuss knew that 
Fremont intended to press on to investigate the 
mountains more fully. And the prime purpose was to 
"find out the elevation of a mountain range."-" 

With characteristic pessimism ( Preuss hanged himself 
in 1854), Preuss in his private diary sought to deflate 
American boasting about the western mountains while 
also diminishing Fremont's claim to fame. (Preuss at 
times referred to his traveling companions as "American 
blockheads.") Disdainful of the Rockies in general and 
the Wind River peaks in particular, the proud German 
insisted that the American eminences could not hope 
to compare with the beloved Alps of his homeland. In 
doing so Preuss went on to report, with characteristic 
contempt, that "an American" had calculated the 
Rockies to be as high as 25,000 feet. This woefully 
inaccurate estimate perhaps did not merit Preuss's 
deprecating reply: "I'll be hanged if they are half as 
high, yea, if they are 8,000 feet high." Yet while 
Fremont's calculations subsequently proved more 
reliable than Preuss's complaints, interestingly enough 
the German's peevishness serves to verify that the 
Fremont party was well aware of previous estimates of 
the mountains in question. Both in Astoria and in 
Captain Bonneville, Irving had reported other estimates 
of the Rockies that claimed 25,000 feet as the high 
point. (Most probably, Fremont had repeated the 25,000 
foot estimate to Preuss). Once again, the Preuss diary 
proves, rather unintentionally, that Fremont's was not 
merely an impulsive quest for romantic adventure, but 
a premeditated etTort to verify earlier claims about 
possibly America's highest mountains. -"* 

Fremont, too, would later admit that the jaunt into 
the Wind River Range had been "be\ ond the strict order 
of our instructions" and the overriding purpose was to 
check the peaks' elevation. Preuss's diary reveals this 

-'"Fremont Report." 258-259. 

-" Preuss Diivy, 46. 

■^Preuss Diaiy, 21-22. 

-'Preuss Diaiy. 32-33. Ax t1ve days distance from the moun- 
tains, Preuss estimated that the party had another ten to fifteen 
days' work before turning eastward again. Interestingly enough, 
this was also Fremont's estimate for the planned circuit of the 
Wind River Range. Again, Fremont and Preuss appeared to have 
collaborated on the expedition's plans, v\ell before reaching the 
mountains. 

-^Preuss Diary. 33, 45. Actually the "American" involved had 
merely reported the estimates of British fur traders in Canada. 
See Irving, Bonneville. 191, and appendix to Irving, Astoria. Even 
after taking barometrical readings Preuss constantly underesti- 
mated the heights of the Wind Rivers (at just 10,000 feet). The 
editors of his diary concluded: "One cannot avoid the impression 
that here, as elsewhere, Preuss deliberately gives lower estimates 
of the elevations to spite Fremont." 







L\-afr::i»^.'lf^^"i.^''^-^l';-' '..';.."■:.-.,.•.■■ 



View of the Wind River Mountains 



II 



View of the Wind River Mountains (above). Central chain of the Wind River Mountains (below). Both from Fremont Report 



From The Expeditions 
of John Charles Fre- 
mont, V. 1 , Travels from 
1838 to 1844. edited b> 
Donald Jackson and 
Man Lee Spence (Ur- 
bana: University of Il- 
linois Press, 264. 268. 





Charles Preuss. Topographer with Fremont Stamp issued June 17. 1898. commemorating Trans-Mississippi Exposition 



26 



Annals of Wyoming:The Wyoming History Jc 



al 



same understanding, although Preuss is rather disgusted 
at the prospect. When the last barometer was unpacked 
and found to be broken, Preuss claimed to be relieved 
(but probably also disappointed) that Fremont could 
repair the vital instrument. "Otherwise," Preuss 
observed, " we would not have climbed the mountain." 
Alter all, the whole purpose of the extended detour was 
to verify the claims made in Washington Irving's 
western histories. Without barometers Bonneville had 
been unable to measure the region's "highest peaks"; 
Fremont intended to succeed where the Captain had 
failed.'" 

As he led his small party toward the summit of the 
Wind River peak in mid-August 1 842, Fremont suffered 
from altitude sickness — attacked by headaches, 
giddiness and vomiting he later admitted. Exhausted, 
hungry and quarreling with his friend Carson, Fremont 
insisted on the climb long after any impulse would have 
expired. Incredibly enough, Fremont and his men 
neglected to bring adequate food and clothing to reach 
the peak's summit. Like Zebulon Pike (who failed to 
climb his famous peak), the young lieutenant from the 
east had greatly underestimated the time and effort 
required to climb the high mountain.^' Fremont's men 
would sleep hungry and no doubt cold; some had even 
left their coats behind. Luckily the ascent of the 
mountain was not especially hazardous; modern 
climbers typically note the relative ease of hiking 
Fremont Peak. 

The final assault party of six men struggled to find 
the proper route to the summit, and when Preuss 
managed to take a reading some five hundred feet below 
the true summit Fremont was tempted to fix the results 
simply by adding five hundred to Preuss's lower 
reading. Such a careless estimate, however, would 
not satisfy Irving's literary predictions. So the young 
explorer decided to try again, and after some difficulty 
he and Preuss calculated the elevation at the summit to 
be 13,570 feet above the sea.^- (Fremont Peak — 
probabK' but not certainly the peak in question — is some 
13,745 feet above sea level. Gannett Peak is 13,804 
feet.)'' Irving had promised the peak stood some fifteen 
thousand feet high, but Fremont could not afford to be 
too disappointed. He had nonetheless conquered the 
Rockies' "highest summit" and had verified Irving's 
literary claim through the latest scientific method. He 
had reason to celebrate and mark the occasion by 
planting an American fiag on the fabled summit. 

As the Fremonts composed their report several 
months later, the couple proved amazingly honest about 
John's original motivations for the mission. Although 
in other instances the Fremonts surelv added to the 



report's dramatic effect, in this case the evidence 
suggests that they felt little need to be especially 
disingenuous. With a powerful father-in-law and the 
expansionist spirit as his protectors, Fremont freely 
admitted in print that the climb of the high peak — "an 
object of laudable ambition" — had been "beyond the 
strict order of our instructions."^^ Moreover, the Preuss 
testimony, provided paradoxically by a man often 
secretly critical of his commander, in this case supports 
the veracity of the Fremont report. 

Just as Preuss related in his diary, Fremont early on 
admitted his purpose had been to climb the high peaks 
of the fabulous Wind Rivers. At St. Vrain's Fort (in 
today's Colorado) Fremont could spy Long's Peak 
nearby, while the even more famous Pike's Peak might 
also be visible but for the smoky atmosphere that day. 
While exploring such Colorado heights might prove 
fruitful, the lieutenant insisted "the proper object of 
my survey lay among the mountains further north." 
(Ironically, both Long's Peak and Pike's Peak are higher 
than Fremont Peak, but Irving had not drawn attention 
to those Colorado summits, f- These "snowy recesses" 
to the north remained his prime objective and he looked 
forward to their exploration with "great pleasure." A 
few days later he lamented the loss of an important 
thermometer by admitting "I had promised myself some 
interesting experiments in the mountains." Despite 
Preuss's dread of Indian threats, Fremont insisted on 
pressing on past Fort Laramie, perhaps precisely to 
reach the mountains. Just after leaving the fort (and 

'" Bonneville had considered but rejected the idea of using the 
extremely fragile barometers. See Todd's introduction to Irving, 
Bonneville, x.wi. 

'"'Fremont Report," 262-263. Pike's men had already been 
suffering from the want of proper winter clothing. Then, like 
Fremont, his misunderstanding of distances in the western moun- 
tains tempted him to leave behind proper food and gear for the 
mountain climb. See Pike's journal in The Journals of Zebulon 
Montgomery Pike, edited by Donald Jackson (Norman: Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1966), vol. 1, 350. 

^'Preuss Diaty, 40-47; "Fremont Report," 265-266, 270-271. 

■'■'For years afterward the public assumed that Fremont had as- 
cended Fremont Peak and that this was the Rockies' highest sum- 
mit. See, for example, the famous western map by Lieutenant G. 
K. Warren, published in 1859, which specifically marks 
"Fremont's Peak" and the elevation as measured by Fremont (the 
only such mountain elevation given on the entire map). 

'■•"Fremont Report," p. 272. 

" Of course, had Fremont merely wanted to measure the height 
of a famous western mountain using the new barometrical tech- 
nique, Pike's Peak or Long's Peak would have been excellent 
choices. (The Pike and Long estimates of the high western peaks 
had been quite unreliable.) But America's most famous author 
had instead boasted of the record height of the Wind River peaks, 
thus capturing Fremont's attention and apparent resolve. (And, 
of course, these peaks already bore the names of other explorers.) 



Autiii 



lOQQ 



Still east of today's Casper), Fremont noted in his report 
that "I detennined to reach the mountains, if it were in 
any way possible." The first sighting of the Wind Rivers 
was still several da\s away.'^ 

Fremont shared his mapmaker's concern about the 
feared loss of the barometer. The incident was hard on 
his men, Fremont later wrote, considering that they had 
brought the barometer some one thousand miles only 
to see it damaged "almost among the snow of the 
mountains." But with remarkable ingenuity (given scant 
credit by Preuss) Fremont managed to repair the 
damaged instrument (replacing the glass vial with a 
powder horn no less), allowing the long anticipated 
mountain climb to continue. This saved Fremont from 
grave disappointment: he confessed that "a great part 
of the interest of the journey for me was in the 
exploration of those mountains."" 

This incredible admission should be considered in 
light of the rather limited instructions given the young 
lieutenant by Colonel Abert. Moreover, Fremont's 
report goes on to show that his desire to probe the Wind 
River Mountains derived from his wish to verify the 
claims of his mountain men forebears, so well- 
dramatized in Irving's famous works. As he entered 
the mountains Fremont w elcomed the bracing mountain 
air, so praised he said by hunters, and expected that his 
mountain trek would reveal secrets "unknown to the 
wandering trappers of the region." Indeed, Fremont 
reported, "much had been said that was doubtful and 
contradictory" about these very peaks. But this trained 
man of science came with a specific purpose, to measure 
the height of these mountains — "considered by the 
hunters and traders the highest in the whole range." 
Again Fremont regretted the potential loss of his 
barometer, "the only means of giving them [the 
mountain peaks] authentically to science." Had he not 
have rescued the precious barometer, "the object of my 
anxious solicitude by night and day" would have been 
lost. No doubt these passages heightened the dramatic 
quality of the subsequent report, while not incidentally 
focusing attention on John's valued service to the 
mission's success. But these words reflected genuine 
concern as well — concern that John's effort to win 
public renown by verifying Irving's claims about the 
high Wyoming peak might end in embarrassment. Later 
the Fremont report further highlighted the importance 
of his mountain exploits by referring to the loss of some 
of his records in a capsizing on the upper North Platte 
River. Fortunately, Fremont admitted, other journals 
contained duplicates of the "most important" 
barometrical observations "which had been taken in 
the mountains.""* 



27 

What Colonel Abert later thought in reading 
Fremont's discussion of his mission's objectives is 
unrecorded. We do know that Abert appreciated how 
Fremont's success brought much needed attention to 
his Corps' valuable work. Of course too Abert would 
recommend that the Senate publish the lieutenant's 
impressive work and later would send his somewhat 
troublesome charge on further missions. But we also 
know that in subsequent dealings with his young 
subordinate Abert devoted strict attention to Fremont's 
well-demonstrated neglect of written instructions as 
well as established Army procedures. His official and 
no doubt private complaints about Fremont's behavior 
probably stemmed from this early experience with his 
now famous officer.'" 

Many have overlooked how Fremont's intention to 
climb the Wind River peak had actually been devised 
and indeed premeditated.""' Instead, historians 
commonh point out Fremont's (now obvious) mistake 
in claiming to have scaled the Rockies' highest peak. 
And although upon which peak Fremont planted his 
tlag remains controversial, today it can be easily noted 
that it was not even the highest peak in the Wind River 
Range. But Fremont had done his best with the 
infonnation available to him. While Colorado's lofty 
summits still awaited careful measurement, Fremont 
had diligently pieced together the available information 
before making his claim. His veteran companions had 
also agreed upon the specific peak selected for the 
assault. (To the untrained eye Fremont Peak does appear 
to dominate the Wind Rivers.) Moreover, Fremont 
could report that this was the opinion "of the oldest 
traders of the country."^' And had not Washington 
Irving, America's most famous writer, reported that 



'"This journal entry was for July 26. 1842. The part\ had left 
Fort Laramie on July 21"; not until August ?"' would the Wind 
Rivers first come into view. "Fremont Report," pp. 238, 256. 
260, 279. 

''"Fremont Report," 205, 226, 256. 

'"■'Fremont Report," 256-257, 260, 279. 

'"For ample evidence of Abert's frustrations with Fremont see 
the frequent correspondence in Jackson and Spence, Fremont 
Expeditions, vol. 1, especially pages 123, 126, 127, 344-352. 

■"'In a work subsequent to his earlier Army Exploration. Will- 
iam Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire. 243, did remark off- 
handedly that Fremont's "monumentally impractical" gesture of 
climbing the Wind River peak "appeared to he from the first a 
part of the design" of the mission. But he did not pursue this 
supposition beyond this observation and he did not mention 
Irving's works (or the Preuss diary) in this context. A precon- 
ceived plan to measure scientifically a reported elevation of a 
mountain peak can not really be termed "monumentally imprac- 
tical." 



28 



Annals of WyomingrThe Wyoming History Journal 



the Rockies" highest summit lay in the very Wind River 
Range that Fremont had bested? Who could dare 
dispute such a claim? 

Jn retrospect it appears that there was precious little 
spontaneous about the Fremont climb into the al- 
luring Wind Rivers. Indeed, the Fremont family had 
made rather impressive preparations for the attempt to 
verify a striking claim made in Irving's famous west- 
em histories and may have even calculated the effort to 
promote John's public notoriety. As a result, John 
Fremont's reputation for impulsive, romantic acts may 
require at least some reassessment. The famous quest 
to plant an American flag atop the Rocky Mountains 
now appears more as a staged event rather than an im- 
practical if heroic gesture. But at least an act inspired 
by one of America's most famous romantic authors in 
turn stimulated artists and other writers to equally ro- 
mantic flourishes. And we should now recognize how 
the Fremonts evidently encouraged such an artistic re- 
sponse by portraying John's conquest of the Wind River 
Mountains in a characteristically dramatic way, rather 
than as a serious scientific enterprise. Thus it was partly 
the Fremonts" fault that John became famous for plant- 
ing a makeshift flag upon a far summit rather than for 
his skill in carefully repairing and operating a sensitive 
scientific instrument."*- 

Which Wind River peaks Bonneville and Fremont 
actually climbed is today probably only meaningful to 
dedicated mountain climbing enthusiasts. Yet those who 
have debated this issue in print perhaps have not noticed 
the possible irony involved. Despite his much-publi- 
cized claims — which were revisited during the 
Pathfinder's 1856 presidential campaign — Fremont 
evidently did not climb the highest peak in the Wind 
Rivers (much less the entire Rockies). But if Bonneville 
indeed made it to the top of Gannett Peak, then he and 
not Fremont could boast of scaling the highest peak in 
the Wind Rivers. Of course, Bonneville could not 
specify which peak he ascended beyond remarking that 
it must be the region's loftiest. (Bonneville simply did 
not provide enough information to fix with any certainty 
which peak he scaled). Moreover, he could not measure 
the attitude of his peak as Fremont would do using 
quite up-to-date scientific methods. Yet Bonneville's 
conquest of the Wind Rivers would receive hardly any 
subsequent attention. Today's scholars of the westward 
movement typically recall Fremont's exploits; few 
remember the specifics of Bonneville's. Fewer still 
realize that Bonneville s feat had inspired Fremont's 
later but more famous effort — a lamentable 



consequence of Irving's histories fading from modem 
memory. 

By contrast Fremont has received extensive scholarly 
treatment, mainly due to the subsequent controversial 
aspects of his career. Bonneville too rose to the rank 
of general in the Civil War, but in a much less heralded 
fashion. Yet the Captain does not deserve to be nearly 
forgotten, considering the fact that one of America's 
most honored writers first told his tale. True, 
Washington Irving's account eventually eamed some 
partly deserved criticism — considering his talents, some 
considered Irving's histories "hack work" — but his 
narratives should not be left gathering dust on America's 
library shelves. Astoria provides a valuable historical 
account of that enterprise while Captain Bonneville 
offers a close look at the operation of the Rocky 
Mountain fur trade and the lives of the famous mountain 
men.'*' Generally authoritative and well-written, 
Irving's westem works deserve to be rediscovered by 
scholars and general readers alike. Perhaps like John 
and Jessie Fremont, one should peruse Washington 
Irving's Captain Bonneville jusl before packing for that 
family camping trip to experience the wonders of the 
Wind Rivers so enjoyed by both Fremont and 
Bonneville, the first known Americans to ascend this 
range's most prominent (if not highest) peaks. 

■""Fremont Report," 271. And compared to the inaccurate es- 
timates of elevation by Pil<e and Long, Fremont's calculations 
were remarkably accurate. Besides not being able to use the ba- 
rometer method. Pike and Long had miscalculated the mountain 
heights by overestimating the elevation of the surrounding prai- 
rie base. 

^-We now know — thanks again to the Preuss diary — that 
Fremont had made still another attempt to employ the latest tech- 
nology in his expeditions. Unfortunately, his pioneering efforts 
to master the intricacies of the daguerreotype camera while on 
the trail did not result in usable prints. See Preuss Diary, xx-xxi, 
32, 35. 

^Tor a capable defense of Irving's historical writing see Todd's 
introduction to Irving, Bonneville, xxxix-xlviii. See also, Ber- 
nard DeVoto, Across the Wide Missouri (Boston: Houghton 
Mifflin, 1947), 426-427. 



Vernon L. Volpe is professor of history and a 
former department chair at the University of 
Nebraska at Kearney. He earned his Ph.D. from 
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1984 and 
has published a number of works dealing with 
western exploration, antebellum politics, and the 
Civil War. He acknowledges UNK 's Graduate 
Research Services Council for its support of his 
current project, a biography of John C. Fremont. 





Bg Same* R. Weft t^ / I' 



1^^ 



V- '^N' 'v r ■'■■■ V'^- w^V**' 

» ■*- *^ . ■<^* v,'^ „tl jSf /^ , •■ -J, 7^ 





Philip H. Sheridan, renowned as a Civil War 
commander and Indian campaigner, also de- 
serves credit for his role in the exploration of the 
Yellowstone region. Not onl\ did he sponsor a number 
of scientific expeditions there, but he himself went out 
into the field and found an easy passage between the 
waters of the Wind River and the Snake River in north- 
western Wyoming. His crossing of the Continental Di- 
vide is now known as Sheridan Pass — but others had 
been there before him. 

The exploration history of the region can only be in- 
terpreted in the context of its geographic setting, imag- 
ine the topography as being represented by a giant T. 
The cross-bar at the top represents the nearly impen- 
etrable barrier that blocks direct travel to the 
Yellowstone Park country. The Wind River is to the 
east, while the headwaters of the Snake River (Jackson 
Hole) and the Green River lie to the west. The T"s 
vertical bar is the Continental Divide — the lofty peaks 
of the Wind River Range, including Wyoming's high- 
est point (Gannett Peak) and. to the north of them, a 
somewhat more friendly section that can be breached 



Ge)}e)al Philip ShcnJan 

in three areas — Togwotee Pass, Sheridan Pass, and 
Union Pass.' 

East-west travel could be accomplished more easily 
outside of this region either by following the Missouri 
River in Montana or by crossing the gentle contours of 
South Pass, the emigrants' Oregon Trail of the mid- 
nineteenth century, in central Wyoming. But if one 
wanted to proceed northwest from the lower Wind Ri\ er 
(for example, from the mouth of the Popo Agie near 

The three named passes are the onl_\ ones with documented 
use in the years under review. Togwotee Pass is at an elevation of 
9544 feet, on today's U.S. 26 - U.S. 287. The Continental Divide, 
to the south, crosses Two Ocean Mountain (]'; miles from 
Togwotee Pass) and then drops to an unnamed pass at an eleva- 
tion of 9246 feet (above Moccasin Basin 5' j miles from Togwotee 
Pass), crosses Lava Mountain (8' : miles), descends and then fol- 
lows a wooded crest to Sheridan Pass (13'/: miles) at 9245 teet. 
The skyline is fairly even to the south, dipping to 9360 feet near 
Fish Lake (22'/4 miles) and then following a grassy ridgeline to 
Union Pass, at 9210 feet (34"; miles from Togwotee Pass) — 
measurements generally along the Continental Div ide rather than 
airline distances. U.S. Geological Survey (7.5-minute series): 
Togwotee Pass (1965), Lava Mountain (1965), Sheridan Pass 
( 1 965 ), Fish Lake ( 1 956), and Fish Creek Park ( 1 967 ) quadrangles. 



30 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming Histon' Journal 



present-day Lander), the most direct way would be to 
go over Union Pass if headed to the Green River head- 
waters; over Sheridan Pass if headed to the Three Forks 
area of Montana (via Teton Pass and the Henrys Lake 
area); and over Togwotee Pass on the way to the re- 
gion of Yellowstone Park. Travel northeast from the 
upper Wind River to the Yellowstone River could only 
be accomplished by way of Shoshone Pass, at the head 
of Dunoir Creek. To get there from the Green River, 
one would naturally go over Union Pass to the mouth 
of Dunoir Creek; from Jackson Hole, either Sheridan 
Pass or Togwotee Pass would be practicable, though 
Sheridan Pass is more direct. Each of these passes was 
well known to the native Americans. 

General Sheridan set out on one of his exploring trips 
on August 12, 1882. From the mouth of Dunoir Creek, 
his party rode up the Wind River for about five miles. 
Crossing the stream, he ascended a very easy grade, 
through some open glades and beautiful parks, to the 
crest of the range. "The pass was unknown to white 
men and seemed to have been used in the past only by- 
Indians ... by far. the best pass I have ever seen over 
the Continental Divide. " he reported. The descent the 
next day was "by no means bad," and led the party 
down to the Gros Ventre River.- Sheridan's conceit 
that the pass was "unknown" is wrong: the historical 
record amply demonstrates that other white men had 
preceded him. 

The return of Lewis and Clark to St. Louis in 1806 
stimulated efforts to tap the fur resources of the 
Missouri River headwaters. The tlrst large expedition, 
led by Manuel Lisa, headed upstream in 1807. George 
Drouillard, who brought first-hand knowledge from his 
service on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was a key 
member. The party had been strengthened even more 
by the employment of John Colter, another Lewis and 
Clark veteran, who was traveling homeward in 1807 
but readily agreed to sign on.' A winter camp, known 
as Fort Raymond or Manuel's Fort, was established at 
the confluence of the Yellowstone and Big Horn Riv- 
ers. 

In November, Lisa dispatched Colter to make con- 
tact with the Indian tribes of the area, to invite them to 
come to Fort Raymond to trade.^ Colter left no written 
record of his trip, but it appears that he later gave an 
account to William Clark, who marked the route as he 
understood it on an extant manuscript map.' The map 
reflects not only personal observations from the Lewis 
and Clark expedition, but information from the travels 
of Zebulon Pike, the Astorians, and John Colter him- 
self Several routes in the area of the Wind Rivers and 



the Tetons are marked by dotted lines. The ones of pri- 
mary interest here — interpreted as Colter's route — 
are: ( 1 ) from the Salt Fork of Stinking [now Shoshone] 
River to the upper Big Horn [now Wind] River, (2) 
from the headwaters of the Big Horn [Wind] River 
southwest to Crooks River and westward to the yicin- 
ity of Henrys River, and (3) fi^om Henrys River east- 
ward to Lake Biddle. A trace from the Big Horn to 
Crooks River by way of Colters River represents the 
outbound path of the Astorians, while a fork heading 
southeast from Crooks River to the Platte is the 
Astorians' return route. Finally, a distinct path runs 
from east of Henrys River across Southern [Raynolds 
or Targhee] Pass to the Madison River." 

Colter proceeded south from Fort Raymond, up the 
Big Horn and the South Shoshone River, and then de- 
scended Dunoir Creek to the valley of the Wind River. ' 
He crossed the Continental Divide and continued west- 

- Lt. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan to Brig. Gen. R.C. Drum, Adju- 
tant Generah United States Army, Nov. i, 1882. Sheridan Pa- 
pers. Microfilm Reel 87. Library of Congress. Sheridan also char- 
acterized the pass as "much better than the L'nion Pass, to the 
south of it, or than the pass to the north of it, traversed by Captain 
Sanford Cobb KLellogg"s command last year." Kellogg may have 
been at the unnamed pass above Moccasin Basin rather than 
Togwotee Pass, but a search of National Archives records for 
documentation of his route was unsuccessful. The general's most 
likely route appears as the "Sheridan Trail" on the U.S. Geologi- 
cal Survey Kisiuger Lakes. Fish Lake. Lava Mountain, and 
Slieridan Pass 7.5-minute quadrangles. Sheridan actually gave 
the name "Lincoln Pass" to the crossing, in honor of Secretary of 
War Robert T. Lincoln, but some time after 1883 and before 1899 
(when Coutant's history was published) it came to be known as 
Sheridan Pass. 

' Burton Harris, John Colter: His Years in the Rockies (New 
York 1952), 59-64. Oglesby, Richard E. Manuel Lisa and the 
Opening of the Missouri -Fur Trade (Norman, Bison Book ed., 
1984), 40-46. Harris points out that two other men who had been 
with Lewis and Clark — John Potts and Peter Wiser [or Weiser] 
— were also members of the party. 

* H.M. Brackenridge, Vie^vs of Louisiana (Pittsburgh, 1814), 
91-92. 

* The map is reproduced as No. 125 in Gary E. Moulton (ed.). 
The .Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (Lincoln 1983). An 
excellent copy of the portion discussed here is in Aubrey L. Haines, 
The Yellowstone Stan,-. ('o/«/?je/( Yellow stone National Park WY, 
1977), 34. The original is at Yale University's Beinecke Library. 
The manuscript map also appears in Carl L Wheat, Mapping the 
Transmtssissippi West: Volume Two, From Lewis and Clark to 
Fremont 1804-1845, San Francisco 1958 as Map 29 1 (Wheat 291). 

'' The map shows both Henrys River and Wisers River, which 
suggests that Wiser had visited the western slope in 1808. His 
account of a route between "the upper branches of the Collumbia" 
and "the- middle fork of Madison's River" is cited in an 1810 
letter from Reuben Lewis to his brother Meriwether Lewis. 
Oglesby, op.cit., 96-97. "Perhaps, had Clark understood right, 
Wiser's R. and Henry's Fork were one and the same." Dale L. 
Morgan, The West of William H. Ashley (Denver 1963), xxxiii 
(n.l6). 



Autumn 199Q 



ward, from Jackson Hole, over Teton Pass 
into what is now Idaho But how did he 
get from the mouth of Dunoir Creek to 
Teton Pass? 

Perhaps Colter crossed the Divide at 
Togvvotee Pass. The manuscript map 
shows that when he first descended to 
Wind River, he turned right and proceeded 
upstream, northwest, a direction that 
would lead to Togwotee Pass. Then he 
would have descended along Blackrock 
Creek and the Buffalo Fork to the Snake 
River [""Crooks Ri\er" on the map] near 
the outlet of expansive Jackson Lake. We 
cannot assume, however, that the traveler 
would ha\e seen the lake from the Buf- 
falo-Snake contluence. as there are inter- 
vening bluffs and hills — though he might 
ha\e had glimpses from 8650-foot Blackrock Mead- 
ows at a distance of over 20 miles from the lake. In 
fact, it is improbable that Colter \ iewed Jackson Lake, 
since the large body of water that appears on the 
map is drawn as a source of Wind River that is not 
connected to the Snake. But if Colter had in fact 
walked close to Jackson Lake, there is no way that 
he could have believed it to be in the Wind River 
drainage. For, in the first place, he would have rec- 
ognized that it flow ed south to Crooks River. And, 
further, ha\ing found the mountain barrier (at 
Togwotee Pass) to be so elevated (at 9500 feet), it 
is inconceivable that he w ould have regarded 6700- 
foot Jackson Lake as being located high in the 
mountains near the Continental Divide. Neverthe- 
less, while a traverse of Togwotee Pass cannot be 
excluded, an alternate interpretation is that Colter 
crossed the Divide at Sheridan Pass and followed 
the Gros Ventre River drainage — all the way out 

^The competing interpretations of Colter's route are sum- 
marized in David J. Savior, Jackson Hole. Wyoming , Norman 
1970, 216 (n.l2). Harris favors Togwotee Pass, op. cit. at 103. 
Union Pass is preferred by Stallo Vinton, \nJohn Colter: Discov- 
erer of Yellowstone Pork (New York 1926), 59. The theory that 
the route remained much farther north (i.e., never south of 
Yellowstone Park) cannot stand in the light of the new informa- 
tion contained in Clark's manuscript map, including its depiction 
of the Astorians' route in ju.xtaposilion to Colter's. J. Neilson 
Barry, "John Colter's Map of 1814," Annals of Wyoming 10 (July 
1938), 106. Barry's hypothesis was e.xtended. with still greater 
speculation, in Merrill D. Beal, The Sioiy of Man in Yellowstone 
(revised ed. 1956), 285-298. In discussing Colter's route. Wheat, 
op. cit. 54-55, declares that "Crooks River was unquestionably 
the Bear," but he provides no supporting argument. John G. White, 
cited by Wheat, fatuously suggests that Colter's River is the Big 
Sandy. {A Souvenir of Wyoming, 1926, typescript in Yellowstone 




Colter 's route, as shown on Clark 's manuscript map 
(above with bold line added for clarity). Contrast the 
route with that shown on Samuel Lewis ' engraving, be- 
low (again, the bold line added for clarity) 




National Park Research Library, p. 60.) To deal with the .Atlantic 
outflow of Lake Biddle, Orrin H. Bonney takes Colter through 
the southern part of the Wind Rivers, across the Wyoming and 
Salt River Ranges and on to the Teton Basin — avoiding Jackson 
Hole altogether. Guide to the Wyoming Mountains and Wilder- 
ness Areas, Denver: Sage Books 1960, 25. Paul Chessler Phillips 
concurs that if Colter "had explored this country, he would not 
have made the Wind River the outlet of Jackson Lake," but he 
then opts for a route similar to Barry's. The Fur Trade (Norman: 
Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1961 ), 2:261. Nolle Mumey would have 
Colter traveling in the counter-clockwise direction, transiting 
Yellowstone Park and the headwaters of the Green River, thus 
also passing by Big Sandy Creek, to South Pass and then turning 
north — once again, with no reasoned explanation . The Teton 
Mountains: Their History and Tradition (Denver 1947) 35. 



32 



Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



of sight of Jackson Lake. After continuing westward 
into Idaho from either the Togwotee or Sheridan Pass 
route, he returned to Wyoming, probably by way of 
Falls River, and proceeded east. His course led him 
well above Jackson Lake, which he might not even have 
glimpsed. Lake Biddle, under this interpretation, turns 
out to be Heart Lake." And if Lake Biddle is in fact 
intended to represent Heart Lake, then the outlet stream 
that Colter would have forded, according to the map, 
would seem to be Brooks Lake Creek (elevation 7950) 
if Togwotee Pass was on the route or Lava Creek (el- 
evation 7400) if Sheridan Pass was the place where 
Colter crossed the Divide. Because Heart Lake is at 
7500 feet, the lower elevation of Lava Creek lends a 
bit of weight to the Sheridan Pass alternative. 

Then there is the possibility of a crossing of Union 
Pass, which would take the traveler close to the Green 
River headwaters — something that would account for 
Clark's having inscribed that stream as "Colters River." 
One difficulty with this is that while Union Pass is 
marked with dots (representing the route of the 
Astorians. discussed below), you don't get there if you 
march northwest and head up the Wind River — a dot- 
ted-line course that would have no predicate unless it 
was intended to mark Colter's route. A further consid- 
eration is that there is no documentation that Colter 
was looking for the Spanish settlements, so one won- 
ders why (assuming he crossed Union Pass) he would 
leave the descending valley and instead climb over the 
barrier of Pifion Ridge in order to get to the basin there 
(whether the Rio Grande or the Green)." The more likely 
scenario is that Colter expected to come upon the 
Yellowstone headwaters but found the south-flowing 
Snake River instead: this prompted his proceeding ftir- 
ther west and, when there was still no sign of anything 
that could be considered the Yellowstone, he then turned 
east once again.'" 

But Clark left a further record — the great "Map of 
Lewis and Clark's Track" published in 1814 with the 
History of the Expedition under the Command of Cap- 
tains Lewis and Clark. ' ' The map's engraver, Samuel 
Lewis, did an excellent job of copying the cartography 
of the manuscript map. (See map on previous page). 
There are some minor differences, such as the shape 
and size of Lakes Eustis and Biddle [which has, enig- 
matically, become Lake "Riddle"]. But, overall, the 
faithfulness of the copy is striking. The most remark- 
able difference is that the route of the Astorians, which 
is evident on the manuscript map, is not identified on 
the 1814 printed one. One can surmise that Clark felt 
that it would hav*. been anachronistic and irrelevant, in 
the report of the 1 804- 1 806 expedition, for travels sev- 



eral years later to be shown. Let us assume, therefore, 
that he instructed the engraver to omit the path of the 
Astorians — but that this instruction was misunder- 
stood. 

The result is that Colter's route is correctly indicated 
as it heads up the South Shoshone to the "Bighorn" 
[Wind], and Hunt's route on the lower Big Horn quite 
properly has vanished. But then, instead of continuing 
along Colter's true route, as shown on the manuscript 
map, almost all the way to Lake Biddle, the printed 
map has Colter following the dotted line [actually the 
Astorians' westbound route] over Union Pass. Why did 
Samuel Lewis make this mistake? The likely explana- 
tion is that, on the manuscript map, Clark had assigned 
the name "Colters River" to the head of the Green, and 
Lewis, instructed to show Colter's route, understand- 
ably would want to include Colter's River.'- From there, 
the engraved map follows the Astorians, along the line 

' The most likely route east from Falls River would head up the 
Snake River from the Snake-Lewis contluence. Colter would have 
continued upstream for several miles, but would cut up Basin 
Creek where the Snake turned south. (It is possible, though un- 
likely, that he continued along the Snake as far as Coulter Creek 
and wandered y4 of a mile up that tributary, where the initials 
"J.C." were discovered, in 1 889, in a large pine tree. The carving, 
sometimes attributed to Colter, is reported in Vinton, op.cit. 61. 
It is more probable that the initials memorialize the botanist, John 
Merle Coulter, for whom the creek was named, as recorded in the 
"Map of the Sources of the Snake River" in F.V. Hayden, Sixth 
.Animal Report of the United Stales Geological Survey of the Ter- 
ritories ... Being a Report of Progress of the Explorations for the 
Year 1872. Aubrey L. Haines, "John Colter," in LeRoy R. Hafen, 
The Mountain Men, v. 8, 79, Glendale: Arthur H. Clark 1971.) 
After turning north on Basin Creek, Colter crossed a ridge that, 
though low, might have been interpreted as the boundary of the 
Wind River drainage. He would then follow along the west shore 
of Heart Lake (conforming to the map's indicating a course along 
the west bank of Lake Biddle). At 7500 feet. Heart Lake is high 
enough to be thought a possible source of Wind River. Harris and 
Vinton also traced a route by Heart Lake, but neither of them 
associated it with Lake Biddle. The cited Hayden map (Wheat 
1233) shows Jackson Lake in its natural state, before it was 
dammed about 1906; the northern limit of the lake was 12 miles 
from the "Fall River" corridor, and intervening features blocked 
the view. 

" William Goetzmann has argued, however, that it is "highly 
probably that Colter was in search of the Spanish as well as Indi- 
ans with beaver skins to trade." Exploration and Empire (New 
York, 1966) 20. To the same effect is Robert B. Belts, Along the 
Ramparts of the Tetons (Boulder, 1978), 43-44. 

'" Colter's seeking the Yellowstone was suggested by Vinton, 
op.cit., 59-60. Oglesby, op.cit. 56, notes Colter's probable aware- 
ness that the Crows were a trading people whose territory ex- 
tended up the Yellowstone. 

" No. 126 in Moulton, op.cit. (Wheat 316). 

'- The reason for the designation is unclear — perhaps Clark's 
desire to honor Colter in some way, or maybe just a thoughtless 
error on Clark's part. 



Autumn IQQQ 




The highlighted line indicates the portion ofAstorians ' route erroneously shown as Colter 's route on Lewis ' engrav- 
ing (above, left). The highlighted line on the map (right) shows Clark's manuscript map route for the Astorians 
westbound through Unujn Pass in ISl 1. 



of dots u ith superimposed circles, to Jackson Hole. 
This is the Snake River — marked "Crooks River" on 
the manuscript map, after a member of Hunt's party 
who returned with Robert Stuart on the trek east in 
1812, but without any label on the 1814 map (since 
references to the Astorians were to be omitted). This 
left the engraver with a problem, as he needed to ac- 
count for the dotted route northeast from Crooks River 
and another such dotted route to the west of Lake 
Biddle. He met the challenge by connecting these dis- 
junct segments and making them part of Colter's route. 
His efforts made orphans of portions of the manuscript 
map — Colter's route along the upper Wind River and 
his travels west of Teton Pass. One can imagine Clark's 
discovering the error after a tmished engraved plate 
was presented to him — but, since the Colter itinerary 
was not a portion of the Lewis and Clark journey, an 
error in its presentation might hardly have seemed suf- 
ficient to require a corrected drawing.'' 

The printed map (and, indeed, the manuscript map 
as well) show Colter's route ascending the Salt Fork 
[South Shoshone] for a few days at the start of this 
section of his travels, but then veering away a bit to the 
east. Although Burton Harris suggests that Colter 
crossed over to the Greybull drainage and traversed 
the Owl Creek Mountains on the way to the Wind Riv er, 
an examination of the topography makes this seem 
doubtful: if one goes even a few miles up the South 
Shoshone, the mountain barrier to the east becomes 



fomiidable.'^ Upon the completion of his trek. Colter 
would have discussed his observations with Drouillard, 
w ho subsequently drew a map and presented it to Clark. 
The map. which bears notes made by Clark on the ba- 
sis of conversations with Drouillard. shows the forks 
of the Shoshone as well as the course of the Big Horn, 
indicating that a route directly up the South Fork of the 
Shoshone to its source would lead to Spanish settle- 
ments.'" Had Colter detoured to the Greybull, and so 
reported to Drouillard, a more circuitous depiction 
would be expected. 

The route will remain the topic of debate, yet Colter 
may well have been the first recorded traveler over 

" On March 29. 1813, Lewis was paid S20.50 "for making 
Sundry Alterations in plates." so it might have been practicable 
to ha\e made a correction if Clark had given the matter an> con- 
sideration. Donald Jackson, ed.. Letters of the LeMis and Clark 
Expedition Second Edition (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois 1978). 600. 

'* Harris, op cit.. 98-99. See DeLorme Mapping. Wyoming .At- 
las & Cazeueer (Vxeepon. Me. 1992). Maps 60. 59, and 49. Har- 
ris bases his view on the difficulty of crossing Shoshone Pass in 
the winter, but a President of the Wyoming State Historical Soci- 
ety. DeWitt Dominick. considered such a route, passing Bliss 
Meadows along the way. to be "logical." "President's Message." 
.Annals of Wyoming /^ (April 1957) 104-105. (Colter's route, each 
way. between Manuel's Fort and the Stinking Water presents 
complex issues of interpretation that are not fully addressed here. 
See Harris. 83-90 and 111-114.) 

'The pertinent section of the Drouillard map (Wheat 289) is 
reproduced in John Logan Allen, Passage through the Garden 
(Urbana 1975). 380-81. 



34 



Annals or Wyoming: Tne Wyoming History Journal 



Sheridan Pass. Union Pass was Hunt's route, not 
Colter's. While Togwotee Pass would have been an 
attractive route to follow, the evidence for Colter's pres- 
ence there is not conclusive."' 



9n 1 809, Manuel Lisa again led an expedition up 
the Missouri. Once arriving there, the trappers 
ranged out over a large area, but left only fragmentary 
records." The next spring, after several of the expedi- 
tion members had been attacked and killed by the 
Blackfeet, the bulk of those remaining in the area, led 
by Andrew Henry, crossed from the Madison River 
over to the Snake headwaters, setting up camp near 
present St. Anthony, Idaho. When Henry's party dis- 
banded in 1811, three of their number — Edward 
Robinson, John Hoback, and Jacob Reznor — took a 
course eastward via Teton Pass and the Wind River to 
the Missouri River. On their way downstream, they 
met and were employed as guides by Wilson Price 
Hunt's o\erland expedition of John Jacob Astor's Pa- 
cific Fur Company. The three trappers then guided the 
Astorians back to the mountains and over the Conti- 
nental Divide. 

Hunt's diary leaves no doubt that the Astorians went 
over Union Pass, descended to the upper Green River, 
and then followed the Hoback River to the Snake: the 
southwesterly course from the Wind River, the halt 
"made beside Spanish River, a large stream on the banks 
of which, according to Indian report, the Spaniards live," 
and the references to the Tetons ("three immensely high 
and snow-covered peaks") document the way.'* But 
Robinson et al had followed a more northern track on 
their earlier journey eastward. As Hunt observed, pre- 
sumably with the trappers' route in mind, "we should 
have continued. . .to follow Wind River [i.e., instead of 
turning to go over Union Pass] and to cross one of the 
mountains because we would have reached the head- 
waters of this river; but lack of provisions forced us to 
make for the banks of Spanish River."''* The conven- 
tional interpretation is that the three trappers had ear- 
lier crossed the Continental Divide by way of Togwotee 
Pass.-" But once again one must entertain the possibil- 
ity that the route was over Sheridan Pass instead. It is 
not only lower than Togwotee Pass, but a much shorter 
route to the valley of the Wind River as well. 

The 1812 return trip of the Astorians led by Robert 
Stuart resulted in the discovery of a low gap in the 
Rocky Mountai.^ chains — South Pass, ultimately the 
route of the Oreg* n Trail — but, as historically signifi- 
cant as that was, it adds little to the present tale.-' 



9n 1 822, Andrew Henry joined William H. Ashley 
in organizing a new company to trap furs in the 
Rocky Mountains. During the winter of 1823-24, one 
of the venture's trapping parties, with Jedediah Smith 

"■ Henry Brackenridge wrote in 1811: "At the head of the 
Gallatin Fork, and of the Grosse Corne [Big Horn] of the 
Yellowstone, from discoveries since the voyage of Lewis & Clark, 
it is found less difficult to cross than the Allegheny mountains: 
Coulter, a celebrated hunter and woodsman, informed me that a 
loaded wagon would find no obstruction in passing." Morgan, 
op.cit., x.K.xvi {n.22). This vsould not rule out any of the alterna- 
tives, though Togwotee Pass best fits the "head of the Grosse 
Corne." 

'^ However, from the evidence of the Reuben Lewis letter, n.6 
supra. Jean Baptiste Champlain (with others, no doubt — includ- 
ing, perhaps, Robinson, Hoback, and Reznor) ranged to the south 
in 1 809. The letter records that "Mr. Shamplain tells me that the 
martin abound in the mountains dividing the waters of the Span- 
ish River as it is called, on what is supposed to be the Rio del 
nort, from the waters of some of the Southern branches of the 
Collumbia, on a River falling into the Gulf of California, which 
he thinks most probable." This would seem to place Champlain 
on the upper Green River. Whether he got there from the west via 
Henrys Fork and Teton Pass or from the east by way of Union 
Pass cannot be determined. It is plausible that he did in fact go by 
way of Union Pass, as the information he (or some other anony- 
mous trapper) conveyed may have led the way for a small party 
that included John Dougherty, one of Lisa's men. Dougherty's 
party, apparently in 1810, is reported to have ascended the 
Shoshone River to its source and crossed over to a river that they 
concluded was the Rio del Norte. Ralph E. Ehrenberg, "Sketch of 
Part of the Missouri & Yellowstone Rivers with a Description of 
the Country &c." Prologue: The Journal of the National Archives, 
Fall 1971, 73-75. Thus, they may have been following the track 
pioneered previously by Champlain. On the other hand, 
Brackenridge writes that when Andrew Henry's party left their 
1810-1811 winter quarters, some of the trappers "made their way 
south, into the Spanish settlements, by the way of the Rio del 
Norte," which is an indication that they were following the west- 
em slope, very likely following the footsteps of Champlain two 
years earlier, rather than going north, east, south, and then west. 
Morgan, op.cit., xxxvi (n.21). 

'* Philip Ashton Rollins, The Discovery of the Oregon Trail 
(New York 1935), 101-102, 286-288. C.G. Coutant identified 
Sheridan Pass as the place the Astorians crossed the Divide, but 
he provided no analysis. The History of Wyoming. Volume I 
(Laramie 1899), 82. 

" Rollins, op.cit., 288. 

-° E.g., Rollins, op.cit., cxxx (n.228); Morgan, op.cit., .xxxviii; 
Berts, op.cit., 56. 

-' It may be noted, however, that Robinson, Hoback, and Reznor 
— having left Hunt the previous autumn — apparently wandered 
through South Pass in 1812, before Stuart. They might have gone 
through Union Pass on their travels, though this would just be a 
matter of speculation. Washington Irving, Astoria (Edgeley W. 
Todd, ed.), Norman 1964, 371-72, nn. 28-29. They may also have 
explored the South Pass area In 1810. Donald McKay Frost, Gen- 
eral Ashley. The Overland Trail, and South Pass (Barre 1960), 
11. 



Autu 



1999 



as their captain, camped near a Crow village along the 
Wind River. According to the reminiscences of one of 
the trappers, James Clyman, written many years later, 
the location was in a narrow valley immediately north 
of Fremont Peak. Having learned from the Indians of 
the beaver resources of Jackson Hole, Smith's party 
set out in February 1 824 to "cross the mountains north 
of the wind River [rajnge but found the snow too deep 
and had to return and take a Southern course" to the 
Sweetwater. Union Pass has been identified as the route 
the party sought to follow, and there is no reason to 
think otherwise. -- 

Ashley returned to St. Louis in 1825, from the Big 
Horn River, with a load of furs. It has been suggested 
that the part> that had accompanied him from the Green 
River rendezvous returned to Jackson Hole by way of 
Togwotee or Union Pass; but the evidence is weak. 
The source is C.G. Coutant's report that Thomas 
Fitzpatrick and James Bridger "went up the Snake River 
and trapped in all the tributary streams. . . Bridger, with 
a small party, follow ed the Snake river to its very source 
and wandered around for some time in what is now 
known as the Yellowstone National Park." Some writ- 
ers have taken the "Snake" to refer to the Shoshone 
River — but, even so, the continuation of their travels 
would take them into Yellowstone well north of our 
area. But Coutant elsewhere made it clear that the Snake 
River to which he referred was Washington Irving's 
"Mad River," which is today's Snake River (where 
joined by the Hoback River). Fitzpatrick and Bridger 
most likely returned from the Big Horn to South Pass 
and then headed north to Jackson Hole and 
Yellowstone.-' 

Although Ashley dropped out of the fiir trade in 1 826, 
several of his men continued the enterprise as the part- 
nership of Smith, Jackson & Sublette. After the 1829 
rendezvous on the Popo Agie River, William Sublette 
is reported to have "led his company up the valley of 
the Wind River, across the mountains, and on to the 
very head-waters of the Lewis or Snake River. "-^ 
Togwotee Pass would best fit this description. 



The extensive trapping activity in both Jackson Hole 
and the Wind River valley probably resulted in oc- 
casional mountain crossings. One of the few instances 
that is documented is William Sublette's eastward jour- 
ney from the 1832 Pierre's Hole rendezvous to St. 
Louis. Rather than venturing up the Hoback River and 
crossing South Pass, Washington Irving reports they 
chose "a different route through the mountains, out of 



35 

the way, as they hoped, of the lurking bands of 
Blackfeet."-' This has generally been understood to refer 
to Union Pass, which is the most direct way, but it 
could refer to Sheridan Pass. In either case, the party 
would have ascended the Gros Ventre River; it would 
then depend whether they continued northeast up the 
North Fork of Fish Creek (to Sheridan Pass) or turned 
southeast and headed up the South Fork of Fish Creek 
to Union Pass. One clue — concededly, not very con- 
vincing — may be the map that accompanied Irving's 
text, with cartography by Benjamin Bonneville (Irving's 
source). It shows the Gros Ventre River rising all the 
way to the mountains in a northeasterly direction.-* 

The map is even more suggestive in indicating 
Bonneville's own course when he left the Green River, 
on September 18, 1833, to rejoin the main party of 
trappers on the Wind River, just about the place where 
it issues from the mountains. "At the head of the val- 
ley, they were to pass through a detlle which would 
bring them out beyond the northern end of these moun- 
tains." Given the evidence of the map, the route could 
have been through Sheridan Pass, though Union Pass 
seems the better choice since it is far more direct and it 
lies just beyond the northern end of the main peaks of 
the Wind River Mountains.-' 

The diarist Osborne Russell left by far the most de- 
tailed report of a Continental Divide crossing in our 
area. He reported starting up the "Grosvent fork" [Gros 
Ventre River] with Joseph Gale's party of trappers, 
camping about two miles upstream on July 7, 1835. 
On July 8, they continued east through narrow defiles 
for 1 5 miles. After another 10 miles upstream, east, on 
July 9, they turned up a left hand fork. The description 
places them here at the confluence of the North and 
South Forks of Fish Creek. They continued northeast 
another eight miles and camped "among the high rough 

-- Charles L. Camp., ed., James Clyman. Frontiersman. Port- 
land 1 960, 20-2 1 ; Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith and the Open- 
ing of the Weir (Lincoln 1953), 89. 

-' Savior, op.cit., 60; Merrill J. Mattes, "Jactcson Hole, Cross- 
roads of the Western Fur Trade, 1807-1829." Pacific Northwest 
Quarterly, vol. 37. no. 2, April 1946, 103-104; Coutant, opcit. 
84, 126; Irving, op.cit., 262. 

-'' Frances Fuller Victor. The River of the IVest (Hanford 1 870). 
58. 

■■' Washington Irving. The .Adventures of Captain Bonneville. 
U.S.A. (Edgeley W. Todd. ed.. Norman 1961). 66. 

-" John E. Sunder. Bill Sublette: Mountain Man (Norman. 1 959). 
1 12; Merrill J. Mattes. "Jackson Hole. Crossroads of the Western 
Fur Trade 1830-1840," Pacific Northwest Quarterly vol. 39 no.l 
(Jan. 1948) 12. Bonneville's "A Map of the Sources of the Colo- 
rado and Big Salt Lake" appears opposite p. 1 54 of Irving, op.cit. 

-^Todd, in Irving, op.c/7.. 185. 200 (Union Pass); Coutant. op. c/r. 
1 78 (Sheridan Pass). The destination was near the mouth of Dunoir 
Creek, which could be approached readily from either pass. 



36 



Annals of Wyoming: Trie Wyoming History 



mountains thickly covered with pine timber." The camp 
would have been at the mouth of Papoose Creek. On 
July 10, Russell writes that they "took a narrow defile 
which led us in an East direction about 12 mis. on to a 
Stream running S.E." The narrow defile is the climb to 
Sheridan Pass and the stream is the Wind River. After 
descending the Wind River about six miles, "the defile 
opened into a beautiful valley about 1 5 mis. in circum- 
ference" — the valley around the confluence with 
Dunoir Creek. The next day appears to have taken the 
party into the Dunoir \ alley, where "on the North and 
West were towering rocks several thousand feet high 
[Pinnacle Buttes] which seem to overhang this little 
vale." 

Russell and a companion spent July 1 2 climbing Lava 
Mountain — a high summit where no other peaks ap- 
peared so high as the one they were on — discovering 
a vast pile of huge mountains crowned with snow (no- 
tabh. the Breccia Cliffs) in the northwest. On July 13 
the\ encountered some Shoshone Indians who described 
Yellowstone Lake as being off to the distant northwest 
and ad\ ised that the only way for the party to continue, 
\\ ith their mules and horses, was in a northeast direc- 
tion. And so, on July 14, the party set out to climb over 
Siioshone Pass and proceed down the Shoshone River.-** 

Russell recorded another traverse of the Divide, on 
July 22, 1838. With about 30 trappers (including Jim 
Bridger), he left the rendezvous on the Popo Agie River 
and followed the Wind River upstream. Leaving the 
valley, he headed west and "travelled over a high ridge 
covered with pines in a west direction about 15 Mis 
and fell on the Gros vent fork." Union Pass would pro- 
vide the most direct route to the party's Jackson Hole 
destination; the recorded mileages and distances also 
imply that the party went that way. It is worth noting, 
however, that Russell made no mention of having pre- 
viously crossed the Divide at this place, a consider- 
ation that adds a bit to the view that his 1835 passage 
was elsewhere, i.e., via Sheridan Pass.-'' 



The decline of the fur trade left the mountains and 
valleys to the local tribes. Exploring a route for a 
transcontinental railroad was a great issue of the day, 
but the rugged Wind River country north of South Pass 
was obviously not a prime candidate. Wagon roads 
could be located in more mountainous settings. So it 
was suggested, for example, that "a very excellent mail 
route — probably the best in that region of the coun- 
try, permitting a short connecting line with Oregon and 
Washington, through Salmon River valley, avoiding 
the Snow mountains — can be obtained north of the 



Wind River ranges to the great valley of the Snake, by 
a pass which is travelled in the winter by the Indians 
and mountaineers."^" 

-' Osborne Russell, Journal of a Trapper (Portland 1955), 20- 
25. Surprisingly, no detailed analysis of the Russell route has 
been found. See DeLorme Mapping, Maps 48, 49. Russell's party 
had been instructed to go due north from Fish Creek, but the leader 
"said the directions must be wrong as he could discover no pas- 
sage through the mountains to the North," Russell, 20; this was 
the difficulty encountered later on by Bridger and Raynolds. 
Bridger, incidentally, was not a member of the Gale group as is 
evident both from his presence on the Green River in August and 
Russell's reference on Sept. 9 to "Mr Bridgers party." Op.cit. 30; 
J. Cecil Alter, Jim Bridger (Lincoln: Bison Book ed. 1962), 152. 

-" Russell, op.cit.. 91 . Among those accompanying Russell may 
have been Robert Newell, whose journal noted that he had gone 
"up Wind River in to Jacksons Hole." Dorothy O. .lohansen (ed.), 
Robert !\eweU's Memoranda (Portland, 1959), 37. A few other 
records, though vague or unreliable, may be noted: Victor, op.cit. 
89 ("Jackson also arrived [at the 1830 Popo Agie rendezvous] 
from the Snake country with plenty of beaver" — but possibly 
via South Pass); Johansen. opcit 31 ("Freab & Garvie went to 
the Snake Country" after the 1830 rendezvous — which Don 
Berry's map in A Majority oj Scoundrels [New York 1961] shows 
as using Sheridan Pass); Stephen Hall Meek, The Autobiography 
of a Mountain Man 1805-1889 (Pasadena 1948), 5 ("went up [the 
Missouri] to Three Forks, and up the lefthand fork to the head of 
Big Gray Bull river, a tributary of the Yellowstone; then to Green 
Ri\er..."); Johansen, op.cit. 37. after noting the presence of 
Bridger, has Newell travel to the 1838 rendezvous by moving 
from "the head of green river ... on to the head of wind river"; 
Victor, op.cit.. 233 (Bridger's brigade "up the Grovant Fork, re- 
crossing the mountains to W'ind River" — presumably, via Union 
Pass, the same trip that was recorded in Nevvell's Journal); Howard 
Louis Conard, Uncle Dick Wootton (Lincoln 1980, Bison Book 
ed.) 53 ("we struck the Green River [in I838]and followed it up 
into Wyoming. After trapping all the smaller streams in that Ter- 
ritory, we followed the Big Horn River into Montana"); James B. 
Marsh. Four Years in the Rockies (New Castle, Pa. 1884), 182 
("The third day after reaching Jackson's Lake [Isaac P.] Rose and 
his companions reached a spur of the Wind River Mountain, which 
they found it necessary to ascend. The buffalo trail which they 
followed was so narrow they had to walk Indian file..."); Will- 
iam T. Hamilton, .VA' San- }'ears on the Plains (New York 1905), 
83-84 ("We remained two days at Bull Lake.... We next crossed 
the mountains to the west fork of Green River" — in 1845, no 
doubt via Union Pass); Hamilton, "Trapping E.xpedition, 1848- 
9", Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana. Vol. 7 
(Helena 1910) 249 (from Dinvviddy Lake "over the Wind River 
mountains to the head waters of the Green river," logically via 
Union Pass). A.G. Clayton identified Togwotee, Sheridan, and 
Union as "the three main passes in the upper Wind River Range 
used by early travelers and still in use;" he mentions the 1925 
discovery near Sheridan Pass of a Colt revolver, made between 
1838 and 1842, that may have been left there by an anonymous 
traveler not long after its manufacture. "A Brief History of the 
Washakie National Forest and the Duties and Some Experiences 
of a Kanzffx," Annals of Wyoming A (1926), 279-280. For an over- 
view, see Keith Alger, "The Wind-Big Horn River and the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Trade," Annals of Wyoming 55:1 (1 983) 5 1 . 

'" Reports upon the Pacific Wagon Roads. 35"' Cong., 2d Sess. 
S.Ex.Doc. 36, Feb. 23, 1859, p. 65. 



w^^m^mwiKrirmiwm 



Autumn 19Q9 




Harden expedition enterins^ the Yelhnvstone area in IS^ ! . Slale Parks and Cultured Resourees Department. Div of 
Cultural Resourees. 



Captain W. F. Ra\ nolds was instructed, in this en- 
\ ironment, to organize an expedition for the ex- 
ploration of the Yellowstone River, with particular at- 
tention to be given, among other things, to "ascertain- 
ing the practicability of a route from the sources of 
Wind river to those of the Missouri." considering the 
relation of topographic features "to the construction of 
rail or common roads."'' After spending the winter of 
1859-1860 on the plains. Raynolds set out for the Big 
Horn country and a rendezv ous with other members of 
his party at the mouth of the Popo Agie. Raynolds' 
division began the ascent of the Wind River on May 
24. They crossed the outlet of Bull Lake on May 26 
and the forks of Wind River (continence with the East 
Fork of Wind River) on May 28. Camp on May 30 was 
two miles above the Upper Forks (at Dunoir Creek), at 
an elevation recorded as 7400 feet above sea level. '- 

It was Raynolds" perception that one could continue 
up the Wind River to its head and cross over to the 
sources of the Yellowstone, but his guide Jim Bridger 
advised that "it would be necessary to pass over to the 
head-waters of the Columbia, and back again to the 
Yellowstone" — presumably by way of Two Ocean 
Pass. To remain on the Atlantic slope seemed impos- 
sible, as "directly across our route lies a basaltic ridge, 
rising not less than 5,000 feet above us, its walls ap- 
parently vertical with no visible pass. [As Bridger re- 
marked] 'A bird can't tly over that without taking a 
supply of grub along." ""'-' 



Having decided to go over to the basin of the Snake, 
the party turned west and crossed the Continental Di- 
vide, at Union Pass, on May 31. The explorers pro- 
ceeded down the South Fork of Fish Creek and then, 
as indicated on the published map as well as the text 
for .lune 4 and 5, they cut over some ridges to the North 
Fork of Fish Creek. The next day Bridger and Raynolds 
explored a westerly fork which apparently headed in a 
low pass that looked promising and were disappointed 
to find a south-tlowing stream on the far side. They 

" Bvt. Brig. Gen. W.F. Raynolds, Report ou the Exploration of 
the Yellowstone River , 40"' Cong., 2"'' Sess. [erroneousl> headed 
-1" Session"], S.E.\.Doc. 77, Jufv 17, 1868. p.4. 

'■ Ibid. 83-87. "Exploration in Northwest Wyoming," (['///(/ 
River Mountaineer ':2 {.April-June l')9l ). 30 describes the routes 
of both Raynolds and Capt. Jones (discussed below), but lacks 
details on the Pacific side of the Divide. 

" Ibid., 86. The Breccia Cliffs and Pinnacle Buttes do present 
a forbidding appearance. The elevation difference is about 4000 
feet. Sa_\ lor, op eit. 98. offers the dubious suggestion that Bridger 
had forgotten about the existence of Two Ocean Pass. However, 
as Frank Calkins observes. Jackson Hale (New >'ork: .Alfred .A. 
Knopf, 1'573). 80. it is hard to believe that a man of Bridger's 
abilities would forget such critical information despite his ab- 
sence from the area for two decades. Calkins primarily attributes 
Bridger's failure to lead the e.\pedition from Jackson Hole across 
Two Ocean Pass to a concern about high waters on the upper 
reaches of the Yellowstone River; but the strain between Raynolds 
and Bridger (reflected in critical remarks about the guide's er- 
rors) may have played a part as well. Raynolds' difficult person- 
ality is well sketched in Mike Foster. Strange Genius The Life of 
Ferdinand Vandeveer Harden (Niwot: Roberts Rinehart l')94). 
83-87. 



3S 



Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming Histon' Journal 



j^i^^^^m^^^m^^ 




Map of ihe sources of Snake River, from the 1872 Hoyden 
survey report. Jackson Lake, as shown here (before the dam 
raised the water level), might not have been observed by 
Colter as he followed "Fall River. " Heart Lake had per- 
haps one-third of the surface area of Jackson Lake— large 
enough to merit its listing on Clark 's manuscript map as 
-Lake Biddle. " 

returned to the valley and ascended the main stream 
further to the eastward. In another mile, they came to a 
point where for three-quarters of a mile above, the val- 
ley was comparatively wide. The place lacked "the 
slightest appearance of ever having been crossed by 
man or beast," but Bridger at once seemed to recog- 
nize the locality, saying "This is the pass." 

According to Raynolds, who returned to the pass the 
next day with Ferdinand Hayden and a few others, they 
"scaled the last ascent and stood again upon the divid- 
ing crest of the Rocky mountains." At first blush, the 
pass on the Continental Divide, several miles north of 
Union Pass, would seem likely to be Sheridan Pass. 
But this cannot be. For one thing, the actual distance 
between the valley and the crest would be much more 
than the reported 1% miles. Moreover, Raynolds' pub- 
lished map depicts the party's route as headed due north 
to the "pass," with the tributary (Squaw Creek) up to 
Sheridan Pass clearly shown as a side stream. In actu- 
ality, Raynolds was not on the Continental Divide at 
all, but rather at the crest of a ridge overlooking Squaw 



Basin from the head of Hereford Creek. 
Hayden had it right: he recorded that "we 
passed up a ravine to-day which runs north 
and south, and is close to the divide which 
overlooks Stuike river^* Raynolds could 
see no prospect of continuing northward 
into Yellowstone and reluctantly took his 
party down Fish Creek and the Gros Ven- 
tre River to Jackson Hole.^' 

" F.V. Hayden. Geological Report of the Explo- 
ration of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers ... 
1859-60 (Washington: Government Printing Office 
1869), 87. 

'^ The analysis in the text is based upon (1) 
Raynolds, op.cit. 87-93, (2) William F. Raynolds 
Papers, Beinecke Library, Yale University, Box 1 , 
Folders 2 and 3, (3) National Archives, Record 
Group 77, Entry 161 [Box 82, 11-2-13, Meteoro- 
logical Observations, 1860, Deer Creek to Fort 
Pierre); Box 37, 3-1-14, Barometrical Observations; 
Box 37, 3-1-14, Observations with Astronomical 
Transit; Box 77, 11-1, Table of Altitudes from Baro- 
metrical Observations], and (4) U.S. Geological 
Survey 7.5-minute topographic maps (Fish Creek 
Park, Mosquito Lake, Sheridan Pass, Burnt Moun- 
tain, Tripod Peak, Lava Mountain). On May 3 1 , the 
expedition went over the top of the first ridge (8675 feet) at 2.75 
miles, down to a valley at 4.0 miles (surely Warm Spring Creek, 
at 8508 feet), to the main dividing ridge and pass at 8.96 (9988 
feet). Raynolds was in the vicinity of Union Pass, as he records 
Union Peak — "a bold conical peak" some 10 miles to the left. 
Union Pass is at an elevation of only about 9200 feet, surpris- 
ingly lower than the barometric observation. Yet the map accom- 
panying the Raynolds report leaves little doubt that this was the 
place of passage. [The report, it may be noted, names both Llnion 
Pass and Union Peak. Report, 88. The 1866 diary of A.B. ("Bart") 
Henderson documents the "distinct trail" that crosses Union Pass 
on the way to the Snake and Green Rivers. Journal of the 
Yellowstone Expedition of 1866 under Capt. Jeff Standifer, 
Beinecke Library, Yale University, entry for Oct. 3, 1866.] On 
June 1, a mile from their campsite in Fish Creek Park (reported 
elevation 9263.5, actual about 8680), the party soon crossed a 
rivulet (Strawberry Creek) and continued another six miles down 
the South Fork of Fish Creek to a camp roughly opposite Little 
Devils Basin Creek (8770.1/8060). On June 2, they went only 3.6 
miles, crossing the South Fork and camping at the mouth of Buck 
Creek (8291.7/7900). Resuming travel on Monday, June 4, they 
had difficult going over a ridge to the head of Hackamore Creek 
before camping (after 7.87 miles) in Purdy Basin (8232.4/8040). 
The route on June 5, at 2.5 miles, crossed the ridge (8535.3/8380) 
north of Harness Gulch, and descended to the northwest branch 
of Gros Ventre Fork (North Fork of Fish Creek) in another 1 .2 
miles. This was near the confluence with Packsaddle Creek 
(8058.3/7860). The party ascended the North Fork and lower 
Beauty Park Creek before backtracking and camping at the 
confluence of those two streams (8463.4/822/). This conforms 
precisely to the recorded astronomical measurement of 43° 40' 
N. The exploration of June 6 ascended to Beauty Park, from which 
Bridger first led the way northwest to the ridge north of Tripod 
Creek that overlooks Spruce Creek and the basin of Cottonwood 



Autumn 1Q99 



39 



Dr. Hayden was destined to return to northwest Wyo- 
ming, as liead of the United States Geological and Geo- 
graphical Survey of the Territories. But as wide-rang- 
ing as the Survey's explorations were, the region of 
present interest was not carefully examined. As noted 
in one of its annual reports, "our knowledge of the geo- 
logical structure of the eastern portion of the Gros Ven- 
tre Range is derived from the observations of Dr. 
Hayden, in 1860."-"^ 

This deficiency was addressed to an extent in 1873 
when Capt. William A. Jones of the Corps of Engi- 
neers was directed to "make a reconnaissance of the 
country within the territory about the headwaters of 
the Snake. Green, Big Horn, Grey Bull, Clark's Fork, 
and Yellowstone Rivers." His extensive travels led to 
the documentation of a route from Two Ocean Pass 
(south of Yellowstone Park) to the Wind River valley 
by way of Togwotee Pass. But farther south, he re- 
ported, "there is a pass across to the head of Green 
River, near Union Peak, and another across to the Gros 
Ventres Fork of Snake River." The latter, of course, 
goes over Sheridan Pass. He describes an "important 
Indian trail" traversing the region there. The detail he 
pro\ ides indicates considerable familiarity even though 
the source of his infonnation is obscure. The route goes 
"up Wind River Valley nearh to its head and across 
the divide to the Gros Ventre Fork of Snake River. 



Creek. After returning to Beauty Park, he then headed up Here- 
ford Creek to its head. From this vantage point he could recog- 
nize the valley of Blackrock Creek that, he knew, would take him 
down to Jackson Hole and Pacific Creek. The partv on .lune 8 
proceeded down Fish Creek, passing Deer Creek after 10 miles 
(7661.2/7630) and camping near the confluence with Trail Creek, 
which was recognized as an Indian trail from Green River (7605.9/ 
7540). A route very similar to Raynolds' between Fish Creek Park 
and the pass at the head of Hereford Creek is described in James 
R. Wolf, Guide to the Continental Divide Trail. Vol i; Wyoming 
(Washington 1980), 65-78. (This route also shows up on the 1878 
Hayden map, as described in note 36.) 

'" F. V. Hayden, Eleventh Annual Report of the United States 
Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories Embrac- 
ing Idaho and Wyoming. Being a Report of Progress of the Ex- 
ploration for the Year ]8^~, Washington 1879, 453-460, 473, 477 
("at no point did opportunity offer to penetrate this interesting 
region"). Other mentions occur in Eifth Annual Report of Progress 
(Washington 1872), p. 134 (in which Hayden's understanding — 
reflecting his experience with Raynolds — that the nearly verti- 
cal wall from 1.500 to 2,000 feet high at the head of the Wind 
River has never been scaled by white man or Indian) and Twelfth 
Annual Report ... for the Year /57<S (Washington 1883), 235-236 
(noting that "it were doubtless possible to acquire [more com- 
plete data] by more extended e.xaminations in this divide region 
than it was possible to make during the past season," yet report- 
ing briefly on Togwotee Pass, the Wind River valley, and the 
lower portions of the trail to Union Pass). The latter report in- 
cludes a "Drainage Map Showing Portions of Wyoming, Idaho 
and Utah," at 269, w ith Togwotee Pass and Union Pass each prop- 
erl\ labeled; of special interest is the depiction of trails not oni_\ 
through those passes but over Sheridan Pass (not identified b\ 
name) as well. Since Hayden's accounts (including the separately 



"Drainage Map 
Showing Portions 
of Wyoming. 
Idaho and Utah. " 
with Togwotee 
Pass and Union 
Pass each prop- 
erly labeled. Of 
special interest is 
the depiction of 
trails, not only 
through those 
passes, but over 
Sheridan Pass 
(not identified by 
name) as well. 
From F. V. 
Hayden. Twelfth 
Annual Report ... 
for the Year 1878 
( Washington 
1883), p. 269. The 
arrows (added by 
the author) point 
to the Sheridan 
Trail. 




40 



Annals or Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 



Here it forks, sending one branch down the stream as 
far as Jackson's Hole [and the other] leaves the Gros 
Ventres near its head, and, bending to the south, crosses 
a low pass [o\er Pinon Ridge] to the headwaters of 
Green River."" 

General Sheridan was not the first white American 
to set foot at Sheridan Pass. John Colter may de- 
ser\ e that honor. The trappers of the following decades 
sought out beaver throughout the mountains, so we 
would expect them to have visited Sheridan Pass on 
occasion. One of their number, Osborne Russell, cer- 
tainly did. And Capt. Jones clearly knew of the pass 
even if he had not visited it. 

The fact remains, however, that Sheridan was the first 
to draw attention to the excellence of this mountain 
passage. And he did so in a quite spectacular fashion, 
leading Chester A. Arthur, the President of the United 
States, over the Continental Divide in an epic trip from 
Lander to Yellowstone National Park in 1883. Their 
path betw een the Wind River and the Gros Ventre River 
remains the Sheridan Trail and is so marked on topo- 
graphic maps of the area. As the President observed as 
he viewed the Tetons from the Continental Divide, 
"Never in my life have I seen anything so sublime" — 
words that beckon the visitor even today.''* 

published preliiiiinarv reports of Held work in 1877 and 1878) do 
not mention the middle route, its presence on the map suggests 
either that the route was in fact well known or that information 
was pro\ ided h> Sheridan prior to the map's publication. Some 
contemporaneous e\ idence suggests the latter. William A. Baillie- 
Grohman. describing his 1880 sporting venture to Union Pass 
and other places in the Wind Rivers observes that the area under 
review here has two passes — Togwotee and Two Ocean, which 
are labeled on his 1882 "Map of a Portion of the Rocky Moun- 
tains Based on the latest U.S. Government Survey." Camps In the 
Rockies (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, New Edition, 1 884). 
398. There is no indication of Sheridan Pass or an> trail between 
the two passes identified by the author. Maj. Julius W. Mason led 
an 1881 expedition that explored a potential wagon road from the 
Wind River valle> to Yellowstone National Park, in the course of 
which his party claimed to have examined all the branches of the 
Wind River "to their very sources" before crossing the Continen- 
tal Divide at Togwotee Pass, but there is no indication that a trail 
to Sheridan Pass was noticed. John W. Hoyt, Governor of Wyo- 
ming, in Report of the Secretary of the Interior, 47"" Cong. P' 
Sess., House Exec. Doc. 1, pt. 5, 1074-1077. The more likely 
explanation for the depiction of a trail over Sheridan Pass, how- 
ever, is Capt. Jones account, published in 1875, as described in 
the text. 



" William A. Jones, Report Upon the Reconnaissance of North- 
western Wyoming Including )'ello\vstone National Park Made in 
the Summer of 1873 (Washington 1875). The orders to Jones are 
at p. 5. The discovery of Togwotee Pass is recorded at 40-43. with 
the route marked on map sheets 43-45. The references to Sheridan 
Pass are at 47 and 54-55. The te.xt also describes Union Pass ("from 
the Wind River Valley across the Wind River Mountains, above 
Union Peak, to the headwaters of Green River") and Togwotee 
Pass — the latter identified by the name assigned by Jones — as 
having "important Indian trails." Togwotee Pass has generally 
been understood to be named after "the one Indian in the party 
who knows the country," (p.40), but Jones says only that he se- 
lected an "easy Indian name" without further explanation. There 
may be contemporary references to Togwotee as an individual, 
but another possibility is that the name is properly "Tukwatika," 
referring to a band of Shoshone Indians. George A. Eldridge, "A 
Geological Reconnaissance in Northwest Wyoming," Bulletin of 
the United States Geological Survey No. 7/9 (Washington 1894), 

'" Jack Ellis Haynes, "The Expedition of President Chester A. 
Arthur to Yellowstone National Park in 1883," Annals of Wyo- 
ming 14 (1942), 31; Thomas C. Reeves, "President Arthur in 
Yellowstone National Park," Montana the Magazine of Western 
Histoiy (19:3) Summer 1969, 18; William O. Owen, "The First 
Ascent of the Grand Teton With a Little of Its History," Annals of 
Wyoming 10 (1938) 87 (with the author concurring that no view 
of the Tetons "is more startling and awe inspiring than the view 
one gets from a point where the Sheridan Trail crosses the Conti- 
nental Divide"). A bit of doggerel. The Rajah, or the Great Sport- 
ing Excursion of IS83. by the pseudonymous Unc Dunkam, ex- 
amined at the New York Public Librarv. provides no helpful geo- 
graphical detail. 



The author is the founder and director of the 
Continental Divide Trail Society, which since 
1978. has worked actively for the wise de- 
velopment cmd management of the Continen- 
tal Divide National Scenic Trail. Besides 
writing hiking guidebooks for the Trail, he 
has been studying the exploration histoiy of 
the Continental Divide. Two of his essays on 
Benjamin Bonneville and John C. Fremont 
have appeared in Annals. Prior to his retire- 
ment, he was a senior attorney with the U. S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He lives in 
Baltimore. Marvland. 



Letter to tke Eclitc 



Climbing the Grand: Another View 



Congratulations on the tremendous opinion piece by Dr. 
Righter! It nails the historic perser\ation issue and call to 
action doun in no uncertain terms. Mark Har\ey's article 
on the First Ascent of the Grand Teton is equalK noteuor- 
thy and quite insightful. Houe\er. some clarification may 
aid a deeper understanding of this complex issue. 

Despite earlier statements, both Spalding and Jackson are 
on record supporting Stevenson and Langford's success. 
The unpublished diar\ of Sidford llamp corroborates the 
summit claim since, with Ste\enson and Langford out of 
sight abo\c him at a point near the L'pper Saddle, no sig- 
nificant obstacle could ha\e kept them from the summit. 
The Belly Roll and Crawl are no obstacles. "Stevenson's 
Peril" is the base of the Double Chimney and the Owen 
Chimney and Sargent Chimne\' are accounted for as the 
70-degree slope above which the angle lessened to "more 
tedious than difficult." The "ice sheet" need not be any- 
thing so large as to have been visible in William Henry 
Jackson's 31 July 1872 photograph from Table Mountain. 
This is not Bueler's Snow Bridge! Snow and ice as found 
in both chimnev s on man\ days are easily exaggerated into 
a "shelv ing expanse of ice" w ith fragile fastenings. There 
is simplv no place en route to the West Spur for a 70-de- 
gree body of snow or ice which one need cross. Likewise, 
uphill from the Needle there is no place so exposed as 
"Stevenson's Peril" until one passes the Crawl. Remember 
that no one has ever accused Langford of not exaggerating! 
The twelve-inch icicles in his original version is a fine ex- 
ample. If he and Stevenson had only gone over to the West 
Spur. Hamp and Spencer would have seen them from any 
point uphill from the Needle. .Also, five hours descent from 
the West Spur to the Lower Saddle is too long to be realis- 
tic. But from the top and including a good break at the 
Enclosure, five hours from 3 p.m. to sunset (pre-davight 
sav ings) makes much more sense, e\ en with a snow-spooked 
Hamp. 

It is a simplification to discount the aneroid reading as 
"very unreliable." The reason you can't trust an altimeter 
in your hand is air pressure changes during your climb. If 
you back up your summit reading with a fixed known-el- 
evation control and adjust for the day's barometric fluctua- 
tion your reading WILL match the top. plus or minus a few 
feet. Stevenson's aneroid reading is compelling evidence 
that thev did. indeed, [reach the] summit for their reading 
of 1 3.4(10 was onlv corrected to 1 3.762 after the record from 
Fort Hall was taken into account. Suppose they were fak- 
ing the reading. Could vou stand on the west Spur 1,000 
linear and 500 vertical feet from the top on a clear, cloud- 
less day (in all versions) and: 

*Ciuess the elevation of the top within 8 feet 

*Rnovv that the angle of terrain drops off after 175 feet, 
above Sargent's Chimney 

*Ivnow that the top was "bald" and "worn smooth" as in 



bare of snow whereas from the Spur it appears quite broad. 
(One has to compensate for Victorian hvperbole here, even 
William Owen called the rock above the Upper Saddle to 
be "smooth, glassy granite," again, more exaggeration than 
error). 

^Distinguish two lakes to the east, nol just Jackson Lake 
which can be seen from the West Spur, but Jennv Lake as 
well (Leigh is mostly hidden). 

(.)n vagueness. L wasn't writing a guidebook. Even if he 
were, a great deal of following one's nose is necessary even 
with the Ortenburger Jackson guide in your hand. Really, 
once you're past the shoulder stand in the Double Chim- 
ney, just work your way up. When full of ice late one Sep- 
tember, before I knew about the Catwalk, the Owen Chim- 
nev truly was the only memorable pitch between the Upper 
Saddle and the top. Of course. I've never allowed mvsell'to 
look down into Valhalla Canyon. On drier days. I've found 
three other easy lines, besides Sargent, just bv trusting in- 
stinct (and avoiding waiting behind other climbers). 

Even though I know of no one who has passed the high- 
angle ground as a "human ladder" as did DeLap. Blackburn 
and DePirro in 1423. I don't doubt that they did it that way. 
We need to avoid interpreting from our perspective of lan- 
guage use and climbing technique and be open to reason- 
able possibilities. No one denies Spalding and DeLap were 
able to look around the corner at first try and solve the 
problem. Stevenson was as capable as they of surmounting 
terrain Spalding described as not difficult. 

To claim the summit was hidden bv clouds is mostlv an 
attempt to suggest that Stev enson and Langford were hon- 
estly mistaken. No. they made it or they lied. In Langford's 
letter to USGS chief topographer Henr>' Cjannett in 1897 as 
well as m the original journal, the day is described as cloud- 
less. It's a prettv bold move to suggest that Havden's deputy 
and Yellowstone's first superintendent. governor appointee 
of Montana were made of such mean material. 

Examine the handwritten original versions of Langford's 
Scribner's account in the archiv es at Mammoth Hot Springs 
to find ev idence Ortenburger thought conclusiv e. the w ords 
on p. 35 in the earliest draft; "[Size of summil in feet] Ar- 
cheological curiosities, on top." "On" is crossed out and 
"near" is substituted. Seems prettv damning-except that 
the top is described on another page. In fact, "on top" is 
used numerous times in reference to points other than the 
summit such as at "the top" of the ice sheet! "Bottom" is 
used to describe the Lower Saddle as well as today's 
Dartmouth Basin. In fact, we don't know what was to fol- 
low the comma— an unreadable word has a line through it. 
Studying Langford's other works, one is familiar with his 
non-chronological sequencing of ev ents as found in his 1 870 
expedition diary describing the Devil's Slide well after 
reaching camp miles upstream of it. It was a rough draft- 
not a different version! At the end of a dav's writing. 



42 



Annals oi Wyoming: The Wyoming Histon' 



Langford made a note of what he wanted to cover the next 
day. Ifs done all the time in manuscripts. In the margin, he 
even wrote "see page 35 1/2 of ms." The Enclosure being 
"the great wonder of our day's work," it's no surprise it's 
given such emphasis o\ er the summit and talked about even 
as he describes the summit! But if they had only made the 
top of the West Spur, there is no adjoming buttress for the 
Enclosure to be on. "little lower" or not! All other differ- 
ences are omission of detail, such as an exaggerated crev- 
ice one could fall into and await rescue, or different order 
of events. Do we Judge him for his ridiculous mosquitoes, 
"American Ibex" and tlowers as did Owen? (In the first 
draft, the flowers are clearly located "near the saddle.") 
"Changed his story" is too strong of language. Certainly, 
Langford embellished— the frozen grasshoppers, mosquito 
attack and comparisons to the Matterhom were all added 
later. All mileage estimates were inflated, though no one 
disputes the ground covered up to the Enclosure. Yet re- 
member that Owen "knew" and claimed they hadn't suc- 
ceeded well before he saw the top! We may as well criti- 
cize Langford's outrageous misuse of commas from our 
comfortable sophistication. Come to Jackson and compare 
the different versions, word for word, with me! It is a moun- 
tain ad\ enture in which we fear not the unknown. 



In the words of Sierra Club's Francis Farquhar in 1928: 

Mountaineering by resolution may be considered to have 
some merit when the resolution is in vhe mind of the climber, 
but mountaineering by resolution of a state legislature, or 
even of a board of county commissioners, will hardly have 
much prestige among historians or among those who asso- 
ciate with mountaineering the qualities of sportsmanship. It 
is the evidence which he suppresses that will ultimately deny 
to Owen the fame he covets. It must be presumed that those 
who voted upon the unconvincing resolutions did not have 
before them the full record as collated and reviewed by 
Chittenden. Nor could they have read the Spalding corre- 
spondence. There can be little doubt that the ultimate ver- 
dict of history will be that the Grand Teton was first as- 
cended in 1872 and that the most distinguished names con- 
nected with its early climbing history are Franklin S. Spalding 
and Nathaniel P. Langford. 

May I add James Stevenson, who quietly said what he 
did and left the showmanship to others? 

Huinbly submitted by someone who has spent a little time 
in Langford's shoes. 

Jesse O'Connor 

Teton County Board of Historic Preservation 



Boole R 



e Views 



Edited W Carl HallL 



erg 



The Postmistress of Saddlestring, Wyoming. By Edgar 
M. Morsman, Jr. Deephaven, Minnesota: Morsman 
Publications, 1998. vli + 90 pages. Paper. SI -4.95. 

Saddlestring, Wyoining. Yes, there is such a post office 
which was established in August 1937, with the first 
postmaster, .Alfred A. Hook, taking charge in October 1937. 
Saddlestring, according to Mae Urbanek's Wyoming Place 
Names, is named "for saddle strings by which the cowboys 
tied their extra coat and mail behind the saddle." 

This is a peculiar book about sidelights and highlights at 
the HE Bar dude ranch in Saddlestring. Started by Skipper 
Horton, the HE Bar ranch later became a very successful 
dude ranch and attracted many visitors, from regular tourist 
"folk" to those from the entertainment world. The HE Bar 
ranch emerges in the book as a place to experience different 
things and a place to get away from it all, regardless of 
where "all" was. 

The first chapter, "The Early Years," attempts to set the 
context. It is well-written and informative about the 
geography of Wyoming. A person who has never visited 
the state can visualize Wyoming through this descriptive 
verbiage. 

The remaining book is a compilation of stories dating 
from as late as 1996 about local residents (including a 
chapter about the postmistress of Saddlestring), ranch 
workers and visitors. They are mainly anecdotal, some 



being more ftinny than others. Patches of dark humor and 
earthy or foul language dot the book in the author's attempt 
to capture the flavor of the dude ranch experience. Eirst 
names are generally used, but more notable individuals 
receive full name and photographic recognition. 

Morsman, a retired banker, gives credit to many people 
and sources but freely acknowledges that he has not 
authenticated his facts or infonnation. One story, which 
should have been checked, is about daredevils parachuting 
onto Devils Tower and being stranded there until Ginger 
Gurrell rescued them. Gurrell was Horton's nephew and 
apparently a man of many talents. The more familiar Devils 
Tower rescue features George Hopkins of Rapid City, 
South Dakota. In October 1941, Hopkins parachuted onto 
the tower, sprained his ankle and was stranded there for six 
days and five nights. Eventually he was rescued by a team 
of eight alpinists. The latter and not the fonner was a 
recognized media event. 

All in all, for the author, this book was a venture more in 
writing for fun than in writing history. The Postmistress of 
Saddlestring. Wyoming should be viewed as one man's 
personal experiences, collected memories and possibly oral 
histories, all brought together with great fondness and 
warmth by Mr. Morsman. 

Jean Brainerd 
Wyoming State Archives 



Autumn 1999 



43 



Take Two and Hit to Right: Golden Days on the Semi- 
Pro Diamond.. By Hobe Mays. Lincoln; University of 
Nebraska i^ress, 1999. .v + 239 pages. Illustrations, index. 
Paper. $14.01). 

What a joy! This autobiographical account about 
baseball in southwestern Nebraska from 1948 to 1953 
captures both the pleasure of the game and the transition of 
the sport at a \ery local level far from the big cities and the 
major leagues. It is a story of small-town American 
interwoven v\ith the maturation of a young college student 
who possessed athletic and artistic talent. Hobe Mays who 
was an art major and who played championship baseball at 
the Univ ersity of Nebraska agreed to play second base for 
the semi-pro McCook Cats for the summer season in 1948 
In a time before television and air-conditioning when 
people relaxed on porch swings in the early evening and 
hoped for a breeze, a sign "Basehall Tonight" posted on the 
main street meant entertainment and something to talk 
about the following day. The Cats had been at the bottom of 
the Nebraska Independent League (NIL) and the town 
Baseball Board decided to hire "the kind of team that 
couldn't lose very often" ip. 3S). Thus, Mays and his 
younger brother v\ent to play for McCook, a town of about 
8,000 citizens. 

Semi-pro players could earn S7 to S20 per game, and w ith 
a day job, they were able to make a living that ri\aled that 
of the minor leagues. Mays, for example, worked as a sports 
writer in McCook during the day and played at night The 
NIL thus attracted "baseball bums," aging players not good 
enough for the majors or minors who drifted from town to 
town, and the "college hot dogs" like Mays who played 
during summer vacations. For the Cats, the problem was 
that they won in 1948 and started a trend for all teams to 
forsake cheap, lesser-skilled, local players for expensive, 
better-skilled imports By 1955 salaries had inflated to $350 
per month and more for pitchers. Towns could no longer 
afford such extravagance, and moreover, television offered 
major league play in the comfort of home. The NIL, 
consequently, collapsed. 

After playing in the league for six years. Mays discovered 
that the professionalism of the sport detracted from the fun 
of the game and that he did not care to become a "baseball 
bum." Instead, he developed his art talent and became an art 
director and teacher at Nassau Community College in New 
York. He illustrated the autobiography with his won 
excellent sketches of players, most of whom never made 
national headlines. The writing is anecdotal, conversa- 
tional, and tilled with local baseball lore. The book is a 
reminder that baseball as a national pastime involved not 
only the major league players we often read about but also 
players now largely forgotten. Baseball was deeply 
embedded not jut in the large cities but also in the scattered 
small towns. Here is a book that peers into the heart and 
soul of America. It is a joy. 

David G. McComb 
Colorado State University 



Distant Horizons: Documents from the Nineteenth- 
Century American West. Edited by Gary Noy. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1999. 554 pages. Notes, 
index. Paper. $22.00. 

Gary Noy's collection of documents presents a fascin- 
ating and instructive portrait of the 19th century American 
West. The book nicely takes the reader into the lives of 
those who created the v\estem experience. It provides solid 
detail to tlesh out our usually more general understanding 
of western history. By allowing people to tell (and to 
romanticize) their own stories, it also demonstrates how 
much myth really does contribute to reality. 

As a collection of contemporary attitudes, the book 
necessarily presents a fairly traditional picture of the West. 
Noy reinforces this portrait by dividing the West along 
familiar lines. Following an opening chapter on the "Spirit 
and Myth of the West" (which Noy restricts to the myth of 
the cowboy), are chapters on explorers and fur traders, 
fanning, mining, railroads, Indians, lawmen and gunfight- 
ers. soldiers, and cowboys. Noy does nod to trends in recent 
Western history, adding chapters on women and people of 
color in the west. That these two chapters are among the 
weakest and most disjointed in the book indicates perhaps 
the wisdom of sticking to the traditional when docu- 
menting the views of I'^th-century Americans. None- 
theless, Noy's book as a whole prov ides valuable insights 
into those views as well as into the events they recount. 

The quality of individual chapters varies, hovsever. 
Some, like the chapters on fanning, lawmen and outlaws, 
and cowboys, give a real feel for the subject in rich detail. 
Too many chapters, however, lack focus, in that documents 
do not compliment each other well, and Noy's introduc- 
tions, while informative, do too little to tie them together. 
The reader is left with an imprecise and confused view 
about the subject in chapters, for example, on explorers and 
fur traders, women, Indians, and ethnic minorities. 

Noy has included some documents that are gems, tmly 
illuminating life in the American West: John C. Fremont's 
description of a buffalo hunt with Kit Carson, the letters of 
homesteader's wife Mary Chaffee Abell, and Billy the 
Kid's conespondence with Gov. Lew Wallace are but a few 
examples. The joy of reading such documents only 
increases the disappointment with too many selections that 
seem out of place and that contribute little to the purpose of 
the book. First, several documents - a resolution of the 
National American Women Suffrage Association. Martha 
White's descnption of the General Federation of Women's 
Clubs, and Thomas Higginson's portrayal of black troops in 
the Civil War, for example - have no unique bearing on the 
American West. They are. in addition, as vague and bland 
as the better documents are detailed and exciting. 

Noy has also included an unwarranted number of 20th 
century documents. A list of mining terms published by the 
Homestake Mining Company in 1976 or a description from 
the same year of gold recovery processes, almost all of 
which concerns 20th century techniques, adds little to the 



44 



Annals of Wyoming: Trie Wyoming History 



understanding of the 19th-century West. Likewise, the 
Progressive movement changed the political atmosphere of 
the West in the early 20th century enough to make two 
documents on Miiller v. Oregon irrelevant to the West of 
the pre-ceding century. In addition, Noy includes a 
surprising number of selections from secondary sources 
(including an article of his own) in his book of 
"documents." These lack the color and texture of the real 
documents and are more annoying than helpful. 

Unfortunately, the weaknesses of this book are not 
merely minor faults. Fortunately, its strengths do outweigh 
them, and Disicml Horizon can clearly enrich one's 
understanding of the 1 9th-century American West. 

George Hummasti 

Southwest Missouri State University 

A Guide to the Indian Wars of the West. By John D. 
McDermott. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. 
xxvi + 205 pages. Illustrations, tables, notes, bibliography. 
Paper. $16.95. 

It is rare to call a book both scholarly and useflil. Yet, 
John D. McDermott's Guide to the Indian Wars of the West 
meets both criteria. The book is both a traditional, solidly- 
researched introductory monograph on aspects of the 
Indians Wars and a guidebook to the major sites where 
Indians and whites met on the battlefield and elsewhere 
throughout the nineteenth century. 

McDermott's Guide can be read expeditiously, but it is a 
book with strong scholarly backing. The first chapters 
provide the national context for the nineteenth century 
Indian wars. In doing so, McDermott examines war causes, 
the cultures involved, and how each prepared for war. 
McDermott eschews deep analysis in favor of short, factual 
passages. For example, while noting that the Sioux- 
Arapahoe-Cheyenne alliance developed in the last half of 
the nineteenth century, he does not explain why. In the next 
passage McDermott points out that their enemies were the 
Crovs , Shoshone, Omaha, and Pawnee. Again, he does not 
mention why tribes fought one another or what the stakes 
really were in these intertribal confrontations. But these are 
mere quibbles in an otherwise valuable book. 

A Guide to the Indian Wars contains interesting 
information and statistics, some of which will undoubtedly 
surprise the non-specialist audience for which it seems 
primarily intended. The Indian fighting army's small size 
and archaic organization will surprise many readers. In a 
particularly good discussion, McDermott assesses each 
side's weaponry, noting that at the Battle of the Little Big 
Horn, two-thirds of the Native American combatants were 
armed with some sort of rifle. He attempts to look at both 
the U.S. military and its American Indian opponents in each 
chapter, but McDermott seems most comfortable when he 
is discussing the American military and in fact devotes 
substantially more overage to the Army than to Indian 



culture. He believes that the U.S. Army did not adapt fast 
or well to the harsh western environment. Whether he is 
discussing clothing or military tactics, McDermott is 
mildly critical of the American military establishment's 
consistent failure to understand its enemies. Often arrogant, 
with an inability or unwillingness to distinguish friends 
from foes, the American military consistently underesti- 
mated the Indians in battle, a mistake which would often 
prove fatal. 

A Guide to the Indian Wars of the West is really two books 
in one, with the second section intended more for the person 
or family planning a Western visit or vacation. McDermott 
provides a well-researched guide to the historic forts, 
museums, and Indian heritage sites in the region. Dividing 
the West into six sub-regions and then by state, the author 
lists the sites he believes are worth visiting, with travel 
directions, hours of operation, whether fees are charged, 
and a short discussion about the historical significance of 
the site in question. Importantly, he also evaluates the 
historical integrity of the site. For example, in his 
discussion of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, he notes that 21 
buildings and ruins remain, some have been reconstructed, 
and the site is significant because the visitors and 
inhabitants associated with the place represent "a 
recounting of the great names of Western history." (p. 188) 
McDermott seems to take an historian's special delight in 
sites which have been carefully preserved or are relatively 
unchanged. Many readers might be surprised by the large 
number of significant Indian War sites that are on state or 
private lands. He notes, for example, that the 1864 Sand 
Creek, Colorado Battlefield, located on private land, is 
undergoing archeological investigations to determine its 
exact location and to discover more information on the 
battle itself 

McDermott's Guide should find a receptive audience 
with readers embarking on or contemplating a historical 
tour of the West. Yet, the 100-page overview of the two 
societies who fought one another in more than 1,200 
distinctive engagements is also worth the consideration of 
both the specialist and non-specialist. 

Steven C. Schulte 
Mesa State College 

African Americans on the Western Frontier. Edited by 
Monroe Lee Billington and Roger D. Hardaway. Niwot: 
University Press of Colorado, 1998. 275 pages. 
Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Cloth. $24.95. 

The editors argue that "African Americans were a small 
but vital part of the frontier experience that historians have 
often attributed only to European Americans." They place 
their volume within the academic genre of the "New 
Western History" since it "supports the idea of studying the 
American West from a multicultural perspective." While 
the editors acknowledge the recent increase in scholarship 



Autur 



IQQQ 



45 



concerning African American westerners, they lament the 
fact that "textbook authors [U.S., American West, and 
African .Americans] have been slow to include mention of 
them in their works." Thus, Billington and Hardaway 
designed this anthology to be "a worthy supplemental 
textbook in college courses on western American history 
and on the black experience in the United States." 

Considering the current debate concerning the chrono- 
logy and geography of the West, it is important to establish 
parameters. The editors define the West as "those contig- 
uous states whose areas are totally or in part west of the one 
hundredth meridian (or line of longitude)." Moreo\er, they 
delineate the frontier era as beginning in 1850, "because 
much of the West was first organized under pro\ isions of 
the congressional Compromise of 1850," and ending in 
1912 because it was the year that "the last of the v\estem 
territories attained statehood." .Although the content of 
several articles either strays east of their geographic 
demarcation or extends beyond their timeframe, the 
majority of the entries fit within their guidelines. 

The editors contributed a general introduction, an 
approximately 500-word introduction to each individual 
entry and Billington wrote a piece about the Buffalo 
Soldiers, while Hardaway supplied a bibliographic essay. 
Thirteen other authors had excerpts from their books or 
journal articles reprinted for this anthology. The selections 
are uniform in length and each contains at least one 
exemplary photograph. Fne of the selections provide 
panoramas about slaves, Buffalo Soldiers, cowboys, 
women and black newspapers in the West during the 
frontier era. The remaining articles furnish specific 
examples of a distinctive black experience somewhere in 
the West. Some cover topics such as being a slave among 
the Mormons, a female prisoner in a penitentiary, a worker 
in a coal mine in western Washington or a soldier in the 
Army at Fort Douglas, Utah. The others analyze negotiating 
the "color line" in Kansas, fighting for civil rights in 
Colorado, living in an all-black town in Oklahoma or 
residing in the small minority community in Helena, 
Montana. 

While some may disagree with the choice of specific 
articles or topics, the entries are uniformly well written and 
they accomplish the editors" goals of highlighting the 
experiences of a "small but vital" group in western 
American history. The articles demonstrate that African 
Americans participated in a wide range of activities 
prev iously thought to be the exclusiv e purview of whites 
and that while prejudice and discrimination dominated the 
region during the era, their applications differed signifi- 
cantly according to time and place. Thus, this anthology 
will serve as a good supplementary text, especially if your 
survey follow the "old western history" model in which the 
history of the West ended with the closing of the frontier. 

Dennis Miihelich 
Creighton llniversity 



Thomas Varker Keam, Indian Trader. By Laura Graves. 
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998. xx + .UJ 
pages. Cloth. S2S.95. 

Non-Indians who became immersed in the affairs of 
Native Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries, particularly in some official capacitv, have fared 
poorly in recent historical accounts. Politicians, bureau- 
crats, Indian superintendents and agents, missionaries, 
teachers, entrepreneurs, and manv others hav e come under 
seemingly routine scrutiny for the perceived singular 
motives that drove their roughshod treatment over the 
American Indian. Without doubt, there has been much to 
criticize; yet, as Laura Graves reminds us in this fine 
biography, a precious gem can lie buried under a mountain 
of country rock, aw aiting discov ery. Thomas I 'arkcr Kcam. 
IiiJian Trader delivers a balanced treatment about a 
controversial figure who spent the majority of his adult life 
grappling (in large measure, successfully) with competing 
interests of operating a business on the frontier and 
safeguarding the Nav ajo and Hopi people for whom he felt 
both an intimate connection and genuine fondness and on 
whom his livelihood in no small way depended. 

Bom in the river port city of Truro in Cornwall, Lngland, 
Keam arrived in Indian Country by way of a rather circu- 
itous route. Following a hitch in the English merchant 
marine during his teenage years, a three-year tour of duty in 
the First California Cavalry during he Civil War (in which 
he fought .Apaches, not Confederates), and en eighteen- 
month enlistment m the New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry, a 
swelling tide of economic promise in the American South- 
west convinced Keam to make his permanent home there. 
In 1869, he secured an appointment as an interpreter of the 
Fort Defiance Navajo Agency in northeastern Arizona 
where, in the course of his duties, he became a free- 
speaking admirer of the Navajos and. the author suggests, 
they of him. Within months, he married a member of the 
tribe with whom he had two sons. He continued at Fort 
Defiance for four years until, in a typical burst of Peace 
Policy pique, Presbyterian church officials who had control 
of the agency judged him to be in v iolation of Christian 
ethics (his marriage had been conducted according to tribal 
custom) and unceremoniously removed him from his post. 
Keam's discharge led hiin unwittingly to the arena of his 
lifework, but that failed to deter him from dev oting nearly 
a decade vainly trying to regain entry into the Indian ser\ ice 
as a Navajo agent, a hid dominantly based on an unsvverv ing 
belief that he embodied the finest qualities required for the 
job, a plausible conclusion, certainly, considering his 
background. 

Whatever misgivings the federal government harbored in 
terms of Keam's fitness to administer Indian policy, in the 
Indian trade he proved farsighted and able. As the first 
trader to recognize a wide demand for native culture, he 
revolutionized the industry with large-scale marketing of 
Navajo and Hope material manufactures, a business that 
grew lucrative and the profits of which. Graves asserts, both 



45 



Annals of Wyoming: Tne Wyoming History Jo 



Keam and Indian artists shared. The Indian trade produced 
a discemable impact, elevating Keam to a position of 
prominence in the Southwest, a status he turned to personal 
as well as Navajo and Hopi ad\antage. Most notably, his 
influence helped prevent introduction on Hopi lands of the 
potentially disastrous Dawes Allotment Act. But that only 
scratched the surface. He fostered close friendships with 
important Indian rights leaders. He regularly travelled to 
Washington to meet with top government officials, even 
presidents, on behalf of Indians. He positioned himself and 
his trading posts as intersections between leading 
anthropologists and the people the>' came to study. He 
contributed to the Navajos doubling the land-area of their 
reservation. He assisted in forcing the federal government 
to build a school at Keams Canyon. He intervened to avert 
an outbreak of hostilities after the Hopis declared war on the 
United States .Army. 

Ironically, it was the percei\ ed conflict of interests tied to 
his stature among and loyalty to the Navajos and Hopis that 
probably rendered him unemployable in the Indian ser\ice. 
Howe\ er, to construe Ream's actions as a crusade would be 
wrong. He guarded his own welfare first and foremost and 
lent support to others as circumstances permitted. Yet, 
considering the doubtful response of many of his 
contemporaries when confronted with similar choices. 
Ream's record stacks up pretty well by comparison. 

More histories are needed like this one that struggle to 
comprehend and brmg to the front the complicated 
interactions and complex moti\ations that guide human 
beha\ iors and relationships. This \olume adds substantial 
in\ entory to our knov\ ledge and understanding of both a 
fascinating indi\idual and an intriguing and often- 
overlooked aspect of Indian-white relations in the United 
States. 

Car> C. Collins 

Maple Valley, Washington 

Butch Cassidy: A Biography. By Richard Patterson. 
Lincoln: U'ni\ersity of Nebraska Press, 1998. x\i + 362 
pages. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Paper, 
$19.95. 

Biographer Richard Patterson is a retired attorney and 
free lance vsriter who has published many elements of this 
text as articles as well as the Historical Atlas of the Outlaw 
West. He explains how Robert Leroy Parker, who went by 
the name of Butch Cassidy or another alias, created a legend 
"rivaled only by that of Billy the Rid." (cover) A Mormon 
who became a proficient thief and an obnoxious thug 
specialized in cattle rustling, bank robbing and train 
robbing plus other atrocities. Because of carefijl plans, he 
and his cronies spent little time in prison. Eventually they 
escaped the pursuit of Pinkertons as exiles in the highland 
Patagonian province of Argentina. Cassidy died with a 
partner either in a shootout or by a suicide pact in Bolivia to 
avoid the agony of Latin American justice. 



A combination of anecdotes, legends, myths and legiti- 
mate records creates a profile of a life without apparent 
redeeming qualities through the years 1879-1908. A lively 
text supplies detail taken from fragmented evidence re- 
garding the ways that Cassidy and his cronies stole and 
terrorized their way across Utah and Wyoming with side 
trips into Montana and Alberta. After a railroad robbery put 
Pinkertons on their trail, Cassidy and friends found their 
way to a ranch in Patagonia, where he grew bored with the 
life of gaucho. Out of carelessness he revealed his location. 
He and a partner stole funds to support a retreat into Chile 
and onto the Andean Cordillera of Peru and Bolivia, where 
they died. Or, did they escape and return to the United 
States? 

Understandably, the attorney/biographer has emphasized 
methods of arrest and trial procedures plus some impli- 
cations of the law more than inadequacies in frontier justice 
and its social consequences, which a professional historian 
might have featured as a context. Patterson has written a 
fairly objective story that portrays Cassidy as a cunning 
outlaw who has earned little if any respect in the annals of 
history. As an "afterthought," he quotes a professional 
historian who wrote that many Americans are people who 
"feel suckered" by life and link wish reality "to believe that 
an underdog is still around." (p. 284) For this reason, the 
name of Cassidy (like that of Elvis Presley) makes a useful 
advertising device. For example, recently Dinosaur 
National Park Superintendent Dennis Ditmanson reported 
that a group in search of funds to improve a secondary road 
on the Colorado-Utah border had promised prospective 
backers that the group would honor a finished highway with 
the label of "Butch Cassidy Lovers' Lane." 

Patterson's biography elevates the memory of Butch 
Cassidy to one on a plane with that of Billy the Rid - except 
that it lacks any social context equivalent to a cattlemen's 
war or an ethnic conflict. Underdog fans, scholars, students 
and librarians of Western Americana should regard this as 
an essential addition to their collections. Its author merits 
favorable recognition for preparing an easy read that 
represents relentless research and remarkable objectivity. 

Herbert T. Hoover 
University of South Dakota 



Ind 



ex 



Aben. Col John J 21. 27. (phiUo, 20) 

Adams. Boh '). 1 I 

"'Ad\enlures ot C'jpt.iin BoniifMlle. t .S A ." 

17. 2(1. 2.V2S 
African Amc-rican westc-rncrs 45 
"'.Mrican Americans on llie 'A u'^lern 

FrnnliLT.' reMCVM-'d 44 
Auncu. Spin. ^>. in I I 
Alps 2? 

altitude sickness 2(i 
American Federation nllahor _> 
American Hay. Frenioni raisinL; ol 20 
Anderson. Kslher 4 
Arthur. Pres Chester \ 40 
Ashle\. William 21. ."^^4 
Asior. John Jacob 17. .■>4 
"Astoria"" W. 20. 2.1. 28 
Astonans ?>0. 32. 33 
Baldwin. J Kirk 9 
Bardo. Gerald 4. b 
harometer 2f). 27 

Barren. Frank A. 3. .>. ^. iphoio. 4) 
Barred. Judge James .' 
hasohall r- 
Baiaan dejih march 4 
Bell\ Roll and Cra^Nl 41 
Benton. Sen Thomas Hart U>. 2 I 
■■Be\nnd a l.iterar\ Ad\enlurc Bonnc\i!le*s 

and Fremont's Conquests ol the W ind 

Ri\ers." 15-28 
Big Horn River 30, 3.=i 
Billington. Monroe 1 ee. hook re\ieucd 44 
Bird. Ma\ I 5 
Blackfeel 34. 35 
Blackrock Creek 31 
Blackrock Meadows 31 
Board ot" Chanties and Relnmi 12 
Bonneville. Capt B I t. Ih-UX 23. .''5. 

{photo. |9). climhs dannetl Peak 2K 
Brainerd. Jean. re\icu h_\ 42 
Breccia ChlTs 36 
Bndger. Jim 35. 3f», 37. 3S 
Brooks Lake Creek 32 
Brvani. Dr EduardC 2 
Bueler"sSnou Bndge 41 
Buffalo Fork 31 
Bull Lake 37 
Burke. Joe 7 

"Bulch Cassidv A Biograph\.*' reviewed 46 
Cairo. Eg\p! 14 
Care>. Sen Rohert 3 
Carmichael. Dave 8 
"Campaign Memories. "2-14 
Carson. Johnny 12 
Carson. Kit 23. 26 
Cheney. Dick II. 14 
Cheyenne-Deaduood Stage I me 2 
Chimney Rock 23 
Chillenden. H M. 42 
Christensen. Mart 4 
Christian. Dons 7 
Clark. William, map 30 
"Climbing the Grand." 41-J2 
Clyman. James 35 
Collins, Cary C . review by 46 
Colony. Wyoming 10 
Colter. John 30. 31.40 

route of 33 
Colters Rner 30. 32 
Continental Divide 

29. 30. 31. 34. 35. 37. 38. 40 
Continental Di\ide National Scenic Trail 40 
Continental Divide Trail Society 40 
Copenhaver, Everett '> 

resigns 1 I 
Coulanl. GC }5 
Crooks River 30. 31. 33 
Cross. Rory 7 
Darrow. Boh 7 
Dartmouth Basin 41 
DeLap, Blackburn and DePirro 41 
Democratic victones of 1932. 1934 . 1936 3 
DeviEs Slide 41 
Dewey. Tom 5 
"Distant Honzons Documents trom the 

Nineteenlh-Cenlury, .." re\!ewed 43 
Drouillard 33 
Drouillard. t-ieorge 30 
Dunoir Creek 30. 31. 36. 37 
Eisenhower. Dwight D, 5 
Enclosure 42 
Erwin. C W 5 



Fall River 38 

Falls Riwr }2 

Farquhar. Francis 42 

Fish Creek 35. 37. 38 

Filzpatnck. Thomas 35 

Eon Astoria 17 

Fort Laramie 23. 26 

Fort Raymond 30 

Fremont. Jessie Benlon 19. 20, 28. (photo. 

21) 
Fremont. John C 16-28. (photo, 15, lb) 
Fremont Peak 15. IS. 27, 35 

Fremont climb ol 26 
I rcmonl Report 24 
Frontier Hotel. 4 
fur trade 36 
Gale. Joseph 35 
Gannett. Henry 41 
Gannett Peak 15. 18. 26. 28. 2^ 
-General Sheridan's Pass. 1807-1883." 29 
Goeizmann. William 17 
Gompers. Samuel 3 
Graves. Laura, book re\iewed 45 
Gray. Norman B '^ 
Great Salt Lake 18 
Green River 30. 39. 4U 
Greever. Paul 3 

Gnfllth. Carolyn 1 1. 12. (photos. 1 1. 13} 
Gnllllh. J B. (photo. 3) 
(inffith. James B . 2-1 I. (photos. 2. 8. 

10.11. 13 
Griffith. Laura 8. (photo. 8) 
([ritllth. Lynn 8. (photo. 8) 
Griltllh. Sally 8. (photo. 8) 
Gros Ventre Fork 39 
Gros Ventre Range 39 
Gros Ventre Rner 30. 31. .■!5. 38. 40 
Guernsey Uazeiie 4 
■"Guide to the Indian Wars o\' ihe West." 

reviewed 44 
H C. Snyder and Company 2 
Hamp. Sidford 41 
Hansen. Chllord 10, 13 
Hanway.J F 3 

Hardaway. Roger D . btiok reviewed 44 
Flams. Burton 33 
Harvey. Mark 41 

Hathaway. Stan 6. 9, 10. 13. (photo. 6) 
Hayden.F V 38.39 
Hayden survey report 38 
Heart Lake 32. 38 
Henderson. Harry B 4 
Henrv. Andrew 34 
Henrys Lake 30 
Henrys River 30 
Hereford Creek 38 
Herschler. Casey 12. 13. (photo. 12) 
Herschler, Id 9. i |. 12. (photo. 12) 
HF Bar ranch 42 
Hickcy.J.J 6 
"History of the Expedition under ihi. 

Command of. ."" 32 
Hitching Post 12 
Hoback. John 34 
Hoback River 34. 35 
HoJel. Don 14 
Holland. Floyd 8. 9 
Hook. Alfred A 42 
Hoover. Herbert T . review by 46 
Hoover depression 3 
Horton. Frank 4. 42 
Houser. George 4 
Hummasli. George. re\iew by 44 
Hunt. Lester C, 4. 6 
Hum. Wilson Pnce 34 
Independence Rock 23 
Irving. Washington 16-19. 26-28. 35. 

(photo. 18) 
Jackson Hole 29. 33. 38 
Jackson Lake 31. 32. 38. 41 
Jackson. William H 41 
Jenny Lake 41 
Jones. Dick 10 
Jones. Capt. William A. 39 
Kendnck. John B 2 
Kennedy. John, nominated 6 
Kerr. Ewing T 4 
Kilmer. Roscoe 6 
Komegay. Sid 14 
Lake Biddle 30. 32. 33. 38 
Lake Bonneville 18 
Lake Eustis 32 
Lake Riddle 32 
Land Commissioner, 4 
Langlord. Nathaniel 41.42 
Laramie Boomerang 1 



Laredo Time\ 3 

Lava Creek 32 

I ava Mountain ->(> 

"Legend ol Sleepy Hollow" 17 

Lewis and C'lark 17. 21.30 

Lewis. Samuel 32. map 31 

Le\inglon, Kentucky 3 

Lisa. Manuel 30. 34 

Long. Stephen 18 

Long's Peak 26 

l.usk 2-5 

/.inA HeraUl 3 

Luik Slate Bank 5 

MacArthur. Douglas 5 

Mad River 35 

Madison Rner 30. 34 

Manuel's Fort 30 

map, Clark's manuscript 30.31. 33. 38 

Masonic Lodge 9 

Matagorda Bay. Mevico 2 

Mays. Hobe. book reviewed 43 

McComb. David G . re\iew by 43 

McCrakcn. Bob 12 

McCraken. Tracy 6 

McDermoll. John D . book reviewed 44 

McGee. Gale 6 

McMasler. Andrew 6 

Midwest Hardware 7 

Mihelich. Dennis. re\ lev^ by 45 

Miller. Alfred Jacob 18 

Miller. Thomas O 5 

Mineral Management Service 14 

Minuieman ICBM 6 

Missouri Rner m Montana 29 

Mitchell. Minnie 9. l I 

Morsman, Jr.. Edgar M. 42 

Morton. Warren 1 3 

Mount Woodrow Wilson 18 

multiple sclerosis 9 

National Republican Committee 7 

\alronti (.'niinly Jnhiine 3 

Newhart. Bob 1 1 

Nicollei. Joseph 19 

Niobrara Counlry Club 5 

Niobrara County 3, named 3 

North Platte River 27 

Noy. (jarv. hook reviewed 43 

( 'Connor. Jesse 42 

t iregon I rail 29 

Ortenburger 41 

(Hbome. Greg 8 

Osborne. Keith and Mary X 

Owen Chimney 41 

Owen. William O 41 

Ov\l Creek Mountains 33 

Pacific Fur Company 34 

Papoose Creek 36 

Patterson. Richard, book re\iewed 46 

r El) ReenyJ 13 

Pearson. Drew 6 

Phelan. Fli/abelh ^. \ 1 

Pien-e's Hole 35 

Pike. Zebulon 17, 26. 30 

Pikes Peak 26 

Pinedale 15 

Pinnacle Bunes 36 

Pinon Ridge 32, 40 

Polis. Jim 12 

Popo Agie River 19.29.35. 36 

"Postmistress of Saddlestnng, Wyoming. 

reviewed 42 
Preuss. Charles 21.22.26 

loumal 22 

suicide 23 
radio talk shows 10 
Ray nolds. Capt W F 37. 3S 
Raynolds [or Targhee) Pass 30 
rendezvous 36 

Republican National convention 4 
Republican State Chairman 3 
Reznor. Jacob 34 
Righter. Robert 41 
■Rip Van Winkle" 17 
Roberts. Harrv' 9. 13 
Robertson. E V 6 
Robinson. Edward 34 
Rocky Mountains 17 
Roncalio. Teno 9 
Russell. Osborne 35, 36. 40 
Saddlestnng. Wyoming 42 
Si Anthony. Idaho 34 
St Vrains Fort 26 
Salmon River valley 36 
Salt Fork 33 
Sail Fork of Slinking 30 
Sargent Chimney 41 



Schrader. Robert (photo) 9 

Schroeder, Fred 13 

Scotl. Charles 13 

Sheridan Pass 

29. 30. 31. 32. 34. 35. 36. 38. 39. 40 

Sheridan. Philip H 29.40. ipholo. 29) 

Sheridan Trail 40 

Shoshone Indians 36 

Shoshone Pass 30. 36 

Simons. Lynn !2 

Simpson. Al 1 1 

Simpson. Milvsard 6. I 1 

Smith. "Coyote. " (photo. 48) 

Smith. Jackson & Sublette 35 

Smith. Jedediah 21. 34 

Smith, Nels 4, 13 

Snake River 29, 35. ^K. 39 

Snow mountains 3(> 

Snyder. Harrv C 2 

South Pass 2(J. 21. 23. 29. 34. 35. 36 

Fremont on 21 
South Shoshone River 30. 32 
Spalding. Franklin S 41. 42 
Spanish Rner 34 
Squaw Creek 38 
Stacy. Estelle 7 
Stamp. Fremont 25 
Stassen. Harold 5 
Slate Auditor 1 1 
Stevenson. James 41.42 
Stockmans National Bank 6 
Stroock. Tom 13 
Stuart. Robert 21. 33. 34 
Sublette. William 35 
Table Mountain 41 
Taft. Robert 5 
"lake Two and Hit to Right Golden Days 

on Ihe Semi-pro "", re\iewed 43 
Taylor. Harry 9 
Teton County Board of Historic Preservation 

42 
Teton Pass 30. 31 

"Thomas Varker Keam, Indian Trader 
reviewed 45 
Thompson. Arthur 9 
Thompson. Jim 7 
Thomson, Keith, death of 6 
Thomson. Thyra 6, 11. 12 
Thorson. Harry fi 
Three Forks 30 

Togwolee Pass 29, 30. 31, 32. 34. 35. 39 
Topographical Corps 16 19 
Tour on the Prairies 17 
Trans-Mississippi Exposition 25 
Trois Tetons 20 
Two Ocean Pass 37, 39 
Two (.icean Water !i7 
I 'nion Pass 23 

29. 30. 32. U. 35. 36. 37. 38 
Union Peak 39 

United Stales Geological and Geographical 
Survey 39 
I.^pper Forks 37 
Upper Saddle 41 
[ irbanek. Viae 3 
Valhalla Canyon 41 
Vincent. Marv 2 
Volpe. Vernon L (bio. 28) 
Wainwrighl. General 4 
Walker. Joseph 18 
Washington Merry Go Round 6 
Watt. Jim 14 
West Spur 41 
Whiiaker, Raymond I I 
Whiltler. Shirley 12 
W ilkerson. Imcst 7 
Wind River 29. 35. 3h. 37 
Wind Rner Mountains 16. 27. (photo. 24) 
Wind River Range 15. 18. W. 20, 23,29 
Wind Rner Valley 39 
Wilzenburger. Ed 6, 9, (pholo. 7) 

appointed 1 1 
W itzenburger. Eleanor 9 
Wold. John 6 
Wolf. James R .(bio. 40) 
"Wyoming Place Names." 3. 9 42 
Wyoming Press Association conventions 3 
Wyoming Women's Center 12 
Wyoming's \'\\e stale elected officials 

(photo. 9) 
'I'ellowstone Lake 36 
Yellowstone National Park 35, 40 
Yellowstone River 30. 37 
Zuchert. Eugene 6 



^^(^oming Picture 



Proud Hunter 

"Mrs. Smith and the Wild Cat Killed near 
Glenrock, " is the caption on this photo- 
graph from the "Coyote" Smith collec- 
tion. Division of Cultural Resources. De- 
partment of Parks and Cultural Re- 
sources. Smith 's photographic collection 
documents life around Glenrock just be- 
fore and during the "oil boom " of the late 
'teens. A box of the glassplate negatives 
made by Smith was found on a Glenrock 
area ranch and turned over to the State 
for restoration and preservation in the 
early 1980s. 




Join tne \X^oniing State Historical Society 


and your local nistorical society cnapter 


State Membership Dues: 

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Student (under age 21): $15 

Institutional: $40 


Special membership categories are available: 
Contributing: $100-249 
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Benefits of membership include four issues 
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For information about membership in the 
Wyoming State Historical Society and infor- 
mation about local chapters, contact 

Judy West, Society Coordinator 

Wyoming State Historical Society 

PMB# 184 

1740H Dell Range Blvd. 

Cheyenne WY 82009-4945 




•^•••« 



Tu'o >t»ri| 
Special Pri 
•lust iiiTiiiu\fbr 
Cliri.stiiia.s! 




■Si'^w^^fldibir— ~' 



, .„ rrnn 

™iw™ncirrroii, 




'Portugee Phillips Arrives at Old Bedlam. Fort Laramie 



"Custer's Troops in Floral Wilier. July /.S'"'-/" 

Full color, prititeci on SO-Ih. 
paper, ituage size is 24 x 16 
inches 



These commemorative prints, 
signed by artist Dave Paulley and 
eminent Wyoming historian T. 
A. Larson, are offered in a num- 
bered, limited edition of 300 
prints. 

The original paintings from 
which the prints are made are 
from the Wyoming History in 
Art Project sponsored by the 
Wyoming State Historical Soci- 
ety. To order your prints, send 
$125 for each plus $10 for ship- 
ping and handling to: American 
Heritage Center, P. O. Box 3924, 
Laramie WY 82071, or call 
Lucille Dumbrill, (307) 746- 
2268.