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The ^(^oming History Journal 
Winter 2002 Vol. 74, No. 1 






The Cover Art 

Early Storm, 

a watercolor 

by Merritt Dana Houghton 

This image illustrates the itnpredictahility of spring time weather in Wyoming. Snowstorms dur- 
ing the three-month spring calving season are a major hazard for ranching families. It is not 
unheard of for temperatures to reach a high of 72 degrees during the day. with a low of 17 that 
night. Severe weather ccm result in cUsastrous losses of young livestock. 

The artist, Merritt Dana Houghton (b. 1846-d. 1919), settled in Laramie in 1875 and later lived 
in both Encampment and Saratoga. The artist executed many pen and ink draM'ings of historic 
forts and stage stations. He also recorded in drawings numerous ranches, mines and towns of his 
time. The Wyoming State Museum holds the largest known collection of Houghton 's work, which 
includes both pen and ink drawings and watercolors. This collection cdloM's a glimpse of our 
past and provides a valuable record of Wyoming at the turn of the century. 

—Dominicpte Schultes, Curator of Art, Wyoming State Museum 

The editor of Annals of Wyoming welcomes manuscripts and pliotograplis on every aspect oftlie historv of Wyoming and tlie 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Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or which offer new interpretations 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 b\ members of the journal's Editorial Advisory 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 Editor, .-innals of Wyoming. P. O. Bo,\ 4256. University Station. Laramie W\' 8207 1 . or to the editor by e-mail at the follow ing 
address: annals;5 



Book Review Editor 


Editorial Advisory Board 

Barhiiiii HoL^art, L\aiistitn 

Mallei Hrciwri. Newcastle/Cheyenne 

Katlleiiiie C urtiss, Sliernlan 

Dudley (.a.ilnei-, R.kI, Spunks 

Sallv F (.riftith. Liisk Havel to«n. Pa, 

Don HihIi^sou, Tiirnnntcin 

Loren .lost. Ri\et ton 

.lames R Laird. Wapm 

Sherry L, Smitli, Miinse/Dalla.s. Te\ 

Thrinias F StroneK. Casper 

Lawrence .M. Woods, \Vorlant.i 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

Rick E^^'il;. Laramie 

Daxkl Katlika. Ro^ k Spring's 

Shei-ry 1. Smith. Monsi- 

Amy La\\ lence. L.iiamie 

Nancy Curtis. Cileiido 

Brian Hosnier, Laramie (e\ otlicio) 

Patty Myers. Wheatland {e\-otiicio) 

Loren .lost. Ri\erton {ex-otla lo) 

Phil Rolierts. Laramie (e\-..ltiuo) 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Committee 

Da\e Taylor. Picsulfnt, Natrona County 

Amy Lawrence, 1st \'ke Pies. .Alliaiu' Ci 

Patty Myers. Jnd \Ke Pies . Platte Co 

Linda Faliian. Secretary. Platte County 

Dick Wilder. Treasurer. Park (.oiinty 

Clara \'.iiiier. Weston Counts' 

.lames Van Scoyk.. St.ii \'alley C hapter 

.loyce Warnke. Cioslu n County 

Lloyd Ttidd, Sheridan County 

.ludy Memliership Coordinator 

Governor of Wyondiig 

.lim Cierint^er 

Wyoming Dept. of State Parks and 
Cultmal Resources Keck, Direa.ii 
Cidtural Resources Division 

Wendy Hiedeliotl. .Admimstl atoi 

Wyoming Parks & Cultural Resources 

William Duliois, (, he\fnne 
Emerson W Scott, ,lr. Ruflal.. 
Oiann Reese, Lyman 
Vern Vi\ ion. Raw I ins 
l)a\ id Reet/, Powell 
Herb Freiuh. Newcastle 

Ernest C, ()\er. Pax illion 
Carolyn Hiift. Casper 
.lerrilynn Wall. Evanston 

University of Wyoming 

Philip Ouiiois. President 
t)ll\er Walter. De.m. 

Collei^eot .Arts and Sciences 
Hrian Hosmer, Chair, Dept. ol Histoi'y 

Printed by Pioneer Printintr. Cheyenne 

nnals of ; 



llie Wyoming H istory Journal '•, 

Winter l'OOl? Vol. 7 K No. 1 

Discovering Her Strength: The Remarkable Transformation of 
Nellie Tayloe Ross i ', . .. \' ; \\' ^ 

By Lori Van IVlt : i2 

Till list into the governor ship suddenly Nellie Ross h.ul little I'lllillC spe.iklll'4 e\f1erielHe 
and slenitii .lilt allMetv .ll'out t.llkine 111 tl out ot crowds rhis is the stoi\ ( it how she 
o\ercame the .iii\iet\ .md liecanii' ,i nation. ill\ renowned speaker 

Robert Foote: A Forgotten Wyoming Pioneer 

By Murray L. Carroll 9 

Early resident of Carbon Counl\ . pioneer merchaiu in Hultalo, and kc\ participanl in 
the Johnson Counts Invasion. \et Foote is practicalh unknown What accomplish- 
ments make this pioneer uorthv ot remembering' Historian Murray L Carroll makes 
the case that his deeds were siynificanl 

Murdered by Madness: The Case of Geneva CoUett 

By Larry K, I^row ii '2h 

She murdered another woman in a tit ok rage in a Sheridan store What is the story of 
the llrst woman in W\oming ever sentenced to life in prison formtirder' Crime writer/ 
historian 1 arr\ Brown tells her poignant story 

Book Reviews 


Delona. Playine; liuhan. rc\ ii-weil \<\ Matthew Dennis 
Tate. The Krnntier .\nm' in the Settleiiieiit of tlic West, 

re\ leweil liy M,ih dliii K I'.u hu 
Pram II, Ci nssing; the Piind, H'\ lewed liy .luliii W 1 leatmi 
.'\i"iii)hl, r II ion I'acit'ic Crossmu; Hill ami Other Stones, 

re\'ieweil liy Charles .-\llii 

Index 39 

Wyoming Picture 40 


Annals o/IVyoniiug fhe H\oiiiiiii; His/oty Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming State Historical 
Society in association with the W\oming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, the .Ameri- 
can Heritage Center, and the Department of History. University of Wyoming fhe journal was previously 
published as the Ouarleiiy Bulletin ( 1^)23-1 '^25). Annals of Wyoming (IQ2.s-IW,il, Wvoming Annals 
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Inquiries about membership, mailing, distribution, reprints and back issues should be addressed to Jud> 
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Our e-mail address is annals i/uwyoedu 



Copyright 2002, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 









On Jan. 5, 1925, a slender woman dressed 
in a simple black dress and black hat with 
upturned brim took the arm of her brother 
and approached the dais of the Senate 
Chamber in the State Capitol in Cheyenne, 
Wyoming. For the first time in the history 
of the Equalit}' State, a woman governor 
would present an inaugural address. Nellie 
Tayloe Ross's election as Wyoming's chief 
executive bestowed an additional title. She 
became the first w oman in the United States 
to be elected the governor of a state.' 

American Heritage Center. UW 

Winter 'iOOii 

^ acing Wyoming lawmakers at the inaugLiral cer- 

-f emony marked the tlrst such public address of 
Nellie Ross" life. Prior to her election, her only speak- 
ing experience amounted to addressing a kindergarten 
class and presenting informative papers at meetings of 
her local women's group. From this inauspicious begin- 
ning, she honed her speaking skills into her most re- 
markable asset during her tenure as governor. Her dedi- 
cation and perseverance in improving her public speak- 
ing skills benefited not only the State of Wyoming but 
Nellie herself.- 

But on the day of her inaugural, the curious, standing- 
room-only crowd remained silent. No one spoke or 
cheered when she entered the room, certamly not the 
cnstomarx greeting for an incommg governor. The re- 
centl_\ widowed woman wore black and had requested a 
simple ceremonv out of respect for her late husband. 
William Bradford Ross had died of complications due 
to appendicitis surgery on Oct. 2. 1924. He had been 
ser\ ing as W\oming"s gosernorat the time of his death.' 

Because William Ross' death occurred so near to an 
upcoming election, the state held a special election to 
choose a replacement for the last two years of his term. 
Dr. .1. L. Hylton. chairman of the Wyoming Democratic 
Party, asked Nellie to run for his office. She had no ex- 
perience, but Nellie and her husband had been close con- 
fidants. Throughout William's career, tlrst as an attor- 
ney and then as governor, they often discussed political 
and legal questions. Nellie was elected in November by 
a wide margin, defeating Republican candidate Eugene 
J. Sullivan."* 

Acting Governor Frank Lucas (the Secretary of State) 
introduced her. Nellie began. "iVIy friends," she said, in 
a steadv. low-pitched voice, with a slight Southern ac- 
cent, "owing to the tragic and unprecedented circimi- 
stances which surround my induction into office. I have 
felt it not onl> unnecessai-y but inappropriate for me now 
to enter into such a discussion of policies as usually con- 
stitutes an inaugural address." People in the front row 
leaned forward to hear her almost inaudible words. She 
continued, saying. "This occasion does not mark the 
beginning of a new administration, but rather the resump- 
tion of that which was inaugurated in this chamber two 
years ago."'' 

Many of Nellie's family members attended the event. 
Her brother. Judge Samuel Tayloe of San Antonio. 
Texas, escorted her. Nellie's sister-in-law, Mrs. George 
(Nelle) Tayloe of Memphis, Tenn.. sat with Nellie's sons. 
George and 12-year-old Bradford, just behind the dais. 
Nellie's other son. Ambrose. George's twin, was work- 
ing in New Mexico, in her grief. Nellie had neglected to 
make arrangements in time for Ambrose to attend, a fact 

that caused her "poignant regret." As a result, some 
sources incorrectly reported she had only two sons, an 
error repeated throughout her term. Also among the 
group of onlookers was Dr. Grace Ravmond Hebard. 
well-respected Wyoming historian and staunch suffrag- 

Nellie's first legislative address, delivered to 
Wyoming's predominantK Republican 18th Legislature 
on .lanuary 15. was based on William's policies. She 
stated, "...preparation [of this address] has been facili- 
tated not alone b\ such knowledge of the state's prob- 
lems as I had the privilege of gaining during the past 
two vears from association with the Governor. m\ hus- 
band, but also by the extensive notes which he had al- 
ready assembled and designated to be embodied in his 
message to vou."^ 

She relied heav ily on William's ideas but Nellie dis- 
played her own grit during her appearance before this 
Joint session of Wvoming legislators. For example, if 
she needed a reminder that everything he did and said 
was of national interest, she got one. The Doirer Pasi 
carried her speech before she presented it. Nellie's leg- 
islative address had been erroneouslv released to a press 
agencv prior to the opening of the legislative session. 
She learned of the mistake from a friend w ho telephoned 
her the night before she was scheduled to speak to 
Wvoming's lawmakers. 

' II ]'<)niiiig Stale Tiibuiie and Clieyeime Suite Leader. 5 .lanuarv 
1425; Grace Ra) mond t-lehard Collection 8. Box 3. Folder 1. corre- 
spondence. ,\iiiencan Herilage Center (hereafter ,'\11C). Uni\ersit> 
of \\ \ oniing. l.aramie, Miriam 1-erguson of fe\as was elected go\ - 
ernor ol her state prior to Nellie's election because the texas prima- 
ries were held in August l'-^24. However. Nellie's inaugural preceded 
Miriam's and thtts Nellie became known as the nation's tlrst woman 

- Il'vonuiio Eoole. l^.lulx 1 425. Called Nellie "the best ad\ertise- 
meiu the stale has e\er had," 

\c\i )i>ik limes, fi .lanuarv 1425: Nellie 1 a\ loe Ross. " f he 
(jo\ernor 1 ad>." (iond Housekeeping (September 1427). 211; 
Riverion Revie^v. 4 ( )ctober 1424. 

"* Hugene 1. Sullivan, former speaker of Wyoming's House of 
Representatives, was a Casper attorney, former mayor of Basin. 
Wyoming, and an oilman and farmer In Big Horn County. T. A. 
Larson. Histoir of ll'yoiuing {Lincoln. Nebr.; finiversity ofNebraska 
Press. 2nd edition, revised. 1478). 457. 

' Ihul.. 457; Brown. Mabel, ed. "■Nellie lay loe Ross: First Ladv 
and first Woman Governor." First Ladies of ll'yoming 1869-1991) 
(Cheyenne: Wyoming Commission for Women. 1440). I; Ross. " the 
Governor Lady." Good Housekeeping (August 1427). 1 IS. 120; 
ll'xoming State Tribune and Cheyenne Stale Leader. 5 .lanuarv 1425. 

" Hebard and Ross were friends. Hebard had campaigned for 
Nellie's election. See Nellie Tayloe Ross to Hebard. 24 October 1424 
Nellie Tavloe Ross Collection 448. Box 2. Correspondence. Safe 
Letters 1424-1453. AHC. 

' Larson. 457: Ross. "The Governor Ladv." September 1427. 37 
House JournaL Fighteenth State Legislature of Wyoming 1425. 26; 
IVyomingState Tribune and Cheyenne State Leader. 5 Januan 1 425. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Before the governor spoke. Senate President Lewis 
H. Brown read two telegrams to his colleagues. M. F. 
Dacey, manager of the International News Service, wired 
his regrets about the incident, attributing the error to an 
"unfortunate misunderstanding on part of time it was to 
be delivered." W. C. Shepherd, managing editor of the 
Denver Post, also sent an apology for his newspaper 
publishing Nellie's address in one edition. He explained 
the news service had first told the Post Nellie's message 
was to be delivered on Wednesday, but less than an hour 
after the paper had been printed, the service announced 
her speech was to be made on Thursday instead.^ 

Though the mistaken release was regrettable. Nellie's 
address became most notable for what was not included. 
Suffragettes and others curious as to what exactly a 
woman governor would do perhaps expected a lengthy 
pronouncement on the abilities of women and announce- 
ments of female appointments to come. Nellie forged 
ahead with other issues of the day. Tax reduction and 
banking difficulties facing the state were of the utmost 
importance to the new governor. She asked legislators 
to pass safety laws to help coal miners, advocated the 
federal Child Labor Law, included information on the 
budget and state oil royalties, and reported she was 
staunch supporter of Prohibition and expected that law 
to be rigidly enforced. She mentioned women only in 
connection with her views on the welfare of all wage- 
eamers in the state. She advocated legislation for the 
protection of "those women who are engaged in indus- 
try," saying that men had the right to an "unqualified 
eight-hour day," and explaining, "I feel sure this Legis- 
lature will not refuse to women the same protection and 
privileges granted to men."'^ 

I n February 1925, she made her first "offlcial"speech 
\ as Governor of Wyom ing. Collier 's Weekly presented 
the Collier Trophy to the State of Wyoming for achiev- 
ing "the largest proportionate increase in 1 924 over four 
years ago of any state in the Presidential vote." Two 
representatives from the magazine attended the cer- 
emony. Nellie deemed the Collier award "significant of 
progress and growth and of the superior intellect of the 
men and women who compose the citizenship of Wyo- 
ming." Of the award, Nellie said, "We tnid ourselves 
proud winners in a contest before we are scarcely aware 
that we were participants and with little conscious effort 
on our part. How satisfactory it would be if all the con- 
tests in life could be won in such a pleasant way!" In a 
letter to her brother, George, she admitted her anxiety 
about giving the speech, writing, "Such as it was I deliv- 
ered it without manuscript or notes of any kind.""^ 
Nellie attacked her public speaking anxiety by study- 

ing her topics so thoroughly she didn't need notes. Her 
ability to speak without notes became her trademark. 
She often wrote her speeches in longhand, but trained 
herself to become so familiar with their content that she 
didn't need reminders. In this, she credited her experi- 
ences as a member of the Cheyenne Women's Club. 
Members of that group often presented papers on a vari- 
ety of topics to each other to further their educational 
and cultural goals. Reading aloud, a beloved activity for 
the Ross family, became another informal training 
method. Nellie and Will began this practice early in their 
marriage. Reading aloud developed Nellie's voice and 
trained her mind. Allusions to Shakespeare, the Bible, 
and mythology often appear in her speeches. 

This casual training gave her a good foundation for 
public speaking. Many more talks, presented to a vari- 
ety of audiences — local, regional, and national — would 
be expected. In March 1925, Nellie attended the inau- 
gural ceremonies of Republican President Calvin 
Coolidge. The Woman Citizen reported, "[Nellie's] poise 
was excellent, her appearance splendid, her stories good, 
and her speeches modest but full of fact as well as spirit. 
She was not the 'shy, timid, little Governor journalists 
tried to preconceive her. She resented such descrip- 

Nellie's presence was so much in demand that she re- 
ceived as many as six invitations daily during her term. 
While in Washington, she spoke to the National 
Women's Democratic Club on March 7, 1925, at its first 
anniversary dinner. Nellie's views were perhaps best 
encapsulated in a single sentence of her talk. She said, 
"there never was a suggestion... that if a woman were 
elected she would conduct her administration with less 
concern for the welfare of the whole state than for that 
of women in particular." Her suggestions that women 
cooperate with men ratherthan issue "militant demands" 
to achieve desired political results and that women rely 
on the advice of more knowledgeable men undoubtedly 
irked the suffragettes. '- 

Nellie herself relied on the advice of men at the top 

^ Senate Journal of the Eighteenth State Legislature of Wyoming. 
24; Ross, "The Governor l,ady.'" (September 1927). 212. 

'' House Journal of the Eighteenth State Legislature of Wyoming 
1925. 32. Nellie's address is on pp. 26-34 of the House Journal. 

'" Nellie Tayloe Ross. "On Presentation of Collier Trophy," Feb- 
ruary 1 925. Nellie Tayloe Ross Collection 948 (hereafter NTR 948). 
Box 3. Folder 1920- 1953 (3) Speeches. AHC; Nellie Tayloe Ross to 
George Tayloe. 14 February 1925. NTR 948. Box I. Correspon- 
dence Professional 1924-1926. AHC. 

" Ross. "The Governor Lady." (August 1927). 120; Woman Citi- 
zen. 2\ March 1925. 

'- Ross. "The Governor Lady." (October 1927), 73; NTR 948. 
Box 3. Speeches 1920-1953. Folder 1. AHC. 

Winter i^OO'i 

echelons of Wyoming's Democratic Party, friends of 
Will's, men who had much more political savvy than 
she. Nellie's goal was to serve the residents of the state 
of Wyoming in such a manner that no one would be able 
to say that she had not done as good a Job as a man 
would have done. Her advisors, dubbed the "Kitchen 
Cabinet," included U. S. Senator John B. Kendrick, At- 
torney General David Howell, Avery Haggard, Leslie 
Miller, S. G. Hopkins, and Tracy McCraken. McCraken 
served as William's secretary and as Kendrick's secre- 
tary and, eventually, became editor of the Wyoming 
Eagle. Probably closest to Nellie was Joseph C. 
O'Mahoney, a long-time family friend and attorney. She 
confided to her brother. George, that O'iVIahoney was 
"smartest of them all."''' 

In May 1925.Nellie gave her first radio address. KOA 
radio in Denver broadcast her promotional talk for the 
upcoming 29th annual Cheyenne Frontier Da\s. The 
broadcast was heard across the nation and even bevond 
the East Coast. Sailors on the steamship Mauritania, trav- 
eling from England to the United States, heard her dis- 
cuss "the thrill of that epic conquest of the prairie by the 

pioneers" and "the bucking broncho [sic], wild, untamed 
Pegasus of the plains — mounted and mastered by the 

That same month, she took time during a train trip 
from Cheyenne to Sheridan to write her son. Ambrose, 
a long, cheery letter about her activities as governor. 
Among them were an upcoming address to the Wyo- 
ming Stock Growers Association in Douglas and a speech 
to a group of 2.000 Shriners who were visiting Che>- 
enne. She also had Just been invited to give the response 
to the welcoming address at the Conference of Gover- 

" Larson. 460, Larson stated thai Ncilic admitted ni an intcr\ic\\ 
\uth hini that she relied on ()'\Uihone\ and Howell mostly. 
O'Malioncx was appomted to till the United States Senate seat of 
John B Kendrick in 1433. L. A. Larson, interview with author. 
Laramie. W\oming. 17 .lul> l'^96; Nellie Fayloe Ross to George 
la\loe. 30 .August 1925. Brown Palace Hotel. Denver. Colorado. 
NTR 948-97-10-07. Box 10. Correspondence: KaveTayloe Collins. 
AHC; ll'yniuiiig Eui;le. 24 .lanuary 1 926; Ross. "I he Governor Lady ." 
(October 1927). 72. 

'-•Ross. Nellie layloe. "Frontier Day Speech." 1 8 May 1925.NTR 
948. Box 3. Speeches 1920-53 (3). AHC; ll'yomiiig Slale Tribune 
and Cheyenne Slate Leader. 19Mav 1925. 

Gov. Nellie iuyluc Ro.s.s .spcuL\ tn ^i ^iimd at the dcdicuiion Lcrcnuinie.s jor the eompletton of the Sno^sy Range road. 
One of her biggest challenges in public office was to overcome the anxiety of public speaking. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wj^oming History Journal 

nors in Maine. Siie asl<.ed if Ambrose heard her KOA 
broadcast. remari<ing that the Denver Women's Press 
Club had given her "the loveliest reception," and say- 
ing. "I had to beg off from other organizations." 

Publicly, she tackled her speaking chores with a busi- 
nesslike demeanor, but her letter, written prior to her 
keynote address at the annual opening of Yellowstone 
National Park in June, provides some insight into her 
true feelings. She wrote. "Ambrose, that is the one t hing 
about this office I don't like — this eternal speech mak- 
ing. It will either develop my mind though, or ruin it so 
I'll be read} for an institution, soon. Really the strain of 
applying myself to so many subjects is terrible." 

When Nellie addressed the Wyoming Stock Growers 
Association convention, she used the opportunity to 
present her ideas on tax reform. She believed too much 
property was going untaxed and that the state should be 
receiving that revenue. Her opinion didn't generate as 
much attention as the governor herself did. The Omaha 
Bee stated. "[S]he made a complete conquest of the vis- 
iting commission men and packers from Omaha and 
Chicago, as well as of the cattle growers of the state."'- 

In late June, she delivered the response to the wel- 
coming address at the annual Conference of Governors 
in Maine. The Portland (Maine) Press reported she ap- 
peared "quite at ease" but that she had to raise her "sweet 
and well modulated voice" to be heard in the large con- 
ference room. She invited the governors to visit Wyo- 
ming, saying. "You, who are unacquainted with the West, 
would 1 feel sure, find fascinating interest and a surpris- 
ing revelation in its natural beauty, in its diversity of 
resources, and best of all, in the spirit of its people." 

Nellie charmed not only her audience but many local 
reporters as well. The July 6, 1925, issue of the Casper 
Herald carried a report from the Portland Eveiiiug Ex- 
press by reporter Helen Havener. She wrote, "Governor 
Ross appears to have the first essential qualification for 
executive office either in an imperturbable temperament 
or a wonderful gift of counterfeiting good humor w hether 
she feels it or not..."'^ 

Despite the fact Nellie generated positive publicity on 
a national level, some Wyoming newspapers criticized 
her. In July, 1925. the Kemnierer Gazette, a Republican 
newspaper, chided the governor for attending the 
Yellowstone opening and the Maine governors' confer- 
ence because of the expenses involved. The Torringlon 
Telegram criticized her attendance at President 
Coolidge's inauguration, accusing Nellie of riding in a 
private rail car paid for by the State while explaining 
that the President rode in an ordinary Pullman. The 
Cowley Progress accused her of attending Miriam "Ma" 
Ferguson's inauguration as governor of Texas. She 

hadn't even attended that event. She had sent a telegram. 

The Wyoming Eagle, always a staunch defender, 
scolded the Gazette's editor and stated that Wyoming 
governors had attended the governors' conference "ever 
since it was first established by President [Theodore] 
Roosevelt." Wyoming governors received a $500 ap- 
propriation form the Legislature to attend. With tongue- 
in-cheek, the Eagle editorialized. "Mrs. Ross is a woman 
and she ought to know enough to stay at home." The 
newspaper explained that Nellie responded to the 
President's inaugural invitation as a mark of respect, and 
retorted, "It was a great mistake for her to pay the ex- 
pense herself." The Eagle also called her "the best ad- 
vertisement the state has ever had."'^ 

In a letter to her brother George she explained her hec- 
tic schedule and revealed its toll. Nellie wrote, "I have 
now hanging over me seven or eight speeches — Isn't it 
awful for one who never said a word in public till a few 
months ago?" Her schedule included three speaking en- 
gagements in Casper on Labor Day weekend, with at- 
tendance of 1,500 expected at one event. "Then I'm to 
go on and speak at a county fair — after that to the 
Woman's Fed [sic] of Clubs— the State WCTU, etc., 
etc. and so it goes!" She confessed, "At times I do get 
so tired and so harassed that 1 feel my burden is almost 
too great but I get restored and go on." 

On Jan. 23, 1924, she attended the National Western 
Stock Show in Denver, for "Wyoming Day." She spoke 
at a luncheon held in her honor by the Business and Pro- 
fessional Women's Club bureau. A comment she made 
to a Denver reporter showed that even after holding of- 
fice for a year, Nellie remained insecure about public 
speaking. She said, "I am much more at home attending 
to the duties of office than I am wandering around mak- 
ing speeches, but a certain amount of that is necessary, 1 

She kept her anxieties in check, however. In April, 
Nellie spoke to a large crowd in Lingle, Wyoming, for a 
Parent-Teacher Association gathering. The Fort Laramie 
Scout congratulated her for inspiring "a feeling of 

'^ Nellie Tayioe Ross to Ambrose Ross. Burlington Route. Na- 
tional Park Line. 24 May 1925. NTR 948. Box 2. Folder 1, AHC; 
ll'yoming Eagle. 2 August 1925; 9 August 1925. 

'" Casper Herald. 6 July 1925. 

'^ Ifyoming Eagle. 7 June 1925; 14 June 1925; 19 July 1925; 
26Julyl925; Ouida Ferguson Nalle. The Fergusons of Texas (San 
Antonio. Texas: The Nay lor Company. 1946); William B. Ross. Wyo- 
ming State Budget 1923-1924, 8 January 1923. Wyoming State Bud- 
get. 1921-193!. Wyoming State Library. 

'^ Wyoming Eagle. 24 January 1926; Nellie Tayioe Ross to George 
Tayioe, 30 August 1925. Brown Palaee Hotel. Denver. Colorado. 
NTR 948-97-10-07, Bo.\ 10. Correspondence: Kaye Tayioe Collins, 

Winter 'iOO'i 


Wyoming's Governor 


The Wromiu^ Eagle ran a two-col- 
umn story about the event, attended 
b\ about 1.200 people. The emcee 
welcomed the crowd and then asked 
the pianist to play America so that ev- 
eryone could sing together. What he 
did not know, however, was that no 
pianist had been provided. The Eagle 
reported: "He was in a quandary, but 
only for a moment or two. for from 
the platform from which he was 
speaking the gentle voice of a lady 
modestly suggested that if no one else 
could be found she would be glad to 
furnish the accompaniment on pi- 
ano." The "gentle voice."" of course. 
was Governor Ross"s. and the fact 
that she could plav came as a surprise 
to most people.-" 

In mid-September, with the elec- 
X\on approaching. Nellie braved an- 
other level of speech-making, as she 
faced the challenge of campaign 
talks. She hit the campaign trail with 
Senator Kendrick in svv ings through- 
out the southern and eastern portions 
of the state. Following their Joint 
kick-off, they traveled separately . In 
late October, Nellie appeared in Pine 
Bluffs, Bums, Jay Em, and Lusk w ith 
"the largest crowds in historv "" greet- 
ing her.- ' She often appeared w ith W. 
S. Kimball, the Democratic candidate 
for Secretary of State, who traveled 
with his wife. 
Nellie closed her campaign on Nov. 1. 1Q26. v\ith a 
many of those who were seeing her for the first time."" rallv and public meeting at Cheyenne's Capitol Theatre. 
The Governor, an honorary Girl Scout, addressed The Eagle reported that Nellie's campaign was marked 
scouts in Rock Springs that same month. She said, "Km "hy the largest, and doubtless the most enthusiastic 
old-fashioned believe that no career for crowds that have ever greeted any Wyoming candidate 


businesslike— Able— Courageous. She Has Earned Re-election 

Campaign poster fur Governor Ross ' re-eleelion campaign. l'^26 
confidence. ..a feeling that was a pleasant surprise to 

women is as glorious or satisfying as that which wife- 
hood and motherhood offer, and it is there [a woman] 
fultllls her highest destiny." Though she often used the 
theme that marriasie and motherhood were women's 

for state or Congressional office.""— 

Voters displaved less enthusiasm. She lost her bid for 
re-election bv onK 1.365 votes. She was so distraught 
over the loss that she asked Tracv McCraken to write to 

"highest destiny,"" she did not disparage career women. Her brother, Alfred Tayloe. to e.xplain what had happened. 
While speaking to the May convention of the Business McCraken noted a number of factors contributing to her 
and Professional Women"s Club in Casper. Nellie said, defeat, including the "very strong machine"" of the Re- 
"Practically every vocation is now open to a woman, 
and she has proved she can fill her position with abso- 
lute success."" '** 

On Labor Day, 1 926. the governor appeared in Casper 
to give a keynote speech and ended up "saving the day."' 

''' Wyoming Eagle. \^x\\-\\a\ 1926. 
-'^ Casper Herald. 10 September 1926. 
-' Wyoming Eagle. 1 October - 29 October 192(i. 
-- Casper Herald. 24 September 1 926; Eagle. September-October 
1926; November 1926. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

publicans. Wyoming's elderly Republican U. S. Sena- 
tor Francis E. Warren's health also became a factor, as 
Republicans feared that, if re-elected, Nellie might ap- 
point a Democrat to his seat if his health failed. 

McCraken did not mention the fact that suffragettes 
had been disturbed by the small number of appointments 
of women that Nellie had made during her two years in 
office. But that factor annoyed at least one feminist — a 
woman who had strongly supported her during the 1 924 
election. Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard hinted at the dis- 
satisfaction of the suffragettes in her letter to Carrie 
Chapman Catt, at that time, the chief contributing editor 
to the Woman Citizen. Hebard wrote that she believed 
the "outstanding reason" for Nellie's defeat "was due to 
the advisors that Governor Ross selected, all men." 

Nellie's political defeat did not end her speech- 
making responsibilities. On Nov. 22. 1 926, she 
spoke at the dedication ceremonies for the Gimbel Broth- 
ers department store in Philadelphia. She reiterated some 
of her remarks to the Girl Scouts months before and sug- 
gested women seeking careers in business were raising 
the moral standard in their industries. In Syracuse, New 
York, she addressed the League of Women Voters and 
attended a meeting protesting a nuisance tax in New York 
as a special guest of Gov. Al Smith. At that meeting, 
Nellie said, "corrupt control of political affairs can exist 
only so long as women consent to it" contending that 
"women have the numbers and they have the power to 
thwart it.'"--'' 

Even though she considered speech-making one of her 
most arduous tasks when she first assumed office as 
Wyoming's governor, her increasing skill and growing 
confidence transformed this tedious duty into a promis- 
ing new career. On Dec. 31, 1926. the Eagle broke the 
news that Nellie had accepted a ten-week summer con- 
tract with the prestigious Swarthmore Chautauqua Cir- 
cuit, headquartered in Pennsylvania. The Swarthmore 
Chautauquas were run by Paul Pearson, professor of 
rhetoric at Swarthmore College and the father of author/ 
columnist Drew Pearson. Chautauquas were educational 
lectures, musical programs, puppet shows, and children's 
programs. The Eagle stated, "Of particular interest to 
Wyomingites, in this connection, is the fact that it is on 
the Swarthmore Chautauqua circuit that the late Will- 
iam Jennings Bryan, silver-tongued orator, made most 
of his Chautauqua speeches." Nellie's contract was con- 
sidered among the "very best contracts offered by the 
bureau." she would not comment on the salary she had 
accepted, but the newspaper estimated that the single 
ten-week contract would far surpass her annual $ 1 2,000 
salary as governor of Wyom ing.-'* 

Before she embarked on these new oratorical adven- 
tures, she had another official speech to give — the open- 
ing address at the inaugural of Governor-elect Frank C. 
Emerson. In her remarks on Jan. 7, 1 927, she said, "As I 
relinquish now the responsibilities of the executive of- 
fice, I render acknowledgement to the people of Wyo- 
ming of the debt of gratitude I owe them, that through 
their grace, mine has been the privilege of serving them 
as their governor. However great or however limited has 
been the benefit of that service, it has been one conse- 
crated to a single and unfailing purpose, and that has 
been the advancement of their welfare. It is a service in 
which I have found great joy and interest for however 
exacting at times have been the duties of the office, they 
have never been irksome...."--^ 

As Wyoming residents welcomed a new administra- 
tion, Nellie Tayloe Ross celebrated new confidence. She 
turned a weakness into a strength, failing only in the 
sense of losing the re-election to the governorship, but 
emerging victorious as a speaker of national renown. 
She had proved equal to her task. 

-' Vote totals are in Virginia Cole Trenholm. ed. Wyoming Blue 
Book. II. Che_\enne: Wyoming State Archives and Historical Dept., 
1 9741. The final election tally was Emerson 35.651; Ross. 34.286; 
and William B. Guthrie, radical. 104; T.S. McCraken to Alfred 
ra> loe. 1 1 November 1926. NTR 948. Box 1. Correspondence Pro- 
fessional 1924-1926. AHC: Wyoming Eagle. 12 November 1926; 
1 9 November 1 926; 26 November 1 926; Hebard lo Carrie Chapman 
Catt. 9 November 1926. Hebard Collection 8. Box 3. Correspon- 
dence. AHC. 

-■' Wyoming Eagle. 24 December 1 926. 3 1 December 1 926; Mary 
Ellen Chijioke. Friends Historical Library. Swarthmore College, tele- 
phone interview with author. 10 February 1999; William B. Ross. 
Wyoming State Budget 1923-1924. 8 January 1923. Wyoming 
Slate Budget. 1921-1931. Wyoming State Library. 

-- Wyoming Eagle. 7 January 1927. 

Lori Van Pelt 's award-winning articles have ap- 
peared in the WREN (Wyoming Rural Electric 
News) Magazine and the WOLA (Western Out- 
law and Lawmen Association) Journal. Her non- 
fiction articles have been published in a variety 
of regional and national magazines. Along with 
short fiction pieces in several national antholo- 
gies, she is the author of the "Dreamers and 
Schemers " series published by High Plains 
Press. Lori is currently working on a biography 
of Nellie Tayloe Ross, scheduled for completion 
later this year. She lives with her husband on the 
family ranch near Saratoga. 



By Murray L. Carroll 

WPA Photographic Collcclion. 
Wyoming State Archi\es. 
Dept of State Parks and 
Cultural Resources 

Roheri Foole 

In Jul\ 1999 a new s\stem of wind turbine electric 
power generators, consisting of 105 units divided into 
three fields, went into operation in southeastern Wyo- 
ming. The location of the units is close to the old Rock 
Creek station on the Overland Stage trail. Since the fields 
are located on Foote Creek Ridge, they were designated 
at "Foote Creek One." "Foote Creek Two." and "Foote 
Creek Three." In an indirect, and most probably unin- 

tentional ua\. the\ memorialize Robert Foote. an al- 
most forgotten W>oming pioneer. In 1865. Robert 
"Uncle Bobby" Foote. post trader at Fort Halleck. opened 
a store where the Overland Trail crossed the creek that 
came to bear his name. Later, he established a ranch in 
the creek valle_\. 

Foote was born Feb. 2. 1834. in Dundee. Forfarshire, 
Scotland. He spent his childhood and early youth in 


Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

Dundee, where he received his education. There is no 
record of how much formal schooling he had, however. 
From his activities in later life, it seems he had a re- 
spectable education for the time. Upon completing his 
schooling, he apprenticed with a tailor. When he become 
a full-fledged craftsman in his trade in 1856, he emi- 
grated to New York. He was 22 years old.' 

Lt. Thomas Hight. recruiting officer for the 2"'^ United 
States Dragoons in Chicago, enlisted Foote on Feb. 24, 
1 857, who had just turned 23, into the dragoon regiment 
for a five-year term.- From Chicago, Foote went to the 
Mounted Services Recruit Depot at Carlisle Barracks, 
Pa.' He was outfitted with his uniforms and personal 
equipment, taught basic drill, military courtesy, and 
military discipline."" 

In May, Foote completed his depot stint, and was as- 
signed to "F" Company, 2"'' U.S. Dragoons, at Fort Riley, 
Kansas. "F" Company was part of the troops assigned to 
try and keep the peace in "Bloody Kansas."* In June, all 
of the companies of the 2"'' Dragoons were ordered to 
Fort Leavenworth from the outposts where they were 
stationed. Reorganized, re-equipped, and with enough 
recruits to be brought up to full strength, the 2"'^ Dra- 
goons" new assignment was as the mounted unit for the 
Utah Expedition. The expedition, being organized at Fort 
Leavenworth, had the mission to invade Utah Territory, 
put down the rebellion supposedly brewing there, then 
serve at the call of the new governor as a posse comita- 
tus to help enforce the law and maintain order. 

At the time, Fort Leavenworth, and the town of 
Leavenworth, which was founded just three years ear- 
lier, were wild. A second lieutenant, freshly graduated 
from the United States Military Academy at West Point, 
was assigned to the 2"'' Dragoons as one of the replace- 
ment officers. He arrived at Fort Leavenworth about the 
same time as Foote's company. He wrote: 

Sometimes we would visit the town of Leavenworth, 
and if we chanced to remain after dark would set out for 
the fort at a sweeping gallop to diminish the chance of 
being hit should someone take a crack at us — not that we 
feared anything from personal enemies, but simply be- 
cause it was not wise to take any chances . — So frequent 
were assassinations that each man traveling on the prai- 
rie, as soon as he perceived another approach him. slipped 
his six-shooter to have it most conveniently at hand. Of 
course, the flap of the holster, placed to protect the pistol 
from rain, had long before been cut off. It was preferable 
to suffer a little rust on the weapon rather than run the 
risk of losing a fraction of a second in drawing it." 

Evidently Foote had no trouble adjusting to the new 
life on the frontier, and in the 2"'' Dragoons. While he 
was at Fort Leavenworth waiting for the expedition to 

organize, he took out United States citizenship. His unit 
stayed in Kansas longer than anticipated. The first ele- 
ments of the Utah Expedition started leaving Fort 
Leavenworth on July 1 8. The Governor of Kansas asked 
President Buchanan that Brevet Brig. Gen. W. S. Harney, 
commander of the 2"'' Dragoons, and the commander 
designate of the Utah expedition, with the regiment, be 
retained in Kansas at least through the summer to re- 
store order in Lawrence, and elsewhere in Kansas. 

Six companies of the 2""^ Dragoons, including Foote's 
"F" Company, finally left Fort Leavenworth the after- 
noon of September 1 7, under the command of Lt. Colo- 
nel Philip St. George Cooke, the assistant regimental 
commander. They were serving as rear guard for the 
column, as well as escorting the new Governor of Utah 
and the other newly-appointed civil and judicial offi- 
cials and their families. Not surprisingly, the column was 
encumbered by a large baggage train. Because of the 
carriages of the civilians and the baggage train, it could 
not make good time. Under the best of circumstances, 
they had started too late in the year to reach Utah before 
the onset of winter. The California-Oregon trail, the route 
of march, was often snowed in by mid-October. They 
reached Fort Laramie on October 23. Grass was scarce, 
and the wind and snow made travel difficult. When they 
camped at Pacific Springs, the thermometers registered 
13 degrees below zero; the next night, they froze and 
burst. They finally reached the burned-out remains of 
Fort Bridger on November 1 9. The first elements of the 
expedition had arrived just two days earlier, and were 
busy trying to construct winter quarters out of logs and 
adobe. The dragoons still had 144 horses, but between 
Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger, the regiment lost all but 
ten to cold, hunger, and exhaustion.' 

'Mrs. Charles (Olive Herman) Ellis. "Robert Foote." Annals of 
Wyoming 15 (January,. 1943). 50. 

■^National Archives, Old Military and Civil Records, Textual Ar- 
chives Services Division. Robert Foote Enlistment Documents. Chi- 
cago. Illinois. Feb. 24. 1857. 

'Theophilis Rodenbough. From Everglade to Canyon with the 
Second United States Cavalry. (New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1875 
[reprint. Norman: Universit}' of Oklahoma Press. 2000]). 245-252. 

■'Recruits were not taught horsemanship and weapons. They leamed 
these subjects under the tutelage of the non-commissioned officers 
of the company to which they were assigned after they left the depot. 
Randy Steffen. The Horse Soldier, I~~6-l9-f3. Volume 11. The Fron- 
tier. The Mexican IVar. The Civil War. The Indian Wars. 1851-1880. 
(IMorman: University of Oklahoma Press. 1978). 34; S. E. Whitman, 
The Troopers. (New York: Hastings House Pubs.. 1962). 82-84. 

^Returns From Regular Army Cavalry Regiments. 1833-1916. (2"'' 
Dragoons. January 1856-July 1861.) National Archives. Microfilm. 
M-744. Roll 17. 

''Gen. Samuel W. Ferguson. "With Albert Sidney Johnston's Ex- 
pedition to Utah. 1857." Kansas Historical Collections, 12 (191 1- 
1912). 305. 

Winter 'iOO'i 


As spring approached, the livestock and the dragoons 
graduall\ nio\ed closer to Fort Bridger. rhe\ arri\ed 
near the tort in IVla\. and the march into I tah was un- 
dertaken in June. Mediators resolved the difficulties with 
the Mormons, so the march into Utah was unopposed. 
General Johnston settled on the location for the troop 
encampment in the north end of Cedar Vallc\. on the 
west side of Lake Utah, and about 36 miles southwest of 
Salt Lake City. ImmediateK the troops undertook con- 
struction of the new post, named Camp Floyd, after John 
B. Flo\d. Secretar\ of War. The missions now became 
tA\ofold. one of SLipporting the new l_\ -installed ci\ il go\- 
emment. the other, protecting the trails west through Utah 
tVom Indian depredations. 

In August 1858. Robert Foote was permanently de- 
tailed compan\ tailor.^ This relieved him of all other 
compan> duties. .At all times when Company "F" was in 
garrison, he was detailed to this dut\. however, when 
the compan\ took to the field, he assumed his regular 
duties as a dragoon. In earl\ 1859. Companx "F" was 
assigned to the garrison at Fort Bridger. as the troops at 
Camp Flo\d returned to the pre-e\pedition polic\ of 
assigning various companies, usually singly or in pairs, 
to separate garrisons. Some of the dragoon companies 
were assigned to posts as far away as Nevada and Cali- 
fornia. On July 6. 1859, Company "F" mo\ed again, this 
time it was assigned to dutN as the mounted unit at Fort 
Laramie. In September, it was Joined b\ Company "D". 
2"'' Dragoons, and Companies "A." "D." and "\" of the 
2"^* U.S. Infantry." The Fort Laramie garrison patrolled 
the California-Oregon trail east and west from the post: 
making scouting expeditions along the Laramie and 
Platte Rivers, and scouting the area north to the Chey- 
enne River. 

Foote continued his duty as compan\ tailor. By get- 
ting in a little extra time each da\ working on his own. 
he accumulated money well in excess of his private's 
pay. Sometime during this period he began trading fresh 
livestock, particularly horses, to the emigrants for their 
broken-down ones." The usual pattern for this com- 
merce was in the case of a trade, two or three broken- 
down animals were exchanged for each fresh one. Al- 
ternatively, the deal could be all or partly in cash. Foote 
hired Bob Smoke, a half-Sioux, one of the so-called 
"Coffee Coolers" Indians who li\ed around the post, to 
herd his livestock just outside the post boundaries. In 
this wa\. he managed to accumulate a large and valu- 
able herd. 

During this time Foote's career took on a mystery. 
On Feb. 13, 1861, Sgt. William Wright, also of Com- 
pany "F," but on a detail with Company "C". 2"^* Dra- 
goons at Fort Leavenworth, wrote a letter to Seth Ward, 

post trader at Fort Laramie, instructing him to deliver a 
$1 .00(1 treasur_\ note to Foote that \V right left with him. 
Foote signed for the note on February 25." At this time, 
the monthly pay of a mounted sergeant was $17. while 
that of a mounted private was $13.'- A $1,000 treasury 
note was a huge sum of money for a sergeant to own. 
and e\en more so to be pa>ing to a private. It raises 
speculation about Foote's activities, and the nature of 
the business dealings between a noncommissioned of- 
ficer and a private under his command. 

On Aug. 10. 186L General Order Number 55. Adju- 
tant General's Office, abolished the two dragoon regi- 
ments and the regiment of mounted rilles. The 2"^ Dra- 
goons, as the second oldest mounted unit, became the 
2"^ Cavalry." The regiment was ordered to Washing- 
ton. D.C. to protect the capital, and Companv "F" de- 
parted Fort Laramie Nov. 1 1 . 1 86 1 . and arrived in Wash- 
ington on Foote's birthday. Feb. 2. 1862. On Februar\ 
24. the fifth anni\ersar\ of his enlistment. Foote was 

CookL" and his dragoons, together with the expedition's herders, 
were direeted to take all of the remaining beefeattle. oxen, mules 
and horses, exeept for those absoluteh required tor the camp's use. 
twenty miles south to Henrx's Fork. Altogether. the\ had between 
six and seven thousand head of stock to graze and guard. The camp 
moved frequentlv searching for sufficient forage for the animals, 
this was made even more dittieult b> the ei>ld and the drifting snow . 
Also, close guard had to be kept on the herds to prevent the stock 
from stra> ing or from being stolen b\ Mormon guerrillas who often 
harassed the troops bv sniping at them, or at the livestock. The snow 
was too deep for drill or parade; there was little reading material: 
the\ were praeticall> cut off from all mail and communications with 
the outside lor four months, and. the> were on quarter rations since 
Lot Smith's guerrillas destro\ed three of the expedition's suppiv 
trains. Hunting sage hens and jackrabbits not only provided enter- 
tainment, but was a prime source of neeessarx food as well The 
other entertainments seemed to be drinking and poker Cooke quar- 
reled with Brig. Uen. .Albert Sidnev .lohnston. the expedition com- 
mander. In a series of acrimonious dispatches. Cooke complained 
about the difficulties of his troops, and what he perceived as lack of 
support. In the spring, .lohnston sent him a small augmentation of 
infantrx. and essentiallv told Cooke not to register an\ more com- 
plaints. Ferguson. 307-310: "March of the 2'"' L^ragoons. Report of 
Ij. Col. Philip St. George Cooke on the March of the 2"'' Dragoons 
froin Fort Leavenworth. Kansas to Fort Bridger in 1 857." Annals of 
iryoiiiing. 27 (April. 1955). 55-60: Otis F. ^'oung. The West of Philip 
St. Geoi-ge Cooke (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co.. 1955). 302-306. 

'Returns From Regular Army Cavaliy Regiments. I,S33-I9I6 (2'"' 
Dragoons. Januaiy. 1856-July. 1861). National .Archives. Micro- 
film. M-744. Roll 17, 

'Returns From Regular Army Cavuln Regiments 

'"Fills. 50, 

"Sergeant William Wright. 2"^ Dragoons. Fort Leavenworth. Kan- 
sas, to S. E. Ward & Companv. Fort Faramie. Feb. 13. 1861. Wyo- 
ming State Archives, [department of State Parks and Cultural Re- 

'■Revised Regulations for the Army of the Inited States. 1 86 1 
(Philadelphia: .1. G, T, Brown. Printer. 1861). 351. 

"Steffen. 67. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

discharged. In spite of the pending crisis, he did not 
choose to reenlist. nor was he required to stay in ser- 

Apparently he returned to Fort Laramie as quiciciy as 
possible, and as a private citizen, resumed his various 
business activities, particularly tailoring and stock-trad- 
ing. He had an excellent reputation for tailoring offic- 
ers' uniforms. Bob Smoke, his half-Sioux herder, con- 
tinued pasturing the livestock outside the boundaries of 
the post. It is not clear where Foote lived, but there was 
a large community of whites. Indians and half-breeds 
living around the post. It is probable that he bought, or 
built a cabin in the area of the rest of the community. In 
spite of the war, traffic on the California-Oregon trail 
remained heavy, and with it, the demand for fresh horses, 
mules and oxen. The influx of volunteer regiments, re- 
placing the departed regular regiments, also increased 
the demand for Foote's services as a tailor. 

In the spring of 1 864. an increasing number of young 
Sioux warriors quietly intermingled with the "Coffee 
Coolers."" One evening in mid-May. Bob Smoke did not 
bring Foote"s horses in from pasture. The next morning, 
it was evident that Bob Smoke, the horses, the Sioux 
warriors, and some of the permanent Indian residents, 
had all disappeared. Their tracks, which they made no 
effort to hide, indicated that they crossed the Platte River 
and traveled north toward the Cheyenne River. It was 
two days before Foote could get organized, and get per- 
mission to go after them. John Hunter and Tom Max- 
well, two civilian friends living near Fort Laramie, agreed 
to go with him. Lt. Col. William O. Collins. 1 1"' Volun- 
teer Ohio Cavalry, the Fort Laramie commander, sent 
Sgt. Herman Haas and a cavalry squad with him. Haas 
was ordered not to go beyond the Cheyenne River val- 
ley. The Indians with the horses left a clear trail for the 
pursuers to follow. When they reached the Cheyenne 
River. Sergeant Haas suggested that the three civilians 
turn back with him. but Foote was adamant. Haas and 
his troops reluctantly returned to Fort Laramie, and 
Hunter. Maxwell and Foote continued the pursuit alone. 

Two and a half days later, they came upon the Indian 
camp. Bob Smoke came to meet them, claiming the 
Sioux had taken him and the horses. John Hunter, who 
lived with the Sioux and had a Sioux wife, spoke Sioux 
fiuently. He also knew many of the Indians who had 
taken the horses. He thought that Bob Smoke might have 
let the Indians believe the horses were his. Hunter was 
highly respected by the Sioux, who thought he was in- 
vulnerable. The three were banking on this. They were 
finally invited into the camp. Hunter suggested it might 
be an ambush, and they should be prepared to ride 
through the camp. It was an ambush, and Foote and Tom 

Maxwell each was struck by two arrows, while John 
Hunter came through without a scratch, even though the 
one Indian with a rifie shot directly at him. 

They found refuge in a patch of willows under a clay 
bank. They stopped, built a small fortification of logs, 
dressed their wounds and ate. They still had their pack 
horse, so they did have food, water and ammunition. 
Hunter was sure the Indians would attack again just be- 
fore sundown, after they had time to scout around and 
make sure the three were alone, and there were no sol- 
diers with them. As Hunter predicted, the Indians re- 
newed their attack at dusk. Their arrows couldn't pen- 
etrate the willows with any accuracy, and the fire of the 
three held the Indians back. Hunter jumped on a log to 
get a better shot, and the Indian with the rifie, who missed 
him before, shot, and this time killed him. Hunter did 
manage to stay standing on the log long enough to empty 
both of his revolvers, stepped off, and fell dead. With 
his reputation of invulnerability, the Indians evidently 
thought the shot had missed him, and they faded away. 
Foote and Maxwell loaded Hunter"s body on his horse, 
took him out on the prairie where they buried him, then 
removed every evidence of a grave. 

Slowly and painfully they made their way back to Fort 
Laramie. Their wounds were serious and they stayed in 
the hospital some six weeks. A few days after they were 
released from the hospital, Foote was lying on the cot in 
his cabin. Bob Smoke came in. pounded his chest, and 
proclaimed loudly that he was a good Indian. Foote had 
his revolver on the bed beside him. He raised up. shot 
Smoke, and said "Now. you"re a good Indian."'" 

According to Lewis B. Hull, who was a member of 
the I 1 "^ Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Bob Smoke did not die 
immediately, but was taken to the post hospital where 
he died. Foote had shot him in the stomach and the ball 
lodged against his back ribs. On June 13. there was a 
skirmish about five miles north of Fort Laramie. The 
Indians evidently came back to kill Foote. since White 
Eyes, Smoke's half-brother, swore he would get revenge. 
A cavalry patrol shot two of the Indians, killing one.'" 

Colonel Collins confined Foote to the guardhouse. 
Ostensibly for shooting Bob Smoke, but probably as 
much for his own protection from the Indians who were 
after him. According to Foote, he remained in the guard- 
house until Colonel Thomas Moonlight arrived at Fort 
Laramie, and ordered Foote"s release.'^ This seems un- 

'■"National Archives. Returns From Regular Cavaliy Regiments. 

'T.llis. 51-55. 

"'Lewis Byram Hull (Myra E. Hull. Editor). "Soldiering on the 
High Plains. I'he Diary of Lewis Byram Hull. 1864-1866." Kansas 
Historical Quarterly, 7 (February. 1938), 13-14. 

"Ellis. 55. 

Winter •200'2 


likely, since Moonlight was assigned to Fort Laramie as 
Commander. Notlh Sub-District. District of the F^lains. 
in April 1 865." This would have meant some ten months 
of confinement without a trial for Foote. He also states 
that Moonlight offered him the position of post trader at 
Fort Halleck. in compensation for his loss. Since he did 
move to Fort Halleck in that capacity in the spring of 
1865. it is probable the Colonel Moonlight did make 
those arrangements. Moonlight, like Foote. was born in 
Forfarshire. Scotland, and he was Just a little over a year 
older than Foote. Also like Foote. he had started his life 
in the United States by enlisting in the regular army 
shortly after his arrival." It is possible the\ found they 
had a great deal in common.-" 

John Loree, the Indian agent at Fort Laramie, suggested 

that White Eyes. Smoke's 

brother, be given some gifts and 
that Foote and Hunter be ban- 
ished from Indian territory to 
restore the peace, save the two 
men's lives, and pacify the In- 
dians.-' Evidently he did not 
know .lohn Hunter had not survived the attack. 1 he rela- 
tions between Hunter and Loree, and probably Foote. 
were less than friendly. Shortly after Brig. Gen. Robert 
B. Mitchell assumed command of the Department of Ne- 
braska in early March 1864. he had an inter\iew with 
John Hunter of whom he said. "'I think him honest and 
intelligent. Citizens here who know him say that he is 
reliable." Hunter told Mitchell that the unrest among all 
the tribes in the region could be traced directly to Agent 
Robert Loree. In his report. General Mitchell said he 
had conversations with two other persons who made the 
same statements regarding Loree.'- 

Loree canceled the licenses of all regular Indian trad- 
ers, and licensed friends and relatives; he took a major 
share of the Indian annuit\ goods from each shipment, 
sold them to the traders, who in turn, traded them to the 
Indians. With the monopoly he established, the price the 
Indians received for their hides was much lower than it 
had been under the old, established traders; their annu- 
ities were reduced by Loree's thievery; and the quality 
and variety of the trade goods, other than their annuity 
goods, were much lower. Loree did not stay around to 
see whether or not his solution for Foote was put into 
effect. Hunters" statements to General Mitchell were 
proving true. Fearing for his life in the face of rising 
Sioux anger, Loree submitted his resignation from Mis- 
souri on September 30. 1 864, where he tied with a wagon 
and team belonging to the Indian Bureau. -' Since Loree 
left Fort Laramie in disgrace before Foote went to Fort 
Halleck. in all probability his suggestion played little or 

He also started a ranch and 
tradins post where the 
Overland Trail crossed 
Foote Creek. 

no part in Foote's removal from Fort Laramie. 

Foote expanded his activities at Fort Halleck. He was 
awarded the contract to freight supplies from Fort 
Laramie to Fort Halleck. He used wagon trains of double 
wagons with ten or twelve yoke of oxen to each pair of 
wagons, and usually drove one outUt himself He also 
started a ranch and trading post w here the Overland Trail 
crossed Foote Creek. In his diar\ entry for July 13, Hull 
notes that information came that Foote's ranch vsas 
burned, and all of his stock stolen.-^ 

Foote received an arrow wound in the leg. and as his 
store burned, he retreated back to Foil Halleck. On his 
way. he discovered an emigrant wagon train also under 
attack. The emigrants wanted to make a run for the fort. 
He convinced the wagon master that it was safer to circle 
the wagons, and organized a de- 
fense, fhe defense was strong, 
and the attack was short. How- 
ever, two wagons did not make 
it. The wagons belonged to the 
Fletcher famiK . Lagging behind 
the train, they were cut off The 
father. Jasper, was wounded, but he and three sons es- 
caped. Mrs. Fletcher was killed and scalped and two 
daughters. 13-year-old Mary, and two-year-old Lizzie, 
were carried otT. But for Foote's bravery and quick-think- 
ing, the entire train could well ha\e met the same fate.-^ 
On Sept. 1 0. 1 865. Foote and Frank Dale\ were bring- 
ing a double wagon rig loaded with Hour from Fort 
Laramie to Fort Halleck when they were attacked by 
Indians. Initially. the\ tried to take refuge behind the 
wagons. The Indians, armed with ritles. immediately 
killed the oxen, and kept the men pinned down. A sack 

'" The II iir of the Rebellion A Coinpilalioii of the (Official Records 
ol ihe I lunn ami Confederate Annies. Series 1. V, XI \111. Part II, 
(Washington: (iovernment Printing Office. 1S46.) 27,^, 

'"Dan L. Ihrapp. Encyclopedia of Western Hiograpln. )' // (Glen- 
daie; Arthur H.Clark Company. 1918). 1008-10(19. 

-"Letter. Brig. Gen. P. K. Connor. Fort Laramie, to Major (len. G. 
M. Dodge. Commander. Department of the Missouri. .lul> fi. 1865. 
The War of the Rebellion. 1059. Colonel Moonlight's opportunitN to 
do anything for Foote was very short. He crossed General P. E. 
Connor. Commander. District of the Plains, who. on ,lul> 6, 1865. 
suspended him from command and ordered him to Lort Kearny to be 
mustered out of ser\ ice. 

-'Daniel L. Kinnaman. .-1 Little Piece oj ll'yoiuini; (Rawlins: 
Kinnaman Publications. 1997). 67-68. 

■■Letter Brig. Gen. Robert Mitchell to Capt. John Williams. Asst. 
Adjutant General. Department of Kansas. March 24 1864. The li'ar 
of the Rebellion. Series 1. V. ,\LV11L Part II. p. 275. 

■^Remi Nadeau. Fort Laramie and the Sioilx (Lincoln: Uni\ersity 
of Nebraska Press. 1982). 161-167. 

-^Hull. 42. 

-"Elias, W. W'hitcomb. "Reminiscences of a Pioneer. 1857-1869.'" 
Wyoming Historical Collections (1920). 93. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

at a time, they removed enough flour to fortify them- 
selves under the wagon, where tiiey spent the night. In 
the middle of the affray. Foote took a bullet in the shoul- 
der. When they were late arriving at Fort Fialleck. a cav- 
alry patrol went in search of them, frightening off their 
assailants. Foote's wound was dressed at the fort. While 
he was recuperating at home, an Indian whom he knew 
slightK asked to see him. saying he had an antelope quar- 
ter he wished to give to him. When the Indian was ad- 
mitted to Foote's room, he drew a pistol with the evi- 
dent intent of killing Foote. As usual, Foote had his pis- 
tol under his pillow, outdrew the Indian and killed him.-" 

Despite the Indian attacks on the Overland trail, the 
traffic was heavy. The army posts along the trails were 
charged with keeping a count of the emigrants passing 
the post. In most cases, this was an extra duty of the post 
surgeon. In 1864. the tally of Dr. J. W. Finfrock. post 
surgeon at Fort Halleck, showed 4,264 wagons and 
1 7.584 emigrants passing the fort during the travel sea- 
son." Traders such as Elias W. Whitcomb and Foote 
were in a position to make a good profit from the traffic. 

General Order No. 33. dated March 10, 1866. Head- 
quarters, Department of the Missouri, ordered the aban- 
donment of Forts Halleck and Collins, to be replaced by 
a new post at the Big Laramie River crossing, to be 
named Fort John Buford. Foote chose to stay at the Fort 
Halleck location. The business with the emigrant trains 
traveling the Overland Trail remained good. In addition, 
he was postmaster as well as justice of the peace. The 
Coad brothers were doing extensive logging on Elk 
Mountain, providing ties, fire wood, and bridge timbers 
forthe construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Foote 
had the contracts to supply the logging camps, and also 
had contracts to run the wagon trains used by Mark Coad 
to haul the logs to the railroad right of way. He had staked 
out claims on Foote Creek, and was raising livestock as 
well as cutting hay for his own livestock. Wells, Fargo 
& Company's overland stage line, Coad brothers, and 
the emigrants. He also had contracts to rebuild Pine 
Grove and Bridger Pass stage stations for the Overland 
Stage Company after they were destroyed in Indian at- 
tacks. He evidently felt that these multiple enterprises, 
for the time being at least, would offset the loss of the 
army business, and that he was better off where he was. 

The Dakota territorial legislature organized the 
territory's western region as Laramie County, with the 
county seat at Fort Sanders on Jan. 9, 1 867. The county 
commissioners were William L. Kuykendall, J. N. 
Hinman and William Hopkins. Robert Foote was ap- 
pointed county sheriff Kuykendall tried to get the other 
two commissioners to meet to organize the county, but 
they failed to act, so at that time, the county was never 

actually organized. For that reason, Foote actually never 
served as sheriff-** 

Although never a sheriff, Foote did make one arrest, 
of L. H. Musgrove one of the most daring of all western 
outlaws. Foote knew him when Musgrove was an In- 
dian trader at Fort Halleck. One day a half- Arapaho jok- 
ingly called Musgrove a liar. Musgrove's answer was 
to put a bullet in the man's brain. This effectively ended 
Musgrove's career as an Indian trader. He turned to 
horse-stealing, and when working alone was not as lu- 
crative as he had hoped, he organized a syndicate with 
agents in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado. Arizona, New 
Mexico, Texas, Dakota and Montana.-" Musgrove's syn- 
dicate was too big to be successful for very long. He had 
been headquartered in Denver, but as things began to 
fall apart, he returned north and hid out in the vicinity of 
Elk Mountain. One day he came down to the railroad at 
Percy station. He was sitting in a restaurant eating break- 
fast when Foote, who had just delivered a wagon train 
of railroad ties, decided he would have breakfast. 
Musgrove had his back to the door, but Foote recog- 
nized him. He quietly drew his pistol, stepped up to 
Musgrove and told him to put up his hands. He took 
Musgrove to Fort Steele, where the army blacksmith put 
him in irons. A few days later, en route to Denver, 
Musgrove escaped. He was recaptured shortly after by 
the U.S. Marshal from Cheyenne, H. D. Haskell, and 
returned to Denver.'" He was taken from jail by a mob 
and lynched on November 23, 1 868.- ' 

-"Ellis. 56. 57. 

•' General G. M. Dodge, commander of U.S. Forces in Kansas 
and the Territories, in his report oTNon. I. 1865 to the Commander. 
Department of the Missouri, called it the best natural road from the 
Missouri to the Pacific, and noted that the traffic between I March 
and 10 August was 1 1. 854 persons. Letter. General G. M. Dodge to 
Brevet Lt. Colonel Joseph McC. Bell. Assistant Adjutant General. 
Department of the Missouri. War Department. War of the Rebellion: 
Official Records of the liiion and Confederate Armies. Series I. 
Volume XLVIII. Part I; Washington: Government Printing Office. 
1902.) p. 342. 

-"Judge W. L. Ruvkendall. Frontier Days. (.1. M. and H. L. 
Kuyendall. Publishers. 1917). 101. 

-'There are estimates that his gang at one time numbered 200 men. 
They would steal horses and mules in the border states and run them 
north, particularh' along the route of Union Pacific construction. With 
doctored brands and forged bills of sale, they marketed them to the 
railroad, contractors, and other potential buyers. They then reversed 
the process, stealing livestock in the north, doctoring the brands, 
forging bills of sale, and peddling them in the south. They robbed 
stages, wagon trains, emigrant trains, anything that offered possible 
loot, including army livestock and funds. General D. J. Cook. Hands 
I p: or. Twem\' years of Detective Life in the .Mountains and Plains. 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 1958). 39-60; William Ross 
Collier and [:dw in Victor Westrate. Dave Cook of the Rockies. (New 
York: Rufus Rockwell Wilson. 1936). 80-96. 

'"Collier and Westrate. 95. 

Winter :200^i 


For Foote. 1 868 proved to be an eventful year. In 
the fall of 1 862. shortlv after the establishment 
of Fort Mai leek, a young lady. Amanda Norris. came 
West from Fort Leavenworth. She was the half-sister of 
John Sublette, a frontiersman who lived near Fort 
Halleck. Sublette and Foote occasionally were business 
partners. Amanda was one of the few women at the fort. 
She worked at various jobs on the post, including clerking 
in Foote's store. On April 10. 1868. Amanda and Foote 
were married at Fort Leavenworth. Kansas. '- 

With the increased demand for hay. Foote expanded 
his production w ith one of the first irrigation projects in 
the territory. With a team and plow, and a lot of hand 
work, he dug ditches on the upper reaches of Foote Creek, 
bringing the water down to irrigate the creek bottoms.'' 
He was operating under squatters" rights, without title 
to the land and without legal water rights. 

While Foote was engaged in his other enterprises, 
Amanda managed the store. She also helped \sith the 
hay operations, including the irrigation, cutting and stack- 
ing. In the next few years, the Footes became parents of 
five boys. Amanda received an inheritance from her fa- 
ther which she invested in property in Omaha. When 
the boys were of school age. she took them to the city 
for the school term. While in Omaha, three of the five 

William Bevins. He and Herman Lessimin, atuicked 
Foote at Fort Halleck. 

children died. Only Robert .Jr.. and Bvron survived to 

On August 13. 1876. Foote again tangled with a pair 
of outlaws. About dusk, he noticed two men camping in 
the willows along a stream a short distance from his 
house. When he approached the camp, he recognized 
one of the men as Bill Bevins. Sometime before. Bevins 
held Foote up and robbed him of a sum of money. In the 
ensuing shooting, neither Bevins nor Foote was hit. but 
a bullet lodged in the Foote's family Bible. This time. 
Bevins attacked Foote immediatelv . knocked the gun out 
of his hand, forced him down, and choked him. 

Amanda was watching from the window. She grabbed 
a stick, jumped out of the window, and attacked Bevins. 
He took the stick from her. and grabbed her bv the ankle. 
She screamed for help, and Mrs. Hansen, a woman who 
lived nearhv. brought her a pistol. Bevins let them both 
go, and ran into the willows. Amanda shot at him, but 
missed. Bevins and his partner, Herman Lessman. left 
the area. 

Foote offered the Lee brothers, two trappers who lived 
nearby. $200 if the\ captured the two and brought them 
back. In a few days they returned with Bevins and 
Lessman tied on a horse. Foote paid them: took Bevins 
and Lessman to Rawlins, the Carbon County seat, and 
turned them over to Sheriff D. F. Rennie. ,A grand jury 
returned a true hill on both. Lessman was tried on Sep- 
tember 24. 1 876, and found guilty of assault with intent 
to kill, and sentenced to term of two years, six months 
in the territorial penitentiary.^' Bev ins won a change of 
venue to Albany County. On February 7. 1877. he was 
tried and found guilty on charges of assault and attempt 
to murder.'" On Februarv 14. he was sentenced to a 
term of eight years in the territorial penitentiarv." 

"Herbert Howe Banerot't. Populav Tribunals. V. 1. (San Iran- 
cisco: lheHistor\ Pllbll,'^hing Co. 1887). 670. 

'■According to the United Stales Census for 1871). .Amanda was 
listed as age 26 and mulatto; Foote was listed as age ?<2. a carpenter, 
and having a personal estate of $10,000. Their son. lesse. was listed 
as age I. and mulatto, 

"Robert Homer Burns. .Andrew Springs (lillespie, and \\ illuig 
Gay Richardson. \i'yi»iiiiig's Pioneer Randies (l.aramie: lop-ot- 
the-World Press. 1455). 638. 

^■"Mrs. Alfred M. (Cora) Beach. Women ofllvoiiiini;. II. (Casper: 
S. H. BoyerandCo.. 1404). 2. 3, 

''Carbon Counl\ [W\omuig I errilorx | District Court. Crimmal 
Indictment No. 261. Pt'o/'/t' ()/;/)t' I'ernlon-ol Wyoimngy (C Sevens 
and H Lessnuni. tiled September 26. 1876. 


"Bevins escaped from the .-Mbany Counl\ .lail on .April 3. 1877. 
while awaiting appeal ofhis conviction. He became one ot'the most 
notorious "road agents" on the Cheyenne-Deadwood stage route. 
He was tlnally recaptured near lander on .lul\ 6. 1877. He sersed 
five >ears and seven months. EInora 1,. Vr\c. .tllas of ll'vonnng 
Outlaws at the Territorial Peiiilenlian\ (Laramie: .lelm Mountain 
Publications, 1990), 43-44. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

By 1 88 1 traffic on the Overland Trail had deceased 
to a trickle: logging on Elk Mountain had de- 
clined; and. the post office at Fort Halleck was moved 
to the new town of Elk Mountain. Since Foote's store 
and hay businesses were declining, he decided to look 
for a new location. 

Johnson County had recently been organized in the 
north-central part of the territory, and the town of Buf- 
falo, its county seat, was growing rapidly. It was head- 
quarters for many of the large new cattle companies 
forming out of what until recently had been Indian terri- 
tory. The ranches needed a ready source of supplies and 
services and the convenience of the county seat. The 
nearby military post. Fort McKinney also afforded the 
townspeople with the additional opportunity for contracts 
for supplies and services to fulfill its needs. The oppor- 
tunities in Buffalo were just the thing to sharpen Foote's 
entrepreneurial appetite. He sold his holdings in the Elk 
Mountain area and took a short trip to Scotland to visit 
his family. On his return, he went to Denver, and at the 
■■Red Bam." he hired John Barkey to help move his live- 
stock, dry goods and personal belongings from Fort 
Halleck to Buffalo.''^ 

In the center of downtown Buffalo, Foote built a large, 
two-story log. general store building with the usual false 
front. Rows of dormer windows on both sides made the 
store light and pleasant. On the south-side of the build- 
ing was a wide, covered veranda with benches and chairs 
which proved to be a popular gathering place for the 
residents. The store hours were 6 a.m.. to 8 p.m. Through 
his skill as a tailor, the former dragoon and former fron- 
tiersman transformed himself into a gentleman. In Buf- 
falo, he always wore a Prince Albert coat, striped trou- 
sers, a brocade vest and top hat and carried a walking 
stick. He also tailored Mrs. Foote's and the boys' 

Foote found living in Buffalo to be both e.xciting and 
lucrative. In addition to the store, he started a small live- 
stock operation and contracted with the army for sup- 
plies for Fort McKinney. He became active in Johnson 
County Democratic politics, and played a leading role 
in the party. There was, however, a deep rift which un- 
derlay both the social and economic structures of Johnson 

When the Siou.x War of 1876-1877 drew to a close, 
the Powder River basin, the prized land of the Siou.x and 
Cheyennes. was opened for white e.xploitation. The ex- 
cellent cattle ranges of the basin and vicinity created an 
immediate land rush, a rush to establish claims to the 
best range land and the limited water resources of the 
region. In addition to the large, well-financed cattle com- 

panies, mostly absentee-ownership corporations, there 
were many smaller ranches, one or two-man concerns, 
operating on a shoestring on the fringes of the larger 
outfits. They competed for the same rangelands and wa- 
ter. There were also bands of rustlers who victimized 
both. The larger companies were the rustlers' preferred 
targets. They had the largest herds spread over the wid- 
est territory, making them the easiest prey. The small 
ranchers often found that it was to their advantage to 
cooperate with, if not join, the rustlers. 

The owners and managers of the large companies 
lumped the small ranchers and the rustlers into a single 
category, and a "we and they" attitude developed. By 
the time Foote established his store in Buffalo, and his 
nearby ranch, the lines were clearly drawn. The Wyo- 
ming Stock Growers Association, with its limited, se- 
lect membership, had control of the roundup and mar- 
keting system. It also had a private detective force to 
execute its rules and protect the interests of its mem- 
bers. The association's membership also included most 
of the politically and financially powerful men in the 
territory. The smaller ranchers found it difficult to hold 
on to their land and water rights, to have their brands 
recognized, to participate in the range-wide roundups. 
The roundups were conducted under the auspices, ini- 
tially of the Association, and later of the Territorial then 
the State Livestock Commission. Both of the latter were 
under the control of the association. When the smaller 
ranchers did ship cattle to market, the shipments often 
were confiscated by the brand inspectors at the receiv- 
ing stockyard as illegally branded or improperly docu- 
mented. They were then auctioned off, and the proceeds 
sent to the Association, until January 1890, when they 
were deposited in the general funds of the Territory.^" 

Initially, most of the townspeople in Buffalo tried to 
stay neutral. They did business with both the large out- 
fits and the small ones, and could not afford to antago- 
nize either. Others felt that the issues were not vital 
enough to become involved. Pressures increased, how- 
ever, for them to declare their support for one side or the 

'"Charles Gray Miller. Bujfalo Bulletin. November 16. 1916. I. 

'''Buffalo Centennial Committee. Buffalo's First Century. (Buf- 
falo: Buffalo Bulletin. 1984). 4. 5. 

^"Oscar H. "Jack" Flagg, The Cattle Business in Johnson County. 
(New York: Arno Press and New York Times. 1969). 40. 41. 

■•T. P. Hill, an attorney in Buffalo, was one of the few who man- 
aged to stay neutral. When a delegation called on him to express his 
loyalty one way or the other. Charles T. Hogerson. president of the 
First National Bank, told the delegation that any man who preferred 
to stay neutral should be allowed that privilege. Hill was not dis- 
turbed again. Burton S. Hill. "Frontier Lawyer. T. P. Hill." Annals 
of morning. 34 (April. 1962). 49. 

Winter 'iOO'2 

Foote could not remain neutral. With his son, Robert 
Jr., he was a small ranch operator, just as he had been 
for much of his life in Wyoming. Many of his custom- 
ers were small ranchers and their families. The manag- 
ers of the large companies accused him of stocking his 
range with mavericks, stolen calves, or calves with al- 
tered brands, rustled from their ranges and taken b\ him 
in pa\ment for goods from his store. '^' 

In IS'^l, Foote had anotiier problem. He was also in- 
dicted by a federal grand jury in Cheyenne on nine counts 
of defrauding the government on grain sales to Fort 
McKinncN.^' The case was postponed from court term 
to court term. Foote's attorney asked for continuances, 
and the government's witnesses, mostly army officers, 
were now scattered throughout the country, and were 
difficult to subpoena. Also, the U.S. Marshal's budget 
did not have sufficient funds to pay the necessary wit- 
ness fees. Trial was tuialK held in Ma\ 18Q4. A nolle 
prosequi was tiled on the first count by Benjamin Fowler. 
United States District Attornev, and in a jur> trial, Foote 
was found innocent on the other eight counts. "'"' 

In the meantime, the tensions in Johnson County in- 
creased. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association had 
fallen on hard times, and the\ were no longer able to 
employ the stock inspectors and detectives who had pre- 
viously safeguarded their interests. Frank Canton, who 
had served two terms as Johnson County sheriff 1 882- 
1886. was defeated for a third term. In January 1887. 
the stock growers" association appointed him to head its 
detective force in the northern part of Wyoming with 
headquarters in Buffalo.^" In this position, he held war- 
rants as a deputv sheriff in everv northern county as well 
as a commission as Deputy United States Marshal. As 
sheriff. Canton supported the position of the big cattle 
interests, and as their chief of detectives in the north, he 
came down hard on small ranchers and rustlers alike. 
By the end of 1 888, the Association was no longer able 
to pay its bills, and the Cheyenne banks had cut off all 
credit. Since the association could no longer afford to 
keep him on their rolls. Canton again considered run- 
ning for sheriff^" 

In the summer of 1891. death came to a number of 
accused or suspected rustlers. On June 4, three men went 
to Thomas Waggoner's house near Newcastle, ostensi- 
bly, to arrest him. Fifteen days later his body was found 
hanging from a tree two miles from his house. Waggoner 
was suspected of horse stealing, and at least one of the 
three men who came for him was a Wyoming Stock 
Growers' Association detective.^' 

On October 7, 1891, Foote had his own problem with 
the system. He made a shipment of cattle to the Omaha 
stockyards. Claude L. Talbot, stock inspector for the 

Wyoming Board of Livestock Commissioners, seized 
three head of cattle from the shipment as estrays. sold 
them, and, as prescribed by law, sent the proceeds to the 
secretary of the state board. 1 he state board refused to 
recognize Foote as the legal ovsner of the cattle.^'* There 
is little doubt that Talbot was a "company man."^' 

The brand on the cattle was Foote's own, FOOT, on 
the left ribs.'" The cattle originally carried the "hat" brand 
when he purchased seven head from L.A. Webb in No- 
vember 1 890, and were rebranded by Webb with Foote's 
brand at the time of the sale. The "hat" brand was con- 
sidered by the cattlemen to be an outlaw brand, even 
though it was legally registered.' 

Foote tiled a request for reimbursement, w ith the docu- 
mentation proving ownership required by law. to the sec- 
retary of the State Livestock Commission on October 
3 1 . Payment was refused, and he filed a petition for man- 

^-Frank Canton. Iroinicr Trails (Norman; llni\ersit\ of Okla- 
homa Press. V)hh). 82. 83- 

""■' I'nilcd Stales v,v Roberl Foote, el, ai. Case No. 120. District of 
\V_\oming. .lune 14. 1891. Records. IJ. S. District Court for the Dis- 
trict of Wyotning, National .Archives. Denver Branch, 

""■•Beniamin F". Fov\lcr. US. .Attorney for Wvoming. to the Attor- 
ne> (Icneral of the United States. Nmemher 26. 1893. R.(i 60. Na- 
tional Archives. 

■'' Frank Canton to the Wyoming Stock tjrowers' .Association, lanu- 
ar> 22. 1887. Wyoming Stock Growers" Association collection. 
.American Heritage Center. UniversitN of Wxoniing, 

^'In a letter to 1 homas B Adams. Secretary of the Association, he 
slated, \^ilh some hittcrncss. "In regard to m\ chances for reelection 
to the oflice of sheriff-! will sa\ that at present I don't think 1 stand 
an\ show whatsoever — so far the rustlers have run everything, .lack 
Flagg and three of his gang will be here as delegates trom Powder 
River," I- rank Canton to Thomas B. Adams. October 8. 1888, Wyo- 
ming Stock (irovvers" Association collection. American Heritage Cen- 
ter. I niversity of Wyoming 

^'Helena Huntington Smith, flic \\\ir on I'owiler River (lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press. 1467). 148.149. 

^' Stale ex re I hooie v Board of l.ivestoek (.'oininissioners. 4 It'vo- 
luing Reports, 1 27 It was designated Wyoming Stale Supreme Court 
Case #2-1.^1, 

^'Inspector Talbot was a part of the Wyoming Stock Growers power 
structure. He was a signer of the original petition to organize .lohnson 
Countv in 1880. and at the time, worked lor Moreton Frcv\en and 
the 76 ranch. I'albot was emploved as stock inspector b\ the Wvo- 
ming Stock Growers Association from 1885 until 1890. then by the 
Wyoming State Ldvestock Board from 1 890 to 1 892. while it had the 
inspection responsibility. In 1893. when the Wyotning Stock Grow- 
ers Association again assumed the stock inspection responsibilities. 
Talbot returned to its employment, and at his retirement, had been an 
inspector for the .Association for 46 \ears, ,lohn Rolfe Burroughs. 
Ciuardian of the Gra,sslaiids (Chevenne: Wvoming Stock Cirowers 
Association. 1971). 69, 

'"Slate Board of livestock Commissioners of Wyoming, ll'vo- 
iiiiiig Brand Book, 1919 (Cheyenne; State Board of 1 ivestock Com- 
missioners of Wyoming. 1919). 85. 

" Charles H. Burritt to S. M. Allen (Denver. Colorado). May 10. 
1892. Burritt Papers. American Heritage Center. University of W\o- 


Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

damus with the Wyoming State Supreme Court on Dec. 
29. 1 892. In December 1 893. the court returned a unani- 
mous decision that the manner in which the law was 
written gave the Livestoci< Commission full authority 
to determine ownership of cattle, and to determine the 
nature of the e\ idence required to prove it; therefore, no 
writ of mandamus could be issued. " 

As relations between the small operators and the as- 
sociation worsened, a group of Cheyenne-based asso- 
ciation members put together an "invasion" force, in- 
tended to "eliminate" rustlers in Johnson County. The 
stor\ includes hiring of Texas gunmen, moving men and 
equipment under cover of silence north into Johnson 
County, and the killing of Nate Champion and Nick Ray 
at the KC Ranch cabin.'' 

At the same time the Invaders were moving north, 
Robert Foote. Jack Flagg. John R. Smith. Thad Cole and 
D. C. Brown were preparing to go to Douglas for the 
State Democratic Convention.'^ The plan was for Flagg 
and his 1 7-year-old stepson. Alonzo. to spend the night 
at the KC with Ray and Champion. Foote. Cole and 
Brow n were going straight to Smith's ranch, w here they 
would spend the night. Flagg was to meet them at Smith's 
the next morning, then all five delegates would ride to- 
gether to Douglas.'' 

Flagg's stepson was going to Powder River Crossing. 
He had a team and the running gear of a wagon, while 
Flagg was on horseback. They reached the KC ranch 
about 2:30 p.m.. when the Invaders'siege of Champion 
and Ray was well underway. At the moment, neither 
party was firing, so there was nothing to warn nor alarm 
Flagg and Alonzo. Flagg did see a few men around the 
bam, but did not consider it unusual. When Alonzo came 
abreast of the house, he was ordered to halt, instead, he 
whipped the team to a gallop. The Invaders immediately 
opened fire. The tiring scared the horses and by the time 
Alonzo had them under control, he was well past the 
house and out of sight of the gunmen. 

In the meantime. Flagg's horse was recognized, and 
he became the target. Charlie Ford, foreman of the TA 
ranch, took deliberate aim w ith his Winchester, and fired 
at Flagg but missed. Flagg was unarmed, so he slid over 
on the side of his horse, and made a run for it. When he 
caught up with Alonzo. he took his rifle from the wagon, 
told Alonzo to cut loose the horses, take the fastest one. 
and make a run for it. By the time the Invaders could 
mount a pursuit, both were well out of danger. 

When Flagg reached Smith's ranch, the rest of the 
delegation already was there. Flagg, Alonzo. and three 
of the others started back to the KC ranch to see if they 
could raise the siege on Champion and Ray. At the Carr 
ranch they met a posse of twelve men from Buffalo on 

the same mission. Terrance Smith, whose ranch was 
close to the KC. heard the tiring suspected what was 
occurring, and rode into Buffalo to report it. Sheriff An- 
gus called on Captain Menardi of Company "C," of the 
Wyoming National Guard for men and arms. In compli- 
ance with General Order No. 4. sent by Gov. Amos Bar- 
ber earlier in the month. Menardi refused. Angus then 
set out for the KC w ith a posse. The\ arrived to fmd the 
smoldering ruins of the house. Champion's body in a 
gulK a short distance from the house, and the burned 
torso of Ray's body in the house. The posse immedi- 
ately started back to Buffalo. They made the round-trip 
ride of 120 miles in fourteen hours.'" 

Foote rode from John R. Smith's ranch back to Buf- 
falo to alert the town. Terrance Smith's report already 
had the town in an uproar. The citizens were unsure of 
the Invader's identity or their intentions. Although they 
were already warned, the Buffalo residents had the treat 
of seeing their usually staid, well-tailored merchant re- 
vert to his days as a dragoon and Indian fighter. He roared 
down the street on his well-known black stallion, no hat, 
hair, beard and coattails flying, yelling. "Come out you 
and take sides." He then opened his store and pro- 
vided arms, ammunition, clothing, food and anything 
else he had in stock to any of the posse volunteers who 
needed it." It is estimated that to equip the posse. Rob- 
ert Foote gave away between $15,000 and $20,000 in 
merchandise, little of which was ever returned to him or 
paid for. 

The hunters now became the hunted. While they pro- 
ceeded slowly toward Buffalo, a messenger rode out to 
meet them to warn them that Buffalo was in an uproar; 
their motives and goals were "misunderstood"; that fami- 

'-The decision in the case is reported at 4 IVyomiitg Reports. 126. 

'' Numerous authors ha\e written on the .lohnson Count\ Inva- 
sion. For a view extremely sympathetic to the .lohnson County resi- 
dents, see the classic. Asa S. Mercer. The Baiulilli of the Plains: The 
Crowning Infamy of the Ages. (Norman; University of Oklahoma 
Press. 1954). Less one-sided, but still sympathetic to .lohnson County 
is Helena Huntington Smith. War on Powder River. (Lincoln: Uni- 
\ersit\ of Nebraska Press. 1965). For an account more sympathetic 
to the ln\aders. see Robert B. Da\ id. Malcolm Campbell. Sheriff 
(Casper: Wyomingana, 1932). 

-^Cheyenne Daily Leader. April 13. 1892. 

'" O. H. ".lack" Flagg. was an outstanding cow bo\ w ho came to 
Wyoming with a herd of Texas cattle in 1882. He was sought after 
immediately by many of the large livestock companies. When he 
tiled on some land, bought some cattle and registered a brand, he 
was entered in the stockgrovvers' black list. He became a leader and 
a voice for the small ranchers, and in 1892. he purchased the S!<//a/o 
Echo and became a inajor spokesman for the small ranchers and the 
Democratic Party. He and Robert Foote were friends as well as po- 
litical allies. 

'"Smith. 214. 

''Smith; A. S. Mercer. 83. 84. 

Winter ■200^2 


lies from outlying areas of the county were crowding 
into town: and, previously neutral townspeople were tak- 
ing up arms. The Invaders turned back to the TA ranch, 
about 14 miles from Buffalo. Dissension broke out again 
with Canton. Hesse, and Smith, the leader of tiie Texas 
mercenaries, favoring continuing on to Buffalo and do- 
ing battle, even though the element of surprise was lost. 
and the odds were shifting. Waicott and the "CheNenne 
Club" contingent were in fa\or of fortif\ ing the fA and 
going on the defensive. Again, they prevailed. 

The people of Buffalo soon located the Invaders. Jack 
Flagg. and about 50 men formed a series of pickets 
around the TA buildings about midnight. April 10. The 
next morning, after his 14-hour ride to the KC ranch and 
back. Sheriff Angus Joined with 40 more men. The 
churches and schools in Buffalo served as mobilization 
points for the men coming in to join the posse. The 
women of Buffalo prepared food for them, and arranged 
care for their families. After the men were fed. those 
who needed equipment repaired to Foote's store. They 
were then organized into bands of 20 men. and moved 
out to join the force investing the TA. The field com- 
mander of the operation was Arapahoe Brown, operator 
of a flour mill in town. His chief of staff was lilias Snyder, 
a pioneer rancher. Sheriff Angus spent most of his time 
in Buffalo organizing the overall operation. Robert Foote 
was quartermaster and commissary. 

The hnaders were stunned b\ the size of the force 
opposing them. They had planned on help fVom some of 
the Johnson County residents, and reinforcements from 
Montana and Idaho, none of which had materialized. 
Their first two errors, going first to the KC ranch, and 
failing to kill Jack Flagg and his stepson, cost them time. 
the element of surprise, and the advantage of secrecy. It 
had also given the opposition ample notice of what to 
expect, and time to plan countermeasures. Additionallv. 
they also had overestimated the appeal of. and sympa- 
thy for. their cause. The\ were now both outnumbered 
and surrounded, and their opposition was angry, well- 
armed and well-organized. When the part of the posse 
guarding the road into Buffalo intercepted and captured 
the Invaders" three wagons, the anger in town increased 
even more. The wagons contained hundreds of rounds 
of ammunition, dynamite, giant powder and handcuffs. 
In the surgical kit of Dr. Charles Bingham Penrose, the 
volunteer surgeon for the Invaders, they found a bottle 
of bichloride of mercury labeled "Poison." While its in- 
tended use was as an antiseptic for dressing wounds, the 
posse's interpretation was that they intended to poison 
wells. The kit also contained evidence that it belonged 
to Governor Barber, who was a surgeon, and had lent it 
to Penrose. Also in one of the wagons they found Frank 

Canton's briefcase, containing a copy of the infamous 
"hit list." of those 70 men marked for death, including 
Robert Foote. Jack Flagg. Joe DeBarthe. and Sheriff An- 
gus. ■'* 

The number of posse members continued to grow, fi- 
nally reaching nearly 500 men. A camp was set up 
nearby, out of range of rifle fire, so that the members 
could be fed and rest in shifts. The new arrivals were 
from as far awa\ as the Montana border, and south to 
the Llnioii Pacific Railroad. 

The telegraph service to Buffalo finally was restored. 
For the first time. Acting Governor Barber learned of 
the precarious situation in which the invaders found 
themselves. He ordered Capt. C. H. Parmalee of the Wyo- 
ming National Guard to mobilize his company and take 
control of the situation. Parmalee replied that the prob- 
lem was too big for him to handle, and suggested that 
the Governor ask President Harrison to order the Fort 
McKinney troops to intervene and "restore order." 

On Tuesday. April 1 2. Governor Barber sent a wire to 
President Harrison stating that there was an insurrection 
in Wyoming with open hostilities between ""two large 
bodies of armed men." He requested that the President 
order out the troops at Fort McKinney to "'assist in sup- 
pressing this insurrection." He failed to mention that one 
bod\ of ""armed men" was a legal posse, organized bv 
the dul\ elected sheriff of the count}, while the other 
bod\ was an illegal, unconstitutional in\ ading force from 
outside the state.*" Also on Monday, it became clear that 
the situation at the TA ranch was close to a stalemate. 
The ranch buildings were built like a fortress, and while 
the Invaders could not escape, the posse members could 
not take them w ithout suffering unacceptable casualties. 
Atthisjuncture, Robert Foote went out to Fort McKinney 
and asked Colonel Van Horn, the commanding officer, 
for the loan of a cannon. When the Colonel politely re- 
fused the request, Foote then offered to pay $500 for it, 
and was again refused.'"" 

Colonel Van Horn received orders at 1 2:30 a.m.. April 
13. to intervene. At 2 a.m.. he set out for the TA ranch 
with three troops of the 6"' Cavalry. Arapahoe Brown 
and SherifT Angus told him thcN had no objection to the 
Invaders surrendering to Colonel Van Horn, provided 
they would be turned over to civil authorities for trial in 
the future. 

Major Waicott came out under a flag of truce. He 
agreed to surrender to Colonel Van Horn, but stated he 
would never surrender to Sheriff Angus. The invaders 
were disamied, and together w ith their horses, were taken 

"Chcyi'ww Daily Leader. April 20. 1892. 
^''Cheyenne Daily Leader. April 13. 1892. 
'"Smith. 219. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wj'oming History Journal 

Foote 's General 
Store in Buffalo 
was a prime provi- 
sioning point for 
residents warding 
off the Invaders 
during the 

Johnson County 
War. The building 
burned in March. 
1895. three years 
after the invasion. 

-^ " '^ n , C. :% . 
.-i J -> - , -. ^-; ;'- >-« A N „ i ~- r- 

G-N:-::'^"^ ^ m -^ 


to Fort McKinney and placed under military guard in an 
empty barracks.*"' 

The armed war was over. For Robert Foote and the 
others prominent in the ranks of the anti- Wyoming Stock 
Growers Association faction, the sub rasa war now be- 
gan. The roundup scheduled by the Northern Wyoming 
Farmers" and Stock Growers' Association still was set 
to begin May 1 . However, the membership took no steps 
to do the planning or organizing to get it started on time. 
No one had been named to replace Nate Champion as 
the roundup foreman. On May 3, U. S. District Judge 
John A. Riner. on behalf of the Western Union Beef 
Company, Wyoming Cattle Company, Ltd., and the 
Ogalalla Land and Cattle Company, issued two injunc- 
tions against thirty-six members of the association, pro- 
hibiting the roundup. Both Robert Foote, Sr., and Rob- 
ert Foote, Jr., were named in the injunctions. U. S. Mar- 
shal Joe Rankin and his deputies served the injunctions." 

The regular June roundups, scheduled by the Board of 
Livestock Commissioners, in accordance with state law, 
were revised slightly as to boundaries, times, and per- 
sonnel. There were four roundup districts scheduled for 
Johnson County. All of the original roundup commis- 
sioners and foremen were among the Invaders, and were 
held with the rest under arrest at Fort D. A. Russell near 
Cheyenne. The State Board had to appoint replacement 
commissioners and foremen." 

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners sent 
letters to all of the Johnson County livestock owners 
being held at Fort D. A. Russell inviting them to send 
"suitable, truthful, and trustworthy persons to their 
ranches, to attend to the roundup and preservation of 

their property." They pledged the resources of the county 
to see that their rights and property were protected.'*'' 

The roundups were opened to the small ranchers in 
the Powder River Basin for the first time as well. Rob- 
ert Foote provided a wagon in support of his own crew, 
and the representatives of the other small ranchers who 
wished to use it. The relationship between the crews of 
the large ranches and the small ranchers was one of wari- 
ness, but there were no incidents. 

At the request of Walter Stoll, an attorney for the cattle- 
men, on June 21 Edmund Churchill, Commissioner for 
the LI. S. District Court in Cheyenne, issued arrest war- 
rants for 2 1 Johnson County residents for "a conspiracy 
to obstruct and defeat the due course of justice, with 
intention to deny citizens the equal protection of the law, 
and to injure them and their property for lawfully at- 
tempting to enforce their rights to equal protection un- 
der the law."" U. S. District Judge John Riner, who was 
holding court in Kansas, had no knowledge that the war- 
rants were sworn out. Neither did Benjamin F. Fowler, 

'"'Cheyenne Daily Leader, April 15. 1892. 

'' Judge John H. Riner. U. S. District Judge for Wyoming, to W. 
H. H. Miller. United States Attorney General, August 3. 1892. in- 
cluding copies of the injunctions. Marshal Joseph Rankin File. Na- 
tional Archives. 

''^Cheyenne Daily Leader May 3. 1892. 

"'Cheyenne Daily Leader. April 26. 1892. 

'' Statement. Joseph P. Rankin. United States Marshal for Wyo- 
ming, to the United States Attorney General. October 31. 1892. 13, 
14. Appended to report. F. B. Crosthwaite. Investigator. United States 
Attorney General's Office, regarding Marshal Rankin's activities 
during the Johnson County Invasion, dated November 2. 1892. At- 
torney General's Files. National Archives. 

Winter 'iOO'2 


Fowler, United States Attorney for Wyoming.'''' Tiie war- 
rants were pail of a complex plot on the part of the cattle- 
men to force Rankin and his deputies to serve the arrest 
warrants, with the knowledge that in all prohahilitv , \ io- 
lence would result in which Rankin or his deputies could 
be killed. There would then be a legitimate reason for a 
request from Governor Barber, backed by Senators 
Warren and Carey, for President Harrison to invoke 
martial law on Johnson County. In effect, this would 
provide the results for the cattlemen that they had not 
achieved with the invasion. 

Charles H. Burritt, Mayor of Buffalo, and one of the 
attorneys on retainer for the Wyoming Stock Growers 
Association, also served as the intelligence center for 
the Association in Northern Wyoming. In a letter to 
Walter Stoll, dated May 8, 1 892, he suggested that Rob- 
ert Foote might "be reached" through W. A. Paxton of 
Omaha. Paxton was one of the owners of the Transfer 
Stockyards in Council Bluffs. Iowa; he had an interest 
in the Ogalalla Land and Cattle Company in Johnson 
County; he had belonged to the Wyoming Stock Grow- 
ers Association since 1883; and, he owned a wholesale 
mercantile company in Omaha."' According to Burritt, 
Foote bought most of his merchandise from Paxton. He 
also stated that Foote banked in Omaha and owed large, 
outstanding balances. The implication was that if the As- 
sociation applied pressure to Paxton to cut off Foote's 
credit, and to the Omaha banks to call their notes, it w ould 
effectively put Foote out of business. He also noted that 
Foote won the beef contract for Fort McKinney at $5.84 
per hundredweight when, in his opinion, the price should 
have been closer to $7. "Docs it not indicate that he in- 
tends to fill that contract with rustler beef; taken at a 
nominal figure by him to balance rustler accounts'.'" He 
also suggested that the brands on the hides of all the 
stock delivered by Foote to fill the contract should be 
carefully inspected."'* 

On May 16, Burritt again wrote to Stoll. On May 10, 
to report the ambush murder of George Wellman, newly- 
appointed foreman of the Hoe ranch, who, at the request 
of the stock growers, had also been appointed Deputy 
U. S. Marshal by Marshal Rankin to help ser\ e the crimi- 
nal warrants issued by Commissioner Churchill. He out- 
lined the testimony given so far in the inquest of the 
killing of Wellman, and promised to send him a com- 
plete transcript at the end of the inquest. He also wrote 
that J. J. McCullough, the owner of the stage line from 
the end of the railroad in Gillette to Buffalo, told him he 
was holding a shipment of 20 guns in Gillette, shipped 
express from Simmons Hardware and consigned to Rob- 
ert Foote. The guns had not been delivered to Foote be- 
cause they were too heavy for the stage to carry on the 

muddy roads. Finally, he complained that he had not 
heard anything from Stoll or Judge Van Devanter, and 
still had not been provided w ith "the promised cipher" 
so he could have secure telegraph communication with 
them."" Burritt was dissatisfied with Sheriff Angus' in- 
vestigation of the Wellman murder, so he had his own 
agents, presumabK in the pa\ of the Wyoming Stock 
Growers Association, start a separate investigation. 

On Ma\ 24, Burritt again wrote to Stoll. He wrote that 
he had a visit from a "granger," John McCrae, who lived 
about seven miles from town. McCrae had inquired about 
how long they were going to have to live with a "rustler 
government," and "rustlers" controlling the range. He 
admitted that not all grangers were completely honest, 
that some, a minority, did occasionally rustle cattle from 
the large ranches, and that their sympathies were with 
the rustlers, but that they were not the majority. His next 
complaint was about Robert Foote's contract to supply 
beef to Fort McK.inne\ "at a ruinous low figure for which 
he cannot afford to supply the post with honest beef" 
He added that Foote would fill the contract with rustled 
beef he took in pavment for accounts on his books. He 
wanted a stock detective hired to check the brands on 
the hides of all the beef Foote slaughtered to fill the con- 
tract, and was willing to pay an assessment "to catch the 
thieves, as to have the thieves collect an assessment on 
his herd of cattle." He said he asked Foote why he was 
sending a wagon on the roundup since he only had a 
little bunch of cattle; "He was going to run a wagon for 
the 'rustlers" and that none but 'rustlers" should go with 
his wagon,'" was Foote's probably facetious answer.'" 

The reason for Burritt's rancor toward Robert Foote 
ina\ have been rooted in political rivalrx within the 
Democratic Party. The Republican Party was being 
blamed for the invasion, largely because Senators Carev 
and Warren, Representative Clarence D. Clark, Judge 
Willis Van Devanter, and Acting Governor Barber, were 
all Republicans. They also all had a close relationship 
with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. Sena- 
tors Care> and Warren were Association members.'' 

""Letter, .lohii H, Riner. .liidge, I'ighth Cireiiit. District of \\\o- 
ining, to Hon. W. H. H. Miller, United States Attorney General, Au- 
gust 3, 1892. .Attorney General's Files, National Archi\es. 

"" Burroughs, 52, IS4. 

"''Charles H. Burritt to Walter R. Stoll, May 8, 1802, Burritt Col- 
lection, American Heritage Center. University of Wyoming, 

""Charles H. Burritt to Walter R. Stoll. May 16, 1892. Burritt Col- 
lection. American Heritage Center. University of Wyoming, 

'"Charles H. Burriu to Walter R. Stoll, May 24, 1 892. Burritt Col- 
lection, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. 

'' As a matter of fact, there were members of both parties on both 
sides of the issue. Stoll and Burritt were both attorneys for the cattle- 
men. Stoll also was chairman of the State Democratic Party. Burritt 
was active in Democratic politics and had political ambitions. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

On July 3, 1892. Burritt wrote a letter to Frank Can- 
ton, who was also a Democrat who had run unsuccess- 
fully for the House of Representatives from Johnson 
County in 1890.^- In his letter Burritt stated. "1 am out 
of politics this year altogether. The firm of Robert Foote 
and Co. are running the political machine up here: at the 
County Convention yesterday [July 2] the\ had things 
all their own wa\."" He sent similar letters to Walter 
Stoll and to Samuel T. Corn.'^ Corn was a prominent 
attorney in Evanston, and a leading member of the Demo- 
cratic Party in the western part of the state. He also was 
a justice in the Territorial Supreme Court.^" Since Buiritt 
was not part of the Johnson County delegation to the 
state Democratic Convention due to convene in Rock 
Springs, he was evidently trying to build support to 
thwart the Johnson County delegation in the event they 
took such undesirable action as introducing a plank in 
the party platform strongly condemning the invasion. 

Under pressure from Senators Warren and Carey, and 
Governor Barber, on behalf of the stock growers, for 
President Harrison to declare martial law in Johnson 
County, the president responded with a compromise 
measure. Six troops of the 9"^ U.S. Cavalry, from Fort 
Robinson. Nebraska, were sent to the point where the 
Burlington Missouri Railroad planned to cross Powder 
River: six troops of the 6"' U.S. Cavalry were sent to a 
point about half way between Casper and now-aban- 
doned Fort Fetterman. Both encampments were close 
enough to Johnson Count\ to mo\e in quickly to rein- 
force the troops at Fort McKinney in case martial law 
was declared. The thin cover given for the movement 
of these troops was embodied in the statement. "The en- 
campments thus made to be utilized for the purpose of 
instruction in tactics, etc.."'" The troops remained from 
June 10 until September 23, when four troops were re- 
moved from each encampment for dut\ at the Chicago 
Worlds" Fair. The last two troops were withdrawn from 
each on November 13." 

The delegates from Johnson County to the Democratic 
State Convention were Robert Foote. O. H. "Jack" Flagg. 
Howard Rolles, Thad S. Cole, John R. Smith, and G. E. 
A. Moeller. The only two statewide offices to be filled 
were governor and United States representative. The 
party nominations at the Rock Springs Democratic Con- 
vention were Dr. John E. Osborne, of Carbon Count\, 
for governor, and Henry A. Coffeen. a banker from 
Sheridan, for United States Representative. In the gen- 
eral election, November 8, 1 892, Dr. Osborne won the 
gubernatorial race over the Republican candidate, mer- 
chant-banker Edward Ivinson of Albany County; Henry 
A. Coffeen won over the Republican incumbent repre- 
sentative, Clarence D. Clark of Uinta County.'* 

In one of the legislative contests, Foote was the Demo- 
cratic nominee for the Johnson County seat in the State 
Senate. He also had been the party's nominee in the 1 890 
election, where he was opposed by Republican John N. 
Tisdale who won the election by 7 1 votes.'" Tisdale was 
one of the owners of the Three T ranch, and was one of 
the invaders. It was Tisdale's ranch where the Invaders" 
made their first stopover after leaving Casper. In the 1 892 
election Tisdale was in no position to run for a reelec- 
tion, and the Republicans did not nominate another can- 
didate to replace him. This time, Foote ran unopposed. 

In spite of his political success, and the favorable out- 
come of the Johnson County invasion, Foote was in a 
precarious financial position. He lost between $15,000 
and $20,000 in merchandise when he equipped the posse 
and verv little of it was paid for or returned. He had the 
ongoing legal expenses for his defense in the case of the 
Federal indictment, as well as the legal expenses stem- 
ming from his suit against the State Livestock Board. In 
addition, the conspiracy charges against Robert Jr.. on 
the warrant issued by Commissioner Churchill, still re- 
mained unresolved. 

The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled against him in 
his case against the Board of Livestock Commissioners 
in a decision announced Feb. 9, 1 893. The news brought 
loud cheers from John Cla\, President of the Wyoming 
Stock Growers in the Li\e Stock Report, a weekly paper 
published by Cla\, Robinson & Company, the commis- 
sion house in which he was a partner."' Aside from los- 

'- Virginia Cole Trenholm. ed.. It'yoiniiig Blue Book. II. (Chey- 
enne: Wyoming State Archives and Historical Dept.. 1972). 536. 

"'Charles S. Burritt to Frank M, Canton, .lulv 3. 1892. Burritt 
Papers. American Heritage Center. University of Wyoining. 

''Charles S. Burritt to Walter M. Stoll. and Samuel T. Corn, .luly 
3. 1892. Burritt Collection. American Heritage Center. University of 

'" Elizabeth Arnold Stone. L'iiila CoiiiUy lis Place in Histoiy. 
(Laramie: Laramie Printing Company. 1925). 170. 

^"Caltle Troubles in the State of ll'yoming and the Use of U.S. 
Troops in Suppressing Insurrection in the State. 29763 P.R.D. 1 892. 
War Department, reproduced from holdings of the National Archives. 
Record Group 94. 

"In addition to the presence of troops, on .luly 30. as a further 
possible precedent to declaring martial law. President Harrison is- 
sued a Presidential Proclamation ordering "all persons within the 
State of Wyoining resisting the laws and processes of the courts of 
the LInited States, to cease such opposition and resistance and to 
disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes on or before 
Wednesday, the third day of August next." Benjamin Harrison. By 
the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. Na- 
tional Archives. 

'* T. A. Larson. Histoiy of Wyoming. (Lincoln: University of Ne- 
braska Press. 2nd rev. ed.. 1978). 268-288. 

"Trenholm. 536. 

"" Lawrence M. Woods. John Clay. Jr. : Commission Man. Banker 
and Rancher. (Spokane: The Arthur H. Clark Company. 2001 ). 133. 

Winter '200'2 


ing the money for the three head of cattle, to Foote and 
the other small ranchers, the decision indicated that the 
W\oming court system was not going to question the 
Wyoming Stock Growers Association, nor the s\stem 
of marketing cattle it controlled. 

As previously noted, the Federal criminal case of de- 
frauding the Government for which Foote was indicted 
in 1891. final l\ came to trial in May 1894. Of the nine 
counts, the first count was removed on nolle prosequi. 
filed by Benjamin Fowler. L'nited States District Attor- 
ney, and a jury found Foote innocent on the other eight 
counts.^' The criminal indictment against Robert. .Ir.. was 
thrown out earlier, so all the legal problems of the fam- 
ily were finally settled. 

In the 1894 election. Foote was returned to the state 
senate for another Uvo-year term. His opposition this time 
consisted of an Independent and a member of the Popu- 
list Party.'*- The coalition between the Democratic and 
Populist Parties did not last through the previous term, 
and the Republican Part\ regained the governorship and 
the House of Representati\es seat.^' 

The army closed Fort McKinney. The loss was a blow 
to Buffalo, and to contractors such as Foote who had 
supplied it. Beef. fuel, feed grains, hay-all were locally 
procured for the post b\ contract, and were a lucrati\e 
source of income for the communit\. Additionalls. the 
troops stationed at the post spent money in town. With 
the decline in the cattle business since the invasion. 
Buffalo's financial recovery had been slow, making the 
loss of the fort an even harder blow. 

in March 1895. Foote's store burned to the ground. 
Some 30.000 pounds of sugar he had just received, and 
had stored in the back of the building, added to the fury 
of the fire. He had no insurance on the bmlding or the 
stock. Foote's financial decline that started with the 
Johnson County War was completed by the fire.^^ Foote 
completed his second term as state senator from Johnson 
Countv in 1896. and did not run for office again, nor 
was he able to rebuild his store. 

His son. Robert Foote, Jr.. continued to run the tamilv 
ranch. In 1 906, he did what would have been impossible 
and unthinkable ten years earlier, he became a member 
of the Wvoming Stock Growers Association.*" Once un- 
der a federal indictment brought about b\ some of its 
members, his brand listed as an outlaw brand by its in- 
spectors, and a pariah to the organization's membership, 
he was now a part of it. This was probably partly due to 
changes in the nature of the organization, and partK due 
to a change in the way Robert Foote did business. It was 
a mark of the maturity and tolerance that developed in 
the Powder River Basin ranching industry. Changes in 
the rules for using public rangelands and water rights 

revealed that many small ranchers had more problems 
in common w ilh what remained of the large cattle com- 
panies than the> had differences. 

In 1916. Robert and Amanda Foote moved to Phoe- 
ni.\. Arizona, where they lived with their youngest son. 
Byron. Robert Foote died there on November 1 2. at the 
age of 82. He was buried in Phoenix with militarv hon- 

Robert Foote had lived in Wyoming in 58 of its most 
exciting, adventurous years— the period when it was 
transformed from a raw. lawless frontier into a civilized 
state. Soldier. Indian fighter, freighter, postmaster, law 
officer, carpenter, merchant, tailor, politician — he was 
the epitome of the true pioneer. In his book on the 
Johnson Countv War. fonner governor Jack Gage said 
of Foote. "Much more could have and probably should 
have been said about this Buffalo storekeeper."*" This 
is not true of just the Johnson Countv War. but of the 
history of the last half of the nineteenth century of the 
area which became Wsoming as well. 

*' ( nitcil Stales v.v Fooic. ci al . .lun Verdict. Records ofthe LI. S, 
District Court for the District of Wyoming. National Arclii\es. Den- 
ser Branch 

"-Trenholm. 544. 

"■ Henr\ Coffcen pro\ed to be an ineffectual legislator His onl_\ 
success was getting the V\ ar Department to abandon Fon McKinne_\ , 
fk proposed to the Secretar> of War that Port \'lcKinne\ be aban- 
doned, and a new post built in his hometown of Sheridan, The War 
Department was happv to oblige him half'wa\. and abandoned Fort 
McK.innc> in 1844, Lewis 1 , (iould. il'vomiiii; From Tcrritun' lu 
Slalehiuht (Worland: High Plains Publishing Co.. \^^'^). 216. \ 
new post. Fort MacKenzie. was built in Sheridan in IS'^'J. See Gould. 
124. 13(1 

^^ Buffalo Centennial Committee. Buffalo 's First ( \-iUitn- ( Buf- 
falo: Butfalo Centennial Committee. 1484). .s. 

"' Burtoughs. 201 

*".lack R, Gage. I'he Johnson ^'()iinr\- liar Aui'i a Pack of Lies. 
(Chexenne: Flintlock Publishing Companv. I4(i7). " I he Rustler's 
Side." 75. 

Historian Murray L. Carroll is a nalive of Laramie 
ami a {^raihiale of I he University of IVyoniing. fie 
earneJ the M. S. degree in lrairsportatio?i anil logis- 
tics f7-om the University of Tennessee, the M. .A. in 
government from the College of William and Mary, 
and the Ph.D. iti political science from the i'niversilv 
ofConnecticut. He retired as a lieutenant colonel af- 
ter a 26-year career in the U S. Army. A widely pub- 
lished author with specialization in Western and mili- 
tary histoiy. he has taught political science at the Uni- 
versity ofConnecticut and the University- of Wyoming. 
.A former director ofthe Laramie Plains Museum, he 
now lives in retirement in.Anacortes. Washington. His 
latest article in .Annals. "The Wyoming Sojourn of 
the Utah Expedition. " was published in 2000. 

by Nadness 

Yhe Case of 
Geneva Collett 

By Larry K. Brown 


t i - s iim Mtitt ^ 


On a cold March 19. 1927, Geneva 
Collett lamented. "This is a bad day to 
start what 1 hax'e before me. I was hop- 

III 1925, a woman named Geneva 
Collett lived in Wyoming. In that 
30th year of her life, some thought 
her to be good and kind, as well as 
one who feared God and shunned 
those things thought to be bad. But 
in a span of but 22 months, shame 
and grief filled her heart. In fact, the 
Lord's own much-plagued Job may 
well have wailed and failed if he had 
tried to match her woe for woe. 

In January 1925, one of her broth- 
ers, Robert, passed a fistfull of bad 

in^ ihe sun would be shining and die 
birds singing so I would hcrve something 
happy to remember the world by. The 

checks to land in the Colorado State 
Penitentiary. Robert, about 37 years 
old, was charged on criminal counts 
of having passed bad checks and "un- 
lawfully and feloniously obtained 
money from one I.H. Williams by 
means of a confidence game." He 
was convicted in Glenwood Springs, 
on Nov. 11, 1926. The judge sen- 
tenced him to 3 to 4 years on Dec. I , 

A lightning bolt stunned her father 
as he walked horses at his southern 

weather makes me blue... andl'msony. " 
She had just entered the Colorado State 
Penitentiaiy as inmate #13916. 

Montana ranch. Eight months later, 
he stirred up and drank a glass of 
water and cyanide, not the mix with 
baking soda that he thought would 
cure his upset stomach. Samuel A. 
Collett, rancher [age 67], died within 
five minutes at his ranch [at "First 
Ck., Big Horn Co., Mont."] after ac- 
cidentally ingesting the poison that 
he had purchased the previous win- 
ter to kill coyotes. His place was lo- 
cated sixmiles west of Senator John 
B. Kendrick's OW ranch, 40 miles 

Winter '200i 


northeast of Sheridan. At the time of 
the accident, Collett was with 
Charles Winters, "a former rider for 
the Flying V ranch" with whom he 
had shared quarters since about 

As her family grieved. Geneva's 
sister. Pearl, split with her husband 
and she took in her mother, sister, as 
well as Robert's young daughter. 
Virgie. To help make ends meet, she 
opened a boarding house in Sheridan 
that specialized in "hot and cold run- 
ning maids. "-^ Authorities frowned on 
the niece's life in such a place, so 
they had Virgie placed in the Wyo- 
ming Girls" Industrial Institute."* 

With Geneva's morale in shreds, 
her surgeon told her. for reasons not 
clear, that she would need surgery to 
slice out parts that he deemed not 
only as key to her physical well-be- 
ing, but to the stabilitN of her mind." 

While she was still on the mend, 
her brother Robert's tiance. Mattie. 
joined the Collett family in Sheridan. 
There, they pooled their cash and 
Geneva signed a $1,000 promissory 
note to hire an attorney, who they 
hoped would bring her male sibling 
Robert back home." 

Robert's fiance— the bride-to-be- 
lodged with the Colletts. she met and 
fell for Shorty, a Sheridan barber who 
was Pearl's live-in lover. What next? 
The pair eloped and stiffed the 
Colletts with a pile of bills. Although 
Mattie had been working at the local 
Superior Laundry, she left town on 
Oct. 14. 1926. and apparently linked 
up the following day after Shorty also 
skipped town. They went to Alliance. 
Neb., where they were married, then 
went to Davidson. Okla., before con- 
tinuing on to Shorty's home in 
Frederick. But a warrant was out on 
Mattie and she was arrested.' 

Following Mattie's capture, she 
was returned by Sheridan County 
Sheriff George Lord to Sheridan on 
Friday, October 29, and charged with 
"obtaining money under false pre- 

tenses." On their way back from "ready-to-wear" store at 176 North 

Oklahoma, Mattie asked Sheriff Lord Main Street in Sheridan.'" 

to stop off at Denver to see Attorney 

Ben B. Laska, who she said could 

substantiate her claim that he had 
received the money from the 
Sheridan National Bank through a 
draft signed by Pearl Logan. The de- 
fense attorney had taken Robert 
Collett's case after being paid 
$2,000. The familv raised $1,200 - 

"Hello. Mattie. How are you?" 
The voice came from near a rack of 

"Hello. Geneva." replied the new 
bride as she went to step toward the 
front door. 
With that swift swap of pleasant- 
which was paid by Mrs. Collett on ries. the smile left Geneva's face and 
Sept. 24. 1926. Before the case went she pulled a .38 caliber Colt revolver 

to trial, she paid him $300 more and 
gave him a note for $500. To help 
defray those costs. Mattie gave Mrs. 
Collett a promissory note for $ 1 .000, 
which she said she would repay 
within two years out of the $65 a 
month that she received from her 
dead husband's war insur-ance. Af- 
ter collecting his ex- 
penses, Laska subse- 
quently agreed to with- 
draw from Robert's 
case and return the 
money to the family. 

Mattie was released 
on a bond of $500 to 
secure her appearance 
in circuit court planned 
for that November 4.^ 

With her past so 
plagued, Cjeneva called 
on a fortune teller in the 
last week of October 
1926 and begged her 
for the "money card": 
the ace of diamonds." 
She said she "had to ob- 
tain a large sum". ..and 
soon. But. as bad as 
Geneva's life may have 
been, neither she nor 
the card reader could 
know that a far worse 
fate lay in wait. But, 
she would learn that at 
2 p.m. on Monday. No- 
vember 1. 1926. when 
she went to the 
Toggery Shop, a lady's 

from her coat pocket and fired five 
shots - point blank - at her one-time 
friend. Four slugs found their mark: 
two hit Mattie's arms, the third hit 
her in the back while the fourth struck 
the lobe of her left lung and clipped 
a chunk from her aorta." 
In the next few seconds, as store 

Geneva Collett (left) and a woman, probably her older 
sister Pearl, soon after they had moved with their 
parents. Samuel ,4. and Maty .Jane "Jenny" Collett. 
to Sheridan in Wl~. Geneva M-as born Feb. 1~. 1895. 
and Pearl. Feb. 4. IS9i. both in Sweetwater. Texas. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

"Over the Moon. " the store iii the same hiiildiiig and at 
the same address as the Toggery Shop where the crime 
took place, also specializes in women 's wear. 

owners June and Vera Fulmer tried 
to hide. Mattie spun and her wounds 
spewed blood as she raced to the rear 
of the room. But then, in shock, she 
turned in vain and flailed her way 
back toward the light that shown 
through the large panes of plate glass 
at the front of the building. A trail of 
dark red drops marked her round-trip 
path before she fell and died near the 

Still stunned by what she had seen, 
June heard Geneva say, "She double 
crossed me." Then, the tall woman 
loped with gun in hand out the back 
way and down the alley to the 
Winterling & Davis garage. From 
there, she phoned the Sheridan 
County sheriffs office to tell what 
she had done. It fell to Deputy John 
H. Ladd, who took the call, to rush 
to the Nash dealership on West 

Brundage Street, where 
he nabbed her.'^ 

Less than an hour 
prior to that crime, the 
feuding families had 
settled their legal dif- 
ferences. When Mattie 
paid Pearl her board 
bill and gave back the 
diamond ring Geneva's 
brother Robert once 
had put on her hand, 
the Colletts tore up her 
outstanding note.'"* 
According to police of- 
ficer Elsie Wood, who 
first responded to the 
shooting, he had been 
present in the office of 
R.E. McNally a few 
minutes before when 
1- the agreement between 
I' Mattie and the Colletts 
■E. had been reached. 
5 "[S]he signed a con- 
I tract to pay the note, the 
money to come at $50 
monthly from her gov- 
ernment insurance, her 
first husband having 
been killed [during World War 1] 
overseas. In addition to this, she 
agreed to pay her board bill, turn over 
a diamond ring which had belonged 
to Bob Collett, and further agreed to 
immediately pay an account at the 
Toggery Shop which Pearl Logan 
had guaranteed. The charges against 
her were then dropped."'"" 

But on that day, Mattie went next 
to the Toggery Shop to pay off the 
$9.70 bill that she owed. As she did 
that, her husband. Shorty, took her 
seven-year-old son, Charles, to the 
Pallas Candy Kitchen for a treat. 
They said they would wait there for 
her. (E.A. Evans and Walter Davis, 
who barbered at the OK barber shop 
with Shorty Tidwell, testified that 
they saw Geneva and Pearl "going 
north on the east side of the street, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Tidwell walking 

almost opposite them at the same 
time on the other side of the street, 
shortly before the shooting.")'" 

When she failed to show, they 
went to the dress shop and found her 
stone dead on the floor, with her arms 
stretched out and foam on her lips. 
Mattie's body was taken to the 
Champion funeral home, where her 
autopsy was conducted.'^ Later, her 
body was shipped to Cincinnati, 
Ohio, for burial.'^ 

Sheriff Lord later testified that af- 
ter Geneva had been brought to his 
jail, she admitted that "I"ve done 
something awful." And, the next day, 
"she asked to vote as it was election 

In the next few weeks. Geneva 
shared a Sheridan County Jail cell 
with "Moonshine Mary Beloburk."-^ 
As she awaited trial, at least some 
who came to call found her more 
shamed by her darned stockings than 
by the crime with which she had been 

On November 17, Geneva ap- 
peared at court in the sheriffs cus- 
tody to plead "not guilty" as charged 
in the complaint."' By agreement of 
counsel and the defendant, she would 
return before Judge Hoop the follow- 
ing day at i :30 p.m. 

On November 1 8, as the accused 
slept beneath a flowered comforter 
on an iron cot, a few newsmen 
stopped at her cell. When they found 
her at rest, they turned to leave. "No, 
don't go," she said, as she roused 
from her sleep. "I'll get up. It seems 
good to see somebody. Gee. but 1 get 
lonesome." First though, she slipped 
patent leather pumps on her feet and 
combed fmgers through her bobbed 
hair, blushed with a touch of dye. 
That done, she and the men walked 
to a room next door. There, as she 
stooped to take a seat, she found 
some flaws in her blonde silk hose. 
Shamed by what she saw, she 
moaned, "I could never dam very 

Winter iJOO'2 


well" and pulled down the hem of 
her fine wool dress so as to hide her 

Geneva told the newsmen that "she 
did not know Mattie was in the 
Toggery when she went there to pay 
tor a pair of stockings she had bought 
there the week before." 

As if to break the ice. Geneva 
picked up a sack of grapes from a 
stand and shared them with her 
guests. That is when one of the men 
asked why she had shot Mattie 
Tidwell. Her face went blank. "She 
double-crossed me," she said. That 
line had served as her mantra since 
the law first took her in tow. But. in 
the next breath, she seemed to change 
her mind. 

I don't think I ever shot her. No- 
bod) can make me believe 1 did. I 
don't believe I ever went there with 
a gun in the tTrst place. I went there 
to pay a bill. What would I have a 
gun for. just to pay a bill? ... I wish 
people would quit asking me about 
the gun. I don't know an\thing 
about it. I'm tired of hearing about 
the old gun.'" 

Would she say she killed in self- 
defense, they asked. Geneva shook 
her head from side-to-side. Well 
then, would she plead insanity? To 
that, she gave no clue. She just 
rubbed her right arm from which 
blood had been drawn for tests. "It 
hurts." she said. "They must have 
taken a quart." She also whined that 
she found it hard to sleep at night, 
because "the wind whistles around 
the jail so hard." And she added: 
"The fellows upstairs [prisoners?] eat 
onions all the time to make them 
sleepy, but they can't sleep either."-- 

But, though she may have bad- 
mouthed her doctors and the noise, 
she gave thanks to the jaiFs staff, 
who had been good to her. Most of 
all. she praised the "good neighbor" 
Serb with whom she shared her cell. 
Mary, she said, "took care of me 

when I was sick a while back. Wish 
she could get out. I feel sorry for any- 
bodv who has to stay here."-' 

At 1 p.m. that day [November I 8], 
.Justice of the Peace. I. F. Hoop called 
her to his court for a preliminary 
hearing. There. County Attorney and 
Prosecutor .lohn F. Songer charged 
that Geneva had murdered Mattie in 
the "first degree." Without counsel, 
the accused sat with her head bowed 
and hands clasped in her lap. Onl\ 
when the judge asked how she would 
plead did she stand, step toward his 
bench and speak. "Not guilty." she 
said in a low, soft voice. A bailiff 
then led her back to her cell.-^ 

One week later, as Geneva stood 
mute, but moved her head in replv to 

appearance would be on November 
22. A committee of nine physicians 
was assigned to examine her: Dr. 
R.W. Soper and Dr. Henry W. Bar- 
rier of the U.S. Veterans" Bureau at 
Fort Mackenzie, and seven Sheridan 
physicians: Drs. W.A. Steffen, S. W. 
Johnson. R. E. Crane. T. E. Marshall. 
W. H. Roberts. V. J. Keating, and C. 
E. Stevenson. 

The state contended later that the 
defense attorneys, "in company with 
a group of doctors, appeared before 
the board of [Sheridan] county com- 
missioners early in the year in an at- 
tempt to avoid a trial: and make a 
settlement on a guilty plea of man- 
slaughter." The state further con- 
tended "that countv attorney Cone 

the court's questions. Judge Hoop refused the manslaughter plea and 

ruled that she would be bound over 
to the Fourth Judicial District Court 
to be tried for first degree murder. 
Until then, the judge said, she would 
be held in jail without bail and given 
a thorough "insanity investiga- 
tion."-' At the 
follow up hearing, tes- 
timony by Toggery 
Shop owners/opera- 
tors June and Vera 
Fulmer, Deputy Sher- 
iff Ladd. and Coroner 
Dr. W. A. Steffen con- 
vinced the judge that 
a sanity investigation 
was in order. Accord- 
ing to Wyoming law, 
an insanity hearing at 
that time could be re- s 
quested for any person - 
in jail awaiting trial or 2 
otherwise serving sen- t 
tence by any relative -| 
or by any officer or ~^. 
citizen of the county, g 
Such an insanity hear- = 
ing would have to be \ 
held, however, within ^ 
"a reasonable time" 
after the petition was 
filed. Geneva's next 

that the commissioners declared thev 
had no criminal jurisdiction and that 
the case would have to go to court." 
Prosecutor Songer filed his Infor- 
mation [indictment] the following 
week [November 30], charging that 

'1 ^ 

Dr. C. E. Stevenson, Sheridan physician, removed 
Geneva Collet! 's appendix in March 1925. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Geneva "did wilfully, unlawfully, fe- 
loniously, purposely and with pre- 
meditated malice kill and murder 
Mattie Tidwell. a human being."-'' In 
the meantime. Geneva's family hired 
for her the best local attorneys their 
money could buy: the team of Metz, 
Sackett & Metz.-' As the defense 
planned its strategy, the State's pros- 
ecutors. Maurice A. Cone - Songer' s 
recently elected successor - and his 
chief aide. Charles A. Kutcher. 
moved forward to trial. 

On Februar>' 11.1 926. they took a 
statement from Mrs. Tudor Smith, 
whose poor health, they knew, would 
keep her from taking the stand at 
Geneva's trial. In her deposition, the 
beautician swore that she had first 
met the accused the prior spring 
when she came to her shop to have 
her hair shampooed and curled. Af- 
ter that. Geneva returned, she said, 
"I imagine once a month." But her 
last visit to the beauty parlor in the 
Jackson Apartments - about 
2:30 p.m.. the Friday before 
the shooting - proved the 
most memorable. Though, 
Tudor claimed Geneva had 
"Never before complained 
of anything" and that "She 
was always more or less of 
a good disposition," this 
time the beautician said she 
saw a great change. When 
chided that she had not ^ 
made an appointment, i 
Geneva snapped back, "^ 
"Well, that I would have to i 
do it any way [sic] because J 
this may be the last time [I] £ 
would get this done, maybe ^ 
[I] would have to go to I" 

jail. O 

Then, as Geneva had her | 
hair treated, she suddenly s 
blurted "that Pearl was go- " 
ing to get them, or one of 
them. ..Mattie Morgan and 
Shorty Tidwell." Because of 
what she had heard of their 

ill will from her other customers, 
Mrs. Smith said this came as no 
shock. But then Geneva "made a re- 
mark-something about [Mattie] tak- 
ing her money and leaving her 
mother ill and breaking Pearl's heart" 
when she wed Shorty. Still, even 
though Geneva sometimes "would 
have been drinking" before she came 
in to the shop. Mrs. Smith told Cone 
that on this occasion, she seemed 
"perfectly normal." In fact, she said, 
"1 took the whole conversation more 
as a joke than anything else. She 
didn't talk like she was serious."-* 

Before the accused murderer could 
be brought back to court as planned 
later that month, measles swept 
through the town, and as the sole pris- 
oner in the Sheridan County Jail's 
woman's ward, Geneva caught a bad 
case of the "spots."-" 

Once back on her feet, however, 
the law marched her to the district 
courtroom of Judge Harry P. llsley. 

SheriffGeorge Lord, who "hosted" her in the Sheridan 
County Jail, drove Corlett to Casper in his roadster and 
then escorted her by train to the prison in Canon City, 
Colo. . 

who first heard her case on the morn- 
ing of March 7. 1927.3° She sat in 
front of the jury box, at the end of 
defense table. 3' 

If the jurors orthe crowd that came 
there hoped to find proof of guilt in 
her eyes, they failed. As one scribe 
wrote, "her face rests on her hand 
most of the time." At other times of 
the trial, she sat with head bowed 
low. It so drooped, in fact, that her 
black feh hat blocked from view her 
large grey eyes. 

While some may not have seen her 
full face, most made note - especially 
the many women in the gallery - of 
what she wore as well as her de- 
meanor: "a tan wool dress and with 
a plaid coat resting over the back of 
her chair. ..comely, neat and 
exacting.. .of striking appearance." in 
fact, said one woman, she "was the 
last one in the world you would ex- 
pect to see in such a position."" 
The spectators wanted to hear of 
her life. They found out that 
her mother had given birth 
to her in Sweetwater, Texas, 
on February 17. 1895. She 
gained her education in that 
town's public classrooms, 
culminating in a high 
school diploma. From that 
small town, she went to 
Dallas, where she graduated 
from a business college. At 
the age of twenty-two, she 
moved with her family to 
Sheridan. When she found 
no stenographic or book- 
keeping positions available 
there, she went to work for 
Eula Kendrick, the wife of 
Senator Kendrick at the 
famed OW Ranch. That 
November, she moved to 
Buffalo, Wyoming, and 
worked briefly for the Buf- 
falo-Clearmont Railroad 
before going to Casper 
where she kept books for a 
year at the Henning Hotel. 

Winter ;200'2 

She also worked in that cit> for three 
years at the Elgin Shoe and Clothing 
Store. In 1923, she apparently ac- 
cepted a position with a wholesale 
house and clerked in a grocery store 
at Billings, Montana. 

After brief stints there, Geneva 
hopped a train to California. She later 
said that she stayed for two years, but 
had to leave when she had "spent all 
her money." After moving back to 
Wyoming, she worked a short time 
in a railroad office in Rock Springs. 
She returned to Billings to apply for 
a Job there, but she had to have a 
major operation." 

Those who sat through her trial 
would hear, too, more than they may 
have wished to have known about her 
state of mind when she came back 
from Montana just four months prior 
to Mattie's murder. As defense wit- 
nesses trooped to the stand, many of 
them-including Dr. C.E. Stevenson, 
who operated on her-told of "a great 
change in her condition since her last 
operation that past June." 

Dr. R.P. Smith, a defense expert, 
said he had diagnosed her "with that 
form of insanity generally known to 
experts as catatonia dementia pre- 
cox''... a type of schizophrenia. He 

added: "There is a point of tolerance 
in everyone and if that line is passed 
the person breaks in mind." He clas- 
sified the defendant "as belonging to 
the class of insane patients, termed 
'shut-ins,' who live in a world to 
themselves and see their wishes as 

Why, asked some who thought that 
she may have feigned madness, did 
she call the sheriffs office if she did 
not know right from wrong? "Be- 
cause," said Dr. Smith, "she consid- 
ered that a part of finishing her job, 
and she was under such stimulus that 
she was revived to some conscious- 
ness, although she soon lapsed back 
into her former condition." Contrary 
to his colleague Dr. Stevenson's 
opinion. Smith said that he belie\ed 
"it was not the final operation that 
caused the contended insanity of the 
defendant." Rather, he said, "the 
shock of her father's death was the 
prime thing that made her insane."^' 

Her mother, too, found her 
daughter's sad state hard to bear. As 
she sat next to Geneva at the defense 
table, she tried to look in her 
daughter's eyes, but scarce got a 
glance back. Nor did they seem to 
share but a few words.'" Perhaps to 

Judge Harry P. llsley presided 
over tiie Collett trial in 4lli Dis- 
trict Court in llie Slieridun County 

ti\ to bridge that gap as well as to 
help make Geneva feel a bit more 
comfortable in the court, Mrs. Collett 
midway through the trial brought her 
daughter a round pillow, about the 
size of a chair seat, made of soft \ el- 
low fabric on which tlowers had been 
sewn, and trimmed with a blue 
bow." Even that kind act did not 
seem to help.''^ 

One of the few things, however, 
that did seem to make Geneva's face 
light up came at the mid-point in her 
trial. In those days-at least in the 
Sheridan County Jail - the guards let 
their female prisoners shave the men 
who served time there. It came out 
in testimony that Geneva, more than 
once, had groomed a fellow prisoner 
named Frank Snively. When he 
swore that he "knew positively she 
was insane." the State's attorney, 
Kutcher, at once turned to the jury. 
"Do you believe Frank would have 
allowed her to shave him if he 
thought her to be insane?" he asked 
w ith a keen edge to his voice. While 
it seems the jurors did their best to 
keep still, much the crowd of 80 or 
more - mostiv women - burst into 
laughter. Geneva smiled, too.-"' 

With the sounds of such levitv, as 




-- 1 

Genera Corlett was incarcerated in the Colorado State Penitentiaiy. Canon 
Cit}\fi-om March 19. 1927, to May 30. 1930. when she was moved to the Kan- 
sas State Industrial Farm for Women in Lansing, Kansas. 

well as the facts of the case, still in 
their ears, the jurors filed from the 
court about 9:45 p.m., Saturday 
evening, March 12. It took them but 
three hours and twenty-five minutes 
to reach their decision, which came 
soon after midnight. When they went 
back to the near-empty room, 
they saw Geneva sitting next to 
Sheriff Lord. She must have 
steeled herself for what she 
feared might come, for when the 
jury foreman, H.E. Zullig, said 
his group had found her "guilty 
of murder in the first degree with- 
out capital punishment," it is said 
that she moved not a 
muscle. ..made not a sign as to ^ 
how she felt. Judge lllsley left the .§ 
courtroom to weigh all that he o 
had heard before sentencing.^" | 
On Monday [March 14], heu 
came back to his bench at 1 1 a.m. ° 
"Did she [Geneva] have more to 3 
say?" he asked. She stood ands 
raised her chin from her chest. 
"No," she said. The judge set her 
sentence. She would sent to the 
"Colorado State Penitentiary for 
female prisoners... near Caiion 

City... to be therein kept, and con- 
fined for the period of time, during 
your natural life at hard labor." 
Wyoming, at that time, did not have 
a place in which to house its own fe- 
male prisoners."" 
Geneva became the first-ever 

Robert K. Collett. Inmate #I3'^29. met hi.s 
sister briefly in prison in Colorado. He was 
paroled Nov. 12. 1928. after serving 23 
months. His eventual whereabouts are not 

Annal.s of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

woman in Wyoming to be given a 
life sentence.^- Despite the deep 
despair that verdict may have 
brought her, she did her best while 
back in the jail to keep on a "game 
face" when her mother and the 
press came to call. On the day 
prior to her departure to prison, she 
told a reporter, "You want some- 
thing to put in the paper about me 
today, don't you? Well, 1 don't 
blame you, and its all right with 
me." She got up and gave the man 
her own chair in the small cage. 
She then walked to the window 
and gazed out the same bars 
through which she had watched 
the world since the day of Mattie's 
murder. When asked if the ruling 
had surprised her, she shook her 
head and said, with the trace of a 
sob, "No. Tell them that I'm tak- 
ing my medicine, and thank God 
I'm not a quitter."^^ 

On Thursday, as usual, Geneva 
got up, cleaned her cell, and 
smoothed her bunk. Just past 
noon, Geneva took hold of her 
jail-mates' hands, then bid them 
"Goodbye, and may God bless 
you." Sheriff Lord then led her 
past her sobbing mother, who had 
spent the last two days with her 
there in the jail. Her sister. Pearl, 
stood by, too, as the lawman led 
the lady into the street. ^^ Lord 
helped her in to the roadster 
parked at the curb as the wife of 
Undersheriff G. A. Braucht took 
a seat next to her. With Lord at the 
wheel, the three left for Casper to 
catch a train for Denver. They 
spent the night there. The next day, 
they drove to Canon City, where 
they arrived at 9:45 p.m.. that 
evening. With flie prison closed by 
that time, they checked into the 
Strathmore Hotel.'' 

The next morning [Saturday, 
March 1 9], after she sent a wire to 
let her mother know she had ar- 
rived safely, Geneva and Mrs. 

Winter •iOOi 


Braucht left their suite to join Sher- 
iff Lord for a breakfast of grapefruit, 
toast, eggs, and coffee. Later, in the 
lobby, she said, "This is a bad day to 
start what I have before me. 1 was 
hoping the sun would be shining and 
the birds singing so 1 would have 
something happy to remember the 
world by. The weather makes me 
blue. ..and Fm sorry. "^" 

At 1 a.m.. Geneva donned her felt 
fedora and plaid wool coat, with its 
lush fur collar, pulled high and close 
to her neck. The three walked "seem- 
ingly carefree" through a snow storm 
to the front gate of the Colorado State 
Penitentiary. An armed guard let 
them past the great door. Once in- 
side the "bull pen" [check-in room], 
the calm, dry-eyed Geneva with "an 
embarrassed smile" took pen in hand 
and signed in as "Prisoner #13916." 
A person there noted, "Too bad, she 
sure don't look like the kind offish 
we usually get here." Nonetheless, 
they snapped her mugshot, inked her 
prints, medically inspected her, and 
logged her vitals: 

Age: 32. Height: 5' 8-1/2", 
Weight: [blank]. Complexion: 
Fair. Color of Eyes: Gray. Color 
of Hair: Brown, Occupation: 
Bookkeeper. Where Bom: Texas, 
Name of Parents: Mrs. S.A. 
Collett (mother), 260 No. Main. 
Sheridan, WY. Religion: Meth- 

With that done, the prison matron, 
Mary Fitzgerald, marched her off to 
the woman's ward, where she 
plucked the fine feathers from her 
new Jail bird and had her wear an 
inmate's blue and white garb.^* The 
square-necked dress, made of a 
coarse, small-checked cloth, hung 
like a sack on Geneva's lank frame. 
Once dressed, she went to her small 
cell, where she spent the next few 
days adjusting to her new life. The 
room, bare but for a steel cot. had 
one port from which she could see 
the neat, frost-edged lawn that sloped 
south to a tall stone wall."'" 

Once in those first da) s. her keep- 
ers let her meet and talk for a few 
minutes with her brother, Robert, 
who like her. made his home there 

behind bars. Apparently, they did not 
speak again.'" 

Like the 50 or so other women w ith 
whom she lived, she soon learned 
how to cope with her new life. That 
meant, for example, sweeping her 
cell each morn as well as eating her 
meals with a bone-handled knife and 
fork of black steel from an aluminimi 

While Geneva did her best to live 
day to day. her mother, friends, and 
attorneys did all that they could to 
ha\e the Wyoming Supreme Court 
throw out the district court deci- 
sion.'- When that did not work, they 
tried to get Wyoming's Board of Par- 
dons as well as the Governor to act 
ill her behalf. Those maneuvers 
failed, too." 

The Kansas 
Women 's Indus- 
trial Farm at 
Lansing, where 
Geneva Collett 
M-as ser\'ing her 
sentence when 
she died Oct. 5. 
1930. Collett 's 
body was buried 
in the cemetery 
in Sweetwater. 



■ jWi*.'* 

f^**^; M"ji^4^% 



-i ^g tf u iin * 

Russell Jones. Sweetwater, lexas 

Kansas State Historical Socierv 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

In December 1 929. a foe swore to 
do what her friends could not: put an 
end to her suffering. Geneva saved 
the life of her matron when a young 
Black woman convict tried to stab the 
official with a pair of shears. Though 
the guard at once locked up the 
would-be assassin, the inmate made 
it clear that she would soon tr\ to take 
Geneva's life. And, said the warden, 
he feared "what might happen when 
she is released."'"* 

Faced w ith that threat to Geneva, 
as well as with the rising costs at the 
Colorado prison, Wyoming's offi- 
cials moved quickly to find a new 
home for their women inmates.^' 
Four months later, of the 12 states 
that had been contacted, just the Kan- 
sas State Industrial Farm for women 
at Lansing seemed willing to take 
what Wyoming could pay: $ 1 .25 per 
day per prisoner. According to 
Wyoming's State Auditor, Roscoe 
Alcorn, who went to see the place, 

they use a cottage system and for 
two years there had not been an es- 
cape. They now have 475 prison- 
ers. They keep them employed at 
housework and farm work. They 
have an orchard in connection with 
the farm and they carry on some 
special industries such as basket- 
making. The work seemed to be 
organized very efficiently.'*'' 

Consequently, the officials struck 
a deal. Wyoming began transferring 
their prisoners on May 1, 1930, to 
the Sunflower State, where Geneva 
would spend the rest of her life.-' 

So, what may we learn from this 
tale? First, there is no moral here. It 
is the story of a woman, whose one 
terrible deed tried to steal her soul. It 
also shaped what few years she had 
left, and those came to an end with a 
heart attack about 1 :20 p.m., on Sun- 
day, October 5, 1 930. Prison officials 
found her when they took lunch to 
her cell.-* 

When her mother and sister learned 

of that death, they rushed to Lansing 
and took her body back to Texas, the 
place of her birth. There, her body 
was buried on October 8, deep in the 
hot, dry soil in the City Cemetery of 
Sweetwater, Texas.-" 

But, unlike Job in his last days, 
Geneva won no wealth. ..had no 
spouse or child. ..found no peace on 
earth. Death was her reward. 

' "Check Artist in Toils." Durango 
Evening Herald. Durango. Colo.. 20 Jan. 
1925. i; also. "This Fellow Handy With 
l-'ountain Pen." Glenwood (Colo.) Post. 23 
Jan. 1925. 1; "Collins Has A Shady Record." 
Glenwood Post. 29 Jan. 1925. 1; "Four 
Glenwood Prisoners Stage Another Jail 
Break." Glenwood Post. 5 Mar. 1925. 1; 
"Robert K. Collett Is Con\icted by Jury." 
Glenwood Post. 11 Nov. 1926. 1. He was 
paroled on 12 Nov. 1928. Robert K. Collett. 
Inmate # 1 3729. Colorado State Penitentiary 
files. Colorado State Archives. 

- "Rancher Takes Poison Potion Instead 
of Baking Soda and Is Dead Within Few Min- 
utes." Sheridan (Wyo.) Post-Enterprise. 1 
Apr 1926. 1.2: also, J. Heath. Deputy Clerk 
of District Court. Hardin. Mont., to author. 5 
Apr. 200 1 ; "Geneva Collett. Girl Slayer. Says 
'She Double-Crossed Me"." Sheridan Post- 
Enterprise. 18 Nov. 1926. 1: Geneva Collen. 
Certificate of Death. Kansas State Board of 
Health. Div. of Vital Statistics. Sam w as bom 
in Rockwood. Tenn.. and he married Jennie 
Harrison, (b. Johnson County. Tex.). I'heir 
oldest child. William Burl (W.B.) was bom 
24 Mar. 1882. at Alvarado. Tex. In Nov. 
1 889. the famih moved to Nolan County and 
settled seven miles north of Roscoe. In 1 890. 
they moved to Sweetwater, where their sec- 
ond child. Robert K.. was born. The family 
later moved into Roscoe. About 1917. Sam 
and Jennie moved to Sheridan, where thev 
split that y ear. before Sam moved north into 
southern Montana, where he homesteaded 
southeast of Billings, south of Hardin. He was 
buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery, later 
renamed the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery. 
Their eldest son. W.B.. died in 1 964. and was 
buried in lexas. "W.B. Collett Roscoe Rites 
Set Tuesday." Sweetwater (Tex.) Reporter. 
7 Dec. 1964. According to Heath. Sam's 
death certificate is "filed in the Big Horn 
County Clerk and Recorder's Office in 
Hardin. [but]no probate record or record of 
inquest could be found following his death." 

' "Mary J. Collett Succumbs Here." 
Sheridan Press. 3 May 1932. 2: Sheridan 
Press. 20 Jul 1977; "[Clayton] Logan Dies." 

Sheridan Press. 5 May 1972; "Working 
Girls." by Larque Richter. Sheridan Press. 
21 Aug 1999; Minutes re: Girls' Industrial 
Institute. Wyoming Board of Charities & Re- 
form. Book J. 6 June 1927. 53-54. 386. 10 
March 1930. Wyoming State Archives. 
Cheyenne. Mrs. Collen died at Pearl's home 
at 260 North Main St.. in Sheridan on May 
3. 1932. at the age of 70. She was a member 
of the Methodist Church, buried in the 
Sheridan Municipal Cemetery. She was bom 
in Johnson Co.. Tex., while her father. Ben- 
jamin Harrison, was bom in Tennessee and 
her mother. "Miss Frost." was bom in Ala- 
bama. [Sheridan. WY. Funeral Records. Fu- 
neral #1619. p. 225]. 

Pearl [also known as Mrs. Pearl Logan; 
Mrs. Collett; Mrs. Charles A. Cook] died at 
Memorial Hospital in Sheridan July 19. 1977. 
At her death she lived at 183 West 5"' St.. 
Sheridan, with her daughter Lorena H.. and 
son-in-law. William Fluke. Born Feb. 4. 
1 893. in Sweetw ater. Tex., she was preceded 
in death by her "husband." Ira L. Logan, who 
died in 1 96 1 . and by a son. Clayton Logan, 
in 1971. [No wedding certificate has been 
found.] She was buried in the Sheridan Mu- 
nicipal Cemetery 23 Jul 1977. [Sheridan. 
Wyoming. Eiineral Records. 162] She also 
had referred to herself as Mrs. Cook, the wife 
of Charles A. Cook, with whom she lived, 
according to a Sheridan City Directory, in 
1933-1934. although no marriage certificate 
has been found. According to Richter. who 
wrote the "Working Girls" article. "Pearl 
Logan. ..was one of the best known local mad- 
ams [in Sheridan]. She operated rooming 
houses for at least 40 years. ..The Rex [which 
was closed by 1965] was a large rooming 
house with up to five ladies of the night in 
residence. Local old-timers say Logan had 
great rapport with law enforcement, tenants 
and the girls. She was known for holding 
money for sheepherders and ranch hands who 
came to town for a bender or an entire off 
season. Their summer wages were safe from 
being stolen or blown gambling because of 
Logan..." Hugh Bird, recalled. "I was in the 
cab business at that time. 1 950-52. They [the 
prostitutes and madams] used to be pretty 
good tippers... The Rex was the big house 
you know, that was Pearl Logan. That's 
where Sheriff Marshall was shot. It was the 
biggest one. yeah. We didn't make much for 
tips then: they were always good for 50 cents 
or a dollar. Fares were 35 or 40 cents." 

On 13 July 1928. 640 acres of land previ- 
ously owned by "Logan. Pearl E." was in- 
corporated into the Kendrick OW Ranch's 
holdings. Bucky King. The Empire Builders: 
The Development of Kendrick Cattle Com- 
pany {Privaxdy printed. 1992). 57, Pearl and 
her husband. Ira, were employees on the OW 
Ranch in October 1917. King. 100. Other 

Winter 'iOO'i 


Kendrick records show a "Mr. Collett," -pre- 
sumably. Pearl's father. Sam - who was paid 
$14.65 for 11 days' work in June 1924. 
Pearl's daughter. Lorena was born 6 Jan. 
1910. in Odessa, Tex.; her father was Ira L. 
Logan. She married William Fluke in 1942. 
in Nevada, and the couple moved to Sheridan 
in 1978. She died in the Memorial Hospital 
there on 7 Dec 1983. at age 73. "Lorena H. 
Fluke." Sheridan Press. 8 Dec 1983. Will- 
iatn Fluke was 93 when he died 28 Mar 1988. 

"* At the time of the first action, the Board 
authorized Virgie's parole to her maternal 
grandmother, who lived at Sweetwater, Tex. 
At the time of the subsequent action, she was 
paroled to "a tnie old couple." Mr. and Mrs. 
F.H. Lawton in Berkeley. Calif Virgie, how- 
ever, apparently "got homesick and ran 
away." After authorities picked her up, they 
determined that she "had gone to San Fran- 
cisco and found emplo>ment with a good 
family taking care of children." 

' Dr. C. E Stevenson, who removed her 
appendix, also carried out this operation. 
"Geneva Collett on Trial for Her Life," "In- 
sanity Plea Offered By Defense." Sheridan 
Post-Enterprise. 9 Mar 1927. 1; "Alienists 
Testify In Collett Trial." Sheridan Post-En- 
terprise. 10 Mar 1927. 1; "Jur\ Did Ignore 
Expert Testimonv ." Sheridan Journal. 1 ; 

" "Genevieve Collett Shot and Killed Mrs. 
B.F. Tidwell Here." Sheridan Journal. 4 ^ov 

1926. 1. 4; "Events Leading to Murder of 
Mattie Tidwell. Sheridan Journal, 10 Mar 

1927, 1. 

' Shorty and his brother. Hartley, lodged 
at Pearl's rooming house at Main and Alger 
streets at the same time as had Mattie Mor- 
gan. Hartley said at Geneva's trial that he 
"had been acquainted with the Colletts while 
in Texas." Twenty -four year-old Mattie. bom 
in Tennessee, was the daughter of A.M. and 
Fannie (nee Fepter [sic]). Before he left 
Sheridan. 33-year-old Shorty had worked 
there as a barber at the OK shop. He was born 
in Texas, the son of George and Svrlde [sic] 
(nee Ribble) Tidwell. "Story of Tidwell 
Shooting Retold." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 
8 Mar 1927. 1; "Genevieve Collett Shot and 
Killed Mrs. B.F. Tidwell Here." Sheridan 
Journal. 4 Nov 1926. 1. 4; "Events Leading 
to Murder of Mattie I idwell; Marriage Cer- 
tificate. Dept. of Public Welfare. Bureau of 
Health-Division of Vital Statistics. Lincoln. 
18 Oct 1926; "Married By Judge." Alliance 
(Neb.) A'eii'5. 21 Oct 1926. 1; "Sheridan Has 
Killing Alfair in Which Principals are Both 
'^omen." Alliance News. II Nov 1926; "In- 
quest Wednesday," Sheridan Journal. 

8 [bid. 

"^ According to Margaret Lavbourn. a 
Chevenne writer, the ace of diamonds is the 
"money card" for those who need a large sum 

'" The building at the address is occupied 
by a different store now, but it also sells 
women's clothing. 

" "Genevieve Collett Shot..."; "Geneva 
Collett on Trial for Her life." Sheridan Jour- 
nal. 10 Mar 1927. 1; "Sheridan Has Killing 
Affair..."; "Effort To Prove Geneva Collett 
Insane Leaves Woman Slayer Expressionless 
Through Longs Days in Courtroom Here." 
Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 10 Mar 1927. 1. 

'- During the Coroner's Inquest - directed 
by Dr. W.A. Sleffen at 4 p.m.. November 3. 
at the Champion funeral home — Dr. S.W. 
Johnson determined that "The bullet which 
caused [her| death entered the left shoulder 
cutting the main arten. . Another bullet which 
struck her in the back would have caused 
death in time. The third bullet hit her in the 
front arm below the elbow, and the fourth 
struck the left ami above the elbow." Wit- 
nesses included Vera and June Fulmer of the 
Toggery Shop; Patrolman E. Wood, and Dr. 
S.W. Johnson, who performed the procedure. 
Doctor Steffen added during Geneva's trial 
that "Two shots had been tired from the front 
and two from the rear, showing that Mattie 
Tidwell was doing her best to escape from 
Geneva Collett, the final and fatal shot caught 
her just as she was about at the door, where 
she fell." The coroner'sjup.'- A.J. Ham. H.J. 
Hewitt, and Chas. J. Johnstone, rendered the 
follow ing verdict: ". . . by a gun shot wound, 
homicide, and not self-inflicted" caused 
Mattie's death. 

' ^ "(jenevieve Collett Shot and Killed Mrs. 
B.F. Tidwell Here"; also "Geneva Collett on 
Trial for Her life." Sheridan Journal. 1 Mar 
1927. I; "Sheridan Has Killing Affair in 
Which Principals are Both Women." ; "Mattie 
Tidwell Is Victim at Toggery." Sheridan 
Post-Enterprise. 1 Nov 1926. 1; "Inquest 
Wednesdav."; "Murder Charge Faces Girl 
Here After Inquest." Sheridan Post-Enter- 
prise. 4 Nov 1926. I; "Mrs. Tidwcll's Bod\ 
to Be Sent Fast for Burial." Sheridan Post- 
Enterprise. 5 Nov 1926. 8;"Stor>' of Tidwell 
Shooting Retold." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 
8 Mar 1927. 1. 

'"■ "Mattie Tidwell Is Victim at Toggery." 
Sheridan Post-Enterprise: also. "Inquest 
Wednesday." Attomeys involved in the fi- 
nal settlement were the R.E. McNalK and 
John W. Songer. who represented the 
Colletts. and John F. Raper. the fidwell's at- 

'^"Attorneys for Defense Seek to Show 
Insanity of Collett Woman by Details of Life 
in leslimony Presented lucsda) ," Sheridan 
Post-Enterprise. 9 Mar 1927. 1. 

'" Sheridan Post-Enterprise. Ibid. 

'^ Coroner's Inquest #283 re Mattie 
Tidwell, 6"' Judicial District Court, Sheridan 
Count)', 6 Nov 1926. Dr. S.W. Johnson per- 
formed the autopsy on Mattie about 9 p.m. 

that night. He described her as "A woman of 
medium size who was about twentv -four or 
five years of age. Upon examining the body. 
1 discovered four wounds..." He said her 
death came in a "very few minutes. ...Very- 
short time." It was caused when "the left 
pleural cavity was filled with blood-hemor- 
rhage of the aorta." Policeman Elzie Wood 
testified at the inquest that, when he leamed 
of the crime, he and a "Mr. Fow ler." also w ith 
the Police Department, went to the scene. 
Mattie still was alive when they arrived al- 
though "She was just breathing, just a little. 
There was a lot of foam coining out of her 
month [sic]. 1 could see the foam rather move 
like she was breathing. I saw 1 couldn't do 
her any good." 

'* On Sunday. November 7. Shorty accom- 
panied Mattie's body back to her hometown. 
Cincinnati. Ohio; he and her father. A.M. 
Smith, buried her there. "Mrs. B.F. Tidwell's 
Body Sent to Cincinnati. Ohio," Sheridan 
Journal. II Nov 1926. 11(1). 

'" Coroner's Inquest #283; '•Miss Collett 
Will Be Held Without Bail." .Sheridan Post- 
Enterprise. 22 Nov 1926. 1 ; Geneva Collett 
Record. Inmate #13916. Colorado State Peni- 
tentiary. Cafion Cit>'. on file at the Colorado 
State Archives. Denver, n.d. 

-■' The Dietz. Wyoming, home of Geneva's 
Serbian cellmate, had been the site of a mur- 
der the previous March 18. when Veda 
Gregovich. a 2 1 -year-old waitress, shot to 
death her estranged husband, a miner called 
"Big Mike" Gregovich. The incident brought 
to a head a long series of allegations con- 
cerning Mary's "unruly" house. Veda 
Gregovich and her mother. Mrs. Miklovitch. 
had been some of Geneva's first visitors. Mr. 
Miklovitch also recentlv had been a prisoner 
there in count) jail on a liquor charge. Ac- 
cording to the prison's records. Geneva was 
"5' 8-1/2" tall; Weight: n/a; Complexion: 
Fair; Color of Eyes: Gra); Color of Hair: 
Brown; Occupation: Bookkeeper; Marital 
Status: Single; Religion: Methodist Jlike her 

-' Criminal Complaint. State of Wyoming 
V. Genevie [sic] Collett. Sheridan County 
Criminal Case File #1708 filed by John W. 
Songer. Sheridan County Attorney and Pros- 
ecutor. Sheridan. 4 Nov 1 926. original file at 
the District Court Clerk's Office in Sheridan. 

-" "Genevieve Collett Shot and Killed Mrs. 
B.F. Tidwell Here"; also "Inquest Wednes- 
day"; "Geneva Collett on Trial for Her Life"; 
"Events Leading to Murder of Mattie 
Tidwell"; "Inquest Wednesday." 

=3 Ibid. 

-■* Justice of the Peace Interiin Ruling by 
Judge J. F. Hoop. State of Wyoming V. Genevie 
[sic] Corlett. Her name subsequentl) was 
corrected on the Criminal Docket and Infor- 
mation b\ the court via "Criminal Cause No. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

1708." when her case went that December 
1 1 to Judicial Court of the Fourth Judicial 
District. Sheridan Count)' Criminal Case File 
#1708.. 22 Nov 1926: also "Miss Collett 
Enters Plea of Not Guilty." Sheridan Jour- 
nal. 18 Nov 1926. 1(2); 

-^ "Doctors Examine Geneva Collett To 
Determine Sanity." Sheridan Post-Enter- 
prise. 19 Nov 1926. 1. 

-* "Geneva Collett Held to District Court 
for Trial." Sheridan .lournal. 25 Nov 1926. 

-' "Geneva Collett Trial Postponed Two 
"Weeks." Sheridan Journal. 1 7 Feb 127. 1(6- 
7); also "Gene\a Collett on Trial for Her 
Life." Judge D.D. Murane from the Hagens 
and Murane law firm of Casper, and attor- 
ney H.C. Crippen of Billings, also were part 
of the defense team that included William 
■■Will" G. Metz and Carl L. Sackett. The 
newspaper reporter also claimed that "the 
attorneys for the defense. ..did not take this 
case, until after the\ had the advice of physi- 
cians as to her [Geneva's] mental condition, 
that it was h> no means normal, and that they 
could expect to pro\ e insanity when the case 
comes to trial." 

-' Deposition of Mrs. Tudor Edwards. 1 1 
Feb 1927. Slate of Wyoming v. Genevie [sic] 
Collett. Sheridan County Criminal Case File 
# 1 708; also. ■■District Court Convened Mon- 
day." Sheridan Journal. 1 6 Dec 1 926, 3(1); 
Notice to Take Depositions. State of Wyo- 
ming vs. Geneva Collett. Sheridan County 
Criminal Case File #1708. n.d.; "Defense 
Again Uses Expert Testimony To Pile Up 
Evidence Tending To Slayer Of Young 
Sheridan Bride Insane." Sheridan Post-En- 
terprise. 11 Mar 1927. I. During her sworn 
testimony at the City Hall office of Justice 
Hoop at 2 p.m.. on 11 Feb 1926. Mrs. 
Edwards said that her shop was located in 
the Jackson Apartments. 

-* Ibid Mrs. Edwards, who came to 
Sheridan in June 1925. later operated the Rex 
and Modern Beauty Parlors in the Anderson 
building and then at Jackson apartments. She 
later claritied her statement about the mone> . 
saying Geneva "didn't tell me about the 
money: it was Mrs. Hotchkiss." 

-^ "Geneva Collett Trial Postponed Two 
Weeks": also Geneva Collett Gets Measles. 
Trial Delayed." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 1 7 
Feb 1927. I . Authorities speculated that she 
may have contracted the disease either from 
a visitor to the jail or ■■on one of her trips 
down town, which she has at times [been] 
allowed to do in custody with an officer." 

3° '-Collett Murder Trial will Start Mon- 
day Morning." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 6 
Mar 1927. 1. Ilsley. Judge of the 7"' District 
at Sundance, filled in forjudge James H. Bur- 
gess, who was holding court in Newcastle. 

^' "Geneva Collett on Trial for Her life." 

Sheridan Journal. 10 Mar 1927. 1(6-7): also 
"Trial Notes." Sheridan Journal. 10 Mar 

1927. 12(2). 

'- Ibid: also. Colorado State Penitentiary 
Record for Geneva Collett on file at the Colo- 
rado State Archives. Denver, n.d. 

■'^ "Events Leading to Murder of Mattie 
Tidwell." Sheridan Journal. 10 Mar 1927. 
1(7); also. ■■Geneva Collett. Girl Slayer. Says 
■She Double-Crossed Me'"; "Attorneys for 
Defense Seek to Show Insanity of Collett 
Woman by Details of Life in Testimonv Pre- 
sented Tuesday." op. cit.: "Effort To Prove 
Geneva Collett Insane Leaves Woman Slayer 
Expressionless Through Longs Days in 
Courtroom Here." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 
1 Mar 1 927. I : Colorado State Penitentiary 
Record for Geneva Collett. Mr. Elgin, a 
former employer in Casper, said later, that 
he ■■never saw Miss Collett angrv during the 
years she worked for him. She was always 
good natured. efficient, and made friends rap- 
idl\." She had an appendectomy on 31 Mar 
1925. then came the June 1926 surgery that, 
medical experts would claim, changed her life 
. . . and mind. 

.According to several newspaper accounts 
[■■'Insanity' of Geneva Collett More Notice- 
able Since Trial Started State Witnesses Say." 
Sheridan Post-Enterprise. II Mar 1927. 1]. 
There also were allegations at Geneva's trial 
that she had been arrested, charged, and had 
plead guilty to bootlegging on 31 Dec 1925 
in Billings. The author however, has not been 
able to substantiate that accusation. 

'■" ■■Geneva Collett on Trial for Her Life": 
also. ■■Insanity Plea Offered B,\ Defense." 

^- ■■Alienists Testify In Collett Trial": '■Jury 
Did Ignore Expert Testimony": Minutes. 
Wyoming Board of Pardons. Vols. #2. 26 Jul 

1928. 265-266; Dr. Courtney Anne Brown 
[board certified clinical psychiatrist], Louis- 
ville. KY. to author. According to Dr. Brown. 
■■Dementia Precox is one of the original terms 
used to describe schizophrenia. There are dif- 
ferent types of schizophrenia. One type is 

""^ ■■Guilt) of Murder in the First Degree 
Is Decision of the Jur>." Sheridan Journal. 
18 Mar 1927. I (6-7). 1 2(2). Included in those, 
who noticed the great difference in Genev a's 
demeanor, were Mrs. Andrew McNeil of 
Casper, who had roomed with her while 
Geneva worked in that cit\. C. M. Elgin, 
proprietor of the Elgin Studio, for whom 
Geneva worked in Casper also testified, "she 
was not as mentally efficient now as then." 
Other w itnesses as to her mental health were 
I. E. Gilbert of Buffalo, and Mrs. Bemice 
Webber, who roomed with her in that city. 
Collett's operation was performed at the 
Sheridan County Memorial Hospital. Ac- 
cording to the testimony of at least one of 
the doctors, the procedure "removed com- 

pletely most of her vital organs." In fact, such 
vivid descriptions so affected one elderly 
woman at the March 7 hearing that she 
"fainted while listening to the trial." Accord- 
ing to Doctor Stevenson, he said he "felt con- 
fident that such an operation might have a 
serious effect upon the nervous system and 
mental faculties." although there is no men- 
tion as to whether Geneva and her family 
were so warned in advance of that procedure. 
Another witness. Dr. F.A. Dolan. corrobo- 
rated practically all that Doctor Stevenson had 
said, stating that such an operation "could 
cause insanity." and that he. too. had noticed 
considerable change since her operation. '■At 
least five or six doctors and mental experts." 
according to one article, appeared on the stand 
and swore "a belief that the defendant was 
insane, both at time deed was committed" as 
well as at the time of trial. Nearly the same 
number of medical experts, however, took 
the stand and offered conflicting opinions. 

" ■■Effort To Prove Geneva Collett Insane 
Leaves Woman Slayer Expressionless 
Through Longs Days in Courtroom Here" ; 
■"Several Odd Happenings In Woman's 
Trial." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 1 3 Mar 
1 927. I . To be more precise, the pillow was 
"about 18 inches." 

^^ ■■Effort To Prove Geneva Collett Insane 
Leaves Woman Slayer Expressionless 
Through Longs Days in Courtroom Here." 

■'" ■■Collett Trial Opens Here." Sheridan 
Post-Enterprise. 1 Mar 1927. 1 : also "Effort 
to Prove Geneva Collett Insane Leaves 
Woman Slayer Expressionless Through 
Longs Days in Courtroom Here"; '■Collett 
Murder Case Goes To Jury": "Guilty of Mur- 
der in the First Degree Is Decision of the 
Jury ." A ripple of amusement also swept the 
courtroom when a T. L. Davis, a city fire- 
man, testified that he "had been keeping 
steady company with the defendant 'as a 
sweetheart:'" that followed his previous tes- 
timony that he knew her to be insane at that 
time. Regarding her "love life." Dr. C. M. 
Schick, who examined her. said Geneva told 
him that she '■didn't care" if she got married 
although she acknowledged that she had 
"men friends." Then, with a laugh, she said 
that she didn't care for women as friends be- 
cause ■"you can't trust" them." 

""' Ibid. : also "Guilty of Murder in the First 
Degree Is Decision of the Jury."; Journal 
Entr>' and Verdict of the Jurv. Stale of Wyo- 
ming V. Geneva Collett. Sheridan County 
Criminal Case File #1708. n.d. The jurors 
were; Fred Welter, Henry C. Wales. John 
Johnson, James D. Reyhnolds, CM. Bayless, 
J.E. Reisenweaver. and H. E. Zullig. all of 
Sheridan: and Frank B. Lotspeich and W. H. 
Strayer both of Kleenbum: George Williams. 
Ucross: Alonzo R. Shreve.Wolf: and J.T. 
Kessinger. Acme. 

Winter '■200'2 


■" "Guilty of Murder in the First Degree 
Is Decision of the Jury"; also "Woman Sen- 
tenced to Life in Prison," Sheridan Post-En- 
terprise. 14 Mar 1927. 1; "Geneva Collett 
Murder Trial Cost $3,504.86." Wyoming 
Eagle. Cheyenne. 22 Apr 1927. 10( 1); State 
of Wyoming v. Geneva Collett. Sheridan 
County Criminal Case File # 1 708. n,d. Nei- 
ther her mother nor any relative was with 
Geneva either at the time of the verdict or at 
her sentencing. The only relative represent- 
ing Mattie was Hartley Tidweil. her brother- 
in-law. Her husband and child did not return 
for the trial, nor did her father attend. The 
principal expenses for her trial involved the 
jur). amounting to $1,100. .Additional ap- 
proximate costs were for counsel ($1,000). 
witnesses ($900). and miscellaneous ex- 
penses. ($500) 

"*- Not only was Geneva the "first woman 
to be given a life term in Wyoming." but "the 
state has never condemned a woman to 
death." "Sheridan Woman First to be Given 
Sentence of Life." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 
14 Mar 1927. 1. Also, according to records 
of the State Board of Charities and Reform, 
at the time of "Geneva's sentence, only "36 
women have been given penitentiary terms 
since Wyoming became a state while 3.850 
men have been sent to the state's penal insti- 
tution." The correct number, however, was 
55 women sentenced. Geneva was the 36th 
woman prisoner to be sent out of state. 

■•-' "I'm faking My Medicine Now." 
Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 16 Mar 1927. 1. 
She also said that "I'm still very tired and 
worn out from the long trial ... No. 1 didn't 
read the papers during m\ trial ... to read some 
papers w ilh their sensational crime news will 
drive one 'nuts' anyway." she added. As the 
reporter, on leaving, closed the heavy iron 
door of her cell, she bade him goodbye and 
said. "Well. I may see > ou again as long as 1 
am here, there is still a chance." 

■'"' Miss Collett Sent to Colorado Pen." 
Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 17 Mar 1927. 1. 
Before being driven awa\. Geneva thanked 
each member of the sheriff's staff for the 
way they had treated her during her four-and- 
a-half months in jail. 

■*' "Guilty of Murder in the First Degree 
Is Decision of the .lury"; also State of Wyo- 
ming V. Geneva Collett. Sheridan County 
Criminal Case File #1708. 

■•" "Prison Gates Clank On Pretty Woman 
Life Termer Who Sighs Because Birds Aren't 
Chirping." Canon City Daily. 19 Mar 1927; 
also Geneva Collett Records. Inmate #13916. 
Colorado State Penitentiary. Before leaving 
the hotel, her last act was to send the follow- 
ing telegram to her mother: "We arrived here 
at nine forty-five last night. We are going out 
this morning. Goodbye, with love Geneva." 

■" Geneva Collett Records, Inmate 

#13916, Colorado State Penitentiary. 

■"* "Woman Recalls Events During Prison 
Career." Post-Advocate. San Gabriel. Calif. 
1956; also "Search Topic was Mar\ 
Fitzgerald - Supt. at women's Prison at Canon 
City. CO" researched by Lucile Sanger, on 
file at the Local History Center. Canon City 
Library. Carton City. January, 1943. 1 he 
original building was a stone structure 48' b> 
109' and was a two-stories high. There was 
a basement that measured 18' by 30'. This 
facility, built in 1908-1909. had 40 cells along 
the outer walls of the second fioor. The hall- 
u a> between the two rows of cells was called 
the "Rec. Corridor"- an area for exercise. I he 
first floor of this building had a reception 
room and the few necessary hospital rooms, 
bath and toilet. The basement contained an 
1 8' by 30' dining room, kitchen, laundry, fur- 
nace and storage Heat was provided by a hot 
water system. In the 1920s, inmates and stalT 
had a radio and a phonograph in the "Red 
Corridor." During the 3 Oct 1929 not - the 
worst in the prison's historv' -"Mrs. Fitzgerald 
was held hostage for 29 hours w ithout lights 
or phone." Near the tiine of the riot, there 
were 25 women inmates. I'hey wore the tra- 
ditional blue and white uniforms. No educa- 
tional or recreational activities were offered 
the women. The\ did some sew ing and craft 
things. Marv' [the matron I worked 12-hour 
shifts and was relieved at night by a G.S. 

■•" Ihid After adjusting to her new lite, 
the authorities let her - like other inmates - 
"furnish her cell as comfortablv as the hotel 
room she left" that morning. 

^" "Collett Case Is Carried to Higher 
Court." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 17 Mar 
1927. I. 

^' "Prison Cjates Clank (^)n Prettv Woman 
Life fermer Who Sighs Because Birds Aren't 

^- "Collett Case Is Carried to Higher 
Court"; also, "Mrs. G.S. Loubct Now In 
Cation City Trv ing to Get Geneva Out of 
Prison." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 25 Mar 
1927. 1; Minutes. Wyoming Board of Par- 
dons. Vols #2, (microfilm). 11 Jul 1928. 
261.271-272, Wyoming State Archives. 
Cheyenne. Mrs. Loubet. who claimed to be 
a "sister of Geneva's father," seems to have 
been a fraud as well as a mvsterv'. because 
nothing further has been learned other and 
her motiv es. She repeatedlv went to the Board 
of Pardons on Geneva's behalf and visited 
the murderer in the penitentiary at Canon 
City. According to the minutes of the State 
Board of Pardons, the secretarv' "read to the 
board a letter from the Warden of the Colo- 
rado State Penitentiary with reference to the 
illness of Geneva Collett and the cost of treat- 
ment. He stated that Geneva had a peculiar 
skin trouble, treatment for which is too ex- 

pensive to be covered by the sum paid by the 
State of Wvoming for care of prisoners. 
Motion carried, if nothing appears in the con- 
tract to the contrary . the state [ W\ oming] pa\ 
for the medical care." 

-' "Girl Slayer Waits Action Of Court 
Here," Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 13 Apr 
1927. 1; also. Minutes, Wyoming Board of 
Pardons. Vols. #2. 26 Jul 1 928. 265-266.3 1 6: 
30 Feb 1930. 376; 10 Mar 1930. 390-391. 
Mrs. Collett and her brother-in-law. a "Mr. 
Cook." appeared before the Board of Pardons 
and asked that Geneva's sentence be "com- 
muted to five years and that she be moved to 
some institution in Wyoming. The mother 
reported that Geneva's health is not good and 
that she is much dissatisfied. Mr. Cook asked 
if it would be possible to have her transferred 
to Evanston." Even Sheridan County Sher- 
iff Lord recommended that "some change 
should be made for this girl as present condi- 
tions in Canon Cit\ are not good." The Board, 
however, recommended no clemencv . De- 
fense attorney Will Met/ went to the peni- 
tentiarv in Canon Cit\ "for the purpose of 
investigating her condition. Dr. Holmes, the 
prison physician. sa\s the medical bills for 
her have been more than for the entire insti- 
tution." Other medical experts, including a 
psychiatrist, urged the Board of Pardons to 
have her transferred to a hospital that not onK 
specialized in mental problems, but could 
treat Geneva's phvsical ailments as well. 
The_\, too. proved unsuccessful in having 
Geneva's circumstances changed. Geneva 
herself wrote several times to Governor 
f-^merson. asking him to grant her clemency. 

^^ Minutes. Board of Charities & Reform. 
Cheyenne. 3 Feb 1930. 376, 

^^ Minutes. Board of Pardons. Vols. #2, 
26 Jul 1928.265-266. 

'" Minutes. Board of Pardons. Vols. #2. 
10 Mar 1930, 390-391. Although the ma- 
tron in charge of the woman's facilities in 
Lansing - Miss Amy G. Abbott - originallv 
said she "could not take Wyoming prison- 
ers," she subsequentlv went to her Governor. 
C. M, Reed, who arranged for the agreement 
to be approv ed. 

-'' Mike Neve. Classification Administra- 
tor. Kansas State Industrial Farm, Lansing, 
KS, to author, 8 Dec 1997; also, "Claimed 
She Was Improved," Sheridan Post-Enter- 
prise. 6 Oc\ 1930, I. "For a number of V ears 
the state of Wvoming has been keeping its 
women pri.soners at the penitentiarv here and 
[of 30 w omen inmates, including Colorado 
women plus a few federal con\ icts] four or 
five of them are now imprisoned here." 
"Wyoming Women Convicts to be Sent to 
Kansas." Canon City Daily Record. Canon 
City. 25 Apr 1930. 

Despite continued efforts in her behalf 
Geneva wrote the following on 15 Septem- 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

ber 1930 to Miss Abbot, her matron: "'Sorry 
friends speaking in tn\ behalf have exagger- 
ated m> phs sical condition. I feel much bet- 
ter here than 1 did in Colorado. I believe that 
I am stronger from the standpoint of having 
abetterview of lifethan when 1 came here. I 
am reallv stud.ving my real self and am try- 
ing to get adjusted in such a \va\ that 1 may 
be an asset to the state to which I may go." 

-^ "Geneva Collett Is Found Dead In Bed 
At Kansas Prison Farm." Sheridan Post-En- 
terprise. 6 Oct 1930. 1(1); also. "Geneva 
Collett. Murderer of Mrs. Mattie Tidwell, 
Dead at Kansas State Industrial Farm." 
Sheridan Journal. 7 Oct 1930. 1(7-8), Her 
sister Pearl, who had visited her just three 
weeks prior to her death, said "she was in 
critical condition at that time." 

5' "Heart Attack Proves Fatal After Ill- 
ness." Sheridan Post-Enterprise. 6 Oct 1 930. 
1(1 ):aIso. "Geneva Collett. Murderer of Mrs. 
Mattie Tidwell. Dead at Kansas State Indus- 

trial Farm." Sheridan Journal. 7 Oct 1930. 
1(7-8): Minutes. Board of Pardons. Vols. #2. 
I [or 4?] Dec 1 930. 49 1 : Geneva Collett. Cer- 
tificate of Death: Ray Adames. Sweetwater. 
Texas, to author. 26 Jun 2001. At the re- 
quest of the Collett familv. the State Board 
of Pardons agreed to reimburse the family 

$60 for Geneva's burial expenses. That was 
the amount the it would cost the State of 
Wyoming to bury a male prisoner at its peni- 
tentiary in Rawlins. According to Mr. 
Adames. w ho is responsible for the Cit>' Cem- 
eterv' records in Sweetwater. Geneva is bur- 
ied there in Block 39. Lot 10. 

Larn' Brown is author of six books and numerous articles. He also 
has written short stories published in prestigious magazines. Wyo- 
ming Writers. Inc., honored his Hog Ranches of Wyoming: Liquor, 
Lust and Lies Under Sagebrush Skies, with a "Western Horizon" 
Award. The Old Pen Joint Powers Board in Rawlins published his 
Petticoat Prisoners of the Wyoming Frontier Prison (1995). Petti- 
coat Prisoners of Old Wyoming, published by High Plains Press in 
2001. received the Wyoming State Historical Society: "Publications" 
award last year. Brown has been a frequent contributor to Annals. 

Book Reviews 

Significant Recent Books on Western and Wyoming History 

Edited by Carl Hallberg 

Playing Indian. By Philip J. Deloria. 
New Haven: Yale University Press, 
1998. 264 pp. llhis.. notes, index. 
Cloth. S30: paper, SI 3.95. 

Reviewed by Matthew Dennis, Univer- 
sity of Oregon 

For more than two hundred years, even 
before Crevecoueur asked his famous 
question - "What. then, is the American, 
this new man?" - white Americans have 
struggled with an identity problem, and 
their imaginative solutions have often 
involved "playing Indian." Philip J. 
Deloria's Playing Indian brilliantly 
limns the complicated process in which 
non-Indians imagined themselves as In- 
dians, claimed Indian identities, and 
acted out their fantasies in their efforts 
to define and redefine themselves as 
Americans. Playing Indian is sophisti- 
cated, theoretically-informed cultural 
history, yet throughout it remains engag- 
ing, accessible, and compelling, free of 
jargon and inviting to general readers. 
A rare achievement. Playing Indian 
changes the way we see American cul- 

Deloria's chronological range is aston- 
ishing, as he moves from the Boston Tea 
Party's Mohawk masquerade to the 
postmodern rites and festivals of late 
20th century's counterculture and New 
Age. Throughout this tour, the analysis 
is perceptive, fair, and respectful as 
Deloria reconstructs the experiences, 
thoughts, and expressions of historical 
actors, not to ridicule or dismiss them 
but rather to make their (often strange) 
behavior comprehensive and to explain 
white America's love-hate relationship 
with North America's native people. 
Nonetheless, the author pulls no punches 
in analyzing the impact and failures of 
non-Indians appropriation of Indian- 
ness. Though his focus is primarily on 
non-Indian imaginers. he offers signifi- 
cant insights as well on the historical 
experience of real Indian people and their 
own struggle to endure and sometimes 
even use white Indian play for their own 
empowerment. This is no mere clever 
textual or disembodied investigation; 
unlike some works in cultural studies. 
Playing Indian s arguments are expertly 
placed in the context of American so- 
cial, economic and political history. 

During the American Revolution, 
Americans masked themselves as Indi- 
ans to assert physically and metaphori- 
cally their new, non-British identity, 
which they grounded in the North 
American landscape associated with na- 
tive people. After the Revolution's suc- 
cess, patriotic and fraternal organizations 
- like the Tammany Society, in the days 
before it became a political machine in 
New York City - dressed up like Indi- 
ans to dissociate themselves from Brit- 
ain and to lay claim to a unique, indig- 
enous status in America. As the heirs of 
Tainmany, or other mythic Indians, these 
men and others could believe themselves 
entitled to possess not merely a new 
American identity but title to the land 
itself supposedly abandoned by the "van- 
ishing" American Indian. Yet, as white 
Americans pushed westward and en- 
countered real Indians ~ who have never 
vanished - and engaged them with vio- 
lence, imaginative association with In- 
dians became more problematic. 

By the late 19th century, modernity 
made this early American world seemed 
distant, while the changes (and prob- 
lems) associated with population expan- 

Winter 200'2 

sion, urbanization, massive immigration, 
and industrial capitalism were both 
proximate and daunting. Indians again 
served as models for anxious white elites 
who hoped to restore a sense of authen- 
ticity and vitality to American life, to cul- 
tivate manliness among men and natu- 
ral feminine qualitiesto women, particu- 
larly in programs designed for children. 
like the Boy Scouts. Camp Fire Girls, and 
various summer camps. Following 
World War II. Indian play addressed 
anxieties about personal identity and 
meaning in an age often characterized 
by mass conformity. In more recent 
times. non-Indians appropriated Indian 
identities to cope with their fragmented, 
"postmodern" condition. Delorias stor> 
ends in the multicultural present, as 
Americans continue to act out their In- 
dian fantasies into the 21st century, 
sometimes harmlessly, sometimes not. 
but as always tilled with contradictions 
and ironies. 

The above summary cannot do justice 
to Deloria"s important book, a bright il- 
lumination about the history of white 
America's understating of Indians and 
of itself Playlni^ Imiiun is an essential 
text in American cultural history. 

The Frontier Army in the Settle- 
ment of the West. By Michael L. 
Tate. Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1999. 416 pp. Illus.. 
maps, notes, bib., index. Cloth. 
$34. 95. 

Reviewed by Malcolm E. Taylor, .Albu- 
querque, l\M 

Michael L. Tate's The Frontier .Army 
in tlie Settlement o{ the H'est is an ex- 
ceptional book for its genre. Each of the 
twelve chapters contains the seeds of one 
or more full-length books. That is both 
its strength and a source of frustration. 
Tate has managed to provide just enough 
information to pique the reader's inter- 
est but not enough to sate it. In this, he 
has accomplished two of his stated goals: 
to write a book that "provides the neces- 
sary synthesis to tie together the diverse 
topics [found in the various chapters] 
into an understandable whole" and "to 
suggest to other researchers how much 
still needs to be done with the individual 

dimensions of the army's role." One can 
only accept his word that he has accom- 
plished his third goal - to give the reader 
"the most complete bibliography yet as- 
sembled on the multipurpose army con- 

Whetherornot his bibliography is the 
most complete yet assembled on the 
topic. The Frontier .Irmy in llie Setlle- 
meni of the is v\ell written and thor- 
oughly enjoyable to read. Tate makes 
extensive use of primary and secondary 
sources to show that two common ste- 
reotypes regarding the frontier amiy are 
essentially false. The soldiers who made 
up that army were neither the glamor- 
ous and dashing heroes portra\ed in the 
paintings of Frederick Remington and 
the movies of John Ford, nor the blood 
thirsty racists portra\ed in Kevin 
Costner's Danees Wiih Wolves (I9Q0). 
Rather, the frontier army was. in Tate's 
words, a "multi-purpose army." It was 
made up of explorers, road builders, and 
men who improved the nation's river 
transportation. Many officers and en- 
listed men collected scientific data, 
which the\' shared with eastern scholars. 
A number were artists, and more than a 
few were writers. Their works published 
in newspapers and magazines did much 
to popularize and romanticize frontier 
life. Tate also makes it clear that the 
army played a significant role in the ex- 
pansion of rail, telegraph, and postal ser- 
vice to the western United States, and 
was responsible for the establishment of 
the weather service. He also points out 
that civilian communities frequently 
grew up around the army's frontier out- 
posts. When this happened, civilian com- 
munities profited from the army payroll 
and with their access to schools, librar- 
ies, chapels, and hospitals that the army 
provided for the welfare of its troops. 

This book, in all likelihood, will be rel- 
egated to the reference section of col- 
lege and university libraries. There, it 
will not be available to secondary school 
students who. if they read it. would t1nd 
the stimulus to scholarship that Tate is 
hoping his fellow professors will find. 
The Frontier .Army in the Settlement of 
the West belongs in classroom reference 
sets of every United States history ad- 
vanced placement class. 

Crossing the Pond: The Native 
American Effort in World War II. 

By Jere" Bishop Franco. Denton: 
University of North Texas Press, 
1999. 296 pp Illus.. notes, bib., 
im/e.x. Paper. $29.95. 

Reviewed by John W. Heaton, Utah 
Stale L niversity 

Jere' Bishop Franco's Crossing the 
Pond'\s volume seven in the University 
of North Texas Press's War and the 
Southwest Series. This collection exam- 
ines the actions of southwest veterans 
around the world as well as militar\' life 
in the region itself and spans the contact 
period between Europeans and Native 
Americans to the present. As such. 
Franco's book seems an odd fit. The 
author's narrative ranges well beyond the 
experiences of southwestern Indians. 
Crossing: the Pond a\so explores w artime 
contributions of Indians from New York, 
Canada, Alaska, and other Nonh Ameri- 
can locations. 

According to Franco. American Indi- 
ans took the notion of serving their coun- 
try seriously during World War II and 
contributed to the war effort in a variety 
of ways. When the war ended, they re- 
turned to their reservations and expected 
to "participate in "a better America" as 
the 'First Americans'" (p. ix). These pa- 
triotic Indians, the author asserts, 
served not only as role models for their 
peoples but for all Americans. 

This book is a response to Sherry 
Smith's challenge in a Western Histori- 
eal Ouarlerly article to focus on "rela- 
tionships between ethnic groups, the 
military, and the government" (p. xv). 
Using government documents and 
manuscript interviews, the author has 
crafted a narrative detailing many aspects 
of Indian contributions to the w ar effort. 
Chapter one tells the story of Nazi 
Gennany's attempt to use Indians to sub- 
vert the Roosevelt administration during 
the 1930s by supporting the efforts of 
Indian critics, such as Alice Lee Jemison, 
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The 
Nazi's overestimated their success in 
winning Indian allies and their failed ef- 
forts demonstrated that most Indians re- 
mained loyal to the United States. In 
chapter two. Franco considers the re- 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

sponse of Indians to Uncle Sam's call to 
arms. Although many individuals and 
tribal groups did not want to enlist, Indi- 
ans as a whole committed to the war ef- 
fort by volunteering in relatively high 
numbers. Moreover, despite early bu- 
reaucratic confusion over jurisdiction 
and status, government officials were 
pleased with the one hundred percent 
Indian registration rate for the draft. The 
war provided new opportunities for 
chronically underemployed reservation 
Indians who were not eligible for the 
draft. The third chapter reveals that al- 
though full tribal employment brought 
obvious benefits, it ultimately threatened 
Indian status when post-war critics of 
federal Indian policy used Indian war 
contributions as proof that Indians could 
and would assimilate. Chapter four 
proves the level of tribal economic sup- 
port for the war effort. Many tribal 
groups purchased war bonds and allowed 
the government to lease and develop cru- 
cial natural resources on reservation 
lands. In chapter six, the author discusses 
the largely unknown use of Indians in 
government propaganda to build popu- 
lar support for the war. While the gov- 
ernment portrayed Indians in a positive 
light, Indians did not control the new 
media image being created of patriotic, 
but still e.xotic, Indians. The only chap- 
ter to consider the overseas duty of Indi- 
ans during the war, chapter seven, fo- 
cuses not on combat but on the experi- 
ences unique to Indian servicemen as 
they attempted to deal with loneliness 
and culture shock in distant lands. The 
Santa Fe Indian Club, originally an In- 
dian school social club, evolved into an 
institution for Indian servicemen from 
New Mexico, providing a news forum 
and message board to help Indian sol- 
diers stay in touch with fi-iends, relatives, 
and news about other Indian soldiers 
from their state. Chapter eight examines 
the positive impact of World War II ser- 
vice on Indian activism and self-deter- 
mination. In her afterword. Franco ar- 
gues that the government rewarded In- 
dian patriotism with termination and re- 
location. As a result, Indian rejection of 
mainstream culture helped create a revi- 
talization movement in the 1960s and 
1970s known as Red Power. 
This solidly researched study provides 

a good overview of the World War II era 
of American Indian history. Although 
the book's title infers a study of Indian 
military service during the war, students 
of American military history will be dis- 
appointed in the focus. However, those 
interested in the World War II home 
front, Indian history, or the civil rights 
movement will find much to admire in 
this work. 

Union Pacific: Crossing Sherman 
Hill and Other Railroad Stories. 

By Bess Arnold. David City, Nebr.: 
South Platte Press, 1999. 81 pp. 
I/his.. bib.. Paper, $19.95. 

Reviewed by Charles AIbi, Executive 
Director, Colorado Railroad Museum 

Books about railroads tend to fall into 
two categories. Some are academic busi- 
ness histories written by professional 
historians. Many others are published 
for rail enthusiasts and are filled with 
photographs and technical data about 
locomotives and cars. Union Pacific: 
Crossing Sherman Hill and Other Rail- 
road Stories addresses a previously ne- 
glected topic, recording the first hand 
accounts of those who have spent their 
working lives as railroaders. An intro- 
duction by Union Pacific Manager of 
Train Operating Practices Stephen A. 
Lee provides an historical perspective for 
this fine collection of reminiscences. 

The author, a freelance writer who 
graduated from the University of Wyo- 
ming after a career with the Wyoming 
Education Association, has interviewed 
27 Union Pacific railroaders whose col- 
lective experience spans the period from 
1917 to the present. Their jobs range 
from locomotive engineer to club car 
steward, from section hand to division 
superintendent. Today, when a person 
must anticipate working for several em- 
ployers during a lifetime, it is remark- 
able that this group averaged 40 years 
each and one 55 years before retirement. 

Their accounts are presented in a 
straightforward manner and avoid the 
unnecessary embellishments that often 
characterize memories of the "good old 

days." While some recall unusual 
wrecks, blizzards or an encounter with a 
traveling movie star, their common 
theme is the satisfaction derived from 
overcoming the daily challenge of get- 
ting trains over the hill. Railroads were 
then and remain vital to the well-being 
of the nation, although this fact is not 
generally appreciated today. These folks 
knew their jobs were important. 

Several individuals vividly remember 
the notorious blizzard of 1949. Others 
mention C. J. Colombo, an official tough 
enough to have bossed the Wyoming 
Division longer than any other superin- 
tendent, yet known for his fairness, his 
willingness to work alongside his men, 
and even for his occasional sense of hu- 
mor. In spite of hard work, long hours, 
danger, intennittent layoffs, and ornery 
officials, these railroaders reflect pride 
in their work and loyalty to the company. 
There is a lesson here that could benefit 
modem corporate managers. 

Although a chapter is devoted to wives 
who had their own special challenge in 
raising a family during a life of frequent 
moves and extended periods of "single 
parenting," one wishes that the author 
had been able to interview some women 
railroaders. There have been many over 
the years, especially during World War 
II. Today female engineers, while not 
numerous, are by no means uncommon. 

More than 50 excellent photographs 
evoke the drama of railroading over 
Sherman Hill, perhaps the most famous 
locale on Union Pacific's transcontinen- 
tal mainline. One of an engineer high in 
the cab of a "Big Boy" steam locomo- 
tive, ready for another battle with the 
grades over Sherman Hill, personifies a 
memory for many of us who grew up 
before 1960. The view on page 43 cap- 
tures the ferocity of a Wyoming blizzard 
better than any other this reviewer has 
seen. Several images were taken by 
eminent rail historian and photographer 
Jim Ehrenberger of Cheyenne, himself 
a retired 35-year Union Pacific veteran. 

There is a little bit of a railfan in ev- 
eryone. Bess Arnold's book helps one 
understand why this is true. 

Winter 2002 


INDEX, Winter, 2002 

Alcorn. Roscoe 32 

Angus. SheritT Red IQ 

Barber. Gov Amos 1 8. 22 

Barkey. John 16 

Barrier. Dr Henr\ W, 27 

Beloburk. Mar\ 26 

Bevins. Bill 15 

Big Laramie River crossing 14 

Billings. Montana 2*^ 

Board of Livestock Commissioners 

Board of Pardons 3 1 
Braucht. G. A. 30 
Bridger Pass stage station 14 
Brown. Arapahoe 1 9 
Brown. DC 18 
Brown. Larrv K 24. (bio. 36) 
Broun, Lewis H 4 
Bryan. William Jennings 8 
Buffalo. Foote moves to 16 
ButTalo-Clearmont Railroad 28 
Burritt. Charles H, 21,22 
Business and Professional 

Women's Club 6. 7 
Camp Floyd 1 1 
Campaign poster (illus.) 7 
Canton, Frank 17. 19.22 
Capitol Theatre 7 
Carey. Joseph M 21 
Carroll. Murray L, 9. (bio. 23) 
catatonia dementia precox 24 
Catt. Carrie Chapman 8 
Champion. Nate 18 
Cheyenne Frontier Days 5 
Cheyenne River 11. 12 
Cheyenne Women's Club 4 
Chicago Worlds' Fair 22 
Child Labor Law 4 
Churchill. Edmund 20,21,22 
Clark. C, D. 21 
Clay, John 22 

Clay, Robinson & Company 22 
Coad, Mark 14 
Coffeen. Henry A. 22 
Cole. Thad 18.22 
Collett. Geneva 24 
Collett. Mary Jane "Jenny" 2.5 
Collett. Pearl 25 

Collett. Robert 24. 26. (photo. 30) 
Collett, Samuel A 24 
Collier Trophy 4 
Collins, Col. William O, 12 
Colorado State Penitentiary 

24. 30. 31. (photo, 30) 
Cone, Maurice A. 28 
Conference of Governors 5. 6 
Cooke. Philip St, George 10 
Coolidge. Calvin. Ross attends 

inaugural of 4 
Com. Samuel T. 22 
Cowley Progress 6 
Crane. Dr R E 27 
Crossing the Pond: The Native 

American Effort in World 

War IL reviewed 37 

Dacey, M. F. 4 

Daley, Frank 13 

Davis, Walter 26 

Deloria. Philip J , Pla\ ing Indian 

Dennis. Matthew, rev iewer 36 
Denver Woman's Press Club 6 
"Discovering Her Strength: 1 he 

Remarkable Transformation 

of Nellie Tayloe Ross." 2-8 
Dundee, Forfarshire. Scotland 9 
l-lgin Shoe and Clothing Stor 29 
1 1th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry 12 
Elk Mountain 14. 16 
Emerson. Gov, Frank 8 
Evans. E, A, 26 
Ferguson. Miriam "Ma" 6 
Finfrock, Dr J, W, 14 
Fitzgerald, Mary 31 
Flagg. Jack 18. 19 
Fletcher. Mary 13 
Floyd, John B, 1 1 
Foote, Amanda 23 
Foote, Byron 15. 23 
Foote Creek 13. 14. 15 
Foote Creek Ridge 9 
Foote. kills Indian 14 
Foote. Robert 8-23. (photo. 9) 
Foote. Robert, Jr. 15. 17. 20.22. 

Foote's (ieneral Store (photo, 20) 
Ford. Charlie 18 
Forfarshire. Scotland 13 
Fort Bridger 10.11 
Fort D. A, Russell 20 
FortHalleck 13. 14. 15. 16 
Fort John Buford 14 
Fort Laramie 10. 11. 12. 13 
Fort Laramie Scout 6 
Fort Leavenworth. Kansas 10. 1 1, 

Fort McKinney 

16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 
closed 23 
Fort Riley, Kansas 10 
Fort Sanders 1 4 
Fowler, Benjamin 17. 20.23 
Franco, Jere' Bishop, Crossing the 

Pond, reviewed 37 
Frontier Army in the Settlement of 

the West, reviewed 37 
Fulmer, June and Vera 26, 27 
Gage, Jack 23 
(iimbel Brothers store 8 
Girl Scout 7 
Haas, Sgt Herman 12 
Haggard. .<\ver\ 5 
Hartley, Gen. W, S 10 
Hartison, Pres. Benjamin 22 
Haskell, H D. 14 
Havener, Flelen 6 
Heaton, John W,, reviewer 37 
Hebard, Dr. Grace Raymond 3, 8 
Henning Hotel 28 
Hight, Lt Thomas 10 
Hinman, J L 14 
Hoop, J, F, 26, 27 
Hopkins, S G 5 
Hopkins, William 14 
Flowell. David. Wyoming Attorney 

General 5 
Hull, Lewis B. 12 

Hunter, John 12, 13 

Hylton, Dr J L 3 

llslev. Judge Han^ P 28. (photo, 

inaugural ceremony ( 1924) 3 
Inlernalional News Service 4 
Ivinson, Edward 22 
Jackson Apartments 28 
Johnson County 16 
Johnson County Board of 

Commissioners 20 
Johnson County Democratic 

politics 16 
Johnson County Invasion 18-20 
Johnson. S, W, 27 
Johnston. Gen Albert Sidney 1 1 
Kansas State Industrial Farm 30. 

32, (photo) 31 
KC ranch 1 8 
Keating. Dr V, J, 27 
Kemmerer Gazette 6 
Kcndrick. Eula 28 
Kendrick. John B . advises Ross 5. 

Kimball. W S 7 
KOA radio 5 

Kutcher. Charles A. 28. 2^* 
Kuykendall. William L 14 
Labor Day 6. 7 
Ladd. John H 26 
Laska, Ben B 25 
League of Women Voters 8 
Lee brothers 1 5 
l.essman. Flemian 15 
Livestock Commission 18 
Logan. Pearl 25. 26 
Logan, Virgic 25 
Lord 26, K). 31 
Lord. Sheriff George 25. 26. 30. 

31. (photo, 28) 
Loree. John 1 3 
Lucas, Frank 3 
Marshall. Dr T E 27 
Mauritania (steamship) 5 
Maxwell, Tom 12 
McCrae, John 21 
McCraken, Tracy 5, 7, 8 
McCullough, J j 21 
McNally, R F 26 
Menardi. Capt - 18 
Met/. Sackett & Metz 28 
Miller. Leslie, as Ross advisor 5 
Mitchell. Robert D 13 
Moeller. G. E, A. 22 
Moonlight. Thomas 12,13 
Morgan, Mattie (See also, fiduell. 

Mattie) 28 
Mounted Services Recruit Depot. 

Carlisle Barrack 10 
"Murdered by Madness: The Case 

of Geneva Collett" 24-36 
Musgrove, L H 14 
National Western Stock Show 6 
National Women's Democratic 

Club 4 
Norris, Amanda (Foote) 15 
Northern Wyoming Farmers' and 

Stock Growers" Assoc 20 
Ogalalla Land and Cattle Company 

OK Barber Shop 26 
Omaha Bee 6 

O'Mahoney, Joseph C 5 

Osborne, Dr John 22 

Overland Stage trail 9 

OW ranch 24 

Pacific Springs, 10 

Pallas t andy Kitchen 26 

Parent-Teacher Association 6 

Parmalee, C H 19 

Paxton, W A 21 

Pearson, Drew 8 

Pearson, Paul 8 

Penrose. Dr Charles Bingham 19 

Percy station 14 

Pine Cjrove stage station 14 

Playing Indian, reviewed 36 

Populist Party 23 

Portland (Maine) Press 6 

Portland Evening Express 6 

posse comitatus 10 

Powder River Crossing 1 8 

Prohibition 4 

radio broadcast. 1st Wyoming 

governor's 5 
Rennie, Sheriff D F 15 
Riner, John A 20 
"Robert Foote: A Forgotten 

Wyoming Pioneer" 9-23 
Roberts, Dr, w' H 27 
Rock Creek station 9 
Rolles, Howard 22 
Ross, Ambrose 3. 5. 6 
Ross. Bradford 3 
Ross. George 3 
Ross. Nellie Tayloe 2-8 
Ross. William Bradford, death of 

2nd United States Dragoons 10 
Shepherd. W C 4 
Sheridan County Courthouse. 

(photo 29 
Sheridan County Jail 26. 28 
Sheridan National Bank 25 
Simmons Hardware 2 1 
Smith. Dr R P 29 
Smith, Gov Al 8 
Smith, John R 18 
Smith, Mrs, Tudor 28 
Smith, Tertance 18. 22 
Smoke. Bob 11. 12 
Snively. Frank 29 
Snyder, Elias 19 
Songer, John F 27 
Soper, Dr R W 27 
State Democratic Convention 22 
State Livestock Commission 16 
Steffen, Dr W, A 27 
Stevenson, Dr C E 29, (photo. 

Stoll. Walter 20.21 
Strathmore Hotel 30 
Sublette. John 15 
Suffragettes 4 
Sullivan. Eugene J 3 
Superior Laundry. 25 
Swarthmore Chautauqua Circuit 8 
Swarthmore College 8 
Sweetwater. Texas 28, 32 
TA ranch 19 
Talbot, Claude L 17 
Tate, Michael, Frontier Army in 

the Settlement of the West, 

reviewed, 37 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Tayloe. Alfred 7 
Tayloe. George 4. 5. 6 
Tayloe. Judge Samuel 3 
Tayloe. Nelle 3 

Taylor. Malcolm E.. reviewer 37 
territorial penitentiary \> 
Tidvvell, Mattie 25. 27. 28 
Tidvvell. Shorty 26. 28 
Tisdale. JohnN, 22 
Togger\ Shop 25 
Torrington Telegram 6 
U. S. Military Academy 10 

Utah 11 

Utah Expedition 10 
Van Devanter. Willis 21 
Van Horn. Col. 19 
Van Pelt. Lori 2. (bio. 8) 
Waggoner, Thomas 17 
Walcott. Frank 19 
Ward. Seth 1 1 
Warren. Francis E. 8. 21 
Webb. L. A. 17 
Wells. Fargo & Company 
Whitcomb. Elias W. 14 


White Eyes 12. 13 
Williams. I. H. 24 
wind turbines 9 
Winterling & Davis garage 26 
Winters. Charles 25 
Woman Citizen 4. 8 
Wood. Elsie 26 
Wright. Sgt. William 11 
Wyoming Board of Livestock 

Commissioners 17 
Wyoming Democratic Party 3. 
Wyoming Eagle 6. 7. 8 

Wyoming National Guard 18 
Wyoming State Capitol 2 
Wyoming Stock Growers 

Associatio 23 
Wyoming Stock Growers 

Association 5. 6. 16. 17 
Wyoming Supreme Court 18. 

Yellowstone National Park. Ross 

speaks at opening 6 
Zullig. H. E. 30 

Indexed by Phil Roberts 

Wyoming Picture 

From Photographic Collections 
in Wyoming 

Thermopolis Nursery School, "Kid's Lunch," 1936 

This photograph, made by an unknown Works Progress Administration photographer on April 16, 1936. shows three 
women, apparently teachers, posed with nearly 20 nursery school students at lunch time in their school. Statewide, 
Wyomingites were sujferingfrom a severe economic depression and drought. These difficulties seem to be apparent just 
from the expressions on the faces of children and teachers (none identified on the photograph) as well as from their 
clothing. The photograph is held in the WPA Photographs collection, Wyoming State Archives, Division of Cultural 
Resources, Cheyenne. 

nals of 


The Wyoming History Journal 
Spring 2002 Vol. 74, No. 2 

""'■'•^"'^m^^iimit ■;-, ■ ,.,^1'.''*' 

In This Issue 

* A Tale of Two Sisters: Pryor & Trischman In Yellowstone 

* Ridgway Glover, Photographer 

* Target Practice and Firing Ranges at Fort Fred Steele 

The Cover Art 

''Fort Fred Steele'' 

a painting 

by Phillipe Denis De Trobriand 

The cover painting of Fort Fred Steele was made in the 1870s by Phillipe Denis De Trobriand. 
He was a Frenchmen of noble birth who had been educated at the College of Tours and awarded 
a law degree from Poitiers. He toured the United States in 184L married an American woman, 
then returned to France for several years. In 1847, he came back to this country to live perma- 
nently. During the Civil War. taken with "a cause that had immortalized Lafayette, " he became 
a citizen of the United States and assumed command of a group of Union Army volunteers as a 
general. He was assigned to duty in Dakota, Montana. Utah and Wyoming in the course of his 
military career. A diarist, poet, and novelist, De Trobriand was also a gifted amateur painter. 
Everywhere in his travels he saw subjects for pictures--his sketches and paintings include works 
on Indians, landscapes, and Western military structures. Both in his journals and his art works, 
he revealed a remarkable perceptiveness of the world around him. He was sensitive to people he 
encountered and to the environment in which he found them. De Trobriand' s literarv and artistic 
endeavors serve not only as aesthetic expressions of life in the American West more than a cen- 
tury ago, but as valuable historical documents that provide a realistic, accurate picture of that 
lifestyle. The cover painting and a companion piece were purchased many years ago by the 
Wyoming State Art Gallery with funds contributed by members of the Wyoming State Historical 
Society. The original painting is housed in the collections of the State Museum, State Parks and 
Cultured Resources Department, Cheyenne. 

The editor oi Annals of Wyoming welcomes manuscripts and pliotograplis on ever> 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 tor 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 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 £i\\.or . Annals of Wyoming. P. O. Box 4256, University Station, Laramie WY 82071,ortotheeditor by e-mail at the following 



Book Review Editor 

Carl Hallbero; 

Editorial Advisory Board 

Barliara Bogart. Evan.ston 

Mahel Brown, Neucastle/Clit-vt-nnf 

Kathenne Ciirtiss. Shtridan 

Dudley (lardner. Rock Springs 

Sally F Clriflith. Lusk/Haxertown. Pa 

Don HocJgson. Torrmgton 

Lort-n .lost, Ri\ crton 

James R. LaMLl. Wapiti 

Mark Miller. Laramie 

Mark Nelson. Ciieen Ri\er 

Sherry L. Smith, Moose' Dallas, Te\ 

Thomas F. Stroock, Casper 

Lawrence M. Woods. Worland 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

Rick E\\ ig. Laramie 

David Kathka, Rock Springs 

Sheiry L. Smith, 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Nancy Curtis, Cilendn 

Brian Hosmer. Laramie {e\ otticio) 

Patty Myers, Wheatland (e\-iitficio) 

Loren .lost, Ri\erton (e\-ofiie lo) 

Phil Roberts, Laramie (ex-otflcio) 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executi\e Committee 

Da\e Taylor. President. Natmna L'nunty 

Amy Lawit-nce. 1st Vice Pies. Aliiany Ci 

Patty Myers. L'nd Vice Pres.. Platte Co. 

Linda Fabian. Secretary. Platte County 

Dick Wilder. Treasurer, Park County 

Clara Varner, Weston County 

.lames Van Scoyk., Star Valley Chapter 

.Joyce Warnke, CJoshen County 

Lloyd Todd, Sheridan County 

.ludy West. Membership Cooidinatnr 

Govemor of Wyoming 

Jim (ieringer 

Wyoming Dept. of State Parks and 
Cultural Resources 

.lohn Ke.k. Diieani 

Cultural Resources Division 

Wendy BredehoH, Administrator 

Wyoming Parks & Cidtural Resources 

William Dubois, Cheyenne 
Emerson W Scott, Jr , Buttalo 
Diann Reese, Lyman 
Vern Vi\ ion. Raw lins 
David Reet/, Powell 
Herb French, Newcastle 
Ernest C. ()\er. Pa\ illion 
Carolyn Butt, Casper 
•lerrilynn Wall. Evanston 

University of Wyoming 

Philip Duboi.s. Pre.sident 
Oliver Walter. Dean. 

College of Arts and Sciences 

Brian Ho.smer. Chair, Dept. of History 

nals of 


The Wyoming History Journal 

Spring l'OOl' Vol. 7 1-. No. l' 

A Tale of Two Sisters: Pryor & Trischman in Yellowstone in 
the Best and Worst and Times 

By Robert \' Goss 2 

T\sn M.stfi-s opt-t.itt-il a piiinfefing toruevMnn id 'it-llnw st< int- N;itinn;il Park. Their 
stofy 1-^ f'illt-(.l \Mth triumph and tfa^it-ih'. iiuhuiini; tht- sukklr nt their niotlier and tht- 
rnurdt-r -it thfir liinlhc-r Th(-\ weatht-rt-d ad\t-rsH\ and tinalK sold [ht- npt-ratmns and 
retiretl. Thfir .story dt-scriht-s the ' iiji.s and d(>\\ns" ot concessiDns ni the Park. 

Ridgway Glover, Photographer 

By Paula Richardson F^leming 17 

Glover, a Philadelphia photographer, eame West in the middle 1 SfiOs uhere he was 
killed h\ Indians near I ort Phil Keam\ Did he make photographs in the area' Fleming 
reveals long-lost examples ot Glover's work and postulates that other ot his photo- 
graphs nia\ he oul there someuhere 

Target Practice and Firing Ranges at Fort Fred Steele 

By Mark D. Hanson l' + 

Soldiers during the frontier period were required to praetice marksmanship Hanson 
reveals the possihie loeations of firing ranges at one ot" VVvoming's frontier militar\ 
posts. Fort Fred Steele He argues that target practice on the frontier required similar 
materials and facilities as practice elsewhere in the I'Jth centun. militar\. 

Index Inside bactc cover 

Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming Hi.slon' Journal \i pubWihed quarter]). b\ the Wvoming State Historical 
Societv in association with the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, the .Ameri- 
can Heritage Center, and the Department of History. University of Wyoming The Journal was previously 
published as the Oiiarlerly Bulletin (1923-1925). Annals of Wyoming (1925-1993). Wyoming Annals 
(1993-1995) and Wyoming Hisloiy Journal {\^^>-\^'^b) 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 
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Inquiries about membership, mailing, distribution, reprints and back issues should be addressed to .lud\ 
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Our e-mail address is annals » uwvoedu Printed by Pioneer Pnntini;. Chevenne 

Copyright 2002, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 

A Tale of Two Sisters 

Speciman House, c. 1900. NFS Yellowstone collection 

Pryor & Trischman in 

Yellowstone in the Best and 

Worst of Times 

Robert V. Goss 

The story of the Park Curio Shop at Mammoth Hot Springs and the related 
businesses of Pryor & Trischman seem to be a neglected tale in the annals of 
Yellowstone's concession history. They ran a successful business for 45 years, 
and in the last 20 years of their operation controlled essentially all the general 
merchandise sales in the northern portion of the park. They also shared in the 
operation of the park service stations with park businessmen Harry Child and 
Charles Hamilton. The roots of their business stem from many of the early pio- 
neers in the park concessions operations, including Ole Anderson, George 
Whittaker, Alexander Lyall, Walter Henderson and Jennie Ash. 

Spring 'i00i2 

Anna Kather>Ti and Elizabeth "Belle" Trisch- 
man were daughters of George Trischman 
who came to work at Fort Yellowstone in 1899 as 
post carpenter. Both teenagers at the time, it did 
not take very many years before they began to make 
their mark in the predominately male-dominated 
business scene in the park. 

In the early 1900"s Anna married George R. Pr\'or 
and together they purchased the interests of Ole 
Anderson's Specimen House in 1908. Elizabeth 
became a partner with Anna in 1912 and the busi- 
ness continued to expand and prosper. In 1932, 
the sisters bought out the stores and gas stations 
of George Whittaker that were located at Mammoth 
and Canyon, giving themsehes a monopoly in the 
northern part of the park. The store they purchased 
at Mammoth was the current Hamilton's Store. 

Yellowstone National Park was created March 
1, 1872. Along with other provisions, the act 
stipulated that the Secretary' of the Interior "...may 
in his discretion, grant leases for building 
purposes. ..of small pieces of ground. ..for the ac- 
commodation of visitors."' This authoritv' allowed 
the Secretarv' to permit the establishment of vari- 
ous businesses to serve the visitors to the park. The 
sheer size of the park, at 2.2 million acres, and its 
distance from major population centers, made it 
necessarv' for the creation of transportation, lodg- 
ing, and general merchandise systems in order for 
the tourist to enjoy his visit. 

The early years of the park were ones of experi- 
mentation and change. As Yellowstone was the first 
National Park established, the government had no 
experience in operating one. Nathaniel Langford 
was selected as the first Superintendent, but Con- 
gress did not allocate any funds for the manage- 
ment of the park until 1878. Langford held the 
unpaid position until 1877, but spent verv' little time 
actually in the park. Philetus Norris took over the 
position until 1882 and set about building crude 
roads with the initial appropriations from Congress. 
He established rules and regulation for the park, 
but he had no actual authoritv' to enforce the rules 
and had little help to patrol the vast wilderness. 
Three more superintendents were assigned during 
the next four years, but none accomplished signifi- 
cant safekeeping measures for the park.- Poach- 
ing was rampant, careless campers caused forest 
fires, and natural features were chiseled away by 
visitors desiring 'souvenirs' from the park. Ruth- 

less businessmen connived to control all conces- 
sions for their personal profit. 

To save the park from destruction. Congress 
passed a Sundrv' Civil Bill in March of 1883 that, 
among others things, gave the Secretary of War, 
upon the request of the Secretarv- of Interior, the 
authority" to station troops in the park in order to 
enforce the laws and provide protection for the 
park. 3 On Aug. 20, I886, the r' Cavalrv', under 
Capt. Moses Harris, assumed control of the park. 
The Army would be in charge of the park until 1918, 
when the newly formed National Park Service took 
over administration of the park. Among the many 
new duties for the Army was the responsibilitv' for 
managing the concession operations that had been 
formed, and reviewing the applications for new 
businesses that v\ished to operate in the park. Ul- 
timate approval rested with the Secretary of Inte- 
rior, but he depended on recommendations of the 
Army's Acting Superintendents at Fort Yellowstone. 

By the time the army took over, two hotels had 
been established at Mammoth. Primitive hotels, or 
tent hotels, existed at other major locations, and a 
varietv' of transportation companies were travers- 
ing the crude roads in Yellowstone. Frank Havnes 
had established his photo business at Mammoth 
and the Upper Geyser Basin, and a few other small 
businesses were in operation selling curios and 
some general goods. 

One of these early businessmen was Ole .Ander- 
son, whose business eventually ended up in the 
hands of Anna Prvor and Elizabeth Trischman. Ole 
Anderson's father was the winterkeeper at the Can- 
yon Hotel for at least the 1888-89 seasons.-^ Ole 
opened a tent store at Mammoth in order to sell 
"coated specimens" and bottles of colored sand 
from the Grand Canjon of the Yellowstone. "Coat- 

' President Grant signed Senate Bill S 392 creating Yellowstone 
National Park. The Act speciHed that the area be "...set apart as a 
public park or pleasureing-ground (sic) for the benefit and enjoy- 
ment of the people... That said public park shall be under the exclu- 
sive control of the Secretary of Interior, whose dut> shall be. .to 
make and publish such rules and regulations as. . . necessan. or proper 
for the care and management of the same... [and] shall provide for 
the preservation... of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, 
or wonders within said park..." Aubrey L. Haines. The Yellowstone 
Sioir. II. (Niwot; Colorado Associated Univ. Press. 1977). 471. 

' Robert V, tjoss. Yellowstone - The Chronolog\ of Wonderland. 
(^'ellowstonc. 2000). 25-27. 

' Haines. 472. 

^ Newell F. .loyner. "History of Improvements in \'ellovvstone 
National Park."(LISNPS. 1929). File No. I 101 1-02. Structures. Ver- 
tical Files. VNP .Archives. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 




Specimen rack. c. 1908 (above). Ole Anderson 
and "specimen rack, " 1895 (left). 

YNP collection 

ing specimens" was a popular tourist pastime at the 
Mammoth Terraces. The great volume of dissolved 
minerals in the water that gushed from the various 
formations was capable of building up fast on for- 
eign objects placed into the waters. Tourists would 
take a variety of common objects, such as bottles, 
pine cones, combs, and horseshoes, let the waters 
run over them for a period of days and then they 
would have their momentoes covered with glisten- 
ing white minerals. However, some tourists were 
destructive of the terrace formations and the Army 
issued Anderson a permit in 1889 to conduct a busi- 
ness coating specimens for the tourists, hoping that 
his enterprise would satisfy the visitors needs. ^ 

The permit issued in 1889 seems to be the first 
legal contract Anderson had with the Army, al- 
though he had been operating his tent store there 
since 1883. Hewaschargedayearlyfeeof $20and 
allowed to sell "curiosities'", but not general wares.'' 
The year 1883 was a good time to start a business 
at Mammoth as the new National Hotel was just 
opening, and the Northern Pacific Railroad had just 
completed its Park Branch Line to Cinnabar, only 
eight miles away. Visitors now had an easy way to 
get to Yellowstone, and visitation increased five- 
fold that vear.^ 

In 1894 Anderson \NTOte requesting permission 
to build a permanent structure. He stated that "a 
neat cottage would look much better to the public" 
[than tents] and that he "would like sufficient 
ground in front to be able to plant a flower garden 
to beautify the store."® His request was approved 
the next year, and construction began on the Speci- 
men House. The new building was ready for busi- 
ness in 1896 and the government issued a 10-year 
lease to him in April. He seemed to have done well, 
as in 1906, his lease was renewed for 10 more years, 
allowing him to also sell the newly popular "pic- 
ture postcards". The cost of the lease, however, in- 
creased to $50 per year. "* 

By 1908 Ole had been in business for 25 years 
and was ready to retire. He began negotiations with 
George and Anna Pr>'or for the sale of his opera- 
tion. George wrote a letter to the Acting Superin- 
tendent on April 10 requesting permission to in- 

' Capt. Anderson to John W. Noble. March 9. 1891. Army Files 
Doc. 412. YNP Archives. 

'' Ole Anderson operated his tent store as early as 1883. as indi- 
cated in his letter of 1894 to the Secretar> of Interior requesting that 
he be allowed to erect a permanent building to replace his tents. He 
stated that he had been doing business and living in the tents for 1 1 
years. Acting Superintendent Capt. Anderson wrote to the Secretary 
in 1891. passing on a request from Ole to build a permanent store 
and stating: "I have known him for over eight years and can speak 
from personal knowledge of his good conduct and trustworthy char- 
acter." Capt. Anderson to Noble. W. W. Wylie and O. Anderson 
File. Box C-17, "Concessioners 1879-1916." YNP Archives 

' Anderson to Noble. 

* Ole Anderson to Secretary of Interior, Army Files Doc. 1828, 
YNP Archives. 

'' Wy lie/Anderson File. 

Spring 'iOO'i 

Stall a complete soda fountain, which would include 
ice cream, hot and cold drinks, and a bakery. He 
felt that since there was no other similar facilit>' in 
the park, the business would "add materially to the 
comfort of everyone engaged in or visiting the 
park."'° The Interior approved his request on May 
12, but by that time Anderson has already signed 
an Assignment of Lease to the Pr\ors. Anna and 
George did not sign the official lease agreement with 
the government until August 26, but it was retro- 
acti\'e to April 3. The new Pr>or lease was for eight 

The lease required a fee of $50 per year, a usage 
tax of $115, and covered a plat of ground 13,880 
square feet, located immediately north of the U.S. 
Commissioner's residence. They were allowed use 
of the building(s) as a dwelling and a store in "which 
to keep coated specimens, bottled sand, post cards, 
spoons, and other wares and curiosities." They were 
also permitted to install and conduct a complete 
soda fountain with ice cream, coffee, tea, non-alco- 
holic drinks, and a bakeiy to supply cakes, pastry, 
\iands, and bread. A stipulation in the lease en- 
titled them to take such timber and other materi- 
als from the park to maintain, repair and upgrade 
their facilities, as long as the materials were from 
areas specifically designated by the Interior. An 
accounting of all such materials had to be presented 
to the authorities on a semi-annual basis.'- The 
Pr>ors named their enterprise the Park Curio & 
Coffee Shop.'-* 

After two seasons of business, the Pr>ors must 
have been confident in their success, as in No\'em- 
ber they asked the Interior to double the size of their 
store. The Secretar\' appro\"ed blueprints for the 
project on November 17, but construction had al- 
ready started by that time, no doubt in order to get 
a headstart before the onset of winter. The blue- 
prints showed a 2-stor>' addition on the left side of 
the building with the first floor featuring a li\ing 
room, kitchen dining room, front porch, and stair- 
way to the upper floor. The upstairs included a 
bathroom and fixe bedrooms spreading out o\er 
both portions of the building. A sitting alcove was 
located in the center facing the front of the build- 
ing and included a balcony on the outside. The store 
itself occupied the first floor of the original struc- 

Sur\iving business letterhead refers to the busi- 
ness as "The Park Curio Shop", with A. K. Pr>or as 
Manager. The letterhead also indicates they were 
selling Indian moccasins, Navajo goods, Mexican 

zerapes (serapes) and blankets, fur rugs, and burnt 
leather novelties. They also advertised "Magnesia 
Coated Souvenirs from the Mammoth Hot Springs" 
and "Bottled Variegated Sands from the Grand Can- 
yon of the Yellowstone." 

In addition to the business responsibilities, Anna, 
age 24, gave birth to her first child on April 18, 1908, 
in Helena, Montana. The daughter was named 
Georgann Pr\or,'' and would, in future years, help 
her mother and aunt in the operation of the stores. 
Raising an infant and managing a business must 
ha\e been quite a challenge, and no doubt Anna's 
sister Elizabeth played a large part in helping out 
with the store and Georgann's rearing. Sometime 
in the next few years Anna had a second daughter 
named Margaret. Howe\er, it appears that rela- 
tions between George and Anna must have soured 
at least by 1912. On October 19 of that year George 
assigned all of his "rights, pri\ileges, and franchise" 
of the Park Curio Store lease to Elizabeth. Appar- 
ently, Elizabeth had already been an active partici- 
pant in the operation of the store. The business 
legally became the partnership of Pryor & 
Trischman, with appropriate lease documents not- 
ing the change in ownership.'" 

George probably had been planning his exit from 
the business for a while. In earh' September he sub- 
mitted a letter of application to Acting Supt. Col. 
Brett requesting permission to operate a dair\' herd 
at Mammoth to supply milk and cream to the mili- 
tary' and civilian reservations. He chose a location 
described as on the bench lands about one mile 
southwest of Mammoth Hot Springs, "sufficiently 
remote and so located that it cannot be seen from 
any point around the resenation." He proposed 
the construction of buildings and fences as required 
for the operation, and quoted prices of lOcf a quart, 
and cream at 40(1' per quart. These prices were to 
be competitive with those at Li\ingston, Billings, 

'"George Pr\orlo MaJ, H T^ Allen. Ami> Files D(u\ 7888. VT-JP 

" Wylie/Anderson File. 

'- PpiorA Pr\or; Holm Iransportation Folder. Box C-16. YNP 

" Aeling Seerelar> to MaJ. Hetir\ 1. Allen. . lime 2.i. 1^08. Ami\ 
FileDoe. 8179. YNP Archives 

'Hieo. Pryor to Maj. H.C. Benson. Oct. 25. 1404. wuh blueprints 
of store. Army Files Doc.. YNP Archives 

'" Livingston Park C'liunn' .\ews. clipping from 14(il. Cieorgann 
Pryor. Box 11-2. liiographical tiles. YNP Archives 

"'Assignment of l,ea,se (Copy ). George Pr\or. dated Oct. 14. 1412. 
Box C-16. Prvor ct Pr\or Folder. ^NP Archives 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Butte, and Helena.'" A permit was granted to him 
on Januan- 4, 1913, but he never followed through 
with the enterprise. It was noted in a letter of Sep- 
tember 1913 by the Acting Superintendent that Mr. 
Pr\or decided he did not want to engage in this 
business, "is no longer in the park" and was unable 
to fulfill the obligations of his permit."^ 

In September 1912 George also applied for per- 
mission to establish a permanent steam laundr\' at 
Mammoth to serve post employees and other local 
residents. A Chinese man named Sam Toy oper- 
ated the only other laundry service in one of James 
McCartney's old hotel buildings. The Post Surgeon 
described that business as an "eyesore" and noted 
that the poor quality of work done was such that 
many of the post employees were having their laun- 
dry- done in Gardiner or Livingston. However, like 
the dairy proposal, nothing came of this enterprise, 
and there is little mention of George Pryor in later 
business records of the store or of the park.'" 

The Trischman sisters were now firmly in con- 
trol of the business, and life appeared to be 
going quite well for them, but things had not al- 
ways been that way. Their introduction to life in 
Yellowstone began with a bad experience that surely 
affected them throughout their lives. 

Anna was born to George and Margaret Gleason 
Trischman on July 18, 1884, in Montana. Brother 
Harr>' was born early in 1886 at Fort Custer, and 
sister Elizabeth followed on December 22, 1886.-" 
The fourth child, Joseph, was born July 29, 1893." 

Early in 1899 the Trischman family was residing 
in Billings, Montana. According to the June 10, 
1899, issue of the Livingston Enterprise, Mrs. 
Trischman attempted suicide in the cowshed be- 
hind their house with a large butcher knife. Al- 
though trying to sever her jugular vein, she suc- 
ceeded only in making an ugly wound on her throat. 
She claimed to have been assaulted by an unknown 
man, but authorities doubted her story and she was 
judged insane and sent to the mental hospital at 
Warm Springs, Montana. The newspaper clipping 
indicated that she had improved enough by late 
May to be discharged from the institution." George 
was anxious to reunite his family in Yellowstone 
where he was newly employed as the post carpen- 
ter, and he secured her release from the asylum on 
May 29.^3 

However, she was not cured, as was indicated in 
a letter of June 10 from O. G. Warren, M.D., Su- 
perintendent of the Insane Asylum at Warm 

Springs, to Timothy Burke, U.S. Attorney for the 
District of Wyoming in Cheyenne. He stated that 
Margaret was admitted on April 16 suffering from 
melancholia and that she was removed by her hus- 
band on May 29. He emphasized that "There was 
no improvement in her condition. "-"♦ The 
Livingston Enterprise noted that the family spent 
the following night at the Park Hotel in Livingston 
before taking the train up to Cinnabar.-'' The fam- 
ily was barely settled into their new residence at 
Mammoth, when on June 3''' around 5 p.m., Mar- 
garet took a large hunting knife and slashed the 
throat of young Joseph, almost severing his head 
from his body. She chased the other horrified chil- 
dren, but they safely escaped to a neighbor's house. 
She was found later back at the cottage and was 
taken to the post guardhouse by authorities. 

U.S. District Attorney Burke came up from Chey- 
enne a few days later and ascertained her to be quite 
insane. On July 8 she was sent by train to a mental 
institution in Washington, D. C. Somewhere be- 
tween Point of Rocks and Dailey's Ranch in Para- 
dise Valley, she jumped from the train into the 
Yellowstone River, and despite intense searches, 
her body was never found. Joseph was buried June 
4 in the cemetery near the current horse operation 
at Mammoth, and his marble headstone featuring 
a pair of small shoes and socks on its top can still 
be seen.-*' 

Despite the tragedy, life went on for the 
Trischman family. Sometime afterward, Anna 
taught school at Fort Yellowstone before marrying 
George Pryor.-" Elizabeth spent her last year of high 
school at the Park County High School in Livingston 

'"Geo. Pryor to Col. L.M. Brett, Sept. 9. 1912, Box 21, Item 42. 
File No. 30. YNP Archives. 

'" However, some question exists in this matter, as F. E. George, 
Chief Engineer for the Yellowstone Park Hotel Co., mentioned in a 
letter to architect Robert Reamer that "George Pryor is now propri- 
etor of a dairy, furnishing milk for people around the Post." The 
letter was dated October 23, 1912. Original letter from the author's 

'" H.D. Bloombergh to the Commanding Officer, Post, Sept. 17, 
1912. Box 21, Item 42, File No. 30, YNP Archives 

-" Social Security Death Records,, Inc. http:// 

-' Lee H. Whittlesey, Death in Yellowstone (Boulder: Roberts 
Reinhart Publishers, 1995), 210 

-" "Shocking Infanticide," Livingston Enterprise, June 10, 1899. 

-■ O.G. Warren, M.D., to Timothy F.Burke, June 10. 1899, Box 
81, Meldrum Papers, A-B File, YNP Archives 

-^ Ibid. 

-- "Social column," Livingston Enterprise, June 3, 1899. 

-''Whittlesey, 159-60. 

-'Haines. 182. 

Spring 'iOO'2 

and graduated in June of 1904.^^ Brother Harry 
entered government service in 1907, served as a 
scout from 1909 to 1915, and became one of the 
first park rangers in 1916, ser\ing in various capaci- 
ties until his retirement in 1946.-'' 

The stor\' of the other branch of the Pr\-or Store 
family tree began several years before the ar- 
rival of the Trischman family in Yellowstone. 
George Whittaker arrived in 1891 as a soldier in the 
6"" Cavalry, and served until his discharge in Sep- 
tember 1896. The following year the 4"^ Cavalry 
took over the post and Acting Supt. Gen. S. B. M. 
Young appointed Whittaker as a Scout. George per- 
formed as a scout for about two years before he left 
for the Philippine Islands in July 1900.-" He was 
employed as a Chief Packer while in the Philip- 
pines. 3' 

George returned to Yellowstone in 1902 and by 
March was again employed as a packer and scout 
for the Army.^^ The following year he took a job 
with the Yellowstone Park Transportation Com- 
pany as a saddle horse guide. During the next ten 
years he worked summers as agent for the trans- 
portation company at Canyon, and as a scout for 
the Army during the winters. In 1913 Whittaker 
was appointed Postmaster, and he bought out the 

Lyall-Henderson store at Mammoth, which is the 
current Hamilton Store." 

The Lyall-Henderson store had its beginnings 
with Jennie H. Ash, daughter of George Henderson. 
Her family constructed the Cottage Hotel at Mam- 
moth in 1885, and even though they sold out to the 
Yellowstone Park Association in 1889, they contin- 
ued to assist in management of the hotel for some 
time afterward. " Jennie began the combination 
store and post office in 1895, recei\ing a 10-year 
lease from the government, which was renewed for 

-' "Social column." Wonderland newspaper. June 18. 1^(14. 

-" Haines, 447. 

'" George Whittaker to William Nichols. April 8. ca. 1921. 
Whittaker Papers. 1925-34. Montana Historical Society. Helena. 

" A newspaper account from the Livingston Enterprise. June 10. 
1899. mentioned that the two companies of the Fourth Cavaln. at 
Fort Yellowstone had been ordered to Manila to Join six other com- 
panies already there. Charles Pember. a saddler with the unit, noted 
that it would be several weeks before the units could be assembled at 
Mammoth as communications with outlying stations at Thumb and 
Snake Ri\er stations could be accomplished only on snow shoes. 
"Charles P. Pember." Livingston Enterprise. June 10. 1899. 

" "Local Layout." Livingston Enterprise. Jan. 25. 1902. Ma'rch 
29. 1902. 

'^ Whittaker to Nichols; Lease Agreement. George Whittaker. 
March 1,^. \9\}. Box C-17. J.H. .Ash & G. Whittaker File. YNP 

'■■Goss, 95. 106. 

Lyall-Henderson store at Mammoth, c. 1895. 

YNP collection 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

10 more years in 1905.^'' Three years later she trans- 
ferred the operation to her brother Walter J. 
Henderson and brother-in-law Alexander Lyall.^'' 

Upon the purchase of his new business, George 
Whittaker obtained a 10-year lease for his new busi- 
ness on August 7 that included a rental rate of $ 100 
per annum. He was also assessed a usage tax of 
$800 per annum. The lease was effective from 
March 13 of that year.-^^ A small flyer put out by 
George in June advertised his enterprise as the 
"Yellowstone Park Store." It appeared he was sell- 
ing a bit of everything, including souvenirs, post 
cards, Kodak supplies, groceries, hardware, sport- 
ing goods, tobaccos, clothing and other items the 
traveler might find useful. Hay and oats were also 
listed in his advertising so that tourists could keep 
their "weed-burners" moving along on the road.^*^ 

Late in 1913 Whittaker sought to take some of the 
Curio Shops' business by requesting permission to 
install a soda fountain in his new store at Mam- 
moth. The Pryor women countered his move with 
a request to the government that they be allowed 
to sell general wares and Kodak film, items that had 
been reserved for sale in Whittaker's lease. Acting 
Superintendent Col. Lloyd Brett solved the predica- 
ment, at least temporarily, by refusing both re- 

Like the Pryors, Whittaker must have been suc- 
cessful his first year, because in April 1914 he ap- 
plied for a permit to remodel and enlarge his store. 
Superintendent Brett approved the expansion and 
Whittaker built a 24' x 30' addition to the front of 
the store that was faced with ornamental plate glass 
windows. The cost of the project was $1746."*° 

The following year big changes were in store for 
everyone in the park. On April 21 the Secretary of 
Interior announced his decision to allow motorized 
autos in the park. Whittaker began thinking ahead 
and realized that potential profits could be obtained 
from this new breed of visitor that would begin en- 
tering the park on August T'. He submitted a re- 
quest for permission to sell gasoline, tires, lubri- 
cating oil, and other auto supplies. Interior granted 
him permission on July 17 and Whittaker began a 
new phase of his business in Yellowstone. ■*' The 
first few years, gasoline was stored in drums and 
measured out at a dollar per gallon. In the fall of 
1919, Whittaker opened up a real filling station with 
pumps on the site of the current operation at Mam- 
moth. The following year he added a station to his 
operation at Canyon.""^ 

Other park concessioners joined into the compe- 

tition for this new source of revenue. Charles 
Hamilton opened up a single-pump filling station 
at his Old Faithful and West Thumb stores in 1917, 
and added a station to his Lake store in the early 
1920's.'*3 Yellowstone Park Transportation Com- 
pany began offering gasoline, oil, and repair ser- 
vices at their depots in 1919. By that time, prices 
had dropped to a more reasonable price of 40-45 
cents per gallon.''"' 

Whittaker continued to prosper and in 1918 he 
established a general store at Canyon. He utilized 
a log building that had been recently abandoned 
by the Holm Transportation Company after the 
1917 consolidation of the transportation companies 
under Harry Child. The business was located on 
the west side of the Canyon, near the present Up- 
per Falls parking lot. Encouraged by the business 
he was doing at Canyon, he erected a new store 
three years later.^"' 

Pryor and Trischman also attempted to cash in 
on the gasoline and oil trade when they made a re- 
quest to Interior on June 4, 1915, to allow sales of 
these items at their store. The Secretary of Inte- 
rior responded to Col. Brett in mid-July stating 
merely that "Pryor and Trischman have privilege 
to operate a store for specific purposes which does 
not cover sale of gasoline, oils, etc."'"' The women 
were no doubt disappointed, but their business at 
Mammoth thrived. Financial reports for the 1915 
season indicate five employees were working at the 
store. Those employed were a cook, soda fountain 
girl, clerk, yardman, and sand artist. Revenues for 

"J. H. Ash, Lease Agreement. Aug. 7, 1895, BoxC-17. J.H. Ash 
& G. Whittaker File, YNP Archives. 

'" J.H. Ash & Henderson. Lease Agreement. Bo.\ C-17, H.L. & 
W.J. Henderson File, YNP Archives. 

' ■ George Whittaker Lease Agreement. 

'* Sample Letterhead & Brochure, 1913, Bo,\ C-16, George 
Whittaker Folder, YNP Archives. 

'"Brett to Pryor, Nov. 19, 1913, Box 72, Letter Box, "Rates 1911- 
16," Store Privileges 1915. YNP Archives. 

^" Brett to Secretary ot'the Interior, April 20, 1914, Box Item 60, 
George Whittaker File, YNP Archives. 

■" Secretary of the Interior to Brett, July 24, 1915, Box 34, Item 
73, "Store Privileges 1915," YNP Archives 

^- Haines, 358-59. 

■" Gwen Petersen, Yellowstone Pioneers-The Story of the Hamilton 
Stores and Yellowstone National Park. (Yellowstone: Hamilton 
Stores, Inc. 1985). 

" Haines, 258-59. 

^^ Lease of April 20, 191 8, Box C 1 6, Concessions Records. George 
Whittaker File, YNP Archives. 

""' Interior Secretary to Pryor and Trischman, June 4, 1915, and 
July 18, 1915, Item 73, Letter Box 34, "Store Privileges 1915,"YNP 

Spring 'iOO'i 


Candies Cigars 



Fruits Tobaccos 











ijeuouisiou^ p^tH 



56 V 








Park. Wyo., 

IJrlUmtstinir \k\vk 
,.*turr anil jjiuilnttiti'. 

Tounst s Supplies 

Hal:,, Caps Gloves, Vciliriy, 

Cosmetics, Patent Medicines, 

Smoked Glasses 

Biiuts Shoes and Rubbers 

Lownev s Candies, Chewiii;^ Gum, 

Fruit, Cigaj^ and Tobacco 
Groceries Drv Goiids, Notions Etc 

Kodak Supplies Fishing Tackle, 

Park Souvenirs, Views and Spoons 

Navaio Blankets and Indian Cnrios 

Hav and Grain 

Whittaker store at Canyon, c. 1915. Whittaker subntitted the two sample ads to 
the Park Service for approval in June 191 3. Ins first year of operation. Ads cour- 
tesy ofYNP Archives. 

the year included S757 for cigars, $7,483 for cu- 
rios, and $2,880 from the soda fountain. Expenses 
accounted for $5,600 in merchandise, $400 for 
freight, and $2,200 for wages and salaries, half of 
which were designated for Anna and Elizabeth. 
Total income for the year was $11,120.34, and total 
expenses amounted to $10,173.28, showing an ap- 
parent gain of only $947.28. However, with a little 
accounting magic, a true gain $3,163.91 was actu- 
ally shown. ^"^ That same year they made a request 
to Col. Brett to erect a stand at Devil's Kitchen to 
sell ice cream, soft drinks, and similar items. Brett 
denied their request, citing the law prohibiting con- 
cessions nearer than 1/8 mile to "any object of cu- 
riosity." However, the women did not forget the 
idea. They would revive it later.''^ 

The year 1916 was a pivotal one for all conces- 
sionaires in Yellowstone. The National Park 
Ser\ice was being formed and wealthy businessman 

Steve Mather was destined to be Director with his 
\ision of a system of monopolies in the national 
parks. Part of the percei\ed problem in the park 
was that too many businesses were competing for 
the same tourist dollars. The "pie" could only be 
split so many ways and competition for those 
■pieces' was fierce. By 1915 concessions in the park 
included: five hotels and two lunch stations run by 
the Yellowstone Park Hotel Company; three stage- 
coaches lines; three permanent camp companies, 
each offering five camps, two lunch stations, and 
transportation services; several different traveling 
camps; the Haxnes Photo Shops; and several dif- 
ferent general store operations, including those of 
Pryor & Trischman, Whittaker, and Charles 
Mather felt the situation was too competitive. 

■" Pr\ or & Pr\ or. Letter Box . Item 52. "Financial Reports of Con- 
cessionaires." File 130. YNP Archives 

"Col. Brett to Pr\ or. Nov, 19. 1915. Box 72. ^'NP Archives. 


Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

Companies were trying to undermine their com- 
petitors and there was a duplication of services at 
all locations. This resulted in excessive park lands 
being used for concession acti\ities, and poor ser- 
vice for the customer. Businesses competing against 
each other were not generating enough revenue to 
provide for increased service and improved facili- 
ties. Mather's solution was a system of "controlled 
monopolies." Government could control excessive 
charges to the public, and fewer businesses would 
be easier to administer. The remaining companies 
would in theorv' generate enough income to build 
new facilities, upgrade existing buildings, and to 
provide for improved or additional services.^"" 

In 1917 Mather's ideas were implemented and 
drastic changes resulted. All hotel operations were 
brought under the control of the Yellowstone Park 
Hotel Company, and the Yellowstone Park Trans- 
portation Company was designated to operate the 
transportation system. Harry Child owned both of 
these companies. The Wylie and Shaw & Powell 
camping companies were consolidated under the 
auspices of the Yellowstone Park Camping Com- 
pany, with duplicate operations being eliminated 
at all locations. By 1924 Harry Child would also 
own this company. The Old Faithful Camps Com- 
pany, which operated on a year-to-year lease, and 
run by the Hefferlin brothers in Livingston, Mon- 
tana, was denied renewal due to poor service.'^" 

Luckily for Pr>or & Trischman and Whittaker, 
Mather had not focused his reorganizations on the 

general retail businesses. Hamilton was firmly in 
control of the stores at Old Faithful, Lake and West 
Thumb. Whittaker enjoyed no competition at Can- 
yon, and he shared the commerce at Mammoth with 
the Trischman sisters. Each concern at Mammoth 
was allowed certain privileges that were not shared 
with the other. Apparently Mather felt the general 
stores were not a problem at this time and they were 
allowed to operate unmolested after the Park Ser- 
vice took over in 1918. 

With all the prospective changes, Pryor & 
Trischman were issued a lease for only one year in 
1916. Their yearly rental fee remained at $50, but 
the lease now also allowed the sale of toiletries, 
newspapers, hats, veils, gloves, and colored 
glasses.^' By 1918 the dust had settled from the 
shakeouts in the transportation and camping com- 
panies, and due to their favorable business (and no 
doubt personal) relationships with the previous 
administrations, the women were again given a 10- 
year lease for their store.^- The Wylie Camp at Swan 
Lake Flats was closed and a new camp established 
at Mammoth on the flats on the south side of Capi- 

^" Robert Shankland, Steve Mather of the National Parks (New 
York: A. A. Knopf. 1451). 120-27. 

"• Ibid. 

" Pryor Lease. April 10. 1'^I6. Box C16, Pryor & Pryor; Holm 
Transportation Folder, YNP Archives 

'- Lease of Aug. 18, 1917. Box C8, Pryor Stores. Inc., folder, 
YNP Archives 

Park Curio 
Shop, 1917. 

Spring '200^2 

tol Hill.^^ This would prove to be good news for 
both the Trischmans and Whittaker as it meant the 
potential for increased business to them. 

By 1917 Anna was spending winters in Helena 
where daughter Georganna, now 9 years old, 
attended school. A letter that year from neighbor 
Judge John Meldrum to his niece indicated that 
Anna's youngest daughter Margaret was staying at 
Mammoth during the winter with her grandfather 
and "Aunt Hattie", who was probably Elizabeth. 
Meldrum, 74 years old, had been appointed the first 
U.S. Commissioner in Yellowstone in 1894. The 
Trischman sisters had taken their neighbor "under 
their wings" and he spoke fondly of them in his let- 
ters. When Anna and Georganna came to Mam- 
moth for Christmas, Anna had a full Santa suit 
made for Meldrum. He visited the children and 
brought them each four or fi\'e dolls and a 2 -story 
doUhouse, six feet long, and 3 feet wide, complete 
with six furnished rooms. ^^ If the girls knew Santa 
was the "Judge", they never let on. 

In 1920 the ladies began conducting weekly pic- 
ture shows, and dances twice weekly at the Mam- 
moth Post Exchange. Records do not indicate how 
long they provided this service, but the park Su- 
perintendent noted in his annual report that the 
activities were "especially appreciated by park em- 
ployees."^^ Financial figures for the 1922 season at 
the Curio Shop show yearly sales of over $24,000, 
with a profit of just under $3,000, in addition to 
the ladies' yearly salaries. Employees received 
board as part of their earnings; the yardman, cooks, 
and sand artist earned $60 per month, and wait- 
resses $40 per month, plus tips. 

Two years later the lease of 1917 was relinquished 
and a new 10-year lease negotiated. The basic fee 
structures changed, and Pr>or & Trischman were 
committed to fees of 1% on gross sales up to 
$20,000. An additional 1% was to be levied for each 
$20,000 over that, up to a maximum of 4% for gross 
revenues exceeding $60,000.'^'' A new provision of 
the lease allowed the establishment of a deli at the 
newly established "free auto camp" at Lower Mam- 
moth. The ladiesjointly ran this new business with 
George Whittaker. At this same time George had 
also been allowed to establish small branch stores 
at both the Mammoth and Canyon campgrounds. ^^ 
Judge Meldrum described the campgrounds in 
1925 as "veritable beehives... with [fire] wood, run- 
ning water toilets, laundries, shower baths, and 
electric lights. "^"^ 

1 1 

In the early 1920's, the sisters apparently saved 
enough money to buy a house in Los Angeles where 
they began spending their winters. Other conces- 
sion operators and Yellowstone personnel did the 
same. Meldrum drove to Los Angeles with the sis- 
ters after the 1924 season and spent several months 
there, enjo>ing himself immensely. He mentioned 
in his 1925 letter that he "met more old Wyoming 
friends here during the three months... than I would 
see here [Yellowstone] in that many years.'"'" 

Although the Trischmans had been turned down 
in their request to establish a refreshment stand at 
Devil's Kitchen in 1915, Interior approved a later 
one in 1924. The lease allowed them to establish 
the Devil's Kitchenette and sell nonalcoholic cold 
drinks and ice cream."" The following year the 10- 
year lease of 1924 was amended to include the 
Kitchenette. Financial reports for 1925 show that 
there were 16 employees in the operation and Pr\'or 
and Trischman each earned a salary of $12,000.*" 
Georganna was now 16 years of age, and probably 
was one of those sixteen employees. In 1925 
Whittaker left the deli business at Mammoth and 
sold his share to Pryor & Trischman.*^ 

The women continued to expand their business 
and in 1927 they added a cafeteria to their opera- 
tion at the Mammoth campground. At this time 
financial reports state that Anna owned a two-thirds 
interest in the business, and Elizabeth, the one- 
third portion. 

The upcoming Great Depression days did not 
bode w-ell with concessioners anywhere in the 
National Park system. Pr>'or & Trischman showed 
a loss for the first time in 1931 and 1932. Luckily 

"Goss. 72. 110. 

'•' Judge Meldrum to Niece. , Ian. 10. 1917. .A.nn\ Files Doc. 9306. 
YNP Files. Mrs. Meldrum died in 1908 at Mammoth. 

" "Superintendent's Annual Report of 1920." 58. \NP .Archives 

^" The "sand artist" listed was no doubt .Andrew Wald. who was 
well-known for his expert ability to create beautiful park scenes within 
bottles of multi-colored sands. ""Prior& Trischman Annual Reports, 
1922." Box C8. YNP Archives 

" Pryor Stores. Inc. Folder. Box C8. "Concessions Records." YNP 

'* Judge Meldrum to Niece, Sept. 8, 1 925. Army Files Doc. 9304, 
YNP Files. Apparently, the site was a good one. Photographer Jack 
Havnes set up a new Photo Shop next door to them a few years later. 

"' Ihid 

''" Pry or Stores, Inc. Folder, Box C, "Concessions Records." YNP 

"' "Pryor & Trischman Annual Reports, 1925." Box C8. Conces- 
sions Records, YNP Archives 

" Marsha Karle, ed.. A Yellouslone Album {Y^P: The Yellowstone 
Foundation, 1997). Commentary b\ Lee Whittlesey and Park staff 

I '2 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History JoLirnal 

Devil .s Kiicheneiie. Miiiiniiulh Terraces, 1924 

bad times did not last, and in 1934 they were back 
in the black again with profits of more than 15 per- 
cent. Profits remained in double digits through 
1940, with the exception of 1939. In 1936 they 
showed a profit of $26,015 on gross revenues of 
$176, 859.*^ 

Even with the bad times in 1932, the women were 
looking fonvard to better times. George Whittaker 
was now about 62, and had been in business for 20 
years. He was ready to retire from the park and 
sell his properties. His lease would expire in 1933, 
and according to letters written between George 
and "Billie" Nichols, head of the Yellowstone Park 
hotel and transportation companies, Whittaker 
would be required to invest $20,000 in improve- 
ments in the nex1: two years. He complained to Billie 
that he became "disgusted with this park stuff at 
times and [I] feel like getting out of it." Charles 
Hamilton made numerous overtures to buy out the 
Whittaker's business, but he was never able to raise 
the funds Whittaker required.*'"' When Anna ap- 
proached him about their purchasing his business, 
he was interested. According to 1932 financial 
statements, Pryor & Trischman agreed upon a pur- 
chase price of $75,000. A cash down payment of 
$5,000 was made to Whittaker along with notes 
totaling $40,000. They also obtained a $17,000 
loan from the National Park Bank in Livingston, 
along with a loan of $13,000 from the Yellowstone 
Park Transportation Company.'''^ 

Early in 1932, having come to an agreement on 
the purchase with Whittaker, Anna traveled to 
Washington, D. C., to negotiate with officials there 
on transfer of Whittaker's lease agreement to Pryor 

& Trischman. The acquisition was effective April 
1, and included a half interest with the Yellowstone 
Park Transportation Co. to operate the gas stations 
at Mammoth and Canyon.*"" Interior issued a new 
10-year lease in July that included both operations, 
and a new provision prohibiting Pryor & Trischman 
from selling photographs of Yellowstone or photo- 
graphic supplies and equipment.^- This was the 
result of Jack Haynes, of Haynes Picture Shops, 
managing to gain exclusive rights in 1930 to the sale 
of all Yellowstone images in the park.**^ 

Whittaker, although now retired from Yellow- 
stone, maintained an active interest his business 
in West Yellowstone, which included 63 "modern" 
tourist cabins, gas station, barber and beauty shops, 
and a store."" He was also instrumental in the con- 
struction of the first airport in West Yellowstone in 

*■■' "Pryor & Trischman Annual Reports 1 922-39." Box C8, Con- 
cession Records, YNP Archives 

"•' Whittai<er to Nichols, Dec. 24, 1931. George Whittaker Files, 
1 925-35, Montana Historical Society. Nichols took over the compa- 
nies in 1931 following the death of Harry Child, his father-in-law. 

"' Year-end statements for 1933-35 show interest payments being 
made on notes to John Olsen, neighbor and friend Judge Meldrum, 
daughter Georganna (now using the name of Georganna Pryor 
Lockridge), and brother Harry, in addition to the original loans. By 
season's end in 1935, the ladies had paid off half of the $70,000 in 
notes. "Pryor & Trischman Annual Reports 1922-39." 

<"' "Park Curio Shop Financial Report, Sept. 30, 1932," Box C8, 
Concessions Records, YNP Archives 

"•^ "Pryor & Trischman .Annual Reports, 1932." 

"■^Goss, 122. 

'■'' "Park Concession Bought Saturday," unidentified newspaper. 
Mar. 22, 1932, Box H2, YNP Archives. 

Spring 'JOO'i 

the mid-1930's.^° He lived for almost 30 more 
years, dying in 1961 at the Old Soldiers Home in 
Sawtelle, California.^' 

The purchase proved to be a good move for 
the sisters. The depression soon lessened, 
and business greatly increased for them. By 1936 
the general stores at Canyon and Mammoth pro- 
duced over $110,000 in sales, the gas stations con- 
tributed $51,000, and the women's original busi- 
nesses at Mammoth grossed around $50,000. Al- 
though sales at the Devil's Kitchenette continued 
to increase during those years, only $850 in sales 
resulted in 1937, and that seems to have been the 
last year of operation. Financial reports for the fol- 
lowing years made no further mention of the ICitch- 
enette. Salaries for the sisters during this decade 
varied with business conditions. The years 1932- 
33 were the low with Anna drawing only $1000, 
and Elizabeth $750. Four years later those figures 
increased to $6,000 and $4,000 respectively."^ 

The deli and cafeteria operation at the Mammoth 
Auto Camp lasted through the late 1940's, with 
some closures during the war years, but after that, 
they consolidated their operations in the hotel area 
in upper Mammoth. Pr>or & Trischman received a 
new lease in 1941, this time for 20 years. However, 
in return for the extended time period, they agreed 
to invest over $50,000 in five years for additions 
and improvements to their facilities. As years went 
by, lease agreements got more complicated, and this 
one gave the Interior department the option of re- 
quiring new services to be provided, if a reason- 
able need was shown. It also required that any 
abandoned sites be restored to their 
natural condition. A new fee struc- 
ture allowed for net profits of 6 per- 
cent on their investments. If net 
profits exceeded 6 percent, a fee of 
22-1/2 percent of the excess was to 
be paid to the government. Yearly 
fees amounted to $500 for the tirst 
10 years and $1000 thereafter."' 

The war years again took a toll on 
park businesses, with most park 
operations being closed or curtailed. 
The main Coffee Shop at Mammoth 
closed, along with the cafeteria and 
store at the campground. What few 
visitors arrived in 1943-44 could 

Mammoth Cafeteria at Auto Camp. I9i0 


take meals in the employee dining room, while em- 
ployee rooms near the Coft'ee Shop became avail- 
able for overnight lodging. The store and gas sta- 
tion at Canyon closed, but the main store and sta- 
tion at Mammoth remained open."^ 

After the war, business not only resumed, but also 
greatly increased in the park. A previous high of 
over 580,000 park \isitors had been established in 
1941, but that dropped to just over 64,000 in 1944. 
Four years later in 1948 that figure increased to over 
1 million \isitors, most now \isiting in private au- 
tos, rather than by train.''' 

By 1947 the sisters were definitely feeling their 
age - Anna was 62, and they had been in busi- 
ness for almost 40 years. It was brought to their 
attention that if one of them were to die, their part- 
nership legally would be dissolved. In order for the 
survivor to continue business in the park, she would 
have to go through the permitting process vNith the 
government all over again. To avoid this scenario, 
they decided to incorporate."" On May 27 a corpo- 
ration was formed v\ith Anna as president and hold- 

"' Whittaker to Nichols. Feb. 4 und Mar. 16. 1434. George 
Whittaker Filcs- 

" Haines. 448. 

"■"Pr>or& Irischman Annual Reports. 1422-39.'" 

" Lease Agreement June 16, 1941. Pr\'or Stores. Inc.. Folder. Box 
C8. "Concessions Records." YNP Archives 

" PPior Stores File. File No. 900. Part three. PLIC. Box C35 
"Concessions Records." YNP Archives. 

" Haines, 479, 485 

'"• Pryor to O. Taylor. Supv. Concessions. ,lan. 27. 1 948. Box C35. 
File No. 900. PUC. YNP Archives 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 


Special Luncheon or Dinner 









.. vf.v... .Han».N L-..E. ,.. v^.>. c.M,rT,.„ ....r> .^ 

Pcvot! Store;5 

corrrE smop 

JlAmmotK Hot Springa 

Cold Sandwiches 

KoasL Fork. Veal, or Beef. Cold 25 

Baked Ham Sandwich. Tuna Salad Sandwich 20 

American or PinientoChcese.PcanutButter. Minced Ham, Deviled Ekk 15 
Toasted Sandwiches 5c Extra 

Hot Sandwiches 

Ham and Melted Cheese. Toasted 30 

Bacon and Tomato 25 

HamburL'er. Bun, Ctnion. Sliced Tomato. Pickle 20 

i-Yied Ham /io Fried Egg 20 

Denver. Toasted "0 Meltcil Cheese 20 

Tempting Luncheon Sugsestions 
Hot Roast IJeef, Veal, or Pork Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes and Drink 4U 

Vepetahle Plate. Poached EKK^ Rolls. Drink 60 

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Portion . 10 

Cooked Vejietabies. Portion 10 

Truzzolino's Famous Chicken Tamales, Chili Sauce 35 

Vegetable. Rico, Noodle, or Broth Soups 10 

All Heinz Soups or Cieam Soups 15 

Tomato. Pineapple. Oranne, Grapefruit Juice 10 

Fresh Oranw;e Juice, Small 15 Large 25 

Rolls and Butter. Bread and Butter 
Tea. Coffee. Mdk, Postum. Iced Tea 
Hot ChiK-olaie. Wafers 


■ Ch.-i 

A':rniiod Cold Meat-.. 
Shcpd 'rotnatoes 
Pineapple and (^uttaire 
Potato . , 
Head Lettvice - 

Choice of French. lllOO Island, or Mayonnaise Dressing 
Saltine Flakes Ser\'ed with Salads 

Fresh ColtaKe Cheese. Portion 

Eastern Cheese and Crackers . 

Apple, Berry, or Cream Pies. Made in Our Kitchen. Portion 

Home Made I-iyc r Cake, Portion . , 

Pie or Cake a la Mode 

ing 1000 shares, and 
Elizabeth as vice-presi- 
dent/treasurer with 500 
shares. Daughter 

Georganna was also added 
to the board of directors." 

The two women were 
ready to consider retire- 
ment with the realization 
that "it's later than we 
think, and the extremely heavy work of the past few 
years has been a definite strain on us." The main 
problem preventing their retirement seemed to be 
their inabilit\- to find a suitable buyer. Several pro- 
spective buyers had approached them about a pos- 
sible sale, but the sisters did not believe that any of 
them could meet the stringent demands and quali- 
fications required by the Park Service. During the 
summer Mr. and Mrs. Trevor Povah of the 
Hamilton Stores operation expressed interest in 
buving the business. Mrs. Povah was the daughter 
of Charles Hamilton and was described by Anna as 
a "splendid woman." Anna also described Trevor 
as "liked by his associates and has the respect of 
his employees [and] is well-fitted for any responsi- 
bility." Although both Anna and Elizabeth seemed 
confident with the abilities of the Povahs to run 
their business in a professional manner, no actual 
offers were made at this time, and business contin- 
ued as usual. '^ 

Shortly after the incorporation of the Pryor 
Stores, the sisters made a new agreement with 
Yellowstone Park Company (YPCo) on the joint 
operation of the gas stations at Mammoth and Can- 
yon. Under this agreement each partner would re- 
tain an undivided half interest in the stations un- 




Koll-,. Ill 



CuL-uniber, . 





or C 






Pryor Coffee Shop menu. 1941. Author's collection. 

der the auspices of 
Yellowstone Park Ser- 
vice Stations (YPSS), 
which managed all the 
stations in the park. The 
contract was effective on 
a year-to-year basis, and 
could be terminated by 
either party with 90-day 
notice prior to season 
opening."" The business 
was a lucrative one for 
Pryor Stores and by this 
time provided about half 
of their yearly net profit. 
However, this high pro- 
portion was due partly 
to the fact that the 
women's salaries came 
out of the store end of 
the business. *^° In 1948 
Trevor Povah was super- 
vising the YPSS opera- 
tions. He was paid $500 
from the joint operating 
funds of the three part- 

ners, Pryor, YPCo, and Hamilton Stores."' 

By 1952 sales figures for Pryor Stores, Inc. 
reached their highest level ever at $383,406.26. Net 
profits were more than $29,000 and salaries for 
each partner remained at $12,000 per year."^ The 
sisters proceeded with negotiations for sale of their 
stores to Charles Hamilton, and on September 23 
he offered $250,000 cash for the Pryor Store hold- 
ings, to be effective on September 30. He proposed 
that all accounts receivable generated up to that 
date go to Pryor Stores, and that all debts be paid 
off by then. In the spirit of good faith he asked that 
no inventory reduction sales be held and that "we 

"NPS Audit, 1958, Pryor Stores, Inc., Folder, Box C8, "Conces- 
sions Records," YNP Archives 

'" Pryor to O. Taylor. 

'" "Memorandum of Agreement, Pryor Stores, Inc. & Yellowstone 
Park Co.," 1947, Wm. Nichols Files 1947-53, Montana Historical 
Society. The Yellowstone Park Company wa formed in 1936 with 
the consolidation of the hotel, transportation, lodge and boat compa- 
nies. William Nichols remained in charge. 

«" Pryor Stores, Inc., Annual Reports, 1947-52, Box C8. "Con- 
cessions Records," YNP Archives 

*' Pryor to Nichols, Jan. 30, 1950, Nichols Files 1947-53, Mon- 
tana Historical Society. YPCo also held a half interest in Hamilton's 
service stations. 

*- Pryor Stores, Inc. Annual Reports, 1947-52. 

Spring ■200^2 

play the game honestly and as friends of over the 
past 40 years." Hamilton told them that "We do 
not need a lawyer or any auditors for this is a clean 
cut deal between us." Hamilton admitted in a let- 
ter to Anna on September 23, "I would not be in- 
terested for a minute if it were not that I have a 
younger generation to take over. From my angle I 
will never see the above obligation worked out be- 
fore I pass on, but I guess I will gamble until that 
time arrives. ""^^ His gamble paid off, but only for a 
few more years as he suffered a fatal heart attack in 
May 1957.**-' 

Although Hamilton expected to make money on 
his imestment, a review of correspondence between 
him and William Nichols, head of YPCo, indicates 
more important reasons for the buy-out. Both men 
were concerned that an outside buyer, particularly 
one with deep financial pockets, could purchase the 
Pryor business and cause financial havoc between 
both of their operations. ^^ -phg service stations at 
Mammoth and Canyon generated a considerable 
portion of the Pr>'or Stores' yearly profits. An out- 
side buyer could eliminate YPCo's interest and 
bring in a competing oil company to represent 
them. This might adversely affect both YPCo and 
Hamilton's gas stations in the southern portion of 
the park. YPCo already had a shared interest in 
Hamilton's gas stations, so a takeover of the Pryor 
operations by Hamilton would also benefit YPCo. 
And, too, an outside buyer could adversely aftect 
Hamilton's curio and general store businesses in 
the southern part of the park. A buy-out by 
Hamilton would give him a monopoly of the gen- 
eral store business in the park, and allow Hamilton 
and YPCo to evenly split the service station busi- 

No doubt Anna Pryor was aware of these poten- 
tial scenarios, and she upped the ante by making a 
counter-offer on October 7, 1952, of $300,000 for 
the business, which Hamilton accepted. Anna 
would receive $200,000 from the deal, and Eliza- 
beth, $100,000.*^" Out of the total sale amount, 
which amounted to $333,000 by the time the books 
were closed,**^ the sisters realized a paper profit of 
$102,000. The deal was finalized on January 5 of 
1953, with Hamilton receiving 1498 shares, and Mr. 
& Mrs. Povah each receiving one share. The assets 
were then sold to Hamilton Stores, Inc., and Pryor 
Stores, Inc. was officially dissolved on March 20.*^* 
According to an insurance audit in September of 
1950, the Pryor Stores' property at Mammoth con- 
sisted of the Park Curio Shop itself, with a single- 


Story garage and warehouse located behind it, and 
the general store, service station and single-story 
employee dormitory located at the rear. Also at 
Mammoth were the general store, gas station, caf- 
eteria, and dormitor\' facilities at the Mammoth 
Auto Camp. The Canyon properties consisted of 
the single-story general store and gas station, which 
housed the post oftice, soda fountain, residence, 
storage, and a two-story dormitory building located 

Four years later, a brand new facility replaced the 
Canyon service station, and was located a few miles 
away at the current Canyon Junction. The station 
opened on June 1, 1957, at a cost of $99,000. A 
new store with 12,000 square feet of selling space, 
warehouse facilities, and apartments for five em- 
ployees, replaced the aging buildings near Upper 
Falls. The store was located in the newly established 
Canyon Village, opening July 15 of that year, and 
costing $650,000. Construction of a new dormi- 
tory accommodating 100 employees brought 
Hamilton Stores' total investment at Canyon for the 
year to one million dollars.'"' 

After the sale in 1953, the two sisters and 
Georganna returned to their winter home in Los 
Angeles. In Hamilton's letter he suggested that "It 
is time you let down on your battles and started to 
enjoy life because as the Second Chapter of St. Luke 
says, you cannot take it with you."'" It would seem 
that the women were able to do this and both out- 
lived daughter Georganna, who died in November 
1961 from a stroke. ''^ Anna lived to be 89, dying on 
October 27, 1973. Sister Elizabeth outlived her by 
eleven years, spending her last night in a Glendale 
hospital on November 20, 1984-''' 

A sad coincidence occurred that same year when 

"- Hamilton to Pryor, Sept. 23. 1952. Pryor Stores File. No. 300- 
01 Part Six. Box C35. YNP Archives 

" Haines, 422. n40 

«' Hamilton to Nichols. .Ian. 9. I9.'i2; Nichols to H.C. .Ir. Feb. 27. 
1952. Nichols Files. 

«" Pryor to Hamilton. Oct. 7. 1952. File No. 300-01. 

"Galusha letter. Dec. 15, 1953. Annual Hamilton Stores Report 
1953-54. Box C9. YNP Archives 

** Report on Audit of the Operations of Pryor Stores. Inc.. Pryor 
Stores. Inc., Folder. Box C8, YNP Archives 

*'' Insurance Questionnaire, Sep. 14, 1950. File 900 Part Four - 
Pryor Stores. Box C35. YNP Archives 

"" Povah to Supt. Garrison. Mar. 25. 1958. Box C30, File C58. 
Buildings. Hamilton Stores 1953-59. YNP Archives 

" Hamilton to Pryor, Sept. 23. 1952. 

''' "Georgann Pryor... Dies." Livingston Park Conn!}' News. n.d.. 
1961. Box H2. Biographical. YNP Archives 

" Social Security Death Records, from Inc. http:/ 
/vitals. rootsweb, com 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

final approval was given for the demolition of the 
Park Curio Shop at Mammoth. A letter to the NPS 
Regional Director of the Rocky Mountain Region 
by the Associate Director of Cultural Resources in 
Yellowstone asserted that the condition of the 
building in general had deteriorated and that a sig- 
nificant amount of non-fire retardant materials had 
been used in construction of the structure. Ongo- 
ing studies indicated that high levels of radon and 
carbon dioxide were in the basement, causing a 
potential health hazard to employees and visitors. 
Based on these factors, it was decided that renova- 
tion would not be feasible or prudent, and plans 
were put in motion for the destruction and removal 
of this historic 88-year-old building.''^ 

The action closed out the final chapter in the tale 
of these two sisters - a tale that began at the turn of 
the century with an emotionally scarring episode 
in a land that was untamed and far away from the 
pleasantries of "civilized" life. The women began a 
business in the days when the Army controlled the 
park and civilian administration was still a dream. 
They passed through the rocky transition from mili- 
tary rule to administration by the new National Park 
Service with apparent ease. Many other businesses 
in the park either did not survive this transition, or 
survived, but with serious changes in their opera- 
tions. The sisters not only weathered the uncer- 
tainties and rigors of World War I and the Great 
Depression, but also emerged stronger than ever. 
They adapted their operations to survive the hard 
times of World War II, and once again, thrived 
when times returned to normal. After spending a 
half-century in Yellowstone, they retired with their 
careers at a pinnacle and left a legacy of a solid re- 
tail business operation. Surely they had been 
through the best and worst of times in the nation's 
first national park. 

The story of the concessions does not end here. 
Issues change, along with the names of some of the 
players. As of 2001, Hamilton Stores still operates 
the general stores, but Amfac Parks & Resorts man- 
ages the lodging and transportation systems. 
Yellowstone Park Service Stations continues under 

joint ownership of Hamilton and Amfac. The con- 
tracts of both these companies are up for renewal, 
and outside bidders are making their plays in an 
attempt to wrest control of the business in 
Yellowstone. Public opinion, politicians, business 
and environmental groups lobby to influence policy 
decisions made by the Park Service. The original 
intent of the act to set aside Yellowstone for the 
"benefit and enjoyment of the people" is interpreted 
differently by each generation. Protection of wild- 
life and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem cur- 
rently plays a greater role in policy-making than in 
previous years. Groups continue to advocate 
changes in the monopolistic business atmosphere 
in the park to allow for increased competition. 
Controversy stemming from the air and noise pol- 
lution of snowmobiles and the overcrowding of the 
roads during summer has the potential to change 
transportation operations drastically in the future, 
affecting businesses both inside and outside of the 
park. Changes are inevitable for all those involved 
in Yellowstone, and the "Best and Worst of Times" 
may still be ahead for many concessionaires. 

After 87 years of business in the park, Hamilton 
Stores lost their contract through the competitive 
bidding process that no longer rewards prior ser- 
vice. Delaware North Park Services will take over 
the operation beginning Jan. 1, 2003. 

"■* J. Rogers Memorandum to Regional Director, Rocky Mountain 
Region, Oct. 1, 1984, Box S6, File S7417, "Property Accountabil- 
ity, Disp. of Real Property," 1984, YNP Archives 

Robert Goss has lived and worked in the 
Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, area for 
almost 30 years and has spent countless hours 
exploring historic sites in the park. He has self- 
published two reference books concerning the 
history of the concessions in Yellowstone. He is 
currently employed by Xanterra Parks and Re- 
sorts at Mammoth Hot Springs. 

Purirait nt RiJgwii}- Glover 
Aulhors collcclion 

Ridgway Glover, 

By Paula Fleming 

"Did Ridgway Glover lake photographs of Fori Phil 
Kearny?' " 

This is one of I he many inlriguing queslions ihal has en- 
gaged scholars of I he American Weslfor decades, nol I he least 
of which was Dr. John C. Ewers who regularly inspired me to 
find an answer to this and many other queslions. Frequently 
he would drop by the National Anthropological Archives on 
one of his many research quests, always taking time to ask 
about my own investigations. As anyone who ever had a dis- 
cussion with Jack on a subject of mutual interest will know, 
these chats usually lasted longer than time he allotted for his 
own research. Inspiration leading to inspiration: supposi- 
tion leading to new directions: bits of obscure data dredged 
up from memories all came together to deepen understanding 
and advance the line of knowledge for both parties in what 
was trulv a nvo-wa\- intellectual street. 

What more could one want from a mentor?' Clearly Jack 
Ewers had a profound impact on my career. With his high 
standards of scholarship and clear, easy style of writing, he 
encouraged and guided me to the very end. It was with great 
sadness that the work on Glover had to continue without the 
benefit of his presence. While all of the questions still ha\'e 
not been answered, he would be pleased to know that progress 
has been made, especially as prospects were bleak. It is to his 
memoiy that I dedicate this summary of my work on Glover: 
Breakthroughs, thoughts, failures and questions still unan- 
swered all included. While it would haw been nice to have 
answered every question, his legacy reminds us that one can 
never really come to a complete answer on any topic - there 
are always new questions and lines of thought to inspire fu- 
ture scholars. So it is with this background that I present my 
research thus far on RidgwLn^ Glover. 

Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

Ridgway Glover was bom into a Quaker family of 
Mount Ephraiin. N. J., the son of Elizabeth (Lewis) and 
John Glover. The first census record to contain specific 
information about Ridgway is the 1 860 New Jersey 
record for Camden County, Newton Township, 
Haddonfield Post Office taken on July 17 of that year. 
He is listed as a 29-year-old fanner born in New Jersey 
owning real estate valued at $1 1,000 and a personal es- 
tate of $2,000. If his listed age is correct, he was born in 
1831. He lived on a farm with Maria Glover, 33, likely 
his sister, and various farm workers. Other Glover fam- 
ily members resided in the area. Clearly, they were suc- 
cessful farmers enabling Ridgway to pursue photogra- 
phy as a career.' 

Nothing is known of why or how he took up photogra- 
phy, but Philadelphia, a major center of early photogra- 
phy, is a short distance across the Delaware River. In all 
probability. Glover was inspired by photographers in that 
city and learned the craft by a combination of self-in- 
struction and contact w ith various studios in the region. 
He opened a studio at 818 Arch Street in Philadelphia 
and, in 1 864, advertised himself in the Philadelphia Pho- 
tographer as an animal and view photographer. His com- 
petitors included Frederick Gutekunst, just down the 
street, and proposed future collaborators, Wenderoth & 

No doubt images of both animals and local portraits 
exist with Glover's imprint, but the 
first photographs of historic impor- 
tance were those he made of the 
Lincoln funeral and associated lo- 
cations which he copyrighted on 
May 22, 1865.' The imprints on 
these show that by 1 865, he was in 
partnership with one of the 
Schreiber family at the Arch street 
location. George Schreiber was an 
important early Philadelphia pho- 
tographer. At least five members 
of his family worked in his studio 
including a son who specialized in 
animal photography. This son 
probably was Glover's partner and 
he would inevitably have learned 
more tricks of the trade by asso- 
ciation with such a professional. 



Stereo photograph by Glover of = 

house where he was born. " 

Among those pictured are his 5 

sister and brother. J 

According to the Philadelphia Photographer, 

He was rather eccentric in his ways. We have often 
been amused at his odd-looking wagon as it passed our 
office window, and as frequently wondered that he se- 
cured as good results as he did. But he had his own way 
of thinking, and cared very little whether any one else 
agreed with him or not. ..We shall not soon forget our first 
acquaintance with him. A rough, shaggy-looking fellow 
entered our office with two foolscap sheets full of writ- 
ing hanging in one hand, and with very little ceremony 
threw them down before us, remarking that there was an 
article for the Journal, and walked out. We promised to 
examine it; we did so, and next day it was our painful 
duty to inform him that his paper was of no use to us. 
This brought us another foolscap sheet full of abuse and 
condemnation of ourselves and the poor innocent Phila- 
delphia Photographer. We used about six lines in reply- 
ing to that, [specific article not located] and were again 
favored with a fourth sheet crowded with apologies. That 
was his nature. Impulsive, generous, and goodhearted, to 
a fault. No one suffered if he could help them.^ 

' U. S. Bureau of the Census. 1860 New Jersey record for Camden 
Count}. Newton Township. Haddonfield Post Office. 836. 

- Philadelphia Photographer. #8 (Aug. 1864). 5. 

^ A set of 26 stereos is in the Huntington Library-, rare book de- 
partment. San Marino. California. 

* Philadelphia Photographer. 3 #36. (Dec. 1866). 371. 

Glover siert'o af Lincoln 's funeral. Note ihe poor i/iuilily of the print Author 's collection. 

Perhaps his personality is why the partnership with 
Schreiber did not last. 

In June, 1 866, Frank Leslie 's Illustrated Newspaper 
published a line drawing based on a photograph Glover 
took of an albino deer in captivit\ in Philadelphia. He 
also photographed Lucretia Mott"s house, also in the cit\ . 
These were clearly run-of-the-mill subjects and. from 
what evidence we have, rather run-of-the-mill photo- 
graphic skills are shown as well. At best, those Glover 
photographs that survive are average and certainly not 
artistically inspired. Later, Col. Henry B. Carrington 
would note that Glover appeared to have suffered some 
great disappointment in life, but whether this was true 
or not, we do not know. He did not have a family of his 
own and clearly the fanning life seems not to have ap- 
pealed to him. For whatever reason, he decided to take 
his camera and head West. 

The late 1 860s were a time of great change for the 
country. The Civil War was over and the country was 
changing its focus. The great photographic surveys of 
the American West would not begin until the 1 870s, but 
Westward expansion was well underway through Indian 
territory resulting in both wars and treaties with the In- 
dians. If a photographer planned to record this land, es- 
pecially given the cumbersome equipment necessary at 
the time and the foolhardiness of traveling alone, he 
would have to travel with an organized group, prefer- 
ably a military one, and that is exactly what Ridgway 
set out to do. 

On November 27, 1865, Glover wrote from his Phila- 
delphia studio to Spencer Baird. the Assistant Secretary 
of the Smithsonian institution in Washington, D.C.: 

Dear Friend I have been in formed that an expedi- 
tion through Utah and Teritorys North of Salt Lake Cir\ 
intends to start next Apriel. 1 am ver\ mutch interested 
in getting up a set of photographic negatives illustrating 
the Geology of the U.S. and wish to have an oportunity 
of traveling through that country and as my means are 
ver\ limited 1 would like to go with the expedition if a 
photographer is needed. I consider mvseif competent-to 
give satisfaction in my line of business and if I go can 
make myself useful I hope in other ways as I am used to 
taking care of and driving horses....! can fare as roughly 
and stand as much hardship as most men." 

Perhaps he wrote to other organizations as well, but 
he contacted the Smithsonian because, ""Any aid \ou can 
give me will I believe be to the forwarding of the object 
for which The Smithsonian Institute was established." 
i.e., the increase and diffusion of knowledge. He offered 
references from local photographic professionals such 
as Edward L. Wilson, a contributor to the Philudelphia 
Photographer and later editor of his own journal, and 
promised to send samples o'( his stereoscopic photo- 

^Glover to Baird. Nov. 27. 1865. Smithsonian Institution Ar- 
chives (henceforth SIA). Record Unit 52. letter 22. The original spell- 
ings are maintained. 

"SIA. Record Unit 52. Ilr, 22. Glover to Baird. Nov. 27. 1865. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Baird wrote back on Nov. 30 that he was unaware of 
any expedition being contemplated by the Institution 
such as Glover requested, but if he heard of one, he would 
forward his request. By January 1866 Glover had sent 
Baird a sample of his photographs and a sample of a 
photograph on wood to a Dr. Gill, and added, "Should 
you have the opportunity of exerting your influence in 
my favour, 1 shall be under much obligation and endeav- 
our to do my duty to the utmost.'"' 

Baird thanked Glover for "these beautiful specimens." 
He stated that he was still unaware of any expeditions 
going West.* Perhaps believing that a more aggressive 
approach was needed to further his case. Glover went to 
Washington, D.C.. and visited Baird's superior, Joseph 
Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian. He brought 
letters of reference. While no record has been located of 
this meeting, successive letters show that Henry redi- 
rected Glover to the Office of the Interior. 

In early February Glover reported back to Henry. He 
said he could not get an interview with the Secretary of 
the Interior but the Chief Clerk was of the opinion that 
the War Department rather than the Interior Department 
was the place to apply. He left the rest of his letters with 
the Chief clerk and a note to the Secretary. He further 
asked for Henry's backing as well as Baird's." 

Glover was back in Pendleton, Indiana, in March and 
impatient to be getting on with his plans. He again wrote 
to Baird: "I do not wish to bore thee any more than I can 
help but I thought I would keep thee in mind of my ex- 
pected expedition."'" 

When they met, Baird apparently mentioned an uni- 
dentified doctor who was planning to go to Dakota Ter- 
ritory. Glover said he would still like to accompany him, 
but if that is not possible he would like to go with a 
government group. "I will send you pictures as fast as I 
can get my negatives back to Philadelphia. Wenderoth 
Taylor and Brown No. 9 1 4 Chestnut St. will do my print- 
ing." (It is curious, and perhaps indicative of a less than 
friendly breakup of his partnership with Schreiber that 
he intended to use another Philadelphia photographic 
firm to print his negatives). He added that he would like 
a reply by the end of the month, "if it ain't too much 
trouble," and if Baird can not arrange transportation, he 
should send all of the introductions possible. Glover 
ended with a sadly prophetic statement, " I have turned 
my face westward and shall not back out untile 1 get 
through if it takes my lifetime."" 

It was at this point that events moved rapidly. Baird 
wrote to Glover in Indiana on March 1 5 to tell of several 
opportunities: one was in connection with the Pacific 
Railroad and another concerning a wagon road expedi- 
tion to Virginia City, the latter being the best and start- 

ing on May 1 . He added, "There is also to be an expedi- 
tion to Fort Laramie and to the Upper Missouri to treat 
with the Indians to which you might be attracted?"'" 

About the same time, Baird, on Glover's behalf, wrote 
to the Secretary of the Interior stating Glover's desire to 
accompany an expedition. Baird pointed out that he asked 
for no pay but simply subsistence and transportation. In 
return he would provide both the Department of the In- 
terior and the Smithsonian with copies of the photographs 
that were made.'^ 

Forgetting that Glover left his letters of reference dur- 
ing his visit, Baird asked Glover for the testimonials from 
the Philadelphia Academy [of Art?] that he was shown 
before.'^ Glover replied that, except for the letter of in- 
troduction to Prof Henry that he had to leave with the 
Secretary of the Interior, the rest of the letters were al- 
ready at the Institution.'^ 

Glover just barely received Baird's letter before leav- 
ing Pendleton. He replied, "'beggars should not be choos- 
ers'," but he preferred to join the Indian mission instead 
of the one to Virginia City.'" 

There had been some discussion of taking meteoro- 
logical observations and Glover said he was ready to 
undertake this as well if he could get the proper sched- 
ules. He again stressed that he cared "not on which rout 
I commence for I anticipate visiting all the most impor- 
tant localitys before I am through."" 

The final letter setting forth terms of Glover's trip was 
sent by Joseph Henry on April 30, 1 866: 

In accordance with your request we made application 
to the Secretary of the Interior in your behalf for permis- 
sion to accompany the commissioners who are about to 
proceed to the west for the purpose of treating with the 
Indians and with the understanding that you are to re- 

' Glover to Baird. rec'd Jan. 4, 1 866. SIA. Record Unit 52 (hence- 
forth RU). Box 24. letter 365. His retum address is Pendleton. Indi- 
ana, where he was staying with his relatives on his mother's side. 

"Baird to Glover, Jan. 4, 1866. SIA RU 53. vol. 34. letter 332. 
These photographs have not been located. 

' Glover to Henry, Feb. 6. 1 866. SIA RU 26. Box 6. 

'" Glover to Baird. March 5. 1 866. SIA RU 52. Box 24. letter 366. 


'■ Baird to Glover March 1 5. 1 866. SIA RU 53, Outgoing vol. 35, 
letter #3. 

" Baird to Secretary of the Interior. March [?] 1866. SIA RU 53. 
vol. 35. letter 4. 

" Baird to Glover, Mar 2 1. 1866. SIA RU 53. vol. 35. letter 33. 

" Glover to Baird. rec'd April 5. 1866. SIA RU 52, Box 245. 
letter 368. Except for one letter of reference for Glover from a G. W. 
Fahnestock. no other letters of reference have been located in the 

"■ Glover to Baird. received March 28. 1 866. SIA RU 52. Box 24, 
letter 367. 

" Glover to Baird, rec'd. Apr 12, 1866, SIA RU 24, letter 369. 

Spring '200^2 

ceive subsistence and transportation but no pay, and that 
a full series of all your photographic pictures is to be pre- 
sented to the interior Department and another to the 
Smithsonian institution. 

We are now advised by the Secretary of the interior, 
of his assent to our request, and are informed that if you 
are still desirous of accompanv ing the expedition and will 
write to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Hon. D. M. 
Cooley, to that effect, the latter officer will furnish you 
with the necessary letter to Mr. Taylor, Superintendent 
of Indian Affairs at Omaha. Nebraska to whom it \\'\\\ be 
necessary that you report by the 12"" of May next. 

Two parties will be sent out by the Indian Department, 
one to proceed by land to Fort Laramie, the other by wa- 
ter to Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone. It is 
probable that you can accompan\ either party as you may 
prefer. In view of the destruction of the gallery of Indian 
portraits of the Institution by fire.'" we would suggest that 
you lose no opportunity to obtain likenesses of distin- 
guished chiefs and such representations of Indian life as 
may tend to illustrate their manners and customs.'" 

Glover quickly responded that he, "■will complv with 
thy request with regard to the Indians and have no doubt 
that I will be able to sucede. I always have in every un- 
dertaking so far."-" He then wrote more completely of 
how rejoiced he was in receiving the news and, in par- 



.-^^ .,; ,..__ 








1866 Peace Commissioners 


ticular, his happiness to learn of Baird"s desire to obtain 
pictures illustrating Indian life and portraits of distin- 
guished chiefs. '"It is a little out of the line I had marked 
out but gratitude commands the first claim. I shall there- 
fore make solars [in affect, an enlargement] so as to en- 
able me to furnish life size portraits for a set for your 
museum of oil."-' When this was written. Ridgvvav was 
alreadv on his wa\ West to meet up with the commis- 
sioners. He used (3maha as his return address. This was 
to be his last communication with the Smithsonian. 

On May 1 5 he arrived in Omaha. Nebraska Territory, 
and registered at the Herndon House. A local newspa- 
per recorded his arrival by reporting. 

Ridgway Glover Esq., Photographer of the Smithsonian 
Institute, Washington, arrived in this city last night. He 
accompanies the Fort Laramie Indian Commission for the 
purpose of taking solar and stereoscopic pictures of the 
various Indian chiefs who participate in the Treaty of Fort 
Laramie ... Mr. Glover is also engaged upon the pictorial 
staff of F/'(//?A' Leslie 's llluslrated Newspaper and we un- 
derstand that he proposes to take several views in and 
about this cit\. with a view of forwarding them to New 
York for publication in that widely circulated journal. -- 

Upon leaving Omaha. Glover's peace-loving world 
would change dramaticalK as he left behind the Qual^er 
culture and large Eastern cities he knew for the western 
expedition he so desired. 

The expedition he chose to accompany was one of two 
Indian peace commissions sent out by the U.S. Gov ern- 
ment. One went up the Missouri River to Fort Berthold 
and Fort Union and the second, which Gkner selected, 
to Fort Laramie. Dakota Territory. Regardless of treaty 
agreements, there was a great amount of travel by set- 
tlers and gold speculators through this part of Indian ter- 
ritory, disturbing both the Indian's lives, the best of their 

'"The disastrous lire of .Ian, 24. 1865. dcstro\ed not onl\ earl> 
Smithsonian records but also paintings of Native .American delegates 
to Washington. D.C.. b\ Charles Bird King and scenes of Indian life 
made out West by John Mix Stanley. Joseph Henry was particularly 
interested in photographic images of Native .Americans and was in- 
strumental in working with William H. Blackmore and A.Z. Shindler 
in establishing the Smithsonian's first photographic exhibit in the 
late I86()s. which consisted of .'<04 images of Native Americans. No 
photographs that can be credited to Glover were included. 

'" Henry to Glover. Apr. 30. 1866. SIA RC 53. \ol. 35. letter 247. 

'" Glover to Baird. May 2. 1866. SIA Rtl 52. box 24. letter 371. 

■' Glover to Baird. rec'd. May 9. 1 866. SIA RC 52. box 24. letter 

" Charles W. Martin. "Herndon House Register. 1865-1866." 
Sebraska Hisioiy. 48 (Spring 1967). 42. Perhaps Glover took pho- 
tographs while in Omaha, but no images have been found in Leslie 's 
and any negativ es would likely have sutfered the same fate as those 
taken in Fort Laramie. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

remaining hunting grounds and their sacred lands. The 
government, therefore, decided to send two Peace Com- 
missions to negotiate additional treaties with the Ogiala 
and Brule Sioux, and bands of the Arapaho and North- 
em Cheyenne. The goal was to allow travelers safe ac- 
cess through the territory, to compensate the Indians for 
damages resulting from this invasion of their hunting 
grounds and to encourage them further toward "civili- 
zation" by teaching them to farm while they gave up 
their hunting lifestyle. At the same time, the military 
was sent to build and secure forts along the Bozeman 
Trail to protect the settlers whether or not the Indians 
agreed to the treaties. 

The Peace Commission going to Fort Laramie con- 
sisted of six men: Edward B. Taylor, Superintendent of 
the Northern Superintendency at Omaha, Nebraska Ter- 
ritory , and President of the Commission; Frank Lehmer, 
Assistant Secretary, also at Omaha: Col. Henry E. 
Maynadier, Fifth U.S. Volunteers and commander at Fort 
Laramie. Dakota Territory [now Wyoming]; Thomas 
Wistar. a Quaker from Philadelphia; Col. R. N. McLaren, 
of Minnesota; and Charles E. Bowles of the Indian De- 
partment. At the same time. Col. Henry Beebe Carrington 
was en route to Fort Laramie and then on to establish 
Fort Phil Kearny on the Piney Fork of the Powder River. 

By early June, the commissioners and several thou- 
sand Indians were gathered at Fort Laramie. The arrival 
of Col. Carrington and the U.S. Eighteenth Infantry on 
the June 13 indicated to Red Cloud and other Ogiala 
leaders, already weary of the continued encroachment 
into Indian territory regardless of treaty agreements, that 
the U.S. government meant to have the land by what- 
ever means necessary— whether by treaty or force. Red 
Cloud was equally determined to protect his people and 
lands. The government's actions ignited Red Cloud's 
war and several tribes joined in a coalition against the 
U.S. The establishment of Fort Phil Kearney in the 
middle of the Sioux hunting grounds further inflamed 
the situation. 

Ridgway Glover was in the middle of this volatile situ- 
ation as the first photo journalist to record treaty nego- 
tiations in the field, but by both word and action, he never 
acknowledged or possibly, truly understood that he was 
in danger. 

In his first letter to the Philadelphia Photographer on 
June 30, written during the treaty negotiations, he was 
hard at work photographing the various activities. He 

I have been in this wild region nearly a month, taking 
scenes in connection with the Treaty that has just been 
made with the Sioux, Arapahoes and Cheyennes, and have 
secured twenty-two good negatives ... that will illustrate 

the life and character of the wild men of the prairie.... 
They will come in with the Commissioners. They return 
on the 2d of July. -^ 

But the complex photographic process of applying 
collodion to the glass plates, sensitizing and exposing 
them while still sticky, and then developing them was a 
challenge. The water was muddy, hard and full of sand 
due to the rapid currents and of the 50 negatives he ex- 
posed, more than half were unusable. This was critical 
because he was using up precious supplies. The frontier 
photographer had to carry everything needed with them 
except water. If anything happened to his equipment or 
supplies, his activities were at a stand still until they could 
be repaired or replaced. Even in Omaha there were, "but 
few people [who] know much about the art."-^ The fur- 
ther he went into the wilderness, the more difficult it 
would be to restock. He would have to rely on the mili- 
tary to bring chemicals and other supplies. No doubt, 
they would be loathe to take up too much precious cargo 
space from much needed medical and other supplies. 

Technical problems were not the only obstacles he 

I had much difficulty in making pictures of the Indi- 
ans at first, but now I am able to talk to them, yet I get 
pretty much all I want.... I have succeeded very well with 
Indian ponies as you will see.. . Some of the Sioux think 
photography is 'pazutta zupa" (bad medicine). ...Some of 
the Indians think they will die in three days, if they get 
their pictures taken.... 1 pointed the instrument at one of 
that opinion. The poor fellow fell on the sand, and rolled 
himself in his blanket. The most of them know better 
though, and some I have made understand that the light 
comes from the sun. strikes them, and then goes into the 
machine. 1 explained it to one yesterday, by means of his 
looking-glass, and showed him an image on the ground 
glass. When he caught the idea, he brightened up, and 
was willing to stand for me.-- 

He mentioned making ferrotypes, ("tintypes") for the 
Indians. Because he could not print his negatives in the 
field, this would have been the only process available to 
him for giving the Indians positive images. This diplo- 
macy also means that he was using up valuable photo- 
graphic supplies.-^ 

^' Glover, "Photography Among the Indians. Fort Laramie, June 
30. 1866."" Philadelphia Photographer 3 (Aug. 1866). 239. 

-' Ibid. 

■' Ibid 

■"' There is the hope, however, that some of these tintypes have 
survived, but to date none have been identified and likely given their 
exposure to the elements, unlikely. 

Spring :200'i 

On June 30, he photographed some of the treaty 
activities and further reactions of the Indians. 

To-day 1 was over trying to take the "Waheopomony 
at the great Brulie Sioux village. The wind blew so hard 
1 could not make but one passable negative, though I had 
some of the most interesting scenes imaginable. Here the 
division of the presents from the Government, was made 
and some 1200 Sioux were arranged, squatting around 
the Commissioners in a large circle, three rows deep. The 
village embraces more than 200 tribes (lodges) led by 
'Spotted Tail," 'Standing Elk,' 'The Man that walks un- 
der the ground," and 'Running Bear.' 'The Man that walks 
under the ground' is a good friend of mine. He and the 
' Running Bear" have had their pictures taken. I have been 
introduced to the other two, and they are friendly. So 1 
took all I chose, or rather all I could. -^ 

He also hinted at the dangers of being a frontier pho- 
tographer: "There was a Mr. and Mrs. Laramie-" who 
used to take a mean style of ambrotypes here, but he 
died, and she was captured by the Indians, and after suf- 
fering many hardships, escaped and returned to the 

Glover expounded on the scenery and wildlife and went 
into detail about several images he took on .luly 2 at the 
end of the negotiations. These comments provide us with 
clues to identify existing Glover photographs. He was 
able to photograph the fort from across the Laramie 
River, and he had the good fortune, 

to be present when Colonels McLean and Thomas 
Wistar were distributing the goods to the Chiefs, and al- 
though the interpreters were discouraged, and the Indi- 
ans seemed unwilling, Thomas and McLean at last per- 
suaded them to sit, and I got a stereoscopic group of six 
Ogholalla, and eight Brulie Sioux. The wind was blow- 
ing, and the sand tlying. The negative is, therefore, not 
quite clean, but all the likenesses are good, and they can 
be readily recognized. They are, 

'Spotted Tail," 'Swift Bear," 

'Dog Hawk,' 'Thunder Hawk," 

'Standing Elk," 'Tall Mandan," 

'Brave Hear," 'White Tail." 

OGHALOLLAHS (They pronounce it), 
'The Man that walks under the ground," 
'The Black War Bonnet, 
'Standing Cloud," 'Blue Horse," 

'Big Mouth," 'Big Head." 

The Signers of the Treaty.'" 

His listing has been reproduced exactly as it may indi- 
cate the arrangement of individuals in a group which 
may help in identifying one of the missing Glover im- 
ages. Of importance in this group is "Standing Elk" 
which will be discussed later. The two imaijes of the 


fort and the treaty signers brings the total of good nega- 
tives which Glover mentions to twenty-tbur. 

Because Glover makes no further reference to these, 
we must assume that at least all of the good negatives 
were given to the Commissioners to bring back to Wash- 
ington. D.C., and thence, to ship them to Philadelphia. 
The bad negatives were probably cleaned for reuse. The 
editor of the Phikidelphia Phoiograplier contlrms that 
the plan was to send Glover's negatives to "Messrs. 
Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown" for printing and circula- 

Glover then started the next phase of his trip-the 
journey to Fort Phil Kearny. He left Fort Larainie on 
.luly 18 and joined one of Carrington"s trains under the 
command of Lt. Templeton. The party consisted of six 
other officers, the post chaplain, a Mr. White, ten pri- 
vates, nine drivers, three women and five children and 
Glover.'- The tlrst 70 or so miles he saw little scenery 
worth photographing until he made a stereoscopic view 
of the Platte River above Buyer's Ferr\'. 

Glover's first impressions of the Indians were made 
during the treaty negotiations. "I there saw the lazy, 
sleepy red man treating for peace and tViendship." But 
that view would change. After three more days travel 
they reached Fort Reno and about .luK 22 they traveled 
to Crazy Woman's Fork of the Powder River. "[The In- 
dian] has since appeared to ine as the active, wide-awake 
savage in the war-path, and made me think of two lines 
of an old song: "They you have Indian allies-\ou styled 
them by that name-Until they turned the tomahawk, and 
savages became.""'' 

The party was surprised by Indians at Crazy Woman's 
Fork. Lt. Templeton returned to the group ahead of a 
string of Indians and Lt. Daniels was killed. "Our men 
with their rifles held the Indians at bay until we reached 
a better position on a hill, where we kept them off until 
night, when Capt. Burroughs. ..coming up with a train, 
caused the red-skins to retreat. They looked very wild 
and savage-like while galloping around us." Glover, the 
peaceful Quaker, instead of defending the party, reacted 
as an outside observer. "I desired to make some instan- 
taneous views, but our commander ordered me not to."'"" 

-' lbui.2i9-240. 

-* The correct spelling of the name was "Larimer". 

-'' Glover. "Photography Among the Indians. Fort Laramie. June 
.^0. 1866." Philadelphia Photographer 2, (August 1866). 239-240. 

'" Ibid 

" Ibid 

'- Glover, "Photography Among the Indians, Fort Laramie. June 
yi). 1866." Phdadclphia Photographer 3 (Nov. 1866). 339. 

"//'(W.July 29. p. 339. 

'■• Ibid. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Burroughs led them back to Fort Reno where they re- 
stocked and joined two other trains before heading out 
again. This time they were not attacked and Glover made 
a picture of the battleground. Twenty miles beyond, they 
stopped at Clear Creek where they again encountered 
Indians. "Cheyennes came into camp; but my collodion 
was too hot, and my bath too full of alcohol, to get any 
pictures of them, though I tried hard. They attacked our 
train in the rear, killed two of the privates, and lost two 
of their number."" 

They reached Fort Phil Kearny on the next day, ap- 
proximately July 24. Glover wrote: "I am surrounded 
by beautiful scenery, and hemmed in by yelling savages, 
who are surprising and killing some one every day. I 
expect to get some good pictures here..."'"' 

Glover's third and last letter to the Philadelphia Pho- 
tographer was dated August 29, but it was not published 
until the December issue. He was living in the Pineries 
with the group of wood choppers six miles from the fort 
at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains. Although he had 
hoped to send more information on his photographic 
activities, that was not the case. "Here 1 have been wait- 
ing for the medical supply train to come up, to get some 
chemicals, being at present in a 'stick;' but, though un- 
able to make negatives, I have been enjoying the cli- 
mate and scenery, both being delightful." Not only has 
he run out of supplies, but he broke the ground glass of 
his camera and had to make a new one using charcoal 
from soft wood to polish the glass." 

He spent much of his time hiking alone for days in the 
mountains, sometimes traveling as much as 50 miles and, 
again, apparently unconcerned for his safety. The most 
dangerous situation he noted was an encounter with a 
large grizzly bear. "I was about firing a ball into his rump, 
but. fortunately, thought what he was in time; had I fired, 
you would have received no more letters from me. "In 
his last sentence, he reported that he expected to remain 
there for the winter. Unfortunately, his luck ran out.'^ 

The same issue of the Philadelphia Photographer csiv- 
ried the following: 

Obituary. Our apprehensions concerning our Indian 
correspondent, Mr. Ridgway Glover, have proven too true. 
On the 14th of September, he left Fort Philip Keamey 
[sic], with a private as a companion, for the purpose of 
making some views. It was known that the hostile Sioux 
were lurking around, but. knowing no fear, and being ar- 
dent in the pursuit of his beloved profession, he risked 
everything, and alas! The result was that he was scalped, 
killed, and horribly mutilated.... The study of the red man 
was a favorite one with him, and he asserted his belief 
that they would not hurt him.'" 

A Glover friend and the post chaplain wrote letters to 

Frank Leslie 's Illustrated Newspaper concerning the 
death of their photographic journalist. (Several accounts 
have been written and they vary in terms of details). 
David White, the chaplain who traveled with Glover to 
the fort wrote: 

...he was coming from a cabin, some six miles from 
this place, by himself, when he was killed by Arapahoe 
Indians (supposed to be) and scalped. His body was re- 
covered and brought in, and will be buried in the Post 
burying-ground. He was shot with a ball and instantly 
killed, the ball passing near his heart. I mention this fact 
that his friends may be relieved of the horrors of savage 
torture. I do not know his address, and so the publication 
of this seems the more necessary for the information of 
any relative or near friends. ■'° 

His friend. Samuel Peters, told a slightly different 

He was out sketching for you-his long absence occa- 
sioned no little anxiety-and a party went out (members 
of the IS"" Infantry), and found his body. The head was 
found a few yards off, completely severed from the trunk, 
scalped. The body was disemboweled, and then fire 
placed in the cavity. His remains, horribly mutilated, were 
decently interred, and search made for his apparatus, but 
it could not be found.'" 

F. M. Fessenden, a musician with the Eighteenth U.S. 
Infantry Band at the fort provided additional informa- 
tion. He believed that Glover had a camera outfit with 
him and was taking views for Leslie 's at the time of his 
death. Fessenden had often joked with Glover about his 
long yellow hair and that the Indians would delight in 
clipping it for him, but Glover remained firm in his be- 
lief that as he was Mormon and, thus, would be safe 
with them. Fessenden's prediction, however, proved 
correct when he and two other men found the body, 
"...they had clipped that long hair, taking the entire scalp. 
He was lying on his face, and his back was slit the entire 
length. Several arrows were sticking in the body."''- 

■" Ibid 

-"' Ibid 

" Philadelphia Photographer 3 (Aug. 29. 1866). 367. 

"" Ibid 

'''Ibid. 371. 

■"' Frank Leslie 's ll/uslrated Newspaper. 23 (Oct. 27. 1866), 94. 
The post graves were disinterred and reburied at the Custer Battle- 
field National Cemeter>' in 1888. Glover's was probably one of the 
104 unidentified bodies. 


■■' Grace Raymond Hebard and E.A. Brininstool, The Bozeman 
Trail: Historical .Accounts of the Blazing of the Oxerland Routes 
into the Northwest, and the Fights with Red Cloud's Warriors. 
(Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1922). 11. 96. 

Spring i200i2 

The authenticity and reasons for variations in the re- 
ports on Glover"s death and the subsequent treatment of 
the body are interesting points. Even the date of his death 
varies from September 14 to 17. (The correct date is 
Sunday, September 16). 

To ascertain if Glover made photographs at the 
fort, the photographic aspects require examination. The 
crux of the problem depends upon whether or not he 
was able to acquire the necessary supplies and whether 
his equipment remained functional. Although a medical 
suppK train eventuallv did get through, whether Glover 
received the necessary chemicals before he died is still 
a matter of speculation. 

The Philadelphia Photographer said he was out mak- 
ing views. Fessenden believed he had a camera and was 
taking photographs; Peters said he was out sketching. 
No camera equipment was found near the body. 
Carrington wrote to Glover's brother that the only per- 
sonal possessions Glo\er had left were a few letters and 
incomplete photographic equipment.^' 

If Glover had both the necessary' supplies and a com- 
plete camera outfit, it would be very unlikely that this 
would have gone unnoticed as it was very cumbersome 
and usually required some kind of transport vehicle. 
which he clearly did not have. As such. Glover likely 
did not take photographs at Fort Phil Kearny. It is pos- 
sible, however, that he did have his camera with him 
and may have been using it as a camera obsciira whereb> 
the image is focused on paper and traced rather than being 
recorded on a sensitive emulsion. Like the way he dem- 
onstrated photography to the Indians at the treaty nego- 
tiations, the process required no photographic supplies. 
This might also explain why he broke his ground glass 
and found it necessary to make another. AdditionalK. it 
would explain why his affects did not include a com- 
plete photographic outfit. 

Although Fessenden states that no equipment was 
found, they may not have had sufficient time to make a 
safe and complete search or. perhaps, it had been de- 
stroyed and the pieces dispersed. Unless the unlikely 
event occurs that Glover photographs are located with 
the proper provenance and identification, this aspect of 
Glover's photographic activities will remain a mystery. 

The fate of his Fort Laramie negatives, however, may 
yet be solved. According to Glover, the Peace Commis- 
sioners were to bring the negatives back with them and 
then forward them on to Philadelphia for printing. Cer- 
tainly the commissioners returned with their reports. Of 
the six commissioners who attended the negotiations, 
the three men most likely to have returned to Washing- 
ton, D.C., along with their escort, were Edward B. Tay- 


lor. the president of the commission, who probably re- 
turned to Washington to present his report in person: 
Charles E. Bowles of the Indian Department, and Tho- 
mas Wistar, the Quaker from Philadelphia. 

Assuming that the negatives made it back to the East 
intact, two possibilities can be suggested as their most 
likely fate. The first is that they made it to Philadelphia. 
Photo historian Robert Taft stated that the negatives 
reached Wendroth, Taylor and Brown in Philadelphia 
and were printed although he did not note his source.^"" 
As important and interesting as these photographs would 
be to the photo-buying public. especialK after the 
Fetterman Massacre, if these negatives had been made 
available, they would have been popular and copies 
would have survived. To date, not even one image un- 
der the Wendroth imprint has been located. 

If the negatives actually made it to Philadelphia, and 
Wistar returned home, he would have been the most 
likely person to have transported them. Several histo- 
rian ha\emade in-depth searches of Philadelphia reposi- 
tories, but to no avail. Nonetheless, the possibility ex- 
ists that the negatives are associated with Wistar's pa- 
pers if the\ exist, or some as yet untapped resource. A 
second, and perhaps more likelv explanation of the fate 
of the negatives is the possibility that they made it back 
to Washington. D.C.. and no further. ^- 

In 1 868. the U.S. Government again held treaty nego- 
tiations at Fort Laramie. Alexander Gardner, who had 
made photographs in the Civil War, accompanied the 
Peace Commission and photographed the events. 
Gardner was an experienced, master photographer. He. 
too. had to contend with the difficult regional photo- 
graphic conditions that Glover encountered. Nonethe- 
less, he knew how to frame and focus shots. Yet when 
one compares the photographs that were circulated, \ ar> - 
ing levels of skills can easily be detected. Many of these 
views are sub-standard to those Gardner nonnally pro- 
duced in the field. (These are also general camp scenes 
not tied to specific individuals or e\ ents, such as shots 
of Indian ponies, and further the\ match some of the 
scenes described by Glover). 

It is my belief that at least some of Glover's nega- 
tives got only as far as Washington, D.C., and further, 
that Gardner may have later acquired and printed them. 
It is important to note that Gardner himself does not take 

■" Barr> Hagan. '"Ridg\va> Glover." in Portraits of Fort Phil Kearny 
(The Fort Phil Keam\ /Bozeman Trail Association. 1993). 42. 

" Robert T aft. Photography ami the American Scene (New ^'oriv: 
Dover Books. 1938). 276. 

""* They ha\e not been located in the collections of the National 
Archives and Records Administration. 

Peace commissioners 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Standing Elk portrait 

credit for these views. They are merely on the same 
mounts. Earlier in his career when he vvorls.ed for Mathew 
Brady, it was Gardner's position that photographers 
themselves should get credit for their work instead of 
the studios for which they worked, it is possible that 
Gardner had to contend with new equipment, which 
could explain some of the difference in quality, but it is 
just as likely that he fulfilled the Government's plan to 
print the Glover negatives, the images merely being used 
to round out the impression of the negotiations at Fort 
Laramie, regardless of the year. 
Unfortunately, none of Gardner's Fort Laramie nega- 

tives have been located either. If they 
could be found, their chemical make-up 
would quickly answer the question as each 
photographer had their own collodion 
"recipe" which is as individual as fmger- 
prints. Fingerprints, too, could be present 
in the once-sticky emulsions and while 
names could not be attached to specific 
prints, they could be compared. 

I think it is likely that at least some of 
Glover's negatives did survive the return 
trip. The first image to support this is a 
carte de visite of the 1 866 Peace Com- 
missioners. The entire Commission was 
present and identified, and posed in front 
of a wooden building. The image carries 
the imprint of "D. Hinkle, Germantown." 
Germantown is a suburb of Philadelphia 
that was settled by Quakers and Menno- 
nites. Clearly the commission did not sit 
for their portrait in Pennsylvania, and thus 
the image had to have been made during the time they 
were convened. The only available photographer was 
Glover. Further the print itself appears to be half of a 
stereographic pair with its curved upper edge. We know 
that stereographs were a favorite format used by Glover, 
and further it is very unusual for this shape to appear on 
a non-stereo card. Thus, it is very likely that this group 
portrait was taken by Glover and proof that at least some 
of the negatives did make it back to the East. 

There is a second image that is also likely to have been 
taken by Glover. A poor quality stereo photograph of 
Standing Elk is held in the British Museum collections. 

British Museum 

Gardner photographed the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty negotiations. Was this photo made by Gardner and at that time? 

Spring 200'2 

This was collected by William Henry Blackmore, an En- 
glishman with a deep interest in Native Americans. 
Blackmore travelled around the United States contract- 
ing photographers and collecting images of the Indians. 
It was his vision to produce a multi-volume, photographi- 
cally illustrated publication on the various tribes. Cop- 
ies were deposited in the Smithsonian Institution and 
most of the originals went to his museum in Salisbury. 
England. The museum eventually closed and the collec- 
tions were transferred to the British Museum. It is im- 
portant to look at a note Blackmore attached to this im- 
age, "Dahcotah's. Fort Phil Kearney Massacre. Stand- 
ing Elk [illeg.] Carrington." Given the subject, the qual- 
ity, and the fact that Glover stated that he photographed 
Standing Elk. there is a good potential that Glover took 
this image. 

How did Blackmore come by the image? The most 
likely answer is that it was obtained from Alexander 
Gardner, who worked closely with Blackmore, or else 
from Carrington himself who knew Blackmore. Further, 
the images Gardner took and provided to Blackmore 
carry his credit line. This portrait is uncredited. 

To date, these two portraits— the carle de visile of the 
1866 Peace Commission and the stereograph of Stand- 
ing Elk—are the most likely images to have been taken 
by Glover at Fort Laramie in 1866. Nonetheless, there is 
hope that more have survived. 

In the niid-1990s, a small photographic auction 
in Canada listed a group of photographs taken by 
Ridgway Glover. The lot consisted of stereographs 
Glover had taken of his family, both in Camden. New 
Jersey and Pendleton, Indiana, in 1 865. (See photograph 
on p. 18). Included in the lot was a modem photographic 
copy of a portrait of Glover f/;/jo?ogrc7/7//. /?. 1"). The 
portrait had been made by a Indianapolis department 
store portrait studio in 1967. Pendleton. Indiana, where 
Glover's relatives lived and he visited frequently, is just 
on the outskirts of Indianapolis. Further the stereos had 
both vintage and modem notations delineating the rela- 
tionships of the people to Ridgway. This was clearly the 
collection of a relative and not a historian who was in- 
terested in their family history. 

Discussions with the collector selling the lot provided 
some clues. He had acquired this small group of photo- 
graphs from an antiques dealer. The dealer, in turn, had 
acquired them either directly or from another dealer who 
had purchased the remains of an estate. Apparently, other 
photographs had been sold during the initial estate yard 
sales. Further information on the location of the estate 
or any names could not be traced. What the photographs 
depicted is also unknown. They may have been only 


This image circulated witli tlie /56<S Fort Laramie im- 
ages by Gardner. However, tlie pliolo men' ficnv l^een 
made by Glover in 1S66. given tlie poor prim qualitv 

generic portraits in nice albums, valuable to dealers 
mostly for the albums themselves, or they may have in- 
cluded prints from the missing negatives. Further re- 
search in Indianapolis or Pendleton should be reward- 

Although the main cache of Glover's photographs has 
not yet been located, positive leads and potentialK fruit- 
ful new areas to search are yet to be explored. To date a 
combination of research, inspiration, and pure luck have 
proven successful. Given the rising value of vintage pho- 
tographs and widely accessible online auction sites, it is 
probably only a matter of time before the m issing Glover 
photographs or negatives resurface, or the storv of their 
demise is uncovered. The scholarly hunt continues. 

Paula Richardson Fleming is Pholographic Ar- 
chivist Specialist, National Anthropological Ar- 
chives, Smithsonian Institution. She joined the 
stajfofthe Smithsonian in 1970 after graduating 
from GeorgeWashington University. She has re- 
searched and created photographic exhibits for 
the Smithsonian, lectured on photographic top- 
ics to organizations throughout the country, and 
served as consultant on photography for nutner- 
ous museums worldwide. A uthor of several books 
and numerous articles, her book titled Native 
American Photography at the Smithsonian: The 
Shindler Catalogue, will he published in 21)03. 

Research Notes 


By Mark D. Hanson 

Likely firing 
range localities 
at Fort Fred 

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series 
of articles highlighting on-going research in 
history and allied fields, but this is the first 
article published by Annals in cooperation 
with the Wyoming Archaeologist, the offi- 
cial journal of the Wyoming Archaeological 
Society. Our thanks to Dr. Danny Walker 
and Dr. Mark Miller for their help in mak- 
ing this installment of our new Annals fea- 
ture possible. 

In August 1990, an archaeological siirve\ of Fort 
Fred Steele revealed a high concentration of metallic 
cartridge cases located near the 1876 stone corral.' 
Avocational archaeologists subsequentlv disco\ered 
three lead slug concentrations each adjacent to a pile of 
river cobbles and weathered wood fragments. Two of 
the slug concentrations are in close proximity to the car- 
tridge case concentration. Also, additional Field survey 
in 2001 located an additional target position and rem- 
nants of a second tiring position. 

' Mark F.. Miller and Dale L. Wedcl. '"Behavioral Inferences De- 
ri\ed from Preliniinar\ Anahsis of Militar\ Cartridge Cases at Port 
Fred Steele." paper presented at the 49th Plains .Anthropological 
Conference. Lawrence Kansas. 1991. 

Spriiii; -'(lO-' 

Two archaeologists, Mark i;. Miller and Dale 
L. Wedel. suggest the concentrations of metallic car- 
tridge cases, and the lead slug concentrations represent 
one or more of Fort Fred Steele's tiring ranges.- Later 
research concluded tiiat the cartiidge case and slug con- 
centrations were indeed the reninanlsoftwo llring range 
complexes at Fort Fred Steele, each with target posi- 
tions represented b\ slug concentrations and cobble piles, 
and tiring positions represented b\ cartridge case con- 
centrations.' E\en though the cobble piles do not appear 
to conform to any historical Iv documented target archi- 
tecture, the location of the firing ranges and the attributes 
of the cartridge cases and slugs do conform to the time 
period of Fort Fred Steele's militar\ occupation and the 
historical documentation of tiring langes and target prac- 
tice at the fort. 

Target practice and tiring ranges had an in- 
teresting historx in the arm\ from I85S-I885. Close- 
order combat, the mainsta\ of tactical thinking e\en af- 
terthe American Ci\ il W ar. demanded well-disciplined 
and well-drilled soldiers to preserve the integrity of a 
formation while still being able to tight. Obedience and 
cooperation were much more important than a soldier's 
accuracy with his tlrearm. Iherefore. close-order drill 
encompassed most of a soldier's training. Iea\ ing little 
or no training in the use of their tlrearm. 1 lo\\e\er. the 
importance of firearms training did not go unnoticed by 
the U.S. Arnn. or the garrison at Fort Fred Steele. 


C'apt. Ilenr\ lleth was the foimder of small arms in- 
struction in the U.S. Arm_\.' Heth's course of small arms 
instruction was ofllcially adopted in 1 8.s8 and later pub- 
lished in 1 862.' Flowever. Fleth's name was not associ- 
ated w nil the publication because he had resigned to join 
the Confederate Arnn in 1861.' 

Soldiers were trained in the assembl\ and disassem- 
bl_\ of their firearms, then in the actual use of those weap- 
ons. Soldiers were coached in the proper positions for 
firing and taught how to properix aim. but the most im- 
portant aspect off leth's course of stud_\ was learning to 
eslimale distances, which was a "radical departure from 
the da\s of the smooth-bore."^ 

-' Maik I Miller and Dale 1 \\ cdcl. ' (. nnlinumii Xixhacolouical 
lincsliyalKins at fori i red Slcclc Stale Historic Site. \\'\ oiiiiny." 
paper preseiHed at the loiiit Midwest \reliaeolo,<:ieal and flams \n- 
Ihropoloyieal t onlereiKe. St i'aiil. Minnesota. 201)0 

Mark I) llanson. Mchillid 'cirlruli^c ( \isc\ miil I ciiil Shii;\ Inmi 
II V(>iiiiiii;\ Ion hiwl Sicl'Ic In lihihwis oj I'o.vMhlc lining /u;/;<,'t' 
/ 'iciililicy ciihl hsi>cui:cil i \irlricloc < 'i/ve ( 'nixhuis: \faster"s I he- 
sis Department ol ,\nlliropolog\ I ni\ersii\ ot \\'\ omini:. 2001 , 

M)ouylas(' Met hristian. (/; Inin nl \hirksmcii ( I ort ( ollins: 
( lid \rni> I'ress. 1 >),S I ) 

id\\ards i arrow. /i»7iMi s \liliiiiii I ncw/n/tciliti (New^'ork: 
pri\alel\ printed. liS.Ss). MeChnstian. I mor\ I 'plon. I Sv:.icni o/ 
Icii'^cl I'riiilicc /iir ihc I sc n/ I nui/is IrDial with l/ic \lii^kcl. Ki/lc 
\lnskci. Ri/lc. or ( \irhiiic ( W ashmylon: IS, (.io\ei"nment I'rmling 
Oltiee. I.SfO) 


'Met 14, 

The original caption reads "A Troop of U.S. Ccivcilry Drilling near Fori Steele. " Tlil.\' image i.s looking roughly to 
the east haek toward the fort iieross the area helieveil to contain the iiorihcrniiKisi firing riingc i'oiiiplex. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 


Bar Arft'i 







The internal bar anvil is the earliest (oldest) and the external is the latest (youngest). These are only basic types. Many 
different variations e.xist. However, each of the basic t\-pes is represented at Fort Steele. Externals are reloadable, and the 
others are not. 

Aside from Heth's system, the only official manuals 
dealing with target practice were the 1 874 revised infan- 
try and cavalry tactics manuals written by Brevet Ma- 
jor-General Emory Upton/ Upton's revisions were 
spurred by the adoption of the .45-caliber Springfield 
breech-loader as the official rifle and musket, correct- 
ing deficiencies in earlier courses and tailoring tactics 
to the new firearms.' Unfortunately. Upton's treatment 
of target practice was very brief, covering aiming tech- 
niques, physical characteristics of targets, and procedures 
for firing. 

The renaissance of small arms instruction and target 
practice was initiated by the official adoption of Colo- 
nel Theodore T. S. Laidley's.4 Course of Instruction in 
Rifle Firingby the U.S. Army in 1 879."' Much like Heth. 
Laidley discussed the physical attributes and handling 
of the rifle, carbine, and cartridges, followed by ballis- 
tics, estimation of distance, and proper aiming and fir- 
ing exercises. Laidley also explored target shape, target 
architecture, range layout and location, duties of range 
personnel, and even the best time of day to use firing 

Externally primed metallic cartridge cases, adopted 
in 1 866 by the Army, were easily reloaded, and in 1 879 
the Frankford Arsenal began producing reloading equip- 
ment. The significance of reloading equipment lies in 
the impact it had on target practice. Reloaded cartridges 
were considered less reliable than new cartridges, and 
were not used in combat." However, reloaded cartridges 
increased the number of available rounds for practice. 

Not surprisingly Laidley's course of instruction provides 
an in-depth discussion of cartridge reloading. 

Despite the adoption of Laidley's system, the ordnance 
department actively sought to improve the effectiveness 
of their weaponry, and published extensively on both 
the training of soldiers and the problems associated with 
small anns fire. In 1876, the anomalies of small arms 
fire was analyzed,'- followed in 1880 with a report of 
the effectiveness of long range firing,'^ and 1881 with 
an explanation of projectile deflection." Published three 
years later. Ordnance Notes No. 340 dealt directly with 
target practice. Intended for soldiers, the publication syn- 
thesized small amis instruction, summarizing the essen- 
tial points to successful marksmanship.'" 

Due to ambiguities and vagueness in the Laidley sys- 
tem. Capt. Stanhope E. Blunt was charged with devel- 

"Emop.' Upton. Cavalry Tactics. United Slates .Army. (New York: 
Appleton and Company. 1 874); Upton. Infantry Tactics. Double and 
Single Rank. (New York: Greenwood Press. 1968. reprint of 1874 

'' McChristian. 

'" Theodore T. S. Laidley. .4 Course of Instruction in Rifle Firing. 
(Philadelpliia: J. B. Lippincott& Co.. revised ed., 1880). 

" McChristian. 

'- .Anomalies in Small .Arm Practice. Ordnance Notes. No. 86. 
(Washington. D.C.: GPO. 1878). 

" Long-Range Firing. Ordnance Notes. No. 141. (Washington, 
DC: GPO. 1880). 

'^ Deflections ofSmall-.4rm Projectiles. Ordnance Notes. No. 1 63 
(Washington. D. C: GPO. 1881). 

'^ Target Practice-Information for Soldiers. Ordnsmce'Noles. No. 
340 (Washington. D. C: GPO. 1884). 

Sprmt; _'()()■_' 

oping another new eourse in small aims insliuelion.' In 
1885, Bkuits Iii.slniclion.s in Rifle liiuI i'lirhiiic Firiin^ 
was otTieiall\ adopted. Blunt initiated the use of an el- 
liptieal target with a veilieal long axis to compensate 
Tor an uncontrollahle \eilical dispersion of shots caused 
b\ anomalies in cartridge manufacture and \ertical flex- 
ing of the tlrearm barrel. Bkmt's sNstcni also was the 
first official couise of small amis instruction to include 
discussion of gallcrv practice (indoor target practice and 
drill using reduced charge cartridges), and mounted and 
dismounted rexolver tiring.'' 

Small arms instruction was a significant part 
of the mililar\ regimen at Fort I'red Steele from the post's 
establishment in 1868 until its abandonment in 1886. 
Perhaps the fust mention of target practice is in the Sep- 
tember 30. 1 869. Inspection Report for Fort Fred Steele. 
The Inspecting Officer wrote: "Usual Siuiday morning 
and montliK inspections held, as also target practice. 
There have been no drills held, the dut\ at the post re- 
quiring the whole command. '""^ The following \ ear. Pri- 
vates Martin Etlnger, Isaac Kuilz, and Henry Baker were 
reported as the best shots in their inf~antr\ companies, 
and subsequently exctiscd from guard and fatigue du- 
ties.'" Soldiers were e\en killed on firing ranges at Fort 
Fred Steele. On September 13. 1882. Private J.C. Walters 
was accidentalK shot and killed during target practice.-" 

Miller and Wedel point out early Fort Fred Steele docu- 
ments seem to mention target practice onl\ when it was 
not held.-' Post Returns note bad weather, lack of am- 
munition, and other duties of the post as Justitlcation for 
canceling target practice.-- However, mention of onl\ 
canceled target practice implies scheduled target prac- 
tice was a common occinrence. even if haphazard or 
irregular. Details of target practice ma\ ha\e been 
unnoteworthy. because practice was a common event. 
like raising the flag, feeding the stock, or dailv drill. 

Incentiv es for regular practice include increased avail- 
ability of ammimition for target practice.-' acknowledg- 
ment of target practice and exceptional marksmen in 
official documents, annual prizes, and official marks- 
manship decorations.-^ Orders issued in Februarv 1883 
reveal gallerv practice was conducted on the porches of 
the barracks during the winter when snow made out- 
door practice impractical. ' 

The frequency of target practice w as nev ertheless qiutc 
variable. The September 1" Inspection Report filed in 
1879 states target practice was held as often as the 
weather and duties of the post allowed. With supple- 
mentary lumting opportunities, "almost the entire com- 
mand have materiallv attained a fair deuree o\' accu- 


racv."' From 1880 to 1 886 the frequency of target prac- 
tice increased from one da\ a week to dail\ . " The 1 881 
Inspection Report has small arms instruction scheduled 
as follows: target practice, once a week; estimating dis- 
tance drills, once a week; and four mounted cavalry drill 
per week w illi a Sundav inspection. In 1 882 target prac- 
tice was conducted fouito se\en times per month, twice 
a week in 1883. and dail> in 1884. ,\ letter, written in 
1 882. noted that the most suitable time of \ ear for out- 
door target practice at Fort Fred Steele was .June through 

Laidlev "s coiu'se of instruction was likel\ used shortiv 
alter its adoption in I 879. but it does not appear in offi- 
cial Fort Fred Steele documentation until 1881.- The 
1881 general order noted the construction of a target 
range with a new 1 aidlev's Resolving Target. Despite 
the adoption of Blunt's system in 1885. Fort Fred Steele 
continued to use the Laidlev System until the post was 
aliandoned. '" Prior to 1 879. no s> stem of target practice 
is mentioned bv name. 

Geographically, the firing ranges at Fort lied Steele 
were never clearl\ defined. An 1882 letter to the Adju- 
tant General of the L^epartment of the Platte describes 
one 1.60()-vard range with post, flags, and two sizes of 
cloth and paper targets.' Dnfortunatelv. the location was 
not gi\en. The same letter mentions the capabilit\ of 
reloading cartridges, and "facilities for indoor practice. ""'- 

In 1 8S3. two firing ranges were mentioned. One was a 
3()0-yard range and the otliei'. a l.200-\ard range. One 

" McCliristiun 

■ Stanhope I Hluill. Insli-ucliiiiis in Rifle uihl ( urhiiiL' lii-iin^. 
(\c\\ York C'liarlcs Scnhncr's Sons. 1885). 

'^ \ S .\riii\ Inspcclion Report, f'ort Fred Steele. September 30. 
I HM. h Copies on llle at the 1 iii\ ersil\ ol \\ \ oniiiiL! Arehaeologi- Repositoi^ . I araiiiie 

'■' Cleneial ( )rLlers. I oil J-reJ Steele. Sept 2^. 1870 
" Letters Sent. I'ort Ired Steele. Septciiilier l.v 1882 
' Miller and Wedel. "Behax loral Inlerenees ." 3 

-- Post Returns. Tort Ired Steele, .lime 18(i8-No\ 188h Miero- 
film on file at the ( )fllce of the \\\oniini; State \rehaeologist. 
I aramie 

' .Adjutant Cieiicrars Ot'tlee. (icncnil Onlcr \i) 5IK General Or- 
ders. 18fiM. (Washington. D. C: C'lF'O. IHW) 

•' Inspeelion Reports. Sept .lO. I8fi^). .Adiiitant ( leneral's ( )rnee. 
iiciicral Order \i> Ml C ieneral ( trders. I Xdi) (Washington. D.C: 
(il'O. 1870), 

-' General Orders. No. 13. Ion I red Steele. 1883 

-" Inspeelion Reports. Sepleniher 1. 1874. 

" Inspeetmn Reports. Sept 15. 1881; Sept 30. 1882: Oet 13. 
1883: .lime 2h. 1884:No\ 2(i. 1 88h. 

■' Letters Sent. I ort Ired Steele. Sept, 30. 1882. 

-" General Orders No. 32. Fort I red Steele. I 88 1 , 

'"Inspeelion Reports. I883-1SS6 

" Letters Sent. I ort I red Steele. Sept. 30. I8,S2 

'- Ihhl 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

range was located north of the post near the stable and 
one south of the post near the trader's house." Which 
was at each location was not specified. These range lo- 
cations conform to the recent archaeological discover- 
ies. In the 1885-1886 annual report, two 300-yard and 
two 1000-yard targets were specified." 

As many as eight different ranges are historically docu- 
mented. However, the documentation is far from clear. 
Eight separate firing ranges were probably not in exist- 
ence at any one time. Different ranges may have been 
reconfigured from exiting ranges, and new ranges could 
have replaced old ones. Also, some ranges may have 
been abandoned and reused later. 

Archaeological research reveals that a post dump over- 
lies the northern tiring range complex. Whether or not 
the dump and the firing range were used at the same 
time is unclear, but firing range locations appear to have 
had multiple uses. 

Collection of spent cartridge cases from the firing 
ranges at Fort Fred Steele, for either destruction or re- 
loading, has not been documented. However, collection 
probably was conducted for reloading, based on the ref- 
erences to cartridge reloading equipment and facilities." 
Spent cartridge cases may also have been intentionally 
crushed on Fort Fred Steele's firing ranges in response 
to orders issued in 1 876 by the Adjutant General, known 
as General Orders, No. 13. 

The order stated: 

severely damaged, suggesting at least some intentional 
crushing, but the relation ship to apparent cartridge crush- 
ing and General Order No. 13 is unclear." 

Target practice and firing ranges at 

Wyoming's Fort Fred Steele are not historically well 
documented. However, spurred by archaeological dis- 
covery, historical research has shown target practice to 
be a significant part of garrison life at Fort Fred Steele. 
Awards were given for good marksmanship, firing ranges 
were built and upgraded, official reports made regular 
mention of both the failings and triumphs of garrison 
target practice, and a soldier was even accidentally killed 
on a firing range. Understanding target practice and fir- 
ing ranges is yet another chapter in the broader under- 
standing of Fort Fred Steele, and may also provide a 
glimpse into the history of other Wyoming military gar- 
risons and the diverse history of Wyoming in general. 

" inspection Reports. Oct. 13. 1883. 

'^ Miller and Wedei, "Continuing Archaeological...." 2000. 

-" Letters Sent. Fort Fred Steele. July 14. 1881; September 30. 

'" Adjutant GeneraFs Office. "General Orders No. 13." General 
Orders: I8''6. (Washington. D. C: Government Printing Office, 

-" Hanson. 44-45. 

It appears from reports of officers serving on the plains, 
as well as from experiments conducted in the Ordnance 
Department, that the empty metallic cartridge-shells for 
the Springfield carbine and musket can, after being fired, 
be used an indefinite number of times by refilling and 
recapping. Great care will therefore be exercised by all 
officers to prevent Indians from procuring the empty shells 
thrown away by troops after firing, either in action or at 
target practice.'" 

Clearly, the U.S. Army wanted to prevent the use of 
U.S. ammunition components against U.S. soldiers by 
Native Americans. The order, however, did not provide 
guidelines for compliance although the collection and/ 
or destruction of spent cartridge cases would have been 
the most obvious mechanisms for compliance with Gen- 
eral Orders No. 13. Historical documents from Fort Fred 
Steele do not specifically address the issue. Whether col- 
lection for reloading at Fort Fred Steele was a response 
to General Orders No. 13 is unknown. Archaeological 
research revealed virtually all of the metallic cartridge 
cases recovered from the firing range complexes were 

Mcvk D. Hanson earned a Bachelor of Science 
degree in Earth Science Geology, with minors 
in History and Anthropology, from the Univer- 
sity of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1997, and a 
Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from the 
University of Wyoming in 2001. He has worked 
in curation and collection management at 
Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire, Wis- 
consin, and the University of Wyoming Archaeo- 
logical Repository in Laramie, Wyoming, where 
he currently serves as assistant curator. His in- 
terests in military history and historical archae- 
ology include the American Civil War, military 
operations on the western frontier, and World 
War II and Korean War aviation. 

Spring 200a 

airport. West Yellowstone. 12 

ambrot\pcs. 2} 

Anitac Parks & Resorts. 16 

Anderson. Ole. 2. .1 4. .s. (photo) 4 

.Arapaho. 22 

arms instruction. 3 1 

Army, in Yellowstone. 4 

Army, target practice. 28-32 

Army. U, S . 4th Cavalrv. 7. 6th 

Cavalry. 7. 18th Infantry. 22. 18th 

Infantry Band. 24 
Ash. Jennie 1 1.2. 7 
autos. allowed into bellow stone. 8 
Baird. Spencer. 14.20.21 
Baker. Ilenrs. 31 
Big Horn Mountains. 24 
Billings. Montana. 6 
Blackmore. William H. 21. 27 
Blunt. Capt Stanhope H . 30 
Blunt's system. 3 1 
Bowles. Charles F.. 22. 2.^ 
Bozeman Trail. 22 
Brady. Malhew. 26 
Brett. Acting Supl Col l,lo\d. .s. X 
British Museum. 26. 27 
Burke, fimothy. 6 
Burroughs. Capt . 23. 24 
Buyer's Ferry. 23 
Camden. New Jersey. 27 
camera equipment. 2,s 
camera ohscura. 2,s 
Canyon campground. I 1 
Canyon Hotel. 3 
Canyon Junction. 15 
Canyon service station, 15 
Canyon Village. 15 
Canyon. Whiltaker store at. 8 
Carrington. Col Henry B . IQ. 22. 27 
carte de visite. 26 
cartridge cases. 28. 20. 32. (illus . 30) 

externally primed metallic. 30 
cartridge crushing. 32 
Child.llarry.2. 8. 10 
Christmas, in Nellow stone. 1 1 
Cinnabar. 4. 6 
Clear Creek. 24 
Coffee Shop at Mammoth. 13 
collodion. 22. 26 
Commissioner's residence. 

Yellowstone. 5 
concessions. Ncllowstone. 2 
Cooley. DM.21 
Cottage Hotel at Mammoth. 7 
"Course of Instruction in Rille 

Firing." 30 
Crazy Woman's Fork. 23 
Dailey's Ranch in Paradise Valley. 6 
Daniels. It . killed. 23 
Delaware North Park Services. 16 
Devil's kitchen. 0. II 
Devil's Kitchenette. 11. 13. (photo, 

Dog Hawk. 23 
Ftlnger. Martin. 3 1 
Ewers. Dr. John C . 1 7 
ferrotypes. 22 
Fessenden. 25 
Fessenden. F. M . 24 

lire. Smithsonian, 2 I 

tiring ranges. 28. 3 I 

firing ranges. Fort Fred Steele. 31 

Fleming. Paula Richardson (author 

bio). 27 
Fort Custer. 6 

Fort Fred Steele. 28. 24. 31. 32 
Fort Faramie. 20. 23, 26 
Fort Faramie Indian Commission, 

Fort Faramie treaty (photo). 26 
Fort Phil Kearn\, 17, 22. 23. 

24. 25 
1 on Reno. 23. 24 
Fort 'Sellow stone. 3 
Frank Leslie's llluslraled 

Newspaper. 10. 24 
Frankford Arsenal. 30 
Gardner. Alexander. 25. 26. 27 
gasoline, price in >'cllowstone, 8 
gasoline station. Mammoth. 8 
gasoline stations, Yellowstone, 

12, 14, 15 
(jermantoun, Pcnn , 26 
Glover. Ridgway. 18-27. (photo. 

I 7); obituary. 24 
Cjlover. Elizabeth (1 ewis) and 

John. 18 
Glover family (photo). 18 
Glover. Maria. 18 
Goss. Robert (author bio). 16 
Grand tan\on of the Yellowstone, 

grizzly bear, 24 
Gutekunst, Frederick, 18 
Haddonfield. N J , 18 
Hamilton, (^harles. 2. 8. 4. 10. 12, 

14, 15 
Hamilton Stores, 7, 14, 16 
Hamilton Stores, Inc , 15 
Hamilton's Store. Mammoth. 3 
Hanson. Mark D. (bio). 32 
Harris. Capt. Moses. 3 
Haynes. Frank. 3 
Haynes. Jack. 12 
Haynes Photo Shops, o 
Hefferlin brothers. 10 
Henderson. George. 7 
Henderson. Walter. 2 
Henderson. Walter J . 8 
Henry. Joseph. 20. 21 
Hemdon House. Omaha. 21 
Heth's system. 30 
Hinkle. D. 26 

Holm Transportation Companx. 8 
Instructions in Rille and t arhine 

Firing. 31 
King. Charles Bird. 21 
Kurtz. Isaac. 31 
Faidley. Theodore J S . 30 
I aidley s course. 3 1 
Faidley 's Revolving Target. 3 1 
Faidley s system . 30 
Langford, Nathaniel, 3 
Farimer, Mr and Mrs , 23 
Lehmer. Frank, 22 
Lincoln's funeral, IX, (photo) 10 
Lyall. Alexander 2. 8 
Lyall-Flenderson store at 
Mammoth. 7. (photo) 7 
Mammoth .'\uto Camp . 13. 15 

Mammoth Cafeteria. 11. (photo). 13 

Mammoth Hot Springs 2. 5 

Mammoth Post Exchange. I 1 

Mammoth lerraces. 4 

Mather. Stephen. 0. 10 

Maynadier. Col Henry F' . 22 

McC artnev. James. 6 

Mel aren. Col R N . 22 

Mel can. - 23 

Meldrum, Judge John. 1 1 

Mennoniles. 26 

Miller. Dr Mark. 28. 20. 31 

Moll, Fueretia. house photo. 10 

Mount Lphraim. N. J. 18 

National Anthropological .Archives. 

National Hotel. 4 

National Park Bank in Livingston. 12 
National Park Service. 3. 
Nichols. William. 12. 15 
Norris. Philetus. 3 
Northern Cheyenne. 22 
Northern Pacific Railroad. 4 
Oglala and Brule Sioux. 22 
Old Faithful Camps Compain. 10 
Omaha. Nebraska. 2 1 
Park Branch Line. 4 
Park C ounty High School in 
Livingston. 6 

Park C urio & Coffee Shop. 5 
Park Curio Shop 2. II. 15. (photo. 

10). demolished 16 
Park Hotel. Livingston. 6 
Peace Commissioners. 25. 26. 

(photo. 21 ) 
Peace Commissions. 22 
Pendleton. Indiana. 20. 27 
Peters. Samuel. 24 
Philadelphia. 25 

Philadelphia Academy of .Art. 20 
Philadelphia Photographer. 

18. 10, 22. 23. 24. 25 
Philippine Islands. 7 

Ridguav Cjlover. 17-27 
V'ellowstone. 3 
photography. Sioux view of 22 
Povah. Jrevor. 14 
Pryor& Trischman. 2, 0, 10, 1 1, 

12, 13 
Pryor Georganna, 1 1 
Pryor, A K . 5 
Pryor. Anna. 3. 11. 13 
Prvor. Anna, death. 1 5 
PrxorCoffee Shop menu (illusl. 14 
Prsor. Georganna. 5. 14. 15 
Pryor. George. 3. 6 
Pryor. Cjeorge and .Anna. 4. 5. 8. 

marriage, 6 
Pryor. Margaret. 5. 1 I 
Prsor Stores. 7. 14. 15 
Pry or Stores, sale of 1 5 
Quakers. 26 
Red Cloud. 22 
"Ridgway (ilover. Photographer. " 17- 

Salisbury. England. 27 
Savvtelle. California. 13 
Schreiber. George. 18. 20 
Shaw & Powell Camping Co . 10 
Shindler. A. Z,.21 

Smithsonian Institution 10. 20. 

21. 27 
soda fountain, in 'I'el low stone. 5 
souvenirs. Yellowstone. 5 
Specimen House. 3. 4 
Specimen rack (photo). 4 
Spotted Tail. 23 
Springfield breech-loader. 30 
Standing Elk. 23. 26. 27. 

portrait. 26 
Stanley. John Mix. 21 
stereographs. 26. 27 
Sundry Civil Bill. 3 F 
Taft. Robert, photo historian. 25 
"Tale of Two Sisters." 2-16 
target practice 28-31 
Jaylor. Edward B .22. 25 
Templeton. It . 23 
tintypes . 22 
Toy. Sam. 6 

Treaty of Fort Laramie. 21 
Trischman. Elizabeth "Belle." 3. 

II. 14: death 15 
Trischman. George. 3 
Trischman. Harry, 6. 7 
Trischman. Joseph, 6: murdered. 6 
Trischman. Kathervn. 3 
Frischman. Margaret Gleason. 6. 

attempted suicide. 6 
US Cavalry Drilling (photo). 20 
Tipper Geyser Basin. 3 
lipton. MaJ -Cien l;mor\. 30 
Virginia City. Mont . 20 
Walker. Dr Danny. 28 
Walters. J C.3I 
Warm Springs. Montana. 6 
Warren, (.) Ci . 6 
Wedel. Dale L .20. 31 
Wenderolh & Taylor. IX 
Wenderoth. Jaylor & Broun. 20. 

23. 25 
West Yello\sstone. 12 
White. David. 24 
Whittaker. Cieorge. 2. 3. 7. 8. 

10. 11. 12 
Whiltaker store at Canyon. 

Wilson. Edward I . 10 
Wistar. Thomas. 22. 23. 25 
Wylie Camp at Swan Fake Flats. 

Wylie camping company. 10 
Wyoming .Archaeological Societv. 

28 " 
Wyoming Archaeologist. 28 
■Yellowstone Park .Association. 7 
Yellowstone Park Camping 

Company . 1 
Yellowstone Park Company. 14 
Yellowstone Park TTolel 

Company. 0. 10 
■ScHowstone Park Service 

Stations. 14. 16 
Nellov\ stone Park Store. 8 
N'elloustone Park Iransportation 

Company. 7. 8. 10. 12 
Yellowstone River. 6 
Noung. Gen S B M . 7 

Indexed bv Phil Roberts 


nnais o 

Is of 


The Wyoming History Journal 

Summer 2002 

Vol. 74, No. 

The Cover 

"Crystal Falls, Targhee Creek" 

a photograph 

by William Henry Jackson 

Born in New York in 1843, Jackson began woric as a pliotographer in Vermont. After service in 
the Civil War. he moved by wagon train to California, later returning to settle in Omaha, Ne- 
braska. From 1870-78. he m'OS official photographer for the Hayden survey. It was while serving 
with Hayden that Jackson made the first photographs of Yellowstone in 1871. From 1879 to 
1894, he operated a photography studio and publishing company. It was during this period that 
the cover image was executed. After an assignment photographing around the world for a New 
York magazine, Jackson moved to Detroit where he operated a publishing business until his 
retirement at the age of 81. He moved to Washington. D. C. wrote about the Old West and painted 
a series of Western scenes for the U. S. Government. He made a number of trips to Wyoming and 
elsewhere over the years, including a famous visit to Independence Rock during the centennial 
year of the Oregon Trail. He died in New York City in 1942. The cover photograph is in the 
collections of the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. 

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 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. O. Box 4256. University Station. Laramie WY 8207 1 . or to the editor by e-mail at the following 


Phil Roberts 

Book Review Editor 

Call Hallberjr 

Editorial Advisory Board 

Barliara Bogart, E\ anston 

Mabel Brown, Newcastle/Cheyenne 

Katherine Curtiss. Sheridan 

Dudley Ciardner. Rock Sprinfjs 

Sally F. Ciritlith, Lnsk/Ha\erto\vn, Pa, 

Don Hodgson, Torringttm 

L<iien .lost, Riverton 

■lame.s R. Laird, Wapiti 

Mark Miller, Laramie 

Mark Nelson, Green Rner 

Sherry L. Smith, Moose/Dalla.s, Tex. 

Thomas F Stroock, Casper 

Lawrence M Woods. Worland 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

Rick Euig, Laramie 

David Kathka, Rock Springs 

Sherry L. Smith, Moose 

Amy Lawrence, Laramie 

Nancy Curtis, CJIendo 

Brian Hosmer, Laramie {ex oflicio) 

Patty Myer.s, Wheatland (ex-otlicio) 

Loren .lost. Riverton (e\-otTicio) 

Phil Roberts, Laramie (ex-oHlcio) 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Committee 

Da\e Taylor, President, Natrona County 

Amy Lawrence, 1st Vice Pres., Albany Co. 

Patty Myers, 'ind Vice Pres., Platte Co, 

Linda Fabian, Secretary, Platte County 

Dick Wilder, Treasurer, Park County 

Clara Varner, Weston County 

.lames Van Scoyk,, Star Valley Chapter 

.Joyce Warnke. Goshen County 

Lloyd Todd. Sheridan County 

Judv West. Membership Coordinator 

Governor of Wyoming 

Jim Geringer 

Wyoming Dept. of State Parks and 
Cidtural Resoiu-ces 

.lohn Keck. Director 
Cultural Resources Division 

Wendy Bredehoff, Administrator 

Wyoming Parks & Cultural Resources 

W'illiam Dubois, Cheyenne 
Emerson W. Scott. .Ir, Buffalo 
Diann Reese, Lyman 
Vern Vi\ ion, Rawlins 
David Reetz, Powell 
Herb French, Newcastle 
Ernest C. Over, Pavillion 
Carolyn Buff, Casper 
Jerrilynn Wall, Evanston 

University of Wyoming 

Philip Duboi.s. President 
Oliver Walter, Dean, 

College of Arts and Sciences 

Brian Hosmer, Chair, Dept, of History 

The Wyoming History Journal 
Summer 'iOO'2 Vol. 74, No. 3 

Inside Federal Prohibition Enforcement in Wyoming: 

The Case of Bootlegging Busts in Northern Natrona County, 1928 
By Phil Roberts 2 

Few of the investigative files from the federal Prohibition Bureau still exist In researching 
for this article about investigations into bootlegging around Edgerton. Wyoming, in the 
late 1420s. Roberts used unique Hlcs held in the National Archives Seattle Branch 

The Question of Districting: The Legislature and the 

Clear Use of Power, 1992 

By Matilda Hansen 9 

Hansen, a veteran legislator, recalls the slop, of the Wyoming legislature's struggles 
with districting, following a court decision requiring a change from at-large county 
elections oflegislalors This extract is from her rcccnilv published hook on the history 
of power and reapportionment. 

Rustic Roosevelt Lodge 

By Tamsen Emerson Hert 16 

Hen. Wyoming bibliographer at the llniversity of Wyoming Libraries, writes about a 
little known Yellowstone tourist spot in the early days Hert has written on Yellowstone 
and she has presented slide programs on the various hotels and lodgings in the park. 

T. A. Larson, Wyoming Historian 

An Inter\'ie\v by Eric Nye '20 

Larson, who died in January 2001. spoke with Nye. a UW English professor, in 1498. 
about his life, education, and ideas about history. 

Crossing the North Platte River: A Brief History of 
Reshaw's Bridge, 1852-1866 

By Jefferson Glass 25 

Wyoming pioneer John Richard (Reshaw) built a bridge over the North Platte 
River The bridge hastened overland travel, but also provided Richard with a 
launching point for a multi-faceted business career The story is told by a vet- 
eran Casper historian, 

Wyoming Picture Inside back cover 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming State Historical 
Society in association with the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, the .Ameri- 
can Heritage Center, and the Department of History, University of Wyoming. The journal was previously 
published as the Quarterly Bulletin (1923-1925). Annals of Wyoming (1925-1993). Wyoming Annals 
(1993-1995) and Wyoming History Journal (\99'i-\99()). Iht 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 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 of Wyoming are abstracted in Histori- 
cal Abstracts 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. 1740H Dell Range Blvd.. Cheyenne 
WY 82009-4945, Editorial correspondence should be addressed to the editorial office of Annals of Wyo- 
ming. American Heritage Center. P, O. Box 4256, University Station, Laramie WY 82071, 
Our e-mail address is: philr;</uwyo,edu Printed by Pioneer Printing, Cheyenne 

Copyright 2002, Wyoming State Historical Society 

ISSN: 1086-7368 

Results of a raid made in Bales Hole. Nov. 12, 
1923, at the height of prohibition enforcement. 

Inside Federal 
Prohibition Enforcement 
in Wyoming: 

By Phil Roberts 

This is the story of some long-lost files, some 
citizen complaints about wide-open bootleg- 
ging and official corruption in a remote Wyo- 
ming boomtown. It may be that the case was quite or- 
dinary, but it never may be known because the file is 
one of a mere handful that survives from the Bureau of 
Prohibition's records created in the 1920s. Agency files 
for much of the United States are either missing or were 
destroyed when Prohibition was repealed and the 
agency went through a series of reorganizations. Con- 
sequently, there are few examples of the process 
through which federal officers tried to break up illegal 
liquor-making and selling. 

One such file, held in the collections of the Seattle 
Branch, National Archives, probably was typical of 
other cases. At the same time, it is unusual for insight 
it provides into the workings of a small oil patch town 

The Case of Bootlegger Busts in 
Northern Natrona County, 1928 

in the 1920s, an era of intense depression in Wyoming. 
It also demonstrates how important informants were 
to enforcement of Prohibition laws. 

An examination of the files and newspaper accounts 
of the incidents surrounding the case reveal that, con- 
trary to popular notion, the Bureau was an organized, 
carefully administered federal agency with competent, 
honest investigators who responded to citizen com- 
plaints. The Bureau faced a disinterested, often hostile 
public and state officials with political concerns. 

Prohibition had lost much of its appeal in Wyo- 
ming by 1929. Nonetheless, federal officials 
continued to enforce the act, ensnaring numer- 
ous Wyomingites for illegally manufacturing and sell- 
ing alcohol. In some places in the state, government 
prohibition agents knew that local officials were in 

Summer !200'2 

league with the makers of the illegal booze and they 
organized a series of investigations designed to break 
up the collusion. 

On November 1 0, 1 928, Lon Davis, chief deputy fed- 
eral prohibition director for Wyoming, received the 
following letter sent to his office in Cheyenne from an 
anonymous writer in Edgerton, Wyoming: 

Dear Mr. Davis, 

You being State Federal Officer I am wondering 
whether some information about the Bootleggers here 
would be of interest to you or an annoyance. I know 
where their cashes [sic] are and you can get all the way 
from two to a hundred pints of liquor. Please treat this 
offer confidential and if the information will be of any 
use to you I will give it to you. 1 met you some time ago 
Mr. Davis and 1 believe if you are interested in this 1 can 
be of services [sic] to you.' 

Davis, who had held the highest federal prohibition 
position in the state since March 1923, apparently re- 
sponded immediately, because four days after the date 
on the earlier letter, he received a follow-up in which 
the details of the situation were laid out. A former 
deputy U. S. Marshal, Davis was well acquainted in 
the Seattle headquarters. Car! Jackson, the divisional 
chief there w ith jurisdiction over Montana. Idaho. 
Washington. Oregon and Alaska, had been Davis" pre- 
decessor in the Wyoming job." 

"We have a whiskey ring here and the head of the 

ring are Edgerton's officers," the anonymous writer 
alleged on Nov. 14. After naming several local offi- 
cials, the letter continued: "This ring think they are just 
about immune from the law. Your men have been out 
here but don't get any evidence because everyone is 
tipped off As far as drying up Edgerton. that is impos- 
sible but their ears can be knocked down." 

The writer then provided a store-by-store descrip- 
tion of where illegal booze was being hidden. "The large 
cache is in the vacant building next to the Highfull 
Cafe." the letter noted. Even legitimate businessmen 
were involved, the writer said. "Charley the Greek 
keeps his pints under the Soda Fountain behind the 
bar..." After naming several others, the writer empha- 
sized, "You can see that if my information wasn't se- 
cret, these fellows would about hang me. I don't want 
any of the local law even to know about this infonna- 
tion because I don't know how far this ring extends...."" 

The official record is silent as to what happened next. 

' Anonymous to Lon Davis. Nov. 10. 1928. Bureau of Prohibi- 
tion ln\estigation Case File. 1924-33. Box 1 1. RG436 Records of 
the Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco and Firearms. National Archives — 
Pacific Northwest Branch. Seattle. 

-Davis had served as Laramie Count) undersheriff for Sheriff 
Fd J. Smalley for two years and had been deputy I'. S. Marshal for 
only 20 months when he accepted the Prohibition position. Jack- 
son was a Laramie native. "Lon Davis Given Office Director of 
Prohibition." IVyommg Tribune. March 1 1. 1923. p. 1. 

'Anonvmous to Davis. Nov. 14. 1928. 

-i&nt oHIll'e, 2000, "aiBlione of seeh. 45,eRXiOtta of ooonshine, 
,*tEf ■'?i»»<i, by o.w.Plaga, Federal Agent. .Alex A.KoHierson. 
-I. and C.J.Csjter, Under aheriff. of u.tronjs Co. 
* 21a%,,tey of A»xil,1925, at Tee Potj, \lyo. 

"Eight stills. 2.000 gallons 
of mash. 45 gallons of 
moonshine, were seized by 
O. W. Plaga. federal agent, 
Alex A. McPherson. sheriff, 
and O. J. Carter, undersh- 
eriff Natrona County. 
Made 2 1st of April. 1925. 
at Teapot. Wyoming. " The 
Edgerton investigations, 
held three years later, were 
made near the site of this 
moonshine bi(St. 

Plaga collection. American Heritage Center. University of Wyoming 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

but in a later letter, the anonymous writer described to 
Davis how his men had conducted the raid: "They got 
some stuff alright but it has been kept very very quiet. 
Not a word about it in the papers." the writer pointed 
out. indicating that a raid made at Salt Creek the previ- 
ous day probably gave a warning '"so some of them 
had their stuff put away. ...there were four stills dis- 
mantled right here in town when your men commenced 
looking around."^ 

At this point, Davis' informant implicated the local 
justice of the peace who also happened to be editor of 
the local newspaper, the Salt Creek Gusher.^ "You see 
a fine before the Judge doesn't mean anything. You 
see this ring has arrangement made that they pay 
$178.90 each month to run and then if they are picked 
up by anyone — county or federal — they are fined be- 
fore the Judge whatever they are fined is deducted from 
this monthly payment." 

The anonymous writer complimented Davis for hav- 
ing "a bunch of trustworthy men'" in his employ, be- 
cause they had made two raids and no "tip-off had 
been made beforehand. The writer then detailed how a 
whiskey-selling operation was functioning quite openly 
in Edgerton. Again, complete with maps and descrip- 
tions of the buildings in which such activities were tak- 
ing place, the writer provided what Davis took to be an 
allegation beyond the simple report of disreputable 
parties making and selling liquor. 

After describing where he might find the still, the 
anonymous source wrote: "The stills that are running 
are what are known as official stills either run by the 
officers themselves or the man that runs it gives one 
per gallon for all they turn out." Further, the writer al- 
leged that at least three truckioads of illegal alcohol 
brought in from Casper had been unloaded behind the 
local pool hall. One bootlegger, according to the writer, 
"sells very little whiskey around here but takes it to 
Dubois." Another, the writer alleged, "lives in Niobrara 
County, about 30 miles from Lusk" and "supplies Lusk. 
Newcastle. Hot Springs also Edgemont."'' 

Davis reported to his superiors in the Seattle office 
before deciding whether or not to send his agents to 
back to Edgerton. The next month, Sam H. Scott, spe- 
cial inspector in Chicago, wrote to B. W. Cohoon. de- 
scribing the information about the Edgerton investiga- 
tion. When Cohoon asked for more specifics. Scott 
wrote that he had received the information from the 
Commissioner of Law Enforcement for the state of 
Wyoming "whose name has escaped me at the mo- 
ment." The agent added that the man had "personal 
knowledge of conditions at Salt Creek and Edgerton" 

and could be relied on to help develop the case. Scott 
told Cohoon that since Wyoming had no conspiracy 
statute, that federal agents would have the best chance 
to make a case.' 

In May, the case was assigned by the Seattle district 
agent to Robert B. Melville and Charles A. Murphy.* 
Three days after the case was transferred to the two 
men, Bemon reported to his superiors about a meeting 
with Jack Allen. Commissioner of Enforcement for the 
State of Wyoming, but Allen was unable to confirm 
any of the charges leveled against the Edgerton offi- 
cials. Because the earlier cases had been made by fed- 
eral officers, but oddly filed in state court in Casper, 
Allen did not know how they were handled. 

Allen was still unfamiliar with many aspects of the 
position he had held only since the previous Decem- 
ber. Gov. Emerson had appointed Allen state law en- 
forcement commissioner when W. C. Irving resigned 
under a cloud in December 1928. 

"Happy Jack," as he was known to friends in Casper, 
was a Brooklyn, N. Y.. native who had come to Wyo- 
ming at the age of 1 3 to work as a cowboy for the P and 
O Ranch, 14 miles north of Cheyenne. In 1891, he 
signed on as a cowboy for J. M. Carey's CY Ranch 
near Casper. A young man on the way up hardly could 
dream of a better employer than Carey, Wyoming's 
first U. S. Senator, governor from 191 1-15, and prob- 
ably the wealthiest man in the state. 

Later. Allen joined the Wyoming Volunteer cavalry 
unit raised by Colonel Jay Torrey to fight in Cuba in 
the Spanish American War. The unit, made up of cow- 
boys riding perfectly matched horses and named 
"Torrey's Rough Riders," never saw action. While en 
route to the staging area in Florida, the train carrying 
the troop met with a serious accident near Tupelo, Miss., 
and they never made it to Cuba. 

After he was mustered out, Allen returned to Casper 
to run unsuccessftilly for sheriff Nonetheless, he con- 
tinued to work in the field of law enforcement in the 
county until his appointment to the Prohibition posi- 

When the special agent asked Lon Davis, the federal 
deputy prohibition officer, Davis urged that nothing 

' Ibid. 

^ Microfilmed copies of the Gusher are on file in the collections 
of the Historical Research Division. Wyoming Parks and Cultural 
Resources Department, Cheyenne. 

^ Anonymous to Davis, Feb. 1. 1929. 

'Letter. Sam H. Scott, Special Agent. Treasury Dept.. Chicago, 
to B. W. Cohoon 

'R. A. Beman to Melville and Murphy, May 20. 1929. 

Summer 'iOO!2 

be done until his officers made at least 1 6 cases. While 
the two men were visiting, one of Davis officers called 
from Casper, asking to meet with Davis the next day 
about a raid scheduled at Salt Creek and Edgerton at 
the end of May. "It is Davis" theory that if the bootleg- 
ger is knocked over too often — oftener than the amount 
he is supposed to give to the city, he will squeal." Davis 
was surprised that the special agents were showing in- 
terest in the Edgerton case. "He does not understand 
why Salt Creek and Edgerton should be selected when 
there are such places as Casper. Cheyenne, Kemmerer 
and others.""' 

Any individual conversant with statewide happen- 
ings would have shared Allen's wonderment. On May 
18, 1929, the Wyoming Tribune, in a front page story, 
disclosed that the federal grand jury had adjourned the 
previous day after bringing indictments against 29 in- 
dividuals for conspiracy to evade Prohibition laws. 
Heading the list was W. C. Irving, the man Jack Allen 
had replaced as the head of Wyoming's law enforce- 
ment department. Irving was charged with collecting 
"thousands for protection money during the time he 
served" in that office. Also indicted was Irving's assis- 
tant, James Ader, along with various suspected boot- 
leggers from Rawlins, Thermopolis, Cheyenne, Rock 
Springs and Evanston." The Edgerton "cabal" seemed 
minor indeed, given the events in Cheyenne and else- 

Nonetheless, Federal investigators continued to press 
the Edgerton case. Besides being skeptical about the 
importance of the case, Davis was suspicious about the 
impetus behind the Salt Creek area probe for another 
reason. "He expressed a fear that perhaps Salt Creek 
and Edgerton case may be the outgrowth of politics," 
the Seattle-based agent wrote. Davis had told the agent 
that Allen had lost a bid for Natrona County Sheriff 
and that "his worse reverses were in the districts of 
Salt Creek and Edgerton." When the agent returned to 
ask Allen about more details, he told the federal of- 
ficer that he was not able to help with their investiga- 
tion. "All my men are now up in that district and it 
would be impossible for us to make any buys there."'- 

On June 2 1 , Murphy and Melville paid a visit to Salt 
Creek where they examined the books of R. E. Arnold, 
City Treasurer. They checked the amount of fines sub- 
mitted by the Justice of the Peace W. J. Stull from July 
12, 1926 to June 12, 1929. On average, the JP (and 
editor of the Gusher) turned in about $1 50, the highest 
amount, more than $450 in February 1928 and the least 
amount, just $20 in April, 1929. 

Armed with their audit, the investigators then inter- 

viewed Justice of the Peace Stull. State Prohibition 
Agent L. C. Hurtt attended, too. After looking at his 
records, the agents pointed out that the numbers did 
not correspond with those of the treasurer. Judge Stull 
had a ready reply: "In a great many cases, men came to 
his office and pleaded guilty to liquor violations with- 
out there having been any form of complaint filed and 
no records were made in the office in these cases." 
When asked about what was done with the evidence, 
he said it was "always destroyed." 

The agents told him that the whole case could be 
turned over to a federal grand jury. "Whereupon the 
Judge inquired about what it is we want to know about 
the monthK payments by bootleggers." 

The judge "asked why we did not tell him that when 
we first came and he then admitted collecting $50 a 
month from the men running the joints." He knew of 
no ordinance that allowed such collections. But it wasn't 
really fines, he said. It was an "occupation tax."" Stull 
then explained that the practice had been going on for 
at least five years through the administrations of three 
mayors. He named four men who had paid $50 each in 
fines for May. All four were bootleggers, he admitted. 

Later, the same day Murphy interviewed Dora Pocan 
who claimed to have lived in Edgerton from Feb. 1 1- 
July 23, 1927. "On or about July 9, 1927. I was ar- 
rested by Deputy Sheriff Tom Heaney and Town Mar- 
shal Fred Rose on a charge of possession of intoxicat- 
ing liquor," her affidavit said. When taken before Judge 
Blake's court, she was fined $50 plus costs. She claimed 
she continued to be harassed by local officers who or- 
dered her to leave town, "saying it was the order of 
Mayor Mike Keifer." She said she went to Casper and 
complained to Sheriff G. O Housley that she was the 
only one being prosecuted for liquor violations in the 
area while it was known that many others were in- 
volved. The statement was taken by Murphy at Lavoye 
where she had been operating a small restaurant with 

"When U. S. Marshal Hugh Patton died in 1932. Allen was 
named his replacement, serving until June 1. 1934. That fall, he 
was elected sheriff of Natrona County, a post he held continuously 
until his death in October 1942. Obituary, li'yoming Tribune. Oct. 
13, 1942, p. 11. 

'°Capt. R. A. Beman, Special Agent in Charge, letter to superi- 
ors. May 23, 1929. 

" Wyoming Tribune. May 18. 1929, p. 1. 

'- Beman letter. May 23, 1929. 

'^ Memorandum, Murphy and Melville, Casper Wyoming, June 
21, 1929. 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

"a small stock of groceries" since that May.'-' Despite 
her complaint to the sheriff, she said, "nothing was 

StulTs newspaper had remained relatively silent 
about the presence of federal officers and totally quiet 
about any suspected bootlegging in the vicinity. In the 
June 21,1 929, edition of the Gusher, published the day 
"Judge" Stull was interviewed by federal officers, the 
Gusher ran the following story in the local news with- 
out a headline: 

Dan Shea, proprietor of the Half Way House, had an 
unannounced visit from federal men Saturday evening. 
The minions of the law were en route to Casper and one 
decided he wanted some cigarettes when the Half Way 
House was reached. He entered the place and found 
Danny in the act of serving liquor to a guest. He was 
invited, and without hesitancy, accepted the invitation 
of the federal men to accompany them into Casper where 
Mr. Shea appeared before U. S. Commissioner M. P. 
Wheeler and put up a bond of $2,000 for appearance 
before the federal court to answer to a charge of illegal 
possession and sale of liquor." 

Two weeks later, in the July 5 edition of the Gusher, 
Stull commented again about the local situation but, 
not surprisingly, with none of the emotion of the anony- 
mous letter writer. " 

Word reached Washington that the 1 8th Amendment 
was not being rigidly enforced or generally observed in 
Natrona County, so a bunch of federal investigators were 
sent out to look into the matter. They have honored the 
field with their distinguished presence quite often the 
past two weeks to check up on reports reaching Wash- 
ington and have found to some extent that they are not 
wholly without foundation.'^ 

The two investigators issued their preliminary report 
on July 27. "Owners of pool halls and gambling halls 
in the town of Edgerton had been paying stipulated 
monthly fines to the town in exchange for the privilege 
of being allowed to operate unmolested by town au- 
thorities." The report was particularly critical of Blake, 
the municipal judge. "His records show monthly fines 
have been paid, and that if a citizen of Edgerton had 
been fined in some other jurisdiction for violation in 
Edgerton, the amount of such fine was placed to his 
credit by Judge Blake against future monthly fines to 
be paid to the town." 

''' Sworn statement of Dora Pecan, June 21,1 929, Lavoy e, Wyo- 
ming. The cafe"s opening was noted in the Salt Creek Gusher. May 
10, 1929, p. 3: "The place is on the highway. ..Chicken will be a 

" Salt Creek Gusher, June 21. 1929, p. 1. 

"^ Salt Creek Gusher, July 5, 1929, p. 1 (no headline). 

The Midwest oilfield, pictured here in a 1920s era postcard, is located near where Federal prohibition officers were 
investigating bootlegging in 1928. 

Summer 2002 

The report was promptly filed in the agency records 
in Seattle. The two investigators turned their attentions 
to cases in the Pacific Northwest and, a few months 
later, the agency field offices were reorganized. On July 
26, 1 929, barely a month after the report was filed, the 
case was transferred from Seattle to Denver. An order 
from the Seattle headquarters directed that: 

Because of the fact that the states of Idaho, Montana 
and Wyoming are now to be included in the newly cre- 
ated Denver Division, it is requested that authority be 
granted this office to transfer to the Special Agent in 
Charge, Denver Division, such jacketed and unjacketed 
cases which have to do with investigations in the states 
above mentioned and which are now under investiga- 
tion by special agents of this office." 

The Wyoming cases, including the Edgerton files, 
no longer would be handled out of the Seattle office. 
Somehow, the Edgerton case files missed being 
shipped. Apparently, the papers sat in a file drawer for 
many years until they were transferred to the National 
Archives Seattle Branch. 

In the interim, all other investigative files of the de- 
partment were transferred to Washington, D. C, when 
the agency in April 1930 was renamed the "Bureau of 
Industrial Alcohol." In January 1934, the agency was 
transferred from Treasury to the Department of Justice 
where it became the "Alcoholic Beverage Unit, Divi- 
sion of Investigation." Four months later, portions of 
the reorganized agency went back into Treasury as the 
"Internal Revenue Alcohol Tax Unit." Eventually, its 
functions were absorbed, part into the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation and part into what became the Bureau 
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Fireamis, Department of the 
Treasury. The investigative files apparently were trans- 
ferred along with the other agency records at each stage. 
What files that were not absorbed into those records 
apparently were destroyed — except for the wayward 
Edgerton file and several dozen others.'^ 

Like the Bureau of Prohibition, the town of 
Edgerton's fortunes went into similar eclipse. On May 
1 , 1 930, the Salt Creek Gusher reported that the "Scott 
block," a dance hall, cafe, market, post office and tele- 
phone exchange, — ten buildings in all — were destroyed 
by fire. The Gusher suspended publication; Stull re- 
signed his justice of the peace office and moved away. 
Bootlegging, presumably, disappeared with the dra- 
matic drop in population. 

Even though the investigation came to naught, the 
process provides a fascinating picture of the federal 
investigative process carried out by the Bureau of Pro- 
hibition and how, even in the case of remote towns in 
one of the most lightly populated states, the agents re- 
sponded to citizen complaints. The exhaustive investi- 
gation into the illegal activities supposedly taking place 
in Edgerton seemed to contradict Judge T. Blake 
Kennedy's retrospective assessment of the Bureau some 
20 years later: 

Even though the law would have a reasonable expect- 
ancy of enforcement under ordinary circumstances, the 
Prohibition Department was not by any means equal to 
the occasion. The enforcement agencies were not 
equipped with agents and employees who were skilled 
in the matter of preparing cases for prosecution like those 
who were in charge of the other classes of Federal 
crimes — the Post Office Department or the Treasury 
Department. No doubt it was very difficult to secure the 
proper types of men to fill the positions in the Prohibi- 
tion Agencies. This added greatly to the matter of secur- 
ing convictions and also to the trials and tribulations of 
the Judge upon the bench.'" 

" Unsigned memo; letter from W. D. Smith. Denver, to Beman. 
Seattle, Aug. 29, 1929. acknowledged the transfer order. National 
Archives. Seattle Branch. 

" My thanks to Joyce Justice. National Archives. Seattle Branch, 
for bringing the long-lost files to my attention in the summer of 
1993. .After inquiries to the National Archives and to other branches, 
it was determined that the Edgerton file and the few others, amount- 
ing to less than two cubic feet, were all that remained of the exten- 
sive investigative files maintained b_\ the Bureau of Prohibition, at 
least in the form orginalK used by the agenc\ and not later interfiled 
with other records. 

'** Unpublished memoirs, T. Blake Kennedy, vol. 1. p. 483. T. 
Blake Kennedy Papers. Collection #405. American Heritage Cen- 
ter, UniversitN of Wyoming. 

Phil Roberts is editor of Annals of Wyoming, 
an unpaid, volunteer position he has held since 
1995 (as co-editor with Rick Ewig until 1999). 
and for a time in the early 1980s, as a paid 
employee of the state. Since 1990. he has been 
associate professor of history. University of 
Wyoming. This article was independently ref- 
ereed. A graduate of the University of Wyoming 
and the UW College of Law. he holds the Ph.D. 
from the University of Washington in Seattle. 
This article is extracted ft-om a forthcoming 
book on Prohibition in Wyoming. 





^«SS»"< \ \<S' , 

.^jjii*'' w»» 







The Question 



The Legislature and 
the Clear Use of 
Power, 1992 

By Matilda Hansen 

Editor's Note: This article is derived from a 
chapter of the author 's recently published 
book titled Clear Use of Power: A Slice of 
Wyoming Political History, a study of politi- 
cal power in Wyoming. This selection focuses 
on a period after the last court decision 
struck down the legislature 's reapportionment 
plan, ordered that Wyoming break with a cen- 
tury-old method of legislative selection and. 
instead, create single-member districts. 
Hansen, a veteran Albany County legislator, 
participated in the districting debates. Rick 
Miller, a featured player in this segment, now 
is employed as special assistant to the presi- 
dent of the University of Wyoming. 

Rick Miller's Challenge 

Serious reapportionment began as soon as Ri- 
chard Miller. Director of tiie Legislative Service Of- 
fice, read the October 15. 1991 opinion in Gorin v. 
Karpan.' Tlie terse opinion indicated two things: the 
Court wanted no more obtuse arguments justifying con- 
tinued avoidance of the federal case law; and they de- 
manded the legislature make a good faith effort to achieve 
equal voting strength forall Wyoming citizens. 

His bosses, the Management Council, would "have had 
his head"- if he had done contingency planning prior to 

'Gorlnv Karpan. 775 F. Supp. 1430 (D. Wyo. 1991). 
-From the interview with Rick Miller. April 9. 2001 


Annals of Wyoniing: The Wyoming History Journal 

the opinion. As the top person in the LSO, it was Miller's 
job to make sure the legislators had the wherewithal to 
generate a timely districting plan that met the standards 
of the United States Supreme Court. 

From an administrator's perspective. Miller faced his 
worst nightmare. It was like 'searching for needles in a 
haystack" because somehow from somewhere he had to 
pull together all the elements legislators needed to create 
a new constitutional reapportionment plan.^ 

The districting had to be done quickly, correctly — in 
completely uncharted Wyoming waters with an inexpe- 
rienced crew. It would be an enormous task. By the time 
Miller got to the first of the 1 7 Saturdays and 1 7 Sundays 
he had a 'hold on the monster". 

Time — the ponderous process of law making can be 
time consuming. Reapportionment was not easy. The 
opinion required the new plan to be delivered to the Fed- 
eral Court by close of business on Monday, February 24, 

That gave the legislators and staff 132 days. Not 132 
working days but 1 32 consecutive days: work days, Hal- 
loween. Opening of Hunting Season. Thanksgiving, Christ- 
mas, the 'down" week after Christmas. New Years, 17 
Saturdays and 1 7 Sundays. October 1 5* was the first of 
Miller's 132 days. 

Census blocks — the smallest area, for which the Cen- 
sus Bureau released data was where districting began. 
Since Baker v. Carr.* the Census Bureau, as part of the 
census in 1970, 1980 and 1990, required the chief elec- 
tions officer of each state, and the county clerks, to have 
a program to match census blocks to precincts to make 
voter districts — VTD"s. 

During those 30 years the required plan was written — 
then ignored. Consequently, in October 1991 no correla- 
tions between census blocks and precincts existed. Ex- 
cept for inadvertent congruity Rick Miller declared, "The 
twain of which had never met.'"^ 

Money — no budget was available for districting. Be- 
cause the majority party planned to defend the constitu- 
tionality of the 1 99 1 Plan, funds were provided for law- 
suits but not for map drawing. Other states spent millions 
or hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing plans on 
legislative districting. But Rick Miller had no money — 
only a court order to produce a constitutional plan. 

Consultants on Redistricting — Miller had none. There 
was not enough time for an RFP (Request for Proposal) 
to be circulated to qualified vendors should there happen 
to be someone out there somewhere interested in 'do- 
ing' Wyoming. Some legislatures assigned redistricting 
to 'special offices' or to redistricting commissions — but 
not Wyoming. Miller had to set up in-house districting. 

Staffing — to "do" districting was not available within 

the Legislative Service Office. There the assignments 
were already made to budgets, audits, committees and 
bill drafting. Each person carried a heavier than usual 
load because Miller was on reapportionment. He told his 
staff, "Unless there is a fire, don't' come to me. I will 
answer no legislator's request. I will draft no bills. I will 
do nothing on State Budget matters. I will spend all my 
time on districting." 

Equipment and office space — Rick Miller had to find 
it. Fortunately he was no novice to Cheyenne. During 
1 987 and 1 988 he was on Governor Mike Sullivan's staff. 
Prior to 1987, himself an LSO staffer, he worked with 
other state agency employees — notably the number 
crunchers at the Department of Administration and Fis- 
cal Control (DAFC).'= 

Miller began by looking for employees to borrow from 
other state agencies. His first choice was Steve Furtney. 
Prior to the 1990 Governor Sullivan designated him as 
Wyoming's Census Coordinator. Furtney was adminis- 
trator of the Division of Economic Analysis in DAFC. 
By no stretch of anyone's imagination was Economic 
Analysis kin to reapportioning. Furtney had good ana- 
lytical skills. He knew how to make computers spit-out 
information for specific purposes. 

The next to be borrowed was Rick Memmel, an infor- 
mation technician for the Highway Department stationed 
in Furtney's division. Memmel was a geographic sys- 
tems man. Memmel led Miller to David Clabaugh, a 
Highway Department map-man with expertise to make 
maps large enough to manipulate the data of Wyoming's 
97,548 square miles and 453,588 people. He also had a 
roller copier at his workstation in the 1-25 Highway De- 
partment Complex. 

Next, Miller needed someone with specialized 
districting experience. The Revenue Department's sales/ 
use tax collection/distribution districts had some simi- 
larity to the districts Miller needed. Their man-with-the- 
know-how to craft census blocks into precincts was 
Bryce Freeman. Miller wanted him. 

But these four men were full-time state employees in 
essential positions in their respective departments. How- 
ever much Miller wanted them, he couldn't just snatch 

'The justices wrote in Gorin v. Karpan, at 1443. that "redistricting 
versus reapportionment is a distinction without a difference under 
the equal protection clause . . . (because). . . all citizens must be equally 
powerful at the ballot box." Hereafter, these terms will be used inter- 

'Baker v. Carr, 369 U. S. 186 (1962). 
■ Miller interview, April 9. 2001 . 

' The executive branch's Department of Administration and Fiscal 
Control — later to be named the Department of Administration and 

Summer 2002 


them away and sit them down at new desks in a new 

As a former Sullivan staffer, he went to the Governor 
and asked for assistance. "I need your help. We're talk- 
ing about four men. 1 want them assigned to me so they 
will be mine — for as long as I need them. I will pay their 
salaries, their benefits and their overtime. 1 will provide 
the workstation. I ask you to request each department 
head to release them to me."' 

Sullivan wrote the letters in support of the top legisla- 
tive administrator's request that four of the Governor's 
department heads temporarily give away key staff for 
an unspecified amount of time. The department heads 
accepted the governor's demand and Miller got his men. 

Having promised workstations. Miller had to find them. 
With Furtney's help they found pre-session space. It was 
three, hard-to-fmd empty rooms and hall on the third floor- 
east, at the back of the Emerson Building, converted into 
state offices years ago out of the former Johnson Junior 
High School, with public accessibility only by elevator 
and w ith no windows. During the 1 992 session they moved 
to the offices of LSO staffers temporarily assigned to 
desks in the House or Senate chambers. 

Furnishings were not so difficult. Miller purchased some 
"odds and ends". For most of what they needed he scav- 
enged from other agencies and from the state's Surplus 
Property warehouse. 

Computers — access to adequate capability and capac- 
ity was a challenge — even to Miller. "Nothing was easy 
and portable then." Intergraph was a private company 
with whom Miller built a contractual public/private rela- 

They were geographic information people. He bor- 
rowed, begged and legally used their equipment and soft- 
ware capable of manipulating the data with the capacity 
to draw the maps he and his four men needed. Multiple 
licensing agreements were made with Intergraph.* 

When Furtney, Memmel and Freeman finished with 
computer map drawing. Miller had to drive the disks to 
David Clabaugh and his roller copier at the Highway 
Department offices at the Central Avenue Exit of 1-25. 
This was the only place in Cheyenne able to print and to 
copy the large 32" x 24" maps. 

Only legislators had access to Miller's districting set- 
up. Each version of each plan had six pages: a statewide 
map for the House, a statewide map for the Senate, two 
town/city sheets for the House, two town/city sheets for 
the Senate. 

Because the districting was Court ordered. Miller went 
to the Management Council for the authority to access 
ftinds. On January 29, 1 992, he told the Council the "cur- 
rent allocation" for both the Joint Corporations and the 

Management Council "will be exceeded" because of ad- 
ditional meetings." Also, before he could authorize pay- 
ments from the $50,000 in HB 295, he needed the 
Council's approval. The Intergraph Corporation reached 
their contract maximum of $35,000. The $40,000 for in- 
terim work of the Joint Corporations Committee was 
spent. Salaries, benefits, overtime, equipment rentals and 
photocopy exceeded $60,000. Miller had 'slack' in both 
his Central Duplicating budget and the Temporarv Ses- 
sion Staff budget, but he needed Management Council 
approval to make budget transfers.'" 

Many districting plans were drawn. Some legislators 
were satisfied with just learning the dynamics of com- 
bining precincts into contiguous clusters with popula- 
tion variations no greater than 1 0%. 

Other legislators drew complete plans using the docu- 
ment that listed all the precincts in each county — its 
number, name and how many people lived there, accord- 
ing to various combinations of census blocks." Plan- 
drawing legislators received multiple 32" x 24" maps 
on which to indicate their precinct combinations for elec- 
tion districts. '- 

' From October 1 5. 1 99 1 through March 3 1 . 1 992 Miller autho- 
rized payment of $100,526.39 for staff salaries, overtime and 
logistical support. See Minutes for April 28. 1 992. of the Man- 
agement Council. Staff received overtime. Miller got no over- 
time pay — only a Joint Senate and House resolution thanking 
him and from the Senate, a necktie from Janice Bodine's cloth- 
ing store in Evanston. 

' Rick Miller interview. April 9. 2001. He kept some of the 
Intergraph capability for training the county clerks after the 
Court approved the 1992 Plan. His staff did not return to their 
departments until each clerk, separately, was given the data on 
the composition ofthat clerk's election districts as created by 
the legislature. 

" Management Council Minutes for January 29. 1 992 
'" The Annual Reports of the Legislative Service Office for 
1991 and 1992 contain numerous line items related to reap- 
portionment — a total of at least $157,777.60. Considerable 
effort was made to identify the expenditures on reapportion- 
ment by the Attorney General's office — including plaintiffs 
fees and expenses in Gorin v. Karpun. Other than the $250,000 
in the Mark Braden contract additional numbers were unreach- 
able due to the accounting method used by the Auditor's Of- 
fice during that biennium. 

" Besides census blocks, census bureau ID numbers were 
used in the people-scarce parts of rural Wyoming. For 
instance 0001 Rural in northwest Carbon Count) covered 
160 nearly empty square miles. A 100 square mile precinct 
in southeast Carbon County had 7 people. 
'■ In many instances Miller and his men were able to match 
precincts and census blocks. However. thcN were not always 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Federal case law required election districts to be com- 
pact, contiguous and share a community of interest. The 
first two criteria were manageable using data from Miller's 
documents. The community of interest criteria was un- 
manageable due to the lack of comprehensive consis- 
tent, definitive, dependable statewide data. 

The legislators who made multiple versions of their 
plans for House debate were Les Bowron. Eli Bebout, 
Matilda Hansen. April Brimmer-Kunz and Don 
Sullivan." The Senators with plans were Jim Applegate, 
Charlie Scott and Gary Yordy (who alone, drew up six 
plans). There were plans labeled ScottA'ordy melds. '^ 

Before a plan was discussed, copies were distributed 
to all members as 'home work" prior to full committee 
consideration. Thus, for each version of each plan Miller 
had prepared 84 32" x 24" sheets of paper or at least 
1,344 maps. There were at least two versions of every 
legislator's plan(s). 

In 1991 copying technology was not as sophisticated 
as it became later in the decade. The black delineating 
precinct lines often were too faint to read. There was no 
"darkening" command on the Highway Department's 
roller copier to improve print clarity. Therefore, most 
maps needed to be retraced. Miller decided it made no 
sense for his computer-smart, census block-precinct en- 
abling gurus to redraw the lines. His solution was to 'con- 
script" his LSO audit division people to do line retracing. 
Lead auditor Barbara Rogers, with Joyce Hron and Gerry 
Hoppsmann, set aside their auditing work to spend count- 
less hours at large tables using smelly black grease pens 
drawing in the faint or missing black lines on the white 
pieces of paper." 

Miller wanted it easy to make comparisons among the 
several plans so he ordered a system of overlays — printed 
on transparent Mylar. But the lines on the Mylar were as 
unsatisfactory as the lines on the paper. 

So, Barbara Rogers and her auditors, bored stiff, 
worked day after day doing kindergarten-level tracing 
with smelly pens on stinky Mylar — another 672 maps! 
With so many maps, the exposure to the ink and Mylar 
made them ill. But there would be no sick leave for this 
job. Miller's 132 days were dwindling. Readable maps 
were essential. 

By October 3 1 , 1 99 1 , Rick Miller and his men had their 
'ducks in a row' when the Joint Corporations Commit- 
tee met in Casper. Plaintiffs, lobbyists and interested 
citizens were in attendance — some of whom testified — 
as many reluctant legislators began yet another round of 
deciding on districting. 

First to address the Committee was Rick Miller. "We 
lost the case. We have to district within the 10% range 
of deviation, or else have very goot/ reasons to justify a 

larger range. We have to forget about county bound- 
aries. We have a lot of work to do. We have to show a 
'good faith effort'. We have to seriously consider all al- 
ternatives. We have to get our new, 1992 legislative 
districting law down the street to the Federal Building no 
later than close of business on Monday, February 24, 
1992. We have to be cognizant of relevant federal case 

He was direct. He was concise. He did not mince 
words. All the 1990-1991 work to reapportion the legis- 
lature was down the drain. He might have said "down a 
rat hole." He was gracious, but with intention and suc- 
cess he stated there was to be no wiggle-room or dis- 
sembling in this reapportionment — no more espousing of 
"regional interests" or "rational state policy". The Court 
had spoken: only citizens can have representation. 

"Reasonable" Republicans like John DeWitt of Park, 
Tom Kinnison of Sheridan and Carol Jo Vlastos of 
Natrona were saddened about losing in Court, but they 
were philosophical and willing to get to work. The min- 
eral lobbyists were anxious — but comforted — because 
three of their people were on this Committee: Eli Bebout 
of Fremont". Bruce Hinchey of Natrona and Laramie 
County's April Brimmer-Kunz with mineral interests in 
Carbon County. 

But the 'fire-brands' were 'chomping at the bit'. The 
Court succeeded in thwarting State Sen. Charles Scott's 
attempt to write new federal case law defining "regional 
interests" and "rational state policy". Laramie County's 
Rep. Gary Yordy (who held both a law degree and the 
M.D. degree) saw his 'state's rights' proclivities tromped 
on by the good Wyoming justices. 

Democrats Delia Herbst of Sheridan, Jim Applegate 
and Don Sullivan of Laramie and Matilda Hansen of 
Albany counties were thinking. "We told you so." They 

" Lawyer Les Bowron of Natrona County was not on the Joint 
Corporations Committee. Patti MacMillan, House Corporations 
chair and co-chair of the Joint Committee, did not draw a plan. 
She perceived her role to be manager of districting and of the 
committee activities. 

'^ A meld plan combined the work of two or more legislators 
where election districts were taken from different plans and 
melded together for varying combinations of precincts and/or 

'^ Interview with Barbara Rogers, April 1 8, 200 1 . 
"' From notes and materials of the author, a member of this 
Joint Corporations Committee. She attended all meetings. 
' ' In October 1 99 1, Eli Bebout was still a registered Democrat. 
He often voted with and usually worked closely with the Re- 
publican leadership. He was — always would be — a minerals 
man. After the 1 994 session, he switched political parties. 




Boggs(D) '3 

Ma5s^e(D) 9 

Hanes(R) 5 CHEYENNE 

Sessions(D) 7 

The districting map. as it appeared after the legislative actions in 1992. The top map shows the Senate districts: the 
bottom, the House districts. 



29 BadgettlR) Lar>doo(R) 

12 Wasserbu(9er(R) 
U Deegan(D) 

60 Ryc*mar,<D) ,7 ParadylR) « N«»son,D, tST Ro*,R, « ^ john»on(D, Mo-gan,D) Samu^ls.nm, 


Befr>(D) M 
Tempe3t(R) 37 
CohewR) J5 
Tanr>ef(R) 57 

Nage)(R) « 


VU Johnson(Rt9 
Meuli{R) 8 
Reese(D) n 
McGraw(D) 41 

13 J Rose(O) 

R Ander3on(R) 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

were pleased those three Wyoming judges brought Wyo- 
ming, though kicking and screaming, into compliance with 
the rulings of the United States Supreme Court. Finally, 
the people achieved equal voting strength guaranteed by 
the Fourteenth Amendment and equal representation 
mandated by the Wyoming Constitution. 

Each committee member made a significant time com- 
mitment to draw and to read plans — homework done on 
their own time. For committee meetings they were paid 
$75 per diem and $60 per day salary plus 34 cents a 

Drawing election districts — VTD's — according to the 
new rules was a major challenge. The Joint Corpora- 
tions Committee set the size of the House at 60 seats, 
the Senate at 30 seats. Each House district had to have 
7,560 people, each Senate district 15,120 people. The 
allowable 10% range of deviation applied to all House 
districts — collectively and to all Senate districts — collec- 

Miller laid out the ground rules. He gave specific di- 
rections for accessing the computer-crammed Emerson 
Building office. Each committee member was invited to 
create as many plans as each wished — then to set up 
appointments with Furtney, Memmel and Freeman for 
finalization and distribution of each plan. 

Because the Census Bureau and the County Clerks did 
not agree on the bedrock data for reapportionment — 
VTD"s or voting districts — Miller and his men faced the 
same dilemma as the 1905 and 1915 State Census Enu- 
merators. The dilemma was finding people in Wyoming's 
open spaces. In 1905 and 1915 county assessors were 
sent to count people and economic activities. In 1991 
Miller and his men counted people for representation in 
their legislature. 

The reason the dilemma was so acute in 1991 was be- 
cause, since 1 864, county clerks indiscriminatingly drew 
precinct lines wherever in those open spaces they choose. 
Polling places were 'handy' to clusters of people — with 
many living far from their neighbors. 

Thus the precinct political boundaries in non-urban ar- 
eas were casual at best — too often non-existent. Cre- 
ative license was used by the headcounters in 1905 and 
1915. The 1991 headcounters also used creative license 
to draw the VTD's. 

An example of this creativity was Wardwell Water 
precinct 8-3 in Natrona County comprising most of the 
area immediately north and east of Casper. In it no one 
lived in 134 census blocks, six blocks had one person 
each, four blocks had two people each.'* The remaining 
46 census blocks contained 1 ,090 people — most of whom 
were in the outskirts of Casper. 

In Fremont County, there were challenges. The pre- 

cinct containing the Training School had 206 people. First, 
Miller's men looked east and south hoping to find more 
people in precinct 21-1, Reclamation. This was Sand 
Draw country, then along the Beaver Rim to Separation 
Flats and the Ferris Mountains — and they found four 
people at a ranch headquarters. It was still not enough 
people, so perusal of more and more empty census 
blocks — finally getting to Jeffrey City, 94 road miles from 
the Lander Training School. 

But those 251 people (plus Atlantic City's 48) were 
needed in the west Albany (Rock River), north Carbon 
(Medicine Bow, McFadden, Shirley Basin, Hanna, Leo, 
west Rawlins) and east Sweetwater County House/Sen- 
ate district. Drawers of plans and Miller's men had to 
ignore natural features whether mountain ranges or 
deserts, lakes or reservoirs, to keep all election districts 
within the allowable 1 0% range of deviation. For the first 
time in the state's history the legislature and the Court 
dictated to the clerks the specific boundaries of each 
precinct in each county — right down to the nitty-gritty 
detail of which house on which block on which side of 
the street went into which VTD. 

According to Kathy Karpan, Secretary of State (who 
is the state's Chief Elections Officer), county clerks 
seemed to lack knowledge or understanding of the sub- 
stantive elements in the court's decision in Gorin v. 
Karpan. Miller agreed. Therefore, before Christmas 
1991, Karpan called the clerks to a session in Casper, 
with Miller as 'the program'. Near the beginning of the 
meeting Mary Ann Collins, the County Clerk and chief 
elections officer of Natrona County asked, "Why is this 
important to us?" 

Her question hit Karpan and Miller hard because of 
their assumption the county clerks knew and understood 
the integral connection between census blocks, precincts, 
legislative reapportionment and the Courts. Suddenly, 
Karpan's meeting became a fast-paced teach-in. With 
Miller now in the role of teacher, he explained how the 
decision had turned the familiar world of Wyoming elec- 
tions upside down. "The Federal Court, not you, will have 
the final authority over where your precinct lines are 
drawn," he told them. 

By the end of the meeting, the county clerks under- 
stood districting. They recognized the significance of 
Karpan and Miller's help. And, in future days, they fol- 
lowed the tortured course of numerous plans through the 
House and Senate. When HB 1 1 7 got to the Governor, 
they quickly told him exactly what they thought of it. 

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act did not apply to 
Wyoming. Soon after the October 15 opinion, Republi- 
can leaders looked at Wyoming's minority population. The 
Census Bureau said Hispanics accounted for 4.8% of 

Summer 200:2 


the state's population dispersed in varying size clusters in 
every county.'' Even in Cheyenne Hispanics lived "all 
over town." thereby not qualifying for their own VTD. 

Because Shoshone and Arapaho on the Wind River 
Reservation dominated clusters of small communities 
in Fremont County, Wyoming may have had exposure to 
the Voting Rights Act. At the request of Republican lead- 
ers a voter analysis was done of the precincts where, 
during the 1980"s, Native Americans were the predomi- 
nant voters. The analysis showed during that decade the 
reservation precincts provided the margin of victory' for 
four of the five Fremont County House members. Thus 
the 'will of the majority " had not been frustrated; in fact 
it prevailed.-" Therefore, the Voting Rights Act did not 

After many plans were distributed to committee mem- 
bers and to the public, the Joint Corporations Committee 
met in Casper on December 9, in Cheyenne on January 
7 and 8, held a hearing in Buffalo on January 20 and a 
hearing in Casper on January 27. The Budget Session 
was to begin on Monday, February 1 7 — just seven days 
before the Governor-approved plan had to be down the 
street in the Federal Building. The Management Council 
requested a Special Session — to begin Monday, Febru- 
ary 10. 

But before the Management Council agreed to a Spe- 
cial Session, they considered doing districting during the 
Budget Session with "mirror' bills considered at the same 
time in each chamber. This was Fred Harrison's motion 
with Ron Micheli's second. Because mirror bills gave 
conference committees enormous power, mirror- 
districting bills provided considerable latitude for mischief 
in drawing district lines.-' This idea was defeated with 
only Harrison, Micheliand Eli Bebout voting "aye." 

Prior to this January 29"* Management Council meet- 
ing. Miller and his men foresaw a potential logistics night- 
mare-serious enough to doom districting in 1 992. ". . .even 
with computers, developing new plans and amendments 
was very time consuming. It will be physically impos- 

sible for us to analyze a new plan and prepare it as an 
amendment if it is submitted when the Session is under 

Upon Deimer True's motion and Bebout's second. 
Speaker Cross, as chair of Management Council, was 
directed to write each legislator. ". . .any new plan or major 
amendment submitted to the Legislative Service Office 
after 5 p.m., on Thursday, February 6 will not be pro- 
cessed in time for the Special Session." 

Then Management Council requested the Joint Rules 
be changed: ". reapportionment amendment will be 
considered unless it is submitted to the Legislative Ser- 
vice Office by 4 p.m., on the da\ before debate."-^ 

Thus was catastrophe averted. 

Rick Miller, Steve Furtney, Rick Memmel, David 
Clabaugh, Bryce Freeman and the 14 members of the 
Joint Corporations Committee spent 1 1 7 of the 1 32 da\ s 
in preliminary work on Wyoming's first foray into 
districting. The calendar moved to February 10'\ Roll 
was called for the Special Session. It was time to listen 
to the Governor.... 

'* The usual census block contained about 70 people — give or 
take a few. 

'" Rounded up to the nearest whole number. 5°o, Hispanics 
qualified for one delegate at the 1 996 Democratic National Con- 
vention in Chicago. 

-" Frustration of the will of a minority group was the major 
criteria to ascertain potential application of the Voting Rights 
Act. The "majority" in Fremont County in the 1980"s was of 
BOTH Native American and non-Native American voters. The 
Republican's interpretation for the 1992 Plan bordered on the 
nonsequitur. Some might call it "slippery". 
-' Mirror bills work for appropriations where the issue is speci- 
fied amounts of money. Conference committees accept one 
version or another, or they split the difference. 
■- January 29, 1 992 Minutes of the Management Council 
-' In this context. Legislative Service Office means Miller and 
his workers. 

Rustic Rooserelt Lodge 

KyTaiiiHCMi Emerson ll<>i*t 

A stop at Camp Roosevelt will not appeal to every- 
body. It is well to understand that there are no rooms with 
bath, or other service elements of an elegant or luxurious 
nature. It is well to know, also, that there is little opportu- 
nity for "dressing up" and formal entertainment. Camp 
Roosevelt is a comfortable western camp surrounded by 
a wilderness. Its primary appeal is to visitors who delight 
in (or who need) foot trails, saddlehorse trails, trout fish- 
ing, exploration, nature study or relaxation.' 

Tucked away in the northeastern comer of Yellowstone 
National Park stands Roosevelt Lodge. Constructed in 
1919 and opened the next year, it is one of the few "origi- 
nal" lodges remaining in the park. 

William Wallace Wylie initiated camping tours 
through "Wonderland" in 1892 using portable equip- 
ment. From then until 1905. he was a Park fixture. In 
1896 Wylie was granted a long-term lease and estab- 
lished four permanent camps at points of interest around 
the Grand Loop. His camping tours provided a less ex- 
pensive alternative to the hotel system. By 1898 the 
Wylie Camping Company had camps at Apollinaris 
Spring, Upper Geyser Basin, Lake Outlet and Grand 
Canyon, with lunch stations nearNorris and Thumb. The 
success of Wylie's permanent camps did not set well 
with the Northern Pacific Railroad or with Harry Child, 
owner of the hotel and transportation companies. 

"Wylie constantly irritated the wealthy and snobbish 
Child because the tourists who used his camps were a 
different sort, not at all like those who stayed at the posh 
hotels; his guests paid low prices for Spartan accommo- 
dations and dust-plagued stagecoach tours. "- 

Ed Moorman, long-time employee of the Camping 
Company, recalled that business at the Wylie camps was 
very slow in 1904, but: 

The hotels, however, did a good business that 
year.. ..The railroads, too, made discriminating rates 
against the Camping Company. If 1 recall correctly, a 
round-trip ticket could be purchased to Gardiner includ- 
ing stage and hotel accommodations at a good saving as 
against buying a rail ticket to Gardiner only and then buy- 
ing locally the ticket for the Camps tour of the Park. It 
was this problem that led W. W. Wylie to go to Washing- 
ton, D.C., in the spring of 1905 to appear before the In- 
terstate Commerce Commission, in the hope to have this 
discrimination discontinued.^ 

' Yellowlone Vacations Camp Roosevelt. (Chicago: Poole Broth- 
ers, 1923). 

- Mark Barringer. "When Harry Got Taken: The Early Days of the 
Yellowstone Camps." Annals of Wyoming 69 (Fall, 1997). 4. 

' E. H. Moorman. Manuscript. Hays Collection #3151, Box 6, 
Moorman Manuscript folder. American Heritage Center. University 
of Wyoming 

Summer i.'00'2 


The discrimination did end, but following this victory 
over the Northern Pacific. Wylie sold the camping com- 
pany to H. W. Child and A. W. Miles. Under their man- 
agement, the Wylie Permanent Camping Company be- 
came even more successful. 

Miles expanded the business in 1906 by adding two 
new camps; Camp Roosevelt near Tower Falls and a 
camp at swan Lake Flat, south of Mammoth Hot Springs. 
With the completion of the Union Pacific/Oregon Short 
Line branch to West Yellowstone in 1908, an additional 
camp was established at Riverside. A record number of 
visitors, 5,024, toured the Park via Wylie Camps in 1909.^ 

Several others were interested in providing camping 
tours through Yellowstone during this period. One com- 
pany, Shaw and Powell, obtained a lease for permanent 

The National Park Service was established in 1 9 1 6 as 
a new agency under the Department of the Interior. The 
first director, Stephen A. Mather, and his assistant, 
Horace Albright, had charge of all business endeavors 
in the national parks. They sought to consolidate the 
various Yellowstone concessions. "They believed that 
the competition among franchisees was detrimental to 
the traveling public and that monopolies for each major 
facet of the operation — hotels, transportation, and camp- 
ing — would simplify administration and increase 

As a result of the restructuring. Child maintained own- 
ership of both the hotel and transportation companies 

while F. J. Haynes continued operating the photographic 
franchise. A. W. Miles and J. D. Powell, owners of the 
two major camping companies, joined together to form 
the Yellowstone Park Camping Company." 
Ed Moorman recalled this episode in Park history: 

Many of the former operators were not pleased with 
the new set-up, but in reality it was very good for the 
tourists as they were free from the annoyance of being 
solicited by many outfits if they had not heretofore pur- 
chased their Park tickets elsewhere.' 

With the onset of World War I, railroads were no 
longer allowed to transport excursion trains. This lim- 
ited visitation to Yellowstone. All hotels were closed 
and, while the camps remained open, they lost money. 
After undergoing these hardships. Miles and Powell sold 
the Yellowstone Park Camping Company to Howard 
Hays in 1919. 

Hayes rebuilt the cainp operation by constructing more 
substantial facilities and promoting the "camps way" in 
Yellowstone. He started by changing the name of the 
company to the Yellowstone Park Camps Company. In 
the fall of 1919. his firm began construction of a rustic 
lodge at Camp Roosevelt. 

' Barringer. 

' Barringer. 7. 

'' For additional details, see Barringer and Moomian. 

' Moomian. 16. 

Row of collages al Camp Roosevelt. 

^'ellowstone Park Company series. H H Hays collection. American Heritage Center 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

The site was established as a camp in 1906 to com- 
memorate the 1903 Yellowstone visit by President 
Theodore Roosevelt. The 1907 Wylie Permanent Camp- 
ing Company announced: "The New Roosevelt Camp 

Camp Roosevelt is the most perfectly ideal location 
for a camp in the Park... A beautiful little meadow with 
majestic fir trees encircling it on three sides and a grove 
of quaking-aspen screening it from the road on the fourth, 
a crystal, ice-cold mountain stream coming from the 
forest and skirting one side of the meadow:. ..and a most 
superb view of the serried and crags of the Absarokas 
on the East and Northeast: surely Nature has done ev- 
erything possible to make this a perfect spot to enjoy 
outdoor life.""* 

Frederick Dumont Smith, in his Book of a Hundred 
Bears, wrote: "We reached Camp Roosevelt in time for 
a late lunch. The camp is set in a charming grove, with 
tent houses and tents for cooking and dining.""" 

Camp Roosevelt was chosen as the site for the first 
lodge building in a new system of accommodations de- 
signed to meet the needs of automobile tourists. Albright, 
then superintendent of Yellowstone, was pleased with 
the idea of a new lodge system, believing that the rustic 
log construction would provide a "dude ranch appear- 

Construction of the lodge began in the fall of 1919, 
but it was not completed until the following spring. The 
dimensions of the one-story log building were about 90 
feet by 50 feet with the "L"" extension of 29 feet by 59 

feet. The exterior log walls were unpeeled and saddle- 
notched. The front porch, constructed of matched and 
dressed pine flooring atop log joints, originally wrapped 
around the southeast comer of the building. (This is ap- 
parent from a Haynes postcard)." The extension was 
removed about 1947. 

The lodge interior was designed to provide a lounge 
and dining area for campers. Features of the room in- 
cluded two stone fireplaces with concrete hearths and 
loge mantels and a log rail, 25 feet long, separating the 
lounge from the dining area. The furnishings were of a 
rustic design and included "a eleven-inch diameter enam- 
eled-iron drinking fountain, a Bradford upright Grand 
piano, pine tables, a "rustic"" hat rack, log settees with 
loose cushions, 1 10 maple folding chairs, and assorted 

The dining room was furnished with 14 pine tables of 
various sizes, pine serving stands, 93 black and yellow 
dining chairs with bar backs and cone seats. Both areas 

* Wyle Permanent Camping Compan\ . Yellowstone Sational Park 
(Chicago: Poole Brothers. 1907). 21. 

" Frederick Dumont Smith. Book of a Hundred Bears (Chicago: 
Rand N4cNally and Co.. 1909). 197. 

'" James Mote and Berle Clemensen, Historic Structures Report, 
Historical Data Sections. Lake Hotel. Lake Lodge. Roosevelt Lodge. 
Old Faithful Lodge. Yellowstone National Park. Wyoming. (Den- 
ver: Denver Service Center. Historic Preservation Branch. National 
Park Service, U. S. Dept. of interior. 1981 ). 77. 

" For instance, see Haynes postcard #27468. 

'- James R. McDonald Architects. Roosevelt Lodge Yellowstone 
National Park. Historic Structures Report. (Missoula: 1993). 15. 

Summer 2002 


had striped linen curtains hung on wrought-iron rods and 
hangars. A framed print portrait of Theodore Rooseveh 
hung over the mantel of the lounge." 

From 1 92 1 - 1 923, Camp Roosevelt served as the head- 
quarters for the Yellowstone Park Forest and Trail Camp. 
Serving as director was Prof Alvin G. Whitney from 
the Roosevelt Wild Life Forest Experiment Station. New 
York State College of Forestry at Syracuse. The camp's 
purpose was stated in a 1921 publication: 

The Forest and Trail Camp is a summer nature school 
designed for boys between twelve and eighteen years. Its 
basic principle is that of character-building through the 
hardy pastimes of woods and trail, through self-discipline, 
and through helpfulness in a cultured camp community.... 

The celebrated wonders of the Yellowstone, with its 
geysers and hot springs, its vast forests and mighty can- 
yons, as well as those other varied recreational interests — 
the herds of big "game," the marvelous trout fishing, the 
scenic trail trips afoot or on horseback, and for the more 
adventurous the climbing and exploring among remote 
lakes and mountain gardens — appeal alike to all who visit 
the great Park; but it is to the growing boy that they are 
most fascinating.'^ 

The Camp headquarters or council building was built 
one quarter mile from Roosevelt Lodge. Meals were 
provided at the Lodge. Ed Moorman recalled building a 
small swimming pool for the Camp along with an "as- 
sembly house" in 1920.'- Whitney charged $500 for the 
nearly six-week long camp, but Moorman mentions that 
Whitney brought out a number of boys, but not enough 
to pay the Company for the operating expenses. He esti- 
mated that the company lost $4,000 on the venture. 

Howard Hays, president of the Yellowstone Park 
Camps Company, continued to promote Camp 
Roosevelt. In 1923 a brochure titled "Yellowstone Va- 
cations, Camp Roosevelt," was published. Many of the 
tours offered by the Yellowstone Park Transportation 
Company passed by the Roosevelt area, but the over- 
night stay there was not included in the cost of the tour: 

In General 

A stop at Camp Roosevelt is not included in the 
standard four and one-half days' sightseeing tour of 
Yellowstone Park. ...Many travelers who are using the 
regular service of the Yellowstone permanent summer 
camps, or the Yellowstone hotels, go to Camp Roosevelt 
for an extra day or an extra week in the Park. Almost all 
regular tours pass the camp, thereby eliminating any ex- 
tra transportation charges; on the three regular tours which 
do not pass the camp, the side-trip to Camp Roosevelt is 
made for an extra transportation charge of five dollars."" 

In 1924 Child, the owner of the boat, hotel and trans- 
portation companies, acquired the camps. Again, the 
name was changed, this time to Yellowstone Park Lodge 
and Camps Company. Cabins were added to the 
Roosevelt Lodge area under the oversight of Vernon 
Goodwin. Use of the camps and lodges increased and 
more Americans drove their automobiles to and through 
the park. 

Because of the Great Depression, no services were 
provided at Camp Roosevelt in 1 932-33. The camp was 
closed again from 1943-46 because of the labor short- 
age brought about by World War II. After inspection by 
the U. S. Public Health Service in 1947, it was deter- 
mined that Roosevelt Lodge needed a new kitchen. The 
camp remained closed. 

W. M. Nichols, the president of the Yellowstone Park 
Company," proposed abandoning the Roosevelt area and 
relocating all assets to Fishing Bridge. Camp Roosevelt 
never had been profitable and the Fishing Bridge area 
needed additional accommodations. After consideration, 
however, the kitchen was upgraded and the lodge re- 
modeled.'^ Few modifications were made to the Lodge 
although cabins continued to be relocated there from 
other parts of the park. 

From 1 6 permanent camps operated by the Wylie Per- 
manent Camping Company and the Shaw and Powell 
Camping Company in 1913, three "rustic" lodges oper- 
ate there today. Roosevelt Lodge remains the most ca- 
sual and rustic lodge in the Park and it still offers the 
scenic vistas and western e.xperience valued by the trav- 
eler in an earlier, less harried era. 

" Haynes postcard #22740. 

'■* Yellowstone Park Forest and Trail Camp for Boys and Young 
Men. (New York: Merrill Press. 1921). 191. 

" Moorman. 18. 

'" Yellowstone Parks Camps Company. Yellowstone I'acations. 
Camp Roosevelt {Chicago: Poole Bros.. 1923). 

"All of Child's properties, the Yellowstone Park Hotel Company, 
the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company, the Yellowstone Park 
Boat Company, and the Yellowstone Park Lodges and Camps Com- 
pany, were merged in 1936 into the Yellowstone Park Company. 

"McDonald. 31. 

Tamsen Emerson Hert is the Wyoming bibliogra- 
pher at the University of Wyoming Libraries. She 
holds masters degrees in library science and 
American history from Emporia State University 
in Kansas. A regular contributor to Annals, her 
latest article was "To Preserve the View: A Tour 
in Text and Pictures of Historic Sites Relating to 
the Establishment of Grand Teton National Park, " 
published in Annals, summer, 1999. 

T. A. Larson, Wyoming Historian 

A 1998 Interview by Eric Nye 

Dr. Larson was a founding member and early officer of the Wyoming State Historical Society. He is shown 
here, second from right, along with the other society officers in 1955: Dr. Dewitt Dominick, Maurine 
Carley', Frank Bowron, W. L. Marion, Larson, and Lola M. Homsher. 

University of Wyoming English professor Dr. Eric 
Nye interviewed noted Wyoming historian T. A. 
Larson in the summer of 1998 while Nye was pre- 
paring materials for the statewide "book" project. 
Following Dr. Larson 's death in January, 2001, Dr. 
Nye submitted this interview to Annals. 

Nye: What sort of role does the historian have in the 
world of literature? Why should the writing of history 
be considered one of the branches of literature? 
Larson: Well, I should think anything written down has 
claim to belonging to literature, but it all depends on 
what it amounts to, whether it's gibberish and junk or 
quality fine stuff. The fact that it's historical in an at- 
tempt to put down thinks that actually happened doesn't 
give it any claim to being literature. It all hinges on the 
quality of the product. 

Nye: Who are the greatest writers of history, the ones 

who most influenced you? 

Larson: I never had a good teacher, and therefore I'm 

not nearly as good a writer as I would have been if I'd 
had someone like what's his name on the log pointing 
out things to me. In fact, when my smaller book on 
Wyoming history appeared, the general editor of that 
came around and visited with me, and he pointed out 
some things that someone should have pointed out to 
me when I was beginning to write. No one ever told me 
about the lead sentence and last sentence being so all- 
important, for example, or having a paragraph dealing 
with one subject, and things like that. I was never told 
things like that that are obvious after they're pointed out 
to you. So, as often happens, some things in that book 
are not mine because he claimed the right to rewrite this 
or that. Also, as I explain in one of my articles, how well 
you write depends partly on the sources you're using. 
In writing my Wyoming history many of the sources— I 
wasn't reading things that had claims to being literary, 
so that my writing deteriorated. I wrote more formally 
at any rate with a better vocabulary in my doctoral dis- 
sertation than I did in subsequent years. You just can't 
avoid becoming colloquial and using terms that every- 
body else is using. I've always felt that I don't have the 

Summer 2002 


literary ability that I should have. I had a pretty good 
English teacher as a freshman at the University of Colo- 
rado. She had a large class and didn't deal particularly 
with individuals. I didn't get enough practice in writing. 
What essays 1 wrote for her — and I think it probably 
happens up here at UW, too — were not torn apart. Not 
to correct spelling — I was a terrific speller, so that she 
never corrected any spelling. When 1 was in the sixth 
grade back in Wakefield [Nebraska] 1 was the best speller 
in four states. 1 spelled down the seventh and eighth grad- 
ers at a contest in Siou.x City, Iowa. That was partly be- 
cause 1 had a good short term memory. They started out 
at least with a speller, and my teacher was one who just 
drilled the hell out of us. So that if you mentioned a 
word for me to spell. 1 could tell you what the next ten 
words were. Later in the state contest 1 think I came out 
second or something when they weren't using the speller. 
But anything in the speller, why 1 could mow them down. 

A^'^; That same aptitude is a real advantage for the histo- 
rian who is trying to organize his sources, I suppose. 
Larson: But it was the same way in writing exams. My 
first year at Boulder, 1 had the highest grade average in 
the freshman class. I could read the assignments, you 
know, and a few weeks later have them very well in 
mind. Ask me a year or two later, why, 1 wouldn't do 
nearly as well. Well, at any rate, that caused me to think 
that 1 had to excel. 1 was driven to doing my assign- 
ments and was able to get a tuition scholarship to Boul- 
der. Well at any rate, 1 just wasn't bom with that ability 
and 1 wasn't trained very well to be a good writer. Deal- 
ing with the sources I used, why, 1 got into using collo- 
quialisms and so on. Even such a thing as the length of 
sentences. . . obvious. 

Nye: So. would you say it s true that most historians are 
shaped by the material they study. ^ 
Larson: True. 1 was going to be a medievalist, but there 
were no jobs. So I moved into this by necessity. I fin- 
ished in four years. 

Velma Linford was a teacher at Laramie High. She fin- 
ished a masters with me in 1946 and helped decide that 
there should be a course in that subject at the university. 
1 got tenure before 1 went off to the navy in 1943. Stu- 
dents were disappearing. In January there were only 
about 400 students left in the university'. Nussbaum and 
White were here. A friend of mine in Boulder recruited 
me to go to an air navigation school down in Florida. I 
signed up and took a commission in the navy and thought 
I'd become an air navigator. Well, it turned out I did 
well in the navigation school and they put me to work 
teaching navigation at the Delmonte preflight school out 
in California. Then when that closed down they put me 
to work in other navy facilities. I was out on a shake- 
down cruise because they felt that people working in the 
service schools command at the Great Lakes Naval Train- 
ing Center ought to know something about the sea. So I 
was sent aboard a destroyer escort. As it turned out I got 
a ribbon for having served in the Atlantic theater. People 
on shakedown cruises ordinarily served only for 29 days, 
but as we were leaving New York harbor, the engine 
broke down and we sat there for a couple of days, so 
when the cruise ended I had 3 1 days aboard ship in the 

Nye: Did you have any temptation to stay in the military 
after the war or did you hunv you wanted to come hack 
to Wyoming'.^ 

Larson: 1 decided 1 wouldn't even stay in the reserve. 
Things were changing so fast that even in the field of 
navigation where 1 had some expertise, there were auto- 
mations, so I couldn't do much good as a navigator. I 
used what they called an octant then, like a sextant, to 
measure the altitude of the stars from the horizon, but 
that became obsolete by the end of the war. When I went 
off to the navy Laura White told me that 1 should be 
thinking during my duty about writing a history of 
Wyoming's war years when I got back. So I practically 
had instruction from her to plan on doing that. That's 
my first book afterwards. 

A^^; You arrived at the Universit}' of Wyoming in 1936 
and were transformed into a western historian, some- 
thing you had some pressure on you to do. Grace 
Raymond Hebard set a course requirement in Wyoming 
history, and the course as yet had no one to teach it. Yet 
it was a need, whether or not it was required of the stu- 
dents. Wyoming needed its historians. How did your 
commitment to Wyoming history develop from that point 

Larson: I committed myself to developing a course in 
Wyoming history to pick up where Hebard had left off 

Nye: What is the role of historians in the culture of writ- 
ers and literary figures? What are some hints for the 
writing of history? 

Larson: The most important thing, in contrast to Hebard, 
is not to start out with set ideas that you want to supple- 
ment. She knew what she wanted to prove, and she \\ ould 
ignore anything else. Get the facts, get the best sources, 
and then putthem together to tell the story. Make it read- 
able. Tell an entertaining stor\ and have it accurate. 
There's a new book on Hitler that revises things. You 
think of all the people who have written about WWII 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

and about Hitler, and then you find that many of them 
have been mistaken when they interviewed Hitler and 
didn't pursue certain aspects of it. Here's a revisionist 
who shows what happened. You write a story and then 
others come along who find fault with what you did, 
disprove what you did. You've got to be very accurate 
and try to exhaust the sources. That takes a lot of time, 
and that's one difficulty that I had here in writing. Teach- 
ing sometimes nine or twelve hours I had to spend week- 
ends and neglect my family in order to get writing done. 
I scarcely ever read fiction during that period for enjoy- 
ment. I like to read fiction, but I felt that I was neglect- 
ing my responsibilities to my profession in reading things 
for fun. 

Nye: But you must have been a voracious reader as a 
younger boy in school and college. What were some of 
the books that you enjoyed most as a boy? 
Larson: One book when I was in high school was the 
Royal Road to Romance [by Richard Halliburton]. I was 
editor of the high school newspaper, and that suggested 
to me that I ought to try to be a journalist. When I went 
to Boulder they were supposed to have a pretty good 
journalism school, but they didn't have any work at the 
freshman level. I never met an advisor in the journalism 
department. 1 had a freshman history course, however, 
under a great salesman. I was his best student, and he 
was recruiting people for his department. He told me, 
"What you ought to do is learn something and then get 
out and write." Ifthejoumalists had gotten me, I'd prob- 
ably have become an editor in a small-town newspaper 
since that's what they were teaching people to become. 
Some of them would get jobs as a stringer in Denver or 
somewhere if they were pretty good. 

Nye: But you 've become the dean of Wyoming histori- 
ans. That seems a much better road to have gone down, 
doesn 't it. 

Larson: Well it turned out to be a better profession than 
journalism for me. 

Nye: Tell us about the field work you did for your re- 
search on Wyoming. So often people consider profes- 
sors as having horizons limited to Laramie, yet clearly 
you 're involved with the whole state. 
Larson: That's right. I had to interview some of the older 
people, retired governors and people like that. But I did 
something that some people would probably sniff at. In 
order to find out what really bothered people in Wyo- 
ming, since there weren't accurate accounts, I got the 
Board of Trustees to provide money for assistantships. 
So I got half a dozen students to run through a bunch of 

newspapers all over the state for particular years on par- 
ticular subjects. And that way I got some idea what con- 
cerned the people of Casper, for example, in the 1 870s. 
There's no other way to get that since I couldn't read all 
the newspapers myself. Newspapers are not considered 
first-rate sources, but they do give you a feel for what 
people were thinking and what they were arguing about. 
So I was able to develop certain themes that you couldn't 
have arrived at any other way. These students took notes 
on different subjects and I read their notes which were 
copied from newspaper editorials and so on. 

Nye: Did you talk to any of the oldtimers or homestead- 

Larson: Yes, I went to the records office in Denver for 
filings on land to find out about homesteaders. 

TVv^; Did you feel like you had a circle of colleagues at 
other universities? Who was your audience? 
Larson: In some cases I would read papers at meetings 
like the Western History Association. They get together 
every year. I read other state histories to see what sub- 
jects they covered. I was one of the organizers of the 
Wyoming State Historical Society. There was a woman, 
Lola Homsher, who was working in the state historical 
department in Cheyenne. She was really the instigator 
of the state organization around 1951 when we had a 
meeting up in Casper to organize it. Some counties had 
historical societies already. We organized one here in 
Albany County in the 1930s. The women's club here 
had started a small museum. They got the idea of buy- 
ing the Ivinson Mansion. Alice Stevens was a fast 
writer — a pretty good journalist — who wrote historical 
articles in the local papers. She was determined to find a 
place for the historical artifacts that the women's club 
had collected and kept in the basement of city hall. Then 
they were in the basement of the court house. She raised 
money to buy the Ivinson Mansion. I was her secretary, 
so I had to do a lot of legwork. 

Nye: It 's always amazing to me that a state as young as 
Wyoming has such a sense of responsibility for its own 
history. The people who live here and came here very 
recently are still concerned to want to go to these lengths 
to preserve it. In some ways we are even more commit- 
ted to our history in a state like this than in older and 
larger states. 

Larson: That's absolutely true. Nebraska doesn't pay 
nearly as much attention to its history as Wyoming. In 
fact I don't think any state pays as much attention to its 
history as Wyoming. We're closer to it. It doesn't go 
back as far. It's not so complex. There are certain spe- 

Summer !200!2 


cific themes. State history doesn't usually have such 
credibility or passionate approval. 

Nye: Of course there are lots of popular representations 
of the myth of Wyoming that as an historian I suppose 
vou felt you were conspiring both with anJ against. 
Larson: 1 tried to do it the way national historians did in 
other states, to fit the Wyoming part into the national 
picture. But 1 had to spend too much time destroying 
myths. We got the idea very early thanks to Hebard that 
Esther Morris instead of Susan B. Anthony founded the 
women's rights movement. And so Wyoming, in spite 
of my best efforts, managed to put her in Washington as 
Wyoming's outstanding citizen. The other was 
Sacajawea. Children now learn at their mothers" knee 
that this Indian woman from the Lewis & Clark expedi- 
tion died up on the Wind River Reservation, but in fact 
when you run it down you fmd she died in 1811 back in 
South Dakota. And just the other day our U. S. Senator 
had an article up in the Gillette paper saying he wanted 
to put the Indian woman who died in South Dakota on 
our state quarter. There's a national commission of his- 
toric sites, and for ten years I was chairman of the com- 
mission in Cheyenne. We put people to work writing 
the history of various historic sites and we would cor- 
rect them as best we could and send them into Washing- 
ton to get approval prior to listing with the Secretary of 
the Interior. And South Dakota managed to get it estab- 
lished that her grave is there and not up here on the res- 
ervation. I've spent too much damn time fighting those 
battles about Esther Morris and Sacajawea because I 
don't want people in other parts of the country laughing 
at us. 

Nye: Do you hcr\'e any reflections about Wyoming 's lit- 
erary heritage? 

Larson: So many authors settled out here, lived in the 
Jackson Hole area or other attractive places. So in vari- 
ous Wyoming cities good writers establish themselves 
and make a living from their writing. And there were 
good writers who grew up here and left and made their 
reputations elsewhere, too. Dee Linford, for example, 
who wrote Man without a Star. And Ted Olson who 
wrote Ranch on the Laramie. In the last part of my His- 
tory of Wyoming I review some of these. Owen Wister 
is certainly one of the leading figures. Good books come 
out of the university, too, poets and the like. 

A^^; If you imagine the state as a road map. do you feel 
like you 're identified with the whole state of Wyoming 
or with the part of it here in Laramie? Do you feel that 
anywhere you travel in the state, you 11 have friends you 

can look up, that you can always go down to the next 
ranch down the road and find somebody? 
Larson: Yes. The legislature gave me more connec- 
tions, 1 suppose, with the whole state, because all parts 
of the state were well represented. I spent eight years in 
the legislature, and that introduced me to various Wyo- 
ming problems, too, and solutions for them. But many 
of those people are dead now. 

Nye: Where is Wyoming going to get its next generation 
of historians? 

Larson: Well, they're just going to have to do what they 
do in the other humanities here. They're just not going 
to have full staffing. Right now the university's shrink- 
ing some. What they're doing, as you know, is not fill- 
ing the places vacated by retirement. This guy Phil Rob- 
erts, he's well-prepared to teach Wyoming history, and 
he's published some of it. I thought when he came, here's 
a guy who knows a lot about it and will be happy here. 
Otherwise when you hire somebody for Wyoming his- 
tory, why, you get someone who has another specialty. 

A^V^.' Like you were when you came! Is it conceivable 
that many of the functions of the professional historian 
now haw been distributed to various other agencies like 
the museums, libraries, and other places? 
Larson: That's right. It has its advantages. You get pretty 
well-trained people into jobs that probably would be 
filled by people not so well equipped. In the library for 
example, historians can be of considerable help advis- 
ing students who go to them. 

Nye: Can you comment on the difference betM'een Wvo- 
ming and other states in the west? 
Larson: There are great differences. Economics deter- 
mines all these things. Other states are beginning to suf- 
fer what Charlie Stebner coined a word to describe as 
"popullution," cultural differences that come from hav- 
ing large bodies of people in one place — the crime, com- 
mercialism. Youdon't feel safe on the streets even. Here 
you don't have to lock your doors and things like that. I 
haven't had to until recently. Now they're getting some 
crime in Casper, Cheyenne, and even in Laramie. 
Women get attacked on campus even. Even though the 
state is not flourishing, some of these things seep in. 
Wyoming is the least industrialized state in the Union. 
And they try to build on tourism: that's where their big 
business is. But what kind of business is that? People 
who work in the tourist business, who work in hot food 
places and so on get six. seven dollars, minimum wage. 
Those are not good jobs. Talk about not being able to 
keep people in Wyoming. There just aren't the jobs here. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Unless they go into their parents' business or something. 
And the state just appointed a new commission to at- 
tract people to Wyoming. Half the people in the state 
say. To hell with that! Go up to someone like the barber 
in Lander or somewhere and ask him about people com- 
ing in, and heMl say, "There are too dang many people 
now!" There's that attitude. 

Nye: What kind of best scenario can you dream up for 
Wyoming 's future? 

Larson: We've got to provide an entertainment place 
partly and try to improve the quality of entertainment 
that we can provide. Tourist business has to be a princi- 
pal one. Now they're wrecking Yellowstone because 
there are too many people up there. It'll cost you $ 1 30 a 
night to stay at Jackson Lake Lodge. And you have to 
pay cash on the barrelhead six weeks before you get there, 
that is around the middle of the season. Star Valley, that's 
an overflow area. For a while they were having to haul 
people to work in tourist business in Jackson and down 
to Star Valley just for a place they can live. People liv- 
ing in tents around Jackson. We went there on the Fourth 
of July to Jackson, and it was so damn packed. You'd 
just get stuck for long periods of time in the streets, cars 
every which way, every parking place taken, can't get 
in to any restaurants. 

Nye: And yet there are places in Europe — think of Swit- 
zerland that has the same kind of beauty, the same kind 
of pressures but they don V seem to handle it as badly. 
When you visit Switzerland or somewhere, you don tfeel 
like you 're in a parking lot. So tourism, but with a cer- 
tain sense of quality about it. 

Larson: And there's falseness, too, trying to make a tour- 
ist place out of an old prison. My God — the only advan- 
tage of that, from my point of view, is that it enables the 
University to get off the hook and divide this other prop- 
erty down there. They hadn't been able to unload that 
on the community and get a special penny. They're never 
gonna pay for the damn thing. They'd rather have people 
volunteering to tell a false story, really, about what went 
on there. 

Nye: Now could that kind of thing be managed better, 
or is it a hopeless pursuit from the beginning? Do you 
think it 's the wrong kind of development? 
Larson: I think if you want to try to depict what life was 
like in a nineteenth century penitentiary, you'd do bet- 
ter in Rawlins. In fact, they made a movie up there and 
built an entrance to it and the hole where they put people, 
and the cells. They've got a lot of old cells. They've 
only got a couple of cells here, fake cells. Don't try to 

present a penitentiary like that. But the entertainment 
they provide! People love it. They stay in hotels in 
Laramie, and they don't spend as much time in Wyo- 
ming. They just head for Jackson and Yellowstone. 
They're overpopulating that place. The wealthy people 
buy up the riverbanks and build their fine homes in places 
like Lander and Dubois. Dubois is a better example. The 
value of land goes out of sight. It's getting to be that 
way in Star Valley. They want to have a piece of the 
wilderness. Building up along the mountainsides there. 

Nye: You know I thought of that a couple years ago at 
Thanksgiving when we came down from the Snowies. 
We 'd been out cutting our Christmas tree. We were pull- 
ing up at the Old Corral in Centennial, and some hot 
shot city dude got into a bright yellow helicopter and 
took off on his way back to Denver at the end of the 
weekend to catch his plane back to Houston or Manhat- 
tan or somewhere like that. Amazing that somebody 
would spend all that money to come out here. There has 
to be some way to manage that, to see that Wyoming 
changes it and not let it change Wyoming. 
Larson: They're wrecking Jackson Hole that way. 
Around Jenny Lake you have to walk about three blocks 
to get to the bridge over the stream. 

Nye: What is missing here? Is it a sense of reverence 
for the natural? Is it acquisitiveness or possessiveness 
that 's causing these problems? 
Larson: Well, I worked in Yellowstone four summers. 
It gave me a false impression of Wyoming. That was the 
Wyoming I knew. It was a wonderful place in those days 
when there were 275,000 people a year. Now there are 
over probably 3 million. The people who get there for 
the first time, you can't blame them, they'll stop in the 
middle of the road if they see a bear or an elk or a moose. 
Bison are very dangerous. These people go out to try to 
have a picture taken alongside a bison, and they get gored. 
They've talked about a monorail running around and 
making people park their cars at the entrance. 

A^^; Can any good come of all this influx of people for 
the state? 

Larson: You just have to try to keep the minimum popu- 
lation here and not insist on getting poorly paid busi- 


BRIDGE - 1852-1866 

By Jefferson Glass 

The North Platte River was one of the most dangerous ob- 
stacles facing the pioneers of the westward migration of the 
nineteenth century. Prior to the age of modem dams and tlood 
control the river became a raging torrent during the spring and 
summer months as millions of acre-feet of water rapidly accu- 
mulated from its many tributaries as the great depths of snow 
of the northern Rocky Mountains began their annual melt. It 
was not uncommon for this gradually descending river to gain 
ten feet in depth and miles in width during this annual runoff. 

The earliest of western adventurers often constructed and Fort Caspar [1865-1867] in present day Casper), 

bullboats to navigate the unpredictable river during high The following day the second battalion arrived at the point 

water.' As the fur and buffalo robe industry grew, larger on the Platte where the first battalion was ferrying a 

boats were needed to transport the huge packs of hides party of emigrants across the river with the Revenue 

to market. It then became a common practice among the Cutter. Here the Mormons were exercising their own 
traders to tackle the much larger task of constructing 

Mackinaws in the vicinity of their trading posts and float- , , ,,, ,,.,,.„ 

I J- i-i-i ^ bullboat was a makeshift skitf constructed b\ stretchinc raw 

mg their goods downstream to market durmg this high- ,,„Taio hides over a frame ofbent branches The seams of the^hides 

water season. = Since neither of these forms of naviga- would then be sealed with glue made from boilmg down the bones 

tion were practical to the immigrants and the North Platte of the same buffalo that had supplied the hides. By 1824 this was a 

River was not often fordable. finding another method of common practice. John Myers Myers. The Saga of Hugh Glass - 

, . , ■ Pirate. Pawnee, and Mountain ManAL\m:o\n ?mALonAon: Vn'wer- 

crossing the river became a necessity. .. ,-,, , , „ ,,,,,, nn ion 

'^ ■' sity ot Nebraska Press. l'^63). 179-180. 

When the Latter Day Saints left Winter Quarters to 2 Mackinaws were tlat-botiomed boats that could be built on site to 

begin their westward journey in 1847 they brought with carry cargo down river during high water. A large Mackinaw boat 

them a leather boat, the Revenue Cutter, to aid in their "^uld carry up to three hundred packs of buffalo robes, ten robes to 

crossing of the river. When leaving Fort Laram ie, Brigham '^^ ^""'^^ i""^^' f S. Ri^cker. Intervww ofMaghn-e .Ale.,s Mosseau. 

■ ■• ir- Buzzard Basin. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. South Dakota. Octo- 
Young split the battalion into two segments. The first ^^, ^^ ^^^^ (Unpublished Notebooks. Nebraska state Historical 
smaller group traveled ahead with the boat to establish a Society Library. Lincoln. Nebraska), tablet 28. p. 6-8. 
crossing of the North Platte.' The ferry site that they ' Dale L. Morgan. "The Mormon Fero on the North Platte; the Jour- 
chose was directly across the river from the mouth of "^' ''^' ^''"'^'" ^ Empey", .Annals of Wyoming. (May 7-August 4, 
„ ^ 1 ,^ ^ 1 • 11 J ^ 1847). vol. 21. no.2. p. 130-132.Tom Empev. the areat-grandson of 
Cannon Creek. (Cannon Creek is now called Casper ,.,..,. ... ^ , ,-/- ^ ,-■' ,, 

^ William A. Lmpev. is a resident 01 Casper. A tew vears ago. he 

Creek and this location is about one mile downstream constructed a replica ferry, built to specifications, that is on display 
from the later location of Guinard's Bridge [ 1 860- 1 867] at Fort Caspar Museum. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

ingenuity in supplementing the church coffer, while wait- 
ing for their own company's arrival/ 

Seeing the potential income for his church and the 
convenience of the ferry for future emigration of his own 
flock, Brigham Young decided to establish a genuine ferry 
at this location. He ordered that two ferry boats, or rafts, 
be constructed from the timber of the Black Hills to the 
south, now known as Casper Mountain. Several dugout 
canoes were built and then lashed together with timbers 
to form something like a deck. Many ferries over the 
years were constructed by this method and used through- 
out the west at various river crossings.' 

Shortly after the Mornion Ferry began operation, the 
Hill Ferry, a private company, began operating down 
stream. Feeling the loss of business, the Mormons asked 
Hill if he was interested in a partnership. Hill flatly re- 
fused. Not wishing to lose any more business, the Mor- 
mons packed up their equipment and floated down river 
to a new location below Hill's operation. A few days 
later the Mormon's witnessed the remains of Hill's ferry 
floating down the river. He had given up the contest, but 
destroyed his ferry to keep anyone else from profiting 
from his labors. After several weeks at their new loca- 
tion, the waters of the Platte subsided and business slowed 
drastically as the river became fordable. The men moved 
back to their first location and waited for the last Mor- 
mon wagon train, which they would accompany to their 
final destination." 

The California gold rush, two years later, brought the 
greatest volume of traffic in westward migration to date. 
One of the most popular crossings of the North Platte 
that year was just below the second site of the Mormon 
Ferry. This ford that had been used by many earlier trav- 
elers including John C. Fremont and had been commonly 
called "The Old Indian Ford." Following its extensive 
use in 1 849 it became known as "The California Cross- 
ing."^ That summer A. C. Metcalf returned to the North 
Platte River with Kit Carson and Calvin Jones from Taos 
and Pueblo. The three went to the mouth of Deer Creek 
near present-day Glenrock and erected the first bridge 
to span the North Platte River. This bridge, which is 
sometimes referred to as The Trapper 's Bridge, was 
poorly constructed and failed in the high waters of the 
following spring. Carson and Jones returned to Taos. 
Metcalf reportedly died of cholera somewhere in the vi- 
cinity of Fort Laramie shortly before their departure.* 

During the "low water season" in the fall of 1 850, and 
learning from Metcalf s mistakes, John Baptiste Rich- 
ard began construction of the second bridge to cross the 
North Platte River. He chose a site a few miles west of 
The Trapper 's Bridge at a place near Muddy Creek 
that would later be known as Parkerton. Richard risked 

everything he owned on the emigrant trade of the year to 
come. Aware of the dangers involved in crossing the 
Platte at high water, he knew his old partner, Metcalf, 
was right about a toll bridge across the Platte. Emigrants 
would pay nearly any price to cross the river quickly and 

'' Although the Mormons accepted cash for their ferrying fee. they 
preferred to trade for nonperishabie staples, such as sugar or flour. 
They knew these items could be used in the winter, regardless of 
where the trail might take them. Further, this trade was based on 
eastern prices for these goods, instead of the inflated prices of the 
trading posts along the trail. The end result was considerably more 
food for their money. Cannon Creek was supposedly so named be- 
cause an earlier group of explorers had cached a cannon there before 
continuing westward. Documentation to substantiate this lore has 
not been found. What was then called Cannon Creek is now called 
Casper Creek. The spelling would indicate that the name change oc- 
curred after the railroad misspelled Caspar, Casper^ The result of 
this minor error will forever confiise visitors of Fort Caspar Museum 
in Casper. Morgan. 132. 146. 

■ Morgan. 133-135; Jefferson Glass. Discussions with Tom Empey, 
1996-1998. (Unpublished Notes. Jefferson Glass" personal collec- 
tion); Ben Kern is a modem day wagon master who has led numer- 
ous wagon-train reenactments across the Oregon. California, Mor- 
mon, and Bozeman trails in recent years. He has used a replica ferry 
of similar construction during his travels and says that they are a 
quite stable and suitable craft. Candy Moulton and Ben Kern. Wagon 
Wheels. (Glendo; High Plains Press. 1996). 153. 
' The Hill Ferry was located near the area presently known as North 
Casper. It was about half a mile west of today's Bryan Stock Trail. 
The Mormon Ferry's second location was in today's Reshaw Park in 
Evansville. Wyoming. Its exact location was about 100 yards west 
of the present bridge to the Oregon Trail \ 'eteran 's Cemetery. The 
various locations of the Mormon Ferry, around modem day Casper, 
are very confusing. The ferry was moved many times over the years. 
Morgan, 135-139, 154-155; Glass; Thomas Nicholas, editor. Fron- 
tier Times and New Oregon Trail Reader. (Town of Evansville. Wyo- 
ming, Summer 1 966), vol. 1 , no. 1 . 

' John D. McDermott, Frontier Crossroads. (Casper: City of Casper, 
1997). 88-89. 

' Archibald Charles Metcalf was bom in New York in 1815, the son 
of Thomas and Mary Metcalf He first appeared in the west as a 
partner of John Baptiste Richard (John Reshaw) on a fur trading 
expedition in 1840 where he operated the trading post known as 
Reshaw's Houses on the Old Woman Fork of the Cheyenne River. 
Thispartnership was dissolved in 1841 and Metcalf moved to Fi/e/-fe 
el Pueblo, now Pueblo, Colorado. Over the next several years Metcalf 
was engaged in various aspects of the fur trade from Taos, now New 
Mexico, to Fort Laramie. For Metcalfs life and career, see two en- 
tries in LeRoy Hafen, ed.. Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the 
Far West. (Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Company), the first by John D. 
McDermott, John Baptiste Richard, in volume II. 290. and the second 
by Janet Lecompte. Archibald Charles Metcalf. in volume 4. 217, 
llJi-llA: three interviews in F. W. Cragin's unpublished notebooks, 
(hereafter cited as Cragin Notebooks) held in the Cragin Papers. Colo- 
rado Springs Pioneers Museum, Interview ofJosiah F. Smith on July 
18, 1903, at Pueblo, Colorado, in Notebook XVII, p. 6; Interview of 
Lu: Trujillo Metcalf Ledowc. in Notebook VII. p. 2/8; and Interview of 
Jesse Nelson, in Notebook VIII. p. 14/73; Louise Barry The Begin- 
ning of the PVest, (Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas, 
1972), 415. 

Summer •-200'-2 


Richard was so enthusiastic with the plan that he talked 
four men. Miller, Langdon, Steele, and Randall, into in- 
vesting in the scheme. His new partners thought that if 
one bridge would succeed, two would be even better. 
They obtained permission from the United States Army 
to also construct a bridge across the Laramie River, within 
the Fort Laramie military reservation. Due to its proxim- 
ity, the military would regulate the toll charges, but it would 
still be a lucrative venture. To ensure that potential cus- 
tomers knew of the bridge's existence before attempting 
to ford the river at some lower crossing, Richard adver- 
tised in the St. Joseph Gazette on February 26, 1851. 
The ad said he would have 1 50-200 ponies for sale at his 
Ash Point trading post, adding that he had "very nearly 
completed a bridge across the North Platte."'" 

A short time later the Missouri Republican reported 
that Richard had completed his project, "a fine and sub- 
stantial bridge has been built over the Platte 100 miles 
above [Fort] Laramie." The Frontier Guardian in 
Kanesville, Iowa reported on May 16, 1851, "William 
and T. Randell (en route to [Richard's] new North Platte 
River bridge) with groceries and provisions for emi- 
grants; J. B. Nichols (for Fort Laramie); "Richard's & 
Co." (trader John Richard's outfit) with Provisions, &c." 
In May John Richard was so optimistic about the coming 
success of the Parkerton Bridge that he moved his 
brother Peter, who had been running the post at Ash 
Point, to the bridge and sold the Ash Point Trading Post 
to Ward and Guerrier from Pueblo." 

John Richard's optimism for the success of the bridge 
was unwarranted. Traffic on the Oregon Trail was un- 
usually slow that year and the waters of the North Platte 
River remained low. The emigrant trains passed by 
Richard's Parkerton Bridge, with few even noting its 
existence in their diaries. They forded the river at any of 
the many convenient locations along the route. '- 

Early in 1852, the high spring waters were rising in 
the Platte and John Richard was hoping for a profitable 
season. Unfortunately, when the high waters he had 
wished for all winter finally came, they washed the bridge 
out on July 16. The Fort Laramie bridge, a project with 
which Richard had little direct involvement, was suc- 
cessful for two years. Richard relinquished his share of 
the bridge to the other partners in exchange for forgiv- 
ing the debt incurred by the loss of the Parkerton bridge. ' ^ 

After the Parkerton Bridge was destroyed, John Rich- 
ard teamed back up with his longtime friend and busi- 
ness associate, Joseph Bissonette.'^ They went to St. 
Louis in late summer, returning west by early Septem- 
ber. On September 12, 1 852, Maj. Winslow F. Sanderson, 
with two companies of mounted riflemen, met Bissonette's 
wagon train, loaded with goods, at Cottonwood Point. At 

the junction of the road to Independence and St. Joseph, 
he then met John Richard who was herding a flock of 
3,000 sheep to the Mormon settlements in Utah.'' 
Sanderson likely did not know the two men's purpose. 
The wagon train that Bissonette led west ahead of Rich- 
ard and his sheep was carrying tools, hardware, and other 
materials for the construction of a new bridge across the 
North Platte River. The sale of Richard's sheep would 
help finance the venture. 

*' John Baptiste Richard was bom on December 14. 1810. in St. 
Charles, Missouri. The son of Jean Francois Xavier Richard and 
Rosalie Cote. John Richard's family tree reads like a Who 's ll'ho of 
the earliest of French mountain men and fur traders. He came west 
with his father in the 1 830s. Ihrough his career he became known as 
one of the most notorious whiske\ smugglers of the fur trade era and 
in 1 842 bragged that no Indian Agent alive would ever catch him; he 
lived to prove this boast true. John Richard was commonly known as 
John Reshaw. this being derived from many western travelers misun- 
derstanding the French pronunciation of the name Richard. Through- 
out this article this bridge near Muddy Creek will be referred to as the 
Parkerton Bridge. The community known as Parkerton did not exist 
until many years after this bridge was gone, but for the sake of 
dilTerentiatingthis bridge from later bridges on the North Platte River, 
this name will be used. For Richard's life and career, see Stewart 
Monroe, genealogist of the Richard family, to the author. 1999-2002; 
Joan Leaneagh. genealogist of the Cote family, to the author. 1999; 
James L. Richards and Warren K. Gordon, genealogists of the Richard 
family, to the author. 1999; McDermott. John Baptiste Richard. 11. 
289-290. 295-296; Flila Gilbert. -Big Bat ' Poiirwr - Guide & Inter- 
preter. Fort Laramie 18^0-1880 {,S,\\a\Aa.n. Wyoming: Mills Com- 
pany. 1968), 4; Gregory M. Franzwa. Maps of the Oregon Trail. 
(Gerald. Missouri: Patrice Press. 1982). 117. 
'" McDermott. John Baptiste Richard. II. 296; Barry. 988. 
" Pierre (Peter) Richard, ten years younger than his brother John, 
was bom September 4. 1820. in St. Charles. Missouri. See Monroe; 
McDermott, Jo/;« Baptiste Richard. 11. 297; Barry. 987; Brian Jones, 
Those Wild Reshaw Boys (Frances B. Taunton, editor. Sidelights of 
the Sioivi liars. London: English Westerners Society Special Publi- 
cation No. 2. 1967). 9. 
'• Jones. 1 1. 

" Jones, p. 1 2. 42; F. W. Cragin, Interview of William T Eubank on 
August 18. 1908. at Denver. Colorado. Cragin Notebooks 1. p. 5/25 
& 6/26; Rev. J. McAllister: Paul Henderson, ed.. "Rev. J. McAllister 
Diary." .4nnals of Wyoming 32 (October 1960), 225. 
''' Bissonette first allied with Richard in the Sibille and Adams Trad- 
ing Company in 1842. He was next partners with Richard and sev- 
eral other Richard family members at Fort Bernard m 1845. Charles 
E. Hanson Jr.. ed.. The David .Adams Journals. (Chadron: Museum 
of the Fur Trade. 1994), 48. Joseph Bissonette (1818-1894) was the 
son of Louis Bissonette (1774-1836). He should not be confused 
with his uncle. Joseph Bissonette. who became known as Jose 
Bissonette. after obtaining Mexican citizenship in the early 1800's 
in Taos. John D. McDermott, Joseph Bissonette. in Leroy Hafen. 
ed.. .Mountain .Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, (Glendale: 
Arthur H. Clark Company), IV. 49-60. Joseph Bissonette was also 
the nephew of Paul Primeau. who was appointed the administrator 
of his father's estate January 2, 1837. His uncle, Joseph "Jose" 
Bissonette. was still living in Taos at the time. John C Luttig. Jour- 
nal of a Fur Trading Expedition on the Upper Missouri 181 2-181 3. 
(New York: Argosy-Antiquarian Ltd.. 1964). 148-149. 
'^ Barry. 1127. 


Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

Richard was joined again with his former partners, Jo- 
seph Bissonette and Charles Bordeaux, along with a group 
offive new partners.'" This bridge would be constructed 
only 200 feet above the second location of the 1 847 
Mormon Ferry, a quarter of a mile above the popular 
ford known as the California Crossing." Two of the five 
new partners were Louis Guinard and William 

Bissonette was heavily involved in the partnership of 
the bridge from its onset. In January 1853, he wrote to 
Thomas Pim in St. Louis. He asked Pirn to keep books 
for their company that was building a new bridge across 
the North Platte River." 

In a "Notice to Califomians," Bissonette, Kenceleur 
& Co. stated in the 5"/. Joseph Gazette on February 23, 
1 853. that a "substantial" bridge across the North Platte 
River would be finished "in time for the earliest trains". 
The advertisement continued: 

There will be at the Bridge two Blacksmith and Wagon 
maker's shops, for the accommodation of emigrants. The 
company will have a good Grocery Store and eating house, 
and all kinds of Indian handled peltries, also oxen, cows, 
horses, and mules at low prices . . . Bissonette, Kenceleur, 
& Co.'s. St. Joseph agent, R. L. McGhee. 

Richard built a log cabin, blacksmith shop and other 
buildings at the bridge on the south side of the river, in 
time for the first wagon train's arrival. Perhaps good for- 
tune was finally smiling on him as the Fort Laramie Bridge 
washed out that spring. He had liquidated that partner- 
ship before incurring further losses.-" 

Richard had learned his lessons in bridge building. He 
employed Joseph McKnight at the bridge for several 
years who described the bridge. The new bridge was built 
on several wooden piers, made of heavy timbers in a 
diamond shape to divert the water around them; they 
were then filled with rock for stability. The north abut- 
ment was a sandstone cliff that rose several feet above 
the high water line. The south end of the bridge was 
slightly lower as it extended some distance to meet the 
sloping prairie. To further strengthen the piers they were 
cross-timbered internally before the rock was added. 
These piers were 30-40 feet apart and spanned by logs 
hauled from the mountain, seven miles to the south. Af- 
ter all had been braced, stayed, and fastened together 
with iron bolts, the deck was laid. Made from four-inch 
thick hand-sawn planks, each was hand fit tightly together 
and spiked to the span logs. Afterward a heavy railing 
was installed to prevent livestock from drifting over the 
side. This railing carried extra bracing at each of the 
piers to further strengthen the structure. The completed 
bridge overall was about 1,000 feet long and 15-18 feet 

" In 1845-1846 John Richard was the proprietor of Fort Bernard, a 
trading post established below Fort Laramie near present Lingle. Fort 
Bernard was base for the trading business of "Richard and Com- 
pany." This partnership included John Richard's brother Peter, Jo- 
seph Bissonette, and his brothers-in-law, Charles Bordeaux and Charles 
B. Branham. Bordeaux married Rosalie Richard in St. Charles, Mo., in 
1839. Many references to the Bordeaux of the Richard & Company 
partnership state that this was James Bordeaux of the American Fur 
Company, but a few years ago this author proved that he was not the 
Bordeaux in this partnership. Studies suggest that John Richard's 
brother-in-law, Charles Bordeaux, was the partner. Branham married 
Mary Elizabeth Richard (his second wife) August 2, 1843, in St. 
Charles, Mo. He was bom in Kentucky in 1811. He died in Boone 
County, Mo., in 1 893. Monroe; McDermott, John Baptiste Richard, 
II, 294; F. W. Cragin, Interview ofl'incente Trujillo on November 9, 
1907, atAvondale. Colorado, Cragin Notebooks X, p. 6/29-6/30. 
" The new bridge was known as The Bridge or Platte Bridge until 
1 860, when Louis Guinard built another bridge a few miles upstream. 
It then became known as Reshaw's (Richard's) Bridge or Lower Platte 
Bridge while the other was called Guinard's Bridge or Upper Platte 
Bridge. Thomas Nicholas, then Evansvllle town attorney, found the 
exact location of Reshaw's Bridge in the 1960s. The town erected a 
replica of the southern portion of the bridge in 1979. The bridge Is 
located In Reshaw Park, about 1 00 yards west of the current bridge to 
the Oregon Trail Veteran's Cemetery. "Timbers From Old Reshaw 
Bridge Found," Casper Star Tribune, October 9, 1966, 4. 
" Guinard, a partner in Richard's Bridge, his own bridge eight years 
later, seven miles upstream from Richard's Bridge. William Eubank 
said that John Richard and Louis Bernard [Guinard] had been part- 
ners in Richard's Bridge. Around 1855 they "got at outs, and the 
latter went and built a bridge about 75 miles further up the Platte 
[Sweetwater Bridge]." They became enemies. Since Eubank had been 
a freighter along the Platte and had associated with both men at this 
time, he likely had first hand knowledge of this partnership and the 
break-up. Cragin, William T. Eubank, notebook I. p. 5/25 & 6/26. 
'* McDermott, Joseph Bissonette. IV, 54. 

" Robert A. Murray, "Trading Posts. Forts and Bridges of the Casper 
Area." in Bison Hunters to Black Gold. (Casper: Wyoming Histori- 
cal Press, 1986), 10. 

^" William Kenceleur was bom in 1804 In eastern Canada. A carpen- 
ter, he lived In Missouri for many years and moved with his family to 
Rulo. Neb., in 1855, where, along with Ell Plant, he was one of the 
early pioneers. By 1860 several of John Richard's sisters had also 
moved to Rulo and lived two houses away from Kenceleur's family. 
Bissonette and Kenceleur probably were partners in the bridge from 
the beginning, but the wording of the ad suggests that they also had a 
separate partnership In another trading post. Census of Rulo, 
Richardson County, Nebraska. 1860; Lewis C. Edwards, Who's Who 
in Nebraska, 1940 (NEGenWeb Project -Richardson County); Barry, 
1 140: McDermott, John Baptiste Richard. II, 298; Jones, 1 1 . 
-' This sum was an exaggeration, as Richard quoted to others lower 
figures. Joseph McKnight, born in Canada in 1829, is often called Joe 
or Joseph Knight. Some have apparently dropped the "Mc" in an 
Americanization of the name. His family moved to the U.S. three or 
four years later. In 1848hemoved to Minnesota, then the next year to 
Fort Benton. After two years he moved to St. Louis. In the fall of 
1852, he was headed for Fort Laramie. He may have joined either 
John Richard's sheep expedition or Bissonette's wagon train. He may 
have been Involved in building Richard's Bridge and may have even 
designed it. C. G. Coutant, (Unpublished Notebooks, Coutant Col- 
lection. Wyoming State Archives. Cheyenne. Wyoming), box 4. folder 
53, book 36: Joseph McKnight. Indian Depredation Claim #8081, 
RG 123. cited by McDermott, Frontier Crossroads. 7-8. 1 14. 

Summer !2002 


wide. McKnight also reported that the bridge cost some 
$40,000 to build.-' 

John Murray reported a very similar description of the 
bridge in his journal, when he saw it in 1 853: 

The bridge is a substantial structure- It has 8 wood 
framed piers filled & sunk with rock & the reaches are 
supported by heavy braces- The sides are railed up & 
bottom planked &c . . .. Some of the timbers look to be 
sawed perhaps by hand- Where they got the timber I cant 

On June 1 1 , the wagon train that Sarah Sutton was on 
crossed Richard's Bridge. Sutton believed the $500 that 
Richard charged for the crossing of their train was little 
short of highway robbery. Nathaniel Myer. who also dealt 
with Richard that day from another train, was forced to 
sell him one of his oxen. "Campment all around us. 
Passed two trading places. ..Sold one of our oxen at $ 1 8; 
he got lame." If the first season for the new bridge was 
any indication, Richard's ill-fated luck of the past few 
years was soon to change.-' 

Richard evidently used the cost of the bridge to ex- 
plain to his potential customers why his toll fee was as 
high as it was. Richard reported as many various costs 
of construction as he charged wagon trains varying prices, 
depending on the conditions of fording the river. When J. 
R. Bradway crossed the bridge at the end of June, Rich- 
ard charged eight dollars per wagon. He also told 
Bradway that the bridge cost $15,000 to build, his own 
way of reasoning the higher toll. As the water in the 
North Platte River rose, so did the toll, and so did Richard's 
reported cost to build the bridge.-^ 

When John Murray arrived at the bridge a few days 
later, he patronized Richard's blacksmith shop and trad- 
ing posts. He reported trading posts on both sides of the 
river, in order to take advantage of all possible custom- 
ers. William Brown substantiated the fact: "...passed a 
fine bridge made of pine. ..last crossing place on Platte 
River. At the bridge there was 2 trading posts, black- 
smith shop& several Indian Wigwams." The water was 
beginning to recede, lowering the toll rate by that day 
back to six dollars per wagon.-' 

On July 1 , 1 853, Dr. John Smith arrived at the bridge 
and his wagon train camped there that night. He was 
told that the bridge cost $16,000 to build and Richard 
was still charging his six-dollar per wagon rate. Richard 
told Smith that 3,000 wagons had crossed the bridge that 
year. The following day Smith passed the old site of the 
Mormon Ferry, noting that it was abandoned due to the 
competition from the new bridge.-" 

Count Leonetto Cipriani crossed Richard's Bridge at 
the end of July. With the rapidly dropping level of the 

Platte River, Richard had dropped the toll by more than 
half Cipriani described his visit at the bridge: 

At noon we were at the bridge, property of four Cana- 
dian brothers. Alone except for the help from the Indi- 
ans, they had been able to erect a bridge of twelve arches, 
entirely of cedar, with piers formed of huge n-ee trunks and 
filled with gravel. Though the toll could be considered 
moderate, three dollars per wagon And four for every hun- 
dred head, the bridge assured them a good income.-' 

In 1853 "Captain Stewart" recruited William K. Sloan, 
a fellow Scotsman, to accompany him with a train of 
freight-wagons to his farm near Salt Lake City. When 

" Murray's wagon train was travelling the north side of the river, or 
Chiles" Route as it is often referred to. The nearest timber was on 
what was then known as the Black Hills, now called Casper Moun- 
tain, a distance of several miles, and was probably not visible on the 
cloudy day he reported in his journal. John Murray, Journal. (Un- 
published Manuscript, Special Collections. Washington State His- 
torical Society), T-177, box I. folder 12, p, 66-67. 
'■'' The migration season of 1853 was enormous. When Myer stated. 
"Campment all around us," he did not exaggerate. Thousands of set- 
tlers crossed the trail that year. Sarah Sutton diary, cited in McDermott 
John Baptiste Richard. 11, 299; Nathaniel Myer; Edward B. Ham, 
editor. Journey Into Southern Oregon: Diary of a Pennsylvania Dutch- 
man - Oregon Historical Society Magazine ^ 
" Diary of J. R. Bradway, p. 43. Library of the State Historical 
Society of Wisconsin. Bradway left a letter and a portion of his 
journal with Richard to be sent back home with the first eastbound 
traveler that happened by. Bradway reported a coal mine in the north 
bank of the river that Richard used to fuel the fires in his blacksmith's 
shops, and to heat his home and other business enterprises. 
'^ At the trading post Murray purchased flour at ten dollars per 
hundred weight. After having his team shod, he bought extra shoes at 
adollar per pair and nails at seventy-five cents per dozen. Ibid : John 
Murray, 66-68; William Richard Brown, IVdliam Richard Brown - 
D/arv, (Mokelumne Hill, California; privately printed, 1985). 44. 
-'' Diary of Dr. John Smith, 1853, Huntington Library. Portions of 
the diary were copied by Susan Badger Doyle for the author in 1 996. 
-' Cipriani was likely amused by the vast number of Indian lodges 
surrounding the bridge and assumed that they had assisted in its 
construction. More likely they were some of Richard's many Indian 
friends and family partaking of his well-known generosity. Count 
LeonetXo C\\>nw\\. Califonua and 0\<erland Diaries. (Champoeg Press, 
1962), 89; McDermott, Frontier Crossroads. 1 . The four Canadian 
brothers were most likely John and Peter Richard, Joseph Bissonette 
and Charles Bordeaux. Joseph Richard, bom in St. Charles, Mo., in 
1 823. the youngest Richard brother, was living in Pueblo. Monroe; in 
the early 1 840s Joseph was working for his brother John Richard and 
Sibille & Adams. Hanson, 94. By 1 846 Joseph was operating a trad- 
ing post at Pueblo and remained there until the late 1850s. Vincente 
Trujillo traveled from Taos to Pueblo with A. C. Metcalfin 1846. He 
listed "Jo Rashaw" among the residents in the trading and trapping 
industry. F. W. Cragin, Interview ofi'incente Trujillo on November 9, 
I9(r. at .Avondale. Colorado. Cragin Notebooks, X. p. 6/29-6/30. 
Tom Autobees stated that Joe Richard had a store at Pueblo and 
although John and Peter visited there, Joe was the only one of the 
brothers who actually resided there. F. W. Cragin, Interview of Tom 
Autobees on July 28. 1908. at Avondale. Colorado. Cragin Note- 
books, I. p. 2/9-2/10. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

they arrived at Richard's Bridge the train was in poor 
condition. Sloan wrote: 

... a hundred and twenty miles west from [Fort] Laramie 
we again crossed the north fork of the Platte but on a 
bridge the only one we had seen since starting, this bridge 
was built by a Canadian Frenchman named John Richard 
the winter and spring preceding, and certainly was a good 
investment, the bridge cost not over $5,000.00 dollars 
and his receipts that season were over $40,000.00 from 
the bridge alone.-* 

Richard bartered for the toll across his bridge, espe- 
cially if the traveler had something he wanted. It has 
been said that his modest log cabin at the bridge was the 
most elaborately furnished home between St. Louis and 
San Francisco. 

When William Sloan arrived at the bridge, he soon 
learned the practice of bartering: 

There were quite a number of mountaineers located 
about the place and all very thirsty, from some of the 
men they ascertained that we had a five gallon keg of 
whiskey aboard the train, they must have it, price was no 
object. Stewart finally agreed to let them have it, in con- 
sideration of our crossing the bridge free, which was 
equivalent to $ 1 25.00 for the whiskey. 

John Richard, well experienced in the price of whis- 
key, was controlling a seething rage at Stewart's price, 
but it was a seller's market/ While bartering for the whis- 
key he was eyeing Stewart's obviously dilapidated live- 
stock. Richard merely had to wait for the next stage of 
the barter to reclaim his loss, which he did as Sloan soon 
reported. "... we had several head of oxen too lame to 
travel farther, and it was necessary for us either to leave 
them on the road or sell them which we did to Richard at 
$2.50 per head, paying him $ 1 00 per head for fresh and 
fat ones to take their place." Sloan seemed not to realize, 
that these one-hundred dollar oxen had been in the same 
condition as his two and a half dollar oxen now were.-' 

John Richard learned the value of healthy animals to 
the emigrants while trading near Fort Laramie. He 
brought to the bridge all the livestock he could acquire 
prior to the emigrant season and had seen a substantial 
income from trading them throughout the year. He turned 
the animals out on the rich grassy range and mountain 
spring v/ater of Reshaw Creek, now known as Elk Horn 
Creek where they would soon recover from the strenu- 
ous work, poor feed and alkali water along the trail. The 
grazing along Reshaw Creek was convenient to his loca- 
tion at the bridge.^" 

The bridge, with the cooperatively aggressive spring 
waters of the North Platte River, was off to a booming 
start. On November 2, 1 853, J. Soule Bowman reported 

to the Missouri Republican that at a point 150 miles 
above Fort Laramie: "Here a substantial bridge has been 
erected over the river at which emigrants can cross their 
stock in safety, and at a fair price." Although his dis- 
tance may have been off by a few miles, and the price 
may have varied with the rise and fall of the river. Bow- 
man passed on to the public the first published statement 
by any unbiased party who had actually seen the bridge. 
Other bridges had been advertised as "substantial" and 
were washed away before the emigrants could get there 
to use them. Here was a bridge that had withstood the 
spring floods of 1 853 and would be there for those who 
would make the trip across the trail next year.^' 

During the spring of 1 854, Peter Gamier was working 
at Richa'd's Bridge. His Indian wife gave birth to a son; 
the first known child to be bom in the settlement that 
was forming on the south bank of the river. This new 
arrival was named Baptiste, but everyone called the boy 
Bat. Richard was very fond of the boy. Baptiste Gamier, 
nearly from infancy, was less than enthused with his older 
sisters. Instead he attached himself to John Richard's 
sons. The admiration was seemingly mutual and Bat grew 
up virtually as a brother to the Richard boys." 

The toll business at Richard's Bridge was not as lucra- 
tive in 1 854 as it had been the previous year. The nor- 

'* "'Autobiography of William K. Sloan." Annals of Wyoming. 4 (July 
1926). 245-246. 
■' [bid 

-™ Stewart had profited by about twenty-five times his purchase 
price on the whisicey trade, which is certainly a nice margin, but 
Richard gained forty times his investment on the oxen, which sub- 
stantially compensated for his loss on the whiskey. John Richard 
may have had ver> little education, but he fully understood the value 
of the goods and services that he dealt in, and most assuredly was an 
extremely shrewd businessman at the bargaining table. John Richard 
was well known for having good livestock to sell to the emigrants. He 
advertised it in eastern newspapers. He was one of the pioneers in 
this method of refreshing the animals, but the practice was not un- 
common. His range was along Reshaw Creek and that this is why the 
creek acquired that name. Sgt. Isaac Pennock mentioned the creek in 
two separate areas of his diary. Although his distances varied in 
accuracy, his descriptions of this and other nearby drainages indi- 
cate it to have been what is now called Elk Horn Creek: '"This fight 
along Reshaw Creek, four miles from Lower [B]ridge." "... three 
miles from [lower] Bridge, passed Reshaw Creek 7 miles from up- 
per bridge." Sgt. Isaac "Jake" Pennock, "Diary of Jake Pennock, 
1 865," Annals of Wyoming, 23 (July. 1 95 1 ), 1 2. 22. Magloire Mosseau 
also confirmed the location of Reshaw Creek. He stated the order of 
available water in the vicinity on the south side of the river as; "Deer 
Creek. Cottonwood Springs, Muddy Creek, Richard (Reshaw) Creek, 
Willow Creek, Fort Caspar." Ricker, Magloire Mosseau, tablet 28, p. 

^' J. Soule Bowman, Missouri Republican, November 2, 1853, cited 
in Jones, 1 1. 

" Nothing seems to be known about Peter Gamier or where he came 
from. Jones, 1 5. 42. J. W, Vaughn, The Reynolds Campaign on Pow- 
der River (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), 142. 

Summer '-200'2 


mally high waters of the spring never came. Almost a 
year to the day after Richard had charged Sarah Sutton's 
wagon train $500 to cross, he charged Thomas Reber's 
entire wagon train only $38. He lowered his tolls hoping 
to attract the emigrants to his blacksmith shop and trad- 
ing post. The previous year's boom never came. Possi- 
bly due to the dryness of the season, the Siou,\ were 
antagonistic to the settlers along the trail. Traffic was 
only moderate in comparison to previous years.'' 

The first significant conflict between Indians and whites 
occurred in August, 1 854, along the North Platte River. 
Shortly before arriving at Fort Laramie, a Mormon wagon 
train had a withering ox that, too lame to pull a heavy 
wagon, lagged along behind the train on the trail. A 
Miniconjou warrior, High-Forehead, saw the straggler. 
He shot the ox and took it to a nearby Brule village, where 
he had been staying. The highest-ranking chief of the 
Brule Sioux, Conquering-Bear, headed the village. The 
owner of the ox complained to Fort Laramie authorities. 

On August 19, 1854, young Lt. John L. Grattan, was 
sent with some 30 soldiers and two cannons to confront 
Conquering-Bear. When the old chief could not produce 
the missing ox, Grattan apparently shot and wounded 
Conquering-Bear. The Brule warriors returned fire on 
Grattan and his troops, killing all of the soldiers except 
one, who escaped to the fort before succumbing to his 
wounds. Following what would soon be known as the 
Grattan Massacre, the seriously wounded Conquering- 
Bear was taken the short distance to James Bordeaux's 
trading post where he died. Bordeaux had evidently been 
given the responsibility of dispensing a portion of the 
Indian's annuity goods, which he stored at the trading 
post. Following the death of their chief the Brule band 
then ransacked Bordeaux's post and in addition to the 
annuities, took nearly everything that Bordeaux owned. 
Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, considered the 
Grattan Massacre "the result of a deliberately formed 
plan" by the Sioux to rob the annuity goods from 
Bordeaux's Trading Post." 

On November 29, 1 854, Major William Hoffman was 
in command of Fort Laramie and reported 1,000 lodges 
of Sioux were camped on the headwaters of the Run- 
ning Water (Niobrara River) and were planning a war 
against the whites throughout the winter. Although In- 
dian Agent A. D. Vaughn at Fort Pierre filed a similar 
report, it was not the season that the Sioux would nor- 
mally go to war, and they did not stage any attacks until 
the following spring." 

In the fall of 1854 John Richard contracted Joseph 
McKnight to make some significant repairs on the bridge 
during the off-season. Richard then assembled his en- 
tourage and went to the Green River to trade for horses 

through the winter. Richard and his men spent the entire 
winter collecting a sizeable herd of mixed horses and 
mustangs. Many of these animals were tamed, but the 
crew spent any available time breaking them to harness. 
After a long and hard winter's work the men finally re- 
turned to the Platte in the spring of 1855 with a large 
herd of replacement stock for the emigrant season.'* 

Joseph Merivale was on this horse-trading and hunt- 
ing expedition. He described their return to the bridge: 

We burned off the old grass to let the new grass grow, 
one night five Crow Indians came in and told us that they 
saw a party of Blackfeet, that night the ponies were all 
stolen; I followed them the next morning with two Oglalas, 
Torn-Belly and Black-Hills ... on the best of a few tired- 
out mounts that the Indians had left, we followed them 
about 25 miles to the north but did not overtake them. 

All that they had worked months for had been lost 

In the spring of 1 852, Magloire Mosseau had gone to 
work as a clerk at the Devil's Gate Trading Post, erected 
by the partnership of Charles Lajeunesse, Hubert Papin, 
and Moses and Charley Perat. All of these men had ear- 
lier been either partners or employees of the American 
Fur Company. In 1855, Louis Guinard joined the part- 
nership. With this new addition, the partners erected a 
toll bridge spanning the Sweetwater River seven miles 
below the trading post, just downstream from Indepen- 
dence Rock.'* 

John Richard had hoped to recuperate from his losses 
from the spring with business at the bridge, but he suf- 
fered there too. The emigrant traffic came grinding to a 
near halt due to the various marauding bands of Sioux 
along the trail. It was not long before the Army put a 
stop to all trade with the Indians in the vicinity. This was 
virtually Richard's last remaining source of income and 
now it too was gone for the year. Major Hoffman at Fort 
Laramie realized the importance of Richard's Bridge to 
the emigrants as well as mail and freighting operations. 

" Thomas Reber: Albert M. Tewsbury, editor. The Journal of Tho- 
mas Reber. (MA Thesis. Claremont College). 
'■* Robert M. Utiey and Wilcomb E. Washburn. American Heritage 
History of the Indian Wars (New York: American Heritage/Bonanza 
Books. 1982), 205; Stephen E. Ambrose. Crazy Horse and Custer: 
The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors. (Garden City. N.Y.: 
Doubleday & Co., 1975), 55-60; McDermott. James Bordeaitx. V. 
73-74; McDermott, Frontier Crossroads. 9; Jones, 13. 42. 
'' Hyde. 51. 
"■Murray. 10. 

" Joseph Merivale. deposition. November 2. 1886, file 8081-123. 
Indian Claims Files. National Archives. Cited by Murray, 10-11. 
John Richard lost 75 horses to the raiding party. Hyde, 51. 
" Ricker, Magloire Mosseau. tablet 28, p. 15-20. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

He requested a detachment of troops be sent to protect 
it from potential Indian depredations. His request was 
approved. On October 28, Lt. James Deshler, with 21 
enlisted men and two non-commissioned officers were 
sent "to the Bridge 1 25 miles above this Post and estab- 
lish himself there with a view to prevent depredations of 
Indians, and to give protection to the mails and persons 
traveling on the road." 

John Richard and his family were ordered to Fort 
Laramie for their own protection and, though disgruntled, 
they obeyed. The partners at Sweetwater Bridge and 
Devil's Gate were given their choice of going to Fort 
Laramie or Green River. Magloire Mosseau chose Fort 
Laramie. All of the others, who had Shoshone wives, 
opted for Green River. Lt. Deshler. following his orders, 
set up camp on a low hill southwest of the bridge. This 
location had a commanding view of both sides of the 
river. The site, however, was open and the high-ground 
posture subjected his men, camped in Sibley tents, to the 
severe winds for which the area is famous. Conditions 
only worsened as winter approached.^'* 

Following the Grattan Massacre, Jefferson Davis ap- 
pointed Gen. William S. Harney to campaign against the 
Sioux. Little-Thunder, the successor of Conquering-Bear. 
was camped on Blue Water Creek with his village of 250 
Brules, mostly women and children, on Sept. 3, 1855. 
Harney, "The-Butcher," as the Sioux called him, sur- 
rounded the Brules and laid siege to their camp. When 
the smoke lifted 85 "warriors'" were dead, and 75 women 
and children were captured.^" 

Lt. John Mendenhall was ordered from Fort Laramie 
to relieve Lt. Deshler at the bridge in December. Major 
Hoffman offered John Richard a chance to return, but 
with the stipulation that he not do business with any Indi- 
ans. Richard argued that the Indians were his only po- 
tential customers at his trading post during this season. 
His plea was ignored and, thus, he refused the offer to 
return. The next month Lt. Robert Clinton Hill took com- 
mand of the detachment at Richard's Bridge.^' 

In March 1856, Capt. Henry Heth was sent to take 
charge of the operations at the bridge. This time, John 
Richard and his family returned with him, but without 
restrictions. By this time the detachment had grown to a 
full company, complete with three officers and a bugler. 
A mountain howitzer was added to increase their strength. 
In February the encampment had acquired the name of 
"Camp Davis," in honor of Jefferson Davis, which it re- 
mained until disbanded. Richard was once again in his 
glory. The water was high, emigrant trade was good, and 
he was enjoying a fair amount of trade from the soldiers 
of the 10"' Infantry at Camp Davis, only a few hundred 
yards from his trading post.^- 

Soon after Heth's arrival at the bridge, the first con- 
frontation arose between the Army and the Northern 
Cheyenne. When a band of this tribe were camped near 
the bridge, a young warrior, Little Wolf, found a group of 
stray horses belonging to Charles Antoine, one of 
Richard's employees. Trying to regain his missing horses, 
Antoine offered a reward for them. The warrior offered 
to return all but the best horse. Antoine then reported the 
matter to Captain Heth who sent for the chief of the 
Cheyenne band. The chief then returned to his camp and 
sent the warrior with his cavvy to Camp Davis. Antoine 
identified his four horses and Heth told the young Indian 
that he would receive five dollars each for them as a 
reward for finding them. The warrior said that it would 
be too difficult to separate them then and that he would 
bring the horses in question back the following morning. 
This seemed acceptable to all parties and each went their 
separate ways. 

Later that evening, however, Heth learned that the 
warrior still intended to keep Antoine's best horse and 
would shoot anyone who tried to take him. Heth then 
sent Lt. Nathan Dudley and his men to capture the In- 
dian, the horses, and the reward and return them to camp. 
When this was done. Heth ordered the young warrior 
sent to Richard's blacksmith shop and put in irons. While 
this was being attempted the warrior escaped, being 
wounded in the process. Dudley was then sent back to 
the village to capture two hostages. 

The following day one of the hostages was released, 
with instructions to return with the warrior, or his fa- 
ther, if the warrior had died from his wounds. Mean- 
while, in retaliation for Heth's action, the warrior and 
his father killed Peter Gamier, who had been returning 
from Richard's pastures on Reshaw Creek. Gamier had 
been scalped and his body mutilated. Heth's remaining 

" Thomas A. Nicholas. '"Platte Bridge and the Oregon Trail in the 
Civil War Period - 1855-1870." Casper Star Tribune. February' 19. 
1961, 14, 16-17; Thomas A. Nicholas. "A New Look at Richard's 
Upper Platte Bridge and Trading Post at Evansville. Wyoming."" 
Casper Star Tribune, n.d.. 1963. 12-13, 16; McDermott. Frontier 
Crossroads. 1 0; Ricker. Magloire Mosseau. tablet 28, p. 1 6-20. The 
area occupied by this military encampment is within the boundaries 
of Reshaw Park in the Town of Evansville. Wyoming. A protective 
fence has been erected pending further archaeological exploration. 
■"' This massacre at Blue Water Creek was near Ash Hollow. Since the 
soldiers were the victors, it was dubbed a battle. Due to the recorder 
of the incident's ignorance of the local geography, it is usually referred 
to as the Battle of Ash Hollow. Utley and Washburn. 205-206. 
^' Nicholas, ""Platte Bridge and the Oregon Trail." 14; McDermott, 
Frontier Crossroads. 10-11. Lt. Hill's post retum for that month is 
the only known reference to the post being called ""Fort Clay,"' pre- 
sumably in honor of former Secretary of State Henry Clay. 
" Among the civilians employed by Camp Davis was Nick Janis, 
as interpreter. McDermott. Frontier Crossroads, p. 12; Robert A. 
Murray, p. 13. 

Summer !200:2 


prisoner, Wolf-Fire or Fire- Wolf (depending on differing 
records), was then sent to Fort Laramie in irons. The 
prisoner was successfully transported to the fort, but died 
there while incarcerated/' 

By this time Magloire Mosseau had also moved to the 
vicinity of Richard's Bridge. Mosseau stated that quite 
a number of people had collected at the bridge fonning 
a small community. Richard employed many of these 
people, but not all; some lived there for the convenience 
and safety from Indians. Mosseau established a ranch 
some five or six miles above the bridge on the north bank 
of the river. At times he had up to 200 cattle and 120 
horses and mules. Some diaries of this period mention a 
trading post, mostly dealing in livestock, near the top of 
the hill about five miles beyond the bridge. This was pre- 
sumably Mosseau's operation. The date of his departure 
from this area is not certain, but apparently around 1 864. 
he moved on to the South Pass area.^ 

Following Peter Gamier's death, his Indian wife pre- 
pared to move her son and three daughters to Fort 
Laramie. John Richard did not wish to see young Bat 
leave. Consequently, Bat stayed on at the bridge as an 
extended member of the Richard family where he stayed 
for the next several years. ^^ 

On July 4. 1 856, the trading company of Todd & Gor- 
don arrived at the bridge with a train of freight wagons 
headed for points west. Todd & Gordon broke out their 
whiskey and Capt. Heth furloughed his men to celebrate 
Independence Day. J. Robert Brown, employed by a simi- 
lar company that arrived the following day, remained there 
a few days for repairs. The following entries from his 
journal describe the frontier military camp and life at 
Richard's Bridge: 

Saturday: July 5. 1856- 

We soon came in sight of the bridge across the Platte . 
. . Just before we got to the buildings, a soldier came out 
to meet us with his gun and an order from Capt. Heath 
[Heth] to Yates & Maunder [Brown's employers] not to 
sell any liquor to any one. There are several very good 
log buildings here; these are used as a store, dwelling 
houses for the traders, blacksmith shop, etc. There are 
about thirty lodges belonging to the Crows and Sioux, the 
soldiers live in lodges also; there are only fifty-eight of 
them here now; many are deserting at every opportunity.''* 
Todd & Gordon arrived here yesterday morning, and the 
Capt. giving his men the holiday, they had a real drunken 
spree off Todd & Gordon's whisky, of which they sold a 
large quantity. 

The brothers Richards (pro. Reshaw) own the post and 
the bridge here, and are coining money from it; they have 
made over $200,000 apiece... They appear to be very 
clever men ... We were to stop here and get our tire reset 
on two wagons. There are a number of men here returning 

from California. They speak in the highest terms of the 
country. They are amusing themselves by betting with 
the soldiers ... There is the most bustle and stir here for 
the small number of men that I have seen since I left home. 
This is quite a busy place. Wood is very scarce here, and 
we could hardly get enough to bake our bread. Capt. Heath 
[Heth] sent down a guard to watch Yates and his wagons, 
to keep him from selling whisky to the soldiers. Yates is 
ver>' much vexed and put out about this, and calls it "tak- 
ing away the liberties of an American citizen on his own 
soil!" Good. I say . . . 

Sunday. July 6. 1856- 

Moming cool and balmy ... After breakfast, I agreed to 
help the blacksmith work on the wagon. Whistling Bill 
and Theodore were sent up the river about three miles to 
guard the cattle. The Indians are coming in from all di- 
rections; there are three tribes represented among these. 
Crows, Sioux. Shoshones or Snakes; some are dressed 
very gaudily; there were four or five young chiefs whom 
I admired very much, they were so well dressed in their 
wild romantic Indian costume — beads, feathers, brass 
rings and steel, buckskin and buffalo robes, were all dis- 
played to advantage. They had some very fine horses, of 
which they seemed ver\ proud . . . Naked little Indians, 
male and female, running all around here: some of these 
little fellows are models of form. Other little Indians are 
dressed as white children, and exhibit some taste. 

Yates has been trading with the Indians this morning, 
giving them lead, coffee, sugar, etc.. for their buckskins. A 
train of California emigrants passed over the bridge. Capt. 
Heath [Heth] sent his Lieutenant and six men and a little 
w agon to our camp, rolled out Yates" whisky and put it in 
this little wagon, and rolled it off up to camp Davis, to put 
the disorderly article in limbo. Todd & Gordon had to take 
their whisky wagon up there, too . . . The whole of this 
whisky matter has been a source of sport for me. I got my 
pistol repaired to-day for one dollar . . . Yates and Maun- 
der have sold $ 1 500 worth of goods to the Richards at a 
fair profit. This has been an active, exciting day to me; I 
have been busy, and had some fun. 

'*' McDemiott. Frontier Crossroads. 12-13; W'illiam Y, Chalfant. 
Cheyennes and Horse Soldiers. (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press. 1989). 34-36. Susan Bordeaux Bertelyoun related a stor>' of 
Trapper Gamier being killed and scalped by Cheyennes in 1 857. This 
could be Peter Gamier, but if so. Bertelyoun had mistaken the _\ear. 
This story was hearsa> . given that she was bom that year. Bertelyoun. 
69. J. W. Vaughn related another story of Gamier's death, stating that 
he was mistakenly killed one Saturday when he was bringing home a 
deer on his back that he had shot. Vaughn. 1 42. 
" Ricker. Magloire Mosseau. tablet 28. p. 21-24. 51. 
'■ Bat grew to learn both sides of his mixed heritage and become one 
of the most outstanding scouts and hunters the United States military 
ever employed. Brian Jones. 42: Vaughn. 142; Julie Dean. "Transition 
Years. 1880-1890 - Chapter Three - Fort Robinson Illustrated." 
Sebraskaland Magazine 64 (Nebraska Game and Parks Commis- 
sion. Januan. -February . 1986). 42-44. 

■"' The deserters were P' Sgt. Edward Lovejoy and Sgt. Fred Meredith. 
Both departed shortly after the murder of Peter Gamier. McDermott, 
Frontier Crossroads. 13. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Monday. July 7, 1856- 

After breakfast I again helped the blacksmith finish the 
wagons ... Yates and Billy replaced the goods in three 
wagons, having sold one to the Richards ... Todd and Gor- 
don again hitched up and left us, saying they were going 
to beat us into Salt Lake, or kill all their oxen. Yates says 
they "sha'nt" ... There are not so many Indians about to- 
day as there were yesterday. After the Crows left yester- 
day, the Sioux went out and drove in all their horses and 
stood guard over them all night ... 

"1 went up to the Captain's camp to get some beans. I 
had to wait until they were done drilling the Company, 
when the Captain invited me into his lodge. I conversed 
with him and his Lieutenant for some time, and found 
them very sociable and agreeable. Captain asked $10 per 
bushel for beans; this was more than Yates said to give, 
so I returned without them. As soon as 1 got back, we 
started; crossed the bridge, which is an excellent one, 
built entirely of wood. At the north end of this bridge is an 
excellent coal mine. We traveled over a very hilly and 
sandy road, and camped near the river ..." 

Depredations by the Indians had been minimal along 
the Platte for several months and the trading post had 
grown into a sizeable civilian community. By the fall of 
that year the Army decided to abandon Camp Davis. 
Given earlier problems with the enlisted men at the post, 
officials may have feared that all the men would desert if 
condemned to spend another winter at the camp. In No- 
vember 1 856, Capt. Charles S. Lovell, then in command 
of the camp, was ordered to pack up his 10"' Infantry 
Company and return to Fort Laramie."* 

As tensions grew between the United States Govern- 
ment and the Latter Day Saints in 1 857, military troops 
were sent to Utah in the so-called Mormon War. Among 
the many officers ordered to Utah was Capt. John Wolcott 
Phelps. On Sept. 13, 1857, Capt. Phelps and his com- 
pany of 2"'' Dragoons arrived at "The Bridge," as he 
reported was the only name used for Richard's Bridge at 
that time. He remarked on Richard's ingenuity for creat- 
ing the structure, although low water that fall allowed he 
and his troops to ford the river just above "The Bridge." 
He also noted the presence of the small coal mine on the 
north bank of the river there. Richard had gone to St. 
Louis and had yet to return, but the trading post did a 
booming business from Phelps' troops. The company 
camped a few miles beyond the bridge on the north bank 
of the Platte and spent the following day at rest, which 
Phelps explained was not at all like it sounded. Rest, he 
stated, meant not moving. In fact it is a grueling day of 
labor, greasing wagon wheels, shoeing livestock, and 
making all of the numerous repairs necessary to proceed 
the following day. Phelps did manage to catch up with 
his correspondence that day and read a copy of the 

Mormon's Deseret News that had been picked up at 
Richard's Trading Post."' 

On November 30, 1 857, F. W. Lander presented a pre- 
liminary engineering report on the western wagon road 
to the Secretary of the Interior. Lander's report was not 
presented to Congress until early in 1859. Had this re- 
port been acted upon soon after its writing, America's 
westward migration may have developed in a consider- 
ably different manner. The following paragraphs are ex- 
cerpts from that report regarding Richard's Bridge: 

I was guided by the following conclusion, viz: A large 
sum of money had been appropriated to build a practi- 
cable wagon road over a route where a practicable wagon 
road had existed for the last ten years. Want of grass, 
danger of loss of stock by deleterious and poisonous wa- 
ters, extreme tolls levied by traders' bridges, and the cir- 
cuitous route pursued, were difficulties to be overcome 
or obliviated . . . 

A preliminary reconnaissance, made by [t]he chief en- 
gineer, has established the fact that several days' travel 
can be saved upon the rear division between Fort Kearney 
and the South Pass. The emigration can also be divided 
on this division, much sandy road avoided, and many of 
the traders" bridges rendered fi-ee by the expenditure of 
the sum of $40,000. . . 

In the last instance, it is proposed that the work is to be 
done during the summer of 1859, and after the division 
from the South Pass to City of Rocks is completed the 
bridges of the rear division to be rendered free by the 
proceeds of the sale of the stock of the expedition when 
the work is over. This proposal to postpone the purchase 
of the traders' bridges until 1 859 must be qualified by the 
presumption of the fact that the present tolls will be an 
exorbitant tax on government transportation during 1 858, 
if large military operations are carried on in Utah Terri- 

The arrival of Assistant Engineer Mullowny will bring 
intelligence of a new route, by which it is proposed to 
avoid the bridge over the north fork of the Platte. The 
price of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) is asked for 
the bridge by the owner, and the passage of it yearly costs 
the emigration from four to ten thousand dollars. The 
bridge is offered for sale in apprehension of the building 
of a free bridge by the wagon road expedition. The owner, 
Mr. John Richard, is a reliable mountain trader. He pro- 
poses either to give bonds to keep the bridge in good 

^' The journal entries are quoted directly from J. Robert Brown 's 
Journal. Yale University has given their permission to print them. 
Journal, J. Robert Brown, Western Americana Collection, Beinecke 
Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Library, New 
Haven, Connecticut, 51-54. 
■" Robert A. Murray, 14. 

•*' Capt. John Wolcott Phelps, Diary of August 16, 1857 to September 
29, 1857. Rare Books and Manuscripts, New York Public Library, 
New York. 

Summer 2002 


repair for six years, and to renew it if destroyed within that 
time, or to receive only one sixth part of the purchase 
money yearly. The same arrangement could undoubtedly 
be made in relation to the bridge at [Fort] Laramie. In view 
of the large military operations now going on in the coun- 
try, the War Department might properly join their funds 
with those of the wagon road in the purchase of the Rich- 
ard bridge... ■" 

By early June 1 858, the U.S. Government decided to 
re-establish a post at Richard's Bridge to protect and 
assist the numerous trains of supplies that were traveling 
west to support the troops in Utah. Capt. Joseph Roberts 
commanded two companies of artillery that arrived there 
in July. More than 100 men were stationed at the new 
■'Post at Platte Bridge," including some two dozen civil- 
ian teamsters. The new post was set up just south of the 
former Camp Davis. Officially it was the "Post at Platte 
Bridge," but unofficially it was referred to as "Camp 
Payne" in honor of Lt. Col. M. M. Payne of the 4"^ Ar- 
tillery. The soldiers stationed there satirically revamped 
this popular name into "Camp Pain " shortly after Pri- 
vate John Morgan died in the post hospital that August. 
One of the junior officers at Camp Payne was 1" Lt. 
Joseph Claypoole Clark Jr., a talented artist who drew "a 
well and neatly executed topographical sketch of the post 
and its vicinity. "'' 

Rumors of gold in the Rocky Mountains had been cir- 
culating for years, but most seekers of the precious metal 
had concentrated their efforts in the Sierra Nevadas of 
California. Early in 1 858, however, new information, pre- 
sumably contributed by Indians, prompted two expedi- 
tions into the Pike's Peak region of Colorado. In May, 
one group left Lawrence, Kansas, in search of the allur- 
ing yellow metal. Shortly after their arrival , members of 
the Lawrence Company were panning gold from Cherry 
Creek at present-day Denver, Colorado. Within days, John 
Richard received word of the strike through his network. 
He traveled to Fort Laramie where he and some cronies 
set off for the South Platte to confirm the story. 

By the end of August word of the gold strike had 
reached St. Louis and John Richard was one of the first 
men to have reported it. He had arrived in Kansas City 
August 28, with reports that a very rich gold find had 
been made and that even with limited prospecting amaz- 
ing results were obtained. He claimed two men with poor 
equipment had washed out $600 in gold in less than a 
week. On Sept. 1, 1858, the Missouri Republican re- 
ported that John Richard, Charles Martin," and William 
Rencleleur [Kenceleur] had recently arrived at Rulo, 
Nebraska Territory, with news that gold had been dis- 
covered on Cherry Creek. By the time John Richard, 
Elmore King and C. C. Carpenter arrived in St. Louis 

the rush had already begun. The excitement that these 
reports had created in St. Louis had kicked off the fa- 
mous Pike's Peak Gold Rush." 

Before year's end John Richard had met his brother 
Joseph at Cherry Creek where they opened the first store 
there and supplied the miners with numerous necessi- 
ties. Joseph Richard also started a ranch on Clear Creek, 
some five miles outside of the town that would become 
Denver, Colo. Peter Richard opened a trading post at 
Cheyenne Pass that he ran in conjunction w ith his brother's 
operations at Cherry Creek and Richard's Bridge. John 
Richard did not give up his bridge operation to work in 
the gold fields; instead he used both to his advantage. 

The miners when arriving at Cherry Creek were often 
too busy or too broke to care for the livestock that brought 
them there. Consequently, most of these animals were 
turned loose on the prairie to fend for themselves. For 
those who could afford it, care and grazing were offered 
(for a nominal fee of course) at Joseph's nearby ranch. 
For the rest Richard would offer to purchase their live- 
stock at a minimal price. All sources of wild game were 
soon driven from the area by the influx of miners. In a 
short time there was a shortage of available meat to feed 
the growing population. John Richard was the man to 
take advantage of this situation. He had established large 
herds of both oxen and beef cattle in the north. The horses 
and mules he acquired at the "diggings" were herded to 
Richard's Bridge, where he received top dollar for them 
from the emigrants. Once there, his drovers gathered a 
herd of cattle to take back to Joseph's Clear Creek ranch. 

■" F. W. Lander. Preliminary report ofF. W. Lander. Report of the 
Secretary oj the interior. Ji"" Congress. Feb. 23. 1859. (National 

■ ' This ""sketch" unfortunately has eluded the historian's searches. If 
ever discovered it will provide valuable information to the archeolo- 
gists who have worked at the site. McDermott. Frontier Crossroads. 
16-17; Murray, 15. 

" Charles Martin was bom in Canada in 1818. He was listed as one 
of the foundersof Rulo, Nebraska, along with William Kenceleur and 
Eli Plant in the summer of 1855. He also appeared on the 1860 census 
there. His early exploits in Colorado must have been very lucrative. 
His occupation was listed as Gentleman and his personal and real 
estate value at $ 1 1 .000. Edwards; Census of Rulo. Richardson County. 
Nebraska Territory, I860. 

■ ' Articles from htissouri Republican, August 31, 1858. and Septem- 
ber I. 1858, cited by Brian Jones. \5-\6. 42: McDennott. John Baptiste 
Richard. II, 300; McDermott. Frontier Crossroads. 16; Barry. 1 140. 
Carpenter was a member of the Lawrence Company. Brian Jones. 15. 
William ""Rencleleur" was undoubtedly William Kenceleur. who had 
been a partner in Richard's Bridge and Joseph Bissonette's Trading 
Posts. According to the 1 860 census. Kenceleur was bom in Canada 
in 1 804. He had three children by a previous marriage ranging fi-om 1 1 
to 1 7 years old and a 19-year-old wife, Zella, who was the mother of 
their six-month-old daughter, Melissa. William's occupation was listed 
as Carpenter and the value of the family estate at $5,120. Census of 
Rulo. Richardson County, Nebraska Territory, 1860. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Richard made money at both ends of the trail. During 
this time he employed more than 20 Indian women at the 
bridge making buckskin clothing, moccasins and other 
Indian items that could be sold to the miners in Colorado. 
This enterprise was the first operation that could be clas- 
sified as an industry in what is now Wyoming.^^ 

The wagon train of F. M. Baker arrived at Richard's 
Bridge in the spring of 1859. Baker recorded the day: 

Started on again, soaking with rain, and reached a ranch 
at Platte Bridge, an eight-span wooden structure. Crossed 
over and paid two dollars per team of four horses. Rain 
slackened, and after awhile stopped for dinner. At the 
ranch two companies of troops were stationed. Quite a 
number of Indians hung around. A young-looking squaw 
came along with her ponies and papooses. She had on a 
clean calico dress, mostly of a pink color. Her children 
looked clean . . . She tied a long strap around the second 
pony's neck, then started her own pony with agility, and 
throwing over her shoulders her clean white blanket, she 
was off in a moment, her nest of papooses next, her little 
boy following, then a mare and colt." 

On April 26, 1859, shortly after Baker's visit to the 
bridge, an Indian fatally stabbed a Frenchman named 
LaBeau in the chest. The Officer of the Day searched 
the village and examined several Indians in an effort to 
discover the assailant. He eventually arrested three men, 
but later released them for lack of evidence. Perhaps this 
was not the true reason that the investigation was so 
quickly dropped. "Camp Payne" was busy packing up 
and preparing to abandon the "Post at Platte Bridge," 
which they did a few days later. President James 
Buchanan, through Thomas L. Kane and peace com- 
missioners Ben McCulloch and Lazarus W. Powell, ne- 
gotiated an agreement with the Mormons. Brigham Young 
had been pardoned nearly a year before. The Mormon 
War was over and, once again, the military no longer felt 
the need to protect the bridge.'* 

In June 1859, Richard was back in command at the 
bridge on the Platte. Several diarists mentioned the bridge 
and trading post that year. Hammet Hubbard Case 
crossed Richard's Bridge on June 1 2 and called it a stout 
timber bridge. He also referred to the 15-20 "comfort- 
able" log homes that stood nearby. J. A. Wilkinson also 
crossed the bridge the same day. He surmised that the 
construction of such a structure over such a swift river 
as the Platte must have been quite a costly project. He 
also ventured into the trading post. There, he was amused 
by the efficiency of Richard's clerks, bartering with the 
Indians through sign language." 

Others were not so well entertained by John Richard 
and his employees. About this time another enterprising 

individual offered the first competition to Richard's Bridge 
in several years. At a point a few miles upstream from 
the bridge a true ferry was put into operation. Details of 
the ownership of this ferry are sketchy. Previous ferries 
were steered across the river and landed at some point 
downstream to be towed back with oxen. This ferry had 
guide ropes that spanned the river to which the ferry 
was attached by pulleys and hauled back and forth across 
the river. Richard was furious about this challenge to 
his monopoly and reportedly bought out this new entre- 
preneur for $300. Following this buy-out, Richard towed 
the ferry to the north bank of the Platte and tied it off 

A short time later, a large wagon train bound for Cali- 
fornia arrived at Richard's Bridge and the captain of the 
train began negotiating with Richard for the toll. When 
Richard would go no lower than two-and-a-half-dollars 
per wagon, the captain told him that they would continue 
on to the ferry. To this, Richard responded that the ferry 
no longer existed and after a heated argument, Richard 
informed the captain that the price would be five dollars 
per wagon when they returned. The captain refused to 
believe him and led his train on toward the ferry cross- 
ing. When they arrived there, they found the ferry as 
Richard had left it and put it into operation. 

When the train failed to return in an ample amount of 
time, Richard ascertained what had happened and gath- 
ered together a group of well-armed men. They then 
crossed the bridge and proceeded to a vantage point on 
the north bank at the ferry crossing. When they arrived 
at the top of a steep hill overlooking the ferry, Richard 
could see that all but a few of the wagons had already 
been crossed. Leaving the majority of his small army 
prepared for battle at the top of the hill, Richard and 
three of his best men descended the hill and confronted 
George Morris, who was in charge of the operation on 
the north side of the river. Attacking Morris with a fusil- 
lade of profanities, Richard proclaimed that he would enlist 
his Indian friends to ambush the wagon train and most 
assuredly there would be no survivors. Morris soon grew 
tired of Richard's verbal abuse and Richard, in his blinded 

" Brian Jones. 16; McDermott, Frontier Crossroads. 16; Hafen, 
Leroy. Reports From Colorado, XIll, 206; Gilbert. 14-15. 
"■^ The diary gives a description of the Indian girl. Notice that Baker 
uses the word "clean" three times in this description. The Plains 
Indians were an extremely clean people, bathing and washing their 
clothing far more often than most whites in that era. Portrayals of 
these people as dirty, mispresents the historical facts. F. M. Baker, 
Hozial H. Baker, ed.. Overland Journey to Carson ( 'alley & Califor- 
nia. (Book Club of California, 1973), 34-35. 
"■ McDermott. Frontier Crossroads, 20; MacKinnon. 
" Brian Jones. 42-44; The diaries of Hammet Hubbard Case and J. 
A. Wilkinson are cited by McDermott, Frontier Crossroads, 20. 

Summer 200'2 


fury, had not noticed Morris' movement to draw his pis- 
tol. With John Richard at gunpoint, Morris told him that 
he had heard enough and if he had anything more to say 
to tell it to the captain who was still on the south bank. 

Richard, with his three men then boarded the ferry and 
crossed to the south side of the river, where he took up 
with the captain where he had left off with Morris. With 
a barrage of indignations and profanities, Richard laid 
into the captain. Suddenly, he heard the ominous click of 
a rifle being cocked behind him. The silence was deaf- 
ening as Richard measured the circumstances in his mind. 
His men atop the hill on the far side of the river were out 
of range, if he died, those men could annihilate a large 
portion of this wagon train, but none of his men were in a 
position to cover the man who held the rifle at his back 
presently. Richard ordered his men back to the bridge 
and the foursome proceeded along the south bank. When 
the men had passed what Richard must have considered 
a safe distance, he turned and hollered back to the cap- 
tain that 500 Sioux would be on them by sundown. The 
wagon train continued to California and arrived there w ith- 
out further malice or molestation. ■** 

Another diarist stated that John Richard, in a drunken 
state, drove his carriage through an emigrant train, caus- 
ing a stampede in which two men were killed. Richard 
was not above partaking of his own whiskey nor was he 
above going wild at times. During the same year Rich- 
ard also opened a "Sub-Post" to his bridge operation, 
near the Red Buttes crossing about ten miles west of 
Richard's Bridge.^" 

Peter Richard was enjoying his own success at Chey- 
enne Pass. He purchased 18,000 pounds of bacon in St. 
Louis to sell to the miners from his trading post. At his 
inflated "boomtown" prices he brought in $9,000 from 
sales of the bacon alone. William H. H. Larimer, a no- 
table pioneer in Denver, commented on the spectacle of 
John and Joe Richard's families taking a vacation. "They 
had a large band of paint ponies which they would drive 
in and saddle for the whole family to go visiting someone 
for a week or two.""'' 

While business was booming for his brothers in Colo- 
rado, John Richard was spending the fall of 1 859 at the 
bridge. On October 1 1, Capt. William F. Raynolds left 
camp in advance of his topographical expedition with Dr. 
Ferdinand V. Hayden and Mr. Wilson for the Platte 
Bridge. Prior to his departure, he asked his guide, Jim 
Bridger, if there was any danger of missing the Platte 
road when they crossed it. Bridger only laughed. When 
he saw the famous thoroughfare he realized for the first 
time, the significance of the migration, and the humor 
Jim Bridger had seen that morning in his own ignorance. 
Raynolds found the volume of traffic on the road aston- 

ishing, even this late in the season. He was amazed when 
he realized that there was about the same amount of 
traffic eastbound as west. He was seldom out of sight 
from some vehicle traveling one direction or the other 
"upon this great highway." There was even a group of 
ladies traveling in an ambulance "bound for ihe Slates." 

The Raynolds Expedition had traveled from Fort Pierre 
to the Black Hills and then southwesterly. The captain 
had intersected the Oregon Trail near Red Buttes. After 
arriving there, he and his immediate companions went 
east on the road and at a rapid pace soon covered the 1 8 
miles to Richard's Bridge and Trading Post. When he 
arrived at the Trading Post. John Richard informed him 
that Lt. H. E. Maynadier's party was not far behind his 
own. When asked how Richard could possibly have such 
knowledge, he was told that an Indian informant, just 
recently arrived, had seen them on Powder River. Rich- 
ard also gave Raynolds a four-month-old letter and told 
him that there were more waiting for him at the post 
office, Bissonette's Trading Post, at Deer Creek. 

At Capt. Raynolds' request, Richard sent a man to 
Deer Creek for his mail and Raynolds sent a message to 
Fort Laramie to have their supplies there brought up. 
While Raynolds was enjoying the best of Richard's west- 
ern hospitality and the luxury of eating dinner from a 
table while sitting down, the majority of Raynolds' mili- 
tary contingent arrived there and began partaking of the 
wares at Richard's two saloons. Before returning to their 
camp at Red Buttes. Raynolds' escort had drunk enough 
alcohol that they "had turned the camp into bedlam." 

■^ The author has found the location of" this t"eiT\\ It is just south of 
the present-day Casper Event" s Center and the National Historic 
Trails Center. The owner of this fern, may have been Magloire 
Mosseau. Although he did not mention embarking in such an enter- 
prise, the location was in the vicinity of the ranch he operated there at 
the time. Ricker. Magloire Mosseau, tablet 28. p. 2 1-24. 5 1 ; William 
H. Carmichael traveled to California on this wagon train in 1859. In 
the 1 890s he resided in Wheatland, and related this story to Coutant 
in an interview. C. G. Coutant. The History of Wyoming from the 
Earliest Known Discoveries. (Laramie: C. G. Coutant. publisher. 
Chaplin. Spat"t"ord & Mathison. 1899). 365-367. 
-'' Did this event occurred as an aftermath to the previous one? There 
are no other accounts to substantiate this event. The author of the 
diary did not claim to have witnessed the occurrence and this story , as 
he had heard it. may have been exaggerated as was ot"ten the case in the 
Wild I'ronlicr. McDermott. Frontier Crossroads. 21. 
'" It is obvious t"rom the 1860 Denver census that though Joseph and 
Peter were the primary operators of the Colorado businesses. John 
still owned the controlling interests in them. Census records reported 
the estimated '"\alue of personal estate."" The> showed Jno. [John] 
Richard age 50. at $25,000; Peter Richard age 40. at $1,400; and 
Joseph Richard age 35 [37]. at $10,000. All three of these men would 
have been considered wealthy for that period, at a time when a skilled 
laborer only earned around $20-30 per month in the eastern United 
States, llafen. Repons From Colorado. Xlll. 206. The I860 Denver 
census records are cited bv Brian Jones. 40; Gilbert, 14. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

The commander of the escort considered Raynolds' title 
of "Captain" simply honorary as an engineer and, conse- 
quently, that Raynolds had no authority over them. The 
expedition suffered a mutiny by the escort. 

Without military support Raynolds, accompanied by 
Bridger, then performed a reconnaissance of Carson's 
Creek in search of a location to spend the winter. When 
Raynolds and Bridger returned to camp they found that 
the escort abandoned them. To their surprise, however, 
Lt. Maynadier had arrived in advance of his own party, 
who also soon joined them. That day a man arrived from 
Richard's Bridge with the mail for both parties from Deer 
Creek. The arrival of the mail and Maynadier uplifted 
Raynolds' spirits. Carson's Creek had proven to be an 
unsuitable location for their winter quarters, and the next 
several days were spent exploring other alternatives.*' 

When nearly all options to Raynolds had been ex- 
hausted. Major Thomas Twiss, the Indian Agent for the 
Upper Platte Agency at Deer Creek, offered a possible 
solution. When the Mormons abandoned their Y. X. re- 
lay station at Deer Creek a few years earlier, they left 
several unfinished dwellings at the site. With limited 
manpower and winter drawing near, these cabins seemed 
to offer the quickest available shelter. Capt. Raynolds 
took Twiss up on his suggestion and soon his expedition 
was afforded some protection from the elements. The 
completion of these houses could not have been more 
timely. By mid-November, with several of the men still 
living in tents, the thermometer had already dipped to 
sub-zero temperatures on more than one occasion. 
Raynolds and his party spent most of the winter tran- 
scribing pages of survey notes of the previous summer's 
work into maps and documentation." 

Louis Guinard, whose bridge across the Sweetwater 
River had washed out the previous spring, contracted 
Joseph McKnight to build a new bridge across the Platte 
a few miles above Richard's. John Richard would be 
unable to control the monopoly that he had held for eight 
years with his bridge on the Upper Platte. The animosity 
Guinard was creating with the construction of his new 
bridge was caused by a much older enmity between the 
two men. To further aggravate Richard's hostility, 
McKnight was married to John Richard's stepdaughter 
and had long been in his employ. Perhaps his recently 
attained affluence in the Colorado gold fields was an omen 
that it was time for a change; life at John Richard's Bridge 
and Trading Post would never again be the same. His 
interests in Colorado had required his frequent absence 
from the North Platte operations, but not his involvement. 
These absences however may have cost him consider- 
able influence in the development of some new ventures 
that were pending along the Platte." 

The well known freight company of Russell, Majors 
and Waddeil were the instigators of an organization that 
was not only one of the most famous, but shortest lived 
ventures in history— the Pony Express. These freighters 
invested thousands of dollars establishing nearly 200 re- 
lay stations along the proposed route in 1 859 and 1 860. 
Joseph Bissonette's Deer Creek operation was one of 
the selected sites. John Richard's Red Buttes Trading 
Post was also on the list, but Louis Guinard's new bridge 
was chosen over Richard's Bridge for the crossing of 
the Platte and, consequently, the relay station.*^ 

William Russell spent several months lobbying that the 
Platte River Route for mail service to California was far 
superior to the much longer southern route of the Over- 
land Mail Company. In April 1 860, the inaugural run of 
the Pony Express was set into motion. The delays the 
riders suffered along some portions of the journey were 
made up for by other riders along the route. By July 
Russell's political efforts and demonstration had paid off 
and the Pony Express received federal approval. Much 
to his dismay, the route was approved, but the contract 
was awarded to the Overland Mail Company. The Over- 
land was not prepared to undertake the necessary change 
in their own operation and sub-contracted Russell and 
his partners to fulfill the obligation."- 

Several contract mail carriers were companies doing 
business as stage lines, including Russell, Majors and 
Waddeil. In 1 859 they had acquired the former Salt Lake 
Stage and Mail Line which had become the Leavenworth 
and Pikes Peak Express. Under the new owners, it was 
again renamed becoming the Central Overland, Califor- 

'■' Raynolds. Captain William F., Report on the Kxploration of the 
Yellowstone River. (United States Army Corps of Engineers. 1868). 
p. 70-72; The Carson's Creek in Raynolds" description is what is 
now known as Bates Creek. John C. Fremont named it Carson 's 
Creek on one of his early expeditions for his guide, mountain man Kit 
Carson. The origin of the name of Bates Creek varies depending on 
the source. One source states that it was named for a trapper named 
Bates. This trapper, according to popular lore, stumbled off the Laramie 
Plains into what is now Bates Hole. After becoming entangled in a 
mass of brush, he was forced to halt until daylight. When he awoke he 
looked around him and said. "Well, Bates has sure got hisself into a 
hell of a hole this time." A less colorful, but more likely origin is that 
it was named for Capt. Alfred Bates following a skirmish he and his 
troops had there with Indians in 1874. Settlers by the early 1880s 
knew the creek as Bates Creek. George C. Scott, These God Forsaken 
Dobie Hills: Land Law and the Settlement of Bates Hole, Wyoming 
1880-1940. unpublished MA thesis. University of Wyoming, 1978, 
1-2; Mae Urbanek. Wyoming Place Names. (Boulder: Johnson Pub- 
lishingCo., 1967), 17. 
"^ Raynolds, 72-73. 

"■' Cragin. William T. Eubank, notebook I. p. 5/25 & 6/26. 
'■^ Bryans. 118-121; McDermott, Frontier Crossroads. 25. 
" McDermott. Frontier Crossroads, 25; David Nevin, The Express- 
men - The Old West. (New York; Time-Life Books. 1974). 88-98. 

Summer '200:2 


nia, and Pikes Peak Express or COC & PP. The freight- 
ers quickly learned that a stage line was more difficult to 
operate profitably than their freight operations had been. 
They jokingly said the initials actually stood for "Clean 
Out of Cash and Poor Pa}'.'' Their endeavor to obtain 
the mail contract through the Pony Express had been in 
the effort to bring their newly acquired stage line out of 
the red. Sub-contracting the mail for Ben Hoi laday's Over- 
land Mail Company was nearly as unprofitable for the 
stage line as it had been without it."" 

The COC & PP continued to operate at a loss through 
1 860. In August of that year they carried a famous pas- 
senger, the world traveler. Sir Richard F. Burton who 
was observing the west, with a planned stay at Salt Lake 
before continuing on to California. On August i 6, at Deer 
Creek Station he met Joseph Bissonette and thought that 
though other travelers may have found his well-stocked 
trading post's prices high, they were competitive with 
others he had seen along the way. Little Muddy Creek 
Station he found was poorly stocked, " — whiskey form- 
ing the only positive item.""^ 

Burton's observations shed considerable light on John 
Richard, his bridge and the community that surrounded 
it. Burton's experience as a scholar of diversified cul- 
tures and human behavior prompted him to see life from 
a different prospective than most of the diarists of the 
era. Even in late August he noted the necessity of the 
bridges crossing the Platte's raging currents. Enjoying a 
glass of whiskey in Richard's "'indispensable store, — the 
tete-de-poiit," he was surprised to have it served "on 
ice," the first he had seen in weeks. The sign bearing the 
name of Richard's saloon, the Tete-de-ponl, must have 
been prominent for Burton to mention it. It is surprising 
that Burton, who had spent a considerable time in France 
and had some command of that language, should also 
misspell Richard, as Regshaw."^ 

He also must have carried on a detailed conversation 
with the proprietor to ascertain that he had "gained and 
lost more fortunes than a Wall Street professional "lame- 
duck'." The coal vein on the north bank of the river 
showed signs of development when Burton was there 
and he concluded that due to the lack of other sources of 
fuel in the area, that this could prove to be one of 
Richard's most valuable assets."" The settlement adjoin- 
ing Richard's Bridge had also grown over the years, to 
the point that Burton referred to it as a '"town." Nearby, 
the then vacant "Post at Platte Bridge" had deteriorated 
to "a few stumps of crumbling wall, broken floorings, 
and depressions in the ground." 

After enjoying John Richard's amenities, Burton's 
coach continued on the short distance to Guinard's Bridge 
where he spent the night at the COC & PP station. Louis 

Guinard and his Shoshone wife who operated the station 
met him there. He was unimpressed by the accommoda- 
tions and disgusted by the meal that was served. Wishing 
he had eaten at Richard's, Burton commented: ""It was 
impossible to touch the squaw's supper; the tin cans that 
contained the coffee were slippery with grease, and the 
bacon looked as if it had been dressed side by side with 
"boyaux'. 1 lighted my pipe, and air-cane in hand, sallied 
forth to look at the country."™ 

"The town" Burton had referred to at Richard's Bridge 
consisted of at least the following buildings: two saloons, 
two trading posts, two blacksmith shops, one large ware- 
house, one ice-house, one lodging house, one eatery, one 
livery, and 1 5-20 homes. The population fluctuated from 
about 60 to 1 00 civilian residents, in addition to the vari- 
ous military and Indian encampments. Richard also main- 
tained a grazing camp near the foot of what is now Casper 
Mountain. He employed carpenters and an accountant 
in addition to his clerks, traders, hunters, teamsters, herd- 
ers, laborers and various other positions." 

As the Pony Express riders rushed past Richard's settle- 
ment to his competitor's door, it must have seemed to 
him that lime itself was passing him by. Richard was 
now in his early fifties and would have been considered 
an old man by the standards of the day. 

Joseph Mcknight left the North Platte for the gold fields 
ofColorado after completing the construction of Guinard's 
Bridge. Evidently with the money he earned from 
Guinard, he accumulated the necessary capital to ven- 
ture into business for himself He established his own 
successful trading post at Thompson or Thompson's 

""Bryans. 127-128. 

"' Sir Richard F. Burton. Fawn M. Brodie. ed.. The Cin- of the Sainis 
and Across the Rocky Mountains to California. (New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf. 1963). 154-155; Br>ans. 61. 

'" The dictionary' definition of Tete-de-pont. [French], is "work 
thrown up to defend the entrance of a bridge." Webster 's New School 
c«0/j7ceD;cr/o/wn'. (Cleveland: World Publishing Co.. 1943). 755: 
Burton. 155-156. 

'■'' Burton's observations of Richard's coal mine and the possibility 
future development of the coal industr> in \V\oming in 1860 were 
"'Burton. 156. 

" The exact location of Richard's grazing camp is unknown. A likely 
candidate for the site is in the NE '4. of the SE ' 4. Sec. 35. T33N. 
R79W. 6'" Principal Meridian. Surveyors. Downey & Grant in 1880 
and William Owen in 1881/1882 recorded that there was a cabin at 
that location. This site is near the headwaters of a branch of Elkhom 
Creek, which is believed to have then been the creek called Reshaw 
Creek. Since there was no homestead patent applied for at this loca- 
tion until many years later, the cabin presumably was not regularly 
occupied at that time. Tract map T33N. R79W. 1883; Survey notes 
used to compile that map. 1880-1882. USGS survey records. Bureau 
of Land Management. Cheyenne. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Creek, near what would later become Fort Collins, Colo- 
rado. He remained there selling supplies to the miners 
and trading with the Indians for the next four years/- 

News came to the Platte that construction had begun 
on the transcontinental telegraph. In 1861 Thomas Twiss 
left the office of Indian Agent for the Upper Platte Agency 
and the agency was moved back to Fort Laramie. Twiss 
and his Indian family remained at Deer Creek. Red Cloud 
was waging war upon the Crow to the north. As John 
Richard's half-Indian sons grew to manhood, he delegated 
more responsibility to them, but they were not as adept in 
business as their father had been. 

The last boom to the community came in 1864 when 
Richard's Bridge became the "jump-off point" for the 
Bozeman Trail. By the following year shortcuts had been 
established to this route from Deer Creek and later Fort 
Fetterman. Long before the Battle of Platte Bridge 
(Guinard's Bridge) in 1865, John Richard had left the 
area and moved to Rock River on the Overland Trail. He 
and his family still owned the bridge and trading post on 
the Platte, but it was only occupied seasonally by traders 
in Richard's employ. During the severe winter of 1 865- 
1866. soldiers at the new Fort Casper adjacent to 
Guinard's Bridge dismantled the bridge and many of the 
nearby buildings for firewood and building materials." 

In June of 1866, John Richard Sr. was attempting to 
breathe life back into his operations on the North Platte 
River. It seems that Louis Richard may have been in 
charge of the affairs at the old trading post when an 
advertisement appeared in an unidentified Denver news- 

To Freighters and Emigrants 

RICHARD & CO. Fort Casper, Dakota Territory 

Known as the Old North Platte Bridge, or California 
Crossing, 120 miles west of Fort Laramie. 

Good accommodations for travelers. This is the best 
and nearest road for Emigrants and Freighters to Salt Lake. 
Virginia City Montana, and Califomia." 

This final effort to revive the once profitable enter- 
prise also failed. Within a year Fort Casper was dis- 
mantled and moved to expand the growing Fort Fetterman 
50 miles downstream. After the abandonment of Fort 
Caspar and Richard's Bridge, there is no record of habi- 
tation in the area for several years. When James H. Bury 
first passed the site of the old fort in the early 1870's, 
there was nothing there but the charred remains of the 
old adobe trading post at Fort Caspar. An era of prosper- 
ity on the Upper North Platte River had come to an end 
as the last evidence of commerce washed down the river 
during spring floods gradually disappeared beneath the 
drifting Wyoming sands." 

" Coutant, C. G.. Coutant Collection, box 4. folder 53. book 36. 
" Susan Badger Doyle, ""The Bozeman Trail. 1 863-1 868."" Annals of 
Wyoming. 70 (Spring. 1998); Murray. 23-24. 
'■" Cited by McDermott. Frontier Crossroads, 89. 
" Robert David. Interview of James H. Bury - ca. 1920. Unpub- 
lished Notes. The Bob David Collection. Goodstein Library. Special 
Collections. Casper College. Casper. 

Jefferson Glass wrote the biography of Jean 
Baptiste Richard (John Reshaw). in commemo- 
ration of the 75th anniversary of the Town of 
Evansville (May 15, 1998). Research for this 
article is based on that work. A chairman of 
the Evansville Historical Commission, he is a 
frequent writer on Casper area sites. He wrote 
"The Founder of Evansville: Casper Builder W. 
T. Evans. " that appeared in Annals of Wyoming. 
Autumn. 1998. 

Wyoming Picture 

"Liisk High School. " c. 1911. The building pictured in this postcard scene still stands. .After a new high ,s\ hnul 
building was constructed, the structure was used as a grade school until 1 953. Since then, the building is the home of 
the B. P. O. E. Elks. (Private collection) 

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nnais o 

Is of 


The Wyoming History Journal 

Autumn 2002 

Vol. 74, No. 4 



The Cover 

''Tallin the Saddle" 

a painting in the Centennial Collection, owned by the Wyoming State Historical 
Society and held in the Wyoming State Museum 
by Dave Paulley 

Artist Dave Paulley executed this painting as one in a series commissioned hy the Wyoming State 
Historical Society in the 1980s to commemorate the Wyoming Centennial in 1990. The painting 
features former Gov. Nels Smith who served as governor of Wyoming from 1939-43. Smith came to 
Wyoming in 1907 in a horse-drawn huggy with his father. Peter Smith. They located on the prairie 
north of Newcastle where they established a reputation for breeding prize Hereford ccitde. Percheron 
draft horses and saddle horses. According to Bethel Smith, the setting for this painting is on upper 
Cold Creek along the Cheyenne-Deadwood trail in the Black Hills of Wyoming. "This is part of 
the Smith ranch that five generations of the Stnith family have called home. " Bethel Smith wrote. 
"Many days are spent trailing and working the cattle in this beautiful setting. " 

The editor of .■innal.s of H'yoming welcomes manuscripts and pliotographs on every aspect of the history of Wyoming and tlic West. 
Appropriate for submission are unpublished, research-based articles which provide new information or w hich offer iicu interpretations 
of historical events First-person accounts based on personal experience or recollections of events will be considered for use in the 
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n 1 r 


Phil Rohert.s 

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Book Review Editor 

Call Hallherg 

ftmnals of 


The Wyoming History Journal 

Editorial Advisory Board 

Barbara Bogart, E\ anston 

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DncJIey Ciardner. Rock Springs 

Sally F- (Jritfith. Lusk/Ha\ertown, Pa. 

Don Hodgson. To?-?-ingt(^n 

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Mark Nel.son. (ireen Ri\'er 

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Thomas F. Stroock. Casper 

Lawrence M- Woods. Worland 

Autumn '2002 Vol. T+, No. 4 

Reflections on Owen Wister and The Virginian 

By John W. Stokes o 

Stokes, the grandson ofauthor Owen Wister. recounts his memories of his grandfather 
in this transcription of a talk Stokes delivered at the Wister svmposium. held in the lall 
of 2002 at the American Heritage Center. University of Wyoming 

The Virginian Meets Matt Shepherd 

By D. Claudia Thompson 6 

Thompson, an archivist in the American Heritage Center. Universitv of Wyoming, 
argues that the tragic death of University of Wvoming student Matthew Shepherd in 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Publications Committee 

Rick F\\ ig. Laramie 

Da\ id Kathka, Rock Spi ings 

Sherry L. Smith. Moose 

Amy Lawrence. Laramie 

Nancy Curti.s. CHendo 

Dick Wilder, Cody (e\-otlicio) 

Loren .lost. Ri\'erton (e\-ofbcio) 

Phil Roiierts. Laramie (ex-ot!icio) 

1998 stems from the myth of the cowboy. The lirginiuii. published a century ago, 
populari/'cd the cowboy as a mythical figure In her essay. Thompson points to how 
the hook and the late 20th centur\ Incident can be linked 

Fort Laramie After the Army: Part III, Preservation 

By Douglas C. McChristian 14 

McClirisIian completes his three-part storv on the famous fort in the aftermath of army 
departure in 1890. The first two installments examined the government-held auction 
of the properties and the second described how a community evolved around the site. 
In this fmal segment. McChristian writes about the successful efforts to preserve the 
old fort as a historic site 

Book Reviews .7. 32 

Szasz. Religion in the American Wesi. reviewed by Amanda Porterfield 
Barringer. Selling Yellowstone Capitalism and Construction of Sature. rev ie\\ed by 
Shannon Bowen 

Babcock. Shot Down' Capital Crimes of Casper, reviewed by Kim W inters 
Walck. Dreamers and Schemers Profiles from Carbon Connn: ll'voming s Past, re- 
viewed by C Fred Williams 

Hall. High and Dry The Texas-New Mexico Struggle for the Pecos River, reviewed 
by Leslie Shores 

New Books in the Hebard Collection S6 

Wyoming Picture Inside back cover 

Wyoming State Historical Society 
Executive Committee 

Dick Wilder. President. Park tonnty 
Amy Lawrence. 1st Vice Pres.. Albany Co, 
Patty Myers, 'Jnd Vice Pres.. Platte Co. 
Linda Fabian, Secretary, Platte County 
.lames Van .Scoyk.. Treasvu'er. Star Valley 
Clara Varner. Weston County 
Cindy Brow n. Laranue County 
.lohn Waggener. .Mliany County 
.Uidy West. Membership Coordinator 

Governor of Wyoming 

.lim Cleringer 

Wyoming Dept. of State Parks and 
Cultural Resoiu-ces 

.lohn Heck. Diieaor 
Cultural Resources Division 

Wendy BredehoO. .Administrator 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal is published quarterly by the Wyoming State Historical 
Society in association with the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources, the .Ameri- 
can Heritage Center, and the Department of Histon.. L'niversitv of Wvoming The Journal was previously 
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Wyoming Parks & Cidtural Resoiu-ces 

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Ernest C. ()\er. Pa\ illion 
Carolyn Buff, Casper 
.lerrilynn Wall. Evanston 

University of \\'yoniing 

Philip Dubois. President 
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Kri.stine Utterl)ack. Chair, Dept. of History 

WY 82009-4945. Ldltorial correspondence should he addressed to the editorial oinee of Annals ofll'yo- 

ming. American Heritage Center, P. O. Box 4256. flniversits Station, Laramie W Y 82071 

Our e-mail address is: p,-„,ted by Pi..neei Printing Cheyenne 

Copyright 2002, Wyoming State Historical Society ISSN: 1086-7368 

Reflections on Owen Wister and 

The VlVQlltlUft By John W. Stokes, Grandson of Owen Wister 

This reminis- 
cence was origi- 
nally presented 
at tlie Owen 
Wister Sympo- 
sium held at the 
University of 
American Heri- 
tage Center on 
September 18- 
20, 2002. 

Thank you to Rick Ewig for 
inviting me to this sympo- 
sium. It is exciting to play a role in 
discussing the Wister legacy. It is a 
pleasure and a little daunting to be 
speaking to so many Wister devo- 
tees and scholars. I can only assume 
that each of you know more than I 
do about my grandfather, which is a 
bit humbling. 

Let me say at the outset, 1 agree 
with the comments on the last pic- 
ture in your wonderful Owen Wister 
photographic exhibit on display in 
your museum downstairs: "Regard- 
less of one's opinion about the book. 
The Virginian has stood the test of 
time as the prototype western 

Before 1 discuss Wister"s work 
and the 100* Anniversary of The 
Virginian from my perspective, I 
would like to offer a few reflections 
on his personal life away from the 
West and one of his other books. 

First, a few facts to put his life in 
perspective. I did not know my 
grandfather well. My role was to 
deliver the mail to him each morn- 
ing at his summer home, Crowfield 
in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. He 
died when I was six years old in July 
1938. To me, he was a large and 
friendly man. (However, when you 
are six grown-ups tend to look big.) 
He loved Saunderstown and spent 
40 summers there with his family. 

Wister was born in 1860 outside 

Ch^en Wister, 
portrait made while 
practicing law in 
Philadelphia, n.d. 

of Philadelphia. He attended Saint 
Paul's School in Concord, New 
Hampshire graduating in 1878 and 
then went on to Harvard College. 
He graduated from Harvard in 1 882 
- sum ma cum laude in music. 
There, he was a member of the 
Porcellian Club where he became a 
great friend of fellow member 
Theodore Roosevelt. 

Wister planned a career in music 
following his graduation. His grand- 
mother, the famous Shakespearean 
actress and abolitionist, Fanny 
Kemble, arranged for him to play 
one of his compositions for Franz 
Liszt who told her Wister had pro- 
nounced talent. 

Wister's father persuaded him not 

Autumn 'iOO'i 

to pursue a career in music but in- 
stead go to Harvard Law School. He 
entered in 1885 and graduated in 
1888. accepting a law position in 

In the mid- 1 880s due to ill health. 
Wister's doctor advised him to go 

West. He made ten trips 

t>om 1885-1895. keeping 
detailed diaries of everything 
he saw and all the people he 
met. These diaries formed 
the basis for his western sto- 
ries and The Virginian. The 
diaries were given to the 
University of Wyoming by 
my mother, Fanny Kemble 
Wister Stokes. 

(To digress for a moment, 
some of you may know it 
was a fonner librarian of this 
University. N. Orwin Rush, 
who. in 1951. prompted my 
mother to t1nd her father's 
western journals. In prepa- 
ration for the 50''' anniver- 
sary of Tlic lirginiciii. Mr. 
Rush had written to her ask- 
ing for the diaries. She re- 
plied that none of the family 
had heard anything about 
them. Mr. Rush then wrote 
again to my mother quoting a refer- 
ence from Owen Wister's book 
about Theodore Roosevelt: "Upon 
every Western expedition I had kept 
a full, faithful, realistic diary; details 
about pack horses, camps in the 
mountains, camps in sage brush, 
nights in town, cards with cavalry 

The diaries, untouched for 65 
years, were readily found in Wister's 
desk on the second floor of his Bryn 
Mawr. Pa., House. Though the Li- 
brary of Congress wanted them, my 
mother gave them with pleasure to 
the University of Wyoming. They 
also served as the basis for her best 
selling book, Owen Wisler Out 

Now let me return to Wister's 
Wister married his second cousin. 
Mary Channing Wister from Boston 
in 1898. In the summer of 1899 
Wister. newly married, came to 
Saunderstown for the first time and 

()\ven Wisier pliologniphed in 
Yelhnvstone. «.(/ 

moved with his wife into a house at 
25 Waterway in the village. 

The Wisters were very happy in 
Saunderstown. They came for the 
quiet life, the wonderful salt air. 
swimming, croquet and horseback 
riding. Importantly, many Philadel- 
phia friends were nearby— such as 
the Biddies. Bories and Whartons. 

My mother was born in the Wa- 
terway house in 1901 with her twin 
brother. Owen. The Wisters lived 
there with an ever-growing menag- 
erie of animals, including a mocking 
bird named Gabriel, and a team of 
harnessed goats to pull wagons for 
the children. 

In the summer of 1907 Theodore 
Roosevelt with his entourage came 

to visit the Wisters. My Uncle Karl, 
then four years old, answered the 
door. T.R. said, "Tell your father the 
President is here." Uncle Karl re- 
sponded, "The President of what?" 
(It's wonderful how we grown-ups 
can learn humility from a child.) 

That year the Wisters 
and great family friend. 
Mrs. Walter Cope, who 
had children about the 
same age as the Wister 
children, purchased more 
than 100 acres together 
overlooking Nan'a-gansett 
Bay. The property was 
= named Crowtleld so the 
5, Seaview Railroad (in fact 
_ a trolley) running from 
Oi Wickford to Wakefield. 
3 could stop at the foot of 
= the hill to pick up passen- 
. I - gers from the Cope and 
Wister households. 
Grant LaFarge. the son 
VP'^-^si^^^. of the famous stained 
.^ glass artist, John LaFarge. 
was the architect of his 
house, which was com- 
pleted in 1910. He. too. had 
been West and shared 
Wister's love for it. 
Shortly after Wister's new house 
was built. Henry .lames, a great 
friend of the family, wrote to him to 
say how sorrv he was he could not 
be in Saunderstown with the Wisters 
and "their graceful ring of friends." 
Sometime later, another family 
friend and intellectual wag. Leonard 
Bacon, wrote his perception of the 
scene in Saunderstown: 

"Hey. diddle diddle 

The Cope and the Biddie 

To Saunderstown we go! 

With the Whartons and Bories 

All in their glories 

And Wisters all in a row... 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

"Nothing is soldier 

Than the Cadwalader 

Nothing is brainier 

Than Pennsylvanier 

God reign on Rittenhouse Square!" 

Life at Crowfield was full for the 
Wister and Cope children-cows to 
milk, chickens and horses to care for, 
music, French and German lessons 
and swimming on their own beach. 
We have a picture of the Crowfield 
Orchestra with the young Wister and 
Cope children and their music 
teacher. Every summer this little or- 
chestra performed at the firehouse 
in Saunderstown for 25 cents per 
person to raise money for the fire- 

The Wister House was always full 
of music and Owen Wister gener- 
ally played the piano every evening. 
My mother told me her favorite song 
of his, as a child, was: 

"Here I come dum de dum 
I'm a plum, dum de dum 
My appearance puts others on the 

As a major literary figure, 
Wister's life in the early 1900s was 
intertwined with many well-known 
literary and artistic personalities. 
Henry James, as I mentioned, was a 
close friend. Others included Ernest 
Hemingway, Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, William Dean Howells, 
Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth 
Longfellow, Frederic Remington, 
Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark 
Twain, and Edith Wharton. 

Of particular interest to me was 
Hemingway. Wister met Ernest 
Hemingway in Shell, Wyoming, in 
1 928. They went fishing and shoot- 
ing together and became close 
friends as they respected each 
other's work. Hemingway saw him- 
self as an apprentice to the elder 
statesmen, Wister. They discussed 
A Farewell to Arms, which Heming- 

way was working on at that time. 
Some weeks later, recognizing that 
Hemingway was short on cash, 
Wistersent him an unsolicited $500 
check. Soon afterward, Hemingway 
returned the check, which he had not 
cashed, because his advance for A 
Farewell to Arms had arrived. 

Wister participated actively in the 
world around him and voiced his 
views on many national issues. He 
had a number of prestigious appoint- 
ments and honors. Among them he 
was an Overseer of Harvard College 
for many years, President of the Tav- 
ern Club in Boston for which he 
wrote several operas, and President 
of the Philadelphia Club. 

Owen Wister had one other best 
selling novel, though less success- 
ful than The Virginian, it was a Vic- 
torian romance set in Charleston, 
S.C, and published in 1906 called, 
Lady Baltimore. Today, it is best re- 
membered for the famous Lady Bal- 
timore cake, which is a centerpiece 
of the plot. The New York Times 
heralded the cake in a two-page 
spread this past April titled, "Rich 
and Famous." 

Lady Baltimore is very important 
to me as my grandfather used the 
proceeds from the book to build his 
summer home, which we have 
named Wister House. 

In the book the cake is the center 
of a love triangle with Eliza La Hue, 
a sweet, pure young woman, who 
makes the cake for a tea shoppe and 
John Myrant, a handsome and prin- 
cipled young man of promise, who 
ordered the cake from Eliza for his 
wedding to Hortense Rieppi. She is 
a young woman who smokes, kisses 
boys and goes to fast parties in New 
York and Newport. 

When all the crumbs have settled, 
Hortense gets a wheeler-dealer from 
New York with a yacht; John gets 
Eliza, the cake and happiness for- 


ow let me turn to The Vir 
ginian. Owen Wister 
started writing his short western sto- 
ries to save the sagebrush in litera- 
ture before it disappeared with the 
rapid expansion westward at the 
turn of the century. 

His own description of how it hap- 
pened is in his book, Roosevelt, A 
Story of a Friendship: 

And so one autumn evening of 
1891, fresh from Wyoming and its 
wild glories, I sat in the Club (Phila- 
delphia) dining with a man as 
enamoured of the West as I was. 
This was Walter Fumess...From 
oysters to coffee we compared ex- 
periences. Why wasn't some 
Kipling saving the sagebrush for 
American literature before the sage- 
brush and all that it signifies went 
the way of the Califomia forty niner, 
went the way of the Mississippi 
steam-boat, went the way of every- 
thing? Roosevelt had seen the 
sagebrush true, had felt its poetry; 
and also Remington who illustrated 
his articles so well. But what was 
fiction doing, fiction the only thing 
that always outlived fact? 

"Walter, 1 am going to try it my- 
self," Wister exclaimed to Walter 

After that Wister went upstairs at 
the Philadelphia Club to a small 
study and started writing his first 
short story, "Hank's Woman." It was 
published in Harper's magazine in 

Earlier this year 1 reread The Vir- 
ginian with much pleasure. The fact 
the story held up so well and was 
not dated came as a surprise to me. 
1 loved the dialogue and vivid de- 
scriptive passages. Having sold well 
over two million copies, been re- 
printed more than 50 times and 
made into a movie five times, The 
Virginian clearly was a literate 

Autumn '200'J 

Today, at its 100"' Anniver- 
sar\ The Virginian has done 
much more than save the memon 
of the sagebrush. To discuss this let 
me turn to the New York Times book 
review. June 21,1 902. The reviewer 
recognized The Virginia?! would live 
on as a brill iant narrative: 

Owen Wister's Stirring Novel 
of Western Life 

Owen Wister has come pretty 
nearto writing the American novel. 
He has come as near to it as any 
man can well come, and at the same 
time has beautifulK demonstrated 
the futility of the expectation that 
the typical novel of American life 
will ever be written. Mr. Wister has 
set forth a phase of life which is to 
be found only in the United States, 
and has pictured it w ith graphic de- 
lineative force, with picturesque- 
ness and with brilliant narrative 
power. The Virginian ought to live 
as an artistic embodiment of a man 
fast passing into a 
remembrance. . ."The Virginian" in a 
broad sense is a historical novel. It 

is a study of men and times. It rings 
true, and we believe it to be a faith- 
ful study. 

The key insights in m\ view are: 
"a phase of life which is to be found 
only in the I'nited States" and The 
Virginia)! ought to live as "an em- 
bodiment of a species of man fast 
passing into remembrance." 

It is generally acknowledged that 
The Virginian was the first nation- 
ally popular cowboy novel and the 
gold standard of western literature. 
It broke new ground b\ turning the 
cowboy from a villain and ruftlan 
of the West into a hero. It portra\ed. 
in realistic tones, the bold individual 
spirit, reminiscent of colonial times 
and carried underlying themes of 
democracy and equality throughout. 
Given these ingredients and a bril- 
liant narrator, it is no wonder the 
book was such a tremendous hit. 

Owen Wister contributed to oiu" 
country much more than a popular 
romantic novel about the West. As 
we look around today, we see that 
the lore of the West is pari of tnir 

everyday lives, not only in literature, 
but in clothing, food and music. Im- 
portantly, the western culture is only 
one of three in our country, which 
are truly indigenous. The other two 
are jazz and the American musical. 
These also started in the early 20"" 
century . All other cultures we share 
together come from other lands and 
were brought here from abroad as 
our country grew and prospered. 

Men such as Buffalo Bill Cody and 
the dime novelist. Ned Butline. popu- 
larized the West for their generation, 
but in my view The Virginian set 
the stage and guidelines for the de- 
\elopment of our western cidture 
and what one might call the code of 
the West. Would our romantic per- 
ceptions of the W est be the same 
without The Virginian''! Most likely 

Our love of the West gives us all 
a common bond to share. W ister"s 
cowboy has left us his unfettered 
entrepreneurial spirit and his true 
sense of self-reliance and personal 
honor. These live on with us today. 
It is a ureat leijacy. 

Owen Wister on a sliip. 193' 

"■"- ,^*"^<' ■*>*- 


The Uirginian 

Matt Shepard 

By D. Claudia Thompson 

In 1 95 1 , in preparation for 
the celebration of the 50"' an- 
niversary of the publication 
of The Virginian, Prof. N. 
Orwin Rush of the Univer- 
sity of Wyoming wrote to 
Fanny Kemble Stokes, 
Owen Wister's daughter, to 
enquire into the whereabouts 
of the journals that Wister 
had kept during his trips to 
the west in which he had 
gathered material for his 
writings. Wister's children 
were unaware that such jour- 
nals existed, but, after a brief 
search, they discovered the 
notebooks in a desk that had 
been in Wister's study. 

Autumn i200i2 

The journals were donated to the 
University of Wyoming, and they 
now form the core of the Owen 
Wister Papers at the American Heri- 
tage Center. Mrs. Stokes edited and 
published some of them as Owen 
Wister Out West in 1958. In the in- 
troduction, reflecting on The Virgin- 
ian siie wrote; 

Its hero was the first cowboy to 
capture the pubhc's imagination... 
Before this, cowboys had been de- 
picted as murderous thugs. The Vir- 
ginian was utterly different... Be- 
cause of him, little boys wear ten- 
gallon hats and carry toy 
pistols. ..We still have Western sto- 
ries. Western movies, and Western 
radio and television drama in which 
the cowboy hero defends justice 
and his girl's honor and shoots it 
outwith the villain. Tlic 
I'Irginian stands 
among the ten best-sell- 
ing novels of the past 
fifty years. It was writ- 
ten as fiction but has 
become history.' 

In the 1950s, when 
this was written, the 
popularity of the West- 
em was just about at its 
peak. There were, in 
fact, no less than 
twenty-nine Western 
series on television in 
1958.- Mrs. Stokes, in 
my opinion, overstates 
Wister's role in creat- 
ing the cowboy as hero; 
but no one who has ever 
watched Matt Dillon 
gun down his opponent 
at high noon on the 
main street of Dodge 
City in the opening se- 
quence ofGiinsnioke is 
likely to deny that 
Wister had an impact. 
Mrs. Stokes's second 
and even more grandi- 

ose statement that Wister's "fiction 
has become history," however, it is 
partly the aim of this paper to af- 

Modem scholarship has begun to 
explore the inter-relations between 
history and myth; and what we have 
discovered is that myth affects his- 
tory as much as history affects 
myth. The myths that people believe 
in influence and shape their actions; 
and the myth of the heroic cowboy 
has had an impact on our view of 
ourselves as Americans for as long 
as that myth has existed. 

Mrs. Stokes is correct in pointing 
out that the original heroes of Euro- 
pean civilization in America were not 
cowboys. The figure of the heroic 
cowboy is actually superimposed on 
an older Euro- American myth; the 

War and Pestilence! 



Wild West. The Wild West was bom 
when the first European ships set out 
across the Atlantic. West was the 
direction of the unknown, the un- 
known is always dangerous, and. to 
Europeans, dangerous was equated 
with wild. The settlers came armed 
and prepared for danger and vio- 
lence, and they found what they 
were looking for. 

And here 1 would like to point out 
that, although m\ th is a word that is 
often used to denote something that 
is untrue, that is not strictly the sense 
in which I am using it. By myth. I 
mean a belief or assumption ac- 
cepted without proof, which may 
turn out to be either true or false 
when acted on. Any myth that is 
found to be consistently false is apt 
to be discarded. 

At any rate, the Eu- 
ropean settlers came 
prepared for conflict 
with the people already 
inhabiting the land, con- 
flict occurred, and so 
the nivlh. having prc^ved 
true on application, sur- 
vived and was strength- 
ened. Indian-white con- 
flicts became a staple 
not only of each new 
westward expansion 
but also of popular lit- 
erature. Captivity nar- 
ratives, stories of Indian 
attacks and of the es- 
cape of heroic white 
survivors, began to be 

Women and Children 



Wliilt many ofrair most populous ci'irs liavc luoil visiieil Ijv lliat (Iread- 
lul disease, llic Clioiera. and to wijicli thousands have fallen victims, the 
merciless Savages have been as fatally engaged in the work cl death on the 
Irontiere; where great numbers (including women and children) havf 
fallen victjmsto the bloody tomahawk. 

Tanin Kciiihic W ister 
(od). Oiitv; ll'istciOiil llesi 
His LetWrs and Journals 
(Chicago: University of 
Cliicago Press. 1958). 2. 24- 

-Mike Flanagan. Days of 
the West (Frederick. Colo- 
rado: Renaissance House. 
1987). 191-193- 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

published in the 1 600s and new sto- 
ries continued to be added to the lexi- 
con until at least the 1870s.' The 
appeal of these stories was always 
that they were true; and under the 
influence of such stories, travelers 
on the Oregon and California Trails 
in the mid-!800s always set out 
heavily anned and determined not 
to let themselves or their loved ones 
fall prey to the terrific tortures that 
the narratives assured them that In- 
dians practiced. 

Statistics regarding mortality along 
the emigrant trails are uncertain and 
controversial, and they are neces- 
sarily heavily based on the anecdotal 
evidence found in surviving journals 
and letters. But one source estimates 
that careless mishandling of firearms 
was the leading cause of accidental 
death on the trail. Another source 
places drownings first and shootings 
second. A third writer concludes 
from these estimates. "The evidence 
shows that the abundant emigrant 
weaponry actually increased the 
risks involved in an overland jour- 
ney.""* On the other hand, authenti- 
cated Indian attacks did occur, and 
some travelers were captured or 
killed by Indians, so the belief in dan- 
ger from Indians survived as a lively 
part of the western myth. 

Curiously, because it survived, it 
tended to survive whole. When 1 
was a child. 1 remember picking up 
a western novel set on the Oregon 
Trail on the cover of which was a 
hapless blonde girl tied to a stake in 
the middle of the plains. The writer, 
or at any rate the illustrator, appar- 
ently was not aware that the west- 
em Indians, unlike the eastern wood- 
land peoples, did not practice ritual 
captive torture. Nevertheless, it 
should have occurred to somebody 
that burning at the stake is an un- 
likely pastime for any culture accus- 
tomed to living on a tree-challenged 

Absurdities of this sort, however, 
are unimportant when they occur in 
stories that everybody accepts as 
fiction. The tendency of the emi- 
grants to shoot themselves and each 
other, in mistake for marauding In- 
dians, is more problematic. But oc- 
casionally the myth became dys- 
functional enough to be truly dan- 
gerous. In August 1854, near Fort 
Laramie, a cow strayed away from 
an emigrant train and was shot and 
butchered by a small group of 
Miniconjou Sioux who were camped 
with a larger group of Brule Sioux. 
The owner of the cow complained 
of his loss to the commander of the 

post when the train reached the fort. 
The commander sent a young sec- 
ond lieutenant, John L. Grattan, 
new l\ -graduated from West Point 
and inexperienced in the West, with 
a detail of twenty-nine men and two 
howitzers to arrest the accused In- 
dians. The leading man of the Brule 
village. Brave Bear, tried to negoti- 
ate between Grattan and the Sioux; 
but the Indians did not understand 
the concept of arrest followed by 
inquiry and trial, and Grattan knew 
little about Indians other than the 
myths of hostility and cowardice that 
were current in the popular litera- 
ture of his day. He ordered his men 
to fire, probably intending at first 
only to intimidate the Indians into 

'Josephine Meeker's 1879 captivity 
among the White River Utes may have been 
the last classic Indian captivity narrative. 
For a good selection of captivity narratives 
see Frederick Drimmer (ed.). Captured by 
the Indians: 1 5 Firsthand Accounts. I'^SO- 
/«"« (New York: Dover Publications. 1985). 

■•James E. Potter. "Firearms on the Over- 
land Trails." Ch'erland Journal. 9 ( 1991 ). 2, 
9. The two sources Potter cites are: Merrill 
J. Mattes. The Great Platte River Road(Lm- 
coln: Nebraska State Historical Society. 
1 969). 90. and John D. Unruh. Jr., The Plains 
Across: The Overland Emigrants and the 
Trans-Mississippi West, 1 840- 1 860 (Urbana: 
University of Illinois Press, 1979), 347. 

Autumn ^2002 

cooperation. The Indians returned 
fire; the howitzers were discharged 
but did httle damage since they were 
aimed into the air; Brave Bear was 
mortally wounded; Gratttan and the 
28 men with him were killed before 
they could retreat to the fort; and 
relations between the Sioux and the 
military were permanently dam- 

The interpreters of history or, ifl 
may use the word in this context, the 
myth-makers have not been kind to 
Lt. Grattan. who is generally given 
the blame for misunderstanding and 
mishandling the situation; but to un- 
derstand the whole truth of what 
happened and why it happened, it 
would really be necessary to exam- 
ine the myths which existed in the 
minds of the Indians involved as 
well. The point of the anecdote, as I 
am using it, however, is to demon- 
strate that history evolves into myth, 
that myth tends to simplify and pet- 
rify the original facts, and that these 
simplifications can. in turn, affect 

At this point. I need to return to 
the myth of the cowboy. As I men- 
tioned previously, Owen Wister did 
not create the first cowboy hero. The 
heroic cowboy was a literary con- 
trivance built on the figure of the 
heroic frontiersman. It was a natu- 
ral extension, since Anglo-Ameri- 
cans first encountered the cowboy 
in Texas, as an exotic figure of 
Mexican origin; and Texas was 
where one of the greatest of the he- 
roic frontiersmen, Davy Crockett, 
ended his career. The association of 
frontiersman and cowboy continued 
in the public mind with the partner- 
ship of Buffalo Bill Cody and Texas 
Jack Omohundro in the 1 870s. Both 
Cody and Omohundro were engaged 
in recasting the reality of their lives 
into mythic form, and, again, their 
appeal to the public lay in the belief 

that there was truth, or at least some 
truth, in the romances they created 
to entertain their audiences. In 1877 
Texas Jack published his life story 
in a national periodical called Spirit 
of the Times: 

"As the general trade on the range 
has often been written of," he as- 
serts there, "I'll simply refer to a few 
incidents of a trip over the plains." 
He then offers this description of a 
stampede; "If them quadrupeds don't 
go insane, turn tail to the storm, and 
strikeout for civil and religious lib- 
erty, then I don't know what strike 
out means. ..this is the cowboy's ride 
with Texas five hundred miles away, 
and them steers steering straight for 
him; night time, darker than the word 
means, hog wallows, prairie dog. 
wolf and badger holes, ravines and 
precipices ahead, and if you do your 
duty three thousand stampeding 
steers behind. If your horse don't 
swap ends, and you hang on them 
till daylight, you can bless your lucky 

Omohundro died in Leadville, 
Colorado, in 1 880, but Texas Jack 
had adventures for the next twenty 
years in dime novels written by Ned 
Buntline and Prentiss Ingraham, al- 
though these later stories drew little 
or nothing from the hero's actual 

The cowboy, like the frontiersman, 
was very much an American hero: 
a hero of the common man. In the 
popular fiction which he inhabited, 
he generally spoke a slangy, if not 
absolutely ungrammatical, English, 
and he presented an absurd and 
comical figure if he was ever intro- 
duced to an eastern city. Still, by the 
later decades of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, the cowboy had become a fig- 
ure of virility, self-assurance, and 
romance whose courage, if not his 
manners, were admired by Ameri- 
can youth concerned that civilization 

and a lack of Indian threats were 
making them soft, diffident, and un- 

The most famous of the effete 
young men who sought redemption 
by migrating to a cattle ranch was 
New Yorker Theodore Roosevelt, 
who lived and ranched for a time in 
North Dakota, and who published in 
1888 an account of cowboy life in 
the West called Ranch Life and the 
Hunting-Trail, copiously illustrated 
by his friend and fellow New Yorker, 
Frederic Remington. Roosevelt's 
stirring account of his life in the west 
emphasized encounters with outlaws 
and wild game, and he was full of 
praise for the cowboy, whose char- 
acter and antecedents he sketched. 
Roosevelt claimed that, although 
cowboys were drawn from all over 
the country, most of them and the 
best of them were southerners. 

"For cowboy work there is need 
of special traits," he wrote, "...and 
young Easterners should be sure of 
themselves before trying it: the 
struggle for existence is ver\ keen 
in the far West, and it is no place for 
men who lack the ruder, coarser vir- 
tues and physical qualities, no mat- 
ter how intellectual or how refined 
and delicate their sensibilities."*' 

One of the young easterners who 
sought health and manhood in the 
west during this decade was Owen 
Wister, who came to Wyoming from 
Philadelphia in 1885. Like Roosevelt, 

'George E. Hyde, Spotted Tail 's Folk A 
History of the Brule ' Sioitx (Norman; Uni- 
versity of Otclahoma Press, y Printing. 
1979). 58-70. 

''Herschel C. Logan. Buckskin and Satin: 
The Life of Texas Jack (Harrisburg. Penn- 
sylvania: Staekpole Conipan\. 1954). 28- 

Ihid.. 156-170. 186. 

"Theodore Roosevelt. Ranch Life and the 
Hunlmg-Trail (Time L.ife Books 1981 re- 
print of New York: The Century Company. 
1888). 10. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyonning History Journal 

- r 






- r <• 




Yri4m(;l^f(W(fcjfijfi;_-.. '' 


he lived on a cattle ranch, in fact, 
he stayed at Frank Wolcott"s ranch 
near Glenrock: but Roosevelt's in- 
fluence on his work is frankly ac- 
knowledged by himself, in 
Roosevelt, the Story of a Friend- 
ship. Wister related how he was 
partly inspired by Roosevelt's pub- 
lished writings to undertake the west- 
em-themed fiction which he even- 
tually turned into The Virginian!' 
Although Wister marketed his sto- 
ries as fiction, he drew much of the 
background and some incidents from 
his own observations, and it is this 

aura of reality that has helped the 
book to retain its importance through 
the years. 

Wister was a much better writer 
than Ned Buntline or Prentiss 
ingraham, who had imagined absurd 
adventures for Buffalo Bill and 
Texas Jack in the dime novel litera- 
ture of Wister's youth, and I will not 
assert that he drew much directly 
from those sources. Wister repeated, 
however, some of elements of that 
less reputable fiction, particularly the 
brave cowboy comfortably at home 
in a world of conflict and violence. 

In Wister's story, the western hero 
is not a comic figure out of his own 
element, however; and the violence, 
instead of being constant and en- 
demic, is carefully constructed to 
erupt in an ultimate inevitable climax. 
Wister, in fact, invented the show- 

In the figure of Molly Wood, 
Wister embodied the east and east- 
ern culture and equated pacifism 

'Cited in Wister. Owen Wister Out West. 

Autumn '^00:2 


with the feminine. In the figure of 
his hero, he explored what it takes 
to be a man. To be a man, in Wister's 
world, it was necessary, as 
Roosevelt had asserted, to be sure 
of oneself It was necessary to rec- 
ognize what was right and what 
should be done, and to do it even in 
the face of overwhelming social 
pressure. It was necessary to resort 
to violence even though civilization 
condemned violence. To avoid vio- 
lence was womanly. None of this 
was Wister's sole creation, but be- 
cause he wrote well, and because 
he wrote for an elite audience of lit- 
erate intellectuals, his special spin on 
the cowboy myth had enormous in- 
fluence in the development of sub- 
sequent literature. Wister did not 
really create the western genre, but 
he infused new life into it. made it 
respectable, and sent it into the twen- 
tieth century vigorous and proud. 

In order for a myth to have influ- 
ence, it has to feel true, morally true 
if not literally true, to a large num- 
ber of people. The F/>g/>//a// had that 
appeal, it has remained constantly 
in print. It was filmed several times 
and was recently resurrected as a 
TV movie on TNT. Elements of the 
book appeared over and over again 
thinl\ disguised in other people's 
works: the cowboy and the 
schoolmami, the lynched rustler, the 
tenderfoot from the East, nearly ev- 
ery character Wister created had 
adventures under other names in 
other films and books; but it was the 
final showdown between good man 
and bad man that became the lead- 
ing cliche of western literature. It is 
the figure of the man standing for 
his beliefs alone against strong pres- 
sure that is Wister's most enduring 
legacy to the myth. 

It happens, however, that it was 
this element that drew least from 
Wister's experience and most from 
his imagination. In the West of real- 

ity there were no formal duels be- 
tween good and evil, chaos and or- 
der, or "quality" and "equality." as 
Wister described his two antago- 
nists,'" supporting a class system 
which rapidly disappeared and which 
had little influence on later westerns. 
Wister's heirs, writers like Zane Grey. 
Max Brand, and Louis L' Amour, dis- 
carded the parts of his fable that felt 
untrue or unnecessary to them. As 
with the captivity narratives and early 
stories of cowboy life, when new 
writers stepped in to continue the 
tradition, they were quick to aban- 
don mere facts or anything that felt 
discordant to popular views. Myth 
searches for underlying truths, its 
purpose is not to record histor\ . 

That, at least, was the belief of 
Max Brand, who was particularl\ 
influential in this trend. Although 
bom in Seattle and educated in Cali- 
fornia. Frederick Schiller Faust, who 
used the pen name Max Brand, 
wrote much of his voluminous west- 
em fiction in Florence. Italy; and he 
made no secret of the fact that he 
drew his inspiration from Greek and 
Roman myth rather than from 
American history." Other writers 
followed suit. Most of them, like their 
predecessors Ned Buntline and 
Prentiss Ingraham. made a living 
churning out popular fiction at so 
much a word, and they had no time 
for research. Readers didn't quite 
see it the same way. They still tended 
to equate truth with realit\ ; but since 
most of them were neither 
westemers nor historians, and since 
the new stories were still being set 
in an increasingly remote past, they 
largely failed to notice as the west- 
em became more and more discon- 
nected from the 1880s West that 
Wister had known. 

Westerns grew in popularity 
through most of the twentieth cen- 
tury and peaked during World War 
il and the Cold War. Bv the lQ50s 

the world of the western was as 
richly imagined, and as far from re- 
ality, as the court of Camelot. The 
western began to decline in popu- 
larit\ late in the 1960s, at the same 
time that the Vietnam conflict be- 
gan to discredit war as a solution to 
world problems; but although west- 
ems have ceased to be the domi- 
nant form of popular culture, they 
have not disappeared, and the the- 
sis at the center of Roosevelt's and 
Wister's philosophies: that manliness 
requires a willingness to resort to vio- 
lence, has survived intact and has 
largely transcended the western 

On the night of October 6. 1 998. a 
young gay student at the University 
of Wyoming named Matthew 
Shepard left a local bar with two 
other \oung Laramie residents. 
Russell Henderson and Aaron 
McKinney. Shepard was found tied 
to a fence and badly beaten the next 
day. He died of his injuries five days 
later. Henderson and McKinney 
were arrested for the murder. So 
were their girlfriends, who had 
helped them dispose of evidence 
linking them to the crime. '- 

I was living in Laramie at the time, 
and. like man\ of the townsfolk. I 
was shocked and saddened, when I 
tlrst read the news, by the destruc- 
tion wrought in five young lives, all 
of them destroyed or forever altered 
by an apparently pointless act; but 
Laramie had been shocked and sad- 
dened b\ traiied\ before and would 

'"Owen Wister. Tlie \ /;-tr'/;/(/';(Ncw ^ork: 
Orosset & Diinlap. 1444). 147-202. 

"Robert Easton. \Ul\ Brand The Big 
/(f,s7i';v;t'r (University of Oklahoma Press: 
Norman. 1970). vii. 66-67. 113-128. 

'• Laranne Daily Bnoinerang. October 
9-13. 1998. in Matthew Shepard Collection. 
Accession Number 3000 14. Box 5. F'olders 
1-2. American Heritage Center. Llni\ersity 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Autumn i200'i 


be again. Yet other crimes commit- 
ted here had brought no hordes of 
national reporters into our town, and 
no international wire services had 
advertised us to the world as a place 
that could not keep its citizens safe. 

So I naturallv wondered: what was 
it about this crime that attracted na- 
tional attention? Why did this storv. 
particularly, evolve into multiple mov- 
ies of the week, some of which had 
as little connection to reality as Buf- 
falo Bill's or Texas Jack's narratives 
of their Indian-fighting days? Why 
is it that the Shepard murder seems 
poised to become one of those his- 
torical events that morphs into myth? 

One of the few really insightful 
pieces of journalism to come out of 
the media attention was written by 
JoAnn Wypijewski and published in 
Harper's Magazine in September. 
1999. Wypijewski focused her piece 
on the psychology of Matt's killers. 
She suggested that they shared a 
particular trait in common w ith the 
Columbine killers and with many 
other young villains of recent crimes. 
They were not the school bullies, 
they were the kids that the school 
bullies bullied. In fact she concluded, 
■"[i]t's'/4possible that Matthew 
Shepard didn't die because he was 
gav ; he died because Aaron 
McKinney and Russell Henderson 
are straight."" Her implication is 
that the killers felt they were prov- 
ing their manhood b> beating a gay 
man so severely as to cause death. 

Wypijewski was also struck by the 
extent to which Laramie identified 
itself with the cowbo> myth, and, 
certainly, if you take a walk down- 
town, you will encounter many proud 
displays of westemness there from 
the Cowboy Bar to the oversize 
horseshoes recently painted on the 
sidewalks; and since Laramie is not 
quite a tourist mecca. it is presum- 
ably the locals who are supposed to 
be enticed bv this adv ertisinii. 

Wypijewski also brought into the mix 
the kind of religion, and it certainly 
exists here in Laramie, which 
teaches that homosexual itv is a bib- 
lically-condemned sin.'* So long as 
we teach our children to soke prob- 
lems with violence, she implies, and 
so long as we teach our children that 
homosexualitv is a problem, some of 
our children will seek to solve ho- 
mosexualitv with \ iolence. and we 
must embrace the Shepard murder 
as the logical result of such teach- 

And this is where the Virginian 
meets Matt Shepard. Clearlv. it 
would be ridiculous, however tvpi- 
cal of myth-making, to reduce this 
argument to an insistence that little 
boys who wear ten-gallon hats and 
carry toy pistols v\ill grow up to be 
murderers, it is not the little boys 
who grow up. no matter what thev 
ha\ e worn or what they have read 
or what they have watched on tele- 
vision, who commit the crimes that 
shock the nation. It is the little boys 
who can't grow up. It is the ones 
who somehow lose their wav on the 
road through adolescence to emo- 
tional maturity. These are the ones 
who draw their role models from fic- 
tion and myth and who seem unable 
to check these models against real- 

But if the Shepard case is. in a 
sense, a new chapter in the cowboy 
mvth. it mav also have some com- 
mon ground with the story of Lt. 
Grattan. Grattan entered myth from 
historv as the stereotv pical example 
of how a fixed and unquestioned idea 
of Indian hostility can create disas- 
ter. The Shepard case may stand to 
the future as an example of how a 
fixed and unquestioned belief that 
violence is to be equated w ith mas- 
culinity can pass from a mvlh to a 
real-life tragedy. 

As I pointed out earlier, mvth 
tends to simplify and. tniallv . to pet- 

rify: and the more remote it becomes 
from the events that inspired it. the 
more likely it is to lapse into absur- 
dity . The publication of The I'irgiii- 
iaii and the death of Matt Shepard 
bracket the twentieth century. The 
myth had nearlv a hundred years to 
simplify and petrify, and it is hardly 
Wister's fault if some of the ideals 
that he championed in 1902 seem 
less admirable to us now. Cultures 
change and myths need to change 
with them. It seems reasonable to 
propose that in the tvsentv -first cen- 
tury we will create new myths by 
drawing inspiration from new expe- 
riences, and that we will condemn 
the absurdities of our past myths and 
discard those that no longer feel true. 
Whether the heroic cowbov finds his 
way onto the discard pile or is rein- 
carnated to a new life in another 
generation, probablv depends on the 
talents of those gifted storv -tellers 
of the future who are able, as Owen 
Wister did one hundred vears ago. 
to create tables which appeal, which 
feel true on some level, to the cul- 
ture at large. 

" .lo.Ann \V_\pi|e\\ski. "A Hoy's Lite: 
For Matthew Shepard's Killers. What Does 
It take To Pass As A Man." Harper's 
Magiuiiie. September. 1999. 61-74. in 
Matthew Shepard Collection. Box 6. Folder 

" Ibid. 

D. Claudia Thompson holds a 
bachelor 's degree in history 
from Metropolitan State Col- 
lege. Denver, and a master 's 
degree in librariatishipfrom the 
Universit}' of Denver. She has 
been an archivist at the Uni- 
versity of Wyoming s American 
Heritage Center since 1984. 
This article is derived from a 
paper she read at the Wister 
symposium. .American Heri- 
tage Center, in the fall of 2002. 

Fort Laramie^-Ajfter the Army: 

Part ill. Preservation 

By Douglas C. McChristiau 

* > 'k. \ . ■ 

*- -^'^- 

^- ~'^i^^""'.- 




■■-«•. ^~- 



^'^"^•^^ """■•-- 



\\\ liming State Archives. Dept of State Parks and Cultural Resources 

Fort Laramie in the 1930s 

This article is the third and final in- 
stallment of the story of Fort 
Laramie in the years after it ceased 
service as an army post in 1890. The 
first segment, "The Auction," was 
published in Annals, Summer 2001. 
The second portion, "The Commu- 
nity," appeared in the Autumn 2001 
issue of Annals. 

The twentieth centurv dawned on a FortLaramie 
that was but a mere skeleton of the once proud 
military post. The decade following abandonment had 
witnessed the wholesale destruction of most of the prin- 
cipal buildings and virtually all of the minor ones. Where 
dozens of buildings had once stood, only foundations or 
stark ruins remained. Those few buildings still more or 
less intact at that time would remain comparatively un- 
changed in subsequent decades because the owners 
found practical uses for them. 

Although later preservationists would lament the raz- 
ing of the fort buildings, no one at the time, with the 
possible exception of John Hunton, gave the slightest 
thought to saving them for posterity. Frontier military 
posts were by no means unique in 1 890. The people in 
the vicinity were still too close to the reality of the post's 
army days to be concerned, much less have any ro- 

Autumn 'iOO'i 


mantic notions about the West Many of them, in fact, 
had vvorlved on the post or lived in the area for some 
time. It would have been inconceivable to most that 
anyone in the future would t1nd the whole thing of any 
interest, much the way citizens today view abandoned 
military bases. Everyone was too preoccupied with the 
everyday struggles of life to indulge in nostalgia. The 
editor of the Cheyenne Daily Leader probably came 
as close as anyone when he referred to "the historical 
post a veritable deserted village."' The only interest 
shown in the buildings was what the> might be able to 
provide in materials to construct new buildings on home- 
steads, ranches, and in towns throughout the region. 

It may be speculated that .lohn Hunton had some 
higher purpose in mind when he bought so many of the 
militan. buildings. That he intended to sell at least some 
of his buildings for salvage purposes, however, is re- 
flected in his own statements.- When his business as 
post trader failed as a result of the armv's departure, it 
plunged him into personal financial loss that probably 
even he had not foreseen at the time of the auction. 
Any thoughts he may have entertained for "preserving" 
some of the army structures, were dismissed in the face 
of his own financial crisis. Accordingly, he sold many 
of his buildings during the next two years, with no ap- 
parent remorse. He needed cash, and needed it badly 
when his creditors hounded him to settle his accounts. 
Writing to a friend. Hunton admitted, "I am dead broke 
and have been sold out by the sheriff..."' 

Still, one must question the inconsistencies in Hnnton's 
treatment of the buildings he owned. Some--like Old 
Bedlam, the Trader's Store, and the two otTicers quar- 
ters standing between them— seemed to be inviolable. 
Certainly, one of his motives was that these buildings 
stood on a parcel of land that he planned to homestead, 
and eventually did acquire by purchase. Most of the 
others were on tracts later filed on by his neighbors, 
Joe and Mary Wilde and Hattie Sandercock. As noted 
in the previous article (see "Fort Laramie After the 
Army: Part II. The Community. "Annals of Wyoming. 
Autumn 2001 }. B. A. Hart initially acquired the north- 
west quarter of Section 28, where several of Hunton's 
buildings stood. The division of these lands may have 
been a "gentleman's agreement," though no evidence 
has been found to indicate that was the case. What- 
ever the reason, Hunton divested himself of the build- 
ings through sale or salvage within a short time after 
the post reservation was opened to homesteading. 

Hunton lacked the money to maintain the row of build- 
ings on the west side of the parade ground, but he nev- 
ertheless saw to it that they were spared from destruc- 
tion. Bedlam, in particular, seems to have held a spe- 




Stale Parks and 

C'ultLiral Resources 


.l<ilui Hunlon 

cial. if not sentimental, place with him. This largest of 
frame buildings contained more lumber than perhaps 
an\ other building on the post. \et he did not sell it. nor 
did he permit the use of it by anyone, e.xcept to rent a 
room to the school district for several years. The Burt 
House was his personal residence for as long as he 
lived at the fort, while the so-called Surgeon's Quarters 
next door was used for storage, with a room or two 
infrequentl\ being rented to tenants. 

Hunton might have had a perfect opportunity to con- 
tinue a general merchandise business and even a sa- 
loon— the store building contained two of them in readv 
condition— had it not been for his indebtedness and the 
fear that his creditors would seize the assets of any 
new enterprise he might start. While this may not fully 
explain his apparent lack of initiative, it is the only rea- 
son that can be attributed to his decision not to revive 
his business. Others, notably .loe Wilde, operated suc- 
cessful businesses at the old post for many years after- 
ward. Thus, the cluster of Hunton buildings stood ne- 
glected, and largeK unused for any commercial pur- 
poses, yet he did not sell them or salvage them himself 
Hunton's true intentions remain an enigma. 

' "Old Kort l^iiramie." Chevcnne Daily l.t^ciJer. March 25. 1 890. 

- In the two days hefore the auction. Hunton measured buildings 
and estimated how much lumber the\ contained. Entries April 7 
and 8, Hunton [^iar\. 1890. typescript in Box 3. Accession No. 9. 
.lohn Hunton Papers. .American Heritage Center. University of Wyo- 
ming. Laramie. W yo. (hereinalter cited as. [lunton Diary with year). 

' Hunton to T, P. McCollev. Fort Robinson. Neb., December 2. 
1891. Hunton Letters, copies m Mattes Collection. Archives. Fort 
Laramie National Historic Site (hereinatkr cited as Hunton Letters. 
Mattes Collection). 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

The historic preservation movement in the United 
States was stili in its infancy at the turn of the 
century. There had been isolated instances of concern 
for saving historic buildings fi-om destruction in the East 
as early as 1816, with the rescue of the Old State House 
in Philadelphia. Later efforts included the identification 
of a building in New York fonnerly used as a headquar- 
ters by General George Washington and the appropria- 
tion of funds by that state's legislature to preserve it. In 
1853 a group of patriotic women organized to save 
Mount Vernon. Later, in the 1870s and 1880s, there 
was a burgeoning interest in the preservation of Colo- 
nial houses. Most of these early efforts, characterized 
by one historian as "patriotic fervor." transcended from 
the historical personages with which the buildings were 
associated, not as the result of any concern for their 
intrinsic values as examples of architectural types or 
their association with national historical themes.^ 

Although interest in historic preservation was flour- 
ishing in the East during the 1890s, it was only beginning 
to take root west of the Mississippi. Anglo-American 
occupancy of the region was comparatively recent and, 
despite the Census Bureau's pronouncement that the 
frontier line was no longer discernible by 1 890, much of 
the western United States was still unsettled. There 
was little interest in preservation in the West, with the 
exception of a developing concern by archeologists for 
some prehistoric Native American and other archeo- 

logical sites in the southwestern territories. An example 
was the setting aside of the ruins at Casa Grande, in 
southern Arizona, in 1 889. However, most people in the 
West were occupied with building the new civilization 
and exploiting the abundance of natural resources it had 
to offer. While some of the aging frontiersmen may 
have lamented the passing of the Old West, few people 
had any interest in philanthropic efforts aimed at saving 
buildings or sites purely for historical reasons. 

America may have experienced a latent social aware- 
ness of historic properties, compared with European 
nations, but concern emerged nevertheless. The Civil 
War produced widespread popular support for the es- 
tablishment and maintenance of national cemeteries. 
Veterans' groups, like the Grand Army of the Republic, 
proved to be powerful lobbyists in Congress. Since many 
of these cemeteries were located on the battlefields of 
that conflict, the federal government began reserving 
such tracts under the administration of the War De- 
partment Aside from the battlefields and their associ- 
ated cemeteries, however, the preservation movement 
remained centered in the private sector. 

By the end of the nineteenth century, one author con- 
tends, "not only were we as a people using historic shrines 
to assert our legitimacy in an international community 

■^ William Murtaugh. Keeping Time: The Hisloiy and Theon- of 
Presen'ation in America (New York: John Wiley and Sons. 1997). 

The State of Wyoming became involved in placing Oregon Trail markers in the years before 
World War /. Pictured is the dedication of a marker near Douglas on Sept. 20, 1913. 

Autumn aoO'i 


of venerable nations, but also, as individuals and groups, 
we looked to associative history for reassurance." * In 
1 906 Congress passed the Antiquities Act. the first com- 
prehensive federal legislation for the purpose of reserving 
as national monuments, 'historic landmarks, historic and 
prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or 
scientific interest. ""This legislation was a reflection of 
President Theodore Roosevelt's obsession for conserv- 
ing what he considered to be some of America's great- 
est cultural treasures. The weakness of the law lay in 
its limitation to properties either already owned or do- 
nated to the L' S. Government. It nevertheless was im- 
portant for demonstrating federal interest in land con- 
servation and preservation of cultural resources. Of 
equal importance, the Antiquities Act laid the ground- 
work for the extension of an entire system of such re- 
serves and. ten years later, the creation of an agencv to 
administer the sites— the National Park Service. 

That same year. coincidentalK. Ezra Meeker, who had 
migrated to California on the Oregon Trail in 1 852. re- 
crossed the trail in a personal commemoration of that 
event. In staging his tribute to the thousands of emi- 
grants who had passed over the combined Oregon-Cali- 
fornia and Mormon Trails in the mid-nineteenth cen- 
tury. Meeker drove one of his original wagons, drawn 
by a team of oxen. During his journey from Puget Sound, 
Washington, to Independence. Missouri. Meekerdrew 
attention to a need for marking the route of the emi- 
grant trail before it was entirely obliterated 

An example contlrming his worst fears was Fort 
Laramie. Meeker was appalled by what he found. "The 
old place is crumbling away, slow ly disappearing with 
the memories of the past." he despaired. The old pio- 
neer observed, correctly, that there was little evidence 
of the post he had seen over a half-century earlier, in 
fact, he said, the ruins visible in 1 906 did not represent a 
fort at all. "but an encampment. "7 Meeker's impres- 
sion reflected the fact that most frontier army posts 
had no stockades, therefore, they more closely resembled 
villages than fortifications. 

Meeker's nostalgic revisiting of the Oregon Trail 
spurred him to an even greater effort the next year, 
when he traversed the nation in his wagon, all the way 
to Washington, D. C. where he urged Congress to of- 
ficially mark the route. Not surprisingU . his efforts to 
attract federal involvement failed. The United States 
had a deeply rooted tradition in relying on "private ini- 
tiative in most areas of social concern.'"* Although the 
War Department oversaw national cemeteries and 
battlefields, it drew the line there. Virtually all of the 
eastern historic house museums associated with the 

nation's founders and leaders, were privately owned 
and operated. Meeker's campaign served the purpose, 
however, by sparking local groups in the West to heed 
his message. Whereas he had discovered only 22 mark- 
ers along the Oregon Trail the first time he retraced it 
by 1908 there were more than 1 30.' 

Interest in memorializing the emigrant route across 
Nebraska and Wyoming grew rapidly. Despite 
Wyoming's relatively recent statehood and its still sparse 
population, it emerged as a leader in efforts to mark the 
Oregon Trail, as well as in identifying and erecting monu- 
ments at numerous other historic sites within its own 
boundaries. Whether they were conscious of it or not. 
Meeker and his disciples were expressing a connection 
of the past with the present-associative history-lest that 
anchor be lost. As one historian observed. "Historical 
marking wasn't a science: it was more an instinct, some- 
thing that some individuals bore inside themselves.'"" 

Even John Hunton felt compelled to take action when 
he wrote to the Secretary of War in 1910 suggesting 
that, "a small monument should be erected at the site of 
the immense immigration trail or road which is very 
rapidly passing out of recognizable existence."" Back 
in 1891. when an army detail returned to the fort to 
retrieve the soldiers" remains from the post cemetery. 
Hunton had called their attention to the mass grave at 
the Grattan Battlefield. Now, nearly 20 years later, he 
thought it was appropriate to place a monument mark- 
ing the famed trail, which passed close by the scene of 
the 1854 skirmish.'- 

The preservation movement nationwide became char- 
acterized by two elements— patriotism bordering on re- 
ligious zealotry, and women most often assuming the 
leadership roles. The Wyoming preservation effort fol- 
lowed the national trend. The seeds that Ezra Meeker 
sowed fell on fertile ground in the state chapter of the 

* Ihid.. 30. 

" Barn. Mackintosh. "The Historic Sites Siirvev' and National 
Landmarks Program: A Historv" (Washington. D. C: National Park 
Service. 1985). 1. (hereinafter cited as "Historic Sites Survey"). 

' Meeker, perhaps without knowing, summed up the structural 
evolution of the post from a walled trading post to the scattered 
array of buildings typical of most western ami\ posts, Mike .lording. 
A Few Inlerested Rcsideiils. ll'yumiiiii Hislnncal Markers << Moim- 
meius (Newcastle: 1442). .'i. (hereinafter cited as .( Few Interesled 
Residents ). 

* Mackintosh. Historic Sites Survev. p.l. 
'^ Jording. A Few Interested Residents, p. 1 . 
'" .lording. A Few Interesled Residents, p. 1 . 

" Hunton to Senator F. E. Warren, .lune 15. 141(1. Hunton Let- 
ters. Mattes Collection, 

'- Lhis marker was not placed until 1416, Grace Raymond Hebard 
to Hunton. Jul\ 18. 1416. ihid 

Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard speaking al the 
dedication o/ a murker. 

Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR]. The 
group initiated a program to raise money and erect 
markers along the trail as early as 1908 and just five 
years later installed an imposing monument where the 
emigrant route entered the state near Henry. Nebraska. 

Also in 1913. the D. A. R. introduced a bill in the 
state legislature petitioning for funds to further their ef- 
forts. The legislature not only made an appropriation of 
$2,500 for that purpose, but established an Oregon Trail 
Commission [OTC] to administer a landmarks program 
statewide. The first three-member committee was 
headed by Mrs. H. B. Patten, then state regent for the 
DAR. When Patten and her husband left the state to 
go to Washington. D.C., her successor to both positions 
was Dr Grace Raymond Hebard. noted Wyoming his- 
torian and member of the faculty at the University of 
Wyoming since 1 909. Hebard headed the DAR and the 
OTC from 1914-1915 and continued to serve as secre- 
tary of the latter until 1921." 

Those were busy years for the members of the Trail 
Commission, thanks to the strong support of the Wyo- 

ming Legislature. Each year, it routinely appropriated 
$500 for their work. During the period from 1913 to 
1916. the OTC marked nearly 50 historic sites in the 
state, only two or three of which were not associated 
with the Oregon Trail. Among the important places iden- 
tified by Dr. Hebard were several frontier militaiy posts, 
including Fort Laramie. Such monuments, siie said, were 
necessary "to do honor to those who endured hardships 
and privations, encountered dangers and peril, who gave 
up their lives to make possible the civilization of the 
great west."'"* 

Mrs. Patten contacted John Hunton in 1913 with a 
proposal for erecting a significant monument at the fort 
as part of their project to memorialize the trail. Enthused 
with the idea, Hunton responded that he had spoken 
with his old friend and neighbor Joe Wilde, who agreed 
to donate the cement, or $25 toward the purchase of it. 
Other old-timers expressed their willingness to support 
the effort, mainly with labor. Patten therefore arranged 
to have a bronze tablet cast bearing the inscription, 


However, when the plaque failed to arrive by Octo- 
ber, Hunton wrote to Mrs. Patten suggesting that the 
construction of the monument be postponed until spring 
to ensure that the con- 
crete would cure 
properly. The tablet 
was delivered later 
and Hunton stored it 
until warm weather 

About the first of 
June 1914, Hunton 
assembled a crew of 
volunteer workmen 
composed of Mead 
and George Sander- 
cock, soldier's son 
John O'Brian, and Jo- 
seph L. Wolf, propri- 
etor of a dry goods 

' ' Jording. .1 Few Inter- 
ested Residents. 5-7. 

Oregon Trail marker erected 
in 191 3 in western Wyoming 

Autumn !2002 


and grocery store in New Fort Laramie. A man named 
Hisey was paid to do the concrete work, although he, 
too. donated an additional day of his time to complete 
the project. Hunton proudly announced that he and his 
"few interested residents" finished the monument on 
June 6. "We have a very substantial structure 6' x 6' 
square at base, tapering to 2' x 2' at top and 12' high." 
he reported to State Engineer and OTC member A. J. 
Parshall.'^ The monument was strategically placed a 
few feet northeast of the Post Trader's Store, a place 
Hunton knew had been a ke\ historical road intersec- 
tion at the fort. 

No action was taken to formally dedicate the monu- 
ment until 1915. That spring. Dr. Hebard mobilized her 
sisters of the DAR. including Blanche Hunton. to coor- 
dinate special ceremonies for the unveiling of t!ie Fort 
Laramie monument and two other Oregon Trail mark- 
ers, one at Lingle and one at Torrington. Although the 
planners experienced some unavoidable delays, the day 
was finally set for June 1 7. 

Late that morning. ex-Govemor Joseph M. Carey. 
Hebard. and other dignitaries delivered ferxent speeches 
reflective of the times relating to the opening of the 
West, praising "the men who wrested these broad acres 
from the Indians." and the many sacrifices made by the 
pioneers. Then, before a large crowd and to the strains 
of the Torrington band. Mrs. Hunton. who arranged to 
be home at the time, drew the American flag from the 
Fort Laramie monument. The Torrington Telegram 
proudly proclaimed that the day would, "ever remind 

the passing generations that people living in 1914-15 
were appreciative of the work done along the trail and 
on into the West, from 1810 on down to the present 

Echoingthe preservation philosophy prevalent in the 
late nineteenth century, the speakers typically praised 
the spirit and courage of those who had "settled the 
West." yet not one proposed that the venerable old post 
itself be preserved for those future generations. Cer- 
tainly. John Hunton did not speak up. since he had been 
a central figure in destroying much of it. Even Hebard 
said only that. "The part that Fort Laramie has taken in 
helping to execute this trust makes us today, with rev- 
erence and sacred memory place a monument on the 
spot, that more than any other place in the great West 
contributed to a successful and triumphant march of 
Western development and expansion.'"^ There was. to 
be sure, a sense of place and its thematic association 
with the westward movement Yet. typifying the times, 
the monument, not the doomed structures, was perceived 
as the permanent reminder of Fort Laramie. 

In more recent decades, both federal and state gov- 
ernments have become involved in identifying and rec- 
ommending the preser\'ation of historic sites. Yet. many 
such efforts began at the grass roots with individual 

" Hunton to A. S. F^irshall. Cheyenne. Wyo.. .Iul\ 18. 1914. 
Hunton Letters. Mattes Collection. 

'" "liig Outing Day Thur." Torrington Telegrnm. .lune 17. 1915. 

'^ "Significance otTort Laramie On thc( )regon Trail." Torrington 
Telegram, .lune 24. 1915. 

Members of the Historical Landmarks Commission and other officials pose in front of a fort 
structure in this photograph taken in the 1930s. 


Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

citizens. In this instance, the concept of saving the physi- 
cal remnants of Fort Laramie began with James 
Johnston, editor of the Torrington Telegram. The cer- 
emonies lighted a patriotic tire in Johnston. "Few people 
realize the importance of Fort Laramie as a historic 
spot in Wyoming." Johnston wrote, "and to think that 
the site of the first fort in the state lies within the bor- 
ders of our own county ought to arouse the patriotism 
of the present generation to restore the works and make 
it into a beautiful resort." Betraying a naivete about the 
complexities of such an undertaking, Johnston enthusi- 
astically recommended that, "There are a dozen or more 
of the old buildings intact, and can be put in shape for 
use at a very little cost."'*' He added that because the 
fort was convenient to Wheatland. Guernsey, and 
Torrington, it made a wonderful spot for picnics and 
other social gatherings. 

Johnston's plea failed to spark any immediate response 
in the local populace. Hebard, apparently satisfied that 
the needs of preservation had been met, did not step 
fonvard on behalf of the State of Wyoming to cham- 
pion the cause of saving the buildings. Historian Merrill 
J. Mattes later interpreted this to mean that, "because it 
was inconceivable that any agency would preserve an 
old fort solely as an historical park, all early proposals 
revolved around various pragmatic uses."'" While these 
ideas may not have met the modern criteria of preser- 
vation, they were nevertheless aimed in that direction. 
The event surrounding the erection of the monument 
served to awaken wider interest in "doing something" 
with the fort. 

The editor of the Nebraska-based Midwest Maga- 
zine. Will M. Maupin, advanced another concept, no 
doubt inspired by the war in Europe. After having at- 
tended a Wilde dance there in 1914, Maupin saw the 
old fort as ideally suited for a military school. The his- 
toric buildings could be restored, apparently to serve as 
a reminder of the nation's heritage, while the school 
itself would consist of newly-constructed buildings on 
the grounds. To promote the idea, he proposed a grand 
picnic at the fort on Independence Day, 1916. This was 
not intended to be a July Fourth celebration, as such, 
but simply an informal public get-together "not only to 
give old-timers a chance to meet, but to talk over the 
possibility of getting the Government to establish a mili- 
tary school at the Old Fort."-" 

The festive day included picnicking on the grounds, 
wrestling matches, baseball, and a speech by Judge 
Charles E. Winter, a champion of land reclamation in 
Wyoming, in which he presented a strong argument for 
government ownership of the fort. The presence also 

of the influential and popular ex-Governor Carey at- 
tracted wide publicity to the event that the concept alone 
might not have. Of even greater significance, the old- 
timers' picnic elevated the level of concern from a local 
one, expressed in Johnston's suggestion for a tourism 
resort, to the higher plain of federal involvement The 
military school proposal was timely on one hand, with 
America's impending involvement in World War L Con- 
versely, when the U.S. actually declared war in April 
1917, such notions were lost amid more pressing con- 

Two of the important old-timers at Fort Laramie, 
John Hunton and Joe Wilde, were along in years 
and had made no secret of their desires to sell their Fort 
Laramie properties. As far back as 1913, both men had 
advertised their lands, "either jointly or separately."-' 
The Wilde property encompassed the Cavalry Barracks 
and the other buildings north of the New Guardhouse, 
as well as the meadows below the post on the left side 
of the Laramie River. Hunton owned all of the parade 
ground area, except the comer containing Quarters "A," 
the ruins of the Administration Building, and the Old 
Guardhouse. That, as well as the rest of the southeast 
one-quarter of the northeast one-quarter of Section 29 
belonged to the Sandercock family. Hattie Sandercock's 
sons still farmed their lands around the fort, but after so 
many years at Fort Laramie. Hunton and Wilde were 
tired and anxious to live elsewhere. 

Joe Wilde, in particular, had "been bothered consider- 
able in trying to provide accommodations to the visi- 
tor..." Louis Carlson, a contractor who had built irriga- 
tion canals in the North Platte Valley, saw an opportu- 
nity to take advantage of the increasing flow of tourists 
comingupthe valley en route for Yellowstone National 
Park and other points of interest. Improving Wilde's 
facilities in the barracks, Carlson planned a general 
merchandise store and hotel "equipped to take care of 
the trade in good shape." He also proposed an auto 
route through the fort grounds, along with a convenient 

'* "A Notable Pleasure Resort." Torrington Telegram, .(une 17. 

'"Merrill J. Mattes. "Fort Laramie Park History 1834-1977" (Den- 
ver. 1978). 59 (hereinafter cited as "Park History"). 

-° "A Fourth of July Picnic at Old Fort." Guernsey Gazette. June 
19. 1916. That Maupin had more than a passing interest in such 
things, was demonstrated b\ his appointment as the first custodian 
of Scotts Bluff National Monument in 1919. Mattes. "Park His- 
tor>." 61. 

-' Hunton to Cohn Hunter. Cheyenne. Wyo.. April. 1913. Hunton 
Letters. Mattes Collection. 

Autumn !200'2 


gas station.-- Carlson bought out Wilde's interests 
through a series of mortgages executed during the years 
191 7-1 91 9. -'Joe and Mary Wilde, no doubt relieved to 
be rid of the burden of running the dance hall and other 
businesses at the fort, promptly moved to Lingle, Wyo- 

Hunton also negotiated a deal to sell all of the 640 
acres he eventually acquired to Thomas Waters, an 
Omaha. Nebraska developer and former freight repre- 
sentative for the Pennsylvania Railroad, in the fall of 
1920. Waters apparently was interested in either rent- 
ing out his agricultural land to others, or hiring the work 
to be done. In any event, he seemed to be unconcerned 
w ith the historic structures., at least initially. In exchange 
for their giving up the Burt House, he allowed .lohn and 
Blanche Hunton to reside in the south of the Surgeon's 
Quarters until May I, 1922.-^ With the relinquishment 
of their land, both Hunton and Wilde, the last principal 
living links with Fort Laramie'sactivemilitary era, them- 
selves faded away.-' 

Indeed, within a period of only 30 years after Fort 
Laramie's abandonment, and with active homesteading 
still in progress in southeastern Wyoming, tourism was 
already perceived as an economic boon to the region. 
Although there is nothing to indicate the extent to which 
tourists visited Fort Laramie in the years immediately 
following World War I. the fact that both Carlson and 
Waters seized upon the idea of turning it into a profit- 

able venture suggests that the numbers were large 
enough to justify their investments. 

The so-called "apostle of Oregon Trail monuments 
and markers." Ezra Meeker, again traveled the length 
of the trail in his wagon in 1920. Drumming up renewed 
interest along the way. Meeker may have been a cata- 
lyst in the organization of the North Platte Highway 
Association two years later. This organization stemmed 
from an attempt to link a series of public road segments 
into a state road, which Nebraska hoped to use as a 
means for securing federal highway funds. To further 
bolster their justification, state highway department and 
promoters along route in both Nebraska and Wyoming 
capitalized on its historical reputation as the Oregon 

Plans for preserving Fort Laramie, incidental to prof- 
itable tourist developments, were advanced in 1923. 
when a new activist came to the forefront in defense of 
the old post. L. G. "Pat" Flannery. editor of the Liugle 
Guide-Review and later owner of the short-lived Fori 

-- "Old Fort Laramie to Undergo lnipro\ enicnts." Cnicrnsey Ga- 
rtv/e. .Aiigusl31. 1917, 

-' Land Records, (ioshen Count\ . W\ oming; Mattes. "Park Mis- 
tor)." 63. 

-^ Hunton to L/ra Meeker, New ^ork. N^'. I ebruan l-l. 1^26, 
tiunton Letters, Mattes Colleelion 

- Wilde died in 1426; Hunton in 1928. 

-" Mattes. "Park Histor\." 64. 















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Annals of Wyoming The Wyoming History Journal 

Laramie Scout, took unusual interest in the fort, prob- 
ably because for a time he had lived at the post, next 
door to Hunton. Flannery, backed by George Houserof 
the Guernsey Gazette, who had beat the drum to pre- 
serve Fort Laramie since 1916, launched a crusade to 
save it from oblivion. Fired with enthusiasm, Flannery's 
January 1 ! headline boldly challenged the local popu- 
lace to "see to it that the 'Old Fort' is preserved as a 
historical spot."-' 

By that time, Louis Carlson, who owned Wilde's prop- 
erty, had sold out to Henry S. Clarke, 
an Omaha banker. Clarke made a 
habit of buying properties and busi- 
nesses through the use of his wife 
and certain trusted employees act- 
ing as fronts for his financial activi- 
ties. The parcels fonnerly belonging 
to Joe Wilde, were conveyed to one 
of Clarke's cooperatives, Paul McDonald, in 1919. 
McDonald worked as a clerk in a Torrington bank. 
Carlson had not proceeded with his plans to the extent 
of making significant changes in the barracks or other 
buildings, and Clarke had no interest in hosting visitors. 
For him, the Cavalry Barracks made a suitable summer 
home where he could come to relax. He remodeled the 
rooms in the north end of the ground floor with this in 
mind. Clarke hired Tom and Harry Latta, farmers near 
Mitchell, Nebraska, to manage his agricultural interests 
and sharecrop the land. The Lattas were given the south 
end of the barracks, where Clarke had rearranged the 
partitions of the Wilde store to form family quarters.-^ 

Meantime, Waters, new owner of the Hunton prop- 
erty, revealed his own plans to create a dude ranch at 
the fort, using the Post Trader's Store as a museum. 
Additionally, he intended to construct a number of new 
rental cottages, a hotel, and a cafe. The centerpiece of 
the resort would be a golf course! That all of this would 
take a considerable sum of money to bring to fruition. 
Waters admitted. But, he told the Gering Midwest "What 
we should be doing is turning the tide of tourist traffic to 
the northwest from Ogallala, over the old Oregon Trail 
through Gering, Scottsbluff and Mitchell, into old Fort 
Laramie with all its associations and memories, and 
thence on into Yellowstone National Park... It would 
mean more to these communities than almost any other 
one thing that could be imagined. "-''It was, of course, in 
Waters' best interests to promote U.S. Highway 26 as 
the logical route to Yellowstone. Despite his salesman- 
ship, however. Waters was unable to attract enough 
investors in his enterprise to fund his plans, thus interest 

Men from 
around the area 
rushed to com- 
bat the blaKe 
beariujl doum on 
the buildings... 

Public concern for Fort Laramie took on a life of its 
own. In 1925, George Houser got wind ofa bill pending 
in Congress that would designate a highway, dubbed 
the "Oregon Trail," connecting Independence, Missouri, 
and Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the Pacific Coast. 
Houser astutely connected this proposal w ith the An- 
tiquities Act of 1 906, particularly the provision authoring 
the President to create national monuments by execu- 
tive order 
As word spread, several Wyoming towns mobilized 
to preserve both Fort Laramie and 
Fort Bridgerby including them as logi- 
cal riders on the bill relating to the 
Oregon Trail Highway. Locally, the 
Torrington Lions Club and American 
Legion PostNo.5 drafted resolutions 
that were forwarded to the Wyoming 
State Legislature to memorialize the 
U. S. Congress to set aside Fort Laramie. The lan- 
guage of House Joint Memorial No.4, as it was labeled, 
reflected for the first time not only broad support for 
Fort Laramie, but specifically proposed "restoring, pre- 
serving, and perpetuating to posterity this historic monu- 
ment of pioneer days and making it accessible to visi- 
tors.""' The intention to establish it as a unit of the Na- 
tional Park System was unmistakable. 

As often happens, legislation that appeared to be in- 
offensive to anyone and on a fast-track to passage, was 
derailed because of disagreement over details. In the 
instance of Representative Addison Smith's bill, it died 
in committee when trail authorities and various inter- 
ested members of Congress could not arrive at a con- 
sensus as to which of the various routes and branches 
of the trail should be included, much less the starting 
and ending points. Some even questioned whether or 
not Congress should properly or legally attempt to de- 
bate historical issues. 

Just when the groundswell of public sentiment for 
preservation was reaching new heights, the fort was 
nearly destroyed. Late one evening early in April 1925, 
a dragline operator working the nearby irrigation canal 
detected a wildfire sweeping onto the fort grounds. He 

-' "Be a Booster for Fort Lararnie," Lingle Review. Januar>' 1 1. 

-* "Old Fort Laramie Will be Made Big Summer Resort." Guern- 
sey Gazelle . October 23. 1923: McDermott and Sheire. "1874 Cav- 
alr> Barracks. Fort Laramie National Historic Site: Historic Struc- 
tures Report/Historical Data Section," (Washington. D. C: Na- 
tional Park Service. Sept. 1970). 4344, 

-" MaUes. "Park History." 66. 


Autumn '.'OO'i 


immediately went to the Cavalry Barracks to notify the 
Latta brothers. The alami spread to the town and nearby 
ranches. Men from around the area rushed to combat 
the blaze bearing down on tlie buildings from the north- 
west. Lines of water carriers stretched to the river so 
that walls and the areas immediately surrounding the 
structures could be wet down. Hours later they brought 
the tire under control, but not before it had burned the 
wood elements of the New Bakery, leaving onl\ the 
concrete walls." 

The tire, more than anything else could have, pointed 
up just how vulnerable the old fort really was. its de- 
fenders seemed more determined than ever to find a 
way to bring it under government protection. Flannery 
and Houser rolled up their sleeves to revitalize the ef- 
fort, .ludge Charles E. Winter, the same man who had 
spoken in behalf of creating a military school at Fort 
Laramie back in 1916. again demonstrated his commit- 
ment to having it authorized as a national monument. 
Now a congressional representative in Washington. 
Winter attempted to lay the groundwork. Again, it went 
nowhere. Winter did, however, manage to get a monu- 
ment funded in remembrance of Sacajawea at Fort 
Washakie, where he had served as judge for seven 
years. That Fort Laramie was not included may have 
said more about political realities than historical signifi- 

Other events in 1926 boded well for the preservation 
movement. Meeker's attention-grabbing treks up and 
down the trail and his constant lobbying for ever more 
markers to commemorate it, eventually led to the cre- 
ation of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, head- 
quartered in New York. The Wvoming chapter included 
as life members several prominent citizens having con- 
nections with Fort Laramie, among them Grace Raymond 
Hebard and popular ex-Congressman Frank W. Mondell. 
This organization provided an umbrella under which the 
efforts of several groups, including the DAR., and the 
Daughters of the Pioneers, were unified into a more 
powerful lobby. That year Congress approved the mint- 
ing of six million special half-dollars to further the work 
of the new organization. '- 

In July, a 250-man battalion of the Fourth Cavalry 
marched from Fort D. A. Russell, near Cheyenne, to 
the state fair at Douglas. Wyoming. Their route of march 
brought the cavalry through Fort Laramie, where they 
bivouacked on the parade ground. While this was not 
first time troops had been at the fort since it was aban- 
doned, it was certainly the most publicized occasion.'' 
Pathe News Agency even sent a photographer to cap- 
ture the moment on film to be shown in movie theaters 

nationwide. Both John Hunton and Joe Wilde were fea- 

All of the attention focused on Fort Laramie that year 
caused the crusade to take a different tack. 1 he editor 
of the Cheyenne Dciilv Leader trumpeted the exist- 
ence of a large sum of mone\ that had been trusted to 
the State of Wyoming, but no one was quite certain 
what to do with it The indefatigable George Houser 
immediately held up Fort Laramie as a worthy cause. 
"We talk about the federal government setting aside 
this old post as a national monument, but the State of 
Wyoming should not relinquish it and should need no 
further urging to make a beautiful state park.... Our 
citizens, for who else can we lay it to. should be put to 
shame for any further neglect in preserving this fme old 

By the 1 920s, the fort had become more popular 
than ever as a spot worth visiting, not onl\ by 
western history buffs, but cross-country travelers and 
area citizens alike. Whereas in previous years most lo- 
cal folks came only to partake of the Wilde dances or a 
July Fourth picnic, time altered the character of these 
visits. The no-holds-barred Wilde dances themselves 
were consigned to the past when Joe and Mary moved 
away. The fort was a serene place to picnic, to visit 
with friends, and to fish on a Sunday afternoon. Then 
too, all the attention paid to the need for preserving the 
place led to genuinely-interested people from other states 
and even foreign nations driving off the main route to 
see what was left of the famous old sentinel on the 
plains. One resident recalled that these people frequently 
knocked at her door to request guided tours. Doors, she 
said, had to be kept locked, "otherwise people would 
walk right in."" 

The fort began to assume an educational dimension 
when local Boy Scout troops discovered that Fort 
Laramie made an ideal location for campouts. When a 

" "Old Fort l.araniic is riircateiicd by Fire." Guernsey Gazette. 
April 3, 1925. 

'- Jording, .) Few Interested Residents. 4. 

"Troop D. Ninth Ca\alr\. making a change-of-station enroute 
from Fort Robinson, camped at Fort Laramie in 1 894. Entr\ June 4. 
Hunton Diar> . 1 894; Other times \s hen troops may have camped at 
the fort during practice marches were noted in Hunton to Captam 
A. C. Blunt. Fort D. A. Russell. VVso.. June 7. 1904; Hunton to 
Colonel J. A. Auger. Fort Robinson. Neb.. June 15. 22 1906; and 
Hunton to A. G. Lett, quartermaster. 6th Cavalr\. Fort Robinson. 
.August ^\. all in ftunton Letters. Mattes Collection. 

" "Make Old Fort A State Park With John Higgins Trust Fund." 
Guernsey Gazette. July 23. 1926. 

" Meda HaufYHollman interview. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

few schools conducted end-of-term trips to the fort, 
such visits became popular adventures because the stu- 
dents were allowed "to prowl around through the build- 
ings."-"' Some latter-day fort residents became con- 
cerned when visitors were seen carrying away parts of 
the structures as souvenirs, but there was little they 
could do. Without government protection, "they were 
just a bunch of old buildings sitting on a piece of dry 
land in Wyoming." one resident said." 

Although Pat Flannery acknowledged local support 
in the form of several monetary pledges from area or- 
ganizations to supplement a state appropriation, should 
one be made, he continued to advocate federal owner- 
ship. "It is in truth a national monument whether we 
have it or whether we forget it," he editorialized. Taking 
a shot at Thomas Waters, Flannery quipped, "The move- 
ment to honor Old Fort Laramie will indeed be glad 
tidings to those who find repugnance in the destruction 
or commercialization of ancient and holy things."" In 
August, the Associated Chambers of Commerce in 
southeastern Wyoming intensified the clamor for pres- 
ervation with a strong resolution endorsing Fort Laramie 
as a "national park." 

That same month, the Annual Pioneers Reunion was 
held in Guernsey. It was a repetition of the event inau- 
gurated ten years earlier. One of the old veterans who 
returned that year was W. F. Haynes, formerly a mem- 
ber of the Second Cavalry, who had last seen the fort in 
1866. E.xpressing his reactions to the Wyoming state 
historian. Haynes concluded that, "The indifference to 
the fate of Fort Laramie has been defended by the want 
of necessary funds to save it... I feel like one who is 
making a final effort in... defense of an old, tried, and 
faithful friend who is now in the decrepitude of his years 
is unable to defend himself.. We of today owe some- 
thing to posterity, and the keeping, restoration and sav- 
ing of Fort Laramie is not the least."'" 

Also in attendance was Robert S. Ellison, an avid 
history buff and preservationist from Casper, Wyoming. 
Ellison's enthusiasm and energy were apparent in an 
editorial he wrote for the Guernsey Gazette in which 
he claimed that Fort Laramie, "outranks in the history 
of the west any other trading or military post." Most 
people, he acknowledged, were busily occupied with 
their everyday lives, but he nevertheless appealed to 
them "to secure and preserve as best we can the site 
and ruins of old Fort Laramie." Ellison candidly admit- 
ted that he was unsure just how that was to be accom- 
plished, "but we must first resolve and want it to be 

Ellison, one of the init al board members of Oregon 
Trail Memorial Association, wisely recognized that fed- 

eral ownership was the key element in making the dream 
a reality. Trusts and private donations for land acquisi- 
tion notwithstanding, the costs of restoration and main- 
tenance in perpetuity would be staggering. As a busi- 
nessman, Ellison "'as well aware that dozens of Wyo- 
ming state and national banks had closed during the 
1920s as a result of loan defaults. While the national 
economy may have appeared strong, the local situation 
was a harbinger of widespread financial disaster that 
did not bode well for grass-roots preservation efforts. 
As an executive with the Midwest Refinery, Ellison 
understood the costs of big business and appreciated 
that Wyoming alone probably could not underwrite the 
long-term care Fort Laramie required. Nothing would 
be worse than to place the fort in state hands, then 
have no funds to follow-through. Spreading those costs 
out among all of the nation's taxpayers seemed a more 
logical way to accomplish the goaf 

Accordingly, Ellison consulted with Horace M. 
Albright, assistant director of the National Park Ser- 
vice [NPS] to see what might be done. Albright ad- 
vised that so long as the property remained in private 
hands, there was little the Service could do. The NPS 
was very reluctant to undertake condemnation proce- 
dures to acquire park lands, and then only as a last re- 
sort. However, were the State of Wyoming to gain title 
to such a landmark, and secure legislation authorizing 
the transfer of the site to the federal government, the 
Park Service would stand ready to accept it. Albright 
further recommended that the state ought to form a 
small landmarks committee to carry out the plan. In this 
way, the preservation efforts of other heritage-minded 
groups, such as the DAR., the Daughters of Pioneers, 
and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, could be united 
into a single force.'- 

Actingon Albright's strategy, Ellison in 1927 spear- 
headed a successful effort to create a state committee 
—the Historic Landmarks Commission of Wyoming— 

'* Curtiss Root interview. 

^' Lewis Coiyer interview. 

^^ "Was Once the Heart oftlie West." Fori Laramie Seoul. July 
22. 1926. 

" Haynes accurate!) recognized only the "Sutler Store and 
PostotTice. the Headquarters [Bedlam], and the Guard-house" as 
having been there in 1866. Letter. W. F. Haynes to Mrs. Cyrus 
Beard. Cheyenne. Wyo.. September 1926 in Annals of Wyoming^ 
(September 1926), 310-12. 

■*" "Fort Laramie As A National Monument." Guernsey Gazelle, 
August 27. 1926. 

■" T. A. Larson. Hislory of Wyoming (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1978). 413; Mattes. "Park History." 76. 

"*- Mattes. "Park History." 76; Jording. A Few Inleresled Resi- 
denls. 4. 

Autumn i'OO'i 


with Ellison as chairman, along with Warren Richardson proposing another state legislative memorial to Congress 

of Cheyenne, and Joseph Weppner of Rock Springs, to "purchase, restore, and preserve old Fort Laramie" 

The Wyoming Legislature empowered the commission as a national monument/" Although the state supported 

to inspect and evaluate potentialls significant sites the move, the House of Representatives Sub-Commit- 

throughout the state and to recommend for acquisition tee on Interior AtTairs failed to act. 

those it considered of greatest impoilance. Disappointingasthis was. the friends of Fort Laramie 

Even though the commission was provided a small reftised to be discouraged. The failure of various frag- 

annual appropriation for expenses, there were no funds mented efforts apparently convinced them that the best 

available for the purchase or maintenance of historical hope for success lay with the Landmarks Commission. 

properties. As Albright pre- 
dicted, the legislature was reluc- 
tant to assume long-term re- 
sponsibility for such sites, espe- 
cially in view of an uncertain 
economs . The key element for 
the future of Fort Laramie was 
the inclusion of a pro\ ision that 

Tlicir first annual report, 
!vul>niitt4;d in 1928. left no 
<|u«;A>ti4»ii tliat Fort I.«traniie 
wofi tliv coniniiA»si4»n*i« liii>li- 
cst priority. 

That organization had been in- 
strumental in furthering the state- 
wide preservation effort by set- 
ting aside Forts Bridger, Reno, 
and Bonneville, along with the 
Conner Battlefield near 
Ranchester." Citizens in both 
Platte and Goshen Counties uot 

the Landmarks Commission could arrange contracts with behind the movement by setting up a local ad\ isorv com- 

the federal government to preserve state-owned sites, mittee to the commission for the express purpose of 

Thecommission was justifiably proud of the "man\ out- acquiring Fort Laramie. The committee, formed on 

standinghistoric sites identified with the upbuildingand October 18. 1929. was composed of se\en residents, 

bringing of civilization intothe West as does Wyoming."^' including L. G. Flannery and George Houser. 

Their first annual report, submitted in 1928, leftnoques- Oneoftheir first actions was to appoint two indepen- 

tion that Fort Laramie was the commission's highest dent appraisal teams to estimate the values of the three 

priority tracts comprising the site. Once prepared, the two ap- 

Ellison and his committee moved quicklv to solicit praisals. only forthe lands on the left sideofthe Laramie, 

prices for the Fort Laramie tracts owned b\ Waters, came in at $10,650 and $1 5.650. respectively. Regard- 

Sandercock. and James W. Auld, another Nebraska less, the amounts were more than the committee had 

banker who had foreclosed on Clarke's property when any hope of raising through donations, especially con- 

his banks failed in 1924."'"' However, the owners, par- sidering the economic climate.^'' 

ticularly Waters, were reluctant to sell. Thomas Wa- The Oregon Trail Memorial Association continued to 

ters. in partnership with M. S. FJartman. an executive be an active force in the preservation mo\ement along 

of the Fairmont Creamery in Omaha, had started his the route of the emigrant trails. For example, the group 

"restoration" of the Post Trader's Store late in 1926. In exerted its influence by convincing President Herbert 

conjunction with Waters' plans to use the fort as a sum- Hoover to proclaim the period from April 1 through 

mer resort. Hartman wanted to convert the historic December 29. 1930. as the "Covered Wagon Centen- 

sutler's building into a museum for his collection of nial." marking the crossing of the Smith-Jackson-Sublette 

"mounted animal wildlife, old coins, etc. "^' The owners wagon train from St Louis to the rendezvous area on 

also trumpeted their well-intentioned, but technicallv Wind River in southwestern Wyoming 

disastrous restoration work, which included patching and Predictably. Houser and Flannery seized the opportu- 

strengthening the adobe walls with concrete, replacing nity to stage an observance at Fort Laramie on August 

the original floor; and bracing up the roof w ith a series 1 5. sponsored by the Wyoming Landmarks Commis- 
of concrete pillars. Mercifullv . the work stopped there, 
either because of a shortage of funds, or because Wa- 
ters and Hartman reconsidered the profitability of the 
whole venture. 

This afforded another opportunity for the fort's advo- 
cates to attempt to directly legislate a solution to its 
fate. Guernsey Gazette editor George Houser prevailed 
on the town's American Legion post to take advantage 
of the Legion's 1928 state convention as a platform for 

"'•' McDemioti and Sctioire. "1874 Ca\alr> Barracks." 44, 

""^ "Omaha Mans Plans Museum at Old Fort." Fori l.aromie 
Scout. Septcmhcr 1. 1927. 

""' Maucs. "Park Histor>." 81. 

"" "Progress Made in Presersing Landmarks." Casper Star-Tn- 
/ijf/jt". November 24. 1929. 

"'*' IhiJ.. 82. Soon thereafter. .1. \\ Auld threatened to tear down 
theCa\alr\ Banacks il'somethinewere not done soon. Ihui . 82-83. 


Annals of Wyoming; The Wyoming History Journal 

sion. "The celebration, by centering attention on old Fort 
Laramie doubtless will give greater momentum to the 
proposal that the site of the frontier trading post be ac- 
quired by the state," Houser reported."*" A committee 
appointed by Ellison garnered support from communi- 
ties throughout the region. Individuals representing civic 
and special interest groups from Torrington. Lusk. Dou- 
glas. Glenrock. Guernsey, and Fort Laramie, plus the 
Nebraska towns of Mitchell. Morrill, and Scottsbluff 
pledged their support in an organizational meeting held 
in Torrington earl> in June. Houser remarked that, "it 
was probably the largest and most representative group 
ever gathered forthe consideration of plans concerning 
the welfare of Old Fort Laramie."'" 

Despite a two-day downpour that left the roads in 
horrible condition and flooded New Fort Laramie, thou- 
sands of people turned out to watch bandits waylay a 
Cheyenne-Black Hills stage and later, Lakota Indians 
from Pine Ridge Reservation attack a wagon train in 
the best Hollywood tradition.'' The amiy. appropriately, 
was represented b\ a band and a battalion of infantry 
sent from Fort F. E. Warren at Cheyenne. The troops 
performed a retreat parade and guard mounting for the 
benefit of onlookers, ceremonies that had not been wit- 
nessed at the fort for 40 years. Even though some of 
the day's events had to be rearranged, or canceled alto- 
gether because of the weather, Flannery estimated that 

Former Gov. B. B Brooks, chair oj the Historical 
Landmarks Commission, 1931 

some 23.000 people attended, arriving in nearly 5,000 
automobiles. "The Old Fort lived again," he reported, 
"when the largest crowd ever assembled [in] the North 
Platte Valley gathered... to show their interest in the 
movement, now rapidly gaining headway, to preserve 
and restore this birthplace of westem history as a state 
or national monument."" Indeed. 200 people paid dues 
to join a new Fort Laramie Historical Society, orga- 
nized as a fund-raising entity." 

On hand to speak were Wyoming Gov. Frank C 
Emerson and Congressman Simmons from Nebraska. 
Famed artist and photographer William H. Jackson, who 
had first traveled through Fort Laramie in 1 866, showed 
up. along with frontiersman Finn Burnett and other fig- 
ures from the fort's early days. Just as the oratory be- 
gan, the Pony Express put in a dramatic "surprise" ap- 
pearance with the sudden arrival ofa rider galloping up 
to the podium. While Flanner>'s estimate of the number 
of people may have been inflated, he did not over-esti- 
mate the enthusiasm shown by area citizens. Even Fox 
Movietone News arrived on the scene to film shorts for 
theater news presentations across the country. 

After the excitement died down, the local committee 
took stock of its net gain. Although it faced the same 
problems it had before the Covered Wagon Centennial- 
-no money and land owners who resented being forced 
out by the government— the political winds were shift- 
ing. The state legislature, no doubt at the urging of the 
governor, appropriated $ 1 5.000 in 1 93 1 so that the Land- 
marks Commission could attempt to purchase the land 
on its own. based on the appraisals obtained previously. 
This was exactly the approach that NPS Director 
Albright had outlined six years earlier. In June 1 93 1 , the 
commission, now headed by ex-Govemor Bryant B. 
Brooks of Casper, who had replaced Robert Ellison as 
chairman, met with Tom Waters and George 
Sandercock. one of Hattie's sons who was then man- 
aging the place. Over a lunch served by George's wife 
on the porch of Quarters "A." Waters informed Brooks 
that he would be willing to sell all of his acreage, 640 

■*" "Old Timers' Celebration at Old Fort Laramie." Guernsey Ga- 
zette. May 23. 1930. 

-° "Plans Started for Covered Wagon Centennial Observance at 
Old Fort Laramie August 12." Goshen News-Fort Laramie Scout. 
,lune5. 1930. 

'' Some of those named were: Chiefs Big Hawk. Strong Talk. 
Kills Above. Little Dog. and Rills Chief "Some Indian Chiefs at 
Old Fort Laramie." Goslien News. August 7. 1930. 

'- "23.000 Pay Tribute to Pioneers at Old Fort Laramie Friday." 
Goslien News and Fort Laramie Scout. August 21. 1930. 

^^ This organization had no relationship to the more recent park 
cooperating association 

Autumn '200^ 


acres, for the sum of $22,500. Brooks responded that 
the price not only exceeded the amount appropriated. 
but the commission liad autiiority to negotiate for only 
tvventv acres of Waters' property, being Just the portion 
occupied b\ fort buildings. When Waters insisted that 
he wished to protect his investment by selling the whole 
parcel. Brooks rejoined that the state could exercise its 
right of eminent domain. That brought the meeting to a 
peremptory conclusion.'^ 

The Landmarks Commission interpreted Waters' 
stance as a statement that he was not willing to cooper- 
ate for the higher good. Since he owned the critical 
piece of land encompassing the parade ground and the 
row of buildings along its west side. Waters held the 
trump card. The tracts belonging to Sandercock and 
Auld were useless without his. and if the commission 
were foolish enough to purchase them. Waters could 
hold his for a ransom. 

With its back to a wall, the Landmarks Commission 
initiated condemnation procedures against all three 
owners through the Wyoming Attorney General's Of- 
fice in 1932. New appraisals were executed b\ court- 
appointed tTrms. with the backing of the .American Le- 
gion and the Fort Laramie Commercial Club, as well as 
the mayor and town council ofNew Fort Laramie. These 
arrived at a total value of $1 1.600 for the 55 acres the 
commission considered necessar_\ to preserve the post. 
This fit neatl> within the $1 5.000 appropriation already 
available, with money left over for administrative costs. 
During the year that the hearing was delayed, the com- 
missioners continued to hope that the landowners would 
settle out of court for the proffered prices, since land 
values were declining as a result of the Great Depres- 

The same bad economic conditions brought about 
much greater government involvement in all 
aspects of American society. President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt's "New Deal" created a plethora of new gov- 
ernment agencies for controlling the economy, devel- 
oping public works projects, and making the federal 
government centrally responsible for numerous pro- 
grams that had been handled piece-meal at lower lev- 
els. The National Park Service, although established in 
1916 to administer the fledgling system of parks and 
monuments authorized haphazardly since 1 872. had been 
perceived as a "western" agency having little interest in 
cultural properties. During the 1920s Stephen T. Mather, 
the first director, and his successor, Horace Albright, 
endeavored to change that image. They successfully 
pursued a strategy aimed at broadening both the young 

agency's political support and its public constituency, 
especially in the East. In 1933 their lobbying paid off 
when the Park Service was given authority over the 
various battlefields administered by the War Depart- 
ment, as well as the archeological resources managed 
by the Department of Agriculture. Additionally, the Sys- 
tem was expanded to include all of the monuments and 
other park-type lands in the nation's capital. 

These acquisitions went far toward geographically 
balancing the holdings of the National Park System, yet 
little effort had been devoted to constructing a thematic 
framework by which historical resources could be criti- 
cally weighed. In 1928. the Secretary of the Interior 
appointed a Committee on the Study of Educational 
Programs in the National Parks. Since the National Park 
Serv ice had no historians of its own. the secretary called 
upon a prominent anthropologist at the Museum of Natu- 
ral History. Dr. Clark Wissler. to serve on the commit- 
tee. Wissler prepared the recommendation relating to 
historic sites, in which he suggested that those places 
and the historical materials in them should, "serve as 
indices of the historical sequence of human life in 
America."'" This marked the first attempt to define 
broad historical contexts of American histon that might 
be physicalU represented b\ designated sites assigned 
to the National Park Service. 

Wissler's effort had no immediate effect, but the ap- 
pointment of Dr. Verne B. Chatelain as the first chief 
historian in 1933 did. Chatelain was immediately 
charged with developing policies for historic sites. In 
his report, the chief historian recommended that since 
no criteria had been applied to the properties acquired 
from the War Department, a "system of acquiring his- 
toric sites should include all types of areas that are his- 
torically important in our national development...."^" 
Chatelain therefore prepared the first criteria for the 
selection of historic sites, founded on a "quality of unique- 
ness "from which the broad aspects of prehistoric and 
historic American life can best be presented, and from 
which the student of the history of the United States 
can sketch the large pattern of the American Story. "-^ 
He also emphasized that these special places, collec- 
tively, should represent the whole cloth of American 

Concurrent with the development of a methodology 
for evaluating historic sites, the Roosevelt administra- 

" Mattes. "Park Histon." 87. 

" Ronald F. L,ee. Family Tree of the \ational Park System ( Phila- 
delphia: Eastern National Park and Monument Assoc. 1972). 46. 
-•^ Mackintosh. "Historic Sites Sur\e>." 8. 
"/6a/. 9 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

tion put into place more new social programs to help 
jump-start the national economy. Two of these, the Ci- 
vilian Conservation Corps [CCC] and the Historic 
American Buildings Survey [HABS], directly benefited 
areas already administered by the National Park Ser- 
vice, but only indirectly influenced the crusade to save 
Fort Laramie. The Service had oversight responsibili- 
ties for portions of the CCC. a huge labor force orga- 
nized in military-style camps, used to carry out preser- 
vation and development work at both national and state 
sites. HABS put unemployed architects to work mak- 
ing field examinations of structures considered to have 
historical significance, then making drawings for per- 
manent record. These programs, combined with Park 
Service efforts to develop definitions and evaluation 
criteria, were important elements in the formulation of 
a comprehensive federal preservation program. 

This was expressed in legislation that resulted in the 
Historic Sites Act of 1 935. Testifying before Congress 
in support of the bill. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. 
Ickes characterized it as "a broad legal foundation for a 
national program of preservation and rehabilitation of 
historic sites. "-^ Ickes explained that this authority would 
pennit him, through professional staff, to conduct this 
work in an organized, aggressive manner, rather than 
the disjointed effort that prevailed up to that time. This 
dynamic approach would result in the rapid expansion 
of historical properties in the National Park System, while 
perpetuating the active relationship with local and state 
governments engaged in similar work at their respec- 
tive levels. 

Included in the 1935 act was a provision establishing 
an Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, 
Buildings, and Monuments. Its members, all recognized 
experts in their respective fields of history, archeology, 
architecture, and human geography, were drawn from 
the private sector. Among the first eleven-member panel, 
coincidentally, was Clark Wissler. who had first devel- 
oped the thematic approach for historical areas of the 
System. His appointment to the Advisory Board was 
important for the continuity of philosophy guiding the 
program. At the group's second meeting, in May 1936, 
the members endorsed the concept of selecting sites 
representative of the various phases of American his- 
tory, including one titled, "Advance of the Frontier." 
However, they were adamant that any sites considered 
for inclusion in the System should be thoroughly evalu- 
ated and judged to be "outstanding examples in their 
respective classes."" 

As commendable as this may have been, academic 
historians denigrated the concept on the basis that it 

was weighted heavily toward the preservation of "old 
things for their own sake," to the detriment of public 
understanding of their place in American history. Chief 
Historian Chatelain responded to this challenge by stat- 
ing that historic sites would be used as the basis, a means, 
for communicating the broad historical themes in much 
the same fashion that academics utilized documentary 
evidence. Nevertheless, the academics were reluctant 
to concur, a factor that probably colored the relation- 
ship between scholars and Park Service field sites for 
many decades. 

The reservations of academic historians notwithstand- 
ing, the preservation of historic sites had made signifi- 
cant advancements in the private sector, as well as in 
government circles. In fact, the decade starting in 1 926 
marked a renaissance for historic preservation. That 
period saw the development of Colonial Williamsburg, 
an extremely ambitious project backed by the fortune 
of John D. Rockefeller. It resulted in the restoration of 
not just a single building or even a group of buildings, 
rather it was the renovation of a complete eighteenth 
century town in all of its details. A few years later, 
Henry Ford inaugurated Greenfield village in Michigan, 
another historical project the primary purpose of which 
was public education. Historic house museums abounded 
in communities large and small across the nation. 

The National Park Service had only nine historical 
areas under its jurisdiction at the time the agency was 
founded. Because there was no clear-cut authority re- 
garding historical properties, that number increased to 
only twenty prior to 1933. Significantly, that year marked 
a real turning point when President Franklin Roosevelt 
signed an executive order consolidating all federally- 
owned national military parks and memorials, including 
eleven national cemeteries, along with all national parks 
and monuments and the National Capital Parks into a 
single integrated National Park System. At the stroke 
of a pen, the National Park Service became the sole 
federal agency responsible for all federally-owned parks, 
monuments, and memorials in the nation, thus increas- 
ing its holdings to 77 historical areas. This was a first 
major step that put the Service in the history business.*" 
Having charged the NPS with responsibility all of the 
historic sites and buildings. Congress approved the His- 
toric Sites Act two years later, giving the Service its 
first historians, archeologists, and historical architects. 
It also laid the groundwork for historical interpretation 
in the System. 


'''^ Ibid.. 10. 

^° Ls?:. Pamily Tree,2\.3,5. 

Autumn 'iOO!^ 


These events on the national playing field por- 
tended the future of Fort Laramie. Near the 
end of 1933. Dan Greenburg, serving as the publicity 
chairman for the Landmarks Commission, suggested 
that the National Park Service be approached with a 
proposal for acquiring the fort to "tie it in with the regu- 
lar park service.""' Whether or not Greenburg was aware 
of what was happening in Washington is not known, but 
he well could have been. In any event. Gov. Leslie Miller 
agreed to contact NPS Director Arno B. Cammerer, 
who was a personal friend of Miller's. 

At this critical juncture, Wyoming Attorney General 
Ray Lee met with the legal representatives of the three 
fort land owners in an attempt to reopen discussions 
about selling their properties. Although the lawyers for 
Jessica Auld and Molly Sandercock, who had assumed 
ownership from their husbands, were willing to accept 
the state's offer. Waters and Hartman remained intran- 
sigent. Lee reasoned with their attorneys that the state 
could not legally offer more than the appraised value of 
the land, even if they elected to go to court. A jury 
verdict was exactly what Waters and Hartman desired. 
In a lightning-fast trial scheduled the following week, 
local jurors awarded them $500 an acre. Of course, 
their decision may have been influenced by landowners 
in the jury box who had their own reasons for seeing 
Depression-era land values increased. Even though the 
latest legislative appropriation had been passed for 
$25,000, an amount that would have come 
close to covering the mandated price for the 
55 acres, the governor had unilaterally de- 
creased the authorization to $ 1 5,000 before 
affixing his signature. Waters and Hartman 
knew of this action beforehand, which no 
doubt prompted them to stand firm on their 
price. "- 

The movement that had taken various lev 
els and avenues during the years since i 9 
once again descended to the grass roots. S 
Deprived of Robert Ellison's dynamic lead- o 
ership and drive to save the fort, the Land- | 
mark Commission lost heart in the project s 
and turned its attention elsewhere. c 

However, Flannery, Houser, and others in 'i 
Wyoming who championed Fort Laramie | 
renewed their determination to see it pre- 
served. In what seems to have been an ob- 
session by that time, the local leaders con- 
vinced Governor Miller to appoint yet an- 
other special committee, apart from the 

Landmarks Commission, for the sole purpose of pre- 
serving the fort. This "Old Fort Laramie National Park 
Area Commission." as it was called, included three 
members in addition to Houser and Flannery. Putting 
their shoulders to the wheel were Dr. Grace Raymond 
Hebard, Dr. G. O. Hanna of Lingle, and Charles O. 
Stafford, the manager of the Wyoming Department of 
Commerce and Industry.^' 

Although single-minded in purpose, the committee re- 
alized it was at a loss to know where to begin after all 
of the previous attempts had tailed. At Fiannery's sug- 
gestion, the committee petitioned Wyoming Sen. Joseph 
C. O'Mahoney to request guidance from Secretary 
Ickesand Director Cammerer. Llnfortunately. nothing 
happened, despite the promised support of the Wash- 
ington officials. This may have been because the NPS 
wanted to avoid an already sticky situation that had stale- 
mated with a failed attempt at condemnation. 

The committee faced a paradox. It was highly un- 
likely the Park Service would buy the land, considering 
the economic realities of the times. On the other hand, 
while the State of Wyoming might have been able to 
salvage the negotiations to buy the property, it was 
doubtful the state could afford to restore or operate the 

'■ ' Mattes. "Park Hlstoi^." 
"- Ibid. &9-90. 
"•^ Ibid.. '>4-95. 



Gov. Leslie Miller (left) was relentless in his efforts to preserve Fort 
Laramie. He was helped in Congress hy It'yoming Sen. Joseph C. 
O'Mahoney (right). The two Democrats worked with the NPS to 
gain federal designation for the site. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

place, both of which the public demanded. The answer, 
as Flannery may have realized, lay in the sage advice 
Horace Albright had imparted to Ellison back in 1925. 
The solution was to utilize the President's authority to 
proclaim national monuments under the Antiquities Act 
of 1 906. if the state could manage to purchase the fort, 
with the assurance the NPS would immediately take it 
off their hands through a presidential proclamation. 
Congress might be more easily levered into appropriat- 
ing funds for its maintenance. 

The plan needed a catalyst to start the ball rolling. 
That spark was provided by Merrill J. Mattes, a young 
historian posted at Scotts Bluff National Monument. 
Mattes was thoroughly familiar with the historical sig- 
nificance of Fort Laramie and its surviving buildings. 
Early in September 1936, Hillory A. Tolson, assistant 
director of the Park Service, visited Scotts Bluff during 
a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. 
Mattes, already personally committed to seeing Fort 
Laramie preserved, suggested to Tolson that since his 
route would take him right by the fort, he should stop to 
see it. When Tolson expressed his interest in doing so. 
Mattes volunteered himself and avid Oregon Trail his- 
torian Thomas L. Green, a resident of ScottsblufT, to 
serve as guides. Inexplicably, during all of the various 
celebrations and Landmark Commission maneuvers, no 
one had bothered to invite any high-ranking NPS offi- 
cials to come see the fort. 

The visit proved decisive. Tolson was deeply im- 
pressed with what he saw and with the role the fort had 

played in western history. The assistant director even 
went so far as to say that if the State of Wyoming could 
acquire the fort, the NPS would assume responsibility 
for its administration. True to his word. Tolson telephoned 
Associate Director Arthur B. Demaray in Washington 
soon after his visit to convince him that the time was 
right to take action on Fort Laramie. Director Cammerer, 
now amied with the 1 935 Historic Sites Act and a grow- 
ing professional staff to carry out its mandates, was 
most receptive to expanding the agency's historical prop- 

Only a week after Tolson's impromptu visit, the NPS 
announced publicly that it would be willing to establish 
the area as a unit of the Park System, were it donated 
to the government. Demaray notified Donald B. 
Alexander, coordinator of CCC activities at Omaha, that 
he was to enter into direct negotiations with the State 
of Wyoming, and at the highest levels. Gov. Miller, elated 
with the sudden NPS interest in Fort Laramie, informed 
Alexander that he was uncertain just how Tom Waters 
would react to the news. But. NPS staff members in 
Omaha already had checked into Waters's financial situ- 
ation to discover that he would probably be willing to 
reduce his price for the land.'^'^ 

"'Ibid., 105. 

"' Mattes, who was fairly close to these events, assumed this 
was worked out during a meeting among NPS and W> oming state 
oftlcials and members of the local committee. Mattes. "Park His- 
tory." 106-07. 

"•'Ihici.. 108. 

Group standing in front of Old Bedlam. Photograph by Joseph Weppner, Historical Landmarks 

Autumn 200'2 


Miller now scented victory and pulled out all stops to 
secure the fort. When the members of the Landmarks 
Commission expressed their reservations about gaining 
Waters' cooperation and their unwillingness to pay an 
unreasonable price. Miller simpl> bypassed them. He 
even drove to the fort to personally discuss the situa- 
tion, and to sniff the political winds at the confluence. 
Planner} provided the governor with the names of sev- 
eral indi\iduais he thought would be willing to negotiate 
with Waters and the others. Miller also invited local 
businessman and fort-supporter Robert J. R\ mill to chair 
yet another comm ittee for that purpose. This time, how- 
ever, the committee was granted wider latitude to ac- 
quire more acreage, up to 200 acres in fact, with a ceil- 
ing price of $25,000. The new proposed boundaiy prob- 
ably was suggested by NPS planners in Omaha lo pro- 
vide a wider protective buffer around the historic build- 

OnJanuarx' 17, 1937, Rymill infonnedGovemorMiller 
that the negotiators and the land owners had reached 
an agreement on a purchase price of $24,844.75. barely 
under the limit, but nevertheless within bounds. Even 
though Miller had earlier sidelined the Landmarks Com- 
mission, he was again in a position to utilize their ser- 
vices as an instrument to handle the sale. At a subse- 
quent meeting a few days later, Warren Richardson, a 
member of the committee, proposed that the Legisla- 
ture appropriate a total of $27,500. This, he explained, 
would cover state expenses in the interim period re- 
quired to move the fort into the hands of the Park Ser- 
vice. This might have been a stumbling block in prior 
years, but not in 1937. Miller enjoyed near universal 
popularity with the voters, and just as important, ex- 
erted powerful influence over Democratic legislators. 
Not only was there an absence of opposition, factions 
on both sides of the body competed for the honor, if not 
the credit, of preserving Fort Laramie. Representatives 
from no less than eight Wyoming counties, led by Goshen 
and Platte, joined in sponsoring the bill, introduced to 
the Ways and Means Committee early in February. To 
no one's surprise, it flew through the legislative process 
and was enacted on February 20. 1937.''^ 

His signature hardly dry on the bill. Governor Miller 
sped off to Washington to secure a personal guarantee 
from Director Cammerer that the Park Service was 
indeed prepared to follow through on its promise. The 
director assured Miller that everything was in place and 
that a presidential proclamation accepting Fort Laramie 
would be forthcoming. Miller left nothing to chance, 
however. Before leaving Washington, he attended a 
meeting of the Advisory Board to make certain that 

there would be no hurdle raised relative to the fort's 
significance for inclusion in the National Park System. 
The Washington Office staff of the NPS had already 
covered those bases and the Council advised the gov- 
ernor that Fort Laramie's historical importance had 
never been questioned. 

That done. Miller dashed back to Cheyenne, where 
he placed the final responsibilitv in the hands of the 
Landmarks Commission. Lmpowered to make the pur- 
chase, the commission members presented the official 
vouchers, in the sum of $25,594.75. to the state auditor 
for payment. The legislative resolution also authorized 
the Landmarks Commission to convey the land. 214.41 
acres, to the National Park Service, an act carried out 
on the last day of March. Fittingly, a grand celebration 
was staged on the fort's parade ground on July 5. 1 937. 

In I 890 the army had forsaken the old post as 
being of no further use. It had indeed outlived 
its purpose as a military post, just as it had outlasted the 
trappers, emigrants, gold-seekers, and Indians. Never- 
theless, even its decline, it served other needs for cattle- 
men and homesteaders, not all of them good for the fort 
itself But, survive it did. While the land remained much 
the same as it had always been, the buildings suffered. 
As Historian Mattes observed, "Actually, we should not 
express disappointment that so much of Fort Laramie 
was lost, but rather surprise that so much of it has been 
saved. '"^^ Enough was saved to serve as a tangible, 
irreplaceable reminder of the nation's heritage and those 
who have gone before. The meanings and values of 
events at the confluence remain the obligation of those 
to follow. 

"' Mattes. "Fort Larainic: Guardian ofthe Oregon trail." Annuls 
of Wyoming. 17(,lanuar>. 1945). 17-18, 

Douglas C. McChristian, an authorit> on the 
frontier military, is a historian with the Na- 
tional Park Serv ice. He now lives and works 
in southern Arizona, but he once served as 
superintendent of Fort Laramie National His- 
toric Site. This article, the third and final in- 
stallment in a series published in Annals, is 
based on a longer study on Fort Laramie's 
history from the fur trade era to modern 
times. The book will be published by the Na- 
tional Park Service. 

Book Reviews 

Significant Recent Books on Western and Wyoming History 

Edited by Carl Hallberg 

Religion in the Modern American West. 

By Ferenc Morton Szasz. Tucson; University of Arizona 
Press. 2000. 270pp. Illus.. notes, bib., index. Cloth, $35. 

Reviewed by Amanda Porterfield, University of Wyoming 

A welcome antidote to the chronic neglect of religion in 
historical studies of the American West, this handy volume 
describes the contours of American religion west of the 1 00*' 
meridian, which runs through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kan- 
sas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Combining extensive research in 
the cutting files of regional public libraries and state histori- 
cal societies with knowledge of relevant scholarly literature. 
University of New Mexico History Professor Ferenc Morton 
Szasz argues that religion has shaped the growth of many 
western communities and that, since the 1960s, religious 
trends in the West have come to dominate national trends. 
The absence of a single mainstream religion in many parts of 
the West gave many different religious groups room to es- 
tablish themselves and develop freely, Szasz argues. The 
open spaces and natural beauty of the landscape contrib- 
uted to religious individualism, and this contributed to a grow- 
ing national interest in personalized forms of spirituality. 

The book is divided into three parts. Part I surveys the 
period fi"om 1 890 to 1 920 and focuses on the crucial role reli- 
gious groups played in establishing hospitals, schools, and 
welfare that enabled communities to grow. In contrast to the 
East and Midwest, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant groups 
coexisted on more or less equal footing in many towns and 
cities while Latter Days Saints created their own fantastically 
successful Zion in and around Utah. In San Francisco, Los 
Angeles, and Denver, Jews often led the way as philanthro- 
pists and community builders. Catholics established firm 
and extensive social bedrock, especially in California and the 
Southwest. Protestants also contributed to the social infra- 
structure of western society but were often divided among 
themselves, no less than Jews and Catholics, into ethnic 

Part II surveys the period from 1 920 to I960, which saw an 
influx of conservative evangelicals and the flourishing of 
Pentecostal fervor, especially in the Southwest. The interna- 
tional Pentecostal celebrity Aimee Semple McPherson based 
her headquarters in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, local religious 
leaders made life better for many people. The Irish Catholic 
Brother Mathias Barrett founded the order of Little Brother 

of the Good Shepherd and established homeless shelters 
Los Angeles and Albuquerque, while the Reform Rabbi 
Isadore Budick promoted understanding between Christians 
and Jews in Oklahoma. Heavy migration to the West Coast 
fed the growth of many religious institutions, although the 
census of 1950 showed Washington and Oregon had the 
nation's highest rate of religiously unaffiliated people. 

Part III covers the last four decades of the 20"' century and 
attends to the sharp rise of religious conflict in the West. 
Respect for Native American religions increased, as did con- 
flict between developers and environmentalists. Bhagwan 
Shree Rajneesh and his followers attempted to take over 
Antelope, Oregon, but they were run out of town. In the 
most horrible religious conflict to emerge form the West, Jim 
Jones led more than 900 followers from his People's Temple 
in northern California to death in Jonestown, Guyana. 

If the West generated more than its share of religious con- 
flict in the United States during the late 20"' century, it also 
led the way in developing new forms of religious creativity. 
Robert Schuller pioneered new expressions of Christian out- 
reach and entertainment at Crystal Cathedral in conservative 
Orange County as did, in a very different style, the charis- 
matic Black activist Cecil Williams at Glide Memorial Church 
in San Francisco. As this lively volume demonstrates. West- 
erners did not hold to convention as much as their eastern 
compatriots. But their religious experiments and enthusiasm 
for spirituality shaped the landscape of American religious 

Selling Yellowstone: Capitalism and the Con- 
struction of Nature. 

By Mark Daniel Barringer. Lawrence: University Press of 
Kansas, 2002. 248pp. Illus., maps, notes, bib., index. Cloth, 


Reviewed by Shannon Bowen, American Heritage Center, 
University of Wyoming 

There is no question that the national parks of the United 
States have been contested spaces on a variety of fronts 
since the designation of Yellowstone in 1872. From the rights 
of concessioners to the nature of its use, the United States' 
national park system has been marketed and re-marketed to 
accommodate the changing tastes of a now international visi- 
tor population. Mark Daniel Barringer asserts that the United 

Autumn 'iOO'i 


States Department of Interior, though its management of the 
national partes, has attempted to sell to this population an 
ever-evolving set of goods. But just what argument is 
Barringer selling his readers in Selling Yellowstone! 

Barringer states in his introduction that the national parks, 
and particularly Yellowstone as the first of its kind, offered 
Americans an image of the "Old West [that] proved itself 
useful in shaping popular ideas about what an American, as 
well as America as a nation, was." (p. I). As the frontier 
proceeded West across the North American continent, the 
parks presented a nostalgic reminder of what Americans 
dreamed their homeland once appeared to be. Barringer's 
introduction and his conclusion function as an exegesis of 
national park symbolism, and he states that his narrative "is 
about the people who constructed Yellowstone's many iden- 
tities and shaped popular perceptions of the park over the 
years, and their reasons for doing so." (p. 7). However, this 
work is not concerned with how those identities and percep- 
tions were "constructed." a tenn Bartinger is quite fond of 
using, but rather with the evolution of business operations 
and government policy regarding Yellowstone National. Park. 

Barringer offers an exhaustive and well-researched history 
of concessions in Yellowstone from the park's establishment 
until the mid-1960s. He discusses the relationship between 
government officials and individual concessioners, as well 
as the effects of World War I and World War II on activities 
within the park. Barringer also deals with how various 
concessioners worked with park superintendents, interior 
secretaries, and environmental pundits to create and recreate 
Yellowstone's built and natural landscape to suit tourists' 
changing tastes. While this line of discussion might lend 
itself well to an explanation of what those tastes were and 
how they came to be that way, Barringer resists that tempta- 
tion, relying instead on offhand remarks and brief digres- 
sions on national park iconography. These offhand com- 
ments and brief digressions undermine what would other- 
wise be a convincing and articulate pitch about how private 
enterprise influenced public land use decisions. 

Readers expecting Selling Yellowstone to be an intellec- 
tual and cultural history will be disappointed. Its subtitle. 
Capitalism and the Construction of Nature, is misleading in 
that it emphasizes the role that nature would play in Barringer's 
narrative, in fact, nature is but a minor actor in this story, 
which is part of the author's point. While he might have been 
better served by avoiding the parks' symbolic implications 
altogether, his discussion of those implications provides at 
least a partial backdrop for his explication of Yellowstone's 
business and government history . Contextualization is a slip- 
pery slope, and Barringer's navigation of it is at times clumsy. 
Further, with the immense volume of scholarship on what 
nature means in national parks, there is little he could add to 
the dialogue. The story he succeeds in selling about 
Yellowstone is one that, until now. has been more obscure. It 
is a story that entwines political promises and the proverbial 
bottom line, one to which the public is not ordinarily privy. 
And in exposing this story; Barringer contributes a great deal 
to the continuinc Yellowstone debate. 

Shot Down! Capital Crimes of Casper. 

By Charlotte Babcock. Glendo: High Plains Press, 2000. 
149 pp lllus . hib.. index. Paper. SI 3 95. 

Reviewed hy Kim Winters, American Heritage Center, 
University of Uyoming 

Charlotte Babcock's book Shot Down' Capital Crimes of 
Casper is. as the title implies, about ten capital crimes (each 
chapter is about a specific event) in Casper from 1 890 to 1 9 1 4. 
In her forward, Babcock describes her book as a collection of 
stories that "are told as if by the drawing-room fireplace of 
someone who was there." Without a doubt. Babcock's book 
is an enjoyable read, written in a relaxed writing st\ le. and it is 
easy for the reader to become, as Babcock says she did, 
caught in the drama of the "murders, crimes of passion, [the] 
lynching, barroom brawls [that] . . . exploded with the birth of 
the new town of Casper, Wyoming." Sometimes the text reads 
more like a historical novel, which perhaps adds to the ease 
with which the reader can become "caught up" with the "char- 
acters." The author's need to tell the "real" story and her 
writing style may frustrate some readers with this book. 

Babcock says she intends her book to be a factual account 
about early criminal history in Casper. While she seems over- 
whelmed by the need to tell the "truth." she also comments 
on the diftlculties that have stood in the way of her doing so. 
One challenge for her is historical research. She sees this as 
"an intriguing exercise in dogged detection, and in some 
measure, interpretation." But the process was personally 
frustrating as she found numerous inconsistencies in local 
sources and needed to explore them enough to pick out the 
"cortecf one. One wonders what she thought historical 
research and writing were all about. 

Babcock says that as a result, she had to interpret events. 
While this could have led to interesting examinations about 
various issues or situations, Babcock stops just short of 
doing so and, instead, offers just the facts. She provides 
little analysis about the historical significance of these events 
and no explanation about the context within which they took 
place. In theend, the reader comes awa\' with a limited view 
about the subject matter. 

Babcock also relies heavily on secondary sources. Her 
primary sources are two newspapers - the Derrick and the 
Tribune - and the lack of other primary documents may an- 
noy some readers who enjoy delving into old records. Simi- 
larly and perhaps most surprising for a historical text is the 
lack of citations or footnotes. Only newspapers are cited in 
the bod\ of the text. If Babcock is writing this book in the feel 
of someone sitting in front of a fire telling a tale, then she 
does just that. It is not often that during a story telling that 
the teller pauses to reference citations. 

Although Babcock's method of historical writing will not 
appeal to everyone, it should not be dismissed out of hand. 
This is an enjoyable book and a highK' accessible introduc- 
tion to early criminal history in Casper. While it may not offer 
everything some historians would like to see or rather it may 
stop tantalizingly short of this, it is a fun look at some of the 
drama in early Wyoming. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Dreamers and Schemers: Profiles From Carbon 
Count} , Wyoming's Past. 

B> Lori Van Pelt Walck. Glendo: High Plains Press, 1 999. 

1 1 Ins.. bib., index. Paper. SI 4.95. 

Reviewed by C. Fred UilUams, University of Arkansas at 
Little Rock 

Those interested in making lists and identifying "the best" 
in a given categon, as the turn of the century seems to have 
inspired, may take a lesson from this author and her book on 
Carbon County. Wyoming. Organized as one of the Territory's 
original five counties. Carbon County has had a storied past. 
The author attempts to capture that past with vignettes on 
thirty-three individuals who "had some stake in forming the 
County" (p. X). These brief biographical entries, approxi- 
mately 2000 to 35000 words in length, highlight the entrant's 
career and comment on their connection with the county. 
The longest entr> is reserved for Governor Fenimore 
Chatterton who followed a checkered path from New York 
through law school at the University of Michigan on his way 
to being the state's chief executive at the turn of the century. 
Among Chatterton's notable accomplishments was his re- 
fusal to commute the capital murder conviction of range de- 
tective Tom Horn to life imprisonment. 

Chatterton narrowly edged legendary mountain man Jim 
Bridger and notorious cattle rustler Ella (Cattle Kate) Watson 
for the most space in the book. The shortest entries are 
reserved for husband-wife team Richard and Margaret Sav- 
age and land mining partners Ed Haggart) and George Ferris. 
Each gets about 1200 words. Four vignettes are about women 
and one is reserved of Afi-ican American Isom (Ned) Dart. In 
addition to Bridger. other national notables include outlaw 
Butch Cassid> and transportation magnet Ben Holladay. 

Individuals less well known but still important to Wyo- 
ming and Carbon Count>; include French army officer Philippe 
Regis de Torbriand. Arriving in America to participate in this 
nation's Civil War. Torbriand distinguished himself in battle 
and was brevetted to Major General before the war was over. 
He remained in the U.S. Army following the war. and his last 
years as a soldier were spent as commander of Fort Fred 
Steele. Another subject. Thomas Tipton Thronburgh. was 
also connected to Fort Steele, serving as "one of the young- 
est military officers to earn the rank of Major" (p. 47). 

Most professions present in Carbon County are also rep- 
resented in this book. Mining, ranching, land speculating, 
and law enforcement dominate the occupations represented. 
However, most individuals were engaged in multiple activi- 
ties (hence the title) and seldom stayed with one job for long. 
The most common "cross-over" career came from outlaws 
who settled down to become lawmen. 

Individuals recounted in this volume came or passed 
through all regions of Carbon County. However, those whose 
activities occurred at or near one of three places - Fort Fred 
Steele, Encampment, and Saratoga - get mentioned most of- 
ten. Fort Steele, founded by Colonel Richard 1. Dodge, pro- 
vided military protection for the transcontinental railroad and 

extended its mission to monitor Indian activities after the 
railroad was completed. The town of Encampment evolved 
from a fur trapper rendezvous site, and Saratoga, known for 
its spring water, began as a stage stop and was named for an 
earlier settlement in New York. 

This book makes interesting reading. But it is difficult for 
the general reader to understand the rationale for how the 
characters were selected. The author, a native of Nebraska 
and trained as a journalist, has done a good job in gleaning 
data from personal memoirs, popular histories, newspapers, 
and other miscellaneous publications. However, the narra- 
tive does not focus on serious scholarship and is more in the 
category of story-telling. Even so, it is a delight to read and 
even serious scholars will find tidbits of infomiation to sat- 
isfy their intellectual curiosity. 

High and Dry: The Texas-New Mexico 

Struggle for the Pecos River. 

By G. Emlen Hall. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico 
Press. 2002. 2S8 pp. Illus.. notes, index. Cloth. S39.95; 
paper. S 2 1.95. 

Reviewed by Leslie Sliores, American Heritage Center, 
University of Wyoming 

The struggle for water in an arid region is a conflict as old 
as time. The fight over Pecos River water is a 20'^ century 
version of that battle, a contest played out in the legal realm 
more than anywhere else. Former water-rights attorney, now 
University ofNew Mexico law professor, G. Emlen Hall tells 
the story about the Texas-New Mexico combat for Pecos 
River water as a lawyer, small farmer, and devotee to the river 
itself. Hall provides a masterful summary of Texas v. New 
Mexico. It was a convoluted, drawn-out court case that pit- 
ted Texas and New Mexico engineers, lawyers, politicians, 
and irrigators against each other in their attempts to gain 
control over Pecos River Water in the arid Southwest. The 
author tells about New Mexico's stake in the litigation. Al- 
though Texas had a huge interest in it. Hall admits that as a 
New Mexican, he did not see the downstream stakes as clearly 
or develop them as deeply. 

The case of Texas v. New Mexico is full of arcane details 
only a water engineer or water-rights lawyer could appreci- 
ate, but Hall is adept at sizing the issues down to a layman's 
level. His descriptions of the grand personalities involved in 
the case and the intricate maneuvering they perfonn bring 
richness to a story that could easily be bogged down in legal 
and engineering jargon. The book is as much a history of 
how a desert region uses its limited water resources as it is a 
description of a case played out in the federal courts. But 
there is no happy ending here. Hall recounts the battle over 
Pecos River water from its relative beginning, but as he re- 
lates, the clash continues into the 21" century with as much 
rancor and confusion as ever. 

The Pecos River has its headwaters in eastern New Mexico 
and runs through West Texas. As an upstream state. New 
Mexico has had a somewhat propriety view of the Pecos. 

Autumn '2002 


Hall's story begins in the 1 890s when New Yorker Francis G. 
Tracy arrived in Carlsbad, New Mexico to engineer a reclama- 
tion dream that would deliver Pecos water through dams, 
diversions, and delivery systems to parched acres in south- 
eastern New Mexico. By the turn of the ZO"" century, Tracy 
and his partners released prospectuses showing plans to 
irrigate more than one million acres of land between Roswell, 
New Mexico and the Pecos River. They were defeated in 
their attempts by the highly uncontrollable Pecos and by a 
clack of financial backing. 

Wild dreams of limitless water resources were also played 
out in Roswell, a town that has the good fortune to lay upon 
an artesian basin. Drilling for irrigation purposes was ram- 
pant in the 19IOsthrough the mid- 1950s with little knowledge 
that the wells were sucking away groundwater that normally 
would have fed the Pecos, and the downstream Texas fanns. 
Hall's interview with a second generation Roswell farmer pro- 
vides a valuable viewpoint from a New Mexican who contin- 
ues to farm his land through irrigation water from artesian 
wells. The author does an excellent job of showing the te- 
nacity of New Mexicans who depend on an unreliable river to 
make their living and their fierce protection of their water 

By the 1 940s, Texans got wind of the groundwater drilling 
in Roswell and grew suspicious that Texas was not receiving 
its fair share of Pecos water. A dispute arose forcing all sides 
to come together for some type of agreement, imperfect though 
it may have been. The result was the 1 948 Pecos River Com- 
pact which gave an empirical fomiula for dividing the water 
of the Pecos. Unfortunately, the river did not cooperate with 
the formula. Texas's expectations that New Mexico should 
follow the ainbiguous fonnula and New Mexico's attempts to 
evade the requirements of the formula led to the 1 4-year court 
case beginning in the mid-1970s. 

Under the administration of New Mexico State Engineer 
Steve Reynolds, there was one key principle to guide New 
Mexico water policy. That principle was that there should be 

scientific management of limited water to achieve the most 
economically efficient beneficial use of the state's scant sup- 
plies. The author indicates that "use" was the operative 
word in the State Engineer's office. Reynolds believed that 
water unused was water wasted. His policies toward water 
use were relatively simple to enact in the early days of his 
career in the mid-1950s, when most engineers and farmers 
were still unaware of how man's activities were depleting the 
river flow. But by the 1970s, Reynolds's key principle was 
vying with new knowledge about river flow along with a 
whole new range of competing key principles: water for Texas, 
water for federally protected aquatic endangered species, 
water for other uses, and water for the Pecos River itself. 
Using his skills in diplomacy, native charm, iron determina- 
tion, and slavish hours. Reynolds kept his antiquated policy 
afloat until his death in 1990. Steve Reynolds's strong per- 
sonality dominates Hall's book. Hall worked as a lawyer for 
Reynolds in the State Engineer's office and alternated be- 
tween admiration and abhorrence for Reynolds's policies and 
methods. In the end the case of Texas v. New Mexico sur- 
vived Steve Reynolds as well as two U.S. Supreme Court- 
appointed special masters, one who resigned in the frustra- 
tion and another who died in office. The case lasted from 
1974 to 1988, although, as the author relates, the problems 
that spawns it have not yet been resolved. 

Halls' story ends on his own plots of New Mexico land 
where he raises chile, basil, and pumpkins, some for the com- 
mercial market and some for his own personal satisfaction. 
He remarks that he ponders the history of irrigation in the 
region as he watches river water flow from 1 8"" centun, irriga- 
tion systems through his headgates and into his small fields. 
The artificial condition, he comments, has been in existence 
so long it seems natural. This contemplative approach and 
Hall's special insight as one who has witnessed the western 
water wars close-hand are reflected in the book and make for 
a well-thought out, engaging, informed account about the 
history about water use in the 20"' century New Mexico. 


Annals of Wyoming: The Wyoming History Journal 

Recent Acquisitions in the 
Hebard Collection, UW Libraries 

Compiled by Tamsen L. Hert 

The Grace Raymond Hebard Wyo- 
ming Collection is a branch of the Uni- 
versity of Wyoming Libraries housed in 
the Owen Wister Western Writers Read- 
ing Room in the American Heritage 
Center. While it is easy to identify^ ma- 
terials about Wyoming published by 
nationally known publishers, it can be 
difficult to locate pertinent publica- 
tions printed in Wyoming. The Hebard 
Collection is the most comprehensive 
collection on Wyoming in the state. 

If YOU have questions about these 
materials or the Hebard Collection, 
contact Tamsen Hert by phone at 307- 
766-6245: by email, 
or access the Hebard HomePage at: 
http://www. htm. 

Bagiey. Jerry. 

Daniel Trotter Potts, Rocky Moun- 
tain Explorer, Chronicler of the Fur 
Trade and ... The First Known Man 
in Yellowstone Park. Rigby, ID: Old 
Faithful Eye-Witness Publishing, 2000. 
Hebard & Coe F 722.4 .P68 B345 

Potts was a member of the Ashley- 
Henry expedition and provided reports 
of the travels up the Missouri, Big Horn 
and Wind Rivers. He provided the ear- 
liest accounts of the area of Yellowstone 
but was unidentified for nearly a cen- 
tury. The author located the original 
letters and was able to identify the au- 
thor of these early accounts. 

Carter, Robert A. 

Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man Behind 
the Legend. NY: John Wiley & Sons, 
Inc., 2000. 

Hebard & Coe F 594 . B63 D3 7 2000 

The first "full-scale biography" of 

this western icon in more than 30 years. 

Cassidy, James G. 

Ferdinand V. Hayden: Entrepreneur 

of Science. Lincoln and London: 

University of Nebraska Press, 2000. 

Hebard & Geology QE 22 .H3 C37 


A history of the development of the 
Hayden Surveys and their relationship 
to the practice of science. 

Hagan, Barry J. 

"Exactly in the Right Place": A 
History of Fort C.F. Smith, Montana 
Territory, 1866-1868. El Segundo, 
CA: Upton & Sons, Publishers, 1999. 
Hebard & Coe F739.F48H343 1999 

The third of the military posts along 
the Bozeman Trail, Fort C.F. Smith is 
primarily remembered for the Hayfield 
Fight, August 1, 1867. The author has 
thoroughly researched the military 
records to provide this account. 

Huston, Hayden H. 

Daniel, Wyoming: The First 

Hundred Years 1900-2000: A 

History of Daniel and Surrounding 

Areas. 2 vols. 

[Salt Lake City, UT]: Agreka Books, 


Hebard & Coe F 769 .D36 D36 2000 


"This book is a remembrance of the 
pioneer settlers of the upper Green 
River valley." Includes many photo- 
graphs and maps. 

Meeks, Harold A. On the Road to 
Yellowstone: The Yellowstone Trail 
and American Highways, 1900-1930. 

Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories 
Publishing Company, Inc., 2000. 

Hebard & Coe HE 356 . Y4 M445 

A history of one of the overlooked 
early highways in the United States. 

Petzoldt, Paul K. 

Teton Tales and Other Petzoldt 

Anecdotes. Guilford, CT: Globe 

Pequot Press. 1995. 

Hebard & Coe GV 199.92 .P48 

P489 1995 

A collection of reminiscences from 
this Wyoming climbing pioneer who 
died in 1999. 

Pitcher, Goldie Norah. 
McFadden: The Town They Called 
"Camp. " [Rawlins, WY?: s.n., 200?]. 
Hebard & Coe F 769 . M38 P583 

A history of a once-thriving Wyo- 
ming oil camp town. Pitcher, a former 
resident, now lives in nearby Arlington. 

Waite, Thornton. 

The Yellowstone Bears of the Union 
Pacific Railroad. Columbia, MO: 
Brueggenjohann/Reese; Idaho Falls, 
Idaho : Thornton Waite, c2000. 
Hebard & Coe HE 1 739 . W358 2000 
Bears have always been associated 
with Yellowstone National Park. In this 
small publication, the author reveals the 
story of the advertising bears used by 
the Union Pacific Railroad between 1 923 
and 1960. 

Forthcoming Articles in Annals— 

The Winter, 2003, issue will feature a series of biographies 
about Wyomingites—some famous, some infamous, and 
others who were fascinating but not well known. Among 
the subjects will be Laramie Plains rancher George Harper, 
Big Horn Basin murderer Bert Lampitt, and Estelle Reel, 
the first woman ever elected to a statewide office. Also 
featured will be a story by William R. Dubois based on an 
oral history interview of schoolteacher Rosemary Quinn. 



The W'yomin^i Stale Hisinneal Soeiety was (iri^anized in ()et()her 1953 The toUuwiny, are past presulenis of ihe Soeiet}-: 

1953-55: Frank Bowron. Casper 
1955-56: William L. Marion. Lander 
1956-57: Dr. DeWitt Dominick, Cody 
1957-58: Dr. T. A. Larson, Laramie 
1958-59: A. H. MacDougall, Rawlins 
1959-60: Thelma G. Condit, Buffalo 
1960-61: E. A. Littleton. Gillette 
1961-62: Edness Kimball Wilkins. Casper 
1962-63: Charles Ritter. Che>enne 
1963-65: Neal E. Miller. Rawlins 
1965-66: Mrs. Charles Hord. Casper 
1966-67: Glenn Sweem. Sheridan 
1967-68: Adrian Re\nolds. Green River 
1968-69: Curtiss Root. Torrington 
1969-70: Hattie Bumstad. Worland 
1970-71: J. Reuel Armstrong. Rawlins 
1971-72: William R. Dubois. Cheyenne 
1972-73: Henry F. Chadey. Rock Springs 
1973-74: Richard S. Dumbrill. Newcastle 
1974-75: Henry Jensen. Lysite Casper 
1975-76: Jay Brazelton. Jackson 
1976-77: Ray Pendergraft, Worland 
1977-78: David J. Wasden, Cody 

1978-79: Mabel Brown. Newcastle 
1979-80: James June. Green River 
1980-81: William F. Bragg. Jr.. Casper 
1981-82: Don Hodgson. Torrington 
1982-83: Clara Jensen. Lysite/Casper 
1983-84: Fern Cjaensslen. Green River 
1984-85: Dr. David Kalhka. Rock Springs 
1985-86: Mar\ Garman. Sundance 
1986-87: Ellen Mueller. Cheyenne 
1987-88: Mary Nielsen. Cody 
1988-89: Loren Jost. Riverton 
1989-90: Lucille Dumbrill. Newcastle 
1990-91: Scott Handles. Pine Haven 
1991-92: Dale Morris. Green River 
1992-93: Dr. Walter Edens. Laramie 
1993-94: SalK Vanderpoel. Torrington 
1994-95: Ruth Lauritzen. Green River 
1995-96: Maggi Layton. Riverton 
1996-97: Dr. Mike Cassity. Laramie 
1997-99: Patty Myers, Buffalo 
1999-2000: Dr. Mike Jording. Newcastle 
2000-02: David Taylor. Casper 
2002- : Dick Wilder, Cody 

Wyoming Picture 

From Photographic Collcction.s 
in Wyoming 

This scene of Gillette 's Main Sti-eel must have been photographed on a holiday, a Sunday, or a veiy quiet business day' 
The picture prohahlv dales from the lS90s. soon after the town was founded and he fire ears made their appearance on 
Wyoming. Main Streets. .American Heritage Center. L'niversin- of Wyoming photograph. 


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