Sitting Bull and the Meadowlark

Animals have been part of early and ancient cultures since the beginnings of people on earth.
Birds were often a part of American Indian life and culture. Long before Wyoming (1927) and Nebraska, Montana, Kansas, Oregon and North Dakota made the Meadowlark their state bird, Indians referred to it as the Sioux bird.

Sitting Bull loved all wild creatures but held the bird special often making up songs about them and giving birds credit for saving his life more than once.

Wyoming Trivia for Today

1.   F.E. Warren Air Base – What does the E stand for? (that would be Mr. Warren’s middle name)

2. What does this lovely French Word mean? Bois De Vanche
See answers below – no peeking!

1.   Emory
2.  Buffalo Chips

Women's Right's and a Great Career

How about this man’s career? John A. Campbell joined the union army in 1861 and by 1864 was brevetted as a Brigadier General. In April of 1869, President Grant named him Wyoming’s first territorial governor where he served until March of 1875.

 During his term, he signed into law America’s first women’s suffrage bill, making Wyoming the first state to grant women the right to vote. Not everyone around the state, nation or world was happy with this turn of events.
One example was this little ditty –
“Baby, baby, don’t get in a fury,
Your mama’s gone to sit on a jury.”

Two years later a bill passed both houses of the Wyoming legislature to withdraw women’s suffrage. Campbell vetoed it and Wyoming remained as the first to grant women the right to vote.
 His resignation followed his appointment as an assistant Secretary of State. He resigned his Secretary position when he was appointed American Consul to Switzerland in 1877. He died in 1880 and was interned in Arlington National Cemetery. Quite a career, and quite a life for a man who died at the age of 44.
Nothing beats a great Wyoming view - took this a mile and a half from home

Fort Laramie and Fur Trade Days

From 1820 to the early 1840s the fur trade was king in the mountain west. Furs were money in the west and money brought men searching for it. It was a wild, exciting and dangerous life. A chance for riches and a chance to never come back.

Last weekend was the annual, Fur Trade Day’s, at Fort Laramie. Several reenactor’s with some wonderful displays and great knowledge of the trapping era took part. I fear this period of time in American History is being washed away with newer history.

The great days of the fur trade lasted but two decades and a few years. Changing fashions and Gold in the west ended the Mountain Man era – too early for me. 

Oregon Trail Ruts - Guernsey, Wyoming

Wet Spring means lots of wildflowers. Today we took a trip to the Oregon Trail Ruts south of Guernsey. This is the time of year the wagons would have been rolling through this area. 

Wonder how many years the flowers were this spectacular.

All photos from the Trail Ruts this evening. 

Milton Sublette - The Lost Mountain-Man

Milton Sublette was one of five men who banded together and formed the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. They were able to buy out his brother William, Jedidiah Smith and David Jackson. But there is more to this story.
William Sublette started Fort Laramie in 1834 known then as Fort William. The name was changed to Fort John in 1841 when it became part of the American Fur Company. In 1849, it became Fort Laramie. From 1849 to its end forty years later it remained Fort Laramie a United States Army Fort.
Now back to the subject of this post, Milton Sublette.
In 1826, he took either an arrow or a hatchet to a leg in an Indian battle in the southwest. At the time, he was only 25 years old. The leg wouldn’t heal and eventually he had part of it taken off. A year or so later another piece was taken. It is possible that he had other surgeries on the often infected leg.
He lived on using a leg made of cork and used a one mule wagon to get around when he could. He died at the ripe old mountain-man age of 36 in 1837. He was buried on the grounds of Fort Laramie in a grave that was soon forgotten. But his brother Solomon came through and put a proper marker on the grave in 1843.Years after Fort Laramie was out of business Milt Sublette’s grave and the entire Fort William and Fort John cemetery were lost. In modern times, during an attempt to stabilize the ruins of the post hospital on the hill in the northwest part of the fort. Guess what?
The hospital had been built over the old post cemetery. In the process of work on the old walls and foundations, a few bodies were discovered. One with an amputated leg – Milton Sublette.  What a perfect resting place for the old mountain-man, the most famous fort of his era. 
The old Fort Hospital - Milton Sublette's Final Resting Place

New History of Guernsey State Park

My Wyoming History book is now complete. It took a lot longer than I expected but is now available. The book deals with the building of Guernsey State Park, centering on the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Park.

 I like the book better than the ebook as the formatting changes on the ebook depending on what the reader is using. Normally this is not a problem, but with the nearly 200 photos in this book, the ebook, which is still fine, can be a bit odd looking in places.

Read a free preview or order a copy here.

Still Wild In Wyoming

They saw me, shortly after, okay, probably before I found them. This one is checking to make sure no more crazy with a camera was nearby.

And off they go - laughing

Also found a couple of cow moose lounging along a nice mountain stream.

A Great Wyoming Writer - Mary O'Hara

Too bad, but it seems the great works of Mary O’Hara seem to be long forgotten in Wyoming. She lived in the Cowboy state for 16 years (1930-1946) and during that time wrote many books. Three of her novels stand out today as Wyoming classics, Thunderhead, Green Grass of Wyoming and My Friend, Flicka.

O’Hara was born and raised on the east coast but spent here early writing life in California working successfully in the silent movie industry. After a divorce and, several years later, a remarriage, she moved with her new husband to Wyoming.

O’Hara’s husband, Helge Sture-Varsa was a swede with army horse raising and training experience. The two bought a ranch in the windswept high country between Laramie and Cheyenne that would become became the famous, Remount Ranch.

They tried to make a living raising sheep and may have been successful if it were not for bad timing, The Great American Depression was just around the corner. They ended up eking out a living delivering milk and raising horses but it was her writing that would pay the bills.

In 1946, after a second divorce she moved back east and continued writing, but not so much about Wyoming. She also composed music and was a rather successful musician along with her musical scores.

Her books are rich with Wyoming landscape, weather and animals and her love of horse’s shows throughout her works.

O’Hara died at the age of 95 after a rich and rewarding life of writing, composing and travel.
Still great reading today – give her a try. Unfortunately it looks, after a quick search, that none of her books have been converted to e-book formats. But there are many choices of new and used copies available from one cent up to a bit over ten dollars.

I do believe that, summer has, at long last, reached Wyoming. Feeling good!