The Portuguese Houses

Fort Laramie was the first settlement in Wyoming, but it did not house the first settlers. Several trapper-mountain men had established permanent homes before Fort Laramie in 1834.
Edward Rose, who built a cabin on the Big Horn River in 1807-08, is widely thought to be the first non-Indian to settle in Wyoming. Rose built the cabin, but most of his known history is of him living with Indians within their villages.
Bighorn River
Robert Stuart, who built a residence near Casper in 1812, is also considered one of the state’s earliest settlers.
The first know trader was Antonio Mateo, who established a trading post on the Middle Fork of the Powder River in 1828. This trading post, called the Portuguese Houses, consisted of several log-hewn buildings surrounded by a ten foot high, 200 X 200 stockade. Not much is known about him other than his name and today only a few mounds and deeply set rotting post bottoms are the only thing left.
The Stockade may have looked like this
In that day and time he most likely traded, tobacco, coffee, flour, sugar, lead, gunpowder, cooking utensils, knives and trinkets for furs. He reportedly had a wooden fur press made of cottonwood logs to press the beaver and sometimes other furs, into bundles for transportation to eastern markets. His fort was substantial enough that he stored furs for free trappers and for the very powerful Hudson Bay Company.
Fur Press Reproduction
Wow – this is post number 200, can’t believe it has been that many or that long. Thanks for reading, I am looking forward to another 200 or more.
200 Posts - Think I will rest a bit

Wyoming's Sheep Industry

By the early 1880s, cattlemen were starting to see more and more sheep being brought into eastern Wyoming. Some accepted them but many, some would say most, fought against the introduction of the sheep. The area from Laramie Peak to Douglas to Lusk became prime sheep range. It would take a few more years and quite a few more battles before sheep men became entrenched in the northern and western parts of Wyoming.

Most of the sheep brought into Wyoming came from the west, Oregon and California. Much different from the Longhorn trail drives from Texas a decade earlier. Some of these sheep trail drives followed the Oregon Trail, only in reverse this time. In the two decades from 1880 to 1900 some two million sheep were brought into the Cowboy State.
Trail Ruts in eastern Wyoming near Guernsey and 14 miles from Fort Laramie, most of the sheep trailed to Wyoming stopped thirty or forty miles west of this location

In 1892, B.B. Brooks, who would later serve as Wyoming's seventh Governor (1905-1910), writing about the sheep movement in Wyoming tried to describe how the average cowboy looked at sheep. “To us old cowboys they were a strange, insignificant, unromantic animal. We didn’t like their size, their appearance, their taste, or their smell. We could not chase them on horseback, for they would not run. We could not chase them on horseback, for they would not run. We could not rope them, for they dodged and would not fight. We could not brand them, on account of the wool.”
Governor Bryant Butler Brooks

Later he adds, “So we just left them alone, mostly, and wished them all kinds of bad luck, We had read of foot-rot and hoped they would get it; but somehow the dry sandy loam of our plains and decomposed granite in our mountains seemed to suit them.  . . . Then we thought, surely the blizzards, with the cold and deep snow in winter, would exterminate them; but they did not.”
In 1840, this was a wilderness Buffalo paradise - by the 1880s sheep grazed the area and the Bison were gone.

Gannett Peak Wyoming

Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s highest mountain, reaches 13,785 feet. The Peak is more than 10,000 feet higher than Wyoming’s lowest point on the Belle Fourche River in northeast Wyoming where the elevation is a mere 3,125 feet above sea level.
Gannett Peak

Gannett Peak was named for Henry Gannett a Harvard educated geographer and map maker who traveled west on the Hayden expedition to map the greater Yellowstone area. The Peak probably would have been named after the pathfinder himself, John C. Fremont, but he had already named a peak after himself mistakenly thinking it the tallest in the area. 
Henry Gannett

Seems like Gannett Peak is a great name in this day and age as Mr. Gannett is considered the father of the Quadrangle which is considered the basis for all topographical maps in the United States.

Thursday – Wyoming Trivia

1.  What writer is honored by a monument in downtown Medicine Bow, Wyoming?
2. Name the two tribes included in the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868.
3.  This became the first incorporated town in Wyoming in 1884, six years before statehood.
4.  This animal, found in Wyoming, is used as our nation’s symbol of wilderness areas?

See answers below photo
Grizzly Bear - seemed a lot closer when I snapped this photo

     1. Owen Wister – it’s across the street from the Virginian Hotel
     2. Shoshone and Bannock
     3. Hartville - a five-minute drive from my home

     4. Grizzly Bear - maybe I gave this away with the photo

Mountain Man - Mystery Man

Although the trapper period of Wyoming history lasted only about 20 years, (1820-1840) there was some activity by mountain man/trappers before that time. Those that made it are remembered as the colorful characters they were. One of the most famous, or in some circles, infamous men was Edward Rose. Rose was the son of a white trader and an African American/Cherokee mother. He was more than likely the first resident of Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. Rose was in the Basin as early as 1807 or 08, a decade and more before the trapper period in the west.

Rose was described by Washington Irving as, “A dogged, sullen, silent fellow of sinister aspect more of a savage than a civilized man in his appearance.” Rose, who may have been a river pirate on the Mississippi before becoming a legend in the West, purportedly left the east after being released or escaping chains put on him by the law.

Washington Irving

Rose was adopted into the Crow tribe and was at times called by one of two Crow names, Five Scalps after killing five Blackfeet in and battle, and Nez Coupe, meaning Cut Nose. The Nez Coupe moniker referred to the scar and a small missing part on the side of the tip of his nose. Westerners who know Rose never saw him without the prominent scar leaving this historian to surmise that it was a result of a mix-up on the river. 
Mississippi River near Vicksburg Mississippi - I took this shot last October

Mississippi River near Vicksburg Mississippi - I took this shot last October

The exact year of Rose’s death is unknown, but some believe he died with legendary Mountain man Hugh Glass on the Bighorn River in a fight with the Arikara in 1833. Rose would have been about 53 at the time, quite a few years for the life he led. 

Me and a Mountain Man -not saying which is which

Relief from the Heat

Tired of all this heat?
Hey, remember last February 4 - yea, me neither? But I have photos.
Still hoping summer is about over?