The upper valley of Green River, famous as the scene of many historic events in the days of the fur traders, was early recognized as one of the finest grazing fields in the Rockies. Most of this section lies within the bounds of the original Uinta County. It is a well-watered basin about one hundred miles in length and fifty in width, and from a scenic point of view is one of the most beautiful regions of the Interior Basin. From one of the tributaries flowing in from the west it received the name of the Piney Country.
The first permanent settlement in this valley was made on the Fontenelle, its most southern stream. Rising in a range known as the Fontenelle Hogbacks, it flows south and then in an easterly direction to Green River. In 1872 a “squaw man” named John Smith settled a few miles above the mouth of the stream. He had about five hundred sheep and was given the name of “Sheep” Smith. His wife had brought him three halfbreed children from a former union, and the oldest son, Edward Edwards, is now living on the other side of the valley near Pinedale.
The next family to move in were the Pomeroys. Justin Pomeroy was a native of Massachusetts who with his wife and three children had come to Green River City in advance of the railroad. In 1873 they settled at the mouth of the Fontenelle. The oldest son, Roney, was married and brought with him his wife and little daughter Eva. There were four children born to them in the mountain home, one of whom, Frank, still lives on the Fontenelle. The mother and Eva, wife of Cyrus Bowman, are the only survivors of this pioneer band of settlers, and live in Whittier, California, as does also the daughter Fannie who became the wife of William Tomlinson, a man long in the Blyth & Fargo Store at Evanston. The youngest daughter, Florence, now Mrs. George Viesco, lives in the state of Washington.
In the course of time Roney Pomeroy and his brother Alfred moved up higher on the Fontenelle and engaged in stock raising. In 1890 they sold out to Charles Robinson who had extensive interests at Opal, and for some years made their homes at Evanston, from which place they all moved to California. Alfred Pomeroy, Jr., is now engaged in the cattle business on Ham’s Fork and his mother resides in Ogden. Alice Pomeroy, daughter of Justin Pomeroy, married a Mr. Mathers and made her home in Buffalo, Wyoming.
Daniel B. Rathbun was the next to take up land on the Fontenelle. He was born in the state of New York, in 1837, and went to California in 1869. After some years spent in the gold fields of the west he came to Green River City, where he married Hattie Fuller, a lovely and highly accomplished young woman who was teaching school at that place. In 1879 they settled between the Smith and Pomeroy ranches, and lived there until 1881 when the family moved to Evanston because of better educational advantages for their six children. They built the home on Lombard Street that is now owned by job Goodman. This home as well as the one on the Fontenelle was always the center of hospitality to which young and old contributed. Mrs. Rathbun died in 1892. He was one of the most prominent citizens of Uinta County, and was for many years a member of the board of county commissioners. He died in 1914, at the home of his daughter Hattie, wife of Fred Wurtelle, an eminent physician of North Platte, Nebraska. The oldest son, Dan, has a fine ranch at Mason, where Bert, the youngest son, lives. Elmer Rathbun is in business in Kemmerer, Wyoming. Henry has met with success in New York City, and Lyon is located in Whittier, California.
In 1877 a man by the name of Charles Holden opened a law office in Green River City, and established a newspaper called “The Daily Evening Press”. He was a native of Illinois, as was also his wife, who was endued with much of the pioneer spirit of her famous uncle, Daniel Boone. Four years’ service in the Civil War followed by some years of experience on the western coast, had admirably fitted Mr. Holden for Wyoming life, and forseeing that ranching offered a surer future for his five children than did the pursuit of journalism, he decided to move his family to the Piney country. When Alfred Pomeroy came to the railroad town with a load of produce consisting of hay, butter and eggs, and offered the Holdens the use of his ox-drawn wagons for the return journey, the invitation was gladly accepted, and the family with all their earthly possessions, valued at less than $500, were conveyed to the cabin of Roney Pomeroy, whose wife and daughters were absent on a visit to Kansas. That autumn Mr. Holden moved his family a few miles farther up the stream into a cabin owned by a “‘squatter” named Rumsay. They bought this cabin and proceeded to homestead the surrounding land, making it a part of what later became the Holden ranch. Minnie Fontenelle Holden was the first child to be born o white parents in the valley. There were seven children in all, five of whom lived to maturity. In 1891 the son Charles met a tragic death that shocked the entire west. While serving as deputy under Sheriff Frank James he was in pursuit of a desperate criminal, and was shot from ambush. Another son, Clarence, who was seven years old when the family came to the valley, is the pioneer resident of this section. The original Holden ranch belongs to the son Howard, and is run by Dave Alpenalp, who married Mr. Holden’s daughter Josephine.
For twenty years Charles Holden, who was commonly known as judge Holden because of his service as justice of the peace in this precinct, was a member of the school board, and his efforts in all lines of educational and patriotic work have left their mark upon the state. His last years were spent in Riverside, California, where his wife died in 19o7. Judge Holden died an 1913, and his daughters, Minnie and Ella, still dispense in the lowlands the same gracious hospitality that characterized their mountain home.
Other early ranchers on the Fontenelle were John Holland, who moved to Jackson’s Hole, and George McCray, who married a niece of Ariel Hanson.
Ariel Hanson was a nephew of A. C. Beckwith of Evanston. In 1872 he came out from New York to work in the Beckwith Lauder store at Echo. He married Agnes Salmon of Coalville, Utah, and after living several years in Green River City they, in 188x, bought the claim of Shade Large, a “squaw man,” who had settled about ten miles from the mouth of the Fontenelle. Large later moved to Henry’s Fork. Mr. Hanson served as justice of the peace for several years, and in 1890 moved with his family to Evanston. There were nine children, six of whom are still living, as is also the mother, who makes her home with the youngest son, Chester, in Whittier, California.
An Indian known as “Old John” spent much of his time in the valley. He worked for the ranchers and showed his friendship for them in many ways. In the summer of 1882 he gave them a warning that a raid was about to be made by some renegade Indians from the Wind River Reservation, under the leadership of an Arapahoe known as Popoagie. It resulted in a few cattle and horses being driven off, but there was no serious trouble. Curious to relate, the Indian wives of the “squaw men”, whether from fear or from a sentiment of loyalty toward their own people, left their homes and went with the Indians. A few weeks later saw them back, very reticent as to their experiences, but evidently well satisfied to return .to civilization.
Until 1879 ranchers on the Fontenelle and the neighboring streams depended for mail upon irregular trips to Green River, at that time the base of supplies. In 1879 a weekly mail service was started, and “Johny Karnes,” a half-breed, who had a ranch on La Barge Creek, was given the contract to carry the mail. Mrs. Holden was the first postmistress. After the construction of the Oregon Short Line a tri-weekly service was put on from Opal, and in i88–> it was made daily. This has been extended to Pinedale.
A well-known name on the Fontenelle is that of Jacob Herschler, who came to the valley in 1888. He combined cattle and sheep raising, and met with deserved success. His wife was the sister of Mrs D. B. Rathbun. Mr. Herschler died in 1921 and is survived by his son Edgar, who holds the ranch property, and his daughters, Mrs. James Fuller and Mrs. Francis Lee.
La Barge Creek flows into Green River about ten miles north of the Fontenelle. It was named by General Ashley in 1824, in honor of Joseph La Barge, father of a famous Missouri River captain.
In 1877 N. S. Miller, a native of Denmark, moved with his family from the town of Green River into the LaBarge Valley, and settled on Swan Creek. There were already a few ranchers in the valley, John Karnes, who had a Shoshone wife, and three other “squaw men”, Harnes, who was known as “Dutch George”, Charles Butman and a man named Kutch. Karnes joined Holland when he went north from the Fontennelle, and they became the first settlers in Jackson’s Hole. After the death of Kutch his widow and children went to the Wind River Reservation, and one of the daughters who had shown skill in moulding clay, went to New York city, to study sculpture, and is said to have met with marked success. Mrs. Miller, with her characteristic kindness, took a great interest in these Indian children, and did much to make their lives brighter and more useful. A postoffice was opened in the Miller home and was given the name of Viola. In the early ’80s a school was organized, and it is interesting to note that Miss Kate Smith, now principal of the west grade school of Evanston, began her career as a teacher in the schoolhouse on Swan Creek, a small stream emptying into the La Barge. There were five children in the Miller family, three of whom are living in Kemmerer-Ingar, wife of Charles Christman ; Mary, Mrs, James Petrie, and Stella, Mrs. Peter Petrie. Another daughter, Mrs. Sorena Read, lives in Ogden, and the only son, Vigo, has extensive ranching interests near Daniel. Mrs. Miller makes her home in Salt Lake City.
In 1882 a cattle company under the name of Post & Warren took up land at the mouth of the La Barge and established the Spur Ranch. They bought up many smaller herds, and before five years had passed had the distinction of being the biggest cattle company in the Rocky Mountains. The moving power of this concern was Francis E. Warren, who was governor of Wyoming in both territorial and statehood days, and who has since the year 1890 been a member of the United States Senate.
In 1884 John McNish, a descendant of a pioneer Wisconsin family, homesteaded near Viola and developed a successful ranch. The only surviving member of this family, in which there were two children, is Mrs. Nora Venus Chalmers, who lives in Edmunton, Alberta.
Another La Barge rancher was Hyram Smith. James L. Bess, who had three daughters and one son, was postmaster at a settlement that bears his name.
The streams known as South, Middle and North Piney Creeks find their sources in the melting snows of the western slopes of the Star Valley Range, and at a distance of from fifty to sixty miles pour their waters into Green River. About ten miles north of the most northern of these, Cottonwood Creek flows in from the same direction, and still farther north is the mouth of the historic Horse Creek.
In the summer of 1878, as judge Holden was returning from Green River City with a load of supplies, he was met by a stranger on horseback who inquired the distance to Huckleberry Flat. He was told that it was ten miles farther up the stream, and as night was coming on and he was unacquainted with the country, he accepted the invitation to share the Holden camp, though with considerable reluctance, as he had hoped to join his wife and two sons, who had gone ahead with their supplies. His name was Edward Swan, and he was moving from Idaho to the Piney country. This chance encounter resulted in a life-long friendship, for Mr. Swan settled on the Middle Piney, where he was soon joined by Otto Leifer, a Montana cattleman, who took up land above him. Leifer’s ranch was known as the “Circle”
These two men brought in about seventeen hundred head of stock, by far the largest herds in the basin at that time. There were four children in the Swan family, only one of whom is now living, Grant Swan of Salt Lake City. Mr. Leifer also moved to Salt Lake City where he died some time ago.
Amos W. Smith, a native of Missouri, came out to the Piney country in 1879, and worked on the Budd ranch. Foreseeing the future of the region he took up land on his own account, and within a few years had one of the best ranches in the west. In 1894 he purchased from Mr. McKay the ranch known as “67”. The country is deeply indebted to Mr. Smith for his efforts toward improving the grade of both horses and cattle. At the time of his death in 1919 he had several thousand head of fine stock. His success was a cause of satisfaction to all who knew him, for no man ever worked more unselfishly for the general good than did this unassuming cattleman who was noted for his silence and kindness of heart. In 1885 he married Hattie Griggs, sister to Norris Griggs who was in Mr. Smith’s employ, and who later took up land on the same stream. Mrs. Smith survives her husband.
Joseph A. Black, a native of Indiana who had acquired considerable experience in the cattle business in other western states came to the Budd & McKay ranch in 1881. In 1890 he took up land and was very successful. He married Miss Mary Jaycox, daughter of a rancher, and five children were born to this union. Some twenty years ago the family contemplated moving to California and went west to look up a suitable location. Mr. Black’s verdict on returning was that he “could make more money sitting on a rail fence in Wyoming than in working twelve hours a day in California.” However, as the necessity for work grew less the family moved to the more genial region of South Pasadena.
A successful rancher on the Big Piney and well known throughout the state is Oscar Beck, who has held many important positions. Among others who deserve mention are John Angus, Cyrus Fish and Oscar Curtis.
In 1879 Daniel Budd, a Civil War veteran from the state of Pennsylvania, with his partner, Hugh McKay, brought about a thousand head of cattle into the North Piney Valley. Some years later a store was opened under the name of Budd & Sons, and a postoffice established that was called Big Piney, around which has grown up a thriving town. The well-built business street contains a fine bank, two good hotels, a variety of firstclass stores, a garage and other institutions. The school building is a handsome structure, and there are two churches, the Episcopal and the Congregational. There are many pleasing homes in which may be found abundant evidences of culture. The Piney Examiner, an up-to-date weekly, is published by George Hopkins, a member of an early Evanston family.
A mile beyond Big Piney is a settlement called Marbleton. It was founded by Charles P. Budd, son of Daniel Budd, as an outfitting depot for the northern region, and has a splendidly stocked store and good hotel.
A prominent name on the Middle Piney is that of Daniel C. Nowlin, who entered the stock business there in 1881. He was elected to the fifth legislature of the state.
The Fear ranch was founded in 1889 by Frank A. Fear, a leading citizen of the valley. His wife, whose maiden name was Jesse Stringer, added much to the social and educational life of the settlement by her fine musical training.
Another prominent man is Zechery T. Noble, who, with his brother Eugene, settled in the Piney district in the early ’90s, and later took up land on Fall River. The Nobles, who came from Iowa, had a wide experience in cattle raising before coming to western Wyoming, and their success was to be expected.
In the spring of 1883 a young easterner named Charles F. Ball, who had spent about a year in Wyoming, was joined in Cheyenne by his father, Daniel B. Ball, fresh from New York City. On the roth of March they set out with horses and wagon on an eventful trip westward. On the Laramie Plains they encountered a blizzard that heaped up the snowdrifts so high that they had to spread their blankets to make a passage for their team. Game was everywhere, and thousands of antelope were seen on the Red Desert east of Rawlins. The water in Green River was high, but the horses swam safely across, only to be drowned in crossing Ham’s Fork. Daniel Ball entered the employ of Charles Robertson at Opal, and the son went to work f or the Oregon Short Line. The following year a brother, Frank D. Ball, came out, and his father bought a herd of cattle from Charles Robertson and drove them to Cottonwood Creek, where they were the first settlers. The winter of 1888-89 is still known to the old settlers as “the hard winter”, and losses were so heavy that the Balls, like many others, had no money to meet their payments. However, the difficulty was met by the capture of live elk that were sold to eastern parks. Among those who bought from the Balls were the Vanderbilts, George Gould, Austin Corbin and Dr. Webb. Charles Ball worked for a time with the surveyors in the Yellowstone Park, and in 1890 took up land near his father. The Balls were descended from John Ball, who came to America from Hull, England, in 1635. Mary Ball, mother of George Washington, was of this same family, and passed on to the great Father of our Country the same virtues that have brought success to these energetic and persevering pioneers of the Green River Valley.
H. V. Cleophus, an Indian trader, settled at the mouth of the Cottonwood about the year 1890. He and his wife were French people of fine family and great culture, and their mountain cabin was renowned for its many objects of beauty and art. A striking example of success in the palmy days of the stock industry is the story of James Mickelson. As a young man, in 1882 he came out to work for Ariel Hanson, and later took up land on the La Barge. In 1890 he became foreman of the Spur Ranch. Five years later he bought from Otto heifer his ranch and stock. A cash payment of $5,000 was made with the understanding that the balance was to be paid from the sale of cattle the following three years. These payments were promptly met, and at the time of the last payment Mr. Mickelson’s herd was just about the same, as far as numbers go, as at the date of the agreement. Mr. Mickelson was married about 1900 to Miss Mildred Avery, and there were born to this union three children, one of whom died in early childhood. The son James has charge of the estate, which at the time of Mr. Mickelson’s death, in 1921, was one of the largest in the west. Mrs. Mickelson, with her daughter Mildred, is living in Big Piney.
Because of its gently sloping banks which make it easy to take out water for irrigation, Horse Creek is one of the most valuable streams of the valley. The quality of the native hay of this region is exceptionally fine. One variety known as “nut grass” is particularly rich in nutriment.
One of the earliest settlers in this valley was a man named Daniel, and the postoffice established a short distance from the mouth of Horse Creek was named for him. A thriving town has grown up with business houses, attractive homes and a good school. Sargeant Inn, a hotel that has gained a wide reputation, is a memorial to Dr. L. Sargeant, a practicing physician from the state of Maine, who established a fine ranch at Merna, a few miles up the stream. W. S. Roy, who came from Canada, had a prosperous cattle ranch adjoining the Enos place, and the Townsend, Hall and William Todd ranches are all valuable properties. Another prominent early settler was Dr. J. D. Montrose, physician and rancher. Other early ranchers were A. J. Sommers, Apperson, Angus and Vandervort.
One of the foremost men in the region is D. H. Scott, who has a valuable ranch north of Daniel. Mr. Scott has served many terms as .chairman of the Lincoln County board of County Commissioners, and has freely tendered his services to all good causes.
Another prominent rancher is T. D. O’Neil, who came from Cheyenne in an early day.
About five miles north of Daniel is the state fish hatchery. It is located on a remarkable stream called “Forty Rod”, which has never been known to freeze over. Some four miles north of the fish hatchery the ranchers, Luke Dickenson and Charles Beckel, took up land which is now part of the Harrison Stockgrowing Company’s ranch. Fred W. Harrison, who came here in 1911, is manager. He is the son of Dr. and Mrs. F. H. Harrison of Evanston. Miss Nell Byrne of Evanston has taken up a homestead adjoining this ranch on the north.
A man named Albert Bayer was foreman of the Spur Ranch from 1888 to 1899. He took up a ranch on Piney Creek, and contracted with the government to carry mail on a route running between Pinedale and Lander. The trip across the Wind River Mountains had to be made on snowshoes during several months of each year, and called for the greatest heroism. His son, Charles D. Bayer, is now in charge of the Federal Biological Survey in Wyoming.
Another mail carrier on this forbidding route was W. E. Enos, a romantic figure in the valley, who lived on a ranch near Daniel. Many were his thrilling adventures. The final scene of his earthly life came in January, 1924. He had contracted blood poisoning, and at the request of a Pinedale physician a telephone message was sent to Rock Springs to summon Dr. Lozier in consultation. The road was impassable owing to deep snows, but the government granted the use of a United States mail plane, and above the frozen landscape it winged its way to the bedside of this faithful servant, who had never been swerved from duty by storm or cold. Mortal effort did not avail, and on silent wings the spirit took its flight.
In the Green River Valley the feeling between cattle and sheep men did not reach the heights of bitterness that characterized some sections. To be sure, there was a “dead line”, and woe to the reckless sheep man who dared to drive his herds across this invisible barrier ! Nor did the “cattle rustler” ever get much of a foothold here, try as he might to ply his lawless trade. And yet it was a known fact that many herds were augmented by stray cattle belonging to droves en route to the western states, and inquiry as to the right of the new owners was never pushed far.
The ten years prior to 1900 saw a great change in ranching methods throughout Wyoming. Before that time the cattlemen pinned their faith to the open range. Then co-operation among ranchers in the building of irrigation ditches began, and farming was combined with stock raising. Better cattle as well as improved land values resulted, and there followed a season of wonderful prosperity. In spite of fluctuations in the market and other discouraging conditions, the future of this region is assured.
For many years Rev. F. L. Arnold, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Evanston, Wyoming, was superintendent of schools in Uinta County. It was a position with a salary too small to excite the ambition of the ordinary office seeker, though a welcome addition to the meager stipend of a home missionary, and Mr. Arnold accepted it at the request of both political parties, looking upon it as means of furthering the causes ever dearest to his heart religion and education. His visits were heralded with pleasure, and a service was always arranged at some convenient ranch or schoolhouse that attracted people from miles around. His interest in children endeared him to young and old alike, and he kept alive the spirit of friendship by remembering them with books and papers as long as he lived in the state. One of the child friends of Mr. Arnold writes from her home in California: “The helpful influence of this wonderfully good man has been a guide post to more than one character that was cast in the mould of that log schoolhouse.”
The first teacher on the Fontenelle was an Irishman named T. D. O’Neil. Many of the teachers were from eastern states, and but few of the ladies were allowed to return to their former homes, but have become the wives of the ranchers and have enriched the life of the region.
In the summer of 18i9 a young theological student was sent out by some religious workers in Chicago to establish Sunday schools in the inaccessible districts of the Rockies. His name was Newell Dwight Hillis. He spent a Sunday in Evanston, where he talked over the work with Mr. Arnold, and then proceeded to the Piney country. All who heard him were impressed with his earnestness and ability, although there was no way of foreseeing to what heights of literary and pulpit eloquence this gifted youth would climb. Mr. Hillis was for many years pastor of the Henry Ward Beecher church in Brooklyn, New York. Other Sunday school workers followed and in most of the settlements some one was found to carry on the work out of which several churches grew in time.
In 1921 the legislature of the state of Wyoming passed a law creating two new counties to be known as Sublette and Teton. The former was made up of portions of Lincoln, Fremont and Sweetwater counties, and the western portion, consisting of about one-half, was originally a part of Uinta County. The southern boundary is about five miles north of La Barge. At the election following the creation of these counties there was a contest between Big Piney and Pinedale for the county seat, in which the latter won by a small majority.
Sublette County belongs to the Third Judicial District of Wyoming, of which judge Arnold has been judge since the year 1914. The first court was held in the Pinedale schoolhouse June 11, 1923. The importance of the occasion in the opinion of the people, was shown by the number of spectators that had gathered from near and far. In an appropriate introductory address Judge Arnold called their attention to the early history of this county which bears the name of one of the greatest western fur traders and explorers, Captain William Sublette. He spoke of his bravery, his patriotism, and his strong sense of justice, qualities recognized by white men and Indians as well, who nicknamed him “Fate”, and he reminded his hearers that it was in the cultivation of those traits that success for state and nation lies.
A prettier site for a town could hardly be imagined than the location of this dean, attractive county seat. It lies one hundred five miles north of Rock Springs on a splendid state road that was fathered by the Lions Club of that city. One of the loveliest of mountain streams, known as Pine Creek, because of the trees that follow its entire course, flows through the town. “The procession of the pines” begins at the waters’ edge and marches back over the rolling slopes to the mountainsides, circling on their way the lake that was named for the explorer Fremont. The mountain bearing his name looks down from a distance, and on all sides are historic landmarks eternal in their grandeur, Old Flat Top, Mount Bonneville and other famous peaks of the Green River Range, and to the west the Gros Ventre Mountains. Some ten miles south of Pinedale, Pine Creek unites with New Fork and flows into Green River a short distance above Big Piney.
Pine trees have been set out on the streets of Pinedale, giving to it an air all its own. In their branches hang electric bulbs for which the power is furnished by the falls of the stream. The town boasts of three good hotels, the oldest of which, The Pines, is kept by A. G. Fardy and wife, who came to the valley in 1910.
The settlement of Pinedale may be said to date from the year 1900, when a postoffice was opened about a quarter of a mile south of the present town in the home of a rancher, Charles Peterson. It was a one-room shack, with a stick chimney daubed with clay. Soon after the permanent site of the town was decided upon a man named Ed. Graham was made postmaster. The mail was brought from Opal. The town is supplied with excellent stores and supports a weekly paper called the Pinedale Roundup, to which much of its prosperity may be traced, as it publishes contributions from enterprising settlers as well as the news.
About 1910 the Congregationalists erected a neat edifice and organized a church, of which Rev. J. W. Naylor was the first resident pastor. He is still remembered for his self-sacrificing ministry that has left its impress on the region. Mr. Naylor died at the home of his daughter in Atchison, Kansas, in 1923.
Next to the church, and painted like it in white with green trimmings, stands the schoolhouse of three convenient rooms, where the best of educational advantages are given. Pinedale has a forest ranger station, in charge of E. E. McKee, who is also president of the Pinedale -Commercial Club, a live organization that is doing much for the good of the community. One of the first forest rangers was Harry E. Hall, who died in 1915, and whose widow, Sarah E. Hall, is noted as a fisherman. Mrs. Hall makes the avowal that she desires no better sport than to go out on Lake Fremont with a party that know nothing of fishing for an hour before the game warden makes his rounds, and whose coming is a signal to divide her boatload of speckled beauties among her less skillful companions, that no one be caught with more than the law allows.
About eleven miles north of Pinedale is a beautiful ranch called Rustic Lodge. It was built by Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Clark, who took up land there in 1891. Mr. Clark died in 1918, and the son, who bears the same name, is in charge. Mrs. Clark has spared no pains in the cultivation of native trees and shrubs, as well as the introduction of fruits and vegetables which were considered unadapted to the high altitude, but which, under the wizardry of her care, are flourishing and have become an object lesson as to what can be accomplished. Her flowers are wonderful and the place shows how much can be done by taste and effort. Mrs. Clark’s mother, Mrs. Daniel Schultz, came out in the same year as did the Clarks, and took up land near by. Lying about five miles north of Rustic hodge is a ranch known as the “Cross-Bar”, owned by Perry W. Jenkins, a native of Indiana and a graduate of several of the higher institutions of learning. Receiving his M. A. from Columbia University, he entered the profession of teaching, his chosen field being mathematics and astronomy, in which he gained distinction. In 1905 he came to the Piney country in search of health, and his well trained mind and broad interests soon made him one of the leading citizens of the state. Mr. Jenkins has represented his district in three sessions of the legislature, where he fathered the bill creating Sublette County. His aims and activities are shared by his interesting family, consisting of a wife and four daughters. They have a cottage on the beautiful Lake Newfork, a short distance from the ranch, where he recently discovered the remains of a prehistoric animal most interesting to geologists. With his characteristic breadth of vision Mr. Jenkins invited the Boy Scouts of the state to spend two weeks in July, 1923 and 1924, on the lake. The invitation was accepted by a large number and the time was spent between excavating the fossil remains, lectures on astronomy and other subjects, and the general good time that boys enjoy.
A few miles north of the source of Horse Creek, tributary of Green River, there rises a stream that flows to the Pacific. After emerging from the Hoback Canyon it is known as the Hoback River, but the upper part of the stream is called Fall River from the many beautiful cascades that diversify its course. Here came in 1879 Eugene Alexander, a man already rich in mountain lore, who had worked as a freighter across the mountains and later driver of the Holiday Stage Company. He was well acquainted with Bridger, whom he met for the last time at Independence Rock in 1868 or ’69 he “couldn’t exactly say which” He described him as quiet in general company, but “when you once got the old man started his stories came free, and they were good ones too”. A cherished memory of Alexander’s was a meeting, with Father de Smet when the priest made his last trip to the mountains. The author had the privilege of meeting this old mountaineer at Pinedale in 1923, and she was assured by many that no one had done more toward promoting the settlement of the region than had he. By many besides his immediate family he is affectionately called “Grandad”. In 1889 he took up land on Newfork River just below Lake de Amelia, which is also called New Fork Lake.
One of the interesting events of the cattle country is the annual roundup held in the fall. A convenient spot is selected and a foreman chosen who is vested with as much authority as a baseball umpire. A grub wagon is provisioned by the ranchers and each cattle owner sends from one to three riders to look after his interests. At the direction of the foreman the riders scour the country for scattered cattle, some of them taking their places as night herders to prevent the cattle that are brought in from straying away. The roundup often lasts two weeks or more, and by the time every canyon and gully has been explored there are often as many as five thousand head gathered in. Then comes the big day when out riders are stationed around the herd and men are sent in to separate the animals according to their brands. The “mavericks”, or calves that seem to have no family connection are distributed by the foreman among the cattle men to be branded with their herds. Formerly the branding was done at the roundup, but of late years this work is done on the ranches.
There is an indescribable fascination in the lives of these residents of the Green River valley. In the great American novel, “One of Ours”, there is a word picture that fitly illustrates the boundless hospitality, where Albert Usher, the young marine, who had gone through life as an orphan, tells the hero of the tale that he supposes that “there are good women everywhere, but that Wyoming has the world beat.”‘ He goes on to say that he was brought up on a ranch in the mountains, and there wasn’t a home in Pinedale or DuBois where he would not be welcomed like a son if he returned. Even the chance visitor is impressed with the kindness of spirit, and can well believe that when the door of friendship is once opened it is never closed.
2 thoughts on “The Piney Country, Wyoming”
Great grandson of Neils S. & Hedevig Miller! Live in Salt Lake and would love any extra info or photos of the family!
It says Deputy Sheriff Charles Holden who served under Sheriff Frank H. James was killed in 1891 but that event actually happened on June 19, 1901. Sheriff Frank H. James wasn’t elected Sheriff of Uinta County until 1900.