WyoHistory.org

The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Randy Brown

Randy Brown

Longtime historic trails scholar Randy Brown is author of Graves and Sites on the Oregon and California Trails (1998) and Inscriptions on Western Emigrant Trails (2004), both published by the Oregon-California Trails Association. A retired schoolteacher, he lives in Douglas, Wyo. and serves as preservation officer for the association’s Wyoming chapter.

The Grave of Ephraim Brown

Out of nearly 200 people who died from murder or other homicides on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s, only one lies in a grave with a known location. Missourian Ephraim Brown, a leading figure on a wagon train bound for California, was killed near South Pass in 1857 in what appears to have been a bitter family dispute. Details, however—who killed him, why and how—are frustratingly sketchy.

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Encyclopedia | On July 8, 1849, Charles Bishop, a member of the lavishly equipped Washington City and California Mining Association, died of cholera en route to the California gold fields. His gravesite, one of just 10 of the trailside forty-niner graves that still exist, lies near Torrington, Wyo. 
Encyclopedia | The lure of the the California Gold Rush led even a prosperous wagonmaker like Daniel Lantz of Centreville, Ind. to try his luck. But on the trail in what’s now southwestern Wyoming, illness struck him. Months later, his wife and five children at home learned he never made it through.
Encyclopedia | Out of nearly 200 people who died from murder or other homicides on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s, only one lies in a grave with a known location. Missourian Ephraim Brown, a leading figure on a wagon train bound for California, was killed near South Pass in 1857 in what appears to have been a bitter family dispute. Details, however—who killed him, why and how—are frustratingly sketchy.
Encyclopedia | In 1862, Charlotte Dansie and her family sailed from England with hundreds of other Mormon converts, then gathered with others near Omaha to set out for Salt Lake—all while having a difficult pregnancy with her eighth child. Her descendants managed to relocate her grave in 1939 near Pacific Springs.
Encyclopedia | Among the many branches and variants of the Oregon Trail was the 35-mile Seminoe Cutoff, which allowed travelers to avoid the last four crossings of the Sweetwater River as well as the difficult climb over Rocky Ridge. Pioneer Sarah Thomas is buried along the route.
Encyclopedia | In July 1862, a large train of 80 wagons was passing through mountains in what’s now western Wyoming when, within a matter of days, serious troubles led to the deaths of two women and their infants. Elizabeth Paul’s grave remains at the site under a tall pine.
Encyclopedia | The California Gold Rush lured many men away from their families. One was Charles Hatch of Wisconsin, who appears to have died of a fever after a June snowstorm near what’s now Farson, Wyo. His grave is on a bluff by the Big Sandy River near the Oregon/California Trail.
Encyclopedia | Seven pioneer graves survive in Wyoming from 1852, when more emigrants traveled the Oregon Trail than any other year. Near Fort Laramie, Mary Homsley and her baby died from measles, nearly as deadly as cholera at the time. She is buried under a stone on which her husband scratched her name.

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