Alfred Corum, bound for California in 1849 with two dozen other Missouri men, died on July 4 on the Sublette Cutoff in present western Wyoming. His brother and five other men stayed behind to bury him, deeply saddened on what otherwise would have been a day of celebration.
On the Oregon-California Trail in western Wyoming lies the grave of 20-year-old Nancy Hill, who died of cholera while bound for California in 1852. The gravestone, though old, is not original and part of the inscription—“Killed by Indians—” for many years misled locals about the cause of her death.
Emigrant Spring, west of the Green River on the Slate Creek Cutoff of the Oregon Trail, offered pioneer travelers cold, clear water, plentiful grass for their livestock and plenty of sagebrush for their cooking fires. And the sandstone bluffs above the spring made a natural bulletin board where thousands carved their names.
In 1843, Oregon Trail diarist John Boardman was probably the first to make reference Church Butte near present Granger, Wyo., calling it “Solomon’s Temple.” In the 1850s, most emigrants referred to the landmark as Church Butte, because of its shape and perhaps because Mormon companies held religious services there on their way to the Salt Lake Valley.
Not many diarists mentioned Haystack Butte, a minor landmark on the Sublette Cutoff of the Oregon/California Trail, but forty-niner J. Goldsborough Bruff sketched it in his journal. Some remarked that the 60-foot-high butte resembled “a farmer’s hay stack;” others called it called it “a bee-hive” or “sugar-loaf.”
William L. Clary, 19, died of cholera in 1850 while traveling with 45 other men driving cattle to California. Four other drovers died en route and the company’s captain died soon afterward—all of cholera. Clary’s grave survives on private land near Torrington, Wyo.