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 | In April 1867, during Red Cloud’s War, 19-year-old Pvt. Ralston Baker of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry died during an Indian attack at La Prele Creek crossing on the Oregon Trail. His grave remains near the spot where he fell, south of present Douglas, Wyo. 
Encyclopedia | 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.  
Encyclopedia | Henry Hill, a War of 1812 veteran, died in 1852 on the Oregon Trail and lies buried on private property in Goshen County, Wyo. More than 30 members of two Hill families related by marriage traveled in the 62-member wagon train. All told, six of them died before reaching California.
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.

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