France and the Wild West

A large part of Wyoming used to be French territory until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. You can still see the borders while driving through the Red Desert at the Tri-territory historic site and the influence of the French can still be felt in place names around the state.

A Frontier Surveyor

Richards’s diaries vividly describe a time long past, when manual labor and horse and mule power were the only means of accomplishing many tasks. How did William find the time and energy to keep a diary? Modern readers would do well to value his legacy, especially as we use power tools, drive around, correspond by text or email and otherwise benefit from life in the 21st century.

Wyoming Poets Laureate

Barbara Smith of Rock Springs, Wyoming’s current poet laureate, a longtime teacher and writer of poems, essays and stories, has held the laureate position—poet lariat, people sometimes call it in Wyoming—only since last fall.

Wyoming Flyboys in “Masters of the Air”

Wyoming fans of Masters of the Air, a new television series on Apple TV+ about U.S. Army Air Force combat over Europe in World War II, may have been surprised in the first episode to hear Austin Butler’s character, Gale Cleven, introduce himself as being from Casper. He points to Casper on a map. In a later episode, a second Wyoming character shows up, George Niethammer, played by Josh Dylan. Both men in fact were students at the University of Wyoming and college friends before the war.

On the Trails in a Dangerous Year

The Civil War drew nearly all the Army’s attention and troops to the East, yet emigrants continued flooding west, many of them to escape the war. And the tribes resisted. Emigrant Tales of the Platte River Raids: An 1864 Trail Diary Companion gives background and context for the accounts of nearly 70 diarists who traveled the trails in 1864.

A Bird In Hand

The old saw, “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” has to do with procuring food. But when you are banding, you’re giving rather than taking.

The Loves and Isolation

If ever three children could be said to be “raised in isolation,” they were Allan, David and Phoebe Love on their family’s ranch on Muskrat Creek.

More Wyoming Presidents’ Days

Last week in this space we detailed visits to Wyoming by presidents. Thanks to some alert readers, however, we’ve learned how wrong we were when we claimed those were the only ones.

Wyoming Presidents’ Days

Recently, we got a question from people who work at the Wyoming State Capitol: Is it true that Teddy Roosevelt once gave a speech from the second-floor balcony on the front of the building?

The Rest of the Story

Sometimes history surprises us. We think of it as full of things and people long ago that maybe don’t matter much. But then comes a whisper from somewhere unexpected, and history comes right up, stands next to us and we feel its presence, local and close.