On April 6, 1917, 100 years ago this month, Congress declared war on Germany and her allies, widening a three-year old war in Europe that had already seen millions of casualties and unprecedented devastation. The war touched Wyoming as it did nearly everywhere else in the world, and its effects continue today. In this and coming months we will offer several more articles on Wyoming’s World War I connections.
We continue this month with the remarkable story of a West Point and Sheridan High School graduate who led a platoon of U.S. troops in combat in wintertime Siberia—followed by a domestic tale of how, after the war, a memorial came to be built at a busy intersection in downtown Laramie, Wyo.
And in our ongoing series on the historic trails, we offer four more stories of emigrants’ encounters with some important landmarks and river crossings on their mid-1800s journey across what was not yet Wyoming.
A Bolshevik Raid on the Siberian Railroad
In a U.S. Army career spanning three wars and four decades, Paul Kendall, of Sheridan, Wyo., never forgot the moment when his platoon, guarding a Siberian rail link, was attacked one night at 30 below—by an armored train full of Bolshevik partisans. Read more in military historian Doug Cubbison’s article, Paul Kendall’s War.
A Monument in Downtown Laramie
Historian Grace Raymond Hebard worked with Laramie banker Edward Ivinson on a monument to honor Albany County soldiers who fought and died in the Great War. The eagle-topped memorial at the corner of Sixth and Ivinson lists more than a thousand who served—and 32 who died. Read more in Laramie historian Kim Viner’s article, Laramie’s World War I Memorial.
More on Wyoming and World War I
See the following for more on Wyoming before, during and after the war:
Buffalo Soldiers in Wyoming and the West
Horses for War: A Market for Wyoming Stockmen
The Wyoming Guard on the Mexican Border, 1916
Life on the Home Front: Wyoming During World War I
Bob David’s War: A Wyoming Soldier Serves in France
Sky Pioneers: The Airmail Crosses Wyoming
And don’t miss “The Great War,” a three-part PBS series beginning April 10. Click here for a preview.
Three Crossings in Two Miles
Oregon Trail emigrants along the Sweetwater River came to a place where steep hills forced them to cross the stream three times within two miles—a dangerous option at high water—while a detour through deep sand was safer but slower: just another day on a long journey with hard choices. Read more at Three Crossings.
The Last Sweetwater Crossing
Deep, crystal-clear waters with snow-capped views greeted emigrants as they arrived at the final crossing of the Sweetwater River near South Pass. At times, hundreds of travelers waited impatiently for makeshift ferries, hoping to outrun the cholera they feared was being carried toward them by parties farther back along the trail. Read more at Ninth and Last Crossing of the Sweetwater.
The First Pacific-bound Waters
Pacific Springs, just west of South Pass, offered Oregon Trail emigrants their first good water after crossing the Continental Divide. From the east-flowing rivers and streams they had followed for so many miles, the pioneers had finally arrived at water that would end up in the Pacific Ocean. Read more at Pacific Springs.
A Fork in the Road
On an open, sagebrush plain west of South Pass, emigrants had to decide whether to continue southwest toward Fort Bridger and California or straight west--across 50 waterless miles—toward Fort Hall and Oregon. Many pioneers parted here, expecting never to see each other again. Read more at Parting of the Ways.
Still more to come on Wyoming’s historic trails
Watch for more articles this spring about Wyoming’s historic trails, part of our ongoing collaboration with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and TravelStorysGPS™ of Wilson, Wyo., to add content on the trails to WyoHistory.org that will translate into three-minute, GPS-triggered audio segments available via the free app at TravelStorysGPS™. Special thanks to Douglas, Wyo.-based scholar and retired schoolteacher Randy Brown of the Oregon-California Trails Association, who has supplied us with the many pioneer journal entries on which these articles are based.
Colonial Williamsburg offers scholarships for summer teacher institute
Deadline for applications April 14, 2017
Colonial Williamsburg is offering fifteen scholarships for 5th, 8th, 9th and 11th grade teachers to attend the 2017 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. The intensive six-day Institutes in June and July immerse participants in American history at Williamsburg, the restored capital of eighteenth-century Virginia, as well as nearby historic sites.
Each scholarship includes air transportation to Williamsburg, admission to all programs, lodging, most meals, and educational resource materials. FMI: http://www.history.org/cwti. Apply at: https://www.cvent.com/surveys/Welcome.aspx?s=9bfc3fdc-f31e-4a3e-b172-7c14b82e8ac6.
Teachers have the opportunity to exchange ideas with historians, meet character interpreters portraying people of the past, analyze primary sources, participate in historical simulations and learn museum techniques that actively engage students in history.
Middle school sessions focus on the emerging American identity from 1606 to 1865. High school sessions use a thematic approach to American history in which teachers explore content from 1606 to the Vietnam War and examine how issues in American history have been under constant debate.
Feel free to share this information widely. Applications are due by April 14, 2017. For assistance or more information, contact the institute’s administrative assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org or (757) 565-8867.