The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A trailblazer, a one-eyed conservationist, a reckless lieutenant—and our annual appeal

A trailblazer, a one-eyed conservationist, a reckless lieutenant—and our annual appeal

December 2016

In December in Wyoming, when we look forward to holidays and hunker down to get out of the wind and cold, we thought it might be enlightening to learn more about some vivid personalities—for better and worse—in Wyoming’s past. These include a woman who mapped Yellowstone’s trails on horseback, a conservationist whose little paper made a big difference and a reckless West Pointer who started a war.

Yellowstone trailblazer

It may seem surprising that a solitary New York socialite would make Yellowstone safer. But Alice Morris’s love of Yellowstone National Park led to her horseback explorations in 1917, when she chronicled the park’s wonders and detailed changes to improve and standardize trail systems that remain in place today. Read more in historians Robert and Elizabeth Rosenberg’s article, “Alice Morris: Mapping Yellowstone’s Trails.

Bombardier conservationist

After flying combat missions in World War II, Tom Bell launched another battle—to preserve western lands. The founder of the Lander, Wyo.-based High Country News managed to keep the publication afloat and conservation in the minds of its readers. His legacy and the magazine continue today. Read more in writer, historian and onetime HCN staffer Marjane Ambler’s article “Bombardier Conservationist: Tom Bell and the High Country News.” This article is the sixth of eight in our ongoing series on Wyoming newspapers and newspaper people, supported by the Pulitzer Prize Committee and the Wyoming Humanities Council.

The Grattan Fight

In 1854, a year of heavy traffic on the Oregon Trail, Fort Laramie was woefully undermanned, tribes were hungry and tensions were growing. That August, in a dispute over a strayed cow, a reckless young West Pointer ignited a war with the Lakota Sioux that would last a generation. Read more in military historian Doug Cubbison’s article, “The Grattan Fight: Prelude to a Generation of War.

Our annual appeal

Many of you will have received letters recently seeking support in our annual, end-of-the year appeal. We carry no ads on our site, and depend instead on a healthy mix of public and private support—from people like you! If you admire our work and value Wyoming and Wyoming history, please keep us in mind. You can make a secure contribution here, or send a check to WyoHistory.org, P.O. Box 247, Wheatland, Wyo., 82201. Contributions are tax deductible. WyoHistory.org is a project of the Wyoming State Historical Society, a private, nonprofit, 501(c) 3, 63-year-old, 1,600-member organization.

Upcoming History Day workshops

Register here for a free, one-day History Day workshop for teachers all day Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 in Casper, or Friday afternoon and Saturday morning Jan 6 and 7, 2017 in Rock Springs. Workshops will offer teachers information about the Wyoming History Day program for 6th-12th grade students, including free teaching resources, literacy-based strategies, primary-source materials and lessons to actively engage students and align with Wyoming state standards. The nationwide theme for History Day 2017 is “Taking a Stand in History.”
Teachers can earn .5 Wyoming PTSB credits. Free continental breakfast and lunch provided. For times, locations and more details contact HD Coordinator Jessica Flock at 307-766-2300 or email jflock@uwyo.edu.