The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Timber reserves, national forests and a soldier-artist in the trenches

Timber reserves, national forests and a soldier-artist in the trenches

June 2017

Two people, featured in articles this month, left important legacies in Wyoming but are little known today. Arnold Hague, a government geologist worried about protecting Yellowstone, became one of the main shapers of the policy that evolved into our modern system of national forests. George Ostrom, artist and artilleryman from Sheridan, Wyo., saw horrific combat in World War I France. Still, he is best remembered for his early design of the Wyoming bucking-horse logo, a forerunner of the one we see everywhere today.

The Birth of National Forests

No logging, no grazing—even no trespassing? The Yellowstone Timber Land Reserve, the first land to be set aside in what evolved into today’s National Forest system, had a distinctly different character from its successors. Find out why in Red Lodge, Mont., historian John Clayton’s article, Yellowstone Park, Arnold Hague and the Birth of National Forests.

If you’ve missed any of our other items on the history of Wyoming’s public lands, see the links in a list nearer the end of this newsletter.

George Ostrom’s War

Wyoming soldier, artist, bugler and wolf killer George Ostrom joined the National Guard in 1913 and in 1918 found himself serving with an artillery regiment in the Great War. While in France he sketched vivid combat scenes from the trenches but is best remembered for his design of Wyoming’s famed bucking-horse logo, modeled on his beloved sorrel, Redwing. Read more in military historian Doug Cubbison’s article, George Ostrom’s War: A Wyoming Soldier-artist serves in France.

From Wyoming’s historic trails, part of our ongoing collaboration with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and TravelStorysGPS™ of Wilson, Wyo., this month we offer articles on a river crossing and on two graves near South Pass. In one lies a young Mormon mother and in the other, a man who was killed in a quarrel. Read on!

Crossing the Sweetwater yet again

The Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater offered wagon-train emigrants the first good water after 16 dry and dusty miles. Most camped at the crossing. Here, in 1856, 500 members of the Willie Handcart company, most of them Mormon converts from England, were found starving, freezing and dying by rescuers from Salt Lake City. Read more at The Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater.

A quarrel and a killing on Rock Creek

Missourian Ephraim Brown, a leading figure on a wagon train bound for California in 1857, was killed near South Pass in what appears to have been a bitter family dispute. Details, however—who killed him, why and how—are frustratingly sketchy. Read more at longtime trails historian Randy Brown’s article, The Grave of Ephraim Brown.

The grave of a young Mormon mother

In 1862, Charlotte Dansie and her family sailed from England to America, and then gathered with other Mormons near Omaha to set out for Salt Lake—all while she was having a difficult pregnancy with her eighth child. Her descendants finally found her grave in 1939 near Pacific Springs, just west of South Pass.  Read more at Randy Brown’s article, The Grave of Charlotte Dansie.

See these articles for much more on Wyoming’s national parks, public lands and the people who made them what they are:

Yellowstone, the World’s Wonderland
Alice Morris: Mapping Yellowstone’s Trails
Yellowstone Ablaze: The Fires of 1988
The Establishment of Grand Teton National Park
Devils Tower National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument
Leasing the Public Range: The Taylor Grazing Act and the BLM
Hard Times and Conservation: The CCC in Wyoming
The Deadly Blackwater Fire
Guernsey State Park
Shoshone Cavern, Wyoming’s Only Delisted National Monument