The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Digging into high altitudes, deep mines, old rails, steep trails

Digging into high altitudes, deep mines, old rails, steep trails

May 2018

Ancient alpine lives

Recent, surprising discoveries, including a prehistoric village in the Wind River Range above Dubois, Wyo., suggest humans—most likely ancestors of today’s Shoshone people—lived high-mountain lives as long as 10,000 years ago. Learn more in writer Rebecca Hein’s article “Alpine Lives of Ancient People: High-mountain Archeology in Wyoming” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/alpine-lives-ancient-people-high-mountain-archeology-wyoming.

An Italian immigrant’s story

Batiste Gamara, 19, emigrated from the Italian Piedmont to New York in 1907. He mined copper and coal in Pennsylvania, Michigan and, finally, near Kemmerer, Wyo. There, tragically, he was killed by falling coal in 1915. His great-nephew tells his story. Read more in Sergio Vedovato’s article “Batiste Gamara, an Italian Immigrant who Mined Wyoming Coal” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/batiste-gamara-italian-immigrant-who-mined-wyoming-coal.

Laramie’s anniversary and fame

Laramie, Wyo., was founded in 1868 with the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad and won early fame as the place where women first voted and served on juries. It’s now known for its nationally ranked university and proximity to the Medicine Bow Mountains. Learn more in Kim Viner’s article “A Brief History of Laramie, Wyo.” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/brief-history-laramie-wyoming

More Oregon Trail sites

Trails historian Randy Brown shares two more stories of obstacles travelers encountered on the Oregon Trail and the clever methods they used to overcome problems posed by rugged terrain. 
Emigrant Hill and the Elva Ingram Grave
Emigrant Hill on the Child’s Cutoff of the Oregon Trail—a route that ran north of the North Platte River—challenged travelers with a steep, rocky descent followed by twisting turns and a steep rise up again. Four-year-old Elva Ingram died near here of cholera in 1852 and is buried nearby. Learn more in Brown’s article “Emigrant Hill and the Grave of Elva Ingram” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/emigrant-hill-and-grave-elva-ingram.
Mexican Hill, a Steep Descent
Oregon Trail emigrants often attached ropes to the back of their wagons and locked the back wheels to slow their descent of steep, rugged Mexican Hill about five and a half miles west of Fort Laramie. Some lost control and their wagons crashed at the base. Read more in Brown’s article “Mexican Hill, a Steep Descent on the Oregon Trail” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/mexican-hill-steep-descent-oregon-trail.

Watch for more articles soon about Wyoming’s historic trails, part of a collaboration with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and TravelStorysGPS™ of Wilson, Wyo., to transfer to WyoHistory.org the information on many dozens of trails spots from a historic-trails website SHPO developed a dozen years ago, and to make GPS-triggered audio information about the sites available to smartphone-using travelers.

Timely Books!

On the Trail of the Mountain Shoshone Sheep Eaters: A High Altitude Archaeological and Anthropological Odysseyby Tory Taylor. Wind River Publishing, 2017, 145 pages. $19.99 paperback. This well-researched book covers the author’s adventure into high-altitude exploration, where he found artifacts that suggest the long-ago presence of Shoshonean people in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. By consulting professional archaeologists, studying steatite bowls and pipes plus other artifacts, adopting a “Paleo Diet” for more than six months and helping archaeologists excavate and record sites during many field seasons, Taylor gained impressive knowledge and experience, which he shares with readers in his own engaging style. Includes excellent color photographs. Available online at www.amazon.com/dp/1544134061, and at various bookstores, museums and gift shops in the Greater Yellowstone Area. For more iinformation, contact Tory Taylor, 6360 Highway 26 Dubois, WY 82513.

WSHS Annual Trek—Fort Bridger

The Wyoming State Historical Society’s annual trek will be held at Fort Bridger June 29-July 1. The trek will coincide with the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 1868 signing of the Fort Bridger Treaty with the Shoshone and will likely draw a large crowd. Be sure to register and book your hotel early for this important historic event. Early bird registration deadline is May 21, 2018, and the final registration date is June 16, 2018. Additional events will be occurring at Fort Bridger on July 3, 2018. For more information or to register for the WSHS Annual Trek, contact WSHS Executive Secretary Linda Fabian at linda@wyshs.org or call (307) 322-3014. 

Wyoming History Day 2018 Winners

For more information, contact Jessica Flock, coordinator, or visit the website at  http://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/historyday/.