U.S. Census taker James Clopper counted 366 people with military connections at Fort Laramie in 1860, and another 300 civilians outside fort boundaries. It weas a diverse group: Soldiers, Indians, traders and freighters lived there; stagecoaches carrying people and mail, westbound young families and a few handcart-pulling Mormons were all passing through.
A ford, ferry and stage station made up bustling little Green River Station, where the Oregon/California/Mormon Trail crossed the Green River—part of Green River County, Utah until Wyoming became a territory. Serving emigrants, passengers, freighters and the Pony Express, the station died after the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869.
Dry and sandy accurately describe the creek crossing where good water was scarce and wagons often foundered in an alkaline mire. Travelers often noted decaying livestock carcasses and thick clouds of gnats; most kept going if they could. Later years saw establishment of a stage and Pony Express station here.
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.