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Historic Spots & Monuments

The Grave of Ephraim Brown

Out of nearly 200 people who died from murder or other homicides on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s, only one lies in a grave with a known location. Missourian Ephraim Brown, a leading figure on a wagon train bound for California, was killed near South Pass in 1857 in what appears to have been a bitter family dispute. Details, however—who killed him, why and how—are frustratingly sketchy.

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Encyclopedia | Oregon/California Trail travelers crossing Ham’s Fork in what’s now southwest Wyoming noted a stream that was sometimes low, sometimes dangerously high, ferries run by interesting characters and a stage station so full of flies that they “darkened the table and covered everything put upon it.”
Encyclopedia | 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. 
Encyclopedia | 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 of their wagons and crashed at the base.
Encyclopedia | Ever since its 1868 founding, Atlantic City, Wyo., near South Pass, has endured mining booms that brought thousands and busts so severe that only a couple of residents stayed. Of three early gold-mining towns in the area, one is a ghost town, one is a state historic site—but Atlantic City survives as a community. 
Encyclopedia | In April 1867, during Red Cloud’s War, 19-year-old Pvt. Ralston Baker of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry died during an Indian attack at La Prele Creek crossing on the Oregon Trail. His grave remains near the spot where he fell, south of present Douglas, Wyo. 
Encyclopedia | William L. Clary, 19, died of cholera in 1850 while traveling with 45 other men driving cattle to California. Four other drovers died en route and the company’s captain died soon afterward—all of cholera. Clary’s grave survives on private land near Torrington, Wyo.  
Encyclopedia | In the fall of 1913, the freshman class at the University of Wyoming created a large W on a hill in north Laramie that was easily visible to “passengers on incoming and outgoing trains from both directions,” according to a Wyoming Student report. 
Encyclopedia | Henry Hill, a War of 1812 veteran, died in 1852 on the Oregon Trail and lies buried on private property in Goshen County, Wyo. More than 30 members of two Hill families related by marriage traveled in the 62-member wagon train. All told, six of them died before reaching California.

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