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Historic Spots & Monuments

Big Sandy Crossing

The main branch of the Oregon Trail crossed the Big Sandy River at present Farson, Wyo. State Highway 28 running southwest from Farson continues to parallel the route. Swales are often visible alongside the highway, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left.

Dry Sandy Crossing

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.

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Encyclopedia | In 1913, Buffalo Bill joined Prince Albert I of Monaco—the first reigning monarch ever to visit the United States—on a big-game hunt east of Yellowstone National Park. Both were at points in their lives where they badly needed good publicity—and they got it.
Encyclopedia | Trapper, ferryman, hunting guide and Mexican War veteran Beaver Dick Leigh lived an active and colorful life on both sides of the Tetons in the mid and late 19th century. Leigh, Jenny and Beaver Dick—now String—lakes in Jackson Hole are named for him and for his first wife, an Eastern Shoshone from Washakie’s band.
Encyclopedia | First described in 1842 by explorer John C. Fremont, Warm Springs, near present Guernsey, Wyo., is one of the most famous water holes on the Oregon-California Trail. Many emigrants stopped here to rest, bathe, wash clothes and carve their names on nearby sandstone bluffs.
Encyclopedia | On Oct. 5, 1857, a band of Mormon militia attacked U.S. Army supply wagons at Simpson’s Hollow west of what’s now Farson, Wyo., burning 26 wagons and stampeding army mules. The army was advancing on Utah to enforce federal law there, and the Mormons resisted—all part of the bloodless Utah War.
Encyclopedia | The lure of the the California Gold Rush led even a prosperous wagonmaker like Daniel Lantz of Centreville, Ind. to try his luck. But on the trail in what’s now southwestern Wyoming, illness struck him. Months later, his wife and five children at home learned he never made it through.
Encyclopedia | 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.
Encyclopedia | The Sixth Crossing of the Sweetwater offered wagon-train emigrants good water again 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.
Encyclopedia | In 1862, Charlotte Dansie and her family sailed from England with hundreds of other Mormon converts, then gathered with others near Omaha to set out for Salt Lake—all while having a difficult pregnancy with her eighth child. Her descendants managed to relocate her grave in 1939 near Pacific Springs.

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