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People & Peoples

The Pedro Mountain Mummy

The mystery surrounding the Pedro Mountain Mummy, discovered in the 1930s about 60 miles south of Casper, Wyo., by two gold prospectors, continues to intrigue people. While some sensational media accounts indicated the mummy might have been one of the little people of American Indian folklore, scientists who studied the artifact in detail have concluded that the mummy was an infant who died because of a congenital defect.

Samuel H. Knight, "Mr. Geology of Wyoming"

Samuel H. “Doc” Knight taught geology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. from 1916 until his retirement in 1963. For a decade he was the only geology teacher, but as his classes began to grow in size and popularity the geology department expanded into a nationally recognized program. He established the university’s science camp in the mountains west of Laramie and revitalized the university’s geological museum. Knight taught an estimated 10,000 students throughout his career and was known to many “Mr. Geology of Wyoming.”

Stephen Downey

Stephen Wheeler Downey was a prominent Laramie lawyer active in public life in Wyoming for more than 30 years beginning in 1869. He served in the territorial and state legislatures where he was an early supporter of votes for women and introduced legislation to found the university of Wyoming. He served in the U.S. Congress as Wyoming’s territorial delegate, as a member of the convention that drew up the state constitution in 1889, as president of the University of Wyoming trustees, and, at the beginning and end of his career, as Albany County’s prosecuting attorney. He died in 1902 and is buried in Laramie.

Finley Bison Kill Site

The Finley Site, located near Eden in Sweetwater County, Wyo., was used by early American Indians to trap and kill bison. The Finley Site is an early Holocene Paleo-Indian bison-kill and processing area, dating back about 7,500 to 12,500 years before the present. This was the first place where Eden points and two kinds of Scottsbluff projectile points were found together, showing that the three were contemporaneous. The Finley Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Owen Wister: Inventor of the Good-guy Cowboy

Owen Wister’s enormously popular novel, The Virginian, published in 1902, was set in Wyoming and established the cowboy in American literature as the noble, competent, humorous, laconic hero still familiar today. Wister, a Philadelphian, first came to Wyoming in 1885, looking for stories and better health. He visited the state 14 more times between then and 1900, writing and publishing western stories and books of stories before The Virginian made him famous and rich, and set a pattern for thousands of western novels and films to come.

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Oral Histories | Joye Kading served as secretary for the successive commanding colonels in charge of purchasing, building and operating the Casper Army Air Base during World War II. In this 2011 interview from the Casper College Western History Center, Kading recalls her experiences and describes many of the wartime photographs she collected in a scrapbook.
Oral Histories | The popular Republican Thyra Thomson served as Wyoming’s secretary of state from 1963 to 1987, when she retired. While in office, Thomson witnessed the continuing presence of gender discrimination in the Equality State, and became a fierce advocate for equal rights. She died in Cheyenne June 11, 2013. She was 96.
Encyclopedia | Jim Bridger’s skills as guide, mapmaker and businessman were unmatched. After 20 years trapping beaver in the northern Rockies, he co-founded Fort Bridger in 1843. In the 1850s and 1860s he guided important government exploring expeditions and guided troops on Indian campaigns. In 1868 he retired to Missouri, where he died in 1881.
Encyclopedia | In 1909, Elinore Pruitt answered Burntfork, Wyo. rancher Clyde Stewart’s Denver Post ad for a housekeeper. She soon married Stewart and achieved her dream of becoming a homesteader. Her vivid letters about her experiences were published in the book Letters of a Woman Homesteader, bringing her nationwide fame. 
Oral Histories | Audio and transcript of interview with former Governor Stanley K. Hathaway conducted by John Hinckley in 1977.
Oral Histories | Edith Thaxton, born in 1898, much later in life recalled the dances of her youth.
Oral Histories | Audio and transcript of interview with former Governor Milward Simpson, conducted by John Hinckley, July 18, 1977, in Cody.
Oral Histories | Adam Schneider, born in 1917, was a featherweight boxer in his youth in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin.

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