Transportation

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Title Article Type Author
Ada Magill Grave Encyclopedia WyoHistory.org
Airmail, U.S. in Wyoming Encyclopedia Steve Wolff
Annie, sailboat on Yellowstone Lake Encyclopedia Jett B. Conner
Arthur, Chester A. and 1883 trip to Yellowstone Encyclopedia Dick Blust, Jr.
Automobile, Wyoming’s first Encyclopedia Phil Roberts
Ayres Natural Bridge, Oregon Trail site Encyclopedia WyoHistory.org

Among the many branches and variants of the Oregon Trail was the 35-mile Seminoe Cutoff, which allowed travelers to avoid the last four crossings of the Sweetwater River as well as the difficult climb over Rocky Ridge. Pioneer Sarah Thomas is buried along the route.

In July 1862, a large train of 80 wagons was passing through mountains in what’s now western Wyoming when, within a matter of days, serious troubles led to the deaths of two women and their infants. Elizabeth Paul’s grave remains at the site under a tall pine.

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.

The California Gold Rush lured many men away from their families. One was Charles Hatch of Wisconsin, who appears to have died of a fever after a June snowstorm near what’s now Farson, Wyo. His grave is on a bluff by the Big Sandy River near the Oregon/California Trail.

Whether Oregon Trail emigrants took the westbound Sublette Cutoff at Parting of the Ways or the more southerly route toward Fort Bridger, the next water they had to cross was at Little Sandy Creek, running south through the sandy, sagebrush plains west of the Continental Divide.

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.

Seven pioneer graves survive in Wyoming from 1852, when more emigrants traveled the Oregon Trail than any other year. Near Fort Laramie, Mary Homsley and her baby died from measles, nearly as deadly as cholera at the time. She is buried under a stone on which her husband scratched her name.

Pacific Springs, just west of South Pass, offered Oregon Trail emigrants their first good water after crossing the Continental Divide. From the east-flowing rivers and streams they had followed for so many miles, the pioneers had finally arrived at water that would end up in the Pacific Ocean.

Deep, crystal-clear waters with snow-capped views greeted emigrants as they arrived at the final crossing of the Sweetwater River near South Pass. At times, hundreds of travelers waited impatiently for makeshift ferries, hoping to outrun the cholera they feared was being carried toward them by parties farther back along the trail.

On an open, sagebrush plain west of South Pass, emigrants had to decide whether to continue southwest toward Fort Bridger and California or straight west--across 50 waterless miles—toward Fort Hall and Oregon.  Many pioneers parted here, expecting never to see each other again.