#lookback: Jack Anderson: Home on the Wind

A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Most Dubois and some Fremont County locals have heard of the Anderson Memorial Scholarship which has supported a number of Dubois graduates over the years. However, do you know the story of the man behind the scholarship?

Growing up in Hanover, IL Jack’s early life sounds like a story out of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, including working for a gentleman pirate who was the captain of a Mississippi steamer hauling lumber and freight from Minnesota to Louisana. After a short period of time, he continued moving west.

World War I came around and Jack joined as part of the motorcycle corps with the 148thField Artillery. One particular day in France he was surveying the battle field when he stumbled upon and rescued Leonard Young, from Lander, Wyoming, who had been left for dead. Leonard became a friend and was the reason Jack found this part of the world.

Lucile Bushey married Jack following a courtship that included driving the back roads of Dubois in the sidecar of his motorcycle. This was the same motorcycle that Jack was discharged from the service with in 1919 in Cheyenne, WY. Lucile and Jack started a family on the bank of the Wind River upstream from the confluence of the East Fork and the Wind River. They had six children and life was nearly perfect, until December 10th, 1931. At 10:00pm Jack was returning from being on the jury of a murder trial and turned the final corner to their home to see it in flames. Tragically, four out of six children died in this fire. Their marriage did not survive the tragedy and, sadly, Lucile left with Kenneth and Jane for California. The people of Dubois became Jack’s family after that cruel fire. There is a rock that sits at the location of the fire and carved into it are the names of the four children who were lost. Jack said that not a day went by that he didn’t think about the children. This inspired him to start the Anderson Memorial Scholarship to commemorate the lost children by helping others.

Jack wrote Memoir of a Free Spirit and it highlights his independence, and being a skilled outdoorsman. The Johnny Carson Show’s producers set their eyes on Jack and invited him to Los Angeles to treat him like royalty and to be a guest on the show. Jack felt that the clip should be filmed at his Home on the Wind and that a full orchestra and dancers should play his tune “Pretty Hair-Do”. The two sides could not reach an agreement so the filming never happened.  Jack published two handwritten songs and recorded “Pretty Hair-Do”, and “Wonderful Wyoming”. “Wonderful Wyoming” was played and sung by the Dubois High School band and Dubois Middle School chorus for the State Legislature in the Rotunda of the Capital Building in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

In November 1987, National Gardening Magazine featured an article about Jack’s gardening. He received letters from Texas, Florida, Virginia and California. Some writers requested seeds from his hybrid squash and others also contained some of their seeds for exchange.

Jack was known as an independent and inventive man. Some of his inventions include backlighting a clock so it projected on the wall and allowed him to see what time it was at night. According to Daniel Epp, Jack never changed his clocks from daylight to standard time when the rest of the country did. There was also a fireplace in the center of the cabin that had tubes running through the concrete floors to heat the rest of the house. The fireplace also has an adjustable top that included the stove pipe that could be raised and lowered with a pulley system to accommodate desired results from the open fire in the center of the cabin.

Jack was a unique man who enjoyed life in the Upper Wind River Valley. Some things he treasured most included hunting and fishing, playing music with friends, gardening, blacksmithing, and ranching.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

July 10th, 8:30-2 at the Dubois Museum, “Jade Lake Geology Adventure Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

July 12th, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Tales of Wyoming Outlaws”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

July 14th, 10am at the Pioneer Museum, “150th Anniversary Atlantic City Adventure Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

July 16-18, 9-5pm at the Pioneer Museum, “American Solar Challenge”

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum work extremely hard to provide programs, care for the facilities, create exhibits and care for the thousands of artifacts and archival documents in the collections of the museums. In order to consistently accomplish these objectives the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.

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