#lookback: A Woman’s Work-Frances Amoretti

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.

Even into the 1900s, many people considered the Upper Wind River Valley the frontier. Tucked between mountains and only accessible by foot or horseback until 1910, this community remained small and isolated. Community members only built the first bridge across Horse Creek in 1924, ten years after the town officially incorporated. The inclement weather and short growing season for traditional crops meant homesteaders and ranchers needed to get creative when it came to eking out a life here.

The Upper Wind River Valley was home to an unnamable amount of impressive women who helped build homes and raise families in this region. Unfortunately, surviving photographs, diaries, and oral histories tell only a fraction of their stories. One of these stories is the story of Mrs. Frances Amoretti née Creedon.

Frances met her future husband, the cowboy banker Eugene Amoretti Jr., in Omaha, Nebraska. They married on November 18, 1891 and moved to Fremont County less than a month later. Frances and Eugene took up a place of 240 acres on Horse Creek north of Dubois where they raised cattle and sheep. Frances worked to create a home on the range, often cooking enough food to feed her family as well as the various ranch hands. The infamous Butch Cassidy, then called George Cassidy, worked on the Amoretti’s ranch and even owned his own parcel of land in the vicinity, eventually selling it to Eugene.

With Eugene and Frances at its helm, the EA Ranch grew in popularity with traveling hunters and tourists. A 1914 newspaper article identified the ranch by the name of “The Ramshorn Lodge in the Rockies” and stated that there were more deer, elk, bear, bobcats, and mountain sheep near this lodge than anywhere in the world. Though this claim seems exaggerated, the Upper Wind River Valley encompasses some of the most remote wilderness in the entire lower 48 states even today.

Frances was very much a product of her upbringing in a well-to-do Pennsylvanian home, wearing skirts and riding sidesaddle when out in public. This article’s accompanying image features Mrs. Amoretti at the Amoretti Ranch in 1899, standing with the large elk she brought down. Not only did Frances wear a long skirt and frilled blouse, but her tiny waist indicates that she also wore a corset during this hunt! As proficient as most men with a firearm, Frances used several models to hunt game on their property.

When it came to the frontier, hunting and fishing were no longer just a man’s job. Women like Frances Amoretti took up the task as not only a source of recreation, but also a means of survival. When push came to shove, women worked just as hard as the men to make Dubois their home.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

December 8, 2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments”
Children’s Exploration Series Program

December 8, 9-5pm at the Riverton Museum, “Christmas Open House”

December 8, 10-4pm at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Open House’

December 8, 5pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Old Fashioned Christmas”
Children’s Exploration Series Program

December 15, 3pm at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Crafts”
Children’s Exploration Series Program

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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