#Lookback: John Charles Hanscum

by | Sep 20, 2019 9:29AM

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.

John Charles Hanscum proved himself a clever and enterprising man during his life in the Wind River Valley. He worked for the J.K. Moore store as post trader in Fort Washakie and operated the Hanscum Stageline between the Fort Washakie Hotel, the JK Ranch on Meadow Creek, and Dubois for many years. He also purchased the Washakie Hotel and Livery Bar Service in Lander.

John married Jennie DeWolf, who was born in the gold rush town of Atlantic City WY, in Lander in 1899. Jennie worked as a teacher at Dr. John Roberts’ Indian Mission School on Trout Creek south of Fort Washakie. The couple had three children: Mary Irene, John Lawrence, and Charles Wright.

In 1903, the family moved to the halfway stage stop at the JK Ranch where they planned to raise cattle. Unfortunately, the Indian Services stopped allowing whites to graze their cattle on reservation land and the Hanscums moved again. This time they ended up in Dubois and resided on the Cunningham place, now the Three Spear Ranch property. There the family built onto the existing house, kept cattle, and dammed the hot spring to water the large garden and berry bushes Jennie kept.

John partnered with H.A. Madill on his ranch a few miles southeast of Dubois along the Wind River. They kept a large herd of cattle where, according to records, Madill and John put bells on all their cows to scare the wolves away. During this time, John left the Cunningham place in the care of one of his ex-stagedrivers. When the partnership with Madill ended upon his death, the Hanscums moved back to Dubois and John put his experience as a post trader to work at the Dubois Mercantile.

When Jennie died in 1920, John left town and went on to manage the Wyoming Tie and Timber commissary up the Dunoir. The commissary provided many goods to the working tie hacks and their families, including boxes of Hersey’s chocolate, cans of Campbell’s tomato soup, and boxes of Jell-O. From 1919 to 1927, John Hanscum lived at the tie camp headquarters below the Ramshorn’s shadow before retiring back to town. He passed away in 1929.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

September 28th, 9 am at the Riverton Museum, “J.B. Okie Manor Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek

September 28th, 10 am at the Pioneer Museum, “CWC Apple Orchard Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek

October 17th, 6:30 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Haunted Tales of Fremont County” by Alma Law

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

October 19th, 1-3 pm at the Dubois Museum, “Halloween Pumpkin Carving”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

October 19th, 5:30 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Haunted Trek through Riverton”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek


Consider supporting The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander or the Riverton Museum with a monetary donation. The museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark. 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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