#lookback: Jules and Woman Dress Lamoureux

The Butcher Shop on Lander’s Main Street owned by Jules Lamoureux. The building still stands in the 200 block, but the front façade has changed.

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.


Jules and Woman Dress Lamoureux

In 1868 about a day’s journey by wagon east of Muddy Gap, a wagon train of three families and 12 wagons came under attack by Sioux warriors. The defenders were outnumbered 20 to 1. The wagons circled; arrows were ripping through the canvas, and bullets were flying in the air.

Woman Dress was hunkered in the bottom of one of the wagons along with her two young children, Lizzie age 5 and Richard age 3 trying to keep them down and safe, when she recognized the voice of one of the attackers. In her strongest voice she yelled at the attackers in Sioux telling them she was Woman Dress, sister of their War Chief Gall, and that she was travelling with her family. She told the attackers if they hurt her or her children her brother, Gall, would avenge their murders.

Woman Dress was a full-blooded Sioux married to a French Canadian, Jules Lamoureux. They had been married at Fort Laramie in March of 1864. The families were heading to the gold fields of South Pass from Fort Caspar. The two other families were the Lajeunesses/Boyds and the Bissonet/Ecoffeys. There was a total of 26 people in the wagon train.

It was a wagon train of mixed races some white, some native and some mixed children. At this time “Squaw Men” who took native wives were often ostracized by both white settlers and natives. Their children were described as mongrels.

A cease fire was arranged, and Woman Dress bravely exited the wagon and approached the warriors whom she knew personally. She was 8 and a half months pregnant. The war party ceased their hostilities and escorted the wagon train for a while before disappearing into the hills.

A week or so later, Woman Dress gave birth in a teepee in a grove of willows. She named her new son Willow.

The Lamoureuxs kept a mercantile at Atlantic city before moving down into the Popo Agie River Valley in the fall of 1874, when Lander was still known as Push Root.

Here this mixed family found acceptance. Jules became a successful cattleman and kept a butcher shop in the 200 block of Main Street in Lander. He became the second mayor of Lander in 1891, and Woman Dress worked hard to civilize Lander.

Woman Dress’s brother, Gall, was instrumental in the defeat of Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1879. Even with this family connection Lizzie Lamoureux was voted the most popular young woman in Lander in 1884. When Woman Dress died in 1908 the businesses along Main Street closed out of respect for one of the founding mothers of Lander.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

June 12th, 9am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

June 13th, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Carol Deering: Havoc and Solace: Poems from the Inland West”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

June 13th, 6:30pm at the Riverton Museum, “Kettles and Crackers: Oil Refineries In WY” by Robert King

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

June 15th, 10am at the Pioneer Museum, “Atlantic City Cemetery Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Discovery Speakers Series

June 18th, 10am at the Dubois Museum, “Ramshorn Guest Ranch Tour”

Wind River Visitors Council Discovery Speakers Series

June 19th, 9am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment 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 over the last four years. 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.