#Lookback: Lander Graveyards

A County 10 series in partnership with the Fremont County Museum System where we take a #Lookback at the stories and history of our community and presented by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Most frontier communities had saloons, mercantiles, churches, and schools, but inevitably every community needed a burial ground. The first community graveyard in Lander was associated with Camp Auger, which was later renamed, Camp Brown. The graveyard was located at about Sweetwater and 5th Street. When the Camp was moved to be closer to where the Shoshone had settled, the bodies were removed, but one body was overlooked. In 1907, when trenches were being dug for water lines a human skull was unearthed with a queen pin hammer impaled through it on property owned by EJ Farlow. Harvey Morgan was killed in 1873 in an attack by Sioux at what we know as Deadman’s Gulch south of Lander. Dr. Rufus Barr and Jerome Mason were also killed in the attack. Farlow retained the skull before donating it to the Pioneer Association on September 4, 1908, thus Harvey’s skull became the first object in the Pioneer Museum’s collection.

The next burial ground was located south of town at what is now the parking lot of Sweetwater Air.The graveyard was unfenced and the cattle on the open range frequently trampled on the graves, so the ladies of the community held a graveyard dance at the Coulter building to raise money to build a picket fence around the final resting place of the early pioneers.

Soon after, Mount Hope Cemetery became the community burial ground, and the early pioneer graves were moved to the top of the hill overlooking Lander.There is what appears to be an open grassy area at the front of Mount Hope that is the reburial place for the many unidentified early settlers from the earlier graveyard. When Mount Hope opened, it was not the grassy knoll it is today, it was dry and dusty.There was no water for irrigation, but the community came together to bring water to the cemetery and allow for perpetual care.

In the 1950s when the highway was being widened an unidentified grave of a man was unearthed that had been missed when the older cemetery was moved up the hill.

The earliest grave at Mount Hope belongs to a child who died in the 1870s.Maggie Sherlock was another early burial.Maggie died of hypothermia in 1883 at age 18, after her stage was caught in a blizzard.

The Amoretti mausoleum houses the remains of Eugene Amoretti Sr., Lander’s first mayor, and his family.The mausoleum was built in 1917.Amoretti Senior left $10,000 in his will for the monument to be built.Only Eugene Amoretti Sr and his wife, Marie are in marked niches, but his daughter, Josephine Higgins, his son, Eugene Jr. and his wife and daughter are in the mausoleum also.Margaret Amoretti, Eugene Sr.’s granddaughter, died in the last wave of the Spanish Flu in the 1920s.

The Farlow family including Stub Farlow are also buried on the hill.Governor Hunt, who designed the Wyoming bucking bronc license plate, said Stub was the cowboy depicted on the distinct license plate.

Ed Young, the farmer who started planting apple trees in Red Canyon and was responsible for Lander being known as Apple City is also on the hill.

Another community graveyard is the Masonic Cemetery on North Second street. Unlike Mount Hope, it does not have perpetual care. Here, in an unmarked grave lies Lena Borner, the sister of Calamity Jane. She died of injuries after a mad cow attacked her. Another historic family buried here is the Irwin family. Dr.James Irwin was the first Indian Agent at the Shoshone Agency. His 17-year-old son, Frank was killed by Sioux up at South Pass. His body was originally buried at South Pass and then moved down to the valley to be with the rest of his family.

There is so much history buried in our cemeteries for those who care to take the time to search.The pioneers who built our town lie in repose on the hill overlooking the town they helped to build.

Geocaching for History

I was voted the most popular girl in Lander even though my Uncle Gall was a Sioux War Chief who defeated Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.My son was a famous Wyoming cowboy, and my father was the secondmayor of Lander. You can find my name at these coordinates.

42 degrees. 49.633

108 degrees 42.815

I drilled the first oil well in Wyoming by drilling at a tar spring south of Lander.I am laid to rest at these coordinates.

42 degrees 49.684’

108 degrees 42.813’

I served as an Episcopal priest at the Agency. I buried Sacagawea in 1884. My wife Laura served with me. My memorial stone is at these coordinates, but my earthly remains are buried close to Chief Washakie at Fort Washakie.

42 degrees 49.601

108 degrees 42.833

The coordinates might be off by as much as 25 feet so search around.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

Oct 17th, 5:30-9:00 pm Riverton Museum “Pumpkin Trail”

Oct 17th, 5:30 pm Riverton Museum “Haunted Riverton Walking Tour”

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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