Louis Andrew Manseau, better known to the people of the Upper Wind River Valley as “Andy”, was one of the first cowboys to ride into the region.
Andy Manseau was born on April 20, 1857, in Canada to farmers. A restless soul, Manseau roamed throughout the Northeast (Massachusetts, New England, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) before finally making his way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where his brother lived and worked as a carpenter.
From Milwaukee, Andy traveled down to Hutchinson, Kansas, and then to Dodge City. In Esther Mockler’s book Recollections of the Upper Wind River Valley Manseau describes his first taste of Dodge City, “It was the end of the Texas Trail and the toughest place I ever saw. Every night they killed a man and sometimes two. I was scared!” Manseau was forced to stay a while before a cattle drive would head north. During his time in Dodge City, Manseau participated in prize fights to eke out a living. Eventually, he made his way to Lander where his uncle Louis P. Vidal resided.
Unwilling, or perhaps unable, to stay in one place for long, Andy Manseau would venture as far as California before finally returning to the region. Upon returning the roaming cowboy began to work for Gene Amoretti Sr. supplying beef to the reservation. Concluding the expiration of the contract Manseau built himself a cabin at the mouth of Jake’s Fok.
The life of this cowboy was filled with numerous near-death encounters. One such encounter happened during a round-up where Andy and his fellow cowboys were looking for a place to ford the Wind River. After receiving a tip Manseau and two other cowboys went to check it out. Being the youngest and boldest Andy volunteered to cross first, however he was riding an unfamiliar mount and both rider and horse plunged into the water. When the horse emerged from the river it lashed out with its hooves barely missing Andy. This process was repeated three more times before the cowboy was mercifully swept by the current near some willows where he could drag himself out of the river and away from danger.
Andrew Manseau eventually sold his ranch in 1900 and married Mary Cook Vidal. He passed away near Burris, Wyoming on May 2, 1949, at the age of 92. He and Mary are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander, Wyoming.
Next up for the Fremont County Museum
November 18, 10am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Gingerbread Houses” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series
December 2, 11-2pm at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Open House”
December 9, 2-4pm at the Riverton Museum, “Santa’s Workshop” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series
December 9, 10-4pm at the Riverton Museum, “Christmas Open House”
December 16, 5-7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Old Fashioned Christmas in a Pioneer Village” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series
December 2022-October 2023 at the Pioneer Museum, “Wind River Memories: Artists of the Lander Valley and Beyond” art exhibition
Call the Dubois Museum 1-307-455-2284, the Pioneer Museum 1-307-332-3339 or the Riverton Museum 1-307-856-2665 for detail regarding their programs.
The Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation has been created to specifically benefit The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum. The WRCCF will help deliver the long term financial support our museums need to flourish. 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 Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation at PO Box 1863 Lander, WY 82520 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.