#Lookback: Louis Poire

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.

Louis Poire was born in France and later moved to Canada before moving to South Pass arriving in the 1860s where he opened a general store. He acquired the Caribou and Arthur gold mines which yielded several thousand dollars in gold. It is said, he took his gold to France and had it minted into gold coins and brought the coins back to Lander, and buried the coins around Lander since he did not trust the banks. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch were actively robbing banks at this time. Louis died unexpectedly in 1900 on a trip to California. It is not known if his gold coins were ever recovered, or even if they ever really existed.

Poire purchased two town lots in the two-hundred block of Main Street in 1883 from the Lander Township Company. He built a two-story home which was his residence on the second floor, and his business was on the first floor. Lanigan’s bar was next door, which was the favorite hang-out of Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. Occasionally, stray bullets fired from the bar entered his house, so Louis installed boilerplates under his beds to keep him and his family safe. 

Poire bought two ranches along the Popo Agie below what is today the State School. Poire was also the contractor who built the original courthouse in Lander in1886 on land that had been donated by Eugene Amoretti Sr. While Poire was living along Rock Creek in the mining district, Louis built a stamp mill in Atlantic City.

Poire was married to Leah Melin, a sister of Jules Lamoureax on April 3rd, 1877, and the marriage was witnessed by Jules Lamoureaux, who would later become the second mayor of Lander. According to Leah’s obituary, she died before Louis about 1891 of complications of a cold that resulted in heart failure. They had no children of their own, but Philomine Dupont Freeburgh, their niece lived in Lander and may have lived with them before she married. Philomine married Fredrick Freeburg at Hailey’s Stage station on Beaver rim in 1897. Philomine was with Louis in California when he died at about age 70 in 1900. 

On January 26, 1900, Fredrick Freeburg and his attorney, E.H. Fourt left for Sacramento.  Ed Farlow had witnessed a dry goods box being moved out of Poire’s store at 3 am and taken away by wagon. Farlow became suspicious that something was amiss since Poire was out of town with Philomine, Poire’s niece and Freeburg’s wife. Fredrick Freeburg was taking care of Poire’s store while Poire was out of town. Sheriff Grimmet wanted Freeburg arrested and charged with Grand Larceny as a Bailee. Sheriff Grimmet retrieved the goods and a telegram was sent to Rawlins asking that Fredrick Freeburg be arrested. Poire and his niece, Philomine  Dupont Freeburg had left for Sacramento on January 17th. Louis died of a stroke while on the train at Sacramento.

After Poire died, there was a complicated lawsuit to settle his estate. His estate was valued at $50,000, a sizable estate at that time, but half of the estate went to pay creditors and lawyers before it was finally settled.

When Poire’s estate was finally settled Philomine and her attorney, E.H. Fourt received half of the estate, and she was to distribute it among Poire’s relatives in France. Eugene Amoretti Jr. received the other half for debts owed to him.

Frederick Freeburg died in 1928 a wealthy man. He left his family in comfortable circumstances.

Image – the marriage certificate for Piore and Melin from 1877, when Fremont County was still part of Sweetwater County.

Next up for the Fremont County Museum

March 4, 9-5 pm “First Friday” at the Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum, and Riverton Museum. State Farm Riverton/State Farm Lander

Thru October 2022, 9-5 pm Monday-Saturday, at the Pioneer Museum, “Hurrah for The Cowboy: Men of the Open Range” Art Exhibition

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.  

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