#Lookback: Richard V Dennison: The Man, the Myth, and the Mystery

    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.

    When Richard “Dick” Dennison arrived in Fremont County and began to buy a ranch and land in the Dubois area.  He renamed the place that he bought after himself, the RVD Ranch growing around Bear Creek.

    Despite his relatively short tenure in the area, building the ranch in the early 1920s and living there until his death in 1939, Dennison built a reputation for himself and his ranch.  He came to Fremont County to visit the CM Ranch in 1913, returning to the region following a hit-and-run accident that resulted in the death of a pedestrian.  He lay low on his ranch, the first “remittance man” in the Wind River Valley, paid by his family to stay away from the East after the stain on his reputation.

    However, his claims were not as true as they might have seemed.  Many of the universal “truths” about Dennison are no more than rumor, perhaps perpetuated by the man himself.  Research reveals that the CM Ranch was not even in operation until 1920, and that Dennison had already inherited and controlled his family’s fortune by 1908.  There is no evidence of a hit-and-run, and it is most likely Dennison stayed in Wyoming of his own accord.

    Perhaps the most evocative element of Dennison’s myth are descriptions of the complex of buildings on the RVD Ranch, including multi-story barns with hardwood floors fit for residential homes, and a main lodge filled with treasures collected from his many adventures overseas, including African mammals, expensive porcelain, and elaborately themed bedrooms.  Strangely enough, these outlandish claims are among the most verifiable.  Photographic evidence of the interior of the main lodge, which now sits beside the Dubois Museum, indicates the presence of Egyptian items, African mammal pelts and mounts, a row of WWI-era helmets and shell casings on the mantle, a number of American mammal mounts, and a wide variety of seating filling out the main room, with bedrooms sporting painted headboards and decorated blankets.

    Many mysteries, however, remain.  What originally drew Dennison to Fremont County, be it oil, good health, or the spirit of adventure, or whether he entertained as many of the rich and famous as he claimed are likely answers lost to time.  

    Find out more about the myths about Dennison and their truths in the Dubois Museum, in addition to seeing several items from within his lodge.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museum

    March 29, 6pm at the Riverton Museum, “Talking Photography with Wes Uncepher” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    April 13, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “What’s This Stuff Called Air” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    April 21, 10-11 am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner: Scat, Tracks and Skulls” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    April 22, 11am at the Riverton Museum, “A 70’s Time Capsule” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    April 22, 9-3 pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Garden-Expo: Planting Historic Vegetables for Kids” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    April 29, 1-3pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Sheep Shearing Day” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    May 12, 10am at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner: Aquatic Insects” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    May 13, 9-1 pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Lander Area Petroglyph Trek” Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

    May 17, 7 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Gold Fever in the Atomic Age: Wyoming’s Uranium Boom” by Zach Larsen, Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers 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.  

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