The Washburn Party (1870)

From Philadelphia, Langford proceeded to the family home at Utica, N.Y., where he visited briefly before going on to St. Paul, Minn., and a series of pleasant visits with his many relatives in that area. While there, he called upon Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, who commanded the Military Department of Dakota (of which Montana was then a part), and that officer

. . . showed great interest in the plan of exploration which I outlined to him, and expressed a desire to obtain additional information concerning the Yellowstone country . . . and he assured me that, unless some unforseen exigency prevented, he would, when the time arrived, give a favorable response to our application for a military escort, if one were needed. [64]

Even as Langford was making his plans for a late summer expedition into the Yellowstone region, another interested explorer made an attempt to enter that area. While his venture contributed nothing to the knowledge of Yellowstone’s unusual features, it may have influenced the Washburn party in their selection of the Yellowstone River route as the proper approach to the wilderness, and it does expose the vagueness of whatever plan existed locally, prior to Langford’s return early in August 1870.

As spring turned to summer, Philetus W. Norris returned to Montana to further his various land schemes along the projected route of the Northern Pacific Railway. Of this visit he says: [65]

At Helena I learned from Gen. Washburn and T. C. Everts that there were rumors of Capt. deLacy, Messrs. Cook and Folsom, and some gold hunters having at various times reached some portions of the Geyser regions, but so far I have failed to find any published or other reliable description of them, or their location or route of reaching them.

Gov. Ashley, Washburn and Everts were talking of a party up the Madison in the following autumn.

Firm in the opinion that the Yellowstone route was the true one, I obtained all possible information here and at Bozeman, and near the latter place found an old used up mountaineer named Dunn, who claimed to have gone with James Bridger and another trapper, who was soon after killed by the Indians in Arizona, via Yellowstone Lake to Green River, in 1865, and, from his statements I made a rough map of their route. [66]

Leaving Everts at Fort Ellis [where he had business with the post sutler], with horse and Winchester rifle, I alone followed the Indian trail through the famous Spring Canon, and left the main pass and trail near the lignite coal bed. I thence crossed the beautiful grassy divide, still full of buffalo wallows, and following a continuous line of rough stone heaps from 2 to 5 feet high, to, and beyond Trail creek an estimated distance of 40 miles from here without seeing a human habitation, to the only one of white men upon the north bank of the Yellowstone.

Norris stopped there for several days with the Bottler brothers—Frederick, Philip, and Henry, [67] enjoying their wild solitude. However,

The main object of my visit being to ascertain the possibility of an exploring party going through the upper cañon and the Lava, or ancient volcanic country beyond, so as to reach the wonders said to be around Yellowstone Lake, several days were spent, with Frederick Bottler as guide, in climbing the Basaltic mountains and dark defiles, the mountain horses of Cayuse characteristics, climbing, like goats or mountain sheep, much of the way. Assured that with the fall of waters a party might in August reach at least the great falls of Yellowstone, we ought to have returned, but believing the Indians were across the next range of mountains upon a buffalo hunt, elated with the wonders found, and hoping to reach greater, and if possible be the first men to reach the Sulphur Mountains and Mud Volcanoes, and possibly the great falls and Yellowstone Lake, we rashly pushed on.

Although the snow-capped cliffs and yawning chasms in the basaltic or ancient lava beds, fringed with snow-crushed, tangled timber and impetuous torrents of mingled hot-spring and melted-snow water, made our progress-mainly on foot, leading our horses—slow, tedious and dangerous, we perservered until near a large river [68] that came dashing down from the Southwestern Madison range. There while crossing a mountain torrent, though the water was not over 20 feet wide and less than knee deep, such was its velocity that Bottler, who first entered, was carried from his feet and swept away much faster than I could follow, and though in great danger of being dashed amongst the rocks, he fortunately caught an overhanging cottonwood and by our united efforts was saved, but his valuable needle-gun, hat, ammunition-belt and equipments went dashing down toward the Yellowstone and were lost.

With my only companion sadly bruised by the rocks, benumbed, the remnants of his dressed elk-skin garments saturated by the snow-water, without gun or pistol, in a snow-bound mountain defile in an Indian country, even a June night was far from pleasant for us.

A morning view with an eight-mile field-glass, though disclosing distant clouds of smoke or spray [Mammoth Hot Springs], yet convinced us both of the utter folly of further effort until melting snows reduced the velocity and number of these mountain torrents, and we should be prepared with more than one gun for procuring food and defence from animals and Indians. As Bottler was unable to climb the mountains, [69] we returned through the unknown second cañon, camping in it while I explored the route.

In a note added at the time he edited these earlier writings for publication (which was never accomplished), he says:

. . . We really visited comparatively little of the Park, yet from a spur of what is now called Electric Peak, we had a fine view of much of it and in returning on the west side of the Yellowstone through its second cañon we explored the route which has been followed by nearly all others, and which is now the main route to the Headquarters of the Park.

In closing the letter in which he forwarded an account of the foregoing exploration to the Norris Suburban, [70] Norris mentioned the choice which he had to make with regard to his activities that summer:

Shall soon decide whether General Washburn, Surveyor General of this Territory, friend Everts and Judge Hosmer, once of Toledo, Major Squier, the Bottlers and our humble self join in another expedition to the unexplored region of the Yellowstone Lake. If so, shall go no farther west this season; if not, shall try to cross the mountains to Oregon, down to Columbia, then to California, and return in autumn.

A footnote to the published letter completes the story. In it Norris adds:

I returned from Missoula to Helena August 1st, 1870, finding Gov. Ashley (who had been active for the Yellowstone expedition), removed, the new Governor (Potts), not arrived, Hauser, Langford and other prominent friends of the enterprise absent, [71] and very little prospect of exploration that year, while the N. P. R. R., and other surveying parties down the Columbia promised various benefits in that direction. With no time to waste in deliberation, I chose the latter, returned to Missoula, assisted in surveying my own and other interests there, and then down the Columbia.

After a month’s isolation from news of the outside world, I was intensely mortified to learn that Messrs. Langford’s Hauser, and others had returned and gone up the Yellowstone, and at San Francisco also learned that friend Everts was lost near the head of Yellowstone Lake, and though after 37 days of such exposure, starvation and suffering as probably few if any other human beings ever survived, he was found by Baronette and Prichette; yet his horse (the one he used on our return from Fort Ellis), his gun, equipments, and entire outfit, including my map, notes, etc., left with him, were totally lost, and no trace of them has ever been, or perhaps ever will be found.

Having thus, by unforeseen accidents and circumstances not especially the fault of myself or of others, failed in my long cherished hope of a prominent record among the first explorers of the Yellowstone Park, [72] and overtasked with business at home, it was not until 1875 that I again reached my Bottler friends. . . . [73]

Nathaniel P. Langford could not have reached Helena, Mont., before the evening of July 28, and, with a stopover at Virginia City, his arrival could have been later; thus, his statement, “About the 1st of August 1870, our plans took definite shape, and some 20 men were enrolled as members of the exploring party,” [74] indicates that he arrived with a matured plan which was embarked upon with little or no delay. He adds:

About this time the Crow Indians again “broke loose,” and a raid of the Gallatin and Yellowstone valleys was threatened, and a majority of those who had enrolled their names, experiencing that decline of courage so aptly illustrated by Bob Acres, suddently found excuse for withdrawal in various emergent occupations.

There was a scare about that time, but it seems to have resulted more from the presence of Sioux and Blackfoot Indians near the settlements than from any disposition of the Crows to be unfriendly. The following letter written by 1st Lt. E. M. Camp, who commanded the small guard of soldiers stationed at the Crow Agency (Fort Parker, east of present Livingston, Mont.), clarifies the situation:

Both Sioux and Blackfeet have often been seen near the agency, and there is danger of an attack from them at any time. Both tribes being hostile to whites and Crows. The agency is located Thirty-five (35) miles from Fort Ellis. Wild Country intervening. The Guard at present Consists of one (1) Sergt two (2) Corpls and ten (10) Privates from Co. A 7th U.S. Infantry. [75]

An unsettling note had been struck earlier by the post commander at Camp Baker, who had reported bands of Piegans and River Crows near that place. Both “are believed to be friendly but it is possible some of their young men may commit depredations.” [76] Given such tensions, no more than a rumor was required to alarm the fainthearted.

According to Langford:

After a few days of suspense and doubt, Samuel T. Hauser told me that if he could find two men whom he knew, who would accompany him, he would attempt the journey; and he asked me to join him in a letter to James Stuart, living at Deer Lodge, proposing that he should go with us. Benjamin Stickney, one of the most enthusiastic of our number, also wrote to Mr. Stuart that there were eight persons who would go at all hazards and asked him (Stuart) to be a member of the party. Stuart replied to Hauser and myself as follows: [77]

“Deer Lodge City, M.T. Aug. 9th, 1870.

“Dear Sam and Langford:

“Stickney wrote me that the Yellow Stone party had dwindled down to eight persons. That is not enough to stand guard, and I won’t go into that country without having a guard every night. From present news it is probable that the Crows will be scattered on all the headwaters of the Yellow Stone, and if that is the case, they would not want any better fun than to clean up a party of eight (that does not stand guard) and say that the Sioux did it, as they said when they went through us on the Big Horn. [78] It will not be safe to go into that country with less than fifteen men, and not very safe with that number. I would like it better if it was a fight from the start; we would then kill every Crow that we saw, & take the chances of their rubbing us out. As it is, we will have to let them alone until they will get the best of us by stealing our horses or killing some of us; then we will be so crippled that we can’t do them any damage.

“At the commencement of this letter I said I would not go unless the party stood guard. I will take that back, for I am just d- -d fool enough to go anywhere that anybody else is willing to go,—only I want it understood that very likely some of us will lose our hair. I will be on hand Sunday evening, unless I hear that the trip is postponed. Fraternally Yours,

Jas. Stuart

“Since writing the above, I have received a telegram saying, ‘twelve of us going certain.’ Glad to hear it,—the more the better. Will bring two Pack horses and one Pack saddle.”

Meanwhile, Henry D. Washburn had written Lt. Gustavus C. Doane, an officer of the Second United States Cavalry stationed at Fort Ellis, concerning his interest in the proposed exploration. [79] The answer, which could not have reached Helena before August 14th, advised,

Your kind favor of the 9th ult.—came yesterday—and I reply—at the first opportunity for transmittal. Judge Hosmer was correct as regards my earnest desire to go on the trip proposed—but mistaken in relation to my free agency in the premises. To obtain permission for an escort will require an order from Genl Hitchcock [sic]—authorizing Col Baker—to make the detail.

If Hauser and yourself will telegraph at once on rec’t to Genl Hitchcock at Saint Paul, Minn.—stating the object of the expedition &c and requesting that an order be sent to the Comdg officer at Fort Ellis, M. T. to furnish an escort of An Officer five men—it will doubtless be favorably considered—and you can bring the reply from the office when you come down or send it before—if answer comes in time Col Baker has promised me the detail if authority be furnished. And by your telegraphing instead of him—the circumlocution at Dist Hdqrs will be obviated I will reimburse you the expense of the messages which should be paid both ways to insure prompt attention.

I will be able to furnish Tents and camp equipage better than you can get in Helena—and can furnish them without trouble to your whole party.

Hoping that we can make the trip in company. . . . [80]

The wise advice of Lieutenant Doane was taken, for Langford later wrote:

About this time Gen. Henry D. Washburn, the surveyor general of Montana, joined with Mr. Hauser in a telegram to General Hancock, at St. Paul, requesting him to provide the promised escort of a company of cavalry. General Hancock immediately responded, and on August 14th telegraphed an order on the commandant at Fort Ellis, near Bozeman, for such escort as would be deemed necessary to insure the safety of our party. [81]

General Hancock’s telegram (sent to Col. John Gibbon at Fort Shaw, on August 15) authorized the expedition in these words:

The Surveyor General of Montana, H. D. Washburn, wishes to determine location of Lake and Falls of Yellowstone and asks for a small escort of an officer and five or ten men. I have no objections to this and would like to have an intelligent officer of cavalry who can make a correct map of the country go along, but the escort should be strong, about a company of cavalry—If there is no obstacle to such an expedition other than is known to me, you can order a company or more from Major Baker’s command for this service and suggest to him to go along if he thinks proper and to take charge of the conduct of the expedition unless you desire to go yourself. [82]

The Surveyor General was informed the same day by a telegram stating:

Will send orders to Col. Baker for your escort by Wednesday’s mail under cover to you at Helena, so you can take them with you to Ellis. Col. Baker will furnish the escort if he has men to spare. I presume he has them. [83]

The plans of the expeditioners had already appeared in the Helena Daily Herald, [84] where it was noted:

Monday morning at eight o’clock, is the time set for the departure of the long talked of Yellowstone Expedition. The roll has been called, thus far the following gentlemen from Helena have answered to their names promptly, and given an affirmative response: Hon. H. D. Washburn, Surveyor General of the Territory, Hon. N. P. Langford, Hon. Truman C. Everts, late Assessor of Internal Revenue, [85] M. F. Truett, Judge of the Probate Court, Sam’l T. Hauser, President of the First National Bank, Warren C. Gillette, Esq., Cornelius Hedges, Esq., Benjamin Stickney and Walter Trumbell [sic]. Deer Lodge will be represented in the person of James Stuart, of the well known mercantile firm of Dance, Stuart & Co., who has become quite famous in the mountain country as a daring and successful Indian fighter. Boulder Valley, (we are informed by Mr. Langford) will be represented by J. M. Greene, who will join the expedition at Bozeman City. At Fort Ellis, the party will be strengthened by a military escort, consisting of Lieutenant Doan [sic] and twelve men. At the Yellowstone Agency, the party will probably receive another small reinforcement, as Capt. E. M. Camp has signified his intention of going through with the expedition. As a great portion of the country through which they will traverse is claimed by the hostile Sioux, the expeditionists will likely encounter some of these bands of roving Indians, and while it is proper to exercise all necessary precaution against unforseen dangers, we apprehend no serious troubles from this source. It will be remembered, however, that Stuart and his party, during their trip to these almost unexplored regions, in 1863, had a most desperate fight with a band of indians, supposed to have been Crows, which outnumbered them five to one, and it was only by good luck and good generalship combined, that they were saved from a terrible fate. One of the party, we believe was killed in the engagement and two others mortally wounded. We merely refer to this event in order that every man who contemplates this long and dangerous trip, may be prepared for any emergency that may rise. General H. D. Washburn, we understand, has been chosen as commander of the expedition. [86] The General will make a safe and trusty leader, and if it becomes necessary to fight the Indians, he will always be found at the post of duty.

P.S. Since the above was in type, we learn the time for departure has been postponed until Wednesday next [17th], one of the party—Mr. Stuart of Deer Lodge, having business that will detain him until then.

On the 16th, the same newspaper noted that Colonel Gibbon’s telegram authorizing a military escort had been received, adding: “The Herald, which will send a reporter along, will furnish its readers with important letters from various points as opportunity and the limited facilities for transmission will afford.” [87]

The departure of the expedition from Helena had been set for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 17, but difficulties with the pack stock caused a delay noted thus by the Herald:

It was not until two o’clock yesterday afternoon, when the Yellowstone exploring party took their departure from the rendezvous on Rodney street, and even then all did not get off. Several of the party, we are informed, were “under the weather” and tarried in the gay Metropolis until “night drew her sable curtain down,” when they started off in search of the expedition. The party expected to make their first camp about twenty miles from the city. [88]

Cornelius Hedges, who was really not an outdoors person, characterized the start as a “dismal day of dust, wind and cold,” [89] while Samuel T. Hauser put it this way in his rudimentary diary: “considerable bother getting off—started 1 p.m.—3 packs off-within 300 yards—sent back for a second pack[er]—Left packers and Darkeys.” [90] He also identifies one of the revelers left behind when the main party cantered out of town about 4 in the afternoon; following Ben Stickney’s name in his roster of the expedition’s personnel, Hauser added, “tight.” The other—from his absence from Hedges’ list of those who went together to the “half-way house” run by Nick Greenish 4 miles from Helena—could only have been Jake Smith.

After a night during which Hedges “Didn’t sleep at all—dogs bothered,” the party reached Vantilburg’s by noon, and as it “Started in snowing just as we got in, voted to stay.” Hedges’ diary also contains this confession: “I felt very sore and was glad of rest.” Of this layover, Hauser noted: “All playing cards.”

An early start the following morning got them to Major Campbell’s by 2:30 p.m., where dinner was ordered at once. Gillette says:

. . . but the shrewd old man kept us waiting till 6 O clock in order to compell [sic] us to stay all night. There was much growling from hungry men but a good supper of chicken & trout, good coffee & cream, with a desert of blanc-mange restored the party to its former good humor. [91]

Langford, who had pushed on alone, reached Bozeman about 7 p.m. on the 19th, which gave him time to arrange with Major Baker for their escort before the other expeditioners arrived the following day. [92] The party put up at the Guy House, and entered upon a lively evening which included a cold supper provided by the proprietors of the firm of Willson & Rich. Gillette thought they were “nine pretty rough looking men to come into the presence of three fine ladies,” and Hedges was “much embarrassed” because all had white collars but himself. Afterward, Langford and Hedges called at Gallatin Lodge No. 6 of the Masonic Order, where Langford, as Grand Master, placed the charter in arrest as the best means of ending a grievous dispute. Then everyone went to the Guy House for champagne and musical entertainment at the rooms of Captain and Mrs. Fiske.

Cornelius Hedges described Sunday the 21st as “all commotion, running around, saying goodbye, talking with Masons. Sperling gave box of cigars. Everyone kind, with many good wishes.” He also noted:

Went out to camp near Fort & cook our dinner. Lieut Doane brought us a big tent & helped us put it up. shelter from wind, sun & cold. . . . Unpacked our things to get what we wanted. read papers. Jake Smith opened a game & got busted in a few moments. [93] visted by several prospectors who tell us much about the country.

Hedges’ mood had changed for the better as the day of departure from Fort Ellis arrived, perhaps as a consequence of that “fine bed and sleep,” and the gaiety of that “merry company.” He also recorded a note of dissent that would reappear occasionally: “Smith is disgusted at prospect of standing guard,” then penned a last-minute dispatch to the Herald, [94] and the Yellowstone Expedition was ready to enter the wilderness.

The official report prepared by Lt. Gustavus C. Doane immediately following the return of the expedition is the best account written by a member. [95] Therefore, the details that follow have been taken from his report unless otherwise noted.

Doane’s report, which is prefaced by an extract from Special Order No. 100, issued at Fort Ellis, Montana Territory, August 21, 1870, begins:

In obedience to the above order, I joined the party of General H. D. Washburn, in-route for the Yellowstone, and then encamped near Fort Ellis, M.T. with a detachment of F. Co 2d Cavalry, consisting of Sergeant William Baker, Privates Chas. Moore, John Williamson, William Leipler and George W. McConnell.

The detachment was supplied with two extra saddle horses, and five pack mules for the transportation of supplies. A large pavillion tent was carried for the accommodation of the whole party, in case of stormy weather being encountered; also forty days rations and an abundant supply of ammunition.

The party of civilians from Helena consisted of General H. D. Washburn, Surveyor General of Montana, Hon. N. P. Langford, Hon. T. C. Everts, Judge C. Hedges of Helena, Saml T. Hauser, Warren C. Gillette, Benj C. Stickney, Jr., Walter Trumbull, and Jacob Smith, all of Helena, together with two packers, and two cooks. [96]

They were furnished with a saddle horse apiece, and nine pack animals for the whole outfit: They were provided with one Aneroid Barometer, one Thermometer, and several pocket compasses, by means of which observations were to be taken at different points on the route.

The route from Fort Ellis was the same as that followed by the Folsom party the previous year, with the first encampment on Trail Creek, about 15 miles from the Post. [97]

On the second day, August 23, 1870, the party made 20 miles, which brought them to the Bottler Ranch. The only incident the lieutenant found worth noting was the sighting of a few Indians, who were casually dismissed with the entry, “In the afternoon we met several Indians belonging to the Crow Agency 30 miles below.” [98]

Rain began in the evening, so that the pavillion tent had to be put up near the Bottler cabin. [99]

The weather cleared the following morning and camp was moved up the river to a pleasant place below what Doane called “the lower cañon” [100]

—present Yankee Jim Canyon, which is really the second canyon going upstream, and was so called until the mid-eighties. It was evident they were in Indian country, so guards were posted and the horses were picketed or hobbled.

On the 25th, the party made their way through Yankee Jim Canyon on a difficult Indian trail, [101] then debouched into an arid valley. Continuing on the west bank of the Yellowstone, they past that “Red Streak Mountain” some prospectors had earlier thought to contain cinnabar, [102] to an encampment at the mouth of Gardner River. [103] Doane called this “our first poor camping place, grass being very scarce, and the slopes of the ranges covered entirely with sage brush,” and he added, “From this camp was seen the smoke of fires on the mountains in front, while Indian signs became more numerous and distinct.” [104]

The route on the 26th followed what would later be known as the “Turkey Pen Road,” and Lieutenant Doane, Everts, and Private William son went ahead as an advance party. Contact with the main group was soon lost due to the latter’s difficulty with pack animals made nervous by smoke from the burned-over area on Mount Everts. Thus, the train was unable to follow Doane through to Tower Fall, but had to camp for the night on what Langford called “Antelope Creek”—present Rescue Creek— but which was designated more accurately by Hauser as “Lost Trail Creek,” because they lost Doane’s trail near the marshy pond on that stream.

Doane, who was following the trail of two “hunters” (probably miners from nearby Bear Gulch), [105] had turned south in order to get on the Bannock Indian trail which passed directly over the Blacktail Deer Plateau, well back from the nearly impassable “middle cañon.” [106] That heavily used trail led the advanced party to the first thermal springs on their route—a tepid, sulphurous outflow near present Roosevelt Lodge—and on to Warm Spring Creek, [107] where they camped with the hunters they had been following.

The next day, August 27, while waiting for the main party to come up, Doane had an opportunity to examine the hot springs scattered along the Yellowstone from the mouth of Tower Creek nearly to the entry of Lamar River, and he had time to contemplate the chief feature of the locality, Tower Fall, [108] which he typified in these words:

Nothing can be more chastely beautiful than this lovely cascade, hidden away in the dim light of overshadowing rocks and woods, its very voice hushed to a low murmur unheard at the distance of a few hundred yards. Thousands might pass by within half a mile and not dream of its existence, but once seen, it passes to the list of most pleasant memories.

The remainder of the party arrived that afternoon, and it was decided there was enough to see in the vicinity to justify a layover; thus, a pleasant camp was established where the party remained during the 28th. [109] It was there that the felon on Lieutenant Doane’s right thumb was first opened, “three times to the bone, with a very dull knife,” in the hope of providing him with relief from his “infernal agonies,” but without success. [110]

On August 29, the party broke camp and proceeded toward the falls of the Yellowstone by the route General Washburn had pioneered the previous day. [111] Those who went to the summit of Mount Washburn took a reading from which Doane computed the elevation as 9,966 feet above sea level. [112]

It was while passing over the Washburn Range that these explorers were at last convinced they were entering a land of wonders. Of the view from Dunraven Pass, Doane wrote:

A column of steam rising from the dense woods to the height of several hundred feet, became distinctly visible. We had all heard fabulous stories of this region and were somewhat skeptical as to appearances. At first, it was pronounced a fire in the woods, but presently some one noticed that the vapor rose in regular puffs, and as if expelled with a great force. Then conviction was forced upon us. It was indeed a great column of steam, puffing away on the lofty mountainside, escaping with a roaring sound, audible at a long distance even through the heavy forest.

A hearty cheer rang out at this discovery and we pressed onward with renewed enthusiasm.

Camp was made that evening on the stream that drains most of the southern side of Mount Washburn, [113] and the evening was spent investigating several prominent thermal features nearby. [114] This exploration took them to the rim of the Grand Canyon, which Doane likened to “a second edition of the bottomless pit.”

The move made the following day was short—only 8 miles, to a campsite on the lower edge of the meadows on Cascade Creek. With much of the afternoon left for exploring, the members of the party made their way toward the falls singly and in small groups. [115] The views obtained convinced all that there was enough more to see that they were warranted in again laying over a day. Accordingly, the last day of August was also passed in exploring the locality.

Langford proceeded to measure the drop of both the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone by the same method the Folsom party had used in 1869, and with an identical result at the Upper Fall. [116] Hauser and Stickney managed to scramble down into the Grand Canyon 2-1/2 miles below the Lower Fall, [117] while Lieutenant Doane and Private McConnell climbed down to some hot springs bordering the river a mile farther down the canyon. Hedges, who was less active, spent several hours viewing the Lower Fall, then wandered along the canyon rim until filled with “too much and too great satisfaction to relate.” It was Doane’s opinion that:

Both of these cataracts deserve to be ranked among the great waterfalls of the continent. No adequate standard of comparison between such objects, either in beauty or grandeur can well be obtained.. . [but] In scenic beauty the upper cataract far excels the lower; it has life, animation, while the lower one simply follows its channel; both how ever are eclipsed as it were by the singular wonders of the mighty cañon below.

The expedition left the camp on Cascade Creek on September 1, moving southward through Hayden Valley. In contrast to the wild flood which foamed powerfully through the Grand Canyon, the Yellowstone River, where it flows through the grasslands created by the shrinkage of Lake Yellowstone, is slow-flowing and sedate—described by Doane in these words:

The stream here changes its character altogether, running in the center of an open glade, back full, with grassy margins, a slow current, and spread out to a width of from two hundred to four hundred feet. The bottom is pebbly, or quick-sand, the water of crystal clearness, and cold again.

Two miles above the Upper Fall, they came to a swampy stream, west of the river, which Doane mistakenly called Alum Creek, [118] while another, nearly opposite, was similarly misidentified as “Hellroaring River.” [119] In the middle of the valley was a group of hills which Doane wanted to call the “Seven Hills,” [120] where they found an interesting array of sulphurous hot springs and vents. Some time was spent examining the locality, but a lack of drinkable water induced them to move 5 miles farther up the valley before camping.

This camp, where the expedition lay over on the 2d, was a half mile north of the Mud Volcano and quite close to the feature now called the Sulphur Cauldron. The drinking water obtained from the river tasted of chemicals, but the fishing was fabulous. Among the nearby springs was the first true geyser seen on the trip, [121] as well as features identifiable as Dragons Mouth Spring (a green-gabled grotto called “Cave Spring” by Gillette) and the Mud Volcano. [122] The last was described by Doane as follows:

A few hundred yards from here is an object of the greatest interest. On the slope of a small and steep wooded ravine is the crater of a mud volcano, thirty feet in diameter at the rim, which is elevated a few feet above the surface on the lower side and bounded by the slope of the hill on the upper, converging as it deepens to the diameter of fifteen feet at the lowest visible point, about forty feet down. Heavy volumes of steam escape from this opening, ascending to the height of three hundred feet. From far down in the earth come a jarring sound in regular beats of five seconds with a concussion that shook the ground at two hundred yards distant. After each concussion, came a splash of mud as if thrown to a great height; sometimes it could be seen from the edge of the crater but none was entirely ejected while we were there. Occasionally an explosion was heard like the bursting of heavy guns behind an embankment and causing the earth to tremble for a mile around. These explosions were accompanied by a vast increase of the volumes of steam poured forth from the crater. This volcano has not been long in operation, as young pines crushed flat to the earth under the rim of mud, were still alive at the tops.

On September 3 the main party crossed the Yellowstone River at what would later be known as the “Nez Perce ford,” while Washburn and Langford rode back to the hot springs in Hayden Valley and a scary experience there. [123]

The trail on the east side of the river was good as far as the crossing of a marshy stream east of present Fishing Bridge settlement. [124] There the pack train mired and had to make a detour of several miles. A good campsite was found on the shore of Lake Yellowstone, near the Beach Springs and about a half-mile east of the Folsom party’s encampment.

The party again delayed a day, a halt made necessary by the condition of Doane’s hand. He had been suffering severe pain for a number of days and loss of sleep had taken its toll of his strength. Another operation was performed soon after arrival at the lake. [125] With relief from the inflammation, Doane slept through the night, the following day, and a second night.

Meanwhile, the other members of the party spent the time playing cards, exploring the nearby hot springs and that beach Hedges called the “Curiosity Shop.” The presence of islands (Stevenson, Frank, and Dot), which were thought never to have been “trodden by human footsteps,” encouraged the building of a raft for the exploration of those shores, but the waves of the lake dashed it to pieces within an hour of the launching. Nor was that the only unproductive effort; the triangulation attempted on the 5th, following the breaking of camp, was equally futile. [126]

The decision to follow the east shore of the lake upon leaving the “Hot Spring Camp” was a result of a reconnaissance made in that direction by General Washburn while the party awaited Doane’s recovery. However, that route around the lake eventually proved more difficult than expected.

Fifteen miles were traveled the first day, to an overnight camp at Park Point, but the increasing difficulty with fallen timber reduced their progress on the 6th to 10 miles. Even so, the route was not so onerous but what some members of the party could be spared to make an excursion into a Brimstone Basin lying east of the trail. [127] It was toward the end of the day that they encountered a really formidable obstacle. An attempt to cross the estuary of the Upper Yellowstone River by following the beach fronting on the lake got the pack train into a difficult cul-de-sac, so that they camped that night in considerable anxiety about the route. [128]

On the following morning, General Washburn went ahead to find a way through the estuarial swamps, while Langford and Doane climbed a nearby peak to get a better view of the entire region south of Lake Yellowstone. Doane noted: “We were 4 hours reaching the highest point, climbing for over a mile over shelly feldspathic granite after leaving our horses at the limit of pines.” He found the summit to have an elevation of 10,327 feet (by aneroid barometer). [129] Doane’s description of the country as seen from the summit is interesting:

The view from this peak commanded completely the lake enabling us to sketch a map, [130] of its inlets and bearings with considerable accuracy. On the southwestern portion of the lake rose a high mountain of a yellow rock [Mount Sheridan], forming a divide or water shed in the centre of the great basin beyond which the waters flowed south and west.

The stream we failed in crossing on the previous day rises in the south east range running east several miles and joining another stream from the south west at Bridgers lake, a sheet of water about two miles in diameter at the foot of a rocky peak about twenty five miles to the south from whence, the stream flows due north in a straight valley to the Yellowstone lake.

This valley has a uniform width of about three miles is level and swampy through its whole extent with numerous lakelets of considerable size scattered at intervals over its surface. South of Bridgers lake and beyond the snake river divide were seen two vast columns of vapor thirty miles away which rose at least five hundred feet above the tops of the hills. [131] They were twenty times as large as any we had previously seen but lay a long distance out of our course and were not visited.

Looking east one mountain succeeds another with precipitous ravines volcanic, rugged, and in many places impassable, as if all the fusible portions of the mountains had melted and run away leaving a vast cinder behind. There were no ranges of peaks it was a great level plain of summits with the softer portions melted out, the elevations all coming up to the same level and capped with horizontal beds of surface lava. This formation extended to the limit of vision. The deep and narrow valleys were grassed and timbered, had sparkling streams and furnished basins for numbers of small lakes; in fact there are lakes here everywhere on the summits of mountains and on their terraced slopes in valleys, and in ravines, of all sizes, shapes and qualities of water.

On descending from the peak, Langford and Doane followed the trail of the main party to their encampment on the lakeshore, southwest of the Molly Islands. The information brought back was so helpful that General Washburn later gave Langford’s name to the peak climbed with Doane, while the lieutenant’s name was given to a lower summit north of the saddle where the horses were left; but the Hayden Survey did not allow either name to remain as intended.

The following morning, September 8, Hedges and Everts climbed the prominent elevation which rises above the southern extremity of the Southeast Arm (this is not truly a mountain, but only the northern end of Two Ocean Plateau), and the facility with which Everts found his way back to camp created an unwarranted confidence in his woodsmanship. [132]

The difficult terrain encountered beyond the Southeast Arm limited the party’s progress on the 8th to about 7 miles, airline, so that they camped on Grouse Creek, east of Channel Mountain. Doane notes: “In the evening a Grizzly Bear with cubs was roused by some of the party, but as they had not lost any bears she got away with her interesting family undisturbed.” [133] He adds, in regard to their general lack of success in hunting, “our party kept up such a rackett of yelling and firing as to drive off all game for miles ahead of us.”

On September 9 the party crossed Chicken Ridge, north of Channel Mountain, and descended onto Surprise Creek, where they encamped in a meadow near its head. They had been so entangled in “fallen timber of the worst description,” and so preoccupied with getting the pack train through, that Everts was not missed until he failed to come into camp. Even then, there was no particular alarm (several men went back along the trail and signal guns were fired), for it was thought Everts could make his way to the agreed rallying point at the hot springs on West Thumb. Hedges reflected the general feeling in his diary: “All in but Everts and we felt well around the fire.”

A short move on the 10th took the party over a shoulder of Flat Mountain, to an encampment on Flat Mountain Arm. From there, men went back along the trail and into the country on each side searching for the lost man. Hauser and Langford ascended the height above camp and fired the woods to create a beacon, but all these measures were unavailing.

All were now convinced that Everts had gone to the rendezvous point, so camp was moved again on the 11th—northwesterly, to the shore of West Thumb, near the mouth of Solution Creek. From that camp, searchers went out by pairs on the following day. Trumbull and Smith followed the beach entirely around the promontory that holds Delusion Lake without finding anything more than some human footprints in the sand. Washburn and Langford rode southward toward the “yellow mountain” (Mount Sheridan), turning back just short of Heart Lake when Langford’s horse broke through the turf into hot mud which severely scalded his legs. [134] Hauser and Gilette checked the back-track and came near being lost also, [135] while Lieutenant Doane went around to the West Thumb Geyser Basin and searched there.

The party remained encamped on West Thumb the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th, searching constantly despite the intermittent snow storms which brought the depth of snow on the ground to 20 inches.

On September 16 camp was moved to the West Thumb Geyser Basin as the first step in extricating the party from a situation which was rapidly becoming hazardous for all. The near exhaustion of their rations, the continuing storminess of the weather, and the fatigue of the entire party all indicated the wisdom of an immediate withdrawal from the Yellowstone region. Such was the wish of all the expeditioners except Gillette, who remained behind with two soldiers when the return to the settlements was begun on the 17th. [136]

The route of the main party was westward, about as the highway now goes between West Thumb and Old Faithful. DeLacy Creek and the large lake seen to the left of their line of travel were assigned to the “Fire Hole branch of the Madison” by Doane, but Langford placed them properly. [137] A night camp was made on the head of Spring Creek.

Continuing the march on the 18th, the Firehole River was reached in about 3 miles, and, soon after, they passed “two fine roaring cascades,” of which Doane remarked:

These pretty little falls if located on an eastern stream would be celebrated in history and song; here amid objects so grand as to strain conception and stagger belief they were passed without a halt. [138] Shortly after, the cañon widened a little and on descending on a level with the stream, we found ourselves once more in the dominions of the Fire King.

The Upper Geyser Basin came into view suddenly as they were riding along the east bank of Firehole River, and, just at that moment, Old Faithful Geyser began to play. That grand display caused the entire cavalcade to bolt through the river in their haste to reach what was the first major geyser found by the expedition. [139] Lieutenant Doane’s journal

This valley is known in the wretched nomenclature of this region as the Fire Hole, [140] and contains phenomena of thermal springs unparalleled upon the surface of the globe. Crossing the river we moved down to a central point of the valley and camped in a little grove of pine timber near the margin of a small marshy lake around which were to be seen numerous fresh signs of Buffalo driven out by the noise of our hasty intrusion.

From their camp west of Firehole River and nearly opposite the Lion group of geysers, the expeditioners scattered out through the basin observing and naming geysers. [141] The marked regularity of the geyser seen in action as they arrived led General Washburn to designate it Old Faithful—a spouter which had more than punctuality to recommend it, as Doane noted:

Those who have seen stage representations of Aladdins Cave and the home of the Dragon Fly, as produced in a first class theatre, can form an idea of the wonderful coloring but not of the intricate frost work of this fairy like yet solid mound of rock growing up amid clouds of steam and showers of boiling water. One instinctively touches the hot ledges with his hands and sounds with a stick the depths of the cavities in the slope, in utter doubt in the evidence of his own eyes. The beauty of the scene takes away ones breath. It is overpowering, transcending the visions of Masoleums Paradise, the earth affords not its equal, it is the most lovely inanimate object in existence.

To the west of their encampment, across the marshy lake (which has since been drained), stood the largest geyser cone in the basin; a “castelated turret 40 feet in height and 200 feet in circumference at the base,” which they called “The Castle” from its resemblance to an old feudal tower partially in ruins.

Down the river a few hundred yards beyond Castle Geyser was another with a cone described as “resembling a huge shattered ham,” which, considering the size of its aperture (7 feet in diameter) and the length of its play (3 hours), was thought to be the greatest of all the great geysers, and so was named “The Giant.” [142] Doane says: “While playing, it doubled the size of the Firehole River.”

Two hundred yards farther they found a peculiar cone consisting of pillars and interstices, suggestive of a grotto, and it was named accordingly. [143] Beyond that was a peculiar geyser which alternated steam and fanlike jets in a cycle which continued for hours. [144]

Across the river from their encampment, on an extensive ridge of “formation” (silicious sinter, or geyserite, produced by the action of hot water on igneous rock and redeposited on cooling), was a large well which erupted its contents—a body of water 20 by 25 feet—into the air to the height of 90 feet, with individual jets rocketing to 250 feet. This great fountain, which played for 20 minutes, was considered a fit companion for The Giant and so was called “The Giantess.”

Another geyser on the same side of the river took the party quite by surprise, as Doane noted:

29th day This morning we were awakened by a fearful hissing sound accompanied by falling water, and looking out saw on the other side of the stream a small crater three feet in height and with an opening of twenty six inches in diameter which had scarcely been noticed on the previous day, and was now playing a perpendicular jet to the heighth of two hundred and nineteen feet with great clouds of steam escaping, and causing the ground to tremble as the heavy body of water fell with tremendious splashes upon the shelly strata below.

Huge masses of the rocks were torn from their places and borne away into the river channel. it played thus steadily for ten minutes giving us time to obtain an accurate measurement by triangulation which resulted as above stated. . . . Its appearance and size were altogether insignificant compared with others. [145]

Though convinced that further observation would discover other great geysers in that basin, the near exhaustion of their supplies required them to move on. Thus, the pack train moved out on the morning of September 19, the remainder of the party following toward noon. They stopped briefly at the Grand Prismatic Spring and noted a 50-foot jet playing from a large crater nearby. [146] But they passed through the Lower Geyser Basin with no more than a vague awareness of its thermal riches.

Lieutenant Doane’s preconceived idea of the Madison drainage led him to show an entirely fictitious headwater for that stream, including a large “Madison Lake” south of the Upper Geyser Basin. [147] The encampment that evening was at the junction of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers, the accepted “head” of the Madison River. [148] It was from there that the party had their last view of the Yellowstone’s thermal activity, which Doane described as follows:

September 20th. We now thought ourselves clear of the geysers but in the morning were surprised to see a graceful column of steam ascending to the heighth of three hundred feet on the opposite side of the creek and in the elbow of a mountain range.

We did not visit this group [Terrace Spring, on Gibbon River], but forded the Madison twice just below camp and followed down its right bank.

The party soon passed into the Madison Basin—the “Burnt Hole” of the trappers—where they were beyond the boundary of the present Yellow stone National Park. The evening of the 22d they camped within sight of settlers’ cabins in the Madison Valley, and Langford rode into Virginia City the following morning with news of the loss of Truman C. Everts. [149] Lieutenant Doane reached Fort Ellis on the 24th, [150] and the Helena contingent—excepting Gillette—were all home by the evening of September 27.

The progress of the small party which remained in the Yellowstone wilderness to search for the lost Everts is detailed by Gillette, who wrote in his diary:

Had no trouble in reaching the snow Camp but after passing that a storm came on and we bore to [sic] far to the south camping on the Lake this side of where we intended. Met a man in the woods, who said he was one of a party of 4 who came up Snake river and were camped near our Snow Camp. [151] from his illy repressed nervous manner took him for a man who was fleeing justice. told him of the loss of Everts. I killed a chicken to day with my pistol. roasted it this evening. was very sweet.—with our Fish it made a good meal Kept a sharp look out for any signs or tracks of Everts or his horse. but could see none. It rained nearly all night & my bed which was in a hollow was partly filled with water

Sept 18 Sunday. The weather this AM looked fair, but after we were well on the way, a drenching rain came on & we camped while it was still raining about 2 miles from our camp of the 10th and 11th. Williamson left Moore & myself to make a shelter (which we did with poles & blankets) while he went out to hunt. in about an hour we heard him halow in the mountain, heard his shots first. Moore took the mule & went to where we heard the shots & returned with a fine fat 2 Year old Heifer Elk we ate the liver, for supper I must not forget that I killed another chicken to day with my pistol., of which I feel quite proud. We are in high spirits. Weather cleared and looks well for to morrow

Sept 19th We left camp early this A.M. passing up the south end of the Lake, going easterly. Found the provision we left for Everts at our camp of the 10th untouched showing that he has not made his way to this part of the lake. About a mile above this camp we turned up the Mountain to the South found our old trail, the snow having almost entirely disappeared.

We passed our camp of the 9th (which has been burned over by the fire we left.) and followed down a stream below where we crossed the same day. (9th) with the train. Camped on this creek [Surprise Creek]. After supper looked for signs of Everts on the creek. Saw none.

Sept 20th This morning got an early start. Took Moore with me, leaving Williamson in camp. (his horse being lame) we went back about a 1/2 mile found our trail on the east side of the creek, which we followed back to the point when Everts was supposed to have left us,—looked carefully to find in what direction he went. Saw tracks on a trail which led down over a steep side-hill. here we lost the tracks, but kept on It took us to a small pond [Outlet Lake], the outlet of which ran S W. we followed it to its mouth which was 6 or 7 miles from our camp south. Seeing an opening in the trees on the opposite side of the creek into which it emptied, we went over and discovered a good sized lake, say 2 by 3 miles wide & long. [152] Examined carefully for any signs of a fire or horse tracks, saw none We crossed at the outlet of lake, and kept down the stream, which is here almost a river for a distance of 6 miles, where it opened out into a large basin across which large mountains could be seen. We were satisfied this stream was the head of Snake river, as it was getting late we retraced our steps and arrived in Camp a little after dusk

Sept 21st I had determined that night to go over the Mountain on the right bank of the creek on which we were camped, but a storm being imminent this morning and the men anxious to get away before a snow fell so as to obliterate the trail, & the rations being light also, I abandoned the idea, and thought it better to go to the lake at once. I hated to leave for home, while there was a possibility of finding poor Everts but the chance of our finding him being so very small, even if we knew in which direction he went, that I turned our horses northward, hoping, to hear, when we arrived at the settlements, that he had gotten out of the mountains, and would be found at Virginia City or Helena Nothing of note has occurred to day. We found the meat we “cached” all right, and after a hard & long days march (as the soldiers say) have reached our camp of the 16th The wind is blowing strong from the N.E. but with a fine shelter made with poles & blankets, shall sleep soundly. Where is the poor man Everts is he alive? is he dead? in the mountains wandering, he knows not whither? or back home safely. Did he kill his horse? if so I wonder how he likes Horseflesh With dried horse meat he could live 30 or 40 days. How he must have suffered even at the best! The reflection that he may be within 10 or 15 miles of us [sic].

Sept 22d [no entry]

Sept 23rd Camped on the Madison River this noon, in the midst of an innumerable number of Hot Springs, & real Geysers. I write this from the top of a mound at least 30 feet higher than the surroundings formed by a Geyser which at present does not throw water out of its Crater. The water comes near the top & hot steam is issuing continually with heavy roaring irregular sound. This mound is 40 feet in width & circular being cone shaped. it is of a whitish, grey color and composed of soda lime & a little sulphur.

24th Traveled to day down the Madison going over some of the worst fallen timber we have seen. during the fore part of the day. This afternoon the way was better as to timber but many marshy places. Hot springs occur all along our route to day some upon the opposite side of the river that I did not examine. Travelled on the right bank followed the Margin of the river till we came to the Cascades when we took to the timber and camped in the forks of a large river coming from the south East. Traveled to day, say 20 miles Tried fishing my only fly was taken off and could get no bites from meat bait

25th Left camp early this AM Keeping the margin of river The river still to our left after going some 6 or 8 miles we went up on a trail to our right supposing it to lead north but found when we were on the Mountain that the trail was lost. The view amply repaid us for the labor. A broad basin lay like a Map before us white capped mountains in the S.W. & to the north & immense forests of pine covered the whole country we passed down into the basin [Madison Basin] . . .

Gillette and the two soldiers continued in the wake of the main party, and Gillette reached Helena on October 2 with his unhappy confirmation of a fact already too apparent—Everts was certainly lost.

The first information about the Yellowstone expedition which the press was able to provide to the public concerned the loss of Everts, which was reported thus in the Helena Daily Herald: [153]

We are in receipt, this afternoon, of a dispatch from Virginia City, dated 23d, announcing the arrival there of N. P. Langford, of the Yellowstone expedition, who brings the sad intelligence of the loss of Truman C. Everts, ex-United States Assessor, who was one of the party. The members of the expedition spent eight days hunting for him in the mountains, but found no trace of him. No particulars have come to hand.


Just before going to press the following special dispatch to the HERALD was received:

Virginia City, September 23.

General H. D. Washburne, commander of the Yellowstone expedition, with his party, camped on the Madison, opposite Virginia City, last night, and will he in Helena next Monday. Hon. T. C. Everts was lost September 9th, in the dense forests on the south side of the lake. The party searched seven days for him without discovering any traces of him. Warren C. Gillette and two cavalrymen remained to make further search, the others giving them all their provisions, except enough to subsist them until they reached home. The party made accurate maps of the Lake and river.

Nothing more was available on the Yellowstone region and its wonders until the 26th, when the Helena Daily Herald devoted two columns of its front page to the “Interesting Data of the Trip, from Notes Furnished by Hon. N. P. Langford.” [154] The following is this brief account which introduced the party’s discoveries:

The party left Bozeman the 22nd of August, reaching the Yellowstone on the 24th, and traveling up that river until the 27th, when they reached the Lower Fall creek [Tower Creek], where they remained in camp one day. On this creek is the Lower Fall, a beautiful cascade 115 feet high. The Indian trail crosses the Yellowstone at this point to the east side, but the party kept upon the west side of the river, near the base of Mt. Washburn, a peak 10,570 feet in height, passing the Hellbroth Springs on the 29th, and on 30th camping opposite the Great Falls of the Yellowstone, on Cascade creek. Nearly two days were spent in examining the Falls and their surroundings. Mr. Langford suspended a weight perpendicularly from the rock adjoining the Falls, 491 feet to the bottom of the cañon, and deducting from this the distance from the top of the rock to the surface of the water above the Fall, found it to be 350 feet in height. The Upper Fall, half a mile further up the stream, is 115 feet high. A day and a half more brought the party to the Hot Sulphur and Mud Springs, sixty to seventy-five in number, of diameters varying from two to seventy feet. From scores of craters on the side of the mountain adjoining these springs, issue hot vapors, the edges of the craters being incrusted with pure sulphur. Six miles further on is the first geyser, which throws a column of water twenty feet in diameter in the height of thirty to thirty-five feet. Nearby is a volcano, which throws up mud from the bottom of its crater to the height of thirty feet or more, with explosions resembling distant discharges of cannon, the pulsations occurring at intervals of five seconds, and the explosions shaking the ground for a long distance. This volcano has evidently been in existence but a short time—a few months—as the newly grown grass was covered for nearly two hundred feet with the clayey mud that was thrown out at the first outbreak. The crater of this volcano is about thirty feet in diameter at its mouth, and is narrowed down to a diameter of fifteen feet at a depth of twenty feet from the top, and the surface of the mud down in the crater appeared, when for a few seconds it was in a quiescent state, to be about sixty feet below the mouth of the crater.

At this point the party forded the river, and traveled along the east bank twelve miles to the Yellowstone Lake, a beautiful sheet of water of very irregular shape, but of an average length of twenty-two miles, and width of fifteen miles. An accurate map of the lake was made from observations taken by Messrs. Hauser and Langford, from the tops of three mountains on different sides of the lake. One of these mountains was 11,200 feet high, as measured by the barometer.

The journey around the lake was rendered very difficult by the fallen timber, the party sometimes halting at night not more than six or seven miles from their morning camp.

From the lake the party struck off to the Fire Hole River, on which, in the Geyser Basin, they found a most remarkable collection of springs and craters. In the basin, which extends about two miles down the river, and is a mile in width, are between seven and eight hundred springs and craters of all diameters, from two to one hundred feet. The party found here twelve geysers, five of which threw columns of water to heights varying from ninety to one hundred and fifty feet, the columns being from three to twenty feet in diameter. The column of water from the sixth was discharged from the apex of a conical-shaped mound, through a nozzel two feet by three, and rose to the height of two hundred and nineteen feet, Messrs. Hauser and Langford carefully measuring the column by triangulation.

We learn the following concerning the loss of Mr. Everts: He was with the rest of the party at noon on September 9th, all slowly working their way through the fallen timber. In making search for a passage through it, one or another of the members of the party would, for a brief time, become separated from the main body, but would readily find his way back again. At two o’clock p.m., the company camped for the night,—all being present but Mr. Everts. In camp it was found that Mr. Hedges’ packhorse, which had that day rolled down a steep hill, thirty or forty feet, with his pack on his back, was missing and Mr. Langford, with the two packers, went in search of him, finding him about two miles from camp and returning about five o’clock, but discovering no sign of Mr. Everts.

The objective paint of the party at this time was the southwest arm of the lake, and any one lost or separated from the train would have pushed on to that point. On the morning of the 11th Lieutenant Doan [sic], Langford and Hauser, leaving the train, pushed on with provisions to this arm of the lake, confidently expecting to find Mr. Everts, but no trace of him could be discovered. The rest of the party reached the lake at night, and all remained at that point five days longer. Messrs. Gillette and Hauser, the following day, returned on the trail, four days march, or near to the camp occupied by the party two days before Mr. Everts was lost, but could discover no trace of him—the trail made by the thirty-seven horses belonging to the party being in many places entirely obliterated. Messrs. Trumbull and Smith followed the shore of the lake, and General Washburne and Mr. Langford traveled south to the head waters of Snake river, but neither party could find any trace of the lost man. While in camp on the lake, snow fell to the depth of two feet. An inventory of provisions was then taken, and on the 17th, eight days after the loss of Mr. Everts, most of the party started for the Madison, with sufficient supplies to carry them home, leaving Mr. Gillette and Messrs. More and Williamson, of the 2nd cavalry, with the balance of the provisions to prosecute the search.

It was the opinion of all the members of the party, when Mr. Langford left them on the Madison, that if Mr. Everts had not then been heard from in Virginia or Helena, he had been shot by Indians. The only route that he could have taken that would not have brought him to Virginia or Helena a week since, is that leading by the ‘Three Tetons’ to Eagle Rock Bridge, which point he could have reached several days ago; and had he done so, would undoubtedly have telegraphed his friends here.

It is the intention of Mr. Langford to prepare for publication, as soon as practicable, a detailed report of the journey to and from this most interesting portion of our country, where, in a space so circumscribed, are presented at once the wonders of Iceland, Italy, and South America.

General Washburn’s account of the trip through Wonderland appeared in two installments, [155] subtitled “Explorations in a New and Wonderful Country.” This account was the first written by a member of the Washburn party (the brief account already presented was prepared by the editor from Langford’s notes), and it was also the first account of the party’s discoveries to go beyond the boundaries of Montana Territory. Thus it is of more than ordinary interest. The text follows:

As your readers are aware, the Yellowstone Expedition left Ft. Ellis on the 22d of August, through the Bozeman Pass, [156] finding it all that the Bozemanites claim for it easy and practicable—and camped for the first night on Trail creek, having a fine view of the mountains beyond the Yellowstone. The next day they struck the valley, and their journey up the river commenced. They camped for the night at the ranch of Mr. Bottler, the last settler up the river. Crow Indians were quite plenty during the day, and a heavy rain at night gave anything but a pleasing aspect to the commencement of the trip; but a bright sun, about 10 o’clock, made everything right, and we moved to the cañon of the river [Yankee Jim Canyon], about fourteen miles distant and camped on one of the loveliest spots in Montana. Two small streams put in from the east from an elevation near camp. The river and valley can be seen stretching away far to the north, the river bank plainly defined by the trees skirting its margin. South, the river can be seen pouring through the canon; while far away to the east and west the mountain peaks were then covered with snow—the setting sun brightening both in its last rays, before night’s mantle was thrown over the party.

We passed through the cañon next morning, and found it about six miles long—the trail leading us along the side of the torrent, and sometimes hundreds of feet above it. Night found us at the mouth of Gardiner river, a fine mountain stream coming from the south, and entering the Yellowstone just below the Grand Canon, over thirty miles in length and nearly equally divided by the east fork [Lamar River]. The canon proving impracticable, we took to the mountains, camping one night in them, and the next night a few miles above. The river runs for sixteen miles in nearly a due west course here. Our camp was on a fine stream coming in from the opposite side of the east fork, and designated by us as Tower Creek. The camp was called Camp Comfort. Game and trout were abundant. We found here our first hot springs, small but attractive, and of five or six different kinds—sulphur, iron, etc. This canon of the river is grand. Basaltic columns, of enormous size, are quite numerous. But the great attraction here was the falls on the creek, near our camp. The stream is about as large as the Prickly Pear, and for a mile rushes down with fearful velocity. It seems at some time to have been checked by a mountain range, through which it has torn its way, not entirely removing the barrier, hut tearing through, leaving portions still standing; and these, by the elements, have been formed into sharp pinnacles. Looking from the canyon below, it appears like some old castle with its turrets dismantled but still standing. From between two of these turrets the stream makes its final leap of 110 measured feet, and then, as if satisfied with itself, flows peacefully into the Yellowstone. We attempted to compare it with the famous Minne-ha-ha, but those who had seen both said there was no comparison. It was not as terrible in its sublimity as Niagara, but beautiful and glorious. You felt none of the shrinking back so common at the Great Fall, but rather, as you stood below and gazed upon its waters broken into white spray, you felt as though you wanted to dash into it and catch it as it fell. By a vote of the majority of the party this fall was called Tower Fall.

The cañon of the main river here runs in a southwest direction. The party crossed over a high range of mountains [Washburn Range], and in two days reached the Great Falls. In crossing the range, from an elevated peak a very fine view was had. The country before us was a vast basin. Far away in the distance, but plainly seen, was the Yellowstone Lake. Around the basin the jagged peaks of the Wind River, Big Horn, and Lower Yellowstone ranges of mountains, while just over the lake could be seen the tops of the Tetons. Our course lay over the mountains and through dense timber. Camping for the night eight or ten miles from the falls, we visited some hot springs that, in any other country, would be a great curiosity; boiling up two or three feet, giving off immense volumes of steam, while their sides were incrusted with sulphur. It needed but a little stretch of imagination on the part of one of the party to christen them, “Hellbroth Springs.” Our next camp was near the Great Falls, upon a small stream running into the main river between the Upper and Lower Falls [Cascade Creek]. This stream has torn its way through a mountain range, making a fearful chasm through lava rock, leaving it in every conceivable shape. This gorge was christened the “Devil’s Den.” Below this is a beautiful cascade, the first fall of which is five feet, the second twenty feet, and the final leap eighty-four feet. From its exceedingly clear and sparkling beauty it was named Crystal Cascade.

Crossing above the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone, you find the river one hundred yards in width, flowing peacefully and quiet. A little lower down it becomes a frightful torrent, pouring through a narrow gorge over loose boulders and fixed rocks, leaping from ledge to ledge, until, narrowed by the mountains and confined to a space of about eight feet, it takes a sudden leap, breaking into white spray in its descent a hundred and fifteen feet. Two hundred yards below the river again resumes its peaceful career. The pool below the falls is a beautiful green capped with white. On the right hand side a clump of pines grew just above the falls, and the grand amphitheatre, worn by the maddened waters on the same side, is covered with a dense growth of the same. The left side is steep and craggy. Towering above the falls, half way down and upon a level with the water, is a projecting crag, from which the falls can be seen in all their glory. No perceptible change can be seen in the volume of water here from what it was where we first struck the river. At the head of the rapids are four apparently enormous boulders standing as sentinels in the middle of the stream. Pines are growing upon two of them. From the Upper Fall to the Lower there is no difficulty in reaching the bottom of the cañon. The Lower Falls are about half a mile below the Upper, where the mountains again, as if striving for the mastery, close in on either side, and are not more than seventy feet apart. And here the waters are thrown over a perpendicular fall of three hundred and fifty feet . The canon below is steep and rocky, and volcanic in its formation. The water, just before it breaks into spray, has a beautiful green tint, as has also the water in the canon below. Just below, on the left hand side, is a ledge of rock from which the falls and canon may be seen. The mingling of green water and white spray with the rainbow tints is beautiful beyond description.

This cañon is a fearful chasm, at the lower falls a thousand feet deep, and growing deeper as it passes on, until nearly double that depth. Jutting over the cañon is a rock two hundred feet high, on the top of which is an eagle’s nest which covers the whole top, Messrs. Hauser Stickney and Lieut. Doan [sic] succeeded in reaching the bottom, but it was a dangerous journey. Two and a half miles below the falls, on the right, a little rivulet [Silver Cord Cascade], as if to show its temerity, dashes from the top of the canon and is broken into a million fragments in its daring attempt.

After spending one day at the falls we moved up the river. Above the falls there is but little current comparatively for several miles, and the country opens into a wide, open, treeless plain. About eight miles from the falls, and in this plain, we found three hills, or rather mountains, thrown up by volcanic agency, and consisting of scoria and a large admixture of brimstone. These hills are several hundred feet high, and evidently are now resting over what was once the crater of a volcano. A third of the way up on the side of one of these hills is a large sulphuric spring, twenty feet by twelve, filled with boiling water, and this water is thrown up from three to five feet. The basin of this spring is pure solid brimstone, as clear and bright as any brimstone of commerce. Quite a stream flows from the spring, and sulphur is found encrusting nearly everything. Near the base of the hills is a place containing about half an acre, but covered with springs of nearly every description,—yellow, green, blue and pink. Flowing from the base of the hill is a very strong spring of alum water—not only alum in solution, but crystallized. This place we called Crater Hill, and as we passed over, the dull sound coming from our horses feet as they struck, proved to us that it was not far through the crust. All over the hill were small fissures, giving out sulphurous vapors. The amount of brimstone in these hills is beyond belief.

Passing over the plain we camped on the river bank, near a series of mud springs [Mud Volcano area]. Three of the largest were about ten feet over the top and had built up ten or twelve feet high. In the bottom of the crater thus [erected mud was] sputtering and splashing, as we have often seen in a pot of hasty pudding when nearly cooked. Near these we found a cave under the side of the mountain, from which was running a stream of clear but very hot water [Dragon’s Mouth Spring]. At regular intervals the steam was puffing out. For some time we had been hearing a noise as of distant artillery, and soon we found the cause. Some distance above the level of the river we found the crater of a mud volcano, forty feet over at its mouth. It grew smaller until at the depth of thirty feet, when it again enlarged. At intervals a volume of mud and steam was thrown up with tremendous power and noise. It was impossible to stand near, and one of the party, Mr. Hedges, paid for his temerity in venturing too close by being thrown backward down the hill. A short time before our visit, mud had been thrown two or three hundred feet high, as shown by the trees in the vicinity. Not far from this we found our first geyser [Mud Geyser]. When discovered it was throwing water thirty or forty feet high. The crater was funnel-shaped, and seventy-five by thirty-five feet at its mouth. We stayed and watched it one day. Without warning it suddenly ceased to spout, and the water commenced sinking until it had gone down thirty feet or more. It then gradually commenced rising again, and three times during the day threw up water thirty or forty feet.

The next day we recrossed the river [157] and succeeded in reaching the lake, and camped on the lower end . The fishing, which had been good all the way up the river, proved remarkably so in the lake. Trout, from 2 to 4 pounds, were to be had for the taking. Flies proved useless, as the fish had not been educated up to that point. Remaining over Sunday, we took up the line of march around the south side of the lake, which took us through a dense growth of pine, filled with fallen timber. The third [fourth] day’s march was over a mountain, and but little progress was made, the train going into camp about 2 o’clock. Mr. Everts failed to come into camp—but this occasioned no uneasiness, as we had all expected to reach the lake, and believed he had pushed on to the lake, as he had once before done, and was awaiting our arrival. Moving on five miles we struck an arm of the lake, but found no trace of him. A party was sent down the shore, and two other parties to climb adjacent mountains to search for him, and to build fires on them to attract his attention. Next morning, no news being heard of him, a council was held and the camp moved to the main lake, and search commenced vigorously, but without avail. The fourth night [158] a snowstorm commenced and continued for two days, rendering the search during that time impossible. The situation of the party was becoming precarious; away from the settlements, no trail, without a guide, and snow covering the ground. Another council was held, and it was determined that it was best to move towards the settlements. Mr. Gillette volunteered to stay and prolong the search, and two soldiers were left with him. Mr. Gillette is one of the best mountain men of the party, and there is hope that he may bring some tidings of the missing man. On the south end of the lake is a very beautiful collection of hot springs and wells—in many the water is so clear that you can see down fifty or a hundred feet. The lake is eight thousand feet [7,733] above the level of the sea, a beautiful sheet of water, with numerous islands and bays, and will in time be a great summer resort, for its various inlets, surrounded by the finest mountain scenery, cannot fail to be very popular to the seeker of pleasure, while its high elevation and numerous medicinal springs will attract the invalid. Its size is about twenty two by fifteen miles.

Leaving the lake we moved nearly west, over several high ranges, and camped in the snow amid the mountains. Next day about noon we struck the Fire Hole river and camped in Burnt Hole valley [Upper Geyser Basin]. This is the most remarkable valley we found. Hot springs are almost innumerable. Geysers were spouting in such size and number as to startle all, and are beyond description. Enormous columns of hot water and steam were thrown into the air with a velocity and noise truly amazing. We classified and named some of them according to size.

No. 1. The Giant, seven by ten feet, throwing a solid column of water from eighty to one hundred and twenty feet high.

No. 2. The Giantess, twenty by thirty, throwing a solid column and jets from one hundred fifty to two hundred feet high.

No. 3. Old Faithful, seven by eight, irregular in shape, a solid column each hour seventy-five feet high.

No. 4. Bee Hive, twenty-four by fifteen inches, stream measured two hundred and nineteen feet.

No. 5. Fan Tail, Irregular shape, throwing a double stream sixty feet high.

No. 6. is a beautiful arched spray, called by us the Grotto, with several aperatures [sic], through which, when quiet, one can easily pass, but when in action, each making so many vents for the water and steam.

Upon going into camp we observed a small hot spring that had apparently built itself up about three feet. The water was warm but resting very quietly, and we camped within two hundred yards of it. While we were eating breakfast, this spring, without any warning, threw, as if it were the nozzle of an enormous steam engine, a stream of water into the air two hundred and nineteen feet, and continued doing so for some time, thereby enabling us to measure it, and then suddenly subsided.

Surrounded by these hot springs is a beautiful cold spring of tolerable fair water. Here we found a beautiful spring or well. Raised around it was a border of pure white, carved as if by the hand of a master work man, the water pure. Looking down into it one can see the sides white and clear as alabaster, and carved in every conceivable shape, down, down, until the eye tires impenetrating [sic].

Standing and looking down into the steam and vapor of the crater of the Giantess, with the sun upon your back, the shadow is surrounded by a beautiful rainbow, and by getting the proper angle, the rainbow, surrounding only the head, gives that halo so many painters have vainly tried to give in paintings of the Savior. Standing near the fountain when in motion, and the sun shining, the scene is grandly magnificent; each of the broken atoms of water shining like so many brilliants, while myriads of rainbows are dancing attendance. No wonder then that our usually staid and sober companions threw up their hats and shouted with ecstasy at the sight.

We bid farewell to the Geysers, little dreaming there were more beyond. Five miles beyond Burnt Hole we found the “Lake of Fire and Brimstone.” In the valley we found a lake measuring four hundred and fifty yards in diameter, gently overflowing, that had built itself up by deposit of white substrata, at least fifty feet above the plain. This body of water was steaming hot. Below this was a similar spring, but of smaller dimentions [sic] while between the two, and apparently having no connection with either, was a spring of enormous volume flowing into the Madison [Firehole River], and is undoubtedly the spring which Bridger has been laughed at so much about, as heating the Madison for two miles below. For some distance down the river we found hot springs and evidences of volcanic action. Our passage down the river was a little rough but generally very pleasant, and on the evening of the 22nd we reached the first ranche on the Madison, where we found a paper dated September 1st, the latest news from the inside world. Next day we went to Virginia for papers, and soon found that the world had been moving.

Our trip was a grand success, only marred by the loss of one of our number. If he is merely lost there is still hopes of his return, as he had a good horse and plenty of ammunition and matches. The danger is that he has been killed by the Indians for his horse and gun.


The return of the Washburn party appears to have received little notice outside Montana Territory. The earliest report, evidently based on the scanty information received by telegraph, was published at Salt Lake City and contained nothing of particular interest, being only a brief note to the effect that the “Yellowstone exploring expedition” had returned to Helena after accurately determining the height of “the falls” and the location of lakes. There was no mention of the finding of hot springs and geysers, but the loss of Everts was mistakenly coupled with a sanguinary event in Idaho Territory. [159]

A more adequate presentation of the expedition’s findings followed the receipt of the Helena Herald articles of the 27th and 28th by newspapers with which an exchange was maintained by mail. The Denver, Colorado, Rocky Mountain News reprinted that part of General Washburn s account concerned with the thermal wonders of the Upper Geyser Basin, prefacing it with this statement:

There are a great many wonderful things in the West, and many wonderful stories are told regarding them. From the Montana Herald’s account of the recent Yellowstone expedition, we take the following, which while it may interest and astonish the reader, will also draw somewhat on his powers of credulity. [160]

Such skepticism prompted a Montana editor to vouch for the explorers. He reminded his journalistic brethren:

As we have not published these accounts, our statement may be taken as that of a disinterested witness. We assure our contemporaries outside of Montana, that the expedition was composed of intelligent and reliable gentlemen, and that their published reports are entitled to and receive the fullest credence in Montana. [161]

That the information provided by Langford and Washburn did not seem incredible to more sophisticated editors is evident from the fact that the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press reprinted the Washburn and Langford accounts in full, and without comment, [162] while the New York Times had this to say of General Washburn’s narrative: [163]

Accounts of travel are often rather uninteresting, partly because of the lack of interest in the places visited, and partly through the defective way in which they are described. A poetic imagination may, however, invest the dreariest spots with attraction, and the loveliest nooks of earth may seem poor and arid if sketched with a dullard’s pencil. But, perhaps, the most graphic and effective descriptions of actual scenery come from those “plain people,” as Mr. Lincoln would have called them, who, aiming at no graces of rhetoric, are unconsciously eloquent by the force of simplicity.

A record of the Yellowstone Exploring Expedition, which has just happened to reach us, is distinguished by this graphic directness and unpretending eloquence. It is partial and fragmentary, but it reads like the realization of a child’s fairy tale. We mean no disparagement, but the reverse, of the Notes of the Surveyor-General of Montana, in saying this. No unstudied description that we have read of the internal scenery of the American Continent, surpasses his notes in any particular. The country he had to describe certainly offers great advantages. But it is much to his credit that he has performed the task in so unpretending a manner. Where temptation to fall into the besetting sins of tourists is great, the merit of avoiding them is equally great.

A review of Washburn’s account was concluded with a statement in which the editor of the Times again commented favorably upon it, noting,

We have said that this record reads like a fairy tale, and readers will by this time agree with us. Its official character, however, may be added to the evidence of that simplicity of style already commended as earnest of the trustworthiness of the narrative. Rarely do descriptions of nature come to our hands so unaffectedly expressed, and yet so gilded with true romance.

Despite the foregoing evidences of newspaper reportage varying from undisguised scoffing to excessive enthusiasm, it is probably a fact that the early reports made little impression on the public. Such great and influential papers as the Philadelphia Public Ledger, St. Louis Times, and San Francisco Chronicle were either unaware of, or uninterested in, the Yellowstone region. The Portland Oregonian, which was certainly neither, made no mention of the Washburn party, though it devoted nearly a column to a meaningless account of a visit to the Yellowstone Falls obtained from the Bozeman Montana Pick and Plow. [164]

Word of what the explorers had found in the Yellowstone wilderness appears to have reached New York City at least 4 days prior to publication of the Times article. In a letter to Jay Cooke on October 10, the Northern Pacific’s crotchety secretary, Samuel Wilkeson, complained: “The villains in Helena are wholly uncovering the nakedness of our sleeping Yellowstone Beauty. It breaks my heart.” [165] That lament was based on the desire of the railroaders to lay claim to the choice lands along their line under the provisions of the grant allowed by the Congress, and advance publicity could only defeat their objective. It also hints that they had some knowledge of the Yellowstone region and were even then thinking of its possible value to their future development plans.

Locally, the interest in the Langford and Washburn articles was so great that the Helena Daily Herald announced on September 30: “We to-day reproduce the articles of both these gentlemen, and print a large number extra of the paper to supply the public demand.” And before that interest had waned, Warren C. Gillette was back from his vain search for Everts.

Gillette’s negative report furnished the material for a lengthy newspaper article of considerable interest because of the dreadful possibility it raised in connection with Everts’ disappearance. In this, [166] the public was informed:

While making their way through the forest they suddenly came upon a man mounted on a grey horse. Mr. Gillette asked him if there were any others with him. He replied that there were three others. Mr. Gillette asked him what they were doing up there. With much hesitation and stammering, as if at a loss what reply to make, he finally answered with assured nonchalance, that they were fishing and trapping. He also said that the others were in camp near the lake shore at a point which was but a short distance from the five days’ camp of the whole Yellowstone party, before leaving the lake. The general appearance of the man was so bad, and his actions so suspicious, that Mr. Gillette’s party were all fully convinced that he was an outlaw or fugitive from justice. They soon after, in a more open part of the woods, found the trail of the party, plainly discernable in the snow, and made by eighteen or twenty horses, all or nearly all unshod. Among them were the tracts [sic] of a colt. It was evident, from the appearance of the trail, that there were more than four men, as the evenness and uniformity of the trail through the snow plainly evidenced the fact that it was made by horses under the saddle and not by loose or packed animals; there being but comparatively few tracts outside of the trail, in the snow.

They followed this trail a mile or more, but as it was storming hard at the time they finally left it, and as they had in the meantime lost their own reckoning, they struck off to the right, finding the trail of the party and then leaving it again, when their efforts were diverted to the task of determining their own position in respect to the lake, which was the first thing to be done before any systematic search with any hope of final success could be instituted.

And here we may properly refer to a circumstance to which allusion was made in our issue of September 28th A lot of horses having been stolen near Pleasant valley [on the Montana stage route], a party of men followed the thieves up a branch of Snake river, and on the 10th of September accidentally came to the place where General Washburn’s party camped September 9th, the day Mr. Everts was lost. Near this point they lost trace of the thieves, who had evidently succeeded in secreting themselves somewhere in the fallen timber. [If] Mr. Everts, in his wanderings, had accidentally struck the trail of the horse thieves and had followed it (for he would have followed any trail) until he came near where they were concealed; Can it be doubted that they, seeing a man approaching them armed with a needle-gun, revolver, and a belt full of cartridges, would have concluded that he was one of the pursuing party on their trail, and would have shot him at once?

We have conversed with Messrs. Gillette, Hauser and Langford, whose experience here for the past eight years, and knowledge of the desperate character of the horse thieves and road agents that infest Montana, and familiarity with all the circumstances that may be even remotely connected with this most unfortunate affair, entitle their opinions to the fullest weight, and they are of the opinion that there is but little hope that Mr. Everts can be alive Mr. Gillette thinks he probably perished during the storm that prevailed the fourth and fifth days after he was lost, rather than that he met his death at the hands of the road agents or Indians. Messrs. Hauser and Langford, on the other hand, think it more probable that he has been shot by horse thieves or Indians—Mr. Hauser favoring the former idea, and Mr. Langford the latter.

All of the party, however, are fully agreed that any further search for Mr. Everts will be entirely fruitless, as in that dense and almost interminable forest, in which the ground was covered with fallen timber, through which their pack train could move but from six to eight miles a day, a thousand men might search a month and find no trace of a lost man. The pine leaves were lying so thickly upon the surface of the ground, that the tracks of nearly forty horses, (shod) belonging to the expedition, trailing one another, were hardly discernable two hours after they were made.

We feel fully assured that everything has been done for the recovery of Mr. Everts that humanity can suggest, and to Mr. Gillette is due the highest credit and the gratitude of all our citizens for the fidelity with which he has discharged the trust voluntarily assumed in behalf of the members of the Yellowstone expedition.

Fortunately for the lost man, the rescue efforts were not allowed to rest there. Judge Lawrence, the law partner of Cornelius Hedges, offered a reward for the recovery of Everts. [167] Contained in the announcement was word of yet another attempt to find Everts:

A party consisting of two men, George A Pritchett and John Baronet, [168] was organized and outfitted in this city, yesterday, and left this morning for the Yellowstone country, to search for the Hon. T. C. Everts, who was lost in the mountains on the 9th ult. Messrs. Pritchett and Baronet will proceed to the Crow Agency, procure the services of two or three Indians, follow up the trail of the Expedition to the lake, where Mr. Everts was lost, then commence their search. These men are both familiar with the country, having visited it last Summer, a year ago, are well supplied with provisions, blankets, arms, ammunition and everything necessary for such a trip. They also have with them a map of the Yellowstone Lake and adjacent country, drawn by Col. S. T. Hauser. Messrs. Pritchett and Baronet propose to remain until the deep snows of winter drive them back, unless they shall have succeeded in finding the lost man before that time.

Judge Lawrence, of this city, has offered a reward of $600 for the recovery of the lost man.

The Herald’s own correspondent with the Yellowstone expedition, Cornelius Hedges, produced nothing for that paper until 2 weeks after his return, and that beginning appears to have been prompted by a desire to honor the yet lost Everts. His article, entitled “Mount Everts,” is descriptive both of the man and of the eminence overlooking the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake which they had climbed together. The text follows: [169]

To the Editor of the Herald:

Please allow me, through your columns, to relate an incident connected with the recent trip of the Yellowstone party, to which subsequent events have added melancholy interest. It occurred at our first camp on the south shore of Yellowstone Lake, where we bivouacked on the evening of September 7. On that day, by a long detour through tangled thickets and fallen timber, through swampy flats surrounding the inlet of the Yellowstone River into the lake of the same name, we had reached a point but little farther east than we had made the day before, and been compelled to retrace our steps by reason of impassable sloughs. We no longer had any sort of trail, and the difficulties of traveling were multiplying upon us; besides, the southern lake shore is very irregular—long promontories or points jutting out from the mainland for miles into the lake. It became to all of us a matter of first importance to curtail our route by making cuts across the necks of these points. With that object in view, General Washburn and myself, after pitching camp and disposing of supper, took a ramble to spy out a route for our next day’s drive. At about a mile from camp, in nearly a due-east course, we came upon a game trail, passed an old Indian tepee at least a year old, skirted a little lake about 50 feet above the main lake, snugly tucked up about the foot of a high, bold, bluffy point partly open and partly covered with standing and fallen timber. At that time we only ascended a short distance, as the sun had already set and we were not altogether fresh after the scratching and floundering of the day’s journey. We were anxious to know what could be seen from the top of that mountain, and Mr. Everts proposed to me that I should go with him as soon as breakfast was over in the morning, September 8. Accordingly we went. He manifested much eagerness to go and seemed in more than usual good spirits. The point reached the night before was soon passed, and we stood upon what appeared as the top seen from the base, but we found it but one step to a much bolder point, whose base was concealed from our view below. Not knowing the persistency of the man, I asked him if we had better go to the top, and his quick response was, “By all means.” The sides of this mountain were in places so nearly perpendicular that we made slow and labored progress. Sometimes losing our foothold, we would slide back several feet. In one instance I lost ground about 4 rods and was indebted to a dwarf pine for not losing more distance and perhaps even worse consequences. Thrice we halted on what seemed from below to be the summit, and still we found the top beyond us, which we reached by a final desperate attempt, making the last 50 feet by drawing ourselves up, grasping projecting rocks along the face of an almost perpendicular ledge of dark, coarse, conglomerate rock. Here we stood on a broad, level, rocky rim to a high plateau, pine covered as it receded, which commands a most magnificent view of the whole lake and the dark-green piney basin in which it nestles. In admiration of the pluck and perseverance of my companion, I told him that point should be named Mount Everts. During the half hour we remained on this mountain, probably 12,000 [1,200] feet above the lake’s surface, we traced almost its entire outline, as well the part that we proposed to traverse as that over which we had already come. We could even see through a gap in the easternmost of the southern promontories the blue waters of the southeast [West] arm of the lake, near which we expected to take our departure for the headwaters of the Madison. I then noticed, with some surprise, that with his glasses he could see such distant features as I called to his notice. We examined, as minutely as time allowed, the intervening space, tracing out what we thought the most practicable route across the necks of several points reaching miles away into the lake. This was only the day before he got separated from us, and so strong was my faith that he knew our course and would appear at some point in our advance that I scarcely entertained a fear till we finally reached the farthest point where we left the lake.

In descending the mountains Mr. Everts took a shorter line to camp than that by which we came, while I was unwilling to take any chances of missing my way, and returned as I went. I found Mr. Everts in camp when I reached it. It increased greatly my confidence in his good judgment as a woodsman.

The company, of course, assented to my proposed name for the mountain we had visited, and let future tourists respect this monumental record. What more fitting monument can transmit to future generations the name of our lamented companion? As it towers in self-complacent grandeur above the beautiful lake, and serenely marks the passage of storms, and seasons, and centuries, Mount Everts seems a fitting type of that noble, self-reliant spirit, destined, as we fear, so soon after to be quenched by a dismal fate in the wooded wilderness near its base.

The hope of his rescue so long deferred makes the heart sicken with gloom. Baffled in all our hopes, we incline to believe that he became a victim to the gang of desperadoes that, flying from hot pursuit by way of Snake River, found their refuge in the impenetrable forests and swamps of the south shore of Yellowstone Lake. It is some melancholy satisfaction, should the mystery of his fate never be cleared up, that I had some instrumentality in providing for him so fitting a monument as Mount Everts.

Yours truly,


Helena, October 8,1870

The slowness of Cornelius Hedges to get into print is explained in a letter written on October 2 to an eastern newspaper. [170] His description of the trip as far as Tower Fall was concluded with the statement: “I would try to write you more but the territorial fair and district court, in addition to arrears of business leave me little prospect of doing more at present.” Likewise, he wrote his father at the time, “If I were not overcrowded with business at present I would write you an account of some of the objects of wonder that I saw on my recent trip.” [171]

With the “Mount Everts” article, Hedges had begun his series describing Yellowstone features: “The Great Falls of the Yellowstone, A Graphic Picture of Their Grandeur and Beauty” appeared in the Helena Herald’s issue of October 15; “Hell-Broth Springs,” on October 19; “Pictures of the Yellowstone Country—Sulphur Mountain and Mud Volcano,” on October 24; and “Yellowstone Lake,” on November 9. [172] The last is of more than ordinary interest because it contains the only statement to come from the pen of a member of the Washburn party, prior to inception of the park movement, proposing reservation of Yellowstone features in the public interest. This statement is contained in the following paragraph:

This beautiful body of water is situated in the extreme northwest corner of Wyoming, and, with its tributaries and sister lakes of smaller dimensions, is entirely cut off from all access from any portion of that Territory by the impassable and eternally snow-clad range of the Wind River Range of mountains. Hence the propriety that the Territorial lines be so readjusted that Montana should embrace all that lake region west of the Wind River Range, [173] a matter in which we hope our citizens will soon move to accomplish, as well as to secure its future appropriation to the public use.

A close examination of this suggestion shows it to have two distinct parts: one, calling for inclusion of what is essentially the present park within the Territory of Montana, and the other calling for a dedication to an undefined “public use.” There is no way of divining what public use Cornelius Hedges had in mind, for he never elaborated the idea. But subsequent statements in the Montana press indicate that a grant to the Territory of Montana, similar to the grant made to the State of California of the Yosemite Valley and Big Trees, was desired by some influential persons. [174] Thus it is entirely possible Hedges was thinking in the same terms.

How influential Hedge’s published suggestion was is speculative. The only evidence of contemporary publication outside of Montana thus far found is a clipping from the Independence (Iowa) Conservative. [175]

Publicity during the period immediately following the return of the Washburn party was dominated by the Helena Herald. However, the rival Rocky Mountain Gazette also had a correspondent with the expedition, Walter Trumbull, and he contributed both a brief sketch of the exploration and two serialized accounts. [176] These were done in the witty style characteristic of Trumbull’s writing (he had been a reporter for the New York Sun), but were mere travelogue lacking even a suggestion of prognosis. In an introduction to the weekly series, however, the editor commented: “We are satisfied that this wonderful region only needs to become known to attract as much attention as any other on the face of the globe.” To that point, Helena’s two newspapers were in agreement concerning the Yellowstone region.

The unlikely recovery of the lost expeditioner, Truman C. Everts, created another flurry of dispatches and accounts. The news that Baronett and Pritchett had found him alive appeared in the Helena Daily Herald of October 21, 1870, [177] which printed a letter from Pritchett, addressed at Fort Ellis “To. Messrs. King, Gillette, Langford, Lawrence and other Gentlemen”:

We have found Mr. Everts. He is alive and safe, but very low in flesh. It seems difficult to realize the fact that he lived, but nevertheless it is so. We sent a messenger to this post for a surgeon, and afterwards I started with a fresh horse to meet him, but did not do so, and came on here: the messenger had left about an hour before I arrived with an ambulance by the wagon road, [178] and I missed him. I return tomorrow.

I understand that the messenger who came here in advance of me, sent or went to Helena to apprise the friends of Mr. Everts of his safety, and may exagerate his condition, [179] but I think you need not give yourselves the least uneasiness, as he has all the attention possible under the circumstances, and when the surgeon gets there he will be all right.

We found him on the 16 inst., on the summit of the first big mountain beyond Warm Spring Creek, about seventy-five miles from this fort. [180] He says he subsisted all this time on one snow bird, two small minnows, and the wing of a bird which he found and mashed between two stones, and made some broth in a yeast powder can. This was all, with the exception of thistle roots (of which he had a fair supply) he has subsisted on.

He lost his mare, saddle, gun and cantenas the first day out, and was left without fishing tackle or matches; but after making his bed over warm holes for several nights he thought he might produce fire from his opera glass, and did so. He lost both his knives. During his wanderings he saw no human beings, neither whites nor Indians, until we found him.

A note from Dr. Leander W. Frary, of Bozeman, published the following day buoyed the hope that Everts would live. [181] After the rescued man had been returned to Fort Ellis, Samuel Langhorne provided the Helena Herald with a longer account based on details obtained from Jack Baronett and on Everts’ own recollections. [182] Another dispatch from the same correspondent appeared on the 28th to fill in gaps in what had already become a marvelous tale. Langhorne found it hard to draw a pen-picture of Everts, who was “very spare, not weighing more than 80 pounds,” with a partially paralysed arm and one foot worn to the bone on the outside, yet “converses freely and pleasantly with all who come to see him.” [183]

Some of the things he said seem to have led callers to believe Everts was deranged during his 39-day ordeal, an impression he attempted to scotch in the following letter written to Judge Lawrence on the 25th:

My Dear Old Friends: I am unable, as you see, to write intelligently as yet, but I desire to express my gratitude to you and other good friends, who have taken an interest in my return to life. I am getting along very well, and will try and get to Helena in ten days. Settle with the man who came to my rescue as you agreed. What it is I do not know. I will make it right with you. They took all the care they could of me, and were very kind.

I can give you no particulars now, but please believe no absurd stories of my being deranged. I have been all right in this respect, and only suffer from exhaustion. [184]

The return of Truman C. Everts to Helena was reported on November 5, and he was later feted at a banquet at the Kan-Kan Restaurant—a repast called “one of the most elaborate and elegant ever served in Montana.” [185]

The cumulative effect of the publicity generated by the Washburn party is summarized by an unidentified correspondent writing to the Helena Herald in “Our Washington Letter.” The writer says:

The Yellowstone Expedition, of which we have been so fully and graphically informed through the columns of the HERALD, has from the first excited a deep interest here and throughout the East; while the news of the final recovery of Mr. Everts, as copied from the HERALD into all the papers of this city yesterday, sent a thrill of sympathetic joy through the entire community. The wonderful discoveries reported by General Washburn (whose report thereof, by the way, is lavishly complimented by the New York Journals) are likely and almost certain to lead to an early and thorough exploration of those mysterious regions under the patronage of the General Government and the Smithsonian Institute [sic], and other prominant institutions of the country. I think this will be sure to take place next season; at least, as this and other matters progress, you shall hear occasionally from THE OLD MAN. [186]

A primary purpose of the Washburn party had been to improve the cartographic knowledge of the Yellowstone region. General Washburn had stressed the need to determine the location of Yellowstone Lake and the falls on its outlet river when requesting an escort of soldiers, and General Hancock’s approval specified that the detail should go to “an intelligent officer of calvary who can make a correct map of the country.” [187] Two manuscript maps were produced, one by Doane and one by Washburn (see maps 11 and 12), but neither improved on the deLacy-Folsom portrayal except in providing a better outline of Lake Yellowstone. In fact, they retained nearly all the distortions and ambiguities of that model.

The foregoing covers the Washburn party and its immediate effect in publicizing the Yellowstone region, but such newspaper reportage was less important than the lectures and magazine articles which soon appeared. The latter, in particular, reached a large and sophisticated segment of the American public, so that the national park movement of the winter of 1871-72 built upon a subject that was not altogether unfamiliar.

Nathaniel P. Langford returned from the Yellowstone region with plans for publishing something more pretentious than the brief newspaper account which was his immediate contribution. [189] However, what he did during the 6 weeks between his return and November 11 was to produce a manuscript which was suited more to lecturing than publication. It consisted of approximately 13,000 words, written with ink in a large, clear hand in a ledger. The text occupied alternate pages, with their opposites unused except for occasional notes. There was no title. [190]

The Helena Daily Herald informed its readers of Langford’s plans by quoting the Gazette, thus:

Lectures.—Hon. N. P. Langford, we understand, is to lecture in the States this winter, on the wonders of the Yellowstone country. Mr. Langford is a good writer, and the wonderful scenes which he has to describe must insure the delight and attention of any audience—even in the plainest narration. They are eloquent of themselves. We understand that Mr. Langford will deliver his lecture here before his departure, at the request of a number of citizens. The Herald, of this city, announced recently that Hon. James M. Ashley is to lecture to a number of societies this winter on the Resources of Montana. The theme chosen by the lecturer, and the difusion of knowledge in relation to our Territory among his hearers will be very beneficial to our interests—while an orator desirous of making a creditable literary effort could not be inspired by a nobler subject. [191]

The promised lecture was presented on the evening of November 18 at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Helena under the auspices of the Library Association. The Editor of the Herald had cajoled the townspeople to “come out in force,” because “This lecture has been prepared with great care, and is the same, substantially, that Mr. Langford will deliver (in filling his engagements with the Literary and Scientific Associations of the East) before the most polished and learned audiences of the country.” [192]

A second lecture in Montana was presented at Virginia City on November 22, [193] but the press failed to record the response to it, and Langford’s personal diary indicates he left “for the States” at 6 p.m. the following day.

The first presentation of Langford’s lecture in the East was given in Lincoln Hall in Washington, D.C., where an unexpectedly large audience gathered on the evening of January 19 to enjoy “an entertainment equal in thrilling interest to any of the season.” According to the reporter who covered the lecture, “The speaker, being introduced by Speaker [James G.] Blaine [of the House of Representatives], read a written statement of his adventures in exploration of the Yellowstone Valley,” and the half-column review indicates a travelogue treatment of the subject which made it “evident that even the wonders of YoSemite are eclipsed by the Yellowstone Valley.” [194] The reportage does not mention the idea of reservation of the Yellowstone region in the public interest, and, since it is stated that Langford “read” his discourse, it was probably a word-for-word rendering of the manuscript cited in note 190.

One who listened attentively to Langford’s description of the Yellowstone wonders had, himself, narrowly missed seeing them a decade earlier. He was Dr. Ferninand V. Hayden, head of the Geological Survey of the Territories, who has been accused of borrowing the idea for a Yellowstone National Park from Langford’s lecture. [195] However, it is more likely that he was merely inspired by Langford to direct the investigative efforts of his Survey toward the Yellowstone region.

The second lecture in the East was presented in New York City’s Cooper Union Hall on January 21, 1871, and it was in his conclusion to this particular lecture, as Langford later stated, that he suggested the creation of Yellowstone National Park. In confirmation, he furnished Hiram M. Chittenden, author of The Yellowstone National Park, published in 1895, with the following excerpt said to have been taken from the New York Tribune of January 23, 1871:

This is probably the most remarkable region of natural attractions in the world; and, while we already have our Niagara and Yosemite, this new field of wonders should be at once withdrawn from occupancy, and set apart as a public National Park for the enjoyment of the American people for all time. [198]

The scholar who first discovered that this statement was not a part of the review in which it was supposed to have been published corresponded with Langford and Chittenden concerning it, [197] but without resolving the discrepancy. Langford offered this possible explanation (pp. 379-380):

It is a matter of great surprise to me, that the quotation from my lecture referred to, cannot be found in the New York Tribune report of the lecture. I have in my scrap-book a report of the lecture, which I have always supposed was published in the New York Tribune of 23 January, 1871, and which contains the words quoted. The caption New York Daily Tribune, Monday, January 23, 1871, was cut from the top of the Tribune, and is pasted in my scrap-book at the head of the report of my lecture, it seems almost incredible that I could have placed the Tribune caption over a report taken from another paper,—but if I made such a blunder, then what paper was it? I cannot tell. Yet such a blunder might have been possible, considering the amount of matter which the various papers at that time contained in their eagerness to publish something concerning our discoveries, so marvellous and new to them.

Langford held to an avowal that “whatever reports of my lecture have been made,—whether complete or incomplete,—the fact remains that I advocated the park scheme, in those few words, both in Washington and New York City.” [198] For his part, Chittenden says: “I saw the clipping in question and copied it myself from Mr. Langford’s scrapbook and on the border it was noted, as is frequently done in such cases, the date and the paper from which it was taken.” [199]

As mentioned, the New York Daily Tribune article makes no reference to reservation of the Yellowstone region as a “public National Park” or otherwise. The nearest it comes to emphasizing the area’s superlative nature is in this statement: “The explorers were much impressed by the beauty and grandeur of the valley of the Yellowstone River, and found cañons rivaling those of the Colorado.” [200] The accounts which appeared in two other New York newspapers were also travelogs unconcerned with the future of the Yellowstone region, while the fourth major newspaper did not cover the lecture. [201] The only press coverage outside New York City which has been found to this writing was in Langford’s hometown newspaper—the St. Paul, Minn., Pioneer Press—which merely reprinted the New York Tribune article in its issue of January 28. Montana’s Helena Daily Herald did not mention either of the eastern lectures, but its issue of January 26 carried an item which indicates that Langford was also engaged in lobbying at the national capital at that time. [202]

Although newspaper research has not discovered the origin of Langford’s quotation, the paragraph invites analysis. Most of the opening line, to the semicolon, appears to have been taken directly from the last line of the penultimate paragraph of Langford’s lecture notes. The reference to Niagara Falls is intriguing. If Langford intended to relate Niagara to Yosemite as a public reservation, in 1871 we did not “have our Niagara.” The approaches to the falls were entirely in private hands and visitors were charged a fee for access to viewing places—after passing through an unsightly hodge-podge of tea rooms, curio shops, and advertising signs. Not until 15 years later, in 1885, did the State of New York establish Niagara Falls Reservation in order to satisfy public clamor for free access. [203] On the other hand, the passage may simply represent an intention to relate Niagara and Yosemite to Yellowstone as spectacular natural wonders.

The thrust of Langford’s lecture, as it appears in his untitled notes, was popularization of the Northern Pacific Railroad route, a purpose he summarizes thus in his concluding paragraph:

What, then, is the one thing wanting to render this remarkable region of natural wonders, accessible. I answer, the very improvement now in process of construction the N.P.R.R. by means of which, the traveller, crossing the rich grasslands of Dakota will strike the Yellowstone a short distance above its mouth, traverse for 500 miles the beautiful lower valley of that river with its strange scenery, and will be enabled to reach this region from the Atlantic seaboard within 3 days, and can see all the wonders I have here described. Besides these marvels of the Upper Yellowstone, he may also see the Great Falls of the Missouri, the grotesque groups of eroded rocks below Fort Benton, the beautiful cañon of the Prickly Pear, with its massive scenery of rock and forest, and the stupendous architecture of the vast chains and spurs of mountains which everywhere lie along the line of the road in its transit of the Rocky Mountains. [204]

Langford remained in New York City for a few days following his lecture there, and during that time he talked with Secretary Samuel Wilkeson, of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which caused him to address the following letter to Jay Cooke:

Mr. Wilkison [sic] desires me to communicate with Mr. Coffin (Carlton) upon matters connected with the interests of the N.P.R.R.—lectures upon the subject of resources of the country etc.—and requested me to write to you, to see if you could put me in communication with him. My address will be St Nicholas Hotel till tomorrow night, and thereafter will he Utica, N.Y. [205]

Jay Cooke attempted to reach Langford at New York City but did not get a reply from him until he had been several days at Utica (where he had been scheduled to deliver another lecture) . This three-page missive explains much. [206] Langford had been confined, following his arrival, by a “severe attack of congestion of the lungs,” but hoped for a rapid improvement which would allow him to fulfill his speaking engagement there and at other places. He apologized for his inability to come at once to Philadelphia, suggesting:

As it will not be prudent for me to leave home for some days yet, will you please write me on receipt of this, what you especially desire me to do;—the nature of the lectures to be given,—the principal points to be presented,—where delivered, etc. I ask to be advised of the main points to be presented, that I may assure myself that I can serve the R.R. Co. as well as its officers and friends whom I have met in New York, seem to think I can. And I should be very glad to deliver my lecture on the “Wonders of the Upper Yellowstone,” in Philadelphia, that you may the better judge of my fitness for a field so new to me. Can arrangements be made under the auspices of any of your Lecture Associations?

Langford’s question concerning sponsorship, as well as his interest in the particular emphasis desired for the new presentation, must be considered in the light of changes then taking place. Cooke & Company’s arrangement with lecture groups to create a general interest in the country through which the Northern Pacific line was to be built was being dropped in favor of a railroad-managed publicity campaign to promote emigration to this country. The first approach was a means of creating a market for railroad bonds, while the latter was intended to sell land obtained under the Northern Pacific grant.

The illness Langford had contracted persisted for 5 weeks as a sore throat which kept him under a physician’s care in Utica—except for 1 day when he felt better and “imprudently went to New York.” [207] Even then he was in no condition to return to the lecture circuit, for a letter written to Jay Cooke from New York in mid-March has this note penciled on the back: “Have telegraphed him to get well as soon as possible and begin lecture course.” [208]

Langford was not idle during his long illness. He corresponded with Henry L. Lamb, a New York State Senator (why remains obscure) who then wrote to the President of the Northern Pacific Railroad:

I have a very interesting private letter from Hon. N. P. Langford concerning the Yellow Stone Valley and the region on your line from the Red River to the mountains on Upper Yellow Stone. He is not a supporter of my notions, but—I do not feel so pig-headed in regard to my own observations as to suppress Mr. Langford. [209]

In this is a hint that Langford was only tolerated by some of the railroaders.

Langford was also engaged in preparing an article on the Yellowstone region for Scribner’s Monthly—a project begun at least as early as his arrival in the East in mid-December. [210] His manuscript was evidently in the hands of the editor prior to March 16, 1871, for the letter of that date (see note 208) mentions “the engravings that appear in the May number,” [211] naming “Mr. Moran” as the artist “who drew them on wood.” The letter just mentioned indicates that Jay Cooke contemplated some other use of the Moran engravings, but what this was is not clear.

Yet another project which had Langford’s attention during his illness was the preparation of a second lecture—this one emphasizing the resources and natural advantages of the Territory of Montana. It was undoubtedly prepared with due regard to those instructions Langford had solicited from Jay Cooke in his letter of January 29, 1871 (cited in note 206). Thus, the thrust of his presentation was diverted from travelog to summation of those factors of climate, geography, agriculture, and mineralization which could provide a basis for “speedy settlement and rapid development” of the region. In this new context, Yellowstone received barely a notice:

A few years only can elapse, before the marvels of the Upper Yellowstone, its geysers, boiling mud springs, and sulphur mountains, and the great falls of the Missouri . . . will attract thousands of visitors and tourists annually to that distant Territory, to view the wonders of nature, and the granduer of natural scenery. [212]

It was probably this second lecture that was presented May 14, 1871, at Philadelphia; of which Robert E. Fiske, an editor of the Helena Herald, spoke in a letter to his paper from New York, May 26, 1871:

Mr. Langford, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting several times in the city, lectured last week at the house of Jay Cooke, near Philadelphia, in the interest of the Northern Pacific Railroad Co. Mr. Langford has an engagement for a series of lectures which he will deliver in Pennsylvania the present month should his threatened bronchial trouble permit. [213]

Evidently Langford had already abandoned the lecturing which had brought him to the East, for his sister, Chloe Taylor, writing to her daughter on May 3, 1871, mentioned that “Louise says Eliza wrote to her, that Tan had been there, and that he had given up his lectures—that he had seen a physician, who says if he does not get relief from his throat rouble, he is a doomed man in less than 3 years.” [214] No evidence has been found that Langford gave any more lectures after his appearance in Philadelphia, and he appears not to have been concerned with the Yellowstone region again until after his return to Montana Territory in October.

Meanwhile, others were publishing readable accounts of the Yellowstone exploration in popular periodicals. Walter Trumbull’s article, “The Washburn Yellowstone Expedition” appeared in the May and June issues of The Overland Monthly, [215] but he departed no further from a travelog approach than to recommend the area for sheep raising, and as a waterplace or summer resort when “by means of the Northern Pacific Railroad, the falls of the Yellowstone and the geyser basin are rendered easy of access” [p. 496].

But the most influential result of the Washburn party’s exploration of the Yellowstone region was the publication of Lieutenant Doane’s report as a Government document. General Hancock’s authorization of an escort for the 1870 party specifically required that it include “an intelligent officer of cavalry who can make a correct map of the country” (cited in note 82). That this was no idle thought is evidenced by a copy of a telegram forwarded by Col. John Gibbon from his headquarters (District of Montana) to Maj. E. M. Baker at Fort Ellis. It had originated at the St. Paul, Minn., headquarters of the Army’s Department of Dakota, and stated:

No report has yet been received from the officer who went with Surveyor-General Washburn to the falls of the Yellowstone—in command of escort— The commanding General desires his report, accompanied by such maps as he can make, as soon as possible. [216]

Doane’s report was put in order for transmittal by December 15, 1870, and it came out of the Committee on the Territories and was ordered to be printed on March 3, 1871 (see note 95). It was available as a Government document prior to June 12, 1871, when U.S. Representative William D. Kelley drew heavily upon it in his address, “The New Northwest,” which he presented at the American Academy of Music in Philadelphia. In this dissertation on the “Northern Pacific Railway, in Its Relations to the Development of the Northwestern Section of the United States,” the speaker noted:

Thanks to the admirable scientific training given our army officers at West Point, and the desire of that distinguished soldier and son of Pennsylvania, Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, applause,] to ascertain and disclose the resources of the district of which he is in command, we have a recent official report on the characteristics of a hitherto unexplored section of Montana, the wonders of which not only exceed those of Niagara and the geysers of California, but rival in magnitude and extraordinary combination those of the Yo Semite, the cañons of Colorado and the geysers of Iceland. [217]

The importance of the foregoing statement lies in the fact that Congressman Kelley, a longtime advocate of transcontinental railroads and an ardent supporter of the Northern Pacific route, soon afterward advanced the suggestion which helped to initiate the movement leading directly to the establishment of Yellowstone National Park. Before considering his suggestion and the manner of its implementation, it is necessary to speak of the Yellowstone explorations of 1871.