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How To Use This Site


This blog was updated on a daily basis for about two years, with those daily entries ceasing on December 31, 2013. The blog is still active, however, and we hope that people stopping in, who find something lacking, will add to the daily entries.

The blog still receives new posts as well, but now it receives them on items of Wyoming history. That has always been a feature of the blog, but Wyoming's history is rich and there are many items that are not fully covered here, if covered at all. Over time, we hope to remedy that.

You can obtain an entire month's listings by hitting on the appropriate month below, or an individual day by hitting on that calendar date.

We hope you enjoy this site.

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20

1803 The Louisiana Purchase was completed as the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States during ceremonies in New Orleans. The transfer actually technically also involved Spain, but only in some odd jurisdictional sense.  Much, but not all, of what would become Wyoming was thereby transferred to the United States, leaving approximately 1/3d of the state in the hands of Spain and a section of country near what is now Jackson's Hole in the Oregon Country belonging to the United Kingdom.

While the very early territorial jurisdictions pertaining to Wyoming are now largely forgotten, and while they were always a bit theoretical given the tenuous nature of actual pre Mexican War control over the territory, there have been six national flags that claimed Wyoming or parts of it, including Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the United States.  With the Louisiana Purchase, France's claim would be forever extinguished and the majority of what would become the state would belong to the United States.

1812     One of the dates claimed for the death of Sacajawea.  If correct, she would have died of an unknown illness at age 24 at Fort Manuel Lisa, where it is claimed that she and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau were living.  If correct, she left an infant girl, Lizette, there, and her son Jean-Baptiste was living in a boarding school while in the care of William Clark.  Subsequent records support that Charbonneau consented to Clark's adoption of Lizette the following year, although almost nothing is known about her subsequent fate.  Jean-Baptiste lived until age 61, having traveled widely and having figured in many interesting localities of the American West.

The 1812 death claim, however, is rejected by the Shoshone's, to which tribe she belonged, who maintain that she lived to be nearly 100 years old and died in 1884 at Ft. Washakie, Wyoming.  A grave site exists for her, based on the competing claim, in Ft. Washakie, the seat of government for the Wind River Reservation.  This claim holds that she left Charbonneau and ultimately married into the Comanche tribe, which is very closely related to the Shoshone tribe, ultimately returning to her native tribe This view was championed by  Grace Hebard who was discussed here several days ago, and it even presents an alternative history for her son, Jean Baptiste, and a second son Bazil.  It was later supported by the conclusions reached by Dr. Charles Eastman, a Sioux physician who was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to research her fate.

While the Wyoming claim is not without supporting evidence, the better evidence would support her death outside of Wyoming at an early age.  The alternative thesis is highly romantic, which has provided the basis for criticism of Hebard's work.  The 1812 date, on the other hand, is undeniably sad, as much of Sacajawea's actual life was.  Based upon what is now known of her story, as well as the verifiable story of Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, who had traveled in the US and Europe, and who had held public office in the United States, the Wyoming claim is seriously questionable.  That in turn leaves the question of the identify of the person buried at Ft. Washakie, who appears to have genuinely been married into the Comanche tribe, to have lived to an extremely old age, and to have lived a very interesting life, but that identity is unlikely to ever be known, or even looked into.

1886  Territorial Governor George Baxter resigned. He had only been in office for a month.  The West Point graduate and former U.S. Cavalryman's history was noted a few days ago, on the anniversary of his death.

1942  Sheridan's high school added a vocational preparatory class for essential work work.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1945   Tire rationing in the U.S. ended.

2005   Wyoming commenced a somewhat controversial cloud-seeding research project with the intent to increase mountain snowpack.  Attribution:  On This Day .Com.

2010  The University of Wyoming puts Bruce Catton's papers on line. Catton was a well known historian of the Civil War.

1 comment:

  1. I've expanded on the Sacajawea topic, in the context of histories in general, on my history blog with this entry:

    http://lexanteinternet.blogspot.com/2011/12/today-in-wyomings-history-december-20.html

    I'd be curious as to the views of others, if anyone cares to post either here or there.

    ReplyDelete