Yellowstone Biographies: "F"
Who's Who in Wonderland's Past
Copyright 2009 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced
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Ferris, Warren Angus Warren Ferris was an educated man who was born Dec. 26, 1810 in Glen Falls, NY, and raised around Erie, Pennsylvania. He was trained as a civil engineer and by 1829 was living in St. Louis. He was hired by Pierre Chouteau Jr. as a trapper in 1930 and spent the years 1830-35 trapping and exploring the vast Rocky Mountain region in the employ of the American Fur Co. He visited Yellowstone in 1834 after hearing ‘whoppers’ about the geysers from other trappers and wanting to see them himself. Two Pend D’Oreilles Indians accompanied him on May 19-20 as he explored the Upper Geyser Basin and watched Old Faithful Geyser erupt. Upon his return to civilization in 1835, he wrote a story of the marvels of Yellowstone that was printed in the July 13, 1842 issue of the “Western Literary Messenger’, which was published in Buffalo, New York. The article was entitled “Life in the Rocky Mountains - A Diary of Wanderings on the Sources of the Rivers Missouri, Columbia, and Colorado, From February 1830, to November 1835.” The article was re-published in “The Wasp”, a paper from Nauvoo, IL. Ferris’ visit was the first ‘recorded’ visit to Old Faithful. Ferris moved to Texas near what became Dallas and died at his farm in Reinhardt on Feb. 8, 1873. [25g]  [Dan Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography]
Finch, Celinda M. Mrs. J.B. Celinda Finch was issued a lease on March 6, 1885 to construct a hotel to serve Yellowstone visitors. The site consisted of 10 acres at Canyon on the north side of the Yellowstone River, a mile from the Lower Falls, and a half mile from Cascade Creek. A set of drawings of the proposed hotel was to be submitted within 90 days, along with a survey of the site. By August 1887 no materials had been delivered to Interior and it is assumed they canceled the lease at that time for non-compliance. Celinda and her daughter Coda Gillian Finch ran McCartney's Hotel in 1879-80 and the tent hotel at Old Faithful in 1883-84. In 1886 they managed the Albermarle Hotel in Livingston, Montana. Celinda M. Jackson, born ca1846 in Iowa, married J.B. Finch in the mid-1860s. Daughter Coda was born in 1866 and the family moved to Bozeman in 1868. Mother and daughter are listed in the census of 1870, 1880, and 1900, but no Mr. Finch. The 1900 census listed Celinda at Chico Hot Springs. Coda later married Jesse A. Armitage and moved to California in 1920. Her husband was described as a "Southland builder and influential in extending [the] Pacific Coast Highway through Southern California to San Diego." Coda died December 11, 1958 in Long Beach, California at age 92. [YNP Army Files Doc. 122] [25g] [Bozeman Avant-Courier 8/19/1880, 9/30/1880] [1879, 1880, 1900 Census, Gallatin & Park Co] [Calif. Death Index Coda Gillian Armitage] [1930 Long Beach Census] [Long Beach Independent, 12/13/1958]
Fitzgerald, Sellack M. S.M. Fitzgerald was born April 24, 1840 in Van Buren County, Iowa to parents Ambrose Fitzgerald (b. 1800 in VA) and Mary A. (Longwell) Fitzgerald (b.1812 OH). He headed west to California as the captain of a wagon train in 1863. He married Mary A. Brown in June of that year at Ft. Laramie. They eventually had 13 children. After suffering farm problems in California, they moved to Oregon and engaged in the stock business. He came to Montana in 1873, settling in the Upper Yellowstone Valley. By 1875 he was living in Emigrant Gulch and advertised in the Bozeman newspaper that "Tourists and pleasure parties can be supplied with anything they desire. . . " He was an agent for Zack Root's Express that year, being one of the stops on the route to the park. He became one of the first assistant superintendents, serving in 1885-86. In 1885 he was living at the cabin at Soda Butte to patrol activities at that end of the park and erected a 44’ addition to the existing cabin that year. The Soda Butte area also served as the overnight stop for travel from Mammoth to Cooke City. By 1888 he was running a boarding house in Horr. In 1889 he provided several train-car loads of beef and hogs to YPIC. His daughter, Eva, married Walter Henderson in 1889 (Walter was son of hotelier and interpreter G.L. Henderson). By 1897 Selleck operated the Park Hotel and livery service in Gardiner, which he leased to William Wylie for the use of his camping guests. In 1907 he served as an extra scout for the army at Ft. Yellowstone. Selleck and Mary's children were: Ambrose, b.1864; Ransom, b.1865; Henry B., b.1866; Eliza J., b.1868; Mary M., b.1869; Eva S., b.1871; Selleck M., b.1872; Ida B, b.1874; Ella E., b.1875; Emma M., b.1876; Jessie M., b.1878; Pearl E., b.1881; Babe, b.1883. Nine of the children were still alive by 1907. Selleck celebrated his 90th birthday in Fishtail, Montana and died March 22, 1932.  [LE;10/3/1885;6/15/1889;6/2/1897] [106d] [3m] [Bozeman Avant-Courier 5/14/1875; 8/27/1875] [Babcock's History of the Yellowstone Valley - 1907] [Montana Death Index, 1907-2002, STW721]
Folsom, David E. David Folsom was a member of the Folsom-Cook-Peterson Expedition of 1869. He first came to the West in 1862 to mine for gold in Idaho. He moved on to Bannack and Virginia City, Montana during the gold rush in those areas. One day he incurred the wrath of bandit George Ives, who attempted to draw Folsom into a fight. Folsom beaned Ives with a pool ball and made his escape with friends. The vigilantes later hosted Ives with a "necktie party." Folsom eventually joined up with friend Charles Cook at Confederate Gulch near Helena. Cook managed the Boulder Ditch Co., which supplied water to the miners in Diamond City. Following the Yellowstone Expedition Folsom went to work in the office of the surveyor general in Montana. There he met Henry Washburn and was able to provide valuable information for Washburn’s expedition the following year. Folsom also made mention to Washburn that the area should be reserved for public use and collaborated with Cook on the article about their visit to Yellowstone. He later became a partner with Walter DeLacy in the surveying business. Folsom served as Montana state senator in the 1890’s and died May 18, 1918 in Palo Alto, California. Folsom was born May 1839 in Epping, New Hampshire, and like Cook, was educated in the Quaker philosophy, which no doubt helped seal their friendship.  [25g] [Dan Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography]
Fossum, John John Fossum worked with or for Ole Anderson in the production of ‘coated specimens’ at Mammoth by 1885 and continued the practice at least through 1898. Henderson’s Park Guide and Manual for 1885 noted that the Cottage Hotel Museum, run by Jennie Henderson, was selling “Anderson & Fossum’s Famous Coated Goods.” During the winter of 1889-90 he was employed by the Yellowstone park Associaition (YPA) to repair the telephone lines in the park. Billy Hofer once described him as the "best Ski runner I ever saw and the best ever in the Park." Hofer also noted Fossum was a photographer and claimed he "got some of the best Buffalo Pictures ever taken of that animal in a wild state . . ." Ernest Thompson Seton, in his book "Wild Animals at Home," published in 1913, tells this story of Fossum: "A friend of mine, John Fossum, once a soldier attached to Fort Yellowstone, had a similar adventure on a more heroic scalp. While out on a camera hunt in early winter he descried afar a large bull Elk lying asleep in an open valley. At once Fossum made a plan. He saw that he could crawl up to the bull, snap him where he lay, then later secure a second picture as the creature ran for the timber. The first part of the program was carried out admirably. Fossum got within fifty feet and still the Elk lay sleeping. Then the camera was opened out. But alas! that little pesky "click," that does so much mischief, awoke the bull, who at once sprang to his feet and ran - not for the woods - but for the man. Fossum with the most amazing nerve stood there quietly focusing his camera, till the bull was within ten feet, then pressed the button, threw the camera into the soft snow and ran for his life with the bull at his coat-tails. It would have been a short run but for the fact that they reached a deep snowdrift that would carry the man, and would not carry the Elk. Here Fossum escaped, while the bull snorted around, telling just what he meant to do to the man when he caught him; but he was not to be caught, and at last the bull went off grumbling and squealing. The hunter came back and recovered his camera. It shows plainly the fighting light in the bulb eye, the back laid ears, the twisting of the nose, and the rate at which he is coming is evidenced in the stamping feet and the wind-blown whiskers; and yet in spite of the peril of the moment, and the fact that this was a hand camera, there is no sign of shake on landscape or on Elk, and the picture is actually over-exposed. [YNP Box H2 History File] [LE; 6/6/1898] [YNP Army Files Doc.#618]
French, Augustus T. A.T. French (Augustus T. French) received the Mammoth-Cooke City mail contract in 1889 and took over J.A. Clark’s previous operation. In 1891, W.S. Boom of the Idaho Stage Line received a 3-year contract for that route, but sub-contracted the operation to French. A fire in 1893 near Yancey’s destroyed a barn, stage, two horses, grain and hay that French was using in his operation. He apparently still had the contract in 1897 as he built the old log cabin (still standing) at the lower end of the Mammoth Esplanade. By 1900 French was operating the Cinnabar to Jardine stage route.
The 1900 Census for Gardiner, Montana shows he was born around 1857 (age 43) in France and married to Margaret M. French, aged 31. They had 3 children: Herbert S., 12; Florence P., 9; Ambrose T., 5. In 1910 they were still living in Yellowstone, but by 1920 Augustus and Margaret had moved to Harlowtown, Montana.  [LE;12/21/1889;5/24/1890;6/27/1891;5/27/1893]  [1910-1920 Federal Census]
Frost, Ned W. Ned Frost was born around 1881 and came into the Cody country as an infant with his family and settled on Sage Creek. He killed his first grizzly bear around the age of seven or eight and began a life of hunting and guiding. By age 14 he was shooting antelope to supply meat houses in Coulson (Billings), Montana. He helped to build the Corkscrew Bridge on Sylvan Pass in the early 1900’s. In 1903 he discovered Frost Cave in the hills outside of town. He became a partner with Fred Richard in the early 1900’s with each of them homesteading land around Green Creek west of Cody. Ned hunted and trapped, while Fred skinned, stretched and prepared the pelts. Coyote pelts were going for $60 at the time and business was good. They saved up enough to build a large ranch house as a base camp for their enterprises. They formed the Frost & Richard Co. around 1910 and began conducting camping trips into Yellowstone. The two men also guided hunts into the neighboring forest areas that lasted for a month or more. When Prince Albert of Monaco came to Wyoming to hunt in 1913, Fred Richard and Wm. Cody guided him. After 1916 Frost and Richard went separate ways and formed their own guiding and hunting operations. Frost guided many famous hunters during his lifetime, including Saxton Pope and Art Young (Pope & Young Club). Frost Lake, two miles NE of Pyramid Peak was named after him ca1893-95. The Frost Ranch is the current location of the Skytel Ranch. [119y]  Check out my Frost & Richard Camping Co. page for more info!!