Yellowstone Biographies: "S"
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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Salisbury, O.J. O.J. Salisbury was born on the shore of Lake Erie, a few miles from Buffalo, New York. He went west at an early age and became a contractor for the Union Pacific on the construction of their new rail line. In the early 1870's he teamed up with his brother Monroe and J.T. Gilmer to purchase the assets of the Utah, Idaho, and Montana branches of Wells, Fargo & Co. In 1873 this transportation firm was running stages from Fort Benton, Montana to Helena. Gilmer & Salisbury bought out the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage, Mail and Express Line in 1876, operating the Deadwood line between Cheyenne and the Black Hills. They began running stagecoaches into the park from the Union Pacific rail line at Spencer Idaho beginning in 1879 and built a stage station at Henry’s Lake in 1881. The route passed through Virginia City, Ennis, Henry’s Lake and Targhee Pass before arriving at Marshall’s Hotel. They became one of the most powerful corporations in the Northwest in the late 1800’s and amassed a nice fortune. In their final days lines ran from the Canadian border to southern Utah and from the Great Plains to California and Washington. O.J. bought a home in Salt Lake City in the 1880's and spent the rest of his life there. He engaged in politics, as well as real estate, mining, and a farm mortgage loan business. [C.C. Goodwin, "As I Remember Them"] [18t] [25g] [79o;470-71] [25L;91]
Sawtell, Gilman Gilman Sawtell (sometimes Gilman Sawtelle) was the son of Ebenezer and Sally Sawtell, born Dec. 10, 1836 in Groton, Mass. He served with the 8th Illinois artillery in 1861-62 under Col. Farnsworth during the Civil War. He married Carrie Livermore (date unknown) and had a son Eben R. Sawtell in 1866 while living in Jackson County, Iowa. By 1867 the family was living in the west and homesteaded a ranch in the Henrys Lake area in 1867-68 after prospecting in the Nevada City area. In 1868 he built a rough road from his ranch to Virginia City, and five years later was instrumental in completing the road into Yellowstone via Targhee Pass to the Madison River and through the west entrance to the Lower Geyser Basin. The road was known as the Virginia City and National Park Free Wagon Road and conveniently passed by his lodge. It was the first road built into Yellowstone Park. Sawtell conducted the 1st commercial tour in the park in August of 1871, guiding the Raymond-Clawson party. They encountered part of the Hayden Expedition at Canyon. In a newspaper article the following year Rossiter W. Raymond described Sawtell as: "A stalwart, blonde, blue-eyed, jovial woodsman is he, who for years has kept a solitary ranch on the bank of Henry's lake, some sixty miles from the settlement. Half a dozen well built log houses constitute his establishment. There is a comfortable dwelling, a stable, a workshop, a storehouse for skins and game, and an ice house. Mr. Sawtelle's [sic] principal business has been spearing trout, packing them in ice, hauling them in wagons to Virginia City, and even as far as Helena, and disposing of them at handsome prices to the busy population, who haven't time to fish for themselves. A farm supplies him with vegetables and grain, the valleys afford him excellent hay, and land and water all about him swarms with game of every kind." In the 1870-80’s Sawtell caught and sold tens of thousands of pounds of fish from Henry’s Lake and shipped them by rail to markets as far away as Butte and Salt Lake City. The ranch suffered damage in 1877 when the Nez Perce passed through and again in 1878 by the Bannock. The ranch became a stage stop in 1880 when George Marshall began stage service into Yellowstone. Mrs. Sawtell died Dec. 13, 1884 and in 1890 Sawtell transferred his properties to son Eben and lived out his life as a prospector. Eben sold the ranch to Edwin Staley on June 18, 1896 and the area became known as Staley Springs. A nearby mountain was named after him. [25g] [18t] [65e; 5/25/1872, p.4] [YNP H2 History File, Letters]
Schwatka, Lt. Frederick Lt. Schwatka was born in Galena, Illinois Sept. 29, 1849, graduated from the US military academy in 1871, and was appointed 2nd lieutenant in the 3rd cavalry. He studied law and medicine and was admitted to the bar in 1875 and received a medical degree in 1876. He took a leave of absence from the military in 1878 and spent most of the next six years exploring the Arctic and the wilds of Alaska. He made a 3,251 mile journey by sled during his travels. He resigned from the military in 1884 and in 1886 lead another exploring expedition to Alaska under the auspices of the New York Times. In 1887 he attempted to become the first person to circumnavigate Yellowstone Park during the wintertime. The New York World newspaper financed the expedition and hired Frank Haynes to document the journey with photos. They were accompanied by scout Ed Wilson and several other men. Winter travel in Yellowstone proved to be much different than in the Arctic, and Schwatka was not prepared for the conditions he encountered. He only made it as far as Norris Geyser Basin when health problems forced an early end to his attempt and he returned to Mammoth. Frank Haynes, Wilson, David Stratton and C.A. Stoddard continued on with the venture, taking the first winter pictures in the park. The men narrowly escaped death in a blizzard while attempting to cross Dunraven Pass. Schwatka wrote several books in the mid-1880’s about his adventures in the Arctic and Alaska. He died in 1892. [25g] [97e] [1p]
Scott, Charlie B. C.B. Scott came to Park Co., Montana in 1882 and engaged in the freighting and contracting business near Cooke City for a time. He was one of the five assistant superintendents for Yellowstone National Park in the early 1880’s. He later developed the Scott Water Co. and participated in several other businesses in Gardiner. By 1892 he operated a “. . . billiard and sample room located on Main street and enjoys a liberal patronage from his legion of friends and acquaintances.” He married Adelaide Bigelow in 1904 raised purebred Hereford cattle on a ranch in Tom Miner Basin until his death in 1934. They had a stone house on East Main St. in Gardiner, next to the old Cottage Hotel (west side). In 1904-05 he was active in the fundraising and construction of the community Union Church on West Main St. During the 1914-16 seasons he was a stockholder in the Shaw & Powell Camping Co. In 1924 he became one of the directors of the new Gardiner Light & Water Co. [LE;6/4/1892] [L.Link bio, YNP Vert. Files, Biography] [YNP Archives - Shaw & Powell Financial Records.]
Scott, M.D. M.D. Scott was killed in 1885 by lightning while sailing on Yellowstone Lake in the Explorer. [25L;92]
Scoyen, Clarence “Pop” “Pop” Scoyen was born in the Norris Blockhouse on March 4, 1895. He brother Eivind was born there also in 1896 (Eivind was at one time assistant director of the NPS, and Supt. of Glacier and Zion). Pop was a long-standing member of the Gardiner Eagles and American Legion. In his early days he worked as truck driver, dog team chauffeur, ice cutter, winter keeper at the Canyon Ranger Station, and worked for the NPS from 1919-23. In 1923 he went to work for George Whittaker’s general store at MHS until April of 1925. He was then employed by the W.A. Hall store for the next 14 years. He also worked at the Gardiner post office from 1939-43. He then returned to the NPS where he retired in March of 1965. In May of 1923 he married Linnea Britton, and the couple had one daughter named Connie Lee. Mrs. Scoyen died on May 25, 1961. Pop died in 1981. [Conversations with Anne Mitchell] [Park County News; 7/25/1971]
Seller, K.R. K.R. Seller was a visitor from Minnesota who was the driver of the first vehicle allowed into the park on July 31, 1915, driving a Model-T Ford. [25L;92]
Sevitz, Robert J. Robert Sevitz became a member of the Yellowstone Park Co. Board of Directors in 1959. He was with the Security Bank of Los Angeles, which was providing financing for the company. [25L;92]
Shaw, Amos A. Amos Shaw was born June 1, 1848 on the Atlantic Ocean, three days out from Gibraltar, while enroute to Canada. His birthplace was considered legally to be in Michigan, the residence of his parents. He was the son of Amos Shaw (ca1806-1866), a British naval officer and Mary (Cassady) Shaw (ca1809-1871). At 9 years of age Amos began working on the steamer "Globe," plying the waters between Saginaw and Buffalo NY. He was a cabin boy for 4 years and then sailed on the Great Lakes in the summer as a captain of some of the largest vessels, and worked in the lumber woods during the winters until he came to Livingston, Mt. on Dec. 8, 1890. In 1891 he superintended the assembly of the steamboat Zillah for E.C. Waters and the Yellowstone Lake Boat Co. and became the Zillah’s first pilot. He held that position from 1891 through 1893. Captain Shaw married Eunice Conway (1855-1934) on April 20, 1876. He later became part owner of the Shaw & Powell Camping Company. He made his home in Livingston and had a ranch in the Shields River valley. He was married 38 years to Eunice Conway and was survived by their five children. Shaw died Sept. 24, 1913 of heart disease after a year's illness. Prior to his death he traveled to Washington DC where he finally obtained permission to install “permanent camps” in the park, to compete on an equal footing with the Wylie Permanent Camping Company. His sons Arthur and Walter continued on in the camping business after Amos’ death. He and Eunice are buried in the Mountain View Cemetery at Livingston. [25L;92] [83c]  [5n] Check my Shaw & Powell Camping Co. page for more info!
Shaw, Chester Chester Shaw, son of Amos Shaw, was born in Burnham, Michigan and moved with his parents to Livingston, Montana in 1890. He served as assistant manager of the Shaw & Powell Company for about 32 years, until his retirement in 1940. He took over management of the Shaw Camps in Cooke City following the unfortunate death of his brother Walter in 1925. During WW1 he served as a transportation expert with a company working on war-related projects in Alaska. He died in a Portland Oregon hospital in early July, 1944. Chester was survived by his wife Margaret and their two sons William Amos and Richard Chester Shaw. [42e;7/5/1944]
Shaw, Walter Walter Shaw, son of Amos Shaw, assisted in the operation of the Shaw & Powell Camping Co. and became known nationwide as a lecturer and exhibitor of slides and films depicting the Yellowstone region. Walter setup Shaw’s Goose Lake Tent Camp by Goose Lake along the trail to the famed Grasshopper Glacier near Cooke City. The trail to the glacier was twelve miles one-way and required a 10 to 12-hour round-trip on horseback. The savvy traveler could spend the night at Shaw’s Camp and be able to spend more time in the area and not be so rushed. Shaw also maintained a guide service in Cooke City with saddle and packhorses and experienced guides. The trail to the glacier was opened up in 1921 and the camps were in use at least through 1928. The Northern Pacific RR employed Walter during the winters as a promoter and he traveled through the East giving lectures on the beauties of the Rocky Mountain region. Walter and Lillian Shaw ran the Shaw Hotel in Gardiner from 1922 to 1925, when on June 19 he drowned while trying to ford the swollen Gardiner River near town. Friends equipped with spotlights patrolled the river at night hoping to spot his body. Three months later his remains were found ¾ mile south of the Emigrant Bridge. Lillian and her children continued to operate the hotel until it was sold in 1944 to Hugh Crossen and J.D. Winters. His brother Chester took over management of the Cooke City operations. [24d] [39-24] [42e;7/5/1944] [42e;6/25/1925]
For additional information on the Shaw family, visit my Shaw & Powell Camping Co. web page.
Sheridan, Phillip Gen. Sheridan was an army general who visited the park in 1882 with a force of 150 men. He cut a primitive trail from Jackson’s Hole to West Thumb, and later recommended military protection of the park. [25L;93]
Shively, John S. An important personage in the 1877 Nez Perce foray through Yellowstone in 1877, John Shively, described as an "altogether honest and reliable man," helped guide, albeit under force, the Nez Perce through the wilds of Yellowstone. Chased by the army from their homeland in Oregon, the Nez Perce always seemed to keep a few steps ahead of General Howard in their quest for safety in Canada. Shively and members of the Radersburg tourist party were captured by the Nez Perce in August and held captive for over a week while the Indians negotiated their way through Yellowstone. Eventually he escaped his captors and made his way back to Bozeman to tell of the exciting adventures in Wonderland. Born around 1833 in Pennsylvania, Shively headed west in 1852 to follow the gold rush and eventually landed in Montana Territory. He died February 15, 1889 in Phillipsburg, Montana. [Thrapp, Dan, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Vol.III]
Simmons, Glen Glen Simmons was a government employee who in 1942 was the 1st to use a snowplane in to West Yellowstone in 7-3/4 hours. A snowplane was a propeller-driven cab on skis. [25L;93]
Simpson, Gov. Governor of Wyoming who proposed in 1955 that the state of Wyoming buy out the YPCo operation and assets and run the concession. The proposal was later defeated. [25L;94]
Skinner, Milton Milton Skinner first came to Yellowstone in 1896 as an employee of the Yellowstone Park Association. He later went on to work for the Corps of Engineers overseeing roadwork. He became the 1st Chief Naturalist in 1920. [25L;94]
Smith, A.L A.W. Miles purchased a 1/3 interest in the Wylie Camping Co. in 1905 and A.L. Smith bought the other 2/3 interest for silent partner Harry Child. The company was renamed the Wylie Permanent Camping Co. with Miles as president and general manager. [25L;72]
Smitzer, “Little Gus” Gus Smitzer aided in the stagecoach robbery with George Reeb that occurred Aug. 14, 1897 about four miles from Canyon Hotel along the Norris road. Famed poacher Ed Howell was hired to track down the perpetrators of the robbery and later received reward money for his actions. Both men were convicted in District Court in Cheyenne, Wyoming the following May and sentenced to 2-1/2 years in the federal pen. Reeb was indeed addicted to morphine and the jail time cured him of his habit, of which he was grateful. Smitzer was later hired as an irrigator at the Rose Creek Ranch, and served faithfully for a number of years. Smitzer is buried in the Gardiner cemetery and his headstone notes he was born in 1849 and died in 1931. 
Snyder, Lily Lily Snyder married Frank J. Haynes in 1878 and began helping with the photography business almost immediately at his studio in Moorhead Minnesota. [25L;94]
Sowash, Z.R. ‘Red’ Red Sowash, sometimes spelled Red Siwash, built a saloon in 1884 in the Round Prairie Meadow of Yellowstone, northeast of the present Pebble Creek Campground. He catered to the gold miners enroute to and from the mining fields of Cooke City. He applied for a lease for the ground he occupied in January of 1887 through House Representative J.K. Toole. However, Interior denied the request stating that visitor accommodations were not necessary in that portion of the park and the army removed him in 1887. Red Sowash arrived in Montana around 1875 and engaged in numerous pursuits in Miles City and the area east of Billings, Montana. He made his way to Park County, Montana and Yellowstone where he mined in the mountains of Cooke City, Aldridge, and the Bear Gulch area above Gardiner. "Red" passed away March 5, 1901 at his home in Horr after a short bout of pneumonia. [Anaconda Standard, 3-12-1901] [YNP Army Files Doc.123] [25g]
Spence, May Born circa 1899, May Spence married Charles Hamilton in 1920. Daughter Eleanor "Ellie" May Hamilton was born the following year. Ellie later married Trevor Povah. May Spence Hamilton passed away September 8, 1955. [25L;95]
Spiker, John By 1892 John Spiker was operating a hotel in Gardiner, which included a bar room that was “…well stocked with liquors and cigars.” He completed construction of a water wheel on the Yellowstone River in April 1895 to force water up to the town of Gardiner. Most water was hauled in barrels prior to that time. The following year he began construction of a 75-light Jenny Dynamo at the water wheel. By April of 1897 the electric plant was working and supplied electricity to light up his hotel. [LE:6/4/1892] 4/13/1895; 5/9/1896; 4/24/1897]
Stephens, Clarence Clarence Stephens was one of the assistant superintendents under Supt. Norris from 1879-82 and was briefly superintendent between the administrations of Norris and Conger. Upon Supt. Conger’s arrival, Stephens was replaced by G.L. Henderson as assistant superintendent. On Mar. 2, 1880 Stephens was appointed the 1st postmaster in the park and served at Mammoth, probably in the Norris Blockhouse. He purchased the James Henderson Ranch at Stephens Creek in the early 1880’s, but sold out to George Stephens and Joe Keeney in 1883 and returned east. Stephens Creek was named after him. [25L;96]
Stuart, Alex Alex Stuart was one of the first few residents of the new town of Riverside (West Yellowstone) and built a general store in town with Sam Eagle. Alex and his wife sold out in 1910 and purchased Charles Arnet’s “The Yellowstone Store.” Stuart also built Stuart’s Garage, selling gas, oil, tires, and other automotive supplies. He gained the contract to service the buses of YPTCo in 1917. The yellow buses picked up visitors from the Union Pacific rail depot for tours into the park. [18t]
Stuart, Charles Born in 1849, Charles Stuart was a member of the US Geological Survey under Arnold Hague for several years in the late 1880’s. He married Helen Henderson, daughter of G.L. Henderson, on Nov. 15, 1887. He had also served as a tourist guide and outfitter for the Cottage Hotel and assisted with construction of the addition to the hotel in 1887. He died in 1929. [LE;11/15/1887;5/28/1887] [1899 YNP Supt’s Report]