Yellowstone Biographies: "U-V-W"
Who's Who in Wonderland's Past
Copyright 2009 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced
or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an
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Underwood, Gilbert Stanley Architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood became associated with the National Park Service, the Union Pacific RR, and other park concessionaires in the early 1920’s. Trained in the California Arts & Crafts movement in 1910-11, he used those concepts to design buildings that utilized natural and native materials, such as rock and logs, to blend the buildings in with their environment. He designed a multitude of buildings in the western United States including: the Dining Lodge at West Yellowstone; Old Faithful Lodge; lodges at Zion, Bryce, and Cedar Breaks; the Grand Canyon Lodge; Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite; Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood, Oregon; Sun Valley Lodge in Idaho; and the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton. He also designed many railroad depots for UPRR, 20 post offices, two major federal buildings, and the US State Dept. Building. [66m] [25g]
Villard, Henry Henry Villard became president of the Northern Pacific RR in 1881 and presided over the “Last Spike” ceremonies at Gold Creek in 1883. The ceremonies celebrated the completion of NP’s line from Minnesota to the West Coast. [25L;100]
Wakefield, George W. G.W. Wakefield was born in Bangor Maine on Oct. 15, 1833. He married Margaret Brotton in 1854. Venturing west in 1859, he worked and prospected in many areas, including Colorado, California, Mexico, Nevada, British Columbia, Oregon and Idaho. In 1872 he settled in Bozeman, operating a hotel and livery barn. Wakefield and Charles W. Hoffman of Bozeman established the Wakefield & Hoffman stage line in 1883 and provided service from Cinnabar to Mammoth and into the park under an exclusive agreement with Yellowstone Park Association (YPA).They operated from Livingston to Cinnabar until NPRR’s rail line was open to Cinnabar. They also received the mail contract for the Livingston to Cooke City route and provided daily mail service (during the summer season) to Mammoth beginning in July 1883. The company built a mail station near Soda Butte as the trip from Cinnabar to Cooke City took more than one day. Wakefield bought out Charles Hoffman in December of 1885 and teamed up with Frank Haynes to form Wakefield & Haynes. The company was short-lived and Haynes sold out in June of 1886 for $2400. The concern then became known as Wakefield Stage Lines. In 1887 the line began tri-weekly stage service from Livingston to the mining city of Castle. In 1889 the business incorporated as the National Park Transportation Co. with members Charles Gibson, E.C. Waters, Wakefield, and Thomas Oakes. George Wakefield lost the YPA contract in late 1891, and the operation was purchased by the Yellowstone National Park Transportation Co. in 1892. By 1894 the firm of Wakefield & Ennis was delivering mail by stage from Livingston to Cinnabar. D.I. Donovan took over the route in 1895. The following year George Wakefield received permission to transport visitors from the Union Pacific rail line at Monida. In 1895 he began operating the Albermarle Hotel in Livingston and held ranch properties in the Livingston area. He used 10-passenger Concord coaches and began operation of a camping company in the park that year. In 1901 he began conducting 10-day camping tours after he traded his ranch in Shields Valley to A.W. Chadborne for his camping company. The tours cost $40 and all the visitors camping needs were provided for. [25g] [LE;6/8/1889;6/1/1895] [Daily Enterprise (Liv.MT); 7/6/1883; 7/19/1883; 1/5/1895] [39-49] [43j] [3m]
Wald, Andrew Andy Wald (Andrew Wald) was the pioneer sand artist who in 1888 originated the idea of filling bottles with multi-colored sand to create images of animals, geysers, and various park scenes. He received permission in 1893 to erect a tent at Mammoth in which to sell his crafts. He also supplied Ole Anderson with sand art for his Specimen House curio business. It is known that Wald worked with Ole in the curio business, but to what extent is unknown. The Federal Census of 1900 showed Wald as a boarder at the Anderson household, and no doubt he was a close friend of the family. After Ole sold out his business to Pryor & Trischman in 1908, they employed Wald at their curio shop in Mammoth. He received permission from various acting superintendents to collect his sand from Norris, Canyon and other areas. He was cautioned “… not to disturb or mar the natural formations or other objects of interest.” He also served as winter keeper at the Lower Basin Hotel for at least the winter of 1889-90. An interesting account in the Livingston Enterprise noted a 1908 beer baseball game in Gardiner between the ‘Fats’ and the ‘Leans’. Wald was the ‘bartender’ and manned the keg of beer located at first base. A single merited one beer and a triple three beers. The game was umpired by famous stagecoach driver and storyteller Geyser Bob (Robert Edgar). The article described Wald as “… the famous old-timer who lives any old place where he hangs up his hat, and is noted for his ability for pounding sand in bottles in the Yellowstone Park.” He was born in 1853 in Sweden and was commonly known to friends and visitors as "Sandy" or "the Sand Man." According to an article written in the Spokane Chronicle, August 20, 1897, Wald would spend the long winter months creating his bottled sand artwork and then enjoy the fruits of his labor during the summer season. It was reportedly not uncommon for him to earn $3000 during the four summer months in Yellowstone. But, the article continued, "he was not a provident man and spent his money almost as fast as he got it in playing poker, shooting craps and drinking. When he would lose a large sum of money he would almost invariably drink heavily for a week or ten days. During such sprees he neglected his business and let many dollars slip through his fingers in that way." Despite those problems, the reporter claimed "he sold his bottles of sand to many of the royal families of Europe when they visited the park, besides the thousands of people of lesser rank and distinction the world over." He passed away on September 22, 1933 in Livingston, Montana at age 82, and was buried the next day in the Gardiner cemetery. His headstone can still be viewed there and reads “Pioneer Sand Artist of Yellowstone Park 1853 - 1933". [1912 Haynes Official Guide] [LE;5/9/1908] [Park County Death Records,Livingston Library] [YNP Army Files Doc.618 &1985] [YNP Archives,Box 68;10] [Anaconda Standard, Aug 18, 1897] [YNP Annual Supt's Report, 1933]
Washburn, Henry Henry Washburn was appointed Surveyor-General of the Montana Territory in 1869. He became the leader of the Washburn expedition of 1870, which produced the 1st official report on the Yellowstone area. There were 15 members of the expedition that included Nathaniel Langford, Lt. Gustavus Doane, Truman Everts, and Cornelius Hedges. Washburn died the following January from a cold caught on the expedition. [25L;102]
Wasson, Isabel Bassett Isabel Deming Bassett was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 11, 1897. Daughter of urban planner Edward Murray Bassett and Annie Preston Bassett, she married geologist Theron Wasson in June 1920 and became Yellowstone’s 1st woman ranger that same year. Isabel earned a master's degree in geology, specializing in petroleum geology, at Columbia University. One of the country's few female geologists in the 1920s, Mrs. Wasson took part in explorations in remote areas of South America. In 1928, she embarked on a career of more than 50 years of teaching, lecturing and public service from her base in River Forest, Illinois. She passed away February 21, 1994 at age 97.For more information on Ms Wasson, check out "Women in Wonderland", by Elizabeth A. Watry.
Waters, E.C. Ela Collins Waters (E.C. Waters) was born at Martinsburg, Lewis Co., NY on May 5, 1849 and moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin shortly afterwards. He served as a drummer during the Civil War with the Wisconsin 38th Infantry, after being refused by the regular army. He married Martha Bustus Amory March 4, 1878 and had one son and two daughters, the younger of which died in 1905 and the elder in 1913. In 1882 he opened the Merrill (Morrell) House hotel in Glendive, Montana with a Mr. Klaus and operated it until it burned down in 1885. That same year Waters opened the Headquarters Hotel in Billings. He came to work in Yellowstone in 1887 with E. C. Culver. Waters became general manager of the Yellowstone Park Association hotels in 1887, serving until 1890 when he was removed from that position. During that time he became involved in several different mining ventures in the Cooke City area. In 1889 he was one of the incorporators of the National Park Transportation Co. that purchased the Wakefield operation in the park. He became head of the Yellowstone Lake Boat Co. from 1891 to 1907 and built a house and boathouse in front of Lake Hotel that first year. He also brought in the 40-ton steamship “The Zillah”, which was assembled on site by Amos Shaw (Shaw & Powell). The boat made its first run on June 22, 1891 with a crew of government road workers. Amos Shaw was in charge of the boat for the 1891-92 seasons. The craft served as a ferry from West Thumb to Lake Hotel until 1917. In 1896 he was given permission to establish a wild game show on Dot Island in an attempt to increase business for his ferry from West Thumb to Lake Hotel. He hauled four buffalo in cages on wagons from the Cinnabar depot to the Lake for his ‘show’. He bought out the boat company from YPA in 1897, and obtained a 10-year lease from Interior. In 1905 he bought a second boat and named it the “E.C. Waters.” It was 125’ long with a 26’ beam width and capable of carrying 300-400 passengers. It was used part of the 1905 season, but authorities refused to license the vessel, and it ended up anchored off the east side of Stevenson Island. Waters was not a particularly well respected person or businessman and his wild animal show was a disgrace and a health hazard for the animals. He was ‘encouraged’ to leave the park in 1907 by the army. According to Bartlett’s “Yellowstone – A Wilderness Besieged”, a notice was posted by Supt. Gen. Young stating that “…E.C. Waters, President of the Yellowstone Lake Boat Company, having rendered himself obnoxious during the 1907 season, is…debarred from the park and will not be allowed to return without permission.” It seems though; he did not leave the park completely until 1910. Tom Hofer bought out his boat business with a loan from Harry Child and called it the T.E. Hofer Boat Co. Mrs. Waters died Aug. 6, 1909 and Ela Waters passed away Aug. 25, 1926. He had been in an Old Soldiers Home near Fond du Lac, and his mind was reportedly "entirely gone," and had no recollections of his service in Yellowstone. [56m;918-922] [LE;6/27/1891;10/27/1888;6/8/1889;11/9/1889;6/6/1891;10/15/1892;7/25/1896] [15b] [25g] [YNP H-2, History File]
Wear, David W. David Wear was the last civilian Superintendent to serve prior to the takeover by the army in 1886. His administration began July 1885 and only lasted about one year. He was a nephew of Uncle John Yancy. [25L;103]
Weed, Walter Harvey Walter Weed served as a geologist for the US Geological Survey beginning in 1883 and studied Yellowstone from 1883-1889. He discovered that the colors in the hot springs and geyser deposits were due to algae living in the hot waters, and that the deposits were formed by algae life. He also discovered Death Gulch, where wildlife died due to the intense carbon dioxide gas emitted from the ground. He engaged in the geological examination of Montana from 1889-98, primarily from an economic viewpoint, i.e. mining. He authored "Formation of Hot Springs Deposits," "Glaciation of Yellowstone," and was co-author of "Geology of Yellowstone Park," and wrote numerous other papers. Weed was born May 1, 1862 in St. Louis to Samuel R. and Nellie S. (Jones) Weed. He was educated in public schools and graduated from the Columbia School of Mines in 1883. [Who's Who in America, 1902]
Welcome, George W. George Welcome was among the earlier residents and businessmen of Gardiner. He was born June 17, 1853 in Ogdensburg, New York and came out West at an unknown date. By 1883 he was running a sawmill above the railroad tunnel on Bozeman Pass, probably supplying railroad ties, tunnel timbers, and trestle material for the Northern Pacific RR. In 1884 Welcome, Al. Coffin, and Alex. Moore built a cabin in Gardiner in the area between the Gardiner River and James McCartney's place. Apparently it was considered to be inside the park boundaries at the time. By 1886 he was operating The City Hotel in Gardiner with his wife as proprietor. He ran the saloon end of the business and advertised Milwaukee Keg Beer on draught. The 1889 Horr Voting Registry listed him as a Saloon Keeper in Horr. By 1894 he maintained a residence in Aldridge near the Lake and owned Welcome Hall, a building that was used for a variety of community events and also sported a saloon. The Livingston Enterprise reported in 1892 that George ran a resort in Horr “where a man can procure anything from a drink to a sufficient quantity to float a steamer. Mr. Welcome carries a mammoth stock of liquors and cigars, employs two mixologists . . . and does a larger business than any saloon in Livingston . . . he also conducts a gambling room.”
In 1899 it was reported that he sold the Keats mine in Jardine to local mining magnate Harry Bush for $40,000. He also operated a hotel in Jardine and maintained a residence there, probably around that same time. A Polk Directory for 1904 showed he shared interest in 160 acres of land around Jardine with a man named Double. He had three sons (Harry, George, & ??) and one daughter. George Welcome died of heart failure in his home at Jardine on September 10, 1905 after being in poor health the previous year. His obituary in the Gardiner Wonderland newspaper of Sept. 14, 1905 said he was 56 years of age; although according to the 1889 voting registry he would have been about 52. He was buried in the Jardine cemetery and his large tombstone "Welcomes" all who enter.
[Sources: Helena Independent 3/16/1883; 2/27/1884; 6/12/1886. Livingston Enterprise 6/4/1892. Doris Whithorn books on Gardiner and Aldridge]
Werks, John (Also John Works) In 1873 John Werks, George Huston, and Frank Grounds operated a primitive pack and saddle transportation business at Mammoth. Werks began stagecoach service in 1873 from Bozeman with weekly service, or as required. In 1874 “Zack Root's Express” took over the weekly service, leaving Mondays from Bozeman and arriving on Tuesday at Mammoth, carrying both freight and passengers. In 1877 Werks was present at the Henderson Ranch outside of Gardiner when it was attacked my marauding Nez Perce. Much of the ranch was burned, but Werks, Sterling Henderson, and others escaped across the Yellowstone River after a gun battle with the Indians. [25L] [Bozeman Avant-Courier, 7/3/1874]
Visit my George Huston web page for additional information.
Whittaker, George Born in Wheeling, West Virginia ca1870, George Whittaker enlisted in the Army for five years in 1889. He was sent to South Dakota in 1890 and participated in the Wounded Knee Sioux Campaign. He was assigned to Ft. Yellowstone the following year, serving until 1896. He was appointed Scout that year and performed those duties until 1898. Around 1897 he conducted hunting and tourist parties in and around the park with Wm. Van Buskirk, a sergeant-major at Ft. Yellowstone. George Whittaker served in the Spanish American War until 1902, with assignments at the Jefferson Barracks in Missouri and in the Philippines as Chief Packer. Whittaker returned to Yellowstone in 1902 as Scout and Packer during the winters until 1910. During the summers Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. employed him as a transportation agent at Canyon until 1913. In February of that year he bought out the Lyall-Henderson post office and store at Mammoth and became Postmaster. The enterprise was known as the Yellowstone Park Store (currently the Yellowstone General Store, operated by Delaware North Parks Services). He began selling gas and automotive supplies at the Mammoth store in 1915 and built the nearby gas station in the fall of 1919. He established a general store and gas station at Canyon in 1917 in an old Holm Transportation building. He built a new store and filling station at Canyon in 1920 that was located next to the ranger station along the rim of the Grand Canyon (current Upper Falls parking lot). By 1923 he was operating a small branch store at the Mammoth auto campground and the following year a deli was added at the camp. He sold the Mammoth camp operation to Pryor & Trischman in 1925, and in 1932 sold the rest of his operation at Mammoth and Canyon to the ladies for $75,000. That sale included his interest in the service station business with YPTCo. He settled in at West Yellowstone where he was part owner of the Hayward Cabin Co., which included tourist cabins, general store, service station, and a beauty/barber shop. Whittaker was also responsible for construction of the first airstrip at West Yellowstone in the mid-1930’s. He continued in business at West until at least the late 1940’s and died in the Old Soldiers Home at Sawtelle, California in 1961 at age 91. [25i]
For additional information please visit my Whittaker General Store page.
White, Walter Walter White headed the White Motor Company that manufactured automobiles and trucks. They provided 117 touring buses to the Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. (YPTCo) for the 1917 season to replace the stagecoaches. That first season there were 100 10-passenger ¾-ton TEB buses and 17 7-passenger buses. A fire at the YPTCo garage at Mammoth in March of 1925 destroyed about 92 White buses. The White Company rushed to produce 90 new White Model 15/45 10-passenger buses in time for the park opening in June. In 1931 eight 14-passenger buses (614 series) were tried out, and in 1936-39 YPTCo bought 98 14-passenger buses of a different design (Model 706). The autos all featured open tops for unobstructed viewing by the passengers. White Co. provided touring cars to many of the other western national parks during that period of time. In 1914 White teamed up with Roe Emery to operate the Glacier Park Transportation Co., with the White Co. providing $60,000 worth of vehicles for the park that season. Two years later White and Emery setup a similar arrange at Rocky Mountain National Park. Walter White was a silent partner in the 1919 purchase of YP Camping Co. with Howard Hays and Roe Emery. [25L;105] [2r]
For additional information, please visit my Yellowstone White Buses web page.
Wilcox, Jay Jay Wilcox was permitted with Jim Parker in 1918 to raise potatoes on Turkey Pen Pass to sell to the tourists. [25L;106]
Wilder, Capt. W.E. Capt. Wilder was Acting Supt. with the 4th Cavalry for three months in the spring of 1899. [25L;26]
Williams, Frank E.S. Topping and Frank Williams were permitted to operate boats on Yellowstone Lake in 1874. They built a small boat and named it the ‘Sallie’, after the 1st two female passengers they carried on the Lake – Sarah Tracy and Sarah Graham. A Bozeman newspaper of Aug. 7, 1874 noted that Topping ". . . has his little craft successfully launched upon the Yellowstone Lake, and intends to accord the privilege of naming it to the first lady passenger." Williams drowned May 22, 1875 at the Yellowstone Crossing, near the future site of Livingston Montana. He and three others were crossing the river when the wire crossing cable broke and the boat sank. The others survived the ordeal. [Bozeman Avant-Courier 8/7/1874; 5/28/1875]
Wilson, Edward Ed Wilson served as an assistant superintendent in 1885-86 and was selected as a scout for the Army in 1887, serving admirably for several years. He joined Frank Haynes on the winter expedition of 1887 after Lt. Schwatka became ill and returned to Mammoth. He later fell in love with Mary Henderson, daughter of G.L. Henderson, but she spurned his advances. Disconsolate, he took his life on July 20, 1891 after drinking morphine on the hill above the National Hotel. His remains were not discovered until a year later when a daughter of Henry Wyatt found them in early June of 1892. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Livingston, Mt.   [LE;6/8/1892]
Wingate, George Wood George Wingate was the author of "On Horseback Through the Yellowstone." The book describes the travels of Wingate, a wealthy and prominent New Yorker, with his wife and 17-year old daughter on a 26-day journey through Yellowstone on horseback in the summer of 1885. Upon his return he noted that "If I had gone to Africa instead of to the Yellowstone, I could scarcely have had more trouble in obtaining reliable information in regard to the journey." So, he wrote his book as an aid and guidebook for others who were to follow in his footprints. He was born in New York July 1, 1840 to Charles and Mary P. (Robinson) Wood. He was a lawyer and was involved in politics and the railroad and insurance industries. As an officer of the NY National Guard, he was instrumental in formulating rules for systematic rifle practice. He obtained the charter for the New York National Rifle Association in 1871 and served as its president for 25 years. He authored numerous books and articles, many on the subject of military matters. [Who's Who in America, 1902; Webster's Biographical Dictionary, 1948]
Wirth, Conrad L. Conrad Wirth served as NPS Director from Dec. 9, 1951 to Jan. 7, 1964. He was responsible for the Mission 66 plan, a 10-year, billion-dollar program to upgrade park facilities and services in time for the 50th anniversary of the NPS in 1966. [25L;106]
Wo, Sam Sam Wo was gardener at Chinaman’s Gardens along the Gardiner River near the 45th Parallel from 1909-1922. Robert Reamer designed a house for him in 1917. [25L;106]
Wylie, William William Wallace Wylie (W.W. Wylie) was born June 8, 1848 in Concord, Ohio. He later moved with his parents to Washington, Ohio. He attended college at Hopkinton, Iowa, graduating in 1872. He became a teacher and principal in the Delhi, Iowa school system for two years, was principal at Hinsdale, Ill. for one year, and superintendent at Lyons, Iowa for three years. On April 2, 1874 he married Mary A. Wilson of Independence, Iowa. Wylie moved to Montana in 1878 to be a Bozeman school principal. He later became principal of the Bozeman Academy and served as superintendent of public education for the territory of Montana during 1886-87. He brought his first paid visitors into Yellowstone for a tour in 1880. He published his guide “The Yellowstone National Park, or the Great American Wonderland” in 1882. Wylie started 10-day park tours in 1883 using moveable camps. He created the Wylie Camping Company in 1893 and was licensed to operate a transportation business to serve his customers. The Wylie Way was a less expensive way for tourists to be able to tour the park without the necessity of having to ‘dress up’, as was considered proper in the hotels. A 7-day Wylie tour cost $35.00 while a 6-day tour at the hotels was $50.00. The company was given permission in 1896 to establish permanent camps, and two years later camps were located at Apollinaris Springs, Upper Geyser Basin, Lake Outlet, and Canyon, with lunch stations at Gibbon Falls and West Thumb. He operated the business until 1905 when he sold out to Arthur W. Miles and A.L. Smith (fronting for H.W. Child). Sometime after that Wylie and his wife moved from Bozeman, Montana to Pasadena, California. The Wylie Permanent Camping Co. continued to operate in all major areas of the park until after 1916, when the Wylie and Shaw & Powell camping companies were merged and monopolized into the Yellowstone Park Camping Company under joint ownership. In 1917 WW Wylie and wife Mary started a Wylie Way Camp in Zion National Monument (it became a national park in 1919) and his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas H. McKee opened a Wylie Way Camp at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Monument. The Zion camp lasted until 1925 when the Utah Parks Co. (under the auspices of the Union Pacific RR) unveiled the new Zion Lodge (the Wylie camp had been under UPCo management since 1923). The North Rim camp lasted through 1927 under the McKees and the following season UPCo opened the new Grand Canyon Lodge. Mary Wylie passed on in 1928 and William Wylie died February 7, 1930 in Pasadena at age 82 after a major cancer operation. [25L;107] [56m;1171] [42e;1930]
Please visit my Wylie Camping Co. page for more info!