Wyoming Stories

A collection of World War II memories from Wyoming.

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Lorin and Mary Ann Moench work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Martin’s Cove Historic site.  This spot in south-central Wyoming marks an important point along the Mormon trail.  European converts sailed to the East Coast of the U.S., purchased supplies and handcarts, and traveled with handcart companies to Salt Lake City.  In 1856 two handcart companies began their journey late, causing them to face unforgiving Wyoming storms.

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Dick Sedar grew up in Casper, in a working-class neighborhood called “the Sandbar.” His parents emigrated from Croatia in the early 1920’s to seek work in the coal and oil industries. Dick was one of 16 children and tells the story of his childhood in Casper.

One of Dick’s Sedar’s brothers, Mike, worked in the Douglas Prisoner of War camp during World War II.  Dick remembers his brother’s experience working with the prisoners, and the lasting friendships he made.

Linda Fleming was the first woman to be appointed or elected for public office in the Carbon County town of Baggs. After her long tenure as both mayor and county commissioner, she turned her leadership talents to ministry.

Women in the United States have been fighting for equal wage rights since the early 1900s.  In 1963 the government passed the Equal Pay Act, which aimed to abolish wage disparity based on sex.  But the act excluded professional careers.  Starting in 1971, Marilynn Deiss juggled work as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy and as a single mother.  She tells her daughter, Debra Swedberg, how gender discrimination affected her life.

Tommie Butler was just a kid when World War II began, but he remembers the effect that war-time  retrenchment had on his home town of Gillette—times that were both hard and rewarding.

Darrell Moore grew up in the historic Hotel Wolf in Saratoga, Wyoming. Fredrick G. Wolf, a German immigrant, built the hotel in 1893. Since then, the hotel has had only four owners. Moore’s father bought the Wolf in 1937, and his family maintained the place for 40 years. The hotel and restaurant has hosted hunters, fishers, and ranchers through the years, and is still open to adventurers today. Moore shares his memories of growing up at the Hotel Wolf.

Micah Schweizer

Dan Kinneman is from Rawlins. His father was one of Wyoming’s longest-serving legislators. In this story, Kinneman—himself a former legislator—describes a childhood visit to Cheyenne during a treacherous winter.

Micah Schweizer

Martin Ellbogen grew up in Worland, Wyoming. In high school he played basketball against the future Wyoming Senator Al Simpson. Once Ellbogen determined his career was not in basketball, he came to the University of Wyoming to study pre-med and finished his medical degree in Omaha. Ellbogen then joined the Navy as a doctor.  He shares memories of being a medical assistant on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After his tour, Ellbogen moved to Casper to set up a general practice medical firm.  He retired in 1996, and sold the practice to his son.

Abbie Taylor moved to Sheridan as a kid, when her father decided to take over the family business. Because of a lifelong disability Taylor developed a unique relationship to jukeboxes -- as well as the whole region where her father installed and repaired them.

Micah Schweizer

Joan Paige’s family has lived in the Equality State for almost as long as it’s existed. In 1889, her grandfather, John Mahoney, was stationed just outside of Rawlins at Fort Steele. In this story, she tells of circumstances that brought him west, and the dubious nature of late-19th century frontier towns.

Wyoming Stories Podcast #8

May 28, 2014

In honor of glorious springtime, stories about love.

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Evanston native Shasta Wigginton talks about what it was like to be homeschooled and how the experience shaped her views on education.

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The Stagecoach Bar in Wilson has kept Jackson Hole fed, watered, and entertained since 1942. The historic bar is home to cowboys, hippies, and the famous Stagecoach Band, which has played every Sunday night for over 40 years.

Sixty-two-year Sheridan resident Mary Burgess spent much of her youth in the Philippines where her father was a politician. As she tells her friend Val Burgess, when she was thirteen, she was living at an Episcopal boarding school in Baugio when she, her sister, and two other women decided to take a long walk north.

Mary Burgess moved back to the US for college, and eventually joined the WWII effort as a part of the American Red Cross. In this story, she tells her friend Val Burgess about her experience as a woman behind the front lines.

Casper College

Gretchen Wheeler grew up in Nebraska and moved to Wyoming to teach in the Communications Department at Casper College.  As a “non-native” Wyomingite, Gretchen shares her observations of the cultural differences between Wyoming and Nebraska.

Micah Schweizer

Marla Brown is a fifth generation Wyomingite who grew up helping run her parents’ various businesses during some of Rawlins’ booms and busts.

UW Professor of history Phil Roberts tells the story of how Thomas Boylan—the late owner and operator of The Fossil Cabin outside of Medicine Bow—protected the identity of local Japanese Americans from relocation officers during World War II.

Micah Schweizer

In 1967, Rawlins resident Duane Shillinger was hired by the Wyoming State Penitentiary as a counselor. Later, through an unexpected turn of events, he ended up serving as warden for seventeen years. In this story, he remembers the transition from the 19th century facility to the current one, and the relationships he formed with inmates.

Stories about education: UW's Hathaway Scholarship, a Mexican-Arapaho teacher at Central Wyoming College, and helping students achieve the dream of going to college.

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Micah Schweizer

Like many Wyoming natives, Pat and Ellie Noonan met at a college party in Laramie—almost sixty years ago. In this story, the couple describe the misadventures of their first encounter.
 

The Noonans remember the summer that city officials dug up the century-old corpse of outlaw Big Nose George.

From the early 1960s to the late 80s, Pat Noonan was employed by the First National Bank of Rawlins, first as a teller and later as its inaugural Computer Operations Manager—which was a wholly alien pursuit for a small town bank in 1971.

When John Simms moved to Jackson, he started a business giving tours of the Flag Ranch. After getting married, he started Jackson White Water Trips. In this story, John tells his daughter Morrison about an unexpected late night visit to their Jackson home.

Harold Turner grew up on the Triangle X Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming. Here, he recounts how some childhood mischief taught him a valuable lesson.

Stories from two famous Wyomingites: CJ Box and Pete Simpson

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Josh and Susan Anderson—Evanston natives who met only after they were both going to college in Utah—work for the Uinta County school district. In this story, the couple talks about how they arrived at their vocations.

Both of the Andersons’ children were born in Jackson—the closest hospital to their home at the time, and more than a two hour drive away. Naturally, this left the couple with some wild stories about childbirth on the frontier.

Georgia Wier

Like his dad and two uncles, Curt Artery is a rancher. His involvement  in rodeos gave him the idea of raising Corriente cattle—the cattle used for team roping. Curt learned to make black powder horns as a young man. Later, after thinking about the Corriente horns that would otherwise go to waste on his ranching operation, he began using them to craft jewelry and other decorative items. WPM listener Georgia Wier spoke with Artery.

StoryCorps

Wyoming writer CJ Box and his daughter, Molly Donnell, talk about one of their favorite pastimes: fly fishing. Box is a self-taught, avid fly-fisherman and from the time his daughters were very young he was intent on teaching them about the sport, too. He remembers the first time he handed his daughters fishing rods.

Stories about the Snowy Range Ski Area, a sticky car crash, and how the Centennial train depot became a museum.

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Micah Schweizer

Melanie O’Hara grew up on the far side of the Hogback in Centennial. She reflects on the astonishing diversity of Centennial in the 19th century.

Wyoming Stories Community Recordings in Evanston

Feb 27, 2014

Evanston Listeners... Wyoming Public Media would like to record your Wyoming Story at the  Uinta Boces Education Center, room 202 on February 27 & 28.

To reserve a recording time in Evanston click here.

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