MASTER CRAFT CONSTRUCTION DWAIN ROMSA 02/06/2011 12/31/2011
Jo Ann Boyd Scott, web master. This was contributed by Dwain Romsa no one sees this unless I give permission.
This story starts in 1842, this web site is what I use to decide on placement of web pages, hold material and give the donors a place to look at it and make corrections. My e-mail
My gg grandmother was named Mary Jane Bloomer, born in Mina, Chautauqua, NY in 1842, she was married three times. Her first husband, James Morey, was a civil war officer serving under US Grant. She moved to Galina Illinois prior to the Civil War where one of her Aunt's lived and became a friend of the Grants and served for a time as Grants personal secretary during the Civil War. Her husband was shot in the head, but survived. His discharge papers stated "Brain Hernia" which means his brains were hanging out of the hole in his head. He later died in an Insane Asylm in Washington DC and is burried at Arlington.
After the Civil War in 1867 Mary Jane (abandoned her insane husband) and her mother Alice Willing-Bloomer (also widdowed during the Civil War) WALKED from New York to Fort Laramie with an oxcart and Mary Jane's three year old son Frank Morey, born in Ohio during the Civil War.
The ladies knew General Grant, General Rawlins, General Sheridan, etc. from the Civil War era and whom also happened to be in charge of the Transcontinental Railroad Construction. (We assume they were offered work before leaving for Wyoming on such an an epic journey into the "Wild West", can you begin to imagine the fortitude it took for two ladies with a child to do this in 1867 traveling alone in the wildrness with only their wits for protection)
They arrived at Fort Laramie and the following spring worked on the Railroad construction as cooks, starting from the newly formed town of Cheyenne west to Carbon (near present day Elk Mountain.) Mary Jane married her second husband, William Stimpson, a merchant from England, in Cheyenne in late 1868 and we find them on the 1870 census operating the Percy Station, Carbon County, Wyoming near Fort Halleck (north side of Elk Mountain) and Carbon. Her mother, Alice, was operating the Dana Station nearby.
In 1868 the next Station to the west near Fort Steel was called Benton. Benton was recoreded in history as perhaps the worst of the worst "Hell on Wheels" towns along the Railroad Construction. There was no law enforcement of any kind in this short lived town. It was esentially three large brothels and several bars. It attracted every evil character known in the west with every kind of indecency you can imagine going on. Every weekend the town was filled with drunken railroad workers, miners, professional gamblers, swindelers, and cowboys engaging in hard drinking, gambling, open prostitution, fights, gun battles, murder etc. In only four months of existence, the graveyard at Benton interred over 100 dead, most of them shootings. The residents of Percy Station (my gg grandma and husband, and ggg grandma) got fed up with the murders and cleaning up after Benton. They literally gathered up a lynch mob of people mostly from Percy and some friends from Carbon and Fort Halleck and headed to Benton armed to the teeth. The operators of Benton found out that the mob was on the way so they quickly packed up and fled to the west down the tracks. Only one brothel operator stayed to protect his establishment. When the mob arrived the operator managed to shoot one of the lynch mob before he was killed. The mob then burned the entire town to the ground.
In Oct 1868 mother Alice Willing Bloomer was on her way to Fort Halleck from Percy Station to pick up some supplies when she witnessed a band of Indians attack a freight wagon train of five men hauling ties to Percy Station. The Indians killed three of the men and two others managed to shoot their way into a ravine and escape towards Fort Halleck. The Indians drove the oxen into the lake and hamstrung them (cut the backs of their legs) and left them to bleed to death in the lake. They next took the mules and fled before reinforcements arrived from Fort Halleck. This was known as the Bloody Lake Massacure. The three killed were the first burials at the town of Carbon. My gg grandmother saved arrows from the event and they passed down through an uncle's family. Alice died four years later 01 Aug 1872 and was burried in a shallow grave surrounded by sandstone slabs stacked on top of each other on "Turtle Rock" ridge where she watched the massacure from. (Note: we are currently working with the BLM to erect a historical marker at her grave site.)
By 1873 Percy Station closed and Mary Jane and William Stimpson purchased the old Overland Trail Stage Station at "The Crossings" on the Medicine Bow River (30 years before the town of Elk Mountain formed) from which they operated a boarding house, toll bridge, supply store, and tavern. We have several stories about indian fights, renegade bandits trying to rob the store, and Mary Jane sitting on the bridge with a shotgun in order to "collect" the toll bridge charge from immigrants moving up the Overland Trail. They had a daughter in 1874 and named her Mary Alice Stimpson. In 1876 disaster again befell Mary Jane as William Stimpson died. (We don't have any record of his death other than a date in the family Bible of Mary Jane.)
Shortly after her second husbands death, the Trabing Brothers, who were just starting to build their Mercantile "empire" purchased the store at "The Crossings" from the widdow Mary Jane. The Trabing Brothers "home office" was on the Transcontinental Railroad near the old town of Rock Creek, (located about 12 miles north of present day town of Rock River west of Laramie). This was a strategic place in its day as the Trabing's could move large quantities of merchandise from the rail head over the hill to Fort Laramie, or south west to "Medicine Bow Crossings" near Fort Halleck, (the store they purchased from my gg grandma), or over the pass north to Fort Fetterman, (near present day Douglas) and up the Bozeman Trail to their newest store at "Trabing City" on Crazy Woman Creek.
August Trabing hired the widdow Mary Jane Stimpson of Medicine Bow Crossings (near Fort Halleck at Elk Mountain on the Overland Trail) to manage his new Trading Post at Trabing on the Bozeman Trail. Mary Jane drove two wagon loads of supplies with her 15 year old son Frank Morey-Stimpson and 5 year old daughter, Mary Alice Stimpson. Again, with no protection and traveling alone Mary Jane headed to Fort Fetterman and on up the Bozeman Trail to the Trabing Trading Post Store on Crazy Woman Creek, arriving in good order while the store was still under construction in the fall of 1877. (Keep in mind this is just over a year after Custer, there were still plenty of renegade Indians around.)
Mary Jane Stimpson operated the Trabing Mercantile Store on Crazy Woman Creek for about 18 months from the time of its completion in early 1978 until Auguat Trabing moved the Trabing Store to its new location on Clear Creek near Fort McKinney in late 1879 where the Bozeman Trail crosses clear creek, at the urging of Chares Buell who started building the first Occidental Hotel in 1880. By virtue of inhabiting and operating the Trabing Trading Post on Crazy Woman Creek on the Bozeman Trail in early 1878 through 1879, Mary Jane Stimpson, her son Frank Morey, and daughter Mary Alice Stimpson were among the earliest civilian "inhabitants" of this area.
While in Trabing on Crazy Woman Creek, daughter Mary Alice Stimpson contracted Scarlet Fever and died in 1878. She is probably burried somewhere near the old store site. In addition, Buffalo historians recall several stories about roberies that occured at the Trabing Store. It is also reported from the history of the Elk Mountain area that in August of 1878, Big Nose George Parrott attempted to rob a UP train between Medicine Bow and Carbon, then shot Deputy Sherriff Robert Widdowfield and UP detective Tip Vincent. During their "escape" to Montana they robbed the Trabing Store on Crazy Woman Creek making off with fresh supplies including a horse and two barrels of whiskey. Parrots second man Charley Burris "Dutch" Charley later told this story in Montana after a night of Drinking, which was later recorded by investigators from Rawlins who traveled to Montana in search of the outlaws.
According to the 1880 census; Inhabitants in Buffalo, in the County of Carbon, State of Wyoming, enumerated to me on the 4th day of June 1880, N L Andrews; shows eight households in the new town called Buffalo, including Mary Stimpson, age 37, Boarding House operator, born in NY, and son Frank (Morey) Stimpson, age 18, born in Ohio. It appears they spent a short time in Buffalo working for August Trabing (note: in 1880 Carbon county covered central Wyoming from Colorado to Montana)
Shortly after this census was taken, Mary Jane Stimpson and her son Frank returned to the coal mining town of Carbon, near Elk Mountain, where she married my gg grandfather William Richardson, an immigrant coal miner from West Auckland, Durham, England, and the second half of her amazing story begins. Mary Jane then had three more children while she was between age 40 and 44 including my g grandfather, Thomas Darrow Richardson, and brothers Edward Richardson, and Willing Gay Richardson who wrote a book about the early Ranches in south central Wyoming. A collection of some of our family records are at the Heritage Center at UW.
Their is a true family story recorded in a newspaper clipping in which Mary Jane Stimpson "physically ejected" Buffalo Bill Cody from her boarding house for drunk and disorderly conduct. This story probably occured while she was in the new town of Buffalo operating the boarding house in the 1880 census. Family oral history states that Mary Jane was unimpressed with the "loud mouth self promoting drunk". A little more investigation is needed to see where Buffao Bill Cody was at this time or if it occured at Medicine Bow at a different date.
After returning to Elk Mountain we have numerous more stories about this amazing lady including fighting off three renegade Indians and killing one in hand to hand combat at the ranch, "engineering" the irrigation for the Medicine Bow River Valley, building a post office, challenging a neighbor to a gunfight when he threatened the family, and several more.
All the links will change as this web site continues.