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Yellowstone Biographies: "O-P-Q"
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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Oakes, Thomas F.   Thomas Oakes was vice-president of the Northern Pacific RR when he formed the Yellowstone Transportation Co. with Charles Gibson in 1886. He also held 10% of the shares in the Yellowstone Park Association that was created that same year. Oakes succeeded Robert Harris as president of NPRR in 1888. It was Oakes that relieved E.C. Waters of his position as general manager of Yellowstone Park Association in 1890. As compensation, Waters was offered the job of managing the boat company on Lake Yellowstone. [25L;80]
 
Omuhundro, "Texas Jack"   John B. “Texas Jack” Omuhundro served as a scout for the Army on the western frontier beginning in 1869. He met Wild Bill Hickok that year, along with Buffalo Bill Cody, who got Jack signed on as a scout. In 1872 Cody and Omuhundro served as hunting guides for the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia in Yellowstone.   The men also guided for various other visiting European and English nobility, including the Earl of Dunraven, who wrote of his Yellowstone experiences in his book "The Great Divide". In the summer of 1877 Omuhundro was guiding a group of English tourists through Yellowstone, during the Nez Perce uprising, but apparently avoided the violence. Texas Jack later performed with Buffalo Bill in the stage shows "Scouts of the Prairie" and "Scouts of the Plains." Jack died of pneumonia on June 28, 1880 at age 34. [10u]
 
Parker, Jim   Jim Parker was permitted in 1918 with Jay Wilcox to raise potatoes on Turkey Pen Pass to sell to the tourists. [25L;84]
 
Peale, Albert Charles   Albert Peale was mineralogist and geologist for F.V. Hayden's US Geology and Geographical Survey of the Territories from 1871-79. He wrote a series of letters to the Philadelphia Press during his explorations of Yellowstone in 1871 that described the many wonders of this natural wonderland. The letters were compiled into a book published in 2005 and edited by Marlene Deahl Merrill entitled "Seeing Yellowstone in 1871: Earliest Descriptions & Images from the Field." Peale was a medical doctor and also served as geologist for the US Geological Survey in 1881-98. He was a member of numerous scientific societies and authored the book "Yellowstone National Park and Mineral Springs," along with numerous other geological reports and papers. In 1898, the United States National Museum appointed Peale as aid in charge of the paleobotany section of the Department of Geology, and he held that position until his death in 1914. Peale was born April 1, 1849 in Heckscherville, Penn. [Who's Who in America, 1902]
 
Peterson, William   Member of the Folsom-Cook-Peterson expedition of 1869, William Peterson was born December 3, 1834 on the Bornholm Islands, Denmark. He went off to sea at age 11 and sailed for 11 years before retiring that profession and joining the California and Idaho gold rushes. BY 1865 he arrived in Confederate Gulch, Montana and went to work with Charles Cook for the Boulder Ditch Co. After the Yellowstone expedition he prospected for gold at Grasshopper Creek near Bannack, Montana, and eventually wound up in Salmon, Idaho. He became mayor on two occasions and built the first power plant in the town. Married and the father of two children who never passed through the rites of adulthood, Peterson died November 28, 1919.   [Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Daniel Thrapp, Vol.III] [25L;84]
 
Pitcher, Capt. John   Capt. Pitcher was Acting Supt. with the 1st Cavalry from May 8, 1901 to June 1, 1907. According to the Livingston Enterprise, Pitcher “…made every effort [in 1902] to exterminate the wolves and coyotes in the park, owing to the danger to the young game.” More than 200 animals were poisoned that year. Pitcher was from Texas and was appointed to the US Military academy in 1872. He became a 2nd Lt. in 1876 and served with the cavalry during the Indian uprisings in the West. He retired with the rank of Colonel and died Oct. 12, 1926 at his estate in Annapolis, Maryland. He was buried in Arlington Cemetery with his father, Brig. Gen. Thomas G. Pitcher and his brother Col. Wm. L. Pitcher.   [LE;5/10/1902] [25g] [Arlington National Cemetery Website]
 
Potts, Daniel   Daniel Potts was a member of the 1822 Ashley-Henry Expedition and he is known to have trapped in the Yellowstone area in 1926 with Jedediah Smith and William Sublette. They visited Yellowstone Lake and the Thumb Geyser Basin. A letter describing his travels in the park became the first published account of the wonders in Yellowstone. It was published in a Philadelphia newspaper on July 27, 1827. Potts Hot Spring Basin near West Thumb was named after him in 1957. [25L;85]
 
Ponsford, John W.   John W. Ponsford (J.W. Ponsford) was a miner, Bozeman businessman and occasional partner of Jack Baronett. In 1880 Baronett rebuilt his bridge over the Yellowstone River near the current Tower Junction and Ponsford assisted him in the effort. In the spring of 1882 it was reported in the newspapers that Ponsford and J.L. Sanborn purchased the bridge from Baronett for $2500 with the agreement they rebuilt the approaches to allow for six-mule team outfits to cross. I suspect this was more of a lease agreement, as in later years after the government claimed ownership of the bridge; Baronett sought redress in Congress to obtain compensation for his bridge. In 1884 Ponsford and Sanborn petitioned Interior for a lease of ten acres of ground about a mile west of the bridge as a "stopping place for travelers." The location would have been near Tower Junction. No evidence has been located to show that the request was granted. Ponsford also prospected in the Clark's Fork area with Baronett and others. He was amongst those miners who desired stock in the new town of Cooke City upon its creation in 1880. His fellow miners and potential lot-buyers included George Huston, Baronett, John Dewing, Col. P.W. Norris, Adam Miller, X. Beidler, James Gourley, and Bart Henderson. He also operated coal mines near Bozeman in the 1880's.
     John Ponsford, also known as James Ponsford, was born March 21, 1847 and at age 22 was a private with the 2nd Cavalry stationed at Fort Ellis. He took part in the 1870 massacre of an Indian village on the Marias River in Montana that took the lives of mostly women and children. By the mid-late 1870's Ponsford owned several billiard halls/saloons in Bozeman. By 1883 he was a deputy sheriff in Bozeman and pulled the spring that hung a man named Clark, was had been convicted of murder. It was the first legal hanging in Bozeman. In 1893-94 Ponsford was Chief of Police in Bozeman. Famed Montana lawman and dispenser of Vigilante justice John X. Beidler dictated his biography to Ponsford in the late 1880s. Ponsford died Sept. 16, 1912 and is buried in Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman. May be same person as above J.W. Ponsford. [Nat'l Archives Letter Rec'd Interior, 2/5/1884; Helena Independent, 10/5/1877 & 12/28/1883; Bozeman Avant Courier 5/22/1879, 6/3/1880, 6/24/2880; Butte Daily Miner 4/5/1882; Sunset Hills Cemetery]
 
Povah, Terry  Terry Poval was son of Trevor Povah and Eleanor Hamilton (daughter of Charles Hamilton). He took over as President of Hamilton Stores in 1979 when his father retired. [25L;85]
 
Povah, Trevor  Trevor Povah married Charles Hamilton’s daughter, Eleanor in 1940. After his father-in-law’s death in 1957, he and his wife took over the operation of the Hamilton Stores. [25L;85]
 
Powell, John D.    John Dudley Powell was part owner of the Shaw & Powell Camping Co., formed in 1898 to operate moveable camps in Yellowstone. In 1913 they were permitted to establish permanent camps and operate stages to transport their guests from camp to camp.   When the Cody-Sylvan Pass Motor Co. was formed in 1916, Powell held one share of stock. Other stockholders included Frank Haynes, A.W. Miles, William Nichols and Huntley Child. The operation only lasted one year, as the Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. was granted monopoly status on transport in Yellowstone beginning in 1917.  John Powell was born June 1858 in Baraboo, WI to parents John Wm Powell & Harriet Mildred Dudley Powell. He married Viola Taylor of Madison WI in 1885. She was also involved in the Shaw & Powell operation. The couple were residing in Livingston Mt at least by 1900. They had one child, Hollis Dudley Powell who died at about age 20 in 1912. In 1920 John was listed on the census as a Stockman and in 1930 as Retired. Viola passed away June 6, 1932 in that town and John followed August 18, 1938. Both are interred in The Mountain View Cemetery in Livingston.  [25L;92]
 
Pritchett, George   George Pritchett was the man who in 1870, along with Jack Baronett, located the lost Truman Everts near Crescent Hill in the northern part of the park. While Baronett cared for Everts, Pritchett rode to Fort Ellis to seek a wagon and doctor. The Army was unable to help, so he continued on to Bozeman where a civilian wagon and driver were procured. [25L;85]
 
Pryor, Anna    Anna Pryor, nee Anna Kathren Trischman, was born July 18, 1884 in Montana to George and Margaret Gleason Trischman. She moved with her family to Ft. Yellowstone in 1899. She married George A. Pryor, accounting clerk for YPA, in 1907. Daughter Georganna was born April 18, 1908 in Helena, Mt (died Nov. 8, 1961 in Glendale, Calif). That year the couple purchased the Specimen House at Mammoth and went into the curio and deli business. A few years later, ca1910 she had another daughter named Margaret. After selling out her Yellowstone business to Charles Hamilton in 1953, she returned to her winter home in Los Angeles. Anna lived to be 89, passing away on Oct. 27, 1973 in Los Angeles. See below - "Pryor & Trischman". [25h]
 
Pryor & Trischman   Anna and Elizabeth Trischman were daughters of Army post carpenter George Trischman, who came to work in Yellowstone in 1899. In 1908 Anna and husband George Pryor, purchased the Specimen House at Mammoth from Ole Anderson. They enlarged the house and called their business the Park Curio & Coffee Shop. They sold ice cream, curios, souvenirs, newspapers, toiletries, coffee, tea, box lunches, and operated a bakery and soda fountain. In 1912 George Pryor signed over his interests to Elizabeth Trischman and the business became known as Pryor & Trischman. In 1922 they opened a deli at the new ‘free auto camp’ at Mammoth, and five years later added a cafeteria to the operation. They established a small stand in 1924 at the Devil’s Kitchen on the Mammoth Terraces called the Devil’s Kitchenette. In 1932 they bought out all of George Whittaker’s Yellowstone Park Store holdings at Mammoth and Canyon, which included an interest in the service station businesses. The company became Pryor Stores, Inc. in 1946. After 45 years of operation in Yellowstone, the women sold their business in 1953 to Charles Hamilton for $333,000. The Canyon store and gas station were torn down in the early 1960’s and the Pryor Coffee Shop at Mammoth was razed in 1984. The Hamilton Store at Mammoth is the only remaining building from the Pryor & Trischman operation. [25h]  

Click Here to view the article I wrote on Pryor & Trischman for the Spring 2002 issue of Annals of Wyoming. It is 15.5mb in size and the article starts on page 47. "A Tale of Two Sisters: Pryor & Trischman in Yellowstone in the Best and Worst of Times."  (the upper link is color and bottom is B&W)

 
Pryor, George    Born in Virginia in 1881, George Pryor was employed by Yellowstone Park Association as an accountant as early as 1904. He married Anna Trischman June 5, 1907 at the Episcopal Church in Gardiner. They went into business together in 1908 when they purchased the Specimen House from Ole Anderson. In 1912 he turned over his share of the business to Anna’s sister Elizabeth and submitted an application to Supt. Brett to operate a dairy herd at Mammoth to supply milk and butter to the post and local civilians. There is conflicting evidence whether he actually put the proposal into action. A letter written by Robert Reamer in Oct. 1912 noted that “George Pryor is now the proprietor of a dairy, furnishing milk for people around the Post.” A letter from the acting superintendent in Sept. 1913 recorded that Pryor was no longer in the park and was unable to fulfill his obligations with the dairy permit. In 1912 Pryor also sought permission to establish a steam laundry at Mammoth, but it seems nothing came of the proposition. There is little mention of him in park archives after that time. The 1920 Fed. Census for Yellowstone listed Anna as a Widow. [25h] [1910 Federal Census,YNP]


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