Yellowstone Biographies: "X-Y-Z"
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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Yancey, John F. John Yancey (“Uncle John” Yancey) was a colorful character born in Barren County, Kentucky in 1826 and moved with his family to Missouri while he was still a boy. He fought in the Civil War and was in California in 1849, no doubt following the Gold Rush. He built a cabin and mail station at Pleasant Valley in 1882 to accommodate teamsters and mail stages enroute to Cooke City. He opened the “Pleasant Valley Hotel” in 1884 and served the ‘undiscriminating’ tourist until his death. The hotel was 1-1/2 stories and measured 30’ by 50’. It could accommodate twenty guests in the upstairs bedrooms at $2.00/day, or $10.00/week. The area was located off of the standard tour route offered by the transportation companies, and his main business catered to fisherman, hunters, miners, freighters, and prospectors to and from the Cooke City gold mines. He knew all the good ‘fishing holes’ and had plenty of tall tales to amuse his guests. Supposedly his whiskey glasses were undefiled by the touch of water. A 1-1/2 story saloon was erected some time between 1887-93, measuring about 20’ x 20’. His nephew Dan took over the business when Uncle John died on May 7, 1903 at 77 years of age. Dan conducted the business until a fire destroyed the hotel on April 16, 1906. The saloon survived the fire, along with a stable and two other log structures. In 1907 Dan applied for permission to lease a site closer to the new road that was being constructed. He was turned down since the Wylie Camping Co. and the Yellowstone Park Association were already in possession of building permits in the area. His lease for the original site was revoked in November of that year. Dan finally received $1000 in compensation for loss of his property in 1935. The saloon was razed in the 1960’s. John Yancey is buried in the Gardiner cemetery at Tinker’s Hill and his tombstone and plot can still be visited. [108a] [25g] [60g] [119o;5/7/1903 & 5/14/1903]
Yankee Jim Like many other Yellowstone pioneers, Yankee Jim (James George, born ca1835 in Penn) came west in 1863 to search for gold in the Bannack, Montana area. He eventually became a meat hunter for the Crow Indian Agency located east of present day Livingston. Actually named James George, this colorful character squatted in the Yellowstone River Canyon about 16 miles north of Gardiner. He came into possession of the primitive road from Bottler’s Ranch to Mammoth in 1873 when Bart Henderson and ‘Horn’ Miller gave up their road building enterprise. In July Yankee Jim declared the road open to within two miles of Mammoth. He set up a cabin and tollbooth in Yankee Jim Canyon 16 miles north of Gardiner and all traffic to the park from the north had to go through his property. Like Uncle John Yancy, Yankee Jim loved to fish, hunt, and tell ‘whoppers’ to folks passing through his ‘Canyon’. The Northern Pacific RR appropriated his roadbed through the Canyon in 1883 against his bitter protestations. The railroad did however; construct a crude bypass for him over the steep hill near the rail line. Jim spent several years attempting to seek justice through the courts, but it did no good. He gradually allowed maintenance of the road to degrade and in 1887 Park County took away his rights to eleven miles of the road north from the Wyoming line. In 1893, his road maintenance continued to decline, along with his sobriety. Park County Commissioners convinced him to give up his road that year in exchange for $1,000. Jim spent most of the rest of his life on his ranch, but deeded it to his brother John early in 1920. A few months later, unable to care for himself, John went to live with his brother in Fresno, California. Yankee Jim died in 1924, at about age 94.  [Click Here for Find-a-Grave page on Yankee Jim]
Young, Col. S.B.M. Born on January 9, 1840 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Samuel Baldwin Marks Young was the son of Captain John, Jr. and Hahhan Scot Young. He was educated at Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. He enlisted as a Private in the 12th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in April 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War. After the expiration of his term he was commissioned Captain, 4th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in September. He served with distinction in the Army of Potomac throughout the Civil War, receiving promotion to Major in September 1862, to Lieutenant Colonel in October 1864 and to Colonel in December 1864. He was breveted Brigadier General of Volunteers in April 1865 for services during the final campaign from Petersburg to Appomattox. Col. S.B.M. Young served two terms in Yellowstone as Acting Supt. with the 4th Cavalry. He served 5 months in 1897 and from May 14, 1907 to November 28, 1908 with the rank of General. In 1908 he married Annie Dean Huntley, widow of Silas Huntley and sister of Adelaide Dean Child (wife of Harry Child). S.B.M. Young died in Montana on September 1, 1924 at age 85. He rose through the army ranks from a private in the Civil War to the rank of Lt. General and head of the US Army. [LE;3/7/1908] [25g] [NY Times, 9-3-1924] [Arlington National Cemetery Website]
Young, Harold Harold Young founded ‘Snowmobiles of West Yellowstone’ in 1955. His company operated Bombedier snowcoach tours through the park. [25L;117]
Yount, Harry Harry Yount was born in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1847. He enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 14 and served until the end of the American Civil War, after which he traveled west to the present-day state of Wyoming. Beginning in 1873, Yount spent a number of years exploring Wyoming's mountain country, including the Grand Tetons, as a member of the geological surveys led by Dr. Ferdinand Hayden. Yount was hired in 1880 to be the 1st Gamekeeper in the park. A cabin was built for him near Soda Butte, but he resigned in September 1881 in frustration over his lack of authority and the absence of enforceable laws. The cabin was located on the western foot of Mt. Norris, east of the old Lamar River ford. Younts Peak, located at the head of the Yellowstone River, was named in his honor. After leaving the park, Yount started his own animal trapping and hunting business and did some prospecting for gold. He was well-known as a bear killer and is reputed to have occasionally engaged in “hand-to-paw” combat with one of these dangerous beasts. He also acquired a rather substantial amount of mining property in later years, including a marble quarry.[25g] [66m] [Wikipedia]
Zack Root’s Express Zack Root began hauling freight and passengers to Mammoth from Bozeman on a weekly basis, leaving on Monday and arriving on Tuesday, beginning in July of 1874. George Huston and John Werks, who operated of a string of pack and saddle horses in Mammoth, hooked up with Zack Root’s Express to provide horse and guide service to the geyser basins. An ad in the Bozeman Avant-Courier read "Ho! For The Mammoth Hot Springs and Geyser-Land! The public and pleasure seekers generally are respectfully informed that I will after this date run a Line of Conveyances between Bozeman and the Mammoth Hot Springs for their accommodation during the season. . . " In 1875 Root advertised stops at Hayden, Emigrant, Chico, Henderson and Bear Gulch. He also carried the US Mail to Mammoth that year. The Bozeman paper revealed no ads for his services in the summer of 1876. [30;195-96] [Bozeman Avant Courier, 7/3/1874; 5/14/1875]
For additional information, please visit my George Huston web page.