During the years when Evanston was developing from a railroad grading camp
into one of the permanent towns of the new Territory of Wyoming, there was
springing up at her very gates a busy mining town the influence of which
was destined to endure long after its decline. It was the coal camp called
There are in the west few prettier sites than this once thriving camp on
Bear River, and few that present such easy access to the hidden wealth.
The engineer pierced the hillside with gently sloping tracks that led to
veins averaging twenty feet in width. But let it not be understood that
this school of mines furnished an easy course of instruction. On the other
hand, fire, water, explosive dust, firedamp-in short, all of the enemies
that make mining dangerous and hard-were found here as in no other camp in
the Rockies, and the man who successfully passed his schooling at Almy was
fitted to cope with almost any conditions that might arise in the
It would be interesting from an industrial standpoint to be able to give
the amount of coal that has been taken out of Almy's mines, but statistics
for the period of their existence, covering more than fifty-five years,
are not available. Some idea may be gained from such reports as that
contained in the first collection of the Historical Society of the
Territory of Wyoming, that states that in December, 1881, the Rocky
Mountain Coal and Iron Company shipped sixteen thousand six hundred
ninety-four tons, and the Union Pacific Company seven thousand seven
hundred thirty-four.1 There
were nearly six hundred men working in the mines at that time. While there
was a slight variation between summer and winter output, yet the greatest
demands, those of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific roads, were
The presence of coal in the Interior Basin was known to the early
trappers. In a map published by Stansbury following his explorations of
1852 the term "Great Coal Basin" designates the region between :Bear
River, near the present site of Evanston and Point of Rocks in Sweetwater
County. This embraces the coal lands of southern Uinta County.2
During the following twenty-five years the government sent out several
surveying expeditions, of which the King party was the most comprehensive
though not the most accurate. From 1869 to 1872 they surveyed a tract one
hundred miles in width along the line of the Union Pacific, but, according
to Veatch, their maps added but little to what was already known.
In 1870 the Hayden Expedition began its extensive survey. Dr. `' . F.
Hayden, the painstaking and scholarly leader, had its headquarters for
several months at Fort Bridger, and from there sent out his specialists.
One of these named James T. Hodge, with his party spent several weeks in
and about Evanston studying the coal fields. His reports roused much
In the summer of 1868 two men named Mears and Shaffer were sent by Major
Laurence, a member of the Union Pacific Engineering Corps, to prospect for
coal in western Wyoming. They located adjoining claims about three miles
north of Evanston. Mears' claim ran north to the face of the hill and that
of Shaffer south. In August Shaffer sold his interest to Laurence, who
formed a partnership with Mears and three others, Milton Orr and John and
Joseph Noonan, under the name of the Bear River Coal Company. The first
coal was taken out in September, 1868, from what was known as No. 2 mine.
Early in 1869 the Bear River Coal Company consolidated with the Rocky
Mountain Coal Company, which was already operating a mine at Separation,
Carbon County. A man named Henry Simmons was made president and had his
headquarters at Almy. James T. Almy, from whom the camp was named, was his
clerk. In January, 1870, the company was reincorporated under the name of
the Rocky Mountain Coal & Iron Company. The first directors were the
capitalists C. A. Henry, Fox Diefendorf and Jonathan A. Wilde. Charles T.
Duell, a young man from the state of New York, was made superintendent.
The debts of the old company, amounting to $70,000, were paid off, and a
wye was built from the main road, about a mile west of Evanston, to the
mine. The company secured a small contract to furnish coal for the Union
Pacific, but this did not last long. In June of the same year Mr.
Diefendorf went to San Francisco and sold the controlling interest of the
company to Clark Crocker and David C. Colton, both heavy stockholders in
the Central Pacific. Through their influence a contract was made to
furnish coal for that road, and this held good until 1900, when a new
management came in that gave the contract to the Pleasant Valley Coal
Company of Utah. David E. Colton was president of the Rocky Mountain Coal
and Iron Company until his death in 1878, when Clark Crocker succeeded
him. Later, his brother, George Crocker, became president.3
In February, 1871, Newell Beeman, a boyhood friend of Charles Duell, came
out to Almy as bookkeeper for the company. Mr. Beeman, fresh from New York
City and wearing the conventional silk hat, has most humorously described
his coming to the rough tent town of Evanston, the ride across the frozen
fields with Sam Blackham, the arrival at the mine and his reception by his
old comrade, whose first act of friendliness was to seize the "stovepipe
hat", place it on the gatepost and shoot it full of holes with the
explanation that that was the only use they had for such articles in
Wyoming. Mr. Beeman found the prospects anything but alluring, but
determined to give it a trial of six months. At the end of that time he
went south and was about to open a store in Wichita, Kansas, when a
telegram from David E. Colton offered him the superintendency of the mines
at Almy. Charles Duell had died of cholera on a trip East, and although
his life in Wyoming covered a period of a little less than two years, his
fame still lives because of his power of making friends and his
originality. Mr. Beeman was superintendent from the time of his return in
1873 until 188o, when A. E. Bradbury succeeded him and was made manager.
Mr. Beeman now lives in Salt Lake City.
Mr. Bradbury was a native of Vermont State, who, at the age of seventeen,
went to the Pacific Coast, via Cape Horn, and arrived in San Francisco in
1859. After spending some time in that vicinity he went to Portland, and
there made the acquaintance of the Huntley brothers, who were proprietors
of one of the big stage lines. Mr. Bradbury entered their employ as stage
driver, and after some time spent in Montana he was made superintendent of
the line running from Bryan, on the Union Pacific road, north to South
Pass, Atlantic City and Camp Stambaugh. It was at South Pass that he met
Miss Roella Kidder, who became his wife. In 186 they moved to Evanston,
and from that year the family has been identified with the interests of
Uinta County. After the dosing of the Rocky Mountain mines at Almy they
moved to Evanston, where they erected the home on Summit Street now
occupied by the son, 0. E. Bradbury. Two older sons are living, Silas H.
of Long Beach, California, and Valo, who lives in New York.
In 1868 a mining man by the name of Thomas Wardell opened a mine about a
mile east of the Bear River mine on ground purchased from Shaffer.
Laurence claimed this land, trouble arose that resulted in the use of
firearms, but there were no fatalities. Wardell was dispossessed of the
property, but in the early spring of 1869 he began work on a new mine a
short distance to the south for the Wyoming Coal and Mining Company, that
had just been organized. This mine was known as N o. 1.4
With Wardell was associated a young man called Patrick T. Quealy, whose
life story belongs to the history of the Kemmerer mines.
The first superintendent of the Bear River Coal Company was William
Hinton. He had been connected with the Carbon County mines from the date
of their opening, which was about the same time as that of the Almy mines.
Mr. Hinton was a native of Kentucky, who had gone to California with the
gold rush and drifted back as far as Wyoming. He remained in Almy until
187 when he was elected sheriff of Uinta County and moved to Evanston. In
1876 he was territorial delegate to the Republican National Convention.
For thirty years he practiced law in Evanston, and held the offices of
county attorney and assessor. His last years were spent in Hanibal,
Missouri, where his only son, Tames Hinton, lived. A grandson, William
Hinton, makes his home in Douglas, Wyoming.
In 1875 the Union Pacific Railroad Company came into possession of the
property of the Wyoming Coal and Mining Company, and a man known as N. W.
Surat was made superintendent at Almy. He remained only one year, a year
full of such problems as were common in the mining world. Fire broke out
in No. i, and contrary to the advice of his foreman, water was turned in,
resulting in the dosing of the mine soon after. Labor troubles confronted
him, too, as can be seen from the penciled note preserved by his foreman,
which reads as follows
Almy Jan'y 25
All of the men are out without previous notice to me. I protest against
this as a great wrong to me and a direct violation of your committee's
agreement not to stop work without first stating their grievance. You
have no moral right to damage me thus seriously for something hundreds
of miles away which I have nothing to do with, and I ask you to order
the immediate resumption of work.
Answer. M. W. Surat.
No. 4 was opened by the Union Pacific Company in 1875, and the next
spring Adolphus Eurgens, who had been train dispatcher at Laramie, was
given the superintendency of the mines at Almy. Mr. Eurgens, in 1875,
married Minnie Arnold. daughter of Rev. F. L. Arnold of Evanston. Their
first home was the upper story of the store built near the old Wyoming
mine. They moved later to a house put up for the superintendent on the
hillside near the entrance of No. 4, which they occupied until 1880, when
Mr. Eurgens was made superintendent of the mines at Louisville, Colorado.
It was in the new home that Mrs. Eurgens died in 1882, and the passage of
forty years has not dimmed the strength of her character in the minds of
all who knew her, especially of the children whom she impressed with her
love of the beautiful in the inner as well as the outward life. Mr.
Eurgens served the road in various capacities in Wyoming and Utah, and
died in Salt Lake in 1908. Their only child. Elizabeth, wife of H. N.
Tolles, lives in Chicago, and is the mother of two sons.
Reuben Fowkes was made foreman under Surat. He was a native of England and
came to this country with his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Bacon, in
1870. After two years spent in Coalville, Utah, they moved to Almy. During
the superintendency of Mr. Eurgens, Mr. Fowkes was in charge of the
underground work, and held the position for many years. It is interesting
to note that the Fowkes name, aside from being perpetuated among us in the
line of their descendants, who are among our foremost citizens, has been
given a lasting place in the geological history of the country in the
"Fowkes formation" that comes to the surface on the ranch about six miles
below Almy, taken up by Reuben Fowkes in 1874.. This ranch is now owned by
the son, Charles R. W. Fowkes, who is clerk of the present Bear River Coal
Company. He makes his home in Evanston, as do three of the daughters. Mrs.
Seth Thomas, Mrs. W. J. Starkey and Mrs. Harry Harris. Seven other
children still live in the mountain states.
John Graff, an employe of the Union Pacific at Evanston, was made
superintendent after Mr. Eurgens. He was succeeded by a man named E. P.
Epperson. In 1886 W. T. Ramsay, an eastern n man, was made superintendent,
and he remained until 1892, when James Bowns came into the management of
the Union Pacific mines. Mr. Bowns came from England in 1871, had worked
for a time as a miner, and in 1885 was made foreman at No. 3. In 188 he
was transferred to the same position at No. 4, and in 1889 was made
superintendent at No. 7, the last mine to be opened in Almy by this
company. He held this position until the closing of the mines in 1900. He
still lives in Almy, where he has a fine ranch. He is known throughout the
country as Bishop Bowns, from the position held in the Mormon Church, in
which he -is a leading worker. He has served twice as justice of the peace
of his precinct. One of his sons, W. H. Bowns, is fire boss at the Bear
River mine, and another is chief electrician at Castle Gate, Utah.
Among the first miners at Almy were the three Johnson brothers and Joseph
Fife. Accompanied by their wives they sailed from Scotland, their native
land, in early manhood, and settled for a time in Pennsylvania. In 1862
they traveled together across the plains to Utah, and on the opening of
the mines at Almy, moved there. David Johnson was the first foreman at the
Old Wyoming. Thomas Johnson was one of the most prominent men in the
settlement, and the home, under the motherly care of his wife, was a
favorite gathering place, especially for those of their own nationality.
Mrs. Johnson makes her home in Evanston with her daughter Elizabeth, Mrs.
L. E. Smith. There are eight children in all, who are well known in the
state. In 1872 Joseph Fife opened a mine that was known by his name, and
he was later employed by the Union Pacific. Houses were scarce in the
early '70s, and they had to take temporary shelter in rooms excavated in
the sides of the hill, known as "dugouts". After a short time the company
put up frame dwellings. From a distance they looked as much alike as a
flock of sheep, but the interiors revealed the character of the owners,
and there were many pleasant homes.
The Rocky Mountain Company was the first to employ Chinamen, and brought
in about seven hundred. After a strike of white miners in 1874 the Union
Pacific depended largely upon their labor, and at one time there were as
many as twelve hundred employed by the two companies.5
After the massacre at Rock Springs in 1885 white men only were employed at
Each of the two big mining companies had its store. That of the Union
Pacific mines was situated near the Old Wyoming. It was made of brick and
stood there for many years after the abandonment of the adjoining mines,
and when torn down in 1898 the bricks, which were of excellent quality,
were used in the construction of the Golden Rule Store at Evanston.
A man named Slater was in charge of the Union Pacific store that was put
up near No. 2, and afterward moved to a large building between No. 4 and
No. 5. James Eakin, who was for many years manager, moved, at the closing
of the mines, to Salt Lake City, where his sons were in business, and he
died there in 1909. Oscar Ludwig was bookkeeper for the store and mine
from 1876 to 1887. The family lived in a large frame dwelling a short
distance below the first store, and their home was a favorite gathering
place for the young of both Almy and Evanston. There were three daughters
and one son. Mr. Ludwig died in 1923 at the home of his daughter May, in
Kansas City, Kansas.
Many were the tragedies of the Almy mines. In March, 1881, twenty-nine
lives were lost in an explosion at No. 2. Twenty of them were Chinamen,
whose names have not been preserved. The white men were John Barton,
William Glaspy and Silas Crosby, father of Thomas Crosby, who, through
many hardships, has made for himself a place among our substantial men,
and is foreman of the railroad shops at Evanston. A miner named Charles
Beveridge had a miraculous escape. Seeing the flames coming through the
trapdoor of his slope he threw himself into a depression between the
tracks. His hands and feet were terribly burned, but in spite of being
crippled he lived a long and useful life, and was postmaster in a little
store he set up in Almy until 1904, when he was claimed by death. There
were seven children in the Beveridge family, four of whom are living.
William Beveridge taught in Almy for some years and now makes his home in
Ogden, as do two of the daughters, and another lives in Salt Lake City.
One of the daughters became the wife of R. W. Fowkes and was well known in
Evanston. She died in November, 1920, and is survived by her husband,
three sons and a daughter.
Shortly before midnight of January 12, i886, there was an explosion that
shook the earth for miles around and resulted in the death of eleven men.
They were John Cummock, William Horsley, Frank Mason, Enoch Thomas, Robert
Murdock, John H. Hood, Joseph Evans, John Peat, Ellis Gradman, John Hunter
and two boys named Horn and Peterson. Work was resumed at the mine, but
two years later it was closed on account of fire.6
Most disastrous of all Almy explosions was that of March 10th, 1895, when,
at No. 5, sixty men who were just about to come to the surface for the
evening meal were suddenly ushered into eternity. The victims were James
B. Bruce, O. Maltby, W. E. Cox, James W. Clark, William Sellers, Jr.,
Jerry Crawford, James Limb, Fred Morgan. Samuel Clay, W. H. Grieves,
Willard Brown, John G. Lock, George Hydes, David W. Laurie, Jr., Wm.
Morris, John Clark, James T. Clark, Wm. Longdon, Marshall Longdon, John
Morris, David Lloyd, John G. Martin, George Crichley, George Hard y,
Matthew Johnson, H. A. Hyborn, Wm. Pope, John Wilkes, Charles Casola, Gus
Casola, Wm. Weedup, James Hutchenson, Samuel Hutchenson. Thomas Hutchenson,
Wm. Sellers, Hugh Sloan, Wm. Graham. Jr., Henry Scotthern. Albert Clark,
John Phebes, Wm. Mason, Andrew Mason, John Lester, Wm. Wagstaff, Chas.
Clark, Joseph Hyden, John Lethu, Matt Silta, Walter Miller, Thomas Booth.
Benjamin Coles, Samuel Bates, John Dexter, Henry Burton. Samuel Holston,
John Iapar, Angel Dermodi, John Fern. Baptiste Julian, Aaron Butte, Isaac
Seven on the outside were killed by flying timber. Death came
instantaneously to James Bruce, the mine foreman, and O. Maltby,
superintendent of motive power, died about two hours after being found.
Those within the mine were killed instantly. The bodies were all rescued
through the heroic efforts of rescue parties. The disaster occurred on
Wednesday, and on the following Sunday interment services were held by
ministers of the various denominations. Thirty-two were buried from the
Mormon Church, and the others from the chapels to which they belonged.
Many lives were lost in accidents. Henry Cummock died from a broken back
caused by a slide of rock. His widow became the wife of Martin Christenson
of Evanston. Harry Cummock, her son, is instructor in mechanics in a Los
Angeles school, where he is eminently successful. The daughter Anna
married Charles Stanley, a successful sheep man of Evanston.
In 1873 the Mormon Church at Almy was organized under the Bear Lake Stake,
with James Bowns as bishop. In 1878 it was transferred to the Summit
Stake, and later to the Woodruff. Meetings were held in various halls
until the erection of the meeting house in 1873. It is a well-built
edifice and stands near Number Four mine. Among the prominent workers of
the early day were James Hood, who was an accomplished musician, and Mr.
and Mrs. Joseph Dean, whose children received the best education available
and have won for themselves places of honor in professional circles in
Utah and Idaho.
Three miners, George Griffin, Laben Heward and Samuel Young, were
instrumental in organizing the Methodist Church, and in 1887 a building
was put up and dedicated, in which Mr. Heward preached the first sermon.
Here he, with the help of other laymen and of a local preacher named John
Reonalds, held services for several years. The first regular minister was
Rev. O. L. Ramsay, and he was followed by a man named Long. Dr. C. F.
Gamble, the mine physician, and his wife were active workers in the
church, where she was for many years the organist.
Mine Superintendent Ramsay started an Episcopal Sunday School in 1888 that
met first in a dwelling house near their home and later in the
-schoolhouse at Number Four.
From the very early days Almy had its dramatic dub that rendered the
popular plays of the day, such as "East Lynn" and "The Hidden Hand". Among
the stars were Jemima and Thomas Russell, Thomas Cutler and Richard
Daniels, father of a son by the same name, who has been nicknamed "Pinkie
Daniels" and is said to be the "freckledest kid in the movies". The plays
were at first given in the schoolhouse and later in the Temple of Honor
Hall. From the time of its erection, in 1888, this building, located west
of Number Four on the county road, was the center of much social life of
the camp, taking the place, to a large extent, of the saloon which it was
combatting. The lodge was an offshoot of the Evanston organization, and
was started by Dr. Hocker of Evanston and other workers. David Miller,
William Anderson, Edward Blacker, John Salmon and the Faddis brothers were
among the leaders of the Almy lodge, in which there were forty or more
members. Most of these moved to the Lincoln County mines at a later date.
The first public school was held in a frame building near the Rocky
Mountain store, and A. H. Parsons was the teacher. The grave of his wife,
who was greatly loved, may be seen in the Evanston cemetery. Soon after
her death, in 188o, Mr. Parsons left for the Fast. Among the early
teachers was Miss Lizzie Ball, who, with her brothers, came from
Coalville. The men took up land near Castle Rock, Utah, and their
descendants hold extensive interests there and down the river. The son,
Thomas Ball, married Amy Turner, a member of another old Almy family, and
makes his home in Evanston for the sake of the educational advantages for
their five children. Other teachers of the early days were Hugh Morgan,
William Peterson, W. C. Moss and R L. Fishbum. In 1888 Mr. Fishburn moved
to Brigham City, Utah, where he now is a leader in the business and
The years of activity in the Almy mines were a period of great labor
agitation throughout our land. It was the time of the beginning of the
mighty influx of foreign labor, and conditions in the industrial world
were in a state of chaos. Thanks to the leaders in Almy, these mines
escaped the horrors that occurred in other mining camps. Strikes, to be
sure, were common, some of them serious in their effects, but riots were
Industrially the mines have meant much to Uinta County, but their richest
legacy is the men and women they have given us. Explain it as you will,
the miner is a thinker. In the darkness and solitude of the mines thoughts
come to him, big thoughts dealing with his daily life and eternity. When
he gathers with his comrades at the noon hour for the lunch that has been
prepared f or him at his home or at his boarding house in the morning,
these thoughts find words, and new angles of vision are given by his
companions to be taken back and turned over in his mind undisturbed by the
petty sights and sounds of the outside world. They lend their own color to
the rays of the setting sun when he emerges from his weary toil, and the
evening song of the meadow lark and the laughter of his children have a
meaning in his soul all its own. If he is a Slovak or an Austrian,
accustomed to taking his problems to a higher authority, it is probable
that the priest or the labor leader will influence his actions, but not so
with the Englishman, the Scotchman and the Welshman, who, under normal
conditions, thinks out his own line of conduct. He may become an agitator,
but he is apt to be a leader in some line. The magazines read and
discussed by the Knights of Labor in the first reading room opened in Almy
were the North American Review, the Forum and the Arena. It can scarcely
be a matter of surprise to find men who devote their hours of recreation
to such literature leaving a lasting impress on the world. Among those who
remain among us are Laban Heward, eloquent in the pulpit and a worthy
representative of his district in the state legislature; President Brown
of the Mormon Church, who started life in his adopted land as a blacksmith
at Number Three, and whose story is part of the history of Evanston;
Abraham Crawford, who served Uinta County for two years as prosecuting
attorney and now practices law in Evanston. Mr. Crawford has two sons
living in Evanston, William and Abraham, and a daughter, Mrs. Ralph Giles.
Another daughter, Mrs. A. J. Piers, lives in Elko, Nevada.
To the mining world this camp gave, besides those already mentioned,
Thomas Sneddon, for twenty years superintendent of the mines at
Diamondville, John M. Faddis, superintendent of the Cumberland mines, and
Other prominent residents of Almy were George M. Griffin, who represented
his district in the first legislature of the state, and Almy Peterson, J.
L. Russell, and Jonathon Jones, who were instrumental in securing the
passage of the eight-hour labor law in Wyoming, of which Russell was the
Another who did much for the cause of labor in the state is Matthew
Morrow, a Scotchman, who came to Almy in 1885 and who is spending his
declining years in Evanston. One of the sons, William, served in the
Spanish-American War and contracted fever, resulting in his death soon
after his return. Two daughters married into the Coles family and are
living on ranches, as does also the son Alex. Other sons are prominent in
the communities in which they live. John has for many years been band
leader in Evanston.
Joseph Bird came to Almy in the early eighties. He is a leading business
man of Evanston, and has been interested for many years in the hotels.
There are nine children in the family. The son Joseph is conducting the
Evanston Hotel, and Thomas the Marx Hotel. A daughter named Bretna married
John Morrow, Jr., grandson of Matthew Morrow.
Another native of Scotland was David Miller, who brought his wife and five
sons to America in 188o, and after a short time spent at Grass Creek,
Utah, moved to Almy. Daniel, the eldest son, had three girls and three
boys, who have been residents of Evanston for many years. Tom Miller is
bookkeeper in the Blyth and Fargo store, and Daniel is now in Seattle. Of
the daughters, Agnes and Elizabeth, the latter is best known because of
her long service as clerk in the postoffice, which dates from the year
1909. Robert Miller, son of David Miller, Sr., moved to Kemmerer and twice
represented his district in the state senate. In 1900 he was elected clerk
of the court f or Uinta County and served two terms. His brother was also
a leading citizen of Kemmerer after some years spent in Almy.
One of the early settlers in Almy was William Crompton, who came from
Lancastershire, England, in 1868, and crossed the mountains with an ox
team. He assisted in the construction of the railroad, and in 1870 moved
to Almy, where he and his sons took up land bordering the river. They
developed a fine ranch that was devoted chiefly to dairy products, and is
known as Crompton's View. Roy and Lester Crompton, sons of Squire Crompton,
who died in 1904, make their home here. William Crompton passed away in
Ogden in 1904. His son Walter lives in Evanston and is actively associated
with the Stockgrowers Bank. He married Elizabeth, daughter of David
Miller, and to this union three children have been born, Laura, who became
the wife of Everett Knight of Laramie, and Helen and Walter.
There lives in Evanston John Stacey and wife, whose life story is another
link to that of Almy, where Mr. Stacey served as postmaster for eight
years and was also justice of the peace and director on the school board.
Of the thirteen children born to them, eight are living. James Stacey is
employed in the Palace Meat Market in Evanston. Two sons enlisted in the
World War, Fred, who went to France and returned in safety, and Albert,
who died of influenza at Camp Lewis. Joseph and Charles are employed by
the Bear River Coal Company at Almy, and Fred lives in Woodruff.
The Heward family is well known. Mary, the eldest daughter, married John
Scott, son of an Almy miner. After some years spent in Kemmerer in the
meat business, he moved his family to Salt Lake. The three daughters have
been fitted for life with the best educational advantages. Arthur Heward
married Susan, daughter of Samuel Thomas, and they are the parents of six
children. They make their home at the Crompton View Ranch. Harold Heward
is also engaged in ranching on Bear River, and they live in Evanston the
greater part of the year because of educational advantages for their six
children. His wife is a member of the Sims family. Ernest Heward is
proprietor of the Heward Meat Market. He married Sarah J. Williams and
they have an infant son.
Some of the foremost of the Almy settlers came from Wales. John Sims and
his wife, Mary Phillips Sims, crossed the plains with a party of emigrants
to Utah in 1865 and located at American Fork. In the early '70s he came to
Almy as a miner. Mr. Sims was one of the first to, take up land and soon
had a good herd of cattle on the ranch now occupied by the only surviving
son, John Sims. Mr. Sims was three times elected county commissioner, and
served for many years on the school board.
Seth Thomas, who came to Almy in 1882, was for some time foreman at No. 4.
The family resides in Evanston and are among our valued citizens.
Of another Welsh family of the same name though not related were the
brothers Windon and Samuel Thomas. The former lost his life in an accident
at Schofield, Utah. Samuel Thomas took up a ranch south of Bear River
bridge at Almy and later moved to Evanston. Henry married Amy Turner of a
neighboring family, and they lived on the Almy road. A daughter, Mrs. M.
L. Laslie, lives in Denver; Elizabeth, Mrs. Clarence Swart, with her
husband and five children, lives in Sparks, Nevada.
Wales also sent to this camp a miner named Gomer Thomas, who has been
eminently successful, and now holds the position of state coal mine
inspector of Utah. This position had been held also by another Almy miner,
John Crawford, brother to Abraham Crawford.
Enoch Danks, another native of Wales, left a son named David, who married
a daughter of Enoch Turner and lives in Evanston. Tom Danks married Lena
Evans. Her father was for many years stage driver between Woodruff and
From the year 1873 to the time of his death in 1898, Benjamin Johnson was
employed by the Union Pacific, first on the Rocky Mountain Division and
later as section foreman at Almy. The family moved to Evanston, where
still live the son Newell and two daughters, Mrs. Carrie Dye and Mrs.
Gertrude Moffit. Another son, Edward, is station agent at the Aspen tunnel
and Charles lives in Los Angeles.
After the explosion of 1884 there were significant changes at Almy. Many
of the old families, the Harris, Barkers, Phippes, Bates, Titmus, Bells,
Banks, Jonathon Jones and others took up land on ,upper Bear River, and in
their places came laborers from Finland. They were less easily assimilated
into the life of the nation, but were, as a whole, a good class of people,
neat in their homes and devoted to their children. A Lutheran Church was
built near No. 7, and they had their own temperance society. Some Italians
and Austrians came also, but soon drifted to other camps. The Methodist
Church was taken over by the Roman Catholics.
Unlike the usual deserted mining camp, Almy is not an unsightly scar on
the landscape, for beginning with the beautiful ranch of Crompton's View,
pleasant homes and waving fields of grain succeed one another the length
of the valley. After crossing the tracks we come to the ranch of the Sims
brothers, and then to the extensive fields of Jack Mills. The old Heward
and Thomas ranches, west of the river, are now part of the Chesney
property. Alvin Thompson owns the old Saxon place. Enoch Turner still
holds the place taken up by his father across the bridge. Farther down is
the well-kept property of Harold Heward, formerly owned by John Sims. Joe
Brown, Robert Faddis and George Sessons, all former miners, have excellent
ranches bordering on the river. Almost opposite the Mormon Church lives
Bishop Baxter on a place formerly owned by a man named Neville. John
Stacey and Lyman Brown have fine ranches farther down. Opposite No. 7, on
another good ranch, lives John Salamela, a native of Finland, who remained
in the valley when most of his countrymen sought other fields. Marshall
Bruce, son of James Bruce, cultivates a good ranch below the bridge.
It is with a feeling of pride that we think of these and other survivals
of the settlement at Almy. While history necessarily deals with the names
of men, too much cannot be said f or the women who bore a part no less
important in the development of the west. An example comes to mind of a
mother who, with her six little ones, followed her husband from a suburb
of the city of Glasgow across the sea and plains to the crude mining camp
on Bear River, and endured with fortitude and Christian courage the
privations of the new land that their children might enter upon the true
heritage of American citizens. If we ask the question, Was it worth while?
we have only to look at the communities in which their sons and daughters
are leaders, and where others less fortunate who received of the motherly
care in the little home in Almy, all rise to call her blessed.
A company known as the Bear River Coal Company is now working a mine on
land leased from the Union Pacific, a short distance east of the Old
Wyoming. The officers are J. H. Martin, superintendent ; George E. Pexton,
president : O. E. Bradbury, treasurer ; D. W. Warren, secretary ; R W.
Fowkes, clerk. From sixty to a hundred men are employed, and the output
goes far toward supplying the local demand.
Thomas Martin brought his family from Scotland to Almy in the year 1881.
His last years were spent in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Dan Coughlin
of Evanston, where he died in 1924- Another daughter, Mrs. James O'Keefe,
lives in Ogden. John H. Martin, the only surviving son, married the
daughter of William Fearn. Their home is the residence put up by George
Goodman on Summit Street. The eldest daughter, Ethel, was married to Glen
Eastman, a member of another Almy family, and he holds a responsible
position with the Bear River Coal Company. There are two younger children
in the family, Earl and Isabel, who are attending the University of Utah.
There are among mining men some experts who believe that there will be a
revival of the mining industry at Almy. They affirm that the best coal,
lying below the veins that have been worked, remains untouched and that
with modern methods it can be mined in almost inexhaustible quantities.
This is to be devoutly hoped, but whatever the future of Almy, we have
reason for gratitude for its useful and honorable past.
- F. L. Arnold. "Uinta County." Wyoming Historical Collection, Vol. 1.
- Veatche's Government Report.
- The author is indebted for many of the facts concerning the early
history of Almy to a paper written by d. H. Martin for the Historical
Department of the University of Wyoming. It is entitled, "A Short
History of the Almy, Wyoming Coal Mines."
- J. H. Martin.
- Wyoming Historical Collection, Vol. 1.
- Bishop Brown's Diary
- News-Register, March 23, 1895.
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