Saturday, June 7, 2014

What's In A Name ?

Register Cliff, about a day west of Fort Laramie by wagon, has been referred to as the great register of the trail. The large sandstone outcropping has hundreds of names carved in its banks.
The Cliff today
Unfortunately, too many modern names went over the top of carved names that had historical value. It is still fun to look at, and many, many historical names and dates can still be seen.

One of many names that still stands out today it is – G.O. Willard, Boston 1855. (He didn’t put in the comma, and he made a backward 's' in Boston, not sure I know how to do that on a computer).

 It is so well preserved that I thought I might Google old G.O. and see if there is any information on him.

I was surprised to find several things about him. Seems he didn’t last long in the west but did make it at least as far as Salt Lake City. But marriage records show him back in the Boston area by 1869. He died there at age 62 in 1893.

Maybe he lived a few years in Utah, possibly he went on to the west coast? Might make a fine story. Movies tend to portray people as so happy in their new lands, but reality and history often tells a different story – many went back, back home. I think I would like to read that story, all the perils of the trip west, get there, only to work and save enough money to go back.

Art work by a seven year old a year later
Doesn’t seem like we do this much anymore, carve our names to leave our mark. Although if you tell a five year old granddaughter to go ahead, she just might try it on the aspen in the front yard.
The Trail, a mile from Register Cliff, still looks pretty good. Haven't seen many wagons on it lately.
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