A handful of postcards from Jackson Hole give us a glimpse into life on Mormon Row a century ago.
Joseph S. Eggleston grew up in Afton, Wyoming. In about 1910 he went to Jackson Hole where he homesteaded in a place known as Mormon Row. He sent these postcards from Jackson Hole during that time. There are no addresses, stamps or postmarks indicating when and to whom or where they were sent. They may have been inserted into packages sent back home to his family in Afton. Or possibly, since Joe carried the mail on a postal route in Wyoming at that time, he did not need to address them. He could have carried them himself to Afton or included them with other mail.
Cousin Don shared these postcards with me. They had been with boxes of photographs he inherited from his mother, Evelyn Barbara Stock Lee. She got these from her mother Mattie Mae Eggleston Stock, who was Joseph Egglestons’s sister.
These cards were produced showing scenes from the area. Joe may have purchased a number of these. We had another one of this family skiing, but there was nothing written on it. The view from Joe’s homestead would have been very similar. He apparently knew this Sheffield family.
Weather in Jackson Hole ranged from harsh and cold but beautiful winters to hot and dry summers. From this postcard we gain some idea of what Joe’s daily life was like on isolated Mormon Row.
Apparently by the time this postcard was sent, Joe was settled on Mormon Row. Jacob and Bell would have been his Uncle Jacob Johnson and his wife. Jacob homesteaded on Mormon Row next to Joe. Bro & sister Eccles would have been Bell’s parents who had come from Jackson to visit them.
Yours with wild geese
I inherited photographs of an Eggleston Family Reunion which I did not attend. These are dated 1952 and are of a gathering of the family of Joseph S. Eggleston. I assumed the occasion was Grandpa Joe’s Birthday and/or the Fourth of July – they were celebrated together. We have come a long way with photo-documenting such events, both with the number of pictures we take as well as the quality. These photos are poor quality and identifying people has not been easy. I have not been able to identify everyone and may not have the ones I have identified right. It does look like they all enjoyed a good meal.
Wesley and Margaret are sitting on the left then Lola. Grandpa Joe is sitting on the right back. It might be Phil standing with the child. Joan and DeLoss are standing in the back. Stella is standing on the right side of the table.
Another shot with Stella busy preparing things on the table and others moved around.
These three are harder to identify individuals.
This photo is much better quality than the others, but appears to have been taken that same day. DeLoss and Joan
DeLoss, Grandpa Joseph S. Eggleston, Melvin and Wesley
Melvin at age 6
Melvin was born and raised in Eden and went to the same schools as the others. Melvin’s special talent was his personality, almost everyone liked him. He did have one fight, but that person became a friend. When he was going to Huntsville he tried to get Dale and me involved with his girlfriend’s sisters. He was active in sports.
Melvin #7 with a basketball
Melvin standing on the right with his tuba
He played the tuba in the school orchestra. After school he was pretty much on his own. He tried many things including driving a Taxi. I never figured that out because of his age. Continue reading
Alice was born on Mormon Row and was still a child when they moved to Eden. She went to school in Eden and Huntsville and graduated from Weber High School in Ogden. She was a good student and made many lasting friends. As a young lady she babysat for several families. Because our mother was not in good health after I was born Alice did a lot of raising me and we were very close. A friend of hers moved to California and invited her to come down there and be a nanny for a family. She thought that would be interesting, so she went to California. While there she enjoyed many things including dancing. Continue reading
Lola was born on Mormon Row and was just a baby when the family moved to Eden. My first recollection of her was that when I was born she wanted a little sister and treated me like I was. She curled my hair and treated me like I was Shirley Temple, who was my age. She went to the same schools as her brother and sister – Eden Elementary, Huntsville Junior High and Weber High School. She was friendly and was well liked in school. I don’t really remember how she got acquainted with Phil. But I do remember them getting together at the house. They were married and moved in to a house just to the west of his parents place. I was so busy with my own life that I do not remember a lot about them growing up. I do remember the joy she had when after three boys she got a girl(a beautiful girl)the prize of her life. Continue reading
Dale went to the same schools that the others had attended, Eden Elementary, Huntsville Junior High and Weber High School. In Junior high Dale played Father’s violin( I do not know what happened to it). Continue reading
Orland was born on Mormon Row, but the family moved to Eden that same year. Orland went to school at Eden Elementary, Huntsville Junior High and Weber High School like his siblings and he was the first to go on to College. Weber was a two year College at that time so he got an associate degree. Orland was a good worker and was closer to Dad than the rest of us. Continue reading
Wesley was born on Mormon Row and came with the Family to Eden in 1919. Being the first son, he worked from childhood on the farm. He went to school at Eden Elementary, Huntsville Junior High and Weber High School. He did not get any more education except as a mechanic on the Southern Pacific Railroad. During the depression, jobs were not very available. His first real job affected his life forever. He got a job with the WPA or the PWA. The area of Snow Basin was being developed. A shorter route to the Basin would be up Wheeler Canyon. Wheeler Canyon is the Canyon just south of the Pine View Dam (the Dam not the lake). As you start up the canyon there is an outcropping of rock that almost blocks the canyon. They decided that outcropping should be removed. No one of the group really knew any thing about dynamite and fuses. They proceeded drilling holes straight into the rock and putting charges in the holes and tamping gravel in to hold the charges. The timing of fuses is determined by putting a thread in with the powder to control the speed of the fuse. If the thread gets broken then you have a hot fuse. After they got the holes drilled and the charges in the told Wesley and Wesley Wilson to go down and warn the workers below that the charge would go off in five minutes. The Wesleys left and they set the fuses off. When the Wesleys were about 100 feet down the trail the charge went off. The gravel in the holes came out like a gunshot. Wesley Wilson dropped to the ground, a few rocks hit him in the back and neck killing him. My brother reached down to check him only to find that his hand had been shredded. The skin peeled off his hand and the fingers broken. I remember seeing that hand. They put a wire out around it to hold the fingers straight. He did get limited use of that hand. He was able to get a job at the Union Pacific Rail Road Round House on 29th street. Continue reading
I first became aware of the existence of Mormon Row in 1996. I had done genealogy research for some time and knew that Grandpa and Grandma Eggleston’s first four children were born in Grovont, Wyoming. I had no idea where Grovont was – I don’t think it is on any current maps – just somewhere in the Jackson Hole area. In 1996, my Dad was invited to a Mormon Row Centennial Celebration for descendants of the original homesteaders. The first homestead was granted in 1896. Eventually there were 21 homesteads there.
1918 Map of Mormon Row – Joe Eggleston homestead in the center
Laura went to school at Eden Elementary, Huntsville Junior High and Weber High School. She had one real problem getting to school. She would get car sick. She tried to get the driver to save a seat right up front for her. If he did not then he would have to clean the bus. This was a real problem because she rode the bus down the canyon to Weber High. She was an average student and got along well with her fellow students.
Laura in 1937
Laura on the right with school friends in 1937
After graduating from High School she was somewhat lost. Mother had died and she did not get along well with Dad, he had trouble communicating with us. When Mel got out of school, she did a lot with him. She got an apartment on the corner of Lincoln and 25th Street. She met and married Stevens and had a son Guy. He abused her so she divorced him.Then she married Lee Saunders. Continue reading