With sparkling blue eyes and a long beard, John Blue made quite an impression on those who met him. Blue came to the Bighorn country following World War I. He claimed to have deserted the German Army and made his way to the United States via Cuba and Mexico. Blue worked for a while as a blacksmith before turning to coyote trapping in order to make a living. He also raised a garden and hunted deer to put food on his table.
A Suspicious Mind
He built a stone dugout for quarters, complete with a makeshift periscope to watch for trespassers. Unfortunately it did not work. One day he discovered strychnine in his oatmeal, this led to a paranoia. Blue did not take into account that he kept the poison to kill coyotes, or the fact that it probably was scattered into his food by mice and rats that were his only company in the dugout.
Going To Meet The President
Hitching up a horse, along with a couple of pack animals, he set off for Washington to speak with the chief executive personally. He made it to Worland, 70 miles to the south. A friend was called to come get him. Blue was taken to the county courthouse where he promptly pitched a tent on the lawn. Finally the friend, Chris Lynn, escorted him back to Lovell.
Following this incident, John Blue was committed to the Wyoming State Insane Asylum, where he committed suicide. The John Blue dugout today still stands, albeit in dilapidated fashion. It is just outside the park boundary.
(Sources: Bighorn Canyon Historic Resource Study, Edwin Bearss)
Did You Know?
The Crow Reservation may be the largest in the state of Montana at 2.2 million acres, but consider that when first established by treaty in 1851 it was over 38 million acres in size. In relative size it was once larger the current land area of Georgia, today it is about twice the size of Delaware. More...