Early History of Yellowstone National Park and Its Relation to National Park Policies
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Born in Rhode Island in 1815; graduate of Brown; newspaper editor and publisher; governor 1849, 1850; served in United States Senate from 1859 to his death in 1884. Frequently elected President protempore. Named by Blaine as only Senator to serve as such through the period 1861 to 1881.

When bill was under consideration January 30, 1872, he made it clear it was to be a game and fish preserve and not a hunting reserve.


Born in Tennessee in 1826; served in the Mexican War; served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War, becoming major general; elected Governor of Tennessee 1882 to 1884; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate, serving from 1887 to his death in Washington in 1905.

On May 10, 1892, the Senate was considering S. 2373 by Senator Warren, to revise the boundaries of Yellowstone Park. Senator Bate spoke at some length in opposition to the bill upon the idea that "the Yellowstone National Park is a reservation set apart by the Government for the people in common, and that each person in this country has an interest in it. I do not desire to see it diverted from the original intention for which it was allowed to be set aside, to be regarded as a great public reservation."


Senator Call was a nephew of Richard Keith Call, Delegate from the Territory of Florida from 1823 to 1825, and a cousin of James David Walker, Senator from Arkansas from 1879 to 1885. Born in Kentucky in 1834, was adjutant general of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, elected to the United States Senate in 1865, but was not permitted to take his seat, elected as a Democrat in the United States Senate, serving from March 4, 1879, to March 3, 1897, died in August, 1910.

When the Cinnabar Railroad bill was up on May 27, 1884, Mr. Call in a brief speech directly opposed the passage of the bill. He said: "I think when the Senate have deliberately passed a bill setting aside this park as a national reservation, then an attempt to pass another act at the same time which virtually destroys the force and efficacy of that reservation and the purposes for which it was made, and which must end in the destruction of the game that may be found there, ought to be opposed unanimously by the Senate. There can be no doubt that the passage of a railroad through this reservation must destroy the game found there. The park and the natural curiosities there and the game were set aside to be preserved for future generations, for the naturalist and the philosopher. Great public objects will be promoted by faithfully adhering to this policy. We can not estimate the value of the preservation of the remnants of the almost extinct animals of the western continent to science. For one I shall vote against the bill." Again, on August 2, 1886, he urged the Senate to insist on its provision for protection of Yellowstone Park and opposed therein park administration under the War Department.


Mr. Clagett introduced the Yellowstone Park bill in the House simultaneously with the Pomeroy bill in the Senate. He had an interesting career, residing at different times in nine different States, besides going to school in one other. He was born in Upper Marlboro, Md., September 21, 1838; moved with his father to Keokuk, Iowa, 1850; attended law school in Albany, N. Y.; commenced practice in Keokuk; practiced in Carson City, Humboldt, and Virginia City, Nev.; member Territorial house of representatives in 1862-83 and State house of representatives 1864-65; practiced law in Helena and Deer Lodge, Mont., 1871-1877; moved to Denver, Colo.; practiced law at Deadwood, Colo.; engaged in mining at Butte, Mont.; practiced law in Portland, Oreg.; practiced law and mined at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; president of the Constitutional Convention of Idaho in 1889; unsuccessful candidate for United States Senate from Idaho in 1891-1895; went West for his health; practiced law in Spokane, Wash., until his death August 3, 1901. He was a real national park disciple, clearly believing in "seeing America first." In his remarkable 2-day address to the Senate, February 26, 1892, in his contest for seat in the Senate, he opened by saying: "I have lived upon the frontier from childhood. I have helped to bring more than one State into the Union." The session of 1871-72 he lived with his family in Washington at 720 Fourteenth St. NW.

In the present Congress (1932) is Samuel B. Pettengill, of South Bend, Ind., who states in his biography in the Congressional Directory that his uncle "Hon. W. H. Clagett was a Delegate from the Territory of Montana to the Forty-second Congress and was author of the bill for creation of Yellowstone National Park."


Born in Indiana in 1829, lawyer, served in Congress 1877 to 1887, died 1892. Supported vigorously the McCook amendment February 23, 1883, saying, "this is a very valuable public property, on account of its scenery and the character of the game which is there, and it should be preserved for the benefit of future generations."


Born in New York State in 1818; practiced law in Port Huron, Mich.; elected as a Republican to six succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1869, to March 3, 1881, and in the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887; died in 1898.

His first real service to the park was in the debate on May 27, 1884, when the Cinnabar Railroad bill was before the Senate. Senator Vest had expressed his continued opposition to any railroad going into the park, but seemed to have lost hope of being able to prevent the legislation. Senator Conger had offered an amendment limiting the right of way to 100 feet in width, and joined with Senator Vest in stating that the bill was not to be regarded as a precedent. On later occasions he further manifested his interest in the protection of the park.


Born in Ohio in 1824; graduate of Brown; lawyer and editor; served in House from Ohio, 1857 to 1865; from New York, 1869 to March 4, 1873, from 1873 to 1885, and from 1886 to 1889; minister to Turkey, 1885-1886; died 1889. Commonly called "Sunset," because of his initials and an apostrophe to sunset delivered by him.

His interest in the park was so pronounced that Senator Vest said, May 10, 1892: "When Samuel S. Cox of New York died there was no friend who had so deep an interest in the Yellowstone Park in the House of Representatives to speak in its defense or take any action in its behalf."


Born in Cummington, Mass., October 30, 1816; graduated from Yale; was teacher, editor, lawyer; served in State house of representatives; State senator, State Constitutional Convention; served in the United States House of Representatives eight terms, from March 4, 1857, to March 3, 1875; served three terms in the United States Senate, from March 4, 1875, to March 3, 1893; declined to be candidate for reelection in 1893; chairman of the commission created to administer tribal affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes 1893 to 1903; and died in Massachusetts on September 5, 1903.

The Scribner Dictionary of American Biography says he "sat in the House of Representatives term after term until 1875, growing steadily in influence until he was recognized as perhaps its most useful and reliable member." Ex-Senator Hoar wrote in his memoirs, "There has never been, within my experience, a greater power than his on the floor of the House."

It is said there was very little lawmaking in this period in which he was not consulted. Besides his dominant influence in appropriation and tariff making he was responsible for the establishment of the Fish Commission, initiated a plan for daily weather reports that resulted in establishment of the Weather Bureau, secured the completion of the Washington Monument. helped establish the college for deaf mutes, created the system of Indian education and reshaped our Indian policies. Scribner's Dictionary says:

"In appearance, he was a shrewd looking Yankee, with high cheek bones and a gray beard. He was a man of simple tastes, without any showy qualities, and he never sought popular applause. Without any gift of eloquent speech, he confined himself always to a dignified and lucid presentation of his case, but he worked more often in the committee rooms than on the floor of the House or Senate."


Born in Minnesota in 1823; colonel of the Federal Army in the Civil War; State superintendent of common schools of Maine and later State superintendent of public instruction in Minnesota; served in Congress from 1871 to 1883 from Minnesota and from 1889 to 1891; died in 1904.

Prepared a favorable report on the Clagett bill in the House and spoke briefly in support of the Pomeroy bill when it was called up in the House. Later continued a friendly interest in Yellowstone matters. March 1, 1875, he offered an amendment to the sundry civil bill to appropriate $25,000 for the construction of public roads within the park and for other purposes, the first effort on the floor of Congress to secure an appropriation, but his motion to amend was defeated.


Born in Vermont, February 1, 1828; served in the Senate from 1866 to 1891; President protempore of Senate from 1883 to 1885; member of the Electoral Commission which decided the presidential election in 1876; died in 1919.

He showed a lively interest in the passage of the Pomeroy bill in the Senate, and made a speech in behalf of the passage of the bill. Thereafter when Yellowstone matters were up he was always sympathetic in his support of Senator Vest.


Born in Tennessee in 1832; member of the Confederate Provisional Congress, and subsequently served in both Houses of the Confederate Congress; elected to the United States Senate in 1867 but was not permitted to take his seat as Arkansas had not been readmitted to representation; argued and won the test-oath case as to lawyers in the Supreme Court of the United States; Governor of Arkansas from 1874 to 1876; United States Senator from 1877 to 1885; Attorney General of the United States under President Cleveland from 1885 to 1889; died in 1899.

Opposed in Committee on Territories the proposed Cinnabar Railroad legislation and said on the floor of the Senate on May 27, 1884, that no such bill should be passed if the preservation of the park was intended, and announced his purpose to vote against the legislation. He said passage of the bill would "amount in the end to a virtual nullification and repeal of the act originally passed in reference to the Yellowstone Park."


Born in Maryland 1889; page, messenger, and postmaster of United States Senate through patronage Stephen A. Douglas 1852-1866; Speaker, Maryland House of Delegates; president Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Co. 1872; served in United States Senate 1881 to 1899, and 1903 to death in 1906. Was one of the authors of the Wilson-Gorman tariff act. May 10, 1892, he forcibly denounced any railroad in the Yellowstone Valley.


Born in Ohio in 1833; practiced law in Indianapolis; brevetted brigadier general of the Federal forces in the Civil War; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, serving from 1881 to 1887; President of the United States from 1889 to 1893; died March 13, 1901.

In the debate on March 1, 1883, on the proposed provision in the sundry civil bill for the protection of Yellowstone Park and the use of the military, upon request of the Secretary of the Interior, he supported vigorously the position of Senator Vest, referring to his visit to the park in the summer of 1881. Thereafter he spoke on various occasions in support of proper protection of Yellowstone Park, spoke in opposition to the Cinnabar Railroad, and joined in minority report in opposition. He was the first one to introduce a bill to create the Grand Canyon National Park, reintroducing it through several Congresses as long as he was a Member of the Senate.


Born in Connecticut 1831; practiced law; captain in the Federal Army in the Civil War; served in Congress from 1869 to 1875; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1877 to 1880; died in 1895.

When the Pomeroy bill was called up in the House, February 27, 1872, Mr. Hawley spoke briefly in support of it.


Born in Michigan, 1841; elected as a Democrat, serving in Congress from March 4, 1887, to March 3, 1895; died in Michigan in 1901.

Introduced H. R. 5293, concerning leases in the Yellowstone National Park, which became law on August 3, 1894.


Born in Scotland in 1840; came to Illinois in 1846 and to Iowa in 1849; served as lieutenant in the Union Army and lost a leg in 1863, commissioned colonel in 1864, and served until the close of the war; elected as a Republican and served in Congress from March 4, 1888, to March 3, 1903, being Speaker in the Fifty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Congresses; died in 1906.

His earlier attitude to the park was not a very sympathetic one. He first spoke on April 2, 1886, when he said:

"I am opposed to the Senate amendment; and I differ from my friend from Missouri (Mr. O'Neill) when he states that the reason this amendment has been urged by the Senate is that so many Senators have wandered around the spouting springs of the Yellowstone and have become so enamored of its beauty that they feel it necessary to make large expenditures to keep up the force now running that park. If the gentleman would speak with the candor which usually characterizes him, he would say that the real reason is that the present superintendent of the park is from the State of Missouri, and that a prominent gentleman from his State is trying to keep that superintendent with his subordinates in control of the park."

He made fun of the "mountaineers" who, he said, had been "imported into that section within the last few months, many of whom did not know a bear from a jackal or a jack rabbit from a jackass." He charged that we no longer had a national park, but the property of a private corporation and a ring of park hotels.

Patrick A. Conger, of Iowa, was superintendent of the park from 1882 to 1884, and was succeeded by Robert E. Carpenter, also of Iowa, who was removed May 29, 1885, being succeeded by Colonel Wear, of Missouri. G. L. Henderson, brother of Congressman Henderson, was assistant superintendent under Conger, and he and two of his daughters were for many years residents of the park and had business interests there. In 1890 he denounced Conger, Carpenter, and Wear as "monarchical" in their sway. Very evidently, Representative Henderson was then influenced by him.

But April 6, 1894, when H. R. 5293, concerning leases in Yellowstone National Park, which became the act of August 3, 1894, came up on a request for unanimous consent for its consideration, Henderson, a member of the committee reporting it, made the principal argument for its passage in the House. He tells of visiting the park in the summer of 1893, and gave a graphic description of the park, which was received by the House with great enthusiasm.


Born January 30, 1836, Mr. Keifer died, April 22, 1932, at the age of 96; brevetted brigadier general in the Union Army "for gallant and meritorious services in the Battles of Opequon, Fishers Hill, and Cedar Creek, Va."; severely wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness, promoted to major general "for gallant and distinguished services"; elected as a Republican and served in the House from March 4, 1877, to March 3, 1885, serving as Speaker in the Forty-seventh Congress; was major general in the Spanish-American War; served in Congress from March 4, 1905, to March 3, 1911; engaged in the practice of law since 1858; was president of a bank in Springfield, Ohio, his home.

When S. 221, the Vest bill, revising the boundaries of Yellowstone Park came up for consideration in the House, with House committee amendments, and debate was limited to five minutes on each side, General Keifer opposed the legislation as amended by the House committee with reference to the northern boundary. He told of his great delight in visiting the park a short time before; said he was in favor of the proposed boundary extensions, but utterly opposed to cutting out the land along the northern boundary, which, he said, came within less than 5 miles "of the greatest natural curiosity in all the world—the Mammoth Hot Springs." He was not able to stop the adoption of the amendment, or the passage of the bill, which later died in conference.


Born in Virginia in 1841; served with the Union forces in the Civil War; elected as a Republican, serving in Congress from March 4, 1889, to March 3, 1891, and from March 4, 1893, to March 3, 1907.

He introduced H. R. 6442 for the protection of birds and animals in Yellowstone National Park and to punish crime in said park, which became law on May 7, 1894.


Born in Illinois in 1826; served in the war with Mexico, elected as a Democrat, serving in the House from March 4, 1859, to April 2, 1862, when he resigned to enter the Union Army; served as a major general of Volunteers from 1862 to 1865; declined appointment as minister to Mexico in 1865, and elected as a Republican to the House, serving from March 4, 1867 to 1871; served in the Senate from March 4, 1871 to 1877 and from 1879 until his death in 1886; one of the managers representing the House in 1868 in conducting the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson; was Republican nominee for Vice President with Blaine in 1884.

He should rank as one of the most effective friends of the national-park idea, perhaps second only to Dawes and Vest. When the Cinnabar Railroad bill was up in the Senate in May, 1884, Senator Vest seems for the moment to have lost hope of being able to stem the tide of influence back of the mining railroad and was not apparently planning to combat it, further than contenting himself with insistence that it should not be treated as a precedent. He was followed then by Senator Conger who fought to limit the grant and to further insist it should not be considered as a precedent. Senator Garland announced he would vote against the bill, and Senator Call made his brief and effective statement against the bill. Then Senator Logan, who only a few weeks later was to be made the candidate of his party for Vice President and must have been a powerful figure in the Senate, arose and made a notably forceful 10-minute speech in opposition to the bill on principle. He stated that he had traveled through the park in the summer of 1883 with some other members of the Senate. He began his speech by the declaration:

"This tract, by the legislation of Congress, was laid out as a national park on account of its beauty, its scenery, and the many curiosities that are there found, and the intention that it should be kept for the use of the people of this country and visitors as a great and beautiful park where the people might resort at all times for the purpose of seeing the greatest curiosities that had ever been found in the world. But we find to-day, just as we have always found in the Congress of the United States, some corporation desires a railroad to run in there to disfigure the beauties of this park, and all that is necessary and has been in this country for years is for some corporation to ask Congress to do something, and, no matter what the requests, it is always done, but not to be taken as a precedent for the future."

After talking very frankly and pointedly about the bill as an entering wedge certainly to be followed by similar concessions to others, he then denounced the lobbying for the bill on the part of an official of the Interior Department. Following his speech Senator Vest came in again apparently entirely revivified in his confidence, and that bill never passed the Senate.


Born in New York State 1841; moved with his parents to Minnesota 1852; edited a newspaper; rose from private to major in the Federal forces in the Civil War; moved to Helena, Mont., where he engaged in mining and subsequently published the Helena Daily Gazette, elected as a Democrat to Congress for six terms, 1873 to 1885, defeated for Congress in 1890, presented credentials in 1900 as senator to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Clark, but was not seated; died in Los Angeles in 1919. In his first election to Congress he defeated Mr. Clagett.

He spoke briefly on the Williams amendment June 13, 1873, urging "it would be true economy in the end to preserve these beautiful works of nature, and not allow them to be destroyed by vandals."


Born in Philadelphia 1837; brevetted brigadier general of the Union Army "for gallant, long-continued, and meritorious services"; elected by both political parties a member of the State constitutional conventions in 1871 and in 1874; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, serving from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1895, serving as President protempore of the Senate from March 2, 1891, to March 22, 1893; general solicitor of Burlington System of Railroads and president of the American Bar Association; died in 1911.

March 23, 1886, he secured a rereference to the Committee on Territories of S. 980 for the Cinnabar Railroad, which had been referred to and favorably reported by the Committee on Railroads. When S. 980 was favorably reported to the Senate by Senator Butler, of South Carolina, Senator Manderson filed a minority report. Thereafter he took an active part in Yellowstone matters in committee and in debate on the floor.


Born in Ohio 1835; mined in California and Nevada 1854-1859; brevetted brigadier general 1865; lawyer; founder, the Law Journal; served in House 1877 to March 3, 1883; Secretary United States Senate 1883-1893; died 1917.

Offered amendment to sundry civil bill February 14, 1883, prohibiting leases and providing for Army protection for park, quoting Sheridan and others on bad conditions. Was then a lame duck whose term expired in 10 days.


Born in Arkansas in 1851; graduate Washington and Lee; lawyer; served in House 1885 to 1903; Governor of Arkansas 1921-1925; resident of Prescott, Ark.

As chairman of House Committee on Public Lands conducted investigation Yellowstone Park in 1892, the benefit of which seems somewhat clouded by politics. Thereafter he took an active interest in Yellowstone matters and his adverse report February 5, 1895, on the Hartman bill, H. R. 7, as to park boundaries was of important effect. He was chairman of the House conferees on the Lacey bill in 1894.


Senator Pomeroy, who introduced the Yellowstone Park bill, December 18, 1871, was at that time chairman of the Committee on Public Lands of the Senate. He was born at Southampton, Mass., January 3, 1816; settled in Kansas in 1854, and on the admission of Kansas as a State was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, serving from 1861 to 1873; defeated for reelection in 1873; died in Massachusetts in 1891. He reported the bill to the Senate and secured its prompt passage.


When Senator Pomeroy sought to secure consideration for his bill, January 23, 1872, Senator Trumbull was seconding his efforts. January 30, 1872, when the bill came up for passage in the Senate, Senator Trumbull made the closing a speech in support of the bill.

His son, Walter Trumbull, was a member of the Washburn party, reported the expedition in two articles of the Overland Monthly, and, there being no photographer with the party, made certain original sketches, which, with those of Private Moore, were the first pictures of Yellowstone scenery.

Senator Trumbull was born in Connecticut in 1813; practiced law in Greenville, Ga., and Belleville, Ill.; was member of the State house of representatives in 1840; secretary of State of Illinois in 1841-42; justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois 1848-1853; elected as a a Republican to the Thirty-fourth Congress, but before the beginning of the Congress was elected to the United States Senate, serving from March 4, 1855, to March 3, 1873; resumed the practice of law in Chicago, and was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Governor of Illinois in 1880; died in Chicago June 25, 1896.


Born in Kentucky in 1830; judge advocate in General Price's Confederate forces in Missouri in 1862; served in the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress from 1862 to 1865, and thereafter in the Confederate Senate; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate, serving from March 4, 1879, to March 3, 1903; died August 9, 1904.

His first activity in behalf of Yellowstone Park was a resolution of inquiry concerning Yellowstone Park matters, addressed to the Secretary of the Interior in December, 1882, and a resolution introduced December 12, 1882, instructing the Committee on Territories to inquire as to what legislation was necessary to protect property and enforce the laws in Yellowstone National Park, etc. Thereafter during all the period of his service he introduced in Congress after Congress legislation for the benefit of Yellowstone Park, and combated all proposed encroachments, becoming recognized as the outstanding champion of proper protection and development of the park. It was almost a half century ago, March 1, 1883, that he made this prophetic statement, "There should be to a nation that will have a hundred million or a hundred and fifty million people a park like this as a great breathing place for the national lungs."


Born in Ohio in 1827; elected as a Democrat to Congress, serving from March 4, 1861, until February 23, 1866, when he was unseated in a contest by Henry D. Washburn, later head of a Yellowstone exploration party. Appointed and subsequently elected to the United States Senate and served from November 6, 1877, to March 3, 1897; died in Washington, Apr11 9, 1897.

While a member of the House in 1872 he voted against the park bill. While he interjected comment and suggestions in the earlier debates on Yellowstone matters after he came to the Senate in 1877, his first definite stand was on May 27, 1884, when he followed the Logan and Vest speeches with a brief statement. In part he said:

"We have set aside the park because of its great natural curiosities; it is rich in the graces and beauties of nature; we have not had it set aside more than a year and a half for the enjoyment of the American people, in the cultivation of aesthetic taste, until a railroad drives head foremost, locomotive light up, to lay its track down through it. * * * if this is to be done, then it is just as well to throw open this reservation that we have set aside and be done with it, and let each person go in for a grab."


Born in Connecticut in 1801; graduate of Yale; practiced law in Detroit; judge of probate; editor of the Detroit Daily Advertiser from 1843 to 1847; served in War with Mexico; brevetted major general in Federal forces in Civil War "for marked ability and energy"; minister to San Salvador from 1866 to 1869; elected as a Democrat to Congress, serving from March 4, 1875, until his death in Washington, December 20, 1878.

March 11, 1878, he introduced a bill for an appropriation for the protection and improvement of Yellowstone Park, on which no action was taken. June 13, 1878, when the sundry civil bill for the fiscal year 1879 was being considered, he offered an amendment "to enable the Secretary of the Interior to protect, preserve, and improve the Yellowstone National Park in compliance with section 2475 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, $10,000." His amendment carried in committee by a vote of 71 to 38. Later the same day when the bill was reported to the House, on a standing vote, it was carried by a vote of 91 to 50, and so the first appropriation directly for Yellowstone Park administration was made. It will be noted that his death came the following December.

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Last Updated: 09-Dec-2011