Early History of Yellowstone National Park and Its Relation to National Park Policies
NPS Logo


The sundry civil act of March 3, 1871, carried an item of $40,000 for continuation of the Hayden survey under direction of the Secretary of the Interior. It also carried $12,000 to continue the Powell survey of Colorado, etc., under direction of the Smithsonian.

Under this appropriation Hayden was, May 1, 1871, reappointed United States geologist from July 1, 1871, at a salary of $4,000 per year (had been $3,000) and permitted to select his own assistants "who will be entirely subject to your orders." He was to complete "the season's work about the sources of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers."

Representative Henry L. Dawes, of Massachusetts, was chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and had shown his interest in this survey as evidenced by the following in Hayden's Preliminary Report for 1871 (p. 96):

"Our little bark * * * was named by Mr. Stevenson in compliment to Miss Anna L. Dawes, the amiable daughter of Hon. H. L. Dawes. My whole party were glad to manifest, by this slight tribute, their gratitude to this distinguished statesman, whose generous sympathy and aid had contributed so much toward securing the appropriation which enable them to explore this marvelous region."

Chester M. Dawes, a general assistant in the party, was a son of Representative Dawes, is the present recollection of Mr. W. H. Jackson, the only living survivor of the party.

I have had a talk with George B. Chittenden of East River, Conn., who was in the Hayden survey from 1873 to 1877. He tells me Hayden had a remarkable personality and the capacity to arouse in his subordinates the utmost loyalty and the most enthusiastic effort. He tells me that once, while talking about the campfire, Hayden jumped up with enthusiasm, exclaiming, "Geology is like the Bible, a sermon in every verse." He never carried a gun, even in the wilds, saying he often ran away from trouble, when, if he had had a gun, he would have stayed and been in trouble. He was fearless, going anywhere. Once, in the Black Hills, he was captured by Indians who found him carrying a bag of stones. Believing him insane, and treating the demented always with consideration, he was released by them unharmed. He was called by the Indians "the man who picks up stones running." Forty-four genera and species of various organisms were named for him "from a living moth to a fossil dinosaur." He had been a surgeon in the Civil War and 1865 to 1872 was professor of geology at the University of Pennsylvania. After that he gave full time to his Government survey. He was born in 1829 and died in 1887.

In his preliminary report on the 1871 expedition Professor Hayden refers to his contact with Jim Bridger as guide of the expedition to the Lower Yellowstone under General Warren in 1856 and his wonderful tales "that sharpened the curiosity of the whole party." In 1860 he had been a member of the Raynolds expedition as geologist. He said that the Langford articles in Scribner's had called the attention of the whole country "to that remarkable region." The Washburn expedition led to the Hayden exploration, just as the Folsom expedition led to the Washburn.

The Hayden expedition in addition to Professor Hayden included the following: James Stevenson, managing director; Henry W. Elliott, artist; Prof. Cyrus Thomas, agricultural statistician and entomologist; Anton Schonborn, chief topographer; A. J. Smith, assistant; William H. Jackson, photographer; George B. Dixon, assistant; J. W. Beaman, meteorologist; Prof. G. N. Allen, botanist; Robert Adams, jr., assistant; Dr. A. C. Peale, mineralogist; Dr. C. S. Turnbull, physician; Campbell Carrington, in charge of zoological collections; William B. Logan, secretary; F. J. Huse, Chester M. Dawes, C. Dev. Hegley, and J. W. Duncan, assistants; Thomas Moran, artist.

Of these William H. Jackson, of Denver, is believed to be the only one now living. Robert Adams, jr., assistant botanist, at the time only 22, later was minister to Brazil and Member of Congress from Pennsylvania for seven terms, taking part in the debate on the Yellowstone Park legislation in 1894.

At the same time that the Hayden exploration was under way Capt. J. W. Barlow and Capt. D. P. Heap, of the Engineer Corps of the Army, were conducting a reconnaissance of the upper Yellowstone; and the two parties traveled a great deal together. General Sheridan had directed that a military escort be furnished the Hayden survey party. The escort was under command of Captain Tyler and Lieutenant Grugan until the party reached Yellowstone Lake, where Lieutenant Doane, who had played such a prominent part in the Washburn expedition of the year before, was sent to relieve them. Barlow and Heap had been directed by General Sheridan "to make an exploration of the sources of the Yellowstone." Barlow was then chief engineer for the military division of the Missouri, which included the Yellowstone country.

The Barlow-Heap party joined themselves to the expedition of Professor Hayden "taking advantage of the escort ordered for him," as it was expressed by General Sheridan in his order, but traveled and camped with the Hayden party or not, as suited their mutual convenience. His orders stated he was to have "one noncommissioned officer and five mounted cavalrymen to be under his special orders for this expedition," making it clear he was not in actual command of the regular escort. Therefore, the Government was simultaneously making two technical studies of the Yellowstone Park region. Professor Hayden was in charge of one party, representing the Interior Department, while Captain Barlow was making an independent study as the representative of the Army.

Captain Barlow's diary, later published in his report, Senate Executive Document 66, Forty-second Congress, second session, gives no indication but what the arrangement was very satisfactory, and all the contacts between the two parties, including its leaders, entirely agreeable. It may be inferred, however, from the very brevity of his references to the Barlow party that Professor Hayden did not enthuse over his unexpected company. In his preliminary report Professor Hayden referred to the escort as being under command of Captain Tyler and Lieutenant Grugan "under the direction of Col. J. W. Barlow and Capt. D. P. Heap of the Engineer Corps and the party under my charge." He otherwise always referred to the Barlow-Heap expedition as if it were entirely apart from his own. In his preliminary report he says that Barlow and Heap "made an exploration of the Yellowstone Basin during the past year," and in his introduction to the Moran collection of Yellowstone pictures in 1876 he speaks of the Barlow expedition as if it were an entirely separate expedition from his own. It would have been quite human for Hayden to mentally resent the presence of another well organized party landing itself into the scene of his own exploration problem. The interest of the whole country was aroused and public attention was turned toward the Yellowstone. The Hayden expedition was well provided with technical experts, including geologists, botanists and other scientists and also a noted artist and a notably competent photographer. Then they find they are to have a rival expedition journeying with them, including in its number a photographer. There is no evidence that he manifested anything except cordiality during their travels, but he forgot Barlow as fully as possible thereafter.

The Barlow report of 43 pages was sent to Congress and printed as a public document April 18, 1872, after the Yellowstone Park bill had become law. Some extracts from it appeared in the Chicago Journal of January 13, 1872, but no reference to the Barlow report appears in the brief congressional debates.

The Washburn expedition of the year before, having no photographer with them, brought back somewhat crude drawings by Walter Trumbull and Pvt. Charles Moore as the first sketches of Yellowstone Park scenery ever to be published. The Hayden party, through the presence of Thomas Moran, secured paintings of Yellowstone Park scenery which are famous. Also William H. Jackson, their photographer, secured a series of photographs which were after their return handsomely reproduced and are remarkably fine, notwithstanding the difficulties which had to be overcome in that early stage of the photographic art.

The Barlow party were not so fortunate in connection with their photography. A Thomas J. Hine, so Captain Barlow reports, had about 200 negatives of "beautiful views of lake and mountain scenery, including photographs of some of the largest geysers taken while in action." These were taken to the military division headquarters at Chicago and destroyed with the meteorlogical records of the expedition in the great Chicago fire in October, 1871. Captain Barlow says "16 prints were made the day previous to the fire, which Mr. Hine saved. These will but serve as a sample of those destroyed." Whether these prints were sent to the War Department with Captain Barlow's report, I have found no evidence of their ever having been published officially otherwise. Informal inquiry made by telephone by me at the office of the Adjutant General has met with very kind cooperation in that office, but they advise me that they can not locate the prints in their files or in the office of the Chief Engineer.

The Hayden party left Ogden City about June 1, and spent the entire season in their work. Professor Hayden's report to Secretary Delano was dated February 20, 1872. Articles by him with reference to the Yellowstone Park region appeared in the American Journal of Science and Arts and in Scribner's for February, 1872.

In his Scribner's article, page 396, which was probably in the hands of the public in January, Hayden says:

"Why will not Congress at once pass a law setting it apart as a great public park for all time to come as has been done with that far inferior wonder, the Yosemite Valley?"

As to the article in the American Journal of Science and Arts for February, 1872, the pamphlet copy in the Library of Congress is inscribed "To Hon. J. A. Garfield with compliments of F. V. Hayden." Garfield had that session succeeded Dawes as Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations. Hayden closes this article:

"A bill has been introduced into Congress which has for its purpose the setting apart of this wonderland as a great National Park for all time. We have, as a precedent, a similar action with regard to the Yosemite Valley, and this noble act has met with the hearty approval of the people. The speedy passage of this bill, which will prevent squatters from taking possession of the springs and destroying the beautiful decorations, will also meet with the cordial approval of all classes. We hope that before this article is published to the world the act will have become law."

<<< Previous <<< Contents>>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 09-Dec-2011