The Journal of Chase P. Ambler

1899 - Fort Washakie, Wyoming

This web page presents a small part of the Journal written by Dr. Chase P. Ambler chronicling his hunting trip to the Wind River - Jackson Hole area and Yellowstone Park in Wyoming.

The typed text at the left of each section below is an entire transcription of the Journal entries for the dates September 10 through September 13, 1899, when CPA was at Fort Washakie, Wyoming. The printed text (on white back ground) is the corresponding text from The American Field series of articles written by CPA, printed in 1900. The photographs are from the collection of original photos taken by CPA on this trip, many of which were used to illustrate the American Field article. Occasional editorial comments are in []...

[Sept] 10 th

Slight snow during night. Still
on desert. Sage hens, prairie dogs &
sage hens. Mtns 30 mi to W[est] cov-
ered with snow this a.m.
Drove all day over the same kind
country as yesterday. Am getting terribly
sun burned as there is never a
cloud to be seen. Wind blows
constantly too. Alkali dust is
something terrible. My lips are
as cracked and dry I can hardly
open. Lips bleeding all
morning. Have had to quit
smoking because I can’t spit on
account of sore lips.
Landor at 1 o’clock. Bought dinner.
It is hotter than H--- & the
sun does beat down terribly on us
in the open wagon.
-------------------------------------------- page 22


[ Appears to be a little creative writing going on here.
The "following paragraph" is not in his journal.... ]

Arrived at Ft Washakie at 5 o’clock.
By the way, no one knows it is Sunday.
Boys fishing, farmers working.
Saloons are open at Lander & etc.

Ft Washakie is situated at foot of
Wind River Mts. Found Lieutenant
Overton away on a hunt.
He returned at night however &
found [?] me a pack train in Jackson.
He is a good fellow.
Found a N.C. boy Koon by name.
He is a soldier, sergeant. Will go along.


[Sept ] 11

Up at 6. Lieutenant Overton invited me
to come to his home to remain. Went
to trader's store & bought trinkets.



Photo by PSA 2007

Spent morning with Dr. Godfry among
the Indians.

Photographed squaw today
with papoose sucking bottle.





This p.m. went down to the Hot Spgs.
Their opening is a pool right in the
------------------------------------------ page 23
plains. Pool 100 yards across & in the
center the water bubbles up over a place
about 20 ft across. We all went
in swimming but the water is too
hot being 116. I was in about 5
min & after coming out got very
dizzy & everything got black about
me. The pool furnishes water to
make a drain 18 ft wide & 6 in
deep. 50 yds away is a cold spring.


From there went to an
Asphaltum spring, about 1 mile away.
Liquid asphalt boils up right
on the plains over a place about
100 yards across. The edges are cold
& hard on top. One can walk
on it but must keep moving about
or he would slowly sink in.
Am going tomorrow to see an old Chief
Washakie. Want to photograph him.
Am going to trade my shot gun
---------------------------------------- page 24
for pony outfit. I find I cannot
carry as much baggage. Costs too much.
Have got to have a revolver & can
get both gun & pony that way.
Mrs Overton has been very nice
to me She is from Kentucky.
Have not shot my gun off yet.


Sept 12.

Up at 6. Went trout fishing
At 6:30 6 mi up the Wind River.
The stream is 50 ft wide. Cold &
clear, direct from snow which is in
sight of ___ [me] as I write.
At this place the stream runs through
the plains & the bed & banks is made
up of boulders 4 ft through which have
rolled down the mountain.
We went in army wagon, & truly
such driving I never saw. We left
the road & drove 2 mi over stones
with an average of 2 ft in
diameter & 6 ft apart. I got out
------------------------------------ page 25
and walked. Lieut. Overton went along.
He fished with minnows & I fished
with flies. He caught the most but
I think I had the most sport. We
caught probably 100. Largest 7 lbs,
smallest abt ¾ lb. The Wind River
is the finest trout plain I ever saw.
Was in water to waist & it was cold.
We had fish for dinner. Good.

[Interesting that CPA chose to downplay the fishing
experience as recorded in his Journal.]

This p.m. old Chief Washakie
was at fort. Took his photograph.
He is chief of the [Shoshones]. 102 years old.
He is very intelligent. Can speak English.
& is quite spry. Rode on horseback 7 mi.


Later went to his
Tepee & photographed his sons &
son’s squaw in costume. I do
hope these turn out good as it made
a fine picture. Charlie Washakie
was dressed in war bonnet. Squaw
had on a dress decorated with
--------------------------------------------- page 26
over 100 elks teeth.



Also photographed
tepee & papoose.                        


Later got a shot at a crowd of
Indians gambling. They play a
queer game requiring no skill
& are strictly honest in their game.



This evening called on Mr. Moore,
fort trader. He has an elegant rug
made of grizzly hide with head all
mounted. Was killed near Dubois.
Tomorrow we get ready our pack train
& expect to start Thursday.

[The Chief Washakie Foundation website
confirms the 19 February 1900 date].


[Sept] 13 th

Bought pony for $19.00 this a.m. A little
beauty. First thing he did was to
break loose. He is a good rider
but bought on the 13 th???
Have been all day getting together
packs & grub. We are now ready to
depart in the a.m. Took a long ride
down to Indian Agency with Lieut.
-------------------------------------------- page 27
Overton today. He is a fine fellow. He
gave me 2 qts whisky bought to take along.
He loaned me saddle blankets & revolver.
No man could be kinder than he has been.


For more on Chief Washakie see the excellent
Chief Washakie Foundation website. See especially the photographs , Exhibits, posted by H. Stamm.

Today photographed some paintings
done by old Chief Washakie. They are
painted on skins & represent his life
by illustrations. Painted in color.
I would like to have but cannot
get same.

Also photographed the troop
of cavalry galloping across the plain.

If I don’t look like a tough when
I get fixed up it will be queer.
Poncho, army hat, rifle, lasso, quirt,
canvas suit, spurs, ammunition belt
revolver & holster, Indian gloves, big
pack behind saddle & pack train.
Big chief, Big medicine man from
Great father Ugh Ugh.

Sept 14th

9 p.m. Left Washakie at 11a.m.
In rain. Been raining all day......

Close Window       Top of this Page

Copyright Peter S. Ambler 2008