William Thomas grave along I-90

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If you get off the interstate at Reed and head west on the old frontage road, about three miles east of Grey Cliff you’ll pass an old highway marker.

Text of historical highway sign: In 1866 William Thomas, his son Charles, and a driver named Schultz left southern Illinois bound for the Gallatin Valley, Montana. Travelling by covered wagon they joined a prairie schooner outfit at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and started over the Bridger Trail. The train was escorted by troops detailed to build a fort (D.F. Smith) on the Big Horn River.

From the site of this fort the Thomas party pushed on alone. A few days later they were killed at this spot by hostile Indians. Emigrants found the bodies and buried them in one grave.

The meager details which sifted back greatly impressed William Thomas’ seven year old nephew. Seventy-one years later (1937) this nephew closely followed the Bridger Trail by car and succeeded in locating the almost forgotten grave.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 05/02 at 12:49 AM






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