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Lost Soldier Pass - The Search For Lost Soldier Pass

Highway 287
Larry E. Heck | Writer
Posted April 1, 2010

Rawlins Stage To Lander

"Lost Soldier Pass?" Cindy Brown repeated as a question. "Where is it?" Lone Writer was looking for information on Lost Soldier Pass. Several days on the phone and on the Internet had produced very little. Finding it started out as simple curiosity, but gradually became one of those things he just could not let go. His call to the Wyoming State Archives in Cheyenne was taken by Cindy Brown, a reference archivist.

"I think it's north of Rawlins," Lone Writer offered. "I found a Lost Soldier Basin, a Lost Soldier Creek, and Lost Soldier Mountain Range, but there does not seem to be a pass over the mountains with that name."

A few days later, Lone Writer received an email from Brown. The email included the scan of a map nearly 100 years old showing the existing roads at the turn of the century. She had not found a Lost Soldier Pass but there was a Lost Soldier Station on the stage route from Rawlins to Lander. Lone Writer recalled that one reference put the meeting place at Lost Soldier Stage Station even though many others had called it Lost Soldier Pass.

The meeting in question occurred in October of 1899 (the date varies depending on the reference used). Butch Cassidy was 34 years old and wanted to retire from the outlaw lifestyle without going to jail. He first contacted Douglas Preston, an attorney he had previously paid to defend another outlaw named Matt Warner. He also contacted Judge Powers in Salt Lake City and Governor Wells of Utah.

He was offered amnesty if he would go to work as an express guard for the Union Pacific Railroad. The deal was to be officially signed at Lost Soldier Stage Station or Pass. Since there is nothing to suggest a pass ever existed with that name, Lone Writer decided to accept the stage station as the most likely meeting place.

Making that assumption was a giant leap for the mission to find the meeting place, but there was still a major mystery to solve. It seemed no one knew where the Lost Soldier Stage Station was. In fact, numerous phone calls and many hours of Internet surfing could not even produce the exact route the stage used. A journal was found written by Colonel Richard Hulbert Wilson in 1897, describing his ride on the stage. It included the names of the stage stations and numerous landmarks. The information in the journal was enough to get the tires rolling.

During the month of July, Lone Writer arrived in Lander on the way back from another adventure and stopped at the BLM office. He met Craig Bromley, a BLM archeologist. The Lander field office had done a lot of work in mapping the century-old stage route. Craig Bromley was able to provide maps and numerous stories that were very helpful, but the Lost Soldier Stage Station was not within the Lander Field Office boundaries. He had no information on where it was.

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