Pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson and historian Dan. W. Greenburg are seen at South Pass near a monument to Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Eliza Hart Spaulding in this undated, uncredited photograph from the Wyoming State Archives Photo Collection. (Wyoming State Archives negative # 6200)

Saturday is National Trails Day, created by the American Hiking Society to recognize and celebrate myriad trails across the country and the benefit they bring to society. In Wyoming, perhaps no trail is more famous than the Oregon Trail, which stretches more than 2,000 miles from the Missouri River region to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Approximately 420 miles are in Wyoming, including the trail’s highest point, South Pass, at 7,411 feet.

The photograph above from the Wyoming State Archives Photo Collection (negative # 6200) shows Dan. W. Greenburg and William Henry Jackson, according to caption information. They stand next to a monument commemorating Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Eliza Hart Spaulding (or Spalding), the first white women to cross South Pass on July 4, 1836.

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Whitman, a missionary, founded the Protestant Whitman Mission with her husband Marcus, near what is now Walla Walla, Washington (Wikipedia).

While the photographer of the image above is unknown, one of the subjects — pioneer photographer Jackson — visited South Pass City in 1870, according to Wyoming historian Greenburg, however, was not born until 1876, so it’s likely it depicts a later visit to the pass by Jackson. The image is undated in the state archives.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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  1. Nice story! And aside from Jackson, it’s also good to see Dan Greenburg in the photo and included in the discussion. Greenburg was everywhere in Wyoming in the 1920s and 1930s, working for Standard Oil / Midwest Oil and writing local history and economic survey pieces for Midwest Review (which he edited) and then running the State Planning Board in the New Deal years.