|One of the quests on our current trip was to visit Douglas, Wyoming where my father was born; and where I had never been. I didn't know much about the family history. We visited the local museum, where we found that my great grandfather had come to Douglas in 1880, where he owned and operated the LaBonte Creek stage station about 10 miles south of Douglas. this station had been established on the Oregon Trail at the crossing of LaBonte Creek near its confluence with the North Platte River. It was a station on the Pony Express Route, a telegraph station on the first transcontinental line, and the site of Camp Marshall, which was a small fort built to protect the trails from hostile Indians in the 1860s to the 1880s. My greatgrandfather had been postmaster for many years, county commissioner and community leader.
We visited the site of the LaBonte station (Later known as the LaBonte Road Ranch) and took photos of the old barn and the trail ruts crossing the ridge west of the creek crossing. At the museum we found artifacts of the cavalry fort that had been recovered at the ranch. At the cemetary we found the family plot with grave stones for my great grandparents and my grandfather's siblings as well as a marker for a child who would have been my uncle. My great Uncle Harry had owned and operated the LaBonte Ranch until 1917, then moved to town and ran a saddle and harness shop until the 1950s. The saddle shop is still in business as a western wear and boot shop which still sells saddles and does harness and saddle repair. The proprietor said she had recently sold two saddles that my uncle had made in the 50s that were still in use by cowboys.
My grandfather had moved from the Douglas area when my father was a 3-year old child (in 1903), and I don't know much about their life from then until about 1915, except that my father went through grade school in Belle fourche, South Dakota, so that is where we are headed in the next couple of days to check out the museum.