SWEETWATER COUNTY — A Green River man served as a top noncommissioned officer in one of the three horse cavalry Rough Rider units created for the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Frank Kidd was first sergeant of Company F, 2nd Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Col. Jay F. Torrey of the Embar Ranch west of Thermopolis, known as “Torrey’s Rough Riders,” according to a press release.
Congress authorized formation of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Volunteer Cavalry regiments for the war against Spain and called for outdoorsmen from the west to man them, including cowboys, blacksmiths, lawmen, miners, hunters, and Native Americans. The 1st Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Col. Leonard Wood and Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, was dubbed the Rough Riders by the press, and the nickname carried over to the other regiments as well.
Of the 842 troopers in “Torrey’s Rough Riders,” nearly 600 were from Wyoming. Most of the men in Company E were from Weston, Sheridan, or Crook counties, Albany County provided men for G Company, and Company F was made up primarily by men from Sweetwater and Laramie counties. Troopers from Nevada, Colorado, Idaho and Utah also served in the regiment, according to the release.
The regiment was officially formed at Fort D. A. Russell, now Warren Air Force Base, in Cheyenne in May 1898. After a period of intensive training, the 2nd was ordered to Jacksonville, Florida, a staging area for troops en-route to Cuba. On June 26, however, the two trains carrying the troopers and their horses were involved in a major crash near Tupelo, Mississippi. Five men were killed and 15 were injured. After several days’ delay, the regiment finally arrived at Jacksonville, but the war ended before it could be deployed to Cuba.
Though it saw no combat, the regiment lost more than 30 men to typhoid fever in Jacksonville. With the war over, it returned to Fort D.A. Russell, were it was mustered out in October 1898.
In 1900, Kidd married Maria “Mayme” Viox, whose father owned a meat market on Railroad Avenue in Green River. Over the years, he served as town marshal of Green River, undersheriff of Sweetwater County, a carpenter, and a worker at the post office, now the home of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum.
Frank Kidd died in 1954. Mayme lived to be 101, passing away in 1981.