This is the seventh in a series of articles about veterans who are buried in the Rock Springs cemetery who do not have a gravestone. The High Desert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is working with others in the community, including the Rock Springs Historical Museum, American Legion and Auxiliary, Vase Funeral Home, Veterans Service Office, Rocket Miner, and Rock Springs Cemetery to recognize the service of these men.
Two of our forgotten heroes were assigned to Camp Pilot Butte, which was built in response to the Chinese Massacre. The Rock Springs Chinese Massacre occurred on Sept. 2, 1885. A group of 150 miners attacked the Chinatown section of Rock Springs, setting fires and killing approximately 28 Chinese workers. The remaining Chinese workers fled the area.
In response to this attack, Wyoming Territorial Gov. Francis Warren ordered for two companies from the 7th United States Infantry to be sent into the Wyoming Territory. One was posted to Evanston and the other was posted to Rock Springs. On Sept. 9, 1885, six more companies from the 7th U.S. Infantry from Fort Bridger and Camp Douglas arrived. Four companies escorted the Chinese refugees, who had fled the area, back to Rock Springs. The arrival of the troops and the placement of the Chinese under the protective custody of the Army calmed the situation down and all but two companies of troops were returned to their original posts.
The parade ground of Camp Pilot Butte is now bounded on the west by Soulsby Street, on the east by Pilot Butte Avenue, on the north by Bridger Avenue (U.S. 30) and on the south by Elias Avenue. The post was officially closed on March 3, 1899. The former post was then used by the Union Pacific Coal Company until 1950. One barracks was then rebuilt and refaced with brick, used as a school building by the Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church. This building has been demolished. Another former barracks is (was ?) located across the street from the church, used as private apartments. The property is currently owned by the Diocese of Cheyenne.
James H. Long was born on Jan. 24, 1863, in Albany, New York. The son of Irish Immigrants, James first enlisted in the army in February 1884 at the age of 21 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served with the 7th Infantry, Company D. He was stationed in various places and was discharged at on Jan. 31, 1889. Mr. Long enlisted a second time in Albany, New York on April 2, 1890. He was assigned to the 20th Infantry Regiment and stationed at Fort Sully, South Dakota, through the winter campaign of 1890-1891. He was then stationed at Fort Logan, Denver, Colorado. He was discharged at Camp Pilot Butte on June 30, 1893.
It was while he was stationed at Camp Pilot Butte that he met and married Jennie Gardner. Jennie and James married in Rock Springs on Oct. 15, 1892. The family lived briefly in Kemmerer and La Grande, Oregon. It was when living in La Grande that James lost his wife at the age of 43. Ten children were born of their union.
After Jennie’s untimely death, James Long returned to Rock Springs and worked as a hoist engineer for Gunn Coal Company. He passed away in Rock Springs on Oct. 22, 1924, at the age of 61.
William McDonough was born circa 1855 in County Mayo, Ireland. He enlisted in the 7th Infantry Co. A at Camp Pilot Butte on Aug. 15, 1888, at age 33. He was discharged on July 13, 1890, at Camp Pilot Butte.
He remained in the Rock Springs area until his death on Oct. 1, 1927, at age 72. He was hospitalized for 15 days before he died of heart disease. During the years just before his death, he was a trapper in the Black Butte area. He was survived by a brother in New Jersey. According to the 1920 census, he was living by himself on K Street and it said he had immigrated in 1870 and was naturalized in 1896.
The High Desert Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) continues to work on the gravestone project for veterans in the Rock Springs Cemetery who do not have a gravestone. So far, 35 applications have been submitted to the Veterans Administration via the Veterans Service Office, nine have been placed, 10 have arrived and are waiting to be placed in the spring, and additional research is being done on other veterans.
Sources for this article include Ancestry.com; “Fort Laramie and the Pageant of the West” by Leroy R. Hafen; Margie Dreiling of Cheyenne, granddaughter of William Long; FortWiki.com and the Wyoming State Historical Society.