#Lookback: Milton White’s Western Life

by | Dec 13, 2019 12:01PM

A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Milton White, and his wife Mary, spent nearly 60 years in the Dubois area. Milton was born in 1901 and raised on a ranch along the Platte River in western Nebraska. He left home at the ripe old age of 14, setting off for the wilds of Idaho for a few years before coming to settle in Wyoming. He met Mary near Lander in 1924, when she taught at Fort Washakie, and the couple married in June of 1925. They lived in Lander until 1928, when the couple and their one-year old twin girls moved to Trail Lake Dude Ranch. There, Milton worked as a foreman for Charlie and Sue Beck. He built many of the buildings on the remote and rustically beautiful ranch 12 miles outside of Dubois.

Milt and Mary spent the next 20 years at Trail Lake Ranch, nestled in Torrey Valley. The dudes who visited the ranches idolized Milt as a typical western cowboy. His skills with horses and as an outfitter allowed him to take and lead many pack trips up the valley and into the Wind River Mountains. He, Mary, and their friend Jim Stewart frequently fished in Lake Louise, a glacier lake sitting in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness.

Barrel chested with dark sweptback hair and stern features, Milt was a man with many talents. Milton climbed the mountains and glaciers surrounding Granite Peak and performed all the duties of a cattle rancher. He and his wife raised their twin girls as well as a foster daughter in the valley until high school. With only a 10th grade education himself, Milton did not want for knowledge. As a skilled carpenter, he often made his own blueprints and said he learned by trial and error and by reading everything he could find on the subject. Many buildings around the Wind River Valley were built by Milt’s hands alone.

He also became a successful, self-taught photographer. His photos appeared in publications like “Outdoor Life,” “Better Homes and Gardens,” and Wyoming travel brochures. Some of his work even hung in the state capitol building in Cheyenne. Milt would pass away in April of 1986, and Mary followed him in October 1987. Their contributions to Dubois over the years were myriad, but their most profound gifts, according to those who knew them, was their spirit.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

December 14th at the Riverton Museum, “Old Time Christmas Decorations”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

December 14th at the Riverton Museum, “Christmas Open House”

January 16th at the Riverton Museum, 6:30pm “Routine Patrol” by Bart Ringer

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

Consider supporting The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander or the Riverton Museum with a monetary donation. The museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.

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