It's 1870 in the Wind River Valley of Wyoming.

Prospectors search for gold.

Local Native Americans want them out.

This leads to a slew of dead prospectors.

It's here that we learn about the exceptional death of Harvey Morgan.

"He had the misfortune of overestimating his abilities," said Randy Wise, director of the Fremont County Pioneer Museum, where Harvey's skull has been on display for over 100 years. (Road Side America).

It was June 27, 1870.

Some passing calvary warned Harvey and two companions on a wagon not to go into the Wind River Valley.

But the trio thought they could handle it, so they went in anyway.

They were ambushed.

attachment-Lander Museum Harvey
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Harvey was found later that evening by the same cavalry group that had warned them about hostile Indian activity.

Harvey's body was surrounded by spent ammunition.

He might have been the last man standing when he died.

What shocked the people who found him was a spike from the wagon, pounded sideways through his head.

Harvey's martyrdom quickly became a local legend, marked with a rock memorial and visited by U.S. President Chester A. Arthur on his 1883 trip to Yellowstone. (Road Side America).

Their bodies were buried on the spot where they died. To this day, that area is referred to as Dead Man's Gulch.

Later the bodies were dug up and moved to Camp Auger. Camp Auger later became the town of Lander. That is when the grave was rediscovered while a water line was being dug.

The diggers knew about Harvey and knew who he was by the spike that was still in his head.

They saved the skull and did not bury it.

"He didn't want the memory of the frontier to vanish," said Randy, so Ed donated Harvey's impaled head to the town. It became Wyoming relic #1. "It's the first artifact in the first Wyoming history museum," said Randy.

Harvey's head is displayed in a prominent spot in the museum, its spike now wedged into place for over 150 years.

An image of the skull is featured on a refrigerator magnet sold in the museum gift shop.

Almost Forgotton Wyoming Cemetary

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

Reading The Past - Chugwater Wyoming Newspaper

These pages of the old Chugwter Wyoming newspaper show us coverage of the region from back in the 1940s.

There was little local news, other than the war.

But what was published at the time was important to the people of the area.

It was, in most case, the only news they had from outside their little ranch or town.

Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods

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