This information came from an interview of R. H. Durley, of Potosi,
as reported in The Gillette News-Record on Friday, January 21, 1938).
Gillette is one of the youngest towns in the state of Wyoming. This
it is in a sparsely populated range and grazing area. Today the citizens
town would be living in Donkey Town instead of Gillette if it had not
been for a
surveyor of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. The original road
south of the Wyodak coal mine, followed Donkey Creek to the divide
and then down
Hay Creek and Wildhorse.
Donkey Town was started on the divide and it was a tent town. In fact,
original grade is on the Charles Cook place southwest of town.
The rade shows for
some distance today, a remarkable thing when in fact it was made
with mule teams
and scrapers, very light in weight considering dirt moving equipment
Edward Gillette, a surveyor, found a shorter route which saved 30
bridges and came by the present site of Gillette. For this service,
the town of
Gillette was named in honor of him.
Frank Murrey, Robert and George Durley, brothers, and Charles T. Weir,
young and sturdy boy of pioneer stock arrived, employed by the railroad
filed pre-emption rights each on 160 acres of land, entering in Rock
up which the Burlington survey had been made and in which the town
now stands. The law required a house should be built thereon;
having resided on these filings for six months and having paid the
$1.25 an acre they acquired the title to the land. Their patents to
were issued July 25,1891, signed by Benjamin Harrison, president.
In July 189 I, the city was platted and lots were sold. The railroad
town August 10 of the same year. Within three months from the sale
Gillette was a thriving little city with a perfect organization from
a mayor to
the justice of the peace. Judge Alden was the first justice of the
Gillette News was published by Judge Alden, assisted by John Taylor.
The city was represented by all branches of business. Kilpatrick Brothers
Collins, the railroad contractors, were the proprietors of a large
Hunter Bowen was the manager and Mr. Jordon was head bookkeeper. T.
was the proprietor of a large general store. His store was located
on the east
side of Main Street. Daly Brothers had a general store on the west
side of the
street and Adams Brothers were the proprietors of a large grocery store.
Harry Chassell was manager of the Adams Store which was on the east
side of the
street. Preston Brothers conducted a large general store with A. Payne
assistant manager. The store was located on the corner of the first
on the west side of Main. August Kettleson and Co. operated a hardware
John Westinghouse ran a "gent's" furnishing goods store on the west
side of the
The drug store was in charge of Elmer Miller and was located on the
west side of
Main Street. Willis Ridgeway was manager of the wholesale liquor house
also on the west side of the street. Melvin Hatfield was the proprietor
confectionery and ice cream parlor. A.T. Spencer ran a grocery store.
had two meat markets. Mr. Brown ran one and E. C. Hall's shop was
the one near the post office on the street west of Main Street (which
was in the
west part of the present Edelman Block in a log house).
The bank and store were on the west side of Main Street. John Larimor
cashier and Rod Stone, clerk and assistant cashier. (John Larimor was
ex-contractor. He had done some of the grade at Rozet for Kilpatrick
who had the contract for the building of the railroad. The late Harry
said he was a scalper as he charged 10 per cent on every check he cashed,
however, no one else cashed checks. The bank was nothing fancy, and
in the store
he carried a few groceries.) Mrs. Livingston was the postmistress.
office was located on the street running east and west (Second Street),
the bank and on the south side of the street. Miss
Bea Livingston was the clerk.
The first boarding house was located on the street facing the railroad,
the corner of Main Street. Mr. and Mrs. Stafford were the proprietors.
Mr. Parks opened a restaurant on the east side of Main Street (not
related to W.
P. Parks). Frank Kies, a Chinese, had a restaurant in the Durley and
building on the west side of the street.
Gillette was well represented with refreshment stands and dance halls.
were seven saloons and three dance halls. Ed Fitch, father of Glenn
Fitch, ran a
dance hall and saloon on the street facing the depot, west of Main
Christian had a dance hall and saloon on the west side of Main Street.
Hartman and Jack Marley's saloon was on the southeast corner of Main
Ditto Brothers' place, and Charley Blackwell's place and a dance hall
owned by Olsen and Fields also Dave Lee's place were all located on
side of the street. Dave Lee was known as "Scrub Peeler."
The drug store owned by Mr. Higley was on the east side of the street,
Hill kept a boarding house on the street running east and west from
The Hatfield Brothers owned and operated a large livery stable on the
side of the street from the post office. The laundry was run by Sam
and Jimmy Hart were the photographers. Baumen and Fitzsimmons were
There was a blacksmith shop around the corner from Daly's store, and
place between the Daly and Murrey building, which was occupied by a
Charley Sharp was the hotel man. The Hotel Windsor was on the east side
in the second block south. Mr. Cartwright was the shoe cobbler; and
south of the Daly store.
Gillette's water supply came from Donkey Springs (believe this was from
I Bar U now owned by Moran's east of Wyodak) and the water sold for
barrel. Ice was packed in coal slack and sold for two cents a pound.
Brothers were the water, ice and coal haulers. Gillette's milk supply
furnished by Mike Shay. His dairy was located east of the city.
This ends the first part of Mr. Murrey's story. In interviews with Harry
Chassell, many of the facts in this interview agree. It seemed Gillette
thriving place. The country was sparsely settled but the building of
railroad brought many people.
The May 14 issue of the Sheridan Post in 1889 carried the following
"The B & M (Burlington and Missouri R. R. as the road was known)
has a force of
4,000 men at work on its extension which is just nearing the edge of
County. Additional forces are constantly going to the front." This
phrase used to signify the place where the rails had reached.
After the railroad was extended beyond Gillette and the commissary moved,
Gillette declined. A fire destroyed many buildings and many were torn
1894, there were only two saloons, two stores and a restaurant remaining.
[scanning and ocr done by Suzanne
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