Mary Homsley died
here in 1852 after a short but difficult journey. She gave birth to a
son somewhere in Nebraska
which left her in a weakened state. Soon thereafter, she and the child
both developed measles. Probably seeking medical care, her wagon train
decided to cross the river to go to Fort Laramie. The crossing was a disaster.
Mary and the child were both thrown into the river. Although they were
rescued, they became severely chilled and Mary died the next day, June
Her broken sandstone headstone was discovered in 1925 by some passing
cowboys. A story on the discovery, "Who Was Mary Homsley?,"
ran in an Oregon newspaper where Mary’s daughter, Lura, then 76 years
old, saw it. Lura had been three years old when her mother died and she
remembered the details with remarkable clarity. She had spent a lifetime
wondering where her mother was buried and, while she was never able to
make the journey to visit the grave, she died knowing her mother would
not be forgotten by history.
Service Comprehensive Management Plan
The original headstone has been placed in a large stone obelisk and
encased in glass. A wooden fence protects the site which has also been
marked by the Oregon-California Trails Association.
No known threats. The site is not listed on the National Register.
Private. Access open to public.
[Owned by Charles Potter, Fort Laramie, WY 82212, (307) 837-2797.]
Goshen County, Wyoming. T26N/R64W
From the river bridge
between the town of Fort Laramie and Fort Laramie National Historic Site,
travel west .7 mile and turn right on a county gravel road. In 1.2 miles,
turn right. The grave is another .2 mile north.
From the Fort Laramie NHS entrance, the road leading to the grave is a
left turn in one mile. While rugged, the route is passable by passenger
vehicles. Signs erected by the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management provide
general directions to both the grave and the "Bedlam Ruts,"
further up the hill above and to the west of the Homsley grave. The "Bedlam
Ruts" are administered by the BLM.
An interview with Mary Homsley’s daughter, Lura Homsley Gibson, can
be found in The Lockley Files: Conversations with Pioneer Women,
by Fred Lockley, edited by Mike Helm (Eugene, OR: Rainy Day Press,
1981), pp. 173-76.