Local Mystery

OK, all you internet gurus…  I have a search for you!  On our little geology trip the other day, our neighbor showed us this.


I know you can’t see it well here, but this gives you a perspective.  Halfway up the steep slope, under a little overhang…


A cross is in a recessed rectangle… then “1784 B. E. AZH”.  Now, my neighbor called it a reversed “S” not a “Z”, so it would read “ASH”.

Could even be “Azlt” if you want to make it so, but that’s just to give us options!  Now, around here, 1784 is EARLY!  WAY EARLY.  It is much more likely to be 1874!  Lewis and Clark started out in 1804, and they didn’t come this far south.  A lost Spanish priest?  With the name of Ash?  Hmmmmm.

Could be a fake.

But how curious to add the cross, don’t you think?

I suppose we’ll never know, but it definitely ranks as a local mystery!

Any historians out there?  Here’s your research project!!


Local Mystery — 11 Comments

  1. You might start with Dirk Pitt of Clive Cusslers books! But…….it could be antiquity, too.
    I remember seeing the ten fingers and teepees on a rock in Ten Sleep canyon before they changed the highway when I was a child. That’s why they named it Ten Sleep.
    Good luck!

  2. Popped a note to a contact at the UW Archeology dept and here is what he knew about it.
    Yup. Seen this before, Doc Frison has some photos of it, and I did a project up there around 1997-8. What you don’t see in the blog is a Scottish/ French style cross in a square that is next to the date. Looks like it is probably during the era when the Hudson Bay Company was expanding and trying to claim territory against the trappers and traders coming out of the Vancouver area. loooong before the Ft. laramie era. Interesting stuff. The name is getting real weathered compared to the pics Frison has from the 1960s. I don’t recall exactly what the name was, but it is really close to one of the known Factors for what would become the Hudson Bay trading post around 1800. I suspect there were other Euros here long before Lewis and Clark and Colter. They weren’t traveling in a complete vacuum. Three have been Spanish bridles and stirrips and pommel horns from the 1700s found up in that area as well. The trade gun that your grandftather had was probably from the same time period.

    • Thanks for that… I heard Frison thought it was a fake. I’m not sure what Scottish/French style cross he mentions, and I’m curious about that. Is it different from the one in my picture? It goes without saying that other Europeans were wandering around, but the Big Horn Basin is NOT a major route. I’d also like to know more about the Spanish tack found in this area! Thanks for sending this on…

      • I asked if it was a second one and then he saw the one in the picture and said it was the same one. For other info on the area try contacting Rick Weathermon at U.W. He is the curator at the U.W. Anthropology museum and teaches some of the summer archaeology field schools. He might be able to dig up a little more for you and usually loves a good mystery.

  3. This is really neat! I would say just because your little wanderings don’t make it into the history books doesn’t make them any less real!! Maybe someday his story will come to light.

  4. Here’s just a part on Wyoming on Wikipedia……….John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was probably the first white American to enter the region in 1807. His reports of the Yellowstone area were considered at the time to be fictional. Robert Stuart and a party of five men returning from Astoria discovered South Pass in 1812. The route was later followed by the Oregon Trail. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass, which was later used by both the Union Pacific Railroad in 1868, and in the 20th century by Interstate 80.

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