Sep 26, 2019 - Sale 2517

Sale 2517 - Lot 240

Price Realized: $ 6,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(WEST.) Papers of Judge William A. Carter, the leading merchant of Fort Bridger, Wyoming. 61 items in one folder: 36 letters (mostly to Carter) and 25 receipts and other documents; moderate wear. Vp, 1859-1871 and 1880

Additional Details

William Alexander Carter (1818-1881) came to Fort Bridger in Wyoming Territory as a civilian sutler in 1857, spending decades there as a merchant, judge, postmaster, cattle baron and more. Included here are two retained draft 1859 letters from Carter to an officer at Fort Bridger with detailed preparations for his arrival at sutler; and his 1863 letter to wife Mary describing a trip to Lake Tahoe and recalling his Gold Rush years in Placerville, CA. Frequent topics include cattle, and searches for relatives who had gone missing on the road west. Two January 1864 letters discuss stray mail pouches en route between Fort Bridger and Latham, CO, written by the Latham postmaster Frank Root, later a well-known journalist. Two letters from May-June 1864 are on the letterhead of the "Overland Stage Line, Ben Holladay, prop'r." An April 1868 letter to Judge Carter's relative Richard Carter at Fort Bridger calls him to task for "the daily recurrence of disgraceful & brutal fights in and about your bar. . . . Scarcely a day passes in which some members of the garrison or a citizen is not brutally beaten, the disturbance arising always in drunkenness." A March 1871 letter from Camp Brown (a.k.a. Fort Washakie), WY describes the new general store launched there, with a 10-page inventory of goods. An undated table lists the distances from Fort Bridger to 24 different Beaver Head gold mines, presumably for calculating delivery rates. Also included are mining claims from the Fort Bridger area dated 17 September 1864, 30 May 1865, 4 September 1865, 4 October 1867, 1 April 1868, and 13 June 1868. The letters are addressed from all over the mountain west: Idaho, Utah, California, Colorado. Provenance: From the famed Western Americana collection of Herbert S. Auerbach (see lots 150 to 156, and 226 to 231).