A Rock Springs Snapshot
- Hits: 181
Photo #1 - Sweetwater County Historical Museum Executive Director Dave Mead, at left, and Eric Peterson, whose 2nd great grandfather was Frank Goodman, who signed on with John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition in Green River
Photo #2 - Elijah Manzer points to a photograph of his 3rd great-grandfather, Stephen Vandiver Jones, a member of John Wesley Powell’s 1871 expedition, taken on Expedition Island in Green River
Photo #3 - A colorized photo of Frank Goodman with his family, taken in later years. (Courtesy of Eric Peterson. Used with thanks)
Photo #4 - Stephen Vandiver Jones (Williams-Grand Canyon News photo. Used with thanks)
Photo #5 - John Wesley Powell, who led both the 1869 and 1871 expeditions from Green River through the Grand Canyon, despite the loss of his arm during the Civil War
(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - June 27, 2022) Two men descended from members of Major John Wesley Powell’s epic river expeditions of 1869 and 1871 down the Green and Colorado Rivers and the Grand Canyon recently visited the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River.
Eric Peterson of San Marcos, Texas, is the 2nd great grandson of Frank Goodman, who took part in Powell’s first (1869) expedition. A young Englishman who fought during the Civil War with the New Jersey Volunteers and afterward became a trapper for the Hudson’s Bay Company in British Columbia, Goodman actually met Powell for the first time in Green River and was there recruited, the last man to join up for that original trip.
Elijah Manzer, Brookings, South Dakota, is the 3rd great grandson of Stephen Vandiver Jones, an Illinois teacher and school principal, was one of the 1871 expedition’s “topographical assistants” to Almon Thompson, a cartographer and entomologist.
While ten men in four boats left what was then called Green River City on May 24, 1869, only six completed the journey - three months of hardship, treacherous rapids, near-drownings, and loss of boats that covered some 900 miles. On August 28, only two days before the expedition reached its destination, the mouth of the Virgin River, three men, brothers Oramel and Seneca Howland and Bill Dunn, left on foot and were never seen again. There are several theories about their disappearance; many historians believe they were killed by hostile Indians.
The three were not the first to leave. Since the departure from Green River City, Goodman’s performance had been less than stellar, and in July he told Powell he wished to leave. The two parted on good terms. Eventually, Goodman made his way to Vernal, Utah, where he settled down and raised a family.
Soldier, scientist, educator, explorer, geologist, ethnologist, and writer, Powell, who lost is right arm fighting for the Union at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, was appointed the second director of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1881, a post he held for 13 years. He died in 1902.
The museum has an extensive series of exhibits on Powell, his expeditions, and his life and achievements. The museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission is free.
Th4 Sweetwater County Historical Museum is hosting a Museum Board & Staff Retreat on Monday, June 24, 2022 from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Museum and the public is invited. See agenda below.
Sweetwater County Historical Museum
Photo #1 - Superior Mayor Dominic Wolf, Sweetwater County Historical Museum Executive Director Dave Mead, and historian and author Frank Prevedel
Photo #2 - Downtown South Superior (now Superior) about 1917
Photo #3 - Superior and South Superior, a richly illustrated history by Frank Prevedel
(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - June 11, 2022) A video about a special chapter in Sweetwater County history - indeed, its living history - is now available online, the Sweetwater County Historical Museum announced on Saturday.
Produced by museum staff and volunteers, A History of Superior, Wyoming - An Interview with Frank Prevedel, can be found on the museum’s YouTube channel at
Prevedel is the author of Superior and South Superior, one of the “Images of America” series. He was born and raised in Superior and South Superior, graduated the University of Wyoming, and went on to a distinguished career as an educator.
The Horsethief Canyon communities of Superior and South Superior, about 23 road miles northeast of Rock Springs, came into existence in the early 1900s as coal towns. Superior was incorporated as a town in February of 1911, followed by South Superior a month later. As the demand for coal diminished in the mid-20th century, so did Superior. In 1963, the town government voted to officially dissolve its incorporation, and the little town ceased to exist. South Superior, on the other hand, survived, and in 1984, South Superior was officially renamed Superior, and its 300 or so residents are proud of its status as Sweetwater County’s “Living Ghost Town.”
A History of Superior, Wyoming is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Museum on Main Street,” project, co-hosted by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum, Wyoming Humanities / ThinkWY, and the Green River Chamber of Commerce. The museum also extended its special thanks to Superior Mayor Dominic Wolf.
Prevedel’s Superior and South Superior is available at the museum’s book store in Green River and online at Amazon.