once each year from 1879 to 1889, Webb C. Hayes, second son of President
Rutherford B. Hayes, joined General George A. Crook to hunt wild game in the
West. Hayes met Crook, Fort Laramie post trader John S. Collins, and A. E.
Tonzalin of Chicago at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, on September 10, 1889. The
general's death less than a year later made this the final western hunt for
Hayes and Crook. Hayes and Lieutenant Henry Wright of the 9th U. S. Cavalry, who
acted as quartermaster for the party, documented the trip with a hand-held Kodak
camera. They took several dozen photographs that are today part of the Webb C. Hayes
Photograph Collection (Hayes Ph-3).
Little Bat (Baptiste Garnier), Fort Robinson's chief
scout and renowned hunter of Rocky Mountain game, led the hunting party. Red
Bear, Red Sack, and Singing Bear, Sioux from the Rosebud Agency, served as
guides and trackers while four women and three children dressed the game.
Corporal Hawkins and five troopers from the 9th Cavalry, five privates from the
21st Infantry, mule drivers from Fort Robinson, and four packers from Cheyenne
completed the party. Supply wagons were loaded on flatbed rail cars and taken to
the end of the rail line at Casper, Wyoming. The party proceeded north west from
Casper, camping along Salt Creek.
Webb Hayes recorded a list of the game in his diary:
five grizzly, five Rocky Mountain sheep, a magnificent bull elk, eighty
black-tailed deer, one antelope, one wildcat, and one pole cat. Despite their
success, the trip was marred by tragedy. Private Monohan
shot by Private Stephens, bringing the hunt to an abrupt end on October 3rd.
Hayes left his Kodak behind. Collins instructed Lt. Wright to "fill it full, if
you have to take sagebrush,." Wright photographed the Sioux contingent, the
campsite, mules, snakes, deer, and antelope. He mailed the photographs to Hayes
from Fort Robinson on October 16, explaining that "the accidental killing of one
of the [soldiers] prevented my obtaining some more pictures."