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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Alcova in Natrona County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Frederick Richard Fulkerson

 
 
Frederick Richard Fulkerson Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, May 28, 2013
1. Frederick Richard Fulkerson Marker
Inscription.  The grave of F.R. Fulkerson was noted by forty-niner J.G. Bruff on July 26, 1849, as he traveled through what he termed "Pass of the Rattle-Snake Mountain to the left of Devil's Gate." The survival of the large granite boulder used as the Fulkerson headstone and the sketch made of it by Bruff allows us to locate this grave precisely.

Frederick Richard Fulkerson, son of James M. and Mary Fulkerson, died July 1, 1847, while en route to Oregon. His father, James Monroe Fulkerson, was born in Lee County, Virginia, August 28, 1802. The family moved west to Tennessee in 1807 and then on to the Missouri frontier in 1817, where they settled in present Cole County. In 1823 James married Virginia-born Mary Ramsey Miller. By 1847 they had seven children. Frederick, their fourth child and oldest son, was born October 11, 1829.

In the spring of 1847 the Fulkersons and many of their relatives became part of an Oregon-bound party composed primarily of members of the Old Florence Baptist Church located near Jefferson City. Some three hundred congregation members joined a wagon train captained by James Curl. The 120-wagon company soon
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broke into four groups. The group calling itself "The Plains Baptist Church" was captained by the Reverend Richard Miller, who was Mary Fulkerson's brother and the husband of Nancy Leeper Fulkerson, a sister of James Fulkerson.

Accounts of the death of Frederick Fulkerson vary. The Curl family remembered it thus: Mrs. (Caleb) Curl's (nee Margaret Fulkerson) brother took the fever, and Mr. Fulkerson, with two other families remained while the others went on. After nine days the young man, then aged eighteen, died near Devil's Gate. A granddaughter of James and Mary wrote: When crossing the Platte River (Frederick) swam the river below the crossing to ford the stock over, as the river was so swift it tended to wash them downstream. He became so chilled and exhausted that he died and was buried near the crossing.

When Bruff passed the grave in 1849 he also noted, "Inscribed on a rock above the grave 'J.M. Fulkerson, June 26 '47.'" The inscription, which no longer exists, confirms that the family must have camped for at least a week during the final illness of Frederick Fulkerson. Upon his death a grave was dug at the foot of this rock. According to Bruff, the epitaph was painted on the face of the rock headstone, Frederic Richard, Son of James M. and Mary Fulkerson, Died July 1, 1847. Aged 18 Years.

Two weeks later Mary Fulkerson
Close-up of Drawing on Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, May 28, 2013
2. Close-up of Drawing on Marker
died of mountain fever and was buried atop Names Hill on the Green River crossing of the Sublette Cutoff. Bruff saw this grave on August 7, 1849, and noted the engraving on a sandstone slab above the grave: Mary, consort of J.M. Fulkerson. Died July 14, 1847. The site of Mary Fulkerson's grave became a burial ground for other victims of the trail and eventually developed into a pioneer cemetery. All these graves were destroyed by pipeline construction in the 1930s.

The existing inscription, T.P. Baker 1864, now found on the Frederick Fulkerson gravestone, is believed to be the graffiti of a passing traveler. Baker, whoever he was, left another nearly identical inscription on a rock face a half-mile further on at the bank of the river.
 
Erected 1995 by Oregon-California Trails Association.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the California Trail, the Mormon Pioneer Trail, and the Oregon Trail series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is June 26, 1855.
 
Location. 42° 26.652′ N, 107° 12.35′ W. Marker is near Alcova, Wyoming, in Natrona County. Marker is on Sun Ranch Road, 0.7 miles east of Martin Cove Road, on the right when traveling east.
View to west along California-Mormon-Oregon Trail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, May 28, 2013
3. View to west along California-Mormon-Oregon Trail
To drive to the marker, exit State Route 220 at Martin Cove Road which is the entrance road to the Mormon Handcart Historic Center. The marker is located approx. 3/4 mile east of the visitor center on Sun Ranch Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alcova WY 82620, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Emigrant Road (approx. 0.6 miles away); Following the River (approx. 0.7 miles away); A Tribute to Hardship (approx. 0.7 miles away); Tom Sun Ranch (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Oregon Trail (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Pioneer Women (approx. 0.7 miles away); Sun Ranch (approx. ¾ mile away); Devil's Gate (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alcova.
 
View to east along California-Mormon-Oregon Trail near marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, May 28, 2013
4. View to east along California-Mormon-Oregon Trail near marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 957 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 24, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 18, 2024