Walter Clark Dallas was born November 25th, 1884 to Chester and Margaret “Maggie” (Harker) Dallas in Palmyra, Kansas, which is now part of Baldwin City. (This picture is circa 1917 taken in Juneau, Alaska.)
On December 22nd, 1909, at the age of 25, Walter married Amy Mae Hovey in Millville, Utah. In 1910, the couple was living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where Walter had taken work as a government trapper for Yellowstone National Park. He was one of the first game wardens in the park and was hired to keep the park safe for visitors, especially from wolves and bears.
Walter is the one on the right here, pictured with another trapper in the park.
Walter and Amy’s three oldest boys were born during their years in Wyoming. By 1918, Walter had registered for the draft for WWI and the family was back in Millville, Utah, where more children were born, including my grandmother, Leoma Nesta. By 1927 the family had moved again, this time to Jerome Prairie, Oregon where son Billy was born.
This picture was taken in September of 1939 when Walter was 54 years old. They were living in Plumas county, California now and the 1940 census has Walter listed as a miner. He passed away on June 7th, 1943 at the young age of 58 in Sacramento, California and is buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Oroville, California.
The following is an article that gives a little bit of information about Walter’s time working for ranchers in Wyoming.
(From Grand Teton Historic Resource Study)
Cattlemen’s associations were also important to ranchers in Jackson Hole. These associations represented the cooperative spirit of the westering experience. In the 1890s, a number of Jackson Hole ranchers belonged to the Wyoming Stock Growers’ Association, an organization formed to promote industry interests. Membership of Jackson Hole cattlemen in this state organization expanded from 19 in 1895 to 35 by 1910. In practical terms, local associations were more important. Ranchers formed these organizations based on common grazing allotments such as the Gros Ventre River or Blackrock Creek areas. Communal roundups and drives to and from grazing ranges required cooperative efforts. Groups of ranchers pooled money to hire line riders to watch cattle on summer range. At least one line shack, built to house hands, is extant in the Sportsman’s Ridge area in Teton National Forest.
Protecting cattle from predators, in particular the gray wolf, seems to have been the major motive for creating livestock associations in the valley’s early years. On May 21, 1914, the Courier reported that 15 wolves had killed a cow and four yearlings being trailed to summer range on the Gros Ventre. The cattle belonged to Preston Redmond. The next week Roy McBride and Redmond herded their cattle together to protect them from wolves and hired Jess Buchanan to watch the cattle at night. While at Crystal Creek, Buchanan reported that wolves would harass cattle on one side, while he patrolled the opposite side. Cowpunchers also stated that wolves pursued a “favorite pastime” of biting off the tails of calves. Wolves may have tried this as an alternative to hamstringing the animals, that is, bringing prey down by their hindquarters. In June, Roy McBride set out to hunt down the wolf packs. In July, ranchers formed the Fish Creek Wolf Association specifically to eradicate the wolf population on the Gros Ventre River. They hired Walter Dallas to hunt them, paying him $22 per month. In addition, they agreed to pay a bounty: $62 for a “she-dog,” $52 for dogs (males), and $22 for pups. The association offered a $1.50 bounty for coyotes. To pay Dallas’s wage and bounties, the association assessed each member 12 cents per head of cattle. This program eliminated the gray wolf in the area by the early 1920s.
The following is a letter sent to Walter Dallas about his employment as a government trapper. (I found this letter on ancestory.com)
9th November, 1915
Mr. Walter C. Dallas,
Dear Mr. Dallas:-
I enclose herewith commission as deputy game warden without pay or bond, together with oath of office. Kindly certify to oath of office before a notary public and return same to me promptly. I also enclose report blanks for use in reporting your time to this office. You will be expected to cooperate with this department in the enforcement of the game laws, having full power to arrest any persons or persons violating this law and it being your duty to act in accordance with your commission. I am mailing you copy of Wyoming game laws under separate cover.
You will commence active service as a trapper on the date when you were instructed by Mr. Seebohm, taking in the territory assigned you by Mr. Seebohm. You will be expected to trap for wolves and coyotes or other predatory animals, using diligent efforts in this respect and you will be paid at the rate of $50.00 per month for such service, you to retain all pelts and collect for bounties. Regarding your report, you will be expected to report promptly when you are near a postoffice, using the monthly report blank, stating the dates and territory covered on such dates, your location and number and kind of predatory animals trapped or killed. Of course you will not be compelled to trap wolves or coyotes, but you will such means of exterminating them as you deem advisable. It will be your duty to protect the game in your district, and prevent the unlawful killing thereof by any person or persons, notifying this office of any arrest made by you. Any information you may desire may be obtained at any time from either Mr. Seebohm or this office. I beg to state that we want results in the trapping or killing of the wolves in your district, and assure you that your cooperation in this respect will be highly appreciated. Wishing you success, I remain,
Very truly yours,
Nate P. Wilson
State Game Warden
(Walter is my great-grandfather. He is the father of Leoma Nesta (Dallas) Simmons)