Monday, July 23, 2012

Lida Lindstrom, 1892: Laramie history

Inscription on sandstone west of Tie Siding, Wyoming.
(Click image to view larger version)

I was out in the Laramie Basin yesterday, enjoying the monsoonal sky and the wide open views, when I stopped at some sandstone outcrops near Tie Siding to look for old inscriptions that I'd seen there quite a few years ago.  I documented a few of them before I drove home, where I did some internet research to find out what I could.  Lida Lindstrom's family history is beautifully documented by a relation, Erik Lennart Elg, of Sweden, where Lida's parent's were from.  I've summarized some information from Erik's documentation below, but the story is told much better by him and with more detail on the Elg genealogy website.

On the summer solstice of 1892, a 21-year-old woman named Lida Lindstrom stood on the Laramie plains and carefully carved her name and the date into soft sandstone near her family's ranch. Lida, born in 1871 in Omaha and the oldest of 7 siblings, had moved to Wyoming with her parents after her father was transferred by his employer, the Union Pacific Railroad, from Blair, Nebraska to Sherman, Wyoming, where he lived in a small log shack with other railroad workers. John's wife, Emma, still in Nebraska, grew lonely and caught a train to Wyoming with Lida, their only child at that time. The shack was a mess and Emma angrily set to work cleaning it up. The co-workers moved out, and John, Emma, and Lida lived there for 6 months.

Sherman disappeared after the Ames Monument was built and the railroad was straightened, bypassing the town and eventually, the family homesteaded near Tie Siding (est. 1868). John stayed there until a few years before he died, when he moved to Ogden, Utah.

Lida grew up on the homestead, picking up coal that fell off of the train cars to help feed their stove in the winter (there were few trees), growing vegetables in their garden, and dealing with her father, who sounded at least a little harsh and alcoholic, sometimes beating his kids to teach them a lesson.

When Lida and her sister, Hulda, "came of age," they were taken to Laramie where John "let them off on a corner" to find work. They stayed with their mother's sister in town. Lida attended the University of Wyoming and earned a teaching certificate. She married, and her husband owned a butcher shop in Laramie. Once, she had to pay her father's medical bills after he had his jaw broken in a bar fight.

Information about Lida fades after her time in Laramie. She moved to Washington State later in life, where she presumably died.

One sometimes finds the names of people carved into rocks or even ancient petroglyphs, and wonders what those lives were like. Lida's sounds rich, and she left a little trace of it on the Laramie plains.

Other inscriptions, presumably by ranchers, in the same area.

Sandstone where generations of ranchers and settlers carved their names.

Sandstone and monsoonal storms.

Looking northwest over the sandstone outcrops.


  1. The blog passed 5000 page views today (July 23). Thanks for reading it!

  2. In the 1950's my Dad bought a small ranch at Virginia Dale. The ranch house was an old hotel which had been moved in from Tie Siding. It sat at the foot of a big rock formation over which flowed water. In front of the house was a beautiful meadow which ran down to Dale Creek. Many good memories come from this ranch. Marj Lehl Fair

  3. Anonymous - was searching for this hotel as my father grew up here and was telling me this story. He would love to connect.