Pre-1905 gravesite confirmed in Lander’s city limits

(Lander, Wyo.) – What was long been believed to be a small gravesite in Lander has been confirmed following a quick investigation with the Wyoming State Archaeologist’s office and Central Wyoming College students. Three graves were confirmed deep beneath the soil.

The site, underneath a large tree near the intersection of West Main and Tiger Drive, was investigated through soil sampling and the use of a magnetometer. The land is currently under lease by the Museum of the American West. The investigation was done to get the site certified as a burial ground.

Bonnie Willhelm initiated the communication with the state last fall. According to her family’s records, an aunt Elsie McCoy was buried there was she was two years old, probably around 1903 or 1904.

Her records also indicated that the two others buried at the site are a 4-year-old and someone who died somewhere in the age range of 12 to 14. She has no names for the other two.

Willhelm said the soil samples showed changes in color and texture, indicating the location of the graves.

MAW’s Jim Corbett said a boulder with a plaque will be moved to the location of the graves to mark the site. Plans are being considered for a pathway from the museum grounds to cross Tiger Drive to the site.

The museum expressed gratitude to Fremont County School District 1 and Fremont Toyota for maintaining the grounds around the gravesite.