Walter Trumbull's Journal of the 1870 Washburn Expedition
typed and formatted by Jim Macdonald

    Walter Trumbull was the son of Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois.  In 1870, Trumbull with several others, mainly from the upper echelon of Montana society and politics, ventured into the region of Yellowstone to see whether the strange reports of a hellish world painted by those who saw the land before them were true.  Led by Montana Surveyor General Henry Dana Washburn, the 1870 Washburn Expedition did not discover Yellowstone, but it did help bring it to a spotlight.  One and one-half years after this expedition Congress created the world's first national park.  Trumbull's account of the adventure, one of the lesser known accounts, appeared in The Overland Monthly in the late spring of 1871.  The account is less matter-of-fact than Doane's account, and it is less dramatic than Langford's famous tale.  However, it is a beautiful tale, an important historical resource, and is more reliable than Langford's account.  Walter Trumbull's influence in the Senate helped make Yellowstone a national park, and it is very fascinating to see the wheels of history in motion.

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