Star Valley Historical Society launches 2023 season

By: Amy Anderson
Published: March 23, 2023

Star Valley Historical Society launches 2023 season

Janet Erickson Posted on January 18, 2023

With a mission to “collect and preserve all possible data, material and records related to the history of Star Valley and North Lincoln County, and to share and promote the study of all related information,” the Star Valley Historical Society is launching their 2023 calendar of events with a January 19 meeting at the Salt River Senior Center in Afton at 7:00 p.m.

“To support our mission, we have planned a year of informative events to continue sharing the history that we have collected,” said Ron Anderson, Historical Society President, in an email to SVI News. The society’s meetings are scheduled for the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Salt River Senior Center. Everyone is invited to join.

The first meeting of 2023 features a presentation by guest speaker Jake Putnam, who is an authority on the history of Star Valley’s outlaw population and the early settlement of Auburn.

“Jake is a descendant of Seth Harris Putnam who was one of the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one of the early pioneers who came to settle Star Valley under the direction of Brigham Young, who was the president of the church at that time,” said Anderson. “Seth was a beekeeper and he brought bees with him to help pollinate the settlers’ crops and trees.”

An award-winning broadcast journalist, Jake was raised in Pocatello, Idaho, and “developed a great love for the history of his Star Valley ancestors and hearing the stories of the folks living in Auburn who associated with the outlaws that sheltered here along with the Mormon polygamist outlaws that came here to avoid the law.”

The following is a calendar of the Historical Society’s meetings through August 2023:

• February 16 – Review of the development of the school system in Star Valley, study of the historical contribution of school teachers, including discussion on the textbook and history taught by Velma Linford and the influence on education and our youth made by Jack Major.

• March 16 – Kdell Bagley is scheduled to share the history of sheep that came to Star Valley from all over the state for summer grazing and dipping. Along with his family stories, he will share from the writings of S. Edwin Cazier and Scott Gardner. Livestock movement and industry is a big part of the Star Valley history.

• April 20 – Gary Eller has compiled many poems, songs and presentations about the early settlers of Idaho and Wyoming, particularly from the Mormon Pioneer culture. He is affiliated with the Idaho Humanities Council and shares the background of the songs and tales that he has compiles, including the song “Star Valley Rose,” which was taught for years in the Star Valley Schools.

• May 18 – A focus on the early Hotels, Mercantile stores and facilities that took care of the travelers to the valley, which included cattle buyers, sheep men, teachers, students, hunters, snowmobilers, church leaders and business men.

• June 15, 16, 17 – Star Valley Historical Society is invited to host the Wyoming State Trek with a special focus on the Montpelier Bank Robbery of August 13, 1896. In addition, exploration of the Crow Creek Road history and monuments showcasing the hardships involved in settlers’ efforts to make a life and living here, and to establish the commerce and development of Star Valley. Members of the Star Valley Society will share this information as recorded by settlers of Star Valley in the 1890’s. Anderson is asking for volunteers with historical information, as well as businesses in the Valley, to help with these projects.

• July – Kristin Bringhurst and Eileen Humphreys present the Historic Rock Church in Auburn. “This is always a fun time for entertainment, learning a little history and showcasing the talent of our Star Valley’s residents,” said Anderson. This year’s production involves tales of the outlaw, Butch Cassidy.

• August – Lincoln County Fair is a great time to bring extra focus to the historical museums in Star Valley. Five museums, including The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, The Lander Trail Museum, The Barn Museum, The CallAir Museum in Afton and The Baker Cabin in Etna offer collections of memorabilia and information that highlight the history of Star Valley. The society is hoping to make improvements to the Barn Museum this year, and has constant maintenance needs in these buildings.

• September – Antique Tractor Show is becoming a traditional opportunity to appreciate the rich agricultural heritage of Star Valley.

• November 16 – Star Valley Historical Society Annual Awards Banquet in recognition of the many individuals, groups and businesses who serve the society and facilitate success of the society’s mission.

“Star Valley Historical Society operates solely from fundraising efforts, such as the Rock Church Play, sales of historical calendars and books, donations from businesses and individuals, and dues paid by members,” said Anderson. “We are a 503C organization, so donations are tax deductible and are gratefully accepted.”

To be a member of the Society requires a $20 payment to an officer at any of the monthly meetings. A State Membership is $50 per individual or for a couple residing at the same address. Send mail to P.O. Box 1212, Afton, WY 83110. Visit the Society on Facebook or the website, The society is continually grateful for support from the community as well as local government and business officials.