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Set in stone: Guernsey man traces family history in Register Cliff

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 7th, 2013

Photo/Vicki Hood. Tom Willard kneels down next to the signature of his great-great uncle on Register Cliff. The inscription reads: G. O. Willard, Boston, 1955 and is located on the north face of the cliff in the fenced area where the oldest signatures are located.

GUERNSEY They are fading now-wind and weather are taking their toll.

Carved into the face of a limestone cliff along the Oregon Trail, hundreds of names, dates and places attest to the one-time presence of travelers coming west. Pioneers following a trail that would take them to new lives and new jobs with destinations such as Oregon, California, Salt Lake and a myriad of places between.

The place is called Register Cliff, part of a large outcropping of cliffs that border the Oregon Trail through southeast Wyoming, just a short day's ride west of the frontier outpost Fort Laramie. Close to the trail as it followed the North Platte River, Register Cliff earned its title for the etchings of the hundreds who chose to document their presence with names, hometowns or states and the date they arrived at the site.

Despite the efforts of historians who have recorded as many of those names as possible, most have remained just a signature in rock, their significance and individual stories lost to descendants by way of time and distance.

For the complete article see the 08-07-2013 issue.

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