Windham Thomas Wyndham-Quin was born on February 12, 1841 as the fourth Earl of Dunraven.  In 1874, at the age of 34 the Irish nobleman came to the United States to check on some land that he owned.  Incidentally, that land was 60,000 acres where Estes Park, Colorado is located.

 
Although his entourage was small when compared to other noblemen who had come west, it was in no way spartanistic.  His group included a guide, Western consultant, artist, personal physician, gun bearer, servant, and collie dog, Tweed.
 
Dunraven spent several weeks hunting and seeing the sights of Yellowstone.  One day he decided to climb Mount Washburn.  He saw hundreds of miles of forest, prairie, lakes and mountains.  Dunraven was awestruck.  He sat there meditating until his guide, in fear of impending bad weather, forced Dunraven to go back down the hill.
From this experience, Dunraven wrote a book entitled The Great Divide in which he stated that Mount Washburn should be considered “sacred ground.”  Dunraven’s book became very popular in Europe, in part because of his wit and clever writing style.  In it he stated, “I never have an adventure worth a cent; nobody ever scalps me; I don’t get ‘jumped’ by highwaymen.  It never occurs to a bear to hug me, and my very appearance inspires feelings of dismay or disgust in the breast of the puma or mountain lion.  It is true that I have often been horribly frightened, but generally without any adequate cause.”
Although for 16 years he returned to the United States for visits, Dunraven eventually resumed the life of an aristocrat sailing yachts and fox hunting.  But to his dying day, at the age of 85, he never forgot that view at the top of Mount Washburn.

Filed under: Old West History

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