19-year-old Bartlett Richards made his mark without college
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
Bartlett Richards stayed over here last night. He was on his way to Cheyenne with his teams and wagon. He is only 19 years old, younger than most of the ranchmen in this area. He wrote to his mother in Weathersfield, VT., last night and mailed the letter here before he left this morning.
In 1879, Richards came to Wyoming Territory after he graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He and his widowed mother had decided that because of recurring stomach trouble and eyes that needed a rest, he should "go west" for a year in the outdoors before entering Williams College.
When he alighted from a Union Pacific passenger train in Cheyenne, it was a mecca for the cattlemen and cowboy both, Within a year his fascination with the West became so great that he abandoned ideas of college and managed to gain a foothold in the cattle business. Richards became close friends with two of the top cattlemen in the state, Tom Sturgis and Hubert Teshemacher.
Teshemacher had agreed to tutor Richards when he still had thought of returning to college. "Teschie" was the son of an Englishman who had made a fortune in the 1840's and 1850's in California. After graduation from Harvard, he traveled around the world and visited his parents' home in Paris. While there he read a magazine describing the western cattle industry. Convinced of its opportunities, he returned to start a large ranch on Wyoming's Powder River.
Tom Sturgis has been secretary of the Wyoming Stock Grower's Association since 1876, and is one of the most knowledgeable cattlemen in the Territory. Richards admires men of this type, and despite his youth and limited means, they have accepted him easily. He has not finished his education in one of the prestigious of New England colleges, but his basic scholarship is sound and he listens respectfully to men of experience in the cattle business while also learning its manual skills.
In the spring of 1880, Richards and his financial partner, Mr. Brainerd, bought 1,000 head of she calves from Sturgis and Gooddell (Sturgis is president of the Union Cattle Company which operates three ranches north of here in the Cheyenne River drainage; the Bridle Bit, the OS, and the S & G.)
Young Richards then hired two men and moved the calves to the headwaters of the Cheyenne and Bell Fourche Rivers, toward the Powder River. His ranch, the Ship's Wheel, is on a nice hay bottom of the Bell Fourche.