Albert Huston

Company Hunter

Albert Huston came to the Platte Valley as a camp-mover, or laborer with one of the Military Expeditions. Being a crack shot, Albert began suppling meat as the "company hunter." By the 1860's, his skills for hunting were well known and was soon employed by Jack Slade, Division Agent of the Overland Stage, to supply game to stations up and down the line. Huston signed a contract drawn by Slade that paid him by the pound for all the game he could furnish. He started his new job working out of the Virginia Dale Station.

A short time later, a new agent, Robert Spotswell, received a wire from the Virginia Dale attendant that deer, elk, antelope and other animals were hung in every tree and bush around the station. Spotswell quickly rewrote the contract to state "all the meat desired by the stations."

Late in June of 1865, word came that the Virginia Dale Station might soon be attacked by Indians. The agent asked if anyone would like a transfer to another station. Albert Huston and a stock handler said they wanted a transfer and were moved to the Big Laramie Station. A few days later, on June the 29th, Indians raided the station, ambushing Jim Enos, Huston's hunting partner. Enos received an arrow in the chest but managed to get back to the station where he died a short time later.

Now with the arrival of the train in the 1870's it became fashionable again for "Big Hunts" in Americas west. These Grand Hunts were now being escorted by U. S. Military Generals who had become familiar with the region fighting Indians. Many of these hunts were staged out of Fort Steele, with Gen. George Crook in the lead. With so many hunters coming into the Platte Valley, guides were in big demand and local residents Albert Huston, Frank Bennett and Robert Foote had new careers.

Albert Huston still a marksman with a Winchester, saw a group of Utes approaching his cabin. Having a wife and little ones, he decided against the use of his rifle. Instead he grabbed his wife's strawberry preserves. Dabbing themselves with the red sticky goo, Albert came out of the cabin with red spots across his face--Smallpox! The indians took one look and rode at lightening speed separating themselves from the "evil."

Some of the above information is from Tough Country by Gay Day Alcorn, published by Legacy Press, Saragoga, Wyoming

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