"Uncle John Yancey"

"The Story of Man in Yellowstone"

By Merrill D. Beal. 1949. ages 203-205.
[Sketch above done by the famous athor Ernest Thompson Seton]

. . . Two years later John Yancey secured a mail contract and established a station in Pleasant Valley at the base of Crescent Hill. Here he was familiarly known as "Uncle John". He was an old Kentucky frontiersman stranded in the park by the flood tide of civilization. He chafed constantly at the uneventful days of the eighties and told his guests thrilling tales of the forties. A pen portrait has been preserved of him.

"Yancey is an odd character, whose looks encourage a belief in reincarnation, so forcibly does he remind us of the prehistoric. His hotel, too, belongs to the primeval; its walls are of logs; its partitions and ceilings of cheese cloth . . . Uncle John's housekeeper, who performs the duties of cook and chambermaid, confidentially informed one of our party that it was hard to find time to wash so many bedclothes every day."


Twice Told on the Upper Yellowstone
By Doris Whithorn
Volumne 2 - pages 47-59+

Passing of a Pioneer Uncle John Yancey
One of Montana's Characters
Goes to His Long Home

One by one the frontiersmen who opened up the west to civilization are dropping away, answering the call of the silent message flashed from the omnipotent throne; one by one the spirits of those brave men who blazed trails in the wilderness are passing across the river, to the valley of the shadow of death to their long home in an eternal paradise. The last to answer the summons of the grim reaper was John Yancey, lovingly called Uncle John by all his acquaintances. His death occurred at the home of C. B. Scott in Gardiner last Thursday [Wednesday, surely] afternoon.

The announcement of his demise carried grief and sorrow to the hearts of all who knew him. His rugged manhood, quick sympathy, broad charity, loving kindness and unswerving honor had endeared him to every person with whom he came in contact. He lived close to nature's heart, far from the temptations and wiles of the busy world, retaining until his death the many traits which make a man beloved of his fellows.

His illness was hot of long duration, although he had not been in good health for many months. On the day of the laying of the corner stone of the Gardiner arch [April 24], he was able to be about, but was feeling very poorly. He grew rapidly worse, and on Thursday his end came. With him when he died were Dan Yancey, deputy county attorney of Silver Bow county, his nephew, and many old time friends.

The following facts concerning his life are taken from Wonderland: John F. Yancey was born in Barren county, Ky., in the year 1826, and was almost 78 years of age. He was the sixth of ten children and was the weakly child of the family, the others all being strong and robust men and women, yet he outlived them all. His parents removed to Missouri while he was yet a small boy and he grew to manhood in that state. When the war broke out he shouldered a musket and fought for the cause he believed to be right. When that cause was lost, he removed to Nebraska and the last fifty years of his eventful life have been spent on the frontier. He was in California in '49 and on the old Santa Fe Trail until the building of the U. P. through to Salt Lake. He came to Bozeman and the Crow country in '66, being in the employment of the government much of the time. For nearly thirty years he has been in the upper Yellowstone, the site of his hotel in the Park having been his home for the past twenty-six years. [?] Since settling there, he has accumulated quite a little properry, having a bunch of about 150 horses now on the range in Carbon county, some cattle, the hotel property in the Park and some money, the amount of which is not known, but thought to be in excess of two thousand dollars. Aside from Dan, there are two other nephews living in this state, while many other relatives live in Missouri, California, Kansas and other states. Uncle John's personality attracted to him many prominent men throughout the land, and he numbered among his personal friends not only President Roosevelt, but a great many senators and congressmen, many of whom made annual visits to his home,

The funeral occurred at Gardiner Friday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Rev. E. Smith of this city preached the funeral sermon. The last sad rites were witnessed by many old time friends, including a number from Livingston."