Pearl Lake State Park
Updated September 16, 2009
Pearl Lake History - Historic Phases of the Sheep Industry
The largest single operators in Wyoming were the Cosgriff Brothers who at the peak of their career ran as
many as 125,000 head. The two elder brothers came to Wyoming in 1882, originating in B urlington,
Vermont. About 1890 their younger brother, James E. Cosgriff joined them. Before
coming up to Wyoming Thomas - and John Cosgriff had operated a freight line into Denver and they had
under the care of their trusty Mexican foreman, Adiano Apadaca. About 1885 they had accumulated two
good sized bands of ewes, and moved their headquarters to Rawlins. Their flocks ranged from Rawlins to
Cooperton and Encampment and their numbers increased rapidly. One interesting pioneering venture which
coming up to Wyoming Thomas - and John Cosgriff had operated a freight line into Denver and they had
they undertook, was a series of chain stores developed from their commissaries, located from Encampment
to Fort Steele to Rawlins and totaling between 40 and 50 in number. They were also pioneer chain bankers.
to Fort Steele to Rawlins and totaling between 40 and 50 in number. They were also pioneer chain bankers.
Their first bank was purchased in Salt Lake City, the Commercial National. They changed the name to the
Continental National and made it the forerunner of 27 banks under their direction. These were scattered as
far west as Caldwell, Idaho, as far north as St. Anthony and Rexburg, Idaho, and Sheridan, Wyoming, as far
east as Cheyenne and Denver, and as far south as Monte Vista, Colorado. In the southern Wyoming sheep
country they operated at such points as Rawlins, Laramie and Encampment, and financed many of the large
and small sheep outfits of Wyoming. From their other banks they rendered similar services to the sheep men
of Colorado, Utah and Idaho. Among other outfits may be mentioned the Winders of Utah and Colorado, with
whom John Cosgriff held a partnership until 1905, and L.E. Vivian of Wyoming and Colorado.

Shortly after 1910, the Cosgriffs decided to break up their partnership. The Cosgriff Sheep Company
holdings were divided into thirds - The Cow Creek outfit going to J.E. Cosgriff, the section west of Saratoga
being sold to John Hartt, and the portion east and south of Rawlins being sold to L.E. Vivian. This last
portion included the 10,000 acres purchased by the Midwest Refining Company on which the town to
purchase this band at $1.30 per head. This of Parco is located. The greatest single shipment of wool ever
1895 for 8 cents, paid off his debts and was in sent out ofWyoming was a Irainload of 800, 000 pounds
shipped to Boston from Fort Steele by the Cosgriffs about 1905.

T .A. Cosgriff passed away in 1915 and John Cosgriff in 1917, both dying young before attaining their
sixtieth year. By a curious cumstance two of the pioneer outfits, the Ferris and Cosgriff outfits, were blended
in the spread now handled by L.E. Vivian of Rawlins. Vivian came to Rawlins in the mid eighties working for
Bennett& Hunter, a cattle outfit, and then for I.C. Miller. He finally started in cattle for himself. In the spring of
1892 George Ferris lambed near Vivian's headquarters and Vivian spent many busy hours chasing the
Ferris ewes out of his garden. He asked Ferris if there was money in sheep, and upon being assured that
there was arranged to buy a band that fall. He sold his cattle at $14 per head, calves thrown in, and bought
old ewes and ewe lambs, omitting yearlings and two-year-olds. For the old ewes he paid $1.00 per head and
for the lambs, $1.50. In order to complete the payments he borrowed money at 18 per cent from J.C. Davis
of the First Natlonal Bank at Rawlins. Then the Cleveland depression came on with a vengeance.
Coincidentally George Seeley had purchased a similar number of sheep from Ferris, so that Vivian and
Seeley formed a partnership, throwing the two bands together . Seeley fumished the herder and his "grub,"
while Vivian furni~hed the team and acted as camp mover. They sold their wool in 1893 for only 5 1/8 cents
and the lambs at $1.25 per head, and still made money. The partnership lasted six years and when it was
dissolved each partner had clear title to 4,400 sheep.

In 1894 a butcher from old Carbon, named Robert Jackson, a Lancashireman, wanted Vivian to accompany
him to Bate's Hole to buy steers. Returning, they met a band of 3,000 ewe lambs known as the Pick outfit,
belonging to Boney Earnest. Jackson paid Vivian for his services in steer buying by loaning him money
purchase was fortunate for he sold his wool in a position to grow. When T. A. Cosgriff died Vivian was ap-
pointed to settle the estate. When everything was completed there still remained 20,000 acres and
1,800 old ewes. Half of this land was sold to the Producers & Refiners Company for $60,000, while Vivian
purchased the rest. This joined onto the other range he had been using and was the scene of travel for
numerous of the old trail herds that crossed the Shirley Basin enroute to Colorado and the East.
Source: Historical Phases of the Sheep Industry in Wyoming, published by the Wyoming Wool Growers
Association, 1940