SUN, THOMAS DEBEAU (FAMOUS) - Carbon County, Wyoming | THOMAS DEBEAU (FAMOUS) SUN - Wyoming Gravestone Photos

Thomas DeBeau (Famous) SUN

Saint Josephs Cemetery
Carbon County,

Thomas DeBeau Sun
Frontiersman Trapper Indiana Scout Rancher

February 28, 1844
June 5, 1909 - Denver, Denver County, Colorado

He was born in Vermont as Thomas DeBeau Soleil. His mother died when he was very young and he had a very bad relationship with his step-mother. At the age of eleven he decided to run away from home and seek an uncle in Montana. Upon arriving in St Louis he met and became friends with a trapper named Dakota. Dakota taught him survival on the plains and how to deal with Indians as they trapped along the rivers of Colorado and Wyoming. Too young for combat during the Civil War, he worked with an army construction crew in Oklahoma. After the war he returned to the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming to further his trapping skills. He was asked to join the legendary Boney Earnest to scout for the troops at Ft Fred Steele. While scouting in the Yellowstone country the two scouts discovered a hunting party had been attacked, the men all killed and the women taken as captives. Approaching the Indian encampment Sun and Earnest stampeded the Indian horses as a diversion and rescued the women. The two scouts then took on a young, upstart frontiersman and taught him the ways of life in the Wild West. Later on the student, Buffalo Bill, presented Tom Sun with a rifle from his Wild West Show. In 1872, he built a log cabin on Sweetwater Creek near Devil's Gate and the Sun Ranch was born. He made two trips to Oregon and brought back 4,000 head of cattle. He built his ranch into an empire covering more than three million acres and the largest operation in Wyoming. On July 20, 1889, Tom Sun was one of six men who allegedly kidnapped and lynched local homesteaders Ella Watson and her neighbor, business owner James Averell, claiming they were cattle rustlers. When apprehended at his ranch, Sun admitted his involvement and named the other five. All six men were arrested and released on bond. Three months later, the grand jury hearing the case adjourned without indicting the men because none of the four eyewitnesses to the incident could be found to testify. The large ranch would remain in the Sun family for four generations and in 1977 it was sold to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The ranch contains the largest uninterrupted stretch of the Oregon Trail and the original ranch is now a National Historic Landmark and is open for public visitation.

Contributed on 2/13/14 by tomtodd
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Record #: 24

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Submitted: 2/13/14 • Approved: 4/15/14 • Last Updated: 4/15/14 • R24-G0

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