High Desert Chapter, NSDAR
Green River, Wyoming
Building Teams Since 2003
The High Desert Chapter was organized in 2003. Daughters chose the chapter name, High Desert, to represent the area of Sweetwater County, the largest county in Wyoming, where the majority of chapter members live.
Members focus on honoring our country’s veterans and researching local cemeteries. The chapter is proud to have one Daughter serving as the State Librarian and one Daughter as a state committee chair.
The town of Green River lies in Sweetwater County, and was one of the few towns along the Union Pacific railroad that existed prior to the railroad’s arrival. When the Union Pacific finally arrived, Green River was a town of about 2000 residents and permanent adobe buildings that had incorporated in 1868 in what was then the Dakota Territory.
The town was originally created by “tie hacks” who cut timber in the mountains, floated the logs down the nearby Green River, and then shaped them into rail ties at the town of Green River. The Union Pacific eventually established their division point at the town of Green River. The town was officially incorporated under the new laws of Wyoming on May 5, 1891.
The town of Green River annually hosts Flaming Gorge Days, a community festival called “Southwest Wyoming’s Weekend of FUN!”
High Desert Chapter, NSDAR, supports an historic preservation project that documents the graves in the Rock Springs Cemetery, then posts the information to the online site Find a Grave. Pictures of the gravestones are taken, and gravesite locations are documented. Obituaries are transcribed from microfilm at the Rock Springs Library.
While transcribing obituaries, close attention is paid to military status, as over 1,580 veterans are buried in Rock Springs Cemetery. As a result of this work, 57 veterans were identified who did not have a gravestone, some for whom the location of the grave was unknown.
In response to the research done on these veterans, the High Desert Chapter, NSDAR, decided to pursue obtaining military headstones from the Veterans Administration for those with unmarked graves. The two-year project was a collaborative effort, with the chapter receiving assistance from:
- The local Veterans Service Office, for procuring the required military service documentation and submitting applications
- American Legion Post 24, for receiving and placing the headstones
- The sexton of Rock Springs Cemetery
- Vase Funeral Home, for funeral records
- Rocket Miner newspaper, for publishing a series of biographical articles about these veterans
- SunRock Cement, for donating and pouring the cement slabs
- Rock Springs Historical Museum, for historical information
- Families of the veterans
- DAR members, for genealogical research
For their efforts in the “Forgotten Heroes” project, the High Desert Chapter, NSDAR, received a DAR award in 2023 for Excellence in Historic Preservation.
VETERANS HONORED SERVED IN:
Civil War: 1861-1865
Spanish American War (includes Philippine): 1898-1904
World War I: 1917-1918
Post World War I: 1920-1940
World War II: 1941-1945
Post World War II: 1946-1949
Korean War: 1950-1953
Walter Luther Ayers, Sr. and his son Walter L. Ayers, Jr.’s gravestones were placed as part of the Forgotten Heroes Project. They were one of four sets of father and son veterans whose gravestones have now been properly honored and recognized.
Excerpts from “Forgotten Heroes”
A book entitled Forgotten Heroes, completed in summer 2020, was submitted to the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. Below are two biographies from the book, which recognizes veterans from the Civil War, World War I, World II, and the Korean War. The book has 112 pages and includes pictures and sources.