Wyoming’s Most Famous Dog: Thornburgh ‘The Pony Express Stable Dog’
Fort Bridger is one of Wyoming's most historic sites. Established as a trading post in 1842, it became a popular resting place for weary travellers on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails.
It's also the final resting place of Wyoming's most legendary dog, "Thornburgh".
Thornburgh was just a puppy when he was discovered by Army soldiers in 1879 after a fight near the White River Indian Agency in Colorado. He was named for Major T.T. Thornburgh, who had died in battle earlier that day.
The puppy eventually followed the Army platoon to Fort Bridger and became a trusted camp companion.
Known as the "Pony Express Stable Dog", Thornburgh was credited with several herioic acts. He chased down and captured a thief from the commissary, warned the camp of an impending attack and rescued a drowning boy.
In perhaps his most daring feat of service, Thornburgh intervened during a knife fight between two soldiers, biting the would-be assailant on the wrist and forcing him to drop his weapon. Legend has it, Thornburgh even survived a stab wound during the incident.
In 1888, Thornburgh died after being kicked by a mule and was honored with a full military burial.
Buck Buchanan, who had taken in Thornburgh several years earlier, was so distraught that he purchased a marble headstone which reads, "Man never had a better, truer, braver friend. Sleep on old fellow, We'll meet 'Across the Range'."
Nearly 128 years after his death, Thornburgh's memorial remains one of the most popular attractions at the Fort Bridger State Historic Site.