This old postcard is in poor condition, having obviously spent some time in someone's scrapbook before being peeled off a black page and put up for sale. Information abounds online about the Rocky Mountain Goat, the Yellowstone River area, and Bozeman Montana so filling in the gaps of text on the back of the card is easy, but I included that back image because of the intriguing information about the reproduction of the photograph.
Here is some of that old-west Bozeman history to get us started:
Born in Pickens County, Georgia, in 1835, John Bozeman left his wife and three children in 1858 to seek gold in the West. Unable to make a go of it in Colorado, Bozeman left Colorado in 1862 and came to Montana. Realizing that he could do better by mining the miners, Bozeman and John Jacobs in 1863 blazed the Bozeman Trail, a cutoff route from the popular Oregon Trail, and went into business guiding miners to Virginia City through the Gallatin Valley.
Bozeman decided to settle in the fertile Gallatin Valley, and in 1864, Bozeman, along with partners Daniel Rouse and William Beall, platted the town which would bear his name. Passing directly through the Gallatin Valley, the Bozeman Trail was used by travelers until 1868, at which point it was closed because of the Indian Wars. But the Trail had served its purpose as it attracted emigrants to the Gallatin Valley.
John Bozeman's story did not end well, however. In April 1867, he was murdered under mysterious circumstances east of present-day Livingston, along the Yellowstone River. His partner at the time, Tom Cover, reported they had been attacked by a band of Blackfeet Indians. However, discrepancies in Cover's story led later historians to suspect Bozeman was murdered, either by Cover, or possibly by a jealous husband.
The report of Bozeman's death at the hands of Blackfeet, so close to town, led to hysteria among area residents, and in response to the perceived Indian threat Fort Ellis was established three miles east of Bozeman. [Source: MontanaHistory.net]
I was curious about E. C. Clapper, the person who took the original Kodachrome photograph of the young Rocky Mountain Goat pictured on this old postcard, and found it to be an enigmatic search. Could he have been the Orchard, Iowa banker who retired in the 1930s?
Or likely the industrious apple grower from Cut Bank, Montana, who wrote a letter of inquiry in the Feb. 1961 edition of Popular Science below?
...or possibly the E. C. Clapper of Glacier, Montana, noted among other Montana Clappers in the
1920 U.S. Census? Or maybe they were one and the same, as I found that Cut Bank, Montana, and Glacier, Montana, are a mere 33 miles apart.
He might likely be the E. C. Clapper of Lakeside, Montana, who took this photo shown at the Mehmke Museum in Montana.
Oh well, you get the picture: I am stuck, and if I have any intelligence at all I will just leave it at that. But......speaking of intelligence. I wonder if James R. Clapper, our Director of National Intelligence, is related to old E. C.
Finally, something deep........ about Rocky Mountain Goats:
Where Names Vanish
--by Patrick Loafman
Above the line of trees,
flowers bloom from a jumble of gravel,
lichen paints the stones vivid colors,
I watch a patch of snow become furry,
grow legs and walk.
For a moment I can't comprehend,
then a name comes:
It bounds away
as quickly as I mouth
I scramble along the rocky slope
in pursuit. I bend to the earth
where its hooves dug into mud,
inhale the odor of animal.
At the edge of a cliff I sit a moment,
tossing rocks off into the fog,
snow paints my flannel shirt white,
my breath blows in puffs, thins,
Soon, I'm hiking the trail
down into the forest, then
I'm in a car speeding along a narrow road,
the radio broadcasting news.
Weeks, months, years pass,
time falls, paints my hair white,
but that moment is still there,
I'm still there.
And when you pick up the map, point
to a line winding up a mountain, ask,
What's this trail like? I pause,
return to that place in the fog.
My mind scrambles for words -
those blunt instruments
that carve primitive statues
among the nameless stones
But only one word comes,
Mountain goat, I say,
I saw a mountain goat.
The word rides my breath,
dissolves into air, vanishes
like a stone thrown into a cloud.
[poem found at SpirituallyFit.com]