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Week 5 Question: "What was 'Serious Sawbuck'?"
No one correctly answered the question for this week. The prize has been rolled over into the Final Week 6 with an additional question being asked and two possible winners.

Schwan's Sublette County History Contest
Week 5 Clues Page (March 16-March 22, 2016)

(Last day to enter guesses for this question is Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at noon.)
KPIN Radio ad for Week 5
(1.23MB mp3 audio file)

Week 5 Question:
"What was 'Serious Sawbuck'?"
Prize for Week 5: Red Velvet & Cheesecake
No one correctly guessed the answer to this question.

Answer: Serious Sawbuck was a slang name for the company Sears & Roebuck” as appeared in the May 3, 1906 Cora Sentinel newspaper for an ad for The Cora Store.

The answer to this question could be found by doing a word phrase search of the online Wyoming historic newspaper archives, a service of the Wyoming Public Library, at This newspaper archive is growing and currently has 340 early Wyoming newspapers dating from 1849 to 1922.

In the early 1900s local rural stores struggled even more when faced with new competition from two large companies that expanded their storefront retail businesses and set up mail order components. The two companies printed large “wish book” catalogs filled with a world of interesting and enticing products at low prices to encourage people to buy from them through the mail rather than shop at their local stores. People loved pouring through the thick catalogs with page after page of items they could dream about and wish for, if they only had the money. The two companies were Montgomery Ward and Sears & Roebuck. It was possible to get most anything through the catalogs, even kit homes to build a complete house. There still are several Sears & Roebuck kit homes standing in Sublette County today, the supplies brought up from the railroad in Opal to the Upper Green. Frank and Jessie Fear settled on South Piney Creek in 1889 and in 1914 bought a Sears and Roebuck mail order kit house which was hauled from Opal in 65 wagon loads and cost $2250. The house still stands on the old place.

The successful mail order business by Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward put such a dent in the business of local merchants it gave rise to all out war campaigns across the country against the two large companies. Some accounts relate that shopkeepers lit bonfires in town squares and offered bounties for every new catalog turned in for fuel. Some merchants offered prizes and free admission to movies for every catalog turned in for trade. Derogatory slang came into common use coining names of “Monkey Wards,” “Shears and Sawbuck,” “Sheers and Sawbucks,” “Rears and Soreback,” and “Sears and Sawbuck” for the companies. The May 1906 Cora Sentinel newspaper (Cora, Wyoming), the very first edition of that paper, published a large ad on the front page for The Cora Store in which he used the term. In it, proprietor J.H. Bemis puts out a plea to customers to shop locally saying the store carries a full and complete line of Dry Goods, Clothing, Hats and Caps, Boots and Shoes, Groceries, Hardware and Ammunition, Ladies’ Ready to wear, Waists and Shirts…” and more. In the ad, Bemis says, “ “MONKEY WARD” or “SERIOUS SAWBUCK” never did or never will throw a $ in your way. You know it, don’t you? Come in and see our new goods, anyway. It will not cost you a “red” and if you don’t buy we will not quarrel with you.” Yours for Business = J.H. Bemis=

There are only two known surviving editions of the Cora Sentinel newspaper. The May 3, 1906 edition is available online on the Wyoming Newspaper project website: The newspaper apparently only ran for a couple of years and copies of the weekly paper did not survive. A second Cora Sentinel from October 25, 1906 turned up several years ago and a copy is available to read at the Sommers Homestead Living History Museum through the Sublette County Historical Society. The historic old newspapers, with their stories and the paid advertising, give first-hand accounts of the daily lives of people who lived during those times and what they were dealing with and living through. Information that can be found includes local and world news of the time, local business ads, births, deaths and obituaries, social and sporting events, political happenings, land transactions, movements of people and more. Online copies for the Pinedale Roundup, Big Piney Examiner, Cora Sentinal newspapers for the Upper Green River Valley prior to 1922 are available for free viewing. Other papers are available for the late 1800s and early 1900s for surrounding towns in western Wyoming and 340 titles across the state. They make for fascinating reading and you can find yourself spending hours reading the old stories and what life was like back then.

The clues for this week attempted to show the number of enterprising people in the early days who took on the financial risks and challenges to start stores as business ventures to provide goods and services to the remote settlers and ranchers in the Upper Green River Valley. The people who lived here at that time faced huge challenges to get supplies the long distances from stores up into the valley. Poor roads, no bridges over rivers, travel by horse and mule drawn wagons, nine months of winter, long distances between settlements, accidents, and more had to be overcome to survive and make a living.

Ultimately, it wasn't just competition from mail order business that make life difficult for local merchants. The advent of the automobile, urban growth and the chain store also contributed to further undermine the small local retailer. Businesses were able to help themselves better compete by taking advantage of the telephone, improved road and transportation networks, and quicker delivery turn-around, and local good customer service. Small rural businesses have always been challenged to give their customers what they want at an affordable price to compete with bigger, more distant companies that are able to offer more product variety and lower prices because of their larger volume buying power and bigger customer bases.

While the commerce war in earlier years was battling mail order companies, today similar “Buy Local” urgings and complaints can still be heard by local brick and mortar store merchants who find it difficult to compete with the prices and large variety of products offered by far away companies that make it cheap and easy to shop for a vast array of items on the internet. Throughout time, businesses have been both helped and thwarted by advances in technology and improvements in transportation networks and communication systems.

Week 5 Clues

Sawbuck. Image Source: A sawbuck is a device for holding wood so that it may be cut into consists of an "X" form at each end which are joined by cross bars below the intersections of the X's. The stock to be cut is placed in the V's formed above the intersections of the X's. (Image source:

2. "Sawbuck" is also a slang term for a U.S. $10 bill, derived from the similarity between the shape of a sawbuck device and the Roman numeral X (10), which formerly appeared on $10 bills. (Image source:$10-LT-1863-Fr-95b.jpg)

3. Settlement of the Upper Green River Valley of Wyoming happened relatively late in American history compared to other areas of the country, in the late 1800s. Despite the fact that thousands of emigrants passed through the region over the Sublette Cut-off or the more northerly Lander Cut-off, settlement of what would become the southern part of Sublette County did not begin until the late 1870s. $10 Sawbuck - 1863. Image source:$10-LT-1863-Fr-95b.jpgPart of the reason was because choicer lands were more easily obtained elsewhere and only the very hardy chose the remote arid lands that were very distant from major transportation corridors. Cattlemen discovered the area first and learned that their stock could graze year-round on the prairie grasses. The land became settled by rugged individuals who worked hard to carve out livelihoods from the wilderness.

4. The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, connecting the country with a railroad link from east coast to west for both passenger travel and movement of freight. Rock Springs and Green River City were the closest rail points for settlers in the Upper Green River Valley.

5. In 1879, Daniel Budd and Hugh McKay brought in 1,000 head of cattle from Nevada to a location about four miles up North Piney Creek. They formed the “67” Ranch. Budd sold out to McKay about 1885 and took up land at what was to become the town-site of Big Piney. He built a store and was also the postmaster starting in 1887.

6. When the Oregon Shortline was built from Granger in 1881, the Upper Green River Valley became tied to Opal, the closest rail link on the new line. Ranchers hauled in supplies at least twice a year from Evanston and Green River City, and later from Opal or Kemmerer.

7. Frank and Jessie Fear settled on South Piney Creek in 1889. He brought the first registered Hereford bull and a self-binding reaper into the country. In 1914 they bought a Sears and Roebuck mail order kit house which was hauled from Opal in 65 wagon loads and cost $2250. The house still stands on the old place.

8. In 1888, John Vible and Louis Broderson settled near the confluence of the New Fork and East Fork rivers. They met while working on the Oregon Shortline in western Wyoming and Idaho. The two men pooled their meager resources into an informal partnership. They planned to file on homesteads in the Green River Valley and raise cattle, and to start a mercantile business by locating a store close to the Lander Cut-off, about five miles north of the old emigrant trail. They built a small log structure that served as their store, trading post, and living quarters. The location became known as New Fork. They stocked their store by making regular wagon trips to Evanston for supplies. The Vible-Broderson store continued to grow in the 1890s and had 130 regular customers by 1898. In 1903 they had 143 customers. Around 1906, John Vible built a larger false-front store to replace the older, smaller store. The original buildings still stand at the old New Fork townsite, which US. 191 passes through a few miles south of Boulder.

9 The Daniel Post Office was established in 1900 with Thomas P. Daniel the first postmaster. Daniel, for whom the town was named, operated the post office at his store. After 1914, the store was later operated by E. D. Key.

10. Merna was a small ranching settlement located on North Horse Creek, about 13 miles west of Daniel Junction. It consisted of a post office, store and community hall on a ranch run by Mr. and Mrs. Lew Roberts.

11. The Faler family came to the Hoback country in 1892 from the Little Snake River in south-central Wyoming. They built an Indian trading post that later became the Pfisterer Ranch. In about 1906, Vint Faler established a jerk-line freighting outfit to supply goods to the upper Green River country that ran from Rock Springs to Pinedale.

12. The original settlement of Cora was founded by James Noble around 1898 one mile east of the present location of Cora. It included a store, post office, blacksmith shop, saloon and printing office which published the Cora Sentinel. The settlement served the ranching community and the Upper Green River tie camps in the early 1900s. The town-site moved to its present location in 1919 when a new road was put in.

13. Early-day pioneer homes were built from native cottonwood and pine trees cut from nearby forests. Sawmills were later located near the forests and provided sawed lumber for homes. Mill Street in Pinedale is named because of its proximity to a sawmill near Pine Creek. Remarkably, the local mill did not cut down the pine trees that lined nearby Pine Creek, instead purposely leaving that ribbon of greenery along the stream and hauling in their mill logs from further away.

Schwan's Red Velvet & Cheesecake14. The first telephone service reached portions of Sublette County in 1901 when a telephone line was constructed from Opal to Big Piney along the Opal Wagon Road. Phone service brought instant communication between rural ranches and nearby towns.

15. The tough life of the early days of rural settlement caused people to be extremely self-reliant and create tight-knit communities that relied heavily on each other for support to make their livings. Modes of communication including mail delivery, newspapers, telegraph, telephone and road networks were extremely important to early settlers. Digital copies of many early editions of Wyoming newspapers prior to 1924 are available to read online at the Wyoming Newspapers project website,

16. The Sublette County Libraries in Pinedale and Big Piney, and The Cowboy Shop and Office Outlet stores in Pinedale carry books written by local authors that have information and stories about early settlement history of the Upper Green River Valley. Local author books with local history are also available from the Green River Valley Museum in Big Piney, the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, and the Sommers Homestead Living History Museum (all open summer months).

Email your answer to
or call Jean-Francois at 307-360-FOOD (3663)



Official Rules:
1. Eligibility: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Contest participants must be residents of Sublette County, Wyoming; be at least 18 years of age, and a U.S. citizen to win. Limit one weekly prize per person and household. All past winners are eligible to enter to win the Grand Prize. There are no substitutions allowed on prize winnings. No one directly involved in the creation of the contest or history questions, or their families or household members, are eligible to win any of the contest prizes.

2. Contest Period: The contest runs for six weeks, from Wednesday, February 17, 2016 and ending on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

3. Sponsors: Schwan’s, Pinedale Online, KPIN 101.1FM Radio. Contacts for more information are:
Schwan’s Home Service of Rock Springs, phone: 307-360-FOOD (3663),, 213 Industrial Ave, Rock Springs, WY 82901
Pinedale Online: Dawn Ballou, Editor, 307-360-7689,
PO Box 2250, Pinedale, WY 82941
KPIN 101.1FM Radio: Bob Rule, 307-367-2000,
PO Box 2000, Pinedale, WY 82941

4. To Enter: Each week’s history question will be posted on Pinedale Online on the Local page and at, as well as announced on KPIN 101.1 FM Radio. To enter a guess to answer the week’s history question, send an email with your answer to or call 307-360-FOOD (3663) by Noon on the Tuesday ending that week’s contest. Include your name, email address, mailing address, and a contact phone number so the winner can be notified. All entries become the property of Schwan’s and will not be returned. Winners names will be posted on Pinedale Online at and announced on KPIN 101.1 FM Radio on the Wednesday following that week’s question. The next week’s new history question will also be posted and announced on Wednesday.

5. Prize Drawing: On or about Tuesday evening, contest administrators will review the entries and determine which one was the first to coming closest to correctly answering the question. There will be only one prize awarded to one winner each week. Winner’s name will be posted on the Pinedale Online website and announced on KPIN 101.1FM Radio on the Wednesday ending the week of that contest question. If the contest sponsor cannot contact the prize winner within 3 days of announcement of the winner, the contest sponsors may select an alternate winner from the next closest correct answer entries that can be contacted to claim that week’s prize. Schwan’s Home Service of Rock Springs reserves the right to be ultimate decider of each week’s contest winner and their decision is final. Prizes will be delivered by Schwan’s to the winner within Sublette County, Wyoming by prior arrangement during the next week’s Schwan’s regular Sublette County route delivery cycle. By accepting prize, winner releases all participating sponsors from any liability as a result of this prize. Schwan's will pay the Wyoming State sales tax of the winning prizes for the prize winners.

6. Privacy: Information gained from contest entrants is subject to Schwan’s privacy policy. Names of winners will be posted online and announced over KPIN Radio, but email addresses, phone numbers and physical addresses will not be released. Schwan’s will use address information to make deliveries of prizes to winners. Schwan’s may ask contest entrants if they would like a Schwan’s catalog and/or more information about the company’s food products.

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KPIN 101.1 FM Radio
KPIN 101.1 FM Radio


Big Piney
Sublette County, Wyoming



Handbreaded Fantail Shrimp
Prize for Week 1: Hand Breaded Fantail Shrimp

WEEK 1 History Question:S
"How many Wyoming livestock brands were registered by Sublette County residents as of 2015?"
Winner: Tara Holmes, Daniel, WY Guess: 760
(Week 1 Clues)
Week 1 KPIN 101.1FM Radio announcement (3.02MB mp3)
Answer: 821, according to the Wyoming Livestock Board 2015 Brand Book

3 Schwan's  Pizzas
Prize for Week 2: 3 Pizzas

WEEK 2 History Question:S
"When was the first reported sighting of a moose in Pinedale?"
Winner: Sandy Kawa, Pinedale, WY Guess: May 25, 1916.
Week 2 KPIN 101.1FM Radio announcement (2.5MB mp3)
Answer: A lone cow moose was seen on Tuesday, May 23, 1916, as reported in the Thursday, May 25, 1916 edition of the Pinedale Roundup newspaper.

Pork Tenderloin Filet Wrapped with Applewood Smoked Bacon
Prize for Week 3: Pork Tenderloin Filet Wrapped with Applewood Smoked Bacon

WEEK 3 History Question:S
"What was the name of the first sternwheeler passenger boat on the Green River with service to Big Piney?"
KPIN Radio ad for Week 3
(2.64MB mp3 audio file)

Winner: Bonnie Whitley, Boulder
Guess: "Sunbeam"
Correct Answer: "Sunbeam"

A selection of three 1/2 gallon ice cream tubs
Prize for Week 4: A selection of three 1/2 gallon ice cream tubs

WEEK 4 History Question:S
"Where is 'Lake Beautiful' in Sublette County?"

KPIN Radio ad for Week 4

(2.47MB mp3 audio file)

Winner: Kenna Tanner, Pinedale
Answer: New Fork Lake
(Lac d'Amalia)

Schwan's Red Velvet & Cheesecake
Prize for Week 5: Red Velvet & Cheesecake

WEEK 5 History Question & Clues:
"What was 'Serious Sawbuck'?"

KPIN Radio ad for Week 5
(1.23MB mp3 audio file)

Winner: No one correctly answered the question this week. The prize will roll over and be given away as one of two prizes for next week.
Answer: Slang for "Sears & Roebuck"

Grand Prizw Week 6: Dinner for Two - Your choice of appetizer, main course and dessert up to $50 value!
Grand Prize Week 6: Dinner for Two - Your choice of appetizer, main course and dessert up to $50 value!

Week 6 Clues Page

Week 6 Questions:
1. "What is the oldest geographic feature place name in Sublette County still in use today?" Answer: Green River
2. "What was the first constructed road in the Upper Green River Valley?"
Answer: Lander Trail/Cut-Off Road

Winner: Lisa Williams, Cora, Wyoming

KPIN Radio ad for Week 6
(1.45MB mp3 audio file)

Jean-Francois Lefebvre, Schwan's delivery driver for the Pinedale area

Meet Jean-Francois Lefebvre, your friendly Pinedale area delivery driver for Schwan's. Orders are placed online via Jean-Francois comes up to Pinedale from the Rock Springs Schwan's distribution center several days a week to deliver orders. He can be reached at 307-360-FOOD (3663).

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Return to Main Contest Page | Email your answer to or call 307-360-FOOD (3663)