Jeremiah Johnson LbNA # 24582
|Placed Date||Aug 12 2006|
IF THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE AREA AND YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO WAIT UNTIL YOU CAN BE UNSEEN PLEASE LEAVE THIS BOX UNTIL ANOTHER TIME! THIS IS A VERY VISIBLE LOCATION AND THE BOX NEEDS TO BE CAREFULLY AND COMPLETELY REHIDDEN BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE!
It is certain that throughout his life he was known by many names, but most famously he came to be known at the time as "Crow Killer" and "Liver-Eating Johnson."
John Johnston was born sometime around 1824 as John Garrison, though little is known of his early life. Some say that he joined the navy as a young man to fight in the Mexican American War, but deserted after striking his superior officer during an unknown disagreement. In any case, when he was aged about twenty years he changed his name to John Johnston and headed west to become a hunter and fur trapper, setting out with Old John Hatcher as his guide.
Hatcher– an experienced mountain man of some repute– took Johnston to his cabin on the Little Snake River in northern Colorado. There, he taught Johnston the trapping, hunting, and survival skills which a mountain man needed in order to live and profit. Johnston caught on quickly, proving handy with his .30 caliber Hawken rifle and Bowie knife. When Hatcher quit the mountain-manning trade several years later, Johnston took over the cabin and set out for the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, where a year earlier a Flathead Indian sub-chief had offered his daughter to Johnston in a trade. Johnston made the exchange, and he and his new wife set off to return to his cabin on the Little Snake River.
During the journey of several weeks, Johnston had his wife begin to teach him the Salish language of her tribe out of respect for her, and he taught her how to use a rifle so that she might hunt to feed herself during the winter while he was away. Once they arrived at the cabin in early Autumn, Johnston spent the rest of the season putting together an ample supply of dry goods for her winter's stay, and set out to do his trapping.
When he returned to his cabin in the following Spring, he was met with a gruesome scene. The remains of his wife– little more than bones after lying exposed for months– were lying in his cabin's open doorway. It was clear that she had been the victim of a Crow hunting party. Even worse, amongst her bones was a smaller skull… that of his unborn child. She had been about seven months' pregnant when she was killed.
Soon the scalped bodies of Crow warriors began to appear throughout the Northern Rockies and the plains of Wyoming and Montana. Each had had his liver cut out, and presumably eaten by the killer. Eventually other mountain men and Indians learned of Johnston's ongoing vengeance slayings, and he soon became known as "Liver-Eating Johnson" (dropping the "t" in "Johnston"). Also known as "The Crow Killer," he was waging a mortal, solitary battle against the whole Crow tribe, and no Crow warrior was safe from his wrath.
After almost twenty years and countless Crow deaths, Johnston finally ended his vendetta against the Crow and made peace. This truce was so complete that he thereafter referred to the members of the Crow tribe as "his brothers."
Liver-Eating Johnson never ate another human liver, but during the Civil War he did join the Union Army in St. Louis. He worked as a sharpshooter, and was honorably discharged the following year. During the 1880s he was appointed deputy sheriff in Leadville, Colorado and later as a town marshal in Red Lodge, Montana.
In December 1899, aged seventy-six years, the Crow Killer was admitted to a veteran's hospital in Los Angeles, where he died on January 21, 1900. He had lived a long and adventurous life, and his story was passed on through the generations. While some of the events from his life are verifiable, many of the stories are no doubt improved upon from over a century of retelling and embellishment.
In recent years he has become well known from the movie "Jeremiah Johnson," which was based on Johnston's life.
The grave of Liver Eating Johnston was relocated to Old Trail Town in Cody on June 8, 1974.
Over 2,000 people attended the reburial service for Liver Eating Johnston at Old Trail Town; probably the largest burial service in the history of Wyoming."
Head west out of Cody along Highway 20 towards Yellowstone National Park.
Find the Newton Spring Picnic Area on the right side of the road. We think it is about 37 miles from Cody but got distracted when finding another letterbox and forgot to watch the odometer!
Park in the picnic parking area and walk back toward the entrance. On the left side of the road you will see a survey marker (?)-(pipe in the middle of a mound of rocks) in the grass. When you locate this rock mound, face toward the highway and walk 6-10 paces. Look to your left and you will see a tall thin pine. On the other side of the pine there are two large moss rocks almost touching. Facing the road entering the picnic area, look under the rock on your left side.
PLEASE make sure you aren't seen!
PLEASE make sure the box is carefully and completely rehidden from view!