Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center has grown immensely in the last several decades and in that transition some things were not transcribed correctly. After 80 years of existence, every once in a while, Camp Guernsey commanders learn of new stories of who did what on land that now belongs to Camp Guernsey.
The rich history of the Guernsey and Hartville area is nothing to overlook as the people who made the history play a significant role in American heritage.
Guernsey and the surrounding area is known as “The Hub of the Oregon Trail”. The story camp commanders recently learned is not about a corn plot to feed deer nor is it about a family name spelled “Deercorn”. It is story about a family who experienced the Wild West and the Oregon Trail in its prime.
On July 27, 2019, nine members of the Dearcorn family visited Camp Guernsey’s North Training Area to set foot on the grounds of the homesteaded area of their family. The area included what is now known as Dearcorn Draw, Dearcorn Springs, and Dearcorn Water Point, all named in honor of their great grandfather, Frank Dearcorn.
Frank Dearcorn, who as an immigrant came directly from Germany to the Guernsey area in the late 1890s, as a sponsor of Charles Frederick, personally chose the area to homestead, according to the Dearcorn family.
Frank was not just a homesteader rancher in the area. He took up a career in law enforcement and was hired as the Hartville marshal in the early 1900s and is said to have served as such for about 10 to 12 years. Frank was known to be a bit of a character and was relieved of his position due to his behavior once during his tenure. What is interesting is that he was rehired into the same position shortly after his dismissal partially due to the fact that no one else wanted the job of marshalling the bustling Hartville community.
The Dearcorn family stated Frank kept good company with the locals and even better company with the local elected officials who enabled the length of Frank’s marshalling tenure.
The Dearcorn family beginnings started in the area specifically in what is now the Camp Guernsey North Training Area. The family members take great pride in their family’s history and roots in the area. Ultimately this interest is how it became known that Camp Guernsey had it wrong. For more than 80 years, since Camp Guernsey’s inception, Dearcorn had been misspelled Deercorn.
David Dearcorn, Frank’s great grandson, who was conducting research into his family’s past, noticed that the name “Dearcorn” was misspelled on road signs and all associated maps as “Deercorn”. So, David picked up the phone and went to work to get the 80-year mistake corrected. A process that was a bit cumbersome but was quick to be resolved.
When he called Camp Guernsey to request the correction of the spelling of the family name on the signs in the North Training Area, to be followed by the correction on official maps, a team got to work fixing the mistake.
On July 27, a beautiful summer day in the hills north of Hartville, new signs were unveiled with all the members of the Dearcorn family present. Thanks to the knowledge of the family and the quick work of Camp Guernsey’s Department of Public Works North Training Area lead Ed Dawson, it only took about two months from Frank’s first call, for the Wyoming Military Department to correct the spelling on all items.
“It is a privilege to properly honor the cultural history of the Dearcorn family,” Dawson said after the informal unveiling ceremony. Dawson also took the time to present a custom wood sign for the family as a piece of memorabilia, to ensuring the Dearcorn name and its tie to Camp Guernsey is not forgotten.
The Dearcorn family extended a huge thank you to Camp Guernsey and the Wyoming Military Department for their efforts to get this right, as it was simply, the right thing to do.
The family of Frank Dearcorn also believe that he would be extremely proud that his homestead is now the grounds where thousands of men and women train to protect and serve the people of the United States of America, just as he did in the Hartville boothill days of the early 1900s.