On June 4, 1871, Sara Baines hopped down from a wagon at Fort Bridger, a remote military and trading outpost at the crossroads of several pioneer trails in what would one day become Wyoming. Baines, a 24-year-old seamstress from Louisiana, had just spent several months traveling 1,500 miles through road-less territory, alone. But she wouldn’t be alone for long—she’d come to Fort Bridger to get married.
The groom was Jay Hemsley, a 48-year-old farmer who’d left Ohio some years before to seek his fortune out west. The two had met after Hemsley responded to an ad placed in the matrimonial