George Harry Cross
George Harry Cross was born of Scottish parentage in Montreal, Canada September 15, 1854. His father, Alex Cross, was a member of the King’s Council and was Chief Justice for the Province of Quebec. Harry received his education in private schools, Montreal high school, Upper Canada College and Nicolet College and traveled extensively abroad. He passed up the opportunity to further his education at Oxford University to become a cowboy in the great “Cow Country.”
Harry was supposed to become a banker but he had different ideas. He yearned to get into the cow business in the United States. Consequently, he and two Canadian buddies set out to the States to become cowboys.
He arrived in Riverbend, Colorado Territory December 1874. He came to Wyoming in 1875, when Indians roamed the country and wild life in countless numbers including the “King of the Prairie,” the buffalo, were to be seen everywhere and barbed wire fences were unknown. He camped on Cherry Creek in Colorado with his herd of cattle which he drove up the Texas trail. For a time he ranged his cattle on Lone Pine Creek in Larimer County, Colo.
After several years in Colorado, he went north and spent time near Cheyenne, WY. Harry became a member of the famous Cheyenne Club and Wyoming Stock Growers Association because he ran cattle in the area. From there he moved up to the La Bonte area south of Fort Fetterman in 1876 where he built a cabin and resided for several years. He later moved to Red Canyon Creek in the Upper La Prele area where he homesteaded and permanently settled. Cattle were trailed from the ranch to Pine Bluffs, WY. It took two weeks to reach the railroad where the cattle were shipped to eastern markets.
He returned to Montreal in 1884, and married Lea Marie LeVasseur. They returned to “Braehead Ranch” in Converse County. He named the ranch after his ancestral home in Scotland. Harry and Lea along with their four sons and five daughters successfully built a large ranch out of the wilderness. They owned one of the largest Shorthorn cattle ranches at that time.
Harry helped to organize Converse County and was one of its first three commissioners. He served as Senator from Converse County in the third, fourth, fifth, ninth and eleventh sessions of the state legislature. The interests of the ranchers and stock growers were always uppermost in his mind. He was appointed and successfully served as a member of the State Board of Fair Commissioners. He always supported and worked for the success of the State Fair.
He became a member of the Wyoming Pioneer Association and served as President. He was always intensely interested in the State Historical Society and while in the Senate he urged setting aside certain lands for the maintenance and support of Wyoming’s Historical Society. He always maintained a vital interest in state and national affairs and was an authority on Wyoming history. He was one of the organizers of the Converse County Bank and served as President for many years.
Harry remained a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association from 1882 until the time of his death and was the oldest living member of the organization at that time. As the oldest pioneer of Converse County he also was extended the courtesy of number “1” auto license plate.
Harry continued to ranch and live at Braehead until his death, November, 28 1946 at the age of 92.