I’ve long enjoyed the rugged beauty of the American West. So, it was really very nice for Marlene and me when, back in the late 1990s, we bought a ranch in Wyoming’s Upper Hoback Valley. The area harkens back to an earlier time; a time when bison roamed freely in large numbers and a special breed of entrepreneur – the Mountain Men – sought to make their mark through the burgeoning fur trade.
To understand the name Jackson Fork Ranch, I need to share a little bit of the Sublette County, WY history I learned over the years. In the late 1820s, among the industrious entrepreneurs who traveled West to become fur trappers was David Jackson. (Others included John Hoback and William Sublette for whom the Hoback River and Sublette County are named.)
In the parlance of their time, Mountain Men referred to what we call “valleys” as “holes” and what we call “tributary rivers” as “forks.” Jackson Hole and Little Jackson Hole are believed to be David Jackson’s favorite valleys and, thus, they came to bear his name. And the Hoback River of today was referred to as “Jackson’s Fork,” a fact that is evidenced on several 19th century maps of the area.
So, the reason I named our ranch Jackson Fork Ranch is out of respect for the history of this wonderful place, and the brave men who ventured into the unknown.