State Historic Site

Trail End

Letters Home - Frank Mott Downer


​We do not have a photograph of Frank Mott Downer in our files. If you know of one and you'd like to share it with us, please contact us at trailend@wyo.gov.

The fact that I have not written you for a year or more is not because I have not often thought of you. I was a parade ground soldier at Camp Kearney so long that I felt like a slacker and really had nothing to write.


Anyhow I'm here now and having the time of my life. Never felt better and it may be that some of my friends will be glad to know it.


I shall return some day to Sheridan and regale you with wild tales of adventure. I can spin yarns without fear of impeachment but I shall have many things to tell. I'll try to write more later. In the meantime, will you give my very best regards to my friends - especially to Dr. Newell and Ralph Denio - the former I wish to tell that I walked twelve miles carrying a pack like a grand piano and arrived OK. All of which goes to show that you can never know how far a singed man can jump!


Tell Dr. Frackleton I will write him before long, and if you have time and inclination simultaneously write to me as below. 

FRANK MOTT DOWNER was born in Colorado and died in California, but in between, he spent some time in Sheridan. From 1910 through 1915, he worked as a "practicing lawyer" with offices in the Kutcher Building. He later moved to Thermopolis.

In May 1917, Frank enlisted in the Army. He spent considerable time at Camp Kearney, California (a training camp), before being attached to the 157th Infantry and shipped overseas. He spent much of his time in San Cergues, near the Swiss border.  

While serving in France, Sergeant Downer met Arlette Marguerite Laignel, the daughter of a Parisian lawyer. They corresponded for nearly a decade before, in 1926, marrying and moving to San Diego.

The following, published in The Sheridan Post in October 1918, is a brief note Frank sent to an unidentified friend.