Posts Tagged With: Mountain Man

Per Request…I Go Grave-Hunting…

Note…I’m currently hanging out in the motorhome at the Moose Lodge in Silver City, New Mexico waiting on an expected transmission rebuild for my 1986 Ford Bronco II


Two days ago I received this Email from my friend Randy Vining…

“Jim:  A legendary guy from my area named Ben Lilly who took Teddy Roosevelt bear hunting—then went west and never came back–rumor had it that he ended up in Silver City, NM where he has a monument or marker dedicated to him.  Let us know if you run across it.”

Per Randy’s request I looked up Ben Lilly, Silver City, New Mexico on the Internet. Among the websites provided I found this Wikipedia link that tells all about Ben Lilly…

Another website provided was a link about the History of the Memory Lane Cemetery in Silver city, New Mexico…

In part…about half-way into the website…the following information is found…

In this pioneer cemetery lie the remains of early settlers, merchants, miners, politicians, and railroad men who contributed to the development of southwestern New Mexico. Among those buried here are Katherine Antrim (1829-1874), mother of Billy the Kid, and Ben V. Lilly (1856-1937), well-known hunter and guide for Theodore Roosevelt. 

Ben Lilly’s grave may be visited by entering the main gate and going for about 20 yards south on the Avenue of Memories. Rose Lane angles off of this in the southwesterly direction. Go down Rose Lane until the road intersects to the right. Go on down Rose Lane about 30 feet and Ben Lilly’s grave is in the third lot (about 50 feet) to the west in section G, Lot 6, Space 1. His marker is not large and reads as follows: 


Lover of the Great Outdoors

Dec. 31, 1853, Hazelhurst, Miss.

Dec. 17, 1936, Buckhorn, N.M.

Courtesy: Town Country Garden Club 

A quick search on Google Earth showed the Memory Lane Cemetery less than one-half mile from my current parking location at the Moose Lodge. Within just a few minutes of walking I was there…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view...

It took me a little while to find the grave location…

The gravestone itself is only about one foot square. Not overly impressive for such a legendary man…

As an interesting aside, Katherine Antrim, the mother of Billy the Kid who lived in Silver City as a very young man, is also buried in this cemetery. Since I did not know the location, I did not seek it out in this rather large cemetery.

Thanks, Randy, for your Email asking about Ben Lilly. Without It I would never had known to look for his memorial.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


It is unusual to find someone who has a  link to Monte Wolfe, the legendary mountain man who disappeared over sixty years ago.  Mark Bonar, who moved here in the 1950’s is that man.

In college, he met his wife, Barbara La Teer, who was a native of West Point, Calaveras County. They had three children, Mark Richard, Lynne Alison and Lauren Ann. Mark became close to his Father-in-law and through him, the larger than life character of Monte Wolfe with whom Paul La Teer had crossed paths.

“I hadn’t fished since I was a kid in Idaho,”  said Mark.  “Paul invited me fishing. I went out and bought a primitive fishing pole and reel, and as we began hiking, I heard the first of many stories of Monte Wolfe. Our fishing expeditions became regular, enjoyable occasions. Paul hiked all over the rough and wild back country and was in terrific shape.  And, that is how he encountered Monte’s one room, “first” cabin, which became known as the Upper Cabin,  in the mid 1930’s. It was situated in plain sight along the Mokelumne River and right along Paul’s fishing site. Monte had left a foot- high stack of canning jars piled next to the cabin.

(These two reproduced pictures of Monte and the first cabin were taken from my newspaper article on Monte in the 1980’s and were taken by Harry Schimke.)

” Paul had heard rumors of a newer cabin and as he prowled the high country, he spent the late 1930’s  trying to find it. When he did find it, he was met with a 30-30 deer rifle by an unfriendly Monte Wolfe.  During that encounter, Monte had visitors, presumably the Linfords,  who had befriended Monte and who claimed to be guarding his privacy. Monte was a social person but could be unpredictable and not someone to mess with, so Paul never became a friend of his.”

Veda Linford wrote a book about Monte and once cared for him when he broke his leg. The Linford’s probably knew him best. Monte divulged little about himself and seemed to like being a bit mysterious, for good reason. He was arrested and tried for stealing in Tuolumne County as Ed Mc Grath, not something the locals were likely to forget.

He lived totally off the land on fish, deer, and  whatever game he could trap for food and pelts. Some of it was legal and some of it was not. He had many a run-in with the Calaveras County game warden and the law.

“He would routinely break into local cabins and take food, mostly canned food which was standard fare at the time. He’d usually leave something to replace it, or leave a note of thanks signed Monte The Wolf.”   He would attempt give something in payment at a later date, perhaps a mess of fresh trout.

Paul recollected a story of one of Monte’s encounters with a game warden who walked up to Monte’s camp to find a lot of grouse feathers around it. The warden questioned him. Monte steadfastly claimed that he had seen no grouse and that the feathers must have blown in. Another time, a rifle that went missing from Sonora, out of someone’s car, was spotted hidden in a hollow sugar pine near his camp.

There were many incidents of things gone missing that irked people and the authorities. He was so adept in the woods and a dead shot with a rifle, people were not inclined to challenge him in his own territory, which encompassed three counties, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Amador.

(To be continued tomorrow.)


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at