Art of the Old West

Frank Thomas' paintings and prints of Old West American Indians, Mormon Pioneers to Utah Territory, Horse Soldiers, Buffalo Soldiers, Civil War Soldiers and Lewis & Clark Expedition are historically accurate, owing to his extensive 19th century subject/location research. He knows how to paint the horse.

Brother Brigham's Here

LDS Church President/Governor Brigham Young Arrives at 
Cove Fort on a Trip to St George, Utah Territory, 1877

Original Art Canvas, 29 sq. ft. (50" x 83")  by Artist Frank M. Thomas  - Artist's Collection

(Currently being exhibited at the Cove Fort Historical Site, Cove Fort, Utah.)

Historical Background:
In 1867, Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also Governor of the Utah Territory, made a special calling to Ira Hinckley, of Coalville. He was directed to proceed to the Cove Creek Valley in central Utah (Millard County) and there build a fort suitable to provide safety and comfort to travelers along the corridor from Salt Lake City to the southern Mormon settlements. With the assistance of many skilled volunteers called from the surrounding settlements, Ira was able to accomplish this enormous task within a few months and move his family south to occupy the lava stone fort. Ira was the grandfather of our late LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley. For the next twenty years the Hinckley family served the traveling public providing rooms and meals, and as well, feeding the many Ute Indians who approached the front gates.

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Pioneer Woman

Sarah Leavitt's Garden, Gunlock, Utah Territory, 1862

Original Art Canvas, 29 sq. ft. (32" x 40")  by Artist Frank M. Thomas  - Artist's Collection

Historical Background: Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt embodies all of the finer traits of the sturdy Mormon pioneer woman, willingness to labor without complaint, despite dreadful tragedy, and with a firm belief in the love of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She also had a firm and abiding belief in Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God, and was living in Nauvoo at the time he and Hyrum were martyred in Carthage.

She was born Sarah Sturdevant in 1799, in Lime, New Hampshire, the daughter of Lemuel Sturdevant and Priscilla Thompson.

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Lot's Hundred

Nauvoo Legion ("Utah Cavalry"), U.S. Army, proceeding up Immigration Canyon, May 1862 - Start of the Civil War

Original Art Canvas, 32 sq. ft. (48" x 96")  by Artist Frank M. Thomas  -  Artist's Collection

Historical Background:    
Major Lot Smith and his hundred man Nauvoo Legion cavalry company (U.S. Army, May 1862) proceeding up Immigration Canyon, bound for the plains of Wyoming.

Lot Smith, an early Mormon Church leader and rugged frontiersman was an officer in the Nauvoo Legion. In 1857 he led a territorial militia force against supply trains and livestock of the approaching U.S. Army's Utah Expedition (the Utah War), commanded by General Albert S. Johnson. His actions in capturing 1,400 animals and burning many wagons, to stop Johnson in Wyoming, earned him the title "Mountain Fox."

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Crossing On The Dirty Devil

10th Cavalry Regiment "Buffalo" Soldiers on Escort Duty

Original Art Canvas, 32 sq. ft. (48" x 96")  by Artist Frank M. Thomas  -  Artist's Collection

Historical Background:
In the years following the Civil War, migration into the West, beginning in the 1840s, flowed on in ever larger waves. The American Indian Tribes attempted to block this invasion. Thus Congress found the need to add additional cavalry regiments to augment its forces in the West. The 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were organized of African Americans, many of whom had formerly been slaves. They became the rank and file of the regiments up through the rank of Sergeant Major, commissioned officers being white. These very brave, hardy, reliable horse soldiers received the nickname "buffalo soldiers," a term of respect earned from the Indians they fought.

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They're Up Palouse Creek

Tracking the Coalition of Five Tribes...Southeastern Washington -1858
by Artist Frank M. Thomas

Original Art Canvas, 8 sq. ft. (30" x 40") by Artist Frank M. Thomas - Artist's collection

 Historical Background:    A Pre Civil War horse soldier operation leading up to the last major battle of the Indian Wars in the Northwestern part of the United States.

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Canister At 300

U.S. Army 4th Artillery Regiment in Action at the Battle of Gettysburg

Original Art Canvas, 8 sq. ft. (30" x 40")  by Artist Frank M. Thomas

Collection of Dr. Paul Olsen, Provo, Utah

 
Historical Background:  
Canister shot/grape shot (cast iron balls, 1" in diameter) was employed as a final defensive fire when in danger of being overrun by the enemy.   This concept was employed in our defense of position in Vietnam.  Instead of grape shot loaded in our 105mm artillery rounds, we
quite effectively fired tiny stainless steel darts, called "fleshettes."

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Charge The Rascals

U.S Army Dragoons - Battle of Four Lakes - 1858

Original Art Canvas, 8 sq. ft. (30" x 40") by Artist Frank M. Thomas - Collection of Manti Telephone Company

Historical Background:    
The 1st of September, 1858, Eastern Washington Territory: The 1st Dragoons, commanded by Colonel George H. Wright, went into action against a coalition of more than a thousand mounted Yakima, Palouse, Spokane, and Coeur d' Alene warriors led by the Yakima's Chief Kamiakin.

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Dragoon Pickets Attacked

U.S. Army Dragoons on the Coalville Trail - 1858

Original Art Canvas, 8 sq. ft. (30" x 40") by Artist Frank M. Thomas  -   Artist's Collection

 Historical Background:
      7 May 1858, Eastern Washington Palouse Hill Country, Coeur d'Alene War: Lieutenant Colonel Edward Steptoe's 1st dragoon Regiment horse soldiers encountered a large, determined war party of 1,200 mounted Spokane, Yakima, Palouse, and Coeur d' Alene warriors on the Coalville Trail (near today's Spokane, Washington).

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Lee Creek Tonight!

Charles Ora Card/Thomas Rowell Leavitt Wagon Train Arrives in
the Lee Creek Valley, Alberta, Canada - 1887

Original Art Canvas, 8 sq. ft. (30" x 40") by Artist Frank M. Thomas  -   Found in the Leavitt collection, Calgary, Canada

Historical Background: 
    "In the summer of 1886 British born John Taylor, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, instructed Charles Ora Card to make preparations for leading a colony of Saints into Canada. A large tract of land east of the Alberta Rocky Mountains had recently been opened for homesteading.

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Pompeii's Pillar

Captain William Clark Etching His Name into the Sandstone Surface of Pompeii's Pillar, South Bank of the Yellow Stone River - 1806

Original Art Canvas, 8 sq. ft. (30" x 40") by Artist Frank M. Thomas  - Found in a private collection...Dallas, Texas

 Historical Background:
    In July of 1806, as the Expedition was returning East from the Pacific Coast, and while navigating by horseback through the Rocky Mountains, they split up and traveled by two different routes to reach the Missouri River. Captain William Clark, accompanied by Sergeant Prior, Private Shields and Shannon, and five other soldiers, plus York, Charbonneau, Sacagawea, and Pomp, with 49 horses and a colt, set off east riding along the bank of the Gallatin River.

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First Territorial Legislature!

Governor Brigham Young Establishes a Capitol (designated as
Fillmore) in the Pahvant Valley of Central Utah Territory

(Original Utah Centennial Legacy, Acrylic/Canvas 176 sq. ft. [22 feet long].    Mural in Collection of
Millard County Commission, Fillmore, Utah 84631)

 Historical Background:
    Utah gained Territorial status with the Compromise of 1850. President Millard Fillmore appointed Brigham Young as the first governor. One of the first items of business for Governor Young was establishing a capitol and a capitol city. The settlement and fort on Chalk Creek, in the Pahvant Valley, 145 miles south of Salt Lake City, was selected because it was in the center of the new Territory. In honor of the President the county was named Millard and the new capitol was designated Fillmore. All that needed to be done now was build a town And a capitol to follow the dreams and aspirations of joining the Federal Union with full statehood status.

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Island Landing; ...Close Under The Larboard Side

(Lewis & Clark on the Columbia River - 1805)

Original Art Canvas, 15 sq. ft. (36" x 60")by Artist Frank M. Thomas - Private Collection...Dallas, Texas

Historical Background:
    President Thomas Jefferson, in 1803, guided an ambitious piece of foreign diplomacy through our fledgling, resistant, U.S. Senate: the purchase of Louisiana territory from France. After the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was made, Jefferson initiated an exploration of the newly purchased land and the territory beyond the "great rock mountains" in the West, selecting his trusted assistant, Meriwether Lewis, as leader.

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Gunnison Massacre

Captain John Gunnison's Engineers Attacked by Renegade Ute Indians on the Sevier River - 1853

(Original Utah Centennial Legacy, Acrylic/Canvas 176 sq. ft. [22 feet long].    Mural in Collection of
Millard County Commission, Fillmore, Utah 84631)

 Historical Background:
     During the early 1850's, numerous U.S. Government surveying expeditions were made into the Rocky Mountain West. In the Spring of 1853, Captain John W. Gunnison, U.S. Army Topographical Engineer, took command of a party on the Survey of Pacific Road (railroad) route through the central Rockies. His command was made up of Lieutenant E. G. Beckwith, second in command; at least eight civilian topographers, geologists, etc., and also, for security, included thirty soldiers of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen (U.S. Army Dragoons), Captain R. M. Morris, Commanding.

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