His escapades as the former were often ignored by locals while his business side was praised.
Trafton received a pardon from his 25-year sentence for horse stealing, serving just two. He got out of prison in 1889 and returned to the Teton Valley.
It wasn’t long until Ed found, inexplicably, that he had a surplus of horses that he needed to get rid of. He herded them to Hyrum, Utah where the locals wouldn’t recognize the altered brands. There he met 18-year-old Minnie Lyman. Ed, now 34, proposed to the daughter of the gentleman who was buying the horses.
The newlyweds moved to Colter Bay on Jackson Lake and set up their new home. Some sources say their main business there was working with rustlers to move stolen horses and cattle. It was at the place on Jackson Lake where Owen Wister, author of The Virginian, may have spent some time with Trafton.
After a few years at Jackson Lake, the Traftons moved back to the Teton Valley where their five children, four girls and a boy, were born.
In 1899, Ed Trafton was arrested for dynamiting the Brandon Building in St Anthony, which was under construction, allegedly acting as a hired bomber. The bomb broke windows nearby and damaged a lawyer’s office but did little damage to the stone structure that was the apparent target. Trafton, if he was the incompetent bomber, was acquitted of those charges.
1901 was a memorable year for the Traftons. In February, the family was startled by a bullet smashing through the window of their home and grazing Minnie. How could anyone have a beef with such a nice family?
Later that year, Trafton was caught rustling beef, again, and was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. He got out in two and returned to the Teton Valley where he seemed to focus more on his business side for a few years, including the boarding house and restaurant.
Trafton’s sheep shearing business was one of large scale. In 1904 he told the Teton Peak newspaper in St. Anthony that he expected to shear 125,000 sheep and noted that dipping vats would also be available.
Exciting as sheep dipping is, we’re going to leave the tale there for a day. Come back tomorrow when we get to the stories that made the sheep dipper famous.