Engraving on a rifle given to Bill Merrifield by Theodore Roosevelt to commemorate their 1884 hunting trip in the Bighorn Mountains
Ferris and Merrifield were capable ranch hands. In the spring, they were busy with the round-up, as range cattle from all over the area were brought together and sorted out to be counted, branded, and sold. As Roosevelt’s representatives, they were periodically sent to Minnesota to buy more cattle for Roosevelt’s ranches as TR added $82,500 to his original investment of $14,000 between 1884 and 1885. Roosevelt trusted their judgment in all matters of managing the cattle ranch, including selling some of the livestock at their discretion. They were also the ranch hands who stayed on the longest, tending the remainder of Roosevelt’s cattle after the Elkhorn Ranch closed in 1887. The two men worked together until Merrifield quit in 1892. Ferris continued on alone until Roosevelt finally sold out in 1898. Sylvane and his brother Joe Ferris were two of a handful of residents that remained in Medora after the cattle ranching collapse of 1887.
Joe Ferris, Sylvane Ferris, and Bill Merrifield in 1919
A rifle given as a gift to Bill Merrifield from Theodore Roosevelt commemorating an 1884 hunting trip in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming is on display at the South Unit Visitor Center. The Maltese Cross Cabin, which Ferris and Merrifield constructed, is open for public viewing year-round.