Following creation by the legislator on February 15, 1921, the appointed county commissioners of the unorganized County of Sublette started the process to establish the new county. At a series of meetings held in May 1921 at the Daniel Post Office, Commissioners William Enos, Lou Hennick and Oscar Beck appointed Charles Rumsch from Marbleton as County Clerk, selected the Daniel Post Office as the official place of business, selected the Big Piney Examiner as the official newspaper for legal notices, hired D. A. Preston as attorney, established 22 voting precincts including registry agents and judges for each, and set elections for June 28, 1921. The election was to determine if the residents wanted to organize the new county and to select a county seat.
By the time of the May meetings, there was little doubt voters would approve the county, but the question of county seat was extremely competitive. Pinedale and Boulder teamed up to promote Pinedale. Big Piney and Marbleton teamed up to promote Big Piney. Pinedale attempted to pull Daniel to their side, but Daniel rejected and put their own name on the ballot for a three-way race. Lou Hennick offered to donate a full city block for the courthouse if Pinedale was selected. The Budd family made the same offer in Big Piney. The populations for each community from the 1920 census suggested the race would be close.
Given the contentious county seat campaign, it is no wonder the commissioners picked the central location of Daniel for their meetings. Daniel was not an incorporated town and did not have any government buildings. However, the Post Office was located in the Albert Brothers & Pixley Store because Elwood Albert was the postmaster. The new store, built in 1916, was located across Schoolhouse Road immediately north of the current location of the Green River Bar on what is now a vacant lot.
When the commissioners met to certify the results on July 2, 1921, the county vote was overwhelming, 1139 for and 50 against. The county seat was even closer than expected with Pinedale winning by only 6 votes (Pinedale – 488, Big Piney – 482, Daniel – 230). The results were predictable with the vast majority of people voting for the community closest to them. Twenty of the precincts voted over 80% for one town (For Pinedale – Big Sandy, Boulder, Cora, Elkhorn, Kendall (Wells), New Fork, Olson, Pinedale, Pine Creek; For Big Piney – Big Piney, Cottonwood (Halfway), Hilmont (Abby), Marbleton, Mason, Midway, Stanley, Tie Camp; For Daniel – Daniel, Merna, Mondell) with only two split. The closest of the two vote splitters was Bronx voting 32 for Daniel, 26 for Pinedale, and 4 for Big Piney. With only Bondurant outstanding on election night, Pinedale and Big Piney were tied with 473 votes. Bondurant settled the election, voting 30 for Daniel, 15 for Pinedale and 9 for Big Piney. Based on the election results, the appointed commissioners selected Pinedale as the new official place of business for future meetings.
Big Piney did challenge the election results, charging at least 9 illegal votes were cast in Pinedale and voting irregularities including reopening a voting poll after closing and not properly securing ballot boxes. After several filings, the charges were dismissed and never ruled on.
County ScheduleView upcoming meetings of the Board of County Commissioners, Planning Commission, and more!