Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
How the Yellowstone River Got Its Name
For many years the Yellowstone River was credited with being the swiftest navigable river in the world. How many of you readers are aware of the fact that the Yellowstone River has its source in northern Wyoming (not counting Yellowstone Park as a part of Wyoming). Such is the case. The river rises in the northwest corner of Wyoming and runs in a northerly direction into the Yellowstone lake in the park, and thence out of the lake through the Yellowstone canyon, on down to its confluence with the Missouri in Western North Dakota. Very few people know the origin of its name. When Lewis and Clark, early in the spring of 1805, set out on their westward journey, after having spent the winter among the Mandan Indians in North Dakota, they sent back a report to President Thomas Jefferson, together with a map of the western country based on information received from the Indians. In that report and on that map, the famous explorers used the words "Yellow Stone" as the name of the principal tributary of the Missouri, undoubtedly the first time the name ever appeared on an official document. But Lewis and Clark did not originate the name, or were they the first to actually call the stream by that name. According to reliable sources, the French explorers called it a name which when translated, means yellow stone, and the Indians also called it a name which, when translated, meant "Rock Yellow River." Established usages, as we all know, now write the name in one word -- "Yellowstone". What it was that led the early day settlers and the Indians to use the name is easily discoverable, when one gazes upon the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, distinguished among the notable canyons of the globe by the marvelous coloring of its walls; conspicuous, among its innumerable tints, is yellow. Every shade from a brilliant plumage of the yellowbird to the saffron of the orange greets the eye in Bewildering profusion. There is, indeed, no other color unparalleled in variety and abundance, but the ever present background is the fifth color of the spectrum. So prominent is this feature that it never fails to attention and all descriptions of the canyon abound in reference to it.