Mr. Whitney by Felix Velez
As the image of Edward A. Whitney on this bench handing out
books might suggest, Whitney was refreshingly indiscriminate
in giving out this support, declaring it was to be “as freely
offered to the hand worker as the brain worker.”
Books were part of Edward A. Whitney¹s life. He read widely
to acquire knowledge. He regularly solicited booksellers from
around the country, even the world, for particular works. His
elder brother and only surviving sibling ran a bookstore.
Librarians and libraries fill his family heritage. In fact, there are
no fewer than five Whitney libraries throughout the US and
Canada. The first drafts of his will show he wanted to fund a
community library, but Andrew Carnegie upstaged him by
building one of his libraries in Sheridan in 1905.
On a larger level, Whitney focused on education to the
exclusion of all other interests. In his will, he declared
“it seemed well to my mind to devote the net income of the
property that I leave towards aiding in the needy and
deserving young men and young women in attaining, through
education, such positions in life as may appeal to them as best suited to their individual needs and capacities.”
Felix Velez is an internationally known sculptor.
Cool Waters by D. Michael Thomas
Edward A. Whitney moved to the northern Rocky Mountains around 1880. A man of considerable business acumen, he
sensed opportunity in livestock and took part in the great cattle boom of the early 1880s. He began in Miles City, but within
a few years migrated south to Sheridan. By 1885, he had
established a bank and continued to invest in local ranches
Whitney survived the 1886-87 cattle bust and continued to
slowly acquire more land in Sheridan and Johnson County.
This persistence differentiated Whitney from many peers.
Other educated easterners, which Whitney was, pulled up
stakes when they saw their cattle fortunes fail. Whitney stayed
and rebuilt. For the rest of his life, cattle and land held his
attention. Records show he had interests in at least a dozen
local ranches. He often partnered with Sheridan¹s other
prominent ranching families like the Kendricks, Wallops, and
Whitney also intuitively sensed the importance of water.
Records show a keen interest in water rights and irrigation
ditches. Water played a key role when Whitney set up his
educational trust. In early drafts of his will, he directed that
trustees not come from certain township or sections, but
rather from specific watersheds in Sheridan County. His
descriptions show an intimate knowledge of creeks and
Lastly, Whitney, a serious and focused man, seemed to appreciate in others what he himself struggled to do: pause and
enjoy the day. He understood that relaxation was just as important as work, although he would rather work.
D. Michael Thomas, a Wyoming native, has been sculpting for over 30 years.
Team Ropin’ by Mike Flanagan
Balancing Boys by Dan Hill
A new sculpture has been displayed to enhance the beauty of the park and honor Mr. Whitney’s memory. In collaboration
with the Sheridan Public Arts Committee, Whitney Benefits has displayed the sculpture “Balancing Boys” by Utah artist Dan
Hill. This three-piece sculpture can be viewed on the west side of the park abutting the sidewalk on North Jefferson Street.
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An Educational Foundation by the late Mr. Edward A. Whitney
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