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Ralph E. Platt

Ralph Ezra Platt, recognized by many in the mineral collecting community as Wyoming‘s leading, most knowledgeable mineral collector, was born in a log cabin on Beaver creek, southeast of Encampment, Wyoming, on Sept 13, 1913, the son of Arwilda Pool and Ralph Henry Platt (1883-1971), a rancher. The first rock Ralph collected that remains in his collection was found when he was 9 years old. Ninety-one years later he was still talking about minerals.

Ralph grew up on his father's ranch, where hard work and long hours were expected. He began his schooling in Colorado, moving back to attend his 4th grade through 10th grades at the old Beaver Creek School house. Ralph went to Saratoga his 11th & 12th grades and graduated from the Platte Valley School. He attended the University of Wyoming, where he majored in Agriculture (with a minor in Geology) and was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. In order to pay for school, Ralph shoveled coal for five cents per ton, and he and a friend would shovel 50 tons per day. He also, did concrete work for Banner Construction Company and was paid 30 cents per hour, while finding the time and energy to play for the Wyoming Cowboys basketball team.

After college Ralph first worked as a dairy inspector in Carbon County, Wyoming, and did some subcontracting for Northern Western Engineering Company doing rockwork on Highway 230 near the ranch. This was followed by his love for mining and the "Golden Clover" gold mine. Throughout his years he owned and operated several mines for gold, copper, uranium and vermiculite. Jade was also mined and countless days were spent researching mines that would produce outstanding mineral specimens, and then locating these mines and personally collecting specimens there.

During the late 1930s and 1940s during fur-trapping seasons, Ralph ran a very successful trap line for pine martin, beaver, muskrats, coyotes, mink and weasel. This required him to ride horse back from the ranch to near Steamboat Springs Co. and back every three days. Nights were spent in a sleeping bag under a pine tree with his dog Fuzz. When snow depths reached a point that it was extremely difficult for his horse to travel, he would pull his traps for the season.

Ralph married his college sweetheart, Harriet Tupper, on January 1, 1940, and they spent their honeymoon in Denver at the Roosevelt Hotel. Ralph bought a piece of land from his father where he and Harriet built a house and raised two sons, Vernon H. Platt and Ronald R. Platt. When Vernon and Ronald were old enough for school, Ralph built a second house in Saratoga, and during the winter months he taught Vocational Agriculture and a program for returning GIs. In the early 1950s he served as water commissioner in the valley; in 1954 he bought a Dairy Queen business in Cheyenne; and he taught class an agriculture at the Ft. Warren Air Base.

Ralph's love for his ranch, for the valley, and for hunting and mining never died. His hunting skills won him several Boone and Crockett trophies, one for a deer that at one time was number two in the world. Ralph started the Platt Brothers Guide and Outfitters and guided until he was 80 years old. Contracting and building for the people in the valley was also a big part of his life. Ralph was a member for over 70 years of the Masonic Order and he and Harriet were active in the Eastern Star, 50 years plus.

The foremost love of Ralph's life, starting when he was nine years of age, was mineral collecting. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he never missed the chance to see a quality mineral specimen. He served as president of the Rocky Mountain Gem and Mineral Society and was talking about minerals up until two nights before his death.

He died on December 26, 2013, at the age of 100.

ANONYMOUS (2013) Obituary for Ralph E. Platt. Carbon County Funeral Home.
US Federal Census, 1920, 1930, 1940.
Social Security Death Index.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Ralph E. Platt
The Mineralogical Record - Ralph E. Platt
The Mineralogical Record - Ralph E. Platt
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