Photos Documenting the Settling of the Wild West

Photos Documenting the Settling of the Wild West

By Jacob Miller

In the 19th century, manifest destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that its settlers were destined to expand across North America.

The manifest destiny belief was comprised of three basic tenants: the special virtues of the American people and their institutions, the mission of the United States to redeem and remake the west in the image of a domesticated America, a destiny to accomplish this duty.

Newspaper editor John O’Sullivan is credited with coining the term manifest destiny in 1845 to describe the essence of this American mindset. The term was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico and it was used to divide half of Oregon with the United Kingdom.

The day before finalizing the wording of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail “I am apt to believe that [Independence Day] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Doc Holliday, Gambler, Gunfighter, Dentist. Wikimedia Commons
Timothy O’Sullivan Photo of Native Americans. Wikimedia Commons
John H.C. Grabill Photo of the Deadwood Coach. Ranker
The Only Authenticated Picture of Billy the Kid, C. 1879. Ben Wiitck
Wyatt Earp, C. 1887. Wikimedia Commons
Two Barmen Tend to An Old West Saloon. Pinterest
Sioux Indian Teepees. Pinterest
Raising The Stakes In A Gambling Hall Poker Game. Ranker
Alfred A. Hart Photo of Indian in the Palisades. Reddit
Timothy O’Sullivan 1873 Photo of Navajo Indians Near Fort Defiance. Wikimedia Commons
1871 Photo of Timothy O’Sullivan with Wheeler Survey and Native Americans. Ranker
Ox Teams at Sturgis. John C. H. Grabill
Johnny Ringo, outlaw. Ranker
Ike Clanton, Outlaw. Ranker
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Comes Through Town. Pinterest
Morgan Earp, Deputy. Pinterest
John H.C. Grabill 1889 Photo of a Montana Mine. Ranker
A Young Jesse James. Ranker
Chinese Railroad Workers Pause During Construction. Ranker
Buffalo Soldier, Colorado, 1890. Wikimedia Commons
Timothy O’Sullivan 1873 Photo of Canyon De Chelly in Arizona. Wikimedia Commons
Several Teepees In View Of Two Large Homes In Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Ranker
John H.C. Grabill 1891 Photo of Villa of Brule. Ranker
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Public Domain
Nicholas and Virginia Earp, Parents of Wyatt Earp. Ranker
Texas Jack Vermillion, Gunfighter. Ranker
Timothy O’Sullivan 1868 Photo of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Public Domain
Louisa Earp, Morgan Earp’s Wife. Wikimedia Commons
Virgil Earp, Age 19. Ranker