Descendants of Rebecca Winters are seeking to move the Mormon pioneer’s grave and historical markers, and say the Legacy of the Plains Museum would be the best site for relocation.
Scotts Bluff County Tourism Director Brenda Leisy presented a letter to county commissioners Tuesday night from two of Winters’ oldest living relatives, asking for the county’s assistance. In the letter, the relatives cited the current grave site location’s increased traffic with Highway 26 expanded to four lanes, more industrial development, and a perceived reduction in upkeep at the site.
Leisy says the two relatives made a visit to the area in September to look at the site and seek potential locations to move the grave and historical interpretation pieces, and determined Legacy of the Plains would be a logical choice that would place the grave where it would receive better care and have more visitation.
Museum representative Rick Myers says there was some initial resistance to moving the site from the north side of the North Platte River, the traditional Mormon Trail route, to the south side. However, Myers told the commissioners eventually the committee considering the request determined that Winters’ grave was now more emblematic of the entire westward migration in the 1800’s. Myers said the museum was the perfect location for the site, but with several other projects in motion they don’t have the funding to assist in the move.
Leisy noted that $3,000 in Keno funds from the county have already been earmarked for the move, but the actual costs still have to be determined. She asked for the county’s blessing to form a committee comprised of members of the county board, county tourism, Church of Latter-Day Saints, Legacy of the Plains and Dugan Memorial to determine what is needed to move the site and the projected cost, which may or may not exceed the allotted Keno funds.
The commissioners approved the creation of the committee on a vote of 4-0. A timeline for the relocation of the Winters’ grave has yet to be determined.