JACKSON, Wyo. — Jenny Lake, one of Grand Teton National Park’s (GTNP) iconic spots, is named for Jenny Leigh, a young Newe (Shoshone) woman.

Jenny Leigh with her husband and their children. Photo courtesy of GTNP

Jenny Leigh was born in 1849 and ended up married to Teton mountain man and trapper Richard ‘Beaver Dick’ Leigh. According to GTNP, the pair arrived in Teton Valley, Idaho, in 1863. Both Jenny and Beaver Dick assisted the Hayden Expedition of 1872, which resulted in the team naming Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake after them. It was allegedly the first time an expedition team broke tradition and named two natural landmarks after people who were not official members of the expedition.

According to Jenny Leigh’s cemetery marker in Idaho, which is on unnamed road near State Highway 33 outside of Rexburg, Idaho, Jenny and her six children would accompany Beaver Dick on his hunting trips and expeditions into the mountains of what became Yellowstone National Park (YNP) and GTNP.

Jenny and all of her children died of smallpox in 1876, when she was 27.

Buckrail @ River

River is a Community News Reporter with a passion for wildlife, history, and unique mountain stories. She’s also a gemini, dog mom, hiker, and published poet, and has an obsession with alpine lakes and modern art.