Researched and compiled by Faye Bell (SLC) 2012



            William Pearl (known as Bill) was born in Illinois(1874) as per the 1920 U.S. census, but he and his family lived in Grant, DeKalb, MO.   He had married Iona there and had his son Robert Charles born in 1898.  Charlie was married there and his children were born in Missouri as well: Gilbert, Geraldine, Maxine, Virginia and Charles, Jr.   After 1934 (the birth of C J Pearl), Bill and his entire family moved to Wyoming and settled himself in Ten Sleep three-quarters of a block from main street and adjacent to the Alexander log home which housed the telephone office.  His wife of nearly forty years, Iona (M?)  Pearl, became the telephone operator in that office.  Most residents of Ten Sleep had no phone at that time; to answer their needs, Bill Pearl delivered messages to them on foot.  The telephone poles served as light poles, too, and about 6-8 feet from the ground which held the pole, there was a light switch.  Without automation, Bill went out every evening at dusk and made sure the light was on and he would go out each morning when the sun was up and turn off the street lights.  His wife Iona died in 1950 and Bill followed her within the year.  He passed away in 1951.




Memories:  The words of the song “The Old Lamplighter” come to mind when I think of Bill Pearl:  His snowy hair was so much whiter beneath the candle glow, the old lamplighter of long, long ago!  He made the night a little brighter wherever he would go, The Old lamplighter of long, long ago! “  When I think of the stress of having to deliver important messages when you have just sat down to eat your breakfast as Bill Pearl must have done innumerable times and then trot out on legs that were at least 60 when he started his delivery service and lamplighter jobs, I think he was very admirable and probably not appreciated enough.  I believe Leo D Rhodes guided and aided the Pearl family so that they survived their move from Missouri to Ten Sleep, WY.   Fvb


Newspaper date: 10/24/1951