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Charles DeMaris was a successful cattleman in Montana (until the winter of 1886 -- a disastrous season of frigid temperatures and snow storms, causing cattle losses estimated at 85%). Having heard of the medicinal properties of the “Stinking Water Springs”, DeMaris determined to venture south to look over Cody country. In 1883, he brought with him two men, a cook and a doctor, as DeMaris’ health was not good. He camped there with his crew and two covered wagons of necessities. After a few weeks of “taking the waters,” his health improved so much that he decided to settle there. Finally selling his Montana ranch, he moved to this area and more or less “squatted” at the hot springs now named for him, until in 1895, Charles bought 160 acres of land, which included three hot springs.
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and a group of investors formed the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company to found a town here after determining that this could be irrigated by the Stinking Water River. In 1895, a contractor named Jerry Ryan traveled over the Big Horn Mountains from Sheridan to join the little group of people who were trying to build a town here. In his party was his niece, Miss Nellie Fitzgerald. A dance was given in Cody to celebrate the visit of Governor W. A. Richards, who had come here to hunt game and to get better acquainted with this part of Wyoming. Col. William F. Cody introduced Nellie to Charles DeMaris. Miss Nellie was the only single girl living in town -- but not for long. The first wedding performed in Cody was that of Charles and Nellie, in 1898. There was no minister here yet, and so the marriage service was conducted by “Judge” Hayden, who was Charles Hayden, a civil engineer, who surveyed the town site of Cody. Cody’s real estate business began with one outfit; the Lincoln Land Co, a subsidiary of the CB&Q Railroad Co. Their records show that Charles DeMaris bought the lots on Sheridan Ave. in January of 1906.
above: William F. Cody with C. C. (Bill) DeMaris on his lap. Charles DeMaris & his sister-in-law, on L. Nellie DeMaris sits on porch with a woman and man, both unidentified.
From the front porch of DeMaris Springs Hotel
below: postcard of Charles DeMaris in front of the DeMaris Hot Springs