A History of Discovery  

A History of Discovery 1598-201

Wetherill Reunion June 14-19, 2017


As you browse through this Web site, you will find many interesting stories and fascinating people.  The Wetherill family were responsible for some of the most important archeological discoveries in the Southwest.  Another branch of the family were major contributors to the industrial revolution in America in the 19th century.

Mesa Verde National Park near Mancos, Colorado has some of the largest and best preserved Ancestral Puebloan ruins in the United States.  One of these, Cliff Palace was discovered by Richard Wetherill his brother-in-law Charlie Mason and Acowitz, a Ute Tribal member in December of 1888. 

It was Richard Wetherill and his brothers John and Al in 1893 that first discovered the “Baskemakers” and recognized them as a predecessor to the Cliff Dwellers.  Their discovery of a burial and massacre in cave 7 in Southern Utah and the use of stratigraphy in analysis of the excavation led to the discovery of an earlier culture. 

Keet Seel

                                         Keet Seel 

It was John Wetherill in 1909 that led the discovery expedition to Rainbow Bridge, the world's largest natural stone span.  John led an expedition of two parties, University of Utah archaeologists Byron Cummings and U. S. government surveyor William Boone Douglass.  There is substantial evidence that John and Louisa Wetherill actually saw the bridge several months before the expedition.

Because of the families future activities it resulted in the formation of three National Parks, two National Monuments and the discovery of a new culture and collections of artifacts which were distributed to museums of world wide fame.  

 Other creative members of the family were Robert and Richard Wetherill of Chester, Pennsylvania who were two of the most influential industrialists in the Eastern United States in the late 19th century. 

Grey Stone Robert Wetherill Home

  Robert Wetherill Home Chester, Pennsylvania

Rulon Wetherill Collection       

Robert Wetherill formed the Robert Wetherill and Company and was later joined by his brother, Richard Wetherill.   They built in their foundry and factory such things as the Wetherill 350 hp Corless Steam Engine.

Within the Wetherill family you will find some of considerable wealth, prestige and contributors to the development of this country.  Several of the allied families arrived with Juan de Onate in New Mexico in 1598.  Many descendants of these families still live in the same communities established during that time. 

John Wetherill

John Wetherill

1866 - 1944

Keet Seel, Navajo National Monument

Keet Seel Navajo National Monument

Entered by Richard Wetherill in 1895 while on an expedition in the Northern area of Monument Valley.  Fourteen years later Richard's brother, John Wetherill and Byron Cummings entered Betatakin an immense cave with a large ruin. Both Betatakin and Keet Seel were in same general area.

Wetherill Coreless Engine, Manufactured by the Robert Wetherill and Company

Past Wetherill Events

Past Events