How To Use This Site

How To Use This Site

This blog was updated on a daily basis for about two years, with those daily entries ceasing on December 31, 2013. The blog is still active, however, and we hope that people stopping in, who find something lacking, will add to the daily entries.

The blog still receives new posts as well, but now it receives them on items of Wyoming history. That has always been a feature of the blog, but Wyoming's history is rich and there are many items that are not fully covered here, if covered at all. Over time, we hope to remedy that.

You can obtain an entire month's listings by hitting on the appropriate month below, or an individual day by hitting on that calendar date.

We hope you enjoy this site.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 18

1877  Cantonment Reno, then Ft. McKinney on the Powder River,  moved to the north bank of Clear Creek.  Attribution:  On This Day.

1882  William Hale appointed Territorial Governor of Wyoming.  Hale was an Iowa attorney active in Republican politics, and was a Presidential Elector.  He occupied the position until his death in 1885.

1890  Laramie granted a streetcar franchise.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1901. Tom Horn murders Willie Nickell, for which he is later hung. In part, Horn is relatively rapidly identified due to leaving an expended .30-30 cartridge at the site, that being a rifle cartridge he was associated with.  At the time, the .30-30 was regarded as a long range high velocity cartridge and it was a relatively new cartridge as well.  The murder was almost certainly a mistake, as Horn was very likely waiting for Willie's father.  Willie was a big kid, albeit only age 14, and was wearing his father's coat on the day of the murder.

It's interesting to note that Horn was born in Missouri and grew up on a large family farm, although he left home as an early teen. His 1860 birth date would have caused him to grow up in the Missouri of the 1860s and 1870s, which were particularly lawless, and produced a variety of notorious gunmen.  He served as a civilian scout in the Army under the legendary Al Sieber and saw service on both sides of the border.  He picked up a knowledge of the Apache language during this period..

In the period leading up to this infamous act, he seems to have been employed as an enforcer for certain cattle interests that were continuing to contest along the lines of the Johnson County War as well as the ongoing sheep war.  He first took up hiring out as a gunman in the Southwest, after his service to the Army.  His role in Wyoming was often as a "stock detective", which gave a degree of legality to some of his activities.

His arrest and conviction is one of two instances in the first decade of the 20th Century in Wyoming in which the gunman was rapidly identified due to a cartridge preference, the other being the 1909 Spring Creek Raid, which was the last raid of Wyoming's long running sheep wars. In that event, one of the assailants was armed with a semi automatic Remington 1908 in .25 Remington, his rifle being the only one of that type in the region.

Horn has remained an oddly popular and well known figure in Wyoming's history and has his apologists.  The reasons for this are not entirely clear.  There are those who claim even to the present day that he was not guilty of the murder and was framed by those who had formerly employed him, citing to the efforts of Joe Lefors, who was critical in tracking him down and supplying testimony against him. But the apologists arguments do not stand up to scrutiny.   Looked at objectively, Horn was a late Frontier era figure who became ensnared in the violence of the period at the same time at which it was winding down.  The same decade of his arrest would see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid conclude their criminal activities in the state (also with Lefors playing a part in that) and the end of the Sheep Wars due to the arrival of effective law enforcement and unbiased juries.  Perhaps Horns role as a fin de siecle play a role in the ongoing fascination with him.

1912  A prison riot resulted in twelve prisoners of the penitentiary escaping, one of which killed a Rawlins resident. Attribution:  On This Day.

1918  And one day later. . . the Battle of Soissons. July 18-22, 1918.
Yesterday we posted our item about the practical end of the 1918 German Spring Offensive.

American 155mm guns which participated in the Battle of Soissons.

Amazingly, today we're posting about a French Offensive.

Or, more accurately a Franco American Offensive.  Or indeed, a Franco American Offensive supported by the British.

The Battle of Soissons.

Tactically, Soissons was a French effort, but even at that, it had a heavily international flavor to it. Designed to push back the bulge in the French line created by the third phase of the German 1918 Spring Offensive, the carefully designed attack featured an initial line made up heavily of "Moroccan" French troops, who reality were not only Moroccan, but were recruited from all over the globe. Some of the troops had in fact been pre war French Legionnaires.  Next to them were two American Divisions, the 1st and the 2nd, with the 2nd launching out of Belleau Wood and Château-Thierry France (which would result in the Battle of Château-Thierry, fought on this date).  Over all command was French.

The launching of the fifth and final phase of the 1918 Spring Offensive caused some to sugget postponing this effort, but Foch was confident the German effort would fail and there was no reason to delay. The decision was risky, but proved warranted.  From 18 to 22 July the French and American forces pushed the line back to where it had been before the 1918 Spring Offensive had begun. American troops proved themselves again in a large scale effort.  American efforts to form a full American Army were supported by the results. . . and the German reversal of fortunes in 1918 had begun.

Like most offensive operations in large wars, the offensive itself is remembered by some not for the particular offensive, but for battles within it.  One such battle was the aforementioned Battle of Château-Thierry, which is a well remembered Franco American battle that took place on this day.  That effort was an aspect of the first day of the offensive and was notable, as was day one of the offensive in general, for the lack of a preparatory artillery bombardment, which aided in achieving surprise.

U.S. Artillery at Château-Thierry.

1930  Gillette's  Dr. Sayles built small hospital at his home.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1940 The Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a third term in office.

2008  A Federal plan to delist the Northern Rockey Mountain Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List was struck down by the Federal District Court of the D. C. Circuit.  Attribution:  On This Day.

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