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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.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29

1845 Texas admitted into the Union. While its borders would soon shrink, at first a small portion of Wyoming, previously claimed by Spain, and then Mexico, and then Texas, was within the boundaries of the new state.  None of these political entities had actually ever controlled the region, so to some degree the claim was more theoretical than real.

1879  Wyoming's Territorial Governor John Hoyt plans Wyoming's first official New Year's party by a governor at Interocean Hotel, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

1879  J. S. Nason takes office as Territorial Auditor.

1890.  The Battle Wounded Knee occurs in South Dakota.

The battle followed a period of rising tensions on Western reservations during which various tribes began to become adherents of a spiritual movement which held that participation in a Ghost Dance would cause departed ancestors to return along with the buffalo, and the European Americans to depart.  Ghost Dance movements created great nervousness amongst the American administration of the Reservations upon which they were occurring, including the Pine Ridge Reservation, where Wounded Knee took place.  Tensions increased when Sitting Bull was killed in a gun fight with Indian Police on December 15 and troops were sent to the reservation thereafter after tensions increased amongst Sitting Bull's tribe, the Hunkpapa Sioux.  When troops arrived,  200 Hunkpapa-Miniconjou Sioux fled the reservation towards the  Cheyenne River.  They were joined by a further 400 Sioux, who then reconsidered and turned themselves in at Ft. Bennett South Dakota.

The remaining 400 or so Sioux were set to surrender themselves at Wounded Knee but were delayed in doing so as their leader, Big Foot, was sick with pneumonia. When the Army arrived at Wounded Knee, it commenced to disarm the tribesmen on December 28, which was an unwelcome action on their part, and greatly increased tensions in the camp, which were made further tense by the upsetting of the camp by the soldiers, which included women and children. A militant medicine man further agitated the matter by reminding the tribesmen that their Ghost shirts were regarded as making them invulnerable to bullets.  During this event, the rifle of Black Coyote, regarded by some of his tribesmen as crazy, went off accidentally while he was struggling to retain it.  The medicine man gave the sign for retaliation and some Sioux leveled their rifles at the soldiers, and some may have fired them.  In any event, the soldiers were soon firing at the Sioux, and Hotckiss cannons fired into the village.  Of  230 Indian women and children and 120 men at the camp, 153 were known to be killed and 44 known to be wounded with many probable wounded likely escaping and relatives quickly removing many of the dead. Army casualties were 25 dead and 39 wounded  Six Congressional Medals of Honor were issued for the action, which was a two day action by military calculations, which is typically a surprise to those not familiar with the battle.  An inaccurate myth holds that the Army retracted the Medals of Honor in recent years, but this is not true.   The battle aroused the ardor of the Brules and Oglalas on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations with some leaving those reservations as a result, but by January 16, 1891, the Army had rounded up the last of them who had come to acknowledge the hopelessness of the situation.

The tragic event is often noted as the closing battle of the Indian Wars, which it really is not.  Various other actions would continue on throughout the 1890s, although they were always minor.  At least one military pursuit occurred in the first decade of the 20th Century.  Actions by Bronco Apaches, essentially renegades, would occur in northern Mexico, and spill over the border, as late as 1936.  Perhaps it has this status, however as the presence of the 7th Cavalry at the action, and the location, make it a bit of a bookend to the Indian Wars in the popular imagination, contrasting with Little Big Horn, which is generally regarded as the largest Army defeat of the post Civil War, Indian Wars, period.  Even that, of course, came well into the period of the Plains Indian Wars, so just as Wounded Knee was not the end of the actual conflict, Little Big Horn was not that near to the beginning.

Nonetheless, being such a singular defeat, it has come to stand for the end of the era for Native Americans, which probably is a generally correct view in some ways.  After Wounded Knee, no Indian action would ever be regarded as seriously challenging US authority.
 Big Foot's Camp three weeks after the battle.

1916   The Casper Weekly Tribune for December 29, 1916: Carranza official arrives in Washington, land for St. Anthony's purchased, and the Ohio Oil Co. increases its capital.

While a protocol had been signed, a Carranza delegate was still arriving to review it.  Keep in mind, Carranza had not signed it himself.
Also in the news, and no doubt of interest to Wyomingites whose relatives were serving in the National Guard on the border, Kentucky Guardsmen exchanged shots with Mexicans, but the circumstances were not clearly reported on.
In very local news two locals bought the real property on North Center Street where St. Anthony's Catholic Church is located today.  The boom that the oil industry, and World War One, was causing in Casper was expressing itself in all sorts of substantial building. As we've discussed here before, part of that saw the construction of three very substantial churches all in this time frame, within one block of each other.

The news about the Ohio Oil Company, at one time part of the Standard family but a stand alone entity after Standard was busted up in 1911, was not small news.  Ohio Oil was a major player in the Natrona County oilfields at the time and would be for decades.  It would contribute a major office building to Casper in later years which is still in use. At one time it was the largest oil company in the United States.  In the 1960s it changed its name to Marathon and in the 1980s moved its headquarters from Casper to Cody Wyoming.  At some point it began to have a major presence in the Houston area and in recent years it sold its Wyoming assets, including the Cody headquarters, and it now no longer has a presence of the same type in the state.

Abandoned post Wold War One Stock Raising Homestead Act homestead.
1916  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 becomes law.  It  allowed for 640 acres for ranching purposes, but severed the surface ownership from the mineral ownership, which remained in the hands of the United States.

The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 recognized the reality of  Western homesteading which was that smaller parcels of property were not sufficient for Western agricultural conditions.  It was not the only  such homestead act, however, and other acts likewise provided larger  parcels than the original act, whose anniversary is rapidly coming up.   The act also recognized that homesteading not only remained popular, but the 1916 act came in the decade that would see the greatest number of  homesteads filed nationally.

Perhaps most significant, in some ways, was that the 1916 act also  recognized the split estate, which showed that the United States was  interested in being the mineral interest owner henceforth, a change from prior policies.  1916 was also a boom year in oil and gas production,  due to World War One, and the US was effectively keeping an interest in  that production.  The split estate remains a major feature of western  mineral law today.

1931   Sheep Creek stages rabbit hunt to reduce rabbit numbers and feed the hungry.

1941  All German, Italian and Japanese aliens in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington and are ordered to surrender contraband. (WWII List).

1941  Sunge Yoshimoto, age nineteen, killed in the Lincoln-Star Coal Company tipple south of Kemmerer.  He was a Japanese American war worker.

1943  Wartime quotas of new adult bicycles for January cut in half with 40 being allotted to Wyoming.Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1944 USS Lincoln County, a landing ship tank, commissioned.

2008  Third day of Yellowstone earthquake swarm.

2014  The Special Master issues his report on Tongue River allocations in Montana v. Wyoming. Wyoming newspapers report this as a victory for Wyoming, but Montana papers report that both states won some points in the decision, which now goes to the Supreme Court for approval or rejection.

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