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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 31

1600     The British East India Company formed by Royal Charter; d.1874

1871  The Territorial Legislature authorized the formation of militia companies, the birth of the Wyoming National Guard.

1890  A New Year's Ball was held in the Casper Town Hall to benefit the Casper Cornet Band.  Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1912  USS Wyoming made the President' flagship.

1916   The Cheyenne State Leader for December 31, 1916. Going out on a belligerent note.

And so 1916 would not go out on a peaceful note.

Carranza was unhappy that the protocol did not require a UW withdraw, the Allies were not tempted by peace.  The Army was taking a position contrary to what supposedly the Administration was taking, if reports were accurate, in that it wanted to withdraw the expedition in Mexico.

A bizarre  headline was featured on the front page indicating that  "churchmen" were opposing "premature peace" in Europe, with the promise that details would be provided the following day.
1925  The legendary Swan Land & Cattle Company issued it's corporate holdings report for the year.

1941   Big Piney, Pinedale, Nowood, and Star Valley became the first Wyoming Conservation Districts when their Certifications of Organization were signed by Wyoming's Secretary of State Lester Hunt.

1950  Frank Barrett resigned from the US House of Representatives, where he ad been Wyoming's Congressman, in order that he could take office as Governor.

1952 The 187th Fighter Bomber Squadron, Wyoming Air National Guard (F-51s) released from active service. During their service in Korea nine 187th pilots were lost.

1974     Private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.

1976  Wyoming hit by a statewide blizzard.

1978  Clifford Hanson, who was leaving his office as U.S. Senator, resigned, thereby allowing his successor, Alan K. Simpson to have Hanson's seniority by virtue of short appointment to replace him.

2011  The year departs with a Central Wyoming blizzard.

A snowy Consolidated Royalty Building in Casper Wyoming.

2012  Severe cold grips the state on the last day of 2012.

 First Interstate Bank Building in Casper Wyoming, displaying 1F on their time and temperature sign.

Elsewhere.  1695   A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax.

1961     The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30

1782  The Decree of Trenton gives the Wyoming region of Ohio and Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania.

1835  Santa Ana declared that all foreigners taking up arms against Mexico would be treated as pirates and shot.

1867  A .C. Clark of Cheyenne, a "professional pedestrian", begins a record breaking 50 mile walk without sleep or food.

1878  Camp Brown Wyoming renamed Ft. Washakie.  The change of name is remarkable in that it is the only instance of Frontier Army post being renamed in honor of a Native American.  Washakie, who was allied to the US, figured prominently in Wyoming as a Shoshone scout and was a war leader in both native wars and as the leader of Shoshone war parties in the field in support of the U.S. Army.  Washakie had a role in Crook's 1876 expeditions.  He would live in to the 20th Century, dieing in his 90s or 100s depending upon which birth date is accepted.

1905   Former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg is wounded by a powerful bomb that was triggered when he opens the gate to his home in Caldwell, Idaho. He died shortly afterwards in his own bed.  The act was a reprisal for his role in ending a mining strike.

1916   The Cheyenne State Leader for December 30, 1916: Discussions breaking down.

In spite of an accord having been signed last week, this week it looked like the agreement with Mexico might be going nowhere.
1921.  Prohibition agents conducted a raid in Rock Springs.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1942  A Riverton couple eccentrically converted 10,100 nickles into two war bonds.  Attribution. Wyoming State Historical Society.

1974  Teapot Dome added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1978  Teno Roncolio's technical last day as Wyoming's representative.  He resigned a few days in advance of Dick Cheney being sworn in, but he had not run for reelection so the resignation was likely merely to slightly advance his last day in office prior to January 1.

2008  The Yellowstone earthquake swarm continues adding an additional 23 quakes.


1916  Grigori Rasputin Murdered.

Russian mystic and controversial friend of the Imperial household, Grigori Rasputin, murdered.  This isn't, of course, a Wyoming story, but as it was part and parcel of what would become the Russian Revolution which lead ultimately to the long Cold War with the Soviet Union of which Wyoming was part, we've noted it here.

Rasputin was such a controversial figure during his lifetime, and lived in a land that remains so mysterious to outsiders today, that almost every aspect of his life is shrouded in myth or even outright error. To start with, contrary to what is widely assumed, he was not a monk nor did he hold any sort of office of any kind within the Russian Orthodox Church.

Rather, he was a wondering Russian Orthodox mystic, a position in Russian society that was recognized at the time.  His exact religious beliefs are disputed and therefore the degree to which he held orthodox beliefs is not really clear.

He became a controversial figure due to his seeming influence on the Emperor and Empress, who remained true monarchs at the time, and therefore his influence was beyond what a person might otherwise presume.  Much of this was due to his ability to calm or influence bleeding episodes on the part of the Crown Prince who was a hemophiliac.  Ultimately concerns over his influence lead to his being assassinated although even the details regarding his death are murky.

He was 47 years old at the time of his death.

1919   Lincoln's Inn in London admits its first female bar student.

2009   The last roll of Kodachrome film is developed by Dwayne's Photo, the only remaining Kodachrome processor at the time.

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.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 28

1836 Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico.  This does not mean that Spain was in control of Mexico until 1836, but rather that it recognized Mexican sovereignty.  Spain had attempted to reconquer Mexico as late as 1829.

Interestingly, by the time Spain recognized Mexico, Texas was in rebellion against Mexico.

1865  Edward L. Baker Jr, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for action in Cuba, born in Laramie County.  Baker, an African American, rose to the rank of Captain, an extraordinarily rare occurrence for a black American at that time.

1883  Lloyd Fredendall born at Ft. D. A. Russell where his father was then serving.  His father was not, however, a career soldier and would later become the Albany County Wyoming Sheriff.  Fredendall was appointed to West Point by Senator F. E. Warren, twice, being dismissed from the school once for poor academic performance and dropping out once.  None the less he was commissioned in to the Army after passing a qualifying exam while attending MIT.  He served in World War One, but did not see combat as he was assigned to positions in the Army's service schools in France.

During World War Two his fortunes rose early as he was favored by Marshall and liked by Eisenhower, both of whom admired his cocky demeanor.  He was assigned to major command positions in Operation Torch, but fell out of favor as he was not successful as an actual field commander.  He was replaced by Eisenhower following the American defeat at Kasserine Pass and spent the rest of the war in a training command in the United States, where he did secure promotion to the grade of Lt. General.  Historians have been hard on him, regarding his World War Two combat role proof that he was an inept commander.

1905  First issue of Worland Grit published.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1913  Western Meat Market burned in Superior.

1916   The Wyoming Tribune for December 28, 1916: Villa commanding 10,000.

The Tribune carried disturbing news about a resurgent Villa and a reluctant Carranza.
1920  Kamekichi Masuda of  Rock Springs received a patent for a basket.

1921  USS Laramie commissioned.

1928  Michael John Blyzka, major league baseball player, and resident of Cheyenne at the time of his death, born in   Hamtramck, Michigan.

1944  Governor Lester Hunt proclaimed the day to be Seabee Day.  The Seabees are the Navy's Construction Battalions, hence "CB", or Seabees.  While all of the armed services have always had engineers, the Seabees were an early World War Two creation that proved critical in the construction of airfields and other facilities during the U.S. campaigns in the Pacific during the war.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1993  A 4.7 magnitude earthquake occurs near Cody.

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 27

1836  Stephen F. Austin died. Attribution:  On This Day.

1867  Dakota Territorial Legislature creates Sweetwater County.

1890  The Union Pacific in Cheyenne received twelve new switch engines for distribution.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1899  A shipment of 500 cats from New Jersey, being sent to the Philippines for "rat control," passes through Laramie, Wyoming, on the Union Pacific Railroad.  That's a lot of cats.

1926 1,000 rabbits shot near Medicine Bow and sent to Rawlins, Wyoming, to feed the hungry.

1934  History repeated itself, according to the Casper Star Tribune:
 Hundreds of Homes Enjoy Feast Provided by Great Hunt ...

"The announcement that the thousands of rabbits taken by scores of nimrods in the most successful hunt of its kind ever staged in Wyoming were 'ready for the skillet' was all that was needed. ...

"Rabbits, skinned and washed to meet the taste of the most discriminating, disappeared as if by magic. The success of the hunt was only eclipsed by the appreciation of hundreds who came in a steady stream, and by 2 o'clock yesterday a supply which was expected to meet all demands was completely exhausted. ...

"No one tried to make off with more than a reasonable share. ...

The most taken by one family was 11 rabbits for a family of 10. Many asked only for two to four, depending upon the number in the household.

"The result was that rabbit sizzled and fried in hundreds of Casper homes last night."
From the Trib's this "A Look Back In Time" column.

1943  The USS Casper, a Tacoma Class frigate, launched.

1941     American authorities in the Philippines declared Manila an open city.

1945     The World Bank was created with an agreement signed by 28 nations.

Elsewhere:   1900     Carry Nation carried out her first public smashing of a bar, at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, Kan.

1979     Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Format for Today In Wyoming's History

This blog has been running now for about two years (I chose to start it on an odd month of the year, for some reason, rather than in January which would have made more sense).  Originally the intent was to run it for one year, but as it was incomplete when one year was complete, and as I found additional sources as the year ran, I kept it going.  Hopefully the few people who stop in here or who subscribe to it have enjoyed it.

Now, after nearly two years, the blog is at the point were little new daily content is being added to it.  Some has been, as I've found some new sources, but basically the blog is at a point where for it to really be expanded on a daily basis, I'd have to devote a lot more time to it than I have. 

Given that, starting on January 1, 2014, it will not longer update daily.  But the blog will remain.  Hopefully I'll find a calendar feature that I can put up that will allow a person to link into any day in that fashion, but even without one, it is easy to obtain an entire month's listings through the links at the top of the page.  So, for those who want to access any one day, it'll be easy to do so.

Beyond that, we will be adding articles on Wyoming's history from time to time, so the blog will continue to be updates with items which don't fit into any single day, but which have been major aspects of Wyoming's history.  We hope you will continue to enjoy the blog.

We also hope that people who may feel a desire to comment on any one day will do so. This blog can be added to and improved by people who stop in, just as that has frequently been the case in the past.

December 26. Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day (except when falling on a Sunday, when by Royal Proclamation, it is transferred to Monday).

Boxing Day has its origin as a religious Holiday in association with Christmas, and some traditions associate it with St. Stephen's Day, which is celebrated on this day.  The exact origin of it is unclear, but the name may be associated with poor boxes placed outside of church's on St. Stephen's Day which were used to collect funds for the poor, or for boxed gifts serving a similar purpose.

The day is associated with sports in some localities, including the equine sports.  It is the biggest single day for fox hunting in the United Kingdom, even after the ban of live hunts in 2004.  It is a major fox hunting day in the United States.  The King George VI Chase at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey is held on Boxing Day.  

1813   The Spain granted Moses Austin permission to establish a colony of Americans expatriates in Texas.

1866   Brig. Gen. Philip St. George Cooke, head of the Department of the Platte received word of the Dec 21 Fetterman Fight in Powder River County in the Dakota territory.

1871   The newspaper the "Laramie Daily Independent".  Attribution.  On This Day .com.

1917     The U.S. government took over operation of the nation's railroads during World War One.

1920  Pancho Villa escapes from prison in Mexico and crosses into the US.

1922  A holdup of a Casper army store results in $112.00 being stolen.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1929  This Christmas Tree was photographed somewhere in Wyoming:

1941   President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

1941  Rawlins Wyoming employment office received an urgent call for skilled workmen and laborers to work at Peal Harbor.  No doubt the same request was made in many localities across the country.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1944  Kentucky beat Wyoming in football, 50 to 46, in Buffalo New York.

2006     Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 93.  Ford was born in Omaha Nebraska to parents  Dorthy and Leslie Lynch King and was originally named Leslie L. King Jr.  His parents separated a mere sixteen days after his birth, and he saw his father only once during his lifetime.  His father, not an admirable person, provides a connection with Wyoming, however, as the senior king lived in Riverton for many years and his paternal grandfather was a successful businessman in Casper, Douglas, Lander and Omaha.  Ford later worked as a park ranger in Yellowstone National Park in 1936.
2008  A swarm of over 900 earthquakes occurred in Yellowstone over a wide area.  The earthquakes measured up to 3.9 on the Richter Scale.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25. Christmas

Today is Christmas Day

This day remains the most popular holiday in the Western World, and much of the rest of the world, in spite of the inroads of commercialization, the return of the seven day a week workweek, and the blathering of commercial entertainment, which offers up, in this season, such pathetic offerings as the televised seasonal stupidity of Chevy Chase and other such alleged comedic attempts.  May you all have a Merry and Joyous Christmas, in the true sense of the words and in keeping with the true meaning of the holiday.

In terms of history, in recent years it is often claimed that the December 25 date was chosen by the Church for Christ's Mass as it would override existing Pagan feast days, but this is a myth.  The most common claim involves Sol Invictus, but the problem with this assertion is that the earliest recording of that Pagan day being celebrated on December 25 comes from the year 354, and even that is unclear as to whether the day was honoring "The Unconquerable Sun" or something else.  There are claims for earlier dates in the 270s, but the record doesn't support a clear date until 354, to the extent that date is even clear.  The earliest indication of  Christians celebrating the Birth of Christ on December 25 comes from 206, over a century and a half earlier, and in a form suggesting that the date was generally accepted, which would indicate it having been established for some time.  Some will cite to 336 as the year in which the date was established, but this fails to acknowledge that the 336 date reflects a recorded Christ's Mass, when earlier Christian writings were noting that the December 25 date for Christ's birth.  Even the 336 date doesn't reflect the establishment of the date as a Christian Holy Day, but rather notes a Mass being celebrated for the Holy Day.

Another claim is that it overrides the date for a festival committed to Saturnus, but in fact that event occurred earlier in December, lasted several days, and was over by December 23.

1866 Portugee Phillips arrives at Ft. Laramie after a harrowing several day ride from besieged Ft. Phil Kearny. Contrary to myth, Phillips did not make the entire ride alone, but had other civilian volunteers in his company except for the very last section of the ride.  Their mission was essentially complete when they arrived at Horseshoe Station, where news of the Fetterman defeat was telegraphed to Omaha.  But Phillips went on alone, an additional hours ride, to bring the telegram and news to Ft. Laramie, arriving at 11:00 p.m. as a party was going on in Old Bedlam, the bachelor's officers quarters, which his arrival interrupted and made somber.  Phillips was given the gift of a fine horse by Company F of the 2nd Cavalry for his efforts.

1882  First recorded turkey dinner in Wyoming takes place at Ft. McKinney.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24

 Today is the day of the Christmas Vigil (Christmas Eve) in the Christian world.
 Aðfangadagskvöld, the day when the 13th and the last Yule Lad arrives to towns, in Iceland.
 Feast of the Seven Fishes in Italy.
 Jul in Denmark and Norway.
 Nochebuena in Spanish-speaking countries.

1809.  Christopher "Kit" Caron born in Kentucky.  Raised in Missouri, he would have an amazing career as a frontiersmen in the West, including Wyoming.  He is one of those fellows who seems to have been everywhere, and at the right time.

1814     The War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent.  Fighting continued, as news in the 19th Century traveled slowly.

1826   The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning.

1851     Fire devastated the Library of Congress destroying about 35,000 volumes.

1859  First known lighting of a Christmas Tree in Wyoming occurs, near Glenrock. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1868  A. J. Faulk, Territorial Governor of Dakota Territory, approved of act incorporating Cheyenne.

1944   All beef products are again being rationed. New quotas are introduced for most other commodities as well.

1983  Recluse Wyoming sees -51F.  Echeta, -54F.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23

1620   One week after the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth harbor in present-day Massachusetts, construction of the first permanent European settlement in New England begins.

Comment:   I remain really curious about the timing of this. Why December? Was the thought that they could get a crop in that Spring,if they hit ground mid winter?

1776  Thomas Paine wrote The Crisis:
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.
Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.
I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretence as he.
'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize with curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware.
As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well acquainted with many circumstances, which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of. Our situation there was exceedingly cramped, the place being a narrow neck of land between the North River and the Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one-fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and stood on our defence. Our ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our stores, had been removed, on the apprehension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could be of no use to us; for it must occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts are raised to defend. Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above; Major General [Nathaniel] Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry = six miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three-quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for; however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison, and march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be enabled to make a stand. We staid four days at Newark, collected our out-posts with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being informed that they were advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, committed a great error in generalship in not throwing a body of forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which means he might have seized all our stores at Brunswick, and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania; but if we believe the power of hell to be limited, we must likewise believe that their agents are under some providential control.
I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of our retreat to the Delaware; suffice it for the present to say, that both officers and men, though greatly harassed and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or provision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore it with a manly and martial spirit. All their wishes centred in one, which was, that the country would turn out and help them to drive the enemy back. Voltaire has remarked that King William never appeared to full advantage but in difficulties and in action; the same remark may be made on General Washington, for the character fits him. There is a natural firmness in some minds which cannot be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, discovers a cabinet of fortitude; and I reckon it among those kind of public blessings, which we do not immediately see, that God hath blessed him with uninterrupted health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon care.
I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous remarks on the state of our affairs; and shall begin with asking the following question, Why is it that the enemy have left the New England provinces, and made these middle ones the seat of war? The answer is easy: New England is not infested with Tories, and we are. I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger, but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. And what is a Tory? Good God! What is he? I should not be afraid to go with a hundred Whigs against a thousand Tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be brave.
But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard, with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for 'tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.
I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories: a noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw, and after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression, "Well! give me peace in my day." Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
America did not, nor does not want force; but she wanted a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the purchase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err at the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause to the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A summer's experience has now taught us better; yet with those troops, while they were collected, we were able to set bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God! they are again assembling. I always considered militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is probable, will make an attempt on this city [Philadelphia]; should he fail on this side the Delaware, he is ruined. If he succeeds, our cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a part on ours; admitting he succeeds, the consequence will be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march to assist their suffering friends in the middle states; for he cannot go everywhere, it is impossible. I consider Howe as the greatest enemy the Tories have; he is bringing a war into their country, which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. Should he now be expelled, I wish with all the devotion of a Christian, that the names of Whig and Tory may never more be mentioned; but should the Tories give him encouragement to come, or assistance if he come, I as sincerely wish that our next year's arms may expel them from the continent, and the Congress appropriate their possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in well-doing. A single successful battle next year will settle the whole. America could carry on a two years' war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.
Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.
There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both. Howe's first object is, partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the tories call making their peace, "a peace which passeth all understanding" indeed! A peace which would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon these things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe's army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination; I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes.
I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenceless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged. Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

1820  Moses Austin arrived in the Mexican territory of Texas seeking to secure permission for 300 families to immigrate there.

1823 The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore was first published, in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel.
A Visit from St. Nicholas

By Clement Clarke Moore

’T WAS the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that ST. NICHOLAS soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
1869     Louis Riel replaces John Bruce as President of the National Committee of Metis.

1889  A monument was erected in Natrona County Wyoming to S. Morris Waln and C.H. Strong, who had been murdered by their guide while hunting and prospecting in the Spring of 1888.  Waln was from Philadelphia, and Strong from New York City, and they hired a guide/cook from Denver. The guide was later tried and convicted in Colorado of horse theft, but was never tried for the Wyoming murders.

1916   The Cheyenne State Leader for December 23, 1916: Stock Raising Homestead Act passed

While it only merited a single paragraph, it did make the front page.  The Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 had passed.

This was a major change in the homesteading laws in that it was the first of two homestead acts that recognized the stock raising and arid nature of the West. Rather than grant 40 acres, as the original Homestead Act had, it allowed for 640, an entire section.  It would be signed into law by President Wilson on December 29.

While we do not associate this period with homesteading it was actually the height, and close to the finish, of it.  A large number of entries were being taken out, and soon a large number would fail in the post World War One agricultural crash and drought.

The Wyoming Tribune for December 23, 1916: Carranza loses cities.

The Wyoming Tribune reported that Carranza was losing cities, suggesting he was losing the civil war in Mexico.  At the same time, the paper reported that people were being generous to Pershing's command in Mexico.

1913 The Federal Reserve Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson. 

1925 Sultan Ibn Saud of Nejed captures Jiddah.  Connection with Wyoming?  Ibn Saud founded Saudi Arabia through such conquests, a rare example of a state based so strongly on a ruling family, and a state that has worked, in part, because it possesses a valuable natural resource, petroleum oil.  Wyoming had been an oil province since the 1890s, and the Arabian Peninsula was just becoming one.  The economic fortunes of Wyoming have been tied to activities in the Middle East ever since that region became a significant oil producer.

1926  1,000 rabbits show near Medicine Bow and sent to Rawlins, Wyoming, to feed the hungry.

1935  5,600 jackrabbits killed in Natrona County in one of the periodic Depression Era rabbit drives that were designed to help feed hungry families.  Amongst the numerous natural disasters inflicted on the nation during the Dust Bowl years were plagues of rabbits.  Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1941 American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese. British troops capture Benghazi, Libya. Gen. Douglas MacArthur decides to withdraw to Bataan. Japanese begin offensive against Rangoon, Burma. The 440-foot tanker Montebello was sunk off the California coast near Cambria by a Japanese submarine. The crew of 38 survived and in 1996 it was found that the 4.1 million gallon cargo of crude oil appeared intact. A conference of industry and labor officials agrees that there would be no strikes or lockouts in war industries while World War II continued.

1944  All horse racing in the US is banned in an effort to save labor.

1973  Larry Larom, founding president of the Dude Ranchers Association, died in Cody.

1991  A magnitude 3.6 earthquake occurred about 70 miles from Sheridan, WY.

Elsewhere:  1888 Vincent Van Gogh cuts off his ear.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22

1836  Texas'  First Congress established the General Land Office.

1916   The Casper Weekly Press for December 22, 1916: Wars everywhere

The Casper Weekly Press issued on December 22, 1916 warned that "Uncle Fears War". The papers were full of war warnings which, looking back, not only proved accurate but also can't help to call to mind that Woodrow Wilson had just been elected for keeping us out of war and yet the news was headed rapidly, and accurately, in the other direction.

In terms of other wars, the Casper paper reported that Villistas had killed 50 Constitutionalist soliders, hardly a large number by European standards but a scary one for a nation that had been worried about the direction the war in Mexico was taking for months.

In other grim news, two died in a refinery fire in Casper.  There is at least one famous refinery fire in Casper's history but it's not this one.  I can't find any details about it.

Finally the American Automobile Association, which I didn't even know existed that long ago, came out in support of a concrete highway across Wyoming. Such an improved highway remained quite a few years in the state's future at that time, but it's interesting to note how people were already pondering it.
1917  Mrs. Cody reacquires title to the Irma Hotel, in Cody.  Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1921  President Warren Harding signed an Executive Order that designated expanded the National Elk Refuge into, additionally, a bird refuge.

1942  It is announced that a major butane plant will be built by Continental Oil Company at Lance Creek.  Lance Creeks saw a huge boom in oil activity during World War Two.

1958  Herbert J. Brees died in San Antonio Texas.  Brees was born in Laramie in 1877, and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BS in 1897.  He earned a LLD, a version of a JD, in 1939, very late in his Army career.

He served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Volunteer Cavalry during 1898 as a volunteer for the Spanish American War and transferred from it in to the Regular Army in 1898.  He served initially in the artillery after joining the regular Army, but thereafter served principally in the cavalry branch until his retirement in 1941.  One of this last roles in the Army was as the Chief Controller for the Louisiana Maneuvers.  Brees Field, Laramie's airport, is named for him.

1978  The Downtown Cheyenne Historic District added to the National Registry of Historic Places.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

1620     The Mayflower voyagers went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Mass.  

1866  A force principally comprised of Sioux lures a force principally made up of post Civil War recruits, commanded by William Fetterman, into an ambush outside of Ft. Phil Kearny.  Fetterman was arrogant in regards to his opinions of his abilities and that of his green troops and insubordinate to some degree in regards to his weak commander, Col. Carrington.  In the resulting battle Fetterman's entire command, 82 (including two civilians) are killed in the largest post Civil War military disaster of the Indian Wars up until Little Big Horn a decade later.  The battle also results in a type of siege around Ft. Phil Kearny, just a few miles from the battlefield, where the command buttons up as a result of the disaster.

Coming just a year after the carnage of the Civil War, the defeat, which was recognized as a military disaster at the time, nonetheless did not have the huge public impact that Custer's defeat a decade later in Montana would.  Indeed, while recognized as a disaster at the time, the Sioux victory would be a significant battle in Red Cloud's War, the only Plains Indian War won by the Indians.  

Like Little Big Horn, the battle has been subjected to continual reinterpretation, and has been nearly from the onset.  As a recent article in the Annals of Wyoming (Spring 2012) reveals there were "eyewitness" accounts that were fiction from day one, and Col. Carrington started receiving criticism from the onset.  As it turns out, conventional accounts of the battle remain the most accurate, with Carrington urging Fetterman not to go beyond the nearby ridge-line, and Fetterman ignoring that order.  Fetterman's contempt for his Indian foe that day would prove disasterous.

1916   The Cheyenne State Leader for December 21, 1916: Mexican raid into Arizona threatened.

The terrible fire at the Inter-Ocean was still very much in the news, but we also learned that there was concern over a potential raid into Arizona by some Mexican bands.  Of course, the Wyoming Tribune had reported on this yesterday.

President Wilson's peacemaking efforts also hit the news.

1927  Ed Cantrell, Wyoming lawman, born in Bloomington Indiana.

1933 A bill to introduce a state income tax failed. Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1938  Construction on Seminoe  Dam was completed, bu the resulting reservoir would not start being filled until the Spring.

1941  $5,077 collected in Sheridan Wyoming war relief drive. Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20

1803 The Louisiana Purchase was completed as the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States during ceremonies in New Orleans. The transfer actually technically also involved Spain, but only in some odd jurisdictional sense.  Much, but not all, of what would become Wyoming was thereby transferred to the United States, leaving approximately 1/3d of the state in the hands of Spain and a section of country near what is now Jackson's Hole in the Oregon Country belonging to the United Kingdom.

While the very early territorial jurisdictions pertaining to Wyoming are now largely forgotten, and while they were always a bit theoretical given the tenuous nature of actual pre Mexican War control over the territory, there have been six national flags that claimed Wyoming or parts of it, including Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the United States.  With the Louisiana Purchase, France's claim would be forever extinguished and the majority of what would become the state would belong to the United States.

1812     One of the dates claimed for the death of Sacajawea.  If correct, she would have died of an unknown illness at age 24 at Fort Manuel Lisa, where it is claimed that she and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau were living.  If correct, she left an infant girl, Lizette, there, and her son Jean-Baptiste was living in a boarding school while in the care of William Clark.  Subsequent records support that Charbonneau consented to Clark's adoption of Lizette the following year, although almost nothing is known about her subsequent fate.  Jean-Baptiste lived until age 61, having traveled widely and having figured in many interesting localities of the American West.

The 1812 death claim, however, is rejected by the Shoshone's, to which tribe she belonged, who maintain that she lived to be nearly 100 years old and died in 1884 at Ft. Washakie, Wyoming.  A grave site exists for her, based on the competing claim, in Ft. Washakie, the seat of government for the Wind River Reservation.  This claim holds that she left Charbonneau and ultimately married into the Comanche tribe, which is very closely related to the Shoshone tribe, ultimately returning to her native tribe This view was championed by  Grace Hebard who was discussed here several days ago, and it even presents an alternative history for her son, Jean Baptiste, and a second son Bazil.  It was later supported by the conclusions reached by Dr. Charles Eastman, a Sioux physician who was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to research her fate.

While the Wyoming claim is not without supporting evidence, the better evidence would support her death outside of Wyoming at an early age.  The alternative thesis is highly romantic, which has provided the basis for criticism of Hebard's work.  The 1812 date, on the other hand, is undeniably sad, as much of Sacajawea's actual life was.  Based upon what is now known of her story, as well as the verifiable story of Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, who had traveled in the US and Europe, and who had held public office in the United States, the Wyoming claim is seriously questionable.  That in turn leaves the question of the identify of the person buried at Ft. Washakie, who appears to have genuinely been married into the Comanche tribe, to have lived to an extremely old age, and to have lived a very interesting life, but that identity is unlikely to ever be known, or even looked into.

1886  Territorial Governor George Baxter resigned. He had only been in office for a month.  The West Point graduate and former U.S. Cavalryman's history was noted a few days ago, on the anniversary of his death.

1916   The Wyoming Trubine for December 20, 1916: Troops Rush to Forestall Border Raid (and a truly bizarre comparison made in the case of a Mexican American militia)

A story of a near raid in the Yuma era with a rather bizarre comparison between a claimed Mexican American militia and the KKK.   Apparently the authors there had taken their history from D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation rather than reality.

It's rather difficult, to say the least, to grasp a comparison between a Mexican militia of any kind and the KKK which wouldn't exactly be in the category of people sympathetic to Mexican Americans.  And it's even more difficult to see the KKK used as a favorable comparison.  Cheyenne had a not insignificant African American, Hispanic, and otherwise ethic population associated with the Union Pacific railroad and I imagine they weren't thrilled when they saw that article.

Apparently the "war babies" referred to in the headline were stocks that were associated with Great War production, which logically fell following the recent exchange of notes on peace. As we saw yesterday, the Allies weren't receptive to them, so I'd imagine they those stocks rose again.
1942  Sheridan's high school added a vocational preparatory class for essential work work.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1945   Tire rationing in the U.S. ended.

2005   Wyoming commenced a somewhat controversial cloud-seeding research project with the intent to increase mountain snowpack.  Attribution:  On This Day .Com.

2010  The University of Wyoming puts Bruce Catton's papers on line. Catton was a well known historian of the Civil War.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 19

1866   Indians attempted to lure a detachment commanded by Captain James Powell into a trap near Ft. Phil Kearny but did not succeed.

1882  The telegraph line between Ft. McKinney and Ft. Laramie became a telephone line.  Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1892  A subpoena was issued in the case of Subpoena, State of Wyoming vs. Frank M. Canton, et al., a criminal action following the Johnson County War.  The original is now held by Texas A&M.

1906 This photograph was taken of Pilot Knob.  The date is interesting in that Pilot Knob is quite near Ft. Phil Kearny, and December dates are significant for that reason.

1944  A ridge on Saipan was named after a Casper man.  This information is via the State Archives (from the WSHS) site.  Unfortunately, they don't give the name.

1960  Ft. Phil Kearny designated a National Historic Landmark.

1960  The Sun Ranch was designated a National Historic Landmark.

1977  Nellie Tayloe Ross died at age 101 in Washington D. C.  She was buried alongside her late husband in Cheyenne. She had not, of course, lived in Cheyenne for many years, or even for the most of her long life.  Her years in Washington were considerably longer in extent than those in Wyoming.
 Nellie Tayloe Ross on her Massachusetts' farm.

2016  A recorded gust of wind reached 88 mph on the base of Casper Mountain, a new record 14 mph higher than any previously recorded gust in that location.  Clark Wyoming reported a blast of 108 mph.  It was a very blustery day.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18

1777  Congress declared a Thanksgiving Day following the  British surrender at Saratoga.

1871   A bill providing for the establishment of Yellowstone National Park was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1915 The Capital Avenue Theater in Cheyenne was destroyed by fire. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1929   Former Territorial Governor George Baxter White died in New York City.  He held office for only one month.

1933  Joseph C. O'Mahoney appointed U.S. Senator following the death of John B. Kendrick.  He would actually take office on January 1, 1934. 

1944  The Governor of Oklahoma predicted that Mississippi and Wyoming had the brightest oil related futures in the nation.  Attribution.  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1944  U.S. Supreme Court upholds the wartime internment of U.S. Citizens of Japanese extraction, which would of course include those interned at Heart Mountain, Wyoming.

1966  Fritiof Fryxell, first Teton Park naturalist, died.  Attribution. Wyoming State Historical Society.

1998  A fire Newcastle, WY, destroys four century old buildings. Attribution.  On This Day .com.

2008   Gatua wa Mbugwa, a Kenyan, delivers the first dissertation every delivered in Gikuyu, at the University of Wyoming.  The topic was in plant sciences.

2014.  Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court seeking to have leave to sue Colorado on a Constitutional basis.regarding Colorado's state legalization of marijuana.  The basis of their argument is that Colorado's action violates the United States Constitution by ignoring the supremacy nature of Federal provisions banning marijuana.

While an interesting argument, my guess is that this will fail, as the Colorado action, while flying in the face of Federal law, does exist in an atmosphere in which the Federal government has ceased enforcing the law itself.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17

1619     Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Royalist cavalry commander in the English Civil War, born.  He returned England with the restoration of Charles II, and headed the investors group that in 1670 got a charter for the Hudson's Bay Company and title to all lands draining into Hudson Bay.  He was the first Governor of the HBC.

1890  Union Pacific swithmen went on strike.   Attribution: Wyoming State Historical Society.

1904  John J. McIntyre born in Dewey County, Oklahoma.  He was the Congressman from Wyoming from 1941 to 1943, serving a single term.  He served as State Auditor in 1946, and was later a Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court from 1960 until his death in 1974.

McIntyre graduated from high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma and had a law degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1929.  He relocated to Wyoming in 1931 where he became the Converse County Attorney in 1933 and entered Federal service as an attorney in 1936.  He was a member of the Wyoming National Guard and was promoted to the rank of Captain in1936. This was not unusual for lawyers of that period, as many held commissions on the Guard.  He must have been in the Guard at the time it was Federalized in 1940, but his status as a Congressman likely took him out of service at the time of Pearl Harbor.  He was not reelected to Congress and served as a Deputy Attorney General in 1943 and 1944, and then entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted man where he was a Staff Sergeant with the 660th Field Artillery.

1916  Inter Ocean destroyed by fire.

The Inter-Ocean
1916   Inter-Ocean Hotel in Cheyenne destroyed by fire.  Attribution; Wyoming State Historical Society.

The Inter-Ocean was one of several Cheyenne hotels that were big deals and major watering holes, something very common in that era and for decades thereafter (and still somewhat true in larger cities today).  It's remembered to Western History for being the location referenced by Tom Horn in his famous conversation with  Joe LeFors.
If you go to the Inter-Ocean to sit down and talk a few minutes some one comes in and says, 'Let us have a drink,' and before you know it you are standing up talking, and my feet get so *&^*&^^  tired it almost kills me. I am 44 years, 3 months, and 27 days old, and if I get killed now I have the satisfaction of knowing I have lived about fifteen ordinary lives.
Horn was in fact arrested outside of the Inter-Ocean.

The hotel had been built by Barney Ford, a businessman who had been born a slave, a status that he escaped from.  His father was the white plantation owners where his black mother was enslaved.  After escaping he lived an adventuresome life and rose to great wealth in Colorado.

He apparently liked the name "Inter-Ocean" as he built another hotel in Denver's 16th Street by that name.  Like the Cheyenne hotel, it is no longer there, which is a real shame as funky buildings like this are all the rage in Denver now..

Denver's Inter-Ocean

Sunday State Leader for December 17, 1916: Measles killing Guardsmen at Deming.

Not the only news of the day, but two Arkansas Guardsmen died from the measles at Deming, New Mexico, news that surely worried Wyomingites with family members serving in the Guard at Deming.

William F. Cody  was reported very ill at his sister's house in Denver.

And death claimed the life of a former Rough Rider living in the state as well.

The State Health Officer reported, in cheerier news, on the state's healthful climate.
1916  Carranza rejects the protocol
We've run a lot of newspaper articles on the negotiations between the United States and Mexico, or perhaps more accurately between the United States and the Constitutionalist government of Mexico lead by Venustiano Carranza

On this day he ended the doubt, he refused to sign it.
Carranza was a tough minded individual.  He never liked Woodrow Wilson and he had a grudge against the United States.  Irrespective of what may seem to be the advantages of the proposals that were made, he wouldn't agree.
And he never did.  Carranza never executed a protocol with the United States.
By this point the United States clearly wanted out of Mexico.  The intervention had bogged down to an uneasy occupation since the summer and was going nowhere.  Carranza guessed correctly that the United States would be leaving no matter what, although that did not mean that the US would be passive in protecting its interests.

1918  The USS Cheyenne, formerly the USS Wyoming, but renamed due the later battleship being assigned that name, assigned to Division I, American Patrol Division.

1919  Vernon Baker born in Cheyenne.  Baker is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in combat in World War Two, with his citation reading as follows:
For extraordinary heroism in action on 5 and 6 April 1945, near Viareggio, Italy. Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel, and equipment during his company's attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked an enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy's fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker's fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.
Baker had a rough start in life when his parents died while he was still young.  Partially raised by his grandparents, he learned how to hunt from his grandfather in order to put meat on the table.  Entering the Army during World War Two, he made the Army a career and retired in 1968 as a First Lieutenant, his rank at that time reflecting force reductions following World War Two.  He retired to Idaho where he chose to live as he was an avid hunter, and he died there in 2010.  Baker is a significant figure from Wyoming not only because he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, but because he was part of Wyoming's small African American community.

1985  Alan B. Johnson received his commission as a Federal Judge for the District of Wyoming.

2003  Wyoming filed a petition to delist the Prebbles Jumping Mouse from the Endangered Species List.