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The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A career criminal and one of his notorious crimes, and Black History Month

A career criminal and one of his notorious crimes, and Black History Month

February 2022

This month, we feature a Depression-era bank robbery in downtown Green River.

An incorrigible thief

Lifelong criminal James Costin forged checks, passed them, stole money from his employers and coyote pelts from a ranch. In April 1933, though he only drove the getaway car, he masterminded a bank robbery in Green River. Later, he sued the men who tried to shake him down for the loot. Read more in Brie Blasi’s article “A Bank Robbery and its Mastermind.

Calendar Events

Campbell County Rockpile Museum, Gillette
Feb. 5, Saturday, 1 p.m.,
 Kenny Wasserburger will make a presentation on historic firearms from his collection and that of the Rockpile Museum.
Wasserburger, born in Newcastle, Wyo., and raised on his family’s ranch north of Lusk, Wyo., will talk  on several firearms in the museum's collection including the Simeon North Hall .52-caliber carbine, the 1858 Merrill .54-caliber saddle ring carbine, the C. Sharps 1850 cavalry carbine, and many more. He will have books to sell. Refreshments will be provided. Come join us for this interesting presentation on historic guns of the west. This event is free; for more information, click here.
 
Feb. 9, Wednesday, 10 a.m., live on Facebook and YouTube, bestselling author Miflin Lowe will speak about his latest book, "The True West: Real Stories About Black Cowboys, Women Sharpshooters, Native American Rodeo Stars, Pioneering Vaqueros, and the Unsung Explorers, Builders, and Heroes who shaped The American West" and tell stories of the diverse men and women who made an impact in the American West. Figures in the book include a couple important to the Powder River Basin; the book is aimed at readers aged 8-12. Click here for more information.
 
Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody
March 3, noon to 1:00 p.m. 
Wildlife Wastelands of Wyoming. Renowned African Hunter Frederick Courteney Selous’s Mediocre Safari through the Absaroka Mountains. Selous, a well-known British sport hunter with long experience in Africa, found big game scarce in 1897 when he hunted the headwaters of the South Fork of the Shoshone River southwest of Cody, Wyo. Presented by Jeremy Johnston, the museum's curator. The in-person talk takes place in the Center’s Coe Auditorium, with a virtual option available. Click here for more information.
 
Fremont County Museums, Riverton, Lander and Dubois
First Friday, Feb. 4, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
 Take the kids to any of our Fremont County Museums (Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum in Lander, Riverton Museum). Admission is free, sponsored by State Farm in Lander (Justus Jacobs) and State Farm in Riverton (Tyler Watson). Click here for more information.
 
Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale
Feb. 24, 6:00 p.m.
 Spring Thaw Party and Annual Meeting of the Sublette County Historical Society: Important Plants Used By the Ancient People of the upper Green River Basin by John Mionczynski. Click here for details.
 
Natrona County Historical Society, Casper
Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m.
Natrona County Library Crawford Room. Dale Leatham will speak on Fort Seminoe and on the outlaw Diamond L. “Slim” Clifton.
 
Washakie Museums & Cultural Center
Open through March 16
, a WWI America exhibit invites audiences to examine this transformational event in American history through photos, videos, and interactive displays. During World War I, America grappled with challenges to virtually every familiar belief: citizenship, gender, race, class, nationality, generation, culture and assumptions about foreign entanglements. The era changed our understanding of what it meant to be a “modern” nation.
 
Feb. 7,  9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Bighorn Basin Small Museum Summit. Regional educators, curators and directors are invited to connect and share information about respective collections and programs, share best practices for marketing, programming, and collection management, and inspire collaboration. Cost: $15 for lunch & refreshments. To register, click here.
 
Feb. 10, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., "WWI, Labor Unrest, and the first Red Scare!" Take a guided tour of this exhibit with museum educator Kurt Johnson to learn even more about how WWI shaped domestic labor and global political issues in the 20th century. Members: $8, general public, $10. Pre-register here.
 
For information on other February programs, visit our home page or call (307) 347-4102.

Black History Month

February is Black History Month and a good time to remember contributions of African-Americans to making Wyoming what it is today. Over the last 12 months we’ve added two new articles, one about a lynching and the other about the first and only Wyoming coal town where Blacks ever made up the ethnic majority.