The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A newspaper fight, a murderous temper and a warm thanks to our supporters

A newspaper fight, a murderous temper and a warm thanks to our supporters

January 2017

As we head into the coldest time of year in Wyoming, we thought we’d generate a little heat with accounts of some past conflicts. First is the story of the 1980s fight between a Casper newspaper and a natural-gas company over its monopoly power to charge high prices to local consumers. Second is a portrait of a stalwart early citizen of Wyoming, whose bad temper landed him in prison for murder—but the story doesn’t end there.

Battling Monopoly

Another high heating bill? A newspaperman wondered why. What he found led the Casper Star-Tribune on a probe in 1984 that revealed how a gas company was passing the cost of its own mismanagement on to Casper customers. It saved residents money, and earned a Pulitzer nod. Read more in longtime Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake’s article, “Battling Monopoly: Northern Utilities and the Casper Star-Tribune.” (Editor’s note: Publication of this and seven other articles on Wyoming newspapering is supported in part by the Wyoming Humanities Council and the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative.)

Soldier, teamster, hotelkeeper—and murderer

From Union Army soldier to teamster to Guernsey, Wyo., town father, John “Posey” Ryan earned a reputation as an honorable man. But his life’s path took a wrong turn when, believing they had stolen his livelihood, he publicly shot his wife and her daughter to death. Read more in military historian Doug Cubbison’s article, “Soldier, Settler, Murderer and Veteran: John “Posey” Ryan in Wyoming, 1866-1929.

Thanks to our kind supporters

Thanks to so many of you who responded to our recent year-end fundraiser! We carry no ads on our site, and depend instead on a healthy mix of public and private support—from people like you. It’s still not too late to make a secure contribution here, or send a check to WyoHistory.org, P.O. Box 247, Wheatland, Wyo., 82201. Contributions are tax deductible. WyoHistory.org is a project of the Wyoming State Historical Society, a private, nonprofit, 501(c) 3, 63-year-old, 1,600-member organization.

Upcoming History Day workshops

Register here for a free History Day workshop for teachers Friday afternoon and Saturday morning Jan 6 and 7—that’s this weekend!—in Rock Springs. Workshops will offer teachers information about the Wyoming History Day program for 6th-12th grade students, including free teaching resources, literacy-based strategies, primary-source materials and lessons to actively engage students and align with Wyoming state standards. The nationwide theme for History Day 2017 is “Taking a Stand in History.”
Teachers can earn .5 Wyoming PTSB credits. Free continental breakfast and lunch provided. For times, locations and more details contact HD Coordinator Jessica Flock at 307-766-2300 or email jflock@uwyo.edu.
Contact Flock as well for info on a free, 60-90 minute mini-workshop in Cheyenne on Monday, Jan. 9 at the Laramie County School District #1 administration building.