Frontier newspaperman Asa Mercer began the controversial Northwestern Live Stock Journal in Cheyenne in the 1880s, backing stockmen’s interests. But when prominent cattlemen-vigilantes invaded Johnson County in 1892, he attacked them stridently in his paper and later in The Banditti of the Plains, the book for which he’s best remembered.
johnson county war
johnson county war
Laramie lawyer M.C. Brown tried thousands of cases during his legal career. President William McKinley’s appointment of Brown to a federal judgeship in Alaska in 1900, however, proved disastrous for the attorney, who returned to Wyoming where he continued to practice law, but on a much smaller scale.
After the Civil War, about one-fifth of the regular U.S. cavalry troops in the West were Black. These buffalo soldiers were sent to keep order on a disorderly frontier—a difficult job with blurry ethical boundaries. Despite meager food, castoff equipment and chronic racial prejudice, they performed well.
The history of Johnson County, Wyo., features a number of violent conflicts that influenced the heritage of the West. The Fetterman and Wagon Box fights were important conflicts in the Indian wars of the 1860s, while the infamous 1892 Johnson County War erupted because of tensions among cattle barons, homesteaders and rustlers. Johnson County’s economy today continues to thrive on tourism, ranching and oil and gas.
Cantonment Reno, at the Powder River Crossing of the Bozeman Trail in present Johnson County, was renamed Fort McKinney after the death of Lt. J.A. McKinney in 1876. That site was abandoned in 1878, and the fort’s name moved with the troops to a new site west of present Buffalo, Wyo. The fort closed in 1894, and in 1903 the site was taken over by the Veterans’ Home of Wyoming, which remains in operation there today.