During World War II, the U.S. Army operated two large and 17 smaller prisoner of war camps in Wyoming. Prisoners worked on farms and in t camps, often for private employers, who paid a going rate for local wages. Some prisoners became friends with their supervisors, others with the farm families they worked for.
Browse Articles about Agriculture
|1949, Blizzard of||Rebecca Hein|
|Afghan Project, University of Wyoming||WyoHistory.org|
|Alcova Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|Anchor Dam, History of||Annette Hein|
|Banditti of the Plains, The||Rebecca Hein|
|Banking, Wyoming history of||Tom Rea|
|Belden, Charles, photographer||Lori Van Pelt|
|Bighorn Basin, Mormon colonizers in||Darcee Barnes|
|Blizzard of 1949||Rebecca Hein|
|Boysen Dam, History of||Annette Hein|
Under a Cold War-era U.S. government program, University of Wyoming faculty taught vocational agriculture and engineering at Kabul University and other schools in Afghanistan, and Afghan exchange students studied in Laramie. At least one personal account survives, a shrewd, engaging memoir by faculty wife Ruth Southworth Brown.
Stephen Leek’s efforts to save the starving elk of Jackson Hole came at a time when survival of the species was very much in doubt. The founding of the National Elk Refuge in 1912 was one result—a huge achievement. But feeding wildlife in herds leads to disease, we now know. And Leek himself was a decidedly complicated man.
Two years after they were married in 1910, a Lander bank took almost everything from John and Ethel Love’s sheep ranch in central Wyoming. Still, despite floods, blizzards, wild dogs, rattlesnakes, barbed-wire cuts and the Spanish Influenza the family remained—and Ethel, in her letters and journals, kept track.
The federal government finally entered the irrigation business in 1902, after it became clear that large infusions of public funds were needed to build projects big enough to be effective in the arid West. The eventual result was a dozen dams across Wyoming, but crop agriculture here remains scarce.
Starting in 1900, African-American homesteader Alonzo “Lon” Stepp built a prosperous ranch of about 1,700 acres on the Green River in Lincoln County, where Fontenelle Reservoir is now, triumphing in an era and a region where few blacks could claim such achievement. His descendants still live in the area.
Cowboy photographer Charles Belden co-owned the massive Pitchfork cattle and dude ranch near Meeteetse from 1922 to 1940. Even more than ranching, however, he cared about taking pictures. His images show working cowboys, sheepherders, dudes, cattle and sheep—and a spirit of western romance and adventure that the public was hungry for.
In 1905, Congress ratified an agreement with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho by which the tribes ceded 1.5 million acres of reservation land north of the Big Wind River. Tribal leaders questioned the final terms, however, and payments were slow in coming and fell far short of promised levels.
Congress in 1887 passed the Dawes Act, setting up a framework for dividing up tribal lands on reservations into plots to be held by individual Indian owners, after which they could be leased or sold to anyone. Critics saw it as a method clearly intended to transfer lands out of Indian hands.