In 1904, a Laramie mob hanged African-American Joe Martin from a light pole near the courthouse, drawing a crowd of 1,000 people or more. Despite having called several witnesses, a grand jury brought no indictments. And lynchings of Black men became more and more frequent in Wyoming in the coming two decades.
Browse Articles about Conflict
|Anderson, A.A.||John Clayton|
|Arapaho tribe, arrival of on Shoshone Reservation, 1878||WyoHistory.org|
|Averell, Jim, newspaper reporting of the lynching of||Tom Rea|
|Baker, Pvt. Ralston, pioneer grave of||Randy Brown|
|Balangiga, bells of||Douglas R. Cubbison|
|Banditti of the Plains, The||Rebecca Hein|
|Bells of Balangiga||Douglas R. Cubbison|
|Big Horn River Pilot, early Thermopolis, Wyo. newspaper||Rebecca Hein|
|Bissonette family and 1868 wagon train attack||Rebecca Hein|
|Black 14, Hamilton, Mel, former University of Wyoming football player on his life and the||Phil White|
In July 1895, a posse of non-Indians, mostly outfitters, attacked a peaceful band of Bannocks south of Jackson Hole. The Indians believed they were legally hunting elk off their Idaho reservation, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state law overrode their treaty rights, a huge blow to tribal sovereignty. In 2019, the court finally upended that ruling, in a case involving a Crow Tribe member, also hunting in Wyoming and off his reservation.
In 1919, when 17-year-old Austrian-born Joseph Omeyc shot Game Warden John Buxton with a revolver near Rock Springs after the officer confiscated his rifle, the crime appeared related to poaching. But Wyoming at the time required non-citizens to license guns, Omeyc didn’t have a gun license—and anti-immigrant feeling was running high.
Sherman Coolidge, a Northern Arapaho adopted and educated by whites, served 26 years as an Episcopal priest on the reservation on Wind River. During that time, he largely allied himself with government over tribal interests. But later, active in the pan-Indian movement, he came to value preservation of Indian cultures over assimilation.
From April to November 1868, two ex-Confederate brothers, Legh and Fred Freeman, published the strident, anti-Reconstruction Frontier Index, moving their offices ahead of the still-building Union Pacific Railroad. Rioters finally destroyed the newspaper’s office and presses in Bear River City, putting the paper out of business.
During the Civil War, varying companies of soldiers from five states served at Fort Halleck on the Overland Trail in what’s now south-central Wyoming. They defended stagecoach stations, passengers, freighters and emigrant trains. Some died in blizzards, some witnessed a legal hanging and some lynched an African-American ambulance driver.
In a saga of bitter hardship and resolve, 350 Northern Cheyenne led by Little Wolf and Dull Knife escaped the Darlington Agency in present Oklahoma late in 1878. Struggling north, they were imprisoned in Nebraska, broke out and, crossing a corner of Wyoming Territory, finally returned to their Montana homelands.
Nearly 1,100 Wyoming servicemen, representing every county, died in World War II. As in other states, Wyoming’s people gained a stronger sense of being part of the nation thanks in part to war bond drives, scrap metal drives, book drives, victory gardens—and their loved ones’ service at home and overseas.