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Outlaws & Crime

Carbon, Wyoming

Founded in 1868, the short-lived town of Carbon provided crucial coal supplies for the Union Pacific Railroad. Its rough reputation was boosted in 1881, when a mob of miners pulled Dutch Charley Burris, accused of the murder of a popular lawman, from a train and hanged him from a telegraph pole. Many Finnish men worked in the coal mines until 1902, when the mines closed. Today, there are only a few ruins to mark the site, but the Carbon Cemetery has been recently refurbished and is still being used.

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Oral Histories | Kliss Sparks was teaching fourth grade at Cokeville Elementary School in Cokeville, Wyo. on May 16, 1986, when David and Doris Young took her and 153 other people hostage at the school, and detonated a bomb inside. The Youngs both died that day. Everyone else survived.
Oral Histories | Kathy Davison was the emergency management coordinator for Lincoln County, Wyo., on May 16, 1986, when David and Doris Young took 154 people hostage at Cokeville Elementary School and detonated a bomb inside. The Youngs both died that day. Everyone else survived. This was the first emergency Davison encountered in her position.
Oral Histories | Emergency Medical Technician Glenna Walker is also the mother of three children who attended Cokeville Elementary School in Cokeville, Wyo., on May 16, 1986, when David and Doris Young took her and 153 other people hostage at the school, and detonated a bomb inside. The Youngs both died that day. Everyone else survived. At the time of the incident, Mrs. Walker had just received her EMT certification. This was the first time she was called out for an emergency situation.
Oral Histories | Ron Hartley was the lead investigator for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in Cokeville, Wyo. on May 16, 1986, when David and Doris Young took 154 people hostage at Cokeville Elementary School, and detonated a bomb inside. Hartley is the father of four student survivors of the incident. The Youngs both died that day. Everyone else survived.
Encyclopedia | Matthew Shepard Foundation Executive Director Jason Marsden was working as a Casper Star-Tribune reporter in October 1998 when his friend Matt Shepard was murdered. In this essay, Marsden examines the effects of the worldwide media attention that the crime brought to the state of Wyoming at that time and since.
Encyclopedia | In April 1892, a private army of 52 cattle barons, their employees and hired Texas guns invaded Johnson County in northern Wyoming, intending to kill as many as 70 men they suspected of being rustlers or rustler sympathizers. The invaders managed to kill two men before word got out, and they were surrounded by an angry posse. Troops from nearby Fort McKinney intervened. The invaders were escorted back to Cheyenne, where they were charged but never brought to trial. The event ended in ambiguity and political division in the new state of Wyoming.
Encyclopedia | On September 2, 1885, long-simmering tensions between white and Chinese coal miners in Rock Springs, Wyo. boiled over into a massacre in which whites murdered 28 Chinese, wounded 15 more, and looted and burned all 79 shacks and houses in Rock Springs’ Chinatown. Though the remaining Chinese miners wanted desperately to leave Wyoming, the Union Pacific Railroad, which owned the mines, refused to grant them railroad passes or the back pay owed them. The Chinese finally had no choice but to return to work, which kept wages low and the coal flowing from the mines.
Encyclopedia | In January 1958, teenagers Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate went on a 10-victim killing spree that began in Nebraska and ended near Douglas, Wyo., after a high-speed chase through the middle of town. Starkweather was later executed in Nebraska, and Fugate was paroled after 18 years.

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