What’s now Crook County, Wyo., was crossed by Custer in 1874 on his expedition to the Black Hills, the spark that led to the final struggles of the Indian wars on the northern plains. Ranchers a few years later brought in cattle and later, sheep, and the county was organized in 1885, with its county seat at Sundance. Harry Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, spent 18 months in jail there. Coal deposits were exploited in the 1890s and shipped by rail to gold smelters in nearby Lead and Deadwood, So. Dak. Devils Tower National Monument, established in 1906 as the first national monument in the United States and still a sacred place for the Sioux, is located in Crook County. Agriculture, mining and timbering still play significant roles in its economy.
Outlaws & Crime
Browse Articles about Outlaws & Crime
|Riggle, Herschel Clay “Tricky”||Robin Everett|
|Ringo, Martin and J.P. Parker, Oregon Trail graves of||WyoHistory.org|
|Roberts, LeaKae, Cokeville survivor oral history||Wyoming State Archives|
|Rock Springs Massacre||Tom Rea|
|Rosa, Michael Angel||Paul Krza|
|Ryan, John “Posey,” early soldier, settler, murderer and hotelkeeper||Douglas R. Cubbison|
|Shepard, Matthew, Legacy of||Jason Marsden|
|Shepard, Matthew, Murder of||Jason Marsden|
|Simpson, Milward and the death penalty||Robin Everett|
|Sparks, Kliss, Cokeville bombing survivor oral history||Wyoming State Archives|
Outlaws & Crime
Although the Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s was named for a Wyoming rock formation resembling a teapot, the wrongdoers were not from the state. During the administration of President Warren G. Harding, oilmen Harry Sinclair and Edward Doheny bribed Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall to gain access to the naval petroleum reserves located at Teapot Dome in the Salt Creek field north of Casper in northern Natrona County. Fall was the first Cabinet official to be imprisoned for crimes committed during his time in office. Sinclair also served a jail sentence.
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.