First Posse in Bear Lake

1867

 

The first posse organized in Bear Lake took place after the Fred Weisner murder in 1867.  Nicholas Wilson, an early settler, published this account in The White Indian Boy.

"we had outlaws to deal with who were worse than Indians.  For a long time the frontier suffered from robberies, raids on farms and stolen animals.  The settlers did not get together to stop these outrages until after a fatal raid was made and a clerk (Fred Weisner) was shot in Montpelier.

This roused the people to action.  General Charles C Rich called upon the bishops to send two men from each settlement to pursue and punish the outlaws.  Fourteen men responded. It fell my lot to be one of the posse."

The posse trailed the men to a camp near Big Piney where they joined with others into a large force.  the Bear Lake force waited until just before daylight to attack.  The plan was to capture the men alive and return them to Bear Lake for trial.

Leaders of the Bear Lake posse were Joseph C Rich, Jonathan Hoopes and Nick Wilson.  The entire camp of seven tents was taken without a shot being fired.  The herds were checked and cattle and horses belonging to the Bear Lakers were taken back.  Some of the outlaws were not in the camp at the time of the raid so the Bear Lake posse waited three days for them to return. When no other outlaws showed up, the Bear Lake posse took the outlaw's weapons to the top of nearby hill and left two men to guard them while the rest of the crew took the animals back toward Montpelier.  In addition 50 horses were taken from the outlaw rotunda as a bond to have the men appear in court within 30 days.  No outlaw ever appeared in court.  The horses were sold to reimburse the expenses of the trip.

 

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