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Revealed Through Ancient Clippings; Town Full of Bold, Bad Cowpunchers

Who Tanked Up on Bug Juice and Shot Lights Out;

Marshal’s Ankle Bathed in Horse Linament;

Men Fight Over “Soiled Dove”


From The Enterprise, an unidentified and undated Wyoming newspaper

Copy housed in the Wyoming Room at the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library

Newspaper clippings, mainly from the Lusk Herald and describing calmly but powerfully hot times in the old town of Lusk, were read by Russell Thorp, secretary of the Wyoming Stock Growers’ association, in his speech before the press convention in Laramie last week. The Enterprise extracts the following exciting items of bygone days:

“A drunken cowboy rode his horse down the sidewalk on Main street yesterday. The marshal tried to stop him by grabbing a stirrup, but he fell down and sprained an ankle, while the cowboy continued his gallop down the sidewalk, fired a couple of shots and disappeared in a cloud of dust, while the marshal hobbled to the drug store to get his ankle bathed in some horse liniment.”

“J. S. Gustine of the firm of Harris & Gustine, got his family here just in time to get a bad scare by reckless shooting the night of the 3rd. One bullet passed through his tent and only a few inches from a sleeping child. We hope this dangerous pastime is over in Lusk.”

“Harry C. King shot and killed J. H. Bowman at Douglas last Tuesday.”

“The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Company, which has been running since 1876, has a time card in this issue of The Herald. During the great Black Hills excitement this line ran six horse coaches. It still does a good business and makes 145 miles every 24 hours.”

“We hear that a man was roped and tied to a post last Saturday night until he agreed to set ‘em up for the boys. The ‘skids’ were sure out that night and if anybody slept it was while their shooting irons were cooling off.”

“‘Broncho Charley’ Lacey was shot and instantly killed by Hugo S. Miller at Lander on October 27. Lacey was a bad man and for once tangled with a mere boy who was faster on the draw. Miller is a quiet, unassuming boy, and had been abused by Lacey, who got about what he deserved.”

“A pack of coyotes at the edge of town Sunday kept up such a howl that guests at the Elkhom hotel had a hard time sleeping. George Wiley ran them off with his Winchester.”

“Doc Cornett, one of the squarest boys in the territory, has purchased the dance hall in Lusk, and among other attractions has opened a monte bank with a $500 roll.”

“There was considerable ‘corn-popping’ going on last night, which disturbed our sleep. The cowpunchers appeared to be having a large time.”

“It is reported that Sweetwater county has had another fatal shooting affray, the principals of which are known in Lusk. The victim was a one-legged cowboy named Bill Gross, who created some excitement in Green River last summer by lassoing several Chinamen and dragging them about the streets. Gross was killed by another cowboy named Barney Todd, who beat him on the draw.”

“There was a lot of promiscuous shooting on Main street this week by irresponsible cowpunchers who came to town and got loaded up on a bad brand of bug juice. To hear the incessant crack of the six shooter one would be led to believe that Lusk is still a frontier town. Why can’t we have a little law and order here? Of course we know the shooting is done in sport, but we have gotten tired of putting new window lights in The Herald office just to have them shot out. What we need is a deputy sheriff located here permanently.”

“Wednesday night two pistol shots rang out in the still night air. Citizens investigated. They found it to be a family quarrel between Charley Boyse and his wife, Lou. She shot him through one finger and he beat her on the head with a six-shooter. No arrests were made.”

“The horse roundup which started from the Platte river and worked up to Rawhide has finished very satisfactorily and everybody is satisfied.”

“Tony Whitfield shot and killed. ‘Big Smith’ at Chadron, Tuesday. The trouble arose over a ‘soiled dove.’”

“‘Clover Bill,’ the notorious horse thief, who was captured some time ago near Lusk by Sheriff Prost, and turned over to the Sheriff of Fall River county, escaped a few days ago and stole a horse from the S-E outfit. If captured again, he will probably be lynched.”

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