Wednesday, December 14, 2005

George Wellman, Deputy US Marshall

George Wellman Personal History
George Wellman was born in 1859 in Canada.
Before going to Wyoming, Wellman served on the Lakes.
Lucy Clark married George Wellman then John Vail.
George Wellman made 3500-mile trip with Hard Winter Davis when he first came to Wyoming.
Wellman came to Wyoming in 1881 when he was 22.
Wellman went to Wyoming in 1878 when he was 19
Wellman worked for Henry C. Blair of Chicago at the Hoe Ranch
The Cattle Situation and the Economics of the Time
The shortgrass county makes beef without concentrates
Scotch, English, French, Irish and U.S. Cattle Companies were involved,
Settlers fenced water
The frontier was ending and the courts were replacing the six-shooter.
Johnson County had about 300 incidents against cattle thieves
The county attorneys would dismiss cases because convictions were not possible.
Moreton Frewen owned the Powder River Cattle Co.(sometimes called the ‘76’ ranch
The great dieup of 1886-7
Several score of cowboys were laid off
Ranches started after 1879 were going under by 1892.
Cattle prices were low by 1892
Most small ranchers had a problem with the roundup situation where the Wyoming Stock Growers Association held the money until title was proved
Fred Hesse had a group of about 12 cowboys to watch thousands of cattle over an area of 200 miles square.

Political Anarchy
The Rustlers used intimidation to gain political control.
Vigilante justice was used in Montana but the Wyoming cattlemen continued to count on the law
By 1891 the rustlers had control of local government.  They planned their own roundup in violation of custom of the range
In the fall of 1891, ranchers planned the invasion,
They had a force of 40 odd men
They needed a skilled force commander.  Bad field tactics ruined the invasion

Martial Law to be imposed by President Harrison
Major threat never achieved
The evidence Wellman collected was to be used to write an alarming report to the Attorney General that proved the existence of chaos in Johnson County which would require establishing Martial law
Rustling & The Invasion
The big ranchers, the white caps, hired about 44 hired gunmen from Texas and other places.
Small ranchers and the Red Sash gang were called Rustlers
The Red Sash Gang had about 30 members
Senators Warren and Kendrick had U.S. Marshall’s sent to Buffalo
Marshall J. P. Rankin
Deputy Jeff Carr
Officials in on the plan of invasion
The Governor  
The adjutant general
The United States Senators
Arranged cooperation with the justice dept
The US Attorney’s office
The US Marshall
Was in charge in Buffalo
He along with deputies was to protect the interests of the imprisoned cattlemen
Samuel Traves Clover covered the expedition for the eastern press
The Siege at the TA Ranch
April 11 to April 13, 1892
Prisoners taken to Cheyenne
Looting of Ranches after the Invasion
Furniture, clothing and whatever else could be taken was removed
Cattle and other livestock ‘disappeared’
Wellman was to collect evidence of these thefts and turn it over to Rankin
Many strangers had entered the county after the invasion
Their status was unknown
Men rode the ranges and walked the streets armed
Wellman at the HOE Ranch
Wellman offered employment to several cowhands at the Hoe Ranch.  All turned them down.
One of the men said that working for Gibson was to invited personal attach.  
Gibson was known to be a “white cap”

Wellman’s Death
Wellman was riding his horse ‘pet’
Wellman was leading Hathaway’s pack horse named Polmana
Killed by Ed Starr, May 9, 1892
Thomas J. Hathaway was riding with him when he was killed.
Hatheway quickly rode to Buffalo to tell his story
Hatheway’s story changed with the retelling and he was jailed
Sheriff Angus thought Hatheway had killed Wellman
Hatheway and Wellman had fought before
Hatheway had been foreman before Wellman
Mayor Barritt thought the Red Sash Gang killed Wellman
Ed Starr was a member of the Red Sash Gang

Wellman was killed about 12 miles from the Hoe Ranch
Sheriff Angus got news of the killing about 4PM, May 15, 1892.
Angus didn’t start for the death site until 6-6:30pm
Angus slept the night at the George Harris Ranch.
Angus got to death site Wednesday morning.
A rumor circulated that Wellman was not killed at all but was being used to draw Sheriff Angus out of town to kill him.
Several of his friends left town to help him
Other men were sent out who disproved Angus’s story.
Wellman was killed by a short .44 Winchester saddle gun
Taylor made a threat of a life for a life
Many believed Wellman was killed to prevent a threat of Martial law
Bleep said lots were drawn to see who would kill Wellman
Ed Starr was framed in the drawing
Ed Starr bragged about killing Wellman
Starr imitated Wellman’s cry when he saw he would be killed
Burial Ceremonies May 13
Rev. Duell buried an invader, Jake Dudley, who was shot in a raid
Rev. Duell also had George Wellman’s funeral in Wyoming.
Duell carried arms at Wellman’s Funeral.
The Red Sash Gang said that Wellman should have no funeral and be buried in Potter’s field
Wellman’s Body transported to Bay City
Mr. E. B. Mather accompanied the Body to Bay City
The body was held in Chicago for an autopsy
The autopsy showed Wellman was killed by one shot in the middle of the back.

Wellman’s Model 1878 Double action Colt .45 proves the identity of the killer
Lora Reed said the gun Jim Potts found was Wellman’s
Colt made 43000 from 1878 to 1900
Elmer Brock said he had some history of the gun prior to Wellman’s death

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