Johnson County History & Genealogy


Johnson County Library Local History Archives contain:

  • Thousands of vintage photographs, the originals scanned and saved digitally.
  • Copies of all local newspapers dating back to the very beginning of journalism in our area - both hardcopy and microfilm.
  • Over four hundred oral history manuscripts (audio and video recordings are available for more recent ones) gathered by the Works Progress Administration, local members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, local community interviewers through the years, plus many personal journals, school research papers, and college theses.
  • Scrapbooks, old ledgers, brand books, local cookbooks, and sheriff records.
  • Historical Publications such as the Annals of Wyoming, Jim Gatchell Museum’s The Sentry, Hoofprints of the Past and Fort Phil Kearney Newsletters and Archeology Magazines.
  • Johnson County High School and Buffalo High School Annuals.
  • Volumes of books on local history or by local authors.
  • Census records on microfilm.
  • Obituaries
  • Genealogies and family histories
  • Telephone books and a list of names for mail delivery in the 1890s.
  • Eight vertical file cabinets of items obtained about local people, places, Indian Wars, genealogies, maps, Forts Reno, Cantonment Reno, McKinney and Phil Kearny, the Johnson County Cattle War, outlaws, ranches, homesteads, the Occidental, Basque history, dry farming, Hole-in-the-Wall and Kaycee history, cemetery indexes, maps including topographical and aerial, house histories, church and building histories, fires, Veterans, and lots of interesting miscellaneous files such as UFO and Lake DeSmet Monster sightings.

 

 

Johnson County History

We offer Buffalo newspapers including: BUFFALO ECHO, BUFFALO VOICE and the BUFFALO BULLETIN from 1800s to the present day. The newspapers are on microfilm and physical format. The Library has an extensive file dealing with the 1892 Johnson County Cattle War.

 

 

Johnson County Cattle War

Time and circumstance were bringing changes to the free range in what is now northeastern Wyoming. The operators of the large cattle outfits, resisting these changes, recruited 25 gunmen from Texas and formed a vigilante group known as the Invaders. The group gathered in Cheyenne and took a train to Casper and continued north by horseback. The group planned to proceed secretly to Johnson County. Supposedly, they carried a list of suspects they planned to kill. At the KC Ranch cabin, they encountered Nate Champion and Nick Ray and killed them. The killings were observed and when the news reached Buffalo, a group of armed men rode out to meet the Invaders. They met at the TA Ranch, and after several days, Federal troops rode out from Fort McKinney to rescue the Invaders. They were taken to the Fort and then transferred to Cheyenne. Political power ensured the group would never come to trial for the murders.

 

Genealogy

  • Magazines: Internet Genealogy is available for checkout.

  • Databases: ANCESTRY LIBRARY EDITION is available on the public computers at the library. 

  • Vertical files of archived Johnson County History

  • Obituaries

 

Wyoming State Flag

On display at the Johnson County Library is one of six original Wyoming state flags made by designer Verna Keyes. Originally designed in 1916, the flag is made of silk taffeta. The buffalo is handpainted in oil and the Wyoming seal is inked on top. In April 1982 the flag was framed by the Friends of the Library and unveiled by Verna Keyes herself at a Friends luncheon. The Jim Gatchell museum in Buffalo, WY also has one of these flags on display. Natrona County Library has a third flag on display along with Mrs. Keyes' recollection of the flag's creation. A fourth flag is at the Carbon County Museum.