Johnson County History & Genealogy

For your convenience the Johnson County Library Local History Department is accessible by appointment, please email Nancy at to schedule an appointment Mon., Tues., or Wed. between the hours of 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. 

We look forward to helping you!


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 Kearny 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 on the 1892 Johnson County Cattle War.


History Data collection project

We could use your help and collective knowledge!

Local History Librarian Nancy Tabb is looking for help with the history of your homes. Have any family facts to share? Do you know the chain of the deed/ownership? Please fill out both sides of the questionnaire attached here. Mail to: Nancy Tabb Johnson County Library 171 North Adams Buffalo, WY 82834.  You can also drop it by the library circulation desk during your next visit.


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.



  • Magazines: Internet Genealogy is available for checkout.

  • Databases: ANCESTRY LIBRARY EDITION is available on the public computers at the library.  You simply need your library card to access. 

  • 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.


Johnson County Library Publications

Have you heard?

Listen Closely Volume I, and Volume II will be available in the coming weeks.  This has been a passion project for Nancy Tabb, Dolly Fraley, and Jonette Goraj who knew these stories needed to be shared with you!


Available now, Backtracking by Fred K. Gray.  The Johnson County Library (WY) local history department has published a book written by Fred K. Gray. With the family's blessing, an anonymous donor and Steve Rzasa's expertise this project moved along nicely. Mr. Gray wrote his own memoir and "published" it in a nice 3 ring binder that he handed out to family and friends. We think he would be pretty proud of his second professionally published book. Never a Dull Moment he compiled from his brother's journals and notes.

There are two copies of Backtracking available for check out and it is also available to purchase at the library for a suggested donation of $20.

"When we first read his manuscript we kept thinking everyone in Johnson County needs to be able to read this. So we set out to make that possible."(Nancy Tabb, Dolly Fraley and Jonette Goraj)

We are are honored and grateful so be a small part of sharing Fred's story.  

Our History Programs