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The Laramie Vigilance Committee #402: Clarice Whittenburg Papers

Founded in 1868, Laramie was a wild and wooly place. All manner of thieves, gamblers and gunmen followed the construction of the Union Pacific railroad through Laramie. Some of this less desirable element wound up taking control of the fledgling town’s law enforcement.

Steve Long had a reputation as a gunfighter when he was elected as Laramie’s deputy marshal. He and his half-brothers Ace and Con Moyer owned a bar which became known as the “Bucket of Blood”. Long and the Moyers brothers plied local prospectors, ranchers and railroad men with alcohol, then robbed and sometimes murdered them.

Townspeople, led by N.K. Boswell, were fed up with the lawlessness. They formed the Laramie Vigilance Committee. Soon the committee confronted Long and his stepbrothers and Laramie’s other thieves and murderers. Some were lynched and more were driven out of town by the threat of vigilante justice.

Learn more about the early days of Laramie by reading the Clarice Whittenburg papers at UW’s American Heritage Center.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.