Wyoming, a Guide to Its History, Highways, and People

By Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Wyoming | Go to book overview
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Tour 1

(Lead, S. Dak.)--Newcastle-- Lusk--Torrington--Cheyenne--( Denver, Colo.); US 85. South Dakota Line to Colorado Line, 270.6 m.

Graveled and oil-surfaced roadbed; open all seasons. Route touches Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R. and Union Pacific R.R. briefly. Accommodations adequate.

Running along the eastern edge of Wyoming, US 85 winds for a short distance between timbered mountains, then among fields, meadows, and grazing lands. For approximately 165 miles (to the junction with US 26), it parallels closely the general route of the old Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Line, through a territory rich in the lore of Indian and pioneer, in tales of stagecoach holdups, of pursuit and capture and escape, and of fighting and gunplay. This territory was for many years the hunting ground of the Sioux and other tribesmen, who camped along the creeks and hunted the vast herds of buffalo and antelope that grazed on the plains near by.

By the treaty signed at Fort Laramie in 1868, this territory was set aside for the Sioux, to whom it was a sacred land, an abode of spirits, and the strategic center of their nation. They made expeditions here, not only to hunt and fish, but to obtain lodge poles and medicinal herbs. For many years the Government tried to keep white men out of this territory, but they could not be held back, and many skirmishes took place as the Sioux, under Sitting Bull, fought to hold their land. After the discovery in 1874 of gold on French Creek near the present site of Custer, South Dakota, gold seekers, evading the military, penetrated the Black Hills, using Cheyenne as one of the main gateways. After the Custer and Crook military expeditions and the geological expedition under Professor Walter P. Jenney had made reports on the country, a treaty was effected with the Indians late in 1876, by which the territory between the Platte and Powder Rivers was ceded to the white men.

Immediately thousands of gold seekers, bound for the Black Hills, headed north from Cheyenne, Rawlins, and other points, on foot, on horseback, or in any sort of available conveyance. Great strings of oxen and mules pulled overloaded freight wagons through mud and sand, across vast plains, and up and down the hills. By the spring of


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Wyoming, a Guide to Its History, Highways, and People


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