Area History

Colby Mammoth Site

While digging a new reservoir in 1962 Don Colby made one to the most important archeological finds of its time, a Clovis spear point. In 1973 the first of many scientific excavations began to take place. Over the next five years, parts of seven mammoths, the bones of camel, bison, pronghorn, jackrabbit, horse and musk-ox. Dating back 14000 years makes the Colby site one of the oldest proofs of man using weapons to hunt larger animals. N44*01.26 W107*52.01

Big Cedar Ridge Plant Fossil Area

Take Home a piece of history, you found yourself, abundant with plant fossils from 72 million years ago and located on public lands, Big Cedar Ridge lets the young or old archeology enthusiast collect and keep plant and invertebrates (animals with no backbone) fossils using only light hand tools or just pick them off the ground. Then do your part by reporting your finds to the local BLM office to help scientists. Find your way there by traveling east from Worland or West from Ten Sleep to Blue Bank Road, head south fifteen miles to Big Cedar Ridge. N43*50.30 W107*32.10

Spring Creek Raid

The last armed conflict between cattlemen and sheep growers occurred in the Nowood Valley at Spring Creek, 7 miles southeast of Ten Sleep. During the “Spring Creek Raid,” seven masked riders raided Joe Allemand’s sheep camp, killing Allemand, his nephew Joe Lazier and Jules Emge and burning their two sheep wagons. The raid was supposedly motivated by Allemand’s bringing his herd of 5,000 sheep into the Nowood Valley which cattle interests had declared off limits to sheep. (Author’s note: The usual rule is, “Fence sheep in, fence cattle out.”)

In March 1909, Herbert Brink, Tommy Dixon, Milton Alexander, George Henry Saban, and Ed Eaton, local cowboys were brought to trial in Basin for participation in the killings. Two others, Charles Ferris and Albert Keyes turned state’s evidence and were not charged. Brink was convicted of first degree murder. Alexander and Saban were convicted of second degree murder. Dixon and Eaton each plead guilty to arson. Eaton died in state custody. Saban escaped in 1913 and was never recaptured. Dixon was paroled in 1912. Brink and Alexander were paroled in 1914. The public reaction to the raid resulted in the ending of such violence on the open range. An historical monument now marks the site of the raid.

The Spring Creek raid was not the only incident of such violence, it was merely the last. “Sheep dead lines,” such as that in the Nowood Valley, were proclaimed by other cattlemen.

Although the Nowood Valley is growing in population, Ten Sleep remains much the way it was a hundred years ago, many ranches are still operated by the families who took them over and developed them as the “foreign capital owners” cut their losses and left in the late 1800’s. Small independent business people continue to keep the community prospering.

The oldest church in the Big Horn Basin

The oldest church in the Big Horn Basin

1st Church in the Basin

March 14, 1901 Rev. L.C. Thompson, Rev. E.E. Tarbill, Mortimer Lewis, J.W. Carpenter, Kate Lynch and Mark Warner signed papers incorporating the Methodist Church of Ten Sleep and accepted land from David Moses. The community raised $600, supplementing $300 given by Extension Society of Philadelphia. The building started in 1901 by volunteer labor with lumber donated by Milo Burke, was completed in 1904 and dedicated January 8, 1905. Each assisting family was given a lot in the cemetery, where many pioneers rest. The church was moved to a location near the Ten Sleep Rodeo Grounds in 1925 where it remained until 1975 when it was moved to Circle J Youth Camp in Ten Sleep Canyon. N44*04.24 W107*20.23

Worland, Wyoming - 1905

Worland, Wyoming – 1905

Moving Worland

Although Worland has been in its present location for over 100 years, it started on the other side of the river, west of its current location near ‘Dad’ Worland’s Dugout. Dad Worland settled here just before 1900, building a dugout he turned into a store and bar. When the Hanover Canal company arrived and decided to invest and build canals for agricultural use, naturally the settled around Camp Worland. As the railroad came along the Big Horn River, it came down the east side, opposite of the town. So during the winter of 1905-06, our forefathers moved the town. With thick ice, teams and ingenuity they moved thirteen buildings over the river to start the community of Worland. The original site has returned to agricultural land for the most part, but we remember our beginnings. N44*00.45 W107*58.46

Bates Battlefield

The Bates Battle took place in Hot Springs County in north-central Wyoming in 1874. The battlefield lies in the southeast corner of the Big Horn Basin, in the dissected, mountainous terrain where the Big Horn Mountains merge into the Owl Creek Mountains. The lodges of the Arapaho Indian village which came under attack were strung along a narrow valley situated in a general north-south direction. There are more than a few accounts of the Bates Battle and no two are alike in every respect. Taken as a whole the various accounts reveal discrepancies on every substantial action relative to the battle: the motives for the fight; the incidents prior to, during and following the fight; and the results of the fight. The number of those who were attacked is disputable, as is the number of losses suffered by each side. In fact there seems to be more than one name for the conflict which has been called Bates Battle, the Battle of Young’s Point, the Battle of Snake Mountain, and the Nowood Battle. (text from Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office).