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AUCTION 19

258. JOHNSON COUNTY WAR. Printed indictment completed in ink and ruled in red, commencing: Indictment.-John Morris Company, Printers, Chicago. Territory of Wyoming, County of Johnson. SS. In the District Court of the Second Judicial District: At a term of the District Court begun and held at Buffalo, within and for the County of Johnson, on the [27th] day of [June], the Jurors of the Grand Jury of the County of Johnson, at the term aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, in the name and by the authority of the Territory of Wyoming, Do Present and Find that [John Hopkins alias Johnnie “D”] late of the County aforesaid, on the [22”] day of [September] in the year [1886] at the County and Territory aforesaid [unlawfully and wilfully did brand and place upon the left side of one head of neat cattle, which head of neat cattle was a maverick, a certain brand made thusly “NΛY-.” Signed at end by Edward D. Simpson as Prosecuting Attorney, in Johnson County. One page on four-page legal form with printed Territory of Wyoming docket on p. [4], completed in ink and stamped with purple ink, folio. Very fine.

     The Johnson County War occurred in 1892 but had been festering for many years prior to that, as this indictment would seem to indicate. The cattle “kings,” who formed the Wyoming Stock Growers’ Association, by matter of both custom and law, asserted ownership of all unbranded cattle found loose on the open range. The offence alleged here is that Hopkins was not a foreman on a round-up and had no authority therefore to brand a cow as his own. Such grievances eventually erupted into conflict. ($100-200)

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