History Page

History that created Old West Stories

This history page has been added to old west stories to create a place to record a time line of events that are significant in the history of the American Midwest and contributed to the creation of the magic and legend that led to the creation of old west stories.

It will contain a timeline of events that affected the old west and then naturally, affected the old west stories that grew around the magic of that era.  In the coming months, items of interest will be added and you have a chance to add to this also.

By no means will this be an exhaustive description of historical matters for the Midwest of America.  Old West Stories will be adding items from time to time that spark our interest or fit the category of events that added something to the mystique of the cowboy era and led to parts of the USA being referred to as “the wild, wild west”.

If you have something that you would like to see added to this page, just let Old West Stories know the Contact Us page.  You will get a response.

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Old West Stories Timeline



Meteorite - 300, 000, 000 BC

300, 000, 000 year BC (approximately)

300, 000, 000 BC – (approximately) – A massive meteorite, after probably millions of year wandering through space, found Earth.  It collided with our planet in the area now known as the Appalachian Moutains that includes parts of Cannada and the Unites States (Alabama, Connecticiut, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachussets, Miquelon, New Brunswick, New  Foundland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Pennysylvania, Quebec, South Carolina, St Pierre, Tennessee,  Vermont, Virgina, West Virginia).

It is estimated that the force of the impact exceeded 100, 000 atomic bombs (wow).  The huge crater is created is now known as the Cumberland Gap.  It would eventually form the gateway to the geographic region the Old West Stories refers to as The Old West.

15, 000 years BCThe first horses in America were wide spread in the Midwest including modern day Wyoming and Montana.  These animals were about the size of a large dog and roamed the prairies for thousands of years.  Not until the Spanish brought horses with them did the horse make a reappearance and what a majestic appearance that was.


1492The land that would later become known as the United States of America was first found by Europeans when Christopher Columbus arrived on the Santa Maria from Italy.  At the time, native American Indians were already living in this great land.

1493 – It is recorded that modern horses first arrived in North America in 1493, brought by the Spanish.  Within 100 years, they numbered in the millions.  These horses formed the stock that led to the mustangs that then roamed freely for decades and formed the solid base for the cowboy of legend and from that, all old west stories.

1497 – John Cabot is an English explorer who discovered New Foundland and explored its coast.  He was planning to find a short route to Japan.

1513 – Juan Ponce De Leon explored the East coast of Florida and the Florida Keys.

1524 – Italian explorer Giovanni de Verranzano explored the Eact coast, this time in search of a trade route to the Indies.

1535 – Jacques Cartier of France sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.

1539 to 1542 – Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto explored the South East.

1540 to 1542 – Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronando  searched widely in the South West and on the Great Southern Plains in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola.

1565 – The Spanish policy banning colonisation was over turned and the first permant European colony was established at St. Augustine.

1585 – The Enlgish founded thier first colony at Roanoke.

1587 – By the end of this year the colony at Roanoke has completely disappeared.  It became known as the Lost Colony.

1607 – English colonists established Jamestown was established in Virginia. 

1608 – Quebec was founded by Samuel de Champlain and became the first permanent French settlement.

1609 – Henry Hudson was searching for a North West passage and explored Delaware Bay and New York Harbour.

1610 – Santa Fe was established by the Spanish as the General Administrative Center and the core of missionary efforts.

1620 – The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.

1624 – The Dutch established their first colony at Fort Orange in Albany.

1625 – New Amsterdam was established by the Dutch after the infamous purchase of Manhattan Island.

1638 – The Swedish people established their own colony at Fort Christina (now known as Wilmingtonn Delaware).

1653 – The first war between the colonies broke out between the English and the Dutch.  England siezed the Dutch outpost of Fort Good Hope.

1664 – September 7 – The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the English and they renamed the colony New York.  The Name was to honor the Duke of York.

1775 –By the beginning of the year, land west of the Cumberland Gap had been claimed by Britain, France and Spain.  Hundreds of American Indian tribes also held a claim to parts of this land.

1775 – April 19 – The American Revolutionary War, otherwise known as the War of Independence, commenced.

1787 – December 7 – Delaware became the 1st state.  Was also the first of the original 13 colonies.

1787 – December 12 – Pennsylvania became the 2nd state.

1787 – December 18  New Jersey became the 3rd state.

1788 – January 2 – Georgie became the 4th state.

1788 – January 9 – Connecticut became the 5th state.

1788 – February 6 – Massachusetts became the 6th state.

1788 – April 28 – Maryland became the 7th state.

1788 – May 23 – South Carolina became the 8th state.

1788 – June 21 – New Hampshire became the 9th state.

1788 – June 25 – Virginia became the 10th state.

1788 – June 26 – New York became the 11th state.

1789 – November 21 – North Carolina became the 12th state.

1790 – May 29 – Rhode Island became the 13th state.  This was the last of the original 13 colonies.

1791 – March 4 – Vermont became the 14th state.

1792 – June 1 – Kentucky became the 15th state.

1796 – June 1 – Tennessee became the 16th state.

1803 – Chief Black Kettle of the Southern Cheyen was born in California around 1803 but records were not kept and exact dates are uncertain.

1803 –  March 1 – Ohio became the 17th state.

1803 – April 30 – The Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed on this Saturday by Robert Livingston, James Monroe, and Barbé Marbois in Paris.  Just into his third year as President, Thomas Jefferson announced the treaty to the American people on July 4. 

Although Louisiana would not officially become a State for another 9 years, this marked the beginning of the United States expansion into the interior in a significant way.  It was a huge job and took time to set up.

In the meantime United States Senate ratified the treaty with a vote of twenty-four to seven on October 20.  The next day Congree authorized the President to take possession of the Territory and establish a temporary military government.  Congress enacted legislation to allow for local civil government to continue as it had under the French and Spanish.  It also allowed the President to use the Army to maintain order.

1803 – December 20 – France relinquished New Orleans.

1804 – March 10 – A ceremony was conducted in the St Louis and Louisiana was formally transferred from France to the United States.

1804 – May – Lewis and Clark departed on their western expedition to the Pacific.

1804 – October 1 – The land purchased in the Louisiana Purchase was organised in the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana under the control of the governer of Indiana.  The Territory of Orleans (most of it) later became the modern State of Louisiana.

1805 – September – 16 – Lewis and Clarke were on the ridge of the Lolo Trail in Idaho. 

William Clark wrote in his journal –

“I have been wet and cold in every part as I ever was in my life, indeed I was at one time fearful my feet would freeze in the thin mockersons which I wore”

Not unlike their reliance on the Shoshone weeks earlier, Lewis and Clark needed the Nez Perce Indians now.  When they first met there were tense times and their hope of help was fragile.  Through sheer luck a Nez Perce woman who had lived in Canada with whites assured the triabl leaders that these whites should be trusted and this helped prevent a potential trajedy.  The Nez Perce provided them with food and shelter. 

They gave them local terrain advice and helped them build canoes.  This allowed them to descend the to descend the Clearwater River and then go down the Snake River and finally the Columbia River. 

1805 – October 7 – Lewis and Clark left on their downstream journey accompanied by Nex perce Chiefs Twisted Hair and Teotarsky.  They experienced the treacherous conditions of the lower Snake River.  Without the help of the Nez Perce their chances of survival in this rough country would have been very slim.

1806 – 1807 – Zebulon M Pike explored Colorado and New Mexico.

1807 – John Colter (1774 – 1813) entered the area now known as Wyoming.  He is credited with being the first white man to do so.   He was a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition but is mainly recorded for his exploration of the Yellowstone National Park and the Teton Mountain Range.  He has been referred to as the “First Mountain Main”, having spent many months alone during these explorations.

1812 – April 30 – Louisiana became the 18th state.

1810 – October 8 – James Wilson Marshall was born on this day in New Jersey.  Skip ahead to 1848 to learn why this man may have been considered the luckiest man alive at one time even though he never realised a real profit from his amazing discovery.

1814 – July 19 – Samuel Colt was born on this day in Hartfort, Connecticut.  He was the founder of the Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company and widely credited with the creation of the revolver.

1816 – December 11 – Indiana became the 19th state.

1817 – December 10 – Mississippi became the 20th state.

1818 – December 3 – Illinois became the 21st state.

1819 – December 14 – Alabama became the 22nd state.

1820 – March 15 – Maine became the 23rd state.

1821 – August 24 – Missouri became the 24th state.


Beaver – Worth the risk in the Rocky Mountains

1823 – Beaver – During this year it is estimated that the number of Beaver hunters working in the Rocky Mountains exceeds 300.  The Rocky Mountains is a harsh and unforgiving land, full of dangers that have kept large numbers of people at bay.  The Beaver however, was worth the risk.  By this time the Beaver had been hunted almost to extinction in Europe but in the Rocky Mountains, they are everywhere and number in the millions.  As a high fashion accessory, they are extremely valuable.  It is also estimated that 20% of these men did not come out alive.

1833 – June 20 – Christopher M Spencer was born on this day.  He went on to invent the Spencer repeating rifle.

1833 – October 21 – Alfred Bernard Nobel was born on this day.  This occurrence may have been unremarkable but what he accomplished toward the end of 1867 would transform significant aspects of the legend that is, Old West Stories.

Old West Stories

1836 – February 25 – Samuel Colt applied for a patent on his “Revolving Gun” and patent number 9430X was granted on this day.  This is often accepted as the start of the firearms revolution in the United States with the progression from single shot musket style weapon to multi shot repeating rifles and revolver hand guns.

1836 – May 19 – 300 Kiowa and Comanche Indians attacked the fort, Fort Parker, civilian fort on the Navasota River in East Texas.  Several women and children were taken captive including 9 year old Cynthia Anne Parker.

1836 – June 15 – Arkansas became the 25th state.

1837 – May 17 – James Butler Hickok born in Homer, Illinois.  He better remembered as Wild Bill Hickok, one of the enigmatic figures in Old West Stories.  More information available at the Wild Bill page or at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

1837 – January 26 – Michigan became the 26th state.

1841 – June 28 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s brother, James Cooksey Earp.

1843 – July 14 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s brother, Virgil Walter Earp.  Virgil is also renown for his work as a law man and has been the subject of some old west stories of his own.  In some quarters, it is believed he was actually the key man at the Shootout of the O.K. Corral and that only after his death, did perception shift during the creation of the Wyatt Earp Legend.

1845 – March 3 – Florida became the 27th state.

1845 – September 25 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Earp.

1845 – December 29 – Texas became the 28th state.  Prior to this date, Texas was an independent republic.

1846 – April 14 – George Donner sets out with his family (the infamous Donner Party) from Illinois headed for California.  With his brother Joseph, their families and hired hands, he leads a covered wagon group on this ill fated journey.

Donner Party

Covered Conestoga Wagon – Similar to that used by the Donner Party

This party met their end due to misinformation and they became trapped in the  winter snows in a place now known as Donner Pass in Nevada County, California.  A page dedicated to this journey and the Donner Party will appear later with full details under the Stories heading at the top of this page.  Warning – Do not go to the Donner Party if a graphic description of events that included cannibalism may upset or offend you.

1846 – December 11 – Iowa became the 29th state.

Gold Nugget

3 Ounce Gold Nugget Discovered – 2 months wages for a carpenter

1848 – January 24 – James Wilson Marshall – On this day, Mr Marshall discovered a gold nugget in the American River in california.  His discovery of a 3 ounce gold nugget set the scene for the Gold Rush.  The nugget was worth 2 month’s pay for a carpenter but Marshall never turned a real profit from his discovery.

News spread across the world though and within one year, some 100, 000 prospectors headed for the Sierra Nevada foothills.  Others did however, and one plot of land worth $16 before this discovery was sold for $45, 000 not much more than one year later.  I bet you would be keen to buy early on a property deal with that rate of return (0ver 250, 000% in one year, make a $200, 000 house worth $200 Mil).

Old West Stories Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp

1848 – March 18 – Wyatt Earp was born in Monmouth, Illinois.  One of the key players in later in event in Cochise County and eternally famous for his part in the “Shoot Out at the OK Corral”.

1848 – May 29 – Wisconsin became the 30th state.  The state’s paper milling industry commenced only a few months prior to statehood and, using the plentiful water supply in the northern region, developed into a major industrial concern by the 1860’s.


Pat Garret

1850 – February 29 – Pat Floyd Garret was born in Cusseta, Alabama.  Lawman, bar tender, customs agent, farmer.  A wide range of occupations for sure but famous for one moment in his life.  That moment was when he killed “Billy the Kid”.

1850 – September 9 – California became the 31st state.  Previously part of Mexico until the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidago in 1848.

1851 – April 24 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s brother, Morgan Seth Earp.

1854 – Black Kettle became the leader of the Southern Cheyene in 1854 and led the efforts to resist american settlement throughout Kansas and Colorado. 

1855 – March 9 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s brother, Warren Baxter Earp.

1858 – February 28 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s sister, Virginia Ann Earp.

1858 – May 11 – Minnesota became the 32nd state.

1859 – February 14 – Oregon became the 33rd state.

1859 – November 23 – Billy the Kid is born in New York City.  This date and location are not confirmed as a fact however, it is very likely this was close to the truth of the matter.

1860 – January 17 – Apache warriors raided a small ranch owned John Ward in Arizona on the Sonita River.  The warriors captured a young boy named Mickey Free.

An Army detail was sent out under Lietenant Geroge Bascom to rescue Mickey.  He located Cochise and his family, tricked COchise into a meeting under a flag of truce andf took the family captive.  He threatened to kill them all unless Mickey Free was returned to him.

Cochise escaped too three prisoners, offering an exchange.  Bascom refused and Cochise then killed his 3 prisoners.  Bascom retaliated by hanging his brother and two nephews but his wife and child were later released.

1860 – March 6 – A patent was granted on this day to Christopher M Spencer for his new repeater rifle with a radical new breech loading mechanism.

1860 – March 12 – The United States Congress passed the “Pre-emption Bill”.  This legislation allowed for land to be given free to settlers heading West.  This was part of the impetus to encourage people to head West and seek a glorious future and create Old West Stories of their own.

Old West Stories

1860 – April 3 – The first Pony Express left St. Joseph in Missouri and delivered letters to Sacramento in California.  This service was instrumental in securing California to the Union in the period just prior to the Civil War.  The trip took a little less than ten days to cover a trip of almost 2, ooo miles, a huge improvement over previous methods.

1860 – December – A detachment of Texas Rangers being led by Captain Sul Ross came upon a Comanche encampment  on the Pease River.  Captain Ross saw a yellow-haired, white skinned woman among the Indians he captured.  He realised it was Cynthia Anne Parker who was abducted in 1836 during the Kiowa raid on Fort Parker.

1861 – January 29 – Kansas became the 34th state.

1861 – June – Exact date uncertain – Christopher Spencer presented his new Spencer Repeating rifle to Gideon Welles, the Secretary of the Navy.  An order for 700 units was secured, ushering in a new era of rifle firing efficiency.

1861 – June 16 – Birth of Wyatt Earp’s sister, Adelia Douglas Earp.

1862 – January 10 – Samuel Colt, founder of the Colt’s Manufacturing Company died on this day.

1862 – April 6 – General Grant defeated the Confederates in the battle of Shiloh.

1862 – May 20 – Congress pass the Homestead Act granting 160 acres of land to western land settlers at the price of $1.25 per acre.  Given the general wage at this time, the $200 was still a substantial amount to most people.

1862August 17 – Four young Santee Sioux men were returning from a Minnesota River hunting trip.  The Sioux had been unsuccessful and were feeling the pain of hunger.  They stole eggs and dared each other to kill a white man.  An Indian war broke out and one of the first victims was Indian Agency Trader Andrew Myrick who had refused to give them food and said tose now famous words:-

“Let them eat grass”.

During the first day of the outbreak the Indians targetted Myrick and when his body was found, his mouth was stuffed full of grass.

1862 August 30 – The Union Army suffers a significant defeat at Antietam, Delaware.

1862 – September 17 – Lincoln declares all slaves free from January 1, 1863.

1862 – December 13 – The Union Army suffered defeat at Fredericksburg, Virgina.  Huge losses were sustained and the nation did not react well.  Some Army units were reported to be mutiny at this time.

1862 – December 29 – General Sherman was defeated at Chickasaw Bayou, Alabama.

1863 – During 1863 trouble was caused for the Nez Perce because of the gold that had been discovered and the split in their tribe after Reverend Henry Spalding had introduced Christianity.  General Howard tried to Indian interest in the land.  Chief Joseph refused as did another Chief, Tahou Zoozoo.  He was imprisoned by General Howard in the Lapwai guard house and Joseph was given 30 days to move to the new reservation or the Army would be sent in. 

On the way to the new reservation 4 settlers were killed.  Chief Joseph tried to hold back the young men who wanted to fight but this was the start of the Nez Perce troubles that culminated in the flight of 1877 and their eventual surender.

1863 – January – Mangos Coloradas met military leaders at Fort McLane in Southwest New Mexico to talk peace.  Mangas arrived under a flag of truce to meet with Brigadier General Joseph West.  West ordered his arrest and execution.  Mangas was tortured, shot and killed.  The official record stated he was trying to escape but this is contrary to civilian witness accounts.   He was decapitated and his head before the skull was Orson Squire Fowler in New York City. 


The murder and mutilation of the body served to increase the hostility between Apaches and the United States government with war becoming a constant state of affairs for over 20 years.


1863 – January 8 – Ground breaking ceremony took place in Sacramento on the water front on the Sacramento River for the Transcontinental Railway.

1863 – June 20 – West Virginia became the 35th state.

1863 – August 18 – Christopher Spencer secured the opportunity to present his repeater rifle to President Lincoln.  Although many difficulties were encountered, substantial quantities were eventually sold to support the war efforts.

1863 – October 26 – The first rail is laid in Sacramento for the Trans Continental railway.

1864 – April 10 – The Archduke Maximilian became the Emperor of Mexico.  He accomplished this only with the support of France.

1864 – September 2 – Atlanta, Georgia, wa taken by the Union Army.

1864 – October 31 – Nevada became the 36th state.

1864 – November 8 – Abraham Lincoln was re-elected as President of the United States.

1864November 24 – When a group of Cheyenne people had been completely disarmed and were totally defenseless, Colonel Chivington gathered together 700 troops and travelled to Sand Creek.  At dawn on this day Chivington surrounded the camp with soldiers equipped with cannon.  It is recorded that Black Kettle ran up his American Flag and a white flag of truce.  He was standing by his teepee when Chivington ordered the troops to open fire.

It is recorded that 133 Indians were killed.  105 were women and children, 28 were old men.  Captain Silace Sewell refused to take part in the killing and was court marshalled.  He testified against Colonel Chivington and was murdered shortly after.

1864 – December 21 – Savannah fell to General Sherman’s troops.

1865 – January 1 – Indian Chiefs determeined they shoud attack Julesburg, Colorado.  A band of warriors estimated to be about 1, 000 men moved from Cherry Creek to Julesburg.

1865 – January 7 – A combined force of Cheyenne, Arapaho and Sioux Indians attacked this Camp Rankin.  The fort was later renamed Fort Sedgewick.  The attack failed and the warriors moved onto Julsburg.  The town presented few problems to the Indians.  They attacked the town and plundered it thoroughly.  Brigadier General Mitchell had his troops scour the Platte River, Medicine Creek, Red Willow, Blackwood, White Mans Fork, Stinking Water and Ten-Mile Creek but was unable to find the Cheyenne.

1865 – April 2 – The Confederate Army abandoned Richmond.

1865 – April 9 – General Lee surrenders to General Grant at Appomattox and signals the end of the Civil War.

1865 – April 14 – John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln.  I have often pondered what Lincoln may have accomplished next if he had not been killed.  Having abolished slavery and won the war against slave supporting Southern States, would improved treatment for American Indians have then been on his agenda?  We will never know.

1865 – December 18 – Congress passed the bill that formally abolished slavery.

1866 – President Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Bill that President Lincoln fought so hard to get into legislation.

1866 – April 1 – Congress over rode the veto of the Civil Rights Bill and all people that were born in the United States were given protection under this Act (except for American Indians it seems).  President Johnson was also empowered to use the Army to enforce its provisions. 

1866 – June 13 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed and gives Negroes rights of Citizenship.  Debate in Congress determined that pursuant to Section one of the Amendment that states it applies to all person’s under the jurisdiction of the United States.  Senator Turnbull argues that only people who were “completely” under the jurisdiction of the United States as because you could not sue an Indian in Court, they were not completely under that jurisdiction therefore, could not become citizens and were not afforded the protection of the amendment.  Indians were still denied voting rights in 1938.

1867 – February 17  – The first ship passed through the Suez Canal on this day.

1867 – March 1 – Nebraska became the 37th state.

1867 – March 12 – The last of the French troops departed from Mexico.

1867 – March 30 – A Real Estate deal was finalised on this day that may well be the largest deal in history.  The United States finalised the purchase of Alaska from Russia and parted with the sum of $7, 200, 000.

1867 – June 19 – The Mexican people executed Emperor Maximilian.

1867 – July 1 – The Dominion of Canada was formally ratified.

1867 – November 25 – Two interesting events occurred on this day.  First, Congress impeached President Johnson for “High Crimes and Misdemeanours”; and

Second, a more pivotal development of the legends that make up Old West Stories, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.


1868 – April 29 – Red Cloud’s had wond his war the Sioux Treaty of 1868, more commonly as the For Laramie Treaty, was signed today.  The text of the treaty can be read by the picture of the treaty.

Old West Stories

1869 – May 10 – The Transcontinental Railway is completed when the last spike is placedat Promontory Point in Utah.  Travel from coast to coast was reduced from an average of 6 months to 1 week.

The Golden Spike ceremony involved a Golden Spike being driven into the ground and the event being transmitted around the country by telegraph.  Possibly the first major media event transmitted live.  The spike was then removed and replaced, it remains on permanent display in San Francisco.

1868 – November 27 – Chief Balck Kettle had become the leader of the Southern Cheyene in 1854 and led the efforts to resist american settlement throughout Kansas and Colorado.  After the massacre at Sand Creek Black Kettle and his Cheyennes had lived in peace for four years.  Black Kettle had no scouts to warn him of an attack and his people were poor, having nothing other people would want.  A warning came too late.

Soldiers charged into teepees with sabres and guns.  After two hours of carnage the attack was complete.  Black Kettle and his wife and 103 people were dead.  General George Custer filed a report stating that 103 fighting men had been killed in a fierce battle.  The reality that came to light later was very different.  Those reports say he had killed 11 fighting men.  The rest were oldmen, women and children.

1869 -December 10 – The Wyoming Territorial Legilature passed a bill that meant The Old West was changing is ways that most could not have imagined only a few years earlier.  The legislation gave everyone woman living in the Territory of Wyoming the right to vote in all electon held in that Territory.  The legislation was entitled “The Female Suffrage Act 1869”.

1870 – March – In Laramie in the Territory of Wyoming, a Grand Jury had been empanelled with 6 women.  Eliza Stewart was the first woman elected to the panel.  Eastern newspapers ridiculed the women jurors but pragmatic news operators eventually realised that women were a significant part of their readership and the practise stopped.

1870 – Septembet 6 – Louisa Ann Swain post the first vote ever cast in a public election in the Territory of Wyoming.  She was aged 70 and her vote was note only the first vote by a woman in Wyoming, it was the first vote by a woman any where in the world.   

1876 – January 31 – The Government gave the sioux until this Monday to return to their reservations or they would be treated as “Hostiles”  They did not return and the events leading up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn had begun.  

1876 – February – When the deadline given to the Sioux had come and gone the Army made preparations for war.  General Sheridan brought together Colonel John Gibbon, General George Crook, General Terry and General George Custer. 

1876 – June 17 – General Crook was marching with a command of 1, 300 men.  Crazy Horse led and attack with an estimated 1, 500 Cheyenne and Sioux warriors.  General Crook lost 57 men before retreating and it is not known how many Indian Warriors were killed.

1876 – June 25 – The Battle of the Little Bighorn is often referred tro as Custer’s Last Stand.  General George Armstrong Custer’s force of 210 men were attacked by the Sioux and Cheyenne.  They were completed wiped out.   

Custer was found with shots to the left chest and left temple and a wound to one arm.   Sioux stories hold that Custer committed suicide avoid capture.  Cheyenne tradition credits Buffalo Calf Road Woman with striking a blow that fell Custer from his horse and led to his death.

1876 – August 1 – Colorado became the 38th state.

1876 – August 2 – James Butler Hickok died this day, better remembered as Wild Bill Hickok.

1877 – Texas Tumbleweed.  An interesting, intriguing plant eternally associated with the old west and a native plant of Texas.  Well not quite, that may be the common belief but the Russian Thistle, commonly known in the States as the Tumbleweed was first officially reported in the States in 1877.  Until a recent trip with a work colleague I too thought this was a native Texas plant but she pointed out the error of my thinking.  It appears that the plant made its way from Russia to the USA around 1877.  Some unsubstantiated reports claim as early as 1873.

Several species are intrusive outside their native environment.  They have encroached into parts of North America where they are officially listed as noxious weeds.  The salt tolerant species is first recorded in Bon Homme County in South Dakota in 1877 and probably came in as a stowaway in Flax imported from the Ukraine.  South Dakota proved too dry and far too harsh an environment for the flax but the “Tumbleweed” flourished in several states. 

So thank you Jody-Ann for educating me on this misunderstood icon of the old west.

1877 – June – Nez Perce warriors came across General Howard’s soldiers in White Bird canyon in Idaho.  One officer and 33 troops were killed.

1877 – August 9 – Colonel John Gibbon caught up with Chief Jospeh with 400 soldiers from Montana.  90 Nez Perce were killed and Gibbons suffered 71 casualties.  The Nez perce continuede their flight with 700 soldiers under General Howard hot on their heels.

1877 September 30 – Colonel Nelson Miles had 400 soldeirs under his command intercept the Nez Perce just forty miles from the border  with Canada.

1877 – October 5 – After 6 days of siege Chief Joseph, realising he could not win and make it to Canada, surrendered to Colonel Miles.

1881 – July 14 – Billy the kid was shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garret.

1881 – October 26 – The most famous incident in the life of Wyatt Earp occurred at the O.K. Carrol in Tombstone.  Read all about it on the Wyatt Earp Page.

1889 – January 1 – Northern Paiute Indian leader Wovoka (1856 – September 20, 1932) had a vision.  He saw the plains covered with buffalo and he saw long dead relatives and he saw the white man banished from the plains.  He founded the Ghost Dance, a religion that brought hope to the destitute and forlorn Indian people.  His teaching spread quickly and soon the Arapaho, the Cheyenne and the Sioux came to join. 

Teton Sioux Chief kicking Bear brought the dance to Standing Rock in South Dakota.  Sitting Bull was there when the dance took effect.  Normal activity came to a standstill and white officials were worried. (continued November 17)

1889 – November 2 – North Dakota became the 39th state.

1889 – November 2 – South Dakota became the 40th state.

1889 – November 8 – Montana became the 41st state.

1889 – November 11 – Washington became the 42nd state.

1889 – November 17 – By now the Ghost Dance dance was very wide spread and some sections of the white community were worried.  General Nelson Miles sent troops to reservations. 

1889 – December 15 – At dawn 43 agents surrounded Sitting Bull’s cabin and Police Lieutenant Henry Bullhead arrested him.  Sitting Bull and Bullhead were killed in the  fight that followed.

1889 – December 28 – The Army found and captured a fleeing group of Sioux in South Dakota.  The Indians were forced to camp on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek.

1889 – December 29 – Massacre at Wounded Knee.  General Forsyth had his men surround the camp.  He sent his troops into their tents to take possession of all weapons.  Forsyth ordered rapid fire canons to be turned on the Indians.  Reports vary and some estimated the dead at over 300 including unarmed women and children.

1890 – January 15 – Sioux Indians who had escaped Wounded Knee surrendered to General Forsyth.  This was effectively the end of the Indian Wars.

Western newspapers reported the incident as a massacre.   The Army complained that their story of what happened had not been told.  The Indians would have understood this complaint, they had spent decades not having their story told.

1890 – July 3 – Idaho became the 43rd state.

1890 – July 10 – Wyoming became the 44th state.  There was a lot of debate over whether Wyoming should be allowed to enter the Union because of “The Female Suffrage Act 1869” that gave Wyoming women the vote and the right to hold political office.  “We may stay out of the union for 100 years, but when we come in, we will come with our women.”  With a vote of 139 to 127, the Bill went to the Senate and passed 29 to 18.  Wyoming was the leader in women’s rights and others would follow. Check out this date on the “Statehood Dates” page for more details.

1890 – September 15 – Sitting Bull was killed when Indian Police tried to arrest him for stirring up rebellion at his reservation.  Many Sioux moved away following the Ghost Dance religion and disruption followed.

1890 – September 29 – Wounded Knee Massacre, Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.

1904 – September 21 –  Chief Joseph died, never having been allowed to go home after his surrender in 1877.

1896 – January 4 – Utah became the 45th state.

1907 – November 16 – Oklahoma became the 46th state.

1908 – February 29 – Pat Garret (the Sheriff who killed Billy the Kid) died this day.  He was murdered on the trail over a land dispute and had still never collected his reward for catching Billy the Kid.

1909 – December 10 – Chief Red Cloud, war chief of the Oglala Soiux died on this day.

1912 – January 6 – New Mexico became the 47th state.

1912 – February 14 – Arizona became the 48th State.  Previously part of the Territory of New Mexico.

1929 – January 13 – Wyatt Earp died this day, aged 80.

1959 – January 3 – Alaska became the 49th state.

1959 – August 21 – Hawaii become the 50th and final state.   Prior to this date, Hawaii was a Territory of the United States since 1898, August 12.

2010 – December 29 – www.oldweststories.net is created and setup commenced.


Old West Stories

2011January 7 – www.oldweststories.net is given a life of its own, being activated on the internet.

6 Responses to History Page

  1. Marguerite says:

    this is very interesting to me. I have not learned or followed any of the history of the Wild West. You have done a lot of research and obviously have a passion about all this. I will look forward to re-reading this site to learn more about the “wild West”

  2. Mr Ezy says:

    Great post!

  3. Fred Henderson says:

    Love you history page.
    Some of the mini articles are extremely interesting and I look forward to you adding more.
    I am particularly interested in the part of American Indians in the Old West so anything about that would be great.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Kenny K says:

    1812 ,was the war between Canada and the U.S.,

    • wildwest says:

      Hi Kenny,
      The War of 1812 was fought United States the British Empire. The trade restrictions because of Britain’s ongoing war with France, forced service of American merchant sailors in the Royal Navy, British support of American Indian tribes and other reasons, America declared war.
      This link will give you some very useful information.
      Thank you for your question.
      It reminded me this is something not on the history page and I will attend to it.
      The link will give you much more informationthough because my hitory page is designed as a base timeline and not a definitive history.

  5. ray provence says:

    I have just found your post and really enjoy it. I was fascinated to hear that Black Kettle was born in California. I would like to find out more about that. Also, I don’t want to nit pick, but I have lived all my life inthe NorthWest, and thought Sacajawea was a Shoshone and the Shoshones were a major help getting the party through the Rockies. The Nez Perze of course were also a great help. What a history and what a country. I love what you are doing with this quick history. It is so eye opening for me about a subject I love. Keep doing it. I am crazy over this internet. What a fantastic source of information. I have lived to see nearly all my favorite older entertainers and musicians. I have had a lifetime love of Flamenco music and now have witnessed videos of things and artists I never used to be able to get other than by rare LPs. Same for everything especally science. I am so glad I lived long enough to enjoy this.
    Ray Provence

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