On July 7, Laramie County Library had the pleasure of hosting an evening with Mark E. Miller, former Wyoming State Archeologist and author of the new book, Big Nose George: His Troublesome Trail. The book chronicles the events of the Elk Mountain Murders which took place in Carbon County in August of 1878.
The book’s namesake, Big Nose George Parrot, is preserved in Wyoming outlaw infamy not so much because of his death at the hands of an irate citizen mob in Rawlins, but by the lurid details of what happened to his body after his lynching. Miller’s book focuses less on the sensationalism of George’s grim demise and more on what the historic record can tell us about why the Powder River Gang ambushed and murdered two lawmen, Robert Widdowfield and Henry “Tip” Vicncent, and how the crime’s aftermath affected a community.
I planned the event with an estimated attendance of thirty people, but quickly realized I had severely miscalculated community interest in a topic such as the Elk Mountain Murders. Eighty people showed up to hear Mark talk about his book! I was scrambling to accommodate extra seating, but I was not left to toil alone. A few off-duty library staff members and several community members helped me wrangle chairs into place, then pitched in afterwards putting chairs away so we could clear a space for the book signing. The kindness, generosity, and patience exhibited by everyone who came to this event was simply amazing. Thank you, Cheyenne and surrounding Laramie County, for your continual support of your library and your exemplary community spirit. It’s an honor to work for and live in this community.
If you’re interested in brushing up on Wyoming history during Cheyenne Frontier Days, stop by the library to cool off and browse our extensive collection of western history materials. We have two copies of Big Nose George: His Troublesome Trail available for check out as well as many other books on a range of historical figures and events. Of particular interest may be our Special Collections, which houses Wyoming Reference, Genealogy, and Trails collections. Items in Special Collections are reference materials and are therefore not available for check out.
To keep up with library hosted events please visit our online event calendar: https://lclsonline.org/calendar/
There are also monthly event calendars and bookmarks available at all public service desks.