Murder and Mayhem at the Rockpile Museum

(Gillette, Wyo.) Back when Campbell County was still a part of Crook County, and homesteaders were still making their way across the West, the law was present around this area, but that didn't mean the lawlessness wasn't rampant. Rocky Courchaine is the director of the Crook County Museum and made an appearance Thursday night at the Rockpile Museum in Gillette. He's been working on a book of murder, compiled from over 80 of the most ruthless committed in the area between the end of the 19th century through the Great Depression. Thirteen of the grisliest crimes were part of his presentation, "Murder and Mayhem in Crook County." They ranged from tales of land feuds gone bad to cattle rustling to straight-up robberies and killings. One such true story is that of homesteader Minnie Hulett, whose family founded the town. While her husband was away one evening in 1896, she took it upon herself to settle things with a neighboring rancher by shooting him through the back of the head. ...Through the window of his own house. "These land feuds were terrible," said Courchaine. "These people would do anything to keep their property." But Minnie and her husband Pete Snyder spent 10 years in the State Penitentiary for their murders. (Pete shot a man during a riot that broke out during Minnie's arrest.) So these crimes were not without their punishments. The more famous characters like the Sundance Kid and Potato Creek Johnny all made appearances in Courchaine's talk, as well as lesser-known crimes, like "The Crimson Enigma of the Black Hills," the robbery and murder of a mill owner in 1933. "Wyoming's Outlaw Trail" is at the Rockpile Museum through January 30th. #county17 #news -- *Brenda Kirk* Community Maven for | 614.940.7121 Twitter | Instagram | Facebook PitchEngine™ | *Connecting Communities* | Twitter | Facebook