The Johnson County Historical Society is a chapter of the Wyoming State Historical Society. First chartered in 1954, JCHS has enjoyed a long history of programming and projects. After a brief hiatus, JCHS was rechartered in September, 2013.
Current officers include: Darton Damone, Nancy Tabb, Linda Wilson, and Shane Wilson.
Programs are held September through May of each year with the exception of the month of December. JCHS works cooperatively with the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, the Johnson County Library, and the Hoofprints of the Past Museum.
Purchasing a membership to JCHS helps fund programs and projects and includes membership to the Wyoming State Historical Society. You will receive the state society’s monthly newsletter and a subscription to the quarterly magazine, Annals of Wyoming. For questions: contact Nancy Tabb at the Johnson County Library: 307-684-5546.
To learn more about the state society, visit their website by clicking here.
The Wyoming State Historical Society began in 1953, and is made up of members across Wyoming, as well as from outside the borders of Wyoming and the United States, the Society is open to any individual interested in history of Wyoming and the West.
The mission of the Wyoming State Historical Society:
The Wyoming State Historical Society, a non-profit membership-driven organization, encourages the study of Wyoming history. We believe to study the past is to understand the present and prepare for the future.
- In 1960 the state society put together a gavel to be used at meetings, made up of wood pieces from every county in Wyoming (23 in total).
- “The gavel is constructed of 24 pieces of wood, 23 of which form the head. The 5 pieces in the center section represent Uinta, Sweetwater, Carbon, Albany and Laramie Counties, the first 5 Territorial Counties. Eight Counties were organized from Laramie, Albany and Carbon Counties. These are Natrona, Campbell, Converse, Crook, Goshen, Niobrara, Platte and Weston Counties in the order as they appear in a band located between Laramie County and the end piece. Another eight Counties were formed from Uinta, Sweetwater and Carbon Counties. These are Sheridan, Fremont, Park, Johnson, Big Horn, Lincoln, Hot Springs and Washakie in the order as they appear in a band between Uinta County and the end piece. The end pieces are represented by Teton and Sublette Counties, the last two counties of the State to be organized. The handle is made of cottonwood, the State Tree. Woods from the 23 Counties are numbered according to each County’s license plate designation.”
- Johnson County’s contribution to the gavel was Hickory from a wagon bow found on the site of the Wagon Box Fight.
- In September, 1960 a report was provided to Thelma Gatchell Condit, president of the Wyoming State Historical Society. This report included information about the society’s efforts to mark historic sites around the state. In Johnson County, Warren B. Lott reported sites including 17 Mile Stage Station along the Bozeman Trail, the site where civilians Wheatley and Fisher were killed during the Fetterman Fight on December 21, 1866, and the site where George Grumond was killed during the same battle.
- From July 1961: The society conducted a successful fund-raising to have 15,000 historical maps of Johnson County printed to hand out to tourists. The B. & P.W. Club sold advertising and the Society had the maps publicized. Historical Society members Lila C. Stevenson and R. E. Frison drew the map. The map and conducted “Rangeland Tours” are big attractions for tourists to Johnson County this summer.
- In June the Chapter held a potluck picnic at the City Park to which each member brought an old timer as a guest.
- The Chapter met with the Sheridan Chapter on July 2, starting with a pot luck dinner in Big Horn. Following this the members visited the recently dedicated Bradford Brinton Memorial 2 miles from Big Horn.
- In September, 1960 the Johnson County Historical Society hosted the seventh annual meeting of the Wyoming State Historical Society. Registration was held at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum, where 135 registered. The meeting was held at the Masonic Temple and delegate from Albany, Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Goshen, Johnson, Laramie, Natrona, and Sheridan counties were present. After the meeting, attendees assembled at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum for a tour. After that, they went on to tour the Petrified Forest, the TA Ranch, and Lake Desmet. That evening they met at the home of Jack Meldrum for a refreshing tea. Dinner was held at the American Legion Hall with Dr. Harvey Long, toastmaster. Special guests included Reverend Stuart Frazier, Richard and Thelma Condit, Olga Moore Arnold, Dorothy Mondell Davis, Clark Condit, Robert Frison, Verna Keays Keyes, Russel Thorp, and James Moore. Entertainment was provided by the local Basque club with folk dances and music.
- Events the next day included tours of Fort McKinney, Fort Phil Kearny, the Fetterman Battlefield, and the Wagon Box Battlefield.
- At the February, 1961 JCHS meeting: Reverend Stuart D. Frazier gave a talk on the Sioux Indians. Mr. Frazier worked two years on the Rosebud Reservation and fifteen years on the Cheyenne River Reservation. He illustrated his talk with choice Indian artifacts from his collection. (D-2007.005.0155.b)