The Wyoming Riot Of 1868
Bear River City, Wyoming is located north of Evanston on highway 89. Population, at last count, 518.
The population was just a bit higher in 1868 with some attractive buildings, as this photo shows.
Mostly it's a quiet town, except for that one riot it had back in 1868. Not much happened before then, or since.
The "Bear River City Riot" of November 19, 1868 began when a murder suspect, who had worked for the rail road, was lynched.
But the man who was lynched had a few friends who claimed he was innocent. That's when the fight broke out.
There was only one marshal in the town. He had to take a stand against both sides. That's hard for for a guy who had just been appointed to the job. But Marshal Thomas James Smith jumped in and did his duty.
There were constant shootouts and almost the entire town was torched from private residences to government buildings. Marshal Smith had far more than he could handle. When it was all finally over, 16 people were dead.
A few town citizens were good enough to jump in and help the marshal. Together they repelled an assault on the town jail. A number of rioters were killed in that exchange.
When all else fails, send in the cavalry. Troops were dispatched from Fort Bridger, and martial law was imposed.
With the town now in ruins, and tempers still high, most people decided to just walk away from Bear River City.
Even Marshal Smith moved on. Though he stayed in law enforcement and eventually become the Marshal of Abilene, Kansas. His brave stand during the riot earned him the nickname, "Bear River" Smith.