Wyoming students visit site of historic bloody raid
TEN SLEEP, Wyo. (AP) — On the night of April 2, 1909, seven Ten Sleep area ranchers bushwhacked a sheep camp near Spring Creek, south of the town of Ten Sleep, killing three men and an untold number of sheep. It was to be the last altercation in the West’s “sheep versus cattle” wars. The ensuing trial of the raiders rivaled any modern drama, and for years after, stories were told of the “Spring Creek Raid,” books were written on the event, and eventually, a state historic marker was placed at the location of the crime.
This spring, 108 years after the bloody raid, 106 students from Worland Middle School spent a day at the location, among the rolling hills of the Spring Creek country, hunting among the sagebrush for clues to one of Wyoming’s more infamous moments in time.
Led for the sixth year by Worland Middle School history teacher and Washakie County Preservation Society historian Joseph Winkler, the eighth-grade students used handheld GPS units to map the location of each set of “clues” hidden previously by Winkler along the two hills where the raid took place.
“Each clue contains a segment of the raid,” said Winkler. “Some are from before, and about the local area, and some are about the raid itself, the trial, and the death of Bounce Helmer (the last living witness to the raid).”
After locating the pieces of the story, teams of students would then create a timeline, depicting the events leading up to and after the raid. The first team to complete an accurate timeline received a coffee coupon from Winkler, along with a better picture of the events of the time.
While spending all-day on-site, and eating lunch among the brush and rocks, Winkler is thankful for the area ranchers who have allowed access to the area.
“The site is on BLM land,” noted Winkler, “but the ranchers that have grazing rights here have always been very gracious to let us come out and walk around. The kids can’t get a lesson like this in class.”
Information from: Northern Wyoming Daily News, http://www.wyodaily.com