Ranchester
Pop. 701 Elev. 3,775


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Named by English born senator, D.H. Hardin, Ranchester was the site of two significant battles during the Plains Indian Wars. In 1865, General Patrick E. Connor, an aggressive, anti-Indian commander at Fort Laramie, was responsible for the slaughter of 63 men, women, and children in an Arapaho village on the Tongue River. Only eight of his troopers died in the fight, and the victors took home 1100 ponies. Two days later, the Arapaho retaliated by attacking a road-building expedition headed by Col. James Sawyer. Three soldiers were killed, and Connor had to return to rescue the rest. Peace movements in the East prevented Connor from killing “all male Indians over the age of twelve,” as he had planned. In 1894, Ranchester became a shipping stop on the Burlington railroad for the McShane Tie Company.

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