The Battle of Suggs Wyoming: Homesteaders Vs Buffalo Soldiers
Little is known about the town and less is known about the ‘Suggs Affair’. Just that shots were fired and several Buffalo Soldiers lost their lives.
Suggs, Wyoming was a town that was supposed to move with the construction of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad.
Yet it ended up between the railroad and the town of Arvada Cemetery and did not move. Then, the little town of Suggs disappeared.
What I have for you below is a video and some of the written histories from local newspapers at that time of the 'Suggs Affair.'
Suggs was a town of tents, log buildings with dirt roofs, and a population of maybe 700 people.
Suggs was as nasty a place as the name sounds. If you wanted booze, beer, and prostitutes Suggs had it for you.
The Johnson County War was in full swing. Tensions were high.
June of 1892, Buffalo Soldiers, consisting of 310 officers and enlisted men, led by Charles S. Ilsley, camped near Suggs. Major Ilsley mentioned that the people of Suggs resented the cavalry, believing that they were there at the request of the large cattle owners.
Black regulators, the soldiers, have no particular business in Suggs. The camp of the six troops of colored cavalry is located three miles above Suggs, in a heavy growth of cottonwood. Here they have the canteen located a half mile away where beer and trimmings are sold on sight. The guard house is located on a high bluff and is a tent with the sides rolled up. There are a number of the survivors of the Suggs war still confined in the guard house. The track of bullets is’ seen in window-glass, tents and logs that flew promiscuously through the air of Suggs that fatal night.
The soldiers, set up what was called “Camp Bettens” and were told to keep to themselves due to resentment from the townspeople. But some outlaws decided to harass the Buffalo Soldiers.
Fort McKinney, Buffalo. Although the troops in Suggs came from Nebraska, many Buffalo Soliders were later stationed at this Fort Johnson County Library.
Phil DuFran, a US Marshall who was acting as a guide for the soldiers, was known and hated by the outlaws due to his involvement in the Johnson County War. In a shoot-out on June 17, between the outlaws and some twenty soldiers one man was killed, and another wounded but no towns people were killed in the fracas. (Wyohistory.org.)
Giillette Wyo .Everything is quiet at Suggs tonight. Thus far two deaths have occurred from the recent affair. About 500 armed men |have assembled in the town. The headquarters of the 9th cavalry have been transferred from Fort Robinson to Camp Betten. More trouble Is anticipated. Phil. DuFran has been missing for three days.(Newcastle News-Journal June 24, 1892)
The following is an extract from a letter from G. T. Seabury to a Sundance friend, in regard to the recent trouble at Suggs, between the soldiers and citizens of that town:
There is going to be a terrible row at Powder river. They shot seventeen bullets through Barber’s hotel the other night when the (black soldiers) were killed. They did not seem to care where they shot. As it was no one in the hotel happened to be hit, but they were in big luck. There will be here to-day or to-morrow six companies more of cavalry from the east. There is sure to be war here before this thing is ended. (Sheridan Media).
The three Buffalo Soldiers that lost their lives were buried near the river. But all-overs change their path over time, so by now, the graves have been long washed away, as has this story that most people have never heard of.