Hat Creek Dateline: 1880/11/03

Last updated: July 22, 2019

The Lusk Herald
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New justices, constables are elected
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer


J. R. Keyes was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace for the Hat Creek precinct in a very close race in yesterday's general election. Keyes, with 25 votes, narrowly defeated A.F. Morford who received 24 votes.

Keyes replaces John H. (Jack) Bowman, former owner and operator of the Hat Creek Stage Station. Bowman had been elected to the post in the 1878 election. After selling the station in September, 1879, Bowman moved to Gunnison County, Colo.

Two other Justices of the Peace were elected for the first time in precincts north of the North Platte River in Laramie County, They were C.E. Atkins at Rawhide Buttes, and Robert Graham at Jenney's Stockade (near Newcastle).

L.J. Brown was elected as the constable of Hat Creek with 32 votes, he defeated P. Walpool who received 23 votes. He replaces Charles Snyder, who had served since being elected in 1878.

Jenney's Stockade and Rawhide Buttes also elected constables for the first time in this election. John Barkley is the new constable at Jenney's Stockade and Edward Mayes, who has a blacksmith shop near Rawhide Buttes, is their new constable.

The duties of the Justices of the Peace and constables were defined in legislation that created Wyoming Territory. The justices of the peace have jurisdiction throughout the county but they must keep their office in the precinct where they are elected.

Their jurisdiction is limited to cases not exceeding $100 and they can try criminal cases less than a felony in which the fine or punishment does not exceed $100 or six months in the county jail. Their salary is $50 per month in precincts with less than 3,000 population. The constable is the ministerial officer of the justices' court and it is his duty to apprehend all felons and violators of the Territorial criminal code.

Charles Hecht, current owner of the Hat Creek Station, has been on the county board of commissioners since the last election. He did not seek reelection. J.H. McMinn, N. Robertson, and N.N. Craig have been elected as our county commissioners.

The Hat Creek, Jenney's Stockade and Rawhide Buttes precincts went along with the rest of the Territory favoring M.E. Post as our delegate to the U.S. Congress. He defeated A.H. Swan in a close race, 3,907 votes to 3,760.
Both candidates are from Laramie County.

Thomas Sturgis, who has an interest in several ranches north of there, was elected as a member of the Territorial Council (later changed to the Senate).

Laramie County will be represented in the House by J.D. Fraser, W.C. Lane, C.W. Riner, H. Oelichs, I.S. Bartlett, H.E. Beuchener, A. Gilchrist, and W.J. Hardin. the House and Council members just elected will represent us in the seventh Territorial Legislative Assembly when it next convenes in Cheyenne in January, 1882.

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