Frank Wolcott

Frank Wolcott

Frank Wolcott was born at Canandaigua on 13th December, 1840. During the American Civil War Wolcott served in the 2nd Ohio Infantry and after entering as a private left as a major in 1866.

After the war Wolcott he lived at Covington, Kentucky until March 1870 when he moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming. He worked for the U.S. Land Office until being appointed US marshal for Wyoming. He was removed three years later because of what Governor John M. Thayer called "offensive" behaviour.

In 1876 Wolcott became the owner of the VR Ranch on a tributary of the North Platte in Wyoming. In the late 1880s a conflict arose between the owners of large and small ranches in the area. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association claimed that that some of these smaller operations were involved in stealing cattle from its members. It decided to employ a group of fifty gunmen called the Regulators to exterminate the men carrying out these activities. The small ranch owners responded by establishing the rival Northern Wyoming Farmers and Stock Growers Association.

This conflict became known as the Johnson County War. In 1892 the Wyoming Stock Growers Association drew up a death list of seventy suspected rustlers. They also recruited an extra twenty-two gunmen from Texas. In April 1892, Wolcott led the Regulators into Johnson County. They went to the KC Ranch and shot dead Nick Ray and Nate Champion.

News of these events reached Red Angus, Sheriff of Johnson County. He quickly raised an army of 300 men and went after Wolcott's army. Angus men besieged Wolcott's forces at the TA Ranch until they were rescued by the 6th Cavalry three days later.

Wolcott and his men were held at Fort McKinney but with the support of the powerful Wyoming Stock Growers Association the men were released without charge. Over the next couple of years Walcott continued in his efforts to destroy members of the Northern Wyoming Farmers and Stock Growers Association.

In 1894 Wolcott moved to Nebraska where he became general agent at the Omaha Stockyards.

Frank Wolcott died in Denver on 30th March, 1910.