Through its Business holdings, the AHC documents several areas of economic development and business leadership that have been critical to the history and development of Wyoming and the region, including the livestock and energy industries.
Some of our prominent Business holdings are detailed below. Additional holdings can be located by searching our online inventories (select University of Wyoming as the institution), or by searching our online catalog.
The Stock Association of Laramie County was organized in Cheyenne in 1872 to combat cattle rustlers operating in the area. By 1879, it had been renamed the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and was involved in a broad range of activities, including managing roundups, conducting brand inspections, and dealing with health and sanitary concerns, freight rates, and fencing and other public domain issues. The Association was instrumental in the development of Wyoming livestock and rangeland laws beginning in the 1880s and was closely involved in the Johnson County War of 1892.
In 1883 Alexander H. Swan founded the Wyoming Hereford Association, the predecessor of the Wyoming Hereford Ranch, to establish a pure bred Hereford herd in Wyoming. The ranch was situated in Laramie County, Wyoming, on Crow Creek. Swan went bankrupt in 1887, a disastrous year for ranchers due to bad weather conditions, and the herd was taken over by Henry Altman and Dan McIllvain of Cheyenne, who bought the then 30,000 acre Crow Creek ranch and the herd in 1890. They owned and operated it for twenty-seven years under the name Wyoming Hereford Association.
In April 1968, John K. Turner opened a small taco stand in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Turner added three more restaurants in Cheyenne and aimed to develop a mom-and-pop franchise operation that an average couple with little money could own and make a living on. In 1985, Turner sold the Taco John’s trademark, recipes, and distribution rights to Woodson/Holmes Enterprises, Inc., a predecessor of Taco John’s International. Taco John’s is still headquartered in Cheyenne. It operates and franchises more than 400 restaurants in 27 states.
In 1883 the Swan Land & Cattle Co. was organized and acquired land near the site of Chugwater, Wyoming. The company owned several ranches throughout the southeast corner of the state of Wyoming and leased land from several other ranches in the area for grazing purposes for the cattle and sheep they raised. The office building of the company suffered a fire in 1918 in which most of the business records were lost. In 1926, Swan Land and Cattle Company was liquidated and reorganized into the Swan Company. On November 30, 1950, the Swan Company was liquidated and dissolved.
Moreton Frewen, From Sussex, England, formed the Big Horn Ranche Company in the late 1870s and operated a cattle ranch in what is now northeastern Wyoming. In 1882 the company was dissolved after Frewen reorganized the company as the Powder River Cattle Company, Ltd., with an English board of directors. Frewen served as manager of the company until 1886. The company was dissolved in 1889 due to overstocked pastures and harsh winters. Frewen returned to England and speculated in mining and railroad ventures until his death in 1924.
The Midwest Oil Company, incorporated in Arizona in 1911, played a major role in the development of Wyoming's Salt Creek oil field. In 1951 it merged with the Saltmount Company and Mountain Producers Corporation to form the Midwest Oil Corporation. Materials include minute books, articles of incorporation, balance sheets, financial statements, correspondence, income tax records, oil depletion and reserves reports, legal papers and court documents.
The Kemmerer Coal Company was founded in 1897 by Patrick J. Quealy (1857-1930), Mahlon S. Kemmerer (d. 1926) and his son, John L. Kemmerer with Quealy serving as president. Quealy and the Kemmerers also established the town of Kemmerer in Lincoln County, Wyoming in 1897. The collection contains correspondence and letterpress books, coal mining and labor relations, miscellaneous financial materials, and the development of the town of Kemmerer, Wyoming.
Downing was an attorney, petroleum pioneer, investor and conservationist from Denver. He was a major developer of the Oregon Basin and Salt Creek oil fields in Wyoming. Throughout his career Downing advocated conservation of oil and gas resources, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Interstate Oil Compact Commission. He was a member or director of the National Petroleum Council, American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Association.
The Dude Ranchers' Association was formed in Billings, Montana, in 1926 when the Northern Pacific Railway met with a group of dude ranchers to work together to promote the ranches and tourism. The association studies issues like taxation, insurance, legislation affecting the administration of public lands, and fish and wildlife conservation. It works to preserve the qualities of isolation, remoteness, and unmodified nature in wilderness areas and national forests to sell the dude ranch vacation as the only venue that can simulate the American frontier experience.