William “Red” Angus – Fighting in the Johnson County War

William "Red" Angus

William “Red” Angus

Johnson County, Wyoming Sheriff William “Red” Angus was involved in the Johnson County War between the owners of large and small ranches in the area.

Angus was born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1849 and grew up to serve as a military teamster in Kansas and briefly joined the Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. He was with General Custer when he assaulted Black Kettle’s village at the Battle of the Washita in Oklahoma in 1868. Afterward, he continued to drive wagons in Indian Territory. In 1880 he was driving a herd of cattle from Texas to a ranch near Sheridan, Wyoming and upon his arrival, decided to stay.

Some eight years later, he ran a liquor store in Buffalo, Wyoming, and won the Sheriff’s election of Johnson County in 1888. Sitting amid cattle country, Angus sided with the small ranchers in the Johnson County War. When the cattle barons put together a group of 50 men to intimidate the small ranchers, Angus gathered up his own posse and laid siege to the ranch where they were holed up. For three days in April 1892, a hail of bullets flew between the two factions until the Sixth Cavalry from Fort McKinney was brought in to end the affair.

When Angus ran for sheriff again the following year, he lost but stayed in Buffalo, where he worked at the Occidental Hotel and served as a Deputy County Clerk and Johnson County Treasurer before his death in 1922.

The barn at the TA Ranch, where the "regulators" were besieged by the sheriff's posse led by Red Angus.

The barn at the TA Ranch, where the “regulators” were besieged by the sheriff’s posse led by Red Angus.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, November 2022.

Also See:

Adventures in the Old West

Johnson County War, Wyoming

Lawmen of the Old West Main Page

Outlaws Across America

TimeLine of the American West