Welcome to one of Wyoming’s
most historic ranches.

The 88 Ranch has been in our family since 1878 and is located along the famous Bozeman Trail in east central Wyoming. It has been said that the 88 Ranch is the oldest ranch north of the Platte River in Wyoming Territory.
The first 88 ranch house, the three room building on the right, was built in 1878.
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Mike Henry and his family

 

    From the 1870’s through the 1880’s the Bozeman Trail was heavily traveled.  At that time the Henry family ran a stage stop, a relay station for the Patrick Brothers Stage Line, kept horses for stage changes and ran a roadhouse to feed and bed weary travelers. 

     The 1880’s were busy years for the Henry’s.  Stages stopped for meals and fresh horses, wagon trains stopped to rest, water and fill out their supplies.  Through the years the stage stop brought many noted visitors to the “88”.  One of the best remembered visitor’s was Owen Wister, author of The Virginian.  Owen spent a week with the Henry’s, and it is said that Mike Henry, known as “Judge” Henry by his friends, was the prototype of the Judge in Wister’s book.  Owen used the experiences he acquired at the ranch for several scenes in the book.

     The Henry’s also had some rather colorful neighbors.  George Pike, a well known gambler and horse thief, lived on nearby Bear Creek.  George however was a good neighbor and visited often with the Henry family.  The most interesting thing about George Pike was his death.  The story goes that George died of a heart attack after winning a large hand in a poker game in a local saloon.

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Underneath this stone in eternal rest
Sleeps the wildest one of the wayward west
He was a gambler and sport and cowboy too
And he led the pace in an outlaw crew
He was sure on the trigger and staid to the end
But he was never known to quit on a friend
In the relations of death all men are alike
But in life there was only one George W. Pike


     Newly elected sheriff Charles Messenger was allegedly a participant in the game.  Since it is impolite to quit when ahead, the remaining players decided that if George could speak for himself he would have stayed to the end.  He would not quit on a friend and the game should continue. George’s body was propped up and a bystander was requested to continue playing George’s hands.  George’s winning streak continued and allegedly he won enough to go off in grand style and pay for a nice tombstone.

     The Henry’s other neighbors were located near the Cheyenne River Crossing.  On the east side of the road was a roadhouse used by the Shoestring Gang, as a headquarters and hideout for their stolen loot. 

   They kept an ever-ready supply of horses, ready for immediate use.  Butch Cassidy and his gang would also show up at the roadhouse when their usual hideout, the “Hole in the Wall”, would quickly need to be abandoned.

     While the Henry’s generous spirit was generally appreciated, sometimes they were taken advantage of.  There was an evening when a weary travel came to the ranch riding a horse and leading a pack horse.  The family invited him to have supper with them and then the visitor spent the night in the barn.  The next morning when the family got up their guest was gone, along with about thirty of their horses.  Mike Henry trailed the horse thief over 160 miles. Eventually the thief panicked and abandoned the stolen horses, and Mike recovered his herd.  The horse thief was also found to have killed “Texas Jack”, and was put in jail for both crimes.