Incompetence and Politicians –Governor Moonlight


Colonel Thomas Moonlight was likely the worst commander in the history of Fort Laramie and may well have been responsible for the escalation of the Indian wars in Wyoming and the west.

Black Foot and Two Face (Oglala Chiefs) brought in a white woman, Lucinda Eubanks, who Big Foot had purchased from the Cheyenne who’d kidnapped her on the Little Blue River* in southeast Nebraska, several months earlier. She was in bad shape after being badly abused (by her captors before Big Foot and Two Face) and Moonlight who seemed to make decisions based on emotion and bad judgment  ordered the Sioux Chiefs hanged with trace chains by the neck. The two died a slow agonizing death and were left hanging, as an example, for months. The Sioux retaliated in kind.

And just what terrible punishment did Moonlight face for this torture and killing without due process or a trial of any kind?  He bounced around in the army for a few more years then went into politics in Kansas and was later appointed Governor of Wyoming Territory by President Cleveland (January 5, 1887). Governor Moonlight took the oath of office January 24, 1887 served until April 9, 1889, staying in government service as U.S. Minister to Bolivia for President Cleveland from 1893 to 1897.
*I grew up on the Little Blue River in southeast Nebraska but never heard this story untill I moved to Wyoming-not too far from Fort Laramie. Most of our knowledge of local history was centered around Wild Bill and the Rock Creek Station shoot-out.




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