1860s - 1920s
With the coming of the transcontinental railroad and with settlers and ranchers moving into the greater Cheyenne area, it was quickly apparent that 180 acre land grants were insufficient to sustain a livelihood. Shrewd businessmen, many foreign born from Europe or those trying to escape the ravages of the post Civil War East, came west seeking their fortune either as ranchers or freighters and merchants. A few of Cheyenne's more prominent citizens left a mark that sticks with the community still.
early pioneer and cattle baron, was one of the first to ship cattle out of Wyoming. Locally known more simply as Hi Kelly, he was one of the great and colorful pioneer builders of the West and most specifically Wyoming. In 1854 he was a mule skinner on the Santa Fe Trail; 1855 to 1857 mail contractor along the trail but moved north in 1858 due to problems with the Cheyenne Indians on his last trip east the year before; 1859 to 1862 worked for Ben Holladay and the Overland Freight Company building the Virginia Dale, Colorado, stage station; 1864 at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, married Elizabeth Reshaw 15-year old daughter of French trapper John Reshaw and a full-blooded Sioux and who has just returned from a St. Louis finishing school. Hie built a mansion for his family on the River Chug which would become the nicest stop
on the Cheyenne to Deadwood stage (1876 - 1886). Buying, selling and trading cattle was his main occupation until 1884 when he sold most of his land to the Swan Land and Cattle Company. Moving ti Cheyenne he built a mansion on "Millionaire's Row" across Carey Avenue from where the State Capitol Building would be located.
Francis Emory (E.) Warren:
Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, astute Cheyenne businessman, cattle rancher and stock grower, Wyoming Territorial Governor, briefly the First Wyoming State Governor, and the longtime U.S. Senator from the State of Wyoming; came to Cheyenne in 1868. Although he owned in partnership with an old friend, a mercantile business in downtown Cheyenne; it is his Warren Livestock Company that people remember today. In 1956 when is heirs sold the business it contained in excess of 350,000 acres around Cheyenne and in Colorado. His Cheyenne home remains to this day and is called the Nagel-Warren Mansion B&B. Located at 216 E. 17th Street it is at the West end of "Cattle Barons Row."
Warren's influence on Cheyenne is visible today in buildings he either financed or had built within the downtown area: Atlas Theater, Phoenix Block (Wrangler, 1st National Bank Building and the Commercial Block. His own building, the Warren Block, burned down in 2004. One small part of his Warren Livestock Company, the Belvoir Ranch,
is now owned and operated by the City of Cheyenne.
Joseph M. Carey: lawyer, rancher, influential businessman, Judge and politician, spent most of his political career in Wyoming both before and after it achieved statehood. In 1868 he came west and by 1869 was appointed the first U.S. Attorney for the Territory of Wyoming followed by Associated Justice of the Supreme Court for the Territory (1871 to 1876). From 1881 to 1885 he was Mayor of Cheyenne; 1885 to 1890 representative from the Territory in the U.S. House of Representatives; 1890 to 1895 first U.S. Senator from the State of Wyoming along with Warren; and in 1911 he became Governor of the State of Wyoming.
Carey was also a major businessman, banker, and partner in the Wyoming Development Association, a massive irrigation system for Platte County and the Wheatland, Wyoming area.
Andrew Gilchrest, born in Scotland to highland stock growers, immigrated to the U.S. in 1865 after hearing a lecture by Horace Greeley, and in 1869 joined Nathan Meeker's Union Colony of Colorado. After learning irrigation techniques along the South Platte River drainage, in 1875 he moved from the Livermore area to the Pole Creek, Wyoming area so that he could expand his cattle business. By 1877 he moved to the Crow Creek area west of Cheyenne and built his main Ranch house there. By 1884 along with his partners Sir Homer
Plunkett of the Laramie Range area he had accumulated 185,000 acres of land.
His ability to irrigate his land allowed him to feed his cattle during the major blizzard of 1886-87 while most of the other cattle barons who used free grazing lost their entire hers and went broke. Because of his shrewd business practices he became President of the Stock Grower's National Bank of Cheyenne along with partners Carey and the Sturgis brothers (Thomas and William). Gilchrist (sic) also served on the Territorial Legislative Committee and the in 1890 on the State Legislature. He helped select the location for the State Capitol building just up the street from his home.