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A Look Back in Time: Near misses

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Singed shepherd -- "Narrow Escape from Forest Fire.

"Perry Morris ... has moved his sheep down from Casper mountain, where they had such a narrow escape from being caught in the forest fire a couple of weeks ago. ... He moved [the sheep] out of the path of the fire and then went up to see if he could not put out the blaze, and while he was trying to whip it out a sheet of flames leaped toward him and he turned and ran. ... The fire caught up with him and scorched his hair, which, he said was standing straight up, caused from either fright or wind. The fire was so hot and the smoke so dense that he became almost suffocated, but he kept going as fast as he could and finally got out of the path of the roaring flames just in time to escape burning to death. Mr. Morris says that he never before realized what a forest fire really was, but he became so thoroughly familiar with that one that he does not care to get mixed with another."

Good-luck girdle -- "Miss Nellie Phipps of Thermopolis probably owes her life to the fact that when a stray bullet from an unknown source struck her, it came in contact with her corset stay."

Strikingly stupid -- "George Webber of Buffalo laid an old Mauser rifle shell on a rock and pounded it to see if it would go off. It would. George is in the state hospital at Sheridan."


Toxic treats -- "A dog poisoner, ... who has been responsible for the demise of five pets within the past two weeks, has the police both incensed and worried.

"'The person wantonly poisoning these pets, for apparently no reason but a desire to kill, is deserving of no leniency,' they said this morning at police headquarters.

"Furthermore, ... the fact that the poisoner evidently is using poisoned candy to destroy the pets is a source of anxiety.

"'With the poisoner scattering poisoned candy around as bait for dogs, what is to prevent some child from picking up a piece?' they demanded. ...

"The latest dog to have devoured poisoned candy, dying the violent death caused by poison, was the pet of Charles Sheehan, 922 South David street. ... The other poisonings have occurred in the same neighborhood."

Hot in the hospital -- "Nurses and attendants at the Sheridan county Memorial hospital ran for cover and patients ducked under covers as a stark naked man roamed through the corridors one day last week. Taken in tow by the authorities, he was found to be Lyman Wright, visitor from the east, who becoming oppressed with the heat, had 'hoisted a few' and helped himself to a free bath as well as an unencumbered jaunt through the haven of the sick."


Concrete case -- "James V. Alexander, convicted slayer of his young wife, Barbara, lost another bid for freedom from the state penitentiary today.

"U. S. District Judge Ewing T. Kerr upheld the state attorney general's motion to dismiss a petition for a writ of habeas corpus sought by Alexander. ...

"Alexander is serving a 45 to 65 year sentence in the penitentiary at Rawlins. He was convicted in 1956 after the longest criminal trial in Wyoming history -- 30 days. He was charged with murdering his young wife, Barbara, whose body was chipped from a concrete tomb in the basement of the Alexander home in Casper in December of 1955. She had been missing since July 18, 1953. ...

"Both Alexander and his first wife, Rose, were charged with first degree murder. After Alexander's conviction of second degree murder, the charge against Rose was dropped.

"Alexander and Rose were remarried while both were free on bond after their arrest.

"During the trial, Rose testified that Barbara died in an accidental fall from a catwalk and that she had buried the body in the basement, placing a crude wooden cross on her chest 'for religious significance.' Alexander later laid a concrete floor in the basement."


Deliberate discrimination -- "Wyoming's librarians -- the overwhelming majority of whom are women -- have a large personal stake in the comparable worth issue, Rep. Barbara Dobos told the state library association. ...

"'You are a model of occupational segregation,' the Natrona County Democrat said. ...

"About 90 percent of librarians are women, Dobos said.

"A woman library director in Wyoming earns an average annual wage of $24,208, while her male counterpart earns an average of $35,671. ...

"Comparable worth states certain jobs generally held by women, such as nursing, can be compared to different jobs traditionally held by men, such as truckdriving. Comparable jobs should pay comparable salaries, supporters say.

"Dobos ... co-sponsored a bill to study the comparable worth of state jobs. ...

"Dobos criticized arguments against instituting comparable worth pay scales. Comparable worth would not destroy the free marketplace, as opponents claim. ...

"She also characterized women who oppose comparable worth -- such as Phyllis Schlafly and the few women legislators who voted against the study -- as 'our worst friends.'

"Dobos said occupational segregation and low pay for women translates into social problems that the Legislature must deal with in terms of money for welfare, troubled youth and other problems.

"She also pointed out the preponderance of men in the Wyoming Legislature. According to Dobos, one male lawmaker who opposed the study said, 'If we have this study, then we'll have to do something about it.'"

"A Look Back in Time" is made possible with the help of Western History Archivist Teri Hedgpeth at the Casper College Western History Center, which is open to the public. Quotation marks surround stories as they appeared in the Casper newspapers 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago, with their original grammar, punctuation and spelling, unless otherwise noted. You can contact Corryne at


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