Wyoming January 24, 2019
This Is The Single Craziest Thing You Never Knew Happened In Wyoming
Wyoming has quite a wild past, and there are always fascinating stories of outlaws, rangers, and early frontiersmen to be told. By far, though, the strangest story in Wyoming history involves Wyoming’s first governor, outlaws, doctors, and an angry lynch mob.
The story began in 1878, when Big Nose George Parrott and his gang murdered two officers in Rattlesnake Canyon, near Elk Mountain.
Parrott was a well-known outlaw, but the murder of two officers put a bounty on his head. After a robbery in Montana, he was identified and located by western authorities.
Parrott was eventually captured in Montana and brought down to Rawlins to stand trial.
In Rawlins, he tried to escape the jail and was caught trying to strangle the jailer. When the town found out, they stormed the courthouse, took Parrott from his cell, and hanged him in a public lynching.
The area's most respected doctor, John Eugene Osborne, was in the audience. After seeing Parrott hang to his death, he took possession of the body.
He claimed he would use the body for medical experiments, and nobody really cared enough to question him.
It was only after Osborne made a pair of shoes out of Big Nose George's skin that people began to think twice about the Doctor's intentions.
It didn't really matter much to the people of Wyoming, though, who later elected Dr. Osborne to be Wyoming's first ever democratic Governor. Osborne wore the skin-shoes to his inauguration.
Lillian Heath was Dr. Osborne's medical assistant at the time, and he gifted her the top of Parrott's dismantled skull.
Heath kept the skull, which she used as an ashtray, door stop, and paperweight for some time. Heath later became Wyoming's first ever female doctor.
Today, you can find evidence of this strange Wyoming crime story at the Carbon County Museum, in Rawlins.
The museum has a display complete with the skull and shoes and tells some strange tales from other parts of Dr. Osborne's life prior to becoming governor.
How crazy is the story of Big Nose George Parrott, John Eugene Osborne, and Lillian Heath? It’s truly just one of the craziest stories in Wyoming history, read here for a few more:
11 Insane Things That Happened In Wyoming You Won’t Find in History Books.
Check out the display about Big Nose George at the Carbon County Museum.
Visit their website here for hours and information.