Douglas (Wyo.) Police court records 1887-1910
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Police Court Docket from Douglas, Wyo., is divided into two parts, a scantily maintained alphabetical register of defendants and chronological records of each trial, including defendant's name, crime, fees, and a description of the charge. The progression of crime in the Territory of Wyoming's early years is apparent.

From 1887 to 1890, the majority of the cases recorded in the docket involved repeat offenders charged with prostitution and the operation of bawdy houses, intoxication, public disturbance, and the brandishing of pistols in public places. By 1890, prostitution had become so routine, that it was penalized by a mere monthly fee of $4.00, and a court fee of $1.00. Angie La Fontaine operated a particularly successful house of ill repute from 1887 to 1899, where May Arms and Jennie Smith, two of the town's most frequent repeat offenders, worked.

The crimes increased with the population, generally resulting in more drunk and disorderly arrests, and other crimes such as procuring whiskey for minors, selling merchandise without a license, assault, street fighting, and indecent exposure; the fines typically remained at a level between $5.00 and 10.00. Among the most unusual cases recorded is one involving a defendant tried for "willfully and unlawfully lead(ing) a worthless and immoral life in the town of Douglas." On June 8, 1908, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail, unless he left town. He left town. These later entries contain occasional postscripts, listing defendants' inability to pay, desire to work off fine, or flight from the town.

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