Camp Devin
Historical Marker at Wyoming-Montana border on State Highway 112

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The Ft. Laramie treaties of 1851 & 1868 set aside the Black Hills for the Sioux, for as long as the grass shall grow and the rivers shall flow. Nevertheless, in 1874 Lt. George Armstrong Custer was sent to investigate rumors of gold in the area giving rise to a flood of goldseekers and camp followers who poured into the hills violating the treaties. Sioux representatives were called to Washington to negotiate, but in November, 1875, before a new agreement could be reached, President Grant used attacks by Sioux on trespassing miners to order the Indians to give up their sacred hills and go to assigned agencies by January of 1876. That spring the military began a campaign to round up all remaining “hostiles” resulting in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the Dull Knife Battle and the eventual forced surrender of all remaining Indian lands, Native Americans who had once roamed the high plains freely were confined to small reservations, often far from their sacred places.

Two years later the military was still at work protecting settlers and miners. June 1, 1878 Lt. Col. Luther P. Bradley and 520 men left Ft. Laramie following the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage route to the Black Hills. Their mission was to construct a telegraph line between Deadwood and Ft. Keogh, thus tieing together Montana, Wyoming, and Dakota Territories. At the conclusion of a 30-day march they established a summer bivouac near here. Camp Devin, named for Col. Thomas Devin of the Third U.S. Cavalry, had a life of only two months. Although the existence of the camp was short, its occupants fulfilled their mission. The completed telegraph line resulted in improved communications between forts and white settlements, opening the way for domestication of northeast Wyoming.

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