J. M. Enochs, 81, widely known rancher and a resident of Sheridan and Johnson Counties for 51 years, died at 5:20 a.m. today at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Emmerson Hanson, at 430 West Loucks street.
Mr. Enochs’ death was preceded by a short illness and came as the result of a stroke suffered last Friday, relatives said. His passing brought to a close a full half-century of residence in this region during which time he was a stock inspector, sheriff, member of seventeenth legislature and a well-known cattle operator.
Born in Texas
Mr. Enochs was born December 10, 1854, at Austin, Texas. He was one of 10 children of Jason and Harriet Enoch. His boyhood was spent in Texas but in his early twenties, like many others, he found employment with men engaged in moving cattle across the plains. With W. S. Caruthers he came northward as far as Buffalo, Kansas in 1878. The next year he visited Cheyenne, Wyo. with a second herd in charge of Thomas Eugert.
After spending a few months on the Platte river near Fort Laramie and Fort Fetterman he returned to Texas by rail. His third and last cattle trailing trip he made in 1880 in charge of the famous John P. Blocker herd, which he delivered at Cheyenne. Thereupon; he started back to the Platte in search of another heard. Near old Fort Laramie he came upon a herd of cattle owned by Mat Murphy, whose employ he entered. Open range branding, with the Flying E Bar brand, of all these cattle was one of the experiences Mr. Enochs remembered throughout his life.
In 1885 when Sheridan County still was a part of Johnson County Mr. Enochs was stock inspector and Deputy Sheriff. During that year he was sent to the White Clay Indian Agency in South Dakota to look for stolen property thought to be in the hands of the Sioux Indians. Shortly after his arrival there Mr. Enochs was talking to the Agent, one McGillieuddy, when a band of about 50 Indians under the leadership of Red Cloud, chief of all the Sioux and notorious for his leadership in bloody battles against the whites, rode up outside.
McGillieuddy had for some time been experiencing difficulty with Red Cloud, who had refused to report at the agency. A squad of Indian police finally was dispatched to bring him in dead or alive. The wily chief, on learning of this, agreed to come in but asserted he could not report at once because a bad heart prevented him from hurrying. His present visit with his warriors was his answer to the Agent’s action.
Helped Jail Red Cloud
Mr. Enochs saw McGillieuddy arm himself with a rifle to face Red Cloud and heard an interpreter announce Red Cloud’s ominous assertion that within 30 minutes he could destroy every white man, woman and child on the agency. The Agent replied that the Chieftain himself would be the first to fall at the first sign of such a move and finally succeeded in having Red Cloud put in the agency jail where, as Enochs later termed it, he was given “plenty of time to doctor his bad heart.”
Upon the organization of Sheridan County in 1888, Mr. Enochs was elected sheriff and served in that office until 1890. His election as a state representative was accomplished by a large majority and with no campaigning on his part, the cattlemen naming him as a man who would serve their interests.
His last venture in range cattle was in partnership with a Captain Cross. Their Texas stock bearing the E Cross brand was run on the Crow reservation. The herd was disposed of complete in 1894, whereupon Mr. Enochs settled down to domestic farming and ranching on what now is known as the Diamond C ranch on Lower Prairie Dog, at which he continued until his death.
Married In 1890
Mr. Enochs was married to Louisa Jane Buckley on October, 4, 1890. To this union three children. James H. Enochs, Mrs. Minnie B. Hanson, and Louise Jane Enochs, were born. Mrs. Enochs died in November of 1896. Six years later Mr. Enochs was married to a former Texas sweetheart, Mrs. Lorraine Cook of Austin, Texas. She preceded him in death on February 9, 1930.
Survivors are his children, James Enochs, rancher of Arvada; Mrs. Hanson, Sheridan, and Louise Jane Enochs, instructor at the State Teachers’ college, Kearney, Nebr; three grandchildren, Mary Louise Hanson, Murel Jean Enochs, and James J. Enochs; a brother, Cire-o B. Enochs of Eldorado, Texas; two sisters, Mrs. Mary Tungate and Mrs. Steve D. Heffington, Austin, a nephew; and Crissie Enochs, a niece, of Eldorado.
Funeral arrangements are in charge of the Reed Mortuary. Services will be held Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock at Episcopal church with the Rev. Donald Smith officiating.
*Sheridan Press. February 13, 1936, page 1 column 5; page 2 column 2*
The first sheriff of Sheridan County, James M. Enochs, began his life in Wyoming as a stock inspector and deputy sheriff in 1885 when Sheridan and Johnson counties were one.
When the new county of Sheridan was formed, he was appointed sheriff and served until the first elections were held when Tom Keese was elected to the office. The first elected terms were only for a short time, and Enochs was elected sheriff for the 1889-90 term.
The salary those years was $750 annually.
In 1889, before the infant Sheridan County had a courthouse, Sheriff Enochs asked the board of county commissioners for a better office “for the reason that the office furnished by the county was too small in which to transact the business of the sheriff.”