Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Johnson County War: A Highly Important Arrest Warrant, issued by Sheriff William G. "Red" Angus, Charging Cattle Barons with the Murder of Nick Ray. Angus was elected county sheriff in 1888 despite opposition from the cattle barons, who viewed him as sympathetic to the small ranchers.

    In 1892 the cattlemen decided to wipe out the "rustlers" (as small ranchers were called) and employed 25 hired guns from Texas, led by Frank Canton, and Buck Garrett. Known as "the invaders," their first act was to kill ranchers Nate Champion and Nick Ray. Angus organized a posse which grew to an army of 200 men who trapped the invaders in a building of the TR Ranch on April 11, 1892. Shots were exchanged, but the invaders were still in place 2 days later when a force of soldiers from Fort McKinney arrived at the scene, bringing the confrontation to an end. Governor Barber had taken the extraordinary step of wiring President Benjamin Harrison for help, and under the section of the U. S. Constitution allowing the use of U. S. forces for protection from "domestic violence: the 6th Cavalry had been dispatched.

    On June 6th, subsequent to the confrontation, this arrest warrant was issued by the Johnson Count Court for powerful cattle barons William Irvine and John Tisdale, as well as their hired guns K. Pickard and B. C. Schultz for the murder or Reuben "Nick" Ray on April 9th. Ray, partner of Nick Champion, was the first casualty of the Johnson County War. He was on the cattlemen's "kill list" and was shot down in cold blood as he emerged from the ranch house at the KC Ranch. The "invaders" had spent the night at Tisdale's ranch before moving against the KC Ranch.

    In a lengthy inscription Sheriff Angus reports that he arrested all the named individuals and took them before Judge Blake. However, the presumed perpetrators of Ray's assassination were never punished.

    "Red" Angus' autograph is very rare, and this warrant naming key figures in the war must be considered one of the best obtainable document from that historic confrontation.

    As a matter of interest, although Wyoming had been a state for two years, the court was still using the old form, striking the word "Territory" and stamping "State" above. 8.25" x 6.875", and in near-mint condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2015
    25th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,038

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Oct 25, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 9 Americana & Political Signature Auction Featuring the Michael Ward Collection - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search