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Col. George M. Sliney


A native of Ireland where he was born on August 29, 1852 and where his ancestors lived for many generations being now a prominent ranch man, banker, merchant and politician in Wyoming with a long record of usefulness to his credit as a soldier as an administrate of law and conservator of order and as a public official of steadfast fidelity to duty, George M. Sliney is far from the scenes of his childhood and illustrated forcibly in his career how wonderful are the possibilities of American manhood and how extensive are the opportunities for advancement in this western country and also how serviceable to every proper interest in a new community are force of charter breadth of perception common sense and determined resolution. His parents were Michael and Johanna (Mulcahy) Sliney, and they lived flourished died and were buried in the land of their fathers, unhappy Ireland. In 1868 when he was but sixteen years of age he braved the dangers of the stormy Atlantic to reach the country of his hopes and landing at Boston with but little armor for the battle of life except his own indomitable spirit and unflagging energy he went to work in a factory where he was employed for a period of two years. At the end of that service in 1870 he enlisted in the old Fifth Cavalry of the regular U. S. Army and with his command saw service in Nebraska, Kansas and Arizona at various times until after the Custer Massacre. His regiment was then sent with General Merritt’s troops to reinforce General Crook and on September 9 and 10, 1876 the Indians suffered a severe defeat at the hands of this force the first repulse they had after their terrible triumph over then stationed at Fort Laramie and Fort Russell in turn and during this time Mr. Sliney aided in driving the last hostile savages out of Laramie county under the lead of Lieutenant Cherry. In 1883 he resigned from the Army and soon taking up land on Owl Creek in Fremont County he began raising stock and farming. So firm however was the fiber of his manhood so clear were his perceptions of right and so devoted was he to the supremacy of law and order that his fellow citizens turned to him with one voice as the proper person to fill the office of Justice of the peace and they kept him in this then most important place as long as he would serve then in this capacity. The forms of law were crude and not clearly established in the territory; many cases arose from time to time, for which there were no specific statutory provisions. But, with the courage and the legal acumen of a Caesar he applied his wisdom of common sense to the situation and both made the law for such cases and also administered it. And, while he had previously had no direct legal training so positively fair and unbiased were his decisions and so manifestly in the promotion of the best interests of the community was his office administered that all classes bowed obediently to his court and scarcely ever was an appeal taken from his judgements. At this time his nearest neighbor was ten miles distant and the country was infested by hostile Indians as well as by lawless renegades from civilization. The difficulties before him were numerous and oftentimes almost insurmountable; dangers of every character, incident to such a country and state of society were ever at hand; hardships and privations were the common lot of all who lived on the frontier but with undaunted courage he met every requirement and triumphed over every obstacle both for himself and for his section of the territory. By industry and thrift he acquired a landed estate of several thousand acres on which he conducted and extensive and profitable business in the raising of fine Hereford cattle and superior grades of horses his ranch being renowned throughout his part of the country for the excellence of its products as well as for the generous and considerate hospitality there dispensed. He sold this ranch in 1903 that he might give his attention wholly to other business operations and is now apparently permanently established in his beautiful home in Thermopiles which he first occupied a few years ago for the purpose of securing proper educational advantages for his children. In this town he is actively engaged in association with his son-in-law, S. S. Rankin in the lumber business the firm-name being Rankin & Sliney and he is also the vice-president of the First National Bank of Thermopolis which institution he helped to organize and in which he is one of the heaviest stockholders. He saw the need of this institution and with the energy and public spirit that have always brought him to the front in behalf of any enterprise for the benefit of the community he put the forces into motion that brought its establishment and from the very start he has been one of the potential elements in its progress and government. On May 27, 1901 he was commissioned as postmaster of Thermopolis and he is still filling the office to the satisfaction of its patrons and in a manner highly creditable to himself. But wide and various as are the business interests he is now in charge they are not sufficient to engage all of his time or to fully satisfy the activities of his vigorous and fertile mind. He is therefore looking for other engagements and to this end he has been conducting investigations at Cody with a view to opening a business enterprise in that growing and promising town. In his military career Colonel Sliney was intimately associated with Colonel Cody and he has an abiding faith in the business judgement of that renowned person as he has always had in his courage and skill as a soldier and as a director and manager of large affairs. For his own bravery and soldierly qualities Colonel Sliney was promoted to the quartermaster in the service and held the position to the end of his military term. He is now a member of the governor’s staff inspector general ranking as a colonel of the Wyoming National Guard. This commission came as a surprise to the colonel from Governor Chatterton. It is the duty of the inspector general to inspect annually each military organization of the state being also one of the military board who assist the Governor by their advice and counsel ion military matters. The gallant Colonel has been eminently successful in whatever he has undertaken and is universally held in the highest respect and esteem. In fraternal relations Mr. Sliney is an ardent and active member of the order of Odd Fellows and in both the subordinate lodge to which he belongs and in the grand lodge of the order he has held high official positions. He also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America taking a great and serviceable interest in its affairs also. At Dodge City, Kansas on June 6m 1876 he was married to Miss Marie Brady a native of England. They have five children, Nellie wife of S. S. Rankin; Mae assistant postmaster of Thermopolis; Carrie wife of C. c. Ellis; George W. the first white child born on Owl Creek; Margaret whose presence now adds light and life to his home. Colonel Sliney is one of the most esteemed pioneers of northern Wyoming his life having been signally serviceable to this part of the state in every one of its lines of activity.

  • Found 1880 Census living Fort Laramie, Laramie County, Wyoming.

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