John & Jim Gober

Cheyenne’s first newspaper, The Cheyenne Sunbeam, had its beginning at the end of February 1893. However, the first issue to be placed on microfilm was a year later on March 10, 1894. In that issue we find an ad for the Capital Saloon with Jim Colburn and John Gober as proprietors. Nothing more is known at this time of Jim Colburn. John Gober made the run in 1892 as stated by his brother in his memoirs. Early in 1892 these two brothers had a short thirteen week stint in the saloon business in Roswell, New Mexico before leaving town under duress following some gun play in a friend’s saloon.

In 1887 Jim Gober had been elected first sheriff of Potter County, Texas. Despite doing an honorable job he was forced out of office by dishonest parties who were stronger and wealthier than the general populace, which had elected Gober to the office.

It was shortly following the saloon venture in Roswell that John Gober made the run into the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian Territory. He settled four miles upriver from Cheyenne.

The next year, in November 1893, his brother Jim settled on a claim near John’s. Jim had difficulty with his health, finding gainful employment, death of a child and forced to send his wife and remaining two children back to Amarillo to stay with her parents. Thus he soon followed his wife after a brief stay on land near Cheyenne.

Jim later became a cattle detective working for banks and mortgage companies, locating stolen cattle and tracing cattle whose owner had taken them out of the country. On one particular incident, he enlisted a distant relative of the author, Jim Dobbs, to help him track down (all on horseback) a herd of cattle taken from near Arapaho to down east of Lubbock, Texas. They were able to recover the cattle but the thieves escaped from jail at Arapaho and got away.

John Gober evidently joined with Jim Colburn shortly after the run. John remained in the saloon business in Cheyenne until October of 1898. It is about this time that John Gober left Cheyenne for Woodward. He and Colburn operated the Capital Saloon until 1896. At that time Gober teamed up with a man named Johnson and operated the Capital Saloon for a year. Colburn at that time partnered with John Stahl in running the Favorite Saloon.

The Capital Saloon last advertised in the Sunbeam on December 24, 1897 with Gober and Johnson as proprietors. At that time the name was changed to the Blue Saloon with no proprietors listed.

In the June 24, 1898 issue of the Cheyenne Sunbeam, we find an ad for “The Saloon” probably the new name for the Blue Saloon, being operated by Gober and Duke. This partnership was of short duration as “The Saloon” was being run four months later by W.S. Duke as owner. Duke ran “The Saloon”  until June of 1899 when Duke sold out to Strong and Anderson who ran it together for two months and then by Bert Strong alone until the end of the year in 1900. From that time no ads for this saloon are found in the Cheyenne Sunbeam.

This does not mean the saloon did not exist, just that they did not advertise.

At that time there were two other saloon operating in Cheyenne; the before mentioned “Favorite Saloon” now being operated by Stahl and Reed and the “Palace Royal” owned by Paul Hoefle of Canadian and operated by local Cheyenne interests.

John Gober probably moved to Woodward toward the end of 1898. In July 1903, John’s Cheyenne friends were saddened to hear that he had killed a man justifiably in Woodward. It is hoped that this article will give you a glimpse of the lives of some of the men who settled Roger Mills County at the first.

For additional information on the life of Jim Gober, read his book, “Cowboy Justice”.

{Cheyenne Sunbeams Volume 2, No. 3  February 1893 through March 10, 1894}