When the United States Congress officially established the Wyoming Territory in 1868, most locals had no idea what it was named for.

Based on the native American term "mecheweamiing", meaning "at the big plains", Wyoming was originally named for a valley in northeastern Pennsylvania, which later became the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Wyoming.

The Wyoming Massacre, as it is sometimes referred to as, took place on July 3, 1778.

Two years into our war for independance, American forces had finally lured France to join their cause after defeating British forces in the Battle of Saratoga.

Unfortunately for the Colonial army, the Battle of Wyoming would become one of the most lopsided defeats in American history.

Aided by nearly 500 Iroquois, Seneca and Mohawk warriors, British forces laid seige to the outnumbered Continental soldiers and militiamen.

By the end of the day, nearly 340 of the 360 patriots had been killed, many of whom were scalped by the conquering tribes. The British suffered only 3 casualties during the battle.

In 1809, the massacre was immortalized byThomas Campbell in the poem "Gertrude of Wyoming".

The poem became so popular, it eventually inspired the name for towns named Wyoming in Iowa, Illiniois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin along with Wyoming County, West Virginia, Wyoming District, New Jersey and Wyoming County, New York.

The poem is also the namesake of Wyoming, Australia, in the province of New South Wales.