WyoHistory.org

The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Nellie Ross

Nellie Tayloe Ross was born November 29,1876 near St. Joseph, Missouri. She was a sickly child and unable to attend school on a regular basis. However, Ross attended when she could and when unable, her parents supplemented her education with private tutors in her home. She completed a two year kindergarten teaching program and taught school in Omaha, Nebraska, until her health failed. A few years later she married William B. Ross and came with him to Cheyenne for his new law practice. They had a good life together that culminated with William's election to Governor. Mrs. Ross was an avid ally of her husband and helped him in all of his political works. When William died in office, the Secretary of State as Acting Governor called for a special election. The Democratic party nominated Mrs. Ross to take over for her husband. Ross declined at first but upon reflection accepted the nomination to complete her husband's work. She also felt she was the best qualified to understand her husband's goals and work to realize them. The second Governor Ross won the election and became the first woman governor in the United States. Governor Ross survived several challenges to her authority, some of which started with her first days in office. She served from January 5, 1925 to January 3, 1927 and was defeated in a bid for reelection. FDR called her to serve as the director of the U.S. Mint. Governor Ross spoke out for women's rights for years after her retirement in 1952. Nellie Tayloe Ross died in Washington, D.C. on November 19, 1977 and was buried in Cheyenne.

Term as Governor: Monday, January 05, 1925 - Saturday, January 01, 1927