In 1904, a Laramie mob hanged African-American Joe Martin from a light pole near the courthouse, drawing a crowd of 1,000 people or more. Despite having called several witnesses, a grand jury brought no indictments. And lynchings of Black men became more and more frequent in Wyoming in the coming two decades.
When present Wyoming was still part of Dakota Territory, hunters already were killing elk, deer and antelope by the thousands, often to sell the meat and hides. Tentatively at first and then more strongly, Wyoming territorial and state legislatures began passing game laws—and providing for their enforcement.
In 1870, three months after the Wyoming Territorial Legislature gave women the rights to vote and hold office, six women were called to serve on a grand jury—the first time in history. Lawyers objected, but Justices Howe and Kingman, strong supporters of women’s rights, stood firm and the women served.
Laramie, Wyo., was founded in 1868 with the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad and won early fame as the place where women first voted and served on juries. It’snow known for its nationally ranked university and proximity to the Medicine Bow Mountains.
Carrie Burton Overton, the first female African-American student at the University of Wyoming, triumphed over poverty and race prejudice in the course of her long life. After training as a stenographer at UW, she earned music diplomas from Howard University and the Juilliard School and, later, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University.
Laramie lawyer M.C. Brown tried thousands of cases during his legal career. President William McKinley’s appointment of Brown to a federal judgeship in Alaska in 1900, however, proved disastrous for the attorney, who returned to Wyoming where he continued to practice law, but on a much smaller scale.
Edward Ivinson made a fortune in banking in Laramie, Wyo. in the 19th century. Late in life, he turned to philanthropy, making large contributions to benefit his town and community. His generosity funded a hospital, a cathedral, a home for aging ladies and an orphanage, all in Laramie.