Susan Wissler, elected mayor of Dayton, Wyo., in 1912, was Wyoming’s first woman mayor and possibly the second in the nation. Promising to act “without fear or favor,” she served three terms, with some success cleaning up local saloon and gambling elements, all while running her own millinery and dry-goods business.
Four years after finishing his second term as governor of Wyoming, Mike Sullivan was named U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Sullivan arrived in Dublin in 1999, when the ink was barely dry on the Good Friday Agreement, bringing peace in Northern Ireland after three decades of disastrous bombings, murders and political stalemate.
The onset of Prohibition in 1919 not only didn’t stop drinking in Wyoming, it added new layers of lawlessness—bribery, corruption, murder. Enforcement officials had to battle crime in their own ranks, too. One high-profile federal case charged corruption at all levels in Casper, but the jury refused to convict.
Mathew Campfield, African-American Union Army veteran, worked as a barber and was elected coroner of Natrona County, Wyo., in the early 1890s. Decades earlier, he froze both feet when he lived in Kansas and ever afterward walked on wooden ones. His Army pension records reveal a great deal about his life.
John Campbell took office as the first governor of Wyoming Territory in 1869. A Republican appointed by President U.S. Grant, Campbell found the job plagued by partisan conflict with Democrats, an overbearing Union Pacific Railroad and by factionalism within his own party—but he left sturdy political structures behind him.
After the Civil War, about one-fifth of the regular U.S. cavalry troops in the West were black. These buffalo soldiers were sent to keep order on a disorderly frontier—a difficult job with blurry ethical boundaries. Despite meager food, castoff equipment and chronic racial prejudice, they performed well.