The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Native geography, a daredevil parachutist and a new page on women’s rights

Native geography, a daredevil parachutist and a new page on women’s rights

August 2019

This month, we learn what happened in October 1941 when parachutist George Hopkins landed on Devils Tower and how generations of Indians followed game trails and natural corridors in their seasonal migrations. And, with the approaching 150th anniversary of the vote by Wyoming’s territorial legislature to enfranchise women we’re adding a large package of information on women’s suffrage and women’s rights.

George Hopkins lands on Devils Tower

In October 1941, the Allies struggled in World War II while daredevil parachutist George Hopkins was stranded on Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming, pulling public attention away from the war. Expert climbers guided Hopkins down after six days. Learn more from Abby Dotterer’s article “A Stuntman’s Jump: Parachutist Stranded for Days on Devils Tower.”

Native travel routes and place names

Wyoming’s trails, roads and highways follow centuries-old Native American hunting and trade routes. For generations, Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Lakota and Crow people gathered plants, visited family and tracked game along watercourses and over mountain passes in the seasonal subsistence patterns of their lives. Read more in Greg Nickerson’s article “Before Wyoming: American Indian Geography and Trails.”

Votes and Rights for Wyoming Women

On Dec. 10, 1869, Wyoming Gov. John Campbell signed into law the territorial legislature’s bill granting women the right to vote. In September of the following year, Louisa Swain of Laramie became the first Wyoming woman to cast a ballot. On July 10, 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union as the first state where women could vote. And in 1892, Wyoming women were the first in the nation to vote for candidates for U.S. president.

Nearly 30 years later, on Jan. 27, 1920, Wyoming ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted all female citizens the right to vote. And on January 26, 1973, Wyoming became the 23rd state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Read more about these events and many, many others all linked from our new page, Women’s Rights in Wyoming.

Calendar Events!

Historical Society Annual Meeting in Pinedale, Sept. 6-8
Join us in Pinedale the weekend after Labor Day for the 66th annual meeting of the Wyoming State Historical Society, hosted by the Museum of the Mountain Man. Events include a dinner, a banquet and the society’s annual awards lunch. There will be plenty of history too, including a walking tour of the town and a bus tour of historic ranches and the remote Buckskin Crossing of the Big Sandy River on the Lander Cutoff of the Oregon/California Trail.

Registration, $80.00 per person for members $90.00 for non-members, includes admission to Museum of the Mountain Man, all tours and activities on Friday and Saturday including meals. Registration is due by Aug. 31; blocks of hotel rooms at conference rates are being held until Aug. 16. Click here for registration info and a full schedule of events. Hope to see you there! 

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center Summer Trail Treks
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper has two more treks along historic trails this summer, in August and September. All are open to the public. All depart from the NHTIC parking lot at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. For more information, contact Jason Vlcan at the Trails Center at (307) 261-7783, Jason_Vlcan@blm.gov.

August 31 – Douglas/McKinstry Ridge area

September 28 - Emigrant Gap Hike/Walk/Family Fun

Timely Books!

A History of the Wyoming Capitol, by Starley Talbott and Linda Graves Fabian. The History Press, 2019, 140 pages. $21.99 paperback. This readable, well-researched book, illustrated with recent and older photographs, traces the history of Wyoming’s Capitol building from its 1886 beginnings through the present. Covering many topics, including early upgrades and more modern renovations and décor, the narrative also includes letters, memoranda and financial records documenting the progress of construction, and giving the reader a flavor of the times and the project. The book is available at bookstores and museums throughout the state and via online sources.