The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Scholars and soldiers

Scholars and soldiers

February 2018

A pioneer University of Wyoming musician-scholar and the soldiers who saw battle on foreign soil top our offerings for February. It’s Black History Month, and we also highlight some of the previous articles we’ve featured about African-Americans and their impact on Wyoming history.

 We continue our new book segment in our newsletters. This month we feature a new biography of longtime Laramie politician, lawyer, minerals investor and university founder Stephen Downey. If you know of new books about Wyoming’s history, we’d love to hear from you! Please email us at editor@wyohistory.org

First female African-American student at UW

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 won music diplomas from Howard University and the Juilliard School and, later, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University. Read more in historian Kim Viner’s article “Carrie Burton Overton, First African-American Female Student at UW” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/carrie-burton-overton-first-african-american-female-student-uw.

Wyoming soldiers in the Philippines

Wyoming sent four infantry companies and an artillery battery to the Philippines in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. The troops saw minor skirmishes against Filipino insurgents after the Spanish were defeated. All told, three Wyoming troops were killed, 12 died of disease and 75 more were discharged due to wounds or illness. Learn more in Wyoming State Historical Society President Doug Cubbison’s article “Wyoming Troops in the Philippines, 1898” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/wyoming-troops-philippines-1898.

Previous articles about African-Americans

Timely Books 

West to Wyoming: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Stephen Wheeler Downey, written and published by Kim Viner, 2017, 251 pages. $14.00 paperback. This lively biography of longtime Wyoming resident Stephen Downey covers his service as a young man in the Union Army during the Civil War through his life in Laramie, Wyo., from his arrival there1869 to his death in 1902. The story details Downey’s role in politics, civic activities, law practice and other business ventures—especially mineral exploration—and his crucial work in founding the University of Wyoming.

The book is available at the Laramie Plains Museum, (307) 742-4448; lpmdirector@laramiemuseum.org, and may also be ordered online at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/kdvineratmsndotcom. All proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to the Laramie Plains Museum.