The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A troubled railroad line, a hardheaded editor and a pioneering woman jury foreman

A troubled railroad line, a hardheaded editor and a pioneering woman jury foreman

October 2016

This month at WyoHistory.org we offer another short chapter in Wyoming’s long boom-bust history, this one about a railroad; an item about a hardheaded editor who built a national reputation on his handling of humor and facts and two pieces—an oral history and an article that considers the broader issues—on Louise Spinner Graf of Green River, jury foreman and public-minded citizen.

A short railroad with a short life

A short line with a short life, the 40-mile-long Wyoming North and South Railroad began quietly during the oil-boom years of the 1920s. It helped the Salt Creek area thrive for a time, but unsound construction, better roads for cars and trucks, bad weather and the Great Depression sealed its demise. Read more in Jim Brown’s piece, The Wyoming North and South Railroad, 1923-1935.

The sagebrush philosopher

Journalist Merris Barrow arrived in Douglas, Wyo., in 1886 to treat readers to a brash newspaper “written to be read”—Bill Barlow’s Budget. It needled the powerful and tickled its readers, all while boosting the town. Barrow’s monthly Sagebrush Philosophy circulated nationwide. He died in 1910, just 53 years old. Read more in Rebecca Hein’s article, The Sagebrush Philosopher: Merris Barrow and Bill Barlow’s Budget.

Those Damn Women!

Wyoming’s government was the first to allow women to vote, and briefly allowed them to serve on juries. With one minor exception, the practice then stopped for 79 years until, in Green River, Wyo., in 1950, Louise Graf led a jury that convicted Otto Long of murder. Afterward, Long’s attorney blamed the outcome on “those damn women.” Women have served successfully on Wyoming juries ever since. Rebecca Hein looks at Graf’s jury service in the context of women’s rights in Wyoming and the nation in “’Those Damn Women:’ Louise Graf and Women on Wyoming Juries.

Travel Wyoming this fall with WyoHistory.org

As you travel Wyoming, take WyoHistory.org with you with our downloadable travel itineraries. Use QR codes in the brochure to quickly access our website on your smart phone or tablet for in-depth articles, maps, directions and photo galleries—all with info on these historic sites and landmarks.  We offer four routes, each with a brochure you can print out and take with you, featuring QR-coded links to articles about each of a dozen or so sites on the routes: Oregon Trail; Historic Southern Corridor; Black Hills to Yellowstone; and Historic Indian Wars.