The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A crusading reporter, a pioneer dentist and the birth pangs of public TV

A crusading reporter, a pioneer dentist and the birth pangs of public TV

September 2016

This month at WyoHistory.org we offer looks at an early newsman who cared deeply for the rights of the mentally ill, a pioneer dentist who once used a brace and bit when her instruments were miles away, and at the 20th century pioneers who built Wyoming public broadcasting—from scratch.

E.T. Payton, muckraker and mental patient

Throughout his journalism career, Thermopolis newspaperman E. T. Payton’s episodes of mental illness landed him in the state’s mental hospital, where he and other patients suffered sometimes brutal treatment. He died there in 1933, but his whistleblowing helped change laws and improve conditions and care. For the details, see Rebecca Hein’s startling story, E.T. Payton: Mental Patient and Advocate for the Mentally Ill.

Pulling teeth from Lost Cabin to Thermopolis

In 1905, Caroline Fuller came to Thermopolis, Wyo., and entered a field usually reserved for men—dentistry. How she came to take dental impressions and pull teeth for sheep barons and cowboys in remote parts of central Wyoming is only one phase of her interesting life. Read the transcript of—or listen to—an interview that Fuller gave in 1973, the year she turned 93, at Caroline Fuller, Pioneer Dentist. The interview is preserved at the Wyoming State Archives.

Engineering public television in Wyoming’s wide spaces

Sixteen years after Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, Wyoming became the 49th state to view public television. Surviving on shoestring budgets of federal, state and private funds, donated equipment and volunteer pledge drives, Wyoming PBS managed to expand across the state—and finally to thrive. For more, see Casper-based business writer Doug McInnis’ account of how KCWC-TV came into being, Establishing Public TV in Wyoming.

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.