The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

An influential suffragist, debunking a myth, and our page on women’s rights

An influential suffragist, debunking a myth, and our page on women’s rights

September 2019

This month, we feature suffragist and orator Theresa Jenkins, and dispel the myth that Esther Hobart Morris was the prime mover behind the 1869 vote in Wyoming’s territorial legislature to grant votes to women. See also our new page on women’s suffrage.

Theresa Jenkins works for women’s rights

Suffragist and temperance orator Theresa Jenkins delivered a key address at Wyoming’s statehood celebration on July 23, 1890. Later, she spoke widely in Colorado and other states, promoting Wyoming’s example in women’s rights, and spoke at the 1920 W.C.T.U. World's Convention in London. Learn more from MaryJo Birt's article "To 'Hold a More Brilliant Torch:' Suffragist and Orator Theresa Jenkins."

The historical record and Esther Morris’s apocryphal tea party 

Esther Hobart Morris, appointed justice of the peace in South Pass City in 1870, was the first woman in the nation to hold public office. While she was notable for that and for her advocacy for women’s rights, much of her fame comes from something she almost certainly didn’t do. Read more in Abby Dotterer’s article “Esther Hobart Morris, Justice of the Peace and Icon of Women’s Rights.

WyoHistory.org page on women’s suffrage continues to grow

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.
Nearly 50 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. Read more about women’s suffrage in Wyoming in more than a dozen articles linked from our new landing page, Women's Suffrage and Women's Rights.

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! 
Last 2019 Trail Trek: National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper has one more trek along an historic trail, in late September, open to the public. Plan to depart from the NHTIC parking lot at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 28. For more information, contact Jason Vlcan at the Trails Center at (307) 261-7783, Jason_Vlcan@blm.gov.

September 28 - Emigrant Gap Hike/Walk/Family Fun
This will be a truly unique trail trek and we encourage those who enjoy hiking, walking, and spending time with family to participate in this opportunity! During this trail trek, we will park our vehicles and walk the pioneer trails for approximately 3-4 miles. Known as Emigrant Gap, this section is located just west of Casper. Enjoy the beauty, history and company of others during this experience! Meet in the parking lot of the NHTIC at 8 a.m.