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People & Peoples

Carrie Burton Overton, First African-American Female 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 earned music diplomas from Howard University and the Juilliard School and, later, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University. 

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Encyclopedia | Aven Nelson, one of the University of Wyoming’s original faculty, became a world famous botanist. He founded the Rocky Mountain Herbarium on campus, which contains 1.3 million plant specimens from throughout the world. From 1917-1922, he served as university president, but was happy to return to botany when he got the chance.
Encyclopedia | In the life of American novelist Ernest Hemingway, scenes of hunting, a wedding, miscarriage, injuries and physical degeneration all found Wyoming settings. Friendships grew, he fished with his sons, and he wrote much of his best work here—with great energy, productivity, and vividness. 
Encyclopedia | In the fall of 1918, the deadly influenza epidemic sweeping the world swept Wyoming as well when 780 people died statewide in just a few months, victims of the so-called Spanish flu. Schools, churches and theatres shut down, towns were quarantined and many businesses closed or severely limited their trade.
Encyclopedia | Mountaineer Finis Mitchell shared his love of the Wind River Range through postcards, public talks and a famed, hip-pocket hiking guide. He ran a fishing camp, worked on the railroad, stocked mountain lakes with fingerling trout and served in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Mitchell Peak was named in his honor. 
Encyclopedia | In 1913, department-store tycoon Rodman Wanamaker and photographer Joseph Dixon hatched the idea of a statue of an American Indian in New York harbor higher than the Statue of Liberty—as a memorial to what they saw as a “vanishing race.” Dixon subsequently toured and photographed 89 Indian reservations—including Wyoming’s Shoshone Reservation—leaving a valuable record.
Encyclopedia | Just before sunset, on Oct. 31, 1903, a sheriff’s posse and a band of Oglala Sioux families from the Pine Ridge Reservation engaged in a brief, sharp gunfight near Lightning Creek, northeast of Douglas, Wyo. Seven people died, and a U.S. Senate investigation followed.
Encyclopedia | In the spring of 1878, about 950 Northern Arapaho people arrived with a military escort on the Eastern Shoshone Reservation in the Wind River Valley in central Wyoming Territory. The two tribes had been in open warfare as recently as four years before, and bad feelings lingered between them.
Encyclopedia | In the 1860s, the Eastern Shoshone people signed two treaties with the U.S. government. The first set aside vast holdings for them. Just five years later, as the transcontinental railroad was approaching, a second treaty established a Shoshone reservation in the Wind River valley—with less than a tenth the earlier amount of land.

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