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People & Peoples

Making a Home in Empire, Wyo.

Two highly educated families of African-American farmers founded Empire, Wyo., near the Nebraska line northeast of Torrington in 1908. At one time it boasted school, church and post office. But drought, low crop prices and, evidence shows, the racial prejudices of their neighbors drove the people away; all were gone by 1930.

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Encyclopedia | The main branch of the Oregon Trail crossed the Big Sandy River at present Farson, Wyo. State Highway 28 running southwest from Farson continues to parallel the route. Swales are often visible alongside the highway, sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left.
Encyclopedia | In a U.S. Army career spanning three wars and four decades, Paul Kendall, of Sheridan, Wyo., never forgot the moment when his platoon, guarding a Siberian rail link, was attacked one night at 30 below—by an armored train full of Bolshevik partisans.
Encyclopedia | Turning heads and changing minds, Inez Milholland helped galvanize women nationwide in their long campaign for the vote. Years of persistent demonstrations—sometimes violently opposed—climaxed in 1916, just weeks before her early death, in a final speaking tour across Wyoming and the West.
Encyclopedia | Their wagons lurching over sharp boulders up a steep grade, westbound emigrants found a particularly difficult stretch of trail about 40 miles east of South Pass. The late-starting Willie Company of Mormons pulling handcarts suffered terribly here in 1856. For many, the end of the journey was a grave.
Encyclopedia | Stability can be fleeting in a boom-and-bust economy, especially for racial minorities facing discrimination. African-Americans struggled to earn respect in early 20th century Wyoming, and building churches in Rock Springs and other towns helped them anchor their lives with a sense of belonging.
Encyclopedia | After flying combat missions in World War II, Tom Bell launched another battle—to preserve western lands. The founder of the Lander, Wyo.-based High Country News managed to keep the publication afloat and conservation in the minds of its readers. His legacy and the magazine continue today.
Encyclopedia | It may seem surprising that a solitary New York socialite would make Yellowstone safer. But Alice Morris’s love of Yellowstone National Park led to her horseback explorations in 1917, when she chronicled the park’s wonders and detailed changes to improve and standardize trail systems that remain in place today.
Encyclopedia | In May 1950, Louise Spinner Graf served as foreman of a jury in Green River, Wyo.—practically the first Wyoming jury to include women since 1871. The jury convicted Otto Long of second-degree murder. Afterward, Long’s attorney blamed the outcome on “those damn women.” Women have served successfully on Wyoming juries ever since.

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