WyoHistory.org

The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

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 | In 1862, Charlotte Dansie and her family sailed from England with hundreds of other Mormon converts, then gathered with others near Omaha to set out for Salt Lake—all while having a difficult pregnancy with her eighth child. Her descendants managed to relocate her grave in 1939 near Pacific Springs.
Encyclopedia | Among the many branches and variants of the Oregon Trail was the 35-mile Seminoe Cutoff, which allowed travelers to avoid the last four crossings of the Sweetwater River as well as the difficult climb over Rocky Ridge. Pioneer Sarah Thomas is buried along the route.
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.

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