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Politics & Government

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.

The Deadly Blackwater Fire

A sudden, hot wind one August afternoon in 1937 blew a small fire into an inferno that rushed for ridgetops above Blackwater Creek, in the Shoshone National Forest west of Cody, Wyo. Fifteen firefighters died; 38 more were burned in the fourth deadliest wildfire in the nation’s history.

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Encyclopedia | Crossing what’s now Wyoming in sub-zero cold, Elizabeth Cumming suffered a badly frostbitten foot in November 1857. She and her husband Alfred—the new governor of Utah Territory—and about 2,000 U.S. troops were unsure if they’d be welcomed in Salt Lake City—or faced with armed resistance.
Encyclopedia | In 1909, Percy Metz, 23 years old and recently elected Big Horn County attorney, helped prosecute five men for their murderous roles in the Spring Creek Raid. The case made his reputation; he became a district judge at 29 and spent a long and successful life in the law.
Encyclopedia | Union Pacific locomotives still rumble through Cheyenne, as they first did 150 years ago. But after the railroad arrived in November 1867, skeptics questioned whether the town would last, as so many other end-of-tracks communities had died once the graders and tracklayers moved on.
Encyclopedia | As an agricultural depression swept Wyoming, one of Powell’s banks temporarily closed. The owner of a second, S.A. Nelson, ordered tellers to stack cash in plain sight to calm jittery depositors. Thirty-six banks failed in Wyoming in 1924 alone. Confidence eventually returned—but only very slowly.
Encyclopedia | Wealthy artist, hunter and conservationist A.A. Anderson was named superintendent of the new Yellowstone Forest Reserve in 1902. His love for wildlife habitat clashed with local timber and grazing interests, however, and, after much controversy, he lost his job. Wyoming and the nation might have benefitted if he’d found a way to bridge that gap.
Encyclopedia | No logging, no grazing—even no trespassing? The Yellowstone Timber Land Reserve, the first land to be set aside in what evolved into today’s National Forest system, had a distinctly different character from its successors. Here’s why.
Encyclopedia | Ever see the bucking horse and rider? In Wyoming you can’t miss it. The logo appears everywhere—license plates, web pages, the university, military insignia and all kinds of signage and merchandise. Ever wonder where it came from? For starters, try France—and Lander.
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.

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