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The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Women of Wyoming

Women of Wyoming

The Grave of Nancy Hill

On the Oregon-California Trail in western Wyoming lies the grave of 20-year-old Nancy Hill, who died of cholera while bound for California in 1852. The gravestone, though old, is not original and part of the inscription—“Killed by Indians—” for many years misled locals about the cause of her death.

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 | 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 is notable for that and for her longtime advocacy for women’s rights, much of her fame comes from something she almost certainly didn’t do.
Encyclopedia | 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.
Encyclopedia | Not only was Wyoming Territory the first government in the world to pass a law allowing women unrestricted voting rights—the territory and state can claim a number of other firsts as well. See the list for dozens more firsts for Wyoming women.
Encyclopedia | When Wyoming became the 23rd state to ratify the amendment, on January 24, 1973, supporters decorated Esther Hobart Morris’s statue at the Wyoming Capitol with flowers. The amendment has yet to become part of the U.S. Constitution.
Encyclopedia | Some delegates drawing up a new state constitution in 1889 feared that, once Wyoming’s statehood came before Congress, continuing to allow women to vote would jeopardize Wyoming’s chances of becoming a state. And they were right.
Encyclopedia | Estimates of the numbers of women who voted in the principal towns of Wyoming Territory, and a review of the methods used to make those estimates.
Encyclopedia | A look at the law, an anecdote from the election and some population statistics.
Encyclopedia | According to newspapers at the time, Louisa Swain, 70, of Laramie, was the first woman in Wyoming Territory to cast a vote under the new law granting full suffrage to women.

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