Rev. Alfred “Uncle Alf” Wraight: Prison Evangelist

In the early years of the twentieth century a prison evangelist roamed the eastern Wyoming, preaching salvation mainly to inmates of local jails.  His name was Rev. Alfred Wraight, better known as “Uncle Alf.”

Born in England in 1838, he claimed to have been a cook, scout, frontiersman, hunter, and dealer in hides and antlers.   According to one account, he arrived in Cheyenne in 1870 but he seemed to favor haunting Crook County for reasons that we can only guess.  His most notable personal memory in that part of the state was not an evangelical achievement but the killing of a rare white deer.

Newcastle in 1903. (WSA JE Stimson Collection Neg 436)

Newcastle in 1903. Uncle Alf seems to have centered his activities
(WSA JE Stimson Collection Neg 436)

By August 1900, according to the Crook County Monitor, Uncle Alf had been a prison evangelist for six and one-half years, and is now “a pleasant old gentleman.”

(WSA Crook County Monitor August 8, 1900 p1)

(WSA Crook County Monitor August 8, 1900 p1)

The newspaper learned that his past was anything but stellar.  Unfortunately no particulars were given, so we can only speculate that he some past dark event made him devote his life to ministering to incarcerated individuals.  According to the Monitor, he preached “entire freedom from sin and that Christian ministers should have the same power with God that the apostles had to heal the sick.”

Uncle Alf occasionally made visits to Cheyenne, as this 1905 article notes.  (WSA Wyoming Weekly Tribune 6-13-1905 p2)

Uncle Alf occasionally made visits to Cheyenne, as this 1905 article notes.
(WSA Wyoming Weekly Tribune 6-13-1905 p2)

From the mid-1890s through the early 1900s, Uncle Alf traveled around much of eastern Wyoming, preaching to jail inmates, church members, and cowboys.  Sometime after 1910, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued his prison ministry up and down the Pacific Coast.   Most observers suspected he was a retired clergyman from the East who had taken up prison work to round out his career.  He died in Walla Walla, Washington on June 17, 1919.

Itinerant ministers, including Uncle Alf, cowboy evangelists and the like, were quite common in the American West.   They were often colorful characters whose personal quirks and idiosyncrasies drew a lot of public curiosity.

Uncle Alf was well known in some press and religious circles, but the surviving, published accounts only give us a glimpse into the man.  It would be nice to know more about him.   Sadly, like many of his contemporaries and counterparts, Uncle Alf may remain only as a footnote in history.

 

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Wyoming’s Bachelor Governor: Dr. John E. Osborne

John E. Osborne (WSA Sub Neg 2757)

John E. Osborne
(WSA Sub Neg 2757)

John E. Osborne was born in Westport, Essex County, New York, June 19, 1858.  He studied medicine at the University of Vermont.  He moved to Rawlins, Wyoming, shortly after graduating in 1880.  There he served as a Union Pacific Railroad surgeon and opened a wholesale and retail drug store in Rawlins in 1882.  He branched out to sheep ranching in 1884 and was credited with being the largest sheep owner in the Territory a few years later.

It didn’t take the young doctor long to get involved in politics.  He was elected to the territorial legislature in 1883.  However, he resigned the seat when he had to leave the Territory for a while.  His delayed public service career began when he was elected Mayor of Rawlins in 1888.  In 1892, at the rather tender age of 34, he was elected Governor of Wyoming, giving the young state consecutive frontier surgeons in the executive office (see “Amos W. Barber: An Army Surgeon as Governor”).  Also in 1892, Osborne was named as an alternate to the Democratic National Convention.

Despite Secretary of State and Acting Governor Amos Barber's insistence that he must wait for all of the election results to come in from the counties, Osborne declared himself governor on December 2, 1892 with this proclamation. He issued it from the . (WSA B-764)

Despite Secretary of State and Acting Governor Amos Barber’s insistence that he must wait for all of the election results to come in from the counties, Osborne declared himself governor on December 2, 1892 with this proclamation. He issued it from the governor’s office where he had barricaded himself.
(WSA B-764)

The 1892 election saw a fusion of members of the Democratic Party with those of the new Populist Party.  Fallout from the Johnson County War aided this group against the Republican Party, where the political interests of most of the state’s big cattlemen resided.  Democrats supporting the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, some of whose members planned the Johnson County invasion, were expelled from the Party.  Controversy following the 1892 gubernatorial election is recounted in the previously cited Postscript. In his first message to the state legislature Osborne blamed the state’s lack of growth in prosperity and population on publicity about the invasion and Republican leaders who excused the actions of the invaders.

Osborne own the first "horseless carriage" in Rawlins. Here he is in the driver's seat with W.A. Heath, Yellowtail, No Sleep, Shakespeare and Yellow Eagle in 1902.  (WSA Sub Neg 24794)

Osborne own the first “horseless carriage” in Rawlins. Here he is in the driver’s seat with W.A. Heath, Yellowtail, No Sleep, Shakespeare and Yellow Eagle in 1902.
(WSA Sub Neg 24794)

Osborne’s political star continued to rise when he was elected to U.S. House of Representatives in 1896, narrowly defeating Frank Mondell.  An unsuccessful attempt at a Senate seat in 1898 ended his string of victorious election campaigns.   In 1907, at the age of 49, he married Selina Smith, a native of Kentucky. (Osborne is one of only 2 unmarried governors in Wyoming history. John Campbell married during his term and Nellie Ross was a widow during her administration.)

Salina Smith Osborne  (WSA Sub Neg 18387)

Salina Smith Osborne
(WSA Sub Neg 18387)

Under the Woodrow Wilson administration Osborne was appointed First Assistant Secretary of State and held the office from April 21, 1913 to December 14, 1915.  His time in the nation’s capital, as congressman and in the Secretary of State’s office, provided opportunities to mingle and correspond with current and future presidents and other powerful political figures, such as William Jennings Bryan, with whom Osborne developed a friendship.

When Osborne resigned from the assistant secretary position, he cited a desire to return to private life.  However, he was back in the political arena in 1918, when he was nominated for the U.S. Senate by the Democratic Party.  He lost in the general election to Francis E. Warren, who had decided to run for the office again after initially talking retirement.

Osborne called Rawlins home for over 60 years and served as Chairman of the Board of the Rawlins National Bank.  He maintained an office there until his death on April 24, 1943.  He was buried at Princeton, Kentucky beside his wife.

The Osborne Building in Rawlins, Wyoming, 1905.  (WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 989)

The Osborne Building in Rawlins, Wyoming, 1905.
(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 989)

The records of Governor Osborne maintained by the Wyoming State Archives include correspondence, appointment records, petitions for the pardon of convicted criminals, proclamations, requests for the extradition of fugitives, and records concerning Indian and military affairs.  Some small privately donated collections document various aspects of his career and include a small amount of correspondence from prominent public figures.

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“My Ignorant Notion of the Whole Gigantic Muddle”: D.C. Nowlin & WWI

Nowlin's solitary life gave him an abundance of time to contemplate, as this 1914 letter shows.  (WSA Sub Neg 9971)

Nowlin’s solitary life gave him an abundance of time to contemplate, as this 1914 letter shows.
(WSA Sub Neg 9971)

Daniel C. Nowlin (1857-1925) was a Texas Ranger , rancher, farmer, state legislator, state game warden and superintendent of the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming.  When war broke out in Europe in 1914, Nowlin was an employee at the National Elk Refuge.  In a letter he wrote to his brother, Henry, on October 25, 1914 from Jackson, Wyoming he talks about his view of the war.

Very briefly, here’s my ignorant notion of the whole gigantic muddle.   Morally, the guilt may be divided amongst all the great powers.  All have been preparing for this struggle for many years.  Germany – being the most thorough in all things – had the initial advantage and is making the most of it.  Great Britain will use any nation and any means to check Germanic growth, influence and trade.  Did anybody ever hear of any British qualms of conscience? Has the world forgotten the unholy war on China to protect English opium dealers?  Nevertheless, our people – and all the neutral, enlightened nations, – distinctly favor the Allies – not because of prejudice against the German people but because of an instinctive preference for Anglo-Saxon civilization as exemplified by the British!  The liberal world hates the autocratic “blood and iron” policy – initiated by Bismarck and accentuated by William II.  Unfortunately for the German people, Germany had to impose upon Belgium (it was a military necessity if Germany was to win rapidly) and thus generated an intense prejudice – a prejudice that has been – + will be – “worked to a finish” by the British.

The Germans (as we know them) are peaceable – almost timid – loyal to our flag and the leading homebuilders; and it really distresses me to hear these people (as I have lately) blatantly defending the Kaiser whom I look upon as the worst enemy of the German people!

Well, it’s a bloody mess and is playing smash with us – economically, too! . . .

AS I see it, the only hope for German success – a slim, well-nigh impossible hope – is the destruction of the British Navy.  The English will move heaven and earth, use every other nation (including own, if possible) and eventually hammer Germany to death – as they did Napoleon.  Then English diplomacy will cheat Russia of expected spoils and destroy the friendly feeling between France and Russia – for British advantage.  I hope to see Germany come out of all this (including German Austria) a democracy.  England and Russia will fight some day – with Japan in alliance with Russia – but we may not live to see this. . . .

All this presumptive speculation (about something I’m ignorant of) will serve to amuse you instead of boring you, I trust; but I’ll quit – I might give you “too much of a good thing.”[1]

In his letter, Nowlin makes some interesting observations and predictions, including that England and Russia would eventually be at war. This did not happen in a literal sense, but the two powers were opposed to each other during the Cold War and tensions continue to this day. (WSA H64-90 p3)

In his letter, Nowlin makes some interesting observations and predictions, including that England and Russia would eventually be at war. This did not happen in a literal sense, but the two powers were opposed to each other during the Cold War and tensions continue to this day. Japan did fight England during WWII, though not allied with Russia. 
(WSA H64-90 p3)

— Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist


[1] Excerpt from letter, H64-90, Percy Nowlin Collection, Wyoming State Archives.

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Loneliness, Sand and Sunsets: News from Ft. Laramie, August 13, 1867

“War is sometimes described as long periods of boredom punctuated by short moments of excitement. History is often similar, if rather safer.” — John H. Arnold

Robert Patterson Hughes in his uniform, 1860s.  (WSA Sub Neg 23837)

Robert Patterson Hughes in his US Army uniform, 1860s.
(WSA Sub Neg 23837)

It appears that Captain Robert Patterson Hughes whole-heartedly agreed with Arnold’s sentiments. Life for a frontier soldier was brutal, and not just during the fights. Hughes was stationed at Fort Laramie during the summer of 1867.

(WSA H63-28, p1)

(WSA H63-28, p1)

Camp on the Laramie D.T.
August 13th, 1867

Miss Maggie

I am all alone tonight and as near homesick or sick of the wilderness as I ever allow myself to get and as [I] have no other means of communicating with civilization and feeling their influence other than  by letter will you be so very kind as to permit me to address you as one of my old friends.  I trust I may not be doing wrong in this and that you may not think it so.

[I] Have had a very troublesome visit this P.M. from Evens and our Tents were all blown into pie and have been digesting quite a quantity of Sand.  The Surgeon Says Sand is very healthy but I take notice that he is quite careful to keep away from it as far and as securely [?] as possible.  The Laramie River is a small river flowing in the North Platte near our Camp.  [It] Has a disposition to be quite fickled in its depth however , for [it] has taken several sudden notions this Summer and without notifying us of its intention has quietly drowned several people[.]

(WSA H63-28, p2)

(WSA H63-28, p2)

The Platte is decidedly a River of Islands[.]  I think without exaggeration I have seen one hundred from one point.  [It] Has no channel but [is] constantly changing as I have good reason to know for it has been nearly drowning me several times.  The Indians have not been able to operate much thus far since Spring for the Snow thawing in the Mountains has kept the Streams so high that they have been unable to cross them without great difficulty.  They have succeeded in catching a few coaches on the Overland Mail Route [and] also a few small parties of soldiers.  [They] Killed one Lieut [Lieutenant] and ten men near the Republican lately.  But the latest was near Fort Phill [sic] Kearney.[1]  We learned today by telegraph that one office and some men of our Regiment had been killed but wheather [sic] it is reliable or not I can not say.

They do not seem much afflicted with brotherly love for the whites as the peaceable people of Philada [Philadelphia] would have us think.  They are quite unreasonable I think.  The whole of this war is owing to the Government desiring a road though this country to Virginia City Montana and the gold mines in that territory and in the Yellow Stone [sic][.]   They made treaty and granted the permission but some old Squaw put mischief into their heads and they now think that they will soon have no game if we have permission to go quietly over the public highway.

(WSA H63-28, p3)

(WSA H63-28, p3)

Their reasoning is about as good as the Rebels.

Went to war to save Slavery So these people go to War to save game and their country is now being dotted all over with one and two companies of Soldiers who will destroy more game in one year than Emigrants would in ten years.  Had they gone to war to secure something to cover their nakedness or for some christian provisions it would have been reasonable but to get to fighting about a herd of Buffalo or flock of Antelope which neither of us can tame or catch is so foolish that I am almost ashamed to be one of the actors in the Scene.  But our greatest battles now are with mosquitos + Buffalo Gnats.  They come down on us at all hours and they do not use either Modern Tactics of Monoeuver [maneuver] or Logistics but seem to me to move in the old Roman Style by Phalanxes and they make us scratch our heads quite seriously to determine how to flank them.  They are quite bold until they see a Smoke and as though they scented the battle from afar they immediately beat a retreat, but apparently in good order. The only trouble is that the war Dept  does not reward us for our gallantry in this branch of our duty and we now consider it more of a Task than a military pleasure.  But I think it is little as they could do to furnish the tobacco to smoke the blood thirsty warriors out of our faces and hair.  What say you?

(WSA H63-28, p4)

(WSA H63-28, p4)

We have some peculiarities here.  We have beautiful lightning every night, but we suffer for it in heat next day.  We have the most beautiful Sunsets I ever saw.  The Sun will hide behind one of the Buttes and leave the whole western horizon a blaze of fire. Looking at it this evening I remembered a quotation from some one [sic] When?

“Mine be the eve of Tropic sun
With disk like battle Trophy Red
Dies [sic] the wide wave with ____ light
Then sinks to rest & all is night”[2]

It was very much like either a red target or a red old wood country fire and do not know which was nearest the reality.

We have had a broiling old day and I am now simply dressed in my sleeping  — (well if I must say it) Shirt.  Feel as though I would be a great deal more comfortable if I could take the marrow out of my bones and allow the air to blow through[.]  [I]Have a carpet of Wolf Skins[.]  You should see how elegant it looks out in this Sand.  What has come of Clyde.[3]  Have heard of none of your family since leaving the States, but hope you all are as happy and yourself as full of life as ever.  I would be much obliged if you deem this worthy of your notice.

Yours Truly
RP Hughes
Fort Laramie[4]

Born in 1839, Captain Hughes had enlisted as a private in the 12 Pennsylvania Volunteers in 1861 and served throughout the Civil War. By the end, he was a captain and thoroughly accustomed to Army life. He went out west as a part of the Frontier Army, serving at several posts, including Fort Laramie, and was aide-de-camp to Gen. Alfred Howe Terry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. (Read the description of the battle he sent to his wife, now housed in the Library of Congress here) In 1898, he was stationed at Manilla during the Philippine Insurrection and retired a Major General in 1903. Hughes died in 1909.[5]

 

— Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist


1. Hughes is probably referring to the Wagon Box Fight which occurred on August 2, 1867. Read more about the fight at http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/wagon-box-fight-1867.

2. Hughes came close to remembering the poem. Below are the actual lines, an excerpt from Sir Walter Scott’s poem “Rokeby” (1813) (https://archive.org/details/rokebypoem00sco p276-277)

“And now my race of terror run,
Mine be the eve of tropic sun!
No pale gradations quench his ray,
No twilight dews his wrath allay;
With disk, like battle target red,
He rushes to his burning bed,
Dyes the wide wave with bloody light,
Then sinks to rest — and all is night.”

3. Miss Maggie’s husband. According to a letter that accompanied the donation, it appears Hughes and Clyde Douds served together in Co B 85th Reg Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War. Doud had enlisted into the company and Hughes had been its captain. They seem to have kept in contact until at least 1868.

4. Letter from Capt. Robert Patterson Hughes, Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory to Maggie Douds, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, August 13, 1867, H63-28, Mrs. Earle D. Holmes Collection, Wyoming State Archives.

5. See also the Robert Patterson Hughes Papers, MSS82579, Library of Congress

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Wyoming’s Engineer-Governor: Frank Emerson

 

Happy birthday Governor Emerson! (WSA Sub Neg 1804)

Happy birthday Governor Emerson!
(WSA Sub Neg 1804)

Wyoming’s Engineer-Governor was born May 26, 1882 in Saginaw, MI.  He earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan.  Emerson came to Wyoming in 1904, settling at Cora in Sublette County where he ran a store for a short time.  The following year he accepted a job at the State Engineer’s office in Cheyenne, but worked there only a few months before accepting a position with the LaPrele Ditch and Reservoir Company of Douglas.  He married Michigan native Zennia Jean Reynders in 1910.  At that time he was employed as Chief Engineer by the Wyoming Land and Irrigation Company which was building the Shell Canal near Greybull.  The family moved to Worland in 1914 after Emerson was hired as the superintendent of the Big Horn Canal Association.  He served on the City Council there for one term.

Governor Emerson, his wife Zena, and their three sons on the steps of the Historic Governor's Mansion. (WSA Sub Neg 15491)

Governor Emerson, his wife Zena, and their three sons on the steps of the Historic Governor’s Mansion.
(WSA Sub Neg 15491)

According to an account by his wife, Emerson ran for a state senate seat to aid his efforts to deal with the problem of alkali seepage in the Big Horn Basin.  He lost the election, but found another avenue for addressing his concerns.  Newly elected Governor Robert Carey appointed Emerson as State Engineer and the family moved to Cheyenne in 1919.  Emerson used the position to promote legislation supporting reclamation projects.

Emerson at his first inauguration as governor in 1927. Out-going governor Nellie Tayloe Ross stands just behind him and Judge Fred H. Blume  stands beside him. (WSA Meyers Neg 1330)

Emerson at his first inauguration as governor in 1927. Out-going governor Nellie Tayloe Ross stands just behind him and Judge Fred H. Blume stands beside him.
(WSA Meyers Neg 1330)

While serving as State Engineer, Emerson was also employed as superintendent of the Lower Hanover Canal Association, and as an engineer for the Worland Drainage District and Wyoming Sugar Company.  He occupied the Engineer’s office from July 1, 1919 to January 3, 1927.  In 1923, Democratic Governor William Ross attempted to remove Emerson, a Republican, from the office of State Engineer.  However, Emerson won a court battle to retain the position.

(WSA Gov Emerson Gubernatorial Papers, RG 001.25, Legislative affairs correspondence regarding legislation February 1 1927-March 12-1927)

(WSA Gov Emerson Gubernatorial Papers, RG 001.25, Legislative affairs correspondence regarding legislation February 1 1927-March 12-1927)

 

Emerson had a leading role in drafting the Colorado River Compact involving the water interests of seven states.  He was credited with guarding Wyoming’s rights in the Green and Little Snake Rivers, Colorado River tributaries.  He served as a special advisor to the Secretary of the Interior regarding Colorado River issues.  Emerson also helped maintain Wyoming rights to North Platte River waters in disputes with Nebraska and Colorado.

Governor Emerson's engineering background gave him unique insights during the negotiations on behalf of Wyoming for the Colorado River Compact.  (WSA Gov Emerson gubernatorial records, RG 001.25, Colorado River Compact Correspondence, April - October 1928)

Governor Emerson’s engineering background gave him unique insights during the negotiations on behalf of Wyoming for the Colorado River Compact.
(WSA Gov Emerson gubernatorial records, RG 001.25, Colorado River Compact Correspondence, April – October 1928)

Emerson was nominated for Governor by his party for the 1926 election, offered as a candidate who could bring development to the state.  He was also recognized as a sound businessman.  He defeated Nellie Tayloe Ross, who had won election in 1924, filling the position previously occupied by her husband, who died in October that year.  Governor Emerson generally worked well with the Republican legislature, emphasizing the need for efficiency, but was unable to advance proposals for the assessment of intangible property and a state income tax to generate revenue to meet needs in the state, such as an improved highway system and the burgeoning financial burden of caring for residents of the state’s institutions.

"Flying Governor Emerson of Wyoming." In 1930, Emerson visited with the Wyoming National Guard and participated in their parachute toss initiation. (WSA Sub Neg 15904, 20552)

“Flying Governor Emerson of Wyoming.” In 1930, Emerson visited with the Wyoming National Guard and participated in their parachute toss initiation.
(WSA Sub Neg 15904, 20552)

Emerson was elected for a second term in 1930, but died of pneumonia on February 18, 1931, a few weeks after taking office.  A weakened constitution from overwork was given as a contributing factor.

The records of Governor Emerson maintained by the Wyoming State Archives provide information on Wyoming government programs and on significant issues affecting the state prior to the Great Depression as well as during the early years of that crisis.

 

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Amos W. Barber: An Army Surgeon as Governor

Dr. Amos W. Barber (WSA Sub Neg 1384)

Dr. Amos W. Barber
(WSA Sub Neg 1384)

Amos W. Barber was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, April 26, 1861.  He graduated from the literary and medical departments of the University of Pennsylvania in 1883 and served as a staff physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital after he graduated.  In the spring of 1885 Barber was recruited to run the hospital at the site of Fort Fetterman.  A civilian community had sprung up around the fort, which was abandoned by the military in 1882.  The local hospital provided medical services for subscribers contributing $1.00 per month.

Dr. Amos Barber in front of his hospital at Ft. Fetterman. (WSA Sub Neg 21184)

Dr. Amos Barber in front of his hospital at Ft. Fetterman.
(WSA Sub Neg 21184)

At some point during his first year in Wyoming, Barber was appointed acting assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army, then joined General George Crook’s campaign against the Apache Indians in Arizona, which lasted from May 1885 through March 1886.   Exactly when Barber served with Crook during that period is unclear.  Upon returning to Wyoming he was assigned to Fort D.A. Russell near Cheyenne.  After brief service there he resigned from the Army and returned to Fort Fetterman.    In 1886 he moved to the new town of Douglas and began a private practice there.  He moved his practice to Cheyenne in 1889.

After Wyoming was granted statehood in 1890, Barber was nominated by the Republican Party for the position of Secretary of State and was elected on the same ticket as Governor Francis E. Warren.  A few weeks after taking office Warren was elected to the U.S. Senate by the state legislature, making the relatively inexperienced Barber Acting Governor of Wyoming.   He served in that capacity until January 1893.

The "disturbance" Governor Barber expected thankfully did not materialize.  (WSA Governor Barber  gubernatorial records, RG 0001.12, General Correspondence File)

The “disturbance” Governor Barber expected thankfully did not materialize.
(WSA Governor Barber gubernatorial records, RG 0001.12, General Correspondence File)

One of the most infamous events in Wyoming’s history occurred during Barber’s term.  The degree of the Acting Governor’s knowledge of the plans that precipitated the Johnson County War in April 1892 is unknown.  Though not a cattleman, he was certainly well acquainted with them.   What is known is that when informed by telegram of the developing conflict between 50 armed “Invaders” and Johnson County residents, Barber sent a rather vague telegram to President Harrison about “large bodies of armed men” engaged in battle.  He requested that federal troops stationed at nearby Fort McKinney be sent to quell the trouble.  The President complied and troops intervened where a siege had developed at the TA Ranch south of Buffalo.  Federal troops were also used during the following summer to help maintain order in area.

Letter from Charles Burritt to Governor Barber following the deaths of Tisdale and Jones.  (WSA Gov Barber records, RG 0001.12, Military and Indian Affairs file)

Letter from Charles Burritt to Governor Barber following the deaths of Tisdale and Jones.
(WSA Gov Barber records, RG 0001.12, Military and Indian Affairs file)

The Johnson County War figured prominently in the election campaign of 1892, with Democrats and Populists, newcomers on the Wyoming political map, trying to benefit from the fallout.  John E. Osborne of Rawlins, also a medical doctor, emerged as the Democratic candidate for governor.   The Republicans nominated Edward Ivinson, a Laramie banker.

Osborne was elected but was delayed in taking office.  In spite of reports from the counties giving Osborne a sizable lead, official confirmation did not come from Cheyenne for several weeks.  Acting Governor and Secretary of State Barber said they were waiting on returns from Fremont and Converse Counties.  Osborne finally had enough and went to Cheyenne to claim his prize.  A notary public took his oath of office and Osborne took up residence in the governor’s office on December 2.  He apparently spent the night there, afraid he might not be able to get back in if he left.  Republican reports that he crawled on a ledge to gain access through a window may have been partisan humor.  The State Canvassing Board made Osborne’s election official on December 8 and he was sworn in on January 2, giving his oath of office a second time.  Barber continued as Secretary of State for two more years.

Barber married Amelia Kent of Cheyenne in 1892. (WSA Sub Neg 581)

Barber married Amelia Kent of Cheyenne in 1892. She was the daughter of a prominent local businessman.
(WSA Sub Neg 581)

An event of great personal import for Dr. Barber also occurred in 1892 when he married Amelia Kent of Cheyenne.  When the United State went to War against Spain six years later, Barber joined the army as assistant surgeon.  After the War he continued his medical practice in Cheyenne until his death in 1915.

— Curtis Greubel, State Imaging Center Supervisor

 

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April 23, 1865: A Sermon and A Pilgrimage

Today we conclude this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

April 21

April 22

April 23, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 23, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Sunday, April 23, 1865

Mother, Uncle and I went to church this morning. Found Dr. Gurley had gone with the funeral train and we had a stranger preach for us. Heard a very good sermon however and found a good dinner when we returned home. I know not how it happened but I am always more hungry on Sunday than any other day. In the evening we went to Trinity to hear a sermon on the removal of the late President. I liked it all pretty well until he made an appeal in behalf of Virginia which was to say the least very mal a propos. He surely must have been a severe leech at the beginning of the war if he is not at present.

As Isabella mentions, Dr. Phineas Gurley of  New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C, accompanied the funeral train to Springfield, Illinois.

May 9, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

May 9, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Tuesday, May 9, 1865

Notwithstanding the dampness of the day, Aunt insisted upon going with me to the dressmakers. I had my dress fitted and after we returned I accompanied Aunt Lib to the Patent Office and several other places. Saw also the room in which President Lincoln breathed his last, where his great spirit took flight. Oh how sacred must this humble spot forever be made, where the great and good man suffered and died. How will it be remembered and handed down as a cherished spot to all the world. I cannot yet think of him as gone.

Almost as soon as President Lincoln died, his status as a tourist attraction began to grow. Crowds that had flocked to see him lying in state or to witness his funeral procession now made the pilgrimage to Ford’s Theatre and other sites associated with him. This practice has continued for 150 years and is still going strong. Many sites associated with Lincoln are now museums or historic sites, providing adoring fans a place to remember the lost president.

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April 22, 1865: Visiting the Wounded

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

April 21

April 22, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 22, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Saturday, April 22, 1865

After sewing a while I started for Alice and we went to the Hospital. I spent about an hour talking to the other men in the different wards and then proceeded to give my lesson in writing, my pupil did not seem very apt but I still have hope of teaching him. He appears anxious to learn though which is something in his favor. I came home and went to see Mrs. Smith. Had a pleasant little visit and got home feeling very tired. The day has been beautiful. Expected Aunt Lib and went with mother to the Depot but were doomed to disappointment. I know not what to think.

Today, Isabella returns to the hospital to help cheer wounded veterans, as she had done for some time in the previous years. Many young women had time on their hands and looking for useful occupation would visit the hospitals to talk to the men, often helping them write letters home.

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Filed under Eyewitness to History, Presidential Visits, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

April 21, 1865: “He Has Now Left Washington For The Last Time”

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

April 21, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 21, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Friday, April 21, 1865

The mortal remains of Abraham Lincoln were this morning taken from the rotunda of the Capitol and the sad company began with him their homeward journey. He has now left Washington for the last time, never to return again. Can I think of it as real? Oh it is too fearful. Never was the loss of any one felt as this. God make his successor all that he should be. Remind him continually of the terrible tragedy which has thus invested him with the power of government, may he follow on the footsteps of the great departed and like him enjoy our confidence and love.

The railroad car that carried Lincoln's body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.  (Library of Congress image)

The railroad car that carried Lincoln’s body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.
(Library of Congress image)

The Lincoln Special carried President Lincoln home to Springfield, Illinois, for burial. Over the next two weeks, it traveled nearly 1,700 miles making stops for funeral processions and viewings in several cities along the way. The train carried 300 mourners, an honor guard and Willie’s coffin. Mrs. Lincoln remained in Washington, D.C. and Robert Lincoln only rode as far as Baltimore before returning to Washington.

Though the original train car was lost to fire in 1911, a replica of the train was built and will recreate the journey this year.

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Filed under Eyewitness to History, Presidential Visits, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights

April 20, 1865: Interment Plans

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 20, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Thursday, April 20, 1865

The rain has been coming down in torrents part of the day and still through it all, people have been pouring into the Capitol grounds to gaze for the last time on the features of their loved dead, having seen him yesterday I did not go again but regret very much that Aunt has not been able to go out at all and therefore has not seen him. The remains of little Willie are to be taken with those of his honored father to their home. Oh how can we school our hearts to this great affliction. Every moment brings it more vividly to our minds and makes the atrocious thing more heinous. I trust no early spot may be deemed secure enough to conceal the base assassin from the hand of justice.

Following the funeral procession from the Executive Mansion (White House) to the Capitol Building, Lincoln once again lay in state. As Isabella mentions, thousands filed by the coffin. It is no wonder that she declined to brave the rain and crowds to view the body for a second time.

Mrs. Lincoln agreed to bury her husband in Springfield, Illinois, after a promise was made to take the body of their son Willie along to be buried with him. 11 year old Willie had died in 1862. His coffin was removed from the Washington, D.C., cemetery to be re-interred in Springfield. As Isabella mentions, Booth was still at large. He was finally cornered and killed on April 26.

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Filed under Eyewitness to History, Presidential Visits, This Day in Wyoming History..., WSA Collection Highlights