Presidential Trivia… and A Closure Reminder

Just a reminder that the Wyoming State Archives will be closed on Monday, February 16th to observe President’s Day.

President's Day card from teacher to student, Pleasant Hill School (WSA H90-39)

President’s Day card from teacher to student, Pleasant Hill School (WSA H90-39)

Did you know:

– Wyoming’s first First Lady, Isabella Campbell, was living in Washington, D.C., when President Lincoln was assassinated.

– President Grant was the first sitting president to visit Wyoming Territory. During his second term, he stopped in Cheyenne and spoke at a banquet before continuing on to the West Coast.

– In 1880, President Hays’ son held up the presidential train while he had his hair cut at the Inter Ocean Hotel in Cheyenne.

– President Chester A. Arthur spent most of the month of August 1883 traveling by wagon and horseback from Green River to Livingston, Montana, spending several days exploring Yellowstone National Park. This is the longest visit of a sitting president to the state.

– During his 1903 visit, President Theodore Roosevelt left his train at Laramie and rode on horseback to Cheyenne, stopping to change horses and visit ranches along the way. (Everyone wanted the honor of saying that he had ridden one of their horses.)

– In 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke at the University of Wyoming field house less than two months before he was assassinated in Dallas.

– President George H.W. Bush spoke on the Capitol Building grounds at the statehood centennial celebrations in 1990.

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Happy Birthday Governor B.B. Brooks!

Governor B.B. Brooks. He was not camera shy and he can be seen in many photographs dating from his term in office until his death.  (WSA Sub Neg 1482)

Governor B.B. Brooks. He was not camera shy and he can be seen in many photographs dating from his term in office until his death.
(WSA Sub Neg 1482)

Bryant B. Brooks, Wyoming’s seventh state governor, was born on February 5, 1861 in the small town of Bernardston, MA. After the Chicago fire of 1871, the Brooks family moved to the Windy City where his father, a lock manufacturer, took advantage of the demand during the city’s rebuilding efforts. Brooks attended a business college there.

Not long after graduating, he headed west and spent some time on his father’s cousin’s farm in Nebraska. In the spring of 1880 he took a train to Cheyenne, where he signed up with an outfit hired to roundup cattle that had wintered in the Snake River region of Idaho. After the roundup, he returned to Chicago for a brief stay to study assaying, then resumed cowboy life in Wyoming, trapping to supplement his income.

Panoramic view of the B.B. Brooks Ranch in Natrona County, 1906 (WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 790)

Panoramic view of the B.B. Brooks Ranch in Natrona County, 1906
(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 790)

In his memoirs, Brooks stated that he settled in the location that would eventually become his ranch site, about 20 miles southeast of present day Casper, after acquiring a trapper’s cabin for six beaver traps and a sack of flour. A ranch house was constructed in 1883. He partnered with his father and brother under the business name B.B. Brooks & Co. The company started with 80 heifers shipped from Wisconsin.

Mary Naomi Willard Brooks (WSA Sub Neg 24394)

Mary Naomi Willard Brooks
(WSA Sub Neg 24394)

Brooks married Mary Naomi Willard, daughter of his father’s cousin, in 1886 and the couple settled in at the ranch, which would eventually encompass 7,000 acres.

Brooks’ livestock interests developed and expanded to include other companies and, in 1892, wool growing. He was active in a number of civic and fraternal organizations. He was appointed to a three member commission to organize Natrona County, and served as County Commissioner from 1891to 1892. Brooks was elected to the 2nd state legislature and served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention three times (1896, 1904, and 1908). His political career culminated with his election as Governor to fill the unexpired term of DeForest Richards, who died a few months into his 2nd term.

Governor Brooks' inauguration on the steps of the Capitol Building, January 5, 1907.  (WSA Watson Neg 10)

Governor Brooks’ inauguration on the steps of the Capitol Building, January 5, 1907.
(WSA Watson Neg 10)

Brooks was re-elected in 1906. His family had the distinction of being the first to occupy the Governor’s Mansion in Cheyenne.

Correspondence between Governor Brooks and the US Department of Agriculture referring to the opening of the Wind River Reservation for white settlement.  (WSA Gov. Brooks gubernatorial papers, engineering correspondence)

Correspondence between Governor Brooks and the US Department of Agriculture referring to the opening of the Wind River Reservation for white settlement.
(WSA Gov. Brooks gubernatorial papers, engineering correspondence)

Under the Brooks administration a mineral leasing act was passed, which provided for access to the state’s mineral resources and generated revenue for the state. The leasing of federal lands for grazing was a hotly debated issue during Brooks’ tenure as Governor, in Wyoming and in the nation’s capital. In 1907 he opposed resolutions by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association in favor of leasing. His message to the 1909 state legislature supported the Homestead Act. He spoke against leasing for grazing, believing it would negatively affect homesteading efforts. The debate lasted well beyond Brooks’ gubernatorial years.

Governor Brooks received many requests for his stance on women's suffrage during his term. This is  an example of his response in support of suffrage in the state. In some, he goes so far as to call for women's suffrage to be adopted on a national scale. (WSA Gov. Brooks gubernatorial papers, women's suffrage file)

Governor Brooks received many requests for his stance on women’s suffrage during his term. This is an example of his response in support of suffrage in the state. In some, he goes so far as to call for women’s suffrage to be adopted on a national scale.
(WSA Gov. Brooks gubernatorial papers, women’s suffrage file)

Brooks continued to expand his business interests after leaving the state’s executive office. He was president of the Wyoming National Bank in Casper. He became president of the Consolidated Royal Oil Company of Casper and of the Grass Creek Oil and Gas Company. He also had interests in other oil companies and served as President of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association for many years. In this role, he opposed federal plans to suspend the issuance of permits for oil exploration on the public domain in 1929, and in the 1930s supported an oil pipeline between Fort Laramie and Salt Lake City. The line was eventually built despite protests from Wyoming labor organizations, which feared the line would negatively impact railroad employees and laborers in related fields.

Governor Brooks and Ezra Meeker in front of the Wyoming State Capitol Building. Meeker traveled across the country by oxen and wagon recreating his earlier experiences on the Oregon Trail.  (WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 2870)

Governor Brooks and Ezra Meeker in front of the Wyoming State Capitol Building. Meeker traveled across the country by oxen and wagon recreating his earlier experiences on the Oregon Trail.
(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 2870)

Brooks also worked to preserve Wyoming’s historical record as chairman of the Wyoming Historical Landmarks Commission. He had special interest in preserving information about the Oregon Trail and marking its location. Governor Brooks died on December 8, 1944 at his home in Casper.

Brooks speaking at the dedication of the Owen Winster Monument in Medicine Bow, Wyoming on September 21, 1940. (WSA Sub Neg 5720)

Brooks speaking at the dedication of the Owen Winster Monument in Medicine Bow, Wyoming on September 21, 1940. (WSA Sub Neg 5720)

In addition to routine records associated with the Governor’s Office, the records of Governor Brooks at the Wyoming State Archives include correspondence related to the opening of the Wind River Reservation to settlement and efforts to irrigate the area, the Hanna mine explosions of 1908, raids on sheep camps, a visit by President Theodore Roosevelt, and woman suffrage. Governor Brooks’ published memoirs are also maintained by the Archives. An inventory of his gubernatorial papers can be found in the Rocky Mountain Online Archives (RMOA).

Telegram from Governor Brooks to Senator Enoch Vaughn expressing sympathy for the lives lost during the mine explosion at Hanna. He would later write more formally. (WSA Gov. Brooks gubernatorial papers, Hanna Mine Disaster file)

Telegram from Governor Brooks to Senator Enoch Vaughn expressing sympathy for the lives lost during the mine explosion at Hanna. He would later write more formally.
(WSA Gov. Brooks gubernatorial papers, Hanna Mine Disaster file)

– Curtis Greubel, State Imaging Center Supervisor

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On This Day in Wyoming History… 1915: The Wyoming State Bar Association Created

On this day in 1915, the Wyoming State Bar was organized making 2015 their centennial.

This was actually not the first such organization in Wyoming. The Wyoming Bar Association was organized on January 24, 1889 in Cheyenne but the group disbanded around 1899. Many of these same men were influential in organizing the State Bar 26 years later.

Members of the First Wyoming State Bar Association in the Federal Courtroom in Cheyenne.  (WSA J E Stimson Collection Neg 4162)

Members of the First Wyoming State Bar Association in the Federal Courtroom in Cheyenne on January 25, 1915.
(WSA J E Stimson Collection Neg 4162)

Hon. John A. Riner, US District Court Judge for Wyoming, was asked to give an address at the organizational meeting of the Wyoming State Bar. He spoke about the necessity of forming such an organization “upon a substantial and enduring foundation, with a view to elevating the standard of the profession in our new state by keeping it clean and free from just criticism.” He continued:

The bar is such an important factor in molding public opinion that its influence is felt in almost every department of life and it is because of the very marked influence of the bar in shaping not only the destines of men, but governments as well, that I would urge a fuller appreciation of the essential dignity, worth, nobility and usefulness of our calling. The lawyer (and I wish you to note that I place special emphasis on the word lawyer, which does not include a pettifogger or shyster, terms applied to those who, instead of adorning the profession, disgrace it). The lawyer, I repeat, is one who worthily magnifies the nature and duties of his office, one who scorns any form of meanness or disreputable practice… The lawyer’s work offers many temptations and often calls for nice discrimination between good and bad. It is of the utmost importance therefore that the members of the bar set their standards high, for in good hands the profession is a bulwark of society; in bad hands it is a menace.

 

 

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Happy Birthday Governor Thayer!

Today is the birthday of a Civil War general, lawyer and governor of both Wyoming Territory and the State of Nebraska.

(WSA Sub Neg 4010, P97-19/1)

(WSA Sub Neg 4010, P97-19/1)

The second Wyoming territorial governor was born at Bellingham, Massachusetts on January 24, 1820.  John Milton Thayer’s early life consisted of farming, with school attendance filling the winter months.  He was admitted to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island when he was 17.    After graduating in 1841, Thayer worked in a Worcester, Massachusetts law office.   He also began what would be an intermittent but accomplished military career when he joined a “light infantry” company of the Massachusetts Militia.  He married Mary Torrey Allen in 1842. Thayer also holds the distinction of being the earliest born governor of Wyoming, though not the oldest to take office.

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened up new territories for settlement in 1854, Thayer traveled to Nebraska in the summer of that year to view the country.  He liked what he saw and brought Ms. Thayer to the new territory in the fall.  They eventually settled in Omaha.   In January 1855, Thayer was appointed Brigadier General of the 1st Brigade of the Nebraska Militia.  The appointment was supported by legislative commission the following month.  One year later he was commissioned Major General.  He served six years and was embroiled to varying degrees in struggles with regional Indian tribes.

As governor, Thayer's military background ensured that he would do his best to arm the territory's militia to the best of his ability.  (WSA Gov Thayer Guebernatorial papers, delivery of arms to the territory, 1876)

As governor, Thayer’s military background ensured that he would do his best to arm the territory’s militia to the best of his ability.
(WSA Gov Thayer Guebernatorial papers, delivery of arms to the territory, 1876)

After failed attempts at gaining seats in the territorial legislature and Congress, Thayer was elected to the Nebraska Territorial Council in 1860.   When the Civil War began, Thayer contacted the Secretary of War, asking that a regiment be assigned to Nebraska.  Subsequently, the First Nebraska Regiment was organized, commanded by Colonel John Thayer.  The regiment served in the western theater, including two years under General Ulysses Grant.  Thayer is reported to have distinguished himself during several engagements, including Fort Donelson and Shiloh.  His war record served him well as he returned to the Nebraska political arena.    He was elected by the territorial legislature to fill one of two U.S. Senate seats, and began in that service in March 1867.   Thayer was noted for his input regarding Indian issues, and for his work in getting confirmation of Omaha land titles and acquiring a federal land district for Nebraska.

Thayer was defeated in senatorial elections in 1871 and 1875.  However, President Grant kept his former comrade in arms in public service by appointing him Governor of Wyoming Territory.  The Cheyenne Daily Leader welcomed the appointment, stating “The new Governor is well known to the people of Wyoming, for he has for many years been identified with the interests of the far west, and especially of this territory.”  The editor felt Thayer’s “experience as a legislator, his extensive acquaintance with the leading men of the nation and his personal popularity with the authorities at Washington” would benefit the young Territory.

As governor, it was Thayer's job to see that the newly created seats in the Territorial Assembly were equally apportioned. A copy of his proclaimation was printed in this 1874 newspaper clipping.  (WSA Gov Thayer gubernatorial papers, apportionment)

As governor, it was Thayer’s job to see that the newly created seats in the Territorial Assembly were equally apportioned. A copy of his proclaimation was printed in this 1874 newspaper clipping.
(WSA Gov Thayer gubernatorial papers, apportionment)

In his 1875 message to the Wyoming Territorial Assembly, Thayer, Republican that he was, spoke on the need to reduce taxation and the expenses of county governments.   He also supported the preservation of game animals, stocking streams with fish, and limiting taxes on new industries.  Possibly referring to the railroad strikes of 1877, Thayer’s message that year stressed the need for corporate entities and their employees “to appreciate that the interests of each are the interests of the other.”  He also supported the annexation of the western portion of Dakota Territory to Wyoming Territory, citing similar interests of the residents, a suggestion that never bore fruit.

During Thayer's term, Crook County was created by the Territorial Assembly. It would not be organized for 10 years. (WSA Gov Thayer Gubernatorial papers, Crook County organization correspondence)

During Thayer’s term, Crook County was created by the Territorial Assembly. It would not be organized for 10 years.
(WSA Gov Thayer Gubernatorial papers, Crook County organization correspondence)

President Hayes relieved Thayer of his gubernatorial duties in May 1878.  He returned to Nebraska and made his home in Grand Island.  He made one last attempt at Congress in 1883 without success.  However his last foray into politics was successful as he was elected to two consecutive terms as Nebraska’s Governor, 1887-1891.    A contested election delayed Thayer’s retirement from office.  When that issue was settled he traveled to the Eastern U.S. with his ill wife.  She died there in the fall of 1892.  Thayer returned to Nebraska, residing in Lincoln, where he died March 19, 1906, at the age of 86.

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Archives Closed Monday Jan 19

Just a reminder that the Archives will be closed on Monday, January 19 to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/ Wyoming Equality Day.

Governor Geringer participates in the 2001 Martin Luther King, Jr./Wyoming Equality Day march up Capitol Avenue. He is in the center, walking just behind the US flag.  (WSA Gov Geringer gubernatorial photos)

Governor Geringer participates in the 2001 Martin Luther King, Jr./Wyoming Equality Day march up Capitol Avenue. He is in the center wearing long wool coat, walking just behind the US flag.
(WSA Gov Geringer gubernatorial photo collection)

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William Jennings Bryan Wishes A Wyoming Governor Happy New Year

Mrs. Bryan wrote this note to Gov. and Mrs. Osborne wishing them "a happy and prosperous New Year" (WSA P73-28_2, RPPC, no date)

Mrs. Bryan wrote this note to Gov. and Mrs. Osborne wishing them “a happy and prosperous New Year”
(WSA P73-28/2, real photo postcard, no date)

John E. Osborne was among other things, governor, congressman and assistant secretary of state during the Wilson administration.  A little known fact is that he was a good friend of William Jennings Bryan, Populist politician and silver-tongued orator best known for his “cross of gold” speech and anti-evolution activism.

Gov. Osborne was one of the most colorful governors of Wyoming. In addition to playing a major part in the Big Nose George Parrot story, he also barricaded himself in the governor's office. (WSA Sub Neg 2758)

Gov. Osborne was one of the more colorful governors of Wyoming. In addition to  playing a major part in the Big Nose George Parrott story, he also barricaded himself in the governor’s office.
(WSA Sub Neg 2758)

Within the State Archives there are a handful of letters from Bryan to Osborne dating from 1908 to 1913.  The earliest letters deal with the presidential election of 1908.  In October, a campaign manager informed Osborne about the political outlook.  The detailed communication suggests that Osborne was considered a close confidant within the Bryan circle.  Although Bryan lost the election, he wrote a short letter to Osborne, expressing how appreciative he was of Osborne’s work.

Bryan visited Wyoming during his first presidential campaign in 1908. A large crowd met him at the depot in Cheyenne. He is marked striding toward the camera at the bottom.  (WSA Sub Neg 5723)

Bryan visited Wyoming during his first presidential campaign in 1908. A large crowd met him at the depot in Cheyenne. He is marked striding toward the camera at the bottom.
(WSA Sub Neg 5723)

Magnification of the photo reveals a smiling Bryan talking with an unidentified man. (WSA Sub Neg 5723)

Magnification of the photo reveals a smiling Bryan talking with an unidentified man and followed by a group of boys.
(WSA Sub Neg 5723)

Byran wrote Osborne to thank him for his "devotion and labors during the campaign" after his defeat in the 1908 presidential election.  (WSA H65-71, John Osborne Papers, letter dated 11-7-1908)

Byran wrote Osborne to thank him for his “devotion and labors during the campaign” after his defeat in the 1908 presidential election.
(WSA H65-71, John Osborne Papers, file 2)

The remaining letters are more social in tone, reflecting a long-standing friendship between the two men.  It is apparent that they corresponded frequently and visited each other when the opportunity presented itself.

This ca 1909 note from Bryan to Osborne says: "My Dear Osborne, Your letter just received. I shall be delighted to eat dinner with you if the lecture people have not made other arrangements. See them at once. You must not invite anyone else. It will take most of the time to inspect the baby and the rest to talk politics and winter homes.  In haste yours,  Bryan" (WSA H65-71, John E. Osborne Papers, undated letter)

This ca 1909 note from Bryan to Osborne says:
“My Dear Osborne,
Your letter just received. I shall be delighted to eat dinner with you if the lecture people have not made other arrangements. See them at once. You must not invite anyone else. It will take most of the time to inspect the baby and the rest to talk politics and winter homes.
In haste yours,
Bryan”
(WSA H65-71, John E. Osborne Papers, file 2)

In 1909, after purchasing a winter home near Mission, Texas, Bryan suggested that Osborne settle near him.  “Why don’t you buy a little piece near us and do the same thing so that we can have the pleasure of visiting together each winter?”   In another letter, after noting all the property improvement he had made and plan to make, he commented “you will see that there are local advantages in this particular place.”  To Bryan, Mission, Texas would make an ideal winter home for the Osbornes and, more importantly, they would be close to the Bryans. “It would delight us to have you near, for as we get old we will have more time for companionship than we have had during the last twelve years.”

Bryan wrote Osborne several times about the advantages of wintering in Mission, Texas. (WSA H65-71, John E. Osborne Papers, file 2)

Bryan wrote Osborne several times about the advantages of wintering in Mission, Texas.
(WSA H65-71, John E. Osborne Papers, file 2)

The Bryan House, possibly in Texas. Bryan attempted to convince Osborne to purchase a lot near his home in Texas so that the two families could spend the winter together.  (WSA P73-28)

The Bryan House, possibly in Texas. Bryan attempted to convince Osborne to purchase a lot near his home in Texas so that the two families could spend the winter together.
(WSA P73-28)

By 1923 the Bryans had moved to Miami, Florida.  Here he bought a sizeable amount of property with the objective of selling parcels to his friends.  Once again, Bryan encouraged Osborne to move and build a summer house next to the Bryans.

Unfortunately, we do not know how Osborne responded or what action he took, if any, to Bryan’s kind proposals.

Bryan’s last letter is dated August 22, 1924 in which he outlined the terms for selling a parcel of his property to Osborne.   He died less than a year later on July 26, 1925 in Dayton, Ohio. No doubt Osborne mourned the loss of a close friend.

In this letter, Bryan talks about how busy he was in the State Department and looks forward to things calming down in the coming year. The calm probably did not come as the US watched World War I developing in Europe. "I wish I could get a little time to fish and hunt with you in Wyoming, but possibly we will have more time next year when the strain is off. With a revolution in China, an insurection in Mexico, and Castro just landing in Venezuela, we are having more than our fair share of trouble." (WSA H65-71, John E. Osborne Papers, file 2)

In this letter, Bryan talks about how busy he was in the State Department and looks forward to things calming down in the coming year. The calm probably did not come as the US watched World War I developing in Europe.
“I wish I could get a little time to fish and hunt with you in Wyoming, but possibly we will have more time next year when the strain is off. With a revolution in China, an insurection in Mexico, and Castro just landing in Venezuela, we are having more than our fair share of trouble.”
(WSA H65-71, John E. Osborne Papers, file 2)

– Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist

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This Day in Wyoming History: Happy Birthday Gov. Houx!

Acting Governor Frank Houx was the last Wyoming governor to regularly sport facial hair. (WSA Sub Neg 2108)

Acting Governor Frank Houx was the last Wyoming governor to regularly sport facial hair.
(WSA Sub Neg 2108)

Frank L. Houx was born on December 12, 1854 near Lexington, Missouri.  He attended business college in Kansas City and was involved in various commercial activities from his mid-teens to mid-20s.  Houx married Augusta Camp in 1875, a union which would produce three children.

Three of Houx daughters, Vera, Mercedes and Thora in 1915. During the first couple decades of the 20th century, it was in vogue for girls to wear larger and larger hair bows. (WSA Meyers Neg 5692, photo by Joe Shimitz, Cheyenne)

Three of Houx’s daughters, Vera, Mercedes and Thora in 1915. During the early 20th century, it was in vogue for girls to wear larger and larger hair bows.
(WSA Meyers Neg 5692, photo by Joe Shimitz, Cheyenne)

In 1885, Houx took his family to Montana where he made a living in the cattle business for ten years.  The fledgling settlement of Cody, Wyoming then beckoned and the family relocated again.  Shortly thereafter Houx purchased the stage depot at nearby Corbett.  Augusta died the following year and Houx returned to Cody, where he made a living in real estate and the insurance business.  In 1898, he married widow Ida Mason Christy.  Four more children would be added to the Houx family.

Houx as Mayor of Cody (WSA Sub Neg 26386)

Houx as Mayor of Cody
(WSA Sub Neg 26386)

Houx was elected Cody’s first mayor after the town was incorporated in 1901.  He was re-elected in 1905 and served four more years.  Seeking a bigger public service role, Houx ran for the office of Wyoming’s Secretary of State in 1910, representing the Democratic Party.  With recently converted Democrat Joseph M. Carey easily winning the gubernatorial race, Houx narrowly defeated incumbent Secretary William R. Schnitger. He won another close race for the same office in 1914, as Wyoming voters elected another Democratic governor, John B. Kendrick.  When Kendrick was elected to the U.S. Senate two years later, Houx completed Kendrick’s term as Acting Governor.  However, rather than turn the executive office immediately over to Houx, Kendrick held onto the position until the state legislative session was over.  This apparent lack of trust was used against Houx in the 1918 gubernatorial election, which he lost to Robert D. Carey, Joseph’s son.

Houx signed the proclaimation for the Prohibition constitutional amendment as both Secretary of State and Acting Governor.  (WSA Gov Houx gubernatorial papers, prohibition)

Houx signed the proclamation announcing the 1918 adoption of the constitutional amendment for prohibition in Wyoming as both Secretary of State and Acting Governor.
(WSA Gov. Houx gubernatorial papers, prohibition)

 

Gov. Houx himself was a vocal supporter of prohibition, as this letter shows.  (WSA Gov Houx gubernatorial papers, prohibition)

Gov. Houx himself was a vocal supporter of prohibition, as this letter shows.
(WSA Gov. Houx gubernatorial papers, prohibition)

The United States entered World War I shortly after Houx occupied the executive office.  A spirit of patriotism filled the state, resulting in about 12,000 Wyoming men joining the military.  Acting Governor Houx mobilized the Wyoming National Guard, which was offered to the United States for overseas service.  He also appointed the Wyoming Council for National Defense.

This memorandum lays out the duties of the governor in preparation for the enactment of the selective service registration starting June 5, 1917. (WSA Gov Houx gubernatorial papers, WWI)

This memorandum lays out the duties of the governor in preparation for the enactment of the selective service registration starting June 5, 1917.
(WSA Gov. Houx gubernatorial papers, WWI)

Out of politics, Houx spent most of his later years in Texas where he engaged in the oil business.  Ida Houx died in 1934 while visiting a daughter in California.  Frank Houx returned to Cody the following year, residing with his daughter, Pearl Newell, until his death in 1941. He is buried in Cody.

The records of Acting Governor Houx at the Wyoming State Archives are distinctive for their World War I documentation.  War related series include Council for the National Defense, Women’s War Work, Army Nurse Corps, Selective Service, American Red Cross, Conscription, and Appointments and Commissions.   The collection also includes the routine records associated with the duties of a governor:  Proclamations,   appointments, pardons, extraditions, and correspondence.

In 1917, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was accused of  skipping out on a mortgage on a car. This request for extridition was filed with Gov. Houx's administration.  (WSA Gov Houx gubernatorial papers, extraditions)

In 1917, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was accused of skipping out on a mortgage on a car. This request for extradition was filed with Gov. Houx’s administration. This must have been slightly awkward for Gov. Houx since he was a long time resident of Cody and probably knew the man.[1]
(WSA Gov Houx gubernatorial papers, extraditions)

– Curtis Greubel, State Imaging Center Supervisor


1. UPDATE: Houx and Cody were, in fact, close friends, which would have made this extradition request very awkward indeed. According to Houx’s reminiscences published in the Cody Enterprise, he rushed to Denver upon hearing of Cody’s death in order to claim his body and transport it to Cody for burial, as per Cody’s wishes. Unfortunately, when he arrived he found that Mayor Speer of Denver had already taken charge of the body and made arrangements to bury him on Lookout Mountain.

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A “Fasten-ating” Find

Fasteners are nothing new here in the Archives. We see them everywhere in the records. From the dreaded desiccated rubber-band and rusty staple to the modern binder clip and plastic paper clip. Sometimes we even find straight pins or actual “red tape” ribbon holding papers together. But today we found a unique fastener with a tie to history that goes beyond its document.

"A

During World War II, nearly everything that could possibly aid the war effort was heavily rationed or simply unavailable to civilians,  including sugar, meat, silk, metal, rubber and gasoline. This  encouraged American ingenuity to design products to fill the voids left in the production lines. Apparently by 1945 when this couple was granted a divorce, even metal file clips were considered to be a misuse of precious resources.

IMG_4862 deriv

A side view of the cardboard clip.
(WSA Big Horn County District Court case CV 6047, Nazer vs Nazer)

The clip looks to be pressed cardboard, nearly identical in form to its metal counterparts. Only the sliding bands on the back are metal. Thankfully, this thin case file hasn’t seen much use in the last 69 years so the fastener is in great condition. It may not have held up quite so well in a thick or often accessed file.

The cardboard clip (bottom) is nearly identical in form to the metal clip it replaced. (WSA Big Horn County District Court case CV 6047, Nazer vs Nazer)

The cardboard clip (bottom) is nearly identical in form to the metal clip it replaced.
(WSA Big Horn County District Court case CV 6047, Nazer vs Nazer)

 

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The Short Life of Lacy, Wyoming

In the spring of 1921, surveyors for the Union Pacific Railroad were studying at the land south of Torrington for a proposed route into the Goshen Hole Country.  On their heels were land speculators, several of whom bought the land of Charles Lacy and named a townsite after him.

"Lacy's Corner, 1/2 mile west of Yoder", 1921 (WSA Homesteader Museum Print 19)

“Lacy’s Corner, 1/2 mile west of Yoder”, 1921
(WSA Homesteader Museum Print 19)

Between March and June, the new town of Lacy quickly took shape.  Among its businesses were two general stores, a bank, two restaurants, a dance hall, and a barbershop.  A post office, community club, and baseball team added to the social life of the fledgling community.  In the offering were a Methodist church, school and a drug store.  “Lacy is still in its infancy,” the Torrington Telegram observed in late June 1921, “but is a lively little place.”

Interestingly, according to early reports, the buildings were not on permanent footings just in case they had to be moved.  Three nearby communities – Mason, Springer and Yoder, all near Lacy – hoped the railroad would come through their respective areas.  But as the summer progressed, the future of Lacy looked bright.  Because land owners were in close contact with railroad officials, the prospect of the railroad coming through Lacy seemed certain.

But it was not meant to be.

In June 1921, railroad officials decided to locate the route through Yoder, one quarter mile northeast of Lacy.  On July 4th, the buildings were moved and the town of Lacy was no more.

(WSA Torrington Telegram July 7, 1921 p1)

(WSA Torrington Telegram July 7, 1921 p1)

– Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist

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The Past Future of the University of Wyoming’s Half Acre Gym

Man is of mind and body formed for deeds of high resolve — Percy Bysshe Shelley

So reads the words etched over the entrance of the old gymnasium on the campus of the University of Wyoming. This fall, UW is working towards the completion of Phase I of a renovation of Half Acre Gym on campus, which included the demolition and rebuilding of half of the historic building. The west half of the building was saved and is being remodeled, along with the new east portion, to house modern fitness and wellness facilities.

Half Acre Gym (WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album, ca 1931)

Half Acre Gym soon after completion. You can see a corner of the practice field in the lower right of the photo.  The original entrance and western half of the building (left side of the photo) is being remodeled. The eastern half has been demolished and rebuilt. 
(WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album, ca 1931)

When Half Acre was first opened in 1925, it was a state of the art facility. One of the largest indoor university facilities in the nation, its arena covered about half an acre, thus the name Half Acre Gym. The building was home to the UW/Laramie National Guard Armory as well as the athletics program until the field house was completed in 1951.

Aerial view of the University of Wyoming campus in 1931. Half Acre Gym is the large building located on the very edge of campus at the top of the shot, just to the left of the stadium and athletic fields where the student union now stands.  (WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album)

Aerial view of the University of Wyoming campus in 1931. Half Acre Gym (16) is the large building located on the very edge of campus at the top of the shot, just to the left of the stadium and athletic fields (17) where the student union now stands.
(WSA BCR state government buildings survey photo album)

The following images are part of a lantern slide presentation on the then current and future prospects of UW, created in the late 1920s.

P72-25_49 Print 308, UW Physical Education, New vs Old Gymnasium, 1925-2025, lantern slide

Check out the projected lifetime of the “new” gymnasium. It looks as though at least half of the building will make it to 2025 and beyond. Considering how far exercise and sports medicine has come since 1925, 89 years isn’t anything to sneeze at either. 
(WSA P72-25/49 Print 308)

P72-25_49 Print 309, UW new gymnasium, 1925, lantern slide

The slides themselves are 4 inches by 3.25 inches and made by sandwiching the emulsion layer (the gelatin layer that contains the image) between two pieces of glass. This would then be projected onto a screen or wall for an audience using a candle or later a light bulb. Eventually, glass would give way to celluloid film and the slides would shrink to the familiar 35mm slides before being replaced entirely by digital presentations.

A group of men gather in the Woodmen of the World Hall to view a lantern slide presentation. The contraption on the table is the lantern slide projector.  (WSA Meyers Neg 1009, 1910-1915, photo by Joe Shimitz)

A group of men gather in the Woodmen of the World Hall to view a lantern slide presentation. The contraption on the table is the lantern slide projector.
(WSA Meyers Neg 1009, 1910-1915, photo by Joe Shimitz)

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