Monthly Archives: December 2013

Esther Morris Turns 50…

Or at least her statue turned 50 earlier this month. On December 8, 1963, the bronze statue of Esther Morris was unveiled in front of the Wyoming State Capitol Building.

Secretary of State Thrya Thomson standing beside the statue of Esther Morris. This photo was taken during the 75th Anniversary of statehood celebration in 1965.  (WSA Sub Neg 2669)

Secretary of State Thyra Thomson standing beside the statue of Esther Morris. This photo was taken during the 75th anniversary of statehood celebration in 1965.
(WSA Sub Neg 2669)

The bronze is a replica of the sculpture on display in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. Sculpted by Avard Fairbanks, the statue commemorates Esther Hobart Morris and those who worked to give Wyoming’s women the right to vote in 1869. This piece was the first to represent the state of Wyoming in the national capitol and was joined by one depicting Chief Washakie in 2000. The statue of Morris was the third to depict a woman in the statuary hall.

The story of the statue starts in 1953 when the State of Washington presented their statue depicting Doctor Marcus Whitman. Apparently, it was mentioned during the presentation that Whitman and his wife had crossed South Pass in 1853 on their way to Washington. Senator Lester Hunt, the man behind the bucking horse license plate, witnessed the ceremony and the wheels began to turn. In November of that year, he finally wrote a letter to Frank Bowron, president of the Wyoming Historical Society, laying out his grand vision.

“Each time as my work in the Capitol takes me through this great room of Americana, I have a renewed desire to see Wyoming represented among our sister states…”

(WSA RG0013, Esther Morris Memorial Commission)

Hunt’s letter to Frank Bowron.
(WSA RG0013, Esther Morris Memorial Commission)

Hunt felt that the women of Wyoming would be best qualified to handle the project. Though he proposed to leave the decision in their capable hands, he did offer the suggestion that perhaps Esther Morris should be memorialized for her work in championing suffrage in the state.

The official Esther Morris Memorial Commission was created by Governor Simpson in 1955, at the request of the State Legislature. The Wyoming State Historical Society asked interested parties around the state for their opinion as to who should be memorialized. Morris was by far the most popular, with Jim Bridger coming in a weak second. But not everyone was happy with the decision. Dr. T.A. Larson, professor of history at the University of Wyoming, wrote several lengthy letters to the editor of the Laramie Boomerang that were published. He believed that was little proof that Morris was as influential as folklore claimed she was.

Once the decision was made to immortalize Morris, members raised the funds necessary and commissioned Dr. Avard Fairbanks, who had inspired Sen. Hunt with his statue of Whitman.The statue was unveiled in Washington D.C. in 1960 with former Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross representing the state and office of the governor. State Representative Endness Wilkinson made the official presentation. All three of Wyoming’s congressmen, Sen. Joseph O’Mahoney, Sen. Gale McGee and Rep. Keith Thomson also spoke at the ceremony.

Tourism Photos, Esther Morris statue unveiling crop1

Removing the covering from the statue. Secretary of State Thyra Thomson watches to the side.
(WSA Dept of Tourism slide)

In 1961, the State Legislature provided $7500 to place a replica of the statue to be placed at the state capitol building. The Commission was organized by Governor Jack Gage and consisted of seven citizens, some of whom had served on the original commission.

On a clear but chilly December day in 1963, the statue was finally placed in front of the Capitol Building. According to the newspaper “A crowd of 125… stuck by the ceremonies despite temperatures in the low 30s and a bone-chilling wind which caused most speakers to pare their remarks drastically.” Thyra Thomson stated that this statue honored not only the women of Wyoming but also “the men who put action to their words.”

Tourism Photos, Esther Morris statue unveiling crop2

Governor Cliff Hansen, the only male speaker at the ceremony, gives his very brief comments. According to the newspaper he “skipped all but the last paragraph of his prepared speech.” The Central High School band, who provided the day’s music, is seated on the steps of the Capitol behind him.
(WSA Dept of Tourism slide)

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Friday Foodie: Amber Marmalade

Citrus fruit is in season, so how about a recipe to use it! Today’s Friday Foodie recipe comes from Ida D. Foote by way of The Evanston Cook Book of Tested Recipes collected by the Presbyterian Aid Society in Evanston, Wyoming, in 1914.

The four 'Foote' cousins -  Sybil, Helen, Ida, Grace, photo by Charles S. Baker, ca 1915. (WSA Sub Neg 6186)

The four ‘Foote’ cousins – Sybil, Helen, Ida, Grace, photo by Charles S. Baker, ca 1915. 
(WSA Sub Neg 6186)

Ida D. Foote was the daughter of Mark W. and Rose M. Foote. She was born in Indiana in 1878, the oldest and only girl of their four children. In 1916, she married Van A. Rupe in Evanston.

Ida's marriage announcement as published in the Wyoming Press 7-6-1916, p1

Ida’s marriage announcement as published in the Wyoming Press 7-6-1916, p1

Miss Foote contributed several recipes to the book, but today’s feature is her Amber Marmalade.

Shave 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 grapefruit very thin, rejecting nothing but seeds and core. Measure the fruit and add 3 times the quantity of water. Let stand in an earthen dish over night, and the next morning boil for 10 minutes. Stand another night and second morning add part for part of sugar and fruit. Boil steadily until it jellies. This makes 12 glasses.

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Friday Foodie: Cooking for a Crowd

Are you expecting a crowd for Christmas Dinner? Maybe this recipe for Gingerbread from the US Army’s official recipe book will help. After all, they are experts at feeding a crowd.

War Department Technical Manual TM-10-412, 1946  (WSA 641.5 W37)

War Department Technical Manual TM-10-412, 1946
(WSA 641.5 W37)

 

Army Recipe Book, TM 10-412, gingerbread deriv

Gingerbread

1 pound shortening
1 1/2 pounds sugar, granulated
5 eggs
1 3/4 quarts molasses
4 1/2 pounds flour, sifted
3/4 ounce baking powder (2 mess kit spoons)
1 1/2 ounces baking soda (2 1/2 mess kit spoons)
1/2 ounce salt (1 mess kit spoon)
1 1/4 ounces ginger (5 mess kit spoons)
1/2 ounce cinnamon (1 mess kit spoon)
1 1/2 quarts water

1. Stir shortening until soft and smooth.

2. Add sugar gradually; mix throughly.

3. Add unbeaten eggs a few at a time, beating after each addition until well mixed. Beat thoroughly at this stage to insure light, tender cake.

4. Add molasses and beat well.

5. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon together twice.

6. Add dry ingredients and water alternately to egg and sugar mixture, first adding about 1/3 dry ingredients, then 1/2 water, then another 1/3 dry ingredients and remaining water and dry ingredients.

7. Mix thoroughly but avoid over mixing.

8. Place in greased sheet pans. Bake in moderate oven (350 F) for 30-35 minutes or until done.

Note: This recipe makes 2 sheet pans (18 x 26 x 1 inches) or 7 loaf pans (9 7/8 x 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 inches) or 200 individual cakes 3 inches in diameter.

Yield: 100 servings, each 3 1/2 x 2 1/3 x 1 1/4 inches.

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Friday Foodie: Estelle Reel Meyer’s Fruit Cake

Today’s Friday Foodie recipe comes from the scrapbook of Estelle Reel Meyer, the nation’s first woman elected to public office in the United States (Wyoming’s Superintendent of Public Instruction 1894-1898) and Director of Indian Education for the Bureau of Indian Affairs 1898-1910. Her extensive and eclectic scrapbooks also contain various beauty remedies and exercises, eye wash prescriptions and a recipe for a cholera cure.

Estelle Reel Meyer, 1890s (WSA No Neg)

Estelle Reel Meyer, 1890s
(WSA No Neg)

Meyer, Estelle Reel, scrapbook recipe for fruit cake, nd

Estelle’s Fruit Cake

1 pound of sugar
1 pound and a half of flour
16 eggs
Brandy, quarter of a pint
Raisins, 4 pounds
Currents, 2 pounds
1 1/2 teacups molasses
1 spoon full of soda
1 spoon full of cinnamon
1 spoon full of cloves
1 spoon full of nutmeg

Bake 4 hours if all put in one cake.

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Wyoming’s Civil War Legacy

150 years ago, before Wyoming was even a territory, the United States was in the middle of a bloody civil war. Even though Wyoming did not exist during the actual fight, the territory, and later state, felt the repercussions of the war for decades.

Did you know….

— Francis E. Warren, Wyoming’s last territorial governor, 1st state governor and 2nd state senator to congress, won the medal of honor for bravery at Port Hudson, Louisiana. (Of course you knew that. You just read his WyoWhiskers profile, right?)

(WSA Sub Neg 19423)

Sen. Francis E. Warren
(WSA Sub Neg 19423)

— On March 11, 1890, the Wyoming Territorial Legislature passed a law requiring public agencies to give preference to honorably discharged Union soldiers and sailors for public jobs. This law would still apply when Wyoming became a state that July.

Wyoming State Legislature House Chambers before the current chambers were completed in 1917.  (WSA Sub Neg 5712)

Wyoming State Legislature House Chambers before the current chambers were completed in 1917.
(WSA Sub Neg 5712)

— The 1890 Federal Census population schedule for Wyoming was lost to a fire, but the Veterans Schedule still exists. According to the 1890 statistics, 39,343 of Wyoming’s 60,705 in habitats were male. Of these, there were 1,171 Union Civil War veterans, 17 of whom were black, and 62 widows living in Wyoming in 1890. The census also counted 94 Confederate veterans and 8 widows. Wyoming’s Civil War veteran population was the 4th smallest in the nation. Only Arizona, Utah and Nevada claimed fewer. The state with the fewest Confederate veterans? Vermont with only 11. (Wyoming was 41st of 49 states and territories)

A page from the 1890 Veterans Schedule. This page includes Theodore Bath. Bath, a talented stone mason, built the stone houses called Bath Row in Laramie. The houses remaining on Bath Row are now on the National Register of Historic Places.

A page from the 1890 Veterans Schedule. These schedules includes information about  the veteran’s rank, unit and service.  (image from Ancestry.com)

— By 1910, between 25 and 30 percent of Wyoming’s population aged 65 and over was receiving a Civil War pension.

A group of Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) members (WSA Meyers Neg 174)

A group of Wyoming Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) members, photo by Joseph Shimitz.
(WSA Meyers Neg 174)

— Levi L. Davis enlisted with Company E, 11th Illinois Infantry on August 15, 1862 and was discharged on July 14, 1865 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   After the war he married, had a family, and was a farmer in Union County, Illinois.  In the early 1900s, he moved to Buffalo, where he did odd jobs.  Davis was the last Civil War veteran admitted to Wyoming Soldiers and Sailors Home in Buffalo, Wyoming, in December 1930.  He was also the last Civil War veteran to die at the home on January 16, 1933. The Soldiers and Sailors Home is now called the Veteran’s Home of Wyoming.

Soldiers and Sailors Home in Buffalo, Wyoming, ca. 1930.  (WSA BCR Album)

Soldiers and Sailors Home in Buffalo, Wyoming, ca. 1930.
(WSA BCR Album)

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Happy Wyoming Day!

Since it became official in 1935, the State of Wyoming has celebrated Wyoming Day on December 10th. Why December 10th and not July 10th, the day we became a state? Well, because the ladies of the Wyoming Federation of Women’s Clubs requested it be celebrated in December. From 1917 until it became official in 1935, each state legislature passed a resolution proclaiming December 10th Wyoming Day.

December 10th holds a special place in the history of Wyoming and the nation because on that day in 1869, Territorial Governor John A. Campbell signed the bill known as the women’s suffrage act into law. This was the first legislation passed to insure women the right to vote in all state-wide elections and the right to hold public office. The law predated the 19th Amendment by 51 years.[1]

The original 1869 act, signed on December 10, 1869, granting the women of Wyoming the right to vote and hold public office.

The original 1869 act, signed on December 10, 1869, granting the women of Wyoming the right to vote and hold public office.

During the Wyoming Constitutional Convention in 1889, the delegated debated whether and how suffrage should be included in the new state’s laws. During these debates, Melville C. Brown of Albany County, and president of the convention, provided the following summary of the history of suffrage in Wyoming:

“It has been said….that the proposition to give women the right to vote in Wyoming was originally presented in jest. I think the rumor is not well founded. It is well-known among the early residents of this territory that the then president, or presiding officer of one branch of the legislature, a Mr. Bright, of the county of Sweetwater, was an honorable and able advocate of the right of suffrage to women and of granting that right to women.[2]

William H. Bright, legislator from Carter (now Sweetwater) County and president of the Council, introduced the bill for women's suffrage to the 1869 Territorial Legislature. (WSA Sub Neg 1468)

William H. Bright, legislator from Carter (now Sweetwater) County and president of the Council, introduced the bill for women’s suffrage to the 1869 Territorial Legislature.
(WSA Sub Neg 1468)

When the legislature, the first in Wyoming, convened at the capitol, a lady of this city, Mrs. Esther Morris, presented a bill to Mr. Bright, asking the favorable action of the legislature upon that question.[3] The question was considered by the legislature, and whether or not there was some of its members who treated it as a matter of jest, I know not, but that measure was adopted in serious earnestness there is not doubt.

Esther Hobart Morris is credited with convincing William Bright, President of the first Wyoming Territorial Council, to introduce the woman's suffrage bill to the legislature. Morris would later become the first female Justice of the Peace in the nation. (WSA Sub Neg 2666)

Esther Hobart Morris is credited with convincing William Bright, President of the first Wyoming Territorial Council, to introduce the woman’s suffrage bill to the legislature. Morris would later become the first female Justice of the Peace in the nation.
(WSA Sub Neg 2666)

The second legislature of Wyoming convened at the capital and a bill was introduced by a member of that body to repeal the former bill. The question was seriously and earnestly considered in that legislature, and I know the temper of the men who then discussed it, because I was a member of that legislature, and question of woman’s suffrage in that legislature became a political question. It happened that it was presented by a Democrat, some feelings had arisen among the members of the convention and some hostility had grown up  amongst them against the executive of the territory at that time because of certain veto measures; growing out of this feeling the party lash was brought down, and after the bill repealing this law had been passed by a majority of the members of the legislature, the governor vetoed it. It came back for reconsideration and the veto of the governor was sustained, notwithstanding the fact that the party lash was brought down upon the backs of members of that convention who were Democratic in their opinion, and by reason of this party lash many of them were forced to vote against their convictions and give their support to the question of woman’s suffrage in Wyoming.[4]

Hon. Melville C. Brown, member of the 2nd Territorial Legislature and president of the 1889 Wyoming Constitutional Convention. (WSA Sub Neg 1489)

Hon. Melville C. Brown, member of the 2nd Territorial Legislature and president of the 1889 Wyoming Constitutional Convention.
(WSA Sub Neg 1489)

From that day to the present no man in the legislature of Wyoming has been heard to raise his voice against it. It has become one of the fundamental laws of the land, and to raise any question about it at this time is as improper in my judgment as to raise any question as to the fundamental right guaranteed to any citizen in this territory.[5] I would sooner think, Mr. Chairman, of submitting to the people of Wyoming a separate and distinct proposition as to whether a male citizen of the territory shall be entitled to vote. If we are at this time to discriminate between men and women as to this elective franchise let us put them upon the same common basis, and let us, if we are to vote as a people upon this question of suffrage, cover the whole ground and not a part of it.”[6]

________________

1. Technically, Wyoming’s women were not the first women in America to vote in a national election. Between 1797 and 1807, the women who owned property in New Jersey were allowed to vote, making them the first women to vote in a nationwide election. Women in other states were not specifically barred from voting by the Constitution, as voting requirements were left up to individual states. In 1807, national voting requirements were clarified to exclude slaves and aliens from voting, changing the language to specify white males over 21 years old. Because of the wording, women were also excluded. Apparently the women of New Jersey did not put up much resistance to the loss of their voting rights. Wyoming’s women were the first to be specifically guaranteed the right to vote and hold public office.

2. Bright was a Territorial Councilman and president of the first Territorial Council (similar to today’s Senate.) He represented Carter County, which was later renamed Sweetwater County.

3. In 1889, Esther Morris was living in Cheyenne as mentioned by Brown, but in 1869, she was a resident of South Pass City, the county seat of Carter County.

4. Interestingly enough, this outcome was correctly and precisely predicted by the Cheyenne Daily Leader which wrote on November 18, 1871: “The repeal of the act granting suffrage to females in Wyoming passed the House yesterday by a strict party vote, ten Democrats to three Republicans. Heretofore this question has not taken the position of a party measure, but now the Democracy are irrevocably recorded as against the measure, whatever merit or demerit may attach to it. The course of the bill is plain. The bill for the repeal having passed the House, we prognosticate as follows, concerning its fate: Its transmission to the Council and passage of the repeal by a vote of five to four; its veto by the Governor; passage over the veto in the House, and a failure in the Council to obtain the requisite two-thirds cote necessary to final passage. This is the probable fate of the present bill, thus leaving female suffrage an established fact in Wyoming.”

5. Native Americans were not granted suffrage until congress passed the Indian Citizen Act of 1924. But since they were not considered citizens of the United States until then, this statement was technically true in 1889.

6. Wyoming Constitutional Convention Proceedings and Debates, 1889, p 352-353.

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Friday Foodie: Governor’s Mansion Hollandaise Sauce

In 1965, First Lady Martha Close Hansen helped to compile a cookbook full of Wyoming family recipes for the 75th anniversary of statehood. This was a special anniversary for Wyoming as there were still many people living who had either seen the original statehood celebration or had heard about it from those who had lived it.

Publicity photo for the Cooking Wyoming cookbook. Mrs. Martha Hansen and three ladies all dressed in period dresses in the Historic Governor's Mansion. The Hansens lived in the house from 1963 to 1967. (WSA Cheyenne Star P83-11/269)

Publicity photo for the Cooking in Wyoming cookbook. Mrs. Martha Hansen and three ladies all dressed in period dresses in the Historic Governor’s Mansion. The Hansens lived in the house from 1963 to 1967.
(WSA Cheyenne Star P83-11/269)

One entire section of the book was dedicated to Wyoming’s first ladies’ recipes and included submissions from Mrs. Robert D. (Julia) Carey, Nellie Tayloe Ross, Mrs. Frank (Jean) Emerson, Mrs. Leslie (Margaret) Miller, Mrs. Nels (Marie) Smith, Mrs. Lester (Emily) Hunt, Mrs. Frank (Alice) Barrett,  Mrs. C.J. (Mabel) Rodgers, Mrs. Milward (Lorna) Simpson, Mrs. Joe (Winifred) Hickey, Mrs. Jack (Leona) Gage,  and  of course Mrs. Cliff (Martha) Hansen.

Cooking in Wyoming, 1965 (WSA 641 H249)

Cooking in Wyoming, 1965
(WSA 641 H249)

Hollandaise Sauce (submitted by Martha Hansen)

When we first came to the [Governor’s] Mansion, Mrs. Conroy, our housekeeper, said that she would try to cook anything we asked her to, except Hollandaise Sauce. We tried this recipe and she has made it successfully every time. We serve it often with vegetables. 

1/2 cup butter  or margarine
1/4 cup hot water
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne

Melt butter or margarine in top of double boiler over simmering water; stir in hot water. Remove top from heat and set on work surface. Add unbeaten egg yolk all at once; beat with electric or rotary beater 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is almost double in bulk. Stir in lemon juice, salt and cayenne.

Place over simmering water again; cook, stiring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thickened.

(Be sure water in lower part does not touch bottom of upper part or boil at any time during cooking.)

Remove sauce from heat; let stand, uncovered until serving time. To reheat: Place over simmering water again and stir lightly for 2-3 minutes (In reheating, sauce may lose some of its fluffiness but it will keep its golden rich creaminess.)

Fake Hollandaise

If you are in a hurry.

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cook milk and mayonnaise together in top of double boiler for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper; stir.

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