Category Archives: This Day in Wyoming History…

The “Other” Governor Ross: William B. Ross

William B. Ross was born in Dover, Tennessee on December 4, 1873. He attended Peabody Normal School in Nashville.  He moved to Cheyenne in 1901 and soon developed a successful law practice. Ross had met Nellie Tayloe, of a prominent Nebraska family, in Dover while she was visiting family. They married in Omaha in 1902 and made their home in Cheyenne. They would have four children.  

Governor William B. Ross (WSA Sub Neg 2946)

Governor William B. Ross
(WSA Sub Neg 2946)

Ross was a member of the Episcopal Church, a Mason, and a member of the State Board of Law Examiners. He was also a charter member of the Young Men’s Literary Club, founded in 1902.  Ross served as prosecuting attorney for Laramie County from 1906 to 1907 and campaigned unsuccessfully for Congress in 1910 and for Governor in 1918.

Ross, a Democrat, again campaigned for the office of Governor in 1922 and was nominated by his party.  In the general election he benefited from a divisive Republican campaign between incumbent Robert Carey and John W. Hay of Rock Springs.  Carey was well liked, but many voters felt more should be done to reduce taxes and Hay took advantage of the poor economic climate.  Hay won the primary election by a fairly narrow margin.   Ross won the general election by 723 votes, apparently benefiting from crossover voting by Carey supporters and stronger prohibition views.  

Following his inauguration at the Capitol Building, Robert Carey (in dark coat on steps) officially turns the governor's mansion over to William B. Ross. (right) (WSA Jackson-Hoover Collection 31-8)

Following his inauguration at the Capitol Building, Robert Carey (in dark coat on steps) officially turns the governor’s mansion over to William B. Ross. (right)
(WSA Jackson-Hoover Collection 31-8)

The new Governor addressed prohibition, which had been law since 1920, in his address to the legislature:  “In order to secure enforcement,” said Ross, “It is necessary for the Executive to have the power to remove any officer who fails to discharge his full duty in this regard.” Although there were incidents of egregious zeal in the enforcement of prohibition law, local officials were more likely to ignore violations.  Governor Ross feared that violation of the law was “breeding contempt for all laws.” In 1923 he recommended imprisonment for first offenders, but stiffer penalties made jury convictions less likely.  During his time in office Ross brought about the resignations of two elected county officials for failure to enforce prohibition law.

 

Fremont County Sheriff Frank Toy was accused of failing to enforce prohibition laws and received a hearing in front of Governor Ross. Sheriff Toy later resigned. (WSA H73-19, Toy, Sheriff Frank folder)

Fremont County Sheriff Frank Toy was accused of failing to enforce prohibition laws and received a hearing in front of Governor Ross. Sheriff Toy later resigned.
(WSA H73-19, Toy, Sheriff Frank folder)

Republicans controlled both houses after the 1922 election, but Ross, stressing strict measures to meet a national economic crisis, got along well with the Republicans. He favored consolidation of state departments, and emphasized the need for the state to live within its income. He also supported a prepared military ready to be called on if the international situation warranted.

wy-arrg0001_22_0001_04_general correspondence a-z-7

Governor Ross supported a strong US military in light of the nation’s reticence to join the League of Nations.
(WSA Gov WB Ross gubernatorial records, RG0001.22 general correspondence file)

As the 1924 election approached, Ross, known for his eloquent speeches, stumped for an amendment to the state constitution to allow for the collection of a severance tax on oil to increase state revenues. After speaking in Laramie on the topic on September 23, Governor Ross became ill with acute appendicitis.   Surgery was performed on the 25th, but the Governor did not recover.  He died on October 2, 1924.  

Secretary of State Frank Lucas served as Acting Governor for the last few months of the year.  The office of Governor was added to the 1924 ballot and Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected to succeed her husband as Governor, becoming the first woman to fill that office in the United States. Wyoming residents did not approve the severance tax amendment for which William Ross had fought. A significant percentage of people who voted on the amendment (39,109 for to 27,795 against) favored its adoption.  However, many of the 84,822 voters did not cast a vote on the issue, so the needed majority of electors was not achieved.  

The official records of Governor William B. Ross in the Wyoming State Archives are relatively scant.  The collection consists of a few files of correspondence, records of appointments, requisitions and extraditions, and a several miscellaneous documents.

–Curtis Greubel, State Imaging Center Supervisor

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Let There Be Light!: 1st Prep Football Night Game

90 years ago today, the little town of Midwest, Wyoming, made high school sports history by hosting the first night football game.

Midwest Review Dec 1925 p31

The 1925 Midwest Yellow Dogs (WSA Midwest Review December 1925 p31)

Midwest was a company town for the Midwest Refining Company. The Company prided itself on treating employees like family and invested much time and effort into moral and community building for the men and their families. Due to their schedules, few of the roughnecks were able to enjoy prep football games, especially as the daylight shortened in the late fall. Several artificially lit collegiate football games had been played, but in 1925, this technology had not been attempted at the high school level.

Casper Herald 11-19-1925 p2

At 7:30 pm on the night of November 19, 1925, the Midwest Yellow Dogs kicked off against the Casper High School team under the glare of twelve 1,000 candle electric lights, four 2,000 candle lights, “one great light… set on the top of a neighboring [oil] rig” and several smaller gas lights. The Company had purchased and erected the lighting apparatus and the team boosters used the profits from the presale of tickets to help offset the cost. Nearly 1,000 spectators watched the two teams fight over the white enameled football.

Casper Herald November 20, 1925 p2

Casper Herald November 20, 1925 p2

In the end, the Casper team was victorious shutting out the home team 20-0.

Midwest Review December 1925 p14

Midwest Review December 1925 p14

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This Day in Wyoming History… Dedication of Wyoming’s First Synagogue

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the dedication of Wyoming’s first synagogue – Mt. Sinai in Cheyenne.

In October 1915, photographer Joseph Shimitz documented the dedication of Mount Sinai Synagogue, Wyoming first synagogue.  The Mt. Sinai Congregation was incorporated in December 1910, and six years later a $20,000 [1] building was constructed at 1921 Pioneer Avenue.

This drawing of the completed Mt. Sinai Synagogue accompanied the newspaper coverage of the dedication ceremony. (WSA Cheyenne State Leader, October , 1915)

This drawing of the completed Mt. Sinai Synagogue accompanied the newspaper coverage of the dedication ceremony.
(WSA Cheyenne State Leader, October 26, 1915)

Before the building was constructed an impressive dedication service was held on Sunday, October 24, 1915.  The Cheyenne State Leader reported a large attendance at the ceremony.  Among the speakers were Mayor Robert n. LaFontaine and former Governor Joseph M. Carey.

Senator Joseph M. Carey speaking at the dedication. (WSA Meyers Neg 4342)

Senator Joseph M. Carey speaking at the dedication.
(WSA Meyers Neg 4342, photo by Shimitz)

The synagogue served the congregation for many years until 1951 when the present synagogue at 2610 Pioneer was constructed. A plaque marks the site of the first building, now part of the City and County Building. 

The cornerstone for the synagogue. (WSA Meyers Neg 4317)

The cornerstone for the synagogue.
(WSA Meyers Neg 4317, photo by Shimitz)

 

Interior of the Synagogue after completion. (WSA Meyers Neg 1243, photo by Joe Shimitz)

Interior of the Synagogue after completion.
(WSA Meyers Neg 1243, photo by Shimitz)

— Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist

 


 

1. Accounting for inflation, the building would have cost over $460,000 today.

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This Day in Wyoming History: Crystal Dam Completed

Crystal Dam has provided the City of Cheyenne with dependable drinking water and recreation opportunities for 105 years.

Crystal Dam taken shortly after completion, before being filled with water, 1910 (WSA J.E. Stimson Collection 5401)

Crystal Dam taken shortly after completion, before being filled with water, 1910
(WSA J.E. Stimson Collection Neg 5701)

On August 5th, 1910, the newspapers announced that Crystal Dam would be completed the following day at which time the City of Cheyenne would it take over.

Cheyenne State Leader, August 05, 1910, page 3

Cheyenne State Leader, August 05, 1910, page 3

Timing could not have been better. The summer of 1910 was a scorcher, with high temps, very little moisture and low snow melt from a dry winter. Water was running low and the quality was barely tolerable.

The City had had enough foresight to build the Granite Reservoir and Round Top water treatment plant only a few years earlier, which helped ease some of the drought, but many were still worried. The hope was that the water issue would be solved for the time being with this new addition to the infrastructure.

Construction continues (WSA H55-53/48, from hand-colored lantern slide)

Construction begins
(WSA H55-53/48, from hand-colored lantern slide)

Sub Neg 23949, Construction of Crystal Reservoir Dam

Looking up the valley from what is now the reservoir.
(WSA Sub Neg 23949)

Construction of Crystal Dam  (WSA Sub Neg 18838)

(WSA Sub Neg 18838)

30 inch and 20 inch pipes laid at this same time between the upper and lower Crow Creeks, Granite Reservoir, the new Crystal Reservoir and Cheyenne carried water to the town and Fort Russell (now Warren Air Force Base.)

 

Men laying the 30 inch supply line to bring water from the reservoirs into Cheyenne, ca 1910. (WSA H55-53/91, from lantern slide)

Men laying the 30 inch supply line to bring water from the reservoirs into Cheyenne, ca 1910.
(WSA H55-53/91, from lantern slide)

In an effort to protect the water supply from contaminants, the dry reservoir bed was cleared of debris and plant material burned prior to water being added. Several railroad cars of charcoal were also laid in “purification” beds and dams between Granite and Crystal reservoirs and below Crystal Dam to further remove contaminants before the water entered the City’s pipes.

Group of people in the dry reservoir bed after the completion of the dam. (WSA H55-53/99, from hand-colored lantern slide)

Group standing in the dry reservoir bed after the completion of the dam.
(WSA H55-53/99, from hand-colored lantern slide)

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More Than A Handsome ‘Stache: Fenimore Chatterton

Fenimore Chatterton and his iconic mustaches.  (WSA No Neg, governors)

Fenimore Chatterton and his signature mustaches.
(WSA No Neg, governors)

Fenimore Chatterton was born July 21, 1860 in Oswego, New York.  His family moved to Washington D.C. when he was a young child.  There he took preparatory classes at Columbian University (Now George Washington University) and later graduated from Millersville State Normal School in Lancaster, PA.  Chatterton then studied law under an attorney in Washington, before lack of funds sent him job hunting.  After brief employment in Chicago, he moved to Grinnell, Iowa where he earned enough money to attend the State Teachers Institute and obtain a teaching certificate.

Western opportunity continued to beckon and in 1878 Chatterton found employment in a mercantile business at Fort Fred Steele in Carbon County, Wyoming.  He eventually acquired the business, becoming post trader.  The fort was abandoned in 1886, removing the main source of income for the young businessman.    He relocated to the town of Saratoga, an area he enjoyed visiting.  In 1888, the Republican Party sought him as a candidate for Carbon County’s treasurer and probate judge.  He sold his store and ran a successful campaign for the offices.   Two years later he was elected to the first state legislature as a senator representing Carbon and Natrona Counties and again served in that capacity in the second legislature.

Although he was admitted to the Wyoming Bar in 1891, Chatterton felt the need to further his education.  He left Wyoming for a year and graduated from the University of Michigan law department in 1892.  He returned to Rawlins and began a law practice which lasted until 1898.  He also served as Carbon County attorney for two terms beginning in 1894.

Chatterton's law office in Rawlins, 1894-1899. Rev. Bateman standing in the doorway. (WSA Sub Neg 1613)

Chatterton’s law office in Rawlins, 1894-1899. Rev. Bateman standing in the doorway.
(WSA Sub Neg 1613)

Chatterton was involved with several other Republicans in an effort to keep Francis E. Warren from regaining his U.S. Senate seat in 1893.  The two were not on friendly terms after that and Chatterton felt this resulted in obstacles being placed in his career path.  In spite of this, Chatterton won his party’s nomination for Secretary of State for the 1898 election.  During what must have been an exhausting campaign, Chatterton and Republican gubernatorial candidate DeForest Richards traveled 1,500 miles by buckboard, attending 45 rallies, each of which was followed by a dance.  The rally in Buffalo consisted of Chatterton, Richards, and the Republican county chairman.  The Johnson County War, blamed on Republicans, still rankled in that part of the state.

The campaign effort paid off as Richards and Chatterton were elected.  Both were re-elected in 1902.  However, the team was separated on April 28, 1903 when Richards died just a few months into his second term.  Chatterton served as acting governor until January 2, 1905.

One of Chatterton’s most difficult challenges during his time in the executive office was the Tom Horn case.  Horn, whose talents as a scout and gunman were employed in various legal and illegal pursuits, had been convicted of killing young Willie Nickell, the son of an Iron Mountain area sheep rancher.  When Horn was convicted of first degree murder, great pressure was put on Chatterton to commute the death sentence.  He studied the evidence and, in spite of political coercion and threats on his life, chose not to “reverse the judgment of the courts.”

One of many letters, this unnamed woman wrote Chatterton begging him to grant Tom Horn a reprieve saying,

One of many letters, this unnamed woman wrote Chatterton begging him to grant Tom Horn a reprieve saying, “I read your statement with verry mutch Greif, in regards to Horns Sentents. I wish oh! how I do wish, that you could grant the poor Forsaken his wish until some thing more comes to light & then you will have no thought of sorrow in the future that you had done such a great rong.
for if he still Lives, it would not be so bad. trusting that you could give him a Life sentence in stead of the ___ one he has.
I would beg your Pardon a thousand times over for writting this letter to you. My name I wont reveal at present.”
(WSA RG 0001.16, General Records, Tom Horn correspondence reprieve, spelling retained)

When Chatterton’s political career ended at the close of his second term as Secretary of State, he turned his attention to developing the agricultural potential of Fremont County.  From 1907 to 1914 he was employed as the attorney and general manager of the Wyoming Central Irrigation Company, which was granted the right by the state to build a canal system in lands ceded from the Wind River Reservation.  Later, he practiced law at Riverton from 1914 to 1927.  He moved to Cheyenne where he served on the State Board of Equalization and the Wyoming Public Service Commission. He also continued his law practice.

Chatterton on right. Possibly the Wyoming Board of Equalization in the Capitol Building, ca 1927. (WSA Meyers Neg 823)

The Wyoming Board of Equalization in the Capitol Building, ca 1927. Left to Right: C.H. McWhinnie, Claude L. Draper, and Fenimore Chatterton. 
(WSA Meyers Neg 823, photo by Joe Shimitz)

Chatterton had married Stella Wyland in 1900.  They had two daughters, Eleanor and Constance. The Chattertons left Wyoming in 1937, retiring to property near Arvada, Colorado.  Mrs. Chatterton died in 1954.  The Governor passed away four years later on May 9, 1958, two months short of his 98th birthday.

Chatterton with his wife and daughters. Turning water into the dam at Riverton, 1903. (WSA Sub Neg 20081)

Chatterton with his wife and daughters. Opening gate for water into the dam at Riverton, 1903.
(WSA Sub Neg 20081)

Surviving records from Governor Chatterton’s years as Acting Governor include 1904 election returns, reports on fish hatcheries, records concerning the work of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and Wyoming’s participation in the event, registers of visitors to the Exposition’s agriculture exhibits, general correspondence, 1903 report on the mine explosion at Hanna, appointment records, a proclamation issued upon the death of Governor DeForest Richards, petitions for pardons, requisitions and extraditions, records concerning the Lightning Creek Raid, a few records concerning the opening of the Wind River Reservation to settlement, and records related to the Tom Horn case.

In this letter to Secretary of the Interior E.A. Hitchcock, Chatterton attempts to set the record straight about rumors of mob threats against Native Americans jailed in Weston County for killing game and cattle in an incident known as the Lightening Creek Raid. He also states that Wyoming intends to prosecute them, citing the Race Horse case of 1895 in which the US Supreme Court ruled that state game laws applied to Native Americans.  (WSA RG 0001.16, letterpress book p.131-132)

In this letter to Secretary of the Interior E.A. Hitchcock, Chatterton attempts to set the record straight about rumors of mob threats against Native Americans jailed in Weston County for killing game and cattle in an incident known as the Lightening Creek Raid. He also states that Wyoming intends to prosecute them, citing the Race Horse case of 1895 in which the US Supreme Court ruled that state game laws applied to Native Americans.
(WSA RG 0001.16, letterpress book p.131-132)

— Curtis Greubel, State Imaging Center Supervisor

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We, The People of Wyoming: Wyoming’s Constitution at 125

Tomorrow, July 10th marks the 125th anniversary of Wyoming statehood. To celebrate, join us here in the Archives from 3-8 pm to see portions of the actual document on display along with the pen used by the delegates to sign it! If you can’t make it tomorrow, check out our online exhibit.

Archives Constitution Exhibit 2015 - title panel 30x30 text cutout (1)

Did you know….

  • 45 of the 55 delegates elected to the convention signed the constitution.
  • The handwritten document is 108 pages long.
  • Governor F.E. Warren called for a constitutional convention without Congressional approval
  • The Wyoming constitution contains much wording that was borrowed from other constitutions, including  Pennsylvania , Montana, Illinois, Nebraska and Nevada as well as 17 other states
  • Two sections are unique to Wyoming: universal suffrage and irrigation and water rights.
  • Wyoming’s revolutionary water policies laid out in the constitution were copies by 12 other western states
  • Despite the fear that including women’s suffrage in the constitution would delay statehood, many delegates were set on including it. During the discussion, Charles Burritt of Johnson County even said, “If we cannot come into the union of states with a platform of right, why then we will stay out and willingly remain in a territorial form of government until all of us have passed away to the grave.”

 

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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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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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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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