Tag Archives: Governor

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 four children; Carrie Pearl, Horace, Earl and Florence.

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)

Vera, Mercedes and Thora, Houx’s daughters by his second wife Ida. 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, 1915)

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.  Three more girls would be added to the Houx family; Vera, Mercedes and Thora.

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.

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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This Day is Wyoming History… Happy Birthday Governor & Senator Barrett

Today is the birthday of former governor, US Senator and World War I veteran Frank Barrett.

No Neg, P73-3-2, H65-208-2, Frank Barrett portrait, with handwritten comments

Happy Birthday to Wyoming Governor and Senator Frank Barrett!
(WSA P73-3/2)

Frank A. Barrett was born in Omaha, Nebraska on November 10, 1892. He resided in Omaha during the early years of his life, graduating from hometown Creighton University in 1913 and from Creighton’s law school in 1916.

Barrett Collection school record examples

Examples of Senator Barrett’s middle and university school records. He presented the speech “A Usable Wage” in Chreighton’s 1913 annual oratorical contest.
(WSA H97-33)

During World War I he served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army’s Balloon Corps. After the war he married his childhood sweetheart, Alice Donoghue, in 1919. They were married by Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys’ Town. Shortly thereafter the young couple moved to Lusk, Wyoming where Frank set up shop as an attorney.

Barrett Print 4, Alice Barrett and children, 1920s-30s

After college, Barrett married his childhood sweetheart, Alice.
(WSA Barrett Print 4, Alice Barrett and children, ca 1928)

Barrett served as Niobrara County Attorney from 1923 to1932. His public service career then shifted to the state legislature, where he served from 1933 to 1935. He lost a 1936 bid for a U.S. Congressional seat, but succeeded in that effort six years later. He served as Wyoming’s Representative until 1950, when he was elected Governor of Wyoming. Historian T.A. Larson noted that while in Congress Barrett “acquired a reputation for folksiness, alertness to the needs of his constituents, and attention to details.”

Barrett Print 64, Gov Barrett at desk in Capitol 1951026

Governor Barrett seated at his desk in the Capitol Building, 1951.
(WSA Barrett Print 64)

Barrett only served two years as Governor of Wyoming, winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1952. He was Senator for six years, but failed in re-election efforts in 1958 and 1960. Senator Barrett died on May 30, 1962.

H97-33, Congressional Records and Senate report by Barrett023

Three opinions and reports given by Barrett during his time as US Senator.
(WSA H97-33)

The records of Governor Barrett maintained by the Wyoming State Archives consist of subject files maintained by his staff. Through correspondence, reports and meeting minutes, the files document interaction with state officials and agencies, and cover issues of concern to the state at that time.

Sub Neg 176 deriv, Sen Barrett attaching name plate made by Mrs Opal Templeton of Lusk

Senator Barrett attaching the bucking horse name plate made by Mrs Opal Templeton of Lusk to his office door.
(WSA Sub Neg 176)

Personal papers and political records of Senator Barrett are also held by the State Archives. These are cataloged as collection H97-33. Much of the collection deals with Senator Barrett’s political career and concurrent events. However, the collection also documents the activities and accomplishments of the family from Senator Barrett’s youth to the careers of his children, Frank A. Barrett, a surgeon; James Emmett Barrett, a federal judge; and Marialyce Tobin, an attorney.

H97-33, Home & School Speaker cover and example page

This child’s speech textbook was given to Barrett in 1901, according to the inscription. It is a “practical manual of delsarte exercises and elocution” complete with diagrams of gestures. Perhaps this book helped the young Barrett to develop the skills that served him so well as both a lawyer and a politician.
(WSA H97-33)

These collections document the lives of one of Wyoming’s most influential families, and events and issues which impacted the state during the mid-years of the 20th century.

Barrett Neg 87 derivative, Barrett family photo, 1951

Governor and his family at the Governor’s Mansion in Cheyenne, 1951.
(WSA Barrett Print 87)

— Curtis Greubel, Wyoming State Imaging Center Supervisor

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Greetings From… Trail End!

It seems appropriate that we end our Wyoming tour at Trail End. This was Governor John B. Kendrick’s luxurious home on top of the hill in Sheridan, Wyoming, and is now open to the public as a state historic site. P2003-21_35, Kendrick Residence, Sheridan, exterior, color postcard Kendrick’s life reads like a fairy tale  He was born in Texas and orphaned early in life. In 1879, he trailed a cattle herd from there to Wyoming. It was said that he was so keen on saving money that he actually washed and mended his socks rather than just throwing them out like most cowboys of his day. Those pennies kept adding up and in 1883, he used his savings to start the Ula Ranch. Kendrick worked as foreman and manager for several other ranches while building his own empire. He married Eula May Wulfjen of Greeley, Colorado, in 1891, and they raised 2 children, Rosa Maye and Manville.

Governor and later Senator John B. Kendrick on the OW Ranch, 1895 (WSA Sub Neg 22685)

Governor and later Senator John B. Kendrick on the OW Ranch, 1895
(WSA Sub Neg 22685)

In 1910 Kendrick entered politics and was elected Senator of Sheridan County. He was elected Governor in 1914 and served until February 1917 when he resigned to serve as a senator in Congress. He proudly served in this capacity until his death in 1933. Throughout his political career, Kendrick was influential in politics and defending Wyoming’s water rights. Only weeks before his death, he succeeded, almost single-handedly, in gaining final approval for the Casper-Alcova (Kendrick) Irrigation Project.

The Kendrick family on the porch of the LX Bar Ranch house (WSA Trail End Neg 22305)

The Kendrick family on the porch of the LX Bar Ranch house
(WSA Trail End Neg 22305)

The LX Bar Ranch outside of Gillette became the family’s home ranch, though Kendrick’s holding included 7 ranches scattered throughout Northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. Several buildings, including the house and barn, were constructed around 1910 using locally quarried native stone. In 2012, property containing the buildings was gifted to the State of Wyoming and is now administered by the Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources. Trail End itself is an impressive edifice. Built in 1911, the three-story mansion includes 5 entrances, a formal drawing room with French silk covered walls, a hidden cabinet (purportedly used to stash liquor during prohibition), an elevator, a walk-in vault, intricately carved woodwork, and six bedrooms with private baths. Nearly the entire third floor was used as a ballroom, complete with a musicians loft. Visit the Trail End Historic Site website for a virtual tour of the house.

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Wyo Whiskers: Francis E. Warren

In honor of Veterans Day this weekend, today’s Wyo Whiskers post highlights Francis E. Warren, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War. He also sport fantastic facial hair throughout his life.

Frances E. Warren as a young man (WSA Sub Neg 4101)

Frances E. Warren as a young man
(WSA Sub Neg 4101)

Frances Emroy Warren was born in Hinsdale, Berkshire County, Massachusetts on June 20, 1844 and attended the common schools in his area and Hinsdale Academy. During the Civil War, Warren enlisted and fought with the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, eventually advancing to non-commissioned officer and was award of the Congressional Medal of Honor. A farmer and stockman in Massachusetts, Warren moved to Wyoming in 1868 to clerk for Amasa Converse in his mercantile store. He soon became involved in a variety of businesses from real estate to livestock and promoted the first lighting system in Cheyenne, where he also served on the city council and the Territorial Assembly, becoming its president. Warren continued his interest in politics as chairman of the Republican Territorial Central Committee, Territorial Treasurer, and Mayor of Cheyenne.

Senator Warren, Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross, Governor Robert Carey (soon to be Senator) and Senator John Kendrick, ca 1927 All four had  served as Governor of Wyoming. (WSA Sub Neg 12577)

Senator Warren, Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross, Governor Robert Carey (soon to be Senator) and Senator John Kendrick, ca 1927 All four had served as Governor of Wyoming.
(WSA Sub Neg 12577)

Wyoming was granted statehood on July 10, 1890, during his second term as Territorial Governor. Warren  traveled  to Washington DC to campaign for statehood. He was then elected Wyoming’s first State Governor September 11, 1890. He served only two months of his term before he was elected as the second United States Senator for Wyoming in November 1890 and resigned as governor. He served in congress until his death on November 24, 1929, 39 years to the day after he resigned as governor.

Senator Warren lying in state in the Wyoming Capitol Building, 1929. (WSA Brammar Neg 5066)

Senator Warren lying in state in the Wyoming Capitol Building, 1929.
(WSA Brammar Neg 5066)

As governor, Warren was involved in many issues of the day, including the Chinese Massacre in Rock Springs and similar incidents, railroad routes, women’s suffrage, statehood, creation of Yellowstone National Park, Indian reservations, relief and aggression, and the national government’s abandonment of military instillation as agreed to in treaties. Fort D.A. Russell outside of Cheyenne was renamed Fort Frances E. Warren (now F.E. Warren Air Force Base.)  Dodge Street in Cheyenne was renamed Warren in his honor. Throughout his life in Wyoming, Warren and Hon. Joseph M. Carey were fierce rivals. But if you read the last Wyo Whiskers post, you know all about that.

Entry gate to F.E. Warren Air Force Base (WSA Sub Neg 20526)

Entry gate to F.E. Warren Air Force Base
(WSA Sub Neg 20526)

Warren’s daughter, Helen Frances, married a promising soldier, and distinguished ‘stache in his own right, named John J. Pershing in 1905. It is debated whether Warren helped to advance his son-in-law’s military career.

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