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Historical women of Wyoming

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kyla Holmes
  • 90th Medical Support Squadron
As you have probably heard over the past couple of weeks, March is Women's History Month. And as a new resident of the state, I cannot think of a better place to celebrate women's history than here in Wyoming. Before it was even a state, the territory of Wyoming demanded equal rights for women by passing the first women's suffrage law in 1869, giving women the right to vote before any other place in the nation. It took another 51 years for the 19th Amendment to be ratified into the United States Constitution, stating "the right of citizens of the Unites States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Walk outside Wyoming's Capitol building, as I do a few days every week with my dog, and you will see the bronze statue of a woman you may or may not recognize. Her name was Esther Hobart Morris; she became the first woman in the country to be voted to a public office when she was appointed justice of peace - a judge of the time - in 1870 following the resignation of James W. Stillman. Although we cannot know in certainty, it has been noted that Stillman resigned his post in protest of the previous year's equality bill.

In addition to Morris, Wyoming also has claim of the first elected female governor of a U.S. state. Her name was Nellie Tayloe Ross; she served as Wyoming's governor from 1925 through 1927. Both of these extraordinary women were mothers, educators, and leaders by example who shaped the history of Wyoming and empowered women to make a difference.