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This blog was updated on a daily basis for about two years, with those daily entries ceasing on December 31, 2013. The blog is still active, however, and we hope that people stopping in, who find something lacking, will add to the daily entries.

The blog still receives new posts as well, but now it receives them on items of Wyoming history. That has always been a feature of the blog, but Wyoming's history is rich and there are many items that are not fully covered here, if covered at all. Over time, we hope to remedy that.

You can obtain an entire month's listings by hitting on the appropriate month below, or an individual day by hitting on that calendar date.

We hope you enjoy this site.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31

1848  John C. Fremont court-martialed for mutiny and disobeying orders.

1876  The U.S. government issued an order that all Indians on the northern plains must return to their agencies.

1917   Germany announces the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare
The title says it all.



Obviously the road to war was now straight and being traveled on.

The text of Germany's note to the United States of this date:
GERMAN EMBASSY, 

Washington, January 31, 1917. 
Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE: Your Excellency was good enough to  transmit to the Imperial Government a copy of the message which  the President of the United States of America addressed to the Sen-  ate on the 22, inst. The Imperial Government has given it the earnest  consideration which the President's statements deserve, inspired as  they are, by a deep sentiment of responsibility. It is highly gratifying  to the Imperial Government to ascertain that the main tendencies of  this important statement correspond largely to the desires and principles professed by Germany. These principles especially include self-government and equality of rights for all nations. Germany would be sincerely glad if in recognition of this principle countries like Ireland and India, which, do not enjoy the benefits of political independence, should now obtain their freedom. The German people also repudiate all alliances which serve to force the countries into a competition for might and to involve them in a net of selfish intrigues.On the other hand Germany will gladly cooperate in all efforts to prevent future wars. The freedom of the seas, being a preliminary condition of the free existence of nations and the peaceful intercourse between them, as well as the open door for the commerce of all nations, has always formed part of the leading principles of Germany's political program. All the more the Imperial Government regrets that the attitude of her enemies who are so entirely opposed to peace makes it impossible for the world at present to bring about the realization of these lofty ideals. Germany and her allies were ready to enter now into a discussion of peace and had set down as basis the guaranty of existence, honor and free development of their peoples. Their aims, as has been expressly stated in the note of December 12, 1916, were not directed towards the destruction or annihilation of their enemies and were according to their conviction perfectly compatible with the rights of the other nations. As to Belgium for which such warm and cordial sympathy is felt in the United States, the Chancellor had declared only a few weeks previously that its annexation had never formed part of Germany's intentions. The peace to be signed with Belgium was to provide for such conditions in that country, with which Germany desires to maintain friendly neighborly relations, that Belgium should not be used again by Germany's enemies for the purpose of instigating continuous hostile intrigues. Such precautionary measures are all the more necessary, as Germany's enemies have repeatedly stated not only in speeches delivered by their leading men, but also in the statutes of the economical conference in Paris, that it is their intention not to treat Germany as an equal, even after peace has been restored but to continue their hostile attitude and especially to wage a systematical economical war against her. 

The attempt of the four allied powers to bring about peace has failed  owing to the lust of conquest of their enemies, who desired to dictate the conditions of peace. Under the pretense of following the principle of nationality our enemies have disclosed their real aims in this war, viz., to dismember and dishonor Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. To the wish of reconciliation they oppose the will of destruction. They desire a fight to the bitter end. 

A new situation has thus been created which forces Germany to new decisions. Since two years and a half England is using her naval power for a criminal attempt to force Germany into submission by starvation. In brutal contempt of international law the group of Powers led by England does not only curtail the legitimate trade of their opponents but they also by ruthless pressure compel neutral countries either to altogether forego every trade not agreeable to the Entente Powers or to limit it according to their arbitrary decrees. The American Government knows the steps which have been taken to cause England and her allies to return to the rules of international law and to respect the freedom of the seas. The English Government, however, insists upon continuing its war of starvation, which does not at all affect the military power of its opponents, but compels women and children, the sick and the aged to suffer, for their country, pains and privations which endanger the vitality of the nation. Thus British tyranny mercilessly increases the sufferings of the world indifferent to the laws of humanity, indifferent to the protests of the neutrals whom they severely harm, indifferent even to the silent longing for peace among England's own allies. Each day of the terrible struggle causes new destruction, new sufferings. Each day shorten- ing the war will, on both sides, preserve the life of thousands of brave soldiers and be a benefit to mankind. 

The Imperial Government could not justify before its own conscience, before the German people and before history the neglect of any means destined to bring about the end of the war. Like the President of the United States, the Imperial Government had hoped to reach this goal by negotiations. After the attempts to come to an understanding with the Entente Powers have been answered by the latter with the announcement of an intensified continuation of the war, the Imperial Government — in order to serve the welfare of mankind in a higher sense and not to wrong its own people — is now compelled to continue the fight for existence, again forced upon it, with the full employment of all the weapons which are at its disposal. 
Sincerely trusting that the people and Government of the United States will understand the motives for this decision and its necessity, the Imperial Government hopes that the United States may view the new situation from the lofty heights of impartiality and assist, on their part, to prevent further misery and avoidable sacrifice of human life. 

Enclosing two memoranda regarding the details of the contemplated military measures at sea, I remain, etc.,
  
J. BERNSTORFF.
                                    
MEMORANDUM
After bluntly refusing Germany's peace offer the Entente Powers, stated in their note addressed to the American Government, that they are determined to continue the war in order to deprive Germany of German provinces in the West and the East, to destroy Austria-Hungary and to annihilate Turkey. In waging war with such aims, the Entente Allies are violating all rules of international law, as they prevent the legitimate trade of neutrals with the Central Powers, and of the neutrals among themselves. Germany has, so far, not made unrestricted use of the weapon which she possesses in her submarines. Since the Entente Powers, however, have made it impossible to come to an understanding based upon equality of rights of all nations, as proposed by the, Central Powers and have instead declared only such a peace to be possible, which shall be dictated by the Entente Allies and shall result in the destruction and humiliation of the Central Powers, Germany is unable further to forego the full use of her submarines. The Imperial Government, therefore, does not doubt that the Government of the United States will understand the situation thus forced upon Germany bv the Entente Allies' brutal methods of war and by their determination to destroy the Central Powers, and that the Government of the United States will further realize that the now openly disclosed intentions of the Entente Allies give back to Germany the freedom of the action which she reserved in her note addressed to the Government of the United States on May 4, 1916. Under these circumstances Germany will meet the illegal measures of her enemies by forcibly preventing after February 1, 1917, in a zone around Great Britain, France, Italy and in the Eastern Mediterranean all navigation, that of neutrals included, from and to England and from and to France, etc., etc. All ships met within that zone will be sunk. 

The Imperial Government is confident that this measure will result in a speedy termination of the war and in the restoration of peace which the Government of the United States has so much at heart. Like the Government of the United States. Germany and her allies had hoped to reach this goal by negotiations. Now that the war, through the fault of Germany's enemies, has to be continued, the Imperial Government feels sure that the Government of the United States will understand the necessity of adopting such measures and are destined to bring about a speedy end of the horrible and useless bloodshed. The Imperial Government hopes all the more for such an understanding of her position, as the neutrals have under the pressure of the Entente Powers, suffered great losses, being forced by them either to give up their entire trade or to limit it according to conditions arbitrarily determined by Germany's enemies in violation of international law. 
MEMORANDUM
From February 1, 1917, all sea traffic will be stopped with every available weapon and without further notice in the following blockade zones around Great Britain, France, Italy and in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

 In the North: The zone is confined by a line at a distance of 20 \sea miles along the Dutch coast to Terschelling fire ship, the degree of longitude from Terschelling fire ship to Udsire, a line from there across the point 62 degrees north degrees longitude to 62 degrees north 5 degrees west, further to a point 3 sea miles south of the southern point of the Faroe Islands, from there across point 62 degrees north 10 degrees west to 61 degrees north 15 degrees west, then S7 degrees north 20 degrees west to 47 degrees north 20 degrees west, further to 43 degrees north, 15 degrees west, then along the degree of latitude 43 degrees north to 20 sea miles from Cape Finisterre and at a distance of 20 sea miles along the north coast of Spain to the French boundary.  
In the South: The Mediterranean For neutral ships remains open: The sea west of the line Pt. del'Espiquette to 38 degrees 20 minutes north and 6 degrees east, also north and west of a zone 61 sea miles wide along the north African coast, beginning at 2 degrees longitude west. For the connection of this sea zone with Greece there is provided a zone of a width of 20 sea miles north and east of the following line: 38 degrees north and 6 degrees east to 38 degrees north and 10 degrees east to 37 degrees north and 11 degrees 30 minutes east to 34 degrees north and 11 degrees 30 minutes east to 34 degrees north and 22 degrees 30 minutes east. 

From there leads a zone 20 sea miles wide west of 22 degrees 30  minutes eastern longitude into Greek territorial waters. Neutral ships navigating these blockade zones do so at their own risk. Although care has been taken, that neutral ships which are on their way toward ports of the blockade zones on February 1, 1917, and have come in the vicinity of the latter, will be spared during a sufficiently long period it is strongly advised to warn them with all available means in order to cause their return. 
Neutral ships which on February 1, are in ports of the blockaded zones, can, with the same safety, leave them if they sail before February 5, 1917, and take the shortest route into safe waters. 

The instructions given to the commanders of German submarines provide for a sufficiently long period during which the safety of pas- sengers on unarmed enemy passenger ships is guaranteed. 

Americans, en route to the blockade zone on enemy freight steam- ers, are not endangered, as the enemy shipping firms can prevent such ships in time from entering the zone. 
Sailing of regular American passenger steamers may continue undisturbed after February 1, 1917, if 

a) the port of destination is Falmouth 
b) sailing to or coming from that port course is taken via the Scilly Islands and a point 50 degrees north 20 degrees west, 
 c) the steamers are marked in the following way which must not be allowed to other vessels in American ports: On ships' hull and superstructure 3 vertical stripes 1 meter wide each to be painted alternately white and red. Each mast should show a large flag checkered white and red, and the stern the American national flag.

Care should be taken that, during dark, national flag and painted marks are easily recognizable from a distance and that the boats are well lighted throughout, 

d) one steamer a week sails in each direction with arrival at Falmouth on Sunday and departure from Falmouth on Wednesday 
e) The United States Government guarantees that no contraband  (according to German contraband list) is carried by those steamers.

1917  Indian Paintbrush chosen as the state flower.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Archives.

 An illustration of a variant of Indian Paintbrush.  I seem to lack a labeled photo myself, and while this illustration isn't the bushier, and prettier, variant I see around here, it's the only public domain illustration I could find.

1917  A design for Wyoming's flag chosen.  The flag was designed by Mrs. A.C. Keyes of Casper, formerly Miss Verna Keays of Buffalo.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Archives.


1938  James Watt, Secretary of the Interior in the Reagan Administration, born in Lusk.  Watt was a very controversial Secretary of the Interior, an office which rarely generates controversy outside of the West itself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30

1890  A train wreck occurred near Hilliard but there were no serious injuries.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1902  W. C. Fields appeared at the Cheyenne Opera House. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1906  15,000 cigars ordered by a Sheridan saloon.  Attribution. Wyoming State Historical Society.

1912  Coal mine explosion in Kemmerer killed five.  Attribution.  On This Day.

1917   The Punitive Expedition: U.S. forces leave Colonia Dublan. January 30, 1917
 
U.S. forces left Colonia Dublan.

 US troops messing around at Colonia Dublan
Colonia Dublan had been the U.S. headquarters in Mexico since shortly after the Punitive Expedition commenced.  The location was chosen due to its proximity to the railroad.
The town had an American connection, although that was incidental, in that it had been founded in 1889 as an American Mormon settlement.  This was not the reason it was chosen for Pershing's Mexican headquarters but it is coincidentally interesting to note that Pancho Villa had treated Mormon American colonist harshly, which may not be surprising as he treated all foreigners in Mexico fairly harshly.
As a result, and perhaps due to the U.S. Army having occupied it for eleven months, 1,500 residents of the town followed Pershing's troops out of Mexico and into the United States.  Most never returned, although a few did.  Amongst those returning to the United States were the Romneys of later political fame, who had owned a store in the town.
The small town still exists.

1941  Richard Cheney born in Nebraska.  Cheney is strongly identified with Wyoming, but like many of Wyoming's politicians, he was not born in the state.  Cheney did arrive in Wyoming while still a minor, but he also partially grew up in Nebraska.  He left the state after his high school graduation and his connection with Wyoming was relatively light up until he returned to run for Congress.

2000  A 4.4 magnitude earthquake occurred near Green River.

2015  The Federal government announced the sale of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Center grounds, formerly the Teapot Dome Naval Petroleum Reserve, to Standard Oil Resources Corporation. Teapot Dome, of course, is famously known in most places of the scandal that occurred during Warren G. Harding's administration.

2016.  Kenny Sailors, inventor of basketball's jump shot while a student at the University of Wyoming, died at age 95.  Sailors had a spectacular university basketball career and went on to play professional basketball after graduating from US.   Sailors went on to become an outfitter in Alaska before returning to Wyoming in retirement.  He was living in Laramie, where his fame commenced, at the time of his death.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29

1863  The Bear River Massacre, also called the Battle of Bear River and the Massacre at Boa Ogoi, took place in present-day Idaho. The 2nd California Volunteer Cavalry under Col. Patrick Connor attacked Shoshone gathered at the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek.  The battle is little remembered but is a controversial one, as it seems quite clear that the cavalrymen lost control of themselves at the battle's conclusion and the fight degenerated into a massacre.

Wars against the Shoshones are generally rare, as they were generally allied to the US during the second half of the 19th Century.

1870  Sweetwater County organized as Carter County, with South Pass City as the county seat.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Archives.

1879     Custer Battlefield National Monument established at Little Big Horn, Montana.

1886  Leslie A. Miller born in Junction City, Kansas, a town just outside of Ft. Riley.  He would move as a boy with his family to Laramie, where he grew up and attended the University of Wyoming.  He joined the Marine Corps during World War One, served as Wyoming Governor from 1932 to 1939, some of the worst years in which to be governor, and then went on to serve on the War Production Board during World War Two.

1939     Irish poet William Butler Yeats died at age 73.

The last lines from Yeats' poem Under Ben Bulben were used on his tombstone, and oddly formed the title of a McMurtry book later adapted for the novel Hud, which is set in Texas, but whose characters are recognizable to any Westerner.  The final lines of the poem are:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
1958  Killer Charles Starkweather apprehended by Sheriff's officers in Wyoming.

1964  The Sheridan Inn designated a Historic Landmark.  Attribution:  On This Day.

1973  The Wyoming State Capitol designated a Historic Landmark. Attribution:  On This Day.

Capitol, summer 2011.

2012   An earthquake measuring 3.2 occurred 14 miles east of Atlantic City.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28

1887   In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes are reported, 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick.

1912   Paul Jackson Pollock born in Cody, WY.  He became famous for art that featured paint splatters and remains a controversial art figure.  He mostly grew up outside of the state however, and his artwork could probably be searched for extensively in Wyoming without being found very easily.

Pollock struggled with alcoholism his entire, short, life and died in a car wreck in which he was driving under the influence.

1917 The Sheridan Enterprise for January 28, 1917. Conflict at the border.
 

The fighting at the border wasn't news just in Cheyenne.  It also hit Sheridan, in far northern Wyoming, on the same day, showing what a concern it truly was.
Cheyenne State Leader for January 28, 1917. Utah Guard Crosses Mexican border?
 

Just two days ago we noted the centennial of a Punitive Expedition Era clash between "Mexican forces" and the Utah National Guard.

On this day, residents of Wyoming were reading about it in their papers.

Folks in Cheyenne learned that the Mexican forces were Constitutionalist troops, which I believe to be accurate.  They also read, however, that the Utah Guard crossed the border into Mexico.

That would have been a hugely significant matter, if correct.  Generally, National Guard units were not supposed to cross the border into Mexico, and in the opinion of the United States Attorney General at the time, couldn't leave the country at all (although they certainly had in prior eras).  Unfortunately, with the passage of time, it's difficult to tell if they did cross for sure or not.  I suspect they did, as the newstory rings true for the time.
1942   The USS Wyoming put in at Norfolk and began a series of gunnery training drills in Chesapeake Bay. Attribution:  On This Day.

1948  The coldest day for Laramie of the year 1948 occurred on this day, when the temperature dropped to  -28F.

1949  Eighteen Wyoming counties ask for emergency relief to clear snow following blizzards. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1955 Mary Godat Bellamy, Wyoming's first female legislator, died in Laramie. She served in the House in 1910-1912, and 1918-1920.

Elsewhere:

1813  Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, published. The greatest of her novels, it is a contender for the position of greatest novel to be written in the English language.  It's impressive prose, intellect, wit and keen observations of its characters have made it an extremely enduring novel and a favorite of many readers in the English language. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 27

1878  General Philip H. Sheridan recommended the removal of the garrison at Camp Stambaugh.

1880     Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.  The concept for the invention first came to Edison while he was in Wyoming on a trip to view an eclipse.

1888   The National Geographic Society founded.

1917   The Punitive Expedtion: The withdrawal commences. January 27, 1917
 
U.S. forces begin their withdrawal from Mexico., thereby starting the process of leaving the country that they first entered in March, 1916.
While I've already commented on the decision to withdraw in an earlier post, and while it doesn't square with the general commentary regarding the U.S. decision to withdraw, positing this in Century Delayed Real Time has made me wonder what the sense of the event was in 1917.  Perhaps the rising specter of American involvement in the Great War greatly overshadowed to the extent it was largely consumed by that, but the news of the past week, with American National Guardsmen engaging Constitutionalist troops in combat on the border (and as we will see, the Utah National Guard actually crossing into Mexico, as well as upcoming events in the next few days, give this story a real Fall of Saigon retrospective feel to it.  It really has the aura, looking back, of collapse.  But perhaps not at the time?

1920   Wyoming ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1926  The  Paul Whitman Orchestra played at the University of Wyoming.


1943  Contact was reestablished with Jackson after the town had been isolated due to a snowstorm. The period of no contact was six days.

This was not really an unusual event at the time.  Prior to advancements in 4x4 vehicles, brought about due to World War Two, it was nearly impossible to remove significant amounts of snow from mountain passes, and towns located in mountain valleys were routinely cutoff from contact with the outside for days and even weeks. This was particularly true for Jackson.  Indeed, this was so much the case that a book written in the 1950s, by a screen writer who lived in the town off and on during the 40s and 50s, maintained that the "Cocktail Hour In Jackson Hole" was the entire winter, as the town was completely cutoff from the outside during that time and engaged in one huge party all winter long.  No doubt that was an exaggeration, but there was some truth to the statement.

Less romantic, an irony of the situation is that up until 1970s Jackson was not regarded as a particularly desirable place to live.  This was very much the case prior to 1950.  Prior to 1950 agriculture, together with government agencies, formed the economic base of the town, but even there the homesteads that had been filed there were very late ones and were not the most enviable to have, as the ranches in the valley had to combat the weather and were so extremely isolated.  It is only the modern 4x4 snow plow that has made Jackson the winter vacation spot it is, and by extension the home of many wealthy people.

1976   A small earthquake occurred near Rawlins.

1979  USS Yellowstone AD-41, a destroyer tender, launched.  It was decommissioned in 1996.

USS Yellowstone (the big one) with a destroyer off of Norway.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26

1850  Wyoming County, West Virgina became a county of  Virginia.

1876  Sioux under Sitting Bull attack civilian post at Ft. Pease, Montana.

1905  John J. Pershing marries Frances Warren in Cheyenne Wyoming.

1914  The Hotel LeBonte opened in Douglas.

1932  An earthquake occurred in Yellowstone that was felt regionally.

1948     President Truman orders Segregation in the Armed Forces ended.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Holscher's Hub: The Conversion of St. Paul

Holscher's Hub: The Conversion of St. Paul: The Conversion of St. Paul by Caravaggio. January 25 is the memorial of the Conversion of St. Paul, so I'm posing this (public domain...

January 25

1839  The Republic of Texas, of which a small portion of Wyoming was part of, adopted a coat of arms.  Attribution:  On This Day.

1885   Laura Ingalls, age 18, married Almanzo Wilder in De Smet, South Dakota.  Mrs. Wilder became the author of the Little House On the Prairie books.

1897  Chief Washakie baptized by Episcopal priest John Roberts.

1915  The modern Wyoming Bar Association formed.  Wyoming has a self governing bar, and the Bar Association serves a semi governmental function in that capacity.  At the time of its inception it had 95 members.

1967  Jade adopted as the state gemstone.

2006  It was reported that the University of Pennsylvania received a rancher's gift of land with dinosaur fossils.  Attribution:  On This Day.

Elsewhere:

1995 Russia's early-warning defense radar detects an unexpected missile launch near Norway, and Russian military command estimates the missile to be only minutes from impact on Moscow. Boris Yeltsin, his defense minister, and his chief of staff were informed of the missile launch and the nuclear command systems switched to combat mode, and the nuclear suitcases carried by Yeltsin and his top commander were activated for the first time in the history of the Soviet-made weapons system. Five minutes after the launch, Russian command determined that the missile's impact point would be outside Russia's borders. Three more minutes passed, and Yeltsin was informed that the launching was likely not part of a surprise nuclear strike. During the episode, the Russians waited longer than the time that would have been necessary to actually react to a real missile strike.

An actual rocket had been launched from Spitzbergen, Norway and was actually carrying instruments for scientific measurements. Norway had notified 35 countries, including Russia, of the exact details of the planned launch. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lex Anteinternet: January 24. St. Francis De Sales

Lex Anteinternet: January 24. St. Francis De Sales: Painting of St. Francis de Sales, public domain in the United States. Today, January 24, is the memorial day on the Roman calendar of S...

January 24

1820         John Milton Thayer, Brig Gen, U.S., born.  He was appointed Governor of the Territory of Wyoming by President Ulysses S. Grant. He served from 1875 to 1878. He also served as the Governor of Nebraska from 1887 to 1892.

1873  Congress approves funds to rebuilt the Territorial Penitentiary in Laramie.   Attribution:  On This Day.

1878  First telephone conversation between Laramie and Cheyenne.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1878  General Cook stated that there was no military need to keep troops at Fort Fred Steele or Fort Sanders, two posts in southern Wyoming on the Union Pacific.  Attribution:  On This Day.

1935 Canned beer makes its debut on this day with canned Krueger's Finest Beer and Krueger's Cream Ale.

1945  The Legislature rejects a junior college plan.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23

1870 Colonel Eugene Baker orders his men to attack a sleeping camp of peaceful Blackfeet along the Marias River in northern Montana. The village being attacked was not the band that the command had been searching for, but Baker demonstrated indifference to suggestions form his own command that the band was not the correct one. Baker's command had originally set out from Ft. Ellis Montana to search for a band being lead by Owl Child, who was accused of a murder. Baker's cavalry was reinforced with infantry from Ft. Shaw. The Blackfeet band attacked was discovered on the night of January 22, but Baker delayed the attck until the following morning, and spent the night drinking heavily. Joe Kipp, a scout, recognized that the painted designs on the buffalo-skin lodges were those of a peaceful band of Blackfeet led by Heavy Runner. Mountain Chief and Owl Child, Kipp realized, had moved their winter camp elsewhere. Kipp told Baker that they had the wrong band but Baker reportedly replied, "That makes no difference, one band or another of them; they are all Piegans and we will attack them." Baker then ordered a sergeant to shoot Kipp if he tried to warn the sleeping camp and ordered the attack. Thirty-seven men, ninety women, and fifty children are believed to have been killed. The lodges and food of the band were destroyed, and the survivors were subsequently abandoned after it was discovered that many had smallpox. News of the Marias Massacre ultimately caused a controversy and delayed the transfer of Indian affairs from the Department of the Interior to the War Department, and it caused President Grant to order that Indian agents be civilians, rather than soldiers.

1895  Clarence D. Clark takes office as U.S. Senator from Wyoming.

1899  Residents of Kemmerer vote to incorporate.

1901  Legislature met in a joint session to pick a Senator.  Francis E. Warren chosen to fill office.

1905  The Brooks hosted a reception for officials and politicians at the new Governor's Mansion.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1907  Cheyenne policeman  Charles Edwards died of stab wounds, on his 32nd birthday, sustained a few days earlier while pursuing a man who fled a tavern incident.

1908  Powell Post Office established.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1917   The Wyoming Tribue for January 23, 1917: Villa Ready To Regain Territory
 

While the other Cheyenne and the Casper papers were silent on this topic, at least on the first page, the Wyoming Tribune was sounding the alarm about the impact of American withdrawal from Mexico.

The weather and speeding were also in the news. And a cartoon complained about the price of the Danish West Indes.
1932 New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

1973 President Richard Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22

1807  President Jefferson exposed a plot by Aaron Burr to form a new republic in the Southwest.

1877  Sergeant William B. Lewis, Company B, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place, engaged in an action at Bluff Station, Wyo. for which he won the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Sgt. Lewis lived until 1901, and is buried in New Rochelle, New York.

This is another one of these Indian Wars locations that I am unfamiliar with.  Given the name, it was likely a station on the Oregon Trail, but I don't know that. The Army named many small posts on the trail "stations".

1879  Dull Knife knife's band, having escaped Ft. Robinson is attacked and sustains severe losses in Nebraska. Dull Knife himself escapes, but the attack crushes the bands attempt to return to the Powder River country.

1885  Crook County organized.  The county is named for Gen. Crook, a serving and significant general in the Indian Wars.

1917     President Woodrow Wilson pleaded for an end to the war in Europe, calling for "peace without victory.".

1921  The legislature legalized prize fighting.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1949  The Reverend John Roberts, a significant Episcopal churchman on the Wind River Reservation, died.

1992  Mark Hopkinson executed for homocide.

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21

Today is Martin Luther King Day for 2013.

Today is Equality Day for 2013.

1813 John C. Frémont, soldier, explorer, politician, sometime gadfly, born.  Wyoming was included in his exploring forays, and Fremont Canyon and Pathfinder Reservoir are named after him.


1855 John Moses Browning, legendary gun designer, born in Ogden Utah. 

1875  A waterworks was authorized at Fr. Laramie.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1893  Criminal case against Johnson County Invaders dismissed in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

1917   The Sunday State Leader for January 21, 1917. US Withdrawing from Mexico
 

The plant to withdraw from Mexico hit the press, along with a prediction that Villa would fill the vacuum.

Wyoming Guardsmen got high praise however.

And the Legislature was looking at Blue Laws.
1941  It was announced that Wyoming would supply 240 men for induction into the Army the following month.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1949  Legislature passed a bill prohibition drunk flying.  That this would be a bad idea seems self evident.  Attribution. Wyoming State Historical Society.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20

1777  The Wyoming Independent Company, a unit raised from the Wyoming region of Pennsylvania and Ohio, takes part in the battle of Millstone River.

1868   Vigilance committee hangs Charles Martin and Charles Morgan in Cheyenne.

1891  John B. Kendrick married Eula Wulfjen.

1913  A riot breaks out in the Wyoming Legislature.

1917   Legislature passed an act submitting an act for a constitutional amendment that would allow people to vote on prohibition.  Attribution:  On This Day.

Lex Anteinternet:  Today In Wyoming's History: January 20. The Legislature sends Prohibition to the voters.

People tend not to think of Wyoming in the context of Prohibition, but the state was part of the big sweep that lead to it.  Indeed, while the story lays in the future from this post, Wyoming would push prohibition over the top with Sen. Francis E. Warren's vote in favor of the Volstead Act.
On this day, a century ago, the Legislature, which was predicted to pass a pro-Prohibition bill, did:
Today In Wyoming's History: January 20:

1917   Legislature passed an act submitting an act for a constitutional amendment that would allow people to vote on prohibition. Attribution:  On This Day.
The introduction of the bill had been widely predicated by the Cheyenne newspapers, in the form of predicting some bill.  That it would have taken the form, in 1917, of a proposed amendment to the state constitution is a bit of a surprise, but that would have served the dual purpose of making anything that passed really difficult to get rid of and, additionally, sort of passing the buck to the voters, as such an amendment requires the voters to approve it.
Which they didn't.
I'm not certain how it played out, but if the regular process took place, the voters rejected the measure that following fall.  Wyoming was the last state in the Rocky Mountain region to adopt Prohibition and the proposed amendment did not become law.
Which might have been a sign of things to come. While the state did pass Prohibition into law voluntarily, and in fact pushed it over the top nationally, it took to violating it nearly immediately.  Indeed Western Wyoming would become a bootleg liquor center, with wine being fermented in the Italian sections of Rock Springs and, ironically, heavily Mormon Kemmerer becoming a location for the distillation of high quality bootleg whiskey made with locally grown grain.
As outlined by Phil Roberts in an excellent article in Annals of Wyoming recently, Prohibition did break the back of the saloon trade in Wyoming, which in the end was a good thing. When alcohol returned in the 1930s it was stepped in over time, and with a new system which we retain today. That system, oddly enough for "free enterprise" Wyoming, runs all alcohol through the State Liquor Warehouse, which is the wholesaler for Wyoming, with no legal exceptions.
Prohibition would have the unfortunate impact of killing off a lot of local breweries, including those in Wyoming.  This has changed only recently, although there are quite a few small breweries now and even two distilleries.

A bottle of Wyoming Whiskey.  Something the legislators of 1917 would probably not have appreciated seeing at the time.

1928  Fire destroys a St. Stephen's Mission building.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1944  Marjorie Woodsworth and Paul Kelly, motion picture actors, appeared at the University of Wyoming to open the 4th War Loan Drive.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1945  Fourth inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1954  An earthquake in southwestern Wyoming is felt in the Albany region.

1961   South Pass, Independence Rock and Horner Site were designated as National Historic Landmarks.Attribution:  On This Day.

1977  Richard Cheney's term as the 7th White House Chief of Staff ends.

Cheney is undoubtedly the best known of Wyoming's post World War Two politicians, and there are, oddly, a lot of entries for him today.  He is also easily the most controversial of any Wyoming politician.  Like many of Wyoming's political figures, he is not a native of the state, having been actually born in Lincoln Nebraska.  Indeed, Cheney has likely spent the majority of his years outside of Wyoming.  He arrived in Casper Wyoming with his family in his early teens and graduated from Natrona County High School.  After high school, he attended Yale, The University of Wyoming, and the University of Wisconsin.  He worked in Washington for office holders and the administration from 1969 until being elected Congressman in 1978. 

1987  Peggy Simson Curry dies.

1993  Richard Cheney ends his term as the 17th Secretary of Defense.

2009  Richard Cheney's term as Vice President ends.

2017  President Trump inaugurated.

Trump is the oldest President to have received an initial inauguration.  That is, while Ronald Reagan was older when he was inaugurated the second time, he was slightly younger the first time.  He's also the first American President to hold that office without holding any prior public offices or a military commission.

His inaugural speech, like everything else about this candidate in this year, was distinctly different from the norm.   The full text is as follows:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you. 

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people. Together we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships, but we will get the job done. Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you. 

Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning because, today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people. 

For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have born the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and, while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. 

That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of an historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public, but for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. 

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. 

We are one nation and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. 

We've defended other nations' borders, while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas, while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. 

But, that is the past and now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today, are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first. America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. 

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never, ever let you down. 

America will start winning again. Winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American. We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. 

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth. At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and, through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. 

The bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when god's people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and most importantly, we will be protected by God. 

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action constantly complaining, but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. 

We stand at the birth of a new millennium ready to unlock the histories of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries, and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will lift our sights and heal our divisions. It's time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots. We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag. 

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky. They fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator. So, to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. 

Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you and god bless America. Thank you. God bless America.

2017   Senator Bebout reads the tea leaves
 
Yesterday, after the Inauguration, Senator Bebout announced that he was killing the proposed public lands transfer constitutional amendment by refusing to assign it for consideration. That's his option as President of the Senate.

He acknowledged, in doing that, the full force of public opinion, although he maintained that the whole effort was misunderstood.

To the extent it is misunderstood, and that wouldn't be misunderstood much, it would apparently be by our Senators and Congresswoman back in Washington D.C., who still appear to be clueless on this.  Faced with a public revolt, Bebout took the wise and politic route and sidetracked it before the legislature and individual legislators had to pay a price for refusing to listen to the public.  Located more remotely, we haven't seen any similar reactions out of D. C. yet.  But that may be coming . . . if people like holding their seats.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19

1845  Joseph M. Carey born in Milton Delaware.  He was an 1864 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania College of Law and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1867.  He moved to Wyoming in 1869 and became the first United States Attorney for Wyoming.  He soon served on the Territorial Supreme Court before becoming a Natrona County rancher in 1876.  He entered politics thereafter and became a US Congressman, Senator and Governor of Wyoming.

1859  The screw sloop USS Wyoming launched.  It saw action during the Civil War and in the Far East during the Civil War.  While named Wyoming, it was not named after the state, which of course had not yet been named that.

USS Wyoming in the Battle of Shimonoseki Straits, when she became the first US warship to fire in action in defense of U.S. treaty rights in Japan.

1872  A courthouse in Albany County was completed.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1896  Butch Cassidy (Robert LeRoy Parker) released from the State Penitentiary after serving a term for horse theft. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1911 Park County organized.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1912  The  Rt. Rev. Patrick A. McGovern named the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne.

1923  Union Pacific firemen had a dance at the Masonic Temple in Rawlins.

1938  First concrete poured on the construction of Seminoe Dam.

It always surprises me to read of these wintertime concrete efforts. And Seminoe is at pretty high altitude too.

1966  Dick Cheney received his six exemption from the draft, this one being for a married man with dependents.

2017  The District Court in Cheyenne dismissed a lawsuit brought by former Wyoming Representative Gerald Gay of Casper, and Karl Allred, an Evanston resident.  The suit had named Governor Mead, Wyoming Attorney General Michaels and a selection of legislators over allegations over improper granting of contracts for the capitol renovation project. The suit always had a politicized atmosphere to it as Gay was a far right conservative firebrand who went down in defeat in the last election over his comments regarding women, which shocked his own party.  The plaintiffs were further represented by Drake Hill, the husband for former Wyoming Secretary of Education Cindy Hill, who has been a controversial figure.  Hill, following the court's decision, vowed to appeal the ruling.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18

1890  The editor of the Rawlins newspaper said unmarried men should be taxed $2.50.  Attribution. Wyoming State Historical Society.

1890  The U.S. Senate Committee on Territories recommended a bill to the Senate to make Wyoming a state.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1903   President Theodore Roosevelt sends a radio message to King Edward VII: the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States.

1910  The Casper newspaper reported on the relief of a stranded passenger train attempting to go from Lander Wyoming to Casper Wyoming.   The train became stranded for two days on the prairie where it remained until Saturday, January 16 when it was dug out and backed down the railway to Lander.

1916   Secretary of War Newton D. Baker informs Maj. Gen Frederick Funston that the US withdrawing from Mexico.
 
The caption says it all.

Newton D. Baker.
Frederick Funston.

Well, I suppose it might not if you don't know  who Frederick Funston was.  He was the commander of American forces in the Southwest and in overall  charge of the forces then in Mexico, contrary to it being John Pershing, whom people typically imagine to have been in overall charge.  Pershing was the commander in the field, and Funston was his superior.

1919   The USS Wyoming becomes the flagship of Rear Admiral Robert Coontz, Commander Battleship Division 7, Battle Squadron 3.  Attribution:  On This Day.

1919     The World War I peace conference opened in Versailles, France.

1924  Douglas bank closes in failure, part of a waive of bank failures.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society. 

1943  The sale of sliced bread banned in the US.  This was done in order to keep a demand for steel replacement parts for slicers down and because officials with the government had determined that sliced bread required a heavier wrapping.  The ban only remained in effect until March 8, when the government announced the anticipated materials savings had not been realized.

 A World War One bread conservation poster.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17

1882  First session of the Wyoming Academy of Sciences.  Attribution:  On  This Day.

1917   Joint Mexican American Committee Concludes
 Wealthy Mexican in flight
The Joint Committee between the US and Mexico concluded its business.  With the agreement of December 24, 1916 having been made, with Carranza having refused to sign it, and with events overcoming the United States that would give Carranza the result he wanted anyway, there was no more work to be done.


Porfirio Diaz 
Porfirio Diaz in full military costume.  The collapse of his rule lead to the long civil war in Mexico.
Some have stated that the mere existence of the Joint Committee was a success in and of itself, and there is some truth to that.  The committee worked for months on an agreement and came to one, and even if Carranza would not execute it as it didn't guaranty the withdraw of American forces, the fact that the country was now hurtling towards war with Germany made it necessary for that to occur without American formal assent to Carranza's demand.  By not agreeing to it, the US was not bound not to intervene again, which was one of the points that it had sought in the first place. Events essentially gave both nations what they had been demanding.


 Gen. Carransa [i.e., Carranza]
Even if that was the case this step, the first in the beginning of the end of the event we have been tracking since March, has to be seen as a Mexican Constitutionalist victory in the midst of the Mexican Revolution.  At the time the Commission came to the United States it represented only one side in a three way (sometimes more) Mexican civil war that was still raging.  Even as Carranza demanded that the United States withdraw his forces were not uniformly doing well against either Villa or Zapata.  Disdaining the United States in general, in spite of the fact that Wilson treated his government as the de facto government, he also knew that he could not be seen to be achieving victory over Villa through the intervention of the United States, nor could he be seen to be allowing a violation of Mexican sovereignty.  His refusal to acquiesce to allowing American troops to cross the border in pursuit of raiders, something that the Mexican and American governments had allowed for both nations since the mid 19th Century, allowed him to be seen as a legitimate defender of Mexican sovereignty and as the legitimate head of a Mexican government.


 Gen. Pancho Villa
Emiliano Zapata, 1879-1919
As will be seen, even though the war in Mexico raged on, events were overtaking the US and Mexico very quickly.  The Constitutionalist government was legitimizing itself as a radical Mexican de jure government and would quickly become just that.  Revolutions against it would go on for years, but it was very quickly moving towards full legitimacy.  And the United States, having failed to capture Villa or even defeat the Villistas, and having accepted an effective passive role in Mexico after nearly getting into a full war with the Constitutionalist, now very much had its eye on Europe and could not strategically afford to be bogged down in Mexico.  A silent desire to get out of Mexico had become fully open.  The rough terms of the agreement arrived upon by the Committee, while never ratified by Carranza, would effectively operate anyway and the United States now very quickly turned to withdrawing from Mexico.


 Gen. Alfaro Obregon & staff of Yaquis
Alvaro Obregon, whose competence and study of military tactics lead to the defeat of Pancho Villa and his Division del Norte.  He'd ultimately become present of Mexico following his coup against Carranza.  Obregon would serve one term as president of Mexico, and was elected to a second term to follow his successor Calles, but he was assassinated prior to taking office.

1930  Kendall Wyoming hits -52F.

1933 A Baggs school-bell was rung in the Bells of Hope Presidential Inauguration celebration.  Attribution: Wyoming State Historical Society.

1955  The 141st Medium Tank Battalion, Wyoming Army National Guard, which had been mobilized due to the Korean War, but which was not sent overseas, was deactivated.




2010  Small earthquake swarm commences in Yellowstone National Park.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16

Today is Martin Luther King Day for 2012.  The day is observed on the third Monday of each year.

Today is Wyoming Equality Day for 2012.  The day is observed on the third Monday of each year.  This is, of course, a state holiday only.

The fact that the days overlap is not coincidental.  Wyoming was slow to recognize the Martin Luther King Day holiday.  The reason does not stem from racism, but rather from the fact that the Wyoming Legislature of the time felt the holiday was an intrusion on the state's rights and that it was, additionally, worried about the creation of an additional Federal holiday at at time in which fewer and fewer are actually recognized by non governmental employees.  There was also a feeling on the part of the sitting legislature that the holiday was, in some way, not directly applicable to the state, given the state's long history of recognizing equality.  The conflict was ultimately solved by the state passing a holiday recognizing Wyoming's pioneering role in equality which fell on the same date as the Martin Luther King Holiday.

1847  John C. Fremont is appointed Governor of the new California Territory.

1882. H. R. 3174 introduced by Congressman Post, of Wyoming, to construct a military road from Fort Washakie to Yellowstone Park. Adversely reported later by Military Affairs Committee.

1883   The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, establishing the United States Civil Service, is passed.

1910  Contrary to yesterday's entry, others note that today is actually the day in which the Buffalo Bill Dam was completed, and not the last cement was poured on this date, in sub zero weather.  The dam was originally named the Shoshone Dam.

1915   Younghawk, an Indian scout for the 7th Cavalry who participated in the valley and hilltop fights at Little Big Horn, died in Elbowood, North Dakota.

1919  Wyoming ratified the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1920     Prohibition began as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect.  Wyoming's politicians were surprisingly supportive of prohibition, even though the population began evading it from the onset of the Volstead Act.

1924  First aircraft landing at Pinedale.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1943  A B-17 bomber did a ground loop in high winds at the Casper Air Base.  Wind was a contributing cause.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1944  USS Johnson County, which was not named that at the time, but later renamed that in honor of several counties in various states, including Wyoming, called that, commissioned.


1944.  Rev. Francis Penny was appointed pastor of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Cody but he resided at St. Barbara's in Powell where he was administrator in the absence of Rev. Fred Kimmett.  Rev. Kimmett was serving as Chaplain in the U.S. Armed Services.

1953  Wyoming's long National Guard association with cavalry ends when the 115th Cavalry becomes the 349th Armored Field Artillery.  The 115th had not been activated during the ongoing Korean War.

2017  Today is Equality Day for 2017

Elsewhere: 

1917  Admiral George Dewey dies
 

George Dewey, a hero of the Spanish American War and the only U.S. officer to ever hold the rank Admiral of the Navy died at age 79 on this date in 1917.  He had been an officer in the U.S. Navy since the Civil War but obtained fame during the war with Spain during which his fleet took Manila Bay, securing the Philippines for the United States.

 Dewey as a Captain while with the Bureau of Equipment.
Dewey was a Naval Academy graduate from the Class of 1858.  He saw very active service during the Civil War with service on a variety of vessels.  He married Susan Goodwin after the Civil War and had one son, George, by Susan in 1872, but she died only five days thereafter leaving him a widower with a young son.  He none the less shortly received sea duty, retaining it until 1880 when he was assigned to lighthouse administration duty, a serious assignment at the time.  His son was principally raised by his aunts and would not follow the military career of his father, becoming instead a stock broker who passed away, having never married, in 1963.  Dewey himself asked for sea duty again in 1893 as he felt his health was deteriorating with a desk job.  He was therefore assigned, at the rank of Commodore, to command the Asiatic Squadron in  1897.



Seeing the war coming and receiving what were essentially war warnings from Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt in the weeks leading up to the Spanish American War, he based himself at Hong Kong, the British possession, and began war preparations from there.  His fleet was ordered out of harbor at Hong Kong only shortly before the declaration of war with Spain as the British, knowing that the war was to come, did not want a belligerent power in their ports, which they were effectively doing in the run up to war. His squadron was therefore well situated, if not completely re-outfitted, to attack Manila Bay only a few days later, on April 30, 1898 after war had been declared.  In a one sided victory which cost only one American life (of course the "only" wouldn't mean much to that sailor) Spanish naval power in the Philippines was essentially eliminated in the battle.  As a result he became a household name and a great American hero of the era.

 Heroic painting of Dewey in the Battle of Manila in the Maine State House.
Dewey married for the second time (second marriages were somewhat looked down upon for widowers) in 1899, this time to the widow of a U.S. Army general.  The marriage to Mildred McLean Hazen would be a factor, amongst several others, in keeping him from running for President in 1900, which was a semi popular position with some people and which he entertained.  His second wife was Catholic and the marriage had been a Catholic ceremony, which angered Protestants at a time at which it remained effectively impossible for a Catholic to run for that office.  In 1903 he was promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Navy in honor of his Spanish American War achievement making him the only U.S. officer to ever hold that rank.

 Dewey in 1903.

The extent to which Dewey was a huge hero at the time cannot be overestimated.  That he would seriously be considered as a Presidential contender, and seriously consider running, says something about his fame at the time.  His promotion to a rank that is matched only to that held by John Pershing in the U.S. Army, and which of course Pershing did not yet hold, meant that he was effectively at that time holding a rank that exceeded that granted to any other American officer during their lifetime and which has never been exceeded by any Naval officer since.  A special medal was struck bearing his likeness and awarded to every sailor or marine serving in the battle, a remarkable unique military award.  That he is not a household name today, and he is not, says a lot about the fickle nature of fame.

Armour's meat packing calendar from 1899, Dewey medal, as it is commonly known, on lower left corner.

There's no denying that Admiral Dewey's death had a certain fin de siecle feel to it, particularly when combined with the passing of Buffalo Bill Cody, which happened the prior week, and also in combination with the death of another famous person which was about to occur.  It is not that Dewey and Cody had similar careers or that they'd become famous for the same reason, but there was a sense that the transition age which began in the 1890s and continued on into the early 20th Century was ending.  Both Cody and Dewey had careers that started at about the same time. Both were Civil War veterans.  If Cody became famous well before the 1890s, which he did, it was also the case that in some ways the full flower of his Wild West Show came during that period.  Indeed, Cody had modified his show after the Spanish American War to feature the "Congress of Rough Riders", building on the romantic notions that the term "Rough Rider" conveyed. That term, of course, had come up during the Spanish American War to describe members of the three volunteer cavalry regiments raised during that conflict, never mind that only one of them, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, saw service in the war and that it was in fact deployed dismounted.
 Dewey receiving Roosevelt on board the Olympia, 1909.
Indeed, the actual Spanish American War had been a fully modern war, much like the Boer War was, and which saw the US attempting to belatedly adapt to that change.  The Navy was really better prepared for it than the Army.  That contributed to the peculiar nature of the era, however, with combat being much like what we'd later see in World War One but with the service still having one foot in the Civil War era.  By the war's end, of course, the US was a global colonial power, whether it was ready to be or not, and that was a large part of the reason that Dewey was such a celebrated figure.  His actions in the Philippines had significantly contributed to the defeat of a European colonial power, albeit a weak and decrepit one, and which helped to make the US a colonial power, albeit a confused and reluctant one.  The passing of Dewey and Cody seem, even now, to have the feel of the people who opened the door stepping aside to let they party in, just before they go back out.
Dewey in retirement, 1912.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15

1883  Cheyenne puts in electric street lights.

1886.  Union Pacific employees required to wear blue uniforms. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1890  Eleventh and final Territorial Legislature convened.

1890  The Wyoming Supreme Court, in the first of what has come to be an ongoing series of decisions, found Wyoming's system for funding public schools unconstitutional.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1910  Work completed on the Buffalo Bill Dam.

1941  School in Kooi destroyed by fire. Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1967 The first Super Bowl, an American celebration of televised advertising, occurred. A football game was also played as the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League defeated the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League, 35-10.

1991  The 1022nd Medical Company, Wyoming Army National Guard, deployed to Saudi Arabia.

2001 Wikipedia made its debut.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14

1868  A Vigilance Committee in Cheyenne threatened three suspected thieves.  Attribution:  On This Day.

1891  Gen. Nelson Miles reports that the Sioux are returning to Pine Ridge following the events at Wounded Knee on December 19, 1890.

1920  The first fatal air accident to occur near Casper occurred, taking the life of pilot Bert Cole and passenger Maud Toomey.   Ms. Toomey is also the first female air fatality in Wyoming.  The very early airport in use at this time was located where the town of Evansville now sits, and a memorial to Ms. Toomey, who was a schoolteacher, is located in Evansville.  Attribution. Wyoming State Historical Society.

1942  President Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring aliens enemy countries to register with the United States Department of Justice.

1981  Peggy Simson Curry named state Poet laureate.  She was the first person to be so designated.  She was born in Scotland in 1911 and immigrated as a child to Walden Colorado, where here parents worked on a ranch.  She moved to Wyoming to attend the University of Wyoming, where she majored in journalism and met her husband.  She later taught at Casper College.

While she was memorialized as a "poet", she wrote widely in other genres, having published novels and children's literature as well.  She died in 1987.

2015:  Governor Mead delivers his State of the State address to the Legislature.

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