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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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13

1831         John A. Rawlins, Brig Gen, U.S., born.  Rawlins Wyoming, which is near a location where he camped in 1867, is named for him.  He practiced law from 1854 to 1860, and served with Grant thereafter even though he was suffering from tuberculosis..  He remained in the Army after the war until becoming Secretary of War under Grant in 1869, but died of ill health just six months later.  He was instrumental in surveying the course of the Union Pacific Railroad which is what took him near to Rawlins Wyoming's location.

 John A. Rawlins with his family, City Point, Virginia.

1865  1st Lt. Henry C. Bretney assumes command of Comapny G, 11th Ohio Cavalry, stationed at Platte Bridge Station, when its commander, Cpt. Levi M. Rinehart is killed by a drunken trooper accidentally during a skirmish with Indians.

1890  The Northwestern and Elkhorn Railroad announced it would be extending its line to Sundance.

1901  Stinkingwater River renamed the Shoshone River.

1911  Campbell County created.

1917  The Wyoming Legislature appropriated $750 to move Jim Baker's cabin from Carbon County to Cheyenne.  Baker was a frontiersman who came West working for the American Fur Company.  He was later Chief Scout for Gen. Harney out of Ft. Laramie.  In 1859 he homesteaded at a location that is now within Denver Colorado.  He held a commission in the Colorado State Militia during the Civil War.  He relocated to a site near Savery Wyoming in 1873 and homesteaded there.  He continued to ranch in that location until his death in 1898, although he did serve the Army as a scout occasionally in the 1870s.

Today the cabin is located once again in Savery.  It is an unusual structure, as it was built partially as a block house in case of attack.

It's interesting to note that a concern for preserving the early history of the state became quite pronounced during this period.

1917   Cheyenne State Leader for February 13, 1913: Carranza the peacemaker?

Carranza, who was settling in as the recognized head of the Mexican government, but still fighting a civil war himself, entered the picture of the Great War by proposing an arms embargo.  Some cynics suggested German influence in his proposal.

1936  First social security checks mailed.

1942  US and Canada agree to construct the Alcan Highway.  This is, of course, not directly a Wyoming event, but it is significant in that it represents the ongoing expansion of road transportation.  A highway of this type would not have even been conceivable just 20 year prior.  It also is a feature of the arrival of really practical 4x4 vehicles, all Army vehicles at that time, which were capable of off road and road use for the first time. Such vehicles would become available to the public at the conclusion of World War Two, and would provide widespread easy winter access to much of Wyoming for the very first time.

1942  All Japanese nationals employed by the Union Pacific Railroad were dismissed.

2012.  Legislature convenes.

2012  Chief Justice Marilyn Kite delivers an address to the Legislature.

2016  Antonin Scalia passes on.

By the time this goes up here, this will hardly be in the category of really new "news", as it was already widely discussed and analyzed on the very day that it occurred.  The story, of course, is that Judge Antonin Scalia has died at age 79.
I've posted a lot about the Supreme Court and the fact that the system we have would create in the very near future an opening on the Court that would be of huge significance, so the analysis being done today is something I've already touched upon.  Suffice it to say, however, while no man controls the date of his passing, the passing of Justice Scalia couldn't come at a time that would have more impact.  Or, perhaps, make the impact of Presidential elections more obvious.  Some far left Liberals are frankly almost gloating about this death, which is unseemly to say the least, but his death, like his life, may have more of a Conservative impact than those gloaters may think.
First, the man. Scalia was, by all who would evaluate him objectively, a massive intellect.  In recent years Scalia stood out with his political opposite Ruth Bader Ginsberg in those regards.  Not every Justice can have that claimed and almost none can have it claimed to the extent it was true about Scalia.  It was impossible to ignore him as the force of his logic and opinion were simply too great to to do so.
Appointed by Ronald Reagan, Scalia was only older than the other surviving Reagen appointee, the disappointing Anthony Kennedy.  He was not the oldest Justice at the time of his death, that being Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  For some time I've been expecting either Ginsberg or Scalia to pass on, simply based on their appearance, which did not look good to me.  That may sound morbid, but it's realistic. Kennedy appears much healthier.  But, any way this is looked at, at the age that four, now three, of the Justices have been, death has been something that's been in the Court chambers every day.  During the next President's term, whomever that is, there will be at least one more Justice to replace in this manner, if not three.  This fact alone, evident seemingly to all, has made me wonder why Ruth Bader Ginsberg did not resign last year, thereby making it semi assured that President Obama would pick her successor rather than potentially a Republican President next term.
That gets ahead, I suppose, of the story a bit.
Scalia was born in 1936 in Trenton New Jersey.  His father was from Sicily and his mother was an American whose parents had immigrated from Italy. At the time of his birth his father, who would go on to be a professor of Romance languages, was a graduate student.  His mother was an elementary school student.  He attended a public grade school and a Jesuit high school before going on to Georgetown University and then Harvard Law School.
As a lawyer, he only practiced for six years before moving on to a teaching position at the University of Virginia.  In 1971 he began a series of posts with the then Administration which he retained until appointed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1982.  He was appointed to the United States Supreme Court on September 17, 1986.  He was the longest sitting justice at the time of his death.
Scalia's career, quite frankly, defines much of what I have criticized about the United States Supreme Court.  He practiced in the real world very little, and was yet one of the many Ivy League graduates to be appointed to the bench. And, of course, he occupied the position for eons, leaving it only through death.  But I'll concede that Scalia's intellect argues against my position.  He was a giant.
One of the justices whose opinions were consistently well thought out and frankly brilliant, it won't be easily possible to replace him.  And his death occurs at a time when American politics have descended into an increasingly extreme stage, epitomized by a very odd Presidential race, while the Court has been consistently split between four conservatives and four liberals with Justice Kennedy in the middle.  His death means we now have a more or less liberal court with a swing vote that is problematic.  So, this court will swing between deadlocked and liberal at least until the next appointee makes it something else.
The appointment of that Justice is of massive importance.  President Obama will nominate somebody, but of course he well knows that there is little chance that nominee shall be approved (but not no chance whatsoever).  Given that, it will be interesting to see who he chooses for a position that can probably not be obtained, at least right away.  And now, who will fill this vacated bench, will become an issue in this campaign.
Who fills the Supreme Court seats should in fact always be an issue, and perhaps in this fashion Justice Scalia serves us one more time. Grant that it should be somebody of such equal intellect.

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