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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.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14

Today is St. Valentine's Day

270  St. Valentine martyred. There seems to be no strong actual connection between the martyr (there are actually three martyrs by this name) and the Romantic popular holiday celebrated on this day.

Due to some confusion on which particular St. Valentine this day originally commemorated, it is no longer on the Western church calendar. This is instead the day that commemorates Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles to the Slavs. In the Eastern Church calendar, Saint Valentine the Presbyter is celebrated on July 6,and Hieromartyr Saint Valentine is celebrated on July 30. Notwithstanding that, conventionally, members of the Greek Orthodox Church named Valentinos (male) or Valentina (female) celebrate their name on February 14.

None the less, the day remains very widely observed and very popular in Western nations, and even sees an expression in school in the United States.

1841   Henry Asa Coffeen, Congressman from March 4, 1893 to March 3 1895, was born ear Gallipolis, Ohio.  He was a teacher by profession and moved to Sheridan Wyoming, his home for the rest of his life, in 1884.  He was not reelected after his single term in office.

1862  The contest for the west during the Civil War takes a new turn when the Confederate States designated New Mexico and Arizona as Confederate territories.

1870  The Sweetwater County Board of Commissioners in a vote of two to one approved Ester Hobart Morris' application for Justice of the Peace.  This made her the first woman Justice of the Peace in the United States. She served for just about nine months.  She served the full length of her term but could not secure a renomination from either political party in Sweetwater County.  Of the cases she precised over which were appealed, not one was reversed.  She lived until 1902 and is buried in Cheyenne.

1871  James Edwards born in Ohio.  Edwards would become a prosperous black rancher in Niobrara County in an era when black ranchers were fairly rare.  He filed his original homestead in 1913, after having worked since 1903 in Niobrara County for other ranchers.

1911 Niobrara County created.

1917   The Laramie Boomerang for February 14, 1917: Germans to blame for trouble in Cuba and Mexico

The Laramie Boomerang ran an article blaming the trouble in Cuba and Mexico on Germany. The same story had the English about to land at Tampico, Mexico, to guard Mexican oilfields, upon which the British were in fact dependent.

And the city manager form of government, which would later become common in Wyoming, didn't pass the bar in 1917.
The Cheyenne State Leader for February 14, 1917. Trouble on the border.

Here we learn more about what happened on the border.  Mexican forces of some sort had crossed into the US and murdered three on American soil.  Ironically, the murdered men were Hispanics, but then that likely didn't mean much to the raiders.  An abduction also occurred.

It was rumored that the leader of the expedition that had just returned from Mexico, John J. Pershing, was about to marry. That would prove not  to be the case. While he'd come close on occasion, Gen. Pershing never married again and remained a widow for the balance of his life.
The Wyoming Tribune for February 14, 1917. US Cavalry back across the border.

Some regard this day as the last day of the Punitive Expedition.

Perhaps that's because US cavalry again crossed the border on this day, seeking to find three American cowboys who were taken by force into Mexico.  So, American forces were back in Mexico on this day, or maybe it was just being reported on, on this day.

In other news, American ships were going down, the German Ambassador was leaving, somebody had insulted the Legislature and authorities had had enough of bears dancing in saloons in Lincoln County.

And, having just gotten out of Mexico we were now thinking of getting into Cuba.
Major Leroy Eltinge delivered a speech on the use of cavalry.
Major Leroy Eltinge delivered a speech on the use of cavalry on this day, in 1917.
Major Eltinge had commanded an element of the 8th Cavalry in Mexico, so this speech was delivered hard on the heels of his recent experiences.  He was a career Army officer, in the service since 1896 who would go on to rise to the brevet rank of Brigadier General as Deputy Chief of Staff of the AEF during World War One before reverting to his permanent rank of Major following the war.  He'd re-obtain the rank of Brigadier General in 1924 and died while still a serving officer during World War Two.
A ship that served in World War Two was named in his honor.

1919  St. Valentine's Day, 1919. The Polish Soviet War commenced, Quixotic Portuguese Monarchist fail, Blizzard shuts things down, League of Nations floated, Novel spellings.
Heroic late war Polish poster.

The Polish Soviet War commenced on this date in 1914 when Polish troops were allowed to occupy a town in current day Belarus by the Germans, as part of the German withdrawal from the region, and were soon thereafter attacked by the Red Army.

The war would go on until March, 1921.

The results of the war are surprisingly disputed.  By most measures it would have to be regarded as a Polish victory given that they held off the Red Army even to the point of defending Warsaw against a Soviet offensive.  Moreover, the first Red Army attack had been given a name that suggested Warsaw was its goal.

Soviet propaganda poster showing the Red Army as liberators.

On the other hand, the initial Polish counteroffensives had been enormously successful and the Polish Army had been able to maintain that stance for quite some time during the war, advancing into territory they disputed in Russia and Ukraine.  The reversals in fortune were enormous and the Poles nearly retreated to the German border in the late stages of the war.  Still, Red Army losses during the Battle of Warsaw late in the war were so severe that the Poles were given a border that closely approximated that of the 1772 partition and therefore granted them most of the territory they were seeking,including the debatable Lithuanian town of Vilnius.  By and large, the Poles gained the territory they were seeking, although less than that which Pilsudski would have wanted for a greater Poland.

Polish propaganda poster showing Polish cavalry, which in fact there was a lot of, fighting bestial troops of the Red Army.

The war at least arguably put an end to the Trotsky vision of marching through Poland and on into Germany and likely cemented a growing rift between Stalin who wished thereafter to build Communism in what remained of the Russian Empire as opposed to Trotsky who argued for an immediate global revolution.

Polish solders with captured Soviet battle flags.  The Red Army may have been a new people's army in theory, but in the field it kept the trappings of earlier armies in having battle flags.

Poland, it might be noted, founds itself in substantial wars from the very first moment of the "Peace" of November 1918.  It's amazing it survived as a state.  It fought all of its neighbors to some degree in one way or another.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, a quixotic effort to restore the Portuguese monarchy, which had never received the endorsement of the former Portuguese royal family, ended and with it the self declared Portuguese Monarchy Of The North.

Portuguese monarchist who fought for a monarchy whose former leaders didn't endorse it.

It's flat out bizarre to contemplate a rebel movement to restore a monarchy occurring in 1919 when in many other nations rebels had successfully operated to depose their nation's monarchies.  Yet, in Portugal, such an attempt was oddly made.  It's hard to figure really, but it is perhaps best understood in the context of it being an ultra conservative revolution with no place to go.

Well, closer to home, sort of . . . .

The Tribune had a headline that today would cause people to recall its occasional nickname, the "Casper Red Star", what with its reference to a "World Constitution".  This referred, of course, to a stout League of Nations.

Rumors were afloat about bribery being a factor on a bill for a new county and a "dry" rally was being planned.

And news of a big blizzard was being reported everywhere in the state.

Hopefully that blizzard wouldn't delay the return of the returning Guardsmen of the 116th Ammunition Train which were anticipated to be home within a week.

The Cheyenne paper remembered it was Valentine's Day.

The second Cheyenne paper noted that communications with the East hung on by a thread, due to the blizzard.

Interestingly, but also without details, that paper also reported that "Dean Huston", a Cheyenne clergyman, would be choosing between two parishes for his new assignment back east.  No other substantial details were provided, but it's likely that he was an Episcopal churchman as the Episcopal Church used that title and that would make sense in context.

And finally the pressed for space Laramie Boomerang resorted to Rooseveltian phonetic spelling, as Wyoming papers in this era occasionally did, for their headline, changing Cheyenne to Chian.  

Theodore Roosevelt, who in spite of his genius was somewhat spealling challenged, had advocated for this movement which would have altered the somewhat bizarre spellings common in English to phonetic ones at large and tried writing that way himself for awhile, but like everyone else, he gave it up. For a brief time, however, Wyoming newspapers would resort to it if headlines seemingly required it, as here.

1971  A campaign was commenced to save the Ivinson Mansion in Laramie.   It is now the Laramie Plains Museum.  The substantial building had been built by the Ivinson family, early significant figures in Laramie, and belonged to the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming at the time, which was considering selling it due to the costs involved in keeping it.  The Ivinson's, immigrants from the Virgin Islands, were originally British citizens and were members of the Episcopal Church.  The impressive structure is familiar to anyone who has spent any time in Laramie.

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