How To Use This Site

How To Use This Site

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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 19

1864  William F. Cody joined the 7th Volunteer Kansas Cavalry.

1887  The final run of the Black Hills stage left  Cheyenne.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1901  A bill prohibiting gambling signed into law.

1915  The Governor signed to acts pertaining to improvements at the state capitol consisting of the addition of wings onto the capitol building.  One was to approve the construction, and another to authorize a property tax to pay for it.

1915  The Natrona County Tribune merges into the Wyoming Weekly Review.

1917  The State Highway Commission created by the signature of the Governor of an act approving it. 

It's odd to think of Wyoming lacking a Highway Department but up until this date in 1917, it did.  That was common at the time as most vehicular transportation remained strictly local.  However, that would begin to change with the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, which provided funds, for the first time, to state highway departments in one of the "progressive" policies of the Wilson Administration.
The activities of the Commission would be modest but growing throughout its early years.  Limited winter plowing commenced in 1923 and then it began in earnest in 1929.  In 1991 the highway department became the Wyoming Department of Transportation, which it remains.

On this date in 1917 a shock happened to the nation.  The general who Woodrow Wilson already had in mind for an American expeditionary force in Europe, should the US enter the Great War, which was becoming increasingly likely, died.

And with his death, it truly seemed that an era had really passed.

 Gen. Frederick Funston, next to driver, in 1906.
Funston was a hero and a legend.  He'd risen to high command on the strength of his military achievements without being a West Point graduate.  He was truly an exception to the rules.

Funston was born in Ohio in 1865 and in some ways did not show early promise in life.  He was a very small and slight (at first) man, standing only 5'5" and weighing only 120 lbs upon reaching adulthood.  He aspired as a youth to the military, after growing up in Kansas, but he was rejected by West Point due to his small size.  He thereafter attended the University of Kansas for three years but did not graduate.  Following that he worked for awhile for the Santa Fe Railroad before becoming a reporter in Kansas City in 1890.

Only after a year he left reporting and went to work for the Department of Agriculture as a researcher in an era when that was an adventuresome occupation.  In 1896, however, Funston left that to join the Cuban insurrection against Spain in Cuba.

  Funston as a Cuban guerilla.
As most Americans spending any time in Cuba at the time experienced, he came down with malaria while serving the Cuban revolution.  Returning to United States weighing only 95 lbs he found himself back in the United States just in time to secure a commission with the 20th Kansas Infantry as it was raised to fight in the Spanish American War.  
"Funston's Fighting Kansans" in the Philippines.
The 20th Kansas didn't fight in Cuba, it fought in the Philippines.  Funston served there heroically and received the Medal of Honor, and found himself promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the Regular Army at age 35, a remarkable rise contrary to the usual story of military advancement and more reminiscent of the Civil War than anything thereafter.  Following his service in the Philippines, however, he fell into a period of controversy due to aggressively pro military action comments he made in the United States.
He was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco upon his return to the United States and was there at the time of the 1906 earthquake.  He controversially declared martial law to attempt to combat the fire and looters and in fact authorized the shooting of looters.  Following that he was stationed again in the Philippines and Hawaii.  In 1914 he was placed in command of the Southern Department of the Army and was in command of the US forces in Vera Cruz and thereafter in Mexico under Pershing.

Funston and his family at the Presidio.
On this date in 1917 he was relaxing at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio Texas when he suffered a massive stroke and died.  He was only 51 years of age but he had put on a tremendous amount of weight in recent years. Indeed, his weight had prevented him from active field service by the time of the Punitive Expedition, but the fact of his death in this fashion would suggest an undiagnosed high blood pressure condition, something that was commonly fatal in that era.
The Laramie Boomerang for February 19, 1917: Two Wyoming Battalions To Leave Border as Cowboys cross it.

Two Battalions of the Wyoming Infantry were to be on their way home, the Boomerang reported.

And Theodore Roosevelt was planning to reprise his Spanish American War role if the US went to war with Germany.  Well. . . .Woodrow Wilson might have a say in that.

And the situation in Mexico was apparently getting complicated by a private body of cowboy militia crossing the border in reprisal for the recent death of their fellows.

Finally, the  Boomerang reported the situation with Germany as "hopeful". 
The Wyoming Tribune for February 19, 1917: Colorado and Wyoming National Guard headed for Ft. D. A. Russell for Demobilization

News came on this Monday (in 1917) that indeed, Wyoming and Colorado state troops were headed home, or at least to Ft. D. A. Russell.

A general with a Cheyenne connection, John J. Pershing, now a national hero and the recent commander of the Punitive Expedition, came out for universal military training.  That was  big movement, of course, at the time.

And John B. Kendrick was on his way to the U.S. Senate, finishing up his time as Governor by signing the bills  that had passed the recent legislative session.

Miss Elanor Eakin Carr's engagement to Howard P. Okie, son of J. B. Okie of Lost Cabin, the legendary sheepman of the Lost Cabin area.  He'd take over his father's mercantile interest that year, but the marriage would not be a  long one.  He died in 1920
1921  Sixteenth state legislature adjourned.

1927  Nineteenth state legislature adjourned.

1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of any or all people from military areas "as deemed necessary or desirable."  This would lead to internment camps, including Heart Mountain near Cody.

 Map showing interment camps and other aspects of the exclusion of ethnic Japanese from the Pacific Coast during World War Two.

1945 The US government imposes a midnight curfew on all places of entertainment.

1986  Vice President George Bush addressed the legislature.

1990  Budget session of fiftieth state legislature convened.

1996  Budget session of the fifty third state legislature convened.

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