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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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14

1854   Edward Gillette was born in New Haven, Connecticut.  He graduated from the Yale Scientific School in 1876 and took a job with the U.S. Geological Survey.  He later became locating engineer and chief draftsman for the Rio Grande and Western Railway and later a surveyor and civil engineer for the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. He was married to the daughter of H.A. Coffeen, who at one time was Wyoming’s Congressman. He was elected Wyoming State Treasurer in 1907 and served until 1911. 1907-1911.   He also served as Wyoming Water Superintendent.

Gillette Wyoming is named after him.

1877  Cheyenne incorporated by the Territorial Legislature.

1911 Hiram S. Manville, after whom Manville in Niobrara County is named, died in Nebraska.  He was a rancher and worked for large ranches in the region, and was influential in the early development of the town.

1914  Grace Raymond Hebard became first woman admitted to state bar.

This was a remarkable achievement in and of itself, but it only one of a string of such accomplishments made by Hebard.  She was also the first woman to graduate from the Engineering Department of the University of Iowa, in an era when there engineering was an overwhelmingly male profession.  She followed this 1882 accomplishment by acquiring a 1885 MA from the same school, and then an 1893  PhD in political science from Wesleyan University.  She went to work for the State of Wyoming in 1882 and rose to the position of Deputy State Engineer under legendary State Engineer Elwood Mead.  She moved to Laramie in 1891 and was instrumental in the administration of the University of Wyoming.  She was a significant figure in the suffrage movement, and a proponent in Wyoming of Americanization, a view shared by such figures such as Theodore Roosevelt.

She was an amateur historian as well, which is what she is best remembered for today.  Unfortunately, her historical works were tinged with romanticism and have not been regarded as wholly reliable in later years.  Her history of Sacajawea, which followed 30 years of research, is particularly questioned and would seem to have made quite a few highly romantic erroneous conclusions.  On a more positive note, the same impulses lead her to be very active in the marking of historic Wyoming trails.

While she was the first woman to be admitted to the Wyoming State Bar, she never actually practiced law.  Her book collection is an important part of the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center's collection today. 

1916  Former Governor John Osborne concludes his service as Assistant Secretary of State for the Wilson Administration.

John E. Osborne at the start of his service as Assistant Secretary of State.

It had been rumored for weeks that the former Democratic Governor would step down, with motivations being various cited as an intent to run for the U.S. Senate and a desire to return his Western holdings.   All of that may have been partial motivators.  He did retain agricultural and business holdings in Wyoming and a 1918 run for the Senate showed he had not lost interest in politics.  However, he also found himself in increasing disagreement with his employer on Wilson's policies in regards to the war in Europe.  So, at this point, prior to Wilson's second term commencing, he stepped down and returned to Wyoming with his wife Selina, who was twenty years his junior.

Osborne would live the rest of his life out in the Rawlins area, ranching and as a banker.  While twenty years older than his wife, he would out live her by a year, dying in 1943 at age 84.  She died the prior year at age 59.  Their only daughter would pass away in 1951.  In spite of a largely Wyoming life, he was buried with his wife in their family plot in Kentucky.
1916The Submarine H3 runs aground, leading to the ultimate loss of the USS Milwaukee.
The U.S. submarine the H3, operating off of Eureka California with the H1 and H2, and their tender the USS Cheyenne, went off course in heavy fog and ran aground on this date (although some sources say it was December 16, this seems the better date however).

The H3 during one of the recovery attempts.
She'd be recovered and put back in service, although it was a difficult effort and would not be accomplished until April 20, 1917.  In the process, the USS Milwaukee, a cruiser, was beached and wrecked on January 13, 1917, making the relaunching of the H3 somewhat of a Pyrrhic victory.

The wrecked USS Milwaukee.

USS Cheyenne, which had been original commissioned as the monitor USS Wyoming.

 The USS Cheyenne with the H1 and H2.  The Cheyenne had been decommissioned in 1905, after having served since only 1900, but she was recommissioned in 1908.  She was the first fuel oil burning ship in the U.S. Navy after having been refitted prior to recommissioning.  She was refitted as a U.S. Navy submarine tender, as a brief stint in the Washington Naval Militia, in 1913.

2006  Staff Sgt. Theodore A. Spatol,1041st Engineer Company, Wyoming Army National Guard, died of illness acquired while in Iraq.  He had returned to his home in Thermopolis prior to passing.

Elsewhere:  1916:  In strong contrast to the State of Wyoming,  Quebec bans women from entering the legal profession.

This was in contrast with progress in suffrage elsewhere in Canada that year, but it wasn't terribly unusual for the time.  Note that the first Woman admitted to the bar in Wyoming had only been admitted two years earlier in spite of suffrage dating back to the late 19th Century and in spite of women already having served as justices of the peace and jurors. Having said that, every US state would have admitted at least one woman to the bar by the early 20th Century and many in the late 19th Century

Clara Brett Martin, the first female lawyer in the British Empire.
In these regards the entire British Empire trailed somewhat behind as the first female lawyer in the Empire, Ontario's Clara Brett Martin, wasn't admitted until 1897 after a protracted struggle to obtain that goal.

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