To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
Show all languages
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

Esther Hobart Morris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Esther Hobart Morris
Esther Hobart Morris

Esther Hobart Morris (August 8, 1814 – April 3, 1902) was the first woman justice of the peace in the United States. A mother of three boys, she began her tenure as justice in South Pass City, Wyoming, on February 14, 1870, serving a term of fewer than nine months.[1] The Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners appointed Morris as justice of the peace after the previous justice, R.S. Barr, resigned in protest of Wyoming Territory's passage of the women's suffrage amendment in December 1869.[2][3]

Popular stories and historical accounts, as well as by state and federal public monuments, point to Morris as a leader in the passage of Wyoming's suffrage amendment. However, Morris' leadership role in the legislation is disputed.[4][5][6] Morris herself never claimed any credit, ascribing the bill entirely to William H. Bright, who was member of the territorial legislature from South Pass City and President of the Territorial Council.[7]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/2
    1 271
  • Wyoming Voices, Part 1
  • 2013 Graduate School Commencement


(light music) - [Voiceover] Wyoming Voices has been funded in part through a generous grant from the Wyoming Department of Education, and by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities, and through the generous support of members of Wyoming Public Television. Thank you. (wind blowing) (light music) - Narrator: Like a serpent, the Continental Divide snakes through Wyoming. (light music) The flowing streams and abounding wildlife provided a paradise for ancient man and the Plains Indians. Time and again, the story of Wyoming is about change, the struggle to survive and the search for opportunity. - [Voiceover] This is the first time in history where a railroad came first and a government came later. There were people who really believed women should have the right to vote. - [Voiceover] We're very, very dependent on the buffalo. Narrator: From the time of ancient man to the creation and celebration of a new state this is the story of the people and the land the place we call Wyoming. (light music) - We begin 11,000 years ago. Wyoming's first inhabitants sought shelter in caves and canyons. Excavated by archeologists, their stone weapons reveal stories of these ancient people's lives. Paleo-Indian period in Wyoming is known as a time when people are doing big game hunting. George Frison: They have been characterized also as starving nomads, which I don't believe is true at all. These were very proud people and they had some of the finest weaponry that we know of anywhere in the world at that time. Narrator: One of the questions for archeologists, is what happened to these ancient people who preceded modern American Indians? A dramatic change in climate, 10,000 years ago seared the Wyoming planes. The summers were hotter, the winters colder, and the massive mammoth disappeared. Mary Lou: Some of the interesting changes that we see that are associated with the early archaic include the appearance in southwestern Wyoming of evidence of architecture in the form of things we call pit houses, or house pits. The other thing that appears in larger numbers at, beginning at 5,000 years ago, are stone circles. And stone circles are the archeological remnants of teepees. And so throughout Wyoming there are thousands of stone circles, stone circle sites. George: At about, oh 5,500 years ago, times got better. The climate regime changed again, we got more grass, bison moved in and the plains were once again pretty well populated with bison. And then immediately after that, we begin to get some very large, maybe even pseudo-tribal groups. And I think they may have been some of the most spectacular, we say foot nomad bison hunters. And they were killing large numbers of animals and they had absolutely the best weaponry that we know of. Mary Lou: One of the significant changes at the late prehistoric period is that you get the shift to the bow and arrow. Wyoming is one of the few places that didn't make the move to agriculture. Whereas many, many other part of the United States and many other places in the world did. And yet I think that Native Americans who lived in Wyoming had an incredibly wonderful place to live. Willie LeClair: Historically, what I've heard from the old people, from stories that have been told to me, that this was the area of the Shoshone people. Dr. Dudley Gardner: In 1500 we think that possibly southwestern Wyoming was dominated by the Shoshonian speakers. And what happened is pretty intriguing. They expanded into this area and they developed an ability to trade with neighbors. Willie: Then in about 1700 is when the Shoshone people was introduced to the horse, which they got from our cousin tribe the Comanches. They was then, got to be move and be a little bit more nomadic. They changed their style of life, they changed their way of livin'. Joe LaForge: With the horse, you had a beast of burden now. The women didn't have to carry the stuff, the horse could carry it as a devise a travois. William C.Hair: This particular area in, what has come to be known as Wyoming, was a location that was told many, many years ago by our older people, through what is often term is mythology. To come to this place. In our language it's called (speaks Shoshone), it is called toward the center. He said, when you find this place, he said, you'll know it. He said it is the backbone of the world. Narrator: In 1804, at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the American Indian tribes, in the region of Wyoming, included the Shoshone, Crow, Lakota or Sioux, and the Cheyenne and Arapahoe. Their future and the future of Wyoming stretched ahead, woven together by the trails that would soon cross the continent. (classical music) Dr. Phil Roberts: The first white American into Wyoming was John Colter. And of course Colter had a connection to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. On the way back, John Colter asked Lewis and Clark if he could separate from the party and go back up into the mountains to be involved in the fur trade. His importance to Wyoming history is not that he found anything because he didn't see a soul. The entire trip, it was he and his dog traveling around looking for someone to trade with and he found no one. Narrator: The explorers map the uncharted territories, seeking the best routes. While fur trappers sought their fortune and adventure in the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Wyoming creeks and streams provided the trappers with a gold mind of beaver pelts, used for the new fashion craze of men's beaver hats. - [Voiceover] July 7th, traveled west about 15 miles and camped on Little Sandy, a branch of the Green River. Narrator: Far from civilization and supplies, trappers and American Indians, brought their furs to the annual rendezvous, where they traded with fur companies for supplies. - [Voiceover] Here presented what might be termed a mixed multitude. The whites were chiefly Americans and Canadian-French, with some Dutch, Scotch, Irish and English. Indians of nearly every tribe in the Rocky Mountains. Narrator: By the 1830s, only 200 white men lived in the area that would become Wyoming. Phil: Well the rendezvous system worked fairly well in the 1820s and into the 1830s. But after a while a few of the trappers realized that there would be a possibility that they could establish an all-weather trading post. Narrator: Started as business ventures, those trading posts would later be purchased by the US Military. They became outposts of protection for the flood of immigrants crossing the country. Daniel Kinnaman: Southern Wyoming is a natural pass in the Rocky Mountains. There's a 60 mile wide pass in southern Wyoming that what I call the south pass route, the Oregon Trail. This one followed water. They had access to water all along the way. Joseph Marshall: During the eary days of the Oregon Trail, as more and more whites came and they were afraid because they didn't know anything about the people who already lived there and what they did know was based on the information that these were hostile people, they were angry, they were willing to kill white people. And so based on that kind of misinformation there was some anxiety, obviously, some apprehension and fear. And then they began to ask their government for protection. (light piano music) Katie Curtiss: So what the government decided to do in 1851 in order to make that central corridor of immigrant travel safe, is enter into a peace council with the plains of the northern tribes. And thousands of Native Americans from all over the northern plains came into this council. Joseph: 1851 was the first time that we saw white maps. And the maps drawing pictures of the land, so to speak, was nothing new to us, but they didn't use natural boundaries like we did, like a river, or a mountain range, or some other natural geographic marker. They just, to us, drew lines on a paper that showed where the lines should be. And so some of the older, first people who encountered that concept would go and look for the lines in the earth. They'd say, well where is it? And of course it wasn't there. - [Voiceover] The best way to negotiate and settle disputes with hostile Indians is with a rifle. For that is the only pen that can right a treaty which they will not forget. Narrator: The first shots of the plains Indian War were fired south of Fort Laramie. The Lakota Indians had not received the food supplies promised by the treaty of 1851. A passing immigrant train lost a cow and a young Indian found it. Katie: And there it was, and so they decided to eat it. A young West Pointer Lieutenant Grattan, who had no understanding of Indians, no understanding of the treaty or relationships. Went into the Brule Camp and it broke down into conflict and Lieutenant Grattan started firing on the Brule and they retaliated. And Lieutenant Grattan and his men were killed. Narrator: The bloodshed and misunderstanding between the tribes and the military was to continue for two long decades. Undeterred, the flood of immigrants persisted, carried by wagon trains then stagecoach. In 1860, the Pony Expressed united the country with a dramatic delivery of mail. 10 days from Missouri to California, the daring enterprise lasted less than two years. Ended by the construction of the Transcontinental Telegraph. By the spring of 1861, America was preoccupied with far graver concerns. President Lincoln's inauguration was soon followed by civil war. (canons firing) In spite of the war, Congress passed two acts in 1862 that forever changed the American west. The first Homestead Act promised Americans a chance to own their own land. And the Railroad Act provided them the means to get there. (classical music) Gold was discovered in Montana in 1862 and thousands rushed to find their fortunes in Virginia City. Jim Bridger and John Bozeman developed routes through Wyoming, but the Bozeman trail was the shortest and easiest. It's one drawback, it cut through Lakota hunting grounds. Tension mounted in the Powder River country as the Lakota were joined by the Cheyenne and Arapahoe following the massacre of their people in Sand Creek, Colorado. (gun firing) Willie: The weak people, the elderly, the women, the children, they were told to go camp along the Sand Creek. They were told that they were under protection of this country. Katie: As a result of the Sand Creek Massacre, the southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe were drawn into a powerful alliance with the Teton Lakota. So now you've got this powerful alliance right in the area where people want to move up the Bozeman Trail. Narrator: To protect the passage of travelers on the Bozeman Trail, the US Military built three forts. Frank Fessenden from Ohio, arrived at one of the Bozeman Trail forts as a member of its 30 piece military band. Fort Phil Kearny was far from civilization and deep in hostile territory, south of present day Sheridan. It was a brutally cold winter. Fessenden told of the death of one of the soldiers. - [Voiceover] "The night he died, I well remember "how the wolves howled and made the night hideous. "And we could hear them scratch at the stockade posts." Narrator: The Lakota were determined to rid their land of the unwanted forts and soldiers. Willie: We call it the Battle of the Hundred in the Hand and that was on December 21st, 1866, according to the white calendar. The soldiers in Fort Phil Kearny were in this palisade fort with big log walls, and stayed in there except to go after wood. So the popular method of trying to draw them out was to set up ambushes or lure them outside the fort somehow and then attack them. Narrator: That morning company commander Colonel Carrington instructed the newly arrived Captain Fetterman to ignore the Indians when he left the fort. Captain William J. Fetterman ignored Colonel Carrington's command. Willie: Well these 10 decoys did everything in their power to lure these soldiers. During this decoy actions, Crazy Horse did a couple of things to probably to really infuriate the soldiers. He got off, within rifle range, he got off of his horse, took out his knife, lifted up his horse's feet, and scraped the ice from the bottom of his horse's feet as the bullets were winding around him. Katie: The brilliant strategy of Red Cloud and the other Lakota and Cheyenne bands brought Fetterman over the ridge into that valley, where he was literally entrapped. And all of his command was killed. Willie: They fought, they accounted for themselves well and it was over and the Lakota and the Cheyenne were mutilating the soldiers' bodies because of what had happened at Sand Creek in 1864. So they were taking their revenge on that. - [Voiceover] It was a horrible and sickening site and brought tears to every eye to see those men, many of whom had served four years in the War of the Rebellion, meeting such an awful death on the western plains. (upbeat music) Dr. David Kathka: They were looking for some way to connect the country. So Wyoming became part of that vast nothingness between the populace east and the becoming populace California. Phil: This is the first time in history where a railroad came first and a government came later. In fact Wyoming Territory was a creation of the railroad. It was actually part of Dakota Territory initially. David: Now the question is how might it be financed? Well the private sector basically said we can't finance it, we don't have enough money. Phil: One of the things that the Federal Government had to do was to offer some sort of a financial inducement to the builders, to guarantee that they would in fact make a profit to, and it would be profitable to them to build this amazing enterprise. And so they offered a land grant. And as a result, the Union Pacific became the proud possessors of about 4.5 million acres in Wyoming. David: Just the geology, the landscape, helped to bring the railroad to Wyoming. In addition, you had coal as a resource that the railroad could both sell and ultimately use to run the trains. Daniel: They go to Cheyenne in November of 1867, and they kind of wintered there. And they got an early start building west. They got to Laramie in May, but they'd designate certain towns as end of track. The trains would come, with say passengers, freight from the east, and at that place they would unload the passengers and freight and then put 'em on wagons and they'd go on west. Narrator: As quickly as the track was laid, towns appeared overnight. Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Green River. It took two years to cross Wyoming. At it's peak in the summer of 1868, over 6,000 men were strung across the region and the race towards completion of the railroad. Carol Bowers: Well, there were people from all walks of life who arrived with the railroad. From the railroaders and people like Jack Casement, who was laying the grade for the Union Pacific Railroad, to affluent people who were the town builders, leaders of the community, along with people of the more disreputable sort, like some thieves and other criminals and prostitutes. Dr. Dudley Gardner: In Green River, they didn't get the jail built quick enough. And there were plenty enough murders that the military had to come and they were the only people that, they were impounding, or incarcerating, or putting in a wagon, or putting in manacles, or shackling him to the wheels of wagons or whatever, but they had a military detachment. And the military leaders wrote back to Fort Bridger, those records are readily available, saying this is a miserable place, these people are crazy. Narrator: Beartown, 10 and half miles southeast of Green River grew to 2,000 over a few days. A hundred shacks, tents, and saloons sprang up overnight like mushrooms. When the rail tracks reached town a riot exploded. 14 UP men were killed and dozens more were wounded. When the train finally arrived at the city's edge, it raced on through and never stopped. Beartown soon disappeared. Carol: Very early in Laramie's history they did elect a mayor and a town council. And they did their best to bring some order to this booming community. However, they already signed two weeks later saying that the town was so rough it was ungovernable. Dudley: You heard the story about them building a jail in Laramie City, present Laramie, and they were able to push the ceiling off. They literally stood there and they, stood on each others' shoulders and pushed the ceiling right up off the top. Narrator: The pattern that would repeat itself throughout Wyoming history had begun. It's landscape and natural resources would bring eruptions of prosperity. And with it growth, jobs, fortunes, and chaos. (light music) (slow music) In 1867, Congress decided to protect the passage way of the Transcontinental Railroad from Indian threats. They established a peace commission to seek final settlement with the Plains Indians. Dudley: The problem is, is that when the United States decided they're going to build a railroad through, the Shoshone stood astride the exact heart of the railroad through southwestern Wyoming. And they needed to be removed. Narrator: To the north, more complications had developed for the Shoshone. Tom Lindmier: The South Pass City actually began with gold discovery by a Mr. Ridall and his mining party and that would be in a bout 1867. The minute the gold discovery news hit the newspapers people came in from Salt Lake. We had miners that showed up from the California gold rush, all the way from the Montana gold rushes, the Idaho, the Nevada, every gold rush. Narrator: The government had signed an earlier agreement with the Shoshone people in1863, but the newly formed peace commission arrived seeking a new treaty. Willie: They'd discovered gold, so they decided the Indian people didn't, the Shoshone people didn't need this gold. So they come in and brought the reservation down to what it's almost to its present size. which is 2.5 million acres. So that's a lot of acreage that we lost because the Federal Government didn't think that we could manage what we had. When the Shoshone people prior to that ranged all of the inter-mountain west. Narrator: Chief Washakie, the visionary leader of the Shoshone, negotiated the 1868 Fort Bridger Treaty. Which created the Wind River Reservation. Dudley: There are sources out there that say that Washakie caved in and gave away too much property. What he understood was that if he gained the Wind River Reservation, he'd have all the resources that he'd need if it was maintained as a whole. He would have grazing land, he would have mountains, he'd have excellent sources of water. Washakie made a choice. He saw the writing on the wall. I think he did the best considering he was completely surrounded, facing an army of overwhelming superiority. And I hate to say that but technologically you could not beat the US Military after the Civil War. They had the carbines, they had the rifles, they had the sheer numbers. It's difficult, it's difficult situation. I don't think Washakie just gave up. I think Washakie chose the wise course. Willie: He was very instrumental in making things work here on the reservation. Sure it was a big culture change for him, big, big culture change. Narrator: Members of the peace commission appointed by Congress traveled to Fort Laramie in the spring of 1868. They expected to reach settlement with the remaining plains tribes, including the Lakota. But the Bozeman Trail Fort still occupied, Red Cloud and others hostile to the commission, refused to meet. Later that summer, the military abandoned the forts, the tribes felt their victory complete. November 4, 1868, Red Cloud and a 125 Indian leaders arrived at Fort Laramie to sign the treaty. They received their Dakota Reservation and Powder River hunting grounds. In turn, they agreed to farm, live in houses, and educate their children in white man schools. This they promised. But only when the buffalo and their way of life had come to an end. (upbeat music) 1868 was a pivotal year. Three weeks after the creation of the Wind River Reservation, Congress established the territory of Wyoming. Phil: In essence, we got the name Wyoming from a Congressman from Ohio who had never been to this area, but liked the ring of the name and liked what the name seemed to say in the Delaware Indian language. It wasn't even Sioux or Arapahoe or Shoshone language, it was a Delaware Indian word for on the great plain. Narrator: President Andrew Johnson who had faced impeachment two months earlier, signed the act creating Wyoming Territory. But Congress, still angry with Johnson, refused to approve his appointments for state offices. Wyoming became a territory without a governor or a government. Ulysses S. Grant was elected the country's president in November and took office March of 1869. Within a month, he appointed Wyoming's territorial officers. Phil: John Campbell was a former general in the Union Army and he got appointed governor of Wyoming Territory. And he'd never been here, he was in Ohio. And when he took the train out to Wyoming, he got off the train in Cheyenne, and looked around, and said, well this is as good a place as any for my territorial capital. I'll just make this my temporary capital. Narrator: Governor Campbell and the other state officers immediately left Wyoming for Promontory Point, Utah, where national history was being made. The Transcontinental Railroad was complete. The vision of connecting the two coasts had come to pass and was finished with the pounding of the golden spike. The new Wyoming Territory would soon be making its own historic headlines. Phil: The one thing that put Wyoming Territory on the map from the very beginning, was that act by the first territorial legislature to give women the right to vote and to hold office and in essence, equal rights. Rick Ewig: There were people who really believed women should have the right to vote. There were other people who believed that this would draw women to the territory and we needed a population growth desperately at the time. Only about 8,000 in Wyoming at that time. Tom: And it seems too, that there was some kind of a little bit of jest on the part of our territorial legislatures in giving women the right to vote. They didn't really take it all that seriously themselves and somehow it passed, and then wham here it was. Narrator: In addition to Governor Campbell, who signed the bill into law, there were two other key players in women's suffrage. Edward M. Lee, secretary of the territory, had worked for women's equal rights in the Connecticut legislature, where it failed. He found more success in Wyoming. Phil: And then a legislator from South Pass City, was, by the name of William Bright, was the individual who had drafted the suffrage bill. William Bright was a saloon keeper in South Pass City and he was in his middle 40s, and had this very charming young wife, Julia Bright, who was in her mid 20s. And many of William Bright's contemporaries attribute that very beautiful and vivacious wife of William Bright for his attitude toward giving women equal rights. Narrator: Wyoming legend has it that Ester Hobart Morris of South Pass City, was instrumental in getting the women's suffrage bill passed. It is a myth that has been proven false. Phil: Esther Hobart Morris, even though she had no role in the suffrage bill was a very significant figure because she was first woman, anywhere, to serve as a judge. Tom: Esther Morris was at South Pass City and she became nominated as our first woman justice of peace in, as far we know, in the world. Public, first woman to hold public office. Phil: It was a rough and wild mining town and for a woman to take on this kind of a task was pretty amazing. Rick: One outgrowth of the suffrage bill was that the territorial Supreme Court ruled that women could serve on jury as a result of the suffrage act. And so in Laramie 1870, March, the first women to serve on juries occurred. And some people really liked that because women were supposed to be bringing a civilizing influence to the jury room. - When the juries would go off and decide if someone was innocent or guilty, they often would gamble and drink and have a good time. And women were supposed to bring more decorum to those rooms. Narrator: Having second thoughts, the 1871 Legislature voted to repeal the women's suffrage act. Governor Campbell vetoed their bill and Wyoming continued to make history. 50 years would pass before the rest of the nation joined in giving women equal rights. The Homestead Act of 1862 had created a bonanza of farm development across the plains. The 1870 census numbers showed Nebraska with over 600,000 cultivated acres, Colorado, with 95,000, and Wyoming Territory 338 cultivated acres. President Ulysses S. Grant in his 1872 report to the Committee on Territories said that Wyoming would never attract enough people to read statehood. He recommended that it be dissolved and it's land carved up between Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Idaho. Wyoming was not like it's neighbors. It's future lay not in cultivate crops but in minerals under the ground and grass growing on its plains. The same plains grazed by buffalo in promise to the tribes. (classical music) The railroad opened the country to buffalo hunters. Back east, tanners had developed a method to turn buffalo hides into usable leather. Hunters began the slaughter of buffalo at a rate of 1,000 or more a week, per gun. (gun fires) When the hunt began, the buffalo herds numbered 50 million. Within 10 years they were reduced to a few thousand. Joseph: It was difficult to live the way that we had been used to living for so many years. We were very, very dependent on the buffalo. It provided food, shelter, and clothing, you know to put it bluntly. And when they disappeared of course, it was harder to make a living, it was harder to get through the winters. Katie: A lot of the Indian people were having a hard time. You know in terms of food and game and, you know a lot of them were you know almost starving. Narrator: In 1874, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led a thousand soldiers on an expedition into the Black Hills. Land that belonged to the Lakota. His expedition discovered gold. When word reached the outside world, his fate, and the fate of the Indians, was sealed. Joseph: Sitting Bull was one of those people who was saying, you know folks, unless we do something about these people, they're gonna overrun us, they're gonna take all of land, they're gonna kill us all. Narrator: President Grant determined the Lakota must give up their Black Hills and Powder River country. He ordered all Indians to reservations by January 1876. That summer three armies arrived to force the remaining bands out of the Powder River country and onto the reservations. Joseph: It was during all of that Sitting Bull did a sun dance, he had a vision. His vision was that soldiers and their horses were falling from the sky with their ears cut off, bleeding into a Lakota encampment. That vision foretold, to a lot of people there would be a battle and it would be, we would be victorious. Narrator: Custer led a force of men to the Little Big Horn River. They met a united force of over 3,000 Indians. Within an hour, all 220 men that followed Custer, were dead. (Native American music and gun shots) Katie: In 1876, when the Lakota and Cheyenne and Arapahoe won the battle of Little Big Horn, they lost the war. Joseph: After the battle, some of the old men were saying, well you know, we taught them a lesson, so now they'll leave us alone. The others were saying no, they're gonna be really, really angry and they'll come after us. And they were right. Tom: In the northern plains, to me, the battle that signified the end of the Cheyenne and Sioux was the Battle of Dull Knife's Camp up on the Powder River, 1877, the winter of 1877. That is the one that seemed to, in my opinion, take it mostly out of the Indian's hearts. Joseph: Dull Knife's village, north of Kaycee, was attacked in the winter. And this was a different tactic because soldiers didn't go out in the field in the winter. Tom: They drove the Indians out of their camp, captured their horse herd, burned their camp, or started and started to kill off the horse herd. Which was common practice. You wanted to take the mobility away from the Indians. I just feel, for me, the families of these Indian warriors having to suffer through a January and a February and a March in Wyoming without their camp. Narrator: Across Wyoming and and the west, President Grant's order to move all American Indians to reservations was executed by his military officers. Marirose Morris: You know, all the Indians were order onto reservations and so you had people, the non-native husbands having to make a choice of whether they were going to stay out here, off reservation, doing whatever they were doing and send their wives and children to the reservation, which was required. Or would they give up what they had out here and move back to the reservation? Willie: Well the Indian people were survivors. You know, they always have been, and they'll always be here. I think it was very hard, very hard. (slow sad music) Narrator: Late in 1877, the United States government told 1,000 Arapahoe that they would be placed on the Wind River Reservation. Willie: They come together, Shoshone warriors on, mounted on one side, Arapahoe warriors mounted on one side, two chiefs come together. Narrator: Chief Washakie and the Shoshone consider the Arapahoe their traditional enemy, but they agreed to the temporary placement. Willie: We have been a conquered nation, we have been conquered. Despite many atrocities that we have gone under, we are still here, we still maintain our integrity as Indian people, we are still here. (upbeat music) Narrator: The Union Pacific Railroad brought progress to Wyoming, but it was with the hands and on the backs of immigrant labor. James Ehernberger: After the railroad was finished in May of 1869, they had a lot of work they had to do. They built it so fast. Dudley: You were paid by how many miles you laid. So they built it too quickly. And when the golden spike was driven in 1869 at Promontory, they were gonna have to rebuild the railroad. So Union Pacific at the time decided they were gonna experiment with different labors. And what they did was, they checked out Irish workers who had built this grade through the southern part of the state. And they checked out Chinese. And in their letters, back in Omaha, they says, we find that they both work equally as hard but the Chinese complain a lot less and require a lot less maintenance. Narrator: In addition to hiring workers to rebuild the railroad, workers were needed to mine the UP coal. James: Well coal development was very important for the railroads because coming across Nebraska, until they reached the coal mines they had to burn wood. Well wood was scarce. Dudley: Rock Springs became, in the words of the Union Pacific Company, the best coal on the line, and possibly the best coal in the western United States. Narrator: Discontent among the miners grew as steadily as the coal production. In 1875, miners wages were cut from five cents a bushel to four. When the miners went on strike, they were promptly fired. Chinese workers were willing to mine coal for the penny less. The Union Pacific hired them to replace the striking miners and built housing for them. Both acts stoked the fire that would eventually burst into flame. Phil: By 1880, you have over a thousand Chinese residents scattered in the communities across the railroad line. Narrator: Wyoming was not unique. Across the nation, workers joined newly created labor unions to fight unfair conditions. At the same time, the United States passed legislation slamming the door on Chinese immigrants. These two historical forces met and exploded in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Dudley: What happens is, is that the white community becomes the minority. What happens is, there's a clash of cultures. What happens is, is Union Pacific is perceived as the repressor of the workers inside of Rock Springs. And it all comes to a head in 1885. Narrator: It began with a bribe for a work assignment at the mines, and within a matter of hours became a riot. Dudley: The white miners says, okay this it, we have had it. We need to run these people out once and for all, and give the company its message. So they attacked Chinatown. And what they were burning was not Chinese houses. They were burning houses built by Union Pacific. They're burning down a symbol of what Union Pacific has created, and also they're attacking and purposefully killing these Chinese men. Narrator: 28 Chinese workers were killed, hundreds of others fled to the hills and on to Evanston. The Union Pacific Railroad continued to dominate Rock Springs for decades. But it's lesson had been learned. The company began recruiting in countries around the world, and stopped the practice of segregated housing. These changes would one day make Rock Springs the melding pot of Wyoming. (classical music) Wyoming's thick coal beds, mined and used by the railroad, promised a prosperous future. But a different source of wealth grew on top of the ground. Wyoming could boast over 200 varieties of grass. Lawrence Woods: During the period when so many people were crossing Wyoming going to the west coast, often times cattle would be abandoned because they were sick or simply spent by the long trek. And to the surprise of all, in the spring, many of those survived and in fact had flourished. Pete Simpson: So by the end of 1876, the end of Custer, 1877, 1878, by the early 80s, you had the best grasslands in the Sheridan and Powder River Basin area available for cattle grazing. And boy did they flood into it. Lawrence: On the books, the cattle barons had herds that sometimes approached 100,000 head. Cheyenne was the place where the managers of those herds gravitated. So in 1881, a club was established there called the Cheyenne club. And this was a very convenient headquarters. Particularly in the wintertime when hardly anybody on the northern ranges, they all came down, and spent the winter in the Cheyenne club if they didn't go home to England or Scotland or wherever their home was. Narrator: Cheyenne became the cattle capital of the world and also the wealthiest per capita. It was the first city in America to install incandescent street lights. It boasted an opera house, which entertained the local residents, including the residents of the newly constructed Millionaire's Row. Pete: Cattle barons didn't fence, didn't raise hay, didn't go through stock farming procedures. Lawrence: Probably the peek years were 1882, 1883. This is the period when there was a tremendous flood of foreign capitol coming into Wyoming. Narrator: In 1886, cattle prices fell to half of what they'd been only a few years earlier. The cattle barons, cut their cowboys' wages from 40 to 35 dollars a month, and eliminated the grub line, the tradition of offering free meals to cowboys during the winter. The cowboys went on strike. Tom: Generally they were young men. They had to be, it was a very rough life. - The cowboy, really his life only existed in the summer months, from spring round up to fall round up. The winter months, you'd better go find something to do other than being a cowboy because there wasn't anything to do, they turned the herds loose and they just roamed the plains. Narrator: Three elements were coming together for disaster. Greed, bad management, and bad weather. Too many head of cattle and too little rain hit the ground that summer of 1886. The greed of the cattle barons stopped them from their selling their stock that fall. They waited for higher prices. Pete: Then the good years came to an end in 1886. And then Charlie Russell's picture describes it better than I can. The last of the 5,000, the picture of the scrawny, spavin, ring boned old steer with the wolves gathering around him in the winter. Lawrence: There are anecdotal stories that you could go out and walk on the range without ever stepping off of a dead animal. There was very, very heavy losses. Pete: And there are horror stories of cattle floating down the river courses when the ice broke up, bloated bodies that filled the whole valley with the stench of death. It was a horrendous time and it was deadly to the business as a business run roughshod by the absentee owners in the days of the great cattle barons. Narrator: While the cattle barons built and lost their empires, a different type of settler was arriving in Wyoming. Laborers, merchants, sheep men, homesteaders. Byron Oedekoven: Several of the brothers came to Wyoming when it was a territory and worked at the large cattle ranches. And so the family story goes, if Wyoming ever opens up for homesteading, we'll be back. And eight of the brothers did, and settled in northeast Wyoming. Win Hickey: My grandfather was born in Ireland and he came over to America when he was only 17 years old. For employment he was very handy with woodwork, and he got a job with the railroad. And as the railroad came through Wyoming, he also came through Wyoming. Rawlins somehow appealed to him, it was just starting to grow. And he decided he was gonna live in Rawlins. Ken Kerns: When a friend of my great grandfather said if you wanna see a real grass country, you ought to proceed on a little further south and go to the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. So he packed up his family and he did. Harriett Byrd: My grandfather used to have a lot of friends that lived in the Wyoming Territory. They used to go up to Rock River and bring horses down to Cheyenne, to old Camp Carlin. And he did a lot of ranch hand work as a young man. Then later on they, he even tried to homestead in Wyoming, but that didn't work out. Because my grandmother didn't like it too well out on the prairie. They moved into Laramie. Martha Clines: My Emery Baris Martha and grandmother came to Star Valley in 1887. And they came in a sheep wagon, what we would call a sheep wagon now, and they didn't have anywhere to stay that winter, so they stayed in the sheep wagon. Which was just a covered wagon. And fortunately it was a real mild winter. And they thought they had come to paradise. (upbeat music) Narrator: The Territory of Wyoming achieved statehood on July 10, 1890. With celebrations was at the new state capital building and across the state. Phil: There is this one little peculiarity about being admitted to statehood. You have to have 60,000 people. Narrator: The United States census of 1890 showed Wyoming with 62,400 people. Good enough to be a state, but no where near the numbers reported by its enthusiastic boosters. Cheyenne with over 11,000 residents, was the state's largest city. The population followed the UP track across the state, with the towns to the north having far fewer residents. Todd Guenther: Fremont County was created in 1884 and Lander won the election to be the county seat. Of course there weren't really any other viable communities between Rock Springs and the Montana border back in those days. In 1885, Lander put up a huge stone schoolhouse. Which had been designed by architects and built by commercial builders that were brought up from Rawlins. And was considered one of the finest school buildings in the entire state of Wyoming. Narrator: Not all of Wyoming towns were ready to settle down and become civilized. Dr. William Moore: There were so many saloons they tended to be very highly competitive. And so they would bring in new gambling games or new brands of whiskey, they have new girls that would dance. So it was a very competitive situation at the local level. Gillette I think, for example, in the early 1890s had something like 26 saloons running around the clock, not a single school, not a single church. Narrator: When the University of Wyoming opened its doors in 1887, it was necessary to provide high school classes. Many of its 42 students, lacked high school diplomas. Even after statehood, there were still only five towns that had high schools. It wasn't that Wyoming didn't care about learning. It was the first to pass a law providing each county with a free county library. Concerned about developing sound minds, the legislature insisted that the library's budget no more than 25% of their money for fiction. Wyoming was working hard at settling down. Patty Myers: The cattle barons couldn't accept this statehood cultural change. Homesteaders were coming in, people who were claiming their water holes. They could not maintain the huge industry that they were used to holding. Lawrence: Then in 1892, the big cattlemen gave rise to a plan to a plan to hire a bunch of Texas thugs, as it were, to wipe out the people who were conceived as the rustlers, of those northern herds. This group went up, headed towards Buffalo. Narrator: The group of hired gunman killed two suspected rustlers, Nate Champion and Nick Ray. They traveled to the nearby TA Ranch, where a shootout and stand off with the Johnson County Sheriff and 200 men began. News reached Cheyenne and the frantic Wyoming governor wired the president. The US Army brought the three day Johnson County invasion to an end. Patty: When we talk about the importance of the cattle war and why it is important for the end of that era. We're talking about a state that was moving from open range and into statehood. We were supposedly cultured and adult, and then we have a street brawl. Narrator: 1892, when the Johnson County Invasion brought acceptance of law and order to the young state. Wyoming would continue to have violent episodes, but civilization had arrived full force. The doors of opportunity were open for settlement. (classical music) - [Voiceover] Wyoming Voices has been funded in part through a generous grant from the Wyoming Department of Education, and by the Wyoming Council for the Humanities, and through the generous support of members of Wyoming Public Television. Thank you.


Early life

Esther Hobart was born in Tioga County, New York, on August 8, 1814. Orphaned at an early age,[clarification needed] she apprenticed to a seamstress and ran a successful millinery business out of her grandparents' home, "making hats, and buying and selling goods for women".[8] Moreover, Hobart agitated as a young woman against slavery, reportedly during one incident countering efforts of slavery advocates who threatened to destroy a church that supported abolition.[8]

Eight years into her millinery business, Hobart married Artemus Slack in 1841. Three years later, just short of her 30th birthday, her husband died. Morris subsequently moved to Illinois, where her late husband, a civil engineer, had acquired property. She encountered legal roadblocks, however, in settling her husband's affairs because women were not allowed to own or inherit property.[8] Thereafter she moved to Peru, Illinois, where in 1850 she married a local merchant, John Morris. In the spring of 1868 her husband, along with Esther's son from her previous marriage, Archibald "Archy" Slack, moved to a gold rush community at South Pass City, Wyoming Territory, to open a saloon.[8]

In 1869, Morris and her two eighteen-year-old twin sons, Robert and Edward, ventured west to rejoin the rest of their family. They first traveled by train to a waystation on the newly completed transcontinental railroad at Point of Rocks, 25 miles east of present-day Rock Springs, Wyoming. From there, Morris and her boys continued north by stagecoach. They crossed the Sand Dunes before ascending a gradual mountain pass to Mining District.

The dry, rocky landscape that confronted fifty-five-year-old Morris as she stepped off the stage at South Pass City appeared startlingly different from the fertile landscape she had known in Illinois and New York. Instead, her new home at 7,500 feet (2,300 m) in elevation meant scratching out a living in a barren gulch at the mouth of canyon near the Continental Divide. The Morrises settled into a 24-foot by 26-foot (7 × 9 m) log cabin with a sod roof that Esther's oldest son had purchased.[8]

Winters were brutal. South Pass area residents, whose population swelled to as many as 4,000 residents, according to one estimate,[9] either left the camp for the winter or faced extreme isolation during the long winters. Those who stayed on the mountain passed the battled sub-zero temperatures, high winds, and deep snow which might not retreat until June. Both John Morris and Archy purchased interest in mining properties soon after their arrival, including the Mountain Jack, Grand Turk, Golden State, and Nellie Morgan lodes, according to historian Michael A. Massie.[10]

Initially, prospects looked good in the midst of the gold rush, where the mines and adjoining businesses of South Pass City spurred employment for 2,000 workers during 1868 and 1869, according to a Stanford University study. But then came the bust. By 1870 most miners had left, leaving as few as 460  residents. By 1875 fewer than 100 remained.[8]

Justice of the peace in South Pass City

Esther Morris had hardly settled in her new home in South Pass City when District Court Judge John W. Kingman appointed her as justice of the peace in 1870. It took some "prodding" but Morris subsequently completed an application for the post and submitted a required $500  bond. The Sweetwater County Board of Commissioners in a vote of two to one approved her application on February 14, 1870.[8]

Subsequently, the county clerk telegraphed a press release announcing the historic event of the first woman justice of the peace. The Wyoming Territory's enfranchisement of women to vote in 1869 made Morris' unprecedented appointment possible. The clerk's telegraph to the world in part read:

"Wyoming, the youngest and one of the richest Territories in the United States, gave equal rights to women in actions as well as words."[8]

Morris' momentous appointment followed the resignation of Justice R. S. Barr, who quit in protest of the territorial legislature's passage of the women's suffrage amendment in December 1869. However, according to author Lynne Cheney writing in American Heritage, the county board appointed Morris to complete the term of Judge J.  W. Stillman.[11]

 South Pass City today
South Pass City today

Morris began her tenure as justice in South Pass City in 1870 by arresting Stillman, who refused to hand over his court docket.[3] Ultimately, Morris dismissed her own case with a ruling that she as an interested party did not have the authority to arrest Stillman, according to author Lynne Cheney. Morris began anew with her own docket, holding court sitting on a wood slab in the living room of her log cabin. Cheney notes:

"When the lawyers who appeared in her court tried to embarrass her with legal terms and technicalities, she admitted her lack of training but was quick to let them know just whose court they were in. One of the lawyers who practiced before her recalled that 'to pettifoggers, she showed no mercy.'"[3]

Morris looked to her sons for support in the courtroom. She appointed Archibald as district clerk and Robert as a part-time deputy clerk with the tasks of keeping court records and drawing up arrest warrants. Her husband John's support was not so forthcoming. John actively opposed his wife's appointment and reportedly made such a scene in her court that Esther had him jailed.[8]

Judge Morris ruled on 27 cases during her more than eight months in office, including nine criminal cases.[12] None were overturned according to records at the Wyoming State Archives, although a few cases were appealed but upheld by the appellate court.[3] She held her justice of the peace post until the term that she had been appointed to fill expired on December 6, 1870. Morris sought reelection but failed to muster a nomination from either the Republican or Democratic Party.[8]

Morris' historic judgeship garnered favorable review upon the completion of her term in the South Pass News, as her son Archy was the editor. However, the historical record reveals little fanfare in the remainder of Wyoming's press. The Wyoming Tribune, published in Cheyenne, did note the comments of Territorial Secretary Lee: "the people of Sweetwater County had not the good sense and judgment to nominate and elect her for the ensuing term."[8]

The boom goes bust

Esther Morris, as a working mother, held court over a camp of miners, gamblers, speculators, business owners, prostitutes, and rounders. Men outnumbered women 4 to 1 in the mountain community where she lived.[13] The challenges in the court dealing with a rough constituency were compounded by her husband, John, who had a reputation as "a brawler, an idler, and a drunk."[3] Morris had him arrested after her term in office was over for assault and battery, according to the American Heritage Magazine.

Troubles continued to mount for the family. An 1871 fire struck the South Pass City newspaper office owned and operated by Esther Morris' son, Archibald Slack, forcing him and his wife Sarah to move to Laramie in Albany County.[10] Perhaps it was case of cabin fever after being cooped up all season during a particularly bad winter of 1871–72 that spurred Morris to action.[citation needed] She left the camp and her husband. Morris traveled to Laramie where she briefly lived with her son Archibald. The former judge remained unsettled, however. She moved to Albany, New York, then to Springfield, Illinois, where she spent her winters, according to Massie. Summers saw her returning to Wyoming, where she spent time with her sons. Morris' wandering ended in the 1880s when she returned to Cheyenne to live with her son Robert. Meanwhile, Morris had been but one of many in a long history of residents who saddled up and called it quits in South Pass City. Short-lived gold strikes in the 1880s, 1890s, and 1930s once again lured miners back to the mountains seeking their fortunes.[10]

Role in women's suffrage

 Wyoming State Capitol Building in Cheyenne. State officials in 1960 presented a copy of this 1953 bronze statue of Esther Hobart Morris for display at the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C.
Wyoming State Capitol Building in Cheyenne. State officials in 1960 presented a copy of this 1953 bronze statue of Esther Hobart Morris for display at the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C.

For many years, Esther Hobart Morris has been celebrated as the "Mother of Woman Suffrage".[8] The legislation had been written a year before she became a justice of the peace, by Civil War veteran, and South Pass City resident William H. Bright.[14] Evidence suggests that the public record celebrating Morris' role as a suffrage leader is exaggerated.[4][5] Reports of Morris as suffragist in South Pass City, where she was said to have hosted a tea party for the electors and candidates for Wyoming's first territorial legislature, are not suppported by any contemporary accounts, and only appear nearly fifty years after the fact.[10]

Modern-day research has suggested that Morris' oldest son, later a Cheyenne newspaper editor, may have played a role in the origins of the story of his mother's role. Critics say that he "concocted it".[15] Other research leads to Morris' friend Melville C. Brown, who was president of the 1889 Constitutional Convention in Cheyenne, and claimed that Morris had presented the suffrage bill to the legislature. Subsequently, Morris' son Archibald also began referring to his mother in the Cheyenne Sun newspaper as the "Mother of Suffrage".[8]

The tea party story might have faded quietly were it not for H.  G. Nickerson. Nickerson, who had discovered and opened the Bullion Mine in 1868,[16] later served as a territorial legislator. He wrote a letter to the Lander Wyoming State Journal, published February 14, 1919, in which he recounted the tea party and his attendance as a legislative candidate, some 50 years after the event had taken place. In a tip of the hat honoring Morris, Nickerson notes:

" To Mrs. Esther Morris is due the credit and honor of advocating and originating woman's suffrage in the United States."[10]

Nickerson's story gained widespread prominence after his friend Wyoming historian Grace Raymond Hebard (1861–1936) published the account in a 1920 pamphlet entitled "How Woman Suffrage Came to Wyoming (1869)".[8] The pamphlet eventually became so widely distributed that students throughout the state's public schools read the story memorializing Morris's suffrage feats.[8] Hebard spent many years advancing the claim,[6] promoting Morris as an instigator and co-author of Wyoming's suffrage legislation.[5]

In 1960, Wyoming further celebrated Morris as a key impetus of Wyoming suffrage by donating a life-sized bronze statue of her to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.[17] Officiating at the Statuary Hall ceremony were Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Richard Arnold Mullens (1918–2010), the president at the time of the Wyoming State Society.[18]

In 1963, Wyoming officials placed a replica of the same nine-foot sculpture at the state capitol building in Cheyenne. An inscription thereon hails Morris as the "Mother of Woman Suffrage". And, in 2006, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, inducted Morris, as a suffrage pathbreaker. The Cowgirl Hall of Fame claims that her "influential efforts made it possible for women to vote in the Wyoming Territory in 1869."[19]

Life after the mines

Wyoming's enactment of women's suffrage in 1869 prompted a surge forward for human rights in the United States.[citation needed] Moreover, the territory's appointment of Morris as the first woman justice of the peace in the United States in 1870, and the first woman to hold judicial office in the modern world, drew widespread national attention.[3]

Morris' involvement in women's causes also continued after she left the gold mines and South Pass City:

Death and legacy

Esther Hobart Morris died in Cheyenne on April 3, 1902, at age 87 (or 90). She is interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Cheyenne, where a simple stone monument adorned only with her name marks her grave site.[20] Since 1960, a statue of her sculpted by Avard Fairbanks has been one of Wyoming's two statutes in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol. Another statue stands at the Wyoming State Capitol.

See also


  1. ^ Rena Delbride. "Trailblazer: Wyoming's first female judge, Esther Hobart Morris was ahead of her time". Made in Wyoming, Our Legacy of Success. Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Morris was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lynne Cheney (April 1973). "It All Began in Wyoming". American Heritage. Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. 
  4. ^ a b " Lies Across America: What our historic sites get wrong.  by James W. Loewen. Simon and Schuster. 2007; ISBN 0-7432-9629-X.
  5. ^ a b c Grace Raymond Hebard: The Independent and Feminine Life; 1861–1936 by Virginia Scharff.
    From Lone Voyagers: Academic Women in Coeducational Universities. 1870–1937. Edited by Geraldine Joncich Clifford. The Feminist Press at the City University of New York (1989).
  6. ^ a b Victoria Lamont. "More Than She Deserves: Woman Suffrage Memorials in the Equality State" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Michael A. Massie. "Reform Is Where You Find It: The Roots Of Woman Suffrage In Wyoming" (PDF). 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Marcy Lynn Karin; Professor Barbara Babcock; Erika Wayne (Fall 2002. February 28, 2003,). "Esther Morris and her Equality State: From Council Bill 70 to Life on the Bench" (PDF). Women in the Legal Profession. Retrieved 2009-06-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Wyoming, a Guide to Its History, Highways, and People. By Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Wyoming, T.A. Larson, Federal Writers' Project. Compiled by Federal Writers' Project Contributor T.A. Larson. Published by U of Nebraska Press, 1981; ISBN 0-8032-6854-8. This estimate appears high compared to other references which cite area the population in the 1,500 to 3,000 range.
  10. ^ a b c d e Cite error: The named reference Massie was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ "It All Began In Wyoming | American History Lives at American Heritage". Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  12. ^ "Esther Hobart Morris". Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Michael A. Massie. "Reform is where you find it: The roots of woman suffrage in Wyoming" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  14. ^ The Uniting States: The Story of Statehood for the Fifty States, by Benjamin F. Shearer. Greenwood Publishing Group. June 2004; ISBN 978-0-313-33107-7
  15. ^ Moon Handbooks Wyoming, by Don Pitcher. Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006; ISBN 1-56691-953-3
  16. ^ History of Wyoming, by I.&nbsp'S. Bartlett. S.  J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1918.
  17. ^ "National Statuary Hall Collection". 
  18. ^ "Richard A. Mullens obituary". Wyoming Tribune Eagle, September 19, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Cowgirl Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. 
  20. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 14 March 2018, at 20:53.
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.