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People & Peoples

John Wesley Powell: Explorer, Thinker, Scientist and Bureaucrat

In 1869 and 1871, John Wesley Powell led two expeditions from Wyoming Territory down the Green and Colorado rivers. These and other explorations brought him to a profound understanding of how the West’s aridity limits its economic prospects. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881-1894, and his ideas still affect land and water policy today. 

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Encyclopedia | Some delegates drawing up a new state constitution in 1889 feared that, once Wyoming’s statehood came before Congress, continuing to allow women to vote would jeopardize Wyoming’s chances of becoming a state. And they were right.
Encyclopedia | Estimates of the numbers of women who voted in the principal towns of Wyoming Territory, and a review of the methods used to make those estimates.
Encyclopedia | A look at the law, an anecdote from the election and some population statistics.
Encyclopedia | According to newspapers at the time, Louisa Swain, 70, of Laramie, was the first woman in Wyoming Territory to cast a vote under the new law granting full suffrage to women.
Encyclopedia | In October 1941, the Allies struggled in World War II while daredevil parachutist George Hopkins was stranded on Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming, pulling public attention away from the war. Expert climbers guided Hopkins down after six days.
Encyclopedia | In September 1967, Loren Evans, a ninth grader at Casper’s Dean Morgan Junior High, was suspended for refusing to get a haircut. Public controversy, vigorous on both sides, continued for three years while Evans studied college-level books at home.
Encyclopedia | Starting in 1900, African-American homesteader Alonzo “Lon” Stepp built a prosperous ranch of about 1,700 acres on the Green River in Lincoln County, where Fontenelle Reservoir is now, triumphing in an era and a region where few blacks could claim such achievement. His descendants still live in the area.
Encyclopedia | A century ago there were hundreds of boarding schools for American Indian children. Many were on reservations, and many were run by religious orders; there were three on what’s now the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Others were intentionally built far from tribal homelands, to separate children from their languages, lands and families.

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