POSSESSORS OF DISTINCTION AS
RESULT OF AID IN BUILDING STATE
First Woman Jury in United States Was Held at Laramie;
Sweetwater County Boasts of Mrs. Morris as Justice of Peace;
This Commonwealth Cradle of Suffragettes
"Judge Morris wore a calico gown, a worsted breakfast shawl, green ribbons in her hair and a green necktie when she tried her first case."
Mrs. Esther Hobart Morris of Sweetwater county was the first woman justice of the peace in the United States, according to a paper written by Mrs.. Hubert Webster of Thermopolis, from information furnished by Miss Eunice G. Anderson, state historian, and made available to The Post by Mrs. N. W. Chassell of 320 West Works Street, Sheridan.
The national project for a woman's hall of fame in Washington, D. C., to comprise a number of the most famous women from every state in the Union now now living has excited considerable interest in Wyoming, and the State Historical society has sponsored a contest among school children in an effort to find out who Wyoming's most useful and distinguished women were.
Mrs. Hobart came with her husband and three sons into the newly created territory of Wyoming. "She brought with her," wrote Mrs. Webster, "her garden seeds and her doctrine of woman's rights before the law. She has rightly been called 'the mother of woman suffrage in Wyoming.'"
She was 56 years old when she was made the first woman justice of the peace in the world, Mrs. Webster asserts. She was 77 on Wyoming Statehood day, July 24, 1890, when she sat on the speaker's platform at the statehouse at Cheyenne and made the presentation of the Wyoming flag to Governor Warren.
Mrs. Amelia Barney Simons Post was another of the state's illustrious women who sat on the same platform Wyoming Statehood day. She was 64 years old then and had lived in Cheyenne since 1867. In 1871 she represented Wyoming in the National Woman's Suffrage convention at Washington and was one of the vice presidents of that organization for several years. It was into the hands of Mrs. Post that Judge M. C. Brown, president of the constitutional convention, placed the constitution of the infant state.
Judge Brown introduced Mrs. I. S. Bartlett, the poet of Wyoming Statehood day, who recited her own production in honor of the occasion.
Wyoming boasts the first woman's juries in the United States, at Laramie and Cheyenne. Their members, Mrs. Webster says, were caricatured in "the most hideous manner" over ridiculing couplets, such as "Baby, baby, don't get in a fury; your mama's gone to sit on the jury." Mrs. Hatcher, Mrs. Hilton, Miss Eliza Stewart, Mrs. Macket and Mrs. Baker were grand jurors, and Mrs. Hazen, Mrs. Lancaster, Miss Spooner, Mrs. Ivinson and Mrs. Flynn were petit jurors. They were "martyrs to the cause," declares Mrs. Webster.
The first woman's club in the state was "Queen Anne's Club," organized at the home of Mrs. E. Mason Smith in Cheyenne in 1888. It subsequently was marked into the present Woman's club of Cheyenne.
Mrs. R. W. Warren of Cheyenne organized a class for teaching young girls to sew. Articles made were sold, the proceeds going to the Episcopal mission on the Wind River Indian reservation.
Mrs. Inez M. Robinson, secretary of the Wyoming Children's Home society, is noted among state charity workers.
Mrs.. Ann Elizabeth Forseman, 90 years old at the time the paper was written, and blind, distinguished herself during the World war by knitting 12 long scarfs, 64 sweaters, and after the war by knitting 30 refugee sweaters. She is the grandmother of Mrs. T. Blake Kennedy, whose husband is judge of the Cheyenne federal court.
Woman writers are numerous among leading citizens of the state.
Carrie Adell Strahorn has written entertainingly of Wyoming in her book, "Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage," including notes of Wyoming and Cheyenne of more than 40 years ago.
Woman Writers Famous
Eleanor Pruitt Stewart wrote "Letters of a Woman Homesteader."
"The Branding Iron," by Katherine Newton Burt is perhaps the best known of the productions by Wyoming authors, attaining to the distinction of a best seller and motion picturization.
Caroline Lockhart, the militant editor of the anti-prohibitionist Cody Enterprise, has written "The Man from the Bitter Roots," "The Full of the Moon," and "The Fighting Shepherdess."
Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, who now occupies the chair of sociology and economics at the University of Wyoming at Laramie, and Dr. Agnes Mathilde Wergeland, now dead, have written extensively on historical subjects. Dr. June E. Downey, occupying the chair of psychology at the university, also is a writer of some accomplishments.
Evanston is the home of a poetess, Elizabeth Arnold Stone.
Harriet Knight Orr, Agnes Wright and Eunice G. Anderson, now state historian, are others on the list of Wyoming's eminent scribes.
Last Updated April 2005
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