ADMISSION TO THE UNION
|Dreams of Statehood—Memorial of 1888—Presented to Congress—Bills Introduced—Action in Wyoming—Governor Warren's Proclamation—Constitutional Convention—Carey Congratulated—Celebrating the Event—First Election for State Officers ... 185|
| During the first few years of Wyoming's existence as an organized territory, considerable dissatisfaction was manifested over the appointment of non-residents to conduct the territorial government. After a while this dissatisfaction disappeared, at least so far as open expression was concerned, though there were many of the resident population who cherished the dream of the time to come when they would be able to have a state government of their own. The census of 1880 showed Wyoming's population to be 20,789, and the talk of asking Congress to pass an act admitting Wyoming to statehood began. Nothing definite was done, however, until February 7, 1888, when the following memorial was introduced in the Territorial Legislature:|
"Resolved by the Council and House of Representatives of the Tenth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wyoming, to memorialize the Congress of the United States as follows:
| "The Tenth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wyoming, in session assembled, respectfully represents to the Congress of the United States the following:|
"The organic act of the territory was approved on the twenty-fifth day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight; the organization was completed on the nineteenth day of May, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine; as organized, the territory has existed for nearly nineteen years.
"Its coal fields are numerous and extensive, have been much worked, and are seemingly exhaustless: its iron, soda and oil fields are extensive and rich and are seemingly exhaustless ; its native grasses are various, abundant and highly nutritious; contrary to former impression, its capacity for vegetable culture is remarkable, aided by irrigation.
"An extensive system of skilled irrigation has been established, is rapidly increasing and admits of large and indefinite expansion.
"In his report to the secretary of the interior for 1885, the then governor (Warren) stated the number of live stock in the territory, consisting of horned cattle, sheep, horses and mules, at 3,100,000 head; and their valuation at $75,000,000; and in his report to the secretary for 1886, the number as increased, and the value as exceeding seventy-five million dollars; the two years were periods of exceptional market depression in live stock values, the last much more than the first.
"The long, extensive and accurate experience of that governor with the subject, and his sound and practical judgment entitle his statements to especial respect.
"The report to the secretary for 1887, by the present governor (Moonlight) does not state the number or valuation for that year; but it shows improved methods in the raising of horned cattle are in promising progress; and that horse and sheep cultures have become extensive, are rapidly increasing, are conducted with superior intelligence, and represent large investments and fine breeds. The unmistakable ability and intelligence evinced by the report render it worthy of full confidence.
"It is plain to ordinary observation, that nature intends Wyoming for a great railway area of the west division of the continent and a great railroad highway for transcontinental traffic. The Union Pacific Railway traverses the southern belt of the territory; another trunk Pacific railway has been completed partially across the territory ; and the construction of a third has nearly reached its eastern boundary.
"The lines finished, lateralization will follow according to the inevitable law of trunk line development. Other important railroads are also operating, and ordinary observation can easily foresee that within the next fourth of a century the territory will be gridironed over by a complete railway system.
"A free public and compulsory system of education is well advanced here.
"The above data are moderately stated, and prepare the mind to accept the estimate of the present population of the territory, which is stated in the governor's report for 1887 at 85,000. This assembly confidently accepts the report as correct on the subject.
"It is manifest that the prosperity and welfare of the people of this territory will advance, under state institutions, far beyond what can be realized in a territorial condition.
"This Legislature respectfully requests of Congress such legislation as will enable the people of the territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union of the United States of America on an equal footing with the original states thereof; and that such legislation may embrace ample and gratuitous grants to such state government by the Federal Government of the lands of the latter, lying within the territory, for the support of common schools, for the erection at the capital of the state of public buildings for judicial and legislative purposes, or to promote the construction of such buildings; and also for the erection of a penitentiary or state prison, the donated lands and the proceeds thereof to be employed as the Legislature of such state government may direct, in respect to the support and conduct of the schools and the erection or construction of such judicial, legislative and penitentiary buildings, and that such legislation may further provide that a proper per centum of the proceeds of the sales of all public lands lying within said state, which shall be sold by the United States, subsequent to the admission of said state into the Union, after deducting all expenses incident to the same, shall be donated and paid to the said state for the purpose of making and improving public roads, constructing ditches or canals, to effect a general system of irrigation of the agricultural land in the state, as its Legislature shall direct.
"Resolved, That a duly authenticated copy of the foregoing resolution be transmitted to the governor of the territory and that he stand requested to take the proper steps to obtain from Congress the above desired legislation.
|A copy of the memorial was sent to Joseph M. Carey, then the delegate in Congress, and through his influence a bill was introduced in the senate "to provide for the formation and admission into the Union of the State of Wyoming and for other purposes." A bill was also introduced in the house to enable Wyoming and certain other territories to form constitutions and state governments. On February 27, 1889, the senate committee on territories reported the bill back to that body, and the house bill was also favorably reported by the committee on territories, but the session of Congress came to an end on the 4th of March and the bill failed to pass for lack of time to give it the necessary and customary consideration.|
|ACTION IN WYOMING|
| The people of Wyoming, firm in the belief that, had time permitted, the enabling act would have been passed, and equally firm in the belief that the next session of Congress would grant their request, determined to proceed as though the enabling act had passed. As a precedent for their action they followed the examples of Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan. Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin, all of which states formed constitutions and secured their admission into the Union without enabling acts from Congress.|
In 1889 there were ten organized counties in Wyoming. The boards of county commissioners in seven of those counties adopted resolutions "to put into operation the election machinery under the lawg of the territory, for the election of delegates to a constitutional convention and the submission of such constitution as may be presented by the said convention to the people of this county for ratification or rejection, if the governor, chief justice and secretary of the territory shall in their wisdom see fit to take the initiatory steps under the provisions of said Senate bill for calling into existence a constitutional convention."
As the several counties adopted this resolution, the chairman of the board of county commissioners advised the governor, chief justice and secretary of the territory of such action, with the request that, "if other counties of the territory make similar pledges and requests, they shall divide the territory into districts, apportion the number of delegates to the several districts or counties, and do such other acts as may be necessary for the convening of such constitutional convention in manner and form as is provided by the terms of said Senate bill."
On June 3, 1889, resolutions of the above character having been received from the commissioners of a majority of the counties, the governor, chief justice and secretary of the territory met at the capitol in Cheyenne and divided the territory into districts for delegates to a constitutional convention in accordance with the terms of the Senate bill, viz., "upon the basis of the votes cast for delegate in Congress at the last general election, in each of which districts the number of delegates apportioned to such district shall be elected. * * * The number of delegates to said convention shall be fifty-five."
The total number of votes cast for delegate in Congress at the general election in 1888 was 18,010. Governor Warren, Chief Justice Maginnis and Secretary Shannon divided the territory into ten districts, each county being made a district, and apportioned the number of delegates to each, after which Governor Warren issued the following
| "Whereas. The Territory of Wyoming has the population, material resources, public intelligence and morality necessary to ensure a stable local government therein; and|
"Whereas. It has never been deemed a violation of their duties as loyal citizens of the United States, for the people of a territory to form for themselves a constitution and state government and to apply to Congress for admission to statehood; and
"Whereas, On the 27th day of February, 1889, a bill, with amendments, entitled 'A bill to provide for the formation and admission into the Union of the State of Wyoming, and for other purposes,' was favorably reported to the Senate of the United States by the committee on territories; and a bill providing, among other things, for the admission of the proposed State of Wyoming, having been reported favorably to the House of Representatives by a like committee; and many members of the house and Senate having expressed opinions favorable to such admission; and it thus being made evident that Congress is disposed to admit Wyoming as a state whenever a suitable constitution is adopted and a state government formed preparatory to admission; and
"Whereas, By the general expressions of the citizens thereof, the executive is convinced that a very large majority of the people of Wyoming are desirous of forming for themselves a constitution and state government, and of being admitted into the Union, and of exercising the rights and privileges guaranteed to a free and loyal people under the Constitution of the United States; and
"Whereas, The boards of county commissioners of several counties in the territory have, by resolution, requested the governor to call a constitutional convention, and have requested the governor, chief justice and secretary of the territory to divide the territory into delegate districts, to apportion the number of delegates among the several districts, and to do such other acts as may be necessary for the convening of such constitutional convention in the manner and form provided by the terms of the said Senate bill; and
"Whereas, The governor, chief justice and secretary of the territory, on this third day of June, 1889, did convene at the capitol in the City of Cheyenne, and did apportion the number of delegates among the several districts so established, upon the basis of the vote cast for delegate in Congress at the last general election, as follows, to wit:
"1. The County of Laramie shall constitute the First District and shall elect eleven delegates.
"2. The County of Albany shall constitute the Second District and shall elect eight delegates.
"3. The County of Carbon shall constitute the Third District and shall elect eight delegates.
"4. The County of Sweetwater shall constitute the Fourth District and shall elect five delegates.
"5. The County of Uinta shall constitute the Fifth District and shall elect six delegates.
"6. The County of Fremont shall constitute the Sixth District and shall elect three delegates.
"7. The County of Sheridan shall constitute the Seventh District and shall elect three delegates.
"8. The County of Johnson shall constitute the Eighth District and shall elect three delegates.
"9. The County of Crook shall constitute the Ninth District and shall elect four delegates.
"10. The County of Converse shall constitute the Tenth District and shall elect four delegates.
"Now, Therefore, recognizing the superior and material advantages of a state government over our territorial system, and being desirous of carrying into effect the will of the people, I, Francis E. Warren, governor of the Territory of Wyoming, do issue this, my proclamation to the people of the territory, recommending that they take such action on their part as may be necessary to secure the admission of Wyoming into the Union of states; and for this purpose I direct that an election be held throughout the territory, on the second Monday of July, 1889, for the election of delegates to a constitutional convention to convene at Cheyenne, the capital of the territory, at 12 o'clock, noon, on the first Monday of September, 1889. for the purpose of forming a constitution for the State of Wyoming, and for the purpose of submitting such constitution to the people thereof, for their ratification or rejection.
"I suggest that, in organizing a state government preparatory to admission, the provisions of the aforesaid Senate bill should be followed, as nearly as may be possible, and in pursuance thereof the following recommendations are hereby made:
"First. The number of delegates to such constitutional convention shall be fifty-five, apportioned among the several districts as hereinbefore set forth.
"Second. The delegates apportioned to each district shall be elected exclusively in that district.
"Third. Persons who are qualified by the laws of the territory to vote for representatives to the Legislative Assembly thereof are hereby authorized to vote for and choose delegates to such constitutional convention.
"Fourth. The qualifications for delegates to such constitutional convention shall be such as, by the laws of the territory, persons are required to possess to be eligible to the Legislative Assembly thereof.
"Fifth. Such election shall be conducted, the returns made, the result ascertained, and the certificates to persons elected to such convention issued, in the same manner as is prescribed by the laws of the territory regulating elections therein for delegate to Congress.
"Sixth. Since the advantages to be obtained by statehood will depend somewhat upon the judicious action of the constitutional convention, it is desirable that the delegates should be representative men, of character and ability, whose work will be satisfactory to Congress and beneficial to the people of the proposed State of Wyoming. The character and fitness of the delegates to be chosen is in fact of greater importance than the manner of their selection, and if the citizens of any county generally prefer to elect their delegates by some equitable method other than that hereinbefore prescribed, it is believed that the delegates so chosen will be recognized and admitted to seats in the convention.
"Seventh. The constitution formed by such convention shall be submitted to the people of the territory for ratification or rejection on the first Tuesday in November, 1889.
"Eighth. The convention should fix the per diem and mileage of its members and employees, and certificates of service and expenditure should be made by the officers of the convention and filed with the secretary of the territory, as Congress will, without doubt, follow its own precedents in providing for the payment thereof.
"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the Territory of Wyoming to be affixed at Cheyenne, at the capitol, on this third day of June, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and thirteenth.
"FRANCIS E. WARREN.
"By the Governor,
"SAMUEL D. SHANNON.
"Secretary of Territory"
| The election for delegates to the constitutional convention was held according to schedule on July 8, 1889, when the following delegates were chosen in the several counties of the territory: Albany–M. C. Brown, William E. Chaplin, S. W. Downey, George W. Fox, M. N. Grant. John W. Hoyt, John AIcGill and A. L. Sutherland. Carbon–C. W. Burdick, Robert C. Butler, J. A. Casebeer, J. C. Davis, George Ferris, George C. Smith, W. N. Strobridge and Charles L. Vagner. Converse–M. C. Barrow. J. K. Calkins, W. C. Irvine and De Forest Richards. Crook–Frank Meyer, Thomas H. Moore, R. H. Scott and Joseph L. Stotts. Fremont–Noyes Baldwin, D. A. Preston and H. G. Nickerson. Johnson–Charles H. Burritt, H. S. Elliott and John M. McCandlish. Laramie–George W. Baxter. A. C. Campbell, Henry G. Hay, John K. Jeffrey, James A. Johnston, E. S. N. Morgan, Caleb P. Organ, Charles N. Potter. Thomas R. Reid, John A. Riner and H. E. Teschemacher. Sheridan–Cornelius Boul-ware, Henry A. Cofifeen and William N. Robinson. Sweetwater–Asbury B. Conaway, Mark Hopkins, Herman F. Menough, Louis J. Palmer and Edward J. Morris. Uinta–C. D. Clark, C. W. Holden, F. M. Foote, Jonathan Jones, Jesse Knight and John L. Russell.|
The convention met at noon on Monday, September 2, 1889, and a temporary organization was effected by the election of Henry S. Elliott of Johnson County, chairman, and John K. Jeffrey of Laramie County, secretary. Melville C. Brown of Albany County was chosen president of the convention and John K. Jeffrey was elected permanent secretary. Governor Warren's suggestion that the delegates ought to be men "of character and ability" seems to have been generally followed by the districts in electing delegates. In the convention were two ex-governors, one ex-secretary of the territory, three had held the office of United States attorney, one the office of territorial auditor, one was afterward elected governor of the state, one became United States senator, and four occupied seats upon the Supreme bench of Wyoming.
The constitution was completed on the last day of September, 1889, and was signed by forty of the delegates, the other memljers of the convention having been obliged to return to their homes before the final adjournment. John A. Riner, Clarence D. Clark, John W. Hoyt, Henry S. Elliott, William C. Irvine, Henry A. Coffeen, H. G. Nickerson, J. A. Casebeer, E. S. N. Morgan and Louis J. Palmer were appointed a committee to prepare a memorial on behalf of the convention for presentation to Congress, urging the passage of an act admitting Wyoming to statehood. On November 5, i88g, at an election held for the purpose, the constitution was submitted to the people. It was a cold, snowy day and a light vote was polled, but five-sixths of the votes cast were in favor of ratifying the constitution. The committee appointed by the convention then prepared a memorial setting forth all the facts in the case, which memorial was presented to Congress by Joseph M. Carey at the beginning of the ensuing session in December.
In the meantime the constitution had been favorably commented on by the press of the country, particularly the clause giving the right of suffrage to women, and it had received encomiums from eminent statesmen and publicists, among whom were George W. Curtis, editor of Harper's Weekly, and William E. Gladstone, at that time Great Britain's premier. Through these favorable comments and encomiums the members of Congress were generally well acquainted with the provisions of the constitution before they were called upon to act in their official capacity for the admission of the new state. Joseph M. Carey, then the delegate in Congress, worked early and late to secure the passage of the bill admitting Wyoming into the Union. The bill finally passed both houses early in July, 1890. On the 9th of that month S. W. Downey and H. V. S. Groesbeck telegraphed their congratulations to Mr. Carey upon the successful termination of his efforts, and the following day they received this reply:
"Washington, D. C, July 10, 1890.
"Accept thanks for congratulations. The people of Wyoming have won a great victory. The President made Wyoming a state at 5:30 this afternoon.
"J. M. CAREY."
|ACT OF ADMISSI0N|
| The act approved by President Harrison at 5:30 P. M., July 10, 1890. under which the State of Wyoming was admitted into the Union, consists of twenty-one sections, introduced by the following preamble:|
Whereas, The people of the Territory of Wyoming did, on the 30th day of September, 1889, by a convention of delegates called and assembled for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution, which constitution was ratified and adopted by the people of said territory at the election held therefor on the first Tuesday in November, 1889, which constitution is republican in form and is in conformity with the Constitution of the United States; and
"Whereas, Said convention and the people of said territory have asked the admission of said territory into the Union of states on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever; therefore, be it enacted," etc.
"Section 1. That the State of Wyoming is hereby declared to be a state of the United States of America, and is hereby declared admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever; and that the constitution which the people of Wyoming have formed for themselves be, and the same is hereby, accepted, ratified and confirmed."
Section 2 defines the boundaries, which are the same as at the present time; section 3 fixes the representation in Congress as two senators and one member of the House of Representatives; section 4 sets apart the sections of land numbered 16 and 36 in each township for the support of a pubHc school system; section 5 relates to the same subject; section 6 grants "fifty sections of the unappropriated public lands within the state for the purpose of erecting public buildings at the capital," etc.: section 7 donates 5 per cent of the proceeds of all sales of public lands within the state to the school fund; sections 8 to 11 relate to the land grants under previous acts of legislation, for the penitentiary, fish hatchery and agricultural college, etc., to-wit: For the insane asylum in Uinta County, 30,000 acres; for the penal, reform and educational institution in course of construction in Carbon County, 30,000 acres; for the penitentiary in Albany County, 30,000 acres; for the fish hatchery in Albany County, 5,000 acres; for the deaf, dumb and blind asylum in Laramie County, 30,000 acres: for the poor farm in Fremont County, 10,000 acres; for the miners' hospital, 30,000 acres; for public buildings at the capital, 75,000 acres; and for the state charitable, penal and reformatory institutions, 260,000 acres, making a total of 500,000 acres in addition to the specific land grants already mentioned. The act also contains a provision that none of the lands granted should be sold for less than ten dollars an acre.
The next three sections prescribe the manner in which all lands granted to the state should be selected. Section 15 appropriated $3,000 to defray the expenses of the constitutional convention. Sections 16, 17 and 18 provide for the establishment of a United States District Court for Wyoming, and fix the time and place of holding terms of the United States District and Circuit courts. Section 19 relates to the election of United States senators, and the last two sections authorize the territorial officials to remain in office until a state election could be held, and declare that the laws of the United States shall apply to the State of Wyoming.
|CELEBRATING THE EVENT|
|Almost as soon as news of the passage of the act of admission reached Cheyenne, preparations were commenced for a proper observation of the victory that had been gained by the people of Wyoming. July 23, 1890, was selected as the date, and invitations were sent to all parts of the state, asking the citizens to join in the demonstration. The celebration began with a parade at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. At the head of the procession was the Seventeenth Infantry IJanJ and a detachment of troops from Fort D. A. Russell. The second division was led by the Union Pacific Band and the Wyoming National Guard. One feature of the parade was both novel and instructive. On a large float, handsomely decorated, were forty-two young women, representing the forty-two states of the Union. Immediately behind the float came a small carriage draw^n by two diminutive Shetland ponies. In the pony carriage were three little girls—Grace Cowhick, representing the Goddess of Liberty; Frankie Warren, representing the State of Wyoming; and a little Miss Elliott, representing the State of Idaho. These two states had both been recognized by Congress, but had not yet been vested with the full powers of statehood. The tableau seemed to say to the occupants of the float in front: "You may look down upon us now, but we shall be on the big wagon by and by."|
In front of the capitol a grandstand had been erected and here Governor Warren presided over the exercises. Mrs. Theresa A. Jenkins was the first speaker. She reviewed the struggle in behalf of woman suffrage, which had teen incorporated in the constitution, and in concluding her address said: "Bar-tholdi's statue of Liberty Enlightening the World is fashioned in the form of a woman and placed upon a pedestal carved from the everlasting granite of the New England hills; but the women of Wyoming have been placed upon a firmer foundation and hold aloft a more brilliant torch."
At the conclusion of Mrs. Jenkins' address, Mrs. Esther Morris, who has been called "the mother of woman suffrage in Wyoming," presented to the State of Wyoming a fine flag, bearing forty-four stars, which was accepted by Governor Warren, as chief executive, in a few well chosen words, after which the two bands and the entire audience of some six thousand persons joined in rendering "The Star Spangled Banner."
Mrs. I. S. Bartlett was then introduced and read an original poem, entitled "The True Republic," which is here reproduced in full.
| Melville C. Brown, who had been president of the constitutional convention, then came forward and presented Mrs, Amelia B. Post, "as a representative woman of Wyoming," with a copy of the constitution. Mrs. Post responded on behalf of the women of the state, thanking Judge Brown and the convention for giving the women of Wyoming equal civic and political rights with men. Then the oration of the day was delivered by Clarence D. Clark of Evanston, who was delegate to the constitutional convention and a member of the committee which presented the final memorial to Congress praying for the admission of the state. The celebration came to an end with a display of fireworks and grand ball in the evening.|
After the festivities, the people of Wyoming settled down to the more serious business of inaugurating their state government. The first election for state officers was held on Thursday, September ii. 1890. and resulted in the choice of the following: Francis E. Warren, governor; Amos W. Barber, secretary of state; Otto Gramm, treasurer of state; Charles ^^'. Burdick, auditor of state; Stephen T. Farwell, superintendent of public instruction; Willis Van Devanter, chief justice of the Supreme Court; Herman \'. S. Groesbeck and Asbury B. Conaway, associate justices; Clarence D. Clark, representative in Congress. On October 11, 1890, the state officers were installed in their respective positions and the State of Wyoming took her place among her sister states—the forty-fourth star in the American constellation.