HON. FRANK L. HOUX.
Hon. Frank L. Houx, secretary of state for the second term and acting governor of Wyoming, has in many ways left the impress of his individuality upon the history of the state, not only as its chief executive but also as the promoter of those material interests which take cognizance of the natural resources of the state, leading to its settlement and upbuilding. He has studied closely many of the problems of Wyoming and has been active with those who have done much toward promoting its irrigation projects, thus greatly enhancing the productiveness of the land.
A native of Missouri, he was born in Lexington on the 12th of December, 1854, and is a son of George W. and Fannie (Price) Houx. The father was a farmer by occupation and served for four years in the Confederate army under General Price, who was an uncle of his wife. Both Mr. and Mrs. George W. Houx have passed away. They had a family of three sons and three daughters.
Governor Houx, who was the second in order of birth, was educated in private schools of Missouri and also had the benefit of instruction in a high school and in a business college, attending Shaw's Business College at Kansas City. He afterward took up the study of law, reading in the office of John S. Blackwell, of Lexington, Missouri, but did not complete his course. Afterward he turned his attention to commercial pursuits, in which he was engaged for ten years, and in 1886 he went west to Montana, where he engaged in the live stock business for ten years. He then removed to Cody, Wyoming, where he took up his abode on the 16th of June, 1896. Here he has since made his home and it is in the vicinity of Cody that his business interests largely center. In 1901 Hon. Frank L. Houx was elected the first mayor of Cody, while from 1902 to 1903 he served as police judge. For the terms from 1905 until 1909 he was again elected to the office of mayor. For a time he was associated with Colonel William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, in the construction of the Cody canal and in the settlement of the lands which then were under their united interests, and these enterprises constituted an important element in the growth and progress of that section of the state. Recognizing the possibilities for development in that section of the state, he has put forth most earnest efforts to advance its upbuilding and his labors have been farreaching and resultant.
Endowed by nature with qualities that work for leadership, Frank L. Houx has been called upon to serve in many public positions of honor and trust. He was the first mayor of Cody and later again occupied the position for four years, thus largely directing the policy of the city during its formative period. In the fall of 1910 he was elected secretary of state, the first and only democrat ever chosen to the office in Wyoming. After four years' service he was reelected in 1914, so that he is now occupying the position for the second term, which extends until 1919. When Governor John b. Kendrick was elected to the United States senate, Frank L. Houx, as secretary of state, became governor and is therefore the chief executive of Wyoming at the present time.
Governor Houx has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Augusta Camp in 1875 and in 1896 she passed away. Their children were: Carrie P., now the wife of Joseph Newell; Florence, the wife of Richard Marlow: and Earl. In 1898 Governor Houx was again married, his second union being with Miss Ida Mason Christy, a daughter of Joseph and Hannah Christy, and the children of this marriage are Christy, Vera, Mercedes, and Thora.
Governor Houx has always given his political allegiance to the democratic party and has been one of the most active workers in party ranks in his state. He has closely studied the vital and significant problems of the age and keeps abreast with the best thinking men in their attitude concerning the questions which have to do with the welfare and upbuilding of commonwealth and country. Fraternally he is a Royal Arch Mason and his religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church. He is fond of fishing, hunting and other phases of outdoor life, to which he turns for needed rest and recreation. In manner he is genial, affable and kindly, and his cordiality is unfeigned, for he feels a deep interest in his fellowmen and their welfare and believes that every citizen should have a chance to develop the best that is in him.
For the last eight years he has been very active in prison reform and has made resultful efforts for the benefit of the condition of the convicts. In order to keep informed in regard to the conditions prevailing in the prisons, he has kept in close touch with the warden and has for a length of time been a member of the board of pardons, of which he is now chairman. He has been a forceful advocate of prohibition for many years and has been active in bringing about temperance conditions and molding public opinion in regard to the adoption of this important measure. He has made numerous speeches for the cause and especially one of his lectures is famous that is based upon his personal experiences during his long years of residence in the west.
An enumeration of the men of the present generation in Wyoming who have won honor and public recognition for themselves and at the same time have honored the state to which they belong would be incomplete were there failure to make prominent reference to the one whose name initiates this review, for in every connection he has borne himself with such signal dignity and honor as to gain the respect of all. He is not only a political leader but has been and is distinctively a man of affairs and one who has wielded a wide influence. A strong mentality, invincible courage, a most determined individuality have so entered into his makeup as to make him a natural leader of men and a director of opinion.