Mrs. Ellen J. Wetlaufer, physician and surgeon, who is successfully practicing in Cheyenne, is perhaps even more widely known by reason of her activity in the field of temperance work, her efforts in this direction being most far-reaching and resultant. Dr. Wetlaufer is a native of Maine. She was born at Blue Hill, Hancock county, November 25, 1845, a daughter of Nathan F. and Mary A. (Emmerton) Stover. The father devoted his life to farming and also to the raising and sale of cattle, conducting a brokerage business in that connection. Both he and his wife have passed away.
After attending the public schools their daughter Ellen continued her education in the East Conference Seminary and in the Blue Hill Academy of Maine and later entered the Eastern State Normal School at Castine, Maine. In preparation for the practice of medicine she matriculated in the Denver Homeopathic College, from which she was graduated on the 15th of April, 1898. She has since taken post graduate work in the Boston University School of Medicine. Before studying medicine, however, she engaged in teaching school in Maine, in Massachusetts, in South Dakota and in Colorado and proved most efficient in that connection, as she has in medical practice. She is thoroughly informed concerning modern processes that have to do with scientific investigation in the field of medicine and her ability is attested by the excellent results which have attended her efforts.
Aside from her work in the field of medical practice Dr. Wetlaufer is prominently known by reason of her work in behalf of the temperance cause, especially in connection with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. She was president of the organization in Dakota during its territorial days, working most earnestly during the campaign which brought both North and South Dakota into the Union as dry states. She was president of the Wyoming Woman's Christian Temperance Union from 1908 until 1915 inclusive and at present is constitutionally honorary president of that organization. She is also the president of the Cheyenne Union and is superintendent of the department of scientific instruction in the public schools in that organization.
Dr. Wetlaufer came to Wyoming in 1898 and in partnership with her husband has since engaged in the practice of medicine, having offices in the Carey block at Seventeenth street and Carey avenue. She united with the Congregational church at Needham, Massachusetts, in 1877, and her influence throughout her entire life has ever been on the side of uplift, advancement and improvement. She regards intemperance as one of the greatest evils which afflict mankind and thus she has labored most earnestly for its eradication. She has studied the question from the economic and scientific standpoints as well as from the moral standpoint and is thus able to base her arguments upon a thorough knowledge of the question in its every relation.
In the early days Wyoming was not able to provide for homeless children and they were made wards of the South Dakota Children's Home Society. Later the South Dakota Society federated with the National Children's Home Society and as a consequence the South Dakota Society cut away from Wyoming to let the latter state take care of its own children. This was about 1912. The first meeting to organize the Wyoming Society was held at Wheatland, but its attendance was small and there were few who took interest and no money was forthcoming. Dr. Wetlaufer, however, did not give up so easily and circulated a subscription paper for funds to pay the expenses. She got sufficient funds for incorporating the society, getting out the necessary printed matter, etc. In short, she launched the society through her own efforts without debts. She was made one of the directors of the Wyoming Society and has continued in that capacity to the present time.
It was on the 19th of February, 1885, that she became the wife of Dr. Nelson R. Wetlaufer in Yankton, South Dakota. She is a member of the Woman's Civic Club of Wyoming and is interested in all those problems which have to do with the welfare of the city and which constitute factors of civic virtue. In a word, she is a broad-minded woman, keeping in touch with the trend of modern thought and progress and lending her cooperation to all those activities which are factors of practical reform and uplift. At the same time she continues actively in professional work, specializing in the treatment of women's and children's diseases, in which she displays notable skill and ability.