Wyoming '99: Tuesday

Tuesday morning we headed for Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming.

This is inside the capitol, looking up inside the dome.

A detail from inside the dome. We also spent some time looking at wall murals and various other state ornamentation. In the capitol hang several pictures of W.H. Holliday, an ancestor of everyone on the trip. He was a senator early in the state's history. In fact, he was in the territorial legislature before Wyoming was a state.

Wyoming, for being a rough-and-tumble cowboy state, has a long history of feminism.

Wyoming had the first woman governor in the U.S., Nellie Tayloe Ross, in 1925, and women there had the vote and served on juries long before the rest of the nation caught up.

One story is that in the old days the folks in Wyoming were trying a woman they particularly wanted to convict, but they were worried that she'd get the sympathy of an all-male jury, so they decided to change the law so they could empanel women. This served justice in some ways, though in others it might have stretched the point.

We learned later that Wyoming was also progressive in its prison accommodations for women.

Knowing what women had to go through--what anyone had to go through--to survive here in those early days, I think it would be hard to tell them they weren't qualified for any job. I have no problem giving them full respect for all they did to build the state. Serving on a jury or in the state government would be a cinch next to running a ranch out here. After women did that, it would have been hard to tell them they weren't qualified for any indoor job they chose.

Women still do run ranches out here--witness Dixie and Amber Mathisen. And it's still a job that earns respect.

The capitol.

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