History and Opinion
By Phil Roberts
Courses scheduled for Fall 2016
American Legal History (HIST 4515/5515): MWF, 2:10-3 p.m., BU 208
History of Wyoming (HIST 1251): MW, 9-9:50 a.m., Ag Aud. Discussion Sections: F
Courses taught in Spring 2016
History of Wyoming (HIST 1251): T, Th, 9:35-10:50 a.m., CR 133
New Article: Sedition Act in World War I in Wyoming
Past Classes (additional syllabi available on request)
History of Wyoming (HIST 1251): Fall 2015
Seminar: Western America (HIST 5630): Fall 2015
Mass Media Law (COJO 4500): Fall 2015
History of Wyoming (HIST 1251): Spring 2015
History of Wyoming (HIST 1251), Fall 2014
Conference, History of Wyoming and the American West (HIST 5605), Fall 2014
American Environmental History, Spring 2014
Wyoming Legal History (College of Law topics course), Spring 2014
Check here for Phil Roberts Wyoming History (UW) website (the site is accessible, but has had nothing new added since April 2013 and remains inactive at the moment)
2016 Laramie Plains Museum "History of Wyoming on-the-road" tour
School children on Easter Sunday, Hat Creek, Wyoming, c. 1918. (Photo from Phil Roberts' family collection)
First Woman to Vote in America Lived in Laramie
Louisa Swain was the first woman to vote in a general election in the United States. She voted on Sept. 6, 1870, in Laramie.
Born Louisa Gardner in Norfolk, Va., in 1801, she was the daughter of a sea captain who was lost at sea while she was a child. She and her mother moved to Charleston, S. C., where her mother died. Orphaned, Louisa went to Baltimore to live with an uncle, Ephraim Gardner. While in Baltimore, she met and, in 1821, married Stephen Swain who operated a chair factory. When their fourth child was six weeks old, Stephen Swain sold the chair factory and the family moved, first to Zanesville, Ohio, and later to Indiana. Soon after their son Alfred and his young family moved to the new town of Laramie, Wyoming, in 1869, the Swains joined them.
On Sept. 6, 1870, Louisa Swain rose early, put on her apron, shawl and bonnet, and walked downtown with a tin pail in order to purchase yeast from a merchant. She walked by the polling place and concluded she would vote while she was there. The polling place had not yet officially opened, but election officials asked her to come in and cast her ballot. She was described by a Laramie newspaper as "a gentle white-haired housewife, Quakerish in appearance." (Laramie Daily Sentinel, September 7, 1870). She was 69 years old when she cast the first ballot by any woman in the United States in a general election.
Soon after the election, Stephen and Louisa Swain left Laramie and returned to Maryland to live near a daughter. Stephen died Oct. 6, 1872, in Maryland. Louisa died Jan. 25, 1880, in Lutherville, Maryland. Her body was buried in the Friends Burying Ground, Harford Road, Lutherville. A statue in her honor, by sculptor John Baker, was dedicated in front of the Women's History House, Laramie, Wyoming, in 2005.
Wyoming Almanac and History
The opinions expressed here are the views of Phil Roberts and do not represent the views of his university, his family, or any political party, interest group or candidate.
For in-depth information about Wyoming history, check Phil's University webpage: http://www.uwyo.edu/ROBERTSHISTORY/
Books by Phil Roberts
Cody's Cave: National Monuments and the Politics of Public Lands in the 20th Century West. By Phil Roberts (2012)
Most Americans believe national monuments are sacrosanct--kept safe for future generations and open to public visitation. This book points out that national monuments, along with all other public lands, are not permanently protected from privatization or other exploitation. The book considers the specific history of Shoshone Cavern National Monument, created by Presidential proclamation in 1909, and delisted as a national monument May 17, 1954. The site was a demonstration of "returning public lands" to the states and local communities. The resulting city-owned park closed in 1966 and the site was returned to the federal government a decade later. The book is available for $15 plus applicable sales tax from most Wyoming bookstores and museum shops.
Readings in Wyoming History, edited by Phil Roberts, is a book consisting of essays by numerous historians covering various aspects of Wyoming history. It is primarily designed as a book for instruction in Wyoming history. The 5th revised edition will be available soon.
A Penny for the Governor, A Dollar for Uncle Sam: Taxation History of Washington. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002). The book tells the story of why Washington is one of just seven states not having an income tax and how politics has influenced tax policy in that Northwest state since the Civil War.
Wyoming Almanac, now in its seventh revised edition, is a book of facts about the Equality State/Cowboy State. Phil Roberts is a co-editor of the book, along with his two brothers, David L. Roberts and Steven L. Roberts.
David is assistant professor of journalism at Missouri Valley College and former publisher/editor of the Medicine Bow Post, a prize-winning weekly newspaper he founded in 1977 in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Steven L. Roberts retired from the U. S. Postal Service. He formerly taught high school and coached in Wyoming high schools. He now lives in Cheyenne.
Wyoming Almanac is a website featuring comment and opinion about everything involving Wyoming. Some pages contain factual data, history, or feature stories about the state. The site also presents observations and analysis of Wyoming politics, mostly from a historical perspective, written by a long-term observer of that subject.