An International Women’s Day Tribute to Wyoming’s Most Legendary Ladies
Wyoming earned its nickname as the "Equality State" before it even became a state.
In 1869, 21 years before it was officially granted statehood, Wyoming was the first territory in America to give women the right to vote.
Over the years, Wyoming women have continued to make historic progress. To celebrate International Women's Day, here's a tribute to ten legendary ladies who helped blaze new trails for women in the Cowboy State.
Mary Bellamy - In 1910, nearly a decade before the 19th Ammendment granted women across the country the right to vote, Bellamy was the first woman in the state elected to public office, when she was chosen to represent Albany County in the Wyoming State Legislature.
Eliza Stewart Boyd - In 1870, less than six months after Wyoming women were given equal rights, this school teacher made history when she was called for jury duty. Five other women soon joined her as the first women in the world to serve on a trial jury.
In 1873, she was nominated for the Territorial Legislature, but voluntarily removed her name from the ballot.
Anne Gorsuch Buford - In 1981, this Casper native made history when President Ronald Reagan appointed her as the first female administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
She later served on the Natonal Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere and is the mother of recent United States Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Harriet Elizabeth Byrd - A pioneer for both women and minorities, Byrd was the first African-American elected to the Wyoming Legislature in 1980 and served for over a decade in both the House and Senate.
Byrd also played an instrumental role establishing a statewide holiday in recognition of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Barbara Cubin - In 1994, Cubin became the first Wyoming woman elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives and later became a member of the National Rifle Association Board of Directors.
Ester Hobart Morris - After Wyoming women were granted suffrage in 1869, Sweetwater County Justice of the Peace R. S. Barr resigned in protest. Appropriately, he was replaced by Morris, who became the first woman in American history to preside over a court of law.
Morris later served as Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Murie went on to win the prestigious Audubon Medal, the John Muir Award and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom shortly before her 100th birthday.
Susan Pamerleau - While attending the University of Wyoming, Pamerleau enlisted in the United States Air Force. She went on to serve for over 32 years, eventually rising to the rank of Major General. Following her military carrer, Pamerleau settled in San Antonio, Texas, and became the first women to be elected Sheriff of Bexar County.
Nellie Tayloe Ross - The first woman to ever serve as a United States Governor, Ross remains the only female Governor in Wyoming history. She later became the first woman ever appointed as Director of the United States Mint and lived to be 101 years old.
Thyra Godfrey Thomson - The wife of former United States Congressman Edwin Thomson made history in 1962 when she became the first women elected as Wyoming Secretary of State. The voters re-elected her six times and her 24 year tenure still ranks as the longest of any state house official.