According to the July 27, 1890 edition of The Wyoming Commonwealth, a large number of distinguished Americans were in attendance for the official Wyoming statehood ceremony. Among the guests were Governor Warren, Mrs. Morris, Judge Brown, Mrs. Post, Rev. J. Y. Cowhick, Mrs. Jenkins, John W. Hoyt, Mrs. Ollerenshaw, Rev. Geo. C. Rafter, Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Warren, Harvey Middleton, Mrs. Clark, Judge Van Devanter and wife, Mrs. Bartlett, Secretary Meldrum and wife, Mrs. Kilborne, Mrs. Myers, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Bergman, Colin Hunter, Mrs. Buechner, Mrs. Furniss, Mrs. Mason, Gen. Mizner, Mr. Buechner, Mr. Hoyt, and many others.

In addition, the Ladies Executive Committee on Celebration selected Mrs. Morris to present the flag, Mrs. Ollerenshaw to be the standard flag bearer, Mrs. Jenkins the ladies orator, and Mrs. Post to be presented the Wyoming Constitution by the gentlemen, (Cheyenne Daily Sun April 4, 1890, p. 5).

This portion of the exhibit is dedicated to the people who were at the celebration on the Great Day. Photos, illustrations, and biographical sketches of the notable attendees we could find are from historic Wyoming newspapers, Bartlett's History of Wyoming (S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918), and Wyoming State Archives. Click the links below to learn a bit about the folks that were present for the ceremony.

Statehood Ceremony Attendees


Amalia B. Post was a leading woman suffragist in Wyoming. Click here for more information.

In the Wyoming statehood celebration, Hon. C. D. Clark served as Orator of the Day. Click here for more information.

Esther Morris was influential in Wyoming and considered the mother of woman suffrage in the state.  Click here for more information.

Francis Emory (F.E.) Warren was appointed in 1885 by President Arthur to be Governor of the Wyoming Territory. Click here for more information.

Mrs. I. S. Bartlett (Mary Jane) holds the distinction of being the first woman in the U.S. to have been nominated for the U.S. Senate by a legislative caucus. Click here for more information.

Judge M. C. Brown (Melville) was one of the pioneer attorneys of Wyoming. Click here for more information.

Theresa A. Jenkins was active in Wyoming education, prohibition, and suffrage. Click here for more information.

Honored Guests

President Benjamin Harrison

President Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States. He signed the bill making Wyoming a State on July 10, 1890. 

Mayor Charles Riner

The Hon. Charles W. Riner was assistant postmaster in Cheyenne, a business owner, and politician. He served on Cheyenne's City Council, was Mayor, supervisor of county assessors, a member of the territorial legislature, and a state senator.

Fannie Ollerenshaw

Frances A. Ollerenshaw (Fannie) was a transcribing clerk for the U.S. Surveyor was appointed by the Ladies' Committee to serve on the executive committee as treasurer for the sub-committee that made arrangements for the statehood celebration. Mrs. Ollerenshaw was also chosen to be the standard bearer at the celebration. She rode in the second carriage that was flanked on both sides by the Girl Guards, Company K.

Frankie Warren

Frankie (Helen Frances) Warren was almost 10 years old when she rode on a float in the statehood celebration parade. She was the daughter of F. E. Warren, Governor at the time. The float included three little girls; Grace Cowhick represented the Goddess of Liberty and Frankie Warren and Miss Elliot representing the new states of Wyoming and Idaho respectively.

Frankie was later the wife of General "Black Jack" John J. Pershing. She died tragically in 1915 in a fire with 3 of her 4 children in their residence at Presidio of San Francisco.

Henry G. Hay

Henry G. Hay came to Wyoming as a Deputy U.S. Surveyor. He was also a businessman, being an owner of Whipple & Hay grocery as well as organizing Stock Grower's National Bank with Judge J. M. Carey and Thomas Sturgis. Mr. Hay served as President of the Board of Trade and was a member of the Constitutional Convention. 

J.K. Jeffrey

John K. Jeffrey served as Laramie County Clerk. He was involved in the Board of Trade from its beginnings and became Secretary of the organization. Mr. Jeffrey was also chosen to serve in the Constitutional Convention. He was one of the organizers of the statehood celebration and was quoted as saying: “Do not forget that it is honor of the state and that it is an honor to participate in the ceremonies of the day. Statehood is an event of a lifetime and as such let us make of it an occasion worthy of Wyoming," (Wyoming Commonwealth July 20, 1890, p. 8).

Representative J.M. Carey

Joseph M. Carey was the first U.S. Attorney for the Wyoming Territory and then served as a Justice on the Territorial Supreme Court. Entering into politics, he was elected Mayor of Cheyenne and as the Territorial Representative to the U.S. House. He worked diligently toward Wyoming's statehood. In his plea for statehood he said:

"The matter of statehood is a matter of great importance so far as Wyoming is concerned. We want to see the promised land; we want an enabling act; we want you to put us in such a position that if we conform to the conditions prescribed we may become a state."

Carey later went on to say, "The advantages of state government are very important to a man who wishes to thrive and wishes his business to prosper. A true American's ambition is to be a full American citizen with all the attending privileges."

Carey felt that politics was too involved in the decisions of statehood, not just for Wyoming, but for other territories as well. It was thought that many territories were not being advanced to statehood because it could give one political party an advantage over another. Carey's response to this was, "...I would rather live in a democratic state than to live in a territory with a large republican majority," (Cheyenne Daily Sun March 28, 1889, part 1, p. 4).

After Wyoming became a state, he was elected U.S. Senator. He went back to practicing law for many years until, in 1911, he was elected the eighth Governor of the State of Wyoming.

J. W. Hoyt

John Wesley Hoyt was the third territorial governor of Wyoming, served on the Constitutional Convention, and was the first President of the University of Wyoming. He was one of those who Theresa A. Jenkins thanked in her speech at the statehood celebration and was present on the platform.

Secretary Meldrum

John W. Meldrum was the last Secretary of the Wyoming Territory, also serving in the role during the Constitutional Convention. Secretary Meldrum was one of those mentioned as being in attendance and on the platform during the statehood celebration.

General Mizner

"The column of march (for the parade) was formed with the superb 17th Infantry band and regiment at the head, under the command of General Mizner, whose public spirit and generous assistance on these occasions is highly appreciated by our citizens. The regiment marched with its usual splendid precision and soldiery bearing," (Cheyenne Daily Sun July 24, 1890, p. 1).

Nellie Dwyer

After Governor Warren addressed the crowd upon receiving the new state flag from Esther Morris, Nellie Dwyer sang the Star Spangled Banner. Her performance was followed by a forty four gun salute and rain before the celebration was moved indoors.

Justice Van Devanter

Justice Willis Van Devanter was a Chief Justice of the Wyoming Territory and later elected to the Wyoming Supreme Court. He later served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Justice in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Van Devanter was in attendance at the statehood celebration and one of those mentioned seated on the platform.

Ladies' Committee

The Ladies' Committee appointed sub-committees that were formed for making arrangements for the statehood celebration. The appointments were as follows:

Copyright notice: Digitized collection materials are accessible for educational and personal research purposes.

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