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Wyoming’s first ‘National Votes for Women Trail’ marker dedicated at Esther Hobart Morris home

A statue of Esther Hobart Morris, who is known for promoting women’s suffrage in Wyoming in the 1860’s as well as being the first Justice of The Peace in The United States. The statue sits in the basement of the Wyoming Capitol Building. (Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s first “National Votes for Women Trail” historic marker was dedicated at the site of the former home of Esther Hobart Morris in Cheyenne on Monday, according to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office.

Morris was the first female justice of the peace in the United States. She was appointed in February 1870 on South Pass City.

“Morris was a prominent supporter of Wyoming Legislative Council President William Bright’s 1869 suffrage bill that not only allowed women the right to vote, but to also hold office,” the Secretary of State’s Office said.

The historic marker is located at 2114 Warren Avenue in Cheyenne. The public can view the marker and are “encouraged to use the visit as an opportunity to learn about the life and contributions of one of Wyoming’s most prominent historical figures.”

Governor Mark Gordon, First Lady Jennie Gordon, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan and several members of the legislature attended the dedication ceremony on Monday.

“This home was the residence of Esther Hobart Morris from the 1880s until April 3, 1902 when she passed away,” Buchanan said. “She is buried in nearby Lakeview Cemetery.  Here, in the shadow of the State Capitol, she continued to support the rights of women after a career as a justice of the peace and an 1876 term as vice president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association.” 

“Recognition of this home will help bring her story to the attention of the many tourists who frequent Cheyenne each year.”   

The National Votes for Women Trail is an initiative that launched in 2020 and is sponsored by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. The trail aims to commemorate the history of women’s suffrage across the country.

“Since 2006, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation has been providing grants to place markers which celebrate communities and honor their historic sites,” the Secretary of State’s Office said. “In 2020, to celebrate the centennial of the passing of the 19th Amendment, the Pomeroy Foundation partnered with the NCWHS to launch its latest program, which provides grants for 250 markers which recognize historically significant people, places or things instrumental to women in gaining the right to vote nationally in 1920 — a right women in Wyoming have held since 1869.” 

“Recognizing Wyoming’s importance in the fight for women’s suffrage, members of the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office applied to have a marker placed in the Cowboy State.”