Today, the Wyoming State Quarter tells the story of Wyoming’s first legislature’s activities 145 years ago.
Though the Wyoming Territory was not the first western territory to introduce the idea, they were the first to pass legislation for women’s suffrage.
During their first session in 1869, they passed:
“An Act to Grant to the Women of Wyoming Territory the Right of Suffrage, and to Hold Office.
“Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wyoming:
“Section 1. That every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in this Territory, may, at every election to be holden under the laws thereof, cast her vote. And her rights to the elective franchise and to hold office shall be the same under the election laws of the Territory, as those of electors.
“Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
“Approved, December 10th, 1869.”
One woman, Mrs. Amalia Barney Simons Post, embraced the right and became a quiet and dignified leader in the Wyoming women’s political involvement.
She served as a member of the Territorial Central Committee of the Republican party. She also served on juries several times and was the foreman of the six-man, six-woman jury for the first murder conviction in the Wyoming Territory.
In 1871, Mrs. Post traveled to Washington DC as a delegate to the Women’s National Convention and gave a presentation to the 5000-member audience on women’s suffrage in Wyoming.
During the second legislative session in 1871, however, the people’s representatives passed a measure to repeal the act for women’s suffrage.
Mrs. Post quickly made a personal appeal to the governor to veto the bill.
Governor Campbell told Mrs. Post, “I came here opposed to woman suffrage, but the eagerness and fidelity with which you and your friends have performed political duties, when called upon to act, has convinced me that you deserve to enjoy those rights.”
After the governor’s veto, several representatives made a concerted effort to pass the repeal.
In polling the representatives, the two-thirds majority to bypass the governor’s veto was narrowly possible with just one vote.
Mrs. Post, once again, actively approached the challenge and focused her attention to change one vote.
She approached one of the most educated members that planned to vote to overturn women’s suffrage. With her forthright appeal, she won his opinion in favor of women’s rights to vote and to hold office.
At the final tally, the repeal of the women’s suffrage act did not pass.
In 1890 as the Wyoming Territory joined the Union as a state, their constitution approved by the people included women’s right to vote and hold office.
As the president of the committee for statehood celebration, Mrs. Post accepted, on their behalf, a formal copy of the new constitution presented to the women of Wyoming.
The Wyoming State Quarter with its motto, “The Equality State,” shows against a prairie and mountain view in the state.