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Building the City and City Government

Present City Government

Laramie City was incorporated under an act of the Wyoming legislature, approved December 12th, A. D. 1873, and started out on her career of government on the 13th day of January, A. D. 1874, by the election of five trustees, viz: Wm. Harris, M. D., J. H. Finfrock, M. D., Robert Galbraith, Division Master Mechanic U. P. R. R., T. J. Webster, of the firm of Slack & Webster, Laramie Independent and James Vine, furniture dealer: Dr. Wm. Harris, President and Ex-officio Mayor, all gentlemen of high moral, intellectual and business attainments, who sailed our little ship of government, safely through the storms for one year, the most trying time in the existence of any corporation.

As we are now on the second year of our corporate existence, and our city government in a good healthy financial condition, we propose to give a short biographical sketch of each member of our present city council, by which it will be seen that our community has a proper appreciation of moral worth and intelligence.

Henry B. Rumsey, our present Mayor, was born in the state of Indiana in the year A. D. 1842, entered the United States Naval Academy at the age of fifteen years, from which he graduated in 1861, served in the navy during the rebellion, at the close of which he was promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Commander "for gallant service during the war." (As shown by the U. S. Naval Record.) Afterwards served in the European, West Indian and Brazilian Squadron, until A. D. 1870, resigned from the navy in 1872, and commenced civil life, by immediately coming to Laramie City, and becoming one of the proprietors of the Laramie Hotel, his father already being engaged in the business, where we still find the firm of P. Rumsey & Son in a very lucrative business. Mr. Rumsey is also largely interested in sheep raising, owning one of the finest sheep ranches in this country and over three hundred head of sheep. He is a gentleman of high moral, scientific and literary attainments.

Charles W. Bramel, one of the aldermen, is a native of Andrew County, Missouri; born August 11th A. D. 1840, graduated at Bloomington College, Missouri, in 1859, studied law under William. C. Toole Esquire, St. Joe, Missouri, was admitted to the Supreme Court of Colorado, A. D. 1870, came to Laramie City December 26th 1870, was elected prosecuting attorney for this (Albany) County in the fall of 1872, and re-elected to the same office in 1874, was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, October, 1874. Mr. Bramel is an earnest advocate, faithful in his profession, and a noble generous man, a first class citizen.

C. S. Dunbar, city alderman, is a native of Massachusetts, born August 17th, A. D. 1848; is a graduate of Easton Academy; was in business in Boston until the fall of 1869, when he came to Chicago, and was there connected with the house of Warner, Marston & Felix, until coming to Laramie City, January, 1874, since which time he has been engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery business, and has established an immense trade. Mr. Dunbar is a first-class business gentleman.

George W. Fox, city alderman, is an active of the State of Ohio, was born August 18th, 1838, brought up a farmer, served an enlistment in the army during the rebellion in the 17 1st regiment of Ohio Volunteers; came west to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the fall of 1865; in the spring of 1866 crossed the Plains with an ox train, by way of Fort Laramie and the Big Horn, fighting their way through the Indians to Montana, where he was engaged in mining until the fall of 1868, when he came to Laramie City, since which time he has been engaged in a wholesale and retail meat and vegetable market, and by fair and honorable dealing has very much endeared himself to our citizens. In fact as a benevolent, high minded, business gentleman Mr. Fox has no superior.

A. G. Swain, City Alderman, was born in Richmond, Indiana, A. D. 1839. Enlisted in the Union army on the 19th day of April, 1861, four days after the taking of Fort Sumpter. Served during the rebellion in the Fifth Regiment Ohio Vols. Infantry. Was afterwards in the wholesale mercantile business in Cincinnati, Ohio, until July, 1869, when he came to Laramie City to accept the position of cashier of H. J. Rogers & Co.'s Bank, afterwards Edward Ivinson's Bank, and finally the Wyoming National Bank, he holding the position of cashier through all of those changes, and up to March, A. D. 1874, when he engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery trade, in which business he is still en-gaged. Mr. Swain is one of those gentlemen who only need to be known to be respected.

These five gentlemen of whom we have just written, constitute our City Council and present government, and from what we know of their moral worth and integrity, they will guard well each and every interest of our young municipality, and keep our city what it already is, the most quiet little city in the West. Thanks to the ladies and gentlemen, voters of Laramie City. We hope you will always show your appreciation of morality and intelligence by the election of such men. Let us continue to have our moral, social, and intellectual interests keep pace with those of our finances.

Public School

The first public school of Laramie City opened February 15th, A. D. 1869, Miss Eliza Steward, now Mrs. Eliza Boyd, teacher. The whole number of pupils enrolled during this term of three months, was one hundred and six, the interest in which has steadily increased with the growth of our city. A good school house was erected in the year A. D. 1869, which has been improved in accordance with the requirements of the school.

The teaching force has increased with the needs of the school from one to three, and is now under the management and instruction of Prof. R. E. Fitch, and his two able assistants, Mrs. A. E. Sinclair and Miss Kate Dugan, and there is a near prospective need of one or two more.

A strictly graded course has been much impeded heretofore by the transient nature of our population, but this trouble is rapidly passing away.

The school now has nine grades, comprising nine classes, and allowing promotions as often as pupils are fitted for it. The aim is to leave old modes behind and strive for all that is good in the vastly improved and much improving new methods. The school is now prepared to teach all branches found in a modern high school course, which is in-tended to fit pupils for the first class in college.

The great need at present is that of room adequate to the rapidly increasing numbers of those to be taught. Public instruction has been liberally encouraged here in the past, and this eminently intelligent and enterprising people are not likely to let this want remain long un-supplied. For well we all know that if intelligence and morality are to be fostered, the building up of no other interest will in any way atone for the neglect of the public school.

Churches

The first religious service in Laramie City was instituted by Mrs. Jennie Ivinson, Mrs. Charles Wright, and Miss Jennie Wright, now Mrs. Jennie Lancaster, who started a Sabbath School about the 15th of July, A. D., 1868. And with that unfaltering heroism peculiar to woman, who is ever ready with her sweet ministrations to strew flowers in paths that would else be barren and unlovely, making home charm-ing even in the wilderness, and daring to grapple with the terrible evils with which our people were beset at that time, and which were whirling away our strong men with their pernicious currents, these three noble women laid their shoulders to the wheel, and the result was a calling together of the good people of both sexes, and the Sabbath School was soon a known success.

Soon after a call was made for the Rev. Joseph C. Cook, of Cheyenne, who on the 2d day of October, 1868, came and organized an Episcopal parish, the first church organization in our city. Rev. J. W. Cornell took charge of the parish, and on the 21st of September, 1869, a church building had been completed, costing four thousand two hundred dollars, which was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Randall, on said 2l8t day of September, as St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. The present value of this church property is six thousand dollars. The church is in a flourishing condition, with the Rev. Z. T. Savage as settled pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of this city was first organized by Rev. (t. F. Hilton, in the spring of 1869, and erected a church building during the year A. D. 1870, at a cost of three thousand dollars, which was dedicated for divine service January 15th, 1871, by the Rev. B. T. Vincent, presiding Elder of the District of Colorado and Wyoming. The present value of this church property is four thousand five hundred dollars. The society is in a good condition, with the Rev. H. L. Beardsly pastor.

The Roman Catholic Church was first started here by Rev. Father Kelly, a missionary Priest, with Col. J. W. Donellan, Henry Wagner, and J. W. Connor as Trustees; church building commenced May, 1869, but was not completed until the fall of 1871, after the arrival of, and by the zealous and energetic labor, of Rev. Father E. Cusson, the resident pastor, who also in 1874 erected a parsonage, at a cost of two thousand dollars, making a total cost of this church property, of nine thousand dollars. Society in a very prosperous condition. Arrangements are now being made by this Society, for the founding at this place of a "Mercy Hospital," to be under the supervision and management of the Sisters of Mercy, with doors open to all humanity alike, who may chance to fall in need of their ministrations.

The Baptist Church in this city was first organized on the 8th day of January, 1870, by Rev. George W. Freeman, Superintendent of the Baptist Home Mission Society. Church building erected same year; cost, five thousand five hundred dollars. The first resident pastor was Rev. D. J. Pierce, who will long be remembered as one of the pioneer workers in every reform, and first in the organization of nearly all our institutions for the promotion of intelligence and morality. Present resident pastor. Rev. H. W. Thiele, with the Church in a prosperous condition. The present valuation of this Church property, with improvements made in 1874, is eight thousand dollars.

The Union Presbyterian Church in this city was organized by the Rev. F. L. Arnold, February 2d, 1871, with the following Board of Trustees, to wit: Dr. J. H. Finfrock, L. D. Pease, H. H. Richards, M. C. Brown, J. M. Filmore, and IST. C. Worth. This organization erected a church building during the summer of 1871, at a cost of five thousand dollars; three thousand dollars of which was donated by Mrs. Daniel Parish, of New York City. I believe this is the only donation ever received by any of our churches from outside of our own community. This church being completed was dedicated sometime in October, 1871. The Society is now in a very flourishing condition, with Rev. W. E. Hamilton as settled pastor.

This ends our church history; making five churches, each with a splendid property, well furnished, and each Society well supported.

First Child Born in Laramie

Patrick Sarsfield Keene, son of John and Mary Keene, was born June 21st, A. D. 1868, and was the first child born in Laramie City. Mr. John Keene, the progenitor of this young hero, is one of our most substantial citizens, enterprising and industrious, and zealously interested in the future welfare of our city, a permanent citizen.

 

Source: History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory, By J. H. Triggs, Laramie City: Daily Sentinel Print, 1875.

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