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Laramie Press ~ Exemptions ~ Female Suffrage

The Press Of Laramie City

The first newspaper published in this city was the Frontier Index, by Fred. K. Freeman & Bro. This was also the pioneer newspaper of the Territory, being published at Fort Sanders, during the latter part of the winter of 1867-8, as a weekly. About the first of May, 1868, early in the settlement of Laramie, this saucy little sheet began its existence as a daily, and continued a daily issue from the rear of the Frontier Hotel, in this city, during the summer of 1868. Late that fall it was removed to Benton, then a town near where Fort Steele now is, and from thence on to Bear river, where it was soon after destroyed by a mob. I find it very difficult to get much history of this paper. As to dates of first and last issues in this city, I can only approximate, as no complete files have been preserved.

The Laramie Daily Sentinel

This was the title of the second paper published, and really the first established in our city; N". A. Baker, proprietor and Dr. J. H. Hayford editor. The first number was issued on the first day of May, 1869, and was a neatly printed five column daily paper, devoted to the interests of our town. On the first day of May, 1870, this paper was purchased by Dr. J. H. Hayford and J. E. Gates, under the firm name of Hayford & Gates, with Dr. Hayford editor. Under this management the paper started off in supporting the Territorial administration, republican in politics, and devoted to the advancement of the best interests of the people. In May, 1871, the Sentinel was enlarged to a seven-column paper, and has been issued daily up to the present time, and is now one of the leading papers of the Territory.

The Laramie Daily Independent

The first number of this paper was issued in Laramie City on the 26th day of Dec, 1871; E. A. Slack and T. J. Webster, proprietors, with E. A. Slack, editor. It was a neatly printed six column daily, and started out with a strong opposition to our Territorial administration. Although claiming to be independent in politics, as its heading would suggest, this paper espoused the cause of the Liberal Republicans in 1872, and hoisted the name of Horace Greeley, and consequently drew a good support from said party, and the Democratic party, which by uniting, elected Wm. R. Steele delegate to Congress in 1872, and again in 1874.

On the 2d day of March, 1875, Charles W. Bramel, Esq., purchased the interest of Mr. T. J. Webster, and the title of the paper was changed to that of "The Laramie Daily Sun," which then espoused the cause of the Democratic party, in its most un-terrified form.

Synopsis of the laws relating to exemptions, limitation of actions and rates of interest in Wyoming Territory

Exemptions. Every householder, being at the head of a family, is entitled to a homestead not exceeding in value fifteen hundred dollars, exempt from execution or attachment for any debt, contract or civil obligation, while such homestead is actually occupied as such by the owner thereof, or his or her family. The homestead may consist of a house and lot, or lots, in any town or city, or a farm of not more than one hundred and sixty acres. The owner of a homestead may mortgage the same, but such mortgage shall not be binding against the wife of a married man who may be occupying the premises with him, unless she shall freely and voluntarily acknowledge and sign the same, and the officer taking such acknowledgment shall fully apprise her of her rights, and of the effect of signing such mortgage.

Besides the homestead above mentioned, the wearing apparel of every person is exempt from judicial or ministerial process; also the following property, when owned by any person being the head of a family and residing with the same, to-wit: The family bible, pictures and school books, a lot in any cemetery or burial ground, furniture, bedding, provisions, and such other articles as the debtor may select, not to exceed in all the value of five hundred dollars, to be ascertained by the appraisement of three disinterested house holders; Provided that no personal property of any person about to remove or abscond from the Territory shall be exempt. The tools, team and implements or stock in trade of a mechanic, miner, or other person, and used and kept for the purpose of carrying on his trade or business, is exempt to a value not exceeding three hundred dollars; also the library, instruments or implements of any professional man, not to exceed in value three hundred dollars. The person claiming exemption must in all oases be bona fide resident of the Territory.

Limitation of Actions. Civil actions can only be brought within the following periods, after the cause of action shall have accrued:

1st. An action for the recovery of lands, tenements and here determents, within twenty-one years.

2d. An action of forcible entry and detainer, within two years.

3d. An action upon a specialty, or any agreement, or contract, or promise in writing, within fifteen years.

4th. An action upon a contract not in writing, within six years.

5th. An action for trespass upon real property, or for taking, detaining or injuring personal property; including actions for the specific recovery of personal property, within four years.

6th. An action for libel, slander, assault and battery, malicious prosecution, or false imprisonment, within one year.

7th. An action upon the official bond or undertaking of an executor, administrator, guardian, sheriff, or other officer, or upon the bond or undertaking given in attachment, injunction, arrest, or any cause whatever, required by statute, within ten years.

8th. An action for any cause not before enumerated, within ten years. If a person entitled to bring any of the foregoing actions, except an action for the recovery of real property, and except a penalty or forfeiture, be at the time the cause of action accrues, within the age of twenty-one years, a married woman, insane, or imprisoned, the action may be brought within the times above limited, after such disability shall have been removed. If, when the cause of action accrues against a person, he be out of the Territory, or shall have absconded, or concealed himself, the period limited for the commencement of the action shall not begin to run until he comes into the Territory, or while he is absconded or concealed. If, after the cause of action accrues, he depart from the Territory, or abscond or conceal himself, the time of such absence or concealment shall not be computed as any part of the period within which the action must be brought.

Where the cause of action has arisen in another State or Territory, between non-residents of this Territory, and by the laws of the State or Territory where the cause of action arose, an action cannot be maintained thereon by reason of lapse of time, no action can be maintained thereon in this Territory.

In any case founded on contract, part payment of principal or interest or an acknowledgement of existing debt, liability, or claim in writing signed by the party to be charged, takes the case out of the statute, and an action may be brought within the times limited, after such part payment or acknowledgment.

Interest. Any rate may be agreed upon in writing, but in the absence of express contract, all moneys, claims, or judgments, draw interest at the rate of twelve per cent per annum; unsettled accounts draw interest after thirty days from date of the last item.

Female Suffrage

Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Wyoming, Sec. 1. That every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in this Territory, may, at every election to beholden 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 10, 1869.

We consider this act a very important point Id the history of our city, as Laramie City was the first place in the Territory, and probably in the known world, where this act or anything similar was put in force, as will be shown by the following extract from the records of a term of the District Court, held in this city on the 7th day of March, A. D. 1870, Hon. J. H. Howe, Chief Justice, presiding, wherein the merits of the law were discussed, and a decision rendered:

"The court was duly opened by N. K. Boswell, sheriff of Albany County. Now comes N. K. Boswell, sheriff of said county, and makes return of the venire to him issued of the following named persons, by him summoned as grand jurors at the present term of this court, to-wit: Perry Townsend, James W. Teats, Amelia Hatcher, W. H. Harlow, Louis Miller, M. A. Hance, Frederick Laycock, W. S. Bramel, Charles Bussard, Charles Hutton, Eliza Steward, N. F. Spicer, Agnes Baker, Mrs. G. F. Hilton and Mary Mackle, who, on being called, were found to be all present except Ferry Townsend, and it was ordered by the court, that another juror be summoned in the place of the said Ferry Townsend. Now comes N. K. Boswell, sheriff, and makes return of Geo. C. Densmore, as such grand juror.

Comes now Agnes Baker, George C. Densmore, and N. F. Spicer, and asked to be excused from serving as grand jurors, and having heard said applicants in that behalf, it is ordered by the court that they be excused; and it is further ordered by the court that the sheriff summons three good and lawful persons from the body of said county to serve as grand jurors at the present term of this court in place of those discharged.

Now comes the sheriff of said county, and makes return of the following persons by him summoned as such grand jurors, to wit: Sarah W. Pease, B. C. Dutton, and Gr. W. Lancaster.

Now comes Stephen W. Downey, one of the attorneys of this court, and challenges the panel aforesaid, and moves the court to quash said panel, on the grounds that said panel is not composed of "male" citizens, that only such are qualified by law to serve as jurors. Said motion was argued by S. W. Downey in support thereof, and by W. R. Steele, and T. J. Street in opposition thereto.

The court having heard the argument of counsel thereon, and being sufficiently advised in the premises, overruled said motion. Associate Justice J. W. Kingman concurring. Whereupon the aforementioned persons were tried, sworn in, and served as grand jurors; and female suffrage in Wyoming became a fixed fact.

The petit jury of the same court was also composed of males and females.

And while the United States, by the "Fifteenth Amendment" to her constitution, has seen fit to extend the right of suffrage and elective franchise to the male portion of the poor and "down trodden" of all nations of the earth, regardless of intelligence, color or race, who make known their allegiance to our government, the Territory of Wyoming, by an act of her Legislature, has taken up the grand and noble principle that our wives, mothers, sisters and daughters are at least entitled to the same rights and privileges; and by so doing, has placed her name high up on the great bulletin board of the progress of freedom and true principles.

We sincerely believe that the great reputation which our city has gained, within the last few years, for her morality and law abiding character, is due to a great extent to the influence of our noble women at the ballot box.

 

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

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