History Page Update – Louisa Ann Swain

Louisa Ann Swain was the first woman to vote in a public election in the United States or, more correctly, the first woman to vote in an area that would become part of the USA.

1870 – September 6 – Louisa Ann Swain posted the first vote ever cast in a public election in the Territory of Wyoming.

The Territory had yet to become part of the United States and after the events of this day and other Wyoming events designed to enshrine women’s rights, there would be a lot of controversy before the state could join the union.

Louisa was aged 70 when she cast her historic vote and became one of those magic moments in Old West History.  This woman is as much a part of the fabric of the old West as Billy the Kid or Wyatt Earp.  She may not be a part of daily conversation as they are, but Louisa Ann Swain paved the path for women everywhere.  I cannot imagine a world today where women could not vote but is only 141 years since that was the situation for all women.

Click the photo of her commemorative statue to go the Statehood Dates page and learn more about her and her vote.

Go the 1890 – July 10 – this was the day Wyoming became a state and her story is recorded here.  The history page has been updated.  Click on the Wyoming flag to check out the Old West Stories history page.

Short Version

1869 December 10 – Old West History records that the Wyoming Territorial legislature passed a bill gave everyone woman living in the Territory of Wyoming the right to vote.

1870 – March – In Laramie in the Territory of Wyoming, a Grand Jury had been impaneled with 6 women and 6 men.

1870 – September 6 – Louisa Ann Swain post the first vote ever cast in a public election in the Territory of Wyoming.

1890 – July 10 – Wyoming became the 44th state.  During the application to join the Union there was significant opposition.  Wyoming stood firm on principle and the Territory stated:-

“We may stay out of the union for 100 years, but when we come in, we will come with our women.”

What does the Old West Stories website think about all this.  All we want to say is “congratulations Wyoming”.  Old West History would not be the same without this monumental event, indeed; world history would not be the same.  You led the way Wyoming and we thank you.


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