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Jackson Once Made History by Electing an All-Woman Government

Town of Jackson Facebook
Town of Jackson Facebook

97 years ago this week, Jackson, Wyoming was the first town in the U.S. to have an all women government. It wasn’t Venus. It was just how a real election turned out May 11, 1920. For men, it was a “broadslide.”

Many agreed Jackson needed a new council. Women especially claimed “do-nothings” cared more about their ranches and businesses than improving Jackson. It was as simple as men incumbents not wanting to run again and there were no new males volunteering. One man’s solution was: “Let’s elect the women.” Whether or not that was meant as just guy humor, that’s what they did.

Grace Miller ran for mayor. Volunteering for the council were those with names like Rose, Mae, Genevieve, and Faustina. Dumbfounded by females really acting, the men quickly formed an opposition party, but basically, by then it was too late for the old boys. Petticoat rule was on by the 11th of May.

The females already owned the real issues for citizens – like doing something about muddy streets. That was a perfect storm of heavy winter snows, thaws and spring rains. This angered mothers whose kids had to wade through it to and from school. There were other issues that all equaled this: Jackson had elected only women, in some cases by voting near a whole 2 – 1.

Newspapers across the country ate up this story and made Jackson famous – again. It just wasn’t for where men were strong and independent. That was so 1800s. Now real civilization was coming.

Before the first 100 days could start, it was quickly discovered only two hundred dollars were in the treasury but there was a big number of uncollected fines and taxes. Delinquent notices were sent, and when residents ignored those, council members, themselves, went out to the guilty homes. That increased the coffers $2000.00, which could get construction started on ditches and culverts. Eventually, some male muscle helped raise sidewalks and a walkway from the town square all the way to the schoolhouse. The women would fulfill all their promises.
Jackson is far more civilized almost a hundred years later now, but most people don’t know when that really started, and who kicked out the do-nothings.

Wyoming State Archives
Wyoming State Archives

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