The Six Week Governor


George W. Baxter settled in Wyoming, after a degree from West Point and three years as a Calvary officer at Wyoming’s fort D. A. Russell. He spent his first three years in private business, trying to start a range cattle operation of which he knew nothing and didn’t seem to be well adapted to cowboy life.

Governor Baxter
But then came politics.  Baxter was appointed, at age 31, to be the territorial governor of Wyoming with the helpful influence of southern democratic friends, not by anyone in Wyoming. When Wyoming’s delegation in Washington got to work and he was forced out after six short weeks in office. Baxter traveled to Washington to protest but to no avail.  Baxter served his very short term from November 11 to December 20, 1886, four years before Wyoming became a state.

There is a funny story in Charles Guernsey’s book, Wyoming Cowboy Days, which shows Baxter was not only a poor choice for governor of a western territory, but also appalling at politics in general. Guernsey, who was a most influential politician in his day, was asked by Baxter during a chance meeting on the street if he was for or against a certain, soon to be introduced, bill. When Guernsey said he was against it, Baxter asked how much it would cost to have him for it. Guernsey, saying that Baxter, “didn’t know any better,” laughed it off, taking no offense with Baxter or his awkward attempt to bribe him.

Maybe six weeks as governor was plenty!

When Baxter resigned from office he was replaced by another short term governor Elliot S. N. Morgan, Morgan served for thirty-five days before being replaced by Thomas Moonlight. Interestingly this was the second time that Morgan served as governor having served for 46 days in 1885 after the death of Governor William Hale. 
Wyoming may have been better off without Moonlight, see my blog post on him here. 
http://wyoming-fact-and-fiction.blogspot.com/2012/07/incompetence-and-politicians-governor.html

 
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