Speaking of Politics


From July of 1868 to July of 1890 Wyoming was an officially recognized territory of the United States. General Ulysses S. Grant had been elected president, taking office in March of 1869. The time had come, but not until May when Grant got around to appointing a territorial governor. Like all presidents, past and present, political appointments where the rule of the day the first few months in office. The plum appointments were made first, Wyoming was not high on the list, too far away and too isolated for most of the east coast crowd. But, Grant still had a list of old pals, from the army and those who supported him politically clamoring for positions, even if they were in the west. His appointment to be Wyoming’s first governor was 33-year-old, John Allen Campbell.


 Campbell had served on the staff of Major General John Schofield during the Civil War. Campbell entered the war as a Lieutenant and left a breveted Brigadier General. After the war, he was part of the American reconstruction team in the south. His ties with Grant’s friend Schofield, and his work as a writer and officer in the war, of course on the Union side, led to his appointment.

By most accounts Campbell was a popular governor, part of that was because of the appointments he made to complete the territorial government. The new Territorial Secretary was Edward Merwin Lee, a former prisoner of war, Union General. He went on to found the Wyoming Tribune in Cheyenne. Campbell also appointed Benjamin Gallagher as the Auditor. Cheyenne banker John W. Donnellan was appointed treasurer. Donnellan came to Cheyenne after serving as a Colonel in the Union Army.
Wonder if those easterners knew Wyoming looked like this?

Campbell was reappointed in 1873 later became assistant sec of state and then American consul in Switzerland in 1877 where he served until 1880 when he returned to the United States, where he died later that year at age 44.
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