South Pass City in Fremont County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
Esther Hobart Morris
Esther Hobart Morris
First woman Justice
of the Peace
in the World
Feb. 14, 1870
Author with W.H. Bright
of the first
equal suffrage law
Dec. 10, 1869
Controversy exists concerning Esther Morris and women suffrage. In 1869, the legislature passed and Governor Campbell signed a woman suffrage bill authored by William Bright, a South Pass City resident. As a result, Wyoming became the first territory or state to allow women the right to vote.
For eight months in 1870, Esther Morris served as South Pass City’s justice of the peace, making her the nation’s first woman judge. After her death in 1901, some historians claimed that Mrs. Morris had helped Bright write the suffrage bill. Believing this theory, the Historical Landmark Commission dedicated the adjacent marker in 1939 on the former location of the Morris family’s five room cabin.
However, recent studies indicate that Bright was the only author of the suffrage bill, although he may have received some urging from his wife Julia and some help from Edward Lee, Secretary of the Territory. Morris probably held court in the county building near the center of town.
Today, Esther Morris is recognized as the nation’s first woman justice of the peace. The monument and the nearby 1870 period cabin honor Mrs. Morris, who exemplified the spirit of frontier women.
Erected 1939 by Historical Landmark Commission of Wyoming.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil Rights • Government & Politics • Women. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1868.
Location. 42° 28.104′ N, 108° 47.89′ W. Marker is in South Pass City, Wyoming, in Fremont County. Marker is on South Pass Main Street near South Pass City Road / B Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 22 South Pass Main Street, Lander WY 82520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. South Pass City (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Masonic Lodge in Wyoming (approx. ¼ mile away); South Pass City: Wyoming’s Biggest Gold Boom and Bust (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Carissa Mine: Cycle of Boom and BustCrushing Gold Ore (approx. half a mile away); How a Stamp Mill Works (approx. ¾ mile away); South Pass and South Pass City (approx. 1.8 miles away); Atlantic City: Surviving the Bust (approx. 4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Pass City.
More about this marker. These markers are in South Pass City State Historic Site.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 6, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 733 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 6, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.