State Auditor Kristi Racines, one of two women holding statewide elected office in Wyoming, photographed the Wyoming Girl Guard standing at the foot of the State Capitol steps on the 150th anniversary of Wyoming women’s suffrage. From right to left: Lila Howell, retired Wyoming Air Guard, Gayle Baugh, retired Wyoming Army Guard, Rose Ruiz, active Army Guard, and her daughter Emily Ruiz, a high school senior. (Kristi Racines)

Tuesday marked the 150th anniversary of women securing the right to vote and hold office in Wyoming. In downtown Cheyenne — where territorial Gov. John Campbell signed the Female Suffrage Act on Dec. 10, 1869 — crowds gathered to mark the occasion with parades, panels, plays and more. 

Four members of the Wyoming Girl Guards wore period garb and carried wooden replicas of rifles as they led a march across Cheyenne to herald the occasion. Marching down Carey Avenue in Cheyenne beneath a flag that read “To Wyoming, from her women” they led the way for Gov. Mark Gordon, first lady Jennie Gordon and a number of women elected officials and other luminaries. 

The modern day Wyoming Girl Guards was formed in 1980, according to their Facebook page. The original Wyoming Girl Guards was formed in 1889. It was the nation’s first Girl Guards militia, according to a book on the subject by Dan J. Lyon. Its members performed military drills and marches at the time that Wyoming was making its bid for statehood. They carried mock weapons because they were not authorized to carry rifles, Gayle Baugh, a member of the current group, said.

State Auditor Kristi Racines, one of two women holding statewide elected office, took this photograph of the guards standing at the foot of the State Capitol steps. 

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Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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