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On This Day in History: The First Female Governor in the U.S. was Elected

On This Day in History: The First Female Governor in the U.S. was Elected

Let’s learn more about Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first woman governor in U.S. history.

On this day in 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected the 14th governor of Wyoming to complete the term of her husband William Bradford Ross, who died in office. Nellie served as Wyoming’s governor from January 5, 1925 to January 3, 1933, but the end of her term did not mark the end of her career in government. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt named her the first woman to head the U.S. Mint, and she held this position until 1953. To mark the anniversary of her being voted Wyoming’s governor, let’s learn more about Nellie Tayloe Ross.

Nellie Davis Tayloe was born in 1876 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Her family eventually relocated to Omaha, Nebraska where she trained to become a kindergarten teacher. While visiting relatives in Tennessee, Nellie met William Bradford Ross who was a lawyer at the time. The young couple were married in 1902 and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Together, Nellie and William had four sons. While Nellie tended to her family, William continued to practice law and eventually ran for office. In 1922, William was elected as governor of Wyoming. Unfortunately, he passed in October 1924 due to complications from an appendectomy.

Because William’s death occurred so close to the general elections in November, state law required that elections be held early to determine his successor. Democratic Party leaders nominated Nellie, and she ran against Republican candidate Eugene J. Sullivan.   Nellie won the election and became the first female governor in U.S. history.

Surprisingly, at the time of her election, the fact that Nellie was a woman actually worked to her advantage. After being the first state to grant women the right to vote in 1869, the citizens of Wyoming also wanted to be the first to elect a female to office.

While Nellie ran for reelection in 1926, she was defeated in a tight race. Following her term as governor, she served as Wyoming committeewoman to the Democratic National Committee and later as vice chairman of the Committee.

Nellie died in 1977 in Washington D.C. at the impressive age of 101.

We at The Maria Sanchez Show hope you will join us as we remember this historic female figure on the anniversary of her first day as Wyoming’s governor.  Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown.  Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.

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