How’d The Unique Name ‘Wyoming’ Get Chosen For The State?
There are stories that have been passed down from generation to generation about the history of Wyoming. One of those historic stories is how Wyoming got it's name and it's hard to believe it was a politician from Ohio that decided on it?
I was surfing YouTube when I landed on Wyoming History Channel and that's where I watched lifelong Wyoming resident Sam Lightner Jr. describing the events that took place in the mid to late 1860's that got the ball rolling for the name of the 44th state.
In the video, Lightner does a really good job explaining what happened. He goes on to say that Ohio Congressman James Ashley was the Representative that sponsored the bill for Wyoming to become it's own territory.
Now, since Ashley had never been to the area and didn't know much about it, but he needed a name for the territory and something to put on his bill. Lightner Jr. said in the video that the obvious options would've been a Native American name, but the US had been fighting with them at the time and it probably wouldn't have gone over well. Another good bet would've been the current US President, Abraham Lincoln. At the time, the president was so popular, everyone was using his name so he decided against that too.
Lightner goes on to say that the Congressman decided he would name the territory by the name of the place he was born...Wyoming Valley Pennsylvania. Again, he'd never been to the territory and wasn't really sure what it was like, but Wyoming is a Delaware Indian word that means 'large open space'.
When the bill passed in July of 1868 the territory became Wyoming and the rest is history. Hats off to Sam Lightner Jr. for doing a nice job relaying the story. When you watch the video, you can see Mr. Lightner gets a bit heated when wrapping up the video, but still does a nice job.