Monday, January 16, 2023

Absaroka the 49th State..... Almost

 Absaroka might sound familiar to many. It is a mountain range in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. But it’s most well known for Absaroka County. A fictional county and the home of the Longmire series by Craig Johnson. Who lives down the road in Ucross, Wyoming. The fictional county is located in northern Wyoming in a portion of the proposed Absaroka State. In 2012 Buffalo, Wyoming started Longmire Days. Each year the actors of the TV series and author Craig Johnson come to Buffalo to celebrate. It’s a good time. I confess living in Buffalo, I’ve only gone three times. I haven’t watched the show or read the books, but it’s on my list of things to do.

In 1935 the idea to make a new state began. Southern Montana, Northern Wyoming, and Western South Dakota came together with the plan to make a new state. During the Great Depression, the citizens were not pleased with their states government for failing to provide Roosevelt’s New Deal federal aid to rural ranchers and farmers. The ranchers and farmers felt the state money and attention was going to other parts of the state and they were getting short changed.

 The people were serious about their new state. There was a beauty pageant and Dorothy Fellow was crowned Miss Absaroka. They even made a state license plate as well as state coins. The king of Norway toured the area and supports of the secession claimed this even as official recognition of the new state.

Samuel W. King, a congressional representative for the Hawaii territory stated “Hawaii is entitled to be the 49th state. Let Absaroka be the 50th but Hawaii has claim to the 49th.” A.R. Swickard appointed himself Governor of Absaroka and held many grievances hears about the perceived wrongs committed by the state of Wyoming. These hearings led to the increased media attention on the secessionist movement and its criticisms of the state government, prompting Wyoming, Montanna, and South Dakota to spread state revenues more broadly to rural communities. This effort rendered the secessionist movement mostly defunct by 1939. Following the onset of Worl War II the secessionists activities ceased and were forgotten by the time of the Eisenhower presidency.

I knew nothing of the proposed Absaroka State story until a few years ago. I thought it was interesting. If the state had been created, I would have been born and lived all my life in Absaroka instead of Wyoming. I may have to use Absaroka as a town name in a future book.

1 comment:

Julie Lence said...

Interesting bit of history. Thanks for sharing, T.K.!