Joseph M. Carey

WSA Sub Neg 1523
WSA Sub Neg 1523

Democrat • Cheyenne
US District Attorney 1869-1871
Territorial Supreme Court 1872-1876
Territorial Delegate to Congress 1885-1890
U.S. Senator 1890-1895
Governor 1911-1915
University of Wyoming Board of Trustees

Joseph M. Carey, was born in Milton, Delaware, on January 19,1845. His parents were well established farmers and able to provide him with an excellent education. After two years of college, Carey went to the University of Pennsylvania and obtained a law degree in 1867. Carey was an active political participant from his youth and enthusiastically worked for U.S. Grant's campaign for the presidency. President Grant rewarded the ambitious young Carey with the appointment of U.S. Attorney for Wyoming. He worked hard and soon became the Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of Wyoming. Carey kept the title of judge for the rest of his life in spite of all the other positions he held.

He tired of public life for a time in 1879 and entered into ranching and numerous business endeavors. Success in business propelled him back into civic life and he was soon elected mayor of Cheyenne. Carey was active in various public and private interests including the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Stock Grower's National Bank of Cheyenne, and serving as a delegate to Congress for the Wyoming Territory. During his congressional term Carey authored the bill to admit Wyoming to statehood. Carey was rewarded for his efforts by being elected the first U.S. Senator from Wyoming on November 12, 1890. Failing to be re-elected in 1895, he embarked on a private law practice. In 1910 he was elected governor and served only one term. Afterwards, he was vice president of the Federal Land Bank of Omaha and a member of the board of trustees of the University of Wyoming. Carey died on February 5, 1924 in Cheyenne.

In 1877 he married Louise David of Cheyenne. They had two sons (Robert and Charles). Robert D. Carey served as governor from 1919-1923. To date, they are Wyoming's only father and son to serve as governor.

Inaugural speech 1911
Message to the Legislature, 1911
Message to the Legislature, 1913

The Governor Joseph M. Carey Collection

The records from Governor Carey's term in office include:
  • General Records
    • Autograph Requests
    • Belgian Relief Fund
    • Campaign Statements
    • Circulars
    • Conference of Western Governors
    • Donations
    • Great Seal of Wyoming
    • Public Lands Convention
  • Administrative Records
    • Correspondence
    • General Correspondence
    • Anonymous and Eccentric Letters
    • Big Horn Basin Development Company
    • Boysen Dam
    • Charities and Reform
    • Eden Valley
    • Oil and Gas
    • Railroads
    • Sheep Commissioners
    • University of Wyoming
    • Wyoming State Penitentiary
  • Appointment Records
    • Proclamations
    • Pardons/Paroles
      • Petitions for Pardons
      • General Correspondence
      • List of Pardons
      • Home of the Good Shepherd
      • Colorado State Industrial School for Boys
  • Appointment Records
  • Requisitions and Extraditions
    • Correspondence
    • Rewards for Unsolved Crimes
    • Rewards for Criminals
  • Military Affairs
    • Mexican Conflict
    • World War I
    • National Guard
  • Legislative Matters
    • Message to the Legislature, 1911


"Believe me when I say that I strive not to build a party machine and that I have no other object today than advancing the growth of the State and the honor of her people." -- Message to the Legislature, 1911, p3.

"I pass to a matter of prime importance... in the interest of every citizen. I refer to the measures which should be taken to inform the outside public upon the wonderful resources of Wyoming. Of these, as every man who travels beyond the boundaries of the State knows, the world hears little and believes less." -- Message to the Legislature, 1911, p18.

"I have great faith in the university of the State. It is a State institution, belongs to the people of the State and is intended to afford all of those approaching the adult age an opportunity to receive the benefits of a higher education. Any young or small institution labors under certain difficulties that naturally pass away when the State reaches a condition that it can properly support a larger institution and where more students will seek its benefits. Under the circumstances it is necessarily expensive. I do not believe in extravagance with reference to it as it is not a waste of money that makes great institutions, but a proper expenditure of such reasonable amounts as may be available to cover the requirements. In many respects, the University of Wyoming has reached a high standard, and this in spite of many difficulties. We hope the time will come when all of our people will express their pride and claim the institution as their own." -- Message to the Legislature, 1911, p27.

"It is a sad thing to become a convict. A man who is so unfortunate as to commit a crime and become subject to the penalties of the law is at once ostracized; with the best of intentions it takes years for him to overcome the odium; and yet he is none the less a man, formed after the image of his Maker, and is especially entitled to the consideration of those who have no inclination to violate the law. I believe in uplifting the unfortunate, even the criminal. Criminals must be punished, but in the punishment of them it should ever be kept in view that the convict's condition may be improved that he may repent of that which led to his downfall, and be made a good and useful citizen." -- Message to the Legislature, 1911, p28.

"That which we do today lives after us." -- Message to the Legislature, 1913, p3.

"I have unbounded faith in the country in which I live; in the State which has given me shelter for the most of my life, and such confidence in the American people that I believe, indeed have no doubt, that the nation and the country and the several states composing the same will go on to better things; that their institutions will last; that the spirit which prevails among the American people for the uplifting and betterment of those who are deserving of help, will prevail and will become the ruling sentiment of the American people." -- Message to the Legislature, 1913, p4.

"No other state in the West possesses as great undeveloped wealth as Wyoming. Until its resources are known to the world and their development commenced, the State cannot take its proper place among the great wealth-producing commonwealths of the nation." -- Message to the Legislature, 1913, p10.

"So all together, let us do that which is for the common good, which will redound to the honor of the state, bring people to live within our borders and secure the opening and development of the state." -- Message to the Legislature, 1913, p46.

"The women of Wyoming have not marched with banners behind a brass band, but they have maintained their equanimity and have exercised their rights as American citizens, doing this without the breaking of glass or the inauguration of miniature revolutions - all of which is to their credit." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Miss Harriet Noble, Treasurer of the Women's School League of Indiana, March 23, 1911 (WSA RG 1.18 01.21)

"She is taking her place in every branch of employment without being lowered in the estimation of those who love womanly qualities best, nor has she been lowered in the estimation of men because she has become independent and feels that she has the right, as well as the privilege to make a living for herself. In this way she is certainly being elevated. I was in the territory of Wyoming when the first law was passed. It has been tried out and found to be a good law. Women, in the state of Wyoming, are American citizens, and they are just as reasonable in all things as are men." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Miss Harriet Noble, Treasurer of the Women's School League of Indiana, March 23, 1911 (WSA RG 1.18 01.21)

"I have watched the operation of woman's suffrage in this state for many years. The effect of such a law has been good, and there is no reason why women should not have the right to vote and the right to hold office. I believe it is necessary for her protection, and I believe it is necessary for her best and highest welfare. Every argument used against it has fallen to the ground by actual demonstration in this state. In this state women vote; women hold office; and there is no man in the state who does his duty that would take these rights away from her." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Miss Linda Stokes Adams, March 25, 1912 (WSA RG 1.18 01.21)

"As I have watched woman's suffrage for many years, I have no hesitation in saying that if I had my way, I would give woman's suffrage and the right for women to hold office, to the women of every state in the Union." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Mrs. E.S. Burton, April 11, 1912 (WSA RG 1.18 01.21)

"Our women are suffragists, but not suffragettes, with the word "militant" attached. It causes no comment in this state and never has. Our elections are absolutely quiet and respectable, and since woman's suffrage has been adopted I have never known of a fight or of any disorderly conduct in any precinct in the state. I have never seen men of any class refuse to extend all courtesy to women approaching the polls, at the polls, or in the convention halls." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Mrs. E.S. Burton, April 11, 1912 [emphasis his own] (WSA RG 1.18 01.21)

"I am willing to do anything in my power, that is reasonable, to promote woman's suffrage anywhere and everywhere where the people are intelligent enough to vote. I believe in woman's suffrage." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Mrs. Harriet Staton Blatch, Woman's Suffrage Headquarters, May 3, 1912 (WSA RG 1.18 01.22)

"That woman suffrage has been a benifit in this State I do not think can be denied. Women vote just as intelligently as men and I sometimes think more so. Suffrage has not destroyed one womanly character. It has not broken up homes nor caused unhappiness in homes. It has opened a wide field for the employment of women which was not afforded to them before the law gave them the power to vote and hold office." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Mr. Daniel D. Gibson, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, November 11, 1913 (WSA RG 1.18 01.22)

"If suffrage is a good thing for men, it is a good thing for women." - Gov. J.M. Carey in a letter to Mr. Daniel D. Gibson, Alabama Polytechnic Institute, November 11, 1913 (WSA RG 1.18 01.22)

Additional Resources