Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today In Wyoming's History: February 26, 1917 John B. Kendrick resigns Governorship to become Senator, Frank Houx replaces him.

Today In Wyoming's History: February 26: 1917   Governor John B. Kendrick resigned to enter the United States Senate. Attribution:  On This Day.

Kendrick was a true Western character and stands apart on those regards from many of Wyoming's early politicians.  He was a Texan who had left school after 7th grade to become a cowboy and arrived in Wyoming with a heard of cattle in 1879.  Having come up on a trail drive he stayed on in Wyoming and became a ranch foreman.  Marrying his employer's daughter, he invested in a series of ranches and did well enough to ultimately invest in a bank as well.

In 1909 he became president of the very powerful Wyoming Stock Growers Association and entered the legislature the following year as a Democrat.  That party affiliation likely disadvantaged him when he ran for the Senate in 1913 but that did not hurt him when the Progressive wave began to sweep that party and he became Governor in 1915.  In a move you could not do now, he ran for Senate the following year and won, and hence his resignation on this date.  He occupied that position until his death in 1933.  He was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in the 1950s, a honor he no doubt deserved.

1917  Secretary of State Frank L. Houx became the acting governor.  He would fill out Gov. Kendrick's term and serve until 1919. .Attribution:  On This Day.

Houx was a businessman with mixed interests who was from Missouri but whom had relocated to  Cody Wyoming in 1895.  He entered politics from there and was elected Secretary of State, as a Democrat, in 1910.  He was serving in that position when Governor Kendrick resigned which, under Wyoming's constitution, made him the Governor at that point.  He ran for office in his own right in 1918 but lost to Robert D. Carey, the son of Joseph Carey.

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