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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T ULETT V W X Y Z

Wyoming

Wyoming is about as Western as it gets. The name brings with it visions of ranchers, herds of cattle and cowboys. All that is true, but the name itself comes from Pennsylvania. It’s the name of a river valley in northeastern Pennsylvania, a name that dates back to the middle 1700s. The name is from an Indian language, but it is not clear if it is from Munsee, Delaware or some other tribal people.The Wyoming Valley was important in industrialization because of deposits of anthracite coal. It’s better known these days as the Scranton/ Wilkes Barre urban area. In Colonial times, the area was claimed by Connecticut, and a good many Connecticut Yankees tried settling there, but wars got in the way. In 1778, several hundred American settlers were massacred there by British forces and their Indian allies. The troubles were memorialized in bad poetry, an 1809 poem, “Gertrude of Wyoming” by the British poet Thomas Campbell. When in 1865 a name was needed for a large chunk of Western territory, a Congressman from Ohio, James Ashley, proposed the name “Wyoming.” It is not known why Ashley chose the name. Somehow the name stuck and the area was organized as “Wyoming Territory,” later to become a state.