As many already know, February is also known as Black History Month. I can't think of a better way to celebrate with the highlighting of our black men and women in Wyoming.

William Jefferson Hardin was a jack of many trades, to include a Wyoming Legislator. Born in Russellville, Kentucky, he also was an orator, prospector, barber and known bigamist.

He was also the very first black Republican Legislator to serve in the state of Wyoming, during the Wyoming Territorial Legislature, first in 1879 and then again in 1882.

He was also a soldier in the Union Army, during the Civil War, in the state of Louisiana, and, at the Republican Convention, represented the state of Colorado. After that, he made his home in Cheyenne, Wyo. and opened a barber shop.

He was nominated for a seat on the Laramie County Republicans; however, he was low on the ballot and made the choice not to run. That decision did not go well with the delegates and he was elected, against his will, in November.

His mother was a free black woman, with one white parent, and his father was white. One of the bills he brought up in the Wyoming Legislature, was to make it illegal to have a barber shop open on Sundays, which wasn't real popular. He also wrote up a bill to legalize interracial marriages, which was made illegal in 1869.

Two bills he introduced to the legislature that did become law were to protect poultry and dairymen.

Hardin's life ended tragically when he shot himself in the heart, in Park City, Utah on Friday, the 13th of September in the year 1889.

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