Saturday, December 17, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — Wyoming

Women's suffrage, a political scandal, and a world-famous national park. Who knew Wyoming would be such a great state to explore for its tea history!

Esther Hobart Morris

• Did a tea party help give women the right to vote? Wyoming was the first US state that granted women the right to vote, and Wyoming’s Esther Hobart Morris is believed by some to have helped bring this to pass. One story has it that in 1869, two candidates for the legislature were attending a tea party at the home of Mrs. Morris, and after tea was served, she asked that whoever was elected introduce a woman’s suffrage bill. Later accounts dispute that story, but there is no disputing that Mrs. Morris was quite active in the suffrage movement. In fact, soon after the bill became law, Mrs. Morris was appointed the first female justice of the peace in this country. (And I still think it likely that tea may have played a role in all this!)

One of Wyoming's famous rock formations, the Teapot Rock in Natrona County, Wyoming, became the symbol of a bribery scandal, popularly known as the Teapot Dome Scandal, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. All I really knew about this was that Wyoming had a famous rock formation in the shape of a teapot, and I gathered that "Teapot Dome" was once spoken in the manner in which we say "Watergate" today. Here's the Wikipedia version of the scandal: "Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall had leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and two other locations in California to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies and became the first Cabinet member to go to prison. No person was ever convicted of paying a bribe, however." (I have to wonder how someone could be convicted of accepting a bribe yet no one convicted of paying a bribe.) Numerous books have been written about Teapot Dome, and I probably need to read one or two.

From the New York Public Library's digital archives comes this stereoscopic image of The 'Tea Kettle,' boiling hot from Mother Earth’s hidden fires, Yellowstone Park, U.S.A." in Wyoming. The image is believed to date from around 1901-1904. You can click here to see an image of Teakettle Spring that's a bit more modern in appearance.

And that, my friends, wraps up our exploration of tea in the good old US of A this year! Next week: the pop quiz. Will you be ready?


  1. I have enjoyed you tea review in every state this year. Thanks so much!

  2. This was a fun and informative Saturday series. Thanks, Angela!

  3. I enjoyed this year of Saturdays. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love history and have really enjoyed these posts. Thank you!

  5. I may not pass the quiz but I have certainly enjoyed reading tea facts about all the states this year.


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