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REPORT

OF

THE GOVERNOR OF WYOMING.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Cheyenne, Wyo., September 19, 1888.

SIR: In compliance with Department instructions of July 14, I have the honor to submit the following report touching the affairs of Wyoming Territory, as enumerated in said letter of instructions, with such additional suggestions as commend themselves to my judgment.

The report of 1887 was full and complete, and it will not be necessary at this time to enlarge upon topics thoroughly understood by the Department.

CHANGING CONDITION.

In the past, Wyoming has been treated as a cattle country only, both by a majority of her citizens and those outside who desired that it should be so, and cattle raising was very profitable. While there was a heavy expense attached to the business by reason of the lordly, magnificent manner in which it was conducted by the large foreign corporations, patterned after by the smaller companies and even private individuals who were forced into the extravagant system, still it was more than ordinarily remunerative, and was eagerly sought after by men of means and those of a trading, speculative turn of mind, looking only to dollars and cents, and caring nothing for Wyoming.

The result was an overdoing of the business-more cattle in the Territory than the natural production of grass would support; hence cattle were in a very impoverished condition, and fell ready victims to the storms and blizzards of the winter of 1886 and 1887. This was the turning point in the history of Wyoming. Fortunes were swept away with the northerly blasts, and, to crown the evil, the price of cattle was never so low as in 1887. Small shipments, low prices, and the story is told. The number of range cattle being reduced, the grasses now have a chance to grow up again; and in my traveling over the Territory this summer I had the pleasure of seeing all the animals in splendid condition, except in a few localities where the ranges are still overstocked.

Many of the largest cattle companies are now closing up the business and giving place to the smaller holdings, where men will only handle as many cattle as they can care for, by feeding the young and weakly ones during the winter. The following, from my report of 1887, is now being

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understood and properly appreciated, and as it briefly describes the changes going on, and likely to be continued on a large scale, I again submit it for the information of all concerned:

That the greater portion of Wyoming is better adapted for pasturing than farming I will frankly admit; but all along the water-courses, great and small, in many places without irrigation and in every place where water can be secured for irrigating purposes, high land or low land, the soil is wonderfully productive and the quality is of the very first grade. A great change has taken place in public sentiment within the past year on this subject.

Farmers are wanted to-day, and the people of Wyoming are with one accord extending to them invitations to come and secure homes. The bars are down; the land is open; and where it is not open, those holding it are willing and anxious to sell, and will afford every facility for purchasing at a low price and on long time.

The opportunities in Wyoming for combining farming with stock-raising, so as to be far more profitable and reliable than in any of the old States, taken as a whole, is an admitted fact by all who have any knowledge of the premises. In the first place, the producing power of an acre, somehow or other, is almost twofold greater, and fewer acres need, therefore, to be cultivated. This is very important where labor and living are high. The quality of the productions is of the first grade, being fully matured, rich, and nutritious. The short upland grasses are acknowledged to be among the best in the world for producing bone, sinew, and flesh, as well as wool. The grasses on the low or meadow lands, along the creeks, streams, and rivers, when cut for hay, is by far the best feed of the kind I have ever seen. Animals fed on this natural hay will pass through the winter in flesh and in fine health. Strong, healthy animals, having only their own lives to provide for, will pass through the winter without any care or feeding, upon the short upland grasses so valuable for range

purposes.

The prices paid to farmers for grains and vegetables are very important items, and throughout Wyoming the prices paid for oats are from double to treble and even quadruple that paid the farmers on the Missouri River. The price paid for wheat is from a quarter to a half greater, hay double the value; potatoes about the same, that is, at least $1 per bushel. Cabbages, turnips, parsnips, beets, and all other kinds of vegetables command enriching prices for the producers.

There is room for two distinctive classes of farmers in Wyoming, and the one will not stand in the way of the other. First, the farmer who will devote his whole time to the cultivation of the soil, and make his living and profit from the sale of his productions, keeping only animals enough to do his work and supply the dairy and beef barrel. Second, the farmer or ranchman who looks to his herds for his profits, and this class will largely outnumber those who look to their soil productions for their profits, because the country everywhere is well adapted for combining farming with stock-raising, while the land suitable for the continuous raising of crops is more limited and more valuable. The ranchman secures a pre-emption of 160 acres, a homestead of 160, a timber claim of 160, and a desert entry of 640 acres, making in all 1,120 acres; this will extend along one or both sides of a creek or stream about, say, 3 miles. He selects his position so as to have the land back of him on both sides, if possible (and it is generally possible), rough, broken, hilly, and unfit for cultivating purposes, on which his stock of cattle or horses will graze in summer and many of them in winter. This is called his range. The ranch produces the crops desired for feed for his animals and for the support of his family and men employed. All is consumed upon the ranch and the profits come from the sales of the animals. It may cost one-fourth as much per acre to make the necessary and lawful improvements, which includes a system of irrigation, as the same land could be bought for in Iowa, Missouri, or Kansas, but in those States, as a rule, the stock range and farming would be confined to the purchase of 1,120 acres, and this would be the limit of the owner's opportunities.

This amount of land would support just so many cattle and no more. In Wyoming the 1,120 acres would be used for cultivation, producing hay, pasturing choice animals in the summer and weakly animals in the winter, while the herds of stock would roam over the thousands of acres of land, the public domain, unfit for any other purpose, and upon which no taxes would have to be paid and no expenditures made. It will be understood that the 1,120 acres is only for home ranch purposes and the world outside, of Government land, is the common pasture field for all. This to the farmer and stock-raiser is a very positive advantage over the older settlements, and over any country where the land is nearly all susceptible of cultivation. It must also be remembered that in taking up this land a long time was allowed to pay the Government price, and nearly all the improvements which cost money, if hired to be done, can be made in time by the settler with little, if any, cost, while his bunch of cattle is increasing yearly and fed upon the public domain without any cost.

POPULATION.

There is nothing reliable to be said under this heading, as there has been no census since 1880. I am inclined to the belief that my estimate of last year, 85,000, is still near the mark, as many have been going and coming. The gains are principally among the farming and actual landseeking and settling population; while the losses are confined to the "cowboys" on the rauches, with some changes in the cities.

TAXABLE PROPERTY.

The financial standing of Wyoming, as judged from her premiums received on sale of bonds for public improvements, ranks very high, and this may largely be attributed to the wisdom of Congress in prescribing a limit to Territorial indebtedness. I am safe in saying that but for the Territorial limit the finances of the Territory would not command the same confidence and respect as at the present time. The entire public debt of the Territory is as follows:

The legislature of 1886 authorized the issuance of $230,000 in bonds, payable in fifteen to thirty five years, bearing an annual interest of 6 per cent., and were eagerly purchased at an average premium of 5 cents on the dollar. The bonds were issued from time to time as the money was needed to carry on the work, and all were issued and the money expended prior to the meeting of the next legislative assembly, January 10, 1888.

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The tenth legislative assembly, of 1888, authorized the issuance of the following bonds, payable in forty years, and bearing an annual interest of 6 per cent. They have been sold at an average premium of 12 cents on the dollar :

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Total bonded indebtedness, $320,000, being 1 per cent. of the entire assessed valuation of $32,000,000, and the full limit allowed by law, based upon the assessment rolls of last year as provided by the act of the legislature.

The assessed valuation of 1887 exceeds the assessed valuation of 1888, as the following detailed statement will show; leaving the issue of bonds in excess of 1 per cent. of the present valuation, and so beyond the limit as provided by Congress. This I apprehend will only be temporary, as with the increase of population and the higher prices now being paid for cattle values will increase, and particularly in realty.

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Abstract of the assessment rolls of counties of Wyoming Territory for the year 18-8, as returned by the assessors and collected by the boards of equalizatition of said counties.

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Carriages and vehicles of every description..

Total amount of all personal or other property not herein enumerated,
belonging to corporations or companies.

Gross amount of all other property returned, not herein enumerated.
Amount of premiums of any and all insurance companies...

Private libraries

Moneys and credits......

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