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Cowley, Wyoming
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 52.997 W 108° 28.136
12T E 699891 N 4973101
Quick Description: The Town of Cowley shares this building with the Cowley Pioneer Museum, using half of it for their Administration building, AKA Town Hall. It is located at the corner of Main Street and S. Division Street.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 4/8/2019 9:20:01 PM
Waymark Code: WM10BPG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 1

Long Description:
PIC The Person:
Cowley was named for Matthias Foss Cowley, (1858-1940), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1897 to 1905. Born August 25, 1858 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, Cowley was ordained an apostle of the Mormon church on October 7, 1897. A polygamist, he began to run afoul of the church when it prohibited the contracting of new plural marriages in 1890. Leading the colonists which settled the towns of Cowley, Lovell and Byron, in Wyoming, Cowley, due to his polygamy, resigned from the Quorum of the Twelve October on 28, 1905. He remained a priest of the church until 1911, his priesthood being suspended by the church on May 11 of that year.

While Cowley broke all ties with the polygamous dissenters in the 1920s, his priesthood was not restored until April 3, 1936, nearly 25 years after it had been suspended. Through his life he served various missions in the U.S. and at the age of seventy-eight served a mission for the Church in Europe. He died in his home in Salt Lake City on June 16, 1940, being buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

His son Samuel P. Cowley, an FBI agent, had the dubious and unfortunate distinction of being killed by Lester "Baby Face Nelson" Gillis in 1934.

The Place:
The Cowley Administration building is inside the former Big Horn LDS Stake Office and Tithing Building built in 1909. The building is shared with the Cowley Pioneer Museum. Cowley's population presently hovers around the 700 mark.

The Mormons were the most significant factor in establishing the town of Cowley. They also provided the inspiration and the labour force which created the Sidon Canal. It was the Sidon Canal which supplied the irrigation water from the Shoshone River, making agriculture in this otherwise very dry area possible and, by extension, settlement of the area.

LDS Church leaders, with the encouragement of Wyoming government leaders, created an official church-sponsored colonization project known as the Big Horn Basin Colonization Company.

The accompanying museum documents the development of the Big Horn Basin Colonization Company, the building of the Sidon Canal and the development of Cowley and the surrounding basin area.

Cowley recently finished renovating a 1910 Frontier stone building for use as its town hall and historical center. Established by Mormon emigrants, cowley has a population of 500, and the bucolic setting welcomes visitors to the Museum where items of local historical interest are displayed. The community celebrates and has been celebrating the pioneer history the third week in July annually since 1907.
From Ultimate Wyoming
Cowley History
The town of Cowley was settled by a group of Mormon pioneers called to settle Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. The town was named in honor of Matthias F. Cowley, their founder, one of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. In February 1900, a group of explorers were sent by the Church, to find a suitable location for a colony in Northern Wyoming. The group met with William F. Cody, who had a permit from the state of Wyoming to build an irrigation canal. The first company of pioneers arrived in the area on May 2, 1900, and began the construction of the Sidon Canal to bring water to the town from the Shoshone River. The canal was over 30 miles long and was not completed until 1904.

By winter 1900, there were approximately 18 log houses built in the area. Those original homes were built by Robert Baird, John Black, John Burke, Hyrum Cook, John Dickson, Robert Fraser, William Graham, David Lewis, Gilbert Marchant, Alfred Nebeker, William Partridge, William Simmons, George Taggart, Henry Tucker, Franklin Turnbow, Lemuel Willis, W. W. Willis and George Harston.

The first school was opened in a log house in January 1901, and the first teacher was Eliza R. Black. There were about 24-30 students. On September 26, 1910, the Big Horn Academy was opened in Cowley, as the first High School. The first class to graduate from the Big Horn Academy was the class of 1912, consisting of 13 students. The first four-year graduating class was in 1915.

A new stone building was erected to house the Big Horn Academy in 1916 (pictured above). In 1925, the name was changed to the Cowley High School. The school's mascot was the Jaguars. The Cowley High School remained in the Big Horn Academy building until 1983. Due to the declining enrollment, the school in Cowley was closed in 1983.

Beginning in 1984, the town's students began attending the consolidated Rocky Mountain High School in Byron, Wyoming, with students from Byron, Deaver and Frannie. For the 2010-2011 school year, the Rocky Mountain High School was moved to Cowley, with the completion of a new high school in Cowley.
From the Town of Cowley

Photo goes Here

Year it was dedicated: 1900

Location of Coordinates: City Hall

Related Web address (if available): [Web Link]

Type of place/structure you are waymarking: Town

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