Pioneering western sheepman, the first Governor of Wyoming and one of two first U.S. Senators from Wyoming.
1844-1929| Artist: Benjamin S. Kanne (1897-1952)
Impact & Accomplishments
Francis Emroy Warren was born on a dairy farm in Hinsdale, Massachusetts, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for Civil War battlefield gallantry at age nineteen, while serving in the 49th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
After the war, he took a job as a farm foreman, and when the new rails of the Union Pacific reached Cheyenne, Wyoming, he headed West. There, the pioneering sheepman established Warren Livestock Company.
Although he always maintained his livestock pursuits, Francis E. Warren was destined for political leadership. He became a member of the Wyoming territorial senate and the Cheyenne city council, and then was mayor of Cheyenne and territorial treasurer. In 1885, he was appointed Territorial Governor, helping to lead Wyoming toward statehood. When Wyoming became the forty-fourth state in 1890, Francis Warren was elected its first governor. He resigned one year later, to become one of the state’s first two U. S. Senators.
Senator Warren supported protective tariffs for woolgrowers and reclamation of arid western lands. He served as chairman of several committees including Appropriations, Agriculture and Forestry, Military Affairs, and Irrigation and Reclamation of Arid Lands. Warren supported women’s suffrage and was the first senator to hire a female staffer.
When he died in 1929, he was the longest-serving member of the U. S. Senate, with thirty-eight years of service. F. E. Warren Air Force Base and Mt. Warren—the highest summit in the Wind River mountain range—are named in his honor.
Did You Know?
Warren remained active until his final days in the Senate, and often amazed younger colleagues with his stamina. Wyoming's U.S. Rep. Teno Roncalio, a Democrat, described the senator in a profile he wrote for the state's 75th anniversary in 1965:
"There was not a wrinkle in his face. His snowy white hair, the big bristling white mustache, the bowlegs that came from a life in the saddle, the springy step, made him a prominent figure signifying the strength of the frontiersman. To his last day in the Senate it was his habit to walk up the steps, sometimes almost taking them on the run, to the Senate floor."
Warren, left, and three subsequent Wyoming governors on the steps of the state Capitol, 1925: Nellie Tayloe Ross, Robert Carey--son of Warren's enemy Joseph Carey--and John B. Kendrick, in a photo taken at the time of Ross's inauguration. Photo courtesy of Wyoming State Archives.
Francis E. Warren Air Force Base is located approximately 3 miles west of Cheyenne, Wyoming. It is one of three strategic-missile bases in the U.S. It was named in honor of Francis E. Warren in 1930. Photo credit F.E. Warren AFB.