Wyoming’s Fiercest Political Rivalry: Frances Warren vs. Joseph Carey
Frances E. Warren and Joseph Carey are widely regarded among the most influential men in Wyoming history. Although they both played a pivotal role in the establishment and government of the Cowboy State, they were bitter rivals with a profound dislike for each other.
In 1867, Carey was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant as the U.S. District Attorney for Wyoming. The following year, Warren came to Cheyenne and quickly earned his fortune in real estate and livestock.
Both became prominent figures in local politics. In 1881, Carey was elected as Mayor of Cheyenne. In 1885, Warren replaced Carey as Mayor. Carey and Warren were active members of the Republican Party and instrumental in Wyoming's campaign for statehood.
In 1885, Warren was appointed by President Chester Arthur as Wyoming's Territorial Governor. Meanwhile, Carey acted as the territory's Congressional Representative.
After Warren was removed from office by Democratic President Grover Cleveland in 1886, he was reinstated by Republican President Benjamin Harrison in 1889.
When Wyoming was officially granted statehood in 1890, Carey and then-Governor Warren were elected to be our first United States Senators.
After losing his bid for re-election in 1893, Warren set his sights on Carey's seat. In 1895, Warren narrowly defeated Carey and went on to serve in the Senate for over 30 years.
What began as a rivalry for influence and power eventually turned into a bitter feud. When a Warren-led faction within the party helped to deny him the Republican nomination for Governor in 1910, Carey defected to the Democratic Party and won.
Following his election, Carey formed a new Progressive Party with seven other Governors which helped bolster Theodore Roosevelt's re-election as President in 1912.
After serving one term as Governor, Carey remained active in local politics until his death in 1924, at the age of 79. His son, Robert D. Carey, would follow in his footsteps, eventually being elected as Governor and a United States Senator.
Warren passed away in 1929, while still in office, at the age of 85. At the time of his death, he was the longest serving Senator in United States history.
While their rivalry is now a little-known footnote, the legacy of both Warren and Carey is alive and well.
In 1930, Fort Russell in Cheyenne was officially renamed in honor of Warren. It is now known as F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Meanwhile, Carey Avenue, which was once called "Millionaire's Row", remains one of the most prestigious streets in Cheyenne, as does Pershing Avenue, which was named for Warren's son-in-law, General Jack Pershing.