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Francis E. Warren: A Featured Biography

Francis E. Warren (R-WY)

Francis E. Warren of Wyoming served nearly four decades in the Senate. Born in Massachusetts in 1844, Warren served in the Union army during the Civil War, earning a Congressional Medal of Honor, then settled in the territorial boom town of Cheyenne. Over the next two decades, he became a powerful baron of Wyoming’s cattle and sheep industry. He also purchased substantial interests in the Cheyenne and Northern Railroad and the Brush-Swan Electric Company, while pursuing a political career as mayor of Cheyenne, as territorial governor, and as Wyoming’s first state governor in 1890. That same year, the state legislature sent him to the U.S. Senate. Warren’s personal and financial interests were inextricably linked with those of Wyoming, and he championed policies vital to state development, particularly land reclamation and irrigation projects. He chaired a number of committees, including the powerful Appropriations Committee, which he controlled for a dozen years between 1911 and 1929. Warren also left his mark by hiring one of the first women to lead a committee staff, Leona Wells, and he appointed an African American, Robert Ogle, to serve as a committee clerk, among the first to reach that professional status in the Senate. When Warren died in office in 1929, he held the distinction of being the first senator to surpass 36 years of service. He was also the last Union soldier to serve in the Senate.

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