The name Wyoming was originally applied to a valley in northwestern Pennsylvania. It is from the Delaware m’cheuwómink, meaning large meadow or prairie.1 The name was made famous by Thomas Campbell’s 1809 narrative poem Gertrude of Wyoming, which described an Indian attack in the Pennsylvania valley. As a result, several places were given the name Wyoming.
Representative James M. Ashley of Ohio suggested the name in 1868 when the Wyoming Territory was formed. It was admitted to the union in 1890.2
1Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, edited by Philip Babcock Gove (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993), 2643;
2Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names, edited by Kelsie B. Harder (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976), 617.
Copyright 1997-2016, by David Wilton