From Bookkeeper to Political Power
At age 18, Fenimore Chatterton arrived in Wyoming on September 12, 1878 to begin a lifelong career of service to Wyoming.
The young Fenimore came west on the Union Pacific to Fort Steele for a bookkeeping job at the J.W, Hugus Trading Post. His first job was to unload a railroad car loaded with coal into wagons with a shovel. He continued on making sales to the local cowboys, prospectors, and patrons who would travel hundreds of miles with furs, hides, and ranch products to barter for canned tomatoes, dried apples, kerosene, chewing tobacco and whiskey available only at stores like Hugus located near the rails across the southern part of Wyoming's five counties. In five years he would buy the business and in another three have it paid for. Over the years Fort Steele would close, and Fenimore would survey in other towns, he would look at business options in California and Utah, and always come back to Wyoming. He worked with the railroad to create a line to Denver from Fort Steele. The line failed but he surveyed in, and named the town of Saratoga after the health spas in New York. In 1891 he was admitted to Wyoming's Bar, earned a 4 year law degree in one year from Michigan and from there the Republicans recruited for Treasurer and Probate Judge for Carbon County. During a short election campaign he collected nearly $200,000 of delinquent taxes, won the election, and began his political career.
In 1898 he became Secretary of State when DeForest Richards was Governor, and in April 1903 became Governor with Richards death. He was a strong state rights advocate, fought the Forest Service for the small rancher and helped in the establishment of rail and irrigation services in Fremont County and Riverton. His failure to curry special interests and corporations lost him his second term. He and his wife Stella retired to Arvada, CO. He died at the age of 97 in 1957, and is buried in Cheyenne.