WYOMING \u2013 How Wyoming is this little courtroom story?\r\n\r\nFirst, a little background. So many diverse people make up the history of this state. Even before it was a state.\r\n\r\nTake Jacob Beeson Blair. He was born April 11, 1821 in Parkersberg, West Virginia. He became a lawyer, then a prosecuting attorney, then a state legislator, and finally a Congressman. He was also a minister to Costa Rica from 1868-1872.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nBlair was instrumental in petitioning for West Virginia to be admitted to the Union in 1863. He had President Lincoln\u2019s confidence and ear.\r\n\r\nWith his work seemingly done back east, Blair headed west for what was then Wyoming Territory. \u201cWyoming\u201d back then was a complicated place to define, falling under different jurisdictions and relationships. Because of the state\u2019s geographic location, portions of it were involved in the Louisiana Purchase, Oregon Country, and Mexican Cession.\r\n\r\nOften the \u201cstate\u201d was lumped into Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Dakotas, Nebraska, and Utah. In 1872, Wyoming Territory had five counties\u2014Albany, Carbon, Laramie, Sweetwater, and Uinta.\r\n\r\nOn February 14, 1876, President Grant appointed a relocating Judge Blair as associate justice of the\u00a0Wyoming Supreme Court. Blair moved to Laramie during this time, right up until his resignation on April 23, 1888 when the Cleveland Administration took over. Blair then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where he served as a probate judge and surveyor general. Blair died in Salt Lake on February 12, 1901.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAccording to his obituary in the Parkersburg Daily State Journal\u00a0on February 13, 1901: \u201cHe had been ill for several days with the grip, but was not thought to be in any danger. The disease, however, affected his heart, and he expired suddenly yesterday. His remains will be buried at Salt Lake City, as that was his own request.\u201d\r\n\r\nAll that background was more than enough to get to know the man that uttered one of the more colorful and humorous lines in the history of the Wyoming courtroom.\r\n\r\nSometime in the early 1880s, while serving as district court judge as Supreme Court justices did during those days when the high court was not in session, Blair was presiding over a murder case.\r\n\r\nIt was possible it was the trial of George Cooke, whom Blair sentenced to hang for the shooting of a man on Thanksgiving Day 1883. In fact, that case was appealed to the Supreme Court (with Blair himself hearing the appeal with two other justices) for a year until the decision of the lower court was upheld and Cooke hung a year later on December 12, 1884.\r\n\r\nAnyway, we are off-topic again.\r\n\r\nJudge Blair was presiding over some murder case when a gunsmith was called to the witness stand to give expert testimony on the murder weapon. The man sat on the stand holding the defendant\u2019s revolver when the judge leaned over to that side to spit a mouthful of tobacco into a spittoon on the floor. When he did, he noticed the gun was pointed right at him.\r\n\r\n\u201cMr. Witness, is that gun loaded?\u201d Blair asked.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhy, yes, your honor, it is,\u201d the gunsmith\/witness replied.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019ll ask you then to kindly point it toward the lawyers. Good judges are scarce.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe courtroom account should have become an instant classic. It was retold from memory in 1931 by pioneer lawyer AC Campbell, who never forgot it, as he gave an interview published in Annals of Wyoming in 1947.\r\n\r\nCampbell, incidentally, was a Cheyenne lawyer instrumental in getting Wyoming statehood including Women\u2019s Suffrage, which he was very much for.