Born to a rancher in Cherokee County, Texas, JOHN BENJAMIN KENDRICK left school after the 7th grade. He began to trail herds of cattle from Texas to Wyoming in 1879 and bought and expanded his own herd over the next two decades, establishing his home in Sheridan. He was elected President of the Wyoming Stock Growers in 1909 and entered the Wyoming Legislature in 1910. After being elected governor, he established a Public Service Commission, as well as state surveys to determine irrigation and reclamation sites. Along with the state legislature, he protested President Woodrow Wilson' withdrawal of public lands containing mineral rights and the withdrawal of power sites to control water sources. Also noteworthy was his support of social reforms including the establishment of a widows' pension, child labor protections, and workers compensation. In 1916, he defeated a sitting U.S. Senator and left the governorship to assume his Senate seat, a position in which he was given credit for the initial investigations of the Teapot Dome scandal and the introduction of the legislation that created Grand Teton National Park. He received an honorary law degree from the University of Wyoming in 1932.

Sources:

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 25. New York: James T. White & Company.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Wyoming State Archives