SWEETWATER COUNTY — March is Women’s History Month, and in observance the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River is presenting a series of profiles throughout the month from Sweetwater Women, by Christine Alethea Williams and Brigida R. Blasi.
Sweetwater Women, which covers the lives of over 100 women who figure prominently in Sweetwater County history, is available in paperback at the Sweetwater County Museum bookstore and from Amazon.
Elizabeth Frances “Bess” Beane Crouch – Civil Rights Pioneer
“Elizabeth Frances Beane was born in Platte City, Missouri in 1902. Valedictorian of her graduating class in St. Joseph, she arrived in Wyoming in 1926. She married Hugh Crouch that same year, and they lived in one of the approximately 100 houses at the mining camp of Dines, where Hugh worked for Colony Coal Company.
“Times were tough in their early years at Dines. Most families were in the same boat and they shared a lot. If someone got something hunting or fishing, then they shared. The Crouches liked to play cards and go to the show when they could.
“When the family moved west of Green River, they found the town to be not as friendly as Dines. There was a cafe on the main street in Green River that had a sign stating ‘No Colored Trade Solicited.’ Also the Isis Theater had two rows in the back on the right side for black people to sit.
“In her oral history, Elizabeth says people were dumbfounded when she refused to comply, and nothing further was done to enforce the segregated seating. Elizabeth was active in the Women’s Auxiliary of the VFW for many years. The Crouches kept a list in their photo album of ‘Good Samaritans (those who have helped us along the way).’ She died in 1998 and is buried in Green River.”