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George Washington Thornton Beck (26 June 1856 – 1 December 1943) was a politician and business entrepreneur in the U.S. state of Wyoming.[1]


Beck was born on 26 June 1856 in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Jane Augusta Washington Thornton and James Burnie Beck, a congressman and US senator from Kentucky.

Beck, Horace C. Alger, and later investors, including William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, George Bliestein, Bronson Rumsey, and Nate Salsbury founded the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company to build a canal and irrigate land in the Big Horn Basin. The partners claimed land under the Carey Act project, hoping to bring in settlers and profit by selling water rights. The investors utilized the celebrity of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, naming the town they founded Cody, Wyoming as well as the canal, after him.[2]

As the most directly involved in the day-to-day operations, Beck lived in Cody and guided the town in its infancy. Along with other business leaders, Beck was vital in founding The Cody Club, which would become The Cody Country Chamber of Commerce. There is a street named in his honor in Cody.

As a politician, Beck was elected to the territorial Senate and the Wyoming State Senate as a Democrat, and was that party's nominee for governor in 1914. As an entrepreneur he built an early flour mill in the state, an electric light plant, and developed mineral and oil properties, in addition to the irrigation, land and tourism project with Cody.

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