Rebels fighting for their freedom created our country, so it’s not surprising that that spirit has bubbled up over the decades on a smaller scale. From coast to coast and for a wide variety of reasons, factions of citizens have proposed seceding from their parent states. Obviously they didn’t get their way, or the United States would include more than 50 members today. But some came close, drafting constitutions, electing governors, and dreaming up names. Although they’ve mostly been forgotten to history, the stories of these eight states that almost were are still fascinating.
In 1939, the old boys of the Sheridan Rotary Club rallied around A. R. Swickard, a former professional baseball player, with a plan to stand up for the grassland ranches of northern Wyoming and western South Dakota by declaring for themselves a newstate (to which southern Montana was later added). They called their proposed new home Absaroka, derived from the Crow word Apsáalooke, which means “children of the large-beaked bird.”
Already smarting from Dust Bowl devastation and perceived indifference from state legislatures, the area was newly disaffected by its minuscule cut of New Deal aid. With winking sincerity, Swickard proclaimed himself governor and oversaw a Miss Absaroka beauty contest. Novelty license plates were created, and after the king of Norway toured the area, dubious claims were made of official recognition.Today, the namesake Absaroka State Takeover, a rockabilly car show complete with pinup girls and hot