Historical Cowgirls - Whole History, 1900s

Historical Cowgirls

Historical Cowgirls

Long before the term "cowgirl" was coined, women were already heading westward. Beginning in the 1840s, many traveled alongside their families in covered wagons.

They departed from crowded cities in the east to establish new homes in western states such as Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Some wagon trains ventured further west to California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington.

Following the Civil War, there was a surge of people seeking fresh starts in the West. Over nearly three decades, from the 1840s to the late 1860s, this period marked the largest migration in the nation's history.

Under the Homestead Act of 1860, both men and women over twenty-one and unmarried could claim 160 acres of land in the West.

Initially outnumbered by men, pioneer women numbered 172,000 by 1870, compared to 385,000 men. Unlike their counterparts back east who adhered to traditional societal norms, pioneer women had to adapt swiftly to the rugged conditions of their journey and new environment.

Historical Cowgirls

‘A True Girl of the West’, Del Rio, Texas, 1906.

Fox Hastings, a cowgirl and trick rider, being thrown by Undertow, one of the meanest horses at the first annual Los Angeles Rodeo, circa 1920s.

Sadie Austin in Cherry County, Nebraska, in 1900.

Historical Cowgirls

Cowgirl Kathleen Hudson, a member of the Junior Riding and Roping Club of Tulsa Mounted Troops, rounding up Herefords on the Oklahoma range in 1948.

Historical Cowgirls

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