Formidable Colorado Pioneer Women
Hid Behind A Pretty Face

Many Colorado pioneer women lived out of their wagons photo courtesy of Time Life Books

Tough and hardy, pioneer women did what was necessary to survive.  They stood by their men or alone and fought Indians, the elements, starvation and toiled endlessly in the fields and at home.

However, hard they fought at home, they continued their fight for schools, churches and bringing law into the wilderness.

Many single women who homesteaded the new territory, took on the responsibility of men, working their own land and acquiring jobs such as mule skinners, hunters and trappers and working cattle ranches.

Lady cattle rancher photo courtesy of Time Life Books

Notable women in the new Colorado territory became famous as wives of miners who struck it rich during the Colorado gold rush of 1859.

Baby Doe Tabor, one of the most famous pioneer women and married to Colorado millionaire Horace Tabor, lived in excess and died in poverty.

The “Unsinkable” Molly Brown and her husband became rich when he struck a huge gold vein west of Denver.  Molly became famous for her part in the greatest maritime disaster in history, when the Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912 and sank.

There were infamous women in Colorado history as well.  Cripple Creek’s Pearl de Vere, was madam of the most elaborate “gentlemens club” in the Pikes Peak region of the gold rush.

Colorado bad girls features three Colorado women were sent to jail for breaking the law and their “mug shots” sent all over the state.

Famous hunter, Martha Maxwell, was known as the “Colorado Huntress” by using unusual methods of bringing down game and displaying her handiwork.

One of the outspoken Colorado women against the treatment of Native Americans was Helen Hunt Jackson.  She traveled the country in an attempt to make people realize the plight of the Indians at the hands of the government.

Pioneer women longed for the opportunity to vote and by the late 1800’s had earned that right in four western states.  Caroline Churchill was one of the founders of the women’s movement in Colorado.

Whatever job the pioneer women took on, whether female outlaws or pillars of the community, they followed through and became even greater assets to the establishment of Colorado as a state than men.

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