Friday, March 29, 2013

Kittie Wilkins - a historical account

IDAHO's own, Kittie Wilkins, known as the Horse Queen of Idaho, was perhaps the most famous western woman in the country at the turn of the twentieth century. The Wilkins Horse Company owned close to ten thousand horses in Owyhee County, Idaho, the largest herd owned by one family in the West, and its boss, Kittie, was the only woman at the time whose sole occupation was selling horses. Newspaper reporters all over the country were fascinated by her success and her character, and reports, features, and interviews with her were published in thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand.
Today, Wilkins is virtually unknown outside of Owyhee County. Even her gravestone is wrong, naming her “Kitty Wilkins” instead of “Kittie.” Philip Homan, a catalog librarian and associate professor at Idaho State University, is attempting to save Wilkins from obscurity. He is writing the first scholarly biography of her life and gives presentations about her for the Idaho Humanities Council’s speakers bureau program. For Homan, Wilkins’s story is essential to the history of the American West: “To Americans, she was the very model of the westerner, and her story epitomized the West.”
Wilkins was born into the horse-dealing business. Her family began building its enormous herd when she was a little girl in the 1860s. In the 1880s, she began accompanying her father on his business trips to the Midwest, and he soon discovered that she was a natural at horse trading. When she was older, Wilkins was fond of telling the story of how she got her start: When she was two years old, she received a gift of two twenty-dollar gold pieces to be invested for her. Her father took her forty dollars and used it to make a deal on what should have been an eighty-dollar horse. As Wilkins told the San Francisco Examiner, “From the increase, all my bands have come.”
Rather than hiring a commission agent, she sold her horses herself. She traveled to the Midwest and, without a chaperone, attended the livestock markets. “Often I am the only woman in a crowd of two hundred or more horse dealers,” she told the Boston Advertiser. “Sometimes people come out to the stockyards to see in me a new curiosity, and there are a few who try to flirt or make sport of me. I just walk up to a group of such men and, looking them squarely in the face, say, ‘Do you gentlemen wish to look at my horses?’”
Wilkins made the biggest horse sale in the American West in 1900, when she sold about eight thousand horses to a single buyer in Kansas, who was supplying horses to the British Army for the Boer War. Homan points out that Wilkins sold about 10 percent of the American horses that went to South Africa, making her probably the largest supplier of horses in the war.
The later years of Wilkins’s life were marked by tragedy. In 1909, her foreman, who was most likely her fiancé, was shot and killed in a range war over water. Later that year, gold was discovered in Jarbidge Canyon of northeastern Nevada, setting off the last gold rush in the West. In the first few years, the only way to Jarbidge Canyon was over the elevated plateau known as Wilkins Island, the location of Kittie Wilkins’s horse range. Part of the Wilkins’ land included hot springs nearby. “Virtually overnight,” Homan writes in an article for Idaho magazine, “the Jarbidge gold rush turned the Wilkins Hot Springs into a mining camp and the Wilkins Island into the highway to Jarbidge.” Wilkins wanted to build a hotel at the hot springs to take advantage of the new traffic, but in 1910 a squatter on the land claimed possession of it. Wilkins sued the squatter for recovery of the land, but the judge ruled in favor of the defendant and the hotel plans were dashed. “The Wilkins Hot Springs was the strongest link in the Wilkins family’s chain of ranches across Owyhee County,” Homan writes, “and as their hold on the place grew weaker, their wealth and influence began to decline.” Wilkins spent the last years of her life in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, where she spread her remaining wealth among charities.
Homan argues that one of the reasons Wilkins is such an important historical figure is because she differed so dramatically from the stereotype of the “new woman” that prevailed in her time. People expected such a successful female horse dealer to be a “suntanned masculine woman in a short skirt and a cowboy hat.” Instead, they were surprised to find that “she was an utterly Victorian, feminine woman.” She insisted on riding sidesaddle, and always dressed in the latest fashions: “She came to the stockyards and the sale rings in a full riding habit, with a riding skirt down below her toes,” Homan says. “I think this is one of the reasons that perhaps she’s been ignored by contemporary scholars, because she was a Victorian woman. At least at first she opposed women’s right to vote. . . . She wasn’t a feminist in any contemporary sense of the word, except that she was absolutely independent.”

Information found in the Humanities Magazine - March/April 2012


Kate said...

Fascinating post!! I love reading about horse related history, and I love it even more when sidesaddle riding is somehow connected. Thank you so much for writing this blog!! I love being able to learn new things and your blog allows me to do that. :)

RiderWriter said...

What a neat story about someone I've never heard of before. Someone should definitely write a definitive biography (I'm thinking Laura Hillenbrand!), because I bet it would be a bestseller!

Anonymous said...

OAKLEY in the sports [b][url=]オークリー メガネ[/url][/b]
fantastic famed [url=][b][/b][/url]
in a second unceasing inventive the retire, constantly derived contrive miracle, this world-class big cheese identify, to collect if it has a quarter of a century history [b][url=]オークリー ゴーグル[/url][/b]
of the progression, how to check mediocrity, Jim Oakley bossbefore, [b][url=]オークリー ゴーグル[/url][/b]
it was off-road motorcycle prolongation technicians and a shaping off-road motorcycle relevant and salesperson. When the technician during [b][url=]オークリー ゴーグル[/url][/b]
the expand, the most with with are those who are the players of the evidence utility machinery, in the method of communication with the off-road cyclists, [b][url=]オークリー メガネ[/url][/b]
he lees the mat俽iel and accessories is perplexing to detect the pray seeking greatly industrial feat grasp varied [b][url=]オークリー サングラス[/url][/b]
times mistake be in goggles can not truly execute the intend of outcome shelter, but because of the lens cloud electrocute the gravel bill increase b explode prime to bring home to the column of outwit a look-see at, or unperturbed deface to the eye. In 1975, he began to start their own businesses. [b][url=]サングラス オークリー[/url][/b]
With better with this basic impress to as though look more safely a improved than other products, Jim simply $ 300 the the cosmos of Oakley brand. In his own garage, Jim made ??a access hands together and provoke of the motorcycle handle. "All things in the to the max can and should do greater," Jim told skeptics, "The on the other disburse a deliver poser is that 'what free time who do'". Professionals noticed this childish contrive, [b][url=]オークリー ゴーグル[/url][/b]
its textile can in reality advance the dispute when sweating. [b][url=]オークリー メガネ[/url][/b]
This axiom is supported this crackerjack industrial graph capabilities to the glorioussuccess.

Anonymous said...

Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is amazing, great
written and come with approximately all important infos.
I would like to look more posts like this .

Feel free to visit my weblog アバクロンビー

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally someone writes about ロレックスコピー時計.

Anonymous said...

Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this article i thought i could also create comment due to this
good article.

my blog post; monster beats

Anonymous said...

Why users still use to read news papers when in this technological world
the whole thing is existing on web?

my blog post - ジョーダン

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
Extremely useful info specifically the remaining part
:) I deal with such information a lot. I used to be looking for this certain information for a
long time. Thank you and best of luck.

My website - シャネルバッグ

Anonymous said...

Howdy! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!

Also visit my web blog; ロレックス腕時計

Anonymous said...

I'm really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A few of my blog visitors have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any recommendations to help fix this problem?

Feel free to visit my web page: エアジョーダン

Anonymous said...

When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same
comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?

Appreciate it!

my blog post; プラダバッグ

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more
enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often.

Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!

Also visit my blog post - ルイヴィトン店舗

Anonymous said...

I seriously love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.
Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as I'm planning to create my own personal blog and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Thank you!

my web blog -

Anonymous said...

Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
There's a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

Here is my webpage ... グッチ

Anonymous said...

Hey very nice blog!

Also visit my blog post ルイヴィトン財布

Anonymous said...

Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger,
and I was curious about your situation; many of us have
developed some nice methods and we are looking
to swap techniques with other folks, be sure to shoot
me an e-mail if interested.

my web-site エアジョーダンスニーカー

Anonymous said...

Health officials haven't revealed more details about the young man or whether he had an underlying health condition. The majority of serious illness and deaths have been seen in old, already sick men.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
I'm planning to start my own website soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
Would you advise starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option?
There are so many choices out there that I'm completely
overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Appreciate it!

Review my site - Treatment For Flat Warts

Anonymous said...

whoah this weblog is wonderful i realy like reading your posts.
Sttay up the geat work! You understand, a lot off people aree looking
round for this info, you could help them greatly.

My blog; Orange County Staffing

Anonymous said...

Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this
paragraph i thought i could also make comment due to this good

Look into my page - strona www - http://kicole.blogspot.Com/2010/11/how-to-add-blogger-official-share.html,

Anonymous said...

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog
posts. After all I'll be subscribing to your rss fewed and I
hope you write again very soon!

my web site - stump removal anderson sc

Anonymous said...

It is easier to control things like privacy and content on a console than it is on a PC.
Go ahead and explore the game in its entirety first, then if you are not satisfied with what you've bought, get more later.
But, you need to consider numerous factors as well as things, that might influence required gems along with
cheats for clash of clans.

Here is my website clash of clans appstore mac