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Historic Women - H-K

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Historic Dodge City, KansasDora Hand, aka: Fannie Keenan, (1844-1878) - A celebrated actress and variety show entertainer, Dora was married to a musician named Theodore Hand. However, she divorced him in Indiana, later landing in Memphis, Tennessee and in St. Louis, Missouri in 1876. By 1878, she was entertaining the many men in the lawless town of Dodge City, Kansas. Appearing in several variety shows under her stage name of Fannie Keenan, the actress was staying at Mayor James Kelley’s house, as he was out of town. It is unknown as to whether Dora knew that the mayor had recently been in a brawl with a man named James Kennedy, the son of a Tascosa, Texas cattleman. But, for the actress, the dispute would be fatal. 


Kennedy had been sent with a herd of cattle to Dodge City and while the cowboy was in Mayor Kelley’s saloon, Kelley threw him out for being drunk and disorderly.


Humiliated, Kennedy swore revenge upon the mayor. A short time later, Kennedy briefly left Dodge City, but returned to exact his revenge upon Kelley. The mayor; however, was not home, and in his bed, instead, was Dora Hand. Late in the night of his return, Kennedy rode to Kelley’s residence and fired four gunshots into the house before fleeing. One shot struck Dora in her right side, killing her instantly. Hearing the gunfire, officers Jim Masterson and Wyatt Earp hurried to the house to find Dora Hand dead. Witnesses stated they had seen Kennedy riding away from Dodge City and a posse was formed to go after him. Soon, Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, William Duffy, Charlie Bassett, and Wyatt Earp tracked the killer to Meade, Kansas, Inevitably, Kennedy didn't want to be brought in and a gunfight ensued and Kennedy was wounded in his shooting arm. He was brought back to Dodge City, where he recovered.


Though Kennedy was tried, he was acquitted of the murder due to lack of evidence. But, time would get its just revenge when Kennedy was killed three years later in a gunfight. In the meantime, Dora Hand was buried in Dodge City's Boothill Cemetery.


Pearl Hart, Lady Stagecoach RobberPearl Hart, aka: Pearl Bywater, Pearl Taylor, Mrs. L.P. Keele (1871-19??) - Born as Pearl Taylor of French descent in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada, this petite and attractive young girl would grow up to become one of the only female stagecoach robbers in the American West.


After marrying a seductive gambler when she was just 17, the pair attended the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois in 1893 where Pearl became enamored of the Old West when she attended several Wild West type shows. She soon left her husband, heading through Colorado and finally to Arizona, where she hooked up with a miner named Joe Boot. Among other smaller petty crimes, the pair robbed a stagecoach between Florence and Globe, Arizonaon May 30, 1899. Taking about $450 and a revolver, they were soon apprehended and Hart spent two years in the Yuma Territorial Prison. Though her life of crime was short-lived, she became a legend known as the "lady bandit." After being released she went to Kansas City and the rest of her life is blurred in history. More ...


Josephine Hensley; aka: Chicago Joe (1846-1899) - The Queen of Helena, Montana's Red Light District and one of the city's most prominent business women during the city's early days. More ...


Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (1841?-1891) - The first Native American woman known to secure a copyright and to publish in the English language. Her book, Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, is an autobiographical account of her people during their first forty years of contact with explorers and settlers.


Julie Ward Howe (1819-1910) - Born in New York City on May 27, 1819, Julie Ward would grow up to become a prominent abolitionist, social activist, poet, and is most famous for having authored "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."  In 1843, she married Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe who founded the Perkins Institute for the Blind and the couple had six children. She also published a number magazine articles., travel books, and plays. Later in life she became active in the women's rights movement, where she played a prominent role in several suffrage organizations. She died on October 17, 1910 at the age of 91.


Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643) ­ Early champion of religious liberty and free speech, this midwife was put on trial in 1637 for her outspoken views. The Massachusetts General Court found her guilty of sedition and banished her from the Colony.




Zerelda Mims JamesZerelda "Zee" Mimms James (1845-1900) - Zee was Jesse James first cousin, but this did not stop the pair from courting. The couple was engaged for nine years while the James-Younger Gang was in full swing, before they finally married on April 24, 1874.


The couple had two children before the James-Younger Gang ceased to exist with the capture of the Younger brothers during the Northfield, Minnesota raid in 1876. Jesse then started the "new" James Gang continuing to rob trains, the last of which occurred on September 7, 1881 near Glendale, Missouri. When Bob Ford killed Jesse James on April 3, 1882, he did so in Jesse's home, with Zee and her children nearby in the kitchen.  More ...


Mollie Johnson - Referred to as the Queen of the Blondes, Johnson was a leading Madam during Deadwood, South Dakota's gold boom. More ...


"Mother” Mary Harris Jones (1830-1930) - Labor organizer who championed the cause of social justice and devoted herself to the struggle against the poors' hours, pay and working conditions of railroad, textile and mine workers.



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