Also see: Women in American History
Sacagawea (1790?-1812?) A Shoshone Indian woman, she was captured by an enemy tribe who eventually sold her to a French Canadian trapper she later married. In 1804, Lewis and Clark, her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, was hired by the expedition as an interpreter. Sacagawea became an integral part of the expedition.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) Pioneering crusader for the legalization of birth control, she battled the nation’s government and courts to open America’s first birth control clinic, founded the Natural Birth Control League, Planned Parenthood of America, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877-1950) Sedona followed her husband west when their small Missouri town condemned his Presbyterian religion. Arriving in Arizona Territory in 1901, they planted orchards and hosted early tourists in what is now named for her, Sedona. Arizona.
Sarah Jane “Sally” Newman Skull (1817-??) – Sally was known for her many husbands, her horse trading, her aim with a pistol, her forceful language, and for hauling cotton and critical supplies for the Confederacy. But, mostly she was known as a woman whose husbands mysteriously died or disappeared.
Squirrel Tooth Alice – See Mary Elizabeth “Libby” Thompson
Belle Starr, aka: the “Outlaw Queen” (1848-1889) – Hooking up with the likes the Younger brothers and Jesse James at a young age, Starr became an outlaw herself and was the first woman to be tried for a serious crime by Judge Isaac Parker.
Lucy Stone (1818-1893) A pioneering leader in the women suffrage movement, she founded the American Woman Suffrage Association.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) - Author and poet, she wrote the biggest bestseller of the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The novel, which first appeared in a serialized version in National Era magazine, was the first major American work in which a black man appeared as the central hero.
Augusta Pierce Tabor (1833-1895) – The first wife of Colorado “Silver King” Horace Tabor, Augusta was a hardy pioneer who homesteaded in Kansas before moving on to the mining camps of Colorado. After her husband made millions, he jilted her for Baby Doe, causing a scandal that rocked Denver society.
Baby Doe Tabor, aka: Elizabeth McCourt (1854-1935) – Marrying one of the richest men in Colorado, Baby Doe was involved in one of the country’s most famous love triangles, scandalizing the social community of Denver.
Mary Elizabeth “Libby” Thompson (1855-1953) – One of the most popular soiled doves in Dodge City, Kansas, and other frontier cattle towns during the 1870s. She later became famous as Squirrel Tooth Alice, madam of a brothel in Sweetwater, Texas.
Sojourner Truth (1797?-1883) A former slave, she became a leading proponent of human rights and a spokesperson for abolition and women’s rights.
Harriet Tubman (1820?-1913) As a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, this fugitive slave helped thousands of blacks escape north prior to the Civil War, during which, she served as a Union nurse and military spy.
Madam C.J. Walker, aka; Sarah Breedlove (1867-1919) – Born to newly freed slaves, Sarah Breedlove would make a name for herself, despite adversity, and blaze a trail for women in business with her hair care and teachings.
Jemima Warner (17??-1775) – Jemima Warner was probably the first woman to be killed in action during U.S. wars. She was the teenaged wife of Private James Warner of the Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion during the American Revolution. She followed her husband and was killed in the Siege of Quebec, Canada.
Ellen Watson, a/k/a Cattle Kate (1861-1889) – Ellen Watson, dubbed by local newspapers in the late 1880s, as “Cattle Kate,” was long thought of as an outlaw. She was lynched by members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
Emmeline Wells (1828-1921) – Unshakeable in her commitment to plural marriage, Emmeline Wells was a leading figure in Mormon politics and in the women’s suffrage movement who helped close the gap of misunderstanding that separated Mormons and non-Mormon America for more than fifty years.
Ida B. Wells - See Ida B. Wells Barnett
Margaret Bourke White (1904-1971) A pioneering photojournalist, she gained fame for her photographs of mill workers and sharecroppers and was famous for her association with Life magazine.
Narcissa Prentiss Whitman (1808-1847) – A missionary in the Oregon Country of what would become the state of Washington, she, along with Eliza Hart Spalding, was the first European-American woman to cross the Rocky Mountains in 1836. Along with her husband, Dr. Marcus Whitman, they established the Whitman Mission near modern-day Walla Walla, Washington.
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) – Famed children’s author and “storyteller of the prairie.”
Cathay Williams (1842-??) – When Congress passed an act authorizing the establishment of the first all-Black units of the military, later to become known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” Cathay Williams, became the first and only female Buffalo Soldier.
Emma Willard (17871870) - A foremost 19th-century proponent of higher education for women, she founded the Troy, New York Female Academy, where she daringly taught her students science and math and educated hundreds of future teachers.
Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927) – The first woman to run for President and the center of a scandal that rocked the nation.
Bronco Sue Yonkers – Wild Woman of the West – Bronco Sue Yonkers was a Welsh girl who turned the heads of men and could shoot as well as any of them, who left a trail of unlucky men in her wake.
By Kathy Weiser-Alexander updated December 2018.