Was Cattle Kate lynched for challenging Wyoming’s patriarchy and crony captialism?


Photograph of Cattle Kate – Public Domain

From the Smithsonian.com by Eliza McGraw:

On July 20, 1889, in a gulch by the Wyoming’s Sweetwater River, six cattlemen lynched a man and a woman accused of cattle rustling. As the purported bodies twisted from the same tree limb: a rider galloped toward the town of Rawlins with the news: cattlemen had exacted revenge on two ruthless thieves, Jim Averell and Ella Watson, the woman they called Cattle Kate.

The story was shocking—it echoed across America like a shot, and only grew more dramatic in the retelling. One newspaper headline read: “Blaspheming Border Beauty Barbarously Boosted Branchward.”

An account in the Salt Lake Herald painted Kate as a local legend, “of masculine physique, she was a dare-devil in the saddle; quick on the shoot; an adept with the lariat and branding iron.”  In a story in the National Police Gazette, a man asked Kate a question she didn’t like. So she “knocked him down with a stunning left-hander and lashed him with her riding whip till he begged for mercy.”



Categories: History of the American West, United States History

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