Sunday, April 10, 2016


Whether they get mentioned or not, women have always played a part in Texas History. A lot of times, as used to be typical, a woman was the wind beneath a man's wings. I'm not particularly fond of that, but it is what it is. In truth, women played a prominent role in Texas history and here a few.  

Sarah Cockrell

Sarah Cockrell (1819-1892), a business woman who built the first iron bridge over the Trinity River in Dallas in 1872. She thought big and invested wisely and set up her own corporations. When she died in 1892, her properties were so extensive that her will had to be published in pamphlet form.

Molly Goodnight (1839-1926) established the first ranch household in the Texas Panhandle in 1877. She rescued orphaned buffaloes, had her own cattle brand, the Flying T and helped establish the Goodnight College in 1898.
Mollie Goodnight

Elizabet Ney

Elizabet Ney (1833-1907) was a renowned sculptor from Bavaria. She
moved to Texas with her husband in 1872. She secured a commission to create statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston for the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. She became the outspoken advocate of the teaching of fine arts in the state's schools and was instrumental in the founding of the Texas Fine Arts Association.

Minnie Fisher Cunningham
Minnie Fisher Cunningham (1882-1964) was President of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association from 1915 to 1920 and became the first executive secretary of the National League of Women Voters. She was an important leader in the campaign for votes for women on the state and national levels. Graduating in 1901, she was one of the first women in Texas to receive a pharmacy degree from the University of Texas medical school. She ran for but lost races for the U.S. Senate in 1928 and for governor in 1944.

Bessie Coleman, one of the first licensed female pilots and the world's first black female aviator and barnstormer, had a spectacular but brief career in air shows. She was born in Atlanta, Texas, the twelfth of 13 children. Her mother, an illiterate former slave, borrowed books so Bessie could learn to read.
Bessie ColemanColeman became interested in the air war in Europe, and decided she wanted to become a pilot. but could find no flight school to accept her. The editor of the Chicago Weekly Defender gave her advice and financial assistance, and she enrolled in an aviation school in France. She earned her pilot's license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in 1921.
She encouraged young blacks to become involved in aviation, and once refused to perform in Waxahachie, where she had grown up, until blacks were allowed to use the same entrance as whites to the exhibition.
In 1926, Coleman died during a test flight in Florida. Black aviators memorialized her by naming their flying clubs and their magazine after her. In 1990, a street to Chicago's O'Hare Airport was named Bessie Coleman Drive, and, in 1995, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in her honor. 
Sarah T. Hughes
Sarah T. Hughes was an attorney, legislator, women's rights activist, United Nations supporter, and Texas' first female state and federal judge. A member of a Dallas law firm from 1923 to 1935. she was elected to her first term in the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat on 1930 and voted "Most Valuable Member" her second term. In 1935, she became Texas' first female district judge and was reelected seven times. She was Dallas County co-chair of the Kennedy-Johnson campaign in 1960, and in the following year, President John F. Kennedy appointed her Texas' first female federal judge. After Kennedy's assassination in 1963, she administered the Presidential oath of office to Lyndon B. Johnson.

These are but a few of the many women who have influenced me and I hope by reading about these women, you'll be inspired to read more about them or look up other influential women in our state of Texas and other states in our great nation.

Thank you for stopping by today. I love seeing y'all here on Sweethearts of the West.

Hugs, Carra

  Carra Copelin Website 


  1. I think these were such fantastic women. My absolute favorites among them are Molly Goodnight for rescuing orphaned buffalo and Bessie Coleman for blazing the trail for black and female pilots.
    This was a wonderful article, Carra. All the best of everything to your corner of Mother Earth.

  2. You chose some wonderful women to highlight.
    Mollie Goodnight has been a longtime favorite. I wrote an entire Sweethearts blog about her. She was one of a kind.
    And Elizabet Ney was a special woman. The Elizabet Ney Museum in Austin is a wonderful place. It showcases some of her sculptures and her life. Sadly, Austin neglected it for a long time, but now I think it's been revived.
    I hadn't heard of the others, but I'm always interested in Texas women. Thanks Carra, for a wonderful post.

    1. I had never heard of Elizabet Ney and happy to know of a museum for her. I'd love to visit. Thanks, Celia!

    2. I had never heard of Elizabet Ney and happy to know of a museum for her. I'd love to visit. Thanks, Celia!

  3. Carra, I love learning about famous Texas women. Minnie Cunningham was new to me. Thanks for keeping us learning.


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