Pioneering Women: Jackson, Wyoming—1920

When the ladies could suffer no more the squalor the men settled for, when they finally tired of nagging for petty things cowboys don’t need—like sidewalks and potable water, streets they could travel year-round with lighting and adequate drainage, trash collection, a park for the kids, a respectable cemetery where cattle don’t trample the dead—their men dared them to do better, and so those greenhorn sage-hens did. If we can run a house, then we can run this town.

The Equality State, first in suffrage, lived up to its name that spring as folks stampeded the polls, electing do-gooders with sway: Mayor Grace—banker’s wife; innkeeper Rose—mayor’s wife; Faustina—school marm/rancher’s wife; Genevieve—storekeeper’s wife; and Mae—politician’s wife. The Petticoat Government thrived, swelling town coffers tenfold, with ladies in charge of the treasury, health, city records, and The Law, making headlines across the nation and Jackson a home on the range.