Monthly Archives: May 2011

The “Horse Queen”: Kitty Wilkins

Katherine Caroline, aka “Kitty,” Wilkins was born in Nevada and moved to Bruneau County, Idaho with her family is the 1880’s.  She joined the family’s cattle and horse ranching business at the age of twenty-one in 1879.  Her father began taking Kitty to horse shows and she found that she had a knack for the business and decided to begin her own horse ranching business.  She is said to have chosen horses because they were more profitable and less difficult to work with.  She began her business with just one horse, which she stated she bought with $40 she received as a gift, and a contract with the U.S. Army.  Her business boomed and was soon selling almost 600 horses per year.  Some years were even more exceptional, such as 1895 when Kitty sold over 3,000 horses.   

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Founding Mother: Eliza Hart Spalding and the Spalding Mission

One forgotten woman in the history of Idaho is Eliza Hart Spalding, or Mrs. Henry Spalding as she is typically written about, whose life is shaped by the missionary work she and her husband did in the Northwest Territory in the mid-1800’s.  Leonard J. Arrington wrote in his book, History of Idaho, that “what Plymouth Rock was to New England, the Spalding Mission was to Idaho.” Without the help and work of Eliza Spalding it would not have been the foundation for the creation of Idaho that it was.  She changed the history of the West by blazing the trail for women to migrate by land over the Rocky Mountains and helping form the first white settlement in Idaho. Continue reading

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