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You Go, Cowgirl! 10 Names for Girls Inspired by the Women of the Wild West
by Andrea Wada Davies
| Posted 1 year ago
Legendary women were born from the time of the famous Wild West, rising to the challenge of proving that they were just as rough, tough and capable as the gun-wielding, ruthless men of that time. Not particularly ladylike or even law-abiding, these brave women left with us tales of resourcefulness, determination and a refusal to be held down by the traditional gender roles of that time. Having a baby girl? Why not consider naming your daughter after one of these strong, fearless ladies of the Wild West.
Known as the "Rose of Cimarron", Rose Dunn
pulled her weight in a family of outlaws. Rose met George Newcomb and joined him and his crew, the Doolin Gang, as they robbed multiple stagecoaches and banks. Dunn even risked her life to help a badly wounded Newcomb escape a battle. Name your daughter "Rose" and may she be lovely and brave, but maybe steer her away from stagecoaches.
Martha Jane Canary
was nicknamed "Calamity Jane"
after she rescued an army captain in South Dakota when their camp was attacked by Native Americans. She was a gun-slingin', whiskey drinkin' gal whose remarkably good shot and exceptional horse handling skills got her a gig performing with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show
. Though she was married to another man, legend has it that she asked to be buried next to Wild Bill Hickok, who was rumored to be the only man she ever loved.
is the most well-known woman of the Wild West. Born Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses
, she was shooting like a professional marksman by age 12. She thrilled audiences around the world as the main attraction of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
. Her Quaker background influenced her trademark feminine style-- a calf-length skirt, long-sleeves and leggings. There is a Broadway musical loosely based on her life (Annie Get Your Gun
). But the most impressive thing about Annie is that when she died, it was discovered that her entire fortune had been spent on charities including those for women's rights and children. Well done, Annie!
Starr, born Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr
is the most famous “Bandit Queen” and one of the most notorious female outlaws of the Wild West. She got hooked on the outlaw life when Jesse James’s gang hid out at her family’s farm when she was a little girl. She married Jim Reed and the two of them spent their lives on the run robbing banks, counterfeiting and committing a long list of other crimes. She wore a pistol on each hip and feathers in her hair. Name your baby girl after this western lady if she doesn’t like to play by the rules.
was commonly referred to as "Rose of the Wild Bunch" as she was a member of Butch Cassidy's famous gang. With a bank-robbing father, Laura
was raised to be an outlaw. After spending time in prison, Laura gave up the "wild" life and became a seamstress in Tennessee.
Though there have been all kinds of stories told about this famous Western woman through the years, the truth of Etta
Place's life remains a mystery. Some say she was Butch Cassidy's girlfriend. Others report that it was the Sundance Kid (pictured with her, above) who had her heart. The juiciest of the reports (which is supported by evidence) is that she worked at Fanny Porter's bordello and left with the Wild Bunch when they came through for a visit. Whatever you believe, one thing is true, Etta is a gorgeous name.
Canadian born, Pearl Hart
, was intrigued by the Wild West and particularly Annie Oakley. She married a gambler and made her way to America eventually leaving her husband for opportunities in the West. "Opportunities" ended up being a life of crime with a man named Joe Boot, with whom she robbed stagecoaches before being caught and jailed. Pearl, you sooo had us fooled with that hat.
was a sharpshooter who joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show
at the age of 15. She was a competitive, flashy woman who considered herself Annie Oakley's rival. She cursed like a sailor and was notorious for bragging about her shooting skills. Ms. Smith sounds a bit insecure, but if you name your daughter Lillian, she can be confident about having a lovely-sounding name.
Because rights and opportunities for women were scarce in the Wild West, Charley Parkhurst
lived most of her life fronting as a man. She took on a dangerous and arduous job as a stagecoach driver and drove stages for Wells Fargo and the California Stage Company. She was registered to vote under her secret identity and may have been the first American woman to cast a ballot. Her true identity was only revealed at her death. Name your baby Charley after this strong, determined, fearless woman.
Josephine Sarah Marcus
, known for her beauty, was an actor in a touring theater group which went to Tombstone, Arizona. There, she met and married the sheriff, John Behan, but was swept off her feet when Wyatt Earp came to town. Josephine is reportedly the reason behind the famous gunfight at the OK Corral. She could also be the reason behind your daughter's name.