Ellen Watson

legendary-women-in-western-historyThe controversy surrounding the actions of Ellen Watson and how she got her name “Cattle Kate” is pretty wild. Watson dealt with a string of hardships throughout her life, such as poverty, an abusive ex-husband, and a life of hard work and struggle. She and her partner worked hard to make their own cattle company and during those days were attempting to get out from under the hand of wealthy cattlemen and their oppressive control over the land. When she attempted to call out these cattlemen for their shady tactics and also fenced in her own farmland and staked claim to a majority of the land around them, that’s when the story gets a little gritty. Historically, it is accepted that Watson was lynched by officials of these cattle companies in order to make an example of what happened to those who stood up against these cattle tycoons. She got her nickname “Cattle Kate” because she was wrongfully accused of stealing cattle from the wealthy cattlemen, but this wasn’t the first time she was accused of something she wasn’t guilty of. When she ran a business tailoring men’s clothing, townsfolk assumed she was a prostitute because of the number of men who visited her for their clothing alterations. She was just a woman who was trying to make it in a hard world. Ellen Watson refused to back down simply because of how things were. For this courage, she paid the ultimate price. She is known as the only woman to ever be hanged in the state of Wyoming. However, her legacy lives on as someone who made a stand against the dirty tricks of wealthy cattle companies.