Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Cowgirl Ghost Of Deeth, NV

by Shirley Morris
©2011 All Rights Reserved
In 1915 Miss Marion Carterett was named champion woman bronco buster of Nevada. She won her title over many of the best cowgirls who came to ride in the contest alongside her in Elko. Big deal, you say, women didn't ride the same hard horses as the men and they didn't ride in 'real' competitions - only exhibition contests!
Well, she also held the distinction of being the only woman in the country who succeeded in riding some of the most vicious, man-eating broncs that had previously booger'd up many of her cowboy rivals. Even as an expert rider, Marion would suffer many broken bones as a result of more than one of the frenzied animals falling over on top of her in a desperate attempt to get her off their back. Still, she continued to mount and ride successfully many broncs her cowboy competitors couldn't conquer.
In 1914, Deeth, Nevada went on a search for a new postmaster. The little town was thriving and boasted a saloon, a hotel, Deeth Mercantile Company and the Deeth Creamery Company which produced 200 pound of butter a week. Deeth had become the supply center and shipping point for the Starr and Ruby Valleys. Men from miles around vied for the coveted position. Miss Carterett applied alongside the men and left her male competition in the dust once again as she convinced everyone she was the right person for the job. She was hired as the new "postmistress."
In addition to riding broncs, Marion was an expert handling the reins and regularly drove a team of eight horses for a stage coach line over the local mountains. She also was an expert at driving a line team consisting of fourteen horses. A line team is a number of horses driven with just one line, which is fastened to an outside ring on the leader horses bit. The driver rides a wheel horse and controls the others by voice commands. Among other prominent stagecoach line drivers were Wyatt Earp and William Cody. Charley Parkhurst, a woman who disguised herself as a man to get the job was also a line team driver.
Miss Marion Carterett never denied or hid who she was. She could do the job as a woman and presented herself honestly and always did the job well.
Deeth is pretty much a ghost town now, surviving with less than twenty inhabitants. There are those among them that swear you can hear those line horses coming up a lone, dusty road into town with Marion's big, strong voice soothing them into perfect step.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Another amazing story... thank you. Always a treat.