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3 of the Most Famous and Influential Women in Texas History

By Williams & Brown LLP on March 18, 2014

Womens History MonthMarch is Women’s History Month. That means it’s time for us to reflect on the accomplished and influential women of the present and past. Texas history contains many storied women who were discoverers, innovators, developers, and generally brave and bright individuals who crossed boundaries, performed great deeds, and/or accomplished amazing feats. Reading these stories will give you hope and inspire you to overcome whatever adversity you may face in order to accomplish your goals.

Sarah Horton Cockrell (1819 – 1892)

In 1858, Sarah Cockrell’s husband passed away, leaving her with a huge amount of debt, small children, and a ferry business. Sarah rolled up her sleeves and made enough smart investments to set up corporations of her own, including the Dallas Bridge Company and S.H. Cockrell Co., a flour mill business. Her success as a businesswoman led her to construct the first iron bridge over the Trinity River in Dallas. She also constructed the city’s first three-story hotel and owned most of the property in the central business district. By the end of her life, she had so much property that her will was big enough to fill a pamphlet.

Lizzie Johnson (1840 – 1924)

Known as the “Cattle Queen of Texas,” Lizzie was a successful innovator in the Lone Star State’s booming cattle business. After the Civil War ended, Lizzie rounded up her own cattle and started on the path to success in the industry. She made many new strides, both in her professional and private life. She drove cattle up the Chisholm Trail, one of the first women to do so. She kept her business property under her own name, not that of her husband’s. She also worked for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and was a strong advocate for prison reform. All in all, Lizzie made her mark.

Bessie Coleman (1892 – 1926)

Born in Atlanta, Texas, the 12th child of a mother who was an illiterate former slave, Bessie should’ve not become an aviator. The odds were against her. She was female and black in a time when both groups were disempowered. She had dreams of becoming a pilot at a young age, but no flight school in America would accept her. Following the advice of a newspaper editor she met in Chicago, she went to France for aviation school and earned her pilot’s license, becoming the world’s first black female aviator and barnstormer. Today, black aviators everywhere are inspired by her story. Her life truly is a testament to the power of will over adversity.

There are plenty more inspirational women in the history of the Lone Star State. The experienced Waco personal injury attorneys at Williams & Brown LLP encourage you to look them up, read their stories, and learn more about how women have contributed to communities, nations, even the world.

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