Buckskin, Calico, & Lace: Oklahoma Territorial Women

Key Information

Buckskin, Calico, & Lace: Oklahoma Territorial Women, By Glenda Carlile

2008 [ISBN: 1-58107-135-1; 200 pages; 5 ½ x 8 ½ inch; soft cover] $15.95


BCLwebcovOh Nellie, Hurry up the pancakes
Wife, do not be so slow
And we will go to Oklahoma
Where the milk and honey flow.

Who really won the West? Why everyone knows — it was actually the women who won the West.

Yes, the men came West with their guns, their strength, and their desire to conquer the wild untamed land. But without the women this would still be a lawless, ugly country. Without women would there have been curtains hung in the soddies? Would there be schools, churches, and opera houses? I daresay, we would not have the cities we have now, if it were not for the women who came West.

As Yancey Cravat, the hero in Cimarron, Edna Ferber’s classic novel about Oklahoma, asserted, “If it has ever been told straight, you’ll know it is the sunbonnet and not the sombrero that has settled this country.”

The Contents

Mary Alice Hearrell Murray: Indian Princess who married the President of the Constitutional Convention.
Edna Helm Ahrens: She agreed to watch a stranger’s children while he made the run, then marry him, and share the claim.
Anna Catherine Bennett: She played Miss Indian Territory in the mock wedding of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory.
“Big Anne” Wynn: Famous madam who ran Oklahoma City politics for over twenty years.
Rachel Anna Haines: A “Boomer” who worked for the opening of Oklahoma Territory, only to lose her claim for land.
Nanitta “Kentucky” Daisey: She rode the cow catcher and jumped from a moving train to stake her claim with her petticoat.
Bethsheba: The all women town in Oklahoma where steers, roosters, or males of any species were not allowed
Anna Murphy Overholser: She brought “society” to the Territory
Carry Nation: Hatchet weilding abolitionist
Cattle Annie and Little Britches: Famous outlaw girls who rode in Doolin’s gang
Sisters of Mercy: Catholic order that came to Indian Territory and later built St. Mary’s Academy.
Elva Shartel Ferguson: Newspaper publisher, wife of Territorial Governor and model for Edna Ferber’s “Cimarron”
Mary Brown: A black woman in Territorial Oklahoma
Mary Rogers: Mother of Will Rogers (America’s most loved humorist.)
Kate Barnard: Oklahoma’s first Commissioner of Charities Called “Good Angel Kate”
Lucille Mulhall: America’s Favorite Cowgirl
Belle Starr: Queen of the Outlaws
Mina Patterson and Ada Baskins: They found a lasting friendship in a new land
Oklahoma’s Pioneer Woman Statue: Statue in Ponca City dedicated to the pioneer woman
Aunt Minerva Willis: Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Ann Orr Worcester: Missionary to the Cherokees


In political and government circles, we are always talking about the “first” that someone achieved. I know that I was always noting that “she is the first woman who…,” “he is the first man who…,” or “they are the first minorities who….,” Through Buckskin, Calico, and Lacewe are reminded (and educated) of the fact that Oklahoma women were always making their mark and contributions as pioneer regardless of the year. They were always the first “who.” Thanks to Glenda Carlile for reminding us that the present is merely a product of what we were yesterday and that pioneer women played a major if not dominant role in that process.
George Nigh, Governor of Oklahoma ’79-’87

Glenda Carlile has captured the vibrant spirit of Oklahoma women from the famous to the infamous in this intriguing collection of territorial tales. While stories of these women have been scattered throughout the pages of Oklahoma’s written history, they have never appeared together between the pages of one book. Mrs. Carlile has done a great service by collecting their stories and allowing us to join her in an exciting buggy ride into Oklahoma’s past.
Molly Levite Griffis, Publisher, Levite of Apache

The Author

Glenda Carlile is well-known for her programs on Oklahoma’s Territorial Women. Dressed in period costume she changes hats as she tells of the various women who came to Oklahoma during Territorial Days. Her audiences have asked her to put these interesting stories in book form; thus Buckskin, Calico, and Lace. Now in print are those vivid accounts of the spirited pioneer woman that Oklahoma audiences have enjoyed.

A former newspaper correspondent for the Daily Oklahoman and the Midwest City Sun and the operator of a local tour company, Mrs. Carlile became fascinated with the many women who played prominent roles in Oklahoma history and how little is known about them.

Although not a native, Mrs. Carlile considers herself an “Okie” by interest and love. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Florida, she knew little about Oklahoma before moving to the state in 1962. She attributes her love of Oklahoma history to her husband, Tom, a native Oklahoman.

The wife of an osteopathic physician and mother of three daughters, Glenda is also known for her community and professional service including serving as the 1989-90 National President of the Auxiliary to The American Osteopathic Association. Her numerous awards include the Auxiliary to The Oklahoma Osteopathic Association’s 1988 Woman of the Year, the 1990 Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and a joint resolution of commendation from the Oklahoma House of Representative and the Oklahoma Senate in 1989.