Famous Woman In History: One of Many Firsts

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When you're faced with an uphill battle, one perhaps not dealt with before, think of Nancy Kelsey. She was the first white woman to visit Utah, the first to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the first to make it to California, at the age of 18.  She was the mother of an infant daughter when she rode and walked from Missouri to California in a group that included her husband, their baby, and about 30 men."Where my husband goes I can go," she said. "I can better stand the hardships of the journey than the anxieties for an absent husband."

Young women like Nancy were vital to settling the West. Her fellow travelers wrote of Nancy: “Her cheerful nature and kind heart brought many a ray of sunshine through clouds that gathered round a company of so many weary travelers. She bore the fatigue of the journey with so much heroism, patience, and kindness that there still exists a warmth in every heart for the mother and child, that were always forming silvery linings for every dark cloud that assailed them.” Imagine that being said of you, especially after such a journey!

On September 9, 1900, The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Many and many a time it has been noted that there is nowhere in all this country, a monument to the foremothers of the land." It is because of young women like Nancy that such a monument was deserved. May it still be deserved today by the young women of our era.

Find out more about Nancy and under women who have accomplished great things at America Comes Alive and Wikipedia. Also, for more about famous women in history under 30, be sure to visit the following pages:

  • Group 1: Wilma Rudolph, Kitty O'Neil, and Sarah Emma Edmonds
  • Group 2: Annie Oakley, Nancy Lieberman, and Sheyann Webb
  • Group 3: Agnes Nestor, Libby Riddles, and Caresse "Polly" Crosby
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