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Handbook of Texas Online

The Women of Texas

Welcome to the sixteenth Texas History Quiz! This quiz focuses on the triumphs, perils, and pitfalls of Texas women through 300 years of history. The women featured in the quiz below do not even scratch the surface of the thousands of women who have shaped the state of Texas and its history, culture, and mystique. 

For instance, did you know that the Angelina River was named after the Native American woman, Angelina, who guided early European explorers through Texas in the eighteenth century? In fact, the Angelina is the only river in Texas named for a woman.

Women helped settle Texas alongside of fathers, husbands, and sons; Amanda Fallier von Rosenberg wrote to friends in Prussia about life on the Texas frontier, including tidbits about the availability of food, German customs in Texas, and the rural economy.

Women fought to make Texas a fairer, more inclusive place for all of its residents. Civil rights activist Christia V. Daniels Adair helped to desegregate the Houston Public Library, department store dressing rooms, and city buses. Beatriz Tagle Perez worked to desegregate the Corpus Christi school system and allow Mexican American children equal access to education.

Texas has had its share of colorful characters and infamous women. The “Bandit Queen” Myra Maybelle Shirley Starr, also known as Belle Starr, lived in Scyene near Dallas. Her exploits with the Younger gang are the subject of many legends and stories.  

As with our prior fifteen TSHA contests, this is an open-book quiz, and we encourage you to consult the Handbook of Texas Online, which has now received well over 75 million information requests since it was launched in 1999. We hope you also enjoy traveling through our updated TSHA Digital Gateway to Texas History, which is responding to over 4 million requests per month from over 150 countries. We plan to continue to expand the Digital Gateway over the next several years.

Have a good time getting to know the women of Texas!

The Questions

Question 1 :

Founding Mothers. People have populated what is now Texas for more than 10,000 years. In the “historic period” of Texas, men and women from all over the world have settled the state. Ranches in Spanish Texas were owned by and worked by women throughout present-day south Texas. Cattle, horses, sheep, and goats were raised throughout the land. What famous woman rancher, known as “La Patrona,” had amassed more than one million acres of ranch land in the Rio Grande Valley at the time of her death in 1803?

">Maria del Carmen Calvillo
">Maria de Jesus de Agreda
">Rosa Maria Hinojosa de Balli
">Petra Vela de Vidal Kenedy
">Olive King Dixon

Question 2 :

Confederate Belles. The Civil War presented Texans with a major political and social dilemma. While few Texans owned slaves, many were opposed to federal interference with what they considered to be a state’s right to decide whether slavery would be permitted, so they voted to secede from the Union. Among the Texans and other Southerners who had moved or lived overseas and returned to the South were a diplomat and his famously beautiful wife whose portrait appeared on Confederate money. What was the name of this Marshall, Texas, beauty?

">Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens
">Joanna Troutman
">Sarah Gilbert
">Elizabeth McNutt
">Sarah Ridge Pix

Question 3 :

Twentieth Century Activists. Women led the way during the early twentieth century era of activism and progressivism. Women’s groups, many of which grew out of the temperance movement, evolved from social outlets to political forums for women to draw attention to inequality in housing, education, and career development. A number of women, including Nina J. Cullinan and Julia Maria Pease, were advocates for the arts and parks. Women fought against lynching and for the right the vote. Who was the Texas suffragist who founded the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching in 1930?

">Karen Gay Silkwood
">Zelma Watson George
">Jovita Idar
">Ima Hogg
">Jessie Harriet Daniel Ames

Question 4 :
Alamo Saviors. Texans have always been proud of their history. At times, pride turned difference of opinions over how to remember and preserve that history into genteel feuds. When the Daughters of the Republic of Texas decided to care for the dilapidated, ignored Alamo, two schools of thought emerged on how to “Remember the Alamo.” One of the participants in these disagreements organized the Texas Historical and Landmarks Association in 1912 and had thirty-eight markers erected to mark historic sites in Texas. Name this granddaughter of one of the heroes of the Texas Revolution.

">Adina Emilia de Zavala
">Mary Vance Green
">Clara Driscoll
">Emma Kyle Burleson
">Margaret Bell Houston

Question 5 :

Education advocates. After the Civil War, African Americans in Texas began to embrace the freedom that had been denied them throughout the early years of the Republic and statehood. Many were former slaves or the children of slaves, and despite their new-found freedom they were forced to live in a segregated world without equal schools or job opportunities. A number of education advocates in the African-American community in the early twentieth century began a slow but ultimately successful reform movement for children’s education. One of these teachers and civil rights activists successfully lobbied to lengthen the school year from five to eight months for African-American children, and while principal of Center Point School was given permission to buy books that featured African Americans. Who is this Piper Professor of Texas?

">Carrie Sykes Willie
">Barbara Jordan
">Bessie Coleman
">Christine Benton Cash
">Artemisia Bowden

Question 6 :

Wildlife Conservationists. The beautiful expanse that is the Texas coast has attracted beach lovers and wildlife enthusiasts for centuries. The Karankawa Indians lived on the barrier islands and the mainland when European explorers first arrived in Texas. As more settlers moved to Texas, more communities grew up and threatened the delicate natural balance found on the coast. Dedicated individuals worked lifetimes to preserve, educate, and conserve the beauty of coastal Texas. One Rockport, Texas, resident identified a number of birds thought to be extinct and identified fourteen species of hummingbirds. She spoke to school groups, civic leaders, and amateur and professional birders about the birds of Texas, earning the moniker the “Texas bird lady.” Name this recipient of a 1962 special citation from the National Audubon Society who is buried in the Rockport Cemetery overlooking a bayfront named in her honor.

">Julia Anna Gardner
">Conger Neblett Hagar
">Ellen Dorothy Schulz Quillin
">Eula Whitehouse
">Ynes Mexia de Reygades

Question 7 :

Champion Cowgirls. Rodeos grew out of the activities that dominated the ranching industry. Practical skills such as riding, roping, and branding led to the competitive events now featured in professional rodeos. Although women grew up and worked on ranches with their male relatives, women were often barred from the competitions. In 1947 one woman helped organize the historic Tri-State Fair in Amarillo as a girl-only rodeo. After the success of the Tri-State Fair, she founded the Girl’s Rodeo Association in 1948. Name this cowgirl and rodeo producer.

">Thena Mae Farr
">Sarita Kenedy East
">Nannie Maddox Stringfellow
">Fannie Porter
">Fermina Guerra

Question 8 :

Women at Work. Texas women have always juggled work, family, and home life. According to the 2000 census, fifty-two percent of Texas women sixteen years old or older worked outside of the home. Women have held many types of jobs, from teacher to congresswoman to farm worker to lawyer. One Texas woman, a native of Hempstead, Texas, became the first woman licensed to operate a truck and own a trucking company in the United States. Her tough-love attitude and business savvy gained her the respect of many in her field. What is the name of this trucking industry legend referred to as a “dry land Tugboat Annie"?

">Florence Thornton Butt
">Minnie Lichtenstein Marcus
">Maria G. Sada
">Hope Thompson
">Lillie Elizabeth McGee Drennan

Question 9 :

Exceptional Artists. Texas has had its share of native musiciansRoy Orbison, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Selenago on to international fame and success. Some stayed in Texas while others left for New York or California. One artist found Texas stifling and cruel to nonconformists of the 1960s, so she left to join the band Big Brother and the Holding Company in San Francisco. Who was this rock star icon who became famous for her bluesy voice and tumultuous relationship with drugs and alcohol?

">Leonora Mendoza
">Janis Lyn Joplin
">Besa Short
">Mary Louise Winn
">Vera Jayne Palmer Mansfield

Question 10 :

Shady Ladies. Despite the growth of respectable opportunities in the Lone Star State, some women have chosen to live on the cusp of impropriety. Saloons, dance halls, and gambling dens attracted an array of disreputable characters, male and female. A well-known camp follower of the Mexican War carried on as a hotel operator, army laundress, and probable prostitute throughout south and west Texas. She stood six feet two inches tall and was nicknamed the “Great Western” after a large steamboat that operated during the era. Who was this plucky character who reportedly died from a tarantula bite?

">Lottie Deno
">Frenchy McCormick
">Josefa (Chipita) Rodriguez
">Sarah Bowman
">Erin Bain Jones