Women have always been in business of one type or another. Meet five of Arizona’s early female entrepreneurs. Prospector Nellie Cashman established restaurants in towns across the territory. Sarah Bowman, a shrewd businesswoman with a tarnished reputation, operated dining establishments for the soldiers of Fort Yuma. Trading post owner Louisa Wetherill replicated intricate Navajo sand paintings, preserved Navajo stories, and maintained vast collections of Native herbs and plants. African American Elizabeth Smith successfully built and ran Wickenburg’s Vernetta Hotel and Angela Hammer, the first female newswoman in the territory, constantly battled unscrupulous men who believed no woman should run a newspaper.
Historian, author, and lecturer, Jan Cleere writes extensively about early settlers of the desert Southwest. An American studies magna cum laude graduate of Arizona State University West, she is the author of the award-winning books Levi’s & Lace: Arizona Women Who Made History; Amazing Girls of Arizona: True Stories of Young Pioneers; Outlaw Tales of Arizona; and More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Nevada Women. She has presented papers at numerous Arizona history conventions and has received recognition and honors from organizations such as the Arizona Newspapers Association, Arizona Book Publishers Association, and the Nevada Women’s History Project.