Woman Vital to Boom Towns
Historical reproductions by Dick Perue
Evidence of the important role women played in settling Wyoming and the West is featured in a “Postcard” we published over 10 years ago. In 2010, I wrote the following.
Battle, though not a large town in the Sierra Madre Mountains of south central Carbon County, was a lively place in the early 1900s.
It was said to be a meeting, drinking and resting place for miners, teamsters, gamblers, promoters, ranchmen and “ladies of greater charm than morals.” Yet, Battle showed some evidence, too, of being more than just a junction serving the mining industry.
There were woman in Battle who established homes, formed the Hi Hat Literary Club, traveled on skis over 15-foot high snowdrifts to visit their neighbors, folks who were ill and at times, entertained in their pine-log cabin homes.
Battle, about 12 miles west of Grand Encampment, was located at 9,873 feet and lies just a quarter mile east of the ridge which forms a part of the Continental Divide. The town received its name from a battle in 1841 between trappers and Indians near Battle Mountain, 15 miles southwest of the berg.
In 1898, and within three months after it was laid out, Battle contained 40 structures – many occupied by women. Among the earliest buildings were four general stores, several livery stables, at least two dozen cabins, a post office, two hotels (one ran by a lady), a men’s apparel shop, a barber shop, a newspaper – The Battle Miner – and five saloons.
By far the dominant business, however, was the impressive two-and-one-half story Kinsella Hotel and Battle Rooming House, located on the south side of Main Street and operated by Mrs. A. B. Kinsella.
Located there also was a combination church building/school house. Daily mail and stagecoach service provided communication between Battle and the Union Pacific Railroad, and thus the world outside the Grand Encampment Mining District.
Today a cemetery, several mine shafts and prospectus holes plus a few seasonal cabins exist at the Battle town site. Most of the businesses were gone by 1912 when the mines dried up and residents left for greener pastures.
Information and photograph for this “Postcards from the Past” were obtained from the Bob Martin/Dick Perue historical collection and the Grand Encampment Museum.