The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Author tells stories of women in Texas history

By Claudia Caramantin/reporter

A Texas native storyteller, writing teacher, author and journalist said her inspiration for writing about Texas women came about when she researched her own family’s contribution to the founding of Texas Christian University.

“Her name was Rachel Linn DeSpain,” said Carmen Goldthwaite, author of the Texas Dames, Sassy & Savvy. “She had a strong faith. It was Christian, and she had a strong belief that women should be educated too.”

Goldthwaite presented Outstanding and Unknown Women in Texas History March 6 to share stories of Texas women who made contributions and made a difference in society.

“My idea for the column, for the book, for any talks I give is to share what women have contributed,” she said. “We know about a few certain women, but there were so many more that didn’t get the claim or the mention that others did. Yet there are good stories, and because of them, we’re in a different place than we would have been without them.”

According to Goldthwaite’s website, she has taught at Southern Methodist University for more than 10 years. She is also a contributing writer for the True West; Wild West; American Cowboy; Persimmon Hill; Fort Worth, Texas and Latitudes and Attitudes magazines.

Goldthwaite shared stories of women’s accomplishments in a world where men were more powerful and viewed women as incompetent. From the 1850s to the 1880s, it was rare for women to be involved in businesses and, therefore, viewed as improper.

One of the stories Goldthwaite shared was of Sarah Cockrell, who took over her husband’s business when he was killed. She built a bridge over the Trinity River, built hotels in Dallas and ran her business from an office in her kitchen.

She was known as the first female capitalist.

“I enjoyed the stories,” said Christopher Blay, instructional assistant and SE Art Corridor galleries curator. “I’d heard of the name Cockrell and have driven by Cockrell Hill Road a few times when in Dallas, so it was nice to know who it was named after.”

Another story she shared was of a woman named Lucia Rede Madrid, a teacher who started a reading place for children to go and learn. Her library became known as The Bridge of Books because both adults and children came from both sides of the Rio Grande River to learn how to read. Visitors paid no fees, and no books were lost.

“The stories were very interesting and inspiring,” said Natalie Gamble, student development associate. “I think students were able to relate to at least one of the women Ms. Goldthwaite talked about because she talked about women from different backgrounds.”

Goldthwaite shared Madrid’s philosophy on education.

“Education is not only what we are told. Things of value come after hard work. We must learn, read and help others to acquire great values,” Goldthwaite quoted Madrid. “To me, values are culture, and culture we must have in this great country. To me, that is the American dream.”

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