Born 1901 in the Oklahoma Territory, Ruth arrived with smallpox and was immediately kidnapped by her birth attendant.  That story ended well and Ruth went on to lead an incredible life which she chronicled in Survival: The Story of My Life.  She was fascinating, tough and incredibly resourceful. 

I’m just 80 pages into her autobiography and she’s already shared these experiences:


Polio and infertility

Child abuse

Surviving the Great Depression

Moving to Alaska

The airplane, mining, fishing and fashion industries

Animal husbandry

Divorces, gamblers, cheaters, abortions, bordellos and cads

A knife fight

An attempted sexual assault

And one intense relationship with her Great Dane, Mike.


Ruth’s story highlights how women in western states worked hard to establish their businesses and financial independence.