Thursday, 8 October 2009


Billy The Kid, or so the legend has it, killed a man for every year of his life.
In her lifetime it is reckoned that Sally Skulls bodycount was higher. Not a woman to mess with by all accounts.
Sally Skull or Scull was born Sarah Jane Newman in Pennsylvania about 1817.
She came west with her maternal grandfather. Sally Skull showed her prowess with a gun at an early age when the homestead was attacked by Indians.
By the 1830s she was down Texas way where she married Jesse Robinson, one of the heroes of The Battle Of San Jacinto, in 1838. By 1843 they were divorced and in that same year Sally married a gunsmith George Scull.
In her lifetime Sally, who never dropped the name Scull, was married five times.
This lady was feminine but she preferred to wear trousers - though I think that from what I've read she liked to wear the trousers.
She could rope and brand equal to any cow hand and ran her own freighting business. During the Civil War she drove freight up the famed Cotton Road to deliver needed supplies by the Confederate troops.
Sally, despite dressing and riding like a man was all female with a love of dancing. At the same time she liked a game of poker and could cuss with the best of them.
I have a visual picture of Sally who wore a brace of six guns, carried a rifle and wore a sunbonnet. Not the stereotype outfit that is usually imagined.
Sometimes she would get into disputes over land or cattle or horse deals with the result that she resorted to the only means of bringing an end to the arguement. With her guns and, usually, in self-defence.
In 1868 she disappeared. Some said that her fifth husband killed her and buried her body in the desert down Mexico way. Others say that she was seen around later than that.
Or maybe she moved to El Paso where in 1870 a lady known as Alice Stillwell Henderson was said to show some of the traits that Sally Skull had had. Also, it is said, that this lady had written a journal about the life of Sally Skull.
Who knows what happened to Sally Skull.
A lady with steel blue eyes who defied the conventions of her time. A cattlewoman, horsebreeder and freighter who was more feminist than the times could tolerate.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great subject (complete with title) for a Jack Giles western.