It’s no secret. Nevada history is not exactly burgeoning with examples of women increasing to positions of power in government or company.
And until recent generations, the really thought of a female serving in a leading job in law enforcement was totally out of the concern. And during Nevada’s wild developmental years, well, the idea of a female deputy and even constable was something downright unimaginable to a lot of.
That’s why Clara Crowell is among Nevada Smith’s preferred characters. In March 1919, just weeks prior to American ladies won the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Change to the U.S. Constitution, Crowell fired a shot for equality by handling the tough duties of Constable of Lander County. She won visit after her husband, Sheriff George Crowell, passed away after a long health problem with two years left in his term.
Clara was selected to the task, however it had not been a ceremonial sop. She was chosen over several male applicants after a petition distributed Austin and the outer the county. That pleased even the male-dominated Lander County Commission. Historian and journalist Craig MacDonald observed in a 1980 article for Nevada Magazine, “Upon seeing the petition, the commissioners unanimously picked 42-year-old Clara Crowell to be constable for the staying 2 years of her spouse’s term.”
Although the overall of her police experience consisted of viewing her husband do his job, he in turn had actually been a stagecoach driver prior to ending up being the keeper of the peace in Lander County.
National newspaper readers had their eyes rising of females’s suffrage, however out in Nevada Sheriff Clara Crowell was huge, big news.
From a March 8, 1919 edition of the Fight Mountain Scout: “The county is special in its consultation of a lady as constable. Being a lady does not in any method interfere with the performance of task and there is no doubt in the minds of the people that task will certainly be the watchword of Mrs. Crowell.”
In keeping with the times, the brave paper reporter couldn’t resist including, “If she requires any help from the outdoors, there are plenty of men who prepare and going to do the rough part of the work for her.”
Plainly the author didn’t know Clara Crowell. The previous waitress, who served the community of Austin as a nurse and midwife, had not been ready to handle a job and play the princess card. In 2 years of service, she assembled horse thieves and outlaws. Any mug who believed Lander County had actually become a pushover had a big surprise in store thanks to the brand-new constable.
Crowell was even tough on purveyors of liquor. In those days, Lander County was “dry” however had no shortage of bootleggers and moonshiners, and she implemented the law where it made useful sense. She broke up barroom brawls when essential and didn’t linger for her deputies.
She even practiced a little innovative investigator work. Composes MacDonald, “Constable Crowell showed to be a lady of action. She collared some scoundrels by working undercover. Once she posed as an old Indian to catch a man who was selling alcohol unlawfully to Indians. After catching the storekeeper in the act, Clara threw open her coat, exposing the sheriff’s badge, and placed the man under arrest.”
By the end of her term, she had impressed her buddies and won over many skeptics. She was motivated to run for election, however she had currently discovered a way to serve the community she enjoyed as a nurse and the administrator of the county healthcare facility.
She died on June 19, 1942, at age 66.
The neighborhood of Austin ended up en masse to pay its pleased respects to Clara Crowell, the sheriff who put on a gown and scorchinged a trail for ladies in Nevada’s a lot of unwelcoming environment.
John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Email him at [email protected]!.?.! or call 702-383-0295. Discover him on Twitter: @jlnevadasmith