Lesson Objectives

To understand the lives and professions of rural women in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, specifically those in Carbon County, Wyoming.


Topics: US History, Women’s History, Western History, Rural History.

Age Group/Grades: Ten – Thirteen years old, 5th – 8th Grades.

Download Lesson Plan & Worksheets

Learning Objectives:

  • Literacy: Students will read and research women in Carbon County, Wyoming who engaged in professional and non-traditional occupations in the late 19th and early 20th
  • Writing: Students will use the printable sheets to create a “journal” of their selected subject, making their own booklets to create their own adventures of diaries of a woman based upon one of the women studied.
  • Active Learning Activities:
    • Activity 1: Students will complete a poster, digital presentation, work of art, or a video based on their reading and research, utilizing their journals created using our template.
    • Activity 2: Students will complete the printable word search.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will analyze the historical roles rural, American frontier women played in their communities.
  • Students will identify and research women who engaged in “non-traditional” occupations in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries.
  • Students will create original work to examine and describe the lives of one of the women studied.
  • Students will evaluate how the rural environment impacted the women’s roles and careers.

Women to be Studied:

  • Lillian Heath Nelson, MD
  • Gertrude Huntington Merrell, Co-Editor, The Platte Valley Lyre
  • Laura Huntington Heath, Co-Editor, The Platte Valley Lyre
  • Lora Webb Nichols, Photographer

Online Resources:

Lillian Heath Nelson, MD:

Van Pelt, Lori, “Lillian Heath: Wyoming’s First Female Physician Packed a Pistol.” Published at WyoHistory.org.  Access here: https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/lillian-heath

Hill, Sharon, “Feisty Females: Dr. Lillian Heath.” Digging History June 12, 2015 Access here: https://digging-history.com/2015/06/12/feisty-females-dr-lillian-heath/

Gertrude Huntington Merrell and Laura Huntington Heath:

Van Pelt, Lori, “The ‘Lyre Girls:’ First Women Newspaper Owners in Wyoming.” Published at WyoHistory.org. Access here: https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/lyre-girls-first-women-newspaper-owners-wyoming

Lora Webb Nichols

View the PBS program, “Wyoming Chronicle” to see their episode “The Photography of Lora Webb Nichols” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0wc9t4Sht0

Some of her photographs can be viewed here: https://www.wyominghistoryday.org/theme-topics/collections/lora-webb-nichols