Ghost Town Wednesday: Bethsheba, Oklahoma — No Roosters Allowed!

bathshebaToday’s ghost town (spelled either “Bethsheba” or “Bathsheba”) may or may not have existed, according to some.  Purportedly, in 1893 an all-female village was established in Oklahoma in an area called “Cherokee Strip”.  These women so vehemently scorned men that they didn’t even allow male animals in their settlement.

Some historians believe that the “myth” of this all-female village (which only lasted three weeks) was fabricated by a Kansas reporter.  However, it seems no one has ever been able to pinpoint just exactly where Bethsheba was located.

According to author P.J. Lassek (“Oklahoma Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff”), the reporter recognized the mayor of Bethsheba as a woman from Kansas who had been duped into marrying a married man.

In 1961, in an article for Orbit, Robert E. Cunningham reported that the village consisted of 33 women, 12 of whom abandoned it after only one week.   One women was expelled because she was caught with a razor (a male-subversive instrument you see).  Cunningham said in his article that the settlement was formed on the Cherokee Strip on September 16, 1893.  The 1893 reporter, who wasn’t named in Cunningham’s article, made some wild claims.

The un-named reporter is said to have been sent back by his editor to further check out the settlement.  However, he did so from a distance with a pair of binoculars (to avoid being shot by the police chief of Bethsheba).  As he moved closer, more women appeared behind the police chief and all were wearing the same long black dresses with a dark shawl tied around their heads.

The reported said he was shot at but not hit and then all the women fled, so the reporter was eventually able to move about the village – observing that all the chickens were hens, the horses were mares and a female dog sniffed him.  He left, but after reporting his findings his editor wanted him to return to get more information (names, former residence, etc.).  By that time, however, all the women had abandoned the settlement.

The story of Bethsheba, fact or fiction, was the subject of a real work of fiction by Barbara DeVault, entitled “A Gentle Breed: The Story of Bathsheba, A Town Without Men”.

Have a GREAT day . . . someday it will be HISTORY!

© Sharon Hall (Digging History), 2013.



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