Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Elizabeth Ann Clifton

Elizabeth Clifton     Do you think you’ve had a rough life? I can assure you that when we get through with the story of Elizabeth Ann Clifton; you’ll feel your life is a piece of cake.

     Born in 1825, Elizabeth Ann Clifton had no schooling and suffered with bouts of epilepticy. At the age of sixteen, she married Alexander Carter. They became ranchers outside of Dallas. Elizabeth managed the ranch, and ran a boarding house. Her husband and his father ran a freight company. In 1857, both her husband and his father were mysteriously killed.

A little over a year later Elizabeth married a Lieutenant Sprague. He disappeared eighteen months later. Elizabeth continued with the boarding house and ranch, becoming one of the most prosperous people in the area. At the age of 36, Elizabeth married a third time…one of her ranch’s cowboys. They were married a year and a half when he was murdered.

Surviving three husbands was tough enough to bear. But the worse was yet to come. In 1864, when she was 39, her ranch was attacked by Comanche, during which Elizabeth’s daughter and daughter’s son were both killed. Elizabeth, her thirteen-year-old son and two surviving granddaughters were taken captive.

Elizabeth was sold to the Kiowa. One of her granddaughters froze to death during the winter of 1864. The other spent nine months as a captive. The Comanche tattooed her arms and forehead before releasing her.

After spending twelve months in captivity, Elizabeth was rescued. And on August 27, 1866, at the age of 41, she headed home. Elizabeth reunited with her granddaughter. Three years later, she married again, and lived quietly until her death at the age of 57.

Truly, it took strong women to survive in the Old West.

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