Noah Smithwick, author of The Evolution of a State or Recollections of Old Texas Days is said to have remarked that ...."life in the early days of Texas was an adventure for men and dogs, but hell on women and horses."

He must not have met Texas women like Sarah Jane Newman better known as Sally Skull.

She was such a legend that frontier mothers scolded their children with "you better be good or Sally Skull will get you."

"The piercing, steel-blue eyes under the bonnet's brim spoke with as much authority as her decided tone and the two cap-and-ball revolvers strapped at her waist. The horses continued along unmolested as the cowmen eased their mounts aside. They all knew Sally Skull by reputation and chose not" to cross her. Sally Skull made her own rules and defied convention in many ways other than riding astride when society dictated that ladies use only sidesaddles. A superb horsewoman, she roped and rode as well as any man. She could pick flowers with her blacksnake whip or with equal nonchalance leave the plaited imprint of its thong across the shoulders of an obstreperous man. Her language was strong and she was rated a champion cusser, her aim over the sight of either of the two sixshooters at her belt was true, and she delighted in either an evening of draw poker or of dancing at a fandango. In all, she took five husbands, and according to old legends, shot one of them and died at the hands of the last" wrote Dan Kilgore in the Texas Folklore Society Number XLIII, Legendary Ladies of Texas.

One story goes that when confronted by hostile Indians creeping toward the house a frightened man removed the lock from his gun and pretended it was broken. "I wish I was two men," he said, "then I would fight those Indians." "If you were one man," cried Sally, "you would fight them. Give me that gun."

J. Frank Dobie summarized that "Sally Skull belonged to the days of the Texas Republic and afterward. She was notorious for her husbands, her horse trading, freighting, and roughness."

Dan Kilgore's complete article "Two Sixshooters and a Sunbonnet: The Story of Sally Skull" is reprinted here.