Riding horseback alone across Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska in the winter must have been a bleak and chilly undertaking. And unfortunately, Nan Aspinwall Gable did not leave any recollection of her journey — no letters, no journal, no memoir. Newspaper articles are scant. It must have been a tough journey, but mostly when she was interviewed by the papers, she tried to show her “plucky” side.
In spite of claiming to have been raised on a ranch in Montana, Nan had actually grown up in Nebraska. The Red Cloud Chief announced the start of her journey, but doesn’t seem to have reported on her stay when she arrived.
Will Visit Old Home
Beatrice—Miss Nan Aspinwall, known as “the lariat girl,” who left San Francisco Wednesday for New York on horseback, is a Gage county young lady. She resided and attended school at Liberty for many years, and her relatives live there at the present, and she will visit her old home while on her journey east. (Red Cloud Chief September 15, 1910)
By the time she got to Pennsylvania, the ordeal was taking its toll.
READY TO QUIT LONG RIDE
“Nan” J. Aspinwall, Cow Girl, in Pittsburg From Frisco.
Pittsburg, June 14 – “Nan” J. Aspinwall, “the cowboy girl”, who is riding from San Francisco to New York in horseback with a letter from Mayor P.H. McCarthy of San Francisco to Mayor Gaynor of New York, has arrived here exhausted.
“I wish Mayor Gaynor would jump on a horse and meet me halfway. I am an idiot for undertaking this trip, and I’d like to quit right here,” she remarked. (Perth Amboy Evening News, June 11, 1911)
But she didn’t quit. Close to her goal, she pressed on and arrived in New York on July 8, 1911. She had traveled 4,496 miles on horseback, and spent 180 days in the saddle.
GIRL ENDS HORSEBACK RIDE ACROSS COUNTRY
Miss Aspinwall in New York From San Francisco
NEW YORK, July 8.—Wearing a short skirt and a bright red waist. Miss Nan J. Aspinwall rode into City Hall square today, and, in dismounting presented a letter from Mayor McCarthy of San Francisco to Mayor Gaynor’s secretary. The mayor him self was out of town. The letter certified that Miss Aspinwall. September 1 1910, had set out to ride across the continent. (San Francisco Call, July 9, 1911)
Nan and Lady Ellen deliver the letter