Courtesy of ABC News

1067: Deshauna Barber

She's Proof a Girl Can Rock a Tiara and a Uniform

Born: 6 December 1989, Columbus, Georgia, United States of America

Deshauna is a logistics commander in the US Army Reserve (joining the service when she was seventeen) and she is a motivational speaker. She uses her position as a speaker to raise awareness for PTSD as well as empowering sexual assault victims. Deshauna herself is a survivor from a childhood assault.

She has a bachelors degree in Business Management and a masters degree in Computer Information Systems and Services.

She was working as an IT Analyst for the United States Department of Commerce at the time she won the Miss USA competition in 2016.

Deshauna was the first Miss USA to ever be crowned while actively serving in the US Military. She went on to compete in the Miss Universe competition and placed among the top nine finalists.


Courtesy of Wikipedia

1066: Lady Mary Bankes

Now This is How You Defend Your House

Born: c.1598-1603, Present-day Ruislip, England, United Kingdom

Died: 11 April 1661, Present-day Blandford Forum, England, United Kingdom

Mary is most known for defending Corfe Castle during a three-year siege in the midst of the English Civil War. Her defense of the castle lasted from 1643 to 1645 and earned her the nickname “Brave Dame Mary.”

At the time, Parliament and England’s King Charles I were in the middle of a bloody war. Mary’s husband was loyal to the king, and left the castle to further assist him. With Mary’s husband gone, the task of defending the castle fell to her.

Mary’s husband purchased Corfe Castle and its surrounding land after he was elevated to the position of Attorney General to the king. The position was prestigious to say the least, and Mary’s family were well off because of it.

After Mary’s husband left to join the royalist forces, Mary decided to send her sons away to safety. She and her husband had between ten and fourteen children (sources differ), but the daughters stayed with Mary and helped defend their home from the Parliamentary forces. According to family legend, when the Parliamentary forces arrived and demanded Mary give up the castle, she decided instead to fight back. Mary and her maids unleashed a round of cannon fire at the soldiers, who decided the best choice would be to leave and come back later. With the soldiers gone, Mary sent word and requested reinforcements to help out. Eighty royalist soldiers answered the call to help defend Corfe Castle.

For six weeks, the Parliamentary forces attempted to drive the Royalists out. Apparently, Mary and her maids responded to this by throwing hot embers and stones over the castle walls and onto the men below, killing or wounding around one hundred of them. Eventually the Parliamentary soldiers gave up and left. Soon after they fled, Mary received word that her husband had been killed. Then the Parliamentary forces came back. This time, Mary lost her home—not because the rival soldiers were able to overwhelm her forces, but instead because Mary was betrayed. One of her soldiers allowed the Parliamentarians inside and they took control of Corfe. Mary and her family were removed from their home and the castle was promptly blown to smithereens. According to family legend, Mary had managed to throw the family jewels and treasures down a well first to prevent their enemies from gaining the wealth.

Some historians today believe that Mary and her daughters were not present at Corfe when the castle fell, but were instead actually in London attempting to petition for the protection of their family’s lands. But even if Mary wasn’t there when the castle fell, she had defended it well and had kept it in her family’s hands for three long years throughout the war.

After the restoration of the monarchy, when Charles II returned to the English throne, Mary’s son built the family a new home at Kingston Lacy, with a manor house called Eastcourt for Mary. The family would never live at Corfe again, but their legend lives on.

Today, Corfe Castle is a registered historic site and tourist center at which visitors can learn Mary’s story.

Badges Earned:

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Courtesy of Britannica

“You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea.”

“Democracy is the best revenge.”

1065: Benazir Bhutto

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Born: 21 June 1953, Karachi, Pakistan

Died: 27 December 2007, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Benazir was the first woman to head a Muslim Majority Nation in the modern day, and the first woman to ever be democratically elected leader of a Muslim Majority country.

Benazir was educated at both Harvard and Oxford University, earning a bachelors degree at Harvard and completing several courses at Oxford.

She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former Prime Minister himself. He served as the leader of Pakistan for six years. Sadly, in 1979 Benazir’s father was hung by the military dictator who had taken control of Pakistan; ironically on charges of authorizing the murder of a rival political leader. After her father’s death, Benazir became de facto leader of the party he had once headed, the PPP or Pakistan People’s Party (Benazir became the chair of the party in 1982). From 1979 to 1984, Benazir was put under house arrest several times, and beginning in 1984 she was actually exiled from her country for two years.

Tragedy continued to befall Benazir’s family. One of her brothers died mysteriously in 1980 (the family insisted he was poisoned but no one was ever charged in his death). A second brother was killed in a gun battle in 1996.

In 1987, Benazir married a wealthy landowner. The couple would eventually have three children: one son and two daughters. Benazir became prime minister three months after her first child was born.

After the death of Pakistan’s military dictator in 1988, Benazir became a leading force in Pakistani politics. During the elections that year, Benazir’s party won the largest majority of seats in Pakistan’s National Assembly, leading to her being selected as Prime Minister as the head of a coalition government.

Benazir served two terms (1988-1990 and 1993-1996). During her first administration, Benazir was forced to resign her position after charges of political corruption were leveled at her. She hadn’t managed to effect much change in her country during her time in office, and her party lost large swaths of the election later that year (1990).

Three years later, Benazir was back. The PPP won back a large piece of the government after elections in October, and Benazir was once again Prime Minister. Three years later however, her government was once again forced out of power after being accused of political corruption, decline of law and order, and economic mismanagement.

Things were so bad that Benazir and her husband were both convicted on multiple charges relating to government corruption in 1999. However, the convictions were overturned by the Pakistani Supreme Court in 2001 after it was discovered the rival political party, who was in power at the time, had had a hand in ensuring the couple were convicted. During this time Benazir was in a self-imposed exile, splitting her time between London and Dubai. Though her tenure away was initially indeed self-imposed, arrest warrants for her were eventually sworn out meaning she would be taken into custody if she returned home.

The government decided to take things a step further with Benazir. According to Encyclopedia Britannica (Article linked below): “Because of [the Pakistani president’s] 2002 decree banning prime ministers from serving a third term, Bhutto was not permitted to stand for elections that same year. In addition, legislation in 2000 that prohibited a court-convicted individual from holding party office hindered her party, as Bhutto’s unanimously elected leadership would have excluded the PPP from participating in elections. In response to these obstacles, the PPP split, registering a new, legally distinct branch called the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP). Legally separate and free from the restrictions brought upon the PPP by Bhutto’s leadership, the PPPP participated in the 2002 elections, in which it proceeded to earn a strong vote. However, Bhutto’s terms for cooperation with the military government—that all charges against her and against her husband be withdrawn—continued to be denied.”

In 2007, the president of Pakistan finally commuted the charges against Benazir, and granted her amnesty, allowing her to return home—just in time for another round of elections. Sadly, Benazir’s return was not welcomed by many in her country. 136 people were killed in a rally welcoming her back to Pakistan, though the plotters of the attack failed to kill Benazir, that day.

The plotters succeeded a few months later, however. In December, Benazir was assassinated and twenty-eight other bystanders were killed in the attack. Around one hundred more were wounded. The suicide bomber who was identified as the culprit behind the attack was fifteen years old.

In the weeks after her death, mass protests and riots broke out across the country, killing twenty-three more. Pakistan’s Interior Justice blamed Benazir’s death on Al Qaeda, but a spokesperson for the terrorist organization denied being involved.

Badges Earned:

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Located In My Personal Library:

Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes--From Cleopatra to Camus by Kelly Murphy

The Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser

Tough Mothers by Jason Porath


Courtesy of Wikipedia

“I am like a deeply built ship—I drive best under a strong wind.”

1064: Jessie Frémont

Author and Political Activist

Born: 31 May 1824, near Lexington, Virginia, United States of America

Died: 27 December 1902, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Full Name: Jessie Ann Benton Frémont

Jessie is most known for being the wife of John C Frémont. John was a westward explorer and politician.

Jessie was the daughter of a senator. Her father educated her well, mainly at home, and she was known to have an adventurous and outgoing personality.

Jessie and John married in 1841, despite her father’s misgivings (Jessie was only seventeen at the time after all). Eventually Jessie’s father came around to the idea of his new son-in-law, and he used his position as a senator to further John’s career in his attempts to become a westward explorer.

Jessie published several accounts and memoirs of the time she spent with her husband and his friend and companion Kit Carson. It was Jessie’s writings that helped draw the national attention to John and Kit, making them both some of the most famous characters to come out of the West.

John was a polarizing figure in his own time. Most of America seemed to admire him, but he had his detractors as well. John was an Army officer, and his most well-known moment in history came when he managed to seize California from Mexican hands, giving the prosperous territory to the United States.

In 1856, Jessie became the first presidential candidate’s wife to play an active role in a campaign in United States history. John’s slogan was “Fremont and Jessie too.” Unfortunately for them, John’s candidacy did not result in a victory, but it was notable for one other reason as well: John was the first official presidential candidate for the newly formed Republican Party.

During the War Between the States, and according to The Atlantic (article linked below): “John Charles Frémont’s star gradually faded in later years, though his wife never stopped supporting him. When the Civil War came in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed John as a general based in Missouri. John soon clashed with the commander in chief, issuing an order that freed some Missouri slaves before Lincoln was ready to do so. Refusing Lincoln’s request to modify the order, he instead sent his closest adviser to confer with the president: Jessie boarded an eastbound train to Washington. Standing face to face with the towering president, she tried to argue that John’s emancipation order was helpful in Missouri and would play well in Europe, too. “You are quite a female politician,” Lincoln replied. Jessie said afterward, “I felt the sneering tone and saw there was a foregone decision against all listening.” Lincoln soon relieved General Frémont of his command. He would not allow a general to make political decisions that belonged to him as the government’s civilian leader.” Jessie’s work also came under scrutiny. Detractors referred to her as “General Jessie” in the press and mocked her husband’s ineptitude as being her fault. John couldn’t keep up with his overbearing and energetic wife; hence the nickname.

Jessie spent the rest of the war, and most the rest of her life, trying to salvage her husband’s reputation through various publications. She also worked hard to improve the sanitation practices used by the Army to try and save the lives of as many men as possible.

Jessie and her husband John had at least two children, according to Find a Grave, though her Google page only lists one son.

Jessie was a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and is known as a “Dazzling Daughter” today.

Badges Earned:

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Uppity Women Speak Their Minds by Vicki Leon

The Old West by Stephen G Hyslop


DAR Dazzling Daughter’s Fact Sheet (Provided during one of the classes new members can take. To see a copy please email me through the Contact Us page)

Courtesy of Wikipedia

“Yes, I love him devotedly. Every other man seems so ordinary beside my own bright particular star.”

1063: Elizabeth Bacon Custer

Author and Public Speaker who Spent Decades Fighting to Preserve & Protect Her Husband’s Legacy

Born: 8 April 1842, Monroe, Michigan, United States of America

Died: 4 April 1933, New York City, New York, United States of America

That’s right, Elizabeth (or Libbie/Libby [spellings differ], as she was known to friends and family), was the wife of now infamous General George Armstrong Custer.

Elizabeth graduated valedictorian from her school. She met her future husband when she was only twenty, in the middle of the War Between the States. Elizabeth was immediately attracted to the West Point graduate, however, her father refused to allow the pair to marry because he didn’t believe George’s own family had a good enough standing in the community in comparison to his own. Another reason for her father’s overprotectiveness stemmed from the fact that Elizabeth’s mother as well as her sisters had all died when she was still just a child. When George was promoted to brevet brigadier general two years later, Elizabeth’s father finally agreed to the match; and Autie and Libbie, as they affectionately referred to one another, were married soon after.

Elizabeth followed George whenever possible, and spent many nights in the field as an army wife. However, the pair were often separated for long periods of time as well, much to their chagrin.

When George and the rest of the seventh cavalry left to head off to their destiny at the Little Bighorn River, Elizabeth watched them go while the band played “The Girl I Left Behind.” She would never see her husband alive again.

Elizabeth become a widow at only thirty-four and lived off her husband’s pension for a while but it wasn’t enough money to support herself. So, she took up writing and lecturing to support herself instead. Elizabeth nearly single-handedly created the bigger than life myth of “General Custer,” in an effort to bolster her late husband’s reputation. She wrote three books about her husband and his career as well as a children’s book. Elizabeth made her life mission to counter or even disprove President Grant’s insinuation that the 7th Cavalry’s loss at the Battle of Little Bighorn was solely General Custer’s fault.

At the time of her death, Elizabeth was attempting to get Congress to open a museum near the Little Bighorn Battlefield. She outlived her husband by fifty-seven years and never remarried. Elizabeth was buried alongside her husband at West Point’s cemetery.

Badges Earned:

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Located In My Personal Library:

The Book of Awesome Women: Boundary Breakers, Freedom Fighters, Sheroes, and Female Firsts by Becca Anderson

The Old West by Stephen G Hyslop

Tales Behind the Tombstones by Chris Enss


Courtesy of Gulf News

“My husband and his brothers were very angry. They said, ‘What will people think? An old lady of your age going out to shoot guns? You should be looking after your grandchildren.’ I listened to them quietly, but I decided to keep going no matter what.”

1062: Chandro Tomar

Held the Title of Oldest Female Sharpshooter in the World at the Time of Her Death

Born: c.1931, Shamli, India

Died: 30 April 2021, Meirut, India

Her nicknames included Shooter Dadi and Revolver Dadi (Dadi meaning grandmother in Hindi).

She had eight children and at least nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Chandro first learned to shoot when one of her granddaughters wanted to learn how.

Chandro first learned to shoot in 1999 when she was in her late sixties, and she won over thirty national competitions in the years after. Before she became a sharpshooter, she spent her days working the family farm and living as a domestic housewife like millions of other women across India. According to the New York Times, she married when she was fifteen and never attended school.

At the time, Chandro’s husband and other male family members were not at all happy with her decision to learn to shoot. She hid the news as long as she could, but after a local paper published her story, Chandro’s husband berated her. Chandro decided to ignore his mean words and kept competing anyway.

Her husband and his brothers never approved of Chandro’s competing. But instead of trying to stop her, they decided instead to simply ignore her work and move on with life. Chandro said that was fine by her. Along with her competing, Chandro also mentored hundreds of young women in India who wanted to learn to shoot as well. Chandro became a force and advocate for women’s equality in India in the years after she began shooting, and was fondly remembered throughout her country.

Her family opened an indoor shooting range in her honor soon after her death. A Bollywood movie was created after being inspired by her life story.

Chandro’s niece was the first Indian woman to win at the Rifle and Pistol World Cup in 2010. One of her granddaughters is also a champion shooter.


Courtesy of CTIE

1061: Marie Marvingt

It Takes a Special Kind of Woman to be Nicknamed, The Fiancée of Danger

Born: 20 February 1875, Aurillac, Auvergne, France

Died: 14 December 1963, Laxou, Lorraine, France

Marie was a true athlete and was proficient in a number of sports including mountain climbing, cycling, swimming, fencing, shooting, skating, bobsledding, flying in various aircraft, and more.

Marie was the first woman to climb many French and Swiss mountains. According to one source, she earned her helicopter pilot’s license when she was eighty.

Two years before she died, at the age of eighty-six, Marie bicycled one hundred and seventy-five miles across France, just because she could. That attitude was reflected throughout her trend setting, incredible life.

In 1908, for instance, Marie was denied entry to the Tour de France because of her gender. Undeterred, Marie decided to cycle the race anyway and finished it independently while two-thirds of the male competitors failed to complete the race.

She was also a record-breaking balloonist. In 1907 (or 1901, sources differ), Marie was the first woman in France to earn a balloon pilot’s license. In October of 1909, she became the first person to pilot a balloon over the English Channel from England to France. The following year, she became the third woman in the world to earn a fixed wing pilot’s license. That same year, Marie became the first woman to hold a flying record for women after a successful fifty-three-minute-long flight. Flight at the time was incredibly dangerous, yet Marie managed to fly nine hundred consecutive flights without a single crash.

In 1915, Marie was even the first woman to fly combat bomber raids in history. To put that into perspective; this was only twelve years after the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawke--twelve years. Marie was involved in at least two raids against the German lines during World War I. Some sources even claim she served on the front lines as an infantryman earlier in the war. For her efforts, Marie was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

She was a surgical nurse and the first trained and certified flight nurse in the world. As early as 1912, Marie had designed her first air ambulance and oversaw the deployment of flight ambulances in North Africa. Marie also helped establish the first training protocols for flight nurses.

In the 1930’s, Marie even found time to help direct and star in two films.

Among her other awards, Marie was the first and only person in the world to ever be awarded the “For All Sports” French National Sports Federation award in 1910.

According to Women in Aviation International, Marie, Was so successful in sports that she was named in a 1914 anti-feminist book as setting a poor example for young women, because she did not participate in sports for entertainment or health, but displayed unladylike characteristics in that she competes fervently and really tries to win.””

Badges Earned:

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Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath


Courtesy of Wikipedia

“You have not one man to spare; a woman will not be missed in the defense of the fort…’Tis better a maid than a man should die."

(Betty’s supposed words when someone suggested a man go for the gunpowder instead of her)

1060: Elizabeth “Betty” Zane

Famed Revolutionary War Volunteer

Born: c.1759-1766, The Colony of Virginia (Present-day West Virginia, United States of America)

Died: c.1823-1831, Ohio, United States of America

Full Name: Elizabeth Zane McLaughlin Clark

Betty was present at the siege of Fort Henry in Wheeling, present-day West Virginia the day she entered the pages of history. The town and its nearby fort had been founded by Betty’s older brothers several years before the siege occurred in 1782.

As the story goes, Betty had just returned home from school in Philadelphia when a band of Native Americans and British regulars attacked the town. The locals panicked and raced into Fort Henry, near the town, without grabbing enough gunpowder to adequately defend themselves.

Inside the fort they ran out of gunpowder in the midst of the fighting, so Betty ran to her brother’s house, loaded the gunpowder into her apron, then ran back towards the Fort. The soldiers fired at her once they realized what she was doing, and supposedly pierced her clothes, but she managed to return to the fort unscathed. The amount of gunpowder she returned with was enough to ensure the inhabitants of the fort were able to fight off the Natives until more help could arrive.

While the story is quite imaginative and fun to listen to, there is little actual documentation about Betty’s life to ensure the story is factual. All we really know about her is that after the war she married and moved to Ohio. Her story was fixed in American history after her descendant and famed author Zane Grey published an account of the battle and included his ancestor’s story in 1903.

Today, a monument to Betty’s courage is located in her adopted hometown of Martins Ferry, Ohio.

No known depictions of Betty from her life survive to present-day. The image of her shown here is an artist's interpretation of events that happened during the siege.

Badges Earned:

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Women Heroes of the Revolution by Susan Casey


Courtesy of Pinterest

1059: Emily Geiger

Revolutionary War Patriot

Born: c.1765, The Colony of South Carolina (Present-day South Carolina, United States of America)

Died: c.1825, South Carolina, United States of America

Emily was a civilian volunteer who offered to ride across seventy miles of dangerous terrain to deliver a message during the war when she was only eighteen. It was June of 1778, and General Nathanael Greene needed a message delivered to General Thomas Sumter. Her incredible bravery is one of the few details known with certainty about her life.

The first night of the ride, Emily was almost captured by Tories but escaped and then later actually captured and questioned.

Before the message she carried could be found on her, Emily memorized and then ate it.

The soldiers had to release Emily after finding nothing suspicious on her.

She finished her journey and passed on the message successfully.

After the war, Emily got married, but her date of birth and death are unknown with certainty. No known images or depictions survive of Emily to this day. The drawing shown here is simply an artist's rendering of Emily's famed ride.

Emily has been honored with a National Society Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated marker in a small cemetery in South Carolina (though according to Find a Grave Emily herself is not buried there), indicating she is a Revolutionary Patriot in the DAR database. Today, Emily also has a DAR chapter named after her in the South Carolina state society.

Badges Earned:

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Women Heroes of the Revolution by Susan Casey


Courtesy of Wikipedia

1058: Nancy Hart

Spy, Scout, and Soldier During the American Revolution

Born: 1735, The Colony of North-Carolina (Present-day Orange County, North Carolina, United States of America [or possibly Pennsylvania, sources differ])*

Died: 1830, Present-day Henderson County, Kentucky, United States of America

Original Name: Ann Morgan

Nancy made it her personal mission to rid Georgia of the Loyalist Tories by possibly capturing six, killing one, and overseeing the hanging of five others.

She reportedly gave birth to six sons and two daughters despite the fact that she didn't get married until she was in her mid-thirties.

Nancy was a formidable woman. She was reportedly six feet tall and muscular with bright red hair leading the Cherokees to calling her Wahatche; meaning War Woman. Nancy might have been a relative of either Daniel Boone or Daniel Morgan (though the evidence for both is not really existent). She was illiterate, a skilled herbalist, hunter, excellent shot, and was cross eyed as well. As if her other characteristics weren’t memorable enough.

Despite these descriptions, no verifiable images of Nancy's likeness survive to this day. You simply have to use your imagination when you think of her. In a way I think that makes it better.

During the course of the war, Nancy managed the family farm while her husband was away fighting for the Americans. Evidently Nancy was restless though and she often snuck off to spy on the British by posing as a feeble-minded man. Some reports state she was even present for the Battle of Kettle Creek in 1779.

It is said Nancy’s daughter caught someone spying on them through a hole in the wall so Nancy chucked hot soap at the poor guy. Apparently scalded by the soap, Nancy was able to capture and then tie him up before handing the poor sap over to the Patriots for a bit more fun.

After some British soldiers came into Nancy’s home and demanded food from her (possibly even killing her last turkey and demanded she cook it for them) Nancy started stealing their guns and when caught threatened to shoot the soldiers. She actually did kill one soldier and wound another when they rushed her. The rest of the soldiers were hung once her husband got home to help Nancy finish them off.

Now, in case you think that last story sounds a bit outlandish, it’s important to note that reportedly in 1912, six bodies were found buried near the house, leading some to believe they were the soldiers killed by Nancy and her husband that fateful day.

According to (article linked below):

“In the decades after the Revolution, many of Hart’s adventures became the stuff of legend and inspiration. During the Civil War, a band of Georgia women formed a militia unit named in honor of Nancy Hart, illustrating how the legacy of Hart’s heroism has lived on. Today, the state of Georgia has memorialized Hart in several ways, including one of the state’s counties, a state park, a lake, and a highway. In the 1930s, the Daughters of the American Revolution reconstructed the Hart’s cabin, which had been washed away in a flood many years before, in order to commemorate one of Georgia’s most famous female Patriots. Nancy Hart, like many American frontierswomen, played an important role not only in defending her family and community during the War for Independence but also in shaping the memory of the American Revolution in ways that still resonate today.”

*I have decided to list Nancy under “North Carolina” for her birth location because of her Find a Grave profile which states North Carolina. Evidently the profile is managed by one of her descendants—though the message they have in relation to her burial itself is hostile in nature to say the least.

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Women Heroes of the Revolution by Susan Casey