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First woman game warden in Texas dies

July
23
1966

On this day in 1966, rancher and writer Cordia Duke died. Born Cordelia Jane Sloan in Missouri in 1877, she taught school as a teenager in the Oklahoma Territory before moving to Sherman County, Texas, to teach in a one-room school near the XIT Ranch. She married Robert L. Duke, foreman for the Buffalo Springs division of the XIT Ranch, in 1907. In the ensuing years Cordia Duke chronicled the stories and activities of ranch hands and thus recorded a rapidly vanishing way of life. Her articles appeared in magazines such as the Cattleman. In the 1920s she was appointed the first woman game warden in Texas when the land surrounding the Duke homestead was designated a wildlife sanctuary. Passages from her diary as a ranch wife eventually became the basis of a book titled 6,000 Miles of Fence, published in 1961.

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