Shoshone County, Idaho GenWeb Project

A Woman Miner, Helen Gooding

After having worked as a miner in one of the shafts of a mine at Wardner, Idaho, for nearly three years, everyone supposing her to be a man, Mrs Helen Gooding, once a resident of a small town in England has been found out and robbed of her employment.

By a fall of ore, one of the miners, Henry Gooding, he called himself, was badly hurt. When taken to the hospital and cared for by the surgeons, it was found that the patient was in reality a woman-Mrs Helen Gooding.

How she had managed to hide her sex during all the time she had been working in the mines is a matter of conjecture. She applied for work when she first ar rived in Wardner, saying she was an English miner, and knew -the work thoroughly.

She was dressed in men's clothing, and wore her hair cut short, but as she looked delicate she was at first rejected. Later she secured employment, and had worked regularly until she was injured.

According to the surgeons at the hospital, the woman was greatly distressed when she found that her secret was out, and that she would not be allowed to resume work in the mine. She had be come to all outward appearances a man, she said, because it was easier to make a living that way.

Her husband, she added, was, before his death, an English miner, and she had learned more or less of the business from him. After his death she had come to this country, expecting to reside with a brother in Eastern Idaho,but on reaching the town where he once lived she found that he, too, was dead. Then it was that she determined to don men's clothing and become a miner. -"Detroit Tribune," September 15, 1903

Retrieved from Trove Digitised Newspapers, 11 March 2013.

Thanks to Matt Friend, state coordinator, for tracking down this article!