Dora Tibbets: Homesteader and Women’s Rights Pioneer

Cashmere was still Old Mission and Chelan County was yet to be named when Dora Tibbits and her husband Milton carved a living from their Dryden homestead in the early 1900s. With land on both sides of the Wenatchee River, their property existed in both Kittitas and Okanogan counties.

“It surely is a nuisance,” Tibbits writes of her thoughts of the governmental divide and the efforts to form a new county. “I suppose the old mossbacks are still in the majority, and can’t be convinced that the increased value of their land would more than make up for the extra taxes necessary to make a separate county of this valley.”

Tibbits is one of five historical figures featured Feb. 22 during the Wenatchee Valley Museum’s People of Our Past program.

While Tibbits was busy with the chores of ranch life, she still had time to bend her husband’s ear when it came to local politics and the stubborn holdouts against the formation of Chelan County.

“What dolts they are,” Tibbits writes in her memoir Reminiscences of a Ranch Woman. “I wish women could vote — I’d get out and rustle them all to the polls, and we’d win the day. Women are not so pig-headed as men and can be convinced more easily to modern methods.”

Tibbits, portrayed by Kathy Smithson, is one of five historical North Central Washington characters presented by the museum this winter. The rest of the lineup includes Wenatchee industry builder and pioneer E.T. Pybus, portrayed by Don Collins; Wenatchee First Citizen John A. Gellatly, portrayed by Marv Gellatly; railroad baron James J. Hill, portrayed by Bill Murray; and Colockum-area mail-order bride Nellie Cox, played by Sue Lawson.

Each actor will perform three times during the day with a culminating evening meet-and-greet gala starting at 6 p.m. Performances at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are by donation. Tickets for the evening event are $15 for members and $20 for non-members and include historically themed heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, live music and a chance to mingle with the characters following the performance.

For more information about the People of Our Past program, contact Selina Danko at 888-6240 or sdanko@wvmcc.org.

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