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Estelle Reel 1895 ~ 1959


Estelle Reel

Miss Estelle Reel is a woman who has done a great work in the United States. She was for many years superintendent of the Indian schools established by the United States Government in the various states. The fact that she served under different secretaries of the Interior Department and Commissioners of Indian Affairs is a guarantee that her work was satisfactory. Miss Reel is a practical woman, possessed of great executive ability and business capacity. She traveled many miles on horseback and endured hardships in the conscientious pursuance of her duties.

After finishing her education in St Louis and the East, Miss Reel was obliged to go to Wyoming for her health. Here she became a teacher and the climate proved all she had desired. She was a resident of Laramie County, the largest county of that state and its political center. During the absence of one of her friends, who was county superintendent. Miss Reel felt it her duty to look after her friend's interests, and so impressed were the political leaders of that section by her ability that Miss Reel was nominated for county superintendent, which was her introduction into politics.

Her campaign was made solely on the school question in that section of the country. She was elected by a large majority and re-elected. During her services as county superintendent of Laramie County she brought about many improvements in the school system. Every school was comfortably housed and conditions were brought up to a much higher standard.

She was then named for state superintendent of schools and was the first woman to occupy this position in any state of the union. She became very much interested in the leasing and disposition of the state school land with the object of securing a good school fund. The result of her efforts in this direction was that the state of Wyoming in a few years enjoyed a most satisfactory school fund and the best possible system of schools. Her duties as state superintendent took her all over the state. Many of these journeys were made on horseback.

Her work in this position brought her to the attention of the officials when the Indian schools were established. They believed she would bring practical common sense into the management of these schools, an important factor in the education of the Indian. Her work has proven most satisfactory to the government Miss Reel believed in a practical education and the Indians were first taught English, then industrial training as well as education from books. She was equally popular with her "charges," who frequently requested her to take entire care of their children.

Miss Reel left the government service June 30, 1910 to marry Mr. Curt L. Meyer, of Toppenish, Washington.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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