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Honoring Dayton’s women of strength

By Ruby McFarland

I’m going to take you on a flight of fantasy and imagination – if you will, a trip in a covered wagon across the Forty Mile Desert in 1850. Only, this trip will be taken by women – strong-willed, tenacious, determined women.

I will find these women right here in Dayton, Nevada. I have never lived in an area where there are so many strong women who are willing to jump right in and get a job done.

It’s going to take more than one article to chose the women I think could and would cross that brutal portion of the journey West. I may leave out some names that need to be on the list, but there are so many women who could make the trip successfully. Readers may want to add women to their own list.

I will start with the older women first: Woman No. 1 is Victoria “Dolly” Pradere, a wife, mother, store keeper, active volunteer and writer. Victoria was born in Dayton some 80 years ago.

From the start, she was a hard worker, having much to overcome in school because she didn’t speak English, only Italian. It took her a while, but she accomplished that, along with many other hardships many of us might have run away from.

Recently, she recovered from a serious operation and is back writing articles about the Dayton Senior Center.

Grace Ricci is another strong woman. Grace, too, is a wife, mother, rancher, volunteer and treasurer of the Dayton Museum Historical Society. She is a hard-working woman who raises a garden every year, feeds bummer lambs, looks after the ranch, and finds time to remain an active volunteer in the community.

Then there is Kay Winters, a woman who is the very picture of feminine pulchritude, but don’t let this wife, mother, rancher, organizer, and volunteer fool you.

She has done her share of hard work, too, including riding herd, branding, and dehorning cattle aside her husband, JohnD. She is a strong supporter of Dayton, its history and the museum.

Next, Del Minor, wife, mother, rancher, organizer, spokesman and madam president of the DMHS, also one of Dayton’s top volunteers. She steps up when needed, remembering people who were there when she needed help.

And, finally, there is Laura Tennant, wife, mother, organizer, editor, photographer, author and volunteer. She has always seen the importance of community pride and worked diligently to identify Dayton’s proper place in Nevada history.

Next week, I’ll continue to fill the roster of strong women whom I would wish to accompany me on the perilous journey now moving westward in my fantasy.

The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan Street in Old Town Dayton. It’s also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week at random hours and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Check out daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

The Dayton Historical Society meets at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Dayton Valley Community Center. Visitors welcome.

• Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.