Photo courtesy of Jennie Sue Weltner
“Taking the Reins,” which aired May 2018 as part of Idaho Public Television’s series Idaho Experience, won an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the 56th Northwest Regional Emmy Awards in Seattle this last Saturday evening, June 8. Produced by Jennie Sue Weltner, this documentary features research by ISU Instruction Librarian Philip Homan on Idaho rancher Kittie Wilkins, dubbed the Idaho Horse Queen, who sold seven percent of all the horses that were sent from the United States to South Africa for the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902.
Katherine Caroline Wilkins was born in 1857 in the Oregon Territory, the daughter of fortune-seeking pioneers. On one of the Wilkins’ departures, neighbors gave the toddler two 20-dollar gold coins. Years later, Katherine would regale to reporters how she parlayed that 40 dollars into her fortune. She would become one of the most successful horse sellers in the United States, the undisputed boss of Idaho’s famed Diamond Ranch. The world would come to know her as the Horse Queen of Idaho. Friends and family simply called her Kittie.