Catherine “Kate” Cruikshank was born on 14 February 1837 in Lee County, Iowa. Her father, Alexander, was a native of Norway, while her mother, Keziah (Perkins) Cruikshank, came from Kentucky. The family included seven children. From a biography of James Cruikshank, Kate’s older brother, we know that the Cruikshank children had access to several years of schooling and were raised as Methodists.
In 1864, one month before her twenty-seventh birthday, Kate married Samuel Dunlap, an Ohio native. He was thirty-eight and had worked as a teacher at the Indiana Deaf and Dumb Asylum. Three months after their marriage the couple left Iowa for Bannack City, Montana Territory. Although mining conditions were quite favorable in Montana in the 1860s, the Dunlaps operated a drug store. Samuel also worked as a stock raiser, and Kate taught at a subscription school in Nevada City. Kate bore seven children before Samuel died in 1878, only fourteen years after their marriage.
Kate remained with her children in Bannack, Montana for five more years before moving to Junction, Idaho in 1883. She operated a drug store and also worked as a midwife and practical nurse. She died in 1901 and was buried at Salmon, Idaho.
1870 Montana Census (Samuel Dunlap, Bannock, BeaverheadCounty, 005).
1880 Montana Census (Kate Dunlap, BeaverHeadRiver, BeaverheadCounty, 2D).
History of Lee County, Iowa. Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914.
Malone, Michael P., Richard B. Roeder and William L. Lang. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991.
Tyler, S. Lyman, ed. The Montana Gold Rush Diary of Kate Dunlap. Denver: Fred A. Rosenstock Old West Publishing Company, 1969.