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Nan Jeanne Gable Lambell (Aspinwall)

Birthplace: New York, New York County, NY, United States
Death: October 24, 1964 (84)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Oliver Carpenter Aspinwall and Lena Aspinwall
Wife of Frank Gable and Al Lambell
Sister of Frank Aspinwall
Half sister of John Aspinwall

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Immediate Family

About Nan Aspinwall

Nan Jeanne Aspinwall Gable Lambell was born in New York on February 2, 1880. She lived in Liberty, Nebraska for most of her early years. Later publicity during her career would state that she was raised on a cattle ranch in Montana, though it seems probable that this story was designed to enhance her stage persona [see the book, In genuine cowgirl fashion: Nan Aspinwall Gable Lambell and the image of the cowgirl in wild west entertainment, 1880-1930, by Mary C. Higgenbotham for a brief discussion of Nan's early life and the Aspinwall family in Nebraska]. By 1899, Nan was performing as an oriental dancer, "Princess Omene." Sometime in 1905 or 1906, she began appearing as the "Montana Girl," an expert horsewoman, lariatist and sharpshooter. Though there are no records of how or when they met, by 1906 she was billed along with husband Frank Gable as a "Lariat Expert." By at least 1908, the couple was performing with the combined Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pawnee Bill's Far East Troupe. Nan apparently filled roles relating to her Montana Girl persona, in addition to performances as Princess Omene in the Far East part of the show. On a bet from Buffalo Bill, who later backed down, she rode on horseback from San Francisco to New York and back in 1911, supporting herself with exhibitions of roping and riding in small towns along the way. Later she and Frank had their own vaudeville show, Gable's Novelty Show, until 1929 when Frank Gable died.

Little is known of Nan's life after the death of her first husband. She married again, to Al Lambell, who also predeceased her. About 1960 "Death Valley Days" did a television show about her cross-country ride, for which she was a technical advisor. She died on October 24, 1964.

Frank Aspinwall was born on October 7, 1887. He grew up in Liberty, Nebraska. For a time following the death of his father in 1903, he lived in Falls City, Nebraska. He married Georgia Denhinger on November 9, 1914. In about 1915, he moved with his mother, Lena, and his wife to Seward, Nebraska, where he ran a garage. He moved to California in the 1920s, and received a Law degree from Southwestern University, Los Angeles, in 1928. Soon afterward he passed the California Bar Examination, and for the rest of his life he practiced law in California. Frank was also an amateur photographer. He continued to manage land holdings in Nebraska and Idaho for his mother until her death. After his first wife died, Frank married Alpha Farmer on October 21, 1947. He died in Fontana, California, on December 24, 1960.

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Nan Aspinwall's Timeline

February 2, 1880
New York, New York County, NY, United States
October 24, 1964
Age 84