Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pioneer Women

For months, sometimes a year or more, pioneer/homesteading women were isolated from other women, seeing only their husband and children in their daily life. It was a hard life and lonely at times. But pioneer women played a crucial role in settling the west. Their love, courage, ingenuity, and wisdom made settling the untamed land possible. Women brought social events, including churches, weddings, barn dances, sewing circles, and other stability to the wilderness life.

Their letters sent back home and the diaries they kept give us a small glimpse of what their life was like. Every time I read a snippet from their writings from the past, I am filled with admiration and awe at what brave, courageous women helped to settle this country.

I'll be sharing different aspects of women of the past as time goes by. If you enjoy history of women that helped settle America--please join in the conversation!

I especially enjoy reading about the lives of schoolteachers who went west. How brave they must have been to leave everyone in their life behind and go off on their own! In all the movies, the teacher is usually some poor, old spinster woman that no man would look at. History bears out that most were young women of a very marriageable age--and most did marry eventually. The excerpt below shows how women coming to a town changed things, if only for a few hours on Sundays!

For instance, in 1880, all business in Grand Junction, Colorado, barely settled and not yet incorporated, shut down at 2 p.m. every Sunday so all 300 people in town could listen to Miss Nannie Blain, the first teacher in town, read and discuss the Bible. As soon as she was finished, all the businesses, saloons, etc. opened back up. One wonders what she thought about the wildness that stopped for that hour or so, then went on as usual.

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