Booklet cover showing a wagon train. Can you imagine the dirt and dust everything must have been coated with? Yeach!
One of the interesting little tidbits I found that I have to say I never really thought about. It reads:
Toilet facilities along the trail were nothing more than communal ditches. The full skirts worn by most pioneer woman acted as shields or " curtains of modesty" for this purpose. Now you know why they continued to wear long skirts instead of the more comfortable and convenient bloomer outfit! Gack!
My little booklet fits behind my grandmother's homestead which I have made into a pocket for that purpose.
I also included a quote from one of the pioneering books that I read. I believe that its from one of the woman's diaries:
It reads:" We finally reached our new home. Out here on the lonely prairie we reached to the stars through the wilderness."
You can see my last spread above. Again I wanted the viewer to feel the breathe and emptiness of the prairie. I also wanted to emphasize how lonely it must have been for a woman particularly a woman alone miles away from the nearest town or homestead. The text is from one of my favorite Louis Lamour westerns. It reads: The wind whipped her skirt, and she saw one of the silent riders of the wind (a tumbleweed) roll by not very far away.
Maybe...off to the south somewhere...maybe there was somebody down there as lonely as she was, somebody whose thoughts reached out into the emptiness of the night, longing, yearning... alone. By the way 15% percent of the Homesteaders were woman alone either single or widowed. If your husband died along the trail a woman was expected to continue.
One of the things I realized after all the research I did for these spreads was that feminism had its roots right here. As woman traveled west it was necessary for them to step out of their traditional role for the first time. For the first time a woman was expected to do much more than just cook and clean. They also tended the stock, harnessed the wagon teams, and even branded their own cattle .
I feel proud that I am the ancestor of such brave and resilient people. I feel humbled by their strength and determination. I only hope that in some small way I can live up to the hardships they endured so that their children and their children's children could find a better life.