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Book Review - Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith

Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier (Oklahoma Paperbacks Edition) Paperback – April 15, 1998 by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith - ISBN#0-8061-3054-7

Pioneer Women provides a rare look at frontier life through the eyes of the pioneer women who settled the American West. Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith vividly describe the hardships such women endured journeying west and making homes and communities on the frontier. Their hopes and fears and, most of all, their courage in the face of adversity are revealed in excerpts from journals, letters, and oral histories. Illustrated with a fascinating collection of seldom-seen photographs, Pioneer Women reveals the faces as well as the voices of women who lived on the frontier.

The authors portray a wide variety of women, from those who found liberty and confidence in undertaking "men’s work" to those who felt burdened by the wind, the weather, and the struggle of frontier life.
Paperback, 144 pages, Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; Oklahoma Paperbacks Ed edition (April 15, 1998)


1834 - The Great Migration
1842 - Preemption Act
1880's - The Transcontinental Railroad had "emigrant cars" for those moving cross country. This car could hold household goods, family members, about 6 head of cattle, grain and hay.
1889 - Indian Territory became the Oklahoma Territory
Guidebooks were created for emigrants, such as "The Emigrant's Guide to Oregon and California" in 1845.
Prairie Schooners (wagons of the 1860's): 10ft long x 4 ft wide x 2 ft deep; canvas top (waterproof) stretched over bows with pockets sewn inside; there was a narrow aisle in the wagon to walk through; strapped to outside were buckets of grease, tools for farming, water barrels, etc; when fully loaded the wagon weighed up to 2000 lbs; 4-6 oxen pulled the wagon
1851 - Women's bloomers became popular
Making soap was actually a lengthy and dirty process: First, made lye by leaching water through ashes, then add it to grease. Boil this mix until soap can be skimmed off and poured into a tin bucket. This was then poured into wooden boxes lined with cloth, left to harden, and then cut into bars.
Typical jobs for women included servant, laundress, dressmaker, midwife, cook, seamstress, cook.

Check your local library for a copy or you can find one here:

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