Women Going West: A Few Beginning Thoughts

Last July I took a cross-country trip to Colorado. Driving through the wide-open spaces of desert, high desert, canyon lands, mountains, and high prairie, I tried to image what it might have been like for the pioneers coming into the Great American West in the 19th Century.

I had the luxury of traveling in an air-conditioned car, speeding along interstate highways or paved country roads and covering hundreds of miles in one day. That’s far different than how the real pioneers came. Their journey was usually made in covered wagon (or walking beside that wagon). There wasn’t air conditioning. There weren’t motels. After a long day of travel, a camp had to be made, supper cooked, clothes washed (if near a river), etc. etc.

Oh, and then the storms. Those magnificent thunderstorms that I love from the safety of the car or inside shelter. The pioneers had to weather the storm in the wagon, hoping their livestock didn’t run off…

Musings likes these prompted the Historical Theme of the Month for September, but I’m adding a twist. We’ll talk about experiences of pioneers going west – and we’ll focus on women’s history in the American west. Today, I’ll share my thoughts on the “terms” of the series and a little about a pioneer women in my own family. Continue reading