Women Voting In The West

In our series about women going west, we’ve talked about the challenges these women faced and how they worked hard to get a job accomplished. Respectable women were respected in the west; they were important members of their communities.

One particular right was granted to women in the western territories or states – oftentimes decades before that right was adopted by the Federal Government and written as a Constitutional Amendment. It was the right to vote. Continue reading

Cowgirls In The West

Ask someone to name a symbol for the American West and before long “cowboy” will be mentioned. Since we’re chatting about women in the west, I thought we should talk about cowgirls today.

Where there really cowgirls in the 19th Century or were they sort of an Old West myth? What did they do? How did the idea of cowgirls gain popularity? Here are a few facts and thoughts:

Continue reading

Women At The Forts

A few weeks ago one of my brothers was watching a John Wayne movie. This particular film had the classic “young officer falls in love with pretty girl” in the plot and highlighted the role of women in Western military forts. (Sort of.)

That got me curious about the real women who lived at military forts during the 19th Century. And a little research revealed a few interesting facts. There were many respectable wives and daughters who journeyed west and lived at or near the military forts where their husbands or fathers served.

Today’s blog post shares five facts about these pioneer women civilizing the west. Continue reading

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