Book Review: Letters from a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart (Four Stars)
I have not filed on my land yet because the snow is fifteen feet deep on it, and I think I would rather see what I am getting, so will wait until summer. They have just three seasons here, winter and July and August.
Primary source history. Genuine letters of a woman who moved from Denver, Colorado to the frontier in western Wyoming in 1909. Not exactly Daniel Boone, but a pioneer in her own right. Tough, smart, caring, and a good communicator.
Well, we had no money to hire men to do our work, so had to learn to do it ourselves. Consequently I learned to do many things which girls more fortunately situated don’t even know have to be done.
Not just literate, but literary. References to Mark Twain, Shakespeare, and Thackeray reveal Stewart as a well-read and broad-minded person, despite her claim to have never finished school. References to fossil hunting for the Smithsonian and women’s suffrage. Organized weddings and funerals on the fly. A woman for all seasons on the prairie. This is how the West was really won.
To me, homesteading is the solution of all poverty’s problems, but I realize that temperament has much to do with success in any undertaking, and persons afraid of coyotes and work and loneliness had better let ranching alone.
Bonus: This edition includes half a dozen illustrations by N. C. Wyeth.
Of course I am extra strong, but those who try know that strength and knowledge come with doing. I just love to experiment, to work, and to prove out things, so that ranch life and “roughing it” just suit me.