In 1849 Luzena Wilson set out for California in a covered wagon with her husband and two little boys, hungry to join the tide of gold seekers. Like thousands of others, Luzena undertook the nearly 2,000 mile journey to an unknown land, where she’d rise from flood and fire, a survivor of the wild frontier.
From months on the trail to life in a sod hut, western women adapted to their new lives and found beauty in the rugged, often dangerous landscape. They helped tame the Wild West as they farmed, ranched, kept shops, founded libraries and churches, staffed schools, and won the right to vote. Using journal entries and letters home, author Brandon Marie Miller lets the women speak for themselves in tales of courage, enduring spirit, and adventure. Meet women such as homesteader Miriam Colt, entrepreneur Clara Brown, army wife Frances Grummond, naturalist Martha Maxwell, missionary Narcissa Whitman, and political rabble-rouser Mary Lease. Women of the Frontier also recounts the impact pioneers had on those who were already living in the region. As white settlers gobbled up the lands of Native Americans and people of Spanish descent, the clash of cultures brought pain to many including Rachel Plummer and Cynthia Ann Parker, and spearheaded the work of Susette la Flesche and Sarah Winnemucca, who fought the government’s treatment of American Indians.
Winner of:2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young PeopleNominated for:2014 YALSA Nonfiction Award Using journal entries, letters home, and song lyrics, the women of the West speak for themselves in these tales of courage, enduring spirit, and adventure. Women such as Amelia Stewart Knight traveling on the Oregon Trail, homesteader Miriam Colt, entrepreneur Clara Brown, army wife Frances Grummond, actress Adah Isaacs Menken, naturalist Martha Maxwell, missionary Narcissa Whitman, and political activist Mary Lease are introduced to readers through their harrowing stories of journeying across the plains and mountains to unknown land. Recounting the impact pioneers had on those who were already living in the region as well as how they adapted to their new lives and the rugged, often dangerous landscape, this exploration also offers resources for further study and reveals how these influential women tamed the Wild West. read more
Miller (Thomas Jefferson for Kids) offers a comprehensive look at the lives of pioneer women, both in general and specifically, who bravely ventured to the American west in the mid-19th century. Seven detailed chapters delve into such topics as harrowing trail journeys ("[W]omen hardened to shocking sights-seeing the dead lowered into graves without coffins or funerals, watching haunted people tramping home after giving up the struggle.... Young ones wandered off or fell and were crushed beneath wagon wheels"), the hardships of homesteading life, frontier entertainment, and female political activism. Fascinating, mini-biographies of 16 women round out each chapter, incorporating excerpts from letters and journals. Readers meet former slave Clara Brown, who amassed an entrepreneurial fortune in Colorado but lost it helping others, as well as Donner Party survivor Margret Reed, whose story is harrowing, as are those of two women held captive by the Comanche. Missionary and army wives, widows and entertainers-all impress and inspire as they survive, sometimes thrive, and carve out new lives for themselves. B&w archival illustrations and photographs punctuate the text. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.