Women In The Frontier Essay

1563 words - 6 pages

Women that took the trip west with their families were used to doing things by hand. They spun thread and made clothing, did the cooking and the cleaning but most importantly they did the child rearing. These women were always busy and sometimes they spun thread much into the evening. "I remember a neighbor lady who picked up her knitting and knitted a few rounds at her own husbands funeral, she was so used to keeping busy." ("Associated Content by Yahoo") These women kept their values and duties with them on the trip west. Women did most of the things they did back home during the journey. They cooked every meal and gathered food, took care of the children and also collected wood and buffalo chips as fuel for fire. Women learned how to cook things like biscuits and beans over an open fire, in order to adapt to always traveling. The weather made many things difficult there was dust, rain, and hail; because of this goods often got wet and sometimes they didn't have time to put up a tent to cook under. "In the morning our first domestic annoyance occurred. The women cook refused point blank to go any further...Here was a dilemma!...Having been reared in a slave state culinary education had been neglected and I had yet to make my first cup of coffee." ("Associated Content by Yahoo") This quote shows that women had to adapt but no where in the quotation was a complaint. It was common for women to do some of the men's work at times. "Albert is not well today, so I drove. I was very sleepy while driving, went to sleep a multitude of times, to awaken with a start fancying we were running into gullies." ("Associated Content by Yahoo") Some women had to endure the journey while with child, many women gave birth along the trail. This was a very serious issue because of the dangers it posed because of unclean environment and a lack of doctors and midwifes. Most women acted as though being pregnant was nothing out of the ordinary and one woman wrote in her diary daily never mentioning that she was pregnant until she brings up giving birth. Then she begins to talk about how once she had given birth to this child her wagon train crossed the Columbia River as if the birth was nothing big.
The journey itself was like preparation for the new life in the west. Women had the usual household chores daily, but often the women had to run the homestead when the men left for business and other reasons. Families relied on gardening for food along with other things. The cabins that many families lived in were generally small which was something new for many women. After a home was built a garden needed to be planted and although it was outside work and was outside of the woman's domain they worked in the garden.
Cooking became somewhat difficult since many families had to leave their stoves behind. Meals were cooked over a open fire which caused some problems for women. "Our food was all cooked over a fireplace and at times it would seem...

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