These fascinating letters written between 1909 and 1913 by a woman who homesteaded in Wyoming were free on Kindle. I enjoy learning about those intrepid pioneer women who went west when conditions were harsh and dangerous. Perhaps I want to know more because my own great-grandparents homesteaded in Nebraska, and both my grandfather and his sister were born on the homestead. That's also where my great-grandfather lost one eye when he was chopping wood, a friend of theirs was murdered by an outlaw, and then my grandfather got polio. After all that, they returned to Illinois and a more peaceful life.
If ever a woman was made for the life of a pioneer, though, it was Elinore Rupert, as she signed her name before marrying Clyde Stewart. She was the single mother of a toddler and full of dreams to see Alaska and Hawaii and do all sorts of things when she decided to skip the Civil Service exam she had registered for and take a job as a housekeeper for a homesteader in Wyoming. Eventually she married her employer, a "gude mon" who played his bugpeep (bagpipes) every evening.
Her daughter Jerrine called her stepdad "our Clyde." Soon she had a little brother but he died as a baby. Later two more boys were born. Jerrine wrote about one of them, "My brother Calvin is very sweet. God had to give him to us because he squealed so much he sturbed the angels. We are not angels so he Dont sturb us."
They have many adventures which Elinore writes about in her letters to a former employer and friend, Mrs. Coney. She and her daughter get lost in a blizzard at one point and are running out of food. Then they see a light and hear a voice which fortuitously is that of a bachelor settler. He takes them to his cabin to warm and feed them, and he becomes a lifelong friend. In another excursion Elinore, Clyde and friends discover two Mormon women who have been left in cabins alone, and one is in labor. They deliver the baby and later return with an old-fashioned Christmas including tree and gifts for the Mormons.
One thing I do like about my Kindle is that I can find free books like this, something I would probably never have discovered without Kindle. I recommend this for anyone who is interested in the pioneer life in America.