“Letters of a Woman Homesteader” is the fascinating true tale of life on the American frontier by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. First published in 1914, Stewart’s work is a collection of 26 letters written by Stewart from 1909 to 1914 which follow her adventures in Wyoming. Born Elinore Pruitt in 1876 in Chickasaw Nation territory in modern day Oklahoma, her birth father died when she was very young and her mother and step-father both died when Stewart was a teenager, leaving her in charge of her younger siblings at age 18. She married her first husband in 1902 and was widowed in 1906 while pregnant. Stewart was resourceful and industrious and after working for a time in Denver, she traveled to Wyoming to work for Henry Clyde Stewart as a housekeeper on his homestead. Her letters to her friend back in Denver show her resilience and tenacity as she staked her own homestead claim and tirelessly faced the endless chores and challenges of making a living in the unforgiving frontier. Stewart’s letters are an engaging, charming, and candid glimpse into life on a working ranch and the unique challenges faced by a woman with a young child in the harsh American West.
Nicki’s note: I LOVED this book. It flows so easily that I read it in two days. Such a fun snapshot of pioneer history in America.