The Gold Rush Widows of Little Falls

Linda Peavy, Author, Ursula Smith, Joint Author, Susan M. Armitage, Foreword by Minnesota Historical Society Press $29.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-87351-249-7
Peavy and Smith ( Dreams into Deeds: Nine Women Who Dared ) present an informative, personal account of frontier women who battled for survival in the village of Little Falls, Minn., while their husbands prospected for gold in Colorado and Montana during the mid-1800s. The work draws on correspondence between Pamelia Fergus and her husband, James, as well as letters between neighbor couples. James writes with advice and instructions on matters ranging from the children's schooling to family finances. Pamelia and other ``women in waiting'' describe clashes with Indians, commercial dealings, illness and loneliness. Peavy and Smith note that while the absence of husbands brought greater independence to these wives and mothers, most of them felt uncomfortable serving as heads of households or businesses. Ironically, their new responsibilities earned them neither increased recognition nor equality with men. This well-researched, highly readable study is a valuable addition to the history of the American West. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 331 pages - 978-0-87351-250-3
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