By Anne Bruner Eales
Relocating from the restrictive chrysalis of "civilized" culture and Victorian viewpoints within the East, the ladies who their military husbands to forts within the West made an day trip right into a freedom of throught and motion that the majority of them had by no means skilled or maybe imagined. "No one drawn to the background of the yankee West or women’s heritage may still leave out this well-written, rigorously researched, complete therapy of a topic that earlier students have mostly ignored." —Herman Viola, writer of "Exploring the West"
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Extra resources for Army wives on the American frontier: living by the bugles
At first much of their furniture was constructed from packing boxes, barrels, and army blankets. Wives who had been unwilling to remove a dead mouse from a trap in the East encountered rattlesnakes on their mantels, tarantulas in their kitchens, and bats hanging from the blankets on their beds. Women went hungry as food shipments were delayed in Indian attacks; they were buried in avalanches in Montana and trapped in quicksand in Nebraska. Army wives gave birth in the back of unsprung wagons with only a stranger to help them and then protected those children with a bullwhip or a pistol.
Page 10 Being young, they were usually more openminded about new ideas and experiences; several were even eager for adventure. "25Annie Roberts Yates had been raised in the jungles of South America, where her father was an engineer with the railroad. She spoke several languages and proved her willingness to take risks when she defied society and married her husband, George, a divorced man. Helen Brace taught elocution at Vassar College and had studied acting in Paris before marrying an army doctor, Col.
General Custer" or "Mrs. Colonel Grierson," reflecting her husband's status and authority rather than her own value as an individual. Page 3 Victorian ladies in the East "lived in a kind of earthly limbo . . "2 They were trained to do good, be good, and look good, with the proper deportment, clothes, and coiffures. At the onset of puberty, the free-spirited Frances Elizabeth Willard complained, "This is my birthday and the date of my martyrdom. ' My 'back' hair is twisted up like a corkscrew; I carry eighteen hairpins; my head aches miserably; my feet are entangled in the skirt of my hateful new gown.