Setting Out

In the early days of frontier analysis, women were pretty much just excluded from the picture. This changed to an atmosphere of hostility: certainly no women ever wanted to go West and were forced to do so only by fact of their "ownership" by men. The women in this collection express opinions both in favor of and against the journey. In addition, they tell us of the opinions of their family and friends which may be more revealing. Irregardless of favorable or unfavorable reaction, there is excitement in these accounts. Travelling to and beyond the frontier was a thrilling event to the traveller and the people she knows.

"Bade adiew [sic] to home and started amid snow and rain for the land of gold."
Eliza Ann McAuley

"there is a great many a going from these parts and a great many families that we are acquainted with"

"Clifton was bound to go and I thought I would go rather than stay here alone with the children I spoke about going there to stay with you but Clifton thought it want best he thought we had better all hang together and then we soul not be a worrying about each other I hope to live to see the day to come back and live among you but life is uncertain I have one thing to comfort me I know that I have the same God to protect me a going to California that I have here"

Martha S. Read

"My father planned to leave early in the morning, but so many neighbors cme in to say good-by that it was well toward noon when the final start was made. Friends on the farms for miles along the road were gathered at the gates to give the last handclasp and to wich the family "God speed" and a safe journey."
Jennie Atcheson Wriston

"In 1822 it was still a great event to undertake a journey to Illinois, and many were the direful remarks and conclusions about my going. Your grandmother dreaded my starting without any lady companions and was much relieved to find that a Mrs. Cushman, a widow lady... was waiting an oppurtunity to go and end her days with her beloved Joshua, and that your father had offered her a seat in our carriage, which offer had been accepted."
Christiana Holmes Tillson

"January, Sunday 19, 1890 -- How I do long to be near my children. God only knows the real desire of my heart. How unhappy I realy [sic] am, will he bring me a home? he can. I trust him in all things."

"January, Monday 20, 1890 -- Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud
I feel so homesick this morning--hearing Mrs. Sloan singing it just makes me think of the home away in Iowa, where if I ever had any happy days, I tried to be happy."

"February, Saturday 15, 1890 -- I drove on thinking oh such hard thoughts--why is this life for me, a home lover? I do so crave a home, will I ever have a home?"

Emily French