Arctic Homestead: The True Story of One Family's Survival and Courage in the Alaskan Wilds

Arctic Homestead: The True Story of One Family's Survival and Courage in the Alaskan Wilds

5.0 8
by Norma Cobb, Charles W. Sasser
     
 

In 1973, Norma Cobb, her husband Lester and the their five children, the oldest of whom was nine years old and the youngest, twins, barely one, pulled up stakes in the lower 48 and headed north to Alaska to follow a pioneer dream of claiming land under the Homestead Act. The only land available lay north of Fairbanks near the Arctic Circle where grizzlies outnumbered… See more details below

Overview

In 1973, Norma Cobb, her husband Lester and the their five children, the oldest of whom was nine years old and the youngest, twins, barely one, pulled up stakes in the lower 48 and headed north to Alaska to follow a pioneer dream of claiming land under the Homestead Act. The only land available lay north of Fairbanks near the Arctic Circle where grizzlies outnumbered humans twenty to one. In addition to fierce winters and predatory animals, the Alaskan frontier drew the more unsavory elements of society's fringes. From the beginning, the Cobbs found themselves pitted in a life or death feud with unscrupulous neighbors who would rob from new settlers, attempt to burn them out, shoot them and jump their claim.

The Cobbs were chechakos, tenderfeet, in a lost land that consumed even toughened settlers. Everything, including their "civilized" past, conspired to defeat them. They constructed a cabin—and first snow collapsed the roof. They built too near the creek and spring breakup threatened to flood them out. Bears prowled the nearby woods, stalking the children and Lester Cobb would leave for months at a time in search of work.

But through it all, they survived on the strength of Norma Cobb—a woman whose love for her family knew no bounds and whose courage in the face of mortal danger is an inspiration to us all. This is her story.

Author Bio: Norma Cobb is the last woman pioneer to sign up under the U.S. Homestead Act and become a homesteader. She and her family still live in the valley they settled. This is Norma Cobb's first book.

Charles Sasser has been a full-time freelance writer/journalist since 1979. He has published over 2,500 articles and short storiesand has over 30 published books to his name. He lives in Oklahoma.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cobb holds a little-known but significant place in American history. As the last woman to claim land under the Homestead Act, in the 1970s, she was America's "last official woman pioneer." Using a direct, honest style that gives her writing an authentic frontier feel, Cobb, writing with Sasser (Fire Cops), relates the story of how she and her family of six "proved" their claim in northern Alaska. Over the course of the book, Cobb is transformed from a small-town girl into the driving force behind a courageous, isolated family braving the dangers of the Arctic wilderness. Through their ingenuity, determination and faith, the Cobbs endured the five years allotted by the government to improve their land, surviving harsh winters, bear and wolf attacks, money problems and degenerate neighbors who tried to kill them. Interspersed among stories about the hazards of living near the Arctic Circle are poignant family moments that reveal the affectionate side of these tough pioneers. In addition to Cobb, the reader meets many interesting characters, from the legendary Bushman (aka Bigfoot) to gun-slinging locals who would seem more at home a century earlier. Among them is Cobb's husband, Lester, of whom locals say, "If you had a choice between fighting an enraged Grizzly or taking on Lester Cobb, you might be safer choosing the bear." Cobb's voice combines the ruggedness of the frontier with the tenderness of a caring mother, resulting in an appealing, and enjoyably quick, read. 8-page b&w photo insert not seen by PW. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
A grinding memoir of life in the Alaskan wild.

From the Publisher
“Turn off the TV, throw a log on the fire, unpack your dreams. This is the real thing: a farewell account of our greatest myth about ourselves, the frontier myth. Norma Cobb writes with a skinning knife and gun stock, with bear grease and shards of river ice—-a memoir as wild, engaging, stubborn, and authentic as that distant valley where her family staked out the last plot in America.” —John Balzar, author of Yukon Alone

“Cobb’s voice combines the ruggedness of the frontier with the tenderness of a caring mother, resulting in an appealing, and enjoyably quick read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Her story exhibits her strength and sheer willpower to make it work.” —Oregonian

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312261986
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/20/2000
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.12(d)

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