"My Relatives in Iowa City, Iowa thought I was mentally deranged when I announced to them in 1908 I was going to take my little boy and move to Montana, " wrote homesteader Mattie T. Cramer in "Success of a Lone Woman Homesteader." "They could not understand how a 'lone woman' could expect to get along out in that wild country...."
In Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One's Own, Sarah Carter introduces the voices and images of women, including Mattie T. Cramer, who filed on 160- or 320-acre homestead plots in Montana. Single, widowed, divorced, or deserted, women varied in ages, educational levels, and ethnic backgrounds, but many "proved up" on their homesteads. In published accounts, scrapbooks, personal reminiscences, and photographs, the women recorded their remarkable journeys.
See Grace Binks' meticulous homestead scrapbpok, with photographs of her homestead shack's "kitchen comer" and "parlor corner." Read the work of Pearl Danniel, who field on her own homestead in the 1920s but was starving by the 1930s in a "land of phantoms." See Evelyn Cameron's brilliant glass-plate photographs of Mary Whaley, sitting proudly next to the sacks of grain harvested from her land.
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Table of Contents
Introduction Montana's Solo Women Homesteaders 15
Chapter 1 A Lone Woman Homesteader Mattie T. Cramer 39
Chapter 2 A Shack Near Big Sandy Adelia Elizabeth Hawkins Sturm Glover 63
Chapter 3 "In My Own Home At Last" Metta M. Loomis 83
Chapter 4 The Sumatra Adventure Grace Binks Ina Dana Margaret Majors 93
Chapter 5 Lone Tree, Montana; Nan ("Nannie") Pritchard Francis 113
Chapter 6 Crossing the Border for Land Laura Etta Smalley Bangs 127
Chapter 7 Evelyn Cameron Photographs of Janet ("Jennie") Williams and Other Montana Women Homesteaders 137
Chapter 8 A Homestead Near the Little Crooked; Mia ("May") Anderson Vontver 145
Chapter 9 2 Letters, 5 Feet of Snow: The Mildred Belle Hunt Diary 163
Chapter 10 Dead, Plucky, or Proved Up: Women Homesteaders in the Montana Press 187
Chapter 11 "A Sure-Enough Pioneer" Ada Maud Melville Shaw 205
Chapter 12 A Homestead Near Smokey Butte Catharine Calk McCarty 247
Chapter 13 Life in the Badlands Pearl Danniel 265