Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesdays Tomes: Letters of a Woman Homestead by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of free on-line vintage book

Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

In 1909 Elinore Pruitt Rupert, a young widow with a small daughter, Jerrine, decided to leave Denver where she worked as a washerwoman and take a chance becoming a homesteader. She got a position as housekeeper for a Scotsman, Mr. Stewart and began her adventure in Wyomingand she wrote letters to her friend, Mrs. Coney back in Denver. Mrs. Coney liked the letters so much she sent them to the magazine The Atlantic Monthly and they were published in 1913-the book followed in 1914-and aren’t we lucky!

In the first few letters, we can feel Elinore’s thrill at the beauty surrounding her as she writes of her trips off the the ranch-day trips for picnics and overnight camping trips too-always accompanied by little Jerrine.

As she becomes more acquainted with the people, we meet her neighbors (at least a good half day’s ride) and friends. Mrs. Louderer and Mrs. O’Shaughnessy are her closest woman friends and what good friends they are. I really felt that I got to know them.

She shows us her mettle.. .

“If he (Mr. Stewart) put a man to mow, it kept them all idle at the stacker, and he just couldn't get enough men. I was afraid to tell him I could mow for fear he would forbid me to do so. But one morning, when he was chasing a last hope of help, I went down to the barn, took out the horses, and went to mowing. I had enough cut before he got back to show him I knew how, and as he came back manless he was delighted as well as surprised.

and tells us her philosophy-any woman can be a homesteader-just work hard and don’t give up. Take it slow building your homestead and it will be done.

You can download this free audio-book here with a wonderful reading by Lynne Carroll or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here. You can also simply read the letters on-line here.

Here are some photos of Elinore Rupert Stewart (yes, she and Mr. Stewart got hitched!) and their family.

Elinore...

Mr. Stewart...
Elinore mowing...
The family when the children were young...
Mr. Stewart and the children a little older...

3 comments:

P. said...

I love stuff like this! Thanks for the links. I think I'll start by reading the online version of the letters.

Muddling Through said...

Thanks for the link, Miri, I've downloaded it and will start listening tonight while I'm sewing.

Micki said...

These vintage books are incredible!
Micki