Book and Movie Club: Books on Pioneer Life

Here’s today’s book club review. If you have a book or movie you’d like to add, send it to juliana@ancestry.com and we’ll post them with the title or subject in the headline. 

I would like to add two books I have found to be fascinating descriptions of pioneer life.  One is Pioneer Women: Voices From the Kansas Frontier, by Joanna L. Stratton, published in 1981.  The author used memoirs from pioneer women, collected by her grandmother in the 1920s, to describe life on the frontier in Kansas.  The photo of harnessed turkeys pulling a tiny wagon is worth the price of the book! 

The second book is Treasures in the Trunk: Quilts of the Oregon Trail, by Mary Bywater Cross.  While this is primarily a quilt book, it includes many photos and descriptions of and by women who travelled the Oregon Trail in the mid to late 1800s.  The story of a teenage bride walking the trail, stitching squares together as she walked, and dropping them into a found copper kettle, while her young husband toils as a teamster, tugs at your heartstrings.  The couple figured when they got to Oregon, they would have a kettle, a quilt and each other.

Even if you don’t have pioneer ancestors–mine didn’t leave New Jersey until the 1940s–these books will give you a vivid picture of westward migration and settlement from a women’s perspective.

Jo Johnson
Stilwell, Kansas

If you missed the first few book and movie reviews, you can find them by clicking on the Book and Movie Club link in the sidebar.

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