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Texas Women on the Cattle Trails (Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce) Hardcover – August 9, 2006
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". . . brings together a previously scattered wealth of information into one book." -- Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Fall 2007
". . . what separates this book from other publications is that it offers specific names, faces, and stories of an assortment of women who took to the Texas cattle trails between 1868 and 1889." -- East Texas Historical Association, Summer 2007
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Some of the featured women were young newlyweds when they went up the trail. Others were middle-aged mothers, and one was pregnant. They were widows, business women, heiresses. Some were cultured and educated. Almost all encountered Indians, bandits or rustlers. They endured blizzards, floods, stampedes, disease, death. They made deals with cattle buyers and sellers. They witnessed a new country in its earliest growing pains, and most lived to tell their tales, even to embellish them over time.
Take Minta Corum Holmsley of Comanche, Texas, who rode her horse up the trail sidesaddle, she said, "because we didn't have better sense." On that drive she claimed to have met John Wesley Hardin masquerading as an Indian, and later to have encountered a hundred Sioux who had fought Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. She managed to save her favorite cow pony by screaming in one Indian's face until he let go and fled in fright.
Another woman, the widowed Margaret Heffernon Borland of Victoria lost four of her seven children to one epidemic of Yellow Fever. And Margaret herself died at the end of her own cattle drive in 1873. The Wichita, Kansas newspaper announced her death on July 5, at the age of 49, as having been caused by "mania, super-induced by her long, tedious journey and over-taxation of the brain." Her nephew had her body shipped back to Victoria and she is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.Read more ›
The information gathered is well-researched and each of the stories entertainingly written. I very much appreciated information, where available, on burial sites and original homesites - thanks to this book, I was able to find Harriet Cluck's gravesite in Cedar Park, making an educational reading experience a personally affecting one as well. I learned a great deal more about the town just by reading this book.
This oughta be on the required reading lists in Texas history courses at universities (wouldn't hurt for women's studies majors to read it as well). Texas Women on the Cattle Trails provides provocative and enlightening information on a well-canvassed but rarely understood portion of Texas history.
To my pleasant surprise, the book was every bit as good as Hunter's great classic. Edited by Sara R. Massey, this new volume features the stories of sixteen remarkable women who either accompanied their husbands up the trail or managed herds on their own. Facing the same hazards as the men, these women rode astride or sidesaddle, drove buggies or wagons, and endured thirst, danger, storm, and stampedes. None of these women were common people; all exhibited above-average ambition and courage. Most went on to lead successful lives, but their stories, ably told by eighteen knowledgeable contributors, are not altogether happy ones. Even so, the book is interesting, thrilling, and inspiring. A good addition to anyone's Old West collection.
I was anticipating stories of women who actually drove the cattle, instead of the women who "stood by their man". Perhaps I have not read enough of the chapters yet and maybe there are some stories more like what I had expected. I will read on!
The stories are interesting, but just not what I was hoping them to be.
Yes, I would recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had article on my Great grandmother. I enjoyed reading my Great Aunt Helen's Biography in section devoted to Mary Catherine.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is a great source for information on women who were involved in the cattle business, either personally or because of their families or husbands. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Judith L. Michener