Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the West

High Plains Press, 2008 Author: Marcia Meredith Hensley  

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This book travels into territory previously overlooked in Western American History by anthologizing the stories single women wrote about their experiences homesteading alone on the western frontier.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:  “Single Women Homesteaders: Their Place in History and Literature”

“Accepting her role as a self-sacrificing, compromising helpmate, the pioneer wife put her own qualms and fears aside and went west with her husband. This image of the reluctant pioneer woman became the stereotype perpetuated in art and literature.  But the accounts of single women homesteaders in this book show that some women did indeed “light out for the territory” on their own.  Unmarried women who went west because they wanted to and who were not burdened with providing care for a husband and children differ from the image of the reluctant pioneer wife. As single women making their own decisions, going west became a chosen adventure rather than an imposition of someone else’s will.”



                 Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West

                            Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004 Editors: Linda M. Hasselstrom, Gaydell Collier, Nancy Curtis

In this anthology, women writers from all over the West explore the theme of "community."

Excerpt from my essay, "I Like it That Way:""Maybe it's the space between us that makes us appreciate one another more. After eleven years of living here, I realize that being part of a community is much more than owning property within its boundaries. People sometimes wrongly assume that a small community is a gossipy, uninteresting, stagnant place. Instead, it is a microcosm of the larger world with drama, dangers, and delights on a smaller, more manageale scale. Now, I no longer feel like an outsider - and I like it that way."



Hardground 2001: An Anthology of Contemporary Life in the Rocky Mountain Region
Pronghorn Press, 2001
Editor: Annette Chaudet

Excerpt from my essay, "The Year of Watching Foxes"
"Now obsessed with foxes, I wait eagerly for the hour just before the sunset, the best time to see foxes I have learned. Under a sky turning purple and gold on the horizon, my dogs and I walk. In the growing darkness where shadows make us giants, I stalk the phantom fox. And I konw that fox is watching."



Eden Valley Voices: A Centennial Celebration of Stories
Sweetwater County Historical Museum, 2008
Authors/editors: Eden Valley History Project

To order this book: Contact The Sweetwater County Historical Society Tel: 307-872-6435
3 East Flaming Gorge Way - Green River, WY 82932

This book is an anthology of stories, poems and photographs telling the history of Eden Valley, Wyoming (Eden, Farson and the surrounding area) researched and written by Eden Valley residents.

Excerpt from my essay, “If Barns Could Talk”
“When the snows came, I looked especially elegant, my red paint contrasting with the sparkling white piled on my roof and on the ground all around me. The snow covered the clutter of farm work for awhile, making everything look clean and simple. On my roof the snow accumulated like icing on a cake, then slipped slowly down the steep pitch as the tin warmed in the sun. Sometimes fog was so thick I disappeared from view and when I reappeared there was heavy frost covering the animals, fences, plants and me so that the farm became a beautiful sparkling wonderland. Those were the good days of winter.”



Ankle High and Knee Deep: Women Reflect on Western Rural Life
TwoDotBooks/Morris Publishing Co.
Editor: Gail Jenner

In this anthology, rural farm women reflect on their connections to the land, the people and the animals in their lives in essays that are entertaining and inspirational.

Excerpt from my essay, “That Fickle Fall”: Autumn on the high plains of western Wyoming is like spring in reverse and just as fickle. One warm afternoon from the vantage of a hammock I’m admiring golden cottonwood leaves quivering in a warm breeze. The next I’m watching from inside by the fire as horizontal snow assaults those leaves and sends them flying.



Blood, Water, Wind and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers
Sastrugi Press, San Diego and Jackson Hole
Editor: Lori Howe

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These poems, stories, and essays gleam against a starkly beautiful landscape, illuminating the grit and grace of Wyoming's People.

Excerpt from my essay "What I didn't Know about Hunting" :
Before being married to a hunter, I really hadn't thought much about why people hunt. I had been a city girl, and the men I knew spent their weekends watching football around a T.V. rather than bonding around a campfire in the wilderness. I came to understand that for Mike, his buddies and other hunters I came to know, hunting was a refuge. It wasn't just about killing animals, or providing meat for their families, or about drinking beer around a campfire. They brought to their hunting experiences a story imbedded in the American character: a man alone in the wilderness, knowing it well, able to meet the challenges of surviving in it, feeling at one with it.