Book Review: Letters from a Woman Homesteader

The Johnsons are proud new owners of an iPad.  In fact, it was my birthday present!  Love it so much I should give it a name.  So, I thought I would try reading an e-book on it.  I don’t think the iPad is exactly meant to be an e-reader, its a little heavy and hard to hold while lounging in a beach chair.  *All you kindle / nook / whatever people, no comments!*

So, I downloaded a highly rated free e-book:  Letters of Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart.  If you love Little House on the Prairie and/or Dr Quinn Medicine Woman or have any interest in American pioneer life… READ THIS BOOK.  Its short and entertaining from pg 1.  And its a free kindle download.

Prior to becoming a ‘woman homesteader’, Mrs Stewart had been a laundry lady and a maid, as well as a single  mom to her young daughter. She took up ranching in Wyoming to make a better life for both of them.  These letters were back to her previous employer and each one contains fascinating details about her everyday life and her adventures.  The writing is very accessible and the stories action-packed.

One of my favorites is a tale of Mrs Stewart getting a little stir-crazy and taking her daughter, just a little kid, on a camping trip in the mountains… alone.  She takes along a couple of horses, food, etc and off they head.  They have a couple of lovely days, and then of course a snow storm catches them.  More adventure results. I won’t spoil it for you.

Who does that – especially in 1909 – haul off on a camping trip alone just to enjoy the nature and get some fresh air?  I love her.  She and I would’ve been great friends.  Her spirit, courage, attitude, work ethic – all are inspirational.  Clearly there were risks involved, but Mrs Stewart took some wise steps and worked very hard at her new life, and was ultimately successful.


One of my favorite of Mrs Stewart’s quotes:

When you get among such grandeur you get to feel how little you are and how foolish is human endeavor, except that which reunites us with the mighty force called God.  I was plumb uncomfortable, because all of my own efforts have always been just to make the best of everything and to take things as they come.

So if you are looking for some pioneer-style inspiration, I heartily recommend this book.  And for more wagon-packed adventure, there’s a sequel out there somewhere called “Letters from an Elk Hunt”.


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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

One response to “Book Review: Letters from a Woman Homesteader”

  1. Anonymous says :

    Where do you get the free kindle download from?

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