Married by Letter – Mail Order Brides in the West

“…bring letters from a special someone to desiring subscribers in hopes that a match would be made, and the pair would spend the rest of their lives together.”

Matrimonial News – 1870

Fans of Mail-Order Bride Romances adore reading about courageous women. Those brides left home, headed west, and risked everything for a brighter future. We admire brave men who sent for a bride with no more courtship than letters could provide. We enjoy the conflict, hurdles, and challenges the characters face before earning their happy ending.

Many different circumstances contributed to the phenomenon of mail-order brides. The loss of so many men in the War Between the States. The California Gold Rush. Westward expansion. Chinese immigrants working in mining and railways. And more.

Soon, however, Western adventurers lifted their heads from their labors, looked around and felt the absence of one vital element from the bountiful Western territories—women.

Most mail-order brides in the 19th Century American west were single and had very few options–if they wanted marriage, this arrangement could prove their only opportunity. A few had been widowed and often brought children along. Some were runaways. A few dodged the law and hoped to disappear into the Wild West and take on a new identity.

In addition to a brokerage firm to arrange matches (i.e. matchmaker), most men sent notices to friends, relatives or pastors back East. Some, however, sent letters to a periodical devoted entirely to the advancement of marriage. Throughout the 1870s, 80s, and 90s, that periodical was a newspaper called the Matrimonial News. Founded in England, the newspaper gained popularity in the U.S., and was printed in San Francisco and Kansas City.

A code of rule and regulations, posted in each edition was strictly enforced. All advertisers were required to provide information on their personal appearance along with a general description of the kind of persons with whom they desired correspondence.

 

However, men often misrepresented themselves…and so did women. After all, what drunken miner with a worthless claim would expect the truth to attract a wife? What woman would freely admit the truth of her circumstances if she believed doing so would spoil her chances of finding safety, protection, support, and a home?

Most ads were succinct and minimal. Gentlemen’s personals of forty words or under cost $.25 in stamps or postage. Ladies’ personals of forty words or under were published free of charge. The ads were numbered, to avoid giving out names and addresses. Replies were to be sent to the Matrimonial News office sealed in an envelope with the number of the add on the outside.

In Kansas City, Missouri, The New Plan was another publication dedicated to helping eligible men and women find one another, correspond, and marry. A list of the magazine’s aims and methods of business were listed on the back cover of each edition. The simple and easy-to-follow plan promised speedy and satisfactory results. The cost for each advertisement was $1.00. The editors claimed this offer was “the greatest bargain in the world for the money.” If any of the advertisements resulted in matrimony, the subscriber and author of the ad agreed to pay a $5.00 service fee to the magazine.

The New Plan was in circulation from 1911 to 1917.

Another interesting, lovely, and little-known fact (at least to me) was how many young African American women came to the Arizona Territory. The mining camps were filled with young black men and older black widowers—but they weren’t the one who came up with the mail order bride idea. That came from the married African American women already in the territory. They found the presence of so many unattached men in their community “unsettling,” according to Black Women of the Old West by William Loren Katz. “With too few women to go around, the wrong kind of women came to town, and fights among the men were frequent. The answer, they convinced unmarried men, including many widowers, was an arranged marriage to a mail order bride,” he writes. They advertised in newspapers and Eastern churches and many young ladies responded. “Filled with hope, young candidates set out from Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. Many left lives of poverty, family problems or personal tragedies. Each sought her American dream, a new beginning. They hoped to find the thrill of love, the warmth of family, and a new life.”

Nineteenth Century American newspapers were rife with articles that both support and praise various marital agencies and publications, and point out the perils, disasters, financial losses, broken hearts, and scams. Still, marriage brokers thrived, and men and women continued to seek the elusive dream of finding a spouse, love, family, and a lasting connection.

My Upcoming Release – July 15th

CLICK HERE

As a mail-order bride to a cattleman, Olivia Talbot expected her life would change.

What she didn’t expect upon her arrival was to discover she was a widow before she was a bride.

Things go from bad to worse after Olivia Talbot is let go from her position at the Butterick Pattern Company in Boston and her beloved Auntie Dee passes away. Armed with only her sewing machine and a letter of introduction to Mildred Crenshaw, proprietress of the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency she soon finds herself corresponding with a cattleman from Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. Arriving in Kansas, her hopes for a future with Nate Forester are dashed when the handsome sheriff delivers the news, she won’t be getting married.

Sheriff Sam Wright can handle most trouble that comes his way in Cottonwood Falls. Yet, Olivia Talbot’s sapphire eyes and dark curls are a threat of a different kind, and soon she’s taking over his time and his thoughts.
As they grow closer, Olivia begins to hope there may be a future for her and Sam. Soon, however, doubts and fears start to plague her. What if he didn’t care for her as much as she cared for him? What if he fell in love with her only because he felt sorry for her?

But when an outlaw’s bullet threatens to crush the fragile seeds of love, Olivia is faced with losing him even before she has a chance to tell him she cares for him.

Will a leap of faith promise a new beginning?

***GIVEAWAY***

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon to one lucky reader. To be eligible for the drawing, answer the question below:

Had you lived in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, would you have dared start a courtship by letter?

Mail-Order Brides…and Husbands ~ by Jodie Wolfe

I’ve always found the topic of mail-order brides fascinating. Men predominantly settled the western part of the United States. They went in search of gold, to build ranches and homesteads and soon found themselves desiring to have a wife for companionship and to enjoy the new life they’d built. They didn’t want to go back east to find a bride, so they advertised for one to join them in their new endeavor. In fact, there’s was a whole magazine devoted to this called Matrimonial News. Others ran ads in newspapers across the country.

They were often very specific about what they were looking for. Here’s a listing from https://truewestmagazine.com/article/mail-order-brides/.

“A gentleman of 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young, intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23 and one who could make home a paradise.”

Sometimes the couple exchanged multiple letters before the bride arrived. On rare occasions, photographs (tintypes) were sent ahead of time. Often when the bride arrived, they married immediately while some took time to get to know each other a little bit better once they were face to face. There even were some who married by proxy ahead of time.

While it’s fun to write about, I don’t think I’d have the gumption to be a mail-order bride. Do you think you would?

But it wasn’t only men who were looking for a bride. On rare occasions, women advertised for a mail-order husband. Which is the premise of the beginning of my new book, Wooing Gertrude. My heroine sends off for a mail-order groom. But things don’t turn out quite the way she intended. Here’s a look at my new book.

Wooing Gertrude

Enoch Valentine has given up finding peace for his past mistakes. He throws everything he has into being the new part-time deputy in Burrton Springs, Kansas while maintaining the foreman position at a local horse ranch. But when trouble stirs on the ranch, he questions whether he’s the right man for either job.

Peace has been elusive for most of Gertrude Miller’s life, especially under the oppressiveness of an overbearing mother. She takes matters into her own hands and sends for a potential husband, while also opening her own dress shop. Gertrude hopes to build a future where she’ll find peace and happiness.

Will either of them ever be able to find peace?

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What circumstances would cause you to either be a mail-order bride or send off for a mail-order husband?

Leave a comment to win an ebook copy of WOOING GERTRUDE!

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and Faith, Hope, & Love Christian Writers (FHLCW). She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at http://www.jodiewolfe.com.

Let’s welcome Regina Walker!

First, I want to thank the gracious women here at Petticoats and Pistols for inviting me to be here today. I love what they have created, and I feel very honored to be included.

When I started writing Mercy in Montana, I knew I wanted to have the sisters and their father together at the Kentucky Derby. I don’t know why I wanted that, but I did. Maybe I was using fiction to imagine being there myself.

One of my favorite things about fiction is being transported to places I’ve never been—places I hope to go and places I’ll never go. Whether I am reading or writing, my mind can conjure up a picture and raise emotions and sensations that make the trek to far-off places seem real.

Since the start of the Kentucky Derby in 1875, men and women have attended in “full morning dress.” Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. attended the Grand Prix de Paris in 1872 and decided to create a high-profile horse race when he returned to America. The high fashion of the Kentucky Derby added to the allure of the event and drew in crowds wanting to show off their finest apparel.

Comfortable and luxurious, Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. wanted the Kentucky Derby to remind people of horse racing in Europe. Spending a day at Churchill Downs, especially on Derby Day was an opportunity to be seen sporting the latest fashions.

Fashion was important for the five Graham sisters and having grown up as part of high society, the opportunity to attend such an important event as the Kentucky Derby was momentous. Unfortunately for them, there was a shadow overhanging their outing. While fashion mattered to these young ladies before their lives changed forever, it takes a backseat to the peril they face together and separately.

I’ve never been very interested in fashion, aside from a year or so in my late teens. Fashion sense is something that escapes me entirely and I can scarcely put together a nice outfit to save my life. I worked in the office of a country club some 13 years ago, and was required to dress much nicer than at any job I’d previously held. I became quite thankful for the styled mannequins in various stores. I would buy exactly the clothes to make the outfit on the mannequin. I never did master mixing and matching my pieces to make multiple outfits.

As a mom, when I found out we were adding our first girl (we had 4 boys already), I was terrified. I knew I didn’t have what it takes to help a girl become a young lady. I’m not the most ladylike woman on the planet. I’m not good with makeup, hair, or fashion. But my daughters have taught me that it takes more than hair, makeup, and fashion to make a woman. These things come naturally to my older daughter, but the younger one has a style all her own.

 

How about you? Do you have an inherent or learned fashion sense? Or did you (like me) decide fashion sense just wasn’t your forte? Also, have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby? Would you go? Do exquisite hats and lovely dresses appeal to your finer senses?

Leave a comment, and you might win an e-book copy of Mercy in Montana!

BLURB:  In the heart of the untamed West, Charlotte Graham and her four sisters seek refuge from a dangerous family secret. Raised in the bustling streets of New York, they embark on a treacherous journey, accepting mail-order bride offers as their only hope for escape.

Alfred Winston, a rugged cattleman and owner of a sawmill, is a man haunted by his father’s harsh words, always believing he fell short. A recluse, he hides from the world until fate intervenes. When Delaney, his sister-in-law, places an ad for a mail-order bride, Alfred’s life takes an unexpected turn.

As Charlotte steps into his life, Alfred’s protective instincts awaken, and he finds himself drawn to this resilient woman. Together, they’ll confront the shadows of their pasts, seeking faith, hope, and healing in the vast and unforgiving frontier. Can love conquer the ghosts that haunt them and provide the salvation they so desperately seek?

Join Charlotte and Alfred on a captivating journey of love, redemption, and the power of faith in this Christian historical romance, where the rugged West becomes the backdrop for a story of hope that defies the odds.

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Regina Walker, a spirited author with a passion for penning captivating tales, finds her inspiration in the enchanting fusion of Jesus and horses. As she roams the great outdoors, her heart sings in harmony with nature’s melodies, as the Holy Spirit whispers secrets to fuel her vibrant storytelling.
With an unwavering devotion to her craft, Regina fearlessly confronts life’s toughest trials through the journeys of her compelling characters. Guided by her unwavering faith, she fearlessly weaves narratives that illuminate the path to redemption and resilience.

Guest Post – Welcome Linda Shenton Matchett

City Girl in the Country

Having been raised in urban and heavily suburban areas where houses are shoulder to shoulder and streets signs are on every corner, I get lost easily in rural and wide-open places. I’m used to directions such as “turn left on Poplar Street, then make your fourth right onto Elm.” Directions like “drive north for three miles, then head west for six miles” are a foreign language to me. My Girl Scout badges included cooking, games, home health, and drama. No camping, farming, or gardening for me. I now live in New Hampshire, and despite moving here twenty years ago, I still tremble if I have to head somewhere I’ve never been.

 

Because of my experiences, I am in awe of the men and women who settled the West. The journey itself was harrowing, then they had to scrape out a living from the land. In the early days of westward expansion, “towns” were little more than one or two streets. I got a taste of the remoteness pioneers experienced when I went on a mission trip to work with a Lakota church in South Dakota about thirty years ago. We landed in Sioux Falls and drove for three hours past farm after farm, miles of sunflowers, corn and other produce. We saw few cars and even fewer homes. We then drove north for two hours with pretty much the same view.

In my most recent release, Beryl’s Bounty Hunter, Beryl is from Liverpool, England. Founded in 1207 with a charter from King John, by 1875 the city was a thriving seaport with a population of more than a half-million people. Seven miles of warehouses spread away from the docks. Railroads transported cotton and other goods, and clothing manufacturing and food processing industries grew exponentially. Because of the unsanitary conditions throughout the city, disease was common.

Beryl heads to Wyoming to become a mail-order bride, and the territory is unlike anything she’s ever experienced. The Rocky Mountains cover most of the western portion, and the eastern section is high-elevation prairie. Dry and windy, it is nothing like the briny seacoast of England. Home to more than one hundred mammal species and four hundred bird species, Wyoming wildlife includes bison, mountain lions, wolves, bald eagles, bears, elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, and wild horses. It takes her a while to get used to her new surroundings.

What about you? Are you a city girl or a country girl? Or perhaps something in between. Comment for your chance to win an ebook edition of Beryl’s Bounty Hunter.

Beryl’s Bounty Hunter

Can a thief and a lawman find happiness?

Orphaned as a child, Beryl Atherton has lived on the streets of London as long as she can remember. Reduced to stealing for survival, she is arrested. During her incarceration one of her cellmates shows her a newspaper ad for an American mail-order bride agency. But all is not as it seems, and moments after landing in Boston, she must run for her life. Will things be no different for her in the New World?

Working as a bounty hunter since The War Between the States, Lucas Wolf just needs a few more cases before he can hang up his gun, purchase a ranch out West, and apply for a mail-order bride from the Westward Home & Hearts Mail-Order Bride Agency. While staking out the docks in Boston, he sees a woman fleeing from the man he’s been tailing. Saving her risks his job. Not saving her risks his heart.

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Regina Scott Talks The Legend of the Mercer Belles

Blue Sky Brides

By Regina Scott

“The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle. And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.”

If you remember when that song was first introduced, you likely remember the late 1960s television show, Here Come the Brides. In it, timber baron Jason Bolt and his two brothers bring one hundred brides from the East Coast to marry lonely loggers in frontier Seattle. It’s based on the true story of Asa Mercer, who traveled East in two trips to bring back Civil War widows and single ladies to “civilize” the frontier. The total of the two trips was far less than one hundred, but all except one ended up married. Go figure!

The legend of the Mercer Belles had intrigued me since I was a child, so I was delighted to pen a series of books for the Love Inspired Historical line with some of the heroines who had come with Mercer to Seattle. And now I’m continuing the series with The Perfect Mail-Order Bride, Her Frontier Sweethearts, and, most recently, Frontier Cinderella.

But I kept wondering. What did Asa Mercer say to convince women he’d never met to journey with him and start new lives in the wilderness? The barriers to acceptance were many.

These ladies were from the Boston area (most from Lowell, Massachusetts), and they’d had some education. Many had been trained as teachers. In contrast, many of the loggers, miners, and farmers in Seattle had little to no education, and they’d been living among men long enough that they sometimes forgot the social niceties.

Then there was the distance. In the 1860s, there were no trains and only a few trails linked the East Coast and the West Coast. The Mercer Belles had to sail for months. The first group went by way of crossing the isthmus in Panama; the second sailed down the coast of North and South America, through the Strait of Magellan, and up the other coasts. Chances were, if these women left for Seattle, they were never going to see family or friends again.

Finally, there was Mr. Mercer. He claimed to have been appointed Commissioner of Immigration  by the governor of Washington Territory and to have been made the first president of the Territorial University (both true), but he was only 25 at the time of his first trip, and a bachelor at that. Could he be trusted? The papers in the area thought not. They labeled him a swindler and predicted any lady who traveled with him would end up in a brothel.

So, what did he say? I found part of one of his speeches, courtesy of Lynn Bragg’s More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Washington Women:

“The climate of Washington Territory is marked by two seasons only, winter and summer. From the first day of April until the middle of November no other spot on this green earth boasts such a mild, equitable and delightful climate as does the valley of Puget Sound.”

It seems the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle! Here’s to the women brave enough to take him at his word. Many a Northwest family owes them a debt of gratitude!

In honor of the Mercer Belles, I’m giving away two print copies of The Perfect Mail-Order Bride, U.S. only. Answer this question in the comments to be entered in the drawing: Would you have agreed to go with Asa Mercer and settle the frontier?

Series link to The Perfect Mail Order Bride

 

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than sixty-five published works of warm, witty romance, and more than 1 million copies of her books are in reader hands. She currently lives forty-five minutes from the gates of Mount Rainier with her husband of thirty years. Regina Scott has dressed as a Regency dandy, driven four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course. Learn more about her at her website at http://www.reginascott.com

FERRY—THE ONLY WAY TO GO (literally!)

Please welcome Marisa Masterson to Petticoats and Pistols today!

Perhaps, like me, you think of the Oregon Trail or one of the other famous trails when travel westward in the 1800s is mentioned. For the most part, most people going overland followed one route in the area of what is now North Dakota to the South Pass in Wyoming. This trail meant crossing the North Platte River.

That crossing is just one example of places where water made western settlement challenging. Even smaller rivers could separate communities in areas where people settled rather than pushing further westward. Before bridges, one of the obvious answers for an enterprising man was to build a ferry and charge to take folks across the river.

David Hickman was one such entrepreneur. He arrived at the Upper Platte River with the plan to make money. Using stout posts, he strung ropes from one bank of the river to the other. To these, he attached pullies. With the help of employees, he ferried wagons across all day long most days. For this, he charged $5.

This was a river that regularly claimed lives. Wagon trains would often stop on the western bank for a day or two to search for bodies. With Hickman’s ferry came a sense of peace that belongings and family members would survive the crossing.

Literally, the ferry was the only insurance against casualties. No wonder people willingly paid the high price to cross on it.

Ferries were on my mind as I created the setting for my latest release. I set the town on the banks of a river and named it after the ferry owner. In fact, that man is so determined to have a town named after him that he sends away for mail-order brides to marry the single men living in the area. Enter my heroine, Marietta. She thinks she is marrying the ferry owner but instead finds herself marrying the local sheriff.

She would be content. He is a compassionate man. Only, a problem soon follows Marietta west and question about missing gold dog her days. Gold she knows nothing about.

Marietta is panicked after her husband’s execution. Her best choice is to marry a stranger.

Her future with her sheriff husband hints at love until a desperate man tracks her down, intent on forcing her to give up the stolen Confederate gold. One problem – she doesn’t have it!

Will this treasure hunter ruin Marietta’s chance at a home and family?

To buy a copy of Mail-Order-Marietta click here.

Giveaway:  To be entered in today’s random drawing for an eBook copy of Mail-Order Marietta, leave a comment about ferries or old bridges you know of from the history of the area where you live. 

Welcome Guest – Kathleen Lawless

One of the many reasons I find the Wild West fun to write about is the opportunity afforded women during the time. With a ten-men-to-every-woman ratio in many of the territories, women were more concerned about suitability than availability. As someone who lives on an island where there are eight single women to every available man, I prefer those odds of 150 years ago.

Unlike the East, where a woman’s marriageability was more likely based on social standing, family background and financial prospects, things were different in the West. Even a woman of questionable background could marry a man of her choosing. If the union didn’t work out a divorce, in most places, was relatively easy to obtain.

In keeping with those times, I’m having a lot of fun writing about mail-order brides. Readers never tire of the idea of a woman traveling across the country to marry a stranger, win his affections, and start a new life. While such a life-changing trip is an adventure in itself, how about the addition of danger and excitement to up the odds of a happy outcome?

Since Lila is part of the Rescue Me Mail-Order Brides, I had to create a strong Alpha male character to rescue my heroine from imminent danger. I liked the idea of a Bounty Hunter, a man who makes his own rules and is his own boss, but that lifestyle meant a hero who is always on the move. Not exactly a happily-ever-after prospect for our bride.

Since Bolton settles down by the end of the book, I made him a retired bounty hunter. This gives him the necessary skills to keep our bride safe while pursuing his own agenda, which poor Lila is unwittingly tangled up in. Thus, the pair are stuck together until the mystery is solved and the danger has passed.

Did you know most bounty hunters in the Old West were actually lawmen of some persuasion? Apparently, we have Hollywood to thank for the romanticized image of the lone-wolf bounty hunter hero. In real life, I expect very few men on the trail of a wanted criminal for the reward on his head had a heroic bone in their body. That’s the fun of writing fiction.

Giveaway!

Comment below and tell me if you enjoy the addition of suspense and mystery in a Western Romance.

I’ll randomly choose one lucky reader to receive a copy of Lila.

Excerpt

Lila knotted her hands in her lap as the train car vibrated beneath her, carrying her away from the only home she’d ever known. And just when she felt like they’d never arrive, the conductor called her stop. Cheyenne. She gulped. Suddenly it felt too soon. She hadn’t finished her latest prayer that Mr. Gavin, soon to become her husband, would be a nice man. A kind gentleman who appreciated her homemaking skills. She patted her breastbone through her coarse traveling jacket, reassured by heavy weight of a silver key on a piece of twine around her neck. Then she stepped forward into her new life.

The station’s platform was bustling with activity as folks called out, pushing and shoving in all directions. Once again, she rued her short stature. For it was impossible to see over the heads of those around her.

A roughly-dressed, bandy-legged gentleman pushed his way impatiently through the crowd and gave a shifty, side-eyed look around. “Miss Sanders?”

Her eyes widened, hearing her name spoken in a nasally voice. She saw a gap where one or two teeth had been recently knocked out.

Surely this wasn’t Mr. Gavin! Perhaps her intended had sent someone in his stead?

Spittle dotted his lips as his eyes continued to dart from side to side. “You brought the key?”

Reluctantly she nodded.

“Give it to me!” A meaty hand was thrust her way but before she could move, a shot rang out. The crowd around her screamed and scattered as the man landed near her feet. She watched in horror as a fast-spreading pool of blood stained the ground below him.

Lila stood frozen, too shocked to move. Suddenly, her right elbow was grasped none-too-gently from behind. “Keep walking, head high. That’s it. Back onto the train.”

The stranger’s voice rang with authority, and a lifelong habit of doing as she was told saw her follow the newcomer’s directive. As she boarded the train, she looked over her shoulder to see two men bent over the lifeless body of the man who’d greeted her by name. They were going through his pockets.

Buy Lila Here

Puzzle the Cover

USA Today Bestselling Author Kathleen Lawless blames a misspent youth watching Rawhide, Maverick and Bonanza for her fascination with cowboys, which doesn’t stop her from creating a wide variety of interests and occupations for her many alpha male heroes. With nearly 50 published novels to her credit, she enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional romance into historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and loves to hear from her readers. Visit Kathleen’s website.

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Westward the Women – a great classic Western romance movie

 

Like a lot of people in my generation, I grew up watching old westerns on TV. That included the classic shows like Bonanza and Big Valley. But I loved movies the best and have seen probably all of them at least once. Some many, many times.

No question, my all-time favorite is Westward the Women. Why? Because at its heart, it’s a romance. Crusty and skeptical wagon master Buck Wyatt is hired to bring a wagon train of respectable women across the country to a small California town populated entirely by men. Fifi Danon and her friend are showgirls trying to escape their current circumstances for a better life. Because “their kind” are being rejected as potential wives, the pair change clothes and masquerade as respectable women in order to join the wagon train.

 

 

From the moment the group starts out, the journey is beset with problems. Some of them are external. There’s a flood, an attack, a treacherous descent through the mountains, and a stampede. Then there are the emotional conflicts. A woman is raped. A young man is accidentally killed. A pregnant woman goes into labor. A group of men and women and abandon the wagon train, leaving the rest short-handed and defenseless. And all through their many trials, the completely inexperienced and struggling to survive women hold onto the hope that there’s a man waiting for them at the end of their destination.

 

Buck and Fifi constantly bicker. Why? Well, they’re fighting their mutual attraction. Buck is moving on to the next wagon train after this. He isn’t about to settle down, much less with a soiled dove. Fifi isn’t interested in a man who can’t see beyond her showgirl past and love her for the good person she is at heart. But, of course, they surprise each other, fall in love, and the journey teaches them both what’s really important in life.

My absolute favorite part of the movie is when the women finally arrive in town. They refuse to go any further until Buck brings them materials so that they can fashion decent clothing. They won’t meet their future husbands in torn, filthy clothes. Turns out, there’s no women’s garments in a town full of men. So, Buck returns with tablecloths and curtains and blankets and whatever else can be found, which the women then make into outfits that manage to be utterly charming.

If you’re a fan of old Western movies and haven’t seen Westward the Women, check out this gem. And then let me know what you think!

Regina Walker Insists Genealogy Isn’t Such a Bore After All!

The Fillies give a big welcome to Regina Walker. Regina crafts interesting characters facing some of life’s hardest challenges. Her heart’s desire is to always point toward Jesus through the way her characters face challenges, relationships, and adversity.

Regina is an Oklahoma import, although she was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado. She likes to curl up on the couch and binge-watch crime shows with her hard-working husband. When she’s not wrestling with a writing project, she can be found wrangling their children, riding their horses, or working around their small hobby farm.

Before I get started, I want to take a moment and thank Karen Witemeyer for so graciously inviting me to write a post for Petticoats and Pistols. I appreciate all of the ladies that run this fun site, and I’m thankful you are here to read this post and the others!

For as long as I can recall, my mother has traced our family history. Sometimes she makes slow progress, occasionally great leaps, but it’s something she has built for years. While her dedication and commitment have always inspired me, I must admit that I thought it was such a boring pursuit.

I listened with half-hearted attention, my mind always wandering to something else. When I decided to take my writing seriously, I swore I would never write historical anything.

See, not only did genealogy bore me endlessly, but history, in general, made my eyes bug out of my head. I know it is important to understand certain aspects of history, but it was never my thing.

When I received a message asking me to join the Mail-Order Mama series, I wrinkled my nose. Historicals and I don’t mix! But I read the premise, and immediately, Mary Ann came to life and started whispering her story to me.

The way she respected and loved her father, the way he cared for their family, and the struggles with her mama all blossomed in my mind.

How could I say no to a story that was writing itself with no help from me?

I did end up helping sort out a few things in this story. I started my research on my mom’s website, reading about real-life people in our family. I selected Wyoming because my great-great-grandfather homesteaded there. The old house, although in terrible disrepair, still stands near Lake De Smet.

I chose to give Mason the last name Barkey to honor my heritage. Although my great-great-grandfather did not order a bride via the mail, it was my way of honoring where I came from to include the last name in this story.

Now, don’t let me fool you. I didn’t become a history buff and I’m not going to take up genealogy the way my sweet mom has. I did gain an appreciation for both history and genealogy that I did not have before.

 

Now that you know a little bit about how I came to write Mary Ann’s story – A Maid for Masonhow about a chance to win an e-book copy of my book? Three lucky winners will be drawn at random for this giveaway. To be entered, leave a comment on whether you’ve ever developed an appreciation for something because of a book you’ve read. 

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for spending a little time with me today.

Janice Cole Hopkins: A Few Bumps in the Road

The Fillies give a big welcome to Janice Cole Hopkins. She’s a long-time P&P follower and a lover of history as well as historical western romance. Janice writes her own books many of which are series! Now that’s a big Yee-Haw!

As wagon trains began making the trek west, more of the West opened to settlers. The midwestern states were once the frontier to be settled. However, the discovery of gold in California and the rich, fertile land in Oregon brought larger numbers.

To help protect the pioneers against hostile Indians and to give them a trading post along the way, forts were built. Forts Laramie, Bridger, and Hall in what is now Wyoming were constructed of logs, mostly cottonwood. Fort Kearney in Nebraska was built using adobe, sod, logs, and boards. Fort Boise in Idaho first used adobe. Travelers were excited to visit a fort and break the austere, often monotonous life on the trail. Yet, they found the prices outrageous because it cost to transport the goods there.

In my new release, A Few Bumps in the Road, Judith Johnson takes her younger brother and travels along a portion of the Oregon Trail to Kansas as a mail-order bride after their parents die. She meets her intended and his brother at Fort Ferguson, a fictitious fort based on most of the others I researched. Her husband, although handsome and charming, turns out to be a womanizer and has a drinking problem.  Judith is determined to make her marriage work, however, and she keeps telling herself her situation could be worse. At least Calvin’s older brother is stable and responsible, providing a home for all of them on the farm. But farm life on the prairie can be hard in 1850, and Calvin’s attitude makes the struggles even worse. But she knew one thing. After the harsh conditions on the Oregon Trail, she never planned to go back, and she hadn’t even gone all the way to Oregon like most of the others were doing.

Although A Few Bumps in the Road is part of the Idioms & Clichés series, like all my books, it can also be read as a standalone. These books are loosely connected by one family’s generations. It is available in print, Audible, and Kindle.

Here’s an excerpt:

Judith’s eyes began to sweep around the fort when she saw a tall man striding their way. Despite his long steps he didn’t appear to be in any hurry to get there.

Mr. Davis took a few steps forward to meet him and extended his hand. Robbie followed Mr. Davis, so Judith did too.

“Good to see you again,” Mr. Davis said. “Allow me to present to you Miss Judith Johnson and her brother Robert, better known as Robbie. Miss Johnson, this is Matthew Miller.”

A momentary flash of surprise flickered over Matthew’s face, but he tipped his hat and nodded. “A pleasure, Miss. Welcome, Robbie. I hope you both will be very happy here.”

She looked around wondering where Calvin could be. She didn’t see another man who fit what she knew of her fiancé.

“Cal woke up not feeling well and needed some extra time. He sent me on out to meet you, but he should be coming along soon.” Matthew must have seen her search.

“I hope nothing’s wrong.”

“No, we came into the fort yesterday evening. Cal woke up with a headache and queasy stomach this morning.”

Judith’s worry deepened, but she didn’t say anything.

“Come and we’ll go over to the building they use for a church. Cal will meet us there.”

You can read more of A Few Bumps in the Road in the Amazon sample and get more information by clicking here.

If anyone would like a free code for an Audible copy for A Few Bumps in the Road, message me on Facebook or email me at janicecolehopkins@gmail.com. (You must have the free Audible account activated to redeem the code.)

For a chance to win a Kindle copy of A Few Bumps in the Road, what do you think would be ONE of the biggest hazards to living on the Kansas frontier in 1850?