Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the West

stakingBased upon the suggestions of a reader, I purchased Staking Her Claim: Women Homesteading the Westby Marcia Meredith Hensley.The book includes transcriptions of letters, diaries, and similar sources to document the homesteading experience from the viewpoint of women who were actual homesteaders.

A post from yesterday mentioned a homestead claim that was started by a 21 year old female relative (Cornelia Albers) and later assigned to her grandmother (Antje Albers). The claim was later abandoned and some of the Albers family moved to New Mexico. I need to complete research on the Albers claim as I think there might have been a reason the claim was assigned to the grandmother and not to Cornelia’ s father.

But firsthand accounts of women who were homesteaders still appealed to me, so I decided to purchase the book. My great-great-grandparents Focke and Anna (Dirks) Goldenstein also homesteaded in Dawson County, Nebraska, near where the Alberses homesteaded. Homesteading was always a family affair even if the husband completed the claim paperwork. Family tradition has it that Focke worked for the railroad during the week and left Anna on the homestead with the children, so the book may give me a little insight on her experience.

Because we know that my relatives couldn’t leave behind any letters or diaries to document their experience.


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