Despair And Loneliness

Despair-&-Loneliness photo

Life on the Great Plains was harsh at times. Grasshopper plagues, drought, prairie fires, tornadoes, and blizzards could all be features of life. While the men were out tending to livestock or crops, the wife was at home to tend housework. months, or even a year sometimes pass before another human contact outside the family was made. Judging from their journals, the prospect of loneliness was the worst obstacle of all to overcome, as the nearest sod house could be miles away.

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"Sell for what you can get, John - give it away - leave it - only let's get out. I don't have to ride on a railroad. A schooner headed East looks awful good to me."
-Stuart Henry, Conquering Our Great American Plains

"Born and scrubbed, suffered and died.
That's all you need say, elder.
Never mind her hair got gray.
Jest say, born 'n worked t' death;
That fits it, - save y'r breath."
-Hamlin Garland, "A Farmer's Wife", 1893 (poem)


Image Credit:
"Nebraska Gothic," the John Curry sod house near West Union, Nebraska, 1886
Courtesy of Nebraska State Historical Society; RG2608:PH1048


Last updated: April 10, 2015

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