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How to Use
the Readings


Inquiry Question

Historical Context


Reading 1
Document 1
Reading 2
Reading 3



Table of

Determining the Facts

Document 2: Helen Stewart's Letters

Although the ranch was operating successfully, Helen continued to worry about her children's lack of education. At first she hired a tutor, Ross Megarrigle, a man with an Oxford education. After his death she sent her children to Los Angeles for a formal education. Tiza and Evaline took to schooling and they would become well-educated women of property. But despite his mother's urgings Archibald rebelled and wanted to join his brothers in working on the ranch. He was killed while corralling horses during a school vacation. The first two letters below were written by Helen Stewart to her youngest son, Archie, before his death while he was in school.

Dear Archie,
Your letter has not come. Why don't you mail to your mamma. Are you going to school, sit down and tell me all about it. The cattlemen will be here in seven days or lose their money. Then hurrah fore Los Angeles and the children I love.
Nevada State Museum and Historical Society MS 1 F2

Emeryille, California January 25, 1899
Dear Son Archie,
This is your birthday. You are fourteen years old. I wonder what course you will pursue. What you will do? What kind of man you will be. I think you have pride and manliness about you to try and be one of the best. Remember always I love you and always think of you every day and wonder what you are doing.
Your loving mamma.
Dare to do right
Dare to be true
Dare to be good
Everything will come right for you.
Nevada State Museum and Historical Society MS 1 F3

Unfortunately Archie Stewart did not live to manhood. He died a few months after this letter was written in a ranch accident. His mother was heartbroken and wondered how she could go on, but she did.

The following note was also found in the Stewart letter file.
Las Vegas Ranch
March 9, 1894
I Hiram Wiser have received payment in full for four years ranching of Vegas cattle at my Ranch and also full payment for work done by me on Las Vegas Ranch. In fact full payment to date -for all due me from Helen J. Stewart.
Hiram Wiser
Nevada State Museum and Historical Society MS 1 F3

Questions for Document 2

1. Based on these letters to her son, how do you think Mrs. Stewart felt about her children? Why do you think she sent them away to school?

2. Is the advice she gives her son in the second letter, good advice for anyone of that age? Why or why not?

3. How did Mrs. Stewart manage to run the ranch?

4. Who was Hiram Wiser and how did he help Helen? (If needed, refer to Reading 2.)

Document 2 was excerpted from the collections at the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society.


Comments or Questions

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