Marie BartlettFlip through the contents of any history book that paints an accurate picture of the sturdy women who left the comfort of their 19th century homes, both in the U.S. and abroad, to head to rural areas in America during our nation’s development and expansion.

You’ll soon discover how much courage and fortitude it took to secure property and help build a life on barren plains where wind and dust ruled the day, in the heated deserts, along indomitable snowy mountain ranges, and in the sandy, rock-strewn, or clay-layered soil that ultimately resulted – through sheer grit – in a productive ranch on which a family could begin to make a living.

Near the tiny town of Brewster, Nebraska (population 17) is the 5,000 acre Sandhills Guest Ranch, where visitors can tour the property and try their hand at cattle ranching.

Near the tiny town of Brewster, Nebraska (population 17) is the 5,000-acre Sandhills Guest Ranch, where visitors can tour the property and try their hand at cattle ranching.

In Carmen Goldthwaite’s informative book Texas Ranch Women: Three Centuries of Mettle and Moxie (History Press, 2014), she explains, “Texas wouldn’t be Texas without the formidable women of its past.” When ranching began to change in the West, she adds, many women led that change, suffering through droughts, low cattle prices, the loss of husband and children, yet continuing to do whatever they must in order to hold onto their land even after their loved ones were gone.



Some went on to become astute ranchers in their own right; others, if widowed, quickly remarried and rebuilt lost wealth and status. They also built communities, schools and churches, rescued the less fortunate, both beast and man, and defended their homes when needed. All were women of sturdy constitution with a determination not just to survive, but to thrive.





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Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

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