Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer Women

Today, July 24th, in Utah is a state holiday to celebrate our ancestors, the pioneers. There are tons of festivities going on all over the state: parades, carnivals, craft fairs, rodeos, great food, and best of all... firework shows! After hubby and I finish our last day of work, we are excited to go spend some time with family and friends while enjoying some of these things. I absolutely love family and fireworks, it doesn't get much better than that.

As I have been thinking about what Utah is celebrating today, Pioneer Day, I couldn't help but think about what it would have been like to be a pioneer woman.

I, for one, really like being a modern woman. I'm not sure I would have made it to the West, or even to America, if I had to spend months on a boat and then months walking across the plains in harsh conditions with a cart or a wagon. Pioneer women walked across the plains from dawn to dusk, often in the extreme heat or bitter cold. A lot of them carried a child while walking. They went without food, so that their children could have more (however, there wasn't much to begin with). Sometimes someone in their family, in their company, or even they themselves were stuck with severe illness. Frequently those illnesses took lives. I don't know about you, but I don't think anything about being a pioneer woman sounds fun!

I have great admiration for pioneer women, though. I admire their faith and perseverance. I particularly admire my ancestors, who were Mormon pioneers that made the trek West to escape persecution. I admire their strength and good attitudes. I admire them for the sacrifices they made to find something better for their families. I admire them as homemakers, and that they were selfless. As a modern woman it is easy to get caught up in yourself.

There are a lot of people who made great sacrifices to travel West. As a graduate in American Studies, I recognize what an influence the West and the frontier as a whole had on American Culture. Overall, I think celebrating pioneers is a lot of fun. I am grateful I can take the time to reflect on how good I have it as a modern woman.

Do you have ancestors that came West? Can you imagine being a pioneer woman?


  1. I agree -- I don't think I could have been a pioneer woman. All that walking... ugh. The bright side is that they were making their way towards a better life... and I bet they were in amazing shape from basically hiking all day, haha.

  2. There is no way I would've survived!! Can you imagine walking that far? I think that's why so many people in Utah love to run: they are the descendants of the ultimate endurance athletes.

    Also, it would have been so difficult to watch loved ones die and have to leave them along the way, never to return to their grave sites. However, I am grateful for their courage and faith. Without them, my life would be very sad.


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