Packing for the Journey

Deciding what to bring across the prairie often meant heart-wrenching sacrifices. All too often an item viewed as essential at the beginning of the journey in St. Joseph, Missouri became the first thing discarded when the oxen became too weary to go on, or the wagon carrying the cargo wore out. My great-great-grandmother had to make the same choices.

In the upcoming July 1, 2021 release, The Sisters Plight, which is a fictional account of the true life story of my great-great-great  grandparents, the settlers often witnessed the losses of well-intended items discarded at the side of the trail. All too often cast iron stoves, bureaus, and bookcases full of books were found sitting in the dust.

My great-great-grandmother’s reputation as a seamstress was well-known and she owned both a spinning wheel and a small loom, items I’m sure she considered essential for the journey west. A spinning wheel could produce flax, wool, and cotton thread. The loom was used for weaving.

Pioneer women came from study stock. They embodied the Proverbs woman with their attention to providing for their homes. Proverbs 31:10, 13: “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? . . . She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.” Pioneer women like my great-great –great grandmother lived and breathed this verse from Scripture.

During the four years she waited in Iowa to join her fiancé on his Oregon homestead, my great-great-great grandmother made blankets, comforters and patchwork quilts she’d need for life in the wilderness. Leaving those items behind would have been a major blow to her homemaking skills.

I don’t know how her spinning wheel and loom fared on the journey, but my great-great-grandmother’s ability to stitch and mend remained with her as she aged. Her grandchildren remembered her as the woman who came, visited, and emptied the mending basket.

She passed her love of weaving to her granddaughter, who became my grandmother. Following in the family tradition, my grandmother wove rag rugs on a loom she kept in an upstairs bedroom. I still remember the hand woven fabrics lining the stairs in her home. Sturdy and tough—they never wore out.


EBook is now available for pre-order.


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