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Publisher's Summary

After losing her husband, Elinore Pruitt washed clothes in Denver to support herself and her daughter. In 1909, she took a job working for a rancher near Burnt Fork, Wyoming. Subsequently she filed her own claim and married the rancher. The letters she wrote to her former employer over several years are packed with delightful stories and fascinating observations about her new life. 

In this audiobook, Kate Fleming, a gifted, award-winning, narrator, gives a marvelous performance, taking us back to Burnt Fork and a very rich slice of America's past. 

Elinore Pruitt Stewart was born at Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1876. She spent most of her childhood in Oklahoma (Indian Territory). Her schooling came to an end when her teacher was lynched by a group of local men. At the age of 14, both her parents died. She now had the task of raising her eight younger brothers and sisters. The three youngest were taken to live with their grandmother whereas Elinore and the five older children went to work for the local railroad company. 

Elinore eventually married a man much older than her. He was killed in an accident and despite having a young child, she trained to become a nurse. Elinore worked at a hospital in Burnt Fork but in her spare time wrote articles for the Kansas City Star. Later she moved with her daughter, Jerrine, to Denver, where she found work as a cook. 

In 1909, Elinore went to work for Clyde Stewart, at his isolated ranch in Denver. Six weeks later she married the 41 year old widower. Over the next few years the couple had four children. The first one died but the three boys survived childhood. 

Elinore wrote regular letters to Mrs. Coney, a former employer. Coney was impressed with the standard of Elinore's writing and arranged for them to be published in the Atlantic Monthly. They also appeared in two books, Letters of a Woman Homesteader (1914), and Letters on an Elk Hunt (1915). 

Elinore Pruitt Stewart died in 1933.

Public Domain (P)2003 InAudio

What listeners say about Letters of a Woman Homesteader

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Enjoyable

No earth shattering revelations, or desperate situations, but the picture that emerges of the woman writing the letters is of a real person, and the people she describes are as real as she.
The performance is EXCELLENT. When describing the variety of people who came to settle the west, the narrator's ability to voice the various accents adds tremendoudly to the experience of being there.
The only caveat is that the letters are read exactly as they were written, and black people are routinely referred to as niggers. However none of the references exhibit the hatefullness or hostility which accompany use of that term today. It's use reflects only a word in common usage st that time.