Keturah Belknap Case Study

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Another important task of some women was to sew the canvas on top of the wagon and sometimes used the assistance of family members and friends to complete this task. The cloth was used in order to protect them from the weather they were going to encounter in addition to protecting them from the occasion brutal rays of the sun. In the case of Keturah Belknap, we are informed about the preparation for the long and anguishing trip to the west and the difficulties of having to say goodbye to loved-ones and friends. We are enlightened on how she spun wool so that a friend of hers could weave it in order to make a solid wagon cover for when she and her family departed. The women were required to gather flour, salt, dried meat and were even required …show more content…
While cooking was a necessary skill essential for survival, women often compared the conveniences eastern life provided to their current situation, which furthered their perception of the frontier as an inconvenient and difficult place to fulfill those tasks. Those women who didn’t know how to cook and had no other option other than to cook for their families had to experience many hardships that the eastern life eliminated. Some women didn’t have to cook during their time in the east due to hired cooks and the handy help of slaves. The cooking style of many women changed drastically due to the fact that they had to use only a few things that they were able to pack from home. Essential things such as stoves and utensils that made life easier in the east wasn’t a provided luxury on route to the west. Although preparing food over an open fire was necessary for completion of this domestic duty, the process in doing so posed various problems. Some women weren’t able to prepare food properly because of the lack of goods and a stable fire, which posed many other threats. This doesn’t mean however that it stopped women from serving their duties such as cooking. Without the luxuries of markets and means of immediate food, the environment made it extremely difficult for women to nourish their families. Although their surroundings were different than in the lands back home, it forced …show more content…
In addition, the lack of these commodities made the women’s ability to make her home resemble their homes back in the east. The disbandment to basic things like mirrors and silverware became a struggle between bare essentials and things used just to make an impression. The view of mirrors as a luxury proves that women believed the trail lacked the abundant ingredients that eastern life offered. Finding an abandoned stove beyond the mountainous region of the trail proves women ‘s attachment to such items and resistance to cutting ties with their previous lives. Many women refused to part with sentimental items until they were put in a life or death situation. The diary of Sallie Hester mentioned, “We have a cooking stove made of sheet iron, a portable table, tin plates and cups…. We sleep in our wagons on feather beds.. We live on bacon, ham, rice, dried fruits and milk as we have our own cows.” (Holmer. Pg.

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