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January 20 , 2009

In Their Own Words: The Lives of Arizona Pioneer Women


I have lived for months where my only neighbors were Indians and my one music the howl of the coyote. - Charlotte Tanner Nelson It was a land the devil wouldnt have, made of sand and mountains filled with wild beasts and wild men. Yet in the eighteen hundreds the women came. Some came to join an adventuresome husband or son, some because of their religion. They traveled the hard trail, suffering from lack of water, horrendous weather, disease and death. And once they arrived in the desolate wilderness they lived in tents, dugouts and log cabins. Everything for their life, from soap to food, from clothes to medicine they made, or grew, or did without. Husbands left to work far away leaving them to fight Indians, take care of the home and farm, and sometimes bury their children. From 1935 until 1939 Federal Writers Project workers interviewed Arizona pioneer women, who were then in their seventies or older. Their interviews, here in their own words, tell of heartbreak and joy, success and disappointment, and the building of a state.

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