The seventh day after the birth of the baby, a delegation of several squaws, wives of chiefs, came to pay me a formal visit. They brought me some finely woven baskets, and a beautiful papoose-basket or cradle, such as they carry their own babies in.... [I]t was their best work. I admired it, and tried to express to them my thanks...
-from "Chapter 13: A New Recruit"
Martha Summerhayes was a respectable Victorian lady when she left civilized society behind, in 1874, to follow her cavalry-officer husband West, to the Wyoming Territory and then to unknown and inaccessible Arizona.
Written "at the urgent and ceaseless request" of her children and first published in 1908, this compulsively readable account of her life on the frontier is a unique document of the American exploration and settling of the West, offering a little-heard woman's perspective on an historical era that continues to echo in contemporary American society.
From the deprivations of her kitchen-where she has no choice but to make do with army pots and pans designed for cooking for dozens-to terrifying encounters with wildlife, attacks by Indians, and the challenge of giving birth alone, Summerhayes' indomitable spirit and sense of adventure shines through.
American writer MARTHA SUMMERHAYES (1846-1911) was born in Massachusetts and spent two years studying in Germany before her life on the American frontier.