Complete with actual advertisements from both women seeking husbands and males seeking brides, New York Times bestselling book Hearts West includes twelve stories of courageous mail order brides and their exploits. Some were fortunate enough to marry good men and live happily ever after; still others found themselves in desperate situations that robbed them of their youth and sometimes their lives.
Desperate to strike it rich during the Gold Rush, men sacrificed many creature comforts. Only after they arrived did some of them realize how much they missed female companionship.
One way for men living on the frontier to meet women was through subscriptions to heart-and-hand clubs. The men received newspapers with information, and sometimes photographs, about women, with whom they corresponded. Eventually, a man might convince a woman to join him in the West, and in matrimony. Social status, political connections, money, companionship, or security were often considered more than love in these arrangements.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)|
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Chris Enss is an award-winning screen writer who has written for television, short subject films, live performances, and for the movies. She is the co-author (with JoAnn Chartier) of The Globe Pequot Press's Love Untamed: True Romances Stories of the Old West, Gilded Girls: Women Entertainers of the Old West, and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon: Women Patriots and Soldiers of the Old West and The Cowboy and the Senorita and Happy Trails (with Howard Kazanjian). Her research and writing and reveals the funny, touching, exciting, and tragic stories of historical and contemporary times.
Enss has done everything from stand-up comedy to working as a stunt person at the Old Tucson Movie Studio. She learned the basics of writing for film and television at the University of Arizona, and she is currently working with Return of the Jedi producer Howard Kazanjian on the movie version of The Cowboy and the Senorita, their biography of western stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (Globe Pequot).
Read an Excerpt
The Matrimonial News
San Francisco, CA
A bachelor of 40, good appearance and substantial means, wants a wife. She must be under 20, amiable and musical.
A lady, 23, tall, fair and good looking, without means, would like to hear from a gentleman of position wanted a wife. She is well educated, accomplished, amiable, and affectionate.
Aged 27, height 5 feet 9 inches, dark hair and eyes, considered handsome by all, his friends united in saying his amiable and will make a model husband. The lady must be one in the most extended acceptation of the word since the advertiser moves in the most polished and refined society. It is also desirable that she should have considerable money.
The pioneers in Washington Territory had, by 1860, established prosperous communities along Puget Sound and were busy carving out farms and ranches along the coast and toward the foothills of the Cascades. The temperate climate, rich fisheries and timber resources provided the raw materials upon which to build a comfortable life. There was, however, one serious deficiency in this western Eden: the "fair daughters of Eve" as one newspaper editor put it, were scarce upon the ground.
The lack of marriageable females was a subject of concern among the men who were intent on building an empire in the Northwest. The topic occupied many column inches in newspapers. "There is probably no community in the Union of a like number of inhabitants in which so large a proportion are bachelors. We have no spinsters." The editor of the Puget Sound Herald went on to say that the prosperous and clean-living young men populating the area in 1858 were "eager to put their necks in the matrimonial noose" had they a willing woman to hand.
In the February 24, 1860 edition of the Herald, an advertisement was published with the aim of solving the woman problem:
ATTENTION BACHELORS: Believing that our only chance for the realization of the benefits and early attainment of matrimonial alliances depends on the arrival in our midst of a number of the fair sex from the Atlantic States, and that, to bring about such an arrival a united effort and action are called for on our part, we respectfully request a full attendance of all eligible and sincerely desirous bachelors of this community assemble on Tuesday evening next, February 28th, in Delim and Shorey's building, to devise ways and means to secure this much-needed and desirable emigration to our shores.
Table of Contents
(1) Introduction (2) Mary Richardson & Elkanah Walker (3) Eleanor Berry & Louis Dreielbis (4) Asa Mercer (5) Matrimonial News (6) Phoebe Harrington & William Silbaugh (7) The Forlorn Bride (8) Bethenia Owens-Adair & Legrand Hill (9) The Benton Brides (10) A Happy Ride (11) Rachel Bella Kahn & Abraham Calof (12) Elinore Pruitt & Clyde Stewart (13) Trouble on a Bridal Tour (14) The Red Stocking Snoozers (15) Eliza Farnham (16) Bridal Couples (17) Kathleen Forrestall (18) The New Plan (19) Afterword (20) Bibliography
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I found this book full of interesting facts and stories of women and how and why they came west. If you are looking for a novel type book this is not it. These are real women.
First Line: The promise of boundless acres of land in the West lured hundreds of men away from farms, businesses, and homes in the eastern states as tales of early explorers and fur trappers filtered back from the frontier.When all those men wound up on the frontier working gold claims, building businesses, and starting farms and ranches, the one thing that was in very short supply was women. It wasn't long until weekly newspapers like the Matrimonial News began circulation in an attempt to match men and women in marital bliss.The strength in Hearts West lies in the stories of the mail-order brides as they came west to start new lives with total strangers. Some lucky couples found their soul mates. Some found the exact opposite, as in the story of the unlucky young woman who discovered the man she'd come hundreds of miles to marry was one of the men who'd just robbed the stagecoach on which she was traveling.I've loved reading this author's books in the past, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. There weren't enough actual stories of the mail-order brides and the men they married. There were way too many ads from the Matrimonial News-- to the point where they felt like filler instead of a glimpse into the precursor of online dating. Worst of all, the book needed much closer editing. One chapter had me grinding my teeth due to the nautical errors. (The type of ship referred to is a "scow" not a "scowl"; and a ship only has one "bow"-- not multiple "boughs".) Add those errors to the one in which the character was wearing a skirt that wasn't going to be designed for another sixty years, and I almost stopped reading the book.However, it's a small book, and I would have missed some excellent history about the brave women who traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to make new lives for themselves.
Disappointing . Dragged in spots. Interesting subject made dull.