The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Book Reviews

manity of Theresa Jordan's Cowgirls: Women of the American West, An Oral History
(1984) with discussion of sociological forces affecting women's participation in
the cattle industry. Rural sociologists and historians alike will find Maret's study
a valuable reference and a spur to further research.
University of Montana DEE GARCEAU
Claiming Their Land: Women Homesteaders in Texas. By Florence C. Gould and Pa-
tricia N. Pando. (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1991. Pp. 99. Introduction,
tables, notes, bibliography, appendices. ISBN 0-87404-189-9. $7.50, pa-
per.)
Nellie Cashman: Prsopector and Trazlblazer. By Suzann Ledbetter. (El Paso: Texas
Western Press, 1993. Pp. xii+83. Acknowledgments, preface, notes, bibliog-
raphy. ISBN 0-87404-194-5. $12.50, paper.)
A Cowman's Wife. By Mary Kidder Rak. Introduction by Sandra L. Myres. (Austin:
Texas State Historical Association, 1993. Pp. xx+301. Introduction, illustra-
tions, index. ISBN 0-87611-126-6. $29.95, cloth. ISBN 0-87611-127-4-
$19.95, paper.)
The women whose lives are recounted in these three volumes were spunky,
hard-working, and adventurous. They stepped outside the boundaries of tradi-
tional feminine roles to carve places for themselves in the American West.
The authors of Claiming the Land found 1,481 women who filed homestead
claims in Texas from 1845, when Texas became a state, to 1898, when no eligi-
ble homsteading land remained. The book opens with a succinct essay reviewing
the land laws of Texas and the U.S., followed by an overview of nineteenth-cen-
tury attitudes toward women, in particular southern women, who formed the
majority of the female immigrants to Texas. In a final chapter the authors draw
some conclusions from the data they extracted from land records. Two appen-
dices list the name, county, and land holding of each identified female home-
steader, providing a valuable launching point for local researchers.
Gould and Pando's efforts to draw conclusions from their data reveal both the
rewards and frustrations of using land records. By sampling individual files, the
authors are able to conclude that women homesteaders tended to prove up on
their claims and to use their homesteads for homes rather than for speculation.
They also discover, however, how persistently invisible women remain in the his-
torical record. Little personal information can be derived from these records;
the use of initials cloaks the gender of homesteaders, suggesting that there may
have been even more women homesteaders than the authors could verify.
In Nellie Cashman: Prospector and Trailblazer Suzann Ledbetter has compiled an
anecdotal history of a remarkable Irish immigrant who sought her pot of gold in
the mining rushes of the Far West. Nellie Cashman ran restaurants in most of
the boomtowns of the late-nineteenth-century West. She prospected and she
grubstaked dozens of men, sharing their profits and failures. In 1898 she head-
ed to the Klondike and spent the rest of her life in the Far North.

1994

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed August 1, 2014.