The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 534

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

the state, and sought various kinds of employment for cash income or a place to
live temporarily. In 1889 he bought a lot in Midland and began building a
house; it was to be the home for Mollie and John after they married.
The letters do not disclose much about McGill's business activities. Indeed,
he was "at a loss to know how much of my business affairs to put in my letters"
(p. 69). Nonetheless, they suggest that he was moderately successful in his wool-
growing activities. He bought and sold ranch land, grazed sheep on "free
grass" (unoccupied land), moved about the region between Colorado City and
Odessa quite often and with relative ease, and looked for a large tract of land-
he wanted 13,000 acres-to lease on a permanent basis. McGill wrote that he
wanted to raise 4,000 sheep, believing that would be a sufficient number to sup-
port a family in relative comfort (of course 4,000 sheep on 13,000 acres meant
an overgrazed range). He got the land, the letters announce, but then he
struggled to put a water well on it.
Conversely, the letters disclose much about John McGill's feelings for Mollie
McCormick. They show John's concern for Molhe's love, and at first (until he
won her love) his insecurity about her affections. They are warm, eloquent, and
polished. They also are poignant, delightful, honest, and frank. Together they
make a wonderful little book that reveals something about relationships in a
genteel, Victorian Texas family.
Texas Tech Unzverszty PAUL H. CARLSON
The Magnzficent Mountain Women: Adventures in the Colorado Rockies. By Janet
Robertson. (Lincoln: University of" Nebraska Press, 1990o. Pp. xxi+220.
Foreword, preface, acknowledgments, chronology, maps, illustrations, epi-
logue, glossary, sources and notes, index. $21.95.)
So Much to Be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier. By
Ruth B. May, Susan Armitage, and Christiane Fischer Dichamp. (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Pp. xxiu+325. Acknowledgments, in-
troduction, illustrations, bibliography. $32.50, cloth; $12.95, paper.)
Women of the New Mexico Frontier, 1846-1912. By CherylJ. Foote. (Niwot: Uni-
versity Press of Colorado, 199o. Pp. xvii+ 198. Acknowledgments, intro-
duction, illustrations, notes, reference list, index. $19.95.)
The decades of scholarship have gone far toward demolishing the durable
stereotypes of westering women as "gentle tamers," shady ladies, and Calamity
Janes. These three volumes add further testimony to the diversity of the female
pioneer experience; they show that women went west singly and in families, as
homemakers and homesteaders, teachers and missionaries, scientists and sight-
seers. Their reactions to the frontier were as varied as the uncharted country-
side itself.
Women on the New Mexico Frontier spans the period from American occupation
in 1846 until statehood in 1912, drawing primarily on archival and literary
sources left by Anglo women who settled or visited through the agency of
church or government. Foote limits the discussion of those who "settled" to the


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. ( accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.