Today I’m honored to host Linda LaRoque
on the next whistle-stop of her blog tour for A Marshal of Her Own. She is sharing some awesome stuff she learned while researching for her book.
Make sure you read all the way down because Linda has some amazing contest prizes and giveaways going on for her blog tour. Enjoy!!
Courting In The Old West by Linda LaRoque
We often hear conflicting stories on a woman’s desire to marry during the Victorian Era. Marriage was a woman’s only means of security, a home of her own, and children. So, with these privileges, came many hardships—being tied to the home, bearing and caring for five to seven children, endless household tasks, and in a sense, being a servant to her husband. Therefore, many women, though desirous of the joys of marriage, had ambivalent feelings regarding the establishment.
Men, however, had a different outlook on the subject. They viewed marriage as a positive enterprise. Marriage meant sex, pampering, and maid service. For the man trying to ranch or farm, marriage meant someone to help him work the land as well as cook, care for the home, and any children born to them. Often the man was a widower and married just to provide his children with a mother. Love wasn’t a prerequisite. A couple was lucky if respect grew into affection.
Though we realize the above was probably true for the majority of couples, there had to be exceptions. If not, how would writers be able to write those wonderful western historical love stories, the ones with strong, independent women and tough men who weren’t afraid to show their softer side? True, many women had cruel husbands who saw their wives as baby machines and servants, and often abused them. But I believe there were just as many men who adored their wives, who wanted a wife to work alongside them as an equal.
So, how did men and women meet, get acquainted, fall in love, and marry on the frontier in the 1800s? Many met at church, church socials, wedding, corn husking bees, barn raisings, and other socials that usually involved food, music, and dancing. Courting in the old West usually took place at an older age for girls than it did back east. Women were usually in the early twenties when they married. Men married in the middle to late twenties.
Public displays of affection, like kissing at corn husking bees, were more acceptable in the old West than in the east, especially during the earlier part of the century when women were in scarce supply. For dates, the couple took walks, took the buggy or wagon out for picnics, took horseback rides, hayrides, cuddled in the hayloft, and danced at socials.
For men in areas with few women, there were subscriptions to heart-and-hand clubs. The men received newspapers with information about women they could correspond with. Often photographs were included. Over a period of correspondence, the man might convince the woman to join him in the West and marry. Other men found their spouses as picture brides. They might see the picture of a friend’s sister or cousin and invite them to join them in marriage.
In 1849, Eliza Farnham encouraged women to travel to California to meet men and marry. Since only two women accompanied her, Eliza’s efforts weren’t considered successful. Later, Acer Mercer organized two different trips to take women to Washington to become brides to the men living there. Do you remember the 1968-1970 television show Here Comes The Brides? Three brothers risk their logging business to bring 100 women to Seattle to live for a year and hopefully become wives and remain to help settle the territory.
History is loaded with stories to tempt our imaginations. I love writing time travels and observing the reactions to the social mores of the nineteenth century. A Marshal of Her Own is one of those stories. I hope you’ll take a look.
Enjoy an excerpt from A Marshal of Her Own:
Dessa stood still and watched as they conversed. Something stank to high heaven about this entire situation. Why were the cops chasing robbers on horseback? It’s not like Fredericksburg was that isolated. She glanced at the captured men. The boy moaned, and she made a step to go over and help him. The Marshal spun, and the expression in his eye froze her in place.
“He needs first aid.”
“He’s fine. The Doc will tend to him when we get to the jail.”
“You could at least call 911 and let them patch him up for you.” She nodded to the man lying so still with his eyes closed. “Your other prisoner doesn’t look so good. He’s going to die on you if you don’t start CPR or get him some help.”
“Lady, no one is going to hear a yell from out here. Never heard of any 911 or CPR.” He propped the hand not holding the shotgun on his hip and threw her a disgusted look. “Are you blind? That man is dead, shot through the heart.”
Her head swam for a moment, and she struggled not to give in to the sensation and faint. She drew in deep gulps of air. “Well…well…, what about the coroner and the meat wagon, not to mention the CSI folks? If you don’t get them to record the scene, how are you going to cover your butt? The authorities might say you shot him in cold blood.”
He looked at her like she’d sprouted an extra head. “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about woman. No one will question my authority. I’m the law in this county. Now, be quiet, or I’m going to gag you.”
A Marshal of Her Own will be available now at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other online book stores. It is the sequel to A Law of Her Own available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble.com and other online book stores. I’m awaiting a release date for A Love of His Own, the third story in the Prairie, Texas series.
My release contest for A Marshal of Her Own began November 9th. I’ll be giving away this vintage rhinestone typewriter pin. To enter the drawing, go to my website or blog and sign up for my newsletter. Don’t forget to verify your email address. If you already receive it, email me at email@example.com with A Marshal of Her Own contest in the subject line. Contest ends December 15, 2011.
Leave me a comment or ask a question today and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an ecopy of A Law of Her Own.
Also, today’s blog post is part of 2 blog tours—this one for A Marshal of Her Own and starting December 4th, one for Born in Ice. Follow along each day and leave a comment to be entered into the grand prize drawing and learn about my Born in Ice contest.
The Blog Tour schedule will be posted on my blog and website. It will last 25 days and the Grand Prize is a Kindle. Leave a comment each day and your name will be entered 25 times. Pretty good odds, huh?
Thank you for having me on your blog today, Jill!
Linda, it was great having you here today.
Next Stop: Tomorrow, Dec. 3, Linda will be on Jeanne Guzman’s blog at http://romanceinflight.blogspot.com/ talking about The Invention of the Sewing Machine.
Happy Reading and Writing!
Writing Romance With a Twist in Time