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In 1826 thirty-year-old Anna Briggs Bentley, her husband, and their six children left their close Quaker community and the worn-out tobacco farms of Sandy Spring, Maryland, for frontier Ohio. Along the way, Anna sent back home the first of scores of letters she wrote her mother and sisters over the next fifty years as she strove to keep herself and her children in their memories. With Anna’s natural talent for storytelling and her unique, female perspective, the letters provide a sustained and vivid account of everyday domestic life on the Ohio frontier. She writes of carving a farm out of the forest, bearing many children, darning and patching the family clothes, standing her ground in religious controversy, nursing wounds and fevers, and burying beloved family and friends. Emily Foster presents these revealing letters of a pioneer woman in a framework of insightful commentary and historical context, with genealogical appendices.
"Provides tantalizing glimpses into the life of an Ohio homesteader."—Ohioana Quarterly
"Researchers in the fields of women’s history, the sociology of rural life, folk medicine, and the history of childhood will find this a valuable resource made truly accessible in this work."—Lee N. McLaird, Northwest Ohio History
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Anna Briggs Brentley, Ohio River Valley, Pioneer women, Pioneers, Frontier life
United States History
Foster, Emily, "American Grit: A Woman's Letters from the Ohio Frontier" (2002). United States History. 21.