C. K. Van Dam
Topics: American Old West, History, Women
Community: Sioux Falls
Program Types: Speakers Bureau, Virtual Program(s)
Women Tamed the Frontier
The Homestead Act of 1862 opened the frontier. The spark that became a historical novel was this: 12% of homesteaders were women – but 42% of women homesteaders proved their claims, while only 37% of men were successful. This presentation answers the “why” and the “how” of that statistic: how congressmen argued against including women in this legislation and what the Homestead Act required. Then, through interviews, letters home and journal entries of women pioneers, Van Dam provides a glimpse at their lives. Finally, once they were in Dakota Territory, how women impacted the frontier.