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What was life like on the Great Plains?

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Harley Holliday

on 23 February 2015

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Transcript of What was life like on the Great Plains?

The most important Great Plains crop is wheat
Barley, canola, corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybeans were also grown in the Great Plains
Potential Hazards
The frontier settlers faced extreme hardships—droughts, floods, fires, blizzards,locust plagues, and occasional raids by outlaws and Native Americans.
Daily Life
For Women: Women often worked beside the men in
the fields, plowing the land and planting and harvesting the predominant crop,
wheat. They sheared the sheep and carded wool to make clothes for their families.
They hauled water from wells that they had helped to dig, and made soap and candles
from tallow. At harvest time, they canned fruits and vegetables. They were
skilled in doctoring—from snakebites to crushed limbs.
For Men: Men have been a subject of the significance for maleness for cowboys, including an intriguing sequence of gender satire on the lives of the cowboys, in addition to plowing, building sodies, and growing the food for the family. New technology including sewing and washing machines encouraged women to turn to domestic roles
Personal Accounts
When Esther Clark Hill was a girl on the Kansas prairie in
the 1800s, her father often left the family to go on hunting or
trading expeditions. His trips left Esther’s mother, Allena
Clark, alone on the farm.
Esther remembered her mother holding on to the reins of
a runaway mule team, “her black hair tumbling out of its pins
and over her shoulders, her face set and white, while one small
girl clung with chattering teeth to the sides of the rocking
wagon.” The men in the settlement spoke admiringly about
“Leny’s nerve,” and Esther thought that daily life presented a
challenge even greater than driving a runaway team.

“ I think, as much courage as it took to hang onto the reins that day, it took more
to live twenty-four hours at a time, month in and out, on the lonely and lovely
prairie, without giving up to the loneliness.”
—quoted in Pioneer Women
Thank you!
Settlers in the regions east of the Missouri River had found ample trees with which to build log houses. The eastern quarter of Nebraska was also well supplied with timber.
There is no consensus among scholars regarding the origin of sod construction on the Plains. Some maintain that the inspiration came from the earth lodges of the local native peoples, including the Omahas and the Pawnees. However, these earth lodges were circular in cross-section, and built upon heavy timber frameworks.
What was life like on the Great Plains?
What you need in your Great Plains Survival Guide!
Entertainment on the Prairie
Although the eastern image of farm life in the prairies emphasized the isolation of the lonely farmer and wife, plains residents created busy social lives for themselves. They often sponsored activities that combined work, food and entertainment such as barn raisings, corn huskings, quilting bees,[20] Grange meetings, church activities and school functions. Women organized shared meals and potluck events, as well as extended visits between families.[21] The Grange was a nationwide farmers' organization, the reserved high offices for women, and gave them a voice in public affairs.
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