March is National Women’s History Month and we’d like to take a moment to call your attention to a book by a local author…
Not unlike today, life for women in the nineteenth century served up hearty challenges on a daily basis, though the burdens of 100 plus years ago certainly were of a different flavor. Mattie, A Woman’s Journey West offers a taste of that life through the story of Martha “Mattie” Shipley Culver, whose life passage took her from her childhood in industrial New England and work in the New York textile industry to her role as the wife of a winter caretaker in Yellowstone National Park, where she died and was buried in 1889, at the age of 32.
Like other visitors to Yellowstone National Park, author Nan Weber discovered Mattie’s fenced grave at the confluence of Nez Perce Creek and the Firehole River. Weber followed her own curiosities through years of research to trace the steps of this mystery woman’s spirited life.
Home sources were a key element to uncovering Mattie’s past. Weber’s careful research enabled her to find, in particular, an autograph book that opened the door to Mattie’s past including her family members and work friends and acquaintances. The result is the inspiring story of a strong woman trying to better her life during difficult times.