A Child's Interpretation of the Fur Trade - "The Role of White Women"

Did you ever wonder what the white women from the fur trade era did? Well, if you were, I will tell you right now what they wore, what they did, and what they ate, and cooked.


First I will tell you what they wore. They wore big bonnets to keep the sun out of their eyes and for fashion styles. They also wore normal old fashion dresses but they also wore loose calico dresses with boots and for traveling they might wear a pair of gentleman's calf shoes.   


The second thing I will tell you about the white women is what they did. Sometimes they rode horses.  Horses could also be rode for long trips.  Horses could also be sold for money. The women also cooked for their children and for themselves. But most of the time they cleaned their kids clothing and their own clothing.


Lastly I will tell you what they ate, drank, and cooked. One thing that they would drink is milk. They would have to milk a cow for milk and to make butter. They would eat wild meat, such as buffalo, elk, deer, moose, and antelope. And they might even use the hides for clothing. They may raise chickens and bunnies for meat.  Another good meal is biscuits. They would make the biscuits from flour that they would get at a mercantile. But a good snack or treat is jerky. It is made out of buffalo meat that was roasted or cooked on a fire.


The white woman changed the future by teaching us how to work really hard. Another thing that changed the future is showing us different clothing and certain foods.  They also taught us that women can go west and travel like the boys. They wrote in their diaries about their everyday life  on the trail and they told us what they wore and what they did. Now I hope you don’t wonder what they did when the husbands were gone.    





Walker, Elkanah and Cushing Eells.  First White Women Over The Rockies.  The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1963.  




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Supported in part by an award from the Wyoming State Historical Records Advisory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives and Records Administration.