When the U.S. Army ordered troops into Arizona Territory in the 19th century to protect and defend the new settlements established there, some of the military men brought their wives and families, particularly officers who might be stationed in the west for years. Most of the women were from refined, eastern-bred families with little knowledge of the territory they were entering. Their letters, diaries, and journals from their years on army posts reveal untold hardships and challenges faced by families on the frontier. These women were bold, brave, and compassionate. They were an integral part of military posts that peppered the West and played an important role in civilizing the Arizona frontier. Combining the words of these women with original research tracing their movements from camp to camp over the years they spent in the West, this collection explores the tragedies and triumphs they experienced.
Jan Cleere is the author of five historical nonfiction books, four of them published by TwoDot Books, including More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Nevada Women, which landed her on the Roll of Honor of the Nevada Women’s History Project and a finalist for the Women Writing the West WILLA Award. Her lectures on early Arizona women who had an impact on the territory and the state, along with her monthly newspaper column, “Western Women,” have made her one of the foremost authorities on early Arizona women. She lives in Oro Valley, Arizona.
Military Wives powerfully shows the devotion, duty, creativity and grit of women who chose to share life on the frontier with their husbands. It provides a valuable and vivid window into life during a critical period in our history. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy authentic, first-person history, and those with particular interest in women's history and frontier military history.