When the U.S. Army ordered troops into Arizona Territory in the nineteenth century to protect and defend newly established settlements, military men often 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.
Their letters, diaries, and journals from their years on army posts reveal untold hardships and challenges. They learned to cope with the sparseness, the heat, sickness, and danger, including wildlife they never imagined. These women were bold, brave, and compassionate.
Combining their words with original research and tracing their movements from post to post, Jan has assembled a collection of historical narratives that explores the lives of early military wives, women who became an integral part of military posts and who played an important role in Arizona history.
Presenter Jan Cleere is the author of six historical nonfiction books detailing the lives of early western pioneers. Her monthly column, “Western Women,” appears in Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star newspaper, and she is a presenter for the Arizona Humanities program Arizona Speaks. The Arizona Newspapers Association honored Cleere for a series of historical profiles she wrote for Phoenix Woman Magazine, and the Nevada Women’s History Project named her to its Roll of Honor for her significant contribution in the preservation of Nevada women’s history. Her work is also featured in several anthologies, and her freelance articles appear in national and regional publications.
Presented by The Tucson Corral of the Westerners as part of its monthly Historical Perspectives series.