Land, life, and feme sole : women homesteaders in the Yellowstone River Valley, 1909-1934

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This thesis focuses on women homesteaders in Yellowstone County, Montana during the boom years of 1909 to 1934. The historical and cultural phenomenon of American homesteading and its legal framework are discussed, but emphasis is on homesteaders in Montana who did not migrate to the state great numbers until the early twentieth century, particularly after 1909. This study relies principally on data from primary documents including the records of the General Land Office, Census Bureau data, oral histories, and homestead legislation. The data is used to describe and analyze the patterns of homesteading behavior among women in Yellowstone County, Montana. Homesteading is presented as a medium for transforming gender identity through suffrage, land ownership, and autonomous financial security.




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