The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830-1917

By Jon Gjerde | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER 7
Mothers and Siblings among the Corn Rows The Individual Life Course and Community Development

On 7 June 1846, G. Mellberg, a Swedish immigrant, penned a simple passage in his diary. "Sunday," he wrote, "Married to Miss Juli Etta Devoe by Pastor Unonius at 3 o'clock." About a month later, he noted, "Worked on my house. Set radishes. Juli Etta moved to my place." And four days after she arrived, Mellberg recorded that "Juli Ette washes and mends."1 These prosaic notations belie the social significance of what were momentous events for Mellberg and his new wife. The marriage formed a conjugal link that would soon contribute to the reproduction of frontier society: Juli Etta bore her first child nine months to the day after she moved in with Mellberg. From a personal perspective, the marriage was a decision that would have profound implications for the individual life courses of both Mellberg and Juli Etta. Patterns of family reproduced those of society, yet they also informed the parameters of opportunity for the individuals who lived within them.

This is not to say, however, that individuals alone charted their own futures. On the contrary, they were enmeshed in households that represented social and economic arrangements replete with inherently unequal structures of power. Whereas intrafamilial relationships were played out in myriad ways, they typically were influenced by a family morality with customary conventions concerning household roles, rights, and responsibilities. As noted in the previous chapter, moreover, the varying

-187-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830-1917
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 430

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?