Vanguards of the Frontier: A Social History of the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountains from the Earliest White Contacts to the Coming of the Homemaker

By Everett Dick | Go to book overview
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PREFACE

AS the first rosy tints in the eastern sky give promise of a new day, so the coming of the characters portrayed in this volume proclaimed the coming of civilization over the northern woods, the great plains, and the mountain valleys.

This work is a companion volume to The Sod-House Frontier and precedes it in point of the time wherein the incidents occur. The earlier work depicted the life, work, play, and general manner of living of the home-maker on the trans-Missouri plains. Long before the first settler made his humble claim shack, however, the feet of marching figures across the plains had trodden the land which the home-maker staked out to claim as his own.

It is these shadowy figures, who, because of the ravages of time, seem more phantom-like than real, whom this volume strives to bring back from the delusiveness of unfamiliarity to the certainty of reality. It seeks to discover their manner of living, their dress, food, ways of enjoying themselves, methods of labor, and their mode of life in general.

In attacking this subject, it has seemed wise to enlarge the area under consideration from strictly the plains as treated in The Sod-House Frontier to include the whole northern portion of the United States from the Mississippi to, and including, the Rocky Mountains.

Unfortunately the material dealing with the northern region is far more scarce than that of the central region, and for that reason many more examples and specific instances have been drawn from the latter section. In spite of this, however, an earnest attempt has been made to draw the whole picture accurately.

I pause to pay tribute to the memory of Francis G. Wickware,

-vii-

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