Women of the 18th century did not get pedicures or have to worry about getting the kids to soccer practice, but instead had many different tasks and a more demanding job description that likened them to men. More than 200 years ago, women hunted, cooked over a fire, chopped wood and anything else that needed to be done to keep the family safe and healthy during a tumultuous time in history.
“Women were tough, tenacious and creative,” said Jacqueline Fischer, education support specialist at Wilderness Road State Park. “They had to be those things, especially tenacious, because they had to endure and if you didn’t have the fortitude and the will to keep on going, then you would die.”
Wilderness Road State Park in Ewing, Virginia will host a Women on the Frontier weekend on Aug. 13 and 14 at Martin’s Station. Beginning on Saturday at 9 a.m., demonstrators will hold 20-minute tutorials to teach visitors about firewood kindling, ax throwing, hoe cake cooking, dog bane twining, drop spindling, musket firing and fire starting.
The weekend will also include a trade fair beginning at 10 a.m. both days.
“Women have not and did not receive the credit they deserve for what they actually did. When men would leave for long periods of time, women would be left behind to take care of the homesteads and the children — hunt for themselves, feed themselves and protect themselves — and a lot of it hasn’t really been included in history the way that it should be,” said Fischer.
Two well-known reenactors, Suzanne Larner and Carol Jarboe, will be coming to the event to add to the dynamic aspect of the roles women had during that time period. Larner will portray Mad Anne Bailey — a brave heroine from the late 1700s — and Jarboe will portray Maggie, an indentured servant.
At 8 p.m. on Saturday, visitors will meet at the entrance to the fort to take a guided tour. Female reenactors will take visitors to their homes on the frontier and show them about the hardships that families faced.
“I hope visitors will have a much bigger understanding and appreciation for what our foremothers did for our country. There’s a lot of information about the forefathers and a lot for emphasis has been put on the George Washington’s, the Thomas Jefferson’s and the Daniel Boone’s, but there were women that weren’t necessarily living in the background, but they need to be brought to the forefront so hopefully visitors will understand that women upheld the country and without women, there wouldn’t be men,” said Fischer.
For more information, contact WRSP at 276-445-3065.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.