SWEETWATER COUNTY — March is Women’s History Month, and in observance the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River is presenting a series of profiles throughout the month from Sweetwater Women, by Christine Alethea Williams and Brigida R. Blasi.
Sweetwater Women, which covers the lives of over 100 women who figure prominently in Sweetwater County history, is available in paperback at the Sweetwater County Museum bookstore and from Amazon.
Elinore Pruitt Stewart – Homesteader and Writer
“In the authentic voice of a rural woman, Elinore Pruitt Stewart wrote about her experiences homesteading in southwestern Wyoming in the early 1900s. Elinore, a single mother, moved to Wyoming in 1909 to work for Clyde Stewart. After Elinore filed her own homestead claim, Clyde built an addition onto his house situated on her land. They were married soon afterwards and she lived on their Burntfork, Wyoming homestead until her death in 1933.
“Elinore’s lively ‘letters’ to her former employer in Denver described the adventures and the intriguing people who lived in the area. They were first published in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1913 and were well received by critics and the general public.
“Throughout her years on the homestead, Elinore was a chronicler of her rural community and a champion of a woman’s homesteading experience. Her writings expressed the opportunities for independence and economic security that homesteading provided for the woman with the courage and determination to try it.
“The material was turned into two popular books [Letters of a Woman Homesteader and Letters on an Elk Hunt]. Many people have been inspired by her and make the trip to Wyoming hoping to see her homestead, which is on private property and not currently accessible to the public.
Museum Note: The 1979 feature film Heartland, starring Conchata Ferrell and Rip Torn, is based on Letters of a Woman Homesteader. As of this writing, it’s available on several internet streaming services, including Tubi, Roku, and Plex.