First we will enjoy Spring! Today is the first calendar day of Spring, Spring!! Here at Lost Creek we have waited for the first few days of warmth, those hope filled days where we turn our faces to the sun and blink, like animals who hibernate through the long winter! Wait!!! That is us, we do hibernate.
We have dreams of driving down hot, dusty roads; through cornfields, past watery ditches, along side meadows of wild flowers. We have dreams of mailboxes standing sentry at the end of lanes. We have dreams of warm days and nights, with stars shining outside our tent door, and the sounds of laughter at nearby campfires.
Beginning in the 1840s many Irish left their home land to escape the suffering of the potato blight and the inequity of the English upper class who ruled in Ireland. They came into the eastern ports, Boston down to Savannah. These areas were populated by many direct descendents’ of the early settlers who considered themselves “native” to the united States.
The Irish immigrants were received with hostility and fear. They often had few skills but cleaning cooking and farm labor, and did not meet up with the standards of those already long settled. They were mostly Catholic, a religion not understood by the more Protestant population of the time,
The Irish immigrant population; a hearty, free thinking and independent bunch, developed a reputation of lusty living, brawling, and drinking. The reputation was partly based in truth. The Irish were determined to be free, and to succeed. They pushed back when ostracized, and through hard work and perseverance the Irish created a new world for themselves.
Along with their freethinker, total living reputation, the Irish brought with them magical tales of tiny people, beautiful goddesses, fairies and of course the Catholic saints.
Today we celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and if we are not even a little bit Irish, we pretend, so that we too can be involved in the historical tradition of honoring the sacred saint of Ireland, and enjoying a wee bit of the dram.
Today in history…
Today in 1885; Montana Territory- the legislature banned “pernicious hurdy-gurdy” houses. Well then…
For all the romance, for all the movie representations about Spoiled Doves. we can name more stories of the pain of prostitution. Often a needed way to make money for women of the old west, prostitution was a dangerous and life sapping activity. Women were subject to beatings, disease, overwork and early death. Many women imported from other countries, were held as slaves dependent on their “owners” to survive. Their lives were sad and rough, Women from an early age entered into this system, starting in youth as a featured member of the house and often ending; older and worn out, in back alley cribs.
Widows, daughters, poor destitute women were forced due to circumstances to turn to prostitution to survive. There were few ways for a woman to make money, teaching, store keeping, millinery and prostitution were primary income sources, and the “good” jobs where few.
Upon the shoulders of these outcast ladies; great parts of our country were built.
Our hats are off to honor them!
Tomorrow evening the Old West Society will be at Twin Cities Public Television in St Paul, answering phones.
Remember to call in and pledge you all. TPT is a wonderful organization, dedicated to bringing culture, history and honest entertainment to Minnesota! Old West History