Sutter’s Fort celebrates pioneer women

By From page B6 | March 15, 2013

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) is proud to present a special “Hands on History: Hard Working Women of the Frontier” event on Saturday, March 16, that includes a visit by historian and respected author Cheryl Stapp.

Author of  “Disaster and Triumph: Sacramento Women,” “Gold Rush Through the Civil War” and “Sacramento Chronicles: A Golden Past,” Stapp will be at the fort to give three presentations — at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. — about the multi-faceted roles of frontier women in California.

Immediately following each presentation, she will be available to answer questions and sign copies of her books (available for purchase in the Fort Trade Store).

In her presentations, Stapp will share findings of her extensive research and will explore the lives of 19th century women through the experiences of specific individuals including: Eliza Gregson who came to California with her husband in 1846, Elitha Donner who survived the winter entrapment in the mountains, and Jennie Wimmer who was present when gold was discovered. Stapp will also explore the exhausting daily lives of 19th century women as they managed many roles including that of nurse, caregiver, caretaker, companion and housekeeper.

In addition to the special guest presentations, many interactive fort activities will be available that demonstrate how pioneer women were vital economic partners in families, many of whom set up their own businesses selling eggs, milk, or baked goods to neighbors and travelers.

Other special activities await fort guests, too, including crowd-favorite black powder and musket demonstrations, dutch-oven cooking demonstrations, and an interactive wagon trail camp for visitors to experience what it was like to camp as part of a wagon train.

On this special day, fort guests will also learn to carry water buckets, use a yoke, make rope, decide what supplies are necessary for the trip, help load the wagon and climb inside an authentic covered wagon to feel what it was like to journey across country.

Sutter’s Fort SHP is located at  2701 L St. in Midtown Sacramento. The event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The cost is $7 per adult 18 and older, $5 per youth ages 6-17, free for children 5 years and under.

More information about this “Hands on History: Hard Working Women of the Frontier” event and/or other upcoming activities at Sutter’s Fort SHP is available at 916-445-4422 or

Sutter's Fort

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