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Pioneer Business Woman of Nebraska
4 . y;:- I V'. ELDER MARK WILLIAM FORSCUTT (Born June It. 1834. at Bath, England; D!eJ October 18, 1903, at Nebraska City, Neb.) IFE In the west in the pioneer days was an unfailing test of men's characters. The good and the bad In their natures were developed by primitive conditions. Unbridled freedom "became license for the Vicious; self-defense the inspiration for the strong and manly. Out of rough and rug ged "environments, amid strife and struggle, grew a race of heroic men whose deeds lend luster to western history and made possible the commonwealths of today. But what of the unchronlcled deeds of pioneer women, greater even thin those re corded of men? Men live befoie the world; they take part In the external struggle of daily life; their deeds do not so often as those of women fall unnoted by their fel lows. Because of their greater seclusion. In years gone by, the deeds of women did not receive or attract the attention that is passible nowadays. Around pioneer men romance and time have woven a chaplet, while the women who shared equally the hardships of mountain and plain are com paratively forgotten. Tet in most Instances the wives of pioneers were the masterful planners, patient in privation, hopeful, en couraging and courageous, unfailing dis pensers of cheerfulness and a check to the turbulence of border camps. Mrs. E ix ibeth Forscutt, who d'ed recently at Nebraska City, typified in her life the courage, patience and pathos of pioneer women. As the wife of a missionary with very limited means of support she was obliged to piovlde for herself and her chil dren, and to that task she applied herself with the zeal born of necessity. Her busi ness' career in Nebraska City begin about 1877. Springing from a family of drapers he was skilled In weaving, hairwork and needlework, enabling her to keep the family larder fairly well suppl ed at first. Demand for the products of her skill soon outgrew her capacity. Help was secured. A small supply of millinery was added to her stock In trade. In that line she also prospered. Friends and patrons multiplied. From her living rooms she moved Into a urn 11 store, then to a larger one on the main street, and lastly Into a store of her own. In a quir ter of a century Mrs. Forscutt built up the largest exclusive millinery store in Ne braska, and from the profits of the business provided homes for herself and for her chil dren, besides leaving them a modest fortune. In this brief chronicle of a business career la embraced the one period of prosperity and contentment which hallowed th au tumn and winter of her life. Before it were the hardships, the privations nnl poverty experienced by many western pioneers. Mrs. Forscutt was born in England on Christmas eve, 1835. On March 25, 1860, she married Mark II. Forscutt, a missionary aider of the Mormon church, and both Im mediately joined a large crowd of converts bound for what they believed was "the new Canaan" in the Silt Lake valley. The Jour ney to the end of the railroad at the Mis sissippi river was without special incident. Then began the long, toilsome Journey of 1,410 miles on foot. It is difficult for people nowadays, accustomed to the modern con veniences and comforts and speed of travel, to understand or appreciate the hardships of an overland Journey in the '60s. Freight ing and emigrant wagons put no such strain on human endurance, and staging was a comparative luxury. No such relief' was available for the re'.lgious enthusiusls who bravely faced the western sun. poshing btfoie them the hand carts containing sup piles of food and clothing. Omaha was then and for years before the last outfitting point for Mormon Immi grants. The nelgboring suburb of Florence was the main camp. Early In July the co l a van reached Omaha and Florence, and rested for a few weeks. , Here, too, Mrs. Fo.-scutt received a revelation of .what was coming. Robert Holt, a shoemaker who had a little shop near the present site of the Webster street depot, was a friend of the family in England. Two years before he was one of a similar caravan that mar velously escaped annihilation frcm cold and went on its way to Salt Lake City. He had seen Brigham Young and his apostles and elders in the zenith 'of their power, and what he observed of their prac tices convinced him that the "new Canaan" was a huge confidence game. Mrs. Fors-citt- and several of her friends were taken to the old shoe shop for rest and refresh ment and their wants were abundantly supplied by the shoemaker and Ills wife." "It was the first homelike rest we had In three months of travel." sild Mrs. Fors- ' cutt. In relating the incident. "Oh. how much we enjoyed it! Mr. and Mrs. Holt told us their experiences and urged and begged us not to go further. Their rip peals were useless. Our paths were marked to he end of our Journey and we followed them: cheerfully. Ah. " many a time I wished I had minded them!" The party constituted the" last of the pushcart caravans that crossed the plains bound for Bait Lake. The trugiu experi ence of former, caravuns made the man agers of this moro careful. Supplies in abundance were provided, the carts were stronger, and though - the loads were heavier than usual there was youthful vigor and the enthusiasm of crusiders to pull and push them along. Our heroine oftfii declared that a happier crowd never trudged on the overland trail to the prom ised land. Discomforts and hardships were sheerfully borne and often when wad ing streams waist deep or marching over sun-scorched plains and precipitous mountains drooping spirits were refreshed EL1ZAHRTH FORSCUTT (Born December October 5, 1903, at Nebraska City, Neb.) 24, 1S33, at Balton, England; Died by the stirring song, "Babylon, Oh, Baby Ion!" Ill The revelation Mrs. Forscutt received from the Omaha shoemaker became u cru cial reality shortly after the family reached Salt Lake City. This time it came direct from the prophet. Brigham Young inti mated that there must be more than one wife in the family. He was informed that one was all the house could hold and thut if any more came the neighborhood would be too warm for them. Nothing more was heard of the suggestion. Brigham had other and better means than words to enforce his will, and they were net long in coming. The family was ostra cized by the church, practically denied the usual means of earning a livelihood, and, as a consequence, poverty often knocked at the door. The only avenue of escape from increas ing distress was to Join the army at Fort Ruby, Nev., where the Fifth California Valunteer cavalry, commanded by . Gen eral Connor, was stationed. Mr. Forscutt enlisted . the following year, and became private secretary to General Connor. Mrs. Forscutt was installed as hospital Stewardess. In due time the news of being a soldier's wife and living in a soldiers' camp reached her parents in England. Knowing a soldiers' . camp only as It was at home they supposed an American army camp was equally disreputable and imme diately started for "the states" to rescue their daughter. Mrs. Forscutt heard of their arrival in the Salt Lake valley and decided to find them. With as much sup plies as she could conveniently carry she started for Salt Lake City, distant over 200 miles, with returning freighters. There she learned that her parents were at Ogden. Alone and afoot she trudged to Ogden only to meet disappointment. Her parents were two days' Journey ahead, bound for Lcgan. Once more she struck out or the lonely and dangerous wagon road.. When, almost ex hausted from toil and hurger, a teamster with an empty lumb?r wa.on providentially drove up. The teamster cheerfully granted her request for a ride, and on the reach between the rer wheels she rede Into Logan and to the arms of father and mother. In her simple and unaffected way Mrs. Forscutt often, referred to the groundless fears of hr parents alout her life In the army. "Why, the toys r ere nlways kind to me," she .used to say. "In all the time I was with them, at Fort Huby arid Camp Douglas. I never heard a disrespectful word from a roldier." ' I,ate in the fall of 18i2 Mrs. Forscutt ac companlfd General Connor's command to Salt Lake City and had the satisfaction of witnessing the authority of Brigham Young humbled by Vnlted States troops. The three succeeding veers of national supremacy under General Connor Is known '. as the golden era In I'tah. After it came Mormon anarchy and chaos. ''The Gentiles must go." was the cry. They . went some to the grave, others fed bevond reach of . Mormon power. The Forscutts were among the Utter. Out of the struggle, the toll and the hard ships of these years came the patient courage and self-reliance that Illumined the prosperous years of this pioneer woman. Success did not change the simplicity of her character. Beyond the pleasure which abundance brings, to her the greater Joy was the ability to repay the kindnesses bestowed when sorely needed, ahd to help those whom misfortune touched. Such lives make the world better, for having lived in It, and leave to family and friends a tender and gracious memory. Why She Was Anxious During the debate on the statehood hill, pending in the last congress, there came to members of both houses from time to time many anxious inquiries from points in the Interested territories asking Information as to the prospect of the bill becoming a law. Thrso inquiries came In the form of both letters and telegrams, and the services of many clerks were required to answer them, In view of the exceedingly large number re ceived. ' One case was particularly noticeable as well as amusing. The anxious inquirer was a woman living In Oklahoma. She would write or telegraph nearly every day. Ap parently the stereotyped reply she received from the delegate from her territory did not satisfy her, for pretty soon she ap peared In person and began to haunt the cupltol. The degree of anxiety that this woman evinced ' In the question whether Oklahoma would tie granted admission as a state finally aroused the curiosity of the delegate.' "May I ask, madam," he Inquired, "the decree of Interest you have In this meas ure?" The woman hesitated. "Must I tell?" she asked. "Not nee-essarlly, of Course," replied the de!cgate. "but If would gratify my curiosity If you did." "Well," was the reply, "If you'll not let it go any farther, I'll tell you. I went to Okla homa to establish a residence so that I might get a divorce from my husband, who, I may incidentally remark, Is certainly a brute. Sly attorney tells me that terri torial divorces may not stand, but that If tho ' territory Is granted admission the di vorce wl'l surely stand. So I should be so grateful If you were to hurry this bill through, because I want to murry a friend whom I havo known M;iee childhood. I think that Mr. Beveridge, who Is opposing this bill, ought to he aehamed of himself." I'nfortunatcly for this woman, the bill was talked to death. Saturday Evening Post. War on Wigs Dr. E II. Randle, pastor of a Methodist church in M uncle. Ind., has begun war on wigs, which he denounces as "cunning de vices resorted to by some people to conceal the fact that they are growing old." The reverend gentleman Is good enough to say that he finds no fault with the young bald headed man who wears a wig, but declares that "in case of old men it Is altogether unbecoming." "Old age," he says, "Is glorious whea It comes naturally, for the best things in the world are old." The doe tor is no chicken himself.