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Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, November 01, 1903, Image 23

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Pioneer Business Woman of Nebraska
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
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
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
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
"May I ask, madam," he Inquired, "the
decree of Interest you have In this meas
ure?" The woman hesitated. "Must I tell?" she
"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
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.

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