Hill and Hollow by Becky Brown
"July 27, 1857. Traveled the distance of about two and a half miles over sand hills the most terrible I ever beheld. Encamped on the banks of the Platt river for dinner.
August 2 1857.Our camping place for dinner was Ash hollow a splendid and romantic place."
As we follow the Westering Women across the American continent we see the landscape change in Nebraska's panhandle. Ash Hollow Park is the red arrow on this N.P.R. map that shows
the dominant tribes along the trail.
After weeks of uneventful days following the Platte River, travelers came upon a series of landmarks. Windlass Hill, a formidable descent, was the first. Teams and wagons were unhitched and inched down the hill.
Ruts and swales are still visible near Windlass Hill and
California Hill on the Platte.
Keturah Belknap wrote in 1848 that the men “were lifting the wheels to ease them down the steps for it was solid rock steps from six inches to two feet apart so it took all day but we all got thru without accident.”
"Bloomer Costume Put to a Severe Test"
Wadsworth's 1858 guide pictures a wagon careening downhill with
a woman holding on behind.
Once the hill had been navigated immigrants rested in Ash Hollow, some staying a few days to enjoy the water, the best on the journey. After weeks of sifting the mud out of Missouri and Platte River water, spring water was a delight.
The hill and hollow are well marked in a Nebraska park near Highway 26 and Llewellyn. This is a great place to see ruts left by the wagons.
Hill and Hollow
The Nancy Cabot column in the Chicago Tribune published this classic block and named it Hill and Hollow in 1937 (BlockBase #1276), but it's divided by 10 so would make a poor 12" block.
I changed the proportions---leaving a lot of triangles in there---many hills and hollows still to cross from Ash Hollow to the Pacific.
Cutting a 12" Block
A - Cut 20 squares 2-7/8". Cut each in half with a diagonal line to make 2 triangles. You need 40 small triangles.
B - Cut 4 squares 4-7/8". Cut each in half with a diagonal line to make 2 triangles. You need 8 large triangles.
Bloomers on the Trails
The unfortunate woman pictured in Wadsworth's guide is wearing trousers under her skirt, but is it a long skirt or a more practical short skirt?
Kenneth L. Holmes, editor of the Covered Wagon Women series, noted in Volume 5 about trips in 1852 that he saw a pattern of women adopting the "Bloomer Costume," trousers. Seventeen-year-old Eliza Ann McAuley:
"My sister and I wear short dresses and bloomers..."
Eliza Ann McAuley [Egbert] (1835-1919) at the time of her
California marriage, 1854
Dr. Mary E. Walker in bloomer costume soon
after the Civil War. One could borrow a
pair of pants and trim off a ragged skirt...
making a more functional costume as worn by these female gold seekers.
Becky Wants to Know:
"Are we there yet? Well I guess we are half-way!"
Keturah Belknap about 1910,
over fifty years after her western journey.
See Keturah Belknap's journal in volume 1 of Covered Wagon Women and Sarah Mousley's in Volume 7.