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Trials of the Earth : The True Story of a Pioneer Woman
by Mary Mann Hamilton


Overview - The Powerful First-Person Account of One Woman's Struggles and Triumphs Taming the Mississippi Delta
Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866 - c.1936) was encouraged to record her experiences as a female pioneer. The result is the only known firsthand account of a remarkable woman thrust into the center of taming the American South-surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; managing a boardinghouse in Arkansas that was home to an eccentric group of settlers; and running a logging camp in Mississippi that blazed a trail for development in the Mississippi Delta.
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More About Trials of the Earth by Mary Mann Hamilton
 
 
 
Overview
The Powerful First-Person Account of One Woman's Struggles and Triumphs Taming the Mississippi Delta
Near the end of her life, Mary Mann Hamilton (1866 - c.1936) was encouraged to record her experiences as a female pioneer. The result is the only known firsthand account of a remarkable woman thrust into the center of taming the American South-surviving floods, tornadoes, and fires; facing bears, panthers, and snakes; managing a boardinghouse in Arkansas that was home to an eccentric group of settlers; and running a logging camp in Mississippi that blazed a trail for development in the Mississippi Delta. All this she tackled-and diligently wrote about in secrecy, in a diary that not even her family knew she kept-while caring for her children, several of whom didn't survive the perils of pioneer life. The extreme hard work and tragedy Hamilton faced are eclipsed only by her emotional and physical strength; her unwavering faith in her husband, Frank, a mysterious Englishman; and her tenacious sense of adventure.
An early draft of Trials of the Earth was submitted to a writers' competition sponsored by Little, Brown in 1933. It didn't win, and we almost lost the chance to bring this raw, vivid narrative to readers. Eighty-three years later, in partnership with Mary Mann Hamilton's descendants, we're proud to share an irreplaceable piece of American history.
Conveyed in frank and expressive prose by a natural-born writer, and withheld for almost a lifetime, Trials of the Earth will resonate with readers of history and fiction alike-an emotional testament to our ability to endure, as well as the story of extraordinary love and the allure of pioneer life.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780316341394
  • ISBN-10: 0316341398
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: July 2016
  • Page Count: 336


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Historical - General
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Adventurers & Explorers

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-05-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

This compelling, no-frills posthumous memoir from Hamilton (1866–1936) reveals the hidden nature of late 19th-century American life through the joys and heartbreak of homesteading in the Mississippi Delta. The manuscript was originally submitted to Little, Brown in 1933; the publisher passed on it before purchasing the rights from Hamilton’s descendants for a new version in 2015. Hamilton wasn’t famous, nor did she wield political or social power; her experiences attest to the considerable contributions average women made to the settlement of the U.S. Around 1883, Mary’s father moved the family to Sedgwick, Ark., which boasted a sawmill and a railroad. After he died, Mary’s brothers found work at the mill while she and her sisters helped their mother turn their home into a boardinghouse. She married Frank Hamilton, a handsome, mysterious English immigrant who worked for the railroad and the sawmill, but the marriage did little to improve her circumstances: Frank drank and was accident-prone, several of their children died young, and money was tight. So Mary continued working after the Hamiltons carved out their own homestead in the Delta. Mary’s unsentimental story crackles with personality, putting a face on the unsung, nameless tillers of the soil. (July)

 
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