Old West Lifestyle & Stories


Newly MarriedToday one of the first things every newly married couple does, once the get back from their honeymoon, is to set up housekeeping.  As we shall see, some 150 years ago, setting up housekeeping was a bit different.

Bethenia Owens and Lagrande Hill got married on May 15, 1854. She was fourteen years of age. Skipping any honeymoon, they immediately moved into their newly purchased home.  It was a log cabin that was 12 feet by 14 feet in size.

The door was so low that a man had to stoop to go in and out.  The cabin had neither floor nor chimney and wide cracks admitted both drafts and vermin…which included snakes and lizards.

Their furniture consisted of a pioneer bed, made by boring three holes in the logs of the wall in one corner, in which to drive the rails.  That way the bed required only one leg.  The table was a rough shelf, fastened to the wall.  The cupboard was three shelves on the wall.

Her dishes were tin ware.  The cooking utensils comprised of a pot, tea-kittle, frying-pan and coffee-pot.  In addition Bethenia had a butter churn, a wash tub and board, twenty gallon iron pot for washing purposes, water bucket and tin dipper.

Her father gave her money to buy groceries, which she did the afternoon of her wedding.  Her mother contributed a good straw bed, pillows and blankets.

Bethenia considered this a most excellent start in life.

Unfortunately, this marriage that started out so excellently didn’t end that way.  Bethenia’s husband beat her, and at the age of eighteen she left him.  What did she do then?  She went back to her parent’s home, learned to read and write, went to school and ended up becoming the first woman physician in the West.

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