Girls in History
Young women have always had their place in history. From the time they wore animal skins through the heavy clothing used to cover their bodies in the Romance era, all the way to the nineteenth century, where clothing was often uncomfortable and never allowed a girl to adjust for the heat.
A perception that girls had to be protected, coddled from the world, is often used to define these teenagers. That can’t be further from the truth. Most young women of the nineteenth century did more work in a day than today’s teenage girl does in a month. There was no respite of hanging out with friends or spending most of the day in school. Their duties began long before the sun was up and didn’t end when the day did.
Abby Weston is one of those young women of the nineteenth century. She spends every day, from before sunup to long past sundown immersed in boring, endless chores. The only relief in her life are the horses her father and brothers train to provide mounts for the Pony Express. Abby dreams of one day riding for the mail venture, but is thwarted by the thought of what her parents and brothers will do if they catch her sneaking off to try her hand at that adventure. Far into the future, a descendant of Abby’s learns of the end of the telegraph, and then through the stories her great-granny tells, of a special young woman who shared many of the ideas Mina does.
The Pony Express brought mail across barren desert, endless prairies, and over steep mountains from April 3, 1860 to October 24, 1861. The telegraph has often taken the most blame for the Pony ceasing operations, although there were other reasons. One-hundred-forty-five years later, the internet made the telegraph obsolete. The romance of that time lives on, in the memories of those who heard the tales of this great venture…
Mina Weston Anders bursts into her home to tell her great-granny that the telegraph is no more on January 27, 2006. A story unfolds, as Granny talks about an ancestor that Mina resembles…
Abigail Grace Weston's starry-eyed dream is to become the first female Pony Express rider. Ma, Pa, and six overprotective brothers won't even let her near the corral to train mustangs for the mail venture, so she gives up her dream to sneak out and talk to the ponies, teaching them to accept her weight on their backs.
Then her life changes and all her dreams are dust. Or are they?
She raced down the street, her sandy blonde hair streaming behind her. Mina Weston Anders had a very important message for one of the people she adored and couldn’t wait to pass it on.
At thirteen, she’d spent a lot of time studying the history of the Old West, and remembered a very important detail when their teacher told them that a thing people had used for one-hundred-forty-five years wouldn’t be around anymore.
“Hey, Granny!” Mina burst through the door of her northwest Georgia home. “Everybody’s talking about how there’s no more telegrams. Didn’t you tell me about them?”
Granny looked up from where she was knitting a baby blanket for the little brother Mina would soon have to look after. She hated the thought of sharing her house with another brother. Didn’t she already have five? Being the oldest, she was the one stuck with all the awful chores.