Gumption & Grit
Women of the Cariboo Chilcotin
Edited by Sage Birchwater
Extraordinary Women: Volume 1
Collected by the Williams Lake Women’s Contact Society.
Extraordinary Women: Volume 1 is the first in a brand new series being introduced by Caitlin Press, which will showcase women of BC: their lives, their successes, their history. In 2005 the Williams Lake Women’s Contact Society posted a request the Williams Lake Women’s Contact Society posted a request for pioneer stories of the women of the Cariboo Chilcotin. What they received was an overwhelming number of tales of hard-ship, faith, adversity, endurance and accomplishment. These women were mothers, trappers, schoolteachers, outfitters, ranchers and homesteaders. Gumption & Grit contains more than 35 heartfelt and honest stories, which will resonate with the experiences of all women of this land.
Gumption & Grit, edited by Sage Birchwater, contains the work of 23 authors telling the tales of 39 women in the region stretching from Williams Lake, Horsefly and Big Lake to Dog Creek, Big Creek, Tatlayoko Valley, Anahim Lake and Bella Coola. Nearly a dozen women tell their own stories, but most are told by others. Some accounts stretch back to the late 1800s or early 1900s recalling the perseverance required to brave hardships in a raw, untamed land. Others tell of more modern exploits demanding unusual courage.
This book is a great read of the development of the wild west of Canada. Men & women were often equal partners in developing the land but the women demonstrate true grit in determination, overcoming obstacles, giving birth in terrible conditions and often alone. This is a slice of Canadian and British Columbian history rarely heard of and well worth reading.