Army Laundress

Soap Suds Row - The Bold Life of Army Laundresses 1802-1876


Oh, Those Clothes!

Posted by armylaundress on September 3, 2016 at 1:35 PM

The summer meant book signings at various places in Colorado and Wyoming, along with numerous phone calls making tentative plans for signings next summer in the Dakoatas. One memorable signing was at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming on the 4th of July.

We were out on the windswept plains north of what is now Douglas, Wyoming. It was a typical hot, windy day. I wore my long skirt, apron, 1800s working woman's long sleeve, button up blouse, sun bonnet, and heavy, lace up work boots.

Some of my fellow reenactors dressed appropriately for the period from the skin out. A serving wench wore her corset and other appropriate undergarments. The men were in their wool uniforms. It was hot.

Days like this give me a new appreciatlon for what the women (and the men) of the frontier 1800s really went through in their day to day lives.Not only would the women have been quite warm in their clothing, (I know I was!) but they would have been wet, too. There is no way they could have stayed dry handling all of the wet clothing they washed.While being wet might have cooled them off, I think it would have made them somewhat uncomfortable, too. Certainly it would have added to the weight of their own clothing.

At the end of the event, the other women and I piled into the restroom to change back into our modern, comfortable, summer garb. Some folks were going on to Independence Rock for the celebration there that evening. I was glad to be getting into my air-conditioned SUV, and driving back to Laramie to the comfort of the cooler mountain air.

To reach Fort Fetterman Historic Site, take exit 140 off !nterstate 25 at Douglas, WY. At the stoplight, turn left, then left again onto Highway 93. The remains of the fort are a few miles down Highway 93, and will be up a hill, on the right.

independence Rock is approximately 60 miles southwest of Casper, WY, right off of Highway 220.

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