Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Let's Talk About Kansas

I imagine that Kansas isn't on many vacation bucket lists. It's not on mine. However, it was a place that attracted more than a few mail order brides in the late 1800s. Topeka and Wichita were home to ranches and farms that prospered. The cattle industry growth was a big factor. Successful cattlemen were hard to resist for mail order brides needing security.

Kansas is located about halfway between Canada and Mexico

Wichita and Derby, Kansas are both located in the southeastern quadrant of the state. In about 1880, the Derby wasn't considered to be a suburb of Wichita as it is today. The journey in pioneer times took significantly longer in a wagon or on horseback than it does today in a car on the interstate.

Thunderstorms are common in the spring and early summer. Weather was definitely a concern for those living in the Wichita or Derby areas in history. The buildings were often not sturdy enough to withstand high winds and a tornado moving through could take off a roof in a flash.

While rain was a needed commodity, having it delivered by a thunderstorm wasn't desirable. In fact, the blessed vision of rain clouds in the distance, could bring a man to his knees when he realized he was about to get more than just water for his crops and livestock.

A thunderstorm is moving in beyond the wheat field

The area is also affected by extreme temperatures. Summers are very hot and winters are very cold. Extremes were difficult to manage comfortably for those living in the area before central heating, air conditioning, and indoor bathrooms. These people had to be prepared for anything.

Wearing many layers of clothing hampered the ability to move around easily and indoors layers could be a fire hazard when it was necessary to work around a fire. Men - and especially women - couldn't wear shorts to do chores and heavy labor in the summer. It must have been brutal on those sweltering days in July and August.

Much of my Kansas Mail Order Brides series is set in Derby, Kansas. In 1890, the population was 236. It was really just a small town, though it may seem larger in some of the stories of the series. I probably romanticized a bit about the town and it's capabilities, but it seemed like the right thing to do as I wrote.

Wichita was a much larger city. In 1880, the population was almost 5,000 and by 1890 there were nearly 24,000 people living there. What an amazing population explosion as people flocked to the western US!

Kansas was one of the gateways to the wild, wild west - there's no doubt about that.


Annie Boone writes sweet western historical romance with a happy ending guaranteed in every single story. Take a look at Annie's latest contribution to the beloved Cutter's Creek series - Perfect Timing.

Get more information on the Kansas Mail Order Bride Series.

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1 comment:

  1. I love the history of Kansas, but not driving through there. But when I do, the car just has to stop at those historic places.

    Thanks for the informative post. Doris