Point taken about pioneer women! One of my mother's ancestors was a widow with several daughters; they all came West from Virginia by wagon after the Civil War, accompanied by an old former slave. Daring thing to do, then, I'm sure.
And that fellow wasn't talking about slave women, or Native American women, or the immigrant farm-wife who did as much work on the sod house farm as her husband. These are all threads in our American heritage, if not appreciated then.
Have you read a novel called "One Thousand White Women"? It is a great historical novel, based on the fact that one of the treaty requests made by Native Americans was that they trade horses for white women to wed to their warriors. The author imagines that the government accepted the deal, and started trying to collect women from prisons and asylums (volunteers, of course) to send out west. Very good read.
Sounds interesting! I will ask my daughter to look out for it when she is in London.
Your ancestor must have been a very strong woman. It is a pity these women rarely get the attention they deserved. I have read the autobiography of an American woman who was kidnapped by Native Americans and chose to stay. Fascinating - can't remember her name and my books are in a mess just now so I can't look it up. The journalist who wrote the article I mentioned seemed to think that real women lay all day looking pale and interesting on a chaise longue!
I find the background to the JTR murders, the workhouses, the reformers and the whole of East End history as interesting as finding the murderer, so stumbling across Dr Baker Brown opened up a whole new area of investigation.