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Giving Birth on the Mormon Trail, 1846–1866

Giving Birth on the Mormon Trail, 1846–1866 Emily C. Evans The University of Virginia “It was no uncommon thing for delicate women to give birth to children crossing the desert, and in the absence of proper medical and surgical skill and conve- niences it may well be imagined how severe must have been the sufferings of some of our sisters. Dependent as they were upon the kind offices of some neighborly sister for such help a[s] could be given in the emergency.” Introduction Joseph Yates was a boy of 17 when he observed the difficulty women had giv- ing birth “in the desert” during their westward journey across the Mormon Trail to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. As he noted, not only did they lack the “conveniences” of home, they were often “in the absence of proper medi- cal and surgical skill.” Yates painted a grim picture of the women’s “severe . . . sufferings,” their only rescue lying with the “kind offices” of a “neighborly sister.” Indeed, he witnessed first-hand the dependence of these women upon others in their pioneer companies, for assistance, what we would call nursing care, in “the emergency.” Following the direction of their religious leader, Brigham Young, mem- bers http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

Giving Birth on the Mormon Trail, 1846–1866

Nursing History Review , Volume 29 (1): 26 – Dec 24, 2020

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
Copyright
© 2020 Springer Publishing Company
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.29.78
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Emily C. Evans The University of Virginia “It was no uncommon thing for delicate women to give birth to children crossing the desert, and in the absence of proper medical and surgical skill and conve- niences it may well be imagined how severe must have been the sufferings of some of our sisters. Dependent as they were upon the kind offices of some neighborly sister for such help a[s] could be given in the emergency.” Introduction Joseph Yates was a boy of 17 when he observed the difficulty women had giv- ing birth “in the desert” during their westward journey across the Mormon Trail to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. As he noted, not only did they lack the “conveniences” of home, they were often “in the absence of proper medi- cal and surgical skill.” Yates painted a grim picture of the women’s “severe . . . sufferings,” their only rescue lying with the “kind offices” of a “neighborly sister.” Indeed, he witnessed first-hand the dependence of these women upon others in their pioneer companies, for assistance, what we would call nursing care, in “the emergency.” Following the direction of their religious leader, Brigham Young, mem- bers

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Dec 24, 2020

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