What problems did the homesteaders face in the American West?
- Life could get boring or lonely very easily, especially for the
women homesteaders. Also, if you needed a specific special item not
possessed on ordinary homesteads, like medicine perhaps, stores
were quite rare, far away from your homestead, and often expensive
to buy from.
- When it rained the sod houses roof leaked and sod went every
where, like on beds and furniture, and snakes sometimes fell into
their houses through the roof. Grasshoppers were a huge problem,
eating anything they could find that was green. This happened a few
times, when huge plagues of them swarmed over the plains.
- Conflict with cowboys for fencing off the land which they
claimed to be their own.
- Indians could be a problem. Usually Indians were very peaceful
until the white man got greedy over land, also gold mining and the
Indians decided the best way to prevent more white men from coming
onto their land was also raiding wagon trains or homesteads.
Drought was always a threat for their crops and could make or
break a winter. A spouse becoming ill. If the husband was ill then
there may not be any meat on the table for the winter months. If
the wife was ill there was no one to look after the children while
the husband went hunting (which could take days) unless there were
older children. Doctors were miles away as were neighbors.
It was a tough life and people aged very quickly. The life
expectancy was approx. 35 - 45 years old.