Format: Trade Paperback
Author: B.L. Wettstein
Dream Chasers of the West
A Homestead Family of Glacier Park
by B. L. Wettstein
In 1913, unmarried and alone at the age of thirty, Clara left Minnesota and headed to Montana to file a homestead claim on free land. Unaware of the dangers that awaited her, Clara thought she could find happiness with a piece of land and a Jersey cow, but life wasn’t that simple. Clara settled on the remote southern border of Glacier National Park. It was a time when neighbors helped each other to survive, and when “men were tough, but the women were tougher.”
In many ways, Clara’s story is the story of countless settlers who were destined to leave their impact on the West, people who experienced despair and anguish, and whose graves lie largely unmarked and unvisited. B.L. Wettstein spent three years researching Clara’s life and legacy, including oral interviews with people who knew Clara. Much of this fast-paced book is based on Clara’s remarkable letters to friends and family. It includes a collection of historic photos of Clara, her family, and the places she lived and worked.
B. L. Wettstein was born during a blizzard in rural Minnesota, where she attended the same one-room country school as her father and grandfather. She became a teacher and taught in public schools in Michigan, Oregon, Washington and California. She and her husband later taught in the international schools of Istanbul, Cairo, London, Jakarta, and Aruba. After retiring, she contacted Melina in Choteau, MT, a woman she hadn’t seen since childhood, to learn about her mother, an adventurous woman she’d never met, and the story of the homestead in Glacier Park unfolded in Clara’s own words as she described frontier life in letters to her children. This is the author’s first book.