Camp Women

Camp Women (HM1DQ1)

Location: Fairfax, MN 55332 Nicollet County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 27.232', W 94° 44.038'

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In 1860, there were 39 women here at the fort. Most were the wives and daughters of officers and enlisted men. Others were governesses, servants, and cooks hired by officers. Civilian women like Wilhemina Randall, the wife of the post sutler, lived here, too.

The wives of enlisted men usually worked as domestics for officers' families. Laundering was the only "women's work" regulated by the army. Laundresses received a set payment, living quarters, one ration per day, and medical care. At Ridgely, the laundresses lived here in log houses behind the stone barracks. Each was hired to wash for an average of 19 soldiers, and worked six days a week. Laundresses were generally well paid, getting 50¢ per month per man for enlisted men's laundry and $3.00 a month for officers' laundry. In addition, they could pick up a little extra cash mending or baking, or assisting officers' wives as nurses and midwives.

"To Be a Soldier's Wife"

When the first troops arrived here in 1853 to construct Fort Ridgely, a reporter with the expedition wrote about the plight of the women. He observed:

To be a soldier in the ranks is a hard and trying fate, but to be a soldier's wife, with a family of small children set down upon this remote and lonely frontier, with nothing but canvas to shelter them from the scorching rays of the summer sun and the pelting of the pitiless storm, is vastly more trying to the poor victims, and agonizing to the better feeling of humanity

Minnesota Historical Society
Fort Ridgely
HM NumberHM1DQ1
Series This marker is part of the Minnesota: Fort Ridgely Interpretive Series series, and the Minnesota Historical Society series.
Historical Period19th Century
Historical PlacePark, Monument, Military Installation, Fort, Battlefield
Marker TypeOther
Marker ClassNeither
Marker StyleFree Standing
Placed ByMinnesota Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 7:13am PDT -07:00
Photo Credits: [1] MARTHA DECKER  [2] MARTHA DECKER  
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 362044 N 4923747
Decimal Degrees44.45386667, -94.73396667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 27.232', W 94° 44.038'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 27' 13.9200" N, 94° 44' 2.2800" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 72404 Co Rd 30, Fairfax MN 55332, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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Maintenance Issues
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