INTERLUDE: Leather Shoes to Wellington Boots


Who were these courageous women,

Those who boarded the rat-infested boats – reluctantly?

They were women in a world of men; the women from Donaghadee.


Dislocated from their native land and kin,

 Forever scarring their soul and spirit;

They adapted to life in a womanless wilderness,

Learned the hard way never to fear it.


These pragmatic women came, wearing a long skirt and leather shoe;

To the shores of their new-found country;

They bore in silence the misery of isolation, tragedy, disease, and hunger

 – overcoming adversity.


These rare women freely chose to follow their men to a land remote,

Holding the wilderness at bay;

They hauled the water, washed the clothes;

Suffered bears and blizzards along the way.


Who ministered to the wants and needs of helpless masculinity;

With not a familiar helping hand?

Who shared his feather bed and bore his child in a far-away drafty log cabin;

Alone in this strange wild land?


They did: Charlotte, Sarah, Margaret, Agnes, Eleanor, Letitia;

Elizabeth, Mary and Isabella too;

They learned how to harness a horse, drive a  team; wield a cross saw;

And paddle a canoe.


They soon lost their long skirt and high-heeled leather shoe.


In the wilderness they quickly realized the follies of frivolous femininity;

 This hardy woman donned woollen long-johns and wellington boots,

Displaying her diversity.


They learned to pack a rifle living in a cold harsh land where often survival

Depended on the taking of a life;

With a growing hungry family to feed they learned to take down a stag;

Bleed it with the quick flick of the knife.


When spring became freed by the bonds of winter,

He bid the family adieu;

He set off for destinations afar;

New supplies he needed to pursue.


Now left alone for days and weeks on end;
Loneliness set in soon;

Her only conversationalists were the maniacal bark of the coyote;

The haunting call of the loon.


She kept a light always aglow in the window,

Bannock baked; venison stew simmering on the hearth;

For she knew he would always return to claim his dream

 – his own black earth.


Sometimes news of the death of a loved one from across the sea,

Someone she was never to see again;

Brought on feelings of hopelessness, resentment and despair;

Of treatment she thought inhumane.


One wild spring day, the swollen rivers overflowed their banks,

Somewhere in the middle of Saskatchewan;

Young Percy insisted he take the horses through the angry boiling river,

As his mother watched on;


He cried: With four horses strong, what can go wrong?

I know I can.

Eleven year old Percy drowned that day, performing the heroic feats of a man.


With the sagebrush relentlessly rolling on the endless plain;

That day his mother suffered treatment that went beyond inhumane.


They were men who didn’t fit in, the McCutcheons From Donaghadee;

They came and conquered the unknown;

These men didn’t accomplish it by themselves

 – their partners provided the backbone.


They were women who survived a womanless wilderness
– made their menfolk fit in –

 The Women from Donaghadee.

They gave us a gift – the legacy of history – now it’s up to you and me.


© Author – Angela Andrew.


2 thoughts on “INTERLUDE: Leather Shoes to Wellington Boots

  1. donna Smith says:

    what a beautiful peom that means so much donna

  2. Sheila McCutcheon says:

    Your creative insight into the lives of these pioneering women in our generational line, made me cry reading it. Thank you for inspiring us to do our part!
    This site is a historical gift that will endure for generations!

    Be Blessed!!!
    (Lawrence McCutcheon’s oldest daughter)

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