The Pioneer Women of California - Ellen VanValkenburgh, Emily Williams, and Eva VanValkenburg
Before California became a state, pioneers from all over the world brought their dreams of the future there. It was a time of opportunity for everyone willing to work. Women were no different. Even though it wasn’t called women’s rights at the time, many women in early California fought for their own futures and affected the futures of all who came after. Three of these women are featured in my historical novel Under the Almond Trees.
These three women embody different facets of opportunities for women. Ellen’s focus was political, Emily’s career, and Eva’s family. They fought to make their own life choices work for them, and in doing so they helped ensure that future generations would have the same rights.
Under the Almond Trees is the story of three ordinary women in California who lived extraordinary lives.
It starts with a falling tree branch that kills Ellen VanValkenburgh’s husband in 1862, forcing her to assume leadership of his paper mill, something women weren’t allowed to do. Women weren’t allowed to vote yet, either. Ellen decided that had to change, and became a suffragette.
Linda Ulleseit, born and raised in Saratoga, California, has an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. She is a member of the Hawaii Writers Guild, Marketing Chair for Women Writing the West, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. Linda is the author of Under the Almond Trees, which was a semifinalist in the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Contest, and The Aloha Spirit, to be released in 2020. She believes in the unspoken power of women living ordinary lives. Her books are the stories of women in her family who were extraordinary but unsung. She recently retired from teaching elementary school and now enjoys writing full time as well as cooking, leatherworking, reading, gardening, spending time with her family, and taking long walks with her dogs. She currently lives in San Jose with her husband. They have two adult sons and a spoiled yellow Labrador. For more about Linda and her books, visit: ulleseit.com