When the pioneers crossed treeless country, where did the women go to the bathroom?

Connie Moran
Savannah, Missouri

These were Victorian times; discussing such delicate matters was almost taboo.

But when crossing those treeless plains, women had no choice but to relieve themselves in the open. Remember, they were wearing long dresses, so it was possible to go to the bathroom with some degree of privacy.

Utah historian Juanita Brooks asked her grandmother about this; Mary Ann Stucki had been among the Mormon handcart pioneers who went West. “When a train set out,” she wrote, “the captain made a rule: women to one side, men to the other. Where flat and barren terrain made privacy seem impossible, women would band together and spread their long, broad skirts to form a screen.”

I should add, not all women wore underwear, as it was a relatively new creation. But those who did used an open style that is best described
as “crotchless.”

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