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tv   Bold Spirit  CSPAN  September 3, 2017 9:41am-9:56am EDT

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one of the largest producing solar areas in the united states. a lot of the mansion and the buildings are all built. >> welcome to spokane, washington on booktv. with the help of our comcast cable partners over the next 90 minutes will travel the city as we talk with local authors about the history spoke and the surrounding areas. first up to mr. of the region in the grade, helga estby in 1896, she and her daughter walked seven month from spokane to new york city in an effort to win a $10,000 prize as they try to save her family farm. >> helga estby is a woman who did an amazing almost 4000-mile walk across america in 1896 with her daughter in law and victorian dresses on a $10,000
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wager. this was silenced intentionally and yet no woman had ever gone escorted before. an amazing story of a woman who shaped her family's destiny. the title of my book is "bold spirit: helga estby's forgotten walk across victorian america". in the monitor story to be told because women stories are often lost in american history. at a history major from the university of miami had a paragraph or two of eleanor roosevelt in ordinary stories were lost and i believe they are part of our western history. in fact, historians realize we didn't have the native american story, didn't have the japanese truth. we were missing our stories and
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one of the part as american women do i live extraordinary lives. she was born in oslo. her father died when she was two. her mother remarried a few years later and her stepfather emigrated with her when she was allowed into america. they settled to begin with and then gets pregnant at 15 and we don't have the background i'm not. they then moved out in homestead is there and they had an arranged marriage with the norwegians with her husband do not swear she was for many years before they came to spokane. what happened was helga and ollie, he was a trained carpenter and moved up to spokane, washington after they
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were in minnesota and it was a rough time in minnesota that they were able to build a house, have a farm and sell it to come last to know at the time of a lot of encouragement, so they come here. he actually becomes the union carpenter. they are doing very well. they have nine children at that point. they have 11 children eventually. but then the recession had spokane very hard. by that time, they've moved out to a farm, which is a railroad distance 25 miles from the city. they had a lot of other ways to keep the family alive. so when the recession came he also got injured and he couldn't work. there were no jobs. they had to feed this large family and they couldn't pay the
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mortgage and taxes in their home. we had a london-based close so the thought of her family breaking up and being split apart because where does a homeless woman code was bankrupt in a city with that many children? you have to have the older kids work outside the home. you'd be lucky to find anyone who would even rent to you. that fear and knowing a farm you could stay alive there's a $10,000 wager and they were common in that area but if she would only walk across unescorted and earn her way across the way, she would get $10,000, which is over 200,000 in our time. that's a miracle and you would keep the farm. they could stay alive. that motivated her to do something that was very challenging. >> sometime in the winter of
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burying of 1896 they lost a child at that time to an illness. so she was in a time of grief. they were able to keep the large family alive. the only lost once a early on as an insane. it was a time of sorrow when she hears this is a kind of threat. it's also a time where women are very strong to stay in the home. you do not leave the home, especially to something very strange like walk across america and for some reason she had the decision encouraged to take this walk. she wrote to clara, a beautiful young woman and they have several stipulations of what they had to do and what they had to bring. they did bring a smith & wesson gun, some kind of account base. they had a curling iron, which is one of the things they were stopped by native americans,
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they were curious what is this item. they did not bring a change of clothes. they would earn their way and they could only bring $5 they have to earn their way along the route in the stipulation was that had to be there at a certain time, which was about six months from what we can tell. that's stipulation about having to get there at a certain time and stop in or near way along the way for cultural problems. they were also told us they were till they would get extra time. that becomes an important issue later in the story. they began in downtown spokane on this railroad even know about was 25 miles from their home and the first night they walked from their home and spend one night with the family. one of the ways we were able to
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find more about this story was the way they could earn their money as they could come into town and the newspaper read away. the c-span at that time. they have a letter from the mayor in spokane that said these are upstanding women. be sure to treat them well. very important letter of introduction, so they would go in, show what you're doing, ask if they would please write them up in the newspaper reporters would write them up however they solved them. and so i was able to reconstruct the story. the family didn't have any of this. i was able to reconstruct a story by going into the old archives and see me 96 newspapers that a lot of the cities burn them a lot for papers.
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that is how we begin each year what they actually did and some of their encounters and they have a lot of theaters that people were telling them about, why you shouldn't do this. rough weather, rough men because they were doing of railroad and a lot of that time were homeless and they were hungry and looking for work and they were warned about them, but in fact they treated them very well and left water on the railroad tracks which was an amazing kindness, recognizing those men understood what it was like to lose a home. there was a kind of kindness. they were given all of these warnings and they heard the warning but chose courage. by the time they got over the mountains, i think it was ago
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that said i'm sick of this trip a one of them said i'm sick of this trip and if they had any idea, and it's easier going through their east because its more developed because they never left the railroad. they were supposed to get there within six months in december, about mid december. there is a stipulation that they got ill they would get longer times in colorado and they lost 10 days and they didn't know if this brain ankle account doesn't illness. they end up outside of new york city. they have to come in where they are supposed to report. somebody misdirects them 50 miles out of the way so they get their about christmas eve and they go into the news paper. it's a picture of the two women the newspaper. they showed these two women that had arrived in their fear that
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the sponsors would not give them the reward is true. they received nothing. what to me was really, really strange is they didn't even get train tickets home for these women who would win away from their large families for over six months. and then they're destitute if new york. today was something like the today show to get lots of help. they had to move to brooklyn and try to earn your money they are to get train tickets. the problem was they were just one of hundreds of thousands of immigrants now. they were not a special story because it's quite unusual what they were wearing. they spent six months in new york in brooklyn and the boarding house they win they couldn't save enough money to pay their living expenses.
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and they also, she gets the telegram that one of her children have died from diphtheria in the first time this very proud woman goes to the charity organization asking if she could just have a loan and she will pay about. i've proven i could work you choose that now were willing to put you in the poor house. so then her next thing was she went and talked to a railroad magnate and convinced him to give her three ticket to chicago and then they walked from there to minneapolis. but then when she gets home and find that a second child has died. here is the tragedy because the living children had to stay in an outhouse that was really meant for animals instill a cold
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april where the father is trying to nurse the child in the house and when the children died and he goes to bury them, he has to build the costs and coming very in the cemetery. the pastor has to stay far, far away to do any kind of a blessing because it's a quarantine situation. so she comes home to a family deeply distraught and angry. but they lost their brother and sister and mom was not home. and this is what silenced the story for 100 years. what i saw that to me was just fascinating was even though she lost the money, she grew huge love for america. this happened today when she was over here in the newspaper and newspapers in those days doing the same thing. she met kindness. she met with governors here she
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met with mayors. she met with ordinary ranchers, citizens. she learned how her daughter said, she's the one that said i'm sick of this trip. she learned so much about human nature. when you come here to a small fire. a and a rancher says house, how safe is my daughter? how safe for my staying overnight? how do we keep ourselves alive when there's a alive when there is to not going around? they discovered internal string and the great strength of our nation into a real love for her country. she had a lifelong interest and they were walking the route at the same time as the presidential election year in mckinley and brian, a very heated election. one day my love was the daughter
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and mother disagreed on politics. and so they had great discussions with people along the way. the other thing that happened, she had a lifelong interest. the walk-through states where women have the right to vote and she's very interested in women having riots and that was transformative for her. basically, the book is not making a judgment. it's telling that story and it gives room for men and women to decide what they think about a woman like this in their own life. but i did like was the sponsors first two women, so was not a worse way between men and women. it was something that was radically wrong and we've done it every trail to try and find the sponsors. i wanted the history channel to do it because it is the story that deserves it all the


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