The Women

A Family Story

Family history, usually destined or even designed for limited consumption, is a familiar genre within Mormon culture. Mostly written with little attention to standards of historical scholarship, such works are a distinctly hagiographic form of family memorabilia. But many family sagas in the right hands can prove widely engaging, owing to inherent drama and historical relevance. They can truthfully illuminate larger matters of history, humanity, and culture.
Kerry Bate proceeds on the premise that a story centering on the women of the clan could provide fresh perspective and insight. He portrays real people with well-rounded, flawed characters; builds from deep research; writes with a bit of style; and includes the rich context and detail of these lives. His main subjects are four generations of impressive women: the pioneer Catherine Campbell Steele; her daughter Young Elizabeth, the first Mormon child born in Utah; Kate, an accomplished community leader; and Sarah, a gifted seamstress trapped in an unhappy marriage. To enter their hardscrabble lives in small southern Utah communities is to meet women who pioneered in their own modest but determined ways.

Winner of the Mormon History Association's Best Personal History/Memoir Award.

Interview with Tom Williams on Access Utah

Kerry William Bate has been a community organizer, Utah State Community Development Division director, and director of the Housing Authority of the County of Salt Lake. He has published in such varied magazines as The Utah Realtor,Utah Historical Quarterly, OralHistory Review, The American Genealogist, and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and has authored or coauthored four family histories. 

Table of Contents:
Preface and Acknowledgments
Family Pedigree
1. “Husband What Is Thy Will?”: Catherine Campbell Steele
2. “Convicts to Bondsman’s Lands”: Catherine and Elizabeth Steele
3. “Letting Posterity Come In”: Elizabeth Steele Stapley
4. “Nicest Great Grand Baby You Have Got”: Catherine Steele
5. “She Wanted Her Own Rights”: Sarah E. Roundy
6. “Do Their Own Doing”: Sarah E. Roundy
7. “She Can Do It”: Sarah E. Roundy
8. “Nothing Too Refined”: Victor L. Sylvester
9. “Mother of the Ward”: Sarah Catherine Stapley Roundy
10.“Let’s Go Over and See President Harding”: Joel J. Roundy
11.“Just Getting Nothing”: Victor L. Sylvester
12. “Continue to Increase”: Elizabeth Steele Stapley
13.“She Only Had One Mother”: Sarah Catherine Stapley Roundy
14. “That Was Money in Her Pocket”: Sarah E. Roundy Sylvester
15. “The Queen Bee”: Sarah E. Roundy Sylvester
16.“Stern Looking but Well-Polished”: Elizabeth Steele Stapley
17. “Poverty and Progeny”: The Women

Praise and Reviews:

“A detailed, lively, local history. The author has done an astonishing amount of recording and transcribing of oral histories, and it often brings characters to life in a wonderful way.”
—Todd Compton, author of A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Indian Missionary 

"The Women gives specific information about nearly every aspect of life on the American frontier—housing, food, medicine, animals, transportation, gas, and later electrical lighting. It personalizes a great many things that are often discussed only in general or technical and impersonal terms.”
—Colleen Keyes Whitley, author of Worth Their Salt: Notable but Often Unnoted Women of Utah and Worth Their Salt, Too: More Notable but Often Unnoted Women 

“Meticulously researched through oral history and primary and secondary documents, this lengthy work of family history represents a standard to which genealogists everywhere might aspire.…Enhanced with numerous black-and-white photographs of people, places, letters, certificates, and even house plans, this is an exemplary work of family history, sure to have wide appeal.”—Association for Mormon Letters

“Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented, The Women: A Family Story is an inherently compelling, impressively informed and informative read from beginning to end.”—Midwest Book Review

“A genealogical treasure trove.…This history also includes family stories about neighbors, local communities, church leaders, and even a visit by Warren Harding to southern Utah in 1923.…Bate weaves together a story that includes family loyalty, love, forgiveness, and respect. “—Utah Historical Review

“A guide for genealogists everywhere on how to present their research in an engaging and scholarly fashion. The book also gives a fascinating look at life in southwestern Utah from around 1850 to 1950.”—The Journal of Mormon History