This paper is a review of Sherrie S. McLeRoy's book, Red River Women, a profile of eight women of the Victorian era with ties to the Red River area of northeastern Texas. This is the author's home territory, and these profiles serve to illustrate her contention that the challenges of settling the Texas frontier during the latter half of the 19th century often produced women who were up to the rigors of the job. McLeRoy sheds light on a number of colorful personalities often overlooked in conventional historical records. While she might serve her subjects better by acting less as a historian and more as a novelist, Red River Women provides an interesting addition to historical texts.
Sherrie S. McLeRoy is a historian whose primary focus is on Texas history. One of her books, A Century of Excellence: An Historical Perspective, has been used as a classroom textbook in some Texas high schools. Other books include a biography of Bettie Brown, two books focusing on notable historical accomplishments in Texas history, and Black Land, Red River: A Pictorial History of Grayson County, Texas. Two of her books concentrating on history elsewhere are chronicles of various aspects of the history of Amherst County, Virginia, including a 1993 study of the free black population of that region, written with her husband, William R. McLeRoy.
McLeRoy has been a guest speaker at annual meetings of the East Texas Historical Association and the Texas State Historical Association. She has held various positions with museums and historical sites throughout the state, including working at Ashton Villa in Galveston and serving as the director of Sherman County's historical museum.
She is especially interested in the role that women played in frontier history, a role that has often been overlooked by male historians studying a male-dominated society. She writes, "The conventions of the Victorian world decreed that [a woman] live sedately amongst...