A captivating account of the lives of Laura, Christine, and Caroline Lindhard, three sisters who left their home in Stege, Denmark, in 1870 due to war, political turmoil, and limited opportunities, and sought out new lives in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.
There are few stories of entrepreneurial, business class women in nineteenth century BC. They didn’t keep diaries or save letters like the ruling class women often did, and they were usually overlooked in newspaper reports. Yet many came into British Columbia in the early years of the gold rush and helped build and sustain the developing communities. This book tells the stories of three sisters—Laura, Christine, and Caroline Lindhard—who arrived in BC from Denmark in the 1870s. Coming of age in Europe, the Lindhard sisters had aspirations that were restricted by societal norms about what women could and should be and do.
This is a story of how each of the sisters made a life for themselves: marrying and having children, becoming single parents at an early age, marrying again or not, working together, providing for their children, and making choices that set them on different paths. While their lives diverged at various points, their commitments to each other and the next generation remained strong.
The sisters’ stories illustrate the importance of family and community relationships as support structures for women entrepreneurs who combine family responsibilities with earning a living. While they were not heroic in the traditional, patriarchal sense of the word, the Lindhard sisters were powerful, influential members of their families and their community, and their lives reveal much about the complex social fabric of early British Columbia and the unsung contributions of women.
About the author
Linda Peterat is an author, educator, and researcher. She holds a BSc, BEd, MEd, and PhD in Curriculum Studies from the University of Alberta, and for many years she directed the home economics education program and graduate programs at UBC. In recent years, she has pursued her interest in researching food as it relates to home economics and is a frequent contributor to bcfoodhistory.ca.
“An intriguing and very readable true story of three adventurous Danish sisters caught up in the British Columbia gold rush now a century and a half ago”
—Jean Barman, award-winning author of British Columbia in the Balance: 1846–1871
“A splendid and very different telling of the Cariboo gold rush, as experienced through the life stories of three sisters who left Denmark in 1870 to settle in the mining camp of Van Winkle. A truly riveting read, it is one of the first to tell the women’s side of the story.”
—Liz Bryan, author of Adventure Roads of BC’s Northwest Heartland and Pioneer Churches along the Gold Rush Trail
“From Denmark to the Cariboo portrays intriguing insight into the lives of three Danish sisters who arrived in Van Winkle, a rustic gold rush town near Barkerville in the 1970s, and became part of the fabric of the community. Family values and the role of women in society is a strong undercurrent in this delightful narrative.”
—Sage Birchwater, bestselling author of Talking to the Story Keepers: Tales from the Chilcotin Plateau
“The absence of women from our history has been a huge loss to scholarship. We need this book. From Denmark to the Cariboo tells the story of three sisters who moved to the Cariboo in the late 1800s. In telling their stories, the author includes the stories of other women of the Cariboo. Meticulously researched, it shows the opportunities and constraints in the society of those days, giving us a detailed look at how women dealt with them.”
—Marion McKinnon Crook, award-winning author of Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin
“The remarkable story of three sisters who emigrated to British Columbia during the Gold Rush era, woven together with a wealth of historical details.”
—Marianne Van Osch, author of A Mill Behind Every Stump
“It was a joy to delve into this captivating book about three level-headed sisters from Denmark who ventured to Van Winkle and Barkerville during the Cariboo gold rush, each of them experiencing remarkable adventures, finding a husband and overcoming hardships.”
—Rolf Buschardt Christensen, President, Federation of Danish Associations in Canada