Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1838, Maggie Greeno went to work in a boarding house at the age of twelve, after her father's death. She was married at fifteen and widowed at nineteen. Soon afterwards she and her two small children sailed to California, via the Isthmus of Panama, to live in a gold-mining camp.
This story deals with her disastrous second marriage and the events that led to their separation at Columbia, California. It covers her employment at a rustic inn on the Humbug Trail above the town of Inskip where her excellent cooking and congenial manner earned her the title "Maggie the Boston Belle of Chaparral House."
The author chronicles Maggie's third marriage to an enterprising young man, Charles B. Clark, whose ambitious character eventually led them over the Sierra Nevada to Susanville in northeastern California. There they operated the Steward House Hotel as a family.
Author McDow describes the true grit of a woman unafraid of hard work. Maggie survived Charles Clark's sudden death, the absconding by trusted friends with her second son left in her care, and a fourth stormy marriage to George Greeno.
She survived the birth of eight children and the death of four of them; and by her perseverance, strong will, and business acumen, she built the Greeno Ranch into the envy of all Western cattlemen for which she became known as the Matriarch Cattle Queen of Long Valley.
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