Mail-order Brides


Today’s guest post is written by fellow author, Cindy Ervin Huff. I think you will enjoy learning a bit about mail-order brides.


Mail-order brides were a booming business in the 1800s. The Matrimonial News, a San Francisco paper, was sold throughout America during the mid to late 19th century. The paper was chock full of ads from lonely men or hopeful women looking for a chance at love, financial security, or a step-parent. Many a single woman and widow traveled west to marry strangers.

Some advertisers misrepresented themselves, causing lawsuits and broken promises. There were rocky relationships and joyously happy ones. It was common for the prospective groom to write the bride for a few months before paying for her passage. A few women came with dark secrets, fears or—surprise—children not mentioned in her correspondence.

One woman, a con artist, was quite surprised when her intended mark had misrepresented himself and was poor as a church mouse. The ads were often filled with exaggerations regarding wealth and physical appearance.

Many young men had gone west in pursuit of gold, land, and other opportunities. Missing the comforts of home, they were anxious to find wives. The Matrimonial News presented many willing men to the single female population back east.

After the Civil War, many newspapers carried columns dedicated to these paid announcements. The shrinking pool of eligible men in the east was the number one reason why women were so willing to immigrate west. Even the homely woman had no problem finding a husband.

Most women placed ads focusing on their finer qualities. Some included pictures. One woman, however, advertised herself as fat and 45. This successful businesswoman wanted a man over forty.


Cindy Ervin Huff is a multi-published writer and winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas at the 2014 Write-To-Publish Conference. Secrets and Charades released March 15, 2017.She has been featured in numerous periodicals over the last thirty years. Cindy is a past member of the Christian Writer’s Guild and President of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers. Visit Cindy on Facebook at, follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff, or check out her blog at

Her Brand New Release!!!

secret-charades-front-coverSecrets and Charades : Dr. Evangeline Olson is desperate to put her past behind her. Civil War veteran and rancher, Jake Marcum gets more than he expects in his mail-order bride. Will the secrets in their hearts get in the way of a happily-ever-after?