The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon
- PUBLISHED: April 2022
- SUBJECT LISTING: History / Western History, Pacific Northwest / History, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 314 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 25 b&w illus., 6 maps, 1 chart
- SERIES: Emil and Kathleen Sick Book Series in Western History and Biography
- ISBN: 9780295750637
On an autumn day in 1895, eighteen-year-old Loyd Montgomery shot his parents and a neighbor in a gruesome act that reverberated beyond the small confines of Montgomery's Oregon farming community. The dispassionate slaying and Montgomery's consequent hanging exposed the fault lines of a rapidly industrializing and urbanizing society and revealed the burdens of pioneer narratives boys of the time inherited.
In Pioneering Death: The Violence of Boyhood in Turn-of-the-Century Oregon, Peter Boag examines the Brownsville parricide as an allegory for the destabilizing transitions within the rural United States at the end of the nineteenth century. While pioneer families celebrated and memorialized founders of western white settler society, their children faced a present and future in frightening decline. Connecting a fascinating true-crime story with the broader forces that produced the murders, Boag uncovers how Loyd's violent acts reflected the brutality of American colonizing efforts, the anxieties of global capitalism, and the buried traumas of childhood in the American West.
Authors & Contributors
Peter Boag is professor and Columbia Chair in the History of the American West at Washington State University. He is author of Re-Dressing America's Frontier Past, Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest, and Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon.
With the bleak story of a triple murder, Boag explores the emotional landscape of society and family in the rural West at the end of the frontier era. The result is a stark portrait of the violence and stresses of growing up in one of America's more mythologized settings.- Elliott West, author of Growing Up with the Country
Boag uses a gripping local story to obliterate the fictions of the white 'pioneer' tale. This is narrative history—powerful, painful, and full of paradoxes—at its very best.- Ryan Dearinger, author of The Filth of Progress