Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Arctic Homestead

Arctic Homestead

The True Story of One Family's Survival and Courage in the Alaskan Wilds

Norma Cobb and Charles W. Sasser

St. Martin's Press



In 1973, Norma Cobb, her husband Lester and the their five children, the oldest of whom was nine years old and the youngest, twins, barely one, pulled up stakes in the lower 48 and headed north to Alaska to follow a pioneer dream of claiming land under the Homestead Act. The only land available lay north of Fairbanks near the Arctic Circle where grizzlies outnumbered humans twenty to one. In addition to fierce winters and predatory animals, the Alaskan frontier drew the more unsavory elements of society's fringes. From the beginning, the Cobbs found themselves pitted in a life or death feud with unscrupulous neighbors who would rob from new settlers, attempt to burn them out, shoot them and jump their claim.

The Cobbs were chechakos, tenderfeet, in a lost land that consumed even toughened settlers. Everything, including their "civilized" past, conspired to defeat them. They constructed a cabin--and first snow collapsed the roof. They built too near the creek and spring breakup threatened to flood them out. Bears prowled the nearby woods, stalking the children and Lester Cobb would leave for months at a time in search of work.

But through it all, they survived on the strength of Norma Cobb--a woman whose love for her family knew no bounds and whose courage in the face of mortal danger is an inspiration to us all. Arctic Homestead is her story.


Praise for Arctic Homestead

“Turn off the TV, throw a log on the fire, unpack your dreams. This is the real thing: a farewell account of our greatest myth about ourselves, the frontier myth. Norma Cobb writes with a skinning knife and gun stock, with bear grease and shards of river ice---a memoir as wild, engaging, stubborn, and authentic as that distant valley where her family staked out the last plot in America.” —John Balzar, author of Yukon Alone

“Cobb's voice combines the ruggedness of the frontier with the tenderness of a caring mother, resulting in an appealing, and enjoyably quick read.” —Publishers Weekly

“Her story exhibits her strength and sheer willpower to make it work.” —Oregonian

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Norma Cobb and Charles W. Sasser

Norma Cobb is the last woman pioneer to sign up under the U.S. Homestead Act and become a homesteader. She and her family still live in the valley they settled. Arctic Homestead is Norma Cobb's first book.

Charles W. Sasser has been a full-time freelance writer/journalist since 1979. He has published over 2,500 articles and short stories and has over 30 published books to his name. He lives in Oklahoma.

Norma Cobb

Norma Cobb

Charles W. Sasser

U.S. Army

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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