"American girl; farmer's daughter; raised on the farm, own 40 acres of land; father owns 100. Would consider marriage if I can find some good honest man, no objections to widower with one or wo children. My age is 22; weight, 160; height 5 feet 6 inches; black hair and eyes. Write and learn more."
Due to western expansion, the gold rush, and other calls to riches, by the 1850s there were more eligible bachelors in the West than the East. In Washington Territory, men outnumbered women by nine to one! It didn't take long for some enterprising women, in differing parts of the West, to plan ways of bringing eligible females to settle the land and make good marriages. "Matchmaking" newspapers sprouted up in California, and circulated all over the country, hoping to bring "rosy-cheeked down east Yankee girls."
In our world today, it seems unlikely any of us would consider marriage out of economic necessity, but our sisters from a century or two ago found it a very viable option. No one knows the true numbers of mail order brides who did venture West, or those who came out on their own and found love (or, at least, matrimony) with a stranger at a mining camp.
And it wasn't only women posting for a potential mate. This ad appeared in the January 8, 1887 edition of the Matrimonial News:
"A gentleman of 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young, intelligent, and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23, and one who could make home a paradise."
Perhaps love and romance could be found with a stranger, after all!