|Abstract||Matilda Fulton (1803-1879), an elite woman from Maryland, moved to the Arkansas frontier with her husband William Fulton in 1826. William Fulton served as the last territorial governor and became a senator in the first election after Arkansas reached statehood. During the absence of her husband, Matilda Fulton's letters to friends and family members documented her fascinating and extraordinary experience as a woman running a household and plantation in early Arkansas. Nineteenth century American society had very specific ideas about the appropriate behavior of women and their place in society. Magazines and pamphlets described the virtues to which women should aspire, and the idea of separate spheres relegated women to the private sphere of the home because they were too pure to be tainted by the public world of men. The themes of domesticity and separate spheres restricted the lives of women and the behavior they could engage in.^As a member of the upper class in Maryland, Matilda had been raised in a society that believed a woman's appropriate place was in the home as a member of the private sphere. When she and her family settled in territorial Arkansas, Matilda became part of a frontier society that, despite its rustic nature, still embraced a limited view of appropriate behavior for "ladies." While society dictated acceptable activities for women, Matilda Fulton was left in the absence of her husband to step out of those acceptable roles and take on new ones. Since William Fulton was away from Rosewood, the Fulton plantation, for months at a time, Matilda Fulton found herself taking care of the children, finances, farm, slaves, and business deals. Very few married women in Arkansas at this time lived apart from their husbands, and even fewer faced the responsibilities taken on by Matilda Fulton.^Fulton became part of the public sphere as she negotiated purchases of livestock and slaves and sales of crops and produce, discussed politics, and gave financial advice to her husband. At the same time she took on jobs such as slave supervisor and crop planner that were traditionally done by men, Matilda continued to serve in her domestic role, caring for the children and running the household. Her ability to fulfill duties that society viewed as the work of men and successfully manage a plantation challenged the idea of the women's sphere and what society deemed as acceptable for women at this time.