- James Woodress
Cather, Willa (07 December 1873–24 April 1947), novelist and short-story writer, was born in Back Creek Valley (now Gore), Virginia, the daughter of Charles Cather, farmer, and Mary Virginia Boak. Cather’s family moved to Nebraska in 1883. She later told an interviewer that after the mountains of Virginia the prairie made her feel that she had “come to the end of everything—it was a kind of erasure of personality. … I thought I would go under.” But she did not, and for the first eighteen months of her life in Nebraska she lived on her grandfather’s farm, surrounded by immigrant farm families whom she came to know and love and whom she eventually turned into memorable fictional characters. When her father moved the family to the prairie village of Red Cloud and opened an insurance and real estate office, Cather began the next phase of her life. The town appears in six of her novels and a good many stories....