In the Love and Marriage section I found interesting information. In Puritan America unmarried people were frowned upon and if a spouse died the widow or widower would immediately look for a new spouse. Being single could get you a fine in Fort Dodge Iowa in 1907. A law was passed requiring everyone between the ages of 25-45 to wed.
In Colonial America public censure made it imperative that single women become married or live out their days with family members spinning flax and wool for the family- hence the name spinster for an unmarried woman. Other cruel names used were thornback, stale Maid and antique virgin. A bachelor was viewed as a criminal and the local law enforcers would make sure they were under scrutiny at all times while married men were allotted more freedom.
Because of this need to find a mate many God-fearing colonists allowed the practice of bundling. This was a chance for a man and a woman to spend quiet conversation time together without wasting oil for the lamps, candles, or wood in the stove. An 18th century song about bundling went like this:
A bundling couple went to bed,
With all their clothes from foot to head,
That the defence might seem complete,
Each one was wrapped in a sheet.
When a suitor might have traveled miles to visit his sweetheart an overnight stay was needed. The bundling was done by family members who securely knotted the young woman in her clothes, wrapped her in a sheet, and even put a board or bolster between the two.
However as has been the problem for centuries, young couples cannot always resist temptation, and premarital pregnancies grew in the 18th century. People began blaming the bundling and by the early 1800's couples only in the most remote rural areas still bundled.
This would make an interesting development for a couple in a western. Perhaps there is only one bed and the heroine is trying to keep herself chaste for another, or an older family member insists on the bundling to perhaps bring the couple closer together through conversation.
Have you ever read a book where bundling was used?