Covered Wagon Women, Volume 11: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1879-1903
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The stories seem simple—they left, they traveled, they settled—yet the restless westering impulse of Americans created one of the most enduring figures in our frontier pantheon: the hardy pioneer persevering against all odds. Undeterred by storms, ruthless bandits, towering mountains, and raging epidemics, the women in these volumes suggest why the pioneer represented the highest ideals and aspirations of a young nation. In this concluding volume of the Covered Wagon Women series, we see the final animal-powered overland migrations that were even then yielding to railroad travel and, in a few short years, to the automobile. The diaries and letters resonate with the vigor and spirit that made possible the settling and community-building of the American West.
All rights reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Library of Congress has cataloged Vol. 1 as: Covered wagon women: diaries & letters from the western trails, 1840–1849 / edited and compiled by Kenneth L. Holmes; introduction to the Bison Books edition by Anne M. Butler. p. cm. Originally published: Glendale, Calif: A. H. Clark Co., 1983. “Reprinted from volume one… of the original eleven-volume edition”— T.p. verso. “Volume 1.” Includes index. ISBN-10:
some of the worst looking country I ever saw. Lonely, desolate, dreary. Thinking of it now reminds me of those who choose to spend their lives in what they would—I presume—call single blessedness—but what I would call old maid, and old bachelor ship It was one vast, dreary waste, with onely now and then a sod shanty to verry the scene. I hope to be delivered from another day’s journey over such a country as that. This afternoon it has been some what better. The first houses we saw was four sod
got his revolver. As we went through Newtown this morning stopped there a while and Harrison got his neck yoke fixed at the blacksmith shop. There was a store burnt down there last night. We heard a keg of powder, when it went off, sounded like a cannon. Camped for dinner on big Medacine creek. The waches was run down this morning so we didn’t know what time it was. Daisy is awful cross. Martha says if she don’t get better she intends to take the train and go back home. Harrison is better today,
puzzling to readers more than a century later. What story lies behind Mary Bower’s cryptic comment, “lots of dissatisfaction in camp” (68)? The final account in this volume is the most conscious of its audience, in part because it was compiled three years after the journey. Anna Hansberry revisits her “hurriedly scribbled notes, often written when the wagon was on the move,” editing and augmenting them to send as a letter to amuse her ill brother (164). Certain vignettes included in these
of freighters, 173; of Indians, 75; lame, 111, 113; in rail cars, 83–86; for railroad work, 88; shod, 78, 124; sick, 76; traded for, 109 Hospital: 80 Hostetter, Thomas: 64 Hot springs: 129, 132, 175 Houses: of rock, 173; in WI, IA, 22; see also sod houses Huckleberries: 106 Hudson (IA): 26–27 Hutchinson (KS): 65 Illnesses: 9; boil, 81; colds, 113–14, 149; fit, 134; sore throat, 158; teething, 116, 124; see also ague, diarrhea, medicine, smallpox Independence (IA): 23–25; Insane Asylum