Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1853-1854 - Vol. 6

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1853-1854 - Vol. 6

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1853-1854 - Vol. 6

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1853-1854 - Vol. 6

Synopsis

"We traveled this forenoon over the roughest and most desolate piece of ground that was ever made", wrote Amelia Knight during her 1853 wagon train journey to Oregon. The letters and diaries of women like Amelia open a window on not only the hardships, privation, and danger the travelers endured, but also on their diverse backgrounds and religious beliefs--and the awesome landscape that challenged them with every step.

Excerpt

It appears we are destined for years to mingle in one common herd with the sap heads of every country and clime.

The above words were written by Elizabeth (Butler) Hutchinson in a letter to a relative in Monmouth, Illinois. She wrote the letter from a newly-settled farm near Monmouth, Oregon, on June 24, 1854.

This young woman was an example of many emigrants of 1853 who traveled overland to the Pacific coast as part of various groups devoted to religious principles. Elizabeth was one of a community of Disciples of Christ who sought a new country where they might practice their faith in their own way. The plan was to form a church, a town, and a school in the name of the Christian Church.

Of the seven wagon trains covered in this volume, four of them launched out over the western trails with such a purpose in mind. It was natural, of course, for Hannah King, a Mormon lady from England, to travel to the Utah promised land as a culmination of a deep devotion. Celinda Hines was one of a group of Methodists who traveled west to their new Canaan in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. They followed in the wake of the Reverend Jason Lee, who had formed a germ of a settlement and named it Salem as a mission station in work with the Indians. Rachel Taylor was a member of a Methodist "Preachers' Wagon Train," led by the Reverend William Royal and two sons and their families to southern Oregon.

The backdrop against which the American westward . . .

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