Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails 1850 - Vol. 5

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails 1850 - Vol. 5

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails 1850 - Vol. 5

Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails 1850 - Vol. 5

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

An added feature of volume five of our series, centering on those who traveled the Oregon Trail in 1852, is that we have the valued assistance of a co-editor, David C. Duniway of Salem, Oregon. He is now retired as the distinguished Oregon State Archivist, having served in that position from 1946 to 1972.

David Duniway has edited for us the diary of his grandmother, Abigail Scott [Duniway], a family treasure in his possession. Abigail was a 17-year-old teenager when she wrote the 1852 diary. She later became the vigorous advocate of suffrage for women in the American West and is often designated the outstanding woman in Oregon history. Not only that, but David Duniway has edited for us the letters written by the Scott girls to their grandfather in Illinois soon after their arrival in Oregon. Over the years he has taken a special interest in the overlanders of 1852 because of his relatives having traveled west that year.

As in the other volumes of this series, the records are arranged in relation to the time they crossed the Missouri River. Dates for the Missouri crossing are as follows: Abigail Scott, May 10; Polly Coon, May 18; Martha Read, May 21; Cecelia Adams and Parthenia Blank, June 1.

The introduction to Volume IV, which records the overland journeys to California in 1852, will serve equally well for Volume V, which tells of the overlanders on the Oregon Trail for the same year.

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