Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 - Vol. 1

By Kenneth L. Holmes | Go to book overview

Two Letters Phoebe Stanton

INTRODUCTION

In the manuscript collection of the Oregon Historical Society in Portland are two letters written by Phoebe Stanton. One, the actual original, was written in 1847 while traveling in a wagon train in Missouri enroute to far-away Oregon. The second letter was written in 1856 from that far-away land telling of life in their new surroundings near Salem in the Willamette Valley. The first part of the second letter is really written by her husband, Alfred Stanton. Although it is our purpose to publish women's diaries and letters, the husband's is in this case so much a part of the whole that it is included as well.

Part way through her 1847 letter Phobe Stanton wrote as follows: "May 10th another pleasant morning to morrow makes me 32." This tells us her birth date: May 11, 1815. Her maiden name had been Phoebe Fail, and her birthplace, according to the 1850 Federal Census, was somewhere in Virginia. She was married to Alfred Stanton, a native of Ohio, on January 9, 1831, in La Porte, Indiana, several months before her sixteenth birthday. The bridegroom was a 23-year-old farmer, his birth date being July 23, 1808.

They lived in Indiana for the next sixteen years, and in April, 1847, they left for the trip over the Oregon Trail with five children: Marietta and Rocena, 14-year-old girls, evidently twins; Francis (or Frank), 11 years; Sarah, 8 years, and Lydia, 4.1

____________________
1
The names of the children were taken from the records of the 1850

-83-

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