Covered Wagon Women: 1851

Front Cover
Kenneth L. Holmes, David Duniway
University of Nebraska Press, 1995 - History - 291 pages
14 Reviews
"Kenneth L. Holmes made the very wise editorial decision not to update, revise, or parenthetically correct the quirky and often fascinating prose of these nineteenth-century women. . . . The writing is rich with the sounds of common speech and jargon."--John Mack Faragher, Western Historical Quarterly. Expectations of gold, rich farmland, and healthful climate propelled some fifty thousand overlanders. Among the women making the trip west to California and Oregon in 1850 were six whose diaries and letters give distinction to the second volume of Covered Wagon Women. Margaret A. Frink notes the scarcity of women in the army of grizzled fortune seekers. Her extended journal is "one of the classics of American history," according to Kenneth L. Holmes. Frink describes preparations for the journey, lodging and camping along the way, landmarks, encounters with Indians, the problem of finding grass and water for the livestock, and early days in Sacramento. Like all the others going west in 1850, she is terrified by the cholera epidemic. A courageous young mother, Sarah Davis, counts the graves along the way. Mary M. Colby's record is a reminder of how women contributed to the family prosperity when they reached bountiful Oregon. Lucena Parsons, a bride, provides details about washing and cooking in the open air. Sophia Goodridge, the youngest daughter in a large Mormon family, charts the trip to Salt Lake. Anna Maria Morris travels to Santa Fe with the military unit commanded by her husband. Kenneth L. Holmes is emeritus professor of history at Western Oregon State College. Lillian Schlissel is the author of Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey. She is a professor of English and director of the American Studies program at Brooklyn College.

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Review: Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 (Covered Wagon Women #1)

User Review  - Derinda Babcock - Goodreads

All of the books in this series were very helpful for my research. The letters allowed me to read first-hand accounts of life on the trail from different women's perspectives. If I were to rate it ... Read full review

Review: Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 (Covered Wagon Women #1)

User Review  - Holly Weiss - Goodreads

Tough read about early pioneer experiences. So much longing for news of family back east and deprivation. Read full review

About the author (1995)

Kenneth L. Holmes was a professor of history at Western Oregon State College. He edited and compiled "Covered Wagon Women, " drawing on archives and private sources.

Lillian Schlissel is the author of "Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey." She is a professor of English and director of the American Studies program at Brooklyn College.

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