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Covered Wagon Women, Volume 1: Diaries and…
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Covered Wagon Women, Volume 1: Diaries and Letters from the Western…

by Kenneth L. Holmes

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This book is a collection of letters and diary entries made by the women who crossed the Oregon Trail in the 1840s. They speak of the troubles they came across, the death of husbands, children, loved ones. They talk about how their wagons overturned, and how they had to lay under their dogs at night to keep warm. There is a story of a midwife who delivered babies while she was on the Trail - how she would travel back 5-10 miles sometimes to reach a woman in labor.

The collection comes from many museums across the United States. It was interesting to hear the journey from a woman's point of view. Very rarely did the woman complain about her dire circumstances, or about the death of her loved ones. They would bury their husbands and children, and the next day they would start again on their travels. Most of the women had around 8 children to care for, plus her husband. They would cook for their families and keep things in order day after day. Through the snow and rain and across the Snake River. It was truly remarkable to read.

I really enjoyed this book, and cannot believe I almost forgot to blog about it!! GREAT book - check it out. I can't wait to read volume #2.
( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
This is a fascinating selection of letters and journal entries from women who crossed the Great Divide. To his merit, Mr. Holmes has left these records pretty much alone. He has not changed the writers creative spelling nor punctuation, except to provide [spaces] where the sentences are run on and the meaning consequently obscured.

In addition to the original writings, Mr. Holmes provides background information for each diarist, and footnotes throughout. While I found the footnotes interesting and informative, the introductory material dealt almost exclusively with with genealogy (rather than historical backdrop) and so was not of much assistance to me in trying to understand the emigrant's experience. ( )
  ThePam | Nov 11, 2007 |
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Dedicated to Clifford Merrill Drury whose three-volume series, First White Women Over the Rockies, laid the foundation for much of what follows here.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803272774, Paperback)

The women who traveled west in covered wagons during the 1840s speak through these letters and diaries. Here are the voices of Tamsen Donner and young Virginia Reed, members of the ill-fated Donner party; Patty Sessions, the Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail between Omaha and Salt Lake City; Rachel Fisher, who buried both her husband and her little girl before reaching Oregon. Still others make themselves heard, starting out from different places and recording details along the way, from the mundane to the soul-shattering and spirit-lifting.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

V. 1. The women who traveled west in covered wagons during the 1840s speak through these letters and diaries. Here are the voices of Tamsen Donner and young Virginia Reed, members of the ill-fated Donner party; Patty Sessions, the Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail between Omaha and Salt Lake City; Rachel Fisher, who buried both her husband and her little girl before reaching Oregon. Still others make themselves heard, starting out from different places and recording details along the way, from the mundane to the soul-shattering and spirit-lifting.… (more)

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