Lydia and Harry Rudd and their friends, named only as Henry and Mary, set out for Oregon in 1852.
They traveled with no children, although the poem at the end of Lydia’s diary suggests that a daughter had died in infancy or early childhood. The couples intended to file for shares of land in Oregon under the Donation Act, which provided that both husbands and wives could enter claims. Lydia, in particular, seems to have been anxious to have land in her own name.
Her diary tells of them traveling through the cholera epidemic that swept through the wagon train in June. They also traveled with other sicknesses as well — measles, mountain fever, and dysentery. The bad weather and the constant exposure affected even the young and the strong.
Lydia describes an almost commonplace pattern of barter with the Indians they met along the road. It is clear that whatever exchanges the men may have carried on, Lydia Rudd herself made her own bargains with the Indians and exhibited no reticence in doing so. The final leg of her journey — the crossing of the Columbia River — was made in an Indian canoe.