Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails 1864-1868, Vol. 9, edited by Kenneth L. Holmes


In their simplicity is their poignancy. On August 7, 1865, Mary Louisa Black noted in her journal that they were “nooning on a nice stream in a valey [sic] in the mountains.” A day later she observed that one of the men in the overland expedition had “buried an infant here yesterday-still born”. One can only imagine her emotional turmoil-she had buried her own daughter three months earlier, just as she and husband set out for Oregon. These invaluable documents demonstrate the passion and courage of these nineteenth-century pioneering women who led and followed their families into the West, pursuing dreams of better economic or social situations. One can only marvel at their ability to persevere under conditions that sent many scurrying back home to the East.

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