Heart of the Trail The Stories of Eight Wagon Train Women by Mary Barmeyer O'Brien
In Heart of the Trail Mary Barmeyer O'Brien beautifully captures the triumphs and tribulations of eight women who crossed the American frontier by wagon. While their stories are widely different, each of these remarkable women was inspiring, courageous, and resourceful. The legacy of their letters and diaries, most written on the trail, is a fascinating addition to understanding the history of the West.
From the early 1840s to the 1860s, thousands of men, women and children made their way across the American West, following sometimes treacherous and terrifying trails to reach their dreams. Women emigrants frequently made the long trip out of a sense of duty to their husbands and families. Mary Rockwood Powers faced the difficulties of the Oregon Trail with a maniac husband she barely recognized, he was so changed by the rigors of the trail. For others, the trip west was a less perilous one, made by choice. Ellen Gordon Fletcher rode in high style on her honeymoon trip to Montana -- resting in a comfortable armchair for much of her wagon journey.
While pioneer men frequently recorded their experiences in journals and diaries as they crossed the frontier, their observations usually focused on the weather, the terrain, and the day-to-day tasks they accomplished. Women diarists described the people they met on the trail, their efforts to care for fellow travelers when sick or injured, and their feeling about leaving home and facing unfamiliar territory. By sharing their stories, Mary O'Brian records an essential part of the western experience, the Heart of the Trail.
Paperback, c1997, xiii, 81 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references ( 74-76) and index.
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