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Abigail Jane Scott was seventeen when she left Illinois with her family in the spring of 1852. Her record of the journey west is full of expressive detail: breakfasting in a snowstorm, walking behind the wagons to keep warm, tasting buffalo meat, trying to climb Independence Rock. She meets her future husband, Benjamin Duniway, at the end of the Oregon Trail and, in the years to come, finds fame as a writer and a leader of the suffrage movement in the Northwest. Her grandson, David Duniway, edited her trail diary for Covered Wagon Women.
This volume includes the equally vivid diaries of other women who rode the wagons in 1852. Polly Coon of Wisconsin recalls trading with the Indians. Martha Read, starting from Illinois, is particularly alert to the suffering of the animals, noting hundreds of dead cows and horses along the way. Cecilia Adams and Parthenia Blank, twin sisters from Illinois, jointly chronicle their once-in-a-lifetime experience.
About the Author
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.
Ruth Barnes Moynihan is the author of Rebel for Rights: Abigail Scott Duniway and the coeditor of So Much to Be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier (Nebraska 1990) and of the two-volume Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women (Nebraska 1994). She is an adjunct professor of women’s studies at the University of Connecticut.