Title: Best of Covered Wagon Women, Vol 2 ~ A Book Review
Author: Kenneth Holmes
Publisher: Oklahoma University Press
Pages: 253 pages - soft cover
Received: Purchased at Powell's Bookstore
A collection of the best diaries and letters written by women on the overland trails in the mid-to-late 19th century. There are eleven selections drawn from the Covered Wagon Women series. These accounts are penned by women whose ages ranged from 12 to 18 years.
While in Oregon I visited a museum on the Oregon Trail. It was a short stop that ended up being a few hours. The museum was interactive and so as I listened to stories I began to wonder about journals. In the bookstore I found the Covered Wagon Women series but did not purchase the book until arriving in Portland.
There are 12 journals recorded. Each section begin with facts about the person who wrote the journals. The facts include who they married, how long they lived, what they did as an occupation and such. Then the entries began.
The entries were short. As I read I was amazed at the ages of the women writing. They were young, yet their grasp on the english language was amazing.
My heart was drawn to these young women as I read of their struggles and triumphs as individuals and families. They were all very brave and I do not recall any of the entires complaining or blaming. Each carried burdens of the family and the travels.
At first I thought I would be depressed reading these journals but I found such encouragement and strength in each of the individual stores. They all spoke of places and landmarks with such vivid pictures I felt as if I was riding along side them. Wind was spoken of quite often and Indians were rarely mentioned. Death was a part of life and many loved ones were left along the trail, yet not one lingered or became bitter.
These journals gives the reader a clear insight on the social aspect of the wagon train, the religious commitment of those writing and the trail journey. We can learn much from these journals.
I highly recommend this volume as well as the entire series. Open your heart and minds to the reality of not only the wagon train travels but how these journals are affecting those a hundred plus years later. I began looking closer at my journal pages and prayed that those who would read my scribbles in the future would find my faith and path as strong as these women I read about.
My favorite quote came from the diary of Eugenia Zieber, 1951, 18 yrs old:
"But what greater earthly preacher can be heard than nature"
You can purchase this book either in hard copy, soft copy or eBook format. Purchase link is below.
Best of Covered Wagon Women, Volume II by Kenneth Holmes