Covered Wagon Women, Volume 4


Covered Wagon Women, Volume 4

Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1852: The California Trail

Compiled and edited by Kenneth L. Holmes

303 pages


April 1997


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November 2020


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About the Book

In 1852 a record number of women helped keep the wagons rolling over the perilous western trails. The fourth volume of Covered Wagon Women is devoted to families headed for California that year. Diaries and letters of six pioneer women describe the rigors en route, trailside celebrations and tragedies, the scourge of cholera, and encounters with the Indians.

Author Bio

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.
Glenda Riley is a professor of history at Ball State University. Her numerous works on women in the American West include Building and Breaking Families in the American West.


“The writing is rich with the sounds of common speech and jargon . . . and it should be a gold mine for students of everyday life.”—John Mack Faragher, Western Historical Quarterly

“The entries from these pioneer women are alternately rich with optimism, stark with tragedy, and always laced with the mind-numbing details and foot-blistering discipline required to keep to that inexorable march toward the western horizon.”—The Olympian

"The diaries and letters . . . throb with excitement, pain and mind-boggling determination."—Kliatt

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