Like her father before her, Bette Husted grew up on stolen land. The bench land above the Clearwater River in north-central Idaho had been a home for the Nez Perce Indians until the Dawes Act opened their reservation to settlement in 1895. As a child on the family homestead, Husted felt the presence of the Nez Perce: "But they were always just out of sight, like a smoky shadow behind me that I couldn't quite turn around quickly enough to catch."
Above the Clearwater chronicles her family's history on the land, revealing their joys and sorrows, their triumphs and tragedies. In a series of graceful and moving essays, Husted traces this intimate history, from her Cold War childhood to her struggles as a parent and finally to her life as a woman and teacher in the rural West. Her family's stories echo those of countless other families in the American West: the conflicts with guns, the struggles over land ownership and water rights, the isolation of women, the separations by race and class, the family secrets of mental illness and suicide.
With a powerful, poetic voice, Husted illuminates the tangled relationship between the history of a particular place and the history of the families who inhabit that place over time. As Above the Clearwater explores one family's search for a home on land taken from its original inhabitants, it quietly asks all readers to examine their own homes in the same light.
In July 1909 twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth Corey left her Iowa farm to stake her claim to a South Dakota homestead. Over the next ten years, as she continued her schoolteaching career and carved out a home for herself in this inhospitable territory, she sent a steady stream of letters to her family back in Iowa. From the edge of modern America, Bess wrote long, gossipy accounts—"our own continuing adventure story," according to her brother Paul—of frontier life on the high plains west of the Missouri River. Irrepressible, independent-minded, and evidently fearless, the self-styled Bachelor Bess gives us a firsthand, almost daily account of her homesteading adventures. We can all stake a claim in her energetic letters.
When “California Fever” raced through southeastern Ohio in the spring of 1849, a number of residents of Athens County organized a cooperative venture for traveling overland to the mines. Known as the “Buckeye Rovers,” the company began its trip westward in early April. The Buckeye Rovers, along with thousands who traveled the overland route to California, endured numerous hardships and the seemingly constant threat of attacks from hostile Indians. On reaching their destination, the Ohioans discovered that rich deposits of gold were extremely rare, and that except for a few lucky fortune–seekers, mining required hard physical labor and yielded small rewards. They persisted nonetheless and most of the company returned to Athens in late 1851 or early 1852 with modest fortunes.
The arduous experiences of the overland trek were recorded by two Buckeye Rover diarists. The more compete account was compiled by John Banks. He wrote effusively while on the trail and throughout his stay of more than two years in the gold regions. J. Elza Armstrong, by contrast, was brief, even laconic, and his journal ended upon reaching California. The contrast between the two brings into focus the divergent personalities who were drawn to California by the lure of gold.
A nine–month segment of Bank’s diary, from February to November, 1851, had been missing at the time the story of the Buckeye Rovers was first published in 1965. This revised and enlarged edition contains the complete diaries. They offer valuable record of the Buckeyes’ adventures from the time they left home until the time they departed California for the return trip to Ohio.
The Chickasaw Rancher follows Montford T. Johnson's family and friends for the next thirty-two years. Neil R. Johnson describes the work, the ranch parties, cattle rustling, gun fights, tornadoes, the run of 1889, the hard deaths of many along the way, and the rise, fall, and revival of the Chickasaw Nation.
This revised edition of The Chickasaw Rancher, edited by C. Neil Kingsley, Neil R. Johnson's grandson, is the perfect addition to any reader's collection of the history of the American West.
A fur trader in the Michigan Territory and confidant of both the U.S. government and local Indian tribes, Jacob Smith could have stepped out of a James Fenimore Cooper novel. Controversial, mysterious, and bold during his lifetime, in death Smith has not, until now, received the attention he deserves as a pivotal figure in Michigan’s American period and the War of 1812. This is the exciting and unlikely story of a man at the frontier’s edge, whose missions during both war and peace laid the groundwork for Michigan to accommodate settlers and farmers moving west. The book investigates Smith’s many pursuits, including his role as an advisor to the Indians, from whom the federal government would gradually gain millions of acres of land, due in large part to Smith’s work as an agent of influence. Crawford paints a colorful portrait of a complicated man during a dynamic period of change in Michigan’s history.
Winner, Presidio La Bahia Award, 2004
San Antonio Conservation Society Citation, 2005
La familia de León was one of the foundation stones on which Texas was built. Martín de León and his wife Patricia de la Garza left a comfortable life in Mexico for the hardships and uncertainties of the Texas frontier in 1801. Together, they established family ranches in South Texas and, in 1824, the town of Victoria and the de León colony on the Guadalupe River (along with Stephen F. Austin's colony, the only completely successful colonization effort in Texas). They and their descendents survived and prospered under four governments, as the society in which they lived evolved from autocratic to republican and the economy from which they drew their livelihood changed from one of mercantile control to one characterized by capitalistic investments.
Combining the storytelling flair of a novelist with a scholar's concern for the facts, Ana Carolina Castillo Crimm here recounts the history of three generations of the de León family. She follows Martín and Patricia from their beginnings in Mexico through the establishment of the family ranches in Texas and the founding of the de León colony and the town of Victoria. Then she details how, after Martín's death in 1834, Patricia and her children endured the Texas Revolution, exile in New Orleans and Mexico, expropriation of their lands, and, after returning to Texas, years of legal battles to regain their property. Representative of the experiences of many Tejanos whose stories have yet to be written, the history of the de León family is the story of the Tejano settlers of Texas.
A crack shot, expert skinner and tanner, seamstress, sculptor, and later writer—a list that only hints at her intelligence and abilities—Ella Elgar Bird Dumont was one of those remarkable women who helped tame the Texas frontier. First married at sixteen to a Texas Ranger, she followed her husband to Comanche Indian country in King County, where they lived in a tepee while participating in the final slaughter of the buffalo. Living off the land until the frontier was opened for ranching, Ella and Tom Bird typified the Old West ideals of self-sufficiency and generosity, with a hesitancy to complain about the hard life in the late 1800s.
Yet, in one important way, Ella Dumont was unsuited for life on the frontier. Endowed with an instinctive desire and ability to carve and sculpt, she was largely prevented from pursuing her talents by the responsibilities of marriage and frontier life and later, widowhood with two small children. Even though her second marriage, to Auguste Dumont, made life more comfortable, the realities of her existence still prevented the fulfillment of her artistic longings.
Ella Bird Dumont’s memoir is rich with details of the frontier era in Texas, when Indian depredations were still a danger for isolated settlers, where animals ranged close enough to provide dinner and a new pair of gloves, and where sheer existence depended on skill, luck, and the kindness of strangers. The vividness and poignancy of her life, coupled with the wealth of historical material in the editor’s exhaustive notes, make this Texas pioneer’s autobiography a very special book.
Now in its eighth printing, Emma Lee is the classic biography of one of John D. Lee's plural wives. Emma experienced the best and worst of polygamy and came as near to the Mountain Meadows Massacre as anyone could without participating firsthand.
"I was but a boy in my nineteenth year, and in for adventure when I started out from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, with all my worldly possessions, consisting of a few dollars in money, a change of clothes, and a gun, of course, to seek my fortune in this lazy man's paradise."
Noah Smithwick was an old man, blind and near his ninetieth year, when his daughter recorded these words. He had stayed on in "paradise"—Texas—from 1827 to 1861, when his opposition to secession took him to California. The Evolution of a State is his story of these "old Texas days."
A blacksmith and a tobacco smuggler, Noah Smithwick made weapons for the Battle of Concepción, and he fought in that battle. With Hensley's company, he chased the Mexican army south of the Rio Grande after the Battle of San Jacinto. Twice he served with the Texas Rangers. In quieter times, he was a postmaster and justice of the peace in little Webber's Prairie.
Eyewitness to so much Texas history, Smithwick recounts his life and adventures in a simple, straightforward style, with a wry sense of humor. His keen memory for detail—what the people wore, what they ate, how they worked and played— vividly evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of the frontier.
First published in part by the Dallas Morning News, Smithwick's recollections gained such popularity that they were published in book form, as The Evolution of a State, in 1900. This new edition of a Texas classic makes widely available for the first time in many years this "best of all books dealing with life in early Texas."
In Notable Men and Women of Spanish Texas, Donald Chipman and Harriett Joseph combined dramatic, real-life incidents, biographical sketches, and historical background to reveal the real human beings behind the legendary figures who discovered, explored, and settled Spanish Texas from 1528 to 1821. Drawing from their earlier book and adapting the language and subject matter to the reading level and interests of middle and high school students, the authors here present the men and women of Spanish Texas for young adult readers and their teachers.
These biographies demonstrate how much we have in common with our early forebears. Profiled in this book are:
The Follinglo Dog Book both is and is not about dogs. The dogs are certainly here: from Milla to Chip the Third, we encounter a procession of heroic if often unfortunate creatures who, along with their immigrant masters, led a hard life on the nineteenth-century American frontier. However, if you pick up this book thinking it will offer a heartwarming read about canine experiences, you will find yourself reinformed by the way it unfolds.
Instead, these are the stories of a Norwegian pioneer family that came in 1860 to settle the Iowa prairie on a homestead called Follinglo Farm in Story County, Iowa. In the Tjernagels' experience one may read a chronicle of the state, the region, and the nation. Arriving in Iowa in what was still the age of wooden equipment and animal power, the Tjernagels witnessed each successive revolution on the land. They built homes and barns, cultivated the land, and encountered every manner of natural disaster from prairie fires to blizzards. Through all the struggles and setbacks, Peder Gustav Tjernagel's stories sparkle with boyhood pranks and adventures, in which the family dogs frequently play a role.
Readers will discover a wonderful cast of Norwegian relatives and neighbors, including a Herculean uncle, Store Per (Big Pete), who could lift a cow by its horns; a mysterious aunt, Stora Fastero (Big Sister), whose arrival signaled that a baby was soon to be born; and Elling Eilson, the walking Lutheran apostle. And, of course, there are the dogs who shepherd, protect, and even baby-sit the residents of Follinglo Farm.
Winner of the Kemper & Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History for excellence in historical scholarship for the year 2002, awarded by The Historic New Orleans Collection, The Louisiana Historical Association.
Anita M. Mallinckrodt traces the 750-year history of the Mallinckrodt family from its earliest documented beginnings in thirteenth-century Westphalia (in the Dortmund area) through immigration to Missouri in 1831 and beyond.
In part 1, Mallinckrodt tells the story of some of her family’s leading personalities in order to explicate the history and society of medieval and early modern Germany: the life and times of knight Ludwig (c. 1241) and crusader Gerd (c. 1450–1504); the 1451 and 1492 adventures of the mercenary knight Hermann and his son Wilhelm; the 1594 feuding of the noble brothers Dietrich and Hermann, which led to a double murder; the liberal Dortmund publisher Arnold’s struggles in the early 1800s to establish freedom of the press and to free Westphalian farmers from serfdom; and the wealthy, aristocratic Sister Pauline (b. 1817), founder of the Sisters of Charity and recently beatified for her efforts on behalf of the poor and blind children of her day.
In parts 2 and 3, Mallinckrodt focuses on the first of her forebears to immigrate to the New World—Julius and Emil in 1831, followed by Conrad, Hermann, August, Helene, Sophie, and Luise in 1838—and their immediate families and descendants in Missouri. These early pioneers cleared the forests, built schools and churches, supported German-language periodicals, and founded social and cultural organizations that would benefit later waves of immigrants. In the 1860s, they participated in their adopted country’s Civil War and held strong views toward slavery and the Union. Mallinckrodt ends her family’s history with the deaths of the Dortmund pioneers in the 1890s.
But From Knights to Pioneers is much more than a single family’s history. The experiences Mallinckrodt relates reflect those of many German families who left their mark on centuries of history and of many midwestern families transplanted from the Old World. Especially interesting is the continuity between the old and new ways of life—entries on genealogical tables need not end with the comment "immigrated to the USA," for immigrants often wrote notable chapters of family history that deserve recognition in their old homelands. Similarly, knowledge of pre-immigration history is essential for those Americans whose traditions surely did not begin, as oral history often suggests, with the fact that "great-grandfather arrived in the Midwest from Germany in 1831." Thus the purpose of this book is to set a family’s immigration chapter against its European background, without passing judgment on the cultural influence of outstanding individuals in the United States or of German immigration per se.
Drawing on her extensive research in both Europe and the United States, Mallinckrodt presents an exceptionally detailed picture of the social and political contexts of each of her subjects. The richness of her exposition of both the Old World background and the lives of the immigrants to the New World offers important insights into aspects of European and American history.
Few frontiersmen in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century epitomized the reckless energies of the West and the lust for adventure as did John Smith T—pioneer, gunfighter, entrepreneur, militia colonel, miner, judge, and folk hero. In this fascinating biography, Dick Steward traces the colorful Smith T's life from his early days in Virginia through his young adulthood. He then describes Smith T's remarkable career in the wilds of Missouri and his armed raids to gain land from Indians, Spaniards, and others.
Born into the fifth generation of Virginia gentry, young Smith first made his name on the Tennessee frontier. It was there that he added the "T" to his name to distinguish his land titles and other enterprises from those of the hosts of other John Smiths. By the late 1790s he owned or laid claim to more than a quarter million acres in Tennessee and northern Alabama.
In 1797, Smith T moved to Missouri, then a Spanish territory, and sought to gain control of its lead-mining district by displacing the most powerful American in the region, Moses Austin. He acquired such public positions as judge of the court of common pleas, commissioner of weights and levies, and lieutenant colonel of the militia, which enabled him to mount a spirited assault on Austin's virtual monopoly of the lead mines. Although neither side emerged a winner from that ten-year-old conflict, it was during this period that Smith T's fame as a gunfighter and duelist spread across the West. Known as the most dangerous man in Missouri, he was said to have killed fourteen men in duels.
Smith T was also recognized by many for his good works. He donated land for churches and schools and was generous to the poor and downtrodden. He epitomized the opening of the West, helping to build towns, roads, and canals and organizing trading expeditions.
Even though Smith T was one of the most notorious characters in Missouri history, by the late nineteenth century he had all but disappeared from the annals of western history. Frontier Swashbuckler seeks to rescue both the man and the legend from historical obscurity. At the same time, it provides valuable insights into the economic, political, and social dynamics of early Missouri frontier history.
The life of Patrick Edward Connor serves as a half-century slice of western American history. After leaving New York City, where he had arrived at the age of twelve as a poor Irish immigrant, the nineteen-year-old youth joined the U.S. Army in 1839. He fought in the war with Mexico and then joined the gold rush in California until marrying and settling down in Stockton in 1854.
The Civil War found him volunteering again, this time as colonel of California troops sent to the Utah Territory to protect the mail lines from Indian attacks. Bitterly anti-Mormon, Connor spent the war years alternately engaging in a war of words with Brigham Young or in fighting Indians in northern Utah and present-day Wyoming. After the Civil War, ex-Major General Connor began mining operations in Utah and Nevada, ventures that went from boom to bust. He spent his final years in straitened financial circumstances.
Patrick Edward Connor was a “Man of the West,” possessing both its prejudices and its democratic, independent spirit. His greatest success lay as a military leader, and he would have agreed that he was made for war, not peace. He left an imprint on the history of the American West, remembered as the founder of Fort Douglas, as the “first gentile in Utah,” the “father of Utah mining,” and the “father of the Liberal Party in Utah.”
To make a living here, one had to be capable, confident, clever and inventive, know a lot about survival, be able to fashion and repair tools, navigate a boat, fell a tree, treat a snakebite, make a meal from whatever was handy without asking too many questions about it, and get along with folks.
This fascinating and instructive book is the careful and unpretentious account of a man who was artful in all the skills needed to survive and raise a family in an area where most people would be lost or helpless. Smith’s story is an important record of a way of life beginning to disappear, a loss not fully yet realized. We are lucky to have a work that is both instructive and warm-hearted and that preserves so much hard-won knowledge.
Volume 3, Life Writings of Frontier Women series, ed. Maureen Ursenbach Beecher
In her memoir, and 1870s revision of her journal and diary, Louisa Barnes Pratt tells of childhood in Massachusetts and Canada during the War of 1812, and independent career as a teacher and seamstress in New England, and her marriage to the Boston seaman Addison Pratt.
Converting to the LDS Church, the Pratts moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, from where Brigham Young sent Addison on the first of the long missions to the Society Islands that would leave Louisa on her own. As a sole available parent, she hauled her children west to Winter Quarters, to Utah in 1848, to California, and, in Addison's wake, to Tahiti in 1850.
The Pratts joined the Mormon colony at San Bernardino, California. When in 1858 a federal army's march on Utah led to the colonists' recall, Addision—alienated from the Mormon Church after long absences—chose not to go. Mostly separated thereafter (Addison died in 1872), Louisa settled in Beaver, Utah, where she campaigned for women's rights, contributed to the Woman's Exponent, and depended on her own means, as she had much of her life, until her death in 1880.
Kibbutz Buchenwald is the story of a nightmare that became a dream and a dream that became a reality. Emerging from the depths of the liberated concentration camp Buchenwald in the spring of 1945, a group of sixteen gaunt and battered young men organized and formed Kibbutz Buchenwald, the first agricultural collective in postwar Germany designed to prepare Jews for emigation to Palestine. What caused a handful of survivors to take their fate into their own hands within days of their liberation, at a time when most survivors were passively awaiting orders from the occupying forces? From what wellsprings did they draw the physical and emotional strength to begin life anew as Zionist pioneers in a world which had turned upside down?
Judith Baumel's moving account of this courageous group is divided into two parts. Part One, entitled "The Dream," examines the kibbutz from its creation in Germany until the departure of the founding group for Palestine in the summer of 1945. Part Two, "The Reality," follows the members of Kibbutz Buchenwald into Palestine, where they eventually established their own independent settlement in 1948. This settlement exists as Kibbutz Netzer Sereni today.
Drawing from the diaries of the kibbutz's founding members, Baumel provides a detailed account of an incredible story and places the central narrative in the larger contexts of communal living, European politics after the war, and the link between European Jewry and Israeli postwar nationhood. An afterword, "Where Are They Now," briefly describes the later life of each of the original kibbutz members.
A Mind of Her Own: Helen Connor Laird and Family 1888–1982 captures the public achievement and private pain of a remarkable Wisconsin woman and her family, whose interests and influence extended well beyond the borders of the state. Spanning almost a century, the history speaks to the way we were and are: a stridently materialistic nation with a deep and persistent spiritual component.
Lawyer and journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Louis Houck is often called the “Father of Southeast Missouri” because he brought the railroad to the region and opened this backwater area to industrialization and modernization. Although Houck’s name is little known today outside Missouri, Joel Rhodes shows how his story has relevance for both the state and the nation.
Rhodes presents a more complete picture of Houck than has ever been available: reviewing his life from his German immigrant roots, considering his career from both social and political perspectives, and grounding the story in both state and national history. He especially tells how, from 1880 to the 1920s, this self-taught railroader constructed a network of five hundred miles of track through the wilderness of wetlands known as “Swampeast Missouri”—and how these “Houck Roads” provided a boost for population, agriculture, lumbering, and commerce that transformed Cape Girardeau and the surrounding area.
Rhodes discusses how Houck fits into the era of economic individualism—a time when men with little formal training shaped modern industry—and also gives voice to Houck’s critics and shows that he was not always an easy man to work with. In telling the story of his railroading enterprise, Rhodes chronicles Houck’s battle with the Jay Gould railroad empire and offers key insight into the development of America’s railway system, from the cutthroat practices of ruthless entrepreneurs to the often-comic ineptness of start-up rail lines.
More than simply a biography of a business entrepreneur, the book tells how Houck not only developed the region economically but also followed the lead of Andrew Carnegie by making art, culture, and formal education available to all social classes. Houck also served for thirty-six years as president of the Board of Regents of Southeast Missouri State Teacher’s College, and as a self-taught historian he wrote the first comprehensive accounts of Missouri’s territorial period.
A Missouri Railroad Pioneer chronicles a multifaceted career that transformed a region. Solidly researched, this lively narrative also offers an entertaining read for anyone interested in Missouri history.
Celebrated as one of America's frontier heroes, Daniel Boone left a legacy that made the Boone name almost synonymous with frontier settlement. Nathan Boone, the youngest of Daniel's sons, played a vital role in American pioneering, following in much the same steps as his famous father. In Nathan Boone and the American Frontier, R. Douglas Hurt presents for the first time the life of this important frontiersman.
Based on primary collections, newspaper articles, government documents, and secondary sources, this well-crafted biography begins with Nathan's childhood in present-day Kentucky and Virginia and then follows his family's move to Missouri. Hurt traces Boone's early activities as a hunter, trapper, and surveyor, as well as his leadership of a company of rangers during the War of 1812. After the war, Boone returned to survey work. In 1831, he organized another company of rangers for the Black Hawk War and returned to military life, making it his career. The remainder of the book recounts Boone's activities with the army in Iowa and the Indian Territory, where he was the first Boone to gain notice outside Missouri or Kentucky. Even today his work is recognized in the form of state parks, buildings, and place-names.
Although Nathan Boone was an important figure, he lived much of his life in the shadow of his father. R. Douglas Hurt, however, makes a strong case for Nathan's contribution to the larger context of life in the American backcountry, especially the execution of military and Indian policy and the settlement of the frontier.
By recognizing the significant role that Nathan Boone played, Nathan Boone and the American Frontier also provides the recognition due the many unheralded frontiersmen who helped settle the West. Anyone with an interest in the history of Missouri, the frontier, or the Boone name will find this book informative and compelling.
The years following the Texas Revolution held even more turbulent events as diverse droves of pioneers crossed the Sabine and Red Rivers to start new lives in Texas. Early Texas society contended with religious issues, family life in a rugged environment, and the Civil War. This cultural history was clearly reflected in the life of frontier preacher Henry C. Renfro.
Migrating to Texas in 1851, Renfro enrolled in the fledgling Baylor University and became a Baptist preacher. Eventually disillusioned with Baptist orthodoxy, Renfro was disenfranchised on charges of infidelity as he embraced the ideals of the Free Thought Movement, inspired by the writings of men such as Thomas Paine, Spinoza, and Robert Ingersoll.
Renfro's Civil War experience was no less unusual. Serving as both soldier and chaplain, Renfro left a valuable legacy of insight into the conflict, captured in a wealth of correspondence that is in itself significant.
Drawing on a vast body of letters, speeches, sermons, and oral histories that had never before been available, this chronological narrative of "The Parson's" life describes significant changes in Texas from 1850 to 1900, especially the volatile formation and growth of Baptist churches in North Central Texas. William Griggs' study yields numerous new details about the Free Thought Movement and depicts public reaction to sectarian leaders in nineteenth-century Texas.
The author also describes the developing Central Texas region known as the Cross Timbers, including the personal dynamics between a frontier family and its patriarch and encompassing such issues as property conflicts, divorce, and family reconciliation. This work unlocks an enlightening, engaging scene from Texas history.
In this exciting new study, Bahru Zewde, one of the foremost historians of modern Ethiopia, has constructed a collective biography of a remarkable group of men and women in a formative period of their country’s history. Ethiopia’s political independence at the end of the nineteenth century put this new African state in a position to determine its own levels of engagement with the West. Ethiopians went to study in universities around the world. They returned with the skills of their education acquired in Europe and America, and at home began to lay the foundations of a new literature and political philosophy. Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia describes the role of these men and women of ideas in the social and political transformation of the young nation and later in the administration of Haile Selassie.
Internationally renowned for its pioneering role in the ecological restoration of tallgrass prairies, savannas, forests, and wetlands, the University of Wisconsin Arboretum contains the world’s oldest and most diverse restored ecological communities. A site for land restoration research, public environmental education, and enjoyment by nature lovers, the arboretum remains a vibrant treasure in the heart of Madison’s urban environment.
Pioneers of Ecological Restoration chronicles the history of the arboretum and the people who created, shaped, and sustained it up to the present. Although the arboretum was established by the University of Wisconsin in 1932, author Franklin E. Court begins his history in 1910 with John Nolen, the famous landscape architect who was invited to create plans for the city of Madison, the university campus, and Wisconsin state parks. Drawing extensive details from archives and interviews, Court follows decades of collaborative work related to the arboretum’s lands, including the early efforts of Madison philanthropists and businessmen Michael Olbrich, Paul E. Stark, and Joseph W. “Bud” Jackson.
With labor from the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s Depression, University of Wisconsin scientists began establishing both a traditional horticultural collection of trees and plants and a completely new, visionary approach to recreate native ecosystems. Hundreds of dedicated scientists and staff have carried forward the arboretum’s mission in the decades since, among them G. William Longenecker, Aldo Leopold, John T. Curtis, Rosemary Fleming, Virginia Kline, and William R. Jordan III.
This archival record of the arboretum’s history provides rare insights into how the mission of healing and restoring the land gradually shaped the arboretum’s future and its global reputation; how philosophical conflicts, campus politics, changing priorities, and the encroaching city have affected the arboretum over the decades; and how early aspirations (some still unrealized) have continued to motivate the work of this extraordinary institution.
Over the past century, three nationally significant histories have vied for space and place in Independence, Missouri. Independence was declared Zion by Joseph Smith, served as a gathering and provisioning point for trails west, and was called home by President Harry S. Truman for sixty-four years. Historian Jon E. Taylor has integrated research from newspapers, public documents, oral histories, and private papers to detail how the community has preserved and remembered these various legacies.
Truman’s legacy would appear to have been secured in Independence via three significant designations—his presidential library opened there in 1957, his neighborhood was designated a national historic landmark in 1972, and his home was declared a national historic site in 1982. However, Taylor argues that Truman’s seeming dominance in the community’s memory is in fact endangered by competition from the other aspects of the town’s historical heritage.
Taylor considers the role Mormon history has played in the city's history and chronicles how the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints returned to Independence to fulfill Joseph Smith's dream of creating Zion in the city, a situation that impacted neighborhoods near the Truman home. Taylor also examines the city's fascination with the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails, detailing how that history was lost and remembered and is now immortalized on the Independence square and in the National Frontier Trails Museum.
In the 1980s, the city council reduced the size of the Truman Heritage District, created to maintain Truman’s association with his neighborhood, after church opposition. At the same time, city officials pushed to make Independence a major tourist destination, a move largely dependent upon the city capitalizing on its association with Truman. These inconsistent policies and incongruous goals have led to innumerable changes in the landscape Truman enjoyed during his legendary morning walks.
A President, a Church, and Trails West chronicles one city’s struggle to preserve its history and the built environment. Taylor places the role of preservation in Independence not only within the larger context of preservation in the United States but also within the context of American environmental history. This volume is sure to appeal to anyone interested in public history, historic preservation, history and memory, and local history.
“[These reminiscences] light up for whoever will read the earliest days of early English-speaking Texas.” —J. Frank Dobie, from the foreword
A firsthand account of pioneer life in east Texas.
Provides a fascinating glimpse into the early history of the Mississippi-Alabama Territory and antebellum Alabama
The two sections of the Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines form one of the most important primary sources on the early history of Alabama and Mississippi. The Reminiscences cover the years 1805 to 1843, during which time Gaines served as assistant factor and then factor of the Choctaw trading house (1805-18), cashier of Tombeckbee Bank in St. Stephens (1818-22), a merchant in Demopolis (1822-32), and finally a banker and merchant in Mobile (1832-43). In addition, Gaines played a key role in Indian-white relations during the Creek War of 1813-14, served a two-year term in the Alabama Senate (1825-27), led a Choctaw exploring party to the new Choctaw lands in the West following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830-31), and served as the superintendent for Choctaw removal (1831-32).
Gaines dictated his Reminiscences in 1871 at the age of eighty-seven. Part of the Reminiscences, referred to as the "first series," was originally published in five issues of the Mobile Register in June-July 1872 as "Notes on the Early Days of South Alabama." Nearly a century later, the first series and the previously unpublished second series, "Reminiscences of Early Times in Mississippi Territory," were published in a 1964 issue of the Alabama Historical Quarterly as "Gaines' Reminiscences."
In this first book-length edition of the Reminiscences, James Pate has provided an extensive biographical introduction, notes, illustrations, maps, and appendixes to aid the general reader and the scholar. The appendixes include additional unpublished primary materials-including interviews conducted by Albert James Pickett in 1847 and 1848 that provide further information about this important early pioneer and statesman.
The Republic of Texas was still in its first exultation over independence when John Salmon "Rip" Ford arrived from South Carolina in June of 1836. Ford stayed to participate in virtually every major event in Texas history during the next sixty years. Doctor, lawyer, surveyor, newspaper reporter, elected representative, and above all, soldier and Indian fighter, Ford sat down in his old age to record the events of the turbulent years through which he had lived. Stephen Oates has edited Ford's memoirs to produce a clear and vigorous personal history of Texas.
A compelling history of the 1846 Mormon expulsion from Illinois that exemplifies the limits of American democracy and religious tolerance.
When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as Mormons) settled in Illinois in 1839, they had been persecuted for their beliefs from Ohio to Missouri. Illinoisans viewed themselves as religiously tolerant egalitarians and initially welcomed the Mormons to their state. However, non-Mormon locals who valued competitive individualism perceived the saints‘ western Illinois settlement, Nauvoo, as a theocracy with too much political power. Amid escalating tensions in 1844, anti-Mormon vigilantes assassinated church founder Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. Two years later, the state expelled the saints. Illinois rejected the Mormons not for their religion, but rather for their effort to create a self-governing state in Nauvoo.
Mormons put the essential aspirations of American liberal democracy to the test in Illinois. The saints’ inward group focus and their decision to live together in Nauvoo highlight the challenges strong group consciousness and attachment pose to democratic governance. The Saints and the State narrates this tragic story as an epic failure of governance and shows how the conflicting demands of fairness to the Mormons and accountability to Illinois’s majority became incompatible.
At the age of 27, Fannie Sedlacek left her Bohemian homestead in Nebraska to join the gold rush to the Klondike. From the Klondike to the Tanana, Fannie continued north, finally settling in Katishna near Mount McKinley. This woman, later known as Fannie Quigley, became a prospector who staked her own claims and a cook who ran a roadhouse. She hunted and trapped and thrived for nearly forty years in an environment that others found unbearable.
Her wilderness lifestyle inspired many of those who met her to record their impressions of this self-sufficient woman, who died in 1944. To many of the 700,000 annual visitors to Denali National Park she is a symbol of the enduring spirit of the original pioneers.
Searching for Fannie Quigley: A Wilderness Life in the Shadow of Mount McKinley goes beyond the mere biographical facts of this unique woman’s journey. It also tells historian Jane G. Haigh’s own story of tracking and tracing the many paths that Fannie Quigley’s intriguing life took. Uncovering remote clues, digging through archives, and listening to oral accounts from a wide array of sources, Haigh has fashioned this rich lode into a compelling narrative.
In Searching for Fannie Quigley, Haigh separates fact from fiction to reveal the true story of this highly mythologized pioneer woman.
Scholars working in archaeology, education, history, geography, and politics tell a nuanced story about the people and dynamics that reshaped this region and determined who would control it.
The Ohio Valley possesses some of the most resource-rich terrain in the world. Its settlement by humans was thus consequential not only for shaping the geographic and cultural landscape of the region but also for forming the United States and the future of world history.
Settling Ohio begins with an overview of the first people who inhabited the region, who built civilizations that moved massive amounts of earth and left an archaeological record that drew the interest of subsequent settlers and continues to intrigue scholars. It highlights how, in the eighteenth century, Native Americans who migrated from the East and North interacted with Europeans to develop impressive trading networks and how they navigated complicated wars and sought to preserve national identities in the face of violent attempts to remove them from their lands.
The book situates the traditional story of Ohio settlement, including the Northwest Ordinance, the dealings of the Ohio Company of Associates, and early road building, into a far richer story of contested spaces, competing visions of nationhood, and complicated relations with Indian peoples. By so doing, the contributors provide valuable new insights into how chaotic and contingent early national politics and frontier development truly were. Chapters highlighting the role of apple-growing culture, education, African American settlers, and the diverse migration flows into Ohio from the East and Europe further demonstrate the complex multiethnic composition of Ohio’s early settlements and the tensions that resulted.
A final theme of this volume is the desirability of working to recover the often-forgotten history of non-White peoples displaced by the processes of settler colonialism that has been, until recently, undervalued in the scholarship.
Between 1840 and 1869, thousands of people crossed the American continent looking for a new life in the West. Success Depends on the Animals explores the relationships and encounters that these emigrants had with animals, both wild and domestic, as they traveled the Overland Trail. In the longest migration of people in history, the overlanders were accompanied by thousands of work animals such as horses, oxen, mules, and cattle. These travelers also brought dogs and other companion animals, and along the way confronted unknown wild animals.
Ahmad’s study is the first to explore how these emigrants became dependent upon the animals that traveled with them, and how, for some, this dependence influenced a new way of thinking about the human-animal bond. The pioneers learned how to work with the animals and take care of them while on the move. Many had never ridden a horse before, let alone hitched oxen to a wagon. Due to the close working relationship that the emigrants were forced to have with these animals, many befriended the domestic beasts of burden, even attributing human characteristics to them.
Drawing on primary sources such as journals, diaries, and newspaper accounts, Ahmad explores how these new experiences influenced fresh ideas about the role of animals in pioneer life. Scholars and students of western history and animal studies will find this a fascinating and distinctive analysis of an understudied topic.
He found friends among some of Colorado's more colorful characters, people who taught him much about life on the frontier. Jake Chisolm taught him how to shoot after rescuing him from two men preparing to skin him at poker. Wild Bill of Colorado taught him the meaning of "the drop" and warned him against wearing a gun in town unless he wanted trouble. Capturing the Western vernacular more accurately than any other writer, Townshend includes vivid details of life in the West, where he killed a buffalo, prospected for gold, and was present for the official government conference with the Ute Indians after gold was discovered on their lands.
In alternate chapters, Olaus tells of his work as a field biologist for the old U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey and recounts stories of his studies of the elk and the other great animals of the West. And Mrs. Murie, from her side, describes their life together, on the trail, in the various camps, and nature adventures in that wilderness in all seasons. The book is replete with stories of Jackson Hole people, "pioneer poets," and the wild creatures that made their way into the Murie household. Olaus Murie's evocative pen-and-ink drawings illuminate each chapter, and four pages of photographs help complete the picture of what life was like in the wapiti wilderness.
Volume 1, Life Writings of Frontier Women series, edited by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher
Mary Richard's journals and letters record a young woman's rare, but richly detailed view of life in the temporary Mormon pioneer communities in Iowa.
Christiana and John Tillson moved from Massachusetts to central Illinois in 1822. Upon arriving in Montgomery County near what would soon be Hillsboro, they set up a general store and real estate business and began to raise a family.
A half century later, Christiana Tillson wrote about her early days in Illinois in a memoir published by R. R. Donnelley in 1919. In it she describes her husband’s rise to wealth through the speculative land boom during the 1820s and 1830s and his loss of fortune when the land business went bust after the Specie Circular was issued in 1836.
The Tillsons lived quite ordinary lives in extraordinary times, notes Kay J. Carr, introducing this edition. Their views and sensibilities, Carr says, might seem strange to us, but they were entirely normal to people in the early nineteenth century. Thus Tillson’s memoir provides vignettes of ordinary nineteenth-century American life.
As Brian C. Wilson describes them in this highly readable and entertaining book, Yankees—defined by their shared culture and sense of identity—had a number of distinctive traits and sought to impose their ideas across the state of Michigan.
After the ethnic label of "Yankee" fell out of use, the offspring of Yankees appropriated the term "Midwesterner." So fused did the identities of Yankee and Midwesterner become that understanding the larger story of America's Midwestern regional identity begins with the Yankees in Michigan.
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