The Protestant Wagon Train: Headed West Along The Oregon Trail (Western Christian Historical Romance)

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  1. Vanessa Carvo
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Narcissa and Eliza were the first white women the Indians had ever seen. This part of the journey was long and tedious, covering only 15 miles or so in a good day. Buffalo dung was the only source of fuel for cooking. Despite the hardships, Narcissa seemed to relish the experience. Crossing the plains, the two women often rode in a wagon. The wagon had no springs but they sat on baggage and found it comfortable enough. Approaching the mountains, the trail became rougher.

They rode the rest of the way on horseback, on sidesaddles, sitting with their legs on one side of their horses left foot in a stirrup, right leg resting over a hook on the side of the saddle, shoulders facing forward, spine twisted. With their weight distributed so unevenly, they were at risk of being thrown anytime their horses bolted or jumped to one side. Riding astride would have been more comfortable and more secure but would have been a breach of decorum for women of their backgrounds. The women had a chance to wash their clothes for the first time in months.

Narcissa met some Pawnee Indians. She thought them "noble," and said they had "large, athletic frames, dignified countenances bespeaking an immortale exhistance within" June 27, Sometime during this break, she became pregnant. The two white women created something of a sensation at the gathering of some trappers and traders and large numbers of Flatheads and Nez Perces.

The missionaries parted company with the caravan at Green River and traveled on to the Columbia River with an escort of Nez Perce. The trip soon lost much of its romance. The heat was oppressive, the routine tedious, the diet monotonous. One month earlier Narcissa had exulted about eating buffalo: "I never saw anything like buffalo meat to satisfy hunger. We do not want anything else with it" June 3, Now she complained: "Have been living on fresh meat for two months exclusively.

Am cloyed with it. I do not know how I shall endure this part of the journey" July 23, Breakfast was waiting for them: fresh salmon, potatoes, tea, bread, and butter. Narcissa marveled at the luxury of sitting in a cushioned arm chair for the first time in months. She was charmed by a rooster that perched on a doorsill and crowed, in apparent welcome. Under the leadership of Dr. John McLoughlin -- whose title was Chief Factor -- the fort had become a bustling commercial center and supply depot. Its orchards, fields, and pastures stretched for 15 miles along the Columbia and five miles inland.

Inside the central stockade were some 40 buildings, including warehouses, a school, a library, a chapel, a rudimentary hospital, and housing for British officers and company officials. Outside was a multicultural village with inhabitants from more than 35 different ethnic and tribal groups. By the time they reached Fort Vancouver, Whitman and Spalding had made up their minds to establish separate missions. Narcissa and Eliza spent almost eight weeks at the fort while their husbands looked for locations.

Whitman settled on a place about miles away, amid the Cayuse at Waiilatpu, or "Place of the Rye Grass. Whitman ignored the warning. He and Narcissa who was by then heavily pregnant moved into a crude cabin at Waiilatpu in mid-December. There was a wood floor and a fireplace but no windows and only a blanket to cover the door.

Arriving at a time when food was scarce, they had to kill and eat 10 wild horses that winter to survive. Narcissa gave birth in that cabin to her only child, on the evening of March 14, , her own 29th birthday. Named Alice Clarissa after her grandmothers, the child was the first to be born of American parents in what is now Washington state. Tiloukaikt, a "kind, friendly Indian" and a headman of the band that wintered near the mission, pronounced the child a "Cayuse te-mi" Cayuse girl because she was born on Cayuse land.

She yearned for the company of other white women but she disliked the four who arrived, with their husbands, on assignment from the American Board in They were not like the "warm-hearted revival Christians" she had grown up with. She felt more comfortable with the Methodists who had established missions in the Willamette Valley, but she was rarely able to see them. She never attempted to establish friendships with Native women. She found it hard to reconcile the reality of the life she was living with the one she had envisioned, back in Prattsburg. She had imagined herself living among attentive, well-behaved "dear heathen" who would be eager to master the finer points of Congregational-Presbyterian doctrine, undergo spiritual conversion, take up farming, and adopt the customs and behavior of upright Christians like herself.

She was repelled by the Indians she actually encountered. She thought they were dirty, lazy, and sinful. They ignored her standards of privacy and cleanliness. They were "savages" and she was "alone. Much of the conflict centered on the issue of property. Accustomed to free access to one another's lodges, the Cayuse resented Narcissa's effort to keep them out of her house. They were used to dealing with whites at trading posts; they expected the missionaries to provide the same kind of material goods that the traders had. To Narcissa, they seemed avaricious, always demanding handouts.

Vanessa Carvo

Both she and Whitman were outraged when a headman named Umtippe said the mission was on his land and they should pay him for it in keeping with white notions about property. As historian Julie Roy Jeffrey has pointed out, the Cayuse had adopted some aspects of white culture by the time the Whitmans arrived. A few wore articles of European clothing and raised cattle as well as horses.

They enjoyed hearing stories from the Old Testament. But their cultural borrowing was selective, and they had no interest in jettisoning their entire way of life. Narcissa never learned the native language and she found it frustrating that so few Cayuse spoke English. Nonetheless, she managed to communicate her contempt for them very effectively. In turn, they thought her haughty and proud.

In contrast to her mother, young Alice Clarissa quickly picked up Nez Perce, the primary language of the Cayuse. They appear to love her much" September 18, By age 2, the child was fluent in both English and Nez Perce. She might have served as a bond, to help mediate the relationship between the missionaries and their hosts. But on June 23, , at the age of 2 years, three months, and nine days, she toddled into the river behind the mission house at Waiilatpu and drowned.

Narcissa had been a doting and anxious mother. Lacking friends, separated from her family, with a husband who was often called away from the mission for weeks at a time, her daughter was "the joy and comfort" of her "lonely situation" September 30, She hardly let the child out of her arms until she was almost a year old.

She slept with her until just a week before she drowned, when Clarissa asked for a bed of her own. Narcissa reluctantly agreed but put the bed right next to her own, so that she could reach out and touch her at any time. She was overcome with grief and guilt when her daughter died. She sank into almost suicidal depression, retreating into illness and rarely leaving her room. She wondered if God was punishing her because she had loved the child too much. Eventually, she decided that "the Lord saw fit to take her from us" because "most of my time should be spent in teaching school" -- and she could not do that without neglecting Clarissa and having her "exposed to the contaminating influence of heathenism" Letters , April 30, She compensated by taking in foster children, beginning with three children of mixed Indian and European heritage and finally, in , the seven orphaned children of Henry and Naomi Sager, emigrants who had died on the Oregon Trail.

She kept all the children away from the Cayuse and did not allow any of them to speak a word of Nez Perce. When the Whitmans moved into a large, T-shaped mission house in late , Narcissa said Indians could enter through only one door and use only one room, called "Indian Hall.

Emotionally and physically, Narcissa redefined her role in a way that cut her off from nearly all contact with the Cayuse. The missionaries set aside their quarrels long enough to agree that Whitman should leave immediately for Boston and try to persuade the board to change its mind. Whitman was gone for a year. Narcissa left Waiilatpu three days after he did, saying an Indian had tried to break into her room one night and only her alertness and the grace of God had "delivered me from the hand of a savage man" October 7, Cathy Gillen Thacker.

Linda Ford. Survival at Starvation Lake. Gary P. The Courage of Sarah Noble. Alice Dalgliesh. Lenora Worth. Debra Webb. Faith Grace. Learning English. Maria Searfoss. Yellowstone Reflections. Cherokee Medicine Man. Robert J. Animal Magnetism. Bonnie Pega. Flood Friday. Lois Lenski. Crazy Beautiful - Complete Series.

Lucia Jordan. Gun Smoke Justice. Robert F. Bob Turpin. This Land, These Waters. Kathy Tetlock. Switching Teams. Chris Clark. Sarah's Courage. Karen Leet. Lavinia Thompson. Narrow River, Wide Sky. Jenny Forrester. The Possession of Sarah Allis. Nathaniel Stewart. They try to keep the fugitive hidden, but Dolssa feels called to heal the sick and her small miracles bring the wrath of the Church to Bajas, endangering everyone in the small town. The girls decide to pretend that everything is normal while hunting for the murderer. This hilarious Victorian farce is full of mystery, surprising plot twists, and a hint of romance.

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Chime by Franny Billingsley Ages 12—up Briony 17 believes she is a witch. New technology has arrived in her tiny town of Swampsea, England, with the turn of the 20th century, and a new pumping station is built to drain the bog. But the supernatural Old Ones have sent a fever to punish Swampsea.

Then Eldric arrives, and Briony is torn between her attraction to Eldric and her overwhelming guilt. Then Gretchen meets Daniel Cohen, a reporter who believes that her father is not a Nazi hero, but instead a murder victim. During the year, Catherine undergoes school discipline, encounters runaway slaves, loses a friend, and faces new relationships when her father remarries a woman with children of her own. Evie 15 and her mother set off for Florida with her stepfather Joe. A suspicious boating accident forces Evie to re-examine her relationships with Peter, her mother, and her stepfather.

This stylish novel has the atmosphere of a glamorous old movie. Soon Kit is way over her head, caught in a web of intrigue, love, betrayal, and murder. Disguised as a boy, Kate 18 sets off west in search of vengeance. She is joined by Jesse and Will Colton, brothers in search of gold, and guided by Liluye, an Apache girl. Young Jack is rescued by a powerful Samurai who adopts him and trains him to join the warrior class. Since he is a foreigner, Jack is treated as an outcast at Samurai school and must use all his wit and skill to survive and succeed.

First in a projected trilogy, this fast-paced adventure set in medieval Japan is full of spellbinding bits of history, culture, and martial arts. In , Mary and her family left Illinois to settle in California. Mary cares for her younger siblings, helps move rocks and trees blocking the wagons, and endures thirst in the desert. The worst is the final ordeal when they become trapped in the ice and snow at Donnor Pass, resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. Because Ada was born with a clubfoot, her mother is ashamed of her and never lets her leave the apartment, abusing her both physically and emotionally.

When the Germans begin bombing London and children are evacuated to the country, Ada sneaks onto the train with Jamie. None of the villagers are willing to take the neglected siblings, so they are sent home with Susan Smith, a reclusive woman with no experience with children.

Miss Smith provides the children with food, new clothing, and the security they have never know. She also has a pony, which Ada is determined to learn to ride and earn the freedom to roam the countryside at will. A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg Ages 9—12 Set in rural Mississippi during the civil rights movement, this emotionally compelling novel shows the racism and violence endured by the African-American community through Addie Ann Pickett, a junior high school girl. Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko Ages 10—up Moose Flanagan 13 is happy when his father is promoted to associate warden at Alcatraz, but the good fortune makes the family a target.

A fire breaks out while Moose and his autistic sister Natalie are alone in their apartment. Moose is afraid it is his fault since he fell asleep, and a neighbor blames Natalie for the fire. Moose and the other Alcatraz kids band together to figure out the cause of the fire. Inmate No. Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper Ages 10—14 Returning from his three-month test of solitude, Little Hawk returns to his Pokanoket village to discover that diseases brought by the Pilgrims in nearby Plymouth have killed everyone except his grandmother.

He runs away to Grand Rapids, searching for the man he believes might be his father, jazz musician Herman E. Along the way Bud has all sorts of exciting adventures, narrated in his own authentic and often hilarious voice. Calloway is less than thrilled to meet Bud, but the other members of his band make Bud feel at home. He leaves for Flint hoping to find another job, leaving his wife, son Jimmy, and daughter Deza 12 behind. Deza and her mother find a new home and cling to the hope that they will find her father.


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Deza makes an appearance as a minor character in Bud, Not Buddy. First known as Beetle, since she was found living in a dung heap, the girl struggles to learn the skills of her new profession. As she grows in knowledge and self-confidence, the girl finally respects herself enough to choose a real name: Alyce. Running away from the inn, Will sets out on the open road, trying to outsmart the thieves, tricksters, and con artists, and repeatedly being taken advantage of.

Will finally ends up with Master Tidball and his caravan of oddities, befriending Grace, a girl billed as a monster because of the silky hair growing on her face. Elizabethan England comes to vivid life in this lively and amusing tale. The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg Ages 12—up Clara 17 , who dreads settling down with the boring young farmer who wants to marry her, is convinced by her mother to take a 4, mile walk to save their farm from foreclosure.

When given the job of mouser, Skilley strikes a bargain with Pip, the lead mouse: Skilley will protect the mice if they supply him with the tasty Cheshire cheese produced by the inn. The unlikely pair work together to restore Maldwyn, a wounded raven, to his rightful place serving Queen Victoria in The Tower. This delightful book is beautifully illustrated. Titanic Sinks! Fictional characters supplement the recollections of actual survivors, presented in the pages of a fictional magazine.

Period photographs add to the dramatic effect. Annexed by Sharon Dogar Ages 12—up On July 13, , year-old Peter van Pels and his family entered the attic that would be their home for two years. Written from the viewpoint of year-old Peter van Pels, this captivating historical novel presents a boy struggling to understand himself, religion, and the members of the Frank family who share the small living space.

Ending with reports from the death camps of Auschwitz and Mauthausen, Peter struggles to maintain his sense of identity to the very end. Secretly, Jo dreams of becoming a newspaper reported like Nellie Bly. Arie Mae begins writing letters to a distant cousin she has never met, hoping she might be the friend she needs. Then a visiting boy named Tom catches her interest.

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. But one night Stella and her little brother are out late at night and witness a meeting of the Klan, a signal of trouble to come to the black community of Bumblebee. Stella envies the fine school buildings for the white children and dreams of becoming a writer. Her father is equally determined to vote. Bernardo Bembo, the new ambassador from Venice, introduces Ginevra to a stimulating group of artists and philosophers and their patrons.

Bembo chooses Ginevra as his Platonic muse and commissions her portrait by the young Leonardo da Vinci. During the long sessions posing for the portrait, Ginevra bonds with the talented painter. As the boys move from backstage to choice seats in the Big Top, this book captures the excitement of the circus arriving in small town America in the late s. March On! The fourth of nine children in a Catholic family in a small town in Wisconsin, Mary Clare works hard to help her mother maintain some sort of order in their chaotic household, while writing letters to a Mother Superior, describing her daily life and hopes for the future.

This painfully honest novel is both funny and hopeful. A mother and her two children board the train in Omaha, leaving their old home behind to join Papa who has gone ahead to Sacramento, California to prepare their new home. Details about the construction of the railroad and the crew it takes to run the train provide background to the small family enjoying the cross-country journey. The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox Ages 10—up Katherine 12 and her two younger siblings are sent away from London along with a group of classmates to keep them safe during the bombings of the s Blitz.

Rookskill Castle, owned by a distant relative, is an ancient place in the Scottish highlands. But the castle appears to be haunted, and by something far more dangerous than ghosts. Kat believes that Lady Eleanor is hiding a Nazi spy, but when her classmates begin disappearing one by one she fears that the danger may be even older and more terrifying.

The three girls from very different backgrounds form a bond as they spend the summer as roommates and the school year apart. Shirin is a pampered Iranian, Ingrid is a sexually adventurous German-Canadian with a talent for photography, and Vivien is a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker with a flair for the culinary arts. The boarding school setting provides an intriguing background for this coming of age story celebrating the power of female friendships. Yann Magoza, an orphan traveling with a troupe of magicians, can read minds.

While performing at a castle, Yann meets Sidonie, the daughter of a cruel marquis, and a scheming count murders one of the troupe of magicians. Jeanne is a peasant girl who can see the future, William is of African heritage and has amazing strength, and Jacob is a Jewish boy with the power to heal the sick. The travelers wonder if the three children are saints, frauds, or in league with the devil as they tell of their individual encounters with the trio.

A flatulent dragon adds to the mystery and fun. Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff Ages 8—14 While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds a portrait of Eliza, known as Zee, an ancestor who looks just like her. Once by Morris Gleitzman Ages 12—up Everybody deserves to have something good in their life at least once, believes Felix, a year old Polish Jew, who runs away from a Catholic orphanage to search for his parents.

After finding his home occupied by hostile neighbors, Felix lives in hiding, in constant fear of discovery, as he slowly becomes aware of the Nazi atrocities. Then by Morris Gleitzman Ages 12—up Felix 10 and Zelda 6 have escaped from the train carrying Jews to the death camp, but as two children alone in Nazi-occupied Poland they are surrounded by danger. Felix uses his masterful storytelling skills to create new denies for himself and Zelda, allowing them to live safely in public for a time.

They form a family with a woman named Genia and begin to heal, but with no certainty that their temporary safety will last. His ten-year-old granddaughter Zelda continues the story, describing the heat wave and devastating bush fires. Sheridan, the owner of the theater. After Cat sees Mr. Sheridan hiding a valuable diamond, she and her friends decide to help safeguard the treasure.

Set in s London, England, this thrilling mystery will keep readers glued to the pages. Poisoned Honey A Story of Mary Magdalene by Beatrice Gormley Ages 12—up Mari 13 wants to be in control of her own destiny, but women in 1st century Palestine have little power, so Mari submits to an arranged marriage.

An Egyptian wisewoman teaches Mari the ways of the occult arts and she is gradually consumed by evil spirits before her eventual redemption. This biblical fiction brings the culture of early Palestine to vivid life. Jennie is haunted by both her dead brother and Will, and suffers a recurring sensation of being choked. The laudanum addicted Ivy spends most of her time in a swoon, but the other characters scheme and frolic in this lush absorbing novel. When two village girls fall ill and accuse neighbors as witches, Ann, Mercy, and Margaret jump on the chance to have influence over others and begin to accuse neighbors who have harmed them or their families.

And the motivations are all too believable—jealousy, boredom, longing for friendship and acceptance—inspiring uncomfortable parallels to group dynamics of modern teens. But his Russian immigrant parents have just invented the stuffed teddy bear, and Joseph is too busy working to have fun. Meanwhile the street children living under the Brooklyn Bridge are haunted by a ghost they call the Radiant Boy.

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse Ages 12—up In Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, teenager Hanneke Bakker helps support her family by delivering black market goods while mourning the death of her boyfriend, killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. Janssen, one of her customers, asks for help locating Mirjam, a year old Jewish girl who was hiding in a secret room in Mrs. Hanneke at first wants nothing to do with the dangerous search for the missing girl, but soon learns more than she wants to know about the horrors Jewish people are suffering under the Nazis, realizeing that refusing to join the underground resistance will make her part of the evil Nazi war machine.

The Black Book of Secrets by F. Higgins Ages 10—14 Young Ludlow Fitch, fleeing a terrible past, arrives in a peaceful village. The vaguely Dickensian late s atmosphere is the perfect backdrop for this historical fantasy. The Bone Magician by F. Higgins Ages 10—14 Young Pin Carpue is left to survive on his own in the crime-ridden city of Urbs Umida when his father, a suspected murderer, disappears. Pin gets a job as a corpse watcher, standing guard in the morgue for three days to ensure that the deceased really are dead and not just sleeping.

There he meets the Bone Magician who claims to be able to reanimate the dead to answer last questions from the living. This dark and funny fantasy is a companion volume to The Black Book of Secrets. The Eyeball Collector by F.

Leanne Tyler

Higgins Ages 10—14 Young Hector finds himself alone, homeless, and penniless when his father dies after being blackmailed and disgraced. Hector sets out to find revenge against the man he thinks is responsible for the blackmail—Gulliver Truepin, a one-eyed con artist who steals jewels to make a different jeweled eyeball for each day of the week. The two end up at Withypitts Hall, home of the cruel Lady Mandible and all plots come together on the night of an extravagant feast.

Holm, Adam Gustavson Ages 8—10 May Amelia 12 lives on a farm in Washington state in with her parents, Finnish immigrants, and seven brothers.

The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman

A salting of Finnish phrases and accurate historical details spice up this historical fiction, a sequel to Our Only May Amelia. Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L.

Eventually Turtle warms to her eccentric relatives and begins to see the natural beauty hidden under the trash. The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt Ages 10—14 Jake Kincaid is a skilled dowser, a finder of water, but leaves that calling behind to become a trapper in He returns a year later to find that his wife has died, leaving him a baby named Amos. Jake leaves Amos to be raised by his relatives in Nebraska, returning each summer to visit.

In , Jake brings his new Shoshone wife with him and they take Amos with them to Missouri. When Amos is 13, the family joins a wagon train headed west on the Oregon Trail. The hardships of the journey are beautifully portrayed in this historical coming-of-age novel. Ink and wash paintings document both beautiful moments and unpleasant events.

American frontier

Rocco joins a band of pickpockets to save enough money to buy his way back home to Italy. First person narration brings this late 19th-century picaresque tale to life. Polluted air is blamed for the cholera epidemic, but Eel and his mentor Dr. Snow believe the disease is being spread through a local water pump. This exciting tale mixes mystery, science, medicine, and history. Rosemary and her children, Paolo Crivelli 13 and his sister Constanza 16 , feel isolated and oppressed by the Nazi security rules and the suspicion of their neighbors, who believe their absent father may be a Partisan, part of the pro-Allied resistance.

Against all the rules, Paolo secretly violates curfew every night by riding his bicycle around the town.


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