Heroines of the Past, Pioneer

August 1, 2009; Published by Amy Puetz; P.O. Box 429; Wright, WY 82732

Amy’s Corner

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Oh! This is an exciting issue of Heroines of the Past e-zine. I can't wait for you to meet the historical women and girls in this issue because two of them are my favorite historical women. Yes, Narcissa Whitman and Jemima Boone are two of my all time favorite heroines. Those are two of the gals we will meet in this newsletter.

What do you think of the picture I used for the header? For over a year now I've had a picture in my head that I wanted to take of a pioneer lady standing on a hill with the wind blowing her skirt and a sunbonnet on her head. All my friends who used to be models for my pictures have moved away so I finally decided to be in the picture myself. (One of these dear friends is moving back, so I'm excited about that!) My mom offered to take the picture and my dad asked a rancher if we could visit his land. It was a lot of fun to walk around the prairie in a pioneer outfit. Especially since it was so green (all you folks who live in fertile areas don't laugh at me, this is green for Wyoming). We got some good pictures too. See more pictures here.

Happy Trails,
Amy Puetz

Heroines of the Past
P.O. Box 429
Wright, WY 82732
Heroines of the Past
Contact Amy

Mega Pioneer Collection

The pioneer era comes to life in this packed collection of pioneer resources. 12 items plus 3 bonus books make this collection a must for homeschool families and lovers of pioneer history. You are going to love this!!!

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Giving Everything for the Gospel
The Story of Narcissa Whitman
By Amy Puetz From Heroines of the Past-Pioneer

Narcissa Whitman A beautiful bride stood before the altar. Her face shone with a radiant smile as she said her vows. When the ceremony was complete the minister presented the couple to the assembly, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Dr. and Mrs. Marcus Whitman." Narcissa, for that was Mrs. Whitman's first name, was a kind-hearted Christian, a beautiful woman, and a determined individual. For many years she had a desire to become a missionary but the American Mission Board turned her down because they wanted couples. Marcus was also rejected because he was unmarried. Their common goal of becoming missionaries and the idea that they could be more effective together led them to marry. The day following their wedding, the bride and groom started their journey west that would bring them to the fertile soil of lost souls.

The Whitmans were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Spalding, another missionary couple. The year was 1836. Their destination was Oregon. Their goal was spreading the gospel. Along the trail Narcissa kept a journal, which she sent to her family back east. One journal entry read, "Do not think I regret coming. No; far from it. I would not go back for a world. I am contented and happy nothwithstanding I get very hungry and weary. Have six weeks steady journey before us. Will the Lord give me patience to endure it? Feel sometimes as if it was a long time to be traveling. Long for rest, but must not murmur." Another journal entry said, "We are now on the west side of the Blue Mountains, crossed them in a day and half. Dearest Mother, let me tell you how I am sustained of the Lord in all this journey. Yesterday and for two or three days past I have felt weak, restless, and scarcely able to sit on my horse yesterday in particular, but see how I have been diverted with the scenery and carried out of myself in conversation about home and friends . . . . This morning my feelings were a little peculiar. Felt remarkably well and strong, so much so as to mention it. But could not see any reason why I should feel more rested than on the morn previous. When I began to see what a day's ride was before, I understood it. If I had had not better health today than yesterday, I should have fainted under it. Then the promise appeared in full view, 'as thy day is, so shall thy strength be.' (Deuteronomy 33:25) And my soul rejoiced in God and testifys to the truth of another evidently manifest, 'Lo! I am with you always.' (Matthew 28:20)" Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Spalding accomplished a feat that had never been done by any other white woman: they crossed the Rocky Mountains. Since they performed an act that was rather hazardous, unknowingly they paved the way for thousands of other women to follow. The path to Oregon was now open to families. The missionaries arrived at Fort Vancouver on September 12, 1836.

Marcus Whitman Not only were the Whitmans full of charity for the Indians, they also displayed love for the many whites who were now coming west. A picture of their Christian virtue was painted by the story of the orphaned Sager children whom the Whitmans adopted. When the Sager children lost both their parents on the journey west, the wagon train planned to leave the children at Fort Hall with enough money to pay their passage with a caravan of traders heading east in the spring. Leading the Sager family now was a strong-willed, 13-year-old boy named John. John had formally been known for his practical jokes, laziness, and disobedience. After John's parents died he took the responsibility as head of the house very seriously. He became responsible, hard working, and dependable as though he was trying to make amends for his former slothfulness. Intensely, John wanted to go to Oregon to fulfill his father's dreams. On a cool and quiet night, John, his brother, and his five sisters slipped out of camp with the intent of following the wagon train and then rejoining them when they were too far along to send the children back to the Fort. Many adventures confronted the children. When they stumbled into the Whitmans' mission they were frail, famished, and fatigued, but by the providential hand of God they arrived there alive. Bravely John had led them over 1,000 miles through the wilderness. A daughter had been born to the Whitmans, but she had passed away. Marcus and Narcissa took the Sager brood into their home and loved them as their own children.

As the years went on more and more white men began settling in the Oregon region. With them came disease. In 1847 an epidemic of measles broke out among the Indians. Dr. Whitman did all in his power to alleviate the suffering, but despite his efforts large numbers of the Indians died. The Indians blamed the Whitmans for the misfortune that had befallen them. Receiving many warnings of the Indians' unrest, the Whitmans decided that come what may, they would remain at the mission. They had come to proclaim the gospel and if the Cayuse Indians were plotting to kill them, they knew that God was able to save them and even if He chose not to, they would still serve Him. In a merciless act of hostility the Indians massacred the Whitmans and twelve others who were staying at the mission. Like the martyrs of old, the Whitmans gave their lives for the cause of Christ. They have left us a precious testimony, a testimony of courage, faith, and pressing forward even in the face of insurmountable odds. Giving up everything for God, they sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the gospel. The Whitmans are a reminder to us that until you find something worth dying for you are not really living!

Did you enjoy this story? It is just one of many in Heroines of the Past-Pioneer.

More information
Find out more about Narcissa's Children

Information about the Whitman's mission

Jemima Boone the Daughter of Daniel Boone
From Heroines of the Past-Pioneer

Jemima Boone The thrilling account of the capture of Elizabeth and Frances Callaway and Jemima Boone by the Indians, and their subsequent rescue, is a striking illustration of the heroism and dangers our pioneer fathers experienced at Boonesborough.

On July 14, 1776, late in the afternoon, these three girls, aged sixteen and fourteen years respectively, were amusing themselves in a canoe on the Kentucky River. Suddenly five Indian warriors rushed upon them and, seizing them, overpowered them and carried them struggling into the forest. Elizabeth Callaway struck one of the warriors such a blow over the head with an oar as to gash him to the bone.

The girls were all very soon missed by their friends. Their fathers, Callaway and Boone, with three young men, Samuel Henderson, John Holder, and Flanders Callaway, set off at once on foot to pursue the captives, who, anticipating pursuit, tore off and scattered fragments of their clothing, and finally broke twigs from the bushes as tokens of their course through the forest. Their captors constantly threatened them with death, and sometimes raised the tomahawk above their heads, but the girls continued to mark their pathway. The young men of the party were the affianced lovers of the captives, and pursued their flight with an ardor akin to frenzy. On the third morning of the pursuit they came upon the camp. The pursued and the pursuers discovered each other and simultaneously opened fire upon each other. The pursuers charged rapidly upon the camp and the only surviving Indian fled.

Elizabeth Callaway had a dark complexion, and she sat pale and sallow at the roots of a tree, her head bound with a red bandana. Her two young companions were lying in misery with their heads in Elizabeth's lap, when one of the pursuing party, mistaking her for an Indian woman, raised the butt of his musket to strike her in the head. At this instant, another of the party recognized the poor victim and caught the gun in time to spare her life. The girls were all returned to their homes in safety. The young men of the party subsequently became the husbands of the three girls to whom they were already affianced before the capture.

Did you enjoy this story? It is just one of many in Heroines of the Past-Pioneer.

One Night in the Barn By Annalisa Perry

July 1849 A Wagon Train
A log cabin in the mountains of Idaho, about 20 miles from Fort Hall*

I didn't like him and I certainly didn't want him spending the night in our barn. We had just sat down to supper when there was a knock at the door. Living in the hills of Idaho, we rarely had company so I jumped up to answer the door. Outside stood a boy, about 16, wearing overalls but no shirt. Dark brown hair fell past his neck and over his eyes. A worn potato sack was slung over his back.

"Who are you?" I demanded.

"Kate!" Pa said sternly.

The young man shifted nervously. "I'm James Crik. I'm on my way to California but I'm out of money and supplies. The folks at Fort Hall said you lived here and you might give me a bite to eat and a place to sleep. I can work for it!"

Pa glanced at Mama with a question in his eye. I watched Mama look carefully at James and then give Papa a quick nod.

"Sit down, James," Pa said warmly.

"I'll do my work first."

"You'll eat first, like the rest of us and help with the chores after," Pa said firmly.

Mama stood up and said, "Sit right here."

James let his sack slide to the floor and sat down uncertainly while Mama scraped out the pans to fill his plate. Without bothering to use a fork, James wolfed down cornbread, potatoes, and fish. My older brother Aaron watched with an awed expression on his face. Even through James and Aaron were probably the same age, there was something about James's worn face that made him look much older.

"Did you come with a wagon train?" Aaron asked.

"Just as far as Wyoming," James smacked. "I walked the rest of the way."

"Why? Did they kick you off?" I asked.

"Where are you from, James?" Papa interrupted.


"Where is your family?"

James didn't answer immediately. Mama put her arm on James's shoulder. "Did your parents die?" she asked.

James moved his arm and began to crumble his cornbread into pieces on his plate.

"No, ma'am. Our rent was due and we couldn't get the money to pay. My folks moved in with the relatives and I figured it was time for me to look after myself. It's one less mouth to feed." James stopped as he realized he had no cornbread left to crumble. He contemplated the crumbs, then scooped them up, dropped them into his milk and gulped it down.

"What will you do when you get to California?" I asked.

"I'm going to find me some gold and some land."

"What about your family?"

"They can look after themselves," James answered.


"Kate, Aaron, chore time," Mama said quietly. Groaning, we got up and James followed.

"Show James what to do," Pa instructed. "I'll be out in a little while. Remember not to set the lantern down in case of fire."

"Yes, Pa," I said and hurried after the boys, who were already feeding our horses and cow.

"What's it like, being on your own?" Aaron asked. His voice sounded envious.

James swelled two sizes. "It's swell. I don't have to worry about nobody or nothing except myself. Only have to work when I feel like it. And as soon as I find some gold, I'll never have to work again. What are you folks doing here in the middle of nowhere--why didn't you go on to California?"

"We were going to Oregon, not California," I said.

"What happened?"

"Our baby died and Mama didn't want to leave her grave," Aaron explained. "We built our cabin here. Pa said one day all this land will be settled. We're close enough to Fort Hall if we have any trouble. I'm going to California when I grow up."

"Aren't you grown up yet?" James asked, looking hard at Aaron.

"Pa needs my help around here."

James sneered. "So I see."

"In four years, when I'm 21, Pa said I can go to California if I still want."

"By the time you're that old, all the gold will be gone. You should--"

At that moment, Pa entered the barn, ending the conversation. I watched Aaron's face as he silently cleaned out the stalls. He looked angry and confused as he smoothed straw with energy. It was starting to get dark so I held up the lantern until the chores were finished. We went back into the cabin where Mama was washing the dishes.

"I made you a bed by the fire, James," she said. When James saw that he would be sleeping in the same room with the rest of us, he shook his head.

"I'd rather sleep in the barn, if you don't mind."

Mama glanced at Pa. "If that's what you want. The latch will be left out if you need anything."

James grabbed his sack and headed outside.

"Why does he want to sleep in the barn?" I asked.

"He hasn't been with a family in a while. Maybe it makes him sad," Mama said.

Aaron snorted. "He seems to be doing fine on his own. Has a good time too."

"That's what he says but he's making some big mistakes. He's missing out on God's greatest gift to us--family."

Aaron didn't answer as he lay down on his pallet, next to my bed. Mama and Pa talked quietly a few minutes before going into the curtained off corner where their bed stood. I was just drifting off to sleep when I realized something--Aaron was awake. He lay silently, watching me. He was up to something, no doubt about it. I slowly closed my eyes and listened. After a long time, I heard Pa's snores and knew my parents were asleep. I heard a rustle and opened one eye a slit. Aaron was tiptoeing towards the door. As soon as he was outside, I pulled on my shoes and followed him. The barn door was open and a chink of light shone through.

I could hear James's husky voice as I crept closer.

"I tell you what, Aaron. You can come to California with me."

"Leave my family?" Aaron sounded shocked.

"You can't take them with you. Think of the adventures we'll have, hopping from wagon train to wagon train until we find gold."

"It sounds like a dream. But--"


"If I go, I can't ever come back. I couldn't face Pa again. I haven't disobeyed him since I was little."

"You're scared, that's what you are."

"I'm not! But I have to decide for myself."

I couldn't stand it any longer. I rushed into the barn and almost ran into the boys, who sat in the straw. The lantern burned brightly next to them.

"What are you doing out of bed?" Aaron stood up and grabbed my arm.

"You can't go!" I cried. "We need you here. Pa can't run the farm without you. It's only four years until you're 18. Please, Aaron."

Aaron still hesitated. "Don't let her sweet talk you," James said. "She just doesn't want to do all the work herself."

Aaron suddenly realized what he was doing. He looked James right in the eye. "Thanks for the offer but I'm staying here. Pa was right. You did make a mistake. You don't even know what a family is."

"Suit yourself," James said. I heard a crackling sound and screamed, "Aaron, look!"

The forgotten lantern had caught the hay on fire! Aaron stripped off his shirt and tried to beat the flames but they spread even more. Already the bale was on fire and the flames were creeping toward the sides of the barn.

"Where can I find water?" James shouted.

"The well--outside!" I screamed. James darted outside. I knew what I had to do. I ran as fast as I could into the cabin and over to my parents' bed. "Pa, wake up, the barn's on fire!

He got up immediately, shoved on his shoes and raced outside, Mama and I right behind. The wind was picking up and already one wall of the barn was in flames. Smoke billowed into the sky and I could hear the frightened neigh of the horses. James rushed up with a pail of water and doused the burning wall. The flames sizzled for a moment and leapt up again.

"The animals are in there," Pa said in a terrible voice.

"Aaron's in there!" I cried.

Mama gave a little cry.

"Martha, Kate, get buckets NOW!" He pulled out his handkerchief and wrapped it around his face before going into the barn. Mama and I ran into the cabin and grabbed everything that would hold water. The well was about twenty paces behind our house but it seemed longer as we raced to fill up the buckets and throw it on the fire. Smoke was everywhere, making me sputter and my eyes water. I tripped over a root and fell to the ground, grazing my palms and making my ankle bleed but I could not stop. My head was whirling with thoughts and emotions but I pushed them aside and prayed, "Let us get the fire out. We must; we must!"

I heard a shout from Papa and forgetting everything, ran towards the barn. James grabbed me roughly. "Don't go in there," he said and before I knew it, he had gone in! The flames had reached the roof now and I knew that the barn was lost. At that moment, Pa came out, leading both horses. The next minute Aaron followed with the cow.

"Thank God you're safe," Mama said.

"Where's James?" I cried. We realized the truth at the same time.

"I've got to go back," Pa said. Aaron rushed heedlessly after him. Mama and I watched helplessly. Flames licked up the roof and down the sides. A smoldering log fell to the ground just outside the front door. It quickly licked up the grass around it and crept towards the cabin.

"Lord, please get them out!" Mama cried. "I must help them!" she started towards the barn.

"Mama, look!" I pointed to the burning log.

"Quick, help me stamp it out!" Pulling off her petticoats, she began to beat out the flames. I followed her example and together we worked until the fire was out. A shout from the barn made us turn. Aaron staggered out first, followed by James, who was carrying something, I couldn't see what. Pa stumbled out and fell to the ground. I helped Aaron and James drag him towards the house. With a sudden groan, the roof of the barn collapsed. Now we could see the fire at its height as it hungrily burned the charred remains.

"Is he hurt?" Mama cried, holding Pa's hand.

"Passed out from lack of air," James said.

"We must get him to bed," Mama said.

"No!" James said. "We must keep the fire from spreading. Come on, NOW!"

He had saved the garden tools--a shovel and two hoes. He showed us how to scoop up dirt and bury the flames. The wind had died down and by the time Pa regained consciousness, the fire was under control. We worked together until the fire was finally out.

"Thank you, God!" Mama said, bursting into tears.

"Well done," Pa said, looking at each of us. "I want to know how the fire started. James, did you light a lantern in the barn?"

James bit his lip. "Yes," he answered in a humble tone.

"It was my fault, Pa." Aaron said. "I went out to the barn to talk to James, that's why he lit the lantern."

"Why?" Mama asked sharply.

There was an awkward pause as the guilty parties exchanged glances.

"I have something I want to say," James said. "And then I'll be going. Before I came here, I didn't see a lot of use for families. I thought everyone should look after himself. Aaron seemed bored with farm life so I offered him a chance to run away with me. I think he wanted to but he decided not to, with a little help." He glanced at me. "The only reason we got that fire out was because we all worked together. You're right, Aaron. I am making a mistake, thinking I'll be fine on my own. I'm sorry about all the trouble I caused you folks. But I'm glad I came." He turned to go.

"Wait, James," Pa said. "You did wrong, trying to convince Aaron to disobey me. And you, Aaron, sneaking out to the barn like that. God has blessed us tonight--we are all alive and our house is still standing. I'll scold no more tonight. James, you'll be spending the night with us and you'll help us build a new barn before you go."

For the first time, James smiled. "I will, sir."

"Now, let's thank our Father for his blessings." We knelt down to pray.

The End

About the Author
Annalisa is the oldest of eight children. She enjoys reading books, writing stories, talking to people and spending quality time with her family. Annalisa and her family were missionaries in Germany for five years and now live in Arkansas. She enjoys homeschooling because it gives her independence and unique opportunities. She is in 11th grade.

Copyright 2009 AnnalisaPerry

*Fort Hall was built in 1834, the only U.S. outpost on the Oregon Trail at that time.



Mystery Woman Contest

Last issues answer - Perpetua
Winner - Carol S. and her daughter Samantha
Mystery Woman Contest This girl was one of the survivors of the Donner Party. This ill fated group was caught in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the winter of 1846 while trying to reach California. Apparently they took a shortcut known as Hastings Cutoff only to discover too late that it was longer. Of approximately 90 people, 40 died during the winter. One of the survivors was the youngest daughter of George and Tamsen Donner. Only three at the time she would later write an account of the Donner party, The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate. Who is she? Email your answer (with "Mystery Woman Contest" in the subject line) and be registered to win a free copy of:
Heroines of the Past-Pioneer
by Amy Puetz
E-book, 40 pages,
Price $14.95
  • Two articles about heroines of the past (Narcissa Whitman, the first white woman to cross the Rocky Mountains and Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author who wrote about her pioneer experiences)
  • Encouraging quotes
  • Fun facts
  • Instructions for making a pioneer shawl
  • If You Were a Pioneer Woman
  • A quiz about pioneer women
  • A book review about Caddie Woodlawn
  • Three pages of recommended resources
  • Games from long ago
  • Examining historical art
  • Write a story from a pioneer picture
  • Four Heroines of the Past Collectable Cards
Can't wait to see if you won? You can buy it now!

In each issue of Heroines of the Past we will have a Mystery Woman Contest. A picture and description of a woman from the featured era covered will be included. To participate in the contest, email your answer to Amy with "Mystery Woman Contest" in the subject line. All the entries will be put into a hat and a winner will be chosen. Each time the prize will be different. Entries must be received by August 31st. The winner will be announced in the next Heroines of the Past e-zine.



Explore History

A to Z Designs

Heroines of the Past

Bible Study
By Amy Puetz
One of the virtues of the pioneers was perseverance. Learn more about this character trait by looking up the word perseverance in a Bible concordance. Pick several verses, look them up and answer these questions:
1) What do these verses say about perseverance?
2) According to these verses what is perseverance?
3) Who gives perseverance?

Look up perseverance in a dictionary. What does it mean? What are some synonyms of perseverance? What is the opposite of perseverance?

Think of a story (either personal or historical) that demonstrates perseverance. Tell about it. Why does this story inspire you? How could you be more persevering?

Select your favorite verse from the ones you looked up, write it on a piece of paper and memorize it.

You could do this same Bible study with any character trait. After reading the stories in this e-zine what virtue did you notice in one of the ladies? You could do a study on that word instead of perseverance.

Pioneer Quiz
By Amy Puetz

How much do you know about life in the pioneer era? Match the questions with the answers. Answers are below.

1) Where cattle are raised.

2) Where crops are grown.

3) The head covering worn by pioneer women.

4) A large wagon used by pioneers.

5) A house made of cut soil.

6) Houses in wooded areas were made of this.

7) A cowboy rode on one of these.

8) A lady rode on one of these.

9) The animals most often used to pull a wagon.

10) What a group of wagons headed west was called.

A) Train

B) Logs

C) Saddle

D) Side-Saddle

E) Ranch

F) Sunbonnet

G) Oxen

H) Soddie

I) Conestoga

J) Farm

Links to Fun Activities

Make a covered wagon from a milk carton

Make a patchwork quilt

Take a Virtual Tour of the Oregon Trail

Teacher's Guide for the Waiilatpu Mission
Click on the "more" under the picture and a 150+ page Word document opens. It has history, questions, coloring pages, maps, games, recipes, and lots more. Check it out!!! Not necessarily written from a Christian perspective but it still has lots of fascinating information.

Download the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Junior Ranger Activity Book
This fun activity book has 25 pages of fun stuff to do in the comfort of your own home.

Pioneer Recipes
You will need:
2 cups stone ground flour
1 cup water
Combine the flour and water. Knead until smooth. Sprinkle some flour on a smooth surface and roll the dough flat until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut biscuits out with a can or a glass making each biscuit about 3-4 inches in diameter. Poke holes into each biscuit with a fork. Place on a floured cookie sheet. It should come out hard and dry.
Oven: 400 F
Time: 35-45 minutes
Yield: 12-15 biscuits

Beef Jerky
You will need:
1 flank or london broil steak (or other very lean cut of meat)
salt and pepper
1 cup soy sauce
aluminum foil
Cut the steak into strips with the grain of the meat. It is very important to cut along the grain or the cooked meat will fall apart into small pieces! Pour the soy sauce into a bowl and dip the meat strips in it. Lay the strips out on a piece of foil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the strips on a metal rack in the oven with foil below to catch the drippings.
Oven: 150 F
Time: 10 hours

Indian Fry Bread
You will need:
3 cups self-rising flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 cup cold water
corn oil (for frying)
In a bowl, mix sugar and milk. Add flour. Gradually stir in the water until the flour is moistened and the dough forms. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface; knead until dough is well mixed. Roll to a 10 inch square and about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 12 rectangles. In a deep saucepan, heat some oil at 375 F. and fry the dough 2-3 minutes or until medium brown. Turn often as you are frying. Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tea Biscuits
You will need:
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
Mix all ingredients together. Make into a thin loaf and bake in flat, greased pan. Break into chunks. Serve warm with butter and honey.
Oven: 350 F
Time: 30 minutes (check after 20 min.)

Answers to Quiz
1-E, 2-J, 3-F, 4-I, 5-H, 6-B, 7-C, 8-D, 9-G, 10-A

Copyright 2011 Amy Puetz, www.AmyPuetz.com