Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Stout-Hearted Seven, Orphaned on the Oregon Trail...

We have read several books regarding The Oregon Trail, as well as, Marcus and Narcisssa Whitman, but The Stout-Hearted Seven, Orphaned on the Oregon Trail by Neta Lohnes Frazier was my favorite!  In the spring of 1844, the Henry and Naomi Sager family packed their important belongings into a covered wagon and joined hundreds of others for the journey west.  Both parents died and were buried along the trail.  Other pioneers helped the children get to Oregon Territory, where they lived with Marcus and Narcissa Whitman at the Oregon Mission of the Presbyterian and Congregational churches until an Indian Massacre in November of 1847.  After the massacre, the four remaining Sager girls were adopted into different families in the Pacific Northwest.  The Stout-Hearted a very fascinating and moving tale of the Sager adventure. 

In the book Forward, Frazier writes...
To tell the true story of the Sager children, as nearly as possible, has been my purpose in writing this book.  I have gone back to primary sources: Catherine's My Story, in manuscript form; Matilda's book, A Survivor's Recollections of the Whitman Massacre, published by the Esther Reed Chapter, Daughter so the American Revolution, Spokane, Washington; Elizabeth's interviews published from time to time in the Oregon Journal an Oregon Spectator, Portland, Oregon; and diaries of other members of the 1844 wagon train, published in Transactions of the Oregon Pioneers' Association, Portland.  Added to these were the letters of Narcissa and Marcus Whitman, published in many volumes of the Oregon Historical Quarterly, and in books written by Dr. Clifford M. Drury and published by the Arthur H. Clark Company, Glendale, California. Finally, and most useful, was personal information given me by two of Catherine's granddaughters, my friends Sadie Collins Armin, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Celista Collins Platz, Seattle, Washington.
Except for the necessary invention of dialogue and scenes, and an occasional shift in sequence to satisfy the needs of the story, all events in the book were related by one or more of the sisters, by the Whitmans, or by other contemporary persons, in conversations, letters, or diaries. 
Clearly the author went to great trouble making sure the Sager's story was accurate.  Indeed, her efforts provided a wonderful book to be understood and cherished by young and old.  The Stout-Hearted recommended in Beautiful Feet's Western Expansion guide as well as by me :)   

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