Friday, May 6, 2011

The Woman in the Sunbonnet

If it weren't for the courageous, long suffering pioneer women who left their families to come West in the mid1800s, Nevada's earliest history, particularly around Dayton, might have been lost.

Although Abner Blackburn, a pack train guide for Mormon pioneers, documented his adventures in the 1840s, including finding Nevada's first gold at the mouth of a nondescript desert canyon (Gold Cañon) in 1849; it was the ladies who recorded daily life on a 2,000-plus mile journey from home.

Historians say Lucena Pfuffer Parsons's diary is one of the most geographically accurate, comprehensive histories of the Western migration.

The hand-written journal of her 1850-1851 journey from Wisconsin to Salt Lake City, Gold Cañon, Utah Territory, (Nevada), onto Oakland, California, is preserved in the Stanford University Special Collections Library.

Lucena's diary lay hidden until her oldest daughter Ellen Maria, the first white child born in Oakland, Calif., discovered it in 1928.

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