Imagine riding a bumpy oxen cart on unbroken ground over 2,000 miles. That is what Tabitha Brown did in 1846. What makes it even more remarkable was that she did this as a widow in her sixties with a deformed foot–that was painful and caused her to use a cane to walk.
Tabby lived a comfortable life in St. Charles, Missouri, with two of her children and their families close by. She was a spunky lady, who was always ready for new adventures, and had an upbeat outlook on life. No matter what difficulties came her way, she firmly believed God would take care of her.
When her son, Orus, announced that he and his family, along with his siblings and their families, were all going to Oregon in a wagon train, Tabby was ready to go. It was a quite a blow for her when Orus didn’t want her to. He said she was too old, and handicapped to make the journey. In order to get her to stay, Orus had even tried to arrange a marriage between Tabby and her brother-in-law, John.
The fireworks really went off when Tabby wouldn’t marry John, but instead got him to agree to go on the wagon train with her. Tabby promised Orus that she would not be a burden to anyone, and she kept her promise. It was quite an agreement to make, too, because no one knew what terrible hardships awaited them. They made the trip the same year as the infamous Donner Party that had to resort to cannibalism to survive.
On her trip, Tabby witnessed the death of many of the people in her group. They faced many calamities including starvation, lack of water, along with possible attack from various animals and people groups. Their wagons broke with nothing to repair them with, and animals they counted on for transportation died. One night, Tabby’s granddaughter Virgilia, was rescued from a five foot long rattle snake that curled up by her as she slept. Another time, a teenager became separated from her family, and an intriguing account unfolds of the efforts made to reunite them.
As if making a trek across the country in a wagon train wasn’t enough for a woman of Tabby’s age, she had even more projects she started once she made it to the Pacific Northwest. Despite arriving penniless, Tabby believed God would provide funds, ideas and people for her work. The things Tabby put her hand to are still providing for people today.
This is a fascinating account. It is made even more so because it is based on the real life story of Tabitha Brown who did indeed go west as part of a wagon train in 1846. The author spent lots of time researching Tabby. But do not think this is a dry, historical book, far from it! There are lots of interesting stories here.
For instance, Tabby’s daughter Pherne did not want to leave her luxurious home and memories to go on the wagon train her husband was ready to join. The problems their marriage faced because of it are not much different than those today’s relationships deal with. Virgilia’s longing for romance along with adventure, and how she thinks she will get it, add even more to this tale. Plus the hardships of facing life with a handicap are explored through the eyes of an orphan named Judson. This is a book that will encourage you to never give up no matter what obstacle you are facing. I highly recommend this 5-star book.
Revell Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Road We Traveled, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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