Finding aid of the Emma Frances Dugan Memoirs C057907

Finding aid prepared by Patricia Keats
Society of California Pioneers
300 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107-1272
(415) 959-1849
March 15, 2012

Title: Dugan, Emma Frances, Memoirs
Identifier/Call Number: C057907
Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 1.0 folder (1 typescript, 21 pages and 3 photographs)
Date: 1893
Abstract: The memoir is a twenty-one page typewritten account of a wagon train journey taken by Emma Frances Dugan - including 3 photographs (most likely herself and her husband), along with her husband and three small children. They travelled from Corydon, Iowa to Walla Walla, Washington - leaving Iowa on May 7, 1862.
creator: Dugan, Emma Frances, fl. 1845-1900

Conditions Governing Access note

Colletion open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

There are no restrictions on access.

Preferred Citation note

Emma Frances Dugan Memoirs. The Society of California Pioneers.


Gift of Miss H. Pickett, December 13, 1954.

Scope and Contents note

The memoir is a twenty-one page typewritten account of Emma Frances Dugan's journey - along with her husband and three small children - from Croyden, Iowa to Walla Walla, Washington from May 7, 1862 arriving five months later. Emma Frances Dugan set off from Iowa in 1862 with a wagon train assembled by a wealthy, and rather imperious, doctor ("Dr. P.") who made all the rules for the group. She also notes that there were 2 doctors and 2 lawyers in the train. There are three photographs tipped into the typescript: 2 most likely showing Emma and the other showing her with a man - perhaps her husband since he sits next to her with his arm around her. All photographs are taken when she is older, once again, perhaps at the time of the writing of the memoir. They are taken in a home - in what appears to be a parlor. The memoir recounts the daily problems encountered during the journey: a mismatched team of horses, a wagon too heavy for the team, a near drowning accident when their wagon turned over mid-stream, illness, and the added burden of her having to carry her eighteen-month old child most of the way on the five month trip. It mentions meeting many friendly Indians, but also relates incidents with unfriendly Indians who threatened their party as well as a disastrous massacre of another party - the party having taken a different fork in the route. The memoir ends with their safe arrival and Emma notes: "...our never to be forgotten journey."

Biographical note

Emma Frances Dugan left on her journey in 1862 - while a young wife and mother. As she writes her memoir in 1893, she notes it has been 41 years since her journey. From the memoir, it appears that her husband was a lawyer, because along the way he sells his law books to lighten their load in Omaha - all she kept was a Bible given to her by her father. No other information is given in her memoir about herself, or even names of her husband and children.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Overland journeys to the Pacific
Pioneer children
Women pioneers