Rebecca of Blossom Prairie
Rebecca of Blossom Prairie was written by Maurine Walpole Liles, a local author. When we started reading
this book she came and visited our class and told us the story in her own words.
After hearing her story we all became very interested in pioneers and their journey to the
frontier. This is a summary of each chapter in her book. She also has
other books about the Garner family. Learn their titles on our literature page.
The Horse Race
Rebecca lives with her parents in Tennessee on their plantation. On her 12th birthday she challenges Andrew Jackson to a horse race. Sam Houston comes and watches Rebecca beat General Jackson in the race. Later Rebecca grows up and marries John Nance Garner II. They raise their family on a small farm.
The Grave Mound
Rebecca's husband John dies after catching the fever while on a trip to Murfreesboro Tennessee. She decides to return to their farm with her 5 children and not live with her parents on the plantation.
And the Lord Taketh Away
The winter of 1849 is especially hard on Rebecca and her family. They lose many of their crops and livestock to the harsh winter. They have trouble finding enough to eat and have to sell off some of their land to pay taxes. Later, Rebecca's father, Charles Walpole dies. Then her cousins Tom and Betsy Walpole send a letter describing their new life in Blossom Prairie Texas.
Preparing for the Journey
In the year 1851 after Grandpa Charlie dies Rebecca tells her family that they will be going to Texas. They travel to town and purchase a spring wagon, oxen, and supplies. Over wagon master August Clemons' strong objections they sign up to travel to Texas with his wagon train. He tells them to be at Nashville in one week ready to travel the Natchez Trace.
On the Trail
At the end of September 1851 Rebecca and her family join the wagon train at the northern tip of the Natchez Trace just outside Nashville. The family's wagon was the last in line. The first few days on the trail were very difficult for Rebecca and her children. They all had to learn how to do many different things, such as cooking on an open fire and driving the oxen.
The Runaway Ox
The caravan continues along the Natchez Trace. At Duck River they take a ferry across to the other side. One morning they wake up only to discover that Rhoady, one of their four oxen, and Cleaver their dog have both disappeared.
The caravan travels ahead leaving Rebecca and her family behind. While William sets out to look for Rhoady and Cleaver, two robbers approach Rebecca and the other children. They were attempting to rob the family when William rides up and tries to stop them. One of the robbers shoots William in the arm. The children jump on the robbers and Rebecca grabs her rifle. They manage to scare the robbers off. While Rebecca is helping William recover from the gunshot wound, Rhoady and Cleaver wander back to camp.
A Reckoning with Grief
The family manages to catch up with the wagon train only to find out that their friends the Rogers had a tragedy. Their baby Rose died along the trail. They buried her along side the trail.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
William and the Rogers boys go into the town of Tupelo, Mississippi. While in town Pete Rogers starts bragging about his gun. He starts an argument with some older men and acts like a loud-mouthed boy. The men chase the boys back to camp. One of the three men tells Rebecca that he was impressed with how William traded his guns for stick candy and a book. He also managed to calm the two Rogers boys down.
The wagon tongue of the Garner's family wagon broke. That meant they had to stay behind in order to fix it. While William and Rebecca were working on the repairs, Charlie and John Nance went fishing. When they were returning to the wagon Charlie was bitten by a rattlesnake. Louisa, one of Rebecca's young daughters, taught her mother how to take care of a snake bite. Louisa had learned how when she visited other wagons in the evenings and heard other people talking about how to heal a snake bite.
A Visitor in Disguise
One evening as the wagon train was about to set up camp, Rebecca was surprised to see a man on a horse call her name as he passed them. The man was her old friend Sam Houston, the hero of the Texas Revolution. When she was a little girl he had watched her race Andrew Jackson. He had dinner with Rebecca's family and they caught up on each other's lives and families.
When the wagons reached the Red River, Rebecca and her family turned off and headed toward Blossom Prairie, Texas. On January 2, 1852 they reached their new land. Their cousins and friends who lived nearby came and helped them clear their land and build their new home.
|Who were the Pioneers?|
|Why did they travel to the frontier?|
|Where did the pioneers travel to?|
|What are some of the trails they used?|
|What did they take with them?|
|How did they travel?|
|What were their wagons like?|
|What was a Wagon Train?|
|Who led the Wagon Train?|
|What were their lives like on the trail?|
|What did they do after reaching their new homes?|
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