Wednesday, June 23, 2010

160 Years Ago, on the Oregon Trail...

Eugenia Zieber, pictured above ca. 1850, was born in Princess Anne, MD in 1833. She was educated at the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies in Bethlehem, PA. She left school to join her family as they moved to Oregon Territory in search of a more healthy climate.

As the eldest daughter of the family, 18-year-old Eugenia's responsibilities included caring for her younger siblings, helping her mother with meals, and washing laundry. In her limited free time she collected plant specimens and wrote in her diary. The pressed-flower album that she compiled on this trip across the plains can be found in the Bush House Museum archive, along with her handwritten journal.
Sunday June 22nd, 1851
On another Sabbath do I attempt to write a few lines in my journal, which has been long neglected. There is scarcely time, upon such a journey, for those who have aught that is essentially necessary to do, to keep a diary. It must be done by snatches or at any moment, or not at all. That does not suit everyone.

...We are traveling today. I regret doing so, but the company generally are not willing to lie by, and we of course who would like to, being the smaller number, must comply with the others' wishes. It is very warm, but little air stirring today.

This evening is cool and rather windy again. I can scarcely make myself believe that this is Sunday, because we are traveling, it does not seem right. A watch was lost by one of the company today, a very valuable one I believe. Camped on a small branch of the Platte. We are to remain here tomorrow the women are to wash, the men to search for the watch, and go hunting.
The Zieber family arrived in Oregon City in October 1851, where Eugenia's father, a printer by trade, went to work for Asahel Bush II at the Oregon Statesman. Three years later, Eugenia married Asahel Bush and moved with him to Salem. They were married for nine years and had four children together before she died of tuberculosis at the age of 30. Mr. Bush never remarried.

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