Meadowmom

Meadowmom

Posted on 10/29/2013


Photo taken on November 25, 2009


See also...

Desert Southwest Desert Southwest


Women's History Women's History


Death Valley National Park Death Valley National Park



Keywords

Death Valley
Saratoga Springs
women’s history
Wade party
Mary Wade


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Memories of a strong woman

Memories of a strong woman
Saratoga Springs, Death Valley

(Since I first heard this story, some historical gurus have proposed that the Wade party did not go to Saratoga Springs. But I'm going to tell it exactly as it was told to me the first time I saw this place.)

Mary Wade stood in this spot in January of 1850. After weeks of traveling through untracked desert, her little party finally found a place of unlimited feed for the oxen and drinkable water.

The Wade's covered wagon had continued south after the famous Bennett-Arcane party finally stopped to make its desperate "long camp" on the west side of Death Valley.

According to the pioneer diaries, Mr. Wade "held himself above the other argonauts," spending most of his time studying the Bible and composing sermons. He was English and so was his wife Mary. Besides walking up to 20 miles a day, she gathered fuel, cooked, washed, mended and sewed for her husband, their one hired teamster, and her four children. When the need arose, she tended the oxen, drove the team and bartered her good cooking with other travelers for small necessities.

After passing Bennett's Long Camp, the Wade wagon rumbled on alone over bone-dry desert for at least 50 miles, the parson with his nose in his book, Mary and the children walking behind. (Most pioneers preferred to walk, instead of riding in the lurching wagons.)

Upon finding this blessed place, they decided to rest. All except Mary, who continued to cook and clean, and spent the rest of her time washing clothes. After that they traveled only a dozen miles before they came upon the Spanish Trail and followed it to California.

Of course it was Mr. Wade who eventually had the long south road in Death Valley National Park named after him, with the big bronze plaque and the citations in history books. Mary got nothing but the satisfaction of knowing she was a strong woman.

tiabunna, Peter Van Der Houwen have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Peter Van Der Houwen
Peter Van Der Houwen
Impressive story, I vote for Mary!
The picture is beautiful too!
5 years ago.
tiabunna
tiabunna
A good story and interesting photo. Where would we be without strong women?
5 years ago.
Pam J
Pam J
Oh My.....another wonderful story... and had to smile.... the 'doers" of this world rarely get the Glory...
5 years ago.
Evergreengirl
Evergreengirl
I've visited Saratoga Springs, but only once. I found it beautiful and peaceful and the day we were there we had it all to ourselves. It's kind of off the usual tourist route, isn't it? I didn't know this history though so thanks for sharing it. The "pioneer" women and their unsung and unacknowledged accomplishments never fail to amaze me. Mr. Wade sounds like a bit of a stick doesn't he?
5 years ago.