Harriett Bidwell Shaw started a journal in September 18,1851, when she and her husband, Reverend James Milton Shaw traveled in a wagon train via the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico. Harriett was the only woman to accompany the wagon train. She documented their daily activities, the weather conditions, hardships on the trail, encounters with Indians, and buffalo hunting. When the Shaws passed through Kansas they stayed at Shawnee Baptist Mission, Council Grove, and Pawnee Rock and stopped near Fort Mackey on the Arkansas river. They reached Santa Fe on November 14, 1851, where the journal ends. The Shaws evenually went to Albuquerque and then Socorro to establish Baptist missions among the Spanish people. In sum, Shaws journal presents a remarkable picture of the difficulties and rewards of travel to the American West prior to the American Civil War.
Kansas Historical Society
Crossing the Plains, the journal of Harriett Bidwell Shaw - 3