From Lead Mines to Gold Fields: Memories of an Incredibly Long Life

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U of Nebraska Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 225 pages
Henry Taylor?s long life (1825?1931) gave him an unusual perspective on change in American society. During his lifetime, the West was largely settled. America fought wars with Mexico and Spain, was nearly torn apart by a civil conflict, and then joined allies across the sea in World War I. Inventions proliferated (trains, cars, airplanes, to name a few), and twenty-six presidents served in office. Taylor?s life also exemplifies the mobile American lifestyle. His family moved several times before he left the lead mines of Wisconsin for the gold fields of California during the early 1850s. Taylor?s account of his journey across the western continent in search of fortune provides an arresting and detailed look at the dangers of the trail. His account of his move to western Nebraska in 1878 offers insight into the problems and successes of the early homesteaders and settlers. The latter portions of the autobiography concern his later travels and his reflections on his long life.

With wit and a keen sense of character, Taylor began to record his life story when he was 80 and completed it at the age of 103. Donald L. Parman has organized and annotated Taylor?s story, supplying an introduction and information on people, places, and events in the text.

 

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Contents

Growing Up in Virginia and Ohio
1
Life in Iowa and Wisconsin
17
From Wisconsin to Fort Laramie
41
On to California
61
Mining for Gold
97
Journeying Home by Sea
113
Setbacks in Wisconsin and Homesteading in Nebraska
137
The San Francisco Earthquake
151
Reflections of a Centenarian
161
Notes
171
Selected Bibliography
211
Index
219
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Donald L. Parman is a professor of history emeritus at Purdue University. He has edited Window to a Changed World: The Personal Memoirs of William Graham and authored Indians and the American West in the Twentieth Century and The Navajos and the New Deal.

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