Bound for Montana
Bozeman Diary Book Takes You On the Trail
Ellen "Nellie" Gordon Fletcher had been married less than a month when she left New York for a new life with her husband on the Montana frontier.
From Nebraska she wrote home to her sisters: "Everything is torn up and packed. . . . Half past twelve in the wagon, bound for Montana." Nellie, like hundreds of others between 1863 and 1866, commenced a journey to the Montana goldfields that took her over the Bozeman Trail, the last great overland emigrant trail in the West.
Nellieâ€™s diary and letters, along with the accounts of six other emigrants, appear in the Montana Historical Society Pressâ€™s new book Bound for Montana: Diaries from the Bozeman Trail.
Historian Susan Badger Doyle introduces and skillfully annotates the diaries, which also appear in her masterful two-volume hardcover set Journeys to the Land of Gold: Emigrant Diaries from the Bozeman Trail, 1863-1866. While Journeys includes the thirty-three surviving eyewitness accounts of travel on the Bozeman, Bound for Montana reprints the seven most interesting, representative diaries.
"Journeys to the Land of Gold is an important part of overland migration scholarship," said Publications director Clark Whitehorn, "but we also wanted to publish a book on the Bozeman Trail that can be enjoyed by the general public. Readers unfamiliar with the trail will be drawn in, experiencing as if they were there the diaristsâ€™ joys and challenges
The Press is able to bring these diaries to a new audience through the help of the Montana Committee for the Humanities. Said MCH executive director Mark Sherouse, "Through its Montana Publishing Initiative, the Montana Committee for the Humanities is pleased to support this new edition of Susan Badger Doyleâ€™s massive Bozeman Trail compilation, making the stories and recollections of the trail and its era more widely accessible to contemporary Montanans. We hope Bound for Montana will find many new readers and students."
Bound for Montana includes a map of the trail along with historic images portraying the diarists and the land they encountered. The book is 272 pages and sells for $19.95 at local bookstores, or it can be purchased directly from the Montana Historical Society Museum Store, plus shipping, by calling toll-free 1-800-243-9900.Order