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The Queen of Heartbreak Trail: The Life and Times of Harriet Smith Pullen, Pioneering Woman
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The Queen of Heartbreak Trail: The Life and Times of Harriet Smith Pullen, Pioneering Woman

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The story of Harriet Smith Pullen's early life, from her childhood journeys by covered wagon to her family's subsistence in sod houses on the Dakota prairie where they survived grasshopper plagues, floods, fires, blizzards, and droughts is a narrative of American migration and adventure that still resonates today. But there is much more to the legendary woman's life, revea ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Two Dot Books
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4.24  · 
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 ·  21 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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Diane S ☔
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
So much history here, learning about her family's beginnings, her father who was a Christian crusader, her mother who was often left alone to raise her children in harsh conditions. Homesteading in the Dakotas, the grasshopper invasion, such fraught times but her father farmed, made brooms, taught school and did whatever was necessary for his family's survival. Heading west we encounter the Klondike gold rush, Harriett's marriage to Daniel and much about the Quileute Indian Nation and dead horse ...more
Veronica
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
In all honesty I was blown away with this book. It is like reading a grown up version of "Little House on the Prairie". The best part is that it is all true and is really an amazing and comprehensive account of a very important part of American history. Namely, the travel to and settlement of the west. It is a riveting story of the author's ancestors including where they came from, why they chose to move west, and the struggles they faced. The center piece or person of the story is an incredible ...more
Nancy Noble
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was exceptionally well researched and written, and I love how the author has a personal connection (her great-grandmother) - a must read for anyone who likes stories about people heading west, strong women, and the pioneer days of Alaska.
Nicole Overmoyer
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
It's hard to find biographies of pioneer women so I requested Eleanor Phillips Brackbill's biography of her great-grandmother, Harriet Smith Pullen, the moment I saw it.

It should be noted that the title is a bit deceiving in that about a third of the book is more a biography of her father and only about a third has anything to do with Heartbreak Trail, the path that led gold miners to the Klondike during the gold rush there.

That being said, it is a fascinating story that Brackbill tells, one b
...more
Nancy
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Eleanor Phillips Brackbill's book The Queen of the Heartbreak Trail is a the story of her great-grandmother Harriet Smith Pullen (1860-1947) who was part of the great migration across America, moving from Wisconsin to North Dakota to Washington, and ending up in Skagway, Alaska.

It was the legend of Harriet Pullen that Brackbill needed to dismantle to find her 'real' great-grandmother. A 1948 radio play, news stories, and books have propagated bits and pieces of her story. Brackbill researched p
...more
Lori Shafer
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Queen of Heartbreak Trail is a genealogists dream. Learning that your ancestor is a legend of the American frontier. Not only does Harriet Smith Pullen become the subject of many historical tales, her father through his diaries literally brings his and her lives in to sharp focus.

As some who has researched her family for years, I can truly envy Pullen's descendants. Brackbill is able to find family photographs of the people and places in Pullen's life.

Often these accounts can be boring or tie
...more
Margaret Sankey
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is very well done family history, reconstructing the life of Harriet Smith Pullen, daughter of peripatetic pioneers (New England, Wisconsin, Dakota, Western Washington--this is a really interesting parallel to the Little House on the Prairie migration pattern) who, left a young widow with four children, seized the opportunity to join the Skagway gold rush to Alaska, eventually running the Pullen House hotel for decades. Brackbill, who is a descendant, uses professional art historian skills ...more
(not your)
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Filled with much historical fact, narrative and supposition, Brackbill’s Queen of the Heartbreak Trail is an educational and entertaining read. From the barges of New England to the mule trains of Alaska, Brackbill takes us on the epic journey of one family’s Western migration. I enjoyed Harriet’s pragmatism and determination, traits that are shown by the writer to have obviously been passed down to following generations. An interesting book recommended for all readers.
Gena DeBardelaben
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
eARC: Netgalley

What an interesting read! If you like history this is for you. Fascinating glimpse into the life of a formidable woman.
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Eleanor Phillips Brackbill is former curator of Education, Neuberger Museum of Art of State University of New York.