|Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:51 pm
Joined: 14 May 2010
Location: Scotts Valley
|The Ordeal of Margaret Hecox and its Interpreters
Richard A. Dwyer
Among the many memoirs quoted in his Women and Men on the Overland Trail (1979), John Mack Faragher cites that of Margaret H. Hecox (1816-1908). That narrative of her family’s trek from Illinois to California in 1846 provides him with three telling quotations that help him make such arguments as: “Women assented in their writing to this notion of feminine weakness but saw it generally as something they could overcome,” (91) or again, “Margaret was not welcomed in her discovery,” of gold before Marshall’s find. “The gold awaited discovery by men, for women were not permitted to play that role,” (111) or again, “Denied the chance to participate in the decision to move, essentially because of the patriarchal bias of marital decision making, failing to accept as their own their husband’s reason for undertaking the move, women went not because they wanted to but because social expectations left them no choice.” (171).
Other use can be made, however, of the Hecox and related memoirs, especially to expand on Faragher’s treatment of the interaction between the mainstream overlanders and more marginal groups. Faragher devotes only two summary paragraphs to contact with Native Americans, and none to those with the Mormon pioneers. Faragher also has nothing to say about the pioneers’ interactions with the Hispanic Californios. Research since Faragher published now allows us to explore the part played by those groups in shaping the overland ordeal of such women as Margaret Hecox. Faragher used her memoir in the form published by Richard H. Dillon, then head of the Sutro Library, a branch of the California State Library. He assembled his book, California Caravan: the 1846 Overland Trail Memoir of Margaret M. Hecox (San Jose, 1966) from a manuscript in the Sutro Library. It in turn had been prepared by Bertha M. Rice (b. 1872)1, “the well-known Saratoga conservationist, wild-flower lover, and local historian . . . who intended to use the narrative as a chapter in a book, Pioneer Mothers of California, which she planned circa 1903-04 but which was never published.” (14)
Although Dillon knew of an earlier version of Margaret’s memoirs, he limited his reference to it by the observation that his own edition, “differs a good deal from the Valhasky version.” (14) Dillon was alluding to a two-part article entitled “The Story of Margaret M. Hecox,” which appeared in the Overland Monthly, (May and July, 1892.). It was presented under the pseudonym “Marie Valhasky,” who -- apparently unbeknownst to Dillon -- was actually Margaret’s daughter Catherine Marie, who had also been along on that same overland journey as a child of five. Why she presented her mother’s memoirs through the medium of a fashionable persona is unknown, but it raises the possibility of a shaping point of view in the redaction.
That same wagon train was also memorialized by Margaret’s husband, Adna Andress Hecox (1806-1883), whose diary was published “as it came from the Judge’s pen,” by Wallace W. Elliott in his History of Santa Cruz County, California (San Francisco, 1879).2 And the reminiscences of another traveler on the same trek, Joseph Aram, (1810-1898) were published by his friend and neighbor, Colonel James Tompkins Watson, in the Journal of American History (1907), an account known to both Dillon and Faragher but used by neither. Thus there are four extant views, not counting later editorial interventions, of the same events that give us the opportunity for some possibly fruitful comparison and contrast, or even, in the jargon of the moment, to interrogate their intertextuality.
For a taste of the differences among these versions of their journey, consider the recitation of Margaret’s arrival in California poured out to her daughter Catherine, posing as “Marie Valhasky”,
The summer had slowly passed away and autumn had set in, or what would have been autumn in the Eastern States. The first day of October we encamped in the Sacramento Valley, and found a dry, dusty, barren, and unlovely place. I cannot describe my disappointment. It was a bad season to arrive in California. I said to myself, ‘This is what we have traveled all this distance to find.’ I looked about a while, then crawled into the wagon and cried until I could cry no more.
and the contrasting version given in her interview with Bertha M. Rice, seeker of the strength of pioneer mothers:
It was on the first day of October, 1846, that our eyes rested on the Sacramento Valley. It was four o’clock in the afternoon when our train halted on an elevation, while our wondering eyes looked down upon the new land, our future home. We were silent a moment in thanksgiving. Then from the throats of those weary emigrants burst forth a loud and long ‘hooray’ which echoed through the hills. We dropped on our knees and gave thanks to God, who had watched over us and brought us safely through the perils and privations of the long journey.
Which was it, private weeping or collective hosanna? Or both? It seems to depend on the audience, and perhaps on the spouse. Here is Margaret’s husband Adna’s brief but telling comment, the first to be published, on the same event:
We now felt that the backbone of our journey was broken, and that in a few days we should rest from our labor on the beautiful plains and in the healthy valleys of California. On the first day of October, 1846, at about 4 o’clock p.m., the long-sought haven appeared in view, and at sundown of that day we encamped in the lovely valley of the Sacramento.
In their respective roles, as Faragher fully revealed, the women curl up and cry while men break backbones for beauty. Perhaps a glance at her husband’s version also later reminded Margaret of the time of day. Joseph Aram’s account, the last to appear in print, is even more conventionally masculine and unsentimental:
Just before getting into the plains we discovered some hogs, which to us looked more like civilization than anything we had seen for five months past. We arrived at that point on the first day of October. After resting two days we proceeded to Sutter’s Fort.
Going back to the beginning, the openings of the two versions of Margaret’s narrative could also not contrast more strongly:
You have asked me, my daughter, to tell you of how I felt in making the terrible trip across the Plains, in a day when California was an unknown country. To do that, and to make you understand my own peculiar hardships, I must tell you of the early days of my life, of the beautiful country from which I came, and of the dear home I was obliged to leave forever.
Quite different is the abrupt plunge into the narrative that we find in Bertha Rice’s version as edited by Richard H. Dillon:3
Going with us was Joseph Aram, wife and three children and Mr. Aram’s nephew, Edwin Shaw, a very fine young man. Then there was Charles Imus and son and John and James Taggart. It was a very small train.
In the first account Margaret devotes seven columns to reminiscence about her previous, happier life in Pennsylvania, including such observations as, “The birds sang with more liquid notes than they ever do in California.” (536) It all leads up to this traumatic moment:
My husband had been in very bad health for some time, and I was so worried I could scarcely sleep; but that night I fell into a deep sleep as soon as I touched the bed, and dreamed that Mr. Hecox came in from the field, and, finding me sitting on the porch, he put his hand on my shoulder, and said, ‘Margaret, let’s sell out and go to California.’
At first I was too miserable to speak. Then I said, ‘Oh! Adna. You
promised to take me to visit my mother. If we go to California, I
shall never see her again.’
Father—(I have called my husband ‘father’ ever since the children
begun to grow up, and I do not seem to be able to call him anything
else)—father looked distressed, and said, ‘If I stay here I shall soon
die, and you and the children will be left alone.’
I sobbed out, ‘Well, Adna, if we must go, then we must.’
Not surprisingly, real events turn out much as Margaret had dreamed. Faragher might well regret not having available that melodramatic exchange of threats and its Freudian overtones. Father Adna’s own account, however, offers a more sensitive self-conception, up to a point:
Those among the company who were old enough to realize the important step they were taking, were saddened by the thought of leaving home, parents, brothers and sisters, the friends of their youth, and the land of their birth. The two thousand miles of untrodden wilderness, the chances of starvation, of Indian captivity and torture, would sometimes loom up darkly before them, but sadness and fearful forebodings vanish when brave men, yes, and brave women, set their hearts to accomplish any great end; they steel their hearts to endure any hardship until the haven is gained.
In the narrative elicited by Bertha Rice, there is nothing comparable to the following confession in the daughter’s version, which, I believe, fits comfortably with the Faragher’s principal argument:
I am ashamed to say I was not one of those brave, spirited women who rise above all trials, and sit smiling in upper air. I was afraid of everything, and hated the discomforts of the way we traveled; but finding there was nothing to do but bear my lot, I determined to do my best, and not let father know how unhappy I was. So I tried to seem cheerful, and I don’t think he ever realized what a hard time I had. The worst thing was the sickness of my baby. He was sick all the way across the Plains, and I was sure I would be obliged to leave his little body buried in some place where the wild animals would dig it up. How close I held that little fellow to my heart all the way, only a mother can understand.
I do not feel to complain at this late day, but I am sure the men never
realized what a hard time the women had. Of course the men had to work hard too, but after they were done they sat around the campfire, and smoked and told stories; while we women went on tending the children, mending the clothes, and preparing the food for the next day, until we tumbled into our uncomfortable beds. . . .
It seems to me that nothing like as much has been written about the women who crossed the Plains in early days as about the men. I suppose the reason is that those women were not the kind who wrote books, or even talked much about themselves. They were generally too worn out to complain, but if any one of them could tell all she felt it would make a large volume.
The role of telling those pioneer women’s stories, and others, was gladly taken up by Margaret’s daughter Catherine Marie Hecox (1842-1934). She not only elicited her mother’s memoir but may have had a hand in editing her father Adna’s too. Even though W. W. Elliott says he published the Judge’s story verbatim, someone must have corrected the spelling. The diary of Adna’s equally uneducated brother, James Hecox, narrating his own overland journey in 1849-50 has come to light.4 It was apparently transcribed and typed by his niece Catherine Hecox. But its spelling is beyond bizarre, whereas that in Adna’s published version is conventional. Thus Catherine may have contributed a progressive slant to her mother’s story, cleaned up the spelling of her father’s, and accentuated the idiosyncrasies of her uncle’s.5 She herself seems worth further study. As the wife of William Tilden, she was the mother of the Berkeley sculptor Douglas Tilden, and later, she was the wife of Albert Brown who organized a company of the 2nd California Cavalry during the Civil War. Her own memoirs would be interesting, if extant. In any case, her presence can be felt in the stories of others.
But back to our texts and what they have of interest to say about encounters with Mormons, Indians, and Latinos. John Mack Faragher says nothing about the Mormons as such or the overlanders’ traffic with them. And Margaret Hamer’s two accounts of her own experiences differ significantly. Here is how she sketched her reactions in the earlier version told to her daughter:
It was while making our way to St. Joseph that we met hundreds of Mormons, who had recently been driven out of Nauvoo. I got acquainted with a Mormon woman, and asked her many questions. I found her just like other women. She had two children; one of them was sick, and we talked over things just as if she had been one of my own people.
She told me that Brigham Young was a great and good man, even more than a man, because he had his instructions directly from God, -- that he was going to found a Kingdom for the Saints where all would be good and happy. I liked her very much, and from what she told me I was not so afraid of having trouble with the Mormons as the men were.
They thought we might have to fight our way through, but we had no trouble whatever. In fact, when we arrived at the place where they were supposed to be camped in great numbers, we found they were all gone. We heard that an angel had appeared to Brigham Young and told him to leave Missouri. After that they intended to go to California, but, finding so many going there, concluded to settle in Salt Lake.
In the Rice/Dillon version, Margaret’s new-found Mormon confidante completely disappears, and we are left with indirect signs, rumor, and distasteful reaction.
We had only been out a few days when we struck the Mormon trail. These people left the roads in terrible condition. It was only with great difficulty that our teams could move over the deep ruts made. And from all appearances we judged that the ‘Saints’ had been having a pretty hard time of it themselves. We soon came to one of their camps which bore traces of recent occupation. The grass had not yet started sufficiently to afford feed for their teams. Young trees had been cut down for the stock to browse on; while the bark from trees left standing had been gnawed off as high as their horses could reach. It was evident that they had remained here as long as anything could be found which would afford subsistence for their stock. Our own train traveled more slowly now, for we did not wish to overtake them
All along the way were dead animals that had dropped behind from starvation and exhaustion. They generally selected creek bottoms for their camps . . . [gap] we had another difficulty which followed in the wake of the Mormons. So great was the prejudice against them among the settlers whose homes we passed, that they, thinking our company were of the same class, refused to sell us food for our teams, or any article that we desired to purchase. We indignantly denied being Mormons. They answered: “Yes, that’s what they all say, but we’ve no time for the likes of you.” When we showed them that we had money to pay for what we wanted, they were usually won over. The Mormons had no money, they told us, but had offered to work for what they got. Many had seemed to be in a half-starved condition. While the great company traveled with mounted cannon and were bravely prepared with all sorts for firearms, they had neglected to supply themselves with the necessities of life. Starvation, the worst foe of man, against which their implements were powerless, now stared them in the face. The settlers had not a particle of sympathy to waste on their pitiable condition. But be it said to the credit of these poor people that they really were not as black as they were painted. I never heard along the way of their having committed any depredations, or wronging the settlers in any way.
In a day or two we came upon them and were astonished at the sight which greeted us. Great numbers of miserably poor cattle and horses were straying over the big prairie, trying to find a little grass or
something to browse upon. Wagons and tents were scattered
everywhere. Such a picture of abject poverty as we witnessed that
day I trust never again will be seen. It was an extremely pitiful sight.
Their wretched animals were not able to draw their heavy loads. . . .
When oxen had fallen by the wayside, milch cows had been sub-
stituted. That was not so bad, but this is an actual fact, some
trundled wheelbarrows before them, containing all their worldly
possessions. Indeed it was this particular division of the Mormons
which has since been known as the “Wheel-barrow Brigade.”
What struck me most forcibly was the number of little tow-headed
“Saints” running about, shivering in the frosty air. Mormonism
was evidently on the increase. It was quite apparent that many
years must elapse ere the race would be extinct.
Quite apart from confusing the handcart companies of 1856 with the scene at Winter Quarters a decade earlier, Margaret Hamer’s second version of her overland experience is distinguished from her first by emotional judgments and lack of personal engagement. The version given by her husband Adna is more brusque and decorated with its own gossip:
Here our road became blocked with Mormons, who had left Nauvoo with Brigham Young at their head, to form a Kingdom of Saints in the far west. After taking a glance at the situation, we discovered that our only chance of progress was to take the more southerly route to Independence, or lay by until the Mormons should get out of our way. We adopted the latter plan, and while laying here were joined by seven wagons, with four families, two of whom were bound for Oregon and two for California. We now formed one line with a determination, ox-whip in hand, to break through the ranks of the Saints at all hazards. But to our surprise, when we arrived at the great camp of the Saints there were no Mormons there. We now learned that the ghost of Governor Boggs had appeared to Brigham Young in the dark watches of the night, when heavy sleep had fallen upon all the Saints, and had ordered him to leave the state of Missouri. Brigham, unwilling to meet the ghosts of living men, had retreated back into Iowa, and had fortified himself in the wilderness on the head waters of the Platte river.
The “dark watches of the night” is a nice flourish, but it is the ignorance of geography, among other things, that baffles us. In his edition, Col. James T. Watson summarizes the early part of Joseph Aram’s reminiscences with an account that seems to have been drawn straight from Margaret Hecox’s first version.
In traveling in their [the Mormons] wake they found it unpleasant as the inhabitants looked upon them as Mormons and would decline selling them such articles as they needed for their teams. On denying being Mormons, “Oh, you all say so,” was the reply . . .etc.
Turning now to the encounters of Margaret and her fellow travelers with another marginal group, the Native Americans, we should recall Faragher’s brief general observations about them:
Indians presented few real problems for the emigrants; the toll was great in incessant worry and anxiety, but even this was partially overcome by the exotic and colorful presence they lent to the experience of the emigrants who encountered them. The majority of emigrants, in fact, saw very few Indians along the route. In the 1840s and early fifties the ones they did encounter were a trial but not a serious danger, demanding tribute in sugar, coffee, or whiskey in exchange for free passage through Indian territory, or simply begging. Through the forties and early fifties there were no war parties directed at emigrants, although occasionally a group of braves might steal stock, a kind of plundering that resulted in few killings on both sides.
This judicious assessment accords well with the events recorded by the Hecox party. It is, however, the variety of their responses to the same incidents that make comparison worth while. Margaret’s general attitude may be glimpsed in a passage that echoes her later view of the Mormons with its trust in Darwinian final solutions.
That evening, several young braves and good-looking Indian maidens came to our camp and danced and sang for us. They were graceful in movement and, dressed up in their best toggery, were pleasing to look upon. There was a degree of refinement in their actions which we had not expected to find among “just Indians,” but we found that they were “just Indians,” after all, and nothing more, though in many ways more civilized than others. I doubt if the savage instinct can ever be eradicated from the wild man’s breast. I think not, until the race is extinct.
Of the many specific episodes involving Indians, I have chosen just two; the first, not for the clear contrasts it provides, but for the subtle shifts in emphasis among the accounts by Margaret and her husband. And it is not the sort of incident that lends itself to nuance.
At Fort Laramie we found the Sioux who had fought the Pawnees, and they had three poor little Pawnee girls they had taken captive in the recent battle. These little girls had been given to a hideous woman, painted black, the widow of a noted brave who had been killed in the engagement; and she intended to torture, scalp, and then kill these children, to be revenged for the death of her husband.
The night I heard about this I was so angry with father for bringing our
children way out to this miserable place, that I could scarcely speak to him. I just thought he might have stayed in Illinois and died. Of course, I repented of that.
In Bertha Rice’s version, Margaret’s anger is traded for pity and rationalization:
or attempt their rescue. It would have meant the loss of our own scalps. (Rice 34)
The next day the whole tribe of Sioux performed a wild war dance around three defenseless Pawnee papooses that had recently been captured and presented to a young squaw, the widow of one of their chief warriors who had been killed in the late encounter with the Pawnees. We were told that in order to avenge her warrior’s death and assuage her grief, she meant to torture the Pawnee children for a few days and would knock them in the head and secure their scalps as a token of her revenge. I caught sight of the poor shivering little papooses. How I pitied them! From the bottom of my heart I pitied them! No one dared interfere
Father Adna’s version, though briefer, seems to have supplied Margaret’s later account with a line about the children’s fate:
On reaching Fort Laramie a few days later, we found the Sioux, both men and women, performing a war dance around three Pawnee children, all girls, taken prisoners in the late fight. These children had been presented to the widow of an Indian who had been killed in the fight with the Pawnees. This young widow was painted black in token of her determined revenge. After dancing around and tormenting the children for a few days, she was going to knock them on the head and tear off their scalps as a revenge for the loss of her husband.
Joseph Aram’s recollection is the briefest, and strangest, given the impression the incident had made on the Hecox family.
As soon as over the stream we were in the vicinity of Fort Laramie, where we found a large body of Sioux Indians in camp. They seemed very friendly and were the best behaved Indians that we found on the entire journey.
In the second of my selected incidents concerning Native Americans, Margaret’s first version leads her into another lament about the fate of her gender:
We stayed several days at Big Meadows. It was a pretty place, and everybody needed rest. The cattle were tired out. It was there that the Humboldt Indians stole five of our oxen. This was a great loss, and
the men started out to recover them. We women were always unhappy
when the men had to leave the camp to be gone any time. I watched father start off with twelve other men. I wonder now that I did not remember then that thirteen was an unlucky number. But there was no need of superstition to add to my uneasiness. At first I stood wondering if I could possibly live until he came back; then I determined to work so hard while he was gone that I would have no time to think. I picked up every soiled thing about the place, and washed everything as carefully as if I had been at home. The clothes soon dried, and I mended and ironed them, all the time watching the children, but do what I would, the time dragged terribly. Try as I would, I could not shut out the picture of father being scalped by Indians. It is so much easier to live a man’s life than a woman’s. I was sorry my children were nearly all girls. At last the men came home unharmed but without the oxen.
I think our men were much to blame for selling firearms to the Indians,
and teaching them how to use them. I told father so at the time, and he
said they had already learned their use; but one thing I am certain of
is, that I saw our men teach Indians how to shoot. I especially remember father’s teaching the Indian from whom he got the pony how to use the gun he gave in exchange. It is true that they did us little harm, but those who came after us suffered from our thoughtlessness.
When retold to Bertha Rice, this episode gets a change of focus. The white men get a break and the Indians take the heat:
I meant to speak of the Indians near Mary’s River, afterwards called the Humboldt. They were of a very low order of humanity, wretchedly poor and degraded, frequently coming to our camp in a perfectly nude state. Sometimes they brought dried crickets which they tried to trade for food. One night they killed five of our oxen and sunk the meat in a slough to hide it. Our men followed them to their lodges to teach them a lesson; which, I am sure, was to no avail. They continued to plunder from passing emigrants, but thieving was the worst of their proclivities.
Possibly to her credit, Margaret’s later version was influenced by her husband’s more specific account, which goes as follows:
While remaining at the Big Meadows a few days to recruit our cattle before crossing the desert, the Humboldt Indians made a raid on our stock and ran off five of our best oxen. As soon as our loss was
discovered thirteen of our men started in pursuit. After following
the trail about five miles we found where the cattle had been butchered,
but not a particle of meat could be found. We afterwards learned
that the meat had been sunk to the bottom of a slough near at hand.
Enraged at the loss of the cattle, we maneuvered some three hours to
revenge ourselves on these thieves, but they were too cunning to be
caught within range of our rifles, and we were forced to give up the
chase and return to camp.
Joseph Aram adds a final unpleasant detail:
The last night that we remained in that camp the Indians stole five of our oxen which was a great loss to us at that time. We pursued the trail where they had been driven until we found where the oxen had been killed. As we approached the Indian village the inhabitants fled and hid in the tules. To get even with them we set fire to their houses and returned to camp.
It hardly needs to be observed that while the Sioux had revenged intertribal killing, the Whites revenged rather the loss of property, but it might also be noted that their surviving accounts range over a variety of justifications and emotions, from sympathetic pity to indignant rage.
Finally, I want to include a passage concerning the Lutheran Margaret’s reactions to the Catholic Californios once her party reached Santa Clara.
At this time we women were terribly frightened by stories of the fierceness of the Spaniards and Indians, with whom the Americans were either actually at war, or expecting to be at any moment. We were then in a state of siege; the men were armed, and obliged to take turns in standing guard. Several nights father was too sick to raise his head from his pillow, and I walked about all night with his overcoat on and a gun in my hands. I suppose, being so small, I was not a very formidable looking soldier, but I felt like fighting, and should have done my best if there had been any necessity for it.
We also heard at this time that the priest had granted absolution to all who injured, or even killed us, and that we might therefore expect no mercy at the hands of those who were disposed to ill-treat us. I afterwards felt sure that this was not true, for although the men refused to trade with us, yet the women were always kind. . . .
One Spanish woman I particularly remember with the deepest gratitude.
She came to me secretly with the skirt of her dress gathered up full of loaves of bread. That bread, I verily believe, saved the lives of my sick children. Many of the Spanish women I knew in early days I still love like sisters. To them I sold the treasures I could not throw away on the Plains. The very last things to go were my wedding veil and the lace from my best underclothes.
This Latina confidante, like her earlier Mormon compeer, also disappears from the later version of Margaret’s memoirs and may have been seen by Bertha Rice as an item on the agenda of Catherine Hecox Tilden Brown. Rice closes her manuscript with a tribute to Catherine’s son, Douglas Tilden, that includes this comment on his grandmother, Margaret: “Mrs. Hecox was one of the noblest women that ever breathed under the glorious skies of California. Her many deeds of kindness have been recounted not only in her home circle, but also by the rich and poor, the strong and the weak, regardless of race.” 
But it is time to conclude by taking a broader view. It is evident that much of the content, variety, and evaluation of incident on this overland trek begins in the eyes of the beholders, is shaped by the roles and attitudes available to their respective genders and education, and is aimed at particular audiences. There are indications too that their impressions changed over time, whether deepened by reflection or dulled by age. Adding to those sources of discrepancy, the role of the intervening transcribers and editors further complicates the resulting narratives. The notion that the historian of even so restricted a set of incidents as this might easily find an objective truth to tell seems naïve. And yet John Mack Faragher seems to be far more astute a reader of the version he used of Margaret Hecox’s tale than, say, the politically correct take to be found in such officially-approved texts as: California women : activities guide, kindergarten through grade twelve, prepared under the direction of PROJECT SEE (Sex Equity in Education), California State Department of Education, which finds views like Margaret Hecox’s a convenient expression of the lamentable racism of earlier, less enlightened times. Having both her versions, as well as other accounts of the answerable episodes, we may be in a position to agree rather with the poet Wallace Stevens that, “Twenty men crossing a bridge, Into a village, Are twenty men crossing twenty bridges, Into twenty villages,”6 and that not all of them would burn it, or find some merit in having done so.
1 Her works include: The Women of Our Valley. [San Jose? Calif.] c1955-56. 2 v.
2 A similar version of his memoir is in the San Jose Pioneer of April 7, 1878.
3 He had offered his own factual summary of the whole memoir in his Introduction.
4 At URL <home>.
5 Here are some of the choicer conflicts between vocabulary and spelling in James Hecox's diary: antilope, a fare reppisentation, consiqunce, enteligence, encessant, prnsably, Christmiss, indaviduals, purpice, lusurating, sivelly, unmagenable, inhabitence, conspickuous, etc.
6 "Metaphors of a Magnifico," Collected Poems (1955), p.19.
Aram, Capt. Joseph. “Reminiscences. . .” Journal of American History 1 (1907): 617-32.
“Biographical Sketch of Adna A. Hecox.” In Santa Cruz California, California. Illustrations . . . with Historical Sketch of the County. San Francisco: Wallace W. Elliott, 1879, pp. 15-22. Reprinted by The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 1997.
California Caravan: The Overland Trail Memoir of Margaret M. Hecox. Edited with an Introduction by Richard H. Dillon. San Jose, 1966.
Faragher, John Mack. Women and Men on the Overland Trail. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.
McLean, Marie. California women: activities guide, kindergarten through grade twelve, prepared under the direction of PROJECT SEE (Sex Equity in Education), California State Department of Education; Bill Honig, Superintendent of Public Instruction. (Sacramento, CA : California State Dept. of Education, 1988)
Valhasky, Marie [pseudonym of Catherine Marie Hecox Tilden Brown]. “The Story of Margaret M. Hecox”. Overland Monthly (May, pp.535-47 and July, pp. 98-102, 1892.)
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