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Collection 1396 - Martha Roe Diary, May 4, 1864-September 8, 1864

Creator: Loughridge, Martha A. (Martha Ann), 1843-1920

Provenance Note: Original diary kept by Martha Roe while travelling from Iowa to Montana Territory was donated to Special Collections by the Museum of the Rockies on February 21, 1984. The diary was given to the Museum of the Rockies by Dr. Lester W. Burket and his wife, Mrs. Grace Burket, of Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Historical Note: Martha Ann Freeman Roe was born in Orange County, Ohio on July 3, 1843. She moved with her family to Iowa where she attended Grinnell University in the early 1860s. She married Isaac Roe on April 16, 1864, and the couple joined an immigrant train the next month bound for the gold fields of Montana. Issac became a banker and died in 1873. Martha remarried in 1880 to Thomas Loughridge and had four children, eventually settling in Bozeman, Montana where she died on May 11, 1920.

Content Description Note: The diary traces Roe's journey from Grinnell Iowa on May 4 to Council Bluffs and the Platte River road. Roe arrived at Fort Laramie on July 2, Platte Bridge Station on July 12, and Independence Rock on July 25, 1864. The train Roe traveled with continued on through South Pass, taking the Lander Cutoff to Snake River and then on to Bannack, Montana (which she called "Bannock, Idaho Territory.") The diary records routine daily activities and sketchy descriptions of fellow travelers. There is some description of encounters with plains Indians. A published version of this diary was produced in 1982 by Grace and Lester W. Burket under the title Diary of Martha Roe, May 4, 1864 to September 8, 1864, Grinnell, Iowa to Bannock, Montana. The diary was also described in Merrill J. Mattes, Platte River Road Narratives (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 585.

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Updated: 3/13/09