Phoebe Judson was a young bride in 1853 when she and her husband crossed the plains from Ohio to the Puget Sound area of Washington Territory. She was ninety-five when this book was first published in 1925. The years between were spent in “a pioneer’s search for an ideal home” and in living there, when it was finally found at the head of the Nooksack River, almost on the Canadian border.
Phoebe Judson’s account of the journey west is based on daily diary entries detailing her fear, excitement, and exhaustion. At the end of the trail, the Judsons encountered hardships aplenty, causing them to abandon a farm and business in Olympia before their arrival in the Nooksack Valley. During the Indian Wars they holed up in a fort at Claquato. In time, Phoebe overcame her fear of the Indians, learned the Chinook language, and won their friendship. All this is told in vivid detail by a woman of great dignity and charm whom readers will long remember. Susan Armitage, professor of history at Washington State University, calls A Pioneer’s Search for an Ideal Home a “classic pioneering account,” important for its woman’s point of view.