We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Woman in the wilderness

letters of Harriet Wood Wheeler, missionary wife, 1832–1892

Nancy Bunge

Publication Year: 2010

Woman in the Wilderness is a collection of letters written between 1832 and 1892 to and by an American woman, Harriet Wood Wheeler.
     Harriet's letters reveal her experiences with actors and institutions that played pivotal roles in the history of American women: the nascent literate female work force at the mills in Lowell, Massachusetts; the Ipswich Female Seminary, which was one of the first schools for women teachers; women's associations, especially in churches; and the close and enduring ties that characterized women's relationships in the late nineteenth century.
     Harriet's letters also provide an intimate view of the relationships between American Indians and Euro-Americans in the Great Lakes region, where she settled with her Christian missionary husband.

Published by: Michigan State University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. i-vi


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. vii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. ix-x

First and foremost, I thank Keith Widder for suggesting this book and for generously sharing the expertise he has developed through decades of working as a historian of the Great Lakes. He graciously offered advice not only as I worked on this manuscript, but from the very beginning....

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. xi-xvi

The basic plot of a story my father told when I was a child went like this: long ago, an ancestor in my family walked from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C., helped the Indians, and then died as a result of his efforts. As I aged, this tale seemed more and more improbable, but...

The Wood/Wheeler Family

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. xvii

read more

1: Preparation for the Journey

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 3-20

Would you be interested to know something of the history of this school the past term? We have had 123 scholars, from the age of 12 to some 35 or 40 years. One minister’s widow, one of the children of the forest, from Mackinaw, Mich. Ter. Her father is an Englishman, her...

read more

2: The Reality of Mission Life

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 21-52

You can hardly imagine how much this poor people suffer in sickness. They have no comfortable houses, no so pillows to recline their aching heads upon and no palatable food. I have felt for some time...

read more

3: Building a Home Alone in the Forest

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 53-90

It has been a long time since we have received a letter from you. Th e last one contained the melancholy intelligence of dear Mariah’s death. I felt very anxious to learn more...

read more

4: Standing with the Ojibwe against Removal and Smallpox

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 91-112

The little ones are in bed. Husband has gone to Bad River, and I have seated myself to commune with you for a few minutes. Do not attribute my long silence to forgetfulness,...

read more

5: Struggling against Sickness

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 113-148

Dear Grandfather, Our family are all well except mother. She has been very sick, but is better now. She walks the house and has been out to ride a few times. We have got another little brother he has got a good deal of long black hair and mother says that I must send some of it to you because it looks so much like yours. There are several houses in...


pdf iconDownload PDF

read more

6: Harriet’s Children

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 149-180

I received your letter a few days since, and as you may well imagine, was very happy to hear from my dear sister. And so you are teaching school at La Pointe; I know you are enjoying yourself very much...

read more

7: Life Without a Mission

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 181-228

W e are pretty settled in a house about a mile from College North on the Janesville road. It is a large two story home 60 feet by 22 with a cellar under the whole of it. And also a barn, good cistern, a work house...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 229-246

Selected Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 247-248


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 249-255

E-ISBN-13: 9781609172039
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870139789

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 774285425
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Woman in the wilderness

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Women pioneers -- Wisconsin -- Biography.
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Wisconsin.
  • Forest (Vernon County, Wis. : Town) -- Ethnic relations -- History -- 19th century.
  • Ojibwa Indians -- Missions -- Wisconsin -- History -- 19th century.
  • Missionaries' spouses -- Wisconsin -- Biography.
  • Wheeler, Harriet Wood, 1816-1894.
  • Wheeler, Harriet Wood, 1816-1894 -- Correspondence.
  • Wheeler, Harriet Wood, 1816-1894 -- Family.
  • Women -- Education -- United States -- Case studies.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access