“Everything they ate, wore and used came from the land.” from “The Promise” Chapter 13

“That night, Mary’s family gathered in the barn, sitting around the wooden table Mary’s father had crafted out of pine trees cleared from the land. Everything they ate, wore and used came from the land. Mary’s mother had cooked a fish that Turner had pulled from the stream. It was a strange fish with reddish flesh that Mary had never seen before. Mary’s mother said Miss Dorthea called it, “salmon.”

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Promise med

Watch a reading of Chapter 1 by co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson

Watch a school presentation on The Promise and Slavery

On the Trail: National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, OR

America is full of history and the Oregon Trail is one large part of that history. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be highlighting a site, park or visitor center dedicated to helping us learn more about the Oregon Trail.


National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center offers living history demonstrations, interpretive programs, exhibits, multi-media presentations, special events, and more than four miles of interpretive trails.

They offer a variety of interpretive programs year-round—please visit their Events page to view the calendar of programs of or see what special exhibits are in the Flagstaff Gallery.

From the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center web site…

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a Department of the Interior agency. The BLM is assisted by the Trail Tenders, Inc., a local non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. You can view our brochure here (PDF).

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center tells the story of the emigrant experience through exhibits, programs, films and special events. The Center focuses on six themes related to westward migration and settlement.

  • Pioneer Life on the Oregon Trail
  • Mountain Men and early Trail Travelers
  • Native Americans along the Oregon Trail
  • Natural History along the Trail and in Eastern Oregon
  • Mining and Early Settlement
  • History of the General Land Office – Grazing Service – Bureau of Land Management

Mission Statement

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Flagstaff Hill portrays and interprets the Oregon Trail experience and its related themes, while preserving and protecting its historic, cultural heritage, natural, and visual features. The Center serves as a focal point for the cultural heritage traveler, contributes a viable tourism industry for the area, and is committed to maintaining strong community partnerships.

Education Resource Guides for Teachers | Lesson Plans

If you would like information on fees, please click here, and for groups visits, click here. A digital brochure is available here

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located five miles east of Baker City, Oregon, on Highway 86. Take Exit 302 from Interstate 84: 125 miles northwest of Boise, 95 miles southeast of Pendleton. For directions, click here.

NHOTIC map1


Contact Information

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

22267 Oregon Hwy 86 • PO Box 987 • Baker City, OR • 541-523-1843 • BLM_OR_NH_Mail@blm.gov

Download and Read the Chapter 1 of “The Promise”

Download and Read the Chapter 1 of The Promise

** You don’t need a Kindle device to read, though. You can use your computer, your smartphone, your tablet or even just your web browser.

The Promse Cover

You can download and read free sampler from The Promise via Amazon.com. Click to visit The Promise on Amazon and look for this in the sidebar.

Download and Read the first chapter of The Promise

More info on Kindle samples

Kindle sample how to

Visit The Promise on Amazon.com to download your free chapter today!

Announcement: The Promise Book 2: New Beginnings is coming soon!

Announcement: The Promise Book 2: New Beginnings is coming soon!

The Promise: New Beginnings

Book Two in The Promise series finds 10 year old Mary and the rest of the Holmes family — former slaves who earned their freedom traversing the treacherous Oregon Trail — adapting to life as settlers in the wilds of the Oregon Territory in 1855.

Tending farm alongside the McPhedren’s, a Quaker couple they befriended on their journey to the Pacific Northwest, and joined by her best friend, 15 year old runaway slave, Buddy, Mary and her family find themselves caught up in the growing tensions between the Native Americans and the newly arrived settlers. With the help of the army, the other settlers fight to force the tribes who have lived and farmed the land for centuries onto reservations, which painfully reminds Mary of her former life as a slave.

Their promising new beginning as free blacks in the Pacific Northwest is threatened as Mary and her family must survive crop failure, smallpox, and the possibility of war with the Native Americans, all of which tests friendships old and new.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – Adapting a True Story

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

In doing an adaptation, we always make sure the research is most important. The story is important. Sometimes we change things when you adapt it to make it work, so one of the things in The Promise that we changed was the part of the slave being able to read and write, actually came from my great, great, grandfather who coud read and write. He was a slave on the Comer plantation in Alabama which was owned by Governor Comer. And he was able to read and write and because he grew up with the master’s son. And that allowed him, and his family after that, to be able to do a little better in life because they were able to read and write.

So, e put that in the story in our adaptation. The other thing was a Quaker family. I knew a Quaker family growing up and I realized there were a lot of Quakers that traveled on the trail and their influence made people more accepting on the trail. That was also something that we pulled from my life to put into the story.

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“Everyone eating off the same plate.” from “The Promise” Chapter 9

“Later that night, Mary and her mother served the Holmes’ their evening meal, beans soaked in molasses and water with sliced potato. Mary’s mother dished it into small metal bowls from the slave quarters because all of Miss Dorthea’s fine china had broken . Things were different now, out on the trail, heading towards freedom. Maybe that is what freedom promised, Mary thought, everyone eating off the same plate.

Download a sample and buy The Promise today!

Promise med

Watch a reading of Chapter 1 by co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson

Watch a school presentation on The Promise and Slavery

Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Quakers

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: So you brought together lots of different types of people with lots of different believes and lots of different religions and one of the things that this family met along the way — they met Quakers. Quakers on the trip believed that everyone should be treated equally. so, one of the things our family find on the trail is that – some people got to ride in the wagons, but all of the children had to walk, for the most part.

Welch: Oh yes, walking from Missouri to Oregon. You start now. Let’s see how far we all get.

Comer Jefferson: …and then the women had to, too, sometimes. So, it was a different experience for our family because they were used to only the slaves having to do the difficult things.

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“Mary could not imagine her family ever separated…” from “The Promise” Chapter 8

“Mary could not imagine her family ever separated. Although they were slaves, they had been lucky. Master Holmes had kept them together. Kept them a family. “If it’s thy Lord’s will, thee will be together again some day.” Mr. McPhedren said. Mary wondered why God would allow people who loved each other to be separated. Maybe it wasn’t God who decided. Miss Dorthea always said, “God meant for White men to match and bred slaves.” Mary didn’t believe that. The more she learned, the more she began to think the things Miss Dorthea said might not be true.

Download a sample and buy The Promise today!

Promise med

Watch a reading of Chapter 1 by co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson

Watch a school presentation on The Promise and Slavery

Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Oregon Trail: What would you bring?

Promise what bring

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: When you went on the trail, you were usually in a carriage or a wagon which was pulled by oxen and often you had all your belongings that you could bring. Oftentimes, people packed too many things and then they had to throw them out of there wagons along the way. the whole trail was littered with people’s things — with piano, with your china, with all these things you thought you would need in the new world, but didn’t.

Welch: Did any of you ever go to the Autry Museum in Griffith Park? With your parents? There is a whole room of stuff people left behind on the trail. Really fascinating the things they thought they could carry. You get halfway there and suddenly you figure out that if the oxen die along the way, I have to pull the wagon by myself. So, I think I’ll throw away all these things I thought I needed because I want the oxen to make it through the other side. Very scary moment there. Definitely. We have that in the book which is what we were interested in.

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“Camping on the trail” from The Promise Chapter 8

“As the wagons stopped for the day, Mary gathered buffalo chips in her apron to build a fire for her mother to cook the evening meal . She wished she were a boy like Turner. He got to help their father feed the horses and look after the cows. Mary would much rather do that.

Download a sample and buy The Promise today!

 

Watch a reading of Chapter 1 by co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson

Watch a school presentation on The Promise and Slavery