Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

"We discussed other parts of the story. Suddenly I felt brave, and answered all his questions. Really I don't know a lot, but it was wonderful to be asked my opinion by someone ready to listen."
—Libby West[4]

Libby West (April 17, 1854 – 1918) was the daughter of Sterling and Julia, and the elder sister of Joe West. Her family lived in Denver which was located in the Colorado Territory. In 1868, her father started a newspaper with his partner, Pete, to document the joining of the continental railroad. Libby's mother insisted that the whole family go together.


Early life[]

Libby was born on April 17, 1854[1] to her parents, Julia and Sterling. In 1859, when Libby was five, her family lived in New York City where her father was a journalist for the New York Tribune. They moved to the Colorado Territory and ultimately settled in Denver when her father did not strike it rich. Libby's brother Joe was born in 1861, right around the time their father left to fight in the Civil War. He returned after the war and the family continued to live in Denver.

Transcontinental railroad[]

In May 1868, Sterling decided to start his own newspaper with his old war buddy, Pete, to document the building of the transcontinental railroad. Julia decided that the family would stay together. They first headed to Cheyenne, before moving on to Laramie. There Libby befriended another young girl Ellie Rowe, whom coincidentally also lived in Denver. Sterling and Pete went ahead a little further. During this time, Julia fell ill and Mrs. Rowe looked after Libby and Joe. The two families became close friends and traveled together from then on.

During the journey, Joe regularly got into trouble though usually unintentionally. Libby and her parents had a hard time keeping watch over him, leading him to be appointed a water boy to keep him busy. Meanwhile, Libby learned that Pete was only four years older than her. Though she had never liked him before, she began seeing him in a different light which eventually turned into romantic feelings. In October, Sterling's old wound from the war began bothering him again. Libby helped out with the newspaper, before Julia ultimately decided to head to Salt Lake City where her brother Henry Spoon lived.

Libby's family stayed in Salt Lake City for three months while her father recovered. Before leaving in late January 1869, Sterling sold the printing press but decided to still cover the transcontinental railroad for the Rocky Mountain News back in Denver. The Wests moved on to Ogden, where they stayed at Mrs. Buffington's boardinghouse. They were there for a month, before the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads finally decided to meet at Promontory Summit. Libby's family promptly headed there and after some delays they witnessed the historic event on May 10.

Later life[]

Days after her seventeenth birthday, Libby and Pete were married. They had two sons, one whom died in infancy, and four daughters. Libby became a writer and authored four books of poetry and a novella about a young girl living in a Colorado mining town. Shortly after celebrating their forty-seventh anniversary, Libby and Pete died a day apart of the Spanish flu in 1918. Libby's granddaughter became a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and wrote about the moon landing in 1969.

Personality and traits[]

Being an elder sibling, Libby was naturally responsible and always looked out for her brother. Joe thought of her as "bossy," when she scolded him for getting into mischief. Though she loved her brother, she often wished that she had a sister. Libby tried her best to be ladylike, taking lessons in etiquette from a neighbor in Denver. She was concerned about not getting sunburnt and always wore her bonnet, despite its restrictions. Libby had a problem with saying whatever thoughts came to her mind, resulting in her parents giving her a journal. She also enjoyed reading.

Family tree[]

The West Family Tree
Sterling West
(d. 1887)
Julia West
(d. 1887)
Henry Spoon
Clara Spoon
Libby West
Joe West
(b. 1861)
Jimmy Spoon
Nine daughters
Thomas Spoon
(b. 1857)
Two sons
Four daughters
Two sons
Little Bear Spoon

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?