Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki

Hattie featured on the cover of the second edition

All of the characters that appear in Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie. Some of the characters appear in the stage play.

Main characters[]

Hattie Campbell[]

Main article: Hattie Campbell

Hattie Campbell (born January 15, 1834)[1] was the daughter of Augusta and Charles Campbell. She became their eldest child following the deaths of her sisters during the summer of 1846. Hattie was primarily in charge of watching her younger brothers, Ben and Jake. The following year, Hattie's family traveled the Oregon Trail for six months to settle out west in Oregon City. Along the way, she became close friends with Pepper Lewis and her brother Wade. Hattie developed a romantic interest in Wade after watching Pepper marry Gideon. She was also friends with Sarah and Mr. Bigg and the Anderson family.

Supporting characters[]

Augusta and Charles Campbell[]

Augusta ("Ma") and Charles Campbell ("Pa")[2] were the parents of Hattie, Jake, and Ben. During the summer of 1846, they lost four of their daughters to swamp fever. In February 1847, Charles decided to move the family out west in search of new opportunities. Augusta was against it at first, but eventually went along with it. She was thankful when her younger sister, June, decided to make the trip with them. Midway through the trip, Charles expressed his dream to settle in Oregon near the ocean. Augusta stood by his dreams, despite her own concerns. They were able to settle in Oregon City, where Charles built a home for the family.

June Valentine[]

June Valentine[3] was the wife of Tim and the younger sister of Augusta Campbell. She was a kind, generous woman with a lively sense of humor. June had a similar personality to her niece, Hattie, whom she gave a journal for her birthday. In 1847, she and her husband decided to follow her sister's family to Oregon. June became sick early on during the journey and later learned that it was because she was pregnant. She gave birth to a daughter, River Ann, during the middle of a river crossing near the end of the journey. In Oregon, June and her husband settled near her sister. They later had three sons, Henry, Tom, and Adam.

Mrs. Kenker[]

Mrs. Kenker (died 1849)[4] was the wife of Mr. Kenker. She and her husband were neighbors of the Biggs' in Elmcreek. A few days before setting out west, the Kenkers' home caught fire. They lost everything, including their two sons. On the Oregon Trail, Mrs. Kenker began compulsively stealing things from other people. Her husband died after stepping off of a cliff, which devastated her. All the things she had stolen were discovered soon after, causing her to be shunned by most of the wagon train. She later settled near the Campbells' in Oregon City. Mrs. Kenker became friends with Hattie, whom visited her occasionally. In 1849, Hattie discovered her dead in her cabin. She had died of a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Pepper Lewis[]

Pepper Lewis (born c. 1833)[5] was the twin sister of Wade and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis. In April 1847, she met Hattie after her family joined a wagon train to Oregon. The two girls quickly became best friends. Pepper later became acquainted with her brother's friend, Gideon. They became engaged and married when the wagon train reached Independence Rock. The couple had their own wagon until they had to abandon after their mules died. After reaching Oregon, Pepper and Gideon stayed in the Campbells' barn. In 1848, she gave birth to their first son Michael. Pepper gave birth six more sons.

Sarah and Mr. Bigg[]

Sarah (died summer 1847)[3] and Mr. Bigg were a married couple whom befriended the Campbell family. Mr. Bigg's legs were amputated after he was trampled by some runaway horses years prior. Because of his impairment, Sarah drove the wagon on the trail to Oregon. During a river crossing, Sarah fell into the water and presumably drowned. Mr. Bigg was heartbroken. He later invited the Andersons to share his wagon for the rest of the journey. Once they reached Oregon, Mr. Bigg remained with the Anderson family whom opened an inn. He became a well known tailor and a "favorite uncle" among the children visiting the inn.

Wade Lewis[]

Wade Lewis (born c. 1833)[5] was the twin brother of Pepper. His family joined a wagon train in early 1847. Along the way, he became friends with Gideon, whom later married Wade's sister. That May, Wade and two other boys accidentally ate water hemlock. He became sick and laid in bed asleep for three long days. After he awoke, Wade had no memory of the accident. It took him a long time to recover from the ordeal. Wade later became close to Hattie. Though he appeared to have no romantic interest in her initially, he and Hattie were married on Christmas Day in 1848. They ended up adopting the twins, Blue and Sarah, when they were unable to have children.

Minor characters[]

  • Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were a the parents of Hazel, Holly, Laurel, Olive, Cassia, and Eliza May. Cassia passed away during the journey. After the Andersons' wagon broke, June invited them to share her family's wagon. They became close friends with the Campbells. Mr. Bigg later invited the family to share his wagon. In Oregon, the Andersons started a fruit farm and opened an inn.
  • Becky (born c. 1834)[2] was Hattie Campbell's best friend in Boonville, Missouri. They were sad to part when Hattie and her family left for Oregon. She was around the same age as Hattie.
  • Ben "Bennie" (born c. 1845) and Jake Campbell (born c. 1841)[2] were the younger brothers of Hattie and the sons of Augusta and Charles. Hattie was often tasked with looking after them. Along the trail, Ben broke his arm after falling off his family's wagon.
  • Blue and Sarah Lewis (born 1847)[6] were twins born on the Oregon Trail. She was named after Sarah Bigg, while he was named for the Blue Mountains. When they were six, their parents died in a buggy accident. They were adopted by Hattie and Wade Lewis.
  • Brigham Young was the leader of a group of Mormons. He was well known for being a polygamist. They were traveling west to start a colony near the Great Salt Lake.
  • Cassia Anderson (c. 1845[7] – May 1847)[8] was the fifth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. She was fond of Hattie. Cassia later died after accidentally ingesting water hemlock.
  • Eliza May Anderson (born March 16, 1847) was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. She was named after the river boat, on which she was born.
  • Gideon (born c. 1830)[9] was a friend of Wade known for his "gentle manner" and shyness. Gideon fell in love with and married Wade's twin sister Pepper. They had seven sons together, including Michael.
  • Hazel, Holly, Laurel (born c. 1843), and Olive Anderson (born c. 1844)[10] were four daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. They became like sisters to Hattie, whom often looked after them.
  • Mr. Kenker (died August 1847)[11] was the husband of Mrs. Kenker. He eventually grew "mad" along the trail and presumably died after stepping off the edge of a cliff.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were the parents of Pepper and Wade.
  • Marcus Whitman (died November 29, 1847)[12] was the husband of Narcissa. He and his wife moved to Oregon where they founded a mission to help the Cayuse people.
  • Milton (died January 30, 1847)[1] was Hattie's uncle and the brother of Augusta and June. He died after falling off the Campbells' roof, which he was trying to fix with Charles. His body was lost when the coffin containing it fell into a river. They were unable to hold a proper funeral for him.
  • Narcissa Whitman (died November 29, 1847)[12] was a friend of June who went to Oregon around 1837. She often wrote June asking her to join her in Oregon. After a measles outbreak, the Cayuse thought Marcuswas a sorcerer. They burned the mission and killed Narcissa and her husband.
  • River Ann Valentine (born summer 1847)[3] was the daughter of June and Tim. She was born while they were crossing a river, hence her name. In her adult life, River married Paddy O'Reilly.
  • Tall Joe was an experienced mountain man. He was chosen to lead a wagon train to Oregon, which included the Campbell family.
  • Tim Valentine[3] was the husband of June. In early 1847, he and his wife decided to accompany her sister and brother-in-law to Oregon.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Adam, Henry, and Tom Valentine were the three sons of June and Tim. As adults, they all went to California in search of gold.
  • Daisy Valentine was the granddaughter of June. She survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
  • Michael (born May 15, 1848)[4] was the son of Pepper and Gideon. He was the first of seven sons.
  • Paddy O'Reilly was the husband of River Ann. He was a tenor with the San Francisco Opera.


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?