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Teresa on the cover of West to a Land of Plenty

All of the characters that appear in Jim Murphy's West to a Land of Plenty.

Main characters[]

Teresa Viscardi[]

Main article: Teresa Viscardi

Teresa Angelino Viscardi (c. 1869[1] – July 16, 1952)[2] was the daughter of Rose and Mr. Viscardi. She was the older sister of Ernesto, Antoinetta, and Tomas. Teresa traveled to the Idaho Territory with her family, though she opposed leaving her friends behind in New York. She became friends with John Wilson Anderson and Mary Margaret Degler during the journey. Teresa was often frustrated with her siblings, especially Anotinetta, who annoyed her constantly.

Antoinetta Viscardi[]

Main article: Antoinetta Viscardi

Antoinetta "Netta" Viscardi (c. 1875[3] – June 29, 1883)[4] was Teresa's younger sister, and the second daughter of Rose and Mr. Viscardi. She had two brothers, Ernesto and Tomas. Antoinetta often annoyed Teresa by correcting her or writing in her diary without her permission. Teresa eventually allowed her to write in the diary, so Antoinetta would not tell their mother about her Shaker almanac. She was good friends with Edi Richardson, whom she had met on the trail.

Supporting characters[]

Edith Richardson[]

Edith "Edi" Richardson was Antoinetta's best friend, who she met on the wagon train to the Idaho Territory. She disliked her given name and would only respond to "Edi". Her family use to live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Edi and Antoinetta spent much of the trip playing or visiting people, and occasionally spying on Teresa.

Ernesto Viscardi[]

Ernesto Viscardi (born c. 1873)[5] was the first son of Rose and Mr. Viscardi. He was the younger brother of Teresa, and older brother of Antoinetta and Tomas. Teresa once said that "[Ernesto] thinks he's so important because he's the oldest boy." This was reinforced by the adults of hi family, who allowed him to do things that Teresa was forbidden to. His father bought him a mule, who he named General O'Brien. Eventually, Ernesto went to college in California, where he studied horticulture.

John Wilson Anderson[]

John Wilson Anderson (born c. 1869),[6] also known as J.W.,[7] was the son of Wilson Anderson, the the vice-chairman to develop the town of Opportunity. He was good friends with Teresa Viscardi, whom he met on the train to Watertown. J.W. and Teresa fought, when he thought her friend, Mary Margaret did not like him. Teresa defended Mary Margaret and her fight with J.W. continued for several days, until they made up in late June. J.W. proposed to Teresa four times, but was rejected every time.

Mary Margaret Degler[]

Mary Margaret Degler (born c. 1868)[8][9] was a good friend of Teresa Viscardi. They met through a mutual acquaintance and became friends quick. Mary Margaret was traveling with her parents, younger sister, and her father's parents. Her legs and arms were burned during a cooking accident. Teresa spent the following few days, helping Mary Margaret's mother, while she recuperated.

Nanna Viscardi[]

"Nanna" Viscardi was the matriarch of the Viscardi family, who emigrated from Trappeto, Sicily. She was the grandmother of Teresa, Antoinetta, Ernesto, Tomas, and Rosaria. Nanna helped Eugenio convince Mr. Viscardi to travel to the Idaho Territory. She often gave Teresa advice on how proper young girls should act, which Teresa ignored. Later, Nanna and Teresa went to Rapid City to find Eugenio and Mr. Viscardi. Nana lived to be ninety-six.

Rose Viscardi[]

Rose[10] Viscardi ("Momma") was the mother of Teresa, Ernesto, Antoinetta, and Tomas, and the wife of Mr. Viscardi. Initially, Rose was opposed to moving to the Idaho Territory, but eventually conceded. She was very attached to her piano, which she had brought from her childhood home and eventually made its way to their new home. Rose would go on to teach the piano to one hundred children in Opportunity.

Mr. Viscardi[]

Mr. Viscardi ("Poppa") was the husband of Rose, and the father of Teresa, Ernesto, Antoinetta, and Tomas. He was easily persuaded by his older brother of Eugenio, who talked him into going to the Idaho Territory and later look for silver. After returning with no silver, Mr. Viscardi resolved to stop being pushed around by his brother. Mr. Viscardi started a farm in Opportunity.

Minor characters[]

  • Alferd Packer, a man accused of murder. Rose read an article about him for her husband in 1883.
  • Anne Elizabeth Nolan was a classmate of Teresa. She claimed that Teresa was lying about John Wilson, which offended Francesca. Annie wrote the poem "Gone Is the Friend" about Teresa.
  • Aria was Antoinetta's friend in New York. Antoinetta named the diary that she shared with Teresa, after Aria and began every entry with "Dear Aria".
  • Cardi, Grosso, and Orlando families lived on Wooster Street and also went to the Idaho Territory. Mr. Cardi stayed with the wagon train, while the other men went looking for silver. He watched over their families and tried to keep everyone from Wooster Street close together.
  • Caterina (born c. 1882) and Hildi Hesse (born c. 1873)[11] were the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Hesse. They drowned, when their wagon was flipped over, while crossing the Missouri River.
  • Cora Schlissel (March 1883 – June 21, 1883) was the daughter of Mrs. Schlissel. She died of the fever.
  • Coyote Cal was a man of few words. He drove one of Mr. Keil's wagons.
  • Mr. Cross, a traveler to the Idaho Territory. He was once described as "cross in name, and cross in nature," though Edi and Antoinetta disagreed. Mr. Cross became the head teacher in Opportunity and hired Teresa as his assistant.
  • Mrs. Curran was Teresa teacher in New York. She was married to Charles B. Curran.[12] Teresa was fond of her teacher and wrote many letters to her on the way to Idaho.
  • Dorothy Wagor[13] was a friend of Antoinetta's on the wagon train. She had six siblings. Her parents decided to turn back at the Missouri River, fearing Indians.
  • Emma Durant and Mary Taylor, two classmates of Teresa's and students of Mrs. Curran.
  • Empress Christina was the Viscardi's milk cow, who Antoinetta named. Teresa had to milk the cow.
  • Eugenio Viscardi was the husband of Marta and father of Rosaria. He persuaded the rest of his family to travel to the Idaho Territory. Later, he convinced his brother to go hunt for silver. In Opportunity, Eugenio and his wife opened up a successful dry-goods store.
  • Francesca was Teresa's best friend in New York, who also lived on Wooster Street. Teresa missed her and sent several letters to Francesca on her journey to Idaho.
  • General O'Brien was Ernesto's mule. Nanna rode him, when they went looking for Eugenio and Mr. Viscardi.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hesse were a German couple, who traveled to the Idaho Territory. They lost their daughters, Caterina and Hildi, while crossing the Missouri River.
  • Hypolite La Brie was the stage name of Walter Cooper, who was from Kansas. He informed the Opportunity wagon train about a nearby silver strike, and eventually went to look for himself.
  • Imbert Milleer III was the proprietor of the Paradise Valley Ranch. Teresa caught a glimpse of him.
  • James, better known as Shep, was the Viscardi's helper assigned to them in Watertown. He returned to the Viscardis, after he did not find any silver either
  • Joe Bulleau was the ill-tempered train master of the Opportunity expedition. He was familiar with the routes to Idaho and the Indian tribes on the way. His wife, reportedly, was also an Indian.
  • Katerine Kozwitski (born c. 1865)[8] was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kozwitski.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Kozwitski, husband and wife travelling to the Idaho Territory. Despite being "a very big man", he was always nervous.
  • Liam and Seamus were two brothers travelling to the Idaho Territory. They and their other three brothers were referred to as the "Irish Brigade". Seamus's leg was crushed, while helping get the Hesse's wagon across the Missouri River.
  • Marta Viscardi was the wife of Eugenio and mother of Rosaria. Marta disliked Rose and would say snide comments to her. However, Marta became close to Rose and learned to appreciate her over the course of the journey to Idaho. She opened a dry-goods store with her husband in Opportunity.
  • Nicola, one of Teresa's friends, who attended school with her in New York
  • Red Top and Zephaniah were the Viscardi family oxen, who pulled their wagon to the Idaho Territory.
  • Rosaria Viscardi was the only child of Eugenio and Marta. Rosaria was a bit mean to her cousin, Teresa, but began being nice to her by the end of journey. In later life, Rosaria married at seventeen and moved to Arizona. She had four children and kept up a correspondence with Teresa.
  • Mrs. Schlissel (died June 1883)[14] was the mother of Cora. She died a few days after her baby.
  • Tomas Viscardi was the youngest child of Rose and Mr. Viscardi. He was a baby, when the family traveled from New York to the Idaho Territory. In later life, Tomas ran the family farm in Opportunity.
  • Mr. Wagner, a clock maker and traveler to Idaho. He made Caterina's and Hidi's coffin.
  • William was a boy, who worked for Hypolite La Brie. He went searching for silver with Mr. La Brie.
  • William[15] Keil was the leader of the expedition to form the community, Opportunity in the Idaho Territory. He sold several acres of his land to those who joined. William met the settlers in Watertown and traveled with them to Idaho. He also took Mrs. Viscardi's piano to Idaho on one of his wagons.
  • Willie Keil (died April 1883)[15] was the only son of William Keil. His father attempted to bring his body to be buried in Opportunity, but had to bury him alongside the road to make room in the wagon.
  • William Stone, a correspondent for the Black Hills Pioneer.
  • Wilson Anderson was the vice-chairman of the association to develop the town, Opportunity.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Barb was Teresa's and James's granddaughter. She was the mother of Jackie.
  • Jackie was Barb's daughter and Teresa's great-granddaughter. She reminded Teresa of Antoinetta.
  • James Madden was Teresa's husband, and father of their three children. He worked as a harvester at the turn of the century. James was married to Teresa, until her death in 1952.


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?