Book and Movie Club: Went to Kansas

Today’s book review:

I suggest Went To Kansas.  As the title page suggests, it is “a thrilling account of an ill-fated expedition” to Kansas.  It illustrates some of the scams and resulting frustrations and hardships pioneer families experienced in a search for a better life.
The work is by Mrs. Miriam Davis Colt and describes her family’s move to Kansas from New York in the 1850’s.  Incidentally, the book was published by the Laura Ingalls publishing company in 1862.
The book is available on-line at:

Jack Coffee

4 thoughts on “Book and Movie Club: Went to Kansas

  1. It would not be possible for a book to be published by the Laura Ingalls publising company in 1862 for several reasons:

    1) Laura Ingalls Wilder was not born until 1867.

    2) She did not write her famous “Little House” books until the 1930’s.

    3) Her books were published by Harper and Row. I have never heard of the Laura Ingalls publishing company.

    In looking at the link, it appears that the book Went to Kansas was actually published by the L. Ingalls company, not the Laura Ingalls company.

  2. People get things confused all the time when it comes to Laura Ingalls Wilder.
    The information provided above is true, but, also, Harper & Bros., or Harper & Row, or (now) HarperCollins, is “sometimes” referred to by the Laura Ingalls publishinmg company or “Little House” official publishers. But, in this case, this book or whatever IS NOT related to her in any way. If it is not listed with our organization, it doesn’t exsist.

    John Bass – IWL Library & Museum and Research Center

  3. Regardless of who published it, Miriam Davis Colt’s book “Gone to Kansas” is a fascinating story. It is well worth the time to seek it out and to read the on-line version; just be sure to set aside a couple of free hours before you do! Her narrative of the long trip from New York, their arrival in Kansas, and her life there is so revealing about the real lives (as opposed to the idealized lives) of the pioneers. Although she writes about Kansas, I knew that I could draw some parallels to the lives of my own family members who were in Iowa around the same time. (1850’s – 1860’s) There is also an interesting tie-in to the coming War Between the States, as she comments on various social conditions and the raiding of Lawrence, Kansas, and an interesting account of what it was like to travel by steamboat down the Mississippi River. I especially liked the numerous details of everyday life that she included in her story, and her descriptions of the beauty around her. The hardships that she and her family endured were numerous, and indeed, all of them did not survive. But I found her story riveting, and I think that it should be read by everyone who had ancestors who “went to Kansas” during that time period.

  4. What finally happened to Miriam Colt after her book was published? Is there any account of her or her daughter after 1862?

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