BY MARY DAVIS
Warren's — the firm|
Helen Hunt Jackson was an American poet and writer who advocated for Native Americans.
Born Helen Marie Fiske on October 15, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusettes. Fiske’s mother passed away by the time Helen was fourteen and her father three years later. Her father had put away money for her education. Helen attended Ipswich Female Seminary and the Abbott Institute. One of her classmates was Emily Dickinson, and the two corresponded for the rest of their lives.
In 1852, Helen married a U.S. Army Captain named Edward Bissel Hunt. They had two sons. One died in infancy and the other at age nine. Her husband was killed by one of his own marine inventions in 1863.
Helen’s early works were under the pen name H.H. Her first successful poem, “Coronation”, appeared in The Atlantic in 1869, followed by several others.
|At Seven Falls with my sisters.|
In the winter of 1873-1874, she went to the resort at Seven Falls, Colorado Springs, Colorado to rest and seeking a cure for tuberculosis. While in Colorado Springs, she met and married William Sharpless Jackson, a wealthy banker and railroad executive.
In 1879, Helen Hunt Jackson heard a lecture by Chief Standing Bear in Boston, and her interests turned toward Native American issues. Standing Bear described the forcible removal of his people from Nebraska to Oklahoma where they suffered from poor supplies, harsh weather, and disease. She spoke out boldly against the atrocious treatment of the Indians, government misconduct, circulating petitions, raising a lot of money, and writing letters to newspapers.
In 1881, Helen Hunt Jackson wrote A Century of Dishonor about the effects of the government’s treatment of the Indians, which condemned state and federal Indian policies. The book called for significant reform in government policy where Indians were concerned. She sent a copy to every member of congress.
Jackson went to Southern California to rest. While there, she learned about how the Mission Indians suffered under the Mexican government and then the U.S. government.
“I am going to write a novel, in which will be set forth some Indian experiences in a way to move people’s hearts. People will read a novel when they will not read serious books.” (Mathes, Indian Reform Letters, 298–9 )
“If I could write a story that would do for the Indian one-hundredth part what Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for the Negro, I would be thankful the rest of my life.” (Mathes, Indian Reform Letters, 258)
In 1884, she wrote the novel described above called Ramona.
The story was based on people Jackson had met and incidents she had encountered. The book was populate with a wide cross-section of the public. It is estimated to have been reprinted over 300 times and has never been out of print.
Helen Hunt Jackson died in San Francisco on August 12, 1885 from stomach cancer.
|Helen Hunt Jackson's grave marker|
above Seven Falls.
She wished to be buried above Seven Falls, and her husband arranged for her to be buried there at Inspiration Point overlooking Colorado Springs, Colorado.
|On top of the world!|
|View looking down on Colorado Springs|
When the journey up to her grave became too much for William Sharpless Jackson, he had her remains moved to Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.
Helen Hunt Jackson’s legacy lives on today in her writings.
THIMBLES AND THREADS: 4 Love Stories Are Quilted Into Broken Lives
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“Bygones” Texas, 1884
Drawn to the new orphan boy in town, Tilly Rockford soon became the unfortunate victim of a lot of Orion Dunbar’s mischievous deeds in school. Can Tilly figure out how to truly forgive the one who made her childhood unbearable? Can this deviant orphan-train boy turned man make up for the misdeeds of his youth and win Tilly’s heart before another man steals her away?
MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over three dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her recent titles include; "Holly and Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection, The PRODIGAL DAUGHTERS Series, The Widow’s Plight, “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection, The Daughter's Predicament, and "Bygones" in Thimbles and Threads. She’s an ACFW member and critique groups. Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two adorable grandchildren. Find her online: