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Jacquelyn Hanson, author biographyJacquelyn Hanson, great-granddaughter of Matilda Randolph, grew up on the ranch where Matilda spent the last thirty years of her life, surrounded by family stories. She decided to write them down so the stories would be preserved for future generations. As a result, her first novel, Matilda's Story, was published in 1997.
She went on to write two historical romances, Susan's Quest and Katlin's Fury, both based on the extensive research done for Matilda's Story. Matilda's Story ended in 1867 with Matilda's marriage to Alfred Wheelock, the author's great-grandfather, but demand from her readers to know what happened to Matilda after 1867 led to Matilda's Story: The California Years, which follows Matilda through to her 69th birthday in 1905.
The author, a graduate of Stanford University school of Nursing, lives in Southern California with her youngest son, and recently retired from business with her oldest son. She has been published in professional journals, and several of her stories have been published or won awards.
She has been an active member of Liga International, Flying Doctors of Mercy for over twenty years, and goes to Mexico one weekend a month to operate a free clinic there. She is on a DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) and a volunteer with the Red Cross. She is also a volunteer for the Orange County Natural History Museum, and a member of the Rotary Club of Saddleback Valley.
Published Works by Jacquelyn Hanson
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Published August, 1997
Matilda's Story is a biographical noval based on the life of Matilda Randolph, a courageous pioneer woman whose colorful life led her from Illinois to Kansas, then across the California Trail in a covered wagon to California.
Matilda lived through a very turbulent period in American History. Matilda's Story is the history of the time as seen through the eyes of one young woman as she struggled to survive over odds that seem almost overwhelming to people of today.
The book has been well researched, and fictional episodes are based on contemporary writings. Readers who enjoy authentic, first hand accounts of pioneer days will appreciate Matilda's Story.
Published October, 1998
Orphaned at the age of seventeen, Susan McGuire, daughter of Irish immigrants in mid nineteenth century Boston, finds employment as governess to the two young daughters of a prominent Boston family. When young Donald Andrew falls in love with Susan, his father refuses to sanction their union.
Donald's solution to the impasse is to travel to the California gold fields, promising Susan that as soon as he has made his fortune, they will not need his father's money.
But over a year goes by with no word from Donald. Determined to find what has become of him, Susan sets sail on the Even Tide and begins her quest.
Her voyage take her around the Horn to the fabled land of gold. En route, she befriends young Barney, an abused runaway apprentice who attaches himself to her with a fierce loyalty. An injury to Barney brings James Alexander, an enigmatic young doctor from Scotland into her life. Her reaction to him shakes her faith in her love for Donald Andrew.
Set against the rich background of authentic early California history, the story sweeps the reader along as Susan's Quest takes her from Boston to San Fransisco and finally to Sacramento. She survives a severe flood and a major fire in her struggle to survive before she finds true love at last.
Published November, 1999
Katlin discovered, to her horror, that her husband Caleb had disappeared with all of their cash. Determined to reclaim her money and her freedom, Katlin tracks Caleb to the California gold fields.
Her fury leads her to New York and aboard a ship bound for Panama. There she struggles across the cholera infested Isthmus, battling raging waters to reach Panama City. After an eventful steamer trip to San Francisco, she heads upriver to Sacramento, gateway to California's El Dorado. She hopes to find news of Caleb.
En route she has befriended Elena, an orphaned Spanish girl, and Henry, a young seaman with consumption. In New Orleans, they are joined by Colin MacDougal. In spite of herself, she falls in love with the handsome young plantation owner who, she soon discovers, is running from his own ghosts.
Set against the rich background of the Panama Crossing in 1849, and filled with authentic early California history, Katlin's Fury is every woman's search for justice and the freedom to follow her own heart.
Matilda's Story: The California Years
Published August, 2003
The long awaited sequel to Matilda's Story.
Matilda's Story: The California Years continues the saga of Matilda Randolph, opening with her marriage to Alfred Wheelock in 1867 and following her until her 69th birthday in 1905.
Since she spent the rest of her life in Hicksville, the story paints a vivid picture of life in a small California farming community in the last half of the nineteenth century. It depicts how the people worked together to cope with a life that was sometimes harsh and cruel, but also often filled with love and laughter.
Gardner Randolph of Illinois
Published March, 2009
The prequel to Matilda's Story opens in 1810 with Betsy Ann Stringfield telling the story of her life and Gardner's. It follows her from her childhood in Tennesee and growing to maturity in Alabama where she marries Gardner Randolph upon his return from the War of 1812.
John Stringfield takes his clan to White County, Illinois, then on to the Sangamon in 1921.
Gardner tires of the ague and swamps of the Sangamon and takes his family north to where he founds Randolph's Grove in January of 1822, in what will become McLean county. There they spend thirty years until civilization again surrounds them and Gardner migrates west again.
The story ends in 1854 with their migration to Kansas.
Published July, 2011
In 1846, at the age of 18, Melissa Burton married young William Coray in a simple open air ceremony in the Mormon encampment at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, where Mormon refugees driven from Nauvoo, Illinois lived among the Pottawatamie Indians.
Shortly after their wedding, William was enlisted by Captain James Allen into what would be called the mormon Battallion to fight in the war with Mexico.
Not wishing to be separated from her new husband, Melissa took a job as a laundress for Company B. Thirty-five women accompanied the Battallion when it left for Fort Leavenworth.
Only four of those women reachesd California. Leaving behind the mother she would never see again, Melissa became one of those four.
This is her story.