The Lost Wagon Train

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There’s nothing like a good mystery to capture our imagination and flight Malaysian airlines Flight 370 has certainly done that.  Such puzzling disappearances, however, are not new.  The Old West had some very intriguing mysteries of its own.  I especially like the following mystery because it’s also a love story.
WAGONIn the late nineteenth century, A wagon train with a half dozen teams disappeared without a trace in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The team leader was Edward Earle, a widower who left behind a five year old daughter named Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s aunt took over her care, but the child never stopped waiting for her father to walk in the door.  As she grew older the question continued to haunt her; how does a wagon train simply vanish?
At the age of twenty, Elizabeth took a teaching job to relieve her aunt of her care.  Around this time a young man by the name of Henry Merryweather began courting her, but she showed little interest in him or marriage.
Certain that her father’s mysterious disappearance was holding her back Merryweather set out to find the missing wagon train. It was now fifteen years later and his chances didn’t look good, but he was convinced that solving the mystery was the only way to win her heart.
LAKE
After days of exploring the area where the wagon train was last seen he noticed a dam and small lake.  The young trees told him the lake had been formed fairly recently.  Looking up he realized the lake had been created by a major landslide.
Could this be the answer to the mystery that had haunted his beloved all these years?  After much digging he found a horse’s hoof. Convinced he was on the right track, he hired several men to help him dig.  It was a backbreaking job but they finally uncovered the wagon train that had been buried all those years.  Among the articles found was a strong box containing seven hundred dollars in cash belonging to Elizabeth’s father.  It also contained stock which had been worthless at the time of his death but had since gained in value.
Much to Merryweather’s profound relief Elizabeth was indebted to him for solving the mystery that had haunted her for so many years.  Not only did he win her hand in marriage—but also her heart.
 Let’s hope we don’t have to wait fifteen years to find out what happened to Flight 370.

What mysteries have kept you guessing?

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Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 46 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

24 Comments

  1. What a great story. I’d say Elizabeth got herself a good and intelligent man.

  2. Janie,I agree. Thank you for stopping by and happy May day.

  3. Margaret, what an interesting (and timely) blog! Mysteries always intrigue me and the Malaysian airplane that vanished has kept me glued to the news. As far as others, there is the Madeline McCann mystery along with countless other children who have vanished. That one girl (I can’t recall her name at the moment) spent fifteen years in captivity before they found her. I was sure she was dead. And there were lots of cases of buried treasure in the old west that was never found.

    Wishing you much success!

  4. Hi Linda, it sounds like you and I are kindred spirits. This Malaysian plane has me climbing the walls. I can’t imagine what those poor families are going through.

  5. Sherri, thanks. It is an amazing story.

  6. Disappeared children … Like Madeline, but then there’s the hope [?] that they turn up and can be healed from whatever trauma they’ve experienced.. like the 3 girls held captive in Ohio…. or the girl in California… this is why I don’t watch Criminal Minds… I don’t need help in imagining terrible people doing terrible things..

  7. KateS, I can’t imagine anything worse than a disappearing child. I’m not sure those girls can be healed but we can hope and pray that they are.

  8. GOOD FOR HENRY!!! BLESS HIS HEART! That is a great love story!

  9. What an amazing mystery, Margaret. It’s definitely worth a book all its own! One mystery that intrigues me is the death of Mrs. Jane Stanford (widow of Leland Stanford, California governor and founder of the university) in Hawaii. Was she indeed murdered at the elegant hotel on Waikiki Beach?

    Great post today, Margaret, and congrats on finaling for National Reader’s Choice Award for Gunpowder Tea!

  10. Mary, yes! It is a great love story. So glad Elizabeth wised up!

  11. Hi Margaret! Congrats on the final. It’s a great contest! I wonder if we’ll ever find out what happened to the missing plane. Or Marilyn Monroe? So many other mysteries, it baffles the mind.

  12. Hi Tanya, I’m not familiar with the Stanford mystery. I’m going to have to check that one out! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Charlene, thanks! Yes, Marilyn Monroe is one of those mysteries that continues to baffle. I hope we find out about the plane. I hate to think what this is doing to the families.

  14. Very interesting story! I didn’t know about a lost wagon train.

  15. Quilt Lady, this wasn’t the only lost wagon train, but it was the one with the happiest ending.

  16. Living in close proximity to the Sierra Nevada–I’ve never heard this story. It’s a good one, too. Do you know where he found the land slide? Had to be around the Donner Lake region or northern Sierra, yes?
    As for the Malasian Airliner; we will never know what happened to it. It went down in a very sensitive area of the region. My Senior Lunch partner is a retired doctor and he has had some pretty interesting emails from friends. Feel sorry for the families. They will never know. I believe it will never be known and covered up forever. Too bad, too.
    Thanks for a great story and Congrats on your book!!!! YAY!

  17. Congratulations on your Readers Choice nomination. It is well deserved.

    Up until a few months ago, I would have thought the chances of an entire wagon train being buried by a landslide leaving no survivors were minimal. However, recent events have shown us just how fast one can claim an area. It is amazing that the young man, Mr. Merryweather, was able to discover and unearth the wagon train.
    Unfortunately, Flight 370 went down in a much more difficult and larger area to search. Just think how long it took to find the Titanic, and it was known about where it went down. Amelia Earhart disappeared 77 years ago, and just now may have been found. Another airplane crashed into the ocean years ago and even having a general idea where it went down, took 7 years to be found.

  18. Congratulations on Gunpowder Tea being a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards. I still haven’t gotten to read this book yet. This was very interesting post about the mystery of the missing Wagon Train. I had never heard of this. Thanks. Maxie

  19. Mary J, never found out the exact area, but my guess would be the Donner Lake region as you suggested.

    I guess we just have to keep hoping they find that plane.

  20. Maxie, thank you for stopping by! Have a great weekend.

  21. Hi Patricia B. thank you!

    I actually found several wagon trains that had disappeared in various ways. It’s scary to think that in this day and age planes (and even people) can disappear.

  22. So cool. I agree I hope the airplane is found before 15 years has passed. It amazes me that with today’s technology, the plane could ever have disappeared from radar or other detection devices.

    Great story. Thank you for sharing.

  23. What an amazing story. What love he had for her. Wow! I hope the plane is found more quickly. It took 2-3 years for the one that left Brazil to be found. Congrats on the nomination I hope you win. I haven’t read the book but I’m going to try to find it.

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