Unresolved Questions in Historical Fiction

How do I answer these questions?


Photo Ad Meskens of painting by Newbold Hough Trotter (1827–1898)/Public domain)

I am hoping to write a fictional version of my great-grandmother’s life.

As I’ve related elsewhere, her life has all the makings of a good story: born en route to California by covered wagon, her father left her and her mother behind, went on to California and died there. Her mother, perhaps poor, perhaps not, returned to New York and left her with a cousin — a very wealthy cousin.

She was raised and educated in that family. She seems to have been close to her mother: she later named her own daughter for her foster mother. She was engaged to an artist, but broke it off and married his close friend, so close that he served as best man at their wedding.

Her husband traveled extensively, working as an artist and decorator for wealthy patrons. His father had done the same sort of work for the same sort of people.

Her husband may have had dementia in later life. She may have moved to be closer to her son in the last years of her life, but may have been estranged from her grandson, my father.

So many questions

Why did her mother and her husband embark on a wagon trip to California when she was in late pregnancy? From New…



Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence 👀

Retired Unix Consultant. I write tech and humor mostly but sometimes other things. See my Lists if your interests are specific.