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Our Family Dreams: The Fletchers' Adventures in Nineteenth Century America

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In the early years after the Revolution, Americans were on the move, seeking to establish a new way of life. And, more than the church or the school or the courthouse, it was the family that nurtured the American Dream. In this novel-like narrative, Daniel Blake Smith vividly brings to life the Fletchers, a family of loving, ambitious, at times insecure pioneers who scatter In the early years after the Revolution, Americans were on the move, seeking to establish a new way of life. And, more than the church or the school or the courthouse, it was the family that nurtured the American Dream. In this novel-like narrative, Daniel Blake Smith vividly brings to life the Fletchers, a family of loving, ambitious, at times insecure pioneers who scattered across the vast expanse of post-revolutionary America but kept in touch through letters despite their wildly different life paths. On a hard scrabble farm in Vermont, the patriarch, Jesse Fletcher, struggled with debt and depression but managed to educate his children, especially his son Elijah, a Yankee who moved to Virginia, shocked by the horrors of slavery but then seduced by the plantation lifestyle. Another son, Calvin, left at age 17 for Indianapolis to become a self-made lawyer, banker, and a prominent citizen and passionate abolitionist. The grandchildren include Indiana, a women's education activist who donated her home to create Sweet Briar College; black sheep Lucian, who went to California to join in the gold rush; and physician Billy captured as a spy during the Civil War. Through letters and diaries, we find in Our Family Dreams that the Fletchers appear surprisingly similar to us; they dream, fret, fight, and love. Despite numerous heartaches and setbacks, their spirit of enterprise, sacrifice, mobility, and education endures as American values to this day.


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In the early years after the Revolution, Americans were on the move, seeking to establish a new way of life. And, more than the church or the school or the courthouse, it was the family that nurtured the American Dream. In this novel-like narrative, Daniel Blake Smith vividly brings to life the Fletchers, a family of loving, ambitious, at times insecure pioneers who scatter In the early years after the Revolution, Americans were on the move, seeking to establish a new way of life. And, more than the church or the school or the courthouse, it was the family that nurtured the American Dream. In this novel-like narrative, Daniel Blake Smith vividly brings to life the Fletchers, a family of loving, ambitious, at times insecure pioneers who scattered across the vast expanse of post-revolutionary America but kept in touch through letters despite their wildly different life paths. On a hard scrabble farm in Vermont, the patriarch, Jesse Fletcher, struggled with debt and depression but managed to educate his children, especially his son Elijah, a Yankee who moved to Virginia, shocked by the horrors of slavery but then seduced by the plantation lifestyle. Another son, Calvin, left at age 17 for Indianapolis to become a self-made lawyer, banker, and a prominent citizen and passionate abolitionist. The grandchildren include Indiana, a women's education activist who donated her home to create Sweet Briar College; black sheep Lucian, who went to California to join in the gold rush; and physician Billy captured as a spy during the Civil War. Through letters and diaries, we find in Our Family Dreams that the Fletchers appear surprisingly similar to us; they dream, fret, fight, and love. Despite numerous heartaches and setbacks, their spirit of enterprise, sacrifice, mobility, and education endures as American values to this day.

49 review for Our Family Dreams: The Fletchers' Adventures in Nineteenth Century America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It was interesting to see the different directions the children of Jesse Fletcher, and their children after that, took after leaving home. The writing was very engaging and readable. I was wrapped up in the unfolding lives of this family, and seeing how they were affected not only by the larger events and movements of their times, but also by their own relationships and family successes and tragedies. Throughout, the family was presented in a very humanizing way, to the point that I could see as It was interesting to see the different directions the children of Jesse Fletcher, and their children after that, took after leaving home. The writing was very engaging and readable. I was wrapped up in the unfolding lives of this family, and seeing how they were affected not only by the larger events and movements of their times, but also by their own relationships and family successes and tragedies. Throughout, the family was presented in a very humanizing way, to the point that I could see aspects of their personalities and family dynamics in people and families I know today.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Lilly

    Interesting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  5. 5 out of 5

    Abi Lynch

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tangi Lepper

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Cooper

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Rosenthal

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  12. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Ferrara

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Regan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  15. 4 out of 5

    Evan Higbie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly Morris Flasche

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Borders

  18. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Gregoire

  19. 4 out of 5

    Betty

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  22. 4 out of 5

    St. Martin's Press Nonfiction

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenn M

  24. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  27. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  28. 5 out of 5

    Len

  29. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  31. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  32. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

  33. 5 out of 5

    Dolli

  34. 4 out of 5

    Barry Collins

  35. 4 out of 5

    J Collins

  36. 5 out of 5

    Ann Ellis

  37. 5 out of 5

    Angie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Beck

  39. 5 out of 5

    Kim Myers

  40. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  41. 5 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  42. 4 out of 5

    Chelene

  43. 5 out of 5

    Kim Friant

  44. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  45. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  46. 4 out of 5

    Brent

  47. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Hillyer

  48. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Morris

  49. 4 out of 5

    Felina

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