W.A. Hockett was born around 1837 in Salem, Iowa. He was the third of four children. At the age of nine, he and his family joined the Lewelling party which crossed the western plains of the Oregon Trail. On the trail, his father, Nathan H. Hockett, died on August 22, 1847 and his mother, Rebecca Hockett, died on August 27, 1847. W.A. Hockett and his siblings competed the trek to Oregon, arriving in Portland on December 21, 1847. The children were then separated to live with separate families. Mr. Hockett lived with Jacob Reed and his family. In the spring of 1851, Mr. Hockett returned to Iowa by travelling through Panama. He returned to Salem, Iowa on May 21, 1851.
The W.A. Hockett Papers consists of a single manuscript of about seventeen typewritten pages. The manuscript details the events of 1846-1847, when Mr. Hockett and his family made the trek across the Oregon Trail with a company of other settlers from Salem, Iowa. The chronicle is based on letters of Nathan A. Hockett. The papers include an introduction by Mr. Hockett as well as lyrics to the song "I Ain't Dead Yet".
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Hockett, W. A. Experiences of W.A. Hockett on the Oregon Trail, 1847, CB H659, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
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