A long-time love of the name, Abigail, and a long-time love of American history are the inspirations behind the name Abigail's Bed and Breakfast Inn. As we work our way through our cosmetic remodels, we'll introduce you to "our" Abigails and include before and after photos.
Abigail Scott Duniway arrived in Oregon in 1852 with her father and eight surviving siblings. Her mother and a baby brother had died during the difficult journey on the wagon train. The family spent their first winter in Lafayette; a small but busy frontier town.
Abigail’s father, Tucker Scott, rented an old building and set up a hotel that became quite successful. Abigail was just seventeen-years-old and had already had some of her writings published in a newspaper back East. She had also been in charge of keeping a diary of their journey out West. So with the confidence gained from her writing experience, she decided to set out on her own as a school teacher instead of helping her father with the hotel. Within a year of getting a job as school teacher, she met and married Ben Duniway and settled in a nearby community before eventually returning to Lafayette in 1857.
Abigail had three young children and was busy as a pioneer wife and mother. During this time, Abigail continued to write — a creative outlet she thoroughly enjoyed. She found a platform for her writing through the local newspapers, in which locals would debate the hot issues of the day. Her favorite issue was women’s rights and she wasn’t afraid to express her concern that pioneer women were going to their graves too early because they were overworked. Her writings became so popular that people were riding into Lafayette to hear her read her latest published piece. Finally, in 1859, when Abigail was 25, she had her first novel published. The book was called “Captain Gray’s Company,” and was based on the story of her own emigration. This book was the first novel ever to be printed west of the Rocky Mountains.
In 1863, Ben lost the farm outside of Lafayette and the family moved closer in to town, where Abigail took in boarders and taught school. Ben did odd jobs until an accident occurred shortly after their move that left him unable to work. Abigail became the breadwinner and Ben the caretaker of the children. This situation turned out to suit their family well as Abigail could now do more of the writing and teaching that she loved. Ben supported Abigail and he was good with the children, calling them a "great source of joy." The children, in turn, “adored” him.
1865, the family left Lafayette for Albany. Her career as a millenary store owner, then as a newspaper editor, journalist, organizer, and lecturer took off. In 1871, when she moved her family to Portland, she began the fight for equal suffrage — the woman’s right to vote. For 40 years she fought for the vote to come to Oregon, and after many defeats and setbacks, she lived long enough to see the fruits of her labors. In 1912, she was given the privilege of signing Oregon’s Suffrage proclamation and became the first woman to vote in the state. Abigail Scott Duniway became known as the “Grand Old Lady of Oregon” in her last years. She died in 1915, a few days before her eighty-first birthday.
Duniway Park and Duniway Schools of Portland and McMinnville honor her memory. Her name is inscribed on a bronze plaque in the League of Women Voters’ Hall of Fame, and many books about woman’s rights describe her achievements. In World War II, a large landing craft was named for her.
|After - A true labor of love!