The Female Prose Writers of America: With Portraits, Biographical Notices, and Specimens of their Writings/Mary H. Eastman
MARY H. EASTMAN.
Mary Henderson, now Mrs. Mary H. Eastman, was born in Warrenton, Fauquier county, Virginia. Her father is Dr. Thomas Henderson, of the U. S. Army; her mother is a daughter of the well known naval commander, Commodore Truxtun. Her parents left Warrenton while she was still young, and removed to the city of Washington, where she lived till the time of her marriage, which took place at West Point, in 1835. Her husband, Captain S. Eastman, of the U. S. Army, is a graduate of the West Point Academy, and since his graduation, which was in 1829, has spent most of his time in frontier stations, chiefly at Fort Snelling, where he was for a period of nine years. Mrs. Eastman was with him the greater part of this time. While there she had more favourable opportunities, probably, for studying the Indian character and customs than were ever possessed by any lady before. Having enjoyed while young the advantages of an excellent education, and possessing much natural shrewdness of observation, she employed herself in gathering up curious Indian lore, which, since her return to the abodes of civilization, she has communicated to the public in two very interesting publications. The first of these was published in 1849, and entitled “Dahcotah, or Legends of the Sioux.” The second series of papers was published in 1851, of the same character as “Dahcotah.” These all consist of stories, sketches, poems, &c., relating to the Sioux and Chippeway Indians, whom she saw at and near Fort Snelling. Of all the portraitures of Indian life and character that have been given to the public, none, probably, have come more nearly to the truth than those by Mrs. Eastman. Her book is one of the very best contributions to our native literature that has lately appeared.