Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 408
Sayward Wheeler, called Saird, a strong pioneer woman who wants many children; but after having eight, she decides that seven living and one dead are enough, and she leaves her husband’s bed. She lives through a period when the forest disappears as the pioneer settlement grows. She contributes her share to this growth and donates land for a meeting house. She realizes that she has neglected her husband and that he has been sleeping with the schoolteacher in the community. When the schoolteacher must quickly marry another man because she is going to have Portius’ baby, Sayward is very much ashamed and is reconciled with her husband.
Portius Wheeler, a backwoods lawyer and schoolteacher, Sayward’s husband. He has a hand in making Ohio a state and in making his community thrive and grow. Having no desire to return to his family in Boston, he tells them so. Portius wants to move his family into the new town, but Sayward refuses to be parted from the country. Portius has an affair with the schoolmistress but later returns to Sayward.
Genny Scurrah, Sayward’s sister, who is a fine singer and who helps Sayward deliver her first child.
Wyitt Luckett, Sayward’s brother, who realizes that he is a woodsman, as was his father. When he finds that all the game is gone from the woods, he moves on west.
Resolve Wheeler, Sayward’s eldest son. He breaks his leg on a trip with his father and, while recuperating, he discovers that he has a great love of learning and books. When he returns home, he again breaks his leg in order to have time to read.
Sulie Wheeler, Sayward’s daughter, who is named after Sayward’s lost sister. The young Sulie is burned to death.
Mistress Bartram, a schoolteacher, to whom Portius turns when Sayward refuses to sleep with him. Because she is pregnant with Portius’ child, she is married rather hurriedly to Jake Tench.
Jake Tench, the man who builds the first keelboat in the township.
Judah MacWhirter, a neighbor of the Wheelers who is bitten by a dog and dies of rabies.
Dezia Wheeler, and
Mercy Wheeler, Sayward and Portius’ other children.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 109
Barnes, Robert J. Conrad Richter. Austin, Tex.: Steck-Vaughn, 1968.
Carpenter, Frederic I. “Conrad Richter’s Pioneers: Reality and Myth.” College English 12 (1950): 77-84.
Cowan, William. “Delaware Vocabulary in the Works of Conrad Richter.” In Papers of the Twenty-ninth Algonquian Conference, edited by David H. Pentland. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1998.
Edwards, Clifford D. Conrad Richter’s Ohio Trilogy. The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton, 1970.
Flanagan, John T. “Conrad Richter: Romancer of the Southwest.” Southwest Review 43 (1958): 189-196.
Gaston, Edwin W., Jr. Conrad Richter. Rev. ed. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989.
Johnson, David R. Conrad Richter: A Writer’s Life. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001.
Kohler, Dayton. “Conrad Richter’s Early Americana.” College English 7 (1947): 221-228.