My great-great parents, Nathan and Elizabeth (Messinger) Maynard crossed the plains from Iowa to Oregon in 1867 with their 12 children (some already adults with children of their own). Initially they settled near Yamhill, OR. In 1871, Nathan was killed in a run-away wagon accident. Ten years later, Elizabeth and the entire family (except for one daughter who initially remained behind in the Portland area until her husband died in a steamboat accident on the Columbia River), all moved to "the Palouse Country" -- settling around Colton, WA. They were a hardy lot, successful farmers for a time -- controlling over 20,000 acres of prime wheat growing land. When Elizabeth died in 1913 at age 93, she was noted as having over 156 living descendants. For unknown reasons, by the end of the first generation, all of their holdings had been sold and the family dispersed. I'm trying to figure out the mystery of the "diaspora" but answers seem quite elusive and living descendants seem difficult for me to locate.
It's my belief that if somehow I could discover enough of the story, it might make for a great American novel -- perhaps of an "average" pioneer family for that time period. The pieces I've discovered have intrigue -- including a local entrepreneur who sponsored a school, a church, and a saloon; some volunteers who (regrettably) pursued the New Perce tribe, childhood deaths to diphtheria, a farmer who had to "put-away" his horse that broke his leg when it slipped on an icy-patch of a city street -- the same one who later died when a cow kicked him in the head, etc.