Adam Cartwright was born in his grandfather’s house in Boston, Massachusetts around 1830. His father Ben was first officer under Captain Abel Stoddard aboard The Wanderer. Adam’s mother, Elizabeth Stoddard. was the Captain’s daughter. The young couple started their life together and began to dream of going West, of “tall sons and tall trees”. Sadly, Elizabeth died shortly after delivering her son, but not before making Ben promise to continue with his dream. With his small son in tow, Ben started his long journey westward.
By the time Adam was five, he and his father had made it as far as Illinois. With very little money and a sick child, Ben stopped in a small town on the banks of the Sangamon River with the hope of finding work to buy medicine. While there, he met Miss Inger Borgstom, who befriended Ben and especially little Adam. The couple soon married and the little family continued the journey west.
When Adam was six, while still traveling west, he was presented with a baby brother named Eric, whom he quickly nicknamed “Hoss”. During an Indian attack on their wagon train, Inger placed baby Hoss in Adam’s arms and shortly after was killed by an Indian arrow before Adam’s eyes. The small boy had lost the only mother he had ever known. A sadly diminished family continued on their trek, ultimately settling near the shores of Lake Tahoe in what was then known as Western Utah. A quiet, serious little boy, Adam helped his father to build their ranch, called the Ponderosa.
On a trip to New Orleans, Ben met and married his third wife, Marie DeMarigny. Marie brought a woman’s touch to her new family and the boys had a mother again. When Adam was twelve another brother, Joe, was added to the family. For nearly five years after Joe’s arrival life was good for the family. However, shortly before Joe’s fifth birthday, Marie fell from her horse and died – another mother lost.
Adam returned to the East to attend college, where he studied architecture. Witty, articulate, and with a love of mathematics, literature, poetry and music, he chose to return to the Ponderosa and his family. This tall, handsome man with black hair, hazel eyes, dimples and a propensity to lean had strong convictions and a keen sense of right and wrong. Responsible, level-headed and prone to keep a tight rein on his emotions, he could appear aloof and arrogant at times as well. Just as often he could let loose and show his dry wit and good humor.
Eventually, Adam’s insatiable thirst for knowledge caused him to leave the Ponderosa to explore new destinations around the world.
Written by Bonanza Brand Member jojay
Photo Collage designed by Bonanza Brand Member Littlejoy