Whither thou Goest

with illustrations by Debbie Casterlin

​The true story of two long-lost pioneers whose dream wouldn’t die, and how their family set out to find them more than a century later.​


Whither Thou Goest is the first nonfiction book to focus on 1878 America, when the world was in the depths of a depression like none before. In two parallel journeys that take place in the past and the present, Whither Thou Goest attempts to make people long gone come back alive. It examines who we are, where we’ve been, and has everything to do with where we are going.

The first journey started in 1878. The author’s great-grandaunt & uncle, Mary Jane & Theodore Beardsley—with their two young daughters, Eva and Frankie—followed their dreams of a new life in the American West. 


They left their small-town Wells Bridge home in Upstate New York by rail and, after a false start on the harsh prairie near South Dakota’s Sioux Falls, they headed west again—this time by wagon train, entirely unaware of the savage Indian war directly in their path. Swallowed up by time, they became forgotten by everyone back East. Everyone except one—the author.


The second journey started in 1996. By chance, the author learned that Frankie’s family home was now the Frazier Farmstead Museum in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. The curator had discovered a small diary kept by Eva—a bare-boned chronicle of their journey west by wagon train. The inspired author and his wife decided to follow their trail across America and learn all they could about the Beardsley’s 1878 America. What they discovered—and what they learned—is as exciting as any novel to come out of the American West.

2004 Nonfiction Book of the Year Award – Jada Press

“Your book received incredibly high scores and is truly a work for you to be very proud of. All of us at JADA Press look forward to hearing even greater things about you and your writing in the future.”

— Glenda Ivey, Owner, JADA Press Publishing, Jan. 7, 2004