Francis Parkman was born in Boston, the son of a Unitarian minister.
He studied history at Harvard with President Jared Sparks. Though
plagued with illness from childhood on, he was able to travel
and write, thanks to a family inheritance.
He and his cousin Quincy Adams Shaw traveled from St. Louis along
the California and Oregon Trail, camping and hunting with the
Sioux Indians and experiencing tribal and frontier life.
Highly esteemed to this day is The Oregon Trail, a dramatic
narrative of travel before the Gold Rush of 1849. Parkman's nine
volumes of realistic and romantic narrative of the conflict between
France and England in North America do not exclude atrocities
by Native Americans and LaSalles murder by his own men,
who hated his harsh commands.