Virginia Humanities Residential Fellow A. , an independent author and scholar, reveals the life and writings of Elizabeth House Trist, the often overlooked American figure who traveled westward in 1783, two decades before the famed Lewis & Clark. Friend to Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Trist is one of two women featured in ’s narrative nonfiction project entitled Eliza! Eliza!
Just months after the end of the Revolutionary War, Eliza House Trist journeyed west and south to join her husband in Natchez, Mississippi, journal in hand. She kept the diary at the behest of Thomas Jefferson, a contemporary confidant's of Eliza. Through an examination of Eliza’s travel journal entries, objects, and lifelong letters, we get a glimpse into her personal relationship with Jefferson and other well known founders and fathers. A female figure previously sidelined to the role of spectator, Eliza Trist’s own words bring her forward as a willing and lively participant in the growth and expansion of America.