Review by Bill Tracy


Photo Galleries
Martha Frey's Book
Tracy Ranch History
Guest Book
Contact Me
What's New


Home Portrait of a Western Family Reviews Review by Bill Tracy

Martha Tracy Frey - Photo by Greg Iger

Martha Tracy Frey, 87, with the help of her daughter, Nancy, recounts the trials, privations and triumphs of her pioneer ranching Tracy family in Portrait of a Western Family.

Mrs. Frey's 429 page book, liberally illustrated with period and current photographs, chronicles her family's history commencing with a great-uncle leaving Pennsylvania to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California to the current thriving diversified farming operation in Buttonwillow.

The book is the second authored by a family member. Her mother, Fannie Tracy, wrote The Tracy Saga in 1966. Many pertinent passages from the earlier book are effectively woven into Portrait of a Western Family creating a smooth and very readable chronology. The main focus of Mrs. Frey's book is about her generation, covering the near loss of the ranch during the depression, the transition from a horse and cattle operation to diversified farming in WWII. It continues through the 50's & 60's during the ranch's greatest period of expansion when her husband, brothers and brother-in-law had more energy and vision than credit at the bank. 

Final chapters reveal the current operation of the ranch by the author's grandsons and grand nephews. She includes brief histories and photographs of each family plus a genealogical family tree to help the reader follow the lineage. The last pages include a very detailed "Tracy Family Time Line" tracing the bloodline from William the Conqueror to the latest birth in 2003.

Portrait of a Western Family chronicles deprivation, floods, droughts, mosquitoes, family losses, heartbreak, triumphs and most important perseverance. After reading the book, one can easily see how this family with so much history of "pulling together" has been able to maintain a strong family business through five generations. Portrait of a Western Family is Americana that reads well.

Bill Tracy