FAQ: How Did Travelers Pay For The Journey?

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail was a 2,000-mile route that ran from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, and was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers to emigrate west in the 1800s. It was difficult to navigate and snaked through present-day Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon.

Missionaries Blaze the Oregon Trail

Missionaries were among the first to cross the Oregon Trail, with Nathan Wyeth leading the first missionary group west in 1834, where they established an outpost in what is now Idaho.

Marcus Whitman

Marcus Whitman, a missionary, set out on horseback in 1835 to prove that the westward trail to Oregon could be traversed safely and further than ever before. His party made it to the Green River Rendezvous, then faced a grueling journey across the Rockies with the help of Hudson Bay Company trappers.

Great Emigration of 1843

The Great Emigration of 1843, which began on May 22 and lasted five months, was one of the most significant events in American history, as it effectively opened the floodgates of pioneer migration along the Oregon Trail. The group consisted of 120 wagons, about 1,000 people, and thousands of livestock.

Cayuse War

The incident sparked a seven-year conflict between indigenous peoples and the federal government of the United States.

Life on the Oregon Trail

Emigrants had to sell their homes, businesses, and any belongings they couldn’t take with them, as well as hundreds of pounds of supplies such as flour, sugar, bacon, coffee, salt, rifles, and ammunition, in wagons that were typically six feet wide and twelve feet long.

Oregon Trail Route

Thousands of pioneers traveled thousands of miles along the Oregon Trail, crossing the Great Plains, following the Platte River, and ascending the Rocky Mountains. Summer thunderstorms made travel slow and dangerous, so leaving in April or May was critical for the best chance of survival.

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Independence Rock

The “Great Register of the Desert” was named after the rock. Settlers climbed the Rocky Mountains to the South Pass, then navigated the Snake River Canyon and the Blue Mountains, with some continuing south into California.

Dangers on the Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail became a well-worn path and an abandoned junkyard of surrendered belongings, as well as a graveyard for tens of thousands of pioneer men, women, and children who died of diseases like dysentery, cholera, smallpox, and flu.

The End of the Oregon Trail

Thousands of emigrants used the Oregon Trail on their way to California, and it was also a major thoroughfare for massive cattle drives between 1866 and 1888, before railroads virtually eliminated the need for wagons in the West by 1890.

How much did it cost to travel the Oregon Trail?

The overland journey from the Midwest to Oregon and California required a six-month journey across 2,000 miles of difficult terrain, and it was also an expensive venture, costing a man and his family around $1,000.

What was the journey on the Oregon Trail like?

Life on the Oregon Trail Planning a five- to six-month journey across rugged terrain, which could take up to a year, was no easy task. Emigrants had to sell their homes, businesses, and any valuables they couldn’t take with them, as well as purchase hundreds of pounds of supplies, including flour.

How did travelers travel west?

Hundreds of thousands of people traveled westward on the Oregon Trail between 1841 and 1869, many in large wagon trains carrying their belongings in covered wagons.

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Who traveled the Oregon Trail?

Trappers, fur traders, and missionaries (c. 1811u201340) traveled on foot and horseback along portions of what would become the Oregon Trail.

Can you still walk the Oregon Trail?

You can walk the Oregon Trail, too: there are several long segments that can be backpacked or day hiked, as well as dozens of short hikes near historic attractions and interpretive centers.

What was the greatest cause of death on the Oregon Trail?

Accidental deaths on the trail included falling off or under wagons, being crushed by wagon wheels, and injuries from handling domestic animals. Wagon accidents were the most common, with both children and adults falling off or under wagons and being crushed under the wheels.

What if you were a child on the Oregon Trail?

Follow Josephine and Stephen as they camp in the wilderness, look out over incredible landscapes, and prepare for their new lives in the West in If You Were a Kid on the Oregon Trail (If You Were a Kid) Paperback u2013 September 1, 2016.

Why did settlers use the Oregon Trail?

Economic problems infuriated farmers and businessmen, and free land in Oregon and the prospect of finding gold in California enticed them westward. The majority of the pioneer families followed the Oregon-California Trail or the Mormon Trail.

Why did the emigrants have to wait for the grass to grow?

The need for grass and forage to feed their stock along the trail meant emigrants couldn’t realistically leave until springtime, when the grasses were again growing, so a timely departure for the overland trip was critical for both the emigrants and their livestock’s well-being.

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Why didn’t most pioneers ride in their wagons?

The wagons were pulled along the dusty trail by teams of oxen or mules. People didn’t ride in the wagons very often because they didn’t want to wear out their animals; instead, they walked alongside them, becoming just as dusty as the animals.

How much did a wagon cost in the 1800s?

It was expensiveu2014up to $1,000 for a family of four, including a $100 wagon that required the use of four or six animals to pull.

What was life like when traveling west?

Because the climate in the West was drier than in the East, and the terrain was often harsher, immigrants to the West had to adapt and find new ways of doing things to survive, aided by advancements in transportation, communication, farm equipment, and other areas.

Is the Oregon Trail still used today?

Pioneers heading west from Missouri used the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail to find fertile lands; today, travelers can follow the trail along Route 66 or Routes 2 and 30.

How much did oxen cost in the 1800s?

During the second half of the 1840s, the price of a yoke of oxen ranged from $25 to $65.

What percentage of settlers died on the Oregon Trail?

It is estimated that 6-10% of all emigrants on the trails died from illness, with disease claiming as many as 30,000 lives out of the estimated 350,000 who began the journey. Given the trail’s length of 2,000 miles, this would mean an average of 10-15 deaths per mile.

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