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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Oregon Trail - The Journey - #TidbitThursday


Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays! The next few weeks I'm veering off my normal Texas History research path to dive deep into the Oregon Trail and share my research with you! Hope you enjoy!


By 7am, the wagon train started moving. Each day they travelled about 15 miles (which doesn't seem like a lot considering their entire journey was 2000 miles.

The train would follow the same paths taken by previous travelers and they would confirm their distance and position by landmarks along the way. Popular landmarks (even today) include Courthouse and Jail Rock (second picture above) and Chimney Rock (first picture above), both in Nebraska.

At about the 600 mile mark (at 15 miles per day would be about 40 days) they would reach the trading post Fort Laramie (in modern-day Wyoming). Here they could refill their supplies, rest their oxen and families.

The next big stop was South Pass where they would cross the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. Interestingly, this is an area where water on the western side flows down to the Pacific Ocean and water on the eastern side flows down in the direction of the Atlantic.

1 in 10 travelers did not complete the journey. Deadly diseases (like cholera), injuries or accidents plagued them. One sad example of family tragedy in the book was the Sager family. Farmer Henry Sager, his wife Naomi and their 7 children (the baby, Henrietta, having been born on the journey) headed to Oregon for better farm land. Along the way, their daughter Catherine (9 years old) jumped out of a moving wagon. Her dress was caught and she was thrown under a wagon wheel which crushed one of her legs. The doctor was able to set it right away but she was confined to the wagon the rest of the journey. Her father became ill and died around Laramie, Wyoming. Naomi caught "camp fever", a form of typhus which resulted in high fever, chills, rashes and confusion. She also died. The orphans were cared for by some of the train members and the doctor. Captain Shaw, in charge of the wagon train, helped make arrangements for the orphans with Dr. Whitman at the mission.

How Many People Traveled the Oregon Trail? by Miriam Aronin; ISBN#978-0-7613-5332-4

Photo Credits: https://www.visitnebraska.com
Read more about the Sager family here: http://oregonpioneers.com/The%20Sager%20Family.htm

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