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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Oregon Trail - The Cost of Items - #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!

This week I wanted to share some of the estimated prices travelers faced during their journey with this ingenious book I found at the library, told through the eyes of a fictitious family's clever son.

They sell their house for $1850 in preparation for their journey.

They purchase stagecoach tickets from Springfield, MO to St. Louis MO at $8 per person. This is a distance of around 100 miles. The average speed of a coach was 5 miles per hour or 60 miles per day. So this journey took at least 2 days.

Once in St. Louis, they purchased steamboat passage from St. Louis, MO to St. Joseph, MO (more commonly known as St. Joe) at a cost of $12 per person and $12 freight. St Joseph would be their "jumping off" or starting point to Oregon. Here they would buy their wagon and all their supplies for the long journey.

Items they would purchase:
  • Guidebook ($0.30). We can assume the train's Captain would purchase this to guide the rest of the travelers.
  • Wagon ($150)
  • 4 Yoke Oxen ($280)
  • 2 Milk Cows ($80)
  • 1 Donkey ($50)
  • 3 Rifles ($60)
  • 30 lbs of Lead ($1.50) (to make bullets)
  • 25 lbs of Gun Powder ($5.50)
  • 1000 lbs of Flour ($150)
  • 450 lbs of Bacon ($60)
  • 25 lbs Coffee ($12.50)
  • 5 lbs Tea ($2.75)
  • 125 lbs Sugar ($67.50)
  • 1 barrel/20 lbs Pickles ($10)
  • 50 lbs of Salt and Pepper ($3)
  • 50lbs Dried fruit ($3)
  • 50 lbs Lard ($2.50)
  • 10 lbs Saleratus (Cooking Powder)($1)
  • Cooking Utensils ($4)
  • Tent ($5.00)
  • Bedding ($22.50)
  • Matches ($1.00)
  • Candles and Soap ($7.00)

Total $978.75 and about 2175 lbs.

How to Get Rich on the Oregon Trail by Tod Olson; ISBN#978-1-4263-0413-2

Photo Credits: Stage Coach By Captain-tucker - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10640949
Photo Credits: Steamboat By Unknown - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3d02054.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3662610

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