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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Oregon Trail - More Costs for Things - #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 more of the estimated prices travelers faced during their journey. You can see as the travelers got further and further away from "civilization", the higher the cost of goods. An interesting note - local Missourian merchants sold goods at a higher price to emigrants than to the locals.

The ferry (controlled by the Sac and Fox Indians) to cross a river at Wolf Creek was $1 per wagon and $0.25 per animal. In general for ferry crossings, if there was a lot of rain and the water was deep/dangerous, the price would go up.

Running ferries was a profitable business, especially if the person controlled the only safe place to cross. One man on the Elkhorn River made up to $500 per day.

At Ash Hollow trading post, the cost for corn to feed cattle was $160 for 20 bushels. 200 lbs of flour was $50. Back in St. Joseph it was $0.15 per lb or $30 for 200 lbs.

At Fort Laramie trading post, a jar of lemon syrup (for flavoring) was $1.25. A bottle of ink was $0.30 (3 times the normal cost). Chewing tobacco ran for about $1.00 and up to $5.00 in Salt Lake City (originally costing $0.20).

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

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