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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Oregon Trail - Diseases and Disasters - #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!

Wagons required a lot of maintenance to make the 2000 mile journey. Every day the wheels must be greased with lard from buffalo or other animals.

Before crossing a river, emigrants used long poles to test for quicksand and they would plant them into the ground where it was safe to cross. Some people would tar their wagons to make them more buoyant.

Cholera was a deadly disease whose symptoms included diarrhea, stomach and leg cramps, and vomiting. Emigrants would try to cure it with calomel, laudanum (yes - believe it or not and many history stories include addiction to this "cure"), or mint tea.

Indians and probably many other unscrupulous people would steal horses and/or oxen (and resell them). Wagons were circled around animals at night to keep them penned in and guarded.

Traders burned acres of grassland to force emigrants to sell starving cattle or milk cows cheap and then they would turn around and resell them at high prices.

Oxen and cattle could succumb to Alkali poisoning if they drank alkaline water. Symptoms included swelling of stomach and chest, cough, and death. One cure was to pour grease or water-flour mixture down their throats.

Oregon did not recognize the land-claims of African Americans.

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

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