Why did farmers and towns people strike out from a secure settlement where they had lived for many years? What were they looking for? Was selling all their possessions worth going west to the unknown? There were no Atlas or Garmins to guide them.
Pioneers left homes of green grass, fenced areas with a comfortable cabin and several outbuildings. In 1849, people began to stretch their legs and travel across America. Newly weds to families with seven or eight children crossed this wide country hoping for a better life, many of them striking out for gold.
As we read in the May 25th post, road conditions weren't as hazardous east of the Mississippi River. There were other things to challenge our tavelers.
Cholera began to spread as the pioneers rolled through cities, across our fair country. People who were healthy in the morning were dead by the afternoon. No one was exempt.
Those who boarded steamboats in Louisville or New Orleans were in danger of boilers blowing up, catching the boat on fire. Sometimes the boats ran aground or even sunk. Many people drowned. Also the Cave-in-Rock river pirates preyed and attacked the riverboats on the lower banks of the Ohio River. During early and middle nineteenth century, the gangs baited travelers with invitations of supplies or liquor only to waylay and robbed, or worse murder them.
Traveling across country by wagon wasn't any safer. The hail storms, lightening strikes, or tornadoes ripped apart wagons and killed many of the people heading west. The questions is, was this journey worth it? It must have been, because these hardy pioneers pushed forward to the Kansas Territory-Missouri state line to sign up for a wagon train west.
However, it wasn't until they reached the jumping-off place that they realized maybe they had bitten off more than they could chew. Unbeknownst to them, water, roads, supplies were just a few problems they would deal with, crossing the Oregon Trail.
The Anderson family in Journey to Tracer's Point faced many of these disasters, challenging their ability to reach their destination. Come read about them. See how they managed to survive the hardships that faced them. Travel with them to the Oregon Trail.