In and around the 1840s, thousands of people packed up their lives and their belongings to seek the Promised Land. That Promised Land was Oregon, and the Oregon Trail was the method for getting there. This involved hooking on to a wagon train in Missouri and following guides across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains. It was a perilous journey, but one that they felt would lead to great reward.
Along the way, they suffered from dysentery. They lost people and possessions while fording rivers. They watched as oxen died of exhaustion. They had wagon wheels break on mountain passes. They dumped valued items to lessen the weight of their load.
Many people made it to Oregon to establish new lives. However, many are also buried along the trail, left behind with pianos, chests and other pieces of furniture. It was truly a difficult and amazing migration.
Tomorrow, I leave for Oregon. However, I will not be taking the route the Marcus and Narcissa Whitman followed. I will be flying in a plane and will get there in a few hours. This is not my first trip to Oregon, but it will be the first time that I have had time to look around. It will be interesting to see the land that so many felt was important enough to risk their lives for.
I will also be going to a football game between the University of Oregon and the University of Tennessee. It will be a short trip but an interesting one. That means my next post will be about my migration to Oregon. I can’t speak for my cohorts, but, hopefully, I won’t get dysentery.