Going west in covered wagon, A talk I had with some one who did

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I was eight years old, and down the road was a very old women, probably in her 70's, and she told me all about comeing west in a covered wagon. They had left missouri in early spring, with several wagons, And followed the platte river for a long ways. She told me how hot it was, and how dirty they all got. She said they were so tired at the end of the day, that they would just chew some hard tack, and go to sleep, mostly under the wagons. She told me about the Indians they ran into, They didn"t circle no wagons, They were mostly friendly, but as she said they smelled terrible. Rubbed some kind of grease on there selves. She said they wouldn"t talk, just sat down and stared at them. They wouldn"t leave till you gave them something. They made it to the mountains before the snow set in, and they were going to oregon,Now of course the movies made the Indians all to look bad, But as she said, that was not a problem. No bow and arrows or shoot them up's. And they were not very good looking. Just some thoughts about a time long long ago. God Bless Irene

-- Irene texas (tkorsborn@cs.com), April 12, 2002


The lady was a child when she went in covered wagon. And if I am right I think Laura Ingells of little house on the prairie, did a lot of traveling in a covered wagon in the late 18OO's, the Lady could have been in her late 80's even, And I have no reason to dought her. She was a nice sweet old lady and would not have had no reason to lie. God Bless

-- Irene texas (tkorsborn@cs.com), April 12, 2002.

That was a really neat story,Irene. I believe you:) There used to be a lady down the road from us and she was born in a wagon. I was very fortunate to get to know her before she died. She had some great stories. LaDena from Matagorda County,Tx

-- LaDena,Tx9 (littledena77458@yahoo.com), April 12, 2002.

Someone needs to get their facts straight, and it's NOT Irene. My dh's great grandparents came to Oregon by covered wagon from Indiana in 1847. They were a well known family and there are a number of books written on their trek across the country during 47, and their activities after their arrival in OR. It is very well documented, including letters by historical figures asking the family to make the trip, accounts of the wagons being built & supplies purchased, incidents on the trip, birth/marriage/death records, and deeds and other records from the town they established. The family still owns their original Oregon homestead, with many of the original buildings still standing. The main "rush" of wagon trains started coming across sometime around 1843 I believe, altho I think there were a few prior to that. The trains continued for some years after our family came across.

Irene, our family did have some run-ins with Indians. But it was more like your friend described, no Hollywood shootouts with the circled wagons. The Indians would often try to stop the wagons and demand cattle for a "toll" to pass on the road. At one point, our family's wagons were separated from the main group and accosted by a group of Indians. The father and older boys held them off with buffalo guns while the women lashed the horses at a run through the group of Indians blocking the road. One of the older girls, who was known to be "frail", surprised everyone by standing up and lashing the Indians left and right with the bullwhip as they passed through.

On another occasion, 2 of the boys were out hunting and captured by Indians. Well, more surrounded actually than captured. They (the young men) were well armed, much more so than the Indians. They were able to more or less bluff the Indians and managed to get back to the main wagon train that evening.

The Indians were not all harmless. One of the boys traded his rifle for an Indian horse. The Indians came into camp that night and stole the horse back, leaving the young man with nothing for his trouble. Later, the rifle (with broken stock) was found at the site of the Whitman massacre. (The rifle was identified by the initials engraved on the stock.)

Our family has extensive documented history of the Oregon trail crossing, and the account by Irene's friend sounds very factual. I would have no reason to doubt it. In fact, if you could remember her name, Irene, I could probably trace the records for you. (As you might guess, I'm very much into history.)

-- Lenette (kigervixen@nospam.net), April 12, 2002.

Melissa deleted the post between the two Irene"s thank you. I was wonder when the railroad first connected across , I believe it was Nevada, I love History, but not to swiff on it. I saw the wagon train tracks in Nebraska, and in oregon. Boy those people were tough. There's a peak in Nebraska, what is the name of it. where all the trains stopped at and carved there names.

-- Irene texas (tkorsborn@cs.com), April 12, 2002.

Pompey's Pillar? Lewis and Clark's names are there. What a rush I got seeing that!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Rose (open_rose@hotmail.com), April 12, 2002.

The peak is called Chimney Rock and it is close to Scottsbluff,NE. We live close to the Oregon Trail here in Nebraska. Cindy

-- Cindy Herbek (ddh40203@navix.net), April 12, 2002.

We used to live in WY, there is a place there called Register Cliff, where hundreds of Pioneers carved their names, dates, etc. into the sandstone cliff. It is really eerie to see them. There are also wagon ruts still in existence near there. A site to visit if you have time www.wyonebtourism.com/NorthP/Register_Cliff/ Take Care, Julie

-- Julie (okwilk213@juno.com), April 12, 2002.

My Mother's relatives came out to Oregon in a covered wagon in 1844.They had a big family reunion in 1994 in the Cottage Grove area.My Mother went and got lots of information. We were right in the middle building our house,so we didn't go. Some of the homestead land is still in the family. Hope to go down there someday and look around.

-- Jo in Central Wa. (countryjo16@hotmail.com), April 12, 2002.

Irene, reading your post reminded me of when I was little. Mom took us for a ride to the neighboring reservation. When I saw all those wild looking Indian kids running around, I ducked down in the back seat of the car and asked Mom to get us away from there because I didn't want to get scalped by them. Mom laughed so hard at me as she reminded me that I was Indian, too!! LOL

And when I watched a Western on TV, I always wanted the cowboys to win. My sisters told me to be quiet, it's only a movie and not real!

-- Jean in No. WI (jat@ncis.net), April 12, 2002.

My husband's grandfather that just passed away a couple of weeks ago (he was 101), came to Oklahoma on a covered wagon. His family came from Missouri and settled on a large farm. He stayed on that farm all of his life, raised his family there. He trained mules and draft horses to plow and pull. He helped several families get through the depression. He was a real interesting man even though he didn't get out and see the world.

-- cowgirlone in ok (cowgirlone47@hotmail.com), April 13, 2002.

Irene, I really enjoyed you relating the experience of crossing "the Great Divide". I have nothing to add as to the crossing, but have some information which might explain why the natives smeared themselves with fat.

According to a magazine article I read recently (The Backwoodsman, in case you were interested), the reason why the natives smeared themselves with fat was the fat acts as sunburn lotion. This "Prehistoric Copper-Tone" greatly reduced sun and wind burn (though it did smell to high heaven).

Thought that was worth mentioning . . . again, thanks for the interesting topic.

My grandfather told me of some interesting stories told to him by his grandfather, who lived in the deep south Texas brush in the mid 1800's. Some natives were friendly, others weren't, so ranchers had to be extra vigilant to be sure that stock wasn't run off or stolen outright.

-- j.r. guerra in s. tx. (jrguerra@boultinghousesimpson.com), April 15, 2002.

I am only 43 and I grew up playing in chuckwagons and stage coaches. also playing on the streets of a ghost town. Do you believe Me LOL my grandpa and all my mom's family worked for Knotts Berry Farm. It was a fun childhood I can tell you. I always feel a bit out of place and when I watch a old western that feels like how I grew up. I bet at my age I am one of a very few that feels like she grew up in the late 1800's. Anyway I love theys posts and thought I would tell you I have red a set of books along these lines I thought I would tell you about. They are called Covered Wagon Women/ diareis and letters from the western trails. Edited and Compiled by Kenneth L Holme. I don't know how may volumes there are but I have them to Number 9. They are soft cover and are about $12 each. I got them at the book nook in West Plains, Mo. I guess if you can't find them where you are you could call this book store and have them sent. They are So Very Interesting I cant even tell you how much I have enjoyed them!!! On the back of the book it says University of Nebraska Press Lincoln Ne then it has the url http://nebraskapress.unl.edu If you want some really good reading go get some of these books. It is a wonderful acount of history through the eyes of the women on the wagons west!

-- Teresa (Mo) (c3ranch@socket.net), April 17, 2002.

Well,I am going to add my two-cents here and hope to not offend anyone.I am a female and I drive a wagon team cross-county,not in any means as far as the people mentioned above but it seems like quite a distance to me.3 times a yr. in the spring several of us(Mostly families), get togeather and drive horse teams to different parts of Ark.The days out are 6 the first drive,8 the second and 15 the last.We carry everything we need in our wagons,not unlike the first travelers,but we restock supplies at grocery stores along the route(just pull in to a Kroger with 5-6 horse drawn wagons and giggle at the looks you get!)I get quite a few looks because I am a woman driver(I drive alone,harness my own team,and try to present a lady-like apperance at all times).Everyone does take a shower at night(from solor heated shower bags),this is the one thing I miss on our rides-my bath tub and bubble baths!LOL But it is so much fun and everyone really enjoys it.Our biggest obstacles are traffic-sorta' like injuns' in the old west-you never know if they are going to try to spook your horses by blowing by or are going to be polite and slow down.I can just imagine how hard the pioneers had it...we have paved highways and road signs...they had no roads or Krogers! Thanks for taking time to read.

-- k in ark. (kwhite59@hotmail.com), June 25, 2002.

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