Traveling Pioneers

In this project you will learn about a pioneer's life

A Pioneer's Life

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Pioneers were early Americans who traveled on the Oregon Trail. Accomplishing their dreams of finding a new life was what gave them courage and hope on their journey. Pioneers had different reasons for moving West, but all of them hoped to make a better future for themselves and their family. The path from Oregon to California was 2,170 miles, a lot to travel, and a lot to do to survive.

Reason of Traveling

Most families had different reasons of venturing westward. Some desperately wanted to leave the hectic life of the city behind and live in peace. During the 1840s, America was still a relatively new country and many Europeans and immigrants were coming to America. With all these people and new industries, farmland was becoming scarce. That is why pioneers had hoped for a good future and jobs. Furthermore, some families had heard good reviews about the life out in the West. However, the most important reason to why the people moved westward is that farmland was extremely cheap. With these journeys came great danger of Indians, food, animals, and diseases. While many survived, hundreds of people died during their hopes to improve agriculture.

The Path

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This is a map of the Oregon Trail. It was definitely a huge path, and took years to make it to the West.


Pioneers during the Great Migration had to cross Rocky Mountains and cross great rivers such as the Columbia River. The cattle needed to cross the river safely and floods happened frequently. Managing your time was also a big challenge for pioneers because they could never tell when the weather would change suddenly. If it was winter when the group reached the mountains, chances were that the snow would be impossible to cross in. Family after family, kid after kid, the people would decease and if the survivors were lucky enough, Spring would come early for them. On the mountains, food is always scarce but in winter starvation would be common. Finally, diseases such as typhus kills hundreds at once. With dangers, it was important for everyone to do their fair share of their work and never give up hope. Those are the rules of survival.
Crossing rivers was often a challenge for pioneers. Indians did help them, but everyone was helpless against the current that didn't seem to slow down.

Getting and Conserving Food

Food depended on the climate of the area and the current season. If the pioneers were in the woods or a lush place in the summer, then finding food would be an easy thing to do. Men often caught squirrels to make stew. If anyone noticed firewood, they would be sure to collect it. They knew they would need it to cook their catch of meat. Especially in the winter, warmth is an important part of survival. It is true that everyone has a liking for different tastes. However in the fall and winter, pioneers would have to eat whatever was available.

Food conservation was also very important. To do that, pioneers had to decide and control their speed properly. If the pioneers made the cattle run too fast, they would need more food. Now think, if you do not have enough food for yourself and your family then how are you going to feed the cattle? That is why you have to go slow, but not too much so you can reach the mountains by winter.


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To conclude, a pioneer's life was very difficult as well as challenging. Food, diseases, and the weather were all aspects about traveling to the West. Each family had their hopes high to make a better life in the West, but only so many could make it. As America spread out, the economy grew and life became a peaceful happy thing for mostly everyone. We should learn about these early Americans who wanted to develop agriculture, get cheap, farmland, and live with their family. These one of a kind traveler's stories are kept alive today and will be kept alive forever!