Oregon Trail Journal

Miya Chinn, Core 1

Journal Entry #1

April 25, 1854

Dear Journal,

My name is Helen Keller. I am a merchant from New York City looking for better life for my family. My wife, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, wife, son, and daughter will be traveling with me for the next few months along with a few other wagons. Also, I have a budget of $550 for the entire trip. Hopefully this trip brings joy and a successful outcome!

Today our wagon leader, Kylie, wanted to cross the Missouri River. I paid $25 for a Native American to take me across on a ferry, so all of my supplies would remain safe. The only person in the wagon train who wanted to "risk it all" was Josh. Surprisingly, he survived.

Water is crucial on the Oregon Trail. Luckily, all of the wagon trains brought at least two jugs of water to keep themselves hydrated! How wonderful! Some of the others had to look for water, which wasted precious time.

After we took a water break, a Sioux Native American approached our wagon train and asked us if we wanted to gamble. We agreed to challenge the old man, and we ended up winning $25! We ended the day with victory and hardship. Most of us forgot firewood, so we had to look for hours. Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully we will have all of the other necessary supplies.


Helen Keller, age 25

Journal Entry #2

June 6, 1854

Dear Journal,

We stopped at a cold stream today! How refreshing it was! The day was good until one of my children broke their legs when a snake scared one of our horses. My boy was devastated because he will not be able to walk until we reach the end of our trip. Wish him luck!

A broken leg wasn't going to stop us from winning another challenge against a Native American! We proved that we were good at balance and won five blankets and five boxes of ammunition. Tragedy turned into happiness for once.

There was yet another river crossing today through the Cheyenne River. I paid $45 (thankfully) because the others who didn't pay lost supplies. In addition, we chose the Ancient Burial Grounds Trail because it is faster. However, it is haunted with angry Native Americans.

Wish me luck!

Helen Keller

Journal Entry #3

October 28, 1854

Dear Journal,

The Native Americans wanted us to go backwards because we were treading on native grounds. We decided to turn back, which wasted valuable time and energy. Although the day started with yet another problem, I gained 30 pounds of buffalo while hunting. This will last me a while and maybe I can dry and sell it when I reach the end of my journey!

Water is scarce again where we are traveling. Many of the people in my wagon train know how to boil and strain water, so we won't get poisoned. I heard a lot of people caught a lethal disease caused by dirty water called cholera.

There was another river crossing and I paid again. I was lucky and everyone is safe and happy for now.

Helen Keller

Journal Entry #4

December 26, 1854

Dear Journal,

We were attacked by Native Americans because we chose the deadly Salt Flats Trail. It was yet another bad choice by our wagon train and our time is being wasted while others go ahead of us.

Kevin fell in a cactus, Emma's baby is very sick, and our trip is falling apart. We chose the Massacre Trail, which was an awful choice. Angry Native Americans shot our wagons and most of our supplies are ruined. Luckily, we had animal feed which came in handy. That was the only good thing to happen today. Other than that, we ran out of water and I lost five family members to disease and hunger. What an awful day! I had to bury all of my family on the trail and I will never be able to see them again.

There is snow in all of the mountains and there's no escape! Many of us have died of hypothermia and are resorting to cannibalism. Help! There is no way out of this misery and hardship ahead!