Oregon Trail

by Emily lovelady

April 25, 1854

My name is Summer Miller. I am from a small charming town called Toledo, Ohio. Unfortunately, last month Toledo was struck by a massive flood, which made me husband-less and my four children fatherless. I have a 15 year old daughter, Sarah, a 13 year old son, John, a nine year old son, James, and a one year old son named Daniel. I knew staying in Toledo was not the best thing for my family and I, so I decided to have embark on a perilous journey to Oregon, in search of a new husband and a better life. I have 1,000 BWUs to hold all our possessions and $200 to spend along the way if something comes up where we need it.

The first two days days of our journey were easy, almost enjoyable. We met all of our all wagons pioneers and we all get along pretty well. On the third day, we had our first important decision. All wagons have to cross Mississippi river in order to continue. Either we could forge the river and hope everyone is alright or we can take a near by ferry costing $25 run by a nice Indian man. Thinking of the well being of my children, I decided to pay the $25 and undoubtedly get across. Thankfully everyone from all the wagon groups crossed safely. A couple of days later we realized water was going to be scarce where we were going next. Thankfully we brought an extra barrel of water. Some of the other wagons wanted to stop and hunt so we all stopped for the day. My husband always did the hunting back in Toledo and I was never taught to fire a gun so my wagon did not hunt. Days later, an Indian offers to do a test and to gamble. After hearing the word gamble, i decided that this would not be something for me; I was never much of a gambler.

May 18 1854

We are about three weeks into our journey. Everyone is already tired of being on the trip so all the wagon trains stop to eat lunch. After lunch, disaster strikes. One member from Catherine's wagon fell off her wagon and got their leg run over by a wagon wheel! Thankfully it looks like they will make a full recovery with a couple of weeks in a splint. The next day, we were stopped by an Indian who demanded our wagon leader; a man named Michael is our wagon leader. The Indian wanted Michael to pass a test, which to our misfortune, Michael failed and intern we were delayed for a bit. We traveled a little further, and came to a place where we could refill our a water bins. Its a good thing that we found that watering hole because my wagon was almost completely out of water. Once again, the other members of the wagon train wanted to stop to hunt; which again I did not do. Spirits became a little bit higher today because tomorrow we start the second part of our journey.

Starting off the second part of our travels, we are faced with another choice. The trail that we are traveling on splits into three different paths, each path with positives and negatives about it. There is the Burial Ground trail goes straight through an ancient Sacred Indian burial ground. It is rumored to be a very dangerous trail that may people have been attacked by Indians on, but it is very short and will get us there in only a couple of months. There is the Cheyenne trail that goes through Cheyenne, Wyoming and is supposed to be the safest route there. It is also the longest of the three trails by kind of a large amount. Then there is the salt flat trail where food and water are not a surplus and are very hard to find. The trail also isn't known to be very safe but it is also very short. We decided to rest and continue tomorrow.

August 1 1854

A couple of weeks ago, we came across another Indian. This one however was not as nice as all the previous Indians we have crossed paths with. He threatened to kill us if we kept going. We had a meeting of all the matriarchs and patriarchs of each of the wagon trains and decided to continue ahead. The next day, a scorpion crawled into my boot while I was sleeping and bite me on the foot. I quickly felt the venom and was immediately was treated by another member of the wagon train. Fortunately I turned out to be okay.

A week later we had to scale a large mountain and in order to do so, we had to through out 500 BWUs of our possessions. After we scale the mountain and are traveling on the other side, a tribe of Indians starts following us and then chasing us. We try to out run then and a fight begins. We made out that safely. Once we past that, we reached the part of the trail where it splits. We did a group vote and decided to go on the Salt Flat trail and hopefully make it through.

Decmeber 14 1854

The begging of the of thee Salt Flat trail went pretty well. We heard rumors of neighboring wagon trains getting the cholera, but no one from our wagon train was effected. We faced a very defeating tragedy the very next day. We heard that the Salt Flats trail was not always the safest trail, and apparently there had been some rock slide that fell right in the way of the trail. That meant we had to turn around right then and there. We chose to go on the burial grounds trail after that. We safely made it through the burial grounds and now were about to go through a torturous desert with limited water and hunting options. As we are going through almost all water is completely lost. Many members from each of our wagons died during this portion of the journey. My youngest son, Daniel, perished from heat stoke. Matt and his whole family died from heat stroke as well.

Now we were at the hardest decision we have had to make yet. We could either wait out in the cold winter in a camp and restart in the spring with an almost clear shot to Oregon, head back to a camp not to far from here and enjoy our winter then restart in the spring, or we could just go for it and hope to not get stuck in the snow and make it to Oregon as soon as possible. Our wagon trail made a unanimous decision to forge on and go through the snow. All our wagons got stuck in the snow and it looks as though there is no escape. We are certain to die here. Some of the other pioneers have already turned to cannibalism and i fear that is the only option from us.