Life on the Oregon Trail

The life and journals of Elenora Simpton

April 28, 1854 through June 30, 1854

We are off on our wondrous voyage through the Oregon Trail. We are in high spirits for our trip. I have been waiting for this time when I can escape the prejudice of my hometown and ride off into the unknown to find my freedom. We have reached a river to cross. We all know how dangerous they can be. As a matter of fact, the families in our train have lost family members to river wights just a few years ago. They say that the monster umped out of the water, grabbed their uncle with its claws, and sank back to the watery depths. I don't think they're telling entirely the truth, though. (Later) We forded the river, not wanting to pay money for the ferry, and crossed safely, though I was anxious. This is great! We passed our first test on the Oregon Trail!


We are nearing the end of the first portion of our trip. We began to run low on water, but most of us carried extra water and we rode out the hard times. This prairie is very hot. There are, however, many herds of elk and bison around here. The minister let us stop for an excursion. I had to send my 13-year-old son. I don't think he's ready for this. All he ever does is sit around playing on his iWitchCraft (that strange device is scaring me) and I thought he didn't know how to hunt. Apparently, he did, and he brought home the catch of the day, an entire buffalo! I had to discard an old trunk in order to take it with us. Wood is also scarce on the prairie, but we all brought enough. We are looking forward to the rest of the trip.

July 23, 1854 through August 31, 1854

We stopped at a stream to eat this morning, and lo and behold, a child falls off a wagon and was run over. He was alright (thank goodness for that thick head), but it was a reminder of many dangers that faced us. We were ready, though, and surmounted the obstacles ahead of us. We did meet an old Indian chief, who of course gave the minister some food. Why can't I get any? He told us to try and pass a test to prove our manhood. Our leader tried, but he just couldn't make it. For that, he took 50 dollars from me. What do these crazy Indians even use them for? We continued on our journey.


We are nearing the halfway point in our quest. I think our train is ready for whatever is ahead. We reached a river a few days ago and filled up our barrels and bellies full the refreshing liquid. Then came the challenge of crossing it. I took no chances this time and forced my family to take the ferry, paying 45 dollars in the process. I marveled at the expense. As it turned out, I was right in paying. An other wagon chose to ford and they tipped over, losing precious supplies. Our leader wanted us to hunt, but I said no. I would not have little Johnny going out there with a gun. A member of our train's wife had a child, too. It was a bright spot in this dreary world. Just now, we were offered a choice of trails to take. We decided to take the long one. Sometimes, safer is just the way to go.

September 4, 1854 through October 27, 1854

The wagons are ready to go! We fixed the leg of the hurt child, and she is running around as I write. A few days after we began the second half of our journey, we had a chance to trade with the Native tribes around here. After we were done, they asked us, "Do you have open hearts?" and, thinking this was a test, we immediately said yes. Guess what? We got all got a free orphan (Yay!). Mine was 18 years old, which made me think He's 18, why can't he take care of himself? and Now I have someone older to hunt instead of little Johnny! So now, I have an 18-year-old named Kame-akura on my hands. Oh great. The saddest part of any time is losing a young one, even if I got a replacement. My one year old Jürgen, not even old enough to walk, got run over and he died. I suppose the Indian can use his Elmo themed toothbrush. We also got to hunt, and (of course) Kame-akura broke the gun. At least we brought another.


We are nearing the final leg of the journey, and I must make my monthly report. Water is, as stated before, a rarity on this trip. To clean stagnant pond water, there is a long process involved. We thankfully knew how, and no one choked and died. The wagons also reached a river with a ferry. Seeing that the water was deep in the middle, we all took the ferry, but it was another 50 dollars! I only have 50 left. A few days later, out of nowhere, savage Indians jumped us. We circled the wagons and began to fight. At the end, the minister and the baker both lost use of their right arms. A few uneventful weeks later, we arrived, weary, at the fort that commanded a divide of three main trails on the route. We chose to take the dangerous Massacre Canyon Trail in hopes of getting there speedily.

November 8, 1854 through Unknown

I begin this report with good tidings. We arrived at the Fort safely, and are continuing along the Massacre Canyon trail. Cholera had been spotted on our wagons, but it was just a practical joke by someone. The sickness passed and we continued unhindered. A landslide blocked our path through the treacherous canyon, but all of the families in our train had brought their own shovels and maybe a few pickaxes. All in all, we are happily traveling along the trail. We also had a chance to hunt during the trip. The Indian boy proved his worth when he shot the catch of the day! This more than made up for his past failure.


We have had nothing but misfortune after misfortune on the end of our voyage. How could this happen with the joviality of the previous month? First, Nearing the end of the canyon, Savages fired upon us from the walls of the gorge, forcing the wagons to circle. I lost a water barrel, which was terrible given that we had to cross a desert next. We did cross the desert safely, a nice relief from the madness, but we did lose feed and water for our animals. Then we crossed a mountain pass safely, but we had to get rid of almost half our cargo, including our precious family bible. We then had a choice: go back to the fort in case the next pass was closed or go on while crossing our fingers. We chose to go on, but I was a little iffy about the choice. I write now while we are preparing to cross. In hopes that I don't come back, take this as a memory of my life.


(This journal was found clutched in the frozen hand of a middle-aged woman. It is believed that the survivors of the bitter cold resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.)

Elenora Simpton

She is the leader of the Simpton Family after her husband was killed. She has a daughter and three sons. A widow, she left Toledo, OH to start a new life and family