Oregon Trail Journal

By: Charles Murphy

Entry #1

On April 25, 1854, our wagon train set out for Oregon. I am a minister from Maryland and am going to Oregon with hopes to set up a church of my own. I am bringing with me my mother Bertha who is 79 years old, my wife Anna, my 16 years old son Henry, Eva my daughter who is 13, and my twins Jhon and William who are 8 years old. The first few days on the trail was fine people were optimistic about the future. On the fourth day we had to cross the Missouri River were given a choice on weather to pay $25 to cross or just float on our own we decided to go on our own after we choose a spot with shallow water we managed to cross safely without loosing any supplies. The trip looks promising so far. There was break in the day we decided to go hunting since fresh meet was so rare on the trail. Unfortunately my family didn't bring any ammunition boxes so we could't hunt today. As we continue on, we run into a Indian gambler we don't play in fear of losing something needed.

Entry #2

After a calm start, our wagon train is three weeks into our journey to Oregon. We once again run into an Indian gambler. However, this time we play. Luckily, we complete our task and are rewarded with five ammunition boxes. This a blessing. We are starting to save food and anything fresh would be a gift from God himself. The wagons reach Sand Flats River. This river looks bigger and deeper than the previous one. We'll take the ferry and pay $45 to be safe. A few other wagons come with us on the ferry. While others chose to brave the river. We all cross safely. I guess we didn't need to pay after all. We all break for lunch and spare some time to go hunting. We use a whole box of ammunition and catch ten pounds of rabbit. The train has its first delay. We run into a dust storm at a prairie crossing. This slows us down and scared all the children, since they have never seen it before. Truthfully, I was also a little frightened as well. We could barely see or hear is was a scary event.

Entry #3

The wagons are on the burial grounds trail. It is the fastest way, but the most dangerous. There have been many reports of Indian attacks. Since we have to cross over their land, this angers them. We receive death threats from the Indians. This puts everybody even more on edge. We decide to move slow to keep a better watch for the Indians. Sadly, it takes longer but we survive without any attacks. Tragedy strikes on the trail. Rain soaked through the covered wagons and damages fifty BWU of food. This scares the twins. They're scared we're going to die and we won't make it to Oregon. Anna reassures them but I'm starting to fear this myself. After we get rid of the damaged food, we take a break to hunt. Since were already low on food, we can't afford much more bad news. Sadly, bad news is what we get. We use a whole box of ammunition but don't catch anything. I loose the gun in the river. So, now were down to Henry's gun. After a discouraging start we come to the Cheyenne River. We decide that since everyone made it safe last time we will just forge it. It looks shallow with hardly a current. Unfortunately, the current is stronger than we thought. A few wagons tip over. We loose sixty BWU of food. We also loose Bertha and two others from our train. We find there bodies down stream. They won't make it to Oregon. After a quick burial for our lost ones, we have to continue on. A fork in the trail appears. We have to choose a trail. Our train takes the Massacre trail. It's the fastest one, even though it has reports of Indian attacks. We have to make up the time we've lost. The wagons begin on the trail. Not long after that, were forced to pick up the pace after we get a tip that Indians are following us. Our wagon leader tells us to circle the wagons. We won't be able to out run them. So, we do as were told. The Indians begin to fight which forces us to fight back. Our train manages to scare them off. No one is hurt too bad. Me and one other get struck in the arm with an arrow. We are unable to use it for a while. Other than that, were all unharmed. We continue on, wondering if this new land is a great as its made out to be.

Entry #4

As our wagon train continues warily on our trip to Oregon, it is slowly picking us off. Someone fell off a wagon onto a cactus and was unable to sit for the rest of the day because they were so sore. Once again, tragedy strikes. Cholera killed Jhon and many from our train. William is devastated. I have never seen them separated. It's going to be hard without him. We had a fast burial. We had to hold William on the wagon after we left. He couldn't understand why we left him behind. It just makes this trip so much harder without Jhon and Bertha. They're with God now and it helps to know that. On the Massacre trail, a landslide blocks our path. We need our pick axe and shovel to clear a path for us to get through. As we finally get through, our train is low on food. We all stop to hunt in hopes of catching anything. Unfortunately, all I shoot is our wagon wheel. So now, we only have one spare left. Many people are thinking the trail is cursed with the soles that didn't make it to Oregon earlier. I thought this was nonsense but now I'm considering it. I never new you could have this much misfortune. On top of the deadly disease, we loose two hundred BWU to Indians. I'm starting to see, at this rate, if we don't catch food soon were not going to make it. I keep this knowledge to myself so I don't scare anyone more than they already are. We make it to the Haiti the desert. It is very hot. We loose Eva on the first day, after she walked to long in the sun. She fainted from the heat and never woke up. She was a sweet girl. She didn't deserve this, none of them did. I'm comforted to know, she is now with the others we have lost. William isn't looking very good. I knew he was out in the sun too long. He is very hot and sweating even though it's night. Anna doesn't think he'll make it through the night. I stay with William all night until I know he's gone. I think I saw this coming after Johns death. That was the longest they had ever been separated. They never liked to be without each other. William will be happier this way. We have a burial in the morning for both Eva and William and everyone else we lost in the morning. It's very saddening to know, we set out with all seven of us and now there is just me, anna and Henry. We are forced to keep moving but we have to get rid of most of our supplies. This part of the trip is supposed to be easier with less things. So we now only have five hundred BWU in our wagons. We are so close to Oregon now. We only have one mountain pass then were in Oregon. However, winter is coming. So, we could get snowed in and be unable to move. This would result in death for our dreams of getting to Oregon. The longer we wait less land will be left in the new land. We're given three choices: #1 send scouts and see if there is snow coming, #2 just brave it and see what happens, and # 3 wait in the little camp at the base of the mountain until next spring and cross when its safe. We decide on choice #2. We choose to just brave the mountain. It starts out fine but then it begins to snow. We try to go faster and push through it but we all know we made the wrong choice. We get stuck in the snow. We have to try to wait out the winter weather. We have to resort to cannibalism to try to survive. Our entire wagon train begins to die, as we slowly freeze to death. Our wagon train will not make it Oregon.