Oregon Trail

Here's some information about life on the Oregon Trail

Hard Work payed off on the Trail

Most days a wagon would travel 10 to 15 miles. But if it was wet and rainy, that caused mud. If it was muddy a wagon might not even travel a mile. You would get up at around 4:00 and be on the trail by 7:00. During those three hours you would start a fire then cook breakfast. After that you would round up the cattle and load up the wagon from the night before. At night you would sleep in the wagon, under the wagon, in a tent, or under the stars.

Women didn't have it easy

At home before traveling on the trail, men did the working and women did household cleaning. House hold labor was harder than what it is now without any tools, like vacuum cleaners, swiffers, and cleaning chemicals, women didn’t have it easy. The house got much dirtier easily than today. Smokey oil lamps, smoke and cinder from a coal fire, and there was no plumbing. If you wanted hot water you would need to boil it on the stove, but first fetch it from the well. Some women hired maids to help them with cleaning. After a long day at cleaning, women would need to make dinner. Women didn’t always have to do the work by themselves. Many had daughters to help. As soon as a daughter could walk they would help mother in the kitchen cooking, or cleaning the house.

Life on the Trail was Harsh

Pioneers faced many hardships. Blizzards, Indians, and prairie fires were just a few things that happened. Blizzards were the worst thing that could happen to a wagon train. Wagons didn't protect the family from strong winds, and snow, and made it hard to see trough the snow. You had a 50-50 chance to get by indians. Some were friendly and some wanted to attack pioneers and steal their things, including people. Prairie fires usually happened when either a bolt of lighting hit dry prairie grasses. Or when a careless pioneer made a fire and didn't put it out. Becoming a pioneer was a dangerous job.