Oregon Trail Journal

By: Bert Ingles

Journal Entry #1

We headed out on April 25, 1854. I am looking forward to the treasure and new land that lays ahead. My eldest daughter, Zelda, can hardly stand still, fore she is filled with endless excitment. Why she told me that she is looking forward to seeing the world. My wife Agatha and youngest daughter Frieda are happy to be leaving our little, run down house in Minnesota. A poor orphaned 14-year-old boy is also joining us on this long trip. His name is Gus Gibbs. I made an acquaintance with his folks when I was working as an old lumber man.

We have been traveling for three days and we finally reached the Missouri River. I, as being wagon leader, found a safe, shallow spot in the river for us to cross. We also found a ferry that would take the wagons across the river for $25. I as well as two of the other wagons forded though the river. Everyone crossed safely.

After we crossed the river, we continued to move along the path. Not long after the crossing we found an open field with game. Everyone decided to stop and hunt. After a while hunting I got the shot of the day with 50lbs of fresh meat! Having extra meat is always a good thing to have, or so i've heard.

Once everyone was done hunting we continued to push onward. As we continued along the clear path we had an encounter with a gambling indian. Luckily, I won and gained $25. At the end of the day I and my family still had an optimistic view of the trip ahead.

Journal Entry #2

Today a tragedy struck in the Johnson's wagon. Little ole Tank got his wee leg run over by their own wagon. We all be hopin' that it'll be fixed soon. After we splinted his leg we soon met an Indian chief. My lovin' wife and glorious daughters were quiet frightened but after talking to the nice man we were given five ammunition boxes.

After our win with the chief, we reached our second river. There was another ferry that would carry all of our wagons across the Sand Flats River. We then used our newly gained ammunition boxes to go hunting. I am purely exhausted from leading our oxen and my lovin' family, that I sit this one out. All the other folks struck good, except one man who has a horrible eye and ended up shooting his own water barrel!

As we continued on, we eventually reached a fork in the road. We decide to go through the burial grounds, even though they are sacred to the Natives. I have lil worries that we might be attacked by indians.

We have not been attacked by indians but stuck in a sand storm. The sand is a pain in all of our bums, but it is better than being seized by those natives.

Journal Entry #3

We finished the burial ground trail safely. We were all happy to be off the sacred land. As we continue on our journey, one of the families dropped their baby and ran over it! My wife screamed while every one else gasped. We all stopped to check if the babe had survived the horrible event. Luckily, the mother just picked the lil babe up and was perfectly, prefect. As we start to get back on the path we hear one of the men scream. We all rush over to him. He pulls out a scorpion that had been camping out in his old, rugged boot. His family started to treat to his wound, but I be tellin' everyone that we need to keep going.

After the whole scare, we found an open field filled with game. Every one who hunted was very successful. I, being the excellent hunter I am, got 15 pounds of turkey. Agatha told me that she will be making turkey bean soup in our dutch over tonight, my favorite!

We have been traveling for so long that our water supply has started to dwindle. We found some wear near by, but it is still and dirty. We decide to collect the water in our wooden buckets, strain the water over a piece of cloth, boil it in the dutch oven over a fire we started with flint and steel, then we will let it cool over the night. Our plan worked quiet well.

After rehydrating we started to cross the Cheyenne River. As we were all fording our way across the river, the Cambell's wagon tipped over and ole grandma got sucked under the fast current. After we brought the wagon back to it's up right position, we had a small ceremony for ole grandma and then moved on. Your could just see the mournfulness in the wife's poor eyes. After the sad moment we thought the trip couldn't get worse.

We were terribly wrong. We were soon attacked by an Indian tribe. While I was defendin' my family one sucker shot my right arm. They soon left us alone, which gave my wife time to bandage my battle wound. No matter how weak I am I still needed to make decisions. We now have a choice of two trails. One is dangerous but quicker and the other is most likely safe but twice as long. We decide to take the short cut, Massacre Trail.

Journal Entry #4

Today did not have a great start, while I was checking out a piece of dung I accidentally tripped and fell into a cactus. I had to lay face down while my lovin' family and orphan son picked all 27 thorns out of my behind. This was a great way to introduce Gus to our family. Later in the day some people started to show signs of a disease I had heard of from some folks in town. I decided not to say anything fore I need not cause any unwanted worry. Sadly, my predictions had been correct. We lost four young souls later that night. We couldn't find no head tombs so we simply layed dem bodies by a field of flowers. Every one was different after the multiple losses. They were quieter and walked with their heads hangin' low.

The next day we found yet another field full of game. We all decided to hunt. I only got a small five-pounder gofer. As we were packing up our new meat we were suddenly ambushed by indians. Every wagon lost supplies. Them feisty indians took so much from us. Luckily, they didn't hurt no one. I wasn't expecting all these attacks when we first headed out.

Journal Entry #5

Today we headed across the Hades Desert. It has been tiring, hot, and very long. People are starting to get frisky and worried. After trying to calm everyone down the whole way across ,we saw the edge of the desert in the horizon. This sight filled people with hope and happiness. Everyone seemed to put an extra hop in their step. Soon enough we reached our last challenge. The snowy mountain path. We had a couple of options. We could send scouts to check if the path was clear, go strait for the path, or go backwards to wait the winter out at a lodge. Everyone was so excited to get to Oregon that we decided to make a fast break.

In order to travel safely, we all dropped heavy supplies from our wagons. We pushed through the snow. Some folks screamed that we would die of frost bite, but I encouraged them all though it. As all hope was about to be lost, we saw a sign that read "WELCOME TO OEGON". We had made it! Everyone cheered. You could see their eyes glow with excitement, relief, and love for each other. We had survived the Oregon Trail, and it felt amazing.

I am one of the lucky men who get to share the new land and experiences with his whole family healthy and alive. Yet, I still feel a strong feeling of distress for those who lost loved ones during this adventure. I will keep them in my prayers every single gosh darn night,


Bert Ingles