Oregon Trail Journal

By: Katelyn La

My Family

My name is Ben and I am a farmer from Tennessee. I have a 5 and a 3 year old son. My previous wife died and I now have another wife named Jennifer. She is pregnant. My sons are named John (5) and Bill (3).

My Supplies

I have $150 dollars to spend on our journey. I also have 1000 BWU's worth of room in my wagon. In there, I brought:

- 4 blankets (12 BWU)

- 1 clock (5 BWU)

- 2 gallons of coal oil (24 BWU)

- 1 cooking stove (75 BWU)

- 1 family set of dishes (20 BWU)

- 1 dutch oven (6 BWU)

- 15 yards of fabric (12 BWU)

- 2 flint and steel (4 BWU)

- 1 frying pan (6 BWU)

- 3 lanterns (9 BWU)

- 1 spinning wheel (25 BWU)

- 1 animal feed (30 BWU)

- 2 extra boots (8 BWU)

- 6 clothing (120 BWU)

- 4 eating utensils (4 BWU)

- 3 first aid family kits (30 BWU)

- 2 hunting knives (6 BWU)

- 2 rifles (20 BWU)

- 2 snowshoes (8 BWU)

- 1 hammer (2 BWU)

- 1 pitcher and small bowl (10 BWU)

- 1 oxen yoke repair kit (15 BWU)

- 1 rope 100 feet (20 BWU)

- 1 shovel (7 BWU)

- spare wagon wheel (15 BWU)

- 1 set of 4 steel animal traps (20 BWU)

- 1 vice (5 BWU)

- 2 dried beef 25lbs each (50 BWU)

- 2 dried fruit 10lbs each (20 BWU)

- 1 wood box (25 BWU)

- 1 salt 25lbs (25 BWU)

- 1 pack of vegetables 25lbs (25 BWU)

- 2 water barrels 20 gallons each (320 BWU)

- 1 ammunition box (2 BWU)

Total BWU's: 812

Day 1

Today is April 25th, 1854 and our wagon train has just started going down the trail. We have come across our first obstacle. The Missouri River is in our way and we have to cross it. There is a Native American who offers to take us across the river in a ferry for $25. Bill can't swim so our wagon decides to take the ferry. One wagon in our wagon train decides to ford the river. We all end up making it safely across. We are all glad nobody has gotten injured or sick while crossing the river. Our wagon now has $125. Some of the families in our wagon train decide to go hunting. I go hunting with them. I get lucky and am able to shoot 15lbs of deer (dried) and use one ammunition box. (812 - 2 + 15 = 825) Total BWU's: 825
We continue on the trail and we see a Native waving to us. We stop and find out the Native wants to gamble: if we lose, we owe him something; if we win, he owes us something. My wife does not agree that it is safe to gamble with the Native, but we do it anyway. We ended up losing his bet and lost $25 to him. We now have $100 total. Our wagon train needs wood and our wagon has some, but some wagons did not bring any wood boxes. Our train lose some time and speed looking for more wood.

Total BWU's for DAY 1: 825
Total $ for DAY 1: $100

Day 2

We continue down the trail. Along the way, a wagon in our train tips, and it falls on somebody's leg. Their leg is now broken, but I hope they feel better soon. As we travel, we come across a Native chief and he gives us a challenge to complete. Thankfully, we successfully complete the task and the chief gives us 5 ammunition boxes and 5 blankets per wagon. We also gain some speed. (825 + 5 + 5 = 835) Total BWU's: 835
We refill our buckets in the river. There was another ferry, so we chose to cross the river in it for $45. Our wagon now has $55 dollars total. Our family agrees to try not to spend it in the future until it's necessary. With extra space in the wagon, we could afford to go hunting, so I went, and I gained 10lbs of rabbit (dried) and used 1 ammunition box (835 + 10 - 1 = 844) The total BWU's we have now: 844
We need rifles along the way and 6 wagons have them, so we gain some speed. Along the way, my wife gives birth to a baby son. We decide to name him Jeremiah. He is a happy and healthy newborn and we are glad and thankful for him. Later along the trail, we come to two separate roads. We choose the shorter road- the risky burial grounds. My family is uneasy about this route, but our wagon train still takes it, so we will all get to our destination faster. The rumors of the Natives in the burial grounds and the attacks that occur here make everyone feel more cautious as we travel down this road. As we continue along, we all get caught in a dust storm, but we make it out safely and gain speed along the way.

Total BWU's for DAY 2: 844
Total $ for DAY 2: $55

Day 3

Many of the Natives are warning us not to continue on this path, but we still do. Everybody is on their toes, watching in case of an attack or ambush. We keep traveling at a steady pace, but unfortunately our wagon tips. John was almost crushed, but we pulled him out of the way just him time. He seems a little traumatized, so Jennifer is soothing him right now. We lost 100 BWU's in our wagon (844 - 25 Beef - 40 Clothing - 10 1st Aid Kit - 25 spinning wheel = 744). Total BWU's now: 744
I decide to go hunting because we now have over 200 BWU's of room. I gain: 15lbs of wild turkey (dried) and use one ammunition box. Total BWU's now: 758
We are running out of water right now, and it's not just our wagon, it's everybody's. The only source of water we could find was stagnant and dirty, so we tried to think a solution to get it drinkable. We tried our solution, and it partly worked, so we gained a little speed as we continued on. We come up to the Sheyenne river and have to cross it. The river conditions are not good, so I use the little bit left of our money to cross the river in a ferry. I had to pay $50 and now I have $5 left. We lose some our food (758 BWU's - 10 vegetables - 10 fruit - 30 beef/meat) so we now have 708 BWU's total.

Total BWU's for DAY 3: 708
Total $ for DAY 3: $5

Day 4

Today we continue along down the road, and we come to 3 trails. We take the most dangerous one because it's the shortest. As we go along Massacre trail, I feel the ground rumble underneath my feet. It turns out to be a landslide! We don't get hurt, luckily, but we get delayed and are slower as we continue down the trail because not everybody had a shovel and pick axe to help move all the rubble. After the landslide, everybody is wary of what will happen next. Out intuitions are correct when we get ambushed on the trail. No lives were lost, only BWU's. (-100 BWU's: 708 - 40 clothing - 12: coal oil - 10 first aid kit - 25 salt - 10 pitcher and small bowl - 3 lantern = 608) Total BWU's are now: 608

We try to travel across the desert, and we make it. The only thing our family lost was all the non-dry food. (-15 vegetables) We are now going up the mountain. It is cold and icy near the top, and we choose the shortest and most treacherous path to cross the mountain. My family is now afraid of what might happen, and I admit that I am also frightened of what may happen. The way up the mountain is steep, so we have to cut down our supplies to 500 BWU's to haul our wagon up. (608 - 75 stove - 5 clock - 20 dishes - 4 eating utensils - 4 boots = 500) I now have 500 BWU's. As we go up, we get stuck in the mountain pass, and slowly freeze/starve. My children are weakening the most. We keep reassuring them that everything will be alright while everyone is slowly starving to the point of cannibalism. I only hope for my family to survive or die a peaceful death. However, now, I'm not sure it's possible, but all I can do for now is at least try to help.