My Oregon Trail Journey

By: Ralph Johnson

Day #1

My name is Ralph Johnson and today, April 24, 1854, I set of on a journey to Oregon. I left my job as a minister in Maryland behind in hopes of finding a better life in the west. With me I brought my mother Pearl, my wife Judy, my sons Dale, Arnie, and Arthur,and my daughter Hilda. I am in a wagon group with many other families in order to have a safe trip. I start out with 300 dollars and 1,000 bulk weight units.


The first couple days were good and everyone was optimistic. Three days in we stumbled apron our first hitch. We had to cross the Mossuri river. We found a safe place to walk across but it would still be a risk. Luckaly there was an indian that had a ferry with a fee of 25 dollars to get across safely. I decided to pay the indian for a safe trip across the river.


A few days later we stopped for hunting but I decided not to hunt because I did not bring any ammunition. Also, I did not have room in my wagon.


A couple of days later we approached an indian who wanted to gamble for a prize. No one in my wagon group gambled. The first couple of weeks went very fast with few delays.

Day #2

Now we are three weeks into the journey. So far our journey has been very calm. We came upon a pond a decided to take a break and eat some lunch. As we start back up again, Catheryn's wagon falls over. She has a broken leg but with proper care she should be fine.


A few days later we run into a chief indian. He makes our wagon leader, Michael, pass a test. He explains that the test is if you pass it you are in manhood. Unfortunately, Michael failed the test which resulted us each paying the chief 50 dollars. Now I have a total of 225 dollars.


A week later we came across the San Flats River. There was a ferry that we could take across but the price was more expensive. I decided to pay 40 dollars to get across the river safely. After that things were going good along the oregon trail.


Two weeks later we had to make a decision. There was a fork in the road. One way to go was the Burial Grounds trail. The burial grounds trail was the shorter option but it was more dangerous. The other option was the Shianne River trail. This trail was safer but it took nearly twice as long. Our wagon group decided to take the burial grounds trail.

Day #3

Now my wagon group and I are on the burial grounds trail. Things are going good so far until we run into an indian. The indian warned us not to keep going on this trail but to turn around and go on the Shianne River Trail. We couldn't back out now so we decided to keep on going. We went on peacefully for quite a while until Emily got stung by a scorpion but should be okay.


A few weeks later water was getting more scarce and the only water in sight was mucky water. We knew that we needed to drink water so we came up with a plan. We decided to boil the water on a dutch oven over the stove. That should get rid of all of the bacteria to make it safe to drink. But it wasn't. The water still had muck and weeds in it. We needed to drain the water with a cloth but I did not have one. It delayed us a bit because we had to hunt for fresh water.


Five days later I payed 50 dollars to go over a river on a ferry. As we go the ferry trips are getting more and more expensive because there are more people and it is more of a risk to go through the water.


Throughout my journey me and my family have already eaten 60 bulk weight units of food. I hopefully have enough food to get me through the end of my journey.


I currently have to write with my left arm because my right arm was wounded. We came upon a group of angry indians. I got shot in my right arm both an arrow. it is difficult for me to help out because of the pain in my arm. I am taking care of my arm so hopefully I will have a good recovery.


We came upon another fork in the road. There were three options. The Massacre Trail was very dangerous but short, another was safe but very long. The third option was the San Flats Trail. This trail is as short as the Massacre Trail but it has mixed reviews. I have heard it to be a safe option with a plentiful amount of resources. But I have just heard from a man that it is just as bad as the the Massacre Trail. We decided to take the San Flats Trail in hopes that it is safe.

Day #4

As we go on the San flats trail, Raelynn falls out of her wagon and on a cactus. It takes a while to get all of the pins so we fall behind. Family members of our wagon group are dying because of cholera. Cholera is caused by dirty water or food. It takes within hours to die of cholera.


My son Arthur passed away today from cholera. We stopped for a short burial but had to go on.


A week later we run into a boulder in the road and we could not go any further. We had to turn around and go back on the Massacre Trail. We are now very behind and won't get to Oregon when we planned.


So now we continue on the Massacre Trail. We went through a desert for miles. Everyone was miserable because of the heat. Matt and his family suffered and died from heat stroke along with my other son Arnie and my mother Pearl. Life on the Oregon Trail is not easy. It has been a distressing journey and I hope that it is worth it.


I am tired, hungry and cold. We are in the mountains in the freeing cold snow. We are scarce on food. I am sick and frightened. For the few of us that are left, we are resulting to cannibalism. I don't think that it will be long. My dreams of settling in Oregon will not turn into a reality.