The Way West: How People Crossed the Prairie to Oregon

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Over 150 years ago, in the 1840s, thousands of families and individuals crossed the prairie all the way from Independence (Missouri) to the land known as Oregen, a place children and adults could only dream about.

There was better soil, better places to build houses, and better everything. So everyone decided to pack up, get their wagons ready, and take off on the long journey.

What did cover wagons look like?

A covered wagon was a horse-drawn wagon with a large white tarp. The pioneers dipped the tarp in oil to make it strong and waterproof. There were drawstrings in the front so you could prevent any wind or rain from getting in.

Inside the wagon, you could pack dolls, food, boxes, bedding, and chicken cages, depending on how big the wagon was.

What was a wagon train?

A wagon train was a large group of wagons that traveled the whole way in a line.

What were the dangers while on the trip?

Sickness, mud, dust storms. All of these were big dangers.

A deathly sickness that was spread through many wagon trains was cholera.

What did they eat?

Lots of corn, rice, bread, dried bacon, and that was mostly all.

When they finally arrived at Oregen, everyone was grateful and excited. But it sure took them a long time to reach the land of paradise!

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