Life has been tough for me lately as my husband Thomas, I and our two girls made our way down what is now called The Oregon Trail. There are other settlers such as us, all looking for new territory in the New World keeping our faith for the new opportunities that await us. We recently learned of Lewis and Clark, and their pioneer journey. It is said they learned of a new way through America to get to new land in the Pacific Northwest. This entails traveling over two thousand miles on the Oregon Trail to get from where we used to live in Missouri to where we long to be.
In order for us to get to this new land we desire, we must travel through five states. We travel in large groups some in wagons, and others on horseback. Traveling in groups with other families, some older than us, but most we the same age as I, most of them with children of their own. My husband and I made a voluntary choice to set out on this journey, although many weren’t as lucky. Many women were left no other option but to go with their husbands, whom had made this decision on their own. This meant leaving the home in which they were accustom to. There were many hardships, one of which being the terrain, but the length of this trail was a daunting thought. For me it was the uncertainty of the unknown that took its toll.
My family was in a horse drawn wagon with oxen’s in tow pulling our supplies. Other women such as I left our homes, along with mostly everything we owned that was not a necessity. It is scary to think of all the “what ifs”, the thought of getting held up by men with guns, or being ambushed by Native Americans. We had heard stories of the Native Americans stealing things from us, burning the wagons, killing our men and forcing us women and our children into becoming their slaves. Some of the other women traveling with us had spoken of even more terrifying stories, such as if we were captured we could possibly become forced into becoming the wife of an Indian brave, and my children could be adopted by other Native families.
As a woman, myself and the other women were trusted with rationing the food during our journey, so we didn’t starve, as well as the packing and organization of the wagon, so we had supplies we needed in the rear for quick access. We made sure our husbands and children were given a hot meal since we were in charge of all the meal preparation. Should we had run out of food our men would hunt for food. It was a way of survival out there. We would rade the supplies meant for our new home, to others whom had food, or die. The threat of starvation is real out here. The heat was pain-staking in the long heavy dresses were wore. Out in the tortuous sun tending to the needs to others as they became ill, fearing we could be next.
There was a huge threat to us women of losing our loved ones to illnesses or accidents along the way, which became prevalent during our journey along the Oregon Trail. The sicknesses such as cholera and Typhoid were becoming common occurrences. It was awful, I seen other women exhausting themselves to the point that they became weak. This made them…