how long did it take to sail from england to
By the time the Pilgrims had left England, they had alr...
1 The Transcontinental Railroad
In the late 1800s, the railroad became the primary mode of transportation for settlers moving to the western territories and states.
Why – and how – did the first settlers move westwards? The first white Americans to move west were the mountain men, who went to the Rockies to hunt beaver, bear and elk in the 1820s and 1830s. Then, in 1841, a wagon train pioneered the 3,200km-long Oregon Trail to the woodland areas of the north-west coast of America.
Although there weren’t motor vehicles, airplanes, or even steam technology at the time, there were various modes of transportation available to the Colonists. The most common mode, and the cheapest, was walking. People would travel by foot for extraordinary distances to get supplies or visit friends and family.
The covered wagon made 8 to 20 miles per day depending upon weather, roadway conditions and the health of the travelers. It could take up to six months or longer to reach their destination.
The Oregon Trail was a roughly 2,000-mile route from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, which was used by hundreds of thousands of American pioneers in the mid-1800s to emigrate west. The trail was arduous and snaked through Missouri and present-day Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and finally into Oregon.
Some people did not have wagons and rode horseback, while others went west with handcarts, animal carts, or even the occasional carriage. Farmland near Newberg, Oregon, in the Willamette River valley, the destination of tens of thousands of emigrants on the Oregon Trail.
Explorers, fur traders and settlers used the rivers for transport. Canoes were common for travel on the waterways. Local people built ferries at busy river crossings. As large numbers of settlers and immigrants headed West, the ferries were a means for crossing rivers if the river could not be forded.
Pioneers and settlers moved out west for different reasons. Some of them wanted to claim free land for ranching and farming from the government through the Homestead Act. Others came to California during the gold rush to strike it rich. Even others, such as the Mormons, moved west to avoid persecution.
Some Americans went to Oregon in the very early 1800s because they wanted to participate in the fur trade. … People went to Oregon hoping to claim land and to settle in the fertile Willamette Valley. These people hoped to farm in this region. Other people went to Oregon for the adventure of going to new places.
What was the trip like for these individuals and groups? Settlers traveled west because they wanted to expand their dominion and wanted more freedom. They believed God told them they were destined to govern the entirety of North American territory. They thought that God gave them the right to take the land in the West.
These brave pioneers journeyed west for about five to six months along overland trails such as the California Trail, Gila River Trail, Mormon Trail, Old Spanish Trail, Oregon Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail for many different reasons.
The Oregon Trail crossed the Louisiana Territory on the way to Portland. The Santa Fe Trail crossed it on the way to Santa Fe. The California Trail crossed it on the way to Sacramento.
A typical day began at 6 AM with a breakfast of cold leftovers before the wagon train lined up and set out. A knowledgeable captain led the way, pacing the wagons to reach good pasture and water at noon and before sundown. The trail was rough, full of holes and rocks, so riding in a wagon was bumpy and uncomfortable.
Average distance covered in a day was usually fifteen miles, but on a good day twenty could be traveled. 7:30 am: Men ride ahead on horses with shovels to clear out a path, if needed.
The safest way for the pioneers to travel was with a wagon train. They would pack their most treasured belongings, furniture, and what they needed for the journey into a covered wagon. The wealthiest people brought two wagons with them, which allowed one to act as a moving van and the other as a camper.
They took preserved foods such as hard tack, coffee, bacon, rice, beans, and flour. They also took a few basic cooking utensils such as a coffee pot, some buckets, and an iron skillet. The pioneers didn’t have room for a lot of fancy items. They only had room to pack two or three sets of tough clothing.
Some hardships of the journey were death of relatives due to accidents, indian attacks, supply shortages, weather, drowning, disease, terrain, and even medicine. A challenge faced by most travelers was to steady their usage of money along the Oregon Trail.
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Once they embarked, settlers faced numerous challenges: oxen dying of thirst, overloaded wagons, and dysentery, among others. Trails were poorly marked and hard to follow, and travelers often lost their way. Guidebooks attempted to advise travelers, but they were often unreliable.
The rich farmlands of Oregon drew thousands of settlers. The land was free to those who could make it the Oregon Territory. People who were farming on marginal lands in Indiana, illinois and Missouri found the lure of rich farmland in the Willamette valley irresistible.
Emigrants could corral and graze their animals at the Farm while, for 50 cents, they dined on large portions of beef, potatoes, slaw, and biscuits. At Oregon City, after six months of grueling travel over 2000 miles, newcomers might rest a bit and resupply in town at establishments such as Abernethy’s Store.
The pioneers that wanted land and to farm settled the west. This was the land of the Indians and is was given to the pioneers. The Gold Rush effective the moving west because many wanted to go west to get rich.
Many Americans moved west to work for the mining companies that formed to exploit the vast mineral resources of the West. Others became loggers, ranchers, or especially railroad workers. Still others came west to take advantage of the business opportunities afforded by this large-scale migration.
The California Trail was an emigrant trail of about 1,600 mi (2,600 km) across the western half of the North American continent from Missouri River towns to what is now the state of California.
The journey over the trails usually began in the spring to avoid traveling in the winter. The most common vehicle for Oregon and California-bound settlers was a crude farm wagon covered with a canopy and led by a team of oxen (which were greatly preferred over horses and mules).
The Oregon Trail entered Idaho in the southeast corner of the state. At Fort Hall, it joined the Snake River, following the south bank until a crossing was reached near what is now known as Glenn’s Ferry. The route left Idaho near Fort Boise after winding through 500 miles of the state.