William Sublette, an eminent fur trader from 1830 onwards, was the man who first led wagons up the Rocky Mountains trail. The Oregon Trail was named by many emigrants who traveled it in the years to come. Native Americans called it White-Topped Wagon Road. The California Trail is also known as The Mormon Trail.
The Oregon Trail primarily was used by emigrants. The Army also used it, and part of the route was followed by stagecoaches and The Pony Express. The Oregon Trail extended from Missouri all the to Pacific Ocean. Many emigrants began their journeys in eastern Kansas.
The average Oregon Trail trip lasts between four and six months. The Oregon Trail was not without its hardships. Cholera was the leading cause of death for emigrants. Cholera is often characterized by horrible diarrhea that can be caused by poor food, dirty water, or extreme weather conditions. Other deadly diseases, like Measles Smallpox Diptheria, were also prevalent. It was also a time of great storms. Many emigrants died from large hail, high winds, and lightning. Emigrants could also die from starvation, drowning and being run over on wagon wheels. Some people were buried on the path when they died. In the absence of time to bury the dead, they were dumped on the trail. A sick or dying old person would also be left along the side trail for them to die. This was to keep the illness from spreading to others.
Some children walked across the United States without shoes. The wagons were only four feet wide by ten foot long and were filled to the brim. They contained farm tools, food and furniture. The cotton covers were treated with linseed to try and keep the rain out, but they eventually leaked. They would often go for days without taking a bath. The only time they had to bathe was when they reached the river.
Native Americans were reported to have attacked. Initially, the majority of Native American encounters were business transactions. Native Americans offered horses or food in exchange of rifles, clothing, and tobacco. Native Americans were hostile towards the emigrants after they overgrazed and destroyed the prairie grasses. Several tribes on the Platte River were soon starving and poor. Native Americans began to be hostile towards emigrants. Native Americans stole items from emigrants when this happened so they could survive. Native Americans as well as emigrants both died due to this.
River Crossing played a large part in the Oregon Trail. Ferrymen were at every crossing of the river. Ferrymen carried your cattle, wagons and whatever else you brought with you to the other side of the river. Ferries cost around $1.00 per wagon. Cattle were ten cents each.
I think they faced more hardships during their journey than expected. They were probably all happy with their journey’s outcome when they arrived. The Oregon Trail has had a significant impact on Kansas’ development. Since it began in Kansas, many people have moved to Kansas. This made Kansas a more popular place to live and it may have encouraged some people to stay instead of traveling west.