Trail of Hardships

THE WAGON TRAINS

'Covered Wagon'

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-- from an Anonymous Settler writing in the St. Joseph, Missouri GAZETTE

Wagon trains - to enjoy such a trip ... a man must be able to endure heat like a Salamander, mud and water like a muskrat, dust like a toad, and labor like a jackass. He must learn to eat with his unwashed fingers, drink out of the same vessel as his mules, sleep on the ground when it rains, and share his blanket with vermin, and have patience with musketoes ... he must cease to think, except of where he may find grass and water and a good camping place. It is hardship without glory."



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Relocating is always stressful. Planning a cross-country move, even today, is no minor feat. There is boxes to be packed, movers to be hired, travel arrangements to be made, along with a never ending list of minor details to be attended. But the stresses and hardships faced by our great grandparents 130 to 160 years ago while traveling westward on wagon trains were monumental by our modern day standards. The enormity of the task faced by settlers to the American West is almost unimaginable today.

For many of today's citizens, raised in cities and their suburbs, the vastness of the North American continent is only vaguely understood. Today, there are few places in America where modern-day man can look to the horizon -- in every direction -- and see nothing but grass. No trees. No houses. No crops. No people. No Stuckey's, no Wal-Marts, no MacDonald's. Only by standing in such vast isolation, and by imagining spending weeks crossing it at a rate of two miles per hour, with practically nonexistent amenities, can the modern mind begin to understand the extreme challenges of their endeavor. There would be a multitute of obstacles such as harse weather, disease, accidents, Indians, along with rivers to ford, plains to cross, and mountains to climb. Getting to their new home on the frontier was an experience settlers never forgot, and which few if any of today's pampered millions would ever complete.

Check out these articles below to get a better idea of the enormity of a westward trip on wagon trains to the American frontier.

1. PREPARATIONS

2. ON THE TRAIL

3. HARDSHIPS

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'Rustic Wooden Back Sign'
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Grandma's Recipes = $$$