Most overlanders began their journey on the Mormon or Oregon trails. The major trailheads for these routes were in Council Bluffs, Iowa, St. Joseph, Mo., or Independence, Mo. The overland trip typically took five to six months. Ten to 15 miles of travel in one day would be a good day.
|The routes taken
People often traveled by steamboat up the Ohio River or the Mississippi to reach the major trailheads. The Oregon Trail was created earlier by fur trappers.
What they took
The cost for a family of four was around $600 to $700. Groups organized and agreed to travel together. Any given train of wagons would have people with different occupations. The more varied the abilities, the more comfortable the journey was likely to be.
Making butter: After a few hours on the bumpy trail, a ball of butter would form in the center of a can of milk.
Plates, silverware, pots and pans were kept in a special box attached to the rear of the wagon.
Animals were driven by shouting and whip-cracking over their heads. They were not struck.
Eggs could be stored in flour barrels. So long as they were not touching, they wouldn't break.
The rigors of life on the trail led many women to try wearing pants for the first time.
People often walked, as the wagons traveled very slowly and the bumpy trails made the wagon seats uncomfortable.
A bucket of grease
hung between the wheels to lubricate them.