What I remember of the Oregon Trail is the fun little game we used to play on the computer at school. It was one of my favorite things to do if I finished my classwork early. It was always fun to see if we could actually make it through the entire trail without illness or something breaking. It didn’t usually happen that way, but it was fun to try.
My friends and I would plan our “trips” and work together so we could make the entire trip safely with our cattle, wagon and family all intact. I’m not sure I gained much knowledge of history or geography, but I do remember the game and the objective, so that’s half of it, right?
Although the game is not readily available for the computer anymore, you can still find it in the store and online. My kids have begged for it several times, which is why it is now on our wish list for Christmas! I figure if nothing else it can help us at least start the conversation about the “Great Migration of 1843”. It is said that approximately 700-1000 emigrants left Independence, Missouri to trek across six states – Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon – on May 22, 1843.
The Wagon Train of 1843
Originally led by a former U.S. Army Captain and fur trader, John Gantt, the emigrants paid him $1 per person to take them to Fort Hall, Idaho. Marcus Whitman had made the trip in the winter of 1842 back from Oregon to St. Louis to appeal a decision by his supporters who opposed the Oregon missions. He joined the other emigrants on their return trip at the Platte River.
Whitman Leads the Way
Some of the current leaders believed the road ahead to be too treacherous for them to continue with their wagons. They suggested to the emigrants that they abandon their wagons and move forward with pack animals only, Whitman strongly disagreed and offered to lead them himself. He believed the supplies they could carry in their wagon train would give them enough support to forge the roads they needed.
They moved along the trail rather well until they reached Mount Hood and found there was no easy way around it. So they had to cut through heavy timber to make their way through. Then they were met with the Columbia River, outside modern-day Portland, and in order to continue on, they disassembled their wagons and floated them down the river, while others herded the animals over the Lolo trail to get around Mount Hood.
A new passable wagon trail
By October of 1843 nearly all the emigrants arrived in the Willamette Valley. With their determination and perseverance, a new passable wagon trail now existed from the Missouri River to The Dalles (approximately 2,000 miles). Barlow Road was completed around Mount Hood in 1846, which provided an even better, albeit still rough, pass for the wagon trail, known as The Oregon Trail.
Learn more about the Oregon Trail with these resources!
American Expansion Coloring Page | USA Printables
Oregon Trail Lapbook | Lapbook Lessons
FREE Pioneer Pack | 3 Dinosaurs
Pioneer Life Printables | Thought.co
O is for the Oregon Trail | A Mom’s Quest to Teach
Oregon Trail Word Search | Education.com
Westward Expansion Puzzles & Activities | In All You Do
Oregon Trail File Folder Pack | File Folder Fun
Westward Expansion Coloring Pages | In All You Do
Other resources you might like:
Don’t miss our FREE Oregon Trail Unit Study and Resources!
If You Were a Kid on the Oregon TrailThe Oregon Trail: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)The Oregon Trail (True Books)Daily Life in a Covered WagonThe Oregon Trail & Westward Expansion: A History Perspectives Book (Perspectives Library)Westward Expansion (True Books)DK Readers L2: Journey of a Pioneer (DK Readers Level 2)The Mystery on the Oregon Trail (33) (Real Kids Real Places)Voices from the Oregon Trail
Covered Wagon Craft from The Crafty Classroom
DIY Yarn Ball Craft from The Crafty Classroom
Make Your Own Quill Pen from The Crafty Classroom
How to Make a Pioneer Quilt from The Crafty Classroom
Pioneer Day Activities from Or So She Says
Oregon Trail Activities from Journey of a Substitute Teacher
Classroom DIY Pioneer Journals from Literacy oves Company
Salt Dough Map of the Oregon Trail from A Class of One
Find more homeschool resources on my Pinterest boards!
Annette has been married to her husband and best friend since 2003. Together they are raising their six children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet her angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating UNIT STUDIES and FREE PRINTABLES for homeschool families. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about homeschooling, homemaking and marriage while trying to maintain her sanity. She is also the owner of Thrifty Homeschoolers where she shares her tips on homeschooling without breaking the bank.
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