Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The success or failure of a party depended most heavily on their choice of equipment and supplies for the journey. Every emigrant insisted on taking along some luxuries and items of sentimental value. Chamber pots, lanterns, mirrors, Bibles, school books, clocks, and furniture were crammed into odd spaces in almost every wagon. Emigrants were advised not to overload their wagons, but many underestimated the magnitude of the trek they were setting out on and were later forced to discard nonessential cargo. Hard stretches of the Trail became littered with such castoffs as emigrants lightened the load for their weary animals.
Certain accessories and tools for making emergency repairs to a wagon were necessary to bring along. These included rope, brake chains, a wagon jack, extra axles and tongues, wheel parts, axes, saws, hammers, knives, and a sturdy shovel. Cooking utensils were also required -- few overlanders were without a Dutch oven and a good iron skillet -- and the trip was simply not possible without a water barrel to get the party and their animals through dry stretches of the Trail. Weapons and kits for casting bullets were essential, as well, though they were far more commonly used for hunting than for fighting Indians.
However, most of the space in the emigrants' wagons was reserved for food.
Excerpt from the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
After reading the selection, what three things would you take as a 11-12 year old boy or girl in the 1850's? Make sure they are appropriate for the time period, no video games, tv's, cell phones, etc.