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The Western Experience Essay

We are about to embark on a journey that will forever change our lives. Brian believes that heading West on the Oregon Trail will be an adventure and once we reach our destination we can build a better life for our children. Today we packed the wagon with as much food as possible. We also pack the essentials such as pots and pans and clothes. Also we let the children choose a few of their favorite toys to keep them occupied on the journey. Once everything was loaded into the wagon the yokes were put on the oxen so that we would be able to join with the wagon train early tomorrow morning. I pray that this will be a safe journey for us all and that Brian is right – the journey will be worth it because it will result in a better life for our children.

We joined with the wagon train early this morning. So far the journey has been very slow, I think we only traveled about ten miles today. Even though we only traveled a short distance everyone seems very exhausted. We formed a corral with the wagons. Everyone says that this will help to keep us safe if Indians should attack. It also helps us to keep the livestock that we brought along from running off. Once the corral was formed we all cooked and ate dinner together. Even though the children were tired they wanted to play and explore a little.

They really couldn’t do much exploring because I did not want them to wonder off too far because I feared that something would happen to them. So far they seem to be having fun playing with the other children. While they were playing us adults sat around the campfire and listened to our travelling companions play the fiddle and sing, it was very relaxing after the long day that we had. Hopefully I will be able to keep writing about our journey daily but I have my doubts. This is going to be a long journey and I have a feeling that there is going to be a great deal of work involved.

It has been fifteen days since my last entry and a lot has happened. My son Aidan developed cholera and Brian got into a fight with some of the other men in the wagon train due to the lack of firewood. We have had to start our fires using buffalo chips which was a disappointment to some of the children because they enjoyed throwing them at each other. I was very worried about Aidan because I did not know if his small little body would be strong enough to fight off the sickness. Thankfully we did meet up with a doctor and he was able to help Aidan. We have not made it as far as we had initially schedule due to the fact that some of our travelling companions have Conestoga wagons. Those wagons get stuck in the mud a lot easier because they are heavier than our Murphy farm wagon. Hopefully the rest of our trip goes better and we are somehow able to make up for some lost travel time.

It has been over a month since my last entry. The plains are beautiful! There are so many wildflowers and the grass is so luxurious, but the storms we have encountered lately have been horrible. We came to a river for the first time and had to remove the wheels of the wagon so that we could float across. That was very interesting. I am not sure how much longer we are going to go on because the food supply is very low and the travel has taken a toll on all of us. One of our ox died so all of us have been walking beside the wagon to try and lighten the load a little for the ox that we still have.

The past two weeks have been very difficult. Brian fell off of the wagon tung and one of the wheels ran over his leg. Obviously his leg is broken. Our daughter Ella developed malaria and died. Thankfully we have arrived at Independence Rock. Although this is not the final destination that we had set out for we are going to try to make a home here. At least for a while. The journey was harder than either of us had anticipated. Many of our travel companions developed cholera or malaria and died. We are going to stay here at least until Brian heals and our family is able to build our strength back up. Most of our travelling companions are going to continue on their journey and I wish them all the best of luck. Hopefully we will see them again one day.


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