Why did people go West?
in 1840, many American Indian groups lived in the West. Then settlers from the East began to move west to find land. Land in the West did not cost much money.
Some settlers moved west to find good farmland. Some wanted to live near rivers and streams to fish. Some wanted to find gold or silver. Some settlers just wanted to try something new.
Settlers came from the eastern states. They came from Russia, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, and Germany too. From 1840 to 1860, 300.000 people moved across this country to the West.
Some settlers built their houses far from other people. They had to grow their own food and make their own things. They made clothes, furniture, pots, and tools.
Talk about it
What is the best thing about moving to a new place?
The trip West
The trip west was about two thousand miles long. It took the settlers six to eight months to travel so many miles!
The settlers traveled in covered wagons. These covered wagons had very little space. They were only four feet wide and ten feet long.
Settlers could only take the things they really needed on their trip. But most families fit two thousand pounds of household goods and supplies in their covered wagons!
These are some of the supplies one family of settlers took on their trip west:
Clothes, family pictures, furniture (chairs, tables), candles, soap, food and water, cooking utensils (pots, pans, dishes), books and toys, sewing supplies (needles, thread, cloth, and scissors).
Think about it
Imagine you are going on a trip. Where are you going? What will you take?
On the Oregon trail
Imagine that it is 1849. You are traveling from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail. Your family is traveling in a group of covered wagons walled a wagon train.
The wagons stop for the night. You sleep in a tent near the campfire. At 4:00 in the morning, you wake up. You eat your small breakfast on a blanket on the ground. Sometimes you share food with the other families.
Then your father attaches the horses to your wagons. you climb in and look back at the wagon train. It is three-quarters of a mile long!
You can feel every bump on the trail. Sometimes you are very hot. Other times you are very cold. You even get wet when the wagons cross the Snake River!
Soon you will be in Oregon. Soon you will be in your new home.
Write about it
Write about a real trip you took.
Where did you go?
What happened on your trip?