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A Female Pioneer on the Oregon Trail 



Course Instructor


Taking the journey down the Oregon Trail was one of my greatest explorations accompanied with unbelievable adversity. I was part of the big group that was looking for new territory with underutilized opportunities. Our journey started in 1843 with almost 800 people, numerous wagons that were almost 100 as well as almost 4500 cattle. The Oregon Trail took us over five months to complete even though some of us did not live to see the end of the journey (Harrell, 2005). Indeed we were going to the new world that we did not know anything about although we felt that there must be wonderful things that we needed. Reaching the new land which was strategically located in the Pacific Northwest part of the country prompted us to take a journey which is popularly known as the Oregon Trail. The hardship we experienced with our children was one of its kinds. I influenced my family because I wanted to start of life in the west. In the beginning, the desire to explore new world overwhelmed me and I could not think about any other thing (Peavy & Smith, 1998).

Before the adventure life was very interesting and relaxing especially to women who did not have much to do in their homes. Women did not expect their men to explore the tales of gold and prosperous green land in the west because their husbands were already established businessmen or working on their lands. I initially believed that life was satisfying because I did not lack anything I wanted (Woodworth-Ney, 2008). However, one time I just changed my mind and decided to explore the great things that existed in the west. There was severe depression in the Midwest as well as propaganda from fellow traders and other government officials regarding the fertility and the value of land in the west. I fully packed my wagon with foodstuff such as beans, coffee, dried meat, flour as well as clothing and furniture. Interestingly, I had to drop some of my heavy household items such as furniture because they were too heavy to be carried while crossing rivers (Peavy & Smith, 1998).

Although we ran through fairly even country of the Great Plains, there was a good number of obstacles on the way such as the perils of crossing rivers as well as the candid risk of the Indian attackers. We drew our wagons into a circle at night to create a rough-and-ready barrier for fear of the India attacker. Few people died from accidental discharge of firearms or be drowned while we were crossing rivers. In addition, there were other more mundane causes such as diseases, some people would fall off horses and the difficulties of walking along rocky terrain that was full of steep ascents and descents as well as injuries got from overturning and runaway wagons (Woodworth-Ney, 2008).

I travelled almost 2000 miles along with other pioneers whom we were forced to travel through five states after the journey began in Missouri. The journey was full of people with different ages and sex. Most of the women we travelled with complained that their husbands forced them to take the journey in search for new places despite the fact that they were already established in their homes (Woodworth-Ney, 2008). Travelling in group was amazing since we could make stories and also for our safety. Some of our properties were being robbed at gunpoint by highway people along the trail. It was really heartbreaking to see women bearing children and losing them on the way due to unbearable conditions thus forcing them to live the bodies behind (Morito, 2012).

Jefferson wanted to boost the economy by using resources which would arise due to exploration of new fertile land. I currently stay in Williamette Valley. There were several significant technological, infrastructural and economic growths that resulted as the Oregon Trail. Domestic farming was introduced into the West because of enormous herding and introduction of the domestic animals by us. Surprisingly, I can see some of the modern highways and railroads built alongside the Oregon Trail. Furthermore, Oregon Trail resulted into devastating effects on the environment due to increased farming activities that led to clearing of land (Harrell, 2005).

We grabbed natives’ land turning our acts to be that of manipulation and incursion. Oregon Trail played an important role especially in incorporating most of the West states such as California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon due to our hard work that transformed the cultures and the economies of the states (Morito, 2012). I may say that I am economically stable simply because of my decision to travel along with others. I found better and fertile land where I can grow almost every crop to feed my family and even give extra to other people. California is now a rich state supplying farm commodities to the nation because of the bitter decision we made.


Harrell, D. E. (2005). Unto a good land: A history of the American people. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans.

Morito, B. (2012). An ethic of mutual respect: The Covenant Chain and aboriginal-crown relations. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Peavy, L. S., & Smith, U. (1998). Pioneer women: The lives of women on the frontier. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Woodworth-Ney, L. (2008). Women in the American West. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

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