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1 The Highlights of Homeschooling History Literature Unit Study Oregon Trail Created by Teresa Ives Lilly Sold by

2 INTRODUCTION This history/literature study guide is created to use in three week sessions. Each unit contains a historical story, a daily journal question and one other daily activity. These activities are: Bible Verse Activities Vocabulary Skills Interpretation Skills Sequencing Poetry Skills Drawing Craft Activity Map Skills Comprehension Skills Cause and Effect Skills Encyclopedia Skills Creative Writing Science Activity Report Writing We suggest the student read the story in it s completion before beginning the study guide. One skill area a day will allow the unit to be completed in three weeks. Your children can learn History and Literature skills at the same time. Look ahead, because you may need to collect some items for the Science or Art projects.

3 On The Oregon Trail Carrie Peterson wiped away the dirt and sweat from her face with a cool cloth she had dipped into the river. It was good to stop for the day. The trail had been especially hard the last few days: hot and rough. It seemed to Carrie as though she had been on this trail her whole life. Her family had been talking about going to Oregon since she could remember. Then one day, Pa came home and told the family that the time had come. I ve got enough money put aside now for us to move to Oregon. The newspapers say that the land out there is rich with good soil. I want to live where there aren t so many people around. Pa told Ma. Carrie wondered what people Pa meant. Their closest neighbors in Illinois lived ten miles away. How long will it take us to get to Oregon? Carrie asked Pa. If we leave with the wagon train in May, we can get there by October. If we wait any longer, we won t be able to get over the Blue Mountains before winter sets in. The trip is about 2,000 miles. With the wagons we can only cover about 20 miles a day. Ma closed down the house and packed the wagon quickly. Most of the furniture had to stay behind. Ma packed enough flour to last a year, corn meal, beans and bacon. She included sugar, dried fruit, honey and all the cooking utensils they would need on the trail as well as when they got to Oregon. There was bedding, blankets, tools, a spinning wheel, lanterns, writing paper and sewing items.

4 Ma had to leave behind her favorite rocking chair. Pa included a plow. The wagon was as heavy as the four oxen could handle. Finally, in the end of April of 1841, Carrie and her family: Ma, Pa and her brother Luke, all headed away from their homestead. They would meet up with the rest of the wagon train leaving from the Jumping off Place in Independence, Missouri. Their wagon train had hired a man named, Thomas Broken Hand Fitzpatrick to show them the way to Oregon. He was a trapper and a mountain man. He knew how to avoid Indians who wouldn t like the wagon train traveling across their land. Carrie recalled traveling across the plains. Several families had turned back when they saw how hard the trip would be. Those families who remained followed the Platte River ( Big Muddy as others called it) many miles. The river was full of sand so the water couldn t be used for drinking unless it was mixed with coffee. It was always dangerous along the river because of the herds of Buffalo. At night the men took turns watching. If the Buffalo began to stampede, everyone in the wagon train could be killed. The men would have to make fires and shoot at the Buffalo to keep them from stampeding into the camp. Carrie decided that she did not like Buffalo. They were big, dirty, hairy animals that could kill a man on horse. The worst part was burning the Buffalo chips in the fire at night. Carrie had to walk behind the wagon as it rolled along and pick up these dried piles of Buffalo manure. There were no trees along the way, so there wasn t any fire wood. Once when everyone had run out of fresh meat, the men had shot a Buffalo.

5 The whole wagon train ate the meat. That was the only good thing about the Buffalo as far as Carrie could tell. They crossed into Nebraska and then they reached Idaho where they all followed the Snake River. Finally, they reached the Blue Mountains. Here, many families realized that they had brought too many things in their wagons. A few families left some of their belongings along the trail when they realized the wagon was too heavy to pull. Now the wagons had to be lightened so the oxen could pull the wagon over the mountain. The families took everything out of the wagon at the bottom of the mountain. Then they took the empty wagon up the mountain side. Once they got the wagon to the top of the mountain, the family carried all their supplies up the steep hill side. The men tied ropes to each wagon and lowered the wagon down the other side of the rough mountain. Now, after all these months, Carrie and her family stood beside the Columbia River. They were so close to their destination. Pa told Ma that they would have to load all of their supplies onto a raft and plunge into the rapids of the Columbia River. It was the only way to cross over and get to Fort Vancouver. Each family was on their own here. Carrie say one family s raft turn over and almost all of their supplies had been lost. Pa was sure they would be all right. Though he did gather his family for a prayer of protection before they began. Pa was looking forward to settling near Fort Vancouver. He had heard that a man named Dr. John Mc Loughlins helped people settle in that area.

6 All the families on the wagon train that left Missouri in 1841 survived the long journey. They settled into Oregon or into California. Carrie did not know that she was taking part in one of America s most famous Historical eras saw most of the wagon trains that traveled to the west coast. These people carved their way into history by withstanding hardships all along the trail. These were the people who would help add Oregon to America as a State.

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