Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wagons Ho!

Hi, Kit Morgan here, and today I'd like to talk about wagon trains. But this post isn't about the trials and tribulations of crossing the plains, rivers, and mountains. But of some of the pleasures of pioneering.
One of the things that contributed to people's joy on the trail was the belief that they were heading to a land of milk and honey. There was a pleasant sense of anticipation many people felt, and of course, the fact that as they traveled everything was new to them and so exciting. It seemed everyone was going to the territory. Wagons with big families usually camped together at night. Men would gather around the fire and talk of horses, the women would talk about the new land where they were going to. Early in the journey, many wagon trains passed orchards full of fruit and fields overflowing with shocked feed. Many of the farmers were generous and told the pioneers to take some and then wish them on their way.

But soon farmland turn to wild country.
There were no bridges across the rivers,
the land was full
of wild animals and there was often the threat of Indians depending on where one was.
Did the pioneers have fun? Well, that depended on the ability of each individual to get joy out of the most trivial things and to sustain his spirit of great adventure in the midst of unglamorous surroundings. In a collection of Pioneer stories published in 1956, one woman remembers how she and her seven brothers and sisters, along with her parents, set out from Missouri in wagons with over jets and wagon sheets over the bows. They left early and made 25 miles the first day. When they knew they were coming to a town she and her sister would stick their heads out the round hole in the back and wave to the boys and girls they saw. They thought this was great fun. At night they built a campfire and the children would play. When they were going through Oklahoma they saw prairie dog towns. They thought it was hilarious to run hard toward the town and watch the alert little dog sit on top of their holes until they were almost on them, then flip down into the holes. Ah, it's the simple things.

Pioneers enjoyed life. For one thing, most of them were young people or in the prime of life. Everything was new to them and there was so much to see and do. Their dugouts and sod houses probably meant as much to them as our houses due to us now. They didn't expect much, and so it didn't take much to make them happy. People didn't hurry like they do now and if two people met on the road they stopped and talked a while, whether neighbors or strangers.

Times have certainly changed. So the next time your family loads up the minivan, car or whatever you drive, think about what the pioneers had to deal with traveling from one point to another. We can drive hundreds of miles in a day, whereas mentioned earlier, a good day for them was 25 miles.

Until next time, happy reading!  If you'd like to check out my books, you can find them here: Amazon

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