On Day Three (Tuesday, December18th) of our exciting journey, we woke up in Kearney Nebraska with the goal of making it to Laramie, four hundred and sixty-seven miles away, by days end. Our first stop on the route was Ash Hollow, near the town of Luellen, Nebraska, about a hundred and seventy miles from Kearney. It took the wagon trains fifteen days to make the “short jaunt” for us.
The fort was built in 1845 and called Fort Chelds until 1848 when its name changed to Kearny.
And you may remember in its twenty-three years (1845-1868) as a U.S. Army fort, the Indians never attacked it.
The Oregon Trail was also referred to then as the Great Platte River Road, and Fort Kearny, three hundred and thirty miles from Saint Joseph served as its Eastern anchor and an important way station for both civilian and military travelers.
Reading up on what happened there, the incredible danger of getting a fully loaded wagon—oxen or mule teams still attached—down a twenty-five-degree slope (looked more like a cliff to me) three hundred feet high!
The wagon trains accomplished this using a system of rope pulleys to help keep the weight of the load from hurling over the animals who didn’t need to pull at all!
Notable is a historical battle in 1855 on September 3rd at Ash Hollow between seven hundred U.S. soldiers and the Lakota Sioux. It also was called the Battle of Blue Water Creek or the Harney Massacre, too.
Led by General William Harney, his troops attacked a village of 250 revenging a previous attack by the Sioux. The army killed more than a hundred Indians, men, women, and children.
One little boy there who witnessed the massacre lived to take revenge of his own twenty-one years later at Custer's Battle of the Big Horn. His name was Crazy Horse.
From there we scurried down the highway to see Courthouse and Jailhouse Rocks, side by side towering four hundred feet high out of the flatlands near Bridgeport, Nebraska—landmarks for the weary emigrants formed from sandstone and volcanic ash. Pumpkin Creek elbows nearby, providing a great campsite for the trains.
Scott’s Bluff lies on the south side of the North Platte River. It dwarfs the previous landmarks rising eight hundred feet above the plains.
If you're wondering who Christina and Remi are, they are a big part of the reason we went Carylin' on the Oregon Trail! They are the heroines from my April and May releases.
My April 3rd release UNIQUELY COMMON is my contribution to the Sweet Americana Sweethearts multi-author (ten) "Lockets and Lace" series. Although it ends at Saint Joseph, Missouri.
Toward the end of it, readers meet Agnus Remington Dalrumple. You can understand why she hated her name and went by Remi, can't you?
She never dreamed the journey would be so hard--I'm certain most of the women didn't or they would never have gone. I kept thinking of that all along my journey. And they couldn't turn back. Especially after they'd gone as far as Scott's Bluff. Until then, it'd truly hadn't been so bad . . . even considering Ash Hollow.
The bluff was named after Hiram Scott, an early mountain man, trapper, and pelt trader famed in his day for taking part in the first trade expedition of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1822.
He passed in 1828, but his contribution to the opening of the western lands remains appreciated as thousands of visitors visit the Scott’s Bluff National Park each year. Find out more here: https://www.nps.gov/scbl/learn/historyculture/hscott.htm
Local Indians called it “Me-a-pa-te” meaning “the hill that is hard to go around.” The Oregon/California Trail actually went through Mitchell’s Pass there, torturous and hazardous. Getting on the other side proved to be a significant milestone for the westward traveling wagons.
Laramie Fort, our last planned stop for the day, was an awesome place, the highlight being the still- standing recently-restored main building that was still fairly new when my covered-wagon families passed through in 1853. Constructed in 1849 by the U.S. Army in the government's efforts of the "Manifest Destiny" sea-to-shining-sea dream, it seemed the perfect setting at the confluence of the North Platte Rivers.
To remind you: In those days, the government was interested in emigrants settling the west. Their goal was for the “Manifest Destiny” to come to fruition, for the United States to stretch from sea to shining sea! So, they built the forts to help them on their way.
The pioneers could rest a few days there, restock, make repairs. The U.S. Army carried great amounts of food to the forts to be sold at cost or even given away to the emigrants, helping them on their ways.
And again, the "fort" was nothing as I expected from the glory days of the Old West as portrayed in movies and television. Fort Laramie's grand building reminded me more a huge Southern plantation back east.
Isn't it beautiful? It's no wonder it became a favored place to safely rest and recoup. I can imagine some grand parties and celebrations in the beautiful building!
Due to the lack of reasonable rooms between there and Laramie, we went farther that anticipated that night, but after a dinner out of the car and a game of Quirkle, we laid our heads down and practically passed out immediately after a full day of awesome sights!
Day Four though was one of my favorites, and will be my next offering here at Sweet American Sweethearts Blog!
Bio: Praying her story gives God glory, award-winning, best-selling author Caryl McAdoo loves revisiting beloved characters in her novels. And her readers are glad she does! She’s blessed that her titles earned over fifty-percent 5-Star ratings and eighty-five to ninety percent 4 & 5-Stars! With forty-four novels (thirty-four in the last four-and-a-half years), it’s obvious she loves writing, but singing the new songs the Lord gives her also rates high. (Listen to a few at YouTube.)
Married to Ron, her high school sweetheart, she counts their four children and eighteen grandsugars life’s best blessings. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.