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Sunday, November 18, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 12


The Old Parson said a Prayer as they Left Camp
courtesy photobucket.com
 
Morgan was awed as he saw the wagons begin to move. They had a parson on board who prayed before the command was given to move out.  There was also a doctor which was comforting though he was only going to Fort Boise.

The train was to stay together until where the California and Oregon trails split; then some were going to California and the others to Oregon 
 


Image courtesy
of  photobucket
Morgan asked Virgil why they were going to split up and he said; those looking for quick riches are going to the gold fields in California, and those who are interested in building homes and farms are going to Oregon.

It was slow moving the first day just getting lined up took a lot of time but after that it went much quicker.  

Virgil told Morgan that they wouldn't have to start hunting for a few days because people had the supplies that had been bought from venders at base camp, but they would be busy in the days ahead.

The plan was that Morgan and Virgil would leave at first light, and get quite a distance ahead of the wagons. When they made a kill they would leave it on the trail to be picked up by the wagons.
 
This left them more time for hunting.  Morgan ate at the Captain's camp where his cook fixed food for those working for the Captain. Early in the morning he would make coffee and breakfast and some extra biscuits and fat back to take on the trail.

Part of the duties for Virgil was to scout ahead, and watch for any sign of Indians.  He could do this because he was always hunting up ahead anyhow.

Morgan had become acquainted with most of the people before they set out on the trail, and had written down how this all came about.

He called it; TO THE GOLD FIELDS

"This is a story about people, some were strong some were weak. Many were misinformed about the journey before them.  Some dangers were exaggerated and some were worse than they had heard.  None of the travelers were fully prepared for the journey and the stress they would have to endure.   Most of the wagoneers as I will call them were emigrants who were disappointed by depression days of the 1830s, and had heard there were better lands and a future out west.
 
The wagon master was named Captain John, and he insisted everyone call him that for it gave him an air of authority.  In reality he wasn't ever in the army but he did some scouting for them.  He had traveled over the prairie lands all the way to the coast, and knew the trails as well as the Indians. Being a good hunter he always had something to trade with the Indians. Sometimes it was furs and sometime food and trinkets.

His real security came from his marrying one of the women of the tribe.  He had many Indian wives, at least one in every tribe from the plains out of St. Louie to the Sierra Nevada's of California.  Consequently he had amassed many children in each of the tribes as a result of his marrying.

Captain John claimed to be a Christian, and justified his many wives by saying that he was half as smart as Solomon so he should be entitled to half as many wives as he had.  Most people had a problem with his theology but that wasn't the business at hand.  He guaranteed he could get his train across the plains safely, and by making these, and many other promises, he had sixty wagons signed on for the trip as well as people on horseback and walking.

The only requirement for those without a wagon was they had to have someone with a wagon to haul their necessary goods they would need.

After a month of preparation they were ready to leave.  Captain John had hired three scouts to go along.  They were men he knew and could trust, and had hunted with him prior to this trip. There was one who was capable of leading those who wanted to split off in Idaho and continue on to Oregon.

Captain John had collected a great deal of money from the wagoneers and he used a lot it to outfit another wagon with trading goods for he knew Indians who would trade for goods were less likely to attack them. The word would spread ahead, and each evening there were a few Indians who came with dried fish, furs and sometime fresh meat to trade.  Progress was slow for each day the animals had to have time to graze in the evening because they couldn't haul enough animal feed for the entire six months."

Morgan had gleaned this information from the wagon people and felt it would be good to have it written down.    
 
To be Continued.
 
 

 

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