Monday, January 21, 2013

Map Review: Overland Trails: Opening the American West

This map follows many trails which crossed the West, Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pony Express Trail, California Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Lewis and Clark Trail, as well as many cut offs and short-cuts of each of these trails.  Not only does it map the trails, but also has commentary and quotes.  This is a sample.
"There's is a story of grit and faith overcoming heart breaking hardship.  Wagon trains became mobile communities, with leaders elected and justice enforced, sometimes harshly.  Family life continued as babies were born on the trail, children were raised, young folks courted and married.  Women cooked repetitive meals over buffalo dung fires.  Men guided teams and stood watch at night.  Death rode along too,  with uncountable graves marking the trail.  Disease, often cholera, claimed the most.  Others died in accidents involving firearms, wagon mishaps and drowning.  A few were claimed by Indian attacks."
"Fort Laramie is situated on the shores of the Laramie River, about two miles above its junction with the Platte.  The numerous and extensive public buildings were neatly built of adobes, or sun dried bricks, and to travelers who had been journeying long without seeing civilized habitations, they made a fine appearance.  The place was lively from the numerous soldiers stationed there, the workmen and teamsters employed and the Indians encamped in the vicinity drawn thither for the purpose of trading with the whites."  Thaddeus S. Kenderdine, 1858.
"Thursday July 14--  It is dust from morning until night, with now and then a sprinkling of gnats and mosquitoes, and as far as the eye can reach it is nothing but a sandy desert, covered with wild sage brush, dried up with heat; however it makes good firewood."  Diary of Mrs. Amelia Stewart Knight, 1853.

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