Sunday, February 18, 2007

Our Trip By Covered Wagon

My husband found a story written by his great aunt in 1931 about the family's trip by covered wagon from Colorado to Oregon in 1897.

It was written on a typewriter. I've always said that if we didn't have computers I couldn't be a writer because I'm no good on typewriters. I think the copy I have is a photocopy, but I can't tell.

It's really neat because it's a first-hand historical account, and it's actually quite well written.

I'm in the process of copying it into a computer document, and I'd like to find someone to publish it.

Maybe I'll post bits and pieces of it here as I go along.

Here's the first bit:


Our Trip by Covered Wagon from Colorado in 1987
Written by Mrs. Olive Johnson in 1931

Many of you will, no doubt, wonder why we chose to cross the country in a covered wagon as late as 1897 when we could have gone by train. For several years we had hard times in Colorado and I don't suppose there was the price of a railroad ticket among us, to say nothing of he transportation of three men, two women, seven children and a dog. Then, too, Mr. Johnson was fond of his horses and would never have left them behind. We had to sell our last piece of household goods to pay the mortgage on these horses before we could take them out of the state; but we were young and hopeful then and willing to risk everything for the home we hoped to make.

We had heard stories of the wonderful land in the Grand Ronde Valley of Oregon, so all winter we talked and planned and on April 17th, 34 years ago this month, we left our homes, twelve of us, driving our three wagons through the snow drifts of Colorado toward the sunny valley of Oregon. In the first wagon rode Mr. Johnson, myself, Baby Andy, five months old, Nora, twelve years old and Nannie. Next, Bill Cook, my brother-in-law, came in his wagon. My sister, Eva, her husband and three children in another wagon followed close behind us.

Beside us was my little ten-year-old boy, Ed, who had to rid his pony all of the way out here.

Our first days brought us to Grand Junction where my mother and father lived. It was here we bought our tents, wagon covers, tin dishes and other things we needed. We had made all the bedding the winter before; thick quilts covered with denim to put under us on the ground and lighter ones to cover us.
It was a sad parting from my parents and friends but we had to go.

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