In 1861, the First Transcontinental Telegraph also laid its lines alongside the Central Overland Route. One branch turned almost 90 degrees and proceeded southwest to Soda Springs.  From rivers and lakes, emigrants also fished for catfish and trout. Fur traders tried to use the Platte River, the main route of the eastern Oregon Trail, for transport but soon gave up in frustration as its many channels and islands combined with its muddy waters were too shallow, crooked and unpredictable to use for water transport. The men were initially led by Thomas J. Farnham and called themselves the Oregon Dragoons. The census numbers imply at least 200,000 emigrants (or more) used some variation of the California/Oregon/Mormon/Bozeman trails to get to their new homes between 1860 and 1870. Those on the north side of the Platte could usually wade the shallow river if they needed to visit the fort. Each rendezvous, occurring during the slack summer period, allowed the fur traders to trade for and collect the furs from the trappers and their Native American allies without having the expense of building or maintaining a fort or wintering over in the cold Rockies. Start your journey where players of the game, and most real-life pioneers, … About 25 pounds of soap was recommended for a party of four, for bathing and washing clothes. To get there, they helped build the Lassen Branch of the Applegate-Lassen Trail by cutting a wagon road through extensive forests. Travel was often along the top of ridges to avoid the brush and washes common in many valleys. Other missionaries, mostly husband and wife teams using wagon and pack trains, established missions in the Willamette Valley, as well as various locations in the future states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. About 3,000 out of over 60,000 Mormon pioneers came across with handcarts. Those improvements helped to shorten the travel time by as much as a month: emigrants could more easily cross rivers in high water, they could make repairs quickly and conveniently, and trail-worn draft animals could be traded for fresh ones, thus avoiding long layovers to rest the teams. For those travelers to Oregon, California, and Utah who were bringing their teams to the Platte River junction Kanesville and other towns became major "jumping off places" and supply points. The ship left supplies and men to continue work on the station and ventured north up the coast to Clayoquot Sound for a trading expedition. In the late 1830s the HBC instituted a policy intended to destroy or weaken the American fur trade companies.  Fort Vancouver was the main re-supply point for nearly all Oregon trail travelers until U.S. towns could be established. (The Oregon and California emigrants typically averaged about 15 miles (24 km) per day.) Factors such as the violent and unpredictable prairie storms could cause rivers and streams to flood and back up companies at river crossings for days. Many returned with significant gold which helped jump-start the Oregon economy. However, a variety of sources exist which can be used to identify many of them.  From Fort Bridger, the main trail, comprising several variants, veered northwest over the Bear River Divide and descended to the Bear River Valley. The cost of traveling over the Oregon Trail and its extensions varied from nothing to a few hundred dollars per person. The main Oregon and California Trail went almost due north from Fort Bridger to the Little Muddy Creek where it passed over the Bear River Mountains to the Bear River Valley, which it followed northwest into the Thomas Fork area, where the trail crossed over the present day Wyoming line into Idaho.  Although officially the HBC discouraged settlement because it interfered with its lucrative fur trade, its Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, John McLoughlin, gave substantial help, including employment, until they could get established.  Nevertheless, pioneers' consumption of the wild berries (including chokeberry, gooseberry, and serviceberry) and currants that grew along the trail (particularly along the Platte River) helped make scurvy infrequent. , Boise has 21 monuments in the shape of obelisks along its portion of the Oregon Trail.. Overwhelmingly, the journey was made by wagons drawn by teams of draft animals. Tar was carried to help repair an ox's injured hoof.  In the 1840s, the Great Plains appeared to be unattractive for settlement and were illegal for homesteading until well after 1846—initially it was set aside by the U.S. government for Native American settlements. At Soda Springs was one branch of Lander Road (established and built with government contractors in 1858), which had gone west from near South Pass, over the Salt River Mountains and down Star Valley before turning west near present-day Auburn, Wyoming, and entering Idaho. Some emigrants halted their own journeys temporarily to construct some kind of a craft to serve as a ferryboat and collect their own fees. Three to five ferries were in use on the Green during peak travel periods. In the Eastern Sheep Creek Hills in the Thomas Fork valley the emigrants encountered Big Hill. Their wagons were the first to reach the Columbia River over land, and they opened the final leg of Oregon Trail to wagon traffic.. Another possible route consisted of taking a ship to Mexico traversing the country and then catching another ship out of Acapulco, Mexico to California etc. Graves were often put in the middle of a trail and then run over by the livestock to make them difficult to find. Surprisingly few people were taught to swim in this era. A disputed 1804 treaty between Quashquame and William Henry Harrison (future ninth President of the U.S.) that surrendered much of the future state of Illinois to the U.S. enraged many Sauk (Sac) natives and led to the 1832 Black Hawk War. Perhaps some 300,000 to 400,000 people used it during its heyday from the mid-1840s to the late 1860s, and possibly a half million traversed it overall, covering an average of 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 km) per day; most completed their journeys in four to five months. (Oregon State Archives Photo) Some said there was a contagion in the land and called it the "Oregon Fever." Jesse Applegate's account of the emigration, "A Day with the Cow Column in 1843," has been described as "the best bit of literature left to us by any participant in the [Oregon] pioneer movement..." and has been republished several times from 1868 to 1990.. Destinations along the Oregon Trail in Kansas included St. Mary's Mission, Pottawatomie Indian Pay Station, Vieux's Vermilion Crossing, Alcove Springs and Hollenberg Station. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of what is now the state of Kansas and nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. The relative scarcity of women gave them many opportunities to do many more things that were not "normally" considered "women's work" of this era. The Platte River and North Platte River Valley, however, became an easy roadway for wagons, with its nearly flat plain sloping easily up and heading almost due west. Nearly all of the settlers in the 1843 wagon trains arrived in the Willamette Valley by early October. It rejoined the California Trail at Cassia Creek near the City of Rocks. Her diary is one of the best accounts of the Oregon Trail experience. Married couples were granted at no cost (except for the requirement to work and improve the land) up to 640 acres (2.6 km2) (a section or square mile), and unmarried settlers could claim 320 acres (1.3 km2). The Goodall cutoff, developed in Idaho in 1862, kept Oregon bound travelers away from much of the native trouble nearer the Snake River. , Over time, two major heavily used cutoffs were established in Wyoming. The Donation Land Act provided for married settlers to be granted 320 acres (1.3 km2) and unmarried settlers 160 acres (0.65 km2). Portion of the Snake River in southern Idaho, one of the main waterways followed by travelers on the Oregon Trail. Canada had few potential settlers who were willing to move more than 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to the Pacific Northwest, although several hundred ex-trappers, British and American, and their families did start settling in Oregon, Washington and California. ) Here most emigrants used the divisions of the river caused by three islands to cross the difficult and swift Snake River by ferry or by driving or sometimes floating their wagons and swimming their teams across. Following persecution and mob action in Missouri, Illinois, and other states, and the assassination of their prophet Joseph Smith in 1844, Mormon leader Brigham Young was chosen by the leaders of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church to lead the Mormon settlers west. After the Black Vermillion River the trail angles northwest to Nebraska paralleling the Little Blue River until reaching the south side of the Platte River. 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