Surviving the Oregon Trail 1852

Surviving the Oregon Trail 1852

by Weldon Willis Rau


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Rau, a retired geologist, is a great grandson of Mary Ann and Willis Boatman, pioneers in the 1850s who ended up in Puyallup, Washington. He interweaves his narrative about their experiences with excerpts from their diaries and firsthand accounts from other overland travelers.

Annotation © Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780874222388
Publisher: Washington State University Press
Publication date: 01/28/2001
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 588,330
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Leaving Home9
Chapter 2Across the Wide Missouri23
Chapter 3Cholera39
Chapter 4Platte River Valley61
Chapter 5On to Fort Laramie73
Chapter 6Child's Cutoff87
Chapter 7Sweetwater Valley101
Chapter 8Sublette Cutoff119
Chapter 9Bear River to Fort Hall137
Chapter 10Along the Snake147
Chapter 11Blue Mountains169
Chapter 12At Last The Dalles187
Chapter 13Final Effort199
Chapter 14Pioneering211

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Surviving the Oregon Trail 1852 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Weldon Willis Rau¿s new book, 'Surviving the Oregon Trail, 1852', has been published by the University of Washington Press. Much of his work is based on the notes left by Weldon¿s great grandparents, Willis and Mary Ann Boatman, Rau puts forth a fascinating story of the wagon trip west from Illinois to Oregon Territory in the mid-nineteenth century. 1852 was a year that saw the Oregon trail filled with people trekking westward, seeking a new life in the far west. Preparation for the trip was a major undertaking. Most people did not intend ever to return to their homes east of the Mississippi. They had to take along with them essentially all the supplies they would need. Their wagons started out heavily loaded. There were no supermarkets along the way. Those supply posts that did exist were rudimentary. The pioneering Boatman family, in addition to the newlyweds Wills and Mary Ann, included Willis¿s brother and Mary Ann¿s brother, Crossing the Missouri at the site of present-day Omaha, the Boatmans followed the Platte and the North Platte westward toward Wyoming. Sickness was the great affliction along the those river banks. Many of the westward travellers died, particularly of cholera. Along the way. Mary Ann Boatman¿s young brother was among those lost to disease. In Wyoming and Idaho were streams to ford or ferry, steep slopes to climb and descend, and scenic wonders new to folks from Illinois. Water and grazing for the draft oxen were often scarce. Dust spun up by the wagon wheels and the animal hooves choked all the travelers in various places. In Oregon the great gorge of the Columbia was a traverse not equalled elsewhere on earth. During the gorge trip Willis Boatman¿s brother, John, died, leaving Willis and a pregnant Mary Ann as the only family members to complete the trek. The two arrived in Portland exhausted and nearly broke. Weldon Rau tells this story with manifest respect for his pioneer ancestors. He has explored nearly the whole route his great grandparents travelled. And his explanations of the geology that formed these Oregon Trail lands adds greatly to the reader¿s undertanding and wonder. This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in American history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been searching for books like this one that give the human side to the history of the Oregon Trail. The author has done a wonderful job of weaving together the diaries/journals of his relatives and those of others who made the journey to Oregon in 1852 by wagon.