Introduction to the Oregon Trail

For the next few days, you’ll be following the adventures of the Hankins family as they travel the Oregon Trail. There are six people in the Hankins family: John, Mary, and their four children (Jim, Anne, Michael, and John Jr.). Michael is eleven, Anne is twelve, John Jr. is sixteen, and Jim is eight.

There are many dangers on the trail like bad water, rattlesnakes, hailstorms; and some Indian tribes can be dangerous. Native tribes sometimes attacked the wagons because they were on their land; some tribes, however, were helpful to the pioneers. Every day you will hear from the journal of a member of the Hankins family. Here is the first journal entry from John Jr. from their starting point in Independence, Missouri:

“When we set off, it was crazy. So many people were trying to leave at the same time that everyone was stuck not going anywhere. Some people had never driven a wagon before and were crashing and tipping their wagons. When we did get going, we realized we had packed too much. The wagon was just too heavy. My mother was sad to see it, but we had to dump her stove out and leave it on the side of the trail.”