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Westward Quotes Oregon/Washington BLM



Westward Quotes

The Oregon Trail migrations in the mid-1800s coincided with a popular American trend of keeping a diary or journal. Many of the journals kept by pioneers as they traveled survived the years and are not kept in libraries and archives around the country. Diary quotes give us a first person look at the observations, thoughts, feelings, and experiences of everyday people on an extraordinary journey.

"The road to-day was very hilly and rough. At night we encamped within one mile of Fort Hall. Mosquitoes were as thick as flakes in a snow-storm. The poor horses whinnied all night, from their bites, and in the morning the blood was streaming down their sides." -Margaret A. Frink, July 11, 1850

"We have good roads comparatively. We mean good roads if the sloughs are not belly deep and the hills not right straight up and down and not rock enough to turn the wagon over." -Henry Allyn, August 11, 1852

"Started at half past 4, after being up with team nearly all night. Came on to the good camp at spring. On our way here at Powder River we killed a noble salmon, taking breakfast out of him, and a fine dish it was." -David Maynard, September 1, 1850

"There is some of the largest rattle snakes in this region I ever saw, being from 8 to 12 ft. long, and about as large as a man's leg about the knee. This is no fiction at all." -Amelia Hadley, July 19, 1851

"Raining all day...and the boys are all soaking wet and look sad and comfortless. The little ones and myself are shut up in the wagons from the rain. Still it will find its way in and many things are wet; and take us all together we are a poor looking set, and all this for Oregon...I am thinking as I write, 'Oh Oregon, you must be a wonderful country'" -Amelia Stewart Knight, June 1, 1853

"After passing this morning through the valley in which we encamped last evening, the road brought us to the top of a high ridge, giving us a beautiful view of the mountains, running east and west, and parallel to the ridge over which we were passing. The sight was very fine, as these mountains were the first we had seen covered with pine since leaving Soda springs. This range is high and rugged, with its base well wooded; those to the left were equally as much so, while the Blue mountains to the northwest reared their peaks in dark blue masses high above the rest, and are covered with a growth of as beautiful timber as can be found between here and the Pacific ocean.." -Osborne Cross, September 6, 1849

"I will say that this part of Oregon is the most fertile for rocks and sagebrush of any part of the world that I have ever seen." -Charlotte Stearns Pengra, August 22, 1853

"One wagon just passing...with the motto, 'Root, little hog or die'...on both sides...and on another cover is written, 'Bound for Origen.'" -E.W.Conyers, May 25, 1852

"Left camp at 6 & traveled 9 miles when we laid by on the Little Blue to give the boys an opportunity to hunt Buffalo as they have been almost wild with excitement since they came into the Buffalo country. About 10 A.M. they started off with a good supply of powder shot & ball & great anticipations but poor fellows their feathers looked sadly drooping as they came straggling into camp near night fall foot sore & weary & having secured among them all one small Antelope." -Louisa Cook, June 13, 1862

"We have been traveling among the hills and the monotony has been relieved by the ever varying beauty of the scenery and the pleasantness of the weather. Today we traveled till noon, and then stopped to get a fourth of July dinner and to celebrate our nation's birthday. While making the preparation, and reflecting at the same time of what the people of Morton and Peoria were doing, and contrasting my situation with what it was this day last year, a storm arose, blew over all the tents but two, capsized our stove with it delicious viands, set one wagon on fire, and for a while produced not a little confusion in the camp. No serious injury, however, was done." -Elizabeth Wood, July 4, 1851

"we are in the Powder river country and begin to see forests of Pine & Fir. Came down the mountain into Grand Ronde vally - a perfect gem - an oasis in a desert. The descent was made with difficulty - the wagons being chained & let down with ropes much of the way...Thousands of horses - many of them curiously spotted feed upon the mountain side. Hundreds of Indians of the Nez Percies tribe, are camped here..." -Harriet Talcott Buckingham, Sept. 8, 1851