Ancestors' Travels in Covered Wagons West

One important item you may have discovered about you ancestors is if they traveled west in America in a covered wagon. You will not want to just say covered wagon without including what that type of travel and life was like.

No matter where or what time frame, such travel was difficult and no one knew what to totally expect along the route. Whether heading to western Virginia area in the late 1700s or to the Great Lakes area in 1800s, or the Midwest in the 1840s, etc, each was difficult. Having to camp out for months was a new experience for many of the travelers. On an average they could travel about 15 miles a day.

One item that many pioneers did was to take in on their travels a wild animal. It could be a deer, a prairie dog, a rabbit, etc.

Travel was difficult over raging rivers, dirt or rocky paths, or even fierce storms that suddenly came on the traveler.

Meeting native American Indians was sometimes a new experience for a pioneer coming from the east coast. Some travelers traded with the Indians but there really were very few violent clashes with travelers and Indians.

Sometimes traveling great distances, a family might have to lighten the load in their covered wagon so their horses could haul the wagon and family easier on long trails. That meant leaving along the way some of the family possessions.

Traveling west in 1850 meant getting free 640 acres of land for settling the land through the Federal government ‘Donation Land Claim Act’, done before the famous 1862 Homestead Act. By the 1870s and into the 1880-1890s many people now headed south into wilderness Florida and homesteaded land also.

Photo: Family traveling in a covered wagon across Missouri in the 1880s.

Related Blogs:

Pioneer Families

Foods for the Pioneer

Head West Young Man

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