Category Archives: Resources

The Promise – A study guide

The Promise Study Guide

promise-study-guide

(Download PDF version of this study guide)

Vocabulary

  • Slavery: the institution of forced labor where one person is the legal property another.
  • Abolitionist: a person who favors ending slavery.
  • Expansionism: the policy of increasing a country’s size by expanding its territory.
  • Collaboration: act of working jointly on a project.
  • Adaptation: changing a written work to present it in another medium.

History

  • The Oregon Trail was the route west taken by 350,000 to 500,000 men, women and children from the 1840s to the 1860s.
  • The trail began at Independence, Missouri, and ended at Fort Vancouver, (now in Washington State.)
  •  While making the trip almost 10% of the people died from diseases spread by poor sanitation.
  • Travelers packed wagons as light as possible, only taking easily preserved staple foods.
  • Most meals consisted of bacon, beans, coffee, biscuits and bread.
  • Although some people tried to carry along furniture, books, and treasured belongings, as the journey progressed, many pioneers had to throw away extra baggage to avoid overworking the oxen.
  • The 2,000 mile journey took five months by ox-drawn wagon.
  • Today, you could take the same trip 2,000 mile trip on the Oregon Trail by car in 4 days or on a airplane in 4 hours.

African-American History Month #3: Hiram Young (1812-1882): Wagon maker for the Oregon Trail from BlackPast

African american history month 1

Hiram Young (1812-1882)

[…]

Taking advantage of his location near the beginning of  the Oregon, Santa Fe, and other major overland  trails in the 1850s, Young built wagons for western emigrants and for farmers in the area.  He also made freighters for the U.S. government.   Independence’s first mayor and Santa Fe merchant, William McCoy, served as his business manager.  Until 1855, Young had a free black man as a business partner, Dan Smith.   Smith left Independence due to increasing anti-free black sentiment in the area.  The Young family, however, remained.

By 1860, Young was turning out thousands of yokes and between eight and nine hundred wagons a year.  He employed about 20 men in his workshops, which included seven forges.  Census officials noted 300 completed wagons and 6,000 yokes in 1860 when they tallied Young’s property.  Young branded his work “Hiram Young and Company” along with the purchaser’s initials.  The wagons Young and his men built could haul nearly 6,000 pounds and were pulled by up to 12 oxen and his factory was one of the largest businesses in Independence and Jackson County, Missouri.  He described himself at the time as “a colored man of means.”

[…]

Read more about Hiram Young on BlackPast.org

Western Freight Wagon

Wagon similar to those made by Hiram Young

Hiram Young – Black Entrepreneur and U.S. western expansion from Jackson County Historical Societ on Vimeo.


Previously on Africa-American History Month:

African-American History Month #1: Slavery in Oregon: The Reuben Shipley Saga from BlackPast

African american history month 1

As part of African-American History Month, we’ll be linking to a series of true stories that also involve the Oregon Trail and the American West like the characters in The Promise.

Slavery in Oregon: The Reuben Shipley Saga from BlackPast.org

[..]

Reuben Shipley was brought to Oregon as a slave in 1853 by his white owner, Robert Shipley, over the Oregon Trail from Miller County, Missouri. The white Shipley—my distant ancestor—had promised the black Shipley that if he helped him start his farm in Oregon, he would give him his freedom.

A painful choice confronted Reuben Shipley. In exchange for the prospect of being free, he faced leaving behind his wife and two sons, who belonged to other slaveholders. But if he decided to remain in Missouri near his family, he would be sold as a slave to another owner.

[…]

Reuben Shipley was taken to Oregon, a six-month trip of 2,000 miles. According to the family genealogy, he resolved that once free, he would save enough money to buy his family’s freedom in Missouri and bring them to Oregon. He never saw them again.

Shipley, who did get his freedom, was by no means alone as a slave brought to Oregon. I was to learn over the next several years that there were as many as 50 slaves who came with early settlers, most of them from Missouri. Some were released soon after they arrived; others kept much longer. Yes, the number is miniscule compared with the 115,000 slaves in Missouri in 1860, and the four million slaves nationwide. But a slave is a slave. And this was Oregon, a free state which admitted to the Union in 1859, and a solidly blue state today, jokingly referred to as part of the nation’s “Left Coast,’’ along with Washington and California.

Read the entire article on BlackPast.org

Sources: Greg Nokes, Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2013);  Quintard Taylor, “Slaves and Free Men: Blacks in the Oregon Country, 1840-1860,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 83:2 (Summer 1982). 

On the Trail: The National Oregon/California Trail Center

America is full of history and the Oregon Trail is one large part of that history. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be highlighting a site, park or visitor center dedicated to helping us learn more about the Oregon Trail.


The National Oregon/California Trail Center

On the Trail: The National Oregon/California Trail Center

The National Oregon/California Trail Center is located within the beautiful Bear Lake Valley of Southeastern Idaho and situated on the historic site of the original Oregon Trail.

The Trail Center was built to preserve, perpetuate and promote the pioneer history and heritage of the Oregon/California Trail and the Bear Lake Valley.

The Center interprets the story of the pioneers who braved the arduous, six-month, 2,000 mile journey across the unsettled American West from Missouri to the Oregon Territory. The interpretation of this epoch migration is told using live actors within historically accurate interpretive areas located in the center. Vistitors join a simulated wagon train headed west and experience what it was like to prepare for the journey.

The Center also includes the Peg Leg Smith Trading Post gift shop, two sets of large and spacious public restrooms, the beautiful Allinger Community Theatre for viewing films and experiencing cultural/musical events, the Simplot art exhibit featuring the Oregon Trail paintings of Idaho artist Gary Stone, and the Rails and Trails Museum that highlights the heritage of the Bear Lake Valley as well as exhibits from the Bear Lake County Historical Society, Union Pacific and Daughters of Utah Pioneers. — NOCTC Web Site

320 North 4th Street, P.O. Box 323 | Montpelier, Idaho 83254

Previously on On the Trail:

The Promise – A Flyer to share with your friends, family and contacts!

We created this flyer to send to a variety of bookstores and Visitor’s Centers along the Oregon Trail and realized it might be useful to you for sharing with your friends, family and contacts. If you know someone who might be interested in The Promise, please pass along this flyer and a link to the web site — http://welchwrite.com/promise/ . It is available in both JPG and high-quality PDF. Use the links below to download.

Thanks for your support and help in sharing The Promise!

The Promise - A Flyer to share with your friends, family and contacts!

Download The Promise Flyer in PDF format

Download The Promise Flyer in JPG format

On the Trail: National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, OR

America is full of history and the Oregon Trail is one large part of that history. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be highlighting a site, park or visitor center dedicated to helping us learn more about the Oregon Trail.


National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center offers living history demonstrations, interpretive programs, exhibits, multi-media presentations, special events, and more than four miles of interpretive trails.

They offer a variety of interpretive programs year-round—please visit their Events page to view the calendar of programs of or see what special exhibits are in the Flagstaff Gallery.

From the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center web site…

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a Department of the Interior agency. The BLM is assisted by the Trail Tenders, Inc., a local non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. You can view our brochure here (PDF).

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center tells the story of the emigrant experience through exhibits, programs, films and special events. The Center focuses on six themes related to westward migration and settlement.

  • Pioneer Life on the Oregon Trail
  • Mountain Men and early Trail Travelers
  • Native Americans along the Oregon Trail
  • Natural History along the Trail and in Eastern Oregon
  • Mining and Early Settlement
  • History of the General Land Office – Grazing Service – Bureau of Land Management

Mission Statement

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Flagstaff Hill portrays and interprets the Oregon Trail experience and its related themes, while preserving and protecting its historic, cultural heritage, natural, and visual features. The Center serves as a focal point for the cultural heritage traveler, contributes a viable tourism industry for the area, and is committed to maintaining strong community partnerships.

Education Resource Guides for Teachers | Lesson Plans

If you would like information on fees, please click here, and for groups visits, click here. A digital brochure is available here

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located five miles east of Baker City, Oregon, on Highway 86. Take Exit 302 from Interstate 84: 125 miles northwest of Boise, 95 miles southeast of Pendleton. For directions, click here.

NHOTIC map1


Contact Information

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

22267 Oregon Hwy 86 • PO Box 987 • Baker City, OR • 541-523-1843 • BLM_OR_NH_Mail@blm.gov