Arriving in the Oregon Territory
by Stephenie Flora
The end of their hardships was not over for the emigrants arriving in the Oregon Territory. To access the Willamette Valley they had to decide whether to raft their possessions down the Columbia River or (in later years) whether to attempt the trail over the mountains. The later in the year when they arrived the more likely that the mountains would be impassable due to snow. Neither choice was without risk.
Whatever their final choice, when they reached Oregon City they would have to find a place to locate for the winter. Those who arrived earlier in the year had an opportunity to find lodging. The later in the year they arrived the harder it would be to find such a place. Many ended up in leaky shacks or tents for the winter that were already occupied by several families. Elizabeth Dixon Smith in 1847, stated that they were so crowded in their leaky little shack that "you could have stirred us with a stick". Those who were already sick from the hardships of the trail often died due to the winter conditions that took the final toll.
My name is Stephenie Flora. Thanks for stopping by. Return to [ Home Page ] All [ Comments and Inquiries ] are welcome.