Crossing the Rivers
Crossing rivers in the 1800s
was difficult. This was one of their first problems they would
encounter. Many of the rivers were very difficult to cross.
If the river was shallow and not moving at a fast speed they
could cross by fording. They would have the oxen pull the wagon across to the other bank.
Sometimes when the river was deeper they would swim the animals
and float their wagon across the river. Children would help
their parents prepare the wagon by making a wax paste that would waterproof the open spaces of the wagon. For the deeper
and more dangerous rivers they would build a large flat boat
called a scow. This boat would float them and their covered
wagons across the river. Their animals would have to swim across
because they were too big. The scow had big blocks of wood to
hold their wagons on the scow. Sometimes Indians would ferry them across the river, and they would have to pay
them or trade with them, with something they wanted.
Sometimes it could take up to five days before an entire wagon
train could cross the river.
Go to these pages to learn more about pioneer life on the trail:
|Cooking||First - Aid on theTrail|
|Fire Building||Pioneer Pastimes|
|Recipes||Dangers on the Trail|
|Who were the Pioneers?|
|Why did they travel to the frontier?|
|Where did the pioneers travel to?|
|What are some of the trails they used?|
|What did they take with them?|
|How did they travel?|
|What were their wagons like?|
|What was a Wagon Train?|
|Who led the Wagon Train?|
|What were their lives like on the trail?|
|What did they do after reaching their new homes?|
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