- from Westward Expansion
At last your family is heading west! During the day, you get to walk alongside the oxen as they pull the wagon.
Your little brother has to stay inside, because he can’t keep up. At night you both have chores, like fetching firewood and water. Your parents talk happily about the Oregon Territory, where a family can claim 640 acres of land for free. More quietly, they speak of the dangers ahead.
Why did people move west? Some were looking for new places to sell goods. Others wanted their own land, or a place where they could feel at home. Reports from earlier settlers inspired people to make the trip. In 1836, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman set up a Christian mission near the Walla Walla Valley. One of the first American women to cross the South Pass, she wrote letters home describing the beautiful valleys and rich soil in Oregon. Her letters were later published, attracting more settlers.