- from Westward Expansion
At last your family is headed west! During the day, you get to walk with the oxen as they pull the wagon.
Your little brother has to stay in the wagon. He's too small to keep up. At night you both have chores, like fetching firewood and water. Your parents sound excited when they talk about the Oregon Territory. There, 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 to feel at home. Early settlers sent back reports of what life was like. The news made more people want to make the trip. In 1836, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman set up a Christian mission near the Walla Walla Valley. Narcissa was one of the first American women to cross the South Pass. She wrote letters home about the beautiful valleys and rich soil in Oregon. Her letters were later published. They made more people want to move west.