A Journey Along The Oregon Trail! Book #20
A Journey Along The Oregon Trail!
By Raymond Cook
© 2015 (All Rights Reserved)
Word Count: 95,000
Author’s Note: This book is a fictional portrayal of what it would be like for a wagon train of settlers crossing the plains along the Oregon Trail and is packed with suspense and action.
About This Book
A Journey Along The Oregon Trail! © 2015 by Raymond Cook is a 305 page story about Frank and Lisa Mead, a young couple in their twenties who lived in Columbia, Missouri in 1898. Frank was only twenty three years old when his father was kicked in the head by a horse in the livery stable and died. Frank tried to make a go of running his father’s livery stable but saw family after family buying a covered wagon to go out west.
160 acres of good land was for the taking in California, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and even Oregon. But to get there meant leaving everything they owned behind as well as their friends and trek across the plains risking their very lives for the chance to carve themselves a new life out of the wilderness. Not only was a good quality covered wagon needed but also strong oxen or horses to pull up to 3,000 pounds nearly 1,200 miles.
The following spring, Frank and Lisa talk about selling the livery stable and their farm and heading for Independence, Missouri. Once there they planned to join a wagon train headed for Colorado to start a new life. But the couple will risk death itself long before they reach Independence. The couple joins a wagon train of forty families destined for Denver, Colorado but less than half will arrive there safely.
Along the four month journey the wagon train comes across three covered wagons that were attacked by Indians. Only one survivor is found alive, a tiny baby girl hidden in a cedar hope chest by its mother. They will also face diseases, discouragement, broken wagon wheels or axels, wildfires, drowning’s at dangerous river crossings, rattlesnakes, lost children, drought, a tornado, dust storms, highwaymen and treacherous mountains to get over. This is a story about Frank and Lisa’s journey along the Oregon Trail.
Sample Story Excerpt…..
It was the third day out of Alcove Springs when Jerry saw buzzards circling in the sky ahead of him. He knew that meant they had found something dead. As he looked straight ahead, he saw in the distance several covered wagons and they were off to the right of the trail and not close to each other. As he rode ahead a bit faster he took the time to wipe the sweat off of his brow before his right hand rest on the butt of his Colt 40 revolver.
He saw arrows stuck in the sides of the wagons and saw bodies of families scattered on the ground. He looked in all four directions and didn’t see anyone on horseback as he reached the wagon closest to the trail. He got off his horse and yelled out loudly, “Anyone alive?” but he didn’t hear anything. He checked on the bodies of men, women and children all with one or more arrows in them. The Indians had scalped the men and women but not their children.
Jerry made a body count and came up with six men, seven women and eight children. He walked over to the wagons and lifted the lid on each water barrel and saw they contained water. He dipped his hand into each one and the water was good. Before he turned back to head back to the wagon train, he took a bucket off of the hook of the wagon he was standing beside. He let his horse drink as much water as it wanted as he patted the side of his neck.
Jerry took a guess and figured the settlers had been murdered within the last twenty-four hours which meant the Indians weren’t that far away. He was sure Brad would post men to stay awake during the night to protect everyone and their horses. The Indians had taken all six horses and the men’s rifles and pistols. Even their gun belts containing extra shells were taken.
Jerry filled his canteen to the brim and took three sips from the dipper beside the barrel before he got on his horse and headed south. Katy was the first one to see Jerry headed towards them and she pointed to him as she looked over to her husband and asked, “I wonder why Jerry’s coming back so soon?” Brad shrugged his shoulders as he replied, “I don’t know darling, let’s hope he’s bringing some good news.”
But the closer Jerry and his horse got to their wagon the look in Jerry’s eyes told them he was bringing bad news. Jerry turned his horse around to keep pace with the wagon as he told Brad what he had found. “We got Indians somewhere up ahead Brad,” Jerry said worriedly. Katy tightened her left arm around her husband’s arm as he suddenly brought his wagon to a stop forcing everyone else to stop as well.
“How far up ahead are they and how many are there?” was Brad’s next question. Jerry shook his head no as he wiped the sweat off of his horse and shifted himself in his saddle. “I don’t know. I came upon three wagons of settlers just off the trail about a mile ahead. They were all killed. The men and women were scalped,” Jerry said. Quickly Katy asked about the children. “They were all dead too Katy,” Jerry said. Katy put her hand to her mouth as both men saw her start to cry.
“How long do you think those folks have been dead?” asked Brad. Jerry told his boss not more than a day. As Brad nodded, he asked Jerry to go from wagon to wagon and pass the words Indians had attacked some families ahead of them. Jerry nodded and headed to the wagon behind Brad’s. A look of fear came across each family’s faces when they heard Jerry pass the word. Four Mormon families were accompanying the wagon train and they didn’t have any firearms to protect their families.
Brad slapped the reins over his horse’s backs and they continued down the trail. By now, women had reached behind their wagon seat and their husband’s Winchester rifle bumped back and forth against their knees. Anxiously men and women put their hands to their brows searching to their left and right for any signs of Indians on horseback. When Brad stopped his wagon near the three wagons he saw some 150 feet off the trail he looked over to Jerry.
“Those water barrels still have water in them?” Brad yelled and Jerry nodded. After Brad climbed down to the ground he yelled out, “I need men with shovels to help bury these folks. You women stay where you are, pass the word down.” Sixteen men walked up to Brad carrying shovels and the women in the first few wagons could see dead people with arrows stuck in their bodies.
Near each body disheartened men shoved the tip of their shovels in the ground and started to dig a grave. Brad walked over to each wagon and lifted the lids on each water barrel. “When you men have finished burying these folks I need you to bring up six wagons and transfer this water to your water barrels,” Brad said and half of the men nodded. Once the barrels were empty, Brad had one man get under the rear axle of each wagon and unhook the grease bucket.
Then he called out, “Start unloading all of the belongings out of these wagons. Set all the food to one side and we’ll divide it among those who need the food. Be sure to set aside any oil lamps and kerosene too.” Now that the water barrels were empty they were sat down on the ground. Then one man climbed inside each wagon and began scooting belongings to the end while other men looked to see what it was.
Everything that was food was set down to the left and everything else was set down to the right. When Bill Wilson’s huge right hand grabbed onto the nearest handle of a cedar hope chest, he didn’t think anything of it but he was in for a surprise. In fact, every man within ear shot was about to stop in their tracks. When the chest abruptly stopped at the edge of the wagon the sound of a babies cries were heard coming from inside the chest.
Katy was the woman nearest the wagon and when she heard the baby’s cries; she ran so fast she almost fell on her hands and knees. She ran to the wagon yelling, “Open that cedar chest!” Katy’s heart was pounding as she watched Bill with a shocked look on his face lift the lid. Just as Katy reached the back of the wagon, she watched Bill lift a newborn baby wrapped in a shawl up for all to see.
Tears were flowing down her cheeks as she raised both of her arms above her head. The baby was hungry and in need of being cleaned up and Katy screamed out at the top of her lungs, “We found a baby alive!” Wild horses couldn’t hold back the number of women who climbed to the ground and rushed up to see the only survivor of the Indian attack.
One woman stopped long enough to bring a bottle and some warm cow’s milk for the child. “Someone bring me a washcloth, a basin of water and a diaper,” Katy frantically said. Katy fed the child as another woman cleaned the baby up and put a clean diaper on it. It was a little girl and she couldn’t be more than four days old. As Katy looked up at Bill, she asked, “How on earth did this baby survive being hid in that hope chest? How could it even breathe?”
Bill saw the folded up wash cloth and the floor beside his boot and he picked it up. “The mother must have put her baby in the hope chest hoping the Indians wouldn’t find it when they were attacked. She stuffed this here washcloth between the lid and chest so air could get in,” Bill said. By now, more and more women were gathering around Katy and they all wanted a peek at the baby girl.
Having been changed, the warm milk put the baby asleep wrapped in a white shawl as Katy rocked back and forth smiling at everyone. Almost at the same time three women asked who was going to adopt the baby. Just as quickly, most of the women raised their hands and waved as they wiped their eyes. Brad and Katy led the women about fifty feet away from the wagons to decide which woman would adopt the tiny baby.
Pacific Book Review
Review date: April 1, 2015
Reviewer: Suzanne Gattis
“A Journey Along the Oregon Trail” is a historically accurate western fiction about the toils and turmoil, wishes and dreams, love and lives of those who took the often dangerous but worthwhile trip along the Oregon Trail. It chronicles the journey of the young couple Frank and Lisa Mead, who are both nervous and excited about what the future might hold. This book is filled with dangers around every corner, the book journals the reality that early pioneers had to deal with.
What struck me most about this book was that it was obviously very well researched. This made the storyline more impactful because you felt like you yourself were experiencing the journey. I could feel their fears and desires as I read what traveling the Oregon Trail was composed of. It gave me immense admiration for the people that struck out on this journey. From rattlesnakes to wolves, floods to impassable mountain passes, this was a true struggle that took character and inner and out strength to accomplish.
While reading the book, you really feel like you begin to know the characters and understand that this just wasn’t just a journey across the United State but a journey in life. Leaving your home and all that you know definitely takes a leap of faith and courage. You see their joy and trials and want to see them succeed. All in all, I would recommend this book not only to historical fiction readers but to anyone who wants to learn more about our country’s past, and also to those who love stories of courage, adventure, and enduring love.
“A Journey Along The Oregon Trail! is an action-packed western frontier wagon train eBook traveling the Oregon Trail. I’ve made this comment section so I can share with visitors to my website what readers feel about my newest eBook. To share your comments too, just go to the top of the page and click on the Contact Me tab.
David H. in Salt lake City, Utah on September 26, 2015
I loved this book. The author went into wonderful detail regarding the concerns of joining the wagon train, costs, provisions need and the risks awaiting them long before they reached their destination. The storyline flowed well once they left Independence, Missouri and kept me turning the pages to see what came next. Though I read the comments on this Oregon trail story before I bought it, I have to say I didn’t run into grammar mistakes, typo’s, in other words, a poorly written book. The Oregon Trail is an important part of America’s history. Unlike the old west tv shows that only gave us a small glimpse into the wild west era, this author gave me the ‘full course meal.’
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