The Diary of Sallie Hester, 1849-1850 A Covered Wagon Girl
On March 20, 1849 Sallie Hester and her family began the journey from Indiana to California. Sallie was 14 years old at the time and was among 350,000 pioneers making the trip from the eastern United States between 1841 and 1866 to western territories. The pioneers believed life would be better out West. Some left the east because of overcrowding, some left for a healthier climate, and some in search of Gold.
Sallie Hester’s father was a successful lawyer in Bloomington, Indiana. The family lived comfortably but Mrs. Hester was ill and Mr. Hester hoped that her health would improve in the warm climate of the California territory. The Hester's sold many of their belongings with only the necessary items packed into two covered wagons. *Normally pioneers would take only the necessities, such as: clothes, food, seeds, tools, guns, and plows.
The Hester’s joined 48 other wagons to form a wagon train. Wagon trains travelled together to help one another survive the long and sometimes dangerous journey. • Not all pioneers survived the journey. • They sometimes ran out of food • Members became too weak • Some became ill and died • Difficult weather forced travelers to turn back.
The Hester's traveled 2,000 miles along the Oregon-California trail. • Their were many hardships • Crossing dangerous rivers and deserts • They often went without food or water • Some died of disease • Some died from drowning in fast moving rivers
Fourteen year old, Sallie Hester wrote about her families adventure on the Oregon-California Trail. Her journal describes what life was like for the average traveler of the time. www.oregontrailcenter