The Way West

 © Photographed October 11, 2015
Elkhorn, Walworth County, Wisconsin

The cry was "Westward Ho!!" . . . and off the pioneers went, toward, and then across the wide Missouri. Most walked beside their wagons, walking, walking, walking . . . 2000 miles across the country to California and Oregon.

Manifest Destiny: The fever for a young nation to expand was the pioneers' fateful declaration and so the covered wagons started rolling WEST in 1845, leaving in the spring when the grass was green. Between 1845 and 1893 the WEST would be lost and won. It was a depository of hope and the pioneers, with the promise of millions of acres to be parceled out went WEST to find their heaven and to make their fortune my [sic] mining gold and silver, farming, ranching, etc. Many also went WEST to "Mine the Miners." Over four hundred thousand people would make this trip. Disease and dangers of the trip took its tool: one of out seventeen would die before completing the trip.

But the WEST was also the home to Native Americans, "The Original Possessors of the Land." According to the Great White Father in Washington, it was supposed to be their land as long as the grass grows and water flows. But then came the discovery of gold and silver in California and through the West. The desire to "get rich quick" and work the land started the mass movement of people east to west. The Indians were just an inconvenience that needed to be removed. Then, first came the covered wagons followed by the iron horse, which as much as anything else led to the conquest of the American Indians. In less than four decades ever treaty and promise made to the Indians would be broken, their land would be taken, ends of thousands would die and sixty million buffalo (the Indians' staff of life) that roamed the west, would be gone forever. When Columbus came to North America [NOTE: Columbus never, never, ever came "to North America" -- he never travelled further north than the Caribbean] there were approximately ten millions Indians living on the continent. In 1870 there were fewer than 300,000.
1 barrel of flour
150#-180# of bacon
25# of coffee
40# of sugar
25# of rice
60# of beans and/or peas
keg of beef suet
keg of lard
30#-40$ dried peaches and/or apples
molasses and vinegar
The cost of the trip was $500-$1,000

Watson's Wild West is located on westbound Potter Road, west of its intersection with North Wisconsin Street, at

The marker is mounted to the podium visible in the center of the photo.

Nearby era signs (above and below)

The marker is located at Watson's Wild West in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

No comments:

Post a Comment