Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Day in History!

While visiting my good friends at SOS Aloha this morning, reading their weekly winners, et cetera, I learned a little tidbit about this day in history. Turns out, on May 22, 1945, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox joined the US Navy. Pretty interesting, huh? I thought so, too. And naturally that got my thinking: Since my current WIP takes place in the year 1843 in Darlington, County Durham, UK... I wonder if anything of significance happened on this day in that year in history?

As a matter of fact, something did!

The Oregon Trail by Albert Bierstadt

On May 22, 1843, an enormous wagon train, compiled of over 1,000 settlers + 1,000 head of cattle, took their first steps onto the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, headed toward what is now Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, and (you guessed it) Oregon. This is known as the Great Emigration. Check out these directions: 40+ miles on the Sante Fe Trail--->turn northwest on the Platte River until you hit Fort Laramie, Wyoming---->take the South Pass through the Rocky Mountains until you hit the basin of the Colorado River---->SW to Fort Bridger---->NW to Fort Hall--->keep going 'til you hit Fort Boise---->take a break, get supplies, pass out, whatever---->cut through the Blue Mountains until you reach (thank goodness!) Oregon.

I'm thinking I couldn't cram all that on a Post-It. Or if so, I would've been the idiot in charge of the directions who lost the Post-It, and, therefore, caused us to wind up in, I don't know, Canada or something.

Needless to say, the 2,000 mile journey took over 5 months (they arrived in October; bet the weather was nice!). FIVE MONTHS on a TWO THOUSAND MILE wagon train! Just think about it: cattle, screaming babies, smelly humans (ew), dirt and grime, traveling through heat and extreme exhaustion. Sickness! Because you know people got sick, right? Wow. A 400 mile drive from my front door to Momma's--in an air conditioned car with a stereo, no less!--and I'm moaning and groaning like a big baby. Truly, I am humbled.

Within the next year, 4 more wagon trains made the journey, after which use of the trail declined, admitting the advent of the railroads.

So, there you have it, folks. Your brain crease for the day! Ta-da! (I hope you sang that, because I totally did.) Is there a particular time and/or event in history which really sparks your interest? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,



BREA said...

Oh girl - good history lesson! Hey have you seen the previews for History Channel's "Gettysburg" ?

I will be adding it to the dvr!

Alyssia said...

Hey, you! Welcome back! YES! I've seen it twice now during the Regal First Look @ the theater. Looks great!

Jacqueline said...

Cool history lesson on your blog=you have a way of making everything sound interesting!...I totally relate to your observations and can't imagine those traveling conditions, although I am reminded of the saying "the journey is more important than the destination"...Love the Bugs Bunny cartoon :)

Alyssia said...

@Jacqueline Thanks! And you are so right about the journey. Louis L'Amour said, "The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for."

Oh, and too often I feel exactly like the Bugs cartoon. LOL

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