Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Martha S. Read

Martha Read's journey to the 'west' started in Chicago and culminated in Oregon, even though the destination was intended to be California. This history was selected due to the fact it it looks at how difficult it was for Americans to actually plan where to go and actually get there. The distance from Chicago to Oregon is over 2000 miles, and according to Google Maps; it would take 624 hours to reach Oregon's state border by walking. Which is just over 26 days of continuous walking. It took Read 7 months to reach Oregon from Illinois. Which is a far longer time than Google Maps suggests. During the 1800's however, I would say 7 months is the norm for this period due to the more challenging terrain facing them, not the roads we have today.

Setting off in April 1852, Read claimed that God would guide her to California. Read, like many others during this period found short term accommodation during their journey. Read using an abandoned fort in Wyoming. The previous users of the fort are unknown, however Read mentions that it has been deserted for 3 years, with plenty of facilities to cook food and sleep. This was different to others going westward during this period, who had to build their own accommodation from scratch. Eventually in November 1852, Martha Read got to a destination. Not California as she had intended, but Oregon City. She mentions the rapid development of her new neighbourhood as well. Claiming that schools will be opened in another summer, and that more homes are being built around them. However the rurality of the area is still noticeable, as Read states that she has 3 or 4 neighbours within half a mile, not in a suburb style town. Read says that it is not how she pictured the area to be, perhaps not knowing how far from California she was, she talks about the heavy rains and the unsuitable landscape with mountains and hills surrounding the area.

She finishes the second letter saying that she wants her sister to decide 'immediately' whether or not to move out to Oregon with her. Maybe the fact she was under the impression that more people would take the land surrounding where Martha settled. Again another example of Americans moving westward and finding it not be how it was shown to be, but still staying.


No comments:

Post a Comment