Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Mary Elizabeth Munkers Narrative – Crossing the Great Plains in 1846

The narrative starts with Mrs Munkers describing the amount of families that came together to move westwards. She says that there are fifty families that are ready to make this journey including her family which consists of her dad, ‘his invalid wife…three married sons…one married daughter…five younger children’. Mary was ten years old when this event happened, it seems like a big family and already you can imagine the difficulties that lay ahead of them. Not only because of the harsh landscape but also the fact that there is a large number of them and the mother isn’t able independent due to her unfortunate situation.
Mary and the rest of the party were one of the first pioneers to travel across this path and she says that there were no bridges across the streams, if there wasn’t suitable timbre to build rafts the family had to use their beds as floats. This shows how difficult the journey westwards was, especially for the first emigrants. Another hazard that Mary faced as well as other parties was the weather, Mary was in the middle of a storm and although no one was hurt in this situation storms and other natural hazards were serious problems that the pioneers faced.

Eventually the family settled in Mill Creek which was four miles East of Salem. The father wanted to secure this piece of land as there were a good amount of resources nearby which was appropriate due to the mother condition. The four brothers became miners which allowed the family to become wealthy. Mary acknowledges that her journey west wasn’t the most difficult in comparison to others, she recalls hearing stories of Indians attacking whole parties, diseases such as cholera affecting individuals and also livestock dying leaving families stranded on the plains. The journey west was full of potential danger not only from human factors but also other factors ranging from storms to disease.  

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