In 1792 Joseph Chaplin moved his family from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, to Cortland County, New York. His son, Daniel Chaplin, moved from Cortland County, New York, to Jones County, Iowa in 1838. About 1860 Daniel’s son, Daniel Chaplin, moved his family from Jones County, Iowa, to Plumas County, California, then to Butte County, California, by 1880 to Norton County, Kansas, and died in Kansas City, Missouri in 1890!
Families were on the move much more than we tend to believe.
Were any of your ancestors pioneers?
A pioneer is someone who paves the way for others to follow. Concerning the pioneers who journeyed across the plains, some traveled the Santa Fe Trail, others the Oregon Trail.
Travelers on the Santa Fe Trail went from Missouri, across the southwest through Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
The Oregon Trail is 2,000 miles long and served as a jumping off point for those going over Donner Pass to California and on the Mormon trail to the Utah territory. Many journeyed on the Oregon Trail between 1840 to 1860. In 1869, the railroad became the preferred way to travel.
You can determine if your ancestor moved from one location to another by following them back in time through the censuses. (See the related posts below).
Have you wished you could read about your family’s experience as they crossed the plains?
Your family may not have recorded the details, but chances are someone did. When you read the writer’s experience, you can imagine your own family in a similar environment.
If you want to discover what others experienced you may read the journals posted online in the digital collection “Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869.” This collection is comprised of the trail diaries of forty-five men and four women who traveled along the Mormon, California, Oregon, or Montana Trails. The Oregon Trail site also has diaries and memoirs of some who traveled.
Did you find a pioneer in your family may have traveled one of these trails?