WLM Fall and Holiday 2015 - Page 21

WLM | inspirational woman rocks were usually available to cover the bodies. During the hardest of times mass graves were used. Often the whole wagon train was driven across the graves of their loved ones, a seemingly hideous way to leave this world, but it was actually an act of love. No one wanted their loved ones dug up. Few treasures or family heirlooms were taken because the oxen could only pull so much weight. If they were, most were usually discarded along the way, along with a chunk of the women’s hearts. Scavengers would often collect these, take them back to “civilization” and sell them. Some of this precious cargo had been brought on ships from other countries. The emigrants were accompanied by horses, cattle, and chickens, along with garden seeds and starts of favorite bushes and trees from their homes back east. Likely as not, the family dog was part of the entourage. They traveled over 2,000 miles of endless prairie, sagebrush, rivers, and mountains. Too much rain forced animals and humans to walk in the mud, and wagon wheels to bog down severely, or no rain for endless days caused thirst and misery for animals and humans alike. Cholera was a heavy killer of the travelers, usually from bad water. There were rattlesnakes to fear, and the valid, ever-present worry of Native American attacks. At times a woman would bury a child and give birth to another the same day. There was no time for grief; the trains had to push on and beat the snow. They buried their dead as best they could, often in ground so hard it was almost impossible to dig, but many While all of these difficulties did not befall the Paul family, many of them did. There is a stretch known as the Lander Cut-Off that started at South Pass, Wyoming. Part of that trail reaches from Big Piney to Highway 89, south of Smoot, in what is known as Star Valley, Wyoming. Over 13,000 people traveled this portion along with 79,000 animals. It cut off many miles but was a difficult passage and was Fine Handmade Gifts in a Beautiful Home - All for a Wonderful Cause! The constant walking was weighed against the jostling of riding in a wagon and consideration for the animals pulling the vehicles. “We had our milch {sic} cows with us; our churn was set in the front of the wagon and the constant movement of the wagon churned our butter,” Louisa’s writings add. Women had to manage meals for their family three times a day, keep laundry done when they stopped by a stream, and tend to children along the way. www.wyolifestyle.com 19