When writing your family tree book, adding historical tidbits helps bring your family to life. Knowing what happened at a specific period of time or in a specific place tells you a lot about the life your ancestors were leading – -and the topics they probably talked about around the supper table. Feel free to use this (or any Today in History) post in your family tree book.
In April of 1851, Susan Amelia Cranston and her husband Warren, left their Ohio home and traveled on the Oregon Trail. Their train was filled with other Ohio emigrants, most with a strong anti-slavery sentiment. These people would become active in the Republican Party in their Oregon home, during the crucial pre-Civil War years.
(Watercolor by William Henry Jackson, Scotts Bluff, on the Oregon Trail – click to enlarge)
On May 31, 1851, the train reached one of the first major landmarks on the trail – Ash Hollow. This was known for good water and having an abundance of wood. It was frequently a resting place for both people and animals.
On that day, Susan wrote “. . . we found ourselves in what is called Ash hollow which leads out to the bottom of North fork this hollow is two miles long and from 15 to 30 rods wide winding around the bluffs which tower up on either side some times to the highth of 60 feet The road through the hollow was lined with shrubs and flowers wild roses cow cherries and scrub ash and up on the blufs small cedars.”
Although Susan and Warren both successfully made the difficult journey, Susan died in 1857, of tuberculosis.
If you visit this area, be sure to stop at the Platte River Valley Museum.
Were any of your ancestors on the Oregon Trail? If they were, please e-mail me the information and I’ll post it on the site. Thank you for leaving a comment or sharing this post with your friends.