31. Wagon Camp

As emigrants made their way along the pioneer trails, certain routines began to develop. While wagon trains would often stop for a day of chores and rest (about once a week), here is an example of what might be considered a “typical” day on the trail:



4:00 am: A bugler blows a trumpet or a rifle is fired by the night guards to wake up the camp.

5:00 am: Cattle are rounded up after being allowed to graze during the night (except when Indians threatened).

5:30 am: Women and children are up and fixing breakfast of usually bacon, corn porridge or “Johnny Cakes” made of flour and water.

6:30 am: Women rinse plates and mugs and stow bedding, while the men haul down tents and load them in the wagons.

7:00 am: After every family has gathered their teams and hitched them to wagons, a trumpeter signals a “Wagons Ho,” to start the wagons down the trail. Average distance covered in a day was usually fifteen miles, but on a good day twenty could be traveled.

7:30 am: Men ride ahead on horses with shovels to clear out a path, if needed.

“Nooning Time”: Animals and people stop to eat, drink and rest.

1:00 pm: Back on the trail.

5:00 pm: When a good campsite with ample water and grass is found, pioneers stop to set up camp for the evening. Wagons are formed into a corral.

6:00 pm: Families unpack and make supper.

7:00 pm: Mothers do chores, men smoke and talk, young people dance.

8:00 pm: Camp settles down for the night, guards go out on duty.

Midnight: Night guards are changed.


From https://oregontrailcenter.org/day-on-the-trail