Oregon Public Broadcasting


Transcript - What a Wonderful Place This Oregon

Music: THE TRAIL BAND

Joyce Badgley Hunsaker: AFTER SO LONG, SO MANY HEARTBREAKS, SO MANY DEPRIVATIONS, SO MANY ADVENTURES, THEY FINALLY ARRIVED.

Narrator: FOR MOST, THE ARRIVAL IN OREGON WAS BITTERSWEET. THEY HAD LOST LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS, SUFFERED THROUGH SICKNESS AND WATCHED MANY OF THEIR TREASURES VANISH INTO THE DUST.

Voice Over: HERE WE ARE IN OREGON MAKING OUR CAMP IN AN UGLY BOTTOM WITH NO HOME EXCEPT OUR WAGONS AND TENT. IT IS DRIZZLING, AND THE WEATHER LOOKS DARK AND GLOOMY, THIS IS THE END OF A LONG AND TEDIOUS JOURNEY. (GRAPHIC: AMELIA HADLEY, 1851)

Sue Armitage: SO MANY PEOPLE ARRIVED IN OREGON REALLY STRIPPED DOWN TO THEIR BASICS.

Voice Over: WE LIVED ON BOILED WHEAT AND BOILED PEAS. (GRAPHIC: LUCY ANN DEADY, 1846)

Voice Over: WE NEVER HAD A BIT OF COFFEE, THE COFFEE MADE WAS PEA COFFEE. (GRAPHIC: MARTHA ANN MORRISON, 1851)

Sue Armitage: THEY DON'T HAVE ANY FOOD AND ITS NOVEMBER AND THEY CAN'T, THEY CAN'T MOVE OUT ON A HOMESTEAD AND FARM, THEY HAVE TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE WINTER.

Lillian Schlissel: THERE IS NO HOTELS, THERE IS NO HOUSE, THERE IS NOTHING. AND SO A LOT OF THEM THEN EITHER SHARE, IF THE WAGON IS STILL WITH THEM, THEY LIVE IN THE WAGON THROUGH THE WINTER, OR THEY FIND A HOUSE AND THREE, FOUR OR FIVE FAMILIES LIVE TOGETHER UNTIL THE SPRING WHEN THEY CAN GO OUT AND GET SOME LAND.

Voice Over: THE SEVEN GIRLS SLEPT IN THE LOFT AND THE YOUNGER ONES SLEPT ON THE FLOOR IN THE FRONT ROOM BY THE FIREPLACE. FATHER IN EXCHANGE FOR OUR HOUSING TAUGHT SCHOOL TO THE TENANT CHILDREN AND AT NIGHT MADE FURNITURE CONSISTING OF CHAIRS, TABLES, BROOMS AND BEDSTEADS. (GRAPHIC: INEZ PARKER, 1849)

Susan Butruille: FOR MANY OF THEM WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH THEIR MIND IS, WHERE WILL I GO, WHAT WILL WE DO NOW.

Voice Over: THIS MORNING I RAN ABOUT TRYING TO GET A HOUSE TO GET INTO WITH MY SICK HUSBAND. AT LAST, I FOUND A SMALL, LEAKY CONCERN WITH TWO FAMILIES ALREADY IN IT. YOU COULD HAVE STIRRED US WITH A STICK. HE WAS NEVER OUT OF THAT SHED UNTIL HE WAS CARRIED OUT IN HIS COFFIN. HOW COMFORTLESS IS A WIDOW'S LIFE ESPECIALLY WHEN LEFT IN A STRANGE LAND WITHOUT MONEY OR FRIENDS AND THE CARE OF SEVEN CHILDREN. (GRAPHIC: ELIZABETH SMITH GEER, 1847)

Voice Over: WHEN WE REACHED PORTLAND OUR FAMILY CONSISTED OF MY MOTHER AND NINE CHILDREN. MOTHER HAD NO MONEY AND HAD NINE HUNGRY MOUTHS TO FEED IN ADDITION TO HER OWN. SO SHE WOULD GO TO THE SHIPS THAT CAME AND GET WASHING TO DO. (GRAPHIC: ELVINA APPERSON FELLOWS, 1847)

Joyce Badgley Hunsaker: MANY OF THEM SOLD EGGS IF INDEED THEY HAD CHICKENS. THEY TANNED SOME OF THE HIDES THAT THEY TRADED FOR ALONG THE TRAIL AND MADE GARMENTS OR GLOVES OR SHOES OR WHATEVER THEY COULD TO SELL THOSE TO MAKE A LIVING. SOME WENT INTO SERVICE TO OTHERS AS MAIDS OR COOKS OR HIRED LABOR. IT WAS NOT AN EASY END OF THE TRAIL.

Voice Over: MY MOST VIVID RECOLLECTION OF THAT FIRST WINTER IN OREGON IS OF THE WEEPING SKIES AND OF MOTHER AND I ALSO WEEPING. (GRAPHIC: MARILLA R. WASHBURN BAILEY, 1852)

Lillian Schlissel: THERE IS A DIARY OF A YOUNG WOMAN WHO HAS JUST HAD A CHILD AND SHE WRITES THAT SHE DOES NOT KNOW WITHIN THE SCOPE OF FIVE MILES AROUND HER WHERE ANY OTHER HUMAN BEING MAY BE LIVING.

 


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