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Pioneer Times – American History For Kids

Pioneers Times in America

The Pioneer Era

Pioneer Era – 1800’s
In my town and nearby. A very comprehensive history of the San Francisco Bay Area and its role in settling the West. lots of Gold Rush links, too.

Donner Party

Donner Memorial State Park
Included in the Emigrant Trail Museum are displays and information about one of the earliest pioneer wagon trains, the Donner Party, forced by circumstances to camp at the east end of Donner Lake in the winter of 1846-47, resulting in human suffering and loss of life. Truckee, California.

History of the Donner Party – C. F. McGlashan
The far-famed Donner Party were, in a peculiar sense, pioneer martyrs of California. Before the discovery of gold, before the highway across the continent was fairly marked out, while untold dangers lurked by the wayside, and unnumbered foes awaited the emigrants, the Donner Party started for California.

Patty Reed’s Doll: The Story of the Donner Party
by Rachel K. Laurgaard, Elizabeth Sykes Michaels (Illustrator)
In the winter of 1846, the Donner Party was stranded by heavy snows in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The pioneers endured bitter hardships, and many of them died. But some survived, including 8-year-old Patty Reed, a girl filled with dignity and determination in the face of mortal danger. This is her story, as told by Dolly, the wooden doll she kept hidden in her dress.


Gold Rush

California As We Saw It
Exploring the California Gold Rush. By Gary F. Kurutz, Curator of Special Collections, California State Library.

Discovery of Gold in California
It was in the first part of January, 1848, when the gold was discovered at Coloma, where John Sutter was then building a saw-mill. A first-hand account.

Gold Rush – American Experience on PBS
See if you have what it takes to strike it rich in the gold rush! Choose a character and try to strike it rich in our online role-playing game.

Gold Rush Chronicles
Here before you, in a leather-bound book on an old wooden table, is a history of the great California Gold Rush. Discover the colorful stories that lie unfurled on these pages and unlock a taste of that famous era. Learn how the Gold Rush affected the world not so long ago.

Gold Rush Sesquicentennial
“Boys,” Marshall told the group of laborers who were helping him build the sawmill, “By God, I believe I have found a gold mine.” Sacramento Bee 4-part story of the Gold Rush.

Great Plains

Homes on the Prairie
Not surprising then that early EuroAmerican settlers to the upper Midwest clung to waterways, where the trees were plentiful and provided fuel, lumber and perspective.

Oregon Trail

National Oregon/California Trail Center
Our wagon master and pioneer actors will greet you as you embark on your imaginary journey into the pioneer era of 1842-1869. Monpelier, Idaho.


The Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail was much more than a pathway to the state of Oregon; it was the only practical corridor to the entire western United States.

Oregon Trail – The Classic Game
If you don’t remember playing Oregon Trail as a kid, you’ll probably not be too interested in recapturing all the excitement of Manifest Destiny and the Western Expansion and such but can you name another game where you can die of the trots? Hee-hee! Play online.

Oregon Trail: 1843 Map
Click on a landmark on the map or on a name for a photo and additional information.


Oregon Trail Games, Adventure and History
Dozens of things to learn, do, play and make as you learn about the pioneers who came west along the Oregon Trail.

Westward Trail
Online game. The year is 1848 and you are about to embark on a 2000 mile journey across North America from Independence, Missouri to Oregon Country on the Pacific coast via the fabled Oregon Trail. Awaiting upon your arrival, should you survive the arduous trek, will be 640 acres of free farmland in the fertile Willamette Valley. If you’re up for the challenge, start by naming the leader of your wagon team and choosing your profession.

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