Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wagon Trains

According to Rinker Buck, in his book, The Oregon Trail, "[t]he era of the canvas-topped wagons crossing the American plains lasted about fifty years. During the peak migration years of the 1840s and 1850s, more than 400,000 pioneers crossed, in about sixty thousand wagons...."

We don't often associate eastern North Carolina with covered wagons, but a wagon train bound for Alabama left Carteret County in 1823 . Another departed about 1840.

In 1834, Ocracoke sea captain Elisha Chase and his wife, Thurza Howard Chase, sold their island property to Thurza’s brothers, gave up life by the sea, and with their three children, left Ocracoke to join a wagon train heading west. According to oral history, somewhere in Tennessee both Elisha and Thurza fell ill, and lay unconscious or in delirium for several days. When Elisha awoke he learned that his wife had died. Distraught, he claimed to have medicine in his satchel that would have cured her. Thurza was buried alongside the trail.

Eventually Elisha and his three children settled in Callaway County, Missouri, not far from Boonville. He soon became a merchant in the town of Portland, Auxvasse Township. Elisha married again, this time to Anne (surname unknown), and they had one child, Henry L. Chase. Elisha Chase is buried on a farm near Portland, Missouri. 

For more information, please see my article about Ocracoke's Soundfront Inn:

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about one of the early July 4th Parades written by Alice Rondthaler in 1953. It is accompanied by vintage photos.You can read the Newsletter here:


  1. Wagon trains!
    You just never know what Philip will find.
    Here's what I found...

  2. Looks like something happened to one of the wagons seeing as men are running back to wagon in a hurry.