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Amelia Stewart Knight Tells of Her Travels—Historical Diary

Have you ever kept a diary? Diaries help us understand what it is like to live in a specific place and time. Historical diaries provide information about daily life long ago. Read the two entries from Amelia Stewart Knight's historical diary. They tell us about Knight's journey to Oregon in 1853.

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Sunday, April 17th—It is warm and pleasant; we are on our way again, traveling over some very pretty rolling prairie. Corn is up to three dollars a bushel. Travel[ed] 20 miles today, and have camped in the prairie. No wood to cook with. Have to eat cold supper. Have the good luck to find corn at 80 cents a bushel….

…Thursday, April 21st—Rained all night; is still raining. I have just counted 17 wagons traveling ahead of us in the mud and water. No feed for our poor stock to be got at any price. Have to feed them flour and meal. Traveled 22 miles today.

Excerpts from Idaho State University's Web site entitled “The Oregon Trail,” developed by Mike Trinklein and Steve Boettcher, creators of “The Oregon Trail,” a documentary film that aired nationally on PBS.


During the 1800s, thousands of families moved from the eastern part of the United States to the West. They traveled on horseback, on foot, and in covered wagons. Their journeys were very difficult. People traveled along rivers, across plains, and over mountains. In the mid-1800s, Amelia Stewart Knight, her family, and their dog traveled from Iowa to what is now Oregon. They left Iowa in April and arrived in Oregon that fall. Throughout their trip, Knight wrote of the journey in her diary.

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The Oregon Trail
Read more entries from this and other diaries on The Oregon Trail Web site.