American History 1785 - 1849

United States History Frontiersmen - Settlements in the West

Draw a covered wagon.

Divide the class into groups. Have each group list typical articles that a pioneer would carry on his wagon. See which group can list the most. Here are a few:

cooking utensils food tools
weapons clothing luxuries
wagon parts    

Visit these web sites:

PBS's New Perspectives on the West  http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/


Listen to some music from the 1800's. Stephen Foster was one famous composer. He wrote:

Swanee River

Way down upon the Swanee River,
Far, far away.
That's where my heart is turning ever.
That's where the old folks stay.
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for the old plantation,
And for the old folks at home.

All the world is sad and dreary,
Everywhere I roam,
Oh! Lordy, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

All 'round the little farm I wandered
When I was young,
Then many happy days I squandered,
Many a song I sung.
When I was playing with my brother
Happy was I.
Oh! take me to my kind old mother,
There let me live and die.

All the world is sad and dreary,
Everywhere I roam,
Oh! Lordy, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

One little hut among the bushes,
One that I love,
Still sadly to my mem'ry rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see the bees a-humming'
All around the comb?
When will I hear the banjo strummin'
Down in my good old home?

All the world is sad and dreary,
Everywhere I roam,
Oh, Lordy, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

 

Oh, Susanna!

I came from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee,
I'm goin' to Louisiana
My true love for to see;
It rained all night the day I left,
The weather it was dry;
The sun so hot I froze to death;
Susanna, don't you cry.

O, Susanna,
O, don't you cry for me,
I've come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee.
O, Susanna,
O, don't you cry for me,
'Cause I've goin' to Louisiana,
My true love for to see.

I had a dream the other night
When ev'rything was still;
I thought I saw Susanna
A-comin' down the hill;
The buckwheat cake was in her mouth,
The tear was in her eye;
Says I, I'm comin' from the south,
Susanna, don't you cry.

O, Susanna,
O, don't you cry for me,
I've come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee.
O, Susanna,
O, don't you cry for me,
'Cause I've goin' to Louisiana,
My true love for to see.

I soon will be in New Orleans,
And then I'll look around,
And when I find Susanna
I'll fall upon the ground.
And if I do not find her,
Then I will surely die,
And when I'm dead and buried,
Susanna, don't you cry.

O, Susanna,
O, don't you cry for me,
I've come from Alabama
With my banjo on my knee.
O, Susanna,
O, don't you cry for me,
'Cause I've goin' to Louisiana,
My true love for to see.

 

Camptown Races

De Campptown ladies sing this song,
Doo-da, Doo-da
De Camptown racetrack's two miles long
Oh, de doo-da day

Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

Oh, de long tailed filly and de big black horse,
Doo-da, doo-da
Come to a mud hole and dey all cut across,
Oh, de doo-da day

Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray

I went down South with my hat caved in,
Doo-da, doo-da
I came back North with a pocket full of tin
Oh, de doo-da day

Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the gray


View artwork of the West by artist such as Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, or Albert  Bierstadt.

Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art Official Web Site


Pioneers faced many risks while traveling west.

  • In the Spring, the ground was wet, but in late Summer the grass was dry.
  • Blizzards
  • Sickness
  • Wagon break downs
  • Wild animal attacks

List other risks that pioneers may face. Then come of with ways the pioneers might handle these dangerous occurrences.

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