American History 1785 - 1849

United States History The Gold Rush

The Oregon Trail


Make a diorama of a boom town.


Figure out how many steps it took for a 49er to walk to California. First measure one of your normal steps from front hell to back heel. How many inches is it? Next divide 63360 (the number of inches in a mile) by that number. Now you have the figures for the number of steps in a mile. Next multiply the number of steps by 2000 miles (the distance from St. Louis to California). The answer is the number of steps it would take you to walk from Missouri to California.


Play the song Sweet Betsy from Pike.    

 Sweet Betsy From Pike
Pioneer Song, 1849

Did you ever hear of
Sweet Betsy from Pike,
Who crossed the wide prairies
With her husband, Ike,
With two yoke of cattle
And one spotted hog
A tall Shanghai rooster
And an old yeller dog?

Sing toorali, oorali, oorali ay
Sing toorali, oorali, oorali ay

The alkali desert
Was burning and bare
And Ike cried in fear,
"We are lost, I declare!
My dear old Pike County,
I'll go back to you."
Said Betsy, "You'll go by yourself,
If you do."

Sing toorali, oorali, oorali ay
Sing toorali, oorali, oorali ay

They swam the wide rivers
And crossed the tall peaks
They camped on the prairie
For weeks upon weeks
They fought off the Indians
With musket and ball
And reached California
In spite of it all

Sing toorali, oorali, oorali ay
Sing toorali, oorali, oorali ay

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