The Oregon Trail Commemorative Silver Half Dollar recognized the adventure, the hardships and the boredom the people traveling west faced every day on the trail.
Away and away to the setting sun
Our troops are bound for the Oregon
On the Rocky Mountains Snow Capped Height
Our flag shall stream in the morning light
And over the plains of Oregon.
Away and a day for a thousand miles.
To the climes where Summer ever smiles.
For a few stout hearts can lead the mass
Through the hostile Tribes and the Mountains pass
Away and away for the Oregon.
Thus began the diary of Eli Casey Cooley in May 1845.
During the comparable week of August 169 years ago, he noted:
Aug Sun 3
The rode to day for or about 7 miles is verry good; then for about 3 miles verry rocky and then about 4 miles to the creek wee camped on is verry good – in all had plenty of grass and willow. To nite about 5 miles from where wee camped last nite on the River is plenty of willow and grass. The creek has only water in holes. Some rain to day. 14 miles
Aug Mon 4
The rode has been verry good to day; weather fine. Come about 6 miles and struck Rock fork and traveled down it about 1 mile and camped – plenty of willow and grass here. Some few Indians. Mr. Patison with one wagon left this company this morning. 7 miles
Aug Tue 5
The weather is fine to day; the rode in places has been quite rockey. About 6 miles from whare wee camped last nite on the same creek is plenty of grass and some willow; about 2 miles furthur wee crossed Rockey fork and camped – plenty of grass here and some willow. 8 miles today
Wen 6 Aug
The weather fine to day. Rode rockey in places. Come about 18 miles and camped near the river on Hot Spring Creek; some grass and willow here. A short distance on the creek above whare the rode crosses the creek is a hot spring. 18 miles
Aug 7 Thu
The rode in places quite sandy and broken. Come about 2 miles and struck Salmon Falls Creek and come about 1 mile down that and crossed it and come about 5 miles further and camped at the falls. Some grass and sage now, no willow here. Wee got the first salmon of the Indians – on Salmon Falls Creek is plenty of grass and willows. 8 miles
Aug Fri 8
The rode to day has been quite broken and sandy – to day weather fine. Came about 20 miles and turned to the rite and camped on the river – plenty of grass and willow here. 20 miles
Aug Sat 9
Weather fine to day – rode quite broken and sandy. Come about 2 miles to the crossing of Snake and crossed over part of the wagons – plenty of grass and some willow and sage. Here they is 2 islands in the river at the crossing and the water is quite deep and runs verry swift. Wee crossed on to the first island then to the next then across the Main Channel – thare wee went up the bank for about 60 yards then square fuar half way across the River – then strate up for about 300 yards. Again across all the river it is about ½ mile. They was 1 waggon washed up in the river though it was saved but part of the loading was lost. Mr. Ownby was across the river when wee got here. Waymeres (Waymire’s) Company crossed to day. 2 miles