Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Guest Post w/ Jennifer Byers Chambers--Women of the Oregon Trail + giveaway

Hey guys! Today we've got Jennifer Chambers joining us for an interesting post about the Oregon Trail. Yall check it out then hit those comments and leave Jennifer some love! ~anna

Hi everyone! I’m Jennifer Byers Chambers, and I am hosting the site for Anna today. I’m a writer who specializes in bold stories about strong women. My new book out November 30, Remarkable Oregon Women: Revolutionaries and Visionaries, discusses the achievements and lives of some women who impacted Oregon before it became a state until today. In the process I was able to talk about issues common to the whole U.S., like suffrage, civil rights, and western expansion—you know, light stuff! But I was able to find some tidbits about history that made it a bit more fun. One chapter of my book is about female Pioneers to Oregon and the diaries they kept on the trail.

1. Ezra Meeker, who crossed the Oregon Trail by wagon and ox-cart 1n 1852, was "the only living person who crossed the Oregon Trail as an adult and who, at the age of 95, crossed the continent again in an airplane" (Old Timer's Gazette).
2. The first man to die on the Oregon Trail was named John Shotwell.
3. Most families ventured onto the trail with only one 10 foot long by 4 foot wide by 2 feet deep covered wagon made of wood and iron, and either a few oxen or a few mules to pull the heavy wagon. Horses ate too much to make the long journey.
4. Most people walked. Wagons were very full!
5. You can still see ruts from the wagon trains on the 300 miles of the Trail that are preserved.
6. Along the trail, sometimes pioneers spent $1.00 on a glass of water (in the 1850’s!)
7. “Buffalo Chips” –dried cow dung- was used for fuel and to play a type of Frisbee.
8. Contrary to popular belief, Native Americans often helped the pioneers on the trail, as guides, with food, and by trading.
9. “From the first wagon train in 1836 to the time when steam trains became the preferred method of travel, emigrants buried 65,000 of their friends and relatives along the road. That’s one grave for every 50 yards.
10. “Burials often were done right in the middle of the trail, where wagons could roll over and animals trample it down in order to erase the scent so wolves could not pick up the scent.”
Did anyone else play the Oregon Trail Video Game as a kid? I loved it (surprise). One of the things the women on the trail did was knit. I’d love to give away a hand-knitted hat to a commenter. Stop by my website if you’d like to read about more bold stories of strong women! Thanks for the opportunity to host today.

Without the efforts of inspiring, brave women of the past, the progressive and individualistic Oregon we know today might not exist. From native tribes and Oregon Trail pioneers to Victorian suffragists and unlikely politicians, strong female leaders give profound meaning to the state motto, alis volat propriis--she flies with her own wings. Writer and activist Julia Ruuttila fought for the rights of the citizens of Vanport, the largely African American town lost to a disastrous flood in 1948. Others broke stereotypes to serve their communities, like women who helped build ships during World War II and the nation's first female police officer, Portland's own Lola Baldwin. Similarly, Laura Stockton Starcher unseated her husband as mayor of Umatilla. Author Jennifer Chambers tells these and many more stories of progressive, radical women who fought for change within their state.


Jennifer Chambers writes about strong women with bold stories. She is a (mostly) lifetime resident of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, despite a few short years as a Californian. Her childhood was spent on a 33-1/2-acre tree farm, where her family once found a two foot in diameter stone mortar and pestle in a field that was later authenticated to be from a local Native American tribe.

She speaks across the U.S. about persevering through traumatic brain injury and genetic disorder. Chambers attended the Iowa Writer's Workshop and Duke University. She's active in the Body Love Movement as a speaker and an advocate of self-empowerment. Talks at Universities, schools, libraries, festivals and various facilitiesfuel her activism.

Chambers is a freelance writer, editor, and part owner of Groundwaters Publishing. She teaches writing and self-empowerment workshops to people of all ages. As a person with cognitive disability, it's important for her to tell stories about real people living extraordinary lives-- and conversely, to tell stories about extraordinary people living ordinary lives in her fiction.

Find Jennifer online
Website | Facebook | Blog

Woots! We've got a giveaway! Jennifer is giving away a homemade knit hat. 
How neat is that? 
Ends 12/10

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