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Near Farson in Sweetwater County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Death on the Trail

 
 
Death on the Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, May 28, 2013
1. Death on the Trail Marker
Inscription.  Death was a constant companion for emigrants headed west. It is estimated that 10,000 to 30,000 people died and were buried along the trails between 1843 and 1869.

Cholera and other diseases were the most common cause of death. People didn't know that cholera was caused by drinking contaminated water. Poor sanitation and burial practices perpetuated the disease. People infected long before might die by a river crossing and would be buried near the river which would in turn infect more people. Cholera kills by dehydrating the body. Unfortunately, many of the recommended cholera remedies such as wearing flannel shirts, increased body temperature and dehydration.

Remedies for other ills also decreased the likelihood of survival. Amputation was often the treatment for broken bones, and bleeding the sick was a common practice. Some treatments for dehydration and heat exhaustion cautioned against giving the patient water—when in fact it was lack of water that was killing the patient!

Accidental gunshots, drownings, murder, starvation, and exposure also took their toll. The very young and the very old were the
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most likely to perish. Whatever the cause of death might have been for each grave passed, it was a grim reminder to the emigrant of the hazards of overland travel.
 
Erected by Bureau of Land Management.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the California Trail, the Mormon Pioneer Trail, and the Oregon Trail series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1843.
 
Location. 41° 59.882′ N, 109° 37.354′ W. Marker is near Farson, Wyoming, in Sweetwater County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 28, 11˝ miles west of U.S. 191, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Farson WY 82932, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Graves" of the Unknown Emigrants (a few steps from this marker); Pilot Butte (a few steps from this marker); Burial on the Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); First Transcontinental Telegraph (within shouting distance of this marker); Emigrant/Indian Relations (within shouting distance of this marker); Continuing the Journey West (within shouting distance of this marker); Pilot Butte & "Graves" of the Unknown Emigrants
Death on the Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, May 28, 2013
2. Death on the Trail Marker
Marker is on the left
(within shouting distance of this marker); Simpson's Hollow (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Farson.
 
More about this marker. Marker is one of eight interpretive signs at the Pilot Butte Emigrant Trails Interpretive Site. Sign donated by the descendants of the James Birch family.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 13, 2017. It was originally submitted on July 26, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 797 times since then and 97 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 26, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.

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Jul. 20, 2024