Moving People and Goods on the Overland Trail
Before the transcontinental railroad was completed, the nation entrusted the West's trade and economic survival to an assortment of muleskinners, bullwhackers and stage drivers. From the early 1850s to 1869, the Overland Trail saw lumbering freight wagons and bouncing stagecoaches carrying people and goods to the new frontier of the Far West.
The freight companies were swamped with supply orders from Army outposts, gold camps, farmers and ranchers. During the best years, a freight outfit could clear half a million dollars on a single-government contract.
Most freighting companies relied on oxen for the haul. Although slower than mules or horses, oxen were one-fifth the price and had greater endurance. In the final years of overland freighting, an ill-fated attempt was even made to use steam wagons instead of animal power.
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[Map] The Overland Trail combined several feeder routes, beginning in Omaha, Bellevue, Nebraska City and the Kansas river towns, and converging near Fort Kearny.
In the 1850s, Nebraska City was the chief Missouri River port for transfer of river cargo to westbound wagons.
Alexander Majors was a partner in the largest freighting firm on the plains - Russell, Majors, and Waddell. The firm later operated the Pony Express.
Although the Concord stagecoach was later called the "limousine of the Overland Trail," it was cramped and uncomfortable on the rough trails of the West.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Communications • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Overland Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1869.
Location. 40° 49.367′ N, 97° 33.425′ W. Marker is near York, Nebraska, in York County. Marker is on Interstate 80 at milepost 355.2, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: York I-80 Rest Area Westbound, York NE 68467, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Nebraska's I-80 Bicentennial Sculptures (here, next to this marker); Nebraska City-Fort Kearny Cut-Off (here, next to this marker); The Purple Heart (a few steps from this marker); Nebraska City Cut-Off of the Oregon Trail (approx. 3.2 miles away); York County Veterans Memorial
Also see . . .
1. Overland Trail Documents at Library of Congress. (Submitted on December 22, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Overland Trail at Wikipedia. (Submitted on December 22, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 22, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 425 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 22, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 6. submitted on December 21, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.