Taking-off Points of Emigration

“While the Hastings and Applegate parties were coming east [in spring 1846], the emigrants had mustered, chiefly in the vicinity of Independence. One party, however, was preparing to cross the Missouri about 40 miles south of Council Bluffs and to use what was later called the Nebraska City road. Thus, as early as ’46, there were four possible places of take-off—Council Bluffs, the as yet unnamed point, St. Joseph, and Independence. There was also a military road leading westward from Fort Leavenworth, but this had little influence on the migration. All this plains country was, in fact, so level and open that a wagon could be taken across it almost anywhere. There was even some advantage in being the first. Once the passage of many wagons had broken through the sod, the road was likely to alternate between mudholes and deep dust.”