Traffic on the Platte River Route

“Intermingled with the westering cavalcade of the Great Migration was the shuttle-weave of stagecoaches, freighting trains, mail wagons, fur trade caravans. U.S. Army troops, supply trains, and dispatch riders. There were also occasionally large numbers of cattle and sheep, herded westward to Utah or California markets, and sometimes a horse herd from California to Missouri.

As to emigrant outfits, there were some strange contraptions among the orthodox covered wagons and infrequent packers. Not uncommon on the north side, or Council Bluffs Road, were the Mormon handcart expeditions. . . . In contrast . . . some affluent emigrants [were noted] traveling up the California Road in horse-drawn carriages . . . Perhaps the strangest spectacle in all the procession was the funeral cortege, led by William Keil, that went all the way from Missouri to Oregon with a casket in which were embalmed the mortal remains of his son Willie.”