Independence wasn't the only jumping off point for pioneers

By Mina Watson |

"Jumping off spots" are what the Midwest towns located at the mouth of the Oregon Trail came to be called by pioneers heading out lanternson their journeys. Usually, these jumping off spots were located in somewhat busy villages that boasted enough stores and products to supply emigrants with what they would need for their trip.

Modern-day trail enthusiasts may think of these places as one-stop shopping centers. Trailblazers getting ready to hit the road could buy everything from livestock and wagons to cloth and dried goods in these pioneer towns.

Many of the pioneers who traveled along the Oregon Trail began their journey in Independence, Missouri. This was a great place for emigrants to meet up, put together wagon trains and purchase all of the supplies they would need on their trips across the country to their new lives on the West Coast. Independence became a popular jumping off spot for the Oregon Trail because it was located along both the Missouri River and the Santa Fe Pass, making it very accessible to pioneers from all over. However, while this bustling frontier town was originally the most popular spot to embark on the trail, many other jumping off spots popped up in the Midwest as more pioneers headed West.

The next jumping off spot to be organized after Independence was St. Joseph Town in 1842. This town was located further down the trail in Missouri, which allowed trailblazers to start off on their journeys a few miles closer to Oregon than if they had left from Independence. Oregon Crossing, Fort Leavenworth and Weston were other jumping off spots located in Missouri, while Plattesmouth, Nebraska City Council Bluffs and Omaha were Nebraska towns that were perfectly suited for pioneers traveling to Oregon from the Midwest. 

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