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Entrepreneurs on the Trail #370: T.A. Larson Papers

Page of the manuscript “Entrepreneurs on the Oregon-Mormon-California Trail”. Box 14, T.A. Larson papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

In the middle of the 19th century, tens of thousands of emigrants were making their way westward across the United States. Some were in search of adventure or gold. Most were seeking a better way of life. The trip was arduous for humans and animals alike.

One of the most challenging aspects of the journey was crossing the many rivers en route. Enterprising men built ferries and established ferry crossings. One of the riskiest crossings was 130 miles northwest of Fort Laramie, along the North Platte River.

Competing ferry companies sprung up. Running a ferry business was among the more profitable enterprises along the California, Oregon and Mormon trails. At times of high demand, the fare was as much as five dollars per wagon, with ferries crossing every ten minutes. Livestock had to swim across, battling strong currents.

Read the T.A. Larson papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about the entrepreneurs running ferries along the Oregon, Mormon and California trails.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.