Grace and Nena's Westward Expansion Project

Fun Facts

1. John Tyler was President during the Westward Expansion.

2. Manifest destiny was the idea that the US should stretch from the Atlantic ocean to the pacific ocean.

3. The Westward expansion was from 1841-1850

4.The oregon trail was originally used by the American Indian's and Fur traders

5. The oregon trail is 2000 miles long.

6.The oregon trail goes from missouri to oregon city

7.Morse code and the telegraph line were invented while Martin Van

Buren was president.

8.The telegraph was non electric.

9.Joseph Dart and Robert Dunbar invented the grain elevator in buffalo New york.

10.On August 9th 1842 the Webster-Ashburton treaty was signed.

Nenas Harsch's Diary

Dear diary,                                                                          March 2nd, 1845

My family and I are moving west in a few days. We are moving our stuff and can't take everything with us. Mama says we can't take our beds Papa made. She says he can make new ones when we get to the new world. It's cool watching Papa build the wagon. It had very cool features. At least Mama said I could bring my special blanket. I will be sad to leave our house. Papa said we are going to travel with other people.

Nena Harsch

Dear diary,                                                                           March 6th, 1845

Today Papa said we were traveling with the Moro's and my best freinds family. I am sad to leave our beautiful house. Papa said we are moving west for new land. Also we are moving to start a new world. Mama said there will be gold mines so we will have money. I just hope we will survive.

Nena Harsch

Dear diary,                                                                         May 2nd, 1845

TODAY'S THE WORST DAY! Today's my birthday. This would be the best if we were back home. Mom's having another baby which means she is in pain. This also means one more person traveling with us west. When we get west there will be thousands of people. I guess that the shop workers will have a lot of  business. This might be bad though. There might be many more businesses.  The gold mines will be packed. Mama says we are trying to go to California. I stink to high heavens.  More land will be gone, so we need to get there soon before all the land is taken. We have a long way to go. We need to get food soon. Hopefully we see a animal we can eat.

Nena Harsch

Dear diary,                                                                           July 4th,1845

We are on the road. Every night we put our wagons on a circle. Papa told me this was to protect us. It is now The 4th of July! I an so sad we can't watch the fireworks this year. It's getting so warm we pulled up the sheet in the back so we could get some cool air. When we do this it is still hot. Mama smells so I don't hug her anymore. Once our wheel broke so we had to fix it. This took awhile which meant more time. We are running out of water. Hopefully we come across a stream soon. We are also running out of clothes.  Mama told me to pray to God to help us survive. James and Mary are so annoying. They are both twins! Also they are 16 YEARS OLDER. I don't know how much more I can take. I pray that we get there soon.

Nena Harsch

Grace Mathews Diary

March 2, 1845

Dear Diary,

We were one of the first to leave our village. No one has enough land food, or water. We were told when we go to California we will have lots of flat farm land. We will have no food shortage again! We will dig up all of the gold for miles. Then we will turn into rich people. Rich, rich rich we will be. We can buy/ claim all the land in California. The only thing we have to worry about is the travel/ getting there. All will be okay…I think.

Savannah Grace Mathews

March 6th, 1845

Dear Diary,

I have heard that my best friend across town is also going-same day too. We aren’t traveling in the same wagon. We aren’t traveling in the same wagon trail either. Happy and sad news at the same time. Maybe, just maybe we will meet in California!! I think that California is a big place so... I do not even know if she is going to California anyway. Oregon is a popular new land to. I have heard that the donner party went off the main wagon train! Then five feet of snow fell the idea was made that if someone sacrificed their life then another could survive. One Christmas day the first human was eaten. Sorry that I don’t have time to write more. We are about to leave.

Savannah Grace Mathews

May 2, 1845

Dear Diary,

We believe in manifest destiny. We lived on the ocean, in North Carolina. Now we are camped in the middle of nowhere. The United States development is going really smoothly. The only downside is that the journey is very hard. We will go to California. Only one family – the Donner party, has gone the way we went. They never came back. Everyone thinks that the new land is really awesome. When we got to that trail we saw dead body and one Donner’s skull cracked open and his brain removed. The path really adds 100 miles to the journey. (It was supposed to be a short cut).

Savannah Grace Mathews

May 16, 1845

Dear Diary,

Another person has died. Luckily they are not from our same wagon. They are from the wagon behind us. The leader got hit by a rock that one of the oxen kicked into his chest. Now the young son is leader. Sometimes they get lost and we have to go find them. You can tell that they are not behind us from the absence of crying. They got lost 15 times already today!

Savannah Grace Mathews

July 4, 1845

Dear Diary,

The travel is soooooooooo loooonnng. I can’t wait until it ends. There was canabolism on the Donner trail. Luckily we didn’t face that. But we have faced a bear and some Indians. If feels like we will never get there. Our baby has already died. ☹ Sooo sad!

Savannah Grace Mathews

July 16, 1845

Dear Diary,

Ahhh a bear! Not really but that is what attacked our wagon today. It tried to rip the cloth to shreds. Mama is still trying to sew it up. Sorry, that I can’t write more now. I have look out duty – I look for more bears in bear country.

Savannah Grace Mathews


Johnny Cakes


~2 cups stone ground cornmeal     ~ 1 teaspoon salt     ~ 4 tablespoons of butter

~1 cup whole milk     ~2 tablespoons of boiling water


1. Cream cornmeal, salt, and butter together. Add the milk and enough water to make a moist but firm batter

2. Drop large spoonfuls onto a hot greased griddle, and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. When brown flip and repeat on other side.

3. Put them on a plate and serve.

Molasses Cake


~ 2 tablespoons of butter ~ 1/4 cup of sugar ~1 egg ~1/2 cup of molasses

~1 cup all purpose flour ~1 teaspoon baking soda ~1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

~1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon ~1/8 teaspoon salt ~1/2 cup hot water

~9 tablespoons of fat free whipped topping


1. In a small bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Beat in molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with water, mixing well after each addition.

2. Transfer into 9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares. Optional; garnish with whipping topping.




Manifest Destiny Rap

American Progress picture by John Gast


~"EThemes." - Pioneer Life: Food. Curators of the University of Missouri, 05 June 2002. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

~"Johnnycakes.", n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

~"Old-Fashioned Molasses Cake." Taste of Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

~"SchoolTube." SchoolTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

~"Westward Expansion Era." : American History 1841. N.p., Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

~"EasyBib: The Free Automatic Bibliography Composer." EasyBib. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

~"Create, Connect + Chat with Friends." Tackk -. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2015.

~"John Gast, American Progress, 1872." Picturing US History All. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.