My husband and I just finished watching the Paramount + series, “1883,” which follows the story of the Dutton family on their journey to Oregon on the infamous Oregon Trail.
It’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever watched, aside from the language. Horrendous hardships face this family and the inexperienced European immigrants that join them. I’m talking, DIFFICULT, emotionally traumatizing stuff folks… Stuff happens to the people in this series that mentally bothers you throughout your normal day-to-day life. Lol
Although it is dramatized, much of what they encounter is what happened to many pioneers on this journey.
By 1890, the railroad had been largely established and this dangerous journey was largely eradicated. But before then, if you wanted to claim free land without risking your life for it, you were screwed.
“If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it’s part of a tree.” (Michael Crichton)
It got me thinkin’…
I was born in 1988.
Which means the events spoken of in the series happened just 100 or so years before I arrived.
JUST 100 YEARS BEFORE I WAS BORN, ACTUALLY, LESS – PEOPLE WERE IN COVERED WAGONS TRAVELING THOUSANDS OF MILES TO CLAIM LAND OBTAINED FROM THE LOUSIANA PURCHASE.
BEING SCALPED BY NATIVE AMERICANS.
RIDING HORSES FOR TRANSPORTATION.
DYING CRUELLY AND BEING BURIED IN THE WILDERNESS.
That is as YOUNG as my great great grandmother… and I knew and had my great grandmother until I was 18 years old.
When I was born, there were Oregon trail survivors that were still alive.
I began to think about all the other historical events we are not so far removed from…
Irene Triplett died in 2020 at age 90. She received a $73 monthly pension from the Department of Veteran Affairs due to her late fathers military service.
There are people alive today whose grandparents, and even parents, were slaves.
In 2006, the last country that had slavery abolished it.
When Walt Disney World opened in Florida in 1971, two weeks later, the last living former slave in America died.
When Barack Obama became President, a widow of a Civil War vet was watching on tv.
Just think about the tension that exists today that has its roots in the Civil War. Aside from obvious racial tension, it’s very common for people where I live to refer to those that come from the northern states as ‘Yankees’ and honestly, we can spot one a mile away. That stuff has it’s roots in a war that only ended 157 years ago.
Sometimes we look back at photographs of people from the war and feel like they were make-believe ghosts; like they cannot have possibly thought and lived as we do today. We often dismiss them as being cold, robotic, non-free thinkers, when in fact, here is nothing new in this world about the human spirit and what makes us who we are at all.
This soldier may have lived a strict Christian life, had 4 children, the white picket fence, had the dog, the cat, the farm, etc… OR he may have had a body count of 146, the gonorrhea was so bad that his ding-a-ling rotted, and he died due to a laudanum overdose. Both are possibilities. People then were just as jacked up as people today. I say that to say this: Ideas shift through the ages, but people have not changed. These people had drama, scandals, and triumphs just like we do. Who knows what’s behind this dude’s gaze?
77 years ago, we were in the middle of World War II and 6 million people disappeared in the holocaust. -also, the first McDonalds restaurant had only been open 5 years.
The Byzantine empire (Eastern Roman Empire) fell in 1453.
40 years later, America was discovered by Columbus.
President John Tyler (#10) was born in 1790.
He has 2 grandchildren, and they are both still alive.
President Tyler was 63 when his son was born, then Tyler’s son was 71 and 75 when he had his own 2 sons.
Here they are in 2018:
-and here’s grandpa Ty himself:
My great grandma told us about the first time she ever saw a car. She thought it was a monster. She died in 2007. She also told me she remembered when ‘the sky used to be silent.’ Her marriage license also says ‘anno domini’ on it – “in the year of our Lord.”
There are only roughly 80 generations between the birth of Jesus to now, and that’s if you count a generation as 25 years…
That sounds like a lot at first, but check this out: If I personally live to see my own GREAT GRANDCHILDREN, I will have personally witnessed 7 generations in my lifetime (my great grandma, grandmother, mother, me, my son, his children, & their children).
So…. putting that into perspective, Jesus wasn’t born as long ago as it may seem. That’s just the lifetimes of 11 seperate people laced together. (80 generations, divided by 7 generations one person can live to see = 11).
History never looks like history when you are living through it. (John W. Gardner)