Using the below lesson plan, students will learn about the experiences of 19th century settlers, the motivating factors for people to move west, and the impact it had on their families. Students will work with a variety of primary sources including maps, drawings, photographs, letters, and stereocards.
This lesson was designed to be a “hands on” learning experience for students. The teacher’s role is to provide the necessary background information so that students will understand the context in which the events addressed in this lesson took place. Students will need some knowledge of Western U.S. History as well as an understanding of the difference between primary and secondary sources. This lesson plan is adaptable for various age groups and the amount of class time available. The teacher should add or delete activities as they see necessary in order to meet the objectives and the needs of their students.
Download the lesson plan: To My Dear Ones At Home: Family and Movement in the Post Civil War West (pdf)
Please note: the lesson plan and printable primary sources (below) are available electronically as Adobe® Portable Document Files . If you do not have a copy of the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® installed on your computer, you should download and install the current version of the Reader® before downloading these files.
Printable Primary Sources
You can also download printable versions of the Westward Migration primary sources for use in offline instruction.
John and Frances Casement Papers
From Jack to Frances, March 4, 1866 | Typed Transcript
From Frances to Jack, November 25, 1866 | Typed Transcript
From Jack to Frances, April 11, 1867 | Typed Transcript
From Frances to Jack, May 1, 1868 | Typed Transcript
From Frances to Jack, October 1, 1868 | Typed Transcript
James Bertenshaw Family Letters
From James on the South Platte River to Mary, May 28, 1864 | Typed Transcript
From Mary in Mt. Carmel to James, January 22, 1865 | Typed Transcript
From James to his family, April 17, 1865 | Typed Transcript
From Mary in Mt. Carmel to James, April 29, 1865 | Typed Transcript
From James to his family, June 4, 1865 | Typed Transcript
From James to his family, October 29, 1865 | Typed Transcript
From James to his family, November 21, 1865 | Typed Transcript
Thaddeus Capron Family Papers
From Thaddeus Capron in Camp Sheridan, NE, to his sister, Emma, August 29, 1875 | Typed Transcript
From Thaddeus in Camp Antelope Springs, to Cynthia, June 24, 1876 | Typed Transcript
From Thaddeus and Cynthia in Camp Wright, CA, to Cynthia's sister, June 21 & July 1, 1868 | Typed Transcript
From Cynthia Capron to Hazen, December 1880 | Typed Transcript
Morton E. Post Family Papers
From Amalia to her sister, May 28, 1866 | Typed Transcript
From Amalia to her sister, June 1866 | Typed Transcript
From Amalia to Morton, August 26, 1867 | Typed Transcript
From Morton to Amalia, August 28, 1867 | Typed Transcript
From Amalia to Morton, December 14, 1867 | Typed Transcript