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1- Spring 1860: The Lemuel Swena family left their home and other family members and friends in Whiteside, Co., Illinois to join a group of settlers at the head of the Oregon Trail in Independence, Missouri.

2- May 15 to June 8: The family began their long journey by fording the Mississippi River to join a wagon train heading west to California. The first leg of the trip from Independence, Missouri to Fort Kearny took about 25 days.

3- June 9 to 28: The pioneers made their way along the Platte River through present day Nebraska & Wyoming to Fort Laramie. This was the easiest stage of the journey (19 days).

4- June 29 to July 19: The trail moved west, crossed the river, and entered the Black Hills. Upon reaching the South Pass summit, the pioneers crossed the Continental Divide, moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific watershed (21 days).

5- July 20 to August 11: The wagon train forded two rivers and crossed a desert before reaching the Green River. At Soda Springs, south of Ft. Hall, they headed southwest on the California Trail to the City of Rocks (23 days).

6- August 12 to September 9: The wagons descended into valleys and climbed steeply to summits before reaching the headwaters of the Humboldt River. The pioneers had to contend with dust, heat, and a river that disappeared into the desert sand (29 days).

7- September 10 to October 7: The weary travelers finally reached the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Range. Water was plentiful along the Truckee River, and provided energy for the final trek across the Sierra Nevadas into California (28 days).

8- Fall 1860: The Swena Family finally made its way across the Sierras, then onward to the Chico area, where they later filed for land under the Homestead Act of 1862. Their five-month odyssey took them across rivers, mts, valleys, and deserts.
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