In 1838, Catherine along with her family of three sister, two brother, pregnant mother and father planned to move from their house in Ohio to Missouri. After a few months, it was then decided that the family should travel further West to Oregon due to its healthful climate that would be better for Catherine’s mother, however the family did not start to make their way until late 1843.
Catherine describes the journey to be one full of adventure but also very dangerous. She explains how her and her sibling would play during the journey, jumping from the wagon over the wheel to the ground; one time however, Catherine’s dress got caught in the wheel, trapping her leg and breaking it “all to pieces”. After this Catherine had to ride in the wagon for the rest of the travels.
Other than this, half of the cattle herd that they owned were lost on route and her mother and father died from illness, leaving Captain Shaw (who travelled alongside them) as sole guardian for the children. After the parents’ deaths, Captain Shaw helped the children get to Oregon safely where they were later adopted by Dr Whitman.