In the 1840s, if someone was going from New York to Missouri, how would they travel?

Would they go direct overland, or would they go by sea to New Orleans and up river? Or another way entirely? What would the travel time be like? Weeks, months, or longer?

9 Answers

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  • Adam D
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    They likely traveled south to the Potomac, then took the National Road.  A road from the Carolinas to Boston was establish during colonial days, and the National Road was complete to nearly the Mississippi River.  It would then be a short trip to the nearest site to either ford or ferry across (an additional fording or ferry trip would be needed over the Ohio River at Wheeling, as the suspension bridge hadn't been built by 1840).

    I'd guess 4 to 6 weeks of travel, depending how much stuff one was transporting and what kind of animal they were using for transportation.  These roads were created for horses and wagons pulled by beasts of burden, so travel wouldn't be particularly challenging.

  • 4 weeks ago

    The rail network was just getting underway, but once you got to Pittsburgh, you could travel down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and then upriver to St. Louis.

  • larry1
    Lv 6
    4 weeks ago

    It's a good question, because the Answer is unexpected. Commercial railroads in the US didn't start till the 1830's, so in 1840 there were not a lot of them, few in fact. 

    Missouri then was the backend of nowhere, the edge of civilization. From NYC to what would be St. Louis MO. You'd go by rail north from NYC to Buffalo on the Great Lakes, then by road or Lake Erie steamer, or canal to Cleveland. By road and rail to Detroit, then a clear rail passage all the way to Chicago. From Chicago area you could go south (with the current) on a Mississippi river steamer to St. Louis. Total travel time....2 weeks.

  • Athena
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    From New York you would travel by road to the Great Lakes and then by water.

    • Mike
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      From NY you would travel up the Hudson River to Albany and then out the Erie Canal to Lake Erie.

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  • 4 weeks ago

    By 1840, train travel was beginning to overtake overland travel by horse and wagon. You could get from New York to St Louis in two weeks or less.

    https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/maps-of-the-day-tra...

  • Mike
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    The army took over the airports in 1775, so it would have been safe to fly.

  • KLB
    Lv 6
    4 weeks ago

    by wagon, or horse

  • 4 weeks ago

    In the 1840s, going overland was the preferred route.  The time was roughly 3-4 weeks if I remember correctly.

  • 4 weeks ago

    By camel.........

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