U.S. History/Creative nonfiction
I'm writing a history of the public square in Springfield, Missouri. Springfield was settled by a man from Columbia, Tennessee. I want to bring authenticity to my description of his trips to Springfield. Where would I go to find such things as how long it would take to travel by horse from Columbia to Springfield in 1829? Number of camps along the way? Provisions needed? Indians and other obstacles along the way? Weather? No biography of the founder exists. Thanks.
Unfortunately, I am not aware of any resources that will give you the specific information you want. I can provide some general information.
There was a sizable population in Missouri by that time, most of which was based along the Mississippi River. The interior was still largely controlled by Indians and there was little infrastructure. If there was an established trail that was relatively direct, a person on horseback could travel 40 or 50 miles a day over relatively flat terrain and assuming they did not hit a lot of rivers that needed to be forded. If traveling with wagon or without well established trails, travel could slow down to 5 or 10 miles per day.
Camps were usually not established, but set up wherever there was a good clearing, preferably with a water source to sleep for the night. Typically a traveler would take corn meal or bacon or some similar items that would not go bad during travel to make meals. Often they would expect to get most of their food by hunting small game or eat available plants.
Indians and Indian attacks were still a concern at this time. Indians would often rob and kill travelers. There were also whites doing the same thing. If one did not have a guide who knew the area and the various tribes, travel could be quite dangerous.
Typically, people would start such journeys in the spring so that they could reach their goal by the end of the summer. Summer was much easier for food gathering. Winter always posed a danger of being snowed in and freezing to death or starving for lack of food.
I hope this helps!