The Journey West
In September of 1838 after the business of purchasing land, building a home, business and well had been completed Joseph left James Pierce in charge and headed back east to bring his family to their new Prairie Home.
It was full on winter by the time Joseph got back to New York and he was full of stories about how wonderful the land was for farming and what a great opportunity for a new life this prairie was. Many people listened and not wanting to delay the return trip until spring, Joseph Goodrich together with a party of 12 and 4 covered wagons packed with personal belongings and supplies for the store, started the return journey back to Prairie du Lac on January 30, 1839.
An Overland journey could not have been an easy in the best of weather conditions, but in the depths of winter a journey of such a distance was full of potential dangers. On the first day out of New York the wagon that Mrs. Goodrich was riding in overturned and she broke her collarbone. The doctor did his best to set it properly, but under the conditions available he was not able to, so Mrs. Goodrich was forced to make the journey west in pain with her arm in a sling to hold the broken bone in place as best as possible.
Days slowly turned into weeks. The weather began to warm and the travelers reached the small community of Chicago. As the wagons crossed the thin ice on the Calumet River the ice gave way causing of one of the wagons to fall into the freezing water. The horse drowned in the panic of the moment but the wagon was pulled out. After examining the contents it was found that some of the best merchandise for the store had gotten wet.
The travelers continued the journey and after 34 dreary, cold and muddy days on the road Joseph Goodrich arrived with his family and the rest of the group on March 4, 1839.
They were home and the building would begin.