A little about Ezra
Some may say that Ezra Meeker was a bit of an eccentric, given the fact that at age 76 he loaded up his wagon ... selected two good oxen and hit the Oregon Trail for the second time in his life.
His mission: to encourage preservation of the old Oregon Trail and to educate people of its historical significance. He gained fame and notoriety by giving speeches and erecting monuments along the old trail between Independence, Mo., and Independence, Oregon. He also convinced Teddy Roosevelt to set aside money for trail preservation.
In 1910 and over 80 years old, Meeker made a second trip. In fact, he continued to make many more trips, the only thing that changed with Meeker was his mode of tranportation. In his later years he traded in his oxen for the comfort of more modern means of travel.
When he died at 98, he was still very active in promoting the Oregon Trail. So whatever one might say, one also must admit, old Ezra Meeker sure done right by Oregon!
Oregon Trail Expo Card 1911 Reads:
Fifth anniversary Souvenir Card of the Oregon Trail Monument Expedition; left Puyallup Washington on Jan. 29, 1906; erected 27 monuments, inscribed seventeen boulders, and otherwise marked the Trail on the way; arrived at Missouri River crossing, Oct. 9th; thence drove to Washington City; arrived Nov. 29, 1907; interviewed President Roosevelt; procured introduction of bill in Congress appropriating $50,000, to complete the work; expedition returned home 1908; second trip made 1910; trail located, platted, cost of monumenting estimated; now enroute to Washington City; will there report findings to Congress; estimated number of monuments 700; cost $85,000; is forerunner of greater monument to be known as Pioneer Way 2200 miles along the Oregon Trail; distance driven 8500 miles. Ages: Ezra Meeker 80 years; Mardon 36; Jim 7; Dave 10; Dandy 10; Wagon [in part] 60. Reader, write your Congressman to favor this work; advocate it in the home; the church; lecture halls; honor the memories of the Winners of the farther west and build up patriotism in the breasts of countless generations to follow. Dayton, Ohio Jan. 29th, 1911.
Postcard Dated 1911 Reads: [Ezra w/Gun]
Born Dec. 29, 1830; migrated to the Oregon country summer of 1852; farmer; father of the hop industry of Washington Territory [now State]; pioneer in Exporting Pacific Coast hops; spent four winters in London; and five years in searching out and recovering the lost Oregon Trail; never sick in bed for sixty years; always lived in the open air; never drank intoxicants nor experienced a rheumatic pain; active and hopes to live to be a hundred years old, Good Night.
Postcard was mailed to: Alvin Van Dyke in Freepost, Pa.
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