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Archive for Monday, September 20, 2010

100 years ago: Man mapping original Oregon Trail passes through Lawrence

September 20, 2010

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From the Lawrence Daily World for Sept. 20, 1910:

“Perched high in front of a typical prairie schooner, guiding his patient yoke of oxen only by his voice, Ezra Meeker, a man with a mission, reached Lawrence this morning. Mr. Meeker is making his third trip across the prairie over which he blazed his way in ‘52. He is securing maps of every township in six states, showing the roads of half a century ago. From this data the true course of the old Oregon trail will be determined. Mr. Meeker is en route to Washington with this information which will enable the secretary of war to determine the number of monuments required in marking the trail. Congress appropriated $50,000 for the purpose of permanently marking the historic trail. The oxen Mr. Meeker drives are magnificent specimens. Dave is nine years old and weighs 2,155 pounds. Dandy, his mate, was selected from the Omaha stockyards. Dave is believed to be the only ox which has crossed the continent from coast to coast. Their schedule is 15 miles a day. Mr. Meeker is alone except for the companionship of ‘Jim’ his Scotch collie. Jim is always good natured - except towards the ox Dave. They are mortal enemies. The quaint prairie schooner has wooden axles, necessitating the linch-pin and tar buckets of the early pioneers. The tar buckets used on this trip have been in the Meeker family for 100 years.”

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