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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Alcova in Natrona County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

The Ox-Team Monument Expedition

 
 
The Ox-Team Monument Expedition Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 31, 2016
1. The Ox-Team Monument Expedition Marker
Inscription. In 1852 an estimated 50,000 pioneers passed Independence Rock on their way west. Among this number was the family of 21-year-old Ezra Meeker, recently of Eddyville, Iowa, but natives of Indiana. Meeker, his wife Eliza, and their infant son, arrived at Puget Sound, Washington Territory, in October 1852. They eventually settled in the Puyallup Valley, where over the years they experienced success and failure in farming, principally in raising hops.
Keenly aware of the national significance of the Oregon Trail in the development of the American Pacific Northwest, Meeker wrote several books on the subject. In 1906, greatly concerned that the Oregon Trail would fade from memory, he decided to retrace the old trail eastward with covered wagon and ox-team, for the purpose of permanently marking the trail. He called this the Ox-Team Monument Expedition.
The presence of the 75-year-old pioneer with his long white beard, his considerable promotional skills, and the enthusiasm he engendered brought about a generous response from communities along the old trail. As a result, a line of stone monuments now marks the course of the trail from The Dalles, Oregon, across the mountains and plains to Kansas.

Here at Independence Rock he wrote:
July 3, 1906, We drove over to the 'Rock', from the 'Devil's Gate', a distance of
The Ox-Team Monument Expedition Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 31, 2016
2. The Ox-Team Monument Expedition Marker
Meeker's inscription is barely visible just below the young girl.
six miles, and camped at 10:00 for the day...I selected a spot on the westward sloping face of the stone for the inscription, "Old Oregon Trail, 1843-57", near the present traveled road, where people can see it...and inscribed it with as deep cut letters as we could make it with a dulled, cold, chisel, and painted, with sunken letters with the best of sign writer's painting oil. On this expedition, where possible, I have in like manner inscribed a number of boulders, with paint only, which, it is to be hoped, before the life of the paint has gone out, may find living hands to inscribe deep into stone; but here on this huge boulder, I hope the inscription lasts for centuries.


Meeker continued his 1906 odyssey through major eastern cities to Washington, D.C., where on November 29 he met President Roosevelt. In subsequent years Meeker continued his promotion of the Oregon Trail. In 1916 he made the journey in a Pathfinder model automobile, and in 1924 he was flown over the trail by army pilots. The old pioneer died in Seattle, Washington, at the age of 97 on December 3, 1928.
This is part of your American heritage, Honor it, protect it, preserve it for your children.

 
Erected 2001 by The Oregon-California Trails Association.
 
Marker series. This marker is
Ezra Meeker on his 1906 trip. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer
3. Ezra Meeker on his 1906 trip.
included in the Oregon Trail marker series.
 
Location. 42° 29.653′ N, 107° 8.05′ W. Marker is near Alcova, Wyoming, in Natrona County. Marker can be reached from Wyoming Route 220 at milepost 63 near Oregon Trail Road (County Route 319), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alcova WY 82620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Oregon Trail (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Independence Rock (about 400 feet away); The Preservation of Independence Rock (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Independence Rock (about 800 feet away); Frederick Richard Fulkerson (approx. 5 miles away); Ella Watson (approx. 5.1 miles away); Tom Sun Ranch (approx. 5.6 miles away); a different marker also named The Oregon Trail (approx. 5.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Alcova.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located on the west side of Independence Rock at Independence Rock State Historic Site.
 
Also see . . .  Ezra Meeker, the Quintessential Pioneer - University of Washington. Ezra Meeker was one of the young emigrants who came to the Pacific Northwest in search of a prosperous
Ezra Meeker in 1928, the year of his death. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer
4. Ezra Meeker in 1928, the year of his death.
farm life for his family. He found that, but he also, late in his life, found another cause: recognition for the travails and accomplishments of the emigrants. Ezra Meeker became the embodiment of their life stories. His whiskery visage, the postcard views of his covered wagon and his two oxen, Dandy and Dave, his string of memorials along the route of the Oregon Trail, all still say "frontier" to us.
(Submitted on June 30, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 111 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page was last revised on July 3, 2016.
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