“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Boise in Ada County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)

Ezra Meeker

The Oregon Trail

Ezra Meeker Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 3, 2018
1. Ezra Meeker Marker
Photos: (upper right) Postcard of Ezra Meeker and oxen Dave and Twist blazing the Old Oregon Trail in 1908; (middle left) Ezra Meeker, Washington, D.C. Jan 23, 1916; (middle right) In 1852, when Ezra Meeker traveled across Idaho on his way to Oregon, he crossed the Snake River rowing his wagon. Meeker caulked and converted his wagon bed into a ferry, carrying his wagon gear on the first run and belongings on the next.; (bottom right) Bronze historical marker emblems were designed after the Oregon Trail Memorial Commemorative half-dollar coin was struck between 1926 and 1939. One is located west of here at the Oregon Trail Historical Reserve.
In 1906, at the age of seventy-five, Ezra Meeker began a journey east from his home in Puyallup, Washington, to retrace the route of the Oregon Trail over which he originally traveled in 1852 with his wife and young son. He traveled the route with a wagon and ox team and reported:
"The purpose of this expedition is to perpetuate the memory of the Old Oregon Trail and to honor the intrepid pioneers who made it and saved this great region the 'Old Oregon Country' for American rule."

Meeker started placing stone markers on the old Oregon Trail during his trip. He feared that the story and the route were being forgotten. Along the way, he talked to numerous school groups and encouraged the tasing of funds for monuments to commemorate the efforts of the hardy pioneers. The cities of Parma, Boise, Twin Falls, American Falls, Pocatello, Soda Springs and Montpelier responded to his appeal to fund local monuments. In Boise, nearly 1,200 pupils contributed funds and over 3,000 people attended the dedication of the monument that stands on the Statehouse grounds. Meeker not only completed his journey, but didn't stop until he
Ezra Meeker Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, May 3, 2018
2. Ezra Meeker Marker
reached Washington, D.C. There he was greeted by President Theodore Roosevelt, who pledged his support to help keep the memory of the pioneer's achievements and values alive.

In 1910, Meeker embarked on another journey along the Oregon Trail. On this trip, he planned to accurately map the route used by the thousands of emigrants. This undertaking took him nearly two years to complete. In 1921, he again traveled the trail - by truck, train and airplane. In 1926, he founded and became the first president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, which persuaded Congress to authorize coinage of six million Oregon Trail Memorial half-dollars to be sold at one dollar apiece. The proceeds would be used to erect additional monuments along the trail. Congress tased the bill and President Calvin Coolidge signed it into law on May 17, 1926. Many local groups in Idaho sold the coin, raising enough money to erect Idaho-shaped stone monuments with a bronze replica of the coin inserted into them. A number of these monuments still stand in many Idaho communities.

Ezra Meeker's preservation efforts have resulted in the identification and preservation of many segments of the Oregon Trail in Idaho as well as related trail sites. Upon his death at the age of 97, he was preparing for yet another cross-country trip. He believed there was still a need to publicize the efforts
Ezra Meeker in Omaha image. Click for full size.
By Unknown
3. Ezra Meeker in Omaha
of the pioneers and their trail and that more was left to be done, but the seek had been planted.
Erected by Ada County Parks and Recreation, Idaho Department of Transportation, Simplot.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Roads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt, the Former U.S. Presidents: #30 Calvin Coolidge, and the Oregon Trail series lists.
Location. 43° 32.55′ N, 116° 6.582′ W. Marker is in Boise, Idaho, in Ada County. Marker is at the intersection of State Highway 21 and East Lake Forest Drive, on the right when traveling east on State Highway 21. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boise ID 83716, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Idaho's Emigrant Trails (a few steps from this marker); Bonneville Point (a few steps from this marker); Fort Boise (a few steps from this marker); Kelton Road (a few steps from this marker); "Our Road Was Very Steep..." (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Oregon Trail (approx. 0.8 miles away); Beaver Dick's Ferry (approx. 0.8 miles away); Whitman Overlook (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boise.
More about this marker. This marker is located at Oregon Trail display just off the highway.
Also see . . .
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 Ezra Meeker and the Oregon Trail. Ezra became obsessed with the idea the Oregon Trail was becoming forgotten, so he took it upon himself to travel the trail again while in his 70s, to convince people in the towns along the way to erect monuments relating to the Trail, making several trips back and forth. He became an outspoken advocate of the preservation of the Trail and its legacy... (Submitted on June 19, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 19, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 300 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 19, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Aug. 9, 2020