E-News April 25, 2021

OCTA’s Newest YouTube Video:
St. Joseph: King of the Trails

OCTA’s newest YouTube Channel offering, St. Joseph: King of the Trails, debuted on Friday. Our E-News was delayed due to an outage with our E-News program. Join OCTA experts, museum directors, and local volunteers as we explore the various trails of St. Joseph, Missouri. Be sure to subscribe to our channel so that you get instant alerts the second our videos go live. Once we reach 1,000 subscribers, YouTube will share with OCTA the ad revenue generated by our channel.

Stay tuned every Friday as we continue to roll out all of the videos we filmed over the past year. Our schedule of release is as follows:

Friday, April 30: The Oatman Massacre and the Girl with the Blue Tattoo
Friday, May 7: Painted Rock Petroglyph Site
Friday, May 14: Butterfield Pass and the Maricopa Mountains

On National Trails Day, which is Saturday, June 5, we plan to debut a video about Lexington, Missouri and its long history as a campsite of Lewis & Clark, a stop on the Santa Fe Trail, the headquarters of famed freighters and Pony Express founders Russell, Majors, & Waddell, and site of the Saluda steamboat disaster that killed 125 Mormon emigrants and 49ers. This video concludes with the famous 1861 Battle of Lexington and Jesse James’ daring 1866 bank robbery there.

We thought it would be fitting to debut the final video in this inaugural series by featuring a town that touches on the six National Historic Trails on National Trails Day: the Oregon, California, Santa Fe, Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express, and Lewis & Clark National Historic Trails all have their histories wrapped up in this one obscure small town on the Missouri River.

This final video will also wrap up the work we did with our former intern, Sam Sullivan, who filmed and edited these videos with Association Manager Travis Boley producing and directing (and occasionally appearing). Lexington, Missouri is, as you will learn about on June 5, our Association Manager’s home town as well.

Also, stay tuned for future videos. We recently won a grant to film this summer at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield outside of Springfield, Missouri to look at the role that the Butterfield Overland played in that battle. This week, two new grants were awarded that will allow the creation of videos about a modern-day wagon and stagecoach manufacturer and another about the Salt Lake City to Los Angeles Wagon Road through the Mojave Desert. Also, a video about the route of the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Overland through Anza Borrego State Park and the surrounding area in San Diego County is being finalized soon.

We hope to land a new intern very soon who has many of the same skills that our previous intern possessed so that we can continue this series over the next year. If your chapter has an interesting story to share, please let us know so we can start planning on how to capture it for our YouTube Channel.


Complete List of OCTA’s YouTube Videos

Last week, some people had issues with our Lone Elm Campground video. We reloaded it and it is working now. Click on its link below  to watch that video and be sure to view the other 18 YouTube videos that OCTA has produced so far. Be sure to subscribe! Once we reach 1,000 subscribers we will start earning ad revenue from our channel. Enjoy and share!


Marvin Burke Funeral Update

On Thursday, we shared the obituary of our long-time Treasurer, Marvin Burke. We learned on Friday that the funeral will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend. To view the livestream, click here at 9:30 AM (Mountain) on Monday and scroll down to the “Services” section and click “Livestream.”


Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs:
Protectors of the Emigrant Trails and Their Stories

A joint event of the Northwest and Colorado-Cherokee Trail chapters, “Ezra Meeker and Howard Driggs” will feature a panel discussion moderated by David Welch and Legacy, a video recently produced by Southern Utah University.

Panelists include:

  • Andy Anderson
  • Roger Blair
  • Camille Bradford
  • David Welch


  • 1:00 Pacific
  • 2:00 Mountain
  • 3:00 Central
  • 4:00 Eastern

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 852 1944 2535
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Margaret and Family Go West: 1839-50


“Since his wife’s death, Ledyard Frink has been preparing to self-publish the travel journal Margaret kept of the journey that brought them to California nearly a half century ago. His friends and family often tell him that they would love to have their own copies. They promise to read it. And besides, the project gave him something to do. Now he’s ready to go to press.

“He’s excited, but also sorry to be done. Reading, transcribing, and editing Margaret’s words has made Ledyard feel close to her. He misses her so very much. Reliving the greatest adventure of their lives through the pages of Margaret’s journal has helped him get through these past four years alone.”

Please subscribe to the “Non-Boring History” blog by Annette Laing to read part one of the story of Ledyard and Margaret Frink, California emigrants who left their Indiana home in 1850 to seek a new beginning. If you subscribe, you will be automatically alerted when part two is published. (The excerpt above is the opening section of part one, used with permission by the author. A further message from her blog: “My retelling of the story of Ledyard and Margaret Frink is based on a close reading of Margaret’s journal, as edited by Ledyard. I warmly encourage you to read the marvelous original, which you will find in VOLUME 2 (careful!) of a series: Kenneth L. Holmes (ed.), Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1850, vol. 2 (1983) For background on early Sacramento, I relied on Mark A. Eifler’s excellent Gold Rush Capitalists: Greed and Growth in Sacramento (2002) It’s an academic book, but very readable, so if this is a subject that interests you, I do recommend it.”)


Traveler’s Experiences on the Southern Trail

On March 18, our Southern Trails Chapter hosted OCTA members Harry Hewitt and Dan Judkins on a Zoom presentation as they discussed the joint U.S./Mexico effort to survey the border in the mid-19th century and traveler’s experiences on the Southern Trail. The meeting was recorded in hopes of sharing both talks in their entirety, but unfortunately, technical glitches made Harry Hewitt’s presentation on the border survey unusable. We were, however, able to salvage and edit Dan Judkin’s talk on the Southern Route, and we are pleased to share it here in case you were unable to join the chapter’s Zoom presentation last month.


Two-Time Olympian Kim Conley Trains on National Historic and Scenic Trails – Part III

Kim Conley is pictured here training on the Arizona National Scenic Trail in northern Arizona (Picture from the blog of Kim Conley)

Two weeks ago, we introduced you to Kim Conley, a 35-year-old two-time Olympian, who loves to train on National Historic and Scenic Trails. A graduate of the University of California – Davis, Kim daily passed the marker for the Solano House, a Pony Express Station that was located where the campus stands today. For the four years she attended school there, plus the additional four years that she stayed on as an assistant coach, Kim trained on and near the Pony Express National Historic Trail. She qualified at 5,000 meters for both the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games, and in June she is heading back to the Olympic Trials in Oregon in an attempt to qualify for this summer’s Tokyo Games.

She would later move to Sacramento, and her training then moved to the American River Trail. That trail is, of course, the historic corridor of the both the Pony Express and California National Historic Trails. Kim recently moved her training to the high altitude of Flagstaff, Arizona, and it was there that she decided to start a blog chronicling her love of training on our nation’s historic trails. We share with you this week her blog post about training on the Arizona National Scenic Trail in northern Arizona.

“On a flat and shaded segment of the Arizona Trail, Drew and I ran single file over a bed of soft pine needles. The land on either side of us seemed to fall away, and we were left with the feeling that we had somehow ended up on a berm in the middle of the forest.

“What are we running on?” Drew asked from behind me. I looked out at our surroundings, trying to make sense of it. Everything about the landscape felt natural–the trees casting shade across the forest floor and pine needles carpeting the dusty earth beneath them. But then the land sloped sharply up to our path, and we knew it had to be man-made.

“We were running a segment of the Arizona Trail between Pine Grove Campground and Mormon Mountain, seventeen miles south of Flagstaff. Summer had been dry and hot, and our quest for shaded routes had us exploring further into Coconino National Forest than we’d ever been before.”

Read the rest of Kim’s blog post here and be sure to cheer her on as she attempts to qualify for her third Olympiad in June at the Olympic Trials in Oregon. We will continue to share her blog posts about her experiences as well as the results of her races, as it is likely that she will spend some time on both the Lewis & Clark and Oregon National Historic Trails in the coming month as she prepares for the Olympic Trials. Good luck, Kim! The rut nuts of the Oregon-California Trails Association are cheering you on!


OCTA Seeks Digital Media Intern

OCTA’s previous intern, Sam Sullivan of Shawnee, Kansas, recently accepted a full-time position in Boulder, Colorado with a video production company. A graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, Sam created OCTA’s Instagram page and Twitter feed, filmed and edited nearly two dozen videos for OCTA’s YouTube Channel, created and managed Google Ads that led to an increase in new memberships and sales of products and services, and provided updates for all of our digital media channels.

OCTA now seeks a new intern who will continue and build upon the things achieved during the previous internship.

The intern will:

1) learn how to manage OCTA’s Facebook page

2) learn how to manage OCTA’s Instagram page

3) learn how to manage OCTA’s Twitter feed

4) have the opportunity to create content via MailChimp for OCTA’s periodic E-News

5) have the opportunity to create and manage Google Ads and to learn the algorithms to help steer traffic to those ads

6) have the opportunity to create video for and manage OCTA’s YouTube Channel

7) have the opportunity to help OCTA continue to increase its reach via its established websites at octa-trails.org, octa-journals.org, paper-trail.org, and inpursuitofadream.org

8) have the opportunity to strategize on methods to reach younger and more diverse audiences as well as international audiences and to help create content on various platforms targeted at those audiences

The position will require approximately 17 hours a week and will pay $15 per hour. Complete details about the internship and the method of application are contained in this attached document. Please share with any university students or recent graduates you may know.


A tax break for retirees is back.
Here’s how to use it — and what to avoid

This tax break is a fringe benefit of getting old. It lets some in their 70s use a tax strategy that got canceled for 2020 because of COVID but is now back with us.

The qualified charitable distribution (QCD) allows individual retirement account holders to divert some of their federally taxable required distributions to charity. That lets the IRA holders make donations and reduce their federally taxable income — while still letting them take the standard deduction on their federal tax returns.

OCTA is still accepting donations for its year-end appeal, and a QCD might be a way to both help OCTA and your own bottom line. Some members are even donating a portion of their stimulus checks, so thank you to those who called this week and did so! Read more about QCDs at this article from the Washington Post and consult your tax adviser on how to properly utilize this benefit.

Order Fresh Coffee and Help
OCTA’s Bottom Line

OCTA member Richard Gibson reached out to us with a review of the coffee. He wrote:

“I wanted to say to the group and to the KC ROASTERS that I am thoroughly enjoying my OREGON TRAIL ROAST BLEND COFFEE. It is mellow but full of flavor and is easy to warm back up or drink when cold! Great Idea for whomever came up with this promotion for OCTA! THANKS. I still have another package unopened!”

OCTA Board Member Jean Coupal-Smith added:

“This is a wonderful brew! I love the rich, bold flavor, even though its medium roast and I usually drink dark roast. I rate it up there at the top with my favorite Starbucks blend of Cafe Verona. It is very smooth.”

We concur whole-heartedly with Richard and Jean, though this E-News editor is of the opinion that the Butterfield Bean Medium Roast is slightly better than the wonderful Oregon Trail Medium Roast Blend. We remain excited that KC Coffee Roasters created two specialty coffees with 10% of every purchase being donated to the Oregon-California Trails Association. They are currently featuring Oregon Trail and Butterfield Bean blends. Visit their website at https://www.kccoffeeroasters.com/order-online to order now.