E-News April 27, 2020

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E-News – 27 April 2020
Cadaver Dogs to Search for Gold Rush-Era Graves
City of Rocks National Preserve in Idaho Falls Victim to Graffiti Vandals
Georgia Ann Talbott
American Solar Challenge Postponed Until Summer 2021
Thank You For Your Continued Support
Give Us a Like on Facebook
Download Speaker Videos From Santa Fe Convention
Upgrade Your Membership Now For a Wonderful Gift!

Cadaver Dogs to Search for Gold Rush-era 
Graves Near Oregon and California Trails
Researchers using cadaver dogs will sniff out 170-year-old graves in a southeast Idaho national preserve this summer to help uncover clues about pioneers who died as their wagon trains traveled the Oregon and California trails.

The graves, often hastily dug and left behind with few markers, help tell the story of the trials and tragedies of some of the 250,000 people who crossed the United States in the mid-1800s to search for gold in California, obtain free land in Oregon or join the Mormon colony in Utah.

See the UPI website for the complete story.

City of Rocks National Preserve in Idaho 
Falls Victim to Graffiti Vandals
WE NEED YOUR HELP! Some time between the evening of Friday, April 24 and 1 pm on Saturday, April 25, vandals greatly defaced Camp Rock, the emigrant signatures, and prehistoric pictographs. How can you help? If you have any information such as “we visited Camp Rock at 6 pm and there was no paint then” or “I saw a suspicious vehicle…” or, “I heard about some kids that were planning to go go have a party there,” let the staff at the preserve know. Do the markings look similar to others you have seen somewhere else?

OCTA was part of the team that helped purchase the land containing Camp Rock about 15 years ago.

Email information to the park superintendent at Wallace_Keck@partner.nps.gov or call 208-824-5911 and leave a message.

Georgia Ann Talbott
September 13, 1935 – April 9, 2020

Georgia Talbott was one of the first women in Arizona to be the Credit Manager of a large company and the manager of a lighting division. Georgia’s family and their friends lovingly called her Gram, Grams, GG or Porgie. She was a longtime volunteer at both the Phoenix Theater and the Herberger Theater. Georgia was a valued member of the Fiesta Bowl volunteers for many years.

She was also a valued member of the Oregon-California Trails Association. According to her nephew, OCTA’s Idaho Chapter President Jerry Eichhorst, she thoroughly looked forward to receiving her Overland Journal every three months. Jerry said that his aunt was his favorite relative and he was sad to report that she fell victim to COVID-19.

Georgia is predeceased by her beloved son Bob Talbott. She is survived by two daughters; Becky and Debi, 4 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren, 1 sister, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

American Solar Challenge (ASC)
Postponed Until Summer 2021

Given the COVID-19 situation and the uncertainty associated with this situation and based on the feedback from the team survey, the Board of Directors for the ASC has made the decision to postpone the 2020 event until 2021. The Board of Directors did not take this decision lightly, which was made in due consideration of the potential impacts to the entrants, volunteers and the public.  Based on survey feedback, they are shifting our planning to a track-only event this fall, targeting September 2020.

The National Park Service partnership will be credited towards the rescheduled American Solar Challenge in 2021. Over the next few days, communications will be going out to the teams, volunteer staff, stage/checkpoint locations, etc. Once everyone has a chance to digest everything, they will begin discussing what dates would potentially work to travel the Oregon Trail in June/July 2021.

Details of the Fall 2020 event will be confirmed in the coming weeks once they have a chance to work through the logistics of such an event. To allow the most teams to participate, they are making some adjustments for the Fall 2020 track event to allow older solar vehicles built under previous ASC regulations to participate. Exact details have to be worked out.

Obviously, this rescheduling will be contingent on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds. This is a challenging time for all organizations, as everyone has to redirect efforts from the planned events and explore other options to provide this experiential learning opportunity for the college teams.

Thank You For Your Continued Support of the Oregon-California Trails Association

Thank you for your continued support of the Oregon-California Trails Association and for your strong belief in our mission. Your donations support our mission of protecting the Historic Emigrant Trails legacy by promoting research, education, preservation activities and public awareness of the trails, and working with others to promote these causes. We believe that we will be able to re-open the office on Friday, May 15, as that is that date that restrictions are set to be lifted in Independence, Missouri. 

Congress recently passed the CARE ACT, which includes a provision allowing individuals to deduct up to $300 from their taxes, even if they do not itemize. If you take the standard deduction on your 2020 tax return (the one that you’re filing in 2021), you can claim a brand new “above-the-line” deduction of up to $300 for cash donations to charity you make this year. Donations to donor advised funds and certain organizations that support charities are not deductible.

OCTA has made it easier than ever to support our mission with a secure online donation portal. With your past help, we have expanded our public programming with the addition of traveling trunks and more offerings on our websites, mapped and marked trail, preserved graves, and introduced more people to the 19th century western emigration story than ever before.

Some years, deadly diseases all but closed trail traffic in the 19th century. The year 2020 has also seen trail closures in some areas due to another deadly disease, COVID-19. Mt. Hood National Forest, for example, is closed for this reason. However, many sections of our trails remain open. While we do hope that you’re all still getting out and enjoying fresh air on our trails, we encourage you to do so responsibly and keep safe distances between yourself and others.
But OCTA itself needs your support to weather this storm.

I hope you will consider continuing to invest in OCTA and its mission. While our HQ doors are closed for the rest of the month, we remain committed to the work of OCTA and we continue to move the organization forward from our home offices. As much of the nation is shut down, many Americans have turned to the outdoors, visiting parks and trails in record numbers. We are part of the valuable recovery effort of our nation. Be sure to suggest to family and friends that our trails can be a respite from our current situation, both on-the-ground and with our cyber resources.

And thank you again for your support.

Give Us a Like on Facebook

OCTA has focused even more intently on electronically communicating with you since we are not able to do so face-to-face for now. We’ve been focusing especially on making fun and informative “This Day in History” posts on our Facebook page. If you haven’t already given us a “like,” do so now so that you don’t miss out on near-daily updates! We’ve already shared information on the first ride of the Pony Express (which has over 5,200 views since we posted it!), the opening of a new wagon road between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1861, General Henry Atkinson and his role in opening the West to settlement, and the presidency of John Tyler and his role in opening the Oregon Territory to settlement, among others.

We will also soon be launching new Instagram and Twitter accounts and we’ll be inviting you all to post your own photos, videos, writings, and other content that we can share with each other while we wait for the world to open up again.

Download Speaker Videos
From Santa Fe Convention

If you weren’t able to attend the convention in Santa Fe last September, we recorded all of the speakers. If you attended the convention, you can view all of the videos for free by emailing kconway@indepmo.org for the access code. If you didn’t attend the convention, you can purchase access for $10 per speaker or $60 for all 14 speakers. The link for purchase can be found on our websiteMany of us are locked away for weeks due to Coronavirus shut downs, so enjoy some time learning about Southwestern trails!

Speakers and topics include:
  • Doug Dinwiddie – Military Protection Along the Southern Trail
  • François-Marie Patorni – The French Presence in New Mexico
  • Kevin Henson – Cooke’s Wagon Road and Mormon Battalion Routes in New Mexico
  • David Miller – Randolph Marcy: Explorer, Road Builder, and Guide
  • Mark Howe – Archaelogy on New Mexico’s Southern Trail
  • Jim Hardee – Bartolomé Baca and the Trappers
  • Frank Norris – Railroad in Northern New Mexico
  • Larry Francell – J.B.D. Stillman, Civilian Post Surgeon at Fort Lancaster, Texas
  • Peter Leman – Mangas Coloradas
  • Prince McKenzie – Railroads Along the Southern Route
  • Tom Sutak – Traveling to the Gold Fields Along the Southern Route
  • Laura Anderson – Women, the Sick and Others Left Behind
  • Tom Jonas – Kearney’s Trail from Santa Fe to Arizona
  • Richard Melzer – Children on the Santa Fe Trail

Upgrade Your Membership or Purchase a Gift Membership Now For a Wonderful Present!
For a limited time, OCTA is encouraging our existing members to “upgrade” their membership. This also makes an excellent gift and we’ll send those gifts to your recipient as a present from you. These free gifts include:

Simply call us at (816) 252-2276 and we will renew your membership at a higher level or simply extend your existing membership for another year past your next renewal date and ship out our “thank yous” immediately. Or, send it as a gift to a friend or family member. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity; it’s only while supplies last.


Finally, if you’re not already a member, join now at the Emigrant level ($50) and we will send you a copy of your choice of items listed above. Not only that, but as a new member you will get immediate access to every single issue of the Overland Journal dating back to 1982 as well as access to Paper Trail, our incredible genealogy tool that helps you search original trail diaries.