The Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) and the Southern Trails Chapter of OCTA present the “Yuma Historic Trails and the Yuma Crossing” Symposium, from Friday, February 21 to Sunday, February 23. The Shiloh Inn (pictured above; the hotel is located at 1550 S. Castle Dome Ave.) in Yuma, Arizona is symposium HQ. The symposium will focus on Yuma and its role as the primary crossing of the Colorado River and will include looks at the American Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. eras, including local tribes, the Alarcon (Coronado) Expedition of 1540, Spanish missions, Juan Bautista de Anza, the Mormon Battalion, 49ers on the Southern Route, the Butterfield Stage, military presence, and the Old Spanish Trail Highway, among others.
The Shiloh Inn at 1550 S. Castle Dome Ave. is our host hotel. It is located at the intersection of I-8 and US 95. OCTA has a room block with single kings and double queens available. Rates are $99 per night and include breakfast. Call the hotel at (928) 782-9511 and ask for the OCTA room block.
If you go on the tours, bring hats and windbreakers. The bus tour on Sunday still has a few seats remaining, so don’t delay! Though we fully expect sunny skies and 70 degree temperatures, weather in southwest Arizona and southern California can be unpredictable in February. Tour and speaker information can be found on our online registration page.
Longtime OCTA Member
Tom McCutcheon Set to Turn 95!
Tom McCutcheon, originally from Greenleaf, Kansas, retired to Rock Springs, Wyoming many years ago. He is in ill health and does not get around much anymore. His 95th birthday is coming up on January 28. His daughter says he loves to get mail. If you would like to send him a card, his address is: 1315 Liberty Drive, Rock Springs, WY 82901
Dr. Robert Munkres
1930 – 2019
Robert L. Munkres, born August 18, 1930, died on October 13, 2019 in Estes Park, Colorado. Bob was born and raised in the North Platte Valley of Nebraska, the son of a rancher and a school teacher. He graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University and subsequently received his doctorate from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. In the 1950s Bob was a seasonal ranger-historian at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. He first taught political science at the University of Wisconsin Extension Division and then from 1960 until 1999 he was a beloved professor of political science and history at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. Following his retirement, Bob continued to teach a course at Muskingum on American Indians until 2004 when he and his wife Jeannette moved to Estes Park.
Bob published three books, including Saleratus and Sagebrush, numerous chapters in other books, and more than 300 articles and reviews in journals and magazines. For over 41 years Bob was an important contributor to the Tombstone Epitaph, and readers of the Epitaph will miss his unique and interesting pieces on Western history. Since moving to Estes Park, Bob was a regular speaker on topics of Western history at Rocky Mountain National Park. Bob also wrote the entirety of the sections on Trail Facts and Trail Stories sections of the OCTA website.
Bob’s loving wife Jeanette died in 2013. Bob and Jeannette were committed educators, but they were also committed mentors for students both in and out of the classroom. They maintained these relationships long after the students had left Muskingum. In fact, they remained involved with their lives, careers and families until the day of their deaths. For that, many will be forever grateful.
Bob is survived by his twin brother, Dr. James Munkres of Massachusetts.
1945 – 2020
First thing to know about Berl is he was an educator, retiring from Crosby Middle School, but still teaching throughout the rest of his life.
He was also that rare volunteer who stepped up without asking…webmaster, presenter, field trip leader, weather guesser (reporting daily weather observations & precipitation for CoCoRaHS-daily at 7am!). He was an Aerographer’s Mate when he was in the Navy, and very proud of serving his country. He was a Vietnam War veteran, serving on the USS Constellation. He said they didn’t get a warm welcome when they arrived at their port. So, you don’t need to tell a Vietnam veteran, “thank you for your service,” but instead must say, “Welcome Home!”
He was a leader serving as president of the Kentucky Society of National History, as well as past president of the Oregon-California Trail Association’s Colorado-Cherokee Chapter.
He served as a presenter, trail guide, convention planner…you name it, he did it!
He loved lots of things that people who know him may not be aware of. Yes, he loved geology, and knew at an early age before he was even a teenager that he wanted to be a geologist, but he also loved history including the Civil War.
As an earth science teacher, he felt that kids were not being taught about our National Parks or Civil War, so he brought them into his lesson plan using geology. KSNH members will remember him teaching the geology of Perryville Battlefield about the acoustical shadow that affected the outcome of that battle.
Camille Bradford added, “Berl was our beloved past chapter President, webmaster and newsletter editor. We are grateful for the leadership roles he assumed for many years, for his commitment to the mission of OCTA and to the Colorado chapter’s interest in preservation of the Cherokee Trail. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.”
OCTA Intern Lauren Manning Lands Position as Preservation Planner for Kansas City
For the past two years, OCTA was fortunate to have an intern working for us in partnership with the city of St. Joseph, Missouri’s planning department. Lauren’s last day with OCTA was December 31 and she has done what you always hope quality interns do—-landed a full-time professional position as a preservation planner for the city of Kansas City, Missouri. We look forward to still working with Lauren as our interests in trail preservation in Kansas City coincide and align with her work there.
During the course of her internship, she helped facilitate the process of the charette that was put on by our National Park Service partners during early November 2018, and the planning document is now undergoing final edits in their Santa Fe office. That document will be extremely valuable in guiding future decisions for trail planning in St. Joseph. She was also integral to helping us develop a new website for our Gateway Chapter, which features an interactive map she developed that shows where trail-related businesses from the 19th century were located. (You can see that website at www.gateway-octa.org). One of her final tasks was to develop an interactive map for the Kansas City area showcasing where each trail-related exhibit is located. That map will debut later this year as part of our new Trails Head Chapter website.
OCTA was recently awarded another grant from the Partnership for the National Trails System that will allow us to bring on a new intern this year. The focus on this internship will be digital media communications and marketing. We recently launched a new YouTube Channel and are looking toward developing an Instagram page, a Twitter feed, and to continue to develop other forms of digital media we have at our disposal to help us better market ourselves to new potential advocates and supporters. We hope to bring on a new intern in the coming weeks.
Congrats, Lauren, and thanks so much for all you did to help OCTA make progress! This photo is from the board meeting and symposium that was held in Gila Bend, Arizona shortly after she started in early 2018.
OCTA Kicks Off 2020 With a New YouTube Channel!
OCTA kicked off 2020 with a brand new YouTube Channel. Be sure to subscribe to catch all of our upcoming videos. Once we get to 1,000 subscribers we’ll have free access to YouTube studios to help us create new content. Ask everyone you know to subscribe—-it’s free!
If you weren’t able to attend the convention in Santa Fe last September, we were able to record all of the speakers. We’ve spent the autumn editing the video and building website infrastructure to host the videos, and you can now view the speakers. If you attended the convention, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the free 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 website. Thanks to everyone who contributed in Santa Fe to help hire the film crew!
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 Christmas gift and we’ll send those gifts to your recipient as a present from you. These free gifts include:
if you buy a gift membership for someone new at any level, we will send an item of your choice from the list above to your recipient!
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.
No where else will you find such a comprehensive archive of information related to 19th century western emigration trails. Join now and get immediate access to the nearly 40 years worth of the entertaining and informative Overland Journal!