Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Road To Independence

Our son texted us this morning that his paycheck finally showed money taken out for his 403B retirement fund.  Tim responded, "Congratulations!  You are now on the road to financial independence.  You just need to be patient through these next 40 years."

However, financial planning is not the subject of this blog post.  Instead, Independence, Missouri is.  Back at the beginning of June 2017, we followed the road to Independence on our way to my family's farm in Kansas.  I meant to write this post upon our arrival at the farm, but life became too hectic then.  So I'm playing catch up here!

"Heading Out of Independence" painting by Charles Goslin

Independence, MO was a starting point for many pioneers traveling to Oregon.  Oregon is where we're headed now, too, and just like those early settlers, we plan to follow the Oregon Trail west.  So it's fitting that I back up and include our stop in Independence as part of The Jacobsons' Journey.

Knowing our summer plans, we made a point of visiting the National Frontier Trails Museum there.  Its name, National Frontier Trails, is a clue that this museum's scope will cover more than just the Oregon Trail.

It also had exhibits about the Santa Fe and the Mormon trails, but the Oregon Trail was clearly its focus.  It's a small museum that's off the beaten path, but we found it interesting, if only for the displays of quotations from pioneer journals and diaries such as this one from Margaret A. Frink, Oregon pioneer, 1850.  "I think none of us have realized until now the perils of this undertaking..."  Reading these lent an immediacy to the trail's history for me.

Ezra Meeker

The Frontier Trails Museum also had a bust of Ezra Meeker who is considered the Father of Oregon Trail preservation.  Meeker first traveled the Oregon Trail in 1852, but in 1906 he journeyed east on the trail to draw attention to the need to preserve the trail.  Before he died in 1928, he made three more trips, by wagon in 1910, by automobile in 1916, and by airplane in 1924.  If he were still living, I have no doubt that he would have added travel by RV to his list.

"Go west, young man!" was an admonition attributed to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, but in fact another newspaper man, John Soule, from Terre Haute, Indiana first penned those words in an editorial.  In his early years before he came around to Soule's way of thinking and quoted his words in an 1865 editorial of his own, Greeley was not so enthusiastic about westward expansion; he thought it foolhardy.  He warned, "It is palpable homicide to tempt or send women and children over this thousand miles of precipice and volcanic sterility to Oregon...This migration wears an aspect of insanity..."

Oh, boy!  Are Tim and I insane to follow in their footsteps?  I'm wavering over the advisability of crossing Wyoming on backroads instead of the interstate.  Will there be service stations and fuel stops?  I guess we'll find out.


  1. It's amazing and overwhelming to think of these pioneers traversing this harsh land by foot and Wagon. We could not even imagine trying this in that manner. Happy trails to you both😘😘

    1. I agree! I don't think I could have done it.