When the news of discovery of gold in California in 1849 reached northern Missouri, brothers Ezekiel and Pleasant Long were very excited! They were not the oldest son, and therefore, would not inherit the family farm, and they wanted farms of their own. They saw their future lay in the hopes of getting some of that “easy gold” in California and set to formulating a plan how they could get some for themselves.. First, they had to get in the fall crops. They knew winter snows and weather would preclude them travelling over the mountain ranges to the west, so they determined to follow the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail to the south, then west along the Gila River through Arizona and into southern California, and finally north to the Gold Fields near Sacramento. Their luck was reasonably good for two farm boys from Missouri. Within months, they were able to afford passage on a clipper ship to Central America. They walked across the isthmus of Panama, caught a steamer to New Orleans and northward to St. Louis. They walked across northern Missouri where they were able to purchase farms for themselves. Their descendants remain in the area even today. Now, with a family heritage like this, who wouldn’t want to join an Association which honored the stories of early travelers on the westward trails! In 2000, I joined the Oregon-California Trails Association and have enjoyed an active membership since that time. I am a member of the Trails Head Chapter which is based in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Submitted by: Pat Traffas – OCTA President