You could argue nobody knows more about Ezra Meeker than Dennis Larsen.
Larsen is the official biographer of the first mayor of Puyallup, and plans to bring his research to the Puyallup Public Library on April 27.
This year marks the 110th year since Meeker made his second trek on the Oregon Trail at 75 years old. All this time later, there’s still a lot of holes in the story, and Larsen has worked to patch them.
“Ezra’s diary is at the State Historical Society,” said Andy Anderson, historian of the Puyallup Historical Society. “Nobody had ever looked at all 17 boxes of Ezra’s papers. Dennis went through all 17 boxes and transcribed Ezra’s diary.”
That transcription will now be featured at “One hundred and ten years later — what did Meeker do between 1906 and 1916? Hint: Oregon Trail” at the Puyallup Public Library through an author presentation and local history program.
The event is hosted by the library and the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion.
“We have a lot of interest from patrons on Puyallup History,” said Beth Swartzbaugh, Adult Services librarian. “It shows in the support of Meeker Mansion, and the partnerships are very fruitful.”
Larsen is a retired Yelm High School history teacher, and is the author of four books, with his fifth due out in September. In addition to his books, he has authored many articles about Northwest pioneers that have appeared in various journals. He is a member of the Oregon-California Trails Association, the Tumwater Historical Association and the Puyallup Historical Society at the Meeker Mansion.
“Mr. Larsen’s credentials are impeccable,” Swartzbaugh said. “He brings a perspective nobody else can give in this community.”
The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 27 at the Puyallup Public Library. Copies of Larsen’s books will also be available for sale at the free program.