The second of five books in The Jennings Papers series (www.TheJenningsPapers.com), Mr.
Meeks' story is told through unpublished notes taken in the summer of 1867 by Damian Hopkins, a young reported from the Daily Examiner, a San Francisco newspaper. The life of Mr. Meeks unfolds as Meeks fights off an advancing terminal illness and recounts his years without regret to the reporter. Born in 1812 in Lake Champlain, New York, William Meeks grew up as an only child among dairy cows and apple orchards. His time with the Abenaki, a local American Indian tribe, caught his imagination, as did the constant influx of merchants and traders from around the world who came to the lake through the Hudson River. He spent his youth befriending the Abenaki, participating in their rituals and even given "Dark Path" as his native name - very apropos to where life would lead him.
Just shy of 18 years, young William took off to join the newly-formed U.S. Army, as part of the Indian Removal Act, to aid in their quest to remove southern Indians to lands father west. So starts his journey of self-discovery, the cruelties inflicted by men upon the natives and each other, him finding an Indian bride, the birth of his son, and loses which mount along his dark path. William Meeks' story is unique and unsung. His travels find him engaged in The Trail of Tears, the war to free Texas from Mexico, riding with and befriending Kit Carson in the mapping of the Oregon Trail and hunting forays, the forming of California statehood, the start of the gold rush, his involvement in the Civil War - and much more. Most significantly though, are his 18 months in the employ of Sarah Jennings (WEST: Journey Across the Plains) in her search for what remained of her family who went west without her in 1849. Traveling with his half-breed son, Waiting Hawk, their quest to help the Sarah provides additional grist and heartache for Meeks' epic story.
These are men who do not quit or shirk in the face of danger.
Take your own unique journey with Mr. Meeks as he leads you through his history of America's movement West.