Panhandle Seminars

Panhandle Center director to talk about westward migration of pioneers on Feb. 16

All 16 of Jack Whittier’s great-grandparents passed by Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff National Monument, as they crossed through the North Platte Valley on the Mormon Trail.

Whittier, director of the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff, will speak about how the westward migration of early pioneers along the Mormon and Oregon trails contributed to settlement of the west in a seminar on Feb. 16 at the Panhandle Center. The seminar will begin at 3 p.m. in the Bluestem Room, and is free and open to the public.

Whittier’s ancestors made their journeys between 1847 and 1875 – some in wagons, some in handcarts, and the last couple via railroad. At the time of crossing they ranged from 1 year of age to 37 years. They were headed west to a new home and a new life, as most of them were immigrants from Europe and England.

Jack will discuss the culture and stories he’s heard all his life and that have become more real to him since moving to Scottsbluff.  These stories have made Scottsbluff a special place to him and the heritage the Mormon Trail has provided.

He has been the director of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center and Panhandle Extension District since June 2014. Prior to coming to Scottsbluff, he was an Extension Beef Specialist at Colorado State University’s Animal Science Department since 1995, and before that held faculty and graduate research positions at the University of Missouri, University of Nebraska and Utah State University.