Ezra Meeker braved the Oregon Trail in 1852, eventually becoming a hop farmer and broker. He platted the town of Puyallup, Washington and served as its first mayor. By the 1880s he had built a fortune and a mansion. But in 1892, a scourge of aphids devastated the hop harvest, followed by a severe national economic depression, sweeping his assets away, "slick as a mitten." During the gold rush, Meeker ventured to the treacherous Klondike four times, transporting and selling 100 tons of groceries to Yukon gold miners. His wife, who remained closer to home, managed the food-drying and canning operation, manufacturing granulated eggs and dehydrated soup vegetables. Three years of letters, most from Ezra to his beloved Eliza Jane, relate the details of his risky schemes and intriguing experiences, from business and mining pursuits to family relationships.-- Publisher.