In the 1840s, Missouri was at the western edge of civilization and the beginning of the wild west. California was “on the other side of the continent.” There was a whole world between Missouri and California with little to no communication between the two, and yet, people were flocking to that far away place. So many people, in fact, that California, on Sept. 9, 1850, became the 31st state to join the Union. Communications was no longer a luxury. It had become a necessity.