Lansford Warren Hastings was an important writer because he wrote a book that was considered significant in the history of the American West. He was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, in 1819, the son of Waitstill and Lucinda (Wood) Hastings. Lansford studied law and in 1842, at age 24, was a practicing attorney in Mount Vernon. During that year a Dr. Elijah White came through Knox County with a company of emigrants on their way to Oregon. Hastings joined the group. He readily adapted to the pioneer life style, and he soon became a leader in the company.
Hastings’ activities are well recorded in the lore of the early west. Irving Stone, in Men to Match My Mountains says, “About June 20, 1843, a twenty-four year old lawyer by the name of Lansford W. Hastings from Mount Vernon, Ohio, a bright, handsome, strong-jawed, fast-talking opportunist, reached the northern California border.”