Max Fawcett’s Claim.
Emporia News, April 22, 1870.
[Written for The Emporia News by H. B. Norton.]
EDITORS NEWS: Max Fawcett is well known to the good people of Emporia as a marked and peculiar genius, possessing much taste, refinement, ingenuity, and love for the beautiful. He has taken a claim one-half mile west of the young city of Creswell, which I recently had the pleasure of visiting, and which I propose to describe.
It is situated on the north bank of the Arkansas, here a noble stream forty rods in width. A bluff of magnesian limestone some thirty feet high here rises abruptly, washed by the river a part of the way, but bending in such a manner as to enclose a bottom of some thirty acres, covered with a splendid growth of timber and grape-vines. Out of this bluff pour three beautiful springs. One is received in a square cavity cut with a chisel in the soft magnesian stone. Another pours out of a pipe in such a manner as to form a miniature and fanciful cascade, showing some of the peculiar touches of the proprietor.
A few rods from this is a cave about ten feet wide and four feet high at the entrance, larger within, and passable to the depth of about one hundred feet; beyond that too small to conveniently penetrate, but of unknown extent. Here is a most perfect natural cellar for meat, fruit, and vegetables.
The cabin stands on the bank just above. It is not yet very thoroughly completed, and was, a few nights ago, invaded by a pack of prairie wolves, doubtless attracted by the scent of dried apples and graham crackers. One yell from under the blankets caused them to vanish more rapidly than they entered.
Just back of the house is Max’s garden. This is in a conical sink-hole, evidently connected with the cave below. He has shoveled this partly full of loose earth, and laid it off in garden beds with his own quaint taste. Various ornamental plants are also growing about the house.
The land is a warm, sandy loam, admirably adapted to the growth of corn, fruit, and nursery stock. The Chickasaw plum, now in full bloom, grows in thickets all over it. From the building site the scenery is truly magnificent, including many miles of the river, the town-site, and vast vistas of bottom, upland, and bluff. Here “Mac” has found a site exactly adapted to his genius. He seems perfectly happy here, and declares that nothing could induce him to return to dull, muddy, monotonous Emporia. His estate here will soon be the most beautiful in Kansas.
Comments by a Visitor to Arkansas City about Max Fawcett’s Claim.
Emporia News, July 15, 1870.
Max. Fawcett is laboring with a zeal that is truly commendable. The stranger has not been in town one hour before the question is asked him, “Have you seen Max Fawcett’s claim?” If not, you must go at once. When you get there, you are glad you came. With Mr. A. C. Wilkinson as our guide, we visited it early Sabbath morning. We reached it at a distance of one and one-half miles west of the town. It lies along the banks of the Arkansas. We first hastened toward the spring for we were thirsting for a drink of pure, cold water. A strip of timber lines the bank of the river ten or fifteen rods in width. We reached the edge of this timber and found ourselves on the brink of a precipitous bluff. Our guide directed our attention to a path that leads down the hill through the trees. Our eyes followed it gladly down farther and farther until they beheld away down ever so far the most beautiful stream of pure, cold water flowing from out the hillside that it was ever our good fortune to see. The path has steps of stone carefully adjusted by the hand of Max. himself. Descending we found that an artificial reservoir made of stone receives the water to which it is conducted by means of wooden troughs extending back to the hillside. From this reservoir another trough carries the water eight or ten feet and precipitates it down a descent of three or four feet, where another smaller basin carved out of the rock receives it. A cup attached to a chain hangs by the side of a tree near the main basin. While you are drinking you look eastward and a few rods in front of you, carved on a big rock, you read:
“Stranger, you are welcome here.”
You look southward and on another rock you read:
“Better than gold
Is water cold,
From crystal fountains flowing.”
You turn to the west and a few feet from you, you find two natural chairs formed of rock. On one is written “easy chair”; on the other, “hard chair.” You sit down on the easy chair and sure enough you sit as comfortably as on the softest easy chair in your parlor at home. A path leads you along the foot of the bluff in a westerly direction until you come to the mouth of a great cave whose inner chambers have not yet been wholly explored. We wish we had time and space to tell about this cave, other springs, and other pleasant retreats.
But we must say farewell to Max and his beautiful claim, with the advice to everyone who goes to Arkansas City to be sure to go and see Max.’s fountains, springs, and caves.
Walnut Valley Times, July 15, 1870.
Arkansas City, July 6, 1870.
Editor Times: The glorious Fourth was a decided success here. The celebration took place on Max Fawcett’s celebrated claim about half a mile west of town; a beautiful grove on the back of the river, in the immediate vicinity of some remarkable springs and caverns. . . .”