ITEMS FOR NEXT BOOK.
[Note: Set up with space between items. They can be played up individually. MAW]
Winfield Courier, April 21, 1881.
We have received an excellent article entitled “Reminiscenses,” which will appear in our next. The paper is well written and will be of interest to the pioneers of 1870 and 1871. The writer says, “Should you consign it to the wastebasket, no offense will be taken.” We always like to publish articles that will recall the early days of our county. We should like more of them.
Winfield Courier, April 28, 1881.
It will be ten years in June since I made my first visit to Cowley. The terminus of the railroad then was Florence, at which point my traveling companion and myself arrived a little before sunset, where we found our father waiting for us, to convey us to his new home down in the wilds. As camping out was then in vogue, after loading our goods, which until this time had been stored in our southern home, we started out of town and traveled about two miles until we reached a clear stream, where we thought it best to spend the night. My father and my friend pitched their tent by the side of the wagon where they soon were quietly reposing, but as the grass was their bed, and having quite an aversion to the snake fraternity, which I knew inhabited these prairie countries, no persuasions nor entreaties of theirs could induce me to share their lowly fare, so I climbed on top of a large dry goods box on the wagon and there spent the night. It was a splendid place for meteorological observations, but an exceedingly poor place for sleep; but true to first impressions, I spent three nights on that box, and when on Saturday, about noon, we arrived at our destination, it was with difficulty that I could be persuaded to relinquish my claim, and a number of days till youthful vigor asserted its wonted rights, and I could move around with ease. This first experience of camp life was anything but flattering.
What a strange country this was; one vast expanse of prairie, with here and there a line of trees showing the track of some stream. Although it had been but a few months since this country had been opened for settlement, almost every quarter section was marked by its pile of stone or cottonwood cabin.
How it made my heart sink as we neared our home, where my always patient mother was waiting to embrace me and give a hearty welcome. Although different from our former homes, adversity causing my father to seek this frontier settlement, still he and mother were cheerful, and with their usual good sense, trying to make the best of everything. The house was about twelve feet by fourteen, no window, a loose board answering that purpose, being shoved to one side when light and air were needed. Then the fare! Who would have thought of a city pedagogue enjoying corn bread, made without milk, and bacon; no butter, but instead “back woods preserves.” But it did not take more than a week to convince us that these were much better than we supposed, and finally good appetizers.
Then came those hot days of July and August, and as the early settlers will remember, the tendency to rain at most any moment; the sun blazing out with scorching rays one hour, and the next a great black thunder cloud covering the sky’s deep blue; and how everything did grow; the sod corn was a marvel, and the grass and weeds were without a parallel. Such a state of things could not last long without developing that unwelcome visitor, chills, and almost everybody had them.
The place of public worship was a little grove by the side of a stream where a clear, cold spring quenched the thirst of those who many times suffered for such a cooling beverage, wells at that time a rarity. Rude seats were improvised, and these weekly gatherings seemed to be the “season of refreshing for the people.” Although the toil and privations they were enduring was telling on many, still almost all kept brave hearts, looking forward to the great future of this land of their choice.
Quietly and quickly sped the ten weeks’ vacation with nothing to save the monotony except a couple of visits to Winfield. ’Twas a strange town, but then this was only its babyhood. Not a chimney in the place, and such a collection of articles in the stores: everything from a side of bacon down to a paper of pins. But of these small beginnings are the great ends.
Then came the sad good-bye, leaving the dear ones in this wild place, and sick most of the time, but feeling it was the best braved my heart. We traversed the same road to Florence again, this time making the trip in a little over two days, and having the empty wagon to sleep in, which was very conciliatory.
The months, fraught with hard work and its compensation, rolled along, bringing word weekly from the Cowley house, telling of plans and prospects, and giving words of admonition as well, until the next June, and again I packed my trunk for my second visit to the south. By this time the railroad had reached Newton, which was noted as the congregation point of the leading desperadoes of the country, so we hurried away from the polluted spot, and camped several miles away from town. The change one year had wrought in the appearance of the country was remarkable. So much had been done for the comfort and convenience of these new homes.
After the home greetings and rest of a few days, having brought a saddle with me, I proceeded with my faithful horse to explore the country. Every nook for miles around was subjected to a series of inspections, but the one spot particularly impressive was the canyon. To me it was full of wonder, contemplating the whys and wherefores of such a work of rude beauty, and it was not long until I grew to love the quiet spot.
Winfield had passed my expectations. People seemed to be flocking in from every quarter, all eager for the one great object: the “almighty dollar.” There was something fascinating about this feverish bustle after something; it showed an object in life, which so many eastern people lack.
It took some time to become reconciled to the appellation of bachelor, as bestowed alike on boys of twenty-one and men of forty-five. All the men who had taken claims and were unmarried, be they beardless youths or middle-aged men, were designated in that term. Of course, any lady with an average share of attractions would come in for some attentions, although sometimes the way they were bestowed was quite impressive. For instance, one day going to Winfield, one of the young bachelors happened by accident to accompany me. Although the conversation was rather one-sided, still a good listener is to be appreciated, and I was more than repaid for my expenditure of strength in the entertaining line, when on coming home my escort bashfully rode close by my side, and without a word slipped some peanuts and apple in my hand. I shall always think of that boy with feelings of interest.
The third vacation was a more lively one. People were cordial and seemed glad to welcome me back, and my horse was ready for the summer tours; and this time, we had pic-nics, horseback parties, etc. Farmers were jubilant over good crops, and housewives proud of their culinary stores. Winfield had made a great stride toward its future greatness, and the stir and bustle pervading all was such as only a westerner can appreciate or endure.
Only too rapidly the weeks sped by, and again the ten months of work were entered upon, this time with a zest, for they were to be the last. The fourth summer was quietly spent, and one evening in early autumn I promised to share the fortunes and misfortunes of one of those lonely bachelors. It was misfortune to start on, for the grasshoppers were black over the land, making their way into every nook and corner of the house, stripping every green thing of its verdure, and making the whole land look as though a vast fire had devastated it. Some of the settlers turned back to their old homes, heart-sick and breathing out anathemas on Cowley’s fair name; but the men with nerve and sinew stayed, and they are now reaping the harvest of their toil and endurance.
It did not take long to settle down to housekeeping, and thanks to my bachelor husband, I soon learned to make bread and biscuit, and experience taught me the grand possibilities there are in rice, and that soda and sugar are each good in its place. The “red letter” days were those when I could go home, and my father would always meet me with a smile to take care of my horse and show me some new improvement.
So sped three years of married life, bringing with them cares and many blessings. The most perplexing care was when household help was needed. Oh, those girls! And many another housewife will echo, “those girls!” When you can relish pumpkin pies made in such a way that they seem like modified sole leather, then you can truly sing, “Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness,” for what you eat and drink will be of little consequence.
The fourth year brought its cloud. The white-haired father was stricken with disease, and as week after week he lay daily learning patience and trust, enduring untold anguish without a murmur, it was then we felt it would be a mercy if release would come, and it did come, and all that was left of our dear one was the poor, wasted body, to be laid by us tenderly away. It is a beautiful spot, overlooking the town, where our dead rests, and the simple inscription on the marble, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,” seems peculiarly adapted to the case.
Now as I sit by the open door in my home overlooking Winfield, for the farm life is one of the things of the past, I can take in the full beauty of the town, the setting sun casting its golden glow over all and adding to its already many charms. The beautiful Brettun House is the prominent feature; then the churches, school houses, courthouse, and fine stone and brick residences all present a striking contrast to the ten years ago.
Now our transportation facilities are fast approaching the best, our newspapers are spicy and intelligent, our pulpits are filled with men who have the people’s good at heart. May blessings crown the work of men who can visit the poor, sick, and afflicted, and utter words of cheer, comfort, and hope, as well as preach the Everlasting word in the pulpit. This is surely what the bible means by “pure and undefiled religion.”
Last, but not least, is the people. They are so genial, intelligent, and warm-hearted. The eastern idea of caste is only slightly recognized here. As a rule, the intelligent class place merit as their standard, and such judgment cannot fail to bring about good results. Everything seems to unite to make this a place of beauty and attraction, and we are often led to exclaim, “There is ne’er in the wide world a valley so sweet.”
REPORT ON TRIP TO THE TERRITORY.
Winfield Courier, June 23 and June 30, 1881
ED. COURIER: It is now customary, I believe, when a party makes a trip anywhere, especially to the Indian Territory, for someone of the number to furnish an account of the same to the newspapers. As one of a squad of nine, who recently made a pilgrimage to the land of the Kaw, I will try to inform your readers of some of the matters and things connected therewith.
The party consisted of F. S. Jennings, Judge Tom Soward, W. R. Stivers, J. H. Albro, Will Whitney, L. H. Webb, E. P. Greer, James Kelly, and last but by no means least, Sol Burkhalter. The latter gentleman furnished the rigs and was of course wagon-master.
Grouse Creek was reached by noon of the first day, said day being, curiously enough, Thursday, June 9th, 1881, which should have been mentioned sooner.
Here a halt was called for dinner, and here also the verdancy of the party began to crop out. The temporary camp was made in a dense jungle on the lee side of a hill with a perpendicular front some twenty or thirty feet high. Underbrush, weeds, nettles, vines: pooh, but wasn’t it hot! Not a breath of air stirred a leaf in that miserable forest. Yes, it was hot, and some of us thought that spot would compare favorably with a modified hades according to the new version. But we had the shade.
While some of us built a fire and got dinner, Mr. Jennings, Judge Soward, and Will Stivers went in quest of game. Soon word was sent to send another gun and more ammunition, which request being speedily complied with, such a roar of musketing opened out as I’ll wager, the waters of the Grouse had not heard for many a day. Presently the mighty nimrods returned.
“Where’s your game?” chorused we of the bread and butter stay-at-home brigade.
“It crumbled in a hole,” mourned the Judge, “but I think it’s certainly wounded.”
“By the bones of my grandfather,” howled Webb (he never swears), “if those three big stout men with two double barreled shotguns and a rifle, haven’t been banging away at a poor little squirrel.
After dinner the company was formally organized by electing Jim Kelly to the office of . Brother Greer made the point that this being a civil company, the title should be “president.” This however was promptly rejected. “What?” said the Judge “Suppose we have trouble with the redskins, which is more than likely, how would it sound to say our President marched us up the hill and then marched us down again. I move it be Captain.” But here the beneficiary declared that would be no miserable captain and unless he be at once made Colonel, he would resign and leave the company to its fate. This settled it and the train moved out after dinner in the following order.
1. The elegant three-seated barouche containing the colonel, the major, the judge, Dr. Webb, Sergeant Whitney, and wagon-master Burkhalter, followed by the baggage wagon in which on the seat were Captain Albro and Chaplain Greer, with Will Stivers behind to look after things generally. Brother Greer drove the team, that is he drove it to the foot of the first hill, when the team stopped and would not be driven any further. We all got round the wagon, however, and pushed it up the hill notwithstanding the remonstrance of the team.
This Grouse Creek, I verily believe, is enchanted, or at least this company was, for all at once we couldn’t agree as to which side of the stream we were on. Of course, it made no difference, only it depended on a proper solution of this confounding mystery whether we were going up or down, towards or away from the Territory. Finally we came to a standstill and waited for two gentlemen who were plowing in a field to come to the end of their rows, which were headed off by the road, or more properly cow-path, we were then on. But our consternation was only increased when on inquiring, we found those gentlemen seemed to be as much at a loss as we were ourselves. One said we were on this side of the Grouse and would have to cross over to arrive at our destination; the other said as he had been in the country but a short time and was, unfortunately, from Missouri, really knew nothing about it. Just here a bright intelligent looking girl with a hoe in her hand, cut the miserable knot, not with the hoe, however. She explained by saying that dame nature had, right there, succeeded in reversing the old order, and made the bed so crooked that for a full half mile the water actually ran up stream. But I think if we could have told these good people where we wanted to go lucidly and plainly, they could have told us how to get there. But we couldn’t.
The caravan here parted in the middle, Chaplain Greer believing as he could successively steer the local columns of the COURIER, he certainly ought to be able to steer a two-horse wagon to the mouth of Grouse Creek. So he left us and drove out of sight into the wilderness. We, that is the other rig, took the opposite course. We drove into a pasture fenced with brush; out of that into a cornfield fenced with stone, and traveled down a row of corn about two miles—so we thought—let down a pair of bars and brought up in a cowpen. We were, however, more fortunate here for we found a man who could and would not only tell us where to go, but could actually tell us where we at that moment ought to be, instead of driving over his corn and garden patch, as we had done. Will Whitney, however, very adroitly mentioned “that those were the finest hogs he had seen in a long time,” which somewhat mollified the old man, who then told us how to get out. Thus, you see, kind words never die; and a little taffy, which Mr. Whitney after told us, was cheap, applied to the slab sides and ungainly snouts of the old man’s hogs, and got us out of an embarrassing dilemma.
In a short time after bidding good bye to the old man of the good hogs, we arrived at the house of Drury Warren, a gentleman well and favorably known to some of our crowd. Mr. Warren, however, was absent in the territory at the big “round up,” he having some six hundred head of cattle on the range on Black Bear Creek.
Having heard Mr. Warren speak favorably of some of us, and representing ourselves as “some of our best citizens of Winfield, we soon got into the good graces of kindly Mrs. Warren: to about half a bushel of onions, and permission to drive through the field, thus cutting off some three miles of long, hilly road. Let me here remark that Mr. Warren has one of the most valuable farms in Cowley county, or I might say, in the state. He has 520 acres in a body. Two-thirds of it lies in the rich bottom at the very mouth of Grouse Creek, which is in corn, and such corn! The like of which is duly seen on the Illinois and Sangamon river bottoms, and there but seldom.
Here we passed out at the south gate of the state and entered the Territory when Messrs. Greer, Albro, and Stivers caught up with us and when your correspondent shot a squirrel, found a nice spring of water, and where we camped for the first night.
Nothing of any importance happened to us except the bites of some huge mosquitos, which happened rather often.
The next morning we tried fishing in the raging Arkansas with but poor success. An old blood-thirsty villain of a fisherman, who I have no doubt now was anxious to get us away from there, told us of a good place where he said we would find bass in abundance, well on toward the Kaw agency. Here trouble commenced. Some wanted to pull up stakes and go at once, some wanted to send a scouting party first to spy out the land and report. But the goers-at-once being in the majority, carried the point, so strike the tent, hitch up, and pull out was the order.
Sometime that afternoon we overtook an Indian afoot, leading a dog. Someone of our party asked him some questions, which he wouldn’t answer. Then someone asked him what he intended doing with the dog. He then very politely told us to go to hades, saying, however, the old version pronunciation of that word.
We pitched our tents on the banks of the Arkansas River that night. Another meeting was held at noon to determine whether or not we would move again. The colonel, by virtue of his office, of course, presided. The debate was long, learned, and dignified. Greer, Webb, Stivers, Whitney, and Albro, for the move, ably presented their side of the case.
“You see, gentlemen,” said Webb, “that we are on the very verge of starvation. No water, nothing to eat.”
“That shows,” said Jennings, “that you do not know what you are talking about. Here we are on one of the most delightful spots the sun ever shone upon. Look at that mighty river and tell me that there is no water. Look at the countless turkey tracks, and tell me there is no game, nothing to eat. Why, we are here in the very bowels of plenty, and I, for one, won’t move a peg.”
The motion was, however, put and carried, so move it was. That same evening the company arrived at the mouth of Otter Creek, where it empties into the Grouse, and once more the tent was pitched. The next morning, it being Sunday, it was agreed that no fishing, hunting, or euchre be indulged in but that this Sabbath be spent quietly and reverently as became our best citizens.
After breakfast some of the boys thought they would have some fun at the expense of the others. Word was accordingly passed along that a meeting would be held to consider the propriety of returning to the camp vacated the day before. The president being in the seat of course, proclaimed and made known that a meeting would be held at once. Every member being present the trouble began.
“Now, may the devil take me,” said Chaplain Greer, “if this move don’t beat all the moves I ever heard of.”
“I opposed coming here in the first place, but now that we are here, I propose to stay,” said Jennings.
“Me too,” said Judge Soward, “let go who will, I shan’t.”
“Question! Question!” shouted the mob.
The motion being put, the chair declared it carried unanimously. That was a straw too much.
“Give me my blanket,” groaned Greer, “I can hire a farmer to take me home.”
“Give me my things,” howled Jennings, “I can walk.”
“Don’t take my gun,” yellowed Judge Soward, “I won’t budge an inch.”
Seeing that the joke had gone far enough, the boys were informed of the “sell” and soon all was again serene.
Monday morning, Mr. Greer, having been really in bad health when he started, was found to be much worse. It was accordingly decided to send him home. He was taken by Mr. Burkhalter to Arkansas City, put aboard the train, and we saw him no more.
And, now to conclude, for every good writer must conclude, I have endeavored to chronicle events just as they transpired. If perchance there may be a few little things that didn’t happen exactly as I have said, I certainly cannot be held responsible.
ONE OF THE NINE.
The Winfield Courier, January 5, 1882. [Author unknown.]
These bright moonlight nights remind us forcibly of the old days when we used to live in Pleasant Valley Township and took some other fellow’s girl to a neck-tie festival at Odessa Schoolhouse, or a spelling school at Hollands, or (in 1874) a meeting to “pray for rain” at Excelsior. As we look back over those years and think of the many friends of our boyhood days who have gone: some to Colorado, some “back east,” and some to “that bourne from whence no ‘traveler returns,’” we begin to feel as if we were growing as antiquated as Mother Hubbard. But few of the old landmarks of 1873 and 1874 remain —even the spring down by Bosley’s is dried up, and the old schoolhouse where we used to chew gum and study arithmetic is as devoid of paint as if it had been built by the patriarch, Moses. Nine years isn’t very long, but works a mighty change in a new country.
Have put this in order in Boomer/train/cattlemen file. An explanation for rhyme and reason behind Santa Fe and Gould railroad fight. MAW
Winfield Courier, March 23, 1882.
A Chapter That Details Some Important Operations
In Which Kansas People Are Largely Interested.
There is no question that so readily enlists the interest of the intelligent reader of today as that of railroads, and the chief reason is, that the property interests of the county are so closely identified with them that on the success or failure of the men directing the operations of our particular lines depends our prosperity. To make clear this statement, the Santa Fe for the past three years has been trying to secure the right of way through the Indian Territory from Arkansas City to Fort Smith; and when success seemed well nigh certain, the sinister influence of rival interests defeated the measure, and today the accomplishment of the project appears more distant and uncertain than ever before. While we know and understand why we feel such an interest, yet our knowledge of their schemes and operations are only obtained after results are reached. What is said previous to that, as a rule, is only guess-work.
At this time the country west of the Mississippi is the theater of the most important railroad events that the world ever saw. There are two great rival interests. The first is the Santa Fe, backed by Boston capital; and the other is the Gould syndicate, backed by New York and foreign capital. Their interests are separate and distinct, and as long as they are controlled by rival monied interests, so long must they be antagonistic. The rival heads are, like generals, engaged in mighty strife. They each use every means to further their road’s interest and defeat their rival. The attentive observer watches the various moves, and at one time it would seem as if the Santa Fe was going to win; and then again the victory appears to be with Gould. To cease being general, we will make mention of some of the later opera-tions in which our section of the State is more particularly interested.
At the time when the Santa Fe purchased an interest in the St. Louis & San Francisco road, the stock was quite low; but with the prospect of its near completion to Wichita, it was advancing in value. For several years subsequent to the panic of 1873, the stock of this road had been valueless, but the rapid revival of business in 1879 gave it worth. The Santa Fe, fearing rivalry, purchased one-half of the stock, but it never did have a controlling interest.
With the completion of the Santa Fe to Albuquerque, New Mexico, it was determined by these two roads in common to build the Atlantic & Pacific west to the Pacific. The board of directors of this proposed road was composed of thirteen men, six of whom were Santa Fe and six Frisco; and one was a capitalist who held a block of a thousand shares of stock and who cast the controlling vote in case of a difference arising between the principal parties.
A very important difference did arise, which resulted in many changes of interest. The Frisco road wanted to complete their line from Vinita west across the Indian Territory to Albuquerque, to connect with the A. & P. This was plainly not to the interest of the Santa Fe, for if such connection was made, the continental traffic instead of passing over the Santa Fe, would seek the more direct road east from Albuquerque over the Frisco road, and the Santa Fe would only share in the benefit of the traffic. This ended the pleasant relations between the companies.
Gould, who controlled the eastern roads and Huntington the west, concluded it would be a good scheme to buy the Frisco stock that was not held by the Santa Fe, which was done as far as possible. Gould and Huntington then made a division. As Gould owned all the roads into St. Louis, excepting the Frisco, he naturally took the east and Huntington the west.
The Santa Fe management during this time was not asleep; they early saw their danger and made haste to buy the odd block of a thousand shares of Atlantic & Pacific stock, by which purchase they were enabled to control the latter road. It was the intention of Huntington to cease building further west; but when it came to a vote, it was seven in favor of building and six against. The road is now being built west as rapidly as energy, intelli-gence, and money will do it, and what is more, on the original line; and Huntington is completely “scooped” and is placed in the very unpleasant position of being obliged to furnish nearly half the money to build a road that will be the most dangerous rival to the Southern Pacific, which he controls. Gould made a good trade, Huntington a bad one.
As the interests of the Santa Fe and Gould were necessarily opposed to each other, the former determined that Gould should either buy or sell, and the result was that Gould bought all of the Santa Fe’s Frisco stock at a large advance over what the Santa Fe had paid, which accounts for the immense sum that the Santa Fe now has in its treasury. It will be seen from this that the Santa Fe has been entirely successful, and it was the other fellows that were “checkmated.”
Winfield Courier, May 18, 1882.
We employed a stenographer to report the closing plea of Senator Hackney in the case of State vs. Cole with the view of publishing it this week in case that the speech and the circumstances were such that we thought proper to do so. As the jury did not agree on a verdict and the case must be tried again, we omit the speech for the present, for it is our rule to abstain from publishing the arguments used to establish the guilt or innocence of the accused until the case is finally adjudicated, as tending to prejudice the case on its final hearing. Our rule does not forbid us to state the names of the parties, the crime charged, the circumstances and rumors concerning the matter, the evidence offered, and all the proceedings in the case, all these as matters of news of interest to our readers. In this case a young man called on us and used a covert threat of paying us and Hackney off in some fearful way if we published the speech, and our curiosity to find out what the consequences would be, about determined us to publish it at once in violation of our rule, but another man, a gentleman whose character and opinions we highly respect, requested us to omit the publication, and this restored our balance again.
But we want it distinctly understood that we shall publish whatever in our judgment ought to be published, even if we do have to make perambulating arsenals of ourselves. We have in our office an old rusty sword of Coronado’s time which has already done some execution in such cases, and we have many other instruments of torture. We know where we can get two field pieces, sixty revolvers, a dozen bowie knives, and other varieties of war-like implements besides a dozen fighting editors. We can keep our office force well drilled, keep sentinels posted around our office and dwellings, and have a body guard whenever we walk out, and we shall publish what we please. Heretofore the junior has done more than his proportion of the fighting for this office, and the senior, being in all cases equally to blame and in many cases, as in this article, only to blame, requests the privilege of expiating his proper share of the offenses of the COURIER.
We do not believe that there are any assassins hereabouts, but we do believe that there are a few mean and degraded individuals in this community. The painter who was hired to paint and post in a public place low caricatures of an attorney employed to prosecute alleged violations of the prohibitory law, and the parties who hired him to do it, whoever they are, the men who have bulldozed and threatened jurymen and witnesses, who have threatened shooting, killing, and pursued a general system of intimidation in aid of the M. D.’s charged with prescribing in violation of law, should be investigated and if there are any such, as we are compelled to believe, should be exposed to the contempt of all law-abiding people.
If these accused physicians are innocent of the charges against them, it would be an outrage to convict them, and we earnestly desire their acquittal. In such case they are only the victims of unfortunate appearances and circumstances which have caused them much trouble and expense, but with the various and complex difficulties in the way of getting in evidence against them the danger of their unjust conviction is reduced to a minimum. If they are guilty, justice and the well being of society requires their conviction and punishment, and any bulldozing which they or their friends indulge in, will and ought to prejudice their cases.
Winfield Courier, September 21, 1882.
The first schoolhouse built in Cowley County was at Arkansas City, District 2, in 1871. District 9, in Pleasant Valley Township, was the second district in the county to erect a schoolhouse. It is called “Excelsior,” and was built in March, 1872. Dexter school, district 15, built in 1872; also district 8 and 42. In 1873 schoolhouses sprang up like jimpson weeds all over the county, and now we have one hundred and forty good, comfortable schoolhouses, well furnished and equipped with every appliance. Cowley’s free schools are her greatest glory, and jealously and carefully should their interests be guarded.
FORTIETH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY.
Winfield Courier, September 6, 1883.
Mr. and Mrs. Acres, Two of Cowley’s Pioneers, Celebrate Their Fortieth Wedding Anniversary, With Children, Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, and Many Acquaintances Present. The Particulars by a Spectator.
In response to invitations extended to them, a large number of the relatives, friends, and neighbors assembled at the home of Cornelius and Susan Acres, in Rock Township, on the 22nd of August to celebrate with them the fortieth anniversary day of their wedded life. The day was exceptionally fine, the attendance large, and the spirits of all present rose in harmony with the occasion.
The morning hours were passed by the “old settlers” in pleasant converse and enthusiastic reviews of “ye olden time” when the classic “vale of the Walnut” was yet echoing the wild halloo of the departing Osages, for it was away back in the “distant past,” some four years before the memorable “grasshopper year,” that Father and Mother Acres and all their boys and girls came and built their cabin and made their home among the early pioneers of Cowley’s smiling domain. What a fruitful theme of contrast for those “old folks” to talk on were those early days of 1870, with their meager fare of “rusty bacon” and “sod-corn bread,” and those other dark and fearful days of burning, parching, scorching 1874, when the “devouring locusts covered the land and darkened the air,” and the cry went up, “aid us or we perish!” Aye, what a contrast between then and now, in 1883, when, in the valley north and west, and
“Far to the east and south there lay,
Extended in succession gay,
Deep, waving fields and pastures green,
With gentle slopes and groves between.”
And where all the land literally (not figuratively) groans under its generous burdens of wheat and oats and hay and fruits and corn, and where blooded swine and sheep, and horses and cattle fine, graze on every hillside and wander by all the streams.
The spell is broken—Mother Acres has announced dinner. The “old folks” all gather around the long tables bending under their “loads and loads” of good things eatable, and furnishing proofs stronger than those of “Holy Writ” that 1883 is indeed a year of plenty. To praise the cooking would be to “throw a perfume upon the violet.”
Suffice it to say that when those long tables had been thronged and vacated by four different and happy crowds, the “multitude were all fed,” and then there was “hurrying to and fro” and loosening of belts and buttons, and bands and buckles, and after “good digestion had waited on appetite,” some ease began to be felt.
When all were gathered together and seated, Prof. Alex. Limerick, in his usual happy manner, and with speech at once neat, touching, and appropriate, addressed the venerable and venerated couple whose wedding we came to celebrate, and presented to them, in the name of all, the gifts and tokens each had brought.
The presents were handsome and when arranged upon the table presented an attractive display. The list of gifts and names of the givers were:
Pair of silver initial napkin rings, Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Limerick, of Winfield.
Silver butter-knife and pair of slippers, Mr. and Mrs. John R. Richards, of Rock.
Silk-lined work-basket, chair tidy, celluloid comb and brush, pearl handle knife, fine bathing towel, shaving cup, money purse, and meerschaum pipe, Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Acres, Pleasanton, Kansas.
Glass butter-dish, Miss Jessie Rogers.
Cut glass fruit dish, Mrs. Huston, Akron.
Silver caster, silver butter-dish, and gold breast pin, Mr. and Mrs. N. E. Carter, Pleasant Valley.
Set silver teaspoons, china mustache cup and saucer, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rogers, Akron.
Large glass water-pitcher, Miss Lula Rogers.
Two silver dollars, John M. Carter, Pleasant Valley.
Cut glass fruit-dish, Mr. and Mrs. J. Q. Pember, Rock.
Pair towels and elegant silk handkerchief, Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth Rogers, Akron.
Dozen pie dishes and book, “Pathways in the Holy Land,” Mr. and Mrs. A. V. Polk, Akron.
Cut glass fruit-dish, Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Eagin, Douglass.
Canary bird and cage, and bouquet, Mrs. and Sarah and Ollie Wilson, Rock.
Large “Hunting Scene,” oil chromo, Mrs. A. E. Sandford, Rock.
Oil chromo, “Cute,” Mrs. Hannah Grown, Rock.
Linen table-cloth, Mrs. Fatima E. Wall, Rock.
Money purse, Maude Rogers.
Silver butter-knife, Mrs. McGuire, Rock.
Cornelius and Susan Acres were married near Carthage, in Rush County, Indiana, August 22, 1843, and immigrated from near New Castle, Henry County, Indiana, to Cowley County, Kansas, October 15, 1870, where they have since lived.
That they have so lived as to win the esteem, confidence, and friendship of their neigh-bors and acquaintances, was fully shown by the attendance and manifestations on their fortieth anniversary. Besides the names mentioned above, there were many others present. Among those from a distance were Misses Shapley and Pike, of Pleasant Valley.
Mr. and Mrs. Acres had the pleasure of seeing around their table their children, grand-children, and great grandchildren, while themselves enjoy good health and vigor, which promises them many years of life, and it is the heartfelt wish of the writer, as it was the wish of all those present, that they may live as happily and peacefully to see their second fortieth anniversary as they have lived to see their first.
“May their wedded life’s evening be bright as its moon,
Its jewels shine brighter the longer they are worn;
When their life-boat shall touch on eternity’s strand,
May each branch of their family linked hand in hand,
Find the ‘old folks,’ at last in a new, better land,
And be re-united an inseparable band.”
Winfield Courier, September 27, 1883.
EDITOR COURIER—Dear Sir: You will see, by the heading of this, that I have wandered away from the haunts of vice and am now whiling away a short period in the virtuous State of Colorado—blessed Colorado, beautiful Colorado. God forgive me if I lie, for if I do, it is done meaningly, and through pure cussedness. We are now located in a little valley in Fremont County, called Pleasant Valley. God forgive the author of that name. This Pleasant Valley is about twelve miles long by from twenty feet to a quarter of a mile wide, made up of rocks and a little, very little, farming land; and oh, such farming land! Why, if a man should be caught on such a piece of land in Cowley County, he would be arrested, taken before Judge Gans, tried for a lunatic, convicted, and put into the hands of By Gravy to be taken to the insane asylum. But when I think of it, there is no danger of such a thing happening, for I do not believe there is as poor a piece of land in the whole State of Kansas as this valley contains. Nothing is raised here, only by irrigation. Now, the middle of September, we sit down to table to eat green peas, corn, cucumbers, and all other vegetables, except tomatoes—these are not ripe yet. The town of Howards consists of a depot, one store, and two houses—yes, and eight coal pits. The inhabitants consist of about a dozen young men who call themselves pine pushers; that means they chop and haul pine wood for the coal pits, and, by the way, there is one more important personage here, who calls himself a prospector. No one ever knew him to find anything until the other day, when he says he struck it rich. He has good naturedly shown me some of his specimens, and offered to sell me one-half interest in the mine for $1,000. I came mighty near buying it. I did not grumble at the price. I offered him his price, and offered to pay him $1.00 down, and give my note for the balance, but he could not see it that way; but did offer to take $100 down, and wait for the balance until I made it out of the mine, which he assured me was very rich. But I only had my little old dollar, and therefore I lost a fortune. By gravy, I told him, if he would wait until I could send for Geo. Miller, Dave Long, Mart Robinson, Joe Likowski, and Tom Soward, we would take the whole mine. I told him I knew Tom Soward would invest, for he was just about to be elected register of deeds of our county, and he was bound to have more money than he could invest in Kansas. That last seemed to strike the fellow, and he agreed to let me know day after tomorrow, providing I would spend the dollar for cider, which I agreed to do, feeling sure my partners would refund it to me. Now, Ed., if you should see any of them (my partners, I mean), tell them not to whisper it to anyone, for I know, if it should get out, we will be pestered to death with applications to join our company.
And now I must tell you that, while I am sitting writing this, with the doors and windows open, I can look out onto the mountains that do not look to be more than a mile off, but which are really fifteen miles off, and see them covered with snow, and still snowing; and I want still further to say to you that I am not to blame for being caught out in this beautiful State; but I came to nurse young By Gravy, who has been very sick with typhoid fever. But, thank the Lord, with His help, and the nursing of his mother, he is getting better, and will soon be able to come back to glorious old Kansas. BY GRAVY, alias J. H. FINCH.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE DIME NOVEL.
Winfield Courier, October 18, 1883.
We have often noticed the absence of loafers on the streets of Winfield, and attributed it to the large demand for laborers and the general frugality of our people, but a sight met our gaze Monday that showed one young man who didn’t seem to have the proper appreciation of time. He came lazily around one of the busiest corners of the city, gently sat himself down upon the sidewalk, on the sunny side of the building, and drawing from his pocket a selection from Beadle’s ten-cent, yellow-backed literature, began perusing it with amazing earnest-ness. There he sat amid the throng of pedestrians, who all took in the show, perfectly undisturbed and seemingly unconscious of all surroundings. It was a rare spectacle, and we beheld it long enough to convince us that the poor devil was satisfied with his employment. He was following the footsteps of “Wooly Dick, the Hero of Deadwood Gulch.”