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´╗┐Title: Tales and Trails of Wakarusa
Author: Harvey, Alexander Miller, 1867-1928
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales and Trails of Wakarusa" ***

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Tales and Trails
of Wakarusa

of the Topeka Bar

Crane & Company, Printers
Topeka, Kansas

Copyright 1917
By Crane and Company

A Forethought and a Dedication

"A Paradoxical philosopher, carrying to the uttermost length that
aphorism of Montesquieu's, 'Happy the people whose annals are
tiresome,' has said; 'Happy the people whose annals are vacant.' In
which saying, mad as it looks, may there not still be found some
grain of reason? For truly, as it has been written, 'Silence is
divine,' and of Heaven; so in all earthly things, too, there is a
silence which is better than any speech. Consider it well, the Event,
the thing which can be spoken of and recorded; is it not in all cases
some disruption, some solution of continuity? Were it even a glad
Event, it involves change, involves loss (of active force); and so
far, either in the past or in the present, is an irregularity, a
disease. Stillest perseverance were our blessedness--not dislocation
and alteration--could they be avoided.

"The oak grows silently in the forest a thousand years; only in the
thousandth year, when the woodman arrives with his ax, is there heard
an echoing through the solitudes; and the oak announces itself when,
with far-sounding crash, it falls. How silent, too, was the planting
of the acorn, scattered from the lap of some wandering wind! Nay,
when our oak flowered, or put on its leaves (its glad Events), what
shout of proclamation could there be? Hardly from the most observant
a word of recognition. These things befell not, they were slowly
done; not in an hour, but through the flight of days: what was to be
said of it? This hour seemed altogether as the last was, as the next
would be.

"It is thus everywhere that foolish Rumor babbles not of what
was done, but of what was misdone or undone; and foolish History
(ever, more or less, the written epitomized synopsis of Rumor)
knows so little that were not as well unknown. Attila Invasions,
Walter-the-Penniless Crusades, Sicilian Vespers, Thirty-Years' Wars:
mere sin and misery; not work, but hindrance of work! For the Earth
all this while was yearly green and yellow with her kind harvests;
the hand of the craftsman, the mind of the thinker, rested not; and
so, after all and in spite of all, we have this so glorious high-domed
blossoming World; concerning which poor History may well ask with
wonder, Whence it came? She knows so little of it, knows so much of
what obstructed it, what would have rendered it impossible. Such,
nevertheless, by necessity or foolish choice, is her rule and
practice; whereby that paradox, 'Happy the people whose annals are
vacant,' is not without its true side."--Carlyle.

This book of tales and trails of people whose annals are vacant,
because they were peaceful and happy, is dedicated to the
nineteen-year-old soldier boys of 1917 and to their comrades; and
especially to that nineteen-year-old soldier, Randal Cone Harvey,
whose image and whose service is with us by day and by night. May
their service help bring to a war-cursed world such peace that the
annals of all men will be stories of love, companionship and
association one with another.

A. M. Harvey.


  Forethought and Dedication
  The Trail of the Sac and Fox
  The Stone Bridge
  The Newcomers
  An Old-Timer
  Mother Newcomer
  John MacDonald
  Jake Self
  The Yankee and His Hog--and Other Troubles
  The Trail That Never Was Traveled
  The Conversion of Cartmill
  A Fourth of July Speech
  The Phantom Fisherman, and Other Ghosts
  An Indian Christmas

The Trail of the Sac and Fox

It was during the '40's that the Sac and Fox Indians started on their
long journey to take up their home in the land provided for them in
Kansas, being a portion of the present counties of Lyon, Osage, and
Franklin. In the year 1846 a large number of them had camped in the
Kansas River Valley near the present site of Topeka, and because of
their friendship with the Shawnees they were permitted to remain
there for some time before moving on. Many of them formed attachments
and friendships among the Shawnees and Pottawatomies, and remained
with them. After the main body of the Sac and Fox moved on to their
own lands, their associations with the Shawnees and other friendly
Indians were such that there was much travel back and forth.

The trails leading south from the Kansas River Valley all fell into
the "Oregon" or "California" road, and along that the Indians
traveled to the trading village of Carthage, a few miles northeast of
the present village of Berryton. From there, several trails set off
toward the Sac and Fox lands. One of the principal trails wound over
the hills and down through a long ravine to the Wakarusa Valley, and
across that river at the ford where the great stone bridge now
stands, due south of Berryton; and from there it wound around the
hill through the woods and again over the plains. Afterwards a public
road was laid out upon this trail, called, in the Shawnee County
records, the "Sac and Fox Road," but usually spoken of as the "Ottawa
State Road."

Just south of the Wakarusa crossing and a few hundred yards around
the brow of the hill, there lies a parcel of level ground, which was
an ideal place for camping. It is now occupied by the public road,
and church and school-house grounds. This was a famous camping place
for the Sac and Fox and all other Indians who used the trail. If you
step up to the stone fence just east of the schoolhouse, looking over
you will notice a deep ditch washed out down the creek bank, on the
side of which a large oak tree stands, with many of its roots
exposed. This ditch marks the path first used by the Indians as they
went back and forth from the camping ground to the spring of sweet,
beautiful water that flows from out the rocks at the foot of the

Modern history of this portion of the valley begins with this camping
place. It was not only a resting place, but a place where
consultations and conferences were held, and where the eloquent ones
told of the glory of Black Hawk, the wisdom of Keokuk, and the
splendid history of their tribe. It was said that the older men were
despondent, but that the younger men thought that there was a
possibility of rebuilding their tribal fortunes in the new country,
and that some day they would be as powerful and as prosperous as they
had hoped to be in Iowa and upon other lands belonging to them.

But the Sac and Fox are gone; the trail knows them no more; the sweet
waters still flow from the beautiful spring, and a white man who
never knew them has built a house near by on the bluff by the side of
the road.

The Stone Bridge

The Indian trail had given away and had gradually become merged into
a public road, here and there forced back to section lines, but in
the main sustaining its diagonal course across the country and being
known as the Topeka and Ottawa State Road.

Jacob Welchans was not only an extraordinarily fine surveyor, whose
corner-stones and monuments are now and always will be recognized in
Shawnee County as the best evidence of the location of land
boundaries, but he also engaged in country school-teaching, and a
number of times taught in the little school-house established near
the Wakarusa River and by the old Sac and Fox spring. The ford across
the Wakarusa at this point was not an extra good one. The bottom was
rock, but there was a steep hill on one side and a low, springy place
on the other; and, excepting times when the stream was very low, the
water was of considerable depth over the fording place, and it was
not an uncommon sight to see a farmer's boy on an old gray mare
fording children across in the morning and in the afternoon, so that
they could go to and from school.

This was long before city men commenced buying up farm land, and
therefore the Wakarusa Valley was quite well populated, and the
little school boasted an attendance of from fifty to sixty children
during the entire school year. Jacob Welchans became ambitious that
there should be a bridge across the Wakarusa at that point, not only
for the benefit of the school children and the neighborhood
generally, but because that was the fording place for the travel that
fell into the Topeka and Ottawa State Road. He called attention of
the county officers to the importance of the road to the city of
Topeka and to the county of Shawnee, and by sheer force of character
he impressed upon them the conviction that a bridge should be erected
at the place indicated, and that it should be a stone bridge builded
from bed rock, and to stay.

The usual formalities were indulged in, and the contract was let to
George Evans, who commenced the work in the summer of 1878, and when
the school commenced in October the bridge was in course of
construction. It was a great time for the neighborhood and for the
school children, who spent much of their intermission periods around
the work and the workmen. Some of the workmen were negroes who talked
French, and they were a lot of fun. They camped at different places
around near the spring, boiled their coffee in old tomato cans, slept
on the ground, hunted squirrels and rabbits between working hours,
and in many other ways exhibited interesting activities, to the
delight of the youngsters. After one arch of the bridge was up and
the false work had been taken out, it commenced to crack and fold and
double, and then fell. The school children had just arrived on the
scene after being dismissed at recess, and it seemed for all the
world as though the arch had fallen down to give them the benefit of
the crash and the excitement. No one was hurt, and the wreck was soon
cleared away, so that the work could go on. The bridge was finished
in due time, and for nearly forty years it has justified the faith of
those who planned and constructed it. Once, after an extraordinary
flood that filled the waterways almost to the top, Jim Baker said:
"She is a mighty good makeshift in time of high water; no tin bridge
for me." It not only served the purpose of travel, but it has become
a landmark in southern Shawnee County, and it always will be a
monument to the old trail and to the wisdom and foresight of Jacob
Welchans and the other county officers who were responsible for its
being constructed.

The Newcomers

One November day in 1877 the Newcomers unloaded from a Santa Fe train
just then arrived in the city of Topeka, the exact time being about
four o'clock in the afternoon. There was Mother Newcomer and five
boys, the oldest being less than five years older than the youngest.
On the platform they met Father Newcomer, who, together with a
country lad, was awaiting the arrival. They gathered their baggage
together, and the country boy led the way across the street to where
his team, hitched to a farm wagon, was tied. Each of the horses was
fastened with a heavy rope about the neck, which was looped over his
nose and tied fast to a post, and each of them jumped and snorted and
pulled at every movement or noise made by the train, which was still
upon the track.

The train pulled out, the Newcomers loaded up, the boy managed to
quiet down the horses, and untied one after the other, holding the
lines in his hand all the time; and after he had tied up the last
rope, he jumped into the front of the wagon bed, holding fast to the
lines or reins, and up the street they went. After a brief stop at
Cole's grocery, and again at Manspeaker's, they started out over the
diagonal road leading to the southeast from the city. At the top of
the Highland Park hill they looked back and saw Topeka in the valley,
and it looked like a cluster of brick houses, with scarcely a tree in
sight; and yet it was beautiful in the glancing rays of the setting
sun, and all of them felt that it was to be the center of that
country which was their new home and the place of their future

Before it was fully dark the farm wagon had covered the distance of
some fourteen miles from the city, traveling nearly all the way in a
diagonal, southeasterly direction, and had wound up at the home of
William Matney, on Lynn Creek, a mile below Tevis. The ride was a
wonderful experience for the little Newcomers. They soon learned that
one of the horses was named Greeley and the other Banks; but it was
some years before they understood that these names indicated that the
owner was a Democrat who knew the names of the candidates upon his
ticket some five years before, when the horses were colts. The autumn
sky was beautiful, and the light frosts had given a brown tinge to
the prairie, and it seemed to them that every breath of air was a
draught of the elixir of life.

That evening dozens of persons from ten miles around called at the
Matney home to welcome and visit with the Newcomers. They were nearly
all old-timers, and they represented former inhabitants of at least
seven of the States of the United States and three foreign countries.
There was a Yankee from Maine, a Digger from the hills of North
Carolina, a Mudsucker from Illinois, and all kinds of Corncrackers
from Kentucky, besides a fine old Englishman and a sturdy German; and
they told the Newcomer boys that the school-teacher was a Scotchman
who talked through his nose and said lots of funny things, and that
further up the creek lived a Manxman by the name of Quayle. It seems
that Kansas had gathered these people from many corners of the earth,
to the end that they might be blended into a new people with a new
spirit that should mark the character of a new State.

The Newcomers did not know that they were newcomers for some days,
nor until they heard people calling them by that name. One day one of
the boys rode with John Oliver to Carbondale; and as Oliver pulled up
to the sidewalk in front of a store, someone called out, "John, where
did you get that kid?" And John answered, "He belongs to a newcomer
just moved on the crick. He's got a whole passel of 'em. I seed this
'un in the road and fetched him along." John Oliver was from
Tennessee, and he had his own peculiar way of expressing himself. He
was a lot of fun for the Yankee neighbor.

The Newcomers were soon settled in a house of their own near the
present site of the stone bridge, and every day of that glorious fall
and winter was a day of enjoyment to them; and over and over, as they
gathered around the big fireplace of an evening, they rejoiced
together because of the glorious welcome that Kansas had given them,
and of the more glorious welcome, if possible, that had been given to
them by the people of Kansas--old and newcomers--from so many
different lands, with so many different ideas and so many different
ways and habits, yet all filled with that exaltation which came to
them like a breath of freedom from the prairie, and has made them and
others like them into a new race, filled with a new spirit, which we
call Kansas.

An Old Timer

During the midsummer of 1854, James Lynn and William Lynn started
across the prairies from Westport, Missouri, to find homes in Kansas.
With a stalwart pair of oxen yoked to a heavy wagon they proceeded
slowly but surely westward, and finally, following up the Wakarusa
Valley and out along one of its tributaries, they camped one night
after a blistering hot August day near a spring that flowed from
among a pile of stones and boulders that had been deposited at that
point in great abundance by some glacier that must have covered this
part of Kansas centuries ago. The flowing spring reminded them of
Kentucky, and they concluded that then and there one of them had
found a home. James Lynn drove his stake into the ground and said
that it was his. Afterwards they traveled further up the little
stream and located another claim, and William Lynn marked it and
claimed it for his own. The location of these two settlements caused
the little stream to be named Lynn Creek, and so it is known from the
hills among which it rises on through Berryton, Tevis, and into
Wakarusa near Richland.

The hardships of pioneer life were too much for James Lynn, and he
died within a few years after their settlement; but William Lynn
weathered the storm and lived upon the land thus picked out by him on
that August day until his death, which occurred in February, 1908. At
the time of his death he had lived in Kansas nearly fifty-four
years, and he was then one hundred and two years old. When it was
found that he was dead, one of his sons called one of the Newcomer
boys, who then lived in Topeka, over the phone and said: "Pap is
dead. You know he never was much as to churches, and we just thought
that we would ask you to come out and say something at his funeral."

And, of course, the Newcomer boy said that he would; and on the day
appointed he drove out to the old Lynn home, and among the neighbors
and friends gathered around he stood by the coffin of this old-timer
and looked down upon his face, which resembled a hickory nut worn and
preserved with age, and in part he said:

"One October day in about the year 1837, in Madison County, Kentucky,
a small boy, the oldest son of a widowed mother, had set himself to
work trying to split clapboards to make a shelter for some stock that
belonged to his mother. He was working hard and making slow progress,
when a stalwart young man came along on his way to his own duties of
the day. The young man stopped, spoke kindly to him, and commenced
helping with the work. What had promised to be a day of toil became a
day of pleasure, and when the sun sank low in the west on that day,
the boards had been made and the shelter erected, and the boy and man
were happy--the one scarcely more happy than the other. That boy was
my father; and that young man, who was his friend from the beginning,
was none other than the grand old man whose lifeless body lies before
us today.

"With the recollection of the story of this act of simple kindness in
my mind, the request was to me a command when the family communicated
to me their desire that I should speak at this funeral.

"The span of this life was so great and covered so many years that
you and I can hardly realize the length of it. He was old enough to
remember the stirring times of the battle of New Orleans. He was a
man grown when the Kentucky soldiers came marching home victorious
from the war with Mexico, and when the Kentucky dead were brought
home from Buena Vista's battlefield and all Kentucky stood in
mourning as O'Hara read his immortal poem, commencing:

  The muffled drum's sad roll has beat the soldier's last tattoo,
  No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few;
  On Fame's eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread,
  And Glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead.

"When the civil war came on he was old enough that his sons became
soldiers in the army. When I first knew him--more than thirty years
ago--he was strong and rugged, but an old man.

"As you and I have now gathered to say the last word and do the
last service for this old friend, I feel that we are standing on
sacred ground. We realize that we are today confronted by the two
great mysteries--one of life and the other of death. Life--that
preserved in this man a constitutional strength that kings would give
millions to possess, that coursed the red blood through his veins,
and that made his right arm strong as an iron shaft for more than
three-quarters of a century--is indeed a mystery; but Death--that
stopped the flowing blood and rested the tired limbs--is a greater
mystery. And, strange to say, at a time like this, when these two
mysteries seem closer and more oppressive, we are met with the
brightest, best and greatest hope of the human race--the hope of
immortality, of life that will endure forever, a hope that belongs
to every man, of every religion, of every race, under every sun.
Death waited long and patiently for him. With muffled oar he guarded
close the nearer shore of the silent river. Many of his friends came
down and crossed the river, and finally he came. It is easy for me to
believe that on the other shore he saw a familiar face, and that a
friendly hand and a strong arm were joined to his to help him up the
other bank, as he had helped his friend on this side. And so I say
that we stand today on sacred ground as we are brought to a
contemplation of the solemn fact that the sun is set and the day is
done for one who used to walk upright among us.

"He saw the red man give place to the white man, and he saw the
buffalo herds melt away that domestic animals might take their place.
He heard the shriek of the first locomotive that trundled its way
over the line of the great railway that traverses this part of the
county. And he saw the first break of virgin soil when men commenced
to build our splendid Capitol.

"His native State had been called 'the dark and bloody ground.'
Indian tribes had struggled for the possession of its hunting
grounds, and had fought and killed and waged their wars until they
said the ground was dark and bloody. And, strange to say, these same
hunting grounds became scenes of conflict, bloodshed and war long
after the white man had taken them. In that State were honest,
industrious, hospitable men and women; but human life was cheap, and
everywhere men were ready at all times to fight and die for what they
thought was right. It was the dark and bloody ground. It was a
strange fate that took this pioneer from Kentucky and gave him a home
in Kansas, which was soon to become the battle ground of the first
conflict between slavery and freedom, and in truth the dark and
bloody ground of the West.

"He lived to see the end of this quarrel. He had known Kansas when
she was bleeding and torn, and then had seen her rise, beautiful,
strong, and without a wound. He had experienced the horrors of war
and murder, but lived to know that peace possessed the State.

"His education was limited, his life was humble, and he knew not
ambition. You and I may learn a lesson from the fact that the great
Giver of Life gave to this humble man all of this experience and all
of this contact with human affairs, and a full round century of life
in this strange old world. It is written that certain things are
withheld from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes, and who
can say that this life has not fulfilled a great purpose. Here is a
man who lived a long, industrious life and never knew the greed,
avarice and crime that comes with the modern struggle for money.
Political strife was to him a closed book. He knew nothing of the
great paintings of the great masters in art, but he had seen Nature
in her beauty and grandeur, and it was more beautiful than any
painting made by man. He had seen the sunrise in a thousand forms,
and the Storm King had builded mountains of black and gold for him.
And the great prairies and the stalwart forests had made pictures for
him. He knew what beauty was.

"The story told at the beginning of this talk is only illustrative of
his kindness of heart. No person was too poor or despised to enlist
his sympathy and help in time of trouble.

"He knew little of creeds and thought little of doctrines, and yet
his life was fashioned after that simple plan given to mankind by the
great Teacher who sat down with publicans and sinners and rebuked
hypocrisy wherever it was found.

"This is but a brief memorial to the life and character of William
Lynn. His work is done. Although he lived far beyond the allotted
time for man, his death has come as a tragedy to his family and
friends. Comfort is gathered from the fact that his life was one of
service. Service in the building of his country and his State,
service to his family, and service to his fellowman. No honest effort
is ever lost. Service--honest and faithful--has a force and influence
that will live forever. We can understand that the name of this man
will be perpetuated because his service in building a home along this
little watercourse has caused it to be named 'Lynn Creek,' and that
his name has been given to a school-house and to a church and to a
political division of a township, and yet every other deed of honest
service from the beginning to the end of his long and useful life
will live and share in framing the lives, conduct and destiny of
those who follow him so long as time shall last."

Mother Newcomer

Mother Newcomer certainly enjoyed Kansas, and she soon became as well
known as an old-timer. At home she was the cook and the baker and the
dressmaker and the tailor, besides doing a part of all other work
about the place. She knew where the best greens could be picked in
early spring, and the best berries in the summer, and she either made
the boys pick them or she took her snake-killing dog with her and
picked them herself; and all through the year she was a part of all
the activities of the home; and she enjoyed it all.

When a babe was to be born anywhere for miles around, she was there.
Sometimes she was the lone attendant, and again she helped Dr.
Taylor, who had been in the valley from the beginning; and more than
once she worked with some young doctor who was so panicky because the
baby didn't hurry that she would have to tell him to keep his feet on
the ground, and that millions of babies had been born before a doctor
or a medical college had ever been discovered. One night at midnight
she waked up one of the boys, and told him that his father was out
saddling the pony, and that he must go for Dr. Woods, who lived about
five miles to the west. The boy finally wakened up and got his
clothes on, and found that she was just ready to leave with a
neighbor for his home, and that someone must go for the doctor. The
pony had been saddled by that time, and was tied with a heavy rope to
a tree near the door. The boy put on plenty of clothes and then
mounted the pony, while his father held the little beast to keep him
from standing on his head. The father pointed to the seven stars then
showing up in the southern sky and told the boy to keep them to his
left and to ride until he had crossed the railroad, and then go up to
the first house and yell until someone came out so that he could
inquire for the home of Dr. Woods. The directions being given, the
pony was untied and turned loose, with the end of the rope fastened
to the horn of the saddle. Of course the pony ran off for about a
mile, but the boy kept him headed in the right direction, and after a
while he slowed down and made the journey in good shape. When Dr.
Woods was roused he made the boy come in and get warm while he got
his horse, and together they rode back, and long before day the
doctor had joined Mother Newcomer at the neighbor's house.

Dr. Taylor still lives at his old home about three miles north of the
stone bridge. He is a fine type of the pioneer doctor, and he not
only knows the books, but he knows men and women, and especially
Kansas men and women; and more than that, he knows Kansas and its
climate, its tricks, and its good moods and its bad ones. For nearly
fifty years he has ministered to the sick and the afflicted, and
those who thought they were sick or afflicted, along the roads and
trails of Wakarusa; and none could do it better or more faithfully.
Doctor Woods was of the same type. He always traveled horseback,
usually riding a large, strong, rough horse; and he knew the
bridle-paths, and where to ford the streams.

She was always interested in the school, and one of the first things
that attracted her special attention was the fact that only four
months of school was provided for in the year. She started an
agitation for a longer term, and in the midst of it the word came
through the country that either by a statute or a decision of the
Supreme Court women were allowed to vote at school elections; and
therefore upon school-meeting day she had one of the boys hitch a
team to the farm wagon and they drove round and gathered up and took
six women to the school meeting. They proved to be the balance of
power, and a new director was elected, and a vote was carried for
nine months school and for a levy large enough to pay a good teacher.
The records show that from that day to this the old district has
never been disgraced with a short term, nor meager provisions for
school support.

With all her activities, her best and greatest service was in her
tender, sympathetic helpfulness and cooperation with her husband and
children. There never was a day so dark but that she was full of good
cheer and comfort. One terrible August day a hot wind blew across the
State like a blast from Hell; leaves that were green in the morning
could be burned with a match at noon; and the crops in every field
seemed doomed for destruction. When the men came in at midday they
were sorely discouraged, but they found a splendid dinner on the
table, the floor scrubbed to make the room cool, and the blinds down
toward the south; and Mother Newcomer, with a clean apron and
cheerful face, sitting at the end of the table, almost made them
forget the terrible hurricane of heat that was being driven across
the country. During the meal some of them spoke of their
discouragement, but she was full of plans as to how they might pull
through; and when some said there would be no corn and no feed, she
insisted that there would be a harvest of some kind. In keeping with
a custom of hers, she enforced her views by a quotation: "Summer and
winter, seed time and harvest, shall not fail so long as time shall
last." From this she argued that there was sure to be a harvest, and
they all went out with better cheer. And indeed there was some
harvest, and they were able to hold on for another year.

Years afterwards, she wrote all the boys who were away from home and
asked them to be there Thanksgiving Day; and they were there. No one
believed that it would be the last time they were all to be together;
but all during the day there was a feeling of tenderness about the
occasion; and it was the last time.

That day as they all sat about the great table and talked of their
experiences in the new country, and one told of this adventure or
this experience or another, finally one of the boys voiced the
sentiment of all the others when he said: "In making this home here,
Mother has done more than all the rest." On that same day she
repeated another familiar quotation of hers, which the boys have
always remembered: "I have been young and now I am old, and I have
not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread;" and she
said: "Do right as you understand and believe the right to be and you
will be righteous, and have peace, and the promise will be yours."

John MacDonald

A Scotch lad who appeared to be scarcely out of his teens came to the
neighborhood one October day and was soon employed as a farm hand.
This employment did not last long, because the school ma'am got
married, and he made application and was selected as the teacher in
the district school. George Franks looked him over and said: "There's
one thing certain. He's not liable to get married before the term is

He was certainly an awkward lad, and his peculiar brogue as well as
the unusual phraseology employed by him was a source of extraordinary
amusement and entertainment to everyone. Of course, he was welcomed
and made at home, just as every stranger was, and good-natured
frontier manners prevented fun being made of him to his face.
However, and notwithstanding the best that could be done, it was not
unusual for a company of young folks to get around him and ask him
questions, and they frequently burst into laughter over his quaint
expressions. It embarrassed him very much at the time; and in his
later years he often said that he sometimes blushed even then to
think of what he had said and how the young folks laughed at him.
Purely as a matter of self-defense, he developed the habit of saying
things to make folks laugh; and, having an active, ingenious mind, he
soon developed into a humorist, and this characteristic obtained with
him during all his life.

He became one of the fixtures in the community, and not only taught
the Berry Creek school, but nearly every other school for a number of
miles around. Although he was a thorough Scotchman, raised with all
the strictness which his hardy people and the Presbyterian faith
provided, he was known among school children as "John Easy"; and it
is to be recorded that during the many years that he was a Wakarusa
Valley school teacher he never struck a pupil nor laid violent hands
on one. How he managed to get along without doing so is still a
marvel to the old-timers in the neighborhood. It was probably because
of the fact that he was a continuous and ardent student himself,
always having on hand, in addition to school work, one or more
scientific or literary studies which he pursued, and the youngsters
caught the spirit from him, and on this account were not hard to
manage. It can be truly said of him that by his conduct, his life,
and his teachings, he coaxed and led the way of his pupils to higher
education and to better things. Again, the idea that he was liable to
say something that would make you laugh possessed the children as
well as the grown folks, and he knew it, and frequently used his
ability as a humorist to keep attention to himself and to the work
the pupils had in hand. One day, during a drill in history, he
pointed to a lad from the most outspoken Democratic family in the
vicinity, and said, 'You write the names of all the _Republican
Presidents_ on the blackboard." The way he said it caused a lot of
merriment. The boy stepped to the board and wrote the full list, and,
after the last name he wrote, "The last of that bright band." Every
one watched the teacher when he looked over the work. He said not a
word, but took a piece of chalk and wrote like he was digging into
the board, "Do you think so?"

To close friends he would confess that he loved the taste of every
intoxicating liquor (and in his native land among those surrounding
him it was a common practice for nearly everyone to use strong drink
of some character), yet he never drank, and he was among the first to
advocate and work for the destruction of the liquor traffic in

His splendid work as a teacher made him friends and acquaintances
throughout the county, and in course of time he was elected County
Superintendent, which position he held for many years. It was his
custom as Superintendent to go on foot when visiting the different
schools of the county, and he knew every trail and bridle-path. It
was a treat to the pupils and teacher to have him come slipping in at
the door, after which he would take off his wraps and "loaf around,"
as he called it. He always left something in the way of help to those
who were trying to learn. His life along the trails of Wakarusa was a
tour of usefulness, and he had the confidence of everyone, from the
most well-to-do to the poorest; and from the most respected to the

As years went by he married and commenced the establishment of a home
on a farm purchased and owned by him. He mixed newspaper and
educational work with his farming, and this took him away from home
much of the time. One day he returned after a short absence and found
his home desolated. It is enough to say that it was the consuming
tragedy of his life, and it left him alone among men. Very few aside
from his country neighbors ever knew of his trouble. Years went by,
and honors came to him in educational work, not only in the State but
throughout the United States and the world; and his old neighbors on
Wakarusa often thought of him and sympathized with him and had
heartaches for him, because they knew how he suffered; and he knew
that they knew, and they knew that he knew that they knew.

It was some years after MacDonald had left the farm that one of the
Berry Creek schoolboys, having grown to young manhood, was about to
leave home for service as a soldier. His days were full of things to
do, and he did not take time to hunt up old friends to say good-bye,
but early in the morning of the day he was to go he met MacDonald on
the sidewalk near his home. He was waiting for the young man, and he
took him by the hand and looked at him as he often looked at him as a
boy, and said, "I shall think of you often. God bless you. Good-bye."
The beautiful May morning, with the sun just breaking "over the top,"
was something to remember, but the earnest man and his eloquent words
of farewell were burned into the mind and heart of the younger man,
and they gave him strength and courage.

Such was John MacDonald.

Jake Self

On a slab in the Ridgeway graveyard there is this inscription: "Jacob
W. Self. Died January 27, 1873."

Jake Self was forty-nine years old when he died, and he had been a
pioneer and a plainsman since his boyhood. He lived on the old Berry
farm near the stone bridge. On the morning of the day of his death
he, together with Wash Townsend and S. A. Sprague, went on horseback
to Carbondale. Carbondale was then a thriving little village, with a
few stores, a blacksmith shop, and about a dozen saloons. It was a
warm day for winter, and the roads were muddy and sloppy. Late in the
afternoon Self and his companions mounted their horses and started
for home. They noticed that the wind had commenced to blow from the
north and was quite cold, and that the ground cracked and broke under
the horses' feet on account of the frozen crust that then covered it.
As they left the village, riding briskly toward the northeast, they
discovered that clouds had overcast the sky, and that low in the
northwest they were heavy, and had that liquid-black appearance that
settlers described as inky. The breeze from the northwest soon
developed into a strong wind, with an occasional bit of snow, and it
became colder and colder. By the time they reached the upper crossing
of Berry Creek the air was full of snow, dry, hard, and driven
fiercely by the wind. The men were suffering from the intense cold,
and Townsend suggested that they take the creek road, which followed
the lowland from that point to their home, but Self, who was riding a
wild and spirited horse, insisted that he would ride across the
prairie, and when the others separated from him, he called back
that he would beat them home. He rode at a gallop by the Elliott
school-house. John MacDonald, the teacher, stood in the door and
watched him, and meditated upon his recklessness and upon the curse
of strong drink, for he sat his horse as one who had been drinking
and was full of power therefrom, though not intoxicated. Sprague and
Townsend followed the course taken by them, and arrived at the farm
shortly after dark, but Self was not there. They waited an hour, then
another, and becoming alarmed concluded that Self had lost his way
and that they would go out and try to find him. By this time the
storm had become a frightful blizzard, the temperature far below
zero, and the snow and wind driving like a hurricane. The two men
rode westward onto the prairie, and as nearly as they could, they
followed the road which they had expected Self to take. On account of
the darkness and the storm, it became necessary for them to tie their
horses together to prevent their being separated, and in this way
they rode for an hour or more, and then concluded to give up the
search and return home. They rode rapidly, and suddenly plunged into
a deep ravine, which indicated to them that they were going in the
wrong direction, and then they realized that they were lost and
unable to agree on the direction they should take to reach home.
Sprague suggested to Townsend that since the storm was coming from
the northwest they might ride directly in the teeth of it and finally
reach the Wakarusa bottom, and that then they could follow the stream
downward to the farm. They adopted this plan, and after considerable
difficulty reached the low wooded land along the stream at a point
near where the Santa Fe Railroad now crosses the valley, and about
one o'clock they were home. Each of them was frozen about the face,
hands and feet. Self was not there.

They stayed up all night looking for him, and about four o'clock in
the morning his horse came galloping home without him. Early in the
morning, they, together with a party of neighbors, went out upon the
prairie, and at a point about two miles from the farm they found his
body completely frozen, crouched in the snow. The beaten snow near
the body indicated that the horse had stood near him for a long time
after he had fallen. A full pint of whiskey was in his pocket. Some
said that he should have drunk more when he felt the whiskey die out
of him and the cold come in; but one of them crushed the bottle on a
wagon wheel, and they took the body home.

It was afterwards learned that he had ridden up to one farm house
three times and inquired the way home, and each time started off in
the wrong direction. He had lost the sense of direction and was
tempest tossed, like a ship in mid-ocean without a pilot.

The next day three sturdy men started for Topeka with a heavy team
and wagon, and shovels to be used in getting through the snow-drifts.
They were going for a coffin for Jake Self, and it took hard work for
almost the entire day before they reached the city.

And so Jake Self died, January 27, 1873, as indicated upon the marble

The Yankee and His Hog--and Other Troubles

Marus Doyen came straight from the heart of Maine to Wakarusa. His
family consisted of himself and wife and an old mother who had made
the journey with them. It did not take him long to provide
comfortable habitations for himself and one horse and a cow, and he
interested everyone by the ingenuity with which he constructed his
buildings, so tight that even the Kansas wind could not blow through
them, and as though he were calculating on the same kind of
temperature during winter time that his home State produced.

He looked about him and got acquainted with his neighbors, and soon
concluded that he should buy a hog to fatten up for the small amount
of pork and lard that his family would need. Big Aaron Coberly sold
him a fine, husky pig, and when he delivered him he found that the
Yankee had made a good pen for him, not very big, but stout, and with
a warm bed fixed in one corner that was well sheltered. A few days
afterwards, one of the neighbors came by, and Doyen called him over
to see his hog, and said:

"He's surely got the right name, because he eats more than the horse
and cow both. By George, he is a perfect hog; and he hasn't any sense
about his bed; has picked up every straw and carried it over to the
other corner of his pen, and keeps it there. He's also making trouble
by digging into the ground with his nose, and has one hole where he's
dug so deep that he nearly stands on his head when he's working in

The neighbor advised him to cut the hog's nose in slashes or put
rings in it, but told him that the more of a hog the hog made of
himself, the better hog he would be. The Yankee scratched his head as
he received this advice, and said nothing; but a few days afterwards
the neighbor was going near his place and heard a terrible squealing,
and went over and found the Yankee hanging onto the fence of the pig
pen with a hoe in his hand, and he noticed that the hog's face was
covered with blood where the Yankee had been trying to slash his nose
with the hoe ground sharp as a razor. When the neighbor stopped to
observe the proceedings, Doyen told him that this hog was the trial
of his life; that he hated to cut his nose, but had finally concluded
he must do so, and that he couldn't throw him down and handle him
himself, so he had sharpened up his hoe and was trying to fix him so
he couldn't dig in the ground. Resting on the hoe for a minute, the
Yankee said:

"He's one of my troubles, sure enough; but we've had others. My
wife's had an awful time trying to wash our clothes. The water will
turn all sorts of colors and mix up like buttermilk every time she
puts soap in it, and finally someone told her that she had to break
the water. I've heard of breaking horses and colts and oxen, but I
never heard of breaking water; but, by George, that's what we're
having to do!"

The Trail That Never Was Traveled

As you drive from Topeka to the stone bridge, just before you enter
the valley, you notice what may appear to be a road extending
eastward between two fences set about thirty feet apart. The way is
rough and stony, and full of weeds and brush, and if you ask whether
it is a laid-out road, you will be informed that it is, and that
years ago road viewers went over it and established it as one of the
public roads of Shawnee County. If you ask whether it was ever
traveled, the answer will be, "no." And if you ask why it was laid
out, this will be the explanation:

William Cartmill, a tall, vigorous, turbulent Irishman, owned the
land to the north. George Franks, a hard-working, sturdy, honest,
conservative Englishman owned the land to the south. They never
agreed about anything. Franks was a church man, and loved peace and
quiet. Stern necessity had taught him the ways of a pioneer. He could
build a good log house without a nail or any other article that would
cost money, and with very few tools beside his ax and broadax.
Cartmill paid no attention to the church, and was always in a row of
some kind. He had a good heart, but he was naturally full of
devilment, and he enjoyed making trouble for Franks. He soon learned
that Franks was afraid of him, or at least he treated Franks as
though he were. The fact was, that the Englishman did not fear him,
but simply wanted to avoid trouble with him; but it was all the same
to Cartmill, and gave him an excuse for making Franks all the trouble
he could. He found Franks starting to build a fence one day along the
line, and went out and ordered him off, and yelled after him as he

"You know bloody well that the line's four hundred yards further
south, and if I catch yez here any more I'll cut your heart out and
set it up on a sharp rock."

Of course, Franks was right about the line, but Cartmill quarreled
with him until it became necessary to get a county surveyor to make a
definite location and plant the corner-stone. Franks then built a
fence just two feet south of the line, and as soon as he finished it
Cartmill hitched onto it. This gave Cartmill the use of the fence and
two feet of the Franks land. Of course, Franks didn't like this, and
he tried to find some legal way to get rid of the annoyance without
bringing a direct suit against Cartmill, and so he petitioned for a
road to be laid out. The neighbors helped him with it, although they
all knew that the road never would be traveled, and thus it was that
years ago there was established a laid-out road along the brow of the
Wakarusa hills, running over gullies and bluffs where no one would or
could travel.

Cartmill used the lane for a calf pasture in the summer and a place
to shoot rabbits in the winter, and always claimed that he had the
best of the row.

To this day the lane is a rendezvous for rabbit and quail, and as the
country boys tramp through it they thank all the lucky stars for the
row between the English and the Irish.

The Conversion of Cartmill

The Berry Creek Methodist church was a religious institution. It
didn't pretend to have any other purpose nor function than to promote
the getting of religion. There was no attempt to provide amusements
or recreation, nor to make the church organization a club or a cult
of any kind or character. The preachers and the members simply
preached the old-time religion and insisted that every human being
must get religion or go to hell. They were not so particular as to
whether you joined the church, although it was usually urged that
persons having got religion would do so. However, as a protection to
the church and to prevent cluttering up their records, it was always
provided that no matter how earnestly one professed religion, he must
remain on probation for six months before being taken into the
church. Experience showed that this was a wise provision, since many
who professed religion did not remain steadfast long enough to become
members of the church, and therefore the church officials were not
compelled to carry them upon their books (if they kept books) as
members, nor to indulge in the humiliating process of putting them
out of the church because they had become backsliders.

It must be recorded that its ministers did not temporize with sin in
any form, and that drinking, card-playing, dancing and other
indulgences of worldly men and women were not classified as one being
more sinful than the other, but all were condemned; and the person
seeking religion was urged to put the devil behind him, which meant
that he must abandon all self-indulgence and worldly pleasure and
dedicate his life to service and sacrifice for good. Their ministers
were sometimes embarrassed when called to preach the funeral of some
person who had died in sin according to the doctrines of the church;
but they were usually more or less resourceful at such times, and
without giving way one jot or one tittle, and without indulging in
elasticity of faith, they would manage to give comfort to bereaved
friends and relatives, at the same time warning all of the
uncertainty of life and the necessity of preparation for death.

The principal activity of the church consisted in holding a revival
meeting once a year in the Berry Creek school-house, and during the
winter of which this is written the meeting commenced early. Crops
had ripened early in the fall, so that the corn was practically all
shucked and in the crib by Thanksgiving time; potatoes and other
vegetables had been gathered and cared for, and apples stored away in
cellars or sealed up in great holes made in the ground. The meeting
started off well. For some reason a good attendance was present the
first night, and the preacher clustered his sermon and exhortation
around the inquiry, "Where will you spend eternity?" It is not an
exaggeration to say that during the next day hundreds of people,
either directly or by grapevine-method, told others of the eloquence
of the minister and of his earnestness, and of the fact that there
seemed to be in the atmosphere of the meeting the presence of the
Holy Spirit that stirred them all in a wonderful way.

The weather was pleasant and the attendance at the meetings
increased, as night after night the revival spirit animated those in
attendance. After some days of good weather a rainy period set in,
and this continued more than two weeks; but this did not halt the
attendance nor dampen the fire that had been kindled at the meetings.
Early in the evening the roads and trails would be full of persons
afoot, on horseback, or in wagons, all happy and more or less noisy,
making their way through the mud to the little school-house. The
building would be crowded, and the windows thrown up so that persons
standing on the outside under the eaves could hear and see all that
was going on, and occasionally take part in the songs or exclamations
which made up more or less of the service.

John MacDonald was trying to teach school during the daytime in the
building, but he was having a hard time of it. He was his own
janitor, and when he would come to build a fire in the morning and
find two or three inches of mud on the floor, and all of his kindling
and ready fuel burned up, he would sometimes be exasperated. In fact,
one evening at the meeting, among those who stood outside, it was
reported that MacDonald had complained to the board, and a new
convert expressed the sentiment of those present when he said:

"Hell, John's all right; but he's a damn Presbyterian, and can't be
expected to know much about getting religion."

Someone rebuked the speaker for using profanity, since he was one of
the converts; and modifying his language, he said:

"I'm durned if it ain't purty hard to quit swearing, but I'm doing
the best I can, and I think if this meeting runs on another week I'll
be all right."

The meetings continued, and finally the rainy weather suddenly
terminated, and the temperature went down lower and lower, until by
Christmas time the thermometer showed zero weather, and day after day
it was cold enough that sun-dogs followed the sun all day long.

As the weather grew colder the meetings grew warmer. Practically
everyone for miles around attended, and the most of them got
religion. It was no unusual thing for awkward country lads who had
never made a public address, to stand up and in eloquent though
trembling voice profess their change of heart and their desire to do
right, and without embarrassment exhort their friends to join them.
Modest women who scorned unseemly conduct or notoriety would go up
and down the little room urging those whom they knew to take
advantage of the promises of God; and if they did at times shout and
cry out, or jump up and down, or throw themselves upon the floor or
the bench used for an altar, it was all because of the exaltation of
the hour and a part of their good intent and good purpose. A dance in
the neighborhood was simply out of the question, and it would have
been hard to find a playing-card left unburned; and in their efforts
to put away worldly things, many tobacco-soaked men gave up the use
of the weed. One night a convert told of his experience in this
behalf, and said he had had some awful dreams, and one was that he
was sitting on a hill north of the Wakarusa Valley, and that there
was a terrible drouth, on account of which the river was dry, and
that the devil came to him with a plug of tobacco that reached from
him clear over to Carbondale, and that in his weakness he had chewed,
and spit in the river, and that he had chewed the entire plug and had
spit in the river until it run off as though there had been a
terrible rain.

The meeting kept going, and finally Dr. Taylor, who had been counted
as an unbeliever, came and got religion and helped in the
exhortations. One night in urging the benefits of religion upon an
audience, he pointed to George Franks, and said:

"Look, what the religion of Christ has done for Brother Franks. He
was a wife-beater and a drunkard----"

Just there Brother Franks interrupted him, and half arising from his
seat, he said:

"Brother, not a wife-beater."

The Doctor corrected himself and went on with his illustration, which
was just as good without the charge which was denied.

John MacDonald, notwithstanding the incident hereinbefore related,
became an attendant at the meeting, and more than once, in his
conservative and humorous way, took part and showed his full
appreciation of the spirit of reform and revival that pervaded the
neighborhood, and his full sympathy with every honest effort to do
good and make men lead better lives. And so they came from up and
down the valley and everywhere, the rich and the poor, the good and
the bad, the conservative and the excitable, and all were melted
together in religious effort. It is true that there was sometimes
confusion because different persons would insist upon singing their
favorite hymn at the same time; but it did not seem out of the way
when Mrs. Hughes, in recollection of earlier days in Wales, would
sing, "I've Reached the Land of Corn and Wine;" and an old Scotchman
would start up "I'm Far Frae My Hame, and I'm Weary Aften Whiles;"
and another would sing "How Firm a Foundation Ye Saints of the Lord;"
and another, "Shall We Gather at the River;" and all liable to be
interrupted by a grand old chap who would yell, rather than sing,
"It's the Old Time Religion and It's Good Enough for Me."

It is not passing strange that many of the youngsters who attended
the meeting simply considered the services as entertainment, although
in later life in thinking it over they were able to understand that
when men and women make up their minds to abandon selfish purposes
and do right at all times and in all places they naturally become
possessed of the spirit of happiness, of exaltation and praise that
easily accounted for the wonderful services held during such a

One day little Tommy Cartmill went to the teacher and said:

"I have lost my revolver somewhere about the school grounds, and if
you are at church tonight I wish you would announce it so that if
anyone finds it they will return it to me."

MacDonald was amazed that a little chap of thirteen years would be
carrying a revolver, and after telling him what he thought about such
practice, he said that he would undertake to find the lost weapon by
making the announcement requested. That night the teacher made the
announcement which he had promised, and this reminded those present
that the old man Cart mill had not attended the meeting and was still
out in the cold world of sin; and immediately many voices plead with
the Lord that Cartmill might see the error of his ways, and that the
Spirit might come down upon him, and that he might be saved. Whether
because of the power of prayer or of the fact that his name had been
mentioned at the meeting, it soon came about that Cartmill attended
the services. He was a tall, strong, lanky Irishman, with a bushy
head that looked as though it never had been combed, and his quarrels
with Franks and other neighbors had made him more or less of a
terror. He was entirely too large to use the ordinary school pupil's
seat, and he therefore stood up near the door. He gave no indication
of his attitude toward the meeting except to make a few scornful
remarks now and then on the outside, but about the third night in the
midst of a glorious period of exhortation and song he came bolting up
the aisle like a mad buffalo; but as he turned around it was seen
that tears streamed down his face, and commencing in a broken way, he
implored the forgiveness of all whom he had wronged, and begged the
prayers and help of all that he might get religion and be saved. Many
crowded around him as he talked, and prayed for him, when he finally
threw himself over the altar. George Franks and others whom he had
terrorized put their arms around him and held to him and prayed for
him as though he were the most precious mortal on earth. Finally he
announced that the light had come to him, and he stood up to testify.
Among other things he confessed that he had wronged Brother Franks,
and he said:

"I have done more than any of yez know. I stole his plow, a new one,
that he left in the field; and I didn't stale it to kape it, but I
stole it because of the divil that was in me; and I threw it in the
Wakarusa in the dape hole by the big sycamore tree."

This and many other confessions he made. The meeting held till far in
the night, and after it had broken up one could hear people on their
way home talking loud of what a glorious meeting it had been, and an
occasional voice would praise the Lord for his power to forgive and
wipe out sin. The next day some sturdy youngsters cut the ice in the
deep hole, where it was more than a foot thick, and hooked and
grappled around in the water until they found the lost plow, and they
pulled it out and carried it home to Franks. So it was that the
confession was verified, and a real loss restored and made good by
the influence of religion.

It matters not whether the church books ever showed that Cartmill
remained steadfast until he became a member, but it must be recorded
that he did get religion, and that his religion changed, influenced
and made better his life, and that from that time forward no man in
the whole community was less to be feared or was more helpful or
considerate in his dealings or contact with his neighbors.

A Fourth of July Speech

A few of the neighbors held a meeting to arrange for a Fourth of July
picnic that was to be held in the grove near the big spring that
breaks through the rocky banks of the Wakarusa one and a half miles
below the stone bridge, and they had quite a dispute over whether
they would invite John Martin or Joseph G. Waters to make the speech.
An old mossback Democrat insisted that they have Martin. He said that
Martin was a real Jeffersonian Democrat, and knew more about what the
Fourth of July was made for than anybody else. A couple of younger
men in the crowd insisted on having Joe Waters. They said that Joe
was a Republican sure enough, but not Republican enough to hurt, and
that he made a stem-windin' good speech. After considerable wrangle
it was decided to invite Joe, and he consented to make the talk.

On the morning of the Fourth, along all the trails and roads people
traveled, finding their way to the grove; and just about noon Captain
Waters arrived with a livery team and buggy, with a negro boy
driving; and he drove smashing and stomping in a reckless manner all
around among the trees, almost running over some of the dinner
baskets that were set about on the ground. The Captain took charge
from the time he arrived. Everything that was done, he had to tell
how to do it. One old woman had built a little fire between a couple
of rocks to make some coffee, and he went up to her and told her that
it was just as fair to drink coffee on the Fourth of July as on
Christmas, and that he knew more about making coffee than the man who
invented it. And in spite of her protests he made the coffee, and, of
course, was welcome to help drink it.

After dinner, they backed a wagon up to an open place on the ground
where some seats had been arranged, and Joe jumped in, and then
reached for and pulled at the old man Kosier, who climbed up and
called the crowd to order, made a few remarks on his own account, and
then introduced and started off the Captain.

Joe stretched up his arms and called loudly for everyone to draw
near. He said that he proposed to ask some questions and find out
some things before he decided whether he would make a speech to such
a crowd. "First," he said, "I want to know why you call that man Big
Aaron Coberly, and that one Little Aaron;" and as he spoke he pointed
to Aaron, Senior, who weighed one hundred and forty pounds, and then
to Aaron, Junior, who weighed two hundred and forty. An old lady's
voice, cracked, but earnest, piped up:

"Big Aaron used to be the biggest--he was grown up when little Aaron
was a baby."

"Fair enough," said Joe; and everybody laughed.

"Another thing," said Joe, "I want to know whether you people are up
on figures or whether you are a bunch of joshers. I heard Dick Disney
ask Coker what he would take for his lower eighty, and Coker said he
would take sixteen hundred dollars for it. Dick said he'd be damned
if he'd give it--he would give twenty dollars per acre and no more.
Coker told him to go to hell; and just then Wash Berry, Bill Cartmill
and a half a dozen others crowded around and told them they ought to
compromise. This talk was pulled off within ten feet of me," said Joe
in a loud voice, "and I want to know if you think you can play horse
with me, or is it possible you're all crazy in your arithmetic?"

A youngster yelled, "It's you 'at's crazy," and ran off through the

After several further inquiries of this character the Captain said he
was satisfied, and would go on with his talk.

It was a great day for Joe, and the people too; and there are some of
them now who remember different portions of his speech, and
especially one part that was more or less prophetic of the destiny of
our country and of the fact that our soldiers might have to serve
across the seas. This part was as follows:

"If I see the flag in unending line flung high up the city's wall,
shining and shimmering all day long, it is my flag, bless God! If far
out on the bleak desert, parched, barren and desolate, I see it fluff
and flutter about the white adobe walls of the fort, it is my flag.
If far at sea beneath the unclouded sky, the sun silvering the
endless billows, it rises out of the eternal depths in its rippling
folds, my blood may chill, my eyes may fill, my heart may still, for
it is my flag that crests the ocean. If in a strange and alien land,
alone, solitary and homesick, the pomp of royalty on every hand,
suddenly there should burst in view, way up the shaded avenue, the
glory, red and white and blue, oh, for the Kaiser and his crown, on
me and mine to then look down, I'd lift my head and proudly say,
'That is my flag you see today, and isn't it a dandy, eh?' And I
would tell his ermined queen, of all the heavens and earth between,
it is the grandest thing that flies, o'er land or sea, beneath the
skies! And as the years may go, as falls the snow, as flowers may
blow, come weal or woe, that banner is my flag, I know."

At the close of the day, the chairman of the committee was heard to

"Well, considerin' as how Joe wouldn't take any pay, and insisted on
paying for the livery horses himself, and then bought out the stand
of all the candy and cigars and give it all away among the crowd--I
guess we got our money's worth."

The Phantom Fisherman and Other Ghosts

One morning in early June a ten-year-old lad, having been given a
half-holiday, dug a fine mess of luscious worms, put them in a tin
can with plenty of good dirt, and started off up Berry Creek to fish
for bullheads and sunfish. He went through the papaw patch and cut a
nice long pole, and took time to fix his line on it in good shape,
and to see that his cork, sinker, and hook were all right. He then
went on through the woods, crossed the big ravines, and climbed
around the rocky cliffs, making his way to the spot designated among
the boys as the "bullhead hole." This was and is the best place on
earth to fish for bullheads, and the boy knew it, and it was there he
wanted to commence the day's sport. Finally he climbed over the last
ledge, forced his way through the brush and came in sight of his
favorite place, and, to his astonishment, he found an aged,
peculiar looking man sitting under the old sycamore tree in the very
spot where he had planned to be. He walked slowly up to a place as
near the old man as good manners would permit, unwound his line and
put on a good lively worm and commenced.

The old man paid no attention to him whatever, and, on watching
him closely, the boy noticed that he was fishing for minnows with a
pin-hook fastened to a thread, and this tied to a crooked stick. He
put the minnows he caught into a tin bucket which was sitting at his
feet, partially full of water. As soon as the boy noticed what he was
doing, he set his pole and went up to him and offered to take off his
shirt and help him seine for minnows with it. The old man looked up
and said:

"Boy, I wouldn't fish with minnows caught with the best seine on
earth. Your shirt wouldn't be much account as a seine; and anyway,
they're never big enough. I am on my way to Wakarusa, and I want some
good, strong, live minnows. A man who fishes with seined minnows is
no account. More than that, you have no business to get your shirt
wet. You tend to your fishin' and I'll tend to mine. Andrew Jackson
said he knew a man who got rich tending to his own business."

This was a good deal of a bluff for the boy, and he proceeded as had
been suggested, and "tended to his own business." It was a good
morning for bullheads, and he soon got their range and commenced
catching them. In fact, they were biting so well that he didn't stop
to string any of those he caught, but threw them back on the bank;
and just to see to it that the stranger did not forget he was there,
he usually threw them toward the foot of the sycamore tree.

After a while the old man took his thread off the crooked stick and
wound it up, poured most of the water off his minnows, and then
filled the bucket again with fresh water, splashing it in with his
hand so that it would be as full of oxygen as possible; and then he
took out an old pipe and filled it, and as he commenced to smoke he
looked around at the ground, spotted with wriggling bullheads and
sunfish, and for the boy, who had experienced a lull in his
activities long enough to allow him to commence to pick up and string
the fish he had caught.

The boy looked at him, and he brightened up and said:

"Kid, you're having a good time, and I don't blame you. I am going
down to Wakarusa to fish for big fish, but, after all, you've got
more sense than I. The bullhead is the safest and surest fish for
meat, and he's not bad sport either, because he usually bites like he
meant business, although he may be a little slow. The bullhead is a
good deal like the rabbit in one way--he's sure food. There's more
rabbit meat on foot in Kansas than there is beef or pork, and it's
all good. The buffalo was all right in his time, but even he didn't
come up to the rabbit. The bullhead reminds me of the rabbit, and the
rabbit reminds me of the bullhead."

The old man stopped talking, and acted as though he were about to
start off, when the boy asked him where he was going on the Wakarusa
to fish, and he said:

"I don't know just where I'll wind up. I have fished in every hole in
Wakarusa from way above the Wakarusa falls down stream nearly to
Lawrence, and sometimes I go to one place and sometimes to another.
I've fished for bullheads, too, and for sunfish, in every place that
the water is deep enough from the place where Berry Creek starts,
over in the coal banks by Carbondale, down to the Sac and Fox spring
and all along Lynn Creek, especially in the part that's full of
boulders and little round pebbles, with here and there a riffle made
by a broken flat rock. And boy, I want to tell you something--some
days you can catch fish like you've been catching 'em this morning,
and some days you can't. I've seen days so dull that even the bite of
a crawfish was welcome."

The old man started off, and then came back and took the boy by the
shoulder and almost shook him as he said:

"Don't tell anyone that you saw me. It's nobody's business." And then
he went away.

The boy was not at all afraid, although the man was a total stranger,
and looked and acted very queer. The next day he told Joe Coberly
about meeting him, and Joe said:

"That old cuss is not real. He's around here every once in a while,
and always has been. Nobody knows where he lives nor where he comes
from or goes to. He must have been in a good humor or you wouldn't
have caught so many fish, because he can give you good luck or bad
luck; and there's always something strange happenin' when you hear of
him around. Last night something had one of my horses out and run him
nearly to death; his mane was all tied in knots this morning, and he
was wringin' wet with sweat when I went into the barn; and the barn
doors were all fastened just as I had left them, too. You never can
tell what's goin' to happen when that old devil's pretendin' to fish
up and down the creek."

The boy told the story to a number of people, and soon found that
practically all of the old-timers thought just the same as did Joe
Coberly, and that they believed that there was something mysterious
and unreal about the fisherman he met at the bullhead hole.


The boy treasured up what had been told him about the ghost
fisherman, and although he had been taught at home that there were no
ghosts, every story of that nature interested him. One night he was
at the home of Uncle Bill Matney. It was about ten o'clock, and they
were all seated around the big fire that was roaring in the
fireplace. Uncle Bill was playing "Natchez Under the Hill" on the
fiddle, when suddenly they heard a horse coming on a dead run over
the rocky road that led toward the house. The fiddle stopped, and
everybody listened, and Uncle Bill said:

"That must be Little Jim Lynn. Nobody else is damn fool enough to
ride like that."

Pretty soon the horse stopped by the side of the house, and they
could all hear the saddle hit the ground, and then the bridle, after
which the horse trotted away and Little Jim stalked into the house.
As he pulled off his gloves and threw them in a corner, Uncle Bill

"What the hell's the matter, Jim?"

And Jim said:

"O, nothing, only a damn ghost--saw him down on the bluff by Mark
Young's corner."

Jim was white as death, and everybody listened, but he didn't say
anything more until Uncle Bill said:

"War he beckonin', Jim?"

And Jim said:

"No, he warn't beckonin', but he was there just the same."

Uncle Bill tuned up his fiddle, and before he resumed playing, said:

"Well, if he warn't beckonin' it's all right."

Just at that point the boy broke in to inquire what difference it
made whether the ghost was beckoning, and two or three explained to
him that if a ghost beckoned to you that someone in your family would
die within a year.


The boy was just skeptic enough to have plenty of fun listening to
ghost stories by people who believed or half way believed them; and
it became a habit of his to bring up the subject in talking with
different people, and listen to their ghost stories if any might be

One spring he heard a ghost story that clung to him, and as he grew
older and older the ghost in the story seemed more real. It was
during the spring roundup of cattle, and he and an old Westerner had
been riding and working together for a number of days cutting out and
separating cattle, and taking some to one range and some to another,
when, after a long day's ride over the hills of Wabaunsee County,
they found that they were not able to reach home, and made a camp at
Wakarusa falls. They boiled some coffee and fried some salt meat, and
this, together with some bread and some hard-boiled eggs, made a good
supper. Afterwards they lay down with their saddles for pillows and
commenced the usual process of talking one another to sleep. Looking
up at the stars and out at their dying fire, the boy thought of the
phantom fisherman and other ghosts, and asked the old ranger what he
knew about such. The old fellow stretched out on the ground, and
reaching over took hold of the boy, as he said:

"Kid, I guess I've seen as many ghosts as anybody, but there's one
that I never forget, and it's always comin' back to me. Years ago,
when I wasn't any older than you, way back in York State, I coaxed my
father and mother ever so many times to let me come out West. We had
some folks living out this way, and from the letters they wrote, I
was crazy to come out here. They didn't want me to come, and said I
ought to go to school, and tried to make me go to school; but I
wouldn't do any good in school nor at anything else, and once or
twice I run away from home, and they caught me and brought me back.
One day my mother called me into the house, and I noticed that my
father was sitting down at the table and that there was a chair near
his where she had been sitting. She asked me to sit down, and she
pulled up another chair, and then she said: 'Jack, we've been
talking about you, and we know that you want to go out West, and that
you want to go so bad that you're not doin' any good here. Your Paw
and I have talked it over, and thought it over, and prayed over it,
and we think that maybe it would be best for you to go, and we're
goin' to give you what we can spare and let you strike out.' We
hadn't had a letter from the folks in the West for a long time, but
we hunted up the old address, and Mother tied up a big bundle of
clothes for me, and they gave me a railroad ticket and nine dollars
and fifty cents, which was all the money they had in the house. On
the day I left I started for the station on foot, and looked back
many times because Father and Mother both were hanging over the gate
watching me go. I don't know how many times I looked back, Kid, but I
do know that I looked back enough that the looks of them has been
with me all these years; and lots and lots of times it seems to me
that I can see the old man as he held up his hand and yelled
'Goodbye, boy, goodbye!' and Ma right by his side. It may be that
there ain't any real ghosts for some people, but them old faces are
real when they come back to me. It's more than thirty years, and ever
so long I thought I'd go back and see them some day, and I used to
write them that I would, but I never did; and they're both gone now.
Their ghost is all I have, and I kind o' like it, and wouldn't trade
it off for anything in the world."

As the story ended the stars gradually went out for the boy, and he
thought no more of ghosts until morning. Since then, he has
accumulated quite a number of ghosts of his own of the same kind and
character as the ones that followed the old cattleman, all born of
the grief of separation, and they are all real to him and have become
part of his life.

An Indian Christmas
(A legend of the camp by the spring.)

On Christmas night the Indian camp was a noisy place. The fires were
burning brightly in every tepee, and shouts and laughter told of the
good time that was being had by everyone as a part of the celebration
that the old French priest had taught them to have.

Outside the wind was blowing cold, with skiffs of snow. A strange boy
wandered into the camp. He stopped at the tent of the chief and asked
that he be admitted and given food and allowed to get warm. The chief
drove him away. He went to the tent of Shining Star and tried to be
admitted, but Shining Star grunted, and his boys drove him away with
whips. He then went to many of the tents, including those of Eagle
Eye and Black Feather, but none would receive him, and at one they
set a dog upon him. His feet were bare, and tears were frozen on his
cheeks. He was about to leave the camp, when he noticed a small tepee
made of bearskin off by itself. He walked slowly to it, and quietly
peeped in. Inside he saw the deformed Indian, who was known
everywhere by the name of Broken Back. His squaw sat near him,
preparing a scanty meal for them and their children. The children
were playing on the ground, but were watching their mother closely,
for they were hungry. The fire was low, and the boy started to turn
away, and broke a twig that lay on the ground.

Broken Back ran out and stopped him as he was about to turn away.

"What do you want?" he said.

The boy commenced to cry.

"I am so cold and hungry," he said, "and I have been to all the
tents, and they will not let me in."

Then Broken Back took him by the hand and led him into the tent, and
they divided the food with him, and built up the fire until he became
warm and happy. They urged him to stay all night and until the storm
was over.

So he sat on the ground near the fire and talked and played with the
children until it was time to go to sleep.

Then he stood up, and they all noticed that he was tall, and as they
looked they saw that he was a man instead of a boy. His clothes were
good, and over his shoulder hung a beautiful blanket, and over his
head was a bonnet with feathers of strange birds upon it. As they
looked, he reached out his hand and said:

"Broken Back, you have been good to a poor, cold and hungry boy. You
and all of yours shall have plenty."

And Broken Back stood up; and he was deformed no more, but was large
and strong and well, and his squaw stood by his side, and both were
dressed in the best of Indian clothes. The children jumped about with
joy, as they noticed that they were at once supplied with many things
that they had always wanted.

"Broken Back," he said, "you shall be chief of your tribe. And all of
your people shall love and respect and honor you. And your name shall
be Broken Back no longer, but shall be Holy Mountain."

And as they talked, all of the Indians of the tribe came marching
about his tent shouting in gladness, "Great is Holy Mountain, our
chief, forever."

As they shouted, he disappeared, and they saw him no more.

The next day the good priest came to the camp, and they told him what
had happened, and he said, "It was Jesus."


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