Agriculture.In a general sense agriculture in Kansas was commenced in 1825, when the government by a treaty made with the Kansas Indians agreed to supply them with cattle, hogs and agricultural implements, but literally history of agriculture begins with the Quiviran Indians who were tilling the soil more than two centuries earlier, when Don Juan de Onate (q. v.) tarried with them on his journey from New Mexico.
John B. Dunbar, in an article on "The White Man's Foot in Kansas," speaks of the pleasant effect the country of the Quivirans had upon Onate. As contrasted with the arid regions of New Mexico and northern Mexico it seemed to him a veritable land of promise, "The frequent streams, the wide prairies, pleasantly diversified with gently rolling hills and admirably adapted to cultivation, the rich soil, spontaneously afforded a variegated growth of grass, flowering plants, and native fruits, nuts, Indian potatoes, etc., that added much to the attractiveness of the entire region." The Quivirans, "in cultivating the soil, worshipped the planet, Venus, known as Hopirikuts, the Great Star, recognized by them as the patron of agriculture, as did in later days their descendants, the Pawnees. Sometimes, after planting their corn patches to secure a good crop, they offered the captive girl as a sacrifice to Hopirikuts. As time passed many of the tribe came to look upon this usage with disfavor, and finally, in 1819, by the interference of Pitalesharu, a young brave of well known character as a man of recognized prowess as war chief, the usage was finally discontinued."
It is not said that the Kansas Indians received their suggestion of husbandry from the remote Quivirans but they were the next farmersin Kansas. Dr. Thomas Say, the chief zoölogist of the Long Expedition, in writing of his visit to the Kansas village in 1819, said: "They commonly placed before us a sort of soup, composed of maize of the present season, of that description, which after having undergone a certain preparation, is appropriately named sweet-corn, boiled in water, and enriched with a few slices of bison meat, grease and some beans, and, to suit it to our palates, it was generally seasoned with rock salt, which is procured near the Arkansas river . . . . Another very acceptable dish was called lyed corn . . . . They also make much use of maize roasted on the cob, of boiled pumpkins, of muskmelons and watermelons, but the latter are generally pulled from the vine before they are completely ripe." Dr. Say further states that the young females before marriage cultivated the fields. The agency of the Kansas Indians was established at the mouth of the Grasshopper creek in 1827. Daniel Morgan Boone, the farmer appointed by the government, commenced farming at this point in 1827 or 1828. Rev. Isaac McCoy, in 1835, reported that the government had 20 acres fenced and 10 acres plowed at "Fool Chief's" village, 3 miles west of the present North Topeka. In the spring of 1835 the government selected 300 acres in what is now Shawnee county, and about the same number south of the Kansas River, in the valley of Mission creek and carried on farming on quite an extensive scale. The emigrant tribes from the east who came into Kansas from 1825-1832 were sufficiently civilized to have a knowledge of farming and good farms were cultivated by members of the various tribes and by the white missionaries who settled among them.
The first cultivation of the soil by white men on a scale large enough to be called farming was at Fort Leaenworth in 1829 or 1830; at the mouth of Grasshopper creek by Daniel Morgan Boone; and at the Shawnee mission farm in Johnson County by Rev. Thomas Johnson as early as 1830. Farms were quite common on the Indian reservations, and at the various missions, when Congress passed the bill creating Kansas Territory. The remarkable fertility of the soil of Kansas and its adaptability to agricultural purposes had been experimentally proven and were well known before the territorial bill was passed. Hence, the tide of immigration from 1854 to 1856 was due as much to the natural resources of the land as to the political preferment. The unsettled condition of territorial affairs from 1858 to 1860 was not auspicious for the pursuance of industrial arts. The settlers planted crops but raised barely enough for their own consumption. The United States census for 1860 in its report on Kansas shows 405,468 acres in improved farms and 372,932 acres in unimproved farms, with the cash value of both as $12,258,239. There were then farming implements valued at $727,694; 20,344 horses; 1,496 mules; 28,550 milch cows; 2,155 oxen; 43,354 other cattle; 17,569 sheep; 138,244 swine, and the value of this live stock was $3,332,450. There were 194,173 bushels of wheat; 3,833 bushels of rye; 6,150,727 bushels of Indian corn; 88,325 bushels of oats; 20,349 pounds of tobacco; 24,400 pounds of cotton; 24,746 pounds of wool; 9,827 bushels of peas and beans; 296,335 bushels of Irish potatoes; 9,965 bushels of sweet potatoes; 4,716 bushels of barley; 41,575 bushels of buckwheat; orchard products valuing $656; market garden products worth $31,641; 1,093,497 pounds of butter; 29,045 pounds of cheese; 56,232 tons of hay; 103 bushels of clover seed; 3,043 bushels of grass seed; 197 pounds of hops; 1,135 pounds of flax; 11 bushels of flax seed; 40 pounds of silk cocoons; 3,742 pounds of maple sugar; 2 gallons of maple molasses; 87,656 gallons of sorghum molasses; 1,181 pounds of beeswax, and 16,944 pounds of honey.
The small beginning toward agricultural development received a serious setback by what is known as the drought of 1860, which really began in Sept., 1859, and lasted until the fall of the next year. (See Droughts.) The struggle with poverty was accompanied by a struggle for statehood, and in 1861 Kansas, a poor, destitute, forlorn young thing, clothed in grain sacks and hope, was admitted to the Union. An optimism born of determination is indicated in the laws of the legislature of 1862, by which a Kansas State Agricultural society was organized, "for the purpose of promoting the improvement of agriculture and its kindred arts," and by which county and town agricultural and horicultural societies could be formed. The small development of the state had not extended over much territory, as in 1861 the map of Kansas was blank beyond the tier of counties embracing Saline, Marion and Butler. During the Civil war very little growth was made in anyway, and while agriculture received more attention than many things, few surplus crops were raised. However, in 1863, the legislature appropriated $1,000 to the State Agricultural Society, thus keeping in mind the main business of the state in spite of war and strife. At the close of the war, from 1865 until 1870, a second invasion of emigrants entered Kansas, especially the southeastern portion. This invasion consisted of the sturdy young men who were discharged from the army, and, out of employment, turned to the fields of Kansas to make a home and support their families. These families were all poor, but kindly in their relations with one another. They exchanged work when outside assistance was needed, because there was no money for wages. Mr. Carey in an article on the Osage ceded lands gives a vivid glimpse of these settlers and their methods and shows a slight social line of demarcation between those owning American horses, and those owning mustangs and Indian ponies, and between these and the owners of oxen. The implements employed were of an ordinary sort and all the communities of the state used the methods of farming prevalent in the districts from which they migrated, and confined their efforts to the common crops. During the period from 1865 to 1870 farming commenced to be a vocation in Kansas. Much time and serious thought were given to it. In 1869 the legislature passed an act for the distribution of wheat on the western frontier. (See Harvey's Administration.)
The agricultural development of the state during the decade from 1860 to 1870 is shown by the following statistics compiled by the ninth United States census. It shows 1,971,003 acres of improved land, 635,419 acres of woodland and 3,050,457 acres of unimproved land. The valuation of farms was $90,327,040; of farming implements and machinery, $4,053,312; the total value of all farm productions, including betterments and additions to stock $27,630,651. There were 117,786 horses; 11,786 mules and asses; 12,344 milch cows; 20,774 working oxen; 229,753 other cattle; 109,088 sheep; 206,587 swine. There were produced on the farms 1,314,522 bushels of spring wheat; 1,076,676 bushels of winter wheat; 17,025,525 bushels of corn; 85,207 bushels of rye; 4,097,925 bushels of oats; 98,405 of barley; 27,826 of buckwheat; 33,241 pounds of tobacco; 7 bales of cotton; 335,005 pounds of wool; 13,109 bushels of peas and beans; 2,342,988 bushels of Irish potatoes; 49,533 bushels of sweet potatoes; 5,022,758 pounds of butter; 226,607 pounds of cheese; 490,289 tons of hay; 334 bushels of clover seed; 8,023 bushels of grass seed; 396 pounds of hops; 35 tons of hemp; 1,040 pounds of flax; 1,353 bushels of flaxseed; 938 pounds of maple sugar; 449,409 gallons of sorghum molasses; 212 gallons of maple molasses; 2,208 pounds of beeswax; 110,827 pounds of honey.
In the early '70s the population grew more rapidly than the crops, thus keeping the country poor; the legislature of 1872 found it necessary to appropriate $3,000 for the relief of settlers in the western part of the state. In March of the same year the Kansas State Agricultural Society went out of existence and the Kansas State Board of agriculture was organized. (See Agriculture, State Board of.)
The state made every effort to develop her fertile acres, but success came slowly, as new catastrophes were constantly happening to retard progress and to depress hope. In July and August, 1874, Kansas received a devastating visitation from the grasshopper or locust. A great swarm of these insects passed over the state devouring nearly every green thing. They came so suddenly the people were panic stricken. In the western counties, where immigration during the previous two years had been very heavy, and the chief dependence of the settlers was corn, potatoes and garden vegetables, the calamity fell with terrible force. Starvation or emigration seemed inevitable unless aid should be furnished. The state board of agriculture set about collecting correct data relating to the effects of the prevailing drouth, and devastation of crops by locusts and cinch bugs, and Gov. Osborn issued a proclamation convening legislature on the 15th day of September. (See Osborn's Administration.)
The grasshopper raid retarded immigration and discouraged the people of the state but did not destroy hope and faith, for in 1876 all forces rallied to redeem the reputation of Kansas. The State Board of Centennial Managers in a communication to the legislature said, "Kansas needs all the advantages of a successful display, Remote from the money centers, the crash of the 'panic' came, sweeping away our values, checking our immigration, and leaving us our land and our debts. The devastation of the locust was an accidental and passing shadow. Our wealth of soil and climate has been reasserted in abundant harvests, but the depression still rests like a blight on the price of real estate. Immigration has halted and investments have measurably ceased." The legislature of 1876 evidently felt the same way about the state because it appropriated $25,000 for the Kansas building and display in Philadelphia. (See Expositions.)
The statistics for 1880, as given by the State Board of agricultural, show 8,868,884.79 acres of land in cultivation, divided as follows: winter wheat, 2,215,937 acres, with a product of 23,507,223 bushels, valued at $19,566,034.67; spring wheat, 228,497 acres, 1,772,661 bushels, $i,414,633.90; rye, 54,748 acres, 676,507 bushels, $270,602.80; corn, 3,554,396 acres, 101,421,718 bushels, $24,926,079.07; barley, 17,121 acres, 287,057 bushels, $143,528.50; oats, 477,827 acres, 11,483,796 bushels, $2,918,689.17; buckwheat, 2,671.41 acres, 43,455 bushels, $39,110; Irish potatoes, 66,233 acres, 4,919,227 bushels; $3,279,501.85; sweet potatoes, 4,021 acres, 391,196.55 bushels, $391,196.55; sorghum, 32,945.09 acres, 3,787,535 gallons, $1,704,390.98; castor beans, 50,437.61 acres, 558,974.28 bushels, $558,974.28; cotton, 838.34 acres, 142,517.80 pounds, $12,826.67; hemp, 597.22 acres, 635,872 pounds, $38,152.32; tobacco, 607.21 acres, 449,335.40 pounds, $44,933.54; broom corn, 25,507.64 acres, 17,279, 664.50 pounds, $604,788.27; rice corn, 27,138.40 acres, 493,915 bushels, $125,353.12; pearl millet, 8,031.40 acres, 26,784 tons, $115,527; millet and hungarian, 268,485 acres, 602,300.31 tons, $2,542,565.95; timothy meadow, 49,201.46 acres, 79,634.16 tons, $447,411.20; clover meadow, 16,637.61 acres, 26,796.16 tons, $151,764.05; clover, blue grass and prairie pasture, 959,456.91 acres; prairie meadow, 679,744 acres, 798,707 tons, $2,570,290.85.
The counties having the most acres cultivated were Sedgwick, McPherson, Dickinson, Miami, Marshall and Sumner, all of which had more than 210,000, while Ford, Barbour and Hodgeman of the organized counties had the least number of acres in cultivation.
A strong feature in the dissemination of agricultural knowledge is the county agricultural society. In the general statutes of 1868, 1872 and 1873 provision is made for the incorporation of these county clubs for the encouragement of agriculture. The important relation existing between them and the State Board of Agriculture is shown in section 2 of chapter 9 of the session laws of 1873, which declares "that every county or district agricultural society, composed of one or more counties, whether now organized or hereafter to be organized under the laws of the state of Kansas, shall be entitled to send the president of such society, or other delegate therefrom, duly authorized in writing, to the annual meeting of the State Board of Agriculture, to be held on the second Wednesday of January of each year, and who shall for the time being be ex-officio member of the state Board of Agriculture; provided, that the secretary of each district or county society, or such other person as may he designated by the society, shall make a monthly report to the State Board of Agriculture, on the last Wednesday of each month, of the condition of crops in his district or county, make a list of such noxious insects as are destroying crops, and state the extent of their depradations, report the condition of stock, give a description of the symptoms of any disease prevailing among the same, with means of prevention and remedies employed so far as ascertained, and such other as will be of interest to the farmers of the state," etc. Chapter 37, session laws of 1879, provides that the monthly reports required to be made to and by the board of agriculture, by virtue of existing provisions of law, shall hereafter be made quarterly instead of monthly, except when the public interests shall require special reports. Fifty-eight county societies were organized as early as 1874.
The decade from 1880 to 1890 is replete with new suggestions, new methods and new ideals for agricultural development. The hope of earlier years developed into confidence and in 1884 the report of the state board of agriculture says: "During the biennial period just past, nearly 2,000,000 additional acres have been put in cultivation. The principal field crops, corn, wheat, oats and grass, have received each a proportionate amount of this increase in acreage, the most notable additon[sic] being to the winter wheat area, which increased from 1,465,745 acres in 1882 to 2,151,868 acres in 1884 . . . The area of grass, made up of the tame grasses and prairie meadow under fence, increased in two years nearly 1,000,000 acres. The westward march of the tame grasses may be said to have commenced within the period covered by this volume. Fields of timothy, clover, orchard-grass, blue grass and many other kinds, are now to be found in the central counties, and even beyond, while such fields were rarely met two years ago . . . The results of farming operations in Kansas for the past two years, . . . have definitely settled any doubt as to the entire fitness of the eastern half of the state to the successful prosecution of agriculture in all its branches. The debatable ground of ten years ago is now producing crops that have placed Kansas among the three great agricultural states of the Union, and the soil that ten years ago was believed to the satisfaction of many to be unfit for diversified farming, is now producing average yields that largely exceed the yields of any other portion of the country."
During the years 1883-84, in complying with the law, the state board of agriculture issued each year a pamphlet intended to supply information concerning the resources and capabilities of the state, to those seeking homes in the west. "This report was restricted by law to 60 pages, and the edition each year to 65,000 couies,[sic] divided into 20,000 English copies, 20,000 German, 15,000 Swedish, and 10,000 Danish."
The encouraging outlook for the realization of hope in all fields of industry was circumscribed by a drought in 1887. The five prosperous years preceding it were unduly stimulated by heavy immigration and outside capital, the prevalence of fictitious values in all branches of business caused the crop failures of that year to fall more heavily upon the people than they otherwise would have done. The drought, which extended throughout most of the western states, fell with much force on Kansas and she experienced one of the most disastrous crop years in her history. In 1888 much of the loss was retrieved, a rapid restoration of confidence was occasioned in a large measure by the development of two new and very important industriessugar and saltand by an abundant harvest.
During the years 1888-89 the state board of agriculture turned some of its attention from immigration to the instruction of farmers in the means and methods best adapted to successful agriculture. With this in view the agricultural meetings were conducted along the lines of a farmers' institute, and were considered very profitable. A most important step in the scientific development of husbandry was made in 1887, when the passage of the "Hatch bill" by Congress provided for the organization in each state of a station for experiment in lines promotive to agriculture. This experiment station, located by the legislature, was made a department of the State Agricultural College at Manhattan. The work of the section is done in eight departments: the farm department deals with experiments in farm crops, such as the testing of seeds, the introduction of new crops, rotation and adaptation of crops to soil; the botanical department includes work along the lines of plant breeding and forage crops; the chemical department is engaged in analysis of soil, feeds, waters, ores, clays and miscellaneous things, the dairy and animal husbandry department conducts experiments in cheese making, economical production of milk, butter making, relative advantages of cattle foods, etc; the entomological department experiments relate to orchard pests, crop pests, etc.; the horticultural department makes experiments in fruit raising, shrubs and vines as ornamentals, vegetables suitable for canning factories, etc.; the veterinary department experiments in all kinds of diseases of cattle, swine and stock. The general department controls the management of the station, the distribution of bulletins, press notices, etc. The experiment station puts itself in touch with the agricultural districts through bulletins, farmers' institutes, crop contests, press reports and display trains. Its influence has been shown in every community, as is evidenced by the diversity of crops, and the crop yield. In 1890 the crops raised were winter wheat, spring wheat, corn, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat. Irish and sweet potatoes, castor beans, cotton, flax, hemp, tobacco, broom corn, millet and bungareau, sorghum, milo maize, Jerusalem corn and prairie hay, the total number of acres cultivated being 15,929,654, the crop valuation $121,127,645, and the population 1,427,096.
Up to 1890 agriculture was practically confined to the eastern and central parts of the state, the western portion being considered almost unfit for crops. In 1891 and 1892 a special effort was made to place before the public the capabilities of Kansas soil for the production of wheat, and several farmers from every county in the state who had grown unusually bountiful crops were asked to report to the State Board of Agriculture the yield and methods of culture. These reports were a new and surprising revelation and showed that western Kansas, through to the Colorado line, was bound to be adapted to successful wheat growing, many yields being reported at from 30 to 40 bushels an acre without irrigation. Another crop that sprung into prominence at this time was alfalfa. In the spring of 1891 farmers in all parts of the state who had been successful growing alfalfa without irrigation were asked to report upon their manner of preparing the soil and seeding it, the acreage they had in alfalfa, its value for hay, pasture and seed. These reports indicated that it was the most profitable crop that could be grown in Western Kansas, and had revolutionized farming in that section.
STEAM PLOW IN ACTION.
The conditions in western Kansas, especially in the Arkansas river valley, were improved by the magical influence of irrigation. The valley proper is from four to twelve miles wide, and the whole district is flat enough for easy irrigation. The soil is sandy alluvium, containing the highest elements of fertility, needing only moisture to change it from barren prairie to productive fields. In the early days of immigration large numbers of people settled in the Arkansas river valley, towns were laid out, companies incorporated and large plans made for the future of this subhumid region. The ordinary methods of farming were not adapted to the climatic conditions and failure followed, until irrigation from the Arkansas river was tried. The experiments were successful until Colorado adopted similar methods for its arid portions and used so much water from the river that by 1892 the ditches in Kansas were ill supplied. The U. S. government made investigations in western Kansas that led to the discovery of an underflow of the Arkansas that amounted to practically a subterranean river. In 1905 it installed at Deerfield, in Finney county, an irrigation plant that pumped water from wells drilled to this underground stream. Through all the Arkansas valley the well irrigation method is successfully used. A crop like alfalfa that grows abundantly without apparent irrigation or rainfall has long roots reaching to the underflow, or gains moisture from the subsoil.
The investigation of drought resisting crops, resulted in the cultivation of the soy-bean in 1889 with most gratifying results. They were found to stand drought as well as kafir corn and sorghum, not to be touched by chinch bugs, and to enrich the soil in which they were grown, The soy-bean was brought from Japan, where it is extensively cultivated for human food, taking the place of beef on account of its richness in protein. Because of its peculiar flavor but few Americans like it. The soy-bean is valuable as stock food and for soil inoculation. Other important crops developed since 1890 are the sugar beet, and cow peas. It is not great variation in crops that Kansas has strived for but intelligent production of those adapted to Kansas soil and climate.
During the years from 1890 to 1908 thorough attention was given to every detail of farm life, it being the ambition of the state to have every agriculturist farm in the best approved and most scientific manner. In former years the farmer devoted his time to a few main crops and let the minor points take care of themselves, pests and disease were considered bad luck rather than results of carelessness or ignorance. The farmer of today has a broader view of his vocation and investigates not only the soil, its needs and bacteria, crop rotation, planting, and seed but also has a knowledge of silos and ensilage, the breeds of clucks, chickens, turkeys and geese, the most economical and effective stock food, the best rations for milch cows, how to exterminate the Hessian fly, prairie dogs, gophers, chinch bugs or clover hay worms; and he knows about weeds, their names, fruits, seeds, propagation and distribution, all the simple diseases of stock, their symptoms, causes, and cures, and furthermore is interested in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. Kansas leads all other states in the output of wheat, but corn is her most important soil product. The statistics of the principal Kansas crops for 1908 were as follows: winter wheat, 6,831,811 acres, 76,408,560 bushels, valuation $63,597.49o.19; spring wheat, 107,540 acres, 400,362 bushels, $287,655.55; corn, 7,057,535 acres, 150,640,516 bushels, $82,642,461.72; oats, 831,150 acres, 16,707,979 bushels, $7,118,847.22; rye, 34,799 acres, 361,476 bushels, $240,058.21 ; barley, 247,971 acres, $2,657,122; emmer (speltz), 50,469 acres, 934,941 bushels, $437,606.67; buckwheat, 316 acres, 3,945 bushels, $3,587.30; Irish potatoes, 81,646 acres, 5,937,825 bushels, $4,431,684.17; sweet potatoes, 4,818 acres, 471,760 bushels, $413,686.13; castor beans, 65 acres, 585 bushels, $585; flax, 58,084 acres, 383,941 pounds, $360,010.46; tobacco, 32 acres, 4,800 pounds, $480; millet and Hungarian, 225,267 acres, 416,413 tons, $1,841,231.50; sugar beets, 14,513 acres, 53,178 tons, $265,890. The total acreage of sorghum planted for syrup or sugar was 12,175, producing 927,269 gallons, with a value of $426,958.90; the number of acres of sorghum planted for forage or grain, 402,719, valued at $2,851,481; milo maize, 55,255 acres, 106,268 tons, $515,269; Kafir corn, 630,096 acres, $1,794,032 tons, $6,856,845.50; Jerusalem corn, 3,231 acres, 8,251 tons, $35,402.50; tame grasses, timothy, 413,148 acres; clover, 182,789 acres; bluegrass, 232,172 acres; alfalfa, 878,283 acres; orchard grass, 2,956 acres; other tame grasses, 77,550 acres; of tame hay in 1907 there were 1,429,119 tons cut, with a value of $9,534,290; in 1908, 13,744,690 acres of prairie hay was fenced; in 1907, 1,145,643 tons of prairie hay was cut and its value was $5,495,083.50; the live stock products in 1908 were valued at $87,678,468; and the horitcultural[sic] products of $995,829, making a total cash valuation for 1908 of $277,733,933.
The large acreage of crops and their excellent quality is due, not only to the efforts of the farmer but also to the excellent properties in the soil and the salubrious climate. The soil of the upland prairies is usually a deep, rich clay loam of a dark color; the bottom lands near the streams are a black, sandy loam; and the lands between the uplands and the bottom land show a rich and deep black loam, containing very little sand. All soils are free from stones, and except a few stiff clay spots on the upland prairie are easily cultivated. The climate of Kansas is remarkably pleasant, having a large percentage of clear bright days.
The final transition of the poor Kansas homesteader into a rich Kansas farmer has been the theme of much newspaper witticism. The first families who came lived in habitations of the crudest sort. While a few possessed cabins of native lumber, many occupied dugouts or houses built of squares of sod taken from the prairie. The dugout consisted of a hole dug in the side of a canon or any sort of depression on the prairie that would serve as a wind break. This hole was roofed across, about on the level with the prairie with boards, and these were covered with sod. The sod house was more pretentious and comfortable. It had walls two feet in thickness, a shingled roof, doors and windows set in, and sometimes was plastered, altogether making a neat and commodious dwelling place. The land laws of the United States are such that any citizen of this country, can, under certain conditions, file his homestead or preëmption papers at a nominal cost on a quarter section (160 acres) of and agricultural land belonging to the government. If he makes an actual residence upon it for five years he secures the homestead for the price of filing fees; if he proves up, that is, gets title from the government before the five years are passed, he is required to pay $1.25 per acre for it. While the land is given to the settler for developing it, the process usually requires several years and some money. Fences, out buildings, implements and stock are accumulated slowly, especially when one is poor, as nearly every settler is. The situation in Kansas was similar to that of other new States, money was needed to forward the interest of the state and of the individual, hence in early years the loan agents representing eastern capital did a thriving business. Especially was this true between the years 1884 and 1888, a period during which 24 counties were organized in western Kansas, where some 250,000 new citizens had made homes. Insufficient acres were cultivated to supply the demand for food and have a surplus for capital. The whole of Kansas was in a state of speculative fermentation, stimulated by an abundance of eastern money seeking investment in farm loans and city property. It was so easy to borrow money on a homestead, that it is said three-fourths of the farms were mortgaged. The boom days came to a close in 1887, with a crop failure previously mentioned, and Kansas, not yet self-supporting, was left with an accumulation of farm mortgages that depressed her for many years. But the farm mortgages have nearly all been redeemed, and as the prairies have been turned to gardens and the sand hills have been covered with verdure, so have the dugout and sod house given way to residences of the most complete type. Where years ago the farmer and his wife were glad to have water anywhere in the neighborhood today they have it pumped by windmill or power into all parts of the house. The chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks no longer frequent the door yards, for the farmer of today has a lawn ornamented with shrubs and trees as perfect as that of his city brother, and the fowls have their own houses, and runways especially adapted to their needs. The horses, cattle, sheep and other stock are no longer dependent upon the blue sky for shelter, for the most modern stables are constructed for their protection. The farmer and his son do not have to arise at break of day to get in the crop, because with good teams, plows, reapers, mowing machines, and other up to date appliances, the farm work does not take so much time as formerly. Nor does the farmer's wife wait until Saturday to ride to town behind the weary plow horses, because her automobile is always at the door. The early settler has lived to realize his vision. Kansas as an agricultural state is all he hoped and more.Pagea 41-51 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project