Arthur J. Stanley's
1915 Old Settlers'
(Given Sept. 17, 1915, and reprinted in the Lincoln Sentinel, Sept. 30, 1915)
About six months ago a friend of mine, who was born more than 40 years ago in Kansas City, Kan., and who has lived all his life in that city, said to me that he had been out in western Kansas. Always eager as I am to hear of Kansas, I am especially eager to hear of what those border dwellers call "western Kansas." I questioned my friend to know what points he had visited and he said, "Oh, I was in Leavenworth, Lawrence, Ft. Scott, Ottawa, Iola, Olathe and Paola." The furthest point west he had been was 39 miles from the eastern border of the state! This illustrates how little many people comprehend the territorial extent of our state. It is not in expanse that Kansas excels, however, but in its spirit and achievement.
I recall that, some years ago, at an annual reunion of this Association, when the Register was opened and placed in the charge of Ed M. Harris, all those who had been in Lincoln County for the past 20 years were permitted to register as old settlers. I proudly spread my name upon that record. I felt that I then knew the spirit and achievement of Lincoln County, but by being away from here for four years and among different people, I have learned to the better appreciate, if not to know the spirit and realize the achievement of this county. I can think of nothing which expresses my feeling to you on this point more clearly than the short poem of Arthur Chapman, entitled, "Out Where the West Begins":
"Out where the hand clasps a little stronger,
Out where a smile dwells a little longer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter—
That’s where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where Friendship’s a little truer,
That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing
That’s where the West begins.
Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts with despair are aching—
That’s where the West begins;
Where they’re more of singing and less of sighing
Where’s there’s more of giving and less of buying,
And a man makes friends, without half trying—
That’s where the West begins."
I sometimes think that when God made the great orbit for our world and fixed it in place so that the sun first appeared in the East and is last seen for the day in the West, that he meant it to be a lesson to the children of men.
At morning’s dawn what hopes and high ambitions thrill the soul as "envious streaks do lace the severing clouds of yonder’s East" but as the day rolls on and it is the setting sun in yonder West that smiles on achievement and bathes the world in limpid gold and spreads the benediction overall, -- "Well done." It is out of the West that achievement comes.
Feeling the potency of the West and the virility of the splendid men and women who, like Caesar, came, saw and conquered, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to be with you today.
It was in this county I first saw the light of day and grew to young manhood; here the lullaby songs of my boyhood were sung to me, and the manly struggle of my father to build a home, rear a family with proper details, and fill his niche in the community took place, and here in the bosom of this county his ashes lie at rest. Here I wooed and wed my wife, and here all our children–save one—were born, and here in sorrow, we laid to rest in the cemetery over there, a much-loved bright eyed boy. Here every standard of life and every ideal of character or duty I possess was formed and fashioned, and here, I feel at home.
In contemplation of this occasion, my mind ran back to other days, and of those I desire to talk to you today. My first recollection takes me back to a time when my grandfather’s place, now occupied by George McFarland, was the farthest place South on Brush Creek, and there were no other relatives till one reached the Smoky Hill in Ellsworth County. On the East, there were no neighbors till one reached Johnathan Neal’s place on the Table Rock, seven or eight miles distant. West of us were D.P. Webb, Joshua Kindlesparger, with their respective families, Richard and Michael Keating with their mother and sister, Nora, now Mrs. Reuben Sparks, and long since a grandmother, Samuel Donley and Uncle Hi Hammer. Down the creek, as we called it, were G.G. Long, Wm. Gourley, Peter A. Nelson, Chas. Anderson, Johnathan Pitcher, Uncle Johnnie Blount, James A. Mason and Luther Lang. These persons named and their families constituted practically the whole neighborhood. Of all these and the many others who came in a little later, William Gourley and Peter H. Nelson alone live in the old neighborhood, and each of these live on the eighties they homesteaded side by side more than 40 years ago. On the farm now owned by Ben Meier lived the Spurgeons, and he was a Justice of the Peace there before I was born.
All the land from Brush Creek in Franklin Township to the Mulberry on the county line southeast, and the Table Rock Creek six or seven miles east, was unbroken prairie and the use of which belonged to him who chose to take it. This whole expanse reaching from David Shaver’s place and the Bloomheart farm, then owned and occupied by Ed M. Harris, and the farms of Geo. Ingram, John Webb and the Skinners, southward to the Smoky Hill, was occupied [think he means unoccupied], except for four or five brave pioneers, who here and there had erected a sod of stone-walled dugout and planted a roof-tree and established a home. I have seen prairie fires light up the whole landscape and make the night lurid with their flame, presenting an almost unbroken line of flame from the Twin-mounds near where Joseph White now lives eastward, till the line dipped below the horizon! These were majestic sights. Every settler soon learned to protect his little possessions from the ravages of prairie fires. The fire guard was as much a part of the home as was the home itself. A wide circle would be broken in the sod surrounding the home and some hundreds of feet outside of that a larger circle would be broken, and then as soon as the grass was dry enough to burn, the intervening space would be burned off and thus cause the fires to part and go around the settlers’ little possessions. I have seen the head fires on some of those occasions travel at a rate of speed equal to that of a swift horse, and with a crackling roar that made it necessary to shout to those near one, in order to be heard. What desolation the prairie presented after one of these fires! Jack rabbits, coyotes, what few birds there were, and all wild life fled before their ravages! As a favorite way to fight them off and thus protect the range for grazing purposes was by back firing. On one occasion, I remember my father taking the wagon with three barrels of water and driving away at night to join the other neighbors in back-firing against one of those scourges of the plains, approaching from the southeast; and I can yet feel the keen thrill of apprehension that swept my childish frame as I saw him and the team clearly silhouetted against the lurid light in that southeastern sky and watched their form drop down over the divide as he proceeded onward toward the fire.
On one occasion I saw a man named Henry Pruden and his wife, Rebecca, whom everyone called Hen and Beck, crossing the prairie on foot and a great head fire came sweeping over the prairie, and though capable of making good speed on such an occasion, they barely reached the burned strip on which many of us stood, with badly scorched hair and clothing. There were several men there, but all were powerless to render aid, save by lusty shouts of encouragement to run for all they were worth.
One of the delights of my childhood was the prairie chicken. There are but few of them in the county now and many of the young folks, I dare say, have ever seen one. In those days they were quite common. It was a great delight to hear them proclaim the approach of spring time. Now, we look to the red bird, the blue bird or the robin redbreast as harbingers of spring, but then the prairie chicken performed that useful function. As the new wine of the wakening year began to course through the veins of every living thing the prairie chickens would gather in great flocks on some round knoll to strut and fight and mate, and always announced these trysting places with loud booming sounds which any one who has ever heard it, quickly translates into the phrase, "I’m as good as you." I have seen as many as a hundred or a hundred and fifty in a flock, and when the roosters let forth their challenge, their throats would swell out big and then would come forth their booming challenge, which usually met with one of equal defiance.
We lived in a dugout of two rooms. It faced the east and the front end was almost wholly out of the ground. In going into it, one stepped down two or three steps. There was a window, half-sized or one sash, in the south and one in the west; a door in the east near the south wall, and a big fireplace on the north side with a wide open chimney. This dugout must have been 20 or 25 feet in length and 12 or 14 feet wide. A large cottonwood ridge pole to the walls either way, with the sawed surface down. Over these a generous supply of clay was spread. At first the earth served as a floor as well as a roof, but by and by we got a board floor. I describe this house in which I was born because it was like every other house in all the country around, so far as I am able now to recall. These houses were very comfortable. They never got real cold in winter or real hot in summer. The walls were usually quite thick and well pointed up with native gypsum, which made an excellent substitute for lime mortar. The roofs of these houses were not always the best in rainy weather and when the roofs did leak, the water was well colored with the clay and the streaks of white washed walls were provoking to the women and children.
I recall a rainy spell, which was one of those all-week rains and every stream and draw was running bank full. It rained day and night, with the rain falling fast and everything as dark as a rainy night can well be, a call came from the yard and my father went out and found the Rev. S.A. Greene, who now as then lived just east of the location of Beverly. Following the generous nature of the pioneer and the Quaker training of always taking travelers in, my father asked him to come in and stay for the night with us. The Rev. gentleman declined and said he did not want to be leaked out in the night and that he desired to know where the was a shingle-roofed house where he could put up for the night. At that time there were but two houses with shingle roofs in the Brush Creek neighborhood. My father told him of the nearest one, a Mr. Russel’s on the farm now owned by J.R. Ricketts, but told him the draws were running full of water and it was so dark he would get into a hole and drown and that he would better come in and stay with us for the night. Rev. Green insisted he must sleep under the protection of shingles and my father accompanied him to pilot him through the dangerous places, but the high water was too much for him and he was forced to return with my father and abide the night protected by a dirt roof. The next morning dawned bright and clear. Rev. Greene must have liked my mother’s cooking for I well recall he did not depart till after dinner the next day.
Prairie schooners were a common sight. Many times one would see quite a string of them together, mostly traveling westward. Often times they would have a sort of legend printed on the canvas cover, such as "Kansas or bust." Occasionally one would be seen traveling eastward and like those going West, there now and then appeared some legend. I recall one reading, "Kansas or bust," and then below it was printed, "Busted by G--," and another which read, "Going back East to see my wife’s people." Those prairie schooners were not the grotesque thing one sees pictured, with swayed backs, but ordinary wagons, with top boxes and wagon bows covered with white canvas. Occasionally there would be an old fashioned lynch pin wagon that squeaked and howled its way across the prairie.
I remember the first conveyance we had was a stone boat. It was much like a flat bottomed scow such as you might see on the river, which slid quite smoothly on the Buffalo grass. I’ve had many a good ride in it. We next had a lynch pin wagon. Stone boats were used by some for purely domestic purposes, but I recall going to Joshua Kindlesparger’s one time in ours for a visit and to stay all night. It was drawn by oxen.
My recollection of Indians is very faint. I remember my father telling us one night that while he was working in a corn field over on the Elkhorn, three Indians came across the prairie and as their old trail led across the field where he was working, they swerved neither to the right nor left but went straight through the corn although it was then waist high. Another time my oldest brother met a band of nine riding along one after another when he was going to Monroe with the mail. There was a begging family of them who went about pilfering and begging one spring, but I never knew what an Indian scare was.
There is a difference between the means of transportation used then and now. I was a large boy before I ever saw a light vehicle, such as a light spring wagon. A buggy was never seen in those earlier days in our neighborhood. Most of the neighbors had horses, but there were a few who had oxen. We had a yoke of Texas steers, which seemed to me to be the biggest and finest steers I have ever seen. We called them Tom and Jerry. They had the longest horns I have ever seen on any animal and ever larger and longer than any I have ever seen on display. Tom was a complete brindle in color and Jerry was brindle with dark or black trimmings. In yoking them we always yoked Jerry, who was always worked on the right, or off side, first, and then would hold up the yoke and call to Tom to come. He would immediately start but instead of coming direct to where you were standing would make a wide detour and finally come and carefully turn his head to get his wide spreading horns by you and patiently submit to the bow being put on his neck and keyed into the yoke. Although he was docile and obedient, much more so than Jerry, I doubt if anyone ever got on friendly terms enough with him to stroke or pet him with their hands, and I know no one ever petted Jerry for he was finicky and never was so tired but what he jumped from under the yoke as soon as the bow was slipped from his neck and anyone who ever worked that team of oxen soon learned to move quickly when yoking or unyoking Jerry. Henry Peper, who for years run the hack here in town, worked that ox team many a day and I daresay well recalls their half-teamed [sic] nature and real worth as a farm team.
Our market was very inconvenient. We had little or no occasion to go to Lincoln, except to pay taxes. There were no bridges and we forded the river or crossed on the mill-dam at Rocky Hill. I recall there being at one time a toll bridge at Rees’ mill, which was free to anyone who brought a grist to the mill. In those days each farmer took his wheat to mill and brought home his flour from the same wheat he took in the same sacks. Flour sacks, like flour is now put up, were then unknown. The average grist would not exceed six bushels, and the miller gave back so many pounds of flour, and so many of bran, to the bushel, keeping a portion of each bushel as toll for the grinding.
Those who lived in our neighborhood went to Salina, Brookville, Ellsworth or occasionally Minneapolis to market. The roads led directly across the prairie, only winding about to avoid the steeper grades or find the place in the creek where nature had practically made a crossing possible. From our place we would leave before daylight for Ellsworth with a load of wheat and be as far up the Elkhorn as the county line by sun-up, and then return home in the late hours of night. I was too young to ever make the trip, except as a special trip, and in fact I had that special favor granted but three times.
The trip to Salina always consumed two days as did the one to Minneapolis, but Brookville was a one day trip if one borrowed time from both ends of the day. In going to Minneapolis the Saline was forded at True’s place, who was a neighbor to T.E. Scott, the man from whom Tescott gets its name.
I have seen a half-dozen or more teams loaded with freight (lumber, dry goods, groceries, etc.) traveling from Ellsworth or Minneapolis to Lincoln before a railroad reached this point. The church bell formerly in the steeple of the old Presbyterian church was hauled overland here from Minneapolis.
The first mail I recall came to us from Rocky Hill, where M.N. Stearns had the post office in a store. The stage line up the Saline Valley served Monroe, Rocky Hill, Lincoln and I do not know how much, if any, further West. Finally, my father, desiring to obtain better mail facilities, undertook to get the mail once each week for the neighbors from Monroe and to take down there the mail any might desire to send. This was kept up by him or my oldest brother 11 months as a mere gratuity, and then Uncle Sam established a star route and commissioned father postmaster at Topsy, as the office at our place was called. This route was later extended to Tower Springs, kept by the father of P.E. Moss Jr., or his grandfather, J.W. McReynolds, I have forgotten which. This route was later extended to Lone Walnut on the Spring Creek, which must have derived its name from the fact that there was no walnut there at all. A man by the name of Pickett carried the mail over this route each Sunday.
The streams of the county and West of here were mostly named by J.R. Meade, the man who made the first subscription the memorial monument first erected in the court house square, and who is the founder of Wichita, Kansas.
Wolf Creek was so named because it was a great place to trap wolves; Beaver Creek, because many beavers were found on it. These interesting little animals one time had a great dam on this creek near where Dan Day’s large barn stands on the road leading to Rocky Hill; Spillman was named for A.C. Spillman, who was a government surveyor or with one of the surveying parties and one day while crossing the creek on one of Uncle Sam’s mules nearly swamped. On returning to headquarters, he related the incident, and future hunting or surveying parties always called it Spillman’s Creek from this incident.
J.R. Meade one time started from a hunting camp near where Salina now stands up the Smoky Hill on a hunt. He had with him two or three men, a wagon and team and one saddle horse. After they had reached near where Russell now stands, they came across a great barren region swept clean of game by a recent prairie fire. Thinking to travel across it, they soon found it too extensive and in need of meat turned northward. Finally they crossed the Saline, got beyond the burned area, and came upon a stream where there was water, quite a number of pine trees and plenty of game. Mr. Meade told me that they pitched camp and he went about a half mile distant, killed a buffalo and a short distance further one, shot a wild turkey. Returning to his buffalo, he found several coyotes gathered around the carcass. The hunters dined on turkey and buffalo meat and that night he put out traps and poison meat and the next morning got 80 wolf pelts – he called it a hunter’s paradise and ever since the stream has borne the name of Paradise.
Uncle Tom Boyle told me Twelve Mile got its name not because it was supposed to be 12 miles long, but because it was 12 miles west of a certain extreme settlement then near where Culver now stands.
Elkhorn was the favorite feeding ground of elks in pre-pioneer days and many a large Elks horn was picked up along it in the early days. We had one fully four feet long my father found near where J.W. McReynolds formerly lived on the farm now owned by John Donley.
Table Rock was so named from a flat rock supported on two pillars, which at a distance resembled a table. It has now fallen down or been broken by cattle or vandals.
I have never heard the original for the names of Bullfoot and Battle Creek. Spring Creek, Twin Creek and Salt Creek as well as Rattlesnake take their names from attributes of form, appearance or frequenters.
The early schools with which I am familiar are wholly in the Brush Creek neighborhood. I shall never forget my first day or part of it at school. It was in an old stone-dirt-roofed building, built by volunteers on Peter A. Nelson’s place on the S.E. corner of the S. 2 of S.W. 4, Section 2, Franklin Township [this is as written; perhaps it means the SW corner of the south half of the southwest quarter of Section 2?]. One of the Boyers was the teacher. I ran off and called on the school. The teacher took a careful inventory of me and suggested that I should return to my mother and there witness and assist in an operation by which aqua pura should be mixed with terra firma. They say that after it was over my countenance beamed – presumably with intelligence as a result of my first day at school.
A year later district No. 18 was organized and bonds was voted to build a frame school house. This was in the late summer of 1879. The school house was finished and school opened in February 1880. That district was five miles long and from 2 ½ to 4 miles wide. Rose Smith was the first teacher and in that first school I met a man whose great heart and soul, whose splendid manhood and fine character became and remained an inspiration to me, as these attributes in him have done with hundreds of other boys and girls in Lincoln County. I well recall his visit to our school. It was a cold day; the school was large and not altogether obedient. This robust, swarthy-skinned, keen but kindly eyed man came in and took charge of that school and taught us for the day. Not a boy or girl, or young man or woman among us who did not feel the kindness of his touch, so human, so homelike and so "full of the milk of human kindness." He learned all our names and had a real interest in the trials and troubles, failures and successes of every one of us. He made us feel he cared about us and our welfare, and he not only made us feel he cared for us, he did care.
Some place out on the plains a certain tribe of Indians observed as a sort of memorial to the great men of their tribe a peculiar custom. They would select a certain spot and required each one who passed that way to deposit a pebble by the mound of the one to whom they desired to pay a touching tribute. By and by large mounds were built little by little, each pebble of which meant a kindly thought.
If for every kindly thought for this great and generous man a pebble could be cast on a mound in memory, it would be one of large proportions. The bosom of this country in which he toiled and labored and faithfully discharged the higher duties of citizenship and fulfilled the trust imposed on him, wraps its warm day about his mortal remains. From time to time his loved ones will cast sweet flowers upon his grave. Perhaps a marble shaft marked the place where he lay down to rest, but the great good he did, the hopes and ambitions he aroused, the many men and women who look back to the man who inspired them to try, and who from that trying become useful citizens, are living monuments to the memory of A.T. Biggs. Lincoln County, with a single exception, whose name modestly forbids me to mention, has had good strong men at the head of its school system, but she has never had but one A.T. Biggs and many a decade will come and go before we shall behold his like again. He has gone down to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust, but his memory stays green as the work he started goes marching on and on over reaching higher levels and towering nearer to the ideal he would have it be. It has always been the rule of human nature that trials and hardships produce strong characters. Bacon says, "Prosperity doth best beget vice, and Adversity doth best beget virtue." In addition to this universal rule of human development there is something about Kansas, and about this section of Kansas, that builds character. The quietness of its calms; the wildness of its winds; the desolation of its droughts; -- all its varied extremities of climate and reward make it a place in which strong men and women grow. In addition to the effect upon character, the situation of this state was such that the persons who sought to make it there home were of necessity people of strong conviction and great hardihood. After coming under the spell of the spirit of this state, these people have been at all times in their chosen fields.
As an illustration of this, permit me to recall a quartet of men who were pioneers, two of whom are well known here, and all of whom I have had the good fortune to know. These four were residents of Minneapolis as young men in the early days. Rev. H.C. Bradbury, Abraham Marshall, Judge Winfield Freeman of Kansas City, Kan., and Chief Justice W.A. Johnston of the Kansas Supreme Court. Judge Freeman is a character in a class by himself. Left an orphan at eight years of age, raised in Ohio, he chose the great heart of the great West as his field and though now in his 70s, he is one of the keenest lawyers in Kansas. Abe Marshall chose the field of banking and business and no man’s business judgment is keener in all this part of Kansas. Judge Johnston, like Judge Freeman, chose the field of law. For more than 30 years he has been on the Kansas bench. He is hale and vigorous and if any person who dotes on the foolish cant commonly current about lawyers can meet this giant in the legal world and see the greatness of his character and the fineness of his splendid manhood and can yet enjoy the foolish stuff about lawyers, he lacks some of the real strength of the good red blood of a Kansan.
Rev. H.C. Bradbury, like Judge Freeman, stands in a class by himself. None other has ever been able to reach the same depths of brotherly love or reach the same heights of Christian grace. He is known and loved in every corner of the county. Not a soul could be in need anywhere and left to suffer if Bradbury knew it and could reach him. All over this county he has smiled and prayed with the happy newly wedded pair; he has sorrowed and wept with the bereft ones; he has tenderly closed the eyes of the dying, and lovingly cheered the way of the fallen one; he has gone in and out of the homes of the people of this county more than any other one person and no one can say a word of ill of him. He has no one who is at enmity with him.
I have read history fairly extensively. I have read of the triumph of general and statesmen; of the return of conquering heroes and of the plaudits given to one who rose to the heights of popular acclaim by some unexpected, unplanned act of goodness, courage, or daring, and for a moment were crowned triumphant, but to my mind all of them are surpassed by the tributes paid to Brother Bradbury in the observance of "Bradbury Day" by whose who are associated with him day by day and year by year and have come to know and realize the truth and worth of this grand old man.
In the making of a new country, one of the absolute essentials is the wrap and woof of the moral sentiments of its various communities. One of the great agencies in accomplishing this is the newspaper. Now most people read a daily, but in the earlier day weekly local papers sided more in fashioning the standards of morals than they do now. There never was a day that the Lincoln Beacon did not fearlessly stand up for what it thought was right on all public moral questions, and one of the persons who had helped to make this county one, essentially, of achievement is the surviving resident member of the family who established, owned and edited the Beacon throughout its whole career. Anna C. Wait has never fought for an unrighteous cause and what is more she has never failed to fight for the righteous one.
I must not encroach too much on your time. I feel as if volumes would be needed to pay the proper need of praise due the many men and women I have known here who deserve special mention, but time in an old settlers’ meeting is more an element than it was when history was in the making.
These passing thoughts and instances give the younger people a glimmer of what the earlier days were like. Transportation facilities were poor. Mails were infrequent. High schools as we know them now, were unheard of. Roads, bridges, homes, telephones, automobiles, daily papers and many other modern conveniences were unknown.
The same hills and streams are here, but all else, how changed! The scattering numbers of the earlier settlers are growing less and less on each recurring reunion. There are some of them here today. The silvering frosts of winters gone, have left their traces on their heads, and time has plowed deep wrinkles on their brows. The courage, endurance and character of these people have tamed and made this beautiful county what it is. If anyone wants a glimpse of what their work means in a material way, I know of no better way to get it than first to imagine the entire landscape devoid of trees, except small fringes along some of the streams, then in fancy sweep way the houses, barns, fences, fields and see only wild desolation. Look over the broad expanse where every moving thing is a wild creature, or fancied shimmering heat, creeping along the top of the neighboring ridge. Then with this picture in mind, on any get eminence any where in the county and look about you! See the splendid homes, the orchards; the groves, the fences, the fields, the roads, the bridges and the schools. Then again let your fancy run, and if you can comprehend the heart-throbs, and the heartaches, the toils and the sorrows, the failures and successes of those who made these things possible. Those were heroes who did those things. In the cemeteries all over this fair county lie many of these brave pioneers. Well may one recall those lines of Gray’s Elegy when he thinks of their work:
"Some village Hampdem, that with dauntless breast.
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest;
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood."
I had in mind to touch upon the future of this county, but if I do it must be briefly done. The whole industrial world is going rapidly through a great transition. The mighty heart beats of society is reaching and filling and thrilling every part of the social world. Even within less than an average life, we see domestic animals, such as horses, mules and oxen, rapidly displaced as beasts of burden by mechanical power. A few short years ago threshing was all done by horse-power. Now there is perhaps not one in Central Kansas, steam engines rapidly displaced there. The great weight of metal necessary to confine steam and suppress and direct its energy, coupled with the demand for iron in other industrial lines, is rapidly crowding steam engines from the field of agricultural mechanical helps. The gasoline tractor will soon do all the threshing and heavy hauling in the marketing of farm products, even to a greater extent that gasoline engines now in automobiles whisk you about on errands of business or pleasure. Many farmers in this central West are buying trucks, propelled by gasoline engines, with capacity to haul from 100 to 150 bushel of wheat at a trip and capable of making from 8 to 12 miles an hour to market their grain. They will force great road development and now where there are but a few miles of graveled roads in this county, there will soon be miles on miles of rock roads, stretching along every main avenue to market. These will cost great sums of money but will prove to be the wisest and best expenditures the public can make. Farm land located near them will be greatly enhanced in value and instead of fearing their cost, people will demand them.
The Saline, now a channel for drainage and a place costing large sums to bridge, will in the next half century be made to serve practically every farm home in the county. Along its banks, power stations will be erected and electrical energy will be furnished to all who want it to light the homes, and drive the pumps, and do much of the heavy menial work now done by hand. Man’s mastery of the agencies of nature is taking on great development. The system of conducting electrical energy is fast being antiquated and it has been the waste of this energy in the systems of conduction used which has retarded its use.
The time is not far distant when Lincoln, instead of shipping coal from the anthracite fields of Pennsylvania and thereby getting the energy stored up by nature centuries ago in the carbonaceous age to drive its power plant, will be taking the energy produced by the Kansas wind and the Kansas sunshine, right out of the Kansas air.
In 1909, at the meeting time of this Association, Gov. Stubbs spoke in the Courthouse square. All that day a strong south wind drove great clouds of dust through the air and the branches of the trees creaked and sighed and moaned. The sky was overcast with thin gray clouds. At the switchboard at "central," the hello girls all day received tingling shocks of electricity and the phones behaved as though an electrical storm were in progress. While we were thus celebrating, nature was manufacturing right in our midst the greatest industrial agent and the most powerful energy she makes in her magnificent and matchless laboratory. The present fund of human knowledge enables us to harness and use only a small portion of it, but we are on the threshold of a great advancement in this line of mechanical development, and the people of this county will not lag behind in any progress.
I would like to take the time to picture to you what this county will be in 50 years hence, but it would be an imposition on you here today. I would like to tell you what my fancy teaches me will be the changes in the schools, the towns, the churches, the farms, the industrial life and most of all in the homes, for these are the nucleus around which all development of the human race must center, and they are the heart from which all has sprung.
For six years I was taken into the homes of the people of this county. Every advancement in material wealth will add to the convenience and comfort of these homes, which are among the best in the world. Knowing the standards in the homes of the people here, I know of no better way to close these remarks than to quote to you the best definition of "Home" I have ever heard.
"This is our home. Here bring no hate, envy or falsehood, or pretensions vain, or sham of any kind. Let clear-eyed truth, friendly content, and open-handed love dwell here forever. Here let us be ourselves but our best selves with windows opened skyward and the doors inswinging to our friends."
I found the homes of Lincoln County to conform to this standard and bespeak for them, the progress equal to that of any other phase of life.
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